Viet Nam is an attractive destination for Swiss investors

Thursday, Mar 04, 2021 08:37


NESCAFE Plan of Nestle Vietnam, one of the Swiss invested corporates in Viet Nam has made significant contributions to local coffee industry in the past 10 years — Photo courtesy of Nestle

Viet Nam is a highly attractive destination for investment because of its unique position to capitalise on the global chain shift, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan.

Lan told the webinar “Market Focus Viet Nam” on Tuesday: “In the pandemic, Viet Nam’s economy has proved resilient with a positive growth of 2.91 per cent in 2020 while the rest of the world plunged into a deep recession.”

The webinar was organised by Swiss Viet Namese Business Gateway (SVBG) and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG) was also the first official launch of SVBG with Swiss partners and Viet Namese representatives.

Lan mentioned the Government’s successful control of the pandemic and effective measures for economic recovery and international economic integration last year contributed to the attraction.

Last year, Viet Nam completed the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), concluded bilateral FTA negotiations with the UK (UKVFTA), and agreed to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Lan said: “With new-generation FTAs such as CPTPP, EVFTA, RCEP, Viet Nam has become one of the region’s fastest-growing and internationally engaged economies, at the centre of a network of 17 FTAs and economic and trade cooperation frameworks with the world’s leading economic hubs.”

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's recent report, Viet Nam has emerged as an attractive foreign direct investment destination in Asia ahead of China and India. The report suggests factors that make Viet Nam more attractive destinations are the incentives for international firms for setting up units to manufacture hi-tech products, the pool of low-cost workers, and the proliferation of free trade agreements, said Lan.

She added: “The US-China trade war and the pandemic have accelerated the shift of the global value chain when European and American companies are relocating investment locations or repatriate manufacturing factories to overcome the over-dependence on a single country in the global supply chain system.

“As Viet Nam has been able to effectively contain the pandemic and is among the first countries to reopen the economy, Viet Nam is better positioned to attract this capital flow trend. The Government acted quickly to embrace this shift in the global supply chain, decided to establish a high-level special working group, charged with the mission of investment promotion inViet Nam.”

Lan recognised innovation and digitalisation as the last highlights of Viet Nam’s economy, saying the development of the digital economy for the country’s robust and sustainable development was another attraction to investors.

As Viet Nam targeted its digital economy to contribute 30 per cent of the GDP, related businesses have great markets serving both the Government and people in the new era.

Lan said: “Switzerland is an important trade, investment and economic cooperation partner ofViet Nam with strong grown bilateral economic and a trade volume reaching US$3.6 billion in 2019.”

Lan added there are more than 100 Swiss companies including big names such as Nestle, ABB, Novartis, Roche, Holcim and Schindler.

These firms have been doing successful business in Viet Nam and with the total investment of around 2 billion Swiss francs, Switzerland was now the sixth biggest European investor inViet Nam.

She considered Swiss firms with comparative advantages and strengths in technology, innovation, capital and expertise especially in finance, pharmaceutical, food manufacturing would look more to Viet Nam as a safe and attractive destination for doing business in the post-COVID-19 world of tremendous change and globe supply shift.

Lan said: “They will have large room to grow.”

The ambassador hoped the FTA negotiations betweenViet Nam and Switzerland will be completed this year when the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations.

With the same point of view, Trade Counselor Nguyen Duc Thuong said that the favourable environment has created very good conditions for foreign investors in Viet Nam. Thuong added that Viet Nam is also strong in demographics when it is going through a period of "golden population structure".

Viet Namese senior leaders are also very interested in creating favourable conditions for foreign investors in terms of the law. The National Assembly of Viet Nam passed a new Law on Investment on June 17, 2020, effective from January 1, 2021, with many new investment incentives.

Thuong said even during the pandemic, investment in Viet Nam last year was still very strong, however, he said the top FDI ​​partners were Asian countries of Korea, Japan, and Singapore, Switzerland was currently ranked 19th.

Mentioning Viet Nam as a preferred place to regulate the world's production chain as the economy of nearly 100 million people has enjoyed political stability in countries and free trade treatment from all major economies of the world, Thuong said energy and technology were among top investment fields in Viet Nam.

Attending the webinar, Will Mackereth, Supply Chain director of Nestle Vietnam said understanding the nutritional deficiencies namely in zinc, iron, iodine, and Vitamin A in the country, Nestle Vietnam has been providing main products like MILO, Maggi, Nescafe fortified with Vitamins and minerals to millions the local consumers and children.

Mentioning Viet Nam as a hub for added-value production, export and distribution, Nestle’s representative said: “ We have a lot of o optimism to continue to invest inViet Nam.”

SVBG the first of its kind founded by Viet Namese expatriates in Switzerland, will focus on offering trade information via workshops, forums, and internal bulletins; providing legal consultations and guidance; developing links for technological transfers and improvement; and introducing quality human resources. It will also make recommendations for more favourable business climate to competent agencies of both nations, while organising socio-cultural activities serving its goals.

According to SVBG, Viet Nam was the four biggest trade partner of Switzerland in ASEAN. Since 2012, Viet Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – began negotiations for a FTA, which was expected to be signed this year.— VNS


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