Feb 2, 2013

Vietnam - Hurdles in fast-tracking FDI inflows

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A snail’s paced legislative process is holding back efforts to address Vietnam’s dwindling foreign direct investment inflows.

Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, said the slow pace of amending laws relating to the management of foreign direct investment (FDI) is a barrier to improving Vietnam’s investment climate. “We are really worried about this. Obviously, we cannot amend a law within a year. It also takes a long time,” Vinh said.

To improve the investment climate for foreign investors, Vinh said, the National Assembly had to amend many laws such as the Investment Law, Enterprise Law, High Technology Law and Land Law.

“FDI has been spreading in all industries, thus we cannot change only the Investment Law. We have to change many laws to make them appropriate to real situation and investors’ expectation,” he said.

FDI to Vietnam has been declining from 2009 because of the impact of global economic recession and Vietnam’s own economic slowdown. Last year, registered FDI dropped 15.3 per cent year-on-year to reach $13.1 billion while the disbursement was down 4.9 per cent to $10.5 billion.

The downward trend has prompted the government to announce it would make immediate changes to investment policies to enhance Vietnam’s competitive advantages against other neighbouring rivals like Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

However, Vinh said the government could only change legal regulations under its authority, like decrees or circulars, but not laws which must have the National Assembly’s approval. The government said it would try its best to improve investment climate through amending decrees or removing inappropriate regulations under its authority, as directed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at a monthly government meeting last December.

For example, Dung ordered the MPI to promptly submit to the government a draft decree on the list of areas and industries that should enjoy favourable investment incentives. He also asked the MPI to study an attractive and competitive incentive policy to attract more FDI, aiming to attract big projects from multinational companies.n

But Vinh said the change in 2013 would not be significant once related laws were not changed. “We all understand that the government’s regulations could not against laws promulgated by National Assembly,” he said, implying the National Assembly should amend laws with urgency if it wants to attract more FDI to the country.

Ngoc Linh | vir.com.vn

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