Companies still have room to grow in Vietnam

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International business representatives on Friday told the audience at a trade seminar that Vietnam remains a great place to invest, despite fluctuations and challenges.

The seminar was held at the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 and was organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

"Vietnam has many untouched resources and Indian companies can make use of these resources," said Abhay Thakur, Indian Consul General, during the opening address.

Yet certain issues related to policies and regulations need to be addressed to make things easier for businesses, he said.

"The government has recently taken decisive steps in the right direction, and the future looks bright, although there might be some bumps on the road," said Michel Tosto, Institutional Sales & Brokerage Director of Viet Capital Securities.

VinaCapital Chief Investment Officer Andy Ho said the Consumer Price Index has continued to fall and interest rates are too high, making things difficult for businesses.

"The business environment is improving but it's still challenged by such things as inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and an inadequately educated workforce." said Tuyen Nguyen, Investment Officer from the International Financial Company IFC.

Nguyen also said Vietnam has proven its ability to overcome growing pains in the past. He said overheating in the mid 2000s was resolved quickly. 

He said things would get worse in 2011 before getting better in 2012; global recovery would help but commodity pressures would persist. Nguyen alleged that a big gap in skills and it needs to be addressed in the next 5-10 years. "

"The economy is still under significant short-term stress. The need for infrastructure is a challenge, but also an opportunity," said Amit Arora, Standard Chartered Bank's country head of Consumer Banking. 

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