US investments in Vietnam low despite investor confidence

TN News

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Inflows from the US accounted for approximately 1 percent of Vietnam's total foreign investments through September this year, even as a survey showed more than half of US investors in Southeast Asia were confident about the local economy.

It registered for a total of 37 projects valued US$94.08 million, while total foreign direct investments in Vietnam this year through September 20 amounted $9.5 billion, according to a Ministry of Planning and Investment report.

Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, told Dau Tu that US investments in Vietnam were not as high as expected and not many large American companies had invested in Vietnam this year.

Mai said Vietnamese regulations are inconsistent and procedures time-consuming, arguing that these facts have discouraged US investors.

The country's lack of good infrastructure and high-quality workers have also failed to meet American demands, he said.

Economist Bui Kien Thanh said Vietnam was not living up to its potential.

"If the management system isn't "˜transparent,' workers' skills don't improve and corruption isn't reduced, opportunity will pass us by."

The ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2012/2013, which was published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore on August 30, showed that 57 percent of 356 surveyed senior executives from US companies in Southeast Asian countries said they plan to expand their businesses in Vietnam.

This figure is far higher than 11 percent in Thailand, 8 percent in Singapore and 7 percent in the Philippines. 

The survey also revealed that the main concerns about Vietnam's business environment are infrastructure, laws and regulations and corruption issues.

The US was ranked 12th among 52 countries and territories investing in Vietnam in the first eight months of 2012, the Ministry of Planning and Investment report showed.

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