Foreign business associations said Wednesday that poor infrastructure and high transport costs are major obstacles that hinder investment into Vietnam.
Jocelyn Tran, chairwoman of American Chamber of Commerce, said limitations in infrastructure will have negative impacts on foreign investment into Vietnam and the country's exports.
It is a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately, she said at the Vietnam Business Forum in Hanoi Wednesday.
Tony Foster, who heads an infrastructure sub-committee at the forum, said Vietnam is the least competitive among regional countries in terms of infrastructure. Due to the lack of large seaports Vietnam has to spend around US$1.7 billion every year to have local exports transported to Hong Kong or Singapore first.
Alain Cany, chairman of European Chamber of Commerce, said it will cost Vietnam $70-80 billion to improve its infrastructure in the next ten years so that the country can maintain its competitive edge. He said Vietnam only needs 11-12 large seaports instead of 50-60 smaller ones.
According to the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), it costs around $1,570 to transport a 40 feet container from Da Nang to Yokohama, among the highest rates in the region.
Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment, said the country has realized that infrastructure is its bottleneck in economic development.
Improving infrastructure is actually one of the main focuses of the government's development plan in the next ten years, he said.