Prime minister wants stronger reforms to get Vietnam ahead of neighbors

By Anh Vu, Thanh Nien News

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 PM Nguyen Tan Dung at a meeting on Wednesday when he urged his agencies to speed up administrative reforms. Photo: Nhat Bac

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday told government agencies to speed up administrative reforms in order to make Vietnam more competitive and more business-friendly. 
Although Vietnam has tried to improve its business environment and increase the competitiveness of local businesses and products, the efforts are still weak and have many shortcomings, he conceded.
Dung pointed out that customs policies and procedures in particular are hindering the country’s ability to attract investment, even though its economy depends on trade. 
In fact, Vietnam’s economy relies much on its import and export activities with turnover achieving nearly US$300 billion last year, twice its gross domestic product.
Other shortcomings, he said, can also be found in paperwork related to tax, insurance and construction.
“We do and we have made improvements, but we cannot just compare where we are now with where we were before,” Dung said. 
Vietnam’s competitiveness is now the lowest among the ASEAN-6, which is comprised of the bigger economies in Southeast Asia.
In some areas, Vietnam is even behind Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, which is “unacceptable,” he said.
Vietnam recorded nearly 7.9 million foreign arrivals last year, up 4 percent from the year before, but Thailand had between 22-23 million tourists.
“We cannot let Vietnam remain at the bottom of ASEAN,” the PM said.

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