Featured article - Vietnam Economic Times: Creating a path forward

"Vietnam’s business and investment environment is doing relatively well given the circumstances caused by Covid-19. No doubt there is a lot of investment interest in Vietnam, not just the traditional low-tech investments of the past but more high-tech investments and, most recently, those in the renewable energy sector", Mr. Jack Nguyen (Partner, Mazars Vietnam) shared his perspectives on Vietnam current investment circumstances.

April, 2021

Jack Nguyen

Partner, Mazars in Vietnam

Executive Board Member, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (CanCham)

Vietnam’s business and investment environment is doing relatively well given the circumstances caused by Covid-19. The world knows that Vietnam has had tremendous success controlling the pandemic and also that it was able to achieve 2.9 per cent GDP growth in 2020 while other countries in ASEAN experienced negative GDP growth. No doubt there is a lot of investment interest in Vietnam, not just the traditional low-tech investments of the past but more high-tech investments and, most recently, those in the renewable energy sector. Nevertheless, there is evidence that businesses are struggling in Vietnam, especially in the hospitality sector. In manufacturing, exports are susceptible to demand in the destination. If those countries are struggling economically, then demand for imports will be lower. The Vietnamese market has a lot of potential for Canadian companies. Vietnam has many positive qualities that are appealing to Canadian businesses and those from any other country. It is strategically located in Southeast Asia, has a young and relatively cheap workforce, and the government is promoting global integration and creating incentives for foreign investments.

There are many industries in Vietnam where Canada has expertise that could receive investment. Canadian companies operating in industries such as information technology, education, healthcare, renewable energy, clean energy, aerospace, and agriculture and agrifood are much needed and would be welcomed in Vietnam. Foreign investors do face barriers when investing in the country. Major investments or investments in sensitive sectors face government scrutiny, with approval needing to go to the highest level of the Vietnamese Government. These investments will generally take time and a lot of upfront costs. Other notable challenges are the tax process (with assessments sometimes done arbitrarily and with little recourse to appeal), obtaining work permits for expat staff, protecting intellectual property, and resolving disputes when they occur. The biggest operating issue is retaining talented and skilled staff. These people are always in high demand and are often sought by other companies or competitors. Foreign companies often work with their business chambers to engage the government to improve the business environment. These discussions are done through the Vietnam Business Forum, which takes place semiannually and is a good forum for discussions between the foreign investment community and the Vietnamese Government. As evidenced by the new Law on Investment and other legal changes, the engagement between the foreign business community and the Vietnamese Government is working and there have been improvements to the foreign business environment.

- Vietnam Economic Times -

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Vietnam Economic Times - Creating a path forward
Vietnam Economic Times - Creating a path forward