As the global economy has now entered the initial stage of recovery, there has appeared a good chance to draw FDI, especially from the US and Japan, they said at the "Vietnam Economy: Opportunities and Challenges after the Global Financial Crisis" seminar.

"The recovery is just in the initial step," Pham Do Chi, an economist, told the seminar organised by Dau Tu newspaper and the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises. The world economy is still in difficulty, but "this is also an opportunity for Vietnam to grasp," he said.

Nguyen Cong Ai, deputy general director of KPMG in Vietnam, shared Chi's view that the difficult time would also present a good opportunity for Vietnam to attract foreign investors, especially from the US.

"Some US enterprises realised difficulties in their own economy, so they have landed in other countries like China, India and Vietnam for investment or outsourcing to reduce their business costs," he said.

In this scenario, Vietnam has its own advantages, Ai said. "In China, the investment costs are increasing strongly lately, so it is not a good choice for investors," he said. Meanwhile, Vietnam is a good destination owing to political stability and fast-growing economy.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Tri Dung, who has assisted many Japanese enterprises to invest in Vietnam in recent years, said some big Japanese enterprises were also showing keen interest in Vietnam's fast economic growth.

"When given good conditions, many more Japanese investors will come to Vietnam, especially big corporations," he said.

However, Nguyen Mai, chair of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, suggested Vietnam should be more careful in choosing FDI. "Vietnam needs to have better control and should reject projects with outdated technology and using unskilled labour," he said. Mai warned against those projects finding their way into Vietnam after being rejected by China.

He also urged the country to speed up infrastructure construction, accelerate administrative reform and develop the human resources to attract multinational corporations.

The Saigon Times Weekly - September 23, 2010