FTAs unlock opportunities for Australian investment: workshop

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The workshop on improving Australia’s FDI in Việt Nam is held virtually. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Australia’s investment in Việt Nam would grow further thanks to free trade agreements (FTAs), heard a workshop held virtually in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

The Australian investment in the Southeast Asian nation now remains modest, said Nguyễn Thị Thu Trang, Director of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Centre for WTO and Economic Integration, citing statistics by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency as showing that by November 2021, Australia had 545 projects worth US$1.94 million in Việt Nam.

The capital accounts for only 0.5 per cent of the total FDI poured into Việt Nam, ranking Australia 19th among countries and territories investing in Việt Nam, she added.

However, Trang said, the two countries share three FTAs, including two new-generation ones, namely the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The three deals, together with 12 others to which Việt Nam is a signatory, would help to unlock opportunities to attract more Australian investors, she stressed.

Australian Ambassador Charles Thursby-Pelham said Việt Nam and Australia have officially announced their enhanced economic engagement strategy, with the aim of doubling investment and becoming top ten trading partners.

To make use of the opportunities, Việt Nam should study and address problems hindering Australian businesses to land their investments in the country, he said.

He also suggested Việt Nam comprehensively reform the public sector, regularly review local legal regulations, and fulfil international commitments to investment and creating a fair, transparent business environment for foreign investors, including those from Australia.

Nguyễn Ánh Dương, Director of the Department for General Economic Issues and Integration Studies at the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said Việt Nam should learn from international experience in foreign investment attraction.

For example, Việt Nam can call for more investments in healthcare and digital technology, and push ahead with digital transformation in investment promotion amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued.

Phùng Thị Lan Phương, from the Centre for WTO and Economic Integration, emphasised the need to boost connectivity between Australia’s FDI firms and their Vietnamese partners, saying the Vietnamese Government and localities should play a more active role in this regard. — VNS

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