Nov 30, 2021 / 11:26

Bolstering Australia-Vietnam investment cooperation for mutual benefits

Australian businesses consider Vietnam one of the most potential markets for investment and trade.

Greater efficiency in investment cooperation between Vietnam and Australia would bring mutual benefits.

Director of the International Markets at the South Australian Trade and Investment Authority John Ellis shared the view at a business forum held by the South Australia-Vietnam Business Council on November 29.

 Director of the International Markets at the South Australian Trade and Investment Authority John Ellis at the summit. Source: VNA

According to Ellis, the Vietnam and Australia markets are complementary in nature rather than in direct competition.

While Australian companies have strong expertise in agriculture, education, healthcare, and hi-tech, Vietnam has an abundant workforce and high IT development level, Ellis said, noting this is the aspect that Australia is lacking.

In addition, the Vietnamese business environment is highly open as the Government has been creating favorable conditions for foreign investors, he added.

To further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, Ellis called for further opening the market for companies from each side.

For example, Vietnam could consider giving import licenses for kangaroo meat, in return, Australia may import passion fruit, shrimp, and other farm produce from Vietnam.

Sharing Ellis’s view, Ly Hoang Duy, director of 4 Ways Fresh, said the company is looking to import more fruit products from Vietnam.

Duy added so far, only four kinds of fruits are allowed to import to Australia, for which both countries should work on further opening their markets to each other.

Matt Seifert, CEO of pharmaceutical company MicroSafe, said it is planning to set up plants in emerging Asian markets, including Vietnam.

The company is seeking support from Vietnam’s local authorities to decide on the location of the upcoming plants, he added.

Seifert noted one of the key factors before making any decision would be the market size, as it would not be logical to invest in a factory just for export purposes, and the domestic market is equally important.

Given the country’s political and economic stability, Vietnam has the required conditions for production and export, Seifert said. This, in turn, puts the country in a favorable advantage compared to regional peers and a major logistics hub, he continued.

Once countries reopen their borders and Covid-19 restrictions are gradually eased, Seifert said he would visit a few Asian countries to study investment options, of which Vietnam would be the first destination.

 Vietnam’s Consul General in New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland Nguyen Dang Thang.

Vietnam’s Consul General in New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland Nguyen Dang Thang said there have been strong linkages in Vietnam-Australia relations, spanning economic, political, and social aspects.

Amid severe Covid-19 impacts, bilateral trade turnover continued on the upward trend and reached a record high of AUD14 billion (US$10 billion) in the first ten months of 2021, a surge of 50% year-on-year.

“Such positive results were partly thanks to the contribution of the two business communities,” he said.

As the global pandemic situation has improved, Thang called for enterprises to better take advantage of business opportunities in each country and further take trade revenue to a new height.

“Vietnam and Australia should become top ten trading partners of each other,” Thang said.

Meanwhile, two-way investment capital stood at AUD3.5 billion ($2.5 billion), of which Australia’s FDI to Vietnam accounted for 75% of the total, making the country   Vietnam’s 19th largest investor.

The figure, however, remained modest compared to both countries’ potential, with Vietnam among the top investment destinations globally and Australia as the 12th largest economy, he said.

Thang added the close linkage between the two countries, along with advantages from new-generation trade agreements such as the CPTPP and RCEP that both are members would further raise the attention from Australian companies to the Vietnamese market.