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Jul 11, 2020 / 14:15

US companies continue to see tremendous investment opportunities in Vietnam

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the US-Vietnam diplomatic relations, US companies shared with Hanoitimes their expectations about opportunities for their investment expansions in Vietnam.

Dr. Mason Cobb, chairman of Victoria Healthcare International Clinics

After Vietnam achieved the middle income status and ODA decreased, the Vietnamese government became more accommodating for investment and that continues to this day.

 Dr. Mason Cobb, chairman of Victoria Healthcare International Clinics

However, it is still not a truly level playing field with local companies. The attitude and perception, and spirit of cooperation has become much warmer and more understanding than during that difficult middle period.

More importantly, the company’s mission in healthcare as primarily helping Vietnam build a world-class healthcare system. To that end, the company brings Vietnamese to the US and bring educational and other assets to Vietnam to help increase understanding and skills.

AmCham Healthcare Committee Mission has stated: “We are a key strategic partner for promoting health and wellness and shaping the healthcare industry in Vietnam.”

Regarding the healthcare sector, I think there are still regulatory hurdles that could dampen investment atmosphere. For example, the Ministry of Health has proposed that all foreign doctors must speak fluent Vietnamese. In effect, there would be an exodus of international healthcare and its standards. This will inhibit achieving a truly international standard for healthcare here by essentially expelling international influences. 

Vietnam is quite unique in its “healthcare consumer”: several attempts from highly developed countries have floundered for not understanding the Vietnamese patient’s unique perceptions. In the best of conditions this must be carefully considered by foreign healthcare investors.

Vietnam has shown itself to be best in the world at handling the Covid-19 pandemic. This has spawned a motivation to make the Vietnamese healthcare system world-class. Individual patient healthcare is quite different, however, and Vietnam will at once be both motivated but headstrong with a tendency to both court foreign investment and discount their contribution.

In fact, continuing a cooperative and supportive relationship with the international medical community is the shortest and surest path to the goal of world-class healthcare.

Decreasing the regulatory burden and reinforcing fair application of rules. Easy access to decision makers in the Vietnamese government is also key.

We will continue to grow and develop our reach and technical skills. We will also invest in human capital with input from the US. We can really contribute to healthcare in Vietnam through a more integrated system, incorporating retail pharmacy, insurance, education, and patient care as a seamless system that is both very efficient and patient-friendly.

Nguyen Ba Luan, country president of Cargill Vietnam

The Vietnamese government should be commended for transforming the country over many years from a centrally planned into a market economy. This transformation has dramatically increased US foreign investment in Vietnam.

  Nguyen Ba Luan, country president of Cargill Vietnam

The approach by the Vietnamese government to attract foreign investment and encourage open and free global trade has benefitted the Vietnamese economy and its agricultural and food sector. It has enabled more foreign investment and Cargill has invested heavily in Vietnam since 1995, after the significant event of the normalization of the diplomatic relationship between Vietnam and the US.

The transformation of Vietnam economy by the government has enabled Cargill to grow its business significantly in the country over the past 25 years and now has over 1,500 employees working across 23 locations. Cargill remains committed to conducting its business in the country with the highest level of integrity, accountability and responsibility.

US companies in Vietnam, who can demonstrate social tangible benefits by not only growing the Vietnamese economy but have a strong local Corporate Social Responsibility program improve the relationship between the two countries.

Cargill also enhanced diplomacy between the two countries by acting as a conduction between the US and Vietnam agricultural and food sector by bringing best practices to the Vietnamese sector and working through two-way trade issues as they arise. 

While the Vietnamese government is to be congratulated for its on-going efforts in attracting foreign investment, further supporting incentives in the form of tax schemes will encourage more foreign investment.

Further reform of its legal framework relating to business and foreign investment is encouraged and the continuation of aligning the country with international food, export and import standards and practices will give US companies more confidence to grow and invest in Vietnam.  

The continuation of building an advanced and integrated transport infrastructure will not only greatly improve the Vietnamese economy but will attract further investment from US companies especially in the Food & Agricultural sector.

Further alignment of policies with international standards, expansion of tax investment schemes and improvements to legal business framework and regulations and policies will go a long way in making Vietnam a for attractive destination for US companies looking to invest.

Also, continuation of dialogue between the Vietnamese government and US companies in Vietnam on policy reform, global best practices and any regulation, legal or policy obstacles will continue to attract further foreign investment by US companies.

Vietnam is important to Cargill globally. We continue to see tremendous opportunity in Vietnam and we intend to keep investing in and growing our business here, both in terms of capacity and capabilities, talents and communities as we fulfill our purpose of nourishing the world.