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American businesses see Vietnam as strategic market: former US ambassador



Many U.S. business representatives consider Vietnam a leading market in ASEAN and hope to boost their investments in the country, according to statements made at a working breakfast attended by members of the U.S. business community and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Thursday.

As part of his visit to the U.S. for the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit slated for May 11 to 17, PM Chinh attended a breakfast meeting with the U.S. business community, hosted by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) in Washington, D.C..

Speaking at the event, USABC President and CEO Ted Osius, who is former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, said that Vietnam has made it easier for the U.S. business community to invest in the Southeast Asian nation.

Osius also emphasized that U.S. businesses regard Vietnam as a strategic market and therefore pay special attention to the nation’s development, particularly in terms of its digital transformation, green transformation, and strategic infrastructural development.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai affirmed that Hanoi is one of Washington’s largest ASEAN trading partners, reflected by the signing of the U.S.-Vietnam trade agreement in 2001 and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2007.

As the USTR is interested in creating sustainable agriculture based on science and effective management, digital economy development, and support for small and micro businesses, it wishes to cooperate with Vietnam in these fields to promote trade ties between the two countries, Tai said.

Many U.S. business representatives at the working breakfast asserted that Vietnam is their leading partner in ASEAN and they will closely coordinate with Vietnamese businesses and authorities to boost investment efficiency, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

They have also committed long-term investments in the Southeast Asian country.

Representatives of U.S. businesses at their meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2022. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Representatives of U.S. businesses at their meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2022. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

“Vietnam has established itself as a leader in the ASEAN region,” said Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice-President and Head of International of the USCC.

“Not only has trade grown but Vietnam’s commitment to structural and fiscal reforms is serving as a model to other countries.”

Cooperation between Vietnam and the U.S. continues to develop deeply in all fields, particularly in investment and finance, with businesses from both sides playing a very important role in fostering bilateral ties, PM Chinh told the meeting.

An annual trade growth rate of 17 and 20 percent over the past two years, respectively, proves that there remains ample room for economic development between the two countries, Chinh said, adding that Vietnam considers the U.S. its leading partner.

The U.S. had invested more than US$10 billion in Vietnam by March of this year, but this is still not commensurate with the potential of American investors, the prime minister commented.

The PM added that Vietnam has shifted to a strategy of living safely with COVID-19 in October of last year and attained an impressive 5.03 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter of this year.

Vietnam has been named among the world’s top 20 host economies for foreign direct investment, the PM cited the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The country strives to become a developing economy with developed industry by 2025, a developing economy with modern industry and high middle income by 2030, and a high-income economy by 2045, the Vietnam News Agency cited Chinh as saying.

To achieve these goals, Vietnam will keep building an independent and self-reliant economy with practical and effective international integration, and it expects the U.S. and other important partners to assist Vietnam in this regard, the PM concluded.  

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Upgrading the market for the sake of all participants




An employee passes electronic boards showing share prices inside Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange in HCM City. — VNA/ Photo Hữu Khoa

HÀ NỘI — An upgrade to emerging status will not only help the stock market develop quickly, transparently and sustainably, but also attract huge foreign capital inflows, said experts. 

Recently, the Government has directed to purge the market and improve the trading system’s capacity, showing its determination to enhance the quality of the stock market.

The refinement is to protect investors and open a door for the Vietnamese stock market to be upgraded from a frontier to an emerging market.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has taken an interest in the development of the capital market and the stock market, including the matter of upgrading the market. 

During a trip to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit, on May 16, the PM visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – the largest stock exchange in the world – hoping it supports and shares experience to develop an effective and sustainable stock market in Việt Nam, and successfully build a regional financial centre. 

PM Chính also expected the NYSE and its Vietnamese partners to foster a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership, contributing to making the Việt Nam-US comprehensive partnership more substantive and effective.

On the occasion, PM Chính witnessed the awarding ceremony of two cooperation documents in the fields of finance, banking and investment funds between Vietnamese and US partners, including a cooperation document between the Vietnamese State Securities Commission (SSC) and the NYSE regarding support to upgrade the country’s stock market and build a mechanism for investors to participate in both stock markets.

Previously, the PM chaired a conference on developing a safe, transparent, efficient and sustainable capital market to stabilise the macro-economy and ensure major balances of the economy.

At the conference, PM Chính also asked the Ministry of Finance to immediately solve the order congestion situation and invest in technological innovation and digital technology application, while urgently implementing measures to upgrade the market from frontier to emerging status to attract investment capital, especially foreign investment.

Dominic Scriven, head of the Việt Nam Business Forum’s (VBF) Capital Markets Working Group, said that the move to purify the market is a great effort and determination from the Government.

As the goal is to build and develop a safe, transparent and sustainable securities market, cleansing the market will ensure the interests of businesses and genuine investors, increase the stock market’s appeal, and attract more investment capital flows both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, Phạm Lưu Hưng, chief economist of SSI Securities Company (SSI), said that the move to purge the market in recent years raised expectations that the upgrade process will be easier. Hưng hoped that in the next assessment, the Market Rating Organization (MSCI) will note some positive comments about what Việt Nam has done.

According to Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc, the ministry is currently working with international organisations to deploy solutions to upgrade the stock market by 2025 as per the set roadmap.

Huge foreign capital inflows

Analysts believe that the upgrade from frontier to emerging status will be an important driving force for the market.

Zafer Mustafaoglu, World Bank (WB) Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation (FCI) for East Asia and Pacific, said that the capital market development is a long-term effort, and there is still much work to be done in Việt Nam.

Upgrading to emerging market status is not only an improvement in position, but also signals strong enhancement in quality with a solid market foundation.

Upgrading to an emerging market also attracts the attention of high-ranking international investors to Việt Nam. In the stock market, upgrading to an emerging market could result in an additional US$10 billion in new investment for the country. The first year alone can receive an additional $2-5 billion.

According to Nguyễn Minh Tuần, General Director of AFA Capital Investment JSC, the criteria for upgrading from frontier to emerging status focus on two main factors – size and liquidity of the market (quantitative) and market access (qualitative).

In terms of size and liquidity, there are four criteria which are the number of companies included in the Standard Index, total market capitalisation, floating capitalisation and market liquidity. Việt Nam has almost met three standards, he said. 

The main issue is qualitative standards. In the latest ranking in June 2021, there are nine criteria that the country has not yet met, including the ownership rate, ownership restrictions and equal rights of foreign investors.


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EVN accelerating projects to gear up for hot season




EVN workers checks electricity equipment. — VNA/  Photo

HÀ NỘI — Vietnam Electricity (EVN) said it is accelerating power generation and grid projects, especially urgent infrastructure, to ensure supplies in the hot season.

The State-owned group said in the first four months of 2022, the firm and its subsidiaries had started work on 30 projects and put into use 31 grid facilities between 110kV – 500kV.

It cited meteorological forecasting centres as saying that heatwaves this year are likely to appear in the northern and central regions later than usual, but won’t be too severe.

Power demand in the north is unlikely to rise sharply in May, and daily consumption will be around 805 million kWh.

EVN noted that this month, it is working to guarantee supply for production and business activities as well as daily life, especially the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) and the 15th National Assembly’s third session.

It is maintaining high water levels at multi-purpose hydropower plants in the north, operating thermal power plants in the region, and importing about 540MW of electricity in May.

Its subsidiaries were also requested to ensure power supply in the dry season, ready manpower and equipment for any possible incidents due to natural disasters, and recommend people, agencies and factories use electricity in a safe and economical manner.

In April, the entire EVN system produced 22.62 billion kWh of electricity, up 1.9 per cent year-on-year. That added up to a four-month figure of 85.65 billion kWh, increasing 6.2 per cent. —


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Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi takes charge of the State Securities Commission



Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Minister of Finance Hồ Đức Phớc had assigned Deputy Finance Minister Nguyễn Đức Chi to take charge of the State Securities Commission (SSC) from May 19.

In a dispatch to the SSC, Minister Phớc stated that Deputy Minister Chi will manage the commission during the consideration and completion of personnel for the commission.

Earlier on May 18, the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission announced the inspection conclusions and Party disciplinary measures on the SSC Party Committee in the 2015-20 tenure and relevant individuals. Right after that, the Ministry of Finance directed the SSC, stock exchanges, the Việt Nam Securities Depository and relevant agencies to review and implement measures to remedy the violations and shortcomings.

Specifically, the ministry dismissed Trần Văn Dũng from the position of the Chairman of the SSC, while giving a warning to Vũ Bằng, former secretary of the SSC Party Committee in the 2015-20 tenure and former SSC Chairman.

Warnings were given to Nguyễn Thành Long, secretary of the Hà Nội Stock Exchange Party Committee; and Nguyễn Sơn, chairman of the management board of the Việt Nam Securities Depository for their wrongdoings during their tenures. —


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