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Biggest-ever US business delegation comes to Vietnam to seek investment opportunities

Biggest-ever US business delegation comes to Vietnam to seek investment opportunities

Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 12:56 GMT+7
Biggest-ever US business delegation comes to Vietnam to seek investment opportunities
Large U.S. groups come to Vietnam to seek cooperation opportunities. Photo: Supplied

A mission, including 52 businesses from the U.S., is scheduled to visit Vietnam this week to learn about the local market and seek business and investment opportunities.

This is the largest-ever U.S. business mission to Vietnam.

Ted Osius, president and CEO of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday that these U.S. firms will meet with the Vietnamese prime minister, National Assembly chairman, and ministers.

An Amazon warehouse is shown.. The e-commerce giant is among the U.S. enterprises coming to Vietnam this week. Photo: Reuters

Amazon is among the U.S. enterprises coming to Vietnam this week. Photo: Reuters

Learning about Vietnam’s digital, green transformation potential

According to Osius, USABC members stressed at a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during his visit to the U.S. on the occasion of the ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit in May 2022 that they considered Vietnam a strategic market in the region and were committed to making investments in Vietnam and cooperating with Vietnamese partners for a long term.

“The visit to Vietnam will demonstrate the commitment. We want to fulfill the commitment of U.S. private firms as reliable partners and resources in fostering mutual priorities and economic purposes,” Osius affirmed.

The U.S. business delegation to Vietnam this week will include firms which have come to Vietnam and those that have yet to, proving that Vietnam remains attractive to U.S. industrial firms.

Osius said the mission consists of firms in various sectors, such as energy, finance-banking, insurance, manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, logistics, tourism, aerospace, and national defense.

Some typical names are Apple, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, SpaceX, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, Visa, Citibank, Meta, and Amazon Web Services.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bell will also come to the Southeast Asian country to meet with local national defense firms.

Osius said U.S. enterprises will support Vietnam’s digital and green transformation strategy to help the country realize its commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

The USABC hoped to develop the partnership in the digital sector between Vietnam and the U.S. and foster the use of U.S. private firms’ investments in the energy sphere.

“We also want to seek opportunities to support Vietnam in reforming financial and banking services and developing global supply chains in Vietnam,” the USABC president added.

The visit is taking place while the two countries celebrate the 10th anniversary of their comprehensive partnership. Therefore, this will be an occasion for them to celebrate and review remarkable achievements of the business community over the past decade, Osius noted.

He also expected the two sides to determine key trade cooperation opportunities.

Through the visit, the USABC also expected discussions about the roles of U.S. enterprises in facilitating the deployment of free trade agreements, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as well as negotiations over the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

The delegation of U.S. enterprises to Vietnam include those which are operating in Vietnam and have plans to expand their presence in the country, such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The delegation of U.S. enterprises to Vietnam includes those operating in Vietnam and having plans to expand their presence in the country, such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

It’s time to conquer Vietnamese market

James Ollen, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam), told Tuoi Tre that in the eyes of U.S. investors, Vietnam is a leading destination for multinational companies which are seeking ways to diversify their supply chains.

It also has a booming consumer market. 

Moreover, it is an ideal destination for many tourists. Many Vietnamese cities are on the way to becoming the most dynamic start-up centers in Asia.

At a recent meeting with leaders of Ho Chi Minh City, Ollen said U.S. enterprises in Vietnam are optimistic about the continuous economic growth prospects this year and in the following years.

Therefore, the U.S. business community in Vietnam wants to cooperate with local authorities to develop a favorable environment to continue attracting investments, and boosting innovation and sustainable development.

AmCham Vietnam has more than 550 members in the central and southern regions.

The chamber representative added that U.S. enterprises always want to expand their operation in Vietnam and the most important factor for a favorable investment environment is a fair, transparent, predictable, and appropriately-arranged legal system.

In agriculture, the two countries’ trade relations are also positive.

According to U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Susan Burns, the two sides’ agricultural trade surged from over US$4 billion in 2011 to nearly $10 billion last year.

Many U.S. agricultural product imports to Vietnam, such as blueberries, apples, grapes, and oranges, are popular and posted impressive growth.

Having been present in Ho Chi Minh City since early this month, Lawrence D. Bushnell, president of Gratia Dei Seafoods in Alaska State, said never before have U.S. enterprises paid such huge attention to Vietnam.

With a population of 100 million people and local residents’ increasing incomes, the Vietnamese market is a target for all U.S. enterprises. Following surveys, investors may make investments and shift their supply chains to the country.

Cooperating to develop supply chains

A leader of the European-American Market Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, told Tuoi Tre that the U.S. business mission and leaders of the ministry will discuss cooperation opportunities in industry and energy trade.

Besides economy, trade, and investment, the collaboration potential in energy transition, digital transformation, and the building of clean and sustainable supply chains between the two countries is huge.

As Vietnam is actively getting involved in global production networks and value chains, the two sides should join hands in other potential sectors, such as hi-tech, semiconductor chip manufacturing, aviation, digital transformation, energy transition, technology innovation, and environmental protection, apart from traditional cooperation sectors, said the official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“The Vietnamese government has been creating the most favorable conditions for the shift of global supply chains to Vietnam," the Vietnamese official affirmed.

“During that process, the direct investment from the U.S. as well as the technology, finance, and production capacity of leading U.S. groups, such as Google, Apple, Intel, Boeing, and Walmart, are extremely important.”

He added that to encourage Vietnamese enterprises to take part in multinational groups’ supply chains, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is cooperating with many other ministries, agencies, large enterprises, and international organizations to conduct projects and programs to provide consultancy, improve production, train human resources, develop science and technology, and boost digital transformation to improve the capability of Vietnamese suppliers.

SpaceX Group and many other U.S. enterprises learn about the Vietnamese market. Photo: NASA

SpaceX Group and many other U.S. enterprises learn about the Vietnamese market. Photo: NASA

Nguyen Van Toan, vice-chairman of the Vietnam's Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, said many U.S. companies have made investments in Vietnam through third parties, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and European countries.

In particular, they established subsidiaries in these places and the subsidiaries have invested in Vietnam.

The investment environment is changing when the global minimum corporate tax will take effect early next year. Most U.S. enterprises coming to Vietnam this week earn a huge revenue and are subject to the tax with a minimum rate of 15 percent of their profits.

The tax will significantly affect the global investment movement. As a result, leading U.S. firms have sought new destinations.

Vietnam will definitely impose the global minimum corporate tax, but U.S. firms pin high hopes on the country’s preferential policies.

According to Toan, this is a positive trend as Vietnam can avoid the race of issuing tax incentives.

Without preferential tax policies, Vietnam will have to attract foreign direct investment with a better investment environment, infrastructure, and workforce.

Thus, the country can attract high-quality foreign investment.

“It is good when large U.S. investors arrive in Vietnam to seek investment opportunities, but we have to commit to improving the local investment environment to set their mind at rest," Toan said.

“In addition to the ideal geographical location, stable politics, and advantages in the market and integration, we need to improve other factors, such as administrative procedures, and especially the manpower quality.

“U.S. firms investing in Vietnam will not bring their human resources like those from other countries, so we must properly prepare the manpower to welcome them."

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Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

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