VNA 15/08/2009 - Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce Spokesman said on August 14 that Thai investors are getting more interested and will invest more in Vietnam as the country could become a strong base for production for ASEAN in the future.
In an exclusive interview with Vietnam News Agency on the sidelines of the ongoing conference of ASEAN economic ministers in Bangkok, Spokesman Krisda Piampongsant said the investment areas of interest will be labour intensive industries, hotel and tourism, services, agriculture and manufacturing.
“We are investing in where there are incentives for us to do. Vietnam has been one of the countries that is offering such an opportunity for Thai investors. Vietnam is opening up new port in Vung Tau, which is going to become a very important port. The Vung tau seaport would cover the area of the Pacific-rim countries, which is why we are very much interested in investing in Vietnam and then export to other countries,” the Thai spokesman added.
At present, Thailand ranks 8th among the largest investors in Vietnam with 182 projects and a combined capital of 5.7 billion USD.
Another advantage for Vietnam to attract more investment from ASEAN is that the country is having the privilege of gaining preferential access to the European Union market with lower duties, he said.
This is part of the EU trade arrangement called Generalised System of Preferences that is offered to Vietnam as a pro-trade assistance to boost development.
The Thai official said he believes ASEAN members will continue to invest even more into other countries in the bloc, especially when the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) has been activated and by that time the investment area would be liberalised.
Against the adverse global circumstances, FDI inflows into the region remain high at 60.2 billion in 2008, although lower than the record figures of 69.5 billion USD in 2007. In particular, intra-ASEAN FDI flows were even more robust than anticipated, expanding by an exceptional 18.4 percent in 2008 to 11.1 billion USD.
Vietnam enjoyed a nearly quadruple rise in FDI from ASEAN countries in 2008 to more than 2.2 billion USD. This helped the country retain the growth in total FDI of more than 8 billion USD although extra-ASEAN investment decreased to 5.7 billion USD from 6.1 billion USD in 2007.
Economic ministers of the 10 ASEAN member countries and senior trade and investment officials from China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and the US are gathering in Bangkok from August 13-16 for the 41st ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) and related meetings aimed at strengthening trade and investment exchanges./.