Channel NewsAsia

Vietnam to introduce incentives to restore investor confidence

Vietnam will introduce a slew of incentives to restore investor confidence, after last week's violent riots led to the deaths of four Chinese workers and over 100 people injured.

HO CHI MINH: Vietnam is making all efforts to restore confidence in its economy, after last week's violent riots led to the deaths of four Chinese workers and over 100 people injured. 

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Vietnam's planning and investment vice minister, Dang Huy Dong, said the government will introduce measures to keep foreign investors and their money safe.

These include tax exemptions, additional security for international operations and faster visa approvals for foreign companies to hire workers.

The vice minister said Vietnam also plans to provide compensation to the affected international firms.

The compensation amount could go into millions of dollars, but Mr Dong did not specify the amount.

He said the affected firms will submit their inventory list to the government and compensation would be worked out from there.

Last week's riots were prompted by anger against China for conducting oil drilling projects in the disputed South China Sea.

Mr Dong said: "When it happened it was unexpected, so we were a little unprepared. But now that it happened, then we know what can be done in the future if such a thing happened again.

"And also when the people are educated, when the people understand, then they are more responsible for their actions in the future."

Mr Dong believed the violence was deliberately instigated by a few individuals, and has given the assurance that Vietnam will not allow such an incident from happening again. 

To make sure that the incident does not scare away investors, the government is rolling out plans to lure more foreign money into the country.

It is a bid to protect the country's role as Asia's contract manufacturer.

Mr Dong said: "(We are doing this) by way of financial policies, tax exemptions, tax delays, by way of helping to clear the customs faster.

"We're also supporting them (companies) by way of processing the job licences in a more timely manner for them to get their workers."

He said the incident "has brought about a lot of lessons for us as a government agency" and the government is now making concrete plans to prevent such a situation from happening again.

Corporate leaders attending Channel NewsAsia's first Business Insights Forum in Vietnam say the riots have not entirely shattered confidence.

Johan Nyvene, CEO of Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation, said: "The country can still attract a lot of foreign direct investments, (and) should continue to attract FDI.

"I think what has happened recently is probably a story that the outsiders don't really understand what's going on inside here.

"In the long term, Vietnam will still have to continue to compete with the other ASEAN countries. But I think Vietnam has built itself a niche market that will continue to work for the short and medium term."

Some have identified Vietnam as a new dragon in Southeast Asia -- a small economy with a huge potential.

In order to track the country's development more closely, Channel NewsAsia has announced plans to set up a news bureau here.

That will give viewers a first-hand look at the business opportunities and the changing political landscape in what is considered by many as one of Asia's most lucrative markets. 

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