HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network): Vietnam remains an attractive destination for foreign investors, including those from Singapore, thanks to the Government's concerted efforts and measures to improve business climate and the expansion of free trade agreements.
They are the views of Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Jaya Ratnam who spoke to the Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the Lunar New Year.
The diplomat highlighted that Singapore had been the leading source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam for two consecutive years, with money injected into a wide range of areas such as financial and insurance services, manufacturing, real estate, and wholesale and retail trade.
“The Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) are the cornerstone of Singapore's economic engagement with Vietnam,” he said, adding they had attracted some US$14 billion and generated over 270,000 jobs in Vietnam over the past 25 years.
Developing the digital economy would be a key priority for both nations in the coming decades, the diplomat added.
Singapore welcomed the deepening of digital economic collaboration with Vietnam, particularly as Vietnam had identified the digital economy as one of the key drivers of its growth that would, in turn, propel the nation towards its ambitious goal of becoming a high-income country by 2045.
Cooperation across cross-border data flows, cybersecurity and AI governance would provide the foundation for Vietnamese and Singapore start-ups and companies to transact with each other easily and securely, and enable them to grow their digital businesses, he said.
"Covid-19 has highlighted the crucial role of digital trade and e-commerce in ensuring supply chain resilience and transport connectivity. Moving forward, we hope that Vietnam will join our network of digital alliances to foster interoperability of standards and systems," the diplomat said.
He also stressed the importance of the resumption of commercial flights between the two countries, describing it a vital step to recover safe travel supporting economic growth and people-to-people ties.
He added: "We are working closely with Vietnam on mutual recognition of our vaccine certificates, allowing us to further open up our borders in a safe and calibrated manner."
The ambassador also said Vietnam continued to consolidate its position as a key link in global supply chains, and this would present opportunities for Singapore companies to collaborate with Vietnamese partners in the logistics and e-commerce industries.
Given the massive potential of the Vietnamese e-commerce market, Singapore-based companies like Grab and Shopee had been steadily expanding their presence in Vietnam.
"I have no doubt that Vietnam's economy will not only recover this year, but also recover strongly. I am fully confident that Singapore companies will continue to seize opportunities to plug themselves into Vietnam’s growth," he said.
On bilateral ties, the diplomat said they were built on a strong foundation of mutual trust and support and had been further cemented over the past two years despite numerous difficulties caused by the raging Covid-19.
High-level bilateral engagements had been sustained, including an in-person meeting between Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Jakarta in April, 2021, and an official trip to Vietnam by Singaporean Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in June last year.
In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's two biggest cities, the Singapore community rallied to collect funds to purchase and distribute essentials for the needy, mindful of Vietnam's timely support to Singapore when the situation was difficult back in their country.
"For me, this crisis has once again underlined that Singapore and Vietnam are not fair-weather friends.
“We can count on each other in both good times and bad," the diplomat said, concluding that building on strong foundations, Vietnam and Singapore will further expand their cooperation into new areas of digital economy and sustainable development.
"I have no doubt that Vietnam's economy will not only recover this year, but also recover strongly. I am fully confident that Singapore companies will continue to seize opportunities to plug themselves into Vietnam’s growth", said the Singaporean ambassador.
Vietnam and Singapore would celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership in 2023.
It is also the expected time when the two countries would have recovered from the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic and continued to promote bilateral commitments as well as expand cooperation, with special priority given to the field of digital economy and sustainable development, the diplomat concluded.
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