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Remarks by PM Pham Minh Chinh at Vietnam-WEF Country Strategy Dialogue 2021

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks at Vietnam-WEF Country Strategy Dialogue 2021. Photo: VNA
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 29 co-chaired the WEF’s Country Strategic Dialogue on Vietnam 2021 for the first time via videoconference at the invitation of WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.

The following is the translation of his full remarks at the event.

"Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum,
Mr. Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum,
Presidents, CEOs, and business leaders,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to join you all in the first ever Viet Nam - WEF Country Strategy Dialogue under the theme of “Public - Private Partnership - The Key Driver for Comprehensive Recovery and Sustainable, Resilient and Innovation-Driven Growth.”

On behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, and with my personal sentiment, I wish to extend to Professor Klaus Schwab, Mr. Borge Brende, and all distinguished delegates my warmest greetings and best wishes. I wish to thank Professor Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum for working closely with Viet Nam to organize our Dialogue today, and for supporting Viet Nam over the past years.

This Dialogue bears great significance, as it is convened at a time when the global economy is facing a myriad of risks, and the pandemic continues to evolve in a complex manner. This is truly a test for our mettle, innovation and responsiveness, including those of governments and businesses alike. It is also high time that all parties concerned stepped up public - private partnership to together overcome challenges, in the spirit of “burden-sharing”, “harmonized interests and shared risks”, and “win-win cooperation.” 

Ladies and gentlemen,
While the path ahead remains arduous, we are fully confident in a brighter future. The 35-year journey of Doi Moi and international integration, and our experiences in undergoing numerous crises in the region and the world have provided Viet Nam with invaluable lessons. One of those is to transform “risks” into “opportunities.” And challenges should also be seen as a robust driver for reform and further development, thereby affirming our mettle and stature.

This time of hardship poses two major issues for us. First, how can we pursue socio-economic recovery and development while safely adapting to and effectively containing the pandemic? Second, how can we find opportunities amid countless hurdles to create fresh impetus for growth, and harness prevailing trends of the time for development? I do hope that our Dialogue today will provide us with fruitful inputs and recommendations in shaping directions and measures to foster comprehensive recovery and sustainable and inclusive development.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the past two years, with the concerted efforts of the entire political system and people, and the assistance from friends, partners and the business community at home and overseas, Viet Nam has managed to fundamentally overcome this period of trememdous hardships. We are gaining confidence in shifting to safely and flexibly adapting to novel circumstances, and effectively containing the pandemic. Initial successes as such enable us to resume production and supply chains, ensuring macroeconomic stability and major balances, and serve as a springboard for rapid and sustainable development in the future. We also remain steadfast to the whole-of-people approach, with the people and businesses serving as goals, subjects and actors in containing the pandemic and fostering socio-economic recovery.

Viet Nam has a highly open economy, with 17 FTAs spanning over 60 countries. We also have a robust market of 100 million people, and enjoy all favorable conditions, such as institutions, infrastructure, geographical location, and socio-political stability. In this connection, Viet Nam continues to assert itself as an attractive destination that offers numerous opportunities for businesses and investors. Viet Nam’s economy has increased 1.4 times in scale within five years, becoming the 4th largest economy in ASEAN, and ranking 37th worldwide. In infrastructure alone, Viet Nam has a great demand for investment between now and 2030, totaling up to 30 billion USD per annum.

The socio-economic situation in Viet Nam has steadily recovered, and witnessed encouraging progress by October, as the pandemic is fundamentally under control and the economy is gradually reopened. In the first 10 months of 2021, total registered FDI capital increased by 11.6%, and realized capital surpassed 15 billion USD. Export revenues saw an increase of 16.6% against the same period last year. In comparison with the number of newly established businesses in September, that of October went up by 111%, while registered capital recorded an increase of 74%. In particular, total demand experienced a robust recovery, and the total revenues from retail and consumer services increased by 18%. Average consumer price index in the past 10 months only saw an increase of 1.81%. These statistics show that the current hardships are just temporary, and that the Vietnamese economy, with its solid macroeconomic foundation and stable major balances, is still capable of offering vast potential, advantages, and drivers for future growth.

I am deeply touched by the sympathy and trust of the business community, and the pledge to continue to accompany Viet Nam, as reflected in recent meetings. I also highly appreciate the support and concerted efforts of the entire society and international community, including foreign investors, in Viet Nam’s endeavors to contain the pandemic and foster socio-economic recovery.

Ladies and gentlemen,
In the immediate terms, Viet Nam’s master plan to foster economic recovery and development includes the master plan to reopen the economy in tandem with containing COVID-19, and the plans to bolster healthcare capacity, particularly preventive and grassroots healthcare capacity, ensure social security and create jobs, assist businesses, cooperatives and proprietors in fostering recovery, develop infrastructure, and mobilize social resources for development. We are also making every effort to improve our institutions, cut down on administrative procedures, and combat corruption.

In the long run, our goal, vision, and aspiration are to strive towards a strong and prosperous Viet Nam. We aim to become a modern and industrialized country by 2030, and a high-income developed country by 2045. In this process, we reiterate our commitment and resolve to provide international businesses and investors with every favorable condition to contribute to and share the fruits of the Vietnamese economy, on the principle that “your success is also Viet Nam’s success.”

With a strong aspiration for development, we plan to focus on the following major policy orientations:

First, to focus on measures to revive supply chains and the flow of goods, and safely resume business and production operations in the new normal. As the pandemic has been fundamentally contained, industrial parks are gradually reopened. With every passing day, more factories are back on track, workers now can return to their assembly lines, and transportation is resumed.

Second, to support the business circle in stepping up their operations, and returning to normalcy. On macro-economic scale, the Government is flexibly harnessing monetary, credit, fiscal and social security policies. These four primary tools help mobilize all resources for the economy, and provide full-fledged support to enterprises and the people. Recently, Viet Nam also made tax and cost waiver and reduction for sectors affected by COVID-19, and resumed international flights to safe destinations. At the same time, we are finalizing new entry and vaccine passport procedures, and creating green lanes to best facilitate the entry of experts and investors.

Third, to actively carry out large-scale investment programs, particularly in critical infrastructure. We are actively promoting projects pertaining to inter-regional transportation infrastructure, green energy and infrastructure, and national digital infrastructure with rippling impacts. Such endeavors will provide fresh economic impetus. Apart from the pioneering role of public investment, we urge for new business and investment models, including public - private partnership, that encourage foreign and private investment in infrastructure.

Fourth, to better address difficulties facing businesses, including FDI enterprises, in Viet Nam. The Government has established a Special Working Group to address outstanding issues. Having considered the FDI sector as an important part of our economy, we pledge to protect the legitimate and lawful rights and interest of investors, and ensure the shared benefits of the State, investors and laborers. We have recently endorsed a special and preferential decision on investment pertaining to timeframe and conditions applied to large-scale projects, utilizing advanced technology and having close connection with Vietnamese businesses.

Fifth, ensuring synchronized and modern institutions and intensive integration are prerequisites, and constitute one of the three strategic breakthroughs for national development in the next 10 years. We are amending many important laws, including the Law on Public Investment, the Law on Investment, the Law on PPP Investment, and the Law on Business, in ways that strengthen delegation of authorities and post-check, and minimize business and investment procedures. To foster the development of key sectors in the digital age, Viet Nam is improving its legal framework on intellectual property and legal foundation for new business models, e-commerce, digital banking, and fintech.

Last but not least is human resources. To bring into full play the potential of the Vietnamese people, who constitutes Viet Nam’s most important resource, and serves both as the subject and highest goal of development, we have been stepping up capacity building, with a focus on the development of digital human resources and a skilled workforce to make the most of the shift in supply chains.

By the same token, we are also stepping up technological development, innovation, and digital transformation. We are also restructuring our economy, in tandem with robustly transforming our growth model and improving productivity, quality, efficiency, and self-reliance of our economy, in line with emerging global economic circumstances in the post-COVID-19 era.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The stability and robust development of the Vietnamese economy offer numerous opportunities for investors worldwide. I call on investors to cooperate in safely resuming production to fulfill orders and maintain supply chains. I also kindly ask that you work closely with us in seizing the opportunities ushered in by the FTAs that Viet Nam has signed, including high-quality FTAs with major partners.

The Government of Viet Nam will continue to provide every favorable condition for your investment in prioritized sectors with preferential benefits in Viet Nam, such as advanced technology, information technology, supporting industries, smart agriculture, environmental protection, renewable energy, and infrastructure projects in service of social security. We look forward to the assistance of FDI businesses in training a high-quality workforce, utilizing scientific advancements for progressive and effective governance, stepping up research and development, promoting innovation, and helping Viet Nam become a hub in regional and global value chains.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Vietnamese Government stands ready to intensify dialogue and cooperation under public - private partnership, with a view to encouraging the engagement of businesses and the people. I do hope that such models as the WEF’s Public - Private Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture will be multiplied, particularly in other potential areas of cooperation. Let me take this opportunity to propose that we make the Viet Nam - WEF Country Strategy Dialogue a regular event between Vietnamese leaders and the WEF’s businesses and experts.

As you understand Viet Nam well enough, I do hope that you will always have a special affection for our country, and work closely with the Vietnamese Government and people to realize our shared aspirations and goals for development. In Vietnamese, we have a saying, “Fire tests gold, and adversity tests the brave.” And I hold a firm belief that together, we will realize our shared aspirations!

Now I wish to hear from you. And let me take this opportunity to wish you all good health and greater success. I look forward to seeing you in Viet Nam.

Thank you."/.