Vietnam's dynamic economy needs foreign companies, including Germans, to utilise a growing opportunity to invest in infrastructure, renewable energy, transportation, seaport development and other areas, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday.
The PM addressed the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business, which took place in HCM City on November 21 and 22. German businesses aimed to promote trade between regional partners, economists and politicians. More than 750 participants, including high-ranking officials and businesses from Germany and Asia-Pacific countries, took part in the conference. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said despite facing difficulties in recent years, the Asia-Pacific region had emerged as a driver of growth of the world economy, accounting for roughly 55 per cent of world GDP. Foreign investment, including German investment, had greatly contributed to the region's growth, he said.
Germany is Viet Nam's largest trade partner in the Europe, with bilateral trade last year reaching nearly US$8 billion, accounting for more than 20 per cent of total trade revenue between Viet Nam and the EU. Many leading German brands such as Siemens, Daimler, Adidas, Braun and Allianz entered in Viet Nam years ago.
In a talk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 15 in Berlin, Dung said the two leaders agreed to further the strategic partnership between both countries with a focus on co-operation on political strategy, trade and investment, judiciary and law, environmental protection, education, science and technology, culture, and communication and society.
Promising areas for businesses in the two countries would be energy development, green and clean technology, manufacturing, support industries, public transport, finance, banking, consumer goods, farm produce and fisheries.
Viet Nam is speeding up the process of restructuring its economy, changing its economic growth model to meet GDP growth rate of 6-7 per cent on average in the 2016-2020 period.
To achieve that, Viet Nam needs billions of US dollars to invest in projects to develop infrastructure, particularly in electricity, renewable energy, transportation, urban traffic, seaports, airports and other sectors. Foreign companies will have opportunities to invest in infrastructure and provide public services under public-private partnership models, Dung said, adding that German investors had a competitive advantage in these areas. By late 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 will establish a single market of ASEAN countries with a total population of 600 million and a GDP of nearly $2.5 trillion.
In addition, Viet Nam has strengthened the implementation of eight free trade agreements and made efforts to negotiate another six high-quality FTAs, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Viet Nam-EU FTA, according to Dung. With efforts in domestic reform and participation in FTAs, the legal and business environment of Viet Nam will be improved. FTAs will also allow foreign companies to export their products to partner countries of Viet Nam at a low tariff, he said. Speaking at the conference, Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany, said with strong growth, the entire Asia-Pacific was becoming increasingly more important to the global economy.
He said he was deeply impressed by Asia-Pacific achievements over the past 25 years. The growth potential and young population of most Asian countries will provide for a prosperous and sustainable future, he added.
Germany would like to invite countries in the Asia-Pacific region to continue and further give excellent cooperation, he said.
Under the conference titled "Understanding trends and perspectives", he said "we want to better understand the Asian and learn from this most dynamic region."
"At the same time we want to continue for other cooperation, German companies bring state of the art technology to Asia.
"It is absolutely essential for our export-driven businesses to be present in the Asian market."
In addition, he also encouraged Asian companies to come to Germany to seek opportunities, whether to sell goods or invest in services or direct investment, adding that the ASEAN Economic Community would offer new opportunities for German companies.
Held in Viet Nam for the first time, the conference aimed to take a close look at Asian countries' development strategies, future-oriented sectors, innovative business ideas, raw materials and resources, and consumer demands. It also dealt with regional integration and its implications for the Asia-Pacific, and analysed business opportunities to be derived from the ASEAN Economic Community and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (ASEAN+6), which will create the largest free-trade area in the world.
It is increasingly important for German businesses to understand how trends develop in Asia, according to Hubert Lienhard, chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business.
The biannual event offers opportunities for both Asian and German companies to explore investment opportunities, discuss cooperation potential and exchange business experience. Speaking to Viet Nam News, Barbara Scharrer, supervisor of Gaudlitz Precision Technology (Wuxi) Co Ltd in China, said German small- and medium-sized companies that invested in China 10-15 years ago had begun to search for other markets in Asia to set up production, as China was becoming increasingly difficult for investors.
Viet Nam is definitely an option for these companies, she said.
Receiving German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel the same day, PM Dung said Viet Nam keeps its door wide open for German investors and creates favourable conditions for operating long-term business in the country.
Dung expressed his pleasure at the growth in multifaceted bilateral ties, especially in economics, trade and investment.
The 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) has opened up new investment and co-operation opportunities for German enterprises in the Asia-Pacific nations including Viet nam, he said. However, Dung emphasised that there is room for both countries to further tap their co-operation potential.
He also proposed that Germany strongly supports early ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Viet Nam and the EU.
The German Vice Chancellor thanked the Government and ministries of Viet Nam for their effective coordination in organising the 14th APK in HCM City.
He declared that Germany is keen on boosting partnership with Viet Nam in all fields, especially economics, trade, investment, culture, education, and tourism.
He said early ratification of the PCA and signing of the Viet Nam-EU FTA would generate "great" opportunities for enterprises of both sides to increase connectivity.
He also said Germany is concerned about recent developments in the East Sea, as it is an important international maritime route via through which over 50 per cent of the world's sea cargo volume is transported. The area's stability is a vital interest for Germany and the EU, he added.
He affirmed the German Government's view that all disputes should be settled through dialogue on the basis of internationally-recognised rules. Germany is against the use of force in settling disputes, he said.
On the sidelines of the 14th APK, PM Dung also met with leaders of the Airbus Group and Deutsche Bank.