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TPP potential paves the way for US investments


US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar told Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu at last week’s meeting in Hanoi that the signing of the agreement (TPP), expected to be seen by the year’s end or early next year, and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official July visit to the US, would both prompt a wave of US firms to invest in Vietnam in many sectors, including power, coal, and telecoms.

The meeting was attended by nearly 20 major US investors operating in Singapore, including Econ, Bechtel, Cognita, Digital Realty, DLA Piper, Expat Dental, Henry Hale Maguire, Host Hotel, ICO Asia-Pacific, JM Huber, Johnson & Johnson, Leo Burnett, Lockheed Martin,

McDonald’s, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Nu Skin.

“These firms wanted to do big business in Vietnam,” Wagar said. “Recently, AmCham in Singapore conducted a large survey on US firms’ performance in ASEAN. 81 per cent of the surveyed firms said they wanted to expand business in Vietnam. They also wanted the TPP to be signed as soon as possible.”

Under the survey, 79 per cent of 77 respondents in Vietnam said the TPP would help them boost regional trade and investment. This rate is far higher than ASEAN’s average of 51 per cent. 62 per cent of respondents in Vietnam said the TPP would impact their investment plans in the country and the region. This rate was also the highest among all ASEAN member states and also much higher than the bloc’s average of 40 per cent.

Peter Meyer, managing director of Host Hotel, which specialises in tourism services and resort development, said he had been seeking investment opportunities in Vietnam in the hotel and tourism sectors over the past seven years, but had failed due to high operation costs in the country.

“Now I have returned to Vietnam to seek opportunities. But I want to see what incentives are given to investors like me,” Meyer said.

Oscar Oomens, business director of advertising firm Leo Burnett, also said his company wanted to co-operate with Vietnam’s government to build effective investment attraction policies.

“We are effectively supporting Singapore’s government and ministries in deploying communications and advertising campaigns, which have helped them attract more foreign investment. We also want to do that in Vietnam,” he said.

David Jensen, Asia-Pacific Business Development director of Lockheed Martin, which designed and built state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group’s VINASAT-1 and VINASAT 2 telecommunications satellites, also expressed a wish for Lockheed Martin to engage in telecoms projects in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Bechtel’s Civil Infrastructure Business manager for the Asia Pacific region, Mark Argar, also said Bechtel wanted to invest in infrastructure projects in Vietnam. Early this year, Bechtel worked with the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport on the possibility of building a deep-water seaport on Hon Khoai island in the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

Vietnam currently hosts 761 US investment projects registered at over $11 billion.

Source: Vietnam Investment Review


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