Ho Chi Minh City to wipe out obstacles for foreign investors

Recommendations on the topic were sent by foreign business associations to the leaders of Ho Chi Minh City in a seminar on February 22 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The suggestions included improving the investment environment, developing the supply chain and high-value production, investing in transport infrastructure, digital transformation, and training facilities, reforming capital markets, and simplifying visa policies.

James Ollen, executive director of AmCham Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City said, in terms of improving the investment environment, the city needs to apply digital transformation to public management to create a fair and transparent legal environment and a reliable and consistent approval process.

He said, “We suggest that the city creates favourable conditions for AmCham member companies to expand their existing investments and facilities. To improve the capacity of the city’s enterprises to participate in the global supply chain, Vietnam in general, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular, need to implement tax policies that are compatible with those globally. Along with that, Vietnam should apply global standards on accounting, auditing, transfer pricing, and use the pre-agreed process method of determining taxable prices as approved by the National Assembly.”

Foreign investors also asked the city to improve air quality and control noise pollution. Along with that, it needs to invest in more lanes for pedestrians and public transport. AmCham enterprises wish to participate in high-quality healthcare and boost the wellbeing of the people.

To develop supply chains and high-value production, AmCham suggested that the city reform education, adopt policies to promote the localisation of supply chains, and invest in transport infrastructure and logistics. Along with that, essential action solutions should be developed to meet energy security and clean energy transition targets and encourage investment in high-tech research and development.

Foreign investors also highly appreciate the investment plans to improve the transport infrastructure in the south.

“However, these plans need to be implemented and accelerated as part of the overall southern supply chain corridor to promote the connectivity of economic zones. A smooth transport system should be stretched from Binh Duong and Dong Nai in the north to Ba Ria-Vung Tau in the south, including links to industrial parks, Long Thanh Airport, Cat Port, and Cai Mep logistics centre. This is much needed to ease the congestion of Ho Chi Minh City and create an opportunity to increase industrial output across the south,” Ollen said.

Regarding licensing procedures for foreign workers, Alain Cany, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), reflected that many foreign experts have difficulty when carrying out the procedures to apply for a work permit in Ho Chi Minh City.

“In particular, many international schools in Ho Chi Minh City need to recruit foreign teachers but have to do too many procedures to apply for a work permit even though many of them have been living and working in Ho Chi Minh City for a long time,” said Cany.

Answering questions from representatives of foreign business associations related to the issue of work permits, Nguyen Van Lam, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the Department has collected all recommendations on the procedures for granting work permits to foreigners and proposed them to their superiors. Those policies are expected to be amended and simplified very soon.

Speaking at the seminar, Phan Van Mai, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said that suggestions from enterprises will form the basis for the city to propose revisions to improve the current procedures.

“We are ready to listen and solve the problems that businesses face very soon. If the opinion requires interdisciplinary resolution, it will be resolved and responded to within one-month,” Mai said.

“Ho Chi Minh City’s goal by 2025 is to become a smart, modern, and industrial city, maintaining its role as an economic hub of the whole country with per-capita GRDP of $8,500,” concluded Mai.

Vietnam Investment Review