Overseas Vietnamese connect Vietnam to the world

15:39 | 08/12/2016 Economy- Society

(VEN) - Overseas Vietnamese people have offered a bridge to bring Vietnamese goods and culture abroad. They have also repatriated modern technologies and investments to contribute to the development of the home country.  

overseas vietnamese connect vietnam to the world
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh (left) talks with overseas Vietnamese - Photo: Hoang Trieu

More than 500 overseas Vietnamese from 36 countries and territories gathered at a recent meeting in Ho Chi Minh City. Through nearly 100 speeches covering a variety of issues, they wished to share their opinions and suggest measures to help Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City catch opportunities and cope with challenges.

According to Dr. Nguyen Tri Hieu, a Vietnamese American, overseas Vietnamese have encountered some obstacles when investing in Vietnam. One of these obstacles is related to Vietnamese laws. In his opinion, many Vietnamese laws still create difficulties for overseas Vietnamese investors due to the incompatibility with international regulations, requiring investors to adapt themselves to a quite different legal environment from that in countries where they live. Moreover, a lack of transparency has made the business environment in Vietnam risky. Hieu said he expected more open foreign exchange policies to be applied to overseas Vietnamese.

Regarding the development and investment attraction potential of Ho Chi Minh City, Tochai Ningwatthana, a Vietnamese Thai, believed the city is absolutely capable to go ahead of many other cities in the ASEAN region in the next decade thanks to its advantages such as the dynamism of a young city, the enthusiasm of its leadership, and political stability. Sharing this opinion, Dr. Dinh Thanh Huong, a Vietnamese French, said that its favorable location and a young, skilled workforce would bring Ho Chi Minh City big opportunities to promote economic growth. To make the most of these advantages, however, the city needs to deal thoroughly with existing problems including the inadequacy of transport infrastructure, traffic jams, and floods in order to enhance its provincial competitiveness index. “It’s time for Ho Chi Minh City to make changes to develop.

overseas vietnamese connect vietnam to the world

Overseas Vietnamese visit the Quang Trung Software City - Photo: Hoang Trieu

The city should become a driving force of economic growth of not only Vietnam but also the entire Southeast Asian region. Each business as well as each organization and individual should be penetrated with this idea. Ho Chi Minh City’s businesses need to take the initiative in seeking cooperation opportunities rather than waiting for support,” Dr. Huong emphasized.

Moreover, in her opinion, the city needs to work out long-term investment attraction strategies for the next two to three decades and set clear management criteria to help foreign investors understand the city’s regulations. The selection of investment projects to be licensed must be based on clear standards. City leaders need to deal resolutely with any signs of corruption occurring in the decision making process. A specific website should be built to publicize investment preferences. Through this website, organizations and individuals can suggest suitable investments in Ho Chi Minh City, Dr. Huong said.

A scientific and technological bridge

According to Dr. Dinh Thanh Huong, more than four million overseas Vietnamese people want to contribute to the development of the home country and offer a bridge between foreign investors and Vietnam. “We want to help Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in particular to attract not only capital but also modern technologies and advanced knowledge from large groups worldwide,” she affirmed.

Ho Chi Minh City pays special attention to promoting investment in scientific research and technology development. Many overseas Vietnamese expressed their wish to invest in this field. Tony Lam, a Vietnamese American, Chairman of the Board and General Director at US. Farm, a high-tech agriculture company limited, said, “Vietnam has to import large volumes of maize and soybean from the US and some other countries while the soil condition in Vietnam is very good for these crops to grow. Therefore, I want to invest in high-tech cultivation of maize in Vietnam.”

Professor Nguyen Ly Vu Hai, a Vietnamese Australian, suggested the use of technology in dealing with traffic jams in Ho Chi Minh City, the most populous locality in Vietnam. He spoke about a smart traffic system worth about US$2 billion that has helped Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, reduce traffic congestion by 30 percent. “It will cost Vietnam about US$1 billion to develop such a traffic system. We recommend this traffic system not for profit but to show our love for the homeland and Ho Chi Minh City in particular,” Professor Hai said.

Many overseas Vietnamese shared the opinion that Ho Chi Minh City needs to put in place appropriate mechanisms and policies to promote scientific research and technology development. Vu Le Hai, another Vietnamese Australian, advised the city to seek new technologies from overseas Vietnamese specialists.

Most overseas Vietnamese believed scientific research and technology development is crucial for Ho Chi Minh City’s sustainable growth. Nguyen Dang Bang, a lecturer from the UK’s University of Cambridge, said the city should establish research universities to attract researchers and investors. “Such universities will need initial investment from the city’s budget, but later on, suitable mechanisms will help them seek investment from businesses,” Bang said.

In the opinion of Le Vu Hai, overseas Vietnamese specialists can repatriate new and suitable technologies to the actual condition in Vietnam, so the city should invite them to work in Vietnam rather than hiring foreign specialists. “Overseas Vietnamese specialists can help the city develop its own technologies rather than waiting for older technologies from foreign investors,” Hai said.

These valuable ideas are expected to be helpful to Vietnam’s socioeconomic development efforts.

Song Nguyen