An investment think-tank has released a positive evaluation of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam over the past decade, saying the money was flowing in and returning profits.

The Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment backed its judgement with figures. The nation has granted licences for 9,445 new FDI projects and 3,945 scaled-up projects over the past 10 years, bringing the total FDI investment to 165.9 billion USD, or 3.8 times more than the previous decade.

FDI inflows have continuously increased in 2001 and reached a peak of 71.7 billion USD in 2008, the highest level in 20 years until the world economy began to fail.

In 2009, although FDI inflow into Vietnam equivalent to 32 percent of the previous year or 32 billion USD, it was still high amidst the global economic crisis.

In 2010, foreign investors still sent out signals of interest in the Vietnamese economy as up to 11 billion USD was disbursed, although registered capital stood at only 18.59 billion USD, equivalent to just 82.2 percent of 2009.

A recent survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) showed that up to 70 percent of target FDI businesses said they had planned to scale up investment in Vietnam .

The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) organisation, in its 2010 report on investment in emerging economies, said over 19 percent of businesses asked about the Vietnam market saw Vietnam as an ideal investment destination during the next two years.

FIA concluded that “The foreign-invested sector has increasingly cemented its important role in the socio-economic development of Vietnam , and is the sector with the most dynamic growth”.

In fact, FDI contributed between 16 and 30 percent to the entire investment pool during the 2001-10 period. The sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 12.7 percent in 2000 to an average of 18 percent in each of last five years of the decade.

Industrial growth in the FDI sector is also higher than the national average with 17.4 percent against 16.3 percent, respectively, each year from 2001-2008./.