The total foreign direct investment (FDI) registered in the country topped 20.23 billion USD in 2014, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency.

The agency noted that this figure showed a 6.5 percent decline compared with the same period last year but exceeded the annual target of 17 billion USD by 19 percent. Up to 1,558 new foreign-invested projects, worth a combined total of 15.64 billion USD, received investment licences during the reviewed period, representing a year-on-year increase of 9.6 percent, the agency said.

In addition, some 594 operating projects received approval to increase their capital by 4.58 billion USD, or the equivalent of 62.4 percent of the figures seen in the same period last year.

As of mid-December, FDI disbursement has seen encouraging growth of 7.4 percent to reach 12.35 billion USD, the agency noted in its latest report.

The manufacturing and processing sector absorbed the lion's share of the FDI, with 14.49 billion USD, or 71.6 percent of the nation's total FDI. Estate trading came second (2.54 billion USD, or 12.6 percent), while construction came third (1.05 billion USD, or 5.2 percent).

Among the 60 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea took the lead with 7.32 billion USD, making up 36.2 percent of the total FDI registered in the country. It was followed by Hong Kong (3 billion USD, or 14.8 percent), Singapore (2.79 billion USD, or 13.8 percent) and Japan (2.05 billion USD, or 10.1 percent).

The agency said that the northern province of Thai Nguyen was considered the most attractive destination by foreign investors, having received 3.35 billion USD in investments, accounting for 16.6 percent of the nation's total FDI. The southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City and southern Dong Nai province ranked second and third, with 3.1 billion USD and 1.83 billion USD respectively.

Other ideal investment destinations for foreign investors included the northern province of Bac Ninh, southern Binh Duong province and the central province of Khanh Hoa, attracting combined investment of 4.29 billion USD.

According to the agency, the foreign-invested sector recorded a trade surplus of 17.03 billion USD in 2014 as it had generated 101.59 billion USD from exports–an annual increase of 15.2 percent, or equivalent to 68 percent of the country's total export turnover–while importing 84.56 billion USD worth of goods, up 13.6 percent.-VNA