Foreign investment in manufacturing has increased significantly in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong as international firms seek to take advantage of the country's accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In the first quarter they have invested 2.3 billion USD in 141 projects in the three places, accounting for 70 percent of the total FDI they attracted. Binh Duong topped with nearly 800 million USD, and HCM City followed with 710 million USD.

In the last few months in Dong Nam Industrial Zone in HCM City's Cu Chi district, Worldon Vietnam Limited built a 45ha garment factory that will go on stream in June next year.

The British Virgin Islands-based firm will invest 140 million USD in the plant that will produce 80 million products a year.

Samoa's Sheico Vietnam company limited will open its 50 million USD plant in November with a capacity of 12,000 tonnes of fabric, 4.2 million garment items, and 1.2 million life jackets annually.

"The investment opportunities in textile and garment in Vietnam are very promising since the country is going to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)," a Sheico spokesperson said.

According to the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority (HEPZA), many firms are wrapping up procedures to increase investment to expand production.

German-owned Pepperl - Fuchs Vietnam Limited company wants to increase its investment by 10 million USD and has sought an additional 9,000sq.m to expand production of high-tech sensors.

Initially the company had planned to expand its production in Singapore, but then chose Vietnam thanks to cheaper land and human resources.

Many Japanese and Singaporean firms have invested in production of electronics components.

"We have invested 2 million USD and will consider investing more in the long term," Masaharu Tsukada, general director of Japan's Maruko Keihoki Vietnam Limited company, which will produce car's horn in district 7's Tan Thuan processing zone, was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

"It is a good opportunity for investors in Vietnam as the country is more and more globally integrated by signing more international agreements.

TranViet Ha, head of HEPZA's Investment Department, said: "This year FDI has flowed strongly into production, with many firms expanding their factories. The capability of local human resources to learn new technologies quickly is an advantage."

Luong Van Ly, an investment analyst, said: "Foreign investors have realised that Vietnam's outdated technologies cannot benefit from the TPP agreement, and are pouring money into production in Vietnam."

Investors from non-TPP countries were set to come to Vietnam to take advantage of the agreement, he said.-VNA