Foreign direct investment (FDI) dropped by half year on year to less than 4.4 billion USD in the first six months, according to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The reduction, however, has not upset responsible officials, who explained that the trend has shifted from quantity to quality.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Tue Anh from the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) said local administrations are strictly following the Government’s position of “not luring foreign investment at any cost” in the licensing process.

They have withheld licences from projects which fell behind schedule in construction or capital disbursement, failed to meet local development master plans, or caused pollution to the environment, even if they were major projects, she said.

Another senior expert, FDI Investors’ Association President Nguyen Mai shared the view. “The efficiency of foreign investment is not based on the amount of registered capital but on whether it flows into areas which will practically benefit the national economy, such as high technology, agriculture, forestry and fisheries,” he said.

Operational projects revealed an increasing registration of additional investment which amounted to almost 1.27 billion USD, representing a year-on-year increase of 5.3 percent.

Investment registered in, processing and mechanical manufacturing projects, which were encouraged by the Government in the new stage of development, accounted for almost 58.8 percent of the half-year FDI total.

FDI disbursement reached 5.3 billion USD, almost equal to total FDI registration in the same period last year.

Mai expected FDI disbursement this year to hit the 11 billion USD mark, similar to the level achieved in the past three years, including the heyday of FDI in 2008.
Dr. Tue Anh, however, warned that “not luring FDI at any cost” did not mean ignoring investors.

“We should clearly define strategic investments in an effort to work out suitable investment promotion schemes,” she said.

The senior economist recommended a stimulus system based on economic goals as an instrument to stabilise the influxes of this important source of investment./.