PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders of Singaporean-based conglomerates pose for a group photo (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended a round-table discussion with 16 leaders of Singaporean-based conglomerates on April 28, as part of his official visit to Singapore.

Addressing the function, the PM gave an overview of the Vietnamese economy to the business executives.

Vietnam posted a ten-year high growth rate in the first quarter of 2018, he said, adding that the country’s market has been increasing its openness, hence it is now a favourable time for foreign investment.

Average per capita income of the 93-million Vietnamese population is about 2,400 USD with the middle class accounting for 13 percent, resulting in increasing purchasing power.

Phuc also mentioned a report by the World Bank at the end of 2017, which ranked the Vietnamese business climate at 68th among 190 countries, up 30 places against 2012. Also in 2017, the World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam 55th among 137 surveyed countries in terms of competitiveness. The country is a bright spot in FDI attraction in the region with 320 billion USD worth of foreign direct investment. Its foreign trade surpassed 425 billion USD last year. Vietnam is now member of 12 new-generation free trade agreements.

The PM said these results reflected the appeal of the Vietnamese market and international investors’ confidence in the market. He reiterated Vietnam’s commitment to creating more favourable conditions for foreign investors.

The Government leader unveiled Vietnam’s plan to build three special administrative-economic zones with a host of incentives for investors, telling the round-table’s participants that there are many opportunities for them. He also urged the multinational groups to speed up their projects in Vietnam in line with the law.

At the discussion, participating firms expressed their impression on Vietnam’s economic achievement, particularly its efforts to reform and take part in international commitments.

They said they are interested in a range of fields, including health services, online education, and online payment for farmers. They asked the Vietnamese Government to remove policy bottlenecks, improve the capital market, enhance the linkages among economic sectors, and to simplify customs procedure via the single-window mechanism.

Also joining the discussion, officials of Vietnamese public agencies and sectors fielded questions and recommendations by the international business executives.

They stressed that Vietnam is working to remove policy obstacles in sectors where the State used to hold the monopoly.

Also on April 28, the Vietnamese PM received Christian Cabrol, Senior Vice President of the multinational integrated oil and gas company Total’s Marketing & Services for Asia Pacific & Middle East.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Christian Cabrol, Senior Vice President of the multinational integrated oil and gas company Total’s Marketing & Services for Asia Pacific & Middle East (Photo: VNA)

PM Phuc suggested Total, which has become a popular brand in Vietnam, expand its operation in the country.

Christian Cabrol said his company has operated in Vietnam since 1990 and now employs about 1,000 locals to supply the market with oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

He said the group is now paying attention to the production of LPG and electricity in Vietnam and is willing to collaborate with local partners, adding that the group is proposing the construction of a number of port infrastructure to receive LPG products.

Lauding Total’s expansion plan in Vietnam, Phuc said Vietnam welcomes Total’s intention to work with Vietnamese partners to build infrastructure to receive LPG product. He encouraged the group to further engage in information exchanges with Vietnamese partners such as the PetroVietnam and Electricity of Vietnam. 

Phuc tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade with studying Total’s recommendations.-VNA