Each province must define their competitive advantages and economic potential to assist the government in its foreign-investment decision-making, heard a seminar held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on August 14.

"The southern region has the greatest economic proportion and largest contribution to the State budget. It is necessary to know the potential development of each province," said Do Nhat Hoang, head of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

He spoke at a Foreign Investment Conference with the attendance of 21 southern provinces' Planning and Investment Departments, Investment Promotion Centres, Economic Zones, and Industrial and Processing Parks.

He said the Mekong Delta had high potential in agriculture, seafood and fruit trees. Each province should give detailed information about the kinds of seafood or fruit it can raise or grow best.

"From such details, the Foreign Investment Department will introduce and invite the proper foreign investors," he added.

At present, the department is trying to guide foreign investment into suitable industries in order to ensure quality and effectiveness.

"We are trying to reform the investment environment by reducing time and procedures for investment registrations. We will make simple and precise procedures, but, of course, will still be able to manage enterprises," he said.

At the conference, solutions to support enterprises dealing with economic difficulties and attract more foreign investment were discussed.

Another topic concerned guidelines for setting up new investment promotion programme based on recent Government new decision (No 03) related to State management and investment promotion.

Since early of this year to mid-July, 889 FDI projects have received investment licences with registered capital of 6.8 billion USD. Another 300 projects have expanded their capital with more 2.6 billion USD.

New and expanded capital accounted for 80 percent of investment compared with the same period last year.

The Foreign Investment Agency targets 20 billion USD in foreign investment for the year.

According to statistics from the department, there are around 16,800 foreign invested projects — with total registered capital of 242.2 billion USD and disbursed capital of 118 billion USD – operating in Vietnam.

The manufacturing industry comprises 54 percent while real estate is 20.6 percent and agriculture-forestry-marine is 1.4 percent.

Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are the top four investors in Vietnam.-VNA