Vietnam attracted nearly 22 billion USD in foreign investment in 2013, the highest since 2008, radio The Voice of Vietnam reported, citing statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)’s Foreign Investment Agency.

Large-scale projects include Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex Project in Thanh Hoa province with investment from Japan, and Vinh Tan 1 coal-fired thermal power plant, from China.

Fields attractive to foreign investors include the processing industry, power and water supply, air conditioner production, and real estate.

The official operation of Idelmitsu Oil & Gas Co, Ltd, under Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co, Ltd at the beginning of the new year has proved that Vietnam is an attractive destination for foreign investors.

Idelmitsu Oil & Gas Co Director Yuji Kusaka says that the project’s investment capital comes from Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan and the company selected Vietnam as an investment location because of its great natural resources and abundant young workforce, both of which provide a firm foundation for foreign investors to do business in Vietnam.

A sharp increase in foreign investment has recently accelerated the development in other fields in localities.

Hai Phong is a case in point, attracting a greet deal of foreign investment. It has secured investment from 400 foreign businesses from 10 major groups, including Bridgestone, Nipro Pharma, Fuji Xerox Posco and LG.

Japan has topped the list of 29 nations and territories investing in Hai Phong city, followed by the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and mainland China.

Hai Phong municipal People’s Committee Chairman Dan Duc Hiep said that since the Law on Investment took effect, the city has attracted over 26 billion USD from big investors.

In 2014 and the following years, Hai Phong hopes to make the best of its advantage to attract even more foreign money.

In the context of capital shortage, foreign investment is a priority trend to restructure the economy and offers a more competitive environment for Vietnamese businesses.

The MPI said that Vietnam is selecting hi-tech projects with high added value to reduce environmental pollution which has hindered the country from attracting foreign investment.

However, poor infrastructure and cumbersome administrative formalities have made Vietnam’s investment environment less attractive.

Planning and Investment Minister Bui Quang Vinh stressed the need for Vietnam to accelerate economic restructuring.

At present, the Vietnamese Government has re-built projects with the crucial role of the foreign-invested sector, which will bring changes to economic restructuring, develop enterprises with high environmentally friendly technologies, and create competitive products in both international and Vietnamese markets.

Economists have urged that businesses should devise clear strategies and objectives to attract foreign investment based on incentive policies for such fields as high technology, support industries, infrastructure development and the financial market.-VNA