Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam attracted 35.46 billion USD in total foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018, equivalent to 98.8 percent of the previous year’s figure.

According to a report by the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, by December 20, FDI commitment for 3,046 newly-licensed projects reached nearly 18 billion USD, equivalent to 84.5 percent of the same period last year.

After a yearly decline of nearly 10 percent in FDI added to operating projects totaled at 7.59 billion USD, the capital pledged for stake acquisitions rose by 60 percent year on year to 9.89 billion USD, the report said.

As per the data, foreign-invested enterprises gained a trade surplus of 32.8 billion USD this year as they exported 175.5 billion USD worth of goods, up 13 percent while their imports hit 142.7 billion USD, up 12 percent.

The manufacturing and processing sector garnered the most interest from foreign investors in the period, accounting for 16.58 billion USD, or 47 percent of the registered capital.

The real estate sector ranked second with 6.6 billion USD, or 18.5 percent and the retail sector came third with 3.67 billion USD, or 10.3 percent.

Statistics showed that 112 countries and territories invested in Vietnam from January to December. Among them, Japan took the lead with 8.59 billion USD, making up 24 percent of the nation’s total FDI. The Republic of Korea and Singapore were the runner-ups with 7.2 billion USD and 5 billion USD, making up 24.2 percent and 14.2 percent of the nation’s total FDI, respectively.

The capital city lured the lion share of FDI with 7.5 billion USD or 21.2 percent of the total capital pledged for the country.  It was followed by the southern economic hub of HCM City with 5.9 billion USD or 17 percent, and the northern port city of Hai Phong with 3.1 billion USD, or 8.7 percent.

In a wider scope, there were more than 27,350 valid foreign-invested projects in Vietnam so far with a total registered capital of 340 billion USD. Over half of the FDI has been disbursed thus far, according to the above-mentioned report.

The Republic of Korea was the leading source of FDI with 62.5 billion USD and Japan came next with 57 billion USD. Several others included Singapore, Taiwan (China), British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong (China).

In order to better lure and use FDI resources, it is necessary to have concerted awareness and actions to implement orientations and policies on foreign investment, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang said.

Streamlining legal institutions and policies as well as improving the business investment environment in line with market standards and international rules are important prerequisites for attracting and using foreign investment effectively, he told a conference late last week.

Thang also emphasised the importance of developing skilled personnel resources to reposition Vietnam’s competitive edge in attracting foreign investment besides encouraging and supporting the joint venture, cooperation and technology transfer between domestic and foreign-invested firms.-VNA