Vietnamese enterprises need to revise their business strategies in a professional and careful manner in order to make use of the future development opportunities, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director Vu Tien Loc said.

The past few years were difficult for the Vietnamese business community. However, due to the Government’s efforts to reform its administrative procedures, enterprises regained confidence in the future business climate, he noted.

The VCCI leader said a new wave of investments lay ahead, with more stability and caution.

During the period of 2004-2006, thousands of firms went bankrupt due to their investments in a failing financial and real estate sector, while 60-70 percent of businesses made no profit.

However, nearly 500,000 enterprises are currently in a position of stability, contributing to national economic growth and creating jobs, Loc said.

The government’s economic restructuring efforts have also been stepped up, Loc said, adding that by 2015, more than 400 State-owned enterprises, accounting for around half of SOEs, will have been equitised.

For the first time, Vietnam has met the ASEAN standards on administrative reform, while the National Assembly considered the approval of the Laws on Enterprises and Investment, which is expected to support business development, he stated.

At the same time, Vietnam ’s signing of a number of free trade agreements (FTA) with partners is also hoped to open up new chances for domestic businesses to expand their development space, according to Loc.

The VCCI leader was of the opinion that FTAs, along with other trade deals, would pave the way for Vietnamese firms to increase their exports, especially of strong products such as footwear and apparel; and agriculture, forestry and fisheries products; while attracting more investments.

Meanwhile, Do Huu Hao, Chairman of the Vietnam General Association of Mechanical Engineering, asserted that FTAs would also put pressure on Vietnam to improve its investment environment and build a comprehensive economic institution.

An investment institution would support the creativity of enterprises, Hao said, who is a former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade. He added that a suitable roadmap for Vietnamese firms for the next five years was to exceed the ASEAN standards and orientate themselves along US and EU standards.

Additionally, the reforms of administrative procedures, taxation and customs should be made more transparent in a bid to raise the confidence of enterprises.

On top of this, VCCI Director Loc said it was crucial for Vietnamese enterprises to improve their capacity and internal strengths to make use of all the opportunities.

According to Cao Sy Kiem, head of Vietnam ’s Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the country’s SMEs could face a number of difficulties in competing with foreign rivals upon implementation of the FTAs due to their limited capital, out-of-date technology and low-quality labourers.

Sharing Kiem’s opinions, Hao acknowledged that enterprises themselves were affected by many shortcomings, from management and technology to capital sources, underlining the need for businesses to improve their own situations.

Businesses should pay more attention to the fundamental elements of development and their internal processes, such as management strategy, human resources development, and technology, Loc said.

The VCCI also proposed concrete measures to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises in the integration process, including the establishment of a system of business associations.

A new business development era needs to be launched in Vietnam , with more enterprises showcasing their tangible strengths, Loc concluded.-VNA