visit to neighboring Vietnam is always a wake-up call. What follows are excerpts
from recent issues of English-language publications there.
"FDI inflow reaches 10-year high: Vietnam attracted US$1.73 billion in foreign
direct investment (FDI) in the first quarter, more than double the figure for the
same period last year and the highest amount in 10 years. Figures from the Ministry
of Planning and Investment show that 109 new projects with a combined capital of
US$1.31 billion were licensed in the first quarter, nearly triple the figure for
the same period last year." Saigon Times, April 2, 2005.
"Foreign sector helps exports top $6.7b: Viet Nam has achieved US$2.5 billion
in export turnover during the month of March, reported the General Statistics Office
(GSO). This month's export turnover has brought the total for the first three months
to $6.7 billion or an increase of 16.2 per cent against the same period last year....The
foreign invested sector led the growth, expanding its exports by 21.5 per cent to
$2.2 billion while the domestic sector rose 6.6 per cent to $3 billion. ...Exports
of electronics and computer goods soared 45.3 per cent to $311 million, seafood products
increased 8 per cent to $480 million ..." Viet Nam News, March 28, 2005.
"Fraud fight to help business: A new decree lays out specific penalties for
civil servants who violate the law or abuse their powers, a move analysts predict
will improve Vietnam's business environment. The decree, which was approved on March
17 but will not become effective until 15 days after it is printed in the government's
official gazette, threatens punishment ranging from an official reprimand to termination
of employment." Vietnam Investment Review, March 28, 2005.
"Car sector off to races: The decision to grant Honda Vietnam (HVN) an automobile
production licence should open up the country's highly protected vehicle industry
to greater competition. As the licence will enable HVN to start rolling out four-to
nine-seat cars, with the manufacturer hoping to begin production by mid-2006, the
country's 11 automobile manufacturing joint ventures will be fine-tuning their business
and production plans. ... The 11 existing car assemblers hold a combined $560 million
in capital for their Vietnamese operations, with sales hitting more than 40,000 units
last year." Vietnam Investment Review, March 28, 2005.
Go have a look. The bus trip from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City is now only six
hours. Once you cross the Mekong at Neak Leung, it's clear sailing on new highway
all the way to the border.