HCMC to Focus on Improving Business Climate

After listening to the concerns of foreign investors, Ho Chi Minh City’s top leaders have pledged to make changes to the local business environment so that conducting business in this city is less complicated.

HCM City Party chief Le Thanh Hai (L) talks with delegates on the side lines of the meeting

The city’s Party chief Le Thanh Hai and People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan met with business leaders from the international community to learn about problems affecting their investment and manufacturing activities.

Many investors said they were not pleased with the city’s business environment in terms of friendliness, high production costs and having to deal with too much red tape.

Another issue raised was the high price of real estate in Viet Nam, especially in HCMC, compared with major cities in neighboring countries, said chairman of the Hong Kong Business Association, Michael Chiu.

Other problems cited were traffic congestion, due at least in part to a lack of highways, low numbers of skilled workers, a costly tax system and difficulties associated with the acquisition of investment licenses.

Solving major issues

The city’s leaders expressed their thanks to participants in the meeting for their frankness and further asked them for ideas on improving matters and enhancing the city’s competitiveness.

Walter Blocker, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in HCMC, said the city should pay more attention to developing constructive labor-management and government relations based on cooperation and communication and fully protecting workers’ rights through the implementation of Viet Nam’s Labor Code.

According to him, port congestion is also particularly acute and therefore private sector participation in this field is urgently needed.

Mr. Blocker added that the leaders should develop measures to deal with corruption, build effective and transparent management systems for public services, and cooperate with enterprises in investment promotion.

Believing in the city’s renewal and development, AmCham proposed that the city should allow private American companies to participate in infrastructure development, finance and other fields.

In response to the issues raised at the meeting, Mr. Le Thanh Hai ordered the Committee Chairman and department heads to take measures to solve four major issues related to zoning, land, human resources and administrative procedures to create a more liberal investment environment for foreign investment.

To this end, he asked that related agencies submit detailed plans outlining solutions to the four issues to the city People’s Committee for approval in the first quarter of 2007 and then announce them to domestic and foreign investors. 

By Van Minh Hoa – Translated by Hoang Yen

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