JOURNALIST: - Sir, the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted many Vietnamese businesses, especially the export sector, with the production supply chain disrupted and markets at a standstill. As a person who is well experienced in salvaging many such issues, what in your opinion should Vietnamese export enterprises do to make a faster recovery?
Mr. MICHAEL GREENE: - Without doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously damaged the world economy, but from an optimistic perspective, I think this is a valuable opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to reconnect with a restructured production supply chain across the globe. Therefore, setting up a new production value chain to limit risks is what many businesses and large companies in the world must recognize and also move in taking immediate action. This is an opportunity for Vietnam enterprises in general and export enterprises in particular.
In order to make good use of this opportunity, Vietnamese enterprises must always be prepared for new positions, including proactive participation in the global supply chain, improving their capacity, meeting the requirements and expectations of multinational companies, and thereby expanding production scale in accordance with current and new improved standards. As of now, we are actively supporting the Vietnamese SME groups, because this is the most vulnerable group and also the largest portion of Vietnamese enterprises. We will work closely with the Government and the Ministry of Planning and Investment to support businesses to adapt to the prevailing situation, thereby also joining the new global value and supply chain.
- Sir, Vietnamese businesses have many opportunities to join the new global value chain. However, the actual capacity of Vietnamese enterprises is still limited. Is this playing field too much for them?
- As I have mentioned at many conferences with representatives of the Government and ministries in Vietnam, we continue to affirm United States commitment to supporting Vietnam's strong, independent and prosperous process of development in trade, with fairness and mutual benefits. Vietnam is becoming an increasingly important economic partner of the United States. Currently, we are working with the Government of Vietnam to carry out many projects to support several businesses as well as improve the investment environment in Vietnam. Some outstanding projects such as supporting the implementation of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) study, and the project to promote reform and enhance the connectivity capacity of SMEs (linkSME) are in progress.
Setting up a new production value chain to limit risks is what many businesses and large companies in the world must recognize and also move in taking immediate action. This is an opportunity for Vietnam enterprises in general and export enterprises in particular.
Recently, the US has also committed to supporting Vietnamese businesses to recover after being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with USAID help of USD 9.5 mn. In particular, we have set aside USD 4.5 mn to support businesses in the health sector and USD 5 mn to restoring and recovery in other fields. USAID is currently working closely with the Government and the Ministry of Planning and Investment to assist SMEs, so that they can access financial support in order to both expand the size of businesses and also become part of the global supply chain.
- Sir, the year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-US cooperation, which has achieved many impressive results. Please could you tell us how US investors view the investment and business environment in Vietnam, as well as the prospect of cooperation between businesses of the two countries in the future?
- In 25 years of Vietnam-US cooperation we have achieved many positive results. I am especially impressed with the results of cooperation in the fields of economics, investment and trade between the two countries. Regarding the investment activities of US businesses, it is quite interesting that most US companies are investing in Vietnam through subsidiaries or branches located in Hong Kong and Singapore. As a result, investment capital seems to flow to Vietnam from Hong Kong and Singapore, but in fact it is from subsidiaries of US companies.
When investing in Vietnam, foreign investors, including American investors, consider many factors when deciding to expand their businesses overseas. They consider everything from political stability to geographical location, skilled labor, infrastructure, procedures and the legal system. I think that the investment environment in Vietnam is continuing to improve through simplified administrative procedures, reduced costs for businesses, and supported by a growing economy. I also noticed that in recent years, the US media has written positively about an effective and growing business environment in Vietnam, which is good for investing in this country. As such, we can fully expect even more abundant investment from the US in Vietnam.
- Thank you very much.