Koreans eye quality investment in Vietnam: official
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Korean investments into Vietnam began in 2001 and have since continued to grow, a Vietnamese official from the Vietnam – Korea Friendship Society told Tuoi Tre.
Duong Chinh Thuc, deputy chairman of the society and a former ambassador to Korea, said the East Asian country had taken only 10 years to become the largest foreign investor in Vietnam with over US$23 billion in 3,000 projects.
Bilateral trade was targeted to reach $20 billion by 2015.
Many Korean businesses had told him that they wanted to focus on project quality and technology transfer rather than just numbers.
For instance, Samsung had a mobile-phone plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh and wanted to make more high-technology products in Vietnam.
“This is a chance for Vietnam to take part in the global value chain of this giant company.”
One crucial factor that encouraged Korean businesses to invest in Vietnam was the close diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Similar cultural values also helped.
“A friend of mine, a former Korean ambassador in Vietnam, has chosen to stay in Vietnam after his term.
“The Korean business community is one of the largest foreign communities in Vietnam.”
But to cope with the investment flow from Korea into high-technology, Vietnam had many tasks to accomplish.
“Vietnam used to have the advantage of a low-cost workforce, but this will now become our challenge.
“We need to have a skilled and qualified workforce to attract investment in the technology sector, and this is when the low-cost workforce becomes a challenge.”
The country also had to improve its infrastructure and support industries to meet the needs of the Korean partners.
“Most of all, the tortuous paperwork and red tape still bother Korean businesses.”
A problem that needed to be resolved was the large trade deficit with Korea, which had topped $6.7 billion last year.
Though Korean businesses said the gap had been caused mostly by machinery and raw material imports by Korean investors, the two countries still had to find for an appropriate solution for this.
“We will also seek to boost consumption of Vietnamese seafood and agricultural products in Korea.”