Vietnam views its 2020 leadership of the 11-nation ASEAN bloc as an opportunity to contribute to the development of Southeast Asia and the welfare of the 650 million people who call the region home. That was the message conveyed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on January 6 in Hanoi, where he addressed the launch ceremony of the ASEAN 2020 Chairmanship Year and website www.asean2020.vn.
Previously a region of strife and differences, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become a united group of independent countries, enjoying great progress and growth. The grouping is the third most dynamic economy in the world, boasting total gross domestic product of US$2.95 trillion in 2018. ASEAN has signed six free trade agreements (FTA) with seven top partners in the world, reinforcing its centrality in the regional architecture.
The Southern Key Economic Zone (SKEZ) has become Vietnam’s hottest investment destination, accounting for 43 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) pledged. The SKEZ has made greater efforts to improve the investment environment, cut red tape and remove bottlenecks in order to enhance further the effectiveness of its FDI attraction.
Consisting of Ho Chi Minh City and nearby Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, and Tien Giang provinces, the SKEZ has made the largest contribution to Vietnam’s economic development, accounting for 45.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 42.6 percent of total budget revenues. It has taken the lead nationwide in terms of FDI attraction with over 16,000 valid FDI projects for total registered capital of more than US$160 billion, accounting for 43 percent of all FDI pledged.
Ho Chi Minh City attracted US$7.5 billion in FDI in 2019. As many as 1,182 new projects were granted licenses with total registered capital of US$1.4 billion, while 282 existing projects were injected with an additional US$767.3 million. Overseas players spent US$4.779 billion to acquire shares in city-based businesses in 2019. Ho Chi Minh City has taken the lead nationwide in terms of FDI attraction with over US$46.5 billion. Capital contributions and share purchases has become a new trend of FDI inflows into Ho Chi Minh City.
Despite a decline in 2019 compared to 2018, the securities market in general maintained its long-term growth. The VN-Index rose to 970.75 points in December 2019, up 8.7 percent from late 2018.
The market remained stable, reaching an average number of traded securities of 177.84 million worth almost VND4.81 trillion per day. Foreign capital flow to the market was stable in 2019, with securities traded by foreign investors totaling almost VND294.91 trillion in value, accounting for about 16 percent of the market’s total.