VIETRADE – Vietnam had lured US$6.88 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past four months, surging by a significant 85% against the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Of the total, US$5.08 billion came from 697 newly-licensed projects, marking an annual increase of 90% in capital and 56% in the number of projects. The remaining was contributed by 314 already-operating projects that raised their level of capital by more than US$1.8 billion.

During the reviewed period, FDI disbursement also experienced a year-on-year rise of 12% to an estimated US$4.7 billion, GSO reported.

Among the large-scaled projects included the Republic of Korea’s LG Display Hai Phong factory providing organic light emitting diode (OLED) display products in Trang Due Industrial Zone. The project has a total investment capital of US$1.5 billion.

Other projects included a Taiwanese paper production plant, worth US$220 million in southern Tien Giang Province and a US$110 million- garment factory being developed by Singapore’s Maple Company in Bac Ninh Province.

The manufacturing and processing sector attracted the largest share of FDI with over US$5.2 billion, accounting for 76.2% of the nation’s total FDI. The science and technology sector ranked the second with US$335 million, or 4.9%, while the wholesale, retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sector came third with US$243 million, or 3.5%.

From January to April, foreign investment was recorded in 41 localities nation-wide, GSO revealed.

With US$1.59 billion or equivalent to 31.3% of the total FDI registered in the country, the northern port city of Hai Phong became the most attractive destination for foreign investors. It was followed by the capital city with US$596 million, or 12%, and southern Binh Duong Province with US$329 million, or 6.5%.

Other localities that showed positive FDI results included the northern province of Bac Ninh with US$310 million, making up 6.1% of the nation’s FDI, and southern Dong Nai Province with US$270 million, or 5.3%.

Among 45 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, South Korea remained the leading investor with over US$2.4 billion, totaling 49% of the FDI pledged to the country. Singapore and Taiwan were the runners-up with US$502 million, or 10%, and US$430 million, or 8.5%, respectively.

The satisfactory FDI results over past four months had proved the increasing confidence of foreign investors in the country’s investment climate, experts have said.

They predicted that Vietnam would likely to attract more foreign investment this year and the time to come due to due to the opportunities and advantages resulting from free trade agreements (FTAs).

Viet Nam News Newspaper quoted Vo Tri Thanh, economist as saying that the FTAs, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal and the FTA between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) would open great opportunities for Vietnam to attract FDI.

If foreign investors came to Vietnam to participate in production and business, they could approach large markets that were member countries of the FTAs, Thanh said, adding that these member countries included the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada, under the TPP, and EU countries operating under the FTA.

Hoang Thi Chinh from the HCM City Economics University told Dat Viet online newspaper that Vietnam would enjoy great opportunities from not only Japanese and American investment, but also South Korean ones.

According to other analysts, Vietnam should continue to significantly improve the country’s investment climate and sharpen its competitiveness if it wanted to lure more high-quality FDI.

Projects in high-tech, mechanical engineering, information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals, environmental protection and clean and renewable energies would be prioritized for FDI attraction, they said.

Last year, FDI registered in Vietnam saw a year-on-year increase of 12.5% to reach US$22.76 billion while FDI disbursement reached an estimated US$14.5 billion, surging 17.4% year-on-year./.

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