South African firms wooed to invest in Vietnam

Vong Dinh Hue

The Vietnamese government is luring South African businesses to invest in Vietnam and create an improved political and economic relationship between the two countries.

During his three-day state visit to Johannesburg, Vietnam deputy prime minister Vuong Dinh Hue told a seminar on November 4 that the country will work on improving its political and economic ties with South Africa, the only African country that has a partnership for cooperation and development with Vietnam.

In particular, Hue said Vietnam is looking to accelerate negotiations to encourage and protect investments, and avoid double taxation between the two countries, with consideration given to Vietnamese commercial banks opening their branches in South Africa to support trade transactions and investment activities.

He also sought help to address Vietnam’s payment methods.

He also proposed that South African companies enter the Vietnamese market primarily in the fields of processing and manufacturing, agriculture, and support industries, as well as resolve legal frameworks for collaboration in aviation, mining, and agriculture.

Hue suggested that South Africa should create favorable conditions to bring Vietnam’s agro-products, foodstuff, and consumer goods to multinational supermarket chains such as Makro, Metro, and Woolworth as well as to domestic supermarkets such as Spar, Shoprite, and Checkers.

South African Deputy President David Mabuza agreed to create favorable conditions for Vietnamese investors, and suggested that the two promote bilateral cooperation in defense security, environmental protection, and wildlife conservation.

On the other hand, Vietnam said it was willing to work as a bridge for South Africa to enhance ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) members. It was also looking to expand ties with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), and their member countries.

Hue urged for the enhancement of the role and efficiency of bilateral cooperative mechanisms such as the intergovernmental partnership forum, the joint trade committee and the defense dialogue.

Hue said that trade between the two countries, which stands at $1 billion at present, is still very modest, thus the need for the two parties to take measures in bolstering bilateral trade and removing difficulties in pursuing economic cooperation.

During his three-day visit, Hue had a working session with African National Congress Secretary General Elias Sekgobelo Ace Magashule.