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U.S.-based companies are eagerly circling soon-to-be-privatized Vietnamese state owned companies

U.S.-based companies are eagerly circling soon-to-be-privatized Vietnamese state owned companies. Their representatives “said that they are seeking information and opportunities to increase their investment and join the ongoing privatization/equitization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the capital hikes of banks in Vietnam. They made their remarks at a dialogue held by the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association (VSFA) and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) in Singapore on November 26-29. The event was co-chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak and Dr. Vu Viet Ngoan, chairman of VSFA-head of the prime minister’s advisory group. Present at the event were representatives of the U.S. firms such as Visa, Facebook, Paypal, Metlife, Agoda, AIG, MasterCard and the executives from Vietnamese firms including VPBan, MBS, TPBank, Vietcombank, Saigon Securities Inc., VNPAY, and Petrolimex.” [Vietnam News Brief Service, 30 November 2018].


The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Area could bring a wave of privatizations

The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Area, which is expected to be signed this year, could bring a wave of privatizations. “Vietnamese companies should also be aware of the challenges brought about by free trade agreements, and especially the EVFTA. These are related to higher requirements from the EU market in terms of transparency and competition, both for private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The FTA is not necessarily seeking complete privatization, but rather the opening up of those economic sectors where SOEs are present. Vietnamese enterprises may expect to see an impact from this process, provided that the FTA promotes reforms in public procurement.”


The public is losing control of public land

Nguyen Khac Giang, a Vietnamese researcher at the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research, says the public is losing control of public land. “Corruption soars alongside privatization, which is reaching new highs. (…) This situation has been obvious to the people for a long time, but it has become even more blatant lately, as Vietnam’s privatization efforts are at an all-time high. The current aim is to reduce the number of state-owned businesses to 150 in 2020. This is important. Not just for our average citizens whose homes stand on top of these “public land,” but for our society as a whole. Vietnam’s land is currently priced at $34 billion, the most valuable commodity for the public. Half of this most precious resource is being managed by numerous public firms and authorities. For the government, our land is literal money bags.”

Source: VnExpress International – Latest news, business, travel and analysis from Vietnam

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