Enhancing Flexibility and Diversity in Investment Promotion

2:58:55 PM | 12/8/2023

The Can Tho Investment-Trade and Exhibition Promotion Agency (CPA) has exhibited a commendable track record during its eight years of operation since October 2015. Throughout this period, the agency has consistently pursued collaborative initiatives, demonstrating a remarkable proficiency in actively and flexibly championing foreign investments that yield substantial and impactful outcomes.

Can Tho city’s investment promotion workshop held at the headquarters of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in Seoul, Korea

Diversifying foreign promotion methods

CPA Director Nguyen Thi Kieu Duyen said: From 2016 to 2020, CPA welcomed diplomatic delegations and domestic and foreign investors from various countries, fostering connections with entities from the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Thailand, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai. Through comprehensive work programs, CPA disseminated crucial information on the investment environment, policies, and support mechanisms, guiding visiting investors through project surveys within the city. In addition to these efforts, CPA orchestrated 18 overseas investment and trade cooperation promotion trips spanning China, Israel, France, the Czech Republic, Spain, Japan, South Korea and the United States. These initiatives resulted in numerous agreements, cooperative ventures and partnerships between Can Tho City and international counterparts, spanning diverse sectors such as health, culture, education, trade and tourism.

Adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, CPA seamlessly transitioned from physical to online promotion, ensuring a continued and dynamic outreach. Following the containment of the pandemic, CPA promptly resumed planned investment and trade promotion activities, successfully organizing noteworthy events in 2023, including the Japan Investment and Trade Promotion Workshop, an investment and trade cooperation promotion trip to the United States, and another to South Korea. Simultaneously, the agency diligently researched investment policies and fields in Can Tho City to provide investors with valuable information.

Focus on on-site promotion

Demonstrating an unwavering commitment to fostering administrative reform, enhancing the business environment, and elevating competitiveness, Can Tho City has undertaken a series of proactive measures. Emphasizing a strategic approach, the city is resolute in addressing challenges, focusing particularly on "on-site investment promotion”.

In the fulfillment of its mandated responsibilities, CPA has orchestrated impactful working visits to local companies. Moreover, collaborative efforts with relevant agencies have led to the inception of government-business conferences and dialogues, aimed at swiftly identifying and resolving impediments faced by companies. CPA has adeptly established effective promotion channels with foreign trade associations and promotion agencies, maintaining close ties with trade agencies and trade promotion offices of Vietnam abroad to keep companies abreast of import-export needs and trade opportunities. Active participation in trade promotion programs initiated by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade further underscores CPA's commitment to comprehensive engagement.

Notably, in 2018, CPA successfully hosted the Can Tho Investment Promotion Conference, drawing over 600 domestic and foreign business representatives, investors and trade associations. The conference resulted in the issuance of 10 investment registration certificates totaling nearly VND8,000 billion, the realization of 19 investment cooperation agreements valued at nearly VND85,000 billion, and the signing of financial support agreements with four banks.

Complementing these achievements, CPA organized seminars and conferences, providing businesses with crucial guidelines and policies, supporting market expansion, facilitating partner acquisition through fairs and foreign market survey trips, and connecting them with foreign trade delegations for lucrative business cooperation opportunities.

Within the domestic market, CPA's initiatives extend to enabling businesses' participation in multi-industry and industry-specific fairs nationwide. Furthermore, the agency has opened and coordinated Vietnamese product markets in rural areas, enhancing consumer access to origin-specific products at reasonable prices and supporting businesses in accessing new markets.

Mr. Nguyen Van Hieu, Secretary of Can Tho City Party Committee (4th from right), and Mr. Tran Viet Truong (5th from the right), Chairman of the City People’s Committee, visit the Can Tho Youth Union’s booth

Seizing opportunities

Guided and actively supported by the City People's Committee, and in seamless collaboration with relevant agencies, CPA has strategically forged effective investment promotion channels with foreign trade associations and investment promotion agencies. With meticulous dedication, CPA has robustly showcased and introduced the immense potential of the local landscape to investors and businesses. However, operating within the constraints of Can Tho City's status as a centrally governed first-grade urban area, ineligible for mandatory investment incentives, has presented challenges. The relatively high land rent, in comparison to neighboring provinces such as Vinh Long and Hau Giang, underscores the need for innovative strategies.

It is evident that despite certain improvements, the outcomes of investment promotion and attraction have yet to realize their full potential. The process has been marked by inconsistencies, a lack of strategic direction, and a shortage of investment promotion personnel. The city's ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects, particularly those with advanced technology content and supporting technologies, has been constrained, contributing to slow implementation. Moreover, the majority of investment in the city comes from small and micro enterprises, primarily focused on processing, services and trade. The share of investment in key economic sectors remains low, and lacks sustainability and integration.

Director Nguyen Thi Kieu Duyen acknowledged the recent shift in central authorities' focus on addressing these "bottlenecks." Significant efforts are being channeled toward transportation infrastructure projects, providing an enabling environment to elevate Can Tho City and the Mekong Delta's investment promotion and attraction efforts in the upcoming years. In the immediate future, as Can Tho celebrates the 20th anniversary of its designation as a centrally run city (January 1, 2004 - January 1, 2024), CPA is poised to host impactful events, notably including the Conference on the Announcement of Can Tho City Planning and Investment Promotion. This initiative aims to disseminate the city's potential, showcase a strong desire for breakthrough growth, and mobilize resources to propel the city to new heights.

By Tran Trang (Vietnam Business Forum)