Back to Business in Southern Vietnam after Riots
HANOI – After the controversial deployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea sparked riots targeting Chinese-owned businesses in Southern Vietnam, many business leaders are optimistic government efforts to restore business confidence will allow for a return to business as usual.
Binh Dong Province in particular was severely impacted by rioting, and suffered the heaviest damage in the south. However, according to Tran Van Nam, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of the province, 98 percent of firms impacted by the recent riots have now resumed normal business activities. While many firms temporarily suspended operations amidst the unrest, government aid and support have bolstered the determination and ability of many firms to continue to engage in business activities despite the incidents.
At a meeting organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) last Friday, a representative from the Hong Kong Business Association expressed a determination to resume operations after the riots, and optimism at government efforts to restore investor confidence.
In particular, investors are very pleased with government initiatives to ensure businesses’ safety and security amidst possible future unrest.
Business associations from Asian, American and European countries, officials from HCMC, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces and representatives from various Vietnamese ministries and agencies attended the meeting to demonstrate the government’s seriousness about moving ahead with efforts to enable businesses to resume operations immediately and ease investor concerns.
Colonel Ho Van Muoi, deputy chief of the Public Security Ministry’s Department of Financial and Monetary Security, said that since opening the door to foreign investors, Vietnam had worked hard to ensure the safety and security of business assets.
“The unrest on May 13-14 was not our wish. We felt very sorry about things, especially the losses incurred by enterprises,” the colonel said.
The colonel additionally emphasized that the negative international reaction to the riots had caused Vietnam to seek to excuse the behavior of its citizens and guarantee safer operations for enterprises across the country. He further elaborated that plans had been designed and would soon be implemented to avoid a repeat of the incidents.
The proposed policies will support firms hit by riots so they can resume operations, including a reduction in import tax on machinery and equipment, land rental fees and compensation for losses by enterprises.
Some obstacles remain, however. Taiwanese Business Association representatives from Binh Duong Province and other foreign firms were disappointed government documents regarding the support of protest-hit firms were only available in Vietnamese – making it difficult for many businesses to understand their exact details.
They added that many riot-hit firms had suffered variable degrees of damage and as a result should be entitled to different levels of support. Suggestions have also been made for insurance companies to quickly assess damages and pay compensation as required.
Firms are now stepping up requests to the government to provide incentive loans to damaged firms so as to reduce the burden of restarting operations.
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