By Nguyen Thi Thuy Anh
HANOI, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Bilateral trade and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam are expected to strengthen in the future as the two countries have similarities in culture and governance structure, according to Gu Chaoqing, chairman of Business Association of China in Vietnam.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Gu, who has been in Vietnam for over ten years, said that he has witnessed many changes on investment environment and policies in Vietnam.
"Infrastructure has improved quickly in the past few years.When I just came here, there were only a few high buildings in Vietnam, but now people can see high and modern buildings mushrooming all over the country," Gu said.
Gu, however, said that Vietnam still has many things to do to further upgrade its infrastructure to meet the demands of its citizens and for businesses to flourish.
"For example, it takes at least one hour to travel only 30 kilometers of road, and an hour and a half if there is traffic jam, while in China, we only spend 20 minutes for that distance. This is a big waste of time," Gu said.
According to Gu, Vietnam also needs to further develop its support industries in order to create convenient conditions for businesses.
Gu said that the global economic crisis has affected Chinese investments in Vietnam, adding that in the past few years,Chinese investments were in all fields, but now it has shifted from quantity to quality.
Chinese investment in Vietnam now focuses mainly on garment and textile sector with two large-scale companies with investment of over 100 million U.S. dollars and two companies with around 30 million U.S. dollars, Gu said.
Gu said that in the past, Chinese investments were mostly in southern Vietnam but now they are concentrated in the border areas that are closer to China, particularly in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lao Cai, Nam Dinh and Thai Binh.
Though facing many difficulties, Gu still expressed optimism about the economic prospects of Vietnam since the government is serious in upgrading the country's infrastructure and in improving its investment environment.
"If the infrastructure and support industries are upgraded,this would attract more foreign investors, including those from China, to invest in Vietnam," Gu said.
According to Vietnam's Ministry of Planning and Investment,as the end of September, China invested in 869 projects in Vietnam, worth over 4.52 billion U.S. dollars, ranking 14 out of 96 foreign investors in Vietnam.
Established in August 2001 under the support and approval of Chinese Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), with over 600 member businesses, the Business Association of China in Vietnam plays a vital role in strengthening cooperation between the Vietnamese government and Chinese businesses as well as among Vietnamese and Chinese businesses.