Investment cooperation between Vietnam and Northern Territory needs a long-term vision

Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha, Consul General of Vietnam in Northern Territory said that the exchange and investment in the coming time between Northern Territory and Vietnamese businesses needs a long-term vision. Enterprises need to have representatives abroad to be able to assist in finding more suitable partners.

Stating at the opening of the seminar, Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Editorial Director of Investor Magazine/Nhadautu.vn, Permanent Vice Chairman of the Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE) said: Vietnam and Australia have established diplomatic relations more than 50 years ago.

The Seminar "Vietnam - Northern Territory Investment Cooperation" is the next step to promote the implementation of the Cooperation Plan between Vietnamese enterprises and Northern Territory enterprises
The Seminar “Vietnam – Northern Territory Investment Cooperation” is the next step to promote the implementation of the Cooperation Plan between Vietnamese enterprises and Northern Territory enterprises

Since 2009, the relationship between the two countries has been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership, from 2018 to Strategic Partnership and recently on March 7, 2024, as part of an official visit of the Prime Minister’s to Australia. Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, the two countries have upgraded to a comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

This is an important mark in diplomatic relations between the two countries, creating a premise to promote economic, investment and trade relations between Vietnam and Australia.

Looking back over the past decade, it can be seen that economic relations between the two countries have developed strongly, trade turnover has doubled to reach 13.8 billion USD in 2023.

To now, Australia has had 631 investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of 2.04 billion USD.

Vietnamese businesses have also invested in Australia in 94 projects with a total registered capital of 584 million USD in fields such as agriculture, trade, real estate, processing industry, and manufacturing.

The Northern Territory is the third largest state in area and is Australia’s closest trade gateway to the Asia Pacific and ASEAN regions. It’s a place with a lot of development potential, strengths, as well as similarities and good complementarity with Vietnam. But then have not been properly appreciated and exploited by both sides

The results of visits and surveys in Northern Territory by VAFIE leaders and the Vietnam Business Council in Northern Territory, show that the potential for investment cooperation between Vietnam and Northern Territory is huge, especially in areas such as :

– Vocational education and training to export highly skilled Vietnamese labor to Northern Territory;

– Agriculture, especially livestock farming and meat processing;

– Logistics, construction materials and consumer products.

– Developing solar energy projects…

The Northern Territory Government show supports and expresses its desire to promote trade and investment cooperation between businesses from both sides.

(Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Editorial Director of Investor Magazine/Nhadautu.vn, Permanent Vice Chairman of VAFIE
(Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Editorial Director of Investor Magazine/Nhadautu.vn, Permanent Vice Chairman of VAFIE

Seizing the above opportunities, from September 2021, the Vietnam’s Association for Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE) and the Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NTVBC) signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement to promote trade relationships and investment cooperation between Vietnamese enterprises and Northern Territory enterprises.

Within the framework of the above agreement, VAFIE and NTVBC have coordinated to implement a number of specific activities such as: Reporting to the Ministry of Planning and Investment on the Vietnam – Northern Territory Cooperation Program; organize seminars to introduce the potential and opportunities for investment and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Northern Territory; Organized a number of visits to Northern Territory by leaders of the VAFIE and Vietnamese enterprises.

However, due to a number of reasons, including the impact of the COVID-19, the implementation of Vietnam – North Territory cooperation projects is slower than expected.

The seminar “Vietnam – Northern Territory Investment Cooperation” held today in Hanoi is the next step to promote the implementation of the above cooperation plan.

With the participation of representatives of the Foreign Investment Agency, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, the General Department of Vocational Training of Vietnam, representatives of functional agencies of the Northern Territory government and Vietnam diplomatic agencies in Australia, economic experts, business leaders…, the seminar will exchange and discuss in depth the potential investment cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and Northern Territory; advantages and challenges; Propose solutions to realize investment cooperation projects between Vietnam and Northern Territory in many fields.

At this seminar, representatives of the Foreign Investment Agency will introduce Vietnam’s laws, policies, processes and procedures for investing abroad.

From the Northern Territory side, representatives of Northern Territory authorities and Vietnamese diplomatic agencies in Australia will share with us about Northern Territory’s foreign investment attraction policy, as well as its potential and investment cooperation opportunities between the two sides.

PROMOTING VIETNAM – NORTHERN TERRITORY INVESTMENT COOPERATION

Welcome speech, Professor-PhD Nguyen Mai, Chairman of the Vietnam’s Association for Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE), said: On February 26, 1973, Vietnam and Australia established diplomatic relations.

Prof. PhD. Nguyen Mai, Chairman of VAFIE
Prof. PhD. Nguyen Mai, Chairman of VAFIE

Since then, the relationship between the two countries in tourism, business, and education has continuously developed. There are currently about 300 thousand people of Vietnamese living in Australia and Vietnamese is the fifth most spoken language in Australia.

Many Australians have come to Vietnam to travel, some have come to live in Vietnam to build trade and investment relationships between the two countries or have migrated to Vietnam with their families.

Vietnam and Australia established a Comprehensive Partnership in 2009 and upgraded it to a Strategic Partnership in 2018.

On November 5, 2020, the two Governments agreed on an Action Plan to promote the Strategic Partnership in the period 2020-2023. On March 7, 2024, the two countries upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

According to HSBC Global Research’s report “Vietnam at a glance: Vietnam and Australia ready for a new phase”, trade turnover between the two countries has exploded in the past decade, more than doubling to 13.8 billion USD in 2023.

In early 2022, VAFIE leaders worked with Minister of Planning and Investment Mr. Nguyen Chi Dung to propose Vietnam – Northern Territory relations in the Action Plan to promote relations between the two countries; approved by the Minister and included in the Joint Action Strategy.

VAFIE and VABIS Group have developed and issued the “Vietnam – Northern Territory Investment Cooperation Strategy”.

The seminar is connected between Vietnam and Northern Territory, in the form of face-to-face and online
The seminar is connected between Vietnam and Northern Territory, in the form of face-to-face and online

In June 2022, VAFIE’s leaders visited Northern Territory, along with Vietnamese Ambassador in Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh met with the Administrator H.E Vicki O’Halloran, Chief Minister HON Natasha Fyles, Opposition leader HON Lia Finocchiaro, Legislative Assembly Speaker HON Mark Monaghan, Mayor of Darwin City Mr Kon Vatskalis; There were meetings with the Investment Commissioner Mr Andrew Cowan, Director of the International Cooperation Agency Ms Gina Cassimatis, Director of the Immigration Agency Pompea Sweet and CEO of the Ministry of Industry-Tourism-Trade Shaun Drabsch, among others officials in charge of the fields of agriculture, mining, energy, education, and tourism.

In September 2022, Vice President Nguyen Ngoc My guided the Minister for Ethnic Minorities H.E. Hau A Lenh led the delegation of the Committee for Ethnic Minorities to visit Northern Territory, signing a cooperation agreement between Vietnam provinces on the mountainous areas and the Northern Territory Indigenous Community.

VAFIE has organized a number of seminars and organized visits to Northern Territory by leaders of a number of Vietnamese enterprises.

However, the implementation of the action plan is slower than expected, so up to now there still no clear in trading, tourism, investment and education

Many economic experts, managers and representatives of businesses and press agencies attended the conference.
Many economic experts, managers and representatives of businesses and press agencies attended the conference.

Therefore, today’s discussion not only restates goals, tasks, and implementation plans, but more importantly, finds effective solutions to promote the process of cooperation between Vietnamese investors and Northern Territory partners. As well as Australian businesses in general for the benefit of Vietnamese enterprises. It is contributing to the development of comprehensive relations between the two countries in the direction of a comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

PROCEDURES FOR INVESTING OVERSEAS

Introducing the provisions of Vietnamese law on overseas investment, Mr. Vu Van Chung, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that the current Vietnam-Australia cooperation relationship has raised to new level, becoming a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Mr. Vu Van Chung, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Mr. Vu Van Chung, Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Trade data for 2023 between the two sides have exceeded 15.7 billion USD and are aiming for 20 billion USD in the near future.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment cooperates closely with Australian partners to implement strategies to strengthen economic cooperation, regularly having coordination contracts to promote investment between the two countries.

The Ministry has established a pioneering enterprise initiative, coordinating with the Australian Ministry of Trade to select pioneering enterprises in investment cooperation between the two countries (including 10 Vietnamese enterprises and 10 Australian enterprises).

“Currently, many Australian agencies, Governments as well as local governments want to welcome investment from Vietnam, especially Northern Territory,” Mr. Chung said.

Regarding the procedures for investing abroad, Mr. Chung said that the Ministry of Planning and Investment has repeatedly submitted to the National Assembly to change the method to match the general trend in the world.

However, in the context of a developing country, it is necessary to keep domestic investment resources, so the process of investing abroad still needs to be strict.

Documents guiding investment abroad include Investment Law No. 61/2020/QH14 (Chapter V and Article 73); Decree No. 31/2021/ND-CP dated March 26, 2021 of the Government detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Investment Law (Chapter VI); Circular No. 03/2021/TT-BKHDT dated April 9, 2021 of the Minister of Planning and Investment stipulating sample documents and reports related to investment in Vietnam and investment from Vietnam to foreign countries and investment promotion and Amended and Supplemental Circular No. 25/2023/TT-BKHDT dated December 31, 2023; Decree No. 135/2015/ND-CP dated December 31, 2015 of the Government regulating outward indirect investment; Other laws on labor and taxes; Specialized laws: banking, insurance, stock (with conditions for investing abroad).

In general, Vietnam opens investment abroad for most industries, except for 6 prohibited industries and 4 restricted industries.

Delegates attending the seminar.
Delegates attending the seminar.

Overseas investment is also influenced by foreign exchange regulations such as Circular 12/2016/TT-NHNN dated June 29, 2016 and Circular 36/2018/TT-NHNN dated December 25, 2018. Leaders of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that the 2020 Investment Law has more open regulations for foreign exchange issues.

Previously, businesses were not allowed to transfer money before being granted a certificate, but now they are allowed to transfer a portion of money up to a maximum of 300,000 USD and not exceeding 5% of the total investment capital.

In terms of form, the law opens up many forms such as establishing economic organizations abroad, opening economic contracts (including all types of contracts), contributing capital, buying capital shares, buying and selling value documents… and other forms as prescribed.

With the process of applying for a registration certificate abroad, investment capital from 20,000 billion VND or more requires approval from the National Assembly, from 800 billion VND is the Prime Minister approval, less than 800 billion VND is under the authority of the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The application document process must be clear with a 15-day review period.

The Ministry has standardized all documents, especially projects under 20 billion VND can be done online. Conditions for granting a certificate are in accordance with the principles of the law, not an industry prohibited from investing abroad, having a commitment to arrange foreign currency, having the enterprise’s own decision to invest abroad and having a confirmation of no tax debt from the tax authority.

After being granted the certificate, the enterprise opens an account to register with the Central Bank to transfer capital out and receive capital in during the investment process. The Central Bank will monitor this capital flow.

Mr. Chung noted that the cooperation and connection between government agencies and businesses is very important. Businesses need to regularly contact government agencies domestically and abroad for support.

PRIORITY AREAS OF INVESTMENT COOPERATION IN 2024

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My, Vice President of VAFIE, Chairman of the Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NTVBC) said that Northern Territory is the third largest state in area and is Australia’s closest trade gateway with the Asia Pacific and ASEAN, it’s a place with a lot of development potential, strengths, as well as very good similarities and complementarities with Vietnam, But then have not been properly appreciated and exploited by both sides

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My, Vice Chairman of VAFIE, Chairman of NTVBC
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My, Vice Chairman of VAFIE, Chairman of NTVBC

Northern Territory is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, minerals, indigenous cultural heritage, many majestic nature reserves…

Northern Territory’s  GDP per capita is among the highest in Australia, with an area 4 times larger than Vietnam but The population is only about ¼ million people.

In 2013, accepted the invitation of Mr. Le Viet Duyen, Consul General of Vietnam in charge of Northern Territory, during a visit and working session with the Northern Territory Government, on the basis of analyzing the strengths and limitations between Vietnam and Northern Territory. Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My has recognized the opportunity and extremely great potential for investment and development cooperation between the two sides. 

Since 2014, as Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council in Northern Territory (NTVBC), Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My has strived to establish business and investment cooperation relationships between Vietnam and Northern Territory. Acts as a bridge to organize many delegations for many agencies from the Central Government, provinces of Vietnam and businesses to visit, study the environment, investment and business opportunities in the Northern Territory market.

2019, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My took on the additional role of Vice Chairman of the Association for Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE). With the strong support of Prof. Dr. Nguyen Mai, Chairman of VAFIE, a strategic cooperation agreement between VAFIE and NTVBC was signed, creating conditions for the coordination of resources of the two sides, comprehensive documents research, guidelines and policies of Vietnam and Australia in general, and Northern Territory in particular.

Especially focus on analyzing and researching Northern Territory development reports, strategies and policies. From there, the Vietnam – Northern Territory Trade and Investment Cooperation Strategy Profile was formed in mid-2021, and will be updated annually when there are new reports and policies

The Vietnam – North Australia Investment Cooperation Strategy is an initiative concretized at the local and business levels in implementing Vietnam – Australia Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy announced by the Governments of the two countries on December 21, 2021

Based on SWOT analysis, comparing strengths, limitations, challenges and opportunities for business cooperation and investment for businesses between Vietnam and Northern Territory, the report has proposed a number of priority areas for cooperation as follows: Construction materials, prefab, modular: taking advantage of the relatively low cost of labor to produce in Vietnam, some construction materials are prefabricated (prefab), assembled models (modular ), … has high demand in the Northern Territory construction market for export. Take advantage of the naturally raised buffaloes and cows in Northern Territory to cooperate in investing abattoir and  frozen meat blocks to import to Vietnam, then process and consume in Vietnam and other countries. Cooperation in tour exchange combined with market survey and business matching for both sides. Cooperation in vocational training and export of highly skilled labor to Northern Territory.

Experience from many failed overseas investment projects, the Vietnam – Northern Territory Investment Cooperation Strategy proposes an approach to a model of investment cooperation along the supply chain. Many stakeholders participate in the links that form a closed supply chain, ensuring the sustainability of the investment project and avoiding the risk of supply disruption.

The strategy also emphasizes combining and taking advantage of the strengths of overseas Vietnamese resources in Northern Territory in particular and Australia in general to participate in supply chains.

We would like to propose some priority areas for investment cooperation in 2024:

(1) Vocational education and training: exporting highly skilled labor and agricultural labor under the PALM / visa 403 program to Northern Territory. On March 1, 2024 in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Mr Nguyen Ba Hoan and Mr. Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador in Vietnam signed a MOU of Plan to implement between the Australian Government and The Vietnamese Government on supporting Vietnamese citizens to work in the agricultural industry in Australia. It is expected around 1,000 workers in 2024. 

(2) Red meat (buffalo, cow, camel, sheep, kangaroo, …) will be cooperated with Australia’s CAG Group, Rum Jungle Meat (one thousand hectares of farm + abattoir). Imports frozen primal-cut to Vietnam for processing, domestic consumption and export to neighboring countries.

(3) Vietnamese product showroom and distribution center in Darwin. Including building materials: dry-mixed concrete powder, ultra-light bricks and lightweight concrete (AAC), tile wood, MDF plywood, prefabricated modules, furniture, interior decoration, … ; consumer goods including packaged foods; and handicrafts. 

(4) Solar power: supplying supplies, raw materials, constructing and installing solar farms in Northern Territory. With the goal of Net-zero by 2050, Northern Territory has been implementing many renewable energy projects, especially solar power. One of the continental projects is the Australia Asia Power Link (AAPL) Project, with a total investment value about $30 billion, creating 1,500 direct jobs.

(5) NT Tourism: recreational and experience in golfing, hunting, fishing, racing, etc.

(6) Logistics: nonstop flight and direct sea-freight from VN ports to Darwin and vice versa.

SPECIAL MARKET TO PROMOTE TRADE ACTIVITIES

Addressing the seminar from Australia, Brian O’Gallagher, a Darwin City Councilor and an advisor to the board of directors of International College of Advanced Education (ICAE), affirmed Vietnam was a special market for the Northern Territory.

He said, “since leaving the Government in 2014, I have become Director of the Chamber of Commerce to promote trade and investment activities. I am also currently the Director in charge of training and international cooperation at ICAE – focusing on education in the fields of tourism and hotel management, vocational training, and therapy techniques.”

Mr. Brian O'Gallagher, Darwin City Councilor, Advisor to the Board of Directors of ICAE, spoke online.
Mr. Brian O’Gallagher, Darwin City Councilor, Advisor to the Board of Directors of ICAE, spoke online.

It can be seen that we also focus on occupations that are really in great demand for students, including Vietnamese. Northern Territory has a relatively small population, of which there are about 260,000 Vietnamese.

In fact, this is an area that accounts for 18% of the total national land. This is a great opportunity for investment in Northern Territory with foreign investors. 

Northern Territory is rich in natural resources and minerals, with existing land to cooperate and develop with many partners, including Vietnam.

We also develop in the oil and gas sector when exploiting this resource offshore, providing 10% of Japan’s energy needs, providing 10% of LNG gas to Japan.

In the agricultural sector, there are also many investors participating, including Vietnam. Another great opportunity is to connect different tours and tourist routes in Australia, National Park…

An important point in Northern Territory is its international education programs. Students study to learn a profession and have many job opportunities.

Northern Territory has special regulations for programs related to study and research. We have a quick approval process. If a student comes to Australia and studies a profession, they will have the opportunity to study for 2 years, and then look for a job. Student visas are for the duration of study and can be extended.

If students complete their studies, they can qualify and apply for permanent resident status and become an Australian citizen.

In Sydney, it is more complicated, even taking 10-12 years longer. Darwin only lasts 12 months.

We issue restaurant and hotel management certificates. For the first 6 months, international students will study and work 24 hours a week. By semester 2, working hours increase from 20 to 49 hours/week. After 12 months, there are cases where the income is 12 million VND/week – 25 million VND/week.

Businesses in Northern Territory are in great need of labor. Currently, there are more than 101,000 students from India, Europe, North America and we also have a large force from the Philippines and Nepal. However, there are not many students from Vietnam.

VIETNAM IS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR CENTRAL AGRI GROUP

On behalf of Central Agri Group, Mr. Johnnie Dichiera, Managing Director of Central Agri Group (CAG) thanked Vabis Group, the Vietnam’s Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE), Investor Magazine, and the Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NTVBC) organized this seminar today.

We are extremely pleased to be contributing today allowing us the opportunity to give all in attendance an overview of our national business, and particularly our Northern Territory division Rum Jungle Meat Exports.

Central Agri Group is a national meat processing business with a broad footprint across Australia having divisions in Victoria, The Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Aside from Meat Processing facilities our group also owns and operates Cattle Feedlots, Farms, Live Export Quarantine Depots, Cold Storage facilities and Retail outlets in these states.

Our northern territory division – Rum Jungle Meat Exports Abattoir and farm is located 105 km south of Darwin in the locality of Batchelor. Our processing facility is a tier two export accredited abattoir and is a multi-species plant currently processing Cattle and Buffalo.

Central Agri Group has made a significant investment in the Northern Territory, an investment we truly believe is viable and at the gateway to our brothers and sisters in South East Asian Markets. Markets whom value Australian red meat highly and we see endless opportunity and scope in these markets with the right partnerships.

Vietnam is a market that is extremely important to our business, a market we have been active in for over 20 years.

Mr. Johnnie Dichiera, Executive Director of Central Agri Group (CAG) spoke online.
Mr. Johnnie Dichiera, Executive Director of Central Agri Group (CAG) spoke online.

Over this time we have developed relationships and supply chains in great strength with customers in Vietnam, these are respected relationships built over time and relationships we value highly however until recently we have not been able to identify a suitable Joint Venture partner. 

A Joint Venture partner who can add significant value to our primary business, is invested in our industry not only in Vietnam but also has the capability to invest here in Australia and together jointly grow and further develop important supply chains.

This all changed since recently meeting Mr. My of the Vabis Group. We very quickly identified positive synergies between our respective parties – Mr My being a pioneer of the Live Cattle trade between Vietnam and Australia, 

A businessman committed to the Agriculture industry clearly evident in his existing investment portfolio and man with a passion to develop the red meat supply chain and trade between our countries. 

Since our alignment with Vabis group we have had several discussions around opportunities specifically related to our Rum Jungle Meat Exports division market access issues particularly regulatory protocols and we believe that all these challenges and issues can be overcome with Mr My’s influence and positive energy.

Discussions with Vabis group have continued and Jointly with our teams we are formalizing a plan and business model – this includes exciting opportunities for select parties to co invest in this Joint Venture with Vabis and Central Agri Group.

WE WANT TO HAVE A DIRECT FLIGHT FROM VIETNAM TO NORTH TERRITORY

Mr. Jason Hanna, Vice Chairman of  Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NT-VBC) informed: Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NT-VBC) is trying its best to connect Vietnamese businesses and Australia through cooperation and connection programs.

Many Vietnamese and Northern Territory’s businesses have also personally connected to seek investment opportunities. NT-VBC pays special attention to promoting cooperation between the native ethnic minorities of Northern Territory and Vietnamese investment activities. It can be said that there will be many opportunities for cooperation between Northern Territory and Vietnam with support from the two countries’ governments.

Mr. Jason Hanna, Vice Chairman Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NT-VBC)
Mr. Jason Hanna, Vice Chairman Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NT-VBC)

From the Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council side, we will continue to try our best to promote Northern Territory businesses to have more attention, important training programs – facilities, and promote cooperation between 2 countries, opening new opportunities for the business community and people. The fact that the time zone difference is not too long (2 hours) it is an advantage.

For workers and students working in the tourism and hotel sectors, the salary in Northern Territory is quite high and there are many opportunities to promote and exchange methods. In addition, investing in Northern Territory also has many opportunities in industries such as: Industry, some emerging data industries, petrochemicals, aerospace, especially in the agricultural sector.

We believe that the opportunity for cooperation in agriculture, export processing between Vietnam and Northern Territory is huge. I know that Vietnam really likes Australian beef, and we really like Vietnamese beef Pho – that’s a great opportunity. There are many ways to open opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and Northern Territory.

We know, Vietnam also has world-famous mango exports. Therefore, we are interested in how to open more opportunities and methods of cooperation between the two sides. The Australian government is also having a strategy to ensure the strategic position of Northern Territory, so job opportunities open up for students from other countries, including Vietnam.

We believe that, with 50 years of cooperation, there will be great opportunities in investing in golf tourism and hunting. We hope there will be a direct flight from Vietnam to Northern Territory, thereby creating cooperation and investment opportunities between the two sides.

OPEN DISCUSSION

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Editorial Director of Investor Magazine, Permanent Vice Chairman of VAFIE and expert Danny Vo participated in the coordination.

VIETNAMESE PEOPLE ABROAD ARE A HUGE RESOURCE

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: At the beginning of the discussion session, I would like to hear opinions from Mrs. Dang Thi Thu Ha, Director of the Department of Economic Relations, Science and Technology, State Committee for Vietnamese Overseas, Ministry Diplomatic. In addition to the common points about potential cooperation opportunities presented by the delegates, can you share some additional issues with enterprises?

Mrs Dang Thi Thu Ha, a representative from Ministry of Foreign Affair (MOFA): We appreciate the idea of organizing today’s seminar, helping to strengthen the cooperative relationship between Vietnam and Australia in particular and other countries in general. From the perspective of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese – MOFA, we appreciate the contributions of businesses, Vietnamese people in Northern Territory returning to invest in Vietnam, helping to strengthen cooperative relations 2 side, while also bringing jobs to workers.

Currently, there are about 6 million Vietnamese people abroad with 421 projects, with a capital up to 1.72 billion USD. Remittances sent domestically from 2003 to present amounted to 230 billion USD, equivalent to FDI disbursed during the same period. Every year, 400-500 experts return to work in the country.

Mrs. Dang Thi Thu Ha from State Committee for Oversea Vietnamese, MOFA.
Mrs. Dang Thi Thu Ha from State Committee for Oversea Vietnamese, MOFA.

This shows that Vietnamese people living abroad are a huge resource in the country and Vietnam’s policies are increasconditions for Vietnamese people living abroad to invest back to the country. Regarding Northern Territory, this is a large land with few people. Therefore, the investment opportunity is huge. However, investing in an project is not easy and takes time, but bringingingly creating favorable  workers oversea is a good idea. We hope that businesses will be interested in the possibility of bringing Vietnamese workers to Northern Territory.

In August 2024, the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese will organize the 4th conference of Vietnamese people abroad to promote the contributions of Vietnamese people abroad to the country.

SUPPORT VIETNAMESE ENTERPRISES TO INVEST ABROAD

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: As an experienced veteran diplomat, what advice do you have for Vietnamese businesses when investing abroad, how to take advantage of the host country’s help as well as receive Support from Embassies?

Mrs. Dang Thi Thu Ha: Supporting people and businesses to develop investment abroad is a common and central task of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is promoting economic diplomacy, considering this a key work. Therefore, business support is also the focus of the representative agency.

We also recommend that when businesses invest abroad, they should contact representative agencies first. Because investing abroad also has partners like this and that, representative agencies will provide information to businesses and verify information to support businesses.

In fact, there have been cases where overseas investors were deceived and representative agencies had to join to support them. Therefore, before doing business with oversea partners, you should consult the representative agency first.

VIETNAM – NORTH TERRITORY INVESTMENT COOPERATION NEEDS A LONG-TERM VISION

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: Continuing this, I would like to connect with Mrs. Nguyen Thanh Ha, Consulate General of Vietnam in Australia. She has followed the opinions, presentations, and experts pointing out potential opportunities but rarely talked about difficulties and challenges. I would like to hear her objective assessment about investing in Australia in general as well as the North Territory in particular, what do businesses need to pay special attention to?

Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha, VN Consul General in Northern Territory: We have 3 advantages, one is that Northern Territory’s leaders attach importance to relations with Vietnam, not only in the general federal strategy but also the State’s own strategy also emphasizes this priority.

Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha, VN Consul General in NT discussed online.
Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha, VN Consul General in NT discussed online.

Second is the close geographical distance, the climate in Northern Territory is mild, similar to the South of Vietnam. Third is rich resources: Fertile land, many minerals,…

On the contrary, there are also some difficulties such as Northern Territory and Vietnam do not know much about each other, secondly, government leaders value Vietnam but businesses do not know much and have not worked together much.

Besides, there are no direct transport routes or direct flights, which limits travel between the two sides, making economic, trade and educational exchange difficult. There is also visa policy, recently they have tightened visas for students, tourists, and workers.

In my opinion, to promote tourism, trade and investment, it is necessary to exchange delegations and regular exchange activities. In addition, with events like this, there is no need to spread to localities across the country, not just only business. 

In addition, the future exchange between Northern Territory and Vabis Group needs to have a long-term vision, building a 3-year program, not just 1 year. In addition, when a business invests in a certain area, it can approach a representative abroad to assist in finding a more suitable partner. But first, each business itself needs to proactively find an agency appropriate representative to meet their needs.

NORTHERN TERRITORY
OPPORTUNITIES TO SOLVE EMPLOYMENT FOR ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: Following the program, I would like to invite the comments of Mr. Hoang Van Xo, Director of the Department of International Relations, Committee for Ethnic Minorities. Can you talk more about the opportunity to cooperate with Australia’s ethnic minorities (who own 50% of the land in this area) with the northern mountainous provinces, where there are some similarities and a large concentration of people minority of our country.

Mr. Hoang Van Xo from Central Committee for Ethnic Minorities: I would like to present 3 ideas as follows. First, ethnic minority take nearly 3/4 of the country’s natural area, concentrated in 52 provinces and cities. These are areas with rugged terrain and difficult transportation.

Ethnic minorities in Vietnam are 14.3 million people, accounting for more than 14% of the total population in the country. Among them, ethnic minorities are the poorest in the country, accounting for 60% of the total poverty in the country. Ethnic minorities are characterized by a serious lack of residential land and production land, natural condition and climatic conditions. In basic areas, essential infrastructure still faces many difficulties. Of the 14.3 million population, 8.4 million people are of working age.

This is great potential. We research many poverty escape policies for ethnic minorities, aiming to train ethnic minority children. Labor is their greatest asset. This is the challenge and Northern Territory is an opportunity to take that challenge. We envisioned a day when ethnic people would have villages right in Northern Territory.

Mr. Hoang Van Xo from Central Committee for Ethnic Minorities
Mr. Hoang Van Xo from Central Committee for Ethnic Minorities

Second, we want to talk about the organizational structure of the Nationalities Committee in recent years. In 2022, the Ministry of Education and Training hand over 5 university preparatory schools to the Committee for Ethnic Minorities. During the process of working at a preparatory school, this is a valuable human resource. Children need quick training to go to work.

Opening up opportunities for cooperation with university preparatory schools and vocational training is a great opportunity for poor households, especially ethnic minorities. There are also cases where students can study at a higher research level. Following this issue, we hope to have many partners connecting with university preparatory schools. To cooperate in training high-skilled occupations aimed at labor export and providing labor for high technologies.

Third, when I come to Northern Territory in 2022, I see this area is nearly 4 times the bigger than Vietnam, and the climate is almost equivalent to Ho Chi Minh City. And, flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Northern Territory is only 4 hours. The population is 30% indigenous people. This is great potential if we cooperate with indigenous people and this is a great opportunity for Vietnam.

We have discussions with the Government. The two sides will promote cooperation between ethnic minorities and Indigenous peoples of Northern Territory for the next 50 years. The Prime Minister suggested that the Australian side consider the Vietnamese community as an ethnic group in Australia. In Australia, Vietnamese is ranked the 5th language spoken, so this is a very special cooperation. In the near future, we will sign a cooperation agreement with the Australian Government.

BUSINESS INVESTMENT IN NORTHERN TERRITORY IS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: Thank you Mr. Hoang Van Xo. The story of cooperation according to Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha mentioned about the visa issue, is there any way and any recommendations, on the basis of comprehensive strategic partnership to untie visas for Vietnamese people going to Northern Territory, or untie some entry conditions such as English (IELTS 4.5), can you share more about this?

Mr. Hoang Van Xo: Currently, the Australian Embassy supports ODA capital, we use this capital to develop ethnic minorities. We also have an agricultural visa, providing a number of visa types to Australia.

According to our on-site survey, there are cases of people applying for a visa to work in Australia. Students work, study, and earn money. That’s a good path.

However, we need to work further with the Australian Embassy in Vietnam. The Northern Territory government has its own and specific policies. There is a funny story about an Aboriginal person who married a non-Australian and was still granted citizenship the next day.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: I want to return to Ms. Nguyen Thanh Ha, based on the recent upgrade of relations between the two countries, can we expect the Australian side to untie visas for workers from Vietnam?

Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha: In the 2022-2023 period, after the covid 19 pandemic, Australia was easy on visas for immigrants to Australia with an amount of 700,000 people out of the total Australian population. Currently, there are a lot of immigrants coming to Australia, Australia is in a housing crisis, so in 2024 they decided to tighten visas.

With a general visa policy, Australia cannot classify each topic or each country. Therefore, it is difficult to expect the two countries to upgrade to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia easing visas for Vietnam. However, difficult does not mean impossible, maybe they offer new programs, or new types of visas.

The good news is that when people come to Australia to do business, they have a great chance of success and contribute a lot of taxes to the Australian Government, so they appreciate it very much. In Northern Territory, Vietnamese students can get visas and citizenship very well, or those who invest in business in Northern Territory often have more success than failure.

INVESTING IN AUSTRALIA
SHOULD PREPARE BASIC FACILITIES

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan: Thank you Consul General. Next, instead of coordinating, I want businesses to directly ask questions to delegates to get their concerns resolved.

Bà Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Hạnh. Ảnh: Trọng Hiếu.
Bà Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Hạnh. Ảnh: Trọng Hiếu.

Nguyen Thi My Hanh, Director of Viet Anh Global Trade and Investment Promotion Joint Stock Company: I have been going back and forth, doing business with Australia for many years, Darwin is a relatively new market, so I want to have a some questions.

  1. In the field of trade promotion, there are many conditions for Vietnamese investors investing abroad, for example, in the case of applying for a certificate of investment abroad, enterprises must also get a number of requirements and certain conditions. So for Australia or Darwin, is there any support or incentives to simplify procedures for investors?
  2. There are many forms of investing abroad such as capital contribution, share purchase, joint venture, association, so what is the legality of these forms to strictly ensure Vietnamese investors?
  3. Regarding taxes, in Australia I know that tax rates vary between regions, so what are the tax incentives in the Darwin area?

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My: A subtlety in investing and working in Australia is that on the one hand, they need labor and investment collaboration, but they do not promote massive attraction but attract selectively.

Accordingly, Northern Territory once offered a 3-year visa option to explore. Their investment attraction is very methodical but does not apply tax reduction policies. Some countries have mutual funds when cooperate with local investors, but this is not the case in Australia. They have a 10-20 year development policy to increase the population but must be selective, workers must be highly skilled, self-sufficient, and to develop the country.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My

Therefore, it should be seen that this is a win-win relationship. Investors should prepare basic tools, including English. Vietnamese people are very successful in Australia but there is also a small group that is not really good.

Ms. Nguyen Thi My Hanh: During the process of investors coming to Australia to invest, are there any incentives or support policies?

Professor – PhD  Nguyen Mai: Previously, investment abroad was very limited, but in recent years, selective investment abroad has been allowed. In investing abroad, the issue of transferring foreign currency is very important. Recently, there has been an easy of foreign exchange issues, but businesses need to research more about central bank policies on investing abroad.

Besides, when investing in Northern Territory, you need to go through a representative agency to absorb more. Northern Territory highly encourages investment, they are ready to discuss about increasing investment in Northern Territory. Therefore, businesses need to absorb more clearly before investing.

Madam Nguyen Thanh Ha: As far as I know, the Northern Territory Government gives incentives to two subjects. For the first object, your company works in a joint venture, or your company hires local people, or people from the Northern Territory region. Second, businesses invest in the field which they want to develop. For example, recently VietJet Air intended to open a direct flight, and Northern Territory will provide maximum support.

Lawyer Phuong Huu Oanh, Chairman and Director of Vietnam Cong Ly Law Firm: When investing abroad, Vietnamese businesses need to research investment cooperation agreements, like in Australia, before investing. There are many protection for businesses.

Next, if we invest outside Northern Territory, research about their investment laws. There are full policies and specific regulations. Another issue is tax law, avoiding double taxation. I also hope that in the future, I and VAFIE can accompany businesses in foreign investment

POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPING A TRADING SYSTEM AND LARGE SUPERMARKET CHAIN

Mr. Nguyen Phu Hoa, Vietnam Trade Counselor in Australia: After the Prime Minister came to upgrade relations, businesses are also very interested in Northern Territory. I researched the market and saw great potential with a lot of lands. Business delegations should come to the site to survey.

I see the potential to develop a commercial system and large supermarket chain. Many businesses in Australia have been very successful in developing supermarket chains. Capital is not a big problem when the Australian trade agency can support.

The important issue is that businesses have determination. The Australian government also has big plans to develop Ba Cu into a major center. Therefore, I think we need a longer-term vision on trade, logistics…

Mr. Danny Vo: Are there any government incentives or programs to encourage investment in the Northern Territory? What are the opportunities and challenges for foreign investors wanting to invest in Northern Territory?

Mr. Jason Hanna: What incentives are there for immigrants? The Northern Territory Government has an employment fund for local people. Accordingly, we have ideas to promote job creation through connections between local businesses and foreign investors. There have been projects supported up to 1 million USD and factories accessing funds up to 10 million USD.

In addition, the government also has a Northern Territory infrastructure development fund of up to 10 million USD and has granted loans of 78 million USD to promote infrastructure and farms in Northern Territory. It is important to strengthen cooperation with local businesses.

Mr. Bui Cong Giang, Director of Alpha Capital Company: In my opinion, there needs to be a policy to encourage businesses to invest abroad to bring money back to enrich the country, like Japanese and Chinese traders or Taiwan. I recommend that the Department of Foreign Investment needs to propose to the government to have a policy to encourage or strictly manage with the issue of investing abroad.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc My: We have a website and are ready to share information and answer delegates’ questions. We expect that by November 2024, there will be aircraft routes, opening representative offices and warehouses. I think this is a very good year because the Northern Territory Government is holding elections. This is convenient for businesses and investors.

Therefore, we need to prepare important human resources and resources. This is a step that we need to promote. I believe that is the evolution of the business in 50 years. I confirm that the steps are in the right direction, it’s just how we do it. We would like to thank the delegates present today.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan made a closure speech of the seminar.
Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan made a closure speech of the seminar.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan concluded the conference: On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I would like to thank the delegates and distinguished guests for attending the seminar. The seminar shared a lot of specific and practical information. The Organizing Committee believes that the meaning of the seminar will not only sharing information, but we will connect together to exploit a pristine land full of potential. See you again on future survey trips.

VAFIE, in addition to the function of supporting foreign enterprises to invest in Vietnam, also has the function of supporting Vietnamese enterprises to invest abroad. The Association is ready to connect with you to enter markets with great potential, bringing benefits to businesses and investors. Thank you very much!

Vietnam – Australia economic relations have developed strongly in the past decade, with trade turnover doubling, reaching 13.8 billion USD in 2023.

To now, Australia has had 631 investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of 2.04 billion USD.

Vietnamese businesses have also invested in Australia in 94 projects with a total registered capital of 584 million USD in fields such as agriculture, commercial business, real estate business, and manufacturing and processing industry.

From March 5-9, 2024, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh have an official visit to Australia. The most prominent point of the visit was that the Prime Ministers of the two countries announced upgrading Vietnam – Australia relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

2024 Vietnam - Northern Territory Investment Cooperation Seminar started at 8am at 65 Van Mieu, Dong Da District, Hanoi
2024 Vietnam – Northern Territory Investment Cooperation Seminar started at 8am at 65 Van Mieu, Dong Da District, Hanoi

The two Prime Ministers agreed to coordinate closely to implement six major directions, including: political trust, higher diplomacy, and more strategy; Economic, trade, and investment cooperation is more inclusive, substantive, and effective, taking advantage of the potential of the two highly complementary economies; promote stronger science-technology cooperation, innovation, digital transformation, and green transformation; cultural cooperation, education-training, environment, and response to climate change more comprehensively and deeply; People connections between generations are more open and sincere; and understand, sympathize and share more about security and defense cooperation.

Upgrading the Vietnam – Australia relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is an important premise to bring cooperation in all fields between the two countries into greater depth, effectiveness and substance, especially cooperation economics, trade, investment.

In particular, the Northern Territory, the state with the third largest area and the closest trade gateway of the Australian Federation with the Asia Pacific region and ASEAN, has a lot of development potential and advantages. As well as very good similarities and complementarity with Vietnam, but have not been properly evaluated and exploited properly by both sides.

Previously, on September 3, 2021, the Vietnam’s Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE) and the Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NTVBC) signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement to jointly promote trade relationships and investment cooperation between Vietnamese businesses and Northern Territory businesses.

In the above context, with the sponsorship of the Vietnam’s Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE), Investor Magazine coordinated with the  Northern Territory Vietnam Business Council (NTVBC) to organize the seminar “Cooperation Investing in Vietnam – Northern Territory in 2024”. Time: 8:00 a.m., Thursday, March 28, 2024. Location: Hall on the 1st floor, No. 65 Van Mieu, Dong Da District, City. Hanoi.