Vietnam Draws Record $45 Billion in Foreign Investment

Taiwan was largest investor with Formosa Group's $7.8 billion steel plant

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam received a record $45.3 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) pledges, more than double the total of last year, the government said July 29.

Taiwan topped the list of investors with FDI pledges worth $8.4 billion, a figure that includes a $7.8 billion steel plant by the Formosa Group, said the state-run General Statistics Office (GSO). Next came Japan -- the partner with Kuwait in a $6 billion oil refinery project -- with a total of $7.2 billion in FDI pledges, and Malaysia with $5.1 billion.

The inflow of pledged capital comes in the year after communist Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization, promising to level the playing field for foreign companies in a variety of industrial sectors.

From January to July, Vietnam's government licensed 654 new projects worth a total of $44.5 billion and approved $788.6 million in additional spending for 188 existing projects.

The total FDI pledges of $45.3 billion represent a 373% rise over the same period last year and more than double the record $21.3 billion in FDI pledged for the whole of last year.

Of the total, 381 projects worth $21.5 billion were in the industrial sector, 243 projects worth $22.8 billion in services, and the remainder in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.

Disbursed FDI for the seven-month period reached $6 billion, up 43% against the same period last year.

The GSO also said that Vietnam's industrial production in the first seven months of the year reached more than $22 billion, up by 16.4% year-on-year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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