Ambassador Kritenbrink Remarks: 2019 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) Launch

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Tower, Hanoi

Dr. Vũ Tiến Lộc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, central and provincial government leaders, members of the business community and honored guests, good morning! I am very pleased to welcome you to the virtual launch of the 2019 Provincial Competitiveness Index Report.

I would like to commend the Government of Vietnam for its impressive strategy and proactive measures in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. I would also like to take this moment and thank Dr. Loc and his team for all their work to help the Embassy move donations of medical supplies to the United States. VCCI’s willingness to join us in connecting the generous donors here in Vietnam with the American Red Cross is yet another example of the incredibly strong partnership we enjoy. The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to demonstrate their concern and adaptability in so many ways – such organizing this launch virtually.

I am very pleased to share that the U.S. Government, through USAID, has recently committed $5 million to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Vietnamese economy in addition to the nearly 4.5 million that was previously announced to respond to priority outbreak response needs, totaling $9.5 million in assistance to Vietnam for response to COVID-19.

I would like to highlight three main findings in this year’s report.

Equal opportunity for domestic private firms: The 2019 PCI survey showed that government favoritism toward particular businesses appears to have declined this year. There are also signs of declining favoritism by the government towards large and connected firms. Therefore, domestic private firms have more opportunities to register and operate their business in a fair business environment.

Informal charges are declining: Both domestic and foreign invested enterprises reported less corruption and informal charges at the provincial level, which improved firms’ attitude toward regulations. For example, about 41 percent of firms in the 2019 PCI survey indicated that they paid a commission to win procurement contracts, showing a continuation of the downward trend from 48 percent in 2018 and 55 percent in 2017.

Increased Adoption of Technology: The last chapter of the PCI 2019 survey showed that Vietnamese businesses are moving towards greater adoption of technology. This is a good sign because efficiency-enhancing technology will help firms improve competitiveness, especially when participating in supply chains, both regional and domestic.

Let me congratulate the top performing province in this year’s report: Quảng Ninh, which again successfully secured the first rank in three consecutive years.

And congratulations to PCI on its 15th anniversary! PCI has played a critical role in driving transparency and accountability in provincial economic governance reform over the last 15 years.

Thank you to VCCI for being such a wonderful partner. Your success is our success. Your prosperity is our prosperity. Let us continue on this path together.

And thank you all for virtually being a part of the 2019 PCI report launch today and for your commitment to further economic reforms. I wish you the best of health, success, and happiness.