Many foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses are taking the full brunt of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and they are in dire need of support from the government to weather the storm.
The Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment reports that one of the biggest impacts of the COVID-19 is the cancellation of business trips by giant international firms such as Apple and ExxonMobil, both of which are seen as potential investors in the country.
In addition, FDI businesses are also suffering from a shortage of foreign experts and technicians whilst simultaneously encountering difficulties in importing raw input materials, negatively affecting production activities and the implementation of projects nationally.
Many FDI businesses have also endured severe financial difficulties as a result of the sharp decreases occurring in the consumption market, leading to stagnant production, especially among businesses that had large export orders from countries hit by the COVID-19.
Meanwhile, several firms have been unable to maintain their business activities, with many deciding to suspend operations or give their employees time off, with some workers even losing their jobs.
To deal with the situation, foreign business associations nationally, including the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocharm) and the Korean Chamber of Commerce (Korcharm), have proposed that relevant management agencies put forward synchronous solutions aimed at supporting FDI companies. This can be done by implementing policies such as extending bank loans and tax payment deadlines, as well as reducing interest rates that businesses have to pay.
In its recent review, the Foreign Investment Agency underlines the need to facilitate entry procedures for foreign experts. A suggested policy is to allow them to work in a separate area or choose to self-isolate under the supervision of the provincial People's Committee if they test negative for the COVID-19.
In addition, the agency also proposes that foreign experts working at FDI businesses should be allowed to extend their work permits to temporarily replace those who have not been able to enter the country due to the current situation.
The review also contains a request to grant work permits to Taiwanese experts in order to replace Chinese specialists who are unable to enter the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Furthermore, the agency also suggests that customs clearance procedures for raw materials and imported goods for production could be speeded up during the epidemic period.
There have also been calls for relevant ministries and localities to halt all inspections of FDI businesses during the epidemic period, enabling them to focus on production and their ultimate recovery in the aftermath of the epidemic.
With regards to investment projects, the agency proposes extending the schedule of project implementation and simplifying administrative procedures. VOV