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US DFC Chief Executive Officer Speaks of US’s Plan to Expand Investment in Vietnam

Diep Nguyen
BizLIVE -

While in the Indo-Pacific, Boehler will meet with business leaders and high-level government officials to explore investment opportunities, as well as discuss ways to enhance cooperation in support of regional development, economic growth, and stability.

US DFC Chief Executive Officer Speaks of US’s Plan to Expand Investment in Vietnam
US delegation working with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc - Photo Credit: Vietnam News Agency
A U.S. government delegation led by U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler will travel to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar from October 23 through October 27 to advance economic growth in the region.
Boehler will be joined by President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Kimberly Reed, and other senior government officials from Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Energy.
While in the Indo-Pacific, Boehler will meet with business leaders and high-level government officials to explore investment opportunities, as well as discuss ways to enhance cooperation in support of regional development, economic growth, and stability.
On this occasion, BizLIVE held an interview with U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler and Josh Cartin,Managing Director, Indo Pacific, and Senior Advisor to the CEO, at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to get some of the reviews of the business trip and US’s plan of cooperation in Vietnam. 
BizLIVE: Would you brief me about the outcomes of your meetings during your visit in Vietnam?
Mr. Boehler: Sure, we had a really positive series of meetings. First, we met with the Central Bank's Economic Efficient Chair, we met with the Prime Minister. And then we met with the Minister of Planning and Investment. And a lot of what we discussed is the relationship between Vietnam and the United States and how to increase investment in the area. So we have a number of projects that are about to come to fruition, with billions of dollars of energy projects that we're looking at investing it in the next few months. And then we discussed a number of infrastructure projects, including the North South highway, major airport, and energy, planning out even further in energy. So it was a very productive visit, where the main topic was expanding our investment in Vietnam. The other thing I know is that we couldn't come alone. I mean, DFC is the Development Bank of the United States. But we brought five other US government agencies, total government agency, including the Export Import Bank, which is $150 billion bank that focuses on exports, that was just reauthorized by Congress, that doesn't have projects yet in Vietnam, because they're new, but really wants to expand, we brought the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, Treasury, and the State Department. So a huge contingent of US delegation, which really reflects the importance of Vietnam and the United States interest in investing further in the country.
BizLIVE: What is DFC's roadmap for your cooperation with Vietnam? And which areas that your cooperation will focus on?
Joshua Cartin:Hi, this is Josh Cartin, I work as an advisor for Development Finance Corporation. In terms of a roadmap, we have a few things that we're doing. One is we have a working group that we engage in with the Ministry of planning and investment. And through that working group, we look at the Vietnam government's priorities, and try to take those priorities. And through discussions, try to structure them into projects that are appealing or suitable not only for DFC, but for private sector or public sector companies. And the second thing that's worth noting is that the DFC is expanding our presence in Asia. So last year, we had only one transaction official in Asia. Now we've got three and soon we'll have four. One of those officials is dedicated specifically to projects in the Mekong region, and Vietnam will be a major focus of her work. And then finally, we're working very closely with other  partners. We know that the Japanese Prime Minister Suga is just here, we have a very close partnership with Japan Bank for International Cooperation, JBIC, we're working with other partners, such as the Australian to come up with co-financing or blended financing packages for both Vietnam and other countries in the region. And finally, in terms of our priorities, of course, CEO Boehler mentioned, energy. Really, we already have other projects in our pipeline. We announced the project in aquaculture, we're looking at projects in the education space, you have to be reasonably invested in a fund which is investing in technology companies. So we're very interested in investing in Vietnam across the board. And in the coming months, we'll be working closely with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and other nations to try to identify projects in those areas.
BizLIVE: What would you comment on the Vietnamese business environment And regulatory reform, which areas that the business community is seeing improvements? And which areas that have room for improvement?
Mr. Boehler: Well, as we at the DFC looked at, we face a few challenges and you're right, regulatory environment, because DFC is, we invest in commercially feasible projects, commercial projects. So what I'm doing: soft loans or concessionary lending or foreign assistance, we're trying to bring the private sector into commercial projects. But the number one challenge is making sure that infrastructure projects, which are big projects, often directed by the government or suggested by the government. The number one challenge is identifying marketing executives that got to attract funding center investment. That's the number one challenge. Vietnam has, you know, compared to some of your neighbors, has a real advantage, and that is that the US private sector is very positive dynamics in Vietnam's economic environment, growth rates are going very good. The country's growing very quickly. There's a stable political environment, which, which obviously reduces risk, and very favorable demographics, and a population that, you know, with the technical expertise to really deliver on high quality growth. So,  Vietnam already has the US private sectors attention. And now it's just a matter of, you know, of working to make sure that commercial incentives are and sort of the way risk is a portion of the infrastructure projects, to make sure those are aligned. And DFC has got to work very closely with the Vietnam government to make that happen. over.
Just another thing I'd like to add is I'd like to, I'd like to know. I'd like to know not only the close relationship between Vietnam and the United States, but also the close personal relationship between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States. And the President of the United States asked me to convey that to the Prime Minister. They have a positive personal relationship. And I just want to express our support of his leadership in the country. 
Thank you for the information!

DIEP NGUYEN