Overseas investments in agriculture run high risk
Despite the increase in Vietnam’s overseas investments, local enterprises are facing a high legal risk over their investments, especially in the agriculture sector, said attendees of a seminar held today, January 10.
At the seminar under the theme: “Vietnam cross-border investment: Risks and challenges on legal compliance,” delegates agreed that enterprises active in the agriculture sector have a high demand for land and human resources, so legal risks tend to relate to environmental and social problems.
According to a report by the Ministry of Planning and Investment delivered at the seminar, Vietnamese firms invested US$357.5 million in foreign markets, mainly Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, in the January-November period. These markets were Vietnam’s largest, second-largest and eighth-largest destinations for overseas investments in the period, respectively.
At the seminar, guidelines to reduce risks for Vietnamese enterprises making investments in agriculture in other countries were introduced. The guidelines were worked out based on the practical experience of six enterprises and two associations with reference to the United Nations’ principles on business and human rights.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the guidelines would help reduce risks related to investment activities and provide investors with more information to enhance their investments’ effectiveness.
According to Trinh Le Nguyen, director of PanNature, an organization dedicated to protecting the diversity of life and improving human well-being, the guidelines are intended for Vietnamese enterprises investing in countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, especially Laos and Cambodia.
Babeth Ngoc Han Lefur, country director of Oxfam in Vietnam, said Vietnam’s investments in the agriculture sector in countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion have had both positive and negative effects on the local people’s lives.
Projects have created many new jobs on the one hand but have taken away their traditional livelihoods and harmed the environment on the other, Lefur added.