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Ha Noi plans financial centre   2011-03-26 - VNS

Ha Noi is planning to turn the area west of West Lake into a world-class banking and financial centre by 2030.

The 15-ha area would be home to credit organisations, financial and insurance funds and stock exchanges, said Tran Viet Thang from Ha Noi's Planning and Architecture Department at a meeting yesterday.

Additional new trade and financial hubs would also be situated in the capital's northern district of Dong Anh, where an exhibition centre of 50-100ha would be built, and in the south-western area of the city, including My Dinh new urban area, and Pham Hung and Tran Duy Hung streets.

Meanwhile, the traditional trade and financial centre, which now includes Trang Tien and Ly Thai To streets and the surrounding areas, would continue its important role in the city's economy, said Thang.

However no detailed blueprints to turn these plans into reality were released by the Planning and Architecture Department.

"We are waiting for the Ha Noi master plan to 2030 to be approved by the Prime Minister," said Thang.

The city's determination to build its key trade and financial centre was recognised at a municipal People's Council meeting in 2007.

Addressing the meeting, deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee Hoang Manh Hien said developing the financial, banking and trade systems was the capital city's top priority.

Speaking at the event, Alderman Michael Bear, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said the development of a financial centre in Ha Noi was very important.

"One of the priorities of your Government is what we call equitisation of your State-owned enterprises," he said. "They will need cash and liquidity and your financial centre will help that enormously."

Assistance was also offered from London's financial centre.

"City of London can offer help as we have a deep pool of liquidity," said Bear.

From his experience at the City of London, which is home to half of Europe's investment banks, Bear said a pool of talented people and a business friendly environment, good infrastructure and modern support services, such as 24/7 communication, were key elements needed to develop a major financial centre.

According to Louis Taylor, vice chairman and general director of Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam, key building blocks of world-class financial centres also include open and fair financial markets, free flow of capital and a convertible currency, as well as the prevalent use of a globally familiar language.

A fair, transparent, efficient legal regime, a sound and fair tax regime, and the implementation of international standards and low costs in doing business were also key to such centres, he said.

"And it's important for any centre to have a vision," said Taylor.

The English businessmen saw Ha Noi's great potential.

"I see the potential you have to realise your goal to become a very well-recognised city," said Bear.

Taylor said Ha Noi's business environment had evolved a great deal since 2008.

According to him, recent improvements include the adoption of new securities and enterprise laws, an improved credit information system and the one-stop shop that eased the company start-up process.

A decrease in corporate income tax from 28 per cent to 25 per cent, increasing competition in the logistics industry and the application of new customs administration procedures as part of World Trade Organisation membership were also good signs, said Taylor.

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