Complacency threatens Vietnam reforms

The government has only a limited window to implement meaningful reforms before investor interest fades.

Bui Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s minister of planning and investment, said in November that final conditions for making listed companies eligible to scrap foreign-ownership limits would be published by the end of December.

It didn’t happen.

Investors are angry but not surprised. Hanoi is notorious for announcing grand reforms that get strangled at the implementation level. Foreign ownership is a classic example. The prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, decreed in June that the 49% limit on foreign ownership of public companies would be scrapped. Instead, each company’s board of directors could vote to change the limit to any amount...

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