(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Vietnam’s civil aviation authority (CAAV) is seeking government approval to partially resume international flights from June 1 to ‘revive the hit-hard aviation industry, online newspaper VnExpress reported yesterday. Vietnam has suspended international flights since March 25 and banned entry of foreign nationals since March 22 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As the country has gone more than three weeks without coronavirus community transmission, CAAV has proposed reconnecting international flights with limited frequency, giving priority to foreign experts and investors, VnExpress reported. Vietnam has registered a relatively small 288 cases and zero deaths, putting it on course to revive its economy much sooner than most others. After proclaiming success in containing the coronavirus, Vietnam is positioning itself as a safe place to do business, capitalising on demand from international manufacturers looking to diversify their supply chains away from China. ‘Given its fast response to the virus, we expect foreign investment to pour in to Vietnam after the pandemic, Kizuna Joint Development Corp, which builds ready-to-go factories in Vietnam said. The company, which has a client base of mainly Japanese and Korean investors, said it is speeding up plans to finish a 100,000sq m (1mn sq ft) factory in southern Vietnam in anticipation of an increase in post-pandemic demand. ‘The factory space will be ready by July, Kizuna said. Advisers who help foreign firms relocate internationally said Vietnam’s success in dealing with the pandemic had already boosted the confidence of foreign investors in the country. ‘There is a sense from many of my discussions that Vietnam, relative to many countries in the world, will emerge even higher on the investor radar as a result, said Michael Sieburg, a partner at Asia-focused consultancy firm YCP Solidiance. Vietnam’s planning and investment ministry said the country was well positioned to assist manufacturers seeking new production bases. ‘These opportunities will include the shifting of investment, particularly by large multinational groups seeking to diversify their supply chains to other areas, including South East Asia, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong said in a statement on a government website. ‘Vietnam is among the first of those destinations. The shift was already happening. Before the pandemic, many China-based businesses looking to escape rising labour costs and fallout from the US-Sino trade war had been looking at Vietnam. Hanoi’s growing portfolio of trade deals, such as the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), was also encouraging investment. Vietnam’s success in pushing back the pandemic was driven in part by a programme of targeted testing and the mass, centralised quarantine of tens of thousands of people. Hanoi has made exceptions to the quarantine programme, including for nearly 200 engineers from Samsung Electronics’ display unit, and for foreign oil experts. But the measures have hit business hard and mean it will not be easy for firms to expand quickly. ‘The government is being understandably cautious so, despite lots of smoke, there’s not much fire as it remains difficult for people to come in and sign deals or visit facilities, said Samuel Pursch of Vriens & Partners, a consultancy advising foreign business in Vietnam. According to a government survey, 85.7% of 126,565 enterprises polled in Vietnam said they had been negatively affected by the pandemic, with those operating in the aviation, tourism, food and education sectors most affected.