Foreigners Pledge More Investment: Countries committed $4.04 billion to direct investment in the nation, compared to $2.69 billion in 1993, and they have committed more than $11 billion since 1988, the Vietnam Economic Times reported. The newspaper gave no figures for the amount actually paid so far. Foreign direct investment refers to the establishment, expansion or acquisition of businesses in a country by foreign investors. Vietnam has been trying to attract such investors since 1988 but has been disappointed by the low level of interest since the United States lifted its embargo last year. Potential investors have complained of high prices, uncertain laws and complicated procedures, which the government has vowed to simplify.