On 11th January 2017, in Hanoi – the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) - in collaboration with the EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) and the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), under the Ministry of Planning and Investment - kicked off the year with the forum Vietnam Towards the Enhancement of Competitiveness and Attractiveness in Hanoi.
At this event, experts and business leaders of CIEM and EuroCham exchanged ideas on how to improve the business environment of Vietnam. The discussions built on the recent Resolutions 19 and 35, issued by the Vietnamese Government, with the aim to ease investment practices and encourage a more dynamic business environment, as well as to support national and foreign enterprises in their operations
Throughout 2016, EuroCham Vietnam and CIEM have put efforts to better understand the interests of the European business community and the Vietnames Government, while maintaining an exchange on how the application of the resolutions and the business policy strategy of the Government fit the expectations of foreign investors and businesses.
This Workshop by was chaired by EuroCham Chairman Mr. Michael Behrens, and opened by a speech from CIEM's Vice President Mr. Phan Duc Hieu, dedicated to the Institute's viewpoints on policy-making. Mr. Hieu also highlighted the cooperation between CIEM and EuroCham, while referring to the baseline ideas of the Government towards improving the business environment in 2017. Following Mr. Hieu speech, CIEM's Head of Business Environment and Competitiveness Ms. Nguyen Minh Thao highlighted Vietnam's progress three years after the implementation the Resolution 19, and the country's 9-place leap to number 82 out of 190 countries in the World Bank's annual Ease of Doing Business Index 2016. CIEM also announced that the draft Resolution 19 for 2017 will be submitted next week.
At the conference, the European business community expressed great expectations and took the opportunity to discuss its recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnam in the coming years. According to Mr. Bradley Silcox, Chairman of EuroCham's Pharma Group, by leveraging the advantages of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Vietnam can become an ASEAN hub for the pharmaceutical industry. Mr. Silcox also expressed the industry's expectations that Vietnam may continue to progress in terms os quality access to medicines, investment facilitation, and IPR protection.
After Pharma Group's presentation, Mr. Antoine Logeay, Vice President of the EuroCham Legal Sector Committee, delivered his presentation, focusing on the regulatory landscape of business licensing, the need for an harmononious interpretation among provinces regarding the 2014 Law on Enterprises, in addition to to other foreign-investment related topics.
The next speaker, Ms. Do Thu Thuy, member of the EuroCham Transportation and Logistics Sector Committee, discussed the difficulties of EU enterprises regarding the exclusion of some import/export procedures from the National Single Window, and discussed the group's recommendations for a better functioning of this mechanism.
Ms. Miriam Garcia Ferrer, Head of Trade Section of EU Delegation to Vietnam, also discussed the role of the European business community in Vietnam from the perspective of sustainable development and competitiveness. The EVFTA will be officially launched in 2018, and Ms. Ferrer stressed the advantages of the deal for both sides, and the opportunity for Vietnam to become both a hub for EU companies in ASEAN, and to boost its own economy with the facilities that the EVFTA grants the country when accessing the EU market.
In the event's closing moments, CIEM officials expressed their willingness to further cooperate with EuroCham on issues related to the implementation of laws and regulations of the EVFTA which are most relevant to Vietnam. EuroCham is committed to update the information and support the Vietnamese Government in the preparation for the effective application of the agreement, expected to take effect in 2018.
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