ADVOCACY UPDATE (AUG – SEP 2020)

I. EVENTS

1. EuroCham and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs Co-organised a Special Webinar on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreeement (EVFTA) and Origin of Goods | 26 August in HCMC

  • 240 participants joined physically and online. EuC Exco incl. Vice-Chairmen Nguyen Hai Minh, Jean Jacques Bouflet, TSCL Chair Lennart Janssens and HCMC Customs Officials.
  • Director Dinh Ngoc Thang came to launch the webinar at EuC office. Technical training provided by 2 officials of the Division of Customs Management and Monitoring
  • Enhanced the business community’s knowledge and provided updates on technical issues regarding goods’ origin and EVFTA implementation, addressed EuroCham members’ concerns on C/O EUR 1, electronic C/O, and self certification documents and customs in various sectors including agriculture, cosmetics, dairy, equipment & machinery, pharmaceuticals, textile, and supporting services. Report: https://www.eurochamvn.org/node/18478
  • Follow up- HCMC DOC provided feedback to EUC members and responded on 36 cases reported by EUC members.

2. EuroCham Speaks at EVFTA Roundtable: “The EVFTA and Vietnam’s Integration in Global Value Chains in a Post Covid-19 World” | 28 August in Hanoi

  • The EU Delegation to Vietnam (the Delegation) in association with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) as co-organisers. Implemented by EU-Vietnam Partnership Facility.
  • This is the first of 3 roundtables to be co-organised with the Delegation throughout of 2020. The event gathered about 70 participants  from the EU Delegation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), VCCI and EuroCham as well as other experts. Full report: https://www.eurochamvn.org/node/18481
  • Next Roundtables: 2"Digital economy, digital transformation of the Vietnamese economy and actions by authorities and business" (tentatively October); 3: "An enabling environment for European and Vietnamese Start-ups and SME development in Vietnam" (tentatively December)   

3. EuroCham and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs Co-organised a Special Webinar on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Origin of Goods | 4 September in HCMC

  • Webinar on EVFTA and Harmonised SyHCMC Customs Department, Export and Import Tax Division.stem (HS Codes) provided by
  • Webinar gathered 180 participants, resolved 31 cases from members and pending written feedback from HCMC DOC.

II. ACTIVITIES

Green Growth Sector Committee:

  • Resume discussion on waste water treatment (with newly joined member on this field)
  • Under planning: Co-organize with VGBC, VBCSD a workshop on Circular Economy, in 24 September, Hanoi.
  • Circular WG to have meeting with Deep C in 11 September

HR & Training SC:

  • August: provided comments on the draft Decree on labour disputes settlement; draft Decree on policies for female workers and ensuring gender equality; draft Decree on labour management, labour contracts, wages, labour discipline, material responsibility
  • August: Vice-Chairman William Badger joined the UN Women for the event: Gender Equality Means Good Business
  • 7 September: HR&T SC members elected Mr. Trung Khuat (Baker & McKenzie) as the new Co-Chairman in charge of HR policies
  • Current Board members: Mr. Trung Khuat (Baker & McKenzie), Mr. Joshua James (BUV), Ms. Huyen Nguyen (EY), Mr. William Badger (Concordia)
  • New draft decree on labour management requires FIEs to recruit Vietnamese staff through a Labour Supply Organization. This would be a huge administrative burden to FIEs, and EuroCham should strongly oppose.  Advocacy group should work with HRTSC on this initiative.

IQMED-G&B:

  • On 18 August 2020, IQMED-G&B successfully voted for new Vice Chairs: Mrs. Van Ho and Mr. Moritz Mueller.

Medical Devices & Diagnostics Sector Committee:

  • Donation: Mobilised USD25.000 to purchase 12.000 SARS-CoV-2 tests to support localities and hospitals in central outbreak: Hue & Quang Nam. Handover ceremony took place in Hanoi on 13 August, delivery is being proceeded upon actual need of recipients
  • Meeting with MOH DMEC on price disclosure on 19 and 26 August
  • Working with MOH on 03 other topics: Inspection procedure, development of domestic manufacturing, medical device management.

Tax and Transfer Pricing Sector Committee:

  • 26 August, sent a position letter interest deduction rules (following issuance of Decree 68/2020/ND-CP on 24 June 2020 which amends Decree 20/2017/ND-CP on 24 February 2017) to Ministry of Finance

Mobility Sector Committee:

  • Following WB Launch in Hanoi, Indonesian Embassy was interested in a proposal for 50% registration tax reduction for CBU importers
  • Sharing WhiteBook text for reference and open for discussion with the Embassy.

Transportation & Logistics Sector Committee:

  • Regular meeting on 6 August:  TLSC will collect some questions on pending topics and may request a meeting with EuroCham ExCo to discuss solutions. Following up with a meeting on 17 August to align on the approach to MOT
  • Queries from members relating to EVFTA implementation: REX System for electronic C/O; C/O form EUR 1 
  • 26 August, Vice Chair Thao attend the webinar with HCMC DOC on Customs Training

Pharma Group

  • August: Elected Mr. John-Paul Pullicino (Pfizer) and Mr. Koen C. Kruijtbosch (MSD) as the new Acting Co-Chairperson, tenure from 2 September 2020 to Dec 2020/Jan 2021 (after the last General Assembly and Board meeting)
  • Current PG Board members: Acting Co-Chairs Mr. John-Paul Pullicino (Pfizer) and Mr. Koen C. Kruijtbosch (MSD), Mr. Mathieu Fitoussis (Servier), Ms. Lynette Moey (Bayer), Mr. Bjoern Rambags (Boehringer Ingelheim), Mr. Trong Le (Ferring), Mr. Nitin Kapoor (Astra Zeneca) – Treasurer.
  • Ongoing advocacy on Marketing Authorization validity and Circular 32 issues (CPP etc.) in joint effort with IQMED G&B.

Wines & Spirits

  • Still, WSSC would like to send a letter to ask MOF to update on the status of Government’s Decree on the preferential tariffs for the implementation of the EVFTA. Exco to advise it’s good timing for WSSC letter can process sending out.

Tourism & Hospitality Sector Committee:

  • Reaching out to EuroCham members to expand the membership
  • 25 August, regular SC meeting to discuss on the key objectives: Promote the establishment of Vietnam Tourism Working Group.

Joint SCS activities on good labelling topic

  • Following MOH’s call for feedback on contradictory, overlapping, inadequate, causing difficulties legislation for business operations, NFG, IQMED, Cosmetics has sent input to MOH on 7 September.
  • MOIC is calling  for comments on the Draft Circular amending and supplementing  Decree 181/2013/NĐ-CP detailing the law on Advertisement.
  • DAV’s call for comment regarding the Draft Circular amending and supplementing a number of contents in Circular No. 15/2019 / TT-BYT dated July 11, 2020. IQMED & PG send position paper to EuroCham

  

III. UPDATES ON COVID-19 & GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE

On 31 August, MOH has issued OF 4674 guiding PM’s directions on the Covid-19 prevention and control regarding short-term work visit (less than 14 days) of foreigners:

Scope:

Foreigners having short-term work visit in Vietnam: Investors, experts, skilled-workers, business managers, their families and other persons under agreement with each specific country (experts); people who enter Vietnam for diplomat or official purposes (diplomats)

Compliance

  • 14-day quarantine is not mandatory upon their entry as long as regulations on Covid-19 prevention and control are strictly complied with, and the safety of these experts and diplomats and their contacts are ensured. Prevent cross-infection at their workplaces and community transmission.
  • Contacts of the experts or diplomats shall monitor their own health and promptly inform the authorities and health facilities when having fever, cough, sore throat or difficult breathing.
  • The foreign experts and diplomats shall have international health insurance or have the Covid-19 treatment cost paid by the inviting organizations in case of infection. A foreign expert shall arrive 01 day before the working day to complete health monitoring procedures.
  • The costs of quarantine, transport, Covid-19 testing of foreign experts shall be paid by the inviting organization. These costs shall be exempted for foreign diplomats unless they wish to be quarantined at hotels.
  • If the foreign expert or diplomat wishes to continue staying in Vietnam to work after 14 days from the date of entry and tests negative for SARS-CoV-2, they may continue working without quarantine.

Decision

Ministries, central authorities, the People’s Committees of provinces shall carefully consider the necessity of short-term work visit of experts and diplomats while ensuring Covid-19 prevention and control.
+ Establishment of EU-Vietnam Business Council

  • 24 September, High-level Conference in Hanoi at VCCI or other venue
  • EVBC Board and Structure

+ Vietnam Business Forum: 15 October in Hanoi

  • Agenda and Inputs details sent out to the SCs, liasing with VBF Secretariat and Working Groups for alignment on the position papers
  • To be prepared: EuroCham position paper, EuroCham speech and List of Exco participating at the Event (Pending).

+ EVFTA Roundtables 2: "Digital economy, digital transformation of the Vietnamese economy and actions by authorities and business“, tentatively October in Hanoi by EU Delegation to Vietnam); and 3: "An enabling environment for European and Vietnamese Start-ups and SME development in Vietnam“, tentatively December in Hanoi by EU Delegation to Vietnam

 

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