On 26 October 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in collaboration with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham) and EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) held the Joint-Forum followed by a Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony Ministry entitled Foundation for Partnership in Trade and Investment.
The Joint-forum was started with opening remarks by EuroCham Chairwoman Ms. Nicola Connolly, H.E. Mr. Le Hoai Trung - Vice Minister of MOFA and H.E. Mr. Bruno Angelet Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Vietnam. Attending the conference were Mr. Cao Tran Quoc Hai - Ambassador, Deputy Director General, Multilateral Economic Cooperation Division and Mr. Alain Cany, EVBN Senior Adviser; numerous European businesses who are investing and trading in Vietnam and representatives of provincial authorities and business leaders from nearly 40 provinces / cities across the country.
Chairwoman Nicola Connolly highlighted the growing importance and potential trade and investment opportunities in provinces outside the major cities. Referring to a recent Boston Consulting study incomes in rural areas are actually growing faster than in urban areas. As a result, Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi provinces will account for only about one-third of consumers by 2020.
Furthermore Chairwoman Nicola Connolly emphasized the importance of EuroCham’s advocacy activities by saying: “EuroCham continues to be a key partner to the government in trade issues and recommendations, through the EuroCham annually published Whitebook. The 8th Edition will be launched in Jan 2016. It will cover key sectors and cross-sectoral topics, thanks to hard work from our 14 Sector Committees that lie the foundation of EuroCham‘s advocacy. The Whitebook is a guide for ministries and provinces to continue to improve the business climate and environment in Vietnam for all companies.”
Deputy director General of Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities Nguyen Hoang Long (MOFA) and EuroCham Chairwoman Nicola Connolly signing MoU
Vice Minister Le Hoai Trung commented: “I believe that the conference is a great chance for the Vietnam’s local authorities and businesses as well as EU businesses to explore and discuss the EU-VN FTA in order to take the opportunities and limit the challenges once the EU-VN FTA officially is signed and implemented. It also creates the opportunity for EU and Vietnam businesses to exchange information and to strengthen the understanding and direct connection.”
Vice Minister Le Hoai Trung making opening remark
In the framework of the conference, Deputy director General of Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities Nguyen Hoang Long (MOFA) and EuroCham Chairwoman Nicola Connolly signed a Memorandum of Understanding of Cooperation (MoU): “Foundation For Partnership In Trade And Investment” which aims at flourishing the connection, promoting investment, trade and business of European enterprises to Vietnam's localities, at the same time, supporting localities in reaching into Europe in the process of enhancing the extensive international economic integration.
Bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU are more and more expanding in all sectors. On 27 June 2012, Vietnam and the EU signed the Partnership Agreement and Cooperation (PCA), providing a framework to develop a comprehensive cooperation. On 26 June 2012, Vietnam and the EU initiated the process of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation and on 4 August 2015, two parties announced the agreement in principle on the FTA. In 2014, the EU became the 2nd largest export market of Vietnam and also the 2nd largest trade partner of Vietnam.
EuroCham counts 855 members who are European investors and businesses in Vietnam, with the participation of several business associations from European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Nordic and Central Eastern Europe). EVBN is a project funded by the EU Delegation in order to increase exports and investment from the EU to Vietnam, particularly from small and medium businesses, as well as supporting the EU business sector in Vietnam through advocacy activities, facilitating European businesses in accessing the Vietnam market.
Mr. Cao Tran Quoc Hai - Ambassador, Deputy Director General, Multilateral Economic Cooperation Division, Ms. Miriam Garcia Ferrer - Head of Trade & Economics Section, EU Delegation to Vietnam, Mr. Alexander Kliegl – Chairman of EuroCham Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee and Mr. Nguyen Xuan Thanh – Director of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program
Experts from the EU and Vietnam presented at the joint forum including Mr. Cao Tran Quoc Hai - Ambassador, Deputy Director General, Multilateral Economic Cooperation Division, Ms. Miriam Garcia Ferrer - Head of Trade & Economics Section, EU Delegation to Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Thanh – Director of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program and Mr. Alexander Kliegl – Chairman of EuroCham Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee. All speakers have shared their views, expectations and concerns of the EU-Vietnam FTA. These experts also recommended specific measures to improve the capacity and the perception of the government and the local business community that will be the key factor for the successful deployment of the FTA. In addition, the European businesses also participated in networking session with provincial authorities and business to enhance connection, create opportunity to promote European investment and trade in different localities across the country.
Following the successful signing of this MoU, EuroCham will organise a delegation of European businesses to meet with People’s Committees of Tien Giang and Vinh Long Provinces on Thursday, 29 October 2015. This is the first of a series of meetings with provincial authorities, focusing on discussion and information sharing on the pending FTAs, investment projects and expectation as well as recommendation from European enterprises to facilitate business operation at those provinces.
Ms. Pham Ngoc Hoai Nam
Tel: 08 38272715- Ext 120