On the 17th May 2017 in Hanoi – EuroCham spoke before Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at a Meeting with Businesses. Amongst the 4 invited foreign chambers, EuroCham was represented with a delegation of 16 companies and chosen as the first to address the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc welcomes the EuroCham Delegation
In his speech, EuroCham Chairman Jens Ruebbert thanked the Prime Minister and Government for the unique opportunity to bring this partnership between European business community and Vietnam further with the coming of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). EuroCham stated its belief in a "new strong wave" of European investment into Vietnam, with an total trade turnover than can by 50% in the next coming years. The EVFTA will require vast measures to ensure that the Union and the country are prepared to engage in what can potentially become the most dynamic transcontinental trade and investment corridor.
In response to EuroCham, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình emphasized that EuroCham plays a very important role in supporting the promotion and timely ratification of the EVFTA.
Mr. Ruebbert stressed that EuroCham has been following the Prime Minister’s guidance and directions towards the implementation of Resolution 35. This year, EuroCham published the 9th Edition of its yearly Whitebook, the Chamber’s compilation of trade and investment issues and recommendations from its Sector Committees. These recommendations are deeply linked to many principles of Resolution 35 and may even be used to implement them. EuroCham Chairman raised the recommendations from the Sector Committees, as below:
- HEALTHCARE: EuroCham urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to speed up revisions of the Circular guiding the Commercial Code, so that the trade of Medical Devices can function in a fair and evolving way in Vietnam. The Chamber also called for the competent Government authorities, namely the Ministry of Health, Vietnam Social Security, MPI and the same MOIT to facilitate a regular policy dialogue on PATIENT ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY PHARMACEUTICALS. This is was also stated in the framework of working towards a strategy to create a regional innovative PHARMACEUTICALS MANUFACTURING HUB;
- GREEN TECHNOLOGY: EuroCham recommended that legal barriers are removed towards creating a true renewables market enabling DIRECT POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS between power producers and large power consumers.
- TAXATION issues: EuroCham mentioned the urgent need clearer tax guidance, so that companies are not surprised by sudden changes and may adopt correct tax policies, a request also applying to the criteria of 0% VAT application for overseas recipients ( the topic of tax and customs have been also raised by EuroCham to Ministry of Finance and General Department of Customs and General Department of Tax at EuroCham’s workshop on 16th May, one day before the meeting with the Prime Minister).
- CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: increasing the DE-MINIMIS THRESHOLD and not applying the requirement of SPECIALISED INSPECTION FOR LOW-VALUE GOODS imported via express service were also among the recommendations outlned. The Chairman concluded his specific recommendations with a request to speed-up in the progress to join the NATIONAL SINGLE WINDOW.”
Jens Ruebbert talks with Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam
At the conference, Minister of Planning and Investment, Mr. Nguyễn Chí Dũng mentioned that there has been an increase of FDI projects in Vietnam. With the stated 260.000 new projects, Mr. Dũng stressed the country's performance in the WEF's competitiveness index and positive results in surveys conducted by business associations (EuroCham's Business Climate Index has shown continuous positive results in regards to its members' business expectations in Vietnam).
The Minister of Technology and Science (MOST), Mr. Chu Ngọc Anh reported that MOST has dealt with 118 recommendations out of 123 received and 7 at the conference itself. Regarding EuroCham and its Transport and Logistics Sector Committee's recommendations on specialized customs control (mentioned in the Chairman's speech above), the Minister highlighted that these had been resolved in the spirit of Direction 02. The exemption for these goods has been made. There is only the consideration for the goods delivered which may contain high risks.
In turn, Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Trần Tuấn Anh mentioned that in order to reflect Resolutions 35, 19 and 01, the MOIT had implemented administrative procedure and licensing reforms, while issuing action plans. Specifically, MOIT has reviewed and removed outdated regulations in order to better support businesses. In the last year, over 40 circulars have been issued/submitted for issuance, 6 Decisions were adopted, and MOIT proposed to revise 15 decrees.
The Minister stated some of the main concerns of businesses which have been resolved, namely in regards to:
- Circular 37/2015 dated 30th October 2015 of the Minister of MOIT stipulating the limits and inspections of formaldehyde and aromatic amines contents derived from azo colorants in textile products was omitted by Circular 23/2016 / TT-BCT dated 12th October 2016, valid since 26 November 2016;
- Circular 40/2011/TT-BTC on chemical declaration, issuing Circular 36 on solar energy on energy labeling for vehicles and equipment;
- Circular 24 reducing administrative procedure for energy accessibility;
- Circular No. 20/2011 / TT-BCT has been amended and supplemented, providing for the import of passenger cars of 9 seats or less;
- A decision to annul the planning of traders legitimate to export rice in order to create favorable conditions for the businesses and producers.
MOIT is in the process of reviewing the laws and decrees such as Decree 19 on gas businesses, Decree 94 replacing the Decree 107 on business of liquefied petroleum gas, etc. The recommendations raised by the foreign chambers of commerce, including EuroCham, will be considered in order to move further into a market economy and support businesses.
The Prime Minister has closed the conference with the remarks:
1. He has issued on the same date at 1pm Direction 20, ordering to limit the State re-audits which should be not more than once a year.
2. The Government will ensure the friendly, competitive business environment, freedom of trade, and also freedom to creativity, safety both in terms of invested capital and assets, controlling monopolies, and fighting against smuggling and counterfeiting; towards ensuring the healthy competition.
3. Businesses and investors should be supported, protected, encouraged, recognized, fostering confidence to expand and develop their businesses.
4. Respect and compliance with the rules and regulations should be reflected at both the central and provincial level.
5. All economic organisations should be equal, no matter if they are public or private.
6. The Government will facilitate the issuing of new regulations, including the Law on SMEs support, showing the spirit of a Government that partners with businesses for Vietnam’s development. In return, businesses should conduct their businesses with integrity and respect the environment, also self-innovating and continuosly evolve.
On the same date, a full report with recommendations of all EuroCham Sector Committees was sent to the Prime Minister's Office, Head of the Office of Government Mr. Mai Tiến Dũng and other relevant Ministries to follow up on the remaining pending issues.
Please read the full Speech by EuroCham Chairman Jens Ruebbert here.