[Hanoi, 16 June] The mid-term VBF meeting in Hanoi allowed the wider business community to engage with key Governmental leaders, and focused on the following topics: the impact of global policies on private sector investment in Vietnam; the connection between FDI & domestic enterprises; and efficiency enhancement in implementation of the current laws.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue along with other high-ranking ministerial representatives attended the forum. Such officials included, amongst others, the Vice Minister from the Ministry of Planning & Investment, Mr Dang Huy Dong; Kelhofer from the International Finance Corporation; and Director Dione of the World Bank.
The EuroCham delegates responsible for leading the forum were Vice-Chairmen Andreatta, Audier, and Gellert Horvath, with key supporting roles carried out by Executive Committee members Aymar De Liedekerke Beaufort; Joshua James, Pavel Poskakukhin, and Soren Roed Pederson. The Advocacy team and Legal Sector Committee members were also instrumental in organising and facilitating the smooth running of the event.
In the first session, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Andreatta gave a speech, underlining the shared excitement amongst European businesses over the final implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. The agreement marks a significant juncture in the development of trade and competition within Vietnam. The full paper as outlined by the EuroCham Sector committees to the VBF, highlighted four issues that need to be addressed. These can be found here and included Sustainable growth and energy policies; Financing investment in infrastructure; Improving Health and Food Safety regulations; and improving the legal environment.
At the second VBF session, EuroCham Vice-Chairman, Nicolas Audier also raised the importance of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and its future impact on trade, Vietnam’s economy, and the potential growth of foreign investment. The Free Trade Agreement is a historic opportunity for Vietnam and Europe. Key elements and corresponding benefits following its implementation include:
- 99% of the Vietnamese exports to the EU to be tariff-free after 7 years; EU exports to Vietnam tariff-free, post-10 years.
- Value of EU’s exports to Vietnam estimated to increase by more than 3% P/A - Vietnam as Europe’s largest partner and largest exporter of goods in ASEAN
- “A new strong wave” of European investment in Vietnam. Trade to increase by even 50% in future
- EVFTA a catalyst to guide Vietnam’s development in a more positive direction – ready not just for the EU market, , but also ensuring its position as a global player at the highest level of the world’s economies – competing
- Vietnam has the potential to become both a regional hub (combining the EVFTA with ASEAN EC) and a role model for other ASEAN countries, increasing its visibility and competitiveness not just on a macro level, but a sectoral one as well.
- Sectoral trends to improve with EVFTA in the Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare sector; Food, Agri and Aqua Business; Green Growth and Clean Energy; and Transport and Logistics
The EVFTA creates the necessary conditions for European know-how to reach Vietnam more easily - with new, cutting edge, smart and environmentally-friendly solutions and technology. Through such inter-disciplinary dialogue, partners can learn more on high quality services, advanced management practices and training for local employees. The FTA thus improves awareness on responsibility and environmental protection, higher quality standards and food safety, IPR protection, and recognition of local products under Geographical Indications.
It is absolutely crucial that the Government supports the signing and implementation of the EVFTA, since it will promote institutional changes and improve the clarity of the existing legal framework. Innovative insights for dispute resolution and investment protection mechanisms will additionally develop out of the implementation process. EuroCham received Ministerial feedback on its inputs, specifically from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Invalids, and Ministry of Science and Technology. Full detail of the VBF midterm feedback, and resulting policy recommendations for shifts can be also found in the longer report.
Mr. Audier concluded the event, proudly noting that EuroCham is a key partner in the EVFTA process, having provided input for the Agreement’s implementation since the negotiations began in 2013. Mr Audier also reported to the Government that EuroCham will meet European leaders in Brussels next September (EU Parliament and EU Commission), promoting Vietnamnese business and competitiveness, and ensuring the full implementation of the EVFTA by 2018.
This year, EuroCham’s representation at VBF has been strengthened, ensuring the Chamber’s efforts are voiced more efficiently and clearly, both for Sectoral issues and also the upcoming EVFTA. The credit must be attributed to all our Sector Committees and members, who contributed to the EuroCham position paper, but also our partners who provided strategic direction for delivering the message to the Government. Our Advocacy team will be in charge of working with VBF Secretariat and the necessary follow-up with relevant Government bodies.
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