On the 22th June 2017, in HCMC – the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) organised the Conference entitled: EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement: What’s in it for SMEs? and Insights on the new SME Law. The event gathered EuroCham's leadership and top business experts such as Nicolas Audier [EuroCham Vice Chairman], Hanh Tran [DFDL Vietnam Country Partner and Head of HCMC Office], Thomas McClelland [EuroCham Tax & Transfer Pricing Sector Committee Chairman and Tax Leader at Deloitte Vietnam], and Valentina Salmoiraghi [South East Asia IPR SME IP Helpdesk Business Advisor]. The conference attracted an audience of around 35 business representatives.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is considered as an innovative and ambitious deal, covering a wide range of areas from trade to sustainable development, touching upon many economic sectors. The foreseen benefits included tariff removal, lower import costs, trade liberalisation, global value chain expansion, competitive advantages maximisation, supply diversification, among other. The EVFTA is set to bring more business and investment opportunities to companies from both sides, while also establishing innovative investment protection mechanisms.
Recognising the importance of EVFTA, especially for EU and Vietnam SMEs, EuroCham and its Sector Committees have been since 2016 carrying out activities with the aim to prepare and equip its members with essential information on the EVFTA. EuroCham believes that good knowledge of the trade and investment facilitation features of the EVFTA will empower companies to make the most of the agreement’s advantages for European and Vietnamese enterprises.
This event covered both the EVFTA as such, but also Vietnam’s new SME Support Law. The agenda covered the new Law’s complementarity to the spirit of the EVFTA in creating a business environment where SMEs can grow, particularly regarding tax and other incentives. At the event, IPR protection was also discussed among other key topics.
Thomas McClelland, Chairman of EuroCham Tax & Transfer Pricing Sector Committee said: “The new measures contained in the SME Support Law implement the Government’s objectives to encourage private enterprise and create a favourable environment to support start-ups and innovative enterprises. They will benefit both local Vietnamese enterprises, which contribute nearly 50% of Vietnam’s GDP as well as foreign invested SMEs. The reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 17%, simplification of accounting and tax filing procedures, as well as access to credit are welcomed by EU invested SMEs.”
Nicolas Audier, Vice Chairman- EuroCham Vietnam said: “The implementation of the EVFTA is an historic rendez-vous for Europe and Vietnam, and has the potential to foster one of the most dynamic intercontinental trade corridors in the world. But the EVFTA is not only about trade and investment; it will also bring a new attitude towards business. It will create conditions for European know-how and SMEs to reach Vietnam more easily, with new, cutting edge, smart and environmentally-friendly solutions and technology. SMEs are the fabric of Europe and Vietnam’s business landscape, and they will benefit from the new environment established by the EVTFA.”
For more photos of the event please click here