On the 9th of January 2018, a EuroCham delegation met with Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (HCMC PC) and representatives from several Departments including Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Planning and Investment and Department of Information and Communication. The EuroCham group was led by Mr. Nicolas Audier, EuroCham Co-Chairman, and representatives from the Excutive Committee, Sector Committees, and Business Associations.
The meeting aimed to provide an update on EuroCham’s activities in 2017, discuss joint actions and how to intensify cooperation with HCMC PC in 2018 – the year when the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is scheduled to be ratified. EuroCham also addressed key issues and proposals of the chamber’s members and partners that concern the local investment and business environment.
The highlights of cooperation between the chamber and the City in 2017 were the Smart City series of events on Sustainable Building, Information Technology and Water Solutions. EuroCham has also been very active on smart and sustainable development of the city. The chamber has published the Greenbook, a directory of green solutions in a wide range of areas from renewable energy, waste treatment, smart cities and green building. It also includes details of successful projects from EuroCham members, European businesses and other enterprises. EuroCham has also worked with the city’s Departments and Investment and Trade Promotion Center, attended the Annual Investment Promotion Conference in Ho Chi Minh City and contributed ideas on green growth and renewable energy solutions. EuroCham Transportation and Logistics Sector Committee had various meetings and very useful interactive workshops with the HCMC Customs Department to facilitate dialogue between the Department and the business community as well as respond to the concerns of the businesses involved, e.g. customs valuation. These workshops have been very practical and highly appreciated by our members. The chamber continues to work closely with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet with other provincial authorities at the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Foreign Affairs where the relations with DOFA have also been strengthened.
During the meeting, EuroCham Business Associations and Sector Committees also raised their own issues and recommendations, for example on Green Growth, Healthcare (International Quality Generics and Medical Devices and Diagnostics), Information and Technology, Mobility, and Legal.
Mr. Audier took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the recent positive changes and the issuance of Resolution 54/2017/QH14 providing special policies for HCMC (Resolution 54). Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong also briefly presented to EuroCham the special mechanisms given to HCMC and shared the City’s timeline to submit the master plan on how to implement Resolution 54 to the National Assembly by June 2018. He stressed the importance of careful review of the potential impacts that its plan may have on the local investment climate. Further details will be briefed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Moving forward, EuroCham would like to develop a working program between EuroCham and HCMC for the period of 2018-2020 to promote the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) among European and Vietnamese companies. EuroCham also proposed closer cooperation with the City and Departments to promote the agreement in Brussels. On the ground level, we look forward to working more towards simplification of administrative and customs procedures to facilitate investment and trade. We would also like to leverage the working relationships with ITPC HCMC to organise networking events, dialogues and information sharing through exhibitions, trade fairs and so on to facilitate European investments into HCMC. Mr. Phong highly appreciated the idea and suggested a work plan between EuroCham and Department of Planning and Investment to connect European investors and local businesses and with other relevant Departments in terms of Smart City topics. He expressed interest in learning more about the benefits of the EVFTA with the facilitation of EuroCham.
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of EuroCham and the 10th edition of the Whitebook. This year, the Whitebook will focus on the EVFTA, successful stories of EuroCham advocacy activities and projects of the EuroCham Sector Committees and their trade-promotion work. To conclude, EuroCham stressed its willingness to work closely with HCMC PC in promoting the City as an attractive investment destination for European businesses.