ADVOCACY UPDATE (5th December 2017 - 28th March 2018)

The Advocacy Update, posted regularly, is dedicated to updating our members and visitors on EuroCham's advocacy action on behalf of its members and Sector Committees. For general information on events which might be referred to in this section kindly follow the mentioned links or check our Events section. This Update includes information on: 1. Advocacy in Events / 2. Meetings with Government and other Stakteholders / 3. Sector Committee Updates

5th December 2017 - 28th March 2018

1 . Smart Industry Revolution 2017 exhibition and conference | Ha Noi, 5th December 2017
On 5th December 2017, EuroCham delegation led by Dr. Gellért Horváth, EuroCham Co-Chairman, attended the Smart Industry Revolution 2017 exhibition and conference opened and chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi. Later on, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, EuroCham Vice-Chairman cum Chairman of Green Growth Sector Committee (GGSC) and Mr. Thierry Rocaboy, Chairman of Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee (FAABS) and also joined and presented the thematic sessions on Smart Cities and High-tech Agriculture.
Mr. Andreatta delivered a presentation on: “Best practice sharing on building smart cities in European countries” with three case studies: Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Tallinn. He linked the successful smart cities around the world with Hanoi and HCMC’s plans to become smart cities. With EVFTA, the requirement for renewable energy, an efficient and sustainable energy market and sustainable, energy-saving and environmentally friendly buildings are all covered.
Mr. Rocaboy delivered the presentation: “Towards a sustainable food sector in Vietnam: The role of a precision production system” with concrete experiences of precision agriculture. He showed that, with the support of European experience and expertise, Vietnam can better monitor production costs while bringing safety and sustainability to the food system.EuroCham and GGSC are supporting the Vietnamese Government with the Vietnam’s Smart City vision, European and international donor organisations and European investors in the clean technology and green sectors by Smart City conference series in 2016 and the launch of the Greenbook in 2017.
More details of the event can be found here.
EuroCham Representatives at CEC Conference: Smart Industry World 2017
2.The 20th Annual Vietnam Business Forum| Ha Noi, 12 December 2017
On 12th December 2017, EuroCham representatives led by Mr. Nicolas Audier, EuroCham Co-Chairman, attended the 20th Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) in Hanoi, which was chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
EuroCham’s presentation was delivered by Vice-Chairman, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, who stressed the importance of putting more focus on developing the entire supply chain and sophisticated services, ensuring a well-trained workforce and providing reassurance that intellectual property rights are effectively protected in Vietnam.
Mr. Andreatta raised some key challenges for Vietnamese companies to reduce costs, including corruption, protectionism and a lack of coordination in legislation and regulations. He also talked about the challenges of increasing foreign investment in infrastructure and discussed the challenges that public-private partnership projects have been facing. Especially, in the third session, EuroCham’s Pharma Group had a chance to raise its concerns related to Decree 54/2017/ND-CP guiding the Pharma Law.
EuroCham has received full Minutes from VBF and will update the Sector Committees on the Government’s feedbacks and actions. More details of the event can be found here.

3.Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum 2017| Ha Noi, 20 December 2017
On 20th December 2017, EuroCham Co-Chairman Gellert Horvath attended the Vietnam International Economic Integration Forum with the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and raised issues on opportunities and overcoming challenges by the implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement. Dr. Gellert Horvath presented the potential impacts of the EVFTA, especially for staple export items to the EU and stressed the importance of ensuring quality standards required by the EU.
The forum, themed “Reinforcing the momentum for a new development phase”, features the participation of domestic and international delegates, including leaders of ministries, sectors, 63 cities and provinces; foreign ambassadors and trade counselors in Viet Nam; leaders of universities, institutes, associations and banks; and Viet Nam’s big companies.

4.Dialogue with the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform | Ha Noi, 22 January 2018
On 22nd January, 2018, EuroCham and the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform (“ACAPR”) co-organized the Dialogue on the Mechanism, Policies and Administrative Procedures related to Business Operation and Activities of European enterprises in Vietnam, chaired by Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister and Chairman of the Office of the Government cum ACAPR Chairman.
Minister Dung underlined that Vietnam aims improve the business environment, enhance labor efficiency, increase competition, take efforts to bring Vietnam to ASEAN-4; ensure the reduction and simplification of over 50% of goods and their specialized management procedures and 50% of the business conditions. Mr. Dung has also informed on the changes in the policies, dialogue with MARD and other Ministries to soon issue Decree guiding the Food Safety Law (later on appears to be Decree 15/2018/ND-CP dated 2nd February 2018 with immediate effect) which would allow enterprises to self-certify on food safety and conformity as well as requires more coordination of Government authorities, with MOH main in charge. The issues has been advocated and raised by FAASC in Whitebook 2017.

EuroCham Sector Committees took this opportunity to raise topics and propose recommendations, which were divided into 3 main themes (1) Legal, Taxation, Transfer Pricing and Intellectual Property Rights, (2) Healthcare (International Quality Generics, Pharma Group, Medical Devices and Diagnostics) and (3) Consumer Choice (Nutritional Foods Group, Mobility, Wines and Spirits).The Government has received 10/16 feedbacks from the Ministries and 9 issues have been agreed to have aligned position. The Council is currently combining all feedback from Ministries and authorities to submit to the Prime Minister for his directions.
More details of the event can be found here.

5.Participation in Enterprises and Investors Meeting 2018 of Ba Ria – Vung Tau | Ba Ria - Vung Tau, 23 February 2018
On 23rd February 2018, EuroCham Delegation led by Ms. Almut Roessner, EuroCham Executive Director and Mr. Brian O’Reilly, EuroCham Southeastern Vietnam Delegate attended the Enterprises and Investors Meeting 2018 of Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.

In 2018, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province will focus on promoting the development of private economy, especially in supporting industries, seaports, logistics, tourism and hi-tech agriculture industries. At the sideline of the meeting, Ms. Almut Roessner and Mr. Brian O’Reilly had the opportunity to briefly talk with Mr. Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province's Party Committee to introduce about EuroCham and its Southeastern Vietnam Chapter. The Whitebook 2018 was also handed to Mr. Linh and he expressed strong interest in the role and active activities of EuroCham in connecting European enterprises and promote the European investment into Vietnam. There may be follow-up meetings with Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province in May/ June 2018 to have a further detailed discussion on how to attract more European enterprises to Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.
More details of the ocassion can be found here.

6.EuroCham Vietnam attended ASEAN-EU Business Summit in Singapore | Singapore, 2nd March 2018
On 2nd March 2018, EuroCham Vietnam Delegation led by Co-Chairman Dr. Gellert Horvath attended the ASEAN - EU Business Summit in Singapore joined by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, International Trade and Industry Ministers as well as European Chambers in SEA. Co-Chairman Gellert Horvath emphasized the importance of the EVFTA for European business in Vietnam and shared in a closed session yesterday up-date on developments in Pharmaceuticals, Automotive and Wine & Spirits sectors.
More details of the meeting can be found here.
 
7.Whitebook 2018 Launch: Celebrating a Decade of EuroCham Advocacy with the EVFTA| Hanoi, 15 March 2018
On 15th March 2018, EuroCham launched the 10th edition of its annual Whitebook at the Chamber’s annual flagship conference Whitebook Launch and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement Outlook 2018. 2018 also marks both EuroCham’s 20th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the Law on Foreign Investment which enabled Vietnam to receive its first wave of foreign investments.

The half-day conference engaged key high-level stakeholders, featuring speeches by dignitaries including H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, the EU Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Bruno Angelet, followed by a panel discussion on the opportunities brought by EVFTA with participation from trade experts and business representatives. Representatives of EuroCham's 16 Sector Committees presented trade and investment issues in 5 dedicated sessions, namely Healthcare; Agriculture, Food and Nutrition; Consumer's Choice; Sustainability and Efficiency; Legal, Tax and Customs, to which the Vietnmese Government had briefly responded. Several ministries were presented recognition awards for their continued engagement with EuroCham over the past decade. 
There was wide media coverage in different formats (both broadcasting and written) on the Launch afterwards. The soft copy of the Whitebook 2018 can be downloaded here. More details of the Launch can be found here.
 
8.Whitebook 2018 Briefing in Ho Chi Minh City| HCMC, 21st March 2018
On 21st March 2018, as planned, EuroCham introduced the 10th edition of its annual Whitebook to Government authorities and businesses in Ho Chi Minh City.
In the opening session, there were speeches from Mr. Pham Thanh Kien, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade and Mr. Vo Tan Thanh, Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) who both stressed the importance of the dialogue between public and private sectors.
Most of EuroCham Sector Committees presented issues and recommendations from their respective industries that are relevant to the City, including Smart City policies, cross-sectoral topics (Legal, Tax, Customs, IPRs) and sectoral ones (Pharmaceuticals, Wine & Spirits, CropLife Vietnam, Nutritional Foods). The presentations were followed by the Panel discussion with HCM DOC, VCCI, ITPC and other trade experts to discuss the growth of FDIs in Vietnam and the upcoming opportunities of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.

The conference attracted more around 130 attendees, including business representatives, Government officials from a variety of relevant departments and the media.
EuroCham will also organise a series of similar briefings in our Chapter’s in Vietnam, focusing on thetopics relevant to the local provinces.More details of the Briefing can be found here

II. Meetings with Government and Other Stakeholders

1.EuroCham meeting with Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee | Ho Chi Minh City, 9th January 2018
On 9th January 2018, EuroCham delegation led by Mr. Nicolas Audier, EuroCham Co-Chairman, and representatives from the Excutive Committee, Sector Committees, and Business Associations met with Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee (HCMC PC) and representatives from several Departments.
Credit: hcmcpv

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.
During the meeting, EuroCham Business Associations and Sector Committees (Green Growth, International Quality Generics, Information and Communications Technology, Mobility, Transportation & Logistics, and Legal) also raised their issues and recommendations on topics relevant to the City.
Moving forward, EuroCham would like to develop a working program between EuroCham and HCMC PC for the period of 2018-2020 to promote the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). On the ground level, EuroCham look forward to working more towards simplification of administrative and customs procedures to facilitate investment and trade.
More details of the meeting can be found here.
 
2.EuroCham meeting with EU Member States' Heads of Mission|Ho Chi Minh City, 12th January 2018
On 12th January 2018, EuroCham hosted a Meeting between the Chamber, affiliated business association, its members; and several Ambassadors and high-level diplomats from more than 15 missions of EU member states in Vietnam.
Both EuroCham Co-Chairmen, Nicolas Audier and Gellert Horvath, were present together with several members of the Executive Committee, having chaired this Meeting and reported on EuroCham’s key activities in 2017. Then the floor was also given to representatives from EuroCham's speakers and experts who raised their issues in the healthcare, mobility and wines & spirits fields. Creating business/investment opportunities in GreenGrowth, enhancing Corporte Social Responsibility and topics related to Customs & Trade Facilitation were also mentioned.
More details of the meeting can be found here.
 
3.EuroCham’s engagements with local authorities of South- Eastern provinces

Following EuroCham’s launch of its South- Eastern Vietnam Chapter (see here), EuroCham has had several engagements with representatives of the provinces covered by the Chapter for courtesy purpose, setting foundation for further cooperation between EuroCham Delegates and local authorities.

  • Meeting with Dong Nai Province People’s Committee, 15th January 2018 – More details can be found here
  • Meeting with Binh Phuoc Province People’s Committee, 24th January 2018 – More details can be found here
  • Meeting with Tay Ninh Province People’s Committee, 26th January 2018 – More details can be found here

These meetings served to initiate a closer cooperation with the province of Dong Nai, in view of bringing about more joint action between the local authorities and EuroCham. This cooperation is expected to equip EuroCham and its South- Eastern Vietnam Chapter with a better understanding of the dynamics in the province, which may ultimately improve the Chamber's ability to support locally-based members.
EuroCham is grateful to the local authorities for having welcomed its delegation and hosted such a fruitful dialogue, certain that it will result in further joint action starting in 2018.

4.EuroCham meeting with Ho Chi Minh City ITPC|Ho Chi Minh City, 17 January 2018
On 17th January 2018, following EuroCham’s engagement with the leaders of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, EuroCham Co-Chairman Nicolas Audier and advocacy had a meeting with the Investment & Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) of Ho Chi Minh City for discussion on the working plans in 2018 and potential cooperation between EuroCham and ITPC.

Mr. Audier briefed ITPC representatives on highlights of the Chamber’s activities in 2017 as well as the plans in 2018. ITPC also shared its tentative agenda for 2018, including (1) a meeting with Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs in February, (2) Dialogue with Leaders of Ho Chi Minh City in March, (3) Mission to Brussels to promote Vietnam tentatively in September 2018 and invites ITPC and the city to join hands and  Other plans to work with the City on Public Private Partnership, Smart City and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.ITPC also welcomed requests & concerns from EuroCham members and could help to connect with relevant authorities to discuss the issues.
5.Information Session for Architecture / Interior Design companies|Ho Chi Minh City, 9th February 2018
On 9th February 2018, in response to the request of some of its members, EuroCham organised an Information Session with participation from 20 representatives from Architecture / Interior Design companies operating in Vietnam.
The meeting was to explore the opportunity to establish a new Sector Committee as a platform for EuroCham members in the area of Architecture/Interior Design. The idea of setting up such SC is to create a forum for discussion and exchange amongst European professionals and those that work closely for European clients.
The forum is intended as an open-minded platform for sharing knowledge, sector experience and passion of shaping urban spaces in Vietnam but also as a way to advocate for improved standards, new education programs e.g. industrial design and address legislative challenges as a collective industry group. The next step will be presentation of the group’s advocacy goals to the Executive Committee and get the committee’s approval for establishment.
Please refer here for more details of the session.

6.Meeting with HCMC Department of Planning & Investment to discuss Public Private Partnership plans|Ho Chi Minh, 7th  March 2018
On 7th March 2018, EuroCham Delegation led by Mr. Stefano Pellegrino, EuroCham Vice-Chairman and advocacy team had a meeting with Public-Private Project (PPP) Division under Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Planning & Investment (DPI) to discuss the implementation of PPP in Ho Chi Minh City and potential cooperation between EuroCham and DPI.
DPI expressed willingness to work with EuroCham members for support in capacity building related to different aspects of PPP and informed of the upcoming Workshop on Smart City solutions organised by Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee.
EuroCham expressed the interest in cooperating with the City to support enhancing the capacity building in PPP and will reach out to our members for their engagement as speakers and/or exhibitors for Smart City activities. EuroCham has taken this opportunity to invite DPI Leaders to join its Whitebook Briefing in Ho Chi Minh City happening on 21st March.
This meeting serves as basis for EuroCham to further work with DPI in other sectorial-relevant topics.
7.Meeting with Ministry of Finance on tax related issues|Hanoi, 27th March 2018
On 27th March 2018, under the framework of Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), members of EuroCham Sector Committees, including Mobility SC, were invited to join VBF Tax & Customs Working Group members in the meeting with Ministry of Finance to address concerns from various business associations on daily operations regarding tax issues, for example special sales tax, tax management for the enterprises who have related transactions, VAT, PIT and others.
EuroCham has also submitted its Sector Committee members’ inputs to VBF for consolidation and discussion at the meeting as well as further follow-up.
 
8.Meeting with General Department of Vietnam Customs on Draft Circular on verification of origin of import and export goods|Hanoi, 28th March 2018
On 28th March 2018, several members of EuroCham Sector Committees, including members of Transportation & Logistics SC, International Quality Generics SC, Medical Devices & Diagnostics SC, etc. joined the meeting with General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDC) for discussion on the Draft Circular on verification of origin of import and export goods where there are important changes in comparison to Decree No. 19/2006/ND-CP.
EuroCham will reach out to other relevant Sector Committees to collect and consolidate their comments to input for one position paper from EuroCham to GDC Office. All inputs should be sent to: sec.comms@eurochamvn.org

​III. Sector Committee Updates
1.Transportation & Logistics Sector Committee
On 23rd January 2018, EuroCham Transportation & Logistics Sector Committee led by Chairman Juergen Weber and advocacy had a meeting with Department of Customs of Ho Chi Minh City.
In the meeting, Mr. Juergen introduced TLSC new structure (Board and Working Groups), briefed on TLSC issues in WhiteBook 2018 and got updates from HCMC DOC regarding legal regulations’ amendment.
In order to strengthen the cooperation, HCMC DOC and TLSC agreed to have regular quarterly meetings in 2018 to exchange mutual updates with the expectation that chambers like EuroCham would be a bridge between HCMC DOC and businesses in a timely and precise manner. EuroCham and HCMC DOC also agreed to continue to conduct the Customs training for members, which is planned tentatively in April 2018.
2.Human Resources & Training Sector Committee
On 28th January 2018, Mr. Khuat Van Trung, Vice Chair of EuroCham Human Resources and Training Sector Committee attended the “2018 The Annual Diversity and Appreciation Day”, organised by ICS at Soul Live Project, which is an annual event that is part of a series of events organized by ICS to honour individuals, groups, media and the artist who contribute to the power of LGBTIQ Vietnam community in the recent years.

More details of the event can be found here.

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