EUROCHAM ADVOCACY UPDATE (30th March 2018 – 9th July 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

I. EVENTS
1. The 6th GMS Business Summit | Hanoi, 30th March 2018
On the 30th March 2018 EuroCham Delegation consisting of Co-Chairman Mr. Denis Brunetti, Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet, Vice-Chairman Mr. Roman Kuebler, other Executive Committee members Mr. Soren Roed Pedersen and Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh attended the GMS Business Summit 2018 which have the presentation of distinguished participants including Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Cambodian Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, and Lao PRD Prime Minister Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Xing Yi as well as the MOIT Vice-Minister Tran Quoc Khanh.

The EuroCham ExCo was well represented in different sessions of this event. Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet participated in the panel Session 3 on Trade and GMS and Global Trade, having shared the views of the European business community on the EVFTA and other issues. In the plenary session dedicated to the topic "In search for new drivers of economic growth", Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc mentioned the Action Plan of GMS 2018-2020 vision 2030, highlighting on improving competitiveness, assisting GMS countries and strengthening coordination in addressing common challenges of the region. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc also highlighted the importance of international integration promotion with the GMS and CLV regions and the ratification of two new free trade agreements the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement and CPTPP.
More details of the event can be found here.

2. The Dialogue between Ho Chi Minh City Leaders and FDI Enterprises | Ho Chi Minh City, 21st April 2018
On 21st April 20018, EuroCham delegation of Vice-Chairman Tomaso Andreatta and Chairman of Green Growth Sector Committee, Vice-Chairman Guy Balza, Board member Guru Mallikarjuna and representatives from Business Associations has attended the meeting between Ho Chi Minh City Leaders and FDI Enterprises.

Mr. Andreatta updated on EuroCham activities in 2017, the good cooperation between EuroCham and HCMC Department of Customs, HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Center. He also shared the Chamber’s2018 plans as well as provided recommendations For the upcoming common activities.

EuroCham focuses on cooperating and exchanging with the City on various topics including Green Growth and Solutions, Information Communication and Technology, Smart City, Human Resources, capacity building and education exchange in these fields etc. These exchanges have helped EuroCham to better understand the city’s goals, policies and investment plans and the Chamber is keen to work further with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to realize this goal.
In 2018, it is also the expected that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will be ratified. As Ho Chi Minh City plays a key role in developing the country’s economy and wealth, EuroCham welcomes Vietnamese leaders, especially from HCMC, to add their voice to Eurocham’s in the upcoming activities promotion EVFTA in Vietnam and abroad.
More details of the event can be found here.

3. Meet Europe 2018 | Hanoi, 25th May 2018
The Meet Europe 2018 conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam (MOFA), with the support of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) gathered an audience of more than 700 attendees, including the presence of more than 200 Vietnamese Government officials, including more than 30 Provincial Government Leaders, corporate representatives, Government officials and diplomatic corps. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke at the event, praising the connection between European business and Vietnam and stressing the importance of Vietnam-Europe relations.

The conference’s “Thematic Sessions” gave the stage to European companies that have been successfully doing business in Vietnam with the "case-studies" presented cut across several areas to showcase the best that European business has to offer and that Europe is the best partner for Vietnam. The words “reliable, innovation-driven, sustainable partnerships” were the cornerstones of the statements from EuroCham’s Co-Chairs Denis Brunetti and Nicolas Audier.
In the third part of the conference, European companies met one-on-one with the leaderships of more than 30 provinces of Vietnam. More than 70 B2G meetings dedicated to potential business and investment opportunities were organised at Meet Europe 2018. Record number of encounters between the private sector and Chairs, Vice Chairs, and Party Secretaries from Vietnam’s Provinces. The meetings were organized with support of MOFA.
 
More details of the event can be found here.

4. The ASEAN+3 “Regional Economic Outlook: Resilience and Growth in a Changing World” | Hanoi, 25th May 2018
On 25th May, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Tomaso Andreatta attended a panel discussion at the ASEAN +3 seminar: Regional Economic Outlook: Resilience and Growth in a Changing World, organised by Ministry of Finance and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO). The seminar was attended by representatives from Government agencies, international organisations, research institutions, and the private sector.
 
To enhance business resilience, EuroCham’s Vice-Chairman shared the Chamber’s recommendations to help Vietnamese businesses grow through intra-regional trade and investment flows and regional free trade agreements such as the upcoming EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Andreatta also assessed the positive results of the Government’s efforts to improve the business environment thanks to the proactive and strong direction of the Government Office through many forms, e.g. the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform, of which EuroCham is a member.

During the discussion panel, policymakers in the region were urged to continue to build policy space, particularly in monetary policy, in anticipation of tighter global financial conditions ahead. Fiscal policy may have to play a greater role in supporting growth while macro-prudential policy can help to safeguard financial stability.
More details of the event can be found here.

5. Whitebook Briefing in Danang | Danang, 14th June 2018
EuroCham and its Central Vietnam Chapter organised a dialogue between European businesses and H.E. Chairman Huynh Duc Tho of the Danang People's Committee, along with other heads of department of the local Government. EuroCham's delegation was led by Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti.

More than 20 company representatives engaged in a fruitful dialogue on business, trade and investment issues and recommendations. The event’s background was the official delivery of EuroCham’s Whitebook 2018 – the Chamber’s annual flagship publication – to the local authorities. EuroCham Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti introduced the focus and contents of the book, highlighting the most important elements of the publication and its significance in its 10th edition.
EuroCham members also conveyed specific Whitebook issues and recommendations to the local authorities in the fields of Education, Tourism, ICT, and Taxation, respectively. Other companies also had the opportunity to raise their discussion points at the Q&A session of the agenda, which then was responded to concisely by the People’s Committee of Danang.

H.E. Huynh Duc Tho and Ms. Huynh Lien Phuong, Vice Director of the Danang Investment Promotion Agency (IPA Danang) highlighted the opportunities that exist in Danang and the current investment policies being pursued, stating that the local Government remains open to dialogue with businesses and looks forward to continue working with companies that are currently operating in Danang, as well as future investors.
More details of the event can be found here.
6. Conference: “Hanoi 2018 - Investment and Development Cooperation” | Hanoi, 17th June 2018
On 17 June 2018, Hanoi Peoples’ Committee organized a Conference: “Hanoi 2018 - Investment and Development Cooperation”. Many high-level Government officials have joined, such as H.E. Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly Mr. Phung Quoc Hien, Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc; Chairman of the Central Economic Commission H. E. Mr. Nguyen Van Binh; Ministers and officials. The conference was attended by 1,500 representatives of enterprises, diplomats, international organizations, business associations and media.
On behalf of European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, Mr. Denis Brunetti, Co-Chairman of EuroCham Vietnam attended the event and gave a speech on “Sharing solutions to promote E-commerce and improve the business environment to attract more investment”. In his speech, Mr. Brunetti expressed EuroCham’s interest and readiness to cooperate with Hanoi in driving business investments in Smart City initiatives, leveraging trusted European companies and their secure technologically advanced solutions and capabilities. Mr. Brunetti clearly stated that “the future of the ICT industry is to digitally transform all other industries, including healthcare, transport, manufacturing (Industry 4.0), agriculture, tourism and retail”.

Celebrating 20 years in Vietnam this year, EuroCham Vietnam today has almost 1,000 members and works tirelessly to connect the European business community in Vietnam with Vietnamese companies and Government authorities with the aim of expanding business investment and trade between Vietnam and EU countries. In this positive spirit of mutual collaboration and trusted partnership, EuroCham is committed to working closely with the Vietnamese government to help ratify the Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) within 2018. The EVFTA promises to become a basis for trade cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union.
More details of the event can be found here.

7. EuroCham in Brussels: Supporting the Final Push for the EVFTA | Brussels,18-25 June 2018
On 25th June, EuroCham concluded its June 2018 mission to Brussels. Co-Chairman Mr. Nicolas Audier and Executive Director Ms. Almut Roessner represented EuroCham Vietnam, engaging in a briefing seminar at the European Parliament and several other public events as well as joining meetings with a variety of key EU institutions and other Europe-based partners throughout the week.
This was also the week when a very important step for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took place: the conclusion of its legal review phase, which means that agreement can be translated into the 22 languages of the EU so that the European Commission can make a proposal to the Council of the European Union for signature and conclusion. After signature, the EVFTA will be sent to the European Parliament to go through the consent procedure. In the meantime, the Commission is continuing the necessary preparatory work to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the trade agreement.

Mr. Audier and Ms. Roessner met and spoke on behalf of EuroCham at the "EU Trade Agreements with Emerging Markets: is the EU Too Ambitious?" roundtable with representatives from the European Parliament; European Commission officials. They also took part in a dialogue with the Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, spoke at a European Parliament Briefing "EU-Vietnam FTA: The Final Push", and were among the panelists at a roundtable organised by amfori on EU FTAs with emerging markets. In addition, EuroCham met with Business Europe and attended the launch of SpiritEurope’s Trade Review 2018. EuroCham partner amfori also organized a dialogue event focusing on discussing the state of play and next steps of the EVFTA process and the perspective of European businesses in Vietnam with the presence of H.E. Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam's Minister for Industry and Trade, H.E. Mr Vu Anh Quang, Ambassador of Vietnam to the European Union, and the latter organisation's leadership and selected business organisations.
Nicolas Audier and Almut Roessner also used the meetings to prepare for the upcoming large-scale mission where EuroCham will be participating on 10th October at official public hearing before the INTA Committee, EU Parliament on the EVFTA.
More details of the event can be found here.
8. The ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - Ways Forward | Can Tho, 19th June 2018
On 19th June, 2018, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, Vice-Chairman of EuroCham and Chairman of EuroCham’s Green Growth Sector Committee, attended the ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – Ways Forward.
The conference, a joint initiative by Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Myanmar, the Netherlands and Viet Nam, was endorsed by ASEM Foreign Ministers at the 13th Asia – Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw in November 2017 with a view to providing a venue for richer discussions and broader perspectives in climate change adaptation and reinforcing the ASEM climate partnership in the new era of development.
H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, stressed that climate change is the defining challenge of our time and highlighted the urgent need for ASEM’s actions in strengthening the resilience of people, infrastructure, economies and environment against the intensifying impacts of climate change.

At the conference’s Third Plenary Session on Climate Change Action: The Role and Engagement of Stakeholders, Mr. Andreatta shared his insights and expertise in the field of sustainability and long-time advocacy for Vietnam’s green growth. He underlined the engagement of Government, public sector, and development agencies to work further with the private sector to address climate change challenges.
More details of the event can be found here.
9. The Mid-term Vietnam Business Forum 2018 | Hanoi, 4th July 2018
On 4 July 2018, EuroCham chaired the mid-term session of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), together with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), with the theme “Linkage between domestic and FDI businesses – partnership for mutual benefit”.
The conference had 4 main Sessions on value chains, addressing technological challenges, and financial resources for sustainable development. It was attended by many delegates from Government, embassies, associations, private businesses and policy experts, media.

The Minister of Planning and Investment, H. E. Mr. Nguyen Chi Dung, opened by highlighting the economic achievements of the last 30 years since the first FDI legislation in Vietnam. Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, VBF Co-Chair and Vice-Chairman of EuroCham, moderated the conference. He addressed the need of domestic companies to enhance their size, know-how and experience to be successful in international markets and to produce top-quality products at competitive prices.
Chairman of VCCI, Dr. Vu Tien Loc, described how Vietnam has made important steps towards trade liberalisation and economic openness. EuroCham Co-Chairman, Mr. Nicolas Audier, also underlined the importance of FTAs, particularly the EVFTA which is a chance to write a new chapter of stronger relations between Europe and Vietnam. He also updated the progress and shared EuroCham’s plans for the EVFTA further promotion in the upcoming trip to Brussels in October 2018.

The Eurocham’s Sector Committees inputs have been covered in the most of the VBF Working Groups. EuroCham together with other partner chambers has facilitated for the creating and establishment of the Health Working Group, whose representative at VBF-Midterm, Mr. Ngo Van Huy has also presented the groups’ key points.
More details of the event can be found here.                                         
10. The National Conference on Sustainable Development 2018 | Hanoi, 5th July 2018
On 5 July 2018, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development co-organised the conference: “Enhancing Competitiveness and Realising Sustainable Development Goals Amidst Industrial Revolution 4.0”. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the conference, where he was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Minister of Science & Technology; Ministry representatives; provincial and diplomatic corps; along with international organisations, business communities and the media.

Mr. Denis Brunetti – EuroCham Co-Chairman, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, Vice-Chairman of EuroCham and Chairman of Green Growth Sector Committee, and members of Green Growth Sector Committee also participated in this event. Mr. Brunetti has delivered key messages on "Vietnam Digitalisation Evolution Survey: Awareness of the Business Community and Impacts of the Industry 4.0". In his speech, Mr. Brunetti emphasized the fundamental role ICT in helping Vietnam leapfrog other nations in accelerating its socioeconomic development. The next challenge is to ensure this growth is inclusive, and ICT will again play a lead role as the Government aims to digitally transform many industries. Another key aspect was raised at the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) mid-term meeting and relates to the need to better link Foreign-Direct-Invested (FDI) companies with local Vietnamese enterprises, increasing the level of technology transfer.
More details of the event can be found here.

II. MEETINGS
1. Central Vietnam Delegates Met Finnish Ambassador | Danang, 16th April 2018

The Ambassador of Finland H.E. Kari Kahiluoto visited the EuroCham Central Vietnam Chapter's (ECV) desk in Danang, having met with Delegates Mr. Jose Sanchez-Barroso and Ms. Ly Bui.
The EuroCham Delegates introduced the Central Vietnam Chapter. The objectives and activity plan for 2018 were also shared with Ambassador Kahiluoto. The Ambassador was pleased to hear the information shared by the ECV Delegates. He also stated his intention to advise the Embassy, Finnish entrepreneurs and the Finnish citizens living and working in the area to seek the ECV's advice on matters related to investment and doing business in the area. 

ECV Delegate Ms. Ly Bui (far left), Ambassador of Finland H.E. Kari Kahiluoto (middle), ECV Delegate Jose Sanchez-Barroso (middle), and other representatives
Finnish EuroCham members, particularly businesses focusing on Environment, Energy and Education, are welcome to contact the ECV should there be a need to meet with the local Governments of Quang Nam, Hue and Quang Ngai. 

More details of the event can be found here.

2. The meeting with Ministry Of Labor - Invalids And Social Affairs | Hanoi, 20th April 2018
On Friday 20th April, EuroCham Co-Chairman Mr. Denis Brunetti and Chairwomen of Human Resource and Training Sector Committee Ms. Mai Lan Anh had a meeting with Mr. Nguyen Manh Cuong, Director General of International of Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).
In the meeting, EuroCham Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti has expressed the appreciation of MOLISA for the close cooperation during the last 20 years since EuroCham established in Viet Nam, besides Mr. Denis also expressed EuroCham good will to work closely with MOLISA regarding to supporting Vietnam Government in the progress of preparing for the EVFTA ratification.
Attending the meeting, EuroCham HR Sector Committee Chairwomen Ms. Mai Lan Anh also had a fruitful discussion with Mr. Cuong on the two concern issues of European enterprises were the draft decree on non-national workers enrollment in compulsory social insurance and the implementation of Decree 11/2016/ND-CP guiding some articles of Labour Code on foreign workers in Vietnam and relevant Circular.  EuroCham delegates have received many constructive feedbacks from representative of MOLISA and will keep update on the progress the above issues.

EuroCham Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti handovers the Appreciation trophy to Mr. Nguyen Manh Cuong, Director General of International Cooperation Department of Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs
Director General Nguyen Manh Cuong welcomed EuroCham to keep regular dialogues with MOLISA departments so that MOLISA can have quick policy response to better improve the business environment for European enterprises in Vietnam.

More details of the event can be found here.
3. The meeting of Government Office to receive enterprises’ difficulties and recommendations in Tax, Customs and Export & Import Administrative procedures | Hanoi, 4th May 2018

Under the framework of action plan of Advisory Council of Administrative Procedure Reform (“ACAPR”), the Government Office and ACAPR continued to listen to enterprises on difficulties and obstacles in implementing mechanisms, policies and administrative procedures in the field of taxation, customs, import and export. EuroCham delegation consisted of Mr. Denis Brunetti, Co-Chairman and Mr. Minh Nguyen, Board members together with other Sector Committees representatives.
From 2016 until now, there are up to 405 tax procedures and 223 customs procedures have been reviewed, reduced and simplified with the implemented information technology applications in the field of taxation (online tax declaration, online tax refund ...) and customs (National Single Window, ASEAN Single Window). On import and export, some reforms such as the pilot mechanism of auction rights to use tariff quotas instead of allocation of tariff quotas for sugar.
Mr. Minh Nguyen, EuroCham Executive Committee member also raised some issues and recommendations on Import & Export procedure specifically on National Single Window, ASEAN Single window and implementing the modern customs bond system to improve customs clearance.
Mr. Denis Brunetti expressed the appreciation of European business community to Vietnamese Government for their efforts in recent year to improve the mechanisms, policies and administrative procedures. Minister Mai Tien Dung concluded the dialogue with appreciation to the recommendations of businesses and would direct ACAPR and Office of Government to summarize and report to Prime Minister at soonest for his direction especially issues related to Tax and customs procedures.
More details of the event can be found here.
 

III. SECTOR COMMITTEE UPDATES
Green Growth Sector Committee
Green Growth SC attended Green Climate Fund Structured Dialogue on Danang from 17th to 20th April

The Vice-Chair of the EuroCham Green Growth Sector Committee (GGSC) Mr. Gavin Smith, has been invited by the Ministry of Planning and Investment to attend the Green Climate Fund Structured Dialogue in Da Nang, from 17th to 20th April 2018.
 
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a new global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. GCF helps developing countries limit or reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change. It seeks to promote a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development, taking into account the needs of nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
 
More details of the event can be found here.
Transportation & Logistics Sector Committee
EuroCham and Ho Chi Minh City’ Department of Customs successfully co-organised the Customs training session for European business community

On 11th April 2108, the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), its partner EVBN coorganised with Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Customs a Customs training session for European business community at Royal Hotel Saigon.
Ms. Maren Maischein, EuroCham Executive Board member in charge of TLSC, emphasized in her opening remarks that 2017 was a remarkable year for a closer cooperation between HCMC Department of Customs and EuroCham. HCMC Department of Customs has become an effective partner between the business community and central government authorities.
The Customs session was fruitful with the participation of more than 90 representatives from both European and Vietnamese businesses. The three main topics of Customs Valuation, HS Code and Special Preferential Tax were presented to the participants at management and executive level. The training session aimed to equip participants with key knowledge on the subject and facilitate a better and deeper understanding of rules and regulations as well as solving out their concerns during the normal business operations.

More details of the event can be found here.
Mobility Sector Committee
Mobility SC Representative attended the meeting of Government Office to receive enterprises’ difficulties and recommendations in Tax, Customs and Export & Import Administrative procedures

 
On 4th May 2018, under the framework of action plan of Advisory Council of Administrative Procedure Reform (“ACAPR”), the Government Office and ACAPR continued to listen to enterprises on difficulties and obstacles in implementing mechanisms, policies and administrative procedures in the field of taxation, customs, import and export.
Attending the meeting, Ms. Hoang Thi Kim Hue - member of Mobility Sector Committee shared the concern of European enterprises in Mobility sector on Special Consumption Tax Cap that should be increased from 7% to 15% in automobile industry; Credit/refund of Special Consumption Tax for additional tax paid due to customs revaluation; Increase of VAT for vehicles, spare parts and accessories from 10% to 12% and the implementation of the Decree 116/2017/ND-CP and Circular 03/2018/TT-BGTVT. Other tax and customs matters mentioned by Eurocham Sector Committees were also shared by other participants in the meeting.
After the meeting, an official position paper was sent to ACAPR as an follow up and the Sector Committee has received the official feedback from Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Finance and General Department of Customs on concerns and recommendations.

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