On the 27th of July 2018 in Hanoi, EuroCham Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti, Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Chairman of German Business Association Thomas Debelic and representatives of EuroCham’s HR & Training and Legal Sector Committees, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal – Vietnam had a meeting with Mr. Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) and Ms. Miriam Garcia Ferrer, Head of Trade and Economic Section, EU Delegation to Vietnam.
The meeting covered how the European business community can cooperate with the Government of Vietnam and the European Union to review and improve legal policy to bridge the gaps between legislation and its implementation when EVFTA come into effect.
Mr. Bernd Lange discussed the main concerns of the European Parliament, namely three fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions. Vietnam's clear and binding commitments will help persuade Members of the European Parliament to approve the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) early.
Ms. Hang, representative of EuroCham’s HR & Training Sector Committee, provided an update on the Vietnamese Government’s progress in adopting the ILO Conventions, The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is revising the Labour Code to meet Vietnam’s commitments under the EVFTA. The latest draft should be released in September for final public consultation, before being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice and then submitted to the Office of Government by January 2019 and the National Assembly in May 2019 for approval. The updated Labour Code will take effect in October 2019. This demonstrates the Vietnamese Government‘s commitment to working closely with INTA delegates to remove bottlenecks to enhancing trade links between Vietnam and the EU and accelerate the signing and ratification of the EVFTA.
Speaking during a meeting with Mr. Bernd Lange on the 26th of July at the Office of Government, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said:
“Apart from the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation, which has come into force, the upcoming signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) would be an important milestone helping lift bilateral ties to a new height. Both Vietnam and the EU hope the pact will bring benefits to their businesses and people.”
Prime Minister Phuc also stressed the role of EuroCham’s consultations in administrative reform in recent years. Co-Chairman Denis Brunetti discussed policy with Mr. Bernd Lange, including the new Cyber Security Law. Mr. Brunetti said:
“I have clearly seen the digitalisation progress of Vietnam’s economy, especially the Industry 4.0, and the Vietnamese Government are trying very hard with companies involved. The Prime Minister and his cabinet are really focused on digitalisation, healthcare, education, manufacturing and tourism. ICT will transform the future of these industries. The new Cyber Security Law will be in effect by January 2019, I am confident that the Government will find the way to implement this Law fair and effectively.”
Later, Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet provided an update on the automotive, pharmaceutical and wine & spirits industries.
On the 25th of July, Mr. Bouflet presented at the conference “Business and Human Rights in Trade Relations and Global Supply Chains in Vietnam” chaired by Mr. Bernd Lange. This project was funded by the EU and implemented by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Centre for Development and Integration (CDI) to promote the implementation of the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) as a tool to ensure compliance with labour and human rights standards in the global supply chains of export industries in Vietnam. Presenting at the conference, Mr. Bouflet discussed the role of business – especially European business – in promoting the implementation of the UNGP on business and human rights.
Mr. Lange rounded off his trip with a factory visit to van Laack – a German apparel company – with EuroCham delegates. Mr. Lange was impressed with the design and operation of the factory, along with its commitments to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Within the factory premises is a kindergarten where employees can send their kids when they go to work. Working during office hours instead of shifts with minimised overtime, safe and fair working conditions, and good human resource development programs are some of the reasons for high staff retention at the factory.
Mr. Lange hoped that EuroCham and van Laack can work together to promote good CSR practices to other factories in Vietnam. EuroCham Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet took this opportunity to invite delegates to form a EuroCham Textile Sector Committee.
Mr. Bernd Lange visited van Laack Factory