More than 200 delegates attended the meeting, including representatives of the Communist Party, the National Assembly, Central and Local Government bodies and associations, along with the Chairs of the People’s Committees of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and representatives from 63 provinces and cities who also attend online. The conference also welcomed leaders from international organisations in Vietnam such as the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the American Chamber of Commerce In Vietnam (AmCham), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). EuroCham was represented by Vice-Chairmen Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet, Mr. Hai Minh Nguyen, and Mr. Ywert Visser.
Thanks to the implementation of the Politburo’s Resolution 22 on international integration and the strategic orientation of the Party and the State, the international integration in the past 5 years has been implemented comprehensively and effectively – with economic integration as the focus – while also promoting integration in other areas, making an important contribution to maintaining peace, stability, creating a favorable environment and attracting important resources for country’s sustainable development.
In terms of international economic integration, the negotiation, signing and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have achieved important breakthroughs. In the past 5 years, Vietnam has completed negotiations on signing FTAs with South Korea, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the CPTPP. Vietnam is now pushing to sign and ratify the EVFTA with the European Union in 2019. At the same time, the process of negotiating the RCEP will continue to be promoted.
Mr. Hoang Binh Quan, Head of the Central Department of External Affairs, shared the Party's opinions on strengthening its activities in external relations, contributing to the effective implementation of international integration. Meanwhile Mr. Vu Hai Ha, Chairman of the NA Committee for Foreign Affairs, delivered a speeche on proactively and positively implementing the international integration strategy in the foreign affairs of the National Assembly.
From the Government’s side, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong shared that Vietnam’s integration process has achieved a great deal of success in the field of agricultural development. From being a poor country, Vietnam has now become a major exporter of agricultural products, with 12 export items valued at more than US$ 1 billion. From the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Minister Tran Tuan Anh mentioned the success of Vietnam in the negotiation of the FTAs and emphasised that businesses and the citizens should be the main subject of the integration process. Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien affirmed that the Ministry will continue to promote the Vietnamese image to the world in various channels, and develop a plan to review and evaluate the implementation of cultural diplomacy strategies.
Representing the business community in Vietnam, Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that international economic integration is one of the typical imprints of Vietnam's economy in the development journey over the past half-decade. He also proposed the position and role of business and entrepreneurs in creating regional economic links. Assessing the context of international economic integration, Vietnam still faces many challenges, which requires immediate solutions to continue to integrate effectively and sustainably.
In addition to domestic associations’ speeches, EuroCham was the only foreign Chamber of Commerce having the honour to speak at the conference, discussing Vietnam’s international integration, particularly EU-Vietnam trade and investment relations, and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
Speaking at the conference, Vice-Chair Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet stressed that foreign investment has been the engine of Vietnam’s economic development. Greater openness to international trade, sound macroeconomic policies and low inflation has given foreign enterprises the confidence to invest in Vietnam. EuroCham applauds the Government’s strong record of attracting FDI and welcomes its commitment to greater international integration. Bilateral trade and investment between the European Union and Vietnam have been growing ever since formal diplomatic ties were established in 1996. On top of this, the EU has been a strong supporter of trade liberalisation in Vietnam, helping to accelerate its international integration and sustainable development.
In the context of increasing protectionism, particularly the trade war between China and the USA, open markets, on the other hands, boost trade and investment across borders, creating a true ‘win-win’ situation for both sides. Therefore, to attract more European FDI in the future, Vietnam should continue to embrace free trade, open markets and liberalisation. Europe, with its unwavering commitment to free trade, is a strong partner for Vietnam.
Once ratified and implemented, the EVFTA will boost trade between Vietnam and Europe even further, and help to attract more FDI from European investors, open markets, increase trade and make Vietnam a more attractive investment destination for European companies in South East Asia. Vietnam will become a trade and investment hub in the region, well-placed to attract EU FDIs. The EVFTA brings more than trade – it accelerates Vietnam’s growth and development. It will help to modernise Vietnam’s legal framework, strengthen the trade and investment environment, improve safety and quality standards – particularly for food – and boost exports to European markets. This will benefit not just companies and consumers, but also the welfare, wages and standards, thus, making Vietnam’s trade and citizens’ living more sustainable.
In the closing remarks, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc once again evaluated the achievements that Vietnam has made in the past, acknowledging the contributions of Ministries, Departments, agencies and localities, and giving strategic direction to promote stronger international integration in the fields of economics, public security & defense, culture, science & technology, education & training, among others. The Prime Minister highly appreciated all the stances, initiatives and recommendations of the delegates and representatives in the conference, agreed to develop further plans to proactively and effectively implement the new FTAs and promote a better business environment in Vietnam in preparation for the FTAs’ finalisation, particularly the EVFTA.
The Prime Minister suggested continuing the research and development of long-term projects and proposed appropriate initiatives to strengthen the competitiveness of Vietnam. He also pushed for the effective implementation of new-generation FTAs, most recently the CPTPP and EVFTA, in which all Ministries and sectors should pay special attention to provide localities and businesses with valuable information and strong support. In terms of attracting FDI, Vietnam should focus on high-tech, environmentally friendly, effective technology-transfer projects, bringing both immediate and long-term benefits to the country. Along with international economic integration, the Prime Minister also suggested improvements to the ability to handle disputes and complaints on trade and international investment. Especially with the issue of the labour environment, it is necessary to actively study the possibility of approving the remaining basic conventions of the International Labour Organisation in accordance with the situation of Vietnam as well as pay attention to these provisions in the bilateral and multilateral FTAs to which Vietnam is or will be a participant.
Speak of EuroCham: Available Here