ADVOCACY UPDATE (1 April 2019 – 15 June 2019)

I. EVENTS

1. EuroCham Speaks at the Conference of the National Steering Committee for International Integration | 23 April 2019 | Hanoi

Vice-Chairmen Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet, Mr. Hai Minh Nguyen, and Mr. Ywert Visser attended the National Steering Committee for International Integration’s national online conference on “Promoting Active, Creative and Effective International Integration for Rapid and Sustainable Development”, chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc evaluated the achievements that Vietnam has made in the past and gave strategic direction to promote stronger international integration in the fields of economics, public security & defense, culture, science & technology, education & training, among others. He suggested continuing the research and development of long-term projects and proposed appropriate initiatives to strengthen the competitiveness of Vietnam. The Prime Minister 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.

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. EuroCham Vice-Chairman Jean Jacques Bouflet applauded the Government’s strong record of attracting FDI and welcomed its commitment to greater international integration. 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.

More details of the event can be found here.

2. EuroCham speaks at the Vietnam Private Sector Economic Forum 2019 | 3 May 2019 | Hanoi

EuroCham Vice Chairmen Mr. Ywert Visser, Mr. Hai Minh Nguyen and Mr. Tomaso Andreatta delivered a speech at the plenary session of the Vietnam Private Sector Economic Forum 2019, co-organised by the Government and the Central Economic Commission.
H.E. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated that the State’s consistent policy is to build a multi-component economy. He also stressed that the private sector plays a very important role in the national economy, thus, Vietnam needs to devise solutions to further promote its role.
EuroCham Vice Chairman Tomaso Andreatta stated that more than one thousand members of EuroCham have recently reconfirmed their positive expectation for continued growth of trade and the economy for Vietnam; convinced that there is a lot to gain from the EVFTA to be ratified and implemented soon. However, there were still many issues that the Government needs to address in order to improve Vietnam's business and investment environment. If addressed, these issues would further improve the trade and investment environment in Vietnam, increase foreign direct investment and make the country an even more attractive place in which to do business.

More details of the event can be found here.

3. EuroCham Receives a Certificate of Merit for Active Contribution to the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc | 15 May 2019 | Hanoi

EuroCham Vice-Chairman, Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh, attended a meeting of the Prime Minister's Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (“ACAPR”) chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and Minister/Chairman of the Government Office and Chairman of ACAPR, Mr. Mai Tien Dung.
On behalf of EuroCham, Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh received the Certificate of Merit from Minister/Chairman Mr. Mai Tien Dung for the Chamber’s active contributions to the Council’s activities on administrative procedures reform in recent years. In 2018, EuroCham participated in 4 meetings of ACAPR with its members, and received a great number of ACAPR’s feedbacks on proposed solutions for cost reduction and simplification of administrative procedures from the Council. EuroCham also successfully co-organised a dialogue conference where representatives of EuroCham’s 16 Sector Committees raised obstacles, reflected on difficulties and made proposals in a direct discussion with Chairman-Minister Mai Tien Dung.
Since 2017, EuroCham has been working closely with ACAPR to actively contribute to the simplification of administrative reforms and improving the business and investment environment.

More details of the event can be found here.


4. EuroCham Customs Training Session 2019 | 23 May 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City

EuroCham and its partner EVBN co-organised with Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Customs a Customs training session for European business community focusing on updating and equipping the business community with latest customs regulations and procedures. Mid-management and executive level participants had the chance to interact directly with representatives from the Customs authority to address their concerns.
Mr. Le Van Trien, Deputy Head of Supervision and Management Division of the HCMC Department of Customs presented to the business community notable changes in the Law on Foreign Trade Management and its guiding legislative documents; provided key content related to the origin of goods topic which is at heart of the implementation of new generation FTAs such as EVFTA and CPTPP.
Mr. Nguyen Quoc Toan, Deputy Head of Tax Import & Export Division of the HCMC Department of Customs, systematised the import and export procedures. He focused on 3 key topics: customs valuation, HS Code classification, and origin of goods and also emphasised the connection role of EuroCham in bringing the concerns of the business community to the Customs authority.

More details of the event can be found here.

5. EuroCham Executive Board’s courtesy Government meetings | 3&4 June 2019 | Hanoi

EuroCham Chairman Nicolas Audier, Vice Chairmen Jean-Jacques Bouflet and Ywert Visser, together with representatives from other affiliated Business Associations, held a series of ministerial meetings with Ministries and the municipal authorities.
Meeting with Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, EuroCham had an open discussion on the policy of FDI attraction towards advanced technology, environmental friendliness and high added value. EuroCham and MPI both agreed on collaboration in advocacy, providing training sessions for capability enhancement in making the most of EVFTA.

Meeting with Vice Minister of Justice, Nguyen Khanh Ngoc, EuroCham received exclusive information on the roadmap for the implementation of the EVFTA. EuroCham also shared its best practices in terms of arbitration and efforts of the Government and Vietnam International Arbitration Center and recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Vietnam as well consistency with the New York Convention.
Meeting with Vice Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha: EuroCham recommended numerous cooperation activities with MOF and Department of Tax Policy in reviewing and updating the tax regulations. Vice Minister Tran Xuan Ha welcomed all EuroCham’s recommendations and suggested organising other meetings at a working level with relevant EuroCham Sector Committees.

Meeting with Hanoi People’s Committee: Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung highly appreciated the effective and active cooperation of European enterprises in contributing to the success of the relationship between Hanoi and the European business community in recent years. The Hanoi People’s Committee affirmed their companion with the European business community in the process of implementing the EVFTA as a strategic partner as well as in other fields such as smart cities, Industry 4.0 and promoting SMEs and innovation.

More details of the event can be found here.


6. Meeting with EU Heads of Mission | 14 June 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City

EuroCham Executive Board Members, Sector Committees’ Chairs and representatives attended a meeting with H.E. Bruno Angelet, EU Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, and Heads of Mission of EU Member States to Vietnam.
At the meeting, EuroCham Sector Committees’ Chairs and representatives delivered presentation on key advocacy topics, namely Healthcare, Mobility, Wines and spirits and Green growth. EuroCham experts then had the chance to directly discuss with the Ambassadors and Heads of Missions, which was a great opportunity to brief the Ambassadors on their advocacy issues in order to get their feedback and support for future cooperation.


II. SECTOR COMMITTEE UPDATES

 

1. Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee (FAABS)

16 April 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi | Breakfast talk: Future of Foods and Swine farming in Vietnam
FAABS and IPSOS co-organised a breakfast talk - an information-sharing session for FAABS members on the topic regarding food industry and swine farming in Vietnam. 

2. Green Growth Sector Committee (GGSC)

29 May 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City | Conference “Moving Toward Sustainable Cities”
GGSC and its partner, the Vietnam Green Building Council, co-organised the conference “Moving Toward Sustainable Cities”. Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, EuroCham Vice-Chairman and Chairman of GGSC, stressed that Ho Chi Minh City needs to become smarter quickly to ensure livability and sustainability given the current growth of its population. The European business community would like to further engage with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to identify the right polities and involving the most effective means while heading toward sustainable development.
Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Mr. Hoang Tung, attended and delivered a keynote speech, while Deputy Chief of the Department, Mr. Huynh Xuan Thu, actively participated in the panel discussion. The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture shared the city’s vision in heading toward a smart city, expressed willingness to receive foreign expertise to overcome challenges and achieve sustainable growth in works such as fighting against climate change, developing and publicising a handbook on mega cities, raising public awareness of environmental protection, increasing the municipal management capacity, and so on.

More details of the event can be found here.


5 June 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City | Conference “Plastic Waste: How Public and Private Sectors can Help to Address the Issue”
Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, EuroCham Vice-Chairman and Chairman of GGSC, delivered a keynote speech and moderated the panel discussion in a conference which aims to strengthen the coordination between the public and private sectors in addressing the issues of plastic waste in Vietnam.
In the speech, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta shared recommendations from European businesses on plastic waste management. Initiatives of businesses, especially in the packaging industry, can have great influence on plastic waste management.
Vice-Chairman of GGSC Tanachart Ralsiripong underlined that lacking of proper infrastructure and behaviour to segregate and treat plastic waste has caused a multitude of problems. It is a community and systematic challenge that requires systematic solutions. He affirmed the private sector’s willingness to better contribute to recycling, composting, and other sustainable solutions.

More details of the event can be found here.


26 April 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi | Meeting with EU Delegation
GGSC met with Mr. Koen Duchateau, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation and 2 Program Managers, Mr. Antoine Vander Elst and Ms. Cecile Leroy, to discuss opportunities to further cooperate in renewable energy and other fields.
The Sector Committee updated the EU Delegation on its strategic goals for 2019/2020 in focused fields of renewable energy, sustainable cities and circular economy. The EU Delegation in return shared about their Multi-Indicative Programme and the Vietnam Energy Partnership Group. 

3. Human Resource & Training Sector Committee

29 May 2019 | Hanoi | Women in Leadership: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
A common problem for women in the workplace in Vietnam is lack of respect and harassment. However, there have been some recent positive developments. Notably, the latest version of the draft Labour Code provides a definition of sexual harassment and includes sexual harassment as a ground for dismissal. Co-chair Sarah Galeski delivered a talk and discussed the challenges in practically implementing the draft Labour Code, possible solutions and recommendations for further legislative changes.

13 & 14 May 2019 | EVFTA conference and FES Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) conference
Co-chair Sarah Galeski joined discussions with the EU Delegation, MOLISA and ILO regarding the latest draft Labour Code and labour requirements in association with the EVFTA. Domestic Advisory Groups will be formed to help monitor and advise on Vietnam’s implementation of labour obligations under the EVFTA.

26 April 2019 | Business and Women’s Empowerment: Opportunities and Challenges
UN Women and EuroCham HR & Training Sector Committee jointly organised a working breakfast to offer a space for businesses to share and discuss their hands-on experience and best practices for empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Such efforts may take a variety of forms, ranging from setting up the internal corporate policies to creating more enabling environment for all workers, revising a supply chain to make it ethical and inclusive to promoting gender equality in communities through CSR initiatives. Participants had the chancce to learn about the benefits of creating a gender-responsive business environment; discuss and share best practice and challenges in the Vietnamese context; get inspired by European and Vietnamese companies to take action; and become familiarised with Women Empowerment Principles and available tools/resources.

4. Tax & Transfer Pricing Sector Committee

17 April 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City | Annual Tax Dialogue
EuroCham Tax & Transfer Pricing Sector Committee organised the Annual Tax Dialogue to update participants about the most recent tax-related developments, new regulations from Ho Chi Minh City Tax Department, as well as have discussions on the issues that could affect to the taxpayers 2019, such as the Latest Tax Laws and Reforms Effective in 2019 and the possible changes in 2020. Participants also had chance to have direct discussion with the municipal tax authorities and experts.
 
More photos of the event can be found here.

5. Tourism & Hospitality Sector Committee (T&H SC)

9 May 2019 | Nha Trang | 2nd National GM Meeting
Co-Chairman Martin Koerner participated in the meeting as a panelist to address the following issues: visa policy, destination marketing and funding, sustainability and human recourses. Participants included 400 owners, investors, senior management of the hotel industry and Government representatives.
 
4 June 2019 | Ho Chi Minh | Tourism & Hospitality SC meeting with PUM Netherland (NGO)
The T&H SC had a meeting with PUM Netherland and Van Hien University to share industry insights and discuss on potential collaboration between T&H SC and Van Hien University regarding an internship & training program.


6. Wine & Spirits Sector Committee

14 June 2019 | Hanoi | Vietnam National Assembly passed the Law on Fighting against the harmful effects of Alcohol and Beer
The draft Law on Fighting Against the Harmful Effects of Alcohol and Beer was passed by the National Assembly on Friday with 408 out of 450 delegates voting in favour.
The Law is considered to be a success for the European Wine & Spirits industry in terms of liquor sale on the Internet, exclusion of fund, exclusion of limitation of hours of sale of alcoholic beverages etc.
Highlights of the Law would be prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol, regardless of the blood alcohol concentration, the ban on advertisements for alcohol on radio, broadcasting and print media from 6pm to 9pm every day.
The Law would be signed by the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and is expected to be public in next 15 days
 

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