EuroCham Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh speaks at VCCI Seminar: “Identifying the Opportunities of Trade and Investment in the context of the EVFTA”

On the 10th of July, accepting an invitation from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), EuroCham Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh attended and delivered a speech at a seminar on: “Identifying the Opportunities of Trade and Investment in the Context of the EVFTA”. The Seminar also welcomed the participation of Mr. Ngo Chung Khanh, Deputy Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as Ms. Magdalena Ciesielska, Deputy Head of Trade and Economic Affairs at the EU Delegation to Vietnam and Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of VCCI.

Mr. Ngo Chung Khanh emphasised that inertia is common among Vietnamese authorities and businesses. He expressed his fear that businesses are not doing enough to take advantage of all the FTAs, including the on-going CPTPP and the upcoming EVFTA.
"Up to now, we’ve yet to receive full action plans from ministries, sectors and localities," he said. "Implementation is too slow and if we continue this stagnancy then all the presentations on opportunities will remain on paper and never become a reality."

Aligning with the view of Mr. Khanh, EuroCham Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh highlighted in his speech that the EVFTA will not only trigger a gradual reduction of over 99% of tariffs across a range of products, which will help Vietnamese companies export their products with international standards, but also bring a huge opportunity for Vietnamese companies to plug themselves into the value chains organizsd by the EU companies. However, there is still a big question about the ability of Vietnam enterprises to make use of that trend. One fact we have to admit is that, at this stage, Vietnamese enterprises are still limited in technology, capital, human resource, and corporate governance, which prevents them from connecting to such supply chain as well as from meeting high standards of the EU related to hygiene, safety, and working conditions.

In the upcoming time, domestic businesses will see increased pressure not only from the EU, but also from third countries to utilise the benefit of the FTA.
Mr. Minh also reiterated the commitment of EuroCham in accompanying Vietnam to prepare the ground for smooth and effective implementation of the EVFTA. EuroCham hopes that Vietnam will continue to streamline its administrative procedures and reform its legislation to provide a more predictable, stable and attractive environment for foreign investors.
Adding further to the above points, Dr. Vu Tien Loc said that EU is a highly demanding market; therefore, local businesses must satisfy many requirements for origins, environmental standards, labour relations and sustainable development. The urge for local enterprises to restructure and upgrade their production processes and technologies is higher than ever with the EVFTA.
Within the scope of the seminar, Mr. Minh Nguyen also received various questions from the media. He once again stated that only by taking fair competition can Vietnam develop to the next level in every industry, sector, and product category. Hence, EuroCham expects that the Vietnamese Government will open up the market and give access, free movement of goods and services, switching from protectionism to more market economy and promoting fair competition, transparency and integrity.

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