The EVFTA: An Opportunity for Enhancing Trade and Investment Partnership Between Ba Ria Vung Tau and Europe

On the 2nd of August in Vung Tau, EuroCham and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ba Ria – Vung Tau People’s Committee co-organised a roundtable seminar on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”) as a golden opportunity to tap into the province’s potential and calling for investment.

(Group photo from left to the right: Leadership of Eurocham, MOFA Vice- Minister Bui Thanh Son, Leadership of Ba Ria Vung Tam Province and Directors of Department)

The event took place in the Palace Hotel, Vung Tau City and attracted more than 100 delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Party and Peoples’ Committee and departments, EuroCham representatives and business associations and many European and local businesses.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Bui Thanh Son, Permanent Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the importance of the EVFTA and EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (“EVIPA”) which have been signed on 30th June in Hanoi in unlocking future trade and investment and assuring Vietnam’s internal integration. The seminar is a great opportunity for European representatives to share information and assess the process of implementing these two agreements together with local authorities introducing the provincial potentials and welcoming foreign investments, especially from European businesses.

(Opening remarks by H.E. Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bui Thanh Son)

In light of its strategic location in the economic development of the Southern part of Vietnam, H.E. Party Secretary Mr. Nguyen Hong Linh also highlighted that the province is the gateway to connect with the future international airport in Long Thanh. It will also connect Vietnam with the world through Cai Mep Thi Vai deep-water port. A transportation hub connecting the East and South West of the country unlocking the potential for high-tech industry, tourism and maritime transportation development. Tapping into this advantage, Ba Ria - Vung Tau attracted 30 billion dollars in FDI and over 68 projects with total investment capital of 3.5 billion dollars from European countries to date. The focus investment industries include: port technology, logistics, business and tourism and commit to becoming a sustainable destination with a high living standard, the province is opening all the doors to investors coming with specific projects.

(Welcome speech by H. E. Party Secretary, Mr. Nguyen Hong Linh)

Vice Chairman of Ba Ria - Vung Tau People’s Committee, Mr. Tran Van Tuan, declared that the province is the key economic region of Vietnam and one of the most important destinations of EuroCham Southern Chapter. Thus, Vung Tau has gained significant potential in human resources with 60% of people currently of working age, 2 large universities, 5 colleges and 6 vocational training schools. The deep seaport system is a national port complex. It includes an international gateway combined with international container transshipment. It receives vessels with a tonnage of over 100,000 tons, Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port system has confirmed its role and position in the global production chain and sea economic development of Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. The transportation system is quite complete with the national highway system to reduce travel times from HCMC to less than an hour and create convenient links with other provinces in the region. Vung Tau City is also a favorite destination attracting 2-3 million tourists per year. This is thanks to many historical and cultural relics, beautiful landscapes and tourism complexes with appealing culinary culture.
In the context of international integration and high-tech development, Vung Tau maximized its advantages through investment projects in all sectors. These include industry (industrial cluster infrastructure projects: Xuyen Moc, Tan Thanh, Hac Dich), logistic services (Cai Mep Ha Logistics Center), transportation infrastructure (Expressway projects), urban development and housing projects, healthcare (projects on hospital construction), tourism (Nui Dinh Tourism Park and areas of Long Hau – Phuoc Hau – Binh Chau – Con Dao).

(Plenary session on the advantages and potentials of Ba Ria- Vung Tau)

EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet provided valuable information on relevant sectors of the EVFTA and EVIPA. These agreements will trigger a gradual reduction of 99% of tariffs across a range of products, eliminate technical barriers to trade and protect investment, once ratified and implemented. He also affirmed that EuroCham and its members continue to stand together with the Vietnamese Government and local authorities, including Ba Ria - Vung Tau to facilitate the quick and smooth ratification of the EVFTA both in Europe and Vietnam. If Vietnam continues with its current positive efforts, it will be able to unlock the benefits of the EVFTA and take advantage of the new wave of EU FDIs in relevant sectors for the benefit of businesses, consumers and above all - Vietnamese citizens.

(Eurocham Vice-Chairman, Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet presented on EVFTA)

At the dialogue session, representatives from EuroCham proposed recommendations across sectors and received feedback from provincial authorities. Vice - Chairman of the German Business Association, Mr. Horst Geicke, brought ideas in the tourism sector and recommendations on creating more attraction and recreational activities. According to Mr. Trinh Hang, Director of Department of Tourism, Vung Tau currently has some featured festivals such as Ba Temple, Whale Welcome, Trung Cuu, Co Festival and many other tourist attractions. There are still 128 tourism projects calling for investors.

(Mr. Horst Geicke raised ideas and proposed recommendations on Tourism)

A question related to the port position of Cai Mep and enhancing the connection between Europe and Vietnam by EuroCham Executive Director, Mr. Oliver Regner, was also addressed by Mr. Luong Anh Tuan – Deputy Director of Department of Transportation. Vung Tau seaport system is located at the center of major ports in ASEAN and it ismuch larger than the surrounding ports with a capacity of up to 6.8 million TEU. It is focused on developing logistics centers, specifically Cai Mep Ha Logistics Center. The seaport system is calling for investment in international logistics parks, general cargo yards, container repair and maintenance yards, general warehouses, refrigerated warehouses, free trade zones.

(Mr. Oliver Regner, Eurocham Executive Director)

The other issues discussed covered the food processing industry raised by Mr. Sergio Silva, Chairman of Vietnam Portugal Chamber of Commerce, real estate and urban development of the province raised by Co-Chairman of Tourism Sector Committee, Mr. Vu Minh Anh as well as dual vocational training opportunities and European companies’ support the province to enhance training quality were also brought by Mr. Brian O’reilly, EuroCham Delegate in the Southeast.

Closing the seminar, the Party Secretary Mr. Nguyen Hong Linh committed that Ba Ria – Vung Tau province will create the best development conditions for European businesses and is ready to meet and work with any European business that needs to learn about the possibility of investment and trade cooperation.

Media coverage:

BR-VT Seminar: 02 August 2019 | 10:00AM - 14:00PM

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