On the 12th of September, Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet, EuroCham Vice-Chairman, spoke about the EVFTA and highlighted upcoming opportunities and challenges for Vietnam. Mr. Bouflet was speaking at a conference organised by Overseas Vietnamese Committees (OVC) to promote the resources of overseas Vietnamese to support enterprises in HCMC in their involvement with the EVFTA.
The event was also attended by Mr. Le Thanh Liem – Standing Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. In his speech, HCMC was introduced as one of the leading localities in terms of GDP growth rate, contributing about 24% of the nation’s gross domestic product, 28% of the national revenue budget, 16% of industrial output and 15% of a total import-export turnover. Until now, HCMC attracted over 8000 FDI projects with total investment of approximately $45 billion, making the city the most appealing investment destination. Therefore, the private sector has gradually become a crucial driving force stimulating economic growth by contributing more than 55% of GDP and accounting for 72% of the total investment capital of the whole country. H.E. Mr. Liem stated that HCMC could not have achieved these results without the support and contribution of the overseas business community.
He also affirmed that the EVFTA is the key for Vietnamese enterprises gaining access to the EU market. To take full advantage of the opportunities brought by this comprehensive agreement, the overseas business community with many years living abroad as an important resource will provide and share valuable information, international experience and feasible and innovative ideas to help domestic firms optimise the benefits of the EVFTA.
Speaking on behalf of EuroCham, Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet highlighted the timeline of tariff reduction once the trade deal is ratified and implemented. The FTA, as one of the most comprehensive trade agreements signed by the EU with a developing country, not only helps to unlock future trade and investment but also improves the competitiveness of Vietnam’s economy and facilitates its integration into the global economy. However, he affirmed that the EU is a fastidious market with stringent requirements on rules of origin, fair trade, high technical standards with a focus on production processes and environmental protection. Vietnam should be well-prepared to stand ready to seize the full opportunities of this new generation agreement.
In the plenary session, Mr. Bouflet also informed the audience about the investment status of European businesses in Ho Chi Minh City which has recently received around $44 billion. According to the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment, information shared to EuroCham in March 2019, the city currently has about 1,100 active projects invested by European companies, with a total investment capital of $3.86 billion. HCMC has chosen 2019 to be the year of administrative reforms and further implementation of Resolution 54 piloting special mechanism for HCMC. Therefore, it welcomes further investments from the EU to develop a smart and innovative city. EuroCham is also working very closely with the Customs and Tax authorities to ease difficulties in administrative procedures for companies and to facilitate the upcoming trade & investment boost coming with the EVFTA.