ADVOCACY UPDATE (14 AUG 2019 – 30 SEP 2019)

I. EVENTS

1. EuroCham attended the Conference: Opportunities and Challenges For Vietnam’s Shrimp Industry When Joining The EVFTA | ​29 August 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City

On the 29th of August, EuroCham, OXFAM and other partners co-hosted the Conference for Shrimp Industry in the context of the EVFTA. On behalf of EuroCham, Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet attended and addressed some questions regarding opportunities for EU investors when investing in technologies, renewable energies and financing as well as the challenges for Vietnamese companies penetrating the EU shrimp market.

Within the framework of the event, the presentation from Mr. Mathieu Penot, Attaché of EU Delegation to Vietnam, and Ms. Hien Trinh, representative from Ministry of Industry and Trade, gave the audience a comprehensive overview of the EVFTA and Rules of Origin in the shrimp industry.
In the plenary session, speakers were invited to address questions raised from audience so that shrimp farmers could visualize more specifically what opportunities were offered and things they would prepare to tackle potential challenges. Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet, EuroCham Vice-Chairman, anticipated that the EVFTA could be ratified and entered into force by the middle or end of 2020. Now is the time for shrimp farmers to do research and understand the stringent requirements of the EU market such as food safety and hygiene, standards on labour and working environment and the goods’ origin. To tackle these challenges, there is no way better than improving aquaculture products’ quality to match with technical standards. Although the process of improvement is not easy, the favourable outcomes will be worth the investment. At EuroCham, European companies from Food Agri-Aqua Business Sector Committee have already brought advanced technologies to Vietnam, advising and participating in governmental projects to ensure sustainable development and environmental protection.
 
More details: click here 

2. EuroCham Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh spoke at the Hanoi Innovation Summit | 29 August 2019 | Hanoi

On the 29th of August, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh honorably presented on the cooperation between the European and Vietnamese business communities in the field of science and technology, innovation and startups. The “Hanoi Innovation Summit 2019” was held under the auspices of the Hanoi People’s Committee, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and other high-profile experts in various sectors. 
 


The Forum this year welcomed over 3,000 delegates including representatives of embassies of several countries in Hanoi, specialists from sectorial industries such as Information Technology, the Environmental and Natural Resources, Creative Entrepreneurship, and Finance, as well as investors, many giant technology corporations, and domestic and foreign startups. In the plenary session, the Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Duc Chung, raised questions to international creative start-up experts on how to more strongly promote the development of startup projects. In addition, the appropriate method will help to effectively connect Hanoi startup projects to similar projects around the world.

Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh, Vice-Chairman of EuroCham, stated that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to be ratified early next year, promising to open a new chapter in EU-Vietnam trade relations. Especially, he lauded the innovative spirit of the Vietnamese government, thereby creating confidence for European investors. “We can see that the capital market for startups in Vietnam has great potential and can generate profits”, he said. Noting that startups still struggle to approach and meet the demands of investors, mainly due to their lack of knowledge and experience in business modeling, international business development, R&D, and even simple compliance such as tax, accounting, and invoicing, he suggested that the Government should accelerate the involvement of local business angels, who can share risk, knowledge and experience in the field of early stage startup investments.
 
More details: click here 

3. EuroCham attended and spoke at Global Logistics Conference 2019 held by Expeditors

  • 11 September 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City
  • 13 September 2019 | Hanoi
On the 11th of September in HCMC and the 13th of September 2019 in Hanoi, EuroCham Vice-Chairmen Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet and Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh were respectively invited to give a speech and join panel discussions to address some questions around EVFTA topics at the Global Logistics Conference. This conference was organised by Expeditors, a EuroCham member, to provide the audience with updated information on logistics and supply chains with the focus on methods to optimise the benefits of EVFTA in the context of international integration.
 

 

Speaking on behalf of EuroCham, the 2 Vice-Chairmen affirmed that the EVFTA will open tremendous opportunities for Vietnam-EU cooperation with the elimination of almost all tariffs and open the door widely for goods, services, investment, intellectual property and so on. This comprehensive agreement will help to increase 2.18-3.25% GDP of Vietnam from now to 2023 with gradual reduction of tariffs, depending on different sectors and types of goods.
 
EuroCham also shared some expected changes after the EVFTA is ratified and implemented, so that businesses can prepare well to take full advantage of opportunities that the FTA offers. Besides the spotlight that the EVFTA offers for Vietnam in general and businesses in particular, enterprises should also foresee challenges and thus equip their knowledge and financial resources to utilise this open, fair and rules-based trade agreement. Therefore, a number of recommendations were raised for Vietnamese enterprises regarding the compliance with requirements of goods’ origin and traceability, standards on environmental protection, favourable conditions of work and Intellectual Property Rights commitments.
 
EuroCham’s Transport & Logistics Sector Committee, with 4 working groups (Shipping lines and Terminal, Customs, Forwarders and Airlines, Manufacturers & Logistics providers), aims to support its member to raise issues in a unified voice to seek changes in regulations or operational practices. In addition, the Annual Dialogue with HCMC Customs Department is a precious opportunity for the business community to raise their concerns and recommendations to the authorities to receive guidance and help to modernise and reform customs, especially customs procedures and promoting international trade.  

4. EuroCham supports overseas Vietnamese resources to assist HCMC  enterprises in preparation for the EVFTA | 12 September, 2019 | Ho Chi Minh City

On the 12th of September, the EVFTA conference was organised by Overseas Vietnamese Committee (OVC) to promote overseas resources in facilitating domestic firms in preparation for the EVFTA. On behalf of EuroCham, Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Vice-Chairman, delivered a speech to disseminate EVFTA information highlighting opportunities and challenges for Vietnam once the trade deal is ratified and implemented.
 

Speaking at the conference with the opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Le Thanh Liem, Standing Vice-Chairman of the City People's Committee, highlighted the achievements of Ho Chi Minh City with the contribution of overseas Vietnamese around the world. He affirmed that this is a valuable resource with huge contribution to the development and integration process of the City. In the EVFTA context, He affirmed that EVFTA is the key for Vietnamese enterprises gaining access to EU market and improving the competitiveness of national economy and enhancing bilateral cooperation.
 
On behalf of EuroCham, Jean-Jacques Bouflet presented specifically some unprecedented benefits that the EVFTA would bring to Vietnam and the expected changes after ratification and implementation. Besides these tremendous advantages, this large market is also known for its fastidiousness, with rigid requirements on rules of origin, fair trade, high technical standards with a focus on production processes and environmental protection. Therefore, he suggested domestic enterprises should be well-prepared in studying opportunities and challenges when doing business with the EU to ensure they can penetrate the European retail market and seize the full opportunities of the deal. In particular, Mr. Bouflet shared that HCMC has been currently upgrading itself with administrative reforms and further implementation of Resolution 54 piloting a special mechanism to welcome FDI from the EU to develop a smart and innovative city. This is a good strategy to prepare for the EVFTA, he said. The overseas business community should be aware of this to support city authorities and local firms by utilising international experience and innovative ideas in planning and preparation.
 
More details: click here 

5. ​EuroCham attended The National Conference on Sustainable Development held by VCCI and the World Bank | 12 September 2019 | Hanoi

On the 12th of September, the National Conference on Sustainable Development 2019 took place in Hanoi under theme “For a Decade of More Sustainable Development”. The event was held by the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement in coordination with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank. EuroCham Green Growth Sector Committee also joined and raised a question on smart cities.
 

 
The conference was chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc with the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong, and more than 1,000 representatives from ministries, localities, businesses and international organisations. The conference aimed to seek practical and effective measures to develop the human capital, build a non-emission economy, and promote the model of a sustainable economy to help enhance the competitiveness of the private sector. Attending the event, participants had opportunities to further discuss topics related to the development of a circular economy in the next decade and the inter-sectoral growth model with the transformation in the principle of using materials; the public-private partnership (PPP); and human capital. Vietnam will take actions to promote sustainable development, investing more in the workforce and advanced technologies, moving towards digital Government and digital society, H.E. Mr. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said.
 
At the conference, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, EuroCham Vice-Chairman, also asked a question regarding the plan to build smart cities and study international experience for consulting Smart City transformation policy. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam hoped that through running such an event, Vietnam would acquire international experience on new economic and smart city models. He also emphasised that the globalisation of technology will change thinking, but Vietnam must preserve its cultural values and promote sustainable development and waste prevention.
 
The Director for Human Resource Development of World Bank, Mr. Daniel Dulitzky, lauded Vietnam’s good performance in the human capital index. However, he stated that there are still more challenges to face in ensuring high-quality human resources, narrowing the gap among ethnic minority groups and strengthening the development of the workforce. Therefore, he recommended reforming national target programmes, renovating the tertiary education system and creating more incentives to attract private sector investment into education and training facilities. The contributions are expected to be valuable inputs for the construction of the national strategy on socio-economic development for 2021-2031, which is to be in line with the country's vision of sustainable development in the next decade. 

6. EuroCham and Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperate to further disseminate EVFTA opportunities in Ben Tre for the upcoming economic cooperation | 27th September 2019 | Ben Tre

On the 27th of September, EuroCham and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Department of Foreign Affairs for Provinces, in collaboration with Ben Tre authorities, co-organised a seminar: “Opportunities for Ben Tre – Europe Economic Cooperation”. The event attracted more than 80 delegates representing MOFA, Ben Tre provincial government, European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and local businesses.
 

 
The seminar, with the participation of H.E. Mr. Bui Thanh Son, Standing Deputy of Foreign Affairs, and other provincial leaders, is a precious opportunity to share valuable information about the EVFTA and enhance cooperation between the European business community and local firms. In his speech, H.E. Mr. Bui Thanh Son affirmed that the signing of the EVFTA and EVIPA is a historical milestone opening up great opportunities for the two economies. Therefore, the preparation to tap into the benefits of the EVFTA will help enterprises adapt and stand ready to seize opportunities of the deal. He also lauded Ben Tre as one of the localities with a high development index, ranking first in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and fourth in the competitiveness index in 2018, creating a foundation for the province to promote international economic integration in the future.
 
According to Provincial Party Secretary H.E. Mr. Phan Van Mai, Ben Tre has always identified the foreign-invested economic area as one of the important investment attraction activities of the province. The provincial leader committed to respect and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. In the direction of foreign investment cooperation, Ben Tre prioritises projects with advanced and cutting-edge technologies which are also efficient and modern, and which help to promote the connection of global value chains in production and supply chains to maximize the gains. “We are confident that European investors are partners we want to invite due to their competency and international experience. Ben Tre province always stands ready to welcome and create favourable conditions for investors to research, propose and deploy projects in Ben Tre” the Party Secretary affirmed.
 
EuroCham Chairman Mr. Nicolas Audier affirmed to strongly commit to continue supporting this process through the chamber’s members and Sector Committees to remove all trade and investment barriers while waiting for the ratification. He also promised to facilitate cooperation between European and Vietnamese partners. Therefore, once the trade deal is implemented, it will bring new waves of EU investment to Vietnam, specifically in sectors such as Food and Agriculture; Green Growth including water, waste management & renewable energy, Tourism & Sustainable development and others. However, the FTA as a new generation trade deal is also a driving force to accelerate Vietnam’s growth and development thanks to the improvement on rules of origin, safety and quality standards and environmental protection. Particularly, the EVFTA will provide Ben Tre with great chances to reach the EU market through the above-mentioned sectors.
 
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet described export opportunities on specific sectors with tariff reduction and elimination. Moreover, he presented expected changes after the EVFTA comes into effect, especially the recognition of the Geographical Indications (GIs) as a distinctive sign used to identify a product originating in a territory of a particular country, region or locality. Vietnam has registered totally 39 GIs and, in 2018, Ben Tre registered two GIs for Pomelo (00062) and Xiem Xanh Coconut (00063). Mr. Bouflet urged Vietnamese businesses to make more efforts to comply with the EU market’s stringent requirements: combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing to remove the “yellow card” status; promote marketing of Ben Tre in the context of Mekong Delta, Metro in Ho Chi Minh City-Ba Ria-Vung Tau to leverage on international airports and logistics. Moreover, in order to enhance the province’s competitiveness, it should shift to advanced production and processing systems, he added.
 
In the Discussion session, EuroCham’s Tourism & Hospitality Sector Committee Chairman, Mr. Vu Minh Anh, suggested that Ben Tre should focus on its strengths and local resources and develop products from coconut trees, create homestay services, upgrade infrastructure, promote quality services, and provide support policies for tourism businesses. In addition, efforts should be made to further enhance the area as a destination for local and international travelers by facility improvement and environmental protection to promote eco-tourism. EuroCham and its members are willing to support local firms and share technical and business experiences with Ben Tre helping the province’s products satisfy requirements in the EU markets.

7. EuroCham speaks at VCCI SEMINAR: EVFTA – opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese workforce | 17th September 2019 | Hanoi

On the 17th of September, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), in coordination with Manpower Group Vietnam, organised a seminar on "EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA): Opportunities and Challenges for Vietnamese Workforce”.
The seminar aimed to increase awareness among enterprises on the impacts of the EVFTA on Vietnam’s integration and labour market, to provide information on the amended Labour Code to be presented to National Assembly in October, and to share solutions to improve Vietnamese workforce’s quality.
On behalf of EuroCham, Vice-Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh’s speech focused on two key issues: the quality of labour, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

“European businesses have very high standards for skilled labour recruitment. The top 3 factors of our focus would be technical skills, working experience and foreign language skills, apart from soft skills needed. Improving labour productivity and skills through better education and vocational training to cope with high requirements should thus be a priority of the government and the society in the new era”, Mr. Minh said.
In his speech, Mr. Minh also stated that raising the awareness and implementation of CSR, in other words, to develop the labour environment, is required. On a survey on CSR done by EuroCham members, around 87% responded that CSR is important to their business operations in Vietnam, and almost 33% of those companies are implementing and applying CST standards in their operations. European businesses look forward to having more regulations that minimize the administration control on their activities and more incentives to be applied.

 
On behalf of the Human Resources & Training Sector Committee of EuroCham, Vice -Chairwoman Le Ngoc Thien Phuong also joined the panel discussion and shared her perspectives on the current challenges and measures to improve the quality of the Vietnamese labor force. With over 10 years of experience in HR and operations for large multinationals in the Asia-Pacific region, similar to Mr. Minh, she emphasised the urgent need for companies to implement a number of changes to their current labour policies to meet with the EVFTA’s labour standards.

8. EuroCham signed an MOU with the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association | 29th September 2019 | Hanoi

On 20th of September 2019 in Hanoi, the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VDAA) was officially launched and had its first congress meeting ceremony with the participation of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong. On behalf of EuroCham, as a strategic partner of the newly-launched association, Vice-Chairman Ywert Visser and Vice-Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh participated and signed an MOU with the VDDA.
 
Mr. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of FPT Corporation, newly-elected Chairman of VDDAA term I from 2019 - 2024 shared that on 26 June, Ministry of Home Affairs had promulgating the Decision No. 516/QD-BNV on allowing the establishment of Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association.
 

The association was created to gather resources to realize the directions of the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in developing the agricultural sector of Vietnam by performing practical tasks such as perfecting the technological infrastructure for agriculture, connecting internationally and expanding markets, attracting investment for deep processing, and training and developing digital agricultural human resources.
 
With the expected ratification and implementation of the EVFTA, a new chapter for a breakthrough development of the Vietnamese agricultural sector is promising. As such, EuroCham already kicked off the process to facilitate such development, especially in terms of sustainability and hi-tech application. EuroCham has organized the very first Vietnam–EU Sustainable Agriculture Forum in which the highlights were to connect the business communities from both sides, sharing new technologies, know-how, experiences and knowledge towards Smart Agriculture. As such, EuroCham is encouraged with the launch of VDAA and signed an MOU with the organisation. This MOU represents a shared determination from both sides to strengthen the cooperation to promote and facilitate the development of hi-tech agriculture in Vietnam.
 

 
EuroCham and VDAA will draw a concrete action plan including the organisation of workshops, conferences, training courses and promotion activities.
 

II. SECTOR COMMITTEE UPDATES

1. Green Growth Sector Committee (GGSC)

Contributing to draft Made in Vietnam Energy Plan 2.0
Within the framework of the Sustainable Energy Engagement Project, VBF Power & Energy Working Group has developed the report Made in Vietnam Energy Plan 2.0 (MVEP 2.0). In August 2019, GGSC Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency actively contributed and provided comments on the draft, which is based on the ground-breaking 2016 edition of the MVEP 1.0. The report is expected to become a useful reference for Vietnam's energy sector as well as for electricity and energy planning policies in the coming time.

Circulating “Attitude to Energy in Vietnam” Survey
GGSC would like to share with and invite all EuroCham members to participate in the “Attitude to Energy in Vietnam: Foreign Direct Investor Consumer" survey conducted by VBF Power & Energy Working Group.
The survey aims to ascertain the opinions of FDI energy users in Vietnam regarding energy-related issues such as: price sensitivity, demand for clean energy, energy incentives to enable Vietnam to become a more attractive FDI destination, among others. The survey findings are expected to be a useful reference for the government in the development process of the Power Development Plan 8.
 
The survey includes 17 questions and will take you 05 minutes only. Please choose one of the languages below to complete the survey by Tuesday, 15th October 2019. Once you have completed the survey, you will have a chance to win a voucher for two-nights at a 5 star-hotel/resort in Vietnam. The result of the lucky draw will be announced tentatively by 30th October 2019. Please kindly leave your details at the beginning of the survey for our convenience and be assured that any personal data shared with us will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Breakfast Talk Event “Toward zero carbon building”
A Breakfast Talk Event "Toward zero carbon building" was held in Ho Chi Minh City on the 14th of August in the series of events on the theme of sustainable development, co-organised by GGSC and its partner Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC).

The event attracted about 30 businesses in such industry to attend and discuss relevant ideas. EuroCham Vice-Chairman and GGSC Chairman Tomaso Andreatta delivered a speech while GGSC Vice-Chairman Gavin Smith participated in the panel discussion. Contributions to the success of the event also came from speakers from leading companies in construction-energy such as Artelia Vietnam, CBRE, Dragon Capital, Adenenergy, etc. They had impressive sharing in terms of zero-carbon building and energy efficiency.
 
As the theme of this event focused on the Global trend “Advancing Net Zero carbon”, the panel discussion was followed by 4 key principles in Zero carbon trend: Measure and disclose carbon;  Reduce energy demand; Generate balance from renewables; Improve verification and rigor.

2. Information and Communication Technology Sector Committee (ICT SC) | ICT Newsletter No. 2/2019

ICT SC in September 2019 issued its second newsletter with a short interview on promoting electronic signature adoption.
 
“Given the vast opportunities of Industry 4.0 to develop Vietnam’s digital economy, more efforts should be directed towards promoting and developing electronic signature adoption in business. Alexandre, Nam and Amanuel from the EuroCham ICT Sector Committee provide an analysis of the current adoption of electronic signature in the business community.”

The newsletter also included report on the workshop on disseminating the Law on Cyber Security held by the Ministry of Public Security in Ho Chi Minh City, and updates on the Annual National Conference on Sustainable Development 2019 chaired by Prime Minister H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi. For full newsletter please click here
 
With the support of business and IT competence of our members in Vietnam as well as other national and international partners and associations, ICT SC wants to be the outstanding IT/technology voice and advisor representing all EuroCham members to the Vietnamese Government and its regional administrations. ICT SC wants to be the expert-forum to propose and deliver best possible solutions and advice in the midst of Industry 4.0 and this digital transformation process. They welcome companies to join and support so that the ICT SC achieves this target.
Should members wish to participate in ICT SC activities, feel free to contact ICT SC at: ictsectorcommittee@eurochamvn.org

3. Food, Aqua Agri Business Sector Committee ( FAAB SC) | Livestock Outlook and PPP Dialogue and Launching of the PPP Task Force on Livestock

On 24 September 2019, in Hanoi, The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) organized the forum: “Livestock Outlook and PPP Dialogue: Challenges and Potential to Develop Dairy Farming and Dairy Products” and “Introduction of PPP Task Force on Livestock”
The forum aimed to enhance the cooperation between public and private sectors in the livestock industry, especially in the dairy industry. Besides, this also created opportunities for industry partners to share information as well as experiences.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
At the forum, the FAABS and the other delegates discussed the current situation of dairy farming and the development orientation to 2030, evaluate the impact of trade agreements, especially The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on the dairy industry.

For full newsletter please click here

III. UPCOMING EVENTS

9 October, HCMC: Annual Dialogue between EuroCham & HCMC Department of Customs
16-18 October, Can Tho: Can Tho International Aqua Culture Fair 2019
6-10 November, Can Tho: Can Tho International Agriculture Fair 2019

 

Corporate Platinum Partners

Our Partners/Supporters

Corporate Gold Partners

Corporate Silver Partners

Premium Service Partners