On Thursday the 12th of December in Hanoi, the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (“ACAPR”) and the European Chamber of Commerce (“EuroCham”) held a high-level dialogue to discuss improvements to Vietnam’s trade and investment environment.
The event, which follows EuroCham’s recent mission to Brussels to advocate for ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”), gathered together hundreds of representatives from European enterprises and the Office of the Government (“OOG”). It saw business leaders and government officials discuss the challenges of doing business in Vietnam and solutions which can help to streamline procedures for international companies. The event was addressed by ACAPR Chairman and Minister of the OOG Mai Tien Dung, who delivered the keynote speech.
The EuroCham-ACAPR Dialogue is an open event where representatives of EuroCham’s 16 Sector Committees – working groups of businesses in similar industries – can raise their concerns with the Government of Vietnam and get their direct feedback. It came ahead of the Government’s upcoming Five-Year Socio-Economic Development Plan 2021-2025, following the Resolution of the 10th Central Committee XII, and gave European business leaders a unique chance to provide their insights and recommendations to the authorities for their consideration.
This first-annual dialogue is the latest in a growing list of events between the European business community and the ACAPR, under the OOG. Since 2017, EuroCham has been working with the ACAPR to help streamline business conditions and support administrative reforms. This cooperation increased in 2018, when the Chamber participated in four ACAPR meetings and co-organised a dialogue with ACAPR Chairman and Minister of the OOG Mai Tien Dung. This year, EuroCham was honoured to receive the ACAPR’s “Certificate of Merit for Active Contribution” to its activities on 15 May 2019 in Hanoi.
The dialogue, which took place in the Pullman Hotel in Hanoi, discussed three main themes. First, delegates shared their challenges of market access for goods and investment into Vietnam, discussing issues including product registration, import-export procedures, and customs processes. The conference then moved on to a session on the challenges of circulating products in the market, with issues such as packaging, labeling, and advertisement being raised from the floor. The final section of the dialogue addressed European enterprises’ challenges in their daily business operations, with questions around tax, customs, and licensing being raised with the Government.
Nicolas Audier, Chairman of EuroCham, said:
“Today’s dialogue shows that the Government is serious about making Vietnam an even more attractive trade and investment environment and open to the ideas and insights of the European business community. Our members are honoured to share their recommendations with the Government and pleased to receive direct, high-level feedback on the issues that affect their companies.
“In particular, we welcome the introduction of the National Public Service Portal - a new electronic platform to better connect the Government with both people and enterprises, and congratulate the authorities on its launch after nine months of construction. This is just one of the many recent positive developments in reforming Vietnam’s administrative procedures, and we hope events like this will help to support the Government along this positive path of reform in the future.
“This dialogue sends a positive signal at a crucial time in the ratification process of the EVFTA. With a vote in the European Parliament scheduled for the New Year, it has never been more important to show that Vietnam is open for business and addressing the challenges faced by European enterprises in Vietnam.”