EuroCham Discusses COVID-19 and the Recommendations of the Business Community with Chairman-Minister Mai Tien Dung

On 15 April 2020, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh participated in a meeting between Chairman-Minister of the Government Office H.E. Mr. Mai Tien Dung and the business community on COVID-19. EuroCham welcomed measures taken by the Government and provided recommendations to support business and manufacturing activities to continue as far as possible.
      

Minister-Chairman of the Government Office H.E. Mr. Mai Tien Dung (source: VGP)
       
Also participating in the meeting were representatives of local Vietnamese business associations, large corporations and foreign chambers including EuroCham, USABC, and KorCham.
The Minister-Chairman shared that the National Conference between the Prime Minister and enterprises is expected to take place by the end of April 2020. This year, the National Conference will take place in the difficult situation when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great loss to the business community.
    
During the crisis, the Government has taken comprehensive and decisive measures to protect health of the community as well as to remove difficulties for the business and manufacturing activities, push forward disbursement of public investment, and ensure social security. The Minister-Chairman asked enterprises to keep trust in and accompany the Government:
    
“The Prime Minister has assigned the Government’s Office to gather feedbacks of the business community. In the context of the pandemic, the beliefs of the people and businesses are great and we take that as the basis for strong recovery. At the same time, the Government also listens to the businesses’ questions on how to restructure in the coming time.”
    

Providing feedback at request of the Minister-Chairman, EuroCham Vice-Chair Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh affirmed the trust and support of the European business community in the Government’s efforts and awareness of the importance of these measures. He also shared the chamber’s recently released Business Climate Index (BCI) of quarter 1 2020, which recorded the lowest score to date of 26 points.
      
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh spoke at the meeting
      
Sharing recommendations of EuroCham members and Sector Committees, Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh suggested not restricting the production and service activities to only production of essential goods. In the meantime, he said that the Government needs to specifically define in detail “essential goods or services” and specifically regulate the documents required for transportation in the current situation.
     
EuroCham welcomed the supportive measures taken by the Government, but further requested to expand the beneficiaries of the supporting package and not limit it to a few prioritised or key industries. Policies to reduce or exempt tax and insurance, rather than defer them, would also be welcomed. The representative of EuroCham also conveyed messages of Sector Committees on topics from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to wines & spirits and cosmetics. Issues included the reduction of pre-clearance checking of customs, enhancement of applying e-signature and e-document submission, and the review process of imported hand sanitiser, among others.
    
In response to EuroCham’s requests, Minister-Chairman H.E. Mr. Mai Tien Dung said that he shared the difficulties of European companies’ operation in Vietnam during this pandemic and agreed to take into account all points and proposals. In particular, he supported reducing pre-clearance checking of customs; accepting EU/US standards for the COVID-19 test; and agreed that it is difficult to define essential and non-essential goods. Regarding e-signature and e-documents, the Government aims to push all provinces to adapt the public portal.
    
Concluding the meeting, the Minister-Chairman reaffirmed that the Government Office would gather and share the recommendations of the business community with the Prime Minister in order to find solutions, and will continue monitoring the implementation of policies in the coming time.
     
Representing the voice of the European business community in Vietnam and acting as a bridge between the businesses and the authorities, EuroCham has launched a reporting tool for our members to report specific difficulties or inconsistencies in the application of these new regulations by provinces and local authorities. You can contact us at the following email address and we will aim to respond as soon as possible:
Hotline@eurochamvn.org 
  

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