1. Vietnam Responsible Business Forum- Ho Chi Minh City, 25 November 2019
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet delivered an opening speech and presentation on “EVFTA - Expectations of the European Business Community and European Consumers for a Conducive Environment for Sustainable Growth”. EuroCham Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet and Executive Director Oliver Regner moderated a panel discussion “FTAs and Sustainable Development” and delivered presentations on “Future of Cooperation for Responsible Business”, while EuroCham Human Resources & Training Sector Committee Co-Chairwoman Sarah Galeski moderated a thematic discussion themed “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.”
2. EVFTA - Opportunities and Strength for Vietnam’s sustainable economic development - Hanoi, 5 January 2020
On 5 January 2020, the National Assembly's Economic Committee, in collaboration with the Institute of Training, Consulting and Economic Development (IDE), organized the Workshop: “EVFTA - Opportunities and Strength for Vietnam’s Sustainable Economic Development”. The event was attended by representatives from the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Central Institute of Economic Management, economic experts and nearly 200 representatives from businesses.
EuroCham Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh highlighted in his speech that the EVFTA will not only benefit Vietnamese companies in trade, thanks to the elimination of duties, but will also bring a huge opportunity for them to plug themselves into the global value chains organized by EU companies. However, there is still a big question about the capability of Vietnamese enterprises to realize the opportunity, given their limits in technology, capital, human resource, and corporate governance. Vietnam should also try its best to prepare for the EVFTA, focusing more on developing a high-quality labour force, enhancing the public-private partnerships and also the awareness of Corporate Social Responsibility for local companies.
3. Investment and Business Development Forum 2020 - Ho Chi Minh City, 6 January 6 2020
In HCMC, on 6 January 2020, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet participated in the first roundtable themed “Panorama Overview of the Vietnam’s Investment and Business Development 2020” with VCCI Chairman Mr. Vu Tien Loc; and the Head of Central Economic Committee’s General Economics Department Mr. Vu Thanh Tu Anh.
Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques shared the importance of the EVFTA in Vietnam’s macro-economics in 2020, and some of the difficulties regarding ratification in the European Parliament. EuroCham also shared the recommendations of the European business community regarding legal access, simplification of procedures and market access.
4. Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs’ Honouring Enterprises Ceremony - Ho Chi Minh city, 13 January 2020
On 5 December 2017, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Customs organised the Honouring Enterprises Ceremony with the participation of the Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong; Vice-Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen; Vice-Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai; Director General of the General Department of Customs Nguyen Van Can, Deputy Director Mai Xuan Thanh; HCMC Department of Customs and other departments; Consulate generals in HCMC and Chambers of commerce. HCMC DOC affirmed cooperation with the business community will continue being a focus of 2020.
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh participated and delivered a key note speech representing the foreign business community, which recognised Vietnam’s strong efforts in accelerating administrative reforms, simplifying customs procedures and strengthening cooperation with the business community. EuroCham also asked for Vietnamese customs’ attention on issues of origin of goods and trade facilitation requirements under the EVFTA. EuroCham received an award of merit from HCMC DOC honouring the chamber’s active contributions in 2019. Several of EuroCham’s corporate members were also honoured at the event.
5. The Annual Vietnam Business Forum - Ha Noi, 10 January 2020
EuroCham’s presentation was delivered by Vice-Chairman, Mr. Ywert Visser. EuroCham’s position paper was sent to VBF with compiled inputs from GGSC, CLVN, FAABS, NFG, HR&T SC, ICT SC, Mobility SC, Cosmetics SC, W&S SC, PG, T&H SC.
At the forum, businesses received direct feedbacks from: MOF on upcoming financial legislative changes; MPI on draft Laws of PPP, Enterprises and Investment; Department of Technology Examination and Assessment (MOST) on goods labelling and technology transfer; Electricity and Renewable Energy Agency (MOIT) on Made-by-Vietnam-Energy Plan.
By December 2019, EuroCham had received written responses from MOF and GDC on topics of TLSC, HR&T SC, Mobility SC, and Tax&TP SC following the mid-term VBF 2019.
6. EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement event in Brussels - Brussles, January 2020
Mr Audier stressed the need for MEPs to vote in favour of the EVFTA in the European Parliament, while both the EU Trade Commissioner and others praised EuroCham for its strong support of the agreement.
More details of the events can be found here.
7. EuroCham Discusses COVID-19 and the Recommendations of the Business Community with Chairman-Minister Mai Tien Dung - Hanoi, 15 April 2020
Providing feedback at the 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. 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 that the beneficiaries of the supporting package be expanded and not limited 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.
More details of the event can be found here
8. Teleconference “Introduction of the National Public Service Portal and Benefits for Businesses” held by Prime Minister's Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform - Hanoi, 19 May 2020
On behalf of EuroCham, Vice-Chairmen Nguyen Hai Minh and Ywert Visser attended the workshop. In the panel discussion, Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh contributed opinions gathered from the European business community. He said that EuroCham appreciates the administrative procedure reform of the Government over the last 4 years, particularly in the fields of taxation, customs and business registration.
Furthermore, administration reform mainly depends on 2 factors: people and technology. For the national public service portal (NPSP), through collecting a number of feedbacks and recommendations from members, EuroCham realised that there are remaining challenges, especially inconsistencies in implementation among localities. For example, to submit documents, businesses only need to go to the NPSP. However, in fact, some provincial or municipal officials still require paper dossiers. In many cases, even when using electronic customs procedures, Mr. Minh expressed concern about the consistent application mechanism, mandatory use requirements, or the status of electronic customs procedures where the supporting documents still need to be printed and stamped instead of using E-signatures.
Answering questions of businesses at the conference, Minister-Chairman Mai Tien Dung stated that all the opinions, proposals and recommendations from the delegates were recognised by the ACAPR. These ideas will be researched, improved and completed on the NPSP in the near future in order to create the most favourable conditions for people and businesses.
The national public service portal made its debut on December 9th 2019. It now has more than 140,000 registered accounts, 35 million visits, 7.3 million documents and processed more than 68,000 documents. It is estimated that as much as VND 6,490 billion has been saved thanks to online public services a year, which includes VND 3,036 billion from the portal.
More details of the event can be found here
9. Conference between the Prime Minister and businesses “Working Together, Overcoming Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Recovering the Economy” - Hanoi, 9th May 2020
On 9 May 2020 in Hanoi, the Office of the Government, in co-ordination with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, organised a conference between the Prime Minister and businesses with the theme “Working Together, Overcoming Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Recovering the Economy”. H.E. Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the event.
This conference was organised in a special format with the largest access-scale ever via video conference with 63 provinces and cities, 30 ministries and Government agencies and broadcast live on national television. About 800,000 businesses nationwide, as well as over 5 million households and people across the country could follow the event.
On behalf of EuroCham, Chairman Nicolas Audier attended the event and delivered a speech. “EuroCham welcomes the swift and decisive actions of the Government to address the spread of this pandemic. Vietnam’s response – combining swift public health measures with an effective economic package – has been recognised around the world as a model for other countries to follow. These actions have also helped to maintain the confidence of European enterprises, who continue to see Vietnam as a safe, attractive and competitive place in which to do business”, said Mr. Audier.
In his speech, EuroCham’s Chairman also stressed the importance of the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). For a country so integrated into global supply chains and capital flows, it is essential that Vietnam protects not only its domestic enterprises but also supports the foreign companies who will be crucial to the country’s economic growth – particularly exports – once the international community has the disease under control and once global trade returns to normality. In this light, a successful ratification and implementation of the EVFTA is now more important than ever.
In addition, some other measures could be taken to ensure the continuity and fluidity of the economy. In particular, EuroCham recommends the Government of Vietnam ease the process for visa application for foreign experts coming to Vietnam and maintains the validity of marketing authorization of pharmaceutical products to ensure the supply of medicines.
More details of the event can be found here
10. Conference on recommendations for regulatory, policy and administrative procedure reforms to support post-COVID-19 business recovery - Hanoi, 26 May 2020
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh presented about EuroCham foreign businesses’ concerns and recommendations at the meeting.
1. EuroCham and EuroCham Sector Committees Meetings with EU Delegation - Ho Chi Minh City, 15-17th January 2020
2. Courtesy calls to key Ministries and VCCI - Hanoi, 16-17 January 2020
EuroCham handed over the 2019 EVFTA report; shared information about the WhiteBook 2020 launch and explored the possibility of Minister’s attendance; and exchanged information and proposed continued cooperation in 2020.
3. Meeting with the Ministry of Planning and Investment on impacts of coronavirus outbreak - Hanoi, 11 February 2020
4. EuroCham meeting with Director of MOFA’s Department of Foreign affairs of Localities - Ho Chi Minh City, 28 February 2020
III. SECTOR COMMITTEE UPDATE
1. Digital Sector Committee
In April 2020, Digital SC issued its third newsletter. The newsletter includes a summary of Digital SC’s rebranding topics, report on recent activities and articles on Industry 4.0 and Education. More details of the newsletter can be found here
On 29 May 2020, Digital SC elected Mr. Alexandre Sompheng from Ekino Vietnam to be the new Chairman. Mr Sompheng has a wealth of experience working in the IT and services industry and is highly skilled in digital architecture and applications. Mr. Sompheng is committed to building a stronger Digital SC by developing its membership, organising events, building bridges with other groups of common interests and increasing external communication.
2. Human Resources & Training Sector Committee
EuroCham Executive Director Oliver Regner hosted the event, which also featured Mr Van Trung Khuat, Senior Associate at Baker McKenzie; and Mr Tung Phong Luc, Paralegal at Baker McKenzie. More details of the event can be found here.