EuroCham Attended the Preliminary Conference for Activities of Investment Working Group and Recommendations for Improving Investment Environment Of HCMC

On Friday 19 March 2021, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (“HCMC PC”) organised a “Preliminary Conference for the Activities of the Investment Working Group and Recommendations for Improving the Investment Environment of Ho Chi Minh City”. H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of HCMC PC, chaired the event.
   
At the conference, HCMC PC provided a report on the results of the Investment Working Group in the city’s activities. Resolutions, Decisions and Investment Registration Certificates were awarded, and Investment Project Licenses were granted to foreign investors. The People’s Committee also provided information on the draft implementation plan for the Government’s Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated 1 January 2021 on Tasks and Solutions to Improve the Business Environment and National Competitiveness in 2021 and Solutions to Improve the Investment Environment to Implement the 2021 Theme of the HCMC PC. The event also facilitated discussions and recommendations for the Draft Plan from foreign business associations.
    
EuroCham was represented by Chair and Vice-Chair Nicolas Audier and Jean-Jacques Bouflet. In his speech, Mr. Audier highlighted recommendations for the Draft Plan. He also raised some issues arising from administrative procedures or the unclear legal framework which may not be suitable with the current development roadmap on which the city has set its sights. For instance, there are difficulties in issuing and amending investment certificates for European investors due to a lack of guidance about the Investment Law, which is subject to many interpretations and conditions amongst authorities. The issue of foreigners accessing real estate and land for investment was also discussed. On top of this, foreign workers are experiencing challenges regarding their work permits in Vietnam. This is due to a lack of guidance and clarity on work permit extension, working periods, and documents proving their status as experts or technical workers. These issues are causing delays in business operations and pose barriers to the development of Vietnamese enterprises and the city’s economy.
    
Throughout his speech, Nicolas Audier emphasised the need to address these problems and reaffirmed the goodwill of EuroCham; committing to cooperate with the Government and related agencies. This could include working with the City Investment Working Group, and creating a task force to liaise  with industrial parks and economic zone management boards to facilitate and support foreign investors. Further efforts could include cooperation in the fields of science and technology, and the development of a plan to implement an intellectual property strategy in HCMC. EuroCham offered its expertise as well as the support of its 18 Sector Committees and EU projects in support of this.
         
Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee delivering his speech
     
Chairman Nicolas Audier and Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet delivering a speech at the conference
   
The HCMC business community shared the sentiment of EuroCham when it presented the trending topics of economic development in the city. Some business associations and enterprises focused mostly on administrative procedure reforms; particularly issues regarding the investment environment and the administrative regime which supports it. Therefore, EuroCham’s speech was used as a benchmark by many business associations and enterprises such as the Hong Kong Business Association, the Ho Chi Minh City Electrical-Mechanical Business Association, and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in the South, among others.
      
Chairman Nicolas Audier (middle) and Chairman of CCPIV Sérgio Pereira da Silva of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal-Vietnam (CCIPV) (right) networking with representative from other Business Association (right) after Conference
   
HCMC PC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong expressed his appreciation for the recommendations of business associations and enterprises. He thanked EuroCham in particular for its input, and requested that these are followed-up with the Department of Planning and Investment (“DPI”). Closing the conference, the Chairman concluded with a determination to improve the investment environment in HCMC. He said that businesses can always turn to two contact points: the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre HCMC (ITPC) and the DPI of HCMC to get information and support. Lastly, the Chairman instructed DPI to look into its administrative procedure regime, coordinate with the other city departments for further reporting by the end of March 2021, and work to reduce administrative obstacles. As a follow-up, DPI will arrange a meeting shortly with EuroCham and its members to facilitate their projects and businesses.
     
Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman Nicolas Audier and Vice-Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet discussing about future development between EuroCham and Ho Chi Minh City after the Conference
     

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