August 17, 2020

ADVOCACY UPDATE (03 JUN – 14 AUG 2020)

I. EVENTS

1. EuroCham WhiteBook Launch and Special Dialogue with ACAPR – Hanoi, June 30th, 2020

EuroCham and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (“ACAPR”) held a dialogue in Hanoi to discuss administrative reform ahead of the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”).
The event, “Administrative Reform: A Key Role in EVFTA Implementation” took place in the Melia Hotel and featured special guest speakers H.E. Minister Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of the Office of the Government (“OOG”) and Ms. Axelle Nicaise, Deputy Head of Mission at the EU Delegation to Vietnam. It also brought together about 270 business leaders, Government officials, journalists, and members of the diplomatic corps to discuss how administrative reform can help to unlock the full potential of the upcoming EVFTA, which entered into force on the 1st of August.
The event also featured the launch of EuroCham’s 12th Whitebook publication. The Whitebook is EuroCham’s annual report, where the chamber’s 17 Sector Committees raise the issues most important to their business operations and highlight specific actions the Government could take to improve the business environment and increase trade and investment with the EU.
   

     
More details: click here 

2. ASEAN Forum on Sub-Regional Development – Hanoi, July 14th, 2020

On the 14th of July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised the “ASEAN Forum on Sub-regional Development: Converging Mekong Sub-regional Co-operation with ASEAN goals”. This is the first time that the forum was organised via video-conference, with representatives of ASEAN SOM leaders, ASEAN international research institutes, and representatives of development partners as well as international organisations.
On behalf of EuroCham and its one thousand members, Vice Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet participated in the panel discussion: Sub-regional Economic Corridors – Building Blocks for ASEAN Regional Connectivity. The EVFTA, which has now been ratified and entered into force on the 1st of August, promises to bring opportunities for establishing Vietnam’s status as an economic and development frontrunner within the rising development of ASEAN region.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, who chaired the forum, stressed the strategic role of the Mekong sub-region, saying the development of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Mekong region would help to consolidate ASEAN’s position in the regional architecture and build the ASEAN community.
    
   
More details: click here

3. Seminar: “EVFTA Implementation – Opening Vietnamese Goods to the EU” – Hanoi, July 17th, 2020
On the 17th of July, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and Tuoi Tre newspaper co-organised a seminar themed: “EVFTA Implementation – Opening Vietnamese Goods to the EU”. The aim of the seminar was to disseminate information about the EU market among businesses. The event was conducted via video-conference to connect representatives of Vietnamese Counselors and some businesses in the EU. At the seminar, all speakers affirmed the advantages and great opportunities for the business communities of both Vietnam and the EU when the EVFTA is implemented.

On behalf of EuroCham, Vice Chairman Nguyen Hai Minh shared that Vietnam now has a great opportunity thanks to the EVFTA. The country also needs to take advantage of the post COVID-19 period and the shift of investment flow from China. For Vietnamese businesses, apart from the quality and price of products, they should approach the EU market in a new way and pay attention more to the rules of origin, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, and environmental protection.
   
   
More details: click here

4. MOU Signing Ceremony between EuroCham and Vietnam Maritime Administration – Hanoi, 30th July, 2020

EuroCham joined the Vietnam Maritime Administration (Vinamarine), Ministry of Transport, in a special Conference on the 30th of July 2020 in Hanoi. The partners discussed opportunities and challenges for the marine industry in light of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) about partnership on maritime relations in Vietnam.
Representing EuroCham’s Executive Committee, Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet affirmed that this conference is crucial to unlock the full potential of the historic EVFTA and build stronger bridges through trade, investment, and co-operation.
Together, EuroCham and Vinamarine are looking forward to working together to ensure a smooth and successful implementation of the EVFTA in the maritime sector. EuroCham believes this MoU signing is just the start of a long and fruitful relationship of co-operation and information-sharing between the Chamber and Vinamarine and can also set an example for other EuroCham Sector Committees and Vietnamese authorities in the future.
   
   
More details: click here 

5. WhiteBook 2020 Briefing & EVFTA Dialogue with Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee – Ho Chi Minh City, July 28th, 2020

On the 28th of July, EuroCham and the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (“HCMC PC”) held a dialogue at the Rex Hotel to launch EuroCham’s WhiteBook 2020 Briefing. The event: “Economic Development & Grasping Opportunities under the EVFTA” also discussed future collaboration between EuroCham and City Departments.
The event featured special VIP speakers, including H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. Other high-level speakers included H.E. Mr. Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France, and representatives of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, who presented the city’s import-export development plan and orientation in light of the EVFTA. It also brought together City leaders, Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, Vietnamese industry associations, business leaders, and journalists to discuss a wide range of issues in three thematic sessions: Infrastructure, Customs & Trade Facilitation; Smart & Sustainable Development; and Consumer Choice & Healthcare.
    

  
More details: click here

6. Forum on the EVFTA – Ho Chi Minh City, 31st July, 2020

In late July, EuroCham and the Ministry of Industry and Trade jointly organised a forum on trade and industrial cooperation with the European Union: “The EVFTA – Opportunity for Strategic Cooperation Towards Sustainable Development” in Ho Chi Minh City. The forum was organised to prepare for the entry into force of the EVFTA on the following day.
Opening the forum, H.E. Mr. Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vice-Minister of Industry and Trade, stated that the EVFTA comes into force within the context of the rising impact of COVID-19 and the complex developments of the market, therefore creating huge opportunities but also challenges.
In his keynote speech, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet said that 74 per cent of European business leaders expressed that the EVFTA would have positive impacts on their business operations and investment plans in the short-term. Over the long-term, that figure rises to over 90 per cent. EuroCham has been proud to work hand-in-hand with the Government, Ministries and authorities during these unprecedented times and has received appreciation notes from both Mr. Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Trade, and H.E. Mr. Bui Thanh Son, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and re-affirms the chamber’s long-term commitment to Vietnam’s continued growth and success.
   
      
More details: click here 

7. Video Conference: “Implementing the Action Plan of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement” – Hanoi, August 6th, 2020

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc presided over a video conference on the action plan to implement the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which took effect on the 1st of August. Attendants to the event included the Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, several Cabinet Ministers and leaders of all 63 provinces and cities, as well as Vietnamese business associations’ leaders, and heads of diplomatic missions from EU member states. EuroCham was represented by Vice-Chairmen Mr. Jean Jacques Bouflet and Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh. Mr. Bouflet delivered a speech on behalf of EuroCham on the contribution to the solutions for effective implementation of the EVFTA and handed over the Whitebook 2020 to the Prime Minister. EuroCham will further work with relevant Ministries on the EVFTA’s implementation and reach out to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to create the EU-Vietnam Business Council, providing a platform to discuss common issues and a tool with which to resolve them, as well as to connect the business communities of both sides.
    
    
More details: click here

II.SECTOR COMMITTEE UPDATES

Pharma Group – Ho Chi Minh City, June 3rd, 2020  

On the 3rd of June, EuroCham Pharma Group members [AstraZeneca; Boehringer Ingelheim; Ferring Pharmaceuticals; Gedeon Richter; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck Sharp & Dohme; Novartis Vietnam Co., Ltd; Pfizer; Servier; Takeda] jointly donated an equivalent total of 100,000 USD (at least 5,000 USD per company) to the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s national campaign on the prevention and treatment of the acute respiratory syndrome COVID-19.
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, Vice President Truong Thi Ngoc Anh highly appreciated EuroCham Pharma Group members’ efforts in joining hands with the Government of Vietnam to overcome challenges and effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
   
     
More details: click here 

Medical Devices & Diagnostics Sector Committee – Hanoi, August 13th, 2020

On the 13th of August, EuroCham’s Medical Devices & Diagnostics Sector Committee presented to the Ministry of Health – National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control 12,000 test kits of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 in donation to support the fight against COVID-19 in Vietnam. On behalf of leaders of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Nguyen Cong Sinh, Deputy Director of Planning and Finance Department, expressed gratitude to EuroCham’s Medical Devices and Diagnostics Sector Committee for their timely and meaningful support at an important time. The Ministry of Health will allocate the donated tests to central localities in need.
At a time of high-risk for community spread, EuroCham’s Medical Devices and Diagnostics Sector Committee hopes the 12,000 test kits from Europe will support Vietnam in managing this fresh outbreak, and show the spirit of the European business community in contributing to outbreak containment in Vietnam.
   
   
More details: click here

Green Growth Sector Committee – Webinar, June 24th, 2020  

EuroCham’s Green Growth Sector Committee, Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC) and Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) co-organised a webinar “Circular Economy towards Sustainable Cities” on the 24th of June, attracting 40 attendees.
The webinar provided updates about the circular economy and actions which could be taken to apply it to enterprises’ production and consumption. Mr. Nguyen Cong Minh Bao also informed attendees about the future cooperation of EuroCham GGSC and VBCSD to co-organise the National Conference on Sustainable Development (NCSD), tentatively in September 2020. NCSD is an annual conference, held since 2018.
Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, Chairman of EuroCham GGSC, delivered the closing remarks. He discussed essential mechanisms for all forms of circular economy, and made a call to all participants to join together in this effort. He emphasised the parallel process of changing culture and rules, in which the private sector and regulators are involved together. GGSC advocates that new construction permits should only be given if the buildings are certified. Mr. Andreatta also pointed out that low electricity prices hindered the motivation for energy efficiency and, in turn, affected the drive for building efficiency. Besides, new technology and solutions, such as full composability and rooftop solar power, were encouraged.
Newsletters: Issue No.2/2020

 

Digital Sector Committee

In June 2020, the Digital Sector Committee nominated Mr. Thien Pham – Head of Corporate & Government Affairs, Vietnam & Asia Area Frontier Markets at AstraZeneca, as its new Vice-Chairman.
The following month, the Digital Sector Committee issued its second Newsletter of 2020, with details of recent activities and updates about its most recent position paper: The Digital Chapter of the Whitebook 2020. The Sector Committee strongly advocates and promotes the acceptance of electronic signatures in global business-to-business agreements and the clarification on foreign electronic signature solutions in Vietnam. In response to Digital SC’s position papers to the Annual Vietnam Business Forum 2019, the State Bank of Vietnam recognised the existence of other electronic signatures not yet clarified for business transactions and recommended promulgating detailed instructions for other types of electronic signatures in business transactions. The Sector Committee also takes a close interest in Smart City topics and is doing further study on Vietnam’s Master plan for Smart-cities and map of the stakeholders with businesses from the European community.
Newsletter: Issue No.2/2020 
 

Food, Agri & Aqua Business Sector Committee – June 30th, 2020

EuroCham’s Food, Agri & Aqua Business Sector Committee Co-Chairman, Mr. Phong Quach, attended the conference “Support Businesses to Take Advantage of Opportunities to Develop Export of Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Products to the EU Market, Effectively Implement EVFTA Agreement”. At the conference, held by the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, MoIT and MARD on the 30th of June, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, emphasised that the EU is not only a potential market for enterprises in HCMC but also for those across the country. The important matter is how to support enterprises to surpass the technical barriers, step-by-step, to approach this market quickly and firmly. Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, said that Vietnam's agro-forestry-aquatic products can access a potential market with more than 500 million people and a gross domestic product of over US$18 trillion. Imports of agricultural commodities currently account for about 8.4 per cent of the total imports of the EU. In fact, the EU is the second-largest import market in the world, accounting for 14.9 per cent of the total global imports.
The conference provided attendees with updated information about the EVFTA related to the agricultural sector and identified market opportunities to evaluate reproduction in order to meet EU market regulations. It also proposed specific solutions and ways to access the EU market for agriculture, forestry and fishery products, and discussed coordination mechanisms among relevant agencies and organizations to develop exports to the EU market in a sustainable manner.
   

     

Cosmetics Sector Committee – Hanoi, July 14th, 2020

On the 14th of July 2020, the Legal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Health organised a workshop on Cosmetics Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) management and a proposed solution. Participants included representatives of MOH, VCCI, AmCham, EuroCham, VOCA, OOG, and MOF.
EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Ywert Visser attended the event and delivered a speech about the perspective of EuroCham regarding CFS management on cosmetics in the context of the implementation of the EVFTA. In his speech, he highlighted in his speech that as Vietnam is preparing to implement the EVFTA, EuroCham believes that the removal of the CFS requirement from exporting countries for importing cosmetics into Vietnam and managing cosmetics with post-market surveillance is necessary to reduce administrative burdens for both enterprises and the Government.
    
      
The event also featured the participation and speech of Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Mai, Co-Chairwoman of the Cosmetics Sector Committee. Her speech mainly focused on the present situation of CFS regulations in Vietnam, current difficulties and obstacles, and CFS management practices in some countries in the world.

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