EuroCham representatives Chairman Michael Behrens, Vice-Chairman Tomaso Andreatta, and Vice-Chairman Nicolas Audier presented recommendations on behalf of the European business community at the Annual Vietnam Business Forum 2016 (VBF), taking place on 5th December in Hanoi.
This year’s VBF was themed “Strengthening the Private Sector: Forging Partnerships between Domestic and Foreign Enterprises for a Harmonious Development of the Vietnamese economy”. The forum welcomed the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and several top officials representing the most relevant national ministries. The event was also attended by representatives from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank, chambers of commerce, and VBF working group heads.
In his speech, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the Government’s commitment towards market economy institutions, administrative simplification, competitiveness, and favourable policies for the private sector. He referred to foreign investors as partners for local business, and urged them to bring their expertise, technology, corporate governance, and business ethics to Vietnam. Stressing the importance of clean and renewable energy, climate change, and environmental protection, the PM highlighted that Vietnam will no longer accept FDI using the country for purely transfer pricing practices, or to reap benefits at the expense of the environment.
Finally, PM Phuc welcomed the recommendations of the business community, stressing that they are most welcome, but must also be considered together with the national interest, and Government regulations.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attending the VBF and presenting the Government's directions
At his presentation, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Tomaso Andreatta discussed sectoral issues in the perspective of three key areas: competitiveness, sustainability, and integration under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Mr. Andreatta began by elaborating on regulatory simplification, also mentioning the need for easier complete licensing for infrastructure projects, especially in public tender projects. The completion of bank reforms and credit availability were mentioned as key for Vietnam’s economy. Mr. Andreatta mentioned specifically the food and agriculture industry, stressing that food safety standards and quality control must be improved, emphasizing the creation of new processed food companies, a tighter control of pesticides and fertilizers, better educated farmers, and high standard quality control laboratories.
Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, Vice-Chairman of EuroCham, delivering key recommendations to the Government during the VBF policy dialogue.
View Tomaso's speech, Broadcast on VTV1 at http://vtv.vn/video/thoi-su-19h-05-12-2016-189381.htm (from 10'44")
View Tomaso's Full Speech here
Secondly, EuroCham’s position that pollution and environmental degradation is not inseparable from rapid economic growth was put forth, explaining that European businesses are the right partners for Vietnam, and can bring the technology, know-how, and capital. For the energy sector, the main challenge is market access, and the Government was urged to direct efforts towards improving it. The adoption of smart city concepts – which EuroCham is working on with local authorities in HCMC and Danang – combining infrastructure, sustainable building, and energy-saving solutions is considered essential by EuroCham, and should also be completed with creating conditions for cleaner and energy-efficient automobile and motorcycle technologies.
Mr. Michael Behrens, Chairman of EuroCham attending the VBF forum
In his last section, Mr. Andreatta stressed that the EVFTA is on the right track to be in force from 1st January 2018, giving Vietnam companies favourable access to more than half billion consumers in the EU. For European business, the ASEAN Economic Community can be accessed with Vietnam as their gate. Initial projections estimate that the EVFTA will provide for a boost of 50% in total trade, and a positive short-term impact on Vietnam's GDP. It was also stressed that the majority of European companies coming to Vietnam are likely to be SMEs, most of them abiding by the principles of responsibility and sustainability, thus fitting the profile to respond to the appeal of PM Phuc: to support and cooperate with Vietnamese companies in terms of technology transfer and HR development.
Mr. Pham Le Tuan, Vice Minister of Health providing feedback to EuroCham and its Pharma Group
EuroCham, its 16 sector committees, and its 940 member companies, conclusively expressed their wish to continue to support the Government towards a future for Vietnam that bets on sustainable growth and competitiveness.
Please refer to the EuroCham Position Paper that was submitted to VBF 2016