On Tuesday 27 July, EuroCham met with the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the insights and perspectives of European business in Vietnam. EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany and Mr. Don Tuan Phong, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, led the discussions. Vice-Chairs Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Nguyen Hai Minh, and Torben Minko also joined the online dialogue; as did officials from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The meeting was held to discuss how to create a more attractive business environment in Vietnam, and how to increase foreign direct investment from Europe. With the Chairman of the National Assembly set to visit Europe soon for a series of high-level government and business meetings, both sides discussed possible opportunities for cooperation between European enterprise and the National Assembly of Vietnam.
EuroCham Chairman Alain Cany praised the National Assembly for its essential role in the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and welcomed the fact that the Chairman’s first overseas visit in this new session will be to the European Union. Also under discussion was the current COVID-19 pandemic, and Vice-Chair Nguyen Hai Minh highlighted the impact on manufacturing and supply chains and the need for clear guidance for international enterprises. The current situation is causing some potential investors to hesitate or reconsider their investment projects in Vietnam, and EuroCham also stressed the urgent need for a mass vaccination drive.
Later, Vice-Chair Torben Minko highlighted that the current pandemic has led to a more pessimistic outlook from European business leaders, and shared that the new regulations around work permits were causing concern for European companies. Vice-Chair Jean-Jacques Bouflet then discussed other issues facing European businesses, such as the renewal of Marketing Authorization for pharmaceutical products, and an increase in internal taxation which is, in practice, offsetting tariff reductions under the EVFTA. He stressed the importance of Vietnam maintaining its image as a welcoming investment destination in light of the fact that the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) is still in the process of ratification.
Mr Phong thanked EuroCham for its input and said he looked forward to receiving the upcoming Whitebook publication in the spirit of improving Vietnam’s business environment. Both sides agreed to continue their close cooperation in the future, ahead of the National Assembly’s upcoming visit to Europe.