April 04, 2017

ADVOCACY UPDATE – MARCH | Week 1-4: Activities/Call for Comments

The Advocacy Update, posted regularly, is dedicated to updating our members and visitors on EuroCham's advocacy action on behalf of its members and Sector Committees. For general information on events which might be referred to in this section kindly follow the mentioned links or check our Events section. 
This Update includes information on: 1. Advocacy in Events / 2. Meetings with Government and other Stakteholders / 3. Sector Committee Updates / 4. Calls for Comments – Drafts
 

 MARCH | Week 1-4

I. Advocacy in Events

1.  Quang Nam Investment Promotion Conference | Tam Ky, 26 March 2017
On 26th March 2017, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Võ Quang Huệ together with Executive Director, Ms. Almut Roessner led the delegation to attend the Investment Promotion Conference in Quang Nam Province. The conference was chaired by Secretary of Quang Nam Party Committee Nguyen Ngoc Quang with the keynote speeches from Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairman of Quang Nam People’s Committee Dinh Van Thu, representatives of Central agencies, cities and provinces of key economic regions in Central Vietnam. 

EuroCham connected its members in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector Committee with the Investment Promotion Agency for the business matchmaking and encourages the members to look for more business and investment opportunities in Central Vietnam. Please read more about his event and its participants here.

Vice Chairman Vo Quang Hue speaks to participants ath the Quang Nam Investment Conference

2. Whitebook Briefing | Danang, 24 March 2017
On 24th March, EuroCham organised a Whitebook Briefing, with the support and cooperation of the Danang Investment Promotion Agency. Vice-Chairman Tomaso Andreatta presented the Whitebook 2017 to the Danang People’s Committee and its Deputy Chairman, Tran Van Mien, together with other local authorities. 

The briefing had the contribution of EuroCham members in different sectors, who conveyed  the Whitebook 2017’s issues and recommendations, as well as local-specific business environment-related topics in their respective industries:
•    Information & Communications Technology
•    Human Resources and Training
•    Tourism & Hospitality
•    Green Growth 
Please read more about his event and its participants here.

The Chairman of the Danang People's Committee Tran Van Mien speaks at EuroCham's Whitebook Briefing 

 

3. Resolution 19 of 2017 on Improving Business Environment and Enhancing National Competitiveness | Hanoi, 10 March 2017

Vice-Chairman Mr. Vo Quang-Hue represented EuroCham at the event Resolution 19 of 2017 on Improving Business Environment and Enhancing National Competitiveness, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and organised by the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) under the MPI. Several government officials and corporate representatives were present, including Deputy and Vice ministers from the MPI, MST, MOF, as well as the President of CIEM (read more about the event itself here.)

Mr. Hue delivered a speech on behalf of EuroCham and its Sector Committees on the implementation of Resolution 19, highlighting the need to enhance its monitoring and impact, as well as some recommendations: 

Pharma Group: highlighted the importance of the Pharma Law Decree and that of a predictable business environment, with a particular bearing on fostering fair competition.

Transport and Logistics Sector Committee: discussed the National Single Window Implementation, reminding that EuroCham is available to contribute to the implementing National Steering Committee.

Industry 4.0 and E-Government: stressed the will of Eurocham member companies which have established R&D centers in Vietnam in IoT and Industry 4.0 to contribute to Vietnam’s

Innovation landscape, which could be given more attention to by the Government, as well as E-Governance capabilities.

Vice Chairman Vo Quang Hue also handed the Whitebook 2017 to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, and took the opportunity, with the support of Eurocham Secretariat, to distribute over 100 copies of the Whitebook 2017 to the Government authorities present at the conference. 

Vice Chairman Vo Quang Hue speaks at the Launching Ceremony

4. Whitebook Launch 2017 | Hanoi, 02 March 2017
EuroCham together with is partners: EVBN, MOFA and VCCI organized the conference “EuroCham Whitebook 2017 Launch and EU-Vietnam FTA Outlook” at Melia Hotel, hanoiHanoi. The 9th edition of the Whitebook includes one dedicated EVFTA chapter on Market access and almost all Sector Committees contributed on the EVFTA analysis in their relevant chapters. 

In a record-breaking event in terms of attendance (read more about the event itself here), with 400 participants, including 139 Government officials, the EuroCham Chairs of Sector Committees together with representatives of different Ministries, joined four panel discussions grouping different industries and topics:
•    Food and Health: led by Prof. Claudio Dordi (MUTRAP);
•    Consumer Choice: led by EuroCham Vice-Chairman Vo Quang Hue;
•    Customs, Tax and Legal: led by EuroCham Vice-Chairman Nicolas Audier; 
•    Sustainability and Efficiency: led by Jana Herceg, Deputy Head of the Economics and Trade Section at the EU Delegation to Vietnam.

1,500 copies of this year’s edition of the Whitebook have been provided to Ministries, Embassies and Consulates, Chambers of Commerce/Business Groups (Foreign and Local), media, trade missions to Vietnam and distributed at conferences in Vietnam and Europe. In March, the Whitebook 2017 has been also presented in many conferences and sent to nearly 30 provinces in Vietnam.

 Speakers and EuroCham representatives family photo at the end of the Whitebook Launch plenum

 

II. Meetings with Goverment and other Stakeholders

1. Meeting with the Chairman of the Party Central Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh | Hanoi, 10 March 2017

EuroCham Vice-Chairman Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort met with Mr. Nguyen Van Binh, Members of the Politburo of Secretariat of the Party, Chairman of the Central Economic Commission at the conference on National Industrial Policy Orientation to 2025, with vision to 2035, organised by Vietnam Party Central Economic Commission for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). More on the event itself here.

Mr. de Liedekerke Beaufort also took the opportunity to the officials on Whitebook 2017 recommendations, EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement preparations, general recommendations on policies in specific industries. On Vietnam’s national industrial development and strategy, EuroCham recommended that policy priorities should aim for the country’s connection with the participation of the global value chain.
 
Mr. Aymar also mentioned the challenges from some selected sectors, such as: Food, Agri & Aqua; Green Growth; Healthcare; HR and Training; ICT; Mobility; Processing and Manufacturing. He ellaborated also on financial issues, emphasising the key role of foreign banks active in Vietnam which can help the country modernise its banking sector and ensure digitalisation. The privatization process in Vietnam will also become crucial. 

The final message provided from EuroCham was very clear: that with the EVFTA expected to come into force in 2018, EU-Vietnam economic relations are poised to undergo significant changes towards a closer economic partnership. 

EuroCham's Vice Chair and Treasurer Aymar de Liedekerke Beaufort poses with Party Central Commission for Economic Affairs

 2. Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh | Hanoi, 03 March 2017
 On 3rd March, EuroCham former Chairman Michael Behrens and several Sector Committees representatives met with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh to present the Whitebook 2017 and discuss the preparations for EVFTA and other recommendations for enhancing business environment. EuroCham Sector Committees took the chance to raise their ideas and policies recommendations to the Deputy Prime Minister. More about the event itself here.

Several sector committees took turns in presenting their issued recommendations to Deputy Prime Minister Binh. 

Pharma Group: Vice-Chairman, Mr. Mathieu Fitoussi presented on issues related to implementation of new Pharmaceutical Law represents a major step forward in building a predictable legal framework, but challenges still remain to be worked upon toards which the EuroCham Sector Committee stated to remain fully available to cooperate.

Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee: commended the Government for improvements made in food safety, but discussed the need for a higher enforcement capabilities and a centralised Food Safety Agency, which may prepare the country for the coming of the high standards required by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Wine & Spirits Sector Committee:  mentioned the sudden change in Special Consumption Tax, as well as changes on the taxable price of imported products in 2016, having asked the Government to re-consider, showing willingness to contribute to a solution which may remain beneficial to Vietnam.s

Nutritional Foods Group: represented by Vice-Chairman Mr. Douglas Kuo, who brought the Deputy Prime Minister's attention to the price ceiling for milk products for children under 6 years of age, which remained unchanged and continuing for the last 3 years.

Intellectual Property Rights Sector Committee: Chairwoman Ms. Nga Nguyen stressed the importance of raising awareness among consumers and businesses on the harmful consequences of counterfeiting, as well as several topics regarding IP laws and Information & Technology (IT) laws, better enforcement, geographical indications, among other.

Taxation & Transfer Pricing Sector Committee: Chairman Thomas McClelland welcomed the measures that have pushed Vietnam to improve in the global ranking on ease of paying tax, but mentioned priority issues to be worked upon. Among these topics were sensible re-auditing, better guidance on tax regulations, and the VAT zero rating application.

Legal Sector Committee: EuroCham Vice-Chairman Nicolas Audier focused on the recommendations of the 2017 Whitebook related to contribution of the on Public Private Partnerships (“PPP”). It is reported that Vietnam will need US$ 170 billion to finance its infrastructure program and much of that may come from European-partaken PPP deals. However, more openness is needed in future private management concession practices, and better guarantees by the State that potential investors stand to make good and protected investments.

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh Binh welcomed EuroCham’s recommendations and recalled his own familiarity with the Whitebook. Thanking EuroCham for the well-informed discussion, the Deputy Prime Minister committed to convey these recommendations to the concerned Government departments. He also reminded EuroCham representatives that, ahead of the EVFTA, some elements still need to be finalised so that the implementation of the agreement can proceed as smoothly as possible.

The EuroCham delegation and Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh
 

III. Sector Committee Updates 

 

[28 March] Featured in the event Impact of World Economics on the Vietnam Seafood Industry organized by the Vietnam Pangasius Association: discussed challenges and prospects of Vietnams’ seafood industry in context of the upcoming EVFTA.

[23 March] Meeting with Ministry of Health (Department of Medical Equipment and Construction): to discuss further 2017 collaboration plans.

[23 March] Meeting with Ministry of Industry and Trade [Domestic Market Department]: to follow up on dairy products price stabilization which has been raised at Whitebook 2017 Launch on 02 March. 

[23 March] Meeting with Vice Minister Dang Huy Dong of the Ministry of Planning and Investment: to update on FILM plans. 

 

IV. CALL FOR COMMENTS – Draft legislation/communication received by EuroCham

 

1. ON: Business Community and Custom Department as reliable partners for development
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department
DATE RECEIVED: 13 MARCH 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: N/A 
DOWNLOAD FULL DRAFT TEXT 

2. ON: Draft Circular amending, supplementing the Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC on customs procedures, customs supervision and inspection, export tax, import tax, and tax administration
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department
DATE RECEIVED: 6 MARCH 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: Early APRIL 
DOWNLOAD FULL DRAFT TEXT 

3. ON: Draft Circular on control and verification of the origin of exported and imported goods
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: General Department of Customs of Vietnam (Ministry of Finance)
DATE RECEIVED: 09 MARCH 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: 15 MARCH 2017
DOWNLOAD FULL DRAFT TEXT 

4. ON: Draft Circular guiding the implementation of Transfer pricing Decree 20/2017/ND-CP
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: General Department of Tax (Ministry of Finance)
DATE RECEIVED: 27 MARCH 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: 10 APRIL 2017
DOWNLOAD FULL DRAFT TEXT 

 
 

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