Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019


VCCI Foreign Affairs Fostering Economic Cooperation and People-to-People Diplomacy

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2018

Continuing previous successes, VCCI's foreign affairs have been increasingly strengthened to effectively support economic cooperation and people-to-people diplomacy.

Deepening, broadening cooperation
To date, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has established cooperation relations with more than 120 chambers of commerce and trade promotion organisations around the world. VCCI is also a member of various international and regional chambers of commerce such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the ASEAN Chamber of Commerce (ACCI), and the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI). Through these networks, VCCI has actively and effectively assisted enterprises to expand their export markets and deepen their investment and business cooperation ties.

The active participation into these institutions has contributed to promoting and expanding Vietnam's international cooperation with the region and the world, while practically helping companies grasp information on cooperation policies and programmes, possible difficulties and obstacles in bilateral and multilateral cooperation, as well as recommending measures to promote business cooperation.

- VCCI actively participates in economic and commercial negotiation missions and bilateral and multilateral committees for economic cooperation, and international economic organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN, CACCI, the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and PECC to support Vietnamese enterprises to integrate into the world economy.

- VCCI currently joins in the APEC Business Advisory Council (APEC BAC - ABAC) and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) as delegated by the Government. These advisory councils are official links for Vietnamese businesses with regional companies (in APEC and ASEAN), and policy dialogue and recommendation platforms for the Government of Vietnam and other APEC/ASEAN nations. VCCI is working with ASEAN BAC to build the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) system to advise small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on regional economic integration.

- In 2017, VCCI successfully organised APEC-related business conferences assigned by the Government of Vietnam such as the ABAC Meeting, the Vietnam Business Summit, the APEC CEO Summit, the APEC Start-up Forum, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Dialogue, and the APEC Women and the Economy Forum themed “She Means Business”. Particularly, the first Vietnam Business Summit, held on November 7, 2017 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, was a great success. The meeting was attended by nearly 2,000 delegates from international institutions and domestic and foreign businesses, and was highly appreciated by international delegations. This was considered a very good initiative of Vietnam for other countries to take into account. In addition, the APEC Business Summit was distinguished by the attendance of 10 APEC leaders and more than 2,100 delegates (including leaders of international organisations and delegates from foreign and domestic enterprises). This was the largest APEC CEO Summit in history. The event also captured the attention and interest of worldwide mass media, including Top 10 global media corporations that sponsored media and promotion for the event like CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC and CCTV. This helped increase the effect of the gathering in particular and the image of Vietnam around the world in general. In addition, VCCI led a business delegation escorting the Prime Minister to the ASEAN Business Summit in celebration of ASEAN's 50th anniversary in the Philippines in November 2017, while supporting many enterprises to win best ASEAN Business Awards.

- VCCI is a member of the National Steering Committee for ASEAN Single Window and National Single Window. It is currently working with customs authorities to recommend further reforms to facilitate customs clearance for imports and exports for enterprises.

- VCCI joins in the Board of Directors of Greater Mekong Subregion Business Council (GMS BC) very actively supports GMS BC activities since its inception in 2000, aiming to support and train businesses in the region to catch up with compliance with international business practices and attract investment flows among countries inside and outside the region.

- As the chair of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN 2014-2016), the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC) affiliated to VCCI hosted many activities specifically for women entrepreneurs in the region to provide information on potential opportunities and challenges for them to prepare their resources to translate those opportunities into reality.

- To provide information for businesses, VCCI is running a series of business forums and business councils to connect Vietnamese businesses to key markets such as the European Union (EU), North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and India. VCCI annually publishes the Vietnam Annual Business Report, an important document that helps businesses and policymakers to quantify Vietnamese business development every year to develop appropriate directions for business development in the country.

- In addition, VCCI conducts research, surveys and workshops to collect business opinions to advise the Government on negotiations and enforcement of international trade commitments in order to best protect the interests and benefits of enterprises in the integration process.

Driving force for people-to-people diplomacy
As an organisation representative of the business community - an important factor in Vietnam’s social structure where the people are at the centre and the business is the driving force, VCCI is always active with its mission of people-to-people diplomacy. In carrying out people-to-people diplomacy, VCCI has received the close guidance and attention of the State President, the Prime Minister, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, the Party Central Committee's External Relations Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and other authorities to gradually build up the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises in foreign countries, thus effectively promoting people’s diplomacy; consolidate and strengthen solidarity, friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese people and other peoples in the world; and to take advantage of foreign resources to make real contributions to the nation’s socioeconomic development.
With its external affairs for business matching like sending business delegations to foreign countries, receiving foreign delegations into Vietnam, hosting international conferences and workshops to disseminate more information to international friends, especially entrepreneurs - the cornerstone of economic development in any nation, to make them understand more fully about the country and the people of Vietnam, about Party and State policies supporting entrepreneurs in particular and international friends in general for foreign affairs to protect sovereignty and construct the nation, VCCI will help boost business confidence in integration, heighten awareness and knowledge of integration and economic integration programmes. These activities include both commitments and competition.

VCCI has implemented projects to enhance ethics and integrity in business, projects to support Vietnamese enterprises to carry out social responsibility and sustain development, among others, to help them work out strategies to effectively apply science and technology in production, build up brand names, kindly exercise social responsibility, gradually improve their business levels and competitiveness, and raise their positions on the international market.

In 2018 and beyond, VCCI will attach great importance to its tasks of economic development cooperation and people-to-people diplomacy promotion. Apart from its regular tasks, VCCI will focus on improving corporate competitiveness to boost the following people-to-people diplomacy works:

1. Further accelerating the implementation of Resolution 09 of the Party on building and promoting the role of the entrepreneur force, Resolution 19 and Resolution 35 of the Government; resolutions of the 5th Plenum of the 7th Party Central Committee on the perfection of socialist-oriented market economy, on the private sector developed into an important economic engine, and on SOE restructuring for better performance: Executing VCCI’s action plans and supporting the business community to implement these resolutions.

2. Building and contributing opinions on policies and laws, improving the business environment according to international practices, especially the local business environment: Join with other agencies to compile laws, policies and advising the Party and the State on this issue; focusing on amending and supplementing laws on investment and business; performing studies on law-making and enforcement practices to propose amendments to legal documents; joining legislative drafting and appraising boards; and communicating and disseminating new legal documents and policies.

3. Formulating national programmes and projects on business support for stronger competitiveness, integration and sustainable development, especially small and medium-sized enterprises as follows:

- Carrying out programmes and projects on enterprise and entrepreneur training, on competitiveness improvement and business support amidst rising international integration; projects on bilateral trade and investment cooperation with some strategic partners under the spirit of Resolution 25 of the Government; programme on developing business association networks across the nation, assisting, linking and enhancing operational capacity of business associations; projects on allying important industries such as tourism, logistics, electronics, green agriculture, mechanical engineering and marine industry to integrate industries to boost the competitiveness of Vietnamese products and link local value chains with global ones; and plans to speed up national OCOP programme; focusing on providing information and advice on new and upcoming free trade agreements; promoting integration within international and regional organisations such as WTO, ASEAN, CACCI, GMS, ACMECS and PECC.

- Developing and strengthening VCCI's dialogues and voices to the Government and the business community through such forums as the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), the Vietnam Development Partnership Forum, Central Council for Business Associations and Business Forums, Business Councils for Vietnam and key markets to head for the formation of Vietnamese business associations in target strategic partner markets.

Against the backdrop of global integration, Vietnam's position has been elevated to a new high and shifted its focus to “actively contributing to the construction and shaping of common laws” and the governmental apparatus is rapidly changing towards “discipline, integrity, action and creativity,” VCCI’s efforts on foreign affairs will play an active role in national economic development.

Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has attained significant achievements in international cooperation for many years. We would like to present comments from representatives of some embassies and international organisations reflecting their productive cooperation with VCCI.

Dr Doan Duy Khuong,
VCCI Vice President

We look forward to VCCI actively raising business community awareness about important FTAs
Mr Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam

One of the priorities for Australia’s economic partnership is to support Vietnam to pursue economic reforms that will deliver faster, more inclusive, and better quality economic growth. In short, we are supporting Vietnam to undertake the necessary reforms to help avoid the middle-income trap.

For over ten years, Australia has supported Vietnam’s economic reform agenda, from the Beyond WTO programme to the Restructuring for a More Competitive Vietnam Project (RCV) and now the Aus4Reform Programme.

All of these projects have had a focus on boosting productivity and competitiveness in Vietnam by supporting the development of quality policies, laws, and institutions. This includes increasing private sector participation in global value chains and levelling the playing field for the domestic private sector with State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). We have drawn on a range of international experience and expertise, but have particularly looked at Australia’s own economic reform journey.
Over time VCCI has come to play an increasingly important role in our economic reform assistance. As the voice of the private sector, VCCI can provide unique insights into policy development to make sure the Government is responsive to business needs. The private sector’s growing role in policy development is now paying dividends and is creating a more business friendly environment in Vietnam. This has been demonstrated by the country’s recent leap in the World Bank’s Doing Business Ranking from 82 in 2017 to 68 in 2018.

Over the next three years we will deepen our partnership with VCCI to share Australian experience and expertise, particularly through the Aus4Reform programme.

We will also look at opportunities for new partnerships, including with organisations like the Australian Institute for Company Directors (AICD) who are key players in Australian efforts to improve corporate governance. Institutions like AICD can help build capacity for Vietnamese business to improve competitiveness and take advantage of the opportunities presented through economic integration.

This year, we are also placing an adviser in VCCI to look at ways to strengthen women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam including how to take forward the recommendations of the hugely successful APEC Women and the Economy Forum, held in Hue last year.

In the future, we look forward to VCCI actively raising business community awareness about an important free trade agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The advocacy of VCCI on the CPTPP will be critical to ensure that Vietnam can meet its commitments under the agreement.

VCCI will continue to be the most important business supporting organisation
Mr M. Zamruni Khalid, Ambassador of Malaysia to Vietnam

I am delighted to offer my warmest congratulations to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on the 55th anniversary of its establishment. This is a momentous milestone in the history of VCCI, the largest business-support organisation in Vietnam. Hence I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many contributions VCCI has made, particularly to the betterment of Vietnam’s business community and its support to the country’s international economic integration.

VCCI not only nurtures Vietnam’s domestic enterprises, but also promotes close cooperation between itself and Vietnamese enterprises with international organisations and Vietnam’s economic partners around the world. In this regard, VCCI has always rendered active support to the Embassy of Malaysia whenever we organised official visits by our leaders or officials, as well as business missions to Vietnam. VCCI is always among our first points of contact for any visits by our business associations or enterprises’ delegation into Vietnam. VCCI has also been accommodating of our requests to facilitate our preparations for these missions, by assisting in setting up meetings or pointing us to the right directions, as well as connecting us to appropriate enterprises for further cooperation. In addition, VCCI’s assistance is also valuable to our enterprises already operating in Vietnam and those looking at various business opportunities in this country.

Indeed the close cooperation with VCCI has been made possible due to VCCI’s openness and continuous efforts in nurturing a more enhanced collaboration between Vietnamese and Malaysian enterprises and business associations. I believe that VCCI will continue to be the most important business supporting organisation in Vietnam.

I am looking forward to further future collaborative efforts with VCCI. Once again, I would like to wish continued success to VCCI in its future endeavours.

Golden opportunity from VCCI-hosted workshops
Mr Ito Koji, Chairman of Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI)

First of all, I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations on the 55th founding anniversary of VCCI.

I would like to express my deepest respect to the excellent leadership of VCCI President Vu Tien Loc and VCCI staff, as well as to continuous improvement efforts of VCCI member companies. VCCI has developed Vietnamese businesses, thus contributing to Vietnam’s spectacular economic growth in the recent years.

JCCI was approved for the establishment of chambers of commerce and industry in foreign countries in 1998. Later, with the support of VCCI and Hanoi City, JCCI received the official operation licence and has done its best to promote Vietnam - Japan trade and economic cooperation since then.

Last year, we had the honour to be the Co-chair of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) with VCCI. Both sides successfully co-hosted the forum. For JCCI, that was a good opportunity. In the coming time, we hope to continue to play a key role as a member of VBF.

Japan’s investment flows into Vietnam are rising in recent years. Many Japanese companies will continue to invest in this market in the coming time. Japanese companies are expected to provide innovative products and services but many are not aware of Vietnamese market trends, regulatory categories and legal institutions.
We think that workshops hosted by VCCI are good opportunities to capture information about Vietnam's trade and, for its part, JCCI always actively shares information on VCCI’s events with member companies.

In addition, JCCI highly appreciates the policy advocacy that VCCI is trying to implement. We also want to enhance cooperation in areas where both sides agree on ideas and interests, want to continue to collect business opinions, aspirations and proposals to submit to the Government and relevant agencies.

Vietnam and Japan will celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations establishment in 2018. We think that both countries are also striving to deepen the friendship that has been cultivated for years. In particular, Japan continues to support and contribute to social development and infrastructure in Vietnam through ODA and FDI funds. In the future, Japan will also seek to further enhance the trustworthy relationship between the two sides by providing safe, high quality products and services.

PCI has tremendous impact in terms of increasing investment
Mr Michael Greene, USAID Mission Director

USAID has been working with VCCI for a long time on both the PCI and other projects we proudly associate with. And so we want to congratulate VCCI on its 55 anniversary this year. In terms of what we think that VCCI can do to best support its member companies, again I would return to the issues of governance and transparency for the long term helped VCCI and member companies. I think the best thing VCCI can do is advocate for improved governance, government officials at all levels, so they can continue to improve the business environment and help businesses thrive here in Vietnam.

USAID has been supporting the PCI along in partnership with VCCI for many years and because we’ve recognized the importance of the PCI, we think it has tremendous impact on improving the business environment and increasing investment in Vietnam. Especially, since 2014 when Resolution 19 began to require that provincial authorities focus on improving the PCI score, there has been an increasing focus and the local government officials have actually developed interesting action plans and created new ideas on how to improve the business environment. The result has been that PCI scores have been rising across the country, in all provinces, but one, I think. The results have been improvement in the World Bank’s Doing Business indicator scores and these are important indications that investors look at to determine to invest their money in their businesses. And so I think that the PCI has tremendous impact in terms of increasing investment because of steadily increasing the business environment.

In coming years, we’ll continue to support the PCI, but we’ll also focus more on ensuring the sustainability of the PCI with a long term because it’s important for the country and it lasts beyond any donor’s support. Beyond that, USAID, of course, has major plan for continuing to contribute to Vietnam’s economic development and improving the business environment.

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