Last updated: Monday, April 22, 2019


VCCI Quickly Grasping Business Cooperation Opportunities for Enterprises

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2019

Currently, Vietnam has only about 600,000 enterprises in operation. According to Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), to achieve the goal of having one million corporate entities by 2020, it must have at least over 200,000 new enterprises each year till the deadline.

“The task is almost impossible as the growth of business startups is slowing and over five million business households ‘don't want to be big’ while, in economic terms, they have already been enterprises, with 30% that are contributing to the nation’s GDP. They are the most powerful reserve team for the business community,” he added.

However, in spite of being unfeasible, VCCI, with its responsibility, has always tried its best to support the Vietnamese business community to remove difficulties and achieve sustainable development, particularly in trade promotion, investment and market connection.

Efforts for more market expansion
According to statistics, in 2018, VCCI welcomed 45 foreign business delegations, an increase of 73% over 2017 and organized 23 leaders escorting delegations and business delegations to foreign countries. Besides, VCCI organized many trade and investment promotion activities, seminars and training courses.

Typically, VCCI carried out cooperation programs with Vietnamese embassies and trade offices in Austria, Belgium and Denmark, the National Chamber of Commerce in Austria, the Belgian Vietnamese Alliance, EuroCham, and the Confederation of Danish Industry to lead a business delegation to escort the Prime Minister to attend the 12th Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Summit on Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G). The delegation consisted of 50 companies engaged in garment and textile, footwear, agricultural and aquatic products, animal feeds, wood products, machinery and equipment, technology, clean energy, construction materials, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, shipping, finance, banking, trade and investment. These companies were seeking cooperation expansion with partners in Austria, Belgium and Denmark. On this trip, VCCI also collaborated with partners to successfully organize bilateral business forums where 14 cooperation agreements were signed and met with VCCI partners to work out business support projects, strengthen bilateral cooperation, and call for support and enforcement of the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Besides, VCCI organized a business delegation to accompany Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on his visit to the United Kingdom and attend the Vietnam Day there. At the Vietnam - UK Economic Forum on October 9, 2018, VCCI representatives signed a cooperation agreement with the British - ASEAN Business Council.

In addition, VCCI led business delegations to survey markets and join overseas trade promotion groups like organizing a business delegation to attend Caexpo Expo 2018, 3rd Electric Car Exhibition in China and Vietnam - Taiwan Industrial Cooperation Forum 2018; taking part in the Conference on Trade Investment and Trade Promotion in Vietnam, the Vietnamese - Korean Business Matching Conference; and attending the 2nd China - Southeast Asia Business Forum.

Boosting Vietnam's reputation
Domestically, VCCI cooperated with relevant agencies to organize important international conferences and forums such as the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Business Summit and the Vietnam Business Summit 2018 (VBS).

Particularly, the GMS Business Summit was attended by more than 2,000 enterprises in the GMS region and beyond, leaders of nearly 40 provinces and cities in Vietnam and many localities in member countries. The event also attracted the attendance of 300 domestic and international reporters. The summit included a plenary session and breakout sessions on urgent issues for GMS development such as identifying new drivers for economic growth in the fundamentally changing context, developing modern agriculture and information for the region, and developing and seeking financial resources for infrastructure in the region.

Themed “Vietnam: We mean business - Connect and Innovate”, the Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) 2018 on the sidelines of the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN Summit (WEF ASEAN) was organized by VCCI. The event highlighted the entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution as new drivers of global economic growth.

VBS 2018 wrapped up successfully. The event was attended by more than 1,300 delegates, including more than 500 foreigners from world-reputed entities like the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United States, South Korea, China, India, Chile and Oman, from foreign companies in Vietnam, and from embassies, diplomatic and economic missions and international organizations in the country.

The success of VBS 2018 not only contributed to boosting Vietnam's reputation in the international market and promoting Vietnam's image as an important point on the global value chain for international investors, but also affirmed the role and brand of VCCI as a guide and a bridge for Vietnamese businesses to reach out to the world. Its success was also an important premise for Vietnam to host VBS 2019 and make it an important annual event for domestic and foreign business communities.

In addition, VCCI cooperated with other stakeholders to open business forums such as the Vietnam - Korea Business Forum attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in with over 200 business leaders in late March 2018; the National Congress of the Vietnam - Korea Friendship Association in the 2018-2023 term; the Vietnam - India Business Forum; the Global Human Resources Forum 2018; and First Asia Pacific Regional Business Forum in the Francophone Community.

Through these forums, many investment and trade contracts were signed by Vietnamese enterprises and foreign partners, thus opening up many new fields and markets, helping build in-depth substantive cooperation relations.

Moreover, VCCI effectively launched many activities to introduce and promote local potential and competitive advantages, facilitate investors and enterprises to learn about local incentive policies and investment environment to consider investment cooperation expansion between Vietnamese localities, and foreign organizations and enterprises. For example, the agency organized and led foreign business delegations/organizations to attend the Dak Nong Investment Promotion Conference in Dak Nong province; and coordinated with the Phu Yen Department of Industry and Trade to open the Trade and Tourism Promotion Workshop: Experience from Chile.

Forums and business councils have actually helped strengthen cooperation between the Vietnamese business community and the rest of the world in many fields like trade, investment, science exchange, technology, tourism and culture. Indeed, forums are also an effective dialogue channel for businesses and government agencies and sustain communication channels with foreign diplomatic and trade agencies in Vietnam through active participation of ambassadors and counselors.

Notably, together with the Government’s reform efforts, VCCI also carried out practical activities to raise the voice of enterprises to governmental leaders, ministers and department directors to remove obstacles against them and facilitate their business. In the Report on implementation of Resolution 19 and Resolution 35 on business environment reform and enterprise development - From the perspective of enterprises, data analyzed from VCCI surveys on economic competitiveness and sectoral competitiveness, with over 10,000 respondents and 36 in-depth interviews in seven provinces and cities across the country (Tuyen Quang, Bac Ninh, Long An, Binh Duong, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam and Hanoi), showed many problems, ranging from access to electricity, asset registration, contract enforcement, credit and loan, social insurance, construction license, customs - tax procedures, import and export procedures, investor protection, and corporate bankruptcy. These issues are faced by enterprises every day, but if there are no definitive solutions, the way to one million active enterprises in 2020 is very hard to reach.

Stronger reforms needed
To further improve the business environment and accelerate business development, VCCI President Loc said that Vietnam needs specific solutions designed to reduce business investment conditions and specialized inspection. Disagreement has emerged in the course of streamlining procedures. For that reason, it is necessary to have early consistent criteria on business conditions to ensure effective and consistent enforcement.
In addition, business associations should prepare contents and invite enterprises to take part in holding dialogues and solving problems, rather than having government agencies directly handle as now. We also need independent agencies responsible for monitoring the process of troubleshooting and publicizing the outcome of solving problems faced by citizens and enterprises.

Locally, it is necessary to assign provincial inspectorates to coordinate with relevant bodies in business inspections. Central and local authorities also need to enhance the transparency of information on websites of administrative agencies, particularly information relating to planning, development plans, public investment projects, public tenders and public-private partnership projects.

“Although Vietnam has done a lot to improve the business environment, reform outcomes have not come as expected. It thus needs greater reform efforts to achieve desired outcome in order not to lag behind ASEAN's leading economies, especially when new-generation free trade agreements to which it is a signatory are enforced. Hence, the Vietnamese business community supports more drastic reform programs of the Government and the Prime Minister, including two vital keys: Reducing troublesome administrative procedures and carrying out e-government,” said Dr. Loc.

Quynh Chi

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