Vietnam-Czech Republic Business Forum: Fostering Investment and Trade Ties

9:30:48 AM | 3/14/2023

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) recently coordinated with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Vietnam and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic to organize a Vietnam-Czech Business Forum in Hanoi. The event was concurrent with the visit to Vietnam by the delegation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, led by Minister Jozef Sikela.

The Czech minister was accompanied by leading Czech enterprises engaged in energy, construction, legal advice, network security, pilot training services, power grid operation, circuit board manufacturing, software development, electronic module manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, seaborne and airborne freight transport, coal equipment, credit insurance, healthcare and mechanical engineering.

According to VCCI President Pham Tan Cong, Vietnam and the Czech Republic have experienced historical journeys and memorable milestones together. Over the past 70 years, their friendship and cooperation has been continuously consolidated and comprehensively developed in all aspects, from political diplomacy to trade and investment. The Czech Republic has always given Vietnam valuable cooperation priorities. In the Czech Republic's Export Strategy, Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia placed in the list of 12 key markets prioritized for foreign trade. The Czech Republic is also one of the first European Union (EU) countries to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement and is supporting the push for the remaining 15 EU countries to ratify this pact soon.

Despite being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the past two years, their bilateral import and export value has grown strongly. In 2022, their two-way trade value rose 12.65% year on year to more than US$828 million. Of the sum, Vietnam's exports to the Czech Republic were valued at more than US$668 million, up 14.58%, while its imports from the Czech Republic looked up 5.2% to US$160 million. Regarding investment, by the end of May 2022, the Czech Republic had 41 valid direct investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered value of US$92.39 million, ranking 49th out of 139 countries and territories with direct investment in Vietnam. Czech projects in Vietnam focus on mining, accommodation and catering services, manufacturing and processing, wholesaling and retailing, and real estate business of small and medium scale.

“Economic and trade relations between Vietnam and the EU, including the Czech Republic, have grown well in recent years. These successes result from the support of the Government, the efforts of their business communities, and especially the impact of the EVFTA Agreement," said VCCI President Pham Tan Cong.

He affirmed that, as a national trade promotion agency, VCCI has always been active in supporting businesses. VCCI will thus always actively support Czech businesses for long-term development cooperation with Vietnamese partners. He suggested that Czech businesses consider investing in dynamic economic regions of Vietnam, including four northern provinces and cities of Hung Yen, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong and Hai Duong, which are linked to the eastern highway of Vietnam that runs nearly 300 km from Hanoi to the border gate with China. The Agreement on Economic Connectivity on the Eastern Expressway signed by VCCI and leaders of the four provinces and cities in late July 2022 was to build a sub-regional economic connectivity model, create a new development space, utilize their local advantages to shape an enabling business climate, achieve high economic growth and build a thriving business community to create a growth pole in the Red River Delta and the northern region of Vietnam. These four localities have dynamic governments and very ideal investment environments with the best highway system, three international airports, deep-water seaports, many industrial parks and abundant human resources. They have a combined population of nearly seven million people.

Mr. Jozef Síkela, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, said that Czech businesses want to access Vietnamese pharmaceutical, mining, energy and financial services markets.

He said Vietnam has been a close friend of the Czech Republic for years. The Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic has reached nearly 100,000 people, making an important contribution to the Czech economy and society. Minister Jozef Síkela assessed Vietnam as an important trade partner of the Czech Republic in ASEAN. The bilateral trade value reached a record of US$828 million last year, and will continue to grow in the coming years.

Vietnam is the fast-growing and stable market in Asia, featuring annual GDP growth of 7% and a large market with 100 million people, he added. Investment and economic cooperation opportunities can be seen from the north like Sapa to the south like the Mekong Delta.

Mr. Jaroslav Hanak, President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, said that the Czech Republic considers Vietnam not only an exporter but also a partner that needs to further promote friendly and close relations. Accordingly, Czech companies possess many advantages in engineering, civil aviation, innovative technology and rich experience in international markets, among others, to deliver value to customers doing business in Vietnam.

This occasion witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between Vietnam Airlines Corporation and F Air of the Czech Republic in pilot training, between Viet Flight Training Joint Stock Company and Czech F Air flight training school; and between Flight Training Center of Vietnam Airlines and Czech F Air flight training school.

By Quynh Chi, Vietnam Business Forum