HA NOI (VNS) — The European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham) yesterday officially launched the seventh edition of its "White Book of Trade and Investment Issues and Recommendations."
The publication aims to summarise for the Vietnamese Government key issues regarding the Vietnamese business climate that affect European companies in Viet Nam.
The Whitebook's launch is the end result of work that the EuroCham and its members conducted over the course of the year to identify investment and trade issues and recommend solutions.
Its contents span a number of major industries that the EuroCham's nearly 800 members operate in, including the sectors of agricultural business and food safety, banking and finance, fast-moving consumer goods, information technology and tourism and hospitality.
The key issues identified include the free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Viet Nam, education and training, taxation and intellectual property rights, as well as administrative requirements, implementation and enforcement of the legal framework and market access.
Over the last 12 months, the EuroCham has observed and welcomed the Vietnamese Government's efforts and reforms but expressed the belief that more would need to be done to secure achievements and promote further investment and trade in the market.
According to the 2014-2015 World Economic Forum Report, Viet Nam improved its overall global competitiveness ranking from 70th in the previous year to 68th this year.
In the third quarter Business Climate Index, a EuroCham quarterly survey among its members, Viet Nam jumped from 66 to 74 points between the second and third quarters of 2014.
According to the EuroCham, this year has in many ways acted as the de facto foundation for 2015. Next year will be a watershed mark in EU-Viet Nam relations and business, with celebrations of 25 years of political relations and strong expectations for a positive outcome in current negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and Viet Nam.
Some highlighted concerns for European businesses in Viet Nam include transparency, accountability and legal framework implementation, where EuroCham members often face issues arising from a lack of implementation and uncertainty on process and legal requirements.
Education and training and the availability of a skilled labour force also remain a concern for many sectors. The signing of an FTA between Viet Nam and the EU and the anticipated rise in trade and investment will further increase the need for skilled labour.
Alignment with and recognition of international standards will also help remove an obstacle to trade and investment for several sectors.
Nicola Connolly, the EuroCham Viet Nam chairwoman, said this year's edition provided the Government with a resource manual and an effective tool to grow a bilateral business.
She also expressed hopes that the Government would find this year's Whitebook useful in identifying and addressing current issues.
In 2013, the EU was Viet Nam's second largest trade partner, with a total value of trade in goods worth EUR24.2 billion (US$30.2 billion). In the same year, the EU was also Viet Nam's largest export market with EUR21 billion ($26.2 billion) or 19 per cent of Viet Nam's total exports.
In addition, the EU is among the biggest investors in Viet Nam with 1,810 foreign direct investment projects in 2013. It has also committed to continuing its support for Viet Nam with EUR400 million ($499 million) worth of assistance in the coming six years. — VNS