The business community expects the first meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow is going to lead to positive changes that make Vietnam more business friendly.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc - photo VGP

Representatives of foreign-invested companies and foreign business associations talk about the challenges they’re facing when doing business in the country and the proposals they have for the government.

illustration photo

Yeon In Jung – CEO and general director of Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam

Prime Minister, thank you for arranging this meeting, inviting Doosan Vina and allowing us to ask a question.  Our question is in regard to education and the plans to advance the skill levels needed to foster the growth of Vietnam’s domestic industrial sector.

Vietnam today has many fine universities and technical institutes, but the world of higher education never stands still; it is dynamic and ever evolving.  I’ve recently seen announcements in the media regarding commitments to improve the quality of higher education and we certainly applaud that.  The news mentioned that the Vietnamese universities of the future would offer curriculum and education that is more in line with Western schools.

Our interest specifically relates to engineers in the mechanical field and we have a two part question.  First is there an opportunity for industry and business to work together with the Ministry of Education and Training on the evolution of education so that the skills taught will be compatible with the needs of industry and if so how can that be accomplished?

Second how will higher education more precisely prepare the next generation of engineering graduates so that they are better able to compete with engineers and companies from other countries?

Michael Behrens – Chairman of EuroCham

A new government is always an excellent opportunity for recharging a country in every aspect, especially in economic terms. EuroCham congratulates the new Vietnamese government as well as the new PM.  The PM’s meeting with enterprises definitely indicates a strong willingness for dialogue with the business community.

As new chairman of EuroCham, we are the voice of our more than 900 members. Europe represented the third largest foreign investor to Vietnam in 2015. In 2016, the new goal for EuroCham is concentrating on implementation of the new EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. This will open a new “wave” of euro-invests and contribute to a sustainable economy.

We will strengthen the ties with all stakeholders. However, we need these stakeholders to be involved in a proper roadmap, with milestones, to implement in time and in good faith.

The successful trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam promises to paint a positive picture for the future. Nevertheless, some challenges remain to improve Vietnam’s competitiveness, especially at a time when neighboring countries will also challenge this market, especially if Vietnam wants to see itself as a gateway to Southeast Asia.

EuroCham has always supported efforts to improve Vietnam’s business climate and enhance Vietnam’s competitiveness. Our annual Whitebook, put together by our more than a dozen sector committees, offers suggestions on how to do this. EuroCham would like to further this collaborative exchange.

We will continue organising special dialogues with government officials, national and local, or meeting with ministries in order to follow up on the issues addressed in our new Whitebook, for the sake not only of the business community but also the Vietnamese and European people.

Marko Walde - Chief representative of the German Industry and Commerce in Vietnam

First, we hope the Vietnamese government would help Vietnamese companies increase their capacity so that they can compete with companies from other countries as Vietnam joins in the ASEAN Economic Community, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other free trade agreements.

Second, the government should build a modern and practical vocational training system that meets the demands of companies in order to create a sustainable advantage to attract investors to Vietnam.

Last but not least, we hope that the government facilitates the cooperation of Vietnamese companies with foreign companies. We hope the government would approve and support the establishment of the bilateral German Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. The chamber will help Vietnamese companies cooperate effectively with German companies in Vietnam as well as German companies in Germany. It will also help Vietnamese companies increase their capacity and access new technology and vocational training opportunities for their workers.

John Tang - Director of the Taiwan Trade Centre (TAITRA) office in Ho Chi Minh City

The Vietnam government saves no effort in improving the investment environment, such as free trade agreements with major trade partners, which benefits all Taiwanese investors a lot. Many Taiwanese investors are gratified to have made the right decision to invest in Vietnam instead of China 20 years ago. You may see the point by looking at China's sluggish GDP growth and declining export.

However, many investors are concerned that Vietnam government might be hasty in raising basic salary and placing restrictions on labour intensive and alleged pollution industries recently, which many believe that are the causes of China's slowing down foreign direct investment and economy in recent years.

Unlike others, many Taiwanese investors consider Vietnam their homeland because of similar culture. We are willing to work with the government to achieve sustainable development and look after the well-being of Vietnamese people.

Yasuzumi Hirotaka - Chief representative of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)

“Implementation of solutions” is more important than “reform announcement”. From companies’ point of view, we would like to see the problems are solved. The continuation of following up meetings are the key point. 

We are interested in the issues:

(1) Elimination of Article 179 of the Criminal Law

(2) People in charge of governmental services such as tax and custom authorities, which are the weakest point of Vietnamese administration system. They should be re-educated in terms of knowledge and ethic, while provincial leaders must manage thoroughly these terminal organisations to boost transparency and reduce the instability in the implementation of systems as well as simplifying procedures.

(3) In the context of fiercer competition in business environment by economic  partnership as Trans-Pacific Partnership and other free trade agrees, government's supports to small and medium-sized enterprises must be strengthened fundamentally, such as low interest rate loans, human resources development, training for managers, research and development and buying used machineries.


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