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Vietnam sharpens focus on regional ties

Vietnam sharpens focus on regional ties
by Rey Davis-Tuplano, Oxford Business Group



The ultimate target is for Vietnam to have achieved the same average indicators for its business environment as ASEAN - 4 countries, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

As it takes over as chair of APEC this year, Vietnam will be working towards promoting growth and enhanced regional integration, while also pushing its own reform agenda at home.

Founded in 1989 as a vehicle to promote regional cooperation between Pacific Rim economies, some of APECs core principles, such as free trade, are coming under pressure.


Roadblocks to prosperity

“APEC 2017 takes place as the world and our region experience profound and rapid changes,” Bui Thanh Son, permanent deputy minister of foreign affairs, told OBG in a recent interview.

“Prolonged economic stagnation, rising protectionism, anti-globalisation sentiment, terrorism and regional conflicts, along with more complex non-traditional security challenges, are significantly affecting our forum and each member economy.”

While the region faces a rising tide of challenges to development, some stakeholders believe that these could spur a new dynamism as economies look to foster more inclusive and sustainable growth.

“In 2017 APEC will have an even more important role to play in curbing protectionism and promoting the kind of trade that is not only free but also inclusive for all, creating business and employment opportunities for societies,” Bui Thanh Son said.


Pressing priorities

Operating under the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, APEC will have four key pillars in 2017. The first of these aims to enhance economic resilience, increase productivity, alleviate poverty, narrow the development gap and empower women and girls through structural reform, innovation and human resource development.

The second priority for the year will be to develop greater regional integration and connectivity, seen as crucial to regional economic growth.

The third pillar involves boosting the competitiveness and innovative capacity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) – allowing them to better capitalise on the opportunities of the digital age – while the fourth looks to strengthen food security and sustainable agriculture to meet the demand of an ever-increasing population.


Home-ground advantage

Vietnam is set to host around 200 activities as chair of APEC this year, including eight ministerial-level conferences and the 25th APEC Summit in Danang.

According to Bui Thanh Son, this could all help add momentum to the region’s economic growth and integration and Vietnam’s own development push.

The third APEC pillar in particular dovetails with the directions of reforms being enacted domestically, with recent moves focusing on enhancing the business environment.

To this end, Vietnam issued its latest Resolution 19 reforms earlier this month – the fourth such package in as many years.

As part of the resolution, the government aims to reduce the processing time required for several types of administrative procedures. This includes lowering the average time taken for construction licence approvals from 82 to 63 days, bringing down the time spent on tax and social insurance payments to 168 hours per year from 540, and speeding up Customs clearance procedures.

Authorities also want to halve the number of days it takes for a company to connect with the state’s water supply to seven days.

The ultimate target is for Vietnam to have achieved the same average indicators for its business environment as ASEAN-4 countries, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

The reforms should also help cut costs and the time needed to start a business in Vietnam, making it a more attractive investment destination for potential investors at home and abroad.


Business climate change

Furthermore, improvements in these area could help lift Vietnam on the World Banks ease of doing business index, where it ranked 82nd of 190 economies. While this was a nine-place improvement on the “Doing Business 2016” report, the country slipped ten positions in the “starting a business” category.

Areas where Vietnam registered improvements were in paying taxes and trading across borders. Improvements to the former were facilitated by simplifications to tax compliance processes undertaken in the previous Resolution 19 reform drive, which also saw the country implement an electronic customs clearance system to make trading across borders easier, cheaper and faster.



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Doing Agri-Business in Vietnam Webinar

The webinar Doing Agri-Business in Vietnam was successfully held by BBGV on February 17, 2017. The invited experts, in the role of stakeholders, have provided valuable information on overview of agri-business in Vietnam, updates on recent legal frameworks for registering new agri-tech items (machinery & equipment), agricultural stuffs (animal feeds, feed additives, and fertilizer); and practical experiences in doing agri-business in Vietnam.

Please click download the full Audio and Presentation

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SCC – New Global Delivery Centre opened in Ho Chi Minh City



With the key support from The Business Centre- British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV), SCC has successfully launched its second Global Delivery Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on February 24, 2017. The inauguration ceremony welcomed the participation of Dr Liam Fox - UK Secretary of State for International Trade, along with SCC founder - Sir Peter Rigby.

SCC, with 40 years of development, is the largest independent IT group in Europe, which not only provides businesses with quality IT infrastructure solutions and services, but also contributes to UK national charities and heritage.

After the earlier approach to Vietnam with a Preferred Partner framework agreement signed with Vietnamese software giant FPT Software in September 2016, SCC’s operation expansion to Vietnam has marked its “another important strategic milestone for the business”, said CEO James Rigby. The new operation also contributes to enhance the business partnership between two countries.

In his speech, Sir Peter Rigby sent great appreciation to the organizations, including BBGV, for the enthusiastic assistance to SCC expansion plan. With £32m revenue generated in fiscal year 2016, the new Centre aims to deliver great support to clients in both Eastern and Western areas.

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British Education Mission to Vietnam



BBGV was pleased to welcome the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) on their Mission to Vietnam, on the 6-9th March 2017. BBGV provided support to the Mission in conjunction with the Department of International Trade.

The BESA mission included visits to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The delegates were kept busy during their time in Vietnam and met with representatives of the Department of Education and Training as well as many representatives many educational establishments including Vietnamese Schools, Universities and International Schools, publishers, importers and distributors.

In his welcoming speech in Ho Chi Minh City, the Consul General Ian Gibbons made reference to the world class educational technology offered by BESA members. He also commented that the mission fitted well with the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in 2010 in which Education was one of the seven priority focus areas for cooperation between the UK and Vietnam Governments.

Mr Pham Ngoc Thanh the Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh Department of Education and Training in his speech confirmed the need for further development for English Language and ICT within the Vietnamese school system.

Presentations were made to an appreciative audience at the mini workshop by nine members of the UK educational suppliers industry including Boclips, Collexi Limited, Cambridge University Press, Data Harvest Group Ltd, Discovery Education and Hodder Education, RM Results, WCBS and Zzish

Following the workshop, the mini-exhibition took place where members from BESA met with many Vietnam based companies on a 1-2-1 to discuss the opportunities of working together.

The mission concluded with BESA members visiting the British International School and the International School of Ho Chi Minh City.


Photos from the event



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UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox visit to Vietnam

BBGV was proud to support the recent visit to Vietnam by Dr Liam Fox MP, UK Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.



Dr Fox’s held a number of ministerial meetings, of which, Brexit and future trade relations were a key theme. At the meeting with Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the positive messaging from Lord Price’s visit in October that the UK would remain a key trading partner for Vietnam was reinforced. The Prime Minister warmly welcomed Dr Fox’s reassurance that the UK continues to support entry into force of the EU-Vietnam FTA and there was strong ambition from Vietnam to move forward the trade and investment dialogue to facilitate growth following Brexit.

At the meeting with the Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee, Mr Nguyen Thanh Phong, Dr Fox emphasized the goodwill from UK to keep enhancing the cooperation and relationship between the UK and Ho Chi Minh City. Dr Fox and Chairman Phong particularly discussed the UK offer on education, smart cities and infrastructure development.

Also in this visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Dr Fox visited Landmark 81 which once completed will be the tallest building in Vietnam. British companies Atkins, Arup and Mace have all had a leading role in delivering this project.

In the theme of harmonious cooperation between Vietnam and UK, Dr Fox, along with sir Peter Rigby, founder of SCC-Europe’s largest independent IT group, formally opened its second Global Delivery Centre in HCM City. With the support from BBGV for the initial stage, the company is looking at a long term high quality investment in Vietnam with strong plans for further expansion.

Dr Fox’s visit concluded with a keynote address at a reception hosted by the British Business Group in Vietnam and attended by leading UK and Vietnamese businesses, where the Secretary of State outlined to a receptive audience the Government’s vision for the UK in a post-Brexit world.


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