AmCham Statement at the Vietnam Business Forum, Dec 1, 2015

Below is the AmCham verbal statement at the Vietnam Business Forum.

The written statement is at the following links: Vietnamese | English

Prime Minister and Ministers,
Business leaders
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

1.  We are near the beginning of a new era with the XII Party Congress early next year and leaders for 2016-2020.

2.  Vietnam has succeeded at attracting FDI and increasing trade. U.S. – Vietnam trade in 2015 will likely reach over $45 billion, another annual increase of over 20%.

3.  The TPP is a promise, not yet a reality. It covers many issues we have discussed for years. It offers a framework and focus for efforts in 2016.

3.1  Regulatory Coherence is an essential first step to implement Vietnam’s commitments for public comment on proposed administrative regulations from citizens and businesses that would be affected.

3.2  Education, a key development driver We need work-ready graduates, science and technology, research, and innovation.   AmCham companies are involved in a number of education projects.  We encourage the government to lead a large-scale transformation to scale HEEAP 3.0 nation-wide, supported by both Vietnamese and FDI business associations and companies.

3.4  Very few Vietnam firms are part of global supply chains. Vietnam has attracted FDI with significant export growth, but more than two-thirds of exports are from FDI factories; imported materials and components account for 90% of the export value.  AmCham companies are cooperating with VCCI and other business associations in supplier development to help Vietnam firms qualify to join global supply chains.

3.5  Efficient Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation is essential for Vietnam firms to join global supply chains.  We have established a “Vietnam Trade Facilitation Alliance,” (VTFA), in cooperation with VCCI and leading export industry associations, to provide technical assistance to build capacity for Vietnam Customs to implement TFA commitments.

4  We highlight two “concrete targets” from issues in our written statement.

4.1       Technical Barriers to Trade – restrictions on imports of Used Machinery and Equipment

Circular 23/2015, issued Nov 13, 2015, effective Jul 1, 2016 (to replace Circular 20/2014) is universally opposed by FDI and domestic business associations. It would cause delays in customs processing, have a negative impact on modernization and industrialization, especially of supplier industries, discriminates against domestic industries, and is not in accordance with Article 2.2 of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement or the TPP Chapter on TBT.

We raised this issue in many consultations and at the June VBF. We again request that restrictions based on any arbitrary time standard be removed, administrative procedures to ensure compliance with international standards of safety, energy savings and environmental requirements be simplified and incorporated into the National Single Window project, and any quality standards be based on international standards.

4.2       Visas: Temporary Entry for Business Persons

Vietnam’s new Immigration Law became effective on Jan 1, 2015. According to some provisions, U.S. citizens will receive Vietnam visas with a single-entry, three-month validity, while Vietnamese citizens receive U.S. visas with multiple-entry, one year validity.

We raised the issue at the June 2015 VBF and heard in July that U.S. citizens would receive multiple-entry, one-year validity visas, but we have not yet seen any. We note the U.S. has reciprocal agreements with many countries, including China, to issue ten-year validity, multiple-entry visas, and hope that Vietnam will join this group.

5          Conclusion

We appreciate the guidance in the Prime Minister’s 2014 New Year’s Message, in Resolutions 19/2014 and 19/2015 and this opportunity for “… interaction between State agencies, between the State apparatus and socio-political organizations … .Dialogues with the people and businesses … to promote closer relationships between the State, cadres, civil servants and the people and better match policy and legislation with reality.”

I wish participants good health, happiness and success.

Read more …

Vietnam Business Forum, Dec 2015 – Full Report – English (9 MB pdf file)
Vietnam Business Forum, Dec 2015 – Full Report – Vietnamese (32.4 MB pdf file)
Vietnam Business Forum, Dec 2015 – Short Report – English (6.1 MB pdf file)
Vietnam Business Forum, Dec 2015 – Short Report – Vietnamese (23.8 MB pdf file)

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