Ho Chi Minh City, 26 October 2015

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in collaboration with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham) and EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) held the Joint-Forum followed by a Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony Ministry entitled Foundation for Partnership in Trade and Investment.

The Joint-forum was started with opening remarks by EuroCham Chairwoman Ms. Nicola Connolly, H.E. Mr. Le Hoai Trung – Vice Minister of MOFA and H.E. Mr. Bruno Angelet Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Vietnam. Attending the conference were Mr. Cao Tran Quoc Hai – Ambassador, Deputy Director General, Multilateral Economic Cooperation Division and Mr. Alain Cany, EVBN Senior Adviser; numerous European businesses who are investing and trading in Vietnam and representatives of provincial authorities and business leaders from nearly 40 provinces / cities across the country.

Chairwoman Nicola Connolly highlighted the growing importance and potential trade and investment opportunities in provinces outside the major cities. Referring to a recent Boston Consulting study incomes in rural areas are actually growing faster than in urban areas. As a result, Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi provinces will account for only about one-third of consumers by 2020.

Furthermore Chairwoman Nicola Connolly emphasized the importance of EuroCham’s advocacy activities by saying: “EuroCham continues to be a key partner to the government in trade issues and recommendations, through the EuroCham annually published Whitebook. The 8th Edition will be launched in Jan 2016. It will cover key sectors and cross-sectoral topics, thanks to hard work from our 14 Sector Committees that lie the foundation of EuroCham‘s advocacy. The Whitebook is a guide for ministries and provinces to continue to improve the business climate and environment in Vietnam for all companies.”

Vice Minister Le Hoai Trung commented: “I believe that the conference is a great chance for the Vietnam’s local authorities and businesses as well as EU businesses to explore and discuss the EU-VN FTA in order to take the opportunities and limit the challenges once the EU-VN FTA officially is signed and implemented. It also creates the opportunity for EU and Vietnam businesses to exchange information and to strengthen the understanding and direct connection.”

In the framework of the conference, Deputy director General of Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities Nguyen Hoang Long (MOFA) and EuroCham Chairwoman Nicola Connolly signed a Memorandum of Understanding of Cooperation (MoU): “Foundation For Partnership In Trade And Investment” which aims at flourishing the connection, promoting investment, trade and business of European enterprises to Vietnam’s localities, at the same time, supporting localities in reaching into Europe in the process of enhancing the extensive international economic integration.

Bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU are more and more expanding in all sectors. On 27 June 2012, Vietnam and the EU signed the Partnership Agreement and Cooperation (PCA), providing a framework to develop a comprehensive cooperation. On 26 June 2012, Vietnam and the EU initiated the process of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation and on 4 August 2015, two parties announced the agreement in principle on the FTA. In 2014, the EU became the 2nd largest export market of Vietnam and also the 2nd largest trade partner of Vietnam.