A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve the domestic business environment and raise awareness on free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed at a conference on joint action for trade facilitation held on April 6 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The signatories included the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, and the Vietnam Trade Facilitation Alliance (VTFA).
Under the MoU, the VCCI will, through offering courses, conferences, seminars, workshops and trade networking, support the City in making research, surveying the business climate, providing counseling on administrative reform, helping with business start-ups, and enhancing corporate governance capacity and the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The VTFA and VCCI will also work with authorities to organize training courses on market research, support enterprises in e-commerce development, and promote technology application, innovation, brand building and trade promotion.
“We would like to collect all support policies and programs from local authorities that bring trade benefits to the local business community. From such policies, an action plan should be formulated to effectively support enterprises,” said Vo Tan Thanh, VCCI Vice Chairman.
He said trade facilitation was regarded as an important task of the Central Government and local administrations as well as agencies, associations and organizations representing the business community.
Particularly for Ho Chi Minh City, trade facilitation activities become more essential and should be further promoted, especially through joint action programs, Thanh said.
Meanwhile, VTFA Senior Advisor Nestor Scherbey said free trade would take a significant investment of time, effort, special expertise and dedicated resources for state agencies, companies and traders to successfully implement, and make best use of benefits from, the TPP and other FTAs with respect to their goods.
He proposed companies and traders to assess the impacts of these agreements on their global supply chains and step up their visibility for multiple tiers of suppliers.
Scherbey suggested provincial-level authorities establish a trade information database of foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises and domestic suppliers so as to identify opportunities for Vietnamese businesses wishing to become suppliers to FDI enterprises.
With help from technical experts, local authorities will conduct surveys of FDI enterprises to identify the materials and intermediary goods Vietnamese producers can supply to FDI enterprises so as to produce exports qualified for preferential treatment under the TPP and other FTAs, he noted.