VN-EU Free Trade Agreement
EVFTA – “from macro level to micro level”

The practical implementation of EVFTA in Vietnam - Creation of EVFTA lighthouses in Can Tho
Can Tho VCCI - FNF Vietnam

In 2020, EVFTA (and soon EVIPA) has opened a new chapter in the relations between Vietnam and the EU. On the macro level, EVFTA was introduced to all relevant circles in politics, administration and business. MOFA’s road show to the provinces, which was supported by FNF was very supportive. However, the question is still open on how to put EVFTA into practice and how Vietnamese companies can make effectively use of the chances of the agreement.

As we have learnt from comments of businessmen in the provinces we visited this is the critical success factor. Our idea is to create – supported by MOFA and VCCI - two or three best practice examples regarding EVFTA implementation on the micro level. These EVFTA-“Lighthouses” could encourage others to follow. Can Tho was selected as the center of the project activities, because it is a big, vibrant and economically strong city. The proximity to HCMC with its various EU companies and institutions is also a competitive advantage.

The kick-off-meeting took place at VCCI-office in Can Tho in the morning of the 31st August 2020 together with Dr. Pham Hung Tien and Prof. Dr. Andreas Stoffers from FNF, Mrs Nguyen Thuong Linh/Vice Director of VCCI Can Tho, Ms. Le Thanh Giang, Chairman of VUFO in Can Tho. In the late morning, Mr. Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of People Committee in Can Tho welcomed FNF and expressed his strong support for the EVFTA-Lighthouse project. In the afternoon, a group of 10 representatives of dynamic SME from the Mekong Delta joined in and discussed in a workshops their requirements and demands for making full use of the EVFTA.

On the next day, Dr Tien and Prof. Andreas had a meeting at German Chamber of Commerce in order to introduce the development of the project. After that, there was a working meeting at EuroCham Office with representatives from the EU side. All EU participants agreed to support the EVFTA lighthouse project. However, the details have to be discussed and agreed with the Vietnamese side.

By the end of September, VCCI Can Tho will have compiled a pre-selection of suitable companies, after which the companies participating in the program will be selected together with FNF and the European partners. The individual support, consultancy and matchmaking of the selected companies from the Mekong Delta will be provided immediately after that. Topics should be: Company-specific EVFTA regulations, cross-cultural management, networking opportunities in Vietnam and the EU, introduction to the relevant players (e.g. EuroCham), potential partner database (e.g. Bavaria International), Best Practice examples, preparing company presentations and documents, individual coaching and matchmaking.

Summary and Outlook:

With the help of Vietnamese and European cooperation partners such as FNF, EuroCham, the national European Chambers of Commerce and business organisations, the Embassies, etc., Vietnamese companies from the Mekong delta will be trained and prepared for EVFTA. Parallel to this, potential partner companies in the EU will be specifically sought via the European Chambers of Commerce and state institutions and approached for individual matchmaking. The aim is to ultimately establish two or three successful medium-sized EU-Vietnamese co-operations, which will then be marketed as lighthouses with high publicity. A decade ago, it was the German-Vietnamese sausage company Duc-Viet, which encouraged other companies to follow its example as best practice. EVFTA will open even more opportunities for Vietnamese companies.

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