Mr. Kenneth Atkinson, Chairman of the BritCham in Viet Nam made the above statement while delivering his remarks at the annual Viet Nam Business Forum which took place in Ha Noi on March 19.
The Chairman of the BritCham extended heartfelt thanks to the Vietnamese government and related agencies for unwavering support to businesses in Viet Nam's continued success and development, especially during these challenging times.
Kenneth Atkinson said that as the two nations mark the 50th anniversary of UK-Viet Nam diplomatic relations and the first year of the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, both sides celebrate the growth in trade between two countries, which has already seen an increase of over 16 percent despite the pandemic.
UK business circle looks forward to continued growth in trade and investments, and eventual accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will further bolster UK-Viet Nam trade and pave the way for high-level bilateral visits.
"The Chamber would like to take this opportunity to once again say how we highly appreciate the Vietnamese commitments to zero net emissions at COP26 and the Prime Minister and the accumulated government's effort to drive this agenda", he noted.
This is attracting further British investment into Vietnamese renewable energy, typically offshore wind power projects, with the UK currently being a leader in offshore wind power.
BritCham, like other players in the industry, is looking for the early finalization of Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8) which prioritizes renewable energy sources to minimize negative impacts caused by electricity production on the environment.
Kenneth Atkinson expressed his delight to witness Viet Nam and its international partners, including the European Union, the UK, France, Germany, the U.S., Italy, Canada, Japan, Denmark, and Norway, reached a historic agreement on the Just Energy Transition Partnership on December 14, 2022.
It is estimated that the financial resources needed to achieve this goal are in the range of US$15-16 billion per year through 2030. This is a large number that requires coordination from public and private sectors.
British businesses have had a deeper awareness and clearer action in accordance with the direction of the Government. Some banks have made commitments to assist in arranging direct and indirect financing for sustainable projects, businesses in Viet Nam (Standard Chartered Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding to commit to sponsoring US$8.5 billion, HSBC US$12 billion by 2030).
According to the Chairman of the BritCham, the early reopening of Viet Nam's borders was vital as it enable companies to generally recover from 2020 and 2021. Whilst the UK appreciates the visa waiver granted to the UK together with four other European countries.
"During the pandemic period, many businesses have been hard-hit. We appreciate the timely and practical actions by the Government and National Assembly to help the economy and the business community overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic", said Kenneth Atkinson.
To help businesses recover and grow sustainably, the BritCham suggests the Government consider an extension of the two percent VAT reduction policy for an additional year.
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare has been proven as a sector that has immense impact on the society and the economy. It is also the sector in which Viet Nam and the UK have built a deep and sustainable partnership.
Important elements would entail improving people's access to innovative medicines, accelerating digital health, encouraging clinical trials in Viet Nam, as well as facilitating technology transfer for local medicine manufacturing.
"We are glad to see progress to expand access and look forward to further legislative changes, such as the revisions of the Pharma Law, Health Insurance Law, Tender Law, Price Control Law, and Consumer Protection Law, accelerating the revision of cosmetics advertising regulations, to align Viet Nam's regulations with international practices", he added.
The Chairman of the BritCham hoped that these revisions will create positive impact on people's access to medicines, through simpler and fairer procedures in drug registration, procurement, reimbursement, and a more effective and meaningful intellectual property rights enforcement.
The outlook and contribution of British businesses to the continued re-generation and growth of Viet Nam's economy is very positive across all sectors, he stated, adding that the key to maximizing this success is robust and consistent policy making allowing businesses to grow and develop with confidence.