Last updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Vietnam Business Forum: Powering Greater Role of Vietnam’s Private SectorPosted: Thursday, February 09, 2012
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has handed over the secretariat of the Vietnam Business Forum to the private sector after more than a decade of managing the semi-annual dialogue with the government on improving Vietnam’s business environment.
Started in 1998, the Forum has facilitated reforms that reduced barriers and increased transparency in business development processes, encouraging investment.
Fourteen local and international business associations and chambers of commerce will collectively take over IFC’s role in managing the Forum’s day-to-day function. Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and Mr. Alain Cany, President of European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) will co-chair the Forum this year.
The transfer will not affect the Forum’s operations, structure, and activities. The Forum’s seven working groups - Banking, Infrastructure, Capital Markets, Manufacturing & Distribution, Education, Tourism and Mining - will continue to meet with government counterparts on a regular basis.
H.E. Bui Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI), remarked: “We highly appreciate that the business community will be taking ownership of this initiative and we will continue to support its contribution to investment climate improvement in Vietnam.”
“We see a determination from both the private sector and the government to improve the business environment to attract more investment and trade,” said Simon Andrews, IFC Regional Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand. “Now that the dialogue process is well established, the forum should be driven by the business community to further promote the discussions and ensure its long-term sustainability.”
Dr. Vu Tien Loc, VCCI President and Co-chairman of VBF, said: “The main subject of VBF is enterprises. After a long time of taking the successful leadership role of the MPI, IFC and the World Bank, this is the suitable time for transitioning the forum’s leadership from the State agency to organizations which present for the business community. VCCI, together with local and foreign business associations and chambers of commerce, has set up a new Secretariat to manage VBF operation. From now, VBF will be led by the business community and considered the voice of the business community.”
“This new start for the Forum’s Secretariat highlights a natural extension of our role, which is to represent the business community in working with the Vietnamese government to remove constraints to the private sector’s ability to do business and create jobs,” said Christopher Twomey, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, a member of the consortium.
In partnership with the governments of Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland, IFC will continue to support the new secretariat in its coordination role. The World Bank and IFC will also continue to co-chair the Forum.
The secretariat consortium consists of the chambers of commerce of Australia, Canada, Europe, Korea, Nordic countries and the United States, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Leather and Footwear Association, Hanoi Young Business Association, British Business Group of Vietnam, Hong Kong Business Association, Japanese Business Association in Vietnam, Japanese Business Association in Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore Business Group.
Mr. Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment
The long time of operation is a clear evidence for the role and importance of VBF. The existence of VBF is regarded as a requirement of enterprises as well as a desire of the Government and Vietnamese ministries and agencies because it has become a frank, direct and important dialogue channel between the business community, especially private enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises, and the Government regarding investment and business environment issues. Thanks to the dialogues, the Government has deeply understood real demands of enterprises, and realized good points and shortcomings of policies it issued, resulting in amending, supplementing and issuing better policies. The business environment has remarkably been improved.
Mr. Simon Andrews, IFC Regional Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Thailand
This is an important landmark, opening a new chapter for VBF, for the business community, especially the private sector will play a greater leadership role in managing the forum. Chambers of commerce and business associations will present for the business community to work and discuss with the Government to solve hindrances for the private economic sector and help them operate more effectively, and partly contribute to Vietnam’s economic growth in general.
VBF has played an important role in improving the investment climate in Vietnam by creating an effective platform for public and private dialogues. I believe that following our great efforts in organizing VBF, we have obtained our target and the new Secretariat has been ready to take over VBF.
Mr. Vu Tien Loc, President of VCCI and VBF Co-Chairman
We have currently started preparations for organizing VBF this June, on the threshold of the Consultative Group Meeting of international donors for Vietnam. In 2012, VBF has two co-chair organizations, VCCI presenting for Vietnamese business community, and EuroCham presenting for the foreign business community in Vietnam, with the aim of bringing a common voice, and comprehensive initiatives of all enterprises operating in Vietnam to the Government.
Mr. Alain Cany, President of EuroCham and VBF Co-Chairman