Vietnam, Bangladesh Exchange Expertise in Social Insurance and Employee Policies

10:40:53 AM | 5/3/2024

Ms. Tran Thi Lan Anh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), recently convened a meeting in Hanoi with a delegation from the Government of Bangladesh led by Mr. Mahbub Hossain, Respected Cabinet Secretary, on a working visit to Vietnam.

Ms. Tran Thi Lan Anh, VCCI General Secretary, receives the delegation from the Government of Bangladesh

At the meeting, Secretary Mahbub Hossain expressed his gratitude to VCCI for organizing this meeting and wished to learn about VCCI and its activities in protecting worker welfare through the social insurance program and regulations that benefit workers

VCCI General Secretary Tran Thi Lan Anh said, VCCI is the largest nongovernmental agency representative of the business community in Vietnam, with more than 200,000 members, including business associations and businesses. VCCI has branches and representative offices nationwide.

VCCI takes the lead in launching and implementing many important activities for business development, acting as an effective bridge for the business community with authorities, contributing and synthesizing recommendations, difficulties and problems from enterprises to report them to the Government and the Prime Minister, and at the same time making suggestions and recommendations for settlement and resolution. VCCI also organizes many trade and investment promotion activities, business training consulting activities, and international exchanges to support businesses in improving their capacity and developing operations.

“We have close cooperation and other activities with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and trade unions. Currently, Vietnam is amending the Social Insurance Law as well as completing social security policies. These very important issues are concerned by the Government, organizations and the business community,” said Lan Anh.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam implemented many social security initiatives to aid workers in light of widespread business closures. Furthermore, VCCI advocated for government policies and financial packages designed to bolster businesses, employers and employees, enabling them to endure and rebound during and post-pandemic.

Secretary Mahbub Hossain said that the information shared by Ms. Lan Anh will help support Bangladesh Government officials in designing a social insurance program for workers in Bangladesh. At the same time, he also shared some experiences of Bangladesh on social safety net programs.

Vietnam and Bangladesh officially established diplomatic ties on February 11, 1973. Over the course of more than half a century, the friendly relations between the two nations have consistently flourished. The leadership and peoples of both countries have continually demonstrated mutual respect and substantial political confidence in one another. This robust relationship serves as a cornerstone for nurturing collaboration across diverse sectors.

Bangladesh presently ranks as Vietnam’s second-largest trading partner in South Asia, with bilateral trade value experiencing a fourfold increase over a decade (escalating from US$350 million in 2012 to an estimated US$1.5 billion in 2022). The leadership of both nations has set a near-term target of US$2 billion. Additionally, the two countries have renewed their memorandum of understanding on rice trade for an additional five years (until 2027), and have established many cooperative areas for mutual assistance. Notably, Bangladesh is among the top three largest markets for Vietnam’s cinnamon exports, following India and the United States.

The two countries have instituted several significant cooperative mechanisms, including the Joint Committee on Economics, Culture, Science and Technology. Economic and trade collaboration has emerged as a highlight, yielding tangible benefits for the businesses and citizens of both countries.

Owing to its strategic geographical position, Bangladesh is perceived as a gateway for Vietnamese enterprises to access, and expand into other South Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Conversely, Bangladeshi businesses may recognize the significance of Vietnam in broadening their reach into other Southeast Asian markets and into nations with which Vietnam has established free trade agreements (FTAs).

With potential advantages and a combined market of nearly 270 million individuals (160 million in Bangladesh and over 100 million in Vietnam), there is ample opportunity for Vietnam and Bangladesh to bolster cooperation and facilitate mutual trade. It is essential to enhance business links between the two nations to preserve existing supply chains, establish and co-develop new supply chains, particularly in sectors where both parties excel, such as textiles and garments, agricultural and aquatic products (especially rice and food), and construction materials. Furthermore, it is vital to intensify investment cooperation in infrastructure, digital transformation, and energy transition to adapt to climate change.

Assessments indicate that the future of Vietnam-Bangladesh cooperation holds immense potential, contingent largely on the dynamism, creativity and efficacy of the businesses themselves.

By Anh Mai, Vietnam Business Forum