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Jul 01, 2020 / 16:46

European pharma group suggests Vietnam lead R&D hub in region

EuroCham’s Whitebook makes recommendations for Vietnam to attract more foreign direct investment.

Vietnam’s healthcare sector has a unique opportunity to leapfrog development stages and transform itself into a leading country in ASEAN for high-quality healthcare in the next decade, Mathieu Fitoussi from the EuroCham Pharma Group said at the launching event of the 2020 Whitebook on June 30.

 Vietnam is expected to be a leading research & development (R&D) hub in the region. Photo: Nhat Minh

As health and sustainable development is part of EuroCham’s Whitebook issues, Fitoussi recommended that to create a breakthrough, a decisive direction from the government is strongly sought after, to prioritize pharmaceuticals as one of the key sectors for development. 

The pharma group also suggested that the first and most prominent success factor will be to establish an inter-ministerial agency to oversee the development of a long-term strategy, and subsequent implementation of relevant policies. 

The policies are to focus on promoting innovation and enabling Vietnam to be a leading research & development (R&D) hub in the region, through attracting investment in clinical trial activities as first step to develop R&D capabilities.

The group also suggested the policy which enables Vietnam to become the destination of choice for investment in brand name manufacturing and technology transfer activities in the region; to develop and embed leading digital healthcare infrastructure.

The upcoming National Strategy 2020-2030, vision 2045, is the opportune moment to develop a holistic action plan, with attractive incentives for investment and to ensure predictability and consistency of the regulatory environment, Fitoussi said.

Recommendations on diverse issues 

According to the 2020 Whitebook, EuroCham’s 17 Sector Committees raised issues related business operations and highlight specific actions that the Vietnamese government could take to improve the business environment and increase trade – investment with the EU.

Sérgio Pereira Da Silva, chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Portugal in Vietnam, told Hanoitimes that the highlight of the Whitebook this year is about the implementation for the EVFTA. 

“It is a big challenge for Portugal to see or seek how Vietnam will implement the EVFTA from the central to localities. This is why this year the Whitebook is very important, which will support the Vietnamese government about the implementing of the EVFTA,” he said.

Silva added that the deal is beneficial for Portugal because the EVFTA facilitates trade exchange between the bloc and Vietnam by cutting tariffs.  

Customs clearance will be easier, straighter for both Vietnam and 27 countries in the EU. Portugal businessmen would come to Vietnam and set up their businesses in some areas of Portuguese advantages such as architecture and engineering which comply with EU-standards, said Sérgio Pereira.

Thanks to EVFTA, now the Vietnamese consumers can approach Portuguese goods of high standard and quality such as wine, olive oil, textile, chemicals at much lower prices, he added. 

 Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung. Photo: Viet Tuan.

At the launching event of the publication, Qadeer Raza, general manager of Roche Vietnam Co., Ltd said that 2020 is a tough year for every business not only in Vietnam. But Vietnam has a safe environment when well controlling Covid-19. “Because we have to restart our business and from an optimistic view for coming months, hopefully it will be good for everyone,” he told Hanoitimes.

Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung acknowledged EuroCham’s efforts in the launch of the publication and appreciated the focus of this year’s Whitepaper on administrative reform – an essential process for the smooth implementation of the EVFTA. This publication has reflected the desires of the European business community to promote the improvement of the business environment in Vietnam.

Vietnam now has a once-in-a-generation chance to capitalize on the EVFTA and attract more FDI from European enterprises looking for an open, competitive, and business-friendly market. “If the government takes on board the recommendations in our Whitebook, I am confident that we will see even more European companies investing in Vietnam in the future,” EuroCham Chairman Nicolas Audier said.