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Sep 20, 2021 / 15:29

Foreign enterprises urge Vietnam to reopen

Vaccination is key for Vietnam’s safe economic reopening and recovery, according to foreign businesses.

Vietnam needs to devise a roadmap for reopening right now to maintain its regional and global competitiveness while not being left behind in the economic recovery, according to the latest petition of foreign-invested businesses to the Vietnamese Prime Minister.

 KoCham's members are optimistic about the future of Vietnam. Photo: KoCham

Foreign business associations in Vietnam proposed a strategy of “pandemic prevention and control by region” to the Prime Minister in order to restore safe production and business activities in the new anti-pandemic situation on September 17.

The associations included the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Vietnam), the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), the Korea Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (KoCham) and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC).

These associations affirmed their commitment to support the Vietnamese Government’s “twin goals” of both fighting the disease and ensuring economic development. 

“We are optimistic about the future of Vietnam. We believe in the strength and resilience of the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese economy. We are committed to accompanying Vietnam and making long-term investments,” they noted. 

The associations also ratified their support for the Prime Minister's policy of “safe coexistence with the pandemic” and wished to accompany the government and local leaders, especially those in Ho Chi Minh City and other Southern provinces in safe economic reopening and recovery and moving towards the new normal.

The foreign businesses want to see a clear roadmap for reopening right now, according to the associations. The lack of a reopening plan would inhibit foreign investment since business plans are being delayed due to current uncertainties. New potential investors cannot come in the absence of reasonable policies for the entry of foreigners.

Foreign investors also warned that Vietnam will miss a great opportunity to take advantage of supply chain diversification moving from China if the country could not prove to be a reliable alternative.

“To maintain regional and global competitiveness, including against Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, “Vietnam must act now,” the associations recommended.

The foreign associations are continuing to maintain that “vaccination is key” for the safe economic reopening and recovery, of which “vaccine passports” and “Covid-19 green and yellow card system” should be part of the reopening strategy of Vietnam. However, most foreign businesses question how an application or tracking system will be coordinated between ministries/sectors and provinces to consistently allow for identification, access, and travel when applying the electronic vaccine system.

The administrative management system should accept businesses’ digital documents to facilitate trade and investment during the Covid-19 period, and enable innovation and growth of the digital economy.

“These things need to be implemented soon so that the economy can recover and return to the new normal,” the petition states.

Reaffirming food security as paramount, the associations underlined recent distancing measures have disrupted many remaining supply chains, making it even difficult for those having the means to find food. 

The foreign associations said delivery people, markets, and food supply chains need to be prioritized for vaccine access and should be reopened immediately. The government needs to consider restaurants/catering service providers as an important partner to ensure food security as well as jobs.

The groups also believed this is the right time to plan to safely reopen tourism.