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In Union with Europe
Vietnam Economic Times,December 28, 2003
EuroCham Chairman Juan R Rothe explains that Vietnam and the EU have the common aims and values needed to forge a successful partnership.

What is your assessment of Vietnam-EU trade relations?

The EU and Vietnam have had a very long-lasting relationship with a mutually beneficial history. In recent years, due to efforts on both sides, there have been significant improvements in relations, not only on trade but in many other fields as well. Europeans like the country (Vietnam) and its culture. I think the environment is very good for accelerated trade on both sides. For Vietnam, the EU is a very big potential market to which you can export your products. For EU, Vietnam is an attractive market of over 80 million people, and a demanding one due to its modernisation and industrialisation programs. In which areas do you think EU companies are superior to companies from elsewhere?

EU Company’s product are of high quality and innovative design, which is what the Vietnamese market is demanding. Moreover, we can offer a very wide range of products. As you know, European countries have histories as long as Vietnam’s, so I think one important thing we have in common is that our values are on the same time line. What is more, we are financially strong, and have more technological development and experience. I think Vietnam can profit from that.

Which EU-Vietnam co-operation projects are you most proud of?

This is not easy to answer because the picture of EU-Vietnam co-operation is multi-faceted. What seems most important to me is that our co-operation is based on a broad set of common interests; it exceeds economic and commercial matters and comprises development co-operation, cultural issues, education and science. On the EU side, we have made lots of efforts to help Vietnam, especially in poverty elimination and the legal system. I’ll give some examples. The first is EBIC, a two-year- project aimed at accelerating trade between EU and Vietnam, hosted by EuroCham from October 2001 to September 2003. The second is the Asia-Invest forum held successfully on October 30 and 31 in Saigon. This is an initiative of the EU, aimed at promoting, supporting and expanding Euro-Asia business co-operation. The forum provides a platform for EU and Asian private sector representative organisations to strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones. In that context, future directions for European-Asian co-operation and networking can be discussed. Invited participants this year will include representatives of European and Asian Chambers of Commerce and business associations in Asia, bilateral Chambers of Commerce and Business Groups in Vietnam, key Asian and European business intermediaries in industry, trade investment and finance. This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and information on market-related issues, the establishment of favourable conditions for investment and trade, and how Business Associations can help companies to operate in Asian markets by creating strong networks. The forum will also focus on the opportunities made available by the EU’s Asia-Invest program, and especially new business opportunities for EU companies in the Asian area.

In your view, which Vietnamese products have advantages in the EU market?

There are a lot of products I could mention. For example, rice, coffee, tea, cotton, pepper... Vietnamese workers are very skilful and I think Vietnamese products can reach EU standard.
Actually, our programs are aimed at helping Vietnamese companies to meet European quality standards. This is very important as this is the requirement for you to export to the EU market. Vietnamese enterprises seem concerned about technical barriers from the EU.

As matchmaker and business and trade facilitator, what does EuroCham do to support Vietnamese businesses in their activities in the European market?

We participate actively and effectively in multiple activities of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) aimed at improving the business environment which benefits not only European business but Vietnamese business as well. We also organise visits of EU delegations to Vietnam and Vietnamese delegations to Europe.

What main objectives will EuroCham focus on in future co-operation with Vietnam?

First, we will support Vietnam’s development goals like maintaining a high GDP rate, reducing poverty and raising living standards. Second, we will also support more integration into the international economy. We have very close relations with EU delegations, embassies, and economic counsellors. We want to further enhance this co-operation, and this will create more business opportunities for Vietnamese and EU companies. Third, we want more Vietnamese people to become active members and participate in our working groups. Finally, as we are working very strongly on affiliating with the EU group and have signed affiliation agreements with German, Dutch and French business groups and are working very closely with the British group in Hanoi, in the coming time we will create a service package including seminars and training courses to enhance awareness of the EU market among Vietnamese companies and these institutions.
MGR Archive 30.12.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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