Vietnam – Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce to Be Set up Soon. GBA & GIC/AHK Vietnam meeting with Mr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)

This is the common wish of both Vietnam and Germany expressed by Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Mr. Jens Ruebbert, President of the Germany Business Association in Vietnam, at their working meeting at VCCI Headquarters in Hanoi. Once established, this will provide a great chance for businesses of both sides to promote and increase business opportunities, especially when the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement is signed. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Vu Tien Loc affirmed that Vietnam-Germany relations have been developed actively, profoundly, effectively and comprehensively.

Germany is now the largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe as it contributes 28 percent of Vietnam-EU trade value. Germany is also an important gateway hub for Vietnamese goods to enter other EU markets. Vietnam and Germany now have very good opportunities to better tap their cooperation potential. Particularly, business connection together with cooperation in training, science and technology will further help develop bilateral economic and commercial relations. According to statistics, the bilateral trade value reached US$1.28 billion in the first two months of 2015, up 15.9 percent year on year, of which Germany took US$372.33 million, up 2.7 percent, and Vietnam got US$913.80 million, up 22.1 percent. Many Vietnamese businesses have regularly participated in international exhibitions and trade fairs in Germany like Anuga Colonge, Tendence, Koblenz, Resale Frankfurt and Hannover EXPO. Through these events, they have established partnership relations and signed contracts with many German importers and other foreign businessmen. Garment and textile are the biggest exports to Germany, followed by footwear, coffee, handicrafts, seafood, computers and components. Meanwhile, Germany is the largest supplier of advanced machines, equipment and technology for national industrialisation and modernisation of Vietnam. In addition, Vietnam imports pharmaceuticals, plastics and industrial materials from Germany. In spite of importing a lot from Germany, Vietnam has taken a trade surplus with Germany.

Regarding the establishment of the Vietnam – Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Vu Tien Loc affirmed that Vietnam has trade relations with many countries across the world. Many forums and business councils have been set up, including Vietnam-Japan Business Forum and Vietnam-Russia Business Council. He also expressed his absolute support for the formation of Vietnam – Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce. This will be an effective dialogue for businesses and governmental agencies and maintain communication channels with diplomatic and trade missions through the active participation of ambassadors and counsellors in economic activities.

With the Joint Chamber of Commerce, all issues arising in trade and investment relations will also be tabled to seek for best solutions for businesses. Concurring Dr. Loc’s point of view, Mr. Jens Ruebbert affirmed that Germany sees Vietnam as a rapidly developed potential market in Asia (after China and India). Many leading German corporations like Siemens, Metro, Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bank and Allianz opened business facilities and commit long-term investments in Vietnam. However, Germany’s investments in Vietnam remain very modest relative to potential and expectations of both sides. The Chairman of the German Business Association in Vietnam also hoped that the Vietnam – Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce will be set up soon to help strengthen and expand cooperation ties between businesses of the two countries in the fields of trade, investment, science, technology, tourism and culture. He very much hoped to receive active support from Vietnam for the early completion of this establishment. Regarding the regulatory framework for the establishment, he hoped official members of the Vietnam – Germany Joint Chamber of Commerce will be Vietnamese and German businesses. Currently, according to regulations in business associations in Vietnam, foreign companies are impossibly official members. For this reason, Mr. Jens Ruebbert proposed that the members may be associate or unofficial members. He hoped that VCCI President Vu Tien Loc will urge Vietnamese authorities to have a legal framework for this issue.

The German Business Association in Vietnam now has over 168 member companies which are German companies in Vietnam, said Mr. Jens Ruebbert. The association has played an important role in promoting economic cooperation relations between the two countries. Besides, he also confirmed that the merger of the German Business Association (GBA) and the Germany Chamber of Industry and Commerce to form the Chamber of Industry and Commerce will really create a great momentum to boost German investment flows into Vietnam. After this entity is set up, investment flows between the two countries will be certainly raised because this chamber not only admits German economic members but also draws the membership registration of Vietnamese companies. Thus, the chamber will be a useful forum for them to exchange investment and business cooperation.