European enterprises optimistic about Vietnam’s economy: EuroCham

European firms have shown their optimism about the Vietnamese economy, which is recovering strongly after the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) Nguyen Hai Minh has said.

According to Minh, despite the global supply disruptions induced by the pandemic, Vietnam still exported more than US$35.1 billion worth of goods to the EU in 2020 and over US$40 billion last year.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian nation imported US$14.6 billion and US$16.7 billion worth of commodities to the bloc in the two years, respectively.

In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam’s export revenue to the EU was valued at US$31.9 billion, up 23.6%, resulting in a trade surplus of up to US$21.6 billion, a rise of 46.4%.

The figures have reflected positive impacts of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), he noted.

However, Minh said, European enterprises in Vietnam said they have benefited more from the EVFTA as the country’s export to the EU mainly came from FDI firms.

EuroCham member businesses and even those that have yet to invest in Vietnam expressed their hope that the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) will soon be approved and take effect, paving way for European firms to expand investments in the Southeast Asian nation.

Minh also cited the Business Climate Index (BCI) released by EuroCham showing that European business stakeholders' confidence in Vietnam's investment environment declined slightly in the second quarter of this year to 68.8% due to external factors.

Up to 60% of respondents predicted that the Vietnamese economy would stabilise or improve in the third quarter of 2022, 45% were significantly or moderately satisfied with Vietnam's efforts to attract and retain foreign direct investment (FDI), and 76% expected to increase FDI in the country before the end of the third quarter.

55% of respondents said Vietnam improved its FDI attraction and retention capabilities since the first quarter.

Regarding the link between green growth and FDI, nearly 90% of respondents said that Vietnam should increase green economy development to attract more foreign investment.

Minh said apart from the above-said advantages, Vietnam’s improved administrative procedures have also helped to attract foreign investors, including those from the EU.

He also noted that many EU enterprises are still concerned about specialised inspections in Vietnam, which remain overlapping.