“Hopefully, VCCI will always be a place to keep the fire going and continue to lead the way for business”
Thu, 27 Apr 2023 22:11:00 | Print | Email Share:
After working at the Central Institute for Economic Management, I moved to VCCI and worked there for nearly 30 years. VCCI is my second family, and my career time at VCCI is unforgettable. At VCCI, I was trained, cultured and matured, and I joined together with many generations of member companies, members of the Executive Committee and employees of VCCI to build a strong VCCI.
Dr. Vu Tien Loc dedicated the book "Uncle Ho with Vietnamese entrepreneurs" to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong
In 2003, I was elected VCCI President. The then senior leadership, led by President Doan Duy Thanh, Vice President Doan Ngoc Bong, Vice President Pham Chi Lan and Vice President Dao Duy Chu, simultaneously left office and handed VCCI leadership to younger generations. I, together with Vice President Hoang Van Dung, Vice President Tran Thi Thuy, Vice President Doan Duy Khuong, Vice President Pham Gia Tuc, Vice President Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President Vo Tan Thanh, General Secretary Pham Thi Thu Hang, General Secretary Nguyen Quang Vinh, members of the Executive Committee, directors of departments, centers, branches, affiliated units and all the staff of standing agencies, despite being personally distinct, all made important contributions to build VCCI into a national agency that represents the voice of the business community as well as the largest investment and trade promotion agency in our country and the most dynamic and innovative chamber of commerce in the world.
I have so many wonderful memories during my memorable years with VCCI.
The destiny of VCCI lies in the destiny of the entrepreneur force. We can never forget that, until the early 2000s, although we had the Law on Enterprises, the concept "Entrepreneurs" still did not exist in the Vietnamese dictionary and the position of this force was still not defined in any legal document or policy of our Party and State. Legitimizing and positioning the entrepreneur force in national development was an urgent requirement at that time. Given that awareness, the VCCI President innovatively worked with business associations to ask the Prime Minister to adopt October 13 as Vietnam Entrepreneurs Day. The business community and VCCI people at that time were really proud and emotional to witness this historic moment for VCCI and the business community. During his meeting with businesses in 2004, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai presented the Vietnamese business community the picture of "Uncle Ho and entrepreneurs" and strongly stated that "On behalf of the Government, I declare that from now on, October 13 is Vietnam Entrepreneurs Day”. The Prime Minister's decision and that sacred declaration are an inspirational moment for Vietnamese entrepreneurs on their given birthday. So, the Government legitimized the entrepreneur force, but the Party's resolution on entrepreneurs had not been issued yet. Without a Party resolution, it was impossible to clarify guidelines and policies for entrepreneur development. And we started a new journey again, on behalf of the VCCI Party Committee, I proposed the Party issue a resolution on entrepreneur development. The proposal was accepted by the Politburo and the Party Secretariat and I was appointed Head of the Project Drafting Board that made and submitted Resolution 09 -NQ/TW on "building and promoting the role of Vietnamese entrepreneurs in the period of accelerating industrialization, modernization and international integration" to the Politburo for promulgation. And I vividly remember that, on February 17, 2011, one week after the resolution on entrepreneurs was issued, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid a working visit to VCCI to meet entrepreneurs to disseminate the resolution. He emphasized: Entrepreneurs are a force that plays a vital role in the cause of national industrialization and modernization. Entrepreneurs must have good business management qualifications, moral qualities, social responsibility and a high national spirit. Building a strong entrepreneur force is the task of the whole political system. These are the guiding views of the Party on enterprise and entrepreneur development. Also in this resolution, the role of VCCI as a national body that represents the business community, entrepreneurs, business associations and employers in Vietnam, was officially established.
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai presented the picture "Uncle Ho with businesses and entrepreneurs" to Dr. Vu Tien Loc at the announcement ceremony of Vietnam Entrepreneurs Day
The Party has a separate resolution on entrepreneurs. This is the first resolution on entrepreneurs in the 80-year history of the Communist Party of Vietnam. With this resolution, the entrepreneur force has a solid political fulcrum in society. But legally, the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the legal system at that time had no concept of entrepreneurs. In 2013, the National Assembly debated the revised Constitution and I saw that all strata of society were present and recognized in the draft of the revised Constitution, except for Enterprises and Entrepreneurs. I earnestly requested the National Assembly to define the role of the Enterprises and Entrepreneurs in the Constitution. The National Assembly discussed and accepted my opinion and I totally treasured the phrase "The State encourages and facilitates entrepreneurs and enterprises to make investment, carry out production and do business" solemnly stated in the Constitution. NA deputies who were entrepreneurs and I were overjoyed. Party and State leaders congratulated us on that unprecedented historical moment. The legitimacy of Entrepreneurs in the highest legal documents: Decision of the Prime Minister, Resolution of the Party and the Constitution, is a journey to establish firm political, legal and social positions and policies on entrepreneur development and a big step in Vietnam's Doi Moi (renovation), strongly inspiring the business community and entrepreneurs to facilitate and work for the cause of national development.
Positioning Enterprises and Entrepreneurs in society is very important but it is equally important to build a law and policy system, an ecosystem and a favorable business environment for Enterprises and Entrepreneurs to grow, and VCCI has a leading role in this work. VCCI took the lead in studying Ho Chi Minh's thoughts on entrepreneurship, propagandized, and mobilized Party and authorities at all levels and businesses to understand and implement Uncle Ho's teachings: The economic prosperity of a nation means the business prosperity of entrepreneurs. The People's Government will be dedicated to helping industrialists and commercialists in the process of national construction. VCCI actively participated in the Steering Committees and Drafting Committees and gave comments on legal documents in connection with Enterprises and Entrepreneurs, especially the Law on Enterprises, the Law on Investment and the Commercial Law, which are legally fundamental for doing business. VCCI worked together aggressively to remove thousands of sub-licenses. We have unforgettable memories when we spent a whole week at the Government Office; the President of VCCI together with the Minister, Chairman of the Government Office, and Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management assigned by the Prime Minister to join the efforts to review each legal document and convince leaders of ministries and branches to remove troublesome sub-licenses and administrative procedures to facilitate businesses. VCCI also led the development of the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) aimed to speed up reforms, guide and support localities to improve economic governance. To enhance the capacity of the business community and entrepreneurs, VCCI innovatively trained and supported them to pursue sustainable development, inspired innovative startups and entrepreneurship, developed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supported women-owned enterprises, and stimulated them to promote business culture, exercise social responsibility, and adopt digital transformation and green transformation. All areas of business development are imprinted with VCCI's innovative actions.
In advancing international integration, VCCI consulted Party and State agencies on negotiation, signing and enactment of free trade agreements, especially new-generation FTAs. In many sensitive, difficult and decisive moments of international integration, the voice of VCCI was recognized by competent agencies and we made valuable contributions to driving Vietnam's integration forward.
We organized and hosted many of the most important international events of the business community. Accompanying Party and State leaders on official visits to foreign countries to carry out trade and investment promotion from the onset helped Vietnamese enterprises mature. Meetings of Business Advisory Councils and Business Summits of ASEAN, APEC and East Asia, especially APEC Business Summits in 2002 and 2017 hosted by VCCI, were top-notch events, which were highly appreciated by international friends. And for the first time in history, the President of VCCI was elected to the top leadership of the World Chambers Federation (WCF) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). VCCI also founded and successfully organized annual Vietnam Business Summits to promote investment at the national level and actively establish connections with the world. These are important milestones.
In 2016, Dr. Vu Tien Loc met with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and US President Barack Obama
In honoring and rewarding enterprises and entrepreneurs, VCCI launched the “Outstanding Entrepreneurs” Award, guided and supported localities and industry associations to honor and reward enterprises and entrepreneurs in their areas. VCCI also established the Commemorative Medal "for business development" to exalt individuals and organizations with recognized contributions to the cause of business development. General Vo Nguyen Giap, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (when he was the Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee) were the first persons to be recognized and honored by the business community. “When drinking water, think of its source" is always a moral tradition of VCCI and the business community.
With the ongoing effort of the entire political system and the business team, including the prominent role of VCCI, Vietnamese enterprises and entrepreneurs have achieved remarkable development progress. From less than 40,000 enterprises nationwide in the early 2000s, we now have nearly 900,000 enterprises and millions of entrepreneurs who are making really great contributions to the cause of industrialization, modernization and international integration of our country. This is a miracle and one of the most important achievements in the Doi Moi (renovation) process. Due to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other mounting difficulties, the Vietnamese business community and entrepreneur force are in the most difficult stages of development. But I believe that, with the trust of society and solid political, legal and practical foundations built in the Doi Moi process, the business community and entrepreneurs, accompanied and supported by the Government and the whole society, will bravely conduct restructuring to work beyond their capacity, continue to improve their competitiveness and advance integration successfully. And hopefully, VCCI will always be a strong supporter and a common roof - a place to keep the fire going and continue to lead the long way for the development of enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Best wishes to our business community, entrepreneurs and VCCI.
Dr. Vu Tien Loc
Deputy of the National Assembly,
President of the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC)
Former VCCI President (2003 - 2021)
By: Vietnam Business Forum
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