Trailblazer in Supporting Businesses in Int’l Economic Integration and Sustainable Development
Sat, 29 Apr 2023 23:22:00 | Print | Email Share:
Graduating with a Master Degree of Business Administration (MBA) from Bayes Business School London, one of the world's leading business schools, and holding three bachelor's degrees in different professions from prestigious domestic and international universities (Russian, English, finance and economics), Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary of VCCI Party Committee and VCCI Vice Executive Chairman, was assigned to administer the foreign affairs, integration and especially sustainable development of the business community. In every role and position, he is always passionate, devoted and determined to think up good ideas and flexibly apply new choices with a long-term vision.
Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh (L) chairs a conference on sustainable development
As one of the incumbent VCCI leaders who has witnessed over 30 years of the persistent business support journey of VCCI, he told reporters that to support and develop the business community, the key is to "actively integrate and apply international experience"; "Sustainable development is an essential path, a green passport for businesses".
Advancing integration and utilizing international experience
Mr. Vinh recalled, in 1992, after being assigned to work for VCCI, he was installed in the International Relations Department. At that time, VCCI Hanoi had only more than 30 employees and mainly focused on reinforcing trade relations with capitalist countries and promoting local economic exchanges. As for foreign affairs and global integration, VCCI's employees and experts all worked very hard for business development, from searching for their business premises to supporting procedures and regulations regarding import, export, and international trade.
“Even now, I still vividly remember the first days when we welcomed the first South Korea business delegations to explore the Vietnamese market. We supported South Korean companies to carry out investment procedures, business development, market expansion and cooperation with localities and Vietnamese enterprises. Vietnam and South Korea have developed diplomatic relations for more than 30 years and elevated the ties to comprehensive strategic partnership. Thousands of South Korean companies are doing business in Vietnam, developing a series of large projects and creating jobs for tens of thousands of workers. In the 1990s, VCCI always played an active leading role in fostering economic and commercial ties with countries around the world. “I am glad that there is a significant contribution of VCCI behind these successes.”
That is one of the countless stories about foreign and integration affairs that VCCI did and will do in the coming years. He said that VCCI regularly consults with the Party and the Government and works together with businesses in planning and executing the process of multilateral and bilateral international economic integration (joining the Vietnam Trade Organization - WTO and entering free trade agreements - FTAs).
During Vietnam's WTO integration process, VCCI collected opinions, gave comments and recommended appropriate plans from the perspective of business interests to negotiators, Mr. Vinh emphasized. Domestically, VCCI accompanied the National Assembly, the Government, ministries and central agencies to complete economic institutions, and amend hundreds of regulatory documents and laws of Vietnam to meet WTO requirements. VCCI was also one of the most active actors to inform, rally and build consensus of the business community about Vietnam's accession to the WTO.
“VCCI was always the most active and strongest voice of the non-state sector to give very responsible opinions, together with relevant agencies, in the entire process of FTA negotiation, signing and integration, especially new-generation, high-standard FTAs,” he said. In particular, in some important FTAs such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), VCCI was the first to conduct pre-feasibility studies and push the official participation in these negotiations. When negotiations were officially underway, VCCI consulted and recommended specific and substantive options for core institutions and at decisive negotiation stages of these agreements. After FTAs were ratified, VCCI, from the perspective of business interests, participated, most actively and intensively, in the process of formulating laws and policies to realize commitments.
From the perspective of enforcement and effective utilization of WTO and FTA benefits, VCCI was always active to support businesses in international integration by taking advantage of commitments that the Government made efforts to achieve.
Over 30 years with the business community, what made Vinh most pleased was that VCCI’s policy advocacy efforts and practical effects were recognized and institutionalized by the Government in Decision 06/2012/QD-TTg, under which VCCI was assigned as a leading agency to consult companies in all negotiations on market opening and international economic integration.
Resolved to stand side by side with businesses on the path to international integration, VCCI is currently the largest and most complete information provider for businesses on contents and methods to enforce and apply WTO commitments, FTAs and international economic treaties, he stressed. “VCCI’s international economic integration websites (trungtamwto.vn and wtocenter.vn, chongbanphagia.vn, antidumping.vn, aecvcci.vn and en.aecvcci.vn) have had over 70 million visits. VCCI has also compiled and published more than 100 publications to interpret, guide and advise on commitments. Every year, VCCI hosts or jointly carries out hundreds of events, writes many newspaper articles, thematic radio and television programs on global integration so as to widely disseminate international economic integration,” he proudly said.
For people who are always concerned about foreign affairs like Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, the biggest success in this 31-year career is highly appreciated by the business community, thus affirming VCCI as a quick, effective advisor for thousands of trade associations and businesses on their integration commitments and, at the same time, providing in-depth advice for them to effectively respond/use trade remedies and other barriers to international trade.
Delegates at the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Business Council for Sustainable Development
Sustainable development - Inevitable path for businesses
In addition to advancing international cooperation and integration, VCCI is a trailblazer to introduce the concept of “sustainable development” to enterprises in Vietnam, he said. Vinh himself had been the Director of the Business Office for Sustainable Development for more than 15 years.
Explaining his persistence in achieving sustainable development, Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, who is often called “Mr. Sustainability”, said, “I was fortunate to have access to many foreign research papers on sustainable development nearly 30 years ago and realized that this was an essential path, an “green passport” needed for business development. Simply, companies cannot grow too fast and cannot do indecent business to seek a profit for short-term purposes or make a profit at all costs. There are many other criteria that companies in particular and the economy in general must meet and sustainable development is a prerequisite.
Thus, as a trailblazer on a new path, VCCI decided to establish the Business Office for Sustainable Development (SdforB) in August 2006. In December 2010, the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) was founded after more than three years of preparation, consultation and ratification from ministries and central agencies. VBCSD is an active member in a global network of 63 national business councils for sustainable development.
In fact, for nearly 20 years, VCCI has effectively coordinated with various authorities, agencies, international development organizations (like the United Nations, WBCSD and the World Bank) and business associations to carry out sustainable development programs for the business community with meaningful social responsibility projects/programs; improve working conditions, raise awareness on occupational safety and health, disseminate knowledge on HIV prevention in the workplace, reduce poverty through overall support for small business development, and prevent corruption in business. Since 2005, VCCI has cooperated with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor and the Action Aid Vietnam to present the CSR Award for the business community. This is the predecessor of the Program for Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Companies in Vietnam (CSI 100).
In 2014, VCCI developed an action plan to execute Resolution 19/NQ-CP on key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and enhance national competitiveness. With this plan, many sustainable development contents were disseminated and popularized to companies by VCCI branches/units in collaboration with localities and trade associations to make a better business environment of Vietnam. Also in 2014, the “Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum” Initiative was held for the first time with great success. In the following years, the forum was attended by Deputy Prime Ministers. In 2018 and 2019, the forum was upgraded to the “National Conference on Sustainable Development” (NCSD). The conference was honored to be chaired by the Prime Minister, the Vice Chairman of the National Assembly and the Deputy Prime Minister, and attended by leaders of central and local agencies.
Importantly, after NCSD 2018, the Prime Minister issued the Directive on Sustainable Development dated May 20, 2019 to lay the groundwork for addressing shortcomings and limitations and enabling the successful attainment of Vietnam's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. After NDSD 2019, the Government Office issued Official Letter 358/TB-VPCP dated October 8, 2019 on the Prime Minister's conclusions to NCSD 2019 and the Prime Minister, at the same time, also signed Decision 1362/QD-TTg dated October 11, 2019, ratifying the sustainable development plan for the private sector to 2025, with a vision to 2030. The important outcome of the conference was the resolution on sustainable development approved by the Prime Minister in 136/NQ-CP dated September 25, 2020. VCCI, with the core being VBCSD members, has actively cooperated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to advise on the development and effective implementation of the National Strategy on Green Growth for 2012-2020 and 2020-2025, with a vision to 2030. Since 2016, VBCSD-VCCI has also taken the lead in applying the circular economy in business and proposed integrating the circular economy into documents of the Party, the State and the Government, especially the Document of the 13th National Party Congress.
VCCI has successfully played a pioneering role when it has seriously focused on scaling up sustainable development in the business community, from changing perception to realizing action plans into specific agendas to work with companies to adopt sustainable development methodically and professionally. According to Vinh, VCCI painstakingly studied, developed, and launched the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) in 2016. CSI was strongly welcomed by the business community, ministries, sectors and international organizations. This is the first sustainability measure for enterprises. The gauge provides companies with a scientific, systematic and specific management tool for achieving sustainable development. Since 2006, VCCI has also partnered with Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Vietnam General Confederation of Labor to organize the annual Program on Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam, directed by the Government, to praise sustainable businesses and foster a more sustainable business community.
To achieve sustainable development in the coming time, VCCI will continue to promote its existing advantages in approaching businesses, combined with close partnerships with central and local authorities and related agencies, to propose and legislate an enabling legal framework for the implementation of sustainable business initiatives and models, pay special attention to eight proposed priorities to improve the legal system for the circular economy and adopt measures on emissions inventory and reduction. VCCI will promote and support capacity building for enterprises, especially SMEs, to carry out sustainable business models and make reports on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) framework.
During 20 years of persistent efforts for corporate sustainability, Mr. Vinh is proud that VCCI has constantly raised awareness and equipped knowledge for businesses, fostered sustainable development, and created a turning point and a transformational change in sustainable development in Vietnamese enterprises.
During the 60-year VCCI development journey, especially in the post-Doi Moi period, VCCI has achieved miracles that "paved the way" for international economic integration, built a strong Vietnamese business community, and brought Vietnam to the world economic map. Mr. Vinh deeply believed that, given its tremendous achievements, VCCI will uphold its glorious tradition, continue to play a pioneering role in promoting strong business development, and contribute to national prosperity in the coming time.
By: Vietnam Business Forum
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