inspiration Published on February 7, 2022

Maximise recovery efforts and boost trade in the year of the Tiger

This article first appeared in the Vietnam Investment Review

Maximise recovery efforts and boost trade in the year of the Tiger

After a challenging but productive year of the Ox, the Dutch Business Association Vietnam (DBAV) looks forward to helping its members and Vietnamese SMEs thrive in the year of the Tiger.Guido van Rooy - Executive director Dutch Business Association Vietnam

Despite the extreme difficulties around the Covid-pandemic, 2021 offered plenty of highlights and building blocks for our business association and our members. The new year will be a massive year for the recovery of the macro economy, and for the further development of the relationships between the Netherlands and Vietnam.

In order to contribute to maximising recovery and boosting trade, the DBAV brings in a three-year private sector development program for high-potential Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises, subsidized by the Dutch government.

4th wave of Covid in Vietnam: close to $2 million in donations from the Dutch public and private sector

Vietnam has noted a GDP growth of +2.58 per cent in 2021, the lowest growth percentage since the economic reforms (doi moi) in 1986. Many businesses were severely hit by the economic impacts and Dutch businesses doing business in Vietnam were no exception.

To soothe the pain that Vietnam was going through during the fourth wave, the Dutch private and public sector offered a helping hand to the people of Vietnam with a combined donation of close to $2 million .

In fact, the Dutch have shown even more generosity throughout the whole pandemic, as this $2 million was ‘just’ the donation during the fourth wave. A few examples of the fourth wave donations: FrieslandCampina donated more than 300,000 glasses of milk worth approximately $270.000; Unilever donated 170.000 essential products worth over $400.000 and HEINEKEN Vietnam donated medical equipment worth approximately $280.000.

Women Entrepreneurship Awards Gala

In November 2021, the DBAV organized the Women Entrepreneurship Gala in conjunction with Vietrade and the Dutch Embassy & Consulate General in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. I consider this to be the highlight of the year. In compliance with regulations, we organized the event on asmall scale in multiple cities and linked through online video connection. By doing so the event was attended by a combined total of more than 250 business people, in the cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Haiphong.

Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Elsbeth Akkerman, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Vietnam, and Alexander Koch, chairman of our Dutch Business Association in Vietnam hosted the event. The business dinner was the festive closure of the activities of a female entrepreneurship empowerment program funded by the Dutch government, in which more than 600 Vietnamese female entrepreneurs participated.

The year of the Tiger: maximise efforts to boost economic recovery

I am cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year of the Tiger. The last year of the Tiger, 2010, marked the start of a decade of GDP growth of at least 5 per cent , up until last year, the year of the Ox. According to the World Bank, Vietnam’s economic recovery is likely to accelerate in 2022 as Vietnam’s GDP growth is expected to rise to 5.5 per cent from 2.6 per cent in 2021. This outlook, however, is subject to serious downside risks, particularly the insecurities around the future of the pandemic.

Vietnam’s high vaccination rate will be an advantage against competitive economies; after a slow start, Vietnam has now caught up with the world’s leading economies, trumping in vaccination speed and rate. According to the World Health Organization, more than 153 million doses of vaccinations have been administered in 2021.

This world-class performance from the Vietnamese government and its relevant departments deserves the highest praise. We now wait for the reopening of the borders, so that international trade and development can fully resume.

Ready to export

In the year of the Tiger, (re)boosting growth and increasing competitiveness will remain priorities for Vietnam. To accelerate the international success of Vietnamese companies, the DBAV will start a Dutch government-funded, three-year program to guide selected Vietnamese SMEs in their international growth: Ready to Export. The program is aimed at three specific business sectors: Agrofood, horticulture and manufacturing. The Agrofood and horticulture sector is a sector that is of major importance to both the Netherlands and Vietnam. Dutch companies already have a strong presence in Vietnam, meaning that we can introduce the participants to a strong network. Acquisition for Vietnamese SMEs that want to partake in this program will start right after Tet in the five largest cities of Vietnam.

50 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands in Vietnam

Looking ahead one year further, The Netherlands and Vietnam will celebrate the milestone of 50 years of diplomatic relations. As the representatives of Dutch businesses in Vietnam, we will use this year to plan ahead for this historic moment, which will mark 50 years of friendship between the two countries.

In conclusion, the DBAV continues to build on its strategic mission to become a network and activity hub between Dutch and Vietnamese companies and entrepreneurs. The members, sponsors and Board of the DBAV are all committed to contributing to Vietnam’s long term growth and prosperity.

The business relationship between The Netherlands and Vietnam

- The Netherlands is the largest investor from the EU in Vietnam

$10 billion investment from The Netherlands to Vietnam (until the end of 2020)

- The Netherlands is the largest export destination in the EU for Vietnam

$7 billion export from Vietnam to The Netherlands

- In 2010, the Netherlands and Vietnam signed a strategic partnership on climate change adaptation and water management and in 2014 on sustainable agriculture and food security

- In 2019, The Netherlands and Vietnam signed a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Profile of the Dutch Business Association Vietnam (DBAV)

- Dutch Business Association Vietnam is a non-profit business association, with over 100 members. Our mission is to “connect businesses and entrepreneurs, to networks and opportunities”

- We offer our members our network, information, advocacy and business matchmaking for market entrants

- In 2022, a key pillar of our strategy will be the private sector development program Ready to Export, which aims to accelerate the growth and competitiveness of Vietnamese SMEs in agrifood, horticulture and manufacturing in the coming three years

- The DBAV is affiliated with EuroCham. Due to its many Vietnamese language activities, high number of Vietnamese members, and three Vietnamese board members, the DBAV is considered the #1 chamber for Vietnamese companies that want to build relationships with Europe.

- More information at www.dbav.org.vn and www.readytoexport.org