The event, which aimed to call for Canadian investment in Vietnam and facilitate cooperation between the businesses from the two countries, was attended by Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario; Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of International Trade; David Devine, former Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam; as well as representatives from the Canada-Vietnam Trade Council and the two countries’ business communities.
According to the Vietnamese ambassador, the cooperation outcomes have yet to meet the available potential between the two sides, which is partly due to an insufficient understanding of each other’s market and investment policies.
He highlighted the need for both countries to expand their bilateral trade and cooperation in order to achieve prosperity and sustainable development, hailing the business forum as a platform for Vietnamese and Canadian enterprises to discuss, search for and facilitate new business initiatives and strategies.
Speaking at the event, Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne expressed her admiration at the pace of Vietnam’s economic growth, saying that she is delighted to see the increasingly growing relations between the two countries.
Many Canadian firms have been successfully conducting business in Vietnam and Ontario has received a number of Vietnamese delegations over the past few years, who came to explore the cooperation and investment opportunities in the fields of healthcare, infrastructure and aviation, she added.
Wynne voiced her hope that the partnership between the two sides would be expanded across other spheres in the future.
In his speech on the opportunities and challenges for Canadian companies to do business in Vietnam, former Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam, David Devine, stated that the two countries possess huge potential for cooperation in education and a number of other fields, but there are also a lot of challenges posed to Canadian enterprises, with regards to language barriers, cultural differences, the investment environment, market and administrative procedures.
In order to achieve success in their business operations in the Southeast Asian country, Canadian firms should search for cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners, he suggested.
Three thematic discussion groups were arranged under the framework of the forum, featuring the issues of supporting services for Canadian export firms, the export outlook for multinational businesses and the outlook for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Vietnam business forum took place almost two weeks ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official visit to Vietnam for the APEC Sumit in Da Nang.
Two-way trade between Vietnam and Canada has grown impressively over the past few years, reaching approximately US$5 billion in 2016. Vietnam is currently Canada’s largest trade partner in the ASEAN region; however, the cooperation potential between the two sides has yet to be fully tapped into. Therefore, the business forum and the upcoming visit to be made by the Canadian PM to Vietnam are expected to help realise the potential and open up opportunities to expand their bilateral relations amid the fluctuations in the current world situation.
Immediately following PM Trudeau’s visit to Vietnam, a delegation of Canadian firms, led by Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, will arrive in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from December 3-6 with the view of strengthening the business and investment cooperation between the business communities of both countries.