Challenges and opportunities

The Annual Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) 2020 took place recently in Hanoi with the theme “Challenges and opportunities in the new normal”.

General view of the Annual Vietnam Business Forum 2020 in Hanoi on December 22.
General view of the Annual Vietnam Business Forum 2020 in Hanoi on December 22.

As usual, this was a high-level policy dialogue between the business community and representatives of government agencies concerning the VBF’s proposals which were earlier sent to ministries and branches. However, at this year’s forum, urgency was strongly emphasised due to the difficulties and challenges arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to adapt to the new situation, in its macro policy conducting in 2020, the Government has consistently implemented solutions to create a favourable business environment for enterprises to promptly recover, rise above, and regain their development motivation in the “new normal”. Specifically, a series of drastic measures have been taken to support production, promote public investment, stimulate consumer demand, expand markets, and attract investment. In addition, the Government has continued to consistently implement the goal of ensuring socio-political stability, maintaining macroeconomic stability, facilitating production and business, and promoting growth. Due attention has also been paid to stimulating domestic consumption demand with suitable measures, promoting digital transformation, and developing a digital economy and government, considering this a breakthrough in rapid and sustainable development. As a result, Vietnam has achieved its dual goal of effectively containing the pandemic and promoting economic recovery and development, with GDP growth maintained at 2.5-3%. This is also the last year of the socio-economic development plan for the 2016-2020 period.

However, the impact of COVID-19 has been very serious and is forecast to comprehensively and extensively affect all countries worldwide. In that context, the “new normal” will bring opportunities interwoven with challenges, requiring the Government, business community and the whole society to adopt new approaches in directing, conducting and organising the realisation of strategies on socio-economic development and business investment. It is also necessary to work out specific and prompt measures to immediately resolve bottlenecks that are hindering enterprises from taking advantage of integration opportunities from new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in order to recover after the pandemic. Some important measures include developing human resources and infrastructure, supporting businesses to improve the competitiveness of their products, and accelerating the improvement of the business climate and national competitiveness, with a focus on boosting administrative procedure reforms and reducing business conditions and costs for companies. In addition, delegates to the forum suggested building and effectively implementing business support programmes, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as facilitating businesses’ access to COVID-19 relief packages.

To energise the business community in overcoming challenges and taking advantage of opportunities in the “new normal”, the Government committed that the proposals from the VBF 2020 will be absorbed with the highest sense of responsibility and integrated appropriately into economic regulation guidelines and policies in the coming period, thus creating the most favourable environment for the business community to recover and develop more vigorously.