Covid restrictions could cause businesses to quit Vietnam: EuroCham

By Dat Nguyen   September 9, 2021 | 09:39 pm PT
Covid restrictions could cause businesses to quit Vietnam: EuroCham
Containers are seen at Tan Cang Cai Mep Terminal in Ba Ria Vung Tau Province. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Khoa
No European business has left Vietnam due to Covid-19, but continued restrictions and delayed vaccination could cause them to do so, a EuroCham executive said.

"If these conditions persist for too much longer, new investment projects could be put at risk and companies could consider relocating elsewhere in the region," the business group’s chairman, Alain Cany, told the media Thursday after a meeting he and other European business executives in Vietnam held with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other top government officials.

He was referring to the lockdowns, travel restrictions, and social distancing that Vietnam has imposed in major cities to curb the spread of the Delta variant.

"The impact of this fourth wave on our members has been dire."

Almost a fifth of European companies in Vietnam have temporarily shifted some production overseas, with another 16 percent considering similar action, he said.

The EuroCham Business Climate Index is now at its lowest in more than a decade.

It has dropped to 15.2 points out of 100, continuing a declining trend since the second quarter when the fourth Covid wave began.

Cany said the solution is mass vaccination, and EuroCham members are willing to fund the acceleration of the process, but due to the exclusive arrangements between manufacturers, suppliers and governments it is not possible for them to buy vaccines for Vietnam.

The four-hour meeting on Thursday was the third time the PM has met foreign business executives in Vietnam over the pandemic issue.

Last week he told Samsung executives that Vietnam would not fail the trust foreign companies have in its ability to combat Covid-19.

Foreign direct investment in the first eight months fell 2.1 percent year-on-year to $19.12 billion amid flight and other restrictions.

To keep back foreign companies, EuroCham said the government should provide a clear road map of measures to resolve the problems faced by them.

Workers, especially at European companies, should be vaccinated quickly, it said.

It also sought the creation of electronic vaccination passports to ensure free movement of vaccinated people within and to Vietnam.

The stay-at-work model needs to be refined, as it places a huge burden on both companies and their workers, it added.

France’s ambassador to Vietnam, Nicolas Warnery, has urged Vietnam to relax its policy to allow fully vaccinated foreign experts to visit.

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