AusCham: 24 years as a bridge connecting Australian and Vietnamese firms

15:32 | 01/08/2019 Companies

(VEN) - Over the 24 years it has been present in Vietnam, the Australian Business Chamber in Vietnam (AusCham) has been a dynamic entity in promoting trade and investment ties between the two countries. Simon Fraser, AusCham Executive Director, spoke to Vietnam Economic News’ My Phung about past achievements, current status and future plans.

auscham 24 years as a bridge connecting australian and vietnamese firms

What would you say are the achievement milestones for AusCham in Vietnam over nearly 25 years?

AusCham was established in 1995 in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by the Australian Ambassador and Consulate General at that time; the two independent chambers later came together in 1998 to create the one chamber covering the entire country to facilitate opportunities for Australian business. AusCham prides its long history in Vietnam as a champion for advocacy, connecting networks and growing awareness, networks and opportunities mutually for Australians and Vietnamese. AusCham is instrumental in working with the Vietnam Business Forum and plays a distinct role in advancing the interests in all business regardless of their origin.

In your opinion, how does Vietnam fare, visis-a-vis other Southeast Asian nations in its ability to attract Australian investment?

The most distinct advantage for Vietnam is the people, inherent resilience and diplomacy; each element offers confidence and accessibility to the country, markets, decision makers and a sustainable future. Vietnam is a country that is only realizing its potential and with a growing economy and middle class offers its own populations and surrounding South East Asian countries a strong business and trading future.

Vietnam needs to manage its future with vision; there will always be the temptation to speed towards a brighter future based on the current levels of investment in the country; if the people can manage change and deliver on their vision, Vietnam will have arrived at a point of endless opportunity; if this level of growth is not controlled, there could be repercussions as the country moves through a huge period of change and this would be detrimental to its reputation and something to be well avoided in Asian culture.

Will the CPTPP provoke interest in new Vietnamese sectors among Australian businesses?

Australians are focused on education, investment, health, technology, hospitality and tourism; each of these industries is aligned with strong growth of the Australian economy and the needs of Vietnam.

Can you discern any international investment trends among Australian businesses at present? Do you think there will be more Australian companies to do invest and businesses in Vietnam in next years?

Absolutely as Australia looks to South East Asia and Vietnam as a growing economy and on the road to becoming a developed country; this process will take some time and both countries have identified synergies cognizant with each other’s strengths.

Your advice for Australian firms interested in Vietnam?

Invest in relationships and their future; do your due diligence and understand the culture and the people needs; Vietnamese people and business are eager to learn and develop so ensure your intentions are altruistic and long-term rather than short-term and inward.

auscham 24 years as a bridge connecting australian and vietnamese firms
Intermalt Plant strategically located at the Interflour deepwater port, Cai Mep, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province

What are the ways in which AusCham brings more Australian companies to Vietnam and promotes business ties between both countries?

AusCham is closely aligned with business councils in Australia who work with local, state and federal governments and through Austrade to ensure a clear and supportive conduit for businesses as they look to grow beyond borders or across borders and the region distinct. AusCham has a board of industry experts in different fields each with their own strong networks supported by hundreds of members to refer and introduce Australian businesses to Vietnamese companies eager to explore multinational opportunities - it’s all about investing in relationships and both countries inexplicably support this.

After being here for more than two decades, what is AusCham looking to do to advance its mission in the coming years?

AusCham is focused on growing its membership base and offering great events to bring current and new members together to develop relationships and new business opportunities. AusCham currently operates in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Da Nang and has Australian experienced Vietnamese Representatives in each state of Australia who work to develop opportunities and share experiences with likeminded business people; they offer advice and share their networks to engage and ensure success.

Phung My