German businesses to expand presence in Vietnam

The German Business Association (GBA) announced its 2024 action plan with enthusiasm and groundbreaking commitments. Under the leadership of the newly elected Board of Directors and Chairman, GBA is focusing on enhancing interaction with its members, expanding its presence in the northern region, and driving strategic development initiatives to strengthen the bilateral economic relations between Vietnam and Germany.

The first quarter of 2024 marks a significant milestone for GBA, with the election of 15 outstanding business leaders to its council, representing diverse sectors and industries. The Annual General Meeting (AGM), held simultaneously in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, garnered strong support from the GBA community, reaffirming trust in the association's leadership and vision.

GBA Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting 2024
GBA Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting 2024

According to Mr. Alexander Ziehe, the new Chairman of GBA, the organization's action goals and strategies for 2024 encompass two main elements. Firstly, GBA's top priority remains steadfast: enhancing economic trade connections between Germany and Vietnam by promoting the interests of GBA members and fostering close collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

GBA will pursue these objectives through specific strategies, including three new operational initiatives aimed at enhancing member experiences. Notably, a significant highlight is the intensified expansion of GBA's presence in the northern region of Vietnam and the pursuit of strategic development opportunities. These initiatives demonstrate GBA's proactive approach in meeting evolving needs and demands of its members while maximizing the value it provides to the German business community in Vietnam and the Vietnamese economy at large.

In the first quarter of 2024, GBA's commitment to fostering strong German-Vietnamese ties was vividly demonstrated through a diverse schedule of events and activities. Among these, a roundtable conference with the Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Ho Chi Minh City, stood out as a notable highlight. A high-level delegation, including Germany’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, participated in constructive exchanges with the German business community in Vietnam, laying the groundwork for future cooperation and partnerships.

Business Roundtable between the German President Steinmeier and the German business community in Vietnam
Business roundtable between German President Steinmeier and the German business community in Vietnam

In collaboration with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV), GBA organized the Franco-German Day 2024 “Feierabend Rendez-Vous", attracting over 300 guests and businesses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

GBA also played a significant role in facilitating dialogue between its member businesses and government agencies, including the German Embassy in Hanoi and the German Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Discussions focused on key economic and diplomatic issues, cooperation strategies for 2024, and preparations for important milestones in 2025, notably the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and Vietnam.

Additionally, GBA actively collaborated with Vietnamese government agencies to address members' concerns and support policy reforms to promote business development. This included working sessions with the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee and the Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC), as well as the Binh Duong Provincial People's Committee and its affiliated departments, aimed at enhancing the investment environment in Vietnam overall, and in specific provinces/cities. Sustainability was also emphasized in joint efforts for green development during collaboration meetings with the Ho Chi Minh City government.

Through high-level meetings with government officials, both national and local, GBA advocated for the needs and priorities of its members, ranging from transparency in investment policies, international standards, to digitization efforts and incentives for foreign labor in Vietnam. Positive feedback received from government agencies acknowledged the effectiveness of GBA's actions in promoting a conducive business environment for German enterprises in Vietnam.

Meeting with leaders of Binh Duong Province People’s Committee
Meeting with leaders of Binh Duong Province People’s Committee

Looking towards the future, GBA will introduce new action initiatives to enhance and enrich the experiences of its association members. GBA's specific activity plans are all geared towards business networking and investment promotion in Vietnam.

The most anticipated event is the GBA Oktoberfest, which will take place in all three regions: Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City in September and October 2024. Additionally, in 2024, for the first time, the German Business Awards in Vietnam will be hosted by GBA.

In close cooperation with the Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Vietnam (AHK Vietnam) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham Vietnam), GBA will continue to organize special events to expand investment and business opportunities for association members. This includes a business trip to Cambodia in May and the German Pavilion showcasing technology and "green" solutions at the EuroCham’s Green Economy Forum & Exhibition (GEFE) in October 2024 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Assessing the investment environment in Vietnam, Mr. Alexander Ziehe, Chairman of GBA, said: "Traditionally, German investments were mainly directed to Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. These countries host an established cluster of German industries, such as the automotive sector in Thailand or research and development hubs in Singapore. Nevertheless, the trend is changing, and Vietnam is now considered as an investment location of increasing attractiveness. German investors favour Vietnam to supplement their China operations for its lower-cost inputs, alternative markets, and convenient geographic and supply route proximity to China. Vietnam itself also offers a rising middle class and opportunities to establish German brands for Vietnamese consumers with local distribution and supply chain”.

“The trend in German investment in Vietnam in 2024 is expected to continue to grow”, GBA Chairman affirmed. Currently, GBA has received commitments for new projects: Fuchs Petrolub (lubricant supply) and Schütz (industrial packaging manufacturing) in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, Kärcher (machinery manufacturing) in Quang Nam province, Tenowo (fabric manufacturing) in Hai Phong, and Ziehl-Abegg (control technology and ventilation systems) in Dong Nai province.

The first quarter of 2024 lays a solid foundation for GBA's development and influence in promoting German-Vietnamese economic relations. With action strategies focused on connecting and cooperating between association members, GBA demonstrates its commitment to fostering sustainable economic development and prosperity for its members and stakeholders.

My Phung

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