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1st National Steering Committee of the SMEs Support Program PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 08:58

1st_NSC_SME_support_program_2VIETRADE - The 1st National Steering Committee  Meeting (NSC) of the Programme “Decentralized Trade Support Services for Strengthening the International Competitiveness of Vietnamese Small and Medium-sized Enterprises” was held on 14 January, 2014 in Hanoi in the presence of the representatives of VIETRADE, SECO, Embassy of Switzerland to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance and Vietnam’s SMEs Association.


The Government Co-Chair Mr.Do Kim Lang made a short welcome to all participants from the Government, SECO and the Swiss Embassy, especially to Mr. Andrej Motyl, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Mr Lang expressed his appreciation for the achievements of the Program that, in his view, had a good start to effectively support Vietnamese exports, especially of SMEs and in the Provinces.By assessing the Program progress and achievements,he expressed his confidence that the Program team would eventually accomplish VIETRADE’s commitments to the successful implementation of the Program.



The SECO Co-Chair Mr. Miroslav Delaporte, SECO's Deputy Country Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office for Vietnam, warmly welcomed all participants and stressed the importance of cooperation on trade promotion between Switzerland and Vietnam and of regional trade support networks. VIETRADE, as the focal point of all networks, plays a key role in the value chain of Vietnamese exports.


Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Deputy National Program Director, on behalf of the PMU, reported the progress of the program for the first six month (June- December 2013).After the Agreement between the two governments of Switzerland and Vietnam had been signed on 31 May 2013,four Launching Ceremonies for the Programme were held in Hanoi on 13 June and in Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho in July, to kick-off the Programme and constitute the regional networks.


Ms. Thuy thoroughly reviewed program activities up to 31 December 2014, which were detailed in the Technical Report circulated to the participants before the meeting. In sum, the Program Management Unit (PMU) had successfully completed the following planned activities:


- The three Regional Programme Consultative Committees (PCCs), the monitoring bodies of the regional Program activities, and three Technical Working Groups on Trade Finance, Trade Information and Training & Consulting were established. They held two sessions in each of the three regions, the first session in July 2013 and the second session in late November (Can Tho and Da Nang) and early December 2013 (Hai Phong).


- Export Potential Assessment (EPA): Some 20 National and Regional Consultants (NCs and RCs) were recruited in November 2013, to investigate 5 economic sectors, namely agriculture, industries, services, arts & crafts, and fisheries.


-  On financial management, VIETRADE has established a set of cost norms and expenditure principles to ensure that all payments are in line with the latest UN-EU cost norms and the laws and regulations of Vietnam.


-  The Manual for the National Execution modality of the Programme was developed and adopted by VIETRADE and SECO, also helping to consolidate the procedures and processes laid down by the PMU.


Regrettably, some activities had to be delayed due to a very long and unsuccessful period of discussions and communications with the Programme intended international partner, the International Trade Center (ITC), on their earlier planned international consultancy inputs. As a consequence, 5 ½ months had been lost on the first major activity, Export Potential Assessment (EPA), since initiation of the inception phase on 1 June 2013. VIETRADE then had to adjust the Programme Work Plan to fit with the new situation and catch up as much as possible. VIETRADE decided to rely mostly on local consultanciesfor implementation of the four major assignments (which had earlier been planned with ITC support) and to rely mainly on the technical expertise and guidance of the STA. This new approach is also providing a big boost to local capacity building and to Program sustainability. Given the new context, SECO agreed to extend the inception phase by 4 months until the end of 2014, instead of until the end of August 2014.


The following NSC main suggestions have been well received and will be followed up by the PMU:

+ Selecting to enlist as many ready-to-export SMEs as possible and guide them towards a strategic vision.


+ Improving the technical report by focusing on results-based reporting, analytical discussions of challenges, divergences, and lessons learnt, proposed changes, and proposed solutions/recommendations for better implementation. All reports and plans should be distributed to all participants well in advance (at least one week).


+ On the TWGs: monitoring their short term work plans to ensure fulfilment of their learning objectives.


+ On the Website: developing the Program website as part of the VIETRADE existing website and increasing public-relation for the Program through other means of communication of VIETRADE and MOIT.


+ Bilateral meeting between SECO and VIETRADE to discuss recruitment of the new STA.


+ Vietrade will update the financial report, work plan and budget plan for the next 6 months and submit to the SECO with the payment request at the soonest possible.


+ The next NSC meeting will be in September, to coincide with the SECO HO mission to Vietnam.

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