Vietnam’s business associations are struggling to attract new members and come up with long-term plans for growth.
Currently, the country has almost 400 business associations, including
28 at the national level and 50 at the provincial level, said Vietnam
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Chairman Vu Tien Loc.
During the country’s shift from a centralised to a market economy,
these associations helped protect the rights of enterprises and act as
links between the business community and Governmental agencies.
However, Loc was quoted by Vietnam News as saying that their capacity
was still limited, in large part because there was no legal framework
governing their actions.
At present, the associations attracted
less than ten percent of enterprises in particular industries or
localities. Ten associations reported that membership had been steadily
One reason is the associations’ lack of long-term strategies for growth.
Among 78 associations that participated in a survey conducted by the
VCCI, only 23 had development strategies. Two others are currently
creating strategies, while the rest lack any kind of cohesive plan for
Worsening, only 11 percent of the strategies were
publicised and a mere 16 percent were sent to the associations’
partners and relevant agencies.
Even though the survey indicated
that having a clear development strategy would pave the way to growth,
Vietnamese enterprises often fail to see the value in making such
Moreover, many associations – particularly in the
export-import sector – have not fulfilled their duties in protecting
the rights of members.
And associations rarely considered the
needs of members or the market in deciding what services should they
provide, the survey found.
Only 17 percent of surveyed
associations conducted studies on market demand and customer needs when
planning activities, barely 24 percent consulted member enterprises –
and a scant 28 percent considered their services useful for members.
Dau Anh Tuan, deputy head of the VCCI Legal Department, said that in
many anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases, most business associations
were not capable of assisting their members – even though “the role of
associations has become increasingly important” in such cases.
Only a few associations with experience in anti-dumping lawsuits, like
the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and the Vietnam Leather
and Footwear Association, were able to help their members, he said.
Local associations were stuck in a vicious cycle, according to Tuan, as
a lack of money and materials made it hard for associations to attract
Without skilled personnel, associations are
not able to offer professional services that would attract new members.
Failure to draw new members resulted in further capital shortages –
thus limiting opportunities for growth.-VNA