Almost all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) parties have made commitments on access for each other’s business persons, which are in country-specific annexes.
However, Vietnam’s Immigration Law was revised in June 2014 and became effective on January 1, 2015, without reference to the TPP, said Sherry Boger, chairwoman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham
), in a document prepared for the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF
), which opened in Hanoi on Tuesday.
“We think this change was a major step backwards. According to some provisions of the law, U.S. citizens that plan to visit Vietnam under the equivalent of a U.S. B-1 or B-2 visa will receive visas that have, at most, a three-month period of validity, and a single entry only.
This development has already resulted in significant impediments to business and pleasure travel both ways between Vietnam and the U.S., and could reduce the large revenues that tourism generates, not to mention the negative impact on the planned development of tourism as one of the five priority industry clusters in Vietnam,” said Ms. Boger.
She reminded that AmCham raised this same issue at the June 2015 Vietnam Business Forum and heard in July that U.S. citizens would receive one-year validity, multiple-entry visas, but nothing has been seen.
Similarly, the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV) said that Japanese citizens are denied re-entry into Vietnam within 30 days if they do not have the visa due to Vietnam’s immigration rules.
This change of Visa exemptions limits the opportunities for Japanese citizens who wish to visit Vietnam more frequently for business or tourism.
“We request that the conditions for Japanese citizen’s immigration be changed to allow them to enjoy the visa-exemption, regardless of the time restriction of their last departure from Vietnam, as stated in the law prior to the amendment,” said JBAV.
Tomaso Andreatta, vice chairman of European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham
), congratulated the Vietnamese government on the recent granting of visa exemptions to five major European countries and on the very recently announced reduction in visa fees.
However, the current strict visa policy for most countries requiring a visa prior to travel or a visa on arrival together with the relatively high cost is deterring higher spending tourists.
“We recommend the Ministry of Tourism, amongst other measures, to extend the number of countries with visa exemption, extend the exemption period and allow a return into Vietnam within 30 days if the passenger can show a departing flight within that period.
These new measures will increase Vietnam’s competitiveness, attract direct investment and international tourist flows in order to increase foreign currency income and create jobs that could contribute to 6.5%-7% of GDP by 2020,” said Mr. Andreatta.