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Minutes of Meeting

"Actual Status of eCommerce in Vietnam"

01.09.22, UNDP Hanoi, 9:00 to 11:45

organized by ISOC members in Vietnam, as a joint activity with UNDP's "Partnerships to Fight Poverty" Meeting
14 Participants

Vern Weitzel, UNDP Hanoi and ISOC member:
Welcome to everyone.

Stefan Probst, ISOC member in Vietnam:

Short introduction about ISOC, and why ISOC members in Vietnam started this activities (579 kB) (337 kb)

Stefan Probst, Opticom:
Brief Introduction to eCommerce - definition of the term - typical transaction flow

Tran Quang Nha, Ministry of Trade (MoT):
- Government approach to eCommerce:
* identify areas of concern
* commission organizations for every area to prepare proposals
- Many countries in the West, and other countries in Asia are pushing ahead, while Vietnam is rather slow....
(maybe we can get some info about the eCommerce Masterplan online)

Le Dang Doanh, Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), advisor to the Minister of Planning and Investment: Main issues regarding eCommerce in Vietnam at present:
- Technical infrastructure needs to be improved: Increasing the capacity of the lines connecting to the outside world. The band width nowadays is still limited and accounting jobs, software transfer is not yet possible.
- An appropriate legal framework needs to be provided, including a more liberal and precise law on Internet. Other laws should be a eCommerce law according to the UNCITRAL law, eBanking etc.
- The exorbitantly high cost of leased lines (cable and connection charges) and very high Internet fees need to be reduced. It makes Internet to an unaffordable goods for most Vietnamese.
- Training of people on IT and Internet-services needs to be improved
- Confidences in business needs to be improved, now the business environment in Vietnam is still very risky.

Nguyen Minh Hien, VDC-ISP, Coordinator of the Payment Gateway Project:
- VDC is working since 1998 together with Vietcombank and Cybercash on a Payment Gateway
- The project is delayed because of Cybercash's recent business problems (victim of shakeout) and some other factors
- By the end of this year it is expected to have agreed on the technical solution and a further action plan.

Darrell Owen, Consultant to USAID on fact-finding mission to Vietnam:
- Vietnam is fairly well organized, maybe a bit too much
- B2B is much more important than B2C (in US: 90% vs. 10%)
- eCommerce shouldn't be overestimated (in US: eCommerce is only 1% of total commerce,
- but on the other hand the US is a mainly domestic market)
- For Vietnam "International" eCommerce is maybe more important than domestic one, but also more "difficult", since different legislation involved, etc.
- eCommerce can be done, even if not all legislation is in place; the US enacted e.g. a "Digital Signature Law" only within the last year, but eCommerce is being conducted since long time
- Government offices could start to procure via eCommerce, so that they experience the reality and can adjust policies.

Tran Nam, VIKOTECH (under the National Center for Technology):
- International agreements on identification, certification etc. are needed
- B2B payments will continue to be done largely via conventional transactions, also in the West.
- Vietnamese companies/Government agencies should start doing eCommerce/eGovernment with what's possible now, instead of waiting and complaining

Le Nhu Xuan, IT Center in MoSTE, Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business
- Vietnam Focal Point:
- information in Vietnam is gathered and stored, but not enough analyzed and used
- people go abroad to meetings and to learn about eCommerce, but little is put into action in their offices
- coordination between offices which are concerned about eCommerce is very poor
- departments are waiting for policy, policy makers are waiting for input from departments; everybody is waiting for the other one and little happens

Stefan Probst, Opticom (eCommerce user and enabler): Current Situation of eCommerce in Vietnam:
- urgent issue, regional competition won't wait for Vietnam; Vietnam looses its competitive advantages, if it is too slow
- Party's and Government's awareness seems to be good, but urgency might not to be taken seriously enough (see e.g. the slow progress of the eCommerce Masterplan)
- Vietnamese way of doing business is VERY much paper and seal based, but the Internet is paper- and seal-less; business procedures have to be adapted accordingly
- the new Government Decree 55 on Internet Policy removes some of the former obstacles - useful classifications of eCommerce:
* B2C vs. B2B (latter one much more significant)
* domestic vs. international (latter one more important)
* tangible goods vs. digital content (both important, but different procedures)
- some outdated obstacles could be abolished quite quickly; "enabling policies" are needed in the medium term, but most of them are not necessary to start with eCommerce
- proposal to establish a Pilot-Project where eCommerce is really applied, in a well-defined environment, in order to setup and adjust policies


Only major contributions are mentioned. Not all mentioned speakers confirmed this notes. Corrections, additional entries, etc. pls. to
Stefan Probst