EU/VIETNAM : HSBC PUSHES FOR FRESH MARKET ACCESS IN VIETNAM.

The EU's service industry expects the ongoing FTA negotiations with Vietnam to remove discriminatory regulations against foreign banks and insurers

The future free trade agreement (FTA) currently negotiated by the EU with Vietnam must allow EU banks and insurers to expand their financial participation in local companies, the European service industry says. Banks, such as HSBC, want the equity caps that limit their participation to be more than doubled, according to document seen by Europolitics. "We would like to see participation thresholds increased from 20% ideally to 50% for strategic investors," stressed the London-based bank in a recommendation submitted to the European Commission ahead of the talks.

Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht opened a fresh FTA negotiating round in Hanoi, on 17 March, which he hopes to conclude by autumn.

Currently, HSBC owns 20% of the Vietnamese bank Tekom. It would like the Commission's negotiators currently in talks in Hanoi to clinch a better deal for European companies, which make long-term investments in this emerging market. Foreign strategic partners invest in management, IT, infrastructure, human resources and training of Vietnamese workforce, and they also share international experience and market practice. "This is substantial investment, which we feel a 20% threshold does not adequately...

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