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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/11

 HCM City to set up 28 industrial clusters; Ha Noi to speed up land right transfers; Ceramic makers admit need for improvements; Viglacera to begin work on four industrial parks; Enterprises disappointed about slow administrative reforms: VCCI

Vietnam-China trade fair reaps rich benefits

The Vietnam-China Border Trade Fair taking place on November 8-12 in Hekou, China has resulted in about 19 business deals worth US$440 million so far, according to the Lao Cai province Department of Industry and Trade.  

At the fair, enterprises have set up more than 1,200 pavilions displaying a wide variety of wares including agro-forestry and fisheries products, automobiles, equipment, electronics, garment and textiles, and footwear.

A representative from the Yunnan Provincial Department of Commerce has suggested that leaders of Lao Cai and Yunnan provinces should speed up the establishment of cooperative functional zones to boost trade.

Yunnan province officials have also advocated Vietnamese businesses export more fisheries products to the locality.To this end they recommend border gate fees and the value added tax (VAT) be lowered and customs clearance procedures streamlined. Both provinces have been urged to take full advantage of the Kunming, Hekou-Lao Cai-Hanoi highway to transport goods and promote tourism and urban connectivity.

During the fair, a series of seminars are planned to help businesses of both localities share experience and seek cooperative opportunities.

Property market drives rise in cement demand

Viet Nam's cement consumption increased six per cent year-on-year to touch 53.22 million tonnes in the first ten months of 2014, according to the Construction Ministry's Building Material Department.

Of the total, 41.54 million tonnes were consumed in the domestic market, up eight per cent compared with the corresponding period last year, while exports rose slightly by one per cent to reach 11.68 million tonnes.

The ministry said that the increase was due to the high demand from property projects that resumed construction, even though the local property market has not recovered completely, reported .

The inventory of cement in October reached 2.84 million tonnes, equivalent to 13 to 15 days of production.

Le Van Toi, head of the building material department, said that the last two months of this year are also the construction season. Many projects will promote their constructions, leading to growth in cement consumption as well as other kinds of building material products against previous months.

By the end of this year, cement consumption is expected to gain a growth rate of seven to eight per cent in the domestic market, and five to six per cent in the export markets, he said.

However, the cement industry still faces several challenges in terms of high capacity and cheap export prices, according the Viet Nam Cement Association.

Viet Nam has many cement factories, and by the end of 2014, the total designed capacity of the cement factories nationwide will reach 85 million tonnes annually. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Construction estimated the cement industry's consumption of cement to reach 62 to 63 million tonnes in 2014, including 48.5 to 49 million tonnes for local use and 13.5 to 14 million tonnes for exports.

Cement export is the best way to resolve the issue of high inventory in the local market, said the association, but the export price is always at a low rate of $50 to $55 per tonne for cement and $38 per tonne for clinker. The export price in the regional market is $75 per tonne for cement of the same variety and quality, reported Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper.

Vietnamese cement exports are competitive in price, but the local enterprises have not made profits from exporting cement, it said.

Binh Dinh to move 70 firms

Seventy enterprises at Quang Trung and Nhon Binh industrial complexes in Quy Nhon City in central Binh Dinh Province will be moved to a new location by 2024.

The move will be made to comply with city plans up to 2035, said Nguyen Van Thang, deputy director of the province's Industry and Trade Department.

The provincial People's Committee plans to move non-polluting companies to the Bui Thi Xuan Industrial Complex.

The others will be moved to a new complex, which will be built on the western side of Highway 19.

TAL Group to build garment factory

Hong Kong's TAL Group will build a garment factory in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

The group recently received an investment licence for its US$50-million project. The factory's products will be exported.

The factory, to be built on 8ha of land is expected to open by September next year. It will produce 12 million shirts a year and create stable jobs for 3,500 workers.

The TAL Group has been in Viet Nam since 2004, beginning with the $40-million Viet My textile and garment factory in northern Thai Binh Province's Phuc Khanh Industrial Park.

TAL has exported up to 90 per cent of its products to the United States under brand names such as Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic.

HCM City to set up 28 industrial clusters

This city aims to construct 13 new industrial clusters with a total area of 763,91ha by 2020 and 15 new industrial clusters with a total area of 919,3ha by 2030.

Figures from the city's trade and industry department showed that the city has 86,000 industrial production units, 12 industrial parks, three processing zones, one high-tech park and one high-tech zone with a total area of 3.521ha.

By end-September, the city had 27 industrial clusters with a total area of 1,467ha. Of these, exactly 16 clusters have been in operation, attracting 600 investment projects and providing jobs for more than 32,000 people.

City authorities said several businesses in residential areas faced the risk of fire. To move these businesses out of these areas, the clusters were developed.

Ha Noi to speed up land right transfers

The People's Committee here has asked the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to issue land use rights certificates within 30 days from application.

Under a regulation on land right transfers in the city which the committee has issued, the department will have to grant licences to housing development projects and land use rights certificates within the stipulated time. If there are supplementary documents, the licences will be released within 10 working days from the date of receipt of the documents.

If the department needs instructions from State management agencies, the latter will have to respond in writing.

Affordable housing sold in capital

About 150 units of Sunrise Apartment in Ha Long Marina Urban Area, northern Quang Ninh Province, were offered for sale at VND550 million (US$25,900) per unit last November 2.

Sunrise Apartment includes seven nine-floor buildings consisting of units measuring 53sq m to 67 sq m each, with smart designs and spectacular views of the ocean as well as the signature modern and synchronous infrastructure of Ha Long Marina Urban Area.

Syrena Viet Nam, a BIM Group member and the project investor, expects the apartments to provide a good living environment for residents at reasonable prices. Buyers may take advantage of loans from the Government's VND30-trillion ($1.42-billion) support package to enable them to purchase units.

Ceramic makers admit need for improvements

The productivity of Viet Nam's ceramic industry is low, with the output of construction tiles at a mere 70 per cent of capacity, according to an industry bigwig.

Pham Van Bach, vice chairman of the Vietnam Building Ceramic Association, said tile output last year was 310 million square metres against a capacity of 450 million square metres.

Production of sanitaryware items was even lower - at 10.8 million items, a mere 60 per cent of capacity - he told a seminar on ceramic manufacturing technology organised by the Italian Trade Commission in HCM City yesterday.

Export of ceramic products last year fetched US$300 million of which sanitaryware represented 20 per cent, while imports, including through informal border trade, totalled $70 million, he said.

Production of ceramic products including tiles and sanitaryware rose by 5 per cent year-on-year in the first half of this year, he said, without providing figures.

Not only productivity but also the quality of ceramic products is low, he admitted.

Italy's trade commissioner in Viet Nam, Bruna Santarelli, told Italian and Vietnamese business executives at the event: "We believe in the strong growth of trade and investment co-operation in the field of ceramics between the two countries."

She expected the seminar to provide an opportunity to develop co-operation in and exchange information about technologies related to processing of raw materials, decoration, and distribution of finished products.

The outstanding feature of Italian ceramic technology is its environmentally-friendly nature that helps save fuel and raw materials while reducing harmful emissions.

Viglacera to begin work on four industrial parks

The Viglacera Corporation said it would finish procedures to start work on four industrial parks in the fourth quarter.

The projects are Ha Vang Industrial Park in the central province of Ha Tinh, Phu Ha Industrial Park in the northern province of Phu Tho, Phong Dien Industrial Park in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue and the expansion of Yen Phong Industrial Park in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

The ceramic building material producer held its initial public offering in February, selling 19.47 million stocks and earning VND200 billion (US$9.4 million).

In July this year, the corporation officially became a joint-stock company with charter capital of VND2.6 trillion ($123.2 million).

Ca Mau farmers in trouble after sugar plant stops operation

Sugarcane growers in Ca Mau Province have been thrown into a difficult position despite the peak cane harvest season as the only sugar refinery in the Mekong Delta province has suspended operation after being fined for environmental pollution.

The suspension of Ca Mau Sugar Plant has sent sugarcane prices down but the bigger problem for local sugarcane growers is that they cannot sell their output.

According to the Vietnam Environment Administration, Tay Nam Sugar Company, the operator of Ca Mau Sugar Plant, has been fined VND360 million for failing to meet environmental protection requirements.

However, the company director’s Le Van Hieu said the company’s wastewater treatment system has not done harm to the environment. He added that the company has requested relevant agencies to reconsider the fine.

Ca Mau Sugar Plant was formerly named as Thoi Binh Sugar Plant and under the State management. Thoi Binh underwent equitization in 2009 and was then renamed and transferred to Tay Nam Sugar Company.

Thoi Binh was previously detected to seriously pollute the environment. To continue the operation of this mill, Tay Nam Sugar Company had to invest in a wastewater treatment system having a capacity of 180 cubic meters per day.

Nevertheless, the Vietnam Environment Administration said the plant’s wastewater treatment system was substandard as the mill used outdated treatment technology. But the company said Ca Mau plant used new technology of Australia.

According to Hieu, his company sought permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment when preparing to build the treatment system. “We got no response and were fined when we built the system,” he said.

In previous years, partners and banks were willing to lend Tay Nam Sugar Company to buy sugarcane from farmers. “But this year, due to the incident, no one has lent to us,” Hieu complained.

Tay Nam Sugar Company had difficulty mobilizing capital, so it decided to temporarily close the plant.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ca Mau Province, the price of material sugarcane has tumbled to around VND500 per kilogram but there is still no buyer.

“The current price is VND200-300 per kilogram lower than production cost. If selling sugarcane, we will lose VND200-300 for every kilogram sold while we will lose all if having no buyer,” said farmer Nguyen Van Binh in Thoi Binh District.

Nguyen Thanh Long, chairman of the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association, said the Mekong Delta region has many operational sugar mills which can consume sugarcane of farmers in Ca Mau Province.

However, the problem is the long distance, which will push up transport cost. Therefore, companies in other provinces cannot buy sugarcane from Ca Mau at higher prices, according to Long.

VAST expects higher earnings from tech transfer

The Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) is targeting higher revenues from scientific and research services and technology transfer this year given positive growth in the past years.

The academy earned VND174 billion from scientific and research services and technology transfer last year, according to Phan Chi Dung from at the academy’s department of technology application and development.

Dung said the revenues from these sources increased year after year with VND113 billion in 2010, VND121 billion in 2011 and VND151 billion in 2012.

The revenues have helped VAST’s scientists improve and commercial many studies for sale on the local market. For instance, Mediplantex National Pharmaceutical JSC has bought a substance extracted by a chemistry arm of the academy from turmeric to process a functional food for patients with stomach-related diseases and cancer.

Despite increasing earnings, Dung said the academy needs more funding to improve studies.

Three transformation plans for Bien Hoa 1 IP

Dong Nai Industrial Park Development Corporation (Sonadezi) has sent the government of Dong Nai Province three plans for a project to convert Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Park into an urban-service-commercial area.

The province’s vice chairman Tran Minh Phuc said Sonadezi had proposed the three plans based on the results of its survey of 107 enterprises operating at Bien Hoa 1. Of these enterprises, 26 want to continue staying in the urban-service –commercial area project, 23 others plan to relocate, and seven wish to participate in a level-one joint stock company which will invest in infrastructure for the area.

With the first plan, the provincial government will set up a project management unit in charge of site clearance and compensation, and infrastructure development in the area. Enterprises that move to other places will get support from the province and enjoy policy incentives.

The second plan envisages establishing a level-one investment firm to develop infrastructure for the area and manage land. Those wanting to follow the project will be welcome and relocating enterprises will receive support. Besides, enterprises operating at Bien Hoa 1 will be given priorities to invest in and trade components of the area.

In the final plan, there will also be a company in charge of managing and developing infrastructure for the entire area and paying land rent. Appropriate support will be given to enterprises wanting to stay with the project and companies which will move.

Sonadezi estimated the total costs of infrastructure construction, site clearance and compensation and relocation support at Bien Hoa 1 Industrial Park at VND11.4 trillion.

Sonadezi has asked the provincial government to seek incentive tax and credit to facilitate the implementation of the project.

Soft loans for more Can Tho homebuyers

More citizens in Can Tho City will be allowed to borrow money from the country’s VND30-trillion home loan package to buy homes at a social-commercial housing project of Hoang Quan Can Tho Investment Real Estate Corporation.

Hoang Quan Can Tho, a subsidiary of Hoang Quan Investment Real Estate Corporation, was licensed to develop the housing project to provide houses and apartments of under 70 square meters for low-income buyers in the Mekong Delta province.

Hoang Quan Can Tho has completed necessary procedures to sell homes in the project as required. The real estate company will develop 33 blocks as part of the project covering 12 hectares in Cai Rang District.

So far, the company has found customers for 192 out of 233 apartments it has put up for sale in the first phase of the project. When finished, the whole project is expected to provide more than 700 townhouses in addition to apartments for the market.

Nguyen Van Tung, representative of Hoang Quan Can Tho, told the Daily that 50 homes of the project will be delivered to customers by the end of this month and 177 others are under construction.

Tung said 37 homebuyers of the project have got disbursements from the VND30-trillion package and 105 other customers have had their applications approved and are waiting to take out loans.

In HCMC, Hoang Quan is developing its housing project HQC Plaza comprising four blocks with 1,735 apartments of 55-70 square meters. Customers can also borrow money from the package to buy apartments of this project.

7 foreign bank branches to end operations in Vietnam

Seven branches of foreign banks and one foreign-owned financial leasing company are finalizing procedures to terminate their operations in two biggest cities of Vietnam, according to a recently released report of the Economic Committee of the National Assembly.

They are the Ho Chi Minh City branch of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ), the HCMC branch of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC), the HCMC branch of Standard Chartered Bank, the HCMC branch of Shinhan Bank, the HCMC and Hanoi branches of LaoVietBank, the HCMC branch of Credit Agricole SA and financial leasing company ANZ V-Track, said the Economic Committee’s report, citing data from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

The SBV has revoked the licenses and officially put an end to the operations of the two branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City of LaoVietBank, Economic Commission said in the report.

Regarding the activities, the number of credit institutions in operation, and the reorganization, and dissolution of them, the report said the current banking system is designed to supply efficient banking services and products to meet the diverse needs of the economy.

The data in the report said that the current system has 47 commercial banks, including five state-owned commercial banks that have been equitized with the government holding a controlling stake, 33 joint-stock commercial banks, four joint venture banks, five banks with 100-percent foreign capital, two policy banks, and 53 branches of foreign banks.

There are also 28 non-credit institutions, one cooperative bank, 1,144 people's credit funds and two microfinance institutions.

In particular, commercial banks continue to play a dominant role in the whole system, and local commercial banks still have an edge in its widespread network across the country over foreign banks, said the report.

According to SBV data, as shown in the report, in the period of 2011-2013, the number of credit institutions decreased by 4 joint-stock commercial banks and 2 credit organizations, and three non-bank affiliates of foreign banks have been converted from dependant to independent branches.

According to data compiled and published by Reuters last month, the fully state-owned banks in Vietnam included Agribank, Vietnam Development Bank, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, and Co-operative Bank of Vietnam with total assets worth around VN1,180 trillion (US$55.4 billion)

Meanwhile, Vietnam has 37 partly equitized banks.

Vietnam, with a population of 88.7 million, had 68.5 million bankcards by the end of March 2014, up 3.5 percent from December 2013, based on central bank data, Reuters reported.

Enterprises disappointed about slow administrative reforms: VCCI

The business community continues to express their disappointment over the slow pace of reforming complicated tax and customs procedures, according to a survey by the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce (VCCI).

The chamber said despite recent efforts by the Ministry of Finance to simplify administrative procedures on tax and customs, they were still holding back the operations of companies.

Vo Tan Thanh, Director of VCCI Ho Chi Minh City said that with their important role in the economy, the tax and customs sectors should work out more practical measures to support the business community during these hard times.

According to official data, Vietnam’s economy expanded by 5.8% during the first nine months of 2014 but its performance was below potential with some 57,000 enterprises forced to close.

Lien Son Paper Company General Director Nguyen Thai Linh proposed that the Finance Ministry conduct careful research before issuing decrees so that they are relevant to the operations of businesses.

The business community also called on the customs sector to improve their infrastructure and increase their collaboration with other agencies so that automated customs systems can be utilised effectively.

Deputy Finance Minister Do Hoang Anh Tuan admitted that the formulation and implementation of a number of policies were not appropriate and pledged to refine legal documents as a top priority to remove difficulties for enterprises.

Aquaculture in rice fields benefits Tien Giang farmers

The combined rice paddy and fish pond farming model in Hau My Bac A commune, Cai Be district in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has proven effective, providing a stable source of income and helping local farmers adapt to floods.

Since 2011, Tien Giang has been implementing a five-year project to develop infrastructure for the model in Hau My Bac A, which is located at the head of the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong River, Vice Chairman of the communal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Dung said.

He explained that the project aims to help farmers adapt their production to floods, adding that target localities are supported in building dyke and drainage systems, as well as dredging canals, and upgrading the traffic network.

According to Dung, farmers participating in the project grow rice during the winter-spring crop and raise freshwater fingerling on the same land for the rest of the year. Approximately 900 million juvenile fish are provided to target localities every year.

Au Van On, a local farmer, said his family grows rice on 2.4ha of farmland in the winter-spring crop and raises five or six broods of fingerling during the remaining months.

This livelihood strategy generates around 300 million VND (nearly 14,300 USD) a year, meaning he can pocket more than 200 million VND (over 9,500 USD) after deducting all expenses, he said.

Furthermore, the model has helped local residents minimise the use of fertilisers and pesticides in cultivating rice. Rotten hay, a by-product from rice cultivation, is later used as fodder for fish, thus reducing environmental pollution, said farmer Le Quoc Vu , who applies this model on one hectare of farmland and earns over 100 million VND (over 4,700 USD) in net profit a year.

Vietnamese market attracts Italian investors

A large number of Italian business people, scholars and economists attended a workshop on Vietnamese economy and investment climate which was held on November 7- 8 in the southern Italian city of Sorrento, as part of Sorrento Meeting 2014.

Addressing the function, Vu Viet Ngoan, Chairman of Vietnam’s National Financial Supervisory Commission, laid emphasis on Vietnam’s policies on door opening and international integration with a view to creating favourable business environment for foreign investors based on the win-win and long-term benefit principles.

Daniel Kraus, Confidustria’s D eputy Director General, on his part, said Vietnam is a country of strong vitality, adding that more promotion programmes are needed to help Italian enterprises know about investment opportunities in the Southeast Asian country.

It was revealed at the workshop that approximately 200 Italian businessmen from 140 companies will visit Vietnam during November 21 – 24 to conduct market research and seek potential partners on the occasion of a meeting of the Vietnam-Italy joint committee for economic development.

Vietnam’s timber exports climb 12.8 percent

In October, Vietnamese timber exports earned 528 million USD, bringing total timber exports in the first 10 months to 4.98 billion USD, a 12.8-percent year-on-year increase.

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said timber exports to three leading markets in the first 10 months of the year continued to increase.

Export turnover from the US market increased by 14.35 percent and from the Japanese market, by 22.03 percent. However, export turnover from the Chinese market fell by 10.19 percent.

The three markets are the leading importers of Vietnamese timber this year, providing 66.35 percent of the value of the country's total timber exports.

Chairman of the Binh Duong Wood Processing Association, Huynh Quang Thanh, said the rehabilitation of the world economy had opened new prospects for timber processing enterprises.

In recent years, enterprises had produced higher quality products that met the requirements of choosy markets of Europe, the United States and Japan.

The markets have showed interest in Vietnamese wood products because of the diverse designs they produced and sophisticated manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the nation's imports in October reached 177 million USD, bringing total imports in the first 10 months of the year to 1.9 billion USD, a 55.2-percent year-on-year increase.

Timber imports from Laos accounted for 28.4 percent of Vietnam's market share. This was followed by Cambodia with 12.7 percent, the US with 10.8 percent and China with 9.9 percent.

It is expected that Vietnamese wood exports will reach 6.3 billion USD to 6.5 billion USD by the end of this year.

FTA accelerates trade between Vietnam, Chile

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Chile during the first eight months of this year reached 540.5 million USD, up by 55.3 percent, with exports accounting for 302.2 million USD, an astounding 120 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

These figures were announced by the Vietnam-Chile Free Trade Council (VCFTA) at its first meeting in Santiago , Chile on November 3-4.

At the event, the two sides agreed to create favorable conditions for goods from both countries to access each other’s market. Chile is keen to export salmon, poultry, beef and dairy products, while Vietnam aims to meet Chile ’s demand for seafood, dragon fruit and other tropical fruit, and rice.

The Free Trade Agreement also entails bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, such as personnel training, salmon farming, and mining technology.

The statistics show that Vietnam is the second largest trader in Southeast Asia to the Chilean market after Thailand .

From 2008-2013, Chile ’s exports to Vietnam grew by 27.1 percent every year.

As much as 20 percent of Chile ’s total exports to ASEAN are destined for Vietnam , which impors more products from Chile than any other ASEAN member state. Vietnam and Chile signed their FTA in November 2011. The document came into effect on January 1, 2014. This is the first FTA Vietnam has signed with a Latin American country.

Japan House a connecting centre for Japanese investors in Vietnam

Japan House, designated for the purpose of connecting Japanese investors with potential Vietnamese partners, has just been launched in early November at the CEO tower in Hanoi’s Pham Hung street.

CEO group’s board chairman Doan Van Binh (sixth from the left) and Yukio Yamada- chairman and general director of Kume Sekkei (fourth from the left) with the group’s Board of Directors cut the grand opening ribbon.

Japan House is built under the model of shared office, acting as a connecting gate between CEO group and Japanese partners, in particular, and an effective investment channel between Vietnamese enterprises and Japanese partners in general in order to promote the two countries’ investment and business co-operation.

Its total area is 440 square metres, encompassing 11 rooms, one meeting room and an entertainment area, providing offices for lease, support services and investment consultancy.

Support services cover telecommunications, accounting, web design, domain name registration, translation, interpretation, tourism, car rent, and more.

With a wealth of experience in investment field, the CEO group offers consultancy service for Japanese partners intended to invest in Vietnam in diverse fields such as consultancy about Vietnam’s investment environment, networking opportunities, foreign direct investment or post-investment issues.

The CEO Group is an enterprise operating in the field of real estate, education and training, and labour export.

Defining Japan as a major market in labour export as well as a big business partner in the future, the CEO group has cultivated good ties with many Japanese firms such as Kume Asia, Toyo, and Kenyu.

Over 100 Italian firms to come knocking

A business delegation comprising more than 100 Italian companies will visit Vietnam from November 23 to 27 to sound out market prospects and look for partners, especially in health and infrastructure sectors.

The delegation led by a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs will also have representatives of Italy’s economic development ministry, foreign trade institute, and industry and banking associations.

Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Lorenzo Angeloni told the Daily on the sidelines of a media briefing held in Hanoi on Wednesday to announce the business mission that the delegation’s focus will be such key sectors as infrastructure, health, pharmaceutical, energy and engineering.

The ambassador said Italian enterprises are taking prudent steps to invest in the infrastructure sector in Vietnam and consider the feasibility of projects. They want to take part in. The evidence is that six Italian companies participated in the bidding for a metro project in Hanoi.

Regarding the health sector, Italian firms center on pharmaceutical distribution medical equipment supply at a time when more major hospitals in the central area of cities are being relocated to the suburban areas. In addition, Vietnam wants to diversify imports of medical products.

Italy is Vietnam’s leading European trade partner as their two-way trade reached three billion euros last year and is estimated to rise to 3.5 billion euros this year. The two countries have set a target of raising the figure to five billion euros in 2016.

Since 2008, there have been a number of business forums for Italian and Vietnamese enterprises to explore cooperation opportunities. More Italian businesses are eyeing Vietnam as they consider Vietnam as an emerging economy and an important and potential market in the region.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Vietnam in June, while Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai came to Italy last month. The pledges from the leaders of the two nations have set a solid foundation for businesses to boost cooperation.

Angeloni expected more European investors, including those from Italy, will come to Vietnam once Vietnam and the European Union sign a free trade agreement (FTA). He called for the Vietnamese government to accelerate trade liberalization to attract Italian investors.

First Frontier and VPBank Securities (Vietnam) sign cooperation agreement

First Frontier Capital Limited and VPBank Securities Limited have recently entered into a strategic cooperation agreement to promote foreign institutional investment in Vietnam.

The agreement with VPBS is a major step forward in implementing First Frontier’s strategy of providing its clients with access to the fast growing frontier and pre-frontier markets in South East Asia.

“I am delighted to have signed a cooperation agreement with such a highly-regarded firm as VPBS in the very important Vietnamese market. We at First Frontier see a great opportunity in working with VPBS in the future servicing international clients’ well established and growing interest in the Vietnamese market,” said Nicholas Banszky, chairman of First Frontier.

Nguyen Lam Dung, CEO of VPBS said, “Signing this agreement with First Frontier will allow us to bring our research product to the attention of institutional investors in the UK, continental Europe and the US much more effectively. This comes at a very opportune time as we have recently expanded the size of our research team and the breadth of our coverage on the Vietnamese market.”

First Frontier is an independent London-based investment bank focussed on providing institutional investors with a “one-stop-shop” in respect of the Frontier Markets across the globe. They offer both research and execution in frontier and pre-frontier markets.

VPBS, founded in 2006, is a subsidiary of VPBank, Vietnam’s eighth-largest private commercial bank.

As a full service investment banking and brokerage firm, VPBS has won multiple domestic and international awards for its debt capital markets and M&A capabilities.

In addition, VPBS has built one of the largest and most prolific research teams in the country. VPBS provides clients with unbiased, perceptive and practical ideas based on strategic thinking and deep market knowledge.

Agricultural restructuring yet to bear good fruit

The ultimate goal of restructuring the agriculture sector is to increase incomes of farmers sustainably but this is still far from reach.

Experts told a conference on the issue held in Soc Trang Province on November 6 that to achieve the desired results requires a new way of thinking.

Before the agricultural restructuring scheme was approved by the Government on October 16, 2013, many localities in the Mekong Delta region worked on agricultural restructuring by building some new farming models like the VND50-million-hectare and VND100-million-hectare fields. However, after a period, these models ran into trouble.

In fact, the rice farming model under GlobalGAP (good agricultural practice) between My Thanh Agriculture Cooperative in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Lay District and ADC Company was once regarded as an example of innovating agriculture in the Mekong Delta region. Nevertheless, the model officially went bankrupt after a few years as its products could not be sold.

Commenting on the case of ADC on the sidelines of the conference on agricultural restructuring in combination with adaptation to climate change in the region, a delegate told the Daily that the model failed as it was implemented by an old way of thinking when the company did not plan farming and product consumption simultaneously.

According to experts, agricultural restructuring requires a close connection among localities in the region.

Tran Huu Hiep from the Southwest Steering Committee told the Daily that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has formulated an agricultural restructuring plan and 13 provinces in the delta region also have their own plans. But the point is that regional connectivity must be enhanced and each locality should not work on agricultural restructuring separately.

According to Hiep, scientists and the Southwest Steering Committee have thought of regional connectivity to promote prod8uction and consumption of the region’s major products. However, such a plan has not been approved.

Meanwhile, Professor Nguyen Ngoc Tran said State management has not kept up with the actual demands and questioned if there is a lack of coordination among fields, especially industry-trade and agriculture.

Tran insisted agricultural restructuring must be a close connection between agriculture (farming) and industry-trade (seeking consumption sources).

The conference was part of the ongoing Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum 2014 (MDEC) in Soc Trang Province.

VND7.3 tril. loans for agriculture firms

Local commerical banks have pledged to lend VND7.32 trillion to nearly 40 agriculture firms after three rounds of credit contract signing in line with the Government’s pilot lending program to develop an agricultural value chain.

Banks and agriculture enterprises inked agreements on Wednesday as part of a conference on the role of banks in agriculture restructuring and rural development in the Mekong Delta with State Bank of Vietnam governor Nguyen Van Binh witnessing. Banks agreed to lend VND4.6 trillion to 27 firms in cities and provinces including Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Haiphong, Danang, Ninh Thuan and Thanh Hoa.

At the first credit signing, the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) and the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) struck deals to provide nearly VND350 billion in loans for four firms in An Giang Province.

At the second signing, six firms in Lam Dong, Nam Dinh, Can Tho, Dong Thap, and Nghe An signed agreements to borrow VND2.37 trillion from banks.

Binh said the lending program, developed in accordance with the Government’s Resolution 4/NQ-CP dated March 5, 2014, is important to agricultural restructuring and rural development.

The central bank will help banks expand the pilot program so that more enterprises will access loans, Binh said.

The resolution states that borrowers of the program include firms already in deals to join a chain of production, processing and consumption. Those recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as agriculture entities active in hi-tech production can gain access to loans as well.

Borrowers of the program also include farming households and cooperatives representing farmers to sign contracts to help develop a production and consumption chain for agricultural products with the enterprises approved by the central banks and the ministry.

The highest annual interest rate is 7% for short-term loans, 10% for medium-term loans and 10.5% for long-term lending. Loan tenors are a matter between banks and enterprises.

Banks decide whether the loans they offer require collateral or not in accordance with relevant laws. In case borrowers do not have enough assets for collateral and the banks can manage cash flow in the production chain, collateral may not be required.

The loan value is decided by banks and enterprises, but must not exceed 70% of the costs of enterprises’ projects.

The pilot lending program is planned for two years. However, the enterprises are approved to access loans with terms longer than two years can continue their agreements with banks until the contracts fall due.

 

Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR

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Greenhouse gas emissions in Vietnam increased rapidly over the past three decades in direct proportion to the economy’s growth.

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 29

Buckwheat Flower Festival returns to Ha Giang in November

Vietnam welcomes 1.87 million foreign visitors in nine months

Vietnam welcomed about 1.87 million international arrivals in the first nine months of this year, 16.4 times higher than the same period last year but much lower than that in the same time in 2019 before COVID-19 broke out.

Close to 123,000 sea turtles released back to sea

The Con Dao National Park in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau released 122,867 baby turtles into the ocean between January and September.

Vietnamese, Danish friendship blossoms over the years

Many foreigners have enjoyed diverse landscapes, authentic local food, endless love, eternal friendship, and a favourable investment environment in Vietnam.

China imports less glutinous rice from Vietnam

The proportion of glutinous rice in total rice exports to China has fallen from 74 percent to 48 percent.

Vietnamese artists to appear in Norwegian play

Several talented local artists from the Vietnam Youth Theater have been invited to perform in 'Hedda Gabler', a classic play which is considered to be one of the outstanding works of Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen.

Minor improvements seen in the transparency of provincial budgets

The average ranking of budget transparency for localities in 2021 was 69.53 points out of 100, a rise of just 0.44 points compared to 2020.

Pianist Nguyen Dang Quang returns home for concert of classical music

Piano player Nguyen Dang Quang, son of composer Quoc Trung and renowned artist Thanh Lam, is a fresh and promising presence at the event.

VN central bank acts to tighten the Vietnamese dong liquidity

A recent money market report of Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) showed the SBV last week net withdrew a total of VND34.6 trillion through the OMO channel.

Vietnam needs to improve human resources in digital age: World Bank

To reach the goal of becoming a high-income country by 2045, Vietnam needs to quickly improve the quality and quantity of its human resources.

Vietnam’s GDP rises by 13.67% in third quarter: statistics office

Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 13.67% in the third quarter, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Ministry of Culture demands strict supervision of beauty contests

Culture, Sports, and Tourism Minister Nguyen Van Hung has signed a directive strengthening state supervision of a variety of cultural and artistic activities, including beauty pageants and modelling contests.

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 29

Vietnam to become “new Asian tiger”: Italian journal

Vietnam to become the worlds chip production center

In the first eight months of this year, phones and electronic components have the most prominent export turnover in our country, reaching nearly 40 billion USD.
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