Thanh Hoa province to have new airport

The Vietnam Airlines Corporation and Thanh Hoa Province's People's Committee kicked off construction of Tho Xuan civil airport in the northern province on December 28, the Voice of Vietnam reports.

The 600 billion VND (28 million USD) project is to include a 5,000sq.m terminal to handle 1.2 million passengers per year. Also, it will be possible to enlarge the airport to receive 2 million customers per year, noted officials.

The airport's construction is scheduled to be completed by January 2016.

Each Vietnamese bears over US$950 public debt

Vietnam’s public debts were estimated at more than US$86.267 billion as of 8:40am (local time) on December 28, accounting for 47% of the country’s GDP, according to Global debt clock at The

On average, each Vietnamese is now bearing US$950.62 of public debt, up 10.3% compared to last year’s figure. At this time, the global public debts were US$55,014 billion.

Earlier, at 9:00am on October 14, Vietnam’s public debts hit US$84.607 billion, and averagely, each Vietnamese citizen bore US$933.41. The country’s public debts accounted for 47.3% GDP, or 10.6% higher than the figure recorded in 2013. The global public debts stood at more than U$S54,459 billion at this time.

A year earlier, Vietnam’s public debt stood at US$78.189 billion, or 48.3% of GDP, and each Vietnamese owed US$866.85.

Global Debt Clock predicted that next year Vietnam’s public debt is likely to reach US$94.345 billion, and accordingly, each Vietnamese will bear US$1,034 on average, rising by 9.4% over the 2014 figure.

Dong Nai’s coffee exports triple

The southern province of Dong Nai exported nearly 438,000 tonnes of coffee in 2014, tripling the previous year’s figure, according to the provincial Statistics Department.

With an average price of over US$1,200 per tonne, coffee exports brought US$560 million to the province, added the department.

Quanh Van Duc, General Director of Tin Nghia Company, one of the two large coffee exporters in the province, said that during the 2013-2014 crop, the firm shipped nearly 117,000 tonnes of coffee abroad and earned US$226 million, representing 109.2% and 119% of its yearly targets, respectively.

He revealed that the company has linked with around 1,100 farmer households in Xuan Loc and Cam My districts to produce coffee on 1,000 ha in accordance with the international 4C Code of Conduct.

By the end of 2014, Vietnam had approximately 19,000 farmers growing coffee under 4C standard as part of the NESCAFÉ Plan project funded by Nestlé Vietnam Ltd., up 51% compared to the previous year.

Coffee grown under this standard now covers an area of 20,000 ha, doubling the 2013 area.

The 4C Code of Conduct is a baseline standard for sustainability in the coffee sector. The code comprises 28 social, environmental and economic principles for the sustainable production, processing and trading of green coffee.

Vietnam-Brazil’s 11-month trade hits nearly US$3 bln

The two-way trade between Vietnam and Brazil in the first 11 months of this year hit US$2.99 billion, a good prospect for further enlarging the dimension of their bilateral trade turnover in the future.

During the period, Vietnam’s exports to Brazil were valued at US$1.37 billion and its imports from the South American country were US$1.62 billion.

The two-way trade is expected to achieve over US$3.2 billion for the whole year, with Vietnam’s export turnover to Brazil reaching over 1.5 billion USD, up 35.7 percent over that of 2013.

Vietnam’s commercial affairs in Brazil said there is great potential for Vietnamese businesses to make more inroads into and establish partnership with counterparts in Brazil, the world largest 7th economy.

Economic experts said that if trade promotion activities and measures to expand market are further intensified, the two-way trade will be likely to come up to nearly US$4 billion in 2015, and over US$5 billion in two or three coming years. The Vietnam-Brazil trade turnover is forecast to climb up between US$9-10 billion by 2020.

According to the Export-Import Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the export growth between the two nations remains high thanks to Vietnam’s advantages on goods and effective trade promotion activities.

Vietnam now mostly ships electronics, mobile phones and spare parts, footwear, frozen fish fillets and synthetic fibres to Brazil. Meanwhile, the country imports maize, soy bean and by-products, cotton, and footwear and tobacco materials.

Brazil is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in Latin America. In 2013, the two-way trade between the two nations reached US$2.33 billion.

Quality of products vital to stand firm in German market

It is advisable for Vietnamese businesses to create specialised and high-quality products at competitive prices and build their own trade names to make inroads in such choosy market as Germany.

Germany is the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in the European Unions, with two-way trade gaining an annual growth of 15 percent, according to Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Germany Nguyen Thien Binh.

The bilateral trade hit US$7 billion in the first 11 months of this year, of which Vietnam ’s exports were valued at over US$4.5 billion.

If the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement is signed and most tariffs are removed, the quality of products will be the key competitive factor, Binh said. He explained that though Germany and other EU markets accept high prices, they have strict demands for the quality of products for health and environment protection.

Therefore, Vietnamese enterprises should shift to quality competition from price competition to strengthen their foothold in the European country.

In 2015, the Vietnamese Embassy and Trade Office in Germany will continue to run trade promotion programmes such as business forums, international trade fairs and workshops, promotion and advertising campaigns to popularise Vietnamese goods among German consumers.

They will also work with Vietnamese and German government and non-government offices to promote trade activities in Germany.

Industrial sector recovers, bracing for challenges ahead

The industrial sector has shown signs of recovery in the past year but a shedload of challenges lying ahead need to be addressed to make it a pillar of the economy, officials said.

Minister of Trade and Industry Vu Huy Hoang said with the growth rate rising throughout the year, from 6.9 percent in October to 7.5 percent in November, there are grounds for optimism about the development of industrial production in 2015.

Electricity production and distribution led the upward trend with an average increase of 11.7 percent, followed by the processing and manufacturing areas, which posted a growth of 8.6 percent.

However, Truong Thanh Hoai, deputy head of the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Heavy Industry Department, said despite the growth, many problems remain.

He noted that industrial production is still focusing on assembling and processing without many products with added value, thus limiting locally-made products’ competitiveness. Industrial production in general and the supporting industry in particular have not attracted investment, while the government’s investment has not been enough to create breakthrough in the sector.

According to Hoai, in the long-term, the industrial sector should shift strongly to products of highly added value with contribution to the economy in order to reduce import surplus and create jobs.

The steel industry is believed to be a key in reducing import surplus, as the country has to spend US$9 billion on importing approximately 14.5 million tonnes of steel of all types, according to figures from the Heavy Industry Department.

In addition, experts also said the development of the supporting industry will not only help reduce imports but also change the overall situation in the industrial sector. The Government recently issued a range of policies designed to encourage investment in the supporting industry.

HCM City blazes the trail in FDI attraction

In 2014, HCM city made significant breakthroughs in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), with the US$1.4 billion dollars Samsung Electronics project leading the country in terms of garnering FDI.

Another key project of Nidec Sankyo of Japan in the city’s high tech zone attracted supplementary FDI of US$13 million, with the immediate aim of augmenting camera and computer spare parts.

According to Hidetoshi Simada, director general of Nidec Sankyo, the company also has its eye on widening production to include components for air conditioners, refrigerators, cars, and water heaters for Japanese firms in Asia next year.

The year’s success was attributable to the city focus on administrative reforms, boosting human resource development and upgrading infrastructure, especially for the service and high-tech industries, said Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee.

City officials also held a high number of face to face meetings with foreign investors to get a solid understanding of their concerns and to provide them the assurances the city would create the best possible conditions, particularly in the industrial and processing zones.

Since early this year, Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) has attracted 70 projects, fulfilling its first phase targets. The second phase is currently underway on a total area of more than 600 ha, with dozens of investors having registered so far, Quan added.

Quan underscored that the top priority would be given to investors in the high-tech industry, as well as those projects on information technology, telecommunications, new materials, and automation in the upcoming year.

Dr. Le Hoai Quoc, head of the SHTP management board, in turn said the city would also offer incentives for those businesses engaging in technology transfer and providing spare parts for Intel and Samsung.

Investors currently have invested more than US$2 billion in the SHTP, helping HCM City take the lead the nation in FDI attraction (around US$3.2 billion) for 2014.

Localities asked to exert more efforts for 2015’s growth

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged all ministries, sectors, and localities to determinedly safeguard national sovereignty as well as a peaceful and stable environment for national development in 2015.

He made the request while chairing over the Government’s video-teleconference with localities across the country on December 29 in Hanoi.

Ministries, sectors, and localities must launch drastic moves to successfully realise socio-economic development goals and tasks set forth for 2015 by the Party Central Committee and the National Assembly to wrap up the 2010-2015 plan with the highest results.

Fostering foreign affairs, promoting proactive international integration, gathering international support, creating an environment favoured the nation-building and defence, and organising the Party Congress at all levels are other tasks for 2015, the PM noted.

Reviewing 2014’s socio-economic performance, he said the economy dealt with difficulties and challenges sparked by the complicated development of global and regional economies and politics, citing China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang Shiyou-981 drilling rig in the country’s continental shelf and economic exclusive zone as an example.

Almost all targets set for 2014 were realised, with all the three key fields of industry, agriculture and services making a recovery and gaining stable growth and GDP growth reaching 5.98%, higher than the set goal.

Works related to the economic restructuring, growth model change and the improvement of competitiveness and business climate were promoted and reaped good results. Foreign investment poured into the country increased sharply, reaching about US$21 billion in newly-registered capital, which went mostly into the hi-tech industry.

During the year, political security and social order were safeguarded, while external activities were intensified, significantly contributing to creating a favourable environment to spur socio-economic development.

The PM pointed out that the national macro-economy is, however, not really stable, the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy is yet improved much, the rate of poor households in ethnic minority areas remains high, and environmental pollution is facing many localities.

He said localities should learn from these limitations and roll out more efficient measures to realise the objectives outlined for 2015.

Red River Delta lures 5,207 FDI projects

By December 15, 11 Red River Delta provinces had attracted 5,207 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth US$63 billion, accounting for 25% of the country’s total FDI capital inflows.

According to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Hanoi topped the list with 3,013 projects worth US$23.4 billion, making up 58% of the total number of projects and 38% of total capital inflows into the region. Haiphong came second with 441 projects capitalised at US$10.9 billion.

Bac Ninh ranked third with 548 projects worth US$7.46 billion, followed by Hai Duong with 320 projects worth US$6.48 billion, and Quang Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Hung Yen, Ninh Binh, Ha Nam, Nam Dinh and Thai Binh provinces.

The Republic of Korea took the lead with US$12.9 billion investing in 1,580 projects (accounting for 30% in number of projects and 20% in value). Coming after was Japan with 1,020 projects worth US$12.7 billion and Singapore with 229 projects worth US$9 billion.

The agency reported that the processing and manufacturing industry continued to be the most attractive sector for FDI with more than 2,400 projects worth US$32.6 billion.

The property sector ranked second with 126 projects capitalised at US$10.2 billion, followed by the construction sector with 580 projects worth US$4.2 billion.

RoK spawns manufacturing growth of Vietnam

Vietnam currently is the most attractive country of South and East Asia for transnational companies from the RoK– with relatively constant foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in recent years.

According to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as of December 2014 the RoK has taken a controlling ownership interest in 4,110 FDI projects.

The cumulative total of registered capital for the projects is in excess of US$37.23 billion.

Korean investors favour the manufacturing industry having registered a staggering 2,497 FDI projects at nearly US$23.8 billion.

The manufacturing sector is trailed by the real estate sector with a hefty 81 projects at US$7 billion and the construction sector with 562 projects at US$2.4 billion.

They have invested heavily in 52 out of 63 provincial centres of the country. Hanoi leads with 857 projects, followed by Thai Nguyen, Dong Nai, HCM City, Ba Ria Vung Tau and Hai Phong.

Foreign currency loans stimulate credit growth

Export companies preferred loans in foreign currencies than in the Vietnamese dong due to a stable foreign exchange policy and lower interest expenses.

Although the interest rate of loans in Vietnamese dong was cut considerably this year, it remained about 30 percent higher than the interest rate of loans in foreign currencies.

Experts said that loans in foreign currency became a major stimulator of credit growth.

Statistics showed that as of September 22, the outstanding loans in foreign currencies increased by more than 20.7 percent, five times the amount of outstanding loans in Vietnamese dong.

Several export companies said that they preferred loans in foreign currencies due to the low interest rate, about 3 to 4 percent annually, with the State Bank of Vietnam's pledge to control the exchange rate fluctuation within the +/-2 percent amplitude from late 2011.

According to Tran Quoc Manh, General Director of Sadaco, the interest expenses for loans in foreign currencies were much lower than loans in Vietnamese dong. This resulted in rising demand for loans in foreign currencies, especially at the end of the year to make payments, he said.

Truong Thi Thuy Lien, director of a footwear and leather export company in southern Binh Duong province, said that with the Government's stable foreign exchange policy, companies were assured of safety from the risks of exchange-rate fluctuations.

The central bank on December 24 pledged to persist with its stable foreign exchange in 2015. Accordingly, the depreciation of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar will be maintained at less than 2 percent.

Previously, the central bank's Deputy Governor Nguyen Thi Hong had said that the bank will continue to allow credit institutions to give loans in foreign currencies to export companies and petrol wholesalers till the end of 2015, after reviewing the foreign currency market and next year's economic growth target.

An official document to replace Circular No 29/2013/TT-NHNN on loans in foreign currencies was expected to come out this week.

Still, several experts warned that strong foreign currency credit growth could put pressure on liquidity.

Fruit and vegetable trade surplus hit US$956 mil

Vietnam is estimated to earn nearly US$1.5 billion this year from exporting fruit and vegetables while spending only US$521 million on imports, according to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association.

The association said that in December alone, fruit and vegetable exports are predicted to hit US$120 million, bringing total export turnover of these products this year to US$1.477 billion, a sharp increase over last year’s figure of US$1.073 billion.

Meanwhile, imports reached an estimated US$42 million in December, bringing total import turnover of fruit and vegetables to US$521 million this year, a 28.5% increase from a year earlier. These positive results brought the fruit and vegetable sector a trade surplus of US$956 million this year.

China took the lead of Vietnam’s top ten fruit and vegetable importers in the first ten months of the year (26.43% of market share), followed by Japan (5.05%), the US (4.02%), the Republic of Korea (3.96%), the Netherlands (2.65%), Russia (2.53%), Taiwan (2.34%), Thailand (2.08%), Malaysia (2.06%) and Singapore (1.74%).

US – the largest market for Vietnamese products

The US has become the biggest importer of Vietnam, with two-way trade turnover reaching approximately US$28.5 billion in 2014, up 19.6% compared to last year’s figure.

According to the latest .report by the General Statistics Office (GSO), Vietnam earned around US$150 billion from exports this year, or 13.6% higher than the figure recorded in 2013.

The US took the lead in importing Vietnamese products, followed by the European Union (EU), ASEAN, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Vietnam’s key export items were garment and textile, footwear, electronics, computers and spare parts, and timber products.

Vietnamese firms invest over US$1.6 bil abroad in 2014

Vietnamese businesses have pumped more than US$1.6 billion in investment projects abroad this year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).

The statistics from the FIA have revealed that they invested in some 108 new investment projects abroad this year with a capital investment of over US$1.04 billion.

In addition, 14 projects increased their capital investment by US$564 million, bringing the total newly registered and supplementary capital to over US$1.6 billion in 28 nations and territories.

Vietnam’s  overseas projects mostly focus on Cambodia (accounting for 20.3% of total projects), Myanmar (14.8%), Laos (12%), the US (11.1%) and Singapore (8.3%).

The military-run Viettel group one of the Vietnamese businesses pouring huge investment overseas and is set to invest US$1 billion in 3G network in Tazania and some US$800 million in Myanmar.

The FIA said around US$1 billion of capital investment abroad have been disbursed this year.

EC drops anti-subsidy probe into PSF products

Following a 12 month enquiry, the European Commission (EC) has recently decided not to impose anti-subsidy duties against Vietnamese imports of polyester staple fibres (PSF), according to the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA).

In particular, the VCA found that Vietnam’s subsidy margin, which is 1.25%,  does not exceed the maximum allowed rate of 2% and therefore the subsidy investigation should be ended.

Earlier on December 19, 2013, the European Man-made Fibres Association lodged a complaint requesting the EU impose anti-subsidy duties on PSF exports from Vietnam.

The examination period was from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Accordingly, Vietnam’s preferential and incentive policies and programmes were thoroughly reviewed by the EU.

The MoIT effectively co-ordinated with relevant agencies and localities to respond fully and accurately to the questionnaire sent by the EU a VCA representative said, adding that after one year of looking into the matter the EU has quashed the complaint, finding it has no basis in fact.

This concludes the first EC’s anti-subsidy investigation into Vietnam’s PSF products and the results are of great significance and should establish good precedents in the event of any similar complaints in the future, the representative concluded.

Tra fish export valued 1.7 billion USD in 2014

Vietnam’s tra fish export is valued at over 1.7 billion USD in 2014 and will remain unchanged in 2015, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The association said 2014 is the third successive year that the shipment of the fish has been fluctuating around the 1.7-billion-USD mark.

According to VASEP, tra fish export began recovering since June and has been rising throughout the rest of the year in such markets as Southeast Asia, Mexico and China.

It, however, faced a continuous decline in the two largest markets, namely the European Union and the United States.

Tran Van Linh, VASEP Vice Chairman, said the current difficult situation resulted partly from the uncontrolled expansion of tra fish-breeding area in previous years.

A slow growth of the key catfish markets posed another challenge to the sector’s export which has already been struggling with the shrinking profit caused by low-price trend, Linh said.

Moreover, the export was also affected when tra fish enterprises have been working to restructure themselves towards raising further the reputation and value of the fish products, Linh added.

The US’s continuous selection of Indonesia as a reference country in calculating tax levels for Vietnam is a big disadvantage for local companies, given differences in conditions, production scale and input costs between the two countries.

The tra fish sector will have to compete against other supplies of white-flesh fish such as cods and tilapias, said VASEP.

In 2014, the Mekong Delta has reserved 5,500 ha for farming tra fish, which turned out 1.1 million tonnes in output.

Vietnamese tra fish products have been shipped to 150 countries and territories across the globe.-

Industrial production index shows strong performance

The country's industrial production improved this year with an estimated year-on-year rise of 7.6 percent, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The industrial production index (IIP) showed a tendency to go up in the remaining months of this year, the office said. It also noted that the country's IIP rose by 5.3 percent in the first quarter. It continued to increase by 6.9 percent, 7.8 percent and 10.1 percent in the second, third and fourth quarters.

GSO attributed this year's IIP growth to the significant rebound of the processing and manufacturing sector, which recorded a strong rise of 11.1 percent in consumption. Another factor that boosted the IIP growth was the effective contribution of over 7,000 new enterprises that became operational this year.

Some industrial products posting high IIP increases during the year included handsets (up by 167.5 percent), automobiles (29 percent), fresh milk (21 percent) and footwear (19 percent). Televisions (18 percent), cloth (16.9 percent) and electricity (12.7 percent) were included as well.

However, other products saw lower growth rates, such as animal feed, which only went up by 3.2 percent, and crude oil, which went up by 1.8 percent. Meanwhile, some products recorded industrial production decreases, such as motorbikes, which went down by 8.6 percent; liquid petroleum gas, by 8.3 percent; and powdered milk, by 3.8 percent.

The processing and manufacturing sector, which comprises approximately 70 percent of the country's total industrial output, still experienced a high increase in inventory index at 10 percent despite the encouraging consumption improvement. This observation proved that enterprises still contend with difficulties in terms of selling their products.

Major industries that showed higher levels of inventory included paper production (89.5 percent), shipbuilding (55.8 percent), beverages (41.1 percent) and food processing (40.1 percent). The metal production industry (38.3 percent) indicated the same performance.-

Hai Phong port handles 19.6 mln tonnes of goods in 2014

The Hai Phong port in the northern city of the same name handled 19.6 million tonnes of goods in 2014, up by 4.2 percent from a year ago and generating 1.56 trillion VND (73.32 million USD) in revenue.

The result is attributed to the application of a new management model, facilitating customers. The port established a hotline to swiftly address clients’ difficulties and applied the one-stop shop mechanism, said Nguyen Hung Viet, Director General of the Hai Phong Port.

The port built new port system of seven wharves with a total length of 1,405m in Dinh Vu, capable of handling 15 million tonnes of goods a year.

Viet said the port could receive 220m-long, 40,000 DWT vessels.

In addition to the Hai Phong Port, the city has eight others, including Vat Cach, Dinh Vu and Nam Dinh Vu, Song Cam, Dien Dien, Doan Xa, Hai An and a port for seafood.

The complex of ports in Hai Phong City makes it the biggest in the northern area and the second largest in the country.-

More businesses resume operation in 2014: GSO

As many as 15,419 enterprises nationwide resumed their operation in 2014, up 7.1 percent from a year ago, according to Director General of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam.

During the year, 74,842 new firms were registered with a total capital of 432.2 trillion VND (20.31 billion USD), representing a year-on-year drop of 2.7 percent in the number of firms but an 8.4 percent rise in capital.

Average registered capital of each new enterprise was 5.8 billion VND, 11.5 percent more than the figure in 2013, said Lam.

The new firms were set to employ 1.09 million labourers, up 2.8 percent from 2013.

In the year, 67,823 firms were, however, dissolved, mostly small-sized, he noted.

Pham Dinh Thuy from the GSO’s Industry Statistics Department attributed the situation to the firms’ small investment capital, poor governance, and weak competitiveness.

According to the GSO Director General, enterprises should improve their productivity by applying advanced technology to generate high value products winning consumers, especially local ones.

PetroVietnam upbeat despite falling oil price

The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has said that it will continue monitoring global oil prices closely in order to adjust oil exploration and production, ensuring national energy security as well as the group's economic benefits.

At a meeting in Hanoi on December 30, PetroVietnam Chairman Pham Xuan Son said the whole economy is benefiting from declining oil prices. While revenue from oil exports can shrink, profits will increase in other sectors.

"It's not good to see the oil price plunging too low, but at 60-70 USD per barrel, it's not a big deal," Son said.

However, he added that if global oil prices fall below 60 per USD barrel, PetroVietnam will consider stopping production at the oil fields where production cost exceeded sales price.

The average production cost at most PetroVietnam oil fields is around 30-37 USD per barrel, according to Son. At four oil fields, production cost is more than 60 per barrel USD but the production capacity there is small, only around 450,000 tonnes in 2015.

PetroVietnam produced 17.39 million tonnes of oil in 2014, an increase of 7.3 percent over the group's yearly target, while gas production for the first time hit 10.2 billion cubic metres, 7.4 percent over the target. Oil and gas reserves also surpassed the goal by 37.5 percent this year to reach 48.11 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

The group discovered nine new oil and gas places and began exploration at eight.

PetroVietnam Deputy General Director Le Minh Hong said the group met all business targets ahead of schedule despite the difficult domestic and global economic environment.

The whole group, including affiliates and subsidiaries, saw revenue of 745.5 trillion VND (34.8 billion USD), exceeding the target by 11.8 percent. Revenue of the group itself was 370 trillion VND (17.3 billion USD). Total profit was 46 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD). The group contributed 178.1 trillion VND (8.3 billion USD) to the State Budget.

Production of electricity, fertiliser and petroleum exceeded targets by 5-23 percent. Electricity production reached 16.48 billion kWh, a rise of 5 percent over the plan. Fertiliser production hit 1.64 million tonnes, up 7.7 percent, and petrol production reached 5.71 million tonnes, up 23.2 percent.

In 2015, PetroVietnam aims to produce 26.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent, including 16.8 million tonnes of oil and 9.8 billion cubic metres of gas.

The electricity output target is set at 18.50 billion kWh, fertiliser production at 1.525 million tonnes and petrol production at 5.55 million tonnes.

The group also prepared revenue scenarios depending on global oil prices ranging from 515.1 trillion VND (24 billion USD) at the oil price of 60 USD per barrel to 718.4 trillion VND (33.6 billion USD) at the oil price of 100 USD per barrel.

On the issue of investment overseas, Son said overseas investment is a long-term strategy and should not be affected by short-term oil price fluctuations. However, the group will strengthen risk management for existing projects while seeking opportunities to buy oil fields overseas at cheap prices.

SSI holds over 20 percent stake in PDN

Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) bought 111,730 shares, with an option to purchase another 615,180 shares, in Dong Nai Port Joint Stock Company (PDN) on December 25 and 26.

At the same time, SSI sold 15,000 PDN shares.

Following the transaction, SSI now owns more than 2.47 million shares, or 20.1 percent of the stake in PDN, which specialises in transportation and warehousing in the southern province of Dong Nai.

With the stock purchase, PDN and SSI became associate companies.

The largest shareholder in PDN is Sonadezi Corporation, with a 51percent stake.

Previously, SSI has been associated with other eight companies, including Pan Pacific Corporation, Binh Thanh Import - Export Production and Trade JSC, Southern Seed Corporation , Long An Food Processing Export Joint Stock Company, Electronics Communications Technology Investment Development Corporation, Transimex-Saigon Corporation, Bibica Corporation and Vietnam Fumigation Joint Stock Company.

On December 29, PDN shares closed at 35,200 VND (1.65 USD), while SSI shares ended at 25.9 VND (1.21 USD ) on the HCM City Stock Exchange.

Garment sector leads nation in terms of export

The garment and textile sector continues to top the country in terms of export thanks to right strategies in business administration and local firms’ increasing prestige in the world market.

The sector’s export value is likely to hit a three-year high of 24.5 billion USD, surpassing the set target by nearly 1 billion USD.

This is the result of the whole sector’s joint efforts in orienting production strategies and selecting export markets as well as raising the rate of locally made materials to over 50 percent, said Vice President of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Le Tien Truong.

Vietnamese garment and apparel products have gained a firm foothold in almost all foreign markets, especially the US (8.85 billion USD), Japan (2.38 billion USD) and the Republic of Korea (1.96 billion USD). The three markets make up nearly 70 percent of Vietnam’s total export turnover.

Economists said that signed and pending free trade agreements (FTAs) are opening up a lot of good chances for the sector to grow further as import tariffs may drop to zero in many markets.

Tax incentives to be brought by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, expected to be signed next year, will also create favourable conditions for garment businesses to expand their presence in the US market.

For sustainable development, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa suggested enterprises establish their own trademarks and meet importers’ requirements on product quality, chemical management and social responsibility.

Better quality, prices to turn local products into consumers’ first choice

Domestic businesses need to focus on applying cutting-edge technologies to improve their product quality and cut down prices so that made-in-Vietnam products can truly become the first choice of Vietnamese consumers.

So said participants at a workshop held by the Vietnam Private Business Association (VPBA) in Hanoi on December 27.

Duong Duy Hung, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)’s Domestic Market Department, pointed out to numerous weaknesses of domestic production such as the monotony of product design and diversity, uncompetitive prices, businesses’ neglect of goods promotion and consumer services, the lax connection between manufacturers and sellers, and the slack market watch.

Raising competitiveness must be conducted regularly, continuously and on the long-term base, said VPBA Vice Chairman Ngo Van Diem, adding that Vietnam needs to improve its national competitiveness, build an appropriate development plan, and create a fair competition environment and a favourable business climate.

He suggested the country help enterprises increase their competitiveness while companies also need to partner with one another, abolish the mindset of hunting for short-term profits, and invest more in personnel training.

According to a recent survey on outcomes of the five-year implementation of the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise the use of Vietnamese goods”, 92 percent of questioned consumers were interested in the drive, 57 percent of them recognised the campaign’s communication efforts, and 63 percent prioritised using domestic products. This survey was carried out by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Communication and Education.

The amount of textile and garment materials imported from China dropped dramatically to 37 percent, compared to 75-80 percent in the previous years, said a report compiled by the MOIT and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in September.

There is also an increasing trend, especially in cities, that local consumers buy domestically made apparel although smuggled products are dwarfing local ones.

While some foreign brands are dominating the market of formula milk, most of other products such as yogurt and condensed and fresh milk on sale are made by Vietnamese companies like Vinamilk and TH True Milk, the report shows.-

SOE restructuring needs to be hastened in 2015: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has asked ministries, localities, and businesses to accelerate the restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) so as to fulfil the plan for the two years of 2014 and 2015.

Ninh, who is also the head of the Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development, chaired a meeting on SOE restructuring in Hanoi on December 27.

A report at the event read that the SOE restructuring with a focus on economic groups and corporations was speeded up and made considerable progress in 2014.

Among 479 SOEs subject to the restructuring in 2014 and 2015, 143 had been equitised by December 25, while 14 others were merged, three dissolved, three sold, and three filed for bankruptcy.

More than 6.07 trillion VND (about 289.05 million USD) of investment were divested from 233 firms, six times higher from a year earlier, which generated over 8 trillion VND (380.95 million USD) in payment, 1.3 times the face value.

However, the number of equitised businesses and the divested sum were still lower than expected while some policies and mechanisms were not timely issued or amended, the meeting heard.

Officials said in 2015, relevant agencies need to overhaul restructuring measures, complete policies guiding the implementation of the Law on Management and Use of State Capital in Production and Business and the revised Law on Enterprises.

Ministries, localities, and State-owned groups and corporations also need to push qualified enterprises to conduct initial public offering (IPO). Meanwhile, the others will be turn into joint stock companies with shareholders being the State, the State Capital Investment Corporation, trade unions, and employees, among others.

SOE restructuring is part of economic restructuring stated in the National Assembly’s Resolution No.10/2011/QH13 on the socio-economic development plan for 2011 to 2015. Public investment and the banking system are also being restructured.

Jetstar Pacific to launch five more domestic routes

The low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific will launch five more domestic routes early next year to meet the increasing travel demand and economic exchange between the areas.

On February 1, 2015, the Ho Chi Minh City-Dong Hoi and HCM City-Quy Nhon services will begin with one flight a day and three fights a week, respectively.

On February 2, flights between the central highland city of Buon Ma Thuot and the northern port city of Hai Phong will begin with three times a week, while those between Buon Ma Thuot and the northern central Thanh Hoa province will start on February 2.

The Ho Chi Minh City-Tuy Hoa route will be launched later, on March 30, with three flights a week.

The carrier will use Airbus A320 aircraft for all the five routes.

Beside the domestic routes, the airline also plans to introduce a new daily service between Hanoi and the Thai capital of Bangkok as from March 29 next year.

This is the second route linking Vietnam and Thailand operated by Jetstar Pacific. Previously, the carrier inaugurated its service between Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok on December 10.