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BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 5

Ministry seeks to sell farm produce in face of nCoV outbreak

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held a conference in Hanoi on February 3 to seek ways to promote the trade and production of farm produce, given the complicated development of the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus (nCoV) which originated in China’s Wuhan in late December 2019.

Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the nCoV outbreak has been hurting all economic industries, especially agriculture, because China is a major market of Vietnamese farm produce, making up 22-24 percent of the sector’s total export turnover.

He urged relevant agencies and localities to build scenarios with specific groups of solutions to deal with the outbreak for 1-2 months or even 1-2 quarters.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam, the nCoV outbreak will negatively impact the Vietnam-China trade of agro-forestry-fishery products.

The limited transportation, especially the suspension of flights from and to China, will hinder the transaction and working between the two sides’ businesses and management agencies, he said.

To deal with the situation, the ministry has directed the Plant Protection Department and the Department of Animal Health to coordinate with relevant forces in border areas to intensify the quarantine of animals and plants, prevent the H5N1 bird flu outbreak, and ban the import of wildlife animal into Vietnam.

The Department of Farm Produce Processing and Market Development will have to proactively work with trade agencies of Vietnamese embassies in countries worldwide to diversify markets for agricultural products.

Specifically, the ministry will lead a business delegation to visit Dubai on February 15 to expand the Middle East market. They will later visit the US from February 22 and Brazil in March, while expanding the market to Japan in March, Russia in June, Australia and New Zealand in July, the Republic of Korea in August, Europe in the second quarter of 2020, and Indonesia and Myanmar in the third quarter of this year.

In case the nCoV outbreak lasts for months, the ministry will coordinate with businesses and localities to promote sales of farm produce at supermarkets.

Resort property market remains attractive in 2020

The Vietnamese resort realty market will continue to retain its appeal to both domestic and foreign investors thanks to its good return of investment as well as the tourism boom in the country, according to the Vietnam Association of Realtors.

Giving reasons for its optimistic forecast, the association said large-scale projects by prestigious developers are still attracting a huge crowd of investors with a good absorption rate.

The resort property market has benefited a lot from the growing number of tourists and thriving economy, it said in a report, highlighting tourism hot spots will continue to be attractive destinations for investors with long-term vision.

Furthermore, confidence among investors has grown a lot as the legal framework for the resort property products is expected to be detailed this year.

Transactions are forecast to focus on property products with good potential for tourism that are developed and operated by reputable and experienced firms.

Last year, a total 18,425 resort realty products were launched on the market, with 6,697 sold, or an absorption rate of 36.3 percent. Although a decline in the supply of condotels and seaside villas is predicted for 2020, the number of transactions is likely to be higher than the previous year.

The association also said that integrated resort, which is generally defined as a mega-tourism, entertainment and leisure developments that combine hotels, restaurants, convention centres, casinos, theme parks and shopping centres, will attract considerable interest from customers. Additionally, entrusted revenue sharing lease will become a trend in 2020.

Vietjet trumpets sharp rise in 2019 air transport revenue and profit

Vietjet continues to see positive growth in its core business of air transportation in 2019, maintaining its leading position in Vietnam’s domestic market and the fast growth of its international flight network.

In 2019, the airline’s network increased by 24 per cent, with 22 international routes connecting Vietnam with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, and especially India – a market of 1.2 billion people. Vietjet also transported nearly 25 million passengers in 2019, an increase of 28 per cent compared to 2018.

Vietjet Aviation JSC (HoSE: VJC) has announced its business results for 2019’s fourth quarter. Accordingly, the airline’s air transportation revenue in the fourth quarter stood at VND10.5 trillion ($465.52 million), an increase of 25 per cent.

Full-year 2019 revenue and profit from air transportation stand at VND41.097 trillion ($1.79 billion) and VND3.936 trillion ($171.13 million), increasing by 21.4 and 29.3 per cent, respectively, compared to 2018. Vietjet’s revenue from sales and leaseback activities has been adjusted due to the airline’s revising its aircraft delivery from Airbus in 2019.

The airline received 16 aircraft in 2018 while the number for 2019 was 7, which brought Vietjet’s accumulated revenue and profit in 2019 to VND52.095 billion ($2.27 billion) and VND5.01 trillion ($217.83 million), respectively, a slight decrease compared to 2018.

To compensate for the delay in new aircraft delivery from Airbus, Vietjet carried out a lease of nine aircraft, increasing its operating fleet to 78 aircraft with 321,000 aircraft operation hours and 139,000 flights. Its load factor stays at 87 per cent, with technical reliability rate being at 99.64 per cent, which are among the top airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. Vietjet has also been awarded the highest ranking for safety with seven stars from AirlineRatings.com.

The carrier’s growing business is also attributed to its effective strategies on ancillary revenue management, including extra service fees, cargo transportation, inflight services (food, beverages, and duty-free items) and advertisements. In 2019, Vietjet’s ancillary revenue was VND11.356 trillion ($493.74 million), up 35.2 per cent compared to 2018. The portion of ancillary revenue in the airline’s total air transportation revenue also increased from 25.4 per cent in 2018 to 30 per cent in 2019.

Following the sustainability-focused model of low-cost carrier (LCC), ancillary revenue has become an important factor determining the success of Vietjet because of its profit margin exceeding 90 per cent. According to the CarTrawler Yearbook 2019, Vietjet ranked 12th worldwide in terms of its ratio for ancillary revenue on top of total air transport revenue.

According to Vietjet’s consolidated financial report, the airline’s total assets in 2019 were VND47.608 trillion ($2.07 billion) with the owner’s equity of VND17.661 trillion ($767.87 million) including VND2.347 trillion ($102.04 million) of treasury shares, increases of 22 and 25.8 per cent, respectively, against 2018.

Its current liquidity is 1.4. Cash assets were VND6.076 trillion ($264.17 million), not including VND2.347 trillion ($102 million) of treasury shares, cash in total reached VND8.423 trillion ($366.22 million). While the debt to equity ratio was 0.77, the lowest rate in Vietnam’s aviation industry. Vietjet’s EBITDAR margin was 31 per cent, ranking as one of the top airlines in the world.

Vietjet’s new and modern fleet also became younger with the average age of 2.75 years, with great fuel-efficiency. Especially, in September 2019, the airline received an A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) aircraft with 240 seats, the first of its kind in the world. The new aircraft features fuel consumption savings by a minimum of 16 per cent; noise reduction up to 75 per cent; and emission reduction up to 50 per cent.

In 2020, the airline plans to take delivery of nine more new A321neo aircraft and 20 more every year from 2021, which is expected to reduce fleet operation costs and increase the profit from air transportation and aircraft financing activities. Additionally, Vietjet continues to optimise its operation and management costs in order to enhance its air transportation business performance.

Vinalines eyes to join Global Shipping Alliances

The Vietnam National Shipping Lines Corporation (Vinalines) will devise a number of measures to further promote growth of its three key sectors of seaport, shipping industry and maritime services towards joining in the Global Shipping Alliances (GSA).

According to Acting General Director of Vinalines Nguyen Canh Tinh, the firm will focus resources on these three decisive fields, which are expected to create breakthrough development for the corporation.

Vinalines will pay attention to improving its competitiveness through providing all-in-one logistics service to customers, and promoting application of information technology, especially in managing and operating seaports.

Tinh said in the strategy of developing sea transport after equitisation, Vinalines will conduct investment expansion and cooperate with container shipping firms between Vietnam and other countries in the world through transshipment and deep-water ports of Vinalines.

The firm is looking to join GSA to affirm itself as a container transshipment unit in the region, he stressed.

According to Tran Tuan Hai, head of the Development Strategy and Communication Department of Vinalines, maritime services is one of the core segments that bring great profits to the corporation.

The firm will cooperate with the Vietnam Logistics Business Association and other business associations to research and advise the Government to complete the legal framework for logistics management in Vietnam; boost cooperation and form joint ventures with member businesses and foreign partners in order to create a global shipping services supply network.

It will also develop added-value services for customers and multimodal logistics services, as well as expand its service network by building a wide network of agents in and outside the country to increase competitiveness.

Hai stressed that beside the above-mentioned solutions, it is also important to find new markets. Vinalines will also pay heed to investing in development of inland container depots (ICD) and distribution depots in strategic locations, towards forming a chain of services and key ports, towards attracting businesses to participate in activities and providing package services to customers, Hai said.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Department, 300,000 enterprises have registered to operate in logistics-related fields in the country, with 1,300 of them being providers of maritime and logistics service. Vietnam is home to about 30 transnational logistics businesses.

Vinalines is a State-owned enterprise engaging in shipping, port management, maritime services and logistics in Vietnam and abroad.

The firm reported that more than 106 million tonnes of goods were shipped via its port network last year, 6.3 percent more than in 2018. Its vessels transported 23 million tonnes of cargo, up 11.6 percent against the previous year.

By the end of 2019, Vinalines' consolidated revenue was estimated at more than 12.4 trillion VND (518 million USD), 6 percent above the 2018 figure, while its profit reached 669 billion VND./.

"Billion-dollar” exports items see revenue fall in January

Vietnamese “billion-US dollar” exports items brought home only 19 billion USD in January, a year-on-year fall of 14.3 percent, according to the latest data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.

The strongest decline was seen in the shipments of garment and textiles (down 21 percent to 2.6 billion USD), and telephone and components (down 22.4 percent to 2.6 billion USD).

Notably, several agricultural products such as seafood, coffee, cashew, rubber, rice and pepper, among others also experienced a plunge in their revenue in the first month of the year.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of Vina T&T Group - a Vietnamese fruit exporter, said that although his firm has received stable orders, formidable challenges are ahead as China, a key importer of Vietnamese fruits, has tightened quality norms and demanded origin traceability, making it difficult for Vietnamese exporters to access the market.

Furthermore, China officially recommended halting trade exchange between its Guangxi and Yunnan provinces and border localities of Vietnam until February 10 as the coronavirus is spreading.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Foreign Trade Agency said trade flow through Vietnam-China border gates will be critically affected by the virus outbreak; therefore, local businesses should outline measures to have suitable goods delivery modes, seek new markets or promote consumption domestically.

According to insiders, export revenue of garment and textile, footwear, electronic products dropped in the month due to the week-long Tet holiday.

General Director of May 10 Corporation Than Duc Viet said that despite stable orders for the first half of the year, businesses should stay prudent with the market instability, pay due attention to consumption trend, while seeking new markets so as to realise their export targets.

As for the leather, footwear and handbag sector, the target of 24 billion USD in export turnover is achievable for the whole year as many foreign customers still choose Vietnamese products, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association Nguyen Duc Thuan./.

Customs sector targets collecting 14.6 billion USD in 2020

The General Department of Customs hopes to collect 338 trillion VND (14.6 billion USD) for the State budget this year, a year-on-year increase of 12.5 percent.

The target is built on the basis of 6.8 percent GDP growth, crude oil price at 60 USD per barrel, total export turnover increasing by 7 percent and import turnover increasing by 9 percent.

The goal would be difficult to achieve as new free trade agreements (FTAs) would come into effect this year with many products having import tax rates cut to zero percent, according to the General Department of Customs.

To complete the State budget collection for the year, the customs sector would have to effectively implement proposed budget collection solutions.

The General Department of Customs was assigned a target of over 300 trillion VND for State budget revenue last year. The department claimed State budget revenue of the sector reached 348.7 trillion VND by the end of 2019, 116.05 percent of the set target and up 11 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

This result was attributed to efforts to facilitate businesses and fight revenue loss.

The customs department also issued detailed guidance documents in fields such as classification, origin and tax debt management.

Last year, it strengthened measures to combat loss of revenue such as inspection and examination of enterprises, as well as examination of cases of tax exemption and reduction. It also boosted controls over the price of imports and exports.

These efforts resulted in saving some 4.6 trillion VND of lost revenue./.

Vietnam tightens grip on world’s coffee

Vietnam exported 143,000 tonnes of instant and ground roasted coffee valued at 516 million USD in 2019 thanks to the tidal wave of investment in this sector.

The country now houses four coffee factories, each with capacity ranging from 4,000 to 20,000 tonnes.

Despite their limited long-term investment funds, domestic firms such as Tin Nghia Coffee Corporation, Intimex Group, Viet My International JSC, An Thai Group and Vinacafe Bien Hoa have continued to pour capital into coffee plants. Besides, some foreign businesses also plan to invest in this sphere.

In the year, domestic coffee consumption increased 10 percent, and is expected to rise 15 percent in the coming years.

The Central Highlands region has contributed 30 percent to the sector’s gross domestic product (GDP) and generated jobs for more than 2 million people.

However, like other crops, coffee is suffering from adverse impacts of climate change, prompting farmers to replant coffee trees. Total replanted area amounts to 118,000 ha at present, yet to offer high productivity.

Customs statistics unveil that as of December 31, 2019, Vietnam had shipped abroad 1.61 million tonnes of coffee worth about 2.77 billion USD, down 14.2 percent in volume and 21.5 percent in value.

Coffee is the only Vietnamese agricultural product that has its own day. Vietnam Coffee Day (December 10) is to mark the time when President Ho Chi Minh visited the Dong Hieu coffee farm in Phu Quy, the central province of Nghe An.

The event aims to promote Vietnamese coffee as well as coffee culture, and honour coffee enterprises and farmers.

Ho Chi Minh City will host the fourth Vietnam Coffee Day 2020 with the participation of countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)./.

Assessment of Long Thanh airport’s feasibility study must be done by March

The Government urged the State Appraisal Council to promptly complete the assessment of a feasibility study report for the first phase of Long Thanh International Airport in a resolution issued on February 3.

The State Appraisal Council is required to ensure the quality of the assessment report which must be submitted to the Prime Minister for review in March, the resolution says.

The Government has decided to expand the total land area acquired for the project’s first phase from 1,165 hectares to 1,810 hectares.

The resolution also notes that the selection of investment form must take into account national defence and security, the State and national interests; and guarantee the State’s management in compliance with current laws.

The Long Thanh International Airport, situated near its namesake township in the southern province of Dong Nai, is a national key project. Once fully operational, the airport is expected to reduce the load on the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and become a major international aviation hub in the region.

The project is made up of three investment phases with the ultimate goal of making the airport capable of serving 100 million passengers and handling 5 million tonnes of cargo annually.

The project’s first phase costs an estimated 111.69 trillion VND or about 4.78 billion USD. In this phase, one runway and one terminal along with other components will be built to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo a year. It is scheduled to be put into use in 2025 at the latest.

According to the Government’s plan, the State-owned Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) will be the investor and operator of the aiport, who will use its own capital to invest in the construction of the State management administrative building and essential component buildings of the airport./.

VietJet Air to launch New Delhi-Da Nang in May

Budget carrier VietJet Air will begin direct flights from the central city of Da Nang to New Delhi in India from May 14, with five flights per week.

A VietJetAir source confirmed on February 2 that Airbus A320 and 321 aircraft will be used on the route.

It’s the third direct air route connecting New Delhi with Vietnam after those from Hanoi and HCM City were launched in 2019.

Flights will depart from Da Nang at 6.15pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, while they will take off from New Delhi at 10.50pm the same day.

One-way tickets will cost from 2.5 million VND (108 USD).

According to the city’s tourism department, Da Nang has 48 international routes with 462 flights per week, while 11 domestic routes operate 665 flights per week.

The city welcomed 8.7 million tourists in 2019, of whom 3.5 million were foreigners./.

Novaland fares well in 2019

Novaland published its consolidated financial statement for the fourth quarter of 2019, announcing that its post-tax profit hit 3.38 trillion VND, helping it fulfill the profit target set for 2019 and even increase slightly by 3 percent compared with that made in 2018.

In the year, the group earned an accumulative revenue of 10.9 trillion VND and delivered 3,468 product units, mainly from existing projects like The Sun Avenue, Sunrise Riverside, Richstar, Saigon Royal, Newton Residence, Orchard Parkview, and Victoria Village, which started the hand-over in 2019, and other projects.

The group’s financial health continues to improve, with its total assets recording 89.9 trillion VND as of December 31, 2019, posting a surge of 30 percent. In particular, short-term assets were worth 71.27 trillion VND, a surge of 42 percent from 2018. Inventories soared 84 percent, in which real estate under construction accounted for 89.5 percent, mainly due to the increase of new projects purchased during the year.

Novaland achieved a new, positive point in the year, reflected in its debt structure which has shifted to safer, increased long-term debt and reduced short-term debt. Specifically, liabilities were worth 65.5 trillion VND, with long-term liabilities more than doubling the end of 2018, accounting for 72.5 percent of total liabilities.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, Novaland proved its attractiveness in the international capital market by successfully mobilizing a limit of 600 million USD via three capital arrangements carried out by Credit Suisse AG (Singapore). Of the figure, it actually disbursed 310 million USD and the remaining 250 million is the available limit and will be disbursed in 2020.

Embarking on the phase II of its development strategy, Novaland has deployed many M&A deals in the past year, carried out new projects with positive absorption from the market, and is expected to bring a stable source of revenue to ensure the company’s business plan secure.

The company currently owns and is studying to deploy a land bank of 4,900 ha.

Along with luxury and high-end apartment projects in the central area of Ho Chi Minh City, in June 2019, Novaland launched the first eco-smart urban area model in southern Dong Nai province, Aqua City.

Located on a land area of over 600 ha with three sides facing the river and greenery space and conveniences accounting for more than 70 percent of the total land, Aqua City is drawing interest from both investors and customers.

Commenting on the project, Kelly Lin, a customer from Taiwan, said she had a special impression of Aqua City because of its nature-friendly living space and location in Dong Nai province. She said she was attracted to villas and Shophouse in the project as they met all what she wanted for living and investment.

In terms of resort real estate, the group is deploying a series of concentrated large projects, including NovaWorld Phan Thiet and Nova Hills Mui Ne Resort & Villas in southern Binh Thuan propvince, NovaWorld Ho Tram in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, and NovaBeach Cam Ranh Resort & Villas in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa.

Novaland’s resort projects offer dozens of thousands of product lineups, such as second home, resort villas, commercial townhouses, which are much favoured due to their multi-functional purpose and durable profit-making capability.

With a focused, clear business strategy, stable land bank, solid financial structure, and stringent risk governance, Novaland is working to maintain its prestige as the most competitive developer in Vietnam’s real estate market in 2020./.

Garment and textile exports likely to reach US$42 billion in 2020: SSI

Export turnover within the textile and apparel sector is forecast to reach up to US$42 billion in 2020, representing an increase of 7.7 per cent compared to the figures from 2019, according to an updated report released by the SSI Securities Corporation.

The SSI have stated that this year, the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group and its branches have set a target of raking in VND 50.9 trillion, with pre-tax profits reaching VND1.55 trillion, up 11 per cent from 2019.

At present, several companies are attempting to negotiate orders for the second quarter of 2020. SSI believe that export activities will see robust growth this year as a result of orders moving from China to Vietnam, especially orders from emerging markets that benefit from the recently-implemented CPTPP such as Canada and Australia.

Despite these positives, the SSI predicts that the sector’s export activities are likely to face a number of challenges.

The biggest difficulty will likely come from an increasing number of FDI-invested factories moving to the nation, resulting in the competitiveness of wages becoming fierce between domestic firms and FDI-invested enterprises.

In addition, electricity and transportation costs will also have an affect on the sector’s competitiveness as the textile industry mainly depends on the import of machinery, raw materials, and accessories with a proportion of up to 60 per cent.

With the strict rules of origin being put in place as a result of the The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), along with an underdeveloped value chain, garment companies are poised to face several hurdles as they remain heavily dependent on importing materials from China.

Hoa Phat Group posts 13-percent rise in profit in 2019

Hoa Phat Group, a multi-sectoral conglomerate, reported after-tax profit at over 7.5 trillion VND in 2019, up 13 percent from its target.

Steel products contributed most to the firm’s revenue at nearly 65 trillion VND (2.8 billion USD) in 2019, accounting for more than 80 percent of both total revenue and after-tax profit.

During the year, the group manufactured over 2.8 million tonnes of crude steel and supplied 2.77 million tonnes of construction steel to the market, which rose 16.7 percent year on year. The group exported some 265,000 tonnes to foreign markets like Japan, Cambodia, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Malaysia, Australia, and the US.

Hoa Phat remained the biggest steel maker in Vietnam with a 26.2-percent market share, it said, noting that the company aims to sell 3.6 million tonnes of construction steel in 2020.

The company also described 2019 a relatively successful year of its agricultural arm thanks to the strong growth in livestock farming and animal feed production. Its revenue in this field was equivalent to 175 percent of the figure in 2018./.

National index of industrial production down in January

Vietnam's index of industrial production (IIP) in January declined by 5.5 percent year-on-year and 11.8 percent month on month, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

This reduction was due to the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January this year, reducing the number of working days, said GSO economists.

The mining sector saw the strongest reduction of 18.4 percent year on year in IIP in the first month this year.

The processing and manufacturing sector, responsible for a large part of domestic industrial production, reported IIP reduction of 4.8 percent while the IIP of electricity production and distribution fell by 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the IIP of the water supply and waste-sewage treatment sectors rose by 1.6 percent year on year.

Many industrial products had a strong reduction in output, such as automobiles (38 percent), sugar (30.4 percent), motorbikes (22 percent), liquefied petroleum gas (21.2 percent), coal (18.5 percent), milk powder (18.4 percent) and raw steel (15.1 percent).

However, some industrial products posted growth in production, including metal ore (34.3 percent), steel bars and steel angle bars (23.5 percent) and mobile phones (10.4 percent).

GSO officials said production is expected to recover soon because, in January, the number of labourers in industrial enterprises increased by 0.5 percent year on year./

Vietnam invests 3.97 million USD abroad in January

The latest updates from the Foreign Investment Agency revealed that Vietnam invested 3.97 million USD abroad in January, more than three times higher than the same month last year.

Seven new projects were granted investment licences, with total registered capital of 3.83 million USD and one raised its capital by nearly 140,000 USD.

Vietnam’s overseas investment in January mainly poured into retail and wholesale (accounting for 71.8 percent of the total registered capital), construction (3.4 percent), manufacturing and processing (3.7 percent), and telecommunications (3.4 percent).

Four countries received investment from Vietnam in January. Among them, the US was the leading destination with total investment of more than 3.53 million USD, followed by Japan with an investment worth 182,400 USD, Cambodia with 150,000 USD and Republic of Korea with 100,000 USD.

In 2019, Vietnam invested a total of more than 508 million USD in 32 countries and territories, of which 403 million USD was poured into 164 new projects and 29 projects increased their capitals by a total of nearly 105 million USD.

The retail and wholesale industry was the leading sector for Vietnamese overseas investment with 121.6 million USD in 2019.

Other attractive sectors were agro-forestry-fishery and science and technology.

Australia was the top destination for Vietnam’s overseas investment last year, followed by the US and Cambodia.

Since 1989, Vietnam had so far invested more than 22 billion USD abroad, mainly in agro-forestry-fishery, energy and telecommunications sectors./

Vietnam exporters urged to look for alternative markets amid China’s nCov outbreak

The epidemic has not left major impacts on bilateral trade relations, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Vietnamese enterprises, particularly agriculture-related businesses, should look for alternative markets beyond China or find other delivery methods, as some border gates between the two countries have been closed due to the spread of a new coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Enterprises are urged to closely update on the situation and maintain communication channels with their Chinese partners to prepare for any changes that could occur amid the outbreak of the 2019 nCoV in China, stated the MoIT in a statement.

The border gate between Vietnam and China on the Chinese side in Pingxiang is expected to remain closed until February 8, 2020, except for the Huu Nghi Quan border gate in Lang Son province that would reopen on February 3, as part of measures to avoid the spread of the disease.

The MoIT said if the outbreak continues, transportation and travel between Vietnam and China would be restrained, affecting trade flow via border gates.

The MoIT, nevertheless, said the epidemic has not exerted major impacts on bilateral trade relations. However, consumption demand of agricultural products in China has slowed due to the complicated nature of the epidemic outbreak.

Moreover, strict measures in China since the outbreak are causing difficulties for transportation of goods among its provinces and cities, said the MoIT.

China is currently one of major export markets for Vietnamese fisheries and agricultural products. The main farm export items to China include vegetables, cashew, coffee, rice, cassava products, rubber and aquatic products.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and China reached nearly US$117 billion in 2019, up 9.6% year-on-year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Cases of infection with the nCov, or Wuhan virus, have increased to at least 9,000 and reported in 20 countries and territories, including Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Malaysia, among others.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak as a global health emergency, citing the potential spread to countries that are not prepared to deal with the issue as reason.

Such declaration has only been use five times before. A global emergency was declared for two Ebola outbreaks: one that started in 2013 in West Africa and another that has been ongoing in Congo since 2018. Other emergency alerts were used for the 2016 Zika epidemic, for polio emerging in war zones in 2014, and for the swine-flu pandemic in 2009.

Tra Vinh serves more tourists during New Year holiday

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh welcomed nearly 150,000 tourists during the Lunar New Year holiday, over 600 of them foreigners, up about 12 percent, according to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Duong Hoang Sum.

Sum said more tourists travelled to the new Con Chim ecological tourism area in Chau Thanh district, Ba Dong beach in Duyen Hai town, and Truc Lam zen monastery in Truong Long Hoa commune.

The province is providing incentives for seven ecological tourist projects, especially the 65ha Ao Ba Om culture-tourism site worth around 200 billion VND (8.69 million USD) and Duyen Hai hot mineral spring with an investment of about 600 billion VND.

Tra Vinh has set the goal of welcoming over 2.5 million visitors by 2025, including about 85,000 foreigners, and earning 1.6 trillion VND from tourism./.

Ca Mau attracts 925 million USD investment in 2019

The southernmost province of Ca Mau attracted 24 investment projects with total registered capital of more than 21.5 trillion VND (925 million USD) in 2019, bringing the number of projects in the locality to 318, capitalised at 99.66 trillion VND (4.28 billion USD).

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hai delivered this information during a meeting between local authorities and 300 businesses in the province on February 3.

Hai praised the contribution of the business community to the province’s development in recent years.

The chairman urged businesses to foster cooperation and comply with their commitments in ensuring environmental protection and speeding up the implementation of their projects.

“Ca Mau province always considers the success of businesses as our success," Hai said.

The province is now home to nearly 3,900 businesses with total registered capital of over 44 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD).

In the future, Ca Mau will implement some major measures to create the best conditions for businesses including reviewing planning of industrial zones and clusters to attract large-scale projects and accelerating administrative reforms, the chairman said.

This year, it will also facilitate the operation of the local business association to help firms address their difficulties and connect them with State agencies.

Hai added the association’s operation is a must to not only assess the satisfaction of enterprises with State agencies but also to improve provincial competitiveness.

A new Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre has been established in the province to attract investment.

Aside from providing consultancy and support for investment, business development and start-ups, the centre will also promote investment, trade and tourism.

According to Quach Van An, director of the centre, local authorities are making every effort to attract investment projects in the Nam Can Economic Zone in Nam Can district and Khanh An Industrial Park in U Minh district./.

Ba Ria Vung Tau grants investment licenses to five new projects

The southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau has recently granted investment licenses to five projects with total newly registered capital of approximately VND1,500 billion and increased investment capital of US$109 million.

The move sees five domestic and foreign investors being granted their investment licenses, including the US$28 million Seiko PMC Corporation project invested by Seiko PMC Corporation, the US$45.6 million project on producing and trading acrylic polymers for the paper industry by Arakawa Chemical Industries Company, and the US$35.3 million Seah M&S Vietnam project by Seah M&S Corp.

In addition, the VND1,500 billion Cai Mep - Phu My pipeline project, the Phu My gas distribution station of Hai Linh Co., Ltd., and the US$381.3 million brewery project of Vietnam-Vung Tau Heineken Brewery Co., Ltd., have also been granted with investment licenses.

Secretary of the Party Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province Nguyen Hong Linh stated that the granting of investment licenses to five investors during the first days of the new year have shown the province’s commitments to selective investment in a way that will ensure the locality enjoys sustainable development.

Leather and footwear sector eyes export target of US$24 billion

Vietnam’s leather and footwear industry is aiming to achieve export revenue of US$24 billion during the course of the year, maintaining a double-digit growth rate.

According to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso), the country’s footwear and leather exports throughout 2019 enjoyed steady growth with turnover hitting US$22 billion, an increase of 12.2 per cent compared to 2018.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, more commonly known as the CPTPP, which came into effect at the beginning of the year, has seen the sector expand its footprint into new potential markets such as Mexico, Canada, Chile, and Peru.

As a result, the nation’s footwear products have been able to make inroads into over 100 countries, including 70 nations where export turnover stands at more than US$1 million.

These factors have led Lefaso to predict that the current year will see the sector’s average industrial production index rise by 11 per cent, with the localisation rate of products reaching 60 per cent, along with export turnover of US$24 billion, maintaining a growth rate of 10 per cent.

Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, Lefaso General Secretary, noted that the sector’s export activities remained steady whilst still maintaining their competitive advantages in traditional markets during 2019.

Over the course of the last year the sector’s industrial production index enjoyed a rise of 10 per cent, with turnover hitting US$22 billion, an increase of 12.2 per cent for footwear and handbag products, which has seen a number of bright prospects open up for the industry.

Within the context of the country’s leather and footwear industry becoming more deeply integrated into the global economy, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung stated his belief that there will be complicated and unpredictable developments for the coming year, both globally and regionally.

The Deputy Minister added that local firms must be active in using innovate technology, improving their production capacity, whilst becoming more proactive in developing markets, and improving their overall competitiveness.

Most notably the Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue to remove difficulties and create favourable conditions for domestic businesses to expand into new markets and support enterprises to improve their production capacity.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has drawn up a strategy aimed at promoting the development of the leather and footwear industry by 2030 with a vision towards 2035.

This strategy is expected to be issued during the coming year in order to help the government and local businesses operating within the sector transform the footwear industry into a spearhead industry in terms of production and export activities, Deputy Minister Cao Quoc Hung emphazised.

According to many experts, the Vietnamese leather and footwear sector is poised to enjoy a wealth of opportunities to make breakthroughs and boost market expansion.

Despite these positives, firms must target the value-added segment and high-end brands as a means of achieving higher profits.

Over 411 mln USD raised through G-bonds in January

A total of over 9.52 trillion VND (nearly 411.2 million USD), was raised by the State Treasury through 12 G-bond auctions at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in January.

The amount was 15.3 percent lower than that of the previous month. About 79.4 percent of G-bonds offered were sold.

G-bonds with different maturities experienced 0.6 – 1.71 percent declines in annual interest rates.

On the secondary G-bond market, trading volume averaged nearly 9.46 trillion VND per session, a month-on-month decrease of 0.08 percent.

Total outright purchases of G-bonds in the month amounted over 98 trillion VND, down 10 percent against the previous month, while total trading volume of G-bonds via repurchasing agreements (repos) was valued 62.6 trillion VND, down 30 percent.

Foreign investors made outright purchases of more than 4.3 trillion VND, and outright sales of some 3.6 trillion VND. They did not make any repo transactions.

Total listed G-bonds were valued at more than 1.13 quadrillion VND as of January 31.

Seminars on Australia’s technology transfer to be held

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and its Vietnam’s partner universities will hold training seminars on technological transfer in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in February.

The events are part of a project on Industry 4.0 for sustainable water systems to bring new technologies to communities and introduce new approaches to technology transfer in Vietnam’s different sectors.

The project, conducted by the UTS’s School of Electrical and Data Engineering and the Centre for Technology in Water and Wastewater, aims to link research results with industrial application in Vietnam, thus narrowing the gap between businesses and research institutes.

Seminars will introduce Rapido, a technological transfer model from the UTS as well as ways to deal with intellectual property issues.

Representatives from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and nearby localities will discuss building a technological transfer model suitable with Vietnam to promote sustainable technology transfer.

Funded by the Australian government via the Aus4Innovation programme, the project is expected to share Australia’s knowledge and experience with Vietnam in utilising new technologies for economic development.

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