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Nghi Son Economic Zone to be expanded, Vegetable, fruit export growth slows down, Deep processing needed to raise value of coffee: experts, Rice export shows positive signals, Vietnam runs biggest trade surplus with US, EU in 11 months

ADB provides US$300m loan to BIDV to support SMEs in Viet Nam     

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) signed a US$300 million loan agreement on Wednesday to support the growth and productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Viet Nam.

“The agreement includes a $200 million loan provided by ADB and a $100 million loan arranged by ADB from 12 commercial lenders,” BIDV Chairman Phan Duc Tu said at the signing ceremony. “This is the biggest commercial loan ADB has provided to an Asian commercial bank so far, affirming the development finance institution’s positive evaluation of Viet Nam’s stability and economic growth as well as its trust in Viet Nam’s banking operations in general and BIDV in particular.”

He said the loan would support SMEs in Viet Nam and reaffirm their partnership with ADB in achieving poverty reduction, economic growth, regional integration and environmental protection. The loan symbolised the long-term co-operation between ADB and BIDV for sustainable development in Viet Nam.

“ADB’s partnership with BIDV, the largest lender to the country’s SME sector, will boost lending to businesses, which often find it challenging to gain access to financing,” said Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Michael Barrow.

“BIDV’s effort to make SME lending a key strategic priority is aligned with ongoing endeavors by ADB and the Government of Viet Nam to improve access to finance for SMEs, thereby contributing to inclusive economic growth,” he said. “The loan demonstrates ADB’s ability to catalyse long-term lending from commercial institutions to channel investments for development impact. Twelve commercial lenders from different countries have joined with ADB to provide the long-term lending facility.”

Nguyen Thi Hong, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, congratulated the groups on their success and called for new, deeper co-operative opportunities for ADB, BIDV and commercial banks.

SMEs account for most of Viet Nam’s businesses, contributing around half of all employment and 40 per cent of gross domestic product. Despite their significant contribution to the economy, SMEs still encounter numerous obstacles that inhibit their economic potential, including a lack of access to finance needed to expand.

In recent years, BIDV has increasingly served the SME segment with positive results. As of 30 June, 2018, BIDV had 250,000 SME customers, accounting for 40 per cent of all SME customers in Viet Nam. Its SME lending portfolio reached over VND240 trillion (approximately $10.4 billion), giving it the largest share of SME lending among the country’s banks.

The loan will make ADB the first development finance institution to provide long-term commercial lending to BIDV. ADB will work with BIDV to maximise the positive social and environmental impacts of the assistance by implementing an environmental and social management system. Digital finance will be promoted through the introduction of new digital products to reach financially underserved populations in rural areas, including SMEs owned by women. 

7.23 trillion VND collected from G-bond auction

The State Treasury of Vietnam raised 7.23 trillion VND (310.9 million USD) from government bonds (G-bonds) in an auction on December 12 at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

According to the HNX, the auction offered a total of 6.5 trillion VND (279.5 million USD) worth of G-bonds with different maturities.

Three tenures were available, including five-year bonds worth 500 billion VND (21.49 million USD), and 10-year and 15-year bonds valued at 3 trillion VND (129 million USD) each.

The auction of 10-year bonds mobilised 3.9 trillion VND (167.57 million USD) at the average yield rate of 5.1 percent per year, the same as the auction on December 5.

The auction of 15-year bonds sold 3.33 trillion VND (143 million USD) worth of bonds at the annual interest rate of 5.3 percent, the same as the previous auction.

There was no successful bid for five-year bonds.

So far this year, the State Treasury of Vietnam has collected 149.777 trillion VND (6.4 billion USD) from G-bond auction at the HNX. 

Quality, price key to conquering Japan: experts

To gain entry to the Japanese market, Vietnamese firms should pay attention to two factors, quality and price, experts told a roundtable on “Selling products to Japanese market” in Ho Chi Minh City on December 12.

Yuichiro Shiotani, general director of Aeon Topvalu Vietnam, said Japan is a dream market for many businesses around the world and is therefore very competitive.

He said the value of a product is defined by its quality and price, meaning if a product’s quality improves, its value goes up.

So if a foreign company wants to export to Japan, it should know how they are going to compete with the many rivals who sell the same products as them, he said.

“If the quality is the same, Japanese consumers will choose the cheaper product regardless of whether it is imported or not.”

He gave the example of the mango, a favourite fruit among Japanese consumers, including for him.

Vietnam’s cat chu mango is sold in Japan at higher prices than mangoes from Thailand and the Philippines though its quality is not higher.

It is not consistent in terms of sweetness, and consumers would not be happy if they have to pay the same price for both a sweet and a sour mango, he said.

“I talked to Japanese farmers about this mango issue. They told me controlling the sweetness of mangos is totally doable. It is not complicated; it is about preservation after harvest and during delivery.”

He said if firms want to sell products to the Japanese market, the best way is to go to the country and learn the habits of consumers there.

“They should compare their products with those being sold on the market to make improvements maybe by improving quality or reducing prices.”

Nguyen Manh Viet, CEO of Fosella, which helps take Vietnamese firms to the Japanese market, said it can take up to a year for his clients to secure a contract to export to Japan since it is a very demanding market in terms of quality.

He cited the example of a confectionery company which lost a Japanese order because of changing one of their suppliers without prior notification.

A textile company paid a similar price for not following proper procedures during the shipping stage, he said.

“The company used three-layer carton boxes to transport the products instead of the five-layer ones the Japanese partner had requested. The goods were damaged and the Vietnamese company had to bear the loss.”

He said these examples show how crucial it is for Vietnamese firms to ensure quality assurance and adopt quality control processes.

Sometimes, even when they have all the required information about the standards and requirements expected in the Japanese market, Vietnamese firms struggle to enter this market.

Shiotani said Vietnamese rules and regulations are sometimes even stricter than Japan’s but their failure to follow them in practice is the main reason why Vietnamese firms cannot make products with guaranteed quality, he said.

“The problem with firms is that they do not see it is a problem when they cannot follow all the rules and requirements. But it is not just a problem in Vietnam; it can be seen in other markets as well.”

Firms should close the gap between what they say in theory and what they do in practice to improve the quality of their products, he added.

According to Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, president of the Association of Food Transparency, many Vietnamese firms underestimate the importance of having an eco-system where firms and farmers work together to ensure consistent quality.

“Trading companies just care about buying and selling products. To come back to [Shiotani’s] mango story, if [farmers] can make sure the land is good and the use of fertilisers is adequate, then its quality can be kept consistent, but few companies care about these things.”

What firms should do is to work with farmers and monitor them to ensure product quality, she said.

She said one of the problems with farmers in Vietnam is that they “want to make money fast.”

There are many farmers who follow good agricultural practices, but they are content to sell to traders who come to their farms.

“There should be a way to connect farmers via groups or co-operatives so that members can create a community where we cross-check one another to make sure everyone complies with quality standards.

“If we can do that, buyers will come to us and not the other way around.”

Vietnamese firms told to improve production technologies

Vietnamese companies need to improve their production technologies and strengthen linkages with foreign companies to improve their competitiveness in both domestic and overseas markets, a seminar heard in Ho Chi Minh City on December 12.

Le Hoai Quoc, head of the management board of the Saigon High Tech Park, told the Vietnam-Korea production technology seminar that 97 percent of companies in the country are small and use modest technologies.

According to the HCM City Association of Mechanical – Electrical Enterprises, the computer numerical control (CNC) machine manufacturing industry in Vietnam and HCM City in particular is not developed.

Most machinery used in the local market is imported from other countries, 65 percent from developing countries and the rest from developed ones.

The association said Vietnam’s industrial sector is integrating globally and growing rapidly, and rising investment by foreign firms is driving the growth of local supporting industries.

To compete with their foreign rivals and meet the requirements of foreign customers, Vietnamese companies have to use CNC machines to process products.

Quoc suggested that Vietnamese companies should expand cooperation with foreign firms, including Korean, to enhance technology transfer and develop together.

Kim Jung Yeol of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology said Korean firms not only want to expand investment in and trade with Vietnam but also transfer technology.

They also want to set up joint ventures with Vietnamese firms, which would promote the development of Vietnam’s industrial sector and enable more Vietnamese firms to enter the global supply chain, he said.

Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said there is a shift happening in Vietnam from outsourcing and assembly to manufacturing products with high added value.

The growth of the hi-tech industry is an important factor in attracting investment, enhancing competitiveness and increasing economic value and creating a development momentum for the city, he said.

Therefore, the city has been adopting many policies to support enterprises with improving their production capacity, he said. 

Clear explanation required for smooth implementation of Vietnam's new property tax bill

Transparency and clarity in budget spending are decisive factors to gain support from the public for the new tax law, which is complicated in nature and difficult to collect.

The draft property tax law proposed by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is not new, as it has been partly mentioned under the forms of land use taxes, so experts said that a clear explanation of the law is required for smooth implementation and avoid controversy. 

According to the draft law, the MoF proposed a tax rate of 0.4% on a real estate product worth over VND700 million (US$30,800), while personal vehicles, such as planes, yachts and cars worth more than VND1.5 billion (US$65,000) will also be taxable.

“Property tax is a vague name,” said Vu Sy Cuong from the Academy of Finance at a conference discussing the law held by Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) on December 12. 

“Most countries in the world do not have property tax, but specifying it as fixed asset tax in Japan, net wealth tax in the Philippines, others call it housing tax, or land tax, even “property tax” would have a broader meaning than a common understanding of tax on real estate,” Cuong added. 

Cuong said the contribution of these kinds of tax to the GDP of OECD countries averages 2.12%, while those in developing and in transformation economies are 0.6% and 0.68%, respectively. 

In other countries, property tax makes up a significant part for local governments budget, accounting for 80% in Thailand, 36% in Chile and 40% in Poland. The revenue would later be financed for public services where the tax payers live. 

The law, thus will enhance local government's authority and independency, in turn, improving quality of public services and creating a transparent real estate market. 

Additionally, it has proven its economic efficiency through international experience and played a major part in redistributing wealth among socioeconomic classes.

However, in Vietnam, tax on non-agricultural land use right contributes 0.03 – 0.06% of GDP annually, significantly lower than that of other countries. Moreover, the tax proves insignificant to the budget of local provinces and cities, reaching 5 – 7%, or even 2% in some cases, he continued. 

“This is why the MoF is drafting the new property tax law,” Cuong said. 

Nevertheless, transparency and clarity in spending the budget are decisive factors to gain support from the public for the new tax law, which is complicated in nature and difficult to collect, Cuong stressed. 

Nguyen Duc Thanh, VEPR’s director, said the current draft law of the property tax would reduce disposable income of households, but may not ensure greater equality in society.  

“The law would shrink the rich’s income and not improve the poor’s living standard,” Thanh added. 

Thanh said a better way to balance the state budget would be more efficiency in spending, instead of increasing tax collection. 

Auto sales growth momentum steady

November’s automobile sales continued the October growth momentum, according to a recent report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), which listed November sales at 30,540 units, marking a month-on-month rise of 6% after a decline in the first three quarters of the year.

According to VAMA, November's automobile sales had exceeded 30,000 units for the first time this year. The figure comprised 21,700 passenger, 8,400 commercial and 436 specialized vehicles.

Last month, more than 19,000 domestically assembled cars were sold, while some 11,500 imported completely-built-up cars found owners.

In October, nearly 28,900 automobiles were sold, up 21% over the previous month. Of these, the volume of locally manufactured automobiles rose a mere 2% month-on-month to VND17,600, while sales of imported ones surged 46% against September, reported news site Cafef.

The last two months saw a surge in auto sales as most importers met the auto import requirements of Government Decree 116/2017/ND-CP on the manufacturing, assembly and import of automobiles.

In addition, automobile firms have launched new car models to attract customers.

Ford Vietnam, for example, has introduced new versions of the Ranger, Raptor, Everest and EcoSport, and its sales last month hit a record high of nearly 3,500 units, surging 44% year-on-year, according to Ford Vietnam General Director Pham Van Dung.

According to VAMA, nearly 254,000 cars were sold in January-November, growing 4% over the year-ago period.

With this growth momentum, auto consumption is expected to exceed last year’s figure of 273,000 units.

Meanwhile, the total number of autos sold in January-September was about 186,400 units, down 2% over the same period last year. Of these, locally assembled automobiles posted a year-on-year decline of 11% and imported autos, 34%, according to, the news site of the Voice of Vietnam radio station.

Vietnam runs biggest trade surplus with US, EU in 11 months

Vietnam enjoyed its largest trade surpluses with the United States (US) and European Union (EU) in the first 11 months of 2018, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Vietnam had a combined trade surplus of 57.5 billion USD with the US and the EU, up 7.3 percent from the same period last year and six times higher than the country’s total figure of 6.81 billion USD. 

This figure substantially contributed to the national foreign exchange reserves, which have grown to a record high of more than 60 billion USD so far this year.

Over the period, Vietnam had its largest trade surplus of 31.9 billion USD with the US, up 8.1 percent year on year and 4.7 times higher than the total national trade surplus. The most growth was recorded in exports of mobile phones and accessories (49.8 percent), footwear (14.6 percent) and garment and textile (12.4 percent). 

Vietnam’s trade surplus with the EU stood at 25.6 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 6.2 percent. Among EU countries, Vietnam posted the largest trade surplus with the United Kingdom, which imported more than 4.73 billion USD worth of commodities from Vietnam in the first 10 months of the year while the UK’s exports to the Asian nation hit 694 million USD.

Meanwhile, Vietnam ran trade deficits with 27 foreign markets, of which nine recorded trade deficits of more than 1 billion USD and five others exceeded 2 billion USD.

As the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force, the Republic of Korea surpassed China to become the foreign market Vietnam posted the largest trade deficit with. From January to November, Vietnam’s trade deficit with the RoK was worth 26.6 billion USD, down from 29.2 billion USD over the corresponding period of 2017, or 8.9 percent.

Exclusive of unofficial cross-border trade, Vietnam reported a trade deficit of 21.6 billion USD with China in the first 11 months, down from 21.9 billion USD in the same period last year.

The RoK and China were followed by Taiwan and Thailand which Vietnam had trade deficits of nearly 8.43 billion USD and 5.04 billion USD, respectively. 

Last year, Vietnam maintained a trade surplus of about 2.7 billion USD, the same figure as 2016. 

National trade value in 2017 was estimated at nearly 425 billion USD. The value of exports was estimated at 213.77 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 21 percent, higher than the annual growth rate of 9 percent in export value in 2016.

Meanwhile, the value of imports in 2017 was estimated at 211.1 billion USD, 20.8 percent higher than the previous year.

Foreign-invested companies notched a trade surplus of 28.8 billion USD, contributing substantially to the total national trade surplus, while the domestic economic sector continued to have a trade deficit of 26.2 billion USD.

Rice export shows positive signals

Rice exports have shown positive signals recently, with many firms winning bidding contracts, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). 

In the past few months, rice has been the fastest-growing currency earner among agro-forestry-fisheries products. From January-November, 5.7 million tonnes of rice was exported abroad, worth 2.86 billion USD, a rise of 16.8 percent year-on-year in terms of value.

The price of exported rice hit 504 USD per tonne on average in the past 10 months, up 12.3 percent annually. White rice accounted for 51 percent of total rice export earnings, jasmine rice 32 percent, glutinous rice 12 percent and japonica rice 5 percent. 

Tan Long Group won the right to export 118,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines on November 20, to go along with the firm’s other large export contracts to the Republic of Korea.

In the last three years, the number of Vietnam’s rice export markets has increased from 60 to 150 countries and territories. Apart from traditional markets, more Vietnamese rice has gone to Latin American and Middle East countries. Premium white and jasmine rice have started entering demanding markets, helping Vietnamese rice gain a presence across the world. 

Despite falling demand in China, other markets saw growth in the last three years, such as Indonesia (65.8 times), Iraq (2.6 times), Hong Kong (up 71.1 percent), the Philippines (up 58.5 percent) and Malaysia (up 17.2 percent). 

The MoIT forecast that rice exports will be around 6.2 million tonnes this year, up 6.6 percent annually, bringing home nearly 3.12 billion USD, up 18.5 percent year-on-year. 

Between now and the year’s end, Indonesia and the Philippines plan to import more rice via international bidding and government contracts, while Egypt is forecast to buy 500,000 tonnes of rice at the beginning of next year. 

Recently, the MoIT’s Export-Import Department partnered with the Trade Office of the Vietnamese Embassy in China’s Guangzhou and the Long An provincial Department of Industry and Trade to invite 22 Chinese rice exporters to buy goods in Ho Chi Minh City and Long An Province.

Vegetable, fruit export growth slows down

The growth of vegetable and fruit exports slowed down significantly this year but the target of reaching 10 billion USD in revenue in 2025 was still within reach, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The MARD’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority anticipated a growth rate of 10 percent for vegetable and fruit exports for the full year of 2018, much lower than the growth rate of more than 40 percent recorded in 2017.

Vietnam exported vegetables and fruits worth 3.5 billion USD between January and November, representing a rise of 11.6 percent over the same period last year.

China remained the largest importer of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits, accounting for 73.8 percent of Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit export revenue.

Vietnam exported vegetables and fruits worth 2.41 billion USD to China in the period, an increase of 11.3 percent over the same period in 2017.

Exports to Australia, the US, Thailand and the Republic of Korea saw strong growth rates of between 28 and 36 percent.

The department said the export of vegetables and fruits might struggle in the remaining month of this year due to the impact of weather conditions which might cause drops in the output of several farming products.

The department forecast a modest growth of just 10 percent for the export of vegetables and fruits for the full year, compared to the whopping growth rate of 42.4 percent recorded last year.

The country imported vegetables and fruits worth 1.57 billion USD in the 11-month period, up by 11.5 percent, mainly from Thailand (accounting for 41.3 percent of the revenue) and China (24.4 percent).

Experts said Vietnam’s participation in a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) was creating opportunities to expand vegetable and fruit exports to new markets and reduce the reliance on a single market.

Vietnam had significant potential to boost exports, and the target revenue of 10 billion USD in 2025 was within reach if the country could make a breakthrough in processing to increase product values. The industry was still weak in processing and preservation, experts said.

Statistics showed that around 80 percent of Vietnam’s fruits output was sold in the domestic market, mostly in the form of fresh produce.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, former director of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, said the export of vegetables and fruits faced two technical barriers: food safety and phytosanitation requirements.

It was critical to pay special attention to food safety and phytosanitation to boost exports as import markets are now more demanding, Hong said. Strengthening processing would help ensure stable export prices of vegetables and fruits by preventing prices from tumbling when output is abundant.

Hong said that organising production was an important phase, adding that one solution would be to enhance cooperation between farmers and firms to apply standards such as VietGAP and GlobalGAP in production and ensure quality control for exports.

Hong suggested the Government create preferential policies to create favourable conditions for firms to invest in processing vegetables and fruits.

Hong said investing in processing would increase the added value of vegetables and fruits and boost exports.

According to Dinh Cao Khue, Chairman of Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Company, the solution lies in developing large-scale plantation areas with huge volumes which must be associated with the building of processing plants.

Khue said it was also critical to apply advanced processing technologies to diversify products and enhance quality.

Nguyen Van Viet, director of the ministry’s Planning Department, said the ministry would continue to convert low-yield fields into cultivation areas for more efficient crops, including vegetables and fruits, and apply technologies that reduce costs while increasing output, quality, added value and competitiveness.

Nghi Son Economic Zone to be expanded

The Prime Minister has approved the expansion of the Nghi Son Economic Zone (EZ) in the central province of Thanh Hoa by 2035 with a vision to 2050.

Per the new master planning, the zone will encompass the entire area of Tinh Gia district (12 communes of the old Nghi Son economic zone and the remaining communes of Tinh Gia district); Nong Cong district’s Yen My, Cong Binh and Cong Chinh communes; and Thanh Tan, Thanh Ky and Yen Lac communes of Nhu Thanh district.

The expansion aims to turn the economic zone into a multi-sector industrial complex, with the focus on heavy and basic industries in tandem with constructing and effectively exploiting the Nghi Son seaport. Investors in the zone will enjoy special preferential mechanisms.

The zone is expected to become a driving force for the socio-economic development in the locality and the northern central region. It will be developed into a modern industrial service and tourism complex, with Nghi Son industrial city as its centre and Hai Ninh, Yen My and Thanh Tan as sustainable smart urban areas.

The Nghi Son EZ, established in mid-2006, is some 200 kilometres to the south of the capital city of Hanoi. It houses the Nghi Son seaport and the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex - the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. 

It has served as an important gateway to connect the northern Laos and northeastern Thailand with the national marine route via roads and Nghi Son port.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the provincial People’s Committee to announce the new planning, as well as organise the organisation of the scheme in line with current regulations.

South Africa – gateway for Vietnamese rice to Africa

South Africa is a promising market for Vietnamese rice exporters as it consumes about 850,000 tonnes of rice a year, said an official from Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). 

South Africa’s demand for rice is expected to rise in the context that its natural conditions are unfavorable for rice farming while the number of tourists and labourers from Asia, where rice is the main staple, coming to the country is on the rise, Tran Quoc Toan, deputy head of the MoIT’s Import and Export Department said.

Toan led a delegation to seek export markets for Vietnamese rice in South Africa from December 10-11. The trip is also part of trade promotion activities aiming to realise the target of improving trade between the two countries from present 1 billion USD to 1.5 billion USD in 2020 set by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visit to Vietnam in 2016. 

At a working session with the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on December 10, Toan said as the locomotive economy in Africa, South Africa serves as a gateway for Vietnamese rice exporters to access the wider African market.

He, therefore, suggested Vietnamese businesses to expand relations with international partners operating in South Africa. 

At the meeting, the official briefed South African participants on regulations regarding tax and customs procedures for rice exported to their country and rice distribution channels in the market. 

Madileke Ramushu, DTI Director of Asia Bilateral Relations, said South Africa always encourages and stands ready to create the best possible conditions for Vietnamese businesses to increase rice exports to the country.

It will help them to enter other markets in the continent, especially those in the South African Development Community with a total population of 650 million, he said. 

On this occasion, Madileke called on Vietnamese firms to help their South African partners to raise processed contents of their products delivered to Vietnam in order to improve their values. 

He also suggested Vietnamese enterprises invest in the processing sector in South Africa, thus promoting their products in Africa. 

While in South Africa, the Vietnamese delegation and the Vietnamese Embassy in the country joined hands with the DTI’s office in Johannesburg city to organise a workshop on rice export promotion in Vietnam.

PetroVietnam fulfills yearly production targets ahead of schedule

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) reported on December 10 that it has exploited over 11.31 million tonnes of crude oil, fulfilling this year’s target.

PetroVietnam has exerted efforts to achieve the goal in spite of decreasing reserves of major oil fields while new oil fields are small with low reserves. The group has also been put under strong pressure from the fluctuation in global oil prices and the urge of lowering cost per barrel.

By 3:00pm of December 11, the State-run firm is scheduled to extract a total of more than 13.22 million tonnes of crude oil both at home and overseas, reaching the yearly target 21 days ahead of schedule. 

As of 5:00pm of December 16, the company is likely to produce 9.6 billion cu.m of gas to attain this year’s goal 15 days ahead the schedule.

Along with oil and gas, the firm also enjoyed high production of other products, including 18.99 billion kWh of electricity, 1.477 million tonnes of nitrogenous fertilizer, and 8.53 million tonnes of petroleum.

From January-November, thanks to high output and higher oil prices than expected, total revenue of the group hit 542.34 trillion VND (23.32 billion USD), exceeding the target by 16.8 percent and surpassing the yearly plan by 2.2 percent.

The firm contributed 108.12 trillion VND (4.64 billion USD) to the State budget in the first 11 months, 46.7 percent higher than its target for the whole year.

Many member companies of the group have already completed their goals for the whole year. Specifically, the PetroVietnam Gas (PV GAS) posted revenue and after-tax profit of 66.3 trillion VND and 10.1 trillion VND, surpassing its targets by 12 percent and 57 percent respectively.

Binh Son Refinery (BSR) surpassed its targets by 33 percent and 50 percent in terms of revenue and after-tax profit to reach 103.9 trillion VND and 4.9 trillion VND respectively.

The PV GAS reported revenue of 66.3 trillion VND and after-tax profit of 10.1 trillion VND in the first 11 months of the year, surpassing its targets by 34 percent and 58 percent.

The PetroVietnam Insurance (PVI) and the PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertiliser Company (PVCFC) also surpassed their profit targets.

Deep processing needed to raise value of coffee: experts

To increase the value of coffee beans and gain higher economic profits, Vietnam should focus investment in the deep processing industry and in technical production solutions, said experts at an international seminar on sustainable development for the Vietnamese coffee sector.

The event was held on December 10 in Gia Nghia town in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, as part of the second Vietnam Coffee Day Festival, which is underway in the locality from December 9-12.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Truong Thanh Tung stated that the event offers a chance for experts, scientists, managers, entrepreneurs, and farmers to discuss measures to best develop Vietnamese coffee, from production, harvest and preservation to processing and consumption.

Participants stressed that Vietnam ranks second in the world in terms of coffee production and export (only behind Brazil), with the output of around 1.7 million tonnes a year. However, the country’s export value remains low and competitiveness is weak, as it mainly exports coffee beans.

According to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in recent years, there has been a shift from reducing the proportion of coffee beans for export to increasing the proportion of processing and exporting instant and ground roasted coffee.

Acting Director of the authority Nguyen Quoc Toan emphasised the need for Vietnam to raise the proportion of instant and ground roasted coffee from over 10 percent at present to 25 percent by 2020.

Attention should be paid to attracting investment in building ground roasted coffee processing plants with the capacity of at least 5,000 tonnes per year, and instant coffee ones with the capacity of at least 3,000 tonnes per year, Toan said.

He also suggested synchronously implementing solutions related to science-technology, dissemination, and market development.

At the seminar, many delegates underlined the importance of expanding the domestic market.

Deputy head of the Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association Do Ha Nam said that around 200,000 tonnes of coffee beans are consumed domestically each year, equal to 11.7 percent of total output.

Vietnam is striving for 30 percent of coffee consumed in the domestic market by 2030. It has also set the target of raising export turnover to 6 billion USD over the year and remaining the world’s second largest producer and exporter of coffee beans.

Ca Mau province strives to expand export markets

The southernmost province of Ca Mau has devised various measures, including boosting trade promotion activities, to expand and adjust the structure of its export markets, towards realising its target of earning 1.2 billion USD from exports in 2019.

The province has launched an action plan to develop the shrimp sector by 2025, aiming to turn it into the largest shrimp processing centre of the Mekong Delta region and the country in general.

In addition, it will continue a project to reform its agricultural sector towards improved quality, sustainability, and efficiency. 

Accordingly, Ca Mau will focus on the development of super intensive, eco-friendly, and high-tech shrimp farming models and the building of a shrimp farm of international standards for stable material export supply.

Local shrimp exporting firms are advised to invest more in advanced equipment and machinery, raise their processing capacity, and create new products, thus increasing the province’s competitiveness.

Local authorities have also worked to address difficulties facing businesses and create optimal conditions for them.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, Ca Mau is estimated to rake in 1.2 billion USD from exports this year, of which 1.17 billion USD will be made up of aquatic exports. 

The major markets for the province’s aquatic products include the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Canada, Australia, and the EU.

The output of frozen shrimp is likely to reach 137,100 tonnes in the reviewed period, equivalent to the year’s plan and up 5.9 percent year-on-year.

More than 1.1 million new workers registered in 11 months

Firms established in the past 11 months of this year registered the employment of 1.1 million workers, which showed a drop of 4.5 percent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). 

The GSO reported that the number of workers in industrial businesses rose by 3.1 percent as of November 1. Specifically, those in the non-State sector rose 4.1 percent, and those in foreign-invested firms up 3.4 percent. However, those in State enterprises fell by 0.9 percent. 

At the same time, the number of workers in the mining sector dropped by 1.2 percent, while those in manufacturing and processing increased by 3.4 percent. Those in power production and distribution and in water supply, and waste and wastewater treatment went up 0.1 percent and up 0.5 percent, respectively. 

Workers in industrial enterprises in Hai Phong upped 13 percent, in Ba Ria – Vung Tau (up 6.8 percent), Hanoi (up 5.8 percent), Dong Nai (up 4.5 percent), Hai Duong (up 2.6 percent), Quang Ninh (up 2.4 percent), Can Tho (up 1.1 percent), Ho Chi Minh City and Thai Nguyen (up 1 percent), Binh Duong (up 0.8 percent), and Quang Nam (up 0.5 percent). Meanwhile, the number was down in Vinh Phuc (by 2.7 percent), Bac Ninh (by 7.9 percent) and Da Nang (by 12.3 percent).

In November alone, the total number of workers in newly-established firms hit 92,300, down by 12.1 percent.

Binh Thuan: Over 30 percent of dragonfruit land under VietGap

Since the start of this year, more than 10,000 ha of dragonfruit in the south central coastal province of Binh Thuan has been grown under VietGap standards, an increase of over 500 ha compared to 2017 and accounting for about 30 percent of the province’s dragonfruit growing area.

Ham Thuan Nam district has the largest area of dragonfruit crop under VietGap standards with 6,000 ha, followed by Ham Thuan Bac and Bac Binh districts with 3,500 ha and 340 ha, respectively. 

Since 2009, a project towards the safe production of dragonfruit that meets VietGap standards has changed the farmers’ traditional cultivation methods and bolstered the application of science and technology in line with the current trend of development. 

Dragonfruit has become a prominent staple of Binh Thuan and raked in high export values, as the province is currently home to more than 29,000 ha of dragonfruit, yielding about 600,000 tonnes per year. 

The province’s agricultural sector will work with localities to raise public awareness of the importance and process of safe farm produce production, said the provincial Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

It will call on firms to purchase dragonfruit under VietGap standards and encourage the building of a value chain between businesses and dragonfruit growers.

Can Tho agriculture revenues greatly outgrow yearly target

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho’s agro-forestry-fishery output for this year is 13.5 trillion VND (578.5 million USD), 4.1 percent higher than the target, according to the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Agriculture accounted for around 8 trillion VND (342 million USD) of the value. Rice topped other crops in terms of value as output exceeded the target by 8.5 percent.

The city has 106 large-scale rice fields with a total area of 25,417ha and 18,000 farmers working together.

Almost 65 percent of the rice grown in the winter-spring and summer-autumn crops comprised of high-quality varieties.

The use of agricultural machinery like harvesters, establishing large-scale fields, planting high-quality rice varieties, and high rice prices this year have meant farmers enjoyed a profit margin of 40 percent.

The city’s 18,400ha of orchards produced 111,500 tonnes of fruits, 13.2 percent more than the city’s target, according to the department.

The city has built brands for its Xoan orange and Ido longan in O Mon district and Ha Chau Burmese grape in Phong Dien district.

The department has established concentrated growing areas for milk apple, mango and Ido longan based on Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards.

It has also acted as a link between companies and cooperatives, ensuring the former to buy all the latter’s products.

Besides growing fruit to VietGAP standards, the city has also developed eco-tourism around its orchards.

It has 15 orchards that offer eco-tourism, mostly in Phong Dien district. The model offers orchard owners 1.5-2 times the profit they get from their fruits.

The city has 5,000 buffaloes, oxen and cows, 130,000 pigs and 2 million poultry. It has instructed farmers to ensure their farms meet food safety standards and they protect the environment and produce high-quality products.

The city has developed aquaculture areas that apply VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards to produce high-quality produce for both domestic consumption and exports.

Farmers breed fish and other creatures to VietGAP standards in 215ha of aquaculture ponds.

However, climate change, unseasonable rains and prolonged hot weather have affected the yield and production efficiency, according to Nguyen Ngoc He, director of the department.

Individual and small of scale production, low labour skills in rural areas, unstable outlets and shortage of funding are major problems facing the agricultural sector, he said.

The city would continue to restructure agriculture next year, focusing on developing key products on a large scale and with high quality, he said.          

It would improve the operations of existing co-operatives, set up new co-operatives and would continue to act as a link between companies and co-operatives, he said.

The city would continue to teach farmers farming techniques and solicit investment in agriculture, especially processing and post-harvest preservation.


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