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BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 30/12

Hi-tech factory built in Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, Asia becomes top market of Vietnamese tourism, Forestry, aquatic exports expected to earn 20.5 billion USD in 2019, Experts predicts the future for 4.0 jobs

Vietnamese ride-hailing FastGo launched in Myanmar

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FastGo Viet Nam on Friday officially launched its service in Myanmar, becoming the first Vietnamese firm in the ride-hailing sector to expand its operations to foreign markets.

FastGo plans to introduce its services in big cities in Myanmar in 2019, with 2 million users and 100,000 drivers. In addition, it would continue to invest and call for investment to develop new services in the market.

It would maintain its competitive advantage of no commission for driver partners and not increasing fares during peak hours or adverse weather conditions.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nguyen Huu Tuat, FastGo’s general director said with the foundation of global technology and service operation know-how, FastGo would continue to invest to develop new services in Myanmar.

“We expect to become a part of Myanmar and a trusted partner,” he added.

He said the company chose to launch in Myanmar first as they have a partner – Asia Sun Group – which is one of the biggest groups in Myanmar in different sectors. In addition, Myanmar is a potential market with rapid development in e-commerce, tourism, retail and especially online economy. With a population of nearly 60 million, the demand for travel and transportation will soar for sure.

Last month, FastGo signed a memorandum of understanding with Asia Sun Group to launch its ride-hailing app in Myanmar.

Launched in June 2018, Vietnamese ride-hailing app FastGo has already achieved second largest position in number of users and rides served, available in 10 cities and provinces across the country and registered more than 40,000 driver-partners. Making use of that pace, FastGo was set to expand their footprint to many other Southeast Asian markets in 2019.

“FastGo does not only provide ride-hailing services. We aim at developing an on-demand multi-services eco-system including daily rides, travel, transportation, catering and personal finance. In the future, we will in turn launch these services in order to bring the best utilities for customer’s daily life,” he said.

It plans to expand to Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand after these two markets.

As part of the launch ceremony, FastGo also signed co-operation agreements with Mytel-Viettel’s brand in Myanmar to provide telecom and data services for its customers and partners and Capital Insurance for insurance services for its riders.

Improved business climate helps economy     

The Vietnamese economy grew 7.08 per cent in 2018, the highest growth rate for the past 11 years, fuelled by an improved business climate, positive economic structure transformation and impressive exports, the latest updates from the General Statistics Office (GSO) revealed.

GSO’s General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said at the conference on Thursday that the economy had a very impressive year with record growth of the agro-forestry-fishery sector, new firms, foreign tourist arrivals, disbursed foreign direct investment and trade surplus.

The Vietnamese economy scale reached VND5.535 quadrillion (US$240 billion) with GDP per capita at $2,587, up by $198 over 2017, according to GSO.

Of note, the economic growth quality also improved significantly, Lam said.

The total factor productivity (TFP), which measures the contribution of supply-side production factors to economic growth, contributed 43.5 per to GDP growth and averaged 43.29 per cent in the 2016-18 period, much higher than the average of 33.58 per cent of the 2011-15 period. Labour productivity was estimated at $4,522, up by $346 over the previous year.

The incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) (the additional capital required to increase one unit of output) receded from 6.11 in 2017 to 5.95 in 2018, reflecting that capital efficiency improved, Lam said.

In overall GDP growth, the agro-forestry-fishery sector contributed 8.7 per cent, the industry and construction sector 48.6 per cent and the services sector 42.7 per cent.

The country ran a record surplus of $7.2 billion in 2018, of which, the domestic sector posted a trade deficit of $25.6 billion and the foreign-invested sector a trade surplus of $32.8 billion (including crude oil).

However, the export growth of the domestic sector was higher than the foreign-invested sector, Lam said, citing statistics that the export growth of the former was 15.9 per cent, higher than 12.9 per cent of the latter.

Regarding foreign direct investment (FDI), despite a fall of 13.9 per cent in registered capital to $25.57 billion, the disbursed capital reached a record of $19.1 billion, up by 9.1 per cent over 2017, statistics showed.

According to Lam, the improved business climate and positive results of the economic structure transformation were major drivers for economic growth in 2018.

Lam added that the economic growth momentum would continue in 2019 and the National Assembly’s economic growth target at 6.8 per cent could be achieved.

Lam said that Viet Nam needed to focus on improving its business climate and hastening administrative procedures to create favourable conditions for businesses and reviewing the legal system for adjustments to effectively implement new-generation free trade agreements. In addition, the country should also attach special attention to promoting the application of advanced technologies.

Inflation target fulfilled

Viet Nam’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.54 per cent, fulfilling the National Assembly’s target of keeping CPI at below 4 per cent in 2018.

GSO’s statistics showed that CPI dropped by 0.25 per cent over the previous month.

Significant drops in fuel prices dragged down the CPI in December.

In the domestic market, petrol prices were reduced twice in December with a total decrease of VND1,830 per litre for Ron A95 and VND1,840 for biofuel E5. On average, petrol prices dropped by 10.77 per cent against November. Drops in fuel prices made transportation services prices fall by 4.88 per cent in December.

Gas prices also fell by 9.64 per cent.

Transportation and housing and building materials were the only two categories in 11 categories of the CPI product basket to see drops in prices in December.

Core inflation (excluding food, fresh foodstuffs, energy, healthcare and education services) rose 1.48 per cent in 2018, fulfilling the target of capping the index at below 1.6 per cent, reflecting the effectiveness and stability of the monetary policies, GSO said. 

HCM City sets high targets for 2019     

HCM City targets 8-8.2 per cent growth for its industrial sector in 2019, according to its Department of Industry and Trade.

Its four key sectors -- food processing, chemical-rubber, mechanical engineering, and information technology – are expected to grow at marginally higher rates.

The city also targets 12 per cent growth in retail sales of goods and services and 11 per cent growth in exports.

Speaking at a meeting on Thursday to review the performance of the industrial and trading sector this year and set tasks for 2019, Pham Thanh Kien, the department’s director, said the sector had met all the targets set by the city government.

Industrial sector growth was estimated at 8.15 per cent while the four key sectors had grown at a likely 9.25 per cent.

Retail sales were worth VND1.045 quadrillion (US$45.08 billion), an increase of 13.2 per cent.

Exports had grown at 7.8 per cent to $38.32 billion.

Industrial growth had been robust with many new projects becoming operational.

The target was to restructure industry to increase the ratio of manufacturing and processing and reducing that of outsourcing and assembling.

The sector would focus on comprehensive industrial production to gradually create branded and competitive products for the regional and world markets.

To achieve the targets, his department would implement comprehensive measures with a focus on working closely with the HCM City Union of Business Associations, business groups and relevant agencies and departments to resolve difficulties faced by businesses.

Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the city had set an economic growth target of 8.3-8.5 per cent, which would require the industrial and trade sector and others to make more efforts.

He suggested the sector should restructure to become more compact and efficient and must give top priority to nurturing and developing businesses, and creating a favourable environment for them to grow.

Also at the meeting, the city Department of Industry and Trade announced a list of 56 industrial and supporting industries products from 36 enterprises that meet the criteria for being designated as “typical industrial products of 2018”.

They are high value-added, environmentally-friendly products with innovative designs meeting domestic and foreign market demands.

Of the 56, the engineering and electricity sector accounts for 21, followed by rubber-plastics and food processing with 12 each, garment and textile with six, footwear with four and electronics and information and technology with one.

According to Nguyen Phuong Dong, the department’s deputy director, publicising the list of products is aimed at honouring high-quality products for their contribution to the city’s industrial development and economic restructuring.

The selection of typical products has also encouraged enterprises to focus on innovation. 

S Korea toughens pesticide rules     

In 2019 South Korea will toughen rules related to use of pesticides for agricultural products it imports, and Viet Nam is expected to be affected.

With the advent of the Viet Nam – South Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2015, it has become much easier for Vietnamese agricultural and seafood products to enter the Korean market.

But the new regulations could change things since Viet Nam still uses many types of pesticides in key export products such as coffee, peanut, cashew, and fruits that it has not registered with South Korea.

Korea has approved a list of 370 kinds of pesticides and all imported agricultural products are carefully checked when they land in its ports.

According to the Korean Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), imports of foods have increased sharply and authorities have to tighten oversight.

In 2016 the country unveiled a pesticides list to improve food safety, applying it now to tropical fruits and various seeds, and it will apply to all agricultural products from the beginning of 2019.

KOTRA also reported that in 2015 – 17 many Vietnamese products were refused entry into South Korea because of high pesticide content or use of unapproved pesticides.

To find a solution, Vietnamese authorities strengthened their ties with their Korean counterparts.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department has worked with the Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency to supervise processing of dragon fruit and mango before exporting to that country.

Viet Nam has also provided all information about star apple, longan, litchi, and rambutan to the agency.

“To help Vietnamese enterprises export agricultural products to South Korea, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has made regulations for the registration, manufacturing, trading, and usage of pesticides more stringent and set up propagation models to promote biological pesticides, targeting 30 per cent use of biological pesticides by 2020,” Bui Thanh Huong of the Plant Protection Department told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.

“The Department has stepped up oversight of the use of pesticides and provides companies with information about new food safety regulations in importing nations.”

Vinatex targets export turnover up     

Viet Nam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) posted revenue of nearly VND48.7 trillion (US$2.08 billion) and pre-tax profit of VND1.53 trillion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 6.6 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.

The statement was made by Cao Huu Hieu, managing director of Vinatex, at a conference held by the group on Thursday in Ha Noi to review its operations in 2018 and set plans for 2019.

In 2018, Vinatex achieved an industrial production value of VND46.1 trillion, an increase of 3 per cent compared to the year’s plan and up 9.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

The group’s export turnover is estimated at US$3.05 million, exceeding the plan by 2.3 per cent for an increase of 10.9 per cent against 2017. Especially, profit of its parent company increased by 35 per cent year-on-year.

Hieu attributed these positive results to the transfer of high quality orders and a series of Vinatex projects invested in the 2015-16 period, such as Phu Hung fibre plant (Hue), Nam Dinh fibre plant and Phu Cuong fibre plant (Dong Nai).

The three projects that Vinatex directly poured capital into, till date, have exceeded the loss point before the approval time (after three years of investment), so the parent company’s profitability increased significantly.

Notably, if there was no trade war between the US and China, according to Hieu, these fibre projects "would have been even more successful", because most of these factories have completed the whole year’s target in the first nine months of 2018.

“In the last three months of 2018, the fibre market was gloomy; fibre factories were profitable but not as expected and affected by objective factors. In this period, yarn enterprises still have to wait for opportunities next year," Hieu said.

Hieu emphasised that Vinatex had focused on the quality of orders, customer satisfaction, and striving to keep its position among Viet Nam’s leading manufacturers. At the same time, the group focused on upgrading equipment and devices in line with international standards so that the products can achieve higher accuracy.

In addition, Vinatex boosted labour productivity, increasing employee income and attracting a large number of workers. The group also selects difficult orders that require high technology to minimise fluctuations that may come to businesses when the general market is in trouble, Hieu added.

In 2019, Vinatex strives to increase export turnover by 6 to 8 per cent compared to 2018. Besides, the group also targets to increase industrial production value by 5 per cent, revenue by 5-7 per cent and profit up 12 per cent, respectively. 

Tourists to Binh Thuan likely to number 40,000 during New Year holidays

The south central coastal province of Binh Thuan expects to welcome 40,000 visitors during the New Year holidays, which runs from December 29 to January 1.

Besides foreign tourists from Russia, the Republic of Korea, Germany and Finland, the province is forecast to host a large number of domestic travellers who come for camping and organising year-end parties.

In a bid to ensure safety for holidaymakers, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has enhanced inspections on tourism service activities, particularly in key tourist sites like Mui Ne, La Gi and Ham Thuan Nam. Also, it has strictly controlled food safety and environmental hygiene.

Furthermore, due attention has been paid to social order at historical relic sites and many other places. In case of any incident, visitors should contact the Binh Thuan Tourism Promotion Information Centre via hot line 0623.608222 and 0623.810801.

As tourism is enjoying the peak season of the year, tourism service providers have worked to organise a wide range of cultural activities, including art performances to welcome the New Year, performance of Cham ethnic group’s traditional music, Gala Dinner, Western Europe cuisine festival, programmes to showcase traditional weaving and pottery of Cham ethnic people, among others.

The province hopes to receive 5.7 million visitors for the whole 2018, a jump of 12 percent from last year, including 670,000 foreigners. 

Total earnings from tourism services are predicted to surge 18.8 percent to 12.8 trillion VND (550.9 million USD).

Phu Quoc island’s pearl-breeding project a success

An oyster breeding project in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang which is part of larger effort to preserve and regenerate natural aquatic resources on Phu Quoc island has seen positive results, according to the Phu Quoc Reserve Management Board.

The project, which was approved by the provincial People’s Committee in 2016 and will last for 20 years, is being implemented on Hon Vang island in Phu Quoc district’s Hon Thom commune by the Phu Quoc Reserve and  private enterprise Ngoc Hien Pearl.

In the project’s first phase from 2016 to this year, more than 2.4 million gold-lipped oysters were released into a pilot breeding area in Hon Vang. The oysters have adapted well to the breeding environment and have grown rapidly.

The breeding of gold-lipped oysters has helped regenerate natural aquatic species and diversify the ecosystem. High-value aquatic species like painted sweetlip, red grouper, sea urchin and commercial top shell have appeared in large numbers in the breeding area.

In addition, coral has developed well with diverse species, mostly hard coral.

The first phase of the project costs 10 billion VND (430,000 USD), including fees to build small stilt houses in the sea for monitoring the breeding area, buying buoy marks to identify the breeding area, and patrolling the breeding area.

An additional 42 million gold-lipped oysters will be released for breeding in the first three years of the project’s second phase.

District agencies will also speak to locals about the value of protection and regeneration of natural aquatic resources.   

Quang Trong Thao, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the project’s success was expected to attract investors to pour money into protecting and regenerating natural aquatic resources, including sea turtles, sea horses and small giant clams.

The regeneration of aquatic resources will help develop the district’s marine economy and tourism, he added.

The district was the first place in the southern region to breed oysters to harvest pearls, which has been done for about 30 years in floating cages in the sea.

Vietnam Airlines launches HCM City-Van Don route

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on December 30 opened a new air route connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Van Don international airport in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh, which officially became operational on the same day. 

This is one of the important contents in the strategic cooperation agreement between Vietnam Airlines and Quang Ninh province. 

The first flight on the route used a Boeing 787 wide-body plane, departing from Tan Son Nhat international airport at 7:20 and landing safely at the Van Don international airport at 09:25 on the same day.

Duong Tri Thanh, General Director of Vietnam Airlines, said the route is part of Vietnam Airlines' strategic plan to expand its domestic flight networks and develop a tourism axis in the northern coastal region.

In 2019, Vietnam Airlines will research and work with the local authorities and the Van Don  international airport to build programmes on attracting foreign tourists, especially those from the Republic of Korea, Japan and China. 

With the frequency of one flight per day, the Ho Chi Minh City-Van Don air route is operated by Airbus A321 aircraft in line with four-star international service standards. Flights depart from the Tan Son Nhat international airport at 14:00 and from the Van Don airport at 16:45 with an estimated flight time of two hours and five minutes.

The route is hoped to enhance connection between the south and the northeast region, meeting the demand of tourism and trade exchange between  the southern economic hub of HCM City with Quang Ninh province and adjacent localities, while meeting the growing demand of cargo transportation when Van Don officially becomes a special economic zone in the future.

Vietnam Airlines earns pre-tax profit of nearly 2 trillion VND

The national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has reported that its revenues in 2018 are estimated to hit 73.3 trillion VND (over 3.1 billion USD), meeting 99.8 percent of its set plan.

The carrier’s pre-tax profit is estimated at 1.96 trillion VND (84.3 million USD), 0.04 percent higher than the set plan.

In the year, Vietnam Airlines operated 154,000 flights with over 340,000 flying hours, meeting 93 percent and 97 percent of the set plan.

It transported 22 million passengers, equivalent to the figure of 2017, meeting 91 percent of the set plan, and approximately 350,000 cargoes, accomplishing the yearly plan.

The carrier’s OTP departures hit 88.5 percent, a 0.5 point higher than the set goal while OTP arrivals reached 80 percent, meeting the set goal.

Experts predicts the future for 4.0 jobs

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As Industry 4.0 takes hold, one leading labour expert has predicted how the workforce of the future will be divided.

Employment expert Le Quang Trung, believes the highest proportion of people in the workforce will be in personal services and sales (31.62 percent) followed by workers in manual job (26.5 percent) then skilled craftsmen (12.47 percent) and technical workers (12.42 percent next year.

Trung, Deputy Director of the Employment Department, at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) was speaking at an online discussion organised by the Government Portal (chinhphu.vn) in Hanoi on December 28.

He said recruitment plan for 2019 would continue to increase.

Answering online questions, Trung said with the positive shift of the economy, Vietnam’s was forecast to continue growing in 2019. The labour market would be shifted with high-skilled workers replacing simple labourers, meaning quality would improve.

According to the trend of Industry 4.0, some industries with great demand, (including technology) are developing at high speed, increasing the demand for staff.

But jobs such as printing technician, machinery assemblers and operators, irrigation engineers, construction engineers, food processors will be difficult to fill.

At the discussion “Labour and employment in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Trung said with the general development of the country’s economy, the labour market had been developing towards modernisation and market orientation.

“The legal framework, and labour market policies have been gradually improved,” he said.

“As a result, labourers’ income and wages improved, labour productivity and competitiveness of the workforce also increased.”

Thanks to the implementation of new policies and mechanisms promoting job creation and market development, the MoLISA reported as of September 2018, the unemployment rate at urban areas was 3.1 percent (against the target of below 4 percent proposed by socio-economic development plan).

The proportion of workers in the agriculture-forestry-fishery sector decreased from 50 percent in 2010 to 38.3 percent in 2018.

However, Vietnam’s labour market still has challenges, according to Le Quang Trung.

Labourers mainly work in agricultural areas with low productivity. Basically, Vietnam is still a market with a surplus of agricultural and rural labourers.

The low job quality has reflected on the low productivity, the high rate of labourers working in vulnerable areas (56.5 percent of labourers in the country is working in informal jobs).

With low income from employment, a large proportion of labourers do not have access to social insurance, unemployment insurance and occupational safety policy.

At present, only 29 percent of the labour force in working-age is covered with compulsory social insurance.

The country has nearly 600,000 enterprises, of which 90 percent are small-and-medium enterprises.

About 96 percent of small-and medium enterprises are employing under 30 employees, 88 percent employing less than 10 employees.

The production size of an enterprise was small and it was certain that its capacity was limited, as a result, the labour productivity, workers’ income was low, and their jobs were hardly sustainable, Trung said. 

Quang Ninh province’s staples to be introduced in Hanoi

A wide range of staples in the northern province of Quang Ninh will be nudged closer to consumers in Hanoi at the “One Community One Product” (OCOP) fair which is scheduled at Big C Thang Long Super Market from January 11-15, just before Tet, the traditional New Year of Vietnam.

The 62-stall fair will feature various products, from Co To squid, Tan An egg, Van Don orange to Tien Yen chicken and Mong Cai gio (sausage).

At a press conference held in Hanoi on December 28, a representative from the provincial Department of Industry and Trade said that this is the first time the fair has be organised outside the province.

Bringing the fair to Hanoi this year, Quang Ninh hopes to offer a chance for agribusinesses and cooperatives to directly introduce their OCOP products to consumers, thereby improving their products’ design and packaging to meet broader market demand. The event will also be an opportunity for them to raise production capacity, expand market access and boost sales.

The Quang Ninh OCOP programme has been so far participated by 44 enterprises, 64 cooperatives and 56 business households. It has provided employment for more than 3,500 locals with a monthly income between 5 million and 9 million VND (213 – 385 USD).

Since the final quarter of 2018, the province has held a host of three-day-per-week OCOP events across Dong Trieu, Quang Yen, Hai Ha, Mong Cai, and Cam Pha to support local participants of the programme in expanding their markets to traditional wet markets, industrial zones, and residential areas.

In 2013, Quang Ninh was the first province in Vietnam to pilot the programme, which was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2008, following the model of Japan’s “One Village, One Product” (OVOP) drive and Thailand’s “One Town, One Product” (OTOP). Any OCOP brand will be registered as intellectual property and printed on all products.

Concluding the first stage of the programme from 2013-2016, Quang Ninh developed 210 OCOP products. More than 180 economic establishments and households joined the programme.

A chain of OCOP points of sale have been open in all the 14 districts, towns and cities with product values up 20-30 percent.

During the second stage, the province will strive to have 250 high-quality OCOP products by 2020, including at least 12 provincial-level products, six others qualified to join the national value chain, and one to two competitive enough in the global market.

OCOP products brought approximately 239 billion VND (10.23 million USD) to Quang Ninh in the first six months of 2018, up 7.4 percent year-on-year. The revenue resulted in a profit of 27.7 billion VND (1.18 million USD), an annual increase of 10 percent against the same period last year. 

Vinh Phuc raises quality of tourist services to attract more visitors

The tourism sector of the northern province of Vinh Phuc has thrived in recent years thanks to the locality’s infrastructure development policies.

This year, Vinh Phuc estimates to welcome 5.2 million tourists, including 40,200 foreigners, higher than the figures of 3.8 million holiday-makers and 28,000 foreigners of 2016.

The province set targets of serving 6 million visitors, including 43,500 foreigners, and earning 1.91 trillion VND (82 million USD) in 2019.

To that end, local leaders have directed authorised agencies to soon complete infrastructure, and increase the quality of tourism services to better serve tourists, especially during the New Year and lunar New Year (Tet) holidays.

Business units of tourism services were required to publicise their prices, intensify food safety and hygiene, and ensure security and order.

Bordering Hanoi capital city, Vinh Phuc has become an ideal destination for short holidays. Its tourist attractions include Tay Thien site, Tam Dao National Park, Flamingo Dai Lai, and FLC Vinh Phuc resorts.

Forestry, aquatic exports expected to earn 20.5 billion USD in 2019

Vietnam’s forestry and aquatic product exports are expected to rake in 20.5 billion USD for the agricultural sector in 2019. 

The export of forestry products is hoped to bring home 10.5 billion USD, while aquatic products are expected to earn 10 billion USD in the year. 

According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the forestry export value was 9.3 billion USD in 2018, up 15.9 percent year-on-year, accounting for over 23 percent of the total export revenue of the agricultural sector. 

Of the number, the export of wood and wooden products reached 8.78 billion USD, marking up 95 percent of the value. 

Notably, the trade surplus of the forestry sector hit 6.99 billion USD, or 85 percent of the agricultural sector’s trade surplus. 

The US, Japan, the European Union (EU), China and the Republic of Korea remained key importers of Vietnamese forestry products, accounting for 87.33 percent of the total export turnover. 

VNFOREST Deputy General Director Pham Van Dien said the sector targets a growth rate of between 5.5-6.0 percent in production value in 2019, while the export value of wooden and forestry products will reach 10.5 billion USD, 1.2 billion USD higher than that of 2018. 

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam is likely to increase the output of material timber by 1.5 million cu.m in 2019. 

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said Vietnam and the EU officially signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA-FLEGT) on October 19, 2018 after six years of negotiation. 

This was considered as a major turning point, contributing to forming a sustainable forestry economic sector, he noted. 

Meanwhile, although facing many difficulties in dealing with the European Commission (EC)'s warning against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the fishery sector still aims to achieve an export turnover of 10 billion USD in 2019. 

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, to realise this goal, the MARD and the Directorate of Fisheries need to strictly perform the EC’s recommendations, and increase the value and promote the export of tra fish, tuna, and shrimps, which brought high export turnover in 2018. 

To increase the export, attention should be paid to improving the quality of products and building the brand name, said Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). 

However, Nam also pointed out challenges facing the sector in 2019 and next years as European and American countries are applying import control programmes and increasing trade safeguard measures. 

To support domestic enterprises, the sector should focus on efforts to remove the EC’s “yellow card” warning against Vietnamese seafood, and sustainably develop catfish and brackish shrimp aquaculture using hi-technologies.

Asia becomes top market of Vietnamese tourism

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Asian countries are the major market of Vietnam’s tourism sector in 2018 with over 12 million departures, up 23.7 percent over last year, statistics show.

An upturn was also seen in many other markets, including Europe with 8.1 percent, America 10.6 percent, Oceania 4 percent, and Africa 19.2 percent.

According to the General Statistics Office, the country welcomed about 15.5 million international visitors in 2018, an increase of 19.9 percent or 2.6 million over 2017. 

HCM City led the country once again with 36.5 million visits, including 7.5 million foreign and 29 million domestic. Hanoi welcomed about 28 million visits, including 5.5 million foreign.

Notably, the northern province of Quang Ninh emerged as an attractive new destination this year. It attracted 12.5 million visits, including 5.3 million foreign, surpassing the central city of Da Nang with 7.7 million, including nearly 3 million international visitors.

Tourism revenue is estimated at 620 trillion VND (26.5 billion USD) in 2018, an increase of nearly 110 trillion VND against the previous year. 

During the year, 380 new travel firms received international business licenses, while 4,678 individuals got new tour guide licenses. Currently, Vietnam has 28,000 accommodation facilities with over 550,000 rooms, a rise of more than 2,400 facilities against 2017.

For 2019, the tourism sector targets 103 million visits, including 18 million foreign. The sector is determined to complete the goal of becoming a spearhead economic sector one year ahead of the schedule.

Hi-tech factory built in Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long

TOWA Industrial Vietnam Co. Ltd. has begun construction of a high-tech factory to produce precision machine parts at Hoa Phu Industrial Park in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long.

The 342 billion VND (14.7 million USD) TOWA Southern Star Factory project is expected to help attract other high-tech investors to the region.

The project matches the province’s ambition to transform its industrial structure from traditional to technology-based to help it develop sustainably.

It will produce high precision machine parts using environmentally-friendly technologies. TOWA supplies products to many famous brand names such as Juki, Brother, Komatsu, and Kubota.

The plant will also use the latest technologies for waste treatment.   

It is being designed and built by Thien An Design, Construction and Trading Co. Ltd., which recently built the main operation building, air traffic control building, air traffic control tower, and airport apartment building at Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh province, Ca Mau Gas Processing Plant and some factories for foreign investors like Ajinomoto, Acecook, Wacoal, Fuji Impulse, and YKK.

Ha Nam pledges favourable conditions for RoK businesses

The northern province of Ha Nam is willing to welcome foreign businesses, including those from the Republic of Korea, to invest in the province and will create the best environment for investors.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Truong Quoc Huy made the statement at a working session with a delegation from the Council of the Republic of Korea’s Gyeonggi province on December 28.

At the event, the official informed the guests about the locality’s socio-economic development and investment environment. Ha Nam has so far zoned off eight industrial zones. In addition to industrial development, the province has stepped up investment attraction and high-tech and clean agriculture development. 

It also aims to become a high-quality trade and service centre with the development of quality health care facilities, a university city and tourism in combination with trade and services.

He expressed his wish that after the visit, the Gyeonggi delegation will help Ha Nam in promoting its investment climate to investors in the RoK and Gyeonggi province in particular in the fields of support industry, processing and manufacturing in industrial zones.

In addition, Gyeonggi province should support Ha Nam in organising investment promotion activities in the RoK and Gyeonggi as well as cultural exchanges between the two localities, he added.

For his part, Jang Hyun-guk, who led the Gyeonggi delegation, said in the coming time, the provincial Council will enhance economic and cultural exchange activities towards setting up a long-term cooperation with Ha Nam province.

At the working session, the two sides also discussed support for vocational training in Ha Nam province, especially professionals that meet the demand of Korean firms; measures to ensure the safety of foreigners living and working in the Vietnamese locality; the development of hi-tech agriculture; and economic structure transfer.

The RoK now leads foreign investors in Ha Nam with 110 projects, including 13 invested by companies from Gyeonggi province. All Gyeonggi projects are in support industry and operating effectively.

Consumption Promotion Fair opens in HCMC     

Around 220 businesses are displaying a wide range of products at the 2018 Consumption Promotion Fair which opened in HCM City on Thursday.

They are from various sectors like food and beverages, garments, footwear, handicrafts, furniture, cosmetics and electronics.

To run until January 1, the fair will also feature art performances every night with popular musicians and comedians.

There will be product launches and discounts of up to 49 per cent.

According to the organisers, the fair aims to stimulate demand for consumer goods in HCM City and neighbouring provinces during the New Year holiday.

It also offers enterprises the opportunity to display new products and promote their brands as part of the "Vietnamese give priority to using Vietnamese goods" campaign.

Organised by the HCM City Centre of Supporting Industries Development and Thien Viet Advertising and Commercial Promotion Joint Stock Company, the fair will also wrap up the city’s 2018 Promotion Month that began in September.

The expo is on at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in District 11. 

Automechanika HCM City expo to return     

Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City, a regional trade fair for the automotive service industry, will return for a third year next February with 380 international exhibitors taking part.

The expo with 10,200sq.m of exhibition space is expected to attract 8,600 trade visitors.

On display will be auto parts, electronics, systems, accessories, customisation, repairs and maintenance options, dealer and workshop management, car care, digital solutions, tyres, and others.

According to the organisers, the show’s sideline events have been tailored to complement “Truck Competence” and will shed light on the commercial vehicle market in Viet Nam.

There will be a car drifting show and conferences meant for fleet managers, operators, logistics service providers, public transportation, vehicle manufacturers, and leasing and rental companies.

The event will cover the use of Big Data in the commercial vehicle industry to save costs and increase workflow efficiencies by monitoring vehicles and tyres in real time.

Viet Nam is one of the most dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, with GDP forecast to rise by 6.6 per cent next year.

Favourable policies have recently been implemented by the Government, which have created more and more opportunities for international companies to enter the Vietnamese auto market. Companies have capitalised on local industry incentives to supply and manufacture vehicles in Viet Nam. 

For these reasons, a number of opportunities have risen for the wider automotive sphere to tap into the region’s prosperity.

In light of this, organisers of Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City expect over 60 per cent of the show’s exhibitors in 2019 to showcase their commercial vehicle-related products, many of which will be categorised under the new Truck Competence.

Chong Tze Liang, managing director of AFI Brake, a Malaysian company which specialises in brake pads for both passenger and commercial vehicles, said: “The demand for commercial vehicles and advanced logistic operations is increasing in Viet Nam, as is the demand for cross-country travel.

“Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City allows manufacturers to invest in appropriate products for commercial vehicles, such as ours, which both meet international standards of safety and reliability.”

Organised by Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd, Chan Chao International Co Ltd and Yorkers Exhibition Service Vietnam, the expo will be held from February 28 to March 2 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre. 


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