BUSINESS NEWS 10/6

Aquatic product exports decrease in five months

BUSINESS NEWS 10/6

The aquatic export turnover was estimated at 3.2 billion USD in the first five months of 2019, a year-on-year decline of 1.7 percent, according the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Japan, the US, China and the Republic of Korea were the four leading importers of Vietnamese seafood in January – April, accounting for 53.7 percent of the sector’s total export turnover.

Strong growth was recorded in Mexico (up 31.7 percent), Malaysia (up 22.7 percent), the Philippines (up 17.9 percent), and Canada (up 10 percent).

In the reviewed time, the country imported 735 million USD worth of seafood, up 5.3 percent against the same period last year.

In 2018, Vietnam earned 9 billion USD from exporting aquatic products, a year-on-year increase of 8.4 percent.

HCMC authorities to issue over $1.7 million loan on creating jobs

People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has decided to issue VND40 billion (over $1.7 million) loan on creating jobs in 2019.

The amount is expected to create 1,600 more jobs for city-dwellers of 1,333 households especially those who live in district 8 with 100 households, Binh Tan District with 83 households and other districts 12 , Binh Thanh, Go Vap, Tan Binh, Thu Duc, Binh Chanh, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, and Nha Be.

The Committee also assigned the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies’ branch in HCMC to provide loans to job creators and the Department of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs, the Department of Planning and Investment, the Department of Finance and people’s committees in districts supervise how they use the money monthly or every six month and annually to report to the Committee.

FDI inflows pour strongly into HCM city’s real estate market

Ho Chi Minh City attracted US$ 2.77 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital under the form of granting investment registration certificates, capital contribution, purchase of shares and domestic pooling of investment in the first five months, an increase of 49 percent over the same period of last year.

The increase marked the positive sign of the city economic development.

451 foreign direct investment projects were granted investment certificates with total capital of US$ 472.16 million, an increase of 22.6 percent of newly registered projects and 9.2 percent in term of investment capital over the same period of last year.

Real estate sector had the most investment capital, following the fields of professional activities and science and technology, wholesale and retail, repair of automobiles, motorcycles, motorbikes, other motor vehicles, processing and manufacturing industries, information and communication.

Diversified investment capital in the real estate sector came from British Virgin Islands’ enterprises who poured the largest investment capital, followed by enterprises from South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Among the projects that had to change the certificates of investment registration, investment licenses and newly- registered investment, 102 licensed projects in previous years have been adjusted investment capital with total capital of US$ 214.54 million.

In addition, the city also allowed 1,719 foreign investors carrying out procedures related to capital contribution, purchase of shares and rebuying the capital contribution of domestic enterprises with registered capital of US$ 2.08 billion.

HCM City chairman requires to clarify time to complete projects

Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday urged his deputies to specify deadline and roadmap for public projects and asked agencies to further take the initiative in carrying out the projects at a meeting on socioeconomic conditions in May and the first five months of 2019.

Investors have been interested in some projects but the city’s implementation has been very slow. So he prompted relevant sides to drastically take action to prevent projects from long lasting or even lasting endlessly as their implementation plays a very important role in boosting the city’s socioeconomic development.

In order to speed up the projects’ progress, from now on the working group on investment in the city which Mr. Phong is leader of will meet weekly. Aside from that, agencies must drastically work and coordinate with each other to speed up the projects’ progress.

He again talked about removal of Sen Hong stage, bus stations and motorbike parking lots as well as exploitation of the underground part at September 23 Park. Previously the chairman assigned the Department of Construction to report about these works before April 30 this year but a month had gone by without completion time specification.

Director of the Department of Construction Le Hoa Binh said that the agency has suggested the city People’s Committee to arrange a meeting for it to specifically report about the issue.

At the meeting, Mr. Phong said that currently HCMC eliminates about 8,900 tons of household waste a day excluding industrial and medical waste. For a long time, the city has majorly buried these waste.

In a conference recently organized to call for investment into waste to energy, many businesses were found elated. However the city has not selected any investor a year after the conference.

Explaining the lateness, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment blamed for unreasonable waste treatment price and strict and time consuming bidding process. The process still takes more than 40-50 days after streamlining for getting stuck with common regulations, which cause the city unable to further shorten the investor selection time.

The agency is scheduled to reopen bid invitation in July this year and find investors in the second quarter next year.

Construction materials all jack up

After power price went up, construction materials such as sand, steel and cement concurred to jack up.

Prices of sand were reportedly different on various areas; it fluctuates around VND300,000 ($12.8) per cubic meter, 20 percent- 30 percent higher than that in the beginning of the year because there was a decrease in supply while demand remained the same and transportation cost also went up.

Simultaneously, prices of steel in the country increased by VND100,000-VND200,000 a ton.

Presently, prices of cold rolled steel 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm fluctuated at VND14.5-14.84 million per ton whereas steel pillars at VND14.5-15 million a ton.

According to the Vietnam Steel Association, power price makes 8-9 percent in steel production cost. Additionally, high iron ore also triggered steel price to hike.

Prices of cement also hiked by VND50,000-70,000 a ton.

Nghe An closes ten mineral mines

The People's Committee of Nghe An province has just decided to close nine mines of stone for construction and one iron ore mine in district of Quy Hop.

The Provincial People’s Committee licensed exploitation certificates of ten mines for nine enterprises in period of 2004 - 2009.

The closure aims to hand over the mining areas to local authorities to serve land management, protection of unexploited mineral resources and adopt relevant tasks based on regulation.

HCM City’s retail, service revenues reach US$ 19.8 bln in first five months of 2019

According to a report from the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, the city earned VND 463,527 billion (US$ 19.8 billion) from retail sales of goods and service in the first five months of 2019, an increase of 12.3 percent over the same period of last year.

Of which, total retail sales and revenue of consumer service were estimated at VND 91,326 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) in May, up 0.9 percent from the previous month and 17.8 percent over the same period in 2018.

Total export turnover of goods was estimated at US$ 15.7 billion, a rise of 7.2 percent over the same period in 2018. The turnover was at US$ 14.8 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent over the same period of last year (excluding crude oil value).

The city’s export markets to some countries as the Philippines, Taiwan (China) and India remain fast growth while exporting to Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea is struggling a slowdown in the sectors of computers, electronic products, components and vegetables, etc.

In the period, the city’s import turnover of goods was estimated at US$ 19.8 billion, up 5.4 percent over the same period in 2018, focusing on computers, electronic products and components, chemicals, iron and steel, etc.

Vietnamese farm products to be displayed in France

A week of events showcasing Vietnamese agricultural products is scheduled to take place at the Rungis International Market in Paris, France from June 23 to July 2, according to the Ha Noi People's Committee.

The event will attract the participation of nearly 20 enterprises that will introduce typical and popular products of Viet Nam including fresh and dried fruits, seafood, vegetables, canned drinks, processed farm produce, spices, tea, coffee and cashew nuts.

The committee describes the week as an important trade promotion event which will enable firms to establish stable and long-term distribution channels for their products in France while promoting their goods to other European markets.

It will also be a chance for businesses from the two nations to explore new co-operation opportunities, the committee said.

Within the framework of the event, the “Vietnamese Product Days” will be held at Thanh Binh Jeune supermarket outlet. Vietnamese tourism and cuisine will also be introduced at a number of restaurants in France from June 28 to 30.

Vietnamese enterprises will be offered the opportunity to work with Distribution Leader Price SNC to connect with its distribution system in France.

They will also work with Semmaris, the company that manages the Rungis International Market, to implement a feasibility study on investing in a wholesale agricultural product market in Ha Noi following the Rungis model.

Exports of major farm produce earned Viet Nam US$7.7 billion in the past five months.

During the period, aquatic products also brought home $3.15 billion including $795 million from tra fish and $1.1 billion from shrimp.

Dat Xanh sells projects to sub-unit for nearly $63 million

Real estate firm Dat Xanh (HoSE: DXG) has sold stakes in four real estate and construction units for VND1.46 trillion (US$62.8 million).

Of the four deals, Dat Xanh decided to sell its entire 49.95 million shares in Thang Long Oil and Gas Investment and Construction Corp for nearly VND500 billion.

The real estate firm also offloaded its 24 million shares in subsidiary Vien Dong Land Investment JSC for VND238.8 billion.

In addition, Dat Xanh sold VND712.5 billion worth of capital in Sai Gon Riverside Investment Co Ltd.

The deals were announced on Tuesday.

The buyer is Ha An Real Estate Investment JSC.

Dat Xanh acquired Ha An Real Estate Investment JSC in August 2018.

After the deals are completed, Dat Xanh will start overhauling its portfolio so that each of its member companies can focus on one specific segment to maximise their resources.

Dat Xanh has recently announced it would issue nearly 77 million bonus shares for shareholders.

Every shareholder will receive 22 bonus shares for every 100 shares they own.

The company will also issue six million ESOP shares for employees and plans to raise VND874 billion by selling existing shareholders 87 million shares.

Capital raised from the share sale will be spent developing and resettling the Nam Rach Chiec residential area.

In 2018, Dat Xanh recorded VND4.64 trillion in total revenue, up 61 per cent year-on-year.

Of the figure, revenue from real estate brokering increased by 1.5 times from 2017 to VND2.42 trillion, accounting for 52 per cent of the total.

The company shares gained 1.1 per cent to end Wednesday at VND18,000.

Banks may assess pollution risks before granting loans

Banks will assess environmental pollution risks when granting loans to projects in some industries, according to a State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) draft regulation.

Under the regulation, which was drafted by the SBV and the International Finance Company (IFC), the industries include thermal power, paper and pulp, fabric dyeing, seafood processing and battery makers.

These industries have high levels of pollution and can easily cause negative impacts on people and the surrounding environment.

The regulation aims to implement a SBV scheme that targets enhancing the awareness and corporate responsibility of commercial banks about environmental protection and climate change response so as to direct their credit into eco-friendly projects and programmes.

Under the scheme, banks will have to gradually increase the ratio of loans to prioritised green industries and sectors.

They must also develop internal regulations on environmental and social risk management in their lending activities.

Climate change and environmental pollution are global problems. Therefore, investment, trading and consumption of green products is encouraged by the Government.

Considered a field with much potential, green credit is being promoted by banks, especially with real estate credit being tightened. Some banks have implemented credit programmes with priority given to high-tech agriculture, solar energy and environmentally friendly projects.

At HDBank, for example, besides financing VND7 trillion (US$300.4 million) to solar projects, the bank has also launched a VND10 trillion credit package for businesses operating in high-tech agriculture and clean agriculture across the country, with preferential interest rates of 1 percentage point lower than that of normal loans.

Nam A Bank, in conjunction with the Global Climate Partnership Funds (GCPF), has implemented its Green Credit Programme to finance production and business projects which feature environmental protection and socially friendly consumption, with preferential interest rates of about 5-6 per cent per year.

According to Tran Ngoc Tam, general director of Nam A Bank, this was the first step for Nam A Bank in the community project titled ‘I choose to live green’.

According to experts, amid a changing world economy, green credit is an inevitable evolution of the global financial industry. This is also an important field to promote sustainable development and realise Viet Nam’s green growth strategy.

Support industry grows with HCM City's help

BUSINESS NEWS 10/6



HCM City's preferential policies for the support industry in recent years has helped companies expand and secure contracts as suppliers with foreign-invested companies.

Nguyen Truong Bao, general director of Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in Nha Be District, said that many support enterprises have begun new projects in the park.

In March, the Le Tran Joint Stock Company started construction of a new factory to produce ceiling and wall frames, and Schindler Vietnam Co Ltd signed a land lease contract for 10,000sq.m to build a elevator frames manufacturing factory.

Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the city has provided capital and technologies to support companies, and helped them look for partners and markets.

The city has also issued a resolution on an investment stimulus programme for support industries in the 2018-20 period.

Support businesses can receive a loan of up to VND200 billion (US$8.5 million) per project to invest in factories and new technologies.

Thanks to the investment stimulus programme, many enterprises have become level 1 and level 2 suppliers for foreign direct invested (FDI) manufacturers of electronic and automobiles.

The city has also helped enterprises connect with foreign enterprises so they can become more competitive and participate in global supply chains.

At the “Conference to Find Suppliers for FDI Enterprises in High-Tech Parks”, 20 qualified support enterprises were chosen to become suppliers for Samsung, Nidec and Sonion.

The city's training and consulting programme on productivity and quality has also helped businesses change their production process and business management.

The city will continue to help businesses use new management systems to meet the requirements of global production chains.

It will also offer training to improve the quality of human resources and create an online database of support industry enterprises in the city.

To meet demand, three support industry zones are expected to open by 2025 in the city.

By August 2018, HCM City had 1,200 businesses involved in the support industry.

Đồng Nai authorities seek to speed up construction of Long Thành Airport

The People’s Committee of Đồng Nai Province on Tuesday instructed all provincial departments and agencies to prepare for a tender for hiring survey and land pricing consultants for the Long Thành International Airport.

It ordered them to make adjustments to the compensation rates to be paid for lands acquired for the airport project.

Figures reported by these agencies have indicated differences between the survey map drawn up in 1995 and the current status of lands in three out of the six communes covered by the project.

The People’s Committee has instructed the Department of Mineral Resources and Environment to do a fresh survey, draw the map and reconcile the differences so that the new data could be used for paying compensation and resettling families moved out for the project.

According to information released by the Long Thành District People’s Committee, as of June 1, these agencies have surveyed 146 households in the communes of Suối Trầu, Long An and Bình Sơn.

They have also surveyed 289 of 297 graves in these communes and contacted the families of the those buried.

The province People’s Committee has called on relevant agencies to co-operate with Long Thành District authorities to speed up construction of the airport.

 

The 5,580ha airport will straddle six communes in Long Thành.

On May 29 provincial authorities publicised a Resolution passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee for the dissolution and amendments of the administrative boundaries of the six communes.

It includes the dissolution of Suối Trầu Commune and changes to Cẩm Đường, Long An, Long Phước, Bàu Cạn, and Bình Sơn communes, including mergers.

According to Đinh Quốc Thái, the chairman of the province People’s Committee, the airport is the largest task ever undertaken in the province.

It will affect 5,000 households who will be paid total compensation of nearly VNĐ18 trillion.

Construction of Long Thành airport is scheduled to start late next year.

Once fully operational, it will reduce the load on Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in neighbouring HCM City.

It will have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of goods a year.

Thai trade counsellor expects Thailand-Vietnam trade to reach 20 billion USD in 2020

Thailand and Vietnam will achieve the target of raising two-way trade value to 20 billion USD in 2020, Thai Trade Counsellor to Vietnam Pannakarn Jiamsuchon said in an interview granted to the Cong Thuong (Industry-Trade) newspaper.

The counselor said Vietnam is a potential market for Thai firms, adding that the key thing for them to reap success in the market is goods quality. She said Thai businesses pay great attention to market study and continuous improvement of product quality and packaging while working to keep price competitive.

The trade official noted that Vietnam is expanding trade ties with many countries through many free trade agreements, therefore competition in the Vietnamese market will become fiercer and fiercer. For Thai firms to maintain their foothold in the market, it is important to continue enhancing the quality of products and services, along with investing in production technology.

According to the official, Vietnamese goods have also made their entry into the Thai market and won over consumers’ trust. Thai consumers hope to see more goods from Vietnam in their market, she said, adding that made-by-Vietnam products popular in the Thai market include fruits and traditional handcrafts.

Counsellor Pannakarn Jiamsuchon said the Governments of the two countries have joined hands to hold trade exchange activities to boost bilateral trade. She said Thailand has invited Vietnamese businesses to participate in trade promotion events in Thailand.

The official highlighted the impressive growth in bilateral trade ties, with value increasing from 6 billion USD in 2009 to 16.6 billion USD in 2018, which is the reason why she believes the goal of 20 billion USD in two-way trade value by 2020 is within reach.-

Vietnam attends Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum

A Vietnamese delegation led by Nguyen Van Binh, Politburo member and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, is attending the 23rd Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2019).

Vu Viet Trang, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), has also took part in many activities within the framework of the forum as a guest of Russia’s news agency TASS, a partner of VNA.

Binh will deliver a speech at the opening ceremony and attend a plenary session of the forum that will see the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The official is scheduled to meet the Advisor to the Russian President, the SPIEF-2019 Secretary and leaders of some Russian oil and gas groups.

Besides, the Vietnamese delegation will participate in several meetings within the framework of the forum, including a dialogue between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony, Putin highlighted the forum’s remarkable contributions to efforts in seeking solutions to political issues over the past two decades, helping to form a result-oriented and constructive agenda on open international cooperation, towards sustainable and balanced development.

Russia is ready to cooperate with all countries as well as regional and international organisations constructively and equally, in order to ensure common economic growth, develop transport infrastructure, energy and telecommunications, and promote integration in the Asia-Europe space and the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

About 17,000 delegates from more than 140 countries have registered to attend this year’s forum, which will focus on a sustainable development agenda, with four key topics: The Global Economy in Search of a Balance, The Russian Economy: Achieving National Development Goals, Technologies Shaping the Future and People First.

Last year, up to 593 agreements worth over 2.6 trillion rubles (about 40 trillion VND) were signed within the forum.

SPIEF is a unique event in the world of business and economics. SPIEF has been held since 1997, and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation.

Over the last 22 years, the forum has become a leading global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole.

Electronic headphone factory built in Binh Duong

The construction of a factory specialising in manufacturing electronic headphones began at the Bau Bang industrial park in Bau Bang district, northern Binh Duong province, on June 6.

The project, which has total investment of nearly 280 billion VND (over 12 million USD) for the first phase, is carried out by Ampacs International Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Ampacs Group of Taiwan (China) and DDK Vietnam Investment and Development Co., Ltd.

The factory, the third biggest of its kind of Ampacs after two others in China, will be completed and put into operation in June 2021.

Chairman of the Binh Duong People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem said the province will support and create the best conditions for investors and particularly Ampacs to do business.

He hoped the group will continue expanding investment in Binh Duong and invite more investors to the province.

The official noted that in the first five months of 2019, Binh Duong attracted over 1 billion USD in foreign investment, a year-on-year rise of 58 percent, fulfilling 77 percent of the annual target.

The province is now home to 3,612 foreign invested projects with total registered capital of nearly 33.4 billion USD, he said.

Binh Duong is ranked third nationwide in foreign investment attraction after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, he added.

Ability to pay taxes online a boon for Vietnam’s import-export businesses

Around 99 percent of import and export tax payments in Ho Chi Minh City are made online, according to the customs department.

Switching to online payment has reduced work for customs officers and helped businesses save time and cost.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam, promoting online payment for public services is one of the goals of the Government.

Le Thanh Minh, an employee of a transportation company, said import and export procedures at customs offices have become easier and faster than before thanks to non-cash payment.

Previously enterprises had to pay the tax at the Treasury or a bank, take the payment receipt to customs authorities and wait.

Now, after the money goes to the Treasury, the goods are automatically cleared.

In the past, it would take businesses two or three days to complete the tax payment. The process could stretch even further since banks do not work on weekends and holidays, but now it only takes a few seconds, Minh said.

Nguyen Quoc Toan from the customs department’s import-export taxation office told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that online tax collection enables customs to reduce human resources and simplifies the payment process.

Businesses have their goods cleared quickly after paying, and no longer face a situation where they pay the tax but customs does not receive information about it.

The ease of payment has made the business community happy, Toan said.

Another department official said the new payment method prevents errors and ensures immediate cargo clearance.

Its aim is to move towards e-governance and non-cash transactions, he added.

Asked why 1 percent continue to pay the import tax in cash, the department said these are usually individuals who transport goods through non-commercial means, referring to tourists and other travellers.

They pay duties when they bring goods from foreign countries whose value reaches the taxable threshold, he added.

Quang Ninh advised to make OCOP programme local brand

Quang Ninh should early issue policies to make the One Commune-One Product (OCOP) programme a brand of the province, and turn the OCOP fair into a tourism product, the provincial committee for new-style rural area building proposed at a conference on June 5.

The event was held to review the 10-year implementation of the “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods” campaign, under which the OCOP programme was an important part.

Quang Ninh was the first locality in the country to implement the OCOP programme in 2013, and local OCOP products have been gaining popularity recently.

The northeastern coastal province has mobilized more than 500 billion VND to support the development of products under the programme. By now 140 organisations have been involved in the OCOP scheme, developing 351 products, with 138 of them winning high-quality rating.

The OCOP programme has contributed to increasing the prestige of made-by-Vietnam goods in general and Quang Ninh’s farm products in particular. It also helped change local production practice towards commercial scale while facilitating market management.

Looking back at a decade implementing the “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods” campaign in Quang Ninh, provincial officials pointed to remarkable changes in local consumers’ habit towards buying more Vietnamese goods and giving priority to high-quality Vietnamese goods when making purchase decisions.

In the past 10 years, Quang Ninh has organized nearly 200 trade fairs, exhibitions and other trade events featuring Vietnamese goods in general and OCOP products in particular.

Nguyen Van Huong, head of the province’s steering committee for the “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods” campaign, said the provincial administration has assisted with the marketing and distribution of OCOP products to shopping malls, supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and hotels, as well as with the opening of 29 OCOP shops and showrooms in the province.

However, delegates remarked that packaging and price remain the weak points of Vietnamese goods.

Deputy director of Quang Ninh’s Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thi Hien said as the province borders China, it is easy for Chinese goods to enter the domestic market. She urged measures to tighten the control of cross-border trade.

The OCOP 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). It is an economic development programme for rural areas focusing on increasing internal power and values, contributing to the implementation of the National Target Programme on New Rural Development for 2016-2020.

The classifications of goods and services defined in the programme include food (fresh and processed farm produce); beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinking); medicinal herbs (products made from herbal plants); fabric and textiles (products made from cotton and yarn); souvenirs, furniture, and decorations (products made from wood, fibres, rattan, metal, and ceramics); and rural tourism services and sales (services for sightseeing, tourism, study, and research).

The overall objective of the programme is to develop stable and sustainable forms of production for organisations and businesses (with priority given to developing cooperatives and small- and medium-sized enterprises), towards producing traditional products and improving services with high competitiveness on the domestic and international markets, thus promoting rural economy and national agriculture industrialisation and modernisation.

As of late April, 60 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide have built their OCOP frame programme at the provincial level, 30 of which have already completed the programme design and 28 others are collecting feedback before approval. Paticularly, Quang Ninh province has entered the second phase.

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.

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.

Mekong Delta’s first one commune-one product fair opens

The first one commune-one product (OCOP) fair of the Mekong Delta region opened in Ben Tre city in the province of the same name on June 6, with 350 booths set up by 25 cities and provinces.

Apart from introducing farm produce and other local products, the five-day event will include conferences and seminars on supply-demand networking, brand name building, OCOP startups and rural tourism.

Nguyen Huu Lap, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ben Tre province, said the OCOP programme aims to spur rural economic development by increasing values and competitiveness of traditional and special products and services.

Ben Tre has devised an OCOP project for 2018-2020 with a vision towards 2030 and selected quality products for the first OCOP fair, the official added.

Along with OCOP goods, the province is displaying special agricultural products like coconut, pomelo and longan.

As of May 2019, 46 provinces nationwide had ratified OCOP projects, plans and programmes, and five of them, namely Quang Ninh, Bac Kan, Quang Nam, Lao Cai and Ben Tre, rated their OCOP goods.

In 2013, Quang Ninh was the first locality in Vietnam to implement 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).

Vietnam, Argentina step up trade ties

The Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina and the Argentine Chamber of Commerce for Asia on June 6 co-organised a workshop to introduce business cooperation opportunities in Vietnam.

In his remarks, Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Xuan Dung said after more than 30 years of reform, Vietnam has reaped remarkable development achievements, with the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 growing 7.08 percent, the highest pace over the past decade.

The country’s total export-import value in the year reached 482 billion USD, up 12.2 percent year-on-year, and inflation rate was controlled at 3.54 percent, the diplomat said.

Vietnam is a peaceful country with a stable political environment, and a trust-worthy destination for foreign investors, he affirmed, noting that the Vietnamese Government always creates optimal conditions for domestic and foreign firms to operate in the country.

Dung lauded progress made in trade ties between Vietnam and Argentina over the past years, with the revenue hitting nearly 3 billion USD in 2018. However, he said, the result has yet to match potential of the two countries.

He stressed that following the visit to Vietnam by Argentine President Mauricio Parci last February and the signing of a joint statement affirming commitments of the two countries to further enhancing the bilateral economic and trade ties, businesses of both sides should step up their connectivity by exchanging delegations and participating in commercial events and trade fairs in each country.

Dung used the occasion to make a brief on necessary procedures for foreign investors in Vietnam.

Representatives of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce for Asia and Argentine businesses shared experience in trade activities with Vietnamese partners.

Vietnam’s five-month rice exports drop

Vietnam earned $1.21 billion from exporting an estimated 2.83 million tonnes of rice during January-May, declining 20.7 percent in value and 4 percent in volume as compared to the same time last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said. 

Accounting for 35.9 percent of the market share, the Philippines was the largest importer of Vietnamese rice in the first four months of the year. Vietnam shipped 814,500 tonnes of rice to the country for 320.5 million USD, up 4.4 times in volume and 3.9 times in value from the same time in 2018.

Strong growth was also seen in rice shipments to Angola (up 5.2 times), China’s Hong Kong (up 91.9 percent), the Ivory Coast (up 73.3 percent), and Russia (up 29.3 percent).

White rice accounted for the largest proportion of total exports with 50.5 percent, followed by Jasmine rice and fragrant rice (34.1 percent), sticky rice (8.1 percent) and japonica rice and Japanese rice (7.1 percent).

According to the Ministry’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, falling prices in global market affected Vietnamese rice value.

Experts forecast a grim prospect for the rice market due to falling demand in Asia. Meanwhile, it is hard for Mekong Delta rice to increase its price as the region is in the middle of harvest time of the summer-autumn crop.

Four directions set for foreign currency credit

The State Bank of Vietnam has implemented a road map to guide the flows of foreign currency credit into four directions in a bid to deal with rising exchange rates.

According to Vietnam Economic Times, the recent central rates of VND versus USD announced by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) have hit peak levels. This could be caused by a number of internal factors amid the signs of a trade deficit.

Vietnam had constantly enjoyed trade surpluses between 2011 and 2018. However, during the eight-year period, the country still sustained trade deficits in four quarters. Of note, the third and fourth quarters of 2018 saw trade deficits, economic expert Le Xuan Nghia said.

Exports raked in US$58.51 billion in the first quarter of 2019, edging up by 4.7 per cent on year. This yielded a modest trade surplus worth US$536 million, much lower than the US$2.7 billion figure from the corresponding period last year.

"The ongoing US-China trade tensions are still escalating, subsequently posing the high risk of a currency war. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s trade balance has shown signs of weakening, thus hampering exchange rates," Nghia said.

In fact, the exchange rate of USD/VND jumped by 80 VND at commercial banks from May 20-24 while the central rate increased by 12 VND in the reviewed period. In general, the USD/VND exchange rate has upped by 0.8 per cent since early May.

Tensions and the added pressure of increasing exchange rates are forecast to further weaken the VND. This could trigger the hoarding of foreign currency and increasing dollarization.

In order to implement the Government’s policy on gradually curbing dollarization and easing difficulties for domestic production and exports, the SBV has mapped out four directions to control foreign currency credit flows. It is also looking to reduce borrowing costs, increase domestic firms’ competitiveness, and facilitate their participation in regional and global supply chains.

Firstly, the central bank sets no time limit on short-term loans to meet the domestic demand for foreign currency to boost the production and business of exports via border gates. The second one is to keep on providing short-term foreign currency loans to make payments to foreign sellers.

Thirdly, the SBV plans to end short-term loans to make payments for overseas sellers in order to deploy a scheme to enhance the production of and trade of goods for the domestic market. This is on the condition that borrowers are able to ensure enough foreign currency to repay loans after March 31, 2019.

Finally, medium and long-term loans are allowed to make overseas payments for the import of goods and services if borrowers are likely to reimburse loans from the foreign currency sourced from their revenues until September 30, 2019.

 
 
 
 
 
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