BUSINESS NEWS 17/7

Dragon fruit prices from Binh Thuan enjoy steep rise

BUSINESS NEWS 17/7

The prices of dragon fruit from the central province of Binh Thuan have skyrocketed during the peak fruit harvesting season in comparison with previous years.

Currently, dragon fruit in Binh Thuan are purchased at the price of between VND16,000 and VND20,000 per kilo whilst the export price of high-quality dragon fruit stands at VND22,000 per kilo.

Especially, in early June, the price of dragon fruit from the province’s orchards enjoyed a new record high of VND30,000 per kilo, even raising to VND32,000 per kilo.

According to local farmers, gardeners are able to make huge profits during the peak fruit harvesting season. Indeed, even if the fruits have been sold for only VND8,000, the gardeners would still be able to make a profit.

Binh Thuan is home to some 30,000 hectares of farms specifically dedicated to growing dragon fruit and has an output of more than 550,000 tons per year, largely from the districts of Ham Thuan Nam, Ham Thuan Bac, Ham Tan, and Bac Binh. China remains a key export market for the province’s dragon fruit.

In recent times, the province has undergone an expansion of its consumption markets to new locations such as the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

Under guidelines set by local authorities, farmers in the province must develop clean dragon fruit cultivation areas suitable for export to various markets throughout the world in order to raise overall standards and give the farm produce a boost.

Vietnam sees surge of breaded shrimp exports to US

Vietnam exported 4,281 tons of breaded shrimp to the United States during the past five month with a total value of US$30.9 million, an increase of 53 per cent in volume and 48 per cent in value in comparison with the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The major suppliers of breaded shrimp to the US market include China, Thailand, and Vietnam. With the US recently imposing a 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods since May, there has been a sharp decline in the volume of breaded shrimp exported from China to the US market.

This is in addition to Thailand’s breaded shrimp exports seeing increasingly high prices caused by large production costs.

In order to capitalize on these factors and gain a larger market share from China and Thailand, VASEP has advised Vietnamese businesses to make investments in production chains in order to launch products that will be competitive on the market.

VASEP noted that along with a diligent workforce, breaded shrimp is considered a value-added product that can bring considerable benefits to domestic export businesses in the future.

Haiphong urged to grow into key logistics hub

The northern port city of Haiphong should strive to become a significant logistics hub through luring additional investment in infrastructure and getting more capable firms involved in the sector, trade officials have noted.

Vietnam’s logistics infrastructure has undergone gradual improvements in recent years, with a number of localities throughout the country receiving logistics upgrades.

The country is home to two key international logistic gateways, including Haiphong international port and Cai Mep - Thi Vai international port. In addition, the aviation transport system, expressway sections, and many modern logistics centers have also seen expansions.

Despite these improvements, the logistics sector still faces a range of shortcomings, especially high costs. Besides, the competitiveness edge of local logistics firms remains limited while the sector suffers from a lack of comprehensive infrastructure linkages.

Haiphong’s logistics sector has been built upon three major pillars, namely port services, post-port services, and transit. The port city plays a key role in conducting transit services which serve as a driving force for regional and international linkages. These factors should be optimized to create breakthroughs for the city’s logistics sector, said Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Additional investment is needed to develop smart warehouses in Haiphong while the city should focus on improving the overall quality of logistics workforce, Hai noted, adding that support given by local authorities proves significant to the development of logistics firms.

Improving operations of the logistics sector would help the city tap into its advantages while flourishing into a major driving force for the city’s socio-economic growth and yielding spillover effects on neighboring localities.

Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade, said Haiphong should promptly consider and set forth an action plan for the implementation of the Government’s Decision No. 200 on developing the domestic logistics system and the ministry’s blueprint on improving the country’s logistics performance index (LPI).

An overall outlook for the municipal development must be sketched out and linked with national growth as the country has been deepening its international integration via the participation of many free trade agreements, the minister said.

Hung Yen: Five garment firms ink collective labour agreements

Five garment companies based in Van Lam district, the northern province of Hung Yen, signed collective labour agreements with their employees on July 14.

Ha Hung JSC, Viet Phat Co., Ltd., Suntex Co., Ltd., Nhat Hoa Production and Trade Co., Ltd., and Y&I Co., Ltd. and representatives of their workers inked the deals in an event hosted by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour.

It was part of the project to promote effective negotiation in the textile and garment industry funded by the Dutch National Federation of Christian Trade Unions (CNV).

Under the agreements, the firms must reward at least one month’s salary as a bonus at the end of the year for those who work a full 12 months and give a bonus to those who come up with innovative ideas or high productivity. They must also provide clean and healthy meals, worth at least 16,000 VND per meal per person, for their employees.

Additionally, in each shift, the workers are allowed to have a short break of at least 10 minutes while the companies promised to take the workers on retreats.

For employees, they must abide by the provisions of law, labour contracts, workplace rules and the labour agreements. They also need to participate in employee recognition award programmes and must not unilaterally terminate labour contracts.

According to a Governmental official, to comply with the requirements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, Vietnam needs to respect and promote the 1998 International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration, particularly Convention 98 on the right to collective bargaining.

Currently, the country has more than 505,000 active businesses, employing 15 million workers.

By 2018, 27,000 businesses had signed collective bargaining agreements, accounting for 21 percent of firms with 10 employees or above, and 67 percent of businesses that have a union.

All public sector enterprises have signed collective bargaining agreements, while the figure in private sector and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is 66 percent.

A recent survey conducted by the Institute of Workers and Trade shows the wages of textile labourers are not high enough for them to afford living expenses.

About 65 per cent of the workers in the survey have to work extra time regularly. About 53 per cent cannot afford the cost of healthcare.

Northern power firm sells nearly 33 billion kWh

The Vietnam Electricity (EVN)’s Northern Power Corporation (EVNNPC) sold nearly 33 billion kWh of electricity during the January-June period, a year-on-year surge of 8.82 percent.

Of the total amount, 64.84 percent was purchased by the industrial sector, and the remainder acquired for daily life, up 8.22 percent and 9.21 percent, respectively, from the same time last year.

The corporation reported it completed 160 out of 366 projects to upgrade medium- and low-voltage power grids, making contributions to improving grid capacity and enhancing reliability of the power system.

Thirty 110KV projects have been put into operation, which means 926MVA have been added to the national grid. Besides, the company also installed 110.3 kilometres of 110kV transmission lines.

Power loss in the period was 5.15 percent, or 0.08 percent lower than the same time in 2018.

As of June, the firms put in solar panels with total designed capacity of 2,900 kWp for 287 customers, accounting for 58 percent of the plan assigned by the EVN.

In addition, the EVNNPC supplied medium-voltage power to 1,126 new customers. It took the firm an average 5.96 days to handle relevant procedures, down 0.31 day as stipulated.

In the second half of the year, the corporation will enhance measures to ensure safe and stable power supply for customers, with focus given to reducing power loss, accelerating construction of power work, and organising communication work on energy saving in summer.

Lâm Đồng unveils 5-year plan to develop sericulture

The Lâm Đồng Province People’s Committee has approved a five-year plan for the sericulture industry which targets having 9,500-10,000ha of mulberry farms by 2023.

Of them 8,100-8,500ha will have new and hybrid mulberry varieties with high yields and 1,900-2,000ha will be farmed using advanced techniques.

The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province will produce at least 30 per cent of its demand for silkworm eggs, 14,000-14,500 tonnes of silkworm cocoons a year and 1,800-1,900 tonnes of silk a year.

The plan envisages, to create value chains, establishing at least three linkages between districts: Đức Trọng District-Lâm Hà District-Đam Rông District, Di Linh District-Bảo Lâm District-Bảo Lộc City and Đạ Huoai District-Đạ Tẻh District-Cát Tiên District.

The province will take several measures to sustainably develop sericulture, including strengthening research and production of silkworm eggs and giving priority to switching to certified high-yield mulberry varieties like S7-CB, TBL-03, VA-201 and TBL-05.

It also plans to expand the area under mulberry in places that have silk producing plants and develop sericulture villages that also offer tourism services.

It will solicit investment in mulberry farms and silkworm breeding and support activities to promote the province’s silk in Việt Nam and abroad.

It will help farmers switch to mulberry from low-yield rice farming in places like Đam Rông, Đạ Huoai, Đạ Tẻh, and Cát Tiên districts and from perennial industrial trees in Đức Trọng, Lâm Hà, Di Linh, and Bảo Lâm districts and Bảo Lộc City.

Bảo Lộc, Lâm Hà and Di Linh are the province’s leading silk producers.

The province produced 8,904 tonnes of silkworm cocoons and 1,187 tonnes of silks last year.

It accounts for 67 per cent of the country’s total mulberry area.

More than 14,000 households are involved in growing mulberry and breeding silkworms.

The sericulture industry boomed in the 1990s but later declined because of failure to adopt advanced silk production techniques.

There has been a revival since 2010.

The industry now plays an important role in the province’s socio-economic development and agriculture, according to its People’s Committee.

Korean electricity tech to be introduced at HCM City fair

Smart electricity and green power technology from the Republic of Korea (RoK) will be introduced at the Viet Nam ETE and Enertec Expo 2019 from July 17-20 in HCM City.

The ETE exhibition is in its 12th year in Viet Nam, and the 9th Enertec Expo will showcase advanced technologies for the power industry.

The exhibition will feature 400 domestic and international enterprises from various countries such as Japan, the RoK, China, Italy, Turkey, Russia and Singapore with 550 booths. Local brands include EVN HCMC, Gelex, ABB, LS Vina, Panasonic, Philips, Long Giang and HENGS Vietnam.

This year the RoK will be the special guest with the Korea Smart Electric and Energy Week (KOSEF) showcasing its latest achievements in electricity.

In addition, the Korea Electrical Manufacturers Association (KOEMA) and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) will host workshops on new energy creation, smart electric devices, energy saving and green power.

During the fair, an international conference will be held to find solutions for energy saving in Viet Nam.

The annual ETE and Enertec Expo acts as a bridge between local and international enterprises, gathers experts to discuss strategies in electric technology and helps businesses attract investment and seek partners.

It is organised by the HCM City Centre for Support Industries Development and CIS Vietnam Advertising and Exhibition JSC, with support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The expo will be held at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in District 7.

Start-ups shows potential on Investment Day

More than 100 domestic and foreign investors as well as representatives from startups on Thursday participated in an Investment Day event organised by Viet Nam Innovative Startups Accelerator (VIISA) to celebrate the completion of the fifth batch of its four-month accelerator programme.

The batch 5 of accelerator programme consists startups from various sectors, including VDES, Loglag and SaveMoney, had a chance to present their projects and discuss their operations and achievements with investors.

At the event, investors and startups shared information and experiences about doing business and calling for investment.

Ann Nguyen, CEO of VDES, a startup that connects event venues and event suppliers to customers, said the company had attracted businesses with the support of investors.

The company works with many partners and 200 venues as well as 100 event organisers in big cities and provinces, including HCM City, Ha Noi and Binh Duong.

About 24,000 customers that used their services over the last two years have reduced costs by 30 per cent and time by 80 per cent.

Other projects startups include Loglag and SaveMoney.

By leveraging mobile connectivity, Loglag connects drivers and fleet owners to cargos and customers to make the logistics industry more accessible.

SaveMoney, meanwhile, is a full insurance service provider that combines innovative insurance platform technology with high-quality brokerage advisory.

VIISA said that startups are on a challenging journey, with capital playing a key role in the first phase. Because of these challenges, VIISA often organises events to help startups connect with investors and funds.

VIISA is an accelerator and seed stage fund that plans to invest a total of $4 million to build global-ready startups in Viet Nam.

It has also invested US$15,000 in cash and undisclosed amounts of in-kind services, including training, technical resources, office accommodations and access to mentors and investors. Promising teams will also get up to $200,000 from VIISA’s investment track.

The VIISA fund is operated by FPT, Dragon Capital Group and Hanwha Group. The fund has led to many startup successes in Viet Nam such as Wisepass, Wefit and TheBank.

FPT enters smart home field

Vietnamese IT firm FPT Corporation and global provider of Internet of Things (IoT) networking Homa Techs Inc on Thursday signed a strategic agreement to bring smart solutions to houses and buildings.

An FPT representative said the deal sets forward a long-term investment with a three-year roadmap with millions of dollars. Specific figures will be announced later.

The representative said FPT is pursing the investment because smart homes have great potential but have not yet taken off in Viet Nam.

“FPT sees great value in Homa’s smart home technologies and solutions," FPT’s general director Nguyen Van Khoa said on the news site Business Wire. "With a network of partners and clients spanning 45 countries and territories, we are excited to work with Homa to bring this family of products to millions of residents and help to accelerate the development of smart buildings and smart cities in Asia."

Nguyen Duc Long, CEO of Homa Techs, said the goal of Homa Techs Inc in Viet Nam is to give smart home companies more solutions to satisfy customers' needs and develop smart buildings and smart urban areas.

On the same day, Homa Techs launched multi-protocol IoT hubs which can integrate all smart devices in a house into IoT applications. Up to 240 devices could be connected at the same time, including switches, smart plugs, light controllers, sensors, door bells, locks, cameras, mobile apps and home service software.

Homa’s representative said the cost to install the necessary smart devices in a 150sq.m apartment would be about US$2,500-3,000. FPT is also working with partners to reduce costs in Southeast Asia.

MoC plans to release quarterly reports on property market

The Ministry of Construction (MoC) plans to start releasing quarterly reports on the domestic real estate market to increase transparency, Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha said in a ministry meeting late last week.

The quarterly report is a basis for building a database on housing and local property market because information about those factors is unclear, according to Ha.

The ministry will follow the local market and implement a plan to review the market, forecasting market trends in the medium term and proposing solutions to ensure the health of the property market.

Director of Housing and Real Estate Market Management Department Nguyen Trong Ninh said the ministry aimed to complete a project on economic security in housing and real estate market to submit to the Prime Minister in the third quarter this year.

The social housing programme for low-income people in urban areas and workers in industrial parks has so far supplied 34 per cent of a total of 12.5 million sq.m that needs to be completed by 2020.

The programme must produce the remaining of 8.26 million sq.m by 2020 but it faced difficulties in mobilising capital for the construction, Ninh said.

Ha said solutions were needed to develop social housing products, cheap commercial apartments and rental apartments to complete goals on social housing. The solutions should focus on supply and financial support for buyers.

In the first half of this year, the construction industry had 8,711 newly-established enterprises, accounting for 13 per cent of national newly established enterprises. Of which, there were 4,014 real estate trading companies, a year on year increase of 22 per cent.

The real estate market attracted considerable domestic and foreign investment capital, including foreign direct investment (FDI) worth US$6.6 billion. The FDI capital accounted for 18.6 per cent of total FDI to the nation, ranking second after the manufacturing and processing industry.

All property projects attracted total capital of VND4.8 quadrillion ($206 billion). Outstanding loans for real estate projects by the first quarter of this year reached VND462 trillion.

Construction activity grew at 7.85 per cent compared to the same period of 2018 and the growth of trading real estate products increased by 4.43 per cent. Average housing area nationwide is about 24.25 sq.m of floor per person, a year on year increase of 0.25 sq.m.

Ha said although the construction industry's growth was quite good, it did not meet its targets in the first half of this year. In fact, construction of some real estate projects, especially in Ha Noi and HCM City, were delayed, leading to a reduced supply. Property prices in some areas also increased rapidly.

If those situations were not resolved, they would harm the property market, he said.

 

Budget revenue rises 13 per cent in first half of year

Viet Nam is well on the way to hitting one of its key economic targets for the year.

State budget revenue in the first six months of this year hit nearly VND745.4 trillion (US$31.9 billion), up 13.2 per cent over the same period last year and 52.8 per cent of the Government’s target for the year.

The information was released at a conference yesterday in Ha Noi held by the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

According to the MOF, domestic revenue reached 51.1 per cent of the annual target, up 13.6 per cent against 2018, while earnings from crude oil climbed 0.7 per cent to touch 68 per cent of the target.

The ministry said budget revenue from import and export activities in January-June was up 13.7 per cent, 59.8 per cent of the goal.

The central budget was estimated to have hit 51.5 per cent of the yearly target and the highest level in the past five years. Localities' budgets reached 54.3 per cent of the target, with 50 more than halfway to their target.

At the conference, Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said there were still some difficulties in the collection of the State budget. For example, earnings from production and business activities of State-owned enterprises, foreign-invested enterprises and the private sector, are showing signs of slowing, reaching respectively 46.1 per cent, 47.3 per cent and 48.9 per cent of the annual target.

Budget spending was estimated at VND666 trillion in the period, or 40.8 per cent of the plan for the year.

In January-June, nearly VND112 trillion worth of Government bonds were issued.

The ministry said it would work to ensure sufficient capital to achieve socio-economic targets.

The ministry also asked the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Viet Nam Customs to carry out efficient State budget collection, step up inspections on tax collection and better manage tax debts.

Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue hailed the sector’s efforts to complete State budget collection targets assigned by the National Assembly.

He urged the financial sector to restructure State budget and public debt management to ensure safe finances for the nation.

He also noted the sector’s shortcomings, including slow progress in equitisation, divestment, reforming State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and disbursing public investment.

Ministries, sectors and localities that fail to complete their State budget collection targets would have to either find alternative sources to offset their deficits or cut expenditure, Hue said.

The Deputy PM asked the Finance Ministry to accelerate the restructuring of SOEs, securities and insurance while completing legal documents on equitisation and divestment.

Representatives of leaders of some provinces and cities said the six-month State budget revenue in their provinces achieved positive results and they were striving to ensure revenue for the whole year would reach or exceed annual targets.

Vice Chairman of Hai Phong City People's Committee Nguyen Xuan Binh said from the beginning of this year, the city had carried out efficient State budget collection measures and improved the business environment.

However, budget collection still met difficulties such as the spread of African swine fever and an overloaded transport system, Binh said.

Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of Can Tho City People's Committee, said the realisation of budget revenue tasks in the first half also confronted challenges due to climate change, falling agriculture produce, sharp drop in pangasius prices and low disbursement of capital construction.

HCM City eyes boost to key industrial products

HCM City is offering support in the form of financial assistance, land, workforce training, technology, trade promotion, and brand building assistance to businesses making key and promising industrial products, according to its Department of Industry and Trade.

The city has identified seven key industrial product groups -- moulded metallic products such as high-precision moulds, steel and machine parts; electronic goods and cables; plastic and rubber; processed foodstuff; beverages; information technology; apparel; and other groups of industrial products with high potential.

Nguyen Phuong Dong, the department’s deputy director, said according to the city’s land use zoning plans for until 2020, there are 6,245ha of industrial land, an increase of 1,500ha from 2010.

“The city will earmark industrial lands to solicit investment in the production of the key industrial products besides setting up industrial parks.

“The city will prioritise allocation of industrial lands to enterprises investing in the production of key and promising industrial products, besides creating favourable conditions in terms of administrative procedures for investors.”

These businesses would benefit from the city’s investment stimulation programme, be part of the city’s programme to link banks and businesses and their products would get priority in allocation of public investment and procurement, he said.

Producers of key industrial products would also be part of programmes that help small- to medium-sized enterprises improve their competitiveness and integrate globally with a focus on training and consultancy in quality management, innovation, intellectual property rights, and others, he said.

Besides, these businesses would get priority in the city’s local and overseas human resource training programmes, he said.

They would get financial assistance to promote the key industrial products at trade fairs and exhibitions in and outside the country, he added.

Faced with businesses’ low access to modern production technologies, the Department of Science and Technology in collaboration with other relevant agencies has organised seminars to collect feedback from experts and relevant agencies on fostering the key industrial products by promoting the application of science and technology in their production.

Nguyen Ky Phung, deputy director of the department, said the city offered great support to businesses in developing the key industrial products in the form of assistance with research and technological development, commercialising their research results, technology transfer, incubating start-up projects, and others.

The city encourages companies to innovate and helps set up links between them and research institutions to help develop high-quality key industrial products.

Dong said through such support policies, “The city expects that the key and potential industrial products will help its industrial sector develop in a sustainable manner and contribute more to the economy.”

The city’s index of industrial production (IIP) in the first six months of the year grew at an estimated 7 per cent year-on-year, with its four key sectors -- food processing, chemical-rubber-plastic, mechanics, and electronics –expanding by 5.5 per cent.

It is eyeing 8.1 per cent growth this year.

Pham Thanh Kien, director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said the target was to restructure the industrial sector to increase the ratio of manufacturing and reduce the rate of outsourcing and assembling.

The focus was also on developing comprehensive industrial production to gradually create branded and competitive products for the regional and world markets, he added.

Vinh Long Province’s investor-friendliness pays handsome dividends

A favourable geographic location, abundant resources and a dynamic and investor-friendly administration make Vinh Long Province an optimal destination for foreign direct investment.

Located in the centre of the Mekong Delta, it makes intensive efforts to attract FDI.

The administration has worked hard to draw up measures and plans to improve the business climate for foreign investors and assess business conditions to help foreign companies handle any problems that arise.

It also organises frequent meetings with foreign investors, enabling it to identify and address adverse issues early and remain fully aware of what is happening in the sector.

Land rentals and fees for foreign businesses are moderate.

Last year the province licensed 10 FDI projects with a combined capital of US$159 million. This represented a sharp increase from 2017 when foreign investment was a mere $55.3 million.

Authorities at all levels in the Province have adopted consistent solutions and are focused on reforming administrative procedures.

However, when soliciting foreign investment, the province focuses on projects appropriate for local conditions and their quality rather than simply aim for as much investment as possible.

Chen Tsao Kang, general director of Ty Xuan Ltd., Co, said his company came to Vinh Long Province in 2004 with an investment of around $40 million and 1,000 employees. Due to favourable conditions, it has since expanded its investment to more than $120 million and has 23,000 employees, he said.

“When I invest in Vinh Long, I receive attention from local authorities. They usually contact investors to listen to their difficulties and requirements.

“The administrative procedures of the province are very efficient and quick. The company is assured of doing business and developing. We will continue to expand and invest more.”

Truong Dang Vinh Phuc, director of the province Department of Planning and Investment, said to solicit more FDI, the province planned to organise an investment promotion conference this month.

"The conference is expected to attract around 220 investors," he said.

Vinh Long recently released zoning plans with nine industrial clusters spread over a combined area of 492.5ha to be built by 2020, and five more with a combined area of 165.5ha to be built over the next decade.

The clusters will have modern facilities and infrastructure required for industrial production.

Vinh Long will focus on a number of measures to attract investment including trade promotion, human resource development and training, according to Lu Quang Ngoi, deputy chairman of its People’s Committee.

It will offer incentives to enterprises that build industrial parks like access to soft loans, interest subsidies and tax breaks.

It now has two industrial parks with a total area of 386ha of which 70 per cent has been leased out to businesses.

In addition to the 14 new industrial clusters to be built by 2030, the province is also soliciting investment in three new industrial parks with a combined area of 950ha, which have been approved by the Government.

Located around 130 kilometres from HCM City, the province is in the heart of the Mekong Delta, the country’s agriculture hub. It has convenient transport links with provinces and cities in the south-western regions.

Besides agriculture, Vinh Long is also known for traditional craft villages that make bricks and tiles, porcelain and pottery, embroidery, and woven mats, many of which are exported.

Prompt action needed to take advantage of FTAs

Opportunities provided by free trade agreements (FTAs) will only exist on paper if local authorities and enterprises do not take prompt and concrete actions to take advantage, experts said at a meeting on Wednesday in Ha Noi.

Viet Nam has signed many trade deals with different countries and regions but both local authorities and businesses have been slow to prepare plans for these changes, said Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department.

Speaking at the seminar on business and investment opportunities arising from the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Khanh said inertia is common among Vietnamese authorities and businesses. He expressed his fear that businesses are not doing enough to take advantage of the ongoing implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

As an example, Khanh cited the Prime Minister's request for local authorities and ministries to build action plans to implement CPTPP. To date, only a few have submitted their proposals.

"Up to now, we’ve yet to receive full action plans from ministries, sectors and localities," he said. "Implementation is too slow and if we continue this stagnancy then all the presentations on opportunities will remain on paper and never become a reality."

EVFTA and CPTPP are two new-generation FTAs with a broad scope and the highest level of commitments that Viet Nam has ever signed. Under the two trade deals, some reference calculations estimate Viet Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by between 1.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent.

EVFTA has a very short schedule for tariff reduction with many Vietnamese products enjoying tariff-free exports to the EU. Viet Nam's competitors in the region such as China, Thailand and Malaysia have not signed an FTA with the EU, but that does not mean they never will. Khanh told businesses they must move quickly to take advantage of the FTA while Viet Nam is in an advantageous position.

He pointed out the indifference of local businesses to the trade deal. Only two foreign direct investment enterprises have sent questions on issues of tax codes or rules or origin concerning EVFTA.

Viet Nam and the EU signed EVFTA and the Europe-Viet Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) on June 30. Khanh said the two agreements would be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in October this year and the European Parliament would vote around the same time to hopefully have the deals take effect next year.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Viet Nam’s economic openness was second in ASEAN only to Singapore but its competitiveness and capacity for integration were still low.

Viet Nam placed 77th out of 140 countries in the 2018 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum. It placed 99th for institutional competitiveness and 101st in business competitiveness.

The EU is highly demanding market and has little direct competition with Viet Nam so Vietnamese products have advantages, Loc said. To make the most of their strong position, Loc said local businesses must satisfy many requirements for origins, environmental standards, labour relations and sustainable development. This means they need to restructure their production processes and technologies.

Viet Nam to build database for financial research

The financial industry in Viet Nam should build databases on businesses and economic indices to facilitate academic research and participation in the global financial market, speakers said at an international conference held on Thursday in HCM City.

More than 300 educators, researchers and practitioners are taking part in the three-day 11th Asia-Pacific Conference 2019 to discuss global financial issues in the region.

Dr Vo Van Lai, lecturer at Ton Duc Thang University, said that comprehensive databases on businesses and economic indices were badly needed for financial research purposes.

“Financial researchers in Viet Nam need to attend more financial seminars and conferences, and participate in peer review and editorial work for international journals,” he added.

Held in Viet Nam for the first time, the conference aims to connect Vietnamese researchers and academics with their counterparts from prestigious universities around the world.

“Such international conferences should be promoted in the country with the participation of researchers from leading universities from the region and the world,” Lai said.

He noted that Ton Duc Thang University had introduced its own database on businesses and economic indices in Viet Nam for research purposes for universities worldwide.

The event, which discussed the latest developments in financial technology (fintech) and electronic money (bitcoin), among other issues, also promotes cooperation among universities as well as connections between businesses and universities.

Le Vinh Danh, president of Ton Duc Thang University, the conference co-chair, said: “More than 130 reports from scholars worldwide are being presented, making it one of the two biggest conferences in the Asia-Pacific region for the Financial Management Association International (FMA) in the past decade.”

Gordon Phillips, a professor from Dartmouth College in the US, and a leading expert in financial management, delivered the keynote speech at the event, focusing on equity issuance, capital structure and bankruptcy issues.

Other participants included leading international scientists and experts such as Prof Rajesh Narayanan from Louisiana State University in the US and Prof Andrei Simonov from Michigan State University in the US, among others.

As part of the conference, about 200 experts from international universities arrived in Viet Nam prior to the event to recruit lecturers and professors.

They included Dongguk University (South Korea), Nanhua University (Taiwan), Sunway University (Malaysia), Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea), Saxion University (the Netherlands), Tomas Bata University and Prague University of Economics (Czech Republic), and the Chinese Culture University (Taiwan).

A number of Vietnamese and foreign graduate students registered for the event to have exchanges with leading experts in the field, as well as to seek opportunities to work at top universities at home and abroad.

This is the first time that recruitment activities have been included in the regional conference programme.

The conference is one of FMA’s annual conferences held in regional countries that focus on Asia-Pacific issues as well as global financial problems.

Founded in 1970 in the US, FMA is a leading international organisation for financial management.

Its mission is to promote research in financial management through the exchange of scientific research results and practical experiences around the world.

FMA organises annual meetings, conferences and other academic activities to connect educators, researchers and practitioners around the world to exchange knowledge and discuss issues that arise in the financial sector.

Hung Yen targets 9 per cent GDP growth for 2019

The northern province of Hung Yen has set a goal of reaching a GDP growth rate of 9 per cent for the whole year, according to the provincial People’s Council.

Provincial authorities have targeted maintaining high growth in industrial production and construction and improve the province's competitiveness. The province will also encourage businesses to invest in agriculture.

Nguyen Van Phong, chairman of the People's Committee of Hung Yen Province, said its focus is on improving its place in the provincial competitiveness index (PCI), including by promoting administrative procedure reform, creating a favourable investment and business environment and improving the satisfaction of people and businesses.

Do Xuan Tuyen, chairman of the People's Council of Hung Yen Province, said the province has also issued a number of policies that will encourage enterprises invest in agriculture and rural areas.

Hung Yen will provide financial support for building infrastructure in raw material areas for agricultural projects.

By the end of the year, Hung Yen will focus on the expansion of production and trade promotion to expand the market for its farming products.

For the industrial sector, the province is working to attract investment and develop businesses. It will expand Thang Long II and Yen My II industrial parks and promote the construction and operation of industrial complexes in the districts of Van Lam, Yen My, Khoai Chau, Van Giang and Kim Dong, the town of My Hao and the city of Hung Yen.

The province will also accelerate the disbursement of public investment funds for projects and promptly remove obstacles in the process of site clearance for key projects.

In 2018, Hung Yen was one of the top 10 provinces and cities in the Viet Nam Information and Communication Technology Index (ICT index) and ranked the 35th in the Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) among 63 provinces and cities nationwide.

Construction materials company GAB lists on HCM City stock market

Global Asset Business Joint Stock Company (GAB) listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on Thursday at a reference price of VND12,000 (US$0.52) per share.

Established in 2016 and now with a charter capital of VND138 billion (US$5.94 million), the company’s main line of business is the manufacture of construction materials and trading in agricultural products such as cinnamon and tea.

Speaking at the listing ceremony, Tran Thi Thuy, the company’s chairwoman, said: “The listing of the company ... creates opportunities for the company to access various sources of finance at home and abroad.”

It is also a motivation to improve corporate governance and transparency, she added.

The company reported revenues of VND92.2 billion ($3.97 million) last year.

 
 
 
 
 
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