BUSINESS NEWS 2/7

Vietcombank, JBIC sign contract for renewable energy projects

BUSINESS NEWS 2/7

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) have signed a 200 million USD credit contract to finance renewable energy projects in Vietnam.

Accordingly, JBIC will arrange loans from four leading commercial banks in Japan including MUFG Bank Ltd, Mizuho Bank Ltd, the Joyo Bank Ltd and the Nishi-Nippon City Bank Ltd with terms of 14 years for green energy projects in the Southeast Asian country.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on June 25, Vietcombank General Director Pham Quang Dung said the signing of the contract was an important landmark for the relationship between the two sides and opened a new period for cooperation to fully exploit their potential.

Kazuhisa Yumikura, managing executive officer and global head of Infrastructure and Environment Finance Group of JBIC, said JBIC had been making efforts to expand funding methods for the renewable energy sector. Last July, JBIC launched its Global Facility to Promote Quality Infrastructure Investment for Environmental Preservation and Sustainable Growth (QI-ESG) and expects to launch more projects aimed at protecting the environment.

In recent years, green credit has become a common global trend and has played an important role in promoting sustainable socio-economic development as well as contributing to realising green growth strategies in different countries.

Ha Nam fosters collaboration with foreign diplomatic, trade agencies

The People’s Committee of the northern province of Ha Nam and the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency on June 26 held a working session with foreign diplomatic representatives and trade promotion organisations in Vietnam.

Vu Ba Phu, head of the agency, said this is a chance for foreign diplomatic and trade offices to seek partnership with Vietnamese firms and local businesses of Ha Nam in particular.

Vice Chairman of the committee Truong Quoc Huy introduced the socio-economic characteristics and development of Ha Nam, as well as strengths of the locality in hi-tech agriculture, healthcare, human resources development and tourism.

With a convenient transport system and comprehensive investment of infrastructure in industrial parks, Ha Nam has great potential for industrial development, he said.

In recent years, the province has been one of the leading localities in investment attraction. Currently, it hosts 888 projects, including 261 foreign-invested ones.

The province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expands 13.5 percent on average per year, with per capita income in 2018 reaching nearly 2,500 USD, noted Huy, adding that the economic structure of Ha Nam has been transformed with higher contributions of industry-construction sector and lower rate of agriculture.

The official pledged that the local administration will create as mooth, transparent and sustainable business environment for investors.

At the working session, participants discussed measures to remove difficulties in import-export activities. Some firms expressed their hope for support from foreign diplomatic and trade agencies in seeking market and connecting with foreign partners.

Vietnamese firms hit with Industry 4.0 warning

Business can grow quickly if they stay up to date with technology, but they risk falling behind if they stay stuck in the past, an expert has said.

Le Xuan Dinh, Editor-in-Chief of the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Economy and Forecast Review, gave the warning at a conference in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

The event discussed how to help Vietnamese entrepreneurs make the best use of opportunities and apply new technology successfully.

According to Phan Duc Hieu, deputy director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, has significantly changed people’s way of working.

Hieu said Industry 4.0 was changing the world at an incredibly rapid pace.

On policies to support science and technology for enterprises to adapt to Industry 4.0, Nguyen Huu Xuyen, vice director of National Institute of Patent and Technology, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said the Government has many policies to help.

However, Xuyen added businesses must be the centre for innovation, to cope with Industry 4.0 to join the global supply chain.

Xuyen also said that businesses must change their awareness of production methods and business environment and change from static competition to dynamic competition.

"To achieve that goal, we have to awaken our own potential to develop technology in the future. The rate of enterprises using technology is increasing strongly. However, the number of large enterprises having self-researched and technology deployment units accounts for less than 3 per cent,” he added.

Vo Tri Thanh, director of the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy, said there must be four premises to keep up with this revolution, including institutions, leaders, enterprises and a good education system.

Quang Nam seeks help for purpleback squid export

The central province of Quang Nam is facing a stockpile of purpleback squid which has failed to be exported to China due to a lack of origin certificates.

According to Ngo Tan, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Quang Nam to date lacks a company which specialises in buying purpleback squid from local farmers. This means purpleback squid in Quang Nam has been exported to China mostly through border trade and Thailand.

Under China’s newly-issued regulations, goods have to be exported into China officially, not through border trade. This requires the products to have their certificates of origin. Some Vietnamese farm produce such as watermelon also have to conform to this requirement to be exported to China.

“We have asked for a report on the exact number of purpleback squid inventoried and propose the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for trade promotion activities to seek outlets for the product. Farmers also need to be clearly instructed about procedures to export the product to China,” Tan added.

The Quang Nam Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, at present, Quang Nam’s purpleback squid stockpile is roughly 700 tonnes, meaning big losses for local fishermen.

The department said that each tonne of dry purpleback squid are priced at around VND120 million (USD5,217).

The department will work with General Department of Fisheries to build a product quality supervision system and support enterprises in export sales.

Request for anti-dumping investigation on BOPP film

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam has received petitions from Hung Nghiep Formosa Ltd Company and Youl Chon Vina Plastic JSC which request an anti-dumping investigation on Biaxial Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) film originating from China, Thailand and Malaysia.

On June 12, the two companies submitted enough documents.

Later on June 26, investigation agency confirmed that the documents are in accordance with trade protection law.

Within the next 45 days, it will review the documents to submit to the Minister of Industry and Trade to decide whether to launch an investigation or not.

The authority said it will seek evidence for the dumping of imported goods that causes considerable harm to the domestic production.

In order to ensure legitimate rights and interests of firms, the investigation agency asked domestic manufacturers to provide their information, the capacity and output of their BOPP film during 2016, 2017 and 2018.

They must offer opinions about the case and provide relevant evidence before July 26.

Construction starts on two wind power plants in Quang Tri

The Gelex Energy Ltd on June 27 started construction of two wind power plants with total capacity of 50MW in Huong Phung commune, Huong Hoa district of the central province of Quang Tri.

The Huong Phung 2 wind farm has a designed capacity of 20MW with 6 turbines, and investment of more than 932 billion VND (over 40 million USD).

Meanwhile, the Huong Phung 3 plant has a designed capacity of 30MW with 9 turbines, costing over 1.38 trillion VND (59.24 million USD).

Both plants are scheduled to begin generating electricity in the first quarter of 2021. They are expected to add 190 million kWh of electricity to the national power output, and contribute some 50 billion USD (2.14 million USD) to the State budget each year.

Addressing the launch of construction, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quan Chinh said Quang Tri has great potential for wind energy, and the province has been reforming administrative procedures and improving the investment environment to attract more investors in renewable energy project in the locality.

Besides the Huong Phung 1 and 2 plants, eight more wind power projects are slated to be launched in the time ahead, helping turn Quang Tri into a renewable energy hub in the north-central region.

Viglacera’s earnings better than expected this year

Increasing demand for green, environmentally-friendly materials and devices may help Viglacera earn higher-than-expected pre-tax profits this year.

The largest ceramic and tile producer by market value expected actual full-year pre-tax profit to beat projections by nearly 16 percent, heard the firm’s annual shareholder meeting on June 26.

Viglacera had previously set a 2019 target of 9.3 trillion VND (399.2 million USD) in total revenue and 950 billion VND (40.8 million USD) in pre-tax profit. The figures would mark an increase of 5.5 percent and 12.2 percent year-on-year.

But actual earnings this year may reach 1.1 trillion VND (47.2 million USD) in pre-tax profit, 15.8 percent higher than the original forecast.

According to the firm’s management board, pre-tax profit of 1.1 trillion VND was feasible.

In the first half of the year, the group estimated pre-tax profit of its parent unit was 422 billion VND, accounting for 65 percent of the annual target.

The company attributed its confidence in future growth to high demand for green building materials and said it would make further investments in this area.

The company acknowledged difficulties ahead as the property market was showing signs of slowing down and Chinese products were becoming more competitive.

However, the signing of the Europe Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) may offer the firm new opportunities abroad for glass exports.

In addition, chances will come from stronger market purchases of solar energy. The solar energy sector has grown strongly in recent years, especially in the south central region.

The Ministry of Construction will continue to sell the State capital it holds in Viglacera to zero percent by early 2020 in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Decision 1232/QD-TTg dated August 17, 2017.

The construction ministry is holding 173 million Viglacera shares, equal to a 38.6 percent stake in the company.

The ministry sold 69 million Viglacera shares – accounting for 85 percent of total shares offered for sale – at an auction on March 29 for 1.58 trillion VND.

In 2018, Viglacera posted 8.8 trillion VND (377.8 million USD) in total revenue, down 4.2 percent year-on-year. Its post-tax profit last year fell 10.7 percent to 667 billion VND (28.6 million USD).

Vietnamese products introduced at RoK import fair

Vietnamese enterprises are showcasing their products at the 17th Import Goods Fair (IGF) 2019, which opened on June 27 in Seoul.

Participating exhibitors at the Vietnamese space include the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), tea producer Ecolink, and producer of fashion products under Fair Trade conditions Craftbeauty.

First held in 2003, the annual IGF covers an area of over 8,000 square metres this year, attracting more than 25 firms from 46 countries and territories.

Lasting until June 29, the event is expected to welcome more than 20,000 visitors.

To date, the RoK is the leading foreign investor of Vietnam, with a total registered capital of more than 62 billion USD, as well as the second largest trade partner as two-way trade hit 65.7 billion USD in 2018.

Promoting socially responsible practices in wood, seafood processing

Socially responsible practices in the wood and seafood processing industries were under the spotlight at a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 27 as part of the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia project (RSCA).

At the event, experts emphasized that promoting corporate social responsibility (SCR) and responsible business conduct (RBC) in the business community is important to the country.

RSCA Programme Manager Fredy Guayacan said the project aims to promote comprehensive and inclusive growth through supporting access to and practice of CSR and RBC in accordance to international tools such as the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (the MNE Declaration) and the ILO. It also strives to create a policy environment favourable for RBC and create more chances for dialogue between stakeholders.

Another important goal of the project is to enhance the local business community’s capacity to practice CSR and RBC in the long run, thus improving their access to markets in the context of the country deepening integration into the international economy.

According to the project’s coordinator Tran Minh Tri, the project will also equip State agencies’ employees, policy makers and enterprises with information on CSR and RBC.

Le Van Bang from the Research Centre for Resources and Rural Development suggested more training in CSR and RBC for enterprises, and put in place mechanisms and policies facilitating the connection of links in the supply chains in Vietnam in practicing CSR and RBC.

The three-year RSCA project is being implemented by ILO and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with co-funding from ILO and the EU in six countries, including Vietnam. In Vietnam, it focuses on the wood and seafood processing industries.

Hau Giang’s soursop gets trademark registration certificate

Soursop of Hau Giang was granted the certificate of trademark registration “Soursop HauGiang” by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam at a ceremony held in the Mekong Delta province on June 26.

This is the type of collective brand and the certificate holder is the Cooperative Alliance of Hau Giang province.

According to Chairman of the alliance Tran Van Thang, in the coming time, the organisation will grant the certificate on the right to use the collective trademark "Soursop HauGiang" to local cooperatives producing soursop, aiming to promoting the development of the local fruit.

Hau Giang province is supporting seven cooperatives to register for collective brand protection for local agricultural products that are competitive in the market, including Cam Sanh Nga Bay (Nga Bay thick-skinned orange), Hau Giang seedless lemon, Long Tri sweet tangerine, Hau Giang anabas, Hau Giang 2 rice, Phung Hiep orange, and Hau Giang mango.

Vo Van Phai, Director of the Hoa My Soursop Cooperative - one of the first cooperatives to be granted the certificate on the right to use the “Soursop HauGiang” trademark said the cooperative will comply with management regulations, guidance of the trademark holder in exploiting and using the collective trademark.

Vietnam, RoK forge cooperation in tourism, culture, sports

Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien on June 27 expressed his hope that the Republic of Korea (RoK) will advance from the second biggest source of tourists to Vietnam to the largest one in the future.

During the talks with his RoK counterpart Park Yang-woo in Seoul on June 27, Thien said tourism is one of the key cooperation areas between Vietnam and the East Asian country.

He also highlighted cultural exchanges between the two countries, saying Vietnam has organised many major festival in the RoK while RoK businesses like CJ Group have invested in the cultural sector in Vietnam.

Thien took the occasion to thank the RoK side for its support in training Vietnamese athletes in the country, including the men’s football squad and shooting athletes.

For his part, Park told his guest that 28 million Koreans travelled abroad last year, of whom more than 4 million came to Vietnam.

Up to 4.5 million RoK holiday-makers are expected to visit Vietnam this year, he said, noting his hope that the number of Vietnamese tourists to the RoK will increase sharply in the time ahead.

Mentioning the recent tourist boat accident involving RoK passengers in Hungary, the minister suggested the Vietnamese Government pay more attention to ensuring safety for RoK tourists in the country.

He also informed that the RoK designated September 2-8 as the welcome week for Vietnamese holiday-makers.

The RoK is willing to share its experience in cultural and sport development with Vietnam, he said, adding that apart from football and shooting, the RoK has strength in archery and taekwondo and stands ready to invite Vietnamese athletes to the country for training.

The minister said the RoK is launching a programme which offers chances for Vietnamese young people to visit the RoK and explore local culture, and hoped that the programme will continue to be rolled out in the future.

He called on the Vietnamese Government to support RoK enterprises operating in the culture sphere in Vietnam, and license Korean language teaching centres in Ho Chi Minh City.

While in the RoK, Thien and his entourage visited the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK on June 26.

Over 1,000 social houses to be built in northern Hanoi

As many as 1,030 apartments will be available in 2021 for low-income people at the price of 8 million VND (343 USD) per square metres in Thanh Lam-Dai Thinh 2 new urban area in Me Linh district, Hanoi city.

The Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUD) on June 27 began construction on its social housing project with 14 blocks in the urban area.

The project has 14 six-storey buildings, with apartments having a floor space ranging 52-69 square metres. It is designed with gardens, parking lots, playgrounds and miniatures, and has connection with comprehensive technical infrastructure in Thanh Lam-Dai Thinh 2 urban area as well as Me Linh district.

Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Pham Khanh spoke highly of HUD’s considerable experience in housing development, and asked the corporation to priority resources to the project.

Besides, he ordered the firm to ensure construction quality, labour safety and environmental hygiene.

HUD must be transparent in its sales process, and provide good services for residents, he stressed.

Agricultural insurance protects farmers against crop, livestock losses

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a decision on the implementation of agricultural insurance policy.

Under Decision No. 22/2019/QD-TTg dated June 26, 2019, such plants, animals and aquaculture products like rice, cow, buffalo, black tiger shrimp and while-leg shrimp will receive support of agricultural insurance fees.

Individuals who work in agriculture and belong to poor households, and near-poor households in line with Decision No. 59/2015/QD-TTG dated November 19, 2015 will be covered up to 90 percent of agricultural insurance premiums.

Those who do not belong to poor or near poor households will be assisted with 20 percent of the fees.

An agricultural organisation may be supported with 20 percent of the premiums if it is established in accordance with the Law on Enterprises or the Law on Cooperatives, and fulfils other requirements regarding connectivity in agricultural production and consumption, and food quality and safety.

The decision also lists cities and provinces which enjoy the assistance policy, which lasts from June 26, 2019 when the document took effect, till December 31, 2020.

Chinese firm seeks infrastructure construction cooperation with HCM City

Representatives from the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and Pacific Construction Group Company Limited (Pacific Group) of China met on June 27 in HCM City to discuss the possibility of cooperation in urban infrastructure development.

During the meeting, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan said HCM City is willing to cooperate with foreign investors to implement projects on traffic infrastructure and satellite urban development.

While briefing on the city’s socio-economic development in recent times, he stressed that as one of the leading localities in external affairs, HCM City wants to actively contribute to Vietnam-China comprehensive partnership.

For his part, Yan Jiehe, Chairman of Pacific Group said that his trip to HCM City aims to seek cooperation opportunities.

A large and reputable construction enterprise in China, Pacific Group highly values the development potential of Vietnam, especially HCM City, he said, adding the firm wishes to participate in infrastructure development in the Vietnamese southern hub, especially transportation facilities and high-class urban areas.

Pacific Group attaches special importance to the issue of quality and commits that if it invests in Vietnam, it will ensure the issue in order to change Vietnam’s assessment of the quality of construction works implemented by Chinese construction contractors, he said.

 

Vietnam, Egypt eye stronger tourism cooperation

Vietnam and Egypt have yet to fully tap their potential for tourism cooperation and make it match their bilateral ties, Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Tran Thanh Cong has said.

Speaking at a workshop in Cairo on June 27, the diplomat said only about 900 Egyptians visited Vietnam last year while the number of Vietnamese tourists to the African country was around 1,300.

These figures remain low as compared with their tourism cooperation potential, he said, blaming the lack of tourism information for the situation.

Cong told Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondents that Egypt is working hard to improve its tourism infrastructure, aiming to attract more international holiday-makers, including those from Vietnam.

Egyptian Deputy Minister of Tourism Emad Hasan suggested Vietnam and Egypt pay attention to such issues as tourism development structure, institutions and regulations, infrastructure and promotion activities via the social network.

The two countries should optimise their fruitful relations to promote collaboration in economy and tourism in particular, he said.

Vietnam’s Commercial Counsellor Pham The Cuong pointed out that the geographic distance and no direct flights are major challenges to the bilateral tourism cooperation.

Besides, tourism promotion activities between the two countries remain limited, he added, suggesting the two sides push ahead with tourism cooperation programmes, diversify their tourism products and enhance connectivity between their travel agencies.

Mohamed Farouk from the Egyptian Travel Agents Association told VNA correspondents that Vietnam and Egypt should consider opening a direct air route and increasing flights between the two countries.

More than 12,900 enterprises enter market in six months

As many as 12,960 businesses were established during January-June, registering a total capital of over 190 trillion VND (8.14 billion USD), the Ministry of Planning and Investment said at a press conference in Hanoi on June 27.

The average registered capital per enterprise reached 14.7 billion VND.

From the outset of the year, Vietnam secured over 18.4 billion USD in foreign investment, a year-on-year fall of 9.2 percent. Meanwhile, capital disbursement rose 8.1 percent to 9.1 billion USD.

In the coming time, the ministry will give support to local companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, and provide them with necessary information about several free trade deals like the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Furthermore, due attention will be given to promotion activities in potential nations who boast strength in technology and finance so as to choose projects that match the nations’ development strategy.-

Mercedes-Benz to recall nearly 1,700 cars for steering wheel fault

Mercedes-Benz Vietnam will recall 1,648 cars with faulty steering it sold between June 2016 and October 2017.

It will begin by recalling C200, C250, C300, E200, E250, and E300 models from July 25 and replace faulty components.

Daimler AG Group, which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand, discovered the error that caused the steering wheel to become tighter than normal.

It also discovered that the gear box in some C-Class and E-Class cars is receiving inaccurate measurement signals. The steering software could deactivate the power steering system upon receiving these erroneous signals, the company said.

The affected models are imported in completely knocked down (CKD) condition and assembled at the Mercedes Benz factory in Ho Chi Minh City.

Last year the firm had recalled 4,802 SUVs over faulty seatbelts.

According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association, Mercedes-Benz sold 1,434 units in the first five month of this year, down 33 percent year-on-year and accounting for a 1.2 percent share of the country's auto market.

Viet Nam consumer confidence index rises to record high

Viet Nam surpassed Indonesia to rank third in consumer confidence in the first quarter behind only the Philippines and India, according to the latest Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey conducted in collaboration with global measurement company Nielsen.

With a seven point increase from the fourth quarter last year, Viet Nam hit a record 129 points in the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI).

Viet Nam’s was the biggest gain in the Asia Pacific.

Globally and in the region the CCI was steady, respectively edging down by one point and rising by one point from Q4 last year.

Viet Nam’s overall confidence level was high above the regional average (more than 12 points above).

The Philippines (133 points) and India (132) topped the highest CCI.

Singapore saw the biggest decline of four points and finished the quarter with 92.

Viet Nam’s strong rise was due to the confidence in job prospects and personal finances, and the level of willingness to spend by the population.

“This significant increase in consumer confidence indicates that consumers continue to see positive changes for themselves and their families,” Nguyen Huong Quynh, managing director of Nielsen Vietnam, said.

“Manufacturers and retailers need to capture the latest trends in the consumer market and need to act faster to respond to the evolving needs of consumers.”

During the first quarter, all key drivers of Viet Nam’s CCI, including job prospects, financial security and willingness to spending, increased significantly.

Approximately three-quarters of the people surveyed believed they have good or excellent job prospects.

Eighty two per cent of respondents said they would be in good or excellent financial state in the next 12 months.

Sixty seven per cent said they were ready to spend, an increase of 4 percentage points.

Vietnamese consumers continued to rank job security and health as two factors they care the most about, followed by economic growth and work-life balance.

Work begins on two wind power plants in Quang Tri

Construction on two wind power plants with a combined value of more than VND2.31 trillion (US$104 million) began in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province on Thursday.

Financed by Gelex Energy Ltd Co under the Vietnam Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Corporation, the plants have a total capacity of 50MW.

The Huong Phung 2 plant, valued at more than VND932 billion, has a designed capacity of 20MW with six turbines. Meanwhile, the Huong Phung 3 plant which costs more than VND1.38 trillion has a designed capacity of 30MW with nine turbines.

Both plants are scheduled to begin generating electricity in the first quarter of 2021. They are expected to contribute some VND50 billion to the State budget each year.

In his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quan Chinh spoke highly of Quang Tri's great potential for wind energy, saying the province has been reforming administrative procedures and improving the investment environment to attract more investors to renewable energy projects in the locality.

According to Chinh, eight more wind power projects are slated to be launched in the future, helping turn Quang Tri into a renewable energy hub in the north-central region.

Phu Yen inaugurates two solar power plants

The Xuan Tho 1 and Xuan Tho 2 solar power plants were inaugurated in Song Cau town in the south-central province of Phu Yen on June 27.

Construction on the two plants started in January on a total area of 120ha in Xuan Tho 1 and Xuan Tho 2 communes by Phu Khanh Solar Power Joint Stock Company. Each plant has a capacity of 49.6MW and an estimated output of 76.2 million kWh of electricity a year.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the company’s General Director Tran Minh Tien said that the commissioning of the two plants contributes to adding more renewable energy to the national grid, solving the power shortage problem in the dry season, and generating jobs for around 100 locals.

The two plants were officially connected to the national grid on June 11.

Time for locals to enjoy export-quality food

It’s time local people had access to food products that met the same high standards as those the country exported, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Ð?c Ðam said yesterday at a meeting in Hà N?i.

The meeting was held to review the activities in the first six months of the National Inter-Sector Steering Committee on Food Safety.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguy?n Xuân Cu?ng, in the first half of the year, co-ordination among the Government, ministries, sectors, localities and social organisations had brought about significant and positive developments for food safety.

The report by the ministry said that all provinces had been developing standardised food supply chains. More than 1,200 agriculture supply chains had been set up with more than 3,100 showrooms.

Conferences and training on food safety had been organised for more than 35,000 individuals involved in food sales and production.

Inspection teams specialising in food safety had also been trained by the Ministry of Health in nine provinces and cities.

There are currently 182 food safety and hygiene testing units nationwide, run by the health and agriculture ministries.

In the first six months of the year, market watchdogs across the country detected and handled more than 56,000 facility owners who violated food safety regulations out of the 347,000 facilities inspected.

The Ministry of Health and authorities in 63 provinces and cities imposed total administrative fines of VNÐ24 billion ($1.05 million) on 8,400 facility owners in the food sales and production sector.

The ministry has also been piloting an online system for food safety information and management in order to avoid inaccuracies and slack updates on food safety data like food poisoning and management violations. The ministries of agriculture and trade are now working on the completion of the system.

Participants at the meeting also highlighted some of the main focuses such as the use of plant protection chemicals, antibiotics and veterinary medicines in agriculture and fishery production. Cross-border food smuggling was also a matter for concern.

Minister Nguy?n Xuân Cu?ng said the demand for high quality and standardised food products had been increasing among the community and consumers now had the tools to trace food origins.

Deputy Prime Minister Ðam agreed, saying this was a good sign.

“We need to strengthen communications on food safety violations. It’s time that all Vietnamese people had access to the same sort of high quality food we export,” he said.

In the last six months of the year, the Deputy Prime Minister asked agencies to strengthen inspections on food safety, especially at small and individual food sales and processing units.

A survey by the market research firm Indochina Research earlier this year revealed that food safety was among the issues that concerned urban Vietnamese people the most.

The survey, which interviewed more than 300 people aged 18 to 60 in the country's biggest cities Hà N?i and HCM City, said 86 per cent identified food safety as the most pressing social concern.

Kiên Giang widens efficient rice farming, aquaculture models

The C?u Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang has expanded its most efficient rice and aquatic species farming models in the last two years.

Mai An Nh?n, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee, said many farmers have switched from growing rice, in case of low yields, to breeding aquatic species.

They have also expanded the model of rotating between rice in the rainy season and shrimp in the dry season on the same fields to enhance their incomes, he said.

The model is particularly suitable for coastal areas since it helps adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.

The province has 92,000ha of rice – shrimp fields, the highest in the delta.

Farmers adopting the model harvest around four tonnes of paddy and 250 kilogrammes of black tiger shrimp per hectare per year.

The province has adopted several efficient shrimp farming models like extensive, intensive, semi-intensive, and two-stage industrial models.

The model of breeding white-legged shrimp in two stages to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards adopted in An Minh District for the last two years provides farmers with high incomes and protects the environment.

Juvenile shrimp are first bred in a small pond for a few weeks before being transferred to the main pond at a rate of up to 450 per square metre.

Lê Van Khanh, head of the An Minh District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the success rate of the two-stage shrimp farming model is more than 90 per cent and farmers can breed two or three crops a year.

Farmers can earn VNÐ150-200 million (US$6,450-8,600) per 500-1,200sq.m pond per crop, he said.

The province, the country’s largest rice producer, has increased the number of rice crops in a year from two to three in areas like Tân Hi?p, Gi?ng Ri?ng and Hòn Ð?t districts where there are flood-prevention embankments.

In the coastal areas of U Minh Thu?ng and the Long Xuyên Quadrangle, farmers have developed the rice – shrimp model to earn high incomes.

In Giang Thành, Hòa Ð?t, Vinh Thu?n and Gi?ng Ri?ng districts, where farmers grew only rice in the past, they now grow one rice and one other crop annually.

After growing the winter – spring rice crop, they grow vegetables, water melon or honeydew melon.

Ph?m Hùng Em, who grows one rice crop and one vegetable crop in Vinh Thu?n’s Vinh Bình B?c Commune, said the income from vegetables is more than VNÐ200 million per hectare per year.

The province has researched to develop high-quality rice strains and aquatic breeds.

It has created rice varieties like GKG1 and GKG9 that have a short maturity period, are resistant to disease and saltwater, and have high yield and quality.

Farmers in the province grow more high-quality rice varieties, with the rate increasing from 71 per cent in 2016 to 75 per cent last year.

Last year, the province had 75,000ha of large-scale rice fields which involved more than 20 companies and farmers having tie-ups to ensure each other production and outlets.

The large-scale rice fields apply the “1 must and 5 reductions” method, which requires farmers to use certified seeds and reduce seeding, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, and post-harvest losses.

Participating farmers can earn profits of 40 per cent.

The province has invested in irrigation systems, including building more sluices to keep out saltwater, to benefit rice and shrimp farming.

It dredged thousands of kilometres of irrigation canals and ditches, upgraded irrigation works in rice farming areas and established more than 1,250 pumping stations in the past two years.

Viet Nam promotes business, investment in UK

Business leaders from the north of the UK on Tuesday attended the “Meet Vietnam” conference held in the city of Manchester to explore business and investment opportunities in Vi?t Nam.

At the event, representatives from the northern provinces of Yen Bai and Lang Son and the Central Highland province of Ð?k L?k introduced local potential and key projects that they wanted investment in such as eco-tourism, smart urban infrastructure, clean agriculture for export and renewable energy.

Addressing the event, UK businesses, who have strengths in education, innovation and high technology, said that Viet Nam was an attractive investment destination, as well as being a top tourist spot.

Christopher Jeffery, chairman of the British Business Group Vietnam, said more than 40 years of diplomatic ties and over 10 years of strategic partnership between Viet Nam and the UK had created a firm foundation for the two countries’ co-operation.

This was the right time to deepen bilateral co-operation with the creativity of businesses, he said.

He cited clean agricultural production for export as an example, saying it was a field in which the UK and particularly Manchester could work with Viet Nam.

UK businesses also hailed the proactive efforts and creativity of Vietnamese localities in promoting their history, culture and investment potential.

Earlier, representatives from Vietnamese localities visited Lord Mayor of Manchester Abid Latif Chohan, during which they voiced their hope to bolster co-operation with the British city.

Ibaraki prefecture hopes for direct air route to Vietnam

The Japanese prefecture of Ibaraki has said it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam’s newest carrier Bamboo Airways in July 2019 to jointly conduct a survey on potential passengers in order to launch an air route between the prefecture and Vietnam.

After conducting successfully the first charter flights to Ibaraki airport and vice versa using Airbus A321 Neo aircraft in late April 2019, Bamboo Airways and the Japanese prefecture and a big tourist company of Vietnam decided to sign a MoU on July 1, under which the sides will continue charter flights and survey of passengers’ demands.

Ibaraki is home to a number of popular sites such as Kairakuen garden – one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan; Hitachi Seaside Park – one of the best places in Japan to view flowers all year round; and Ushiku Budda – the world’s largest bronze statue.

Japan is one of the countries with the highest number of tourists to Vietnam. The two nations signed a joint statement on tourism cooperation. From January 1, 2004, Vietnam unilaterally waived visas for Japanese to travel and trade in Vietnam for 15 days.

On March 8, 2005, the two sides exchanged a diplomatic note on visa exemption for Vietnamese and Japanese citizens holding diplomatic and official passports for a stay of not more than 90 days starting from May 1, 2005.

Japan started relaxing regulations for granting multiple entry visa from September 30, 2014, and further loosened them from February 15, 2016 and single entry visa from November 20, 2014 for Vietnamese citizens.

Vietnam online tourism day runs in Hanoi

The ‘Vietnam Online Tourism Day’ took place in Hanoi on June 26, gathering more than 600 domestic and foreign participants.

Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA), cited the Google-Temasek report on the internet economy in Southeast Asia which showed the size of Vietnam’s online tourism market grew 15 percent to 3.5 billion USD in 2018. The figure is projected to be 9 billion USD in 2025.

However, Vietnam was placed 5th among six Southeast Asian nations mentioned in the report, meaning potential of the market is yet to be fully tapped.

A highlight of the Vietnam Online Tourism Day was a forum with four thematic sessions discussing the boom of online tourism, tourists’ online behaviours, relevant support services, and human resources.

It was a chance for local travel companies to gain an overview of the online sector as well as learn from and connect to their international peers.

Also in the framework of the online tourism day, the VITA and Vietnam E-Commerce Association signed an agreement to collaborate on human resources training serving online tourism.

There was also an exhibition displaying tourism support services and online tourism applications.

Close to 7.3 million foreign tourists visited Vietnam in the first five months of 2019, up 8.8 percent against the same period last year. The country aims to receive about 18 million foreign visitors this year.

 
 
 
 
 
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