Calls for insider traders to be dealt with criminally
Illegal insider stock trading requires a stronger deterrent from regulatory agencies to stabilise the market sentiment, according to tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.
Insider stock trading among business leaders has existed for years and been a thorn in the side of investors due to a lack of appropriate punishments.
In the past six months, the State Securities Commission (SSC) has punished several company leaders for violating rules on the transparency of stock trading.
On July 3, the SSC issued a fine worth 17.5 million VND (752 USD) on a member of the board of directors in Ca Mau Water JSC (UPCoM: CMW) for selling the company's shares before the allowed period.
A fine worth 55 million VND was imposed on a deputy director of Vinacomin-Water Transport JSC (UPCoM: WTC) as he bought shares without reporting the deal to the SSC and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).
Such transactions cause concern as the firms' leaders will have more information than other investors, allowing them to make personal profits.
Some investors are questioning whether insider trading is illegal or not and what lies behind those leaders’ actions.
According to Eiichiro Kawabe, deputy commissioner for international affairs at the Japan Financial Services Association, many company leaders and those with similar benefits learn information earlier than common investors to do non-public deals that bring them profits.
If the market regulator is not sharp enough, such wrongdoings may erode investors’ confidence in the equities market.
Hoang Van Cuong, member of the National Assembly’s Finance and Budget Committee, said there must be a regulation to deal with such wrongdoings soon to help the equities market develop transparently and healthily.
Experts have suggested illegal insider stock trading must be handled by penal sanctions, not by fines, with the sanctions stated in the Law on Securities, which is being discussed in the National Assembly.
One measure is to force business leaders to clarify why they made illegal insider transactions and to publicise those reasons.
Some analysts and investors have suggested those violating the rules must be fined heavily and be restricted from trading stocks for a period of time.
However the new Law on Securities, which is expected to be passed late this year, doesn’t contain any penal actions for wrongdoings on the market.
The proposed maximum penalty for an individual violation is 1.5 billion VND and 3 billion VND for an organisational action.
According to Eiichiro Kawabe, information transparency is an important and decisive factor to determine how resources are allocated on the equities market. That requires material information to be provided accurately, fully and be understandable.
If existing punishments are not strict enough to deal with market wrongdoings, investors will lose confidence in the market.
Therefore, it is important to increase sanctions for trading violations. In Japan, penal punishments are used alongside fines to ensure insider trading doesn’t destabilise the market.
In addition, market members and regulators must improve their systems and technologies to discover and prevent illegal insider trading.
Project delays cause power undersupply
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has warned of a possible power shortage after 2020, citing the slow progress of power projects in the country.
At a meeting of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on July 17 on important national power projects, Phuong Hoang Kim, director of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Department, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the annual demand for electricity will increase by 8.6% by 2020, Tuoi Tre Online newspaper reported.
According to the adjusted National Power Development Plan VII, the country expects to generate 21,650 megawatts of electricity by 2020.
Kim noted that power projects are now divided into three categories: those funded by Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN), Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (TKV); those developed by independent power producers; and those executed under the build-operate-transfer format.
However, PVN and TKV have failed to ensure the progress of their projects, posing a high risk of a power shortage in the 2021-2025 period, Kim added.
He said regulations in the Planning Law also hinder the formulation and execution of power projects. Specifically, the plan for nearly 400 projects is facing obstacles. The obstacles to the Tay Bac, Bac Lieu, Ca Na and Long Son projects have been reported to the competent agencies, but these agencies have yet to take any action.
Further, these projects have encountered difficulties in site clearance and construction due to overlapping and complicated administrative procedures.
In addition, 89 solar farms with a combined design capacity of roughly 4,500 megawatts were put into operation. However, this boom in solar farms has caused an overload of the national grid.
The ministry will consider importing more electricity from the neighboring countries of Laos and China.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh agreed that the power shortage risk is high. He ordered a review of the liability of investors in power projects that are lagging behind schedule.
He asked the ministry’s subordinates to accelerate the progress of projects by improving their execution methods, ensuring an adequate capital supply, applying technology and paying attention to amendments to regulations.
As for hydropower plants, the minister asked the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam and the Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to review the process to operate reservoirs.
According to the deputy head of the ministry’s Energy Saving and Sustainable Development Department, Trinh Quoc Vu, large enterprises account for some 40% of the country’s energy consumption volume, so the sector should seek solutions to encourage them to save energy, Mot The Gioi news site reported.
He said that the department will cooperate with EVN to have enterprises sign commitments to save 10% of their energy consumption volume this year.
Vietnam, Malaysia see trade drop in H1
Trade revenue between Vietnam and Malaysia reached 5.48 billion USD in the first half of 2019, down 6.2 percent year on year, according to Vietnam’s Trade Office in Malaysia.
Notably, Vietnam’s export earnings in the market dropped 2.6 percent to 1.95 billion USD, while its imports experienced an 8.1 percent drop to 3.5 billion USD, reported the office.
The sharpest plunge was seen in imports of petrol at 41.6 percent, followed by machineries and spare parts at 20 percent, animal and vegetable oil at 14 percent, material plastics at 11.2 percent.
Household electrical appliances and accessories were the only group that saw increase in import revenue in the market in the first half of this year at 8.7 percent.
Meanwhile, exports of many major products were also down in the period, including computers, electronic products and accessories (25.3 percent), telephones (30.2 percent), crystal and crystal products (24.4 percent).
However, rise was seen in other groups such as machineries and accessories, transport vehicles, and fisheries.
In June alone, trade between Vietnam and Malaysia was 806.6 million USD, down 14.6 percent over the same period last year, with imports declining 19.3 percent to 485.7 million USD and exports falling 6.9 percent to 320.98 million USD.
According to the Foreign Investment Agency, in the first six months of 2019, Malaysia invested in 18 projects in Vietnam with total capital of 21.28 million USD.
As of June 20, 2019, Malaysia ran 599 projects in Vietnam with 12.5 billion USD, ranking eighth in 132 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.
TPBank, UnionPay launch payment service
The Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) and UnionPay International (UPI) signed a cooperation agreement on inter-bank payment in Vietnam, at a ceremony in Hanoi on July 15.
TPBank General Director Nguyen Hung said the move will enable millions of UnionPay clients to expand inter-bank payment via cards and QR Code at TPBank points-of-sale (POS) from July 2019.
UPI Vice President Larry Wang said the partnership seeks to take advantage of the large number of tourists from China, the Republic of Korea and Thailand who want to pay for services in Vietnam.
Dinh Van Chien, TPBank Deputy General Director, said TPBank cardholders travelling to China could use its QuickPay application to make payment via QR Code.
According to the General Statistics Office and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, over 3.2 million Chinese and Korean visitors arrived in Vietnam in the first quarter of this year, and many of them used UPI cards with a purchasing power of trillions VND.
At present, there are over 7.5 billion UnionPay cardholders in 52 countries and regions globally, more than 55 million points-of-sale and 2.9 million ATMs accepting UnionPay cards in 174 countries and regions.
In Southeast Asia, UnionPay has expanded the system of ATMs and POS as well as issued cards in 10 nations. In Vietnam alone, it worked with over 10 partners to offer payment services.
Before TPBank, Vietcombank and Vietinbank had signed similar partnership pacts with UnionPay.
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam intensify tourism connectivity
The building of a plan on tourism development at the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area was the main topic of a seminar in Pleiku city, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, on July 15.
The plan targets sustainable tourism development and tourism connectivity between the three countries, thus helping to spur socio-economic development in the area.
Speaking at the seminar, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Gia Lai province Kpa Thuyen, said the cooperation and connectivity will contribute to addressing small-scale tourism development and promote tourism in localities.
With special cultural identities and diverse natural resources, Gia Lai has affirmed its position in integration and development, as well as regional tourism cooperation, the official said.
Phonemaly Inthapphome, deputy head of the Lao department for international cooperation, said sustainable tourism development requires high-quality human resources and diverse tourism products.
Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said tourism is one of the important cooperation sectors at the development triangle area, which still boasts a lot of untapped tourism potential.
According to the official, the area welcomed only more than 860,000 international tourists in 2018, a small number as compared with the potential.
The Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area was established in 1999 with the initial membership of 10 provinces: Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong (Vietnam); Sekong, Attapeu, Saravan (Laos); and Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri (Cambodia). Vietnam’s Binh Phuoc province, Laos’ Champasak province and Kratie of Cambodia were added into the group in 2009.
The group aims to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the three countries and ensure security, political stability as well as promote poverty reduction and socio-economic development in the area.
Quality key to enhancing garment, textile exports to Japan: experts
Only by developing high quality and excellent designs could Vietnamese garment and textile firms boost their exports to Japan, a market that holds strict standards for imported products, according to the insiders.
As a large trade partner of Vietnam, Japan is expanding imports for a wide range of products originated from the Southeast Asian nation, and garment and textile industry holds huge potential.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported export revenue during January-June totaled nearly 18 billion USD, up 8.61 percent from the same time last year. Of the total, shipments to Japan reached 1.89 billion USD, just after the US (over 11.7 billion USD), and the EU (2.56 billion USD).
Chairman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang said Vietnam could sell high-quality shirts, suits, sport wear, kids’ clothing and towels to Japan; however, exporters should be well prepared before entering the market due to its complicated distribution system and high costs of trade promotion.
Despite weak purchasing power in the East Asian country, exports of garments and textile still enjoyed robust growth, and many businesses have won contracts to ship products to the market by the end of this year, including Viet Tien, Nha Be and Garment 10.
According to Than Duc Viet, General Director of Garment 10 Corporation, Japan has been a traditional market of the company for years. The firm has cooperated with leading fashion brands and retailers in the country like Uniqlo and Aeon. Currently, shipments to Japan account for over 12 percent of the company’s total exports.
Viet stressed that improving fashion design capacity and competitive edge is the only ways for Vietnamese exporters to increase added value of garment exports, as well as sustainably increasing export revenue in Japan.
As many Japanese partners have placed orders for small quantity of clothing with original designs and required shipments in a very short time, local firms must have sufficient materials to fulfill the contracts, or else they would lose these high-end customers.
The Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) said garment and textile have long been among key exports of Vietnam. Thanks to advanced technology and skillful labourers, the goods have better quality, thus winning the favour of many fastidious markets such as the US, the EU and Japan.
Vinatex is gearing towards sustainable development through balancing exports in all markets, and has been paying special attention to Japan that has sound political relations with Vietnam. Besides, Japan was the first market of Vietnamese garment and textile when the country had not joined the World Trade Organisation.
Its member company, Dong Xuan Knitting firm (Doximex), has cooperated with Japanese-based Katakura Industries Co. for 10 years to improve product quality. Katakura expects to work more with Doximex in the production of underwear.
Hanoi boosts exports to Africa
Hanoi has carried out a range of trade promotion programmes in Africa and South Africa in particular, helping Vietnamese brands gain a firm foothold in the market, according to insiders.
The Hanoi Promotion Agency, the municipal Department of Industry and Trade and more than 10 local businesses participated in the South African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX) in South Africa last month.
Apart from booths established by businesses, Hanoi set up a special pavilion at the exhibition, introducing publications and products of the capital city.
It also held an exchange programme between Vietnamese enterprises and those from South Africa and Mozambique.
Nguyen Xuan Phu, Chairman of Sunhouse Group, a leading household appliance brand in Vietnam which joined the exhibition, said his group is preparing for the signing of contracts with African partners.
According to Lai Thuy Hoa, deputy head of the trade promotion bureau under the Hanoi Promotion Agency, South Africa has a great demand for most of the Vietnamese exports.
Supermarkets in South Africa serve not only domestic consumers but also neighbouring countries, she said, noting that the 1.2-billion-people market is the gateway for Vietnamese firms to penetrate Africa.
Le Hong Thang, Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said South Africa is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in Africa.
Hanoi’s major exports to South Africa include machines, equipment, spare parts, garments-textiles, chemicals, wood and timber materials, cashew nuts and handicrafts.
As of early June 2019, the city’s export turnover to South Africa exceeded 9.5 million USD, which, however, remained small compared with the country’s annual import value of 75 billion USD, he said.
Ninh Binh mobilises over 98 million USD for new-style rural building
So far this year, the northern province of Ninh Binh has mobilized more than 2.28 trillion VND (98.13 million USD) to build its new-style rural areas.
Of the total, over 1.1 trillion VND came from the local budget and community’s contribution.
As a result, during the period, the province has built 264 rural roads measuring over 35.5km in length, and accessed seven rural transport projects worth 60 billion VND.
This year, 12 communes in Ninh Binh have registered to meet new-style rural standard, with each meeting 16.3 criteria on average.
Currently, the main difficulty facing the province is the short mobilization of fund.
Dinh Van Dien, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and head of its steering committee for new-style rural building, recommended relevant agencies boost investment of the private sector in a number of rural infrastructure projects as well as build plans to clear debts and complete policies and mechanisms for the work.
The National Target Programme on New-style Rural Area Building, initiated by the Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence.
The number of criteria was increased to 20 in 2015.
The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.
Project to improve agricultural development policy in Mekong subregion
A workshop was held in Hanoi on July 16 to launch a regional project to improve cooperation in policy research, implementation and advocacy in agriculture and rural development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The project “Network for Agriculture and Rural Development Think-tanks for Countries in Mekong sub-region” (NARDT) is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The NARDT objectives are to improve cooperation through the establishment of researcher networks to share policy experience and information toward sustainable agriculture and rural development; identify regional opportunities, challenges and key issues for agriculture and rural development; implement joint policy actions including joint policy research, formulation, implementation and advocacy; and facilitate the institutionalization of relevant innovations.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, agriculture plays a very important role in the economic development and social stability in Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia,
Though agricultural production in the sub-region has improved in recent years, it faces many difficulties due to short resources, low labor productivity, slower growth and widening development gap between urban and rural areas, Tien said.
The countries in the sub-region have been enforcing several effective policy reforms. For instance, Cambodia is a good example of how to develop premium rice brands and value chain to enter high-end markets, while Laos is experienced in developing clean and sustainable agricultural production, he noted.
The official said via the project, Vietnam wants to foster cooperation between countries in the Mekong sub-region to share good practices in agricultural and rural development through extensive policy advisory networks of not only governmental agencies but also non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
“With the help of IFAD and the active coordination between Mekong sub-region countries, this project will help improve effectiveness of policies in the Mekong sub-region and, at the same time, strengthen partnership and promote the development of effective and responsible trade and investment and between the countries in agricultural and rural development,” he stated.
The workshop later saw the signing of a cooperation agreement to develop the NARDT network in the region and in each country between the IFAD and the founding members of the NARDT network including the IPSARD, Myanmar’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Laos’ National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), and Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI).
Ba Ria – Vung Tau promotes marine economy, eco-tourism
The southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is improving connections between its Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port complex and surrounding provinces to strengthen its marine economy, and promoting environmentally friendly projects to develop its tourism sector.
Experts have urged the province to turn the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port into an international transshipment port and develop its industrial parks and clusters. The deep-water port is capable of receiving large container vessels with international transhipments of up to 20,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT), carrying 18,000 TEU capacity.
Nguyen Van Trinh, former chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port complex is one of only 19 in the world capable of handling 190,000 DWT vessels.
The province aims to increase the capacity of its seaports, improve international shipment services, and achieve throughput capacity of more than 100 million. By 2020, the province is expected to have 18 port operators and 219 logistics companies.
However, most experts said the transportation system connecting deep-water ports with major economic centres in the region remains weak. To improve the local marine economy, connectivity between the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port complex and surrounding provinces should be improved, they said.
Trinh Hang, director of the provincial Department of Tourism, said in recent years the province was also speeding up eco-tourism projects and focusing on attracting investors.
However, only a few big investors have shown interest, although more investors have explored the area recently.
To tap the potential of sea tourism, the province has built a 10-km coastal route which goes through fishing villages and connects Vung Tau City with Long Dien, Dat Do and Xuyen Moc districts and Binh Thuan province.
The local authority also wants to develop Con Dao Island into a high-quality national tourist site, Hang said.
The province targets 8.6 million visitors by 2025, an annual average growth rate of 11 to 13 percent, and an increase in the number of high-standard hotel rooms to 16,000. It also aims to create about 38,000 jobs by that time.
Hang said that beaches and entertainment centres in Vung Tau city were undergoing cleaning and improvement to attract more visitors.
The province has invested in five tourism areas with varying functions, such as sports, entertainment, culture, trade and eco-tourism, he said.
The tourism department is proposing new incentive policies for tourism investment, completion of a tourism master plan, and improved tourism promotion.
In recent years, local authorities have focused on major, high-end tourism projects and encouraged businesses to tap potential markets. Many tourism complexes have gained prestige such as the Ho Tram Strip and Six Senses Con Dao resort.
The province also has high hopes for the Paradise Vung Tau complex under construction.
Experts and local authorities, however, are concerned about deforestation and pollution because of a boom in industrial zones along rivers, which is affecting environmentally friendly tourism projects.
Coastal aquatic-product processing plants discharge untreated wastewater into the environment daily, seriously threatening the mangrove ecosystem and adjacent land areas.
Water pollution in the areas has resulted in rapid saline intrusion, coastal erosion and environmental degradation.
Provincial authorities have been urged by experts to prohibit all types of exploitation in mangrove forests, and encourage local households to take part in reforestation programmes.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau, home to a 305km-long coastline, is one of the leading tourism hubs in Vietnam. With a cool and dry temperature year round, it is an ideal place for sea sports tourism and deluxe seaside resorts.
Vung Tau city, lying on a peninsula of the same name, is the tourist and commercial centre of the province.
A number of beautiful beaches, such as Ho Coc, Bai Sau and Dam Trau (in Con Dao Islands), have become magnets for local and international visitors. The province is also famous for many cultural and historic relics.
Last year, the province, one of Vietnam’s leaders in FDI attraction, approved 44 new FDI projects and additional investment for 14 foreign direct investment projects, totalling 1.9 billion USD of registered investment.
In addition, the province approved 59 new domestic projects worth 18.76 trillion VND (806.7 million USD) in registered investment, according to the Department of Planning and Investment.
It is also focusing on attracting more investment in logistics, tourism, supporting industries, hi-tech agriculture and urban development.
Vietnam – strategic destination of Korean businesses
Vietnam is an important trade partner and a strategic destination of businesses from the Republic of Korea (RoK), experts said at a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on July 16.
According to the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Vietnam is the fourth biggest trade partner of the RoK, and an attractive destination in the investment expansion policy to the south of many Korean businesses and groups.
Bilateral trade has increased to 68.3 billion USD in 2018 from just 500 million USD since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1992.
Particularly, two years after the signing of the Korea-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (KVFTA) in 2015, the bilateral trade doubled.
The RoK has risen to become the biggest foreign direct investor of Vietnam with total investment of 64.5 billion USD, which is expected to increase in the coming years.
Nguyen Thi Huyen Ngoc, of the Investment Promotion Centre in the South under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said Vietnam and the RoK have favourable conditions to cooperate in trade and investment, especially in high technology and supporting industry.
With a population of over 96 million and average annual economic growth of 7 percent, Vietnam is a potential consumption market, she said, adding that the favourable geographical position also enables the country to access to nearly half of the global markets with only 6-8 flying hours.
Another advantage of Vietnam in attracting foreign investment is favourable export activities through bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, she noted.
Yoon Jooyoung, Chief Representative of the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in HCM City, said the utilisation of incentives from the KVFTA and the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) has yet been as effective as expected.
While 90 percent of made-in-Korea goods imported into Vietnam could take advantage of tax incentives, only 47 percent of made-in-Vietnam goods exported to the RoK could do that, he noted.
Experts held that businesses should develop strategies to optimise incentives from free trade deals while State management agencies should simplify procedures to get preferences.
An Giang sees border import-export earnings up 23 percent
Import-export activity via five border gates of the southern province of An Giang earned 995 million USD in the first half of this year.
The figure shows a rise of 23 percent from the same time last year, reported the provincial Department for Industry and Trade.
Up to 201 businesses, including 37 local ones, undertook customs clearance procedures for their import and export of steel, fertilizers, and other commodities at these gates.
The province’s competent agencies have facilitated customs procedures processing of importers and exporters while maintaining sound cooperation with customs agencies of Cambodian provinces of Takeo and Kandal to boost trade exchange and tourism.
Phan Loi, Vice Director of the Department for Industry and Trade, said the province has implemented policies to exempt and reduce tax for goods imported and exported by businesses and border residents.
Winners of Vietnam Tourism Awards 2019 honoured
Vietnam's top tourism awards have been handed out in Hanoi, honouring organisations, enterprises and individuals.
The Vietnam Tourism Awards presentation ceremony on July 15 was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, also head of the State Steering Committee on Tourism, and Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, among others.
Over the past 20 years, the awards have contributed to improving the quality of tourism services, building the national tourism brand, and developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector, said Nguyen Trung Khanh, Direct General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Tour providers, travel enterprises, hotels, airlines, automobile carriers, restaurants and entertainment and tourist sites were honoured.
In addition, tourist stops, golf courses, tourism investors, training establishments of human resources in tourism and media agencies were won awards.
The top 10 five-star hotels included Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, JW Mariotte Hotel Hanoi, Four Seasons, The Nam Hai and Ben Thanh Rex Hotel.
Top five entertainment tourist sites honoured were Sun World Ha Long Park (Quang Ninh), Sun World Ba Na Hills (Da Nang), Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Dam Sen Cultural Park (HCM City) and Bao Son Paradise Park (Hanoi).
This is the first time the Vietnam Tourism Awards honoured agencies, with Vietnam Television, VnExpress.net, Vietnam Journey Channel (Radio Voice of Vietnam), Culture newspaper (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), and Vietnamplus.vn (Vietnam News Agency) scooping gongs.
Government asks for measures to restructure industrial sector
The Government has asked for drastic measures to review and choose suitable foreign-invested projects, while applying solutions to attract investment and technology transfer from world leading firms with environmentally friendly high technologies.
According to Resolution No. 50/NQ-CP, the Government requested the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to work harder to transform the structure of the industrial sector towards higher ratio of processing and supporting industry, with greater attention to spare part and accessory production.
The MoIT should collaborate with relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to strengthen State management to prevent avoidance of trade defence measures and origin frauds, while tightening the issuance of certificates of origin.
At the same time, strict disciplines should be applied to handle violations in Vietnamese-origin claims.
The Government ordered the ministry to increase communications to popularize opportunities and challenges from free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).
The ministry was requested to coordinate with other ministries and sectors to finalise procedures, enabling the National Assembly to approve the EVFTA and EVIPA at the eight session scheduled to take place later this year.
Ca Mau works to attract more investment
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has set its sights on attracting 28 investment projects this year, with a focus on seafood processing, high-technology agriculture and renewable energy.
To achieve the goal, the provincial People’s Committee has told departments and sectors to improve administrative reform and the business environment.
An Investment Promotion and Business Support Centre has been established, allowing for better co-operation between departments and districts, which will be able to give advice on investment, trade and tourism events
Attention has been paid to removing difficulties and supporting enterprises in the locality, and expanding promotion activities and cooperation with southern localities.
According to Quach Van An, director of the centre, local authorities are making every effort to attract investment projects in the Nam Can economic zone and Khanh An industrial park in U Minh district.
Last year, Ca Mau ranked 49th in the Provincial Competitiveness Index, two spots higher than in 2017, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In the first six months of 2019, Ca Mau lured 17 projects with a total registered capital of over 19.3 trillion VND (831.5 million USD).
Vietnam – good land for major groups
Commitments to provide fair and equal treatment as well as protection for investors of both sides in the freshly signed EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) are expected to help Vietnam attract major groups.
In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, PhD Phan Huu Thang, former Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the EVIPA was signed at the same time as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The EVFTA’s commitments on trade and services are stronger than World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and those in other deals. For example, seven years after the agreement takes effect, 99.2 percent of tariff lines will be removed, helping promote investment from the EU and other countries into Vietnam, he said.
In addition, Vietnam has committed to providing better conditions for the EU in professional services, finance, telecommunications, and transportation as well as the fields of the bloc’s strengths like manufacturing, clean energy and renewable energy to attract attention from European investors, he added.
Compared to other agreements on investment protection and promotion Vietnam has signed with EU member nations, the EVIPA will help Vietnam achieve a balance between attracting investment and protecting national interests.
The EVIPA supplements some regulations to ensure the right to adjust policies of the investment receiving country, especially policies on public health protection, environmental safety, consumers and cultural diversity, he said.
The signing of the EVIPA is a big triumph in the international economic, political and investment ties of Vietnam, helping increase the country’s position in the global arena and boost investment from the EU and elsewhere, Thang stressed.
He added that if Vietnamese businesses could optimise opportunities from the EVFTA and EVIPA, they would be successful in working with EU investors.
Vietnam should redouble its efforts to improve the investment environment and legal system as well as policies related to investment, businesses, land and planning, while pushing ahead with administrative reforms and improving public services, he said.
The country should build a national action programme to implement the agreements to increase the quality of foreign investment into Vietnam, he added.
PM urges ministries to avoid power cuts
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged ministries and agencies to work to avoid upcoming power shortages.
Many key electricity projects, especially large-scale projects that are expected to be completed in 2023, have been delayed, leading to a risk of electricity shortages from 2021.
The Government leader urged officials to prepare plans to hasten the projects at a Government meeting held in Hanoi on July 15.
He told them to submit a draft plan the Government soon.
The State Bank will consider allowing the projects to exceed credit limits to finish on time, while Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) will focus all resources on completing them.
Ministries, sectors and localities should create favourable conditions for power projects and remove difficulties for them, the PM said.
Besides that, he said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the State Capital Management Committee should submit to the Government solutions relating to development of the Thai Binh Thermal Power Project 2 and report on issues relating to the Electricity Planning VIII and the Quang Trach Thermal Power Project 1.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister agreed on the principle of buying all electricity from small hydro-electricity and solar power plants if they meet requirements to connect to the grid.
The PM also said the MoIT, EVN, Vinacomin, Vietnam Oil and Gas Group and the State Capital Management Committee need plans to provide enough coal and gas for each power plant.
He told ministries, sectors and localities to promote programmes to save electricity and use modern technology with low electricity consumption, while also developing a competitive electricity wholesale market.
The Prime Minister requested the State Capital Management Committee and the MoIT to simplify investment procedures for power projects.
Quang Ninh aims to gain centrally-run city status by 2025
Quang Ninh province has made breakthroughs in local development, and is making efforts to become a centrally-run city and one of the economic locomotives of the northern region by 2025.
At a recent meeting with Politburo member, Party Central Committee Secretary and Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh, Standing Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Nguyen Xuan Ky said from now to 2030, Quang Ninh will adapt to the smart city model to achieve sustainable development.
From now to 2030 and 2045, it aims to become a modern service and industrial locality that has a green economy based on science-technology and high-quality human resources. The province will also strive to establish itself as a tourist and seaport hub and a gateway for international trade.
Ky highlighted the three pillars of local development, namely developing modern comprehensive services with a focus on tourism and seaport services; developing green, clean and high technologies; and developing ecological, organic and hi-tech agriculture and sea-based economic activities.
After three years of implementing the resolutions of the 12th National Party Congress and all-level Party congresses, Quang Ninh has continually recorded fast economic expansion, the official said, noting that it has focused on making strategic breakthroughs and shifting its economic structure towards sustainable development.
The local economic growth rate averaged 10.5 percent between 2016 and 2018, and is expected to hit 11.1 percent in the 2016 – 2020 period, reaching the target set in the resolution of the 14th Provincial Party Congress. Per capita gross regional domestic product (GRDP) reached 5,110 USD in 2018, up 1.3-fold from 2015. Meanwhile, Quang Ninh has always been among the top five Vietnamese localities in terms of State budget revenue.
He added that in the first half of 2019, the province collected more than 23.92 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD) for the State budget. It has succeeded in attracting major businesses to invest in high-end tourism.
Additionally, Quang Ninh has diversified and capitalised on resources for developing synchronous and modern infrastructure, particularly traffic, tourism and service facilities. The Van Don and Mong Cai Border Gate economic zones have been upgraded while steps towards the establishment of the Quang Yen coastal economic zone have been accelerated.
According to the head of the People’s Council, thanks to drastic measures, Quang Ninh topped the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) rankings in 2017 and 2018. It also ranked first in terms of the Public Administration Reform (PAR) Index last year.
The Party building and apparatus reorganisation have also been enhanced so as to create a lean, efficient and effective political system, Ky added.
Valuing local achievements in economic, social and security – defence aspects, Nguyen Van Binh said Quang Ninh has managed to specify its advantages, make breakthroughs in improving the investment climate, and carry out many new and creative models to make fast and solid strides in socio-economic development.
He asked provincial authorities to frequently review and monitor the restructuring and streamlining of the administrative apparatus.
Meanwhile, the province should have vision and take into account long-term interests of the whole nation while developing its economy, instead of rushing into boosting growth rate at all costs, he said.
The official suggested Quang Ninh should develop industries that apply scientific-technological advances and generate high added value. He also proposed it build particular industrial clusters so that businesses in the same industries can gather and connect with one another, thus creating more added value for their products.
The meeting aimed to review Quang Ninh’s implementation of the resolutions of the 12th National Party Congress and all-level Party congresses of the province for the 2015 – 2020 term, along with its orientations for socio-economic development until 2025, with a vision to 2030 and 2045.
Phu Tho: firm fined for polluting environment
A company in the northern province of Phu Tho has been recently fined 300 million VND (12,950 USD) for its violations related to environmental protection.
The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment announced on July 14 that the MK Noah Vina Ltd. Co., headquartered in Nam Thanh Ba industrial zone in Thanh Ba district, was penalized for discharging wastewater into the environment in levels exceeding regulatory standards.
It also had not reported on the implementation results of environmental protection works serving its operation to the department.
The company was requested to immediately stop all violations, and strictly follow legal regulations on environmental protection. It will have 90 days to address environmental pollution caused by its violations.
Vietnam, Czech Republic seek ways to enhance trade ties
Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ho Minh Tuan and President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Vladimír Dlouhý on July 17 discussed measures to boost bilateral cooperation in economics, trade and investment after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was signed on June 30.
Tuan said that EVFTA, once taking effect, will facilitate the development of trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, including the Czech Republic.
The agreement will help the Central European country to intensify the export of its strong commodities to Vietnam to improve the trade balance, he stated.
He expressed his hope that Vladimír Dlouhý, as the CCC President, will represent the Czech business community to canvass his country’s Parliament and Czech parliamentarians at the European Parliament to soon ratify the EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement.
Dlouhý told the Vietnamese diplomat that the fields his country wants to foster collaboration with Vietnam include automobile manufacturing, food industry, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronic equipment and tourism.
The CCC is willing to cooperate with the Vietnamese embassy to hold seminars and forums related to trade and investment to help Czech enterprises understand more about the Vietnamese market, its policies and cooperation opportunities, he affirmed.
Statistics from the CCC show that last year, two-way trade reached nearly 1.2 billion USD, in which Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus of over 900 million USD. Vietnam mainly exports electronic equipment, footwear and leather products, rubber, seafood and farm produce to the Czech Republic, while importing energy equipment, boilers, mechanical tools, TV screens, surgical instruments, and glass and crystal products.
Vietnam and the Czech Republic will celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2020.