BUSINESS NEWS 30/5

Vinafood 2 sets aside stellar provisions for fraudulent subsidiaries

BUSINESS NEWS 30/5

Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) has just released its audited financial report for the period from October 9 to December 31, 2018, setting aside VND1.2 trillion ($52.17 million) for provisions.

With the provisions for loss of assets that are currently being investigated by the police as well as provisions for difficult short-term receivables, Vinafood 2 (VSF) recorded a net loss of VND1.5 trillion ($65.21 million) in the last accounting period.In the period from January 1 to October 8, 2018, although the revenue exceeded VND15 trillion ($652.17 million), Vinafood 2’s net profit was only VND16 billion ($695,700).

The period from October 9 to December 31, 2018 is also the first accounting period since the company officially changed into a joint stock company.

Accounts receivable of Vinafood 2 have arisen from the previous period but provisions will only be made after transferring to a joint stock company model.

As of December 31, 2018, Vinafood 2’s accumulated loss was nearly VND2 trillion ($86.96 million), leading to the equity falling to VND3.36 trillion ($146 million) of its chartered capital of VND5 trillion ($217.4 million).

Currently, Vinafood 2 has two main shareholders, the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) with 51.43 per cent and T&T Group with 25 per cent.

The biggest loss is the provision of VND662 billion ($27.78 million) for missing rice inventories pending at Tra Vinh Food Company (Imex Tra Vinh) on November 22, 2017. At the end of March this year, the investigation agency under the Ministry of Public Security completed its investigation and transferred the case to the People’s Procuracy to propose an indictment to prosecute 11 defendants for causing losses of more than VND216 billion ($9.39 million) to the state at Imex Tra Vinh.

Accordingly, during the management and operation of the company, from 2012 to October 2017, due to the continuous losses of Imex Tra Vinh, the company’s director directed the accountant, factory, and workshop to write up and sign forged documents of sales contracts and minutes of agreement to buy and sell rice and by-products.

This was to hide Imex Tra Vinh’s losses so that Vinafood 2 would guarantee loans for it.

Other large provisions include VND155.8 billion ($6.77 million) for Hau Giang Food JSC, a subsidiary which has stopped operating and VND140 billion ($6.1 million) for Vo Thi Thu Ha Import Export Trading Service Company.

Former leaders of Hau Giang Food and Vo Thi Thu Ha were prosecuted and tried in early 2018 for the illegal transactions, causing a damage of VND205 billion ($8.9 million) to Hau Giang Food JSC.

Due to the huge losses and too much debt, at the end of 2013, Vinafood 2 petitioned for bankruptcy of Hau Giang Food company.

Vinafood 2 also provisioned VND77 billion ($3.35 million) for Thinh Phat Kon Tum. The leaders of Thinh Phat Kon Tum have also been prosecuted for illegal transactions with former leaders of Vinh Long Food, an affiliate of Vinafood 2.

Vinafood 2 has set aside a provision covering 100 per cent of its investment in many of its subsidiaries, which have contributed to its negative financial performance.

PXT has bank accounts frozen for tax delays

The bank accounts of Petroleum Pipeline & Tank Construction JSC (code: PXT) have just been frozen for its long delay in paying VND845 million ($36,407) in taxes.

The Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tax Department on May 20 issued Decision No.4050/QD-CT outlining the freezing of PXT’s seven bank accounts at Vietinbank, Agribank, BIDV, PVcomBank, VIB, NCB, and LienVietPostBank, after more than 90 days of delay in paying taxes.

In addition, the tax department also required the banks to provide the balance sheets of these accounts, detailing the firm's transactions between May 27 and June 26 to be able to calculate the applicable tax charge on these accounts.

PXT on May 17 organised its shareholders' meeting. Accordingly, the company set the target of VND195 billion ($8.48 million) in production value in 2019, down nearly 6 per cent on-year. PXT also expects to reach VND222 billion ($9.65 million) in revenue this year, but the pre-tax profit is forecast to hit VND700 million ($30,450), sharply down by 64 per cent on-year.

At current, its stock is valued at VND1,500 ($0.06).

VinFast car registers, ready to sell out next month

On May 20 VinFast started roadtesting its 58 Lux and Fadil cars in Vietnam to ensure they fit the bill in all climatic, topographic, traffic, and driving circumstances.

Recently, people saw a VinFast Lux SA2.0 in the yard of Vietnam Register. It is likely that this Lux SA2.0 was sent to register and is undergoing inspections before being launched for sale on the market.

Meanwhile, the other VinFast Lux SA2.0 and A2.0 models are still being tested throughout the country. The vehicles leave the factory in Haiphong, go to Hanoi, and then move to the south to check their real performance.

Currently, the commercial version of the cars is not fully ready yet, thus, the models arriving to the market may be different in some features. However, the main parts such as the chassis, engine, and gearbox seem to be finalised already. The VinFast cars undergoing road tests and the one in the Vietnam Register had stamps certifying the fuel consumption on the rear window and were equipped with a temporary license plate.

The roadtests take 176 to 350 kilometre and are conducted by Magna Steyr, the leading brand-independent engineering and manufacturing partner for original equipment manufacturing from Austria. Magna Steyr tests the cars in urban areas, suburbs, highways, as well as different terrains such as steep mountain roads, bumpy, sandy, and flooded roads in common and less favourable conditions such as intense sunshine, fog, heavy rain, or thunderstorms.

In the first phase, VinFast will check and adjust the air conditioning system (HVAC), by moving the vehicles in hot, humid, rainy weather, both day and night. The data collected during the test-drive process will be recorded by experts and will include the temperature difference between the car interior and outside, noting the passenger and driver experience.

In the second phase, VinFast will test the vehicles on actual roads to see how they perform on different terrains, weather conditions, and how they react to different driving styles, checking the durability and the features of the vehicle under different operating conditions.

The overall inspection process will improve the quality and features of VinFast cars, ensuring that they offer the best quality and are the most suitable for customers in Vietnam.

Previously, since March 20, VinFast took its vehicles to 14 countries on four continents for quality and safety testing.

Vietnam lawmakers worry about official-investor nexus on public land

Vietnamese lawmakers allege that investors with close ties to officials are benefiting from transactions involving public land.

Dinh Duy Vuot, a National Assembly delegate from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, said Monday that some officials were allocating public land directly instead of organizing public bids for it as legally mandated.

Many investors have become rich by acquiring land this way, getting it at lower evaluations because they have close ties with local authorities, he added.

Pham Trong Nhan, a delegate from the southern province of Binh Duong, said that some project conditions have been changed on investors’ demand, instead of making them obey the law.

"There are projects whose building density has reached 40 percent, while regulations cap it at 21.6 percent, and number of floors in a building has reached 48 while the cap is 20."

Mai Sy Dien, a representative from central Thanh Hoa Province, said many local authorities have transferred land to businesses without an official document on land allocation or leasing, which is a severe violation of the law.

Land evaluations have differed for different investors at the same time in the same locality, he said, adding that this showed there were investors who were favored by authorities.

In recent years, Vietnam has seen major violations in land transfers and acquisition. Last year, government inspectors asked Ho Chi Minh City to revoke a piece of public land at a prime location, saying violations had caused multimillion dollar losses to the state budget.

The land lot, nearly 5,000 square meters (nearly 6,000 square yards) at 8-12 Le Duan Street in District 1, was designated in 2007 for a project to build a commercial center and a five-star hotel.

HCMC authorities should have carried out a bidding process to select a prestigious and experienced investor; instead they allowed a joint stock company, following requests from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, whose units had leased the lot, to acquire the land, said the Government Inspectorate.

Lawmakers at the ongoing NA session demanded changes to stop the gross violations.

Vuot of Gia Lai proposed that the country strictly punishes those who use land for the wrong purposes and that such properties are retrieved.

Dien of Thanh Hoa called on the government to stop paying build-transfer (BT) project investors with land, while other lawmakers said that Vietnamese citizens should be prohibited from being proxies for foreigners in acquiring land.

Lawmakers also requested that Vietnam’s land and zoning laws be changed to reflect these proposals. Ministries and local authorities need to make amends of their misconduct and report to the next National Assembly session in October, they said.

More purchases of small stocks this week: analysts

Investors have sought opportunities in defensive stocks amid rising fears about the US-China trade war, and brokerage firms expect the trend to continue this week.

The benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange ended Friday at 970.03 points, for a total four-day decline of 1.73 per cent.

The index lost a total of 0.66 per cent last week.

Market sentiment was dragged down by fears about the escalation of the US-China trade war and the global economic slowdown.

Investors moved away from large-cap stocks and flocked to mid-cap and small-cap firms.

Weak purchasing power was the reason for lower trading liquidity.

An average of 124 million shares were traded through order-matching transactions in each session last week, down 6.4 per cent from the previous week.

In its report, BIDV Securities Corp (BSC) noted that the market was suffering from a shortage of capital inflow.

Including the May 21 purchase of nearly 51 million Vingroup shares worth VND5.7 trillion, Foreign investors last week net-bought a total of VND5.15 trillion (US$221.4 million)

If the huge purchase is excluded, foreign investors net-sold a total of VND550.8 billion in the week.

This indicates investors’ worries about the potential harm that the US-China trade war may have to the global economy, triggering them to run away from risky assets and buy safe ones.

Investors are becoming more defensive in this time, according to Phan Dung Khanh, head of the investment department at Maybank KimEng Securities Co.

Gold futures inched down 0.1 per cent to end Friday at $1,286.60 for an ounce, but still recorded a weekly gain of 0.6 per cent.

In Viet Nam, investors looked for opportunities in mid-cap and small-cap stocks, especially those with supportive information and seasonal growth.

Large-cap stocks were often affected by the trading of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and foreign investors, so it was reasonable to switch to mid-cap and small-cap stocks in the near future, Pham Duc Hoang, head of the market analysis division at Agribank Securities Co, told tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

“Seeking the stocks (of the companies) that have had good Q1 earnings growth but not yet made strong gains is not a bad idea,” he said.

Brewery stocks advanced last week. Sabeco (SAB) rose 1.6 per cent, and Habeco (BHN) soared 12.7 per cent mostly because of increasing consumption of beer in the summer.

Technology stocks also had a good week with the growth of FPT Corp (2.6 per cent) and CMC Corp (11.8 per cent).

Strong gains of tech stocks were attributed to Viet Nam benefiting from the US-China trade war, which is expected to move technological production of global companies from China to other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

“The VN-Index is basically in the short-term consolidation stage and the market clearly has little growth motivation,” the BSC report said. “The re-allocation of capital may help the market settle down after last week’s declines amid lack of supportive information.”

However, last Friday's decline might be a bad signal for the stock market and it would likely keep declining this week, Hoang said.

“The VN-Index may find its break-even point at 950-960 points next week but it will not go back into the uptrend immediately,” he said.

Generally speaking, the Vietnamese stock market was being pressurised by the uncertainty of global economic and political developments, Asean Securities Co said.

The stock market’s short-term direction was changing to “decline” and investors might want to strengthen their portfolios to improve risk management at the moment, the company said.

US won’t label Viet Nam a currency manipulator

The US is refraining from labelling Viet Nam a currency manipulator based on new data the country had provided to the Treasury Department, Bloomberg reported late last week, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Earlier, it was reported that Viet Nam had been at risk of the designation amid plans by President Donald Trump’s administration to lower the threshold for labelling potential manipulators.

The latest news came after in recent weeks, Viet Nam provided additional data aimed at showing the US Treasury it wasn’t holding down the value of the Vietnamese dong.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh visited Washington on May 22-23, where he met with a number of US officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Thursday.

According to a statement by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the meeting with Minh, Mnuchin said trade and investment was one of the key pillars in their bilateral relations, and hailed Viet Nam for sharing more information and tackling pressing economic and financial issues.

The US Treasury issues a report twice annually on foreign currencies. In the latest report, the number of countries under scrutiny for possible manipulation rose to about 20 from 12 after the Treasury altered one of the three criteria it uses to look for manipulation.

Previously, one of Treasury’s triggers to examine currency manipulation was a current account surplus - the difference between the amount a country exports and imports - of 3 per cent of gross domestic product. For the current report, it lowered the threshold to 2 per cent.

Besides the current account surplus criteria, the others are a bilateral goods trade surplus with the US of at least US$20 billion; and intervention in the foreign-exchange market that exceeds at least 2 per cent of GDP.

Experts believed that it would be unfair to label Viet Nam a currency manipulator as the country has never deliberately devalued its currency to gain a competitive export edge.

According to Professor Tran Ngoc Tho from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics, at this time in 2018, Viet Nam's foreign exchange reserves were $63.5 billion. After the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) sold foreign currency to intervene in the market, the amount fell to only $59 billion. From the beginning of 2019 until now, the SBV had bought a net amount of $5 billion. Thus, after a year, the reserve had remained unchanged, standing at approximately $63 billion.

This data showed that the SBV's forex market interventions were quite balanced, Tho explained, adding that the move aimed only to ease exchange rate instability in the local market, rather than create an advantage for exports.

Even as an export-oriented economy, Viet Nam’s primary goal is to keep the dong stable. The dong is among the steadiest currencies in ASEAN, having gone up by 0.21 per cent in 2017 and down by only 2.14 per cent in 2018, while other currencies went through extreme volatility.

Reports from the International Monetary Fund on REFR (real effective exchange rate - a measure of the value of a currency against a weighted average of several foreign currencies) released in July last year also showed that compared to a basket of strong foreign currencies and the dollar, the dong was still overvalued, not devaluing to support exports, Tho said.

According to the expert, devaluations of the dong had more negative impacts to Viet Nam than positive outcomes for local stock markets, exchange rates and investment flow.

Seminar discusses decree on monopolistic on beer, alcohol and beverage sector

BUSINESS NEWS 30/5

The Viet Nam Competition Authority is set to issue a decree to guide amendments to the Law on Competition, clarifying and amplifying certain provisions.

It requires enterprises and groups with total assets in Viet Nam of VND2 trillion (US$85.45 million) or revenues of at least VND2 trillion to notify the authority prior to mergers & acquisitions or purchase of stakes in other entities.

Entities entering into M&A deals worth VND1 trillion must also notify the agency as should a company that acquires another and their combined market share was at least 20 per cent of the market in the preceding financial year, delegates heard in a seminar in HCM City on Monday.

Tran Phuong Lan, head of the authority’s economic concentration control department, said these are among regulations in the decree that would take effect on July 1.

The 2004 Law on Competition uses only a single criterion for the relevant market threshold to control monopolistic activities. It prohibits economic concentrations where the market share exceeds 50 per cent. Enterprises which have 30-50 per cent of the market share must notify the agency prior to carrying out any acquisition.

Lan admitted it is difficult for enterprises to calculate their market share when they do not know the market size. Therefore, the amendments to the law introduces more criteria like assets, revenues and deal values, she said.

This will make it easier for enterprises to understand when they need to notify the authorities, she said.

Tran Phuong Nhung, deputy head of the authority’s economic concentration control department, said there were 40 notifications for anti-trust cases in 2005-18, with the manufacturing sector, including the alcoholic beverages sector, accounting for the highest number.

Some large enterprises in the beer, alcohol and beverage market have revenues and total assets exceeding the threshold stipulated in the decree.

After receiving notification from a company proposing to make an acquisition, the Vietnam Competition Authority will announce its decision on whether the deal is permissible within 30 days.

Nguyen Ngoc Son, vice president of Ton Duc Thang University, said the Competition Law has a number of progressive provisions in line with international best practices.

 

It would help enterprises easily identify the control level they can acquire, he said.

Delegates at the seminar said the thresholds for monopoly are low.

Le Quang Lan, deputy director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority, said the figures related to monopoly are not comprehensive, and authorities would tweak them if necessary.

This draft decree has been submitted to the Government.

Mekong Delta sees slow progress in upgrade of trading households into companies

The conversion of trading households into companies is progressing at a snail’s pace in the.

The delta has nearly one million trading households, or almost a fifth of the country’s total number, which contribute a great deal to the region’s economic development.

Dr Le Dai Chi of the HCM City University of Economics said employment statistics released last year revealed that the number of workers in the household sector in 2017 was 1.634 million, or 59 per cent of the number employed by companies in the delta.

Trading households have thus helped reduce poverty besides fostering traditional crafts in the region.

In the Mekong Delta, trading households have also set up companies, especially for making and distributing ceramics, farm produce, food and foodstuffs.

According to figures released by the Statistics Bureau, trading households accounts for 3 per cent of total capital but over 13 per cent of revenues.

Their revenues rose from VND439.4 trillion (over US$170 billion) in 2005 to VND2.25 quadrillion in 2015. The average revenues of each rose from VND140 million to VND473 million in the period.

Nguyen Phuong Lam, head of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Can Tho office, said in 2018 the delta economy grew at 7.8 per cent, the highest in four years, and contributed 20 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Five Mekong provinces are at the top of the provincial competitiveness index that is released every year.

The delta also has more than 9,500 newly established companies, including a rising number of start-ups. But only a small number of them, 0.3-0.5 per cent, are trading households that become companies.

Operating as micro and small-scale businesses, trading households have poor financial capacity, lack of knowledge of new technologies and poor management, which result in inefficient operations.

In the past few years, authorities have rolled out policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those that used to be household businesses. They include corporate and land use tax breaks, waiver of licensing fees and exemption from taxation procedures.

However, Huynh Van Hai, head of the Vinh Long Province Taxation Bureau, said trading households still find it difficult to turn into companies because land use tax has not been reduced or waived for such conversion.

Besides, many trading households do not want to or lack the wherewithal to become companies, he said.

A spokesman for the Tra Vinh Province Taxation Bureau said 447 new companies were established in Tra Vinh last year, including 51 that had earlier been household businesses.

These challenges are making it harder to achieve the Government’s target of having one million companies in the country by 2020. To achieve this goal, the Government needs to adopt preferential policies and create an impetus to help household businesses become companies.

Samsung SDS unveils new strategic deal with Vietnamese firm

Samsung SDS, an IT services arm of the RoK-based Samsung group, said on May 27 that it has signed a strategic cooperation pact with CMC Corporation, one of the leading ICT groups in Vietnam.

Under the agreement, Samsung SDS will integrate its artificial intelligence, big data and Internet of Things technologies and CMC's sales network to create synergy in smart factory, cloud and cyber security.

Their cooperation is aimed at developing an advanced IT platform and apply it in smart factories to expand their presence in the Southeast Asia market.

Having begun operations 26 years ago, CMC has built its reputation in the IT field with its launch of the first Operations Centre Security (SOC) – integrating artificial intelligence and automation technology in Vietnam, and the Cross Vietnam Cable System, which is the only system in the country directly linked to the Southeast Asian grid.

Vietnamese firms seek improved ties with Chinese peers

A conference on economic cooperation between Vietnamese firms and their peers from China’s Shandong province took place in Hanoi on May 27.

According to Hoang Quang Phong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the event was an occasion for Vietnamese enterprises to learn about opportunities for joint projects in agriculture, food, construction material, steel, electricity equipment, seafood, and furniture, among others.

Speaking at the conference, Wang Liang, vice chairman of the Shandong people’s council, said Vietnam has become the biggest and most important partner of his province, with bilateral trade hitting 38 billion CNY (5.5 billion USD).

Shandong mainly imports crude oil and electronic goods from Vietnam; while exporting electronic equipment, apparel, and machinery, among others, to the country. Firms from the Chinese locality have so far increased their investment in garment and textile outsourcing and rubber production in Vietnam.

Wang said potential for bilateral win-win collaboration remains extensive, stressing the Shandong authorities’ support for both Vietnamese and local public agencies and firms to boost cooperation in trade, investment, finance, education, and health.

Phong said the VCCI will create favourable conditions for both sides to meet up and form partnership.

Trade Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam Hu Suojin said the embassy will work with the VCCI and relevant agencies to facilitate cooperation between the two business communities.

The Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment stressed it will assist investors in terms of information supply, arranging meetings, and addressing investment difficulties.

After the conference, Vietnamese companies and their Shandong peers joined a business matching event.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam-China bilateral trade was close to 104.6 billion USD last year, up 11.75 percent from 2017.

State Bank to continue stepping up administrative reform

Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Dao Minh Tu has stated that the SBV will continue stepping up administrative reform in the near future, with a focus on improving the business environment in monetary and banking fields, and corporate support.

Tu said over the past few years, the SBV has reaped positive reform results in six fields under a comprehensive programme on state administrative reform, including cutting 31 percent of business requirements and 20 percent of periodic reporting, as well as ensuring openness and transparency to ISO 9001:2008 standards.

According to Tu, credit organisations also actively removed administrative procedures to make it easier for businesses and individuals to use services.

Last year, they lowered lending rates to help firms access loans at reasonable costs, providing them with nearly 100 preferential credit products, 15 of which were for small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.

In order to achieve such results, the SBV directed credit organisations to accelerate reform in lending procedures and banking services, as well as suggesting that the Government work with ministries, agencies, and localities to offer e-payment solution to public services.

At a recent conference to announce the Public Administration Reform Index 2018 (PAR INDEX), the SBV ranked first in the administration reform index among ministries, ministry-level agencies, and the People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces for the fourth consecutive year, scoring 90.57 percent.

Public involvement in Mekong River water governance discussed

The Vietnam National Mekong Committee (VNMC) and the Vietnam Rivers Network held a consultation seminar in Hanoi on May 27 to discuss promoting public involvement in decision-making regarding the Mekong River water governance.

Speaking at the event, Chief of the VNMC Office Le Duc Trung said the event aims to give updates on cooperation outcomes within the framework of the Mekong River Commission and the VNMC, as well as enhance the involvement of social, non-governmental organisations and the community in Mekong River water governance amid socio-economic development in mainstream countries and climate change, thus contributing to decision making in the Mekong River water governance to protect water resources in the Mekong River basin in general, and the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands in particular.

Associate Professor Le Anh Tuan, from the Can Tho University’s Dragon-Mekong Institute, said the Mekong Delta is home to 4 million ha of natural land, lying in the lower reach of the Mekong River and receiving over 85 percent of its water before it flows to the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

The region is facing challenges in Mekong River water governance regarding human resources, basic data, and adaptability, he said, suggesting that dialogues between water governance agencies, water suppliers, and the community should be enhanced while holding more communications campaigns to raise awareness amongst the community about water resources.

Commenting on the efforts made along the 3S (Se Kong, Se San, Srepok) river system in the Central Highlands provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and parts of the Mekong Delta province of Lam Dong and the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, former Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pham Huu Hao suggested establishing a council in charge of water governance with the involvement of member socio-political organisations, building its operation regulations approved by competent authorities, and holding regular dialogues with parties concerned in the field.

Several opinions proposed providing incentives to encourage community members to join the effort.

First floating solar power’s inverter station generates electricity

The Da Nhim – Ham Thuan – Da Mi Hydropower JSC sent electricity generated by Inverter B Station to the grid in the central province of Binh Thuan on May 27, raising the capacity of Da Mi solar power plant’s power supply to the grid to 38.2 MWp.

Earlier on May 13, the company also connected Inverter A Station to the grid with a capacity of 20.5 MWp.

The floating Da Mi solar power plant on Da Mi hydropower river, the first of its kind in Vietnam, has a designed capacity of 47.5 MWp. Covering a total area of 56.65ha, it was built at a total cost of over 1.4 trillion VND (60.8 million USD) .

In the first year of its operation, the plant is expected to supply 69.9 million kWh of electricity for the grid.

HCM City to run Week of Vietnamese products in Thailand

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has approved a plan to organise a week of Vietnamese goods in Thailand in October.

The municipal Department of Industry and Trade will hold the event in Bangkok from October 23 to 27, featuring 300 stalls.

The week will focus on promoting key products of the southern economic hub that have become popular in Thailand like processed food, handicrafts, household items, apparel and farm produce.

The event will also include workshops to create a venue for businesses of the two countries to discuss Thailand’s import standards and Thai consumers’ taste and demand for Vietnamese goods.

The department is working with provinces and cities to select products to be displayed. It is also collaborating with agencies and sectors to invite enterprises to join the event.

Thailand is the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with two-way trade reaching 17.5 billion USD in 2018.

Vietnamese farm produce seeks to reach further in global market

BUSINESS NEWS 30/5

The agricultural sector was able to maintain growth thanks to increases in the export of fruit and vegetable, aquatic products, and forestry products. (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)

Improving quality is an urgent and long-term solution to help Vietnamese farm produce make inroads into global markets, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

He emphasized that quality improvement should be conducted in all industries, particularly in the context of arising technical barriers in many import countries and unexpected changes in world trade.

He added that the ministry is negotiating to open more export markets while maintaining traditional ones and limiting dependence on certain markets.

The ministry is also optimising opportunities from free trade agreements and focusing on market development forecasts, especially in key markets such as Europe, Japan and China, he added.

According to director of the ministry’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (AgroTrade) Nguyen Quoc Toan, the export turnover of the main agricultural products including rice, coffee and cassava fell 5.6 percent year-on-year to 5.2 billion USD in the first four months of 2019.

However, the agricultural sector was able to maintain growth thanks to increases in the export of fruit and vegetable (up 7.03 percent year on year in January-April to more than 1.4 billion USD), aquatic products (up 2.4 percent to 2.48 billion USD), forestry products (up 17.8 percent to 3.2 billion USD).

Toan said exports of agro-forestry-fishery products in the next few months are forecast to see more positive changes, but difficulties and challenges lie ahead, such as stricter technical barriers from import markets and global trade volatility.

SCG showcases series of solutions for sustainable living space at Vietbuild Danang 2019

Following the sucessful launch of SCG super cement with SCG nano tech in Quang Binh, for the first time, SCG showcased this innovative product with premium quality for customers in the central region at Vietbuild Danang 2019 from May 15-19.

The customers can also explore the living inspiration featuring SCG’s wide range of solutions for the durability, comfort living, and style customisation, enabling customers to build sustainable living spaces for their families.

Nopporn Keeratibunharn, general director of SCG Cement – Building Materials (Vietnam) shared, “With over 105 years of experience in construction and building materials and over 27 years of operations in Vietnam, SCG realises Vietnamese family’s ultimate needs in the betterment of living throughout generations. Nowadays, SCG is well recognised as the regional leading brand for cement and cement-based materials as cement, concrete, roofing, ceiling, walling and flooring.”

“Understanding the needs and expectations of the Central habitats for a better living space, SCG is delighted to take part in Vietbuild this year to introduce our latest cement invention ‘SCG super cement with SCG nano tech’, the breakthrough product to enhance durability and strength. Besides, the customers can also find the comprehensive solutions for sustainable living spaces to optimise comfort living and add style customisation for their home with our wide ranges of products and services,” Nopporn said.

Under the concept Passion for Better Living, SCG’s exhibition will facilitate customers’ experiences by offering a good look and feel as your cozy home in the background of cement decoration style. SCG would like to emphasise the applications of products as a integrated package for a house: from the foundation to the entire structure, from exterior to interior. Ultimately, SCG booth demonstrates the storytelling of SCG super cement with other product solutions, for all types of home from traditional to modern style.

Businesses are the soul of CSI

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on May 21 kicked off the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) 2019 to evaluate sustainable enterprises and select the best media articles covering corporate sustainable development initiatives in 2019.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the VCCI’s Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) holds this programme. Over the past three years, the coverage of sustainable development stories has grown, a trend welcomed by the business community.

On the day of the launch, all the participants applauded that the prime minister had just signed Directive No.13/CT-TTg dated May 20, 2019 on sustainable development. The directive noted that the VCCI and VBCSD should collaborate with the National Council on Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Enhancement, as well as ministries, agencies, and localities to promote sustainable development activities.

They should also provide general advice the government to overcome challenges of the public-private partnership (PPP) model in order to create a favourable investment climate, and encourage the participation of the business community in implementing sustainable development goals of Vietnam.

Over the last three years, the CSI has brought about breakthroughs to improve knowledge on sustainable development, as well as encourage Vietnamese businesses to implement the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, honouring hundreds of enterprises at each term.

At CSI 2018, VCCI chairman Vu Tien Loc said, “Businesses should put CSI in their ‘heart’. This way, they will develop well, improve their competitiveness, and become a motivation for Vietnam’s economy.”

This message touched the ‘heart’ of every enterprise. The programme of the VBCSD is gathering great interest among businesses. Of particular note, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are paying increasing attention to the CSI.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, general secretary of VCCI cum vice chairman of the VBCSD, said that CSI 2019 has been optimised and simplified a great deal since past years. The number of indexes has been reduced from 131 to 98, with 90 per cent related to legal compliance.

These indexes are available for viewing at the website www.vbcsd.vn, where businesses could submit online declarations. “We believe that the new version of CSI 2019 will be very useful for enterprises to make decisions towards more responsible business and sustainable prosperity,” confirmed Vinh.

First direct Da Nang - Phu Quoc flights open

The first air route between the two popular destinations of central Da Nang city and Phu Quoc Island off Vietnam’s southern coast has been launched by low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific.

Using Airbus A320 aircraft, frequency is four round-trip flights a week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Flights depart Da Nang at 4.30pm and arrive in Phu Quoc at 6.25pm, and depart Phu Quoc at 7pm and arrive in Da Nang at 8.50pm.

The new flights provide greater convenience and shorter travel time to passengers travelling between the two destination, as a transit in Ho Chi Minh City was previously required. The route is part of Jetstar Pacific’s plans to expand its domestic flight network to meet increasing travel demand.

Da Nang is a traditional destination of Jetstar Pacific. It also opened two new routes from the central city to north-central Vinh and Thanh Hoa cities, with a frequency of three flights per week and four flights per week, respectively.

All three new domestic routes are connected to the flight networks of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, and the five-star Emirates, which travel to 185 destinations in 18 countries and territories around the world.

The airline currently conducts seven domestic and international routes from Da Nang, including to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Taiwan (China), and Hong Kong (China), with nearly 650 flights a month carrying some 120,000 passengers.

According to the Da Nang City People’s Committee, it welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in the first quarter of 2019, including 876,000 foreigners, up 16.4 per cent and 31.2 per cent, respectively, over the same period last year.

 
 

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