28 items see import value of over $1 billion in seven months


As many as 28 commodities reported import value of more than a billion USD in the first seven months of 2019, according to the General Statistics Office.

In combination, the 28 commodities made up 85.8 percent of total purchase from foreign countries in the reviewed period.

Vietnam splashed out 143.34 billion USD on imports during January-July, up 8.3 percent against the same period last year.

Of the sum, some 60.83 billion USD was contributed by the domestic economic sector, a rise of 12.6 percent, and 82.51 billion USD by the foreign-invested sector, growing 5.3 percent.

The country bought 28.2 billion USD of electronic products, computer and parts, up 19 percent year-on-year; 20.8 billion USD for telephone and parts, up 12.7 percent; 7.8 billion USD for cloth, up 1.5 percent; 5.2 billion USD for plastic, 1.5 percent.

Most of the goods were bought from China, the Republic of Korea, the US, ASEAN and European countries.

Vietnam earned 145.13 billion USD from shipping goods abroad in the first seven months of the year, a year on year surge of 7.5 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.8 billion USD.

The growth in export value was mainly contributed to by 24 ‘billion dollar’ goods items, which accounted for 88.1 percent of total export revenue. Telephones and spare parts were the largest earners, followed by electronics, computers and spare parts, and garment and textiles.

Meanwhile, shipments of vegetables and fruits, coffee and cashew experienced a fall compared to the same time last year.

The US was the largest importer of Vietnam in the period while the EU and China came second and third, respectively.

VN market woos foreign investors


Representatives of over 550 enterprises working in food and beverages and 400 others in medicine and pharmaceuticals from 350 countries will arrive in Vietnam from August 7 – 10 to explore business opportunities, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of Ho Chi Minh City Ly Kim Chi said Vietnam remains an attractive destination for foreign investors.

Sharing the same view, an official of the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam said Vietnamese consumers tend to use clean and safe products, that is why that Korean firms will focus on offering products that meet organic and GlobalGAP standards.

According to Chairwoman Chi, about 20 percent of domestic businesses have switched to organic production.

As for medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, the domestic market is worth 9 billion USD each year with an annual growth of 14 percent. Due to limited involvement by Vietnamese firms in the field, room for foreign rivals is huge.

Vietnam has signed several trade agreements with countries globally, recently the European Union–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement after nine years of negotiations, which has opened up export opportunities for Vietnamese goods, especially agro-forestry-fisheries, and processed food.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Medical Equipment Association Hua Phu Doan said the country is now home to about 300 companies operating in medical equipment, but they are of little added value and yet to meet demand for health check-ups and treatment.

Experts suggested that authorities should issue policies to improve supply chain and offer incentives to investors in the field.

Airbus expands footfrint in Vietnam with arrival of A220-300


The Airbus A220-300 passenger airliner officially arrived in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi on August 1, as part of its two-week demonstration tour of the Asia-Pacific region, aiming to boost its presence in the country.

The aircraft on display at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport is an Airbus flight test aircraft, featuring a brand new and comfortable layout of 143 seats in a single class passenger cabin.

The A220 family comprises of the smaller A220-100 and the larger A220-300, which are the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market.

The A220’s range and capacity make it ideal for airlines that want to open new routes from Vietnam, and the right aircraft to increase traffic on routes that need to be doubled. It also enables a more cost-efficient and seamless way to connect to and from international services to both domestic and regional destinations.

The A220 is part of Airbus’ modern and comprehensive aircraft family, which covers the market ranging from 100 to more than 400 seats. In the single-aisle category, this comprises the A220 and the A320 family (which includes the A320neo, the best-selling aircraft in aviation history).

In the widebody family, Airbus manufactures A330 family (including the latest A330neo) and the long-range leader A350 XWB family.

Airbus has more than 60 per cent of the region’s single-aisle market, with more than 3,000 aircraft in service with 80 airlines, and over 1,500 on order for future delivery.

Today, the A220-300 is operated successfully in the Asia-Pacific region by Korean Air on both domestic and international services. Air Vanuatu ordered four A220s, comprising two A220-100s and two A220-300s, in February 2019.

Vietnamese carriers have been flying Airbus aircraft since 1991. To date, the European manufacturer has sold almost 200 passenger aircraft including the A320 family, the A330, and the A350 XWB to customers in the country. All of the country’s major carriers, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways, operate Airbus aircraft.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of €64 billion ($71.23 billion) and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners.

Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport, and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

Vietnamese chili sauce introduced in Japan

Vietnamese-based Masan Consumer Holdings introduced its Chinsu-branded chilli sauce in Japan at the Vietnam Food Day held by the Vietnamese Consulate General in Osaka on August 3.

Traditional dishes offered to visitors at the event were served with the sauce, which has been officially allowed to enter the Japanese market.

Speaking at the festival, Pham Hong Son, Deputy General Director of Masan Consumer, said after a long time of surveying the Japanese market and local consumers’ taste, the company has successfully developed the chilli sauce reserved exclusively for the market.

Masan Consumer has so far been licensed to export and sell its Chinsu-branded chilli sauce, Nam Ngu fish sauce and Vinacafe BH products in Japan, he added.

According to Son, the company is working to help the chilli sauce reach out to other markets like North America, Europe, China and Australia. It has set goal to make the product among the world top ten chilli sauce brands by 2030.

Makoto Ryoke, head of the health promotion office under the Osaka Department of Public Health and Medical Affairs, praised Masan’s Chinsu chili sauce as the product has excellently passed Japan’s food safety and quarantine process in a short time.

Masan Consumer also unveiled that the sauce will also be sold in Vietnam to introduce local consumers a new taste.

Dairy group to expand cow herd to 400,000 heads

Dairy maker TH Group aims to raise the number of cows under its closed breeding chain to 200,000.

In addition, the group will also increase the number of cows bred under the high-tech cooperative model with the participation of farmers to 200,000 by 2025.

Recently, the group inaugurated a high-tech concentrated dairy cow farm cluster project in the central province Thanh Hoa.

With two clusters located in Yen My and Cong Binh communes of Nong Cong district, the 3.8 trillion VND (162.6 million USD) project is set to house 20,000 cows.

TH Group has been helping farmers apply high technologies such as cloud computing and internet of things in their production through the hi-tech cooperative model, with the first model implemented in Da Lat through the Dalatmilk brand. The Dalatmilk project has installed electric chips in cow herds of households involved to monitor the animal’s health via computers or smartphones. It has also provided medicine and food and bought milk from these households.

The model will be implemented in Thanh Hoa, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district and Hanoi’s Ba Vi district.-

Ford Vietnam gains 90 per cent of sale growth in Q2

US auto maker, Ford Vietnam, has recently announced to gain a growth of 91 per cent in sale in the second quarter of this year, reaching 7,960 vehicles.

The fruitful result of Q2 has helped the company push its first half sale to 15,461 units, surging by 61 per cent year-on-year, the company said.

According to the company, its second quarter’s performance was driven by strong sales across the company’s lineup in Viet Nam, in which the Ranger pickup, Explorer large SUV and Transit commercial van each continue to lead their respective segments during the quarter and year-to-date.

“Despite facing various challenges in the domestic market during the first six months of the year, our Ford vehicles have continued to experience strong demand across the country, particularly the Ranger and Everest,” said Pham Van Dung, managing director, Ford Vietnam.

The segment-defining Ranger pickup truck led Ford’s second quarter with sales of 2,711 vehicles, helping drive its total first half sales up 91 per cent year-over-year to 5,497 vehicles. The Ranger continues to set the benchmark for the segment with its unmatched versatility, and outstanding design, comfort, and refinement.

The launch of the new Ranger last year have helped give its sales an additional boost and momentum in 2019, including the launch of the high performance, off-road Ranger Raptor, featuring tougher and sportier appearance with additional premium features, Ford Vietnam said.

The Everest SUV contributed to the record second quarter with sales of 2,053 vehicles, pushing its year-to-date sales up to 3,588 vehicles. Sharing the same powerful Bi-Turbo engine with the Ranger, the Everest redefines consumer expectations for a mid-size SUV with its bold design and refined interior, off-road capability with on-road comfort.

The US-imported Explorer continued to lead Viet Nam’s premium full-size SUV segment in the second quarter with retail sales rising 45 per cent year-over-year to 135 vehicles. Demand for the Explorer is supported by the strong appeal of its powerful and fuel efficient 2.3L EcoBoost engine, as well as its bold design, top-notch cabin comfort, and cutting-edge driver-assist technologies.

The 1.5L EcoBoost-equipped Focus delivered second quarter sales that increased six percent to 607 vehicles, with year-to-date sales now up 39 per cent to 1,150 vehicles.

The popular EcoSport compact SUV delivered second quarter retail sales of 1,044 vehicles, raising its year-to-date sales up to 2,121 vehicles. Built on Ford’s global B-segment platform, the EcoSport continues to delight customers with its combination of small-car practicality and agility of an SUV.

The Transit meanwhile maintained its leadership in Viet Nam’s commercial van and bus segment with second quarter retail sales of 1,410 vehicles, as business owners and operators across a range of industries continue to appreciate the durability, versatility and value proposition that Transit delivers.

Blockchain a new economic infrastructure for banking and finance

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, blockchain is increasingly known as a technology with great potential applications around the world as well as in Viet Nam.

The statement was made by Chris Berg, Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, at a seminar held in Ha Noi on Thursday.

Berg defined blockchain as a consensus over the contents of a shared programmable ledger through the use of economic incentives.

Blockchains are new economic infrastructure, a tool not just for facilitating trade but for creating new economies, with cryptocurrency and cryptoassets instead of money or value; code and protocols replacing rules; smart contracts to replace the traditional ones.

With features such as the ability to handle a large number of transactions and indelible security, blockchain is expected to be applied in many fields such as financial technology, banking, industrial production, service, supply chain and education.

For the banking and finance sector, blockchain technology with complex algorithms and high security allows disabling data modification intervention, significantly reducing the possibility of errors when comparing complex information from many different sources.

According to Berg, blockchain technology appeared about 10 years ago, although there are many effective applications, until now, the technology is still in an experimental phase of application and continues to be completed.

The development of blockchain is an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to explore, exploit and apply in real fields to create great leaps, especially in the development of manufacturing and finance, Berg added.

Currently, enterprises in Viet Nam are also paying great attention to blockchain technology at the supply chain optimisation level as an application to monitor the flow of import and export goods and international trade transactions.

In addition, blockchain technology possesses high security features which can prevent network security risks better than the old technology in terms of hacker attacks, thus receiving special attention of many firms.

As regards the role of blockchain in the Revolution 4.0, Berg said “blockchain provides a digital infrastructure for industry 4.0; it is the infrastructure on which we will build the exciting new technology in the future like artificial intelligence, automation and the management of big data.”

“Blockchain provides opportunities for the Vietnamese financial sector to leapfrog a lot of digital systems, it means that the Vietnamese financial sector will not have to invest in some of the legacy systems that might be more prevalent in more developed countries,” Chris told Viet Nam News.

Plastics firm reports 5% increase in Q2 revenue

An Phat Bioplastics Joint Stock Company (HoSE: AAA) has reported its second quarter revenue gained nearly 5 per cent year on year to VND2.43 trillion (US$104.5 million).

The company’s revenue growth was attributed to leasing land and selling assets, which brought it up to VND216.8 billion.

The cost of selling goods was cut in the second quarter, helping boost the firm’s quarterly gross profit margin to 12 per cent from last year’s second-quarter level of 7.34 per cent.

The company recorded a VND291.4 billion profit margin, up from last year’s VND170 billion.

At the end of the second quarter, post-tax profit rose 2.8 times year on year to VND140.5 billion.

In the first half of the year, An Phat Bioplastics recorded a 39 per cent increase in revenue at VND5.04 trillion.

Its six-month post-tax profit tripled from the first half of last year to VND364 billion. The company has fulfilled 71 per cent of its profit target for the full year.

In the first half of the year, the company operated seven factories at maximum capacity and its sales in the US and Japan increased by 80 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.

Shares of An Phat Bioplastics edged down 0.6 per cent on Friday to close at VND17,850 ($0.78) per share.

Dat Xanh Group to issue over 87 million shares

Dat Xanh Group plans to issue over 87.45 million shares for existing shareholders at a 4:1 ratio.

With the issuing price of VND100,000 (US$4.3) per share, the corporation expects to collect over VND874 billion through this share issuance.

This amount of money will be used to develop Nam Rach Chiec Residential and Resettlement Project (Gem Riverside project) from this year-end to 2021. The project has a total investment of approximately VND5.46 trillion.

The list of shareholders will close on August 14.

Dat Xanh has also announced that it will issue more than 76.9 million shares to pay 2018 dividends for shareholders at the rate of 22 per cent. Shareholders owning 100 shares will receive 22 new shares.

Value issued by par value is over VND769 billion.

In addition, the group also plans to issue 6 million employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) shares to employees with the issue rate of 1.72 per cent. Value issued by par value is VND60 billion.

The subjects of issuance are 199 employees who meet the company's standards.

The company's 2018 financial statement showed that its accumulated after-tax profit in 2018 was more than VND703 billion. The cumulative after-tax profit of the parent company until the end of 2018 was VND1.455 trillion.

Thus, in order to issue 76.9 million shares to pay dividends and 6 million ESOP shares, corresponding to the total issuing value of more than VND829.6 billion, Dat Xanh Group has to transfer profits from the subsidiaries to the parent company, with a transfer amount of more than VND126 billion.

OCB reports 106 per cent growth in revenue

The Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank reported pre-tax profit of over VND1.1 trillion (US$47.2 million) in the first half on net revenues of VND1.7 trillion ($73 million).

The revenues were up 106 per cent year-on-year, with the lender saying revenues from services were up 77 per cent.

The revenues from its foreign exchange business rose by 50 per cent.

Its loans outstanding were VND67.5 trillion ($1.9 billion) and deposits were VND79 trillion ($3.4 million).

Total assets grew by 8.1 per cent from a year ago to VND108 trillion ($4.7 billion).

The bank attributed its performance in the first half to good management and digital banking services.

A spokesperson for the bank said in recent years, OCB has focused on risk management, expansion and preparations to develop retail banking, and the results were showing now.

Recently, its local and foreign currency counterparty risk ratings and counterparty risk assessment were upgraded to Ba3 by Moody's Investors Service, reflecting its improvement in terms of capital, assets and profitability.

The outlook for its long-term ratings remains stable, and overall liquidity is comfortable, with liquid resources representing 40 per cent of tangible banking assets at the end of 2018.

Vietnamese goods campaign a success

In the context of increasing international integration, Vietnamese goods must ensure conditions of environmental protection, safety, high quality, low cost, great competitiveness, domestic market dominance and deep penetration of international markets.

The statement was made by Politburo member and permanent member of the Party Central Committee's Secretariat Tran Quoc Vuong at a conference held in Ha Noi on Friday.

The event was organised to review the 10-year implementation of the “Vietnamese people prioritise using made-in-Vietnam goods” campaign.

According to Vuong the campaign has achieved many outstanding results. A number of high-quality Vietnamese brands have a relatively large market share in the distribution system.


In particular, the business community has focused on improving technology, applying science and technology, renewing production processes, managing and increasing the localisation rate and scientific-technological content in products, creating quality products with nice designs and reasonable prices. Many products have become the pride of Vietnamese people, truly conquering domestic consumers and exporting to some countries around the world.

These results have contributed to completing economic targets, curbing inflation, stabilising the macro economy, reducing the trade deficit, moving towards trade surplus in recent years, ensuring the balance of supply and demand, especially for essential goods. In addition, there has been no price fever or lack of goods on Tet holiday or during peak season thanks to the campaign.

Vuong highly appreciated the Central Steering Committee for the campaign, as well as committees, authorities and organisations for actively implementing it, promoting patriotism, self-reliance, national self-esteem, as well as building the consumer culture of Vietnamese people. Through the campaign, a number of Vietnamese goods with high quality and competitiveness have been produced, meeting domestic and export consumption demands.

Businesses and producers have promoted responsibility towards consumers; focusing on the application of science and technology, renovating management, improving production, business and service capacity; attaching importance to product promotion, development of distribution system, gradually dominating the domestic market and better meet consumer demand.

However, the implementation of the campaign is still limited and faces a lot of difficulties. Competition for goods and services in the domestic market is on the rise, especially when it comes to multilateral and bilateral agreements signed by Viet Nam.

It is both an opportunity and a challenge, creating competition in production and trade. The strong development of science and technology has a significant impact on production and consumption of businesses and people. Consumers have more choices and higher requirements for Vietnamese goods in terms of standards and quality.

In the context of increasing international integration, Vuong said that in the future, the campaign should continue to be implemented more strongly, creatively and practically.

Vuong also emphasised the core value of the campaign must be to dominate the market, ensure the output for Vietnamese goods, and promote domestic production.

In order to achieve this target, functional agencies want enterprises and producers overcome difficulties and concentrate on connecting supply and demand; promote links among manufacturers, distributors and consumers.

The State should support enterprises to build brands and protect intellectual property rights; while encouraging the domestic market to develop and increase opportunities for consumers to approach Vietnamese products, Vuong added.

Sharing the view, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung voiced his hope that Vietnamese businesses seek ways to improve the quality and competitiveness of their products and services, build their brands, and deliver on their commitments to ensuring consumers’ interests.

He suggested ministries, sectors and enterprises focus on domestic trade promotion, better the distribution network, and issue standards in accordance with international commitments to gradually control imported products and market order.

It is also important to strengthen market management and strictly handle the trading of counterfeit products, violations of intellectual property, and illegally-imported commodities, he added.

Statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that the proportion of made-in-Viet Nam products reaches at least 90 per cent of supermarkets and over 60 per cent at traditional markets and convenience stores.

Total goods retail and service revenue has grown by 10 per cent each year since 2009, while inflation has dropped from 19.8 per cent in 2008 to below five per cent in recent years. The economy has shifted from trade deficit to trade surplus. The country reported a trade deficit of US$12.5 billion in 2010, but it enjoyed a trade surplus of $7.2 billion last year.

The localisation rate has also increased significantly in several major industries, such as garment and textiles and footwear.

Vietnamese firms invest $278 million abroad

Vietnamese enterprises poured US$278 million in 30 countries and territories in the first seven months of this year, the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency said in its latest report.

During the period, the firms received investment licences for 90 new projects worth $180 million. They were also allowed to raise their investments in 21 underway projects by $97.3 million.

Spain attracted the largest share of Vietnamese investments in the seven months with $60 million, accounting for 22 per cent of the total investment. It was followed by the US with $46 million, or 16.5 per cent of the capital.

Other markets receiving Vietnamese investments were Australia with $45 million, Cambodia with $39 million and Singapore with $35 million.

From January to June, the retail sector was the most attractive sector for Vietnamese businesses in overseas countries, luring $94.3 million or equivalent to 34 per cent of total capital. The science and technology sector came next with $83.4 million or 30 per cent while the banking sector ranked third with $37 million or 13.5 per cent.

Veggie, fruit exports decrease slightly, reaching 2.3 billion USD

The export value of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits is estimated at 269 million USD in July, bringing the total turnover in the first seven months of 2019 to 2.31 billion USD, down 0.8 percent year on year.

China was the biggest importer of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits with nearly 1.5 billion USD, accounting for 71.9 percent of the market share and up 1.05 percent year-on-year in value. It was followed by the US (70.2 million USD) and the Republic of Korea (65.3 million USD).

Markets reporting impressive growth in terms of import values of Vietnam’s vegetables and fruits included Cameroon (up 10.16 times), Dominican Republic (up 8.37 times) and Guam (5.11 times).

During January-July, the import turnover of vegetables and fruits is estimated at 1.14 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 22 percent.

The Agro Processing and Market Development Department said that the sector will have more chances to expand its export markets thanks to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the recently-signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The department advised businesses to study opportunities and challenges of the European market and markets of 10 CPTPP member states, and seek measures to increase the quality and design of products and promote the advantage of competitiveness.

Dong Nai: over 860 million USD of FDI disbursed in seven months

Foreign investors in the southern province of Dong Nai disbursed more than 860 million USD in the first seven months of 2019, 7 percent higher than the yearly target.

Notably, during the period, the Japanese-funded SMC Manufacturing Vietnam in the Long Duc industrial park paid out more than 200 million USD, while the Samoan-invested Longwell company in the Dau Giay industrial park disbursed a sum worth about 50 million USD.

Mai Van Nhon, Deputy Director of the Dong Nai Industrial Zones Authority, said the annual average disbursement of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the province is at 1 billion USD.

The positive seven-month figure meant that these FDI projects have been implemented right after being licenced, he added.

According to the agency, so far this year to date, local industrial zones attracted over 1.1billion USD worth of FDI, surpassing the goal set for the period by 14 percent.

The total FDI and disbursement are projected to hit 2 billion USD and 1.5 billion USD for the entire year, respectively.

EVFTA brings benefits, challenges to apparel sector

The garment-textile sector will gain significant benefits but, at the same time, face several challenges brought about by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) once it takes effect, experts said at an online conference on August 2.

Luong Hoang Thai, Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, highlighted the potential advantage.

He said that all tariff imposed on garment-textile products will gradually go down to zero percent, with 77 percent of the goods seeing their tariff immediately eliminated right after the pact comes into force.

The EU is the top apparel importer in the world and the second biggest import market of Vietnam’s garment-textile products, he added.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Integration Centre at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the sector’s shipments to EU reeled in 5.6 billion USD in revenue.

She said the figure was high but accounted for only 2.02 percent of the bloc’s total value of garment and textile imports, adding that this means room for growth remains extensive.

Chairman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang pointed to a shortage of supplies, as the sector needs to meet the agreement’s requirements for product origin.

He also spoke about difficulties facing firms that want to invest in fabric dying but are being rejected by localities over environmental concerns.

Giang told local authorities not to worry and explained that foreign partners have strict requirements for environmental protection and wastewater treatment technologies in the world have reached an advanced level.

He asked the MoIT to announce at an early date a list of tariff lines applied for different types of garment-textile products.

The VITAS will organise workshops to update relevant information for businesses in the sector.

Another delay pushes deadline for second Hanoi metro to 2022

The operational deadline for Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station metro line has been pushed back a year to December 2022.

Announcing the new deadline, Hanoi authorities said Friday that 99.5 percent of the elevated railway and 61 percent of the elevated stations have been built. The elevated section is scheduled to begin operations in April 2021.
But the underground section is only 5 percent done and work on it expected to be complete in 2022, they added.

The first of 10 trains for the second railway route, designed and manufactured by French contractors, will be delivered July next year instead of March as previously announced.

The total investment capital for the project remains at the VND30.2 trillion ($1.3 billion) announced by the government in 2014.

This is the second delay the Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station project has experienced. Work originally began in September 2010 and was set for completion in September 2017. But early in 2017, Hanoi authorities extended the deadline to 2021.

The route, the capital’s second metro line after Cat Linh-Ha Dong, runs 12.5 kilometers from Nhon area in the western districts of Nam Tu Liem, Bac Tu Liem, Cau Giay via Kim Ma Street to Hanoi Railway Station in the downtown area. It will run 8.5 kilometers on elevated tracks through eight stations and the remaining four kilometers underground.

Hanoi’s first metro line, connecting Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to the Yen Nghia Station in Ha Dong District, is said to be 99 percent complete, also having missed its deadline several times.

Son La launches export of locally-grown longan

The northern mountainous province of Son La held a ceremony in Song Ma district on August 3 to open the Song Ma Longan Festival and announce the export of 60 tonnes of longan to China and other countries.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quoc Khanh said that the event aimed at promoting Son La longan which can meet standards and requirements of choosy markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and the European Union.

The total area of longan cultivation in the province increased to more than 15,000 hectares this year, with output expected at 73,000 tonnes, of which 33,410 tonnes are eligible for export.

Son La expects to ship more than 8,100 tonnes of longan to China, the US, Australia, the EU, the Middle East, and other ASEAN countries this year.

Song Ma district has the largest longan area in Son La, with over 6,700 hectares and an estimated output of nearly 30,000 tonnes. The district hopes to export over 5,000 tonnes of longan to China, and 20 tonnes to Australia and the US.

Quang Nam earns nearly VND10 billion from Ngoc Linh ginseng

Local farmers in Nam Tra My district, Quang Nam province sold approximately 110kg of Ngoc Linh ginseng, earning nearly VND10 billion (US$430,000), at the third Ngoc Linh Ginseng Festival 2019 held in the district on August 1-3.

According to the People’s Committee of Nam Tra My district, the revenue from local ginseng at this festival was doubled compared to the previous ginseng festival.

In particular, there was a Ngoc Linh ginseng weighing 0.7kg sold at VND530 million (US$22,790) and 10 ginseng sold at VND200 – VND300 (US$12,900) million each.

Chairman of Nam Tra My district’s People’s Committee Ho Quang Buu said that, the ginseng festival featured more than 60 pavilions showcasing typical agricultural, forestry, and handicraft products, particularly unique products of Nam Tra My district including Ngoc Linh ginseng and medicinal herbs.

There are three pavilions displaying Ngoc Linh ginseng planted by 34 local households in Tra Linh commune, Nam Tra My district.

The ginseng festival attracted more than 16,000 visitors including 6,000 visitors from other provinces outside Quang Nam and from abroad.

Da Nang should be airport city: expert

Vietnam’s third most important city after Hanoi and HCMC, Da Nang could be the pioneering aerotropolis in the country, an architect suggested.

Ngo Viet Nam Son, an architect with 30 years’ experience in design and architectural planning, was commenting on a master plan for developing Da Nang until 2045, which suggests turning the Da Nang International Airport into a metropolitan subregion whose infrastructure, land use and economy are centered on the airport.

"This is the right strategy," he told a meeting on Friday.

From his experience of working and traveling to many airport cities around the world, he said Da Nang, a city of 1.2 million, "completely has the potential for such a project."

It is now necessary to change the mindset of separating airports from urban areas, he said.

Many places in the world, including Orly Airport in Paris, France, and Logan Airport in Boston, the U.S., have successfully developed the airport city model, he said.

"Airport city will contribute to the city's economic development."

Hoang Su, a former chairman of the architecture association of Quang Nam Province near Da Nang, said if the aerotropolis is developed from the current airport, it would continue to be overloaded.

Da Nang airport received 13.3 million passengers last year, surpassing the target of 13 million set for 2020.

He said it should be relocated first before making plans for the aerotropolis.

In April Da Nang said it would invest VND2 trillion ($86 million) in becoming a smart city by 2030, and city leaders said it would become smart in administration, economy, traffic, environment, and life-quality.

It would also have smart systems for education, healthcare, food safety, tourism, agriculture, trading, drainage, waste management, traffic, and security.

The city has hired Singaporean consultants to amend its urban plans to include solutions to tackle key problems like infrastructure overload, climate change and environmental degradation.

Brighter prospects for labour export in second half

The signing of a number of bilateral agreements will open up a wealth of opportunities for Vietnamese guest workers to work abroad and enjoy higher salaries between now and the end of the year, according to Nguyen Gia Liem, deputy director general of the Department of Overseas Labour Management under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

Vietnam is likely to fulfill its target of sending approximately 120,000 workers abroad under labour contracts during 2019.

According to statistics released by the Department of Overseas Labour Management, the number of Vietnamese migrant workers sent to work abroad in the first half of the year under labour contracts hit 66,983, fulfilling 55.82 per cent of the set plan for 2019.

A rise in the rate of fleeing workers

In the six-month period, Japan remains the largest recipient of Vietnamese workers with 33,549, trailed by Taiwan (China) with 27,137, the Republic of Korea (RoK) with 3,521, Romania with 1,021, and Saudi Arabia with 575.

Liem said that during the reviewed period, labour export activities saw positive signs with plenty of opportunities for labourers. Aside from traditional jobs available for unskilled workers, going to work abroad has also created a window of opportunity for highly skilled workers.

Despite these positive signs, a number of problems have arisen from Vietnamese guest workers abroad. The number of workers fleeing remains on an upward trend although relevant agencies and localities have taken drastic measures to deal with the situation.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs sent a document in May to cities and provinces to list a number of localities that have been temporarily banned from recruiting labourers to work in the RoK under the Employment Permit System (EPS).

These banned localities have seen the highest number of workers run away in order to illegally reside in the RoK. Each banned locality has seen over 60 workers flee.

According to the report released by the RoK on the rate and number of workers illegally residing in the country, the RoK will stop recruiting workers in localities that have failed to reduce the rate and number of workers illegally residing in the country.

In order to reshuffle the labour export activities of firms during the second half of the year, the Department of Overseas Labour Management, in collaboration with other agencies, have stepped up their inspections of labour export companies. For example, they have dealt with a number of violations in sending workers to work as housemaids in Saudi Arabia, in addition to resolving infringements relating to migrant workers overseas.

Bright prospects ahead for labour export market

Over the course of the reviewed period, there have been a number of positive signs in labour export activities. Dao Ngoc Dung, the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nasser Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), regarding the recruitment of housemaids.

In addition to the signing of the MoU with the UAE, the Czech Republic has officially resumed the granting of long-term visas for Vietnamese workers as of June 6.

The Czech Embassy in Hanoi received the first batch of visa applications submitted by 200 Vietnamese workers who have plans to work in the central European country from August 2019.

Most notably, an additional MoU regarding the specific skilled workers programme labour was signed between the MOLISA and Japan’s Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and National Police Agency during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s recent visit to Japan.

In addition, the MOLISA and the National Institute of Technology KOSEN signed an MoU to resume co-operation activities of KOSEN training models throughout Vietnam.

These represent important legal frameworks that are set to open opportunities for Vietnamese students and workers who wish to study and work in Japan.

Despite this, experts have warned that Japan will not receive workers from nations that have yet to fulfill their responsibilities for admitting workers who are expelled from Japan.

Simultaneously, Japan will be cautious when granting visas to citizens from other nations which have a high number of workers residing illegally in foreign countries, commit crimes, and break labour contracts in Japan.

In order to make the most of these opportunities, overseas study consultant agencies in localities are now required to improve the qualifications of workers and halt granting certificates for incapable workers.

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