VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS APRIL 5

Manufacturing, processing maintains strong growth in Q1

Vietnam’s industry grew 6.5 percent year on year in the first three months of 2020, with the manufacturing and processing sector expanding 9.45 percent and remaining as the main engine of the economic growth.

The three-month manufacturing and processing expansion was higher than 7.12 percent growth of last year’s Q1, but lower than 14.3 percent and 11.52 percent of 2018’s and 2019’s same period, respectively, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

Significant growth was reported in some other sectors, including metal production (30.9 percent), beverage production (16.9 percent), electric device manufacturing, and mining of metal ores (both 12.5 percent).

Sharp decline, by contrast, was seen in exploitation of crude oil and natural gas (13.7 percent), mining support services (17.5 percent), wastewater drainage and treatment (5.6 percent) among others.

The GSO pointed out several key industrial products that experienced high growth from January-March, such as rolled steel (54 percent), phone parts (47.9 percent), television sets of all type (30.9 percent), automobile (17.7 percent), and formula milk (17.5 percent).

It also recorded 22.5 percent increase in the industry’s inventory, with the highest level seen in manufacture of rubber-made products and plastics (91.6 percent), manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products (85.7 percent), and metal production (68.1 percent)./.

Japanese company sets up joint venture in HCM City

Toppan Cosmo Inc., a trading arm of Japan's Toppan Printing Co., has set up a joint venture in Ho Chi Minh City with two Japanese partners to provide high-quality 3D computer graphics content, Kyodo News reported.

Toppan Equator LLC was formed earlier this week and is 65 percent owned by Toppan Cosmo, 26 percent by Studio Tec, a visual creation studio in Osaka Prefecture, and the rest by entrepreneur Takanobu Sugiyama who has a design office in Vietnam's southern hub.

The joint venture attempts to optimise Toppan Cosmo's expertise in catalog and sample book production and Studio Tec's technical, and creative capabilities in 3D CG work, with Sugiyama responsible for quality control.

Toppan Equator is targeting construction, interior design and housing equipment businesses for its 3D CG and other state-of-the-art technologies, with demand increasing from these sectors, according to Tokyo-based Toppan Printing.

Expecting that the visual content market will grow steadily in Asia, Toppan Equator plans to focus on Japanese customers in the initial stage of its business before expanding into Vietnam and other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region. The company aims for 2 billion JPY (18 million USD) in sales in fiscal 2025./.

China leads FDI inflow in Vietnamese wood industry

China tops the list of 14 countries who made investments into the Vietnamese wood industry, with a total of 23 projects throughout 2020.

According to information released in a recent report, direct foreign investment (FDI) increases in the local wood processing industry showed a sharp increase last year, with over US$327.7 million being put into 63 new FDI projects in the industry nationwide.

Furthermore, 52 projects registered to increase additional capital of US$193 million, while 122 others registered for capital contribution and share purchase, with a total value of US$244.8 million.

Out of a total of 63 newly-registered projects last year, China topped the list of the 14 foreign investors in the Vietnamese wood industry with 23 projects. Despite this, the amount of investment capital remained modest, with only approximately US$2.27 million being poured into each FDI project, a year-on-year drop of 37%.

According to a report compiled by Forest Trends, and several local timber and forestry product associations, although the number of FDI enterprises operating in the wood industry only accounted for 18%, their exports made up 51% of the country's overall wood export turnover last year.

Bright prospects ahead for Vietnam-Canada trade co-operation

Alongside the enforcement of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), there remains plenty of room to boost economic and trade co-operation between Vietnam and Canada in the future.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the Center for WTO and Integration Centre at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), told Cong Thuong (Commer&Industry) newspaper said that Vietnamese exports into the North American country make up only 1.16% of their total imports. Likewise, Canadian exports to Vietnam account for a miniscule 0.34% of the country’s overall market share of imports.

Vietnam enjoys numerous advantages to introduce goods to the Canadian market as an increasing number of Vietnamese people are choosing to settle in Canada.

The country has several advantageous products which are in high demand among Canadian consumers, including mobile phones, wood furniture, textiles, shoes, tea, coffee, along with fruit and vegetables.

Many of these products have gone on to penetrate the demanding markets such as the EU, the United States, and Japan, therefore they can also meet the stringent requirements set by the Canadian market.

Moreover, Vietnam represents one of the few Asian countries to have signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Canada, meaning that its goods enjoy tariff advantages in comparison to other regional peers such as China and other ASEAN member states.

Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continuing to impact global consumption demand, Vietnamese goods can gain an advantage in price compared to other competitors due to the signing of the CPTPP.

To gain entry to the North American market, Bui Tuan Hoan, head of the European-American Market Department, said Vietnamese enterprises must regularly update and stick to legal regulations regarding the Canadian market.

It is imperative to carefully study the Canadian market, especially niche markets, to allow local firms to gain greater insights into about the tastes and needs of consumers as Canadian customers are willing to sample new products providing that their prices are competitive, Hoan stated.

Experts also advised local enterprises to learn about ways in which to enter Canadian distribution channels, especially e-commerce channels that have been increasingly popular and have since become the mainstream shopping trend among consumers throughout North America.

Domestic enterprises were also urged to improve product quality and design in a bid to suit the market and develop branding for Vietnamese products.

Tightening market management on traditional, digital trade

The General Department of Market Surveillance under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the market management force would focus on fighting counterfeit goods, goods that infringe intellectual property rights and goods of unknown origin on both traditional trade and digital platforms from April 1 to the end of December 2025.

The office has issued a decision on a plan to fight and prevent counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin and goods infringing intellectual property rights for the 2021 - 2025 period.

Tran Huu Linh, director general of the office, said the goal of this plan iss to communicate and guide the law in combination with the signing of commitments with traditional as well as e-commerce businesses, organisers and managers of wet markets, trade centres, streets, wards, communes, villages, and craft villages.

This aimed to raise awareness and responsibility in obeying law in production and business activities. Linh affirmed that this was a long-term plan, with specific goals for each year.

With specific plans, it is expected that by 2021, all supermarkets and commercial centres in 12 major cities and provinces will not do trade counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin and goods that infringe intellectual property rights.

Along with that, e-commerce trading floors including Lazada, Tiki, Shopee, Sendo, Hotdeal and major e-commerce sites all signed commitments to not trade in counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin and goods that infringe intellectual property rights.

In addition, 60 percent of businesses will be encouraged to sign commitments not to trade such goods and not repeat infringements.

Recently, the market management forces have investigated and closed a series of establishments and warehouses producing fake goods./.

Bac Lieu strives to become national shrimp industry’s centre

The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is building a high-tech shrimp farming area with the aim of becoming a centre of the country’s shrimp industry.

Approved by the Prime Minister in 2007, the area covers 418.91 hectares in Hiep Thanh commune of Bac Lieu city.

The area is expected to facilitate the research and application of high technology into the shrimp industry, including production of shrimp seeds and shrimp feed of the province as well as in the Ca Mau peninsular, the Mekong Delta and the whole country.

Bac Lieu has approved a project to make Bac Lieu a centre of the country’s shrimp industry with major targets of turning the province a leading locality in high technology research and application for brackish water shrimp farming, focusing on shrimp farming and processing, and acting as a connecting point of the industry in the whole region. 

Bac Lieu has been a major shrimp hub of the country with a yearly output of 32-35 billion shrimp fry.

Currently, Bac Lieu has more than 136,000 hectares of shrimp farm, of which 2,200 hectares are high-tech farms.

The locality is home to four businesses certified as high-tech agricultural firms, along with seven units meeting international standards in aquatic farming./.

PVEP’s contribution to State budget 41 percent higher than plan in Q1

The PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP), a subsidiary of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), has surpassed all of its business goals in the first quarter of 2021, with contribution to the State Budget particularly 41 percent higher than the year’s plan.

From January-March, the corporation pumped up 0.89 million tonnes of oil equivalent, 5 percent higher than the quarterly plan and equivalent to 26 percent of the yearly target.

Of the volume, 0.65 million tonnes were oil and condensate, surpassing the quarterly goal by 9 percent and representing 28 percent of the yearly plan.

It generated over 6.95 trillion VND (301.9 million USD) in total revenue and contributed nearly 1.71 trillion VND to the State Budget, exceeding the plan by 40 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

The PVEP plans to maintain stable production, reduce costs and actively respond to the global market’s fluctuations this year./.

Binh Dinh: All fishing ships must obtain food safety certificates by end of June

All fishing ships in Binh Dinh must obtain food safety certificates by the end of June as part of efforts to enhance the quality of fishery products caught by the south-central province's fishing fleet, according to a local agricultural official.

The province has been accelerating a campaign to raise local fishermen's awareness about their responsibility to abide by the Law on Fishery and persuade ship owners into signing a commitment to not encroaching foreign waters, said Tran Van Phuc, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

These moves are intended to implement the European Commission (EC)’s recommendations to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practice in order to have the EC’s “yellow card” on Vietnam’s seafood lifted, Phuc said.

In the first quarter of 2021, the provincial Fisheries Department granted over 160 food safety certificates to fishing vessels with a length of 15 metres or more which have been licensed to operate offshore. So far, over 2,800 out of 3,200 offshore fishing vessels in the province have received the certificate.

The department has streamlined procedures to cut the time to get the food safety certificates in accordance with current regulations. Now it only takes a day for a food safety certificate to be issued, instead of three days as before, deputy director of the department Nguyen Cong Binh said.

There are nearly 400 boats of 15 metres or more in length left without a food safety certificate in Binh Dinh, most of which go fishing offshore and dock to sell their catches in ports outside the province.

The sub-department plans to send officials to neighbouring coastal provinces to check the status of these ships and request them to obtain food safety certificate./.

Vietnamese firms in Cambodia brave difficulties amid pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Vietnamese enterprises in Cambodia have tried their best to stand firm and have worked towards developing their business in the “new normal”.

In the country since 2011, MBBank and Metfone, a subsidiary of Viettel, have made an imprint in Cambodia’s finance and banking, and telecommunications sectors. Of particular note, they have also set up strategic cooperation arrangements with partners based on their strengths and experience.

According to MBBank Director in Cambodia Trinh Duc Cuong, though COVID-19 has left a mark on Cambodia’s economy, Vietnamese enterprises in various fields have returned to the market with higher levels of investment and professionalism compared to a decade ago.

Meanwhile, Metfone Director Phung Van Cuong said the company could achieve its challenging growth target of 7-8 per cent this year.

COVID-19 had resulted in travel restrictions, unemployment, and business downsizing, but there would be strong growth in demand for information and communications through technologies and social networks, Cuong stressed, describing this as a valuable opportunity for Metfone, which has large network coverage in Cambodia’s rural and urban areas.

At a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of strategic cooperation between Metfone and MBBank on April 1, Phung Van Cuong said COVID-19 is an opportunity for Cambodia’s digital transformation as it forces people to become accustomed to online shopping rather than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

MBBank has given top priority to supporting Vietnamese companies in Cambodia, and has helped Metfone access capital to improve its services and consolidate its position as a leading telecommunications provider in the Cambodian market.

COVID-19 has encouraged Vietnamese companies to adjust their products and services, making them more suitable for customer needs.

According to Viet Nam's trade office in Cambodia, two-way trade topped more than US$1.33 billion in the first two months of this year, up 64 per cent year-on-year. 

More Vietnamese carriers resume international routes

Budget carrier Vietjet Air announcedon Thursday that it will resume its regular flights to Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The move is part of efforts to restore its international flights in a safe fashion, meet passengers’ demand, and contribute to boosting growth of the economy and the tourism sector.

Accordingly, flights will be on routes between Viet Nam-Thailand every Friday. Flights from Ha Noi to Seoul (Republic of Korea) are scheduled to depart on April 15.

Flights from Ha Noi to Tokyo will take off on April 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 23, 26, 29 and 30.

Flights from Ha Noi to Taiwan will depart on April 11.

Earlier, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines also announced it would resume international routes between Ha Noi - Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Ha Noi - Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Ha Noi - Sydney and HCM City - Sydney (Australia), from April 1. In addition, the national airline also planned to launch package flights from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (China) after being licensed from the authorities.

Accordingly, flights from Ha Noi to Seoul will depart on Thursdays, while those to Tokyo will take off on April 3, 8, 11, 16, 23, 27, and 29. In May and June, Viet Nam will operate two flights per week on this route, on Thursdays and Saturdays.

It will operate Ha Noi-Sydney flights on Saturdays and HCM City-Sydney flights on Thursdays and Sundays.

Under the Ministry of Health’s regulations, all flights from Viet Nam currently only serve Vietnamese nationals studying or visiting relatives in foreign countries and foreigners returning home from Viet Nam.

Passengers are requested to study related regulations from diplomatic missions to prepare the necessary documents and procedures.

Vietnam Airlines also plans to conduct charter flights from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Taiwan (China), depending on licences from relevant authorities.

Vietnam, US target sustainable trade ties

Vietnamese and US agencies will continue their coordination in order to maintain trade ties between the two countries, towards harmonious, sustainable, and mutually beneficial trade balance.

The consensus was reached during recent phone talks between Tran Tuan Anh, Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, Minister of Industry and Trade and Chairman of the Viet Nam-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council, and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

The two sides shared the view that after more than 25 years of the normalisation of bilateral relations, thanks to efforts of the two countries’ leaders, the close and effective collaboration between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Office of US Trade Representative, in their capacity as co-chairs of the TIFA Council, as well as partnerships between other ministries, agencies and businesses, the economic and trade ties have reaped practical outcomes.

The Viet Nam-US relationship had experienced strong development across spheres, Anh said, expressing his belief that the bilateral relationship would remain stable and be driven by the economic and trade ties.

Tai lauded results of policy dialogues between the two countries through TIFA, saying the two sides could seek satisfactory solutions to many economic and commercial issues for a short period of time, contributing to enhancing two-way trade.

According to the MoIT, trade between Viet Nam and the US hit a record of US$90.8 billion last year, and they are working hard to raise the figure to $100 billion this year.

Over the past five years, Viet Nam’s export revenue to the US surged 230 per cent, while its import value was up more than 175 per cent.

The US has become Viet Nam’s biggest buyer and the Southeast Asian nation has emerged as the 10th largest trade partner of the US. 

Partnership for sustainable production and trade of Vietnamese pepper launched

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a partnership for the sustainable production and trade of Vietnamese pepper for 2021-2025 has been signed between the Plant Protection Department (PPD) and Sustainable Spices Initiative (SSI) and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nguyen Quy Duong, Deputy head of the PPD under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the MoU aimed to generate about 60,000 tonnes of pepper, 75 per cent of exported pepper and help 25 per cent of farmers access safe production models and improve their livelihoods.

“One of the top priorities of the signing MoU between the three parties is to support small and medium enterprises and farmers to control pesticide residue in pepper, forming production linkages and promote communication and expansion of safe pepper production models,” Duong said on Tuesday.

This type of partnership would ensure sustainable production, meeting market requirements, he said, adding that each side would bring into full play its strength.

Per the MoU, the PPD is authorised to promote sustainable pepper production in Viet Nam through management and guidance for responsible use of pesticides. It is supposed to strengthen the capacity of public partners for scaling up sustainable pepper production. The department will also promote safe production links, monitor food safety and traceability of pepper for export.

The SSI is responsible for working with the European Spice Association (ESA) and the American Spice Association (ASTA) on market requirements and encouraging member companies to invest in sustainable production in Viet Nam.

The IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative is expected to provide technical and financial support to activities under a public-private partnership for pepper.

“Vietnamese pepper is an extremely important source of raw materials for SSI and SSI is committed to contributing to the sustainable development of the Vietnamese pepper industry, thereby helping realise our ultimate goal of all pepper products sustainable and ensure food safety," said Alfon Van Gulick, Executive Chairman of SSI.

Huynh Tien Dung, director of IDH in Viet Nam said it was not the first time the SSI had engaged with Viet Nam.

“In recent years, through the connection of IDH, SSI has co-operated with the public-private partnership of the pepper industry in a number of activities including co-organising public-private dialogue forums, setting up material for training of farmers and co-ordinating with domestic companies in implementing pepper chain projects,” he said.

According to Nguyen Nam Hai, Chairman of the Vietnam Pepper Association, Viet Nam's pepper output accounts for 45 per cent of the world's figure and export volume accounts for 65 per cent of globally traded pepper. However, the quality of pepper is still a problem.

"The development of sustainable pepper production is an indispensable requirement for our partners to feel more secure about the quality of Vietnamese pepper," Hai said.

Lower prices will make it easier to sell rice: exporters

Though the prices of Vietnamese 5-per cent broken white rice fell US$20 per tonne in a week, most local rice exporters said the decline would make sales easier.

 

Reducing prices

According to the Viet Nam Food Association, since March 29, the rice export price has dropped sharply by $20 per tonne after reaching the highest price in the past nine years.

Currently, the asking price of 5 per cent broken white rice was at US$498-502 per tonne, the price of 25 per cent broken white rice was $473-477 per tonne and 100 per cent broken white rice was at $428-432 per tonne.

The association also said prices of 5 per cent broken white rice from Thailand stood at $490-494 per tonne while that from India was at $408-412 per tonne.

The news wire service Reuters reported that Thailand's rice price has fallen to its lowest level in the past four months due to the decline in domestic prices and exchange rates when the Thai baht has weakened by 3.5 per cent compared to the previous year since the beginning of March 2021, while the prices in India have been adjusted to reflect the decline in the Indian rupee.

Phan Van Co, director of Vrice Co Ltd, said: “The reduction in selling prices for Vietnamese exporters will help sell local rice in the export market.”

Co said recently, Vietnamese rice prices were always higher than competitors’ such as Thailand and India, which made it difficult to compete because some importers were turning to India to buy 5 per cent broken white rice at lower prices though they were still buying fragrant rice from Viet Nam.

Co said that Indian rice was cheap and had stable quality while transporting costs from India to Africa was also cheaper than from Viet Nam, adding the lower prices also made major rice importing countries such as China, the Philippines, and Indonesia buy Indian rice for their reserves.

Vietnamese 5-per cent broken rice was now too expensive compared to the international market, each tonne of the rice was about $100 higher than Indian rice, plus with the higher transportation costs, it was difficult to compete.

Nguyen Van Thanh, director of Phuoc Thanh IV Company, said: “Though the asking prices of local rice decreased, it is still high compared to the current prices and much higher than in the last year.”

Thanh also said the reduction will help Vietnamese rice compete better amid expensive freight.

When prices of 5-per cent broken rice fell, exporters said they would keep the prices high-end rice such as Dai Thom, Jasmine and ST 24, stable.

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company, said: “Trung An's orders still maintain a high price from $600 to nearly $1,000 per tonne.”

Binh said as his business has a good grasp of the market tastes, the products still win customers’ hearts and are sold at good prices.

Vrice's director Phan Van Co, stated since 2020, the prices of fragrant rice exported to markets in the EU has not changed, saying: "We have long-term business with our partners, in addition, Vietnamese rice has found a stable customer segment for many years, so exports are good."

Like Vrice, Phuoc Thanh IV Company currently exports fragrant Dai 8, OM 5451 rice products to countries in Asia and the Middle East with relatively good prices, of which, Dai fragrant 8 rice is purchased by partners at $545-550 per tonne.

Director Thanh of the firm said they could sell their high-quality products at good prices as his enterprise has created a habit for foreign consumers to use quality rice products originating in Viet Nam. Thanh estimated a more exciting export market for Viet Nam from April as there would be more customers than in the first quarter.

According to the latest statistics by the General Department of Customs, in the first 15 days of March, the country exported 203,320 tonnes of rice with the turnover at more than $111 million. Accumulated from the beginning of the year to March 15, the rice export volume reached 858,605 tonnes with turnover of more than $470 million. The average value of rice export in the first months of 2021 reached $548 per tonne, higher than the same period last year. The price was $464 in the same term last year. The main rice export markets of Viet Nam were the Philippines, mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

SeABank posts 2-fold surge in Q1 pre-tax profit

The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) earned pre-tax consolidated profit of VND698.3 billion (nearly US$30.4 million) in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of nearly 2.3-fold year-on-year.

The bank said in its Q1 business performance report that as of March 31, total assets topped VND184.3 trillion, up 24 per cent year-on-year, deposits nearly VND115.2 trillion, up 16.8 per cent, and loans over VND111 trillion, up 14.3 per cent.

SeABank was recently listed by the State Bank of Viet Nam as one of the 17 most important credit institutions in the banking system in 2021. It was also given a “B1” long-term rating, equivalent to a stable outlook, by Moody’s for the third time.

Its stock, coded SSB, has been traded on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) since March 24, making it the third bank to be listed this year.

The bank expects growth of 39.6 per cent in pre-tax profit this year to more than VND2.4 trillion. 

More than $1.7 billion mobilised through G-bond auctions in Q1

The State Treasury raised nearly VND39.21 trillion (more thanUS$1.7 billion) worth of Government bonds via 40 auctions on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) in the first quarter of 2021.

In the quarter, the total value of listed G-bonds was estimated at more than VND1.34 quadrillion, down 0.7 per cent compared to late 2020.

The average trading value reached VND12.3 trillion per session, a year-on-year surge of 20.2 per cent.

Trading volume through repurchase agreements (repos) accounted for 33.57 per cent of the total transaction value in the market.

In Q1, foreign investors net bought VND5.9 trillion, making up 2.04 per cent of the total amount.

In March alone, more than VND12.19 trillion was mobilised through 21 G-bond auctions, a month-on-month surge of 246 per cent.

Interest rates of bonds in successful bids expanded on the maturities of five years, 10 years, 15 years and 30 years, with an increase ranging from 0.04 – 0.13 per cent each year.

On the secondary G-bond market, the average trading value in the month reached VND10.41 trillion per session, down 9.7 per cent month-on-month.

The total outright purchases of G-bonds in the month topped 1.5 billion bonds valued at VND167 trillion.

Meanwhile, the total volume traded via repos exceeded 671 million bonds, worth more than VND72.5 trillion, down 8.13 per cent from the previous month.

Foreign investors made purchases of more than VND5.4 trillion, and outright sales of VND3.7 trillion. 

1st quarter lending grows at double the rate as deposits in HCM City

Loans outstanding at HCM City banks have risen by 1.7 per cent for the year in the first quarter but deposits by only 0.8 per cent, according to the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).

They were 1.47 per cent and 0.54 per cent for the country, according to the General Statistics Office.

Credit growth has rebounded with the COVID-19 pandemic being controlled and economic activities gradually returning to normal.

Analysts said banks are competing with the securities and property markets to attract money, and so have increased deposit interest rates.

Remittances to HCM City rose 10.2 per cent year-on-year to US$1.45 billion. The figure was impressive considering the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nguyen Hong Minh, deputy director of the SBV’s HCM City branch, said.

Last year remittances rose by 12 per cent to a record US$6.1 billion.

The main remittance markets remained the US, Australia and Canada, but major labour export markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea showed signs of slowing down due to COVID, Minh added.

According to the World Bank, remittances to Viet Nam last year were worth $15.7 billion, which kept it in the global top 10 list. 

Kien Giang eyes new economic zone

A ceremony was held in Ha Tien City in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang on Friday to announce the establishment of the Ha Tien Border-Gate Economic Zone, the province’s only economic zone.

Established under a decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on August 5, 2020, the 1,600-ha economic zone spans five communes - Phao Dai, Dong Ho, To Chau, Binh San, and My Duc.

It consists of seven areas, including duty-free, tourism, administrative, residential areas, an industrial park, and the Ha Tien International Border Gate, which leads to the Prek Chak International Border Gate on the Cambodian side, and service areas.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Ha Tien City’s People’s Committee Le Quoc Anh said he expects the new economic zone will increase the city’s attractiveness among both domestic and foreign investors and fuel the development of industry, services, tourism, and infrastructure in surrounding areas.

It should pave the way for the expansion of the population along the shared border with Cambodia, in order to foster economic, cultural, and defence-security exchanges between the two countries and boost Ha Tien City’s economic growth, he said.

Investors will be given exemptions from import duties and reductions on a number of taxes and fees, for example land lease and land use fees and corporate taxes, when setting up base at the Ha Tien Border-Gate Economic Zone.

The economic zone has so far attracted 35 projects worth close to VND4.4 trillion (US$191.5 million) in total. 

First-ever digital timestamping service launched in Viet Nam

SAVIS Technology Group, one of Viet Nam’s top 10 tech firms, has launched TrustCA Timestamp Signing, the first and only digital timestamping service in the country.

As the digital economy is defined to be a driving force of growth in Viet Nam over the next five years, it is important to develop digital tools, including digital signature, to facilitate people’s participation in the digital economy.

Integrated with the Long-term Validation (LTV) and Long-term Archive and Notary Services (LTANS), TrustCA Timestamp Signing provides e-documents with complete protection against forgeries and frauds in digital transactions and ensures their legal validity and trustworthiness in a certain period of time.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Nguyen Thien Nghia, Deputy Director of the National Electronic Authentication Centre (NEAC), said the TrustCA Timestamp service fully complies with Viet Nam’s current regulations and satisfies standards set by the US and EU.

The service is expected to lay a basic foundation for the digital transformation ecosystem in all areas, such as e-healthcare, online public service delivery, e-learning, e-finance, and e-banking.

The Ministry of Health’s information technology department and SAVIS took the occasion to sign an agreement for the latter to provide timestamping service in healthcare.

Car imports accelerate in March

The import of automobiles increased dramatically in March, according to figures released by the General Department of Customs (GDC).

But although more and more cars are coming into Viet Nam, purchasing of vehicles tends to slow at the beginning of the year.

Statistics shows that last month more than US$347 million worth of CBU (Completely Built-up Units) were brought into the country.

This was an increase of 69.3 per cent in volume and 66 per cent in value compared to the previous month and almost matching the figures for the first two months combined.

In the first quarter of 2021, 35,367 cars worth $770 million were imported, up 31.1 per cent in volume and 35 per cent in value against the same period last year.

Industry insiders attributed the surge to the increasing demand of transport businesses and private use after the economy stalled due to COVID-19.

While car dealers remained cautious about the prospect of car market, many expected more positive sale figures for the second quarter given the launch of many new models.

Automobile sales has continuously declined in the first two months of the year,

The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) reported that car sales in February 2020 stood at only 13,585 units, down 48.6 per cent compared to the first month of the year.

Car purchasing power in the first month of 2021 also suffered a decline of 45 per cent compared to the previous month. 

China has not imposed ban on Vietnamese chili imports

The Asia- Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has stated that a document which supposedly details China's ban on imports of Vietnamese chilies is a forgery and was not issued by the General Department of Customs of China.

This comes after the department received a document on April 1 from the Shenzhen (China) Customs regarding a ban placed upon Vietnamese chili imports as from April 1 under the direction of the General Department of Customs of China.

When made fully aware of this issue, the Trade Office of the Vietnamese Embassy in China urgently worked on verifying the source and accuracy of the information alongside the General Department of Customs of China.

Following a swift investigation into the matter, the Import-Export Food Safety Department under the General Department of Customs of China confirmed that the "text" image use on the document is fake and was not issued by the Chinese side. In addition, the content within the "text" image contains a number of errors in terms of format and language, whilst there are also preliminary signs of image editing, it said.

Despite this discovery, Vietnamese chili exports to the Chinese market since May, 2020, have faced some problems in terms of testing and quarantine.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is currently working alongside the Chinese side in order to deal with these problems in the hope of making the export of Vietnamese chili products to the Chinese market return to normal soon.

11 items with export value of over US$1 billion during Q1

Vietnam posted 11 items with a total export turnover exceeding US$1 billion during the first quarter of the year, of which mobile phones and spare parts topping the list at US$14.1 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The MoIT stated that the nation raked in an overall amount of US$77.34 billion from exports throughout the reviewed period, representing an annual increase of 22%.

Most notably, the country also witnessed 11 items record an export turnover of over US$1 billion by the end of March, accounting for 76.6% of total export value. Of the 11 export commodities, there were four items with an export turnover of over US$ 5 billion.

Statistics indicate that phones and components topped the list of key items with the highest value at US$14.1 billion, making up 18.2% of total export turnover and representing an increase of 9.3% compared to the same period from last year, followed by electronics, computers and components with US$12 billion, a rise of 31.3%.

Furthermore, the export of machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts also skyrocketed by 77.2% to US$9.1 billion, while timber and wood exports also enjoyed a surge of 41.5% to US$3.7 billion.

During the opening three months of the year, exports of processed industrial products hit US$67.39 billion, a climb of 24.8% compared to last year’s corresponding period.

According to figures compiled by the MoIT, Vietnamese exports to major markets have maintained stable growth, with exports to China, the EU, ASEAN, and the Republic of Korea expanding by 34.3%, 18%, 5.7%, and 6.4%, respectively.

11 items with export value of over US$1 billion during Q1

Vietnam posted 11 items with a total export turnover exceeding US$1 billion during the first quarter of the year, of which mobile phones and spare parts topping the list at US$14.1 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The MoIT stated that the nation raked in an overall amount of US$77.34 billion from exports throughout the reviewed period, representing an annual increase of 22%.

Most notably, the country also witnessed 11 items record an export turnover of over US$1 billion by the end of March, accounting for 76.6% of total export value. Of the 11 export commodities, there were four items with an export turnover of over US$ 5 billion.

Statistics indicate that phones and components topped the list of key items with the highest value at US$14.1 billion, making up 18.2% of total export turnover and representing an increase of 9.3% compared to the same period from last year, followed by electronics, computers and components with US$12 billion, a rise of 31.3%.

Furthermore, the export of machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts also skyrocketed by 77.2% to US$9.1 billion, while timber and wood exports also enjoyed a surge of 41.5% to US$3.7 billion.

During the opening three months of the year, exports of processed industrial products hit US$67.39 billion, a climb of 24.8% compared to last year’s corresponding period.

According to figures compiled by the MoIT, Vietnamese exports to major markets have maintained stable growth, with exports to China, the EU, ASEAN, and the Republic of Korea expanding by 34.3%, 18%, 5.7%, and 6.4%, respectively.

Vietnam rakes in US$1.82 billion from iron and steel exports

The Vietnamese iron and steel sector enjoyed a strong bounce-back after recording impressive growth of 65.2% in export value, earning US$1.826 billion during the opening three months of the year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Throughout the reviewed period, the output of crude steel, rolled steel, and steel bars enjoyed respective increases of 14.4%, 54%, and 1.6%.

This comes after several large local enterprises such as Hoa Phat, Ton Hoa Sen, and Nam Kim all exported major shipments to both the United States and EU markets.

A prime example of this stringent recovery can be seen in leading steel maker Hoa Phat Group who signed an export contract to ship over 2,000 tonnes of pre-stressed concrete steel strand (PC Strand) to the US market, with the shipment being delivered in March.

Furthermore, Hoa Phat Group also exported more than 22,000 tonnes of galvanised steel sheets to several markets within the EU and also the US. 

Elsewhere, Hoa Sen Group Joint Stock Company exported high-value batches of galvanised steel sheet during the initial months of the year to the US, Mexico, Europe, and Southeast Asia with the local firm’s export volume exceeding 100,000 tons per month.

After recording positive signs in growth rate of production and sales of steel products last year, the Vietnamese steel industry has set a production growth target of between 4% and 6% for this year.

Moving forward, the domestic steel industry is anticipated to achieve a high-growth rate this year due to plenty of benefits from the acceleration of public investment and the recovery of the real estate market.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes 

 
 

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