German firms optimistic about VN economy’s recovery in the medium-term


German enterprises were optimitic about the medium-term recovery of the Vietnamese economy, according to the AHK World Business Outlook 2020 released by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) on Tuesday.

Although German firms expressed concerns about negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business with 82 per cent of investors forced to lower revenue growth targets in the 2020 fiscal year, they expected recovery to come in the medium term.

Up to 72 per cent of the respondents to the survey on which the report was based said they would continue to invest in Viet Nam while 27 per cent plan to recruit more workers.

Domestic demand and economic policies were identified as the major challenges to the country’s economic development in the next 12 months, according to the report.

German firms also felt pain from the pandemic at different levels and from different perspectives.

Specifically, some 86 per cent of surveyed firms said that the suspension of entry and exit as well as the imposition of travel limits significantly affected their business operation. About 59 per cent said that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their supply chains, 55 per cent faced cancellation of orders and 50 per cent were forced to postpone their plans for new investment.

Still, 2020 was predicted to be a challenging year for the global economy due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on business.

Customs’ statistics showed that Viet Nam exported goods worth US$455 million to Germany in January, a drop of 25.3 per cent against the same period last year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Major export products of Viet Nam to Germany were phones and components, footwear and garment products.

Germany was the biggest trade partner of Viet Nam among 28 member countries of the European Union (EU). The bilateral trade between the two countries accounted for 28 per cent of the total trade of Viet Nam with the EU.

The two-way trade totalled $10.25 billion last year, in which, Viet Nam’s export was $6.55 billion.

Germany has 358 existing projects in Viet Nam as of March 20, worth more than $2 billion, according to statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency.

Vietjet Air adds three flights to serve passengers ending isolation period

Low-cost airline Vietjet Air announced on April 10 that, in addition to the daily flights Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the airline will also be running an additional three flights on the air route on April 11, April 12, and April 14.

The purpose of the extra flights is to provide cross-country transportation for passengers who have recently ended their quarantine period for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The three journeys will be running with the flight number VJ1121 and will depart at 17:30 on April 11 and April 14, along with a departure time of 11:45 on April 12 on the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City air route.

In order to conduct the flights in the safest manner possible, Vietjet Air have reminded all passengers to bring with them a certificate to prove they have completed their quarantine period or to show they have tested negative for the COVID-19.

For further information, passengers can call the operator on 19001886, visit the airline’s website at, or contact Vietjet's ticket offices located at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Noi Bai International Airport.

Solutions should prioritise maintaining industrial production

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the most important priority at present was to maintain the operation of domestic industrial enterprises during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pandemic has caused a lot of difficulties for enterprises in Viet Nam, especially industrial enterprises. If an enterprise is closed due the pandemic, its workers lose their jobs and it has negative impacts on other businesses in the supply chain.

According to the ministry, many key industrial sectors had suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially electronics, textiles, leather, footwear and furniture.

The textile, garment, leather and footwear industries have suffered due to a decline in demand in the US and European markets, which has had strong impacts on national export value.

New orders in April and May are expected to fall by about 70 per cent. The ministry predicted that the likelihood of new orders this year end was low.

Enterprises were also facing problems at home because domestic demand was decreasing due to the pandemic.

The ministry suggested the Government implement three basic solutions to maintain operations at local industrial enterprises.

The Government needs to reduce the time and cost of customs clearance for businesses so they could access imported raw and auxiliary materials quickly, especially for large enterprises and enterprises in key industries such as electronics, automobiles, textiles, garments, leather and footwear, according to the ministry.

In addition, the State should have practical support policies on credit and tax to help businesses ensure production, while helping find new markets at home and abroad for the industrial sector, mainly export markets for key industrial products.

For the textile, garment and footwear industries, the ministry has recommended the Government allow extensions of payment deadlines for corporate income tax and value added tax.

It should also permit extensions of payment deadlines and exemptions or reductions for land rental fees, industrial park infrastructure fees and waste water treatment fees during the pandemic.

The ministry has asked the Government to consider a support package for corporate income tax for small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially in support industries and labour-intensive industries such as textiles, garments, leather and footwear.

Banks are also suggested reducing deposits and international payment fees for enterprises importing raw materials so they can access capital and resume manufacturing. The banks should extend terms for working loans to 11 months.

To implement these support solutions, the ministry suggested that other ministries, sectors and localities should accelerate the equitisation and divestment of capital in State-invested enterprises to increase budget revenue.

According to the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association, long-term and new export contracts would be few and far between due to the declining demand for electronic products due to lower demand from the US and European markets.

The domestic furniture production industry was no exception because the US and Europe were key markets accounting for 58 per cent of Viet Nam’s total furniture exports.

The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association reported that exports of timber and wooden products would fall significantly in the next three-six months due to the impacts of COVID-19. That could lead enterprises to cut 70 per cent of capacity and even temporarily suspend production.

Some enterprises producing wooden products for the domestic market would only be able to operate at about 10-15 per cent of their capacity.

Bank credit growth recovers partly in March

Despite being slow, credit growth of the banking system in March recovered compared with the first two months of this year.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) reported credit growth in the first quarter of this year reached 1.1 percent, slowing significantly against the 2.28 percent rate in the same period last year, due to adverse impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic.

However, the credit growth last month rebounded compared with the first two months of this year, when it was only 0.06 percent, the lowest level in the past six years.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the SBV’s Credit Department, said compared with the first two months of the year, the economy now has better access to credit.

The credit has begun to recover, Hung said, expecting that a higher growth rate would be seen this week.

Besides State-owned banks, many private banks have recently offered credit packages with preferential interest rates to support firms and individuals that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The packages will last until the pandemic is over.

According to Hung, the banks’ move shows their liquidity is good and they are ready to provide capital for the economy.

Vietnam Prosperity Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VPBank) has also launched the second special support package with interest rate decline of 2 percentage points, applicable to businesses facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses entitled to these incentives must meet some requirements, such as operating in tourism, catering, accommodation, and transportation areas; having export revenue of goods to markets such as China, the US, and the EU accounting for at least 50 percent of the business revenue in 2019; or facing difficulties in repaying debts.

Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has recently issued a 12 trillion VND preferential interest rate programme for new customers. The interest rate reduction of the loan is 1.5 - 2.5 percentage points per year lower compared to the current interest rates.

Kien Long Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Kienlongbank) has decided to cut lending rates by 3 percentage points per year for existing individual and corporate customers in the agricultural and fishery sectors. The time of the interest rate reduction is from April 1 to the end of June 30 this year, applicable to customers in the Mekong Delta region, especially in Kien Giang, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Tien Giang and Long An, who are heavily affected by drought and saline intrusion.

However, experts said banks must ensure efficiency and control risks of the loans, suggesting that firms wishing to receive preferential loans must prove their business cash flow, input and output of their products as well as having collateral.

Enterprises in industries that still operate in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic such as electricity and consumer goods would get loans to sustain their production and business, but those such as textiles, transportation and tourism should be considered carefully in the current context, they said./.

ADB projects Indonesia’s economic growth at 2.5 percent

Indonesia’s economy is predicted to grow by only 2.5 percent this year, the lowest over the last four years and a 50-percent decline compared to 2019's growth rate.

According to the Asian Development Outlook 2020 published recently by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the COVID-19 pandemic that comes with falling commodity prices and financial market turmoil will cause serious impact on the Indonesian economy, as well as the world's this year.

The situation is exacerbated by the weakening economies of several trade partners of Indonesia, the report said.

In a press release, Country Director of ADB in Indonesia Winfried Wicklein said although Indonesia has a strong macroeconomic foundation, the COVID-19 crisis has changed the direction of the country's economy, with worsening external situations and weakening domestic demand.

Winfred estimates that the Indonesian economy can gradually return to its growth track in 2021 if the government effectively takes decisive actions to address health and economic impact of the disease outbreak.

ADB is one of the organisations that lowered Indonesia's growth forecast for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, the World Bank said that the country’s economy will be at only 2.1 percent in 2020 if the pandemic is put under control in June.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government recently forecast that its yearly economic growth is likely to sit at only 2.3 percent./.

Tra fish exports to US, China rise in March

Vietnam’s tra fish exports to some major markets like the US and China are gradually increasing though the fisheries industry is still struggling to cope with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), exports of the fish in the first half of March to the US increased by 18.8 per cent year-on-year.

Exports to China were worth nearly 13 million USD, 1 million USD up month-on-month.

Some businesses believe that exports to China would increase sharply in the coming months.

But exports to some other major markets like the EU, ASEAN, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Australia decreased from the same period last year.

Shipments to ASEAN member countries fell by 25.2 percent, to the EU by 47.3 percent, and to Mexico by 57.5 percent.

The pandemic is greatly affecting the EU where a lockdown is making goods transport and forwarding difficult.

But the high demand for seafood, including tra, in the market means exports would recover, VASEP forecast.

But it said in April exports would continue to decrease due to the cargo transport problems./.

Tuyên Quang rabbit farmer profits from raising New Zealand breed

Raising New Zealand rabbits is providing a good income – about VNĐ200 million (US$8,600) net profit per year – to Nguyễn Công Định, living in the northern province of Tuyên Quang, as restaurants have a high demand for rabbit meat.

Currently, Định’s rabbit farm in Trường Sinh Commune, Sơn Dương District has over 3,000 New Zealand rabbits, including 250 pairs of parents.

In 2018, he signed a contract providing meat and baby rabbits to Tam Đảo livestock cooperative in Vĩnh Phúc Province, which was the supplier of rabbits to Nippon Zoki Vietnam Co., Ltd.

On average, Định’s farm provides 400 to 450 rabbits every month (at VNĐ70,000-80,000/kg) and a considerable amount of baby rabbits (VNĐ70,000-100,000/kg).

“The most important factors to farmers are techniques and breed selection. But raising New Zealand rabbits is also simple. The cages need to be cool and clean.”

Định said “My farm’s rabbits are growing well. The reproductive rate of the parent-rabbit pairs is increasing.”

“To meet the increasing cage facilities, I expanded the breeding area to 500sq.m from 200 sq.m in 2016.”

“I have invested VNĐ500 million in the middle of last year to expand cages, install ventilation and cooling systems so the rabbits can develop well,” he said.

Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt, Secretary of the Trường Sinh Commune Party Committee, said that the rabbit raising model of Nguyễn Công Định was one of the typical household examples in the area.

“Not only bringing high economic efficiency for the family, Định’s farm is providing quality baby rabbits to local breeders.”

In Định's experience, the New Zealand rabbit provided 30-40 per cent of meat compared to the body weight.

The main food sources for the rabbits were rice, bran, banana, vegetables and grass, which are always available in the countryside. However, it was important that leftovers need to be discarded and food shouldn’t be mouldy, which could easily cause diarrhoea. Additionally, breeders need to pay attention to the temperature of the rabbit and vaccinate them regularly.

Compared to normal rabbits, New Zealand rabbits have many advantages in size and body weight. A ready-to-sell rabbit has an average weight of 2.3kg and baby rabbits after being raised for more than four months and weighing over 2kg can be sold.

If breeders take care of them and raise them properly, the rabbit will gain weight fast. On average, a female rabbit can have 6-9 litters, with about 7-10 kits each time, according to Định.

After retiring from the army Định, 35, said he returned home and had worked in many different jobs, from carpentry, shoe repair to bonsai planting. “However, the income wasn’t stable, I determined to find a new direction to provide for my family.”

“I realised that the garden at the back of the house was large. Although my family has planted a number of fruit trees, there wasn’t much profit,” Định said.

“So, in 2015, I decided to build cages to develop a small-size husbandry.”

In 2015, through studying books and newspapers, as well as being introduced by some friends, Định started to get acquainted with the New Zealand rabbits.

He saw that it was an imported breed with high weight, was easy to raise, reproduce a lot, with delicious meat, and the most important thing was the high price in the market.

"I originally bought three pairs of parent rabbits to experiment with raising at home."

At first, because Định had no experience in raising rabbits, he faced many difficulties, saying: “The rabbits were often sick.”

Soon, he learned techniques of raising rabbits through books and agricultural documents.

He went to large rabbit raising farms in Vĩnh Phúc and Bắc Giang provinces, to learn more about breeding techniques and how to take care of sick rabbits.

“This is a completely new field for me. In the process of raising, I see rabbits grow slowly, often suffering from diarrhoea,” he said.

“At that time, I suffered from depression. Sometimes I intended to give up, but I received encouragement from my family, so I kept trying.”

After having accumulated a lot of experience, mastering raising techniques, with savings and loans from relatives, Định has bravely invested in building a rabbit breeding area and buying more baby rabbits since 2016.

In the process of raising rabbits, he has constantly visited and gained more experience from successful farms, participated in technique training courses in and outside the province.

FPT joins Keidanren, vows to boost Vietnam-Japan business links

FPT, a leading technology corporation in Vietnam, has recently joined the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) to attract Japanese investment to Vietnam and bridge the two countries’ business links.

The Keidanren membership, the first of its kind for a Vietnamese company, will enable the corporation to affirm its position in the Japanese market, reach out to strategic partners such as Toyota, Sumitomo, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba, and at the same time help Vietnamese businesses access large partners of Japan and across the globe.

Welcoming FPT to the Japanese business federation, Keidanren Managing Director Kiyoaki Fujiwara said the move not only contributes to strengthening economic relations between Vietnam and Japan, but also to realizing Society 5.0, a big societal transformation plan that Keidanren is pursuing.

FPT CEO Truong Gia Binh noted FPT is proud to become the member of Japan’s largest comprehensive economic organization. A pioneer in digital technology transformation, FPT will make strides in attracting Japanese investment to Vietnam and bridge the Vietnam-Japan business communities, contributing to strengthening solidarity and friendship between the two nations.

A leading technology corporation in Vietnam, FPT pioneers the latest technology trends to elevate Vietnam's information technology status globally. It seeks to be listed amongst the Top 50 Digital Transformation Service Providers in the world.

In 2005, FPT established its branch in Japan. After 15 years, FPT Japan is currently one of the top 100 IT companies in the market with a turnover of VND5,534 billion and more than 1,500 employees working in Japan and more than 7,000 employees in Vietnam developing projects for Japanese customers.

It is also a strategic partner in deploying digital transformation for large Japanese corporations in various areas such as industry, banking, finance and agriculture. The Vietnamese corporation aims to become one of the top 20 strong companies in Japan.

Lamp producer holds onto cash as business hit by virus

Dien Quang Lamp JSC has deferred its first 2019 cash dividend payment until the end of the year over fears the COVID-19 pandemic will hurt business.

The first cash dividend payment for 2019, scheduled for April 9, will be put off until December 31.

The payment rate is 10 per cent, meaning every shareholder will receive VND1,000 (US$0.043) for each share they have. The batch is worth nearly VND34.4 billion ($1.46 million).

The company plans to pay a total 15 per cent cash dividend for its performance in 2019. The rate is lower than that recorded in 2018, which was 30 per cent.

Dien Quang in 2019 recorded VND730 billion in total revenue and VND29.6 billion of post-tax profit, down 37 per cent and 67 per cent on-year, respectively.

The company has also postponed its annual shareholders’ meeting indefinitely.

According to CEO and Chairman Ho Quang Hung, the spread of the new coronavirus will definitely hamper market consumption in 2020. Though the firm has taken measures to stop its operation being affected, holding onto cash is now a better option to prepare for potential risks, he said.

At the end of 2019, Dien Quang reported a total value of cash and cash equivalents at approximately VND200 billion.

The company's shares (HoSE: QDC) fell 2.4 per cent to trade at VND16,500 per cent on Tuesday. Its shares have gained 35 per cent since March 10.


HCM City to form business support working group

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee, has signed a decision to form a working group to support businesses facing problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group, which will be led by Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, will consist of leaders of departments and districts in the city.

The group will work with the city to offer solutions to maintain business activities and ensure that workers are supported.

Le Thanh Liem, deputy standing chairman of the city, said last week that the city would continue to work with investors to help resolve their problems so they can carry on with their projects.

The city will also try to help stimulate demand for hard-hit tourism businesses after the pandemic ends.

Foreign reserves of Malaysia, Indonesia plunge in March

Malaysia's central bank, Bank Negara, said on April 7 that its international reserves stood at 101.7 billion USD as of March 31, down 1.26 percent from March 13.

The bank said in a statement that the reserves position is sufficient to finance 7.7 months of retained imports and is 1.1 times total short-term external debt.

The same day, the Bank Indonesia (BI) said its foreign exchange reserves also dropped in March as the bank has intensified intervention in the financial market to shore up the rupiah.

The reserves decreased to 121 billion USD in March from 130.4 billion USD in February.

The BI said the shrinkage is factored by the payment of foreign debts and stabilisation of the rupiah amid an extraordinary situation due to the panic in the financial market because of the COVID-19 pandemic./.

German firms optimistic about Vietnam’s mid-term recovery

German enterprises have said they expect that Vietnam’s economy will recover in the mid-term, according to the AHK World Business Outlook 2020 released by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) on April 7.

Up to 72 percent of the respondents to the survey on which the report was based said they will continue to invest in Vietnam, while 27 percent plan to recruit more workers. Some 82 percent said they have been forced to cut revenue growth targets for fiscal year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respondents also identified market demand and economic policies as major challenges for Vietnam’s development over the next 12 months, adding that the pandemic has hurt their business at different levels and from different perspectives.

Some 86 percent of the surveyed enterprises said the suspension of entry and exit and the imposition of travel limits have greatly affected their operations. About 59 percent said their supply chains have been disrupted, while 55 percent have seen orders of goods cancelled and 50 percent have postponed new investment plans.

2019 was considered a successful year for investment and trade ties between Vietnam and Germany, with the former being one of the key partners of the latter in Southeast Asia. 2020, however, will be a year of challenges for the global economy as well as the two countries./.

Thailand’s export to see worst performance in 10 years

Despite the weakening baht, the Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) expects export value of the country to contract by at least 8 percent in 2020, with a possibility of double digit contraction looming.

TNSC’s prediction is in line with that of the Bank of Thailand and the Center for International Trade Studies at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), which forecasts exports to contract by 7-8 percent this year. If true, this will be the sector’s worst performance in a decade.

Thailand's export value contracted by 2.7 percent to 246.25 billion USD in 2019. The UTCC expects that number to come down to 228.82 billion USD in 2020, which means that the COVID-19 pandemic could take away 17.42 billion USD from Thai export value this year.

TNSC’s Chairperson Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong said the predictions were based on the baht, as it sat at 30.5 THB per US dollar. The currency was trading at 32.8 THB per US dollar on April 7 morning compared to around 30 THB at the end of 2019.

On April 7, Thailand’s cabinet approved a package of economic measures worth 1.9 trillion THB (58 billion USD) to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the package will cover all economic sectors for at least the next six months./.

SSI remains at top of HoSE’s 10 largest securities brokerage firms

The SSI Securities Corporation has retained its top spot on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE)’s list of the 10 leading securities firms in terms of brokerage market share of stocks, fund certificates, and covered warrants (CW) in the first quarter of 2020.

SSI held a market share of 12.32 percent in the opening three months, down 1.64 percent from last year, according to HoSE.

Following was the HCM Securities Corp (HSC), whose market share grew to 11.03 percent from 10.54 percent in 2019. In third was the Bao Viet Securities Company (VCSC), which saw its market share grow to 9.7 percent from 8.19 percent last year.

The top 3 was identical to last year’s, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the stock market over the last two months.

The benchmark VN-Index ended March at 662.53 points and has plunged 31 percent since the beginning of the year. This is the second-largest quarterly loss ever recorded, with the largest being the 44.25 percent decline posted in the first quarter of 2008.

The current price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of Vietnamese stocks fell to just 9.8; the lowest for the last five years.

The top 10 also included VNDirect Securities Corporation in the 4th place, Mirae Asset Vietnam (5th), VPS Securities (6th), and MB Securities JSC (7th).

Total market capitalisation on HoSE last year was 3,280 trillion VND (142 billion USD), a year-on-year increase of 14.05 percent and representing nearly 60 percent of the country’s GDP.

Foreign investors were net buyers to the tune of 6.62 trillion VND. Their total trade topped 318 trillion VND, or nearly 16 percent of total transaction value./.

Doosan Vina exports desalination equipment to Bahrain

Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam (Doosan Vina) has exported three huge desalination devices with a total weight of over 2,000 tonnes to Bahrain, a company representative announced on April 7.

The three devices - Evaporator, Final-Effect, and Seawater Heater - are part of the Bapco MED project in Bahrain that Doosan Vina signed with Samsung Engineering Construction Limited in October 2018.

They will be used to heat and desalinate seawater into distilled water at Bapco.

Previously, on March 21, Doosan Vina exported the last 15 modules weighing a total of 2,508 tonnes to a refinery of the Samsung Engineering Company in the United Arab Emirates.

The completion of the two major orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic represents a major success for the company. The orders also contributed to increasing the export turnover of central Quang Ngai province, where the company is located.

“Made-in-Vietnam” products from Doosan Vina are now found in 35 nations around the world./.

Hanoi boosts public investment disbursement

The People’s Committee of Hanoi is directing departments and localities to take drastic measures to speed up the disbursement of public investment as by the end of March 2020, the capital city’s disbursement only reached 7.6 percent of the yearly target, failing to meet the requirements.

Districts are required to build appropriate plans for 2020 in accordance with the city’s budget collection scenario given the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state budget collection in the capital is forecast to be extremely difficult, affecting development investment and regular expenditures.

Therefore, localities across the city should review the porfolio of investment projects, prioritising natural disaster prevention, diseases, health care, social welfares, education-training, agriculture and rural development, environmental protection, and social order, safety and security.

According to the municipal People’s Committee, the city’s five-year medium-term public investment plan 2016-2020 has been updated and adjusted by the municipal People's Council with a total capital of over 107.3 trillion VND (4.6 billion USD).

The accumulated disbursement of medium-term capital in the period reached 7.4 trillion VND (318 million USD) as of January 31, 2020, equal to 85.3 percent of the plan./.

Indonesia’s 2020 state revenue forecast to decline 10 percent due to COVID-19

Indonesia’s state revenue is expected to decline significantly this year as the government rolls out tax incentives, including corporate income tax cuts, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has triggered declines in commodity prices and business output.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on April 6 that the state revenue would amount to 1.76 quadrillion IDR (65 billion USD) this year, a year-on-year decline of 10 percent compared to last year. The figure is also lower than the 2020 state budget target of 2.23 quadrillion IDR.

Tax income will fall 5.4 percent year-on-year, while non-tax income will contract 26.5 percent due to lower oil and coal prices.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a government regulation that activates crisis protocols, such as widening the state budget deficit beyond the legal limit of 3 percent of GDP, as part of efforts to cushion the economy in the face of a global recession caused by the pandemic.

The regulation slashes corporate income tax from 25 percent to 22 percent for the years 2020 and 2021 and will be further reduced to 20 percent starting 2022. The government will provide additional rate cuts of 3 percent for public companies with at least 40 percent of their stock traded on the stock market.

It also exempts workers whose annual salary is below 200 million IDR from paying income tax for six months, as well as deferring import tax payments for six months for 19 manufacturing industries. It will also speed up the repayment of overpaid taxes.

Indonesia has declared a public health emergency and ordered large-scale social distancing as the virus spreads rapidly.

The government now expects the country’s economy to grow 2.3 percent this year, the lowest since 1999, and even contract 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario as the virus disrupts business activity.

Nearly 70 percent of ground for North-South Expressway cleared for construction

Localities with 11 sub-projects in the eastern North-South Expressway have completed site clearance on 454.15 km, or 69.5 percent of the total length.

Meanwhile, among the 113 resettlement areas needed to be built, 31 have received the go-ahead while the remaining 82 are being surveyed and designed before approval is sought, the Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau at the Ministry of Transport said.

According to the plan on developing Vietnam’s expressway network to 2020 and vision to 2030, the North-South Expressway is to be 2,109 km long and stretch from the northern mountainous province of Lang Son to the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

The road will see certain eastern sections, 654 km in length in total, receive investment in the 2017-2020 period. These are divided into the 11 sub-projects, with three set to be funded by the State budget and the remaining eight implemented under the public-private partnership (PPP) format.

However, the eight PPP sub-projects are seeking approval from the National Assembly to be converted into State-invested ones.

At a meeting last weekend, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The asked sub-project management boards to specify the number of bidding packages and accelerate site clearance and other relevant works so that, when the legislature permits the sought-after transformation, construction can begin in August.

Several sections of the North-South Expressway have already been put into operation or are under construction.

Once completed, the expressway is to become a backbone connecting the length of the country and will help improve national competitiveness, attract foreign investment, and create more momentum for socioeconomic development.

Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu farmers expand breeding of Pacific oysters

More farmers in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu are earning more income by breeding Pacific oysters in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Pacific oyster breeding has several advantages, including a high survival rate and short breeding period.

In 2015, the province’s Agriculture Extension Centre launched the farming model to breed Pacific oysters in Vũng Tàu City’s Long Sơn Commune. The oysters reached a weight of 20 oysters per kilogramme after seven months and had a survival rate of 60 per cent.

After the success, some farmers in Long Sơn and nearby areas began to breed Pacific oysters in floating fish breeding cages.

Many oyster farmers also switched from breeding indigenous oysters to Pacific oysters. Pacific oysters can be harvested in 5.5-6.5 months, while indigenous oysters need a breeding period of 12-14 months.

The cultivation of indigenous oysters depends on natural spats (oyster seeds) in the wild, so farmers cannot have a stable yield and output.

The province has seven establishments that produce Pacific spats to supply to local farmers.

The establishments use parent Pacific oysters from the province, Quảng Ninh Province and Nha Trang City to produce quality spats.

Ngô Thị Thu Huyền, who was one of the first farmers to breed Pacific oysters in a river in Long Sơn Commune, said: “We have secured a supply of spats to use for the breeding of Pacific oysters."

Farmers sell Pacific oysters at a price of VNĐ20,000-25,000 (US$0.9-1.1) a kilogramme.

The province’s Pacific oysters are sold in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, HCM City, and other provinces and cities.

Pacific oyster farming does not requires high production costs as they eat natural food in the water. Farmers only need to make floating cages and buy spats attached to hard substrates.

Farmers also do not use any chemicals to breed Pacific oysters.

Breeding of Pacific oysters has developed well in Vũng Tàu City, Long Điền District and Phú Mỹ Town.

The province has about 120 households breeding Pacific oysters, according to the province’s Fisheries Sub-department.

The households harvest a total of about 2,000 tonnes of Pacific oysters a year.

More farmers in the province are using oyster shells as hard environmentally friendly substrates to raise Pacific oysters.

Nguyễn Văn Nhất, who has switched from breeding indigenous oysters to Pacific oysters in Vũng Tàu City, said oyster shells used as hard substrates to breed Pacific oysters ensure good quality.

After harvesting, the substrates are left to decompose and do not cause pollution, he said.

Nguyễn Hữu Thi, head of the province's Fisheries Sub-department’s aquaculture management division, said the new farming model has improved the income of farmers.

Many Mekong Delta localities still enjoy export growth in Q1

Many localities in the Mekong Delta failed to achieve their export targets in the first quarter of 2020, but their overseas shipments still rose slightly from the same period last year despite the global spread of COVID-19.

Local exporters admitted the COVID-19 outbreak had caused heavy losses to their operations.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, their export markets have been shrinking as a large number of countries, from the Republic of Korea and Japan to Europe and the US, have imposed travel restrictions to curb the coronavirus from spreading. This has subsequently interrupted the flow of goods.

Given the circumstances, the slight export growth in Q1 was encouraging, according to industry and trade authorities in the Mekong Delta.

Statistics show that Can Tho city earned 429.6 million USD from exports in Q1, up 0.3 percent year on year. An Giang province recorded an increase of 2.6 percent in export revenue to 217.31 million USD. Meanwhile, trade turnover in Hau Giang province during the period was estimated at 198.69 million USD, rising 4.49 percent year on year.

Doan Minh Triet, Deputy Director of the An Giang Industry and Trade Department, said due to COVID-19, export activities had not been as vibrant as in the same period of previous years, but a slight export increase was still an encouraging sign.

According to this department’s data, An Giang shipped 127,540 tonnes of rice worth 64.52 million USD in Q1, up 2.03 percent in volume and 1.29 percent in value year on year; 29,500 tonnes of frozen aquatic products worth 71.12 million USD, up 1.72 percent in volume and 2.18 percent in value; 2,130 tonnes of frozen fruit and vegetables worth 3.6 million USD, up 1.19 percent in volume and 2.86 percent in value; and 31.01 million USD worth of apparel, up 3.37 percent.

To meet their export targets, industry and trade departments in the Mekong Delta said they had liaised with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and the country’s overseas commercial counsellors to ask for coordination to carry out trade promotions in foreign markets.

They will also regularly learn about businesses’ demand for support and credit to help firms diversify their products and markets.

Triet said the Vietnamese trade counsellor in Singapore had agreed to coordinate with the province to organise a trip for Singaporean seafood and rice companies to An Giang to meet local exporters. Besides, the trade counsellor in Japan will also display samples and catalogues of An Giang products at the Vietnamese trade office there./.

European enterprises appreciate Vietnam’s support measures amid COVID-19

European enterprises in Vietnam welcomed the Vietnamese Government’s measures introduced in Directive 11 to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Business Climate Index (BCI) from the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham).

Accordingly, the deferral of tax and land rent was the most popular provision, with a suspension of social insurance contributions coming a close second.

About 75 percent of respondents said the deferral of many taxes such as corporate income tax, personal income tax, VAT and special consumption tax is very helpful for businesses.

The BCI indicated that the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant, negative impact on European business in Vietnam.

Following similar trends around the world, the EuroCham BCI plunged to its lowest-ever score of 26 percent in the first quarter of 2020. That represents a fall of 51 points from the 77 percent recorded in late 2019.

Over 90 percent of business leaders said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their enterprise, with more than half reporting a ‘significant’ negative impact. Meanwhile, almost 80 percent said that their business had incurred higher costs from measures taken to protect their workers and prevent the spread of the virus.

Despite the negative financial impact of COVID-19, European companies are taking important measures to protect both the health and the livelihoods of their workforce. About 80 percent of business leaders are confident that they will be able to retain at least 70 percent of their staff over the next quarter. Meanwhile, 80 percent have asked their staff to work from home to prevent the spread of the virus.

EuroCham Chairman Nicolas Audier said this data shows that COVID-19 is having a deep and serious impact on European business in Vietnam.

“However, it is important to remember that this is a global pandemic, and enterprises around the world are suffering from the impacts of this crisis. There is also no doubt that, without the swift and decisive actions of the Government, the situation here could have been much worse. For this reason, our members welcome the measures announced so far, which will provide a lifeline to companies and their workers during this difficult time,” Nicolas Audier said.

He said COVID-19 is a fast-moving health crisis, and it is creating unprecedented challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes and in all sectors and industries. Therefore, further actions could soon be required to help both domestic and foreign enterprises weather this storm and get back to business as usual as soon as possible.

“EuroCham is committed to Vietnam’s long-term economic growth, and our members remain available to share their insights and recommendations to help minimise the disruption of COVID-19 on business operations and – above all – to protect the health and wellbeing of people in Vietnam,” he added.

The BCI is a regular barometer of how European business leaders see the trade and investment environment in Vietnam and the prospects of their own enterprises./.

Ministry seeks to boost exports in Q2

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is seeking measures to boost exports in the second quarter of 2020.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore recently connected with Vietnamese and Singaporean industry associations to make use of trade opportunities.

In February 2020, it arranged a trip for a group of Singapore’s fruit and vegetable importers to Vietnam to find supply sources.

As of March 2020, the office had secured over 20 orders for various products such as coffee, instant noodles, sweet potato, and fruit.

Meanwhile, the containment of COVID-19 in China has presented opportunities for Vietnam to boost its exports to the market.

According to the ministry, customs clearance for exports to China at border gates in the north has gradually improved.

As well as China, major markets like the Republic of Korea and Japan witnessed a recovery in March as the pandemic slowed.

In January-March, Vietnam’s exports to China and Japan posted year-on-year growth of 11.5 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

In the three-month period, Vietnam exported 59.08 billion USD worth of goods, up 0.5 percent against the same period last year, but the lowest growth since 2003.


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