BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 14

Coronavirus hits flower gardens

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 14

Looking out at their fields of white chrysanthemums that are ready to be harvested, Nga and her husband feel sad because they won't be able to sell any of them.

At a price of 3,000-4,000 VND per stem, she could have earned 50-60 million VND (2,100-2,500 USD).

"This year, the price of chrysanthemums has dropped to about 1,000 VND per stem but still no one will buy them," Nga told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Many flower gardens covering over 100ha in Ha Loi village are at risk of being abandoned or going to waste due to the lockdown decision in Hanoi’s Me Linh commune, Me Linh district, on April 7 afternoon after a local tested positive for COVID-19.

The roads to Ha Loi village are quiet now, and most people are staying at home.

The only people out and about are health workers who are going from house to house conducting tests after four cases of the disease were confirmed.

Growing flowers is the main source of income for people here.

"It's painful. I cannot harvest or sell them. They will die. But it is for the safety of the community," Nga said.

Nguyen Quoc Dien has a large flower growing area in Ha Loi village, and said he was worried because the flowers were wilting.

"Our main source of income is from growing flowers and ornamental plants like roses, chrysanthemums and lilies. We are in isolation and cannot harvest the flowers for sale. I could lose 200 million VND, but I have accepted that and will start again when the disease is wiped out," Dien said.

Ta Quang Thai, Chairman of the Me Linh commune People's Committee, said there are about 150ha of flower in the whole commune, of which 100ha are in Ha Loi village.

This should be a busy time for them.

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic, farmers have been facing difficulties finding buyers because flowers are a non-essential item.

Flower trading was halted and farmers had suffered losses since the first resident was infected by the disease, Thai said.

"Villagers have been told to stay at home, and restrictions on tending to our flowers have also been recommended. The local government is looking at the damage and will make a proposal to the district People's Committee to help people restore production," he said./.

Exporters get help to seek markets amid COVID-19

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) has made a list of 5,000 exporters that need help in finding markets amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

These enterprises will be classified by groups and categories, Vietrade said, adding it will team up with localities, associations and relevant sectors to build up a database of Vietnamese exporters, expected to amount to 100,000 in the near future.

A list of nearly 100 Vietnamese enterprises which are capable of supplying face masks and other supplies for COVID-19 prevention has also complied by Vietrade in order to meet rising demand in European and American regions. That list will be sent to trade counselors to support Vietnamese businesses in seeking new export outlets.

The first quarter of 2020 saw the country's exports reach 59.08 billion USD, up 0.5 percent in comparison to 5.2 percent recorded during the same period last year - the lowest level of growth in 17 years.

However, this was a general trend of international and regional trade, according to the MoIT. In the first two months of 2020, export turnover to China decreased by 17 percent; the Republic of Korea by 1.5 percent; Thailand by 0.8 percent; and Japan by 4.1 percent.

The ministry assessed that Vietnam’s export of goods also had positive expectations in the future especially as the pandemic has been controlled in China - one of the country’s largest trade partner.

Fewer restrictions will lead to more opportunities for Vietnam in exporting goods to its neighbour./.

Toyota, Honda among best-selling car makers in March

Toyota Vietnam and Honda Vietnam posted the best car sales in March among members of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) though both reported year-on-year drops in this regard.

Toyota Vietnam said it sold 5,143 automobiles, excluding Lexus, in March, down 44 percent from the same period last year.

In particular, it recorded 3,543 domestically assembled vehicles sold, including Toyota Vios (2,293 units, down 28 percent year on year), Toyota Innova (544 units, down 68 percent), Toyota Corolla Altis (226 units, down 19 percent), and Toyota Fortuner (656 units, down 19 percent).

Meanwhile, the sales of imported completely built vehicles last month reached 1,600, including 420 Toyota Camry units (up 14 percent year on year).

According to Honda Vietnam, it handed over 1,968 automobiles to buyers in March, rising 40 percent from the previous month but still falling 27 percent from the same period last year.

Its best-selling model was Honda CR-V with 564 units sold, accounting for 29 percent of the total, followed by Honda City with 476 units, 24 percent.

Among VAMA members and TC Motor, a brand of Hyundai Thanh Cong, Toyota Vietnam ranked first in car sales last month, followed by TC Motor (5,086 units) and Honda Vietnam./.

Tea exports fall in Q1 due to COVID-19

Vietnam suffered a reduction of tea exports in the first quarter of this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Its tea exports in the first quarter declined by 2.5 percent in volume to 26,000 tonnes and by 19 percent in value to 37 million USD compared to the same period last year. Of which, exports reached 9,000 tonnes of tea in March, earning 12 million USD.

According to the Vietnam Tea Association, the COVID-19 pandemic had greatly impacted many key export markets of Vietnamese tea. Especially, the tea exports to Taiwan, mainland China and Russia mostly stopped.

Meanwhile, partners in other markets asked to reduce prices or delay deadlines to receive tea exports and even cancel contracts. Local enterprises have been not able to sign new export contracts.

The ministry said in the first two months of this year, Pakistan, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia and the US were the five major export markets of Vietnam’s tea products, accounting for 74.5 percent of total national tea export value.

Average export tea price in the first two months reached 1,481 USD per tonne, down 13.5 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

The tea exports to China, one of the largest export markets for Vietnamese tea last year, dropped sharply in the first two months due to restrictions in customs clearance during the COVID-19 pandemic and long Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Tea exports from Vietnam to China in the two months fell by 54.1 percent in volume to 364 tonnes and by 87.4 percent in value to 427,000 USD year on year.

The reduction made China drop to 10th place in Vietnam’s top 10 largest tea export markets from third place in the same period of last year.

The ministry also said in the domestic market, in March, the tea price in Thai Nguyen province, one of the largest tea producers in Vietnam, dropped by 5,000-10,000 VND per kilo to 130,000-220,000 VND.

That price was stable at 9,500 VND per kilo in Lam Dong province, another large tea producer./.

An Giang programme for producing rice seeds continues to attract farmers

More and more farmers in An Giang have been producing quality rice seeds for cultivation since the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province launched a programme in 2004 calling on farmers and private investors to invest in this.

The country’s second largest rice producer after only another Mekong Delta province, Kiên Giang, grew three rice crops last year on a total area of 680,000ha.

Trần Anh Thư, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee, said the province is a leader in the country in producing rice seeds, with 4,500 – 6,000 farmers doing so on a total area of 26,000 – 31,000ha a year.

The province has at least one rice seed producing group in each commune and around 30 companies and other entities which grow and trade seeds.

Many farmers are tying up with companies to ensure outlets for their seeds and steady incomes.

The province produces 150,000 – 164,000 tonnes of seeds annually, mostly OM6976, OM4900, jasmine, OM5451, OM9582, and IR50404 varieties.

Besides producing seeds, many farmers have also created new rice strains after getting training in this from the province’s agriculture extension authorities.

Hoa Sĩ Hiền in Tân Châu Town’s Tân An Commune has created more than 50 new varieties that are resistant to drought and saltwater.

Trần Thanh Hùng in Tịnh Biên District’s Núi Voi Commune, in co-operation with Prof Huỳnh Quang Tín of the Cần Thơ University’s Mekong Delta Development Research Institute, has created the AG1 strain with high yields, short-term maturity and tolerance to saltwater and alum in the soil.

AG1, a hybrid of OM6932 and HD1B, has been recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Cultivation Department and is being grown on a pilot basis in An Giang and other delta provinces.

Nguyễn Sĩ Lâm, director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers participating in the programme have researched and created many new rice varieties with great potential.

“The programme has helped the province have enough rice seeds for its own cultivation and selling to other provinces. The programme has improved the quality of rice exports in recent years.”

High-quality varieties were grown on 70 per cent of the area under rice in 2018, according to the People’s Committee.

To achieve this rate, the department and other agencies have undertaken many activities in recent years to popularise high-quality varieties.

In each rice crop, the department in co-operation with the Cửu Long Rice Research Institute introduces some high-quality strains that have potential for development locally.

It has encouraged farmers to grow varieties that meet export standards like OM4900, OM6377, OM8927, OM7347, and OM9582.

The province has established concentrated rice growing areas by pooling lands that specialise in high-quality, specialty varieties and glutinous varieties.

It has a 22,500ha glutinous rice-growing area in Phú Tân District and a 1,150ha jasmine rice-growing area in Châu Phú District.

Rice, vegetables and tra fish are the province’s three designated key agricultural produce.

Sacombank to hold annual general meeting online amid COVID-19 uncertainty

Sacombank has decided to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) online in June on the advice of authorities as the country is now battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has cancelled the AGM scheduled to be held on April 24.

It will collect shareholders' opinions on organising the meeting online on June 5 and electronic voting.

Technology will allow Sacombank to organise the AGM online with tens of thousands of shareholders in attendance. In recent years it has focused on the use of technologies in management and operations to enhance the customer experience and increase productivity.

Especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital environment enables the lender to have its staff working from home without compromising the quality of work.

Sugar firm to pay US$22.7 million cash bonus on May 8

Quang Ngai Sugar JSC (QNS) has announced it pay the remaining 2019 cash dividend at a 15 per cent rate on May 8.

Shareholders will receive VND1,500 (US$0.064) per share. The company will finalise the list of beneficial shareholders on April 17.

The company is trading nearly 357 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) with code QNS.

The total value of the upcoming dividend package is estimated at VND535.4 billion ($22.7 million).

The company's shares rose 1.6 per cent to end Thursday at VND24,900 apiece. Shares have bounced back by 24.4 per cent from their record low of VND20,000 on March 23.

QNS made two dividend batches on September 16, 2019 (5 per cent rate) and February 20, 2020 (10 per cent rate) as decided at its annual shareholders’ meeting on March 30 last year.

The upcoming dividend package is an extra payment for shareholders as QNS beat its profit forecast in 2019.

According to the firm’s 2019 financial report, total net revenue slid 4.4 per cent year-on-year to VND7.68 trillion. However, a strong gain of financial income helped post-tax profit increase 4.2 per cent year-on-year to VND1.29 trillion, which dwarfed the full-year target by more than six times.

QNS is among few companies offering a cash bonus for their 2019 performances despite the urgent need to hold cash amid the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on purchasing power.

In 2020, QNS targets a total revenue of VND8.4 trillion and a post-tax profit of VND913 billion.

Viettel removes fake fanpages from Facebook

Viettel Group has co-operated with Facebook to remove 186 fanpages that were considered to be impersonating the group on the social network.

The group said that the fanpages were not under their management. However, they used Viettel’s name, causing confusion among users.

In addition, some fanpages displayed fake information about Viettel's telecom packages.

Viettel said it would continue to review and look at solutions to remove fake fanpages from Facebook to protect its customers both in reality and cyberspace.

The move has also shown Viettel’s efforts to prevent fake news and build a healthy digital environment.

Bến Tre Province eyes rural tourism destination

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre has approved the establishment of the Chợ Lách Cultural and Tourism Village in 2020-2021 as a driving force to develop the tourism industry.

The VNĐ242 billion (US$10.2 million) model village is meant to be one of the leading tourism, entertainment and leisure centres in the country, according to the province People's Committee.

It would help fulfil the province’s tourism potential, which is based on its diversity of cultures, traditions and natural resources and key agricultural produce.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has chosen the Chợ Lách Culture and Tourism Village as a pilot model for scaling up around the delta.

The 1,500-hectare village spreads over Vĩnh Nam, Đông Kinh, Lân Đông, and An Hòa communes in Chợ Lách District.

The project comprises elaborate plans for landscaping and construction of infrastructure around the village.

The project also seeks to develop the village into one of the largest producers of seedlings, fruits and flowers in the country over a period of time.

As the Mekong Delta’s largest producer of seedlings, Chợ Lách District is home to 31 villages that grow seedlings, flowers and ornamental plants.

It supplies more than 17 million seedlings and 12 million pots of flowers and ornamental plants to the market annually.

EU completes procedures for EVFTA to take effect: Official

In his recent phone talks with European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh exchanged views on a number of issues related to the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and bilateral cooperation and trade in the context of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

On the agreement, the EU official said the European Council on March 30 passed the EVFTA and by so doing, the EU officially completed its internal procedures for the deal to take effect.

Minister Anh said the dossiers for the ratification of the deal have been submitted by the government to the state President to consider submitting it to the National Assembly for discussion and ratification right in its session in May. With this pace, both sides hope the EVFTA will officially take effect in July.

The minister further added that the Vietnamese government has drafted a plan on the implementation of the deal. After the ratification of the agreement by the National Assembly, the draft plan will be amended and perfected so that the Prime Minister can officially sign it for circulation.

The two also exchanged views on bilateral trade and cooperation within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

They agreed to exert further efforts to boost trade in the context of the complicated development of the COVID-19. On the cooperation within the framework of the WTO, the two sides agreed to closely coordinate with each other to boost ideas on the reforms of the WTO, especially the improvement of the efficiency of the mechanism on dispute settlement which is a focus of attention of all the WTO members./.

WB approves 500 mln USD loan to Philippines

The World Bank (WB) said on April 10 that its Board of Executive Directors had approved 500 million USD policy loan to help strengthen the Philippine government's capacity to address disaster risks, respond to and recover from natural disasters, as well as support urgent needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.

The World Bank said the financing is part of its long-standing support to the Philippines' broader policy reform efforts to boost its resilience and capability to prepare for and recover from disasters.

Previously, the WB provided the country with two risk management development policy loans in 2012 and 2015.

According to the WB, the loan will support key policy reforms being undertaken by the government in the area of disaster risk management.

It will also support the government's promotion of integrated hazard and risk analysis in physical planning, and in support of policy development; and the development of multi-year investment plans for seismic risk reduction and retrofitting of important government buildings; and the implementation of an emergency cash transfer programme during shocks, the bank said.

The Philippines is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the world. In addition to these natural hazards, the country is now facing the impacts of the global outbreak of the COVID-19./.

 

​​​​​​​THACO to export semi-trailers to demanding US market

Despite reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing fierce competition in the automobile market, THACO has succeeded in exporting vehicles and components.

Recently it tied up with a US partner to export semi-trailers manufactured in Chu Lai in Quảng Nam Province to the US, one of the most challenging markets in the world for its high quality requirements.

A spokesperson for THACO said America is a challenging but lucrative market that the company has been seeking to enter. After careful research, THACO met and discussed the co-operation strategy with PITTS Enterprises, one of the 15 largest manufacturers of semi-trailers in North America with a history of more than 100 years.

In February 2020, the two giants signed a memorandum of understanding for co-operation in production and distribution of semi-trailers in the US. Dorsey Intermodal, a subsidiary of PITTS Enterprises, will be THACO’s representative in North America.

THACO’s products and services will be distributed and guaranteed through Dorsey’s network to ensure qualified standards and satisfy American customers’ demands.

In May this year, THACO will export a batch of 69 semi-trailers to the US and sign a dealership agreement with PIITS Enterprises. In 2020, about 1,600 cars are expected to be sold overseas for round US$50 million.

Investing in modern technology factory

In 2016, to diversify its products and complete the automobile manufacturing and trading value chain, the company established the THACO Special Vehicles Manufacturing Limited Company (THACO SV) to make high-quality semi-trailers, special vehicles and heavy-duty special vehicles with features that meet the various requirements of the domestic and overseas markets.

The factory is equipped with modern facilities and advanced automatic technologies for all processes. For instance, laser cutting machines (CO2 laser/Fiber laser), CNC plasma cutting machines with 0.2~1.0 mm tolerance ensure compliance with technical standards.

Automatic welding robots and jig systems that are controlled by pneumatic and hydraulic components ensure accurate welding and minimise thermal expansion, and advanced shot-blasting technology eliminates residual stress, increases the adhesion of the primer and improves corrosion and fatigue resistance.

Electronic deposition (ED) painting technology creates a special primer which covers every single part, efficiently preventing rust and allowing it to withstand harsh climates (below 0 degrees).

THACO SV pays special attention to quality control at every single stage. Products are tested using modern equipment imported from Japan, Italy and Korea and a 2.4km test drive track at the THACO-Chu Lai Industrial Park that fully simulates actual terrain with ramps, slippery roads, gravel, winding stretches, and flat roads.

THACO SV also promotes R&D by investing in design software (such as AutoCAD and Catia), simulation software (such as Hyperworks) and a highly professional R&D engineering team.

THACO SV produces and supplies a full range of special vehicles from mid-sized to heavy vehicles that meet the diverse demands of customers.

The main products include all kinds of semi-trailers (skeleton, gooseneck, flatbed...) and special vehicles such as dump semi-trailers, cargo semi-trailers, fuel tanks, concrete mixers, car carrier semi-trailers, and heavy crane trucks.

Besides serving the domestic market, THACO also focuses on developing export products that meet the specialised requirements of each partner and market as well as the standards and regulations of importing countries.

Thaco has so far exported semi-trailers, fuel tanks and concrete mixers to Colombia and South Korea. Semi-trailers, its key export product, have been granted roadworthy certification in the US, Japan and Southeast Asian countries.

Companies in Vietnam predict significant loss due to COVID-19

Companies in Vietnam forecast significant losses due to the rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis, according to a survey by Indochina Research and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam.

Indochina Research in collaboration with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam has prepared the latest report on the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses. The results of the survey come from 116 companies operating in various fields in Vietnam. The survey was conducted from March 25 to April 3, 2020.

Accordingly, all respondents anticipate a loss in revenue. Half of them believe the loss could represent at least 30 per cent this year. Among the problems arising from the crisis, international mobility and cash flow are the most frequently mentioned. Large firms are mostly impacted by procurement limitations.

Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, all respondents have implemented a number of measures to protect their employees and adjust their activity. Remote working (74 per cent), cancelling business trips (70 per cent), and enforcing prevention measures (50 per cent) are the main ones.

If staff dismissal measures are now taken by only a few companies (17 per cent), almost half are already considering some potential layoffs. The higher intentions of layoff are in the service sector like tourism, retail, and business services.

According to the survey, 68 per cent of companies are facing high risks of order delays or cancellations. Meanwhile, 60 per cent of companies face some cash flow problems and the survival of one-third is at stake.

About half of the respondents consider cash flows to be a threat to their company in the coming three months and 10 per cent are facing issues in the very short term (1 month).

The anticipated need for cash flow is €10 million ($10.95 million) by the end of June, growing to €20 million ($21.9 million) by the end of 2020.

The measures considered of the highest interest are delays or cancellation of PIT, VAT, SI, and CIT. Teh cancellation of PIT would indeed benefit both employers and employees by supporting the economy with increased consumption once the activity restarts.

Myanmar exports over 1.64 mln tonnes of rice in 2019-2020 fiscal year H1

Myanmar exported more than 1.64 million tonnes of rice and broken rice during the period from October 1 and March 27 in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).

Particularly, the country exported over 1.09 million tonnes of rice and 551,641 tonnes of broken rice, earning more than 475.4 million USD, during the reviewed period.

Over 1.4 million tonnes of rice or 85.8 percent of the total was shipped aboard by sea.

China is the main buyer of Myanmar rice, followed by the European Union (EU) and African countries.

Myanmar has targeted to export 2.5 million tonnes of rice in the current fiscal years, which ends on September 30./.

Thailand pushes fruit consumption in domestic market

The Commerce Ministry of Thailand has teamed up with the Agriculture Ministry to adjust a fruit management plan, focusing on the domestic market to offset exports hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported.

Deputy Minister of Commerce Sansern Samalapa said the plan will cover production management; distribution channels; business matching among traders, importers and Thai operators; financial support; and safety standards.

Sansern on April 9 called a meeting with government agencies and companies, including the Transport Ministry, Grab Thailand and Thailand Post, to ask for cooperation on fruit management during harvesting season, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.

The Thai government will offer leniency to a certain extent in labour movements, particularly for farm workers and fruit pickers; exercise the Price of Goods and Services Act to ensure fair trade competition; and promote contract farming and the linkage between farmers, processors, traders and supermarkets.

For the distribution channel, Thailand Post will be tasked with handling fruit delivery with the state subsidising the delivery fee, while producers will be upgraded and trained to sell more via online platforms and social media.

To boost exports, the Commerce Ministry plans to launch business matching between buyers, importers and Thai operators; online business matching events; fruit caravans to neighbouring countries; and PR initiatives and roadshows in foreign countries.

According to Deputy Minister Sansern, the government will also offer to subsidise 3 percent of the loan interest for 10 months for local fruit collectors and 3 percent for six months to fruit collectors for exports. In addition, the government wants to offer an additional three baht (0.031 USD) per kg for expenses in fruit collection to fruit collectors for exports./.

Trade ministry strives to ease difficulties for trade with China

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has launched a number of measures to tackle difficulties for the Vietnam – China trade, amid the complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic.

It is preparing contents and arranging talks between Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong San, and will also work closely with the Guangxi Department of Commerce to increase the number of trains carrying Vietnamese and Chinese farm produce.

A dispatch was also sent to the Vietnamese Embassy in China to suggest working closely with Chinese authorities to remove existing obstacles.

Since early February, the MoIT and the Health Ministry have successfully built medical supervision process and mechanism regarding the delivery of imports and exports, and exchanges between residents at border gates and markets.

MoIT leaders directly conducted surveys to grasp the situation and directed removing difficulties for exports across the border.

Vietnam trade offices abroad, and in China in particular, regularly updated information about market movement and markets for farm produce and materials used for mask and medical equipment production at home.

The ministry also held regular working sessions with the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam and asked the Vietnamese General Consulates in Guangxi and Yunnan to frequently contact authorities of border localities to facilitate import-export activities in border areas.

It called on the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry to jointly tackle difficulties in trade between Vietnam and China in Dispatch No.264/BCT-AP dated April 9.

Minister Anh sent letters to Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong San and Chinese Director of the General Administration of Customs Ni Yuefeng on April 9.

He also sent a letter to the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region asking to continue realising agreements reached during talks on March 13 and partner together to ensure smooth trade./.

Indonesia to boost labour-intensive infrastructure projects

The Indonesian government will intensify labour-intensive infrastructure projects in different parts of Indonesia to offer employment to members of the low-income community to maintain their purchasing power amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

ANTARA quoted Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimoeljono as saying that manpower-intensive infrastructure projects are also aimed at boosting economic growth and distributing funds to villages and rural areas.

While implementing these labor-intensive infrastructure projects, the social distancing measures will consistently be imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, he explained.

To this end, the Public Works and Housing Ministry will expedite the realisation of this year's labor-intensive projects, financed in cash, in 34 provinces across Indonesia.

With a total budget of 10 trillion rupiad, the projects cover seven programmes, including the Irrigation System Accelerated Program (P3-TGAI), Socio-Economic Regional Infrastructure Development Program (PISEW), and Reduced, Reused, and Recycled Waste Management Sites (TPS3R), he revealed.

Social Affairs Minister Juliari P. Batubara said the ministry has also readied special social assistance for economically vulnerable groups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first aid package was prepared for vulnerable groups residing in Jakarta, which has imposed large-scale social distancing to contain the pandemic, the minister said.

The coronavirus disease has had negative impacts on almost all aspects in Indonesia. As a result of a huge decline in the occupancy rates, several hoteliers in Indonesia, for instance, had forcibly laid off or sent their workers home. Scores of Indonesian migrant workers have also begun returning to Indonesia.

According to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, as of April 6, some 44,650 Indonesians in Malaysia had returned to the homeland./.

Dong Nai province strives to help firms join support industry chain

Domestic firms in the southern province of Dong Nai are finding it hard to join the supply chain providing products to the support industry, according to the local People’s Committee.

There is still an absence of connectivity between foreign direct investment (FDI) firms and domestic support industry ones, the office said, adding most of the FDI firms in the support industry rely on the components or accessories they produce by themselves or imports.

In order to develop the support industry, Dong Nai authorities will, from now to 2025, focus on helping firms broaden their markets, match supply with demand, connect them to support firms, and train their personnel to meet the requirements by support industry firms.

Special help will come in the form of support in terms of infrastructure use fee at industrial zones and complexes for small- and medium-sized enterprises, it said.

Besides Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai province is another sizable economic hub in the south of Vietnam./.

Vietrade supports exporters amid COVID-19 outbreak

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) has prioritised 5,000 exporters that need help in finding markets amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

These enterprises will be classified by groups and categories, Vietrade said, adding it will team up with localities, associations and relevant sectors to build up a database of Vietnamese exporters, expected to amount to 100,000 in the near future.

A list of nearly 100 Vietnamese enterprises which are capable of supplying face masks and other supplies for COVID-19 prevention has also complied by Vietrade in order to meet rising demand in European and American regions. That list will be sent to trade counselors to support Vietnamese businesses in seeking new export outlets.

The first quarter of 2020 saw the country's exports reach US$59.08 billion, up 0.5 per cent in comparison to 5.2 per cent recorded during the same period last year - the lowest level of growth in 17 years.

However, this was a general trend of international and regional trade, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). In the first two months of 2020, export turnover to China decreased by 17 per cent; South Korea by 1.5 per cent; Thailand by 0.8 per cent and Japan by 4.1 per cent.

The MoIT assessed that Viet Nam's export of goods also had positive expectations in the future especially as the pandemic has been controlled in China - one of Viet Nam's largest trade partner.

Fewer restrictions will lead to more opportunities for Viet Nam in exporting goods to its neighbour.

Binh Duong Province’s exports grow by 3.6 per cent in Q1

Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Binh Duong Province managed to expand exports by 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year to US$5.8 billion, according to its Department of Industry and Trade.

Key export items like textiles, footwear, wood products, and computers and electronic products saw increases of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent year-on-year, lower than last year but impressive amid the pandemic.

The province’s imports were estimated at $4.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4.3 per cent, giving it a trade surplus of $1.6 billion.

The department said the pandemic has been negatively affecting industrial production and trade around the country, including Binh Duong.

The drastic support measures implemented by the Government and the province enabled trade to remain robust.

Ho Van Binh, the department’s deputy director, said a survey done by his department found that most enterprises in the province have faced difficulties in production and trading due to the pandemic, including 110 import-export firms.

In the case of some other enterprises, trade was not affected in the first quarter, but with the pandemic spreading to most major markets such as the US, EU, South Korea, and Japan, it is likely to be affected in the second quarter, he warned.

According to business groups, leather and footwear and garment and textile enterprises are facing difficulties with export orders falling by 50 – 60 per cent.

To retain their workers and sustaining cash flows, they are shifting production to target the domestic market.

Trade activities would face new difficulties in the second quarter from the global COVID-19 outbreak, and the province has taken many measures to enable businesses to access funds and markets and eased tax payment deadlines, the department said.

The chairman of the province People's Committee, Tran Thanh Liem, said with the Government and province’s efforts to support enterprises and address their difficulties, especially with regard to finance, banking, tax, and administrative procedure reform, he expects the business community to overcome the difficulties and enjoy good growth this year.

Binh Duong Province’s exports grow by 3.6 per cent in Q1

Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Binh Duong Province managed to expand exports by 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year to US$5.8 billion, according to its Department of Industry and Trade.

Key export items like textiles, footwear, wood products, and computers and electronic products saw increases of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent year-on-year, lower than last year but impressive amid the pandemic.

The province’s imports were estimated at $4.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4.3 per cent, giving it a trade surplus of $1.6 billion.

The department said the pandemic has been negatively affecting industrial production and trade around the country, including Binh Duong.

The drastic support measures implemented by the Government and the province enabled trade to remain robust.

Ho Van Binh, the department’s deputy director, said a survey done by his department found that most enterprises in the province have faced difficulties in production and trading due to the pandemic, including 110 import-export firms.

In the case of some other enterprises, trade was not affected in the first quarter, but with the pandemic spreading to most major markets such as the US, EU, South Korea, and Japan, it is likely to be affected in the second quarter, he warned.

According to business groups, leather and footwear and garment and textile enterprises are facing difficulties with export orders falling by 50 – 60 per cent.

To retain their workers and sustaining cash flows, they are shifting production to target the domestic market.

Trade activities would face new difficulties in the second quarter from the global COVID-19 outbreak, and the province has taken many measures to enable businesses to access funds and markets and eased tax payment deadlines, the department said.

The chairman of the province People's Committee, Tran Thanh Liem, said with the Government and province’s efforts to support enterprises and address their difficulties, especially with regard to finance, banking, tax, and administrative procedure reform, he expects the business community to overcome the difficulties and enjoy good growth this year.

Hà Nội GRDP growth slows down due to COVID-19

The capital city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth was estimated at 3.72 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the slowest pace over the past few years, the municipal Statistics Office has said.

The growth was much lower than 7 per cent seen in the same period of 2019 due to the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting a wide range of sectors including import-export, tourism, transportation, processing and manufacturing as well as restaurant and catering services.

During the period, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector saw a decline of 1.17 per cent compared to an increase of 3.19 per cent in the first quarter of last year.

The city's industrial production in January-March period experienced a modest growth of 5.1 per cent year-on-year, lower than 7 per cent recorded in the same period last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence that has disrupted the supply of Chinese input materials for domestic production.

Other sectors which suffered a year-on-year decline in three months were accommodation and catering services with 22 per cent; entertainment with 7.4 per cent; administration and supporting services with 6 per cent besides transportation and logistics sectors with 5.15 per cent.

Meanwhile, the wholesale and retail sector has maintained positive growth, thanks to a shift to online sales from traditional shops.

According to the office, the city’s consumer price index (CPI) in March rose 0.1 per cent over February and 4.4 per cent over last year’s same month.

The capital’s average CPI for the first three months increased 5.23 per cent against the same period last year.

Among 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, a decline was recorded in seven groups in March including transportation services (4.2 per cent); culture, entertainment and tourism (3 per cent); restaurants and catering services (1 per cent); housing and building material (0.54 per cent) and beverage and tobacco (0.25 per cent).

 
 

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