Int’l sourcing expo Vietnam slated for December 18-22 targeting Australia

The Vietnam Trade Office in Australia will hold a virtual international sourcing expo exclusively featuring goods from Vietnam’s central localities from December 18-22 to help the flood-hit localities expand exports and production.

The event will be based on iCloud platform using artificial intelligence for long-term marketing.

Exhibitors will be helped with online stall design for free to showcase products and receive orders, provided with virtual seminar rooms to introduce local potentials, thereby calling for investment, promoting their tourism and linking businesses together.

Head of the office Nguyen Phu Hoa said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international sourcing expo Australia and a fair on textile, apparel, leather and footwear have been delayed till next year. Those two events usually attract large numbers of Vietnamese businesses.

To connect the business communities of Vietnam and Australia, in early June, the office also debuted a business-matching mobile app called Viet-Aus Trade to support exporters, introduce business opportunities and popularise local potentials. It has so far attracted a large number of Vietnamese and Australian enterprises./.

Vietnam to resume economic activities with countries having Covid-19 vaccines

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung outlined five major solutions for Vietnam to realize its socio-economic development goals in 2020.

Vietnam should prepare methods to resume trade and investment activities with countries having Covid-19 vaccines, while pushing for international cooperation in vaccine distribution to high risk areas.

This is among solutions put forth by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at a government’s monthly meeting on December 2 to aid the country’s efforts in realizing its socio-economic development goals in 2020.

"Government agencies should closely monitor the pandemic situation globally, and strictly carry out anti-Covid-19 measures under the instruction of the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control," Mr. Dung said. 

He said Vietnam needs to pursue flexible fiscal and monetary policies to push up economic recovery  andfurther support enterprises and people affected by the pandemic.

Mr. Dung said the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is in process of drafting stimulus packages and support programs for priority fields, including tourism, hospitality, catering and transportation, among others, to ensure the attainment of dual target in both containing the pandemic and boosting economic growth.

"There should be stronger efforts against animal diseases in cities and provinces nationwide, while poviding breeding animals and production materials to natural disaster-hit regions to avoid disruption of economic activities and ensure people's living standards," he added.

Mr. Dung said the country needs to continue diversifying export activities and expand trade in potential markets by taking advantages of major trade deals, including the CPTPP and EVFTA.

Government agencies should assess the impacts of the recently-signed RCEP on the economy, and provide updated information to the business community, especially small and medium-sized ones, so that they could fully benefit  from the deal.

As public investment remains a key solution to boost economic recovery, Mr. Dung stressed it is essential for Vietnam to accelerate the disbursement progress of public funds, while continuing to monitor issues emerged during the process.

In 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised up Vietnam’s economic growth forecast to 2.4%, among the highest in the world, from its initial estimate of 1.6%. Such growth rate is in line with the government target of 2.5 – 3%.

Foreign fund continuously divests from Mobile World


A customer consults a saleswoman at a store of Mobile World Group (MWG) in Hanoi. (Photo:

Pyn Elite Fund has divested capital from Mobile World Investment Joint Stock Company (MWG), said Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD).

Pyn Elite Fund, a Finnish fund which focuses on Vietnamese shares, has transferred more than 6.45 million MWG shares to JP Morgan Securities PLC.

With MWG now being traded at a market price of over 110,000 VND (4.77 USD) per share, the above transfer deal is worth more than 700 billion VND (30.35 million USD).

MWG was previously Pyn Elite’s largest investment for many years, but the foreign fund has continuously sold a large amount of MWG shares since the end of 2019. Particularly at the end of 2019, the fund sold nearly half of the MWG shares they were holding, earning trillions of VND.

According to the September portfolio report, the investment proportion at MWG still accounted for 5.56 percent of Pyn Elite’s net asset value, equivalent to 24.8 million euros (29.7 million USD). However, by October, this investment was no longer in the fund’s 10 largest portfolios.

To replace the investment at MWG, this foreign fund has continuously increased the proportion of investments in banking stocks such as VietinBank (CTG) and MBBank (MBB).

The current largest investment of Pyn Elite in Vietnam’s market is into the Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation (VEAM), accounting for 10.4 percent of the fund’s total net asset value.

Followed by three investments in three domestic commercial banks including VietinBank (9.6 percent); HDBank (9.3 percent) and TPBank (8.7 percent).

In the fund’s 10 largest portfolios, there are currently five investments in the financial and banking sector. In addition to the three above banks, the fund also invests in Military Bank (MBB) (4.7 percent) and Viet Capital Securities Company (VCI) (3.5 percent).

MWG reported net revenue in the third quarter of over 25.7 trillion VND, up 3 percent over the same period last year. The after-tax profit earned in the quarter was 951 billion VND, also up by 11 percent.

In the first nine months of the year, the company recorded over 81.3 trillion VND in revenue, up 6 percent and after-tax profit reached nearly 3 trillion VND.

Compared to the plan for the whole of 2020, the group has completed 74 percent of the revenue target and 86 percent of the profit target.

MWG is among the fastest growing stock group in the past three months with an increase of nearly 60 percent. Each MWG share is currently being traded at around 115,500 VND./.

Forum discusses opportunities for Vietnam to penetrate Halal food market

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in co-ordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held a forum on November 30 to highlight the potential of the global Halal food market and the opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to gain entry into the lucrative market.

Halal foods are products that are permitted under Islamic Law due to being processed to extremely detailed and strict standards.

In his opening address at the event, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son stated that this marks first occasion that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has co-operated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to organise such an event. The purpose of the function is to raise awareness about the potential of this market, in addition to the importance of Halal certifications and measures that can allow local firms to participate in an effective manner in the global Halal food market.

Most notably, the global Halal food market boasts great potential and is witnessing rapid expansion across every continent from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Indeed, there are approximately 2 billion Muslims globally, with Halal food spending forecast to stand at an estimated US$1,400 billion this year, although this figure is anticipated to grow by more than 10 times to US$15,000 billion by 2050.

Recent demand for Halal products has seen a dramatic increase, not only because of the rapid growth of the Muslim population in Islamic countries, but due to shifts in the non-Muslim population in major economies who increasingly prefer these products due to their standards on food hygiene, safety, and the environment.

"This is a great opportunity for countries like Vietnam to export food and agricultural products," Deputy Minister Son emphasised.

Despite the huge potential that exists, the participation of Vietnamese businesses in the Halal food market remains limited. According to the Halal Vietnam Center, domestic enterprises participate in the export of some Halal products, but are only able to meet one thirds of the demand from countries in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

At present, many businesses are still facing difficulties relating to issuing Halal certificates, whilst they generally lack information about the market, business culture, and consumption patterns, all of which hinder them becoming deeply involved in the Halal market, especially those of Muslim countries.

Deputy Minister Son added that he expects the forum to provide an actual assessment of the global Halal food market’s potential, not only in countries with a majority Muslim population, but also in those with a small Muslim population such as in Europe, the Americas, and some Asian nations. This will therefore serve to help identify new trends and demand for Halal products, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and many other Halal services such as tourism.

Moving forward, it is imperative to clarify the difficulties and challenges faced by Vietnamese firms in obtaining a Halal certification in markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Europe, and America. Simultaneously, businesses need to make proposals for Halal certification from reputable organizations as a means of ensuring their access to the Halal market in different nations, the Deputy Minister said.

Delegates at the forum took the chance to exchange experience in mapping out strategies for the Halal food industry in various countries in order to propose measures aimed at supporting and promoting the involvement of local businesses in the supply chain. This is along with learning ways to produce Halal food on a global scale whilst connecting Vietnamese businesses with Halal product importers and exporters globally.

Furthermore, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan outlined that the Vietnamese agriculture sector always accompany domestic agro-forestry-fishery enterprises whilst being aware of the high import demand coming from Islamic markets. These factors therefore represent plenty of opportunities for the export of goods such as food, along with agricultural and aquatic products.

Deputy Minister Hoan expressed his belief that through the event, all relevant parties will have the chance to learn more about the needs and conditions of local agro-forestry- fishery exports to the Muslim markets, thereby looking forward to developing a strategy for greater involvement.

Moreover, management agencies and enterprises must carefully study how to produce export products with quality, specifications, and designs in accordance with regulations relating to quality standards. Indeed, other issues such as consumption practices in different countries, building product distribution networks, opening representative offices, and operating branches in the market must also be considered, Hoan added.

Vietnam attracts US$26.4 billion in FDI by November 20

The nation attracted a total of US$26.4 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) by November 20, representing an annual decline of 16.9%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). 

Of the figure, 2,313 new projects were granted investment certificates with total registered capital reaching a figure of US$13.6 billion, marking a fall of 33.5% in terms of number of projects, along with a 7.6% drop in registered capital compared to the same period from last year.

With regard to adjusted capital, there were a total of 1,051 projects capitalized at US$6.3 billion, representing an increase of 7.8% on-year.

In terms of capital contribution and share purchases, 5,812 capital contributions and share purchases were made by foreign investors totaling US$6.5 billion throughout the reviewed period, representing an annual decline of 41.8%.

Throughout the 11-month period, Vietnam has invested a total of US$490.4 million overseas, including both newly-registered and additional capital, marking an increase of 6.9% in comparison with last year’s corresponding period.

Malaysia identifies high-profile projects worth 18.5 mln USD in manufacturing, services

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) has identified the 23 potential high-profile projects in the manufacturing and service sectors which have an investment value of 75.4 billion ringgit (about 18.5 billion USD), the Star reported.

This foreign investment will come from several countries and is targeted to be brought into Malaysia in 2021, the Malaysian newspaper quoted Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Lim Ban Hong as saying.

He added that the two sectors attracted the largest investment in the country. From January to September this year, the manufacturing sector contributed the largest amount with 65.3 billion ringgit, followed by the service sector (42.8 billion ringgit) and main industries (1.7 billion ringgit).

Of Malaysia’s total investment, foreign direct investment made up 38.8 percent or 42.6 billion ringgit while 67.2 billion ringgit or 61.2 percent was from local investors, he said.

Lim added that a total of 2,935 projects were approved in the same period which would help create 64,701 job opportunities.

He said that several measures have been implemented to ensure that the country remains an attractive and competitive destination for foreign investors.

He said that some of the measures were fast-track approvals for factory licenses through the Mida's e-ML online portal for non-sensitive industries which will take two working days for an approval.

A Project Acceleration and Coordination Unit (Pacu) was set up under Mida to speed up approval applications at related agencies for the implementation of investment projects, he noted.

Lim added that a one-stop centre was also set up to evaluate and approve applications for business travellers./.


Textile-garment exports likely to reach 34 billion USD

Vietnam’s textile and garment industry is predicted to earn about 33.5 - 34 billion USD from exports in 2020, higher than the forecast of 30-31 billion USD in April, and down 14-15 percent year-on-year.

According to statistics reported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the textile industry’s export turnover reached an estimated 24.76 billion USD in the first 10 months of this year, declining by 9.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The ministry said textile enterprises need to take measures, as well as adjust their production activities and business forms to suit the fluctuations of the market due to the severe impacts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attention should also paid to exploiting the domestic market and forming production chains meeting regulations of origin stated in free trade agreements that Vietnam signed with partners, it noted.

Addressing a recent working session to seek solutions to difficulties facing the industry amid the health crisis, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested the sector strengthen application of digital technologies and make effective use of FTAs.

The Government leader also emphasised the need to develop modern and environmentally friendly industrial parks serving the textile and garment industry, and application of circular economy./.

FoodMap.Asia platform wins Startup Hunt 2020 contest

FoodMap.Asia, an e-commerce platform to link farmers with hotels and residential areas, won the first prize at the final round of Startup Hunt 2020 contest which was held on November 27 with the theme of “agriculture digital transformation”.

FoodMap.Asia beat 300 other initiatives and projects to get the top prize worth 100 million VND (over 4,300 USD) at the contest organised within the framework of the Techfest Vietnam 2020.

The platform supports small-and medium-sized agricultural households to form suitable production processes, and improve quality of Vietnamese farming products.

To date, the platform has helped some 300 agricultural producers from 40 cities and provinces nationwide sell nearly 1,000 kinds of agricultural products.

Providing solutions to tracing quality of value chains through blockchain, Digital Kingdom got the second prize worth 50 million VND, while NATA project, which effectively treats seafood processing wastewater for cultivation of cantaloupe and strawberry, won the third prize worth 20 million VND.

According to Nguyen Duc Tung, Director of the Supporting Centre for Youth’s Startup, excellent projects at the Startup Hunt contest are expected to inspire the startup spirit among Vietnamese youths, and new solutions and values will be created, contributing to restructuring the nation’s agriculture.

The Startup Hunt contest, organised by the Vietnam Youth Union, also helps startups acquire necessary knowledge and skills, while enhancing public awareness of agricultural startups during economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic./.

Industrial production index for November continues to enjoy recovery

It is anticipated that the index of industrial production (IIP) in November will witness an increase of 0.5% from the previous month, with 9.2% growth in comparison to the same period from last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Most notably, the country’s success in containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has provided fresh impetus to the recovery of several economic sectors. This can be seen with the processing and manufacturing sectors witnessing a surge of 11.9% against the same period from last year.

The mining industry endured a decline of 6.2% while the power generation and distribution saw a rise of 4%. In addition, the water supply, wastewater management, and treatment sectors jumped by 5.3%.

Furthermore, the processing and manufacturing industries saw robust growth during November as a result of the recovery of fields such as mining, petroleum, medicine and pharmaceutical chemistry, electronic and computer products, optical products, and electrical equipment.

Throughout the 11-month period, the IIP is predicted to record an increase of 3.1% from the same period last year. Of the figure, the manufacturing and processing industries posted an increase of 4.7%, thereby contributing 3.8% to general growth, while the power generation and distribution sector also enjoyed a boost of 3.2%, therefore contributing 0.3 percentage points.

BVSC introduces new trading system

Bao Viet Securities Co (BVSC) has launched a new electronic trading platform to improve the quality of services for investors.

B-Wise is developed and introduced as part of the company’s 21st anniversary and replaces BVSC’s traditional website-based trading system.

The electronic trading board is designed to make sure asset trading is secure and thorough and help investors make smart, accurate and punctual decisions thanks to its updating speed, flexibility and multitasking ability.

Investors can watch the market move and settle their transactions on the real-time trading board, and manage their assets efficiently on the same window instead of opening and moving between different tabs.

In addition to stock trading, investors can also have other options available on B-Wise such as iBond and iDeposit, which are provided by BVSC.

Investors can access to the online platform at

The company’s previous platform, called BVS@Trade was launched in 2012 to meet very fundamental needs of investors.

As the world is experiencing rapid changes caused by the technological advance, the requirements of investors have also changed, requiring BVSC to move forward and create its new platform.

South Korea fund sells 1.47 million shares of steel firm

KIM Vietnam Growth Equity Fund announced Friday it had sold an additional 1.47 million shares of steel company Nam Kim Group (NKG).

The transaction caused the South Korea fund, holding more than 8 million shares, equivalent to 4.68 per cent, to no longer be a major shareholder of NKG.

On the market, NKG shares are priced at VND12,200 (US$0.53) per share, 1.5 times higher than the beginning of November. After the sale, KIM is expected to collect about VND18 billion.

The South Korean fund sold nearly 4 million shares of Nam Kim Group in mid-August, equivalent to over 9.1 per cent of the steel company’s capital.

In early April, Dragon Capital fund group also divested tens of millions of NKG shares and is no longer a major shareholder since April 10.

The constant withdrawal of foreign funds caused the foreign ownership ratio in Nam Kim Group to decrease from 38 per cent in April to about 11 per cent as at present.

In Q3, Nam Kim Group recorded a 10 per cent increase in net revenue, reaching VND3.37 trillion and a profit of 13.3 times higher than the same period last year, reaching nearly VND83 billion.

Accumulated profit in 9 months was over VND141 billion, 3.5 times higher than the same period last year and fulfilling 71 per cent of yearly plan.

Recently, the company approved a plan to pay a dividend for 2020’s first phase in cash in advance at the rate of 3 per cent. 

FECON to pay dividend in cash at 5%

Construction firm FECON Corporation (FCN) plans to pay 2019 dividend in cash at the rate of 5 per cent.

Each shareholder will receive VND500 for each share he or she owns. With 118 million outstanding shares, it is estimated that the company will pay a total of VND59 billion (US$2.6 million) to shareholders.

The payment date is scheduled on December 18, 2020.

In the first nine months of this year, FCN recorded revenue of VND2 trillion, up 11.8 per cent. Net profit reached VND83 billion, down 42.7 per cent.

As of September 30, 2020, FCN’s total assets reached VND6.3 trillion, an increase of 11.5 per cent compared to the beginning of the year, of which investment value into associates increased by more than VND200 billion.

One of the notable deals that the company made in the third quarter was the acquisition of 14.69 million shares, equivalent to 48.9 per cent of the charter capital, of Ecotech Vietnam Energy Investment Company Limited.

FECON is one of the biggest underground construction contractors in Viet Nam with 15 years of experience. The enterprise currently has 17 member companies, including joint venture enterprises in Myanmar. FCN shares closed Friday at VND12,500 per share. 

VAFI says no to increase the minimum trading lot to 100 shares.

The Viet Nam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) objected to increase the minimum trade from 10 shares to 100 shares.

In a document sent to State Securities Commission (SSC) and the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE), VAFI said: “The minimum trading lot of 100 shares will prevent the development of the stock market, eliminating the chance of an investment trial up to ten times, pushing low-capital investors into poor quality shares as the blue-chip shares become too expensive.”

The association said: “The minimum of 100 shares per order was introduced since the beginning of the HoSE 20 years ago, however, after the initial period of implementation, the amount proved to be a hindrance to the development of the stock market because new investors with no experience would face a big risk with such a big amount.”

As VAFI considered a block of at least 100 shares would pose a risk to new investors, it signed a proposal to the SSC to propose a 10-fold reduction of the minimum trading lot to 10 shares per order in 2002, which is applied in the current trading.

With the minimum trade of 10 shares, investors could join the market with small capital of between VND5 million (US$217) to VND30 million.

It said 100 shares will make it much more difficult to join the market, of which they must buy at least five stocks to create a portfolio in the exchange.

According to VAFI, the policy of increasing the minimum trading lot to 100 shares per order from HoSE, which aims to increase the technique of placing orders in many securities firms and local exchanges in the market, hindered the development of the market, causing losses for new investors.

The association said the reason was not valid because of the size of the stock market was far smaller compared to other countries in the region and around the world, adding: “In order not to have transmission problems, the local stock exchanges and the custody centre must improve human resources, especially IT experts.”

VAFI recommended securities companies pay attention to investing in trading software, with small ones that do not have enough financial resources develop modern software to limit the number of trading customers or restructure the assets for better transmission.


Vietnamese firms attend international food expo in Algeria

Four Vietnamese businesses are participating in an online international exhibition on the food industry and agriculture sector, which opened in Algeria on December 1, to introduce Vietnamese products and seek potential customers.

The businesses are the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), Vietnam Tea Corporation (Vinatea), Tuan Minh Trading and Production Co., Ltd. (Tuan Minh Export), and Metro Foods Supply Company Limited (Metro Foods Co. Ltd.).

The Vietnamese Trade Office in Algeria took the occasion to introduce Vietnam’s economy, trade and investment, trade relations between Vietnam and Algeria, as well as business opportunities in Vietnam at upcoming expos and forums, such as Vietnam Food Expo and logistics forum, to Algerian and international companies.

The expo is being organised by Andalus Trade, Show, Exhibits & Events (TSEE) in collaboration with Algerian media.

The expo runs until December 31./.

Can Tho, Australia enhance partnership in education, infrastructure

Authorities of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and a delegation led by Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie have expressed wish to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, transport infrastructure and climate change adaptation.

During a working session on December 1, Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Tran Viet Truong said since 1993, Can Tho and Australia have signed a number of important memoranda of understanding on intellectual property, mining and farm produce.

On this basis, Can Tho hopes the Australian Ambassador will help expand the partnership between the city and Australia to other fields, Truong said. He suggested the two sides can exchange experts, provide scholarships, build bridges, roads and dykes in response to high tides and erosion caused by climate change.

Ambassador Mudie expressed her delight at witnessing economic achievements of the Mekong Delta and Can Tho in particular, which she said, have been partly attributable to Australian-funded projects such as My Thuan and Cao Lanh bridges.

Moreover, Australia is embarking on a 300 million USD project on climate change adaptation for the Mekong Delta, specifically on water resources management.

She also took the occasion to vow to further boost Australia – Vietnam collaboration.

In the first nine months of this year, Can Tho’s exports to Australia reached 13.6 million USD, mostly rice, processed farm produce, aquatic products and apparel./.

Vietnam contributes initiatives to developing ASOSAI

As Chair of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI), the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) has proactively coordinated with other members in the ASOSAI executive board to implement initiatives designed to develop ASOSAI in the new period.

Following the successful 14th Congress of ASOSAI in 2018, at which the SAV was elected as ASOSAI Chair for the 2018-2021 tenure, the SAV issued a plan of actions to carry out tasks of ASOSAI Chair. A secretariat was set up to assist with the work.

The SAV held discussions with the ASOSAI Secretary General (the National State Audit of China) on a close cooperation mechanism between the Chair and the Secretary General of ASOSAI, towards the goal of effectively handling affairs of the organization. The discussions also highlighted the importance and the ways to implement the ASOSAI’s strategic plans for 2019-2021 and the Hanoi Declaration.

One of the activities prioritized by the SAV was communication work. The SAV issued a plan to popularize the role, responsibility and position of the SAV in and outside the country as Chair of ASOSAI in the 2018-2021 tenure.

The SAV also launched a website of ASOSAI Chair, providing official information on the activities of the Chair.

Aware of the importance of human resources in performing the task, the SAV built and carried out a plan on training its staff members. Besides holding training courses in the country, the SAV also sent many staff members to attend training courses abroad in the framework of the ASOSAI’s capacity building programme.

The year 2019 marked the first year in the SAV’s tenure as Chair of ASOSAI, during which the SAV fulfilled all the targets set for the year in its plan of action.

The SAV proved itself as an active member in multi-lateral and international forums, particularly the ASOSAI. It successfully organized the 55th meeting of the ASOSAI Governing Board in the form of video conferencing in July 2020.

The SAV also coordinated effectively with the ASOSAI Secretary General, the Chair of the Task Force on ASOSAI Strategic Plan Management - SPTF, the Chairman of the ASOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing – ASOSAI WGEA, and other ASOSAI members to successfully implement the ASOSAI Strategic Plan in 2020, and initiatives to implement the Hanoi Declaration.

The SAV’s initiative to set up a special committee, which is responsible for studying the establishment of an ASOSAI’s working group to carry out sustainable development goals of the state audits, was said as a pioneer recommendation in the INTOSAI.

Its documentary film “ASOSAI for sustainable development”, to be screened at the 15th Assembly of ASOSAI in Thailand next year, received enthusiastic support from members of the ASOSAI’s Governing Board. The film aims to popularise and acknowledge ASOSAI’s contributions to promoting and realising sustainable development goals under the Hanoi Declaration.

The ASOSAI, founded in 1979, pursues a common mission like other working groups of the INTOSAI, that is “Professional supreme audit institutions promote good State governance” and with the core values of “Professionalism, Cooperation, Equality, Creativity”.

The ASOSAI’s goal is to promote mutual understanding and cooperation among member SAIs through the exchange of ideas and experience in public auditing, creating favourable conditions for the training of State auditors to improve working quality and efficiency.

The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) became a member of ASOSAI in 1997. In the first period of the membership, the SAV mainly sent auditors to attend training courses and workshops sponsored by ASOSAI to enhance professional capacity. Since 2010, the SAV has undertaken a more active role in professional activities of ASOSAI./.

Hanoi ranks third in FDI attraction in 11 months

About 3.2 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) was poured into Hanoi between January and November, accounting for 12.2 percent of total FDI registered in Vietnam so far this year, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

This figure made the capital the third largest destination of FDI in the country during the period.

Of the sum, 662 million USD was channeled into 464 new projects while over 1.24 billion USD added to 132 existing ones. Foreign investors also spent 1.28 billion USD on contributing capital to or purchasing shares of local enterprises.

In November alone, Hanoi licensed 26 new FDI projects worth 7 million USD, including 26 projects wholly invested by foreigners. Six others were supplemented with 1 million USD. Meanwhile, 52 million USD was spent to contribute capital to or buy shares of local firms.

Since the year’s beginning, the city has also recorded 24,600 new businesses with total registered capital of 303.3 trillion VND (13.2 billion USD), and 5,774 companies resuming operations, data show./.

Vietnam becomes top pick for Singaporean firms

Vietnam is attracting a record number of Singaporean businesses which continue to look for opportunities to expand their operations abroad despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said it has supported more than double the number of internationalisation projects for enterprises looking to expand their operations into Vietnam since 2018.

From January to October 2020 alone, ESG supported 56.9 percent more projects year on year across sectors such as ICT and media, professional services, and education.

ESG assistant CEO Tan Soon Kim said since the launch of the Singapore Business Federation's GlobalConnect@SBF November last year, the initiative received the highest volume of enquiries for regional overseas business ventures on Vietnam.

Traditionally, Singapore firms that are keen to invest in or expand to Vietnam in the fields of infrastructure and urban solutions, but in recent years there has been growing interest in the areas of manufacturing, food and beverage and retail, Tan noted.

Functional juice company Doki Doki for instance, set up a factory in Vietnam in 2017. It decided to expand its sales channels to Vietnam this year.

Another company that is actively scaling up its retail presence in Vietnam is Norbreeze Group which distributes and markets jewellery and timepiece brands. This firm is opening three new owned-and-operated stores in Vietnam in November and five partner stores in December, and January next year.

One another business that has shifted quite permanently is NovaLand Group's Nova F&B, the franchisee for Jumbo Seafood in Vietnam.

Prior to the pandemic, delivery was never a big part of the overall revenue for the brand. However, due to impacts caused by the health crisis, delivery has become the new norm and the team in Vietnam had to quickly go about onboarding the company's brands on delivery platforms and implementing promotions to encourage consumer spending.

Overall, Vietnam’s success in fighting COVID-19 has helped Singaporean firms remain upbeat about their plans in the country, ESG said./.

Online forum introduces potential of Halal food

An online forum was held in Hanoi on November 30 to introduce the potential of the global Halal food market and the opportunities for Vietnam, with over 300 delegates from home and abroad taking part.

It was the first time such a forum had been co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to raise public awareness about market potential and measures to help Vietnamese firms effectively access the Halal supply chain.

Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Hoang Quang Phong, said the Halal market is growing rapidly and covers Asia, the Middle East - Africa, Europe, and the Americas, and includes food, cosmetics, and services.

The forum also afforded Vietnamese companies the chance to link with major importers from Europe, India, Turkey, the UAE, Oman, Morocco, and the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

According to Phong, there are nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide and expenditure on Halal food is estimated at 1.4 trillion USD this year and forecast to jump to 15 trillion USD by 2050.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan suggested ministries, agencies, and localities continue to work on suggestions from businesses, associations, and Halal certification agencies to help enterprises effectively join the global Halal production and supply chain.

Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Minh Khoi said Vietnamese agencies abroad will continue to assist domestic companies in accessing Halal markets worldwide, especially in major Halal food centres, contributing to expanding people-to-people exchange between Vietnam and Islamic countries and promoting cultural exchange and tourism from Islamic nations to Vietnam.

On the sidelines of the forum, an exhibition on outstanding Halal products and Vietnamese products that meet Halal standards, such as tea, coffee, sachi inchi seeds, and seafood, was also held./.

Registered capital of newly-established enterprises up in 11 months

The number of companies set up during the first 11 months of this year was down year-on-year but total registered capital increased, according to the General Statistics Office.

Nearly 124,300 new companies with total registered capital of nearly 1.88 quadrillion VND (over 81 billion USD) were established between January and November, down 1.9 percent in number but up 19.3 percent in capital.

Meanwhile, 40,800 enterprises resumed operations during the period, a rise of 10.7 percent year-on-year.

This means there were about 15,000 enterprises established or resuming operations each month.

There were also 93,500 businesses suspending operations during the 11-month period, up 15.6 percent year-on-year.

Some 13,100 businesses were established in November alone with combined capital of 284.8 trillion VND, up 7.3 percent and 72 percent, respectively, against October.

Average registered capital was 21.8 billion VND, up more than 60 percent month-on-month.

While 5,314 companies returned to business in November, 2,771 others ceased operations, data shows./.

Cambodia exports more than 600,000 tonnes of milled rice in 11 months

Cambodia has exported more than 600,000 tonnes of milled rice in the first 11 months of the year, up 16 percent year on year, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Veng Sakhon.

Of the total, more than 481,000 tonnes of the rice exports was fragrant rice, and 113,703 tonnes was milled rice of various kinds, while around 6,151 tonnes was parboiled rice.

“There are more than 60 countries that have ordered rice from Cambodia in the first 11 months, including 24 out of 28 countries in the European Union, China, six ASEAN member countries and 29 from other continents,” Sakhon said.

He added that in the first 11 months, Cambodia exported around 234,940 tonnes of rice to China (39.09 percent), 188,436 tonnes to the EU (31.35 percent), 78,208 tonnes to ASEAN (13.01 percent), and 99,461 tonnes to other destinations in 29 countries (16.55 percent)./.

Thai company to invest in solar power, clean water in Vietnam

Logistics giant WHA Corporation (WHA) is planning to acquire a solar farm and a tap water business in Vietnam next year once the Thai government eases travel restrictions, according to The Nation.

WHA chief executive officer Jareeporn Jarukornsakul said the two planned Vietnam acquisitions along with WHA’s Thai digital platform business will help the company generate revenue next year.

The company will postpone investment in land for factories and warehouses this year because land use has not increased, said Jareeporn, adding that WHA will announce its operating plan at the beginning of next year. Company profit this year was lower than in 2019 since land deals in Thailand and Vietnam are expected to drop to 600-700 rai (960,000-1.12 million square metres) from the targeted 900 rai due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, she said.

"Meanwhile, we are waiting to find out whether the company can lease about 200,000 square metres of land this year or not," she said, adding that it had already leased 100,000 sqm this year.

However, she said this was not a concern as the company was able to diversify risks, while expecting to realise gains from sales of assets to WHA Premium Growth Real Estate Investment Trust (WHART) and Hemraj Leasehold Real Estate Investment Trust (HREIT) of 4.6 billion THB this year.

She added Goertek Precision Industry Vietnam (Goertek Vina) had bought 253 rai in WHA Industrial Zone 1-Nghe An, to be transferred by the end of this year.

"The company plans to develop this industrial zone to attract more investors," she added./.

Singapore to open payment rails to selected non-bank financial firms

Singapore is opening up access to the payment rails for non-bank e-wallet players that meet the necessary risk-management standards, according to managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Ravi Menon.

Eligible non-bank financial institutions will have direct access to the banking system’s real-time retail payments infrastructure from February 2021. This will give non-bank players – major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act – access to payment rails for them to offer PayNow services.

The access is via FAST, Singapore's round-the-clock electronic funds transfer service through which participating entities facilitate instant transfers of Singapore dollar funds between customers.

There are currently 23 entities offering FAST services, and nine banks offering PayNow.

The Direct FAST Working Group includes the NFIs of Grab Financial Group, Liquid Group, MatchMove, Razer Fintech, Singtel Dash and TransferWise.

Menon said MAS' view is that the payments network is like a utility that exists to serve all customers.

But participating NFIs must meet threshold standards of risk management, including in technology risk management, and anti-money laundering standards.

He also said that NFIs' direct access to FAST and PayNow "closes the last-mile gap" in Singapore's e-payments journey.

Direct connection to FAST and PayNow will enable users of NFI e-wallets to make real-time fund transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets, as well as across different e-wallets.

Currently, most e-wallets require the use of debit or credit cards to top up funds, and fund transfers between e-wallets are not possible.

However, businesses that partner any of the 23 FAST or nine PayNow banks or e-wallets - traditionally closed-loop ecosystems - will be able to receive real-time payments from other users of e-wallets or mobile banking applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow.

This will enable businesses to access a larger market of consumers than before for receiving e-payments instantly and seamlessly, said MAS.

FAST and PayNow have served the needs of most consumer and business users in Singapore. FAST transaction volumes averaged more than 12.5 million a month in the third quarter this year while monthly transaction volumes for PayNow account for almost half of all FAST transactions./.

Experts seek ways for sustainable, transparent real estate market

Experts gathered at a recent conference in HCM City to discuss measures to develop a transparent and sustainable property market in Vietnam in the next 10-15 years.

Nguyen Duc Hien, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, said the real estate market plays an important role, creating valuable assets for the economy, meeting housing demands of residents, and facilitating the development of other markets.

However, he noted that the market still sees many limitations such as unsustainable development, ineffective market management due to inconsistent policies, and complicated administrative procedures related to property investment.

The country's authorities should focus on amending real estate laws to eliminate inconsistencies and incorporate policies to encourage social housing over the next decade, said Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Van Sinh.

The Government and the Party had been rolling out numerous policies to support the development of the market, he added.

Despite COVID-19 impacting many areas, “the real estate market is still seeing development this year, though not as much as in other years.”

Ha Quang Hung, deputy head of the ministry’s housing and real estate market management department, said there were around 5,000 real estate projects underway now worth a total of more than 194 billion USD.

Real estate was also among the top sectors in attracting FDI, and real estate products were growing in terms of variety, he said.

Demand would continue to rise until 2030, especially in urban areas due to economic and population growth, and around 70 million square metres of urban housing would be needed every year.

But there are too many luxury property products and not enough social housing for low-income people despite there being more demand for the latter.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of HCM City Real Estate Association, said, “The laws and regulations governing the real estate market are generally too convoluted and inconsistent, which can deter investors.”

Despite efforts being made to streamline them in the last 10 years, there are still inconsistencies, according to Chau.

For instance, regulations contradict one another on whether businesses need to invite bids to carry out commercial housing projects and there are inconsistencies related to value added tax and income tax deductions for social housing developers.

Administrative procedures (such as issuing house ownership certificates and identifying land prices) are still seen as too cumbersome, and could drive up developers’ expenses.

He called for adjustments to housing laws and supportive financial policies to speed up procedures and facilitate social housing development.

Sinh said his ministry would continue to amend the laws, and urged local authorities to facilitate the housing market by aiding businesses and monitoring the market to ensure supply and demand are balanced.

Dr Le Thai Thuong Quan of the HCM City Open University said modern technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain were affecting the State’s management of real estate, business activities and buyers’ research.

The conference was held by the Communist Party’s Central Economic Committee, the HCM City Real Estate Association and the HCM City Open University./.

Vietnam, Belarus cooperate to support production of motor vehicles

Vietnam and Belarus have reached consensus on measures to remove bottlenecks for the joint venture MAZ Asia on manufacturing and assembling trucks and specific-use vehicles in the context of complicated development of COVID-19, under their amended protocol signed in Hanoi on December 3.

The protocol was inked between Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam Vladimir Goshin.

Both sides were unanimous to adjust the localisation rate to facilitate the joint venture’s manufacturing and assembling activities, making them on par with Vietnam’s automobile industry development strategy by 2025 with a vision to 2035.

Besides, the amended protocol details regulations on product origin, and allocation process for tariff rate quotas.

Following the free trade deal between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) clinched in 2015, the signing of the protocol in March 2016 created an important framework for cooperative automobile projects between Vietnam and Belarus – a member of the EAEU. MAZ Asia was established in Hung Yen province under the protocol.

At the signing ceremony, Minister of Industry and Trade Anh stressed Vietnam’s policy to develop the automobile into an important industry in the nation, which is able to meet domestic and export demand.

The sector is expected to serve as a locomotive for the development of other industries, and to gain competitive edge to join the global supply chain, he highlighted.

Six years ago, the Government issued a strategy to develop the Vietnamese automobile industry by 2025 with a vision until 2035. Accordingly, Vietnam was envisioned to be able to produce several important parts such as engine and gearbox, and initially join the global automobile value chain during 2021-2025.

Anh expressed his hope that with concerted efforts from businesses of both nations, MAZ-Asia will attain marked advancements in the coming time, as well as become an economic-trade-investment cooperation model between Vietnam and Belarus.



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