BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB.18

Vietnam’s tourism sector counts cost of coronavirus

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB.18

The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic could cause losses of 5.9-7.7 billion USD for the domestic tourism sector in the next three months, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic could cause losses of 5.9-7.7 billion USD for the domestic tourism sector in the next three months, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The tourism sector estimated a 90 percent decrease in the number of Chinese visitors due to the disease, and a 50-70 percent drop in holidaymakers from other countries.

Meanwhile, the number of domestic holidaymakers is likely to suffer a fall of 50-70 percent.

China, where the outbreak began late last year, has advised its citizens to stay at home. Vietnam has also stemmed the flow of tourists from coronavirus-stricken areas and suspended festivals. International vacationers have stayed away from Asia while many Vietnamese tourists have decided to stay at home.

The VNAT said losses caused by COVID-19 could be huge in both the short and long terms.

To cope with this, the agency has outlined a plan to help the industry recover, focusing on nearby markets connected by favourable air routes like the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, Taiwan (China) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and others with major potential such as India.

At the same time, Vietnam will focus more on North America, and maintain and expand its reach to Western and Northern Europe.

The VNAT plans to work with partners, particularly airlines, to discuss tourism cooperation and recovery after the acute respiratory disease subsides.

Resources will be mobilised for promotional campaigns through television and social networks, especially major TV channels like CNN, in order to show Vietnam’s ability to control the crisis and promote the country as an attractive, safe and friendly destination.

Travel companies are also implementing stimulation packages, seeking new markets and offering new tours that ensure safety./.

Binh Phuoc farmers see good cashew crop, but lower prices

Farmers in Binh Phuoc province have begun to harvest their cashew crop and yields are higher than last year because of favourable weather and the efforts of authorities and farmers to prevent diseases.

Last year, many cashew farms in the southeastern province, the country’s largest cashew producer, were affected by diseases and had low yields, but authorities and farmers have taken measures to tend disease-affected orchards this year, enabling them to recover and bear more fruits.

This year, the rate of flowers developing into fruits is in fact high at more than 50 percent in most orchards, according to farmers.

Dieu Thanh, a farmer in Bu Gia Map district’s Dak O commune, said the weather this year is much better for cashew trees to fruit than last year.

Last year, inclement weather caused disease outbreaks, making his yield to decline, and his family had to spend dozens of millions of dong on fertiliser and labour to revive the orchard this year, he said.

Most cashew trees flowering this year have a high fruiting rate and harvest has begun, he said.

Dieu Hung, who has a 4ha cashew orchard in Bu Gia Map district’s Phu Van commune, said the harvest season this year came a few days after Tet (Lunar New Year) making it convenient for farmers to clean their orchard and do the harvest.

At the beginning of the blossoming season, the province's Agriculture Service Centre organised farming courses for hundreds of cashew farmers.

They were taught techniques to make the trees flower at the same time and how to treat some common diseases.

In the province, Ba Gia Map, Bu Dang and Bu Dopp districts have the largest cashew growing areas.

Nguyen Van Bac, acting director of the Bu Dop District Agriculture Service Centre, said the centre instructs farmers to regularly monitor their cashew farms to promptly discover diseases and pests and control them.

The most common disease is anthracnose, a fungal infection that damages flowers and fruits. Mosquito bugs and the striped mealybug are major pests.

Farmers are having a good harvest, but the price of cashew is currently low.

Traders are buying the nuts on farms at around 28,000 VND (1.2 USD) a kilogramme, down 10,000-12,000 VND from a year ago, farmers said.

The province has more than 130,000ha under cashew, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is among the crops that have helped farmers escape poverty in recent years.

The province’s cashew nut has been granted geographical indication certification./.

FPT targets 18 percent growth in pre-tax profit

FPT Corporation is aiming to earn 32.45 trillion VND (over 1.38 billion USD) in revenue and 5.51 trillion VND in pre-tax profit this year, gaining 17 percent and 18 percent respectively against 2019.

With a digital transformation strategy in place, the corporation expects to maintain its growth momentum from last year, with its technology business acting as a key growth driver, according to its newly-adopted 2020 business plan.

FPT also plans to issue nearly 3.4 million shares, equivalent to 0.5 percent of its charter capital, before June 30. The shares will be non-transferable for 3 years.

In addition, the group has approved raising FPT Software’s charter capital to 2.8 trillion VND from 2.4 trillion VND, and FPT Education’s to 1 trillion VND from 600 billion VND.

Ending 2019, FPT Corporation reported a pre-tax profit of nearly 4.7 trillion VND (203.3 million USD) on revenue of 27.7 trillion VND (1.19 billion USD), both up around 20 percent.

Earnings per share (EPS) were 4,220 VND, up 19 percent.

The profit margin was slightly up at 16.8 percent compared to 16.6 percent in 2018.

Revenue from the technology business exceeded 15.78 trillion VND, accounting for 57 percent of the corporation’s total income and up 17.8 percent year on year, while its pre-tax profit reached more than 1.97 trillion VND, up 29.9 percent./.

Hai Duong prepares to export fresh lychees to Japan

The northern province of Hai Duong is taking the necessary measures to export fresh lychees to Japan in 2020.

In late 2019, Japan officially announced that it would open the door for Vietnamese lychees following more than five years of negotiations between the Vietnamese Plant Protection Department and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF).

After receiving the department’s document on requirements for lychees exported to Japan, Hai Duong province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development asked the People’s Committees of Thanh Ha district and Chi Linh city, which grow lychees, to register new regions that grow lychees for export in 2020.

The localities were asked to check plantations that supply lychees to the United States, Australia and the European Union, and finish area codes for regions that meet criteria to export the fruit to Japan in February.

The provincial Plant Protection Sub-department will provide support for exporters and help connect them with lychee growers, and supervise plant quarantine. The department said it has contacted several potential exporters inside and outside the province to start promotions and seek Japanese partners. It is also preparing to provide technical guidance for farmers.

Vietnamese lychees exported to Japan must be grown in gardens supervised and granted area codes by the Plant Protection Department, and comply with Japan’s regulations on plant quarantine and food safety.

Exported batches must be packed and treated with Methyl Bromide at facilities recognised by the Plant Protection Department and the MAFF with the minimum dosage of 32g/m3 for two hours under the supervision of Vietnamese and Japanese plant quarantine officers.

They must be enclosed with a phytosanitary certificate issued by the Plant Protection Department.

Hai Duong province has about 10,000 hectares of lychee mostly in Thanh Ha district and Chi Linh city. In particular, over 300ha of VietGAP certified lychees and over 80 percent of the production area are run under the VietGAP process. Currently, 13 areas covering over 130ha have been granted export codes to the US, Australia, the EU and the Republic of Korea./.

Hanoi gears up for tourist arrival surge in 2020

Accommodation facilities in Hanoi have been asked to prepare to welcome more tourists this year.

In 2020, Hanoi will host an array of international political, sporting and tourism events, including the first F1 Vietnam Grand Prix slated for early April, ASEAN meetings during Vietnam’s chairmanship, celebrations of the city’s 1010th anniversary, and other big anniversaries.

These events provide a great chance to promote images of Vietnam and Hanoi.

At a meeting on February 13, Director of the municipal Tourism Department Tran Duc Hai asked accommodation establishments to prepare infrastructure and services and set reasonable room prices, especially during the F1 week, noting that they should prioritise long-term interests as visitors may return to Hanoi for future events.

Although the acute respiratory disease caused by COVID-19 remains complex at present, the local tourism sector is still making thorough preparations to welcome tourists when the epidemic ends, he noted.

Representatives of four- and five-star hotels in Hanoi such as the Movenpick, Grand Vista, Sheraton, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Muong Thanh and Bao Son said they have sterilized their establishments, distributed face masks and provided hand sanitizer for tourists. Some have also installed thermal scanners for guests.

There are 3,499 tourist accommodation facilities with 60,782 rooms in Hanoi. Among them, 66 hotels with 9,953 rooms have three to five star ratings, and eight condotels with 1,534 rooms have four or five star ratings.

Aside from accommodation facilities, the Tourism Department also demanded travel, transportation, shopping and food service providers to improve their services to cater for visitors to the city./.

Firms in Dong Nai, HCM City face labour shortage

The number of foreign companies and corporations choosing Vietnam for investment and production has increased strongly in recent years but their recruitment of staff has faced problems.

The Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in the southern province of Dong Nai, for example, said that nearly 3,300 companies in the province need more than 75,000 new workers this year as they expand production and open new factories.

Of the 75,000, more than 56,000 manual workers are needed for the companies, which operate in the garment, footwear, electronics and woodwork industries.

Pham Van Cong, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that companies need professionally trained employees, but vocational training schools have failed to meet the demand. Many people graduating from these schools do not even know how to operate a machine.

As a result, many companies employ high school graduates and train them professionally at the workplace.

Cong said that the province each year has employed dozens of thousands of manual workers from northern and central provinces, but the number of workers from these areas has fallen in recent years.

The department forecasts a shortage of manual workers to continue this year.

Cong said that the provincial Employment Service Centre is conducting a survey on workers who need jobs and will then introduce them to companies.

Many companies in HCM City are also facing difficulties in recruiting new workers. Several companies sought workers before Lunar Tet, but have not recruited any staff yet.

According to companies, workers often choose to work abroad as guest workers because of the higher salaries and reduced costs.

Unlike Dong Nai province, HCM City companies still need a large number of skilled workers.

According to the HCM City Centre for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information, the city needs nearly 30,000 new workers, of which only 16.82 per cent would be manual workers.

The remaining are skilled workers, but many of them are required to have vocational training degrees. The rate of university graduates accounts for 19.8 per cent

Nguyen Van Lam, Deputy Director of the city's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that highly skilled workers are needed for the enterprises involved in IT-electronics, automation, food technology, e-commerce, finance-banking-insurance, tourism-hospitality, garments-textiles, and logistics./.

Poultry prices sharply drop

Poultry prices have sharply decreased after the Tet holiday, which has been mainly affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the avian flu A/H5N6.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet, a food trader at Dong Xa Market in Hanoi, said that broiler chicken prices have fallen to just VND55,000-80,000 (USD2.60-USD3.47) per kilo, down VND10,000-15,000 against 2-3 months ago.

Nguyen Van Tuan, a trader from Hanoi’s Me Linh District, said that duck prices had considerably decreased to VND19,000 per kilo, so he sells more duck meat due to higher pork prices.

Duong Anh Linh from Nghe An Province’s Vinh City, said that her family had eaten more chicken and duck, instead of pork which has higher prices.

Dong Nai Province’s Livestock Association reported that poultry prices in the province have seen a remarkable fall.

According to many poultry firms, the coronavirus outbreak had hit restaurant business activities. Meanwhile, the avian flu A/H5N6 has killed tens of thousands of chickens and ducks in Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development forecasted that the flu epidemic would strike more localities due to the weather and low vaccination rate.

Currently, Vietnam is home to around 467 million poultry.

EVFTA creates more opportunities for garment and textile sector

Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry is set to be the one of the biggest beneficiaries of the recently signed Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) following its ratification.

Many commentators consider the EVFTA to represent a comprehensive and high-quality agreement that balances the interests of both parties.

With the trade pact set to come into force in the near future, nearly 100 per cent of the country’s goods to the EU will see import tariffs eliminated in line with the seven-year roadmap.

The benefits of this can best be seen in the garment and textile sector, with enterprises expected to enjoy plenty of room to expand into new markets due to the regulations setting out tax reductions.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover to the EU will increase by 81 per cent.

Most notably, in the context of unpredictable developments globally such as trade protectionism, trade tensions, and the ongoing impact of the novel coronavirus, the trade deal could help local garment and textile firms boost their exports, diversify markets, and achieve a higher added value through the establishment of fresh supply chains.

Truong Van Cam, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said the agreement could be advantageous for the nation in terms of access to raw materials due to the country’s heavy reliance on China.

Indeed, as soon as the EVFTA is ratified, domestic enterprises have been advised to seek new sources of raw material from other countries instead of China.

The EVFTA is therefore expected to present a wealth of opportunities to Vietnamese textile and garment businesses. However, as a means of enjoying the maximum benefits of preferential tariffs, enterprises must ensure that their goods meet the requirements set out by the rules of origin.

Mong Cai border gate ready to resume customs clearance

Mong Cai City in Quang Ninh Province has nearly completed preparations for resuming customs clearance at Mong Cai International Border Gate in the near future.

The Mong Cai border gate has been closed since January 31 due to the novel coronavirus epidemic. Mong Cai City and Dongxing City, which run the Mong Cai – Dongxing international border gate, have discussed preventive measures and scenarios for resuming customs clearance.

The two cities have yet to choose a date to resume customs clearance at the border.

Despite the epidemic, Quang Ninh has not adjusted its economic growth targets. Therefore, the province needs to resume operation at its international border gates as soon as possible.

When Mong Cai International Border Gate resumes operations, vehicles transporting goods between Viet Nam and China will be disinfected before entry and exit. Meanwhile, workers loading and unloading goods and drivers will face strict measures to avoid infection.

The city will work with trade authorities to solve difficulties for import-export enterprises, as well as find measures to improve cargo handling capacity at border gates.

Mong Cai border gate is one of the most important international border gates in the Viet Nam and China trade relationship.

Customs Sub-department of the Mong Cai International Border Gate estimated its budget collection to reach VND1 trillion in 2019.

Trade experts upbeat on EU-Vietnam bigger trade and investment potential

Trade experts were upbeat over the EU’s decision to ratify the free trade and investment agreements between Viet Nam and the bloc while predicting a strong increase in trade and investment.

“This is a historic moment for EU-Viet Nam relations, and one which will open the door to a new chapter of increased trade and investments between our two sides,” Nicolas Audier, chairman of EuroCham told Viet Nam News.

“It will enable European business to be at the forefront of the next phase of Viet Nam’s socio-economic development, and ensure that Vietnamese companies and consumers have privileged access to European markets, products and services.”

On Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament (EP) gave its consent to the ratification of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and EU-Viet Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), which EP member Geert Bourgeois described ‘the most comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreements that the EU has signed with a developing country for the first time’.

Bourgeois said agreements are based on mutually beneficial partnership, sharing common goals and values to encourage economic development and job creation, enhance competitiveness, alleviate poverty and promote strong institutional reform.

“Viet Nam is one of the most open and free trade economies in the ASEAN region,” he said, affirming the agreements are an important step towards the EU’s goal of establishing a free trade pact with ASEAN.

The German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy told Vietnam News Agency the deals will unlock a huge market for EU’s products and services given that Viet Nam is an increasingly important market for EU businesses.

Meanwhile, director of the Federal German Industries also welcomed EP’s decision, saying German businesses “breathed a sigh of relief” when the agreements were ratified and called for quick entry into force of the agreement.

According to data of the Association of German Chambers and Commerce and Industry, German exports to Viet Nam reached 4.1 billion euro (about US$4.5 billion) in 2018, up 18 per cent year-on-year, while Vietnamese products shipped to the EU were worth 9.8 billion euro, up 1.4 per cent.

Under the agreement, Viet Nam will cut 65 per cent of import tax on EU commodities after the deal takes effect, while the rest will be erased over a 10-year period. Meanwhile, the EU will cut more than 70 per cent of tariffs on Viet Nam’s commodities once the deal is effective, and the rest will be abolished over the seven subsequent years.

 

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said EVFTA is a new generation free trade agreement which is considered a “Western highway”, connecting Viet Nam and a very large and global leading market in both financially and technology.

The spread of new coronavirus (Covid-19) is challenging the sustainability of global value chains in which Viet Nam is a part, and EVFTA would offer a golden opportunity to accelerate the shift of these value chains, Loc said.

He said following the trade flow is investment capital and technology which EU businesses will bring that is expected to increase the added value and technology content of production stages in Viet Nam.

In addition, efforts to reach international standards on national and corporate governance and labour environment would also create new momentum for Viet Nam’s sustainable development strategy, Loc said.

After the EU’s ratification, the next and final step before EVFTA can enter into force is a vote in the Viet Nam’s National Assembly in April-May this year, while EVIPA still needs parliamentary approval of all EU member states.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the ministry will collaborate with other ministries to finalise the documents which will be sent to the President before submitting to the National Assembly.

If everything goes well, EVFTA will be ratified in May and enter into force in July, the minister said.

In addition, the ministry will also immediately review the Government's action plan and report to the Government so that it will be signed for promulgation once the agreement is ratified, he said.

Phan Thiet hospitality industry to develop further thanks to slew of new highways, roads

More investment would be made into roads between Phan Thiet and Dau Giay and the DT.719 coastal road, the southern province of Binh Thuan has said.

The Phan Thiet-Dau Giay Highway will meet up with National Highway No1 and go on to the Ham Kiem-Tien Thanh road and a coastal road.

The 10.2km road will be 37m wide.

The 25km DT719B will run parallel to the existing DT719 and they will meet in Hon Lan in Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam District near Mui Ke Ga. They then run up to La Gi Town and National Highway No55, which runs to Vung Tau.

The cost of the roads will be over VND2 trillion, including VND460 billion for the Ham Kiem-Tien Thanh road. Another VND1 trillion will be spent on the new DT719B.

The cost of widening DT719 will be around VND600 billion.

The province Department of Transportation said land acquisition for the North-South Highway in Binh Thuan Province has been completed.

It said the highway would have three sections, Cam Lam-Vinh Hao, Vinh Hao-Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet-Dau Giay.

They will run a total of 160km and so huge tracts of land need to be acquired and cleared.

By January the province had handed over to the Ministry of Transport’s project management board 980ha, equivalent to 81 per cent of the total land required.

Local district people’s committees have handed over documents related to compensation payable for 860ha, or 71 per cent of the total land required.

The total cost is estimated at VND1.376 trillion, including VND25.7 billion for Cam Lam-Vinh Hao Part, VND871 billion for Vinh Hao-Phan Thiet and VND479 billion for Phan Thiet-Dau Giay.

The compensation paid so far is VND1.229 trillion, or 89 per cent of the total proposed amount. Another VND147 billion has been paid as compensation for others such as agricultural and forestry lands and infrastructure.

In areas where there will be new roads and highways, local authorities have provided all information about land acquisition and compensation policies to the public.

Seeing the potential infrastructure brings, many real estate developers have flocked to Phan Thiet City in Binh Thuan to develop large hospitality projects.

One of them is NovaWorld Phan Thiet, which spreads about 1,000ha. The project developed by Novaland Group runs 7km along the beach.

NovaWorld Phan Thiet is on DT719B and has many second-home products like town houses and villas and shophouses.

A company spokesperson said it is an ideal location to develop a complex with many amenities and attract a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.

Recently Novaland and McKinsey Company handed over a Binh Thuan Tourism Development Plan for up to 2025 to the province People’s Committee.

Novaland hopes to join hands with local authorities to take tourism to a new level, contributing to the development of national tourism.

THACO speeds up auto spring exports

As the largest investor in automobile supporting industries in Viet Nam, THACO constantly increases not only the rate of use of local parts in its cars, buses and trucks, but also exports of parts, with automotive springs being one of its key export items.

Through a joint venture with South Korea’s Daewon Group, a tier 1 supplier for Hyundai and Kia, THACO has mastered the technologies required to manufacture and supply various springs meeting quality standards required by automakers around the world.

In 2015, THACO tied up with Daewon, benefited from technology transfer and build an automotive spring manufacturing plant at the THACO Chu Lai Industrial Park in Quang Nam Province.

The 2ha plant has a capacity of producing 12,000 tonnes of springs a year.

It is equipped with advanced technology lines and automatic machinery like hydraulic shearing machines, furnace coils, end heating furnaces for eye rolling process, end forming machines, end heating furnaces before taper, end forming machines, heating furnaces, cambering machines for long/short leaf, tempering furnaces, shot peeing - primer coating (dipping paint).

The heat treatment stage uses fully automatic equipment and technology that match Daewon's most advanced spring manufacturing line.

Product quality is strictly controlled to ensure they are suitable for both conditions in Viet Nam and overseas markets.

The plant’s production management system is based on digitisation through investment in the supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, system and manufacturing execution systems (MES), which help improve production capacity and reduce costs by 5 per cent.

A spring production chain at the plant at the THACO-Chu Lai Industrial Park in Quang Nam Province.

With Daewon's technology transfer, the plant has mastered the design, manufacture and development of a wide range of springs for the domestic and export markets.

With materials meeting Japan’s JIS G 4801: 2011 standards and carefully designed and tested to meet JIS B 2710 standards, the factory's products are of the same quality as springs manufactured in Korea.

With advantages like high elasticity and durability, good loading capacity, smooth operation, and meeting operating requirements in various terrains, THACO's springs are used in range of vehicles such as trucks, dump trucks, buses, and trailers.

The main products include springs for light trucks (Kia, Hyundai), medium trucks (Ollin), dump trucks (Forland), and semi-trailers, leaf springs and spring kits.

The products are not only supplied to THACO’s plants and other domestic enterprises but also exported to South Korea, Australia, Germany, and Dominica, with South Korea being the key market.

Last year, THACO exported 2,200 tonnes of springs, and this year plans to ship more than 5,100 tonnes.

To meet THACO's target of increasing the use of local content and satisfying customers’ increasing requirements, from 2020 the plant will develop new products such as springs for heavy trucks, parabolic springs, coil springs, and stabiliser bars, invest more in new machinery and equipment for research purposes, and improve design capacity.

With an eye on both domestic and export markets, THACO and Daewon are seeking to set up the THACO DAEWON spring manufacturing joint venture to become a production base for Southeast Asia, expand export markets and increase exports to South Korea, the EU, the Middle East, and South America.

THACO will also focus on expanding its domestic market by entering OEM component supply chains, promoting sales of spring products and enhancing its after-sales service in the domestic market and Southeast Asia.

Vietnam becomes largest grape importer of RoK

Vietnam surpassed China and Hong Kong to become the largest importer of Korean grapes after the country increased its imports by 34.8 percent in 2019, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Shine Muscats grapes have been popular in Vietnam, and purchase of the grapes surged during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday. According to head of the Korea Grape Export Association Hwang Eui-chang, 70 percent of Shine Muscats are used for ancestral rites and gifts in Vietnam on the occasion.

First-grade Shine Muscats cost 19,000 KRW (16 USD) per kilogramme, while second-grade fruit is sold at 17,500 KRW (15 USD) for each kilogramme.

Despite their exorbitant price, Shine Muscats is favoured by Vietnamese customers thanks to their delicious taste.

Last year, Korean grape exports reached 23 million USD, a year-on-year surge of 64.2 percent. Shine Muscats accounted for 72.4 percent of all grape exports, followed by Geobong grapes (13.8 percent), and Campbell grapes (13.3 percent).

Meanwhile, the RoK shipped 54 million USD worth of strawberries to foreign countries in the year, up 14.7 percent from 2018, with shipments to Vietnam jumping 90 percent to 7 million USD. Korean strawberries accounted for 99.4 percent of Vietnam’s total strawberry imports./.

Binh Phuoc farmers see good cashew crop, but lower prices

Farmers in Binh Phuoc province have begun to harvest their cashew crop and yields are higher than last year because of favourable weather and the efforts of authorities and farmers to prevent diseases.

Last year, many cashew farms in the southeastern province, the country’s largest cashew producer, were affected by diseases and had low yields, but authorities and farmers have taken measures to tend disease-affected orchards this year, enabling them to recover and bear more fruits.

This year, the rate of flowers developing into fruits is in fact high at more than 50 percent in most orchards, according to farmers.

Dieu Thanh, a farmer in Bu Gia Map district’s Dak O commune, said the weather this year is much better for cashew trees to fruit than last year.

Last year, inclement weather caused disease outbreaks, making his yield to decline, and his family had to spend dozens of millions of dong on fertiliser and labour to revive the orchard this year, he said.

Most cashew trees flowering this year have a high fruiting rate and harvest has begun, he said.

Dieu Hung, who has a 4ha cashew orchard in Bu Gia Map district’s Phu Van commune, said the harvest season this year came a few days after Tet (Lunar New Year) making it convenient for farmers to clean their orchard and do the harvest.

At the beginning of the blossoming season, the province's Agriculture Service Centre organised farming courses for hundreds of cashew farmers.

They were taught techniques to make the trees flower at the same time and how to treat some common diseases.

In the province, Ba Gia Map, Bu Dang and Bu Dopp districts have the largest cashew growing areas.

Nguyen Van Bac, acting director of the Bu Dop District Agriculture Service Centre, said the centre instructs farmers to regularly monitor their cashew farms to promptly discover diseases and pests and control them.

The most common disease is anthracnose, a fungal infection that damages flowers and fruits. Mosquito bugs and the striped mealybug are major pests.

Farmers are having a good harvest, but the price of cashew is currently low.

Traders are buying the nuts on farms at around 28,000 VND (1.2 USD) a kilogramme, down 10,000-12,000 VND from a year ago, farmers said.

The province has more than 130,000ha under cashew, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is among the crops that have helped farmers escape poverty in recent years.

The province’s cashew nut has been granted geographical indication certification./.

VPBank completes three pillars of Basel II

Việt Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) on Thursday announced that it completed the three pillars of Basel II, one year earlier than the State Bank of Việt Nam’s deadline.

According to Dmytro Kolechko, head of VPBank’s Risk Management Division, VPBank was one among pioneering banks in Việt Nam to apply regional advanced management standards.

The early completion of Basel II’s three pillars would be the foundation for VPBank to move towards safer and more efficient operation as well as approaching higher standards, such as Basel II IRB, IFRS 9 and Basel III, he said.

It also affirmed the capacity of VPBank in risk management and approaching international standards.

Basel II is the second edition of the Basel Accords, which are recommendations on banking law and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on banking supervision, aiming to enhance competition and transparency in the banking system and make banks more resistant to market changes.

Three pillars of Basel II were minimum capital, supervisory review process, and market discipline disclosure.

VPBank reported a record 2019 consolidated pre-tax profit of VNĐ10.3 trillion (US$445 million), exceeding 9 per cent of the yearly plan and up 12.3 per cent compared to 2018.

Industrial sector’s added value expected to rise 2.68 per cent

Acute respiratory infections caused by the new strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have had a major impact on Vietnam’s processing and manufacturing sectors, according to a recent report released by the General Statistics Office (GSO).

industrial sector’s added value expected to rise 2.68 per cent hinh 0Most notably, the epidemic has affected production industries that use raw materials and accessories which originate from China as well as Chinese enterprises operating in the country.

The GSO forecasts that if the epidemic is successfully nullified within the first quarter, the industrial sector’s added value will rise by only 2.68 per cent in comparison with the same period last year, of which the processing and manufacturing industry will increase by 2.38 per cent. In contrast, the figure was anticipated to reach 11.21 per cent if the epidemic had not taken place.

Some of the industries and products that have been hardest hit by the epidemic include textiles, garments, leather, shoes that have raw materials imported from China such as cloth, cotton, fiber, thread, and leather, along with other accessories within the textile, leather, and garment industries.

During the first quarter, the textile industry is poised to increase by 1.9 per cent, with expectations at 10.5 per cent if there had been no epidemic, whilst the garment industry will decrease by 1.5 per cent, in contrast to expectations of a 7.9 per cent rise in addition to leather and related products increasing by 0.5 per cent, in comparison with expectations of 8.5 per cent.

Production of electronics, computer, and optical products, which currently contributes approximately 18 per cent of the added value of the industrial sector, are expected to suffer a decrease of 2.3 per cent during the reviewed period, compared to an expected increase of 2.4 per cent.

Production of motor vehicles is projected to increase by 6.9 per cent, despite the figure predicted to surge by 9.3 per cent without the epidemic, while metal production could grow by only 5.2 per cent.

In order to stabilise production, GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said that the GSO has proposed the government continues to manage macro-economic and monetary policies in a flexible way as a means of controlling inflation and maintaining macroeconomic stability.

In addition, the simplification of administrative procedures needs to be sped up so large -scale public investment projects can be implemented, while a particular focus should be placed on improving the business climate, national competitiveness, and facilitating the development of the private sector.

He underlined the need to support local firms in seeking other markets to import raw materials for their production activities to overcome their difficulties caused by the epidemic.

EVFTA marks new stage in development of Vietnam-EU ties

With an overwhelming majority of votes in favour, the European Parliament (EP) approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) along with the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) on February 12, thereby marking a new stage in relations between Vietnam and the EU.

evfta marks new stage in development of vietnam-eu ties hinh 0The EVFTA was first ratified, passing with 401 votes out of a total of 633, with the EVIPA passing shortly after with 407 votes in favour.
Upon speaking to the press following the ratification, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son showed Vietnam’s elation at the EP making important steps to solidify mutual ties in terms of both strategy and economics.

Deputy Minister Son also highlighted the great significance that the ratification of the agreement holds, with both sides set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.

The EP’s decision shows that MPs have an appreciation of the nation’s role and standing amid a co-operative partnership between the two sides. Both trade deals are set to create long-term, sustainable, co-operation frameworks, especially in terms of the economy with trade and investment will receive a boost, the Vietnamese diplomat noted.

Throughout the session when the trade deals were being debated, MPs overwhelmingly stated that the two trade pacts signed with the country are steps in the right direction for the EU.

Parliamentarian Sean Kelly of Ireland voiced his support for both trade agreements, noting the huge potential of the trade pacts to solidify the relationship between the EU and Southeast Asia.

The trade deals will also serve to have a positive effect in terms of the environment, in addition to helping investment protection, whilst there are an array of great opportunities for Ireland, with Kelly expressing his hope that the agreements will come into effect as soon as possible.

As a result of the ratification of the two free trade agreements, the economic relations between both sides will be profoundly changed in the coming time due to the trade deals detailing a wide-ranging and comprehensive level of commitment that covers the economy, trade, investment fields, and sustainable development issues.

According to research conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the EVFTA and EVIPA are poised to elevate the country’s GDP by 4.6 per cent, whilst increasing exports to the EU by 42.7 per cent by 2025. The European Commission estimated that the EU's GDP will surge by US$ 29.5 billion and its exports to Vietnam will grow by 29 per cent by 2035.

Businesses in HCM City strive to produce 2.5 million masks per day

Face masks production companies in Ho Chi Minh City have suffered the shortage of non-woven fabric materials to produce face masks amid the complicated developments of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). .

Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade have stated that 20 face mask production enterprises located in the city are able to supply 2.53 million items each day, despite the fact that several businesses have been encountering issues relating to the shortage of production materials.

The department has moved to report an update on the situation to the Ministry of Industry and Trade as a means of connecting with countries that can provide non-woven fabric sources such as India and Malaysia.

In addition, the department has also proposed that the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Trade Cooperatives sign a contract that promises to distribute antibacterial gauze masks alongside Corporation 28, which is capable of producing 200,000 face masks each day.

Moreover, the department has also ordered the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) to step up production to make an additional five million face masks available as a means of ensuring that the domestic market receives enough supply source.

According to the department, it is now compulsory for five groups of people to wear face masks daily due to their frequent contact with customers.

This is now mandatory in five groups of people, including officials from departments, small businesses, staff from shopping centres, and hotels, in addition to a total of 322,100 other people.

The quantity of essential face masks for these five groups stands at over 966,000 pieces per day if each person takes three items.

On February 11, a representative from the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control said no new cases of the nCoV infection have been reported in the southern city.

The Department of Health has recorded 39 people who have come into close contact with nCoV patients but they have not shown any symptoms. All of the suspected patients are now required to remain at home to undergo strict monitoring for 14 days.

 
 

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