BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 7

Shrimp exports expected to enjoy fruitful advantages throughout 2020

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 7

Domestic shrimp firms are expected to enjoy a wealth of opportunities that will ease the export of their products to the EU, the United States, and Japan thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the ongoing US-China trade war, and the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Last year saw Vietnam’s shrimp exports drop by 5.4 per cent to US$3.36 billion in comparison with the previous year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

Despite this slight decrease, current figures indicate positive signs for the country’s shrimp exports to major importers over the course of the coming year.

Last year, the export of white leg shrimp suffered a fall of 3.4 per cent to US$2.4 billion, accounting for 70.1 per cent of the total shrimp export value.

In addition, tiger shrimp plummeted by 15.9 per cent to over US$687 million, accounting for 20.4 per cent, while other types of shrimp reached US$ 317.6 million, making up approximately 9.4 per cent of the total shrimp export value.

Prices of raw shrimp experienced falls during the first half of 2019 in spite of the nation’s shrimp output increasing. This can be attributed to shrimp inventories in several markets remaining high while the supply source of shrimp from other countries also surged, causing the price of imported shrimp in markets to be lower than the previous year.

Elsewhere, China has made moves to tighten its control over quality, the traceability of the origin of products passing through border areas, and dealing with the unpredictable developments of the US-China trade war, all of which have caused a decrease in shrimp exports.

In the face of these factors, shrimp exports were able to recover in the second half of 2019 as a result of the increase in raw shrimp prices.

The EU remains the nation’s largest shrimp importer, accounting for 20.5 per cent of the country’s total shrimp export value with 2019 seeing the export of Vietnamese shrimp to the EU reach US$689.8 million, down 17.7 per cent compared to 2018.

Following 2019, the export of Vietnamese shrimp to the EU is expected to gain momentum as soon as the EVFTA comes into force this year.

The US is ranked second in terms of importing shrimp from the Southeast Asian nation, making 19.4 per cent of the country’s total shrimp export value. Indeed, 2019 saw shrimp exports to the US market reach US$653.9 million, up 2.5 per cent in comparison to 2018.

The increased level of US demand for shrimp imports from Vietnam in late 2019 indicates a positive sign as the US is in the midst of reducing imports from India, Thailand, and especially from China.

In August 2019, the US Department of Commerce released the final results of the 13th period of review, officially imposing zero per cent tariffs on a total of 31 Vietnamese shrimp exporters. This move has given fresh impetus to domestic shrimp enterprises who are seeking to export to the US in the near future.

The escalating trade tensions between the US and China has led the US to increase tariffs to 25 per cent on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, including shrimp products. This has, therefore, created opportunities for rivals, including those from Vietnam, to penetrate the US market.

Furthermore, 2019 also saw the nation’s shrimp exports to Japan decrease by 3.3 per cent to over US$618.6 million in comparison with 2018. Despite this the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are projected to increase seafood consumption in the Far East country, with shrimp products in particular set to boom, presenting an array of opportunities to shrimp exporters globally.

This year, shrimp exports are forecast to recover as a result of a number of favourable factors. The anti-dumping tax imposed on the US market has been slashed to zero per cent, while the EVFTA is expected to come into force in June 2020 which will ultimately serve to increase shrimp exports to the EU market on the back of advantageous taxes.

With regard to the Chinese market, between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of the country’s seafood products are exported via official channels, which will play an important role for shrimp exports to rebound in the Chinese market in the near future.

Sustainability reporting helps firms bolster competitiveness

Sustainability reporting is proving a compelling comparative advantage, helping firms to participate in the global supply chain while enhancing their competitiveness and promoting market entry.

More and more local businesses, particularly listed firms, have engaged in drawing sustainable development reports in recent years.

Aside from adhering to requirements regulated by the Ministry of Finance’s Circular No.155/2015/TT-BTC providing guidelines for information disclosure on the securities market about corporate impacts socially and environmentally, more and more local firms have been paying due regards to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting standards.

This set of interrelated standards has been applied by more than 10,000 organisations, and GRI’s sustainability reporting database currently consists of more than 50,000 reports updated as of late 2019.

The attention towards sustainable development is expected to be steadily increasing both in Vietnam and worldwide this year.

This requires businesses to change their mindset and pay more regard to corporate governance, striving for operational optimisation, in which sustainability reporting proves to be a useful tool.

A recent study by PwC, a global professional services firm, shows that sustainability reporting might deliver development vision, strategy, the advantages and disadvantages of businesses, from there helping firms identify remedy measures, while simultaneously stimulating their employees to strive for more noble goals.

Sustainability reporting also helps firms establish reputation and trust among customers, as well as attract investment capital, and more.

A representative from Vietnam’s leading insurer Bao Viet Holdings – the top player in this regard in recent years – stated that sustainability reporting is a compelling governance and measurement tool which can bring long-term benefits to firms, helping them cultivate a strategic vision allied with contemporary development trends.

PAN Group, a listed firm having reaped diverse awards for sustainability reporting, shared that this work must be evident in the practical operations of businesses.

Businesses, therefore, can optimise their operation, boost competitiveness in agriculture and export, as well as gear their supply chains towards more sustainable values. Specifically, good sustainable reporting can help firms improve their capacity to identify risks and bring fresh opportunities to businesses.

The success story of H&N Garment, which is doing a smart job with sustainability reporting, might be a good example for other firms. H&N Garment is a small firm and a supplier of clothing and uniform for renowned brewer Heineken Vietnam.

In fact, Heineken is a trailblazer in sustainable development, so that the company has applied specific criteria and sustainability requirements to their suppliers.

H&N Garment has succeeded in grasping sustainable development trends and surmounted national boundaries to reach the global market.

The above examples show that businesses are actively approaching GRI sustainability reporting standards and that this set of standards could help firms participate in the global value chains to boost their competitiveness.

Export revenue poised to face first quarter drop

Vietnam’s export turnover is forecast to suffer a sharp decrease during the first quarter of the year as a result of the impact of acute respiratory infections caused by the novel coronavirus, according to Director General of the General Statistics Office (GSO) Nguyen Bich Lam.

Export turnover for the first quarter of the year is projected to fall by 21 per cent to approximately US$46.5 billion, of which agricultural exports and forest products have seen a decline of over 29 per cent.

Fishery products also experienced a downward trajectory of 38 per cent with textiles and garments down 22 per cent, footwear product down 17 per cent, computer, electronics products and components down 8 per cent, phones and components down 27 per cent.

Throughout reviewed period, exports to China have dropped by 25 per cent to US$5.6 billion in comparison with the same period from last year.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), total import and export turnover of goods in January stood at an estimated US$38.1 billion, representing a fall of 12.9 per cent.

This has seen export turnover reach an estimated US$19 billion, a fall of 15.8 per cent from the previous month, of which the domestic economic sector has undergone a fall of 23.1 per cent to US$6.31 billion. Elsewhere, the FDI sector has also witnessed a decrease of 11.6 per cent to US$12.69 billion on-year.

Meanwhile, value-added exports increased against last year’s corresponding period with electronics, computers, and components reaching US$2.6 billion, an increase of 5.6 per cent, whilst wood and wooden products rose to US$1 billion, up by 1.4 per cent.

Despite this, a number of export items experienced a downward trend in turnover. This includes textiles and garments which suffered a drop of 21 per cent, phones and components, down 22.4 per cent, and footwear products down 9.7 per cent.

A number of agricultural products also saw a significant decrease in terms of export turnover, including aquatic products which decreased by 25.2 per cent, vegetables and fruits, down by 3.9 per cent, and coffee, which suffered a fall of 30.3 per cent.

The United States remains the nation’s largest export market with a turnover of US$4.8 billion, an annual drop of 7.6 per cent, followed by China with US$3.7 billion, an increase of 32.8 per cent.

Elsewhere, there was a decline in export turnover to other markets, including the EU which fell by 30.8 per cent, ASEAN which suffered drops of 34.8 per cent, Japan down by 15.8 per cent, and the Republic of Korea which experienced a fall of 29.3 per cent.

According to the GSO, the import turnover of goods during January stood at an estimated US$19.1 billion, a drop of 14.4 per cent in comparison with the previous month.

January alone saw the country record a trade deficit of US$100 million, of which the domestic economic sector endured a trade deficit of US$2.4 billion, while the FDI sector saw a trade surplus of US$2.3 billion.

Viet Capital Bank gets green light for 17 new branches, transaction offices

The State Bank of Vietnam has licensed Viet Capital Bank to open five branches and 12 transaction offices this year, which will take its total number of transaction points to 87 in 26 cities and provinces.

The bank will open a branch each in Ha Noi, Thanh Hoa, Binh Dinh, Lam Dong, and Dong Thap, and transaction offices, among others, in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, An Giang and Kien Giang.

Viet Capital Bank met most of its business targets in 2019, with pre-tax profits rising by 36 per cent, and total assets going up by 11 per cent over 2018.

Da Nang licenses 14 foreign-invested projects in January

The central coastal city of Da Nang granted licences to 14 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of nearly 1.69 billion USD in January, the municipal Department of Planning and Investment announced on February 4.

Most of the projects are in restaurant and catering services, information and technology as well as language training, the department said, adding that Da Nang is considering launching the city’s investment promotion programme in 2020. That would facilitate its promotion activities during the year.

Last year, the city attracted nearly 700 million USD in foreign investment, with 130 newly licensed projects with total registered capital of 410 million USD, eight times higher than one year ago and 16 operational projects raising 120 million USD, 63 times higher than 2018’s figure.

The city has seen 208 foreign investors contributing capital and acquiring shares with a combined value of 133.3 million USD, nearly triple that of 2018.

These positive figures were thanks to the city authorities’ great efforts to improve the investment and business environment to create more favourable conditions for investors in the city. Also, the city’s leaders have removed obstacles hindering investors.

Pham Bac Binh, Chairman of the Da Nang Association of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises, said the city’s efforts in investment attraction have gradually brought positive results.

Binh told the online newpaper baodanang.vn that there remained room for the city to absorb more investment in the near future. To this end, Da Nang should seek strategic investors who could pump investment into the city’s key industries, he said.

Meanwhile, Pham Truong Son, head of the Da Nang High-Tech Park and Industrial Zones Management Board, emphasised the importance of perfecting the database for investment promotion and to effectively organising domestic and overseas promotion activities, focusing on potential markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and Europe.

Between now and 2025, the city is calling for domestic and foreign investment into 57 key projects, following recent approval from the municipal People's Committee.

The approved projects are involved in various sectors, namely education, healthcare, tourism-services-commerce, culture and sports, information technology-industrial infrastructure, hi-tech industry, environmental improvement, transport-infrastructure-logistics, and hi-tech agriculture.

Notable amongst these projects are such large-scale ones as the Lien Chieu mega-port, which is expected to use 3.42 trillion VND from the State budget and 3.95 trillion VND from the private sector; a 54.5-trillion VND mass transit system featuring metros and tramways; the relocation of the city’s railway station and urban redevelopment totalling 12.63 trillion VND and parking areas worth a total of 2.5 trillion VND.

Other projects included a solid waste treatment plant valued at 3 trillion VND; a 2.13-trillion VND smart city building project; horse-racing course and horse breeding centre totalling an estimated 4.55 trillion VND; and an underground entertainment and shopping centre capitalised at 900 billion VND./.

Viettel soars in global valuable brand ranking

The Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel) has jumped 126 spots to the 355th position in the Brand Finance Global 500 Ranking in 2020.

Currently valued at 5.8 billion USD, up 34 percent compared to 2019, Viettel is placed 102nd in Asia and 7th in Southeast Asia, according to Brand Finance, a London-based branded business valuation consultancy.

The company saw its 2019 consolidated revenues increase by 7.4 percent over 2018, and it currently occupies 53 percent of Vietnam’s mobile network market.

The Brand Finance Global 500 list covers 10 sectors in 29 markets, using a sample size of 50,000 adults over 18 years old. For the latest ranking, surveys were conducted online from September to December 2019./.

Vietnam’s trade with China hits 8.29 billion USD in January

Vietnam’s trade with China last month reached 8.29 billion USD, a year-on-year decline of 11.8 percent, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

This was because the seven-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday fell in January, so the number of working days in the month was fewer than usual.

Vietnam exported 2.75 billion USD worth of goods to the market, the authority added.

During working days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and national holidays), Vietnam’s export to China in January was estimated at 130.52 million USD per day, up 18.5 percent against the same period of 2019.

For the three working days after Tet (January 30-31 and February 3), Vietnam’s average export to China stood at 82.1 million USD per day, equal to 63 percent of the regular working days in January 2020./

Authority urges close watch of export at border gates with China

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Agency of Foreign Trade has urged for a close watch of the export of Vietnamese farm produce, particularly fruits and aquatic products, to China through northern border gates to get prepared against any unexpected development and prevent backlogs, as the acute respiratory disease caused by novel corona virus (nCoV) is ravaging the region.

In a notice sent to the provincial and municipal Departments of Industry and Trade as well as relevant trade associations and businesses nationwide on February 5, the agency asked them to closely monitor and provide it with regular updates on goods shipping at the border gates with China and any unexpected move from China’s border localities which may affect customs clearance and import-export activities in Vietnam.

The move came in face of travel restrictions triggered by the spread of the nCoV.

They should actively work together with relevant ministries and agencies to coordinate exports of farm produce, especially fruits both at present and in the coming time, the agency said. They must also strictly follow China’s rules on origin, traceability, packaging and more to minimise associated risks and losses./.

Bamboo Airways to launch Hanoi-Prague air route

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has licensed Vietnam’s newest carrier Bamboo Airways to operate a direct route between the capital city of Hanoi and the Czech Republic’s capital of Prague.

The first flight will be launched on March 29, according to a representative of Bamboo Airways.

The airline will operate two flights per week, which will be increased depending on the market demand.

The estimated flight time is 11 hours and 20 minutes from Hanoi to Prague, and 10 hours 20 minutes from Prague to Hanoi, significantly shorter than the 14-19 hours at present due to transit in a European or Middle East city.

To prepare for the operation of the route, in early January, Bamboo Airways announced cooperation with AIAREPS Group – a leading aviation service solution provider in Europe which has over 25 years of experience and 67 representative offices in over 48 countries.

In the month, Bamboo Airways also opened its international agent in the Czech Republic, aiming to cover all of Europe’s famous political and tourism centres in 2021-2025.

The airline is operating 40 domestic and international routes with a fleet of 28 aircraft, which is expected to reach 30 in the first quarter of 2020 and 50 by the end of the year.

It has carried over 3 million passengers on more than 20,000 flights.

Bamboo Airway also led the domestic aviation sector in terms of punctuality with the average on-time performance (OTP) rate of 94.1 percent./.

Coronavirus to hurt Vietnam’s economy

The novel Wuhan coronavirus is likely to significantly affect local economic growth, with the tourism, aviation and trade sectors facing the heaviest losses, according to a report by VNDirect Securities Corporation.

Accordingly, Asian countries, including Vietnam, will face an economic slowdown in the first quarter of this year as they have close economic ties with China, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has suspended all flights to and from mainland China and tours bringing Chinese tourists to Vietnam have also been cancelled, causing losses for the tourism and aviation sectors.

In addition, trade activities will be hindered due to the restriction of travel through border gates. Travel through border crossings with China may be further restricted in the coming periods, which may affect trade activities between the two countries.

In the short term, the export of farm produce, seafood and food through informal channels to China will face difficulties.

On the other hand, the production of some products in China’s Hubei Province may stagnate, leading to a shortage of materials for some Vietnamese enterprises in the textile and garment, electronics, consumer goods and steel sectors.

However, the shortage is temporary and production in China will recover when the coronavirus is brought under control.

Moreover, the retail sector will be negatively affected by the falling demand for shopping.

Nevertheless, VNDirect was optimistic that several sectors facing strong competition from Chinese rivals may see short-term benefits. In addition, some sectors, such as apparel and footwear, may see a shift of orders from China to Vietnam.

Enterprises producing and distributing pharmaceutical products and medical equipment may also see benefits. However, most local pharmaceutical firms produce antibiotics, simple medicines and functional food, so they will see no benefits from the coronavirus outbreak.

Further, local consumers who hesitate to visit brick-and-mortar stores and prefer shopping online will prop up ecommerce platforms and delivery service providers.

New manufacturing orders continue rising in January

January saw a modest improvement in business conditions in the Vietnamese manufacturing sector as new orders continued to rise at a moderate pace, IHS Markit stated in a report released on February 3.

The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) remained above the 50 neutral mark in January, posting 50.6 following a reading of 50.8 in December. The index signaled a further modest improvement in the health of the manufacturing sector at the start of 2020.

According to the report, supporting the overall improvement in business conditions was a further moderate rise in new orders.

 

Respondents indicated that stronger customer demand had been behind the increase in new work. Meanwhile, new export orders returned to growth following a slight reduction in the previous month.

Although new orders continued to rise, manufacturing production ticked down in January. Output has now fallen in four of the past five months, but the pace of reduction has remained marginal.

The combination of rising new orders and scaling back of production has led a number of firms to use stocks of finished goods to help meet new business requirements. As a result, post-production inventories have decreased, at the fastest pace in three months.

Despite this, firms still reported a marginal increase in backlogs of work. The accumulation was ranked fifth in as many months. Staffing levels rose at a fractional pace in January, with the rate of job creation the weakest in the current three-month sequence of rising employment.

Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, noted there was further positive news in terms of manufacturing new orders in the latest Vietnam PMI, with the expansion taking the current sequence of growth to 50 months.

Despite this, firms appear to be taking a step back from raising production at present, preferring to utilize inventories to help meet customer orders. This will likely change soon, however, should the upward trajectory of new business continue.

“The Vietnamese manufacturing sector looks set to be a star performer again in 2020, helping to support impressive growth in the wider economy. IHS Markit forecasts industrial production to rise 7.9% during 2020,” Harker remarked in the report.

Manufacturers expanded their purchasing activity at a slightly faster pace in January. Despite the rise in input buying, stocks of purchases were broadly unchanged as some respondents restricted stock holdings in line with lower output requirements.

With input costs rising, firms raised their output prices accordingly. Selling price inflation was recorded for the second month running, with the modest rise broadly in line with that seen in December.

Confidence in the 12-month outlook for production improved at the start of the year and was the highest for three months. Positive sentiment mainly reflected predictions of rising new orders and the launch of new products.

Vietjet sees profit increase sharply, highlights India market

Vietjet continues to see positive growth in its core business of air transportation in 2019, maintaining its leading position in Vietnam’s domestic market and fast growth in international flight network. In 2019, the airline’s flight network increased by 24% with 22 international routes connecting Vietnam with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, and especially India - the 1.2 billion people market, etc. Vietjet also transported nearly 25 million passengers in 2019, an increase of 28% compared to 2018.

Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE code: VJC) has announced its business result for the 4th quarter of 2019. Accordingly, the airline’s revenue for air transportation in the 4th quarter stood at VND10,500 billion, an increase of 25%. This results in its 2019’s revenue and profit from air transportation standing at VND41,097 billion and VND3,936 billion respectively, increasing by 21.4% and 29.3% respectively compared to 2018.

Vietjet’s revenue from sales & leaseback activity has been adjusted due to the airline’s revising its aircraft delivery from Airbus in 2019. The airline received 16 aircraft in 2018 while the number for 2019 was 7 aircraft, which results in the fact that Vietjet’s accumulated revenue and profit in 2019 stood at VND52,095 billion and VND5,010 billion respectively, a slight decrease compared to those for 2018.

To compensate for the delay in new aircraft’s delivery from Airbus, Vietjet carried out a lease of 9 aircraft, totaling its operating fleet to 78 aircraft with 321,000 aircraft operation hours and 139,000 flights. Its load factor stays at 87% with technical reliability rate being at 99.64%, which are among the top airlines in the Asia Pacific region. Vietjet has also been awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7-stars from AirlineRatings.com.

The carrier’s growing business also attributes to its effective strategies on ancillary revenue management, including extra service fees, cargo transportation, inflight services (food, beverages & duty-free stuff) and advertisements.

In 2019, Vietjet’s ancillary revenue was VND11,356 billion, up by 35.2% compared to 2018. The portion of ancillary revenue in the airline’s total air transportation revenue also increases from 25.4% in 2018 to 30% in 2019.

Following the sustainability-focused model of low-cost carrier (LCC), ancillary revenue has become an important factor determining the success of Vietjet because of its profit margin of over 90%. According to the CarTrawler YearBook 2019 report, Vietjet was ranked 12th worldwide in terms of its ratio for ancillary revenue on top of total air transport revenue.

According to Vietjet’s consolidated financial report, the airline’s total asset in 2019 was VND47,608 billion with the owner’s equity being at VND17,661 billion including VND2,347 billion of treasury shares, an increase of 22% and 25.8% respectively against those in 2018. Its current liquidity was 1.4. Cash was VND6,076 billion, excluding VND2,347 billion in treasury shares, and cash in total reached VND8,423 billion, while the debt to equity ratio was 0.77, the lowest rate in Vietnam’s aviation industry. Vietjet’s EBITDAR margin was 31%, being ranked among the top airlines in the world.

Vietjet’s new and modern fleet also become younger with the average age of 2.75 years and are fuel-efficient. Especially, in September 2019, the airline received a A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) aircraft with 240 seats, the first of its kind in the world. The new aircraft features fuel consumption savings by a minimum of 16%; noise reduction up to 75%; and emission reduction up to 50%. In 2020, the airline plans to take delivery of 9 more new A321neo aircraft and 20 more every year from 2021, which is expected to reduce fleet operation cost and increase the profit from air transportation and aircraft financing activities. Additionally, Vietjet continues to optimize its operation and management cost in order to enhance its air transportation business performance.

Vietnam keen to develop supporting industries: Deputy PM

Vietnam is keen to develop supporting industries and the Government has been working towards the goal of having 1,000 enterprises operating in this sector that are capable of supplying for assembling enterprises and multinational corporations in 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said.

The Deputy PM made the affirmation at a conference on February 4 in the northern province of Hai Duong to launch a consultation programme for local enterprises involved in supporting industries Hai Duong is the first locality in the country to implement this programme, which is a joint effort of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Hai Duong People’s Committee and Samsung Group of the Republic of Korea.

Hue said Vietnam also aims to raise supporting industries’ share in the entire industrial sector’s production value to 14 percent by 2030.

Deputy PM Hue stressed that supporting industries are the main factor in raising the value of the process-manufacturing industry, the driver of Vietnam’s economic growth in recent years. However, it is still difficult for local enterprises in these industries to join in the global supply chain due to their small scale, low technology and a lack of linkage among them as well as between them and foreign-invested enterprises.

To facilitate the development of supporting industries, the Government leader required the Ministry of Planning and Investment to continue improving the investment and business environment, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review and devise development orientations for several key supporting industries.

He also asked the State Bank of Vietnam to consider designing more preferential credit packages for supporting industries, and instructed Hai Duong authorities to quickly adopt a master plan for developing supporting industries to 2025.

The Deputy PM asked the Samsung group to continue coordinating with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and local authorities in providing consultations to Vietnamese enterprises and assisting them in participating in global supply chains.

He pledged that the Vietnamese government will create favourable conditions for Samsung to early start its project to build a Research & Development Centre in Vietnam.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh informed the conference that his ministry and Samsung have organized many courses to train consultants in enhancing production capacity of supporting enterprises. He said this year, the ministry will work with a number of localities to build policies and implement measures to develop supporting industries in those localities, adding that local administrations should invest in human resources for the industrial sector in general and supporting industries in particular.

Secretary of Hai Duong province’s Party Committee Nguyen Manh Hien said the province is focusing on developing local supporting industries into a key link of global supply chains of multinational groups.

He reported that Hai Duong is home to 454 foreign-invested companies with total registered capital of 8.4 billion USD.

According to the official, the province has many advantages regarding infrastructure and human resources in industrial development. It now registers 15,000 domestic firms with total capital of 164 trillion VND (over 7 billion USD).

Director General of Samsung Vietnam Choi Joo Hoo pledged to enhance collaboration with the Vietnamese government to expand training activities and share experience with Hai Duong in order to help the province’s supporting firms achieve global production standards. He said Samsung will coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to train 200 experts in moulding as from this year.

At the conference, the Hai Duong People’s Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Samsung Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on a consultation programme targeting Hai Duong-based enterprises operating in supporting industries.

Under the deal, Samsung will select at least 15 enterprises to benefit from a three-month training programme on enhancing competitiveness./.

Kiên Giang farmers guaranteed outlets for high-quality rice

Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang are co-operating with companies to produce more than 35,000ha of rice under large-field models to secure outlets and improve profits.

Kiên Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, is developing large rice fields in many localities, including Giang Thành, Kiên Lương, Hòn Đất, Tân Hiệp, Châu Thành, Gò Quao and Giồng Riềng districts.

The fields are owned by one or more farmers but apply the same farming techniques to produce rice with similar and stable quality.

Đỗ Minh Nhựt, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers in agricultural co-operatives would work with companies to produce rice under the large-field model.

“The companies invest in agricultural inputs and give instructions in farming techniques to produce high quality rice for exports. The companies also guarantee outlets with a reasonable floor price, ensuring benefits for both parties.”

Under the co-operation, farmers apply the “one must and five reductions” method in which farmers use certified seeds and reduce seeding, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation and post-harvest losses.

Farmers working with companies in the 2019-20 winter-spring rice crop under large-field models are expected to have a good harvest since rice plants are developing well, according to farmers.

Đặng Văn Rang, acting director of the Tân Hòa A Co-operative in Tân Hiệp District’s Tân Hiệp B Commune, said the co-operative’s farmers have contracted with Lộc Trời Group to cultivate more than 90ha of the 2019-20 winter-spring rice under large-field model.

Lộc Trời will buy paddy from farmers at a floor rice of VNĐ5,000 a kilogramme if the market price of paddy is lower than the floor price at the harvest time, he said.

If the market price of paddy is higher than VNĐ5,000 a kilogramme at the harvest time, Lộc Trời will buy paddy at the market price, he said.

In addition, participating farmers who strictly follow farming techniques provided by Lộc Trời and produce high quality paddy will be paid an additional 200 đồng a kilogramme, he said.

In Tân Hiệp District, authorities have given farmers VNĐ4,000 for each kilogramme of rice seed that they use for the 2019-20 winter-spring rice under large-field models.

Phan Kim Loan, head of the Tân Hiệp District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said four companies have contracted with farmers in the district to grow rice on large fields in the 2019-20 winter-spring crop.

The district’s large rice fields with farm contracts have more than 3,000ha for the winter-spring crop, she said. In the previous rice crop, the area of rice fields with farm contracts in the district comprised only a few hundred hectares, she said.

The province’s farmers have sowed 289,000ha of rice in the winter-spring crop, meeting the target, according to the department. Of the figure, farmers have harvested more than 20,000ha with an average yield of six tonnes per hectare.

Last year, the province grew 722,000ha of rice with a total output of nearly 4.3 million tonnes of paddy, including 56 large rice fields with a combined area of more than 33,250ha.

About 72 per cent of the province’s rice farming areas grew high-quality rice last year.

Ninh Thuận works towards sustainable sea-based aquaculture

The south-central province of Ninh Thuận is developing sustainable marine aquaculture, focusing on high-value species to improve farmers’ incomes, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The province’s coastline of more than 105 kilometres and numerous bays and lagoons that provide suitable natural conditions for marine aquaculture enable farmers to breed many high-value marine species like lobsters, oysters, Babylon snails, green crabs, and fish.

Đặng Văn Tín, head of the department’s Fisheries Sub-department, said to exploit the advantages and adapt to climate change, local authorities and farmers would restructure breeding activities this year and improve farming techniques.

The province would focus on breeding species with high value, competitiveness and demand, he said.

Floating cages for breeding have to be registered with competent agencies from April, he added.

Farmers in the province have expanded breeding of aquatic species.

Phan Hữu Tuấn, who has been breeding lobsters in Ninh Hải District’s Thanh Hải Commune for many years, said he now has more than 40 floating cages compared to a few when he started out.

He harvests his green lobsters four times a year, 3,000 each time, he said.

The income is two to four times that he could get from other aquatic species, he said.

Traders buy green lobsters at a price of VNĐ700,000-750,000 (US$30-32) a kilogramme.

The number of lobster cages in the province has increased from 310 in 2015 to 1,950 now, according to the department.

The output of marine fish like grouper and cobia and other aquatic species like oyster, green crab and Babylon snail has also increased in recent years.

But the province still faces several difficulties like small scale of production, lack of infrastructure, lack of advanced farming techniques, and the high density of breeding cages, according to the department.

The use of trash fish as feed for farmed marine creatures poses a risk of disease outbreaks. Besides, food residues in the cages are dumped directly into the sea, causing a pollution threat.

The province does not have facilities that make feed for marine species or process them.

To improve the efficiency of sea-based aquaculture using floating cages, the province has instructed localities to adopt Norwegian techniques and organic and biological farming models.

It has organised training courses for farmers in farming techniques and instructed them to keep records of their breeding activities to enable tracing of origins.

It has also strengthened research and production of high-value fry of fish like grouper, cobia, yellow-fin pomfret and seabass.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau targets place among top 3 FDI destinations

The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has announced measures that could help achieve its target of becoming one of the three provinces to attract the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) this year.

They include drafting a socio-economic development plan for 2016-25 under which logistics services will be developed along National Highway No 51 and the Thi Vai River.

Ocean-related tourism will be developed in Vung Tau, Long Hai, Phuoc Hai, Ho Tram, and Binh Chau.

A tourism development plan up to 2025 towards 2030 will be implemented.

Plans for industrial zones will also be reviewed and amended to make investment selective.

Lands available in industrial zones will be effectively used, and inter-linked industrial complexes will be developed.

Furthermore, the province plans to amend the list of industries it seeks to attract to its industrial zones, with more space in the zones used to develop logistics to meet the requirements of export companies.

More efforts to support local companies

To improve the investment climate and expand production, the province People’s Committee issued instructions at the end of 2019 for improving Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s position in the provincial competitiveness index (CPI).

In terms of human resources, the province will continue to improve the quality of vocational training centres, and link up local companies with them. It will execute a plan to develop human resources for logistics and its supporting industries.

Trade promotion will be enhanced by organising many conferences and trade fairs. Training courses will be organised for local companies.

Meetings will be regularly organised between local authorities and companies to help resolve difficulties facing the latter. Policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises will continue to be implemented.

Administrative procedures would be publicised, the province said, promising that legal documents and news would be posted regularly on websites so that investors clearly understand new regulations.

The People’s Committee said it had ordered all government agencies to reduce the time they take to complete administrative procedures.

The province’s efforts have been welcomed by industry.

Selective investment in 2020

Determined to attracting more foreign direct investment and selectively, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has been calling on investors with deep pockets and experience as well as advanced technology to invest in big projects in the province.

The five main areas it focuses on to attract investment are industry, ports, logistics, tourism, and high-tech agriculture.

According to the province’s Department of Planning and Investment Ba Ria-Vung Tau accounts for 10 per cent of the country’s total FDI.

It ranks fourth out of 63 provinces and cities in this regard.

The average value of a foreign project is US$87 million.

With its ideal location in the southern area and status as one of the key southern economic provinces, Ba Ria-Vung Tau offers a number of advantages to attract investors.

On Monday the People’s Committee issued licences for five Vietnamese and foreign projects worth nearly VND1.5 trillion and $109 million.

On the same day it met with over 200 local companies on the occasion of New Year to review investments that came in last year and make plans for 2020.

VPBank slashes lending rates for businesses affected by coronavirus

Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) will reduce lending interest rates by up to 1.5 percentage point per year for customers affected by the coronavirus epidemic, the bank said in a press release on Thursday.

This was a bold action by VPBank in response to the State Bank of Viet Nam’s call on Tuesday urging credit insitutions to provide support to businesses which were suffering from the epidemic.

Businesses which were significantly affected would be those operating in transportation, warehouse, accommodation, tourism, restaurant and catering services, booking services and export to China.

For non-mortage loans, the annual rates could be cut by up to 1.5 percentage points and 1 percentage point for loans with mortage assets.

Besides, VPBank also actively studied and evaluated the production and business situations of their customers to provide prompt support.

It was estimated that nearly 1,000 business customers of VPBank would be affected by the epidemic. The number could be higher if the epidemic continues to worsen.

The bank would also keep a close watch on the developments of the epidemic in Viet Nam and abroad to provide support to affected firms.

 
 

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