BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 23

HCM City: Number of business households turning into companies remains low

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JAN. 23


Ho Chi Minh City has applied measures to encourage business households to turn themselves into companies, but the results have not met expectations, according to the municipal government. 

Figures from the municipal People’s Committee show that the number of business households shifting to company status has fallen in recent years, from 3,675 in 2017 to 3,380 in 2018, and 1,621 in the first eight months of 2019.

Nguyen Duc Nghia, chairman of the HCM City Tax Agent Club, said despite the efforts made by the political system, the Government and society, the number of start-ups and household businesses turning into enterprises was still not high.

He also pointed to difficulties in encouraging households to form companies, saying that most households are small and that owners are confused about complicated accounting and tax declaration procedures.

Most businesses do not clearly understand tax policies.

In addition, there have been no specific guidelines on implementing provisions concerning capital and tax in the Law on Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

One of the obstacles hindering households from forming companies is the increase in legal obligations and indirect costs.

Moreover, a lack of business management skills has also caused business households to become less confident.

To overcome the problems, standing vice chairman of the municipal People's Committee Le Thanh Liem has assigned the city's Tax Department to meet owners of newly established businesses and provide information related to new tax policies.

He asked the HCM City Union of Business Associations to work with the City Tax Agent Club to disseminate information about tax policy to enterprises so they can avoid committing violations of the law.

At the same time, certain agencies must take effort to effectively implement the Government Directive No 02 on supporting and developing enterprises in 2020, he said.

“Household businesses enjoy fixed tax amounts, so becoming a company means they must pay more tax. It's not easy to encourage households to turn into companies, so the association and tax authorities should offer more support.”

The city targets having half a million enterprises by 2020. Experts said there are three main sources for business development: new startup firms, enterprises expanding their operations, and business households developing into companies.

In recent years, local departments, agencies and districts have implemented specific solutions to support and encourage business households to turn themselves into enterprises.

Tan Son Nhat airport to serve over 3.7 million passengers during Tet

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City plans to serve more than 3.7 million passengers during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival. 

According to the airport’s representative, about 965 flights will come in and out the airport on the peak day before Tet, which falls on January 22 or the 28th of the last lunar month.

Meanwhile about 954 flights will take off from and land in the airport on the peak day after Tet, which falls on January 30 or the sixth day of the lunar new year, up 56 flights compared to the same period last year.

To meet the increasing demand of travel during Tet holidays, infrastructure facilities have been invested synchronously.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines installed 10 more check-in kiosks at the domestic terminal to better serve and reduce congestion at the check-in counters.

Scanning and security areas have been also added, while 14 more aircraft parking lots have been put into operation.

PhD students to connect with industries, boost economic growth

PhD students need to connect with industries to benefit the economy in Vietnam, experts said at a recent workshop in Hanoi. 

Giang Manh Khoi, deputy director of the Institute of Technology Application, said, “Highly qualified human resources are always the leading factor for the success of a firm, with their outstanding innovations applied to the jobs. They should create a lot of value.”

However, Khoi said: “The connection between industry, universities and the Government is not yet tight in Vietnam,” adding that as a result: “Graduates, as the core of the most firm’s R&D departments are less involved with the firms’ activities and don’t create much value."

Professor Raymond Lee, from Portsmouth University, said,“Many PhD students just stay at university, studying to become lecturers,” adding: “They may not understand what the industries need.”

To solve the problem, eight Vietnamese universities and firms have worked with the UK’s Portsmouth University, Cardiff University and Greenwich University under the sponsorship of the British Council as part of a project named ‘Education Fit for the Future’ to promote the quality of internships and industrial job placement for post-graduate students, enabling them to become global citizens that meet the requirements of a future society.

Professor Lee said: “The PhD students should work outside the university, so they can see and create innovations that society really needs.”

Mai Anh Tuan, vice director of the National Centre for Technological Progress, Ministry Of Science and Technology (Nacentech), said: “The universities produce a lot of PhD students that are not used by enterprises because they are trained with no real practical skills, and cannot meet the demand.”

In that case, Tuan said: “Enterprises, universities and the Government face a lack of qualified human resources.”

The project focuses on research on job placement in the industry with the active participation of businesses, universities and the Government.

“There are many success stories in the UK when PhD students are connected with industries. But the UK and Vietnam’s industries are quite different. We don’t have a lot of manufacturing industries or the strong presence of Asia (Asian firms) like Vietnam,” said Professor Lee.

Regarding the project, Lee said: “We are in the very first stage.”

Among few examples of the connections possible, Hoang Xuan Hiep, Rector of Hanoi Textile and Garment Industry University, which provided about 30 per cent of staff for the textile industry said: “We have two garment factories in the campus where our students can really work with partners and customers all over the world.”

Hiep said: “The garment section will keep being one of the best growing industries in Vietnam. We are training people for the next level of success, making Vietnam no longer an outsource destination for textile and garment products but a place where we can make the fashion products for the whole chain and also own a good brand.”

Hiep said the university was now training its post-graduate and PhD students on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, as well as a lot of innovations in internet of things (IoT).

Tuan from Nacentech said the project was an opportunity to connect PhD students, universities and industries. It would also help management agencies build a type of education that can fit all stakeholders in Vietnam.

Nacentech’s leader said that: “The number of Vietnamese partners in the project would grow as most of them realise the importance of a high-level workforce for their future.”

It is not known how many PhD students have been trained so far and how many of them used in local industries. Ten years ago, the ministry of education and training targeted to train at least 20,000 PhD holders by 2020. However, it then had to terminate the project as after five years, less than one fifth of the students had been trained.

Luxury apartments more common than affordable housing in HCMC

Affordable apartments only accounted for 2 percent of housing supply in Ho Chi Minh City last year while luxury apartments made up 6 percent, CBRE says.

The property consultancy said in its latest report that the affordable housing segment saw no new projects coming into the market between March and December 2019, while the luxury segment had two, down from five in 2018.

"Although affordable apartments (under $1,000 per square meter) are the segment with huge demand, there has not been enough supply for several quarters," Duong Thuy Dung, senior director at CBRE Vietnam, said.

Profit margins in it are not as high as in the luxury segment ($4,000 per square meter upward), and so developers are not too keen, she explained.

With the sharp increase in housing prices in the last five years, the average price in the luxury segment had reached $6,308 in the fourth quarter of 2019, the report said.

Although prices are at a historical peak, over 70 percent of new luxury housing was sold last year, including 100 percent in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2, envisioned by the government as the city’s new business district.

Demand remains strong in this segment because luxury projects are located in prime locations, CBRE said.

More than two-thirds of CBRE's buyers last year were local, mostly aged 30-40 years and from HCM City, its neighboring provinces and Hanoi. Foreign buying was dominated by investors from South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and mainland China, the firm said.

Mid-priced apartments ($1,000-2,000) accounted for 67 percent of supply followed by high-end apartments (25 percent), defined as those costing $2,000-4,000).

Hai Phong continues to be magnet for investors

With robust economic growth and a sound business climate, the northern port city of Hai Phong has remained popular among both domestic and foreign investors, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tung. 

At a meeting with more than 300 domestic and FDI firms on January 13, Tung briefed the participants on the city’s socio-economic achievements in 2019, with the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanding 16.68 percent, the highest ever.

State budget collection reached more than 89.68 trillion VND (3.87 billion USD), up 20.5 percent year on year, while Hai Phong port handled some 129.2 million tonnes of goods, increasing 18.51 percent from the previous year, he said.

Last year, a multitude of large corporations made big investments in the city, Of them, Vingroup splashed out hundreds of trillions of VND on entertainment, housing, urban areas and hospital projects, while BRG Group invested in the Do Son golf and villa project worth over 2.1 trillion VND, and the five-star Hilton hotel valued at over 1 trillion VND.

Tung stressed the projects will give the city a facelift.

During 2019, the city had more than 1,000 enterprises that contributed more than 1 billion VND to the State budget, 11 firms in the top 500 largest enterprises in Vietnam, and 13 in the top 500 largest private businesses in the country.

These firms also proactively engaged in a wide range of activities to support social welfare programmes in the locality, he added.

Binh Duong’s FDI inflows double yearly goal

The southern province of Binh Duong raked in 3 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year, doubling the year’s 1.5-billion-USD plan, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Truc. 

Binh Duong is now home to over 3,700 FDI projects, with combined capital of 34.3 billion USD, invested by 65 countries and territories, Truc said, adding the province ranks second in the country in foreign investment attraction.

He said last year’s new projects aligned with the province’s priorities and met environmental standards. There were many hi-tech projects with a large registered capital, for example, the 171-million-USD Internet service supply project of a joint venture between Japan’s NTT Group and Vietnam Technology & Telecommunication JSC.

Great outlook in FDI attraction remains this year as a number of projects about to get permits have quite large capital, such as production expansion project, with an extra investment of 610 million USD, of paper producer Cheng Loong Binh Duong Paper from China’s Taiwan. The project is expected to enable the firm to produce 1 million tonnes of industrial paper and 50,000 tonnes of consumer papers.

The vice chairman added from 2016 – 2020, manufacturing accounted for a majority of FDI so the province has been encouraging FDI flows in trade, services and hi-tech.

In the first few weeks of 2020, Binh Duong has welcomed multiple groups of foreign investors to visit and explore local business opportunities. He highlighted the visit of President of Bumin Medical Group Chung Hungtae from the Republic of Korea to Binh Duong last week who said he wants to invest in healthcare in the southern province.

The RoK was Binh Duong’s fifth largest foreign investor in 2019 with nearly 3.2 billion USD injected into over 800 projects, most of which in textile and garment, footwear, automotive support industry, healthcare, beauty products and food processing.

Grab installs first female CEO for Vietnam operations

Nguyen Thai Hai Van will commence her role as Vietnam CEO of Singapore-based ride-hailing giant Grab on February 1. 

Van, the first female Grab CEO in Vietnam, will oversee business strategy and operations across the country, Grab stated on January 13.

Van boasts 17 years’ prior marketing experience at the Netherlands-backed personal care products maker Unilever Vietnam ahead of joining Grab on November 1 last year. Besides, she co-chairs Vietnam Mobile Marketing Association.

She takes over as Grab Vietnam CEO from predecessor Jerry Lim, who will return to Singapore to serve as regional head of customer experience.

Grab has seen strong development since entering Vietnam in 2014. Payments via Moca, its e-payment partner, grew by 150 percent between January and June last year while its number of active monthly mobile users rose by 70 percent.

Japan supports Vietnam’s food value chain development

Vietnam holds great potential in food value chain development with a large consumption market and high export values, especially as the country is a member of various free trade agreements (FTAs), heard a seminar held in Hanoi on January 14.

Addressing the trade promotion event, organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Deputy Chief Representative of JICA Naomichi Murooka said concern for clean foodstuff in Vietnam has been on the rise.

Additionally, the country is actively joining in FTAs such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), gaining more prospects for the food sector.

Japan has provided support for Vietnam in agriculture and food value chain development over the years, contributing to the Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership in the agricultural sector, he added.

Meanwhile, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Do Anh Tuan said Vietnam’s agriculture export turnover in 2019 hit a record of 41.3 billion USD.

However, the sector is entering a new phase of development with stricter requirements, the official noted, stressing the need for Japan’s support in market access and building e-commerce platforms and high-tech agricultural development, among others.

In the framework of the Japan-Vietnam Medium-long Term Vision on Agricultural in the 2015-2019, the two countries carried out a number of activities to improve output and added value of Vietnam’s agriculture.

HCM City: top 200 contributors to local budget honoured

The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department on January 13 honoured the top 200 businesses that contributed the most to the local budget in 2019. 

Speaking at the event, Director of the department Dinh Ngoc Thang said outstanding firms added 65 trillion VND (2.8 billion USD) to the local budget, accounting for 55 percent of the city’s State budget revenue last year.

Their imports amounted to 30 billion USD, equivalent to 52.6 percent of the total import turnover.

Thang committed support for enterprises by stepping up administrative reform and modernising customs services.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong also lauded the city’s customs sector for fulfilling assigned tasks, and pledged to create the best environment for businesses to contribute more to the State budget.

Ford Vietnam adds 82 million USD in factory expansion project

Ford Vietnam has announced an additional investment of 82 million USD (over 1.9 trillion VND) to expand its automobile factory in the northern province of Hai Duong. 

The expansion is expected to increase the plant’s production capacity from 14,000 cars at present to 40,000 per year.

Speaking at the announcement ceremony in Hai Duong on January 14, Ford Vietnam General Director Pham Van Dung said the decision was made based on the growing demand for Ford cars and optimistic forecasts for the development of Vietnam’s auto market.

Meanwhile, Vice President at Ford International Markets Group (IMG) Andrea Cavallaro said the additional investment will bring Ford’s total investment in Vietnam to more than 200 million USD.

It also affirmed Ford’s long-term investment commitment in Vietnam’s auto market, he added.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the expansion has significant meaning in implementing the development strategy of the Vietnam’s auto industry through 2025, with a vision to 2035.

He asked the People’s Committee of Hai Duong province to create the best conditions for Ford to develop in line with the strategy.

The expansion project will be divided into two phases and carried out from 2020. It is scheduled for completion in mid-2022.

The plant will be expanded by 60,000 square metres, increasing the total construction area to 226,000 square metres.

The project is expected to create 500 more jobs at the plant and thousands of other jobs at Ford’s agent network nationwide.

Textile and apparel sector urged to get deeply involved in global supply chain

Despite recording impressive growth figures in recent years, Vietnam’s textile and apparel sector has failed to become deeply involved in the global supply chain as the local supporting industry has not developed with heavy dependence on imported raw materials, according to industry insiders.

The country’s garment and textile sector enjoyed an impressive trade surplus during 2019, with a total export turnover of US$39 billion, a rise of 7.55 per cent in comparison to 2018. 

Although the nation recorded a trade surplus in yarn and garments, it suffered a hefty trade deficit in fabric and fibre.

This is shown in the figures with domestic fabrics meeting less than 50 per cent of the sector's demand, forcing the country to import over US$10 billion of fabrics each year.

Truong Van Cam, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, states that the yarn output from 1999 to the present has recorded a 12-fold increase.

Local firms during 2019 produced over 2.5 million tonnes of yarn, of which exports reached more than 1.5 million tonnes, recording an export value of over US$4 billion, while fabric output also soared by six times, enjoying an export turnover of US$2.1 billion.

In spite of these strong figures, products supporting the garment and textile sector failed to meet demand, especially garment products for exports.

 

This can be seen as the supporting industry has been unable to produce fabrics and raw materials that meet requirements regarding quality and diversification of goods.

Simultaneously, the textile and garment industry has also failed to become more heavily involved in the global supply chain, with the majority of domestic businesses in the sector outsourcing to foreign businesses.

If Vietnam is unable to meet the goods origin requirements under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, then it will face challenges when it comes to enjoying the preferential treatment from these FTAs, according to Cam.

Vietnamese central bank invited to become BIS member

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has been invited to become a member of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the first expansion of the prestigious international financial institution's central bank membership base since 2011.

In addition to the central banks of Kuwait and Morocco, the three new additions will bring the number of BIS members to 63.

The BIS – popularly known as the ‘central bank of central banks’ – said it would also increase collaboration in its work as a forum for international co-operation and as a hub for central banks and other financial authorities. 

"Reviewing membership at regular intervals ensures that the membership base remains in keeping with the bank's global profile and its mandate to promote global monetary and financial stability," Jens Weidmann, chair of the BIS’ board of directors, said. 

The membership of two of the central bank committees based at the BIS – the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS) and the Markets Committee – is also being expanded. 

The CGFS, a central bank forum for monitoring and analysing broad financial system issues, will invite Argentina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Thailand to join. This will take the number of central bank members to 28. 

The Markets Committee, which monitors financial market developments, will invite Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and Turkey to join. This will take the number of central bank members to 27. 
GEM Chair Mark Carney said that, following the expansion, emerging market economies (EMEs) would make up about two fifths of the membership of each committee. 

"In the last decade, EMEs have become much larger and ever more connected to the global financial system. Having a representative range of views on financial market and monetary matters will benefit the citizens of EMEs and advanced economies alike," he said.

The BIS is an international financial institution owned by central banks which fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks. 

The BIS, which is based in Basel, Switzerland, carries out its work through its meetings, programmes and through the Basel Process – hosting international groups pursuing global financial stability and facilitating their interaction. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organisations.

Tra Vinh draws over 205 trillion VND worth of investment

Domestic and foreign investors signed memoranda of understanding on 19 investment projects worth over 205 trillion VND (8.84 billion USD) in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh at an investment promotion conference held by the province on January 15. 

At the event, the provincial People’s Committee also granted investment certificates for five projects worth more than 5.3 trillion VND.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Tra Vinh has achieved strong economic development over the past time, especially in calling for investment, which will inspire the Mekong Delta to develop high-tech agriculture.

He suggested local authorities enhance coordination with ministries and other localities in the Mekong Delta for stronger growth.

Tra Vinh should make use of its advantageous location as the gateway of the Mekong Delta facing the East Sea to develop sea-based economy, seaports, hi-tech agriculture, processing industry, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, supporting industry, logistics, eco-tourism, spiritual tourism, and marine tourism, the Government leader said.

The PM added that the Government will have proper policies and mechanisms for the Mekong Delta and particularly Tra Vinh to enable the region to mobilise all resources and improve investment environment as well as win the cooperation and support of donors and investors at home and abroad.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Tran Tri Dung said Tra Vinh commits itself to creating all possible conditions for businesses to make investment in the province.

HCM City tax department seeks to go past revenue target

The HCM City Department of Taxation hopes to surpass its revenue target by at least 5 per cent this year. 

Speaking at a review meeting on January 15, Le Duy Minh, its deputy director, said revenues last year had been VND291 trillion (US$12.81 billion), 8.3 per cent up from 2018, and this year the department has been given the same amount as the target.

Tax revenues excluding from oil were VND269 trillion, up 10 per cent. Revenues from oil were up 22 per cent to VND22 trillion.

With several free trade agreements (FTAs) coming into effect, many tariff lines have fallen to zero, and so the target is not higher than last year, and more FTAs are set to come into being.

But the department seeks to go past the target through innovations in tax collection and administration, creating a favourable environment for businesses and reforming administrative procedures to minimise the time needed for tax procedures.

The department would increase inspection to prevent transfer-pricing fraud and tax evasion by large businesses, households, e-commerce businesses, restaurants and catering services, and other new business lines in the sharing economy, Cao Tuan Anh, director of the General Department of Taxation, said.

More than 96,240 inspections were carried out during the year, which helped collect an additional VND13.8 trillion ($595 million).

The department revealed there had been violations by a number of companies, including some big foreign ones.

Nationally, tax collection totalled more than VND1.276 quadrillion in 2019, 9.3 per cent higher than the plan and 11.2 per cent higher than in 2018.

Direct air route hoped to help foster Vietnam-Czech Republic ties

The Vietnamese Embassy in the Czech Republic and the Bamboo Airways held a roadshow in Prague on January 15 to introduce Vietnam’s tourism potential and provide information about a direct air route linking the two countries.

With a view to opening a new transport channel between Vietnam and the Czech Republic, the Bamboo Airways is working to become the first Vietnamese carrier to open a direct air route connecting Hanoi and Prague.

The roadshow in Prague was the first in a series of the events that the airline plans to organise in Europe in the coming time.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ho Minh Tuan said the opening of a direct air route linking the two countries has been mentioned for many times at their leaders’ meetings since 2015. 

This year, the bilateral diplomatic relationship turns 70, and the establishment of this route, which will also the first connecting the European nation with ASEAN, will open up many new cooperation opportunities between the two countries, as well as between the Czech Republic and ASEAN, in all fields like tourism, trade and people-to-people exchange, he noted.

Deputy General Director of the Bamboo Airways Truong Phuong Thanh said his firm considers Europe a key market in the development of its flight network and tourism and investment products in 2020. The Czech Republic is one of the first destinations it chooses as gateway to Europe.

Frantisek Chaloupecky, Vice President of the Czech Confederation of Industry and Transport, shared the view that a direct air route will help the countries become closer to each other. 

The obstacle now is the granting of visas for Vietnamese and Czech citizens, but the confederation will work with relevant agencies, especially the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, to solve this problem, he added.

In April 2019, in the presence of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis, the Bamboo Airways and the Prague International Airport signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation. The Vietnamese airline plans to launch the direct air route in the second quarter of this year.

Cashew sector keen to increase export quality during 2020

Amid fluctuations taking place in the global cashew market, the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) is to focus on improving the quality of Vietnamese cashew nuts for exports whilst also increasing the efficiency of processing over the coming year. 

The association said that 2019 had been a successful year for the country’s cashew industry, with cashew exports and raw cashew imports reaching 450,000 tonnes and 1.5 million tonnes respectively, exceeding set targets in the process. 

It is expected that during the first six months of 2020, the price of raw and processed cashew nuts will fluctuate as a result of complicated developments occurring within the global economy, apart from ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as between the US and India.

Moreover, African countries such as the Ivory Coast and Mozambique have recently devised new policies aimed at tightening imports of raw cashew nuts.

At present, India is the largest consumer of cashew nuts globally with a population of approximately 1.3 billion people. The South Asian country is therefore applying tax policies aimed at limiting the quantity of cashew nuts imported, mainly from Vietnam.

Vinacas stated that they will continue to renovate machinery and equipment in a bid to increase processing capacity and efficiency, while simultaneously co-operating with cashew associations of various countries in order to produce and trade both processed cashew nuts and raw cashew nuts.

Furthermore, Vinacas also advised domestic enterprises to map out strategies aimed at boosting production, whilst adjusting their 2020 plans in accordance with market supply and demand.

Moreover, local firms should seek to enhance information exchanges with major businesses as a means of devising detailed plans to import raw cashew and supply processed cashew to the market.

VN cracks down on use of banned substance in fish food

Vietnam will strengthen controls on Ethoxyquin in feed production for the fishery industry to ensure stability in seafood exports to the EU, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). 

Tran Dinh Luan, Director of the MARD’s Directorate of Fisheries, said according to an EU decision on controlling Ethoxyquin issued in 2017, the additive will be banned from feed and feed materials for all animals, including aquatic products, from April 1 this year.

The ban was brought in due to fears the additive might cause a risk to human, animal health and the environment.

Ethoxyquin as a feed additive is used in the preservation of fish meal. Most countries set maximum residue limits (MRL) of Ethoxyquin between 77 ppm and 150ppm (parts per million).

The EU regulation is different from the regulations of Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US that have permissible limits of this substance in finished seafood products.

Luan said from now until March 31, the directorate and localities would inspect the use of Ethoxyquin in feed production.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien has requested feed producers review the use of Ethoxyquin according to the requirements of export markets, especially the EU, one of Vietnam’s largest seafood export markets.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in 2019, the EU was the largest export market of Vietnamese shrimp with export value of about 700 million USD, 21 percent of national seafood export value. It was also the third largest export market of tra fish with export value of 227 million USD, accounting for 11.5 percent.

Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary, said the association had informed local fishery businesses and animal feed producers about the EU regulation. It had also evaluated Ethoxyquin control at seafood factories as well as difficulties in controlling residue of this additive in export products.
To help local enterprises and supply chains control Ethoxyquin, the VASEP and fishery enterprises had proposed the MARD request feed production enterprises print accurate information about Ethoxyquin on labels. Meanwhile, the Directorate of Fisheries will inspect Ethoxyquin in feed products.

The ministry should propose the EU consider the use of Ethoxyquin in feed materials within limits, the association said.

VASEP has also taken 152 samples of raw shrimp for feed production to test for Ethoxyquin, including samples from a lot of large feed companies, such as CP, Thang Long, Grobest, Uni President and Tong Wei. These large enterprises make up about 70 percent of the domestic animal feed market.

The association found 83 of the samples did not meet the EU regulations on Ethoxyquin, or nearly 55 percent of tested samples. Only raw shrimp of CP Vietnam did not contain any Ethoxyquin.

The companies said they had not added Ethoxyquin in the feed production process and this substance had been found in fish meal imported from Peru and Chile for domestic feed production. But the imports accounted for a small part of the total volume that those partners in Peru and Chile had exported globally. So, it was hard for them to ask fish meal suppliers to not mix Ethoxyquin in fish meal sent to Vietnam, according to VASEP.

According to a representative of CP Vietnam, the company has requested its fish meal and fish oil suppliers not supply feed materials containing Ethoxyquin. It has also strictly controlled Ethoxyquin residue in raw materials before use in production. Therefore, CP Vietnam’s feed products do not contain Ethoxyquin.

In Vietnam, the MRL of Ethoxyquin for seafood products is 150ppm while the permissible limits of this substance for Vietnamese export seafood products in the Republic of Korea and Japan are 0.01ppm and 0.2ppm, respectively.

Vietnam, Japan promote investment to develop food chains

Vietnam and Japan have achieved many positive outcomes in agriculture cooperation, and the two sides will continue working together to build sustainable food value chains in the near future, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Speaking at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on January 16, deputy chief representative of JICA office in Vietnam Murooka Naomichi said many Japanese businesses have selected Vietnam as an investment destination to purchase material and process farm produce to export to Japan.

Apart from favourable natural conditions for agricultural development, Vietnam has recorded good economic growth in recent years, he said, adding that the demand for clean and safe agricultural products and food in the Southeast Asian country has been increasing.

Particularly, Vietnam is integrating extensively and intensively into the global economy and it is a free trade partner of key countries and regions in the world. Therefore, the potential for exporting farm produce and processed products to the global market remains huge, he added.

However, the agriculture sector still encounters a number of challenges such as the impact of climate change, small-scale production, lack of connectivity, and limited processing technology.

In its strategy to build food supply chains, Japan is stepping up support and cooperation projects with Vietnamese businesses and farmers as well as boosting private investment in agriculture, and improving production infrastructure and distribution system of agricultural products.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, head of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Japan is currently the biggest foreign direct investor of Vietnam in the field with a lot of high-quality agricultural projects such as growing vegetables and flowers in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and animal husbandry in the southern province of Dong Nai.

In 2015-2019, Japan implemented a project to support the development of food value chains from production, processing, distribution to sale and the increase of the added value for agricultural products and foodstuffs in Nghe An, Lam Dong, Ben Tre, Can Tho and some surrounding areas of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Tuan said Vietnam calls on foreign businesses and investors, especially those Japan, to promote investment in improving the quality of agricultural products.

Khanh Hoa aims to have 30,000 private businesses by 2025

Authorities in the south central province of Khanh Hoa plan to improve the quality and performance of businesses in the private sector, striving to have 30,000 businesses by 2025 and 35,000 by 2030. 

The provincial People's Committee issued a plan to implement the Prime Minister's Decision, dated 11 October last year, approving a sustainable development plan for private enterprises by 2025, with a vision to 2030.

It also targets the total balanced budget revenue from the private sector to be around 39 percent by 2025, and 44 percent by 2030.

The province targets its private economy to contribute about 97 percent to provincial export turnover by 2025 and about 98 percent by 2030.

To achieve the aforementioned goals, the provincial people's committee sets out six major task groups and solutions.

Particularly, the province will continue to promote the improvement of the business investment environment to ensure the maintenance of trust and enhance sustainable business investment of private sector businesses; at the same time, encouraging businesses to apply sustainable business models and cleaner production technology, efficient use of natural resources and environmental protection.

The province will also promote creative start-ups and effective implementation of policies to support small and medium-sized businesses.

It will help to improve labour productivity in enterprises, develop high quality human resources and improve management and corporate governance capabilities.

Especially, the province will encourage the private enterprises to apply science and technology, exploiting the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution.

Finally, it will strengthen the role of business associations in supporting private sector businesses to develop effectively and sustainably.

Last year, there were nearly 1,900 newly-established enterprises in the province, with a total registered capital of 17.58 trillion VND (757.8 million USD), down by 1.12 percent and 8.85 percent over the same period last year, respectively.

In addition, 447 enterprises returned to operation, a year-on-year increase of 42.8 percent, bringing the total number of currently operating enterprises in 2019 to 2,305, up 5.16 percent.

Three hundred and one enterprises dissolved last year, a year-on-year decrease of 33.8 percent. The number of enterprises temporarily ceasing operations was 669, up 11.13 percent.

Tax sector urged to realise State budget collection target

Minster of Finance Dinh Tien Dung on January 13 asked for greater efforts from the tax sector to well implement the budget collection plan for 2020 assigned by the National Assembly and the Government.

Speaking at a Hanoi conference to review the tax collection work in 2019, Dung urged the sector to prepare necessary conditions to put electronic invoice into use in accordance with Decree No.119/2018/ND-CP and Circular No. 68/2019/TT-BTC issued by the ministry.

He said that the General Department of Taxation must develop and submit guiding documents to effectively implement the amended Law on Tax Management and the NA's Resolution No. 94 on tax arrears and tax debts, and eliminating late payment of fines.

Tax agencies must take effective measures to accelerate the collection of tax arrears to the State budget, towards ensuring that by the end of 2020, the maximum tax debt will not exceed 5 percent of the total State budget revenue.

According to  Cao Anh Tuan, General Director of the General Department of Taxation, the sector aims to collect over 1.25 quadrillion VND (55.2 billion USD) in 2020.

The sector will step up inspection and supervision of taxpayers' tax declaration right from the beginning of the year, focusing on checking preposterous declarations and areas of business with signs of tax inadequate declaration, and resolutely sanctioning cases of violating regulations on tax declaration, Tuan said.

It will also build a plan of inspection in 2020 on the basis of risk analysis, and assign tax departments to ensure the minimum rate of inspection reaching 19.5 percent of enterprises being managed.

In 2019, the total State budget collection hit over 1.27 quadrillion VND, equivalent to 109.3 percent of the whole year’s estimate, up 11.2 percent year-on-year.

Of the number, budget revenue from crude oil reached 56.2 trillion VND, or 126.1 percent of its projection and 85.1 percent of the previous year. Meanwhile, domestic collection reached 1.21 quadrillion VND, accounting for 108.6 percent of the projection.

 
 

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