BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES MAY 11

 Garment sector focuses on potential markets

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES MAY 11

Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang has said the sector will focus on new potential markets to achieve an average growth of 6 percent each year during the 2020 – 2025 period.

They include members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in the near future.

Giang said the sector’s growth is likely to be 5 percent less than that recorded in 2019 if COVID-19 is under control in the second quarter.

According to him, the pandemic afforded businesses a chance to step up digital transformation, and produce masks in large quantity to meet domestic and foreign demand, thus creating jobs and increasing workers’ income.

They have also invested in emission-free stages such as fiber production and waterless dyeing so as to meet criteria of the global supply chain.

At a conference with the Prime Minister on May 9 morning, VITAS offered suggestions related to taxation and administrative procedures to tackle difficulties faced by firms.

It proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade soon submit the Vietnam textile and garment development strategy till 2025 with a vision to 2035 to the PM for approval.

The VITAS also mentioned the planning of major textile industrial zones using concentrated water treatment technology.

In order to further boost domestic consumption, it called for raising public awareness of the campaign “Vietnamese prioritise using Vietnamese products”./.

Vietnam seeks to boost tourism following COVID-19 

The Prime Minister has recently assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to devise measures to develop tourism following COVID-19 pandemic.

As countries around the world are preparing to enter a race for tourism market share, Vietnam needs to make good use of images of COVID-19 prevention and control to promote itself as a "safe, friendly and health-assured" destination, while improving service quality and implementing reasonable promotional policies.

The ministry also issued Plan No.1749/KH-BVHTTDL to launch the programme “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” in a bid to stimulate domestic tourism.

Run from June 1 to December 31, the programme aims to popularise attractive destinations and tourist products at reasonable prices, as well as introduce demand stimulus packages.

It will be launched in several tourism localities to attract the involvement of tourism associations, businesses, airlines and partners.

Localities were asked to offer ticket exemption or reduction at relic sites, museums and tourist areas, thus ensuring a safe, friendly and quality tourism environment.

Travel companies were recommended to develop new tourism products and improve professionalism in catering guests while transport firms should offer ticket reduction and work with travel agencies to build full-package tours./.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau gears towards more inclusive development

Taking advantage of its abundant natural resources, as well as the robust petroleum sector and seaport development, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is deploying a raft of measures with the target of growing into a dynamic zone with sustainable development.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Construction has proposed revising the planning scheme of functional zones in Go Gang Island, a popular venue for domestic and international visitors located in Long Son commune, about three kilometres south-west of Vung Tau city.

Boasting scenic beauty and a favourable location, Go Gang Island is regarded as a launching pad to spur the development of a new economic zone in the province.

If the proposal comes to fruition, the island would consist of eight different subzones over nearly 1,400 hectares for an estimated population of around 65,000, including housing and functional complexes, public spaces, green trees and parks, water landscaping, technical infrastructure, an entertainment site, airport and associated services, and a local fishing centre. The land earmarked for urban construction is set at nearly 800 hectares, accounting for 57 per cent of the total available area.

When Go Gang Airport becomes operational, about 200ha would be allocated to the development of new urban areas in the province. Alongside this, the investors have expressed a desire to engage in two major new urban development projects. The first, covering 150ha of the existing Vung Tau Airport space, will consist of an urban complex, a central park, mixed trade services and transshipment centre, and a finance and technology centre.

The second project, 270ha in Vung Tau city’s Ward 12, is set to consist of a complete 60ha eco resort, a 20ha plot for building a trade centre and office complex, a 15ha large-scale trade centre, a 25ha marina urban area, a sports centre over 15ha, 30ha of low-rise commercial buildings, and a new residential area attached to an existing village of over 60ha.

Another measure relates to the province’s commitment to have in place a seamless transport infrastructure system. Accordingly, as well as expanding aviation transport, Ba Ria-Vung Tau is accelerating the pace of local road projects, particularly constructing Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway.

National Highway 51 has been overloaded in recent years. This is attributable to traffic volume surging more than 30 per cent over the forecast level, plus rapid urbanisation along the road.

This bottleneck could be resolved by ramping up the progress of Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway. The province’s relevant agencies are stepping up efforts to be able to get the project off the ground in the near future.

The highway project is set to kickstart construction in 2021 and reach completion two years later, from there facilitating travel between the province and other localities in the southern key economic zone.

Besides the highway project, the province is seeking approval for a rail route to the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex under the public-private partnership model.

The province is also working on a number of other transport infrastructure projects, such as Phuoc An Bridge, Long Son-Cai Mep Road, and many more.

This year, the estimated cost of implementing the province’s key transport projects comes to around VND912 billion ($39.6 million).

Ba Ria-Vung Tau also plans to develop the local tourism sector by capitalising on its bountiful natural resources, such as its 300km-plus coastline and the Con Dao archipelago.

If the province’s tourism development strategy goes to plan, by 2025 it would welcome 9.6 million visitors (including 1.4 million foreigners), an 11-13 per cent rise against the present time. The sector aims to secure VND31 trillion ($1.34 billion) in revenue by 2025 with an annual growth of 30-35 per cent during the period. The scheme includes a list of projects and programmes given priority for investment to 2025, such as a tourism-oriented urban area in Vung Tau city, two resorts (at Con Dao and Long Hai-Phuoc Hai), and implementing four tourism development programmes on human resources development and training; promotion of local tourism brands; preservation, conservation, and development of local resources, and development of key tourism infrastructure.

Names of two contractors for National Highway 45 - Nghi Son Section disclosed

The names of the two contractors who will construct the Nghi Son section of National Highway 45 under the Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway have been revealed.

As per the decision of (which authority), two joint ventures have been selected as contractors of the large-scale infrastructure project. The first is the joint venture of Cienco 4, Hoa Binh Construction Group, Thuan An Trading and Development Construction JSC,Newcity Group JSC, and 18 Transport Construction JSC. The other joint venture includes Licogi 16, Dien Phuc Co., Ltd., FECON JSC, 468 Construction and Consultancy Investment JSC, and FECON Infrastructure JSC.

The Nghi Son section of National Highway 45 is one of the eight sections of the Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway that will be constructed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

This section is 43 kilometres long, stretching from Nong Cong district to Tinh Gia district in Thanh Hoa province.

The project is designed to have four lanes with the total investment capital of VND6.33 trillion ($275.2 million), VND2.03 trillion ($88.26 million) of which will come from the state budget.

Previously, the Ministry of Transport selected five local investors to join the bidding for the construction of the Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway after four months of filtering dossiers in the preliminary round.

Two joint ventures were chosen to bid for the 50km Nghi Son-Dien Chau section: the joint venture of Hoa Hiep Co., Ltd., Cienco 4, Pink Mountain Investment Co., Ltd., Vietnam Construction JSC No.2 (the first joint venture) and the joint venture of Tan Nam Construction Co., Ltd., Vinaconex, and Thai Son Traffic Work Construction Corporation.

This component project has a total investment capital of VND8.38 trillion ($364.35 million), VND2.55 trillion ($110.87 million) of which comes from the state budget.

For the Dien Chau-Bai Vot section, three investors were selected: the first joint venture applying for the Nghi Son-Dien Chau section, the joint venture of Vinaconex, Tan Nam, and HCJ JSC, and another joint venture consisting of five local companies.

The construction of this component project is estimated to cost VND13.3 trillion ($578.26 million), VND8.07 trillion ($350.87 million) of which will be taken from the state budget.

The Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway is a priority national investment projects in 2017-2020 and includes 11 sub-projects with the total length of 654km running through 13 provinces and cities.

The prime minister asked to kick off the construction of these 11 sub-projects in August this year.

Vietnam shares post-pandemic development policies

Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau shared post-COVID-19 development policies that Vietnam is  carrying out at an online seminar held by the International Chamber of Media and Entertainment Industry of India (ICMEI) in New Delhi on May 7.

The Vietnamese diplomat updated participants on Vietnam's experience in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, saying that Vietnam has succeeded in the "first fight” against the disease with no deaths, and nearly 90 percent of the patients recovered.

He highlighted the importance of comprehensive coordination among sectors in implementing quarantine and social distancing measures as well as people’s strict compliance with those rules, saying that this has helped Vietnam achieve positive results in the fight against the disease.

Apart from efforts and measures to minimise the influence of COVID-19 on its industries, Vietnam is also gradually resuming domestic business activities, he noted.

On May 9, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will have an online dialogue with businesses across the country to seek solutions to boost production and business activities in the coming time, Chau said.

According to the World Bank, along with China and India, Vietnam will be one of the countries recording strong recovery after the pandemic, he noted./.

Seafood exports to drop 5 percent in Q2

Vietnam’s seafood exports will continue to see reductions in next few months due to the pandemic, with a slight year-on-year decrease of 5 percent to 2 billion USD in the second quarter, according to the Vietnam Association Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The seafood processing and exporting enterprises would continue facing difficulties relating to export orders, transport and payment.

The seafood export in the second quarter would not be able to recover because some major export markets for local seafood products are still strongly affected by the pandemic, especially the EU and US markets. The seafood exports to China also would not be able to recover.

The shipments are expected to see positive growth in the third and fourth quarters, according to the association.

Vietnam’s seafood export value in the first four months of this year fell 10 percent year-on-year to 2.18 billion USD, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The ministry’s Department of Farm Produce Processing and Market Development reported that both tra fish and shrimp, Vietnam’s two major export seafood products, had strong declines of about 32 percent to 420 million USD and 12 percent to 748 million USD, respectively.

Japan, the US, EU and mainland China were the major export markets for Vietnamese export seafood products, making up almost 58 percent of total export value.

Of which, the seafood export value had slight growth of 2.2 percent to 313.3 million USD for Japan market and 1.2 percent to 286.8 million USD for the US market in the first quarter. But those export values to the EU and China fell sharply by over 28.3 percent to 185.7 million USD and 27.5 percent to 145.6 million USD, respectively.

Meanwhile, the nation saw the highest seafood export value growth at about 22 percent to Russia in the first quarter.

The department also said Vietnam spent 545 million USD to import seafood material in the first four months, about 3 percent lower than the same period of last year, mainly from India, Norway, Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia.

Since the beginning of April, transactions on the domestic raw pangasius market in the Mekong Delta have decreased due to reduction of export orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, China, the largest export market for Vietnamese pangasius products, has not yet recovered.

In January-April period, the nation’s total seafood production reached nearly 2.2 million tonnes, up 0.4 per cent compared to the same period last year, including one million tonnes from aquaculture.
The nation is estimated to gain a total seafood export value of about 8.3 billion USD this year, down 3.8 percent compared to 2019./.

Short-haul flights to lead recovery

Vietnam’s reopening of its domestic travel sector is expected to be replicated by focusing on short-haul Asian markets that will enhance its international tourism profile, according to a survey conducted by the hospitality consulting group, the C9 Hotelworks, and Delivering Asia Communications.

The country has effectively demonstrated a COVID-19 fighting model in Southeast Asia with a focus on the all-important driver of airlift demand.

The newly released survey of qualified travellers from first-tier cities in China by hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications was created to understand relevant overseas travel sentiment for the remainder of 2020, and to analyse demand for Chinese inbound tourism to Vietnam.

Key points highlighted in the survey are that nearly half of the respondents want to travel abroad this year, with 45 percent interested in travelling specifically to Vietnam.

Moreover, post COVID-19 Chinese travellers are looking at more mainstream, well-known destinations with top Vietnam picks being HCM City, Hanoi, Nha Trang/Cam Ranh Bay and Ha Long Bay.

Speaking about the reopening of Vietnamese tourism, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “A post-crisis short-term ‘fear factor’ is expected for extended air travel which will be manifested in a preference for short-haul, door-to-door flights, which is a key opportunity for China outbound tourism to Vietnam.”

“Of equal importance is to understand that, at the moment, and in the coming months, domestic travel and tourism will define the gradual recovery process. What is significant about the China Vietnam Survey is who the immediate post-crisis travellers are, and how hotels and tourism stakeholders can proactively meet their needs. We see a parallel trend in early travellers both domestically and from the China data, which pair up in a new tourism visitor profile,” said Barnett.

Putting the market insights to use is an important sentiment voiced by David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications, who added that “a 360 degree view of the results from over 1,000 qualified respondents concludes that tourism for the remainder of the year will be heavily leveraged by younger travellers 20-29 years old who are increasingly placing an emphasis on booking hotels on digital platforms".

“Two other significant trends from our China research showed that aside from sightseeing and eating being key activities, nature moved up in preference, which could be a reaction to a post-crisis change in tourism values. Diving into accommodation preferences, the two ends of the price spectrum of budget/economy and five-star hotels drew the most positive responses from the Chinese surveyed,” he said.

One final takeaway from the survey is how younger travellers are reflected, with 81 percent saying they would choose independent travel over group tours. This fact, coupled by younger Chinese booking travel digitally via WeChat and Fliggy, is a new twist in Vietnam’s marketing to China inbound tourists./.

Quảng Trị eyes $86m logistics centre

The People's Committee of Quảng Trị has approved in principle for Đông Nam ICD JSC to develop a logistics centre, expected to cost more than VNĐ2 trillion (US$86 million), in Hải Quế Commune’s East South Quảng Trị Economic Zone.

The 72ha centre is slated for completion in 2025. That aims to contribute to speeding up the development of the logistics industry in the province and facilitate local enterprises in the economic zone and those in neighbouring areas.

The committee’s vice chairman Hà Sỹ Đông told baodautu.vn that the investor will get preferential corporate income and import taxes, land rental exemption and other investment incentives in accordance with regulations.

Quảng Trị is shaping up to be an attractive destination for domestic and foreign investors thanks to its advantageous natural conditions, synchronous infrastructure, clear mechanisms, and especially the commitment of local authorities to welcome and facilitate investment.

Last year, the province saw construction of nearly 30 key projects commenced with a total investment of about VNĐ100 trillion ($4.29 billion). This proved a great effort by the locality to attract investment, baochinhphu.vn reported.

They included the Thailand-invested BOT Quảng Trị 1 Thermal Power Plant, worth above VNĐ55 trillion, in Hải Khê Commune of Hải Lăng District. The project, the largest of its kind in the province, has a designed production capacity of 1,320 MW.

Others were the 685ha-Mỹ Thủy port area, being constructed in the East South Quảng Trị Economic Zone with total investment of over VNĐ14 trillion; wind power plants Hướng Phùng 2 and 3 with a combined investment capital of nearly VNĐ2.31 trillion in Hướng Hóa District and a 36ha eco-tourism complex, valued at VNĐ1.7 trillion in Vĩnh Linh District.

According to local authorities, many domestic and foreign investors have seen the province's potential, strengths, and aspirations to rise and they are willing to explore investment opportunities.

The province will call for investment in areas in which it has advantages. Meanwhile, the province will select investors who produce hi-tech goods or those that facilitate the province's general development.

Hanoi implements six solutions to improve PCI ranking

Hanoi is implementing six solutions to improve the city’s ranking in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2020, maintaining its position among the top ten localities in the index.

The capital city was ranked ninth among 63 localities in the latest PCI rankings (for 2019) announced recently by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). The reading improved 3.4 points from the previous year.

Breaking down the 2019 index, Hanoi has three component indexes among the 10 highest in the country, which are business support services, labour training policies and market entry.

Meanwhile, its six other components were only in the middle-range group, which are time costs (ranked 21st among 63), transparent business environment and equitable business information (36th), informal costs (41st), land access and security of business premises (41st), proactive and creative provincial leadership in solving problems for enterprises (45th) and legal institutions (45th).

It is noteworthy that the city has one component in the bottom range, which is the competitive environment, ranked at only 56th among 63 localities.

The city will strive to keep up its performance in the highly-ranked component indexes, while improving the indexes in the middle and low-range groups.

One important solution is to intensify administrative procedure reforms through using information technology and enhancing transparency in order to further reduce time costs and both formal and informal costs for enterprises, particularly in the context of economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, Hanoi will get prepared for new opportunities in the wave of investment shifting out of China by member countries of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EV FTA) and EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

The city will continue implementing policies on business development and encouraging business households to upgrade to companies, along with promoting startup and renovation through incentives and support in information access and market extension.

Hanoi will also promote the role of business and trade associations in popularizing the administration’s policies and conveying problems facing the business circles to the authorities./.

Hanoi strives to have additional 700 OCOP products in 2020

Hanoi aims to have additional 700 products qualified for standards of the One Commune - One Product (OCOP) programme by the end of this year, heard a recent conference of the municipal Party Committee on the implementation of the programme. 

The city had about 300 products qualified for OCOP standards in 2019, exceeding the year’s plan by 0.3 percent.

In the year, Thanh Xuan and Ha Dong districts had their products vying for the programme for the first time, with a combined 33 products earning the recognition. 

Hanoi is currently home to 1,350 craft villages, accounting for a lion’s share of the country, said Director of the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Chu Phu My.

Of the number, 308 are recognised by the municipal People’s Committee, and many local products have been shipped to the international market. 

Furthermore, there are 1,138 agricultural cooperatives and over 2,910 farms in the city. QR code is being applied for more than 2,300 farm produce to trace their origins, which serves as a foundation for the city to select products eligible for the OCOP programme. 

At the event, participants pointed out that local authorities should devise incentives to support enterprises with OCOP products. 

In addition, they need to step up trade promotion and improve the products’ labels in a bid to reach out to more customers.

The OCOP programme was launched in May, 2018 to develop one strong product for each commune. It has contributed to rural area construction, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development./.

Thua Thien-Hue aims to lure 20 domestic, foreign-invested projects

The central province of Thua Thien Hue has set a target of luring 20 domestic and foreign-invested projects with a total investment capital of about 10 trillion VND (429.2 million USD) by the end of this year.

Top priority will be given to Industry 4.0 areas including IT, hi-tech farming, new material production and biological technology, following the province’s investment promotion plan in 2020 issued on May 7 by the provincial People’s Committee.

Other fields in focus are agricultural processing, infrastructure development of economic and industrial zones and non-tariff areas, processing and manufacturing, supporting industries, real estate, as well as tourism, healthcare, education-training and others in value chains in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific.

Further attention will be paid to calling for investment from traditional markets such as the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Europe, and countries benefiting from Vietnam’s entry to bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements.

To this end, the province will focus on building a database on investment promotion activities, accelerating the implementation of promotion campaigns in order to better advertise its investment environment, policies and investment opportunities.

Preparing adequate land resources for key projects, speeding up administrative reforms and facilitating investors in developing their projects in the locality will be also included, according to the plan.

As of March 2020, the province was home to 119 valid foreign-invested projects, worth more than 3.86 billion USD, ranking 23rd among 64 localities in terms of foreign investment attraction, statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency revealed.

The province soared from 30th in 2018 to 20th in 2019 in the 2019 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week.

Both law and order and labour training criteria achieved the highest score so far, at 7.35. Other sub-indices, namely transparency, time costs, informal charges, policy bias and proactivity were considerably improved./.

 

Kien Giang serves nearly 1.8 million tourists in four months

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang welcomed nearly 1.8 million vistors in the first four months of 2020, down 40.1 percent year-on-year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Tourism Bui Quoc Thai.

The locality’s total revenue from tourism activities reached 3.44 trillion VND (148.9 million USD), down 51.7 percent compared to the same period last year and equivalent to 17.2 percent of the yearly plan.

Notably, the locality served 36,713 visitors during the four-day holiday on the occasion of the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1), raking in 43.2 billion VND.

Kien Giang province has so far attracted 311 tourism development projects with a total investment of 337.9 trillion VND. Particularly, Phu Quoc district is home to 267 projects worth 332 trillion VND.

Immediately after being allowed to resume tourism services after the time of social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, travel businesses in Kien Giang have conducted sterilisation and made best preparations to welcome tourists back.

Tourists visiting and staying in the locality have been required to check body temperature and fill out medical declaration forms, as well as keep appropriate distance in public places.

In the time to come, the provincial Department of Tourism will continue to inspect travel firms’ compliance with regulations and guidelines on COVID prevention while organising tourism activities in the locality.

Meanwhile, local authorities and sectors will strictly and timely handle relevant violations, as well as organise two specialised inspections in Phu Quoc district and a programme to popularise tourism-related laws in Rach Gia city and Chau Thanh district./. 

Hanoi asked to make different development scenarios to boost economic recovery

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently urged Hanoi to build development scenarios at different levels amid big changes in the world, regional and national economies to take advantage of all new opportunities and overcome difficulties to contribute more to the national development.

At a working session with the capital city’s leading officials, PM Phuc asked the city to exert extra efforts in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic to protect locals’ health, and prepare sufficient medical equipment and supplies to ensure disease prevention and control.

It is necessary to proactively take drastic and synchronous measures to boost economic recovery and development, support business and production activities, and ensure social welfare for those affected by the pandemic.

Hanoi should reward those with great contributions to the city’s development and strictly punish any violations, Phuc noted.

He also emphasised the need for the capital city to continue improving the business and investment environment, increasing its competitiveness, promoting its potential and advantages, and take advantage of opportunities brought by international integration commitments.

In addition, Hanoi should seek urgent measures to solve difficulties in production and business, Phuc stated, adding that speeding up the settlement of administrative procedures and disbursement and implementing economic stimulus packages are also the major tasks of the city in the time ahead.

The Government leader requested Hanoi to focus on accelerating the disbursement of investment projects, especially those related to agriculture, education, health, and social welfare; speeding up the construction of key projects; and solving difficulties in carrying out ODA, foreign-invested, non-budget investment, and public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

The city was urged to continue promoting the start-up spirit following the Government’s Resolution No.02/NQ-CP on maintaining the implementation of key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and increase national competitiveness in 2020.

It was also asked to maintain the effective implementation of the Government and Prime Minister’s instructions on reforming and controlling administrative procedures, and building a civilised and transparent administration, and better the building of a digital economic agriculture.

Hanoi should develop the agricultural sector to ensure the supply of food and foodstuffs, especially in this period when the COVID-19 is affecting local enterprises and people, ensure the target of having 2 million pigs, control pork prices in the market, and make good disaster prevention preparation.

It is also important to further improve urban management, expand urban boundaries to reduce population density in the downtown area, and manage construction order and ensure traffic safety, PM Phuc said.

Attention should be paid to the urban environment, he stressed, asking the capital city to ensure the supply of clean water for locals at reasonable prices, tackle water pollution in Day and Nhue Rivers, and speed up the implementation of a project to restore Tich River to transfer water to Day River.

The Government leader also required Hanoi to direct the good organisation of the Party congresses at all level in the 2020-2025 tenure towards the 13th National Party Congress; raise the responsibility of the grassroots level in citizen reception and in handling complaints and denunciations, with focus on solving cases that gather a large number of people causing instabilities; and increase dialogues with local people.

He highlighted the need for the capital city to rapidly solve years-lasting matters, including the matter in Dong Tam commune of My Duc district, the construction project at 8B Le Truc, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line project, and violations related to land lease and issuance of land use right certificates, and construction and use of land of Phan Ke Binh drainage ditch in Ba Dinh district and Nghia Do drainage ditch in Cau Giay district.

He requested the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line be put into operation in 2020./.

Natural disasters cause 3.6-million-USD losses in northern region

Recent heavy rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lighting have caused estimated economic losses of 83.5 billion VND (over 3.6 million USD) in 10 northern provinces.

The affected provinces are Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Cao Bang, Son La, Yen Bai, Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Hoa Binh, Phu Tho and Nghe An, according to the Standing Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

The natural disasters claimed one life in Phu Tho, and injured 16 others.

They caused the collapse of 44 homes; blew away the roofs of 6,728 houses and 83 schools; destroyed 1,703 hectares of rice and other crops, 48 ha of fruit trees, and 932ha of industrial plants; and killed 3,650 heads of poultry.

The office has been requested to keep close watch on developments of natural disasters, promptly handle and take measures to help localities overcome the consequences, thus helping people stablise their production./. 

Short-haul flights to lead recovery

Vietnam’s reopening of its domestic travel sector is expected to be replicated by focusing on short-haul Asian markets that will enhance its international tourism profile, according to a survey conducted by the hospitality consulting group, the C9 Hotelworks, and Delivering Asia Communications.

The country has effectively demonstrated a COVID-19 fighting model in Southeast Asia with a focus on the all-important driver of airlift demand.

The newly released survey of qualified travellers from first-tier cities in China by hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications was created to understand relevant overseas travel sentiment for the remainder of 2020, and to analyse demand for Chinese inbound tourism to Vietnam.

Key points highlighted in the survey are that nearly half of the respondents want to travel abroad this year, with 45 percent interested in travelling specifically to Vietnam.

Moreover, post COVID-19 Chinese travellers are looking at more mainstream, well-known destinations with top Vietnam picks being HCM City, Hanoi, Nha Trang/Cam Ranh Bay and Ha Long Bay.

Speaking about the reopening of Vietnamese tourism, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “A post-crisis short-term ‘fear factor’ is expected for extended air travel which will be manifested in a preference for short-haul, door-to-door flights, which is a key opportunity for China outbound tourism to Vietnam.”

“Of equal importance is to understand that, at the moment, and in the coming months, domestic travel and tourism will define the gradual recovery process. What is significant about the China Vietnam Survey is who the immediate post-crisis travellers are, and how hotels and tourism stakeholders can proactively meet their needs. We see a parallel trend in early travellers both domestically and from the China data, which pair up in a new tourism visitor profile,” said Barnett.

Putting the market insights to use is an important sentiment voiced by David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications, who added that “a 360 degree view of the results from over 1,000 qualified respondents concludes that tourism for the remainder of the year will be heavily leveraged by younger travellers 20-29 years old who are increasingly placing an emphasis on booking hotels on digital platforms".

“Two other significant trends from our China research showed that aside from sightseeing and eating being key activities, nature moved up in preference, which could be a reaction to a post-crisis change in tourism values. Diving into accommodation preferences, the two ends of the price spectrum of budget/economy and five-star hotels drew the most positive responses from the Chinese surveyed,” he said.

One final takeaway from the survey is how younger travellers are reflected, with 81 percent saying they would choose independent travel over group tours. This fact, coupled by younger Chinese booking travel digitally via WeChat and Fliggy, is a new twist in Vietnam’s marketing to China inbound tourists./.

MARD is confident about shrimp export target

Though the brackish-water shrimp industry in 2020 has faced many challenges due to extreme weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, leader of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is still optimistic.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong told a conference on Friday it held with Soc Trang Province and eight other coastal provinces in the Mekong Delta region, as well as the associations of Seafood Processing Enterprises, that shrimp production had suffered due to extreme weather, saline water intrusion and drought, as well as the pandemic.

He also mentioned opportunities and prospects for the development of the brackish shrimp industry in 2020, adding: “The shrimp industry will enjoy more favourable tax policies after the Viet Nam – EU FTA (EVFTA) is ratified.”

The minister said the industry should turn risks into opportunities and strive to export more products this year.

He thought State management in the industry must be tight and told firms to be actively developing.

In 2020, the brackish-water shrimp industry plans to raise 730,000 hectares with an estimated yield of 830,000 tonnes of products and export turnover of US$3.5 billion, an increase of two to three per cent compared to 2019.

In response, participants at the conference thought MARD and localities with large areas of shrimp farms should have drastic measures to cope with saline water intrusion, monitor environmental warnings and epidemic prevention.

In addition, they said there should be stricter management on input materials with regular inspections and evaluations of aquatic breed production and trading facilities, ensuring they provide good breeds for shrimp to improve the exported products of Viet Nam.

Participants also thought MARD should help them with advanced farming technology, efficient and sustainable production models especially in the context of COVID-19 so local products could be more competitive.

Furthermore, they need to have more updated market and price information to develop the products for export.

According to the General Department of Fisheries, the extreme weather conditions this year will be the cause of disease outbreaks for shrimp while the drought and salinity in the first few months led many shrimp farmers to reduce their production. By the end of April 2020, shrimp farming area in Viet Nam reached more than 480,000 hectares, equal to nearly 85 per cent over the same period in 2019.

MARD thought the sharply reduced taxes for shrimp from the EVFTA expected in the next few months will create high hopes for local shrimp exports to the EU.

Lao Cai wants an airport

 People’s Committee in the northern province of Lao Cai has asked Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for approval on the investment policy for Sapa Airport.

The airport is a public-private partnership (PPP) project with a total investment of about VND4.2 trillion (US$180 million). It has a total designed capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year.

Of the sum, local budget capital is about VND1.2 trillion for site clearance compensation, construction of path to the airport and aerodrome control tower. The total of private investors’ investment capital and commercial loans is estimated to reach VND3 trillion for construction of the runway and terminal at the airport.

This domestic airport is located in Cam Con Commune, Bao Yen District, Sapa Town, about 75km from the tourism hub of Sapa. The airport is also on the route connecting to the Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway.

The provincial authorities expect the airport project to have four years of construction according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and 46 years of operation providing aviation services.

Sa Pa Airport will have one runway and one terminal. It is expected to have one more terminal after 2030. 

Thua Thien Hue looks for new projects

The central province of Thua Thien Hue has set a target of luring 20 domestic and foreign-invested projects with a total investment capital of about VND10 trillion (US$429.2 million) by the end of this year.

Top priority will be given to Industry 4.0 areas including IT, hi-tech farming, new material production and biological technology, following the province’s investment promotion plan in 2020 issued on Thursday by the provincial People’s Committee.

Other fields in focus are agricultural processing, infrastructure development of economic and industrial zones and non-tariff areas, processing and manufacturing, supporting industries, real estate, as well as tourism, healthcare, education-training and others in value chains in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific.

Further attention will be paid to calling for investment from traditional markets such as South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Europe, and countries benefiting from Viet Nam’s entry to bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements.

To this end, the province will focus on building a database on investment promotion activities, accelerating the implementation of promotion campaigns in order to better advertise its investment environment, policies and investment opportunities.

Preparing adequate land resources for key projects, speeding up administrative reforms and facilitating investors in developing their projects in the locality will be also included, according to the plan.

As of March 2020, the province was home to 119 valid foreign-invested projects, worth more than $3.86 billion, ranking 23rd among 64 localities in terms of foreign investment attraction, statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency revealed.

The province soared from 30th in 2018 to 20th in 2019 in the 2019 Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) released by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week.

Both law and order and labour training criteria achieved the highest score so far, at 7.35. Other sub-indices, namely transparency, time costs, informal charges, policy bias and proactivity were considerably improved.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau steps up for development

 The southern coastal province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau has exploited its natural beauty and taken advantages of its oil and gas sector for economic development, turning itself into a sustainably developed region in the Southern Focal Economic Zone of Viet Nam.

Situated about 3km to the southwestern of Vung Tau City, the 30sq.m Go Gang Island has geological advantages and natural beauty. Go Gang Island is seen as a new area where an economic zone could be established in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province.

The Construction Department of Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province has proposed adjustments for functional areas of Go Gang Island on 1,389 ha, for a population of about 65,000, with 795ha of land to be used as urban construction land. Buildings in the area could have up to 60 stories.

Go Gang Island would have eight zones including residential areas, functional complexes and public conveniences; parks and greenery, water surface, amusement parks, airport and ground services, infrastructure and a fishery centre.

When the Go Gang Airport becomes operational, the provincial authorities will have 200ha of land for new urban area projects in Vung Tau City.

Two big urban area projects have been established, with one at Vung Tau Airport with an urban area of 35ha, a central park of 46ha, a logistics and service centre of 24ha, a financial and technological centre of 20ha; and an urban complex of 25ha.

The other project is located on 270ha in Ward 12 of Vung Tau City. This includes a 60ha ecological urban area, a 20ha office and trade centre, a 15ha business centre, the 25ha Marina Urban Area, a 15ha sport centre and square.

In addition to efforts to upgrade air transport facilities, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province has invested in land transport projects, especially a project to build the Bien Hoa – Vung Tau Expressway.

According to the province, the increase in traffic volume on National Highway No 51 (linking HCM City with Vung Tau City) and the rapid growth of residential areas along the expressway have overloaded the expressway in the last few years.

This could be eased by the Bien Hoa – Vung Tau Expressway. Construction of the expressway is scheduled to start in 2021 and be completed two years later. The new expressway would link Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province with other localities in the Southern Focal Economic Zone.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau has asked the central Government to conduct a feasibility study to build a railroad to connect the Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port under a Public-Private Partnership.

In addition, transportation projects will connect with the Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port including Phuoc An Bridge, National Highway No 56 (to avoid Ba Ria City), Long Son – Cai Mep Highway, and the Ba Ria – Vung Tau Highway.

Tourism

With a coastal line of over 30km and Con Dao Island, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province has advantages for tourism development. However, the provincial authorities have focused on the oil and gas sector and its deep-water seaports.

In recent years, the province has paid more attention to the tourism sector. Under the province’s plan for the next decade, it aims to welcome 8.6 million visitors (including 1.4 million foreign travellers) in 2025, bringing revenue of VND31 trillion (US$1.33 billion).

Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province is expected to maintain growth rate of 30 per cent – 35 per cent annually for its tourism sector between 2020 and 2025.

The province’s planning for development of its tourism sector for the next decade also identifies priorities for investment projects until 2025 including development of a tourism urban town (Vung Tau City), two national tourist zones (Con Dao, Long Hai – Phuoc Hai), sea and island tourist products, and tourism entertainment services.

The province will give priority to four tourism development programmes, including human resource development; regional tourism brand promotion; preservation, embellishment and development of tourism resources; and major tourism infrastructure facilities. 

Market to enjoy gain thanks to supportive information

Shares may continue to enjoy growth this week on hopeful signs about the Government's containment of the COVID-19 outbreak and a handful of other supportive information.

The benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange exceeded the 800-point landmark, climbing 2.16 per cent to close Friday at 813.73 points.

The index had rallied a total of 5.8 per cent last week.

An average of more than 276.5 million shares were traded on the southern exchange during each session last week, worth VND5 trillion (US$216.4 million).

Share performance would be fueled by upbeat market sentiment as anti-coronavirus measures taken by Viet Nam had proven effective, emboldening investors, said Hoang Thach Lan, head of the individual investor department at Viet Dragon Securities Co (VDSC).

As of Sunday, Viet Nam had reported no new COVID-19 cases via community transmission over the past 24 days, though 17 new imported cases were reported, leaving the total at 288 with no fatalities.

According to BIDV Securities (BSC), after nearly one month applying social distancing orders, some countries have gradually restored economic activities to normal operation.

Investor optimism is bolstered by hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic is plateauing in some global hot spots as the disease is nearing its peak.

In Viet Nam, the stimulus package of VND63 trillion has started to be disbursed, which would be a supporting factor for the business community and the stock market, BSC said.

There was also a good news for investors last week as the Ministry of Finance announced that it was cutting fees for most securities services by half.

The ministry issued Circular No. 37/2020 stipulating securities services fees to support businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From now till the end of the year, 20 of 22 securities fees are subject to a 50 per cent reduction.

From January 1, 2021 onwards, all charges and fees will return to normal levels.

“VN-Index is forecast to face correction pressure early this week before rebounding by the end of the week,” said Tran Xuan Bach, a stock analyst at Bao Viet Securities Co (BVSC).

“After penetrating through the previous peak at 795-800 points, VN-Index may possibly experience a throwback to this area. If successfully retesting this support, the index may be able to expand its recovery toward 845-860 points in the short term.”

“Foreign investors’ net buying on Friday after a long period of net selling also helps excite the market, thereby relieving pressure on VN-Index’s recovery,” Bach said.

“However, businesses’ potential adjustments in 2020 business plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Q2 business results below expectation may negatively influence the index movement,” he added.

“Stock exposure should be maintained at 25-35 per cent of the portfolio. Investors holding cash may consider opening buying positions at support 790-800 points,” he said.

“Investors should take profits from short-term positions at market’s resistance 820-825 points and 845-860 points,” Bach said.

The stock market may also get an added boost from new cash flow created by the newly-opened trading accounts in April, according to the Viet Nam Securities Depository (VSD).

VSD said that domestic investors rushed to open trading accounts in the context that Vietnamese stock market suffered severe losses due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic investors opened 36,721 new securities accounts in April 2020, up by 5,000 accounts against last month, VSD said.

In March, the VN-Index witnessed a record reduction of 24.9 per cent, only behind the fall of 34.34 per cent in August 2001. However, 2001 was an early stage of Vietnamese securities with a small market size as well as limited numbers of investors.

Therefore, it can be considered that March 2020 experienced a historic decline of Viet Nam's stock market, VSD said, adding that the tumble in March has attracted many people who have never invested in securities to open trading accounts to bottom fish.

This created a new cash flow to offset the strong selling force from foreign investors, VSD said.

According to VSD, in March, foreign investors opened only 146 accounts, the lowest number in the last three years.

 
 

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