VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 1

Trade surplus hits record in 10 months

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 1

Vietnam’s exports rose 4.7 percent year-on-year in the first ten months of this year to 229.27 billion USD, for a trade surplus of a record 18.72 billion USD, the General Statistics Office announced on October 29.

In October alone, export value was estimated at 26.7 billion USD, down 1.7 percent month-on-month but up 9.9 percent year-on-year.

During the 10-month period, 31 goods earned over 1 billion USD each from exports, accounting for 91.8 percent of the total. Five brought home more than 10 billion USD each, or 59.9 percent.

Heavy industry and mining raked in 123.8 billion USD, up 8.4 percent year-on-year. Light industry and handicrafts, meanwhile, reported revenue of 81.8 billion USD, up 1.5 percent; agro-forestry 16.8 billion USD, down 1.5 percent; and fisheries 6.9 billion USD, down 2.5 percent.

The US remained the largest importer of Vietnamese goods in ten months, with turnover of 62.3 billion USD, up 24 percent year-on-year. It was followed by China, with 37.6 billion USD, up 14 percent; the EU 28.9 billion USD, down 3 percent, ASEAN 18.9 billion USD, down 11.6 percent; the Republic of Korea (RoK) 16.3 billion USD, down 2.6 percent; and Japan 15.6 billion USD, down 7 percent.

Total imports in October were estimated at 24.5 billion USD, up 1.2 percent month-on-month and 10.1 percent year-on-year. Ten-month imports totalled 210.55 billion USD, up 0.4 percent year-on-year.

As many as 34 types of goods saw import turnover exceeding 1 billion USD, accounting for 89.4 percent of the total.

China remained Vietnam’s largest import source, with revenue standing at 65.8 billion USD, an increase of 6.2 percent against the same period last year. It was followed by the Republic of Korea (RoK), with 37.4 billion USD, down 5.3 percent; ASEAN 24.4 billion USD, down 8.5 percent; Japan 16.5 billion USD, up 2.5 percent; the EU 11.8 billion USD, up 4.2 percent; and the US 11.6 billion USD, down 2.4 percent./.

Forum seeks ways to increase local goods’ competitiveness

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held a forum in Hanoi on October 29 to look at ways to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods and take advantage of new generation trade agreements.

Participants said new generation trade agreements could hold the keys to success for many Vietnamese enterprises, especially smaller firms, so they should be making every effort to seize opportunities they offer.

According to MoIT Deputy Minister Do Thang Hay, Vietnam is now a member of many new FTAs including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

“Participating in FTAs has helped the import and export market expand and diversify, and the financial services market become more developed with the participation of foreign investors, so institutional systems and policies must be completed to meet the requirements of integration and the implementation of these commitments,” he said.
 

“Along with the country's accession to the WTO in 2007, FTAs have contributed to boosting the country's GDP to more than 300 percent and increased import-export turnover by 350 percent,” he added.

Hai said while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and influencing the global economy, commodity retail in Vietnam has emerged as one of the bright spots for the macro economy.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), total estimated retail sales of consumer goods and services in the third quarter of 2020 reached 1,305 trillion VND (56.7 billion USD), an increase of 14.4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2020 and 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

In the first three quarters, retail sales of goods reached 2,907.1 trillion VND, an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year, GSO data showed.

“It is a positive result, clearly demonstrating the role of domestic goods during the unpredictable developments of epidemics and natural disasters. At the same time, it clearly shows the role of Vietnamese products in the domestic market because they are becoming increasingly favoured by consumers,” Hai told the forum.

According to a MoIT survey, Vietnamese products had become more appreciated and were being given priority by distributors and retailers in Vietnam. The proportion of Vietnamese products in modern distribution systems was high. Specifically, Vietnamese goods in Co.opmart accounted for between 90 percent and 93 percent; in Satra between 90 percent and 95 percent; in Vinmart 96 percent; in Vissan 95 percent and in Hapro 95 percent.

Mentioning local enterprises, Tran Duy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said despite being an important development engine for the economy and accounting for about 98 per cent of the total number of enterprises, the majority of private enterprises are still small or micro, which prevents them from accumulating capital to invest in innovate technology, expand their production scale or improve management skills and human resources.

Considering many SMEs still had short-term mindsets, he said this makes it difficult for them to build trust with long-term partners to develop together for mutual benefit.

Dong added that Vietnam has not yet entered the ecosystem and value chain of leading foreign enterprises, saying currently Japanese companies, some of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, procured about 32.4 percent of services and input products from local suppliers while the rate was much higher in China, Thailand and Indonesia.

He also said that links between domestic and private foreign enterprises, and between small and large enterprises, remained negligible and limited.

As a member of the Advisory Group of the Government, Tran Dinh Thien said there were strong signs of potential in the country's private sector, but there were still many weak points after 35 years of renovation.

He said the FTAs also posed challenges for Vietnamese businesses because they were having to compete with more imported goods thanks to tariff preferences.

To change this, Thien said Vietnam must stop the principle of "ask - give" when allocating resources because it could lead to corruption, waste and distorting the entire market structure.

Regarding local enterprises racing to sell their products at home and overseas, Nguyen Thi Dong, the owner of Hoa Lan Company which produces natural cosmetic goods, said “We face unhealthy competition from fake and smuggled products from other countries.”  

Dong, who distributes her products to provinces across the country through local women's unions, said: “Even though we have more and more customers buying our natural products, it is still difficult competing with fake imported products.”

At the forum, Luong Van Thang, Chairman of Viet Tiep Lock Joint Stock Company, one of the biggest lock producers in Vietnam, said: “To enter export markets like the EU, we have invested in high technology and a protected trademark.”

Thang said investing in anti-counterfeiting and intellectual property was also a core issue that the company was focusing on to protect the brand and meet the strict standards of the FTAs. The firm planned to apply an anti-counterfeiting authentication process via QR codes to help consumers retrieve information about their locks on their smartphone apps, he said./.

Inflow of FDI a driver of economic growth in Vinh Phuc

Vinh Phuc has reaped success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) for many years, and the source of FDI capital has become a driver of economic growth in the province.

Investors said they chose Vinh Phuc for investment based on many factors, one of which is the development of industrial parks and clusters, completed with technical infrastructure such as electricity and water supply systems.

The province has 18 industrial parks approved by the Prime Minister, with total area of more than 5,700 hectares. There are also 21 industrial clusters covering a combined 500 hectares of land. Eleven investors have poured money into infrastructure at industrial parks, and so far eight industrial parks have been put into operation.

All businesses are given equal access to land, and the province also helps investors with land clearance and the streamlining of administrative procedures.

It is also noteworthy that Vinh Phuc has sent many delegations abroad to promote the province’s advantages and incentives to potential foreign investors.

According to Nguyen Van Do, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Vinh Phuc has been able to attract FDI into different industries, with many investors building large-scale production facilities, creating many jobs for locals and contributing significantly to the province’s budget, such as Toyota, Honda, Daewoo Bus, Piaggio and Young Poong, to name just a few.

The number of FDI projects in Vinh Phuc has increased quickly over the past decade, from only eight in 1998 to 402 as of the end of September 2020, with total registered capital surpassing 5.7 billion USD.

The presence of FDI enterprises has helped Vinh Phuc maintain a high economic growth rate, averaging 7.1 percent a year during the period from 2015 to 2020. The local productivity has also improved greatly, at an average 8.3 percent a year.

Local officials said besides pumping capital into the economy, FDI enterprises have also transferred expertise and skills in business administration to local managerial staff members, as well as modern technology in production, and industrial working style to local workers.

In addition, FDI enterprises have contributed remarkably to the State budget revenues in Vinh Phuc. While budget collection in the province during 2006-2010 totalled 42.2 trillion VND, the revenue for the State budget during 2015-2020 averaged 30 trillion VND a year.

Those operating in the assembling and trading of motorbikes and automobiles have accounted for around 80 percent of the FDI sector’s contribution to the State budget.

A typical example of such enterprises is the Toyota Vietnam. In 2019, a year with many difficulties for the automobile market, the company turned out 50,114 vehicles and sold a record 79,326 vehicles, up 22 percent from the previous year, and paid nearly 1.2 billion USD into the State coffer. In the first six months of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the company produced 16,905 vehicles and sold 25,853 vehicles, contributing nearly 350 million USD to the State budget.

In the time ahead, the provincial administration plans to intensify investment promotion activities, by holding conferences to introduce its potential, investment incentives and policies to both domestic and foreign investors.

At the same time, the provincial authorities will improve planning work, make public approved development plans along with detailed action plans to implement them, and continue with administrative procedure reform towards creating a transparent, healthy and fair play ground for all investors.

Vinh Phuc will hold regular dialogues with the local business community to get updates on their operations and problems so as to timely remove obstacles for them. To further assist local enterprises, the provincial authorities will invest in housing development for workers, accelerate land clearance work and revise management mechanisms and policies for industrial parks.

The province is acting in accordance with the motto “All investors in Vinh Phuc are citizens of Vinh Phuc,” and “Businesses’ success is the success and pride of Vinh Phuc.”/.

Vietnam Card Day 2020 launched to promote non-cash payment

“Vietnam Card Day 2020”, the first of its kind, was officially launched on in Hanoi on October 29 with an aim to promote non-cash payments in the country.

The event was co-organised by Tien phong (Vanguard) Newspaper and the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) under the instruction of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). This also responds to the Government’s project on promoting cashless payments, contributing to support production and business as well as the economy’s recovery.

“Vietnam Card Day 2020” will start with a shopping festival over two days from November 7, 2020, at Bach Khoa Stadium in Hanoi and a Mega Sales week from November 9 to 15.

Customers participating in the events would receive promotional programmes when paying by bank cards at booths and online shops.

Pham Tien Dung, Director of the SBV’s Payment Department, said: “Vietnam Card Day 2020 would create opportunities for young Vietnamese people to access and experience banking services and modern payment methods. This would help them gradually establish a habit of using bank cards and non-cash payments.”

Nguyen Quang Hung, General Director of NAPAS, said they have helped banks issue more than 10,000 contactless prepaid cards with available amounts of 50,000 VND each as a gift for customers to use at the event.

“This is a prepaid domestic chip card product issued by Vietnamese banks with fast, convenient and secure payment functions, suitable for small value transactions and can be recharged many times. This product has also been deployed by NAPAS for payment on inner city express buses in HCM City from today,” Hung added.

Also at the event, the organisers announced the runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2018 - Bui Phuong Nga as the brand ambassador of Vietnam Card Day 2020. Event information will be continuously updated on the website http://ngaythe.vn/ and the official Fanpage https://www.facebook.com/ngaythevn.

In 2020, the world and Vietnam have faced the COVID-19 pandemic with concerns about direct communication methods. The trend of non-contact communication continued to be encouraged to limit risks of spreading the virus, ensuring social stability and economic development.

In this context, the use of bank cards has become a modern payment method, in line with the Government's policy of developing non-cash payments./.

Vietnam seeks sustainable development of fisheries

Fisheries output is expected to reach 8.2 million tonnes this year, much higher than the target of 6.5 – 7 million tonnes set under a 2016-20 sustainable seafood development programme, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.

The export value is expected to be 10 billion USD against a target of 8- 9 billion USD.

The output last year was 8.15 million tonnes, 4.38 million from aquaculture.

Yet the Government has invested only 14.5 trillion VND (626 million USD) in the programme, or 29 percent of the amount earmarked, for building fishing ports, storm shelters for fishing boats, seafood farming areas, fish fry farms, and other infrastructure.

Speaking at a seminar to review the programme in Can Tho city this week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said the investment has been too low with the development of infrastructure not meeting the requirement even as the country signs more and more international trade agreements.

Aquaculture has huge potential and so the country needs to reduce its catch at sea and increase marine aquaculture to develop fisheries sustainably, he said.

He presented a draft strategy for seafood production for the period up to 2030 to gather public opinion before submitting to the Government for approval.

It aims to expand the fisheries sector until it accounts for 30 percent of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

It seeks to increase output to 10 million tonnes a year, 25 – 30 percent from the sea and 70 – 75 percent from aquaculture.

It aims to increase exports to $18 - 20 billion a year and creating 3.5 million jobs.

It requires all processors who export seafood to comply with food safety and environmental protection requirements.

Luu Hoang Ly, director of the Bạc Liêu Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the strategy should have a loan programme for developing seafood production and managing farms.

Besides, infrastructure should be created to serve shrimp farming, he added.

Officials from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s aquaculture output, said in recent years the investment in fisheries has been inadequate to fulfil the country’s potential in aquaculture.

Zoning plans should regulate the number of fishing boats allowed for each province, they said.

There should be zoning plans for local aquatic species that have high export potential like eel, frog and giant river prawn, they said.

The strategy should help fishermen who work near shore switch to aquaculture or services, they added.

Nguyen Thanh Dung, vice chairman of the Can Tho city People’s Committee, said aquaculture production and seafood processing in the delta and elsewhere face many difficulties and challenges like low technology, insufficient infrastructure, lack of funding, climate change, pollution, and disease outbreaks.

The strategy would play an important role in restructuring fisheries to increase value addition and achieve sustainability, ensuring the country integrates globally and catches up with other countries in science and technology, he said./.

CPI in October creeps up 0.09 percent

The consumer price index (CPI) inched up 0.09 percent in October against the previous month, and 2.47 percent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

Among 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, a decline was recorded in the groups of restaurant and catering service (0.13 percent); transportation (0.08 percent); post and telecommunication service (0.03 percent); culture, entertainment and tourism (0.18 percent).

Meanwhile, six groups seeing higher prices were education service (1.52 percent); houses and building materials (0.29 percent); property maintenance materials and services (0.29 percent); beverage and tobacco (0.08 percent); garment, hat and footwear (0.06 percent); and other goods and services (0.09 percent).

Head of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Do Thi Ngoc said the rise in October’s CPI was fueled by a surge in tuition fee for the 2020-2021 academic year in nine centrally-run cities and provinces, high prices of vegetables due to impacts of the sixth and seventh storms, and increase in gas prices to keep up with swings in the global market.

Meanwhile, there were some factors helping curb the CPI downtrend, including a decline in fork prices (2.84 percent) and petro prices (0.81 percent).

In October, gold prices moved in tandem with global gold prices, which underwent erratic fluctuation on the threshold of the US President Election and the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The VND/USD exchange rate rose 0.07 percent, with one USD exchanged for 23,275 VND.

According to the GSO, core inflation (CPI excluding food items, energy products and commodities under the State management like medical and educational services) fell from 3.25 percent in January to 1.88 percent in October.

The country’s CPI went up 3.71 percent during January-October, with CPI in urban areas surging 3.29 percent, and that in rural localities increasing 4.13 percent against the same time last year. Core inflation rate grew 2.52 percent year-on-year./.

HCM City’s CPI up 0.65 percent in October

HCM City’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.65 percent in October compared to September, the municipal Statistics Office reported on October 29.

The figure was up 0.75 percent compared to the end of 2019 and 2.37 percent year-on-year.

The price of food and catering services rose 0.09 percent month-on-month, with the price of food up 0.6 percent, largely owing to growing orders from the Philippines triggering increases in rice prices. The price of foodstuffs gained 0.12 percent, with the highest growth seen in fresh, dried, and processed vegetables.

The price of beverages and cigarettes edged up 0.19 percent, while that of housing, electricity, water, energy, and construction materials was up 0.96 percent. Rental rates for houses and apartments went up 1.10 percent, as the result of an increase in demand from students at the start of the new academic year.

Meanwhile, the price of garments, hats, and footwear fell 0.28 percent against September, due to falling demand. The price of transport was down 0.06 percent, as fuel prices were cut 0.11 percent. Home equipment and appliances also saw prices down 0.29 percent due to many promotional programmes in October.

The gold price slipped 0.83 percent month-on-month in October, while the US dollar gained 0.01 percent. The 10-month price index of gold surged 29.61 percent year on year, and that of the US dollar up 0.25 percent./.

Agro-forestry-fisheries posts 7.9 bln USD trade surplus

The agro-forestry-fishery sector posted a trade surplus of over 7.9 billion USD in the first ten months of this year, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported.

Exports were estimated at 33.6 billion USD, up 1.1 percent year-on-year, while imports reached nearly 25.6 billion USD, down 1.5 percent.

In October alone, total export turnover rose 4.2 percent against September, to around 3.8 billion USD.

Despite COVID-19, several farm produce items earned higher export revenue year-on-year, including rice, vegetables, cassava, shrimp, wood, and wooden and bamboo products.

Coffee, rice, cashew nuts, fruit and vegetables, shrimp, and wooden furniture joined the 2 billion USD export club, while eight other categories of goods each earned more than 1 billion USD.

Sectors posting a decline in export value include pepper, down 15 percent, fruit 18.5 percent, and tra fish over 21 percent.

The US remained Vietnam’s largest export market, with about 8.6 billion USD, up 20 percent annually and accounting for around 25.6 percent of the market share. It was followed by China, with 8.2 billion USD, down 7.8 percent and making up 24.3 percent of the market share, ASEAN, with 3.2 billion USD, and the EU with around 3.1 billion USD.

Between now and the end of the year, MARD will partner with other ministries, agencies, localities, and businesses to tackle trade difficulties, in particular promoting market regulations to boost farm produce trade amid new developments of the pandemic, focusing on major markets such as China, the EU, the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea./.

Exports to EU, ASEAN, RoK, Japan yet to bounce back

Vietnam’s exports during the past 10 months of the year witnessed an increase of 4.7% to US$229.27 billion in comparison with the same period from last year, although exports to the EU, ASEAN, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Japan endured negative growth, according to figures released by the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The export of Vietnamese commodities from to the EU, ASEAN, the RoK, and Japan throughout the reviewed period were hit by declines of 3%, 11.6%, 2.6%, and 7% to US$28.9 billion, US$18.9 billion, US$16.3 billion, and US$15.6 billion, respectively.

The United States remained the country’s largest export market during the 10-month period, with export turnover soaring by 24% to reach US$62.3 billion, while exports to the Chinese market also increased by 14% to US$37.6 billion.

Meanwhile, Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus of over US$18.72 billion as its 10-month export turnover rose by 2.5% to US$439.32 billion.

Phones and components achieved the highest export value of US$42 billion, making up 18.3% of the country’s total export turnover. They were followed by electronics, computers and components with US$36.2 billion, textiles and garments with US$24.8 billion, machinery, equipment, and spare parts with US$21 billion, and footwear with US$13.4 billion.

Throughout the ten-month period, heavy industrial and mineral groups are estimated to have grossed US$123.8 billion in exports, representing an annual increase of 8.4%, followed by the light industry and handicraft products with US$81.8 billion, agricultural and forestry products with US$16.8 billion, and aquatic products with US$6.9 billion.

Germany’s Bavaria state seeks to expand trade ties with Viet Nam

 

An online workshop on opportunities brought by the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) for industrial enterprises in Germany’s Bavaria state was held by the Bavarian Industry Association (VBW) and the Bavarian Metalworking and Electrical Associations (Bayme VBM) on Wednesday.

Addressing the event, Sam Pieters, an official in charge of trade affairs from the Office of the European Commission in Germany, informed participants of the advantages of the EVFTA for companies, including tariff preferences and provisions that make it easier for European companies to enter the Vietnamese market.

Meanwhile, Frauke Schmitz-Bauerdick, Country Director of Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) in Viet Nam, spoke about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Vietnamese economy.

Growth drivers in Viet Nam will be public investment in infrastructure and energy, domestic private consumption and supply chain diversification, she said.

Gunter Veit, CEO of VEIT - a business from Bavaria that has been operating successfully in Viet Nam since 1994, shared his firm’s business experience in Viet Nam, and how to look for business partners in the country.

Participants all agreed that EVFTA is bringing positive effects for businesses in Europe and Viet Nam.

VBW CEO Bertram Brossardt said Viet Nam has become an increasingly attractive investment destination for businesses in Bavaria, even though the country is not currently the state's most important partner.

The EVFTA will open up new market access opportunities for businesses of both sides, he stressed, adding that with this agreement, Bavaria's businesses will have an opportunity to seek a better position in a developing market like Viet Nam.

According to statistics from VBW, Viet Nam - a dynamically developing market - currently ranks 39th among the most important trade partners of Bavaria, with trade turnover in 2019 reaching over 1.57 billion euros (US$1.84 billion).

Bavaria exported to Viet Nam goods worth more than 430 million euros, mainly machinery, data processing equipment, electronics, and optics, while it spent 1.14 billion euros on importing Vietnamese goods, mostly leather and textile products. 

Local goods to benefit from new generation trade agreements

New generation trade agreements could hold the keys to success for many Vietnamese enterprises, especially smaller firms, so they should be making every effort to grasp the opportunities they offer.

The matter was discussed by economists, ministry and department leaders and local enterprises during a forum held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in Ha Noi on Thursday to look at ways to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods and take advantage of new generation trade agreements.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai told the forum that Viet Nam was now a member of many new FTAs including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

“Participating in FTAs ​​has helped the import and export market expand and diversify, and the financial services market become more developed with the participation of foreign investors, so institutional systems and policies must be completed to meet the requirements of integration and the implementation of these commitments,” he said.

“Along with the country's accession to the WTO in 2007, FTAs ​​have contributed to boosting the country's GDP to more than 300 per cent and increased import-export turnover by 350 per cent,” he added.

Hai said while the COVID-19 pandemic was ongoing and influencing the global economy, local commodity retail in Viet Nam had emerged as one of the bright spots for the macroeconomy.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), total estimated retail sales of consumer goods and services in the third quarter of 2020 reached VND1,305 trillion (US$56.7 billion), an increase of 14.4 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2020 and 4.5 per cent over the same period last year.

In the first three quarters, retail sales of goods reached VND2,907.1 trillion, an increase of 4.8 per cent over the same period last year, GSO data showed.

Hai told the forum: “It is a positive result, clearly demonstrating the role of domestic goods during the unpredictable developments of epidemics and natural disasters. At the same time, it clearly shows the role of Vietnamese products in the domestic market because they are becoming increasingly favoured by consumers.”

According to a MoIT survey, Vietnamese products had become more appreciated and were being given priority by distributors and retailers in Viet Nam. The proportion of Vietnamese products in modern distribution systems was high. Specifically, Vietnamese goods in Co.opmart accounted for between 90 per cent and 93 per cent; in Satra between 90 per cent and 95 per cent; in Vinmart 96 per cent; in Vissan 95 per cent and in Hapro 95 per cent.

Mentioning local enterprises, Tran Duy Dong, deputy minister of Planning and Investment, said: “Despite being an important development engine for the economy and accounting for about 98 per cent of the total number of enterprises, the majority of private enterprises are still small or micro, which prevents them from accumulating capital to invest in innovate technology, expand their production scale or improve management skills and human resources.”

Considering many SMEs still had short-term mindsets, Dong said: “This makes it difficult for them to build trust with long-term partners to develop together for mutual benefit.”

Dong added that Viet Nam had not yet entered the ecosystem and value chain of leading foreign enterprises, saying currently Japanese companies, some of the largest foreign investors in Viet Nam, procured about 32.4 per cent of services and input products from local suppliers while the rate was much higher in China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Dong also said that links between domestic and private foreign enterprises, and between small and large enterprises, remained negligible and limited.

As a member of the Advisory Group of the Government, Tran Dinh Thien said there were strong signs of potential in the country's private sector, but there were still many weak points after 35 years of renovation.

Thien said the FTAs also posed challenges for Vietnamese businesses because they were having to compete with more imported goods thanks to tariff preferences.

To change this, Thien said Viet Nam must stop the principle of "ask - give" when allocating resources because it could lead to corruption, waste and distorting the entire market structure.

Regarding local enterprises racing to sell their products at home and overseas, Nguyen Thi Dong, the owner of Hoa Lan Company which produces natural cosmetic goods, told Viet Nam News: “We face unhealthy competition from fake and smuggled products from other countries.”

Dong, who distribute her products to provinces across Viet Nam through local women's unions, said: “Even though we have more and more customers buying our natural products, it is still difficult competing with fake imported products.”

At the forum, Luong Van Thang, chairman of Viet Tiep Lock Joint Stock Company, one of the biggest lock producers in Viet Nam, said: “To enter export markets like the EU, we have invested in high technology and a protected trademark.”

Thang said investing in anti-counterfeiting and intellectual property was also a core issue that the company was focusing on to protect the brand and meet the strict standards of the FTAs. The firm planned to apply an anti-counterfeiting authentication process via QR codes to help consumers retrieve information about their locks on their smartphone apps, he said. 

Chile opens door for Viet Nam’s pomelo

Chilean authorities have granted permission for Viet Nam to ship pomelo to the Latin American market, according to Minister of Agriculture of Chile Antonio Walker.

The Chilean official revealed the information while hosting a reception for Vietnamese Ambassador to Chile Nguyen Ngoc Son to discuss measures bolstering the bilateral relations in agriculture.

During the reception, Walker spoke highly of Viet Nam’s dynamic economic development, voicing his gratitude to the country for opening its door to Chile’s cherry.

The Chilean government hopes to expand cooperation with Viet Nam in agriculture, not only in opening markets for farm produce but also in agricultural production and rural development, he added.

For his part, Son said that the Vietnamese government hopes to strengthen agricultural cooperation with Chile, an important partner of Viet Nam in Latin America, especially in the application of science-technology in clean agriculture, climate change adaptation and mitigation of natural disasters, and forest management and exploitation, along with further collaboration in multilateral mechanisms to which the two countries are signatories, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). 

Customs all set to make risk management transparent

A circular on new regulations for customs risk management will come into effect on January 1 next year to helping businesses comply with regulations and clear customs more easily.

Ho Ngoc Phan, deputy head of the General Department of Customs’ risk management department, told a conference on October 28 that risk management has been developing quickly in recent years.

According to customs statistics, the volume of goods that need to be inspected physically dropped to 5.08 per cent last month (September) from 9.68 per cent in 2014.

In 2019 the Ministry of Finance sent Circular 81 with updates on policies on risk management procedures followed by customs to strike a balance between administration and easy trade.

Customs issued a decision in August this year to guide implementation of the policies.

Bui Thai Quang, deputy head of the risk management department, said Circular 81 mandates changes such as the publication of risk management criteria used to evaluate business’ compliance with customs regulations (which used to be kept confidential) to help them avoid errors.

It introduced a wider categorisation system for business applicants and a new, more detailed system for categorising levels of compliance, and also adds new levels of risks, he said.

Nguyen Minh Thao, head of the business environment and competitiveness department at the Central Institute for Economic Management, said customs’ pioneering of a risk management mechanism could cause other sectors to do the same, improving Viet Nam’s investment climate.

Dang Vu Thanh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Logistics Business Association, said Circular 81 modernises customs, the information gathered to evaluate compliance is being made more transparent, and businesses going through customs could receive help to be more compliant.

Alistair Gall, a senior expert in trade facilitation for the USAID Trade Facilitation Programme, said Circular 81 helps improve customs’ capabilities such as in dealing with transactions, declarations and businesses that are deemed as high risks.

But for it to be effective, businesses need to co-operate and voluntarily comply, he added. 

Viet Capital Bank profit up 63 per cent in first 9 months

Viet Capital Bank reported pre-tax profits of VND76 billion (US$3.27 million) for the third quarter, more than double the figure for the same period in 2019.

Its income in the first nine months of the year increased by 21 per cent and pre-tax profit reached VND138 billion ($5.95 million), up 63 per cent year-on-year, completing 69 per cent of the year’s target.

Loans outstanding as of September 30 topped VND38 trillion, up 15 per cent year-on-year and 12 per cent for the year.

Its deposits rose 17 per cent year-on-year and 10 per cent from the beginning of the year to VND41 trillion.

Year-on-year, its net interest income grew by 15 per cent and income from the credit card business was up 63 per cent as it issued a number of co-branded cards.

Its assets were 14 per cent up to nearly VND55 trillion.

Following its good results in the first nine months, the bank said it expects to achieve its targets for the full year.

French-funded Metro Line 3 to start operations in 2021

The first train made by Alstom Valenciennes in France for Metro Line 3 has arrived in Vietnam after a journey of over one month, enabling the project to be put into operation in 2021.

This information was released at the French Embassy’s press conference on October 28.

Metro Line 3 project is a symbol of the Franco-Vietnamese relationship. This is a leading project in urban transport development in Vietnam. It is equipped with high-technology and is a result of the work of many French companies.

“This is the first train among the 10 which are planned to arrive in Vietnam in the coming months. This marks an important step in project development,” said Nicolas Warnery, French Ambassador to Vietnam.


The first train made by Alstom touching down in Vietnam
Metro Line 3 running from Nhon to Hanoi Railway Station has attracted a number of French companies including Alstom, Colas Rail, Thalès, Systra, Apave, RATP Smart Systems, with funding from French agencies like the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to Nguyen Cao Minh, director general of the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Board, by the end of September, the project has had 65.91 per cent of the work completed. The construction and equipment installation for the overhead passage reached 80.85 per cent.

Nguyen Cao Minh, director general of the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Board at the press conference
Nicolas Warnery said that despite the impact of COVID-19, since September, many French experts have returned to Vietnam to work on the project. In the coming time, more will come to prepare the operations in 2021.

The metro line is 12km in length is expected to be put into operation in 2021. It can accommodate 8,600 passengers each hour, each way in the initial stage, and then reach 23,900 passengers each hour. It can save 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually and contribute to the country's climate change fight.

Number of newly established enterprises rises 18.4% in October

Business registration in October saw improvement over the previous month with the number of newly established enterprises increasing by 18.4% over the figure from September, according to the General Statistics Office.

The country saw approximately 12,200 new enterprises set up in October this year with total registered capital of VND165.6 trillion and a total of 72,400 registered employees.

The average registered capital per new enterprise is VND13.6 billion, down 31.2% from the previous month but up 15.1% over the same period last year.

In addition, the economy welcomed 5,044 enterprises returning to operation (up 10.4% compared to the previous month) while 3,293 enterprises registered to temporarily suspend their operation, 3,579 enterprises stopped operation waiting for dissolution procedures, and 1,413 enterprises completed dissolution procedures.

In the ten-month period, the country had nearly 111,200 newly established enterprises, down 2.9% over the same period last year but the average registered capital per enterprise reached US$14.3 billion, up 14.4% over the same period in 2019.

37,700 enterprises resumed operation during the period, up 8.2% over the same period last year.

However, in the January-October period, a large number of 85,600 enterprises temporarily suspended their operation, halted operation to wait for dissolution, or completed dissolution procedures, an increase of 15.1% over the same period last year.

Over 50,000 Vietnamese female entrepreneurs get support through Ignite Initiative

With women-led micro and small enterprises playing a major role in the Vietnamese economy, the initiative offers unparalleled solutions including both financial and non-financial services for women entrepreneurs.

On October 29, CARE, Mastercard, VPBank, WISE and Canal Circle announced the Ignite Initiative in Vietnam – a new partnership focused on promoting the empowerment of female entrepreneurs, aimed at accelerating the growth of economy-developing businesses while advancing financial security and also promoting inclusive growth through actions prioritising enabling female entrepreneurs to thrive.

The Ignite Initiative is part of a broader three-year partnership between CARE and Mastercard, that aims to equip 3.9 million micro and small businesses in Vietnam, Peru and Pakistan with increased financial access and digital know-how.

Earlier this year, the partners collaborated to provide both funds and expertise to help 1,000 women-led micro, small and medium enterprises in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to help drive a robust recovery from the pandemic, followed by sustained long-term inclusive growth.

In Vietnam, 27% of all businesses in Vietnam are owned by women, according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019. The country also scores well on a number of indicators such as equality in entrepreneurial activity, and access to financial assets and knowledge.

Dao Tu Hien, WISE’s CEO said that the proportion of enterprises owned by women in Vietnam has been increasing in recent years, and this both clearly demonstrates the emerging role of women in leadership and business management, and their capacity to be equally as influential as male business leaders in the country.

Despite the relatively high levels of ownership, women face several challenges relating to social and gender norms around their ability to successfully own businesses. COVID-19 has made women entrepreneurs even more financially vulnerable although the crisis has also helped a number of small and agile businesses adapt their business models and stay afloat, taking advantage of changing customer behaviours.

Nguyen Thu Ha, CEO and Founder of fintech group Canal Circle stressed the necessity of technology application and digitisation to facilitate access to business opportunities for female entrepreneurs. Canal Circle would partner with Micro-finance Institutions (MFIs) and People’s Credit Funds to help rural businesswomen access affordable financial resources, thus ensuring better opportunities for growth or recovery from disrupted business as a result of the pandemic, she added.

With long experience working in the support of women around the globe, Le Kim Dung, Country Director, CARE International in Vietnam, said that female entrepreneurship is a critical avenue by which women’s economic empowerment can be supported. The initiative is expected to fuel the growth engine of female -owned businesses with the tools and financial resources that better suit their needs, thus helping build resilience and a more inclusive and equitable economic recovery, Dung added.

The 2020-2022 IGNITE Initiative hopes to unleash the power of women entrepreneurs in the major urban and peri-urban centres of Vietnam. It will increase access to finance, technology, information, and entrepreneurial networks of 50,000 strivers through collaboration among financial service providers (FSPs), business accelerators, and NGO partners. The program aims to target ‘strivers’, or entrepreneurs with 2-10 employees looking to grow their business and hire more employees but lacking the right type of financing and access to specific knowledge and skills.

Industry prospers as agriculture suffers losses

The effective control of COVID-19 has helped industrial production in October to flourish, however, natural disasters have created a lot of suffering for agricultural production, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO).

The latest statistics from the agency, announced on October 29. showed that thanks to the effective control of the epidemic, the Vietnamese economy has entered a ‘new normal’ state with industrial production this month witnessing a flourishing in industrial processing and manufacturing, with an increase of 8.3% over the same period last year.

The index of industrial production (IIP) in October is estimated to have increased by 3.6% from the previous month and by 5.4% from the same period last year, in which the mining industry fell sharply by 14.5%, electricity production and distribution was up 1%, and water supply and waste and wastewater management and treatment were up 9.9% over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, unfavourable weather this month and flooding has damaged some areas of crops, while sweeping away cattle and poultry and affecting aquaculture and fishing activities.

However, the price of pangasius in the month showed signs of an increase after nine consecutive months at low prices, while shrimp prices stabilised again as its export markets gradually recover.

According to the GSO, in October, natural disasters left 153 people dead or missing and 222 others injured, with total property damage amounted at VND2.7 trillion.

Damage from natural disasters is one of the main reasons that has caused the Consumer Price Index in October to increase by 0.09% over the previous month, according to the statistics agency. However, the figure is still the lowest increase in the 2016-2020 period.

PM requests economic recovery be accelerated

All-level authorities and sectors need to adopt recovery acceleration plans for the remaining two months of the year for the country to record annual growth of 2-3 percent, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the Government’s monthly meeting on October 30.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment reported a stable macro-economy and low inflation in October, with the CPI growing 0.09 percent both month-on-month and year-on-year, while the 10-month figure was up 3.71 percent compared to a year earlier.

The country has posted a record trade surplus of 18.7 billion USD since the beginning of the year. Agriculture remains a pillar of support for the economy, while the number of newly-established enterprises in October rose 18.4 percent against September.

PM Phuc said the economy hit its lowest point in the second quarter and has been on a V-shaped recovery since the third quarter. COVID-19 has been largely contained, creating the conditions necessary for economic recovery. Inflation has been kept under control, with the October month-on-month increase being the lowest in five years.

Despite the serious flooding of recent weeks, Vietnam is still likely to achieve growth of 2-3 percent this year, he said.

He also noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Standard and Chartered, and the World Bank have forecast growth of 1.6, 3, and 2.5-3 percent, respectively, for Vietnam this year.

The leader still stressed, however, the need to avoid complacency, as the pandemic remains a complex issue around the world. He also mentioned the challenges caused by external factors such as trade tensions and global financial uncertainties, as well as domestic factors like natural disasters and industries being affected by disrupted global supply chains.

Repeating the twin targets of keeping COVID-19 under control and boosting socio-economic development, the PM asked ministries, sectors, and localities to exert every effort to address the consequences of the recent natural disasters in the central region as quickly as possible, strictly manage entry into and exit from Vietnam, create favourable conditions for foreign experts and investors to enter the country, and act faster when new infections are identified.

He called on the entire political system to speed up economic recovery towards growth of 2-3 percent by fostering the disbursement of public investment, removing bottlenecks facing energy projects, boosting domestic tourism stimulus programmes, and facilitating exports to key markets./.

Agro-forestry-fishery farming and processing technology expo and promotion fair open in HCM City

The third Agro-Forestry-Fishery Farming and Processing Technology Exhibition and Tan Binh Promotion Fair opened at the Tan Binh District Cultural and Sports Centre in HCM City on October 30.

The Agro-Forestry-Fishery Farming and Processing Technology Exhibition features 200 pavilions, said Tran Phuong Dong, director of the Center for Agricultural Consultancy and Support under the HCM City Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

“The expo is organised to create conditions for businesses in HCM City and other cities and provinces to introduce safe and clear-origin agricultural and food products, post-harvest preservation technology, and machinery and equipment used in processing agricultural, forestry and fishery products.”

At the same time, the event is also an ideal platform for businesses in the fields to exchange information, explore business opportunities and enhance technology transfer to improve products’ competitiveness, he said.
A booth at the Tan Binh Promotion Fair that opened at Tan Binh District Cultural and Sports Centre on October 30. — VNS Photo
The Tan Binh Promotion Fair showcases a wide range of products at 100 booths, including unprocessed food and processed food, agricultural products, frozen seafood, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, handicrafts, household goods, stationery, and textiles and garments, with attractive discounts.

Through the event, the city authorities have encouraged domestic businesses to pay attention to improving the quality of their products to meet the higher demand of consumers and to raising their competitiveness, he said.

Organised by the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Tan Binh District People’s Committee and Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion JSC, the two events will run until November 3.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/VIR

 
 

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