VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 13

Hope for Vietnam's billion-dollar export industry at year’s end

Although the market has not fully recovered, footwear and handbags export turnover is expected to return to growth in the fourth quarter of this year during the year-end shopping rush in European and American countries.
 
A report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said after a sharp decline in the second quarter, orders of businesses in the footwear industry started gradually recovering from the third quarter of this year.

After more than two months implementing the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), footwear is a commodity in the list of Vietnam’s exports with positive changes.

Leather footwear production is estimated at 31 million pairs last month, up 5.3 percent month-on-month and 11.8 percent year-on-year.

Footwear export turnover of all kinds in 10 months was estimated at 13.38 billion USD, down 9.9 percent over the same period last year.

Experts also advised businesses to link with customers to form a production chain, meeting rules of origin as committed in free trade deals./.

Vietnam Business Summit 2020 opens

The Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) 2020, the largest annual trade and investment promotion event in the country, opened in Hanoi on November 12.

Held on the sidelines of the on-going virtual 37th ASEAN Summit and related Summits with the slogan “Vietnam - We Mean Business”, the summit offers a chance for policymakers and leaders of localities to introduce incentives to attract investment.

It is also an effective forum for company leaders to share their experience in international trade, shape future cooperation, and discuss new opportunities in the digital era.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said Vietnam will support the development of digital and ICT infrastructure as well as high-quality human resources, so as to increase the digital economy’s proportion of GDP to 20 percent in 2025.

He said the Government will prioritise the development of projects to expand infrastructure networks in terms of number, quality, and synchronicity.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said logistics will be key for Vietnam to enter global value chains.

He noted that Vietnam’s logistics sector is currently a bottleneck blocking development as logistics costs are the highest in the region and among the highest in the world.

Cooperation in high-tech agriculture is also helping boost the production and quality of farm produce, he noted, emphasising the need for promoting the application of science and technology in the field which he said would help boost the export of products.

Dinh Thi Quynh Van, General Director of PwC Vietnam, said Vietnam is one of only a few countries posting positive economic growth this year amid COVID-19 and has targeted growth of about 6 percent next year.

She said that without the support of the Government, the pandemic could result in high unemployment and the collapse of a number of sectors.

Underlining that small businesses are among the hardest-hit groups, she said that in order to adapt to the “new normal” they need to operate in a more sustainable manner and restructure in the future.

High-quality human resources will be the main driver of the long-term growth of enterprises, she believes.

Touching on solutions to enhance the competitiveness of local businesses, especially in the context of digital transformation, Do Huy Binh, Director of the Smartlog company, said Vietnam is only in the first stage of building a foundation for digital transformation, and businesses in general are yet to approach and apply technology in an active manner.

COVID-19, however, has encouraged them to speed up the process, he went on, adding that local firms, mostly small businesses, hold more advantages in applying science and technology in a quicker manner.

Initiated in 2017, the VBS gathers together thousands of domestic and foreign investors and has become one of the most anticipated annual events for the investor community./.

USAID launches new campaign against illegal wildlife trade

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Vietnam CITES Management Authority, launched a campaign on November 11 called “Ngung tao nghiep” (Stop karma), to call for an end to the illegal trade of ivory and pangolin scales in Vietnam.

Part of USAID’s Saving Species Project, the campaign aims to use its messages - “Buy one ivory, get one karma” and “Buy one pangolin, get one karma” - to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products and stop the trade and use of such products as gifts.

Robert Layng, head of USAID Vietnam’s environment and energy office, said this is a campaign for meaningful change to social behaviour that seeks to raise community’s awareness about the conservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife.

USAID Vietnam expects the new campaign will deliver a wake-up call to everybody, so that people will change their minds and behaviour about the consumption of wildlife products before it’s too late, he said.

Layng also called on the business community to join the campaign by carrying out a wide range of corporate social responsibility activities in wildlife protection. Enterprises could promote their business ethics and enhance their reputation, improving their competitiveness in the marketplace, he added./.

Ministry of Finance to issue green bonds in 2021

The Ministry of Finance is working with ministries to issue green bonds next year, an official said.

Nguyen Hoang Duong, deputy director of the Ministry of Finance's Department of Banking and Financial Institutions, made the statement at a seminar held in HCM City Monday.

Green bonds are a type of debt issued by public or private institutions which use the funds for environmental purposes.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow progress of some public investment projects, the plan to issue green bonds has also been extended,” Duong said.

He said the Ministry of Finance has worked with donors and a number of businesses to boost the issuance of green bonds in the near future.

The ministry has also sought international funds to support businesses in green bond issuance and consulting.

Green bonds were an investment field with great potential for development, said Head of Investment, Public Equities & Fixed Income at VinaCapital Nguyen Hoai Thu.

Thu said green bonds were related to clean investment, including environment, society and corporate governance as well as clean energy.

In Viet Nam, the Government's sustainable development orientation to 2030 also focuses on green growth as well as green financial products, including green bonds.

According to experts, green bonds are also a type of debt, but the proceeds from green bond issuance must be used to implement green projects.

This will be an important capital channel for investors interested in sustainable development factors, especially in the context of climate change, creating favourable conditions to attract large capital for green growth and sustainable growth in the future. 

Economic reforms to improve resilience after COVID-19: forum

Sustainable development was important for Vietnam to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said at a forum in Hanoi on November 10.

Participants at the forum held by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) stated that the pandemic had harmed many countries, including Vietnam, leaving serious consequences for economic development and social stability.

CIEM Director Tran Thi Hong Minh said Vietnam was considered one of few countries that were relatively successful in controlling the pandemic and lower the influence to the local economy.

The close instructions and timely direction of the Government and results from the strong and continuous reforms from before the pandemic have contributed to the improvement of macroeconomic foundations and resilience of the economy, Minh said.

Post-COVID-19, there will be a higher demand for stronger economic reform, especially ones relating to the new context, she said, adding that the basic requirement is to continue the improvement of local productivity and competitiveness of the economy of all industries and of businesses.

Minh said Vietnam must step up reforms to promote digital transformation and implement the sustainable development agenda to drive economic development.

Agreeing that after COVID-19, reform was needed, Tran Tho Dat, Chairman of the Council of the National Economics University, said Vietnam should build capacity to meet international standards, promote investment cooperation and take the initiative for sustainable development.

“The improvement of labour productivity in the context of the digital economy is very necessary for the current context," he said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the WTO Center under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that Vietnam has participated in many new-generation free trade deals recently with commitments in sustainable development which could affect the economy and businesses.

Trang said implementing sustainable development would be the guarantee for a sustainable future of the Vietnamese economy and ensure the economy's reputation in international trade, attracting sustainable investment.

“The sustainable development will encourage local businesses to make green goods to access large markets and serve more potential customers and partners," she added.

According to the 'Asian Development Outlook 2020 Update Report' of the Asian Development Bank two months ago, Vietnam's GDP was expected to increase by 1.8 percent in 2020 and 6.3 percent in 2021, while GDP in Asia will decline by 0.7 percent in 2020, and increase by 6.8 percent in 2021.

With this growth rate, the bank said Vietnam was forecast to have one of the top growth rates in East Asia and the Pacific next year. Vietnam could have a growth rate higher than the average rate of new emerging economies of the regions and only behind some economies like China and Malaysia with rates of 6.9 percent each.

Le Duy Binh, managing director of Economica Vietnam said: “Vietnam's growth rate also depends on the ability to maintain and grow domestic demand.”

“There are many favourable factors to maintain and enhance domestic supply capacity. The pandemic is still well controlled while the stable macroeconomics, monetary and financial operations and efforts to reform the business and investment environment are still underway," he said.

“The pandemic has not been controlled in some major markets of Vietnam such as the US while it is returning in the EU. Some industries in the country are still in a waiting mode, especially tourism, aviation, resort real estate, restaurants, and food and beverage services," he added.

In addition, the pandemic had influenced some foreign direct investment projects due to foreign restrictions stopping experts, engineers, technicians and skilled workers from entering the country, said Binh.

Pham Dinh Thuy from the General Statistics Office (GSO) said the number of businesses which received support from the Government was too small compared to the request.

“Though the Government has launched support packages to revive businesses and the economy, the less than 18 percent of enterprises have received the support," he said.

“The larger the enterprises, the bigger the impact they must suffer from the pandemic. State-owned enterprises are the least affected while enterprises with foreign investment are most affected," he added.

The GSO official said while 72.7 percent of enterprises needed loans to recover from the negative impact, 85.5 percent of those who needed them faced difficulties in accessing loans. He proposed giving more credit support at low interest for the businesses for two or three years.

Other experts said it was necessary to cut costs created by policies, create more economic space and innovation motivation for businesses and continue to integrate with free trade agreements./.

Malaysia sets preconditions for resumption of TPP talks

Any resumption in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will be on condition that it paves the way for “fair trade” and a level playing field, International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali told the Malaysian News Agency (Bernama) on November 10.

If there is a proposal to ‘revive’ or revise the TPP, all these matters must be taken into account by the parties who intend to sign the agreement, said Minister Azmin in reply to queries about Malaysia’s next move should the US return to the TPP following Joe Biden’s projected victory over President Donald Trump in the US presidential race.

According to the minister, the US, Malaysia and 10 other countries reached an agreement on the TPP during Barack Obama’s presidency, with Biden as his vice-president then. However, President Trump refused to ratify and pulled the US out of the TPPA just after taking office in January 2017.

Minister Azmin, who is also Senior Minister on Economics, said this issue was hotly debated at some point in the past because there were some provisions in the agreement that were felt not to guarantee or provide protection to the local industries.

Today, the Malaysian government certainly wants a bigger market, but it also wants to protect the country’s local industries from being bullied by the big powers, Azmin stressed, adding that any trade agreement to be signed must look at the level of development of a country./.

Innovation should be stepped up to achieve high economic growth: experts

Promoting the development of science and technology as well as digital economy is a wise choice for Vietnam to achieve an annual average economic growth rate of 7 percent during 2021-2030, according to experts.

At a consultation workshop held in Hanoi on November 10 to collecting feedback on Vietnam’s draft socio-economic development strategy for 2021-2030, Dr Bui Tat Thang stressed the need to continue accelerating reforms, saying it is necessary to integrate economic development with restructuring and changing the growth model.

“Vietnam should work towards fast and sustainable development in combination with environmental protection and enhancing resilience to natural disasters and diseases”, said Thang, who is former Director of the Vietnam Institute for Development Strategies under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which co-hosted the forum together with the World Bank (WB).

Meanwhile, Operations Manager for the World Bank in Vietnam Stefanie Stallmeister suggested Vietnam focus on environmental protection activities, resilience to climate change, economic development in harmony with social stability and security, as well as effective management of natural resources.

Under the strategy, Vietnam expects to have per capita GDP of 7,500 USD and annual labour productivity growth of over 6.5 percent by 2030.

The proportion of manufacturing and processing is expected to reach 30 percent of the GDP while the digital economy is envisioned to contribute 30 percent to the GDP.

Thanks to breakthrough strategies during 2011-2020, Vietnam has attained outstanding achievements in institutional reforms, human resources development and infrastructure development.

Several large power projects which have great contributions to production and business activities were completed, such as Vinh Tan 2 and 4 thermal power plants, Vung Ang 1 thermal plant, and Mong Duong 1 & 2 thermal power plants.

However, the strategy did not work out well for the nation to achieve its GDP growth of 7-8 percent, and improve its growth quality as well as national competitive capacity./.

RCEP may result in change in regional trade and investment flows: Cambodian expert

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the global supply chain and hurt regional economies, it may become a driving force for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said Chheang Vannarith, President of the Cambodian-based Asian Vision Institute (AVI). 

During an interview with the Vietnam News Agency's correspondents in Phnom Penh on November 10, the expert said the ravaging pandemic has forced countries to further integrate and connect their economies with others for quick recovery.

He noted that the trade agreement could lead to a comprehensive change in the flow of trade and investment in Asia-Pacific, promote intra-bloc supply chains and bolster trust in the regional business sector.

Vannarith said that Cambodia always supports the RCEP’s building process coordinated and promoted by Vietnam, adding that Cambodia stands ready to sign the agreement at the 37th ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam.

The signing of RCEP also sends a clear sign that Asian economies are not for unilateralism and trade protectionism, he affirmed.

RCEP was initiated in November 2012, aiming to establish an economic platform between the 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, focusing on trade in goods, services and investment.

If signed, RCEP would become the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering about 30 percent of the world’s population while contributing nearly one third (29.3 percent) of the world’s gross domestic product./.

Consumers in Asia-Pacific to benefit most from industry 4.0

Shifting businesses and enterprises into an intelligent and connected virtual space is no longer an option but a necessity to survive, primarily due to the added pressure brought about by the pandemic, a study in the Asia-Pacific region by Deloitte said.

Stephan Neumeier, online security company Kaspersky’s managing director for the Asia Pacific, said: “The Asia Pacific’s level of digitisation was still in its early stages until the pandemic forced everyone to reconsider their operational practices. Contrary to popular belief that Industry 4.0 is a high-level topic confined to board rooms, this revolution has the consumer at its core.

“This, alongside breakthroughs like big data, internet of things and 5G, are here to create a customised future.”

Customised future, or products and services made based on a customer’s preference, is a trend introduced by the mobile ultra-broadband of 4G, which brought to human’s fingertips the power to call a cab when they needed one, to stream songs or contents they wanted and more.

With more advanced technologies, a majority of consumers (83 per cent) value personalised experience and are willing to give their data to make it possible. In fact, consumers are unknowingly giving more data than they have bargained for.

While all this is proof of the power of technology when harnessed correctly, the flexible and highly-connected manufacturing process also opens a wider attack surface for cybercriminals.

The latest report from Kaspersky for industrial automation systems said Asia and Africa were the least secure globally during the first six months of 2020.

Asian regions occupied four out of the top five positions in the regional rankings based on the percentage of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) computers which were almost infected.

Southeast Asia topped followed by Africa and Central, East and South Asia.

In ransomware too, Asia regions led by noticeable margins, with over half the countries in the top 15 being in APAC.

“It is not surprising that ICS computers in the Asia Pacific were exposed to the highest number of cyber threats as the region is well on its way to building a customer-centric future,” Neumeier said.

“Smart systems and automated productions require in-depth, intelligent defences to foil malicious disruptions, with possible aftermaths that can cross from the virtual to the physical realm.

“To avoid grave circumstances, a secure-by-design approach is necessary. Cyber immunity against attacks should be ingrained at the very fabric of the present and future industrial systems.”

An example of a secure and beneficial application of Industry 4.0 was done by Kaspersky and Siemens for Singapore Aquaculture Technologies’ first smart floating fish farm. A first in Singapore and expected to produce 350 tonnes of fish annually, the S$4 million (US$2.97 million) aquaculture facility is set to cater to the needs of Singaporeans for quality fish while also addressing the challenges posed by climate change that have resulted in declining fish populations.

Raimund Klein, Siemens Digital Industries’ executive vice president for Southeast Asia, said “Consumers now are concerned about the origin of their food, the type of environment it is from, and the harvesting processes done before it arrived at their dinner table. With climate change and environmental challenges, food production should now be both ethical and sustainable. This is possible when we use available technologies right.” 

Viettel to sell 11 per cent stake in Viettel Construction

Military-run telecom giant Viettel plans to divest an 11 per cent stake in its affiliate Viettel Construction Joint Stock Corporation (CTR) via a public auction at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on December 7.

The offered stake is equivalent to 7.7 million shares at CTR.

The starting price for CTR is VND43,100 (US$1.85) per share, 10 per cent lower than the current market price.

If the auction is successful, Viettel will reduce its ownership in CTR from 73.22 per cent to 52.22 per cent.

CTR is trading on UPCoM, with a market price of more than VND51,400 and market capitalisation of nearly VND3 trillion.

The firm is the largest operator of the infrastructure network in Viet Nam. In 2019, while other units in the industry had declining business results, CTR grew thanks to the promotion of construction activities.

In the first nine months, CTR’s revenue and post-tax profit reached VND4.2 trillion and VND168 billion, respectively, up 15 per cent and 35 per cent from the same period in 2019. With this result, CTR has fulfilled 85 per cent of its profit plan.

According to the company’s plan by 2025, CTR’s revenue will reach VND11.5 trillion and profit will total VND518 billion.

Last year’s consolidated revenue and post-tax profit reached VND5 trillion and VND181 billion, respectively, up 18 per cent and 23 per cent year-on-year.

CTR aims to expand the provision of construction operation services in foreign markets, developing solutions in smart energy for telecommunications as well as other industries.

Mekong Delta seafood exports recover
 
     

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 13
Seafood exports from the Mekong Delta, especially shrimp, are recovering after a dip caused by COVID-19.

 
 
 
Seafood exports by Mekong Delta provinces are picking up after a lull caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ca Mau, one of the largest shrimp producing provinces, struggled earlier this year, but exports have been improving recently due to authorities’ support and businesses’ own efforts.

Shrimp exports in the first 10 months of the year were worth over US$783 million, 6 per cent higher year-on-year.

Shrimp export by Bac Lieu Province topped $600 million, a 5 per cent increase.

Huynh Thanh Tan, director of the Ca Mau Seafood Processing and Service Joint Stock Company, said due to the pandemic prices of raw shrimp were down for a long time, and farmers cut back on production. Recent rains and rising tides also hit shrimp farming, he said.

Shrimp prices are recovering as more businesses are buying, and as a result farmers are resuming farming.

Supply is expected to recover by the start of next year.

Nguyen Viet Trung, head of the commerce management division at the Ca Mau Department of Industry and Trade, said the Europe – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement would provide a good opportunity for shrimp exports to the EU.

Shark catfish prices had dropped to VND17,000 – 19,000 ($0.77) per kilo, but are now recovering, and Nguyen Thanh Binh, director of the Chau Thanh Seafood Production and Service Co-operative in Dong Thap Province, said processors were buying it now for exports at VND23,000, which gives farmers a profit.

Exports dropped by 28.6 per cent in the first nine months of the year, but they are expected to recover by the end of the year due to higher demand, especially during Christmas and New Year, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

Exporters too are focusing on increasing exports, improving product quality and diversifying their product range.

Delta provinces are helping businesses diversify their product portfolio process further to improve value added.

They are also helping businesses better understand and utilise free trade agreements that Viet Nam has signed with other countries and blocs, and helping farmers revive production quickly and improve quality.

Viet Nam’s seafood exports in the first 10 months were worth $6.87 billion, and full-year exports are expected to be $8.4 billion, a 2 per cent decrease from 2019.

ASEAN to continue work on AEC's vision 2025

The ASEAN Economic Community Council is working on a comprehensive strategy to develop the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) with a vision to 2025.

The strategy focuses on improving the region's economic integration, competitive capacity, inter-regional co-operation with an emphasis on human resources developments and more robust global integration, heard the 19th ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting, which was held online yesterday.

The meeting set the agenda for the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit, slated for November 12-15, which will review the development process of the AEC. This is part of an initiative by Viet Nam, ASEAN's Chair for 2020, to allow countries an opportunity to submit and study additional recommendations for the building of the AEC.

According to a report by ASEAN, by the end of the second quarter of 2020, the bloc had implemented more than 84 per cent of all AEC-building recommendations for 2021-25.

 

At the summit, regional leaders will review top priorities and solutions put ahead by Viet Nam including the development of a regional integration index, a comprehensive strategy for the development of AEC by 2025, improvements to financial sustainability in the region, cross-border retail and transaction regulations and a common food security strategy for 2021-25.

Countries will discuss the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the region's production, commercial and investment activities as well as solutions to maintain and recover ASEAN economies and supply chains in co-operation with the bloc's partners such as China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN +3).

Notably, ministers were expected to ratify a memorandum on non-tariff barriers to trade for vital commodities in response to the pandemic, another initiative by Viet Nam to minimise the damage of COVID-19 to the region. 

Signing of RCEP to be key outcome of ASEAN Summit: Malaysian ministry

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement will be the central outcome of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, held virtually by host Vietnam on November 9-15, Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) said in a recent statement.

RCEP would make this grouping the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering nearly half of the world’s population while contributing one third of the world’s gross domestic product, the ministry noted.

Besides, the agreement, which has been in negotiation since 2013, would enhance regional economic integration, promote the flow of investments and strengthen global supply chains.

According to MITI, Malaysia’s senior officials are set to convene at the summit and related meetings. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will lead the Malaysian delegation accompanied by Senior Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali alongside Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Senior Minister and MITI Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said that with ASEAN members still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit will be an ideal platform to discuss ways and means to deal with the health and economic challenges.

Under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, they will also focus on how best to enhance unity, cooperation and solidarity towards regional economic integration.

He also expects that the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), which is set to be submitted for the ASEAN Leaders’ endorsement at the summit, will be implemented./.

Innovation should be stepped up to achieve high economic growth: experts

Promoting the development of science and technology as well as digital economy is a wise choice for Vietnam to achieve an annual average economic growth rate of 7 percent during 2021-2030, according to experts.

At a consultation workshop held in Hanoi on November 10 to collecting feedback on Vietnam’s draft socio-economic development strategy for 2021-2030, Dr Bui Tat Thang stressed the need to continue accelerating reforms, saying it is necessary to integrate economic development with restructuring and changing the growth model.

“Vietnam should work towards fast and sustainable development in combination with environmental protection and enhancing resilience to natural disasters and diseases”, said Thang, who is former Director of the Vietnam Institute for Development Strategies under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which co-hosted the forum together with the World Bank (WB).

Meanwhile, Operations Manager for the World Bank in Vietnam Stefanie Stallmeister suggested Vietnam focus on environmental protection activities, resilience to climate change, economic development in harmony with social stability and security, as well as effective management of natural resources.

Under the strategy, Vietnam expects to have per capita GDP of 7,500 USD and annual labour productivity growth of over 6.5 percent by 2030.

The proportion of manufacturing and processing is expected to reach 30 percent of the GDP while the digital economy is envisioned to contribute 30 percent to the GDP.

Thanks to breakthrough strategies during 2011-2020, Vietnam has attained outstanding achievements in institutional reforms, human resources development and infrastructure development.

Several large power projects which have great contributions to production and business activities were completed, such as Vinh Tan 2 and 4 thermal power plants, Vung Ang 1 thermal plant, and Mong Duong 1 & 2 thermal power plants.

However, the strategy did not work out well for the nation to achieve its GDP growth of 7-8 percent, and improve its growth quality as well as national competitive capacity.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau to speed up work on major national projects

The southern coastal province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau plans to speed up work on a number of key national projects over the next five years.

According to a report by its Department of Planning and Investment, there are 42 key works being undertaken in the province in the 2021-25 period.

Of 19 public projects, it has identified the three most important as the Bien Hoa – Vung Tau expressway, Phuoc An Bridge and Road 991B.

They are meant to enhance connectivity between the southern key economic region and the province’s Cai Mep – Thi Vai deep-water port.

According to its People’s Committee, the pre-feasibility study for the first phase of the Bien Hoa – Vung Tau expressway has been submitted to the Prime Minister for approval, and will be carried out under the build-operate-transfer model at a cost of 23.075 trillion VND (995.52 million USD).

Around 34.2km of the road will be built in Dong Nai and 19.5km in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

It is expected to ease congestion on National Highway 51 and facilitate travel between Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau provinces and HCM City and the southern key economic zone.

Besides, the 4.3km Phuoc An Bridge, which will connect the Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port with the Ben Luc - Long Thanh Expressway, will be built in Phu My town in the province and Nhon Trach district in Dong Nai province.

It is expected to cost 4.879 trillion VND. The province has asked the Government for 50 percent of the cost (2.4 trillion VND) over the next five years.

Road 991B is an important project that will cost 3.95 trillion VND, of which the Government has already allocated 920 billion VND. The province has asked for 2.227 trillion VND over the next five years.

Other major national projects include an animal safari park in Xuyen Moc district, a logistics centre and Cai Mep Ha harbour in Phu My commune, a specialised inspection centre near the Cai Mep – Thi Vai Port, beautification of roads in Bai Sau (Back Beach) in Vung Tau city, construction of the April 30 Park in Ba Ria city, and a 1,073ha high-tech agricultural zone in Chau Duc district.

National grid system

The province plans to build a national grid in Con Dao district in the next five years.

It said it would ask the Government for funds for installing a high-voltage grid from Soc Trang across the sea to Con Dao at a cost of 4.86 trillion VND.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, power demand in Con Dao district is forecast at about 21MW by 2025 and 46.4MW by 2035.

Besides building the Bai Ong Cau solar farm (5MW) and other power projects, it also plans to lay a 100km underground cable from Soc Trang province to meet the power demand on the island, the ministry said.

Con Dao has a strategic position in terms of the economy and national security besides great advantages related to tourism development.

According to a plan approved by the PM, the island was expected to receive 300,000 visitors by 2030, but it exceeded the number last year, making the need for electricity supply extremely urgent.

In addition to the 19 public projects, the province is also calling for investment in 23 national key projects, including ports, cultural parks, airports, roads, inspection centres, tourism services, and urban areas.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau serves as the country’s major trade gateway due to its proximity to industrial zones, port complexes, major highways, and transshipment routes.

It is also a leader in attracting foreign direct investment./.

Hanoi considers adjustments to public investment plans

The Hanoi People’s Council held its 17th meeting on November 10 to consider and decide upon issues relating to public investment plans.

Participants focused on extending the public investment plan in 2019 and 2020 and the plan for investment and development of the city budget in 2020, while updating the five-year medium-term public investment plan for the 2016-2020 period.

A number of projects using public investment capital from Hanoi were submitted to the municipal People’s Council for discussion and approval.

According to Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturns in Vietnam and the world, the city has still posted stable economic growth.

She noted, however, that budget collections in the city remain low in the first 10 months of the year, reaching an estimated 183.1 trillion VND (7.9 billion USD), or 70.3 percent of the plan.

Local budget expenditure also remained low, reaching just 57.4 percent of the estimate, with investment spending representing 47.1 percent of the plan.

Ngoc emphasised the importance of fostering budget expenditure, especially investment for capital construction, saying that public investment disbursement is a practical solution for stimulating demand and promoting economic growth.

The municipal People’s Council has approved a resolution on adjusting the public investment plan in 2019 and 2020 and the investment plan for the city’s budget development in 2020.

It also adopted a resolution approving the investment policies for a number of projects using public investment capital from the city.

Ngoc asked that the Hanoi People’s Committee continue to implement solutions to speed up public investment disbursement.

She also asked for closer coordination among departments, sectors, project management boards, and localities to accelerate disbursement and the implementation of projects./.

Vietnam targets private-sector development

Vietnam needs to develop a strategy to promote the development of the private sector over the next decade to maintain growth, speakers said at a conference on socio-economic development from 2021 to 2030 recently held in HCM City.

Dr Vu Thanh Tu Anh, dean of the Fulbright University Vietnam’s Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, said with the current global uncertainty, it would be difficult to achieve the target of average GDP growth of 7 percent over the next decade unless the country focuses on the development of the private sector.

Anh is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group.

“Private firms, mostly small- and medium-sized enterprises, are considered the spearhead of the economy, but their contributions remain modest due to a lack of supportive policies,” he said. “It’s important to offer them fairness in accessing economic resources.”

Dr. Tran Du Lich, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group, said the country would not be able to achieve the target unless it mobilises all resources for economic development over the next decade as the population is getting older.

“The proportion of the working age population has begun to decline and this trend will continue in the next decade. There is no country with an aging population that can grow rapidly. I am concerned we will be old before we can get rich.”

Dr. Nguyen Ba An, a member of the Editorial Group of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party, said it was important to continue to reform administrative procedures to help remove barriers for private enterprises.

Dr Vu Tuan Anh, lecturer at the National Economics University, noted that private enterprises’ contribution to GDP remains modest at less than 10 percent. In comparison, the FDI sector contributes about 20 percent to GDP.

This is a problematic economic structure, making it difficult for private firms to develop.

Experts recommended that, for a normal economy, the contribution of the private sector to GDP should be around 60-70 percent.

Anh, the dean at Fulbright University, said more than 96 percent of private firms are micro and small size, so their resilience to external shocks remains weak, making it difficult to connect to the global value chain.

Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment last year showed only 15 percent of private enterprises are suppliers to FDI enterprises in the country. More than 8 percent are likely to export directly, and 7.4 percent can export indirectly through a third country.

He said the Government should reform the governance system of State-owned enterprises, and stop providing bailouts or financial support to any State-owned business or project that encounters prolonged heavy losses.

“For attraction of FDI, priority should be given to domestic private enterprises to connect to supply networks of leading multinational corporations in the country. The domestic private sector should play a major role in the economy,” he said.

The private sector altogether contributes around 40 percent to the country’s GDP, of which some 32 percent is from household-based businesses and only eight percent from private firms. State-owned enterprises contribute around 28 percent, according to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

State-owned enterprises and business households are the two major contributors to GDP, but they both have problems in capacity. Household-based businesses are of small scale, while State-owned enterprises lack efficiency in operation, the ministry said.

Vietnam’s private sector has more than 700,000 firms and 5.2 million business households.

The meeting was organised by the Institute of Development Strategy under the Ministry of Planning and Investment in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam./.

Implementation of Vietnam’s initiatives to ASEAN Economic Community reviewed

The implementation of priorities and initiatives proposed by Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN 2020 to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was reviewed at the 19th AEC Council Meeting held virtually on November 10.

Seven out of the 13 priorities have been completed while the implementation of the remainders is continuing, the meeting heard.

The AEC Council has been realising the AEC Blueprint 2025 with the aim of turning ASEAN into a highly integrated and cohesive economy; a competitive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN; an enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; a resilient, inclusive, people-oriented, and people-centred ASEAN; and a global ASEAN.

The delegates also looked at a preliminary report on the mid-term review of the implementation of the blueprint.

According to the report, which is one of the 13 priorities proposed by Vietnam in an effort to better the implementation of the blueprint, as of the second quarter of this year, ASEAN had completed up to 84 percent of the set measures.

The participating ministers approved 12 recommendations so as to help ASEAN reach the targets set for the remaining period (2021-2025) amidst the rapid, unforeseeable regional and international situation.

2020 is a special year for ASEAN as the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered difficulties in production, trade and investment in the region. Therefore, the ministers mulled over economic proposals and initiatives to maintain the supply chains and recover the economy, approved by ASEAN and its partners - China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, who chaired the meeting, said ASEAN has become a dynamic and significant player in the world economy, becoming the fifth largest economy globally with a combined GDP of 3 trillion USD.

All the accomplishments have brought in improved livelihoods for people across the region, the minister said.

However, he pointed out a rapidly changing world with unpredictable challenges, and a declined trend in both trade and cross-border investment, requiring ASEAN to identify new strategies to advance AEC cooperation, especially in supporting production capacity, strengthening intra-region trade and investment, sustaining the value chain and bridging the development gap among member states so as to keep moving towards the goal of winning a single market and production base with high-level of economic development, and fully integrate into the global economy.

ASEAN has continued to show commitments to regional economic integration under the AEC Blueprint 2025, Anh stressed.

On this occasion, the ministers signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the implementation of non-tariff measures on essential goods, aiming to carry out the Hanoi Plan of Action on enhancing economic cooperation within ASEAN and connecting supply chains amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting also approved a report of the AEC Council to be submitted to the 37th ASEAN Summit slated for November 12-15.

Luong Hoang Thai, Director of the Department of Multilateral Trade Policy under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the press on the sidelines of the meeting that one of the issues facing ASEAN is non-tariff barriers within the bloc, especially in the context of COVID-19 causing difficulties for businesses.

The MoU will help to deal with problems in the short term while setting forth a new framework for the bloc to handle issues businesses would meet during the process of regional integration.

According to Thai, the ministers had agreed to initially add over 150 production lines in the MoU like pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, which will be extended in the time ahead, including food./.

VEAM reports significant revenue slump

The Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation (VEAM) saw revenue slump 18 percent year-on-year to reach 910 billion VND (39.3 million USD) in the third quarter of this year.

It also reported nine-month revenue down more than 20 percent year-on-year to total 2.67 trillion VND.

VEAM makes engines, agricultural machinery, automobiles and motorbikes, possesses major stakes in three joint ventures, namely Honda Vietnam (30 percent), Toyota Vietnam (20 percent) and Ford Vietnam (25 percent).

Gross profit margin increased significantly year-on-year, reaching 11.8 percent while it was negative in the same period last year.

Financial revenue in Q3 totaled 259 billion VND thanks to huge cash and bank deposits. In the first nine months of this year, revenue was 742 billion VND, up by 18.9 percent same period last year.

As of the end of September, the amount of cash and bank deposits amounted to 17.7 trillion VND, an increase of 832 billion VND compared to the beginning of the year. VEAM's nine-month deposit interest amounted to more than 739 billion VND.

Profits earned from joint ventures and associates in Q3 reached 1.37 trillion VND, down 17 percent. The figure for nine months was 3.3 trillion VND, down 33.5 percent.

Despite reducing selling and administrative expenses, VEAM Q3's pre-tax profit still decreased by 7.3 percent over the same period last year, reaching nearly 1.63 trillion VND. The figure in nine months decreased by 23.5 percent, reaching nearly 4 trillion VND.

VEAM's consolidated post-tax profit in Q3 reached 1.58 trillion VND, down 9 percent year-on-year and that of nine months reached 3.85 trillion VND, down 25.2 percent over the same period last year.

Currently, the largest shareholder of VEAM is the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which holds 88.47 percent of capital, equivalent to 1.18 trillion VND./.

Business Summit highlights significance of digitalisation amidst pandemic

The Vietnam Business Summit 2020 was held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on November 12 under the theme of “Digitalised Vietnam: Toward Resilient, Responsive and Sustainable Development”.

Recommendations at the summit will be submitted to ASEAN leaders, who are gathering online for the 37th ASEAN Summit, so that more effective measures will be outlined to support the business community.

Key topics discussed at the summit included logistics, agriculture and overarching investment challenges in the context of COVID-19.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh underlined the outbreak together with the Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought substantial changes to the global economy.

In that context, Vietnam should work to overcome formidable challenges and grasp all opportunities to become a new destination for investment waves in the region, he said.

Meanwhile, VCCI President Vu Tien Loc stressed the COVID-19 pandemic has pressed businesses to put forth digital transformation process, explaining it helps Vietnamese firms, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, to develop a more flexible business model, while cutting cost and optimising resources.

Since the success of digital transformation depends much on political determination and national economic institution, not technology, it is necessary to create a modern economic institution with rational legal framework, which is able to form an ecosystem for e-commerce and digital economy, Loc said.

At the event, many scholars expressed their interest in the pandemic’s impact on global economy, prospects for the Vietnamese economy, foreign investment waves and Vietnam’s FDI attraction strategies, and IT application to improve logistics service efficiency, among others./.

RCEP should be signed soon: RoK analyst

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) should be signed early as it is good for all signatories, including the Republic of Korea (RoK), Director of the RoK’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies’ Center for ASEAN and Oceania Studies Lee Jae-hyon told the Vietnam News Agency.

The agreement will bolster the RoK’s economy, as it depends very much on trade.

The RCEP is an achievement of the RoK’s New Southern Policy, removing trade barriers between ASEAN member states and the RoK.

It is also helpful in easing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

He went on to say that the RoK’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is striving to have the agreement signed this year.

It is expected to be inked on November 15 within the framework of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

The RCEP was initiated in November 2012 and aims to establish an economic platform between the 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the RoK by focusing on trade in goods, services, and investment.

If signed, it will be the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering about 30 percent of the world’s population and contributing nearly one-third (29.3 percent) to global GDP./.

Vietnam International Agriculture Fair 2020 underway

The Vietnam International Agriculture Fair 2020 opened on November 11 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, featuring 250 stalls from 100 Vietnamese and foreign companies.

The annual fair is the largest of its kind in the Delta, which is known as the country’s rice granary. International participants this year are from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Israel, India, and elsewhere.

On display are machinery, farming equipment, fertilisers, pesticides, agro-forestry-fisheries goods for export, local specialties, rice, handicrafts, and bio-tech products, among others.

On the sidelines of the five-day event is a workshop on the application of science and technology in agricultural production, a business matching conference, and a programme introducing farmers’ inventions, together with several other activities.

According to organisers, the fair fortifies links between scientific research and business-production as well as between enterprises and consumers in experience exchange, technology transfer, business cooperation, and trade promotion./.

Vietnam Business Summit 2020 underlines digital transformation amid COVID-19

The Vietnam Business Summit 2020 themed “Digitized Vietnam: Toward Resilient Responsive and Sustainable Development” opened in Hanoi on November 12 with a focus on the development of smart logistics services and co-operation in high-tech development.
 
Upon addressing the opening ceremony, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic and Industry 4.0 have served to change the global economy, adding that the nation should strive to overcome challenges and seize upon opportunities to welcome fresh waves of investment into the region.

Deputy PM Binh also pointed out that when faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, food security emerged as a key concern for many countries, noting that the nation should pay close attention to its selection of investment fields as a means of promoting its strengths whilst removing inadequacies.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), emphasized that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on local business activities, therefore urging firms to accelerate the digital transformation.

Loc believes that digital transformation will serve to help Vietnamese enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are seeking a more flexible business model to reduce costs whilst optimising resources to overcome the challenges in the post-pandemic period.

Furthermore, Loc underlined the need to create a modern economic institutional system that features legal regulations that are capable of creating an ecosystem for e-commerce and the digital economy.

During the course of the event several scholars expressed their concern about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, along with the nation’s future economic prospects.

Participants also discussed the shift of investment from international corporations, the Vietnamese strategy to attract more FDI, along with the application of information technology to improve logistics costs and agricultural production activities.

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

 
 

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