Regulations on multi-level marketing to be amended
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has made public for comments draft amendments to Decree No 40/2018/ND-CP about managing multi-level marketing business.
The ministry said multi-level marketing must be strictly managed and in line with the Government’s policy of increasing investment attracting and creating the most favourable conditions for enterprises’ operation.
Some regulations on multi-level marketing must be reviewed and amended to ensure they are appropriate for reality as well as feasible, the ministry said.
The ministry’s statistics showed the number of multi-level marketing enterprises has dropped by two thirds since 2016, with a half having had their licences revoked and the other half stopping operation due to inefficiency.
From 2018, nearly 20 enterprises applied for operating as a multi-level marketing business, two-thirds of which were foreign-invested.
The ministry said foreign-invested companies wanting to invest in Vietnam was a good sign. However, careful consideration was needed to evaluate the demand for market entry of foreign-invested companies in multi-level marketing.
Multi-level marketing has a history of hundreds of years in the world and been recognised as a business type in a number of countries. Still, there have been controversies over the nature of this business which saw many scams.
Most countries use tough management on multi-level marketing to minimise the risk of scams, according to the ministry.
The fact that more than 30 percent of multi-level marketing enterprises had lost their licences showed it was necessary to tighten the regulations on market entry for this business, the ministry said.
The ministry proposed that foreign-invested enterprises registered as multi-level marketing businesses in Vietnam must have operated for at least three years in another country.
The draft decree also includes a regulation to create a more efficient mechanism in managing the operation of multi-level marketing in localities while not causing difficulties and pushing up compliance costs for enterprises.
The ministry also proposed clarifying the obligations of multi-level marketing participants.
In addition, the ministry proposed international patronage be banned for multi-level marketing business to prevent enterprises from transferring money to foreign countries in the form of commission.
The decree is expected to be proposed to the Government for approval in the last quarter of 2021.
Cooperatives need support in face of COVID-19
COVID-19 has adversely impacted all economic sectors and stakeholders. Cooperatives, especially agricultural cooperatives, are no exception and are in special need of assistance if they are to survive the turbulent times.
Ten tonnes of duck breast from the Dong Tam Agricultural Service Cooperative in Tan Yen district, Bac Giang province are now in cold storage with no specific date for their release. Duck breast packages continue to pile up as storage space reaches capacity.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperative supplied 2 tonnes of processed products from duck to the market every day. But volumes have now fallen 80%. The cooperative must still cover the cost of animal feed and general operations, however, and low consumption and high costs have become a heavy burden.
Capital is a major challenge facing the cooperative and results in a dependence on partners. Now that these partners have been scaled down by COVID-19 and reduced their orders, the cooperatives are in serious trouble. Farm produce simply can’t be stored for too long, and cooperatives are in special need of assistance.
The Hung Thinh agricultural cooperative in Hiep Hoa district had planned to develop hi-tech farms prior to the pandemic. Though projects are underway already and the full cost is funded by the Cooperatives Alliance, they still need more capital to purchase seedlings and breeds and build production and consumption chains.
According to figures from the Bac Giang Provincial Cooperatives Alliance, two-thirds of local cooperatives have been affected by COVID-19. If proper support is not forthcoming, the local cooperative economy will be severely affected.
With the aim of sustainably developing the cooperative economy, the Bac Giang provincial steering committee for cooperative economic development has directed ineffective cooperatives to dissolve.
The committee has prioritised support for agricultural cooperatives, especially in assisting them to apply hi-tech farming methods.
According to experts, more support is needed to assist cooperatives through these difficult days, but they themselves must also seek long-term and sustainable development strategies that take into consideration risk factors, to avoid being severely affected by external challenges./.
PM approves proposal on national tourism conference
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a proposal on organising a national conference on tourism submitted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the People’s Committee of central Quang Nam province.
Under the proposal, the conference will be held at the Hoiana resort complex with the participation of around 350 delegates.
Besides the main conference, several activities are also scheduled to be held, such as an online forum discussing ways to develop linkages between the central key economic region and the two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. An exhibition will be held featuring 12 booths of seven localities, four airlines and the host resort, to introduce destinations of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the central region.
The event will be of important significance to Quang Nam and other central provinces as tourism activities in the region have been disrupted by the pandemic. Its organization is a move to implement the Government’s direction on implementing the dual task of effectively containing the pandemic and restoring economic activities.
Clean energy projects vibrant
Recently, several environmentally friendly clean energy projects, including solar power, wind power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) power, have been invested. At the same time, many other clean energy projects are being signed in many provinces, opening up prospects for ensuring a sustainable power supply in the future and helping the retail power market to have the chance for healthy competition.
In the South, many solar power projects have been continuously started and completed quickly and put into operation. The investment is so hot that many projects are completed but cannot go online due to a shortage of power grids, especially in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. To deal with this situation, Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has speedily invested and put in use 21 power grid projects from 110kV to 500kV, with a total length of more than 750 kilometers of lines, and transformer substations, with a capacity of 5,025 mega-volt amperes (MVAs), to release the power capacity for 113 solar and wind power projects whose total capacity is over 5,700 megawatts (MWs).
So far, the country has put into operation 102 more solar power projects, with a total capacity of 6,314 megawatt-peak (MWp). According to Mr. Nguyen Van Ly, Deputy General Director of the Southern Power Corporation (EVNSPC), the southern provinces from Ninh Thuan onwards have the highest amount of solar radiation in the country with over 90 percent of sunny days in a year. Therefore, this area has favorable conditions for the strong development of solar power.
Meanwhile, in the Mekong Delta, many provinces are joining hands with each other with the determination to become the national energy center. They all choose to develop wind, solar, and gas power as a breakthrough for sustainable development. For instance, in Bac Lieu Province, 12 wind power projects, and the LNG power projects with an investment of US$4 billion have been started. Besides, several solar power projects are racing against time to finish before January 2021.
Soc Trang Province has started many wind power projects in Vinh Chau Town in Tran De District. Or in Ca Mau Province, with three sides bordering the sea, it is the province with the largest aquaculture area in the country with over 280,000 hectares. However, it still prioritizes the development of clean energy to make a breakthrough in economic development. Up to now, more than 30 investors have officially approached, studied, and proposed to carry out projects with a total capacity of about 12,000MWs. Of which, wind power projects have a total capacity of 6,050MWs, solar power with 1,450MWp, and LNG power project with 4,500MWs.
In Hue City, there is also an upcoming LNG power plant with a total design capacity of 4,000MWs, worth $6 billion, which is expected to locate in Chan May - Lang Co Economic Zone. This power plant is invested and developed by Chan May LNG Joint Stock Company. This is an independent power project (IPP), meaning that it does not use state budget capital to invest, generate, and sell electricity following the regulations on electricity. The project is 60 percent owned by US investors and 40 percent by Vietnamese ones. When coming into operation, the plant is expected to provide an average electricity output of 24-25 billion kWh annually.
Last October, Vietnam and the US signed many memorandums of understanding on energy investment for up to tens of billions of US dollars. For instance, the Bac Lieu LNG power project has a capacity of 3,200MWs, with a total investment of up to $50 billion within 25 years. It is expected that it will import up to 3 million tons of LNG per year. The Long An LNG power project with a capacity of 3,000MWs has strategic importance as it will meet about 8 percent of the country's energy demand when it is put into operation.
Along with heavy investments in the above types of energy projects, investors have recently also proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to request EVN to sign power purchase agreements (PPA) at maximum for a fixed price to avoid risks, at the same time, help investors to raise capital when the government's loan guarantees are no longer available.
If policies on PPA model contract were not released early, or at the least, the policy stance of the IPP contracts was not clarified, it would inevitably affect the progress of projects in the coming time, said Mr. Dang Huy Dong, former Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, a consultant for the Bac Lieu LNG thermal power project.
According to Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the past, regulations often based on the balance of power supply and demand to require EVN to pledge to buy 80-85 percent of power output every year and depending on for each type of power plants, such as 80 percent for hydroelectricity and 85 percent for thermal power. However, the electricity market has now turned to the wholesale level. Therefore, there will be new mechanisms and policies suitable for the electricity market with many sellers and buyers instead of just EVN and power corporations as currently.
The commit-to-buy power output will be negotiated by the seller and the buyer. However, the State management agency still sets a limit of not less than 60 percent, and the highest level is 100 percent of the output that power plants can generate. This is also a condition for IPP investors to get acquainted with the absence of government guarantees, fortify their position to participate in the development and completion of the competitive retail electricity market in which power plants directly sell electricity to people in 2023.
Vietnam honors 11 major renewable energy projects in 2020
All projects honored this time are those that have been evaluated in terms of stability, efficiency, as well as contributing to environmental protection and creating jobs.
The Advisory Council for Science, Education and Environment under the Central Committee of Vietnam’s Fatherland Front announced the voting results for the country’s 11 most significant renewable projects in 2020.
All projects honored this time are those that have been evaluated in terms of stability, efficiency, as well as contributing to environmental protection and creating jobs and generating steady source of revenue for local budget.
At the ceremony, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc and Chairman of the Advisory Council for Science, Education and Environment under the Central Committee Nguyen Lan Duong awarded certificates and medals to 11 projects, including Trung Nam solar and wind farm complex; Dau Tieng No.3 solar power plant; BCG-CME Long An No.2 solar power plant; Sao Mai solar power plant; Hong Phong No.4 solar power plant; Phu Lac wind power plant; Phuong Mai No.3 solar power plant; Mui Ne solar power plant; Phong Phu solar power plant; rooftop solar power system De Heus Dong Nai; and An Khe biomass power project.
Renewable energy has been developed rapidly in recent years, especially in 2019, mainly due to the impact of the government's initiatives for the sector. By the end of June, there were 89 solar power farms connected to the grid with a total capacity of 4,442MW. In addition, wind power farms, located mainly in Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, have a combined capacity of 4,880MW, raising the share of renewables to over 10% in the energy mix.
As planned, by 2025 around 12,500MW of solar power and 7,200MW of wind power, and about 2,000MW of rooftop power will likely be connected to the national grid.
Vietnam customs steps up fight against origin frauds in trade
In order to better combat trade fraud activities in the future, the Ministry of Finance is requesting related agencies to soon issue specific criteria for domestically-produced goods.
Under Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s instruction in Directive No.824 on tightening state administration against trade frauds, the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) has been working on perfecting the legal framework and identifying offenses in trading activities.
In terms of legislation, the GDVC has issued specific instructions for provincial customs in dealing with act of trade and origin frauds, illegal transshipment as well as violations of intellectual property rights.
Additionally, the GDVC has given priority to training customs staff to ensure greater efficiency in determining cases of frauds in trade.
Meanwhile, the GDVC has been active in collecting and analyzing information domestically and internationally to identify products with high risk of trade and origin frauds; reviewing suspect transactions or traders with sudden surge in trade turnover although their capacity and operation scale remain the same.
Vietnam's customs authorities are scheduled to intensify supervision over specific import items, including wood planks, bicycles, e-bicycles, among others to timely uncover offenses.
To date, the customs authorities have carried out inspection at 78 enterprises with export-bound goods worth VND647 billion (US$28 million), in which 391 certificates of origins were found to be fake and other 1,894 cannot provide sufficient information for verification.
In order to better combat trade fraud activities in the future, the Ministry of Finance is requesting related agencies to soon issue specific criteria for domestically-produced goods.
Moreover, international cooperation is considered essential in prevent cases of trade and origin frauds or illegal transshipment, in turn protecting lawful rights of local compliant traders.
The GDVC is currently cooperating with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to prevent origin frauds related to some products and goods, including solar battery, shrimp, bicycle, e-bicycle, among others.
The GDVC would continue to raise public awareness related to the rule of origins, and negative impacts of trade and origin frauds to domestic companies and the economy as a whole.
Vietnam business community helps ensure success in Covid-19 fight
Not only supporting the government’s initiative in keeping stable market prices, local businesses are adjusting their business operations in a new normal.
Vietnam’s success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic could not be without the active response from both the business community and their customers.
Amid the complicated progress of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnamese enterprises have been working on solutions to adapt to a new situation.
Chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of Ho Chi Minh City (FFA) Ly Kim Chi said during the first outbreak of the pandemic, many enterprises were hit severely and unable to come up with a plan to deal with an unprecedented crisis. However, at present, the majority of the business community, especially those in the food and consumer goods sector, have adapted well, she noted.
Ms. Chi pointed to the fact as while many countries are facing food shortages, the situation in Vietnam remains as usual. Notably, prices of basic necessities are stable and even in case of fluctuation, the government has immediately intervened to keep the prices stable.
Moreover, Ms. Chi said despite facing difficulties from the Covid-19 pandemic, local firms still prioritize quality of their products and services.
Vice Director of the Vietnam Animal Industry Company (Vissan) Phan Van Dung said prior to the Lunar New Year period in February, pork supply was heavily affected due to the African Swine Fever, leading to hikes in prices of pork in the market.
The company, however, remains committed to stabilizing the prices during this period, stated Mr. Dung.
“We have to buy in live hogs at high prices of VND90,000 – 95,000 (US$3.88 – 4.10) per kilogram, but continue to sell the final products at the same prices as before,” he added.
Managing Director of Masan Meatlife in the North Hoang Chuong said the company has been put in place strict measures to prevent Covid-19 infections during the outbreak. While these measures have led to high production costs, the company considers these steps essential to keep operation running and stable supply of products to the market.
Diversification of sales channels
Along with efforts to stabilize market prices, local enterprises have to look for solutions to ensure continuity in operation, as such, e-commerce is seen as the most effective sales channel in the current context.
Mr. Dung from Vissan said this year, the company plans to set up an e-commerce platform. “Online sales were the only way for us to survive through the social-distancing period in April,” he said.
With 55 stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Vissan turned them into their own distribution network to ensure fast delivery to customers. Meanwhile, the company also takes their products to e-commerce platforms such as Lazada or Tiki.
General Director of Karofi Vietnam Tran Manh Hien said despite being a manufacturer of water and air purifiers, Karofi has quickly adjusted their production chain to be able to produce anti-bacterial face masks amid growing public concern over health issues during the pandemic.
Hoang Chuong from Masan Meatlife said the company had already identified online shopping as an inevitable trend in the future, and the Covid-19 pandemic would only accelerate this process in Vietnam.
“We are using multiple platforms to sell our products, including website, Facebook fanpage, among others,” Mr. Chuong noted.
Deputy Director of the Department of E-commerce and Digital Economy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thi Minh Huyen said it is vital for local enterprises to incorporate e-commerce platform into their operations.
Ms. Huyen, however, also urged local customers to check on products before proceeding with the transaction, as many may take advantage of the online platform to sell fake or low-quality products.
Vietnam predicted to have 138,000 new enterprises in 2020
The number of newly established enterprises in 2020 would be around the figure recorded a year ago.
In case the global Covid-19 situation is under control and the Vietnamese government continues with effective support measures for enterprises, the number of newly established ones in this year could be over 138,000, around the same number in 2019, according to Bui Anh Tuan, head of the Business Registration Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).
This would be considered a major achievement for the economy, given the fact that 111,160 new businesses have been created in the first 10 months of 2020 with a combined registered capital of VND1,594 trillion (US$68.8 billion), down 2.9% in number but up 11.1% in registered capital year-on-year.
“There have been improvements in the growth rate of newly established enterprises over the years,” noted Mr. Tuan.
While in the first four months of 2020, business creation suffered a contraction of 13.2% year-on-year, the rate later narrowed to 5.1% in seven-month period and 3.2% in the January – September period.
Overall, the situation of new business formation in the country has improved thanks to effective support policies and the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese government has been implementing a wide range of support for the business community, with the latest move being a cut of 30% in corporate income tax for enterprises having their revenue of less than VND200 billion (US$8.61 million) in 2020.
Additionally, other supporting programs consist of a credit package worth VND300 trillion (US$12.87 billion), including a VND180-trillion (US$7.63 billion) fiscal stimulus package in forms of delay of payment of value-added tax, corporate income tax, and a financial support package for vulnerable people worth VND62 trillion (US$2.7 billion).
Vietnam–S.Korea ties strengthened after 28 years of diplomatic relations
Vietnam – South Korea relations are growing strongly in all spheres, which have brought mutual benefits and trust to all parties involved, stated a Vietnamese senior official.
The year of 2020 marks the 28th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam – South Korea diplomatic relations and 30th anniversary of South Korea starting to provide official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam.
While 28 years are not a long period of time, the bilateral relations have taken long strides and are now at its peak.
South Korea – largest investor in Vietnam
“Vietnam – South Korea relations are growing strongly in all spheres, which have brought mutual benefit and trust to all parties involved and resulted in a comprehensive strategic partnership,” stated Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong.
As of October, South Korea is Vietnam’s largest investor with 8,900 ongoing investment projects in the country worth a combined US$70.4 billion.
Moreover, South Korean companies continue to be a major part of Vietnam’s economy and contribute 30% of total exports in the first nine months of 2020. Meanwhile, Vietnam currently has 49 investment projects in South Korea with a modest capital of US$35.24 million, in which the majority are in fields of science, technology, mining, manufacturing and processing.
Vietnam is also a priority partner of South Korea and makes up 20% of the latter’s ODA support globally. In recent years, aids from South Korea for Vietnam total over US$300 million annually, in which 90% are ODA loans and 10% in forms of non-refundable aid.
Key fields in Vietnam – South Korea cooperation are transport and urban infrastructure; healthcare; education; green energy and IT, among others.
During the 2016 – 2020 period, major principles for Vietnam – South Korea cooperation are stipulated in the latter’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), with a focus on enhancing state governance capability, education, water, healthcare and transportation.
In addition to ODA, South Korea is willing to provide preferential loans for Vietnam via financial cooperation mechanisms to fund large scale infrastructure projects.
S.Korea’s government encourage more investments in Vietnam
South Korea’s Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Seong–ho noted the South Korean government is encouraging its major corporations to explore the possibility of investing in Vietnam, especially in fields of hi-tech, electronics, renewable energy and infrastructure development.
As the two countries are maintaining close relations in industry – energy, infrastructure, agriculture, justice, finance – banking, among others, both are set to continue boosting cooperation further, noted Mr. Lee.
Mr. Lee expected the Vietnamese government to continue supporting South Korean investors to expand or invest in the country as the world’s economy is struggling against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2019, South Korea investors registered 351 new projects worth US$1.25 billion in Hanoi, which reflects Vietnam’s efforts in boosting trade and investment cooperation with major partners, including South Korea.
Director of Hanoi’s Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen said Hanoi has been preparing land resources and simplifying investment procedures to create more convenience for investors. Investors wishing to seek more detailed information related to Hanoi’s incentives for investment projects or priority fields for investment could go to the website: www.hapi.gov.vn.
Commercial banks shall share customer bank accounts with tax authorities next month
From December 5, commercial banks shall have to share information on customer bank accounts of taxpayers with tax authorities.
The regulation is stipulated in Point 2, Article 30 of Decree 126/2020/ND-CP on the implementation a number of articles of the Law on Tax Administration 2019.
Specifically, commercial banks will be responsible for providing account transaction information, account balances, and transaction figures in accordance with proposals of tax authorities within 90 days from the effective date of this Decree.
Bank Account information shall be updated on a monthly basis for ten days of the following month. The method of providing information is in the electronic means.
The move aims to serve for inspection, verification and determination of payable tax obligations, and organizing the implementation of suitable tax administration measures in accordance with the tax law./.
Programme started to boost Phu Quoc tourism
A tourism promotion programme has been recently held in Phu Quoc island district, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, as part of a bigger programme aiming to stimulate the domestic tourism sector.
According to Ha Van Sieu, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration, Phu Quoc is the first place to be selected for the implementation of such programme.
Participating travel firms introduced potential of Phu Quoc, dubbed as a “pearl island”, and famous people talked about their experiences in the locality during the programme.
Sieu expressed his hope that the event will give a boost to Phu Quoc tourism during the closing months of this year, while promoting activities in other localities nationwide.
Kien Giang plans to develop high-quality tourism products and train human resources in the sector in order to improve service quality.
The province will also invest in road infrastructure to connect tourist sites in and outside the locality, as well as in seaport infrastructure to ensure safety for holiday-makers.
According to the provincial Department of Tourism, the local sector is expected to earn more than 8 trillion VND (343.52 million USD) this year, down 12 trillion VND.
In the first 10 months of this year, Kien Giang welcomed about 5.2 million visitors, a drop of 40.7 percent year-on-year, including 184,000 international tourists, down 74 percent.
Phu Quoc has become a top tourist destination after it built an international airport in 2012 and the Government rolled out a 30-day visa-free policy for foreigners in 2014.
Rice exports maintain robust growth
Rice exports continue to represent a bright spot among Vietnam’s agricultural exports after maintaining remarkable growth in value since the start of the year, with the export price increasing significantly as a result of improvements made to quality.
According to figures released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the nation exported 5.35 million tonnes of rice worth approximately US$2.64 billion during the opening ten months of the year, representing a decline of 2.8% in volume and an increase of 9.5% in value from the same period last year. Indeed, the average export price of rice witnessed a surge of 12.7% on-year to US$493.3 per tonne.
The initial 11 months of the year witnessed the country ship over 5.7 million tonnes of rice abroad with a value of roughly US$2.84 billion, a year-on year increase of over 12% with the average price of rice exports reaching US$494 per tonnes.
Most notably, Vietnamese rice has seen a number of positive increases in terms of price with 5% broken white rice being traded from US$470 per tonne in mid-October to between US$485 and US$490 per tonne during the last week of October.
Despite experiencing a decline in relation to export volume, the export value of the products has significantly increased due to various types of high-quality rice being capable of meeting the stringent requirements placed on them by demanding markets, coupled with the global increase in demand for rice amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.
According to the latest information released by the Vietnam Food Association, the Asian rice market has started to heat up again as several potential customers, including China, Bangladesh, and the Philippines are rushing to purchase these items. For example, China is actively purchasing rice from major suppliers such as Pakistan and Thailand, in addition to the nation.
This comes after Bangladesh has recently announced that it will open an international bid from November 26 to December 10 in order to buy 50,000 tonnes of rice, along with plans to purchase an additional 250,000 tonnes, while Malaysia and Indonesia are also keen on promoting the purchase of rice from India and Thailand, as well as the country.
Moving forward, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development anticipates that rice export volume will reach over 6 million tonnes this year.
According to reports compiled by large corporations and enterprises such as Loc Troi, PAN, and Trung An, the export orders of local high-quality rice to the EU market are projected to increase in the short term due to the enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Tax, customs policies under scrutiny
Representatives of ministries, agencies, localities, business associations and enterprises gathered at a dialogue in Hanoi on November 24 to review the latest administrative and regulatory changes in taxation and customs.
The annual dialogue was co-organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said her ministry has been seeking to facilitate business activities, especially in tax and customs procedures.
Administrative reforms have been implemented in recent years to modernise the country's tax code and management of import/export activities in accordance with international treaties and standards. Regulatory bodies have strived for greater efficiency and transparency to support businesses in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the ministry's top priority is to complete the implementation of Vietnam’s one-door national portal, which aims to help business significantly reduce the amount of money and time spent on administrative procedures, particularly import/export businesses, according to Mai.
To date, the portal can process nearly 200 administrative procedures and allow businesses to file their tax applications electronically in a network that includes 55 commercial banks. A report by the ministry said 97.6 percent have used the portal to pay their taxes. The General Department of Taxation has piloted a programme to issue e-invoices in Hanoi and HCM City. The next step is to implement it nationwide from July 2022.
Meanwhile, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has made significant progress in upgrading its automated customs services and streamlining protocols, saving businesses time and money while reducing clearance time.
Hoang Quang Phong, VCCI Vice Chairman, said it's important for the customs and tax departments to work closely with the business community to identify inefficiencies.
At the event, businesses raised concerns over officials' responsibility and accountability for their audits, including those that may later turn out to be wrongful or unlawful. They also voiced concerns over instances in which officials' misconducts may cause businesses to suffer damage to their reputation or finances and what measures could be taken for firms to seek remedies.
The VCCI said it planned to collect feedback and suggestions from businesses for a report, which will be compiled and submitted to the Prime Minister once a month for reviews to address the most pressing issues faced by the business sector.
The finance ministry said it has appointed senior officers from the general departments of taxation and customs to follow up with questions and concerns raised by businesses during the forum.
Vietnamese coffee brand among nine winners of ASEAN-RoK design award
Real Beans Coffee, a coffee brand in Vietnam, are among nine winners of the 1st ASEAN-Korea Excellent Design Exhibition Award this year which honours the best packaging designs made in ASEAN countries.
The nine winning designs were selected from 46 entries submitted by 29 design agencies and freelance designers based in nine ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The competition was co-organised by the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), Korea Institute for Design Promotion (KIDP) and Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and open to packaging designs in the areas of agro-fishery, food and beverage, and health and beauty from May to July. Eligible entries were those launched within the year 2019 – 2020.
The award ceremony, held in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (RoK) on November 24 afternoon, saw the presence of AKC Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, KIDP Chairman Eune Ju-hyun, and ambassadors of ASEAN member states to the RoK.
Speaking at the event, Lee Hyuk said ASEAN countries show an increasing interest in developing its design industry and cooperation with the RoK is expected to help their high-quality products gain popularity in the Korean market.
The competition aims to improve the global competitiveness of made-in-ASEAN products, which is in line with the RoK’s New Southern Policy, he noted.
Vietnam posts 7.26 percent credit growth so far this year
Outstanding loans in Vietnam exceeded 8.79 quadrillion VND (378.74 billion USD) as of November 17, an increase of 7.26 percent from the end of 2019, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
Under its Circular No 01/2020, lenders had restructured repayment deadlines for loans worth over 341.85 trillion VND as of November 9, taken out by nearly 270,200 borrowers affected by COVID-19.
Interest rates have been waived and reduced for over 552,700 borrowers with total outstanding loans of more than 931 trillion VND.
More than 2.017 quadrillion VND worth of new loans has been provided to close to 356,400 customers since January 23, the central bank said.
The SBV has requested local credit institutions urgently compile records of borrowers hit by flooding in the central and Central Highlands regions during October and November, in order to help them overcome any financial difficulties./.
Vietnam promoting hi-tech farming
Vietnam has encouraged the development of hi-tech agriculture with a view to making breakthroughs in farming productivity and improving the competitive edge of agricultural products in both the domestic and foreign markets, according to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Cong Tac.
Vietnam is known for its remarkable results in agriculture, which have played a significant part in the country’s economy. The sector, however, is facing formidable challenges, and hi-tech farming is seen as key to fighting climate change, restructuring the sector, and improving local livelihoods.
Mechanisation, automation, bio-technology, and computerisation will help farmers lower production costs and improve productivity and quality, while protecting the environment, Tac said, adding that with advanced technologies, farmers can alleviate the impact of climate on production and meet market demand.
A wide range of corporations and localities have turned to hi-tech farming and clean agriculture to enhance exports and boost the position of Vietnamese agricultural products in the international arena.
The country is now home to 47 companies and nine areas certified for hi-tech agriculture. Along with three hi-tech farming zones in Phu Yen, Bac Lieu, and Hau Giang provinces, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is considering the establishment of three others, in Thai Nguyen, Quang Ninh, and Lam Dong.
Thanks to modern technologies, companies such as TH, Dabaco, Nafoods, Masan, and Vingroup have increased their agricultural production value and promoted sustainable development.
According to insiders, in a bid to build a smart agriculture sector that helps the country ensure food security and respond to climate change while improving product quality and competitiveness, due attention should be paid to setting up uniform support mechanisms in technology research and transfer.
Priority should be given to the application of high technologies in cultivation, processing, preservation, and environmental protection.
They also emphasised international cooperation, saying this is important in bringing state-of-the-art world technologies to Vietnam./.
Dong Nai seeks ways to bolster support industries
The southern province of Dong Nai has reviewed support industries for spearhead industrial sectors, in addition to high-tech industry.
Both sectors are able to generate high added value and accelerate the industrial restructuring. The modernisation of devices and production technology, along with market expansion in line with joining global supply chains, are therefore necessary, according to insiders.
Dong Nai is home to more than 600 companies in support industries, primarily in garments and textiles, footwear, electronics, and mechanical engineering.
The province’s industrial production value in support industries this year has surpassed 130 billion VND (5.6 million USD), or some 23 percent of its total industrial value, according to a representative from the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
Local firms in the sector, however, are still struggling because of limits in capital, technology, human resources, and skills.
For example, the Tuong Lai company in Long Thanh district, which specialises in rubber and plastic spare parts for the automotive industry, is facing a severe shortage of materials as it heavily depends on imports, which have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Huynh Duc private trade-services company in Bien Hoa city recently channelled about 18 billion VND into new equipment and faces ongoing difficulties in capital mobilisation, its Director Pham Nhat Duy said.
Vice head of the Management Board of Dong Nai Industrial Parks Pham Van Cuong said support industries possess huge room for growth.
Of particular note, along with strategic policies from the Government, businesses are also advised to renew equipment and technologies, and increase production capacity to take further part in global supply chains to create high-quality products sold at competitive prices.
In the time to come, Dong Nai is projected to welcome more FDI enterprises seeking material suppliers, which will help raise the localisation rate. This is deemed a major opportunity for companies in support industries to join global supply chains, Cuong added.
In response, local companies have plans to build new factories, install modern machinery, and increase the number of skilled workers.
Vietnamese enterprises are to be able to produce highly-competitive support products, meeting 45 percent of essential needs for domestic production and consumption and accounting for about 11 percent of industrial production value by 2025.
About 1,000 enterprises are to be capable of direct supply to assembly enterprises and multinational corporations, with domestic enterprises to account for about 30 percent by 2025.
Vietnam has taken measures to improve the capacity of its support industries to see that domestic enterprises effectively participate in global value chains.
Considered the backbone of the economy, manufacturing is a key driver of growth in the national industrial sector. With average annual growth of 10.6 per cent, and 4.96 percent in the first half of 2020, manufacturing is a “bright spot” in Vietnam’s industrial sector in the context of the global economic downturn due to COVID-19.
Manufacturing is also a magnet for FDI. Of 3,478 new FDI projects nationwide last year, manufacturing accounted for the highest proportion, with 21.6 billion USD, or 67.8 percent of total registered investment capital.
If the manufacturing industry was to be viewed as a house, support industries can be compared to its foundations. Developing support industries will help boost the country’s sustainable economic development.
By 2030, support products are to meet 70 percent of demand and account for about 14 percent of industrial production value. Some 2,000 companies are to be capable of supplying directly to assemblers and multinational corporations by 2030.
Vietnam recently put into operation a database of local processing, manufacturing, and support industries, with the aim of facilitating connections between Vietnamese suppliers and multinational corporations./.
Thailand promotes bioeconomy
Thailand is promoting the concept of bioeconomy, which encourages the use of renewable resources and waste products to make value-added products, to support the country’s ambitious plan to make Thailand the biochemical industry hub of ASEAN by 2027.
Not only does a bioeconomy emphasise an environmentally friendly view of economic development, it also promises healthy revenue for farmers and business opportunities for plastics producers and other agricultural entrepreneurs.
The Plastics Institute of Thailand (PITH) is forecasting bright prospects for the industry next year, thanks to strong demand in segments such as food and beverages, personal care and computers and electronics.
PITH president Veera Kwanloetchit believed the global plastic market, particularly the packaging segment, will expand next year as plastic packaging and other plastic-based products have become an essential part of the daily lives.
Plastic consumption increases during the pandemic, and it seems in contrast to the campaign against the plastic waste, he said.
The government launched a campaign to reduce plastic usage on January 1 this year, preventing shops from handing out single-use plastic bags to customers. But almost one year later, the demand for plastic beads, a raw material needed in various industries, has increased. An economic recovery will only intensify the demand for plastic, according to PITH.
Thailand is the largest producer of plastics in ASEAN. Factories, mostly based in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong, produce a range of plastic materials from polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for domestic and overseas sales. There are around 3,000 plastic conversion companies in the country.
The government has a policy to promote manufacturing processes that are more friendly to the environment and, PITH believes, the plastics sector can follow this policy under the bioeconomy concept.
PITH, a state agency under the Industry Ministry, supports innovations that will put the Thai plastics industry on a path of sustainable growth.
One mission is to connect the development of plastics in tandem with the sugar industry. The government aims to support sugar cane farmers by increasing cane prices and developing high value-added products, said Ekapat Wangsuwan, secretary-general of the Office of the Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB). The production of bioplastics using sugar offers a good deal of promise, he said.
Thailand is the world’s fourth largest sugar producer and the second biggest exporter following Brazil. Its sugar cane plantations cover 11.4 million rai in 47 provinces of Thailand. There are 57 sugar mills in the country, with a capacity of 983,587 tonnes per day./.
Eco-fair project launched to promote sustainable production
A project promoting the supply and demand of eco-fair agri-food processing products in Vietnam was officially launched in Hanoi on November 24.
The project is also expected to contribute to economic prosperity, poverty reduction, the development of sustainable livelihoods and a green economy for a transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy in Vietnam.
Funded by the European Commission, the Vietnam Rural Industries Research and Development Institute (VIRI) will cooperate with other organisations such as the Centre For Creativity and Sustainability (CCS), Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Co Ltd (VNCPC) and Funzilife Ltd. to implement the project.
The Eco-Fair project targeted to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as no poverty, equality and responsible consumption.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Nguyen Bao Thoa, VIRI’s Director, said: “Eco-fair products are reputable in regard to their quality and health benefits, and consumers can use them safely. Consumption of sustainable products gives consumers the feeling of doing something meaningful and represents the demonstration of positive values in changing the negative trends of modern-day human consumption.
“They help to reduce the negative impacts of human consumption on many aspects of the natural environment such as pollution, soil erosion, and shortages in resources. By choosing these products, consumers help to change the mindset of society in general and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development for generations to come.”
In many countries, eco-agriculture and fair trade are emerging as a rewarding agricultural development strategy. The newly signed EVFTA (European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement) between the EU and Vietnam has a specific clause related to promoting eco-fair products in the context of many existing challenges.
“Eco-fair products are those which have achieved sustainability certification focusing on environmental and social aspects,” she added.
Businesses participating in the project therefore could improve their brand image, demonstrating corporate responsibility towards the environment and society. They could build a safe and equal working environment for employees, improving labour productivity. More importantly, they would meet the increasing requirements of customers for environmentally and socially responsible products as well as building their capacity for sustainable production and market promotion.
The project expected to provide training for 1,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Some 200 MSMEs would be quickly assessed on RECP while another 200 eco-fair products would be commercialised; 500,000 consumers would be reached with awareness raising courses; 100 MSMEs would be supported in accessing green finance, new product development, clean technology and Eco-Fair certification.
In addition, firms achieving the Eco-Fair certificate would be connected with customers whose demand to buy sustainable products worldwide with expected sales increased by at least 30 percent for four sub-sectors of cashew, rice, vegetable processing and fruit processing./.
Vietbuild Hanoi International Exhibition 2020 opens
The Vietbuild Hanoi International Exhibition 2020 opened in the capital on November 25, showcasing a series of new products, technologies, and services from the construction sector.
Approximately 1,200 stalls are exhibiting new and high-quality brands from countries globally, particularly those that help to meet demand for housing, construction, and interior decorations.
According to the organising board, the exhibition serves to meet business demands for trade promotion and technology transfer towards the stable and consistent development of the construction industry. This is especially vital amid the current context of the economy being greatly affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
In recent years, Vietbuild Hanoi has become a venue for various firms to meet, boost trade promotion, and seek investment.
Trade promotion activities, business-matching events, seminars, conferences, a business forum, and other activities aimed at introducing the achievements and the development of the sector, are all due to be held in line with the framework of the five-day long event./.