Yellow card pushes seafood industry developing sustainably

Vietnam’s seafood exports have been seriously affected since the European Commission issued an official warning against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) exploitation of Vietnamese seafood.

The European Commission’s yellow card has seriously affected Vietnamese seafood firms, resulting in a downturn in export value to the EU and a shortage of input material. Given these acute challenges, this company has still raked in six million USD, recorded 12 percent export growth in the first eight months of 2019. This success looks like a timely change in tactics.

The EU is no longer Vietnam’s second biggest seafood importer. With import value of 251 million USD, it now stands in fifth position.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, seafood exports to the EU have fallen, but have witnessed growth in other markets.

Seeing the challenge as an opportunity to restructure, the sector has been step-by-step forming a new strategy. In addition to ensuring regulated exploitation and legal fishing, developing aquatic farming is an important task.

Despite these challenges, seafood farming and fishing hold huge potential. Accounting for 38 percent of the whole aquatic sector structure, the target of reaching export value of 3.5 billion USD of a total 10 billion USD is reachable. The most important aspect is developing the seafood sector sustainably./.

Vietnam Fintech Conference & Exhibition 2019 on horizon

The Vietnam Fintech Conference & Exhibition 2019 (VIO 2019) will be held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 30 and 31, according to an announcement from the HCM Computer Association (HCA)’s Secretary General Vu Anh Tuan at a press briefing in the city on October 7.

Experts told the briefing that financial technology (fintech) has greatly disrupted the way that banks and financial institutions operate today and with cash still being the main payment mode, a youthful demographic, and growing smartphone penetration, Vietnam offers great opportunities for fintech developers

According to HCA, around 10,000 fintech companies are operating globally, competing with banks in all fields, from payment services, deposits, lending, and foreign exchange trading to investment consulting.

Fintech companies in Vietnam currently focus on only three services: payment, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, and crowdfunding, and some 70 per cent are startups.

Dr. Lillian Koh, CEO of Fintech Academy Singapore, was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) as saying that the information and communications technology (ICT) sector is a key enabler for almost every industry and has enhanced Singapore’s competitiveness by raising productivity and transforming business processes in industries like finance, services, and manufacturing.

Fintech came as a disruptor but is now embraced as innovation and transformation, she noted.

VIO 2019, to be jointly organized by HCA, Fintech Academy Singapore, the Vietnam Banking Association, and the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology at Ho Chi Minh City’s Vietnam National University, will help technology businesses become updated on the latest global trends and technologies.

Entitled “Shaping the Future of Vietnam’s Fintech”, the conference will discuss topics such as fintech and changes in technology and payment services; cybersecurity challenges for fintech; fintech and the workforce; policies and platform development for the fintech industry; machine learning and AI in the fintech marketplace; and fintech and innovative startups.

VIO 2019 will also feature the 2019 Top ICT Vietnam awards ceremony on October 30, honoring outstanding IT and telecom companies and products and services and with an exhibition where banks and fintech and IT companies can showcase their products.

Big C and Lotte Mart relegated in top 10 retailers of Vietnam

Vincommerce, the owner of the VinMart supermarket and VinMart+ convenience store chains, maintained its top ranking among retailers for the second two consecutive year, while Big C and Lotte Mart are slowly stepping down, according to Vietnam Report.

Vietnam Report has just announced the list of most reputable retailers in 2019. Vincommerce, with VinMart and VinMart+, ranks first while Saigon Co.op climbed up a rung since last year to second position.

Meanwhile, foreign-invested retailers like Big C, a member of Thailand’s Central Group, and South Korea’s Lotte Mart fell to fourth and seventh, respectively.

Japan’s Aeon also gained a rank, while Mega Market has entered the list at the eighth position.

In the retail of electronics and jewellery, Mobile World and its subsidiaries rank first, followed by PNJ and FPT Retail.

This year, Digiworld has made it into the top 10, knocking out Home Centerfrom the list.

“Through the survey of customers and experts, VinMart was highlighted for the diversity and quality of goods and after-sales services, while Mobile World is highly appreciated for its financial sources and brand,” outlined the report.

According to Vietnam Report, these companies are evaluated on three major criteria like financial capacity (which is referred from the latest financial statement), reputation on media channels, and surveying consumers about awareness and satisfaction with companies and products/services, and others.

Over the past years, the retail segment has recorded rapid growth. CAGR in 2013-2018 is 10.97 per cent. The total revenue of the segment is expected at $180 billion in 2020, equivalent to the increase of 26.6 per cent over 2018.

The high growth speed of retail is caused by the population of more than 97 million (in 2019), 60 per cent of whom are young (from 18-50). Besides this, the World Bank also anticipated that the expenses of every household will increase by 10.5 per cent per annum on average.

An escape for coffee growers, traders

As soon as this year’s coffee crop had come to a close, both coffee growers and traders discussed lessons learnt from what they considered a poor harvest which kept them on tenterhooks till the last days. Now that the new crop began on the first of October, they have to answer the question as to what should be done for a better life.

It is customary at the end of a coffee crop for coffee traders to often talk about a new good harvest and farmers to mention just the opposite. In fact, such a conflict is quite understandable to insiders. Traders need abundant commodities which are cheap for their good sales while farmers try to avoid the mentioning of a bumper crop for fear that their products may be underpriced.

A recollection of what was happening at the beginning of the last coffee season in October 2018 reminds us that domestic and foreign traders all observed that Vietnam’s coffee would be better both in quantity and quality. Over the past 12 months, no complaint about coffee quality has been lodged; however, assertions of quantity should be reconsidered. Reuters’ latest report based on data from the General Statistics Office show that Vietnam’s coffee export during the 2018-2019 crop reached about 1.7 million tons, 100,000 tons lower than the previous crop of 2017-2018.

So far, a massive total area of coffee cultivation has been widely used by many sources, with some saying it’s 600,000 hectares and others 650,000 hectares. It’s really a huge amount of coffee production if one multiplies this area with three tons, the productivity per hectare on average. But how could one can account for the declining coffee export volume month after month? How come the last coffee crop was bumper?

On the one hand, the coffee export volume was smaller. On the other hand, visits to traditional coffee plantations would capture a sobering reality that from now on Vietnam’s coffee production may not be able to increase significantly without a price hike. Faced with a precarious market rendered unstable by low prices, coffee farmers will try to find a way out for themselves.

When black pepper sold at high prices, coffee cultivation area suffered [because many farmers would abandon coffee to plant pepper]. However, after prices of both pepper and coffee have tumbled, many farmers don’t want to bet on either coffee or pepper anymore. Instead, they shift to planting durian, avocado and passion fruit, as well as other fruits, such as banana, mango and rambutan.

The price of a kilogram of standard black pepper is more or less VND39,000, way below a peak of VND220,000. And the price of one ton of coffee fell from a high of VND50 million to around VND30 million at a time during the last crop. It is expected that prices of Vietnamese coffee must be in line with world prices. However, prices declining too low have undermined the stability of coffee production in Vietnam.

Previously, when coffee cultivation was still lucrative, fertilizer traders would often say, “Coffee production increases in tandem with the volume of fertilizer used. One more ton of fertilizer used means one more ton of coffee gained.” The story is different now, though. To cut cost, farmers have resorted to organic fertilizer to ensure environmental standards and better tend their plants so that they can be stronger to survive difficult times of the price crisis.

" We can’t keep up with the race,” said a farmer named Nguyen Trinh in Ea Tan Commune in Daklak Province’s Krong Nang District. “The more we try [to reap a good harvest], the bigger our bank loans are.” Trinh made this statement to defend his decision to diversity the profile of his crops and cultivate coffee in a sustainable way. It was a wise choice, he asserted.

It would be dangerous now to endeavor to gain higher coffee production and stay faithful to world coffee prices. A bad coffee crop was harvested, and coffee export was down. How come coffee prices rise on commodities exchanges?

Market stories

Ho Trung, the owner of the brand “Coi nguon ca phe Viet” (The Root of Vietnamese Coffee), sipped a mouthful of the sugarless 100% robusta coffee he had prepared to treat his guests. “I want to emphasize that this is a genuine, branded coffee,” he said. “It’s a signature product because the material is from planted trees and is processed by ourselves.”

The “branded” coffee in the cup was excellent as its aroma was gentle and natural, its aftertaste was mild, and even the coffee was really strong in compliance with the expresso style. There was no need to add sugar to enable taste buds to fulfill their functions. Despite these facts, every piece of news about the coffee market would read, “Robusta coffee tastes bitter and acrid, often suitable for processing instant coffee.” Vietnam has long been a leading exporter of coffee whose export volume in the last crop amounted to 1.7 million tons, accounting for some 20% of the world’s total. Yet her robusta coffee has been always dubbed “bitter coffee.”

Ho Trung was once at the helm of Phuoc An, a famed company which planted and exported considerable volumes of coffee. Discouraged by an unpredictable world coffee market, he is now bent on “branded coffee” which is clean and tasteful. “The price of the coffee beans to be used to process the kind of coffee in this cup is currently VND65,000 per kilogram due by February 2020, but [we don’t have] enough [coffee] to meet orders,” said Le Duc Huy, a coffee trader.

The majority of Vietnamese coffee exporters now find themselves recoiled when hearing the word “forward contracts.” During the last crop, the London Robusta Coffee Futures Price, which is a favorite reference price of Vietnamese coffee traders, dropped by almost 17% on the closing date of September 27, 2019, at US$1,321 per ton. If one takes into account the yield of the past three years, the net loss would be 35%. Imagine you would loss 35% of your capital after three years. So, try another way of doing business or another niche market. That’s a wise choice.

The future

For long, the decline of coffee prices on the futures markets has been ascribed to good crops and higher export. However, over the past few years, prices on global commodities exchanges are more dependent on the flows of financial investment funds rather than on supply and demand. Prices would follow in the footstep of the capital flows. Therefore, it would not be sufficient to base analyses solely on supply and demand.

The Sino-American trade war has considerably downscaled operations of investors. A monetary war may follow suit. Therefore, scenarios of an economic slump in the near future have been given by the mass media. These difficulties may exert a negative impact on coffee prices in the long run, especially those on commodities exchanges, because these places are also where financial investment is going on.

As investors want to withdraw their capital, so are customers, who wish to save money although coffee is already a daily necessity of every family in developed countries. Simply put, therefore, it will be very hard for the world coffee price to pick up. Given the closing price of robusta coffee on September 27, 2019, at US$1,321 per ton, the comeback of the previous peaks ranging from US$1,580 to US$1,600 would be a distant dream.

The good news for the new coffee crop in Vietnam can arguably be new ways of doing business and new markets. Clean and tasteful coffee for domestic consumption may be one of them.

Long Thanh international airport: Vision and opportunity

The Vietnamese government is accelerating the construction of the Long Thanh international airport, a major national project in Dong Nai province. Once operational in 2025, it will become a leading airport in Southeast Asia.

The project to build the Long Thanh international airport was approved in 2015. Two years later, the National Assembly passed a resolution on land acquisition, compensation, and resettlement to move forward with the project.

Like other modern airports, Long Thanh airport is required to meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. It is expected that after 2035, it will accommodate 100 million passengers and 5 million tons of air cargo per year.

It will become a regional transit hub, serve the national air transportation development strategy, and drive the economic growth in the southern region and the nation as a whole.

Lai Xuan Thanh, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, said, “This will be the premier airport of Vietnam. Thus, it’s necessary to apply the most advanced technologies to make Long Thanh on par with the best airports in the world.”

Covering an area of six communes of Long Thanh district, the new airport is about 40 km east of Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Dong Nai Provincial People's Committee, said the province will issue a one-off compensation package to get the project go ahead.

“We plan to make a comprehensive statistics report first. Next year, when a new price quotation is publicized, we’ll conduct a one-off compensation so that there will be no difference between this year and next year’s prices. The land clearance payment for people in the affected areas will be conducted at a time,” said Vinh.

Located at the heart of Southeast Asia, Long Thanh will be a regional airport with service to Europe, the Middle East, Northeast Asia, North America, and Oceania. It will also be a transit hub for passengers and cargo.

Long Thanh is expected to be a state-of-the-art airport with diverse aviation and non-aviation services and an airport city with industrial, trade, service and tourism centers.

National Assembly deputy Duong Trung Quoc of Dong Nai province noted, “The Long Thanh airport will benefit the whole region and Vietnam. But there are many difficulties. We need to develop a legal framework for the project. But before any of that, we should proactively advance our own solutions.”

Located 40 km from Ho Chi Minh City, 30 km from the industrial city of Bien Hoa, and 70km from the seaside resort of Vung Tau, Long Thanh airport will be an extraordinary economic catalyst for the region and neighboring areas.

It will improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s air transportation industry, increase the connection between Vietnam and the world, and boost national tourism development. Moreover, about 200,000 jobs will be created under the project.

Urban Railway Line No.1 project to have new investor

The Ministry of Transport has proposed to the government to transfer the urban Railway Line No.1 project to the Hanoi People's Committee.

According to the proposal, the ministry will only invest in the national railway section in Ngoc Hoi Station, while the Hanoi People's Committee will take over the investment of remaining works.

The plan for the urban Railway Line No.1 project was approved by the government in 2004 with total length of 28.7 kilometres and total investment capital of VND9.2 trillion (USD400 million). The project was scheduled to be carried out from 2007-2017.

Railway Line No.1 is considered to be the most important of the urban railway network in the capital city because it will not only link other urban railway lines (No.2, 3, 6) but also to the national railway and high-speed rail in the future.

Although construction of the project has not started yet, its estimated investment capital has amounted to over VND81 trillion.

Explaining about the sharp rise in investment capital, the ministry said that planning adjustment with additional works, rising construction prices, rising exchange rate between the Vietnamese Dong and the Japanese Yen were among the reasons.

Vietnam Growtech 2019 to be opened in Ha Noi

The International Exhibition on Machineries and Technologies of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery (Vietnam Growtech 2019) will take place at the Ha Noi International Exhibition Center (ICE) between October 31 and November 2.

The exhibition is organised by National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development (NATEC), Processing and Market Development Authority (AgroTrade) and Adpex Joint Stock Company.

With 250 booths, the Vietnam Growtech 2019 continues to be a reliable place to display more than 5,000 tech products from more than 20 countries including Holland, France, New Zealand, Italy, Chile and Spain.

The two main goals are introducing the latest and most advanced technology and equipment and transferring technology, while also connecting foreign and domestic enterprises.

Within the framework of the exhibition, there will be trade connection activities between participants and visitors.

Businesses will be also received practical advice from experts to establish intellectual property rights and investment co-operation.

Xiaomi launches new products

Xiaomi launched Viet Nam’s first ever mobile phone with a 64MP camera, the Redmi Note 8 Pro, on Thursday at prices starting from VND5.99 million (US$258).

The launch further underlined the reasons for the company’s rise to number three in the Vietnamese market this year.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro boasts a first both for Viet Nam and for Xiaomi with the ultra-high resolution 64 MP primary camera whose images can be printed to 3.26 meters in height.

It is available in mineral grey, pearl white and forest green colours.

It is set to hit shelves on October 10.

Xiaomi also rolled out the Redmi Note 8 and Redmi 8.

“We have conjured up the perfect mixture of power and pricing with the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Redmi Note 8 and Redmi 8 devices,” Kenny Li, Xiaomi Vietnam country manager, said.

“These are pocket powerhouses featuring industry-leading imaging capabilities and technologies, priced to once again entice fans of high-value, high-performance smartphones.”

The phone’s 13 MP front camera features built-in AI and a Redmi-first panorama selfie feature.

Xiaomi on Thursday also introduced its new Mi Air Purifier 3H and new Mi Electric Air Compressor.

LIVA start-up launched

A group of young people in HCM City have launched the website where photographs can be ordered online and delivered directly to customers.

This is the first website in Viet Nam to offer such a service.

Duong Thi Kim Thao, LIVA’s representative, said the idea for the startup came from members of the LIVA group who created and applied technologies to offer customers a selection of their favourite photos of their home, offices, restaurants or coffee shops.

“You can take a photo with your phone, then simply click to send the photo, and then adjust the photo as you want. The pictures will be delivered to your home. The photo does not need a hanger on a wall. You can stick it anywhere in the house you want.”

Though the start-up began in early October, it has received positive feedback from customers, she said.

LIVA is not only targeting individual customers but also businesses, restaurants, cafes and business offices, she added.

To order the picture, customers log on the portal, upload their favourite photos or select them from LIVA’s photo library, make photo adjustments, and then submit their selections.

The price for each 20x20 cm photo is VND100,000 (US$4.3). Customers receive free delivery if they order five pictures.

PTSC M&C affirms Viet Nam's marine mechanical engineering brand

Viet Nam’s marine mechanical engineering has won many bidding packages worth tens of millions of dollars.

Among them, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation Mechanical & Construction (PTSC M&C) shines bright as one of the leading companies in engineering, procurement, construction and installation contractors.

For the past 10 years they have been providing a quality service not just in Viet Nam but the entire region in the country and the region.

PTSC M&C was formerly Marine Mechanical Service Enterprise. It was established with 67 employees to design and manufacture the Block 140 man (LQ-CPC99) oil rig for the Russia-Vietnam Joint Venture Vietsovpetro.

At the end of 2005, PTSC M&C was for the first time invited to take part in the international bidding process for Bunga Tulip A Project.

In order to win this package, PTSC M&C had to reduce the lowest bidding cost and minimise the manufacturing costs. Their bid was succcessful.

In July 2006, Bunga Tulip A project was completed. Although the economic value of the project was not high, PTSC M&C has successfully won the trust of international customers.

The name of PTSC M&C has become familiar in regional tenders. In mid-2007, PTSC M&C won the Black Lion of Cuu Long Joint Operating Company.

This started a golden age.

When the customer had a project requiring complicated techniques and high economic value they turned to PTSC M&C.

Blackbird Oil Field of Premier Oil, White Rhinoceros Oil Field of Hoang Long Joint Operating Company, and especially the East Sea 01 of Bien Dong Joint Operating Company were came calling, and PTSC M&C were happy to answer, and deliver a quality service.

The East Sea 01 project worth more than half billion dollars included the construction of the oil platform of Hai Thach Technology Centre and its jacket – the steel frame supporting the deck and topside of the platform.

Also the Moc Tinh 1 oil platform and its jacket, a leading bridge with about 70km of pipelines and 20km of underground cable with the total volume of over 60,000 tons.

PTSC M&C had to mobilise more than 3,000 engineers and skilled staff to work around-the-clock to meet the demands of the project.

The completion improved PTSC M&C’s market position, making it one of the most prestigious and high quality petroleum engineering service providers in Viet Nam and in the region.

In mid-2013, PTSC M&C officially signed a contract with AFCONS Infrastructure Limited to get the package of procurement of main materials and construction and pre-trial test of the Heera Technology Rig, which was part of the Heera Redevelopment Project in Mumbai, India.

It has become a milestone for Viet Nam's marine mechanical engineering industry as the project helped exporting rig in the world.

A series of projects for foreign investors followed, such as MLS Project of Total E&P Borneo BV in Brunei, Ghana OCTP Offshore of FPSO in Ghana, Greater Enfield Project for Technip and Daman Project for ONGC in India.

These projects helped secure the jobs for employees of PTSC M&C in the period of 2014-2017 – an extremely difficult time for domestic and foreign service companies.

In 2018, PTSC M&C continued to affirm its leading capability in the field of marine engineering in Viet Nam when it won an engineering, procurement, construction and installation contract worth US$330 million for the development of Gallaf (Al Shaheen) project invested by Qatar’s North Oil Company.

Under this contract, PTSC M&C designed, procured, manufactured, conducted pre-test, and completed offshore construction of the project.

The detailed design work was mostly implemented by PTSC M&C’s engineers.

PTSC leaders said the implementation of detailed design has helped control errors and ensure the progress of projects. The construction of a jacket shortened from 10-11 months to five months, and the construction of the topsides shortened from 16-18 months to 9-10 months.

It helped saving the cost as there was no need to mobilise dozens of project managers, experts and engineers to supervise and perform design and procurement work abroad. The unexpected cost arising during the implementation of the project was limited. This helped PTSC M&C to keep its competitive bidding prices.

PTSC M&C has gained a lot of faith of both domestic and foreign investors in the field of oil rig infrastructures because of its capacity and reputation, which has been built with a lot of effort of engineers and skilled workers of the company.


Viet Nam's shrimp exports to China recover

Viet Nam's shrimp exports to China recovered between May and August with double-digit growth after a drop at the beginning of the year.

The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said exports increased by 30 per cent to US$51.4 million in August.

That took the total for the first eight months of the year to US$336.5 million up 5 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.

The tightening of China border trade and strict quality control affected exports at the beginning of 2019.

China also increased imports from Ecuador and India at the same time, denting Viet Nam’s exports.

But since May, demand has been higher as businesses caught up with market requirements, pushing exports into positive growth.

Ecuador is China's largest provider of frozen warm water shrimp, accounting for about 50 per cent of total imports.

India ranked second, accounting for 25 per cent and Saudi Arabia is the third largest source of frozen warm water shrimp for China, accounting for 7 per cent.

Recently, five Ecuadorian companies were temporarily banned from exporting shrimp to China due to concerns that a disease could spread into the country. This event also affected the export of Ecuadorian shrimp to China.

Viet Nam shrimp exports to China are expected to maintain positive growth from now until the end of the year.

Enterprises needed to proactively update the requirements and new regulations of China and make appropriate adjustments to maintain exports to this market, said VASEP.

PM approves Vietnam National Brand Program

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the Vietnam National Brand Program from 2020 to 2030, which aims for over 1,000 products to become national brands.

The objective of the Program is to build Vietnam’s image as a reputable country with high-quality goods and services, increasing the pride and attractiveness of the country and the Vietnamese people and contributing to promoting foreign trade development and improving national competitiveness.

In the 2020-2030 period, the Program focuses on building and developing Vietnam’s brand in association with the positive and outstanding values of the product’s brand, with the goal of effectively implementing the Program on unifying and synchronizing the strategy on the import and export of goods and services. Export turnover of Vietnam National Brand products are to reach a higher level than the national average, while the value of Vietnam National Brand products is to increase by an average of 20 per cent per year under figures and evaluations by prestigious rating agencies in the world. More than 1,000 products are to become Vietnam National Brands.

At the same time, each year is to see an increase of 10 per cent in the number of businesses on the list of those with the highest brand value as ranked by prestigious rating organizations in the world, 90 per cent of businesses in the country are to become aware of the role of brands in production, business and investment; and 100 per cent of products reaching Vietnam National Brand standards are to be promoted domestically and in key export markets.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is the Program’s management agency. Ministries and branches will be tasked with implementing schemes under the Program.

The Prime Minister assigned MoIT to assume responsibility and coordinate with ministries, branches, the people’s committees of cities and provinces, concerned organizations, and individuals in formulating the Program’s orientation and contents according to their respective functions and competence, ensuring compatibility between the objectives and contents of the Program with actual conditions in a particular sector and locality. A legal framework and guidance for ministries, branches, localities, organizations, individuals and units to implement laws will be created, projects under the Program are to be directly formulated and implemented according to assigned functions, tasks and competence, cooperation established with domestic and foreign organizations and individuals to attract resources for the Program’s activities; and prime responsibility for, guidance, implementation, monitoring, and inspecting the implementation of the Program is to lie with the ministry.

The Prime Minister also promulgated a regulation on building, managing, and implementing the Vietnam National Brand Program.

The formulation, management, and implementation of the Program must be in line with the principle of promoting foreign trade development, promoting the national image and national brand of Vietnam through Vietnam National Brand products, on the basis of consistency and synchronization with the socioeconomic development strategy in each period; ensure resources for implementation in accordance with the objectives and implementation capacity from the central to local levels; promote the active participation and contribution of the social community in the planning process and implementation of the program; and ensure publicity and transparency in management and administration of activities to implement the Program.

The program’s activities include: protection of logos and the Vietnam National Brand identity system at home and abroad; supporting businesses to develop products that meet the criteria of a Vietnam National Brand; and assisting businesses in building, developing and protecting brands at home and abroad.

According to the regulation, the selection of Vietnam National Brand products will be held every two years in even years. Enterprises must submit three sets of registration documents to MoIT prior to March 31 in the year of selection.

Enterprises whose products are Vietnam National Brands are allowed to use the Vietnam National Brand logo and the Vietnam National Brand identity system.

Hanoi performs well as economic locomotive of Vietnam

Hanoi’s efforts to boost economic development have paid off, cementing the capital’s place as an economic locomotive of Vietnam.

Hanoi is not only the political – administrative centre and a major cultural, scientific and educational hub of Vietnam, but also one of the country’s two economic driving forces.

Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen said to perform its role, the city has stepped up economic restructuring associated with growth model reform to improve its economy’s quality, effectiveness and competitiveness.

The local economic structure has been shifted in a way that matches the national industrialisation and modernisation process. In particular, the proportion of the service – trade and industry – construction sectors contribute to the regional gross domestic product (GRDP) has increased while that of agriculture has declined.

Notably, Hanoi has chosen tourism to develop into a key sector, Quyen said, adding that it has worked to reform tourism promotion over the last three years, including carrying out a strategic cooperation programme with CNN and attracting more private investment to develop tourism infrastructure and products.

As a result, tourism has recorded the fastest growth rate among the local economic sectors, with its revenue rising some 12.1 percent each year.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said Hanoi aims to become a modern city and a major hub in the region, with an annual GRDP growth rate of 8.5 – 9 percent and per capita income of 6,700 – 6,800 USD. To that end, it needs 2.5 – 2.6 quadrillion VND (108 – 112 billion USD) of investment capital between 2016 and 2020, 80 percent of which will come from domestic and foreign investors.

Over the last three years, the capital has built support mechanisms and policies to encourage the private sector’s participation in boosting local development. It has also worked hard to improve its investment climate to become a safe, friendly and effective destination for investors.

By applying information technology, Hanoi has made progress in building e-government to cut the time and costs needed for handling business-related public services. Thanks to that, the time needed to deal with administrative procedures for business registration has been reduced by 30 percent, for investment 60 percent, and for planning 30 – 50 percent, according to Chung.

The improved investment climate has been applauded by the business community. In 2018, the Provincial Competitiveness Index of Hanoi leapt 15 places to ninth position among the country’s 63 provinces and cities.

This favourable environment has helped raise the number of enterprises established in the city since 2016 to almost 93,000 with a combined capital of 280.1 trillion VND, 1.17 times higher than the capital registered between 2011 and 2015.

Additionally, Vietnamese firms have poured 621 trillion VND into the city, which has also attracted 20.28 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2016, rising over three-fold from 2011 – 2015 and making Hanoi the best performer in FDI attraction nationwide.

Chairman Chung noted Hanoi posted average annual economic growth of 7.2 percent between 2016 and 2018. The size of its economy has also expanded, with GRDP hitting 920.27 trillion VND (39.6 billion USD) last year.

Hanoi has also played its role in leading the development of northern provinces and cities, including those in the northern key economic region and the Red River Delta, he said.

It has actively coordinated with other localities in building and implementing socio-economic development plans and boosting their connectivity in multiple spheres, especially trade and tourism.

At a conference in 2018, Hanoi and other northern localities, along with domestic and foreign investors, signed 24 memoranda of understanding on cooperation with estimated total investment of 70 trillion VND (over 3 billion USD) to together resolve the major issues facing the region.

Admitting certain shortcomings in the local economy, municipal authorities said from now to 2025, the capital city will optimise every resource to develop the economic space in its expanded areas, put the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park into full operation, modernise economic sectors towards innovation-based growth, and improve its economy’s competitiveness and added value. By doing so, it hopes to better bring into play its role as an economic locomotive of Vietnam./.

Kien Giang invites investment in key tourism regions

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is appealing for investment in key tourism regions including Ha Tien-Kien Luong, Rach Gia-Kien Hai and U Minh Thuong, which link Phu Quoc Island and the Mekong Delta.

The locality is also focusing on building and developing a system of unique and high-quality tourism products and services encompassing eco-tourism, sea and island tourism, and cultural tourism.

Local authorities have called on businesses to cooperate in training human resources to realise the goal of having 20,000-25,000 tourism workers by 2020.

The province is studying the development of international tours by coordinating with airlines to promote the launch of direct and charter flights for tourists. It also continues to operate a sea route between Phu Quoc and Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as a cross-border land route connecting the southernmost province of Ca Mau with Cambodia and southern Thailand.

The local tourism sector will focus on traditional markets such as China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as potential markets sending tourists with high spending and long stay like Australia, West Europe and North America.

According to the provincial Department of Tourism, in the first nine months of 2019, Kien Giang welcomed over 6.8 million tourists, a year-on-year rise of 12.5 percent.

It grossed over 6.28 trillion VND (266.6 million USD), up 35 percent against the same period last year.

Many destinations in the province has been internationally honoured including Phu Quoc, which was listed among the top five destinations to visit in autumn in Asia 2018 by CNN./.

Vinatex’s exports likely to fall short of yearly target

The Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has projected its export turnover to reach 2.89 billion USD in 2019, up 1 percent from last year and meeting 97.6 percent of the yearly target.

The group said its member companies together shipped overseas about 2.06 billion USD worth of products in the first nine months of the year, fulfilling 70 percent of the yearly target and recording an annual increase of 2 percent.

By the end of September, most of them were yet to secure enough orders for the remaining of the year. Its key members like May 10, Duc Giang, Hoa Tho and Hanosimex reportedly obtained orders only until November, with the exception of Viet Tien.

Customers were said to avoid long-term orders and try to reduce prices, eating into the firms’ profit.

The yarn market, meanwhile, witnessed a sharp decline in both demand and prices between the end of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. It is yet to bounce back.

Reports from Vinatex showed that its yarn producers, particularly those exporting products to China, were hit hardest by continuous price decreases.

The situation is getting worse as these companies are facing fierce competition for orders from FDI-funded firms and those from India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Pakistan, the group said.

According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, Vietnam exported some 29.24 billion USD worth of garment-textile products in the first nine months of 2019, up 9.2 percent year-on-year and meeting 74 percent of the yearly target. The sector recorded a trade surplus of over 15.2 billion USD, an annual rise of nearly 16.8 percent./.

Shrimp breeders expand production, seek to join global supply chains

Local shrimp-breeding enterprises have mobilised investment from various sources to expand production in an aim to attract partners from shrimp supply chains from around the world.

After four decades of development, Vietnam’s shrimp breeding industry has been recognised as the third top exporter in the world market. Shrimp is one of the country’s major farm exports.

Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that Vietnam’s shrimp exports surpassed Thailand in 2013, attaining an export turnover of 3.1 billion USD, compared with Thailand’s 2.3 billion USD.

In 2017, Vietnam had shrimp export turnover of 3.8 billion USD, double Thailand’s shrimp exports of 1.9 billion USD, said Hoe.

To reach the target of shrimp export value of 10 billion USD for 2025 (as instructed by the Prime Minister), shrimp breeding firms have mobilized capital to expand areas under shrimp breeding and ensure shrimp quality and safety, allowing for traceability of produce to meet consumption demand.

Sao Ta Foods Joint Stock Company has announced that it would offer more than 8 million shares priced at 25,000 VND each. With the offer, Sao Ta is expected to attain stakes of about 200 billion VND (8.7 million USD).

A spokesman from Sao Ta Foods said that capital mobilisation is expected to help the joint-stock firm become less reliant on bank loans, while ensuring sufficient capital for the firm’s production and business activities.

He said all the sales of shares from Sao Ta Foods will be spent on purchasing materials and the expansion of shrimp breeding ponds.

By the end of the third quarter, Sao Ta’s 200 ha of shrimp breeding ponds had supplied 10 percent of shrimp used as materials for the company’s processing lines. Sao Ta had to purchase the remaining 90 percent from shrimp breeders in the market.

To reduce the volume of shrimp used for its production line purchased from the market, the company has unveiled plans to invest 100 billion VND to expand shrimp breeding ponds from the existing 200ha to 400ha in 2020 and to 800 ha in 2025, raising the ratio of the volume of shrimp supplied from the company’s breeding pond networks to 30 percent.

Similarly, the Minh Phu Seafood Corporation has sold 35.1 percent of its shares to Mitsui & Co Ltd. for 17 billion JPY (about 155 million USD), making Mitsui & Co the biggest shareholder of Minh Phu Seafood.

Le Van Quang, Chairman of the Minh Phu Seafood Corp.’s management board, said the company would further invest in production facilities in the Mekong province of Ca Mau.

Quang said the company would also apply more advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), in aquaculture and seafood production and processing in the near future, aiming to cut 50 percent to 70 percent of the company’s labour force, and at the same time increase profits.

According to a spokesman for Sao Ta Foods, to reach a partnership with global shrimp supply chains, local shrimp suppliers must meet high standards.

He said that most global shrimp supply chains require not only production and manufacturing traceability but also ASC standards for aquaculture, the highest standards for aquaculture.

To attain ASC standards for aquaculture, aqua-breeding enterprises must have strong financial capacity for investment in big breeding facilities that help to reduce breeding costs, he added./.

Vietnam continues to enjoy trade surplus with Israel

The two-way trade between Vietnam and Israel was estimated at 760 million USD in the first three quarters of this year with Vietnam continuing to enjoy a trade surplus of 440 million USD, according to a Vietnamese official.

During the period, Vietnam’s exports to Israel exceeded 600 million USD while imports totalled around 160 million USD, said Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Israel Le Thai Hoa.

The two countries’ bilateral trade stood at 677 million USD in the first eight months of the year, a slight decrease from a year earlier. The dip was largely owing to political uncertainty and security tension in Israel which have sparked concerns among Vietnamese exporters, plus the Middle East country has set tighter food safety requirements, Hoa said.

Vietnam’s imports from Israel also plunged because of significant declines in imports of computers and electronic parts, machinery and tools, and fertilisers, he added.

Vietnam’s exports to Israel are forecast to amount over 800 million USD in 2019 while imports will be worth about 250 million USD.

The trade structures of Vietnam and Israel are basically complementary as their export items do not directly compete each other, according to the trade counsellor. He noted that the goods Israel import are also Vietnam’s key export items.

More and more Israeli firms have shown interest in directly importing food and foodstuff, such as cashew nut, seafood, beverage, textile and garment, footwear, consumer goods, processed and dried fruits, from Vietnam.

Notably, Vietnam’s footwear shipments to Israel rose by 27.3 percent during January – August. Vietnamese fragrant rice and frozen shrimp continued to maintain a strong foothold in the Israeli market, Hoa noted.

In 2018, the bilateral trade surpassed 1.2 billion USD last year as many of Vietnam’s staples gained footholds in the Israeli market.

A bilateral free trade agreement is under negotiation and is expected to be inked shortly, in hope of lifting two-way trade to 3 billion USD.

Israel is currently among Vietnam’s top partners in the Middle East in terms of economic and science-technology cooperation./.

Credit growth expected to reach 13.61% in 2019

Outstanding loans are expected to edge up by 4.85% in the fourth quarter and expand by 13.61% this year, according to a survey on business trends among credit institutions in September, recently released by the Monetary Statistics and Forecasting Department of the State Bank of Vietnam.

Many credit institutions believe the 2019 credit growth will fail to meet expectations set out early this year. However, this year’s business results are forecast to be better than those seen last year.

Credit institutions have frequently reduced the expected outstanding loan growth rate, dropping it from 15.27% to 13.61%, nearly equal to the credit growth target of the whole sector in 2019.

Apart from credit growth, capital mobilization in the banking sector is predicted to rise by 4.39% in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 13.06% this year, down 0.42 percentage point compared with the level previously expected.

The central bank’s recent report showed that as of September 26, credit growth was recorded at 8.64% and capital mobilization rose by 9.03% against the figures seen in early 2019.

Besides this, the survey indicated that business results were strong despite the expected slowdown in credit growth.

In late 2019, some 91% of credit institutions are forecast to see their pretax profit achieve positive growth versus 2018, whereas the pretax profit of 3% is expected to remain unchanged.

The credit institutions participating in the survey stated that their business performance in the third quarter had improved significantly, compared with the previous quarter.

Up to 82.3% of credit institutions expect their fourth-quarter business results to be better than those seen in the previous quarter, according to the survey.

Aside from this, the survey found that demand for loans will continue its upward spiral, higher than the demand for payments, cards and deposit accounts.

Accordingly, some 68%-73% of credit institutions expect the demand for banking services to surge for the rest of the year.

Bad debt settlement at commercial banks has improved, with 28.9% of financial institutions noting that the ratio of bad debts will plunge this quarter, according to the survey.

The survey also indicated that many banks saw a reduction in credit risk in the third quarter.

Vietnamese, Japanese steel makers seek long-term cooperation

Vietnam’s leading steel maker – Hoa Phat Group – and Kyoei Steel Group of Japan shared the wish for long-term cooperation in steel billet and scrap steel supply.

Hoa Phat said Kyoei Steel Chairman Hideichiro Takashima and General Director Hirotomi Yasuyuki had paid a working visit to the group, which has opened up many cooperation opportunities for the bilateral collaboration.

According to Takashima, Kyoei Steel Vietnam Co., Ltd (KSVC) in Vietnam’s northern province of Ninh Binh purchased about 5,000 tonnes of steel billets produced by Hoa Phat each month. The volume is expected to multiply in the time ahead.

Kyoei was one of the first Japanese investors in Vietnam 25 years ago, with the establishment of the Vina Kyoei Steel joint venture in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in January 1994.

Kyoei wants to seek a stable supply of steel billets for its subsidiaries in Vietnam, comprising Vina Kyoei and the KSVC which was set up in September 2011, he said.

Chairman of the Hoa Phat Group Tran Dinh Long emphasised his firm’s consistent policy of long-term cooperation with partners, adding that Hoa Phat wants to cooperate with Kyoei in scrap steel supply.

The two sides agreed to set up a working group following the visit to implement their cooperation contents, thus helping to promote the development of both groups in the future./.

Agriculture sector expands by 2.02 pct in nine months

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien told a press conference in Hanoi on October 14 that the agriculture sector expanded by 2.02 percent in nine months of this year despite African swine fever.

Export revenue hit 30.02 billion USD while trade surplus hit 6.86 billion USD, nearly 1 billion USD higher than the same period last year, the official added.

Chief of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Office Le Van Thanh said pork output decreased by 8 percent due to the impact of the disease. However, the output of other farming products rose such as beef up 4.2 percent, buffalo meat up 3.1 percent, poultry meat 13.5 percent, egg 10 percent, and milk 9.3 percent.

The aquaculture sector will synchronously and effectively realise recommendations by the European Union (EU), towards achieving a sustainable aquaculture development, the official added.

The ministry will send teams to localities to inspect the adoption of measures against the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing warned by the EU, rearrange farming at sea, enhance international cooperation in seafood exploitation, contributing to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty over seas and islands.

Further attention will be paid to tackling difficulties in China, opening up new markets such as the US, the UK and Australia for several products.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the MARD will help facilitate exports of farm produce to China via information sharing and training.

It will also establish an information sharing mechanism and work with the General Administration of Customs of China and leaders of the Vietnamese and Chinese border provinces to deal with barriers regarding origin tracing, export certificate and quarantine./.


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