VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 24

Foreign investment disbursement reaches 23.2 percent

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 24

Disbursement of foreign capital for infrastructure construction only reached 23.2 percent of the plan as of October 15, 2019, reported the Finance Ministry on October 23.

In compliance with the Prime Minister’s directions at the nationwide teleconference on accelerating public investment allocation and disbursement in 2019 on September 26, the ministry said 13 centrally-run ministries and agencies disbursed an amount equivalent to 29.79 percent of the target assigned by the PM while the figure was 18.66 percent in localities.

At the central level, only the Defence Ministry and the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies fulfilled all the assigned targets.

The Ministry of Public Security’s disbursement hit 98.13 percent of the plan. Meanwhile, that of the Health Ministry, the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology was 13.99 percent, 9.23 percent and 2.28 percent, respectively.

Binh Duong led localities nationwide in disbursement, with 75.82 percent, followed by Tay Ninh 59.37 percent, Hai Phong 58.65 percent, Hanoi 51.88 percent, Ninh Binh 43.18 percent and Ho Chi Minh City 41.75 percent.

In particular, 10 localities have not yet disbursed or recorded low disbursement, including Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Hai Duong, Thanh Hoa, Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Vinh Long, Lam Dong, Hau Giang and Binh Phuoc./.

Vietnam Motor Show kicks off in HCM City

The 2019 Vietnam Motor Show opened in Ho Chi Minh City on October 23, showcasing the latest models and advanced technologies from 15 Vietnamese and foreign auto brands.

As the most eagerly awaited event of the year for car lovers around the country, this year’s show features 100 models from Audi, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedez-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, VinFast, Volkswagen, and Volvo. It also has 200 booths set up by supporting industry brands.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Laurent Genet, general director of Audi Vietnam and a representative of the Vehicle Importers Vietnam Association (VIVA), said visiting the show, customers have the opportunity to get advice from the leading automobile solutions in the world.

Highlighting many changes in the local automobile industry in the past nine months, he said car prices in Vietnam have dropped consistently.

Taking part in the exhibition for the first time, rising new Vietnamese brand VinFast entertains visitors with state-of-the-art technology shows such as X-ray scans to learn details about the components of the vehicle and the technology used in its cars, factory tours using virtual reality, and a unique game on an F1 racing track simulator.

Audi made its largest product launch in Vietnam with six new models: A6, A7, Sportbak, A8L, Q2, Q3, and Q8.

US company Ford unveiled new mid-level SUV, Escape.

British luxury sports car brand Jaguar Land Rover introduced a new importer in Vietnam and launched a new Range Rover Evoque with a youthful and dynamic design and daily application capabilities.

Mercedes-Benz’s booth this year is filled with high-class sedans and SUVs like the Mercedes-AMG G63, GLC, Mercedes-Maybach S560, Mercedes-Maybach S450.

The new generation of GLE comes with the powerful I6 EQ Boost engine.

Chinese-owned Swedish luxury brand Volvo pleased Vietnamese fans with world's safest cars like the XC90, a vehicle which has won more than 240 awards; the XC60, World Car Of The Year 2018; the XC40, the 2018 European Car Of The Year; and the S90, the 2017Design of the Year Award winner.

At the exhibition this year digital interactive solutions deliver an embracing digital experience to visitors, who are immersed in a technology tour to witness unique car performances.

Toru Kinoshita, Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), said: “Vietnam is a promising market thanks to its steady economic growth and young population. To keep up with that trend, we will continue to make our best efforts to promote production, improve the quality of sales and service and develop the agency network to meet the diverse needs of customers.”

Booths also display supporting products, spare parts, car upgrades, technology toys, care, insurance, and financial support services. They include names like DCar, Exclusive Auto Club, 3M, Eneos, GBoil, YSS, CarVision, Vietmap, TPI, Teyes, Steelmate, Aozoom, LotusViet, Motor Life.

Lasting until October 27, the Vietnam Motor Show is organised by VAMA, VIVA, CIS Vietnam, and Le Bros organisation at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7./.

IUU fishing must be eradicated: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung inspected the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the southern province of Kien Giang on October 23, requesting ministries, sectors and localities to make stronger efforts to swiftly put an end to the problem.

In October 2017, the European Commission (EC) issued a “yellow card” warning to Vietnam due to the country’s failure to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against IUU fishing.

Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a "yellow card", followed by a "green card" if the problems are resolved, or a "red card" if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on seafood.

At a working session with the Deputy PM, Vice Chairman of the Kien Giang People’s Committee Mai Anh Nhin said as of September 2019, the province had 9,858 registered fishing boats. It recorded a total catch of 450,593 tonnes of aquatic products in the first nine months – equivalent to 76.24 percent of this year’s target.

To fight IUU fishing, Kien Giang has issued directives and plans, including stepping up inspections, increasing communications about laws of regional countries, monitoring the installment of tracking devices, and certifying seafood’s origin, he noted.

However, the official admitted that local fishing boasts still commit infringements, with 52 violations in the first half of 2019, up 21 from the same period last year. Although a high percentage of boats are now equipped with tracking devices, connections with mainland stations remain limited.

Deputy PM Dung pointed out the shortcomings Kien Giang needs to address, especially the low rate of tracking devices that are turned on while boats are at sea, which is about 30 – 40 percent. He asked the province to deal with boats that switched off their equipment while increasing human resources and upgrading infrastructure to ensure food safety in the docks.

He demanded an immediate end to IUU fishing, telling local authorities to carry out the EC’s recommendations to remove the “yellow card” and prevent local boats from fishing in foreign waters. Meanwhile, ministries, sectors and localities must stay focused on their tasks, particularly controlling boats and vessels in Vietnam’s waters and strictly dealing with violations of fisheries laws.

To boost the sustainable development of Vietnam’s fisheries sector, the industry must be restructured towards smaller catches and more aquaculture, the Deputy PM said, adding that restructuring will help eradicate IUU fishing, develop the sector sustainably, and improve its competitiveness in regional and global markets./.

Viettel e-wallet wins gold prize at International Business Awards

Lumitel e-wallet of Viettel Burundi S.A, a subsidiary of Viettel Group in Burundi, has won a Golden Award in the category of “Fastest-Growing Company for the Year – in the Middle East and Africa” at the 2019 International Business Awards in Vienna, Austria.

The International Business Awards – IBA Stevie Awards have been described by the New York Post as the Oscars for international business. The awards were created in 2002 to honour and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organisations and working professionals worldwide.

Less than a year after being launched in March 2017, the Viettel e-wallet service in Burundi built a distribution system with nearly 16,800 agents covering 86 percent of Burundi.

It is currently Burundi’s largest mobile money distribution service with 1.4 million customers, making up 60 percent of the market share./.

Korean firms promote trade in Ho Chi Minh City

The Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ) held a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 22 to discuss measures to develop export and import markets in Southeast Asia.

Speaking at the event, chief of KBIZ representative office in Vietnam Kim Duck-lyong said since the beginning of 2019, it has been the fifth time KBIZ has taken Korean firms to Vietnam to promote trade.

They mostly operate in machinery and spare part manufacturing and steel materials used for interior and exterior décor, air purifiers, industrial gas pumping equipment, among others.

He said the event helps Vietnamese and Korean enterprises learn more about each other, their products, share experience and explore the possibility of cooperation.

In early 2019, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue hosted a reception for KBIZ Chairman Kim Ki-mun.

Kim said under the Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy, the Korean government is building industrial parks in many countries. Apart from Myanmar, Korean enterprises have also been interested in Vietnam.

As one of the top important economic partners of Vietnam, the RoK is also the largest investor, the second largest supplier of official development assistance and the third largest trade partner of the country.

Both sides are striving to raise two-way trade to 100 billion USD in 2020./.

Vietnam, Mexico to boost agriculture, seafood cooperation

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 24

Representatives from VCCI and COMCE sake hands after signing the agreement (Photo: vccinews.vn)

There's a lot of room for closer ties in the agriculture and seafood sectors between Vietnam and Mexico, especially thanks to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a meeting heard in Hanoi on October 22.

Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vice Chairman Dao Duy Khuong said Vietnam considers Mexico an important partner. Besides agriculture, the two sides could foster ties in tourism.

Saying Mexico was an open market, Khuong added that the country could act as a bridge for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate deeper into markets in North America thanks to the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Meanwhile, Vietnam was an effective gate for Mexican companies to work with enterprises in the ASEAN bloc, Khuong said.

The vice chairman suggested the establishment of a group which will be in charge of researching potential goods of the two countries so businesses can ship these products to each other's market to enhance bilateral trade.

For his part, Sergio Ley Lopez from the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade (COMCE) praised Vietnam’s achievement in economic and human development, saying Vietnam was a lucrative market for Mexican firms.

Currently, Mexico imports a lot of farm produce from Vietnam, typically rice and coffee, he said, adding that 70 percent of the rice sold in Mexico was imported from Vietnam.

In the future, it was necessary for the two business communities to seek opportunities for new products that could be exported to each other, he said.

Mexico hoped to export beef products to Vietnam in the near future, he said, emphasising the importance of developing a process for food quarantine.

The meeting also saw a cooperation agreement on trade and investment inked between VCCI and COMCE. The two sides hoped the agreement would facilitate bilateral trade and investment coordination between two business communities.

Mexico is Vietnam’s second biggest trade partner in Latin America while Vietnam is Mexico’s eighth largest partner in Asia-Pacific./.

Workshop talks EVFTA’s impact on financial, telecom sectors

The European Union (EU) – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is set to have considerable impact on the future of the financial and telecom sectors of Vietnam, heard a workshop in Hanoi on October 23.

At the event, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Hoang Quang Phong said the EVFTA, signed on June 30 this year and currently in the ratification process, includes many notable commitments regarding financial services like banking, insurance and securities, and telecom services.

The openness of the Vietnamese market has already been higher than the commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the country has also issued many minimum standards for the State’s management of these services. Meanwhile, the EU has strength in financial and telecom services. Therefore, the EVFTA is predicted to have considerable influence on the future of the financial and telecom sectors in the country, he noted.

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the VCCI’s Centre for WTO and Economic Integration, said the EVFTA will not have too big direct impact on foreign investment in the financial sector, noting that reinsurance ceding service is the only new one to be opened for foreign investment under the pact, while the commitment level is unchanged compared to that in the WTO.

Under the EVFTA, no more new areas in the telecom sector will be opened for foreign investment, and the commitment level would also not change much in the first five years of the agreement’s enforcement. After that, the sector’s openness to foreign investment would be higher than the commitment to the WTO.

Trang noted the financial sector’s business climate will become more stable and predictable while the telecom market will also be more stable and transparent thanks to commitments in the trade deal.

Indirect impact of the EVFTA will include higher service demand, better business environment, and chances created for investment in EU economies and for cooperation with EU partners.

Aside from opportunities, many economic sectors of Vietnam, especially the financial and telecom sectors, will also face stronger competition from foreign service providers. Additionally, clients’ requirements for services will increase. Challenges relevant to IT application, information security and transaction safety will also be part of the indirect impact of the EVFTA, according to the centre director./.

Seminar discusses ways to add value to farm produce

Improving production technologies, designs and packaging are among the important factors that could add value to Vietnamese farm produce, businesses have said.

Nguyen Thi Cac Thuy of Tay Cat Co., Ltd said to improve traditional products, producers needed to adopt technology, do research to enhance product quality and improve product designs.

If businesses were constantly innovating, regardless of their scale they could enhance the value of their agricultural products, she told a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 21.

Le Thi Thanh Lam, deputy general director of Saigon Food JSC, said her company sold products such as fresh porridge, processed seafood, frozen seafood, and vegetables, and besides improving product quality and offering competitive prices, it had also changed the packaging of its fresh porridge products many times since launch.

These had helped the company increase market share and win consumers’ trust, she added.

According to experts, the agricultural sector needs to develop modern value chains, enhance linkages between various stakeholders and strictly conform to good agricultural practices, food safety standards and product traceability to ensure development.

Vo Phuong Thuy, deputy director of the Dong Thap provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said in the past the department used to help farmers find outlets for their produce, but now it would connect them with distributors and large businesses for the two sides to work out their requirements.

It also often provides farmers and businesses with market information to enable them to meet consumers’ demands.

Seo Fumio, deputy general director of AEON Vietnam’s purchase division, said AEON’s first priority was to ensure customer safety followed by convenience.

Agricultural products and specialities, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, need to have certificates such as VietGap, Global Gap and Organic to be able to enter AEON supermarket shelves.

There are many aspects that farmers in the Mekong Delta need to improve, according to Fumio.

Firstly, they, and Vietnamese farmers in general, mostly focus on output but should shift it to improving product quality.

Farmers sell their products through many layers of middlemen, and as a result consumers do not know the origin of products.

Delegates agreed that besides ensuring consistent quality and obtaining production certificates, enterprises would need to also ensure product traceability.

They should research market trends to come up with the right products, they said.

Organised by the Business Association of Vietnamese High Quality Products and the Business Studies and Assistance Centre, the seminar was a pre-event of the 2019 Mekong Connect Forum to be held in Can Tho next month./.

Vietnam exports first batch of milk to China

The announcement ceremony on exporting Vietnam’s first batch of milk to China was held in capital city of Hanoi yesterday.

A signing of exporting Vietnam’s first batch of milk to China market under the witness of Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue and Head of the Party Central Committee's Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh

A signing of exporting Vietnam’s first batch of milk to China market under the witness of Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue and Head of the Party Central Committee's Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh

The event based on the Protocol signed between the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the China’s General Administration of Customs in April.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, this is the first time that Vietnamese dairy products are exported to the Chinese market. With the advantage, four other companies had submitted applications to export dairy products to the 1.4 billion people market.
Attending in the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, Head of the Party Central Committee's Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong and other senior leaders.

China is the world's leading import market of milk prorducts. Last year, the country imported milk and dairy products from other countries with a value of nearly US$ 10 billion. According to Food and Agriculture Organisation forecasts, China's consumption demand for milk and dairy products will continue to rise with its import growth expected to be around 45 percent by 2025.

Therefore, the ceremony marks an extraordinarily important event for Vietnam's agriculture sector in general and the dairy industry in particular in an attempt to boost export of high quality agricultural products to potential markets, especially the Chinese market.

This has also been the result of drastic and effective implementation of veterinary and public health requirements for Vietnamese dairy products for seven recent years.

Over the past six months since the Protocol between the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the China’s General Administration of Customs was signed, the China’s General Administration of Customs has just issued a Notice Announcement No.156/2019 to officially allow import of dairy products from Vietnam to the market.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 100 percent of current dairy farms of enterprises registering to export dairy products to China are approved by authorized veterinary management agencies. They have organized testing and taken samples to supervise diseases pursuant to the provisions of the protocol and regulations of the World Organization for Animal Health - OIE and Vietnam.

A dossier assessment will be scheduled to submit to OIE for evaluation and recognition of disease-free dairy cow breeding areas in Vietnam by December of 2022.

USDA trade chief considered Vietnam major potential importer of US products

Last year, Vietnam was the seventh largest market for US agricultural products at US$4.2 billion.

The US sees enormous potential for food and agriculture, fuel and fiber going to Vietnam, according to Ted McKinney, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) under-secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

Wrapping up a four-day trade mission to Vietnam on Friday, McKinney said there is high interest from Vietnam in purchasing US food and agricultural products, reported Capital Press.

Vietnam has a rapidly growing economy and wants to purchase food products from the US, he told reporters during a conference call from Ho Chi Minh City.

US agricultural exports to Vietnam have “grown incredibly” since 1995, when the US normalized relations with Vietnam. The country was the 95th largest market for US agriculture that year. Last year, it was the seventh largest market for the US at US$4.2 billion, he said.

“Clearly the US is a country they want to do business with,” McKinney was quoted by Capital Press as saying.

Nearly 80 people were on the trade mission, including representatives from USDA, state departments of agriculture, commodity groups and 34 companies.

The companies met with buyers from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar in a "speed-dating" setting resulting in 665 one-on-one meetings over three days. Fourteen of those companies estimate the meetings will result in US$5.1 billion to US$5.2 billion in sales, and the rest have not yet reported, he said.

US government officials also traveled to Hanoi to meet with representatives from Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade and the country’s executive branch.
US relations with Vietnam are “really, really outstanding and getting better,” he said.

Trade representatives also visited with key customers, including Vinamilk, which purchases a great deal of US dairy products such as whey, lactose and other products, he said.

Anecdotally, the company accounts for 50% of the market share in Vietnam and thinks growth in dairy will continue, he said.

​The US is chasing every market it can in Vietnam, and there’s a lot of potential for proteins of all sorts with 60% of the population under the age of 35, he said.

 

Singapore’s YCH to start construction of world-class logistics center in Vietnam

With an advantage of geographical location and adequate infrastructure, the center is expected to become a focal point facilitating the global supply chain among Vietnam, ASEAN, regional and international markets, said YCH’s CEO Robert Yap.

Singapore’s leading logistics firm YCH is scheduled to start construction of a logistics center and an international inland container depot (ICD) by the third quarter of 2020, according to YCH’s CEO Robert Yap.

In addition to providing high-quality logistics services, the center establishes an institutions offering training courses in logistics, Yap said in a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on October 18.

The center, jointly invested by YCH and Vietnam T&T’s Group, would be located in Vietnam’s northern Vinh Phuc province.

With an advantage of geographical location and adequate infrastructure, the center is expected to become a focal point facilitating the global supply chain among Vietnam, ASEAN, regional and international markets, said Yap.

At the meeting, Dung said the project is an example of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Singapore.

As of present, Singapore is among top three out of 130 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Its logistics sector is among the most advanced in Asia.

Dung said Vietnam’s target is to form a complete transport infrastructure network, including the establishment of a world-class logistics center, aiming to reduce costs for enterprises and enhancing the competitiveness of the economy.

Dung requested related parties to closely cooperate for a speedy construction of the project. Once completed, the project would help boost Vietnam and ASEAN exports to international markets and become a successful symbol in cooperation between Vietnamese and Singaporean enterprises, Dung asserted.

Saigon commercial rents up 5.8 percent

Average monthly rents for retail space in Saigon`s central business district (CBD) reached $135.5 per square meter in Q3, up 5.8 percent year-on-year.

The rental increase in the CBD was by 3.7 percent over the previous quarter, while monthly rents outside the CBD reached $35.8 per square meter, down 3.7 percent quarterly, according to the latest report by real estate firm CBRE.

Vacancy rates increased in both sectors in Q3, up 0.6 percentage points in the CBD and 0.5 percentage points outside, mostly because shopping centers were undergoing renovation and tenant mix revision this quarter, the report said.

CBD and non-CBD vacancy rates were around 2.5 percent and 8 percent respectively, the report said.

The retail market continues to be considered attractive to international retailers and developers, thanks to the Vietnam’s growing young population, and most retailers tend to choose HCMC to open their first stores when entering the country, CBRE said.

The report said Vietnam’s retail industry has seen several major deals from international investors in the third quarter. Japanese fashion company Stripe International acquired Vietnamese women’s footwear brand Vascara, two years after it acquired another local fashion brand, NEM.

Amazon has also set up a subsidiary in Vietnam, which aims to provide support for small and medium enterprises and individuals that do business on its e-commerce platform. South Korean retail group BGF is also planning to enter Vietnam in 2020 and open a convenience store chain named CU, CBRE quoted Insider Retail Asia as saying.

In terms of consumer trends, food and beverage, fashion and accessories, entertainment, convenience stores, and beauty and health segments are expected to strongly attract retailers in the near future. Several shopping centers are thus being restructured to target these changes in consumption trends.

As of Q3 2019, HCMC had a total of 57 retail projects with total net leasable area (NLA) of 1.04 million square meters. In the last quarter of 2019, one new shopping mall project will be opened with an NLA of around 16,000 square meters, focused on food and beverage, fashion, accessories and entertainment, the report said.

HCMC is expected to receive 237,000 square meters of new retail space in 2020 from 8 new projects. In particular, District 9 in East HCMC could see the opening of a 48,000 square meter megamall project, the biggest retail project to date, CBRE said.

Imported pork floods Vietnam after swine flu cull

Pork from Brazil, the U.S. and Poland, mostly bones and neck, has been pouring into Vietnam at lower than domestic prices.

As of mid-October, HCMC had imported 10,820 tons of pork worth $21.3 million this year, up 155 percent year-on-year, according to the city’s customs department.

Brazil accounted for 52.5 percent total volume, followed by Poland at 13.8 percent and the U.S. at 10.2 percent.

Prices of imported pork ranged from VND44,250-48,000 ($1.90-2.06) per kilogram, lower than those of domestic pork at VND55,000-60,000 ($2.36-2.58) per kilogram.

However, Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of HCMC Industry and Trade Department, said that imported pork prices were low because most of it comprised bones and neck parts that are priced low in the exporting countries.

Vietnamese prefer fresh pork, therefore imported frozen meat is often used for processed food like sausages, with only a few businesses importing high quality parts for storage, he added.

Domestic prices have risen to their highest in the last three years as supply of pork dwindles because of the African swine fever outbreak, which has resulted in Vietnam culling almost 5 million pigs.

From January to September, Vietnam imported 14,824 tonnes of pork worth $220 million, according to the General Statistics Office.

Pig stock in the country dropped 19 percent year-on-year in the period, while pork supply fell 9 percent, it said.

Tra fish exports plunge during nine-month period

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 24

Tra fish exports to the US, Brazil, and Mexico plummeted during the first nine months of the year, making it likely that the products will record negative growth for the year.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the total export value of Vietnamese tra fish, also known as pangasius, suffered a drop of 8.5 per cent to US$1.46 billion during the reviewed period.

September alone saw the export value of tra fish continue to drop by 14.6 per cent, of which exports to markets such as the US, EU, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia plunged.

Most notably, during the nine-month period, tra fish exports to the US market fell by 43.6 per cent to US$208 million, accounting for 14.3 per cent of the total value.

This fall represents the largest decline seen in the US market over the past five years, with tra fish exports to the market expected to endure an increasing fall during the fourth quarter.

Exports of the fish product to major markets such as Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia have been continuously decreasing since the beginning of the year.

With these trends, it is anticipated that the export value of the product to these markets will experience negative growth during the remaining months of the year.

With regard to the ASEAN market, after recording positive growth for half a year, the growth rate has started to become sluggish. As of the end of September, the export value of tra fish to the ASEAN market reached US$147 million, an annual increase of 1.4 per cent.

In contrast, the export value to the Chinese market saw an upward trend, accounting for 30.9 per cent of the total export value during the reviewed period with US$450.7 million, up 19.6 per cent on-year.

Disbursement of public investment funds just meets 50% of target YTD

The government expected expenditure for development in 2020 to increase by VND41.3 trillion (US$1.77 billion) or 9.6% higher than the estimate in 2019 and account for 26.9% of total state expenditure.

The year-to-date disbursement rate of public investment funds for development remains low at 49.1% of the target set by the government, making it difficult to meet the disbursement target by year-end, according to the Finance-Budget Committee under the National Assembly.

The committee attributed lack of preparation for investment projects, difficulties in site clearance and delay in allocating public funds, among others, to such slow disbursement progress.

According to the committee, these issues have been known for many years, but there has been lack of efforts from government agencies to resolve them, and which require all concerned parties to strictly follow regulations and laws on finance – budget, including the Law on Public Investment.

Chairman of the committee Nguyen Duc Hai mentioned the slow allocation of public funds has not been properly addressed, in which the main issue is the complicated procedures.

This has caused negative impacts on the construction progress for many projects of huge impacts to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, Hai stressed.

The government expected expenditure for development in 2020 to increase by VND41.3 trillion (US$1.77 billion) or 9.6% higher than the estimate in 2019 and account for 26.9% of total state expenditure.
However, Hai expressed concern the the 9.6%-increase is quite low compared to the huge capital needed to complete on-going public investment projects in the 2016 – 2020 period.

In the first nine months of 2019, Vietnam disbursed VND192.13 trillion (US$), or 45.17% of the target set by the National Assembly and 49.14% of the target set by Prime Minister, these rates are lower than those recorded in the same period last year.

Statistics showed that seven government agencies and 14 provinces have disbursement rate of over 70%, in which four agencies and four provinces have disbursed over 80%.

However, the majority has the disbursement rate lower than the average, including 31 agencies and 19 provinces with rates lower than 50%, 17 agencies and one province with disbursement rate below 30%.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc previously said slow disbursement of public investment are bottlenecks for the development of Vietnam’s economy and warned major consequences out of the issue if not properly addressed.

In 2019, state budget deficit is estimated at 3.4% of the GDP, public debt at 56.1%, government debt at 49.2% and foreign debt at 45.8%, which are all lower than the estimates, Hai informed.

Economic and industrial growth serves VN's development

As shown in statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Viet Nam attracted up to US$16 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) last year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) announced that in the first nine months of 2019, foreign investors poured more than US$ 18.4 billion into projects in Viet Nam.

These positive achievements were attributed to the significant efforts made by the Vietnamese Government in developing infrastructure at key economic and industrial zones and enhancing their FDI attraction capabilities.

For example, the planning and construction of the port city of Hai Phong into a new economic center in the northeastern region has drawn a large amount of foreign investment into the field of high-tech agriculture.

The economic and industrial growth will enable Viet Nam to be an important partner and market in Southeast Asia in the next decade.

In addition, Samsung’s latest move in Viet Nam has contributed to boosting the country’s eight-month manufacturing activities, in which production of mobile phones increased by 11 per cent, and that of smartphones rose 15.8% on-year. Samsung takes the lead in production and export of these products in Viet Nam.

In addition, a World Bank (WB) report on East Asia Pacific Economic Update, published in October 2019, gave a positive assessment about the Vietnamese economy in the medium term despite risks which are on a declining trend.

WB lead economist in Viet Nam Jacques Morisset said that Viet Nam still remains an attractive destination for foreign investors and attracts more FDI than other countries in the region.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), a rise in production and exports of electronics items have contributed greatly to a climb in the country’s eight-month manufacturing industry, which accounts for 80% of industrial growth and will will help drive the economy’s growth.

Spain-based FocusEconomics has released its latest forecast for Viet Nam’s economic outlook, stating that the economy will expand 6.7% in 2019, making itself one of the region’s star performers this year.

The firm stated that Viet Nam’s economic growth continuing will largely depend on industrial growth driven by a climbing manufacturing sector.

In an article analyzing the regional economic situation, published recently on Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language daily in Singapore, Sam Cheong Chwee, Executive Director at United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Head of UOB Group’s Foreign Direct Investment Advisory Unit, stated that “Viet Nam has been emerging as a bright star in terms of foreign investment attraction in Southeast Asia”.

WB experts said the strong growth of domestic consumption and increasing competitiveness are the two main drivers of Viet Nam's economic growth at the moment.

Also seeing Viet Nam with a bright outlook, global data provider TradingEconomics last week stated that industrial production in Viet Nam is expected to rise 8.3% by the end of this quarter, and 8% in 12 months’ time.

In the long term, the Vietnamese industrial production is projected to trend around 6.9% in 2020 due to uncertainties in the global market which will affect Viet Nam’s economy.

Hanoi Social Insurance names FLC unit as one of most indebted firms

Local real estate giant FLC’s subsidiary FLC Faros was listed among the top five companies with the heaviest social insurance debts by Hanoi Social Insurance.

The authority once again announced the list of 500 companies delaying their social insurance payments. As of the end of September, total social insurance debts were VND1.989 trillion ($86.48 million), affecting about 13,660 labourers. These serious violations have been negatively impacting social security over the capital area.

Leading the list is VIT-Garment with VND21 billion ($913,000) in debts, followed by Minh Quan Hi-Tech JSC with VND16.4 billion ($713,000), VTC Digital with VND12.9 billion ($560,900), Investment and Construction JSC No.4 with VND6.825 billion ($296,700), and FLC Faros with VND6.724 billion ($292,300).

According to Hanoi Social Insurance, the reasons behind the increasing debt in social insurance payments are that many of them have been reporting weak performance, as well as the lack of awareness about the role of social insurance. Moreover, local authorities’ supervision and inspection of the firms is not strict enough to force them into compliance.

The Hanoi Social Insurance also proposed the Ministry of Security, the People’s Supreme Procuracy, and the People’s Court to review these violations in light of the Criminal Code 2015. The city’s Federation of Labour keeps directing local unions to press lawsuits against violating companies to protect the rights of workers.

Phu Yen welcomes overseas interest

Albeit Phu Yen is taking the lead in Vietnam’s south-central coast in terms of foreign direct investment attraction, many large-scale projects in the province are finding it hard to reap sweet returns.

To overcome the situation, Phu Yen is crafting some key solutions focusing on accelerating administrative reforms, creating a favourable grounds for investors, and ensuring legal safety for projects.

At the recent Phu Yen Investment Promotion Conference, KVSR Subbaiah, general director of India’s KCP Vietnam Industry Co., Ltd., recalled that in 1997, to take part in Vietnam’s “One million tonne sugar programme”, KCP had invested in building a refined sugar factory with a capacity of 2,500 tonnes of sugarcane per day in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

Due to a lack of raw materials, the firm had to relocate the project to Son Hoa district in Phu Yen province in 2000. There, KCP was greatly assisted by the leaders of Phu Yen in the process of zoning growing areas, building relationships with local farmers, raising sugar factories’ capacity, and expanding operation.

Since then, KCP has grown sustainably, expanding the capacity of Son Hoa Sugar Plant to 10,000 tonnes of sugarcane per day, as well as having put into operation a 30MW biomass power plant since 2017.

Besides that, KCP also raised the capacity of its Dong Xuan Sugar Factory to 1,000 tonnes of sugarcane per day. The company’s total investment value until has now reached $103 million.

According to Subbaiah, Phu Yen is not only rich in natural resources, with a mild ­climate, and conducive environment for investment, but the leaders of the province are also willingly accompanying enterprises, creating favourable conditions for investors in production and business activities. This is the essential element any investor expects.

Similarly, privately-held Anam Phat Co., Ltd. has been awarded notice of surveying, researching, and investing in the Anam Phat Resort and Golf Course project in An Ninh Dong commune with total investment of VND2.8 trillion ($121 million) and premium urban area project Vuon Phuong Hoang (Phoenix Garden) in Tuy Hoa city, with total investment value touching VND5 trillion ($215 million).

Bui Quoc Hoan, the company’s director said, “Phu Yen has a lot of potential for tourism development. The province not only owns pristine coastlines and diverse terrains but has also made efforts to invest in transport infrastructure in recent years.”

“These are favourable conditions turning tourism into a key economic sector of the province,” Hoan said.

According to Phu Yen Department of Planning and Investment, in recent years the province has made strenuous efforts for investment promotion, mainly focusing on domestic investment in light of the province’s guidelines and policies.

The 2016-2020 period marks a new period in domestic and foreign investment attraction, with efforts gearing towards improving the local business environment through the application of incentive policies.

Domestic and foreign investors have, therefore, rushed into Phu Yen in the quest for co-operation and investment opportunities. So far, the province has attracted more than 38 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of nearly $1.6 billion.

Phu Yen has been trying its best to effectively support investors, promoting startups, accelerating administrative reforms, especially in the field of investment, and creating a fair, transparent, and stable business and investment environment. Through all this work, the province followed its motto “The prosperity of enterprises is also Phu Yen’s prosperity.”

Along with that, to further attract foreign investment, Phu Yen is focusing on carrying out breakthrough solutions, such as building infrastructure of Phu Yen Southern Economic Zone, and promoting investment into major tourism projects.

Additionally, the province is strengthening human resources training, attracting highly qualified people, building infrastructure, and pushing up investment attraction for Phu Yen High-tech Agriculture Zone, among other factors.

Binh Dinh works to bolster trade, investment links with US

A delegation from the central province of Binh Dinh introduced local economic and tourism potential and sought ways to boost trade and investment ties with US businesses during a working trip to the US from October 12 to 23.

At an investment promotion conference in Virginia on October 22, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Cao Thang highlighted Binh Dinh’s potential and strengths for US firms to invest in, including electronic component manufacturing, automobile supporting industry, seaport infrastructure, industrial park infrastructure, energy, tourism, forestry, and wooden products.

Home to Quy Nhon International Seaport, Binh Dinh is the nearest gateway to the East Sea for the Mekong sub-region. It also boasts favourable transport infrastructure by road, rail and air.

The province, part of the central key economic region of Vietnam, has an abundant workforce with low labour cost and good skills. Nine industrial parks and 63 industrial clusters have been developed there so far, and Binh Dinh is building the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone covering over 14,500ha into a development engine for the province, according to Thang.

He also underlined his locality’s potential for becoming a tourism hub in the coastal central region of Vietnam.

The official said the local administration will create the best possible conditions for enterprises to seek investment and business partnerships, and will support them during the investment process.

At the conference, US businesses showed their interest in some fields and the investment policies in Binh Dinh.

Marc Mealy, Senior Vice President for Policy at the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), said for the council’s members, Vietnam is an attractive investment destination due to its optimal investment climate.

He also highly valued the potential, strengths and investment environment in Binh Dinh, adding that he and US enterprises are looking at the province’s advantages in wooden product manufacturing and export.

Mealy said he will help promote connectivity between Binh Dinh’s wooden product manufacturers and US firms in the states of North Carolina and Massachusetts.

During the visit, companies from Binh Dinh also exhibited wooden and furniture products at High Point Market, the US’s leading home furnishings industry trade show, in North Carolina. The delegation also had a working session with the 3M Group to attract investment in the hi-tech industry./.

Thanh Hoa province promotes trade in Russia

The People’s Committee of the central province of Thanh Hoa on October 23 opened a pavilion at the Hanoi-Moscow Complex in Russia to introduce its specialties as well as industrial and handicraft products to local consumers and businesses.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Vo Duy Sang, head of the provincial Party Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, highlighted the potential and strengths of Thanh Hoa in agriculture and craft, with a diverse range of traditional products made from environmentally-friendly materials.

The official pledged to help businesses to export local products to Russia, while expressing his hope that the pavilion will help connect Russian consumers and businesses with firms in Thanh Hoa.

On October 21, Sam Son city in Thanh Hoa and a Saint Petersburg district signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation, which was the first deal inked between the district and a foreign locality.

The same day, the Thanh Hoa delegation attended a Saint Petersburg-Vietnam business forum to introduce the province’s potential in tourism and call for investment and cooperation from Russian partners./.

 
 
 
 
 
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