VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Agro-forestry-aquatic exports hit over US$33 billion in ten months

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

The agro-forestry-aquatic sector raked in a total of US$33.18 billion from exports during the first ten months of the year, an annual increase of 1.6 per cent, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Simultaneously, the country spent approximately US$25.9 billion on agro-forestry-fishery imports throughout the reviewed period, a fall of 0.5 per cent.

With these figures, the agro-forestry-aquatic sector gained a trade surplus of US$7.3 billion, a US$664 million rise on-year. As a result, the agricultural sector has six products that enjoy an export turnover of more than US$2 billion.

The strong export growth during the ten-month period was largely driven by forest products which brought in a turnover of US$9.04 billion, up 18.8 per cent, whilst tea exports went up by 14.3 per cent and bamboo and rattan exports expanded by 40.6 per cent.

Elsewhere, the export of major farm produce fell by 7.4 per cent to US$15.25 billion, accounting for 46 per cent of total export turnover, while seafood exports dropped by 2.4 per cent to US$7.06 billion.

During the ten-month period, the export of fruit and vegetables dipped 1.3 per cent to US$2.3 billion. This decline can be attributed to a reduction in exports to the Chinese market as China has tightened regulations with regard to products with chemical residues and requirements of food safety and packaging.

China remains the largest export market for Vietnam's farm produce, accounting for 26.8 per cent of total export turnover, followed by the United States (21.7 per cent), the EU (11.9 per cent), and ASEAN (10.3 per cent).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) forecasts that global trade will continue to slow in the near future, while trade barriers, especially those concerning the Chinese market will increase, resulting in additional pressure to the country’s agricultural exports.

Furthermore, the export prices of several major agricultural products are projected to endure a downward trend.

The MARD will continue to monitor the consumption of agricultural products at border gates whilst assessing the impact of China's policies on exports via official channels, as well as boosting trade promotion activities to the markets of China, India, the Netherlands, and Russia in the future.

Aside from securing traditional markets and expanding into potential new markets, the MARD will actively support local firms to take full advantage of opportunities presented by free trade agreements and seek to enhance market development activities.

OCB attributes rapid growth to focus on technology, customer

Orient Commercial Bank has reported excellent results in the first nine months of the year.

OCB reported year-on-year growth of 17 per cent in net revenues to nearly VND4.4 trillion (US$191 million). Of this, revenues from interest and services surged by 20 per cent and 87 per cent.

Pre-tax profit was over VND1.9 trillion ($82 million).

In the last two years, 2017 and 2018, its profits profit grew at over 100 per cent. Last year it was VND2.2 trillion ($95 million).

Total assets now are worth VND106.4 trillion ($4.6 billion), a 23 per cent rise from a year earlier.

Outstanding loans were worth nearly VND70 trillion ($3 billion), an year-on-year 27 per cent increase.

OCB is among the lenders with the highest growth rates in Viet Nam.

The bank said it was on course to achieve the year’s targets.

Its management attributed the success to policies focused on the customer and investment in technology to become the best retail bank in the country.

The bank has tied up with a number of players like IBM and Trend Micro to develop technology.

OCB, established in 1996, was the first bank in Viet Nam to successfully achieve Basel II capital norms.

Agriculture exporters must change approach for better access to Chinese market

Measures must be taken by Vietnamese companies to adapt to changes in China’s import regulations for agricultural products, business leaders and Government officials have said.

Businesses need to change their approach in exporting agricultural products to China, said Le Thi Mai Anh, head of Asia-Africa Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).

Anh said China has been evolving with much tighter regulations to oversee the import of agricultural products, especially on packaging, origin of products and geo-tagging.

“We must understand that these changes in regulations aren’t out of nowhere. They have always been there. Chinese authorities have only recently started reinforcing them,” she said.

Anh said the rules are likely to get even stricter as Chinese authorities are starting to crack down on products which are low-quality or don’t meet China’s safety standards.

Last week, nearly 500 trucks filled with Vietnamese agricultural products were held up at the Tan Thanh-Po Chai Border Gate in the border province of Lang Son. Most of them were transporting dragon fruit from the Mekong Delta.

The backlog was caused by a spike in the number of trucks trying to cross the border that had not been anticipated by Chinese customs authority, as well as a much longer inspection process of six to seven minutes on average compared to just over two minutes previously.

Vietnamese companies must pay more attention to managing the origin of products and geo-tagging, said Dang Phuc Nguyen, secretary-general of Vinafruit.

Nguyen said Viet Nam has numerous advantages to export agricultural products to China as the two countries share a land border. Short travel distance also helps keep the cost of goods down and China’s appetite for Vietnamese products has been rising in recent years.

These advantages, however, account for little if Vietnamese companies can’t handle stricter regulations set by the Chinese side.

He advised Vietnamese companies to invest in new technologies in preservation and sanitation, saying technology not only gives Vietnamese products easier access to Chinese market but also brings added-value. It would also address a major shortcoming of Vietnamese agricultural products as the country tends to export in large volume but net gains remain modest as product value is low.

“Two major barriers Vietnamese products are facing to enter foreign markets are food safety and phytosanitary. Once we are able to overcome the barriers, our products will have access to a greater number of markets,” Nguyen said.

For the time being, the MOIT’s department of import and export urged companies to stay updated on the latest changes and developments in the Chinese market. The department asked companies to work with farmers to help them improve quality and product packaging to satisfy China’s regulations.

Regulatory reform a must to improve business conditions

Business confidence in the legal system remained low because local governments had made slow progress with regulatory reforms, Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said on Monday.

Tuan admitted the fact following the release of World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report, in which Viet Nam ranked 70th out of all 190 economies – down one place from the previous year.

In the report, Viet Nam showed improvements in credit access and tax payments, but few improvements had been made to protect investors and shareholders or solve insolvency.

Tuan cited a VCCI report that said less than 50 per cent of firms would not consider going to court to resolve disputes.

Meanwhile, the completion of administrative procedures for land, tax and social insurance remained the most difficult tasks for businesses, he said.

“Businesses are still concerned about ‘post-business registration’ work. About one-third of all surveyed businesses had paid ‘non-official fees’ when finalising their business registration,” Tuan said.

“About 29 per cent are struggling to gain technical qualifications, and 16 per cent had to wait for more than a month to sort out paperwork so they could start operations.”

“If the legal system is not reformed, the market will not operate properly. An improved legal sector will protect investors from risks, and then they will be encouraged to invest in the economy and expand their businesses,” former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung said.

The problem with trying to improve the legal system is that if one item is amended, it is often held back by two or three others, he said.

“Viet Nam has made some improvements to its business conditions but the reforms are obviously still slow and lagging behind other fast-growing economies,” Nguyen Minh Thao, head of CIEM’s Business Environment and Competitiveness Committee, said.

“The reforms are slowing down and there are challenges to the economy as some indicators have either shown little improvement or no improvement at all,” she said.

Sectors and ministries must change their mindsets based on a willingness to help develop the business community, and all local authorities, ministries, sectors and agencies were required to take action together, according to Thao.

“(The Government) needs to make reforms to administrative regulations and policies and publicise tax procedures as well as provide assistance for taxpayers,” Hoang Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of the taxation reform department at the General Department of Taxation, urged.

In addition, tax officials must be better supervised and administrative work should be reformed in the sector, she said.

Work on LNG storage facility begins in Ba Ria-Vung Tau

Construction of the Thi Vai liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility began in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on Monday.

Financed by PV Gas, a subsidiary of the national oil and gas group PetroVietnam, the facility will cost an estimated US$285 million in the first phase.

Phase one is slated for completion in 2022 with a designed capacity of one million tonnes. The second phase to double the capacity scheduled for completion the following year.

The LNG storage facility is part of a series of gas and power projects that includes Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4 gas-fired power plants in the Thi Vai-Nhon Trach area, said PV Gas General Director Duong Manh Son.

Son said this facility and the two Nhon Trach power plants will help ensure gas and electricity demand for the south-eastern key economic zone.

Once completed, the facility can receive LNG shipping vessels with a capacity of up to 85,000 tonnes and provide 1.4 billion cubic metres of gas for the two power plants and other industrial customers.

In his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony, National Assembly Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu praised on the project, saying it is not only significant to PV Gas but also an important milestone in the implementation of the national energy development strategy.

Also at the ceremony, a credit financing agreement for the project was signed between PV Gas and domestic and foreign banks, under which the foreign loan is $80 million while the domestic loan is VND2.1 trillion ($90.1 million).

Three businesses in Dak Lak recognised as prestigious exporters in 2018

Three companies in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak were recognised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) as prestigious export businesses in 2018.

They are the Dak Lak September 2nd Import-Export Company Limited (Simexco Daklak), the Dak Lak Rubber Company (Dakruco), and the Dakman Vietnam Limited.

Simexco Daklak met standards in the two industries of coffee and pepper, Dakruco was selected in the rubber industry, while Dakman Vietnam satisfied criteria in the coffee industry.

The list of “prestigious export businesses” was selected based on criteria set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on minimum export turnover, reputation in business with foreign partners, and fulfillment of duties to the State in the fields of customs, tax and environment.

On the basis of nominations by 55 agencies and organisations (including ministries, agencies, industry associations, and municipal and provincial departments of industry and trade), the MoIT selected 225 businesses (equivalent to 235 turns of enterprises in 25 industries), including 11 companies in the field of coffee export, 20 in rubber and 13 in pepper.

This is an all-out activity necessary to support Vietnamese enterprises to boost exports and expand markets, especially when Vietnam has joined a series of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements./.

Red tape needs to be cut for better business environment: WB

The outlook for Vietnam’s business environment remains positive but further digitalisation and streamlining of the administrative system are required, a World Bank (WB) expert has said.

Vietnam has slipped one place in the WB’s Doing Business 2020 Report. It ranks 70th in this year’s report compared to 2019’s 69th.

It is also the second year the Southeast Asian economy’s ranking has declined despite achieving a higher score. The country scored 69.8 in this year’s report, higher than the previous two years’ figures of 66.77 (2018) and 68.8 (2019).

In the report that was released on October 24, the WB ranked 190 economies by 10 criteria on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minor investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Of the 10 criteria, Vietnam ranks between 25th and 27th in helping firms deal with construction permits, access to power and capital funding. The scores in these three criteria are 79.3, 88.2 and 80.0, respectively.

Paying taxes and starting a business are two criteria that were highlighted as needing improvements by the World Bank.

The country scores 85.1 in “starting a business” and 69.0 in “paying taxes”. It ranks 115th and 109th, respectively.

Protecting minor investors is another issue. Vietnam scored 54.0 and ranked 97th in the report.

Resolving insolvency is the worst criterion as Vietnam scores only 38.0 and ranks 122nd out of 190 economies.

Jaques Morisset, the WB’s Lead Economist and Programme Leader for Vietnam, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment – told Vietnam News that Vietnam has made progress in the last eight years and its economy “is much better than others with the same per-capita income.”

The ranking “doesn’t mean Vietnam has not approved or implemented reforms” as it is only relative, he said. “It means Vietnam has made progress but not as fast as other countries.”

Jacques said the Vietnamese Government should focus on improving criteria on trading and tax paying because they are the two sub-categories where Vietnam is performing the worst.

A streamlined administrative system is required to boost the economy’s business environment, he said.

“Vietnam has many regulations and a lack of coordination across ministries. Companies often do not know where to go.”

“Vietnam also has a lot of duplication – the same document and information is often needed multiple times.”

In addition, digitalisation will facilitate a faster-growing economy as the authorities will have less paper to work on and simplify their workflow, Jacques said.

“Vietnam is still growing very fast compared to other economies. Everybody has to be aware that (the global economy) may be more difficult than it used to be.”

“It’s another reason why Vietnam needs to push for more reforms and a better business environment. If firms can compete and co-operate in a good environment, they will invest more and create more jobs.”

In the ASEAN region, Vietnam was behind Singapore (2nd), Malaysia (12th), Thailand (21st) and Brunei (66th). Following Vietnam were Indonesia (73rd), the Philippines (95th), Cambodia (144th), Laos (154th), Myanmar (165th) and Timor Leste (181st).

According to the report, East Asia-Pacific economies had improved 33 criteria for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, the region’s overall reforms were slowing down.

China led the region in eight categories. Others included Indonesia and Myanmar, which made headway in information, communication and technology.

Progress was also seen among East Asia-Pacific economies in helping businesses get better access to credit, power supply and construction permits. However, limits remained in enforcing contracts, which requires international practices and arbitrators to resolve./.

 

Measures sought to facilitate enterprises’ business, investment

A workshop discussing measures to remove difficulties facing enterprises in implementing regulations and procedures related to business registration, construction license, asset registration, tax and social insurance was held in Hanoi on October 28.

The event was organized by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).

Addressing the event, former CIEM director Nguyen Dinh Cung said the workshop aims to propose ways to create a transparent business and investment environment, towards reducing costs and risks for enterprises and improving their confidence.

Nguyen Minh Thao, head of the CIEM’s Business Environment and Competitiveness Department, said in the last two years, Vietnam's competitiveness index continued to be improved, but slowly.

According to the CIEM, the results of the improvement of competitiveness rankings represent the Government's strong effort in recent years.

She said that Vietnam has recorded remarkable improvements such as reduction of conditional business lines, simplification of business conditions, change of technology management method in some fields, application of electronic transactions in processing administrative procedures and non-cash payment, and inspection reforms.

Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Vietnam’s customs procedures have been improved but the sector need to better the work of professional inspection and the efficiency of the national one-stop-shop portal.

Participants also stressed the need for the reform of institutions, policies and administrative procedures; transparent implementation of tax administrative procedures and support for taxpayers; and promotion coordination among relevant agencies to implement tax administrative procedure reform./.

Indonesian retailers interested in Vietnamese market

Most of the modern retailers from Indonesia, who are engaged in minimarkets and convenience stores, have expressed their interest in expanding business in Vietnam, according to Chairman of the Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) Roy Nicholas Mandey.

Roy has called on the Indonesian government to support the retailers’ efforts through relaxation of regulations.

“The expansion to Vietnam will not be possible if it is not facilitated by the government,” he said, suggesting the government negotiate with the destination countries so that its retailers can obtain business licenses more easily.

According to Nielsen Market Research Company, Vietnam saw strong growth of 13 percent in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sales in convenience stores in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of minimarkets and convenience stores rose 45.5 percent to 1,812 facilities in the year.

In addition, the World Bank said that the number of middle-class people in Vietnam reached 11.64 million last year, accounting for 13 percent of the total population. The figure is forecast to rise 26 percent in 2026.

So far, there have been two modern retailers from Indonesia developing their business in Vietnam. They are PT Perintis Jasa Paripurna which operates Century Healthcare pharmacy outlets, and PT Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk (MAPI) which operates fashion and food and berverage outlets such as Burger King, Debenhams, H&M, Reebok, Stradivarius and Zara./.

Goods transactions on MXV on the rise

The volume of commodities to be traded on the Mercantile Exchange of Vietnam (MXV) next month is expected to at least double the level from one month earlier, following six months in operations, MXV Deputy Director Nguyen Ngoc Quynh told the Saigon Times on October 25.

Quynh told the paper, during a ceremony to introduce a new trader in the southern region, Lucky Win JSC using domain name giaodich24.com, of Vietnam HTS JSC, that MXV is the only nationally centralized commodities market organizer in Vietnam.

Over 20 commodities, such as coffee, rice and rubber, are being traded on the exchange, he said.

The ceremony marked a milestone in expanding MXV’s operation, showing much potential for the growth of Vietnam’s goods market.

Many firms hope to become MXV members, Quynh said, adding that he expected the number of traders on the exchange to increase to 50 next year, resulting in a hike in the volume of goods in the near future.

Under Government Decree 51/2018, Vietnam’s commodity exchanges are allowed to connect with foreign exchanges and transact all types of permitted goods, which attract investors and traders, stabilizes the market and improves the efficiency of business operations, Quynh said.

MXV is considered a transparent transaction channel in Vietnam that ensures the interests of both buyers and sellers, while positively impacting the nation’s economic growth.

HCMC property market stagnates: HoREA

The real estate market in HCMC was bleak in the January-September period this year with few projects being launched, which will result in a shortage of apartments in the near future, according to the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA).

In the nine-month period, the city approved the development of only 12 projects, covering a total area of 195 square meters, a year-on-year decrease of 72%.

In addition, only 32 apartment projects with nearly 19,700 units are eligible for raising capital from homebuyers, a sharp decline of 58.44% in the number of projects, and 30.56% in the actual number of apartments.

Last year, 61 housing projects were completed, offering some 35,400 new apartments. The respective figures in the January-September period were 17 projects and 12,500 apartment units.

HoREA Chairman Le Hoang Chau said the property market in the city has slowed in the past two years, and he warned that if practical solutions are not worked out immediately, the market may worsen.

Many projects underway have been put on hold, leading to a fall in both supplies and sales of apartments, especially affordable and social ones. This has caused a surge in the price of apartments, Chau added.

Taxi firm Vinasun sees after-tax profit surge 68 percent

Leading taxi firm Vinasun has posted an after-tax profit of VND94 billion ($4.04 million) in the first nine months, a year-on-year increase of 68 percent.

Between January and September, Vinasun earned gross revenues of more than VND1.55 trillion ($66.62 million), of which 86 percent came from its taxi service, the company's financial statement said.

It attributes the higher after-tax profit to a reduction in operating costs, as well as earnings of VND65 billion ($2.79 million) from its taxi advertising service and liquidation of older cars.

By the end of the third quarter, Vinasun's total capital stood at over VND2.47 trillion (over $106 million), of which undistributed profits for shareholders accounted for over VND700 billion (over $30 million).

Dang Phuoc Thanh, Vinasun's board chairman, said at its recent annual general meeting that the company's profit is expected to increase 10 times year-on-year in 2019, thanks to its restructuring.

Visa: Da Nang to gain economic benefit from digital payments

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has said that the increased use of digital payments has the potential to add $72 million annually to the economy of central Da Nang city. The findings are based on the results of an independent study, “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa and examining the economic impact of increasing the use of digital payments in major cities around the world.

The findings were presented at the Smart City Summit 2019 in Da Nang, which also saw presentations by representatives from the Da Nang City People’s Committee, the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The Smart city concept is one in which metropolitan areas use a variety of technologies and data collection methods in order to improve administration and benefit citizens. It often focuses on developing more efficient ways of delivering services and running infrastructure.

According to Visa’s research, converting Da Nang’s economy to an “achievable level of cashlessness”, defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payments equal to the top 10 per cent of users in that city today, could improve job creation by 3 per cent, productivity by 3.4 per cent, wages by 3.1 per cent, and GDP growth by 0.34 per cent.

Ms. Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa Country Manager for Vietnam and Laos, discussed how part of Da Nang’s cashless evolution could be led through e-government initiatives such as disbursing welfare benefits and income tax returns electronically, paying for travel of government officials via electronic means, and paying taxes and utility fees online.

“Da Nang has earned a reputation as a hive of technological innovation, particularly with the establishment of the Da Nang IT Park earlier this year, and we commend the city’s officials in having such foresight in this area,” Ms. Dung said at the summit.

“The Smart City Summit 2019 is another way in which Da Nang is moving into the future, and at Visa we’re excited to be able to play a role in helping to bring this vision to fruition. Through greater integration of electronic payments into both the public and private sectors, many aspects of day-to-day life for citizens can be simplified or improved, while the government itself can more effectively manage the economy.”

Card ownership is on the rise in Vietnam, with more citizens entering the formal banking ecosystem. Findings from Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2018 suggest this trend is set to continue, with nearly two-thirds of Vietnamese consumers indicating that they expect to increase their use of digital payments in the next year.

Danang's economy can earn $72 million a year from digital payments

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has announced that the increased use of digital payments has the potential to add $72 million to Danang’s economy annually.

These findings are based on the results of the independent study “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa to examine the economic impact of increasing the use of digital payments in major cities around the world.

These findings were presented at the Smart City Summit 2019 in Danang, which also saw presentations by representatives from Danang People's Committee, the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Information and Communications. The Smart City concept is one in which metropolitan areas use a variety of technologies and data collection methods in order to improve the administration of the city, and accordingly benefit the lives of citizens. It often focuses on developing more efficient ways of delivering services and running infrastructure.

According to Visa’s research converting the Danang economy to an “achievable level of cashlessness” – defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10 per cent of users in that city today – could improve job creation by 3 per cent, productivity by 3.4 per cent, wages by 3.1 per cent, and GDP growth by 0.34 per cent.

At the summit, Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa country manager for Vietnam and Laos, discussed how part of Danang’s cashless evolution could be led through e-government initiatives, such as disbursing welfare benefits and income tax returns electronically, paying for travel of government officials via electronic means, and paying taxes and utility fees online.

“Danang has earned a reputation as a hive of technological innovation, particularly with the establishment of the Danang IT Park earlier this year, and we commend the city’s officials in having such foresight in this area. Smart City Summit 2019 is another way in which Danang is moving into the future, and at Visa, we’re excited to be able to play a role in bringing this vision into fruition. Through greater integration of electronic payments into both the public and private sectors, many aspects of day-to-day life for citizens can be simplified or improved, while the government itself can more effectively manage the economy,” she said.

Card ownership is on the rise in Vietnam, with more citizens entering the formal banking ecosystem. Findings from Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2018 suggest this trend is set to continue with nearly two-thirds of Vietnamese consumers indicating that they expect to increase their use of digital payments in the next year.

The rising star of Ha Nam in FDI arena

Located about 60 kilometres from Hanoi, Ha Nam province has become a favourable alternative investment destination for foreign businesses shifting their manufacturing plants from China to Vietnam this year, adding to the locality’s emergence as a hotbed in recent years in attracting overseas investment.

According to real estate consultants CBRE, the ongoing US-China trade tensions, rising investment flows, and new-generation free trade agreements have had positive impacts on Vietnam’s industrial development.

Leveraging a young workforce at competitive cost amid a stable political standing, Vietnam has been named among the countries posting the fastest development pace.

Compared to several neighbours such as Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and China, Vietnam reports one of the lowest factory construction costs, fetching around $600 per square metre against $700 per sq.m in India, $900 per sq.m in Indonesia and China, and $1,200 per sq.m in Malaysia.

Additionally, with the cost level much more compelling compared to that in big metropolises like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Nam is proving appealing for foreign direct investment (FDI), partly explaining why the province has become a focus for a slew of firms coming from the likes of Japan and South Korea.

The province alone is now home to 82 Japanese firms and 108 South Korean companies, many of whom have reaped the rewards from conducting business operation there, such as Honda Vietnam, Sumi Ltd., and NMS Ltd.

Ha Nam’s advantages, according to many investors, lie in its proximity to Hanoi and Haiphong port, convenient transport connections with other localities in the region, attractive investment incentives, and an abundant and skilled workforce.

The industrial parks based in the province features a fairly comprehensive infrastructure base such as transport, power, and water supply system, and waste-water treatment stations that perfectly match businesses’ long-term development goals.

As a result, the province has grown into an investment hub in recent years. From 2016 until last month, Ha Nam courted 170 investment projects, 68 per cent of which are foreign-invested. In the first eight months of this year, Ha Nam wooed 66 projects and 38 others increased capital. Total newly-registered and added capital hit $652.6 million.

Le Thi Thuy, Ha Nam Party Secretary, told VIR that the province will maximise efforts to avail of its favourable position, rich land fund, and buoyant prospects for industrial production to drive local economic development.

Along with that, one of the top priority tasks of the province in upcoming months is working on industrial park development to match its sustainable development goals, focusing on solving issues related to the environment, transport infrastructure, waste treatment system, water sewerage, and security.

“In the months ahead, Ha Nam Industrial Park Management Authority needs to scale up efforts to accelerate administrative procedure reform and improve industrial park-based services, particularly the power supply and transport infrastructure provision, thus building a dynamic and professional work style to effectively serve investors’ demands, and from there propelling local industrial development,” said Thuy.

As of September, six out of eight industrial parks in the province can now meet foreign investor demands, covering nearly 1,600 hectares of space, of which about 1,100ha are earmarked for industrial development. Along with advances in power, water, and transport services and infrastructure, related utility services such as housing, supermarkets, and car pick-up for workers have seen remarkable improvements.

Besides these advantages, investment incentive policies have been carried out seamlessly, with strong commitment from the local government.

The province’s management has made good on their promises with investors and businesses, such as ensuring round-the clock power supply to firms, and the granting of investment certificates not exceeding three days.

Haiphong, the future modern logistics centre

With support from the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam, Deep C Industrial Zone on October 25 organised the Haiphong Sea Port and Logistics conference – one of the activities of the Vietnam-Belgium Cultural and Economic Exchange Festival held in Haiphong city on October 25-27.

The conference is an occasion for businesses to have a general view of logistics and to look for business opportunities in Haiphong. Businesses and investors got a chance for broad discussions about investment and business opportunities in Haiphong, where they have seen rapid improvements in infrastructure facilities in recent years.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Xuan Binh, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, stated that Haiphong is an important port city and the biggest gateway from North Vietnam to the international sea. Over the past time, the Vietnamese government and the authorities of Haiphong have always focused on improving infrastructure facilities, including logistics infrastructure. In the coming time, the direction of Vietnam is to develop the city into a modern and developing city to serve as a logistics hub for Vietnam and the surrounding region that is always ready to welcome investors to enter into co-operation with the authorities.

During the conference, representatives from various well-known organisations such as real estate consulting firms, the European Business Association in Vietnam, and logistics firms have given presentations, providing a diverse and multi-dimensional view of the status of the city's logistics industry with pointers on developing Haiphong into the logistics centre of Vietnam. The topics of the presentations ranged from “Haiphong – Vietnam's gateway to the world” and “A new milestone in the relations between Vietnam and the EU” to “Supply chain – from the perspective of an infrastructure developer” and “Opportunities in the warehousing sector in Lach Huyen Port area”.

Paul Jansen, Ambassador of Belgium in Vietnam, emphasised the strong partnership between Belgium and Haiphong and its potential to encourage investment and trade in the context of the newly signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, “The conference is one of the most important events during the Vietnam-Belgium cultural and economic exchange festival."

During the conference, HATECO and Infra Asia Investment Ltd. (IAI) from Hong Kong, along with shareholders of DEEP C Industrial Zone, have signed a partnership bill to expand the development activities of the industrial zone in Quang Ninh. Within the context of this bill, the two companies expressed their intention to co-invest and partner in the project to develop Bac Tien Phong Industrial Zone (DEEP C Quang Ninh II), one of the industrial zones of DEEP C Industrial Zone Group.

DEEP C Industrial Zone was established in 1997 in Haiphong under a partnership between Rent-A-Port corporation from Belgium and the city’s authorities. With more than 22 years of development, DEEP C has turned Dinh Vu-Cat Hai peninsula from a remote swampland into a chain of industrial zones of the largest size in Vietnam, with more than 3,000 hectares of land area for rent, attracting more than 100 projects with a total investment of approximately $3.5 billion, creating more than 10,000 jobs.

DEEP C is also a pioneer in developing standardised industrial zones, focusing on a sustainable economy in manufacturing. DEEP C Industrial Zone has contributed greatly to the economic and social development of Haiphong, at the same time strengthening the relationship between Belgium and Vietnam.

Hanoi promotes agricultural products through AEON

A first-of-its-kind trade promotion event has taken place at AEON Mall Long Bien, with a deal realised to reach $500 million in the export value of made-in-Vietnam goods sold through the AEON retail system by 2020, before touching $1 billion by 2025.

The Hanoi Promotion Agency (HPA) joined hands with AEON Group Vietnam, part of Japanese retail giant AEON Group, to host Hanoi Agriculture Fair 2019 for trade promotion of local agricultural products into AEON’s modern retail chains.

The event was part of an MoU between the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Hanoi People’s Committee, and AEON based on the $500 million goal. Since 2017, the committee has entrusted the HPA to join efforts with the group to aid businesses in the city and all over Vietnam in approaching AEON’s expansive distribution system through organising Vietnam Goods Week at retail venues in Japan.

According to HPA deputy general director Nguyen Thi Mai Anh, the Hanoi Agriculture Fair is an important trade promotion event that helps businesses produce and trade processed food and agricultural products of Hanoi and other localities, to enhance capacity and orient strategies on goods export to Japan through participating in trade fairs and sales promotion programmes hosted by Hanoi.

The event attracted 72 businesses from 15 provinces and municipalities across Vietnam such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Haiphong, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ninh Binh, and Dak Lak, among others.

On display was a wide variety of organic agricultural products and specialties from Vietnam’s different regions that have high quality and clear origin.

This marked the first time Hanoi had held such a promotional event to approach AEON’s modern distribution system. With 80 pavilions, the four-day event featured a string of activities such as a symposium on measures to stimulating the sale of domestic agricultural products in Hanoi, tea culture performance, and trial use of certain products.

This year alone, HPA has organised Vietnam Goods Week at 40 retail venues of AEON Group in Japan, combined with culture and tourism promotion activities to help local firms directly present products to Japanese consumers, as well as gain better knowledge about the Japanese market and its consumers.

These promotional events took place this past June, with the launching ceremony held at AEON Mall Lake Town Mori in Japan’s Saitama prefecture. The programme posted VND10 billion ($434,800) in revenue after just a week, according to HPA’s latest figures.

To help Vietnamese businesses become suppliers for AEON Group’s 1,000 supermarkets globally, AEON has been working on plans to provide them with technical support to boost production capacity to be able to reach AEON and Japanese market standards in the future. This will help Vietnamese firms enhance their branding and increase their share in this demanding market.

 
 
 
 
 
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