Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh attended a ceremony to inaugurate the Vietnam-Australia Trade and Investment Promotion Centre on November 20.

Vietnam-Australia investment, trade promotion centre inaugurated

Vietnam-Australia investment, trade promotion centre inaugurated hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh attended a ceremony to inaugurate the Vietnam-Australia Trade and Investment Promotion Centre on November 20.

The centre, located in Melbourne city of Victoria state, is set up and run by the Vietnamese Business Association in Australia (VBAA).

VBAA President Tran Ba Phuc said the centre will help promote Vietnamese products in Australia as well as trade between the two countries.

In the long-term, it will organise trade fairs on high-quality Vietnamese goods and farm produce, towards the signing of contracts shipping Vietnamese products to the Oceanian market.

Hailing the VBAA’s initiative to set up the centre and contributions of the Vietnamese entrepreneurs in Australia, Ambassador Thanh affirmed that the Vietnamese representative offices in the country will create the best conditions for the operation of the centre.

Vietnam-Australia trade hit 10 billion USD in October, surging 50 percent against the same period last year./.

Reference exchange rate up 6 VND at week’s beginning

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,118 VND/USD on November 22, up 6 VND from the last working day of previous week (November 19).

With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,812 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,425 VND/USD.

The opening-hour rates at commercial banks stayed stable.

At 8:30am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,525 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,775 VND/USD, both unchanged from November 19.

BIDV also kept both rates at the same level as on November 19, at 22,555 VND/USD (buying) and 22,755 VND/USD (selling)./.

Vietnamese trade turnover likely to hit US$645 billion this year

Vietnam’s total import-export turnover is anticipated to reach between US$640 billion and US$645 billion this year with the country set to enjoy a trade surplus, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

These achievements can primarily be attributed to the great efforts made by numerous enterprises which have overcome challenges caused by COVID-19 in order to both maintain and restore production activities.

Most notably, a number of major industries such as garments and textiles, as well as leather and footwear, have fulfilled their targets ahead of schedule, despite being negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The Ministry pointed out that industries will be able to regain the growth momentum from now until the end of the year, potentially reaching the same level as before the pandemic.

Furthermore, traditional sectors which boast export strengths such as phones, electronics, machinery and components are projected to achieve export growth of between 15% and 25% this year.

Experts have also stated that new-generation Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Vietnam-EU Trade Agreement (EVFTA) have added fresh impetus to the country’s export activities.

For example, Vietnamese exports to Canada, Mexico, and Peru have enjoyed an annual growth rate of between 25% and 30% thanks to the CPTPP. 

With regard to the EVFTA, the rate of taking advantage of the various incentives from the trade pact through the issuance of certificates of origin (C/O) form EUR1 have also reached approximately 20%.

Moreover, several export items to the EU now enjoy low tariff as a result of  the incentives from the General System of Preferences (GSP), which has allowed some businesses to go through the process without the need to apply for the C/O EUR1 form.

This is along with enterprises being allowed to conduct self-certification of origin for export shipments worth less than EUR6,000 to the EU market.

However, according to economists, a number of challenges faced by enterprises, including a shortage of workforce and high logistics costs, which have made businesses not restore their production capacity.

Furthermore, unsynchronized anti-pandemic measures at localities under the Government’s new regulation on safe living and flexible adaptation to the pandemic have affected trust of both businesses and investors.

First Vietnamese digital retail platform debuts

The first Vietnamese digital platform for retail necessities named G Market multi-function market was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on November 21.

The event was co-hosted by the municipal Department of Industry and Trade and Grove Fresh Group.

The platform offers over 10,000 key necessities through Farm/Factory-Hub-Door close-ended process.

Accordingly, goods are carefully selected from qualified farms and factories (Farm/Factory), transported and stored in the best temperature conditions at a specialised warehouse system (Hub). At Hub, the products are checked, screened, packed and delivered to customers (Door) in the fastest time by the staff.

A Grove Fresh representative said for each order successfully placed on, customers will be given a unique code. By entering the code at the smart automatic warehouse to get the goods, customers could also choose door-to-door delivery in case they do not have time or do not want to directly pick them up.

The application of technology in integrating the website with intelligent automated warehouses throughout Ho Chi Minh City helps ensure the most flexible delivery time according to the customers' schedule, minimising human contact or loss of goods.

Since the fourth COVID-19 outbreak, Grove Fresh Group has actively partnered with Ho Chi Minh City in the supply of goods, especially necessities via its retail and wholesale models on both face-to-face and online platforms./. 

HCMC seeks VND21.7 trillion from central Govt to fund six key projects

HCMC has proposed that the Government set aside VND21.7 trillion from the socioeconomic recovery and development plan to fund equipment procurement for three hospitals and three infrastructure projects in the next five years. 

In the proposal sent to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the city sought VND4.5 trillion for the purchase of medical equipment for Hoc Mon, Cu Chi and Thu Duc General Hospitals, or VND1.5 trillion for each hospital. 

The city is developing the three hospitals and needs machines to improve the medical checkup and treatment capacity and ease pressure on the existing hospitals, which have been experiencing chronic overloads. 

Meanwhile, the three infrastructure projects need more than VND17.2 trillion, including the HCMC-Moc Bai expressway, a project to dredge the Xuyen Tam Canal and another project to upgrade the Hy Vong Canal. The Government should provide VND5.9 trillion, VND9.4 trillion and nearly VND2 trillion, for the three projects, respectively. 

They are aimed at reducing traffic congestion and flooding, creating a driving force for the city’s development and contributing to improving the traffic system in the region and connecting with those in other regions. 

The city committed to accelerating the progress of these projects to complete them soon, improving the lives of local residents and contributing to the development of the city.

Wood processing industry recovers thanks to post-pandemic production

The wood processing industry has seen a recovery in production after the fourth outbreak of COVID-19, thanks to the Government's supportive policies.

To support economic recovery, the National Assembly and Government have issued many policies to help enterprises and businesses resume production and business activities.

These policies have included a delay on tax payments, reducing corporate income tax; dropping loan interest rates and financial support for employees. These actions have created a favourable business environment for enterprises of wood production, processing and export.

The government’s highly-anticipated Resolution No 128, on the adoption of provisional guidelines on safe and flexible living with COVID-19, has supported the domestic economy in recovery.

The wood processing industry has built specific strategies and plans to restore production and business in the new normal, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the ministry continues to receive recommendations from enterprises and associations in the wood processing industry to solve difficulties in processing and exporting timber and wooden products.

According to Do Xuan Lap, chairman of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFORES), the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the trading of goods, including timber and wooden products. It also hit wood processing centres such as HCM City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh, affecting the wood processing industry’s development.

Now, the pandemic is gradually being controlled, wood processing and export centres are recovering production. Enterprises processing and exporting wooden products have stabilised production faster than expected, especially enterprises applying the 'three on-site' model with on-site production, on-site dining, on-site rest.

“This is a very positive signal for the industry,” said Lap.

Nguyen Chanh Phuong, Vice Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), said 80 per cent of HAWA member enterprises have restored manufacturing and can deliver goods as scheduled.

To Xuan Phuc, an expert from Forest Trend, said that according to a recent survey, only 8.3 per cent of wooden product processing enterprises stopped operations due to the COVID-19. The rest of them had applied different forms to maintain operations; 24 per cent applied the 'three on-site' model.

The pandemic has also caused the number of employees at the surveyed enterprises to decrease by 18 per cent.

Meanwhile, 83 per cent of wood processing enterprises said that they have made recovery plans, according to the survey conducted by the VIFORES, HAWA, the Forest Product Association of Binh Dinh, the Binh Duong Furniture Association and Forest Trends.

The enterprises with recovery plans said they would change their business strategies, apply pandemic control measures in production and improve efficiency and scale in processing wooden products, Phuc said.

However, Phuc feels that production recovery will also depend on vaccination and the efficiency of pandemic prevention and control measures in production.

About 46 per cent of enterprises said they would not change their targeted revenue for this year, while 37 per cent expected their revenue to increase. The maintaining enterprises predicted their revenue will decrease.

Growth scenario

The VIFORES has two growth scenarios for the rest of the year. In the first scenario, if the industry’s export value of timber and wooden products recovers in the fourth quarter, the total export value in 2021 will reach US$13.6 billion.

In the second, worse, scenario, if the value continues to decline through the fourth quarter, export value will be $12.7 billion for the whole year.

Doanh said the ministry will support enterprises in maintaining traditional export markets but will also expand export markets for wooden products.

According to the General Department of Customs, the export of timber and wooden products in the first ten months of this year reached $12.1 billion, up 23.4 per cent year on year. Major export markets of those products included the US, China and Japan.

HAWA chairman Phuong expected that by the end of the year, export turnover will be back to pre-pandemic levels, meaning that value for this year would exceed $14.5 billion, an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2020.

This growth is due to the advantages of free trade agreements (FTAs) ​​Viet Nam has signed, such as EU-Viet Nam FTA (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which increase production capacity of enterprises, he said.

However, input materials and labour are two of the most important factors at present affecting production recovery.

Nguyen Minh Nhat, director of the Nhat Nam Construction Mechanical Plywood Co, Ltd, said that his company has nearly four months of production under the 'three on-site' model, which maintained employment for about 60 per cent of its workforce during the social distancing period. However, the company now lack workers due to an increase in production demand.

Along with that, the company is facing a scarce supply of raw materials like wood, due to the time of year and the sudden demand. Domestic suppliers of quality wood are very few and they too lack the labour to exploit and process raw wooden material. As the whole industry returns to production, the demand for raw materials is forcing many to import raw wood materials, Nhat said.

Lap said enterprises should prepare many solutions for the short, medium and long terms, to ensure the supply of raw materials for processing export wooden products.

The Government has a very important role in ensuring input materials and labour for enterprises, according to Lap.

Mechanisms creating favourable conditions for supplying raw material will help enterprises to have a higher supply of raw materials. The Government should also have preferential credit for the enterprises to import raw materials.

In the future, the government should have policies that encourage the sustainable development of domestic raw materials.

Regarding labour shortages, enterprises must prioritise employee retention and recruitment. Local authorities have coordinated with the business community to encourage workers back to production, Lap said.

Le Xuan Quan, Chairman of the Wood and Fine Arts Association of Dong Nai Province, said that future planned industrial must include housing areas for workers, as well as production facilities. 

First northern seaport handles 1 million TEUs of goods in a year

Tan Vu Port, a branch of Hai Phong Port based in Dinh Vu Industrial Park of the northern port city of Hai Phong, handled its 1 millionth TEU of goods on November 20.

This is the first time a port in northern Vietnam has handled 1 million TEUs in a year, especially amid congestion and disruption in the supply chain in various places across the globe.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Tho underlined that after 145 years of development, Hai Phong Port has upheld its role as a leading seaport in the country’s northern region.

As of the end of October 2021, it had handled 24 million tonnes of goods, a year-on-year rise of 8 percent. The port fulfilled its operation plan for the entire year in September.

In the past five years, Tan Vu Port handled an average 930,000 TEUs of container cargo each year.

Leaders of the port have devised flexible measures to enhance efficiency and safety, notably information technology application.

The construction of Lach Huyen gateway seaport of Hai Phong Port is set to begin in the first quarter of 2022, which is hoped to open up more opportunities for the locality./.

Made-in-Vietnam solar panels escape US anti-circumvention investigation

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has recently announced it will not conduct an anti-tariff circumvention investigation against solar panels made in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia at a request by a group of anonymous businesses called American Solar Manufacturers against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC), according to the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

According to the DOC, the companies' request to maintain confidentiality would prevent the agency from obtaining information it needed to evaluate the request, and hamper interested parties from fully commenting on the requests for circumvention inquiries and hamper them from commenting on certain issues that could arise if the agency was to initiate circumvention inquiries.

Therefore, Vietnam's solar panel industry has avoided an investigation against evasion of trade remedies. However, solar panel products including photovoltaic cells and solar panels are still subject to safeguard measures by the US against all countries, including Vietnam from February 2018.

Data from the General Department of Customs show that, in the first eight months of 2021, Vietnam exported more than 2.9 billion USD of solar panels, including cells, panels and components, to the US.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam recommends solar panel manufacturers to keep a close watch on the situation, information and next moves of relevant interest groups in manufacturing, exporting and consuming solar panels to take timely measures to respond to future trade remedies.

The agency will also monitor the export of this item to proactively provide information for businesses and handle arising problems./.

Bac Giang’s online technology and equipment trading floor makes debut

The Department of Science and Technology of the northern province of Bac Giang has recently inaugurated an online technology and equipment trading floor at the provincial Centre for Science and Technology Application.

With its domain name at “”, the Bac Giang online technology and equipment trading floor is an e-commerce platform specialising in technology and equipment, which is used as a tool for its members to introduce, sell, purchase and promote trade in technological products.

This will also be a database of technology and equipment information, and an effective address and mode to support the formation of technology partnerships, create links between research and application of science and technology and commercialisation of scientific and technological products, create a favourable environment for the process of technology transfer and innovation, and improve the productivity and competitiveness of enterprises.

The trading floor was designed in accordance with the model of Business-to-Business electronic commerce (B2B e-commerce) with full conditions of facilities, techniques, human resources, information security, and system. It comprises modules: offer to sell, offer to buy, suppliers, search, register, log in, news, upcoming events, experts, deal management, notices, instructionw, store admin, system admin, viewed products, advertisement, software for managing transactions and members, and online user support software Live Chat. 

Director of the provincial Department of Science and Technology Nguyen Thanh Binh said the Bac Giang online technology and equipment trading floor will contribute to applying information technology in commercialising technological products and equipment and scientific and technological research outcomes, thus making this operation efficient, convenient, fast and cost-effective.

He expressed his hope that the platform will also create a favourable environment and serve as a useful tool to help units and businesses step up trade promotion activities, and cooperation in developing the technology market between Bac Giang province and other localities.

It also supports agencies, units, businesses and individuals in researching, selecting investment and transferring technologies and equipment, renovating technology and improving competitiveness.

In addition, units and businesses participating in the trading floor will save costs and time in advertising, marketing, travelling, and communication activities, thus reducing costs and increasing profits of equipment and technology products, Binh said.

Bac Giang recently has poured investment in the research and application of scientific and technological advances to serve the province's socio-economic development.

It has also focused resources on investment in the application and transfer of key technologies such as biotechnology, information technology (IT), and new material technologies in the future.

The Department of Science and Technology will coordinate with research institutes, departments, branches, and localities to introduce new technologies to enterprises, cooperatives, and individuals. Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is the pioneer in promoting the application of biotechnology and IT in the selection, creation, duplication, and production of agricultural and forestry products, in order to restore and conserve genetic resources of valuable local plant varieties and domestic animals.

The locality has increased investment in science and technology and successfully implement scientific and technology projects at the national and provincial levels. Bac Giang will also allocate resources evenly between technological research, application, and development, to match local conditions, incorporate science and technology into the production and trading of key products in order to improve productivity and quality while reaching GAP standards, and implement research and the application of science and technology for the socio-economic development programme.

In the 2016-2020 period, the provincial People’s Committee signed a programme to coordinate on science and technology activities with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, and the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture. Thirty-two tasks in science and technology had been deployed, contributing to increasing investment resources for the province. These tasks have positively impacted on economic restructuring, gradually forming a technology market and creating momentum for the rapid application of scientific and technological achievements, contributing to promoting socio-economic development in Bac Giang./. 

Food shopping trends change due to social distancing

The way people buy food has changed after a period of social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with more food products bought online, according to online sellers.

A recent report from online shopping platform Shopee said that Vietnamese had become more comfortable with buying food and groceries online, including items usually bought offline.

E-commerce is making it more convenient for consumers to shop for food items.

Shopee Vietnam's report found that food and grocery buying has become online-first as consumers view e-commerce as a one-stop channel for their needs. Sellers and brands are adapting quickly.

It said that people are doing a larger share of food shopping online, with a 3.5-time increase in users who buy food items several times a month on their platform.

Shopee said people are also buying a wider variety of food items online as they make lifestyles changes at different stages of social distancing and the pandemic.

The onset of social distancing has motivated people to ensure ready food supplies at home, with demand for cooking and baking supplies increasing by three times./.

Hanoi aims to develop smart agriculture

The capital city has implemented many high-tech agricultural production models in order to move towards smart agriculture. However, the city will have to pay more attention to promoting the application of science and technology as well as training high-quality labour resources.

Developing smart agriculture is a trend for agricultural production around the world and in Vietnam, including Hanoi, said Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Ta Van Tuong.

The city currently counts 164 hi-tech agricultural production models, including 105 involved in crop production, 39 in livestock, 15 in fisheries and one model combining cultivation and husbandry.

The value of hi-tech agricultural products currently accounts for about 35 percent of the total value of agricultural production in the city.

Modern technology and equipment in the management of agricultural production to help reduce labour, increase quality and output of agricultural products is considered the most important factor, the official said, affirming that high-tech agricultural models are increasingly blooming and bringing efficiency to the city's agriculture.


The city's agriculture sector has promoted the application of scientific advances to agricultural production, including technology of greenhouses with an automated watering system (in the field of planting), cooling system to help stabilise temperature and humidity, automatic feeding lines, artificial insemination (breeding), using biological products and automatic oxygen generator (aqua-culture).

Tran Duy Quy, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Rural Development Sciences, said that developing smart agriculture and applying advanced science and technology to production was very important.

With a densely populated city like Hanoi, the application of science and technology in production will help transform traditional agriculture to smart agriculture, thereby increasing incomes for farmers, he said, adding that it helps solve problems of land shortage, improve the living environment, and reduce pollution.

Dao The Anh, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said that the city needed to promote training human resources, especially high-quality human resources./.

Paintings depict beauty of life

A painting exhibition titled “The life around us” was recently held at the Hanoi-based Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, conveying meaningful messages about the life.

The 50 oil paintings by Nguyen Minh Son feature simple and familiar things in the daily life of Vietnamese people, from a lamp, a lime-pot, a tea pot, flower vases, a five-fruit tray, and folk toys to streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the landscape of a mountainous area, rice fields, and a countryside river, demonstrating the love of life, people, the nature, the homeland, and the country.

In particular, there are almost no humans in the paintings which are still full of life.

Born in northern Bac Ninh province, home to the renowned Dong Ho folk painting genre, Son has combined the identity of the traditional paintings with the modern fine arts in his works.

He graduated from the Hanoi-based Vietnam University of Fine Arts in 2020. His oil paintings of Vietnamese landscapes have been exhibited in many countries such as the UK, the US, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore./.

Suggestions made for sustainable development of maritime economy

To successfully carry out the strategy for sustainable development of Vietnam’s maritime economy, due attention is needed to science - technology, overhaul of relevant laws and policies, and enhancement of international cooperation, according to experts.

Professor and Doctor Dang Nguyen Anh, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, said the strategy until 2030, with a vision to 2045, opens up prospects for a new stage of development of the maritime economy.

To successfully implement this strategy, science and technology has an important role to play and must go ahead in identifying issues and seeking solutions, he noted.

Associate Professor and Doctor Vu Thanh Ca from the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment held that to carry out the strategy and achieve the “twin targets” of curbing COVID-19 and boosting socio-economic development, Vietnam should keep overhauling relevant legal rules, mechanisms, and policies in a way that ensures their feasibility, consistency, and accordance with international law and treaties to which the country is a party.

In particular, it is necessary to set up a comprehensive and uniform database on marine and insular resources and environment so as to serve socio-economic development, national sovereignty safeguarding, and defence - security ensuring, he added.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Sy, Deputy Director of the management board for the Sustainable Rural Development for the Poor programme under the Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee, recommended that Vietnam continue expanding and promoting international maritime cooperation.

It should reinforce ties with strategic and comprehensive partners, countries with traditional relations, those with sea-related strengths, and the ones sharing common interests on the basis of respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty, equality, mutual benefits, and conformity with international law.

Vietnam also needs to maintain its active participation in international and regional forums, especially maritime cooperation activities within the ASEAN framework, Sy said./.

VN needs to take opportunities to promote labour export to RoK

The number of Vietnamese workers entering the Republic of Korea (RoK) is expected to rise, reaching 183 at the end of this month, according to the Management Board of Vietnamese Laborers in RoK.

The number of Vietnamese guest workers has increased after the RoK lifted the restriction on the number of weekly and daily entries in order to adapt to the "living with COVID-19" plan that the government is implementing.

Under the plan, foreign workers from all countries will be allowed to enter the RoK if they are confirmed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and hold RT-PCR test results negative for COVID-19.

According to Tạ Thị Thanh Thuỷ, head of the Management Board of Vietnamese Labourers in the RoK, workers entering the RoK only have to be quarantined for 10 days instead of 14 days. Unvaccinated workers will be arranged for COVID-19 vaccination soon after completing isolation.

New regulations help reduce costs and create favourable conditions for both employees and employers as Korean small and medium enterprises face a labour shortage due to restrictions imposed by the government to combat the spread of coronavirus, Thuỷ told the Vietnam News Agency.

Hyun Hey Yong, director of the JI Korea Auto Parts Company, said her company started hiring Vietnamese workers in 2015. Some workers had returned home and were recruited again because they worked well, she said, adding that it currently employed five Vietnamese workers.

A representative of Haesung Metal Co.Ltd said it was waiting to receive more guest workers. Due to the pandemic, foreign workers were restricted from entering RoK, making it difficult for small businesses, he said.

The representative appreciated Vietnamese labourers for their hard work and compliance with pandemic prevention and control regulations.

Restrictions on entry as well as those relating to quarantine have caused the number of foreign workers entering the RoK to drop sharply from an average of 50,000 people per year before the pandemic to less than 7,000 people last year.

The RoK is one of the key labour markets of Việt Nam. To offer better support for Vietnamese labourers, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs decided to establish an office under the RoK’s Employment Permit System (EPS) programme in 2013.

Phạm Minh Đức, head of the office, said in collaboration with Việt Nam’s labour management board in the RoK, it had met with and provided direct consultations for thousands of labourers on weekends. The office had also offered between 100 and 150 consultations over the phone per week.

According to Đức, these activities had made an important contribution to supporting Vietnamese workers, thus reducing the rate of illegal labourers in the RoK from 40 per cent in 2013 to less than 26 per cent in 2020.

He suggested speeding up procedures to send qualified workers to the RoK soon.

Priority should be given to the vaccination of workers so that Vietnamese workers could enjoy preferential treatment when entering the country, Đức said, adding that the Korean language exams should be quickly completed at the same time to facilitate labourers’ entry in the future. 

Businesses wary of increasing production for Tet

With the COVID-19 pandemic remaining unpredictable, food and beverage businesses are keeping production at moderate levels and not introducing many new products for Tet (Lunar New Year) unlike other years.

Many believe the current economic crisis will not allow people to spend as much as usual during Tet, and so some food producers are even considering reducing production for Tet by up to 20 per cent year-on-year.

At this time of the year businesses usually expand production to meet surging demand.

Ly Kim Chi, chairwoman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association, said due to very low demand and an unpredictable market that depends on the COVID-19 situation, businesses do not dare increase production.

Instead, they are stocking up on raw materials and packaging to be able to meet demand when the market revives, she said.

A survey by the Ministry of Industry and Trade found the market showing signs of recovery, with inventories shrinking by 14 per cent compared to four months ago.

But analysts do not think the worst is over.

The city encourages distributors and manufacturers to run promotion programmes to stimulate demand for shopping to drive economic recovery with priority given to online channels and non-cash payment.

To begin with they have been advised to focus on speeding up production, supplying goods for Tet and reconnecting broken supply chains.

The city plans to organise a conference to connect goods supply between the city and other provinces from December 2 to 5.

It will also organise the 2021 Promotion Fair from December 21 to 26 at the Phu Tho Sports Stadium in District 11 with more than 450 booths showcasing consumer goods, farm produce and handicrafts without the 50 per cent discount cap in force.

The promotions will also include gifts and lucky draws. Participating businesses need to ensure the origin and quality of their products.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said promotion programmes are very important now as a bridge for businesses and consumers to meet.

This year, due to the pandemic, total retail sales in the city has halved from last year.

In the last two months of the year, with policies to stimulate demand and focused promotions, the city hopes to stimulate shopping, even in international branded products at low prices.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will organise a month-long programme called ‘National Focused Promotion Month’ in December.

Participating businesses need to strictly comply with pandemic prevention regulations stipulated by the Ministry of Health. 

Vietnamese, Chinese localities step up trade exchange

Trade promotion agencies in the northern border province of Lao Cai and the Chinese province of Zhejiang’s Hangzhou city organised an international conference on exports and trade exchange in both virtual and face-to-face forms late last week.

The event attracted 138 enterprises from 15 provinces and cities of Viet Nam and nearly 100 businesses from China’s Zhejiang, Tianjin, Shanghai, Beijing, and Yunnan.

Head of Lao Cai’s centre for industrial promotion and trade promotion Ha Duc Binh said the conference aimed to boost trade exchange and commercial cooperation between the localities, offering chances for Vietnamese suppliers, exporters, and logistics businesses to meet partners from Zhejiang and its neighbouring Chinese provinces. Therefore, export cooperation between Vietnam and Zhejiang would be enhanced, he added.

The conference was told that transportation by air, road and railway between Viet Nam and Zhejiang is very convenient, with goods delivery on time between the two sides ranging from one to two days by road and railway.

According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, two-way trade between Vietnamese provinces and Zhejiang in 2020 exceeded US$8.11 billion.

Zhejiang's major exports to Viet Nam include fabric products, textiles; steel frames; velvet, feather; electrical components; machinery and components for the textile and garment sector; paper and ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, it mainly imports from Viet Nam textiles; iron and steel; rubber; plastic beads; food; clinker; and limestone.

The trade exchange of agricultural products and fruit between the two sides has so far remained modest. 

Measures sought to promote development of smart banks

A workshop on developing smart banks in the process of industrialisation and modernisation by 2030 took place on Thursday in the framework of the third Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo.

In his opening remarks, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Duc Hien said the Politburo’s Resolution No 52-NQ/TW determines the financial-banking sector as one of the priority sectors in digital transformation.

The Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) issued Decision No 810/QD-NHNN approving a plan for digital transformation of the banking sector by 2025, with a vision to 2030, focusing on developing a digital and smart banking system.

According to Deputy Governor of the SBV Pham Tien Dung, digital transformation of the banking industry has achieved positive results. The central bank has reviewed and issued legal regulations to meet the digital banking model, digital banking services, innovation activities, application of new technological achievements, data protection, rights and legitimate interests of customers.

The achievements of the 4th Industrial Revolution have been widely applied to core banking services. Mobile payment has grown rapidly with 90 per cent in quantity and 150 per cent in value.

According to McKinsey's research, many Vietnamese banks have over 90 per cent of transactions on digital channels, and the country is among the regional nations seeing the highest digital adoption rate in the banking industry, creating opportunities for banks.

In addition, a digital payment and digital ecosystem has been established by connecting digital banking services with most other digital services in the economy, providing seamless experiences in all fields and utilities for users in digital services.

Dung said the plan for digital transformation of the banking industry aims to develop digital banking models, increase utilities and improve the customer experience.

To realise the targets, the central bank will prepare resources for digital transformation and continue to improve the legal framework to facilitate the process.

The central bank will also focus on developing digital infrastructure, connecting and sharing the banking sector’s data with other sectors, developing digital banking models, applying technologies to provide products and services in a safe and convenient manner with low cost, and ensuring safety and cyber security as well as rights and legitimate interests of customers.

Delegates also debated smart bank development in the world and in the region, and the need to switch to a smart banking model, strategies and comprehensive solutions to promote the development of smart banking, and measures to ensure security and safety of information systems.

Phung Duy Khuong, VPBank’s deputy general director said: “Consumers are looking for smarter, safer and faster technology. Banks must also be smarter, faster automated, and offer personalised services to customers.”

The change in consumer behaviour and needs is clearly reflected in the survey results of market research company Nielsen. Accordingly, the percentage of Vietnamese using mobile banking and internet banking in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 22 and 28 per cent, respectively. Nearly three years later, in the third quarter of 2021, these rates increased to 68 and 75 per cent.

In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for faster change. Results from a Nielsen survey in 2021 showed that nearly 40 per cent of consumers in Viet Nam who are using digital banking said they would use it more often even if COVID-19 was under control.

“Therefore, a smart bank must be ahead of customers' needs,” he said, adding that sometimes customers have not yet discovered that they have such a need. "Smart banks need to be suggestive to customers about products and services that customers may need in the future."

The digital transformation process, based on VPBank's customer-centric approach to providing services and products, could be a typical example of a smart banking model in the future, he said. In the past few years, VPBank had implemented a comprehensive digital transformation strategy, bringing the bank's financial services and products to digital channels, even customer care services.

He said that currently, all of VPBank's products and services could be provided through digital channels for a better customer experience. For individual customers or small and medium-sized businesses, opening an online account through banking apps such as VPBank NEO and VPBank NEOBiz had become much simpler and faster thanks to the eKYC method. Customers could also open a credit card or apply for an unsecured loan and get disbursed completely through the app in just a few minutes, instead of having to go to traditional transaction offices as before.

VPBank developed VPBank NEO app to become an easy ecosystem to connect with partners. This capability helped customers shop, spend and invest financially right on the banking application. As a result, by the end of September 2021, the total number of digital transactions on VPBank's channels accounted for 98 per cent, satisfying users' new habits of self-service and self-experience. The rate of new customers opening through digital banking channels also accounted for 83 per cent of all channels. Besides, more than 80 per cent of customer care services had been resolved and provided by VPBank through call centres and other online channels.

“The banking market is in a phase where organisations that can lead customers to the latest and most advanced digital services first will gain market share faster. It would also help retain customers to stay longer because digital technology has an irresistible attraction. VPBank is proud because we have partly understood and applied this philosophy to our business activities,” he added. 

Phu Yen: Coastal road to entail numerous development opportunities

Phu Yen province on Vietnam’s South Central Coast is focusing investment on building nearly 200km coastal road, creating multiple opportunities to attract investment in tourism development.

Tuy Hoa-Vung Ro section, part of Phu Yen's coastal route, aims to uplift development in relevant areas
Phu Yen People’s Committee has approved a resolution on building 6km of coastal road in the province’s northern district of Tuy An with a total investment of VND600 billion($26.1 million) to come from the central budget.This 30-metre-wide coastal road section would be constructed between 2022 and 2025.

This project is part of the provincial transport development plan, aiming to complete the coastal route in Phu Yen province that the prime minister has approved. It is connected to the traffic axis that links the three provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Khanh Hoa. The implementation of the project will assist Phu Yen in effectively exploiting its coastline, fostering socioeconomic development, and safeguarding maritime sovereignty.

According to Vo Dinh Tien, director of Phu Yen Department of Planning and Investment, many sections of the 50km coastal line in the northern area from Tuy Hoa city to Binh Ba bridge have not yet been built, despite the planning approved by the prime minister.

During the visit of the PM to Phu Yen province in early 2021, Phu Yen People's Committee has requested the premier to consider adding the province’s coastal road to the national transport system development planning. The premier had greenlit the proposal and assigned the Ministry of Transport (MoT) for implementation.

Phu Yen is committed to spurring local tourism development gearing towards sustainability and integration.

The province is progressively increasing the contribution of the tourism industry to its GRDP, thus fostering the advancement of other sectors. It also sets up the target of turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector by 2030.

Tran Huu The, Chairman of Phu Yen People's Committee, said that the province strives to become a crucial hub for the development linkage between the Central Highlands and the South Central Coastal region.

Phu Yen is committed to spurring local tourism development gearing towards sustainability and integration.
Chairman The assumed that to reach these targets, it is a must for Phu Yen to focus on planning and calling for investment into inclusive infrastructure development to uphold tourism development.

Currently, Phu Yen is focusing on mobilising social resources along with the central budget to implement detailed planning in key areas, including Xuan Dai Bay, Bai Mon-Mui Dien-Vung Ro, Van Hoa plateau and categorise these tourist attractions. Notably, the province is developing plans to establish culinary tourist attractions highlighting regional specialities.

In addition, Phu Yen is fostering the construction of Phu Yen Geopark, aiming to be recognised as a Global Geopark by UNESCO by 2040 and becoming a regional tourism highlight.

The province prioritises attracting investment in some national tourism spots including Xuan Dai Bay, Ganh Da Dia, Vung Ro Bay, Van Hoa Plateau, and more. It also endeavours to mitigate difficulties to assist the development and implementation of major tourism projects.

Between 2021 and 2025, Phu Yen plans to maintain an average annual increase of 14 per cent in the number of tourists, with international visitors up 15-20 per cent.

The province also targets tourism revenue to grow at 14 per cent, the average chamber usage capacity to reach 61 per cent, and the number of employees in the tourism sector to rise 4 per cent, all per annum. By 2025, Phu Yen aims to welcome four million visitors, of which foreign visitors are roughly 50,000, lifting the revenue on tourism to VND12.6 trillion ($547.83 million).

Local auto firms likely to enjoy excise tax payment extensions

The Ministry of Finance has submitted a draft decree to the Government, which will benefit local auto manufacturers and assemblers as their excise tax payment of over VND4.4 trillion will likely be rescheduled from October and November to December 30.

Under the draft decree, the payment deadline of the October excise tax, or special consumption tax, for domestically manufactured or assembled cars will be extended to December 20, while the November deadline will be extended to December 30, the local media reported.

The draft decree was set up following the results of Decree No. 109, allowing local auto firms to enjoy excise tax payment extensions in 2020 to provide support for enterprises impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To be entitled to the extension, local auto firms will have to submit online or written applications for extensions to tax agencies at the time of making excise tax declarations in line with the prevailing regulations.

If their applications fail to be submitted when making tax declarations, taxpayers will have to submit the applications before December 15.

In addition, if taxpayers who are not subject to the incentive during the extension period are found obtaining the extension, they will have to fully pay their excise taxes and delayed amounts.

In another case, after the extension period, if tax agencies discover taxpayers who are not subject to the incentive enjoying the extension, they will have to pay fines, apart from fully paying their excise taxes and delayed amounts.

Mekong Delta’s exports recover strongly

Production and exports in the Mekong Delta region recovered strongly after the economy reopened.

Data of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Can Tho branch (VCCI Can Tho) showed that the total import and export values of the Mekong Delta reached US$2.14 billion in October, increasing by US$420 million compared with the previous month.

Of the figure, exports amounted to US$1.4 billion, surging 39% from September, while imports rose 3% to US$713 million.

The key export products of the region, such as rice and seafood, enjoyed positive growth last month. 

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the region exported more than 618,000 tons of rice worth some US$322 million in October, increasing 4.1% in volume and 9.8% in value month-on-month. 

Meanwhile, a report of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers showed that the region exported US$918 million worth of seafood in October, increasing by US$290 million from the previous month. 

VCCI Can Tho attributed the export recovery to the resumption of businesses after social distancing measures were relaxed. 

In October, there were 895 newly established enterprises in the region, five times higher than the number of businesses that withdrew from the market. 

The leader of a clothing company in Tien Giang Province expected that exports of the Mekong Delta region would maintain this growth momentum in November and December. 

He said that since early this month, dozens of foreign-invested clothing companies in the province had resumed their operations thanks to the improved Covid situation and higher vaccination coverage. 

A representative of VCCI Can Tho said Mekong Delta localities attracted seven foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with registered capital totaling approximately US$40 million last month.

They included two projects worth US$35.7 million in total in Dong Thap Province, two projects worth US$2.1 million in Long An Province, and one project worth US$0.3 million in Tra Vinh Province. Besides, Vinh Long Province and Can Tho City each attracted one FDI project worth US$0.9 million. 




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