VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 4

Vietnam develops rural tourism through digital transformation

Vietnam develops rural tourism through digital transformation hinh anh 1

Vietnam is taking measures to develop rural tourism through digital transformation, as the effective development of rural tourism will contribute to turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector and promoting sustainable new-style rural area building.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism held an online forum to promote rural tourism products through digital transformation on October 2.

The development of rural tourism in the National Target Programme on New-style Rural Development in the 2021-2025 period is identified as one of the driving forces to create jobs, raise people's incomes, and promote rural economic structure shift; and helps preserve traditional cultural values and protect the environment, heard the forum.

According to Le Ba Ngoc, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Handicraft Exporters’ Association (Vietcraft), rural and ecological tourism accounts for about 10 percent of tourism in general, and generates about 30 billion USD in revenue per year globally. In addition, the annual growth rate of rural tourism is from 10-30 percent, while that of traditional tourism is only 4 percent.

Vietnam currently has three types of rural tourism, which are community-based tourism, agricultural tourism and ecotourism. The country has about 365 rural tourist spots and more than 2,000 traditional craft villages with potential for tourism. Digital transformation in rural tourism will help attract more visitors, assist tourists to prepare their trips more easily, provide better services and understand customer behaviours.

To develop rural tourism, Ngoc proposed allowing cooperation with international organisations to promote Vietnam's rural tourism products, allowing Vietcraft to coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and provinces to popularise rural tourism products through digital transformation, and building a national database of tangible cultural values and fees for tourism development of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam to achieve the goal of 50 percent of traditional craft villages participating in the rural tourism value chain by 2025./.

Tea exports plunge due to COVID-19 impact

Vietnam exported 79,900 tonnes of tea, worth US$133 million during the opening eight months of the year, down 5.6% in volume and 1.4% in value year on year, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

August alone saw the country ship 10,300 tonnes of tea abroad worth US$17.4 million, representing annual falls of 22.2% in volume and 20.2% in value.

August’s average export price of tea also increased by 2.5% to reach US$1,685.9 per tonne, while the eight-month export price rose by 4.4% year on year to US$1,664 per tonne.

The decline in export volume and value witnessed in August can be primarily attributed to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing several tea production lines to suspend their operations and negatively impact export activities.

Most notably, tea export volume and value to major markets such as Pakistan, Taiwan (China), Russia, and China experienced a sharp decline, while strong export growth was recorded in such markets as Iraq, the United States, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Germany.

However, tea exports to these markets make up only a small proportion, which cannot offset the sharp decline from major Vietnamese export markets.

Meanwhile, tea exports to both the Pakistani and Taiwanese markets increased significantly, with turnover reaching US$47.9 million and US$18.56 million, respectively.

The volume of tea exported to these two markets made up 45.9% of the country's total tea exports.

Shrimp exports to Russia rise 51% despite COVID-19 impact

Despite the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic Vietnam raked in more than US$32.5 million from shrimp exports to Russia during the past nine months, up 51% year on year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

As a result, Russia is the ninth largest shrimp import market of Vietnam, accounting for 1.3% of the latter’s total export value.

VASEP statistics show that Vietnam’s shrimp exports have continuously increased sharply over the years, from just US$15.7 million in 2017 to US$41.1 million in 2020, representing an increase of 162%.

The 2016 enforcement of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to which Russia is a signatory has created plenty of opportunity for the Vietnamese shrimp to enter the Russian market, says Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy secretary general of VASEP.

Nam notes Russia has a high demand for seafood, including shrimp, but local businesses need to pay attention to product price and quality to promote shrimp exports to this market.

Data from the International Trade Center (ITC) also show that in the first seven months of this year alone, Vietnam was the third largest shrimp supplier to Russia, after India and Ecuador.

Cement exports record surge amid decline in domestic consumption

Vietnam's cement export volume during the eight-month period saw an annual surge of 12% to reach 27.23 million tonnes, with China, the Philippines, and Bangladesh representing the country’s three largest export markets for cement and clinker, according to the Ministry of Construction.

Despite this rise in exports, domestic cement consumption throughout the reviewed period decreased 5% to roughly 43.54 million tonnes compared to the same period from last year.

Most notably, the total cement consumption in the COVID-19 hotspot of Ho Chi Minh City plunged by 55.8% compared to July.

The decline has been attributed to the impact of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially social distancing measures applied in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other localities which has caused several construction works to come to a grinding halt.

Meanwhile, Dr. Luong Duc Long, general secretary of the Vietnam Cement Association (VNCA), said the increase in cement exports represents a positive sign as major markets such as the European Union, Canada, the United States, and China have regularly resumed normal operations, fuelling their cement consumption demand.

In addition, Vietnamese cement and clinker exports have enjoyed robust growth thanks to competitive advantages in terms of sea transportation routes.

The domestic cement market is expected to pick up in the fourth quarter of this year as the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is likely to be brought under control, giving investors the chance to kick-start their real estate and infrastructure development projects.

Experts have therefore advised local cement businesses to devise a suitable development strategy aimed at stimulating domestic cement consumption by reducing costs, optimising logistics infrastructure, and applying Industry 4.0 technologies in controlling price, distribution channels, and electronic invoices.

Moreover, the businesses have also been advised to meet the requirements regarding low CO2 content in cement production when exporting to developed countries by 2023, with a primary focus on green and sustainable production.

Vietnam Airlines’ fleet ready to take off again

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines is finalising steps to get its fleet ready to return to the sky when many domestic flights are to be resumed in early October.

With top priority put on safety, Vietnam Airlines has made careful technical examination and maintenance on the airplanes, which have been kept at airport without operating for months, before taking off.

Special attention has been paid to ensuring smooth and safe operations of the aircraft’ engines to ensure utmost safety of flights.

Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines will continue to strictly apply pandemic prevention and control measures throughout the flights. All land staff as well as pilot and crewmembers of Vietnam Airlines have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the airline, its fleet is ready for flights./.

Retail, service sales up 6.5 percent in September

The total retail sales of consumer goods and services in September increased 65.5 percent against August as production, business and service activities resumed in some localities after the COVID-19 is put under control.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s total retail sales and services revenue in the first nine months of this year hit 3.336 quadrillion VND (148 billion USD) and 7.1 percent year-on-year decrease.

Retail sales of goods in the period was estimated at 2.779 quadrillion VND, accounting for 82.54 percent of total retails sales of goods and services and a decline of 3.38 percent compared with last year’s figure.

Revenue from accommodation and catering services reached 279.4 trillion VND, down 22.14 percent year-on-year. Revenue from tourism and other types of services obtained 4.63 trillion VND and 303.97 trillion VND, fell 64 percent and 19.3 compared with the same period last year.

In the coming months, the Ministry will implement some measures including removing difficulties, quickly resuming production and business activities, especially making use of high demand for goods at the year-end to offset standstill over the past months.

The Ministry will use opportunities from free trade agreements and remove obstacles to penetrate into new markets. Online trade promotion and business matching activities will be strengthened to push up the consumption of goods, it said./.

Processing industry makes up over 86 percent of total export revenue in nine months

Processing industry contributed 86.27 percent to the total export revenue of the country in the first nine months of 2021, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry reported that in the January-September period, export revenue of the sector was estimated at 207.5 billion USD, up 20.8 percent over the same period last year.

Along with processing industry, agro-forestry-fisheries was also among major sectors with great contributions to the country’s exports in nine months with 20.1 billion USD, up 10.8 percent.

At the same time, fuels and minerals also recorded export revenue of about 2.5 billion USD, up 9.9 percent year on year.

In the period, exports of petroleum of all kinds rose only 2.8 percent in volume but 39.6 percent in value, according to the ministry./. 

Reference exchange rate down 4 VND at week’s beginning

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23.156 VND/USD on October 4, down 4 VND from the last working day of previous week (October 1).

With the current trading band of +/- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,850 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,461 VND/USD.

The opening-hour rate at commercial banks stayed stable.

At 8:25am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,630 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,860 VND/USD, unchanged from October 1.

BIDV also kept both rates unchanged at 22,660 VND/USD (buying) and 22,860 VND/USD (selling).

Similarly, Vietinbank listed both rates at the same levels as on October 1 at 22,635 VND/USD (buying) and 22,855 VND/USD (selling)./.

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 4

Tea exports plunge due to COVID-19 impact

Vietnam exported 79,900 tonnes of tea, worth US$133 million during the opening eight months of the year, down 5.6% in volume and 1.4% in value year on year, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

August alone saw the country ship 10,300 tonnes of tea abroad worth US$17.4 million, representing annual falls of 22.2% in volume and 20.2% in value.

August’s average export price of tea also increased by 2.5% to reach US$1,685.9 per tonne, while the eight-month export price rose by 4.4% year on year to US$1,664 per tonne.

The decline in export volume and value witnessed in August can be primarily attributed to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing several tea production lines to suspend their operations and negatively impact export activities.

Most notably, tea export volume and value to major markets such as Pakistan, Taiwan (China), Russia, and China experienced a sharp decline, while strong export growth was recorded in such markets as Iraq, the United States, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Germany.

However, tea exports to these markets make up only a small proportion, which cannot offset the sharp decline from major Vietnamese export markets.

Meanwhile, tea exports to both the Pakistani and Taiwanese markets increased significantly, with turnover reaching US$47.9 million and US$18.56 million, respectively.

The volume of tea exported to these two markets made up 45.9% of the country's total tea exports.

Vietnam must devise safe roadmap for reopening

The nation needs to produce a sure and safe roadmap as it moves to reopen activities, according to Andrew Jeffries, country director of the Asian Development Bank in Vietnam.

He made the remarks during a consultation conference hosted recently by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) regarding its draft programme on economic recovery and development for the 2022 to 2023 period.

In the medium term, Jeffries recommended that local banks move to strengthen their provisioning and be careful due to the possibility of bad debts arising in the near future due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major Vietnamese trading partners are quickly recovering, while domestic vaccination coverage is increasing, thereby contributing to promoting growth, he said.

The ADB official proposed that the country actively tap into free trade agreements to boost exports and join the global supply chain more deeply. Simultaneously, the nation should re-open in a safe manner and ensure healthy relations continue to occur between banks and enterprises, in addition to being cautious with bad debts.

Regarding objective factors, logistics costs both domestically and internationally are increasing sharply, the ADB representative noted, while suggesting the country actively invest in building infrastructure facilities and developing multimodal transport facilities.

Concurring with this viewpoint, Francois Painchaud, chief representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Vietnam, said that Vietnamese support package remains small and primarily focuses on tax deferral reduction policies, without providing direct support for spending.

According to him, the nation needs to relax conditions for direct cash support in order to reduce difficulties faced by affected people, while also creating optimal conditions to boost economic development moving forward.

The IMF representative therefore recommended that, instead of focusing on tax exemptions and deferrals, it is necessary to concentrate on reducing the burden placed on businesses by transferring tax losses from previous years to the following years.

Regarding budget related issues, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cung, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said that the nation still has ample room for economic recovery over the coming years.

This can be put down to a low inflation rate, stable foreign currency reserves, and stable financial system, especially low budget deficit ratio.

Dr. Cung proposed that at this stage, in order to recover the national economy, the Government should consider boosting spending further. At the same time it can be considered necessary to quickly recover and strengthen the dynamics of the economy by using resources in a reasonable manner and with the right subjects.

He added his hopes that the Government will bring the pandemic under control as soon as possible to reopen the economy. In addition, many tax exemptions should be considered, as opposed to simply deferring taxes.

According to Dr. Can Van Luc, a finance-banking expert, countries globally are currently spending more heavily as a means of bailing out their economies, with many of them willing to accept budget deficits and raise public debt ratio in a bid to support their respective economies.

The global budget deficit has expanded by 7%, rising from 3.2% to 10.2%, in recent times, he noted.

"We should accept easing in a non-cyclical way like this, then there will be a roapmap for fiscal and macroeconomic consolidation," Can Van Luc stated. In addition, he also frankly pointed out that support packages are slow paced in their implementation whilst also lacking transparency.

"The promulgated support packages need to be implemented as swiftly as possible, and problems should be removed immediately. Along with that there should be new support packages to enable businesses to increase their ability to access capital," Dr. Luc proposed. 

PM issues directive on restoration of industrial production

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh on October 3 signed for issuance of a Prime Minister directive on restoring production at industrial production areas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The directive stated COVID-19 outbreaks have seriously affected production and business of enterprises as well as the health and lives of people.

With the concerted efforts of the entire political system, the business community and people, the pandemic has been gradually controlled and pushed back.

To remove difficulties for businesses and ensure safe production, the PM asked enterprises to closely coordinate with the People’s Committees of provinces and cities nationwide to reach agreement on plans on production and circulation of goods, travelling and accommodation of workers as well as plans to ensure pandemic prevention and control.

The provincial/municipal People’s Committees were requested to work with the Ministry of Health to speed up the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for inoculating workers of enterprises, and consider the resumption of some essential services to serve employees.

The Ministry of Health was ordered to promptly issue specific regulations on distancing and COVID-19 testing in production and business at enterprises.

The Ministry of Transport was required to guide localities in ensuring the circulation of commodities to well serve the recovery of production and business.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment was assigned to provide instructions and guidance to remove difficulties in terms of investment procedures and infrastructure development at industrial and economic zones.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked to work with the Ministry of Public Security and relevant agencies to remove difficulties and hindrances, create favourable conditions for foreign experts and workers to enter the country and undergo quarantine in line with regulations of the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Vietnam were requested to review and guide the implementation of policies and regulations on tax exemption and reduction, and issue mechanisms on interest rate and credit support for enterprises in conformity with the Government’s Resolution No. 105/NQ-CP dated September 9, 2021./.

Travel agencies, hotels make “travel bubble” plans to receive back tourists

Many travel agencies and lodging facilities have developed plans to welcome back tourists in the remainder of the year in an attempt to get the tourism industry back on track after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of localities across the country have begun to allow accommodation facilities to start receiving guests in order to accelerate travel recovery efforts as part of the “travel bubble” model.

Most recently, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in the south has permitted resorts to resume operation. Visitors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and stay in their resorts during their vacation. In addition, All hotel and resort staff must get two doses of vaccines and remain on site.

In the northern province of Vinh Phuc, all staff at Flamingo Dai Lai resort have now been inoculated and will take COVID-19 tests periodically. The resort is set to apply the “travel bubble” model that requires tourists from other cities and provinces to complete healthcare declarations, and have their health checked frequently. Moreover, visitors will be provided with food in their rooms in an effort to ensure safety.

In Hoa Binh, another tourism-driven province in northern Vietnam, Avana Retreat resort is now seeking ways to reopen as its accommodation has reached an occupancy rate of up 90% before the social distancing period. The resort is going to launch a promotional campaign for both long and short stay vacations, while ensuring health and safety for all staff and guests.

Tran Dao Duc, deputy general director of CEO Group, said safe travel could represent a lifesaver for airlines, travel agencies, and guest accommodations.

Phu Quoc island city is the first locality in Vietnam to receive foreign tourists with a vaccine passport under a pilot scheme from mid-November. It is now prioritizing vaccinating all 150,000 residents to achieve herd immunity before the pilot scheme is carried out.

Tour operators are now ready for travel recovery efforts after four waves of the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses will identify which localities can control the pandemic, resume operation, and allow their residents to travel before planning tours.

Previously, businesses had primarily focused on marine and airborne travel to stimulate tourism demand. They are now aiming for vacation trips of families, with a range of nearly 300km.

Nguyen Duy Nghia, director of VietFoot Travel company, said for the time being domestic holidaymakers represent their main consumers as opposed to international tourists in the past.

The company also plans for tours to be done by bicycles and motorbikes, their advantage is therefore to help visitors explore and satisfy their habits in sports.

The tours will provide visitors the chance to discover food in Hanoi, particularly as they will serve both domestic and international tourists once the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control, Nghia stressed.

Firms warned about defraudation related to trading in rail steel products from Saudi Arabia

The Vietnam Trade Office in Saudi Arabia has issued a warning over deals related to used rail tracks and urged domestic enterprises to be cautious of fraudulence.

The trade office said some brokers in Saudi Arabia offered to sell used rail tracks, new ones as well as those with technical errors, originating from the Middle East country to Vietnamese enterprises.

These agents often gave the offer in large quantities of 2-10 million tonnes and a preferential price of only about 175 USD per tonne. In addition, they are ready to give an additional discount of 20 percent of the contract value if an advance payment equal to 20 percent of the contract value is paid. 

They also require the buyer to open a standby letter of credit (SBLC) at an international bank. However when the business opens a SBLC, they do not confirm and continue to offer sales to other businesses, to appropriate the money.

 

The agents often provide unclear information about the company and its representative as well as a fake address. Notably, the buyer can not access to the company's website.

To avoid unnecessary damage, the trade office recommends Vietnamese businesses not to conduct transactions in rail steel products with Shiekha Mohammed Baghlaf Est Company (website: www.baghlafsteel-saudiarabia.com) because it is not a steel producer in Saudi Arabia.

When businesses receive an offer letter, they shouldn’t make transactions and contact the trade office to be provided with additional information at the email address: arx@moit. gov.vn or phone number: 966544.326.015 for more support./.

Retail, service sales up 6.5% in September

The total retail sales of consumer goods and services in September increased 6.5% against August as production, business and service activities resumed in some localities after the COVID-19 is put under control.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s total retail sales and services revenue in the first nine months of this year hit VND3.336 quadrillion (US$148 billion) and 7.1% year-on-year decrease.

Retail sales of goods in the period was estimated at VND2.779 quadrillion, accounting for 82.54% of total retails sales of goods and services and a decline of 3.38% compared with last year’s figure.

Revenue from accommodation and catering services reached VND279.4 trillion, down 22.14% year-on-year. Revenue from tourism and other types of services obtained VND4.63 trillion and VND303.97 trillion, fell 64% and 19.3% compared with the same period last year.

In the coming months, the Ministry will implement some measures including removing difficulties, quickly resuming production and business activities, especially making use of high demand for goods at the year-end to offset standstill over the past months.

The Ministry will use opportunities from free trade agreements and remove obstacles to penetrate into new markets. Online trade promotion and business matching activities will be strengthened to push up the consumption of goods, it said.

Project aims to enhance trade remedy capacity as Vietnam joins new-generation FTAs

Vietnam has set a target of amending the Law on Foreign Trade Management and relevant legal documents related to trade remedies or building a Law on Trade Remedies by 2030.

This is one of the goals of a project, which was approved on October 2 by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, aimed to to improve trade remedy capacity for domestic manufacturing industries in the context of Vietnam’s participation in new generation free trade agreements (FTAs).

Other targets include providing knowledge and skills on trade remedies for staff in ministries, agencies and localities.

A team of legal experts and consultants who has in-depth knowledge of trade remedies are expected to be established to support manufacturing industries to ensure Vietnam's interests in international trade.

Under the project, the inter-sectoral coordination mechanism in the field of trade remedy is set to be built and strengthened to meet the requirements of the trade remedy work in the new context, assisting the settlement of other countries’ trade remedy investigations into Vietnamese exports.

The capacity of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam will be strengthened to satisfy practical needs and effectively support domestic manufacturing industries.

The content of trade remedies will be included in the programmes, strategies and policies for the development of key manufacturing industries.

The project also targets enhancing international cooperation, actively participate in negotiations, develop regulations on trade remedies, settle disputes on trade remedies within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and free trade agreements.

To realise the above-mentioned goals, some solutions should be adopted, including completing the model of trade remedy investigation agency in Vietnam based on studying those of other countries and reviewing the agency’s operations in the country.

It is necessary to select several fundamental manufacturing industries, which have an important impacts on socio-economic development to strengthen trade defence capacity during the implementation of FTAs. 

A up-to-date database on investment, production, business, import and export in these industries should be set up to promptly consider and apply trade remedies in accordance with the law.

The building of infrastructure and software for investigation and application of trade remedies is also essential.

It is a must to set up and operate a portal to update developments of trade remedy cases related to Vietnam, creating conditions for concerned parties to submit and access documents in the form of electronic data and responses during the investigation of the cases.

A mechanism should be developed for supporting and exchanging information between state management agencies, the business community and associations, especially small and medium-sized enterprises to assess the possibility of applying defensive measures and its impacts./.

Vietnam strives for GDP growth of 6.5-7 percent annually during 2021-2025

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is coordinating with relevant ministries, sectors and localities to study and build a programme on economic recovery and development in association with improvement of the economy’s internal capacity and self-reliance by 2023, with a goal to achieve an annual average GDP growth rate of 6.5-7 percent during 2021-2025.

According to the orientation of the Party and National Assembly by 2025, Vietnam will become a developing country which will have a modernity-oriented industry, surpass the lower-middle-income level, and achieve an annual average GDP growth rate of about 6.5-7 percent.

To that end, the MPI said that the programme needs to come up with specific solutions associated with accompanying resources, and in accordance with the capacity of the economy, and the state budget balance.

The Government should have health-related solutions to proactively adapt safely, flexibly to and effectively control the COVID-19 pandemic, and issue policies that can help reduce production costs, facilitate product sale and distribution, an develop logistics.

According to Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, the implementation of the programme should be long enough to be able to build and carry out measures to create a strong and solid foundation for the recovery of businesses and the economy.

In the immediate future, Dung suggested the Government step by step promote sustainable economic growth on the basis of overcoming the pandemic; improve the capacity of the health system and identify it as an urgent solution from the beginning of 2022 to create a foundation for sustainable economic recovery and development; maintaining macroeconomic stability; curb inflation; continue to implement reasonable expansionary fiscal and monetary policies; and ensure national financial safety.

Ministries, sectors and localities need to perfect institutions, administrative reforms and business conditions to remove difficulties and obstacles in production and business, and at the same time improve the efficiency of the government apparatus at all levels, restore and develop the tourism industry, stimulate domestic consumption, and enhance trade promotion, he stated.

The minister also proposed the Government support the recovery of businesses in a number of priority industries by providing credit and financial support through interest rates, tax and fee exemptionư and reductionư; developing sustainable supply chains, especially in manufacturing and agriculture; and supporting digital transformation./.

Vietnam wants to receive UNWTO's support for tourism recovery

Vietnam hopes to receive support from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to restore and develop tourism more sustainably, especially through its initiatives, technical assistance and training programmes.

The statement was recently raised by a delegation of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) at the 54th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the 33rd Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific & the Commission for South Asia.

These were two important meetings of the region in preparation for the 24th UNWTO General Assembly scheduled to be held in Morocco in December. The Vietnamese delegation was led by VNAT Deputy General Director Ha Van Sieu.

Tran Phu Cuong, Director of the VNAT's Department of International Cooperation, said that like other countries in the region, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted tourism activities in Vietnam since 2020.

However, Vietnam is implementing campaigns towards domestic tourism and taking measures to stimulate tourism demand, such as launching the "Safe Vietnam Tourism" application and the “Vietnam: Travel to Love” campaign, and setting up the "Wonders of Vietnam" project on Google Arts & Culture.

Cuong also told participants that the Government has agreed on the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s proposal to pilot a plan to welcome back international tourists to Phu Quoc island in the southern province of Kien Giang.

The ministry is closely coordinating with localities and related sectors to develop a pilot plan to apply "vaccine passports" with several appropriate countries and territories, he added./.

Millions of US dollars poured into green growth projects

Capital flows into green growth projects have still seen positive signals despite adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam. 

French development finance organisation Proparco recently provided a 50 million USD loan for the Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank) to lend green projects to promote sustainable development. This is the first time HDBank has borrowed capital from the organisation but it has started to finance green projects in Vietnam since 2018.

The International Financial Corporation (IFC) in July gave a 100 million USD long-term loan to the Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) to further promote the contribution of the private sector in green and sustainable growth in Vietnam. The purpose of this credit was to extend lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially to promote the financing for climate-friendly projects in Vietnam.

In May, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) received a 100 million USD loan and technical assistance worth 300,000 EUR (366,000 USD) from the French Development Agency (AFD). The capital is used to finance businesses investing in the fields of environmental protection, climate change response, and green growth.

Earlier, a series of banks including the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank, Nam A Commercial Joint Stock Bank also get long-term loans from international financial institutions to fund green growth projects in Vietnam.

Opportunities to raise capital for green projects

According to the World Bank's assessment, green growth financing projects play a very important role in the sustainable development of Vietnam in the future.

Meanwhile, the IFC said the implementation of the national target on reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent by 2030 to mitigate the effects of climate change will provide a climate investment opportunity worth about 753 billion USD for the country in the 2016-2030 period.

The green growth trend of international investment organisations is opening up many opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to call for capital.

A recently released report by HSBC Vietnam highlighted that Vietnam's economy, which has developed rapidly over the past decade, is a fertile land for investors who are seeking growth.

HSBC assessed climate change initiatives and green finance programmes in Vietnam are still in their infancy, but this frontier market is gradually catching up with governance and social factors. For example, in the renewable energy sector, Vietnam is recording the highest level of investment in renewable energy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region./.

Tourism sector expects to revive operations soon: Minister

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) is looking forward to quickly resume operations of the tourism industry which was battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung has said.

Speaking at a recent online forum on the impacts of COVID-19, he said the ministry would soon submit a tourism planning scheme to relevant authorities for approval, adding that the planning scheme is a task and also a solution of the tourism industry. 

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) was asked to work with localities to upgrade tourism products with the goal that each province and city have a unique one as well as connecting tourism products to create highlights for traveling activities, Hung said.

The minister requested the  VNAT to quickly put into operation a website that the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board had done before.  Localities were directed to digitalise destinations and put them on cyberspace. 

It was necessary for localities that COVID-19 have been put under control,  connect with tourism associations and businesses to organise promotion and investment forums and conferences to revive tourism, he said.

Hung emphasised the need to focus on the domestic market and then on the international market when conditions allow. He also underscored the importance of quickly utilising the development assistance fund to increase resources for tourism promotion to enhance its efficiency.

VNAT General Director Nguyen Trung Khanh said, to prepare for the recovery of tourism activities in the new context, the MCST has issued a plan, focusing on six key tasks and solutions, including strengthening communications activities and promotion of tourism.

The communications and promotion would contribute to ensuring the successful implementation of the pilot plan to welcome back international visitors to Kien Giang province’s Phu Quoc island city, he said.

The industry would prepare to gradually expand to other destinations throughout the country, continuing to deploy communications activities and stimulate tourism demand based on inheriting the "Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam" and “Vietnam tourism - a safe and attractive destination” programmes.

The VNAT  suggested that the Government have a separate policy on COVID-19 vaccination for some key tourist centres, creating a safe environment so that domestic tourism can be restored and attract international tourists to Vietnam.

In 2020, the international tourism industry was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessing a sharp decrease of 73 percent in the number of international tourists worldwide, according to the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development held in Beijing.

According to a report by the MCST, the number of tourists has been decreased sharply due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the number of international visitors to Vietnam declined by 80 percent compared to 2019’s figure while the number of domestic tourists fell by 34 percent. The gross revenue of tourism decreased by 59 percent in the period.

In the first eight months of this year, the number of domestic visitors reached 31.2 million, falling by 5.5 percent year-on-year. The gross revenue of domestic tourism hit 136.52 trillion VND (6 billion USD)./.

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 4

Two scenarios mapped out for economic growth

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has sketched out two scenarios for economic growth, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong told the press conference following the Government’s regular meeting in Hanoi on October 2.

Accordingly, to meet a growth rate of 3 percent for the entire year, the national economy must expand at least 7.06 percent in the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, to fulfil the yearly target of 3.5 percent, the quarterly growth is set at 8.84 percent.

The economic performance in the last quarter depends greatly on the implementation of the strategy on safe adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phuong stressed.

Businesses should restore their operations, even reaching only 80 percent of their capacity, to spur the economic growth, Phuong said, expressing his hope that the quarterly target of 7 percent would be completed.

Regarding transport activities, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the ministry has consulted relevant ministries, agencies and localities to put forth guidance on passenger transportation, which was issued on September 30 and took effect as from October 1.

The provisional guidance on passenger transport by road, rail, inland waterway, sea and air is based on risk classifications in different areas.

Public transport activities in very high risk localities (red zones) are not allowed to operate, except for taxi and app-based vehicles that offer less than nine seats and use vehicle partition and electronic payment.

For localities in high risk or orange zones, public vehicles can only carry half their designed capacity.

Public transport can resume operation as normal in low- and medium-risk localities and regions (green and yellow zones).

All passengers must comply with the 5K message, medical declaration, negative SARS-CoV-2 test (using RT-PCR or rapid antigen test) within 72 hours.

No testing is required for people who have received one jab or fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 within six months.

Drivers and staff must comply with the 5K message, medical declaration, test for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR or rapid antigen test after developing suspected symptoms.

In medium and high-risk localities, they must be tested for SARS-CoV-2 frequently (once every week).

Drivers in very high-risk areas must have received two COVID-19 jabs or recovered from COVID-19 within six months and have a negative SARS-CoV-2 test result within 72 hours by RT-PCR or rapid antigen test.

Provincial People's Committees will grant permits for road passenger transport activities depending on the pandemic situation in each locality.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam will also adjust the frequency of operations in phases depending on the actual situation./.

HCM City businesses propose support policies

Businesses in Ho Chi Minh City have called for support policies to help them revive operations after disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They made the proposal at a meeting with President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a delegation of the city’s National Assembly deputies on October 2.

Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of HCM City, said the Government and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control should quickly issue temporary guidance on flexible adaptation to COVID-19.

Enterprises should be allowed to draw up their own production plans in line with COVID-19 prevention and control regulations, and take responsibility for the implementation.

Competent agencies would supervise pandemic prevention and control at the firms and strictly handle violations, she said, adding that businesses can be forced to close when necessary.

Chi also proposed the Government prioritise vaccinations to employees engaging in supply chains in southern localities that are closely associated with HCM City’s economy, especially in food and other necessities.

Other voters raised opinions regarding the shortage of workforce in the southern economic centre, accommodations for workers and financial policies in support of businesses.

Speaking at the meeting, President Phuc asked NA deputies to urge competent agencies to clear up enterprises’ concern in different spheres like finance, banking, workforce, and trade and investment promotion.

The Party and State will soon issue specific financial and monetary policies to aid businesses in the tough period, the leader pledged, expressing his belief that HCM City’s economy will recover soon.

Unofficial statistics show that as of August 2021, up to 24,000 enterprises in the city had dissolved, up 6.6 percent against the same period last year.

Nearly 30 percent of labourers have been rendered jobless, mostly in leather-footwear (62 percent), garment-textile (42.6 percent), lodging services (37 percent) and catering services (38 percent)./.

Vietnam, US reach agreement to end timber trade probe

Vietnam and the US have reached an agreement on illegal logging and timber trade that will avoid hefty tariffs on Vietnamese timber exports, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The deal was inked by MARD Minister Le Minh Hoan and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on October 1.

In October 2020, the US Trade Representative (USTR) launched an investigation into Vietnam's timber exports under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act.

The agreement addresses US concerns in the Vietnam Timber Section 301 investigation.

Ambassador Tai determined that the Agreement provides a satisfactory resolution of the matter subject to investigation and that no trade action is warranted at this time, the USTR said.

The agreement will contribute to improving the prestige of Vietnam’s timber sector and creating a foundation for the country’s sustainable forestry development. It also demonstrates Vietnam’s responsibility in building, issuing and implementing legal regulations, ensuring the legal timber origin in line with relevant regulations of international treaties to which Vietnam is a member.

The US side spoke highly of the agreement, saying "Vietnam will provide a model – both for the Indo-Pacific region and globally – for comprehensive enforcement against illegal timber."

Currently, the US is the biggest market for Vietnamese wood products, representing an estimated 7.4 billion USD last year, about half of the country’s total. In the first eight months of this year the number stood at 6.4 billion USD, up 58.8 percent year-on-year./.

350 exhibitors to join Internet Expo 2021

As many as 350 exhibitors from 20 countries will join the Internet Expo 2021 from October 29-31, which expects to attract about 10,000 visitors online.

Co-organised by the IEX Group JSC and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the event will feature stalls using virtual reality technology that enables visitors to interact in 3D space.

Artificial intelligence is also used to offer virtual reception service and guidance to visitors.

Within the framework of the event, 10 seminars, six trade sessions, a special talk-show and a ceremony to honour innovative enterprises will also be held./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes  

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 3

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 3

Vietnam, US reach agreement to end timber trade probe

 
 

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