VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 7

First three wind-power plants put into use in Soc Trang province

First three wind-power plants put into use in Soc Trang province hinh anh 1

Three wind power plants in Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang have been connected to the national grid.

Vo Van Chieu, director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said the Southern Power Corporation has put into operation the first three wind power plants in the province with a total capacity of 90MW.

All three factories, including Lac Hoa, Quoc Vinh and Wind power plant No 7, are located in Vinh Chau town.

Each plant has six turbines and can supply electricity to the national grid with an average annual output of about 93 million to 108 million kWh per year.

Soc Trang has around 72km of coast with constant strong winds, suitable for generating power.

The province plans to have 20 wind power plants in all with a total capacity of 1,435MW.

Wind-power plant projects play an important role in the socio-economic development of Soc Trang province. The projects are expected to attract other investors and develop the local industry./.

Vietjet re-opens seven domestic routes from October 10

Vietjet plans to re-open seven domestic air routes from October 10, the budget carrier said on Wednesday. 

These routes connect HCM City with Quy Nhơn City in Bình Định Province, Thanh Hóa, Tuy Hòa City in Phú Yên Province, Phú Quốc Island in Kiên Giang Province, Nha Trang City in Khánh Hòa Province with a frequency of a return flight per day.

The Thanh Hóa-Nha Trang and Thanh Hóa-Phú Quốc routes will open two return flights per week, Vietjet said. 

During the period from October 10 to October 19, the flights will implement seat spacing according to the regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority, it added. 

The detailed information on flight schedule and tickets will be updated on www.vietjetair.com and Vietjet Air mobile app or ticket offices, official agents as soon as allowed.

The airline suggested passengers fully comply with 5K regulations, update information on disease control regulations in destination provinces and cities in order to ensure pandemic prevention regulations and have a safe, convenient flight experience. 

According to Vietjet, within 24 hours before the scheduled departure time, passengers should carry out online procedures (check-in) via www.vietjetair.com or Vietjet Air mobile app as well as declare medical information according to regulations at https://vnkm.yte.gov.vn.   

As one of the airlines certified with the seven-stars rating by Airlines Rating – the world’s highest level for implementing safety measures against COVID-19 for global airlines, Vietjet has applied the best international standard pandemic prevention and control measures in all operating activities.

All of Vietjet’s aircraft are equipped with a HEPA filter system which can filter up to 99.7 per cent of dust, bacteria and viruses. All frontline staff serving passengers have been fully vaccinated as well as regularly tested, fully equipped with the best pandemic prevention equipment.

Reference exchange rate up 12 VND on October 7

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,170 VND/USD on October 7, up 12 VND from the previous day.

With the current trading band of /- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,865 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,474 VND/USD.

The opening-hour rates 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 the rates at the same hour on October 6.

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

Meanwhile, Vietinbank added 2 VND to both rates, listing the buying rate at 22,638 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,858 VND/USD./.

When higher prices do not translate to better profits

Although global oil prices continuously hit new peaks, not all Vietnamese oil and gas companies have benefited from the higher prices.

Oil prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of the year on tight supplies and global recovery demand, with Brent crude rising over 50 per cent this year and reaching a three-year high of US$80.75 per barrel on Tuesday.

For upstream companies in the industry, analysts from Viet Dragon Securities Corporation (VDSC) said that firms like PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation (PVS) and PetroVietnam Drilling & Well Services Corporation (PVD) are expected to benefit from big oil and gas projects.

However, in the first half of the year, these enterprises’ business results were not very positive due to the impact of the fourth outbreak of COVID-19. Moreover, during that period, there were not many new oil and gas projects in the country.

In its revised semi-annual financial statements for 2021, PetroVietnam Drilling reported a decrease of 60.7 per cent and 47.4 per cent in revenue of the parent and consolidated companies, respectively, in the first six months of the year.

The company explained that there was no revenue from leasing rigs during the period, while prices of jack-up rigs declined by 15.1 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The rig utilisation rate also fell to 74 per cent compared to 89 per cent of the same period last year.

On the other hand, midstream and downstream companies such as PetroVietnam Gas JSC (GAS), Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company (BSR) recorded positive profits in the first half of the year, helped by a steady uptrend in oil prices, leading to higher selling prices or improved gross margins.

Experts from VDSC, however, warned that in the second half of the year, these companies’ profits may be affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Viet Nam, especially as HCM City and other provinces in the Mekong Delta carried out Directive 16 since the beginning of July, resulting in lower energy demand.

According to Viet Capital Securities JSC (VCSC), disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the third quarter have affected fuel demand, leading to higher inventory in Binh Son Refining’s warehouse, thereby increasing the cost of external storage.

Binh Son Refining is planning to reduce production and submit a proposal to the Government on prioritising domestic petroleum products over imported products, as the sharp fall in gasoline consumption caused the plant to reduce its capacity to 90 per cent (in the worst case) compared to the normal level of 105-110 per cent.

Experts from VCSC lowered their forecasts for Binh Son Refining’s 2021 sales to 6.1 million tonnes, down 12.6 per cent, with an operating efficiency of 92 per cent. However, they still expected gasoline demand will recover in the fourth quarter of 2021 and sales are forecast to grow 16.1 per cent in 2022.

The Domestic Market Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that in the near future, the petroleum market will face many fluctuations and prices are also likely to increase.

It is because economies are gradually recovering, vaccination proportion is increasing, countries start to reopen and use COVID-19 green cards as licences to restart production and business, travel, transportation, and tourism.

On the stock market, last week, oil and gas stocks witnessed outstanding performance. Of which, many key stocks in this industry increased by over 10 per cent like PVD and GAS.

The market capitalisation of the oil and gas industry increased by 5.1 per cent, with PVD up 10.8 per cent, BSR up 10.8 per cent and PVS up 7.9 per cent.

The sharp increase of Brent crude contributed to the strong movements of domestic oil and gas stocks. However it will not have positive effects on business results, Le Xuan, a senior trader, said.

“It only has effects for the short-term as it is more about speculation and doesn’t have much positive impact on the business results of the third and fourth quarters of 2021,” said Xuan.

“In the medium- and long-term, the industry still mainly depends on the business foundation and drilling projects.”

PVPower signs a US$1.4 billion deal for natural gas power project

PVPower signed a deal to allow Techcombank and MB banks to arrange US$1.4 billion of syndicated loans for two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on Wednesday.

This is the first gas-fired power project on the market using capital for PVPower without a Government guarantee.

The funds will be used for the construction of the Nhon Trach 3 and 4 plants which are the largest LNG projects in Viet Nam. The plants will have a total capacity of 1,500MW. They are expected to bring clean energy to international standards and create a turning point for national energy security policies. The two power plants play the role of load centres for the South, HCM City, Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau.

PVPower chose Techcombank as the main bank to assist in the development of bidding documents, negotiation of export credit agency (ECA) loan conditions, offshore loans, and management of foreign loans. The participation of Techcombank and MB will help PVPower be proactive in credit sources, reducing the burden of the State's public debt in national energy development.

Nguyen Duy Giang, Deputy General Director of PVPower, said: “LNG is the optimal energy source for Viet Nam to move towards large-scale clean energy, ensuring national energy security, as well as towards an environment without smog for future generations. With the support of capital arrangement from Techcombank and MB, the two projects are expected to mark a major turning point for the national energy policy, contributing to the sustainable development of the country.”

“As the main partner bank supporting capital arrangement for important energy projects Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4, we are committed to doing our utmost to support PVPower in successfully implementing these important projects, through determining the most suitable financial options,” said Phan Thi Thanh Binh – Head of Techcombank Wholesale Banking.

PVPower and Techcombank had successfully co-operated in the Nhon Trach 2 Power Plant project in 2010, making NT2 stock become a Blue Chip stock on HOSE.

Pham Nhu Anh, a member of MB's Executive Board said: “MB is very proud to be selected by PVPower to join Techcombank in this project. In recent years, MB has analysed and found that clean energy and energy creation is a high priority for the country. Accordingly, MB has spent about $3 billion on key projects in wind and solar power. MB is ready to commit to Techcombank to assist in arranging capital, and at the same time, coordinate with domestic and international partners to find the best solution to help the design of this project be close to the priority. MB believes that the project will be completed on schedule with the best quality, contributing to opening an environment-friendly energy development direction.” 

Vietnam looks to develop medical tourism to better serve holidaymakers

Vietnam holds great potential in medical tourism development as it boasts a lot of mineral hot springs and mud, and has many areas with temperate climate, heard a webinar seeking ways to develop medical tourism in the country on October 6.

Deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong said that the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, environmental pollution, and a rise in diseases are all leading to increasing demand for health care and medical tourism.

Many experts forecast tourists will take long trips not only for sightseeing but also to access medical care to improve their health.

Therefore, Huong said developing this type of tourism will help diversify Vietnam’s tourism products and lengthen tourists’ stay and increase their spending.

Experts said that in Vietnam, the exploitation of resources to develop healthcare tourism has achieved certain successes. However, these successes have not yet met the potential, as most of the medical tourism service establishments are still small in scale, with limited human resources.

Vietnam has not well exploited its rich system of medicinal plants and well-known traditional medicine to develop healthcare tourism./. 

Binh Duong’s exports rake in 24.5 billion USD in nine months

The southern province of Binh Duong earned over 24.5 billion USD from exports in the first nine months of 2021, up 26.7 percent year on year and meeting 79.8 percent of this year’s target.
 
Of the figure, more than 4.6 billion USD were contributed by the domestic economic sector, up 31.3 percent while the rest of 19.8 billion USD was contributed by the foreign-invested sector, up 25.6 percent.

Almost key currency earners maintained annual moderate growth, including machinery and equipment, tools, iron and steel, computers, electronics and spare parts.

Its biggest importer was the US, followed by Europe, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

According to a business trend survey of 450 local enterprises in the manufacturing and processing sector, 10.71 percent of respondents said they better performed in the third quarter, 49.33 percent still met difficulties while 39.96 percent said their operations remained stable.

About new export orders, 3.61 percent said they received more orders in the third quarter, 45.83 percent reported a reduction and 50.56 percent saw a stable situation.

Forecasting business performance in the fourth quarter, over 87 percent of surveyed firms predicted a more stable and better future while more than 12.8 percent were less upbeat.

So far, over 2 million residents in Binh Duong have been given at least one vaccine shot. The province is focusing on curbing the pandemic while creating favourable conditions for enterprises to resume operations.

As many as 85 percent of local firms have registered to resume manufacturing in the new normal./.

Apartment prices to go up 5 – 7 percent annually in 3 years: CBRE

The primary prices of apartments are likely to increase about 5 – 7 percent annually over the next three years due to higher product positioning and expectations for more launches of high-end apartments in prime and central locations, according to CBRE Vietnam.

Apartment supply in Hanoi picked up in the first three quarters of 2021 with some 11,430 units launched, up 7 percent compared to a year earlier, a survey by CBRE shows.

Over 3,480 units were launched in the third quarter of this year, a year-on-year drop of 1 percent. About 93 percent of the units are located in the west and the east of Hanoi, and 65 percent of them are of the high-end segment, said the survey.

The launches were the most active in July and at the end of September, when Hanoi lifted its two-month social distancing order.

The capital city saw apartment sales declining 33 percent to nearly 3,000 units in Q3. However, in the context of prolonged social distancing, this was still a positive signal for the market, said Nguyen Hoai An, CBRE Hanoi Branch Director.

The primary market saw apartment prices in the previous quarter surged 16 percent year on year to 1,542 USD per sq.m because of a greater share of high-end units. The secondary market, meanwhile, was stagnant with prices edging down 1 percent quarter-on-quarter and up 2 percent year-on-year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

From January – September, close to 11,000 units found buyers, down 1 percent year-on-year.

The cooperation between domestic and foreign developers and foreign management firms is providing Hanoi with more choices in the apartment segment, An said, adding that thanks to that, the market will be likely to experience stiffer competition with a wider range of products in the coming time.

The total of units rolled out in 2021 is expected to reach between 17,000 – 18,000, and sales will recover in the fourth quarter of this year, according to CBRE.

It also forecast that with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout going smoothly in 2022, facilitating economic recovery and border reopening, apartment supply and sales will rebound to 25,000 – 27,000 units./.

Vietnamese firms in supporting industries developing in quantity, quality

Vietnamese firms operating in supporting industries have been developing in recent years, as products have partly met demand in the domestic market and for export.

Some businesses have applied advanced management tools in production and met international standards, thus becoming suppliers of multinational companies.

Statistics of the Industry Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) show that, Vietnam now has 2,000 firms producing components and spare parts. Of them, only 300 can join in the supply network of transnational corporations.

Supporting industries firms account for nearly 4.5 percent of all manufacturing and processing businesses and have created more than 600,000 jobs, or 8 percent of the workforce in the manufacturing and processing sector.

Some Vietnamese firms with good capacity have met domestic demand and are able to ship their products abroad.

However, the overall problem of the sector is the small scale and modest production capacity of most companies. Most of them lack resources and technologies to improve their productivity, along with a shortage of skilled labourers.

Most products of domestic enterprises are simple components and parts, with medium or low technological content and low product value.

A report in the industry and trade sector compiled by the Government pointed out limits in self-sufficiency in the supply of supporting industries products, and the low localistion rate, particularly in garment – textiles, footwear, electronics, informatics and telecommunication.

As Vietnam heavily relies on material imports, when COVID-19 emerges in supply countries, the industries face numerous hardships in ensuring input and have to wait until the pandemic subsides in such markets.

As Vietnam posted a trade deficit in input materials in recent years, added value of domestic industrial products stays low.

The reasons include limited resources for and slow rate of policy implementation. Some preferential policies for supporting industries projects have yet to create a momentum for domestic firms which enjoy fewer incentives than foreign invested ones.

The Government issued a resolution last year on measures to further propel supporting industries, setting out development goals for the next decade.

Accordingly, Vietnamese enterprises are to be able to produce highly-competitive support products, meeting 45 percent of essential needs for domestic production and consumption and accounting for about 11 percent of industrial production value by 2025.

The country should have about 1,000 enterprises capable of directly supplying for assembly enterprises and multinational corporations operating in Vietnam, with domestic enterprises to account for about 30 percent by 2025.

By 2030, locally-made support products should meet 70 percent of domestic demand and account for about 14 percent of industrial production value. Some 2,000 companies are to be capable of supplying directly to assemblers and multinational corporations by 2030.

To implement the resolution, the MoIT has identified that the development of supporting industries will follow the direction of selecting fields that require investment suitable to different periods. It also chose a number of key industries such as auto, electronics, garment and textile, and leather and footwear.

The ministry has approved a programme for supporting industries development in 2021 with a budget of nearly 240 billion VND (10.6 million USD).

In a report submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee and legislators early this year, the Government cited statistics showing that companies in supporting industries’ net revenue now tops 900 trillion VND, or about 11 percent of the sector’s total.

Some Vietnamese enterprises boast relatively good capacity in producing moulds, bicycle and motorbike components, electrical cables, plastic and rubber components, and tyres, meeting domestic demand and the requirements of foreign importers.

The report noted that supporting industries play a decisive role in restructuring the economy, improving workplace productivity and skills, and promoting the competitiveness and quality of Vietnamese goods and the economy./.

Vinh Phuc’s industrial parks remain attractive to investors

 

Although the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic made the number of newly-established businesses during January-September in Vinh Phuc not high, the amount of registered investment in the northern province increased significantly compared to the same period last year.

In Vinh Phuc, Binh Xuyen district is considered an attractive destination for investors with more and more projects being put into production at industrial parks in the locality.

According to a report of the Vinh Phuc Industrial Park Management Board, by the end of September, Vinh Phuc province had granted investment licenses to 10 new domestic direct investment (DDI) projects and adjusted to increase capital for two DDI projects, with a total registered investment of over 5 trillion VND (219 million USD), equal to 108 percent of the set plan.

Also in the period, the province granted licenses to 24 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and adjusted to increase capital for 19 projects, with a total registered capital of 928.9 million USD, equivalent to 99 percent of the plan.

As of September 15, there were 404 valid investment projects, including 75 DDI ones totaling 19.4 trillion VND and 329 FDI ones totaling 5.37 billion USD.

In recent years, Binh Xuyen has been among the most attractive destinations.

Notably, the 287-ha Binh Xuyen industrial park with modern technical infrastructure has attracted the biggest numbers of projects and investments in the province. As of September 30, this industrial park had attracted 122 projects, including 84 FDI projects totalling over 1.27 billion USD, and 38 DDI ones totaling 3.79 trillion VND. The occupancy rate had reached 92 percent.

As Vinh Phuc is currently working on the dual goals of fighting the pandemic and developing the economy, most of FDI enterprises overcome difficulties and strive to maintain stable production and business activities. In the last quarter of the year, Vinh Phuc strives to attract from five to eight new FDI projects with a registered capital of about 30-40 million USD and three new DDI projects with a total registered capital of about 270 billion VND./.

Vietnam hopes for Canada’s assistance in co-operative development: official

Vietnam wishes to continue to receive Canada's sharing, cooperation, and consultation in the upcoming events to continue to develop and replicate successful co-operative models to more localities, said an official.

Phung Quoc Chi, head of the Cooperative Development Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, made the statement at an online workshop held on October 6. The workshop, which was co-organised by the agency and the Vietnam Co-operative Enterprise Development Project (VCEDP), discussed Canada’s experience on cooperative law.

Speaking at the event, Chi said the Canadian Government has joined many cooperation activities in promoting the collective economy and cooperatives movement in Vietnam for many years.

Via the VCEDP, Canada has helped Vietnam build many cooperative models that operate effectively following the nature and standards of the current modern ones recognised in the world, he noted.

Brian Allemekinders, head of Cooperation and Development at the Embassy of Canada in Vietnam, said the two nations share a long standing and close collaboration in socio-economic development, particularly the growth of the co-operative movement in Vietnam for improving farmers’ living standards and competitiveness.

Regarding the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s current responsibility for reviewing 10 years of implementation of Vietnam’s 2012 Law on Co-operatives and for proposing amendments and supplements to the law, he said the revision would create a strong foundation for co-operatives in the time to come./.

Conference sheds light on national circular economy network

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on October 6 held a conference regarding the policy consultation for and introduction of the national circular economy network.

Participants discussed and contributed ideas to a draft decree on implementing circular economy according to Article 142 under the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection, which is set to come into force on January 1, 2022. They shared related world’s lessons as well as the experience of connecting and applying the circular economy in real life.

Addressing the conference, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said the socio-economic development strategy for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2045 has affirmed that encouraging the development of a circular economy model is for the integrated and efficient use of the production process’ output.

According to Nhan, the ministry is in charge of working with relevant agencies to build the draft decree, which covers regulations on roadmap criteria and incentive mechanisms for the application of the model.

The national circular economy network, which was introduced at the event, has been built under cooperation between the ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the embassies of the Netherlands, Norway, and Finland in Vietnam.

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Terence D. Jones a.i. said the network acts as a bridge between existing initiatives and stakeholders in Vietnam and around the world. It includes an electronic portal in English and Vietnamese, training courses and seminars, among other activities to strengthen dialogue, develop methods and mobilise actions towards the circular economy transition.

Nhan said he believes the network will develop quickly in contribution to completing the institution and policy on circular economy and boosting Vietnam’s practical and effective transition.

He called on the local business community to actively take part in the process, helping Vietnam realise its sustainable development goals set for 2030./.

Newly-registered firms, charter capital hit lowest for September since 2016: GSO

Business and production have been severely stricken by prolonged lockdowns and social distancing orders triggered by the worst-ever COVID-19 resurgence in the third quarter of 2021, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Data from the GSO shows that the number of newly-established firms and their registered capital in September hit the lowest for the same month since 2016. There were 3,899 companies founded last month, representing a significant fall of 62.2 percent compared to a year earlier. These companies registered some 62.4 trillion VND (over 2.73 billion USD) in charter capital, a 69.3-percent plunge year on year.

The number of new enterprises were low in Ho Chi Minh City, which only added 594 firms and 14.5 trillion VND worth of register capital last month, down 80.9 percent and 88 percent, respectively, year on year. A similar trend was observed in the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai with only 63 and 39 enterprises newly established during the month, down 89.8 percent and 88.1 percent, respectively.

The aggregate number of newly-founded enterprises in the first nine months of the year dropped 13.6 percent to 85,500 and their registered capital exceeded 1.19 quadrillion VND, a year-on-year decrease of 16.3 percent.

During the nine-month period, the number of companies temporarily suspending operation rose by 16.7 percent while that of those completely dissolving was up 5.9 percent.

According to GSO Director General Nguyen Thi Huong, domestic enterprises have become more proactive in responding to the COVID-19 after going through four coronavirus waves since early 2020, but their financial capacity and resilience are weakening given the fact that 98 percent of Vietnamese companies are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The figures may suggest that Vietnamese firms are not optimistic in short term and the pandemic has been putting tremendous impacts on them, Huong said./.

Senior officials of ASEAN minerals industry convene 21st meeting

The 21st Annual Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM 21) opened via videoconference on October 6 with the participation of representatives from 10 ASEAN countries and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Participating the event from Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Quy Kien said that 2021 is an important year when the mid-term review of the implementation of the Master Plans on ASEAN Community Building for the five years 2021-2026 must be conducted, and it is also a pivotal year in Vietnam's tenure as the ASEAN Chair on mineral exploitation.

He underlined Vietnam’s wish to promote sustainable exploitation towards environmental protection and economic, financial and social inclusion based on innovation and application of digital and state-of-the-art technologies; develop high-quality human resources in minerals; and build a green environment.

During the event, which will run until October 8, participants will discuss a wide range of issues, including the implementation of the ASEAN Minerals Cooperation Action Plan (AMCAP), the updates of ASEAN cooperation with the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), and a report on the progress of the Strengthening ASEAN Cooperation in Mineral (SACM) project.

They are expected to adopt the AMCAP for the 2021-2025 period, yearly priorities of ASEAN mining industry, and preparations for the 14th ASOMM Plus Three and the eighth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Minerals (AMMin), among others.

Senior officials of the ASEAN minerals industry will also comment on the outcomes of the first phase of the AMCAP-III and a report of the ASOMM 21 on the completion of the remaining solutions in the first phase of the plan. They will also approve Phase 2 of the AMCAP-III and guidelines on ASEAN cooperation in minerals under the Master Plan for ASEAN Economic Community 2025 in the 2021-2025 period./.

Dong Nai helps firms resume operations post-pandemic

The southern province of Dong Nai has gradually resumed several activities in “green zones” and outlined measures to solve difficulties faced by enterprises, after months of strict social distancing order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

On October 5, about 2,000 workers at Changsin Vietnam Company based in Vinh Cuu district returned to work, or nearly 5 percent of the total employees in the company.

At Pousung Vietnam company, 25 percent out of the 25,000 workers also came back to work the same day.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Tien Dung said the province allows workers in “green zones” who are vaccinated after 14 days and those recovered from the disease within 180 days to return to work under the “three on the spot” model or go to work daily by coaches or personal vehicles.

The locality also gives priority to vehicles carrying goods and worked with nearby cities and provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong to make it easier for workers to travel, he said.

In the near future, Dong Nai will set up a provincial-level steering committee on production resumption. Relevant districts and units will establish teams to assist firms in procedures when they resume operations, he added./. 

Expansion proposed for HCM City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway

The Ministry of Transport has received the proposal to approve a project on expanding Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway which will be partly funded with loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The project is set to work on about 23.76km of the expressway, which will have eight lanes and design speed of 100 - 120km per hour after expansion. In particular, Song Tac and Long Thanh bridges, part of the expressway, will respectively have 10 and nine lanes.

The section proposed to be expanded starts at the site after the An Phu intersection in Thu Duc city of HCM City and ends at the planned intersection with Bien Hoa - Vung Tau Expressway in Long Thanh district of Dong Nai province.

The expansion project will need investment of almost 12.97 trillion VND (566.8 million USD), consisting of nearly 10.22 trillion VND in official development assistance (ODA) loan from JICA and 2.75 trillion VND from the Vietnamese Government, according to the proposal submitted by the My Thuan project management board.

It is scheduled to be implemented in five years, from 2021 to 2025, after the borrowing agreement takes effect.

The Transport Ministry said HCM City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway, opened to traffic in 2015, has become overloaded, especially in big holidays. The road’s existing capacity is unable to meet the transport demand at present and in the future. Given this, it needs to be expanded early so as to meet the transport demand, particularly when Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai province becomes operational, in the southern key economic region./.

Vietnamese cashew nuts increase market share in US

Despite the cashew industry facing stiff competition from the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, Vietnam's cashew nut market share in the United States' total imports rose slightly from 89.08% in the initial seven months last year to 89.26% this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This figure therefore indicates that the Vietnamese cashew industry has successfully retained its leading position as one of the largest suppliers of cashew nuts to the US thanks to its stable supply sources and high quality.

Cashew nut exports during the opening nine months of the year are estimated to have reached 425,000 tonnes worth US$2.65 billion, thereby representing a rise of 16.6% in volume and 14.9% in value compared to the same period from last year.

The average export price of cashew nuts throughout the reviewed period dropped by 1.5% on-year to fall to US$6,237 per tonne.

According to statistics compiled by the US International Trade Commission, the US imported approximately 97,620 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$615.68 million during the seven-month period, marking an increase of 0.5% in volume and a drop of 6.1% in value.

Specifically, the US imported 87,130 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$545.88 million from the Vietnamese market, up only 0.7% in volume, although representing a drop of 6.4% in value compared to last year’s corresponding period.

Furthermore, strict social distancing measures and high fright costs caused by the fourth pandemic wave have exerted a negative impact on Vietnamese cashew exports to the US, according to a representative from the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade. 

Moving forward, the Import-Export Department forecasts that cashew nut exports will increase in the near future as the fourth quarter can be considered the peak season for cashew nut consumption in major markets such as the US, Europe, and China.

Moreover, social distancing measures have been gradually eased, a factor which has contributed to making production and transportation activities more convenient.

FDI enterprises place trust in Vietnam’s investment climate

New investments into Vietnam by foreign-invested firms looking to expand their production capacity prove their confidence in the recovery of the country’s economy moving into the post-pandemic period.

Nestlé, the world's largest food & beverage company based in Switzerland, has recently unveiled an additional investment of more than US$130 million into Vietnam, raising its total investment capital there to US$730 million over the next two years as it seeks to carry out production expansion projects.

The firm will seek to invest in doubling the capacity of its instant coffee factory to boost exports, and expand the decaffeinated factory to turn it into Nestlé's largest decaf factory globally. It will also plan to increase the capacity of the production line of Dolce Gusto filter coffee capsule for export, and upgrade its Maggi liquid seasoning factory in Dong Nai to serve customers in Australia and Asia.

Nestlé places its trust in the future of Vietnam as a global and regional manufacturing hub evidenced by its decision to undertake investment projects aimed at expanding local production capacity, said Urs Kloeti, director of Nestlé - Bong Sen, the sixth of the firm’s factory chain in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, other foreign investors have also committed to increasing their investment in the Vietnamese market although the country is bearing the brunt of the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak.

Tetra Pak, a 100% foreign-owned Swedish enterprise, has unveiled their additional investment of EUR5 million in expanding its factory in the southern province of Binh Duong.

This additional investment clearly demonstrates the company’s confidence in the strong recovery of the Vietnamese economy as it moves past the pandemic, said Eliseo Barcas, managing director of Tetra Pak Vietnam.

Barcas noted the additional investment will help Tetra Pak to better serve customers, provide paper boxes of higher quality, and reduce its impact on the environment.

Moreover, this fresh investment will raise the company’s annual output from the current 11.5 billion boxes to 16.5 billion boxes, thereby meeting the increasing demand for sterilised paper boxes both in the country and the wider region.

Another foreign investor, SCG Packaging Plc (SCGP) - a member company of SCG Group from Thailand - has also unveiled a plan to funnel over US$353 million into the paper packaging business in Vietnam.

A new complex in the northern province of Vinh Phuc will be put into operation in early 2024, serving to increase the company's paper packaging production capacity by 370,000 tonnes annually.

Wichan Jitpukdee, CEO of SCG Group, said the Vietnamese market represents an important production hub in the region and an attractive destination for multinational companies.

Despite the adverse impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the total export value of FDI firms over the past nine months has surged by 22.8% to US$177.8 billion, accounting for 73.9% of the country’s total export turnover, according to the General Statistics Office.

The country has attracted a total of US$22.15 billion in FDI in the reviewed period, an increase of 4.4% compared to the same period last year.

In addition, the enforcement of 14 free trade agreements, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement - EU (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Vietnam - UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), has helped Vietnam retain investors, especially European businesses.

Meeting discusses ways to promote Vietnamese tourism in major markets

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung have recently co-chaired a virtual meeting with Vietnamese diplomatic representative agencies abroad to discuss stepping up co-operation to promote local tourism in major markets.

Participants at the function shared information regarding a pilot scheme aimed at opening up Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province to international visitors, boosting tourism promotion activities, and increasing the connection of businesses to prepare for the full opening of the international tourism market.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has worked alongside localities and travel operators as they strive to prepare for the reopening of domestic tourism once COVID-19 is brought under control, Deputy Minister Viet said, adding that the local tourism sector is finalising steps to welcome back tourists to Phu Quoc.

The local tourism sector has received great support from various diplomatic activities, with numerous representative agencies abroad serving as bridges which can connect foreign tourists with the nation, he stated.

During the course of the meeting, various ambassadors and heads of Vietnamese diplomatic representative agencies in several countries, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, China, and Malaysia, said that people are now seeking safe and friendly tourist destinations. In addition, convenient immigration and quarantine policies for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is also a main factor when travelers come to choose their holiday destination.

They therefore suggested the nation should work alongside other countries regarding a mutual recognition of vaccine certification. Indeed, the country should also issue consistent procedures to welcome foreign tourists and quickly announce them in order to ensure safety for both tourists and local residents, they emphasised.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Dung affirmed that the Ministry, embassies, and Vietnamese representative agencies abroad will continue to accompany and support the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in carrying out international tourism activities, with the reopening of Phu Quoc being the first step. As a result, the Ministry has proposed the reopening of domestic and international air routes to Phu Quoc.

So far, both Kien Giang and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have successfully agreed on the time to start the pilot scheme to welcome foreign tourists back to Phu Quoc, which is in late November. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has also outlined a tourism communication and promotion programme to invite additional tourists to the island, while also making preparations to reopen the entire Vietnamese tourism market moving forward.

Agricultural products face challenges when entering Chinese market

Vietnamese agricultural exports to China are anticipated to face numerous difficulties due to the northern neighbour applying new stricter policies on Vietnamese farm produce starting from January 1, 2022, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

August alone saw fruit and vegetable exports to the Chinese market plunge due to the temporary suspension of the import of dragon fruit from the country at both the Hekou and Thien Bao border gates following fears relating to detecting COVID-19 on packaging.

Moving forward, China is therefore expected to apply new stricter policies for agricultural exports from the Vietnamese market, with new regulations on food safety being implemented from January 1, 2022.

Ngo Xuan Nam, deputy director of the Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification Authority and Enquiry Point (SPS Vietnam Office), has submitted a project aimed at improving the capacity of implementing SBS measures to the Prime Minister and relevant agencies for approval, particularly as the country has joined new-generation free trade agreements.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Development is expected to submit this project to the Prime Minister for promulgation later this year so that local businesses can adapt to the changes in SPS measures in export markets, thereby helping promote Vietnamese agricultural-forestry-fisheries exports in the near future.

Currently, the country has nine types of fresh fruits officially exported to the Chinese market, including mangoes, dragon fruit, bananas, longans, lychees, watermelons, rambutan, jackfruit, and mangosteen.

The export value of fruit and vegetables during the eight months of the year to the Chinese market surged by 9.3%  to US$1.4 billion against the same period from last year.

Taiwan Textile Roadshow opens in Ha Noi

Garment products from Taiwan (China) are being showcased at the Taiwan Textile Roadshow, opening in the capital city on Wednesday at the Ha Noi International Exhibition Centre, 91 Tran Hung Dao Street.

Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF) and the Viet Nam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad) co-organised the two-day roadshow under both direct meetings and via online platforms, aiming to strengthen co-operation between Vietnamese and Taiwanese enterprises in the textile and garment sector.

There are 12 textile manufacturers from Taiwan participating in the event via Zoom, exchanging experience with and introducing products to Vietnamese enterprises.

Taiwanese enterprises introduce techniques to produce fabric using dyeing treatments that can reduce the impact on the environment. They have also applied innovative technologies in production to produce fabrics with many outstanding features such as fabric from recycled plastic, warp-print fabric, antibacterial fabric, UV protection fabric, cooling and multi-functional fabric.

In 2020, Taiwan's largest textile and garment export market was Viet Nam, with an export turnover of up to US$1.9 billion and accounting for 25.3 per cent of Taiwan’s total export turnover of textiles and garments. The top five export markets, including Viet Nam, mainland China, the United States, Indonesia and Hong Kong, account for 60.3 per cent of Taiwan’s total apparel exports.

Taiwan's largest and second-largest sources of textiles in 2020 were mainland China and Viet Nam, accounting for 43 per cent and 14 per cent of total textile imports and valued at $1.46 billion and $467 million, respectively. The main import items from mainland China and Viet Nam were clothing and accessories. 

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

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