ODA disbursement targets a challenge: Official
Hoa Binh 3 Bridge, with costruction using ODA funding, in northern Hoa Binh province was put into use in February 2020
While the disbursement of official development assistance (ODA) has seen progress, without drastic solutions, it will be difficult for ministries and sectors to achieve allocation targets, Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha has said.
He told a meeting in Hanoi on August 26 that 3.742 trillion VND (nearly 161.5 million USD) in ODA funding had been disbursed as of the end of August, or 21.64 percent of this year’s target, and higher than the disbursement in the same period last year yet still lower than the disbursement of domestic public capital, which currently stands at 40 percent.
Among ministries, the Ministry of Transport posted the best performance in ODA disbursement, at about 51 percent as of the end of August. It acknowledged, however, that disbursement still falls short of expectations.
It blamed the slowness partly on the impact of COVID-19, which has been an obstacle to foreign experts coming to the country and also affected the bidding process, as well as the prolonged handling of adjustments to certain projects.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that since the beginning of the year, it has requested subordinate units make disbursement commitments for each month and quarter.
However, it noted, the coronavirus outbreak has affected the bidding process. Also, most agricultural projects are small and scattered over different localities, which are slow to provide reciprocal capital, to the detriment of project implementation.
Another official at the event pointed out that projects funded via ODA or foreign preferential loans are suffering more from the pandemic compared to those using domestic funds, because they must satisfy lenders’ requirements such as using imported equipment or foreign experts, contractors, and advisers.
Apart from disbursing assigned capital for 2020, ministries and sectors also have to work on funds they didn’t finish allocating last year, adding more to their workload, he added.
To speed up ODA and foreign capital disbursement, the Ministry of Finance has asked other ministries and sectors to consider completing their public investment allocation targets as an important political task.
Deputy Minister Ha called for coordination among them to thoroughly deal with the obstacles, adding that his ministry will discuss problems arising during disbursement with lenders./.
Finance Ministry launches open budget portal
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) launched an open budget portal at https://ckns.mof.gov.vn/ on August 26.
Built based on advanced models from around the world and Vietnam’s requirements for openness and transparency in public finances, it looks to improve efficiencies in the distribution, management, and utilisation of public resources.
It is also expected to help MoF compile reports on open budgets in a faster and more accurate manner and keep a close watch on budget reports from ministries, State agencies, and localities.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, which was also part of the activities marking the 75th anniversary of Vietnam’s financial sector, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung underlined that the launch of the portal is of great importance to openness and transparency in public finances.
It is also the first step towards the implementation of the financial sector’s open data portal, which will be linked with national portals.
The portal is expected to provide individuals, businesses, researchers, and local and international organisations with useful data and information on public finances, thereby enhancing social accountability and the effective use of State budget funds, he added.
Operations Manager for the World Bank (WB) in Vietnam Stefanie Stallmeister voiced a belief that the new portal will improve openness and transparency and effectiveness in balancing the budget, along with macro-economic management, risk awareness, and responsibility in public service provision.
The portal was built with support from the Vietnam Public Financial Management (PFM)’s Analytical and Advisory Assistance (AAA) Programme, and co-financed by the Swiss and Canadian Governments through the WB in 2016./.
Farmers in An Giang reap bumper rice crop
Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang have done extremely well from the recent summer-autumn rice crop despite facing challenges since the beginning of the year, in particular from saline intrusion.
Though severely affected by climate change, the Mekong Delta province of An Giang nonetheless earned handsome profits from the recent summer-autumn rice crop, with local farmers potentially pocketing 900 to 1,300 USD per hectare after deducting costs.
Rice production in the province’s summer-autumn crop amounted to some 1.2 million tonnes amid the adverse impacts of climate change. The achievement is primarily due to proactive measures being taken against saltwater intrusion, including retaining fresh water, rescheduling crops, and changing rice varieties.
All local rice has been sold, mostly for export. According to the local agriculture sector, the bright prospects for rice exports nationwide in recent times encouraged local companies to buy large amounts from farmers, including those from An Giang.
Still, the rice sector faces numerous challenges from now until the end of the year as the flood season has only just begun. Numerous response plans have been deployed, including switching crops to ensure the financial security of farmers.
Mekong Delta provinces have carried out various response measures against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change since the beginning of this year, with rice production not interrupted to any great extent. The rice sector has also been striving to meet the strict requirements of fastidious foreign markets. With abundant harvests and exponential export growth, farmers’ livelihoods have been greatly improved.
COVID-19: Indonesia boosts foreign investment attraction to revive economy
Indonesian President Joko Widodo plans to boost foreign investment to support the virus-battered economy as the government’s stimulus spending remains slow and household spending weak.
The leader has instructed Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan to bolster investment in the third quarter this year, saying this would be the key to economic growth.
Indonesia’s economy dropped by 5.32 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
Household spending, which makes up over 50 percent of the local GDP, declined by 5.51 percent year-on-year, while investment reduced by 8.61 percent./.
Thai PM proposes opening door for foreign tourists
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on August 26 proposed opening the country’s door to foreign tourists who come from countries with a small number of COVID-19 cases.
The proposal was in response to a call from the state and private sectors.
The Thai leader said he agreed that Thailand should open the door in a limited way to foreign tourists so as to improve the economic situation, and affirmed his government will do all it can to ease the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic.
He added that state officials are discussing suitable measures to solve the problem of the tourist quantity while ensuring the general safety.
Thailand did not see any community-infected COVID-19 case over the past three months. However, the country’s economy experience a fall as tourism and export – its two main sources of income – are heavily influenced by the pandemic.
Indonesia, Philippines enhance economic, trade cooperation
Indonesia and the Philippines have discussed a proposal to organise dialogues in copper and textiles, taking each other’s advantages and boost economic and trade links between the two countries.
At the virtual 8th Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade, Investments, Handicrafts and Shipping held on August 11, Iman Pambagyo, Director-General for International Trade Negotiations at Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, and Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, agreed to finalise a number of Memoranda of Understanding on investment promotion, halal products quality assurance, and the creative economy.
The two sides also agreed to hold dialogues on cooperation in copper and textiles within the year in order to exchange information on best practices and current industry regulations, and discuss collaboration activities, with the participation from both the government and private sector.
They consented that in the long term, these dialogues are seen as avenues to boost the manufacturing capabilities of the two countries’ industrial sectors through the infusion of investments and technology.
The Indonesian side proposed increasing cooperation in fisheries and border trade.
The Philippines is committed to consider the proposals given its relevance to both the Philippines and Indonesia as archipelagic states with common borders and taking into account the developments in sub-regional integration, Undersecretary Rodolfo said.
The two countries also committed to work on outstanding issues with the end view of enhancing the business environment affecting the operations of both sides’ businesses.
The JWG serves as a focused mechanism to discuss trade, investments, economic cooperation and other issues affecting the business environment, apart from the regular engagement of both countries under the ASEAN framework.
In 2019, Indonesia was the Philippines’ 8th trading partner, with total two-way trade hitting 7.5 billion USD. Indonesia was also the Philippines’ 13th export market, 6th import source (out of 191), and 27th source of approved investments.
GMS countries seek to revive tourism
Countries from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) convened the first Destination Mekong Summit via video conference on August 26 to discuss ways to revive tourism during and after the COVID-19 crisis, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.
Senior official from the GMS countries, namely Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, touched upon various topics including solutions to the impact of the pandemic, ways to restore regional tourism, and measures taken by each GMS country to ensure tourists' safety and to prevent the spread of the virus.
The meeting noted that the infection rate in the GMS countries is very low compared to that of other regions but foreign tourists are still not permitted because the risk of imported cases is still high.
Thailand initiated the "green travel bubble" concept on a bilateral or trilateral basis during the meeting, and if successful it could be extended to a multilateral level.
Vinamilk issues additional shares to increase capital
The Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) has announced it will issue additional shares worth over 3.48 trillion VND (150 million USD).
The 348 million new shares will cost 10,000 VND each.
The list of shareholders will be finalised on September 30.
As of August 25, more than 1.74 million Vinamilk shares were sold on the market.
Total capital was estimated at over 44.6 trillion VND in 2019.
It posted consolidated net revenue of some 15.4 trillion VND in the second quarter of this year, up 9.5 percent against the previous quarter and 6.1 percent against the same period of 2019./.
Minister calls on northern localities to use ODA selectively
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung urged localities on August 26 to not use Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans next year for projects where funding can be mobilised from the private sector or domestic sources.
Interest rates on ODA are relatively high, so funds must be used selectively on projects that are practical and vital to the development of localities, Dung told an online conference on the formulation of socio-economic development and public investment plans for the northern midlands and mountainous region and the Red River Delta in the next five years and 2021.
It aimed to address difficulties facing cities and provinces in the region in building 2021-2025 plans for socio-economic development and public investment and in proposing solutions and policies to fuel economic growth and disburse public investment and other funding sources this year.
The minister asked localities to continue promoting reforms with a strategic vision in a bid to formulate plans that best match their potential and advantages.
Localities must also economically and effectively exploit resources, especially land, Dung said, adding that they need to exert tight control over modified public investment projects to minimise revenue lost from the State budget and prevent waste.
They should also prioritise major projects that create momentum and have a positive effect on local socio-economic growth.
Similar conferences will also be held for the central, central highlands, southern, and Mekong Delta regions./.
Singapore, Indonesia to begin discussions on “fast lane” for essential travel
Singapore and Indonesia are set to begin discussions on a "fast lane" to allow essential travel to gradually resume, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 25.
It was agreed by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi during the latter’s visit to Singapore from August 24 – 26. Marsudi has also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Singapore has established “fast lane” with Malaysia and China and is discussing the setup of similar lanes with several others, including Japan. Indonesia has also established “fast lane” for essential travel for business purposes with China, the Republic of Korea and the UAE.
Both ministers discussed how the two countries can continue to work together to overcome common challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
They agreed that both countries should work closely together to strengthen public health cooperation, enhance economic growth and investments, deepen financial cooperation and facilitate safe travel, it said.
In a Facebook post on August 25, PM Lee said he spoke to Indonesian President Joko Widodo several times in the past few months, and continued the discussion with Indonesian FM Marsudi on "jointly overcoming the pandemic".
He also noted that Singapore is on track to remain the top investor in Indonesia this year, which has been the case since 2014./.
German businesses eyeing Vietnam
Authorities in the German city of Hamburg and German businesses in general have expressed their interest in the potential the Vietnamese market holds and their belief that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will help open up more opportunities for German companies in the country.
At a recent working session with Ambassador of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Vu, First Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher spoke highly of the traditional friendship and potential for cooperation between the two countries.
Hamburg always has its doors open and is ready to bolster cooperation with Vietnam, especially in fields where both sides possess strengths, he affirmed.
The mayor lauded the Vietnamese community’s dynamic integration into German society as well as its contribution to Hamburg’s economic development and cultural diversity.
For his part, Ambassador Vu said Germany is a leading partner of Vietnam in the EU, with two-way trade reaching 14 billion EUR in 2019.
He also highlighted the development of relations between Vietnam and Hamburg, particularly in trade, maritime transport, shipbuilding, and tourism, saying the German port city is as an important gateway for Vietnamese goods entering Germany and Europe.
Trade between Vietnam and Hamburg exceeded 2.32 billion EUR last year, up 10.8 percent year-on-year, according to the ambassador.
He said the two sides still have substantial potential for cooperation, most notably in maritime transport and renewable energy, including wind power, which is one of Hamburg’s strengths, and human resources training.
The ambassador hopes that Hamburg can step up connectivity and cooperation with coastal localities in Vietnam such as Da Nang, Hai Phong, and HCM City.
At a meeting with representatives from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (IHK), the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), and German companies, Vu spoke about Vietnam’s socio-economic development this year and the Vietnamese Government’s efforts at reforming administrative procedures and improving the local business environment to attract more foreign investors.
The EVFTA and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement are both expected to create new opportunities for Vietnam and its partners, he said.
The embassy is ready to work with German companies to promote cooperation between the two sides and to organise trade, investment, and tourism promotions between Vietnam and Hamburg.
President of IHK Hamburg Norbert Aust spoke highly of Vietnam’s dynamic development over the last 30 years, affirming the country is an attractive destination for both European and German investors.
More than 200 companies from Hamburg have established economic ties with Vietnam, while 60 others have opened representative offices or joint ventures in the country.
President of OAV Hans-Georg Frey said the association has focused on cooperation with ASEAN member countries while highlighting the long-term relationship between Vietnam and Germany in cooperation projects, particularly in renewable energy, the environment, and vocational training.
Vietnam, he added, has become an attractive destination for German companies in recent years.
He expressed his belief that with the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to improve the investment environment, the country’s socio-economic stability, and the EVFTA coming into effect, Vietnam can serve as a potential and reliable partner in the region, and the Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership will thrive in the near future.
German business representatives also shared their experience in doing business in various sectors in Vietnam, such as food, coffee, design, and foreign trade, with many saying the EVFTA will help remove tariff barriers and offer greater opportunities to both sides.
Participants were also impressed by Vietnam’s success in containing the coronavirus, expressing their hope that entry restrictions and quarantine procedures will be lifted soon so that trade may resume between the two countries./.
Import-export expected to drive credit growth
Credit growth for the remainder of the year will be driven by imports and exports, according to a recent survey by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
The SBV’s Monetary Forecasting and Statistic Department said almost half (49 percent) of credit institutions that took part in the survey believe this will be the major impetus to boost credit.
Wholesale and retail (47 percent), garment and textile (41 percent) and construction (40 percent), were the next best industries according to the findings.
These four sectors were also expected to push credit growth in 2021 with import and export predicted to be the major driving force.
Credit institutions expected a significant increase in credit demand in the second half of this year, based on economic recovery forecasts and demand for business expansion.
Credit risk level of loans in the second half of this year was lower than the first but for the whole year, the risk level would be higher than 2019, the survey found.
Credit institutions said they had cut marginal interest rates and costs in the first six months of 2020 to increase credit accessibility for customers. Lending terms would also be more relaxed.
However, institutions tightened requirements on mortgaged assets and credit rating, especially loans for real estate business, securities and consumer loans, to ensure credit quality and limit risks.
The central bank’s statistics showed credit expanded at less than four percent in the first seven months of this year, equivalent to only half of the same period last year.
Tran Du Lich, member of the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Economic Advisory Council, said the credit growth would hardly reach the target of 10 percent this year, given the low credit absorbability of the economy in the COVID-19 pandemic./.
HCM City strives to speed up public investment disbursement
The Government has asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a loan of approximately 1 billion USD to ensure capital supply for the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien metro project, HCM City’s second metro line.
The new loan is expected to be approved by the Government and the ADB next year.
The HCM City People’s Committee, in consultation with the city’s Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), is working with the Ministry of Finance on procedures for verifying re-lending conditions, which will serve as a foundation for talks on supplementary loans over the next year.
MAUR announced on August 25 that both new loans and the cancellation of a previous loan of 390 million USD from the ADB had undergone thorough consideration by the municipal People’s Committee and the MAUR and been approved by the bank.
This will not affect project implementation, as the new loan covers the cancelled amount, MAUR explained, adding that it will also reduce financing costs.
The ADB also urged Vietnam to promptly abort the previous loan to balance out emergency assistance for other programmes and projects on mitigating the impact of COVID-19, as agreed by the bank and the Vietnamese Government./.
July auto sales stagnate after surging in June
Auto sales stagnated in July following a surge in the sale of both locally-assembled and imported cars in June.
Figures from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) reveal that sales totalled 24,065 units in July, an increase of a mere 0.3 percent month-on-month after rising 26 percent in June.
July sales included 16,088 locally-assembled units, up 2 percent year-on-year, while sales of imported vehicles stood at 7,977, down 2 percent.
June saw the sale of locally-assembled cars rise 43 percent month-on-month to 15,874 units and imported vehicles by 21 percent to 8,155. The sharp increases were attributed to the fact that most local car dealers were offering major discounts to kick-start demand.
The Government’s move to cut car registration fees by half also stimulated buying.
Director of auto dealer Thien Phuc An, Nguyen Tuan, said most customers had refrained from buying a new car until registration fees were cut from the beginning of July.
They rushed to sign good deals in June then waited before registering the new car, he said.
For that reason, few sales took place in July.
Insiders have forecast that sales will slow down further during lunar July, which is from mid-August to mid-September. This is traditionally called the “Month of the Ghost” in Vietnam, and people widely believe they should not make major decisions, such as purchasing cars or real estate, to avoid bad luck.
Sales of imported vehicles totalled 4,078 in the first half of August, almost equal to the July figure and only down slightly year-on-year.
As of August 15, Vietnam had imported close to 49,050 vehicles this year, worth more than 1.1 billion USD. This was only half of the 89,860, worth over 2 billion USD, imported in the same period last year.
Thailand and Indonesia remained the two largest exporters of automobiles to Vietnam, accounting for 76 percent of the total in July.
Thailand topped the list, sending more than 2,300 cars to Vietnam, up 33.3 percent month-on-month. Indonesia sent 1,300, an increase of 664 (or 100.04 percent) against June.
Other major exporters included China, with 719 vehicles, the Republic of Korea with 121, and Japan with 80./.
MoIT urges plastic producers to apply for anti-dumping duty exemption
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has urged plastic producers to apply for exemptions from anti-dumping duty on the ministry’s public service e-portal at https://dichvucong.moit.gov.vn or to the Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam.
Deadline for the submission is 5pm, September 24, 2020.
On July 20, the ministry issued Decision No 1900/QD-BCT about the imposition of official anti-dumping duty on plastics and articles made of polymers of propylene originating from China, Thailand and Malaysia. The official duties ranged from 9.05 per cent to 23.71 per cent, taking effect from July 23 and valid for five years.
Under the ministry's Circular 37/2019/TT-BCT regulating the application of trade defence instruments, the exemption of anti-dumping duty would be given to imported products which domestic producers could not produce or which could not be replaced by domestically-produced products.
Other items subject to the exemption included imported products which competed directly with domestically-produced products but were not sold in the domestic market and products for which local production did not meet domestic demand.
In order to obtain exemptions from the anti-dumping duty, importers of one of the products eligible for exemption must submit applications regarding the anti-dumping duty.
VN firms urged to embrace digital transformation to boost exports
Vietnamese firms regardless of their scale need to get up to speed on digital transformation to enable them to further penetrate global markets, a webinar heard on Wednesday.
Tran Phu Lu, deputy director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City, told the seminar titled Digital Transformation and Key Legal Points to Take Advantage of the EVFTA’s Opportunities in the Current Context that trade disputes and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected global investment and trade, and supply chains have been disrupted.
Viet Nam’s trade revenues were down 2.1 per cent year-on-year in the first half of the year to US$238.4 billion, with exports falling 1.1 per cent to $121.2 billion.
Lu quoted World Bank experts as saying that in the long run, the impacts of COVID-19 and trade tensions could lead to a profound restructuring of global value chains, enabling Vietnamese firms to enter them.
Viet Nam is the EU’s 17th largest trading partner and the second largest in Southeast Asia while the EU is one of the country’s major markets, he said.
“The European Union-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which has taken effect since earlier this month, is expected to open new doors and create growth momentum for Viet Nam’s economy and exporters.
“It is expected to boost digital transformation at Vietnamese companies to enable them to capitalise on opportunities brought by the agreement.”
Viet Nam’s exports to the EU last year accounted for only 1.8 per cent of the bloc’s total imports, and so there is much room left, especially with the EVFTA removing 85.6 per cent of tariff lines, equivalent to more than 70 per cent of the country’s exports to the EU.
To succeed in that market, Vietnamese firms need to focus on obtaining market information, improving the quality of their products and services, building and promoting their brands, professionalising sales, and increasing the adoption of advanced technologies.
Besides, their products must meet safety standards as well as social responsibility and intellectual property requirements.
Dr Nguyen Tuan Hoa of the Green Economic Institute, an arbitrator at the Viet Nam International Arbitration Centre, concurred with Lu, saying that to capitalise on the EVFTA, Vietnamese firms need to meet three main criteria: product origin, quality and digital capability.
“EU businesses are 10-15 years ahead of Vietnamese enterprises in terms of digital capacity, and so we must strive to achieve the similar level as them so that we can do business with them.
“Thus, digital transformation is an inevitable process. If we don't do it, we will be left behind.”
Enterprises should start to get acquainted with e-contracts, pay digital taxes and digitalise all business activities, he said.
Digital transformation is the process of creating a new operating method based on digital technologies like IoT, cloud, big data, AI, and blockchain to create new production and business models, he said.
“Successful digital transformation will bring many benefits to businesses such as reducing costs and enabling them to access any market, not just the EU.”
Lawyer Dinh Quang Thuan of the Global Vietnam Lawyers Co. Ltd said the most popular trading method today is the signing of electronic contracts using e-signature technologies and digital signature certification services.
Signing of e-contracts would help businesses save time and costs, especially in the current situation, he said.
In reality, the number of Vietnamese firms signing e-contracts remains modest since they are afraid of legal and security risks and increase in costs, he said.
He expected the signing of e-contracts to increase soon as companies realise the importance of investment in digital transformation to enhance their competitive advantages.
To reduce the risks involved in e-contracts, firms should carefully study their business partners, choose prestigious ones, exchange information via email through clearly registered and owned domain names, he said.
They should consult experts and lawyers before signing e-contracts to help ensure safety, he said.
Lu said: “In the context of the prolonged epidemic, the use of digital transformation for market access and penetration is [vital].
“This is the time for businesses to realise the advantages of the digital economy and the urgent need for digital transformation.”
The webinar was organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City and the Viet Nam International Arbitration Centre.
Rooftop solar power needs more policy support
The Viet Nam Renewable Energy Week 2020 was launched in Ha Noi on Tuesday. It is co-organised by the Viet Nam Sustainable Energy Alliance, the Viet Nam Climate Action Alliance, and the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations. This fifth event, “Breakthrough to Recovery and Green Development for a Peaceful Life”, aims to put forward measures promoting sustainable energy development, ensuring energy security, removing barriers, and bolstering green economy recovery and growth.
The four-day event will also offer the chance for stakeholders to contribute to the country’s energy transition in an effective and sustainable manner.
Cecile Leroy from the Delegation to the European Union in Viet Nam said the EU has signed numerous cooperation agreements with Vietnamese ministries and sectors in sustainable energy transition.
It has also provided its Vietnamese partners with assistance in energy development policies and in raising capacity, awareness and energy access among the public.
The EU stands ready to share knowledge in projects, finance and the legal framework for green recovery and development, she said.
Renewable energy currently accounts for 10 per cent of the national grid’s total capacity and Viet Nam has emerged as a leader in the development of renewable energy resources in Southeast Asia.
Rooftop solar power in Viet Nam has exploded with 1,000MWp in just two years, however, there are still many obstacles, especially policies, finance and initiatives to promote its development.
A seminar titled “Developing rooftop solar power in Viet Nam: Benefits, bottlenecks and solutions" was held within the framework of the event.
Viet Nam Electricity (EVN) reported that the country has a total of 45,299 rooftop solar power projects put into operation nationwide by August 23, with a capacity of 1,029MWp, output reaching about 500,692MWh, emissions reduction of about 457,132 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to 77,257 TOE).
Nguy Thi Khanh, director of Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), said that the supporting price mechanism has helped Viet Nam achieve 1,000MWp for rooftop solar power in the past two years, and at the same time create conditions for thousands of domestic and foreign investors and enterprises to participate in the market from research, production to distribution.
However, the result was low compared to the technical potential estimated at 48,000MWp of rooftop solar power, said the director.
"There are still many bottlenecks that need to be removed, especially related to policies and finance to promote rooftop solar power development," said Khanh.
Tran Viet Nguyen, an EVN representative, said that rooftop solar power had generated a lot of electricity on the grid.
To continue to promote rooftop solar power development, EVN had publicised processes, procedures, and created maximum conditions for investors in the process of signing the connection agreements, and power trading contracts.
However, Nguyen said that in reality, the communications and promotion for rooftop solar power were still limited; many households were hesitant in investment due to a lack of information about product quality, equipment installation, operation and warranty units.
At the same time, the cost of equipment and installation was still high, there were no policies to encourage household customers to invest and install; there were no national technical standards for rooftop solar power equipment and systems, he added.
To promote rooftop solar power projects, Nguyen proposed the Government, ministries, sectors and investors continue to study initiatives, mechanisms and supporting packages to reduce costs of installation and operation, then it was possible to replicate rooftop solar power, especially for low-income households.
In addition, EVN also proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Science and Technology to soon study and promulgate safety standards and techniques for rooftop solar power.
Intraday trading, short selling soon available: draft circular
Investors may be able to buy and sell shares within the day if the securities firm is allowed to balance the shortage of securities to settle the transactions, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Investors must sign a contract with their securities companies and the contract should clarify the risks, expenses and losses that investors must pay for, the ministry said in a draft circular to guide the securities market trading.
Each of investors can only open one intraday trading account at the same securities firm where they have the main trading accounts.
The intraday trading account must be separated from the main account or it should sub for the main account. The securities firm is obliged to split an investor’s main account, intraday trading account and depository account (if any) from one another.
The list of stocks available for intraday trading will be picked by the securities company and those stocks should be the ones available for margin lending at the stock exchanges.
The brokerage must post the list of stocks available for intraday trading on its website.
Within the trading day, if the total quantity of stocks bought by the investor outclasses the quantity of stocks offered for sale or vice versa, the brokerage house is obliged to balance the cash or the stock difference when the transactions are settled.
On the other hand, investors are required to pay all expenses to the securities firm for its support to settle the transactions. In return, the brokerage may ask the investors to deposit collaterals for their transactions in cash or securities.
The total value of all intraday trading deals at each securities firm cannot exceed a specific rate compared to its equity capital. The figure cannot beat the rate compared to the firm’s daily average trading value made in the previous month. The rates will be regulated by the State Securities Commission (SSC).
The SSC is also empowered to halt the intraday trading session to settle the market amid potential turbulence.
In addition, investors are able to short-sell if they open short accounts at the eligible brokerages where their main trading accounts are managed. The short account is a sub to the main account or it should be a separate account.
Under the draft circular, stocks traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) may be available for margin lending.
According to Bao Viet Securities Co (BVSC), the regulations on intraday trading and short selling may give the market a boost if the circular gets approved as the two methods will attract more investors and increase the market trading liquidity.
The company also said that the two tools will help Viet Nam meet the standards set by the two international finance firms FTSE and MSCI, improving its chance to be upgraded to the emerging market level and draw more foreign capital.
Conference promotes Japanese investment in Binh Duong
About 280 leaders of Japanese enterprises took part in an online investment promotion conference held on August 26 to introduce the southern province of Binh Duong’s industrial capacity and potential.
Co-organised by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Binh Duong-based industrial infrastructure developer Becamex IDC, the function gave information on the local industrial parks and incentives for investors, while collecting investors’ profiles and demand.
Representatives of the provincial competent agencies and sectors took the occasion to answer questions from Japanese firms that are looking for investment and cooperation opportunities in the locality.
Speaking at the event, Permanent Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Mai Hung Dung said Vietnam in general and Binh Duong in particular prioritise foreign-funded projects that apply advanced technologies and have high value added and linkages to form global supply chains.
With strength in industrial development, Binh Duong is the best option for foreign investors in Vietnam, he added.
Currently, the province is ranked second nationwide in terms of foreign investment attraction by reeling in over 35.05 billion USD from 65 nations and territories. Japan has so far poured capital in many big projects here./.
Japanese investors satisfied with investment conditions in Hung Yen: diplomat
Japanese enterprises operating at Hung Yen’s industrial park are pleased with favourable conditions they have received here, with many planning to expand their investment, according to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio.
The diplomat made the remark at a meeting between working delegations of the Foreign Ministry and the embassy with authorities of the northern province on August 26 to promote investment cooperation between Japan and Hung Yen.
Hung Yen adjoins Hanoi and is located close to the capital’s Noi Bai international airport, as well as to the Hai Phong and Cai Lan ports.
At the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung said the province has all conditions needed to serve all types of investment.
He expressed his hope that the embassy will inform more investors on the locality to boost related economic and cultural cooperation ties.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Phong stated Japan investors in Hung Yen are highly valued for their investment scale, production technologies, environmental protection efforts, and tax payment.
Currently, Japan is the biggest foreign investor in the province with 166 projects worth over 3 billion USD.
For his part, Yamada Takio highlighted Hung Yen has favourable conditions for building factories, adding that in addition to big names like Panasonic, Toto, and Daikin, small Japanese firms also choose to invest in the locality.
Many of them operate at the local Thang Long 2 industrial park, he said, noting that the expansion of the park will help attract even more Japanese capital.
The diplomat took the occasion to list a number of difficulties in purchasing materials in Vietnam and seeking high-quality employees, then asked local authorities to promote linkages among firms and the development of support industry.
He also suggested Hung Yen boost the quality of high school education and the teaching of the Japanese language at school./.
Construction starts on Ca Na Seaport Complex Project
Ninh Thuan Province people's Committee held the groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of Ca Na General Seaport Project on August 25.
The seaport will cover over 100 ha with a designed capacity to deal with 3.3 million tonnes of goods each year. It is located to the west of Sung Trau tourism area, Phuoc Diem Commune, Thuan Nam District. This is the border area between Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces and adjacent to the coastal road DT 701.
The first phase of the project was approved by Ninh Thuan People's Committee in 2018 and an adjustment was issued on August 24.
The project includes several main constructions including two 70,000-100,000 DWT ports, a 20,000 DWT port, warehouses and other infrastructure. The port will enable firms in Ninh Thuan as well as the South Central Coast and Central Highlands to work more efficiently. It would also help to improve the transportation of components of renewable energy projects in Ninh Thuan.
The project will use smart technology to help deal with the cargo and promote sustainable development.
The first port is expected to be completed in December 2022. The construction of the second port will be started in January 2023 and completed in October 2025. The 20,000 DWT port will be built in November 2025 and completed in August 2026.
ASEAN economic ministers hold consultation with Australia, New Zealand
The ASEAN economic ministers held the virtual 25th consultation with external partners Australia and New Zealand on August 29, within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.
The event was co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham, and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor.
They said two-way trade between ASEAN and Australia rose slightly to 87.8 billion USD last year from 86.8 billion USD in 2018. Meanwhile, that between ASEAN and New Zealand went up 6.6 percent to 12.1 billion USD in 2019 from 11.4 billion USD in 2018.
Australia’s direct investment in the bloc reached 32.6 billion USD last year, or 5.5 percent of the country’s total. New Zealand also poured 560 million USD in the grouping, accounting for 3.2 percent.
Expressing concern over the impacts of COVID-19, ministers said the hardest-hit sectors include transportation, tourism, retail and other services, besides disruption of supply chains and financial markets.
They reaffirmed commitment to opening trade and investment markets to reinforce resilience and sustainability of regional supply chains and maintain the flow of goods and services.
They pledged not to impose new trade limitation measures, including non-tariff ones that hurt the flow of key goods and services in the fight against the pandemic.
Participants agreed to give priority to facilitating economic recovery following the pandemic, as well as strive to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year, thus expressing support for regional multilateral trade system and regional economic integration.
Acknowledging progress in negotiations for the upgrade of the agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), they directed officials to continue stepping up the process in the near future, including removing unnecessary barriers to restore regional business community’s trust.
They highlighted a need to reform the World Trade Organisation and vowed to join hands during the process to meet expectation of member states.
They consented to hold the 12th AANZFTA Joint Committee and the ninth ASEAN – Closer Economic Relations (CER) Integration Partnership Forum at the earliest possible time.
ASEAN, India seek ways to foster economic growth
Economic ministers of 10 ASEAN member states and India discussed measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain macro-economic stability at the 17th AEM-India Consultations held within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM-52) on August 29.
The event was co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and India’s Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal.
The ministers said that to boost economic development and ensure macro-economic stability, it is necessary to reopen markets and ensure sustainable supply chains in the region, especially for essential commodities such as pharmaceuticals, medicine and food.
They recalled both sides’ efforts to ratify their investment agreement and review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA).
They also highly evaluated activities of the ASEAN-India Business Council in 2020, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which they said, have helped promote trade and investment cooperation and mitigate negative impact of the pandemic.
ASEAN statistics showed that the trade turnover between ASEAN and India accounted for 2.7 percent of the bloc’s total trade value, while India’s investment in the bloc made up 1.3 percent of the total FDI attracted by the bloc.
ASEAN, partners agree to promote post-COVID-19 economic cooperation
The Economic Ministers of ASEAN member states and their partner countries on August 28 emphasised the importance of further strengthening regional economic cooperation and promoting economic growth post COVID-19.
In a Joint Media Statement issued after the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) Economic Ministers’ Meeting, which was held in the form of a video conference as part of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings (AEM-52), the Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States underscored the importance of strengthening regional supply chains to make them resilient and less vulnerable to shocks and to advance sustainable economic growth.
They reaffirmed their commitment to promote trade and investment, minimize disruptions to trade and global supply chains and facilitate supply chain connectivity, including for essential goods such as medical supplies, medicines, including vaccines, food, commodities and other essential supplies and services in the region.
They welcomed regional initiatives to mitigate the impact of the pandemic including the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as the work towards the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and the Standard Operating Procedures for Public Health Emergencies Response.
They acknowledged the important role of initiatives which aim to ensure the equitable global distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, recognized the importance of facilitating essential movement of people across borders, without undermining each country’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, to stabilize the trade and investment.
The Ministers reiterated their support for ASEAN and ASEAN-centred architecture, reflected among others in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (the Outlook), which could contribute to post-pandemic recovery in the region.
They exchanged views on how to accelerate economic growth, maintain supply chains and market stability, and strengthen the economic resilience of the EAS region post COVID-19.
They also discussed the importance of harnessing the opportunities of digital economy, and how to enhance the application and the utilization of digital technologies in the region to facilitate digital economy.
The Ministers affirmed that this is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic and this provides appropriate hard/soft infrastructure and human resources development that considers the needs and reskilling and upskilling of persons likely to lack digital skills and access to technology including women, MSMEs and other vulnerable groups, especially those living in remote and rural areas and more likely to lack digital skills and access to technology.
They also underscored the importance of collective efforts in promoting economic and social resilience in the region, and reiterated their support for the necessary reform of the WTO.
The Ministers vowed to continue to work together to realize a free, fair, transparent, nondiscriminatory, predictable, and stable trade environment, and affirmed the importance of agreed upon rules in the WTO, which can enhance market predictability and business confidence.
They agreed that any trade restrictive emergency measures put in place to address the impact of COVID-19 must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, consistent with WTO rules and do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption of global and regional supply chains.
The Ministers acknowledged the significant contribution of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) through activities that support economic integration and digital economy in the region.
They welcomed ERIA’s paper on "Accelerating restoration of economic growth, maintaining market stability and strengthening resilience of the EAS region in response to the COVID-19 pandemic", and encouraged ERIA to undertake policy-based research to improve trade and investment including making value chains resilient to shocks of EAS economies, effectively address the impending recession, promote new technologies and develop a framework for the EAS regional economic integration and development after overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, taking into account existing initiatives.
ASEAN, Canada look to negotiate bilateral trade deal
The 9th AEM-Canada Consultations took place on August 29 within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM-52).
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng co-chaired the virtual event.
Participating ministers evaluated growth in trade exchange and investment between the two sides when two-way trade reached 17.1 billion USD and Canada’s investment in ASEAN hit 3.2 billion USD last year.
These figures helped Canada become ASEAN’s ninth biggest trader and fifth largest investor, they noted.
They acknowledged positive progresses in implementing a plan within the framework of the ASEAN-Canada Joint Statement on Trade and Investment in the 2016-2020 period, and approved another plan for 2021-2025 with extensive commitments.
They appreciated main outcomes of the fourth trade policy dialogue between the bloc and Canada held on June 8-12, with the focus on Government procurement, labour, environment and State-owned enterprises.
The ministers also hailed both sides’ efforts towards negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement in the time ahead, while showing concerns over negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives and economic development in the region and over the globe.
They pledged to continue opening the market and boosting investment to encourage the circulation of essential goods and services.
They also agreed not to apply protection measures, including non-tariff measures that negatively affect the flow of essential goods and services in the coming time to join hands in fighting the pandemic.