VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 10

National retail sales, service revenues up in June

 
     

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 10
A supermarket in Ha Noi. During the first half of this year, the retail sector earned about VND1.89 quadrillion. — Photo thuongtruong.vn

 
 
 
 Viet Nam’s total retail sales and service revenue hit VND431 trillion (US$18.6 billion) in June, up 6.2 per cent month-on-month and 5.3 per cent year-on-year.

However, the figure in the first six months of this year decreased by 0.8 per cent to about VND2.38 quadrillion ($103 billion) compared to the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Total revenue in the second quarter was VND1.15 quadrillion, down 5.8 per cent from the previous quarter and 4.6 per cent from a year ago.

During the first half of the year, the retail sector earned about VND1.89 quadrillion, an annual increase of 3.4 per cent, the office said. The rise was attributable to the abundant supply of goods and thriving online shopping, particularly during the COVID-19 social distancing period, reported chinhphu.vn.

Online shopping has become increasingly popular, especially when social distancing measures were put in place.

A number of localities enjoyed increases in retail sales of goods, including Hai Phong by 10.4 per cent, HCM City 10.1 per cent, Ha Noi 9.9 per cent, Dong Nai 8.4 per cent, Binh Dinh 4.3 per cent, Ba Ria-Vung Tau 3 per cent, and Thanh Hoa 0.9 per cent.

The accommodation and catering services in the first six months earned just VND234.7 trillion, down 18.1 per cent against the same period last year.

The tourism revenue also followed suit with an annual reduction of 53.2 per cent. In the first half, the sector reeled in just VND10.3 trillion due to a hiatus in welcoming foreign visitors to control the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the summer school holidays are yet to arrive, resulting in a less vibrant domestic travel market.

With the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) effective from August, retail experts have said the domestic industry would have plenty of opportunities and challenges in the near future.

Vu Vinh Phu, a retail industry expert, said local firms will be put under great pressure as an array of different kinds of goods will be exported to other countries, while goods from different nations will enter the Vietnamese market much more freely.

Moreover, goods from abroad hold advantages in terms of quality. They also follow diversified innovative models and are reasonably priced, meaning Vietnamese goods look set to encounter increasingly tough competition.

Meanwhile, Phu said that at present, the co-operation between local manufacturers and the Vietnamese distribution system remains lax, with only 10 per cent of goods meeting Vietnamese supermarket standards. Many domestic goods are not up to the necessary level of quality, have less diverse designs and are expensive, whilst there is a lack of connectivity between domestic production and distribution chains. These are weaknesses manufacturers must swiftly address.

Furthermore, there will be fierce competition between domestic distribution companies that have limited capacity with major distribution enterprises from EU nations. Therefore, it is possible that domestic distribution enterprises will be susceptible to being acquired, therefore losing their market share to foreign enterprises.

To stand firm on home turf, Vietnamese manufacturers must strive to improve designs and labour productivity to be capable of competing with goods from other countries within the domestic market.

Vietnamese retail businesses must build their own retail brands, ensure diversified sources of goods going straight from production to retail channels and strengthen production and business links in a responsible manner.

Tran Duy Dong, director of Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the Voice of Viet Nam newspaper that it is essential to protect domestic enterprises by establishing technical barriers and strictly controlling the operation of foreign enterprises.

It is also key to step up communications regarding regulations under EVFTA commitments, he said. 

Son La increases chance to export longan to US, Australia

The northern Son La province has been granted a total of 92 codes specifically for longan growing areas for this year, of which 34 codes are to be used to export the product to both the United States and Australia, while 58 codes will be used to produce longan for export to China.

Son La has been implementing a range of solutions to promote the export of longan products, update customs clearance procedures at border gates, to provide relevant information for firms to use, as well as assisting farmers with applying VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards during the farming process.

For this year, the province has over 17,000 hectares of longan for harvest, with the majority in the districts of Song Ma, Mai Son, Yen Chau, and Muong La.

Besides longan, Son La also exports other fruits such as mangoes, plums, and custard apples to foreign markets.

Alibaba to open third cloud data centre in Indonesia next year

Chinese tech giant Alibaba plans to open its third cloud data centre in Indonesia in 2021 with a hope to expand its presence in this market amidst rising competition.

Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Alibaba, recently said that the centre will minimise data loss-related risks by dividing workloads between the company’s three centres in Indonesia. The two previous centres were built in 2018 and 2019.

Alibaba Cloud Country Manager Leon Chen stressed that opening an additional centre is very important as many businesses, including traditional enterprises such as banks , are shifting their IT infrastructure to the cloud amid the pandemic.

Indonesia’s major cities, starting with Jakarta, formally entered a partial lockdown in late April, causing an uptick in demand for digital services including e-commerce, finance, online media, education and video games. All these services are lucrative markets for Alibaba.

However, rival tech behemoths Google and Amazon also plan to expand their cloud service subsidiaries in Indonesia, which is the single largest digital economy in Southeast Asia.

Google Cloud opened a new Jakarta region in late June, bringing its services closer to local customers, while Amazon Web Services plans to build a data centre in 2022.

Leon Chen said his company would also build a data scrubbing centre alongside the third data centre in Indonesia. 

Tuyen Quang strengthens tourism stimulus

With plentiful natural wonders, beautiful landscapes, and cultural relics, the northern province of Tuyen Quang has substantial potential to develop its tourism industry. Despite facing difficulties from COVID-19, the province has introduced a range of new measures to attract tourists.

Tuyen Quang welcomed nearly 2 million visitors in 2019, reaching 104 percent of the annual target and up more than 10 percent compared to 2018. Revenue was estimated at 73 million USD. This year, however, the province’s tourism sector has been catastrophically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In addition to its advantages are obstacles to the provincial tourism sector growing, such as underdeveloped infrastructure and poor human resources for tourism development.Tuyen Quang has a host of impressive landscapes and nature spots, such as Na Hang - Lam Binh ecological lake, which has been praised as a miniature version of Ha Long Bay. With further measures coming to boost tourism, Tuyen Quang hopes to become a popular destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Organic Agriculture Development Project for 2020-2030 adopted

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has recently signed a decision approving the Organic Agriculture Development Project for 2020-2030 with a hope of becoming one of countries with advance organic agriculture production.

Specifically, by 2025, the area of organic agricultural land will reach about 1.5-2 percent of the total agricultural land area. The area of organic farming land will account for over 1 percent of the total land cultivated with major crops such as rice, vegetables, fruits, tea, pepper, coffee, cashew and coconut.

The percentage of organic livestock products is expected to reach about 1-2 percent of the total domestic livestock products. Meanwhile, organic aquaculture will account for about 0.5 – 1.5 percent of the total aquaculture area.

The project also targets improving the efficiency of organic production with the product value per one hectare of organic cultivation and aquaculture land 1.3-1.5 times higher than that of non-organic production.

Main tasks set under the project are to develop concentrated organic agricultural production regions, diversify forms of organic production, intensify technology application, develop certification organisations, and increase the processing, consumption and export of organic products.

Kiên Giang develops rice co-operative – company links to ensure demand, supply

Kiên Giang Province, the country’s largest rice producer, has taken measures to strengthen co-operation between co-operatives and companies involved in rice production to improve the quality and value of the grain, and thus farmers’ incomes.

The province’s Co-operative Alliance and other relevant agencies have acted as a link between them.

Nguyễn Văn Thể, deputy chairman of the alliance, said under the contracts companies invest in seeds, inputs and advanced farming techniques for their contracted rice co-operatives, but many also help the latter improve their management.

Co-operative members do not have worry about fluctuating prices and demand after they sign contracts while companies can secure the quantity of quality rice needed for their exports.

In the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province, farmers used to suffer from price declines in case of a bumper harvest while companies found it hard to buy enough quality rice since both depended on traders.

Now 219 co-operatives with a total of 37,272ha have signed contracts with companies, according to the alliance.

They include 34 large-scale rice fields created by pooling lands to achieve economies of scale with a total of 19,000ha in the 2019-20 winter – spring crop.

Mai Anh Nhịn, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said farmers had a bumper harvest and good prices since authorities and farmers took proactive measures to mitigate the severe saltwater intrusion.

Farmers harvested an average yield of 7.24 tonnes per hectare, 300kg more than a year earlier.

Đoàn Văn Bấu, director of the Thạnh Hòa Agriculture Co-operative in Châu Thành District, said to achieve this, the co-operatives and local agricultural officials taught farmers many advanced techniques, including proper use of fertilisers and pesticides. 

In the ongoing summer – autumn crop, the province plans to grow 284,000ha and harvest 1.5 million tonnes of paddy, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

The department has instructed farmers to grow high-quality varieties on 85 per cent of the area and medium-quality varieties on the remaining 15 per cent.

Đỗ Minh Nhựt, deputy director of the department, said the province has supported more companies, co-operatives and co-operative groups to produce rice under the large rice field model to improve quality and secure outlets.

In Vĩnh Thuận District, the provincial and district agriculture extension agencies are helping four large rice fields of 230ha each grow clean rice and reduce production costs.  

Participating farmers are provided with a subsidy of VNĐ720,000 (US$31) per hectare for buying certified seeds and VNĐ1.26 million ($54) per hectare for buying organic fertilisers and pesticides.

They are taught the “3 reductions and 3 increases” techniques to reduce the use of seeds, fertilisers and plant protection chemicals and to achieve increases in productivity, quality and efficiency.

The project aims to reduce production costs by 10-20 per cent and improve yields by 10-15 per cent. 

Ho Chi Minh City international travel expo hit by postponement

The International Travel Expo-Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC 2020) is to be delayed as a result of the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, according to Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee. 

Tuyen said the purpose of suspending the event is to take greater steps to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19, implement sufficient control measures to protect the health of citizens, and to ensure the national tourism event is run in an effective manner at a later time.

Indeed, the 16th edition of the ITE HCMC 2020 is initially scheduled to take place from September 4 to September 6 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in District 7 with the aim of promoting the inbound market and receiving support of the tourism alliance made up of five countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said that the department has moved to swiftly distribute surveys to exhibitors. The results suggest that travel enterprises are still keeping a close watch on developments of the COVID-19 epidemic, while the nation’s major tourist markets suffering from the economic impact of the epidemic have yet to reopen the door for foreign visitors.

“The tourism sector gives top priority to safety and security. It is challenging for us to regain travellers’ confidence following the conclusion of the epidemic,” said Vu.

ITE HCMC 2020 is anticipated to offer opportunities for travel agencies to introduce their tourism products to international friends in order to attract greater numbers of tourists to Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City.

The occasion is therefore expected to help travel firms provide visitors with updated information, seek partners, and sign business contracts.

Last year, the event attracted the participation of businesses from 42 countries and territories worldwide, as well as approximately 30,000 visitors.

HCM City State budget revenue shows drastic downturn

The State budget revenue of Ho Chi Minh City suffered a sharp fall, despite recording an increase in spending during the first half of the year, largely due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the municipal Statistics Office reports.

Throughout the reviewed period, roughly VND163.173 trillion, equivalent to US$7 billion, was collected for the State budget in the southern metropolis, making up 40.2% of this year’s target, representing an annual drop of 14.4%. 

Simultaneously, budget spending was estimated to stand at VND29,672 trillion VND, representing a rise of 22.2%.

According to Director of the Statistics Office Huynh Van Hung, this marks the first time that the municipal State budget revenue has endured a fall, while spending surged during the first half of the year.

Hung therefore attributes the downturn to the fact that a majority of local businesses and economic activities have been severely affected by the COVID-19, while policies such as tax reductions and tax payment deadline extensions have been implemented in an effort to help local enterprises get through the tough times.

Moreover, foreign tourist arrivals, new businesses, and investment in the southern city has plummeted sharply, with the number of firms suspending operations soaring by 40.6% on-year.
According to the city’s Customs Department, the 10 import commodities that recorded the highest contribution to the budget, including completely-built automobiles, motorbikes, steel, and petrol, all witnessed sharp declines in their turnover by  between 15% and 50% from a year previously.

Elsewhere, products with increased export turnover such as computers, electronic devices, agro-aquatic products, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals are entitled to low tariffs under recently-signed free trade agreements, meaning they are unable to make up for the fall in import tariff revenue.

To reach this year’s budget revenue target, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee is making every effort to support businesses towards striving to spur economic growth whilst speeding up the divestment of State capital from State-owned enterprises.

International expos postponed due to COVID-19

A number of international expos and conferences have been postponed to 2021 due to fears of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has made a decision to cancel the Vietfish 2020, which is initially scheduled for August 26-28.

Next year’s edition of the event will take place in Ho Chi Minh City from August 25-27, 2021.

Those who have paid registration fees for the event this year will have them rolled into next year’s one.

Earlier, the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) also announced that the 12th VINACAS Golden Cashew Rendezvous will be organised from March 5-7, 2021, instead of late June of 2020.

Also due to impact of the pandemic, the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City has decided to postpone the 2020 International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA EXPO) without giving a specific time for the next edition.

The expo is previously scheduled to take place from July 31 to August 6.

Da Lat strawberry and persimmon brands granted official certification

The Da Lat City People's Committee in Lam Dong province has moved to officially launch the certified marks of "Da Lat Strawberry" and "Da Lat persimmon" for 26 organisations and individuals who are eligible to be granted the right to use the certified trademarks.

These trademarks can now be applied to products that are manufactured and traded with Da Lat and neighbouring districts. 

The two certified marks are locally registered trademarks, that meet the criteria concerning certification and the quality region map.

The granting of the two trademarks aims to gradually improve the overall quality of products coming from the city, whilst protecting the brand, and creating a typical agricultural image for Da Lat.

Indeed, this is seen as a necessary step due to the ambiguity of similar agricultural products of Chinese origin that have used the name for their products for many years. 

Nguyen Van Son, vice chairman of the Da Lat City People's Committee, says that the strawberry growing area throughout now Da Lat covers roughly 130 hectares, with an average output of 1,500 tonnes per year, while the persimmon planting area in Da Lat features 370 hectares with an annual output of 12,000 tonnes.

The two agricultural products are primarily consumed domestically, therefore, the official announcement relating to the brand certification is seen as an important step in promoting local economic development, Son notes. In addition, it is important to maintain the overall quality of local products whilst promoting their brands to the market.

Moreover, the local administration and professional departments must also step up to support businesses, co-operatives, and households in hybridising seeds and improving the quality of plant varieties, as well as the process of reserving and bringing products to the market in the near future, he notes.

Shopping habits change due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone. Since the peak of the pandemic, consumers in Vietnam’s cities have changed their buying habits. 

The pandemic is under control in Vietnam, but a lot of people are now used to a different way of shopping and accessing services.

Businesses have continued the changes they made to selling and delivering their services during the pandemic.

At the peak of the pandemic, Nguyen My Linh’s family in Ho Chi Minh city followed social distancing rules and avoided crowded places. Now the “new normal” for her involves more cautious spending.

“During the pandemic, my job and income were impacted and we had to tighten spending. We still buy necessities such as food and household products, but we have limited spending on clothes and footwear.”

In a survey by the Association of Vietnamese High-quality Products 93% of respondents said that in the second half of the year, they will buy mostly food. The survey also found a change in the way people choose products.

Previously they paid close attention to appearance and packaging. Now they care more about food safety, place of origin, nutrition, and similar information.

Le Duy Toan, Director of the Duy Anh Foodstuff Company, which sells dragon fruit noodles and watermelon noodles, said, “I’ve seen many places selling watermelon which could not be exported due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I thought about how we could use watermelon in our products. We produced some samples and two weeks later introduced them to the market.”

Since the pandemic, food hygiene and health issues have been top priorities for consumers. People now shop more at supermarkets and convenient stores and online shopping is a growing trend.

Nguyen Phuong Nga, Director of Kantar Vietnam, a global market survey company, says consumers have changed their habits to adapt to the situation. Businesses should focus on branding and registering their product’s place of origin.

HCM City set to launch businesses support initiatives

Ho Chi Minh City is poised to implement 13 different solutions in an effort to provide continued support for local firms as they strive to boost production, increase business operations, and ultimately overcome the difficulties caused by the COVID-19.

With regard to business activities during the COVID-19 outbreak, Nguyen Anh Thi, head of the Ho Chi Minh City High-Tech Park Management Board, says the park’s board asked competent authorities to allow local enterprises and the two largest factories, Intel Vietnam and Samsung, to continue to operate without interruption. Whilst the businesses did continue to operate, social distancing measures were put in place to prevent the possible spread of the epidemic. 

"These businesses are an important link in the global supply chain, whilst electronics and high-tech products play a very important role, especially in the period when the whole world works together against the pandemic. In fact, businesses in the Ho Chi Minh City High-Tech Park have been affected by the epidemic, but the impact is not too heavy," Thi states.

Specifically, the first half of the year saw the estimated production value of enterprises reach a figure of US$7,451 billion, down 5.8% over the same period from last year, therefore reaching only 37.2% of the set plan. Export value stood at US$6,946 billion, an annual fall of 2.6%, with import value US$5,979 billion, down 24.2% over the same period.

The City Tax Department has moved to formulate a set of criteria aimed at guiding cases of tax exemption, reduction, and extension moving into the post-COVID-19 phase, whilst also carrying out the extension of tax payments and land rentals.

As of mid-June, the southern city has handled 684 VAT refund records for municipal businesses, with refunds of more than VND4,500 billion. Simultaneously, commercial banks have mainly focused their support on two groups, including interest rate reduction and debt restructuring aimed at maintaining debt groups.

With regard for social insurance, as of the end of June, the total number of enterprises submitting dossiers verifying their right to enjoy support policies for staff stood at 2,346, whilst the social insurance agency has verified 2,040 businesses with 52,184 employees.

According to Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, the southern metropolis will implement 13 groups of solutions in the near future in a bid to continue supporting businesses in production and business operations.

This should be done alongside carrying out the directions proposed by the Prime Minister, whilst promptly deploying tax-related policies approved by the National Assembly and the Government in an effort to support businesses, organisations, households, and business individuals.

 

Moreover, it is considered imperative to outline a group of solutions aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) manage and develop independently whilst avoiding bankruptcy. In particular, major economic groups must assist SMEs towards mutually beneficial co-operation such as assistance in sourcing raw materials, finding markets, trade promotion, and vocational training.

Furthermore, there should be a specific plan to help travel firms promote domestic tourism that is associated with the transport industry, in addition to removing bottlenecks of real estate projects, deploying land auctions, and stimulating social investment to create additional employment, Tuyen adds.

Fruit, vegetable exports enjoy swift recovery after COVID-19 downturn

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports in June recorded robust growth after experiencing a downward for several months as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, according to data revealed by the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The figures show that fruit and vegetable exports enjoyed an annual surge of 8.4% in June to US$300 million after enduring a sharp decline in April and May. However, the six-month export figure decreased by 11.4% to US$1.8 billion in comparison with the same period last year.

Most notably, fruit and vegetable exports to the Chinese market saw a sharp fall of 30.3% to US$906.1 million during the opening five months of the year due to the impact of the COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a number of foreign markets saw robust growth throughout the reviewed period, with Thailand experiencing a huge increase of 233.4%, followed by the Republic of Korea (RoK), up 21.9%, the United States, a rise of 6.2%, and Japan, a climb of 15.7%.

Despite the negative growth, the past six months has seen several types of local fruit successfully penetrate some demanding markets. For example, Vietnamese bananas have officially gone on sale in stores part of the Lotte supermarket chain in the RoK, the world’s 12th largest importer of bananas.

At present, the country is sixth among the leading suppliers of bananas to the RoK with a modest export quantity. Indeed, the duration of the five-month period saw the Southeast Asian nation export 2,600 tonnes of bananas with a value of US$1.6 million to the RoK market.

The introduction of Vietnamese banana products to the Lotte Mart supermarket chain has served to present a wealth of opportunities for the country to increase its share in new potential markets.

A prime example of this is Vietnamese lychees which have begun to make inroads into Japan and Singapore.

According to the Vietnamese trade office in Singapore, the initial batch of Vietnamese lychees arrived in Singapore in late May, officially hitting the shelves of the FairPrice supermarket chain in June.

To date, approximately 50 tonnes of local lychees have been exported to Singapore, with the figure expected to rise to 100 tonnes by the end of the year.

There are also bright prospects for fruit and vegetable exports to major markets such as Thailand, the EU, and the Netherlands in the near future.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in Thailand stated that the Thai side has spent more than US$1 billion a year importing fresh fruits, in addition to US$600 million purchasing vegetables. This has seen the country’s fruit and vegetable exports to the Thai market increase by 233.4% during the first half of the year.

With the impending European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) set to come into force on August 1, the deal is anticipated to create favourable conditions for local businesses to expand into new markets such as the EU, with the trade bloc accounting for 45% of the global trade value of fresh fruit and vegetables.

According to the Vietnamese Trade Office in the Netherlands, the EU's large-scale market size and seasonal demand has made the bloc an attractive market for fruit suppliers in developing countries, including Vietnam.

Soc Trang’s export revenue grows 26 percent despite COVID-19

Export revenue of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang reached 470 million USD in the first six months of 2020, up 26 percent over the same period in 2019, despite impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and severe salinity.

Of the total, 332 million USD came from aquatic products, a rise of 24.83 percent, and 97 million USD from rice, 2.2 times higher than that in the same time in 2019.

A number of local fisheries firms predicted that shrimp exports will rise strongly in the coming months, even by 50 percent year on year in July.

Experts attributed the results to Vietnam’s strong performance in controlling the pandemic and local firms’ efforts in enhancing the quality and designs for their products.

In 2020, Soc Trang aims to earn 900 million USD from exports, including 670 million USD of fisheries sales.

To this end, the province has directed the industry and trade sector and businesses to expand markets, while focusing on traditional ones and diversifying their products to meet market demands.

Lam Hoang Nghiep, Vice Chairman of the Soc Trang People’s Committee, said in the first six months of this year, economic growth of the province was only 0.51 percent, the lowest for the period since 1992. However, upturn was still seen in production, processing and agro-fisheries export, showing optimistic signs in economic growth for the rest of the year.

HCM City launches seven agro-ecotourism programmes

The HCM City Department of Tourism, together with five suburban districts, has launched seven agro-ecotourism programmes.

The authority is stepping up the development of those tourism products to capitalise on the city’s diverse natural landscapes in outlying districts, said Deputy Director of the municipal Tourism Department Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa.

The programmes include trips exploring salangane farming and a bat sanctuary, and kayaking through mangrove forests at the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, among others.

The city saw a 54.7-percent drop in the number of the tourists in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the period, HCM City welcomed only 9.4 million tourists, including 1.3 million foreigners and 8.1 million Vietnamese people, year-on-year decreases of 69.3 percent and 50.9 percent, respectively. 

Total revenue from tourism products and services surpassed 34 trillion VND (1.46 billion USD), down 49.6 percent against the same period last year.

Nearly 7 million USD of public investment disbursed in six months

Disbursement of public investment in the first six months of 2020 amounted to nearly 156 trillion VND (6.73 million USD), fulfilling 33.1 percent of the plan set by the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, higher than the 28.56 percent recorded in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The ministry further saidover 142 trillion VND of domestic capital was disbursed in the reviewed period, equivalent to 32.98 percent of the plan, along with over 5.7 trillion VND of foreign capital, and more than 7.5 trillion VND of capital for national target programmes.

It also reported that four ministries and central agencies, and six localities recorded over 50 percent of disbursement.

Meanwhile, disbursement of under 5 percent was seen in 10 ministries and central agencies.

Tourism development must take into account COVID-19 situation: PM

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with cities and provinces on post-COVID-19 tourism recovery scenarios.

He said suitable measures are needed to promote tourism in line with the developments of the pandemic, and the management work should be enhanced to ensure service quality.

Vietnam is forecast to witness a 80-percent drop in the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2020 if the COVID-19 pandemic is not controlled by the end of the year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The administration said following a 33-percent growth in January, the number of foreign holidaymakers fell sharply by 22 percent in February and 68 percent in March.

Travel companies also reported that over the past five months, the number of tourists halved due to the impact of COVID-19. They are expected to face difficulties not only in 2020 but also the years beyond.

At least 90 percent of small- and medium-sized travel firms have suspended operations, while state-owned businesses are operating on low capacity as the coronavirus shut down travel.

Rice exports up nearly 18 percent in H1

Vietnam earned 1.71 billion USD from exporting nearly 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year, up 17.9 percent in value and 4.4 percent in volume year-on-year.

In June alone, 409,000 tonnes of rice worth 207 million USD was shipped abroad, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Philippines was the top buyer between January and May, importing 1.3 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice worth 598.6 million USD, or 40 percent of total rice exports, up 23 percent in volume and 42 percent in value from a year earlier.

During the first five months, markets to which the value of rice exports enjoyed the strongest year-on-year growth were Senegal (18.3-fold), Indonesia (2.9-fold), and China (2.3-fold).

Meanwhile, rice export prices increased 13 percent from the same period last year to average 485 USD per tonne.

Agrotrade said the rice sector now has even more opportunities under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), recently ratified by the National Assembly and set to take effect in August.

Under the agreement’s terms, the EU pledges to provide an annual rice quota of 80,000 tonnes to Vietnam and completely liberalise trade in broken rice. After three to five years, tariffs on rice products will be slashed to zero percent.

Indonesians remain pessimistic about economy

Bank Indonesia (BI) on July 6 warned that though consumer confidence improved in June, but basically, people remain pessimistic about the country’s economy.

The consumer confidence index (CCI) went up 6 points to 83.8 from 77.8 in May, below the 100-point threshold separating pessimism from optimism.

Data from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) showed that the number of workers losing or quitting jobs amounted to over 6.4 million in June, resulting in income reduction.

In another move, the Indonesia’s Bali resort island is planning to welcome foreigners from September 11 following the Government’s decision.

According to the Indonesian Health Ministry, the number of COVID-19 infections in Bali reached nearly 1,900 with 23 deaths as of July 6.

VIB targets 4.5 trillion VND pre-tax profit in 2020

The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) aims to earn pre-tax profit of 4.5 trillion VND (over 193 million USD) in 2020, up 10 percent year-on-year.

This goal was announced at the bank's Annual General Meeting recently held in HCM City.

During the meeting, VIB's shareholders approved the plan to increase the charter capital to over 11 trillion VND (472 million USD) by distributing bonus shares at the rate of 20 percent.

They also agreed to list the bank's shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange by the end of this year after completing the capital raising procedures./.

Cambodia: Council of Ministers approves draft law on state assets

The Office of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia has approved the draft law on control, use and management of the state assets during a closed-door Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to Khmer Times.

The draft law initiated in November 2014 comprises 12 Chapters and 90 Articles.

According to the draft, any companies which are allowed to do business involving state assets will only be given leases of between 15 and 50 years. Other conditions must also be strictly adhered to, failing which the lease can be revoked at any time.

The draft notes that economic land concessions must also not go on beyond 50 years and the amount of the land involved must not exceed 100,000 hectares.

Each person can receive economic land concession in several locations but the total amount of land must not be larger than 100,000 hectares.

Chapter 10 of the draft law deals with punishments for “competent authority and concerned officials” who fail to take action related to violation of state assets, the newspaper said.

Any violations in the occupation of state assets will carry jail terms of between two and three years and fines from about 1,000 USD to 2,500 USD. In some cases, the punishment could go up to five years in prison, it added.

Ca Mau stimulating tourism post-COVID-19

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the southernmost Ca Mau province said on July 6 that it is stimulating tourism after COVID-19 has been under control.

Director of the department Tran Hieu Hung said the sector is promptly and effectively carrying out the tourism stimulus programme 2020, making it easier for hospitality providers to offer discounts and attractive tours to tourists.

It also introduced local tourism in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City via art shows.

Between now and the year’s end, the sector will focus on tourism promotion programme, hold caravan tours to develop tourism products with Thailand and Cambodia, and operate new tourism sites.

The Ca Mau – Nam Du – Phu Quoc express boat service will be inaugurated in Song Doc township, Tran Van Thoi district on July 7 while the largest crab festival is scheduled for later this year.

Such measures are expected to lure visitors to Ca Mau Cape national tourism site and park, U Minh Ha and Hon Da Bac national parks, and other cultural and relic sites.

The provincial tourism sector expects to welcome about 1.4 million tourists, including over 7,300 foreigners, and rake in more than 2.1 trillion VND (91.3 million USD), or 83 percent of the yearly plan.

In the first half of this year, tourist arrivals in Ca Mau neared 605,000, down 26 percent, resulting in a 34 percent reduction in revenue year-on-year due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Cambodia’s tourism to get post-pandemic support for recovery

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, will support Cambodia to restore the tourism sector after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

The claim was made during the UNWTO 32nd meeting via video conferencing last week.

Cambodia’s Khmer Times newspaper quoted Tourism Minister Thong Khon as saying that the UNWTO has regarded Cambodia as a priority country in Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia to receive technical assistance support to restore the tourism sector after the COVID-19.

The minister said that the UNWTO will assist Cambodia with human resource development and exchange experiences in managing the tourism sector after the pandemic.

The Ministry of Tourism is setting the strategic planning to restore the sector while UNWTO will help in technical assistance, he added.

Data from the Ministry of Tourism shows that Cambodia’s tourism sector has shown some positive signs since May, boosted by domestic visitors and foreigners living here with more than 450,000 people travelling to tourism destinations in the country as of June.

The COVID-19 has forced the closure of nearly 3,000 tourism-based businesses in Cambodia and left more than 45,000 staff members unemployed as of May.

Consulting firm Mckinsey assesses Vietnam’s economic recovery capacity

Vietnam could expect the strong growth of recent years to return next year, and will likely see its position as an offshoring location reinforced once the global economy begins to recover, assessed the Mckinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

In a recent article titled “Emerging from the pandemic, Vietnam must position itself for recovery,” the author said that Vietnam has gone through more than two months without community transmissions, which enables the country to be among the first to fully reopen its domestic economy.

“Vietnam has fared better economically than many countries,” it wrote. GDP growth in the first quarter was at its lowest level since 2010, although it was still in positive territory at 3.8 percent.

As exports and tourism have been severely affected, domestic consumption will continue to be critical to boost economic recovery.

According to the article, manufacturing has a crucial sector for Vietnam’s growth, leading Vietnam to achieve one of the highest trade-over-GDP ratios in Southeast Asia.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, key steps have been taken to keep operations running despite lockdowns in other countries. For example, the article said, engineers from two major international electronics manufacturers were allowed to enter Vietnam earlier this year to ensure their factories continued to run at full capacity. The government also collaborated with local businesses to ramp up production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers, helping them to gain access to global markets.

As manufacturers across the globe start to rethink their supply-chain strategies to address the frailties exposed by the pandemic, Vietnam remains in a strong position, it wrote, adding that the country has long been an attractive offshoring destination.

A McKinsey survey of fashion-sourcing executives published in May showed that 24 percent of respondents said they expect to see an increase in production in Vietnam more than any other location in Asia.

“If Vietnam can continue its enviable record of keeping community transmission of COVID-19 at bay while also making the right structural shifts to drive growth over the next decade, it could not only recapture its pre-COVID-19 economic position but drive new economic growth,” the article said./

Sacombank signs up to provide loans for COVID-19-affected firms

Sacombank and 15 other banks have signed credit contracts to provide preferential loans for corporate customers to support them in their efforts to restore and expand business and production after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sacombank has set aside 1 trillion VND (43.31 million USD) for the purpose and will lend at interest rates starting at 6 percent.

The contracts were signed at a bank-enterprise connection conference in 2020 held in HCM City last week as part of the bank-enterprise connection programme carried out by the city People's Committee in collaboration with the State Bank of Vietnam’s HCM City branch.

Since joining the programme in 2012, Sacombank has given nearly 20 trillion VND (866.21 million USD) in preferential loans to businesses in all 24 districts of the city and in other provinces to help them maintain production and business, and enable further development in the coming years.

The bank has also set aside more than 500 billion VND to lend to businesses taking part in the city’s price stabilisation programme this year.

Besides loans on easy terms, Sacombank also offers companies modern banking services that enable them to open account, do international money transfers, get Letter of Credits, and apply for bank loans online 24/7.

This helps them optimise the efficiency of capital use, improve their competitiveness and be more active in financial management.

Nearly 7 million USD of public investment disbursed in six months

Disbursement of public investment in the first six months of 2020 amounted to nearly 156 trillion VND (6.73 million USD), fulfilling 33.1 percent of the plan set by the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, higher than the 28.56 percent recorded in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The ministry further saidover 142 trillion VND of domestic capital was disbursed in the reviewed period, equivalent to 32.98 percent of the plan, along with over 5.7 trillion VND of foreign capital, and more than 7.5 trillion VND of capital for national target programmes.

It also reported that four ministries and central agencies, and six localities recorded over 50 percent of disbursement.

Meanwhile, disbursement of under 5 percent was seen in 10 ministries and central agencies.

 
 

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