VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 19

CAAV to reduce congestion and flight cancellation

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 19
Vietnam Airlines aircraft at Noi Bai International Airport. — Photo courtesy Vietnam Airlines


     
 
 
The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) has issued dispatch No 2947/CHK-VTHK requiring regional airport authorities and airlines to perform their tasks in the phase of renovating and upgrading the runway and taxiway systems at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports.

The two international airports began to renovate and upgrade runways and taxiways since July 1.

However, the work did not meet the plans of the airlines, causing congestion, increasing flight cancellations and affecting service quality.

In order to promptly solve the above situation, CAAV requires airlines to only open tickets for flights with confirmed slots and reduce the frequency of operating small aircraft at Tan Son Nhat.

The authority also asks airlines to increase the frequency of flights at the nearby airports such as Cat Bi and Thanh Hoa or Can Tho and Cam Ranh to reduce overloading at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat.

It also asks airlines to transfer all-cargo flights to and from Tan Son Nhat to nighttime operations from 9pm to 6am.

At the same time, it requires airport authorities to closely monitor the performance of the above-mentioned obligations, strictly handle violations and report the performance to CAAV weekly.

CAAV will strictly deal with airlines that failed to take off and land at their appointed times.

The slots for taking off and landing would be revoked if any airline was found to change the registered take off and landing time.

The projects to upgrade runways in Noi Bai International Aiport and Tan Son Nhat International Airport cost more than VND4 trillion (US$171.5 million) and are expected to be completed by the end of next year.

CAAV said that airlines had stepped up exploiting the domestic market recently to maintain operations and gradually overcome difficulties in terms of revenue and cash flow.

The domestic market has gradually recovered and now there are signs of growth, showing that the supporting policy for airlines in the past period is effective.

The boost in domestic market exploitation also contributes to increasing the demand for domestic tourism, thereby fulfilling the Government's requirements for both pandemic prevention and economic development. 

ASEAN becomes biggest trade partner of China in H1

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) became China's biggest trading partner in the first half of this year, accounting for 14.7 percent of the nation's total foreign trade volume.
 
China's trade with ASEAN stood at about 299 billion USD in the first six months, up 5.6 percent year on year. Exports to ASEAN rose 3.4 percent to some 164 billion USD, while imports climbed 8.5 percent to 134 billion USD.

According to insiders, the expansion was partly buoyed by growing farm produce trade with ASEAN members under the upgraded protocol of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which came into effect in October 2019,. The farm produce trade between the two sides grew 13.2 percent in H1.

During the same period, China's trade with Vietnam jumped 18.1 percent, pushing the bilateral trade volume to the top place among ASEAN members

Lao Cai to build border market and trade promotion centre

The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai plans to build the Kim Thanh border market and a trade centre to attract investment.

The provincial People's Committee has just proposed the project, considering it as an important source to develop a centre for goods exchange on the border with China and motivation for local economic development.

Aiming to be built with modern facilities, the market and the centre are expected to renovate and improve the efficiency of trading in the local area and attract more businesses.

It will also promote the development of e-commerce, creating conditions for trading and exchanging goods between border residents, while preventing smuggling and trade fraud.

According to the project, they will build three different zones including a zone for fairs and a showroom for regular product, a zone for border residents' markets and a zone for wholesale markets for agricultural and aquatic products.

The first zone will be built in the current ​Kim Thanh Exhibition and Convention Center covering 2.69ha while the second one will be built over 2.4ha where an e-commerce trading floor and e-commerce checking and delivery area also exist.

To the west of zone 1 on an area of ​​6.2ha, zone 3 will host a wholesale market for agricultural and aquatic products for domestic consumption, import and export.

Lao Cai expected to call for investment of VND200 billion (US$8.6 million) and finish the building in the 2020-22 period through land lease auctions.

Local provinces bordering China, such as Quang Ninh and Lang Son, have formed pairs of border markets for trade promotion which have proved effective in promoting the activities of goods exchange, trade and import and export.

Gia Lai to expand macadamia cultivation

The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Gia Lai will expand macadamia cultivation by growing the nut in coffee plantations and forests, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It has more than 10,000ha of forest lands without forest trees, and macadamia trees could be planted there, it said.

Intercropping of macadamia trees in coffee farms would be increased as the former can provide shade and shield coffee shrubs from winds besides providing an additional income equivalent to the income from coffee, it said.

The province has nearly 100,000ha of coffee plantations where the macadamia could be intercropped, it added.

Vũ Ngọc An, deputy director of the department, said macadamia trees have been planted in the province since 2010 mostly together with coffee.

Farmers normally intercrop 100 – 150 macadamia trees per hectare of coffee field, he said.

The province has around 600ha under macadamia, including 580ha in Kbang District.

Mã Văn Tình, head of the Kbang Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers harvest of 1 – 1.5 tonnes of nuts per hectare in case of monoculture and 500kg if intercropped.

They earn VNĐ50 – 150 million (US$2,150 – 6,450) per hectare per year, he said.

Raw nuts are bought for VNĐ 80,000 – 120,000 ($3.5 – 5.1) per kilogramme.

In recent years the decline in the prices of coffee, pepper and cashew, the province’s major crops, has caused many farmers to intercrop macadamia with coffee and pepper or switch completely to the nut to improve their incomes.

Macadamia offers higher incomes than coffee while the production cost is lower, according to farmers.

Phạm Văn Vụ planted 300 macadamia trees in his 2ha coffee farm in Đak Đoa District’s Hải Yang Commune in 2013, and they began to yield nuts three years later.

“The harvest has been increasing steadily since 2017,” he said.  

He harvested one tonne last year and earned more than VNĐ100 million ($4,300) from it, he said.

He hopes to harvest 1.5 tonnes of nuts this year and earn VNĐ160 million ($6,900).

Traders rate the quality of macadamia in Hải Yang higher than in other places, and so farmers there do not need to worry about being able to sell their produce, he added.

Diệp Đại Quốc, director of the Đak Đoa District Agriculture Service Centre, said his centre plans to provide farmers with macadamia seedlings for intercropping on five hectares.  

Hải Yang would zone growing areas to develop macadamia into a specifically identified local product, he said.

The commune has 20ha under the nut, most of them interplanted in old coffee orchards.

It has an establishment that buys raw nuts and produces macadamia essential oil and other products, which are sold to major cities like HCM City, Hà Nội and Đà Nẵng. 

Foreign investors request prosecution of Nha Hang Mon Hue chain founder

A group of foreign investors have petitioned Vietnamese authorities to prosecute and take Huy Nhat – the founder of the Nha Hang Mon Hue chain – into custody for appropriating US$25 million.

The investors include Gifted Wisdom Limited (Gifted), Harvest Investment Advisory Co Ltd (Harvest), Fenghe Harvest Ltd (Fenghe) and MF Holding Inc, headquartered in China and Singapore.

In the petition, the foreign investors said Huy Nhat, who was also director of Horizon Property Group One Member Co Ltd, had appropriated $25 million by cheating them regarding capital investment in a 162ha-resort project in Lang Co, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien-Hue Province.

The Ministry of Public Security in April this year initiated a criminal case on "fraudulent asset appropriation" occurring at Horizon Property Group One Member Co Ltd.

In the petition, the foreign investors urged authorities to arrest and prosecute Huy Nhat for several reasons.

First, Huy Nhat has not only fraudulently appropriated $25 million from the investors, but has also cheated many other foreign investors. Instances include the appropriation of more than $70 million from investors ADV Partner, AIF Capital, F&H Fenghe, Fortress Investment, Gryphus Capital and Welkin Capital when they invested in Nha Hang Mon Hue. Late last year, the investors initiated legal proceedings against Nha Hang Mon Hue Ltd after the firm closed its eateries.

Second, these foreign investors said that Huy Nhat's behaviour was very dangerous as he took advantage of foreign investors' trust in the business environment of Viet Nam to create sizeable projects such as the real estate project in Lang Co or the Nha Hang Mon Hue chain, mobilising large investments which he then appropriated.

Third, it has been three months since the decision to initiate the criminal case, but the investigation agency has not prosecuted Huy Nhat, only temporarily detained him to then release him. Meanwhile, Huy Nhat had dispersed most of the appropriated assets by transferring the real estate to his family.

The foreign investors believe that the asset dispersion will continue until Huy Nhat is prosecuted and arrested. Huy Nhat could even escape the country as he has appropriated $100 million from foreign investors, they said. 

Lao Cai seizes more than 200 items at smuggled warehouse

The Lao Cai Market Management Department on Tuesday announced that it had seized 237 fake, smuggled and low-quality goods items at a 10,000-sq.m warehouse in Lao Cai City that was raided by market surveillance forces last week.

Also at the warehouse at 145 Hoang Dieu Street, Lao Cai City, Lao Cai Province, market surveillance forces discovered 811 packages of goods awaiting delivery under orders.

In the raid last week, market surveillance forces discovered a lot of goods with unknown origins such as shoes, clothes, backpacks, handbags, wallets, belts, and many counterfeit LV, Chanel, Adidas and Gucci items.

The goods were being sold online under the Facebook names Thao Tran and Giay Dong Gia 11. The Facebook accounts are allegedly owned by Tran Duc Cuong and Pham Duc Thien, residing in Lao Cai City.

The owner of the warehouse was identified as Tran Thanh Phu residing in Lao Cai City.

According to the Lao Cai Market Management Department, Phu has yet to present himself at the agency for a working session. 

VinaCapital VN100 ETF to start HoSE trading next week

The public exchange-traded fund VinaCapital VN100 ETF will debut 5.3 million certificates on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) on July 21.

The fund certificate will be labelled FUEVN100 and the debut price will be announced by VinaCapital on July 20.

The certificates will be able to rise or fall by a maximum 20 per cent on the first trading day.

The VinaCapital VN100 ETF tracks the VN100-Index, which follows 100 large-cap and mid-cap stocks on HoSE.

The ETF was certified by the State Securities Commission on June 16 and filed for listing on HoSE on July 6.

The number of all ETFs listed on the Vietnamese stock market has increased to five, including the VNFIN Lead ETF and SSIAM VNX50 ETF that are managed by SSI Asset Management – a member of SSI Securities Corporation.

The asset management firm is also planning to launch a new fund named SSIAM VN30 ETF.

The two other ETFs are VFMVN Diamond ETF and VFMVN30 ETF, run by VietFund Management. 

Duc Giang Chemicals to pay cash, share dividends

Duc Giang Chemicals Group JSC on August 20 will make a 5 per cent cash payment and a 15 per cent share issuance to complete its 2019 dividend plan.

Every shareholder will receive VND500 per share, valuing the cash dividend at VND64.68 billion (US$2.8 million) as Duc Giang Chemicals lists more than 129.36 million shares on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

Shareholders will also receive three new shares for every 20 shares they own.

The list of beneficiary shareholders will be finalised by August 10.

In January 2020, Duc Giang Chemicals made its first cash dividend payment at the rate of 10 per cent.

The company eyes total revenue in 2020 to increase 20 per cent year-on-year to VND6.08 trillion and total post-tax profit is expected to rise 22.5 per cent year-on-year to VND700 billion.

The firm also plans to pay a 30 per cent dividend for 2020.

Duc Giang Chemicals will cancel its listing on HNX on July 17 and move to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.

The company's shares (DGC) were flat on Wednesday, trading at VND39,900 apiece. 

F88 pawn chain completed US$4.68 million in bonds

Ha Noi-based pawn shop chain F88 on Tuesday announced it completed its third bond issuance in 2020 with a value of nearly VND108 billion (US$4.68 million).

With the third issuance, it also completed the plan to raise VND200 billion through corporate bonds.

The bonds issued are non-convertible bonds with terms of 12 months and real interest rates of 12.5 per cent. Bondholders receive bond coupons every three months.

The local investors bought 78.7 per cent of the total while 21.3 per cent was sold to foreign ones.

F88 said the VND108 billion would be used to promote its pawn business nationwide. Earlier, it completed two issuances with total values of VND43 billion and VND49 billion, respectively.

F88 also successfully issued VND100 billion in corporate bonds in consultation with MB Securities JSC in August 2019.

So far, the company has put into operation 200 transaction offices in 29 provinces and cities and more than 1,000 employees.

In addition to developing transaction offices, F88 has paid attention to create a transparent pawn market by ensuring the security and safety of customers’ information. It is the first business in Viet Nam receiving “customers protection certificate” from the international organisation SmartCampaign.

F88 started to thrive in 2017 after receiving capital from Mekong Capital and Granite Oak.

In 2019, F88 reported accumulated disbursements of VND1.5 trillion and is expected to disburse nearly VND3 trillion in 2020, doubling compared to 2019. 

SCIC to cut stake in tech group FPT

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will offer 46 million shares of the tech group FPT Corp for auction, hoping to receive a minimum of VND49,400 (US$2.13) apiece.

The deal is valued at a minimum VND2.3 trillion ($99.34 million) and the auction will be held on August 7 at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).

Foreign investors are illegible to participate in the auction because the company has run out of room for foreign capital investment.

The largest tech group by market capitalisation lists nearly 784 million shares on HoSE with code FPT.

FPT shares slid 0.3 per cent to trade at VND48,500 apiece on Tuesday.

As the company has no more room for foreign capital, foreign investors can only trade its shares together or buy them indirectly via exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

FPT is also the biggest heavyweight in the portfolio of VFMVN Diamond ETF, accounting for 14.9 per cent of the total.

The ETF was launched by the asset management firm VFM, listed on HoSE as FUEVFVND, and it tracks the stocks in the VN Diamond Index.

The VN Diamond Index was launched by the southern bourse in November last year to follow companies’ stocks that had run out of room for foreign investment.

In the first five months of 2020, FPT recorded VND11.2 trillion in total net revenue and VND1.65 trillion in total post-tax profit, up 15.6 per cent and 16 per cent year-on-year.

IREX and Singapore partner to build solar power factory in VN

The local solar power producer, IREX energy joint stock company, a member SolarBK Group, has inked a co-operation deal with Jiangsu Luneng Energy Group, Singapore (Luneng) to build a photovoltaic cells and solar modules factory in Viet Nam.

The company confirmed the announcement to Viet Nam News, stating the deal, which was signed in June 2020, will develop the factory with total capacity up to 1 Gigawatts peak (GWp).

It said the deal was a strategic step in approaching the global solar supply chains after 50 years of research and development on renewable energy in Viet Nam.

IREX launched the first made-in-Viet Nam high-tech solar modules manufacturing factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau in 2018 with total investment of US$17 million and a capacity of 350 Megawatt peak (MWp) per year.

 

The locally-made solar power cells and modules have been exported to 15 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, and the Vung Tau-based plant expects to increase its capacity to 1 GWp by 2021.

It’s also the first Vietnamese solar module brand to gain efficiency insurance from MunichRe – one of the two largest insurance companies in the world in 2019.

According to IREX, the co-operation deal with Luneng – one of the world's leading corporations in PV cell technology with a total capacity of 2.5GW – in building the second largest solar power panel and module factory, would help the made-in-Viet Nam solar power facilities explore the worldwide ‘green’ energy industry market.

Currently, IREX has provided rooftop solar PV arrays with more than 30MWp, distributed in the domestic marketRecently, IREX was honoured in the top-ten list of the 2019 ‘Sustainable Energy’ Award by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. It has been developing solar-powered water heaters, wind power turbines, solar power-driven sea water filter systems and renewable use solutions.

Earlier this year, SolarBK Group and DeBruce from the US agreed technology-transfer negotiations on SkyStream wind power production in Viet Nam. 

Sportswear firms eye boosting exports to the Netherlands

More than 50 sportswear companies from Viet Nam and the Netherlands held an online conference on Wednesday (Viet Nam time) to discuss enhancing trade between the two countries.

The conference was organised by the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Dutch Association of Sport Product Manufacturers and Wholesalers (FGHS).

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Director of the department Le Hoang Tai said the MoIT will support and help connect companies from both Viet Nam and the Netherlands.

With the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) about to come into effect on August 1 and Viet Nam's strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese sportswear firms were poised to ramp up production and meet demand from international buyers, he said.

As the Netherlands has become one of Viet Nam's largest trading partners in the EU, Tai said his department was looking forward to more activities with the FGSH including business visits and B2B events.

Iwan Rutjens, First Secretary of Economic Affairs at the Dutch Embassy in Viet Nam, said the EVFTA has been an encouragement for Dutch companies to enter Viet Nam and their technological know-how and expertise could help local companies to improve on competitive advantages.

Dirk Vinken, director of FGHS, said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for sportswear products in the Netherland still remains high, making it a market with strong potential for Vietnamese firms.

The EVFTA, which eliminates most tariffs between the EU and Viet Nam, will be a major boon for businesses from both sides.

Vice Chairwoman and General Secretary of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association (LEFASO) Phan Thi Thanh Xuan urged Vietnamese firms to invest in technological upgrades and to study international trade agreements to successfully join the global supply chain. She also said firms must start building business plans for the long-term, get ready to face fierce competition and seek trade partners. 

Vietnam, US businesses seek to weather COVID-19 storm

Nearly 80 Vietnamese and US businesses attended a teleconference on July 15 to seek partnership and cooperation opportunities in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnam Permanent Mission to the United Nations sounded his appreciation for the efforts made by Vietnamese and US firms to resume post coronavirus trade exchanges.  

Noting that the COVID-19 crisis has led to numerous difficulties, but presented a wealth of opportunities for businesses, the Vietnamese diplomat said relevant agencies from both countries will strive to create optimal conditions for their businesses to operate more efficiently, further contributing to strengthening Vietnam-US relations.

Sharing this viewpoint, Minister Counsellor in charge of trade affairs of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US Bui Huy Son emphasised that the online exchange will partly give US businesses an insight into Vietnam’s potential, helping Vietnamese firms gain easier access to the US market.

Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said since the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a wave of disruption in international trade, Vietrade has been active in co-ordinating with the country’s trade promotion agencies abroad. In addition, the agency has also been busy organising several online trade events in traditional and potential markets such as the US, India, Russia, and Singapore, attracting the participation of hundreds of businesses in the process.

An The Dung, Vietrade chief representative in New York, said numerous trade promotion occasions in the US had been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Boston Seafood Fair, the New York Handicraft Fair, and the Chicago Personal Brand Fair, resulting in businesses from both countries missing out on opportunities for direct trade exchanges.

Dung went on to explain that trade activities have been significantly affected by disruption occurring in the global supply chain, forcing firms to seek safer countries for production shifting.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 containment efforts have proved that the country is a safe destination for investors during the challenging period, Dung said, adding that domestic businesses, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enjoy a number of advantages such as dynamism, along with a young and large workforce.

He quoted the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics as saying the country had received hundreds of transaction letters each day during the pandemic and thousands of firms had logged onto the Vietrade’s website to look for greater business opportunities.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the US during the first five months of the year maintained a growth rate of over 4%, of which the US’ exports to Vietnam increased by 3%.

This marks a positive signal that trade flow will continue to increase, and the Vietrade’s representative office in New York will do its utmost to support enterprises in developing markets, launching new products, and connecting with new partners, said Dung.

Despite these efforts, Vietnamese trade agencies acknowledged that there remains a number of obstacles that businesses must first overcome. For example, large domestic enterprises specializing in protective clothing and gloves complained that they exceeded their capacity and were unable to receive additional orders until the end of the year, while several local SMEs don’t have the capacity to export goods.

Lauren Merkel, a representative of Empire State Development, an agency that supports businesses in New York state, affirmed that Vietnam and the US enjoy very close-knit trade ties. Indeed, officials in New York state, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo, are willing to support and create optimal conditions for Vietnamese firms to do business with those in New York and vice versa.

Daniel Pint, a representative of the international trade administration under the US Department of Commerce, outlined that bright prospects exist for business opportunities with the US, and the local administration stands ready to support the process.

Since the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement came into effect, import and export revenue between the two nations has witnessed steady growth.

According to figures released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, two-way trade between the US and Vietnam increased by 20% annually, from approximately US$41.28 billion in 2015 to US$58.8 billion in 2018 and up to US$ 75.72 billion in 2019, representing a 75-fold increase in comparison to 2000’s figures.

At present, Vietnam is currently the US’ 16th largest trading partner, while the US is also the nation’s third largest trading partner. With an average GDP growth rate of nearly 7% per year and a population of roughly 100 million, Vietnam is projected to represent a promising market for US companies operating in agriculture, renewable energy, telecommunications, aviation, and finance and banking sectors.

Australia initiates dumping probe into Vietnamese steel

The Australian Antidumping Commission (ADC) has launched two cases of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy as part of a thorough investigation into a number of aluminum zinc coated steel originating from Vietnam and several other countries.

In line with the impending investigation, case 558 with aluminum zinc coated steel coded 7210.61 and 7225.99 featuring a width less than 600 mm or more will face an investigation for the period of April 1, 2019 to March 31 this year, while the period of damage investigation will be from April 1, 2016, to the present. 

Some of the countries and territories subject to anti-dumping investigation include Vietnam, Taiwan (China), and the Republic of Korea. Vietnam is the sole country subject to an anti-subsidy probe.

Meanwhile, case 559 with aluminum zinc coated steel coded 7212.50 and 7226.99 with a width less than 600 mm will face an investigation for the period of April 1, 2019 to March 31 this year, while the period of damage investigation will be from April 1, 2016, to now.

Both Vietnam and China are facing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations in this category.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam therefore recommends that craft associations and export businesses fully cooperate with the ADC, including on-site investigations, in an effort to verify the contents of the questionnaire.

Businesses are also being encouraged to find lawyers and consultants who have expertise in the field of trade defence in the Australian market to protect their interests.

Corporate sustainability key to enterprise resilience after pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a big test for enterprise resilience but also an opportunity for businesses to re-evaluate their long-term strategy and urgency of sustainable development. 

Industry insiders and experts shared their opinions at a dialogue with the press on the topic “Sustainable business development, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic”, held by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) on July 15 in Hanoi.

Experts said the pandemic has revealed the shortcomings in governance of Vietnamese enterprises, including risk management, crisis management and adaptation. This is considered one of the main reasons for the collapse of many local enterprises since the outbreak of the disease.

According to data from the General Statistics Office (GSO), more than 56,200 enterprises were forced to stop operation in the first six months, up 10 percent year-on-year, of which the number of companies registering to temporarily cease operations rose 38.2%.

Pham Hoang Hai, head of VBCSD’s Secretariat, said applying corporate sustainability index (CSI) will help businesses improve competitiveness, increase resilience and quickly recover in all scenarios.

“The set of corporate sustainability index has equipped enterprises with a tool to be able to cope with the economic impacts,” Hai said.

He highlighted the correlation between the implementation of the sustainable governance practices, information transparency and social and environmental responsibility with the business results of enterprises.

“Corporate sustainability practitioners always achieve better business results and higher labour productivity.”

Pham Thi Thanh Xuan, representative of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, said this index is an effective tool to help companies detect weaknesses and shortcomings during operation, thereby contributing to promoting sustainable development.

The COVID-19 pandemic had far-reaching effects on Vietnam's economy, including the leather industry, Xuan said, adding in the first six months, the industry’s exports dropped remarkably, especially by 3.6% in May alone. Enterprises have had to reduce labour and employment.

"The association has been closely accompanying enterprises to overcome difficulties and limit impacts on workers' jobs," she said.

Representative of Nestle Vietnam Co. Ltd., Le Thi Hoai Thuong said the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the production and development of the business and the SCI is a measure which helps Nestle know what the company needed to do to overcome difficulties.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, based on internal assessments, the company immediately devised a strategy to help overcome the storm. That campaign gives priority to the health of our employees,” she said.

Bui Thi Thu Trang, representative of Deloitte Vietnam, said many businesses do not have adequate understanding about corporate governance when they care more about how to ensure the growth and revenue for businesses.

To achieve good governance, companies must ensure three factors including capital management, crisis management and risk management, but domestic enterprises have yet to pay adequate attention to the two latter elements.

In the current context, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, Trang suggested businesses proactively digitalise their operations, as this not only helps improve the governance efficiency but also cushion businesses from external shocks.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), highlighted that applying the sustainability index will help Vietnamese businesses attract investors more effectively, especially as the country is deeply integrating into the world economy.

According to the UN Global Compact Progress Report 2019, businesses are increasingly committed to greater transparency in disclosing information about sustainable development activities.

From 2000 to date, nearly 65,000 sustainability reports have been delivered. Currently, more than 30 countries have adopted a mandatory sustainability reporting law.

According to Hai, the CSI Index has been updated with many new points to suit the requirements from the important free trade agreements that Vietnam has recently signed, as well as important changes in labour and environmental management policies, especially the 17 sustainable development goals specified in the national action plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Vietnamese citizens brought home from US

Vietnamese authorities, representative offices in the US and the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines coordinated with the US side in conducting a flight bringing Vietnamese citizens there back home on July 15-16.

Vietnamese representative offices in the US actively supported the citizens. The Consulate General in San Francisco sent officials to the airport to help them complete all necessary procedures.

Preventive measures against COVID-19 were implemented seriously during the flight.

Upon landing at Van Don international airport in northeastern Quang Ninh province, all passengers and crew members had their body temperature checked and were quarantined as regulated.

However, according to Vietnam Airlines, a male passenger, born in 1947 had an accidental fall after using the restroom when the plane had been flying for over 13 hours and was cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet (about 10 km). Crew members and passengers who are doctors on the flight actively provided him with the first aids, but he had died before the plane landed at the airport.

The airline informed the incident to the aviation’s relevant agencies.

Over 672.6 million USD mobilised from G-bonds

The State Treasury mobilised 15.6 trillion VND (over 672.6 million USD) through a Government bond auction on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on July 15.

Some 12.5 trillion VND worth of G-bonds were offered, including 10-year, 15-year, 20-year and 30-year bonds.

The State Treasury raised 7 trillion VND worth of ten-year bonds with an annual average yield rate of 2.78 percent, 0.09 percent lower than the previous auction on July 8.

A total of 4 trillion VND was mobilised from 15-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 2.99 percent, down 0.07 percent from the previous auction.

Meanwhile, 1 trillion VND worth of 20-year bonds were sold with a yield rate of 3.34 percent per annum, 0.01 percent lower than that of the July 8 auction.

The State Treasury also raised 500 billion VND worth of 30-year bonds with an annual average yield rate of 3.5 percent, 0.5 percent higher than the previous auction on March 11.
So far this year, the State Treasury has raised over 136.38 trillion VND from G-bond auctions.

Malaysia expects to earn 5.1 billion USD from glove exports

Malaysia is expected to rake in 21.8 billion RM (over 5.1 billion USD) in revenue from glove exports this year, the New Straits Times reported on July 15.

According to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma), the global glove demand is projected to see 20 percent growth to 330 billion pieces this year. The growth is higher than the usual 8.0-10.0 per cent annually.

As at March this year, Malaysia's total glove exports rose 16.3 percent year-on-year (YoY) in terms of value, while quantity increased 14 percent YoY.

Margma estimated an additional manpower of 25,000 (10,000 Malaysians and 15,000 foreign workers) is required to meet the increasing demand of gloves.

Dong Nai urged to maintain resources for land clearance for Long Thanh airport

Vu Hong Thanh, head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Economic Affairs, on July 15 urged the southern province of Dong Nai to maintain resources for land retrieval, compensation and resettlement work in service of the Long Thanh airport project.

At a working session with representatives of Dong Nai province on the work, Thanh asked local leaders to promptly address obstacles to site clearance, while taking into consideration aspirations of residents in the project area.

The Ministry of Transport should push ahead with preparations to begin the construction right after the land clearance work is completed, he requested.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, the project needs to take back more than 5,000 ha of land currently used by 18 organisations and nearly 5,300 households, and this and compensation and resettlement work costs nearly 23 trillion VND (nearly 992 million USD).

More than 1,800 ha for the first phase of the project are expected to be handed over to the investor in the last quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, half of the workload of the Loc An-Binh Son resettlement area has been completed.

Once fully operational, Long Thanh airport will reduce the load on Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City as it is expected to handle 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of freight each year.

Covering a total area of more than 5,580 hectares, the airport will be located in six communes in Long Thanh district in Dong Nai province.

Its total investment is 336.63 trillion VND, with construction divided into three phases.

Indonesia posts trade surplus of 5.5 billion USD in H1

Indonesia recorded a trade surplus of 1.27 billion USD in June, with the export value of 12.03 billion USD and the import value of 10.76 billion USD, according to the Central Agency of Statistics.

“The country’s exports are growing in all sectors including agriculture, industry and mining. Hopefully, this would be a positive signal for the following months," the agency's head Kecuk Suhariyanto told a virtual press conference on July 15.

Indonesia's trade surplus during the first half of 2020 reached 5.5 billion USD, higher than that in the same period of 2019 with a deficit of 1.93 billion USD, he added.

Suhariyanto said that June's export performance was supported by oil and gas exports valued at 580 million USD, up 3.8 percent from that in the previous month, while the value of non-oil and non-gas exports amounted to 11.45 billion USD, an increase of 15.73 percent.

New tourism project kicks off in Moc Chau

Local authorities in the northern province of Son La have kicked off a new tourism project in the capital town of Moc Chau aiming to promote local tourism potential and enhance the community's role in offering tourism services to improve income among locals, especially women.

The “Moc Chau Inclusive Tourism Destination Management” project has been planned based on the Government’s and province’s decisions to build Moc Chau into a national tourism site, according to Nguyen Thi Hoa, Vice Chairwoman of the Moc Chau People’s Committee.

The budget for the project is 553,028 AUS (384,000 USD), with 73 percent funded by the GREAT (Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism) Programme supported by the Australian government and the rest by local authorities.

The project will be implemented in Moc Chau District and neighbouring Van Ho District in Son La province over an 18-month period.

Hoa said the project will enhance destination management efforts among authorities and locals, transfer skills and experience in community tourism to locals and encourage more ethnic minority women to join tourism activities like agriculture – cuisine tours. A night market offering local delicacies and promoting ethnic cultures will be established in Moc Chau Town.

In addition to a team of six local co-ordinators from the Culture – Information Division of Moc Chau District, the project will receive guidance from four foreign experts specialised in developing destinations, developing destination management organisations, marketing destinations and developing community tourism.

“Here we have favourable conditions for developing tourism like cool weather all the year round and beautiful natural landscapes, as well as the diverse cultural identity of 12 ethnic groups, but we still lack experienced experts in tourism,” Hoa told Viet Nam News.

“GREAT has not been the first organisation to support us in developing tourism. However, it is the one that has implemented properly executed specialised projects in developing agriculture and tourism in Moc Chau.

“GREAT has chosen partners with lots of experience in training ethnic minority people in tourism skills in other localities already. That’s why when they came to Moc Chau, they have found almost no difficulties.”

Hoa said after one year of project implementation, the number of visitors is expected to increase 8 percent, while the number of families getting higher incomes from tourism will be 144 households or 288 people.

As many as 128 women are expected to benefit from the project, half of them from ethnic minority groups.

“In addition to activities to promote ties between travel agencies, tourism enterprises and create more jobs for locals, especially women, the project has many activities to promote gender equality inside local families and communities,” said Cao Dai Hung, Tourism Advisor of GREAT.

“Women are important ambassadors in tourism,” he said. “They are bridges to link tourists and the local community and often are the ones who provide tourism services at Community Based Tourism sites. Some women have difficulties in communicating with visitors due to language barriers or social norms prevalent in the local community. This new project is helping to break down these barriers.”

The GREAT programme, which is funded with 33.7 million AUS (23.4 million USD) by the Australian government, focuses on ethnic minority women in Lao Cai and Son La in the agricultural and tourism markets while strengthening women's voice in economic decision making.

The programme lasts for four years (2017-2021) and works with the private sector, government agencies and NGOs to create opportunities for women within the agriculture and tourism sectors.

Some 40,000 women in Son La and Lao Cai are expected to improve their income while 4,000 new jobs are hoped to be created for women. The programme also plans to increase the number of women leading or co-managing businesses or cooperatives by 15 percent.

In Moc Chau District, the programme has been implementing various projects in the vegetable sector, fruit sector, seed industry, fruit processing, tea planting and processing and community tourism.

Moc Chau plateau is located 200km northeast of the capital Hanoi and has an average altitude of more than 1,000m above sea level. The area has a temperate climate and rich soil, which underpins the growth of the vegetable, tea, fruit and diary sectors in the area.

The 1,000sq.km district hosts a population of more than 100,000, with 62 percent from ethnic minority groups.

 
 

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