VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 4

Vietnam's squid, octopus exports down 21.2 percent

 
     

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JULY 4
With COVID-19 affecting global demand, Viet Nam’s exports of squid and octopus fell by 21.2 per cent in the first five months of the year.

 
 
 
Squid and octopus exports fell by 21.2 per cent year-on-year in the first five months of the year to US$192 million as demand was hit by COVID-19, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

Korea, traditionally Viet Nam’s largest buyer of squid and octopus, accounting for 42.6 per cent of total exports, has bought 21.2 per cent less this year.

The fall in shipments to the EU was 49 per cent.

Exports to China increased by 38 per cent to $13.7 million.

While its imports of squid and octopus fell in the first two months, its demand picked up from March onwards, when its COVID-19 situation began to improve.

According to VASEP, since COVID-19 is not completely under control around the world, supply of raw seafood and global demand for processed seafood would continue to fall, as would Viet Nam’s exports. 

Bac Giang develops standards for lychee

Possessing major potential in lychee exports, over recent years the northern province of Bac Giang has developed safe agricultural production models that meet the strict standards imposed by demanding global markets. The province is now trying to turn lychee into a spearhead export product, to help lift its economy.

Besides organising technical transfer training and introducing VietGap and GlobalGap standards, the local government has also supported lychee growers to identify new markets and conducted several promotional programs.

Nam Duong commune has more than 700ha of orchards, with “thieu” lychee accounting for 400ha. To apply science in production, the local government worked closely with experts and relevant bodies to develop production models in accordance with VietGap standards.

The area of lychee being grown under VietGap standards is still modest, however. To create the conditions for the fruit to be exported to demanding markets, Luc Ngan district has urged orchard owners to improve their quality standards to obtain VietGap certification.

National action plan on sustainable production, consumption issued

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has signed a decision approving the national action plan on sustainable production and consumption for 2021-2030.

The action plan is designed with the aim to promote the effective and sustainable management, exploitation and use of natural resources, fuels and materials. It also encourages the development of environmentally-friendly, renewable, reusable and recyclable resources, fuels, materials and products.

The plan will promote models of sustainable production and consumption, thus creating green and stable jobs, advocating a sustainable lifestyle towards better life quality and a circular economy in the country.

In the period from 2021-2025, the plan sets the goal of reducing fuel and material use of production industries such as textile-garment, steel, plastic, chemicals, cement, beverage, paper and aquatic product processing by 5 – 8 percent. Between 20 -30 models of sustainable production and consumption will be developed, and 85 percent of supermarkets and shopping malls will distribute and use environmentally-friendly packaging materials in replacement of disposable plastic packaging.

By 2030, the above-mentioned industries are projected to further cut their fuel and material use by 7-10 percent, and 100 percent of supermarkets and shopping malls will use environmentally-friendly packaging materials instead of disposable plastic packaging.

Enterprises will receive support to adopt sustainable practices in import-export and provided with guidance materials regarding international regulations, requirements and commitments on environmental protection and sustainable development./

WB okays 93-mln-USD credit for Cambodia to improve land tenure security for poor farmers

The World Bank approved a 93-million-USD credit for the Cambodia Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development Project III (LASED III), it said in a press statement last week.

The project will help improve land tenure security and access to infrastructure and agricultural and social services for landless and poor smallholders and indigenous communities in Cambodia.

The Cambodian government has established a legal framework for Social Land Concessions (SLC) that expands land titling for the landless rural poor. It has also promoted Indigenous Communal Land Titling (ICLT) to enhance tenure security for indigenous people over their lands.

“Access to land, better agriculture practices and extension services to improve productivity as well as access to better public services are crucial for the rural poor,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia.

LASED III will build on the experience of LASED and LASED II to expand the implementation of the SLC programme. Land titling for indigenous communities will support the completion of several ongoing ICLT processes and will also provide assistance to communities that have already completed their ICLT processes.

LASED III will cover 71 sites and communities in all provinces in Cambodia except Phnom Penh. The project will support building rural roads, small-scale irrigation systems, water supply and sanitation facilities, school buildings, teachers’ houses, health posts and community centers.

New SLC beneficiaries will receive assistance for their first-year crops, including seedlings.

The project will also provide technical assistance to implement climate-smart agriculture techniques, establish farmers’ organisations for production and marketing activities, and manage community funds to scale up local economic activities./

CPI up 0.66 percent in June

The June consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.66 percent month-on-month and 3.17 percent year-on-year but was down 0.59 percent against December 2019, the General Statistics Office reported on June 29.

The average CPI in the first half grew 4.19 percent, while core inflation (CPI excluding grains, fresh foodstuffs, energy, and State-managed healthcare and education) was 2.81 percent higher than in the same period of last year, data reveals.

Seven of the eleven groups of main consumer goods and services recorded month-on-month price hikes in June - transport (6.05 percent), food and restaurant services (0.44 percent), beverage and cigarettes (0.09 percent), household appliances and goods (0.07 percent), medicine and healthcare services (0.01 percent), education (0.01 percent), and other goods and services (0.19 percent).

Three groups saw falling prices - housing and construction materials (0.42 percent), postal and telecoms services (0.04 percent), and culture, entertainment, and tourism (0.01 percent).

The prices of garments, footwear, and headwear remained stable, the GSO noted.

Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Do Thi Ngoc said the June CPI growth was partly driven by two petrol price hikes and high pork prices due to unstable supply.

There were also factors curbing the increase, she noted, with rice prices falling as the harvest of the winter-spring crop was completed, while prices of fresh aquatic products were down because of lower input costs and falling demand from importing countries and tourists.

Household electricity prices were also cut in June to assist those affected by COVID-19, under decisions from the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The GSO added that in the first half, overall inflation rose at a faster pace than core inflation, reflecting the fact that price changes were driven mainly by non-monetary factors such as food and petrol prices.

Vietnam welcomes fewest foreign arrivals in years

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam totalled just 880,000 in June, the lowest figure in many years, as the country maintained a ban on the entry of foreigners that was introduced in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The figure was 61.3 percent lower than in May and 99.3 percent against June last year.

Most foreigners that did arrive were experts or skilled workers at projects around the country.

In the first half the number of foreign visitors plunged 55.8 percent to 3.74 million, with 72.9 percent coming from Asia.

Sharp declines have been seen in visitors from Vietnam’s major markets, such as China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan (China), Russia, the UK, and France, while those from Cambodia doubled compared to the same period last year.

The country earned 10.3 trillion VND (445.26 million USD) in revenue from tourism during the period, down 53.2 percent year-on-year, with the hardest-hit localities being the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, which saw tourism revenue nosedive by 73.5 percent, HCM City, by 71.2 percent, southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, by 66.2 percent, and northern Quang Ninh province, by 60.8 percent.

A tourism promotion campaign called “Vietnamese People Travel in Vietnam” was launched in April to encourage local travellers to take domestic tours, while travel agencies are making preparations to welcome foreign tourists once the entry ban is lifted.

Vietnam reports increases in new enterprises in all sectors for first time this year

The number of newly-established enterprises in all the 17 sectors in the economy grew in June for the first time since the beginning of the year, after tens of thousands of companies were forced to shut their doors because of COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, more than 13,700 companies were newly founded during the month, with a total capital of nearly 139.15 trillion VND (6 billion USD), up 27.9 percent and 23.4 percent, respectively.

Those in education and training rose 58.8 percent year-on-year, with capital up 133.2 percent.

A similar trend was seen in accommodation and catering services, which recorded an increase of 45.3 percent in the number of new enterprises and a 305.9 percent rise in registered capital compared to the same period last year. In real estate, the number of newly-established enterprises grew 44.5 percent while registered capital was up 41.5 percent.

In the first half of this year, more than 62,000 enterprises were newly founded nationwide, a year-on-year decline of 7.3 percent, compared to -10.5 percent in the first five months and -13.2 percent in the first four months./.

Hanoi devises two growth scenarios for H2

Hanoi’s authorities have devised two growth scenarios for the remaining six months of the year.

In the first and also the most optimistic one, the capital city could achieve a growth rate of 5.9 percent, 1.3 times higher than the nation’s optimistic growth scenario from 4.4 – 5.2 percent, if growth rates in the third and fourth quarters reach 7.8 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

In a second Hanoi’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) would expand 5.4 percent, 1.3 times higher than the nation’s neutral growth scenario of 3.6 – 4.4 percent, if the city’s economy expands 6.9 percent and 7.4 percent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Speaking at a teleconference on June 29, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung stressed that in the time ahead, Hanoi will strengthen management and address shortcomings in planning, land, construction order, urban order, environmental protection, education, clean water, and employment.

He highlighted the importance of stepping up the administrative reform, and creating all favourable conditions for investors.

Despite severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanoi’s GRDP is estimated to have expanded 3.39 percent in the first half of 2020, the slowest 6-month growth in many years, according to Nguyen Manh Quyen, director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment.

The growth rate, however, remains among the highest nationwide and is significantly higher than the national growth average of 1.81 percent during the period.

Also during the period, Hanoi’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew 3.5 percent year-on-year, significantly lower than a rise of 7.4 percent recorded in the same period last year.

As tourism is one of the hardest-hit groups by the pandemic, the total number of the tourists to Hanoi plunged 65.4 percent year-on-year to 4.93 million in the January – June period, including a decline of 68.8 percent in foreign tourists and a contraction of 61.5 percent in revenue from tourism activities.

More than 29,000 enterprises temporarily suspend businesses in first half of year

Some 29,200 firms temporarily suspended operations in the first six months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 38.2 per cent.

Up to 19,600 enterprises stopped operation and are waiting for dissolution procedures, down 10.2 per cent over last year.

The country’s socio-economic activities are gradually being restored after two months of loosening and removing social distancing measures.

The number of newly-established enterprises in June was 13,700 enterprises with registered capital of VND139.1 trillion (US$6 million), up 27.9 per cent in the number of businesses and 23.4 per cent of capital over the previous month.

The whole country had more than 62,000 enterprises registered for establishment with total registered capital of VND697.1 trillion in the first half of the year, down 7.3 per cent in the number of enterprises and 19 per cent in registered capital.

The average registered capital of a newly-established enterprise was estimated at VND11.2 billion, down by 12.5 per cent ​​compared to the same period last year.

In addition, there were 25,200 enterprises returned to operation, up 16.4 per cent year over year, bringing the total number of newly-established enterprises and enterprises back to operation to 87,200, down 1.5 per cent. 

Vietnam exports over 1,145 animal drugs

More than 1,145 made-in-Vietnam animal drugs are being shipped to 40 countries and territories, bringing in revenue of over 22 million USD on an annual basis.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has 75 facilities producing veterinary drugs, all of which reach good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards.

There are 12,501 products made domestically or imported. Of these, 1,592 are for the fisheries sector, serving more than 80 percent of aquatic farms.

Vietnam has for the first time successfully produced a vaccine for type O foot-and-mouth disease to guard the health of about 20,000 heads of livestock a year. The vaccine has helped cut the spending of billions of VND on imported vaccines annually.

Bloomberg: Vietnam’s economy grows unexpectedly in Q2

Bloomberg newspaper said on June 29 that Vietnam’s economy unexpectedly grew in the second quarter despite the impact of COVID-19.

It cited data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) as saying that GDP rose 0.36 percent year-on-year compared to a revised 3.68 percent in the first quarter. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for GDP to shrink 0.9 percent.

On a six-month calculation, GDP grew 1.81 percent, making Vietnam one of the best performers in Southeast Asia.

Exports fell 2 percent in June compared to a year earlier, while imports climbed 5.3 percent. The CPI rose 3.17 percent year-on-year in June and 2.4 percent month-on-month. The government aims to cap average inflation at 4 percent this year.

The article said Vietnam’s export-reliant economy is taking a knock as the virus disrupts global supply chains and dampens demand, and added that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had forecast in May that the economy could post growth of 4-5 percent this year as the government looks to attract more FDI.

China enhances control of exported farm produce: MoIT

The Consulate General of Viet Nam in Guangxi Province, China and the Asia-Africa Market Department have warned local businesses that Guangxi is carrying out a number of measures to strengthen control of food origin and quality, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Therefore, the ministry recommends local businesses and households producing agricultural and seafood products exported to China to enhance management of quality for their exports.

They should also coordinate with import partners in China to ensure that their export products meet China regulations on quality standards, quarantine, food safety and traceability for import goods, it said.

The enterprises need to actively monitor market information to regulate volume of export goods transported to border gates, thereby contributing to reducing risks and time during implementing customs clearance for goods at border gates.

The Consulate General of Viet Nam in Guangxi Province said Guangxi is strictly managing goods that are consumed at markets and supermarkets as well as strengthening inspection of certificates on quality standards and origin and procedures relating to purchasing agricultural products there.

Guangxi bans trading and storage of foods that do not meet food safety standards and require quarantine certificates from China customs for imported food products.

This province would strengthen its management of fresh and frozen foods, including seafood and seafood products, pork, beef and lamb, to eliminate disease risks from those products, reported toquoc.vn.

Dongxing City, China, sharing the border with Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province, is also carrying out inspections of the origin and quality of seafood and meat products at agricultural markets, supermarkets and hotels.

That would affect Vietnamese farm produce exported to this market, according to the ministry.

IFC and Ha Noi sign new-generation FDI strategy agreement

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the People’s Committee of Ha Noi to support its efforts to attract new-generation foreign direct investment (FDI) and diversify its funding sources.

Under the MoU framework, IFC will work with Ha Noi to formulate a new-generation FDI strategy in response to the Government’s master plan of foreign investment promotion over the next 10 years.

Where possible, IFC will also assist Ha Noi in diversifying its funding sources. The overall effort will leverage IFC’s global network of clients and partners, with benefits to potential key sectors including financial markets, infrastructure, logistics, and health and education.

To sustain robust socio-economic development, Ha Noi aims to attract higher-quality streams of FDI. This will support the city’s strategy of developing high-tech and high value-added industries, increasing local sourcing, and creating more and better jobs.

“Strategic FDI as guided in the Politburo’s Resolution No 50/2019 on orientations to finalise policies and mechanisms to promote FDI quality and effectiveness toward 2030 plays an essential role in sustaining Ha Noi’s sustainable economic and employment growth and in realising its industrialisation and modernisation plan toward 2030,” said Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the Ha Noi People’s Committee.

“We welcome IFC’s support in developing a new investment strategy and diversifying funding sources as well as mobilising quality investors through its global network.”

As one of the fastest growing cities in Asia, Ha Noi accounts for one-fifth of Viet Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP). Last year, the capital city attracted US$8.45 billion in FDI, the highest among the country’s 63 cities and provinces. The FDI capital flow was highest in three areas including property development, processing and manufacturing, and telecommunication and information.

Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Regional Manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR, said: “Ha Noi already possesses many key factors that are attractive to higher quality FDI. The current environment of global supply chain changes — as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — provides a good opportunity for the city to further prioritise FDI inflows in line with its development strategy.

“This includes FDI with increased local value-addition, with increased technology focus, to strengthen foreign-local firm linkages and help enhance local supply chain opportunities, foster improved job opportunities, and boost the overall competitiveness of the city.”

Promoting private sector development, IFC has been supporting Viet Nam to improve business competitiveness and attract international investors over the past two decades.

Recently, IFC worked with the Ministry of Planning and Investment on recommendations for Viet Nam’s new national FDI approach. It is also helping Vietnamese manufacturers improve capacity and supply to multinationals through a pilot Viet Nam Supplier Development Programme.

Long An co-operates with Lavi Agri to consume red dragon fruit

The Long An Dragon Fruit Association signed a co-operation agreement with Lavi Agri Company Limited on purchasing and consuming red dragon fruit in the province’s Châu Thành and Tân Trụ districts on Monday.

Under the agreement, the company will buy 100 hectares of dragon fruits, equivalent to 3,000-3,500 tonnes, provided that dragon fruits are grown in Châu Thành and Tân Trụ districts and are cultivated using a clean process.

The co-operation is the premise to help the provincial dragon fruit achieve stable and sustainable production in the future.

Dragon fruit growers in Long An are always at risk because the market depends on China, the country’s largest customer, accounting for more than 80 per cent of total consumption.

Therefore, prices are unstable. Facing this situation, the People's Committee of Long An Province, relevant departments and branches in the province have proposed many solutions in the process of trade promotion, calling for businesses to sign contracts and consume products.

The province currently has more than 12,000 hectares of dragon fruit with output of more than 400,000 tonnes per year. 

Insurer Bảo Việt forecasts lower profit, similar revenue in 2020

Insurance-finance group Bảo Việt Holdings (HoSE: BVH) expects little change for its revenue this year, but post-tax profit is expected to decline.

Total revenue in 2020 is forecast to inch up 0.2 per cent year-on-year to nearly VNĐ45 trillion (US$1.94 billion).

However, post-tax profit is projected to drop 5 per cent year-on-year to VNĐ1.18 trillion.

In 2019, the insurance group earned VNĐ44.87 trillion in total revenue and post-tax profit was VNĐ1.24 trillion.

In the first six months of the year, Bảo Việt earned total revenue of VNĐ22.17 trillion, which accounts for a half of the full-year plan, CEO Đỗ Minh Trường said at the annual shareholders’ meeting on Monday.

According to the board of directors, this year’s earnings are projected based on the expected risk provision of 3.35 per cent and 3.45 per cent for insurance contracts that were signed before and after February 16, 2019.

This year's performance will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEO said.

Bảo Việt will also pay an 8 per cent cash dividend for 2019's performance, with shareholders receiving VNĐ800 per share.

The dividend is worth VNĐ594 billion and payment will be extracted from the firm’s full-year post-tax profit.

In 2020, the group expects to spend half of its full-year post-tax profit paying the cash dividend.

In mid-December last year, Bảo Việt sold more than 41.4 million shares in a private deal to Japanese corporation Sumitomo Life for VNĐ4 trillion.

The deal meant the Japanese firms increased its stake in Bảo Việt to 22.09 per cent from 17.48 per cent and allowed the Vietnamese side to increase its charter capital by VNĐ1.3 trillion to VNĐ7.42 trillion.

As of May 31, some VNĐ850 billion worth of capital had been distributed to member firms to enlarge their capital and VNĐ13.7 billion had been spent on facility upgrades.

Bảo Việt shares on Monday fell 3.7 per cent to end at VNĐ45,750 apiece.

22 commodities enjoy export turnover of over 1 billion USD in first half

During the first half of 2020, Vietnam reported 22 commodities with export turnover of over 1 billion USD, making up 86.2 percent of the total, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Mobile phones and spare parts topped the list with 21.5 billion USD, followed by electronic products, computers and components 19.3 billion USD.

Garment-textile and machinery, equipment and spare parts groups posted 12.8 billion USD and 10.3 billion USD in export revenue, respectively.

According to the ministry, in January-June, the country’s total export value surpassed 121 billion USD, a year-on-year decline of 1.1 percent.

 

The domestic economic sector contributed over 41 billion USD or 34.1 percent, while the foreign investment sector nearly 80 billion USD or 65.9 percent.

The US was the biggest export market of Vietnam in the period with 30.3 billion USD, up 10.3 percent year on year. China came second with 19.5 billion USD, up 17.4 percent, followed by the EU with 16.1 billion USD (down 8.8 percent), ASEAN 11.1 billion USD (down 14.2 percent), Japan 9.4 billion USD (down 2.3 percent), and the Republic of Korea 9.3 billion USD (up 2.3 percent)./.

Enterprises seek ways to boost agricultural and aquatic exports

Vietnamese enterprises need to improve product quality, build their brands, and ensure product traceability to increase the exports of agricultural and aquatic products, experts said at a seminar on June 26 in HCM City.

Exports of agricultural and aquatic products in the first five months of the year were US$15.49 billion, down by 4.1 per cent compared with the same period last year because of the negative impacts of Covid-19 on Viet Nam's key export markets such as China, the US, Japan and EU.

In the first months of the year, Viet Nam’s agriculture sector faced other challenges in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, including trade tensions and worse climate change.

The recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) are expected to help the country increase its agricultural and fisheries output. However, with the technical barriers and strict food safety and hygiene standards, Viet Nam’s agricultural production face many challenges because it has still been done mostly on a small scale.

However, with commitments under these FTAs, import tariffs will be reduced or eliminated in various markets, creating favourable conditions for Viet Nam’s agricultural exports, said Mai Xuan Thanh, deputy director-General of Viet Nam General Department of Customs.

The EU market is very demanding, which requires products to be done in compliance with high standards to protect consumers.

The EU is the largest importer of Vietnamese agricultural products as compared with other major markets like the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Its consumers value high-quality products with special characteristics such as organic, fair trade and geographical indications, experts said.

To expand to new markets, Vietnamese export products should meet good agricultural practice (GAP) standards such as VietGAP and Global GAP in order to meet the market demand and improve farmers’ incomes.

In addition, businesses need to improve the added value of goods by applying technology in processing and preserving products, experts said. 

January-June imported cars drop in volume and value

Viet Nam imported more than 38,000 cars of various types, worth a total US$846 million, in the first six months of this year, decreasing by nearly 32,000 units in volume and VND700 million in value year-on-year.

Insiders said that the main reason for this drop is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The market not only witnessed a drop in imported cars, but also components and auto parts. From the beginning of the year to June 15, the import turnover of this commodity group was only $1.44 billion, down nearly $400 million over the same period last year.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently signed Decree 70/2020/ND-CP approving a cut of 50 per cent to the registration fee for buyers of domestically manufactured and assembled cars from now till the end of 2020.

From August 1, when the EVFTA officially comes into effect, cars imported from Europe will enjoy tax reductions following a roadmap. It is expected that the price of imported cars may decrease by hundreds of millions of dong.

Insiders predicted the domestic automobile market will prosper in the last six months of the year and domestic automakers have the opportunity to develop as well as compete with imported cars. 

Private investment adds fresh impetus to economic growth

A number of obstacles concerning the national business climate should be removed in an attempt to attract greater private investment, which is considered one of the key drivers contributing to the country’s economic recovery following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to insiders.

At present, the private sector contributes approximately 40% of GDP, accounting for the highest proportion of GDP contribution among all of the country’s economic sectors. 

Dr Le Duy Binh, director of Economica Vietnam, said although private investment plays an important role in accelerating economic growth, there remains plenty of obstacles that hinder the private sector’s investment including high business costs and an array of cumbersome administrative procedures.

Most notably, private enterprises have tended to struggle with the so-called ‘unofficial costs’ and time-consuming administrative services in doing business, Dr Binh noted. According to a recent survey on the Provincial Competitiveness Index 2019, more than 50% of local enterprises must pay ‘unofficial costs’ which have ultimately caused a significant financial burden for them.

Moreover, there exists certain discrimination among private enterprises, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), domestic-private enterprises, and foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises.

Dr Binh added that local administrations seem to offer SOEs greater incentives related to land allocation and opportunities in which to sign contracts from public investment projects.

Priorities are often given in an attempt to attract greater levels of investment capital from the FDI sector as opposed to the private sector, which has become a major hindrance in facilitating the investment of private businesses, said the executive.  

Following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc setting a goal of achieving economic growth of over 5% for this year, economists underlined that, in order to meet this challenging goal, it is necessary to introduce synchronous solutions aimed at effectively making major breakthroughs to attract private investment.

Dr Binh therefore emphasised the need to simplify administrative procedures, especially moving into the post-COVID-19 period, and to strictly handle corruption cases in an attempt to increase investor trust in the business climate, thereby adding fresh impetus to private firms to boost both their production and business activities.  

Simultaneously, the economic expert also stated the importance of creating optimal conditions in which private enterprises can increase investment in different sectors of the national economy, especially in terms of FDI projects in localities.

Mac Quoc Anh, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, proposed the Government provide support for private firms, especially SMEs, which were badly affected by the COVID-19. This can be done through strengthening trade promotion and seeking new export markets, thereby accelerating the private sector’s investment, boosting production, and increasing the rate of business activities.

Furthermore, the Government should strive to provide assistance to large private enterprises and corporations, that play a leading role in helping SMEs to form new ecosystems, get involved in new value chains, and generate jobs for workers, for the ultimate goal of stimulating private investment.

Transport Ministry to start seven projects in H2

The Ministry of Transport will start construction work on seven key projects in the second half of this year, heard an online conference on the ministry’s tasks for the six remaining months held in Hanoi on June 30.

Phan Quang Hien, deputy director of the Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau said the seven include three sub-projects using public investment under the North-South Highway project and the first phase of the My Thuan-Can Tho Highway.

He added that in the first half, procedures had been completed to launch 11 other projects. Most recently, two projects on upgrading runways and taxiways at the Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports were started on June 29 under urgent instructions.

Hien also reported that 25 projects are scheduled to be completed this year, including the Mai Dich – Nam Thang Long section of Hanoi Belt Road No.3, the Lo Te – Rach Soi highway in southern Kien Giang province and the runway upgrades at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat./.

PM approves list of SOEs to carry out divestment in 2020

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued Decision 908/QD-TTg approving the list of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to implement divestment of State capital in 2020, which comprises 120 enterprises.

In addition, there are four SOES that should complete divestment before November 30 this year. In case it cannot be done, those four will be transferred to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) before December 31. They are the Song Hong Corp, the Hanoi Construction Corporation-JSC, the Construction Corporation No. 1-JSC, and the Viet Nam Urban And Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation, all under the Ministry of Construction.

The decision also named 14 enterprises to be transferred to the SCIC before August 31 this year in order to implement divestment.

Besides, 69 enterprises will suspend divestment until the end of this year in order to review and build rearrangement and divestment plans for 2021-2025.

The divestment at enterprises under the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, and enterprises not listed in the decision will be carried under plans approved by authorized agencies.

The decision aims at accelerating the divestment of State capital in enterprises where the State does not need to hold a stake, and the process of restructuring SOEs./.

Sharp Corp. to launch solar power plant in Vietnam soon

Japan’s Sharp Corp said on June 30 that it plans to put into operation a solar power plant in Ninh Thuan, a province in south central Vietnam, in early July.

The plant is a joint venture between Sharp Energy Solutions Corp., a subsidiary of Sharp Corp., and Vietnam’s T&T Group Joint Stock Co. and its affiliate Ninh Thuan Energy Industry Joint Stock Co.

With an annual output of 76,373 megawatt hours of electricity, the plant can ensure power supply for 40,500 households.

Japanese news agency Kyodo News quoted a spokesman of the group as saying that Sharp has been pushing its solar power business in Asia, having built plants in Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia, on the back of expected growth in consumption of electricity./.

EVFTA expected to boost admin reform

Minister - Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung and Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EuroCham) Nicolas Audier co-chaired a dialogue with European enterprises in Vietnam on June 30.

Themed “Administrative Reforms: Key Role in the Implementation of the EVFTA”, the dialogue aimed at discussing administrative reform before the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect on August 1.

In his opening remarks, Audier called on Vietnam, the EU, and businesses to continue with measures to ensure the effective implementation of the agreement, including the establishment of an EVFTA Business Council to address challenges during the process.

Once the EVFTA comes into effect, one of the most critical factors will be to accelerate Vietnam’s progress in administrative reform - streamlining business conditions, strengthening the business environment, and modernising the legal framework, he said.

Dung, who is also Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform, said it was the third annual dialogue between the council and the European business community in Vietnam since 2018.

He lauded EuroCham's release of the White Book 2020 on the same day, which reflects European companies’ wish to accelerate improvements of Vietnam’s business environment.

Though economic growth this year is forecast to reach just 2.7-4.9 percent due to COVID-19, he said international organisations still believed that Vietnam will be one of only a few countries to post growth because it has been hit less by the pandemic.

Dung said the Vietnamese Prime Minister has directed a number of measures be taken to tackle the difficulties faced in production and trade and food security, step up public investment, and ensure social welfare and social safety and order.

Since the beginning of this year, the Government has cut 239 business conditions, raising the total to nearly 3,900 out of almost 6,200, along with 6,776 out of 9,926 goods subject to specialised inspection and 30 out of 120 administrative procedures related to specialised inspection, he said.

Over 6.3 trillion VND in social cost has been saved each year, the official added.

After being operational for six months, the national single window had provided 725 online public services and saved more than 3 trillion VND each year.

Dung asked firms to speak about their difficulties and suggestions so that the council can collect them for submission to the Prime Minister for consideration.

The White Book 2020, the 12th edition of its kind, was released on the same day. As an annual report from EuroCham, the book details important issues in 17 economic sectors together with recommendations for the Government to improve the business climate and enhance trade and investment with the EU.

Metfone selected to digitise Cambodia’s health sector

Metfone, the Cambodian affiliate of Vietnam’s telecom group Viettel, signed a memorandum of understanding on June 29 with the Cambodian Ministry of Health on launching a series of digital healthcare services.

An official health portal will be installed to provide Cambodians with consultation and disease updates.

Metfone will also offer internet infrastructure and teleconference meeting systems for 25 cities and provinces in the country, while setting up medical hotlines for the localities. It will also give short codes for humanitarian texting campaigns, which proved effective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the deal, the two sides will work together in implementing a remote healthcare service and a number of digital solutions to equip people with knowledge about health protection and disease prevention and control.

Metfone CEO Phung Van Cuong told media that the company is proud to be capable of carrying out such a project, based on its experience of running similar ones in 10 other countries.

Or Vandine, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, thanked Metfone for its contribution to the local medical sector in the fight against COVID-19 and other issues.

She hoped the company would continue its support and offer more solutions for the sector in the future.

Established in 2009, Metfone is now the largest telecom service provider in Cambodia, with a mobile market share of 42 percent, 97 percent coverage nationwide, 11,000 Base Transceiver Stations, and 23,000 km of optical cables.

It employs 3,000 workers and works with 30,000 collaborators and has so far donated about 85 million USD to social welfare services.

Vietnam, Israel boost business, investment partnership

Nearly 30 Israeli enterprises came together at a roundtable conference in Tel Aviv on June 29 to explore business and investment opportunities in Vietnam.

They are active in fields such as farm produce processing, aquaculture, dairy, telecoms, medical equipment, water treatment, and high technology in security and agriculture.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Do Minh Hung told participants that Vietnam has successfully curbed the COVID-19 pandemic and is implementing a number of policies to boost economic recovery, draw foreign investment, and welcome a shift of production investment to Vietnam post-pandemic.

With a large market and active engagement in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), Vietnam holds a great deal of potential, he said, adding that cooperation between Vietnam and Israel is developing well and the two sides are actively negotiating an FTA.

The ambassador welcomed Israeli companies to explore cooperation opportunities with Vietnamese partners.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Israel surpassed 1.15 billion USD in 2019, with Vietnam’s exports to Israel worth 774 million USD .

Israel is the third-largest export market of Vietnam in the Middle East.

In the first five months of 2020, Vietnam exported 274 million USD worth of goods to Israel and imported 375 million USD worth of goods.

Israel has had 31 investment projects worth 78.99 million USD in Vietnam, ranking it 50th out of 135 countries and territories.

Forestry sector focuses on creating high-yield trees

Scientific research and technology transfer for the forestry sector in the 2021-2030 period will focus on the hybridisation of new varieties, giving priority to planting high-yield, good-quality and pest-and-disease preventive capable tree varieties, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan. 

Tuan was speaking at a recent conference discussing scientific research and technology transfer in forestry in Hanoi.

The deputy minister said science and technology was an important driving force for faster and more effective development of the forestry sector.

Thanks to science and technology, the forestry sector has enjoyed rapid and sustainable development in recent years, he said, adding that forest coverage nationwide in 2020 may reach 42 percent.

He said in the years to come, research institutes need to invest more in studying genes to create new breeds, biotechnology, crop diseases and ecosystems, especially natural forest ecosystems.

However, he said, scientific advances in forestry production still faced big challenges, as many solutions in processing and preserving forest products from research institutes were still tough for enterprises to access.

Therefore, research units must be more clearly oriented in science and technology investment in this field, said the deputy minister.

Scientists have not had in-depth research on forest monitoring, protection, fire prevention and fighting, according to the deputy minister, while new technology applications in management are also limited.

Vo Dai Hai, Director of the Vietnam Forest Science Institute, said that in 2011-2020, there has been a change in improving the economic value and sustainable development of the forestry sector.

Over the past 10 years, scientific and technological research have contributed to creating good-quality products that have been applied in practice.

There were 134 new varieties of plants, 27 technical innovations recognised by the ministry, and 83 Vietnamese standards built on agriculture and the forestry sector.

Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, deputy director of the institute, also pointed out the limitations of current scientific and technological transfer.

The work of research has still not met the needs of production practices, especially the supply of high-quality seedlings for afforestation in ecological regions.

Luring top scientists to local research institutes still faces difficulties when hiring policies are unattractive, and there are no specific policies to attract science and technology workers from abroad to work in Vietnam./.

Prime Minister lays emphasis on public investment disbursement

The disbursement of public investment capital should be one of the criteria to measure the performance of agencies, sectors and localities, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in conclusion of the online conference between the Government and localities on July 2.

The PM said the Government will set up inspection teams to check the pace of disbursement in localities, adding that this work is one of the solutions to restore the economy.

He highlighted the requirement of shoring up epidemic prevention alongside advancing on the economic front. “This is a double goal, which must be implemented at the same time,” Phuc said.

He urged frontline forces in the pandemic battle to stay vigilant against the return of the COVID-19.

Regarding other measures to promote economic development, PM Phuc said besides pumping more capital into the economy, it is necessary to use tools such as monetary and fiscal policies in a flexible way. He added that the inflation must be kept under 4 percent this year.

Phuc required the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the State Bank should build plans to arrange funding for the implementation of supporting policies.

He asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to review support policies targeting people and enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to removing hindrances related to procedures.

Stressing the need to capitalise on opportunities brought about by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), the PM asked agencies, sectors and localities to maintain the goal of import-export and strive for a trade surplus this year.

Ministries and sectors should focus on implementing key projects, he said, and reminded localities to continue remove obstacles in administrative procedures to create a favourable investment environment for citizens and enterprises.

The PM also required ministries, sectors and localities to put in place measures to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters in the context of complex and unforeseeable weather conditions.

PM seeks new measures to achieve highest growth possible

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked for more measures to boost investment, export, and consumption to achieve the highest growth possible in 2020 at a national teleconference between the Government and localities on July 2.

He said that no community transmission of COVID-19 being reported in Vietnam for more than two months is a great success for the country’s Party, State, and political system, and has earned plaudits from the public and the international community.

However, he noted, the pandemic has had a huge impact on socio-economic matters, presenting urgent requirements for economic recovery with a motto of taking full advantage of opportunities when the disease is brought under control.

Due to the impact of the disease, the country’s GDP growth in the second quarter hit a 30-year low of 0.36 percent, for a first-half figure of 1.81 percent. Twelve out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces posted negative growth.

The PM, therefore, stressed the importance of fighting the disease while at the same time taking action to foster economic growth.

It is necessary to carry out fiscal and monetary policies flexibly to ensure growth, for the general interest of the economy and for employment and incomes, he added.

Emphasising low public disbursement in the first half, he said that if any locality or sector cannot disburse public investment on schedule, he has the right to transfer the capital to another.

The effective disbursement of 700 trillion VND (30.36 billion USD) worth of public investment will serve as short-term stimulus and drive growth over the remaining months of 2020 and the opening months of 2021, he said.

The PM also stressed the necessity for more measures to expand markets and promote domestic consumption and for greater attention to be paid to perfecting laws, cutting administrative procedures, and developing the night-time economy, the digital economy, and the urban economy, among others.

Deals signed to promote links between local supporting industries, global supply chain

The HCM City Centre for Supporting Industries Development, Saigon Hi-Tech Park and Techtronic Industries Co Ltd on July 2 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve the capacity of supporting industries and link up vendors with the company’s supply chain.

The SHTP will help Techtronic identify and connect with local partners.

It will work closely with the centre to organise activities, events, training programmes, and roundtable forums to help improve Vietnamese suppliers’ capacity to access its value chain, and foster those that can provide high-precision equipment, materials, moulds, metal components, spare parts, high-quality plastic, electronic components, microelectronic circuits, software, and services for a number of high-tech industries.

It will connect State agencies, universities and businesses to create a human resource training network for high-technology application and development.

The company (TTI) will help local businesses with technology transfers from itself and its partners.

TTI also signed an MoU with Agribank and Vietinbank yesterday for banking services and financial solutions for itself and its subsidiaries, affiliates, business partners, and vendors at competitive prices.

It is a fast-growing world leader in power tools, accessories, hand tools, outdoor power equipment, and floor care for do-it-yourself (DIY), professional and industrial users in the home improvement, repair, maintenance, construction and infrastructure industries, with 12 plants worldwide.

It supplies some 76 per cent of its products to the US and EU.

It has some small factories in Binh Duong and is in the process of setting up its largest factory along with an R&D centre at the SHTP.

Therefore, TTI wants to partner with CSID and SHTP to development domestic supply chains and hopes more will become its suppliers.

Nate Easter, TTI’s executive vice president, global sourcing, said: “This is our very first supplier workshop in Viet Nam.[…] Right now our local content is around 38 per cent and our goal is to achieve 85 per cent by 2024 and the goal by the year-end is over 60 per cent.

“We are highly confident that companies in Viet Nam can meet all requirements.”

Nguyen Anh Thi, head of the SHTP management, said the park would focus more on enhancing linkages between large investors and local firms to help improve the latter’s capacity and their engagement with the global value chain.

 
 

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