VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 21

Decree drafted to empower SSC to halt market trading

 
     

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 21
The Ministry of Finance is preparing a decree that allows the State Securities Commission (SSC) to shut the market down temporarily to prevent it from tumbling if any bad news appears and damages market sentiment. — Photo dan viet.vn

 
 
 
The State Securities Commission may be authorised to switch the stock market off if it falls too much in the trading day.  The empowerment is a part of the decree the Ministry of Finance is writing to implement the amended Law on Securities, which was passed by the National Assembly on November 26, 2019.

If completed, the decree will give the State Securities Commission (SSC) the full authority to halt the stock market if trading goes berserk.

The temporary shutdown, which is widely used in developed markets such as the US and South Korea, aims to calm the market down if any bad news has a negative impact on the overall sentiment.

In the US markets, if main indices fall as much as 7 per cent, the market will be halted the first time for 15 minutes. If the indices fall by 13 per cent, the market will be halted the second time for 15 minutes. But when the decline reaches 20 per cent, the regulator will close the market for the whole day.

In South Korea, trading is halted for 20 minutes if either the Kospi or Kosdaq – the two main indices – fall 20 per cent from the previous day’s close. The switch-off is activated once a day only.

Amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and rising tensions between world’s largest economies, the global stock markets are becoming more vulnerable and sensitive to bad news.

Since the beginning of the year, the VN-Index has fallen by more than 3 per cent on nine trading days. The worst daily decline year-to-date was recorded on March 9 when the VN-Index tumbled 6.28 per cent.

According to the finance ministry, the market turbulence caused by large-scale sell-off is considered a threat to the security of the equity market. Reasons for such a sell-off may come from bad news of the international markets, the dissolution or insolvency of a company, and changes of regulations.

Aside halting the market, the SSC may also ask stock exchanges to adjust the trading time and change the daily trading limit of stock prices to prevent the market from plunging.

The finance ministry is gathering feedback from securities companies, specialists and State agencies to complete the decree. 

First batches of Vietnamese lychee arrive in Japan

The first batches of fresh “thieu” lychee to Japan, more than 2 tonnes in total, have gone through customs clearance at Japan's Nirata International Airport and will be hitting shelves soon, according to the Plant Protection Department.

Japanese experts on June 18 examined and supervised phytosanitary measures and treatment for the lychee in the northern province of Bac Giang where the fruit was grown. The shipments were made by exporters Ameii Vietnam JSC and Chanh Thu.

The two companies dispatched two other shipments to Japan by sea on June 20, around 3 tonnes each, which are expected to arrive the country within seven days.

Japan is expected to purchase about 100 tonnes of fresh “thieu” lychee from Vietnam this year.

Over the last four years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has worked with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to conduct testing and negotiations to pave the way for the export.

Last year, the MAFF finally agreed to import lychee from Vietnam.

Earlier, Japanese experts went to Bac Giang’s Lục Ngan district to check and were satisfied with the lychee growing areas granted with export standard codes. However, they still have to directly supervise the process of harvesting, preserving and packaging of lychee exported to this market.

The lychee exports must be packed and treated with methyl bromide fumigation at facilities approved by the Plant Protection Department and MAFF with a minimum dosage of 32g per cu.m within two hours, under the supervision of Vietnamese and Japanese plant quarantine officers.

Binh Thuan looks to stimulate tourism

As in many other localities in Vietnam, Binh Thuan’s tourism sector has been seriously hit by COVID-19, with tourist numbers down 60 percent compared to the same period of 2019. The province promptly restructured its tourism sector, however, and carried out appropriate programs to attract tourists once more.  

According to figures, 80 percent of tourism service providers have now resumed operations. And tourists have begun to return to Binh Thuan, particularly “hot spots” such as Mui Ne and Hon Rom.

The preferences of domestic holidaymakers have changed. They now prefer small, private tours rather than large groups.

Tourism companies have introduced many attractive promotional programs, offering discounts of up to 50 percent.

Tourists beginning to return to Binh Thuan is a positive sign for the local tourism sector. Tourism companies, however, need to work together to create more tourism products and attract more visitors.

Japanese NGO funds organic agriculture project in Dong Thap

Japanese non-governmental organisation (NGO) Seed to Table (STT) has provided an assistance package worth 55,000 USD for the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap to develop an organic agriculture project in the 2019-2022 period.

Chief Representative of INO Mayu said the project will be carried out in nine communes of Hong Ngu, Thanh Binh, Cao Lanh, Lap Vo, Chau Thanh districts, and Cao Lanh city; and at 12 local secondary and high schools.

Through the project, local farmers will apply organic cultivation techniques in agriculture production, and improve their livelihood by establishing production groups.

It will also help them increase the value of farm produce, better their skills in processing organic farm products and managing the quality of products, and increase market access opportunities.

According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Vo Thanh Ngoan, the project not only supports directly farmers but also equips teachers and pupils with organic agricultural knowledge, thus raising their awareness of the importance of protecting the ecosystems and the environment.

Ngoan said agriculture plays a particularly important role in ensuring food security, creating jobs and income for 70 percent of the local population, and significantly contributing to the province's economic development.

Dong Thap is the second locality in Vietnam to receive support from the Japanese organisation for organic agriculture development. A similar project totaling over 248,000 USD funded by STT was implemented in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre in 2018./.

Samsung regains top spot in Southeast Asian smartphone market

Samsung Electronics Co. recaptured the top spot in the Southeast Asian smartphone market in the first quarter of the year by edging out its Chinese rivals, according to a recent Counterpoint Research report.

Samsung's market share in Southeast Asia stood at 18.9 percent in the January-March period, outperforming Chinese phone maker Oppo by 0.2 percentage point, Yonhap news agency cited the report as saying.

Chinese players also occupied the third to fifth spots on the list. Xiaomi came in third at 14.8 percent, followed by Vivo with 13.6 percent and Realme with 7.3 percent.

Samsung has been taking the top spot in the Southeast Asian market, but in the fourth quarter of last year, it was beaten by Oppo.

According to Counterpoint Research, the rise in premium smartphones in the region is boding well for Samsung.

Budget smartphones priced less than 100 USD accounted for 27 percent of the Southeast Asian market in the first quarter, down from 46 percent a year ago.

In contrast, the portion of smartphones priced between 600 USD and 900 USD increased from 4 percent to 10 percent over the cited period.

RoK to launch promotions to attract Vietnamese tourists

The Korean Tourism Organisation (KTO) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vietnam plans to host a series of cultural and tourism activities in Hanoi to promote tourism to the country, a KTO representative said.

According to Park Jong-sun, chief of KTO’s representative office, the “Korea Travel Experience Booth”, which is to take place in Hanoi from August to October, will offer a chance for visitors to find useful information on the RoK’s culture and popular tourism destinations at large-sized booths.

Park said it will also hold online events to increase its exposure and influence.

It will hold the “Korean Days in Hanoi” programme in November, following the success of a similar event in Hanoi in 2017.

A dance contest will be held specifically for Vietnamese dancers. The “Korea Tourism Yoona Dance Cover Challenge” will take place in August or September, with contestants covering dances by Yoona, a member of the Girls’ Generation (SNSD) group, performed in KTO videos promoting Korean tourism.

Through the contest, KTO wishes to promote the RoK’s bustling and fun image associated with Hallyu culture, thus attracting more young people to the country.

Meanwhile, a photo contest called “Relive your Korea trip”, launched in April, will recall visitors’ wonderful memories of their visit to the RoK.

KTO will also cooperate with travel companies in Vietnam and especially those in Hanoi in a campaign to boost tours to the RoK as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control and flights between the two countries reopened.

Park said that through activities to promote Korean tourism in the second half of 2020, KTO hopes to attract Vietnamese tourists to the country once again, further fostering tourism exchange between the two countries in the time to come.

Businesses seek to optimise opportunities from EVFTA amid COVID-19

Close to 150 businesspeople active in agricultural products, food processing, paper making, functional foods, logistics, and banking came together at a seminar in Hanoi on June 17 to seek opportunities from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legal consultants were also on hand to provide support regarding laws on international trade.

Hoang Quang Phong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the pandemic has affected every region of the world and many countries have suffered heavy human and economic losses.

Vietnam, however, has curbed the spread of the virus and begun to recover its economy in the “new normal” conditions, he said.

The EVFTA will take effect from August 1 this year and is expected to pave the way for businesses to make inroads into fastidious markets with huge potential in the European bloc, he added.

Tran Huu Huynh, Chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), suggested businesses study market practices to avoid legal risks when conducting international trade.

Jean Jacques Bouflet from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) updated those at the seminar on the COVID-19 situation in Europe as well as trade policies being implemented to support global trade, especially in establishing new consumption and supply chains.

Indonesia to convert 1.4 million ha of peatlands into rice fields to address food shortages

The Indonesian Government is pushing ahead with a plan to convert 1.4 million ha of peat swamps into rice fields as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to create food shortages across the country, according to Coordinating Minister of Economy Airlangga Hartarto.

The country is feeling the brunt of a food crisis as the coronavirus outbreak has severely disrupted domestic cultivation and food supplies.

The Government is set to expand rice farming areas through a peatland-to-ricefield project in Kalimantan. The initial goal of establishing about 900,000 ha of rice fields in the peatlands has been raised to 1.4 million ha, Hartarto said.

It is carefully looking into the plan, since only 90,000 out of the 1.4-million-ha peatland have irrigation systems. Most peatlands suitable for converting into rice fields are located in the districts of Pulang Pisau, Kapuas, and South Barito on Kalimantan.

Agricultural restructuring is among the national programmes prioritised by President Joko Widodo to bridge development gaps and improve living standards.

Over 6.4 trillion VND raised through June 17 G-bond auction

An auction of Government bonds on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on June 17 raised 6.414 trillion VND (276.74 million USD) for the State Treasury.

G-bonds worth 6.5 trillion VND were issued, with five-year bonds bringing in 1.5 trillion VND, ten-year bonds 2.5 trillion VND, 15-year bonds 2 trillion VND, and those with a maturity of 20 years 500 billion VND.

Some 1.435 trillion VND worth of five-years bonds was mobilised at an annual interest rate of 1.95 percent, 0.03 percent higher than at the previous auction on June 10.

All the 10-year bonds were sold for 2.5 trillion VND with an annual interest rate of 3 percent, down 0.01 percent against the June 10 auction.

Besides, all the 15-year bonds were also sold for 2 trillion VND with an annual interest rate of 3.15 percent, unchanged from the previous auction on June 10.

Meanwhile, 20-year bonds were sold at an annual interest rate of 3.45 percent, 0.02 percent higher than at the previous auction on June 3 and raising 479 billion VND for the State Treasury.

The State Treasury has collected 74.107 trillion VND via G-bond auctions at HNX so far this year.

Chinese group to build 1.62-bln-USD hydropower plant in Indonesia

China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) has recently inked an 11.52 billion yuan (1.62 billion USD) deal with Indonesia Dafeng Heshun Energy Industri to construct Data Dian hydropower project in North Kalimantan province.

The project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and proactive connection with Indonesia’ Global Ocean Support Point strategy. The installed capacity of the power plant is 1,200 megawatt (MW) and the average annual power generation is 7,770 GWh.

CGGC Chairman Chen Xiaohua said the project should allow Indonesia to better tap into its abundant hydropower assets in the Kalimantan region and provide power supply for the construction of industrial parks with advanced metal smelting as the leading industry in such areas as Tanjung Selor.

Indonesia is aiming to transform its North Kalimantan province into the country’ energy and mining hub, while China currently considers Indonesia as a key partner in promoting the BRI, he said.

CGGC said it is looking forward to participating in additional major projects in Indonesia, including the construction of key facilities such as thermal power plants, highways, industrial parks, and ports.

In July 2019, the two countries agreed to prepare special funds in the BRI project as a result of bilateral meetings between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.

In the meeting, Widodo took the initiative to submit a special funding request after offering Chinese projects worth of 91 billion USD.

The increase in bilateral relations helped strengthen China’ partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Indonesia and China have signed 23 memoranda of understandings on investment and trade cooperation.

The cooperation contract includes the development of four economic corridors, rapid train research and technology cooperation, and the development of research of education.

Thailand aims to attract more foreign investment during COVID-19

To cope with the adverse impact of COVID-19 on foreign investment, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, has assigned the Board of Investment (BOI) to fine-tune its work by highlighting the strengths of the country to attract more foreign investors.

The board was urged to focus on agricultural business to help raise income distribution in the local economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid said that the BOI will find ways to create strong points in the country’s investment sector during the pandemic, which is expected to have an impact on the global economy for one to two years.

They will focus on the food industry, agriculture, processed food, medical services, tourism, logistics and digital technology, in an effort to make Thailand the investment center of the CLMTV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) region.

Investment in the agricultural sector will create jobs and incomes for both small and new farmers. The BOI will use its mechanisms and develop investment packages to support connectivity between the smart farmers’ group, local farmers and universities to help raise income distribution in the local economy.

To raise more funds from foreign investors in five years from now, the board has to help produce more unicorn businesses in Thailand. A unicorn is a startup company valued at more than 1 billion USD. This will enable the country to advance from being just part of a supply chain for foreign entrepreneurs.

Thai government approves 2021 budget bill

The Thai government on June 16 approved a bill for the fiscal 2021 budget of 3.3 trillion THB (about 106 billion USD) which will be submitted to the parliament, said spokeswoman of the government Narumon Pinyosinwat.

She said that the cabinet also agreed to establish a 64-member committee assigned to scrutinise the budget bill.

Of the members, 16 will be appointed by the cabinet while 27 will be members of the parliament and 21 will come from opposition parties, Narumon said.

Under the bill, the central fund in fiscal 2021 budget is set at 614.6 billion THB while expenditure for state agencies is set at 1.13 trillion THB.

The budget starting on October 1 will focus mainly on social and economic restructuring, economic growth stability, income redistribution to remote areas, local economy development, and income disparity reduction.

Thailand’s economy contracted 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier. Its GDP shrank by 2.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the period.

Thailand to build 9,400-km international undersea cable

Thailand’s CAT Telecom is partnering with members of the Asia Direct Cable Consortium (ADC) to build a 9,400-km international submarine cable to serve global content providers in Digital Park Thailand, and provide advanced technologies and 5G services in Southeast Asia.

Sanpachai Huvanandana, president of CAT, revealed that the route will connect China (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong province), Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The consortium selected NEC Corporation to construct the cable system.

It is expected to be completed in 2022, he added.

The cable system will be the main project to enhance CAT's international telecom networks that support growing internet usage in Thailand. It will help increase the capacity of telecom networks to serve the growing trends of global communication and connectivity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said./.

M&A deal top priority to join industrial real estate sector: Gelex CEO

The top priority for the Vietnam Electrical Equipment JSC (Gelex) this year is to acquire the controlling stake in the industrial group Viglacera, chairman and CEO Nguyen Van Tuan said on Thursday.

Gelex now has a 5.54 per cent direct stake in the ceramic producer and real estate firm Viglacera. It has another 19.43 per cent stake in the latter through the member company Gelex Electric.

Gelex is planning to raise its ownership in Viglacera to the controlling level of 51 per cent. The Ministry of Construction is the biggest shareholder in Viglacera with a 38.85 per cent stake.

Viglacera is listing 448.35 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Gelex CEO told the firm’s annual shareholder meeting.

“The deal will allow Gelex to step into the industrial property sector as international companies are forecast to move out of China into neighbouring countries, including Viet Nam,” he said.

“The company will catch the flow of foreign capital into industrial parks within the next three years,” he said.

In 2020, Gelex will acquire four industrial parks in southern provinces in the second half of the year and Viglacera will be in charge of developing those parks, Tuan said.

 

The electrical equipment producer has purchased Long Son Industrial Park in Vung Tau Province, the chairman said.

“Gelex will build an ecosystem for the industrial parks, which includes low-priced housing and warehouse leasing as well as providing clean water and electricity.”

The company maps out two earnings scenarios for 2020 with the Viglacera deal being completed or not.

If the deal is successful, total revenue will be VND19.6 trillion. On the other hand, if the deal is unsuccessful, total revenue will be VND17.5 trillion.

Pre-tax profits in the two scenario are forecast at VND975 billion and VND735 billion, respectively. The figures are down 12 per cent and 33 per cent on-year.

Other M&A targets in 2020 are Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation and copper rod and wire producer CFT Vina Copper.

Total investment capital prepared for 2020 is VND4 trillion, half of which will be spent on M&A activities. Funding for M&A deals comes from Gelex’s divestment of the logistics division and Dong Nai Port.

Gelex also plans to offload all of its shares in DAP Dinh Vu JSC in 2020 and launch an IPO for its member firm Gelex Electric in 2022.

The company has not planned a charter capital raise in 2020. The decision will be made after the M&A deal with Viglacera is completed.

Gelex will not pay dividend for 2019 and spend VND300 billion buying treasury shares. Between April 23 and May 22, the company bought back 18.27 million shares.

In 2019, total net revenue was VND15.3 trillion and pre-tax profit was VND1.1 trillion. The figures were 8 per cent and 20 per cent lower than full-year targets.

Gelex shares (HoSE: GEX) gained 1.5 per cent to trade at VND16,550 apiece on Thursday. Viglacera shares (HoSE: VGC) jumped 4.5 per cent to trade at VND19,900 apiece. 

HCM City’s post-Covid-19 shopping tourism revenues remain low

Many popular shopping spots in HCM City have still attracted a modest number of tourists despite being open for nearly two months following the long suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to an owner of a cosmetic shop at Ben Thanh Market, her revenue dropped by 80-90% because of the Covid-19 pandemic. These days, the shop is often closed at 3 pm instead of at 6-7 previously.  

“Despite the social distancing regulation ending, my shop has attracted a small number of customers,” she added.

Lots of shop owners at An Dong Market in District 5 are in the same situation. Dang Hung’s clothes shop now does not hire any assistant to save costs; as his shop revenue dropped by up to 90%.

Traders at Ben Thanh and An Dong Market are struggling to cover the shop rental to wait for the return of international visitors.

This month, HCM City has rolled out tourism activities to lure domestic travellers, including visits to revolutionary historical sites.

According to the HCM City Department of Tourism, HCM City served 1.3 million tourists during the first five months of this year, down 63.17% on-year, including 602,437 foreigners.

The city’s tourism sector pulled in total revenue of VND27 trillion (USD1.17 billion), down 52.1% on-year.

Thailand approves large-scale projects to spur economy

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BoI) recently approved five large-scale projects with a total investment value of 41.83 billion THB (1.34 billion USD) in an effort to reactivate economic drivers after the country began easing lockdown measures.

Local media reported that BoI Secretary General Duangjai Asawachintachit announced the move after a board meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 17.

On June 15, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak urged the BoI to make tax incentives and investment packages more attractive to foreign agri-businesses to turn Thailand into an investment hub for CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) countries.

The Thai government wants to draw more investors as the COVID-19 pandemic may cause them to consider changing their production bases, he said, adding that the country also aims to stand out among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam as an investment destination.

The Thai economy is said to be on way to enter recession after contracting 1.8 percent in the first quarter, the sharpest decline since the fourth quarter of 2011 when the country was hit by floods.

The Bank of Thailand recently forecast the economy may experience stronger contraction than previous estimates. Earlier, it revised down this year’s growth projection for Thailand from 2.8 percent to -5.3 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam, China boost farm produce trade

A Vietnam - China teleconference on farm produce, fisheries, and food trade took place on June 18.

The event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) and the Council for the Promotion of International Trade of Chongqing (CCPIT Chonqing).

Addressing the teleconference, VIETRADE Deputy Director General Le Hoang Tai described China as Vietnam’s largest market among more than 200 countries and territories engaged in trade with Vietnam.

Vietnam has close trade ties with many Chinese cities and provinces, including Chongqing - one of the four centrally-run cities that is a significant trade partner.

VIETRADE, he said, established a trade promotion office in Jiangbei district, Chongqing city in 2015 to help Chinese enterprises seek long-term opportunities with Vietnamese partners.

He invited Chongqing businesses to join the Vietnam Foodexpo scheduled for November 18-21 in HCM City, where thousands of quality farm produce and food products from prestigious Vietnamese companies will be available.

Tai hopes that CCPIT Chongqing will work closely with VIETRADE to diversify trade and exchanges between the two sides.

An official from CCPIT Chongqing committed to creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese companies to do business in the city.

Following the teleconference, Vietnamese and Chinese companies joined online trade sessions to share information and seek business opportunities, which will last until June 19.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, annual two-way trade between Vietnam and China surpassed 100 billion USD during the past two years. The figure hit 44.35 billion USD in the first five months of this year, up nearly 2 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam’s exports to China topped 15.9 billion USD, up 17.4 percent, while imports hit 28.3 billion USD, down over 5 percent.

Indonesia’s public debts swell due to COVID-19

The Indonesian Ministry of Finance said on June 17 the country’s total public debts hit over 5.2 quadrillion rupiah (5 billion USD) as of May, much higher than the previous month and the same period last year.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attributed the swelling debt to the Government’s expenditure to fund the national economic recovery programme in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public debts in May were mostly government securities with more than 4.44 quadrillion rupiah and other debts.

The minister said public debts accounted for 32.09 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) as of the late May, which remain safe in accordance with the Finance Law that allows a maximum 60 percent of the GDP.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau to develop modern seaports, logistics services

A workshop was held in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau on June 18 to seek ways to develop seaports and logistics services, which are important components of the local economy.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Hong Linh said from now to 2025, Ba Ria – Vung Tau is going to focus resources on developing modern seaports and related logistics services.

It will reserve 20 trillion VND (859.6 million USD) for investing in transport infrastructure linking seaports and regions, along with 2,000ha of land for developing the logistics system and a modern goods certification centre during the period.

The province will also select capable investors to develop seaport logistics services, set up a management board of the Cai Mep – Thi Vai port complex to create the best possible conditions for businesses and shipping firms when using the port system, and develop this complex into an export and import gateway of the southern key economic region, Linh noted.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tho said seaport and logistics services are defined as important components of the local economy, adding that Ba Ria – Vung Tau has worked with relevant ministries and sectors to carry out numerous solutions to boost investment in the services and reaped practical outcomes.

He cited statistics as showing that the volume of cargo transported by sea and handled in the province has increased by 10 percent between 2016 and 2020. In particular, container freight delivered by vessels has grown by over 20 percent annually.

At the workshop, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said the ministry is considering the allocation of medium-term capital to dredging the Cai Mep – Thi Vai marine passage.

He asked Ba Ria – Vung Tau to accelerate the progress of Ben Luc – Long Thanh Expressway project, as well as the construction of roads connecting the Cai Mep – Thi Vai port complex with Phuoc An bridge, Ben Luc – Long Thanh Expressway and Bien Hoa city in nearby Dong Nai province to boost demand for goods transportation via the complex.

Cong also suggested the province attract more big investors to create more export sources and build logistics zones before putting ports into operation.

The Cai Mep – Thi Vai port complex was the one posting the world’s fastest growth in 2017 and also among the 21 ports around the world able to handle vessels of up to 200,000 tonnes.

Of the 69 port projects planned in Ba Ria – Vung Tau, 48 have become operational, and they are able to deal with 141.5 million tonnes of cargo each year. Meanwhile, 2,312ha of land has been zoned off for developing logistics facilities, with 20 projects covering 224ha already put into use.

Indonesia outlines export facilitation strategy

Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said that the country has outlined a strategy to facilitate exports, which have strongly dropped in recent times.

Data from the country’s central statistics agency shows that exports reached only 10.53 billion USD in May, down 13.4 percent month-on-month and 28.95 percent year-on-year.

The minister said the Government needs to allow companies to access raw materials for production and export as well as assist small and medium-sized enterprises in increasing their output and quality and especially in utilising e-commerce.

He added that the ministry will lift a ban on export of several raw materials and medical supplies, such as face masks and personal protective suits.

Indonesia will also launch a drive to popularise domestically-made products, he said, and will closely control imports to protect domestic production.

Techcombank to issue 4.7mn shares to employees

The Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) plans to issue 4.7 million shares to current employees under its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), at a price of 10,000 VND (0.43 USD) per share.

The bonus shares account for 0.14 percent of the bank’s total at present.

Expected to take place in the third or fourth quarter of this year, the issuance will raise the bank’s charter capital by nearly 48 billion VND (2.07 million USD) to close to 35.05 trillion VND (1.51 billion USD).

The move aims to help Techcombank attract, motivate, and retain talented employees in the long term.

It will be reviewed at its annual general meeting, scheduled for June 20 in Hanoi.

The bank targets credit growth of 13 percent or higher year-on-year in 2020 and asset growth of 12 percent. The non-performing loan ratio is to remain under 3 percent.

It also plans to increase revenue by 1 percent to 13 trillion VND.

UK webinar on post-pandemic investment opportunities in Vietnam

The UK’s Asia Scotland Institute held a webinar on June 18, focusing on Vietnam’s achievements in COVID-19 response as well as post-pandemic business and investment opportunities in the country.

With Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An, several Vietnamese experts and investors being its speakers, the webinar attracted the participation of around 70 audiences who are individual investors, and representatives from several universities, investment funds and enterprises in Scotland and northern Britain.

During the event, participants showed their interest in Vietnam’s experience in the COVID-19 fight, its economic situation and policies in post-pandemic economic development and recovery, as well as investment and cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and the UK in general and Scotland in particular.

They were impressed by information about Vietnam’s achievements in disease response, when it has so far reported over 340 coronavirus-positive cases and no fatalities, although it has a population of over 97 million and holds a long border line with China – the first outbreak.

Ambassador An said that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an negative impact on Vietnam’s economic growth targets, but the country is still considered one of the most positively growing economies in the region, with strong recovery to a growth rate of at least 6.8 percent in 2021.

He added that the webinar is one of activities the embassy has coordinated with agencies and organisations in the UK to boost collaboration between the two countries to address negative impacts of the pandemic, especially in 2020 when they are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership.

Bạc Liêu Province focuses on becoming shrimp production hub

A project to reform shrimp farming is yielding positive results for Bạc Liêu Province, paving the way for it to become the country's shrimp industry hub, Dương Thành Trung, chairman of its People's Committee, said.

Super intensive shrimp farming and modern technologies are being adopted, and several districts are focusing on the shrimp-rice farming model.

Over 70 per cent of infrastructure for a hi-tech agriculture zone for shrimp project has been completed, and construction of the zone is expected to begin soon.

The province targets production of more than 200,000 tonnes of the crustacean this year, or 48,000 tonnes more than in 2019.

It also targets reaching US$1 billion worth of shrimp exports before 2025.

Bạc Liêu is the Mekong Delta's leading province in terms of shrimp production, and accounts for 20 per cent of the country's output.

It has numerous companies and households farming white-leg shrimps under the super intensive model, and facilities for farming other types of shrimps and producing fish fry and feed. 

Can Tho to seek private investment for nurseries for IP workers' children

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will issue more preferential policies for investors to set up private nurseries in the city’s industrial parks and processing export zones, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

Speaking at a recent conference on the national project on nurseries at industrial parks and processing export zones, Vo Thi Hong Anh, the committee’s vice chairwoman and head of the Steering Board of the project in Can Tho, said that female workers with children ageing 6 months and above have to send their children to nurseries and kindergartens when they resume working after six months of maternity leave.

The nurseries and kindergartens must have professionally trained staff and facilities that ensure safety for children, Anh said.

Agencies in the city should offer more solutions to attract private investment in safe nurseries and kindergartens to meet female workers’ demands, she added.

Noting that the city plans to establish Singapore Industrial Park in Thot Not District, she said the district should set up health facilities and nurseries or kindergartens to create conditions for workers’ children to be taken care of. This will also attract workers to the IP.

She instructed the city Department of Education and Training to provide more preferential policies to attract private investment to build nurseries in IPs and processing export zones.

The city could give investors priority in tariff exemptions and reductions, assistance for loans, and land lease, she said.

Can Tho has four industrial parks and processing export zones with 5,176 workers with children under 36 months old.

The total number of kindergartens in the industrial parks and processing export zones is 10. Six out of the 10 meet national standards. There are 29 nurseries.

The total number of children taken care of at the kindergartens and nurseries is 3,929.

Local authorities and relevant agencies check the nurseries frequently. Inspections have shown that their classrooms and toilets for children are clean. Investors have spent 519 million VND (22,285 USD) on upgrading their nurseries’ facilities.

The Department of Education and Training has suggested that the city People’s Council provide assistance of more than 1.2 billion VND to buy teaching aids and toys for children.

The conference’s delegates said the project had helped workers feel more secure about their children's safety.

Developing industrial infrastructure critical to catching FDI flow: Confab

Vietnam needs to focus on developing the infrastructure system of industrial zones (IZs) to draw clean and quality foreign direct investment (FDI) in the context of the global production shift, heard a conference on June 19 in Hanoi.

Speaking at the second Industrial Real Estate Forum, Tran Thi Hong Minh, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said Vietnam had significant opportunities to attract quality FDI, given the Government’s success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to recover economic growth post-pandemic.

In a more uncertain global economy after the pandemic, foreign investors would be more cautious in selecting destinations for their investments and would wish to diversify investment destinations.

Minh said the development of industrial property must contribute to promoting green growth and corporate responsibility, adding that nowhere was more advantageous than IZs to test the circular economy.

Investment in IZs must also take into account labour issues and social security, she said. The efficiency of IZs should not only be evaluated based on the occupancy rate, export scale and contribution to the State budget but also links among them.

According to Tran Quoc Trung, Deputy Director of the Economic Zones Management Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the development of IZs must promote local strengths and regional links.

A system of core IZs must be formed to lead the development of major industries, Trung said.

The focus would also be placed on improving the efficiency of IZs, encouraging modern and environmentally-friendly technologies and diversifying investment co-operation models in developing IZs’ infrastructure system, he said, adding that private investment was encouraged.

It was also important to develop new-generation IZs, such as eco-industrial parks, supporting IZs, sectorial-specialised IZs and industrial and urban and service complexes.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment’ statistics showed that as of the end of May, there were 561 IZs nationwide with a total area of 201,000 hectares (or 0.6 percent of the country’s total area). Of them, 374 were operational.

According to real estate service firm Savills Vietnam, a wave of investors would land on Vietnam in the context of a global production shift, hiking demand for industrial land.

High-end residential and office segments would also benefit, Savills forecast.

However, limited industrial land supply and shortage in the labour force remained problems.

 
 

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