VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 18

Mining industry unable to enjoy tax incentives

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 18

The mining industry faced difficulties in the first eight months of this year due to being unable to enjoy tax and land rental incentives, said Nguyen Huu Quang, deputy head of the National Assembly's Committee on Finance and Budget.

The National Assembly and the Government have issued many policies to reduce taxes, fees, charges and land rents and extend payment deadlines to support amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the mining industry has not accessed these incentives.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported the index of industrial production (IIP) for the first eight months of this year was estimated to surge by 2.2 percent year-on-year, while the mining industry’s IIP reduced 7 percent.

According to the amended articles of the Law on Value added Tax (VAT), exported goods, which have the total value of natural resources, mineral resources and energy cost accounting for 51 percent or more of the product cost, do not enjoy reduced or refunded VAT for input materials. These goods do not also enjoy export tax incentives under the Import - Export Tax Law.

These factors are why the mining industry has had negative growth in the first eight months, according to Quang.

The GSO said Vietnam’s industrial production faced more difficulties in August when the pandemic resurged in late July.

The national IIP in August increased by about 3.5 percent over the previous month, but decreased by 0.6 percent over the same period last year. Of which, IIP decreased by 5.1 percent for the mining industry, 0.1 percent for the processing and manufacturing industry, and 0.7 percent for electricity production and distribution. While, that of water supply, waste and sewage management and treatment increased by 2.2 percent.

The IIP in the first eight months of this year was estimated to increase by 2.2 percent year-on-year. However, it was much lower than the growth rate of 9.5 percent in the first eight months of 2019.

Quang Ninh cuts sight-seeing fees till year’s end

The northeastern coastal province of Quang Ninh has launched a sight-seeing fee discount programme for a range of local destinations between September 9 and December 31.

Accordingly, prices of entrance tickets for destinations on Ha Long Bay, the Quang Ninh Museum and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex are reduced by 50 percent.

Notably, entry into destinations in the bay will be free of charge on Vietnamese Women’s Day (October 20), the mining sector’s traditional day (November 12), Vietnamese Teachers’ Day (November 20), and the founding anniversary of the People’s Army of Vietnam (December 22).

The programme was part of the provincial People’s Council’s decision issued on September 8 for tourism promotion.

Earlier, the council approved a tourism promotion incentive for 2020 worth about 200 billion VND (nearly 8.6 million USD) during its meeting in May.

Under the incentive, starting from May 15, all visitors, both Vietnamese and foreigners were exempt from entrance fees to Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Museum and the complex of Yen Tu monuments and landscapes until the end of the month and on major holidays in 2020.

Later, sight-seeing fees for Ha Long Bay were reduced by half to the end of September, while entrance fees for Quang Ninh Museum and Yen Tu complex were cut by half until the end of July.

In addition, passengers arriving at the Van Don International Airport receive free round-trip bus rides to Ha Long and Uong Bi cities until the year's end.

As a result, tourist arrivals have been partly recovered, with the average number of visitors to Ha Long Bay per day reached 7,000 in June. As of the end of August, more than 868,000 people visited the bay in the daytime and over 4,000 stayed here at night.

However, the second wave of COVID-19 taking place at the end of July has led to a slowdown in local tourism activites as the number of tourists fell significantly. Hundreds of tourist ship owners registered for a temporary halt of their operation until the end of September to avoid monthly business fees of between 7 and 10 million VND per ship.

Local tourism activities are expected to be resumed in early October.

According to statistics from the Quang Ninh People’s Committee, the number of tourists to the province as of the end of August exceeded 5.7 million, decreasing by half year on year. As such, tourism revenue reduced by 42 percent to over 12 trillion VND.

During the period, Ha Long Bay and the Yen Tu relic and scenic complex welcomed 1.1 million and 238,000 visitors, down 62 and 73 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

Quang Ninh is endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.

It is home to popular destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long, Ha Long Bay National Park and some islands.

In particular, Ha Long Bay was twice recognised as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes.

It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

The site welcomed 4.4 million holidaymakers throughout 2019, including 2.9 million foreigners, and raked in 1.23 trillion VND from tourism.

Located 80 km from the mainland, Co To island is another attraction in Quang Ninh. The island district comprises Co To Lon (large Co To island), Co To Be (small Co To island) and 15 smaller islands.

Besides enchanting beaches, the island has natural forests, lighthouses, parks, wharves, fishing villages, bays and a rock garden.

Located in Bai Tu Long Bay, Quan Lan Island in Van Don district has become an ideal destination in summer holidays thanks to its pristine beauty, clear blue seawater and fine white sand bank stretching along the green rows of casuarinas.

Indonesia’s foreign debts reach nearly 410 billion USD

Indonesia’s foreign debts rose to about 409.7 billion USD in July from 408.6 billion USD in June, according to the country’s central bank (BI).

Debts of the public sector and private sector were 201.8 billion USD and 207.9 billion USD respectively.

However, BI spokesperson Onny Widjanarko said that the growth of foreign debts in July 2020 at 4.1 percent year-on-year was still slower than the 5.1 percent in the previous month due to the declining growth of private foreign debt amid the relatively stable growth of the government's foreign debt.

He said that the government debts rose 2.3 percent in July to 199 billion USD.

This condition was due to the withdrawal of commitments from several multilateral institutions and the issuance of Samurai bonds to meet the financing needs including those for the COVID-19 pandemic mitigation and the national economic recovery programme.

However, the structure of Indonesia's foreign debts remained healthy as they were managed prudently with the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio reaching 38.2 percent, Widjanarko said.

The structure of the Indonesian foreign debts remains dominated by long-term debts (89.1 percent of the total foreign debts), he noted.

In efforts to maintain the healthy foreign debt structure, Bank Indonesia and the government continue to enhance coordination in monitoring the debt development which is supported by the prudent debt management.

Binh Dinh’s wood exports surge 21 percent despite pandemic

The central province of Binh Dinh posted a 21 percent year-on-year increase in wood exports to 373 million USD during January-August despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to chairman of the province’s forest product export association Le Minh Thien, the export value accounted for 72.6 percent of the yearly plan.

As the province’s wood processing sector is striving for a 7 percent growth in export this year, local firms have sharpened their focus on taking advantage of the new-generation trade pacts, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Thien said.

Currently, wood processing businesses are re-arranging their production plan as they have received large orders.

The provincial Department of Industry and Trade have supported wood companies to restructure their production chains, as well as promote sustainable forest protection, ensuring that Binh Dinh maintains its position as the largest wood processing hub in the central region.

Binh Dinh is currently home to some 200 wood and forestry product processing businesses, which generate jobs for around 20,000 workers. Local wood products have been present in over 80 countries and territories worldwide.

This year, the province target 500 million USD in wood exports.

Companies collect 1.7 billion USD via bond issuance in August

Companies collected a total of 38.4 trillion VND (1.7 billion USD) via bond issuances in August, according to statistics from the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

The average bond maturity was 3.97 years. Three-year bonds accounted for the largest proportion with an issued value of 22.6 trillion VND, followed by five-year bonds with 5.1 trillion VND and two-year and 10-year bonds with issued values of 3.2 trillion VND and 3.08 trillion VND, respectively.

Real estate was the largest issuing group with a total issued value of 11.7 trillion VND, equivalent to 30 per cent of the total issued value of the market. Credit institutions ranked second with 10.03 trillion VND, equivalent to 26 percent.

Sovico Group JSC and Saigon Glory Co Ltd were the two largest single collectors in August as they both mobilised 5 trillion VND.

Masan Group JSC collected nearly 4.1 trillion VND, VPBank earned 2.5 trillion VND and LienVietPostBank raised the same amount.

Novaland mobilised 2.2 trillion VND, FE Credit collected 1.9 trillion VND and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam attained 1.9 trillion VND. Phu Long Real Estate JSC earned 1.8 trillion VND and Thanh Cong Trading Services Investment and Construction Company Limited mobilised 1 trillion VND.

In the first eight months of this year, 237.7 trillion VND was mobilised by enterprises via bonds.

The corporate bond market is expected to flourish in the third quarter a d then step back in the fourth quarter in anticipation of regulatory amendments which will impose restrictions on bond trading from early September.

Since the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Finance has issued warnings about risks which might arise from the abuse of this capital-raising channel, giving out recommendations to investors and market participants.

The ministry has made public a draft decree to amend several points of Decree 163/2018/NĐ-CP about corporate bond issuance for comments, which includes amendments of conditions for corporate bond issuance, rates, issuance in domestic and international markets, information disclosure and reporting mechanisms.

The draft has been submitted to the Government and is expected to take effect in early September.

Under the draft, regulations about bond yields and bond transactions would be tightened.

International expo on support industries slated for December

The first International Expo on Support Industries and Processing - Manufacturing (VIMEXPO 2020) is scheduled to take place from December 9-11 at Hanoi’s International Centre for Exhibition (ICE) on Tran Hung Dao Street.

The expo will also be the first held under the Support Industry Development Programme.

With 250 booths from 150 support enterprises in the fields of garments and textiles, leather and footwear, electronics, automobile manufacturing and assembly, and hi-tech, VIMEXPO 2020 offers a chance to seek new partners and suppliers and learn of new technologies.

It is expected to become the leading expo on the support industry in Vietnam as well as be a first step for Vietnamese producers to intensify connectivity and effectively participate in global supply chains, contributing to boosting the sector’s development.

The three-day expo hopes to welcome 18,000 visitors. To keep a close watch on events and register to attend, guests can visit the official website at www.vimexpo.com.vn.

The Government issued a resolution on August 6 on measures to promote the development of support industries, which sets a target of Vietnam producing highly-competitive support products that meet 45 percent of domestic production and consumption demand by 2025 and 70 percent by 2030.

Gia Lai exports 100 tonnes of passionfruit to EU under EVFTA

The Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Joint Stock Company (Doveco) in the central highlands province of Gia Lai announced on September 16 the export of its first batch of 100 tonnes of passionfruit to the EU under the terms of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Speaking at the announcement ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh lauded the company’s efforts and hoped it will continue growing sustainably, gaining a foothold in international markets and helping consolidate the profile of Vietnamese farm produce worldwide.

He asked Vietnamese firms, including Doveco, to make use of the EVFTA to upgrade technology, diversify products, and ensure product quality and origin tracing.

Doanh stressed that localities, particularly Gia Lai, should continue facilitating fruit and vegetable processing companies to invest in expanding facilities, form links, and build material areas, while organising public awareness campaigns on food safety and EU standards.

Monitoring work to ensure local farm produce is in accordance with regulations is also necessary, he noted.

Doveco has exported agricultural products to over 60 countries and territories worldwide, with passionfruit accounting for half of its total export value.

The export quantity and value of Vietnam’s passionfruit have increased over 300 percent in the last five years, making it one of the top ten exporters of the fruit in the world.

Hanoi looks to cut power losses to under 4 percent. by 2025

Hanoi is attempting to cut total energy consumption by 5 - 7 percent and bring electricity losses down to less than 4 percent by 2025, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

These are the targets Hanoi is aiming for under the national energy efficiency programme, which will be implemented in the capital using 130 billion VND (nearly 5.6 million USD) from the local budget.

The department said Hanoi has already taken the lead in implementing the national programme, as seen in its Earth Hour activities, its support for enterprises to improve energy efficiency to boost product competitiveness, and its promotion of power-saving efforts in transport, services, and daily activities.

To cut power losses, the city targets that, by 2025, all key transport businesses will have carried out programmes on fuel-saving driving skills for workers and applied technical solutions on saving energy in vehicle use.

It expects all companies at local industrial parks and clusters, along with 80 percent of rural industrial facilities and craft villages, to access and apply energy efficiency solutions. All major energy consumers are also expected to use standardised energy management systems.

Hanoi is also working to ensure compliance by new constructions with the national technical standards for energy efficiency in buildings, the department noted.

It added that the capital aims to have 330 establishments and constructions recognised as having “green” energy and energy efficiency by 2025, and at least two or three named “green” and energy efficient constructions at the national level each year.

In implementing the national energy efficiency programme, Hanoi is also looking to cut energy consumption by industry compared to the 2016-2020 period.

In particular, it plans to reduce the amount of energy use in textile and garment manufacturing by at least 5 percent, in the production of alcohol and other beverages by 3 - 6.88 percent, in the paper industry by 8 - 15.8 percent, in the chemical industry by at least 7 percent, and in plastics production by 18 - 22.46 percent.

Hanoi also hopes that 60 percent of local schools will step up communications regarding and teach students about energy efficiency by 2025.

The Department of Industry and Trade noted that in order to encourage local organisations, businesses, and people to use energy efficiently, since the beginning of this year authorities have worked to call for power-saving practices, participation in the Earth Hour campaign, the replacement of tungsten lamps with LED bulbs, and the installation of rooftop solar panels.

It also sent text messages with tips on saving electricity to 100,000 households with high consumption in May, when strong heat waves were recorded, and believes energy efficiency solutions need to be implemented synchronously throughout the city to generate practical outcomes.

The national energy efficiency programme aims to reduce energy use by 5 - 7 percent between 2019 and 2025 and 8 - 10 percent in the 2019 - 2030 period, or around 60 tonnes of oil equivalent (ToE).

By 2025, the programme is to cut power losses to less than 6.5 percent and reduce average energy consumption by industry compared to the 2015 - 2018 period.

It will ensure that 70 percent of industrial parks and 50 percent of industrial clusters apply solutions to use energy economically and efficiently; that all key energy users apply standardised energy management systems; and that all key transport companies provide courses to improve worker skills in operating vehicles in an energy-saving manner.

From 2006 to 2015, the national energy efficiency programme helped Vietnam save more than 15 ToEs of energy and cut total energy consumption nationwide by 3.4 percent and 5.65 percent, respectively, in 2006 - 2010 and 2011 - 2015. The country has saved more than 9 billion kWh of electricity on average each year, equivalent to 15 trillion VND.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Western Australia ink MoU on multifaceted cooperation

Authorities from the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau and the Australian state of Western Australia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) online on September 16, regarding multifaceted cooperation in economy, education and training, and cultural exchange.

Joint economic work will include creating conditions for businesses from both sides to form economic and trade partnerships, as well as organising annual exchanges of delegations representing sectors such as energy, tourism, the creative industry, and services.

Meanwhile, educational engagements will link education and training organisations in the province with those in Western Australia, establish joint schools, and seek opportunities relating to training curricula, among others.

They will also cooperate with selected educational and cultural establishments to exchange artists for the promotion of arts and culture.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Tuan said the two localities share similarities in socio-economy, culture, and human resources, so will make good partners for development.

Bui Quoc Thanh, Vietnamese Consul General to Perth, Western Australia, stressed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the signing of the MoU demonstrates the two sides’ aspirations for cooperation in boosting the Vietnam - Australia strategic partnership.

Earlier, in July 2019, the two inked a preliminary agreement on establishing cooperative ties and partnerships.

Vietnam ships first batch of coffee to EU under EVFTA

The first batch of Vietnamese coffee destined for the EU under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) was exported on September 16.

Fourteen containers with 296 tonnes were shipped to Belgium and Germany by the Vinh Hiep Co. Ltd, based in Pleiku city in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.

When the EVFTA came into force on August 1, tariffs on all coffee products from Vietnam, including unroasted, roasted, and processed coffee, were immediately slashed to zero percent. The EU has also committed to protecting geographical indications of Vietnamese coffee.

Addressing a ceremony marking the exports, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said coffee is one of Vietnam’s 13 key agricultural products, and the industry contributes 3 percent to GDP and provides stable incomes for over 600,000 farming households nationwide, mostly in the Central Highlands.

Vietnam has long been the world’s second-largest coffee exporter, with annual export revenue topping 3 billion USD. Its coffee is now found in more than 80 countries and territories, and the EU is the largest importer, accounting for 40 percent and 38 percent of total export volume and value, respectively.

Noting the initial positive outcomes from the EVFTA, Doanh said coffee shipments to the EU approximated 76 million USD in August, up 34.7 percent month-on-month.

The coffee industry will work harder to meet EU requirements, especially those relating to quality and sustainable development, to turn Vietnam - the world’s largest Robusta coffee grower - into a reference point for global Robusta production, the deputy minister added.

ADB: Thailand’s economy to shrink by 8 percent in 2020

Despite relatively effective containment of Covid-19, the impact of the pandemic on Thailand's economy has been more severe than expected and economic recovery remains elusive, with annual GDP poised to shrink by 8 percent, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The latest projection is a big dip from the bank's April forecast of a 4.8 percent contraction, local media reported.

External demand weakness is likely to continue in the near term, the Bangkok Post newspaper cited a report titled "Asian Development Outlook 2020 Update: Wellness in Worrying Times". Even with trade partners gradually recovering as the COVID-19 situation allows them to relax containment measures, economic activity is projected to remain significantly below pre-pandemic norms in many countries.

 

Thailand's earnings from exports of goods and services are now projected to contract more deeply in dollar terms, by 22.3 percent in 2020, then rebound to 7.6 percent growth in 2021, according to the ADB.

The deeper export contraction will weigh on private consumption and investment. Private investment is now expected to contract by 12.1 percent in 2020, then recover with 4 percent growth next year, the ADB said.

Weak demand at home and abroad, excess production capacity and persistent uncertainty about the course of the pandemic will undermine business confidence and hamper investment this year, said the Manila-based lender.

Public spending seems to be almost the sole economic driver this year.

Public consumption is now expected to expand by 3.8 percent, revised up from 2.4 percent projected in April, due to speedy disbursement of relief spending, the ADB said.

Meanwhile, public investment is predicted to expand, especially in infrastructure projects for state-owned enterprises, and this will be the key to sustaining the economy to the forecast horizon, the bank said.

The ADB forecasts Thailand's GDP to grow by 4.5 percent in 2021.

Climate change compels Vietnamese firms to restructure: Report

Along with its challenges, Vietnamese companies see climate change as an opportunity to speed up restructuring, reorganise production, and create new products and technologies, according to a report from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Foundation released on September 16.

The “Adapting to Succeed: Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Vietnamese Businesses” report revealed that local companies find it necessary to respond to natural disasters and climate change and a large number have adjusted their business plans, upgraded production technologies, and taken out insurance to protect themselves against natural disasters.

They are also now more willing to invest in improving compliance with environmental regulations. In particular, one business is ready to set aside 7.32 percent of its operational costs to go greener, the report revealed.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, VCCI President Vu Tien Loc said Vietnam is among ten countries hit hardest by climate change, and severe climate conditions have had a critical impact on local business, as they cause disruptions to transport networks, increase production costs, and create shortages in material supplies, eventually bringing business to a standstill.

The business community must work together towards a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable economy, he said, adding that with their creativity, Vietnamese companies will have an important voice in promoting activities to respond to climate change.

The Vietnamese Government has worked to complete the legal framework to encourage environmental protection and sustainable development in recent years.

The report collected the opinions of 10,400 enterprises across the country. It is billed as the largest business survey on the impact of climate change on Vietnamese companies to date.

36,000 ha of coffee sustainably grown in central highlands under VnSAT project

As of the end of June, the total area of coffee being sustainably grown in the five central highlands provinces exceeded 36,266 ha, a conference held on September 16 on accelerating the progress of the Vietnam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project (VnSAT) heard.

The figure represents more than 90.7 percent of the project’s goal of developing 40,000 ha of sustainable coffee plantations.

Co-held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam Coffee and Cacao Association (VICOFA) in the central highlands province of Gia Lai, the conference heard reports on project progress in the first eight months of this year and plans for the remainder of the year and the extension period from 2021 to 2022.

Under VnSAT’s Component on Supporting Sustainable Coffee Production and Rejuvenation, 185 farmer groups were established and reinforced as of the end of August, 14 percent more than the target of 162, while over 40,000 farming households were given training on how to grow coffee sustainably.

Close to 22,000 farming households have rejuvenated their ageing coffee areas, which cover a total of more than 18,000 ha. A full set of standards on sustainable rejuvenation have been applied on 13,137 ha of coffee in the region, 31 percent higher than the initial goal.

The project has also helped renovate 11 State-run and 21 private nurseries which have supplied to the market about 5.1 million coffee trees on 5,000 ha. Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development have also licensed 51 more private nurseries.

Provinces in the region have so far disbursed 380 billion VND for the project. The figure includes 280 billion VND (12.06 million USD) from the International Development Association (IDA), 71 billion VND in counterpart funding, and 28 billion VND from the private sector.

In the closing four months of 2020, the project will provide training on sustainable coffee production to more than 6,000 households and on sustainable coffee rejuvenation to 2,000 others.

The VnSAT project has total investment of 301 million USD, including 237.2 million USD in IDA funding. It aims to sustainably farm 69,000 ha of coffee, increase profits from coffee production by 20 percent, support 162 farmer groups, and help the coffee industry in 33 districts and towns across the five central highlands’ provinces improve competitiveness and reduce the environmental impact.

International expo on support industries slated for December

The first International Expo on Support Industries and Processing - Manufacturing (VIMEXPO 2020) is scheduled to take place from December 9-11 at Hanoi’s International Centre for Exhibition (ICE) on Tran Hung Dao Street.

The expo will also be the first held under the Support Industry Development Programme.

With 250 booths from 150 support enterprises in the fields of garments and textiles, leather and footwear, electronics, automobile manufacturing and assembly, and hi-tech, VIMEXPO 2020 offers a chance to seek new partners and suppliers and learn of new technologies.

It is expected to become the leading expo on the support industry in Vietnam as well as be a first step for Vietnamese producers to intensify connectivity and effectively participate in global supply chains, contributing to boosting the sector’s development.

The three-day expo hopes to welcome 18,000 visitors. To keep a close watch on events and register to attend, guests can visit the official website at www.vimexpo.com.vn.

The Government issued a resolution on August 6 on measures to promote the development of support industries, which sets a target of Vietnam producing highly-competitive support products that meet 45 percent of domestic production and consumption demand by 2025 and 70 percent by 2030.

Ministry to open bids on five PPP projects for North-South Expressway in October

The Ministry of Transport is scheduled open bids on five public-private partnership (PPP) component projects of the North-South Expressway from October 2-5.

Adjustments to bidding documents for the projects are expected to be ratified on September 18-20.

Project management boards informed the short-listed investors on July 20-21, who have 60 days to prepare.

The ministry will negotiate and sign contracts with investors in December, with construction to begin in early 2021 and complete in 2023, as set by the National Assembly and the Government.

The five component projects cover five sections along the North-South Expressway: National Highway No 45-Nghi Son (Thanh Hoa), Nghi Son-Dien Chau (Nghe An), Dien Chau-Bai Vot (Ha Tinh), Nha Trang-Cam Lam (Khanh Hoa), and Cam Lam-Vinh Hao (Binh Thuan).

The North-South Expressway project has a total length of 654km and is divided into 11 sub-projects, including six under public investment and five under PPP. Investment for the sub-projects totals 100.8 trillion VND (4.3 billion USD), of which 78.4 trillion VND is from the State budget.

Vietnam facilitates investment of EU firms: PM

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on September 16 hosted a reception for Dutch and Belgian Ambassadors, Elsbeth Akkerman and Paul Jansen, along with EU investors who want to pour capital into a seaport logistics project worth nearly 1 billion USD in Vietnam.

At the meeting, the leader stressed the Vietnamese Government always facilitates the investment of foreign firms, especially those from the EU that have potential and high technological capacity.

He also highlighted all-round developments of the relations between Vietnam and Belgium and the Netherlands, saying the two countries are Vietnam’s important trade partners.

However, PM Phuc said cooperation outcomes have yet to match potential and strength of the sides.

The Dutch Ambassador expressed her impression on Vietnam’s efforts in the COVID-19 combat and economic development.

The Dutch Government backs Cai Mep Ha Logistics Centre project in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau which the EU investors are interested in, she said, adding that the Dutch Development Bank has committed 10 percent of the project investment.

For his part, Ambassador Paul Jansen said that the Belgian Corporation for International Investment will also play a role in the investment.

Once operational, the Cai Mep Ha Logistics Centre can accommodate large container ships, helping to deliver Vietnamese goods abroad, investors said, expressing their hope that the project will soon be approved.

They also committed to ensuring the progress and quality of the project, and using “green transportation methods” for sustainable development once it is given the green light.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau has approved the 1/2000 project planning scheme and located the project, and now stands ready for site clearance.

PM Phuc spoke highly of the effective cooperation between Vietnam and the two countries at multilateral and international forums such as the UN, ASEM and ASEAN-EU.

He called on the two countries, together with the EU, to raise a stronger voice in protection of the respect for law at seas and oceans, as well as the East Sea stance of Vietnam and ASEAN.

The leader said he believes that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will bring about great opportunities to Vietnamese and EU businesses in operation and market expansion.

He suggested the Netherlands and Belgium help Vietnam improve its capacity for the enforcement of the deal.

Kien Giang to spend over 3.4 billion USD on safe agricultural development

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang will spend about 80.3 trillion VND (3.45 billion USD) on promoting safe, sustainable and effective agricultural production in the 2021-2025 period, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Of the total, 37 trillion VND will be used to develop cultivation and breeding,43 trillion VND invested in fisheries, and the rest for forestry expansion.

A representative from the Kien Giang People’s Committee said that the locality will maintain growth and enhance the competitiveness through the improvement of productivity, efficiency and added value, thus meeting the demand of consumers.

Alongside, the province aims to increase the income for farmers as well as the living conditions of rural residents, reducing the rate of poor households.

In the 2021-2025 period, the added value of the agricultural sector is expected to grow 5-5.5 percent annually. In 2025, the production of food will reach 4-4.2 million tonnes, including 4 million tonnes of rice, and 800,000 tonnes of fisheries products.

Meanwhile, the production value of the agricultural sector is hoped to reach 130-170 million VND per hectare. The province will also focus on concentrated production, enhancing the connectivity and selling of products in value chain, while building trademarks for major farm produce.

Vice Director of the department Do Minh Nhut said that Kien Giang will continue effectively implementing the project to restructure the agricultural sector in the areas of cultivation, breeding, fisheries and forestry. At the same time, the development plan for the production region of major agricultural products of the province will be reviewed and adjusted.

The province will gradually transform inefficient rice fields to the model of rice-shrimp or rice-other food crop production, while cultivating vegetable, industrial plants and fruit trees in suitable regions, and applying the GAP standards on the production process in association with the storage, processing and selling of the products in value chains of each product.

The province has about 62,500ha of shrimp – rice farming area, the largest in the delta. Under the model, farmers grow rice in the rainy season and breed shrimp in the dry season on the same rice fields.

The shrimp – rice farming model has been used for more than 20 years as it is environmentally friendly and more effective than rice monoculture.

At the same time, the province will also review the planning of breeding, encouraging large-scale production, while continuing to expanding fisheries production.

The province will optimise its potential in sea surface area for fisheries farming, while strengthening off-shore farming using high technology. Kien Giang will create optimal conditions for major firms such as Minh Phu Group to implement its project to build a complex of high technology application on developing effective and sustainable shrimp chain in Kien Giang.

For forestry development, the province will continue to take care of the existing areas and plant new preventive forests in coastal areas, striving to maintain 11 percent in forestry coverage.

Kien Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, targets producing 4.3 million tonnes of paddy this year, as well as catching and breeding a total of 755,000 tonnes of aquatic products, including 85,000 tonnes of shrimp.

Last year, the province harvested more than 4.2 million tonnes of paddy and high quality rice farming area accounted for 72 percent of the province’s total rice farming area.

The province also had 56 large - scale rice fields with a combined area of more than 33,000ha in many districts like Hon Dat, Go Quao, Tan Hiep and Chau Thanh.

It caught and bred a total of 845,430 tonnes of aquatic products last year. Of the figure, the sale of shrimp cultivation was more than 82,000 tonnes, up 11 percent against 2018.

Vietnam boosts agricultural product exports to EU

Many agricultural products have been exported to Europe under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Following the export of the first batch of frozen shrimp to several countries on September 11, the next consignment comprising dragon fruit, coffee, coconut, grapefruit, and passion fruit was shipped on September 16-17, it said.

The EVFTA will see the EU remove tariffs on 86.5 percent of Vietnam’s seafood exports in the next three years, 90.3 percent in the next five years, and completely in seven years.

Taking advantage of these preferential tariffs, Vietnamese exporters have increased seafood shipments by around 10 percent since the start of August.

The EU is the biggest market for Vietnamese coffee, accounting for 38 percent of the total exports. The average value of exports to the bloc has been 1.2-1.4 billion USD a year for the past five years.

Exports to the market is set to rise further when the EU eliminates tariffs on all unroasted and roasted coffee products and processed coffee, which are now 7-11 percent and 9-12 percent.

Opportunities to export fresh fruits produced in a closed chain for experienced companies such as Dong Giao, Nafoods and Vina T&T are huge.

The EU is a highly demanding market in terms of compliance with safety standards. European consumers value high-quality products with special characteristics such as organic, fair trade, and geographical indications, experts said.

They added that Vietnam’s agricultural sector would be one of the biggest winners from the EVFTA as a reduction in tariffs would increase demand and boost exports to Europe’s giant, high-spending market.

Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said to take full advantage of the trade deal, farmers should shift from traditional to sustainable cultivation.

Enterprises should increase processing levels and comply with regulations related to technical barriers and food safety and hygiene included in free trade agreements in general but especially the EVFTA.

The Government should also improve food safety management, and solicit more investment in agriculture, especially post-harvest processing, he added.

According to EU statistics, agricultural products account for 11.75 percent of trade between Vietnam and the EU.

Laos’ GDP forecast to contract by 2.5 percent: ADB

Economic expansion of Laos is forecast to contract this year for the first time since 1980s due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the economy will recover in 2021, according to the Asian Development (ADB)’s recent report.

The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020 Update predicts Laos’ GDP to contract by 2.5 percent in 2020, marking its first negative economic growth since 1986-1987. The growth is expected to rebound to 4.5 percent in 2021, suggesting a slow recovery as the pandemic outbreak is said to subside slowly.

ADB Country Director for Laos Yasushi Negishi said the COVID-19 outbreak has not only affected the economic growth in 2020 but also hampered the government’s prospect to collect revenues.

The Lao government needs to improve macro-fiscal framework and accelerate public finance reform to create more fiscal space to buffer shocks, he stressed.

The bank’s report also shows that agriculture would grow at 1.9 percent this year, slower than the 2.5 percent projected in April due to lower rainfalls, while the industrial sector growth is projected at 1.4 percent for the whole year.

The service sector is said to post minus 5.5 percent growth as tourist arrivals falling by 60 percent in the first half of this year and expected to cease altogether, and contraction in wholesale and retail trade, transportation and hospitality.

Disruption of FDI inflows will shrink all investments in the country by 17.5 percent.

The inflation rate in the nation will increase to 5.5 percent this year, sparked by higher food prices and Lao Kip depreciation. For the first half of the year, Kip exchange rate depreciated by 1.6 percent against the US dollar in regulated commercial banks rate, and by 5.7 percent on the parallel market rate.

Inflation in 2021 is projected to ease to 4.5 percent as food prices are expected to fall thanks to a better harvest.

The current account deficit is expected to narrow this year more than earlier projected on the back of lower oil prices and lower demand for imports, as well as higher electricity exports, but will widen again in 2021.

Ninh Thuan province develops superior grape variety

The south- central province of Ninh Thuan, the country’s largest grape producer, will expand the cultivation of a high-quality, disease-resistant new variety, NH 01 – 26.

NH 01 – 26 was created by the province’s Nha Ho Research Institute for Cotton and Agriculture Development and transferred to farmers in Thai An village in Ninh Hai district’s Vinh Hai commune to grow on a trial basis since 2018.

It matures in eight to 10 months and can be harvested up to three times a year, each yielding nine to 12 tonnes per hectare.

It has a thin black skin, and, when ripe, is sweet has a unique aroma. It can be eaten fresh or used to make wine.

Phan Cong Kien, deputy head of the institute, said NH 01 – 26 has outstanding characteristics such as disease resistance and tolerance to unfavourable conditions.

It is better than all the province’s existing grape varieties and cheaper to grow, farmers do not need to prune its young fruits like with other varieties, and its pesticide requirement is 40 – 60 percent lower than others, he added.

Nguyen Khac Phong of Thai An commune, one of first farmers to grow the variety, has been growing the grape on 2,000sq.m of land to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards for more than a year.

It could be grown in many different kinds of soil and require less tending than other varieties, he said.

The yield is not as high as some others, but its outstanding quality means it fetches 100,000 VND (4.3 USD) per kilogramme right on the farm, many times higher than the province’s traditional red variety of grape, he said.

He plans to expand its cultivation to offer eco-tourism services at his orchard, he said.

The institute is completing the procedures to begin commercial farming of the variety, and expects it to be grown on a large scale from next year.

Dang Kim Cuong, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to exploit the potential of NH 01 – 26, the department is instructing relevant agencies to teach farmers growing techniques that conform to VietGAP standards and expand cultivation of the grape.

In recent years the province has created several new high-quality grape varieties like NH 04-61, NH 04-128 and NH 01-152, and is growing them on a pilot basis.

The country’s driest province has more than 1,300ha of commercial grape farming, since the fruit grows well in warm, dry weather.

The grape growing areas are mostly in Phan Rang - Thap Cham city and the districts of Ninh Hai, Ninh Phuoc and Ninh Son.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/VIR/VOV/SGT/NDO/Dtinews

 
 

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