Red River Delta to be logistics centre of the country
Investment attraction in North Vietnam over the next five years will focus on infrastructure and logistics development in order to enable the Red River Delta region to become a key logistics centre for the country, as well as to draw more international investment into the region.
At last week’s meeting held by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and other ministries, agencies, and localities, services such as seaports, sea transport, logistics, and aviation were cited as the key sectors for upcoming investment and development by Tran Duy Dong, director general of the MPI’s Department for Local and Regional Economy.
The affirmation is part of the terms of the socioeconomic development plan and public investment targets of both 2021 and the 2020-2025 period for the Red River Delta region.
The region, with Hanoi as the centrepiece, is the hub of politics, culture, and the economy, with Hanoi-Haiphong-Quang Ninh as a development triangle connecting to other economic areas in both the country and overseas. The Red River Delta is also a location where factories of leading manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and VinFast are based. As a result, developing seaports, logistics, and more in the region is a strategic priority.
According to the master plan for seaports for 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050 drafted by the Vietnam National Maritime Bureau, around VND100 trillion ($4.35 billion) is required for seaport infrastructure. “The annual volume of goods transported through seaports usually increases by tens of percentage points. Two decades ago only 73 million tonnes were transported by seaports, but the volume rose to 654 million last year,” a representative of the bureau said.
“In the north, Lach Huyen deep-water port in Haiphong, which can receive ships with of 100,000-200,000 tonnes, enabled Vietnam to become a key part of the global supply chain,” he added.
Thus, in addition to such world-leading corporations in transport and port operations that already have a presence in Vietnam like Hutchison, PSA, DP World, SSA, Maersk, and CMA-CGM, it has become necessary to lure more investment into the sector to increase the potential of terminals and sea ports, along with aiding the evolution of add-on services like loading and unloading, warehouses, logistics, and the road system.
Besides this, the road transport system also needs to be developed synchronously to match the increasing demand for logistics and enable the Red River Delta region to become the key logistics centre of Vietnam. According to Decision No.356/QD-TTg from 2013 on the Vietnamese road transport development scheme to 2020 and orientation towards 2030, around 35 projects related to building, upgrading, or expanding national highways have come to fruition, connecting big centres together and linking mountainous provinces with administrative centres, sea ports, and airports.
Asserting the result of implementing the socioeconomic development plan for 2016-2020, Tran Duy Dong from the MPI said that the transport system in the region is the best in the country and is constantly improved, providing motivation for growth and added links between the Red River Delta, the key northern economic region, the capital, the northern midlands, and beyond.
“We should mobilise all resources to realise the plans, while synchronously developing and step-by-step modernising infrastructure system for fast and modern development to make sure that the Red River Delta will become a big centre for logistics, trade, and investment in the country,” said Dong.
Additionally, health, education and training, and scientific research will also be a focus for the development of the region in the time coming. Tourism will also be developed sustainably to become a key, environmentally friendly economic sector while effectively promoting the traditional cultural values associated with Red River civilisation. The industry will be focused on fields with high productivity and added value, applying science and technology for increased export potential and ability to join global value chains.
In the first seven months of the year, socioeconomic development has been hit by the pandemic, but development indicators of the region are still positive. Regional GDP growth fell to 3.74 per cent, but was still higher than the average of the country (1.81 per cent). The index of industrial production of some provinces in the region increased, such as Haiphong (12.8 per cent), Quang Ninh (7.8 per cent), and Hung Yen (6.9 per cent).
Total state revenue of the region was VND284.2 trillion ($12.36 billion), equivalent to 36.5 per cent of the country’s total revenue, reaching 52.3 per cent of the yearly estimate. Export turnover was $49.3 billion, accounting for 33.4 per cent of the country, rising by 4.9 per cent on-year.
Total registered FDI, meanwhile, was $5.824 billion, equalling 31 per cent of the country, of which Hanoi ranks second nationwide in registered capital ($2.82 billion) and in project numbers (336).
Vietnam’s CPI index goes up slightly in August
As reported by the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s consumer price index (or CPI) slightly went up 0.07 percent month-on-month in August due to the impacts of heavy rainfalls nationwide and rise in domestic rice and education service prices. The figure was down 0.12 percent from December and up 3.18 percent annually.
On eight-month calculation, the index rose by nearly 4 percent year-on-year, the highest in the past five years.
Among 11 categories of goods and services, seven saw rising prices, including food and dining services, beverages and cigarettes, housing and construction materials, medicines and medical services, transportation, education, goods and other services.
Three others posted decrease in prices, including apparel, headwear and footwear, post and telecommunications, entertainment and tourism.
Hike of school tuition for 2020-2021 academic year also pushed up education prices index by 0.18 percent from the previous month.
Bac Lieu LNG power plant to sign PPA this month
Bac Lieu People’s Committee and Delta Offshore Energy Pte., Ltd. will negotiate the power purchase agreement for Bac Lieu LNG-to-power project this month in order to hold the signing ceremony later this year.
The prime minister asked Bac Lieu People’s Committee to co-operate with ministries and relevant authorities to support investors to complete investment procedures to ensure that the project is implemented on schedule.
If difficulties arise during implementation, the province will be in charge of presenting solutions to the prime minister for approval, even proposals exceeding the province's authority to ensure the project’s construction process.
Previously, the National Steering Committee for Power Development proposed the investor of the Bac Lieu LNG-to-power project to keep the selling price of power at 7 US cent per kWh to make negotiations quicker.
According to a source of Baodautu, the investor had at least one online and one offline working session with EVN relating to the power purchasing agreement (PPA). Notably, in May, the two parties discussed the project’s timeline with a focus on completing the PPA, including the grid interconnection agreement, by the end of this year. Delta Offshoe Energy (DOE) presented updates on the progress of the project, as well as stressed the urgency of organising the PPA discussions to facilitate its signing by October 2020.
DOE contracted the Institute of Energy, Vietnam’s leading energy technical advisor under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to complete the grid interconnection report, feasibility study, and the environmental impact assessment as prerequisites for key approvals and agreements with the Vietnamese government. DOE also hired expert international consultants to help complete the feasibility study by September 2020, but the document has yet to be completed.
A number of investors said that the lack of a government guarantee for this project forced them to expend much more effort to mobilise capital. As the project’s investment capital is $4 billion, with 80-85 per cent sourced from loans mainly from overseas, the investors have their work cut out for them.
EU, US consumers keen on Vietnamese tuna, shrimp
There remains a growing demand for canned and processed seafood products in both the United States and EU markets, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Following a long period of enduring a downward trajectory, Vietnamese tuna exports to the EU enjoyed a rise of nearly 65% in July.
This growth has served to boost the proportion of total local tuna exports to the EU market throughout the seven-month period to more than 20%.
Most notably, the nation’s tuna exports to three major EU markets, including Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, in July witnessed impressive growth of 119%, 200%, and 210%, respectively.
According to a number of local businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the supply sources of tuna from countries such as Ecuador, the US, and Italy, thereby creating greater opportunities for Vietnamese tuna exports to these markets.
The VASEP therefore forecasts that the export of canned tuna will continue to increase considerably, despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 globally.
Meanwhile, shrimp exports to the US increased sharply in July, reaching a figure of approximately US$389 million, representing an annual rise of 16%, increasing total shrimp exports throughout the seven-month period by 8% to US$1.9 billion.
This increase in the export of Vietnamese shrimp to major markets can largely be attributed to the Vietnamese Government's COVID-19 containment efforts, especially in comparison to other nations which are still struggling to combat the epidemic.
Moreover, shrimp exports to the Republic of Korea, the UK, Canada, and Australia have also enjoyed double digit-growth during the past month.
EVN to auction shares in Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation
Vietnam Electricity (EVN) plans to auction more than 13 million shares in its affiliate Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation JSC (TBD).
Interested investors must register to buy the whole lot.
The starting price will be VND153,100 per share, which means the whole lot is valued more than VND2 trillion.
The offered shares account for 46.47 per cent of total outstanding voting shares of Dong Anh Electrical Equipment.
EVN is now the largest shareholder of Dong Anh Electrical Equipment. The other major shareholder is Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Company, which holds more than 7 million shares of TBD, equivalent to 24.89 per cent.
Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation is specialised in the supplies of products for the electrical industry, including transformers, electrical wires, electrical materials, electrical engineering materials and electrical equipment products.
It also provides services of installation, adjustment, maintenance, repair, overhaul and renovation of electrical equipment.
On the stock market, TBD shares are currently traded at around VND88,100 per share, down by about 20 per cent compared to the beginning of this year.
Experienced investors still interested in property market: experts
Experienced investors continue to sink money into the real estate market despite the problems the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for the sector.
Most property experts said the real estate market would be able to recover after the pandemic.
According to them, investors do not want to invest in the real estate market amid difficulties but have faith it will rebound at a certain point.
Experienced investors would see the business opportunity in the difficult period while small investors would wait for market recovery, they said.
Ha Van Thien, deputy general director of real estate firm Tran Anh Group, said in the previous real estate market crisis, investors that researched carefully found opportunities with reputable property developers.
Pham Thanh Hung, vice chairman of Cen Group, also said like many other economic sectors, the real estate sector was affected by the pandemic, so prices in this market have levelled off after a period of high prices but not reduced.
Viet Nam looks set to have a golden period in the real estate market next 3-10 years. At that time, the property market will meet the basic demand for housing and people will have good financial conditions so they will invest in housing products to improve their quality of life, according to Hung. Therefore, the market is expected to have a new price level higher than that at present. Investors need to enhance investment in the property market.
The real estate market is entering a new period only for medium and long term investors. Some projects in regions with infrastructure projects, in urban areas with full facilities and in industrial zones have growth potential, according to Hung.
Also assessing real estate prices will increase sharply in the medium and long term, Duong Duc Hien, former Director of Sales Department of Savills Vietnam, said in the past 40 years, real estate prices on the domestic market had not once decreased.
Although the market had fluctuated depending on each period, in the long term, real estate prices would always go up because the population would always be increasing while land would not expand. "People always need housing products and in addition, costs related to land are on the rise," he said.
"We can see that in difficult economic times, many projects still have good liquidity. I still advise investors to only aim at medium or long term investment. Unfortunately, currently, Vietnamese investors still prefer short-term investments but forget that to gain high profits from real estate, they must invest long-term, "Hien told toquoc.vn.
Nguyen Xuan Thanh, a lecturer at the Fulbright University Vietnam, said investors who have spare cash should invest in the real estate market and accept a lower profit ratio than expected. But in the medium-long term, investment in the real estate market is still profitable.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, CEO of Dai Phuc Land, said in the short term, prices on the real estate market might slow sometimes, but in the long term the property market would still be a channel that brings good profits.
Investing depends on the needs and budget of each individual investor. Particularly for investment organisations, they will analyse and evaluate very carefully before entering the market, Huong said.
According to the experts, the difficulties in the property market this year will contribute to market purification for sustainable development in the future. At present, the market opens up business opportunities for property investors and buyers that have real demand. The market's challenge is temporary in the short term, while opportunities on this market are in the long term.
Ben Tre farmers struggle to replace damaged fruit orchards
Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre are trying to recover fruit orchards damaged in the 2019-20 dry season, but they lack financial resources to buy seedlings to replace dead trees.
The coastal province faced saltwater intrusion and drought from the end of last year to June, according to its People’s Committee.
Saltwater with a salt content of up to 0.5 per cent in the province occurred in the last dry season, damaging 30-70 per cent of 6,600ha of fruit orchards, more than 70 per cent of 2,603ha of orchards, and 100 per cent of 274ha of orchards.
Durian and rambutan were among the fruits most damaged since they are sensitive to saline water. Durian trees can only tolerate a salinity rate of 0.1 per cent.
Nguyễn Văn Cư has a 9,000sq.m orchard of durian and rambutan trees in Châu Thành District’s Phú Túc Commune. His trees died because of saltwater intrusion and drought, but does not have enough money to buy seedlings and fertiliser to replace the dead trees, or to rebuild the orchard’s saltwater prevention sluices.
“I will have to decide which saline-resistant fruit trees like coconut, grapefruit and orange I should plant later,” he said.
In Châu Thành District, only about 50 per cent of damaged fruit orchards have been rehabilitated in Phú Đức, Phú Túc, Tân Phú and Tiên Long communes.
Trần Hoàng Liêm, chairman of the Tân Phú Commune People’s Committee, said about half of affected fruit orchards in the commune have been renovated.
Because of the damage, farmers do not have enough money to replace dead trees, he said.
“We have worked with agencies to instruct farmers in ways to rehabilitate the affected trees,” he said. The measures include washing out salt in the soil and rehabilitating the root and leaf systems of the trees.
Nguyễn Anh Quốc, deputy head of the Châu Thành District Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district has more than 5,000ha of fruit damaged by saltwater intrusion and drought.
The district has submitted a list of affected orchards to the province’s authorities in order to receive financial support, he said.
In Chợ Lách District, saltwater intrusion and drought damaged more than 8,000ha of fruits, including 5,000ha of durian and rambutan, according to the district’s People’s Committee. More than 30 million seedlings were also damaged in the district, which is the country’s largest seedling producer.
Besides reviving damaged orchards, many farmers in the province have taken measures to store fresh water in the ongoing rainy season to cope with saltwater intrusion and drought in the next dry season.
In Chợ Lách District, farmers are building water containers and upgrading ditches in orchards to hold fresh water.
Trần Văn Tâm, who has a 7,000sq.m durian orchard in Chợ Lách’s Sơn Định Commune, said besides rehabilitating his affected orchard, he is consolidating embankments and sluices to store fresh water for the next dry season.
“In recent years, saltwater intrusion has occurred earlier than normal and lasted longer. Farmers have consolidated embankments and sluices in fruit orchards to prepare for the dry season,” he said.
Besides encouraging farmers to store fresh water for the next dry season, district authorities are consolidating sluices and dykes to help store fresh water.
The district has petitioned the province to build irrigation projects on branches of main rivers to hold fresh water for agricultural production.
Cao Văn Trọng, chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said at the beginning of the rainy season, the province urged households to store fresh water so they will not face shortages during drought and saline intrusion.
The province is also speeding up construction projects to secure enough fresh water for household use and agricultural production in the coming time, he said.
Businesses pitch in to ease financial pressure on consumers amid COVID-19
Many of its members have promised not to increase the prices of goods, especially essential goods, to share consumers’ difficulties amid the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the Food and Foodstuff Association of HCM City.
Ly Kim Chi, its chairwoman, said since it broke out at the beginning of the year in many countries, the pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and also had an impact on domestic production.
To sustain raw material supply, many businesses have turned to other markets such as South Korea, Japan and Europe.
The supply of materials in these markets is plentiful and reliable, but prices are much higher.
Yet, most members of the FFA are trying to keep prices at the same levels as before the epidemic, even co-ordinating with distribution and retail systems to reduce prices, especially of essential items, she added.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhien of HCM City’s Phu Nhuan District said she recently bought some essential items like cooking oil, shower gel, shampoo, and pork at the Co.opmart supermarket on Nguyen Kiem Street, and their prices were VND10,000 - 50,000 (US$0.4-2.2) lower than at traditional markets.
Nguyen Anh Duc, general director of Saigon Co.op, said its retail chains like Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.op Food and Co.op Smiles are offering attractive promotions on essential goods for 21 days from August 20 under its “Proud of Vietnamese Goods 2020” programme to ease consumers’ financial burden amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prices of many products like milk, meat, fish, fish sauce, fragrant rice, and more than 20 kinds of farm produce are discounted.
From August 25 Co-opmart, Co.opXtra, Co.opmart SCA and Fine Life supermarkets nation-wide will gift customers who have Saigon Co membership cards anti-bacterial cloth masks.
The most practical way for a retailer to contribute to the fight against the pandemic is to ensure sufficient stocks of essential goods for the next several months and have plans in place to ensure regular supply of these products at the lowest possible prices to prevent a scarcity of goods and keep prices steady, Duc said.
A representative of Big C & GO! said the supermarket has been supplying sufficient goods at steady prices, and has worked with delivery service providers to serve customers who order via its hotline, 19001880.
Retailers are transporting goods to various localities, especially Da Nang, Quang Nam and Hue, and adopting measures to ensure social distancing at its stores in Da Nang.
Modern distribution channels are supplying large volumes of medical masks, anti-bacterial cloth masks and hand sanitisers.
Retailers are also offering promotions on essential goods.
The Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) and its Stand Tall Vietnam Milk Fund have provided 1.7 million glasses of milk to nearly 19,000 disadvantaged children across the nation to help improve their resistance against Covid-19.
Two Japanese shareholders to sell 25% stake in JVC
Japanese DI Asia Industrial Fund (DIAIF) announced it would sell all shares in Viet Nhat Medical Equipment from August 27 to September 25.
The 21.8 million shares, or 19.35 per cent, with the sticker JVC, were registered to the fund’s chairman Kyohei Hosono.
At the same time, Dream Incubator Inc or DI Inc, that is also related to Hosono, registered to sell nearly 6.6 million JVC shares, or a 5.85 per cent stake in the firm.
DIAIF is an investment fund established by two Japanese companies, Dream Incubator and Orix Corporation.
The total volume of JVC shares to be sold was 28.35 million shares or 25.2 per cent of the stake in the medical firm.
At the price of VND4,600 per share, the Japanese shareholders could earn more than VND113 billion (US$4.8 million) from the sale.
JVC was listed on the HCM City Stock Exchange in 2011 and used to be one of the best selling stocks for many investment funds. In 2015, each share peaked at more than VND25,000.
However, founder and CEO Le Van Huong was arrested on charges of fraud and lying to customers. The stock started to plunge. A series of major shareholders withdrew their capital from the company, including Dragon Capital, Vietnam Equity Holding, and Vietnam Medical Equipment Corporation.
Vietnam’s shrimp export to RoK sees positive growth
The Republic of Korea (RoK) is the fifth largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp products, accounting for 10.7 percent of the country’s total shrimp export value.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam is exempt from import tax on shrimp in the Republic of Korea up to 15,000 tonnes a year under the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA). Vietnam only ships around 2,500 tonnes.
To utilise the opportunity, VASEP said shrimp exporters need to improve quality and remain abreast of the RoK’s procedures and requirements to overcome technical barriers.
Vietnam’s shrimp export to the RoK recorded positive growth in the first two quarters of 2020. VASEP forecast the sector to reach a growth of 5 percent in 2020.
In recent years, Vietnam has been the leading shrimp supplier to the RoK, accounting for 52 percent of that country’s total imports.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau: 518.5 million USD for new-style rural building
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has mobilised 11.94 trillion VND (518.5 million USD) to implement the national target programme on building new-style rural areas in 2016-2020, said a local official.
The province has so far had two districts, and 39 out of 45 communes recognised as new-style rural areas, seven communes higher than the set plan for the period said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Van Cuong.
Meanwhile, Ba Ria city has completed its task of new-style rural building.
Per capita income of resident sin new-style rural communes reached 54 million VND, up 24 million compared to 2015.
All the communes in the province have met the criteria for the poverty percentage of below 1 percent in line with the national standards, and over 90 percent of local labourers having regular jobs.
According to the provincial People’s Committee, the movement of new-style rural building in the province has recorded positive achievements, especially in infrastructure development, with nearly 498km of rural roads were constructed over the last five years.
The province is hoped to complete its goal of new-style rural building, with Long Dien and Dat Do districts and 35 communes will be recognised as advanced new-style rural areas, and 14 those recognised as model new-style rural areas.
Vietnam, Russia discuss prioritised investment projects amid COVID-19
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong and Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Vladimir Ilichev co-chaired a teleconference of the Vietnam-Russia Senior Working Group on prioritised investment projects on August 31.
The two sides discussed the implementation of joint investment projects in the priority list, including the construction of a centre for nuclear science and technology in Vietnam, the establishment of auto manufacturing joint ventures and Russian firms’ participation in e-government development in the country.
They also touched upon cooperation prospects in new fields and the possibility of carrying out approved projects.
The Russian side put forward ideas related to projects in waste treatment, digital technology and pharmaceutical chemistry, public security, electrical energy and power lines.
Ilichev also called for Vietnam’s support for the initiatives to arrange an online Mathematical Olympiad for students BRICS nations, which is set to be launched on Russia’s Uchi.ru education platform.
Vietnamese students have taken part in the event since April, according to the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia.
At the event, delegates also discussed cooperation in curbing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, particularly the supply and production of Russia’s vaccine against COVID-19 in Vietnam.
Data from Russian authorities showed that despite the pandemic, two-way trade rose 4.7 percent to 2.3 billion USD in the first half of 2020. Russia’s exports to Vietnam surged 43 percent to 682 million USD, primarily foodstuff, machinery and metal.
The Vietnam-Russia Senior Working Group on prioritised investment projects was set up in accordance with a joint statement signed in 2012 during Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to Vietnam.
Development directions for southeastern region, Mekong Delta outlined
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) held a teleconference on August 31 to look into orientations for making plans on socio-economic development and public investment in the southeastern and Mekong Delta regions in the next few years.
Addressing the conference, which was attended by officials from 19 provinces and cities in the two regions, Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said the plans for 2021 and the 2021-2025 period need to be consistent with and bring into play the achievements obtained during 2016-2020 while devising development strategies, plans and solutions that can tap into local potential and advantages, thereby making breakthroughs and stronger development in the new period.
Development directions must centre on the people by paying attention to ensuring social security and sustainably reducing poverty, especially in ethnic minority communities and remote, border and insular areas, so as to narrow the development gap among regions, he noted.
According to the minister, the southeastern region has to particularly prioritise mobilising resources for developing seaports, airports and roads linking local ports. Cargo transportation should also be coordinated rationally to optimise local seaports, including Cat Lai and Cai Mep-Thi Vai.
Meanwhile, localities in the Mekong Delta should pay heed to solving problems related to transport, water storage reservoirs and riverbank and coastal erosion, Dung said, adding that transport corridors should be developed into economic ones so as to expand the space for development.
The MPI expected that between 2021 and 2025, southeastern provinces and cities will garner the best possible conditions for developing the economy and making use of the switch of global investment flows, attract large-scale and hi-tech investment to form value chains, strongly develop services, and step up administrative reforms and investment business improvement.
Global supply chains will soon be formed in this region, which will become a technological and manufacturing hub of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City’s role as an economic locomotive will also be upheld so that the region will remain a growth driving force of the country in the time ahead.
For 2021-2025, Mekong Delta provinces and cities are set to strive to reach a higher development level, per capita income surpassing the national average, and eco-agriculture and hi-tech farming making up a bigger proportion in the local economy.
Besides, diverse resources will be used efficiently to turn the Mekong Delta into a prosperous region adapted to climate change. Transport infrastructure will be expanded to connect localities in the region and link the Mekong Delta with HCM City and the southeastern region, the MPI added.
Egyptian newspaper highlights Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements
Egypt’s leading online newspaper Al-Ahram on August 31 ran a story by Kamal Gaballa highlighting socio-economic achievements that Vietnam has gained during the national development.
Gaballa, a prestigious Egyptian journalist who is interested in Vietnam, said that despite negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s GDP growth in the first half of this year reached 1.81 percent.
Gaballa noted that in 2019, the Global Competitiveness Index of Vietnam jumped 10 places over the previous year to the 67th in a list of 141 economies, while the country’s business environment index also leaped eight places compared to 2015, ranking 70th out of 190 countries and territories.
Besides, Vietnam is playing an increasing role on the global political and diplomatic map through its position as the ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council as well as the contributions of the country’s peacekeeping force.
Vietnam and Egypt celebrate the 57th anniversary of diplomatic relations on September 1, 2020, he said, adding that this is a chance for the two sides to review their ties, which were laid a solid foundation by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and President Ho Chi Minh.
He said that in 2020, despite the adverse impacts of COVID-19, two-way trade between Egypt and Vietnam is expected to maintain good results. In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam exported 256 million USD worth of goods to Egypt.
Last year, two-way trade fetched 500 million USD, making Egypt the second largest trading partner of Vietnam in Africa.
Vietnam mostly exported to Egypt fisheries products, garment and textiles, footwear, spare parts and transportation vehicles, machineries, equipment and farm produce, while importing from Egypt materials for the garment and textile industry, plastic material, pharmaceuticals, fresh fruits, milk and dairy products, and fertilisers.
Gaballa held that the two countries boast high potential to promote their cooperation in trade, investment, tourism and maritime economy.
Vinh Long steps up socio-economic development
The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long is taking synchronous measures to fight COVID-19 pandemic and step up socio-economic development, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lu Quang Ngoi.
Accordingly, the provincial authorities asked the Department of Industry and Trade to effectively launch programmes to stimulate domestic consumption, expand domestic markets and support businesses.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was required to seek markets for farm produce to achieve growth and export targets this year.
The department directed the provincial Department of Planning and Investment tackle to difficulties regarding investment procedures and step up disbursement of public investment capital, especially for projects using State budget and key construction works.
The provincial branch of the State Bank of Vietnam was assigned to direct credit organisations to create favourable conditions for businesses and people to access loans at preferential rates, and offer suitable credit products to enterprises.
The province is also hastening administrative reform, improving investment and business environment to save costs for residents and businesses, and creating favourable conditions for investors, experts, corporate executives and highly skilled workers to enter the locality.
In eight months of this year, the total local State budget revenue surpassed 5.84 trillion VND (253 million USD), or 81.6 percent of the yearly estimate, up 22.2 percent year-on-year. The total retail of goods and services topped 36.1 trillion VND, up 1.98 percent annually, while the total infrastructure investment hit more than 1.28 trillion VND, or 35.3 percent of the plan, of which over 1 trillion VND was disbursed, equivalent to 30.2 percent.
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, several economic targets dropped from 2019, including exports down 5.2 percent to 344.5 million USD, tourist arrivals down 42.3 percent with 407,000, and local industrial index falling 4.3 percent.
Thai economy improves in July: central bank
The economy of Thailand improved in July thanks to public spending and an easing of coronavirus containment measures, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT).
July’s private consumption rose 2.7 percent from June as activity resumed, while annual exports shrank at a smaller pace of 11.9 percent.
Reuters quoted Don Nakornthab, a director at the central bank, as saying on August 31 that: “Looking forward, there are still high uncertainties.”
Most uncertain are foreign tourist numbers, which could miss the central bank’s projection of 8 million, he said, noting Thailand could at best have 6.7 million foreign visitors this year, meaning 1.3 million fewer tourists than the BOT’s forecast, affecting GDP by 0.5 percent, he said.
The tourism-reliant country received 6.69 million international tourists in January-March but the influx ended on April 4 when Thailand imposed a ban on foreign vacationers to keep the coronavirus out.
That compares with last year’s record 39.8 million visitors whose spending made up about 11.4 percent of GDP.
In July, Thailand had a current account surplus of 1.79 billion USD after a trade surplus hit a five-month high of 4.11 billion USD, driven by higher gold exports.
Ba Ria - Vung Tau among top localities in FDI attraction during 2016-2020
The southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau was one of the leading localities in attracting investment during 2016-2020, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Cong Vinh has said.
The average registered capital of each State-owned enterprise in the province stood at 250 billion VND (10.8 million USD), while the figures for non-State and foreign-invested enterprises were nearly 9.5 billion VND (410,445 USD) and 103 million USD, respectively.
Over the past five years, the province granted new licences to 163 foreign-invested and 216 domestic projects with registered capital of 3.2 billion USD and 80 trillion VND, respectively, ranking it fourth out of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces in terms of FDI attraction.
Additional capital also went to 96 FDI and 51 domestic projects worth 2.57 billion USD and 14.7 trillion VND, respectively.
The province is now home to 415 FDI projects from 30 countries and territories with registered capital of 29.5 billion USD, as well as 605 domestic projects worth more than 307 trillion VND.
Some 7,800 new enterprises were established in the province over the last five years, with total registered capital of over 74 trillion VND, up more than 44 percent and nearly 86 percent, respectively, compared to 2011-2015. There were also 85 new cooperatives, or 27 percent higher than planned.
Total social investment capital topped 233 trillion VND during the period, over 17.6 percent of which was from the State budget and the remainder from businesses.
Thailand hopes RCEP help expedite regional economic recovery
Thailand’s Deputy Minister for Commerce Sansern Samalapa has said signing the RCEP agreement would help boost confidence in the business sector and promote multilateral trade, while expressing his confidence the deal would help expedite the region's economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers from participating countries to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on August 30 reaffirmed their commitment to signing the RCEP agreement in this November, and said they would invite India to return to the negotiating table.
They agreed that the region's market needed to be more open to accommodate flows of essential goods and services.
The RCEP is a free trade agreement among the 10 member states of ASEAN and its five partners, namely Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. India withdrew from the talks in November 2019.
The RCEP has a population of almost 3.6 billion people or 48.1 percent of the world population. In 2019, the combined GDP of the grouping was worth more than 28.5 trillion USD or around 32.7 percent of the world's GDP.
Thailand's trade value with the RCEP member countries is currently worth 280 billion USD - 59.5 percent of the country's total trade value.
Thailand exports over 140 billion USD worth of goods to the 15 member countries or 57 percent of its total exports.
Finance ministry calls for drastic measures to boost public capital disbursement
The Finance Ministry has asked for synchronous and drastic measures from the entire political system, ministries, agencies, and localities to step up the disbursement of public investment capital.
At a conference with localities in Hanoi on August 31, Deputy Finance Minister Tran Xuan Ha said that although it has improved, the disbursement of public investment and foreign capital in localities have been low so far this year.
As of August 27, disbursement was 21.86 percent of the target assigned to localities, or 9.14 percent higher than what was reported at a teleconference on June 25.
Regarding State capital lent to localities, the figure hit just 29.3 percent of the estimate.
Head of the Finance Ministry’s Department of Debt Management and External Finance Truong Hung Long attributed this to focused efforts on capital disbursement throughout 2019, late bidding, and uncompleted procedures for project adjustment or site clearance. Some projects, meanwhile, need verification from the State Audit Office and approval from the World Bank, resulting in a lack of information on the ministry’s system.
He said that five out of 62 localities had sent documents to the Ministry of Planning and Investment seeking permission to repay capital worth over 1.61 trillion VND (700 million USD).
Vice Chairman of the Hanoi city People’s Committee Nguyen Doan Toan said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, disbursement of official development assistance (ODA) in the city reached approximately 20 percent in the first seven months of this year and is expected to hit 69 percent for the year as a whole.
He also said Hanoi proposes increasing the capital set aside for the Nam Thang Long - Tran Hung Dao section of the urban railway line No 2.
The Finance Ministry hopes localities will promptly help investors clear difficulties facing their projects, Toan said, and achieve disbursement targets this year.
HCM City’s eight-month exports up slightly
Ho Chi Minh City’s foreign trade totalled more than 60.48 billion USD in the first eight months of this year, down 0.03 percent against the same period of 2019.
In the January-August period, the southern economic hub shipped 28.4 billion USD worth of goods abroad, up 4 percent year-on-year. Excluding crude oil, exports reached 27.8 billion USD, up 5.8 percent year-on-year.
Shipments of industrial goods rose 5.6 percent year-on-year to 19.65 billion USD, contributing the largest share to the total, at 78.1 percent. Computers, electronics and components made up 45.2 percent of the total, growing 26.2 percent to over 11.2 billion USD. Meanwhile, textiles-garment and footwear posted sharp declines of 20.4 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Exports of agricultural products exceeded 2.34 billion USD, down 0.6 percent year-on-year, with rice shipments worth 705.8 million USD, up 14.2 percent. Conversely, exports of rubber nosedived 42.6 percent to 222.8 million USD.
China remained HCM City’s largest customer during the reviewed period, importing more than 6.84 billion USD, up 35.5 percent from a year earlier and representing 26.2 percent of the total. It was followed by the US and Japan.
The city’s imports were valued at over 32 billion USD in the period, down 2.8 percent. Main import items included machinery and components, and consumer goods.