VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 4

Number of newly-established enterprises tops 13,400 in August

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES SEPTEMBER 4

There were some 13,400 new enterprises established during August with total registered capital of 288.8 trillion VND (12.45 billion USD) and 96,300 jobs, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The figures represent increases of 1.5 percent, 20.7 percent, and 5.4 percent, respectively, against July, the office said.

The average registered capital of each enterprise was 21.6 billion VND, up 18.9 percent against July and 59.2 percent year-on-year.

The office reported that 4,775 businesses resumed operations in the month, down 1.3 percent month-on-month but up 200 percent compared to the same period last year.

The number of companies registering to temporarily cease operations was down 8 percent month-on-month but up a substantial 158.5 percent year-on-year, reaching 3,102. Some 3,424 enterprises were waiting for dissolution procedures, increases of 11.6 percent and 63.4 percent, respectively. As many as 1,416 firms completed such procedures, down 5.9 percent and up 9.3 percent.

The number of new enterprises fell 2 percent in the first eight months of the year, to 88,700, while enterprises resuming their operations were up 27.9 percent.

Additional capital of existing enterprises included, the total amount of capital injected into the national economy in the eight-month period reached 3.21 quadrillion VND, up 16.8 percent against the same period last year.

Of the new enterprises, 1,697 are in agro-forestry-fishery, up 30 percent year on year, more than 26,300 are in industry and construction, up 7.7 percent, and 60,600 are in services, down 6.3 percent.

Sectors such as electricity, water and gas production and distribution, science and technology, consultation services, designing, advertising, and mining saw increasing numbers of new enterprises.

The numbers of businesses waiting to complete dissolution procedures or completing them in the period was down 5.9 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Some 30,600 businesses are not operating at registered addresses, up 39.3 percent year-on-year, the office reported.

Vietnam Airlines to re-start six domestic routes

Vietnam Airlines has prepared a plan to resume domestic flights to safe destinations and meet demand, a representative of the national flag carrier said on September 3.

The carrier will resume flights on six routes from September 9: Hanoi - Chu Lai, Hanoi - Tuy Hoa, Hai Phong - Dien Bien, Vinh - Buon Ma Thuot, Vinh - Da Lat, and Hue - Da Lat.

One daily round trip will link Hanoi and Chu Lai, three weekly round trips Hanoi and Tuy Hoa, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and four weekly round trips Vinh and Buon Ma Thuot, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, starting from September 9.

Round trips on the Hai Phong - Dien Bien, Vinh - Da Lat, and Hue - Da Lat routes will be conducted every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from September 10.

Passengers can buy tickets starting from 546,000 VND, including taxes and fees, from September 4 to October 31, on Vietnam Airlines’ website and app and at official ticket agents.

Int’l card organisations continually urged to cut fees

The Vietnam Banks Association is urging international credit and debit card companies to reduce a number of fees, as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, in April this year, the association sent a written proposal to the organisations related to the issue who said it would consider the proposal but so far, no fees have been cut.

The association said the pandemic has significantly affected operations and business of banks in Vietnam, including card businesses, in recent months.

It cited statistics that the value of transactions by cards in the domestic market in the first three months of this year saw a drop of 21 percent while in foreign markets by 28 percent against the same period last year.

Value of repayment to cards in April tumbled by 78 percent against the same period last year and 93 percent against March.

Some companies and organisations which accepted card payments, including aviation, education, tourism sites and hotels, have seen the value of transactions fall by 80 percent in March against the previous month and further declines were predicted.

The association urged international card organisations Visa and Mastercard to reduce the fees on Vietnamese banks for at least 12 months.

Specifically, the association proposed the transaction fees to be cut by at least 50 percent for both banks which issue cards and receive payments.

For the long-term, it was critical to have appropriate policies for fee collection to promote the development of Vietnam’s card market, the association said.

It said that Visa and Mastercard were collecting three to four types of fees for each transaction, adding that the fees international card organisation were collecting were much higher than those of domestic card switching organisations./.

Singapore, US discuss importance of free, open Indo-Pacific

Singaporean Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and his US counterpart Mark Esper discussed various regional security issues, including the East Sea, counterterrorism, and the importance of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, during their virtual meeting on August 31.

A media release by The Pentagon revealed that the two sides reaffirmed their commitments to the “excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relationship and mutually-beneficial partnership.''

Meanwhile, the Singaporean Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the two defence chiefs also discussed a wide range of regional and geopolitical developments, including the need for regional defence establishments to work closely to address common threats such as COVID-19 and terrorism.

It said both countries enjoy extensive defence interactions, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross-attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation. Both sides also addressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of bilateral cooperation initiatives amid the pandemic.

Esper expressed appreciation for the regional access that Singapore provides US forces which has been extended for another 15 years.

Last September, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Donald Trump renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding US Use of Facilities in Singapore through the Protocol of Amendment, extending the agreement for extra 15 years.

Cambodia, RoK hold second round of FTA talks

Cambodia and the Republic of Korea (RoK) launched the second round of negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on August 31 as the RoK works to expand its export portfolio to cushion the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the RoK, the four-day virtual meeting aims to set more details on the envisioned FTA.

The two sides will also exchange opinions on setting the scope of products, as well as other measures to enhance their bilateral economic ties.

The two countries held the first round of negotiations in late July. The session came more than a year after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed a bilateral free trade pact during his meeting with RoK President Moon Jae-in in Phnom Penh in March 2019.

According to the Korean International Trade Association (KITA), the trade volume between the two countries reached an all-time high of 1 billion USD in 2019, up 6 percent against the previous year, of which 697 million USD was from the RoK’s shipments to the Southeast Asian nation.

When the pact is signed, Cambodia will be added to the RoK's list of FTA partners in Southeast Asia, which currently covers Vietnam and Singapore.

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 percent, 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 percent 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 percent of the stake in the medical firm.

At the price of 4,600 VND per share, the Japanese shareholders could earn more than 113 billion VND (4.8 million USD) from the sale.

JVC was listed on the Ho Chi Minh 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 25,000 VND.

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.

Cambodia suggested spending more on poverty reduction

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on Cambodia to set aside a budget for its poverty reduction goal.

In a report released on September 1, UNDP said if Cambodia spends 1.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social assistance, the number of poor people in the country could drop to 3 percent of the total population.

It stressed that Cambodia's poverty reduction goal can be achieved through the development of social protection systems.

A system of social protection floor will provide cash and in-kind assistance to poor families, especially children, the elderly, the sick and disabled people, it noted.

Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Cambodia, said UNDP supports Cambodia for its emergency cash transfer programme to assist families that are certified as the poor, which has been carried out since June 2020 as part of efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to UNDP, Cambodia's committed public finance management reform has made remarkable progress in mobilising resources, managing budget, as well as restoring budget balance.

The country’s public budget surplus in 2018 is equivalent to approximately 150 million USD, which can nearly close the poverty gap if it is used for social safety nets, it said.

Philippines spends nearly 2 billion USD upgrading railway system

The Philippines has allocated 96.2 billion pesos (roughly 1.98 billion USD) to advance the country's railway system, including the 36-km Metro Manila subway, a lawmaker of that country said on August 31.

Representative Luis Campos, the House Appropriations Committee vice chairman, said the total capital outlay is included in the 4.5 trillion pesos national budget for 2021 submitted by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the congress last week.

Campos said the subway project in the Southeast Asian country's capital is getting a 34.6 billion pesos in new funding in 2021.

He said the 34.6 billion pesos is on top of the combined 11.3 billion pesos earmarked this year and in 2019 for Phase 1 of the country's first underground commuter train system.

Besides the Metro Manila subway project, a main railway project in Luzon island is getting another 58.6 billion pesos fund, said Campos.

The 147-km railway project will run from Calamba in Laguna province, south of Manila, to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac province, north of Manila.

The 639-km train will link up Metro Manila to the southern regions in Luzon island, and to cut travel time between Metro Manila and Legazpi City in Albay province from 13 hours to just six hours.

In 2017, the Philippine government proposed to spend 8 to 9 trillion pesos in the next five years to improve the country's public transportation system, including roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and railways.

Vietnamese firms leave good impression despite COVID-19: Sputnik

Vietnamese businesses in Russia have still stood firm and left a good impression amid the COVID-19 crisis, affirmed an article recently posted on Russian news agency Sputnik.

The article cited Novostil company as an example. The company, set up in 2009 in the garment field, produced 100,000-150,000 face masks a day when the COVID-19 was at its peak in Russia.

The company’s founder and director Do Canh Hung reportedly said that overcoming difficulties caused by the disease, his company has paid attention to improving employees’ health, and signed contracts to produce face masks and protective gears to promptly meet Russians’ demands.

Many Vietnamese firms have exerted efforts to stabilise their operation and ensure salaries for employees on schedule.

In addition, Novostil and many other companies such as Amber Tour, Russia Impression, and Dong Xanh have actively participated in charity activities.

They have contributed to fund-raising campaigns launched by the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia, and presented clothes and cash to orphanages in the country.

Many businesses have become members of a community-based disease prevention committee which supports patients and advises others on self-protective behavior in each phase of the pandemic, the article wrote, adding that Russians highly evaluate the wholehearted support of Vietnamese enterprises.

Over 990 million USD worth of G-bonds raised in August

The State Treasury mobilised 22.850 trillion VND (992.1 million USD) worth of Government bonds via 16 auctions on the Hanoi Stock Exchange in August, down 61 percent from the previous month.

Up to 76.1 percent of bidders won. Interest rates of bonds increased on 10-year and 15-year terms, with the increase rate ranging from 0.06-0.1 percent a year.

On the secondary G-bond market, the average trading volume reached 8.38 trillion VND per auction, down 18.2 percent month-on-month. Transacted volumes through repurchasing agreements (repos) accounted for 37.38 percent of the total trading volume.

The total outright purchases of G-bonds in the month hit over 1 billion valued at more than 110 trillion VND, down 30 percent in value month-on-month.

The total volume via repos reached over 589 million bonds, or more than 65.8 trillion VND, down 14.2 percent from the previous month.

Foreign investors made outright purchases of over 2.9 trillion VND, outright sales of more than 3.4 trillion VND, and repos sales of over 601 billion VND.

As of August 31, Government bonds worth over 1.23 quadrillion VND were listed on the HNX.

More export chances for winter crops

The agricultural production area of the winter crop in northern provinces was expected to increase by 20 percent to meet the increasing demand from China, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

China has just experienced a severe flood, causing a shortage of vegetables, Cuong told a meeting on August 31 reviewing the winter crop in 2019 and implementation of this year's crop in the northern region.

Since earlier this year, the agriculture sector had been exposed to double risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and epidemics in livestock and poultry, as well as natural disasters, said Cuong.

In such circumstances, the sector set two goals to organise the production of food for 100 million people and meet export demand, the minister said.

So far, total cultivated area of 6.7 million hectares had been planted, he said.

The most important tasks for farmers in the northern provinces was to focus on producing the winter crop, because of favourable natural conditions in 31 provinces and cities who experience cold winters, which could be considered an advantage for agricultural production, Cuong said.

“The winter crop has short production time but high economic value and is less affected by natural disasters and pests. If the production was well organised, reaping 200-300 million VND (8,600-13,000 USD) per hectare was possible," he said.

"Moreover, China has been facing rain and flooding, so they are suffering a shortage of food, especially vegetables. We need to take advantage to enhance cultivation for export,” Cuong said.

The minister suggested local administrations actively choose the plant variety structure, convert rice land and saline areas to promote the production of the crop.

He also asked businesses to help farmers sell their agricultural products as well as recommended provincial People’s Committees to issue mechanisms and policies supporting farmers in trade promotion, market research, and encouraging enterprises to sign contracts to purchase products and support branding and traceability to ensure product quality.

The ministry sets a target of increasing this year’s winter-spring crop area to 430,000-450,000ha, rising 20 percent compared to last year’s crop, while the yield was expected to reach 4.6-4.9 million tonnes, increasing 10-15 percent against previous years.

The total production value was expected to reach about 34-36 billion VND (1.5-1.6 million USD) or 75 million VND (3,200 USD) per ha.

Corn, sweet potatoes, soybeans, peanuts, and other vegetables will account for about 55 percent, while potatoes and legumes is about 45 percent.

According to Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of the ministry’s Plant Department, each province will consider the harvested area, water source, soil conditions and market to produce the crop to ensure the highest economic efficiency.

The provinces should focus on plating corn for animal husbandry. The department’s figures showed that the corn demand for cattle breeding is 27.6 million tonnes per year.

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.

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.

Dong Nai eyes more IPs

Dong Nai Province wants the Government to approve three new industrial parks in this year’s national development plan to attract investments post-Covid-19.

To be located in Long Duc, Cam My and Long Thanh districts, they will have a combined area of over 6,800ha.

The Cam My zone will be the largest at nearly 3,600ha while the Long Thanh zone will be more than 2,600ha.

Cao Tien Sy, head of the Dong Nai Industrial Zones Authority, said 40 new FDI projects with a total investment of US$168 million had been licensed in the first half while 53 existing ones would add $479 million.

The $647 million attracted so far is 60 per cent of the full-year target, he said.

More foreign and domestic businesses in the province's industrial parks have been increasing their investments and expanding, he said, adding that many of the former are focusing on Viet Nam because of its membership of many free trade agreements.

The province has 32 industrial zones covering over 10,240ha, one of which has not begun operations yet.

 

It also plans to expand three existing industrial parks because they are nearly full, Dau Giay by 75ha, Long Khanh by 500ha and Tan Phu by 170ha.

Chaiman of Dong Nai People’s Committee, Cao Tien Dung, said rapid construction and expansion of industrial zones would help the province attract investment once the pandemic is controlled and allot lands to key sectors like supporting and processing industries to enable the country to get deeper into global supply chains.

Numerous ongoing national infrastructure projects such as the Long Thanh International Airport and Vung Tau - Bien Hoa railway and expressway are enhancing Dong Nai's attractiveness as an investment destination. 

Ba Ria-Vung Tau among top localities in FDI attraction during 2016-20

The southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau was one of the leading localities in attracting investment during the past five years, 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 VND250 billion (US$10.8 million), while the figures for non-State and foreign-invested enterprises were nearly VND9.5 billion ($410,445) and $103 million, 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 and over $3.43 billion, respectively, ranking it fourth out of Viet Nam’s 63 cities and provinces in terms of foreign direct investment.

Additional capital also went to 96 foreign-invested projects and 51 domestic projects worth $2.57 billion and $631 million, respectively.

The province is now home to 415 foreign-invested projects from 30 countries and territories with registered capital of $29.5 billion, as well as 605 domestic projects worth more than $13.17 billion.

Some 7,800 new enterprises were established in the province since 2016, with total registered capital of more than VND74 trillion, up more than 44 per cent and nearly 86 per cent, respectively, compared to 2011-15. There were also 85 new cooperatives, or 27 per cent higher than planned.

Total social investment capital topped VND233 trillion during the period, over 17.6 per cent of which was from the State budget and the remainder from businesses. 

PetroVietnam exploits 7.76 million tonnes of oil equivalent in eight months

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has reported an oil equivalent output of 7.76 million tonnes in the first eight months of this year, 8.2 per cent higher than the set target.

The group generated more than 14 billion kWh of electricity, equivalent to 96.9 per cent of the target, and produced nearly 1.2 million tonnes of nitrogenous fertiliser, surpassing the target by 4.8 per cent.

Its production of oil and petrol exceeded 8.2 million tonnes, only equivalent to 93.3 percent of the target, largely due to the Dung Quat Oil Refinery being under maintenance.

In August, the group sold crude oil at US$47.5 per barrel, about $2.3 higher than the price in the previous month, but still much lower than the price of $60 set in the yearly plan.

PetroVietnam reported that total revenue in the eight-month period was over VND372 trillion (US$16 billion). The group contributed nearly VND45 trillion to the State budget, while its after-tax profit stood at over VND11 trillion.

The group said it will continue with comprehensive solutions to cope with potential risks to its operation in the remaining months of this year, with a focus on managing production costs and maintaining product quality. 

HCM City bank credit grows at3.68 per cent amid Covid woes

Total outstanding loans of credit institutions in HCM City as of August 31 were worth VND2.38 quadrillion (US$102.5 billion), an estimated 3.68 per cent up for the year.

It represented a 0.4 per cent increase from the preceding month, according to the State Bank of Vietnam’s HCM City branch.

The 3.68 per cent growth represents the slowest rate in many years, but the SBV said cash flow is still being pumped into important areas of the economy.

Thus, lending to businesses in export processing zones and industrial parts increased by 12.7 per cent this year to VND180.58 trillion ($4.67 billion) as of July 31.

Banks also lent over VND2.014 trillion for 27 projects related to the city’s investment stimulation programme, and VND617 billion to firms participating in its price stabilisation programme.

Outstanding short-term loans in Vietnamese dong provided to the city’s five priority sectors (agriculture and rural development, production of goods for exports, small- and medium-sized enterprises, supporting industries, and high-tech enterprises) were worth VND176.26 trillion.

In response to the SBV’s Circular No. 01/2020/TT-NHNN that directed credit institutions to restructure loan repayments, waive and reduce the interest and fees and keep debt classification unchanged to support customers affected by COVID-19, credit institutions have supported 240,407 customers with total outstanding loans of VND583.15 trillion.

The SBV organised measures to mitigate difficulties faced by businesses based on feedback from authorities and business groups.

A representative of its city branch said the banking industry would continue to focus on solutions to overcome difficulties faced by businesses and help their revival based on guidelines issued by the Government, the central bank and the city People's Committee.

Real estate booms in HCM City’s east as innovation city takes shape

HCM City’s plan to establish Thu Duc City by merging districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc has caused property prices in the three eastern districts to increase sharply.

The prices of some existing apartments on Dong Van Cong Street and Ha Noi Highway in District 2 have increased by nearly VND300-400 million (US$12,944-17,259) each since early 2020.

Many projects in District 9 such as Him Lam Phu An and Jamila Khang Dien have seen prices increase to VND37-40 million ($1,596-1,725) per square metre from VND30-35 million ($1,294-1,510) last year.

Others such as Safira Khang Dien, Saigon Gateway and Hausneo have gone up from VND27-30 million to VND35-37 million.

Prices at Vinhomes Grand Park have increased from VND30-38 million late last year to VND35-45 million now.

Metro Star in District 9 increased to VND45 million in the second phase of sale, up VND10 million from the first.

According to a survey conducted by Cho Tot online real estate platform, apartment prices in the three eastern districts have increased by 18 per cent compared to April.

Most of the city’s key transportation projects like the Ha Noi Highway, Saigon River Tunnel, HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway, and Metro Line No1 pass through the east.

Besides, a series of further transportation projects are planned such as the Thu Duc bridge to the Thanh Da peninsula in Binh Thanh District, Ring Roads No. 2 and 3 that will link the entire eastern area and the Cat Lai Bridge connecting District 2 with Nhon Trach District in Dong Nai.

According to industry experts, as the gateway connecting the ‘golden’ economic triangle of Binh Duong-Dong Nai-HCM City, the city’s eastern part has been the leading real estate location for years.

The establishment of the new city would make the market there even more attractive, they said.

Ngo Quang Phuc, general director of Phu Dong Group, said developing Thu Duc City into an innovation and hi-tech town associated with modernisation and digitalisation would make the east a “promising land” for young people and technocrats, and so developers would focus on smart housing there.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, general director of Dai Phuc Land, said the establishment of the innovation city would create more jobs, increase housing demand and attract domestic and foreign investment.

“Domestic and foreign investors always look for investment opportunities in both the short and long terms. The establishment of the eastern city envisaged as an innovation town and a new economic development hub will attract investments and create a driving force for the development of this area.

“Thus, real estate prices will also go up, with major projects that are well planned and offer the quality of life for residents having a great advantage in the market." 

New circular helps perfect financial products and stock market: expert

The State Securities Commission’s draft circular to replace an older one on the guidelines for securities trading is in line with modern trends, perfecting financial products and their diversities, adjusting trading time to suit the needs of domestic and foreign investors, said an expert.

“Both individual and institutional investors are looking forward to the approval and issuance of this circular,” according to Phan Dung Khanh, director of investment consultancy department at Maybank Kim Eng Securities Co Ltd.

“This is definitely positive news for Viet Nam's stock market as the move is expected to propel the local stock market to emerging market (EM) status,” Khanh told Viet Nam News Agency.

Under the draft circular, investors are allowed to perform short sale transactions, which, according to Khanh, is a good step helping investors diversify their short trading strategies.

The draft said short sale transactions with collateral (secured short sales) were transactions for borrowed securities in the securities borrowing and lending (SBL) system of the Viet Nam Securities Depository. The seller is then obliged to buy back the securities to repay the loan. The short sale will be executed based on the securities loan transaction contract on the securities loan and lending system at the Vietnam Securities Depository.

A secured short sale transaction must include collateral, borrowing/lending interest rate, loan term, extension, collateral disposal when the investor does not make payment of securities, settling method when a dispute arises, potential risks and losses, and the costs.

Khanh said the State Securities Commission and securities companies should build a proper legal framework, a list of stocks eligible for short sale transactions and a standardised clearing system to avoid systemic risks.

They should also effectively upgrade infrastructure systems, prepare private contracts with customers and improve the instruction of new product information, Khanh said.

Under the draft, a person aged from 15 years old to under 18 years old, who has not lost or limited their civil act capacity, is entitled to open a securities account provided that the consent of the legal representative is obtained.

Commenting on this regulation, Khanh said that the popularisation of securities and knowledge for investors, including those aged 15 and over, is necessary.

“People from 15 years old are able to access securities investment channel and can have correct assessment on this attractive investment channel and capital mobilisation. We can apply the regulation to the underlying stock market or some kind of high quality bonds,” Khanh said.

“However, some complex or advanced financial products such as futures contracts or option contracts may not be applicable to young investors,” he said.

According to lawyer Nguyen Thanh Ha, Chairman of SBLAW Law Firm, the stock market is a potentially risky investment channel that requires knowledge and experience, thus its may be difficult for individuals aged 15 years to 18 to properly participate in transactions by themselves.

“Besides, most securities companies currently stipulate the minimum age for opening a securities account is 18 years old,” Ha said. 

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. 

Vietnam urged to join global value chain through EVFTA

The Government should provide additional assistance in reducing costs and simplifying administrative procedures to help local firms get more involved in the global value chain and therefore make the most of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), insiders believe.

Experts point out that the substantial reduction in tariff lines due to the EVFTA has benefited enterprises from both sides and has contributed to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the nation. 

Despite this advantage, local firms must strive to enhance their capacity in order to participate in global supply chains through the trade deal, according to Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti, head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam.

Vu Tien Loc, president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), emphasizes that despite the novel coronavirus causing numerous difficulties for Vietnamese exporters, the EVFTA has helped several textile, footwear, and seafood companies sign major export contracts. This has therefore opened up an array of bright prospects to enjoy greater export opportunities amid the ongoing challenging period.

Most notably, the EU market is a key part of global value chains, featuring a range of stages such as design, production, marketing, distribution, and re-production.

The country can therefore enjoy numerous advantages in terms of data, information sources, skills, and networks by attracting greater FDI from the EU, a move which is expected to help upgrade the country’s infrastructure and human resources, notes Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the WTO Integration Centre under the VCCI.

Although the EVFTA presents a wealth of opportunities for domestic enterprises to participate in the value chain, it also poses numerous challenges ahead.

According to a study conducted by JETRO, Japanese enterprises operating in Vietnam currently purchase approximately 32.4% of input goods and services from local suppliers, with the rate being 67.8% in China, 57.1% in Thailand, and 40.5% in Indonesia.

The average revenue of Vietnamese manufacturing enterprises was only able to reach US$2.9 million per year, while businesses are still required to have an annual minimum turnover of US$5 million in order to join the EU market.

Experts have therefore warned that a number of local firms remain satisfied with the participation in the lowest part of the value chain and are not willing to make greater investments when joining the global value chain, says Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department.

To take full advantage of the EVFTA’s opportunities, Nguyen Dinh Cung, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, states that domestic enterprises are required to boast strong financial resources in order to attract reliable partners.

He also believes that the State should remove inadequacies in relation to policies, institutions, the quality of human resources, and infrastructure, while also reducing different costs for businesses so that they can become more deeply involved in the global value chain.

HCM City’s eight-month exports up slightly

Ho Chi Minh City’s foreign trade totalled more than US$60.48 billion in the first eight months of this year, down 0.03% against the same period of 2019. 

In the January-August period, the southern economic hub shipped US$28.4 billion worth of goods abroad, up 4% year-on-year. Excluding crude oil, exports reached US$27.8 billion, up 5.8% year-on-year.

Shipments of industrial goods rose 5.6% year-on-year to US$19.65 billion, contributing the largest share to the total, at 78.1%. Computers, electronics and components made up 45.2% of the total, growing 26.2% to over US$11.2 billion. Meanwhile, textiles-garment and footwear posted sharp declines of 20.4% and 12%, respectively.

Exports of agricultural products exceeded US$2.34 billion, down 0.6% year-on-year, with rice shipments worth US$705.8 million, up 14.2%. Conversely, exports of rubber nosedived 42.6% to US$222.8 million.

China remained HCM City’s largest customer during the reviewed period, importing more than US$6.84 billion, up 35.5% from a year earlier and representing 26.2% of the total. It was followed by the US and Japan.

The city’s imports were valued at over US$32 billion in the period, down 2.8%. Main import items included machinery and components, and consumer goods.

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% to US$2.3 billion in the first half of 2020. Russia’s exports to Vietnam surged 43% to US$682 million, 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.

Local coffee sector set to capitalise on opportunities from EVFTA

Vietnam's coffee industry is expected to enjoy tax incentives brought about by the implementation of EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), especially as the EU market accounts for approximately 30% of global coffee consumption.

Most notably, several local businesses have been proactive in investing in growing coffee areas in line with the requirements set by importers.For example, Vinh Hiep Co., Ltd. based in the central highlands province of Gia Lai, has invested in high-quality growing areas according to the standards set by the US Department of Agriculture, while also installing coffee production lines from Germany in an effort to create a new coffee brand L'amant for the purpose of promoting the export of processed coffee.

Thai Nhu Hiep, chairman of the Board of Directors of Vinh Hiep Co, Ltd., emphasised that investments during the processing stage will help ensure food hygiene, safety, and origin traceability, which are crucial conditions for Vietnamese coffee to win the trust of consumers in the world.

The Vietnam Coffee - Cocoa Association (Vicofa) stated that the EU is currently the second largest export market for Vietnamese coffee, accounting for over 42% of local coffee exports.

Following the EVFTA coming into force in August, Vietnamese coffee products will be able to increase their value in the EU market in the near future due to enjoying import duties of 0%.

Furthermore, Buon Ma Thuot coffee is among the nation’s 39 geographical indications that have been recognised and protected by the EU market, therefore offering a competitive advantage for domestic coffee businesses compared to other competitors within the EU market.

Nguyen Trung Kien, head of the Department of Market Research and Commodities, acknowledged that many local enterprises have moved to invest in expanding their production scale of processed coffee.

Despite witnessing rapid growth, the export structure of this commodity to the EU still only makes up a small proportion, with major export products being unroasted and decaffeinated coffee.

Despite the export volume of Vietnamese coffee to the EU being large, accounting for over 8.5% of the total imported volume to this market, the current rate of processed coffee remains low at between 5% and 7%, with the most significant items being raw products, according to Vicofa.

Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development Department, believes local businesses must strive to meet import requirements, ensure food safety standards, and abide by inspecting factories and supervising processing activities.

Moreover, in order to seize upon the opportunities within the EU market, local firms must increase their financial capacity whilst also enhancing the development of brands for Vietnamese coffee globally, according to experts.

Vietnam, Netherlands eye stronger trade ties

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag engaged in a phone talk on September 1 to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation between the two sides.

Kaag affirmed that Vietnam is an important partner of the Netherlands, and expressed her good impression of achievements Vietnam has gained in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic over the recent past. 

She noted that the Netherlands is the second biggest market of Vietnam’s exports in the EU, and also the largest European investor in the Southeast Asian country.

The minister urged that the two sides carry out more activities in the time ahead in order to enhance their trade ties and deal with economic consequences of the pandemic.

Kaag informed that there will be an array of virtual trade missions hosted by the Dutch embassies in some ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, in October and November, and invited the Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade to attend the launching ceremony for these activities.

Regarding the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), the Dutch minister said due to COVID-19, the approval of the deal has yet to be included in the agenda of the Dutch Parliament.

Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development will work for the agreement to be early included in the working agenda of the parliament, she pledged.

The minister also lauded the Vietnamese government’s efforts in implementing the chapter on sustainable development progamme in the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), saying the Netherlands stands ready to provide technical assistance for Vietnam in this regard.

The Netherland also wishes to step up cooperation with Vietnam in promoting a circular economy and low-carbon production, towards sustainable development, and clean and renewable energy, she stressed.

For his part, Minister Anh spoke highly of the close collaboration between Vietnam and the Netherlands across spheres, including trade, renewable energy, low-carbon production, and trade promotion, and suggested the two sides take more concrete, efficient steps in the existing cooperation areas.

He thanked the Dutch government for their support during the negotiation and ratification of the EVFTA and EVIPA, expressing his hope that the two countries will beef up their cooperation in the enforcement of the two deals.

Both ministers backed the idea on holding a virtual seminar on the agreements, and investment and trade ties between Vietnam and the Netherlands, which is expected to gather about 12-13 CEOs from major Dutch industrial groups like Shell, Philips and Friesland Campia, and Vietnamese enterprises.

This would be an opportunity for Dutch firms to learn more about the investment environment in Vietnam, while offering cooperation opportunities for businesses of the two countries, they said.

As for the circular economy, Tuan Anh praised the joint efforts in establishing a close cooperation framework with documents signed at different levels, from businesses to state management agencies.

The minister said he hopes for an action plan with specific activities in order to advance the partnership in this regard.

Statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that trade between Vietnam and the Netherlands reached nearly US$7.6 billion last year, with Vietnam’s exports to the European country hitting US$6.9 billion and its imports, US$661 million.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam exported more than US$3.83 billion worth of goods to the Netherlands, up 0.46% year-on-year, even when Vietnam’s total export revenue to the EU dropped 5.96% in the period.

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

 
 

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