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Gov't needs to provide more support for SMEs in taking advantage of the EVFTA



Workers at Trung Dung Co Ltd, a manufacturer of elastic threads and yarn in Tan Trieu Commune in Ha Noi’s suburban district Thanh Tri. The company employs around 200 people. SMEs now have more opportunities for development with the signing of free trade agreements (FTAs), Industry 4.0 and new business models. 

The Government should develop more policies for Vietnamese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them take advantage of the EU–Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), according to experts.

Trần Duy Đông, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said the EVFTA offers opportunities but also challenges, so Vietnamese businesses need to mobilise all resources to seize the opportunities. EU enterprises need to associate with Vietnamese enterprises while Vietnamese enterprises need to fulfill their commitments to become reliable partners for EU enterprises.

The Government's mission is to perfect an equal business environment and create favourable conditions for enterprises in production and business, Đông said.

Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Pier Giorgio Aliberti urged the Vietnamese government to provide mechanisms and tools for local SMEs that could help them become stronger.

He also expected the deal to continue improving Việt Nam’s business environment, in turn making it easier for both Vietnamese and European companies operating in Việt Nam.

According to Nguyễn Minh Thảo, Head of the Department of Business Environment and Competitiveness Research under the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), SMEs now account for nearly 98 per cent of total enterprises in Việt Nam and contribute 40 per cent of the country's GDP.

With a significant contribution, SMEs now have more opportunities for development with the presence of free trade agreements (FTAs), Industry 4.0 and new business models.

However, small and micro scale operations have hindered enterprises from improving productivity and business efficiency.

In addition, Bùi Thu Thủy, Deputy Director of the Department of Enterprise Development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said if Việt Nam's SMEs could not export their goods via global value chains, they could not really benefit from the EVFTA yet.

Thủy said the Government needed to promote institutional reform, remove barriers in policies and give more support for the SME community to meet the requirements of the EU market.

Nguyễn Văn Thân, Chairman of the Việt Nam Small and Medium sized Enterprise Association (Vinasme), said there were many opportunities from the EVFTA for Vietnamese enterprises, but they must have innovation, creativity and cooperation in production and business to succeed, reported the Thời báo Kinh doanh (Business Times) newspaper.

Việt Nam was implementing 14 FTAs ​​but had limitations in taking opportunities from those FTAs due to complicated issues in non-tariff barriers and administrative procedures, Thân said.

Accordingly, he proposed that the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development accelerate the reform of administrative procedures, implement the national one-window mechanism, creating a favourable business environment for enterprises.

At the same time, the MoIT needed to handle tax evasion, use trade remedies and prevent goods of unknown origin, he said.

A cooperation programme to help businesses optimise advantages from the EVFTA through the Việt Nam-EU e-commerce platform debuted in Hà Nội on March 26.

The programme was signed among the MoIT’s Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, the Việt Nam Institute of Business Management Science and Digital Economy (VIDEM), the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and the Kim Nam Group.

Addressing the signing ceremony, MoIT Deputy Minister Cao Quốc Hưng hailed efforts of all parties in putting the Vietnam-EU e-commerce floor into operation as soon as possible, thus helping Vietnamese firms to grasp opportunities from the EVFTA.

He underlined that amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the improvement of competitiveness and the development of infrastructure might create breakthroughs.

Hưng noted that last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce in Việt Nam grew 18 per cent to over US$11 billion, enabling people to shop for almost everything online.

The Deputy Minister said e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon had helped micro-sized enterprises and business households export their products, which seemed to be impossible in the past.

The official affirmed that the programme was expected to be the first step in the roadmap of designing fundamental technology solutions to assist enterprises, especially SMEs and business households, in improving their capacity and opportunities to reach international markets, thus optimising opportunities offered by the EVFTA.

Đặng Hoàng Hải, Director of the Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, said that along with difficulties, COVID-19 had also brought in opportunities for Việt Nam in speeding up transition.

The department had cooperated with agencies representing the SME community of Việt Nam to help them grasp chances from the deal, he said.

Hải added that the Việt Nam-EU e-commerce floor was expected to realise the goal of connecting relevant digital solutions to build a complete digital ecosystem, helping businesses trade on a single platform.

According to VIDEM Director Nguyễn Kim Hùng the floor is a national-scale project that aims to create a B2B Marketplace, while building an “expressway” connecting Vietnamese firms with international partners, especially those from Europe.

Hùng said that the floor is connected with the existing trading floors of cities and provinces, helping to build a national database facilitating the transparency in origin of products, and providing information to the business community of Việt Nam and other countries on trade deals and relevant policies.

The trading floor is also expected to contribute to bolstering the partnership between Việt Nam and the EU, especially in economy and trade.

Nguyễn Văn Thân, Vinasme Chairman, proposed that the VIDEM seek solutions to facilitate Vietnamese firms’ integration and protect them from risks and challenges while the trading floor becomes officially operational.

Statistics showed that the EU is one of the leading trade partners of Việt Nam with two-way trade reaching $56.45 billion in 2019, including $41.5 billion worth of Vietnamese exports. 

Solutions introduced to help MSMEs in digital transformation

The NextTech Group organised a ceremony in Hanoi on March 31 to debut its comprehensive digital transformation solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

A study conducted recently by NextTech revealed that MSMEs make up 96.7 percent of all businesses in Vietnam, contribute 40 percent of GDP, and generate 60 percent of jobs.

They have yet to benefit very much from digital transformation due to limited funding, the study found.

The NextTech Group of Technopreneurs is a group of companies pioneering the emerging digitised commerce industry across Southeast Asia.

Its digital transformation solutions are designed based on the essential needs of MSMEs and called, which provide comprehensive cooperation in all steps, from goods importation to capital allocation, sales management, financial and accounting administration, and personnel.

For a maximum monthly fee of 560,000 VND (24.3 USD), businesses can access nearly 20 digital transformation products.

NextTech has also launched NextAcademy, which aims to train consultants and conduct digital transformation to prepare the resources needed to help startups succeed in the process./.

Workshop seeks ways to overcome COVID-19 impacts

Assisting people who lost their jobs in both formal and informal sectors should be the top priority in helping the nation to overcome COVID-19 impacts, experts said at a workshop held in Hanoi on March 31 to discuss solutions to post-pandemic recovery.

They said cost assistance to affected firms should come next, while incompatible support policies should be redesigned.

According to the experts, it is cautious to take a loosening monetary policy in terms of scale and duration, especially when economic activities are bustling again, while the fiscal policy should be efficient and support those in need.

They recommended Vietnam to persevere with its long-term reforms to improve the foundation of its macro-economy, in addition to the current short-term policies to mitigate COVID-19 impacts.

Jacques Morisset, World Bank Lead Economist and Program Leader for Vietnam, said the country has so far placed the COVID-19 pandemic under control and turned it into opportunities.

The country has increased its presence in the global trade, pushed for faster digital transformation, and better pursued green technologies, among others.

However, he noted the pandemic has caused new risks of damage for the nation.

Associate Prof. Dr. To Trung Thanh, from the Vietnam Economics University (NEU), said although the Government has promptly issued policies in launching its first support package to rescue some economic sectors and those most severely affected, recent complicated developments of the pandemic will have a comprehensive and severe impact on the economy.

It requires the Government to consider a new package with a larger scale and broader coverage this year and even beyond to sustain economic development and prepare for the recovery phase, he added.

The workshop was co-organised by the NEU, the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, and the Vietnamese-based startup and innovation network V-startup. It offered an overall review of the Vietnamese economy last year, assessed the Government’s policies in response to the pandemic, and recommended suitable solutions for post-pandemic recovery.

On the occasion, the NEU introduced its publication on the annual economic assessment for Vietnam in 2020./.

Many banks to pay dividends in shares

Many banks have announced their dividend payout plan in shares to raise capital and improve competitiveness amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

The shareholders of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) have approved the proposal to issue 40 bonus shares at the rate of 40 per cent at its 2021 Annual General Meeting late last month.

According to VIB, by the end of 2020, the bank had more than VND4.8 trillion (US$207.8 million) of remaining profit after the provision for funds. It plans to distribute bonus shares to increase capital from VND11.09 trillion currently to over VND15.53 trillion.

The distribution is expected to be completed before September 30 this year.

"The bank is in a good growth period so it needs capital to invest in technology, networks, credit extension, meeting capital adequacy ratios as prescribed," said a representative of VIB.

Viet Nam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) recently approved a plan to pay dividend in shares at a rate of 30 per cent. It is expected that after completing the plan, MSB's chartered capital will reach VND15.2 trillion.

A representative of the bank said: “In addition to supplementing the bank's medium and long-term capital, paying in shares can ensure financial safety ratios following international standards such as Basel II.”

Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) plans to issue more than 540 million shares to pay 2020 dividends at the rate of 25 per cent. Accordingly, the bank's charter capital is expected to increase by more than VND5.4 trillion.

Sai Gon-Ha Noi Bank (SHB) will pay dividends at the rate of 20.5 per cent by shares, of which 10 per cent for 2019 and 10.5 per cent for 2020.

Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) plans to pay dividend at a rate of 25 per cent.

Nam A Bank plans to increase its charter capital to VND7 trillion. This includes a plan to issue 57 million shares to pay dividends at a rate of 12.5 per cent and offer 143 million shares in private placement.

Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV)’s shareholders have approved a plan to increase its charter capital by VND8.3 trillion to VND48.52 trillion, up 20.6 per cent, in the form of dividend payment in shares and additional issuance.

Under the plan, BIDV plans to issue 207.3 million shares to pay dividends for 2019 at the rate of 5.2 per cent, issuing 281.5 million shares to pay dividends for 2020 at a ratio of 7 per cent.

Some financial and banking experts said banks' plans to increase capital in 2021 was necessary to ensure credit supply. Currently, the income of many banks still came from credit. At 12-13 per cent, the equity of banks will increase at least by 7-8 per cent.

According to the policy of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), this year, banks will only be allowed to pay dividends in shares, instead of cash as before.

Banking is a conditional business sector so credit institutions must comply with the regulations of the State Bank, including the policy of dividend payout.

Along with other cost reduction solutions, the non-cash dividend payment will help credit institutions have more resources to reduce lending rates, supporting millions of customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, in order to have a source of money set aside for bad debt handling, restructuring and especially to support businesses affected by the pandemic, some banks decided not to pay dividends in 2020 such as VPBank, Techcombank, Sacombank, Eximbank, SCB and ABBank.

New decree promotes sustainable maritime economic development

Decree No. 11/2021/ND-CP officially replaced Decree No. 51/2014/ND-CP dated May 21, 2014 of the Government regulating the allocation of certain marine areas to organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources from March 30, 2021.

Ta Dinh Thi, Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said this is an important document that institutionalises the Party's guidelines and the State's policies and laws on marine economic development associated with ensuring national defence and security and the protection of environmental and marine and island ecosystems in line with the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Marine Economy by 2030 and vision to 2045.

It is expected to contribute to realising the goal of turning Vietnam into a powerful marine nation, in which the marine economic sectors’ contribution to GDP will represent 10 percent.

The new decree regulates that all activities of organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources must be implemented in marine areas they have been allocated, except the use of marine areas for defence and security purposes.

It states that sea areas allocated to organisations and individuals will be considered and decided upon on a case-by-case basis. The time frame for using allocated marine areas will not exceed 30 years, and while this can be extended many times, the total duration of such extensions must not exceed 20 years.
New decree promotes sustainable maritime economic development hinh anh 2
Offshore fishing ships of Phu Quoc island (Photo: VNA)
Under the decree, the four State agencies and competent authorities with the right to allocate marine areas include the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the People’s Committees of coastal provinces and coastal districts.

Cases that are not required to allocate marine areas include scientific research by Vietnamese organisations and individuals (except for scientific research using fixed marine areas and those conducted by foreign organisations and individuals in Vietnam’s territorial waters), the measurement, observation, investigation, survey, and assessment of marine resources, and activities to resolve the direct consequences of natural disasters or environmental incidents at sea.

Thi said marine areas for the construction, installation, and operation of works serving the national and public interest and those for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, transport oil, and gas resources taken ashore by pipelines under the Prime Minister’s decision are not required to pay fees for the use of marine areas.

The Prime Minister will decide on exemptions of fees for using marine areas in other cases submitted by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, activities using maritime areas allocated by relevant State management agencies must pay fees for the use of marine areas in the regulated price bracket and level.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to propose the Government make adjustments to the price bracket for using maritime areas in each period, to suit the socio-economic conditions./.

E-commerce opportunities for Vietnamese retailers

The Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM) in partnership with Google and partners announced a series of Retail University activities to promote e-commerce for retailers this year.

The programme aims to support small- and medium-sized enterprises and individual business households in e-commerce.

VECOM Chairman Nguyen Thanh Hung said Vietnam’s e-commerce expanded by nearly 15 percent last year, reaching nearly 13.2 billion USD, and will keep growing this year and till 2025.

According to the Vietnam Internet Statistic 2020, Vietnam is home to over 68 million social media users, ranking sixth among 30 countries. It is a “golden opportunity” for retailers, online sellers and traditional enterprises to improve digital business and marketing skills.

Hung added that the Retail University 2020 activities attracted nearly 1,400 trainees from businesses nationwide and over 700 participating firms. Following the programme, retailers offered positive feedback, saying that their orders surged by over 57 percent and consumer base up 60 percent.  

Director of VISA for Vietnam and Laos Dang Tuyet Dung said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, small- and medium-sized enterprises need to quickly switch to digital transformation and set up multi-channel trade while ensuring that payment channels are protected.

At the event, the VNPost Express JSC also pledged to introduce and help online sellers launch the “order completion” service to bring benefits to both sellers and buyers, thus helping consumers minimise operating cost, increase delivery speed and deal with post-sale contingencies./. 

Two SOEs given financial support for employment of ethnic minority workers

Two State-owned enterprises will receive a total of nearly 62.92 billion VND (2.72 million USD) in funding for their employment of ethnic minority workers from mountainous and extremely disadvantaged regions in 2018 under a decision of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) will be given close to 60.64 trillion VND and the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (VinaCafe) will get nearly 2.28 billion VND from the 2021 central budget in pursuant to Decision 42/2021/QD-TTg dated October 8, 2012 on provision of support for employers of ethnic minority people from mountainous and extremely disadvantaged areas.

The Ministry of Finance was assigned to manage and disburse the funding in line with current regulations.

The move forms part of the government’s efforts to improve livelihoods of ethnic minorities in remote and disadvantaged regions.

Rubber and coffee have been among Vietnam’s key currency earners for years. Last year, the country’s rubber and coffee export value hit 2.4 billion USD and 2.7 billion USD, respectively.

The two agricultural products are largely grown in the northern mountainous, Central Highlands and Southeast regions which are endowed with nutrient-rich red basalt soil. The regions are mainly inhabited by ethnic minority people, a majority of whom have been struggling with many difficulties.

According to a 2019 survey by the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, Vietnam is home to 14.1 million ethnic minority people, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total population. It also revealed that the percentage of poor and near-poor households in ethnic minority inhabited areas is 3.5 times higher than the country’s average./.

German newspaper highlights Vietnamese market’s prospects

German’s DVZ e-newspaper has run a story by Claudius Semmann highlighting Vietnam’s success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and secure economic development, maintaining its bright outlook amid the global crisis.

The article noted that Vietnam has been very successful in dealing with the pandemic and has already developed into a popular production base.

By the end of 2020, the nearly 100 million-strong country had only reported 1,465 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths, it said.

It cited data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showing that the economy grew by 2.9 percent, one of the highest rates in the world. However, this was its lowest growth in 30 years, according to the report on the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. Domestic activity had recovered early. There was also a robust export trend, especially in the high-tech area, it added.

According to the Transport Intelligence (TI) market researchers, Vietnam benefits from the free trade agreements with the EU and the UK as well as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has provided Vietnamese goods with better access to the Canadian and Mexican markets. Both before and during the pandemic, the country attracted investments, including those from manufacturers who wanted to relocate their production from pandemic-hit areas.

In recent years, Vietnam has moved the value chain from textiles and clothing to microchips, smartphones and other electronics. Apple and its suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron as well as Panasonic were among the companies that started manufacturing in Vietnam, expanded production or announced new production plans there in 2021, it said.

According to TI data, around 40 percent of exports go to the US and the EU. It pointed out that Vietnam may face problems in infrastructure system such as roads and ports.

The article also cited current analysis by the international credit insurer Atradius indicating that Vietnam is also one of the markets in which German exporters have good prospects of generating additional sales in the second coronavirus year.

Thanks to low wage costs and favourable conditions for foreign direct investment, many companies are relocating simple production steps from China to Vietnam, Atradius expert Thomas Langen was quoted as saying.

According to the article, companies in the transport and logistics as well as textiles sectors will benefit from the increasing global demand. Domestically, agriculture, construction and infrastructure as well as retail and durable consumer goods manufacturers benefit from expanding domestic demand, it added./.

Q1 exports rise as Vietnam takes advantage of FTAs: Official

Vietnam has been making good use of advantages of the international economic integration process, helping to increase the country’s exports by 22 percent year-on-year and imports by 26 percent in the first quarter of 2021, said Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Talking to the press, Hai said the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have become effective, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is about to come into effect.

For the EU market, several Vietnamese commodities have enjoyed incentives of the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for years.

However, for the long term, taking advantage of opportunities brought about by the EVFTA is a sustainable and equal preference. Specially, for the commodities that Vietnam has advantage, they can enjoy preferences on origins combined in the EVFTA, Hai said.

He advised enterprises to bring into full play advantages of the agreement by understanding the advantages for their commodities and then change their production process and material supply to meet requirements of origin.

Looking back on the import-export figures in the first quarter, Hai said, electronic products, electric appliances and furniture are the most benefitted as increasing demand from the European and North American markets.

However, such products as garment and textiles and footwear are facing difficulties caused by the disruption of the supply chains.

Hai also proposed businesses take the initiative and make good preparations to deal with any possible instable factors.

During January – March, Vietnam’s import-export turnover is estimated at 152.65 billion USD, up 24.1 percent year-on-year./.

Trade surplus in Q1 reaches more than 2 billion USD

The country's export turnover increased 22 percent to reach 77.34 billion USD in the first quarter, while the trade surplus was estimated at 2.03 billion USD.

The General Statistics Office (GSO)’s representative said on March 29 that: “Vietnam has recorded a strong recovery of import and export activities."

He said the total merchandise import-export turnover in Q1 reached 152.65 billion USD, up 24.1 percent over the same period last year. While the export turnover reached 77.34 billion USD, the import turnover also reached 75.31 billion USD, up 26.3 percent.

GSO said goods export turnover in February reached 20.196 billion USD, 196 million USD higher than planned, adding that export turnover was estimated to reach 28.6 billion USD in March, marking an increase of 41.6 percent over February and 19.2 percent over the same period last year.

In Q1, there were 11 items with an export turnover of more than 1 billion USD, accounting for 76.6 percent of the total export turnover. They included four items with an export turnover of over 5 billion USD, accounting for 54.7 percent.

Import turnover reached 20.656 billion USD in February, 144 million USD lower than planned, said the GSO, estimating the import turnover to reach 28.2 billion USD in March, up 36.5 percent over February and 27.7 percent over the same period last year. In imports, materials for production were estimated at 70.58 billion USD, up 26.8 percent over the same period last year and accounting for 93.7 percent of the total import turnover.

GSO said the production expectation in Q2 was more positive with an increase of 27.5 percent in registered capital at 447.8 trillion VND (19.46 billion USD) in Q1. A survey on business trends of enterprises in the manufacturing and processing industries showed enterprises expect their production and business in Q2 to be better than Q1.

At the same time, demand for consumption increased again in March with better domestic trade and freight transportation. The total retail sales of consumer goods and services in March increased 9.2 percent over February and decreased 5.4 percent from the same period last year. Though the cargo transportation increased by 5.3 percent from the previous month, the transportation of passengers still faced difficulties due to the effects of the pandemic.

Total retail sales of consumer goods and services reached 1.291 quadrillion VND, up 5.1 percent over the same period last year. Of which, the sales in March were estimated at 405.1 trillion VND, down 3.8 percent from the previous month and up 9.2 percent over the same period last year.

In the first quarter, international visitors were estimated at 48,100 arrivals, down 98.7 percent from the same period last year. In March, there are 19,400 arrivals, up 77.3 percent over February and down 95.7 percent from last March, said the GSO.

The office also considered positive signals in mobilising and using capital, saying realised investment capital was estimated at 507.6 trillion VND in Q1, an increase of 6.3 percent over the same period last year. The office said the increase was an important driving force for the mobilisation and use of social investment capital to grow strongly in the coming quarters of the year./.

Binh Phuoc targets becoming industrialised province

The southern province of Binh Phuoc recorded economic growth of 7.51 percent in 2020 thanks to its outstanding efforts in containing COVID-19 and promoting economic development, according to a local official.

Tran Tue Hien, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, reported that the locality’s industrial production value expanded 10.3 percent last year, while construction increased 12.5 percent.

The province’s budget collection totalled 11.6 trillion VND (502.28 million USD), with export revenue rising 7.33 percent and imports increasing 6.25 percent year-on-year.

It attracted 35 projects with total registered investment of 252 million USD, raising the total in the province to 273 projects worth 2.65 billion USD.

Domestic investors also registered 7 trillion VND to develop 110 projects, bringing the total amount to 1,081 projects valued at 90.7 trillion VND.

During the 2020-2025 tenure, the resolution adopted at the 11th provincial Party Congress set the target of turning Binh Phuoc into an industrialised province and being included in the group of provinces with rapid, sustainable development.

It expects to maintain its average economic growth, attract more investment, increase export-import turnover, and raise budget collections to 18-18.5 trillion VND by 2025.

Binh Phuoc will strive to improve people’s living standards and narrow the development gap between urban and rural, ethnic minority, remote, and border areas.

To that end, it has embarked on e-administraion and smart urban area building towards a digital administration, in order to offer better public services to people and businesses.

It has also sped up infrastructure building to be better connected with the Central Highlands and logistics centres in the southern region, while promoting its production and business environment among domestic and foreign investors.

Speaking at an investment promotion event in late 2020, Hien said Binh Phuoc has developed 13 industrial parks, of which eight have come into operation.

The province proposed on March 12 that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc allow the expansion and adjustment of industrial parks in the locality.

Accordingly, it plans to add 1,000 ha to the Minh Hung Sikio Industrial Park and 1,500 ha to the Nac and Nam Dong Phu Industrial Parks./.

Vietnamese poultry find way onto more foreign plates

Apart from maintaining the domestic market, Vietnamese poultry businesses are seeking ways to expand their reach to foreign markets like Myanmar, Japan, Hong Kong and Russia, heard a recent meeting of the Vietnam Poultry Association (VIPA).

Nguyen Song Thao, Deputy Director of the Personnel Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the VIPA meeting on March 28 that the national poultry flocks increased from 100 million in 2010 to 530 million last year.

Poultry meat production also rose from 600,000 to 1.4 million tonnes over the past decade, and the output of eggs reached 14 billion in 2020, up from 6 billion ten years ago, he said.

Poultry meat and eggs have not only met the demand of the nearly 100 million population at home, but also been used for exports.

Notably, modern, large-scale poultry farms have been formed and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, Thao said.

Nguyen Thanh Son, VIPA President, said despite the adverse impact of COVID-19 last year that cut into firms’ profit, the sector invested in some chicken farms and slaughterhouses that are among the most modern in Southeast Asia.

Progress has also been made in the production of poultry feed, medicines and vaccines, he added.

He said the VIPA will support businesses in exporting poultry breeds, processed meat, eggs, medicines and feed this year, while staying updated on price and market to inform its members.

The association will also draw up a project on granting certificates to VIPA members that have good products, according to Son./.

Ministry sets up team to study virtual assets, money

The Finance Ministry on March 30 announced that it has set up a team to study virtual assets and money to design management policies and mechanisms according to its tasks and functions in the field.

The ministry said Vietnam has yet any legal regulations on the issuance, trade and exchange of virtual money and assets. Therefore, the trade of cryptocurrencies by several individuals in Vietnam on international trade floors such as Binance and Coinbase or via direct transactions poses many risks.

At present, the ministry’s State Securities Commission (SSC) is embarking on the ministry-level study on building legal framework on the management of crypto assets on Vietnam’s securities market.

In the near future, the ministry will continue proposing mechanisms to the Government to oversee activities related to virtual assets and money to ensure the security and safety of the financial market as well as protect legitimate rights and interests of investors and others in the market.

Earlier, the SSC warned investors to stay cautious when investing in virtual assets and money to minimise possible risks. It also asked listed, securities, fund management companies and securities investment funds to stay away from the issuance, trade and mortgage of virtual money against the law.

The establishment of the team is in line with the Prime Minister’s Decision No.1255/QD-TTg approving a project on perfecting legal framework on the management of virtual and electronic money and the Government Office’s Dispatch No.11633/VPCP-KTTH on comprehensive review of legal regulations related to virtual assets and money./.

HCM City’s CPI down 0.33 percent in March

The CPI in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City inched down 0.33 percent in March against February, according to the city’s Statistics Office.

The first-quarter figure rose 0.84 percent compared to last year’s average.

Among 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, increases were seen in transportation fees, of 2.04 percent, education 0.004 percent, and the group of culture, entertainment, and tourism 0.4 percent.

Affected by petrol price adjustments on February 25 and March 12, fuel prices rose 5.76 percent.

Meanwhile, restaurant and catering services saw the strongest decline, of 1.46 percent, while foodstuff was up 0.25 percent against February.

The strongest slumps in this group were seen in vegetables (4.76 percent), beef (3.47 percent), and poultry (2.64 percent), as consumer demand returned to normal after the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday in February, the largest traditional festival of the Vietnamese people.

Also falling were beverages and tobacco (0.36 percent), and garments, hats, and footwear (0.02 percent).

The group of housing, electricity, water, and construction materials were down 0.09 percent against February. This included falls of 0.56 percent in the power price, 0.1 percent in the water price, and 1.43 percent in gas and fuel prices due to increases in petrol prices.

The price of household devices and appliances fell 0.13 percent against February.

The Statistics Office also reported that the gold price was down 1.79 percent in March but up 25.89 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. The US dollar exchange rate expanded 0.11 percent in March compared to February, but was down 0.91 percent year-on-year in the first quarter./.

Kien Giang province eyes 12.7 percent export growth in Q2

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is aiming at 218 million USD in export revenue in Quarter 2, a year-on-year surge of 12.7 percent.

With this figure, total earnings from exports in the first half will likely top more than 355 million USD, accounting for 47.3 percent of the annual plan and up 2.3 percent year-on-year.

According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the locality pocketed more than 136 million USD from exports in Quarter 1, down 15.5 percent year-on-year.

Of the total, rice brought home 42 million USD, seafood over 45 million USD, leather shoes 27 million USD, fruit and vegetables 5.66 million USD, and other products 15.17 million USD.

COVID-19 made it difficult for local firms to ship products to traditional markets, and processors also faced a shortage of raw materials due to climate change and diseases, the department said.

However, with sound business strategies, many companies were successful in fulfilling contracts and were able to ship products to markets on the road to recovery.

Local companies also received legal documents on the application of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of WTO member states, which could affect the shipment of Vietnamese agricultural products.

The department also provided support and worked to remove bottlenecks in capital, materials, workers, trade promotion, and market development for local producers./.

State budget collections down 1.2 percent in Q1

State budget collections managed by tax agencies were estimated at 347.34 trillion VND (15.02 billion USD) in the first quarter of this year, equal to 31.1 percent of the estimate and down 1.2 percent year-on-year, according to the General Department of Taxation.

Collections from crude oil reached 8.02 trillion VND, or 34.6 percent of the estimate, while the remainder came from domestic revenue, equal to 31 percent of the estimate and up 1 percent against the same period last year.  

The production and business sector, covering State-owned, foreign-invested, and private enterprises, contributed 191.25 trillion VND, a year-on-year increase of 12.5 percent.

During the opening quarter, debt collections hit 9.07 trillion VND, or 30.1 percent of the target.

To fulfil budget collection tasks set for 2021, the department said it will focus on removing difficulties facing enterprises, improving the business environment, and attracting investment./.

New tourism products to be introduced at Hanoi festival 2021

The administration of Hanoi is poised to host a festival between April 16-18 aimed at stimulating tourism and introducing a wide range culinary culture, following the containment of the latest coronavirus outbreak.

A fresh range of tourism products will be introduced to visitors during the event set to be held at King Ly Thai To flower garden, according to Dang Huong Giang, director of Hanoi’s Department of Tourism.

Ahead of the event, major Vietnamese airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways, and local travel agencies plan to offer major discounts in an effort to attract tourists.

Most notably, travel agency Vietravel intend to launch a three-day and two-night tour of the Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi route at a cost of VND990,000, whilst VietFoot agency will debut a night tour of the historic Hoa Lo prison.

The festival is anticipated to draw the participation of over 200 businesses from across the country. Alongside firms from Hanoi, businesses from other cities and provinces will also be taking part in the event with the primary goal of introducing tourism products, destinations, and tours, as well as other special offers on tours, hotels, and air tickets.

A culinary space will be established to popularize some outstanding dishes and specialties from the capital, including pho, a type of noodle soup, cha ca, a type of grilled fish, and coffee. 

This year's festival will be designed in an open space. National airlines and tour operators are set to have their own space decorated with an array of eye-catching models to attract tourists.

Vietnam joins Apple’s Independent Repair Provider programme

Teach giant Apple of the United States has named Vietnam in its Independent Repair Provider programme which aims to offer repair providers access to genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics in order to conduct out-of-warranty repairs.

An article published on the firm’s website states that the Independent Repair Provider programme has been expanded globally and will be applied to more than 200 countries worldwide, including Vietnam.

Originally launched in 2019, the scheme enables repair providers of all sizes to gain access to genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics, offering safe and reliable repairs for various Apple products.

At present, there are now over 1,500 Independent Repair Provider locations serving customers throughout the US, Canada, and Europe.

All repair service providers operating within the programme will enjoy access to free training from Apple, along with the same genuine parts as both Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and Apple Store locations.

To qualify for the scheme, the providers must commit to having an Apple-certified technician perform the repairs.

“Qualifying repair providers can purchase genuine Apple parts and tools at the same price as AASPs and receive free access to training, repair manuals, and diagnostics”, says Apple.

Besides Vietnam, Apple has stated that Italy, Cambodia, Japan, Laos, and plenty of other Asian and African countries also made the list of countries that will be able to apply to become an Independent Repair Provider.

Newly-established firms down in Q1

Viet Nam had 29,300 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of VND447.8 trillion in the first quarter of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

These figures were down 1.4 per cent in the number of newly registered enterprises but up 27.5 per cent in the registered capital year on year. The higher capital was due to an increase of 36.8 per cent in the number of enterprises with registered capital at over VND100 billion.

During the first quarter, 40,300 enterprises stopped business, a year-on-year increase of 15.6 per cent. Of which, 23,800 were temporarily closed, up 28.2 per cent, and 5,200 have permanently ceased to do business, a surge of 26.4 per cent, while 11,300 others are completing dissolution procedures.

The majority of enterprises temporarily suspending their business and dissolving were small-scale and vulnerable businesses due to negative impacts, according to the GSO.

Meanwhile, 44,000 enterprises resumed their operation in the first three months of this year.

The GSO’s survey on business trends of the manufacturing and processing industry showed that many enterprises expected their production and business in the second quarter of 2021 to be better than the first quarter. Of which, 51 per cent of surveyed businesses said that the business situation would be better than the first quarter while 34.1 per cent of them said the business situation would be stable. About 14.9 per cent of enterprises forecast more difficulties in doing business than the first quarter.

Foreign-invested enterprises in this industry are the most optimistic with 86.2 per cent forecasting stable and better business performance in the second quarter. The ratios in non-State owned enterprises and State-owned enterprises are 84.8 per cent and 83.4 per cent, respectively.

The survey also reported that 55.1 per cent of enterprises believed that high competitiveness of domestic goods was the main factor affecting their production and business activities in the first quarter.

Other factors included low domestic market demand, difficulties in finance, lack of raw materials and human resources, high interest rates of loans, and outdated technology and equipment.

About 29.6 per cent of enterprises said the business situation in the first quarter of 2021 was better than that in the fourth quarter of 2020 while 39 per cent of them saw stable business situation. About 31.4 per cent of businesses faced difficulties in production and business. 

Hanoi to use QR Codes to boost tourism

About 38 tourist sites in Hanoi's Tay Ho District has been given QR codes that permits users to quickly search for its information.

This is the idea of Bui The Cuong, party secretary of Tay Ho District, who was given Ly Tu Trong Award on the 90th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Youth Union.

The project was started last year and divided into three phases. The first phase was carried out from March to July 2020. During this period, the member unions were asked to collect information to create a database about tourist sites in the district. In the second phase, articles about these sites have been posted on the website of Tay Ho District. The third phase is when the authorities manage, maintain and secure the QR codes and their information.

On August 1, 2020, the first QR code was put up at Tran Quoc Pagoda. As of now, up to 38 tourist sites have been given a QR code.

Visitors can easily access the information about the attraction by scanning the code with their mobile phones. The project was also praised by Hanoi Fatherland Front Committee.

Bui The Cuong has been a party secretary of Tay Ho District for four years. In 2020, Tay Ho Youth Union has collaborated with many parties to make 70 automatic hand sanitisers. The team was praised and given a certificate of merit by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and Hanoi Youth Union.

"I feel proud and honoured. I'll work harder so that there will be more practical and meaningful activities," he said.

He went on to say that the union should be pro-active in leading young people into the new industrial revolution while preventing fake news and spreading goodness to the community.

Newly-established firms down in Q1

Vietnam had 29,300 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of 447.8 trillion VND (19.37 billion USD) in the first quarter of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

These figures were down 1.4 percent in the number of newly registered enterprises but up 27.5 percent in the registered capital year on year. The higher capital was due to an increase of 36.8 percent in the number of enterprises with registered capital at over 100 billion VND.

During the first quarter, 40,300 enterprises stopped business, a year-on-year increase of 15.6 percent. Of which, 23,800 were temporarily closed, up 28.2 percent, and 5,200 have permanently ceased to do business, a surge of 26.4 percent, while 11,300 others are completing dissolution procedures.

The majority of enterprises temporarily suspending their business and dissolving were small-scale and vulnerable businesses due to negative impacts, according to the GSO.

Meanwhile, 44,000 enterprises resumed their operation in the first three months of this year.

The GSO’s survey on business trends of the manufacturing and processing industry showed that many enterprises expected their production and business in the second quarter of 2021 to be better than the first quarter. Of which, 51 percent of surveyed businesses said that the business situation would be better than the first quarter while 34.1 percent of them said the business situation would be stable. About 14.9 percent of enterprises forecast more difficulties in doing business than the first quarter.

Foreign-invested enterprises in this industry are the most optimistic with 86.2 percent forecasting stable and better business performance in the second quarter. The ratios in non-State owned enterprises and State-owned enterprises are 84.8 percent and 83.4 percent, respectively.

The survey also reported that 55.1 percent of enterprises believed that high competitiveness of domestic goods was the main factor affecting their production and business activities in the first quarter.

Other factors included low domestic market demand, difficulties in finance, lack of raw materials and human resources, high interest rates of loans, and outdated technology and equipment.

About 29.6 percent of enterprises said the business situation in the first quarter of 2021 was better than that in the fourth quarter of 2020 while 39 percent of them saw stable business situation. About 31.4 percent of businesses faced difficulties in production and business./.

Public firms key to help Vietnam stock market upgrade to emerging status 

A transparent manner fully complied with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will boost the development of the stock market.

Upgrading Vietnam’s stock market to emerging status not only depends on the efforts of the securities industry or market authorities, but also public firms who are key to realize such goal.

Director of Stock Market Development Department under the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) Ta Thanh Binh shared her view at a conference discussing measures to boost Vietnam’s equity market on March 30.

“Only when local enterprises operate in a transparent manner and fully comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), they would be the core to boost the development of the stock market and eventually leading to market upgrade,” said Binh.

Vietnam is currently listed in the Frontier Market group by two major providers of financial services FTSE Russell and MSCI.

In September 2018, FTSE Russell added Vietnam into its watchlist for possible upgrade to Secondary Emerging Market. However, in the agency’s latest review last September, Vietnam only met seven out of the nine criteria.

In this regard, the country does not meet the “Settlement Cycle (DvP)” criterion which is currently rated as “Restricted”. This is due to the market practice of conducting a pre-trading check to ensure the availability of funds prior to trade execution.

Meanwhile, since by default, the market does not experience failed trades, the “Settlement – Rare incidence of failed trades” criterion is unrated.

Referring to MSCI criteria, Vietnam is required to improve seven out of 17.

Binh, however, noted that as Kuwait was upgraded to the Emerging Market status, Vietnam has seen its weight increase in the Frontier Markets Index and become the most important market in this category.

“Investment funds tracking frontier markets, such as Schroder ISF Frontier Markets Fund, Coeli Frontier Markets Fund, and T.Rowe Price Frontier Markets Fund are increasing their weight of Vietnamese stocks,” Binh informed, adding higher credibility is seen as a favorable factor for Vietnam’s upgrade.

Among key measures to boost the country’s upgrade prospect, Binh pointed out a number of laws  being enforced since January 1, 2021, that ensure a more transparent investment environment, including the revised Securities Law, the Law on Investment and the Law on Enterprises.

The SSC representative stressed the necessity to soon put new amendments of these laws into practice to ensure the healthy development of the stock market, saying this is key to better protect lawful rights of investors.

“The SSC is in the process of submitting to the prime minister strategy for the development of the stock market in the 2021-30 period, which would serve as the basis for its long-term development,” Binh added.

Binh also expected stronger efforts from government agencies in enhancing the freedom on the foreign exchange market, reducing state intervention into enterprises’ operation, and further opening the market for foreign investors.

SSC Chairman Tran Van Dung in a conference last December said the local stock market is in favorable position to get upgraded to emerging status before 2025, a target set by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

HoSE to launch temporary transaction system in next 3-4 months 

The move is seen as a short-term solution to address the issue of surging orders on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) that force the stock exchange to halt market trading.

The HoSE has been working with leading tech firm FPT on a temporary transaction system capable of processing up to five million transaction orders per day, and scheduled to launch in the next three to four months, stated the stock exchange in an announcement.

The new system would adopt transaction software system from the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), seen as a short-term solution to address the issue of surging orders on the HoSE that force the stock exchange to halt market trading, stated the HoSE.

Addressing the issue of some investors still being able to place transaction orders despite system overload, HoSE said every securities firm is allocated with around 3,000 transaction orders since the start of a trading session.

“The fact that they can still make transaction means some securities firms have not used up their transaction orders,” said the HoSE.

Data from the HoSE revealed in the past three months, the average transaction orders from Vietnam’s top 20 securities firms rose by five to six folds, even 13-18 folds in some cases,  causing the system to overload.

Meanwhile, the stock exchange’s decision to raise the minimum trading lot from 10 to 100 shares since January 4 helped improve liquidity by 15-18%.

“However, the overload continues to occur whenever liquidity hit VND15-16 trillion (US$648.2-691.4 million),” it added.

The stock exchange authority also gave permission for public firms to switch their stocks from the HoSE to the HNX until the situation is completely resolved.

However, the move is not applicable for stocks under the VN30 Index, comprised of the 30 largest stocks on the HoSE.

Casino investment to boost Vietnam GDP growth by 2%, says businessperson 

Global uncertainties are forcing financial centers around the world to redefine their activities, as such, Vietnam should grasp this opportunity to build a continental-level finance center to attract investment capital.
Investment from Las Vegas-based casino and resort group Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM) is estimated to boost Vietnam’s GDP growth by 2%.

 President of the Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) Jonathan Hanh Nguyen at the meeting. Photo: Quang Hai 
“A casino project financed by the late Founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson in Singapore helped the country GDP to expand by an additional of 1.8%. So there are major advantages for tourism and economic development.”

President of the Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) Jonathan Hanh Nguyen gave the assessments as saying he is in partnership with some US businesspeople, who are specialized in the fields of finance, casino and financial legal regulations, during a press conference on March 29 announcing the master planning for Danang until 2030, with vision to 2045.

“CEO of GGAM William Weidner is calling for investment funds for casino projects in Asia. In Vietnam, the US corporation is seeking authority’s permission for the investment in a financial center and a resort complex in Danang,” he added.

“We have been planning for a financial center in Vietnam over the past five years. My friends are placing their trust on me and Vietnam,” Hanh Nguyen said.

Hanh Nguyen, William Weidner and Paul Steelman, CEO of Steelman Partners, put forth the idea of a Singaporean-style financial center integrated with a resort complex in Danang.

The three expected the building would have the best quality in the world and totally transform investment and tourism landscapes in Vietnam.

According to Hanh Nguyen, global uncertainties are forcing financial centers around the world to redefine their activities.

In this regard, “Vietnam and Danang in particular should grasp this opportunity to build a continental-level financial center to attract investment capital inflow,” Hanh Nguyen suggested.

Hanh Nguyen expected the upcoming financial center should be the focal point to attract funds from billionaires and multinationals, in turn laying the foundation for further investment activities from smaller investors.

On the same day, Danang People’s Committee signed a financing agreement with the IPPG for the study project of turning the city into an Asian finance hub.

Da Nang restarts 1.5 billion USD resort mega-project

The Da Nang People’s Committee announced on March 30 that a Vingroup mega-project in Lien Chau district worth 35 trillion VND (1.51 billion USD) has been restarted after years of delay.

The Lang Van resort and entertainment project will span nearly 1,000 ha at the foot of Hai Van Pass in the northern reaches of the central coastal city and is expected to further boost local tourism.

An in principle agreement was signed in 2011 between the Da Nang city People’s Committee and developer Vinpearl JSC, a member of conglomerate VinGroup, on the construction of the project, which was then delayed for multiple reasons.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh said the Lang Van complex is situated at a location significant in terms of natural resources, culture, and security and defence.

He urged the developer to pay great attention to these elements to ensure the harmonious and sustainable development of not only Lien Chieu district but also the city as a whole./.

Hanoi: March CPI down 0.21 percent against February

The March CPI in Hanoi fell 0.21 percent month-on-month but rose 1.12 percent year-on-year, according to the municipal Statistics Office.

Seven out of 11 groups of commodities posted price declines in March compared to February, with food and catering services experiencing a fall of 1.54 percent, driven by declines in the price of food (2.24 percent) and fruit and vegetables (8.97 percent). Many types of fruit and vegetables saw a bumper harvest, which provided the market with an abundant supply and eased the pressure on prices.

Others witnessing month-on-month falls included beverages and tobacco (0.41 percent), post and telecommunications (0.22 percent), and culture, entertainment, and tourism (0.11 percent).

Growth was seen in three groups, with the largest rise of 2.36 percent recorded in transport as a result of petrol and oil prices being revised upwards twice during the month, by a total of 6.87 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

Housing, electricity, and construction materials fell 0.35 percent while education services eased 0.01 percent.

The index rose 0.04 percent year-on-year in the first quarter on the back of rising prices in education services (2.72 percent), beverages and tobacco (1.4 percent), housing, electricity, water, fuel, and construction materials (0.8 percent), and home appliances (0.78 percent).

Three groups posted weakening prices, with the largest fall of 5.13 percent seen in transport as people refrained from travelling during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday following a resurgence of COVID-19 in late January.

Gold prices in March were down 3.51 percent month-on-month but up 15.45 percent year-on-year. They grew by an average of 22.33 percent from January to March./.

Germany's Bremen state - Gateway to the EU for Vietnamese firms

The German state of Bremen can serve as an important gateway for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate into the German market and the EU in general, a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on March 31 heard.

According to Tran Phu Lu, Deputy Director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), Germany is Vietnam’s largest European partner, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its export value to the EU.

Trade between the two countries has doubled since 2010 and increased over 10 percent annually to more than 10 billion USD. The figure topped 1.5 billion USD as of February, up 5 percent year-on-year.

Germany now ranks 18th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 361 projects from more than 300 enterprises worth over 2 billion USD, primarily in mechanics, machinery, logistics, chemicals, and renewable energy.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has invested in 35 projects in Germany valued at around 250 million USD, focusing on finance-banking, computers, and restaurants and hotels.

Notably, Germany has poured investments into key projects in HCM City such as Metro Line No 2 and Viet-Duc University.

Hoang Thi Huong, Chief Representative of the Economic Development Agency of the State of Bremen in Vietnam (BremenInvest), highlighted the significant geographical location of Bremen and its cities.

Bremen is a leading industrial hub in Germany and Europe at large, possessing strengths in such sectors as auto and automation, maritime transportation, logistics, aviation, wind power and renewable energy, seafood processing, and startups, she added.

Delegates at the workshop agreed that Bremen holds substantial potential for Vietnamese enterprises.

Experts also reminded enterprises to take into account the high-tech content of products and services, as well as environmental and health issues./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes   



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