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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS APRIL 25

Vietnamese aviation has huge room for expansion

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Vietnam’s aviation market boasts huge potential for expansion. Illustration image

 

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has invested heavily in airport infrastructure development as Vietnam’s aviation market boasts huge potential for expansion, according to an official from the corporation.

Deputy head of ACV’s business and market development board Nguyen Quoc Hung said that more than 25 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD) has been poured into expanding infrastructure over the last five years to better serve the growth being seen in passenger and cargo traffic.

“During 2021-2025, ACV will need around 120 trillion VND to complete infrastructure,” he added.

Vietnam’s air transportation market recorded substantial development during 2012-2019, he said, from infrastructure to aircraft fleets and flight networks, adding that air passenger and cargo traffic surged by an average of 17 and 13 percent, respectively, in the period.

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the sector, however, with passenger numbers falling 41 percent last year against 2019 and air freight 8 percent.

International goods accounted for 80 percent of total air freight, but Vietnamese carriers only account for a market share of 12 percent.

According to Hung, Vietnam’s air transport industry has huge potential to develop thanks to favourable conditions brought about by Government policies and the country’s participation in international organisations such as ASEAN, APEC, and the WTO, and several free trade agreements.

The boom in e-commerce and increasing demand for online shopping have also sparked a surge in freight volumes.

Hung remains upbeat about air transport, as Airport Council International (ACI) forecasts that Vietnam will be one of ten countries with the fastest development in air passenger numbers during 2018-2040.

Nguyen The Duyet, deputy head of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation’s Cargo Planning and Marketing Board, said local air cargo transport is recovering, with freight up 4.2 percent in January and 9.6 percent in February compared to the same period of 2019./.

UK firms eye investing in health care in Vietnam

The UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which will take effect on May 1, is expected to open up opportunities for UK health care companies to navigate the Vietnamese market.

UK Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emily Hamblin said 99 percent of tariff will be waived in the next six years thanks to the deal.

She added that the UK has taken advantage of digital transformation to expand public access to quality health care services in an equitable manner, in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No.3 regarding health and welfare.

In the first stage of digital transformation, Vietnam has many opportunities from making use of creative solutions from the UK, she said.

Chairman and General Director of the AstraZeneca Vietnam Nitin Kapoor spoke highly of the UKVFTA deal for helping millions of Vietnamese patients access advanced and quality medicines.

He highlighted the significance of the agreement when Vietnam and the UK are looking toward a strategic partnership in the next decade and closer cooperation in health care.

Last year, Real Capital London launched the Hong Anh Medical Campus project in Ho Chi Minh City, which is expected to serve as a modern health care system, with a 462-bed hospital, a medical training centre, general clinics, pharmacies, accommodations and a nursing home for the elderly.

The project is divided into four stages, with two final stages scheduled for completion before 2030.

To date, UK investors have poured 3.87 billion USD into over 400 projects in Vietnam, becoming the 15th biggest investor in the country.

According to Hamblin, Vietnam – UK trade grew by 12 percent on average annually in the past decade. Via the UKVFTA, UK service providers are able to better access the Vietnamese market.

Sharing the same view, Executive Chairman of the Grant Thornton Vietnam and a board member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam Kenneth Atkinson noted that the UKVFTA is one of the first deals signed and joined by the UK following its Brexit last year.

He also hoped that less barriers will attract more UK firms to Vietnam, especially in health care./.

HCM City urged to tighten COVID-19 regulations

HCM City needs to tighten regulations to further curb the spread of COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam requested during a working session with the city’s steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control on April 23.

He pointed to the importance of the city as the centre of the southern region and a major transportation hub of the country, hence its key role in pandemic control.

Speaking highly of the southern hub’s efforts in battling COVID-19 over the recent past, Dam, who is head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, ordered relevant agencies to strengthen pandemic prevention measures, especially adherence to the 5K message.

He also called for hefty fine for those who fail to wear masks in public places.

Dam noted that as Vietnam has kept the pandemic under control, many people have shown negligence. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries are seeing complicated developments of COVID-19. He warned that as the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holidays approach, there is a high risk of infection.

Illegal entry has been increasing along the country’s borders and border gates, especially crossings and trails, he underlined.

In regards to vaccine research, the Deputy PM asked the city to create optimal conditions for HCM City-based vaccine manufacturers.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said that authorities have instructed departments and sectors to strengthen efforts in illegal immigrant prevention and called on local people to report violations.

The city detected 108 illegal migrants in the past month, he said, adding that it has also joined hands with border localities in strengthening border control.

Phong suggested that the Government allow the city to purchase vaccine with its own resources and pledged that the city will assist pharmaceutical company Nanogen with its vaccine research.

HCM City has reported a total 246 COVID-19 cases, with 222 recoveries. The city has recorded no domestic infections from February 10./.

Archaeological findings expected to help accelerate restoration of Kinh Thien Palace

Latest archaeological findings at the Kinh Thien Palace in the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi have provided more information on the ancient structure of the palace, making the restoration of the palace more feasible, according to the Thang Long-Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre.

During an excavation recently carried out on an area of nearly 1,000 sq.m in the Kinh Thien Palace’s East - North area, scientists found cultural layers and archaeological artifacts dating back to a period between the 7th - 9th centuries and the 19th-20th centuries during the dynasties of Dai La, Dinh - Tien Le, Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen.

Notably, findings related to the Early Le period shed more light on the spatial structure of Kinh Thien Palace.

Architectural traces and artifacts, and related ancient bibliographies provide the basis for the restoration of the palace’s architecture, experts said.

At a meeting on April 22 in Hanoi to review recent archaeological excavation activities, scientists stressed the need to accelerate the restoration of Kinh Thien Palace.

According to Tran Dinh Thanh, Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Kinh Thien Palace is a symbolic work for the history of Thang Long Imperial Citadel, so the Hanoi authority and the ministry have worked hard to speed up the restoration.

The restoration work is hoped to start in the 2021-2015 period after necessary data and findings are collected, he said./.

Vietcombank to raise charter capital again

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) proposed raising its charter capital to over 50 trillion VND (2.17 billion USD) during its annual shareholders’ meeting on April 23.

Under the plan, Vietcombank will issue more than 1 million shares to pay for last year’s dividends at a rate of 27.6 percent of 2019’s retained earnings. The State-owned bank will also issue additional individual shares, worth a maximum of 6.5 percent of total charter capital at the time of offering, to investors and existing shareholders.

At least 46 million individual shares will be issued to its strategic investor Mizuho Bank, so the Japanese bank will still hold at least 15 percent of shares.

The dividend payouts are expected to be conducted this year while the individual share offering is scheduled for 2021-2022.

Also at the meeting, Vietcombank said it is set to increase total assets by 5 percent, total outstanding loans by 10.5 percent, and consolidated pre-tax profit by 11 percent this year. The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio will be kept at under 1 percent and dividends will be paid at 8 percent.

As of the end of 2020, Vietcombank’s total assets exceeded 1.32 quadrillion VND, up 8.5 percent against 2019, total outstanding loans were valued at over 845 trillion VND, up 14 percent year-on-year, and the NPL ratio remained at 0.62 percent.

Pre-tax profit last year totaled more than 23 trillion VND, equivalent to the 2019 figure and 16.3 percent higher than the annual goal. As of the end of March 2021, pre-tax profit was 8 trillion VND, up 70 percent against the same period last year./.

Effective institutional reforms to help Vietnam GDP growth of 6.76% 

Easing monetary and fiscal policies in combination with institutional reforms are the way for Vietnam to ensure sustainable and rapid economic growth amid global uncertainties.

Breakthroughs in institutional reform along with easing monetary and fiscal policies would help Vietnam’s GDP growth to average 6.76% in the 2021-2023 period, with the growth rate this year of around 6.47%.

In this case, the inflation rate in 2021 is estimated at 3.56%, lower than the government’s target of 4%.

Head of the General Research Department under the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Anh Duong revealed the first out of three growth scenarios set up by the agency in a conference under the Australia supports Vietnam’s economic reform program (Aus4Reform), discussing efforts to boost Vietnam’s economic growth in the post-Covid-19 pandemic on April 22.

“This is the best way for the country to ensure sustainable and rapid economic growth amid global uncertainties,” Duong noted.

In a second scenario when the government only focuses on easing monetary and fiscal policies, the economic growth would be 6.32% in 2021, slightly lower than that of the first scenario, and eventually reach the rate of 6.69% for the 2021-2023 period.

“However, inflation as a result of these policies would mean higher inflation, which is 3.78%,” Duong added.

For the least optimistic scenario with an assumption of minimizing intervention of fiscal and monetary policies, the CIEM forecast Vietnam to achieve a GDP growth of 5.98% for this year and around 6.35% for the next three-year period.

CIEM’s Director Tran Thi Hong Minh said while Vietnam is among the countries that have successfully reopened the economy on the back of effective Covid-19 containment, “it needs a long-term development plan to nurture driving forces for continuing reform.”

“Slow economic recovery could create hurdles for ongoing economic reform efforts. Therefore, a harmonization between policies to aid economic development and institutional reforms is significant for long-term growth,” Minh said.

For this year, the CIEM’s expert suggested the necessity to maintain effective Covid-19 fight, address concern for businesses and people affected by the pandemic, and push for economic reforms.

In 2022, the government should combine economic recovery with institutional reform, and one year later, to gradually withdraw supporting policies for the economy and shift focus on reform.

Giving a more detailed proposal on economic reform, economist Le Dang Doanh told Hanoitimes that digital economy should be the priority for Vietnam in short-term.

“Institutional reform should go hand in hand with promoting digital economy, as e-government could minimize direct contacts and enhance transparency in the process of realizing administrative procedures,” Doanh noted.

“In a rapidly changing world, local enterprises without digital transformation would face difficulties in taking part in value chains of multinationals,” he suggested.

Vietnam credit growth expands by 3.34% by mid-April 

The central bank would continue to monitor the economic performance to adjust monetary policy accordingly, with the aim of keeping the inflation rate around 4% for this year.
Vietnam’s credit growth as of April 16 reached 3.34% against late 2020 and a surge of over 15% compared to the same period of last year.

The figures were revealed during a press conference on the performance of the banking sector in the first quarter held by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) today [April 22].

The growth rate by the end of March was 2.93% compared to late 2020, equivalent to VND9,460 trillion (US$411 billion). “In just  two weeks, the credit growth had expanded by an addition of 0.41 percentage points,” said a SBV’s representative.

As of April 5, credit institutions and banks have restructured debt payment for 262,000 customers with a total outstanding loan of VND357 trillion (US$15.5 billion). Meanwhile, over 660,000 customers with existing loans of VND1,270 trillion (US$55.14 billion) were subject to waiver, freezing and reduction of interest rates.

From January 23 to date, banks have provided new loans worth over VND3,160 trillion (US$137.3 billion) for around 456,000 customers with preferential lending rates lower than the level in the pre-Covid-19 pandemic .

Data from the central bank showed by mid-April, the growth rate of M2, which measures money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 2.9% against the end of 2020 and 15.66% year-on-year.

According to SBV’s representative, the bank would continue to maintain its current policy rates to create rooms for credit institutions to lower interest rates for customers, while foreign exchange policies are kept in line with the actual macro-economic performance and the objective of monetary policy.

In the coming time, the SBV is expected to closely monitor the market situation to ensure inflation rate around 4% in 2021 and aid economic recovery.

A key task for the SBV is to tighten credit into risky fields, including real estate, stock market and BOT/BT transportation projects, along with providing continuing support for enterprises and people severely affected by the pandemic.

Finnish businesses look to cooperate with SP-ITC on seaport development

Vietnam's International Transportation and Trading JSC (ITC), which operates the SP-ITC International Container Terminal in HCMC, and the Finnish Embassy in Vietnam joined a working session on April 21 at the terminal to discuss cooperation between ITC and Finnish firms in the logistics sector, especially in the field of seaport equipment.

Since it was put into operation in September 2016, the SP-ITC International Container Terminal has become a leading gateway for import and export commodities in the southern key economic zone. Especially after the European-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, the volume of goods shipped from Vietnam to the European Union as well as to Finland has risen tremendously, including textile-garment, footwear, furniture items and coffee, said an ITC representative.

Also, the amount of goods imported from Finland into Vietnam has been on the rise, such as wood and wooden products and paper, and the SP-ITC terminal remains one of the top ports in the country among importers and exporters.

According to the Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kari Kahiluoto, Finnish enterprises viewed Vietnam as an ideal entrance to tap the ASEAN market as well as the southern China market, adding that the SP-ITC terminal operating effectively over the past years will prompt Finnish firms to make further investments in Vietnam. The Finnish Ambassador hoped that the EVFTA will continue to promote bilateral trade between Vietnam and the EU, especially Finland.

He also emphasized on cooperation opportunities between Finnish tech firms and manufacturers of seaport operating equipment with ITC. With Finland being known for its technology and SP-ITC’s strategy to constantly deploy advanced technology to improve its operations, the two sides can cooperate in research and development.

In response, an ITC leader said that the company will continue to develop deep water port projects across the country in the upcoming period and the two sides will definitely have plenty of opportunities to cooperate in the technology sector via ITC’s projects.

Located in the Dong Nai River, SP-ITC is the first private international terminal in HCMC and can receive vessels of up to 45.000 DWT.

HCMC’s corporate income tax revenue up in Q1

The resumption of many businesses after the country successfully managed to contain Covid-19 pushed HCMC’s revenue from corporate income tax in the first quarter of 2021 by some 31% or VND6.1 trillion, year-on-year.

The growth has been the highest over the past five years. In the first quarter of 2020, the city saw revenue from corporate income tax rise by a mere 6.05% year-on-year, while the year-on-year increase in corporate income tax collections was 9.6% in 2019 and 7.05% in 2018.

HCMC collected VND81.2 trillion for the State budget between January and March, meeting 31.6% of the target and rising 14.8% year-on-year, according to the HCMC Tax Department.

As for the revenue from corporate income tax, collections from the non-State industry, trade and services sector surged 59.7% or VND5.5 trillion and accounted for 91% of the rise in corporate income tax revenue.

Apart from the rise in corporate income tax collections, the city also saw the revenue from value-added tax in the first quarter of the year grow by 14.5% year-on-year, the local media reported.

Between January and March, the revenue from excise taxes, mainly on beer, wine and automobiles, also improved by 18.9% or VND985 billion, year-on-year.

During the three-month period, the collection from land use fees surged by 86.8% or VND1.3 trillion, year-on-year, according to the HCMC Tax Department.

Workshop looks into opportunities, challenges in digital transformation

A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 23 to discuss opportunities and challenges facing firms amid digital transformation.

It was co-hosted by the Investment and Trade Promotion Center of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC), the Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM), and the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC).

ITPC Deputy Director Nguyen Tuan said digital transformation has become an indispensable trend in socio-economic development, and the Government and localities have issued policies to accelerate the process.

Of note, HCM City has come up with a scheme to turn itself into a smart urban area by 2030.

Dr Nguyen Tuan Hoa, an information technology expert, said creativity and the application of modern technology for economic development will be key factors in breakthroughs made.

He suggested issuing specific policies to encourage enterprises to switch to digital transformation, including using part of pre-tax profits for the effort and adjusting policies relating to accounting, statistics, and archives to adapt to the process.

Ethnic minority candidates equipped with electoral campaign skills

Ethnic minority candidates in the upcoming elections in Vietnam were equipped with campaign skills during a meeting held in Hanoi on April 23 by the National Assembly (NA)’s Council for Ethnic Affairs and the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs.

More than 80 candidates from 16 northern cities and provinces running for seats in the 15th NA and provincial-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 term attended the event.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the NA’s Ethnic Affairs Council Ha Ngoc Chien said that ensuring the ratio of ethnic minority candidates is among the issues the council has paid attention to.

Therefore, ahead of the elections in recent tenures, with the NA Standing Committee’s permission, the Ethnic Affairs Council and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs have organised meetings to provide training on campaign skills for ethnic minority candidates.

He noted that most ethnic minority candidates in the upcoming NA and all-level People’s Council elections are newcomers, and their access to information and campaign skills, especially the building of action plans, voter persuasion skills, and presentation skills, remains limited.

These are considerable barriers to their success in the elections, Chien said, expressing his hope that the meeting will create more opportunities for the candidates to be successful, thus contributing to the success of the elections, which are slated for May 23.

Participants were provided with fundamental knowledge about the Party’s guidelines and policies as well as State laws on ethnic minority affairs, campaigning skills, the tasks and power of people-elected representatives, and media skills.

According to legal regulations on elections, the electoral campaign period will start on the date of the announcement of official lists of candidates and end before 7am on May 22./.

HCM City to hold culture-art activities to mark National Reunification Day

Ho Chi Minh City has planned a series of culture and arts events to celebrate the upcoming National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1).

According to Vo Trong Nam, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports, a photo exhibition on Vietnam’s border areas at Lam Son Park in District 1 will kick off activities on April 26.

On April 28, an exchange with witnesses of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign is scheduled. The campaign liberated the south of Vietnam, paving the way for the country’s independence and reunification after 21 years of separation.

There will also be ceremonies to bestow the Hero of People’s Armed Forces title upon recipients and to announce the Prime Minister’s decisions on recognising Can Gio district as a new-style rural area and Thach An commune as an island commune under the administration of HCM City.

The department’s pop music centre will hold a special concert on the evening of April 29, while the local Police High Command’s brass band will perform on the evening of April 30, both on District 1’s Nguyen Hue walking street.

On April 30, firework displays will take place at 9pm at four venues around town.

A host of activities are also set for May in celebration of President Ho Chi Minh’s 131st birthday on May 19.

Measures sought to promote logistics development in Hai Phong

A conference seeking measures to promote links and partnerships in developing the logistics industry in the northern port city of Hai Phong was held on April 23.

Participants at the meeting, which was jointly organised by the Vietnam Business Forum Magazine of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the municipal People’s Committee, and the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA), focused discussions on how to improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s logistics sector.

They also proposed mechanisms and policies to lure more investment in the sector in Hai Phong city.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Tho highlighted the strategic position and important role of Hai Phong in developing the key economic region in the north.

Hai Phong holds a key position in the “Two corridors - one economic belt” cooperation framework, and has a strategic relationship with major growth poles in East Asia and Southeast Asia, he said.

The city has seen strong economic growth over the last five years, with its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) surging 13.64 percent, or 2.5 times higher than the country’s average.

Its logistics infrastructure as well as port and transport infrastructure have improved remarkably and are modern and synchronous, providing connections between industrial parks and sea ports.

Participants also pointed out the challenges and difficulties facing the city in developing its logistics industry, in particular the poor quality of human resources, the lack of synchronisation in planning port and logistics networks, and the near absence of cooperation between logistics businesses to form a logistics service supply chain.

According to VCCI President Vu Tien Loc, Vietnam in general and Hai Phong in particular is likely to become a logistics service centre and a transit hub of the world and the region.

The chamber is willing to join hands with the business community to help enterprises providing logistics services improve their competitiveness, he said./.

Vietnam-Taiwan textile exhibition to open in HCM City next week

Garment products from Vietnam and Taiwan (China) will be showcased at the Vietnam-Taiwan Textile and Garment Industry Exhibition held in HCM City from April 26-27.

The event, co-organised by the Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF) and the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad) under both direct meeting and online meeting platforms, aims to strengthen cooperation between Vietnamese and Taiwanese enterprises in the textile and garment sector.

There will be 16 Taiwanese textile manufacturers participating in the event via Zoom, exchange experiences with and introducing products to Vietnamese enterprises with interpretation support.

Taiwanese enterprises have constantly researched and improved techniques to produce fabric types using dyeing technique treatments that can save energy, water and reduce the influence on the environment. They have also applied innovative technologies in production to produced fabrics with many outstanding features such as being antibacterial and using environmentally friendly materials from oyster shells and recycled plastic.

In 2020, Taiwan's largest textile and garment export market was Vietnam, with an export turnover of up to 1.9 billion USD and accounting for 25.3 percent of the country’s total export turnover of textiles and garments. The top five export markets, including Vietnam, mainland China, the United States, Indonesia and Hong Kong, account for 60.3 percent of Taiwan’s total apparel exports.

Taiwan's largest and second-largest sources of textile in 2020 were mainland China and Vietnam, accounting for 43 percent and 14 percent of total textile imports and valued at 1.46 billion USD and 467 million USD, respectively. The main import items from mainland China and Vietnam were clothing and accessories.

The Vietnam-Taiwan Textile and Garment Industry Exhibition will be held at Saigonexpo Showroom at No 92-96 Nguyen Hue street, District 1 in HCM City with the participation of nearly 60 Vietnamese enterprises and 16 Taiwanese manufacturers./.

Kien Giang rolls out measures to attract visitors

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has called on local travel companies to actively implement promotional programmes and plans to lure tourists now that COVID-19 has been largely brought under control.

The province’s major orientations are to connect tourism development with the facilitation of the trade and service sectors, thus increasing sales of domestic products.

It will promote itself as a safe, friendly, and attractive destination for sea and island tourism.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Tourism Bui Quoc Thai, Kien Giang will focus on markets where COVID-19 has been controlled when detailing its roadmap for re-opening to foreign tourists.

As Kien Giang and the province’s Phu Quoc Island have remained safe, without any community infections being recorded, the locality has seen a quick recovery in the number of visitors after each COVID-19 outbreak, he said.

In the first quarter of 2021, Kien Giang welcomed nearly 1.2 million visitors, down 32.9 percent year-on-year and representing 16.8 percent of its annual target, with total revenue standing at about 1.56 trillion VND (67.6 million USD).

Kien Giang has attracted 325 tourism projects to date worth nearly 356 trillion VND, covering a total area of 10,120 ha, primarily on Phu Quoc.

President of the Kien Giang Tourism Association Tran Quoc Khanh said that during the upcoming Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday, Kien Giang and Phu Quoc in particular are set to welcome a large number of visitors.

Provincial authorities have asked localities and local travel companies to strictly implement pandemic preventive measures in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health.

Kien Giang is working with relevant agencies on the provision of “closed tourism packages” - in which guests generally stay at one destination with little travelling - for Russian visitors arriving on charter flights.

Thai said the locality will continue to also appeal to Vietnamese holidaymakers as well as foreigners living in the country.

The province aims to welcome 7 million visitors and earn 11.5 trillion VND from tourism this year.

Along with fostering links with northwestern, northern, and Central Highlands localities, Kien Giang will also focus on preparing infrastructure for tourism, while offering promotional programmes to attract more visitors, Thai said./.

Job market shows strong signs of recovery

Vietnam’s job market showed strong signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2021, opening up various opportunities for workers, especially highly-skilled workers.

The labour market has been steadily recovering since early in the year, according to data from Adecco Vietnam, with the number of job openings in March rising 40 percent against January. Growth in job applications was 26 percent.

Sectors seeing an increase in hiring demand in the quarter included Engineering and Manufacturing, Energy, IT, E-commerce, Electronics, Semiconductor Design, Civil Engineering, and Industrial Construction.

The combination of global supply chain shifts and the positive impact of free trade agreements will offer new prospects for Vietnam’s economy into the future, leading to a significant increase in employment opportunities and hiring demand, said Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Adecco Hanoi’s Recruitment Manager.

In HCM City, the labour market in Q1 was livelier than in the same period last year, according to the municipal Centre for Human Resources Forecasting and Labour Market Information (FALMI).

Its figures show that there were over 44,000 job vacancies and nearly 19,500 jobseekers in the southern economic hub during the period, increasing local human resources demand by 13.14 percent year-on-year. The majority of vacancies (70.38 percent) were in the services sector, followed by industry (29.51 percent) and agriculture (0.11 percent).

The centre forecasts that the city will need between 68,600 and 73,500 workers, mostly in the fields of IT, electronics and electricity; mechanics and automation; healthcare and medicine; accounting and auditing; finance, banking and securities; real estate; and tourism, lodging and catering services.

Adecco Hanoi Office Director Nguyen Thu Ha explained three main reasons contributing to the current situation. “The first is the Government’s successful efforts in virus prevention and containment,” she said. “Second, businesses have gradually ramped up their operations and are eager to bounce back after a period of economic stagnation. Third, in terms of psychology, people now are better able to take care their health and cope with coronavirus anxiety.”

FALMI said that demand for trained workers in HCM City made up 85.72 percent of the total, including 22.19 percent for university graduates or higher.

Commenting on the labour market outlook for 2021, Andree Mangels, General Director, Adecco Vietnam believed that the recovery of the economy and the global trends of digitalization will open up opportunities for skilled workers.

A recent survey from The Adecco Group on shifts in workplace expectations in the post-pandemic world indicate that 82 percent of participants appreciate the strict hygiene regulations at work.

Other noticeable expectations among workers are flexibility (80 percent), adequate facilities for remote working (79 percent), investment in technology (77 percent), financial support policies (77 percent), and regular updates on business plans and performance (75 percent)./.

EVFTA offers chance to boost Vietnam - Poland agricultural trade: Experts

Vietnam and Poland hold substantial potential for stepping up trade, especially in agricultural products and food, via the optimisation of incentives contained within the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), experts said at an online workshop held in HCM City on April 22.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Poland Nguyen Hung told the workshop that trade between the two countries has seen continuous growth over the years, even in 2020, despite COVID-19, it still hit 15.5 percent.

Vietnam considers Poland among its top economic partners in Eastern Europe, while the latter thinks of the former as its strategic partner in Southeast Asia.

Both boast advantages in agriculture, and their products complement rather than compete against each other, the diplomat noted.

While Poland produces and exports a large quantity of meat and milk products, Vietnam’s export strengths are in coffee, cashew nuts, and peppercorn. Notably, after the EVFTA came into force, these products enjoy many preferential tariffs, creating even more favourable conditions for trade exchange.

Piotr Harasimowicz, Chief Representative Officer of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in HCM City, said that following the pact’s entry into force, Polish importers have increased their purchases of products from Vietnam to secure quality supply sources at more competitive prices.

In addition to trade, Polish investors are also interested in telecom, finance, and transport projects in Vietnam, he added.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Poland, told the workshop that tariff reductions under the EVFTA help boost the competitiveness of Vietnamese farm produce such as rice, coffee, cashew nuts, and shrimp.

He underscored the export of fruit and juices to Poland as a promising endeavour for Vietnam, as these products have recently posted good sales in the country.

When cooperating with their Polish peers, Vietnamese firms can make use of partnerships for technological transfer, particularly in food processing, which is a strength of Poland.

Hoang Xuan Binh, head of the Vietnamese entrepreneurs’ association in Poland, said more than 30,000 Vietnamese live and work in the country.

He advised Vietnamese firms to study the Polish market via cooperating with companies or shopping malls run by Vietnamese expatriates in the country.

E-commerce is also a good tool for quickly approaching diverse sources of customers, he recommended./.

Official urges optimisation of FTA to boost Vietnam-Russia agricultural trade

The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture held the second meeting of the countries’ agricultural working group and an agricultural business forum via videoconference on April 22.

MARD Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien called on both sides to push ahead with further opening their countries’ markets to each other’s agricultural products and work towards mutual recognition so as to reduce barriers and the time needed to license fisheries and animal farming businesses.

This is the foundation for Vietnamese and Russian enterprises to continue promoting trade and fully optimise preferential treatment under the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), he said.

The official noted that the countries’ agricultural cooperation is focusing on trade.

Bilateral trade averaged 4.5 billion USD annually between 2018 and 2020, about 18 – 20 percent of which, equivalent to 900 million USD, came from the trading of farm produce – a relatively modest figure compared to the countries’ economic potential and comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam mainly exports coffee, aquatic products, vegetables, and fruit to Russia while mostly importing wheat, aquatic products, wood, rubber, and recently pork from the latter.

Tien held that as agricultural products of Vietnam and Russia do not directly compete with but are complementary to each other, the two sides should capitalise on their own advantages and strong products to achieve the trade target of 10 billion USD in the near future.

With 139 projects worth 943.77 million USD, Russia ranked 25th among the 144 countries and territories investing in Vietnam as of December 2020. Meanwhile, Vietnam had 25 investment projects worth nearly 3 billion USD in Russia.

He asked Russia to work closely with Vietnam to foster partnerships in agricultural investment, as well as in the application of new and advanced technology to agricultural and aquatic processing so as to reduce production cost and enhance competitiveness.

The two sides should also coordinate to organise both online and offline events to promote trade and deal with technical obstacles, the deputy minister added.

Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergey Levin said despite numerous difficulties caused by the pandemic’s impacts, the countries have maintained frequent meetings on trade and investment.

He also affirmed the potential and prospect of agricultural cooperation and trade, noting that his country wishes to develop bilateral ties.

Russia will send a representative to its embassy in Vietnam to strengthen trade links in the time to come, he added.

At the event, the Miratorg group of Russia and the Huong Viet company of Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding under which the former will supply meat and wheat products for Vietnam, and the latter aquatic, coffee, cashew, and dried fruit products for Russia./.

Hoa Phat earmarks $3.67 bln for Hoa Phat Dung Quat 2 iron, steel project

Vietnamese steel producer Hoa Phat Group will invest around 85 trillion VND (over 3.67 billion USD) in the construction of its Hoa Phat Dung Quat 2 iron and steel factory project, heard at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on April 22.

The project is expected to be built in three years and become operational in 2024.

It will cover an area of more than 283.7 hectares in the communes of Binh Dong and Binh Thuan, Binh Son district, the south-central province of Quang Ngai. It has a designed annual capacity of 5.6 million tonnes, including 4.6 million tonnes of hot-rolled coil (HRC) and 1 million tonnes of steel bars and steel wire.

Currently, the domestic market demand for HRC – the material for production of many products such as steel pipes, galvanised steel sheets, automobile spare parts, and household appliances, is about 12 million tonnes per year, 60 percent of which is imported.

Last year, Hoa Phat supplied nearly 700,000 tonnes of HRC. In 2021, the firm expects 2.7 million in HRC output, along with more than 5 million tonnes of steel billets and construction steel.

Hoa Phat currently earns from 120 trillion – 140 trillion VND per year in revenue. With Hoa Phat Dung Quat 2 put into use, the annual revenue is likely to exceed 200 trillion VND, according to Chairman Tran Dinh Long.

Long said the corporation gained 31 trillion VND in revenue and 7 trillion VND in after-tax profit in the first quarter of 2021. The performance will be even better in the second quarter of the year, he said.

This year, Hoa Phat sets to generate 120 trillion VND in consolidated revenue and 18 trillion VND in post-tax profit, up 33.15 percent and 33.27 percent, respectively, against the previous year./.

Finnish firms eye investment in Dong Nai

Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Kari Kahiluoto said investors from Finland want to invest in highways, thermal-power, energy, and waste treatment projects in the southern province of Dong Nai at a working session with the local authorities on April 22.

At the meeting, Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hoang said Dong Nai is among top localities in Vietnam in terms of industrial development.

The province is home to 32 industrial parks, which house 1,533 projects funded by investors from 45 countries and territories worldwide. Finland has contributed three worth 3.5 million USD to the total number of foreign-invested projects.

The Finnish diplomat highly valued Dong Nai’s potential, particularly concerning its industry and technical infrastructure, and Long Thanh international airport project.

Finland is willing to offer capital to assist join work to implement projects of common interest, he affirmed./.

Belgian enterprises eye business expansion in Vietnam

Belgian enterprises expressed their interest in Vietnam’s economic prospects and business cooperation opportunities in the Southeast Asian country at a talk held in Brussels on April 22.

At the event, which was jointly held by the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg, the Vietnamese delegation to the EU, the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), and the Belgian – Vietnamese Alliance (BVA), the firms highlighted advantages and challenges brought about by the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and several trade deals that Vietnam has clinched.

Besides, they talked about Vietnam’s efforts to better its business climate, incentives for Belgian firms who land investment in Vietnam, as well as Vietnam’s entry procedures for Belgian experts and businesspeople during COVID-19.

Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Anh Quang updated the participants on the outcomes of the 13th National Party Congress, implementation of the EVFTA, and the Vietnam – Belgium trade ties.

He called on the Belgian businesses to help push for the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in their country, helping better serve benefits of companies of both nations.

According to Duong Minh Tri, a representative from the BVA, there is an increasing number of Belgian firms wishing to invest in Vietnam, particularly after the EVFTA came into force.

Charles Vanderstraeten from DSV Solutions, which has already set up a branch in Vietnam, told Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent that the trade pact facilitates Belgian firms’ operation in Vietnam, adding his business will have more opportunities to develop in this Southeast Asian nation.

Meanwhile, Eric Franssen, trade and development director at John Cockerill, said that his firm is carrying out several energy and environment projects in Vietnam, and the company has had more chances to develop its business thanks to the EVFTA.

Belgium currently registers 1.1 billion USD in 78 projects in Vietnam, becoming the 23rd largest investor among 131 countries and territories landing investment in the nation. Most of the investments are in sea port, infrastructure, logistics, real estate, sewage treatment, processing and manufacturing, power generation and distribution, among others./.

UNDP announces study on corporate awareness, responsible business practice in Vietnam

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Sweden in Vietnam announced key findings of the Study on Corporate Awareness and Implementation of Responsible Business Practice in Vietnam in 2020 at an event in Hanoi on April 22.

The study found that the level of awareness of business enterprises on responsible business practice (RBP) remains low, especially among domestic small private businesses, with less than half of the small domestic enterprises fully understanding of RBP whereas 81 percent of the State-owned enterprises (SOE) understanding the concept and its implications fully.

The study also shows that 84-90 percent of respondents comply fully with existing regulations dealing with labor issues (e.g. insurance; bonus and benefits schemes; safety and hygiene). The corresponding percentage for environmental protection was 50-73 percent. Less than 68 percent of respondents fully adhere to regulations on business governance such as transparent bidding and purchasing, and consumer protection.

The Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam, Ann Mawe, said UNDP in Vietnam, in partnership with the Government of Sweden, has been driving forward responsible business practices since 2019 as part of the regional programme “Promoting Responsible Business Practices through Regional Partnerships in Asia”.

The study focuses on labour, environmental, and governance issues, with the data being collected through focus group discussions, key informant interviews and a survey with 279 respondents. 

In the years ahead, the study aims to assist Vietnam in building a national plan of actions on RBP by 2022, which will help the country achieve sustainable development goals and bring its legal framework on a par with international standards.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Sitara Syed said despite Vietnam’s rapid, yet relatively inclusive economic growth, and an influx of investment that have brought opportunities, many problems remain. She highly appreciated the Ministry of Justice for leading the design and adoption of Vietnam’s first National Action Plan on Responsible Business Practices by 2022. /.

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

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