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Enterprises supported in exporting rice to EU


The Prime Minister has just assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to evaluate and support businesses in promoting rice exports to the European Union (EU), as well as in taking advantage of preferences from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Previously, Vietnam's rice exports to the EU were only one sixth of Thailand’s, one tenth of Myanmar’s, and one quarter of Cambodia’s. The total annual demand for rice in the EU is 2.3 million tonnes and the value in 2019 was estimated at EUR1.4 billion.

The PM has also assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to study, evaluate and adopt solutions to promote the development of supporting industries, especially auto components and spare parts.

According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, cars made in Thailand and Indonesia only use about 10% imported components, but cars assembled in Vietnam must import more than 80% of the components. The cost of importing expensive components made the cost of domestic production and assembly of cars 10-20% higher than completely built (CBU) cars imported from ASEAN.

Bright prospects ahead for businesses in Africa

There remains plenty of room for local firms to fully tap into the various Francophone markets throughout Africa due to the large market potential of the 32 countries, coupled with the time-honoured friendship that exists between Vietnam and French-speaking countries in Africa, according to insiders.

The bright prospects were unveiled during a recent seminar hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which saw the participation of 100 business representatives and an additional 200 enterprises, including corporations and companies in French-speaking countries in Africa via an online platform.

Addressing the event, Le Hoang Oanh, director general of the Asia-Africa Market Department, emphasised that through traditional friendship and growing diplomatic ties, trade co-operation between Vietnam and French-speaking countries in Africa can develop into a bright spot for bilateral relations.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and 32 French-speaking countries throughout Africa during the 2015 to 2019 period increased from US$2.7 billion in 2015 to US$4.5 billion last year, making up 88% of the total trade turnover with Africa.

Rice is a major Vietnamese staple shipped to these markets. The export value of rice has risen steadily in recent years, reaching US$589.4 million last year and making up 14.9% of the market share of rice imports of Francophone countries in Africa.

French-speaking countries in Africa represent an important provider of input materials for local manufacturing industries, such as raw cashew, cotton, copper, and wooden products, with import turnover of these goods accounting for roughly 80% to 90% of total Vietnamese import value from French-speaking countries in Africa.

During the seminar, representatives of African organisations and businesses highlighted the country’s role in Southeast Asia, and expressed their desires to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties between both sides.

Many chose to use the platform to laud the great efforts made by the Vietnamese Government in containing the COVID-19 epidemic, maintaining social welfare and restoring the economy in the post-epidemic period. Participants noted the close attention made to market access, product needs, payment methods, and risk avoidance experiences during the course of business co-operation between the two sides.

Luu Thi Hai Ha, director of Ha Dung Handicraft and Trading Company Ltd, pointed out that despite numerous difficulties caused by COVID-19, local businesses should strive to seek fresh opportunities in potential markets such as French-speaking countries in Africa in an attempt to swiftly restore business operations.

Chékou Oussouman, chief representative of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) Asia-Pacific Regional Office in Hanoi, said Vietnam is considered a gateway to access Southeast Asia for African businesses, while countries from the continent can also serve as attractive destinations for Asian businesses, including those from Vietnam.

He explained that there are similarities between Vietnam and Africa which both possess a young population, natural resources, a diverse range of cultures, and complementary economies. Indeed, there exists a wealth of opportunities to step up economic and trade co-operation between with Francophone countries in Africa.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung affirmed that Vietnam has always placed great importance on developing co-operation ties with the Francophone community and will continue to contribute to building a more united and ultimately stronger Francophone community.

Deputy Minister Hung stated that Vietnam has recorded a number of impressive socio-economic development achievements, with GDP last year reaching over US$262 billion, an increase of 7.02% compared to 2018.

Simultaneously, Vietnam has gradually become a major production hub throughout the region and the wider world, serving as an important bridge for global value and supply chains.

Deputy Minister Hung therefore attributed these achievements to the Government's integration strategy after signing and enforcing 13 free trade agreements (FTAs), while three additional FTAs ​​are in the process of being negotiated and are set to be signed shortly.

Most notably, some new-generation FTAs ​​such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) have created greater opportunities for market expansion and FDI investment.

With a large-scale market and positive growth recorded in recent years, Africa can be viewed as one of the world’s new hubs of economic development, opening up bright prospects for trade and investment co-operation for Vietnamese enterprises, the Deputy Minister added.

As the most dynamically-emerging nation in Southeast Asia with connections to a wide range of markets through FTAs, Vietnam has become an important partner for many African states in the Asia-Pacific region.

As such, it is ready to act as a bridge between French speaking countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region in realizing the Francophone Economic Development Strategy.

Hung stressed that Vietnam has pledged to create the optimal conditions for businesses from French-speaking countries in Africa, while also expressing his hope that the International Organization of La Francophonie will continue to support it to strengthen connectivity in economics, trade, and investment with member countries in Africa.

Vietnam, Canada explore joint investment opportunities

The Vietnamese Embassy in Canada recently held a teleconference on November 10 to discuss investment opportunities and the export of wood furniture products to the Canadian market.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Cao Phong noted three main factors that serve to make Vietnam an attractive investment destination, including a strategic location in Southeast Asia, radical institutional reforms, and a promising consumer market that is home to over 96 million consumers.

Despite the global economic downturn caused by the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the first half of this year, two-way trade between the two countries has maintained positive growth of 0.1%.

According to the diplomat, Vietnam has continuously strived to integrate into the global economy in recent years through the signing of a series of free trade agreements (FTAs) in the Asia-Pacific region.

At present, the country is acting as a bridge for Canadian goods and services to reach the 660 million consumers based in ASEAN, as well as other important markets throughout the region, said Ambassador Phong.

Meanwhile, Canada can serve as a gateway for Vietnamese products to enter other markets throughout both North and South America.

Indeed, through tax incentives under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Vietnamese wood furniture is expected to enjoy a 0% import tax in the Canadian market, while similar products from other countries in Asia are subject to tax rates of between 6 % and 9%.

Ambassador Phong added that the COVID-19 pandemic will contribute to accelerating effective economic transformation, creating greater opportunities for bilateral and global economic and trade co-operation towards achieving the common goal of sustainable growth and prosperity for the two countries.

According to Canadian entrepreneurs, the Vietnamese market represents a promising destination for Canada to utilse in order to diversify its supply chains.

Walter Blocker, who has more than 25 years’ experience conducting business in the Vietnamese furniture market, affirmed Vietnam is a prominent market in ASEAN due to its political stability and the sense of responsibility displayed by Vietnamese workers.

Currently, the country also represents the fourth largest furniture supplier to Canada and the North American nation’s fifth largest trading partner in Asia.

Tourist boat service in Can Tho struggles with post-pandemic difficulties

The tourist boat service on Cai Rang Floating Market in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho has failed to attract passengers following Covid-19.

Cai Rang Floating Market, which is a popular destination for tourists, has helped to generate jobs for many people. However, since Covid-19 happened, more than 100 boat operators at the market have been severely hit.Nguyen Thi Man, who has been working as a boat operator at Ninh Kieu Wharf, said that she had never witnessed such a sluggish period. The work not only helps improve her family’s finances but also gives her the opportunity to learn more about other people's lives. 

Since the second Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam by late July, she has been almost unable to find customers. She only has some customers only at the weekends. If the situation is not better, Man and other boat owners would turn to other kinds of jobs.

Pham Quy Xuan who owns two boats said that since late July, his boats currently do 2-3 trips a day at the weekend. Each trip can transport 10-15 people. Xuan added that at present she and her husband were taking care of the entire boat-related work to save costs. They have still had to repay the loan for buying the two boats.

According to the operator of 20 Tuan-branded tourist boats, her family has suffered losses of VND20 million (USD869.56) per month since the Covid-19 outbreak.

A boat owner complained that it was common to see tourists to be hustled at Ninh Kieu Wharf, affecting the image of Can Tho tourism. He suggested the use of uniforms for boats and the arrangement of staff to regulate boats to leave and come into the wharf. This is aimed to protect tourists from being pestered.

Many boat owners said that they have not yet received assistance from the government’s aid package of VND62 trillion (USD2.6 billion).

Digitalisation in the tourism industry

Recently, some tourist attractions in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi such as the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the One Pillar Pagoda, Voi Phuc (Kneeling Elephant) Temple, Quan Thanh Temple, and the Flag Tower have been equipped with a QR-Code to help tourists look up information and advertise as well as introduce an overview of historical relics and landscapes.

According to the plan, by the end of 2020, the district will complete and implement QR-Codes at 25 historic sites and landscapes in the area. When using a smartphone with wifi or a 3G / 4G connection to scan the QR-Code, the destination’s informational content will be displayed on the phone via a link with the website of the district portal, helping provide information about monuments and destinations to visitors without the presence of a guide.

Previously, in mid-October, the Department of Tourism of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province also implemented QR-Codes at 48 tourist destinations, relics and museums in the area. At the same time, the QR-Code application used by Ho Chi Minh City has been mounted on the nameplates of some central routes, allowing residents and visitors look up historical characters or events associated with the streets themselves s.

The application of QR-Codes at some monuments is considered to be the kind of creativity needed in the promotion of the destination, bringing practical effects to visitors. Instead of needing to go in groups and contacting a guide in advance when visiting the destination as before, the QR-Code application allows visitors to receive information automatically, or to be informed in the most complete and convenient way ,ensuring the accuracy of cultural, historical, and architectural information. The integration of the QR-Codes related to artifacts and tourist attractions will help visitors learn and refer to more information than traditional methods of transmission. At the same time, it is especially useful in overcoming the issue of the many foreign guides who misrepresent Vietnamese culture, history and its territory and people.

Currently, many domestic attractions have applied digital technology to support automatic interpretation through QR-Codes, such as Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), the National History Museum, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi; the Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City; the Hue Imperial Citadel, King Tu Duc's tomb, King Khai Dinh's tomb and the Thien Mu pagoda in Hue imperial relic site; the Lam Kinh special national relic in Thanh Hoa province. Ho Chi Minh City has also deployed a QR-Code application with a system of 25 museums, receiving very good reviews from experienced visitors.

However, in order to really promote the efficiency of QR-Code application, the key is still to digitize information related to monuments, museums and destinations at a website address that is automatically connected to the phone after scanning the QR-Code. Instead of just providing a simple and boring informational piece on relics on the website, information pages (posted on the portal of the locality, the tourism industry) introducing tourist attractions automatically connected with QR-Codes should be designed vividly, with a rich level of information, images and video clips introducing historical sites and landscapes. According to the leaders of the Hanoi Tourism Department and the People's Committee of Ba Dinh District, services such as hotel reservations, food services, entertainment and travel in the area will also be tagged with QR-Codes to create an "electronic travel handbook" for visitors.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made tourists tend to visit destinations in smaller groups, so the need to scan QR-Codes to find out about relics and destinations is increasing. The tourism industry needs to take advantage of this opportunity and invest in the best amenities for visitors, by quickly digitizing all travel data and developing the extensive application of digital technology. This is also an activity that will contribute significantly to the development of smart tourism.

Thua Thien-Hue to have US$6-billion LNG-fired plant

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, whose capacity is 4,000 megawatts and total investment capital is US$6 billion, is set to be built in the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien-Hue Province, in the first quarter of 2021.

The provincial government on November 7 met with the Chan May LNG Joint Stock Company, the project’s investor, and other business partners, according to a statement on the Thua Thien-Hue government's portal.

This is a private-sector power project, which will not tap the State budget. The U.S. side owns a 60% stake and the Vietnam side holds a 40% stake in the project.

In the first phase, the investor will build three power generators with a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts and put them into operation in the 2024-2026 period.

Two more generators whose total capacity is 1,600 megawatts will be developed in the second phase. They are scheduled for commercial operation in the 2026-2028 period.

Once completed, the project is expected to generate an average output of 24-25 billion kilowatt hours annually.

Tran Si Chuong, board chairman of Chan May LNG company, said the firm has mobilized sufficient resources including capital and technology to serve the construction of the plant. The investor hopes to receive support from local authorities and business partners to soon begin work on the project, he added.

Phan Ngoc Tho, chairman of the provincial government, said that the central province pays great attention to the environment, so eco-friendly projects in the locality would receive priority.

Tho also highly evaluated the feasibility of the project and its business partners as they are financially sound and experienced in developing LNG projects.

Aside from this project, chairman Tho expected more foreign partners would study and invest in the province’s potential fields, such as sea ports and logistics, in the coming period.

HCMC to issue bonds of VND2 trillion this year

The HCMC People’s Council on November 10 approved the city government’s proposal to issue municipal bonds worth VND2 trillion (US$85.9 million) to raise capital for key projects in the city.

HCMC Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem said the city’s spending on development projects this year was estimated at over VND36.1 trillion. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the city’s budget revenue may reach only 85% of the target, the local media reported.

Therefore, the bond issuance is necessary to contribute to eliminating difficulties in production and business, boosting the disbursement of public investment and ensuring social order, Liem added.

The bonds will be issued at a face value of VND100,000 each, with 15-year issue worth VND500 billion, 20-year bonds worth VND500 billion and 30-year bonds of VND1,000 billion.

As for the planned interest rates, bonds with a tenor of 15, 20 and 30 years will have an annual interest rate of 3.47%, 3.82% and 4.05%, respectively. The principal and interest payment sources will come from the city’s budget.

Liem said HCMC had earlier issued bonds in the 2003-2007 and 2012-2018 periods and have gained the confidence of investors.

In the two latest issuances in 2017-2018, municipal bonds were attractive to not only commercial banks but also insurance companies, which preferred bonds with tenors of 20 and 30 years.

Pham Thi Hong Ha, director of the city's Department of Finance, said the municipal government would ask the Ministry of Finance for its approval over the bond issuance. If approved, the bonds will be issued at the end of December.

Over 2,900 backlog containers remain in Cat Lai port

According to Saigon Port Area 1 Customs Branch, there have been still 2,934 backlog containers of cargo and 303 packages in stock at Cat Lai port.  

Of these, the specialized agencies have checked and classified 1,632 containers, including 1,473 scrap containers and 159 other containers). Currently, the agencies are conducting inventory procedures for 274 containers.

79 backlog containers in 2019 and from the beginning of 2020 up to now were handled via selling worth more than VND4.9 billion (US$212,000). 41 containers and 339 packages were destroyed and 37 sub-standard scrap containers were re-exported.

In order to handle the above backlogged goods, the Saigon Port Area 1 Customs Branch has coordinated with Saigon Newport Corporation to make detailed statistics and notify relevant organizations and individuals, as well as posting information to find the container’s owners. The number of goods stored in containers consisted diverse types including consumer goods, scrap, etc.

Canadian businesses introduced to cooperation opportunities in Vietnam

The Embassy of Vietnam in Canada on November 10 arranged a webinar on Vietnam and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), particularly chances for investment and export of home décor products.

The event, bringing together more than 100 firms of the two countries, provided the participants with updates on Vietnam’s business climate and chances for Canada’s timber firms, and helped businesses of the two countries connect and study markets.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Cao Phong underlined main factors that turn Vietnam into an attractive destination, including its strategic location in the centre of Southeast Asia and efforts in strengthening legal framework and institutions.

It is also a promising consumption market with a population of more than 96 million, with half of them under 35, he added.

The Vietnamese diplomat said it is a challenging time yet a major opportunity to bolster cooperation and bilateral economic-trade development, towards a common target of sustainable growth and prosperity for the two countries, in the spirit of the comprehensive partnership set up three years ago.

Vietnam may become a bridge for Canadian goods and services to access 660 million consumers in ASEAN as well as other important markets in the region.

At the same time, Canada can serve as a gateway for Vietnamese products to penetrate other markets in America.

Under the CPTPP, Vietnam’s home décor products enjoy zero percent tariffs when entering Canada, while tariffs of 6-9 percent are imposed on products of other Asian countries.

Vietnam-Canada trade recorded a slight growth of 0.1 percent in the first half of this year while global trade plummeted.

In 2019, Vietnam, the fifth largest trade partner of Canada in Asia, imported timber worth about 25 million USD from Canada. It was also the fourth leading interior supplier of the North American country./.

Trading value on HNX up 16.5 percent in October

Trading value on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) totalled 857 billion VND (36.8 million USD) per trading session in October, up 16.5 percent against last month.

This was equivalent to a trading volume of 61.4 million shares during each session on the HNX in October, up 5.6 percent month-on-month.

In October, there were two newly-established enterprises and two delisted. Nine companies registered to add 1 billion additional shares. The HNX now has 353 listed companies with total charter capital of 144 trillion VND.

The HNX-Index often fell sharply in most of the last sessions. At the close of the last trading session of October, the HNX Index reached 135.34 points, an increase of 1.81 percent compared to the end of the previous month. Market capitalisation reached more than 240.6 trillion VND, an increase of 1.6 percent.

Total trading volume of the whole exchange in October reached 1.35 billion shares, worth more than 18.8 trillion VND.

Total trading value of the HNX-30 group reached more than 14.8 trillion VND in October, up 38.3 percent against last month and accounted for 78.7 percent of trading value of the whole northern exchange.

The HNX-30 tracks the Hanoi Stock Exchange's 30 leading shares in terms of market capitalisation and liquidity.

Foreign investors' trading volume reached 75.5 million shares, worth more than 1.54 trillion VND. Of the estimates, the buying value was over 1.39 trillion VND, the selling value was over 1.37 trillion VND. In October, foreign investors net sold more than 18 billion VND./.

Malaysia highly values role of RCEP

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be a testament to the world on ASEAN and its trading partners’ efforts in strengthening the multilateral trading system, a Malaysian minister has said.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali told the Malaysian news agency Bernama that he and his counterparts from RCEP countries (10 ASEAN members and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand) had a virtual meeting on November 11.

After an eight-year journey, the countries finally completed their negotiations, paving the way for the signing of the agreement on November 15, he said.

The official noted Malaysia is ready for the signing, having received the mandate from the Cabinet for the implementation of the trade deal, adding that its Government has carried out engagements on the RCEP with domestic stakeholders, state governments, and the Cabinet.

Commenting on RCEP, Minister Azmin said the agreement will enhance regional economic integration with a vast array of multiplier effects. Malaysia is also confident that RCEP can be used as one of the economic recovery tools against COVID-19.

The implementation of this deal will help ensure the opening of markets as well as an uninterrupted supply chain. Besides, RCEP will be able to attract even greater investments that will benefit the region as a whole, according to him.

The minister went on to say that the agreement will also demonstrate to the world that ASEAN together with its FTA partners say “no” to protectionism, and “yes” to free trade. It will further demonstrate ASEAN’s centrality in shaping the global trade agenda, he added./.

Japanese real estate giant invests in Ecopark

Japan’s Nomura Real Estate Development Company Limited has agreed to participate in a condominium housing project within the Ecopark project, a large-scale development undertaken by Ecopark Corporation Joint Stock Company in the northern province of Hung Yen.

Ecopark Corporation is a local developer that has been engaging in the ongoing Ecopark project for over a decade and boasts one of the highest levels of brand power in the area. The Ecopark project covers approximately 500 hectares, making it one of the largest township developments in Vietnam, and features residential, office, retail, school, park, and other urban functions combined with abundant natural spaces spanning over 100 hectares of greenery and waterfront.

The project is located in phase 2 of the Ecopark urban area, with a scale of up to 3,000 apartments. It is expected to be completed and handed over in 2024-25.

In Vietnam, Nomura joined the Phu My Hung project in 2015, and has since been engaging in condominium housing and office building projects in HCM City. This will be Nomura’s first project in the capital city.

Centred on a partnership between the two companies, Nomura will contribute to further enhancing the Ecopark project’s added value while engaging in the project from the planning and design stages by utilising the housing business insight cultivated in Japan, as well as its track record and expertise in Vietnam.

The Nomura Real Estate Group has positioned its overseas business as a growth field in its new mid- to long-term business plan (effective until March 2028), and it plans to invest approximately 300 billion yen in overseas projects by March 2028. Furthermore, by the end of that term, with the aim of increasing its profit ratio to 15-20 per cent overall, Nomura will continue to actively expand its overseas business by developing projects in new countries and growing its business in markets that it has already entered, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and China.

This is not the first time that Ecopark Group has chosen to co-operate with Japanese enterprises investing in urban areas. Waseda Academy of Medicine Japan also selected Ecopark as the site of the Tokyo Health Science University Vietnam.

Located at the southeast gateway of Hanoi, Ecopark is one of the first successful ecological megacities in the country. Ecopark has a full range of real estate products, from modern high-end apartments, to commercial town houses and upscale villas.

The developer plans to launch the Solforest project, developed under the vertical forest model, on the market. Solforest is a 41-storey green tower over 150 metres high, with more than 400 tropical gardens. When completed, Solforest will be one of the tallest green towers in the world./.

Binh Duong overfulfills yearly FDI attraction goal

The southern province of Binh Duong attracted about 1.7 billion USD of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first 10 months of this year, exceeding the goal set for the whole year by 19 percent.

Acccording Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Hoang Thao, the locality is still working hard to remove difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, towards completing its socio-economic target in 2020.

Binh Duong’s industrial production index (IPI) is expected to increase 8.5 percent, and its total retail sales of goods and service to surge 15 percent in 2020.

Meanwhile, the added value of the service sector is forecast to increase 7.3 percent, and the export and import turnovers to increase by 5 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.

The locality’s GDP growth is estimated at 6.78 percent and its per capita GRDP and the State budget revenue to reach 151.5 million VND (about 6,542 USD) and over 59.6 trillion VND in 2020.

The local authorities have paid special attention to improving the investment environment and changing investment attraction methods in order to make the most of the current wave of capital and technology shifting in the region and the world, towards creating a premise for the locality’s economic breakthrough in 2021.

The development of transport, logistics, and industrial park infrastructure has been also promoted, aiming to meeting the demand of investors./.

HCM City proposes collecting infrastructure fees at seaports

The HCM City Department of Transport has submitted a detailed plan to the municipal People's Committee on collection of infrastructure fees at seaports.

The plan aims to raise revenue for the city’s transport infrastructure development around seaports.

The city’s port system plays a key role in connecting maritime transport of the southeastern and Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta regions.

The city has four major port areas, including Cát Lái, Nhà Bè, Hiệp Phước and Sài Gòn River ports.

Last year, the total output of goods through the city’s seaports was 170 million tonnes, and is forecast to increase to nearly 237 million tonnes by 2030.

The large volume of goods transported through ports is putting huge pressure on existing transport infrastructure. The road network around the seaports has not developed commensurately, resulting in congestion.

The seaport infrastructure fee only accounts for about four per cent of the total cost of a cargo container, according to the department.

Under the plan, fees for goods temporarily imported for re-export, goods deposited in bonded warehouses, transit and transshipment goods, and imported and exported goods declared outside the city would be VNĐ2.2 million (US$95.4) per 20ft container, VNĐ4.4 million ($190.8) per 40ft container, and VNĐ50,000 ($2.2) per tonne for liquid and bulk cargo.

For imported and exported goods declared in the city, the fee would be around VNĐ250,000 ($10.8) per 20ft container and VNĐ500,000 ($21.7) per 40ft container. Fees for liquid and bulk cargo would be VNĐ16,000 ($0.7) per tonne.

Goods serving security and national defense, social security, and goods for overcoming the consequences of natural disasters and disease would be free of charge.

About VNĐ3.2 trillion ($138.8 million) of infrastructure fees at seaports is expected to be collected a year and the revenue could increase in the following years based on the volume of goods.

The plan, expected to be approved in December, will be expanded to all seaports from June next year after a month-long pilot programme at Cát Lái Port.

Switching listing helps banks boost stock value

Local banks are rushing to switch their listings from the UPCOM or the HNX to the major trading bourse HOSE, which will help increase their stock value, transparency and liquidity.

According to experts from BIDV Securities Co (BSC), switching listing to HOSE helped banks raise capital more easily through the market since listing there would attract more attention from investors, especially professional investors.

Nearly 977 million shares of LienVietPostBank (LPB) were officially listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) early this week. LienVietPostBank is the first bank to change listing this year and has become the 11th bank listed on HOSE.

Some 925 million shares of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) were also officially listed on HOSE on Tuesday, becoming the 12th bank on HOSE.

“It is an important step for VIB to list shares on HOSE and this is also the basis to keep up the dynamic, high-speed and sustainable growth that has been established over the years. The listing will bring optimal value to customers, shareholders, investors and employees, and promote the prosperous development of Viet Nam's financial market,” said Han Ngoc Vu, CEO of VIB.

Pham Doan Son, LPB's Standing Vice Chairman and General Director, said that the listing on HOSE helped improve the transparency and liquidity of LPB shares.

“LienVietPostBank commits to comply with the provisions of the law, ensuring effective, sustainable business development and public information transparency for investors,” he said.

Previously, 389 million shares of Nam A Bank (NAB) were also officially listed on UPCoM, with a reference price of VND13,500 (US$0.58) per share. This is the third bank to list shares on UPCoM this year, after Ban Viet Bank and Saigon Bank in early July.

There are currently 12 banking stocks listed on HOSE, which are VCB, BID, CTG, TCB, VPB, MBB, HDB, STB, EIB, TPB, LPB and VIB. Three banks listed on the HNX include ACB, SHB, NVB and six banks on UPCoM including BAB, BVB, SGB, NAB, VBB, KLB.

According to SSI Securities Incorporation, switching shares from UPCoM and HNX to HOSE helped stocks of many banks outperform since the beginning of this year.

Prices of both LPB and VIB have risen respectively 80 per cent and 95 per cent over the same period last year, SSI said.

LPB’s profits are expected to recover from the second half of 2020, thanks to credit growth recovering in the post-COVID-19 period while the cost to income ratio improves significantly, SSI said, adding that the switch from UPCOM to HOSE would promote the re-valuation of share prices.

For VIB, pre-tax profits in 2020 and 2021 are forecast to decline compared to the 80-per-cent growth in the 2016-2019 period due to a slump in loans for the automotive segment.

According to experts, the stock market’s liquidity increased the most since the beginning of 2020.

The total trading volume on HOSE in October reached more than 9.07 billion shares, with total trading value of more than VND181 trillion, corresponding to month-on-month increases of 23 per cent in volume and 30 per cent in value, respectively.

Notably, market liquidity in October reached the highest level from the beginning of the year, with an average of over 412.4 million shares being traded during each session, worth more than VND8.23 trillion, 49 per cent more than the average transaction value of the first 10 months of this year.

HOSE's statistics showed that in October, the total trading value of foreign investors reached more than VND45.8 trillion, accounting for 12.64 per cent of the total trading value of the whole market.

Although foreign investors net sold more than VND7.23 trillion in October, HOSE's stock indexes still recorded growth in the month. 

Netherlands increases imports of Vietnamese peppers and cashew nuts

Despite the Netherlands moving to reduce its pepper imports from most major supply sources, Vietnam's market share of peppers as part of total imports to the European country increased from 48.2% during the first seven months of last year to 55.8% this year, according to data released by the European Statistics Agency (Eurostat).
Most notably, the Netherlands imported 4,570 tonnes of pepper worth US$15.5 million from the nation throughout the reviewed period, representing an annual decline of 1.7% in volume and 9.2% in value.

Simultaneously, the Netherlands’ imports from Brazil recorded a plunge of 41% in volume and 41.4% in value, with the South American country’s market share as part of the Netherlands’ total imports suffering a drop from 26.4% last year to 18.3% this year.

With regard to cashew products, the Netherlands imported 27,000 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$191.63 million from Vietnam during the seven-month period, representing a rise of 53.9% in volume and 29.4% in value from the same period last year, according to the International Trade Commission.

Furthermore, Vietnamese market share of cashew nuts as part of the Netherlands’ total imports of the product increased sharply from 68.1% during the first seven months of last year to 77.9% this year.

Moreover, the Netherlands’s imports of cashew nuts from India in the reviewed period fell sharply by 31.8% in volume and 38.6% in value, with India’s market share in the European country’s total imports dropping from 18.1% last year to a figure of 9.2% this year.

Tra fish exports eye US$1.5 billion turnover this year

Vietnam’s Tra fish (pangasius) processing sector is projected to gross US$1.5 billion in export turnover this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Vietnam Pangasius Association. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on pangasius sales, prompting its exports to decline to approximately US$1.04 billion during the initial nine months of the year.

Faced with a decline in exports, local firms focused on improving product quality, applying new technology to farming methods, and developing new sales channels and brands specifically for Vietnamese Tra fish.

The Vietnam Pangasius Association reports although Vietnamese Pangasius has already been shipped to several markets worldwide, its exports over the past decade have been dependent on the Chinese market. In fact, China imports Vietnamese tra fish before selling it on to Russian and European markets.

Tran Anh Thu, vice chairman of the People's Committee of An Giang province, underscores the importance of building national brands specifically for Tra fish and restructuring farming and processing activities, alongside ensuing food safety and hygiene criteria in order to increase exports to potential markets and enhance competitiveness with other regional rivals such as India, China, and Bangladesh.

According to the Vietnam Pangasius Association, domestic pangasius farming is encountering numerous challenges caused by poor-quality breeds, climate change, and saline intrusion in provinces throughout the Mekong Delta and other coastal localities.

Furthermore, local businesses face hurdles when trying to overcome both technical barriers and new regulations imposed by Chinese authorities, along with grasping new provisions set out in the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Vo Hung Dung, vice chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, stressed that tax incentives under the EVFTA are expected to create a wealth of opportunities for Vietnamese seafood processors, including Tra fish processors, as they strive to expand the export market. Indeed, domestic firms are attempting to gain a competitive edge against other regional rivals such as India and Thailand because they have not signed such an FTA with the EU.

To develop in a sustainable manner, the Vietnam Pangasius Association has advised Vietnamese businesses to improve product quality by applying technology and complying with criteria in pangasius farming and processing.

Dung underlines the need to promote both domestic and international consumption markets, set up new sales channels, and build brands for Vietnamese pangasius.

To boost Pangasius exports to demanding markets such as Europe, America, and the Middle East, An Giang province, for example, has established a specialised farming area of ​​600 hectares that utilises high technology as a pilot scheme and it has then replicated the model into three additional areas.

In these areas, the province has supported enterprises in dealing with wastewater treatment,  and building area codes and geographical indications for pangasius products in order to meet the standards set by demanding markets.

Building material market thrives

After a slump due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, from the middle of the third quarter, the building material market in Ho Chi Minh City have started to flourish again as it has entered the peak of construction season at the end of the year, and the export of building materials to some markets is favorable. 

Many enterprises and building material stores are actively preparing stock to meet the needs for the peak construction season of the year. Most items, such as steel, bricks, tiles, and sanitary wares, are selling well. Noticeably, domestic construction materials are favored by consumers, thanks to reasonable prices, improved quality, and design, diverse colors, the suitability for current construction trends.

However, according to the owners of building materials stores in To Hien Thanh Street in District 10, up to now, the selling prices of most items have not increased, and some even have decreased to boost purchasing power. At present, floor tiles of domestic manufacturers range from VND80,000 to VND250,000 per square meter, depending on brands; floor tiles imported from Malaysia, Italy, and Spain range from VND400,000 to VND1.3 million per square meter. Paint manufacturing enterprises offer attractive discounts of 15-25 percent for agents and promotions for consumers. Lighting and decoration lamps have a discount ranging from 30-40 percent for each item.

Noticeably, key products in construction, such as cement, are also falling sharply by VND70,000-VND100,000 per ton. Currently, the selling prices of cement products on the market fluctuate from VND1.1 million to VND1.27 million per ton, depending on the brand. Although the demand for cement tends to increase again, the prices of cement decline because the inventory of cement remains relatively large, leading to oversupply. It is forecasted that from now until the end of this year, steel prices will remain stable with little change. In comparison with previous years, the construction material market this year is relatively stable. Many years ago, the prices of steel and cement during this time of the year usually increased, but now it is quite stable.

Experts said that production activities and consumption of building materials flourish and become vibrant again because civil construction works accelerate the completion progress before the Lunar New Year. Especially, the ministries, departments, and provinces have been rushing to urge and speed up the progress of public investment projects to disburse public investment capital following the schedule recently directed by the Prime Minister.

Despite the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which have affected many manufacturing industries from the beginning of this year until now, the domestic steel industry has maintained a positive growth rate for ten months, and steel exports reached an impressive figure. By the end of September, the steel industry exported nearly 7 million tons of steel, bringing in over US$3.65 billion, up 44.4 percent in volume and 16 percent in value though steel prices were down 19.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

China is the largest market for Vietnam's steel products, accounting for 36.2 percent of the total volume and 28.5 percent of the total export turnover. Steel exports reached 2.53 million tons, equivalent to $1.04 billion. Cambodia follows with 17 percent, and Thailand with 8 percent in total volume and export turnover.

The latest statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that in the first nine months of this year, the cement industry exported over 28 million tons of products, bringing in more than $1.03 billion, while in the same period, the export volume was only 23.24 million tons, worth $973 million. 

‘Compared to the same period last year, the output of cement and clinker for export has increased by nearly 21 percent and by 6.2 percent in value. However, the growth in value here is mainly because of export volume instead of an increase in selling prices,’ the representative of the MoIT analyzed. It is forecasted that with both current excess capacity and supply, in the coming time, the cement industry will have the opportunity to increase exports, when many countries promote import and open their doors again.

In fact, for a long time, Vietnam has mainly imported steel billets from China to serve domestic steel rolling mills, but now, due to excess capacity, steel manufacturers have to increase exports to other countries. Especially, the export of steel to the Chinese market is expected to continue smoothly, due to the country's tightening policy aiming at shutting down low-tech steelmakers. Moreover, with the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the steel industry is expected to have more conditions to attract investment and promote production and export to new markets. These will also be positive factors, helping to raise growth expectations of the steel industry in the coming time.

However, according to some experts, the steel industry still has to compete fiercely with imported steel penetrating strongly into the Vietnamese market. Especially, the steel industry has to face safeguards in export markets, making exports difficult. Therefore, enterprises need to closely monitor information on the export situation, as well as be willing to cooperate with authorities in investigations. Steel enterprises need to improve their competitiveness and take the initiative in the sources of domestic raw materials. At the same time, they should put the effort in building a closed process from input to production, to gradually eliminate materials originating from other countries, to minimize the risk that countries think that Vietnam has evaded taxes recently.

Car sales in Vietnam surge 15% in October

Car sales in Vietnam in the January–October period dropped 18% year-on-year to 212,409 units across all segments.

The number of cars sold in Vietnam in October increased by 22% month-on-month and 15% year-on-year to 33,254 units, which came on the back of strong growth of 32% inter-monthly in the sales volume in September, according to data released monthly by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

The volume included 25,339 passenger cars, up 23% inter-monthly; 7,528 commercial cars, up 17%; and 387 special-purpose vehicles, up 71%. 

As many as 20,498 locally assembled cars were sold in October, up 15% against the previous month, and 12,756 imported cars were sold, up 35%.

However, car sales in Vietnam in the January–October period dropped 18% year-on-year to 212,409 units across all segments. Upon breaking down, 155,663 were passenger cars, down 18% year-on-year; 53,711 were commercial vehicles, down 17%; and 3,035 were special-purpose vehicles, down 32%. 

Sales of domestically assembled cars reached 134,797 units during the period, down 12% compared to the same period of last year, while imported completely-built-units (CBUs) totaled 77,612 units (-26%).

Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) led the market in the first ten months with 71,144 units sold, down 5% year-on-year and accounting for 34.8% of the total sales number, followed by TC Motor with 57,039 and Toyota with 49,950.

Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed the number of imported cars surged 43.4% month-on-month in September to 12,670 units, worth US$256 million. Notably, 94% of imported cars in Vietnam in September came from Thailand, Indonesia and China, with the corresponding volumes of 6,523, 4,574 and 796 units.

Overall, 66,465 cars were imported into Vietnam between January and September for US$1.47 billion, down 37.2% year-on-year in volume and 38.2% in value.

Customs statistics also showed that car accessories and parts worth US$2.66 billion were imported into Vietnam in the January–September period, down 13.5% year-on-year. Suppliers of those products were mainly from Japan, Thailand, China, and South Korea.

Car making is considered a key industry in Vietnam, accounting for approximately 3% of national GDP. However, the industry has severely been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Viet Dragon Securities Company predicted a decline of 15% made-in-Vietnam cars in sales volume this year. 

India, ASEAN striving to expand trade despite India’s exit from RCEP

India and ASEAN countries said they will explore ways to increase trade despite India’s exit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

“As far as India is concerned, we did not join RCEP as it does not address the outstanding issues and concerns of India. However, we remain committed to deepening our trade relations with ASEAN,” said Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in charge of the East Riva Ganguly Das, briefing journalists about the 17th ASEAN-India Summit that Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 12.

The free trade agreement, which India walked out from a year ago, is expected to be signed on November 15 between the 10 ASEAN members and China, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

In November 2019, PM Modi told the RCEP summit that India was walking out of the deal after negotiations for more than six years.

ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner with two-way trade of 86.9 billion USD./.

Workshop promotes investment, foreign trade in Quang Ninh

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) partnered with the People’s Committee of northern Quang Ninh province to host a workshop on trade and investment promotion between trade representatives, foreign trade promotion organisations, and the province and its enterprises on November 13 in Ha Long city.

The workshop brought together representatives from the embassies of 27 countries such as Algeria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Laos, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Egypt, Russia, and Sri Lanka, and from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) Hanoi and close to 100 local exporters.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An said the workshop is part of a series of events the ministry is co-hosting with cities and provinces to boost exports and attract foreign investment in industry and trade.

It provides an opportunity for the foreign diplomatic corps, trade representatives, and trade promotion organisations in Vietnam to explore the local market, establish contact with authorities in Quang Ninh and local enterprises, and beef up trade and investment, he said.

The deputy minister reiterated that Vietnam has been enduring the economic fallout from COVID-19 since early in the year and now the devastating impact of historic recent flooding in the central region.

Despite such challenges, the Government remains committed to fulfilling this year’s twin goals of stemming the pandemic and fuelling economic recovery, he noted. Vietnam has maintained moderate growth, with foreign trade exceeding 439.8 billion USD in the first ten months of this year, up 2.6 percent against the same period last year. The country also posted a ten-month trade surplus of 18.72 billion USD.

Vice Chairman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee Bui Van Khang briefed attendees on local potential, saying the province boasts three international border gates, four international seaports, one international airport, five economic zones, and 11 industrial parks. It is also looking to transform the Van Don and Quang Yen coastal economic zones into a world-class tourist site and a hub for logistics and port services respectively, he said.

These are key to Quang Ninh’s plans to boost economic growth and international integration.

Over the last five years, the province has posted a number of outstanding achievements. Annual economic growth has averaged some 10.7 percent, he noted, higher than the national average. Its economic size reached nearly 209.25 trillion VND (9.03 billion USD) in 2020, a 1.8-fold increase against 2015. Average per capita gross regional domestic product (GRDP) was 6,500 USD - double the national figure. Average workplace productivity rose 11.6 percent annually, hitting 275.9 million VND this year, or 1.73 times higher than in 2015.

Quang Ninh topped the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) and the Public Administration Reform (PAR) Index rankings for three consecutive years, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and has also been among the best performers in the Satisfaction Index of Public Administration Services (SIPAS) for many years, and was top in 2019.

It has also made great strides forward in improving its position in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI), moving from 62nd place in 2016 to third last year.

The province aims to develop green, clean, and hi-tech industries and smart and environmentally-friendly technologies, and boost the contribution of processing, manufacturing, and smart, high technologies. Developing the Van Don and Mong Cai Border Gate Economic Zones will be key to fostering local economic growth.

It will also facilitate the development of a chain of eco-urban complexes for high-end trade, tourism and services, hi-tech agriculture, and the sea-based economy.

Khang added that Quang Ninh is committed to further improving its business climate and providing all possible conditions for investment and business, while increasing activities to be better connected with the world.

The MoIT’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) took the occasion to sign an agreement with the provincial Department of Industry and Trade and the Quang Ninh Business Association to jointly promote trade in the province.

Vietnamese OCOP – Da Nang Goods Connection Programme opened

The Vietnamese OCOP (One Commune One Product) – Da Nang Goods Connection Programme 2020 opened on Thursday.

It is co-organised by the Da Nang Department of Industry and Trade co-operated with the Viet Nam E-commerce Association (VECOM).

More than 60 booths from 100 businesses across the country are displaying and introducing agricultural products, food, beverages, medicinal herbs, typical regional products of the provinces and cities in the central and Central Highland regions in three days of the event.

The programme aims to promote the development of commercial activities of enterprises and co-operatives post-pandemic, and at the same time help enterprises access e-commerce solutions, boost sales and expand business.

This is also an opportunity for businesses to strengthen regional links, exchange experiences, seek opportunities for investment co-operation and consumption of goods between production enterprises and distribution units in Da Nang and other provinces and cities.

The programme is one of the efforts of the Da Nang People's Committee in restoring trade development of the city, contributing to promoting the development of commercial activities of production units, enterprises, co-operatives post-COVID-19.

Nguyen Ha Bac, director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade also said that in order to recover the economy after COVID-19, the industry and trade sector would continue to organise trade promotion programmes to promote the trade activities in the locality, supporting businesses to overcome difficulties after a long period being affected. 



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