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Online sales boom as Tet approaches

With people afraid to visit public places like supermarkets because of COVID-19, e-commerce floors have become a convenient and safe shopping place for Tet items.  

With Vietnam boasting a large internet community and a young, digital-savvy population, the e-commerce market is buzzing with activity ahead of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, which falls on February 12.

Many consumers say that the hectic year-end schedule keeps them busy and they cannot go shopping, but the dizzying growth in e-commerce and e-payment is lending a hand. Now, without leaving office or home, they can place orders online and wait for the goods to be delivered home.

Many large e-supermarkets and social networking sites claim to have carefully prepared to ship a large volume of goods to serve a huge, growing demand, and launched a number of promotions.

Some popular sites like sendo, lazada, are offering discounts of up to 50 percent on all types of products, especially fashion and beauty like shoes, handbags, watches, and sunglasses./.

UKVFTA hoped to promote Vietnam’s exports



The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which became effective on January 1, is expected to create a strong motivation pushing Vietnam forwards on the path of economic development and international integration.

According to Kenneth Atkinson, head of the British Business Group in Vietnam (Britcham), the deal will help strengthen trade and support employment, while promoting growth in both countries.

The erasing of 65 percent of the total tariff immediately after the deal takes effects and 99 percent of the tariff in 6-7 years will bring about practical benefits to British exporters of machineries, chemicals, and brandy, he held.

Along with the reduction of legal barriers as well as burden in administrative procedures in the two markets, the official said, highlighting that the UKVFTA will help observe the regulations and commitments that the two Governments and business communities have agreed on.

The deal will also ensure the increase in the trade by more than 3,000 UK businesses engaged in export activities to Vietnam, while meeting the demand for Vietnamese goods of UK customers, he said.

Atkinson asserted that the area of solar and wind power will receive priorities from the business communities and governments of both sides.

Experts held that Vietnamese products account for only 1 percent of the 700 billion USD import revenue of the UK, so Vietnam has high potential to provide more products to the promising market, including telephones, accessories, garment and textile products, footwear, seafood, wood and furniture, computers, cashew, and peppercorn.

The UK is currently the third largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe.

Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that the UKVFTA not only facilitates the trade of goods and services but also helps promote partnership in many other areas, including green growth and sustainable development.

As the UK has officially left the EU, which means the preferential policies that Vietnam enjoys thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will not be applied in the UK anymore, the UKVFTA has eased concern of the business community about the interruption of trade with the European country, he added./. 

Prompt action needed to seize opportunities, navigate challenges under RCEP

The recently-signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) presents both opportunities and challenges to Vietnamese businesses, making prompt action crucial to address existing weaknesses and capitalise on deal-generated advantages.

Journalist Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, head of the Nhan dan (People) Online division, told a recent webinar held by the Nhan dan newspaper that the RCEP, which was signed on November 15 in the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other leaders of member countries after eight years of negotiations, opens up new opportunities as well as challenges for businesses and people.

It also marks a new step forward in Vietnam’s global economic integration, he said.

The RCEP gathers together the 10 ASEAN member states and five partners the bloc already has free trade agreements (FTAs) with: Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand. Once taking effect, it will create a market of 2.2 billion consumers and about 30 percent of global GDP, and become the world’s largest free trade area.

Under the deal, Vietnamese enterprises can further engage in regional value and production chains while benefiting from lower transaction costs and a friendlier business environment thanks to the harmonisation of current regulations in member countries, according to Thanh.

The agreement also poses challenges to agriculture, however, as Vietnamese produce will face greater export competition from other members.

Once the agreement comes into force, the country will become a major importer of agricultural products from RCEP countries, exposing companies to fierce competition right in the domestic market, he noted.

There is not much time left before the RCEP takes effect, he went on, so prompt and proactive measures are necessary to tap into the advantages generated and address any existing weaknesses.

Apart from the synchronous solutions taken by the Government, ministries, sectors, and localities, the proactiveness and activeness of businesses are also crucial in optimising the opportunities brought about by FTAs, Thanh added.

Luong Hoang Thai, Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the RCEP has higher standards than commitments in the WTO.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted regional and global value chains, and emerging trade protectionism, the signing of the RCEP marks an important milestone in Vietnam and ASEAN’s economic integration and generates both short and long-term benefits, he noted.

It features commitments to opening up markets in the fields of goods, services, and investment; applying common rules of origin among the 15 members, instead of five sets of rules of origin under the five FTAs between ASEAN and each of its partners; and enhancing trade facilitation measures. This will create opportunities to develop new supply chains in the region that Vietnamese businesses can take part in.

The world’s largest free trade area under the RCEP will form a stable and long-term export market for Vietnam, helping it develop export-oriented manufacturing.

Besides, Thai added, the deal will also create a legally binding framework for trade, investment, intellectual property, e-commerce, and dispute settlement policies in the region, thus contributing to a fair regional trading environment.

He recommended that, as with other FTAs, to fully capitalise on the RCEP’s benefits, the first and foremost matter is for Vietnamese businesses to thoroughly learn about the commitments contained within, especially those relating to their line of business.

At the webinar, Trinh Minh Anh, Chief of the Office of the inter-sectoral steering committee for international economic integration, called for attention on not only Vietnam’s commitments but also those of the 14 other members, adding that while Vietnamese goods will have more likelihood of entering other markets, the local market will also see an inflow of foreign products.

In the short term, enterprises should work to promote product quality and brand recognition to consolidate their foothold in the domestic market while making plans to expand export markets.

They also need to gear themselves up for any adverse impacts from the RCEP, especially stronger competition in the local market, Anh suggested./.

Vietsovpetro eyes close to 3 mln tonnes of oil equivalent in 2021

The Vietnam – Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro sets to exploit nearly 3 million tonnes of oil equivalent and condensate in 2021, according to Director General Nguyen Quynh Lam.

The company also aims to contribute 519.4 million USD to the State budget and generate around 157 million USD in profit this year, Lam said.

The firm expects to put the platform BK-18A into operation on October 15, 2021 and BK-19, a month later, he noted, adding that it will also work to improve its capacity as a service provider to offshore wind power projects.

In 2020, the joint venture’s oil and gas output reached 3.42 million tonnes, surpassing the set target by nearly 300,000 tonnes.

It said the oil production target was met one month earlier than the plan, while the natural gas output target was fulfilled 44 days ahead of schedule.

As part of solutions to difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has made efforts to cut production cost and spending. As a result, it has reduced spending by over 105 million USD, and its production costs decreased by 17 percent compared to the plan.

Oil sales totalled only about 1.11 billion USD last year, or 81.1 percent of the plan. It contributed nearly 745 million USD to the State budget.

Its revenue from outside services and other activities amounted over 213 million USD, while after tax profit hit more than 49 million USD./.

EVN to digitalise all facilities on transmission lines by 2022

The Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) is planning to have all equipment on transmission lines and 80 percent of 110 kV circuit facilities digitalised from now to 2022.

By 2025, EVN will have digitalised 100 percent of facilities on medium- and higher-voltage power lines, according to EVN Chairman Duong Quang Thanh.

To that end, the group will press on with applying digital technologies like Internet of Things, big data, and cloud computing, he said, noting that it will use artificial intelligence (AI) in monitoring and examination and make use of photo taking devices and smart drones to repair lines.

It will continue research on building information models and digital worker platforms to serve its staff while developing AI applications for image analysis and data governance.

EVN said it has completed 61 of the 63 centres for remote control of transformer stations and converted 670 of the 844 transformer stations into unmanned ones. It also put into operation the first digital transformer station on the 110 kV circuit, located in northern Bac Ninh province, in January 2020 and the first one on the 220 kV circuit, in northern Hai Phong city, last December.

The firm has also applied drones to examining equipment and handling problems on transmission lines without cutting off the power./.

Six Vietnamese firms attends Algeria’s virtual int’l agricultural expo

Six Vietnamese firms are among exhibitors at a virtual international agricultural expo in Algeria held by Andalus Trade, Show, Exhibits and Events (Andalus Tsee) from January 1 – 31.

They are Hanoi Trade Joint Stock Corporation (Hapro), Vietnam National Tea Corporation (VinaTea), Tuan Minh Trading and Production Co., Ltd (Tuan Minh Export), Lotus Rice JSC, SongHau Food Company and Agrotex Vietnam JSC.

Exhibitors also come from seven other countries, including Algeria, Brazil, the Netherlands, the United States, Ukraine and Turkey.

The Trade Office of Vietnam in Algeria took the occasion to introduce about the economy, foreign trade and investment in Vietnam, trade between Vietnam and Algeria and various business opportunities in the Southeast Asian country, according to Trade Counsellor Hoang Duc Nhuan.

The event provides a good opportunity for Vietnamese agribusinesses to promote their food and agricultural machine products, seek customers and establish partnership, Nhuan said.

The Trade Office of Vietnam has also supported ten Vietnamese enterprises to take part in two virtual expos in Algeria in September and December last year./.

Vietnam Airlines launches new services on Hanoi-HCM City route

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has introduced new services on the Hanoi-HCM City route with a view to improving its domestic market share in the context of international flights being affected by COVID-19.

According to the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the Hanoi-HCM City is the world’s second busiest route in terms of seat capacity, just after Seoul-Jeju in the Republic of Korea.

Connecting Vietnam’s two economic hubs, the route has played an important role in the business operations of the Vietnam Airlines Group (comprising Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and the Vietnam Air Services Company) as well as the country’s political, economic, cultural, and tourism events.

Twenty-five percent of the Vietnam Airlines Group’s passengers this year flew on the Hanoi-HCM City route.

The Group provides some 104,000 seats on the route, transporting 92,000 passengers each week, accounting for 98 percent of the figures recorded at the same time last year and 57 percent of the aviation market.

Noting the strategic role the route plays, Vietnam Airlines has worked to improve products and services to provide the most comfortable experience to passengers.

It has developed its wide-body aircraft fleet by adding 14 Airbus A350-900, 11 Boeing 787-9, and three Boeing 787-10 aircraft to serve the Hanoi-HCM City route and international flights to Europe and Australia.

A “dual brand” has been built between Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines to diversify products and services.

“Their coordination contributes to maintaining the Vietnam Airlines Group’s market share at over 50 percent on the Hanoi-HCM City route, as well as in the domestic market,” a leader from the national flag carrier said.

The Group has recently upgraded the Hanoi-HCM City route into a specialised product called the VNAXPRESS - HCM City air route to bring exciting experiences to customers.

A representative from the Group said the service allows customers to buy tickets 60 minutes before flights instead of 180 minutes as usual. If they arrive at the airport early, they can be on board a flight with earlier departure time if there are vacant seats.

All flights on the route have boarding bridges while check-in counters are near the security gates to help passengers save time.

Passengers on Hanoi-HCM City flights will also have the opportunity to experience four-star quality services, including wireless streaming, WIFI, VNA-FPT Play entertainment, E-reader, and food such as Vietnamese cha ca (grilled fish) and ca kho (stewed fish), Russian salad, and cheese egg rolls, among others, served from 5am to 8am, 11am to 1pm, and 5.30pm to 10pm.

The Vietnam Airlines Corporation operates nearly 40 flights between Hanoi and HMC City each day to meet the increasing travel demand of customers. All flights depart on the hour from 6am to 9pm.

The national flag carrier has used wide-bodied aircraft on flights every second hour on the route, to ensure that passengers have the opportunity to experience the world’s most modern planes./.


Cambodia’s rice exports surge 11 percent in 2020

Cambodia exported a total of 690,829 tonnes of milled rice to 60 countries and regions in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 11.4 percent, the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon has announced.

The Southeast Asian nation shipped 289,439 tonnes of milled rice to China in 2020, up 16.6 percent from the year before.

China is the top buyer of Cambodia's milled rice, followed by the European Union (EU), Sakhon said, adding that the export to China accounted for 41.9 percent of Cambodia's total rice export last year.

Cambodia exported 203,791 tonnes of milled rice to the European market last year, up 0.4 percent year-on-year, the minister said. The European market made up 29.5 percent of the total rice export.

The country earned 539 million USD in gross revenue from the milled rice export last year.

Cambodia produced close to 11 million tonnes of paddy rice last year. With this amount, the country saw a surplus of 5.9 million tonnes in equivalent to 3.7 million tonnes of milled rice./.

HCM City infrastructure development to focus on services sector

HCM City’s infrastructure development is focused on transforming the economy and making it services-based, according to authorities.

The city Department of Planning and Construction of the country’s largest hub in the south has submitted to the municipal People’s Committee the 2020 – 2045 programme for developing industrial infrastructure.

It seeks to make the city the country’s leader in terms of combining the services sector with infrastructure development and linking commerce with services and urban areas with industrial parks.

It calls for good transport connectivity between the city, its satellite urban areas and industrial parks located in nearby provinces.

It also envisages the construction of express railway and continuous traffic routes to the Mekong Delta and central region to reduce the pressure on HCM City.

It recommends building Ring Roads No. 3 and No. 4 by 2025, gradually creating links between industrial parks and satellite urban areas.

Several national highways will be upgraded, and infrastructure will be built in new and recently expanded industrial parks.

In 2025 – 2045 the city will focus on storage and logistics development and rail links between the city centre and satellite urban areas and between the latter and industrial parks and highways.

The city will also build infrastructure to develop logistics and the southern key economic region, with a focus on the No.5 ports cluster (HCM City, Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau), to help develop services for businesses that use ports.

The plans for developing industrial parks will be integrated into the city’s socio-economic development plan, with those struggling with land compensation and other issues left out.

Existing ones will focus on hi-tech infrastructure development, the digital economy and housing policies for workers./.

Doosan Vina to complete order for Japanese partner by February

Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam (Doosan Vina) is projected to complete order for components of biomass power plants using the Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology to Japan’s Sodegaura Biomass Power Plant by February.

Doosan Vina signed the Sodegaura Biomass Power project with Chiyoda Corporation (Japan) in August 2018. A total of 3,093 tonnes of boiler structural components and steel equipment has been shipped to the project.

Located in Chiba prefecture, the 75-MW Sodegaura is the largest capacity biomass firing plant in Japan, which is set to come into stream by July 2022.

Doosan Vina received its investment certificate in 2006 which licensed the company to operate a heavy industrial complex in the Dung Quat Economic Zone for 70 years.

The 300-million-USD investment specialises in the manufacture of heavy industrial equipment such as boilers for power plants, cranes for container handling at ports, desalination plants, and some other key mechanical products./.

Russian expert commends Vietnam’s 2020 economic success

Professor Vladimir Mazyrin, leader of the Centre for Vietnamese and ASEAN Studies of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has described the results of economic development of Vietnam in 2020 as an extraordinary success.

In an interview with Sputnik, the leading Russian expert on Vietnamese economy said positive results were posted amid recession and general crisis.

“For example, within ASEAN, only three countries - Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos - have positive GDP growth. All other countries are red.”
Vietnam’s 2020 growth is estimated at 2.91 percent.

Prof. Maryzin said this is a great success, which will definitely help Vietnam rise to a higher position in all world rankings in the near future.

So Vietnam's success can be called a phenomenon, he added. Compared to the global average, the overall figure for 2020 is estimated to contract by 4.4 percent, in developed countries 5.8 percent and in developing countries 3.3 percent. Major analysts have pointed out Vietnam has some of the best indicators in the world.

The scholar stressed that economic achievements are largely due to Vietnam's success in its fight against COVID-19. In the country, social activities and production works go on as usual, and all of these things affect the economy.

The economic decline is very short, mainly in the second quarter - the peak of COVID-19 prevention measures, while the last two quarters saw increases of 2.69 percent and 4.48 percent, respectively. The rates are forecast to be even higher in the Q1 2021.

Although foreign investment declined by 25 percent, nearly 20 billion USD has been poured into the economy. The figure equaled to 98 percent of the targets for foreign investment registrations in 2019.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s outward direct investment has increased 16 percent in the year.

The success of Vietnam's foreign trade has also been impressive, Prof. Maryzin added. Turnover, excluding the service sector, did not decrease as in many countries, but increased compared to last year, as imports increased by more than 5 percent and exports over 6 percent.

Trade turnover in 2020 is estimated at nearly 544 billion USD.

Russian experts said in 2020, all the declines in Vietnam are neither negative nor negative numbers. Therefore, Vietnam's GDP growth index in 2021 has been evaluated by both the Government and the world's largest organisations at 6-7 percent./.

Long An to spend over 1 trillion VND on anti-erosion projects

The Mekong Delta province of Long An plans to implement three anti-erosion projects at a total cost of over 1 trillion VND (43.4 million USD), according to the provincial People’s Committee.

The projects will protect a 2.1-km river dyke in Ben Luc township in Ben Luc district, a 1.2-km dyke along the Vam Co Tay River in Tan An city, and a 3.7-km dyke in Tan Thanh township in Tan Thanh district.

Along with the building of dykes, the projects will also construct roads and irrigation networks as well as civil ports.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the sites covered by the projects are vulnerable to climate change and are at major risk from erosion, which can cause heavy losses in property and affect people's lives.

The projects are expected to minimise climate change’s impacts on local people by preventing erosion and saltwater intrusion.

They are also expected to contribute to developing local infrastructure networks, thus promoting socio-economic development./.

Kien Giang overcomes difficulties, finishes year successfully

Despite the serious impact of COVID-19, drought, and saline intrusion, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang exerted every effort to overcome the difficulties and post economic growth of over 3 percent in 2020.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chin said the locality has fulfilled or surpassed 16 out of 22 criteria, with agricultural production thriving.

The province has actively carried out measures and policies in support of local people and businesses, thus creating motivation for economic recovery, security and defence, and social safety and order, Chin said.

Its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) hit nearly 69 trillion VND (2.99 billion USD), equal to 96.1 percent of the set target and up over 3 percent year-on-year.

Amid the pandemic, drought, and saline intrusion, the agriculture sector, with the two main commodities of rice and shrimp, has provided substantial support to Kien Giang’s economy.

Agricultural production value is estimated at 63.5 trillion VND, equal to 101.54 percent of the target and up 3.34 percent year-on-year.

Conversely, total revenue in the tourism sector is estimated at 7.8 trillion VND, equal to just 39.3 percent of the target and down 57.7 percent year-on-year.

The province welcomed over 5.2 million tourists during 2020, including nearly 185,000 foreigners, down 40.7 percent and 74 percent compared to 2019 figures.

Total revenue from tourism was down by more than 12.2 trillion VND compared to 2019.

With the pandemic largely under control, the province’s tourism has shown some signs of recovery.

Kien Giang expects a surge in tourist numbers in the new year and lunar new year holidays./.

State budget revenue equal to 98 percent of annual target

More than 1.48 quadrillion VND (64.2 billion USD) was collected for the State budget in 2020, equivalent to 98 percent of the target, according to the Ministry of Finance.

At a December 31 teleconference reviewing 2020 State budget collection and spending, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said the implementation of financial and budgetary tasks resulted in “positive and comprehensive” outcomes.

He noted that, during the year, taxation authorities extended payment deadlines and exempted or reduced land rentals, charges, and fees worth about 128 trillion VND to support businesses and people in overcoming COVID-19.

The taxation and customs agencies and State Treasury have pressed on with reforming administrative procedures, re-organising their apparatus, and modernising management activities to create the best possible conditions and minimise time and cost for businesses.

The financial sector has also increased inspection and examination efforts, through which financial settlements of 76 trillion VND have been proposed, over 22 trillion VND of which may be sent to the State budget.

Dung described these figures as “positive” amid annual economic growth of 2.91 percent - much lower than the targeted 6.8 percent - and a number of fiscal solutions carried out to tackle obstacles to production and business activities.

In terms of budget spending, he went on, despite a decline in budget revenue and difficulties in balancing the budget at all levels, thanks to its proactiveness and optimisation of budget spending management, the financial sector still managed to ensure resources for combating COVID-19, assisting people to weather the pandemic’s impacts, addressing the consequences of natural disasters, and fulfilling important political tasks.

As of December 30, the State budget had spent some 18.1 trillion VND on fighting the pandemic and supporting nearly 13 million people. The sector had also proposed 36,600 tonnes of rice from the national reserves be supplied to poor and disaster-hit people.

Another bright spot is the much-improved progress in disbursing development investment, at nearly 83 percent of the year’s target.

Meanwhile, budget overspending and public debt were strictly controlled within the permissible levels set by the National Assembly, standing at equivalent to about 4.2 percent and 55.9 percent of GDP, respectively.

The minister attributed these outcomes to the political system’s solidarity and efforts and considered them important prerequisites for the sector’s performance in 2021./.

Indonesian electricity firm gets 500-mln-USD loan for “green energy” projects

Indonesian state-owned electricity giant PLN has secured a 500-million-USD “green loan” with a guarantee from the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to keep seven renewable energy projects alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its recent statement, PLN said MIGA would guarantee 95 percent of the loan for five years through a consortium of international lenders including the US’s JPMorgan, Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Germany’s KfW IPEX-Bank, and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

According to PLN finance director Sinthya Roesly, in a period of difficult liquidity and loan markets, PLN achieved financing cost efficiency by implementing a structure that attracts international creditors.

Meanwhile, MIGA said in its online proposal that the loan’s purpose was to provide working capital for PLN to buy electricity from seven existing renewable energy projects, including two hydropower plants in North Sumatra and five geothermal power plants.

PLN, whose power plants are nearly 40 percent coal-fired, has been working to diversify fundraising channels as international lenders close their wallets to coal out of environmental commitments./.

Binh Dinh’s GRDP highest in central key economic zone

The central coastal province of Binh Dinh’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) this year was estimated at nearly 50 trillion VND (2.16 million USD), a year-on-year surge of 3.61 percent.

Head of the provincial Statistic Office Nguyen Thi My said that although this is the lowest during the 2011-2020 period, it is still higher than those of other localities in the central key economic zone, including Thua Thua Thien-Hue (up 2.06 percent), Da Nang (down 9.77 percent), Quang Nam (down 6.98 percent), and Quang Ngai (and 1.02 percent).

In the year, the agro-forestry-fishery sector contributed over 13.7 trillion VND to the GRDP, industry and construction more than 14.3 trillion VND, and service over 19.4 trillion VND.

Local agro-forestry-fishery production faced challenges in 2020 due to a streak of consecutive natural disasters, she said, adding crop cultivation topped 153,000 hectares, a year-on-year fall of 2.6 percent, while plantation of perennial trees declined 0.1 percent to over 19,400 hectares.

The husbandry sector made a good recovery from the African swine fever, with the total pig herd reaching over 667,000 heads, up 2.6 percent as compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the province’s seafood output was reckoned at nearly 264,000 tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percent.

In the COVID year, the province saw 74 enterprises dissolved, and 357 others ceasing operation. However, with rising optimism in the local production, the province had 1,028 newly-established firms, who registered over 8 trillion VND for their operation and created jobs for nearly 12,000 workers.

Also in the year, Binh Dinh province’s budget collection reached some 12.2 trillion VND, with domestic collection topping 11.3 trillion VND, surpassing the estimate by 25.9 percent./.

Vietnam prioritises development of key seaports

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat has emphasised the need to give priority to developing key seaports and seaport clusters in the next ten years.

Speaking at a seminar on the master plan for Vietnam’s seaport system development in the 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050 held by the ministry’s Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) on December 30, Deputy Minister Nhat highlighted the considerable development in both quality and quality of the national seaport system in recent years, saying this basically meets the development goals set in the approved plan.

The seaport system has contributed to creating a momentum for the development of coastal economic, industrial and urban zones, ensuring import-export activities and transport of commodities through seaports, thus meeting requirements on socio-economic development and international economic integration, he said.

In the 2000s, the total output of goods through seaports nationwide stood at about 82 million tonnes. The figure rose to 654 million tonnes in 2019 and is expected to reach 670 million tonnes in 2020.

Nhat said that developing marine infrastructure is also needed to promote the national socio-economic development, and meet the increasing demand of import-export, multinational transport activities.

Under the master plan, the volume of cargo handled through ports will be 1.14 – 1.42 billion tonnes a year by 2030. Ports nationwide are set to serve 10.1 – 10.3 million passengers per year. By 2050, the volume of cargo is expected to increase to 2.8 – 3.3 tonnes, and the number of passengers to 14.4 to 15.1 million passengers per year.

According to statistics of the VMA, as of 2019, Vietnam had 588 harbours, four times higher than in 2000. The total volume of cargo handled through ports reached 664.6 million tonnes, eight times higher than in 2000.

The total cost for Vietnam's seaport infrastructure development to 2030 is estimated at about 150 trillion VND (6.5 billion USD) to 200 trillion VND (nearly 8.7 bilion USD) (excluding investment for specialised ports and wharves).

Vietnam’s seaport development remains on track, with several deep-water seaports in operation in the northern and southern regions and others expected to be built in the central region.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently issued a directive requesting the implementation of measures for effectively connecting transport infrastructure and lowering logistic costs, which now account for an average of 21 percent of a product’s price.

Logistics now account for 3 to 4 percent of GDP and post a rapid growth rate of 15 to 20 percent each year. The sector is expected to contribute 8 to 10 percent of GDP by 2025 thanks to lessons learned from logistics practices in developed countries./. 

SCIC’s pre-tax profit rises 36 percent in 2020

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has declared an estimated pre-tax profit of nearly 6.6 trillion VND (286.3 million USD) in 2020, up 36 percent compared to the target set for the year.

The corporation announced that it has, by December 31, posted revenue of over 7.94 trillion VND and after-tax profit of 6.19 trillion VND, up 15 percent and 36 percent from the set targets.
It contributed over 9.3 trillion VND to the State budget, 2.7 times higher than the yearly plan.

The firm successfully sold its stakes in 253 companies in the 2015-2020, and part of shares at 14 others, collecting over 42.1 trillion VND.

Regarding financial investment activities, over the last five years, SCIC has considered investment possibilities in different sectors, and its investment disbursement totaled 14.97 trillion VND./.

Reference exchange rate unchanged after holiday

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,131 VND per USD on January 4, unchanged from the last working day before the New Year holiday.

With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,824 VND/USD and the floor rate, 22,437 VND/USD.

The opening hour rates at some commercial banks remain stable.

At 8:25 am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 23,980 VND/USD and the selling rate at 23,190 VND/USD, both unchanged from December 31.

BIDV also kept both rates unchanged, listing the buying rate at 23,010 VND/USD and the selling rate at 23,190 VND/USD.

Similarly, the rates at Vietinbank remain unchanged from December 31 at 22,960 VND/USD (buying) and 23,195 VND/USD (selling).

During the week from December 28-31, the daily reference exchange rate followed a downward trend, ending the week 18 VND lower than at the week’s beginning./.

RCEP a proof of signatories’ resolve to strengthen integration: Malaysian minister

The recently concluded Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is a proof of resolve of Malaysia, together with ASEAN member countries and the five ASEAN Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, to continue strengthening regional economic integration, facilitating cross-border trade and investment, and reducing non-tariff barriers, a Malaysian minister has said.

Malaysian Senior Minister for Economy and Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali said the RCEP agreement was the largest FTA covering 2.2 billion or nearly one-third (29.7 percent) of the world’s population and contributed 24.8 trillion USD or 28.9 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) based on the World Bank’s data in 2018.

The RCEP can accelerate the process of the regional economic recovery post COVID-19, as well as that of Malaysia, through market opening, increased investment, trade facilitation and industrial integration, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into the regional value chain, he said.

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties of the global economy triggered by the spread of the ongoing pandemic, Azmin said all the Malaysian government’s efforts and careful planning to rebuild the country’s economy have paid off.

The RCEP trade pact was formally signed in November 2020 within the framework of the recent 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits hosted by Vietnam, after years of negotiation.

It includes 10 ASEAN members, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and the bloc's five FTA partners of China, Japan, the RoK, Australia and New Zealand./.

Ha Noi aims to double tourists to the city this year

Ha Noi aims to receive from 13 million to 19 million visitors this year, 1.5 to 2 times higher than 2020, said deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu.

Welcoming the first visitors to the city on the first day of 2021 at the Temple of Literature, Hieu said: "Ha Noi is ready to serve tourists with a full range of modern infrastructure and unique and quality products, as well as enthusiastic and friendly services."

Le Xuan Kieu, director of the Centre for Cultural and Scientific Activities of the Temple of Literature, said: “In 2021, we still ensure the safety of visitors, along with diversifying activities, improving services, researching and developing new products to meet the increasing demands of tourists.”

Kieu said: "We have added free Wifi access and QR code for most of the sites in the temple to reduce contact and best support tourists amid the COVID-19 pandemic."

He added: "The coordination and linking resources of tourism-related firms and units will strengthen local tourism.”

Pham Tien Dung, director of Golden Tour Company, said: “As the connection of destinations in the Northeast and Northwest of the country, Ha Noi will be an attractive destination in 2021, with advantages of culture and heritage plus a convenient location.”

He added: "Culture, cuisine, the old town, suburban ecological spots and craft villages combining agricultural products are the main strengths attracting tourists to the capital city in the future.”

Tourist Luong Ngoc Hai from HCM City said: “We were very surprised to receive a warm welcome in such cold weather in Ha Noi,” adding: “The year 2020 was difficult, but we still arranged travel. I hope the tourism industry will have many new steps in 2021."

Le Hong Thai, deputy Director of Hanoitourist Company, said: "At the beginning of this year, there are tourists coming from the south to Ha Noi, because southerners really like the climate and cuisine here. The fact that products in Ha Noi are adjusted, upgraded and continuously renewed to meet the needs of tourists, 2021 will certainly mean a prosperous year for the tourism industry."

Thai said Ha Noi was always on the list of the world's top destinations for its unique features, which have deeply impressed domestic and international tourists.

According to the department of tourism, the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on the tourism industry, however, the city has actively directed local businesses and upgraded tourism activities, so the capital city’s tourism has overcome difficulties and challenges to initially recover.

Data from Ha Noi Statistical Office showed that in 2020, Ha Noi welcomed 8.65 million domestic and international tourists, thereby actively contributing to the successful implementation of the "dual goal" of both prevention and fighting the pandemic, recovery and socio-economic development, affirming the city as the leading destination with the theme “A full, friendly, quality, attractive destination" amid COVID-19.

At the end of 2020, chairman of the Ha Noi People's Committee Chu Ngoc Anh announced that Ha Noi has recorded better economic results than anywhere else in Viet Nam amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of Ha Noi in 2020 is estimated to increase 3.94 per cent, about 1.5 times higher than the national average growth rate.





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