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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 16

HCM City set to become high-quality agriculture hub by 2030

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At Agricultural Hi-Tech Park of Ho Chi Minh City


Ho Chi Minh City is set to become a hub of varieties, breeding animals and high-quality agriculture in the country and the region by 2030.

Under the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s draft scheme for the 2020-2030 period that was recently submitted to the municipal People’s Committee for approval, the city will strive to hand over 5-6 new high-quality vegetable varieties, grow more specialty vegetables with high value to supply 850-950 tonnes of seeds to the market, thus meeting demand for 1.2-1.5 million ha each year by 2030.

The city is also expected to satisfy 50-60 percent of demand for orchid farming with 30-40 million seedlings each year, which is enough for 500-600ha./.

EC reviews possible extension of steel safeguard measures

The European Commission (EC) has announced the possible extension of safeguard measures applicable to imports of certain steel products, including some from Viet Nam, according to the Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam.

On February 1, 2019, the EC imposed a definitive safeguard measure on certain steel products. The measure currently in force consists of a tarifff rate quota, based on historical imports, applicable to 26 product categories. Where the relevant tariff-rate quota is exhausted, an additional duty of 25 per cent is levied.

The safeguard measure was imposed for an initial period of three years, until June 30, 2021.

According to the EC’s notice on February 26, the Commission received a substantiated request by 12 member states on January 15 to examine whether the current safeguard meaure should be extended.

The request contains evidence suggesting that the safeguard measure continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury. The request argues that the risk of trade diversion continues and if the measure was lifted, the industry would face a flood of imports that would have a very negative impact on its economic performance.

Accordingly, the investigation will focus on its assessment, notably, on whether the safeguard measure continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury, whether there is evidence that union producers are adjusting and whether a prolongation would be in the union's interest. The investigation will also determine the appropriate duration of the extension (if any).

A determination was expected to be made by June 30 at the latest.

According to the Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam, among Viet Nam’s steel products exported to the EU, four product categories are currently subject to the safeguard measure in the form of a tariff rate quota, including non-alloy and other alloy cold rolled sheets, organic coated sheets, stainless cold rolled sheets and strips and seamless tubes.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam urged relevant industry associations and manufacturers to make submissions to the EU as requested, adding that close watch would be kept on the investigation to provide updates and raise actions to protect the legitimate rights of Viet Nam’s steel industry.

According to the Viet Nam Steel Association, Viet Nam’s steel export to the EU accounted for just around four per cent of Viet Nam’s total steel exports in recent years.

Customs statistics showed that Viet Nam exported 9.86 million tonnes of steel in 2020, worth around US$5.26 billion. 

Women entrepreneurs help Vietnamese products go global

Viet Nam has seen sharp growth in the number of businesses run by women, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.

As of September 2019, 24 per cent of businesses in the country were owned by women, the highest percentage in Southeast Asia.

Phung Minh Thuy, deputy business director and co-founder of HMGpop said: “With their, detail-oriented work culture and ability to understand the market, women have an advantage when it comes to working in a competitive industry.”

Yet they face challenges like gender stereotyping and society’s expectation of balancing work and family, she said.

“Entrepreneurship has never been easy, especially for women.”

Businesswomen have therefore kept seeking new methods to overcome these challenges, and e-commerce, including across borders, has come as a boon for them.

Thuy said she and her husband started with an architecture firm and gained lessons through failures.

In 2012, when the property market suffered a downfall, she decided to invest in designing and making 3D pop-up cards and promoting them on e-commerce websites.

Realising their growth potential since many cultures have a gifting custom, she decided to choose Amazon to introduce her products to global customers.

“To get Amazon to accept HMGpop, I spent some time to become familiar with how to manage a business on Amazon, such as how to optimise product listings,” she said.

Now her products get overwhelming support from customers around the world, and are in top position in the card category with up to 1,300 orders per day.

In 2019-20, her business saw 100 per cent growth on Amazon, and revenues from the marketplace now account for 30 per cent of the company’s total sales.

Tanisa, a Tay Ninh Province speciality and rice product manufacturer and exporter, is another example.

Tran Hanh Thu, its CEO, said Vietnamese food, with its unique taste and health benefits, has always been popular world-wide but did not manage to make a mark unlike Japan’s sushi or Korea’s kimchi. Besides, Vietnamese products are often sold as coming from other Asian countries.

This was a key motivation for Thu to aspire to sell made-in-Vietnam products to global customers and decided to take the Amazon route.

“Though B2B export can help increase revenues, it does not ensure that SMEs like Tanisa can achieve their branding goals. Meanwhile, Amazon has not only enabled us to promote Tanisa’s products as 100 per cent ‘made-in-Viet Nam’ but has also created a ‘flat world’ in which Tanisa’s products can reach international customers directly from the manufacturers in Viet Nam. So far, my experience has been very pleasant.”

HMGpop and Tanisa are only two of a large number of successful women-owned enterprises.

Last December, Amazon launched Vietnamese language support to help sellers start a digital business and maintain their competitiveness by sharing resources in the local language.

Thuy said: “Equal opportunity in business is like having the same starting point. To succeed and become a leader, you should choose products with competitive advantages.” 

Market continues last week's rally on banking sector

Viet Nam's stock market finished higher on Monday, but foreign investors kept fleeing from the market.

The benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) closed Monday's trade at 1,184.56 points, up 0.25 per cent, equivalent to three points. The index continued last week's rally thanks to gains in banking, materials and oil and gas stocks.

Last week, the index rose by 1.1 per cent.

The market's breadth was positive with 270 stocks rising, while 195 stocks dropped and 50 stocks stayed unchanged. Domestic investors poured over VND15.1 trillion into HoSE, equivalent to 676.96 million shares traded.

Analysts from Bao Viet Securities Co. expect that the market will encounter correction in some sessions but might bounce back later this week.

"The VN-Index will continue to hover around territory limited by the upper bound of 1,185 - 1,200 points and the lower bound of 1,150 - 1,155 points," the analysts wrote in a daily report to customers.

They recommended that investors should hold 50 per cent of stocks in their portfolios. And after buying at the support levels of 1,150 - 1,155 points, investors can consider to open short positions to reduce stock's proportion in their portfolio once the market approaches the strong resistance territory of 1,185 - 1,200 points.

The VN30-Index also increased by 0.26 per cent, equivalent to 3.05 points, to 1,190.86 points.

Stocks from the banking sector still dominated the market's trend.

Three in top five stocks influencing the market's rally were in the banking sector, including MBBank (MBB), up 2.3 per cent, Vietcombank (VCB), up 0.52 per cent, and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), up 1.67 per cent. The other two stocks were Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex, PLX) and Masan Group Corporation (MSN).

The gain of the index was capped by materials, real estate and banking sectors.

Viet Nam Rubber Group JSC (GVR) posted the biggest loss of 1.94 per cent. JSC Bank For Investment And Development of Viet Nam (BID), Saigon Beer - Alcohol - Beverage Corporation (SAB), Sacombank (STB) and Vincom Retail JSC (VRE) declined 0.58 - 1.94 per cent.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index rose 0.47 per cent to 275.19 points, while the HNX30-Index reversed the morning course to end lower at 392.77 points.

The HNX-Index increased by 5.4 per cent last week.

More than 141.3 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth VND2.15 trillion.

In general, the market liquidity was high with a total trading volume of over 838.3 million shares on both exchanges, worth nearly VND17.26 trillion.

However, foreign investors still fled the market as they net sold a value of VND410.16 billion on HoSE and a value of VND889.38 million on HNX. 

VNG announces $6 million investment in Got It

VNG Corporation (VNG) has just announced its strategic investment of US$6 million in Got It, a premium digital gifting, loyalty and rewards voucher platform in Viet Nam.

While Got It has a proven track record for delivering quality products and possesses a strong vision and capability for growth in the local market, VNG’s investment in the firm would open up enormous possibilities, not only in voucher technology but also in Artificial Intelligence and P2P (Person to Person) gifting in Viet Nam, according to VNG.

Established in 2015, Got It has built a reputation of trust and quality through developing a premium digital loyalty, rewards and gifting platform. With a client portfolio nearing 500 of the largest multinational and national companies across Viet Nam, it was also the only Vietnamese representative and recent winner of Startup-O’s Asia All Stars Competition.

Established in 2014, VNG is the local leading tech firm with a diverse ecosystem of products serving the needs of 100 million customers in Viet Nam and many countries around the world.

From the deal, Got It and VNG are working to launch a fun, premium instant person to person (P2P) gifting solution. The Got It premium voucher offers instant choice at over 160 famous brands, spanning over 12,000 locations nationwide.

Along with matching values of people, innovation and integrity, Got It was expected to bring new opportunities for VNG to expand existing gifting services, Business to Business channels and Merchant networks, especially for its Zalo and ZaloPay users. VNG always seeks investments that bring users even more enjoyment and benefits and Got It is a perfect fit for this strategy.

Le Hong Minh, co-founder and CEO of VNG said: “After 17 years working in the Vietnamese technology industry, we increasingly feel that our mission is not only to focus on developing VNG ourselves but also to help other start-ups grow and thrive, establishing an ecosystem of Viet Nam technology companies. Since mid-2020, VNG has been pushing our strategy of finding potential start-ups for long-term investment and companionship."

At the same time, Bruce Moulin, Co-Founder and CEO of Got It, said: “It has been our goal to partner with VNG since we first launched Got It back in 2015. Our new partnership allows Got It access to exciting new technologies and many of the sharpest tech minds in the country."

Lam Dong Province seeks to promote its online marketplace

Lam Dong authorities have earmarked VND7 billion (US$305,000) over the next five years to promote the province’s e-commerce platform.

By 2025 they want 70 per cent of all purchases by locals to be made through the website, issue electronic invoices and have 50 per cent of communes, wards and townships to have e-commerce businesses.

The province also wants 80 per cent of local businesses’ websites selling products.

The money earmarked is for propaganda, training to improve e-commerce skills, helping businesses adopt e-commerce, and improve the quality of businesses’ management.

The province Department of Science and Technology will help businesses develop e-commerce by organising training courses, co-ordinating with large e-commerce platforms such as Lazada to promote local products, encourage businesses to sell on lazada.vn, build websites for businesses for free, develop an online brand for the province’s key products, according to the People’s Committee.

The Department of Industry and Trade plans to build an e-commerce platform to sell the province’s specialities to help local businesses.

According to the Department of Industry and Trade, the provincial administration seeks to create favourable conditions for e-commerce, and it is paying off with the number of businesses selling online increasing all the time.

Forum talks Vietnam-Japan ties in sustainable energy development in GMS

A policy research forum was held in Hanoi on March 15 to look into the enhancement of Vietnam-Japan cooperation for the sustainable energy development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) in the post-pandemic period.

The event provided an occasion to review impacts on cooperation in energy development and issues affecting the building of sustainable energy policies in the GMS, thereby suggesting some policies to promote the two countries’ cooperation and their contributions to sustainable energy development in the subregion.

Dr Tran Thi Hong Minh, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said the Vietnamese economy has been growing relatively fast, and economic growth is also among the important targets set by the Party and Government for the decade to come.

That will lead to huge demand for energy. To sustainably meet this need, the country is considering the development of different energy sources, without relying on only fossil fuel or hydropower, she noted.

Vietnam has realised the importance of sustainable energy development in the GMS and frequently and proactively discussed this issue with other member countries, she said, highly valuing the active participation and support from partners both inside and outside the subregion.

In recent years, the cooperation among the GMS countries, comprising Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, have increased substantially.

Together with the intensive integration in ASEAN and ASEAN Plus, the GMS nations have also issued many initiatives and boosted ties in numerous fields, from trade – investment to infrastructure development, energy, telecommunications, human resources development, and environmental protection, among which energy is an important area strongly linked with the cooperation and development in other sectors, according to Minh.

She held that although the GMS countries are forecast to need more energy in the next decade, it will be hard for them to develop sustainably and effectively if their energy policies are built separately and inharmoniously.

They should enhance cooperation towards a sustainable and harmonious energy policy at the regional level, the CIEM director went on.

Fukunari Kimuara from the Faculty of Economics at Japan’s Keio University said the GMS is assessed as the most successful subregion with fast economic growth and poverty reduction over the last three decades.

However, he noted, the development gap here remains wide, and sustainable development-related issues like water resources management and the environment have become urgent issues in the subregion.

Nguyen Anh Duong, head of the CIEM Department for General Economic Issues and Integration Studies, pointed out the importance of ensuring energy security, noting that Vietnam needs a more balanced energy structure, facilitate the reasonable export and import of energy, and promote more substantive discussion on energy and sustainable development with other GMS nations.

At the forum, Minh said there remains much room for Japan to bolster energy cooperation with the GMS countries, suggesting that besides taking part in suitable energy projects, Japan can also share experience in monitoring and assessing projects’ impacts and building plans and solutions to deal with related risks.

With Japanese firms’ increased presence in the GMS, a sustainable energy policy of this region will also benefit the Northeast Asian nation, she added./.

PM approves investment policies of IPs in Vinh Phuc, Thua Thien-Hue

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a decision approving the investment policy for a project on technical infrastructure construction of Tam Duong 1 industrial park - area 2 in Tam Duong district, northern Vinh Phuc province.

Invested by Son Ha International Jsc., the park covers 162.33 hectares in Huong Dao and Dao Tu communes and Hop Hoa township.

The project has total investment of over 1.31 trillion VND (56.89 million USD), and a duration of 50 years.

In another decision, the PM approved the investment policy for a project on the construction of infrastructure of Gilimex IP in Huong Thuy township, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

Having total investment of 2.61 trillion VND (113.26 million USD), the project is invested by Gilimex Industrial Park Corporation.

The PM assigned the People’s Committee of Thua Thien-Hue to choose contractors for the project, and promptly implement ground clearance./.

Automobile sales drop 22 percent in February

A long Lunar New Year holidays, the ending of registration fee cut and impacts from COVID-19 pandemic are major reasons behind a strong fall of automobile sales in February, according to insiders.

A report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association (VAMA) said its members sold 13,585 vehicles in the month, a drop of 22 percent over the previous month.

The figure comprised 6,939 passenger cars, 3,767 commercial and 179 special-use vehicles.

The sales of domestically-assembled vehicles fell 41 percent month on month to 8,610 vehicles, while that of completely built-up (CBU) vehicles dropped 58 percent over January to 4,975 units.

However, VAMA member automakers’ sales in the first two months of this year still rose 21 percent year on year to 40,017 vehicles.

Experts held that the figure did not reflect the situation of the Vietnamese automobile market, as it did not include sales of many brands such as Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo, whose sales were not revealed.

In February, TC Motor alone sold 3,021 vehicles, while Vinfast also sold 1,718 vehicles. In the first two months, the two brands sold 18,324 vehicles in combination.

TC Motor led all brands in February sales with 3,021 vehicles, followed by Kia with 2,488 vehicles, Toyota with 2.411 vehicles, VinFast with 1,718 vehicles, Mazda with 1,440 vehicles, Honda with 1,281 vehicles, and Ford with 1,094 vehicles.

VinFast Fadil and Kia Seltos were bestsellers in the month with sales of over 1,000 vehicles each./.

International organizations forecast strong growth for Vietnam in 2021

Many international organizations have forecast robust economic recovery for Vietnam in 2021.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Vietnam’s economy to grow 6.5 percent in 2021 despite some economic scarring.

In its 2020 Article IV Consultation report with Vietnam, the IMF said the country’s growth is projected to strengthen to 6.5 percent, as normalisation of economic activity continues, businesses recover, and private consumption and business investment rebound.

Per the report, manufacturing and retail sales are expected to lead the recovery, while the travel and hospitality services will remain subdued. Net exports will continue to contribute positively to growth as external demand picks up.

Economic scarring due to disruptions to domestic activity and the labour market will temporarily weigh on potential growth as labour re-allocation gradually takes place, and capital stays idle in the hardest-hit sectors.

The Standard Chartered Bank has forecast Vietnam’s economy will grow at 7.8 percent this year with manufacturing driving the revival.

Meanwhile, a preliminary assessment by the ASEAN 3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) said the nation’s GDP growth will rebound to 7 percent this year, driven by a recovery in external demand, a resilient domestic economy, and increased production capacity.

Market researcher Fitch Solutions expects that Vietnam’s economy will grow 6.5 percent each year over the course of the next 10 years as the Government diversifies export markets and improves infrastructure./.

Vietnam boasts potential to become international resort destination: Savills

 

Vietnam has the potential to turn itself into an international resort destination that can compete with tourism powerhouses like Thailand and Indonesia, according to Savills Vietnam experts.  

In addition to major tourist destinations such as Hanoi, HCM City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc Island, new destinations appearing recently such as Ho Tram in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Thuan, and Hoa Binh are also attracting a lot of attention from the market.

Savills Hotels cited as examples the Ho Tram and Long Hai areas in Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Over the next three years, the localities will see nine new projects entering the local market and five existing projects extended, providing an estimated 7,600 rooms, according to Savills.

Meanwhile, key infrastructure projects, like the highway network connecting the southern region, the Mekong Delta, and Long Thanh International Airport, will act as a catalyst for the promotion of regional tourism and investment. /.

Vietnam-UK trade expands 29.2 percent in Jan-Feb

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the UK in the first two months of the year surged 29.2 percent year-on-year, hitting 1.1 billion USD, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ministry attributed the impressive result to the positive effect of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) which took effect on January 1.

The agreement has greatly facilitated trade activities between the two countries, it said.

Vietnam’s export turnover to the European nation totalled 998 million USD in the reviewed period, expanding 33 percent from the same period last year.

This is an impressive growth in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic still poses severe impacts on trade activities.

Rice, textiles, footwear, wood and vegetables are products greatly benefiting from the UKVFTA, the ministry said./.

BIDV plans to increase charter capital by over 360 million USD

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) plans to increase its charter capital by 8.304 trillion VND (361 million USD) to 48.5 trillion VND, up 20.6 percent against that on December 31, 2020.

The plan is expected to be submitted for approval at the bank’s general shareholders’ meeting 2021 on March 12 in Hanoi.

The plan includes the issuance of 207.3 million shares to pay for dividends in 2019 (5.2 percent), and 281.5 million shares to pay for dividends in 2020 (7 percent). The dividend payouts are expected to be conducted in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

In addition, BIDV plans to issue 341.5 million new shares, equivalent to 8.5 percent of the charter capital, to be sold to the public. The issuance will be carried out during 2021-2022 after getting the approval from authorized State office.

This year, the bank also sets targets of 10-12 percent in credit balance growth, 12-15 percent in capital mobilization growth, 13 trillion VND in pre-tax profits, and under 1.6 percent in the rate of bad debts.

Last year, BIDV posted pre-tax profits of over 9 trillion VND and a total asset of over 1.5 quadrillion VND, up 1.8 percent year-on-year, making it maintain a joint stock commercial bank with the biggest asset in Vietnam./.

Rubber exports rocket in two months

Vietnam’s rubber exports in the first two months of 2021 doubled in both volume and value compared to the same period last year, after months of slowdown, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In January – February, rubber shipments reached 320,000 tonnes, a jump of 89.9 percent from a year earlier, while value totalled 516 million USD, a 2.1-fold increase year-on-year

Rubber price also rebounded, averaging 1,608 USD per tonne in January, up 10.3 percent year-on-year.

China was Vietnam’s top importer, purchasing 72.7 percent of rubber exported by the Southeast Asian country. It was followed by India (4.6 percent) and the Republic of Korea (2.7 percent).

The MARD’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority forecast the price will rise further on the back of short supply and surges in international benchmark prices for natural rubber on Japan’s Osaka Exchange (OSE) over the previous month.

The US’s approval of a 1.9-trillion-USD coronavirus relief package and expected growth of auto sales in China in 2021 also provide a bright outlook for the global rubber market in the time ahead.

Vietnam exported about 2.3 billion USD worth of rubber annually, making it one of the country’s key currency earners./.

Vietnam Expo 2021 set for April

The 30th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo 2021) will take place in Hanoi from April 14-17, according to the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad).

On display will be machinery, equipment, supporting industry products, electrical and electronic products, food and beverages, and farm produce for export.

Hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the annual event aims to boost exports, develop the domestic market, and expand and diversify trade promotion activities during global economic integration.

Exhibitors involved in digital transformation are encouraged to join a priority area.

Seminars on digital transformation are also on the agenda.

A Vinexad representative said that online meetings can be arranged via Zoom during the fair.

This will be the sixth consecutive year the “Invest in Vietnam” booth cluster will be placed in the centre of the trade fair to introduce the strengths of and new policies on investment attraction for eight key industries from Yen Bai, Bac Ninh, Nghe An, Khanh Hoa, An Giang, Dong Thap, and Vinh Long provinces.

Participating firms will be invited by trade, investment, and tourism promotion centres from HCM City, Tay Ninh, Quang Tri, Ninh Binh, Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Tien Giang, Thanh Hoa, Hai Duong, and Bac Giang./.

GS25 opens 100th store in Vietnam

GS Retail from the Republic of Korea (RoK) has opened its 100th GS25 store in Vietnam, at the Becamex Binh Duong building in the southern province of Binh Duong, according to RoK broadcaster KBS.

GS expanded the chain to other localities like Binh Duong and Vung Tau following the launch of its first store in Ho Chi Minh City in 2018.

It has officially begun franchising its brand, thus opening more than 100 stores each year in different localities around Vietnam, including Hanoi.

In the first two months of this year, GS25 posted a revenue increase of 46.7 percent year-on-year in Vietnam, while opening an additional 33 stores - putting its total among the highest for a grocery brand in the country.

Cafe25, GS25’s coffee brand, saw revenue increase 283 percent year-on-year in the first two months.

The firm plans to open its first store in Mongolia in the first half of this year./.

Plan being built to develop major SoEs

A plan is being devised to develop large-scale State-owned enterprises (SoEs), especially multi-ownership ones, to promote their role in paving the way for and guiding businesses in other economic sectors.

There are seven SoEs initially proposed for the plan, including three in the hi-tech industry (Military Industry and Telecoms Group – Viettel, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group – VNPT, and Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Corporation – MobiFone), two in the renewable energy industry (Vietnam Electricity Group – EVN and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group – PetroVietnam), one in the seaport and logistics sector (Saigon Newport Corporation), and one in the finance – banking sector (Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam – Vietcombank).

Apart from total assets of over 20 trillion VND (870.6 million USD), other criteria for such firms include a market share of at least 30 percent, meeting competition regulations, a return on equity of more than 6, and good governance based on OECD principles.

Besides, the industries entitled to special mechanisms and policies are identified basing on their role in guiding the development of businesses, their importance in developing and orienting industries, and the necessity of the State’s presence in those sectors.

Speaking at a meeting in Hanoi on March 10, Le Manh Hung, Director of the Enterprise Development Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the plan aims to develop some SoEs that are capable of paving the way for and guiding other firms, connecting with the private business sector, mastering technology, and forming innovation chains.

He explained that the “paving-the-way” enterprises are the new ones that meet the country’s development demand while the “guiding” companies are the ones that can form connectivity and value chains and promote innovation with the participation of firms in other economic sectors.

The general policies proposed in the draft plan accord with the country’s socio-economic development orientations and international commitments and also ensure fair competition, the official noted./.

VIETRADE, Sendo helping stimulate farm produce demand amid COVID-19

The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and e-commerce platform Sendo.vn are helping businesses to sell farm produce online and promote digital transformation and the application of technology in trade activities.

Vice Director of VIETRADE Hoang Minh Chien revealed the joint effort at a programme officially launched by the two sides on March 10.

The agency is coordinating with domestic and foreign partners to support enterprises tackling the difficulties posed by COVID-19 via improving their abilities and establishing strategic and sustainable consumption channels for products with potential.

It has set up a “national programme of trade promotion” pavilion on Sendo.vn and a number of other platforms to promote the consumption of farm products from Hai Duong province and products of potential from other localities around the country.

The pavilion focuses on helping localities facing difficulties in selling agricultural products because of COVID-19, Chien said, adding that local authorities can register with VIETTRADE to receive information and implement associated activities.

In particular, the agency will coordinate with the departments of Industry and Trade and Agriculture and Rural Development in certain localities to help them promote their products through joining supply chains, applying e-commerce on domestic and international platforms, and building brands.

Since March 9, the programme to stimulate demand for farm produce launched by VIETRADE and Sendo has helped promote the consumption of 6 tonnes of agricultural products from Hai Duong, including cabbage, kohlrabi, tomatoes, and fruit, Chien said.

Focusing on Hanoi through Sendo, the programme is scheduled to take place in March. Accordingly, VIETRADE will help Sendo connect with suppliers of high-quality and origin-certified farm produce in Hai Duong.

Apart from introducing high-quality products to consumers, the programme also aims to raise public awareness, especially among farmers, cooperatives, and business households, about the requirements of customers in terms of production and business, and improve e-commerce and the sustainable e-commerce skills of farmers and businesses./.

Vietnam's annual growth to reach 6.5 pct. during next decade: Fitch Solutions

Vietnam’s economy will grow 6.5 percent each year over the course of the next 10 years as the Government diversifies export markets and improves infrastructure, according to market researcher Fitch Solutions.

Although its forecast is lower than the Government’s 6.5-7 percent growth target for the 2021-2025 period, Fitch said newly-signed free trade agreements will help the country expand market access while avoiding any overdependence on a single trade partner.

Vietnam plans to prioritise the importation of machinery and high-tech equipment, it went on, adding that this requires an increase in skill levels, which may only improve slowly over the next decade.

Regarding infrastructure development, Vietnam plans to complete the eastern cluster of the North-South Expressway, the first phase of Long Thanh International Airport, and over 1,700 km of coastal roads from the northern province of Quang Ninh to the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

Its targets posting a budget deficit of 3.7 percent of GDP, with public debt at 47.5 percent of GDP in the next five years - less than the 65 percent limit.

Fitch believes this is feasible given the country’s economic potential.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Vietnam’s GDP grew 2.9 percent last year but it was one of only a few countries to post positive growth, which was higher than China’s 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, economists from the Bank of America forecast economic growth of 9.3 percent for Vietnam in 2021 - substantially higher than the 6.8 percent projected by the World Bank./.

HCM City eyes 48.1 billion USD in exports in 2021

Ho Chi Minh City has targeted posting export revenue of 48.1 billion USD this year, giving a boost to the shipment of its key earners.

In the first two months of the year it pocketed 7.6 billion USD from exports, a year-on-year increase of 26.5 percent.

According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, China remained the largest importer of the city's businesses, with export turnover reaching 1.7 billion USD, up 31.6 percent year-on-year, followed by the US with 1.1 billion USD and Hong Kong (China) with 737 million USD.

The southern hub is encouraging newly-established firms to to focus on manufacture key industrial products with potential during the 2021-2025 period, including in mechanics, rubber-plastic, food-foodstuffs, IT-electronics-telecommunications, garment-textiles, and pharmaceuticals.

It is building an inter-sector coordination mechanism to develop markets for key local products, while working to attract skilled workers to create high-quality products with greater added value.

The Department of Industry and Trade is joining hands with relevant parties to develop a domestic supporting industry supply chain, helping local companies cut input costs and improve their competitive capacity.

They will work together to enhance trade promotion and support businesses to reach out to the world./.

Foxconn poised to invest US$700 million in Vietnam this year

Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan (China), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, is set to invest a sum of US$700 million into the nation over the course of the coming year, generating a total of 10,000 jobs and raking in US$10 billion in the process, according to reports published on March 10 by the Taiwan News.

The Taiwanese enterprise began investing in the country back in 2007, with the majority of its operations being based in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, and Vinh Phuc. Following this, 2019 saw the group expand its investment in Quang Ninh whilst simultaneously increasing the scale of investment in Bac Giang.

Most notably, Foxconn had already invested a sum of US$1.5 billion in the country by the end of 2020, although its latest plan would see the creation of an additional 10,000 jobs this year, as reported by the Central News Agency (CNA).

One of the company’s major projects is the Fukang Technology Company factory in the northern province of Bac Giang which has been developed at a cost of US$270 million and features investment from Foxconn Singapore PTE Ltd.

Located in Quang Chau Industrial Park, the Fukang Technology Factory was established with the primary aim of manufacturing and outsourcing tablets and laptops at a capacity of approximately eight million products annually. Efforts to develop the factory were boosted by Apple Inc. requesting that its suppliers shift their production lines out of China and into new locations.

Foxconn’s total revenue in the nation amounted to US$3 billion in 2019, growing to US$6 billion in 2020, and could top US$10 billion this year, with US$40 billion being set as a target to reach within the course of the next three to five years.

Cashew exports surge 46% over two months

Vietnam exported 75,000 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$442 million during the opening two months of the year, representing an increase of 46.1% in volume and 21.5% in value compared to the same period from last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The MARD also revealed that February alone saw processing businesses ship 30,000 tonnes of cashew abroad worth US$174 million, bringing the export volume during the reviewed period up to 75,000 tonnes.

As of January, the United States, China, and the Netherlands made up the three largest importers of Vietnamese cashew with market shares of 24.4%, 19.2%, and 10.3%, respectively, in terms of the total value of cashew exports.

January witnessed cashew exports enjoy an upward trend in almost all markets, with the exception of the UK, Thailand, and France.

With import demand for raw cashew increasing significantly, the General Department of Vietnam Customs puts this down to a sharp rise in cashew export volume.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese processors imported 70,000 tonnes of cashew nuts worth US$90 million in February, raising the total import volume during the two-month period to 194,000 tonnes worth US$270 million, an annual rise of 82.8% in volume and 53.5% in value.

Cashew nut prices are projected to rise due to limited supplies locally, with the purchase price of raw cashew remaining high.

Alongside advantages in terms of the implementation of free trade agreements (FTAs), industry experts anticipate that the price of cashew nuts will recover during the course of the year.

Vietnam enjoys trade surplus with UAE market

Vietnamese export turnover to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) soared by roughly 60% to approximately US$737 million during the past two months, with imports enjoying a surge of 44% to US$72 million, according to data released by the Vietnamese Trade Office in the UAE and Qatar.

Overall, the total two-way trade turnover during the reviewed period recorded an increase of 58% to US$809 million compared to the same period from last year.

Phones and components remain the major export items to the UAE, raking in US$551 million, a year-on-year increase of nearly 108%, thereby making up two-thirds of total export turnover.

Vietnamese agro-aquatic exports to the Middle Eastern state have also experienced robust growth, with turnover of key export commodity groups such as cashew nuts, fisheries products, fruit and vegetables, and pepper witnessing significant increases. By contrast, the export turnover of footwear and textiles endured a decline due to the adverse range of impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent years has seen the UAE become one of the country’s ten major export partners, along with its largest export partner in both the Middle East and Africa.

Due to its advantageous geographical location, flexible foreign trade policies, modern infrastructure, along with the normalisation of relations with some other countries in the region, the UAE can be considered a gateway for Vietnamese goods looking to make breakthroughs in the Middle East and Africa as a whole.

There is plenty of potential for local firms to make further inroads into the UAE market given such as factors as the recovery of consumption demand globally in the post-COVID-19 period, coupled with trade promotion activities carried out by relevant Vietnamese agencies, said the Trade Office.

Only easy-land-clearance projects allowed in Foreign Investment List
 
The Ministry of Planning and Investment is preparing the final draft for the national list of foreign investment projects in the period from 2021-2025. There are 159 projects in the list, with the total investment of US$86 billion. They are chosen from 332 nominated projects by ministries and localities.

The 159 selected projects this time are of different fields, ranging from transport (34 projects), agriculture – forestry and fisheries (37), manufacturing and services (17), industrial park infrastructure (24), culture – sports – tourism (14), energy (9), information technology (9).

Since the final decision to carry out these projects belongs to investors, the reality shows that in the end, many of them have been neglected by investors.

To amend this unwanted situation, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung shared that projects entering the list this time must satisfy specific criteria. Also, sufficient information must be presented so that interested investors can carefully consider the feasibility of those projects for their final decision.

Noticeably, only projects that have finished land clearance or own favorable conditions for this task to ensure the feasibility are allowed in this list.

The list is built based on adjustable principles and is updated annually.

There is a high priority to national key projects; projects by strategic investors and multi-national corporations; projects to construct innovative centers and research labs; projects of an inter-regional nature to create industrial zones; projects to boost connections between areas in the nation to take full advantages of each region’s strengths.

First solar power plant in Hau Giang put into operation

The first solar power plant in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang, which was invested by Halcom Vietnam JSC and Japan’s SE Group, was officially put into operation today, March 12, featuring 79,000 solar panels.

The 35-megawatt-peak solar farm is expected to generate some 50,800 megawatt hours of electricity and bring annual revenue of VND80 billion.

The VKT-Hoa An Solar Plant JSC is in charge of managing the plant.

After six months of construction since June 2020, the VND700-billion project, covering an area of 33 hectares, was connected to the national grid late last year.

Nguyen Quang Huan, chairman of Halcom Vietnam JSC, said the project was just the first step in a long-term and sustainable investment plan of the company in Hau Giang. The company has received approval from the province to develop the Hau Giang II solar power project with a capacity of 40 megawatt peaks to optimize the available infrastructure.

In addition, the firm expected to invest in infrastructure, urban development, water supply, wastewater drainage and other sectors in the circular economy, contributing to the province’s development and making it an attractive destination for investors.

The Hau Giang solar power plant marks the company’s success in creating clean energy. It is expected to reach a capacity of 300-500 megawatts by 2025, Huan noted.

Besides the plant, Halcom Vietnam last year put into operation the Phuong Mai 3 wind power project in the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone in the south-central province of Binh Dinh.

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

 

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