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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS NOVEMBER 27

Vietnam, UK yet to tap potential of trade deal
Vietnam, UK yet to tap potential of trade deal hinh anh 1

There remains potential for Vietnam and the UK to tap the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) and expand bilateral trade ties, said Ngo Chung Khanh, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department.

Despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade between Vietnam and the UK has grown in double digits, especially Vietnam's export to the UK market increasing by 15.4%.

This is the clearest proof of the benefits the UKVFTA brings to both sides, Khanh said.

The growth of UK export to Vietnam is higher than that of Vietnam's to UK, helping Vietnamese businesses make more use of raw materials, technologies and products from the UK to improve their production capacity.

The majority of Vietnam’s key products exported to the UK such as coffee, pepper, rubber, vegetables, textiles and footwear have grown remarkably, with some items even rising by nearly 100%.

For example, the increase in fabric import turnover from the UK shows that some Vietnamese enterprises have used imported fabric to produce items meeting rules of origin.

The UK is becoming a supplier of high-value raw materials and technology for Vietnamese businesses, helping them fully tap the benefits of the UKVFTA, Khanh said.

Another advantage is that the UK is a huge market with strong purchasing power, so it is a potential market for Vietnamese firms to expand their exports.

According to Nguyen Anh Duong, head of the Central Institute for Economic Management’s General Research Department, both Vietnam and the UK have exploited each other's advantages to expand trade.

Ngo Sy Hoai, Vice President and Secretary General of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, said Vietnamese businesses should create turning points to produce higher added-value exports by using less labourers and materials, and investing more in corporate governance and modern accounting software.

Trade between Vietnam and the UK topped 5.22 billion USD in the first nine months of this year, of which Vietnam ran a trade surplus of 4.07 billion USD with total export revenue of 4.65 billion, up 8.1% year-on-year.

Vietnam’s exports to the UK are expected to continue rising in the remaining months, especially rice that will grow sharply in the last quarter and even the first two months of 2023.

Tran De port set to become gateway seaport to Mekong Delta

Tran De port in Soc Trang Province is set to become a gateway seaport to the Mekong Delta, according to the master plan for development of Vietnam’s seaport system in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050, as approved by the prime minister.

As per the master plan, the offshore areas of Tran De estuary are zoned for developing the gateway port of the Mekong Delta region, while the land area and waters in the Tran De estuary are projected to serve local industrial parks to transport goods and passengers from the mainland to surrounding islands.

The gateway seaport to the Mekong Delta will be developed to handle container ships with a deadweight tonnage of up to 100,000 TEUs, and bulk cargo ships with a deadweight tonnage of 160,000 tons. It is expected to have total cargo throughput of 30-35 million tons by 2030.

Meanwhile, wharves in the Hau river, downstream of Dai Ngai bridge, categorized as multipurpose terminals, container terminals and passenger terminals, are expected to have total cargo throughput of 2 – 2.1 million tons and 488,000 to 506,000 passengers annually.

More agri products to enter foreign markets

Vietnam’s agricultural sector is expected to grow strongly thanks to several agricultural products receiving green clearance to enter major international markets.

On November 24, the first lot of 5,400 Tan Lac red-flesh grapefruits from the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh was shipped to the United Kingdom after all six samples of the fruit met the European Union and the UK’s requirements, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Hoa Hinh has some 2,600 hectares under red-flesh grapefruit cultivation. Tan Lac District accounts for nearly 10% of the fruit-growing area, and its crops have received a VietGAP certificate and have been certified as organic products. Besides the grapefruit, Tan Lac is also shipping its sugarcane abroad.

On the same day, the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that it had completed the paperwork for lychee exports to Japan, sweet potato imports to China, and pomelo and lime export to New Zealand. Earlier, Vietnamese sweet potatoes were registered for export to China via formal trade channels.

To facilitate the shipment of these products, the department said it will lay out guidelines for localities and relevant agencies on packaging and manufacturing processes to support exporters and farmers.

Daklak wants international airport 

The Central Highlands province of Daklak has written to the Government proposing that the Buon Ma Thuot airport be developed into an international one as early as possible.
Funding for the project would be mobilized from the private sector, according to the provincial government’s proposal.

If approved, the province will map out a detailed plan and send it to the Ministry of Transport for consideration, the local media reported.

The Buon Ma Thuot airport has a passenger terminal with an annual capacity of two million passengers. In 2019, the airport served over one million passengers. The number of passengers passing through the airport is expected to reach 1.4 million in 2022.

A recent study showed that the airport could annually receive some five million passengers by 2030 and the figure could touch seven million passengers by 2050. As such, it is necessary to upgrade the infrastructure at the Buon Ma Thuot airport to meet the travel demands of residents and international tourists.

Binh Duong looks to become smart province by 2030

Binh Duong looks to become a smart city, a modern industrial hub, a leading high-quality service center and a livable and sustainable environment by 2050.

The plan was announced at a conference co-held by the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Becamex IDC and the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning on November 24.

Under the general plan for the province’s development strategy until 2030 with a vision toward 2050, the province will take the lead in shifting to a new development model, heading towards modern industries and high quality services based on innovative ecosystems.

To fulfill its socio-economic growth strategy, the province will focus on some main pillars, including industry, services, smart and ecological urban development, and sustainable and organic agriculture.

NovaGroup to offload 150 million NVL shares

NovaGroup has registered to sell 150 million NVL shares to raise funds to tackle issues related to its bonds and its restructuring plan.

NovaGroup, the largest shareholder of No Va Land Investment Group Corporation (Novaland), which trades its NVL shares on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, holds nearly 711 million NVL shares.

After the share sale, the group will lower its stake in Novaland from 36.46% to 28.77%. The transaction will be conducted via put-through deals between November 30 and December 29.

HCMC to strengthen ties with Mekong Delta provinces

Tran Thanh Man, standing vice chairman of the National Assembly, has said that promoting cooperation between provinces and cities to ensure sustainable growth would help foster regional development post pandemic.

He was speaking at the Mekong Connect 2022 conference held in Can Tho City on November 24. The event was jointly organized by HCMC and members of the ABCD Mekong network, a regional initiative among An Giang, Ben Tre, Can Tho and Dong Thap.

According to Tran Viet Truong, chairman of Can Tho City, HCMC and the Mekong Delta provinces have boosted cooperation in a broad range of issues, including economy, health, education and tourism.

As the regional collaboration endeavors have increasingly gained traction due to rising demands from businesses and local residents, there is still room for improvement, added Truong.

The provincial governments also discussed viable solutions to increase trade, promote connectivity and strengthen integration between localities, with the aim of expanding the market of the Mekong Delta’s agricultural products and specialties.

The initiatives’ goals include improving the communities’ access to safe and high-quality food by establishing interconnected production chains in the region. 

During the event, the authorities of HCMC and Mekong Delta provinces signed agreements to work together on projects of enhancing agricultural sustainability in the region.

Since 2015, Mekong Connect has received considerable attention from entrepreneurs, managers, experts and farmers as an annual forum focusing on the development of the Mekong Delta.

PM inaugurates important items of Southern Petrochemical Complex project

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on November 26 attended the inauguration ceremony of the port-specialised tank cluster and a central utility plant of the Southern Petrochemical Complex project in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

The newly-inaugurated items are essential and inseparable parts of the Southern Petrochemical Complex, a major project of the oil and gas sector which has a total investment of over 5 billion USD.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister  Pham Minh Chinh underlined that despite difficulties during the construction of the cluster and the plant, especially those from COVID-19, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, investors, contractors and relevant agencies exerted great efforts for their completion.

He also attributed the result to the effective cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand, the sound relationship between contractors and the host locality, as well as between central and local agencies.

The Southern Petrochemical Complex has a significant role, together with the Nghi Son Refinery in the north and Binh Son Refinery in the central region, forming a network of refineries across the country, ensuring the supply of petroleum for the domestic market, he noted.

Highlighting the large workload of the project, the PM asked the investors, the local administration and relevant agencies to continue to work hard to finish other items of the project as scheduled with high quality.

He also underscored the motto of turning words into actions, with harmonised interest, shared risks and win-win spirit during the implementation of the project.

Roongrote Rangsiyopash, Chairman and CEO of Siam Cement Group (SCG), one of the leading industrial firms of Thailand and the parent company of Long Son Petrochemicals (LSP) - the investor of the project, said that the complex is a major project of SCG Chemicals in Vietnam, showing a long-term commitment of the firm to the sustainable development of Vietnam.

He said that the project is built with the latest technologies in the region, aiming to ensure operating standards, which demonstrates the group's strong commitment to safety and environmental protection.

After listening to provincial leaders' report, the PM stressed that the locality has great yet untapped potential for development. However, he pointed to environmental protection as a challenge facing the province as it is developing industry and services at the same time.

He reminded the province to promptly complete its master planning with spaces for the development of services, industry and urban areas. The service sector should focus on tourism and logistics, while the industry sector should concentrate on oil and gas, manufacturing-processing and high-tech industries.

The Government leader underlined that the planning should take into account environmental factors to avoid conflicts in the development process, affecting the environment. He also underscored the need to preserve the forest.

Efforts to export bird’s nests to China via official channels

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has signed the Protocol on requirements for quarantine, inspection and veterinary hygiene for bird’s nests of Vietnam to be exported to China after the document was inked by the General Department of Customs of China. 

According to the official, since 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has negotiated with the Chinese side for the official export of this product to the neighbouring country.

China is the world's largest market for bird's nests, accounting for more than 80% of the global market share.  When the market is activated, the bird's nest industry of Vietnam will be restructured, creating higher added value, helping improving the income and profits for bird nest farmers and processing enterprises, the minister said.

Vietnam has many favourable conditions for swiftlet farming with its long coastline, many islands, bays and lagoons. The quality of Vietnam bird's nest products is also considered superior to those in other countries in the region and favoured by Chinese consumers.

Additionally, the country also shares a long border with China, which is very convenient for trading and transporting goods to the Chinese market, thus creating a more competitive advantage for Vietnamese products.

In the past five years, swiftlet farming has developed strongly in 42 provinces and cities nationwide, mainly in the South-central and Central Highlands regions, the ministry said. 

Currently, more than 22,000 swiftlet houses have been installed across the nation with an annual output of about 120 tonnes worth over 500 million USD.

Immediately after signing the protocol, the MARD requested relevant units and agencies to fully inform industry associations, bird’s nest farming sites and farmers about regulations on traceability and food safety under the protocol.

The ministry also requested bird’s nest processing enterprises study and fully comply with the requirements set by the Chinese side on the management of swiftlet-raising establishments and processing facilities to ensure disease control, food safety and traceability.

Associations and businesses need to closely coordinate with specialised agencies and localities to urgently develop and organise a surveillance programme for bird flu and Newcastle disease on swiftlets, and a food safety monitoring plan for bird's nest products.

The MARD will have a strategy and plan to develop the Vietnamese bird's nest industry responsibly and sustainably, preserving the Vietnamese bird's nest brand and meeting the requirements of China, as well as other potential markets, Hoan said.

Southeastern provinces attract over US$10 billion in new investments

Southeastern provinces have attracted more than US$10 billion and VND5 trillion from 20 investment projects in fields such as oil refining, electronics, industrial park infrastructure, tourism and urban development.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh witnessed the presentation of investment certificates, letters of intent and memorandums of understanding to these 20 projects at a conference held by Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in coordination with the Government Office.

The conference deployed the Government’s Resolution 154 on an action plan for carrying out the Politburo’s Resolution 24 on socio-economic development, security and defense in southeastern Vietnam until 2030 with a vision towards 2045.

At the conference, HCMC chairman Phan Van Mai presented four memorandums of understanding with total investment pledges of US$71.2 million.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau awarded three investment certificates with total capital of VND4.8 trillion and US$250 million and seven letters of intent with total capital of more than US$7.9 billion and VND1.8 trillion, including the second phase of the southern petrochemical complex worth US$5.5 billion.

Binh Phuoc Province presented a memorandum of understanding on a VND26-trillion investment project and several investment certificates.

WB pledges to support Southeast region to become leading economic engine of Viet Nam

The World Bank (WB) vows to continue partnership with the Vietnamese side to facilitate the implementation of the reforms needed to make the Southeast region a leading economic engine of Viet Nam.

WB Country Director for Viet Nam Carolyn Turk made the above statement at a conference on launching an Action Plan to implement Resolution 24-NQ/TW by the Political Bureau on the directions for economic-social development and ensuring security and national defense in the Southeast region until 2030, with a vision to 2045, which took place in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on Saturday.

According to Carolyn Turk, the Southeast region has historically played a vital role as an economic growth pole for Viet Nam and the WB has accompanied the competitive development of this region through investment financing in some of the constituting provinces of the region and through analytical and advisory activities.

Among the six socio-economic regions of Viet Nam, the Southeast region, anchored around Ho Chi Minh City and including the five provinces (Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Phuoc, and Tay Ninh), is the most urbanized and economically vibrant region of the country, responsible for the lion's share of Viet Nam's growth and development.

Known as the "workshop" of Viet Nam and a key destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the past decades, the region has been important driver of national economic growth. The region has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Viet Nam.

From 2016 to 2020, the Southeast region provinces accounted for 40 percent of the national GDP and 42 percent of the country's FDI even as it comprised just 23.4 percent of the national population.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes

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