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Vietnam’s tuna exports to EU see strong surge thanks to EVFTA

Vietnam exported 15,870 tonnes of tuna worth 73.33 million USD to the European Union in the first half of 2021, up 39.3 percent and 31.6 percent, respectively, against the same period last year, according to a journal published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The tuna shipments accounted for about 15.1 percent of Vietnam’s total seafood export value to the EU.

In the second quarter of 2021, the country shipped 9,360 tonnes of tuna to this market, raking in 45.05 million USD, up 43.9 percent in volume and 59.3 percent in value from the previous quarter.

The surges were attributed to tariff reductions granted to Vietnam’s tuna products under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1, 2020.

According to the MoIT, Vietnamese tuna was sold at 4.62 USD per kg on average to the EU in the first six months of the year, down 0.27 percent year on year. The global tuna prices have been declining on the back of weakening demand of canned tuna during the period.

Significant growth was seen in a number of EU markets, including Poland which recorded imports of Vietnamese tuna rocketing 989 percent in volume and 608.6 percent in value, and Bulgaria, 289 percent and 229 percent, respectively.

Data from the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) showed that Vietnam was the EU’s eighth largest provider of tuna outside the union in the first four months of 2021, making up a 4.9 percent share of the EU’s total tuna imports, compared to 4 percent in the same period last year.

The MoIT’s Agency of Foreign Trade warned that Vietnam’s tuna shipments are likely to continue facing difficulties from the EU as a result of the COVID-19 resurgence and the “yellow card” warning on the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing imposed by the EC on Vietnam./.

Online shopping rises 50 percent in Hanoi during social distancing

Online shopping through e-commerce platforms by consumers in Hanoi rose 30-50 percent in four social distancing periods, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade.

Acting Director of the department Tran Thi Phuong Lan said that goods supplies have been ensured in the city to meet the demand of local residents amid social distancing.

The department has also rolled out measures to support farmers in selling their products, while allowing farm produce from 22 other cities and provinces to be sold in the capital city, she said, noting that over 200,000 tonnes of agricultural and aquatic products were consumed in only 10 days as of September 21.

Along with creating optimal conditions for the transport of goods, the city has quickly conducted testing and vaccination on labourers working in goods distribution system. So far, all of them have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, said Lan.

She said that the department has directed the diversifying of goods selling methods, focusing on promoting e-commerce.

Meanwhile, it has given advice to the municipal People’s Committee on the issuance of a set of safe production and business criteria, along with guiding local firms to devise safe operation plans. The department has also listened to ideas from local enterprises to make proposals to authorised agencies on solutions to remove obstacles facing them, especially those relating to capital, tax, goods transport and export.

Once the pandemic is completely controlled, the department will make advice to the city authorities to launch trade facilitation programmes to help local firms sell their products, she stated./.

Apartment owners look to cut their losses

Severe ongoing restrictions have forced many individual investors to lower prices and sell their real estate products to balance cash flow after a long time of little to no liquidity.

Selling quotations have been high since the establishment of Thu Duc city in Ho Chi Minh City. However, over the past few months, apartment and townhouse projects are being quoted at a much lower price compared to before this summer’s restrictions took hold.

According to Bui Tung, a freelance broker in Thu Duc city, a ​​​100-square-metre townhouse in Pho Dong Village could be sold at around $435,000 per unit.

This is 40 per cent higher than before the establishment of Thu Duc city in 2020. However, the units were advertised in the last three weeks at a discount of $17,400-21,700 per unit.

The reason for this price reduction, according to Tung, is that many property owners cannot afford the interest of bank loans as long as the pandemic persists.

“My clients whose property I sell said that they want to sell the property as soon as they can to avoid interest rates from banks,” Tung said.

Meanwhile, many apartment buyers are also looking to sell to reduce financial pressure.

Minh Cuong is an investor who bought an apartment in Binh Duong province. Up to now, he has paid 70 per cent of the apartment value to the project developer. However, Cuong now has to find a way to sell his apartment because his finances are exhausted.

“My next installment payment is due in October but a cousin who promised to lend me the sum can no longer do so. He is also having financial difficulties caused by the pandemic,” Cuong said.

Income from the apartment and house rental dropped sharply, while interest expenses did not decrease, strongly impacting financial capacity. Therefore, investors have to sell their apartments at equal or even lower prices than they bought them to recoup their capital.

In Hanoi, many apartments in the D’Capitale Tran Duy Hung project were recently advertised with a sharp reduction in price. A 2-bedroom unit in this project sold at $182,600 in 2017 is now advertised at 70 per cent of this price only.

A similar situation was seen at Sunshine City where many owners are selling at $1,600 per sq.m compared to the previous $1,830.

High-end apartments in Hanoi, mainly in Hadong, Thanh Xuan, Cau Giay, and South Tu Liem districts, are also sold at a reduced price of around $130-215 per sq.m.

Distressed sales are even higher in condotel apartments after two years of legal delays, with condotels not yet recognised as accommodation.

In Nha Trang, many condotels on Tran Phu, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Tat Thanh, and Pham Van Dong streets are being offered at a common reduction of $4,400-13,000 per unit compared to the same period of last year. Many owners are selling at around the same drop in the popular Danang streets of Ly Thuong Kiet, Truong Sa, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Ngo Quyen.

Reductions are often being reported by the owners themselves, and not by the developer. Some current owners are struggling to balance their cash flow, and then look to sell their properties. Meanwhile, the price cuts have not involved existing developers because the fund of property products that can be sold to the market is very limited.

Even though prices have dropped in some areas and projects, developers are finding it hard to grasp buyers because of social distancing regulations. On top of that, selling through online channels is not yet efficient enough for most, especially for small investors or individual sellers.

Nguyen Van Dinh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of Real Estate Realtors said, “The trend of distressing apartments and condotels has appeared from the previous waves of the pandemic. If the pandemic lasts until the end of this year, many more assets will be offered at much-reduced prices.”

VCCI launches virtual workplace platform on COVID-19 response solutions

A virtual workplace platform named VCCI-Workplace was launched on September 24 by the Business Cooperation Council in Response to COVID-19 under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to help enterprises in the fight against COVID-19 and resume production and business.

According to VCCI, given complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will have to live with the pandemic in the long run. Thus, it set up the Business Cooperation Council in Response to COVID-19 and coordinated with Facebook to build the virtual platform.

The council aims to promptly update and reflect arising issues and difficulties facing the business community and to collect the community’s recommendations and suggest related policies and solutions to coping with COVID-19 to the Government and relevant agencies. It will create links among business leaders for cooperation, and information and experience exchanges to combat COVID-19 and sustain production and business operations.

The platform works round the clock to collect enterprises’ feedback on their issues and proposals to the government and to provide them with consultancy. It will also help connect participating enterprises for experience sharing, mutual support, and trade promotion.

All businesses can participate but only those who are chairmen, general directors, and directors of the businesses are eligible to interact on the platform. Interested representatives from enterprises can register on the council's website at:

According to Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of VCCI and head of the council's secretariat, the VCCI-Workplace platform will allow fast and multi-dimensional information sharing and support making timely decisions as well as more effective teamwork, helping to improve the cooperation between the council and members who are business representatives./.

SHB approved to increase charter capital to 1.16 billion USD

The Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) was given approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to increase its charter capital from the current 19.2 trillion VND (843.2 million USD) to 26.6 trillion VND (1.16 billion USD).

Of which, the bank would add 2 trillion VND by issuing shares to pay dividends with a rate of 10.5 percent from its after-tax profit after setting aside funds in 2020. Another 5.3 trillion VND would be added to the charter capital by issuing shares to existing shareholders with the offering price of 12,500 VND per share.

The charter capital increase aims to improve SHB’s financial potential, expand lending scale, and invest in information technology. Especially, it would help promote the bank's digitisation, realising the goal of becoming a modern retail bank with optimal financial products and services according to Industry 4.0 standards.

Earlier, SHB successfully issued more than 175 million shares to pay the 2019 dividend in May 2021, raising its charter capital to more than 19.2 trillion VND.

In the first half of the year, SHB reached before-tax profit of 3 trillion VND, posting an 86.5 percent year-on-year increase, meeting half of its whole year set target. Its return on equity (ROE) reached 24.3 percent.

As of June 30, its total assets reached 458 trillion VND, increasing 11 percent from the beginning of the year and meeting 99.5 percent of the set target.

More than 1.9 billion shares of SHB would be moved from the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) from October 5.

With the capitalisation of over 51.6 trillion VND, SHB has been one of the most influential stocks on HNX. The move from listing SHB to HoSE will reduce the market capitalisation of HNX by more than 12 percent./.

Woes persist in logistics regulations

Deemed as an emerging logistics hub for the region, Vietnam nevertheless still features some undue regulatory barriers that prevent foreign investors from entering the fast-growing sector.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) recently-released study on small-package delivery services and logistics in Vietnam, there are obstacles in the sector arising from statutory barriers, such as restrictive regulations. The OECD found that logistics as a whole is qualified in legislation as a “conditional business sector”, with the consequence that foreign direct investment (FDI) must satisfy certain conditions and is subject to specific limitations.

Amongst others, foreign investors must obtain merger and acquisition (M&A) approval and meet several requirements on economic needs test, morality, community health, and more. Furthermore, foreigners are not allowed to hold more than 49 per cent shareholding in a public company.

“Over the last 20 years, Vietnam has seen increasing M&A activity, whose percentage growth in terms of value has been faster than in comparable ASEAN economies,” said Ruben Maximiano, a senior competition expert at the OECD. “In regards to investments by foreign companies, Vietnam has made significant reforms to liberalise its FDI regime since 1987. Despite such reforms and increasing M&A activity, foreign companies still face challenges when investing in Vietnam.”

Maximiano told VIR that the inclusion of logistics in the list of conditional business sectors affects logistics activities as diverse as sea freight transport services, container handling, goods transport brokerage services, freight transport services on inland waterways, and road transport services, to name a few.

Higher FDI regulatory restrictiveness in the Vietnamese transport sector compared to certain ASEAN countries is also reflected in the OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index, which measures statutory restrictions on FDI in 69 countries.

In order to remove barriers limiting foreign investments in the logistics sector, the OECD recommended excluding logistics-relevant activities from the list of conditional business sectors. This could be done by applying provisions that are already laid down in Vietnam’s legislation. Such provisions grant the government the power to review activities qualified as conditional business sectors, based on socioeconomic considerations.

According to Jeffrey Tan, head of Group Corporate Development and Technologies at YCH Group, Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chain solutions company, there are still challenges for foreign logistics firms to expand their business in Vietnam. One such instance is the lengthy administrative procedures, and delays in customs clearances will also only increase operational costs.

The establishment of new companies is also subject to conditions on ownership and services, with services being clearly segmented into 16 types, such as cargo handling services, container warehousing services, and cargo agency services. This will lengthen the paperwork for companies like YCH Group, which primarily focuses on being an integrated end-to-end supply chain and logistics solutions provider.

“Although the areas of logistics business in Vietnam have considerably improved as compared to when YCH Group entered the market back in 2009, there are still plenty of restrictions for foreign logistics firms to expand their business in the country, and it is far from being a liberalised logistics industry,” Tan said.

“The Vietnamese government does not only need to focus on simplifying administrative reforms, but also increases investments in logistics infrastructure and warehouses to strengthen its logistics ecosystem and regional connectivity,” Tan added. “This will not only reduce logistics costs, but also increase Vietnam’s trade competitiveness on the global stage.”

In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report, Vietnam was ranked 70th among 190 economies, with reforms focusing on access to credit and taxes. Vietnam still ranks low on the aspects of starting a business and paying tax, ranking 115th and 109th, respectively. Moreover, the report also stresses the need for further digitalisation and streamlining of administrative processes to boost the country’s business environment.

“These will be key factors for Vietnam moving forward,” Tan said. “While there are already reforms in paying taxes and slowly easing procedures in starting a new business, these are the two areas Vietnam still needs to continue to work on.”

According to estimates, Vietnam’s logistics sector will continue growing with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 13.6 per cent until 2023. The sector is dominated by freight transport by water, which accounted for 48 per cent of the total logistics revenues in 2017, though freight transport by road also accounted for a large percentage.

Vietnam has adopted an action plan for the development of logistics services by 2025, which includes ambitious goals regarding infrastructure, policies, business capacity and human resources.

Hanoi to host Taiwan Textile Roadshow next month

Garment products from Taiwan (China) will be showcased at the Taiwan Textile Roadshow held in Hanoi from October 6-7 at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre at 91 Tran Hung Dao Street.

The Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF) and the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad) will coorganised the roadshow under both direct meetings and via online platforms. It is sponsored by the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan. The event aims to strengthen cooperation between Vietnamese and Taiwanese enterprises in the textile and garment sector.

There will be 12 Taiwanese textile manufacturers participating in the event via Zoom, exchanging experience with and introducing products to Vietnamese enterprises with interpretation support.

Taiwanese enterprises will introduce techniques to produce fabric using dyeing treatment that can reduce the impact on the environment. They have also applied innovative technologies in production to produce fabrics with many outstanding features such as fabric from recycled plastic, warp-print fabric, antibacterial fabric, UV protection fabric, cooling and multi-functional fabric.

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

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

Localities attempt to buck funding trend

An increase in financing for operational projects so far this year is demonstrating foreign investors’ trust in the local investment environment and the efforts of localities in improving the business community.

Dong Nai People’s Committee in late August granted an investment certificate for Hyosung Vietnam with added capital of $37 million, increasing the company’s total investment capital in the southern province to $697 million. Hyosung Vietnam, a 100 per cent foreign-invested company that manufactures fabrics, spandex, nylon, and polyester, has poured approximately $1.5 billion into Dong Nai over nearly 15 years of operation.

At the same time, the southern province also licensed South Korean paint manufacturer KCC Vietnam Co., Ltd. to adjust an additional $30 million to expand its manufacturing line, increasing the company’s capital in the province to $111 million.

They are only two of numerous added-capital projects approved in recent months. In Dong Nai, a majority of foreign-invested enterprises are operating at between 25 and 60 per cent capacity compared to before the summer pandemic woes began. However, they are still determined to expand operations with the trust that the current situation can ease before the end of the year.

“Foreign investor expansion is a part of their long-term plans in the province. Along with trust in the investment environment here, they see the potential in Long Thanh International Airport, which is undergoing construction,” Le Van Danh, deputy director of Dong Nai Industrial Zones Management Authority, told VIR.

“The province supports maximum favourable conditions for investors to develop projects. When they prepare dossiers with the full necessary papers, the authorities can take only one day to approve their projects,” Danh said.

In normal times, almost all investors can meet construction deadlines as committed. However, at present, the pandemic is impacting this process. “In newly-registered projects and added-capital projects, the investors are eager to wait for the control of the pandemic in order that they can implement their projects as soon as possible,” Danh added.

Over the past year, global foreign direct investment flows have fallen by 35 per cent to $1 trillion amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the lowest level since 2005 and almost 20 per cent lower than after the 2008 global financial crisis hit, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2021. But after a stronger-than-most 2020 in Vietnam, various cities and provinces are doing all they can to continue their decent progress in this regard.

Masato Kataoka, general director of Ojitex Vietnam Co., Ltd, said that after the success of the first project in Dong Nai, the firm decided to build another factory in Loc An-Binh Son Industral Zone of Long Thanh district, with the total investment capital of $60 million and capacity of 78,000 tonnes of paper products a year.

Kataoka explained that the province has methodical plans for growth and the infrastructure is basically completed. Besides that, the province has made efforts to create regional links to ensure smooth goods transportation. Especially, the leadership team is willing to accompany enterprises to deal with difficulties during the investment process. These reasons are the basis for the company’s decision for investment expansion.

These projects have contributed to lighting up the picture of foreign-invested capital attraction in 2021 thus far. Statistics published by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency showed that during January-August 20, the total newly-registered capital increased by 16.3 per cent on-year to $11.33 billion and the total added capital increased by 2.3 per cent to nearly $5 billion. The number of projects with capital of over $50 million has also increased.

In Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Ho Chi Minh City among others, organised meetings with representatives of the business community have discussed the difficulties and look for solutions. Cities and provinces have inevitably been dealing with problems relating to the production and business activities of a large number of enterprises where social distancing measures are being imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Especially, local authorities are paying attention to issues related to regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control, such as transport control, goods circulation, vaccinations, entry of experts, policies to support businesses, and digital transformation in enterprises. Direct dialogue, emails, and consulting via hotlines are maintained as regularly as possible despite the current restrictions.

Nguyen Van Hieu, head of Planning at Bac Ninh Department of Planning and Investment, told VIR that the province is implementing a four-pronged policy to support and attract investors, covering land, labour force, investment reform, and general support.

“Reforming the investment environment is considered the leading priority to attract investors. In Bac Ninh, the trust and satisfaction of investors are considered the core goal to promote the economic development of the province,” said Hieu. “We support investors through a task force model to work directly with enterprises. Besides that, we gain feedback from organisations and individuals via a hotline when they carry out administrative procedures.”

Teleconference between Government, businesses to take place this weekend

A teleconference between the Prime Minister and the business community, localities will take place in Hanoi on September 26 to discuss support for enterprises amid COVID-19 pandemic, reported the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The event will be co-hosted by the VCCI, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Government Office and people’s committees of centrally-run cities and provinces.

Data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed that in August, the number of firms leaving the market was higher than newly-established ones. In eight months of this year, there were 81,600 newly-established firms but up to 85,500 left the market.

Among those leaving the market, 43,200 firms suspended their operations for a fixed period, up 25.9 percent. Other 30,100 waited for and 12,200 completed business dissolution procedures, marking a respective increase of 24.5 percent and 17.8 percent. On average, nearly 10,700 companies left the market each month.

The GSO also reported that the numbers of new firms and workers, and registered capital in August decreased markedly year-on-year.

As of September 24, the VCCI received suggestions from over 100 business associations and hundreds of firms regarding response to the pandemic. Based on them, the VCCI will make a report to submit to the event.

Earlier on September 17, the VCCI debuted the Business Cooperation Council in response to COVID-19 to offer the quickest support to business community. The council has launched the website and put into operation an online platform where firms could report their difficulties and offer proposals to the Government and localities.

Business associations or firms could register for a member of the council via the website and send recommendations to the event so that the VCCI could collect them and report to the PM and agencies concerned./.

Investment flows into Vinh Phuc rise in nine months despite COVID-19

The northern province of Vinh Phuc raked in close to 1.15 billion USD in investment during the first three quarters of 2021, a slight increase from the same period last year, despite economic uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the end of September, the province has attracted a total of over 5.01 trillion VND (220.46 million USD) in domestic direct investment (DDI) from 10 new projects and two operational ones, 8 percent higher than the plan.

It has licensed 24 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and allowed 19 others to add capital, with the extra investment worth nearly 929 million USD in total, fulfilling 99 percent of the goal.

Vinh Phuc is currently home to 404 valid projects, including 75 DDI projects which have combined registered capital of nearly 19.43 trillion VND. The remainders are FDI projects with total capital of approximately 5.38 billion USD.

As of September 15, 41 percent of the registered DDI and 55 percent of the registered FDI have been disbursed.

The pandemic has caused troubles for many local enterprises in accessing workforce, funding and supply of materials and markets since the beginning of this year. Despite these challenges, the local administration and companies have adopted multiple measures to keep production going and prevent the spread of the virus./.

Support industry development policy need to be part of life

The Government have issued a host of preferential policies for businesses operating in supporting industries over the past time. However, their beneficiaries have said it is difficult for them to access incentives and support from these policies.

In June 2021, the Prime Minister has issued a decree supplementing a previous one on corporate income tax incentives for supporting industry projects.

Accordingly, beneficiaries include enterprises having investment projects implemented before January 1, 2015 on manufacturing supporting industry products on a list of those prioritised for development.

In 2020, the Government issued a resolution on solutions to the development of supporting industries, which set out specific goals for the sector by 2025 and 2030 as well as financial and credit incentives for enterprises involved.

In 2015, a decree on developing supporting industries was issued, offering support policy for organisations and individuals participating in the research and development of prioritised supporting industry products.

However, a large number of firms operating in the field have been facing hurdles accessing the Government’s preferential policies, particularly regarding credit and interest rate.

The reason is that in order to get a loan, businesses need to meet many conditions. Most supporting industry enterprises have small scale, limited financial capacity, no or very little collateral. The demand for loans is often large compared to the size of their assets.

Moreover, the loan needs of supporting industry firms are mostly for medium and long-term to invest in machinery, equipment, and production lines, while preferential credit policies usually apply only to short-term capital and have a small scope of incentives.

In order to realise policies and incentives for supporting industry development into life, opening up opportunities for firms to participate in the global value chain, it is necessary for ministries, branches and localities to come up with relevant solutions and facilitate businesses in accessing the incentives.

Vietnamese enterprises operating in the support industry account for 4.5 percent of the total number of enterprises operating in processing and manufacturing in the country.

Businesses specialising in supporting industries employ 8 percent of the industrial sector’s workforce and contribute 900 trillion VND (39.5 billion USD) or 11 percent of the industrial sector’s total revenue.

Vietnamese enterprises have many opportunities to provide products to assembling and manufacturing enterprises abroad, thus further expanding the country’s supporting industry in the future.

Boosting the development of the supporting industry is one of the important solutions for Vietnam to improve the quality of the economy, ensuring sustainable development avoiding the middle income trap and enhancing the country’s capacity of attracting foreign investment.

The efforts are also expected to encourage and assist domestic firms to join deeper into the supply chain of foreign-invested companies as well as the global supply chain.

The Vietnamese Government approved Resolution 115/NQ-CP in August last year, which clarified solutions to promote Vietnam’s supporting industries, giving specific goals for the sector such as ensuring high level of competitiveness in the next decade. Especially in 2025, Vietnamese firms are expected to meet 45 percent of the basic demands for domestic production and consumption with about 1,000 businesses capable to directly supply supporting products to assembling companies and multinational groups in the Vietnamese territories.

With the same purpose, in late 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched the Vietnam Technology Advice and Solutions from Korea Centre (VITASK) and a mold technology centre.

The establishment of these facilities showed the desire to boost the growth of the supporting industry in a strong manner as well as promote cooperatikn and investment to enhance the capacity of Vietnamese firms in engaging deeper into the global supply chains, meeting the demand for seeking high quality human resources or promissing partners from the Republic of Korea in Vietnam./.

Binh Thuan province makes progress in fighting IUU fishing

The south-central province of Binh Thuan found no cases of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by local farmers from July 2019 to mid-2021, heard a conference on September 24.

Nguyen Van Chien, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said local authorities have paid attention to preventing IUU fishing, particularly fishing vessels' illegal exploitation in foreign waters, over the past time.

Apart from enforcing the 2017 Law on Fisheries, Binh Thuan has drastically carried out the communication work to raise farmers’ awareness of relevant regulations, the official said.

The province has focused on implementing recommendations of the European Commission (EC) regarding the installation of Vessels Monitoring System (VMS) on boats, and supervising fishing activities at sea and ports.

Delegates at the conference discussed obstacles in combating IUU fishing, and countermeasures.

Nguyen Van Phong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said border guards need to closely coordinate with law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to verify and handle violations.

All of the targeted fishing boats must be equipped with the VMS, he requested./.

Hai Phong port receives three container ships of Maersk Line

The Tan Vu port of the Hai Phong Port JSC in the northern city of the same name recently welcomed three container ships of international container shipping company Maersk Line.

They are the MAERSK NUSSFJORD of Panama which measures 171.93m in length, with a capacity of nearly 30,000 tonnes, and the Singaporean-flag MAERSK VALENCIA, with a capacity of over 23,000 tonnes, along with the PADIAN 2 carrying goods of 1,100 TEUs.

The arrival of the three vessels was among activities at Hai Phong Port marking the 30th year of Maersk’s operation in the Vietnamese market.

In August, Hai Phong Port handled goods totalling 7.49 million tonnes and received 164 vessels, including 91 container ships./.

Vietnam, Mexico seek to optimise CPTPP to bolster bilateral trade

The Vietnam-Mexico Joint Committee for economic, trade and investment cooperation convened its third meeting on September 24 via videoconference under the co-chair of Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai and Undersecretary for Foreign Trade in Mexico's Secretariat of Economy Luz María de la Mora.

Both sides reviewed the outcomes of cooperation since the second meeting of the committee in July 2019 in Mexico City, and defined the tasks for the time to come to further foster bilateral partnership in various fields. They shared delight at the progress in the economic and trade ties so far.

They agreed that there is ample room for stronger trade partnership between the two sides thanks to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPCPP).

Both sides underlined the need to continue to increase bilateral trade collaboration through trade promotion activities, focusing on the export of major products of each side to each other's market, as well as fostering close coordination in the implementation of the CPTPP.

At the same time, Vietnam and Mexico also highly valued cooperation results in many fields. Amid the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the meeting was considered a joint effort and determination of both sides in further bolster bilateral partnership, affirming that Vietnam and Mexico consider each other as an important partner in the region and the world.

Concluding the event, Hai and Luz María de la Mora signed the minutes of the meeting./.

Hanoi tourism builds trademarks for local souvenirs

Craft villages and tourism businesses in Hanoi have been tasked with building trademarks for local souvenir products, in line with a plan of the city to carry out the national tourism development strategy to 2030.

Souvenir development is believed to hold huge potential that may greatly contribute to Hanoi’s tourism by increasing tourists’ length of stay and spending.

With more than 1,350 craft villages, Hanoi is a tourism hub of great potential for souvenir development, with many unique products originating from such villages.

According to the association of craft, ancient and cultural villages of Hanoi, 35 villages under its management are able to create hundreds of products and souvenir serving visitors. Many of them receive orders from European and Asian nations.

Head of the association Nguyen Van Su said that the villages, over the years, have stayed connected with well-known tourist destinations to introduce and sell their products.

However, in the home market, traditional gifts have little appeal and competitive edge. The number of products sold as souvenirs at local destinations remains modest, and few of them bear typical traits of the sites.

Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoi Tourist and President of the Hanoi Travel Association, pointed out that souvenir development at craft villages has yet to be effective due to a lack of connectivity and information sharing between the villages and travel agents.

Meanwhile, plain design and limited promotional activities made souvenirs from Hanoi’s craft village unsuitable for domestic and foreign holidaymakers’ taste.

Director of the Temple of Literature’s Centre for Scientific and Cultural Activities Le Xuan Kieu said the site has rolled out a contest to design its own souvenirs. Afterward, it will join hands with craft villages to produce new products.

Head of the Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site Management Board Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy said that it has built a panoply of souvenirs with links to historical stories associated with the relic.

Su said the group of villages have worked with the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem district at the heart of the city and the Hanoi Travel Association, together with some relic sites, on an idea to set up an area introducing craft products, souvenir and gifts created by Hanoi villages.

The move, which is hoped to promote the quintessence of local craft villages and enhance visitors’ experience, requires stronger collaboration amongst local craft villages, tourist destinations as well as tourism company, insiders said.

At present, the Hanoi Department of Tourism and the municipal People’s Committee are mulling over the organisation of a festival on Hanoi souvenir and gifts this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

The number of tourists to Hanoi in the first half of 2021 is estimated at 2.9 million, down 25 percent year-on-year, according to the municipal Tourism Department.

The city has earned only 8.1 trillion VND (352.6 million USD) from tourism services, a year-on-year decrease of 57 percent.

Currently, Vietnam has not yet opened its doors to international tourists. The number of foreigners coming to Hanoi during this time is modest, mainly experts and workers staying in Vietnam.

Therefore, the capital city’s tourism industry has actively restructured new tourism products with a view to better serving domestic tourists, such as a night tour to explore Thang Long Imperial Citadel – a UNESCO-recognised world cultural heritage site, a folk experience tour to the Museum of Ethnology, or a night tour to the Hoa Lo prison relic site.

The sector has also set an overall target of catering to between 13.16 and 19.4 million tourists, including 10.96-15.34 million domestic visitors, for this year.

Hanoi attracted some 8.65 million holidaymakers in 2020, equivalent to 30 percent as compared with 2019, of whom foreign arrivals were estimated at 1.11 million, equivalent to 15.8 percent from last year./.

Mekong Delta provinces seek to bolster key exports

The fourth COVID-19 outbreak has forced 13 southwestern provinces into strict social distancing for a prolonged period of time. Despite facing many difficulties, enterprises have managed to maintain production and exports, and many provinces have even recorded export growth compared to 2020.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, total exports from the Mekong Delta region reached US$9.5 billion as of the end of August, up 8.8% over the same period last year. The region’s export strengths are mostly agricultural commodities such as rice, catfish and shrimps.

In mid-September, Camimex Foods, one of the six largest seafood producers in Ca Mau Province, saw more than 1,100 workers returning to normal work, 80% of its permanent workforce, helping raise its productivity from 30% to 60%.

Camimex Foods General Director Bui Duc Cuong said the company is prepared to cope with the epidemic for a long time so it has taken every measure to ensure safety and maintain production while not disrupting the supply chain. He added that it is also the foundation for the company to keep its export targets unchanged at US$120 million in 2021, up 20% from last year.

According to Ca Mau’s policies, locally enterprises do not have to follow the “three on-site” and “one route, two destinations” models once social distancing measures are relaxed. Enterprises are now to be given more autonomy in issuing travel permits for employees but must increase testing frequency and enhance other preventive measures.

Director of the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Van Do said the seafood industry is still growing, reaching US$652 million, up 17.6% over the same period last year.

General Director Tran Van Tuan of Khanh Sung, a shrimp farming company in Soc Trang Province proposed the provincial authorities accelerate vaccination for workers in the shrimp production and processing industry as it is the locus of Soc Trang and the wider Mekong Delta region.

According to Soc Trang Party Secretary Lam Van Man, shrimp prices are rising as the epidemic is gradually being brought under control. The province currently has 20 seafood exporters, the largest five specialising in shrimp, accounting for three quarters of seafood exports. Soc Trang is currently the national leader in seafood exports, with revenue of US$600 million, accounting for 12% of the country’s total.

In the first eight months of 2021, Kien Giang’s exports were estimated at nearly US$510 million, up 8.62% over the same period last year, with the rises seen in key products such as rice, frozen shrimp, squid and octopus. Similarly An Giang also recorded export growth of over 2% to US$615.47 million.

Director of the An Giang Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Minh Hung said that since the seafood processing industry is labour-intensive and involves closed working spaces, transmission risks are very high. Therefore such enterprises have been forced to reduce their capacity and let their workers sleep over at the factories. An Giang’s export goal for 2021 is US$965 million but the figure in the last eight months has reached only 63.8% of the target. The province is recalculating its growth scenarios.

According to the Can Tho Department of Planning and Investment, during the social distancing period, more than 95% of enterprises in the city had to suspend operations, with 70% of agricultural and seafood exports forced to close.

In the past two weeks, there has been encouraging signs as more than 100 enterprises and cooperatives in Can Tho registered to resume operation. The Mekong Delta province has formulated plans to restore its economy in three steps with the percentage of workers allowed rising from 30% in the first phase, to 30-50% in the second phase and over 50% in the final phase.

Maintaining production while ensuring distancing means significant costs for enterprises, exposing them to the risk of losses. Nguyen Van Hoa, Chairman of the Can Tho Business Association stated that banks should continue to restructure existing loans and grant new loans so that enterprises can have the resources to maintain production.

In addition, local authorities should prioritise vaccination for workers and implement new methods to replace the “three on-site” model so as to reduce the burden on enterprises. 

FTAs boost Vietnam-Chile trade: conference

Free trade agreements to which both Vietnam and Chile are signatories have given a boost to their bilateral trade ties, heard a virtual conference on September 23-24.

The event is jointly held by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Trade Office and the Vietnamese Embassy in Chile, and the Chilean Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

With the participation of more than 50 enterprises from the two countries, the conference aims to help Vietnamese enterprises step up exports to Chile.

Statistics by the MoIT reveal that by the end of August, the two-way trade reached 1.27 billion USD despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Vietnam’s exports to Chile up 44 percent and imports, up 15 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam mainly ships phones, components, machinery, equipment, footwear, and garment-textiles to Chile, while importing seafood, fruit and production materials from the South American country.

Le Hoang Tai, deputy head of Vietrade, said the conference gave businesses of both countries an insight into each other's markets, towards sustainable cooperation.

He said the Vietnamese Government has taken various measures to recover the economy like removing barriers in administrative procedures, promoting digitalisation, and creating optimal conditions for enterprises to join the global business network.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Chile Pham Truong Giang said since the Vietnam-Chile Free Trade Agreement took effect in 2014, the two-way trade has expanded rapidly.

The deal has enabled Vietnamese firms to access quality and affordable materials such as wood pulp and fish paste, and other products like salmon and champagne, he added.

Giang suggested Vietnamese enterprises increase exports to Vietnam in health care, fibers of all kinds, biodegradable bags, and ropes for salmon farming. Meanwhile, Chile should step up the export of sawn timber and wood pulp to Vietnam.

There is still ample room for Vietnamese exporters in Chile – an open market with import tax among the lowest in the world, at below 2 percent, he said, adding that through Chile, Vietnamese enterprises could also expand their operation in other South American nations./.

Vietnam, Thailand seek ways to enhance economic cooperation amidst COVID-19

The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand, in collaboration with the Thai Embassy in Hanoi, co-organised a webinar themed “Vietnam-Thailand economic cooperation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic” on September 23.

The event, part of activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties, attracted the participation of 15 speakers who are leading economic experts, business managers of Thailand and Vietnam and international organisations, together with more than 200 delegates from the two countries’ ministries, agencies, localities and businesses.

In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Phan Chi Thanh highlighted achievements in bilateral economic cooperation. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade hit nearly 13 billion USD in the first 8 months of 2021, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year, thus helping Thailand maintain its position as Vietnam's leading trading partner in ASEAN. Thai investors continue committing to invest in Vietnam with more than 600 projects, with a total capital of more than 13 billion USD.

Thanh thanked Thai businesses for actively joining hands with the Vietnamese government and people in fighting the pandemic, including donations to the vaccine fund and provision of medical equipment for Vietnamese hospitals. He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government is making efforts to implement measures to contain the pandemic and create favourable conditions for economic, production and business activities in the “new normal”.

Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Nikorndej Balankura affirmed that the COVID-19 epidemic has caused unprecedented challenges, but also brought new development opportunities for businesses, so the private sector needs to adapt to the new normal, including digital transformation, and transition to green and sustainable economic sectors.

Nguyen Anh Duong from the Central Institute for Economic Management and expert Siwat Luangsomboon from Kasikorn Bank said that Vietnam has many advantages in economic recovery, with an open economy and opportunities brought about by new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs).

Sanan Angubolkul, Chairman of the Thai-Vietnamese Business Council and Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, proposed carrying out a clear roadmap and safety measures to soon reopen the countries, in which the key is to accelerate vaccinations against COVID-19 and improve the capacity of enterprises in self-response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Audsitti Sroithong, Director of the Thai Investment Promotion Centre in Vietnam, said that the bio-circular-green (BCG) economic model will be a future trend to help countries recover. It will open up big opportunities for countries in the CLMV region (including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) to invest in Thailand and vice versa in the fields of smart agriculture, smart infrastructure, and electric vehicles.

Speaker Johnathan Wong, an economist at UNESCAP, proposed countries promote inclusive economic activities, create opportunities and equal access for vulnerable groups, and improve the capacity of the private sector.

At the second session on trade and investment amidst COVID-19, enterprises recommended the two Governments soon have roadmaps to reopen their countries, promptly propose consistent measures so that businesses can be well prepared, limit the impacts on production and business activities, ease financial burdens, and overcome labour shortages.

Businesses pledged to join hands with the Vietnamese Government in controlling the pandemic and recovering the economy./.

Vietnamese dragon fruit wins consumers’ favour in Australia

Vietnamese dragon fruit not only meets the world's top bio-safety import conditions but also is highly welcomed by Australian consumers, said the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

All customers’ feedback on the website of Australia's largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, rated five stars for the frozen dragon fruit from Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Coles and MCQ supermarket chains are selling fresh Vietnamese dragon fruit all year round.

Director of the HoaAustralia company said dragon fruit is a strategic product of the company to distribute along the coastal cities of Australia, adding that there were times its supply had not met demand.

Under the direction of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia has intensified its activities to promote the fruit in 2020 and 2021.

Since the beginning of 2021, three promotion activities have been held and the export value of Vietnamese dragon fruit to Australia has grown nearly 85 percent on year./.

Vietnam’s seaports set to handle 1.14-1.42 billion tonnes of cargo by 2030

Vietnam’s seaports are set to handle about 1.14-1.42 billion tonnes of cargo, including 38-47 million TEUs of container goods, and welcomed 10.1 – 10.3 million passengers annually by 2030, according to a freshly approved master plan.

Under the master plan on developing domestic seaport network over the next 10 years, with a vision towards 2050, Vietnam aims to develop a uniform system of modern seaports that provide high-quality services, meet needs for socio-economic development, and ensure national security and defence, maritime safety and environmental protection, and improving the economy’s competitiveness. It is expected to help the country fulfill its goal of becoming an upper-middle-income developing country with modern industry by 2030.

The plan gives priority to developing infrastructure at major international gateway ports such as Lach Huyen (Hai Phong) and Cai Mep (Ba Ria-Vung Tau). The country will also adopt suitable policies for the construction of an international transshipment port in Van Phong (Khanh Hoa) and look into the possibility of a port in Tran De (Soc Trang).

The plan classifies Vietnamese seaports into five groups based on their geographical locations. The first group includes five northern ports in Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh. They are set to handle 305-357 million tonnes of cargo and 162,000-164,000 passengers by 2030, with an annual growth of 5-5.3 percent and 1.5-1.6 percent, respectively, by 2050.

The second group consists of six ports in the north central region namely Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue; while the third one features eight ports in the south central provinces of Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

The fourth group comprising five ports in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Duong and Long An are set to handle the largest share of cargo volume – from 461-540 million tonnes – by 2030 and the goods volume going through the ports is forecast to grow 3.5-3.8 percent by 2050.

The last one consists of 12 ports in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and provinces of Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Benh Tre, An Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Kien Giang. They will focus on serving passenger transport with 6.1 – 6.2 million annually by 2030, the largest among the five groups.

Vietnam also plans to develop its network of railways and expressways to enhance connectivity between the Hai Phong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Ports, categorised as special class, and other ports nationwide./.

Nine-month FDI inflows up 4.4 percent despite COVID-19

Despite COVID-19 impacts, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Vietnam during the first nine months of this year rose 4.4 percent year on year to 22.15 billion USD, reported the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

As of September 20, 12.5 billion USD was poured into 1,212 newly-licensed projects, up 20.6 percent in value but the number of projects was down 37.8 percent over the same period last year. Meanwhile, 6.6 billion USD was added into 678 underway projects, a year-on-year rise of 25.6 percent in capital but down 15.8 percent in project number.

Foreign investors also invested nearly 3.2 billion USD to share purchase deals, down 43.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

So far this year, the disbursement of FDI fell 3.5 percent year on year.

Leaders of the Foreign Investment Agency attributed the decreases in the numbers of new and expanded projects to the travel restrictions and long quarantine policy, which made it hard for foreign investors to make surveys for their planned projects. Lockdown and travel restriction measures also affected operations of FDI firms, they added.

Among 18 sectors receiving investment from foreign investors in the first nine months of this year, processing manufacturing took the lead with 11.8 billion USD, accounting for 53.4 percent of the total FDI. It was followed by power production and distribution with over 5.5 billion USD.

Meanwhile, Singapore led 94 countries and territories investing in Vietnam in the period with total investment capital of nearly 6.3 billion USD, followed by the Republic of Korea with over 3.9 billion USD, and Japan with nearly 3.3 billion USD.

The Mekong Delta province of Long An attracted the highest amount of FDI during the period with over 3.6 billion USD, including 3.1 billion USD in a big energy project.

Northern port city of Hai Phong came second with 2.7 billion USD, while Ho Chi Minh City came third with nearly 2.4 billion USD.

The export revenue of the FDI sector still increased in the January-September period by 22.9 percent to nearly 178 billion USD. 

Vietnam, Mexico seek to optimise CPTPP to bolster bilateral trade

The Vietnam-Mexico Joint Committee for economic, trade and investment cooperation has convened its third meeting via videoconference under the co-chair of Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai and Undersecretary for Foreign Trade in Mexico's Secretariat of Luz María de la Mora.

The meeting was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai and Undersecretary for Foreign Trade in Mexico's Secretariat of Economy Luz María de la Mora
Both sides reviewed the outcomes of cooperation since the second meeting of the committee in July 2019 in Mexico City, and defined the tasks for the time to come to further foster bilateral partnership in various fields. They shared delight at the progress in the economic and trade ties so far.

They agreed that there is ample room for stronger trade partnership between the two sides thanks to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPCPP).

Both sides underlined the need to continue to increase bilateral trade collaboration through trade promotion activities, focusing on the export of major products of each side to each other's market, as well as fostering close coordination in the implementation of the CPTPP.

At the same time, Vietnam and Mexico also highly valued cooperation results in many fields. Amid the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the meeting was considered a joint effort and determination of both sides in further bolster bilateral partnership, affirming that Vietnam and Mexico consider each other as an important partner in the region and the world.

Concluding the event, Hai and Luz María de la Mora signed the minutes of the meeting.

Vietnam racks up trade surplus of US$15 billion with EU

Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus of US$15.08 billion with the European Union during the opening eight months of the year following the enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Their two-way trade turnover throughout the reviewed period reached US$36.88 billion, of which exports and imports were US$25.98 billion and US$10.9 billion, up 14.1% and 16.8% respectively year on year.

July alone saw Vietnam enjoy a trade surplus of US$2.03 billion with the EU, representing an increase of 15.25% month on month.

Iron and steel exports continued to skyrocket by 77.89% compared to June, and surged roughly 3.1% year on year.

According to the MoIT’s European-American Market Department, since the enforcement of the EVFTA last year local firms have seized upon the various opportunities to enjoy incentives from the trade deal.

Data from the Import-Export Department reveal that 29.09% of the country’s total exports had used the EUR1 certificate of origin (C/O) form when being shipped to the bloc during the first half of this year.

Several key exports, including vegetables, seafood, phones and computers have now met the rule of origin, with many of these items taking full advantage of tariff preferences under the terms of the trade pact.  

The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Belgium represent the main consumers of Vietnamese goods. As such, the export items that have recorded the highest export turnover in these markets include phones and components, computers, electronic products, shoes, machinery and equipment spare parts, textiles and garments.

With the COVID-19 pandemic being kept under control in both Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces which are home to phone, computer and electronics production lines, the export of these products is anticipated to gradually bounce back in the remaining months of the year.



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



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