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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 30

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue meets US businesses

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue had an online working session with a high-ranking business delegation from the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) on September 30 at the request of the council’s President & CEO Ted Osius.

The Vietnamese top legislator highly valued the great contributions by Osius, who is also the former US Ambassador to Vietnam, and other US officials to the Vietnam-US relations over the years, as well as the contributions of US business community and the USABC to the economic development in Vietnam as well as the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US.

He affirmed that Vietnam always attaches importance to the ties with the US and hopes to promote the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership. He said practical outcomes have been seen in action plans that the Vietnamese Government has made to boost bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Hue thanked the valuable support that the US Government, people and businesses have given to Vietnam in COVID-19 prevention and control, especially through vaccine provision, helping the country control the pandemic soon and gradually resume production and economic development.

Hue also lauded US pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for supplying vaccines for Vietnam, especially during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the country with the dangerous Delta variant.

He expressed his hope that participants will discuss issues of shared concern of Vietnam and the USABC as well as specific matters of US investors.

For his part, Ted Osius hailed Vietnam’s efforts to ensuring that all people and businesses can adapt to the new situation and improving COVID-19 approaches. He underlined the USABC’s hope to cooperate with the Vietnamese Government in maintaining production, creating jobs and promoting economic development.

The US business community commits to supporting the dual targets of Vietnam in controlling the pandemic and boosting economic development at the same time, as well as the country’s adaption to the 'new normal'./.

Experts define legal risks for local exporters in e-commerce transactions

Though e-commerce channels are considered one of the best solutions to sell local products amid the pandemic, legal risks from the activities remain a concern.

According to experts during an online seminar titled "Solutions for exporters in the digital transformation process" organised by the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC) and the Viet Nam E-commerce Association (VECOM) yesterday, the pandemic had a negative impact on economic development nationwide, especially the manufacturing industry. However it also drove local digital transformation and created many breakthroughs in smart manufacturing, while businesses have found new directions by applying digital transformation in their production activities.

Chau Viet Bac, deputy secretary-general of VIAC said that cross-border e-commerce in 2021 will increase by 25.7 per cent from 2020, adding traditional import and export transactions were gradually replaced by websites and e-commerce platforms.

Bac said: "Contracts using electronic signatures also increased by 17 per cent compared to before the pandemic,” adding “timely digital transformation will help businesses maintain operations.”

Nguyen Ngoc Dung, vice president of VECOM, said the trend of global cross-border e-commerce from 2014-2020 has increased from 17 per cent to 41 per cent and global cross-border e-commerce transactions in 2021 to date was estimated at US$1.25 trillion.

At the same time, he said Vietnamese e-commerce platforms are gradually developing, with many high-value products being offered for sale online such as cars, electronic equipment and technology.

VECOM's leader added the world's largest e-commerce platform Amazon has invested in and supported Viet Nam by using Vietnamese domain names and Vietnamese language, saying: "This shows that the Vietnamese market has potential for development. Many Vietnamese products such as kitchenware and traditional products are popular and have sold well on Amazon.”

In Viet Nam, e-commerce was becoming a more and more effective channel for local products, especially agricultural ones, with Ben Tre coconut sold on Lazada, Dong Thap lotus sold on Tiki and clean dragon fruits of cooperatives in Binh Thuan sold online too.

Dung said many farmers didn't think they could sell dragon fruit with livestreams, but after training, they started to gain orders both domestically and from abroad.

Dung, however, mentioned that e-commerce in rural localities, the production hubs, only accounted for 30 per cent of the e-commerce structure while the remaining 70 per cent of growth was in big cities of Ha Noi and HCM City, adding: “It is necessary to narrow the gap.”

Bac said: “An effective digital transformation process must have a reasonable strategy and action, especially paying attention to the legal mechanism to be safe and effective”

Nguyen Tuan Hoa, arbitrator of VIAC, said that businesses that wanted to convert digitally for export needed to know how to approach platforms and have reasonable solutions. He said major requirements to be met were to have a product traceability system and maintain the quality and competitiveness of products.

Hoa said in the context that the local production and business process was mainly manually produced with low labour productivity while production was still consuming raw materials and energy, causing environmental pollution, “things must be changed”.

Hoa said the future-oriented production process must be intelligent automatic production, high labour productivity, low consumption of raw materials and energy, especially to improve the customer experience.

To do this, Hoa said: “It is necessary to have digital platforms to develop physical-digital systems, digital infrastructure, digital policies, digital human resources.

"Digital transformation is a revolution in every business where they must have pioneering leaders, connect experts, develop new production methods, integrate technology solutions and have a data management system," the expert said.

Hoa continued: “In the near future, the Government will issue a National Strategy on the development of the digital economy and digital society. In the strategy, there is a plan to develop a team of consultants for digital transformation, advising all industries and professions."

Nguyen Trung Nam, executive director of Tinh Tu Associates Law Firm (EP Legal), said that there are many potential inadequacies and risks in commercial activities with the element of digitisation.

Nam considered one as identity risk as it would be more difficult to verify the identity of a partner, which could lead to illegal activities such as money laundering and forging documents.

Nam added: "Also, gathering evidence in the event of a dispute is also difficult. Data can be difficult to access or inaccessible. In addition, it can be deleted, overwritten, encrypted or hidden," he said.

Therefore, he said e-commerce transactions need to pay attention to verify the electronic identity and find information about the trading floor of exporting goods, adding: “It is necessary to pay attention to customs and tax procedures and to note the separate regulations of each e-commerce platform.”

"VIAC encourages the parties to agree on sessions, including preliminary meetings and online dispute resolution through available platforms," ​​he said. 

Public investment pushes real estate market

Public investment pushes real estate market hinh anh 1

 

The acceleration of investment in transport infrastructure is the main driving force fueling real estate stocks as many businesses with large land plots located in areas near key infrastructure projects will benefit from this process.

The Government has released the medium-term public investment plan for the 2021-2025 period with a total capital of up to 2.87 quadrillion VND (120 billion USD), an increase of 43 percent compared to the 2016-2020 period. The capital is mainly for investment in transport infrastructure in provinces.

According to Viet Dragon Securities Co, the total infrastructure investment in the 2021-2025 period in Hanoi is 332 trillion VND, HCM City 638.5 trillion VND and Dong Nai 595 trillion VND.

In the South, it is apparent that most of the key infrastructure projects under construction or planning will pass through Dong Nai province, namely Long Thanh International Airport, Ben Luc – Long Thanh Expressway, Bien Hoa – Vung Tau expressway, and Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Highway.

Dong Nai real estate market is of special interest to investors. Many large constructors have also become involved in this market such as Novaland, DIC Corp, Dat Xanh and Nam Long, to take advantage of opportunities from infrastructure development.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh sent a document asking the People's Committee of Dong Nai to focus on speeding up the progress of compensation for land clearance and resettlement for people, helping speeding up the construction progress of the Long Thanh airport project phase 1.

By the end of August 2021, Dong Nai had approved the compensation plan for 4,584 cases with an area of more than 1,900 hectares and a total amount of compensation of more than 9 trillion VND.

The Provincial People's Committee has also proposed that the Government support the locality with more than 4 trillion VND to invest in two roads connecting Long Thanh airport, including provincial road 763 and provincial road 770B.

According to analysts, real estate projects located around the airport will benefit in the future.

Notably, the Gem Sky World urban area project developed by Dat Xanh Group, enjoying the advantage of infrastructure and synchronous design of the area, has quickly become a hotspot in the province.

The project attracted many customers. Its self-built townhouses were initially priced at 18 million VND per square metre but now, after a year of opening for sale, its price has increased to over 30 million VND per square metre, up by 70 percent.

The attraction of Dong Nai's real estate market also comes from its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, with Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway being a key intersection connecting the two areas.

The province also has many large industrial parks, which are the driving force for the provincial economy. Currently, there are 32 industrial parks in operation and in 2021, three more parks are completing procedures. It is expected that in the 2021-2030 period, there will be eight new industrial parks.

According to securities companies, with the above advantages, projects such as Aqua City of Novaland, Izumi City of Nam Long Group, and Gem Sky World of Dat Xanh Group, are expected to bring benefits to investors and customers who buy early to invest or settle down. When the social distancing measures are eased and public investment disbursement is accelerated, this group will benefit.

According to ACB Securities Co, in 2021, NVL revenue will total about 21.44 trillion VND, up 327 percent compared to 2020 and profit will reach 4.39 trillion VND, up 12 percent thanks to the revenue contribution mainly from Aqua City, Novahills Mui Ne and NovaWorld Phan Thiet.

For Nam Long (NLG) has just increased its ownership rate to 65 percent in the Waterfront project, expected to open for sale in Q4. According to Viet Dragon Securities Co, in 2021, the main highlight of NLG is stable sales growth. It is estimated that the total sales value in 2021 will reach 9.3 trillion VND from the sale of 2,359 realty products.

Estimated revenue and profit in 2021 is 4.44 trillion VND, up 100 percent year-on-year, and 1.15 trillion VND, up 38 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Dat Xanh Group (DXG) plans to develop urban areas scattered across the country, besides dozens of projects that have been developed, with a total land area of nearly 2,300 hectares in HCM City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Bac Giang and Vinh Phuc.

DXG is expected to achieve high growth in 2021 thanks to the handover of Gem Sky World and Opal Boulevard projects and the recovery of the real estate market.

ACBS Securities forecasts that DXG's net revenue in 2021 can reach 9.2 trillion VND, up 219 percent over the same period last year, and post-tax profit of 1.24 trillion VND.

In early September, DXG was positively evaluated by many securities companies and recommended to buy./.

Potential grows for vegetable and fruit exports to US

The US is a potential market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports thanks to the diverse distribution system along with a 3-million-strong overseas Vietnamese community, according to the Vietnamese Trade Office in the US.

The US market is home to 332 million customers with high per capita income, with fruit and vegetables being a rising trend, it said.

Data from the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association showed that fruit and vegetable exports were worth over US$2.06 billion in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 17.4 per cent.

Of these, the shipment of these items to the US enjoyed the highest growth of 132 per cent compared to the same period last year, followed by China and Japan with 11.6 per cent and 109 per cent.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, Director-General of the General Department for Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development, said Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are enjoying preferential tariffs brought by free trade agreements, including the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Six types of fresh Vietnamese fruits are allowed to enter the US market including mango, longan, lychee, dragon fruit, rambutan, and star apple. Other fruits can also be exported in either frozen or processed forms.

Despite certain advantages, however, the country still faces numerous hurdles because it had to cope with fierce competition from products that are grown in states such as Florida and California or similar items from Mexico, South American and Asian countries.

The high costs for transportation and storage due to geographical distance is causing difficulties for the export of fresh fruits to the US.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in the US suggested local enterprises coordinate with US counterparts for a flexible payment method to increase exports to the market. They were also urged to consider pouring capital into cold storage to ensure the quality of fresh fruits as well as setting up a large-scale distribution centre for Vietnamese goods at a large port on the West Coast, it said, saying that this would help reduce costs and help make businesses more proactive in selling the products.

It is necessary for Vietnamese enterprises to continue approaching large distribution chains, aiming to provide organic and processed products to meet the demand of the US market, the office said. 

Vietnam's import-export turnover up 24 percent in nine months

Vietnam’s trade turnover in the first nine months of this year reached 483.17 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 24.4 percent, according to the General Statistics Office.

In September alone, the import-export turnover attained 53.5 billion USD, down 2 percent compared to the previous month but up 4.2 percent against the same period last year.

Vietnam shipped 240.52 billion USD worth of goods abroad in the first nine months of 2021, up 18.8 percent year-on-year. The domestic sector contributed 62.72 billion USD and the FDI sector (including crude oil) 177.8 billion USD, increasing 8.5 and 22.8 percent annually, respectively.

During the period, 31 products recorded an export value of over 1 billion USD each and together they accounted for 92.5 percent of the nation’s total export.

The export of the group of processed industrial products reeled in 214 billion USD, an increase of 19.5 percent from the same period last year. It was followed by agricultural and forestry products with 17.7 billion USD (up 17.6 percent) and aquatic products 6.17 billion USD (up 2.4 percent).

The US remained the biggest export market of Vietnam, spending 69.8 billion USD on imports of Vietnamese products, a year-on-year rise of 27.6 percent. China came second with 38.5 billion USD, up 18.3 percent. The EU and ASEAN followed with 28.8 billion USD and 20.6 billion USD, increasing by 11.6 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively.

The import turnover in the nine-month period reached 242.65 billion USD, a hike of 30.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Of which, domestic businesses imported 83.72 billion USD worth of goods, up 25 percent, while FDI enterprises made up the majority with 158.93 billion USD, an increase of 33.6 percent./.

Reference exchange rate continue upward trend

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,162 VND/USD on September 30, up 7 VND from the previous day.

With the current trading band of +/- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,856 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,468 VND/USD.

The opening hour rates at commercial banks saw a decrease.

At 8:15 am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,620 VND/USD and the selling rate 22,850 VND/USD, both down 10 VND from September 29.

BIDV also cut both rates by 10 VND to 22,660 VND/USD (buying) and 22,860 VND/USD (selling)./.

VIB, Microsoft team up to boost service speed and innovation

The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) and Microsoft Vietnam has announced a three-year strategic partnership to leverage Microsoft Azure as the preferred cloud platform to accelerate the pace of innovation, create valuable new services to meet present and future banking needs of customers.

Cloud computing has become a trend around the world. For the banking industry, this is no longer a technological concept but actually a strategy that can help improving customer experience, accelerating product development, enhancing security, optimising costs and pioneering in applying new technologies into services, Han Ngoc Vu, VIB CEO said.

“We believe that using cloud-based solutions is unavoidable going forward, and choosing Microsoft as strategic partner for multi-cloud platform development is an appropriate venue for the bank,” Vu said.

Microsoft capabilities will empower VIB to create a multi-cloud ecosystem using Microsoft Azure as the primary cloud for VIB applications, while ensuring the same applications can move or run across a secondary cloud if necessary, VIB said in a statement.

In the next three years, VIB will prioritise transferring and hosting its applications and business platforms on the cloud. During the process, the bank is simultaneously modernising and shifting the computing workload including business applications and end-user computing needs to this new platform, it said.

Under the agreement, the two sides will also deploy important projects on Cybersecurity, Big Data, AI, Open API, IoT and Modern Workplace to achieve VIB's digital transformation process.

In addition, Microsoft will provide training and certification for VIB employees to ensure that the human resources are qualified with the best skills in applying technologies to the working process and implementing work tasks.

VIB’s cloud migration strategy started with the preparation of the elements of technology and human resources. From the beginning of this year, the bank has pioneered in using cloud technology in some projects.

The speed and scale of continuous innovation offered by Microsoft Azure will allow VIB to create a secure, high-speed, low-latency infrastructure while reducing the cost of integrating multi-clouds with its existing IT system while providing a better banking user experience, according to VIB./.

Vinpearl successfully issues exchangeable sustainable bond

Vinpearl, a major hospitality-recreation developer and operator in Vietnam, has successfully issued a 425-million-USD Exchangeable Sustainable Bond (ESB), exchangeable into shares of its parent company Vingroup.

This issuance is the world’s first ESB and registered a total subscribed demand of almost twice the base amount following book-building. 

The bonds mature in 2026 and have a coupon of 3.25 percent per annum.

The Joint Book-runners and Joint Lead Managers for the bonds include Credit Suisse, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and BNP Paribas.

Nguyen Viet Quang, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vingroup, said the oversubscription in Vinpearl’s ESB demonstrates investors’ positive reception to the exchangeable sustainable bonds that Vingroup and its member companies have pioneered. 

“The transaction also affirms Vingroup and its members’ prestige and sustainable businesses, as well as Vietnamese corporates' position in the international capital market,” he affirmed.

For his part, Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam, said that Vingroup is one of the most successful stories coming out of Vietnam. The conglomerate’s amazing growth has contributed to putting Vietnam firmly on the world economic map, which in turn has helped build the Vietnam brand with international investors. 

It is therefore no surprise to see the group pioneer an innovative, world-first ESB, which HSBC was delighted to arrange, he added.

Previously, in April 2021, Vingroup also successfully issued the Vingroup Exchangeable Bond worth 500 million USD which was offered into shares of its real estate arm Vinhomes./.

Petrolimex, JCCP further cooperation to improve efficiency of petroleum depot management

The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) and the Japan Cooperation Centre Petroleum (JCCP) on September 28 signed a cooperation agreement for Phase 3 of the cooperation project to improve the efficiency of management and operation of petroleum depots.

Under the deal, Phase 3 of the project will be implemented from 2021 to 2023 with a focus on enhancing automation applications, improving the efficiency of checks, maintenance and repair, ensuring firefighting and safety, and protecting the environment in technical management at petroleum works as well as in the whole Petrolimex system.

It is expected to help Petrolimex maintain stable and safe production and business activities, improve its competitiveness and sustainable development.

After the first phase of the technical cooperation project was inked in July 2016, under the assistance of JCCP, collaboration between Petrolimex and ENEOS Corporation has seen positive results.

Specifically, Petrolimex has developed and applied two technical regulations on inspection, maintenance and repair of pipelines and tanks in petroleum depots.

Five seminars have been organised in Vietnam, attracting the participation of both Vietnamese and Japanese experts and technicians.

The Vietnamese group has also sent four delegations of experts and technicians to learn from Japan’s experience./.

Vietnam welcomes 114,500 foreign visitors in nine months

Vietnam welcomed about 114,500 foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year plunge of 97 percent, announced the General Statistics Office (GSO) on September 29.

The GSO attributed the nosedive to the continuation of COVID-19 preventive measures, including the closure of borders to international tourism, noting that most of the foreign arrivals were experts and technical workers performing duties at projects in Vietnam.

In the third quarter alone, the country greeted some 26,300 foreigners, slipping 40.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, as the pandemic has been gradually brought under control since early September, it has called on the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to roll out tourism recovery policies, with safety being the top priority in the new normal.

Three important factors of the recovery plan include COVID-19 vaccine coverage, safety at tourism destinations, and optimal conditions for domestic and foreign tourists holding vaccination certificates./.

Vietnam, Australia work towards balanced, sustainable trade

The Vietnam-Australia trade posted growth in 2021 despite the impact of COVID-19, Director of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Le Hoang Oanh has said.

She made the remark during the third session of a trade working group within the framework of the Ministerial-level Vietnam-Australia Economic Partnership Meeting, which was recently held via videoconference by the MoIT.

The growth was attributed to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which the two countries are signatories, she added.

Ridwaan Jadwat, First Assistant Secretary at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade affirmed that Vietnam is an important trade and investment partner of Australia, hoping to tighten the bilateral relations.

Amid the complex developments of COVID-19, the two nations need to bolster cooperation so as to devise suitable strategies to surmount difficulties, he underlined.

Two-way trade surpassed 8 billion USD in the first eight months of 2021, posting a year-on-year increase of 50.7 percent, thereby making Australia among ten leading trade partners of Vietnam.

However, as Vietnam recorded a trade deficit of nearly 2.5 billion USD in the period, the two countries need to foster bilateral trade development in a more balanced and sustainable manner.

At present, Vietnam’s shipments of fresh shrimp and fruits to Australia remain stagnant, although the exports of such products have been tabled during the working group’s 2020 session as well as meetings of the countries’ ministers.

Oanh urged the Australian side to speed up procedures to grant permission to Vietnam’s fresh shrimp to enter Australia and provide Vietnam with technical support in terms of disease prevention in shrimp farming.

In addition, Vietnam hopes that Australia will soon complete necessary steps to open its door for passion fruit from the Southeast Asian nation, paving the way for its other fruits like rambutan and star apple.

The Vietnamese side also called on its Australian counterpart to closely work with the former’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to allow the use of alternatives to glyphosate in lilium cultivation before exporting to Australia.

At the event, the countries agreed to promote investment in mining, as it is viewed as a strategic field of potential and supplementary, especially of charcoal, iron and liquefied natural gas.

Given numerous firms of Vietnam are keen on investing in Australia in such fields, the Vietnamese side asked to receive information and regulations in mining for foreign investors, which the Australian side agreed./.

Trade office issues warning over fraud in transactions with Benin businesses

The Vietnam Trade Office in Morocco, also in charge of Benin, has warned Vietnamese exporters in general and those engaged in beverage export in particular, to seek full information about importers before conducting transactions with partners from Benin to avoid being a victim of fraud.

It cited the case related to Hi-Profile International General Trading Company, which is headquartered in Dubai, as an example. Hassabel E.Musa-Chairman, known as Khalifa, the company’s director, showed signs of disrepute in import transactions, evading payment responsibility under the signed contract.

According to the trade office, a Vietnamese company had sold two containers of Buffalo Jungle energy drink to the company. The shipment arrived at the port for many days, but Khalifa neither received the goods nor paid the money.

As soon as the Vietnamese enterprise changed the original bill of lading, he colluded with Benin partners to make the customs declaration but did not make the payment.

Upon receiving a request for support from the Vietnamese company, the office has contacted the Benin authorities, including the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and coordinated with the Vietnam Trade Office in Dubai, especially the Port Authority and Customs Agency of the Cotonou Port in Benin in handling the incident.

A reputable partner at the Cotonou Port has been introduced to the Vietnamese company to provide assistance on procedures for selling the goods to other customers. However, local regulations that require the opinion of the importer before carrying out procedures to return goods to Vietnam or sell to a third party made it difficult to settle the case.

The office also managed to persuade the Benin company to cooperate but failed.

To reduce risks when exporting goods to Benin and some North and West African areas, Vietnamese enterprises should be cautious in conducting transactions such as delivery at the port (CIF), payment method, delivery contract and signing contracts through intermediaries, it said./.

Vietnam’s GDP up 1.42 percent in nine months

Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1.42 percent in the first nine months of 2021 from the same period last year, marking a great success of the country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining production and business amid the prolonged period of social distancing in many provinces and cities.

Data from the General Statistics Office showed that the nation’s GDP declined by 6.17 percent annually in the third quarter, the sharpest drop since Vietnam began announcing its quarterly GDP figures in 2000. Of which, industry and construction contracted by 5.02 percent, services down 9.28 percent, and agro-forestry-fishery down 1.04 percent.

About the use of GDP in the third quarter, consumption was down 2.83 percent year-on-year, asset accumulation up 1.61 percent, exports of goods and services up 2.51 percent, and imports of goods and services moved up 10.75 percent.

The nine-month GDP growth was thanks to the agro-forestry-fishery sector with an expansion rate of 2.74 percent, contributing 23.52 percent to the overall growth; industry and construction with a growth rate of 3.57 percent, contributing 98.53 percent.

Meanwhile, services were down 0.69 percent, pulling national growth down by 22.05 percent./.

Vietnam’s tuna exports drop sharply in August

Vietnam earned nearly 49.4 million USD from tuna exports in August, a fall of 19 percent year-on-year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The country’s export revenue to major markets also declined in the month, such as the US (down nearly 26 percent), the EU (28 percent) and member nations of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific (CPTPP) (4.3 percent).

Of the EU and CPTPP markets, only Spain and Mexico saw rises in Vietnam’s tuna exports, the department said.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said the result had been forecast as many cities and provinces, especially those in the southern region, have met difficulties in production and processing due to the imposition of social distancing measures given the spread of COVID-19.

Domestic firms have yet to recover their operations although there are opportunities to export to the US and the EU in the remaining months of the year.

Between January and August, Vietnam’s tuna exports still grew nearly 13 percent year-on-year to reach nearly 470 million USD thanks to the growth in the first months of the year and sound instructions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The country exported 15,870 tonnes of tuna worth 73.33 million USD to the EU 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./.

Vietnam strives to become an attractive eco-tourism destination

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world’s tourism industry to a complete halt, including ecotourism activities. However, the fact that protected areas are not open to tourists during this time also creates conditions for the natural ecosystem to recover faster, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ha Van Sieu has said.

Speaking at a webinar entitled “Management in nature reserves and national parks” jointly held by the VNAT and the Colombian Embassy in Vietnam on September 28, he said it’s time for managers to come up with solutions to open up protected areas in a sustainable way.

The event was part of collaboration activities under a Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Colombia's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism this year. It aimed to enhance mutual understanding on tourism of the two countries, helping to promote cooperation between the two countries.

According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Vietnam currently has 33 national parks, 57 nature reserves, 13 habitat conservation areas, 53 landscape protection zones and 9 biosphere reserves. Among them, 61 national parks and nature reserves organise ecotourism activities.

Vietnam is ranked as the 16th most biodiversity rich country in the world with a variety of natural ecosystems, species and endemic genetic resources.

The system of special-use forests and protected areas in Vietnam is diverse in natural value and cultural tourism resources, facilitating the development of ecotourism. Ethnic minorities living in the buffer zones of the nature reserves with their unique features also attract the attention of tourists, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Acknowledging ecotourism as the key to poverty reduction and environmental protection, Vietnam has always given priority to its development strategy, Sieu said, adding that it has special significance in the context of tourism development after the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control.

Vietnam's tourism industry is striving to fully tap the potential to promote the development of eco-tourism, contributing to tourism recovery and development, and turn Vietnam into an attractive eco-tourism destination on the world’s tourist map, he said.

The VNAT official also emphasised that ecotourism activities have brought many positive results in terms of preserving natural ecosystems, preserving and enhancing cultural values, increasing incomes for local communities as well as raising awareness of the community and visitors about conservation efforts.

However, he said, the management and exploitation of tourism activities in these areas are still limited, while tourism products are still poor, and have not met the requirements of ecotourism.

Participants at the webinar shared policies and experience in the management of ecotourism activities in nature reserves and national parks. Ways to exploit natural resources efficiently and sustainably of protected areas for ecotourism activities were also discussed at the event./.

Vietnam’s CPI up 1.82 percent in January-September

The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 1.82 percent year on year between January and September, the slowest hike since 2016, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has announced.

At a press conference on September 29, GSO General Director Nguyen Thi Huong largely attributed the rise to the global fuel price hikes; higher educational service costs resulting from a tuition fee increase for the 2020-2021 school year; and higher domestic rice prices following higher prices of exported rice products, stronger demand in the Lunar New Year holiday, and stockpile demand during social distancing periods.

During the nine-month period, core inflation inched up by only 0.88 percent annually, the lowest since 2011.

In September alone, the CPI reduced by 0.62 percent from August and grew 2.06 percent against the same month in 2020.

Huong said resons behind the monthly drop included social distancing-induced rental price reductions, lower or exempted tuition fees in some areas, lower food prices thanks to stable supply sources, and lower electricity prices as part of Vietnam Electricity’s support programme for customers.

During the month, core inflation was down 0.26 percent from August and up 0.74 percent year on year.

Given complicated developments of the pandemic, units and sectors at all levels, under the Government’s close direction, have actively implemented measures for COVID-19 prevention and control and price stabilization, Huong stressed./.

Vietnam’s GDP up 1.42 percent in nine months

Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1.42 percent in the first nine months of 2021 from the same period last year, marking a great success of the country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining production and business amid the prolonged period of social distancing in many provinces and cities.

Data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed that the nation’s GDP declined by 6.17 percent annually in the third quarter, the sharpest drop since Vietnam began announcing its quarterly GDP figures in 2000. Of which, industry and construction contracted by 5.02 percent, services down 9.28 percent, and agro-forestry-fishery down 1.04 percent.

About the use of GDP in the third quarter, consumption was down 2.83 percent year-on-year, asset accumulation up 1.61 percent, exports of goods and services up 2.51 percent, and imports of goods and services moved up 10.75 percent.

The nine-month GDP growth was thanks to the agro-forestry-fishery sector with an expansion rate of 2.74 percent, contributing 23.52 percent to the overall growth; industry and construction with a growth rate of 3.57 percent, contributing 98.53 percent. Meanwhile, services were down 0.69 percent, pulling national growth down by 22.05 percent.

Agro-forestry-fisheries continued to play its role as a mainstay of the economy amid the pandemic. Specifically, agriculture grew by 3.32 percent, contributing 0.31 percentage point to the added value of the economy. Forestry and fisheries each added 0.02 percentage point thanks to their respective expansion rates of 3.3 percent and 0.66 percent.

Meanwhile, industry and construction, manufacturing and processing are growth driving forces of the economy with an expansion of 6.05 percent, contributing 1.53 percentage points to the added value of the entire economy.

The prolonged pandemic badly affected trade and service activities. The wholesale and retail sector fell by 3.1 percent, the transportation and warehousing industry decreased by 7.79 percent and the accommodation and food service industry dropped by 23.18 percent.

The health sector, in contrast, achieved the highest growth rate with a sharp increase of 21.15 percent, followed by the financial, banking and insurance industry with an increase of 8.37 percent and information and communication, up by 5.24 percent./.

Hanoi sees sharp drop in tourist arrivals in nine months

Hanoi welcomed 2.9 million visitors, all from localities inside the country, in the first nine months of 2021, a fall of 57.5 percent year on year, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.

The department reported that total revenue of the sector also dropped 66.2 percent over the same period last year to 8.17 trillion VND (356.1 million USD).

In the coming time, the department will focus on strengthening COVID-19 prevention and control among businesses, organisations and individuals engaging in tourism activities in the city, while increasing the application of information technology in tourism management.

Alongside, the department will finalise and submit to the municipal People’s Committee a plan to organise a travel gift festival, and a plan on agricultural tourism development in line with new-style rural area building in the 2021-2025 period.

This year, the city’s tourism sector has set an overall target of catering to between 13.16 and 19.4 million tourists, including 10.96-15.34 million domestic visitors./.

Viet Nam’s third quarter GDP down 6.7 per cent: lowest quarterly decline since 2000

Viet Nam witnessed a steep decline in gross domestic product (GDP) of 6.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year, the General Statistics Office said on Wednesday.

This is the lowest quarterly decline recorded in the history of quarterly GDP statistics since 2000.

GSO General Director Nguyen Thi Huong said at a press conference in Ha Noi that the GDP growth was dragged down by the deeply-felt impacts of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The negative GDP growth in the third quarter is predictable as in the past three months, many localities across the country had to follow strict social distancing measures, thus halting production,” she said.

In Q3, the agro-forestry-fishery sector rose by 1.04 per cent, industry and construction fell by 5.02 per cent and the services sector was down 9.28 per cent, statistics showed.

In the first nine months of this year, Viet Nam’s GDP still expanded 1.42 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s serious impact on every socio-economic aspect of countries around the world, it was still a big success of Viet Nam in the pandemic fight and economic recovery and development, she said.

Between January and September, the agro-forestry-fishery sector increased 2.74 per cent, industry-construction 3.57 per cent, and services 0.69 per cent. The first two respectively contributed 23.52 per cent, 98.53 per cent to the overall growth while the third contributed to reducing overall growth 22.05 per cent.

Huong said the agro-forestry-fisheries sector played the role of a pedestal of the economic growth during the pandemic, with high rice productivity, stable livestock production growth and fairly high export turnover in some agricultural products.

The agricultural sector increased by 3.32 per cent in nine months, the forestry sector expanded by 3.3 per cent and the fisheries sector rose by 0.66 per cent.

In the industry-construction group, the processing and manufacturing industry was the growth engine of the whole economy with a growth rate of 6.05 per cent, Huong said.

According to the GSO, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected trade and service activities. Some service industries with negative growth contributed to reducing the overall growth of the whole economy.

Of them, the wholesale and retail sector fell by 3.1 per cent, the transportation and warehousing industry decreased by 7.79 per cent and the accommodation and food service industry dropped by 23.18 per cent.

The health sector, in contrast, achieved the highest growth rate with a sharp increase of 21.15 per cent, followed by the financial, banking and insurance industry with an increase of 8.37 per cent and information and communication, up by 5.24 per cent.

CPI down 0.62 per cent in September

The consumer price index (CPI) in September decreased by 0.62 per cent compared to August but was up by 2.06 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Huong attributed the decrease in monthly CPI to the decrease in rental housing prices during the implementation of social distancing, the exemption and reduction in tuition fees for the academic year 2021-2022 in some localities, falling food prices due to guaranteed supply and the Government’s plan to reduce electricity prices for households and businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Six of the 11 groups of commodities and services increased, of which beverage and tobacco rose 0.17 per cent, household appliance gained 0.09 per cent, garments, hats and footwear climbed 0.02 per cent, culture, entertainment and tourism rose 0.01 per cent, medicine and medical service increased 0.03 per cent, commodities and other services were up 0.02 per cent.

Five groups decreased, including housing and construction materials declining 1.99 per cent, education dropping 2.89 per cent, traffic down 0.16 per cent, food and catering services losing 0.16 per cent, post and telecommunications, dropping 0.06 per cent.

In nine months, CPI increased by 1.82 per cent compared to the same period last year, the lowest nine-month CPI growth recorded since 2016. Core inflation in 9 months rose by 0.88 per cent. 

Regulations on e-commerce involving foreign traders supplemented

The Government has issued Decree No.85/2021/ND-CP amending and supplementing several articles of Decree No.52/2013/ND-CP on e-commerce involving foreign traders.

Accordingly, foreign traders and entities operating websites to provide e-commerce services with Vietnamese domains and language, and having over 100,000 transactions from Vietnam each year, must register e-commerce activities in line with regulations, establish representative offices or appoint authorised representatives in the country.

Their representative offices or authorised representatives must work with Vietnam’s State management agencies to prevent transactions of goods and services that violate the nation’s laws.

According to a study conducted by iPrice Group and SimilarWeb, the top 50 shopping sites’ web visits in Vietnam's Map of E-commerce in the first six months reached more than 1.3 billion, the highest ever and up by 10 percent from the first quarter./.

HCM City resumes retail activities in ‘green zones’

Authorities, businesses, and retailers in Ho Chi Minh City are promptly making preparations for reopening retail and distribution activities in “green zones” after a period of strict social distancing.

Many districts in the southern metropolis has managed to put COVID-19 under control such as Cu Chi, Can Gio, Nha Be, 7, 5, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan, and Tan Binh, along with Thu Duc city.

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngoc, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said the department has been working with enterprises, retailers, and producers to ensure the supply of essential goods and promote selling farm produce after September 30.

It has asked the districts and Thu Duc city to devise appropriate plans to reopen traditional markets while still ensuring pandemic safety. It has also told the retail system to report on their distribution plans and pledge to guarantee sufficient supply.

Facing new requirements from the market and consumers, Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of District 5 Truong My Kieu said local authorities will strive to meet local demand for essential goods with stable prices, so they will keep a close watch on the pandemic situation and the market so as to resume trading activities step by step.

Though local residents hope for the reopening of direct retail and distribution, they still expect trading activities will meet safety criteria to sustain the achievements in the COVID-19 fight.

So far, HCM City has reopened the wholesale food markets of Binh Dien, Thu Duc, and Hoc Mon. Residents in “green zones” have also been permitted to go shopping once a week./.

Standard Chartered Vietnam, the British Chamber of Commerce aim for net-zero carbon emissions

Standard Chartered Vietnam and British Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (Britcham) hosted a webinar on Wednesday entitled: “Achieving net-zero, carbon markets and their role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, perspectives from Viet Nam and Asia”. In attendance were over 300 senior leaders from businesses and organisations in Viet Nam.

Gareth Ward, British Ambassador to Viet Nam gave the opening address, in which he shared his insights on COP26 initiatives and the role businesses play in supporting climate change and sustainability.

“COP26 will bring together heads of state, climate experts, businesses and campaigners to agree on coordinated action to tackle climate change. The next steps to delivering net-zero global emissions by 2050 are expected to be agreed at the COP26,” he said.

“The good news is many businesses are leading the way, making strong commitments and rapid progress towards a net-zero carbon future. More and more businesses and governments are making net-zero announcements, more and more global initiatives bringing together the world’s most influential businesses driving the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy such as RE100, EV100, Climate Action 100+, TCFD…However, we’ll need to accelerate the scale of these rapidly if we’re to achieve net-zero emissions worldwide by 2050,” he added.

Tang The Cuong, Director General of Climate Change Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, delivered a keynote speech on Viet Nam's direction and strategy regarding climate change. He also addressed the collective efforts of the Vietnamese Government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the development of Viet Nam's carbon exchange.

Michele Wee, CEO of Standard Chartered Vietnam, said: “Climate change is of no doubt one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, given its widespread and proven impacts on the physical environment, human health and its potential to adversely impact economic growth.

"It is important that the transition to net-zero carbon economies is accelerated. As an international bank with unrivalled global expertise and local knowledge, we are committed to playing our part in contributing to, facilitating and leading the change in Viet Nam,” he said.

“At Standard Chartered, we have made our own commitments towards UN SDGs to achieve net-zero by 2030 as an organization and for our balance sheet by 2050. We have heard from our investors and clients to accelerate our efforts without slowing development. We will need to support and mobilise finance to facilitate decarbonising our clients and their supply chain. Standard Chartered is fully committed to this global agenda.”

Denzel Eades, Board Member, the British Chamber of Commerce Viet Nam, said: “The sustainability agenda involves countries, markets, corporates and individuals working together to achieve a common goal of emissions reduction. Today’s webinar reflected this effort and BritCham looks forward to progressing the sustainability agenda in Vietnam with Standard Chartered.”

As part of their recently announced partnership on promoting sustainable development in Viet Nam, this webinar is the first in a series organised by Standard Chartered and Britcham between now and the end of the year. The webinars will focus on topical matters and involve key stakeholders from the government, regulators and industry, helping businesses and organisations devise effective strategies for sustainable development. 

CIMB and Finhay co-operate to launch smart credit card application

CIMB bank has launched a credit card application through the Finhay app, removing some of the more time-consuming aspects of a traditional credit card application.

This new process will give more Vietnamese people the opportunity to access credit cards, as well as financial management skills, through the one platform.

Usually, a credit card application means going to the bank and waiting 5-7 days for verification. However, CIMB is offering all customers over 20 years old the chance to apply for the CIMB-Finhay Visa Credit Card, through the Finhay app.

The application and appraisal process is said to take around 5-6 minutes. Using biometric technology and Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) technology, CIMB can approve credit of between VND5-100 million (US$218 - $4,350) per application.

This credit can be used to pay for essential expenses, online shopping, or emergencies.

In addition to the fast application process, customers can begin to use their cards as soon as it has been delivered and activated, usually between 3-5 days. CIMB also offers customers the option to withdraw all of their credit in cash, allowing flexible payments to be made.

Thomson Fam Siew Kat, General Director of CIMB Vietnam said: “We hope that this banking service can be used more widely than traditional banking services. We are not only building a digital bank but also building a future operating model for CIMB Vietnam. Customers can not tell the difference when all banks are offering the same product. This is why CIMB decided to provide retail banking products that utilise technology through co-operation with Finhay; one of the pioneering start-ups in small and medium investment and accumulation in Viet Nam.”

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 29

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 29

Hanoi sees sharp drop in tourist arrivals in nine months

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