The Department of Planning and Investment under the Ministry of Transport has announced plans to disburse over VND7.4 trillion for traffic infrastructure projects in September.

Four key project management boards will play a vital role in the disbursement process. Project Management Board 85 and the Project Management Board for Ho Chi Minh Highway will each get around VND1.4 trillion.

Project Management Board 7 asks for over VND1.37 trillion, while the My Thuan Project Management Board will be disbursed VND887 billion.

The Ministry of Transport previously reported that various units under its purview had disbursed over VND49.7 trillion in the year to late August, accounting for 52% of the year’s plan. The disbursement progress against investor-submitted plans reached 95% by the end of the month, exceeding last year’s performance more than twofold in terms of value.

Key contributors to the higher disbursement progress were component projects of the second phase of the North-South Expressway, with disbursements reaching nearly VND26.8 trillion, achieving 59% of their allocated funds.

However, some projects fell short of their disbursement targets due to delays in land clearance.

Localities have handed over more than 90% of the required land for projects, but disbursements have reached just over VND7 trillion, representing 47% of the annual plan.

Unfavorable weather conditions and delays in supplying construction materials by local authorities have also impacted disbursement outcomes.

HCMC needs additional VND30 trillion to complete Beltway 2

The HCMC Department of Transport has said that over VND30 trillion is needed for an 11.3-kilometer section of Beltway No. 2 that has not yet been built.

HCMC Beltway No. 2 is 64 kilometers long, with the number of lanes varying from six to 10, and some 50 kilometers of the road are currently in operation. The remaining 14 kilometers is divided into four sections.

Construction is currently underway for section three, while the three remaining sections are expected to be completed by 2030.

Section one, which extends 3.5 kilometers from Phu Huu Bridge to Vo Nguyen Giap Avenue, is expected to begin construction in the second quarter of 2025 for completion in the fourth quarter of 2026.

The total cost of this section is estimated at VND9.33 trillion, with VND6.68 trillion allocated for site clearance.

Section two, spanning 2.8 kilometers from Vo Nguyen Giap to Pham Van Dong avenues, requires VND4.54 trillion, including VND1.96 trillion for site clearance. The project is slated for completion by 2027.

Section four covers 5.3 kilometers from National Highway 1A to Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, with a projected cost of VND16.42 trillion including a site clearance cost of VND13.19 trillion.

Due to budget allocation delays, the transport department has proposed a two-phase investment plan for section four. Phase one will see construction on 3.4 kilometers of the road between Vo Van Kiet and Nguyen Van Linh roads, with the completion date expected in 2027.

The remaining 1.9-kilometer section between National Highway 1A and Vo Van Kiet Avenue will be constructed during phase two within the 2026-2030 timeframe.

The under-construction section three, initiated in 2017 under the build-transfer format, has a total investment of VND2.7 trillion. However, construction was halted in March 2020 after completing 44% of the workload due to site clearance issues and incomplete procedures.

Local authorities aim to conclude the site clearing phase and finalize construction on the project by 2025.

Two major banks reduce deposit interest rates to 5.5%

Two major state-run commercial banks, Vietcombank and Agribank, have lowered their deposit interest rates to 5.5% per year, matching the lowest level recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietcombank and Agribank have both cut their deposit rates by 0.2 or 0.3 percentage point for deposits with a term of three months or longer.

As of September 14, the interest rates offered at the counters of these two banks are identical. For one-month deposits, the rate remains at 3%.

For three-month deposits, the rate has been revised down from 3.8% to 3.5% per year, while the rate for deposits with six or nine-month tenures is 4.5% per year, down by 0.2 percentage point.

Rates for deposits with a twelve-month term have also been revised down by 0.3 percentage point, resulting in a rate of 5.5% per year.

Vietcombank now offers online deposit rates similar to savings interest rates at the counter. At Agribank, online rates for deposits with several short terms are higher than at-the-counter rates, but the highest deposit rates do not exceed 5.5% per year.

Compared to the beginning of this year, deposit rates offered at these two state-run banks have been lowered by 1.5-2 percentage points, reaching a record low of 5.5% per year.

Vinhomes to transfer riverside road to HCMC authority

The investor of the Vinhomes Central Park residential and office complex in Binh Thanh District has proposed handing over a road section from streets D1 to D19 along the Saigon River to the HCMC government, which will turn it into a road for public use.

Vinhomes Joint Stock Company has formally written to the HCMC People’s Committee and relevant authorities expressing their intent to hand over the section which is now used as an internal road of the Vinhomes complex.

Next to this section is a completed riverside road belonging to another project, Saigon Pearl. A dividing wall between the two sections is currently disrupting traffic on the riverside road.

Vinhomes stated that the handover of the road section to the city aligns with the investor’s commitment, in accordance with a decision made by city authorities eight years ago for the implementation of Vinhomes Central Park.

Since the project commenced in 2015, the city has tasked Vinhomes with constructing roads and landscape architectural works. The company has also been responsible for preparing completion documents, managing, and providing maintenance services for these areas until they are officially handed over to a competent agency of the city.

In accordance with land use regulations, upon the completion of internal road systems, the investors of Vinhomes Central Park and Saigon Pearl are obliged to hand over the riverside road to the city for its management.

Petrolimex to spend VND942 billion on dividend payment

Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), which trades its PLX shares on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, plans to spend nearly VND942 billion paying dividends in 2022.

The country’s leading fuel trading firm will pay dividends in cash at 7%, equivalent to VND700 per share. The payment date is October 10.

With over 1.34 billion outstanding shares, Petrolimex is expected to spend nearly VND942 billion on the dividend payment plan.

Currently, the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) is the largest shareholder in Petrolimex with nearly 982 million shares, equivalent to a 75.87% stake. That means CMSC will receive around VND687 billion from Petrolimex.

In the first half of 2023, Petrolimex posted net revenue of nearly VND133.2 trillion, down by 12.4% versus the year-ago period. However, the after-tax profit of the company still reached over VND1.5 trillion, five times higher than in the same period last year.

Interest rate subsidy package disbursement below expectations

The disbursement of the 2% interest rate subsidy package in Vietnam has not met expectations, as a mere 1.7% of the VND40-trillion package has been paid out so far, according to the State Bank of Vietnam.

Commercial banks have allocated VND681 billion, leaving a significant gap between the intended support and the actual disbursement.

Several factors have contributed to the slow progress, including concerns among businesses and banks regarding the cost-benefit balance. The paperwork, documentation, and compliance checks needed to access the 2% interest rate support have deterred some potential beneficiaries.

Furthermore, evaluating the potential for “loan recovery” within a complex global and domestic economic context filled with uncertainties has added to the delay. Changes in economic and social conditions since the policy’s inception have altered the needs and priorities of businesses.

To address the situation, the State Bank of Vietnam has communicated the outcomes of the program’s execution to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. This may lead to potential adjustments in the allocation of funds to alternative support policies.

On a more positive note, progress has been better in other credit packages. The VND120-trillion credit package for social housing has seen 12 provinces identify 25 qualified projects requiring over VND13 trillion in loans. Leading provinces like Binh Duong, Bac Ninh and Bac Giang have significant loan requirements for these projects, totaling VND6.4 trillion.

Additionally, the VND15-trillion credit package for the forestry and aquatic sector has made positive disbursement results, with banks disbursing nearly VND800 billion from this credit package within 20 days of its implementation.

Vietnam’s rice in high demand amid global shortage

Over the past eight months, countries in Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa have stepped up their efforts to buy about six million tons of Vietnamese rice, even though the prices were significantly high.

The latest preliminary data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs indicates that Vietnam sold 921,000 tons of rice in August, generating $546 million in revenue. This was a significant increase of 40% in volume and 51% in value compared to July.

The country exported nearly six million tons of rice during the eight-month period, resulting in a turnover of nearly US$3.2 billion, representing an increase of 21% in volume and 35% in value.

The Philippines remained the largest customer, with purchases totaling $1.23 billion worth of rice, an increase of 16% and accounting for 38.9% of the total export turnover for this product. It was followed by China, with rice imports worth $452 million, reflecting a significant increase of 67.9% compared to the same period in 2023.

In addition to these two countries, Indonesia has experienced remarkable growth, rising from the 8th position to the top three nations purchasing Vietnamese rice. In the past eight months, Indonesia imported 718,266 tons of rice, valued at $361.2 million, marking an astonishing increase of 1,505%.

According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), various countries worldwide have increased their imports of Vietnamese rice due to the shortage in the global market. Notably, rice exports have surged in the past three months, especially after India banned rice exports from July 20. Just one week after India's ban, the UAE and Russia announced a halt to overseas rice sales. Consequently, numerous countries have turned to Vietnam to place orders, causing export rice prices to rise.

Furthermore, adverse weather conditions, including droughts and floods, have adversely affected rice production in many countries across the globe.

At the beginning of the year, Indonesia had planned to import two million tons of rice to ensure national food security and cope with the El Niño phenomenon. The country recently revised its full-year plan to 2.4 million tons. According to the country's customs report, they had imported approximately 1.4 million tons of rice by the end of July. Senegal, Poland, Ghana, and Gabon have also seen an uptick in their purchases of Vietnamese rice, primarily due to their supply shortages from India and reduced domestic production as a result of drought.

In the case of Laos, sticky rice constitutes a significant 80% of its total rice output, leading to an increase in imports of white and fragrant rice to supplement its needs. Additionally, many Vietnamese businesses use Laos' highway as a conduit to export rice to China.

A Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast suggested Vietnam's rice exports are expected to continue experiencing growth in the last four months of this year, driven by a surge in orders from several emerging markets.

Apple’s supplier pours US$125 million into Hanoi high-tech project

INVENTEC, a Taiwan-based supplier to Apple, received an investment certificate on September 13 for its high-tech project in Hanoi Southern Supporting Industrial Park (HANSSIP), Phu Xuyen District, Hanoi.

The US$125 million project "Inventec Vietnam Factory" is located in an area of 161,647 square meters, with a total capacity of approximately 32 million units per year.

The factory is scheduled to be operational after 36 months, in the operation period of 50 years.

Speaking at the event, Le Quang Long, Chairman of the Board of HANSSIP, said that after receiving the investment license, the Taiwanese investor should focus on resources and funds to ensure the implementation schedule.

"In the first phase of our investment plan, we will invest about VND3 trillion ($123.4 million) to build the workshop, machinery and equipment. After the second quarter of 2024, we will start construction and create jobs for 15,000-20,000 workers," said Yeh, Li-cheng, Chairman and General Director of INVENTEC Vietnam.

In subsequent phases, he added that the conglomerate will build an R&D and supply chain complex to support Hanoi and Vietnamese companies participating in its global production chain.

The Apple supplier currently uses about 10-30% of the component products produced in Vietnam, which would increase to more than 50%.

To date, Hanoi's industrial parks have attracted 709 active projects, including 302 foreign-invested projects with registered capital exceeding $6.4 billion and another 407 domestic-invested projects with registered capital surpassing VND19.2 trillion ($790.1 million).

Vietnam’s export revenue to grow more: Foreign businesses

Vietnam’s export revenue especially agricultural and aquatic products will grow more.

Within the framework of the 2023 Export Forum organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade today, foreign businesses said that Vietnam’s export turnover will increase more.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the export turnover of agricultural products, seafood, and food maintained a growth rate of over double digits and reached more than US$50 billion this year, despite market problems, especially increased inflation in all major export markets. Among them, many product groups including wood, seafood, coffee, rubber, vegetables and fruits achieved a turnover of over $2 billion.

Deputy Director of the European-American Market Department Nguyen Thao Hien said that Vietnam is currently the world's top third supplier of coffee, cashew nuts, pepper and rice.

Especially in 2022, many types of our country's agricultural products such as fresh bananas, sweet potatoes, bird's nest, grapefruit, longan, passion fruit, and durian have been licensed to export to developed markets in the world like the US, Japan, China, New Zealand which will pave the way for the export of Vietnamese agricultural products.

in the first 8 months of 2023, China, the US and Japan continue to remain the three largest export markets. Export value to China accounted for 21.9 percent, an increase of 9.8 percent while it accounted for 20.6 percent for the US market, down 27.4 percent.

According to Ms. Hien, Vietnam's agricultural product sector is facing the challenge for agricultural products when it comes to sustainable development and environmental protection - inevitable trends in most of Vietnam's key export markets.

Countries not only adjust their legal frameworks with a series of new laws and regulations that specify the above two goals but also encourage other regional countries to follow through with strong political commitments at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Therefore, export businesses need to proactively transform green to easily participate in the global market.

Trade forum looks to expand supply chain to EU

In the context of supply chain fluctuations, the European Union (EU) is promoting the diversification of supplies and choosing Vietnam as a strategic destination in the Asia–Pacific region, heard a trade forum in Ho Chi Minh City.

The event was held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on September 14, focusing on opportunities to expand the supply chain with EU partners.

Nguyen Thao Hien, Deputy Director of the MoIT's European-American Market Department, said that in recent years, Vietnam has been transforming strongly to become an important link in the global production and supply chain with competitive advantages from its favourable geo-economic location and a series of free trade agreements that it has participated in.

The EU is currently a leading trading partner as it is the third biggest export market and fifth largest import market of Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the 16th trading partner of the EU and the largest trading partner of the EU in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the world’s 11th biggest supplier of goods to the bloc.

Statistics from the General Department of Customs, two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU reached 62.24 billion USD last year, up 9.2% compared to 2021’s figure. Of which, Vietnam shipped 46.82 billion USD worth of products to the bloc, up 16.7%.

Hien said that Vietnam has favourable conditions to expand a diverse and sustainable supply chain with EU partners as Vietnam is one of the first four Asian countries that signed an FTA with the EU. This will continue to create significant competitive advantages for Vietnamese businesses exporting to the EU in the coming time, she said, adding that goods structure of import and export between Vietnam and the EU is complementary to each other.

The shifting of supply chain and investment flows is bringing opportunities for Vietnam to enhance competition to attract investment and transfer technology from EU partners, she noted.

Sharing difficulties when exporting products to the EU relating to the garment and textile industry, Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said it is a must for businesses to invest in infrastructure, improve the working environment, and reduce carbon emissions along with ensuring quality standards.

Vice Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam Jean-Jacques Bouflet said that as global consumers prefer environmental friendly products and companies focus on investing in green logistics, Vietnam is facing challenges related to green transition and sustainable development.

To deal with these difficulties, it is essential for the country to ensure its compliance with green standards through the application of stricter environmental regulations, pouring more capital into research and development and infrastructure improvement, he suggested, adding that enhancing logistics capacity and human resource training is also needed.

US Boeing wants to buy more Vietnamese-made supporting industrial products

US aviation giant Boeing today announced it needs to purchase supporting industrial products in Vietnam.

Boeing’s supply chain development director for Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea Maxime Dourdan revealed that Vietnam is currently the destination for many of the world's leading corporations. In addition to its attractive investment environment, Vietnamese enterprises’ capacity to provide products from supporting industries is increasingly improving; thus, the supply rate is increased. Vietnamese firms’ better capacity will help foreign investment corporations’ sustainable development so foreign businesses decided to pour more money in Vietnam.

However, Director Maxime Dourdan admitted the aviation industry with complex production technologies requires many factors and cannot immediately find suppliers. Therefore, the group has established a roadmap for finding Vietnamese suppliers and starting from level 3 and level 4 suppliers, and it will gradually improve the capacity of Vietnamese enterprises to levels 1 and 2 so that Vietnamese firms will be able to supply more important ancillary products.

Regarding this issue, Vice President of the Vietnam Association for Supporting Industries Truong Thi Chi Binh said that currently, some 25,000 Vietnamese businesses have been operating in the field of manufacturing supporting industry products. Vietnamese businesses have participated in providing components for the automobile, motorbike, and electronics industries for Honda, Toyota, THACO, Vinfast, Samsung, and Panasonic.

The aerospace industry in general and Boeing in particular are quite new in the Southeast Asian country. However, this is an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to approach and adapt.

Vietnam has so far become the US’s eighth-largest trading partner. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that in the first 8 months of 2023, the US is still Vietnam's largest export market with an estimated turnover of US$ 62.27 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 19.1 percent. With an average trade growth rate of over 20 percent a year, the US continues to be Vietnam's largest export market today and in the coming years.

Green building promotion activities to take place across localities

The Vietnam Green Building Week 2023, which highlights the construction industry’s green transition, will be held in various locations across the country, with its key activities scheduled for September 27 and 28 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ministry of Construction’s annual event is expected to attract approximately 1,000 participants joining its workshops and expos in the southern metropolis.

With a plenary session and four specialised seminars, the programme serves as an opportunity for policy makers, experts, businesses, consulting firms, banks, governmental agencies, international organisations involved to discuss ways to promote the green transition.

The content will focus on several key issues, including the development of green factories, offices and buildings aimed at improving the quality of living and working spaces, the trends of using energy-saving and environmentally friendly materials, and the application of advanced equipment and technology for modern, eco-friendly, low-emission, and user-friendly construction projects. The discussions will also revolve around green finance and green credit as drivers for sustainable development.

Participants will also be treated to an exhibition which will bring together numerous technology and equipment suppliers and construction material manufacturers of products used in energy-saving and environmentally friendly construction like Panasonic, Daikin, Sika, Saint Gobain, and Capital House, among many others.

On the sidelines, there will be policy discussions to promote green building development, in-depth seminars and training courses, field trips, journalism awards for outstanding articles on green building, and a green architecture competition for students.

Australia seeks chances for educational, agricultural cooperation with Can Tho

The education and cuisine of Australia were introduced to the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on September 18 with a view to further promoting bilateral connections.

The programme, part of activities in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vietnam - Australia diplomatic ties, was held by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

It was an initiative of Austrade to introduce the country’s potential and strengths in education - training and cuisine to key economic regions of Vietnam. The Australian delegation comprised 100 representatives from 25 training establishments; 45 food and beverage businesses; seafood, wine and fruit associations; and governments of Australian states.

Addressing the event, Rebecca Ball, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner of Australia, said that through common efforts and commitments, both countries will obtain more achievements in trade and further reinforce friendship.

She elaborated that Vietnam is a leading exporter of coffee, rice, cashew nuts, peppercorn, and seafood. Meanwhile, Australia is famous for fruits, milk, wine, meat, and high-end seafood, giving the Vietnamese market more diverse choices and expanding seasonal business opportunities.

Besides, education has always played a key role in the bilateral relations, Ball went on, noting that the number of Vietnamese students in Australia has been rising considerably, and more Australian organisations are providing academic programmes in the Southeast Asian nation.

About 27,000 Vietnamese students are learning in Australia while 10,000 others are enrolling in Australian courses in Vietnam, she added.

Nguyen Thuc Hien, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, said bilateral economic and trade ties have been thriving. Trade between the two countries approximated 16 billion USD in 2022, making Vietnam the 10th largest trading partner of Australia, which in turn ranked 7th among trading partners of the former.

The city is implementing a project on improving the awareness of creative education funded by the Asia Music Performing Arts Education (AMPA) of Australia. This project is a platform for more educational cooperation between the two sides, he said.

Hien called on Australia to help build Australian spaces at universities in Can Tho and send volunteers to teach English at local educational establishments in order to help with the city’s development and strengthen the two countries’ friendship.

Besides, Can Tho views applying science and technology to improve human resources, especially in agriculture, as one of the breakthrough steps. Given this, it welcomes and pledges to create the best possible conditions for Australian firms to explore investment chances in this field, Hien said.

Vietnam plays important role in supply chains of major global sporting goods brands

Vietnam plays an important role in the supply chains of major sporting goods brands such as Adidas and Nike, which are taking actions to promote green and sustainable production in the country, heard a recent workshop held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The workshop, discussing the industry’s actions towards a sustainable future, was organised by the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and the Vietnamese Delegation to Geneva within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum 2023 from September 12 to 17.

Sporting goods giants Adidas and Nike have chosen Vietnam as a main production base for their global supply chains. The 2020 report of Adidas said 98% of its production is located in Asia, with Vietnam making up 40%.

Diego Antoncic, Senior Manager for Government Affairs at Adidas, said as main markets of sporting goods, which are developed countries like EU members and the US, are paying more attention to and tightening regulations on environmental, social and governance (ESG), the company has been coordinating more closely with its suppliers in key regions in all aspects to ensure adherence to the rules.

Stefan Seidel, head of Corporate Sustainability at Puma, shared the firm’s environmental efforts around the globe, including in Vietnam. He said Puma has encouraged and helped factories in Vietnam to shift to solar and biomass power, reuse cooling water for fabric dyeing and washing, and improve chemical management.

Bertrand Tison, a senior member for European Public Affairs at Decathlon, noted Vietnam is the second biggest manufacturing base of Decathlon as it houses 130 partner factories and seven retail stores. As a global company with a high sense of corporate and environmental responsibility and to meet requirements of markets, especially the EU, the firm has the responsibility for working with suppliers, particularly those in Vietnam, to reduce the carbon footprint and help fight climate change.

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Vietnamese Delegation, highlighted the importance the country attaches to the sporting goods industry, noting that sporting goods have made up a large proportion of two of Vietnam’s key exports, textile - garment and leather - footwear, for many years.

Vietnam is proud to have become an important manufacturing base of globally famous brands, she said, noting that it is exerting efforts to contribute to the global shift towards sustainable development through implementing the national green growth strategy for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050.

The country targets that by 2035, its textile-garment and leather-footwear industries will have developed efficiently and sustainably following the circular economy model. To that end, policies solutions will be carried out to elevate local production to a new height – from “made in Vietnam” to “made by Vietnam”, ensure control over supply chains, and meet market’s strict requirements for the sustainability and circularity of export items, according to the ambassador.

Vietnam needs sustainable development in durian production, consumption

The agriculture sector and localities need to find prompt solutions for sustainable development in durian cultivation and consumption, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan.

If the durian industry, as well as other commodities, wants to develop sustainably, they must reorganise the structure from the production stage to consumption, Hoan said.

This means fostering cooperation between enterprises and farmers from the selection of durian varieties for production, rather than just engaging in purchasing activities. They need to transition from a business relationship to a cooperative one.

The minister also suggested that growing areas must register a code to plant durian according to standards. Moreover, it is essential to foster a close connection among businesses, cooperatives, and farmers.

They must understand that sustainable development is not only for durian trees but also for businesses and farmers, as they will participate in the sustainable durian supply chain.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, Director of MARD’s Centre for Digital Transformation and Agricultural Statistics, acknowledged that the durian industry has expanded rapidly in recent years. Therefore, it's crucial to establish a policy framework and appropriate standards for sustainable development.

In addition to fresh durian products, the industry needs to develop processed products and also come up with specific plans for the development of durian growing areas nationwide, Toan said.

To achieve sustainable development of the durian industry, several key bottlenecks must be addressed, including rapid growth, unfair competition in purchasing durians, processing infrastructure, quality management, and establishing connections among farmers, traders, and exporters; and the creation of standard processes, according to Toan.

Furthermore, Toan urged localities and enterprises to focus on frozen durian products for export thanks to the potential of these products.

He also recommended expanding business to other markets through new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs). At present, Vietnam is involved in numerous FTAs such as CPTPP, EVFTA, RCEP, as well as significant communities like ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union. This provides opportunities for the durian industry to boost exports.

According to Nguyen Thi Thai Thanh, chairwoman of Ban Me Green Farm Joint Stock Company, a major challenge in the durian industry is the lack of consistency in the linkage between production and consumption.

The durian industry lacks a tight bond between cooperatives, farmers, and businesses. Thus, if durian prices soar, farmers might refrain from selling durians to businesses offering lower prices than previously agreed upon. This leads to instability in the industry’s operations. At the same time, cooperatives have not truly maximised their role in the linkage chain, Thanh noted.

Nguyen Hoai Duong, Director of Dak Lak province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that in the past two years, durian prices have risen following the signing of the protocol on plant quarantine requirements for official durian exports to China between Vietnam and China. This has greatly motivated the growth of the durian industry, substantially raising the income of farmers and the profits of businesses within the durian supply chain.

If the Vietnamese durian industry wants to achieve sustainable production and business, all stakeholders in the value chain must collaborate closely, Duong said. This means that farmers, businesses, localities with growing areas, State management agencies, and scientists should unite in developing the industry.

Nong Ngoc Trung, Chairman of Golden Field Company in Lang Son province which specialises in processing agricultural products for export to China, said that to export Vietnamese durian to China, businesses must cooperate with each other in accessing this market instead of competing on price.

Trung suggested that the Vietnam Durian Association should engage potential businesses to join the production chain and introduce more Vietnamese durians to the global market.

Vu Duc Con, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of the Dak Lak Durian Association, proposed that for sustainable durian development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should issue decrees and circulars that guide the grant and management of codes for growing areas, as opposed to the current technical documents.

Con highlighted that the export value of Vietnamese durian rose from 29.2 million USD in 2016 to 420 million USD in 2022. In the first eight months of 2023, it reached nearly 1.2 billion USD, which is three times the value for the entirety of 2022.

Exports are projected to reach 1.5 billion USD for the entire year, predominantly comprising fresh and frozen durian, which is 3.5 times the 2022 value. The primary export destinations are China, Japan, and Australia.

As of August 2023, Vietnam boasts 422 coded durian growing areas and 153 coded packaging facilities that meet the export market's requirements.

Specifically, in Dak Lak, durian production has surged between 2016 and 2023, from over 30,000 tonnes to about 190,000 tonnes, growing at roughly 30% annually. Of this, the output from coded growing areas is around 47,300 tonnes, representing 25%. Dak Lak currently has the second-highest durian output nationwide, following Tien Giang.

The Dak Lak Department of Industry and Trade reported that the province's durian exports to the Chinese market in 2022 amounted to about 11.7 million USD.

For 2023, the province's durian exports are projected to be around 40,000 to 45,000 tonnes, generating approximately 150-160 million USD. Vietnam is currently home to more than 112,000 hectares of durian cultivation. This area has expanded swiftly in recent years, with notable concentrations in the Central Highlands (about 47%), Mekong Delta (around 30%), Southeast region (roughly 19%), and several other localities.

Starbucks opens 100th store in 10-year journey in Vietnam

Starbucks Vietnam celebrated its 10-year journey in the country with the grand opening of the 100th store in Lotte Mall West Lake in Hanoi on September 16.

In February 2013, Starbucks marked its footprint in Vietnam by opening its first store in Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, it has steadily expanded its presence and now operates in nine cities and provinces across the country.

“Over the past 10 years, Starbucks Vietnam has grown from strength to strength, achieving significant milestones that have helped cement our position as a leading brand in the Vietnamese market,” said General Manager of Starbucks Vietnam, Patricia Marques.

“As we continue to grow, we remain committed to our core values, ethical sourcing, community engagement and environmental sustainability.”

She also shared some of the initiatives aimed at transforming the company into a more sustainable and plastic-free entity, such as the zero food waste and compost programme implemented in multiple stores throughout Vietnam.

Located in a new entertainment and shopping complex in Hanoi, the 100th store is designed to pay homage to the beautiful natural environment through a selected blue accent colour and a warm material palette.

In an effort to honour Vietnam’s rich coffee heritage and and introduce Vietnamese coffee culture to the global stage, Starbucks Vietnam on September 16 also launched the new Starbucks Reserve™ Vietnam Dung K’No.

This blend is sourced from the Central Highlands of Vietnam and remote town of Dung K’No – home to the K’Ho people – a matriarchal indigenous community where 82 smallholder farmers work diligently to preserve the cultural traditions while embracing responsible farming practices.

This marks the second such initiative in Vietnam, following the introduction of Starbucks Reserve™ Vietnam Da Lat in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2020. Starbucks’ reserved coffee lines are locally purchased.

According to an August report by on Vietnam's F&B market in the first six months of 2023, the market displayed strong volatility, with most businesses either witnessing a decrease in revenue or maintaining similar figures compared to the same period the previous year. However, many businesses remain optimistic about a market turnaround.

A survey of 200 restaurant and cafe owners indicated that 40.1% of F&B businesses anticipate positive signals in business activities in the second half of 2023. This shows, despite certain challenges, Vietnam is still regarded as a "fertile land" for international brands in the F&B sector.

Symposium discusses Vietnam-Japan economic cooperation

A scientific symposium took place in Hanoi on September 18, discussing relations between Vietnam and Japan and economic cooperation prospects in alignment with Vietnam’s development phases.

Held to mark the 50th anniversary of the nations’ diplomatic ties, the event was co-organized by the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

In his opening speech, Associate Professor Dr. Hoang Van Nghia, head of the HCMA’s international cooperation department, praised Japan's role in Vietnam's multifaceted economic development. Japan's contributions have helped Vietnam maintain a trajectory of stable growth, driven by the far-reaching impacts of foreign direct investment (FDI). Projects with Japan's support in terms of finance, experts and technology have assisted Vietnam in switching from a model heavily reliant on capital and labour to one with a robust export-oriented structure.

Sugano Yuichi, Chief Representative of JICA in Vietnam, said the symposium is part of the JICA CHAIRS programme, which has been executed since 2020 to disseminate valuable lessons and experience garnered from Japan's socio-economic development journey.

Sugano expressed his optimism that participating experts will exchange insights into effective collaboration methods underpinning the partnership between the two countries.

Professor Tran Van Tho, an honorary professor at Japan’s Waseda University, stressed Japan's keen interest in Vietnam's development path and their cooperation encompassing institutional reforms, business climate improvement, and support for Vietnam’s devising of industrialization strategies. Related initiatives serving such efforts include the Ishikawa project (1995-2000), Vietnam-Japan initiative from 2003 onwards, and an array of industrial policy research endeavours.

Long An working to lure investment wave from Japan

The Mekong Delta province of Long An expects to attract more investments from Japan, and commits to creating favourable conditions for the East Asian investors to operate their long-term business in the locality, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Ut has said.

At the recent Vietnam – Japan investment promotion forum in Tokyo, Japanese enterprises expressed their interest in Long An’s development orientation, human resources and incentives for Japanese businesses, Ut stressed, adding Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN) Fujimoto Masayoshi spoke highly of the potential of the Vietnamese market, especially the southern localities which include Long An province.

The KEIDANREN leader said he hopes that Long An will sharpen its focus on simplifying investment procedures, improve the efficiency of the settlement of administrative procedures, invest in high-quality human resources, as well as develop harmonious infrastructure, Ut said.

According to the official, Long An province has set up economic ties with nearly 40 countries and territories in the world, and attracted more than 1,200 FDI projects with total registered capital toppping 10.45 billion USD.

Japanese investors have funneled more than 800 million USD in 142 projects in the locality.

The province is focusing on developing its socioeconomy in tandem with achieving sustainable development targets. As many as 16,400 hectares of land will be zoned off for industrial development by 2030, including 51 industrial parks and 71 industrial clusters.

Development of urban and transport infrastructure has been prioritised to facilitate trade and investment activities, and attention given to training in the Japanese language to meet human resources requirements from Japanese enterprises, he added.

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