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VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES AUGUST 16

Trade ministry proposes same price for power consumption

 

Apart from presenting five electricity rates based on the levels of power consumption, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed applying the same price to daily electricity consumption at VND2,703 per kWh of power or VND2,880 per kWh.

Under its draft on the electricity retail pricing adjustment scheme to amend Decision 28/2014, the ministry has introduced two solutions for the calculation of electricity bills.

In the first solution, the five electricity rates will increase progressively from the first to the fifth price cap, with the first cap set at 0-100 kWh, the second cap at 101-200 kWh, the third at 201-400 kWh, the fourth at 401-700 kWh and the fifth at 701 kWh or more. The number of electricity consumption caps has been slashed from six to five.

As for the second solution, customers can choose to calculate their power bills based on five caps or the same price, which is equivalent to 145% for Solution 2A or 155% for Solution 2B of the average electricity retail price at some VND1,864 per kWh.

Accordingly, the same price of electricity will reach VND2,703 or VND2.889 per kWh, respectively, exclusive of value-added tax.

Under the draft, customers can switch from the electricity prices of five caps to the same price scheme or vice versa after at least one year of selection.

The electricity price of the fifth price cap in the first solution is set to be equal to 168% of the average electricity retail price, while Solution 2A and Solution 2B see the fifth rate stand at 274% and 185% of the average price, respectively. VNA

New rule, portal developed for corporate bond market

The Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) has issued a new rule to run the corporate bond portal to publicise bond deals and give investors more news about the market.

The rule is applied to all joint-stock and limited-liability companies and all individuals and organisations involved in the corporate bond market, both domestic and international.

The portal has been developed upon Decree 163/2018/ND-CP dated December 4, 2018, to receive companies’ filings on their bond issuance.

Since April 2019, companies have publicised the details of their bond deals on the HNX’s website during the development of the portal.

The content posted on the portal includes pre-issuance information disclosure, disclosure on bond conversion and bond buyback, and issuance reporting to serve investors’ need for information and the Ministry of Finance’s request on statistics and data collection.

Companies have to send information to the HNX to be posted on the portal and they are held accountable for the accuracy, transparency and punctuality of the disclosures.

The HNX assesses the filings in three working days and the regulator can ask companies to change the filings. The disclosures are posted on the portal within five days of the final edition being approved.

The HNX will report every six months and every year to the Ministry of Finance and the State Securities Commission on the Vietnamese corporate bond market with companies issuing bonds in both domestic and international markets.

Total corporate bond issuances in the first six months of the year were worth VND159 trillion (US$6.89 billion), up 50 per cent year-on-year with banks and real estate companies the biggest issuers. — VNS

Over 2.5 billion USD in G-bonds sold in July

More than 6.2 trillion VND (267.4 million USD) worth of Government bonds were raised at an auction held by the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on August 12.

The State Treasury issued bonds worth 7.5 trillion VND of 5-year, 10-year, 15-year and 30-year terms.

One billion VND was mobilised from 5-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 1.7 percent, 0.02 percent lower than the previous auction on August 5.

Meanwhile, over 3.1 trillion VND worth of 10-year bonds were sold with an interest rate of 2.85 percent per annum, 0.03 percent higher than previous bidding.

The 15-year bonds called for 1.3 trillion VND with an annual interest rate of 3.03 percent, up 0.02 percent.

The 30-year bonds raised 500 billion VND with a yearly interest rate of 3.5 percent, equal to that of the previous auction on July 22.

More 250 billion VND were mobilised through the auxiliary auction of the 30-year bonds.

Since the beginning of 2020, the State Treasury has raised over 157.7 trillion VND from G-bond auctions at HNX./. VNA

EU partially withdraws tariff preferences to Cambodia under EBA

Cambodia’s annual 7-billion-USD garment and textile sector is expected to suffer losses from the European Union (EU)’s partial withdrawal of the tariff preferences granted to the Southeast Asian country under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement from August 12.

The move follows the EU decision made in February 2020 even though the Cambodian government and private sector have been trying to lobby the bloc not to implement or at least delay the withdrawal, according to the local media Khmer Times.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) and the Cambodia Footwear Association (CFA) together with the European chamber of commerce have called again for the EU to postpone its partial withdrawal because of the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the industries, it reported.
The EU is Cambodia’s largest trading partner. The EU's decision affects one-fifth (or 1.08 billion USD) of Cambodia’s annual exports to the union./. VNA

Science and technology to advance agriculture in Ninh Thuan

The south-central province of Ninh Thuan has stepped up the application of science and technology in agricultural production in order to boost socio-economic development in tandem with sustainable environmental protection.

According to the provincial Department of Science and Technology, Ninh Thuan will implement 14 tasks and research studies on agricultural production this year at the national and provincial level.

Priorities are given to scientific and technological applications to create new animal and plant varieties adaptive to climate change, improve farming methods, transfer post-harvest technologies, and process typical agro-forestry-fishery products.

Ninh Thuan is calling for resources to support scientific research, while enhancing cooperation with research institutes to push ahead with technology transfer.

Its two research last year on new products from Sargassum and mutton were valued highly by agencies outside of the province that sought to put them to use.

The locality applied science and technology in growing crops such as grapes, apples, aloe, asparagus, and herbs on a total area of 167 ha in rural and mountainous areas and aquaculture on 50 ha.

More than 600 local households received assistance in grape growing, using high-tech equipment, the hydroponic cultivation of vegetables, fruit and vegetable preservation, shrimp farming, and irrigation.

Ninh Thuan also held more than 300 training classes on farming methods and plant protection for over 9,000 local households.

The Nha Ho Research Institute for Cotton and Agricultural Development selected 22 varieties of asparagus, nine of guava and mango, eight of custard apple and jackfruit, and seven of longan for production.

As a coastal locality, Ninh Thuan has also intensified research and production of new fish fries and rolled out industrial fish cage farming using Norwegian technology.

According to Le Van Binh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, these research activities have helped change the mindset of local residents in regard to production, thus creating high-quality products./.VNA

Ba Ria - Vung Tau: Traceability technology adds to farm produce value

The southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau has been working to boost the traceability of its agricultural products, with initial success recorded in the value of those applying the technology.

The province last year first implemented a project promoting and managing an origin tracing system to control the quality of local products, build trust, and encourage people to consume safe food. The move was also considered a solution for raising awareness about information and transparency in production.

According to Trinh Duc Toan, deputy head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s agro-forestry-fishery management agency, the system allows consumers to check the production, processing, and preservation of farm produce using blockchain technology or QR codes. Producers, meanwhile, can save time recording information on their products by using digital apps.

A number of local cooperatives have posted significant gains from applying the system.

As a result of its three-year effort to achieve Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) standards, the Bau May agro-trade-tourism cooperative in Xuyen Moc district’s Hoa Hiep commune exported over 100 tonnes of peppercorn to European nations, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and China, among others, in 2019. Revenue from the shipments was much higher than from normal market prices.

Lam Ngoc Nham, director of the cooperative, which grows 30 ha of pepper, said good standards and clear origin help his products gain easier access to supermarkets and foreign countries.

The Song Xoai pomelo cooperative in Phu My town, meanwhile, has 30 percent of its annual output recognised as having organic origin, which then sell quite quickly and for a price 50 percent higher than market prices.

By 2025, Ba Ria - Vung Tau plans to have at least 20 percent of enterprises operating in production and business using origin bar codes. It will also begin introducing legal documents regulating the origin tracing system and connecting to the national origin tracing portal.

It has prepared plans for trademark development and origin tracking for 1,200 ha of longan, 1,000 ha of custard apple, 500 ha of pomelo, and 300 ha of dragon fruit./.VNA

Vietnamese products hold dominant position in local distribution network

The “Vietnamese people use Vietnamese goods” campaign has helped raise consumer awareness about locally-produced goods and services, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said on August 12.

He made the remarks during a conference held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in Hanoi to review a project on the development of the domestic market in the 2014-20 period and to put forward new tasks in the time to come.

As vice head of the national steering committee on the campaign, he added that over the last six years the distribution network for Vietnamese goods has grown sustainably, raising the competitiveness of local businesses.

Given that exports are currently hamstrung by COVID-19, Vietnam’s market of nearly 100 million people offers an opportunity for local companies to surmount the challenges, he noted.

Echoing Hai’s view, Director of the Domestic Market Department at MoIT Tran Duy Dong underlined that distribution is among the driving forces of economic growth in the new context.

In the time to come, the campaign will offer more incentives encouraging Vietnamese companies to bolster the application of science and technology and to support industry and e-commerce at home and abroad.

Findings from a public survey show that 67 percent of Vietnamese consumers prioritise Made-in-Vietnam products.

More than 100 points of sale designed for Vietnamese goods have been set up in 61 localities nationwide, and nearly 70 trade promotion activities for such products held around the country.

Vietnamese-made goods are present in up to 90 percent of the country’s distribution network, according to figures from the Domestic Market Department.

Such products also account for more than 60 percent of goods in foreign supermarket chains such as Lotte, AEON, and Big C./.VNA

Can Tho city takes measures to boost economic recovery

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has taken many measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic and is determined to achieve the highest possible socio-economic indicators, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

In July, the city’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) increased by an estimated 0.24 percent, retail sales and services by 2.19 percent and exports by 3.06 percent, while the consumer price index (CPI) was up by just 0.64 percent, it said.

But it admitted that most development indexes declined significantly during the period. The number of visitors fell by 70 percent and the number staying for more than one night decreased by 68 percent.

The agricultural sector too faces many difficulties due to the pandemic, Nguyen Tan Nhon, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, explaining demand for some key items such as fruits and Pangasius was down.

Inventories held by seafood processing companies remain large, causing prices to fall sharply.

Businesses have petitioned city authorities to provide funding for those impacted by COVID-19, develop infrastructure for tourism development and push administrative reforms.

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Agriculture Joint Stock Company, said the city should urge banks to offer lower loan interest rates to businesses in priority sectors as instructed by the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam.

Nguyen Thuc Hien, Director of the city's Department of Planning and Investment, said the department would help the city gain access to credit packages to aid businesses, extend deadlines for taxes, fees, land rents, and social insurance payments and carry out demand stimulation programmes.

Le Quang Manh, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said there would also be promotional policies to stimulate tourism, especially foreign tourism when international flights are allowed in future, and policies to connect producers and consumers of agriculture products./.VNA

Singapore’s financial sector creates 22,000 jobs in 2015-2019

Singapore’s financial sector created 22,000 jobs between 2015 and 2019, and of these, three out of the four jobs went to locals, said a top official from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on August 12.

In the first half of this year, employment rose by about 1,500 as well, based on MAS's estimates, said Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director at the MAS.

Singapore citizens continued to take up at least 75 percent of the jobs created, she added.

Close to 15,000 local jobs created in the period were at salaries within the top 40 percent of 2016 salaries. The median income of locals in the sector last year was 7,600 SGD (5,548 USD), well above the national median of 4,600 SGD, she noted.

The financial sector accounted for 13.3 percent of the country’s GDP in 2019  with the employment of more than 170,000 workers./.VNA

Business Times highlights new opportunities in EU-Vietnam Trade

The Business Times on August 11 posted a story describing the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as a significant economic milestone for Vietnam.

According to the article, the EU is already Vietnam’s second largest export designation. Vietnamese exports to the Eurozone have grown consistently in recent years, hitting a total of 42.5 billion USD in 2018, representing a year-on-year growth rate of 11 percent. They comprise mainly telecommunications equipment, electronics, footwear, textiles, and food products like coffee, rice and seafood. 

With the EVFTA having entered into force, 70 percent of Vietnamese exports will now enter the EU’s 26 member states duty free, the article said, adding that the remaining tariff lines’ items will be reduced gradually over seven years.

Many businesses could seek opportunities to diversify or reconfigure their supply chains to deal with current issues, or guard against future risk, according to the article.

As countries around the world cautiously begin to reopen their economies after COVID-19 lockdowns, more companies will seek to build new resilience into their supply chain - and Vietnam’s value proposition is further strengthened by the EVFTA, the article said.

 “With Vietnam being one of the first markets in the region to ease lockdown restrictions, the country is in a prime position to capture opportunities from pent-up investment demand and shifting global production trends,” it concluded./.VNA

Domestic tourism booms in Malaysia after travel restrictions lifted

About 51 percent of Malaysians polled have travelled domestically or are planning to do so since the restrictions of the movement control order (MCO) were lifted, Malaymail reported on August 12.

A survey, conducted by market research firm Vase.ai, gauged 1,080 respondents throughout the recovery phase of the movement control order (RMCO) that began on June 10.

It also found that 56 percent of Malaysians have travelled or are planning to travel for leisure while 16 percent said they have travelled or are planning to travel for work.

According to the survey, Malaysians cited visiting family or friends (46 percent) as the top reason for travelling.
Other reasons given included supporting the local economy (39 percent), and because they feel it is a good time to explore Malaysia (27 percent).

It also found that Penang tops the list (31 percent) of places that Malaysians have travelled to or are planning to visit.

Other top destinations include Melaka (28 percent), Kuala Lumpur (25 percent), Terengganu (23 percent) and Kedah (22 percent).

The survey also found that the main draws for Malaysians are local food (51 percent), followed by affordable local attractions (44 percent) and accommodation (40 percent).

Most Malaysians, or 85 percent, have taken or are planning to follow all standard operating procedures (SOP) as stipulated by the government when travelling./.VNA

Some enterprises in Danang’s IPs suspend operations due to coronavirus outbreak

Six enterprises are operating partially, while 22 others have temporarily closed their doors to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the industrial zones (IZs) in Danang City, according to Pham Truong Son, Head of Danang High-Tech Park and Industrial Zones Authority (DHPIZA), on August 10.

Up to now, 14 persons have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at some enterprises operating at the IZs in Danang.

Stating that the development of the pandemic has been complicated, affecting the production of businesses, Son said, “On the other hand, some workers have been quarantined, creating further difficulties for enterprises.” He added that DHPIZA encourages and supports businesses in need as much as possible so they can continue doing business comfortably.

He admitted that some enterprises were confused over handling business activities because business leaders could not enter Vietnam.

“We have guided our businesses over immigration procedures,” stated Son.

The total number of workers at IZs in the city is 70,500, accounting for 13.5% of the city’s total workforce.

As The Saigon Times had reported after the latest review of DHPIZA, by August 4, eight cases of Covid-19 were found among the workers at IZs in Danang. SGT 

Tien Giang expands vegetable area, output

Vegetable cultivation in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang has grown in terms of area, yields and incomes, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyễn Văn Mẫn, director of the department, said income from growing vegetables was VNĐ226-271 million (US$9,700-11,700) per hectare last year, up by VNĐ101-127 million ($4,400-5,500) from just three years earlier.  

In the period, the average annual increase in area under vegetables was 5.7 per cent while output increased by 5.4 per cent a year, he said.

The province had more than 57,750ha under vegetables and an output of 1.15 million tonnes last year.

Just less than 60 per cent of the vegetable growing areas have automatic irrigation systems.

The department has increasingly taught farmers advanced techniques like hydroponics, net houses and poly greenhouse farming to improve quality and yield.

There are around 80 poly greenhouses and 100 net houses in the province that grow various vegetables and herbs.    

The province has zoned areas for growing flowers, leaves, roots and fruits.

Châu Thành District, the largest vegetable growing area, has such specialised areas for 40 types of plants.  

It includes 420ha for growing pennywort, 150ha for fish mint and 100ha for basil.

The district has more than 14,000ha under vegetables and annually produces 300,000 tonnes.

Huỳnh Văn Bé Hai, chairman of the district People’s Committee, said more farmers have taken to rotating between vegetables and rice on their fields to increase efficiency.

“Growing vegetables offers two to three times the profit from high-yield rice.”

In the coastal eastern district of Gò Công Đông, authorities have encouraged farmers to expand vegetable farming in rice fields to mitigate the impact of saltwater intrusion and drought in the dry season.

The district plans to add 3,700ha from now until the end of the year, taking its total area under vegetables to 10,700ha.

Vegetable prices have been high in recent times, and thus offer higher profits than rice, according to the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyễn Văn Quí, head of the bureau, said the district is shifting its agriculture towards quality and ensuring outlets.

Under the province’s plan for restructuring agriculture production in its eastern districts, Gò Công Đông plans to stop growing rice in the autumn-winter crop and switch to other crops instead.

Its autumn-winter rice crop usually suffers because of saltwater intrusion and drought just before harvest time.

The district has encouraged farmers to set up clean vegetable co-operative groups to ensure they can sell their harvests.

In recent years, the department has focused on developing linkages between production and consumption for this purpose.

It has collaborated with relevant agencies and localities to support the establishment of more than 100 vegetable trading establishments, nine vegetable co-operative groups and 12 co-operatives that grow and sell clean vegetables.

More than 20 of them have signed contracts to supply supermarkets and clean vegetable shops within and outside the province. — VNS

Vietnam seeks to boost agricultural trade with Venezuela

 The Vietnamese Embassy in Venezuela held a webinar on Tuesday to introduce the Southeast Asian country’s agricultural potential to Venezuelan partners.

Addressing nearly 60 guests and representatives of the two countries’ businesses, Vietnamese Ambassador to Venezuela Le Viet Duyen said the Vietnamese Government and people always attach importance to enhancing the two countries’ friendship and co-operation.

Viet Nam is ready to share its development experience with Venezuela, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic’s serious impacts around the world, he said.

In terms of economy and trade, Venezuela is a potential destination for Vietnamese goods as it can help Vietnamese firms expand and diversify their markets, Duyen noted, adding that the countries have opportunities to strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties, contributing to their comprehensive partnership.

Aside from trade, they also boast considerable potential for cooperation in such areas as energy, oil and gas, fisheries, consumer goods, health care, science-technology, and especially agriculture, according to him.

At the event, enterprises introduced their agro-forestry-fishery products, shared experience, and discussed business opportunities.

The South American nation holds huge potential for agricultural development, but this potential remains largely untapped.

Venezuela imports a large volume of food, including about 500,000 tonnes of rice each year, to serve domestic demand, the webinar heard.

Ambassador Duyen said this is a good chance for the two sides’ businesses to boost mutual understanding and seize trade opportunities, particularly in agriculture. — VNS

Transport firms cheer road maintenance fee reductions

Transportation firms have welcomed the Ministry of Finance’s recent move to reduce road maintenance fees by up to 30 per cent to aid businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Finance early this week issued a circular to cut road maintenance fees for passenger transportation vehicles by 30 per cent and 10 per cent for trucks, tractors and other special vehicles.

The reductions apply from August 10 to the end of this year. From January 1, 2021, road maintenance fees will return to the levels before August 10.

According to Khuc Huu Thanh Hai, director of Dat Cang Transportation, Trading and Services Joint Stock Company, cutting road maintenance fees would be a significant aid to transportation companies amid the pandemic.

With around 400 five-seat cars and 70 47-seat buses, Hai said his company could save a considerable sum from the fees reduction.

Hai, however, said he had expected bigger reductions because the transportation sector had been heavily affected by the pandemic.

Bui Danh Lien, deputy chairman of the Ha Noi Transport Association, said the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the transport industry were severe with a number of transport sectors frozen while companies still have to pay to maintain operations.

The Government’s support was essential in the time of the pandemic, which would help transportation companies overcome difficulties and recover, he said.

In May, the Ministry of Transport asked the Ministry of Finance to exempt and reduce road maintenance fees for transport vehicles and firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry pointed out that thousands of firms, co-operatives and household businesses in the transportation sector were falling into difficulties due to the pandemic with more than 310,000 vehicles operating in moderation and hundreds of thousands of workers facing falling incomes.

When nationwide social distancing was in place to cope with the virus, the passenger transportation saw a 75 per cent drop in revenue, the transport ministry said. — VNS

HVG restricted from trading on UPCoM

The Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) announced that it would restrict trading of Hung Vuong Corporation (HVG) on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) trading system from Thursday.

Accordingly, this company is only allowed to trade on Friday every week.

The number of shares restricted from trading is over 227 million, with a value of more than VND2.27 trillion (US$97.5 million). Each share has a par value of VND10,000.

Before that, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) issued a decision to delist shares for HVG stock including more than 227 million shares.

HoSE said that HVG has seriously violated the obligation to disclose information, which HoSE and the State Securities Commission (SSC) deems it necessary to cancel listing to protect the interests of investors in accordance with the law.

HVG has not released its separate and consolidated financial statements for the first quarter of this year so far despite many reminders from HoSE.

HVG said that the company was facing a shortage of accountants because people had stopped working or moved to new companies during the social distancing period from April.

Therefore, data provision for the financial statement consolidation was delayed.

Along with that, the letter confirming the debt from abroad is also delayed, so the auditing company does not have enough grounds to issue the audited financial statements of the transition period from October 1 to December 31 last year. — VNS

 

Design contest focusing on regenerated products launched

A design contest has been launched on a national scale in the buildup to Vietnam Design Week 2020 in order to provide a platform for contestants to create regenerated products that possess a high value in terms of their design.

The “Designed by Vietnam” contest is running with the theme of “Regeneration” and will be jointly organised by the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, Ashui.com, and ConsMedia Corporation.

Through the various design submissions the contest aims to urge all people to utilise available materials and realise their dreams of a positive future with sustainable development, particular in the context of the world being in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The “Designed by Vietnam” contest is therefore open to all individuals living and working in the nation, including designers, craftsmen, and creative entrepreneurs in inter-related fields. All entries must be original designs by applicants and must never have been submitted to any other prior contests. 

The deadline for the application round is on August 28, whilst the preliminary round will be open from the first week of September until the beginning of October. The judging panel will then select 20 designs and co-ordinate with chosen creators to make prototypes of their products.

A vote to select the best design will be held on www.vietnamdesignweek.com between September 7 to October 7.

Following this, the final round and an awards ceremony will take place during the Vietnam Design Week 2020 which is scheduled to run from November 5 to November 10 in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoi An. VOV

Vietnam-based Korean firms looking to benefit from EVFTA

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) coming into force on August 1 will benefit Vietnam-based Korean companies exporting goods to the EU.

In the report titled "The Impacts of the EVFTA: Effectuation on Korean companies and Implications" issued on August 5, the Institute for International Trade of the Korea International Trade Association anticipated that Vietnam would take on a greater role and status in the global value chain with the EVFTA going into effect in August, following the entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in January 2019. 

The report stated, “A high level of market opening is expected as the EU and Vietnam agreed to eliminate around 99 % to 100 % of tariffs based on import bill within 7 years and 10 years, respectively,” and added, “As Vietnam's institutional reform, mitigation of non-tariff barriers, protection of intellectual property rights, and strengthening of labour rights and environmental protection obligations are included in the agreement, it will play a major role in advancing Vietnam's economy as well as expanding overseas investment.”

In particular, Korean textile and fashion firms based in Vietnam are expected to benefit from this FTA. Under the agreement, Vietnam-based Korean clothes manufacturers exporting to the EU can enjoy a preferential duty for goods made from Korean materials as the EU has FTAs with both Vietnam and the Republic of Korea.

In contrast, clothes produced from Chinese materials cannot enjoy the benefits of the EU-Vietnam trade deal, as China does not have an agreement with the EU.

Currently, the EU depends on China for 30 % of its clothes imports, but it imposes tariffs of up to 12 %. These imports will likely be replaced with Vietnamese goods when tariffs are removed.

In addition, the EU-Vietnam agreement is expected to increase demand for high-quality Korean materials. Since tariffs on consumer goods from Vietnam such as shoes and bags are significantly lowered, Korean producers based in Vietnam will be able to expand exports to the EU.

Kim Jung-kyun, a senior researcher at the Korea International Trade Association, said, “Vietnam has been making aggressive moves to open up its markets. It currently holds FTAs with 52 countries and has emerged as the trade hub of the ASEAN region. Korean companies based in Vietnam need to actively utilise the FTA network built by the country and set up mid-to-long-term strategies to expand trade and investment in Vietnam and restructure the supply chain.” VIR 

Vietnamese consumers prefer using cashless payments

The total value of cashless transactions jumped six times in the first half this year against the same period of 2019. 

The number of cashless transactions increased more than five times in the first half of 2020 against the same period last year, while the total value of contactless transactions soared six times over the first half of 2019, according to the latest report by Visa.

At the end of June, the number of Visa cards that had recorded at least one contactless transaction within the past three months grew more than three times compared to June 2019.

Findings from the recent Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study showed 37% of Vietnamese consumers are now using contactless payments, while 42% are currently paying through mobile, of those, 85% said that they make contactless payment at least once a week.

Contactless payment methods have already been introduced at some of the biggest retailers, restaurant chains and movie houses, including Lotte Mart, The Pizza Company and BHD, with promotional campaigns that seek to drive up and popularize contactless payments.

Half of all Visa transactions at Starbucks Vietnam, one of the leading food & beverage chains, are now contactless. Similarly, Saigon Co-op has partnered with Visa to offer a range of exciting prizes to cardholders using this payment technology at their outlets.

A research conducted from June 19 to June 23 by Kantar showed that 68% of Vietnamese consumers prefer paying by cards or via mobile apps instead of cash, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this context, Shopee and JCB recently announced a regional agreement, taking effect from July in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and later Singapore and the Philippines. JCB will offer annual discounts and seasonal promotions for Shopee users, while this e-commerce platform will encourage its stores to take part in JCB’s programs.

According to Terence Pang, CEO of Shopee, the partnership aims to meet the diversity of user habits and preferences, including cashless payments in the new normal after COVID-19.

Earlier, Vinasun, a taxi business, also launched a VNS Prepaid service, of which customers can top up from Payoo or its banking partners, e-wallets, and convenience stores for paying taxi fares. 

“It is expected that in the second phase, in addition to paying directly through the Vinasun application, customers can also top up or pay taxi fares directly from MoMo, ZaloPay”, said Ta Long Hy, deputy general director of Vinasun Taxi said. Hanoitimes

Vietnamese firm seals deal to supply equipment for US medical group

Ecom Net USA, a branch of Vietnam’s personal protective equipment (PPE) provider Ecom Net, on August 14 (US time), inked a contract to become the supplier of facemasks and PPE for the US medical group Spartan’s hospitals across the US.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, which took place at the Spartan headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, general director of Ecom Net USA Ella Nguyen hoped the event would mark a good beginning of a partnership between the sides.

Vince Proffitt, President at Spartan Medical Inc., lauded the quality of medical products made by Ecom Net USA and by Vietnamese firms in general.

He cited an assessment by the US-based Nelson Labs, which said facemasks produced by the Vietnamese company are fireproof, waterproof, and capable of filtering out up to 99.9 percent of the particles in the air.

Spartan, considered a leading provider of a network of more than 360 hospitals, has been secured more than 500 contracts with US federal governments, including multi-year transaction agreements in more than 30 treatment facilities of the US army.

Earlier this month, Ecom Net USA sponsored 10,000 facemasks, which were presented by Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc to Maryland as gifts for the state’s fight against COVID-19. VNA

Vietnamese goods make up high proportion of domestic supermarket system

Local products account for over 90% of domestic enterprises' distribution systems, while they account for between 60% and 96% for foreign supermarkets, according to figures released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The data was given during a recent conference held by the MoIT aimed at reviewing plans to develop the domestic market in association with the "Vietnamese people give priority to using Vietnamese goods" campaign for the 2014 to 2020 period. In terms of traditional retail channels, the proportion of locals products at markets and in convenience stores makes up 60% or more, with key products reaching over 80% of the target set out in the plan. 

Most notably, beginning early this year amid the spread of the novel coronavirus globally, many businesses have witnessed their export markets become disrupted, resulting in installed raw materials sources and orders. Indeed, the domestic market is viewed as a significant enough playground for local businesses to exploit whilst overcoming the various difficulties and challenges they face.

Statistically, despite the total retail sales of goods and services during the first seven months of the year falling by 0.4% in comparison with the same period in 2019, the total retail sales of goods during the reviewed period still accounts for 79.2%, an annual increase of 3.6%.

Therefore they are able to meet the essential needs of people whilst ensuring a consistent supply of raw materials, fuel, machinery, equipment, and goods to maintain production and business activities with regard to domestic and export markets.

Tran Duy Dong, head of the Domestic Market Department under the MoIT, says that in the context of the Vietnamese economy joining several new generation FTAs, especially the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which came into effect at the beginning of August, efforts must be made to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese products. These moves should be co-ordinated in an efficient manner in the retail system in order to prevent Vietnamese products from being dislodged. VOV

Philippines bans chicken imports from Brazil over COVID-19 scare

The Philippine government on August 14 said it is imposing a ban on the importation of chickens from Brazil following reports of the coronavirus contamination of imported frozen food, including chicken wings from the South American country.

With the recent reports from China and in compliance with the country's Food Safety Act to regulate food business operators and safeguard Filipino consumers, the temporary ban on the import of chicken meat is imposed, the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

It did not say how long the ban would be enforced. Brazil accounts for around 20 percent of the Philippines' poultry meat imports.

Despite the importation ban, the Philippines' Department of Agriculture assured the public that chicken products currently in the local market were safe to eat.

The World Health Organisation said on August 13 that there was no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 virus being spread by food or food packaging. VNA

First batch of vermicelli from Bac Kan exported to Europe

Over five tonnes of vermicelli produced by Tai Hoan Cooperative of Bac Kan province were successfully exported to the Czech Republic on August 13.

This marks the first time that an agricultural product from Bac Kan province has been exported to the Central European country, a market that typically places strict regulations and high quality standards on imports. 

Indeed, the vermicelli produced by Tai Hoan Cooperative met the standards set by the One Commune One Product OCOP programme after being granted four stars.

Dinh Lam Sang, deputy director of the Bac Kan Department of Industry and Trade, said the vermicelli shipment to the Czech Republic will serve to create added motivation for other local businesses to strive to produce high-quality products that can be exported to this market.

Sang added that the department will continue to work alongside other units in an effort to develop OCOP agricultural products that are granted a rating of at least three stars. In line with this strategy, once relevant products meet strict quality and quantity requirements, they will be exported to the European market. VOV

MORE NEWS

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 7

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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS OCTOBER 7

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