Petrol prices see steep fall on November 6
The retail prices of petrol fell sharply from 3pm on November 6 following the latest adjustments by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Accordingly, the price of E5 RON 92 declined 1,082 VND to trade at a maximum of 19,600 VND per litre, and RON95 dropped 1,138 VND in its price to a maximum of 21,065 VND per litre. Meanwhile, the price of diesel 0.05S went down 67 VND per litre to 18,644 VND.
The prices of kerosene and mazut 180CST 3.5S remain unchanged and should not be higher than 17,086 VND and 15,694 VND per litre, respectively.
The Ministry of Industry said that RON 92 was sold at an average of 78.7 USD per barrel globally half month ago, down nearly 9 USD from the previous period. Those of RON95 and diesel 0.06S were 80.52 USD per barrel and 92.27 USD per barrel, respectively.
The price of Ethanol E100, which is used as the basis to calculate the price of biofuel E5 RON 92 after the elimination of petrol RON 92, stood at 14,737 VND per litre (excluding value added tax).
The petrol price stabilisation fund has been used frequently throughout the past, particularly for petrol products, in order to mitigate the impacts of the global rising commercial oil and petrol prices and contribute to curbing inflation.
This time, subsidies for E5 RON 92 are 700 VND per litre (previously 1,213 VND per litre) and RON 95 is 0 VND per litre (previously 600 VND per litre), while diesel is 0 VND per litre (previously 634 VND per litre).
A review of fuel prices are set to be announced every 15 days to keep up with changes in the global market.
Forum discusses improving efficiency of SOEs
A forum on accelerating the process of reforming and improving the efficiency of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was held by “Tap chi Kinh Te va Du Bao” (the Journal of Economics and Forecasting) in Hanoi on November 6.
Some 74 SOEs have been equitised in Vietnam since 2016, generating trillions of VND for the State budget, said Dang Quyet Tien, Director of the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Corporate Finance. After equitisation, many of them have gone on to further develop their reputation, he added.
At the same time, the official underlined problems such as lengthy delays in the equitisation of many other SOEs and uneven improvement in the performance of equitised firms. He noted that the operational efficiency and profitability of many SOEs are still relatively lower than those in private sector.
Deputy Minister of Investment and Planning Nguyen Van Hieu said over the past two decades, the country has seen a sharp decline in the number of SOEs, from 12,000 in the early 1990s to about 500 at present.
While these companies often manage a large volume of State-owned assets, their business results and contributions to the State budget have not matched the resources they own, he said, noting that many of the SOEs’ projects have actually suffered big losses.
In the time ahead, equitisation and divestment remain top priorities for the restructuring of SOEs, particularly the equitisation of corporations in the fields of mining, chemicals, and post and telecommunications. In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and with the establishment of the Committee for State Capital Management, there is lots of work to be done to reform and improve the efficiency of SOEs, Hieu said.
He emphasised that SOEs must ensure they maintain accuracy and transparency in information disclosure and debt issues to attract investors.
Pham Duc Trung from the Central Institute for Economic Management recommended that SOEs improve their management mechanisms by applying international corporate governance practices and enhancing the efficiency of investment in State capital.
By 2020, the number of SOEs is expected to drop to about 100. The Government approved the equitisation plans of 136 SOEs for the 2016-2020 period, including big names like Vietnam Rubber Group.
In the last three years, Vietnam has earned 198 trillion VND (8.49 billion USD) from the divestment and equitisation of SOEs, which included the record 110 trillion VND (4.71 billion USD) generated from the divestment of leading brewery Sabeco.
Electronic trading platform for clean agricultural products makes debut
An electronic trading platform for agricultural products was inaugurated at www.gcaeco.vn in Hanoi on November 7, providing a free-of-charge selling channel for millions of farmers, thousands of cooperatives, traders and stores across the nation.
The online market is part of the Global Clean Agriculture (GCA) project, which utilizes the blockchain platform application in the global agriculture supply chain.
The GCA is being implemented in Vietnam by Global Payment Connection JSC. Director of the company, Doan Xuan Huy, said the GCAECO allows customers to track the origin of products and their path from the farm to customers.
It also helps connect sellers and buyers or consumers not only in Vietnam but also abroad.
The e-commerce platform has both computer and mobile versions.-
VietFood & Beverage – ProPack expo opens in Hanoi
The VietFood, Beverage and Professional Packing Machines (VietFood & Beverage – ProPack) international exhibition kicked off in Hanoi on November 7.
The event is held at the same time with an exhibition on food & beverage processing and packaging technology and equipment and the launch of an e-exchange on clean agricultural products and food, www.gcaeco.vn.
Trinh Xuan Tuan, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad), said various products are being displayed by some 250 businesses from 12 countries such as the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Romania, Spain and South Africa.
Up to 67 percent of the products on show are processed food, farm produce, food additives, beverage and packaged confectionery. Others include processing and packaging machines, packages, and bakery production equipment.
Tuan said this is the only exhibition of the food and beverage industry in Hanoi where his firm focuses on promoting links between international brands with importers and distributors. It aims to connect Vietnamese export products with foreign buyers and help popularise organic farm produce in the public.
Notably, Vietnamese firms not only showcase their key products like milk, coffee, pepper and salangane nest but also introduce a variety of pharmaceutical materials, traditional spices and frozen seafood.
According to a report of the market research firm Euromonitor, Vietnam’s food and beverage industry is attracting foreign investors as the country holds numerous advantages like a stable political system, a young population, abundant raw materials, and a dynamic consumption market.
The exhibition at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre, No. 91 Tran Hung Dao street, will last through November 10.
Canada makes final say on anti-dumping probe into cold-rolled steel
Cold-rolled steel imported from China, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam is being unfairly subsidised and dumped in Candida, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The CBSA recently announced final determinations of dumping and subsidising of certain cold-rolled steel in coils or cut lengths from China, the RoK and Vietnam.
The CBSA said in a statement it has found a 99.2 percent margin of dumping and 6.5 percent in amount of subsidy in these steel products from Vietnam. Meanwhile, the margin of dumping and amount of subsidy in the products from China were determined at 91.9 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively; from the RoK 53 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.
“The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) is continuing its inquiry into the question of injury to the domestic industry and will make an order or finding by December 21, 2018,” it noted. “Provisional duties will continue to apply on imports of subject goods until the date of the CITT’s order or finding.”
The CBSA launched a probe into whether or not certain cold-rolled steel in coils or cut lengths originating in or exported from China, the RoK and Vietnam are being sold at unfair prices in Canada and if subsidies are being applied to these products.
The investigations are the result of a complaint filed by ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P., located in Ontario. The complainant alleges the Canadian industry is facing declining market shares, loss of sales, price undercutting, price depression and declining production and utilisation rate.
The investigations, which took place from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, examined cold-rolled steel commonly used in the production and manufacture of a range of goods including household appliances, drums, tubing, furniture and strapping. These investigations did not cover cold-rolled steel used for automobile production.
Currently, there are 99 special import measures in force in Canada, covering a variety of industrial and consumer products, from steel products to refined sugar.
Implementation of Party’s resolution on collective economy to be reviewed
The 15-year implementation of a Party Central Committee’s resolution on continuing to reform, develop and improve the effectiveness of the collective economy will be reviewed.
The steering committee for reform and development of collective and cooperative economy had a meeting in Hanoi on November 6 to discuss the review plan.
At the meeting, representatives of ministries and sectors said that over the 15 years since Resolution 13-NQ/TW was issued at the fifth session of the ninth Party Central Committee in March 2002, the whole political system and society’s awareness of the role of the collective economy in the national development has been improved considerably. Swift changes have been recorded in cooperatives’ performance with the emergence of many new models.
Therefore, there is a need to review the implementation to appropriately steer the development of collective and cooperative economy in the new context, they said, adding that the resolution implementation should be reviewed from the grassroots level.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the steering committee, said it is necessary to assess the current situation of the collective economy in terms of its quantity, quality and sustainability.
The review should focus on institutional and policy issues, especially those relating to land, finance – credit and human resources training, policies supporting the cooperative economy, and the role of cooperatives’ unions. It also needs to pinpoint obstacles to be removed and seek new role models and driving forces for the collective economy in the time ahead.
After that, this review’s outcomes should be reported so that the Politburo could issue a new resolution on the continued implementation of Resolution 13-NQ/TW, and revisions to the Law on Cooperatives could be considered in 2022, he added.
Hue said the steering committee, particularly the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, would organise conferences and workshops to collect opinions on relevant issues, while teams would be sent to make fact-finding tours of some key localities. The reviewing events should be held at appropriate points of time to create favourable conditions for Party congresses at all levels.
According to the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, cooperative groups and cooperatives make up nearly 4.8 percent of the country’s GDP. There were 21,026 active cooperatives as of June 30 this year, up 934 against the previous year. More than half of these were agricultural and agricultural service ones.
By the end of June, there were 39 cooperative unions and almost 12,600 cooperatives working in Vietnam’s agricultural sector. More than 1,140 agricultural cooperatives were set up in the first half of this year, data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show.
Vietnam targets at least 15,000 agricultural cooperatives and cooperative unions operating effectively by 2020.
French businesses find Vietnam attractive destination
Vietnam, with an impressive growth speed, has become an attractive destination for French investors, said participants at the France-Vietnam business forum, which took place in Ho Chi Minh City on November 4.
Henri-Charles Claude, President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV), highlighted the significant growth of Vietnam in recent years, which he said creates big opportunities for foreign investors, including those from France.
According to him, Vietnam and France have recorded positive economic cooperation but yet to fully tap their potential. He named a number of fields good for stronger bilateral engagements like infrastructure, digital technology, health, culture, and education.
Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Vice Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham), said Vietnam is among countries which have signed the largest number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA), particularly its involvement in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and in FTAs with the ASEAN and the EU.
He said the EU – Vietnam FTA will create big impacts on the sides’ trade and investment through favourable legal frameworks and business opportunities. Saying the pact is in the final stage, he recommended French and other European countries speed up their networking in Vietnam to gain market advantages.
Valentin Tran, director of Andros group, a French company specialised in farm produce, said his company chose Vietnam to be its strategic investment destination in Asia as the country offers various conditions for its long-term development.
Accordingly, Vietnam has fast growth, ample production material sources, young population, increasing consumption demand, as well as broad regional and international connections and integration. It can be a gateway for investors to reach its neighbouring markets like Thailand or Cambodia.
Fabrice Carrasco, Managing Director of Kantar Worldpanel for Vietnam and the Philippines, informed the forum that Vietnam’s domestic consumption demand grows 12 percent per year on average. Purchasing power has doubled that of five years ago and will be two times higher than the current level in a decade, he added.
Vietnamese consumers are spending more on educational, food, health care and beauty services, he said.
Participating French companies said Vietnamese and French firms should boost innovation and technology transfer cooperation.
They urged the Vietnamese Government to update its investment attraction policy and build a safe and transparent legal corridor to facilitate the implementation of public-private partnership in infrastructure, transport and urban projects.
Vietnam’s PMI bounces back in October
Vietnam’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) climbed from a 10-month low of 51.5 in September to 53.9 in October, pointing to the strongest improvement in the health of the country’s manufacturing industry since July, IHS Market’s Nikkei reports released on November 1 showed.
The industry moved up a gear in October, with growth of production, headcounts and input purchasing all gathering pace on the back of a robust and accelerated increase in new work. At the same time, the rate of input cost inflation softened to its lowest since July 2017 and charges were lowered for the second month in a row.
“Vietnamese manufacturers allayed fears of a protracted slowdown with strong rises in output, new orders and employment all recorded in October,” said Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit, which compiled the survey. “The success of firms in continuing to secure greater volumes of new work despite signs of weakening global demand stands them in good stead as the year draws to a close.”
According to the report, all five sub-components of the PMI contributed to the upward movement recorded at the start of the year’s final quarter.
New business increased at a quicker pace than in September, supported by favourable demand internally and externally. New export orders rose at the fastest rate in three months as companies benefited from expansion into new markets and greater client bases. Subsequently, manufacturers scaled up production for the eleventh month running, with growth the sharpest since July.
Despite the rise in sales, manufacturers were able to keep on top of their workloads, as highlighted by a further decline in unfinished business. One factor that supported the depletion of backlogs was the hiring of additional workers. Not only did employment expand for the thirty-first month running, but it also showed the strongest growth since July. According to survey participants, job creation was underpinned by new product lines and robust demand.
Vietnamese manufacturers stepped up their outlay on raw materials and semi-finished products, with input purchasing expanding at a quicker pace than in September. Strong demand for materials exerted some pressure on supply chains as highlighted by an increase in vendor delivery times.
The upturn in purchase quantities aided companies in their stock building initiatives. Holdings of inputs increased markedly in October, with the pace of accumulation the quickest since the survey started in March 2011. Similarly, inventories of finished goods rose and at the quickest pace in almost three and a half years.
Although input costs continued to increase, the rate of inflation dropped to its lowest in 15 months, encouraging some producers to lower charges and others to keep prices unchanged. Across the manufacturing economy, charges fell for the second straight month, albeit marginally.
Freight volume through seaports increases 19 percent in 10 months
The volume of cargo passing through seaports across Vietnam rose by 19 percent to 431 million tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018, according to Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA).
The volume included 14.8 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of containers, up 26 percent from the same period last year.
In October alone, seaports nationwide handled more than 43 million tonnes of cargo, up 20 percent year on year.
The biggest growth of freight volume was recorded at ports in the central province of Quang Nam (109.93 percent), followed by Ha Tinh (98.3 percent) and Nghe An (64 percent), said VMA deputy head Bui Thien Thu.
Meanwhile, several ports in Kien Giang and Nha Trang reported sharp declines in freight volume, ranging from 28 percent to 64 percent year on year, he noted.
Vietnam currently has 44 seaports with total design capacity of 470-500 million tonnes of cargo a year.
GENCO 1’s electricity output up 12.3 percent in ten months
The Power Generation Corporation 1 (GENCO 1) under the State-owned Vietnam Electricity produced over 26.65 billion kWh over the last 10 months, representing 77.5 percent of this year’s target and a year-on-year rise of 12.3 percent.
The firm said that in October, the water flow into hydropower reservoirs and mobilized capacity of thermal power plants’ turbines was low.
However, its total electricity output increased 8 percent from the month’s planned production and 46 percent from a year earlier to 2.82 billion kWh last month. That included 692 million kWh generated by hydropower plants and over 2 billion kWh by thermal power ones.
GENCO 1 plans to generate more than 2.6 billion kWh of electricity in November, including 352 million kWh of hydropower and nearly 2.26 billion kWh thermal power.
The company also assigned its hydropower plants to optimise water resources and thermal power facilities to maximise production capacity as requested by the National Load Dispatch Centre.
GENCO 1 is one of the three power generation corporations of the Vietnam Electricity group.
It currently owns the hydropower plants of Song Tranh (Quang Nam province), Ban Ve (central Nghe An province), Dong Nai, Dai Ninh and Da Nhim-Ham Thuan-Da Mi (Central Highlands province of Lam Dong). The thermal power companies of Uong Bi (northern Quang Ninh province), Duyen Hai (southern Tra Vinh province), and Nghi Son (central Thanh Hoa province) are also members of GENCO 1.
Domestic supplies important to Vietnamese garment & textile industry
Vietnam’s textile industry could not take full advantage from the new-generation free trade agreements like the Europe-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) if it continues dependence on imported raw materials and accessories, according to watchers.
A report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said Vietnam shipped 22.56 billion USD worth of garment and textile products to foreign countries in the first nine months of this year. Meanwhile, cotton import turnover in the period surged 30.3 percent to 2.41 billion USD, and purchase of fabric increased 13.5 percent year on year to 9.39 billion USD and that of yarn was estimated at 1.78 billion USD, up 34.6 percent.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh has said the garment and textile sector is expected to earn high revenue of 35 billion USD this year. “We have enjoyed high export earnings but we do not have materials,” he pointed out.
Particularly, when the EVFTA and the CPTPP take effect in the end of this year, with tax lines cut to zero, Vietnamese garment and textile products will have opportunities to expand its market share in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. However, the two deals set high requirements in terms of thread and fabric origin, which poses barriers to the industry when it is tangled in the middle, productive in terms of final products but grinding to a halt in the production of materials.
Pham Tat Thang, a senior researcher at the MoIT, said domestic textile firms are able to produce 0.8 billion metres of fabric each year, meeting only around 13 percent of the total demand. This means the country still has to import 5.2 billion metres of fabric annually.
Thang said that even the home-made amount is not qualified to make high-quality products. In fact, many businesses have to import more than 90 percent of its material to satisfy production.
Chairman of the Vietanm Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang said that the association has called for foreign investments to ensure sufficient supply for the sector. During January-August, the country secured over 2 billion USD in foreign direct investments (FDI) in the garment and textile industry. Those include a 50 million USD sheep wool yarn spinning plant in Da Lat city, invested in by German Sudwolle, and a 13.8 million USD sewing threads factory in Quang Nam province by German Amnn Group.
Domestic firms have also invested heavily in weaving and dying. Advanced technology has been applied in Phong Phu International JSC in softerner wash process for its jeans and khaki products. Meanwhile, Bao Minh company recently opened its weaving factory in Nam Dinh province, with a designed capacity of over 35 million metres of fabric each year – 70 percent of which will be yarn-dyed.
Giang expressed his belief that with the presence of new weaving companies, the sector will have sufficient material to ensure its sustainable development.
Agribank’s pretax profits likely to reach record high this year
The Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) has announced that it is likely to reach the highest-ever profit growth rate by the end of the year.
The bank’s pretax profits in the first ten months of 2018 were estimated at more than 6 trillion VND (257.8 million USD), nearly doubling that of the same period last year. The bank’s rate of bad debt stood at 1.98 percent, while collection from services rose by 23.5 percent year-on-year.
This year marks the third year of Agribank’s implementation of the 2016-2020 Business Strategy Plan in combination with the second-phase restructuring.
Together with efforts to address bad debt, the bank has focused on divestment in non-banking enterprises.
Since 2014, it has conducted divestments in seven enterprises, taking back over 1 trillion VND (43 million USD). It plans to continue conducting divestments in remaining businesses, improve financial capacity, and consolidate foundations to get ready for the equitisation roadmap under the Government’s direction.
Agribank’s pretax profits have increased year after year, reaching 4.2 trillion VND (180 million USD) in 2016 and over 5 trillion VND (214 million USD) in 2017. For the last two years, it has stayed on the top 20 list of largest contributors to the State budget.
Agro-fishery-forestry exports reach 32.6 billion USD in ten months
The agro-fishery-forestry sector earned 32.6 billion USD from exports during the January-October period, up 8.1 percent year-on-year, according to the Agro Processing Market Development Authority (AgroTrade) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The export of key farm produce hit 16.4 billion USD, 2.3 percent higher than that of the same time last year. Meanwhile, earnings from aquatic, husbandry, and forestry products were estimated at 7.24 billion USD, 0.46 billion USD, and 7.6 billion USD; rising 6.2 percent, 9.5 percent, and 16.3 percent, respectively.
Over the 10-month period, Vietnam pocketed 2.6 billion USD from shipping 5.2 million tonnes of rice abroad, an increase of 1.7 percent in volume and 14.1 percent in value year-on-year.
Strong growth in rice export revenue was seen in Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Exports of cassava also exhibited good performances, with 1.92 million tonnes sold at 739.6 million USD, down 9.78 percent in quantity but up 16.1 percent in value compared to the same period in 2017.
Coffee export revenue regained strength after a time of steep fall. About 1.57 million tonnes of coffee were sold in foreign countries at 2.98 billion USD in the reviewed period, a year-on-year increase of 21.3 percent in volume and 0.9 percent in value.
Regarding vegetables and fruit, Vietnam exported around 3.3 billion USD worth of products, hiking 15.5 percent year-on-year.
In contrast, decline in export revenue was seen in pepper (33.4 percent), rubber (7.3 percent), and tea (7.7 percent).
The AgroTrade said that from the outset of the year, the country splashed out 25.72 billion USD on agro-fishery-forestry imports, 11.1 percent higher than the amount in the same time in 2017.
Thua Thien-Hue works to boost green growth via solar power projects
Thua Thien-Hue has pushed investors to consider six solar power projects, a sector for which the central province is offering special investment incentives with a view to boosting green growth.
Last October, a 35MW solar power factory was inaugurated in Thua Thien-Hue. Invested with nearly 1 trillion VND (42.8 million USD), the plant of the Gia Lai Electricity JSC – a subsidiary of Thanh Thanh Cong Group – covers 45ha in My Hoa hamlet of Dien Loc commune, Phong Dien district.
Thanh Thanh Cong Group said the plant’s electricity output approximates the yearly consumption of some 32,630 households in Vietnam, and it is hoped to reduce some 20,503 tonnes in CO2 emissions each year.
Apart from this project, the province has installed solar power systems with capacity of 1.5kWh each on two fishing boats in Phu Vang district, helping these vehicles save 20 litres of oil each day.
It has built an electricity generating system using solar energy with a capacity of 8,200 Watt peak (Wp) on Son Cha Island, and another with 4,000Wp in capacity at the Hong Thai border guard check post in A Luoi district.
Solar lamps replacing high pressure sodium ones have also been installed at some intersections and on Ton Duc Thang street in Hue city. Each of them is able to save 438kWh of electricity each year.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Ngoc Tho said the development of renewable power factories aims to boost a green industry. In the long run, these projects will help ensure national energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration, Thua Thien-Hue holds huge potential for developing solar energy as it has up to 1893 sun hours per year and a solar irradiance of 4.33kWh per sq.m each day. It is also home to an over 120km-long coastline and many desert areas with flat terrain, which are also favourable for building solar power plants.
Tho said the province will continue developing such factories to capitalise on these natural advantages.
Intellectual property rights for Vietnam’s farm produce discussed
Lack of attention to registering brand names and geographical indications is causing difficulties to Vietnamese agricultural products, which are sometimes shut out of other markets after their names are usurped by others, heard a recent seminar.
Vietnam is an agricultural nation with many excellent products with the best quality in the world, Nguyen Hong Ly, Vice Chairwoman of Vietnam Farmers Union (VFU), said at the “Intellectual property rights for Vietnamese agricultural products” seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 31.
However, only a few localities, organisations and enterprises have internationally registered intellectual property rights, and only some have become internationally prestigious ones, she added.
According to Ly, Vietnam there are around 800 prestigious agricultural, forestry and seafood products in 720 localities but only 50 geographical indications and 140 brand names have been registered.
Ly pointed out that prestigious brand names make tracing origins easy.
She said intellectual property rights bring prestige to products and affect prices and buyers’ preferences, but Vietnamese enterprises and organisations have not focused on them. Farmers have no knowledge about intellectual property rights and procedures to register seem very complicated.
“We must change the situation by providing education and information about the importance of intellectual property rights and make all related authorities and farmers aware of them,” Ly stressed.
Intellectual property rights will protect the reputation of specialities and brand names, prevent fake products, encourage diversified production, stabilise rural areas, and make users notice good products, she affirmed.
Prof Vo Tong Xuan, principal of South Can Tho University, emphasised to ensure the effective protection of intellectual property rights for Vietnamese agricultural products, it is necessary to build connection between farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists and managers, which helps create a close, effective distribution network in the domestic market and enhance products’ competitiveness in the world market.
Besides, he suggested localities subsidise and assist farmers in registering intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property rights and brand names will be among the most important assets for an enterprise, he said, adding Vietnamese enterprises and organisations should pay attention to increasing the value of their brand names and protecting their intellectual property rights.
In recent times, the VFU at levels have implemented numerous activities supporting farmers to build brand names for their farm produce, thus promoting consumption. After being registered intellectual property rights, products are sold at higher prices of 1.5 – 2 times.
SSC asks brokerage firms to ensure system safety
The State Securities Commission has asked brokerage companies to further strengthen their trading system to ensure safe and smooth transactions for investors in the stock market.
This request was prompted by a recent slew of system breakdowns at brokerage firms that limited investors’ ability to place orders to buy or sell shares.
SSC Vice Chairman Pham Hong Son requested securities companies improve their operations and financial security, particularly their information technology system, to ensure smooth operations.
On October 25, a system malfunction occurred with the electronic trading system of VNDirect Securities Joint Stock Company, preventing investors from placing orders through the broker’s platforms.
On September 25, a connection failure happened with the whole trading system of Saigon Securities Inc, including SSI Webstrading, SSI Mobile Trading and SSI Pro Trading, which resulted in the investors’ inability to log in to the system as well as make transactions.
This is the second time SSI experienced system failure after the first crash in January this year. Right after the error, SSI Chairman Nguyen Duy Hung sent an apology to clients and promised to continue to invest in both human resources and the IT system to ensure safety in the future.
Both SSI and VNDirect are among the top 10 biggest securities companies in Vietnam’s stock market. Any system failures in their trading systems will significantly affect investors’ transactions.
At the annual meeting of market members on October 26, the market regulator said it would go on with the restructuring of the securities companies. Those that are not fully financial capable will be closely monitored and any violations which negatively affect the healthy and sustainable development of the market will be strictly handled.
Representatives of the two national exchanges also said they would strengthen the management and supervision of market members to ensure the discipline in the market and integration with the regional securities market. At the same time, they would also diversify services provided to members.
To date, there are 72 brokerage firms operating on the stock market.
Many small companies have hiked charter capital and restructured personnel, but in the first six months, 18 of 72 companies still suffered losses.
New decree facilitates rice trading, export activities
New regulations included in Decree No.107/2018 ND-CP have helped cut down costs for businesses in market engagement activities and created strong motivation for the improvement of their trading capacity and the promotion of rice exports, said business representatives at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on November 1.
The decree, which took effect from October 1, 2018, replaces Decree No.109/2010/ND-CP and focuses on regulating rice trading and exports.
Representatives of the businesses held that Decree No.107 encourages the production and export of high quality rice with high added value, contributing to implementing the restructuring of the rice sector and improving the status of Vietnam’s rice trademark in both domestic and foreign markets.
Pham Thai Binh, General Director of Can Tho’s Trung An company, said that rice firms are delighted at the decree’s new regulations as it is another step towards the completion of a legal framework for rice trading and export in an open and transparent manner.
It helps businesses build their plans and strategies, including material region, rice standards, and food safety.
Binh said that enterprises have also become more active in investing in processing facilities.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said that Decree No.107 is a breakthrough in institutional policy regarding rice export activities, removing difficulties and creating a smoother environment for rice firms, thus creating a significant change in export mindsets.
Clarifying some of the new contents of Decree No.107, he said that business conditions for the rice industry have been simplified. Businesses who wish to engage in rice trading activities no longer need to own storage or milling facilities, nor register export orders at the Vietnam Food Association or keep a minimum rice stock equivalent to 50 percent of the registered volume.
The rice reserve total for businesses has also been reduced to 5 percent of the firm’s total export volume over the previous six months, down from the previous 10 percent.
Decree No.107 also stipulates additional regulations on the responsibilities of ministries, sectors, and localities in rice export management.
HCM City firms owe 77 million USD in social insurance payments
As many as 815 enterprises in the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City owe more than six months of social insurance payments, while thousands of enterprises owe two months.
The total owed is 1.8 trillion VND (around 77 million USD), according to the HCM City office of the Vietnam Social Security (VSS).
Mai Linh Group, for example, owes more than 100 billion VND and its Mai Linh Southern Joint Stock Company at least 53 billion VND.
In addition, Nam Phuong Co Ltd owes 28 billion VND, Saigon Post and Telecommunication Services Joint-Stock Co 24 billion VND, Cho Lon Taxi Co Ltd 16 billion VND and Saigon Petro 14 billion VND.
The city’s Social Security Agency and the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs have carried out inspections of the companies but the enterprises refused to pay.
Nguyen Thi Thu, deputy chairwoman of the office, said that thousands of newly established enterprises were being set up each year, but some of them went bankrupt or relocated.
Some of them did not pay social insurance because they were experiencing business difficulties, while others said they had fewer workers than the real figure, Thu said.
In March, the social security agency gave police a file to investigate the Nam Phuong Co Ltd for evading social insurance payments. The authorities will investigate other cases as well.
Japanese e-paper optimistic about prospects for cooperation with Vietnam
E! Kansai e-magazine of the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, one of the important information channels of Japanese businesses and investors, on November 1 ran an article affirming positive prospects for economic cooperation between Vietnam and Japan in the coming time.
Highlighting the bilateral trade and investment ties over the past time, the article wrote that trade and investment between the two nations are supplementary, clearly reflected in the structure of import-export goods. Japan mainly exports machinery, equipment and transport means to Vietnam while importing garments and wood products from the Southeast Asian nation.
At present, in addition to maintaining and consolidating commodities that have affirmed their footholds in the Japanese market, Vietnam is improving their products in terms of quality and design in order to better meet conditions and standards set by Japan, firstly focusing on the fields of processing industry, agro-forestry-fishery, industry, and mechanics.
The enhancement of investment cooperation has brought benefits to both sides. Japanese investment helps Vietnam learn from management experience and access advanced technologies in different areas, effectively contributing to its national industrialisation and modernisation process.
Meanwhile, through trade exchange with Vietnam, Japan will diversify approaching channels and engage more deeply in economic activities at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a promising market with 650 million people and gross domestic product (GDP) of about 2.5 trillion USD.
In the coming time, with the attention of the governments and the close coordination of both sides’ relevant ministries and agencies, bilateral trade cooperation will continue to thrive. The two economies’ increased connectivity will help deepen the extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia affirmed by their leaders during high-level visits and reflected via specific programmes and activities between the nations’ localities, agencies, organisations and businesses.
Firms urged to focus on branding
Vietnamese enterprises, especially small- and medium-sized ones, should develop their brands to increase their competitiveness amid the process of integration, a seminar heard in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
Le Ngoc Lam, deputy director of the Department of Intellectual Properties, said: “Brand is for long recognised as an intangible asset of enterprises, plays an important role in enterprise development and is a decisive factor in the success of enterprises.”
Economist Le Dang Doanh said in the context of integration, enterprises’ brands and products were representative images of their countries. For instance, Boeing and Microsoft are representative images of the US’s technological achievements, he said.
“A strong and competitive economy would have many large businesses with strong international brands.”
Brand development is not a strength of Vietnamese firms, and only large corporations like Vinamilk, Vingroup and Viettel have done it, he said.
Vietnam is among the largest exporters of farm produce and seafood, but not many foreign consumers know they are using products from the country, he said.
That is because these products are exported without brand names on the packaging, he said.
Household businesses still account for 32 percent of the country’s GDP. Businesses in this sector have not registered their brands while their competitive capacity in the international market is very low, he said.
He noted that when Ben Tre Candy exported to China, a Chinese company had already registered the Ben Tre Candy brand.
In many cases even large Vietnamese players like Trung Nguyen Coffee and Vinamit had not registered their brands abroad and were appropriated in some foreign markets, costing them much time and money to retrieve them, he said.
As Vietnam integrates deeper into the regional and global economies, its enterprises must not only compete with each other but also with companies from all over the world, but without good brand names, enterprises would find it hard to compete, said Pham Le Cuong, CEO of the Vietnam Certification Centre.
Ensuring consistent quality is a key factor in having good and sustainable brand names, he said.
According to delegates, many enterprises do not have proper awareness and understanding of the role of brand names in their development.
Some think brand building is just for big enterprises and not necessary for SMEs, they said.
Some care about brand building but assume it is done by merely to pouring money into advertising to make customers know about them, they said.
Lam said: “To build, protect and develop brands, companies must invest scientifically and methodically in all stages in building standardised production processes, market development, communication, and marketing to promote products and brands so that consumers knows about and recognise their brands.”
At the seminar, titled “Building enterprises’ brands and economic development during the time of integration,” many enterprises shared their experience in building brands.
The event was organised by the Research Centre for Developing Vietnamese Brands, Thuong hieu Viet magazine and the Department of Intellectual Properties.
Steelmaker Hoa Phat smashes sales, exports records
Steelmaker Hoa Phat set new records in sales and exports after the group sold 250,000 tonnes of construction steel in October, with 40,000 tonnes shipped abroad.
According to Hoa Phat Group, its steel sales increased 7 percent year on year to 1.7 million tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018. The quantity earned the producer approximately 42 trillion VND (1.8 billion USD) in revenue and more than 6.8 trillion VND (292.7 million USD) in post-tax profit, up 24 percent and 22 percent from the same period last year, respectively.
In the third quarter alone, the company generated nearly 14.4 trillion VND (617.2 million USD) in turnover and more than 2.4 trillion VND (102.9 million USD) in post-tax profit, both up 13 percent year on year.
The firm expects to keep the momentum going for sales to hit 4 million tonnes in 2019 and 5 million tonnes in 2020. This year, it aims to sell 2.3 million tonnes of steel.
Hoa Phat is currently constructing the 3-billion-USD Hoa Phat Dung Quat steel complex in the central province of Quang Ngai. The project is set to start operation on a trial basis in late 2019.
Once fully operational, it is expected to help the steelmaker gain at least 30 percent of the domestic market share, up from its current share of 22.2 percent.
The company has distributed thousands of tonnes of high-quality wire-drawing steel made from steel sheets by another Hoa Phat steel complex in the northern province of Hai Duong. It is the only steelmaker in Vietnam qualified to supply wire rod steel to Canada, the United States and the Republic of Korea.
In 2017, Hoa Phat Group’s revenue reached 46.8 trillion VND (2.05 billion USD), up 38 percent from 2016, and hit a record post-tax profit of 8 trillion VND (351 million USD), surpassing its target by 33 percent, up 21 percent year on year.
The group’s steel business was the biggest contributor to these results, making up 90 percent of total revenue and post-tax profit.
Last year, Hoa Phat exported some 200,000 tonnes of steel products.
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