FTAs, e-commerce offer prime opportunities to local economy
The Vietnamese economy looks set to benefit from joining new generation free trade agreements (FTAs) which will have a great impact on the expansion of the local import-export market and new online business models.
The promotion of export activities, coupled with trade liberalisation in general and new generation FTAs in particular, will ultimately serve to boost export activities. Indeed, provisions stated within the FTAs force member economies, including the nation, to restructure and open up new markets, whilst striving to create attractive goods.
During the initial month of the EVFTA coming into force, there were over 7,200 sets of certificates of origin (C/O) of EUR.1 form, with a turnover of US$277 million from goods exported to the EU.
Although the emergence and global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cast a shadow over the economic development prospects of the world in general and Vietnam in particular, many economies are in the process of accelerating their participation in various FTAs
With the only effective measure in place being social distancing as a means of avoiding direct person-to-person contact, COVID-19 has caused great disruption to the global supply chain, making it challenging with regard to the risk assessments carried out by enterprises.
Promoting non-traditional fields, including e-commerce, amid the complicated developments of the pandemic can also be viewed as a solution to overcome the economic disruption in terms of supply and demand. This is largely down to supply chains in every country and in every economic sector being severely affected.
In the current context, e-commerce can be considered to be an effective means in which to support domestic and international trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The application and use of electronic means not only brings about benefits from the perspective of consumers, but also for businesses. This can be of great help to connect customers, expand trade exchange, and access new business opportunities moving into the new normal.
Moving forward, future supply chains will not only revolve around performance and cost management, but will focus on the level of security and resilience of specific supply chains. This view is held by world leaders, as recorded from the latest “Global Financial Leadership Survey on COVID-19” published by PwC in May. According to the survey, leaders are planning to change their supply chain strategy to feature a more comprehensive style.
As a means of fully taking advantage of opportunities from joining new generation FTAs and thoroughly exploiting new online business models, both private and Government sectors must step up efforts to accelerate the process of digital transformation in the near future.
Russia increases import of fresh Vietnamese pomelos
There remains plenty of room for local businesses to boost fruit exports to the Russian market following the recent boost in the import of fresh pomelos from the Vietnamese market, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Indeed, the average import price of fresh pomelos in the Russian market stands at US$796.3 per tonne, a year-on-year decline of 1.7%.
Previously, China had been the largest supplier of pomelos to Russia, exporting approximately 5,000 containers of pomelos annually. However, with an import ban being imposed on Chinese pomelos, Russia has switched to importing pomelos from other markets such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
According to experts, pomelo exports are anticipated to enjoy an increase in the future, with Chile officially permitting imports of pomelos from the country from mid-October.
Furthermore, the EU has allowed the official import of pomelos from the nation since the enforcement of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), while fresh pomelos will be officially granted a license for export to the United States later this year.
These moves are expected to open up bright export prospects to a number of demanding markets throughout the remainder of the year.
Currently, pomelos and durians also represent priority fruit during negotiations for exports to the Chinese market via official channels.
Long-delayed Thien Ma Madagui horseracing project makes it on priority list
Thien Ma Madagui race course is on the priority list of investment projects in the 2011-2020 period of the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong despite facing the risk of being revoked due to long delays in construction.
Besides, the adjusted project is permitted to add betting to its business segments.
The project is developed by Thien Ma Madagui Racing JSC, a joint venture between Thien Ma Entertainment JSC and Hong Lam Madagui Co., Ltd., with a total investment capital of $50 million.
The complex, featuring a race track, a polo club, and an equestrian centre, was expected to attract even greater numbers of domestic and foreign tourists to the already popular central highlands province, the capital of which is the renowned hotspot Da Lat.
According to the plans, the construction of the project was to be completed in 2014, however, as of April 2016, there had been no signs of progress, except for some categories, such as three breeding stables holding about 100 horses, a horse training area, a veterinary dispensary, and housing for workers.
Over 400 VinMart+ stores closed
Since the VinCommerce consumer retail unit of Vingroup merged with Masan Group’s retail subsidiary Masan Consumer Holdings, over 400 ineffective VinMart+ convenience stores have been shut down to reduce losses and approach the breakeven point.
Masan’s development plan for VinCommerce has produced positive results, with its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization improving from minus 5.1% in the first quarter to 8.5% in the second quarter when the coronavirus broke out in Vietnam. The firm is making efforts to breakeven this year.
Between January and September, 12 VinMart supermarkets and 421 VinMart+ convenience stores, which performed poorly, were shut. Of the total, over 80% of the closed Vinmart+ stores were located in HCMC and some Grade II cities.
Besides, Masan has opened one new VinMart supermarket and 57 VinMart+ stores, taking the total number of VinMart stores to 2,646 as of late September.
Masan’s plan to shut down ineffective stores and open new ones helped VinCommerce earn over VND7.8 trillion in the third quarter of the year. In the nine-month period, the revenue of the VinMart+ retail chain surged by 50% year-on-year despite 400 stores being shut down.
Hanoi City contributed 48% to the VinMart retail chain’s total revenue, while in HCMC, VinCommerce is striving to improve its business efficiency, according to Masan.
Hue promotes safe tourism among guests who love short trips
In the remaining months of 2020 as well as in 2021, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue will focus on safety in tourism, aimed at attracting guests, especially those who love short trips, to the ancient capital, Dinh Manh Thang, chairman of the Tourism Association of Thua Thien-Hue said on November 2, after a meeting with Nguyen Thanh Binh, vice chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee, last weekend.
Accordingly, the province will boost the implementation of Covid-19 safety criteria among lodging facilities, tourist sites, transport service businesses, restaurants and travel companies to ensure safety for tourists.
The Hue Blue Map app will also be deployed to show safe destinations, hotels and other tourism services. The app will be introduced on the provincial tourist portal (visithue.vn) and Hue-S mobile application as well as to travel companies nationwide.
In addition, the “Hue – A safe and friendly destination” message will be delivered, focusing on short trips.
All of the information will be promoted on social networking sites and mainstream TV channels.
In addition, the province is encouraging tourism businesses to reopen, improve service quality and focus on maintaining human resources to ensure good services.
With the safe tourism strategy, Hue hopes to promote eco-tourism, community products and health & safety products.
According to Thang, due to the impact of Covid-19, the number of tourists has declined, especially international visitors, so, a large number of companies have closed their doors. Thus, Thang said the provincial tourism industry must restructure the market and attention should be paid to the domestic market. “Hue people travel to Hue” will be the key program during this time.
HCMC leads in new foreign-invested projects in Jan-Oct
HCMC took the lead in the number of new foreign-invested projects in the January-October period of this year with 776 projects worth US$3.4 billion.
However, the registered investment of the city ranked second, after the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, with US$4 billion, reported Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper, citing a report by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
According to the HCMC Statistics Office, the city attracted the largest foreign capital in trade and industry with a total investment of US$838 million. The property sector came second with US$772 million.
The capital of Hanoi ranked second in the number of new foreign-invested project approvals with 438 projects, followed by Bac Ninh with 125 projects.
In the 10-month period, the pledged foreign investment in Vietnam reached nearly US$23.5 billion, equal to 80.6% of the figure seen during the same period last year.
Of the total, 2,100 new projects obtained investment certificates, with total registered capital of US$11.66 billion.
Foreign investment was committed to 18 sectors, of which the manufacturing and processing sector attracted the most capital at US$10.7 billion, accounting for 45.7%. The electricity production and distribution sector came in second, with over US$4.8 billion, followed by the real estate and wholesale-retail sectors.
Singapore was Vietnam’s largest investor during the period, with US$7.51 billion, or 31.9% of the total, followed by South Korea, China and Japan.
At a seminar held in HCMC on October 30 to support enterprises to access capital resources and step up their production and business after the Covid-19 pandemic, representatives of many domestic and foreign investment funds said they have yet to come to Vietnam to learn about projects and make investment decisions.
However, they have assessed the country as a potential and attractive market, especially during a shift of investment from China to other countries, including Vietnam.
VARSI seeks PM’s help in removing obstacles facing PPP projects
The Vietnam Association of Road Systems Investors (VARSI) has explained the various problems in the execution of public-private partnership (PPP) projects to the prime minister and sought solutions.
On September 8, VARSI held a seminar on obstacles facing the execution of PPP projects. The association coordinated with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to organize another seminar to comment on a decree ordering the deployment of the Law on Investment under the PPP format on October 19.
Through these seminars, enterprises shared their difficulties in the investment and operation of PPP projects.
VARSI, on behalf of these firms, reported to the prime minister that State management agencies asked the investors of projects to fulfill their commitments or risk facing sanctions. Meanwhile, many State management agencies have failed to meet their commitments, affecting projects and causing losses for investors and banks, but there have been no sanctions for them.
VARSI cited the Hanoi-Haiphong expressway project as an example, stating that the State had committed VND17 trillion, or 39% of the capital needed for the project. Until the end of last year, the project received only VND1.4 trillion from the State for the site clearance work.
For the Deo Ca Tunnel project, more than VND5 trillion was planned to be sourced from the State budget, but only VND3.9 trillion has been disbursed, affecting the capital use effectiveness and raising the interest of loans.
Although investors, the Ministry of Transport and banks have repeatedly reported these problems to the Government and the relevant ministries, their efforts have been in vain.
In addition, toll fees at build-operate-transfer projects have yet to be raised as planned.
These projects have been put into operation, proved investment effectiveness, boosted the trade connection and socioeconomic development of localities and reduced traffic congestion and accidents, so the investors have fulfilled their duties.
The State management agencies must bear responsibility for the delay in the toll fee increase and the lack of State capital for projects.
According to VARSI, Vietnam’s policies and regulations have been amended regularly, including those on taxes, fees and the management and use of public assets, posing a high risk during investment and negatively affecting the enhancement of long-term investments.
For example, the toll collection on the HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway has been suspended due to an amendment to policies on public asset management. The toll collection suspension will increase the risk of traffic accidents, cause losses for the State budget and threaten the financial viability of the project.
As for the Bo Dau tollgate for the La Son-Tuy Loan Expressway, the Government had earlier approved its operation and the Ministry of Transport had also signed an agreement with the investor on its operation. However, the Ministry of Transport recently proposed that the tollgate should not be allowed to operate without working with the investor and banks.
Moreover, the Public-Private Partnership Law, which will take effect next year, states that the State would share risks with the investors of new PPP projects and not of projects that have been completed and are under construction.
Therefore, VARSI suggested the prime minister direct the Ministry of Transport and other relevant agencies to address these problems to ensure fairness, safety and effectiveness during the execution and operation of PPP projects.
Enterprises feel concern about weak purchasing power
The purchasing power in the market has shown signs of improvement, but in general, it remains extremely weak. Especially in markets, purchasing power is significantly decreasing. The situation that small traders hand back their stalls or stop their business to avoid taxes and fees has commonly happened.
Besides the hot issues arising in the post-Covid-19 period, enterprises have been facing concerns over a sharp decrease in the shopping and consumption habits of the society.
Mr. Phan Van Dung, Deputy CEO of Vissan Joint Stock Company, worriedly said that the business situation at the company was facing difficulties due to the sharp decline in purchasing power in both fresh and processed product categories, especially in recent months. It seems that consumers are cutting down more and more the demand, including daily essentials, such as fresh foods, to increase saving money for the family budget. According to Mr. Dung, for the group of fresh pork, possibly because of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the high prices of pork, because the country has not been active in the supply of pork, Vissan merely slaughters around 600 pigs every night, equal to 50 percent of output compared to the same period last year, but consumption remains extremely poor. Similarly, for the group of processed foods, purchasing power only increased during the peak of the fight against Covid-19 and has steadily decreased since June.
Many other companies also shared the same point of view that the purchasing power in the market remained very weak. Observing the needs and shopping behaviors of customers at some leading supermarkets and shopping centers in Ho Chi Minh City shows that the need to visit and relieve stress is quite popular. Accordingly, the value of shopping bills also fell sharply. Ms. T.M.Hong, a cashier at a supermarket in District 2, said that the average value of a shopping bill at the same time last year was from VND1 million to VND1.5 million, but now it has halved. The group of selected items is mainly essential foods and cosmetics. On the other hand, the purchasing power only concentrates on the brands that are running promotional campaigns. This fact has urged many enterprises and retailers to continuously adjust their business strategies and revenue in 2020 to correspond to reality. Enterprises said that as long as revenue reaches the same level, or even down about 10 percent compared to last year, it would be a success.
In traditional markets, purchasing power has declined drastically. Ms. Ngoc, owner of a cosmetics stall at Ben Thanh Market, said that unlike handicrafts and souvenirs, whose purchasing power totally depends on tourists, cosmetics are mainly sold to regular and local customers but, there is also no way to draw customers to the market. Sometimes, she has no customers for four consecutive days.
‘Although I cannot sell products, I still have to open my stall every day. Otherwise, I will lose all of my patrons,’ Ms. Ngoc said.
Currently, nearly half of the stalls in Ben Thanh Market remains closed. Many small traders had to hand back their stalls because they could not afford the cost of renting the premises. In markets like Tran Huu Trang and Nguyen Van Troi, many stalls have stayed closed since the last Lunar New Year.
Data from the Department of Industry and Trade of HCMC shows that, although the total retail sales of consumer goods and services are on the positive trend, reaching more than VND115.36 trillion in October this year, the total retail sales still drop by 5 percent compared to the same period of last year. In the first ten months of this year, trade and service revenue is estimated at above VND1.05 quadrillion, down 2.1 percent over the same period, while it went up 11.6 percent in the same period last year. Of which, the revenue from retail sales of goods in ten months is estimated at above VND680.6 trillion, up 9.9 percent over the same period, accounting for 64.32 percent of the total retail sales of goods and services in the city.
The fact that purchasing power has not actually prospered also significantly affected industrial production in the city. According to calculations, the monthly industrial production has increased quite significantly from May to now. The Industrial Production Index (IIP) increased by 7.9 percent in May, 13.7 percent in June, 8.6 percent in July, 4 percent in August, 9.6 percent in September, and is estimated to increase 5.8 percent over the previous month in October. However, in the first ten months of this year, the IIP fell by 4.7 percent while it surged by 7.3 percent in the same period last year. Of these, four major industries are estimated to slide by 0.14 percent while they rose by 5.7 percent in the same period in the same period.
The Investment and Trade Promotion Center of HCMC (ITPC) has also organized showcases, exhibitions, and direct connections to bring goods into distribution networks, such as Big C, Aeon Mall, and MM Mega Market, at the same time, increase export opportunities to the distribution chains of the above supermarkets. To solve capital problems, ITPC has connected enterprises with demand for loans with domestic and international financial institutions and supported Vietnamese enterprises to sell goods through e-commerce platforms, like Amazon. On November 18, ITPC will hold an annual export forum to provide necessary information on planning production and business strategies and market orientation in 2021 for enterprises.
From the perspective of enterprises, a series of promotional campaigns will be carried out to both stimulate demand and share the spending pressure with consumers. Mr. Phan Van Dung said that Vissan has never implemented so many promotions like this year. At this time, it has cooperated with distributors and partners to simultaneously carry out many programs.
The resilience of the post-Covid-19 economy will largely depend on the recovery of enterprises. Therefore, besides stimulating demand, the city’s departments need to develop specific mechanisms and policies, such as reducing taxes for small traders, organizing more programs to connect goods, and mobilizing more low-interest-rate capital, to motivate enterprises to overcome difficulties and develop sustainably.
To stimulate consumer demand, the city’s authorities are implementing many support programs for enterprises. Accordingly, the Department of Industry and Trade has submitted a proposal to the People’s Committee of HCMC for the approval of the plan to organize a centralized promotional campaign to create momentum for the purchasing power at year’s end, and a consumer promotion fair at the end of this year with the scale of 400 stalls of reputable enterprises in many fields.
HCMC issues action plan for financial strategies with vision to 2030
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has just issued action plan for the national financial strategies with vision to 2030.
The national financial strategies aims to facilitate residents and enterprises’ access and use of financial products and services with safety and reasonable spending.
According to the action plan of the national financial strategies , the city strives that half of small and medium business establishments in the city have credit balance of 7 percent in credit organizations by 202. Credit balance will be for agriculture growth and rural district development.
Moreover, at least 70 percent of adults can access to history of credit in state banks’ credit system.
Cashless transaction will increase by 20 percent – 25 percent annually.
The city also targets to develop legal suppliers, distributors of financial services to help those who have not use the services.
Last but not least, the city will intensify digital applications and innovations in design and distributions of special products in a simple way to suit with residents and enterprises’ spending especially small and medium ones, residents in rural districts and outlying districts and low-income employees and disadvantaged people.
Hanoi Promotion Month opened to stimulate domestic demand
Within the promotion month, a program will offer discounts of up to 50% on the price of airline tickets, package tours, hotels and entertainment services.
Within the Hanoi Promotion Month 2020, more than 1,000 vendors and 50 sale outlets in the city will join a series of promotion activities until early December to stimulate domestic demand.
According to Vice Chairman of the Hanoi City People’s Committee Le Hong Son, Hanoi Promotion Month is an annual event launched by the municipal People’s Committee and jointly rolled out by the Hanoi Promotion Agency, and the Department of Industry and Trade every November.
This year, in order to continue supporting and removing difficulties for businesses and improving domestic consumption, Hanoi Promotion Month 2020 focuses on strengthening and developing e-commerce channels; applying technology towards a smart consumer market; enhancing cashless payments through companies’ online sales channels and promoting the nighttime economy with the “Midnight Crazy sale” program.
With the theme “Focused promotions – stimulating consumption”, this year’s program includes the “Cashless Day” which ran from October 30 to November 1, with 20 e-commerce and payments business booths in the banking industry that introduced and promoted cashless payments technologies and provide customers with experiences with cashless payment platforms.
In the framework of the Promotion Month, the traditional “Tourism Promotion Day” program themed “Discover the beauty of Vietnam” will be held with 60 booths from tour operators around Hanoi.
The program features a series of events during November such as “Golden Day Promotion” from November 14 to 15; “Hanoi Mid-night Sale” with special discounts from 8:00pm at supermarkets and major trade centers; “Promotional Gold Fair” from December 3 to 7 at Times City with 125 booths; “Friday online shopping day” in the first week of December on the portals thangkhuyenmaihanoi.vn and onlinefriday.vn.
The promotion month program is expected to improve the connection between companies and customers, motivating companies to promote Vietnamese brands, stimulating purchases, and helping to meet the target of total level goods circulation and service revenue of Hanoi in the last months of the year.
Vietnamese goods under pressure from FTAs
While FTAs are beneficial to Vietnamese enterprises, only foreign-invested firms so far are able to take full advantage of these trade deals, stated a senior government official.
The signing of a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) not only opens the door for Vietnam exports, but also brings fierce competition as the country is committed to opening the market for foreign goods and services.
At a recent conference discussing the prospect and challenges of FTAs to Vietnamese goods, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said trade deals have so far helped boost Vietnam’s GDP growth by 300% and exports by 350%.
However, while FTAs represent a major boost to exports, Vietnamese enterprises are bracing for fiercer competition from foreign goods penetrating the domestic market.
European goods alone are making it hard for their Vietnamese counterparts, not to mention those from the US, Japan, Thailand, and China, which are set to increase their presence in the Vietnamese market, stated Mr. Minh.
Deputy Director of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Le Viet Nga said along with the pharmacy sector, food and beverage would be at the forefront to compete with EU imports, especially fruits.
Meanwhile, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said while FTAs are beneficial to Vietnamese enterprises, only foreign-invested firms so far are able to take full advantage of these trade deals.
Evidently, the private sector to date has only contributed less than 10% of GDP, around half of that of the FDI sector. This is due to the fact that 96% of Vietnamese enterprises are of micro and small size, leading to low technological and governance capabilities, he noted.
A lack of a strategic vision has also made it difficult for local firms to grasp opportunities from FTAs, stated Mr. Dong.
For Vietnamese goods to compete with foreign imports, experts suggested a higher quality is key in this process.
Director of Giovani Group Luong Huu Lam said pressure from foreign goods are forcing Vietnamese enterprises to step up and gain a larger market share.
Mr. Lam said the slogan “Vietnamese prefer Vietnamese goods” should be changed to “Vietnamese goods win the heart of customers.”
Sharing the same view, economist Tran Dinh Thien said during the Covid-19 outbreak, the domestic market with 100 million people has been key to keeping growth of retail sales revenue at a two-digit rate, indicating the strong domestic purchasing power that would continue to support enterprises in the future.
Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Truong Thi Ngoc Anh urged Vietnamese enterprises to be active in expanding cooperation with others to form a complete production chain, in turn helping customers to better access local products and gaining advantages over foreign imports.
To compete squarely with foreign goods right on home soil, experts suggested Vietnamese enterprises focus on technological application in production and operation, and pay more attention to brand building, quality and affordable prices.
In addition to efforts from the business community, the government is expected to provide more preferential treatment for aid the development of supporting industries, helping enterprises to reduce reliance on input materials.
Vietnam accelerates implementation of four major ODA transportation projects
The disbursed amount of official development assistance (ODA) funds in Vietnam in the first nine months of 2020 stood at only VND26 trillion (US$1.12 billion), equivalent to 32.43% of the year’s estimate.
The Transport Engineering Construction and Quality Management Bureau under the Ministry of Transport (MoT) is finalizing procedures for the construction of four major transportation projects financed with official development assistance (ODA).
Vietnam is pushing for the construction of four major ODA transportation projects. Photo: Tran Dung.
In early November, Project Management Unit No.2 is set to submit to the MoT technical design for two priority civil works for approval and kicking off the construction in the earliest time possible. For remaining works, the MoT would continue to review their respective technical designs in December and target commencing the construction in the first quarter of 2021, aiming to complete by 2024.
The second project is the Central Highlands Connectivity Improvement Project with investment capital of VND3.65 trillion (US$157.77 million), which is financed by the World Bank and Vietnam’s counterpart fund.
To date, the authority has approved the technical design and is in the process of reviewing the estimated cost for two priority civil works. The project is scheduled to start construction this December and completed by 2023.
The third project is the road connecting National Highway No.91 and Long Xuyen City Bypass with investment capital of VND2.1 trillion (US$90.76 million) from ADB’s fund.
The project is under the process of consultant selection for setting up technical design. The MoT targets the construction to start in the third quarter of 2021 and complete by 2023.
The final one is the construction of Day – Ninh Co Junction Canal under the Northern Delta Transport Development Project (US$107.2 million) with fund from the World Bank.
The project is set to commence in November 2020, and complete by 2022.
In a recent government meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged government agencies and provinces/cities to accelerate the disbursement of VND41 trillion (US$1.77 billion) in ODA funds, or 70% of the target for this year, in the remaining two months of the year.
The Vietnam PM said ODA is an important source for economic development, especially as the country is in need of investment capital for socio-economic development.
Mr. Phuc requested leaders of provinces/cities and government agencies to take greater responsibility in ensuring the full disbursement of public funds in the coming months, saying those with poor competence or responsibility in this task would be replaced.
Mr. Phuc expected government agencies to simplify the administrative procedures in the approval process of investment projects, while the Ministry of Planning and Investment is tasked with reporting to the Prime Minister on a monthly basis on the transferring of ODA funds from projects with slow disbursement progress to those with faster pace.
HCM City rolls out financial plan to 2030
HCM City recently put forth a plan on the implementation of the national comprehensive financial strategy by 2020, with a vision towards 2030.
The plan aims to enable people and businesses to access financial products and services provided by authorised organisations safely and conveniently and at affordable prices.
By 2025, at least half of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the city are to have loans from credit organisations, with outstanding debts in service of agricultural and rural development accounting for 7 percent of all outstanding debts in the locality.
At least 80 percent of local adults will have an account at a bank or other authorised organisation. This is to reach 100 percent by 2030.
Cashless transactions are set to grow 20-25 percent annually.
HCM City also expects to diversify financial services to make them more accessible to people and businesses, especially SMEs, residents of rural areas and city outskirts, low-income earners, and disadvantaged groups.
The application of digital technology as well as innovation will also be stepped up./.
ASEAN-China trade reach over 481 billion USD in nine months of 2020
Trade between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China in the first three quarters of the year reached 481.8 billion USD, accounting for one seventh of China’s foreign trade, said Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun.
“It grew by 5.6 percent in the second quarter and 7.7 percent in the third quarter, much faster than that between China and other trading partners,” China’s Xinhua news agency quoted the diplomat as saying at the Third Jakarta Forum under the theme of “Reinforcing Regional Economic Recovery amid COVID-19”, organised by the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) on November 2.
ASEAN became China’s biggest trading partner in the first half of this year, accounting for 14.7 percent of the nation’s total foreign trade volume.
According to Deng, this year, China has already made 10.7 billion USD of direct investment in ASEAN countries, up by 76.6 percent.
2021 will be the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-China dialogue relations.
CEO Forum 2020 to discuss solutions to post-COVID-19 challenges
The 7th CEO Forum 2020 will be organised in Ho Chi Minh City on November 19, organisers said on November 3.
According to the organisers, this year’s forum will focus on how to take full advantage of opportunities to secure a firm foothold in global value chains and overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within the framework of the CEO Forum 2020, a debate on “New global supply chains” will be held, seeking solutions to help businesses become a link in global supply chains.
Analysts will also provide information on trade policies and mechanisms, investment promotions, and business support programmes.
The CEO Forum 2020 will also provide a major opportunity for businesses, policymakers, and economists to gain an insight into fields of interest, thus mapping out appropriate solutions and strategies for promoting businesses and the national economy.
Le Tri Thong, Vice Chairman of the YBA, and head of the organising board, said the CEO Forum 2020 is not only for businesses but also an opportunity for policy makers to better understand the problems facing enterprises in production and business.
It is expected to help ministries and sectors develop economic policies and strategies suitable to Vietnamese businesses and global trends, as well as effective programmes to support firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, he stressed./.
Major Thai banks pledge support to pandemic-hit SMEs
The Thai Bankers Association on November 2 said that major Thai commercial banks have pledged to provide financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amid a fragile economy rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Thai commercial banks will help the SMEs focus on debt restructuring as well as help debtors increase their ability to repay debt, said the association.
Non-performing loans are expected to rise as the economy has not yet returned to growth, said Manop Sangiambut, first executive vice president from the Thai Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), adding that the tourism industry is the most affected by the economic slowdown aggravated by the COVID-19 fallout.
Economic trend remains in negative territory, while the hotel and property sectors are facing oversupply, said Pipatpong Poshyanonda, president of the Thai Kasikornbank, adding that his bank will not focus on lending more but would focus on helping debtors enhance their ability to repay debt.
Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank, said that despite his bank being heavily affected by the COVID-19 fallout, it will still support all groups of borrowers, especially SMEs and the property sector until next year.
Payong Srivanich, president and CEO of the Thai Krungthai Bank, said SMEs remain fragile while bad debts will not change much, adding that his bank will focus on debt restructuring rather than loan growth./.
Vietnam, Australia to expand barley trade
The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has said it is engaging with Vietnamese brewers and maltsters to expand its barley exports, as China recently imposed a tariff of over 80 percent on the product.
During a webinar held last month, the AEGIC provided an update on the 2020 barley season and introduced attractive offers to Vietnamese partners.
Director of the AEGIC Barley Market Mary Raynes said that as Vietnam’s beer output is expected to grow by 2-3 percent annually, barley imports are likely to rise to 330,000 tonnes by 2030, nearly double the figure in 2019.
Meanwhile, Executive Chairman of Barley Australia Megan Sheehy explained how Australia’s malt barley accreditation system adds value for customers.
Professor Matthew Tucker from the University of Adelaide and barley malt flavour research fellow Sue Stewart, meanwhile, presented cutting-edge research and information comparing the flavour components of barley varieties from Australia and its competitors.
With over 40 representatives from Vietnam’s beer and alcoholic beverage market, the event opened up new trade opportunities between the two countries.
Australia’s barley sector is keen to seek alternative markets and is targeting Asian nations, including Indonesia, India, and Vietnam./.
Vietnamese, Korean firms seek to promote technology coorperation
A business networking event to promote connection of technology supply and demand between enterprises of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) took place in the northern port city of Hai Phong on November 3.
Jointly organized by the municipal Department of Science and Technology and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the event attracted the participation of over 30 enterprises of the two countries.
Speaking at the event, Yun Ju-seul, Deputy Director of KOTRA in Hanoi, said the event provides more information about Korean companies wishing to export to Vietnam, adding that it offers a good chance for the two sides’ enterprises to expand partnership in the field of technology, explore the export and import potentials, and seek high quality human resources of the two sides.
According to Director of the municipal Department of Science and Technology Duong Ngoc Tuan, the strong development of Korean businesses, including science and technology development, has brought many advantages to the East Asian country’s economy, and made important contributions to the socio-economic development in places where Korean firms are investing into, including Hai Phong.
The event helps Vietnamese enterprises access to the advanced science and technology potential of Korean suppliers, thus making an appropriate decision related to investment in science and technology to improve efficiency of their production and business, Tuan said.
Besides the RoK, in 2020, Hai Phong has promoted supply and demand connection with other partners such as Japan and China, Tuan added.
According to Hoang Hai An from Tien Phong Plastic Joint-Stock Company said direct connection helps businesses quickly access products they need and shorten the time to search for and evaluate products./.
International agricultural fair underway in Thai Binh
An international agricultural fair of the northern region of Vietnam kicked off in the northern province of Thai Binh on November 5.
Organised by the People’s Committee of the province together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the year-end annual event aims to bolster trade and flow of goods, especially farm produce, in the Red River Delta.
This year, the fair brings together 16 provinces and cities in the region and attracts nearly 300 booths of domestic and international businesses, about half of which feature agricultural products. Thai Binh’s staples are introduced at 32 pavilions of the event.
The fair will run until November 11./.
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