Vietnam to increase rice exports to EU under EVFTA
Rice quotas for Vietnam under the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement are expected to push Vietnam’s rice exports up from the second half of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Under the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement effective from August 1, the EU pledges to provide an annual rice quota of 80,000 tonnes to Vietnam and completely liberalise trade in broken rice. After three to five years, tariffs on rice products will be slashed to zero percent.
At present, the EU’s import tariffs for Vietnamese rice is 175 EUR (198 USD) per tonne of milled rice and 65 EUR per tonne of broken rice.
Meanwhile, the EU also sets a range of conditions for those quotas such as origin certificates on Vietnamese rice. The rice exported to EU must have authenticity certificates issued by Vietnamese authorities.
Vietnam earned 1.71 billion USD from exporting nearly 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year, up 18 percent in value and 4.4 percent in volume year-on-year.
Vietnam Energy Summit 2020: Looking for specific mechanisms for energy development
The energy sector has grown into a large-scale industry with dynamic growth, but specific mechanisms are needed for the sector to develop further, heard the Vietnam Energy Summit 2020 which opened in Hanoi on July 22.
Addressing the event, Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh said the energy sector in general and the electricity industry in particular has undergone rapid and uniform development in recent years, and basically completed set targets.
In 2019, the sector produced and imported 240.1 billion kWh of electricity and the design capacity of the national power system was about 50,000 MW. Crude oil output stood at 13.1 million tonnes, gas 10.2 billion cu.m and coal 44.9 million tonnes.
However, the sector has also revealed many shortcomings and weaknesses. The national energy security goal is facing many challenges, with domestic supply unable to meet demand, leading to increasing imports. Many power projects have been behind schedule, and several indices of energy security are changing in the negative direction.
The management and exploitation of energy resources showed limitations, plus a low efficiency in energy use and asynchronous development of the competitive energy market. The policy on energy pricing has not matched the market mechanism.
Sharing this view, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung affirmed that Vietnam always pays special attention to energy development so as to ensure national energy security, promote production development in the period of industrialisation and modernization.
To tackle the problems faced by the energy sector, the Government and the Prime Minister are focusing their direction on several key tasks, the Deputy PM said.
The first of which is to complete mechanisms for the sector’s development, with relevant ministries and branches required to make amendments and supplements to the laws on electricity, oil and gas, and the economical and efficient use of energy, as well as to draft a new law on renewable energy. Ministries and branches are also tasked with revising and building sub-law legal norms and documents for the effective enforcement of the new laws.
The second task is to build development strategies for the energy sector and the electricity and coal industries in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045, along with researching and building strategies for long-term energy imports and environmental protection.
Deputy PM Dung added that the Government will assign relevant agencies to build national master plans on the development of energy, electricity, and infrastructure for the stockpile and supply of oil and gas. In particular, the national electricity development master plan must be approved within 2020, Dung said.
Regarding the transformation of the energy sector to market mechanism, Deputy PM Dung said the power sector has operated in the form of a competitive wholesale market since early 2019 and the adjustment of electricity retail price has been made in accordance with the market mechanism under the control of the State.
The PM has instructed the building of a project on developing a competitive power market to 2030 with a vision to 2045, with the goal of piloting the competitive power retail market in 2022 and launching the official complete market in 2023, according to Dung. He added that a fully competitive coal market will be launched in the period from 2026-2030.
Regarding the development of renewable energy, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh pointed to the fact that with the engagement of other economic sectors, especially the private sector, Vietnam can achieve set targets in a much shorter time than expectations.
The Vietnam Energy Summit 2020 was held to seek ways to implement the Politburo’s Resolution No.55-NQ/TW on orientations to national energy development till 2030 with a vision to 2045, which was issued on February 11, 2020. The resolution is said to contain new and breakthroughs contents on national energy development such as diversifying energy sources, prioritizing renewable energy and gas-fueled power and facilitating the private sector’s engagement in energy development.
Building a brand for Phu Tho tea
Despite having one of the largest tea growing areas in Vietnam, Phu Tho remains little-known in the tea product market. The northern province has introduced a host of policies over recent years, however, to develop tea plantations and create a tea brand.
Da Hen tea production and processing plant in Dong Luong commune, Cam Khe district, was chosen to implement a safe tea production model for certification as a brand of Phu Tho tea. Production processes are strictly controlled according to set criteria.
With a hope that Da Hen’s products will be granted the trademark, farmers are trying to strictly follow the approved process.
The province will reorganise tea processing plants to ensure links with tea plantations and improve processing technology to bolster product quality and meet market requirements.
Phu Tho has more than 15,000 ha of tea with an estimated output of nearly 154,000 tonnes each year.
The development of a local tea brand has become essential and would help control product origin and quality as well as increase added value for tea products.
Bac Giang to expand industrial parks, cluster to lure more investment
The northern province of Bac Giang plans to focus on developing industrial parks and clusters to welcome a new wave of investment to the locality, according to Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Tran Quang Tan.
Tan said that from now until the end of 2020, the province will prepare necessary conditions, especially in infrastructure and human resources as well as land, in anticipation of foreign investment, especially from multi-national groups.
The province will complete dossiers and submit to the Prime Minister for making decisions on several investment proposals, including a project to build infrastructure for the Vietnam-Republic of Korea industrial park, along with the addition of two industrial-urban-service areas of Yen Son-Bac Lung and Yen Lu into the national master planning on industrial parks development to 2020.
At the same time, Bac Giang will concentrate on speeding up the implementation of projects, especially those on construction of infrastructure in industrial parks and clusters of Hoa Phu, Quang Chau, and Song Khe-Noi Hoang, thus creating a land fund for investment attraction.
Within 2020, the Bac Giang Department of Industrial and Trade will advise the province on the building of planning for industrial parks and clusters, and integrating them into the province’s planning, Tan said.
The official elaborated that in the period from 2021 to 2030, 16 industrial parks will be formed, adding 5,044 hectares to the total area of industrial parks in the province. Meanwhile, 22 industrial clusters will be formed or expanded with total area of 1,321 hectares, making the province ready in terms of “clean” land for receiving investment projects, creating a momentum for economic development.
Bac Giang will also work to ensure that the expansion of industrial parks and clusters is made in association with the protection of security and defence, as well as the protection of ecological environment and food safety.
Meanwhile, industrial areas will have synchronous infrastructure in terms of electricity and water supply, transportation, and telecommunications, along with the construction of urban, service and trade areas as well as housing for workers and other social infrastructure systems such as health care and education.
In industrial parks, the province will encourage companies with high and green technologies in electricity, electronics, telecommunications equipment, precision engineering, and support industry.
In industrial clusters, Bac Giang will call for small and medium-scale projects in production, which use local workers, with priority on projects in food and agricultural product processing.
In the time ahead, Bac Giang will also focus on speeding up the construction of the Bac Giang city logistics centre, thus making it coherent with the development of industrial parks and clusters and optimising the flow of goods and currency, reducing cost and enhancing goods value. This will help improve the supply chain and expand multi-form transportation, enhancing the locality’s attraction to investors.
Currently, Bac Giang has 1,322 hectares of industrial parks and 1,384 hectares of industrial clusters.
The province has attracted 1,269 domestically-invested projects worth over 88 trillion VND (3.79 billion USD at current exchange rate), along with 461 foreign-invested projects with combined capital of more than 6.1 billion USD.
Despite the impacts by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first six months of 2020, Bac Giang enjoyed a 9.2 percent year-on-year growth in industrial production to 115 trillion VND, fulfilling 41.8 percent of the locality’s target for the whole year.
In the period, production of the State-owned sector grew 10 percent, while that of the non-State sector fell 2.6 percent, and FDI firms rose 11.6 percent. Businesses enjoying increase in production included Fuhong Precision Component with 704 billion VND, Vina Cell Technology with 962 billion VND, and Sjtech VN with 1.16 trillion VND.
Over 51,000 more families in difficult areas access electricity in past five years
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has supplied electricity to more than 51,000 households in disadvantaged and border areas between 2016 and 2020.
The group has prioritised power supply for rural, mountainous and island areas as a measure to reducing poverty, tackling socio-economic issues, and ensuring defence-security and territorial sovereignty.
In the period, it has brought power to 11 out of 12 island districts nationwide, including the Truong Sa (Spratly) island district.
At the end of 2019, the national electricity grid had reached 99.52 percent of households and 100 percent of communes nationwide.
As a result, EVN’s revenue grew 12.8 percent a year on average. In 2019, its total assets exceeded 712.67 trillion VND (30.7 billion USD), up 24 percent from 2015.
Power loss fell significantly from 7.94 percent in 2015 to 6.49 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, customer trust index improved by 20 to 50 percent annually.
Focuses of the group in the 2020 – 2025 period includes business renovation, customer services improvement, science and technology application, administration reform, and reduction of power cut, among others.
EU-funded submarine power project in Binh Dinh to be inaugurated in August
A submarine power cable project to supply electricity for Nhon Chau island commune, Quy Nhon city, the south central province of Binh Dinh, which is partly financed by the European Union (EU), is expected to be completed on August 8.
During a recent inspection trip, Corrie Thomas Anthony, deputy head of the Cooperation & Development Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, said the project has been implemented on schedule.
Located 22 km off Quy Nhon City, Nhon Chau island is home to over 500 households. Electricity on the island is generated by diesel generators, which operate only 12 hours a day.
Implemented with a total investment of nearly 351.5 billion VND (15.1 million USD), including 280 billion VND funded by the EU, the project aims to stably supply electricity to local residents, agencies and organisations in the island.
According to Nguyen Duy Hoa from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority, the project uses submarine cable imported from Europe.
Along with the undersea power cable, optical fiber cables will also be installed to provide telecommunication and information services for the island, he said.
The EU representative added that the EU is negotiating with the Vietnamese side on more assistance to the country in developing energy sector, focusing on renewable energy and energy saving.
Ministry keeps urging installation of vessel monitoring systems
As many as 23,623 fishing boats or 77.1 percent of those at least 15 metres long nationwide had been equipped with vessel monitoring systems (VMS) as of June 22, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The figure included 2,388 vessels at least 24 metres long (91.9 percent), and 31,235 between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long (71.7 percent).
Meanwhile, some localities have not regularly updated data on fishing registration and licencing on the national fisheries database system VNFishbase, according to the MARD.
Given this, the ministry has requested the People’s Committees of coastal provinces and cities to update their data on VNFishbase, step up the installation of VMS on local fishing boats, and report on the operation of VMS.
On March 5, the MARD also sent a document urging localities to ramp up performing the tasks.
Under the Government’s Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP, dated March 8, 2019, VMS must be installed for all fishing vessels at least 24 metres long before July 1, 2019; and for boats between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long before April 1, 2020. In particular, the installation must be completed for trawlers and tuna fishing boats between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long before January 1 this year.
Vietnam is augmenting efforts to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing so as to persuade the European Commission (EC) to remove the “yellow card” warning, which was issued in October 2017 as the country had failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the battle against IUU fishing.
Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a “yellow card”, followed by a “green card” if the problems are resolved, or a “red card” if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
Bac Lieu expands cultivation of world’s best rice varieties
The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu has decided to expand the cultivation of ST 24 and ST 25, two local rice varieties that rank among the world’s best, this year.
ST 24 ranked third in the World’s Best Rice Contest in 2017 and ST 25 topped the contest last year.
For the 2020 summer – autumn rice crop, the province has undertaken field demonstrations for growing the two varieties for the benefit of 60 households in five districts and Gia Rai town on a combined area of 60ha.
After the crop is harvested, the area under the two varieties will be expanded to 3,500ha using the rice – shrimp rotation model this year, according to the provincial People’s Committee.
Under the rice – shrimp model, rice is grown in the rainy season and shrimp is bred in the dry season on the same rice field. Both are clean since farmers use few chemicals under the model.
The model will be adopted mostly in Hong Dan and Phuoc Long districts and Gia Rai town.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local authorities will call on companies to tie up with farmers for growing the two rice varieties and buying the output.
Besides the province’s field demonstration models, farmers in many areas are also growing ST 24 rice for the summer – autumn crop.
In Phuoc Long district, for instance, they are growing 500ha, according to the local People’s Committee.
Tran Quang Liem, Vice Chairman of the Phuoc Long District People’s Committee, said the district would work with the province’s Agriculture Extension Centre to teach farmers techniques to improve production.
In the 2019 rice crop during the rainy season, farmers planted ST 24 on 45ha in Phuoc Long district and 120ha in Hong Dan district.
Luu Hoang Ly, director of the department, said ST 24 and ST 25 have many advantages like being resistant to salinity and disease.
They provide average yields of 6.2 – 7.7 tonnes per hectare and offer farmers an income of 30.8 – 38.5 million VND (1,330 – 1,660 USD) per hectare per crop since they are highly popular varieties, he added.
Kon Tum Province eyes sustainable development of macadamia farming
As an ideal location for tropical trees that require high humidity, the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum plans to cultivate macadamia trees on 1000ha by 2025, according to the its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Doan Nang Ruong, director of the province Sub-department of Plant Protection, said for sustainable development, the Viet Nam Macadamia Association should provide quality seedlings to farmers, and province authorities should link enterprises across the country with local farmers to ensure demand for the nuts.
Tran Van Chuong, deputy director of the department, too said the province needs the support of the association to source quality seedlings.
There are many sources of macadamia seeds in the market, but they offer low yields, are plagued by pests and result in low value, dissuading farmers from growing the trees, he said.
The province People’s Committee should offer incentives to attract investment in macadamia processing, and the association should help identify businesses that buy macadamia and make highly processed products, he added.
Nguyen Lan Hung, deputy chairman of the association, said Kon Tum has a lot of lands suitable for growing the nut, and intercropping of macadamia with coffee should be increased since the former would also shield the coffee shrubs from the sun and winds.
Tran Trung Anh, a farmer in Kon Tum, said 1 – 1.5 tonnes of nuts could be harvest per hectare in case of monoculture and 500kg if intercropped.
It fetches farmers VND50 – 150 million (US$2,150 – 6,450) per hectare per year, he said.
Raw nuts are bought for VND 80,000 – 120,000 ($3.5 – 5.1) per kilogramme.
In recent years the decline in the prices of coffee, pepper and cashew, the province’s major crops, has persuaded many farmers to intercrop macadamia with coffee and pepper or switch completely to the nut to improve their livelihoods.
Macadamia offers a higher income than coffee while the production cost is lower, according to farmers.
Kon Tum has suitable climate and soil for macadamia plantation and convenient transportation to places like HCM City and neighbouring provinces.
But having a source for seedlings is an important factor.
The association already has nurseries in the Central Highlands region that provide quality seeds to farmers.
Macadamia trees have been planted in the province since 2013, mostly together with coffee. It has around 350ha under the nut now, whose output is estimated at 30 tonnes a year.
Thua Thien–Hue’s economic zone looks for post-pandemic investments
The Chan May – Lang Co Economic Zone in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue, which boasts comprehensive infrastructure and an open investment environment, is looking for new funding post-COVID-19.
The zone is home to 47 projects with a total registered capital exceeding VND79.3 trillion (US$3.4 billion).
According to vice director of the management board of the province’s economic and industrial zones Nguyen Cong Binh, the province will hold a conference to promote investment in the zone in July, focusing on the fields of tourism, urban development, logistics and hi-tech industry.
The locality hopes to lure strategic investors and environmentally friendly projects using modern technology, he said.
Established in 2006, the Chan May – Lang Co Economic Zone has a favourable geographical position, located about 6-7km from National Highway 1A and the North-South railway. At the same time, it is located between Phu Bai airport and Da Nang airport.
The zone has attracted a large number of investment projects, especially in tourism.
In order to lure more, Thua Thien–Hue will continue to improve infrastructure with a focus on Chan May Port so it can handle six million tonnes of goods per year by 2021.
With its strategic position as a significant gateway to the East-West Economic Corridor together with rational development strategies and streamlined mechanisms, the Chan May – Lang Co Economic Zone is hoped to develop into a proactive and modern EZ in the central region.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Ngoc Tho said in the remaining months of 2020, the locality will focus on addressing difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and promote production and business activities.
Attention will be paid to promoting administrative reform and accelerating construction of key projects, striving to start six projects this year worth more than VND100 billion each.
According to the management board, in the first six months of the year, it granted decisions on investment plans and licences to four industrial production projects with a total registered capital of about VND3 trillion.
Thua Thien–Hue’s economic and industrial zones are now home to 150 valid projects worth more than VND103 trillion.
Moc Chau Milk to sell shares, raise capital
Moc Chau Dairy Cattle Breeding Joint Stock Company (Moc Chau Milk) plans to issue 43.2 million shares to raise charter capital by 65 per cent to VND1.1 trillion (US$47.4 million).
Moc Chau Milk currently has a charter capital of VND668 million.
Of the total shares, some 39.2 million will be sold to the strategic investors for VND30,000 per share, valuing the deal at VND1.17 trillion.
The strategic investors are the Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) and GTNFoods JSC. The shares cannot be sold for one year from the issuance date.
The dairy firm, based in Son La Province’s Moc Chau District, will issue 3.34 million shares to existing shareholders at a 100:5 ratio.
Shareholders will have the option to buy five new shares for every 100 shares they own at VND20,000 per share.
Moc Chau Milk expects to earn VND67 billion from the share issuance. The leftover shares will be sold to the strategic investors.
In addition, the northern dairy producer plans to issue 668,000 optional ESOP shares to employees at VND10,000 per share to earn VND6.7 billion.
The ESOP shares will be unavailable for trading in one year.
Total revenue of the share issuances is estimated at VND1.25 trillion. Plus the remaining cash, Moc Chau Milk plans to spend VND1.6 trillion on developing a new cattle farm with a capacity of 4,000 cows, upgrading the existing cattle farm’s capacity to 2,000 cows, and buying new liquid milk production line and building a new factory.
The company will also remove some business divisions from the registration, including veterinary, retail, road transportation, material wholesale, house construction and tourism to pave the way to raise foreign capital limit to 100 per cent.
Moc Chau Milk will list its shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange in nine months.
Vietnam stock market must eye emerging market target: PM
He noted the Vietnam stock market is enjoying one of the fastest recoveries and is the most stable in the region despite the negative effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09 and the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PM described the local stock market as an important part of the market economy, contributing to accelerating the integration process and strengthening connectivity with financial markets internationally.
According to the PM, since its inception, the Vietnam stock market, formerly the securities trading centre, which is now comprised of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and Hanoi Stock Exchange, has enjoyed strong development and served as an efficient channel of capital mobilisation for the national economy.
From just two companies joining the securities trading centre at the beginning, the market now features 1,600 listed companies across the two trading floors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with a market capitalisation of over VND4 quadrillion, accounting for 65% of the country’s GDP.
Simultaneously, a Government bond market and a derivatives market have also been developed in an effort to effectively support capital mobilisation for the State Budget, with the Government bond market being considered as the best developed bond market throughout the region.
Over the past 10 years, the total amount of capital mobilised through the stock market has reached over VND2.4 quadrillion, becoming an effective capital mobilization channel for many banks and firms such as Vietcombank, Vinamilk, and Vingroup.
The PM emphasised that Vietnam is entering into a new stage of development with both opportunities and challenges ahead following the COVID-19 outbreak. It is therefore necessary to take advantage of this unique opportunity to restore the fragile economy in an effort to attract both domestic and foreign capital inflows in the near future.
To this end, PM Phuc requested the Ministry of Finance and the State Securities Commission work closely together toward further developing the local stock market, fine-tuning the legal system, and creating a favourable business climate to benefit both businesses and investors
He underlined the need to effectively implement measures aimed at accelerating the equitisation of State-owned enterprises and applying international standards on finance and auditing activities. This should be done while simultaneously strengthening inspection and supervision activities to ensure transparency along with the legitimate rights and interests of market participants.
Fruit, vegetables exports to Thailand enjoy 230% increase
Most notably, the country’s fruit and vegetables exports to Thailand during June alone climbed to over US$11.4 million, boosting the total turnover during the six-month period to US$79.4 million, representing a rise of 230% in comparison to the same period last year.
This sudden increase can be considered as a rarity as Thailand is the leading Southeast Asian producer and exporter of fruit and vegetables.
Despite this, Vietnamese exports to the Thai market faced a drop during the reviewed period with total export turnover to the neighbouring country reaching only US$2.27 billion, representing an annual decline of over US$500 million.
Throughout the six-month period, Vietnam spent more than US$5.05 billion on importing goods from Thailand, a drop when compared to US$6 billion spent last year.
At present, Thailand remains the country’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia.
Online trade creates business opportunities for Vietnamese and US enterprises
This comes after the COVID- 19 epidemic has caused numerous difficulties for global trade, significantly affecting the production and business activities of enterprises worldwide.
While Vietnam has gone on to successfully contain the disease, many countries such as the US, a key export market for the nation, are still struggling with the complicated nature of the epidemic, therefore causing bilateral trade exchange turnover between the two markets to be lower than anticipated.
According to figures released by the General Statistics Office, the first six months of the year saw the US remain as the largest Vietnamese export market with a turnover of US$30.3 billion, a boost of 10.3% over the previous year.
Moreover, the country’s import turnover from the US market reached US$ 7.4 billion, an increase of 7.2%, indicating that while trade turnover has grown it has failed to be as high as in previous years.
Therefore, to help domestic firms enjoy the opportunity of boosting trade links and expanding export markets, the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade co-operated with the Vietnam Trade Office in the US, the US Embassy, and the US Commercial Counselor in Vietnam to organise an online trade conference. This was done with a view of connecting both Vietnamese and American enterprises amid the ongoing complicated COVID-19 epidemic.
As a business representative who learnt about US partners through online trading, Bui Kim Thuy of BT Natures Company, said that the online trading conference serve to create an array of opportunities for local firms to enhance their trade links with US partners.
“The online business webinar took place vibrantly between the two countries’ businesses with more than 20 trading rooms open between Vietnamese enterprises, along with US importers and exporters in the fields of agricultural products, processed foods, industrial machinery, garments and textiles, energy, and minerals. At the event, BT Natures connected online exchanges with five US businesses,” Thuy said.
According to Bui Huy Son, minister counselor and Head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Washington, both sides have great potential to enjoy a comprehensive co-operation and are striving to promote bilateral trade in a more balanced direction, ensuring the sustainable development of the two countries moving forward.
Similarly, Eric Hsu, commercial counselor at the US Embassy in Hanoi, said organising online conferences in the current context can be viewed as very practical. The US considers Vietnam to be an important partner, with the US Embassy in Hanoi aiming to support firms from the two countries connect with each other and co-operate in business activities.
Assuming that the organisation of online trade conferences in the current situation will allow enterprises to feel more secure in terms of cross-border transactions, An The Dung, director of Vietrade Center – New York, said this is a step to prepare for a quick response in terms of trade and market developments following the conclusion of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“Through such online conferences, businesses will have the opportunity to discuss the possibility of business co-operation, moving towards the direct signing of contracts after the epidemic is controlled as a means of strengthening trade ties which have been built on solid foundations between Vietnam and the US.” Dung said.
In sharing and supporting solutions put forth by trade promotion agencies as well as Vietnamese enterprises approaching the US market, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said the COVD-19 epidemic has created a new context for countries globally to connect more closely. In addition, business communities can step up their application of information technology when carrying out trade promotion activities.
With regard to trade promotion schemes such as online trade conferences, Le Hoang Tai, deputy director general of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said with traditional trade promotion activities stalling, online trade activities have partially satisfied the need for trade promotion between local firms and foreign partners.
In fact, online trade exchanges are providing a new direction and acting as an effective trade promotion channel amid the COVID-19 epidemic severely affecting many locations. Through this method, many firms are able to enjoy access to the global supply chain and expand business co-operation opportunities.
Despite this, Tai emphasised that to conquer the US market, a location with high-technical standards, local enterprises must focus on improving product quality, meeting rigorous technical standards. In addition, it is essential to carefully understand the tastes and consumer habits of American customers, he added.
New York & Co’s collapse a heavy hit to Song Hong Garment
Song Hong Garment is looking at bleaker prospects after the collapse of New York & Co, its largest overseas partner, fearing a scenario akin to that experienced by Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment with Sears.
According to the Washington Post, RTW Retailwinds that owns 400 New York & Co stores across 32 states of the US, filed for bankruptcy last week. Specifically, the company is considering whether to shut down all of its outlets soon.
New York & Co is a long-time partner of local garment manufacturer Song Hong Garment (HSX: MSH). As of the end of 2019, the US firm was responsible for 13 per cent of MSH’s revenue, according to a company filing to the State Securities Commission of Vietnam.
In 2019, MSH’s earnings rose by 12 per cent to VND4.412 trillion ($191.83 million) of which New York & Co contributed VND575 billion ($25 million). Facing the COVID-19 breakdown, the local garment firm targets a 27 per cent reduction in revenue to VND3.2 trillion ($139.13 million).
The latest financial report of MSH showed that the company’s receivables as of March 31, 2020 were VND439 billion ($19 million), including VND166 billion ($7.2 million) from New York & Co, which is more than one-third of the sum.
On the verge of losing millions of US dollars, trithuctre.vn quoted a representative of MSH as saying that the firm foresaw the hardships and set aside provisions in the first quarter of this year. Moreover, it also plans to keep making provisions in the following quarters. Regarding the recovery of the $7.2 million, MSH has contacted the partner but has yet to receive a response.
Regarding the bankruptcy of New York & Co, the representative said that MSH’s finances have yet to see significant impacts, however, if the pandemic lasts in the EU, it will be hard to predict the company’s future performance. Currently, the firm maintains operations by manufacturing face masks and protective gear.
Two years ago, Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment (TCM) was trapped in a similar situation as its big partner – the US-based Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in the nation. Sears’ 49 subsidiaries, including Roebuck, Co. and Kmart Corporation, was a major partner of TCM, making up about 7 per cent of its revenue. At the time, TCM’s receivables consisted of VND100 billion ($4.35 million) from Roebuck and Kmart Corporation and more than VND500 billion ($21.74 million) from the parent company.
As a result, its revenue last year slightly dropped by 0.5 per cent on-year to VND3.644 trillion ($158.43 million). In addition, net profit from sales spiked by 8 per cent to VND269 billion ($11.7 million) while the profits from the other performance plunged by 93 per cent to VND5 billion ($217,400). That made pre-tax and after-tax profits decline by 15 and 17 per cent to VND274 billion ($11.9 million) and VND217 billion ($9.43 million).
Blue Point looking to buy 90 per cent stake in IDP
The shareholders of International Dairy JSC (IDP), one of Vietnam’s home-grown dairy products firms, approved Blue Point to buy 90 per cent of the stakes without a public bid.
In addition, IDP also released the information that Howard Holding PTE managed by VinaCapital sold 28 per cent stake in IDP to decrease its ownership to 26 per cent. At present, this investment fund and relevant parties are holding 37 per cent stake.
Previously, in December 2014, VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund and Japan’s Daiwa PI Partners invested approximately $45 million to own a 70 per cent stake in IDP.
Established in 2004, IDP has the main trademark Ba Vi for its milk products, which include fresh milk and yoghurt. It also has other products such as z’Dozi and Purina fresh milk.
Blue Point was established in 2015 and specialises in consumer goods manufacturing. The group previously expressed ambitions to set foot in the dairy and phamarceutical sector to become one of Vietnam’s largest consumer-retail groups.
On the July 4 extraodiary shareholders’ meeting, the Board of Directors of IDP added two members, namely To Hai and Ho Sy Tuan Phat. In addition, Tuan Phat was appointed as general director of Long Thanh Milk JSC (Lothamilk) (another dairy company). Before becoming 100 per cent domestic owned, Lothamilk was a joint venture with a Taiwanese partner.
Along with the purchase between Blue Point and IDP, the dairy sectorsaw numerous other M&A deals. One of these was the transaction between Vinamilk and GNTFoods, making Vinamilk the official owner of the Moc Chau milk brand.
In December 2019, the Vietnam Dairy Association forecast that Vietnam’s dairy industry would grow by 9-10 per cent this year and local milk consumption would reach 28 litres per capita in 2020.
At present, Vietnam’s demand for milk is 26 litres per capita per year, lower than the 35 litres in Thailand, 45 litres in Singapore, and 80-100 litres in Europe. Moreover, the dairy industry only meets about 35 per cent of the domestic demand.
Under the calculation of existing manufacturing capacity, domestic fresh millk production is expected to reach 1 billion litres, meeting 38 per cent of the domestic demand in 2020, which will increase to 1.4 billion litres, meeting 40 per cent of the demand by 2025.
According to the Livestock Production Department, Vietnam plans to have 500,000 dairy cows producing a million tonnes of milk in 2020, a growth of more than 11 per cent on-year. The country is planning to have 700,000 cows and produce two million tonnes of milk by 2030.
Annual HCM City Travel Fair boosts tourism
One hundred and twenty six travel agents, hotels, airlines, and other tourism and travel-related services from 50 cities and provinces have showcased domestic tour packages, travel products and services at 30-70 percent discounts at the 16th HCM City Travel Fair over the weekend.
The annual fair enabled travel agents and tour operators to introduce their new products to customers, Tran Hung Viet, Chairman of the HCM City Association of Tourism, said.
A number of tours and travel services were sold right on the first day of the fair, a good sign for the domestic travel market, he said.
Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the city Department of Tourism, said small and medium-sized travel firms, both inbound and outbound, were struggling to recover due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The event, which offered a wide range of discounted tours and travel services, would stimulate domestic travel demand and help travel and tourism businesses stay afloat even as international tourism remains closed, he said.
Stimulus programmes had resulted in an apparent recovery in domestic travel, he said.
Many tour packages were offered at 50 percent and more discounts.
Vietravel is offering 8,000 tour packages for this summer with gifts and discounts thrown in at the fair.
The company expects to sign up 250,000 tourists.
Saigontourist is offering hundreds of products with attractive discounts.
US Department of State values trade cooperation with Vietnam
The US-Vietnam trade and investment supports thousands of jobs in the US and has positioned Vietnam as one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, the US Department of State has said on the occasion of the 25th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties.
In its Twitter account, the department noted that two-way trade between the US and Vietnam exceeded 77 billion USD in goods and services last year, “a remarkable reflection of our expanding ties over the past two decades.”
According to the Department of Commerce, US exports of goods and services to Vietnam supported an estimated 54,000 jobs in the country.
Vietnam is currently the 17th largest goods trading partner of the US.
As of the end of 2019, total investment registered capital of US firms in Vietnam had exceeded 11 billion USD, ranking 11th among the countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation.
Expert at the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Dr Alexander Vuving has described the Vietnam-US relationship as “special one”.
In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Vuving said it took two decades for the US-Vietnam relationship to fully normalise since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1995.
The greatest achievement in Vietnam-US relations since 1995 is the transformation of the relationship from one between former enemies to comprehensive partnership between the two sides, he added.
He noted that Vietnam is one of the key regional partners of the US both in the “rebalance” strategy of the Obama administration and the “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy of President Donald Trump’s administration.
According to the expert, the relationship between Vietnam and the US is rooted in a bipartisan consensus in the US and a consensus in Vietnam about the importance of diversification of relations with other countries, including the US.
More joint activities and collaboration will deepen mutual understanding and trust, Vuving said.
Thailand to take years for foreign tourist numbers to normal: central bank
Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Veerathai Santiprabhob said on July 20 that it will take several years for foreign tourist numbers to return to the 40 million level.
The central bank forecast only an estimated 8 million foreign visitors in Thailand this year, down 80 percent from last year’s record number of 39.8 million.
The BOT has forecast Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will shrink by a record 8.1 percent, with bottom seen in the second quarter.
Veerathai said it will take about two years for the economy to return to the levels before COVID-19, adding that the most worrying issue is employment, particularly in the service and manufacturing sector.
Pharmedi Vietnam to be held online for first time
The 2020 Pharmed & Healthcare Vietnam (Pharmedi Vietnam) is slated for September 16-19 in both offline and online platforms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers said on July 20.
It will be the first international medical fair in Vietnam to be held after the pandemic.
The two platforms are expected to help firms, including foreign ones, promote their brands, seek new partners and communicate with visitors through the event’s website and application.
On showcase will be pharmaceutical products, medical devices, healthcare services and dietary supplements, among others.
First held in 2005, Pharmedi Vietnam is viewed as a leading exhibition of the country’s health sector. Each edition draws an average of 10,000 participants, during which nearly 1,000 trade agreements are reached.
Malaysia to file case to WTO over EU palm oil curbs
The Malaysian Government is planning to file a case with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the European Union (EU) by this year over its discrimination against palm oil.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Willie Mongin said on July 20 Malaysia is adamant and steadfast in taking legal action against the EU due to its discrimination towards Malaysian palm oil.
Earlier, the EC had decided to restrict the import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, saying the oil is not sustainable and environmentally friendly as the locals have to burn forests for the biofuel.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said on July 1 that the ministry, with the cooperation of Attorney-General’s Chambers, will file the action through the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.
He stressed this discrimination by the EU will have a negative impact on more than three million Malaysians involved in the palm oil industry.
Malaysia will also act as a third party in Indonesia’s WTO case against the EU, he added.
Indonesia took the EU to WTO over “discrimination” palm oil policy in December 2019. Both Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s top producers of palm oil, accounting for around 80 percent of global output.
The palm oil industry brings about 40 billion ringgit (nearly 1 billion USD) to Malaysia each year, and accounts for nearly 3 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
Gold breaks all-time records as prices continue to soar
News regarding the continued price hike comes following Saigon Gold, Silver and Gemstone joint stock company announcing its SJC gold price at 9:15am as VND51.8 million per tael for buying and VND52.9 million per tael for selling, marking rises of VND750,000 and VND1.4 million, respectively, from the previous day’s trading session.
Elsewhere, the opening trading session witnessed DOJI Gold and Gems Group increase their buying price by VND800,000 to VND52 million per tael, while simultaneously raising their selling price by VND1.4 million to reach VND52.8 million per tael.
This fluctuation in domestic gold prices can be attributable to the impact of the global market, with the evening of July 21 seeing gold prices undergo a rise of US$26.5 per ounce to reach US$1,850 per ounce.
With the number of novel coronavirus cases continuing to rise globally, financiers are increasingly viewing gold as a safe investment. This is the main factor behind the recent series of sharp increases in the price of the precious metal.
In the forex market, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (as Vietcombank), listed the exchange rate at VND23,060 per US$1 for buying and VND23,270 per US$1 for selling on July 22, marking drops of VND10 per US$1 from the previous day’s trading.
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