HCM City aims for annual VND3trn from port-related tariffs
The authorities in HCM City expect to collect an annual VND3trn (USD129m) from port tariffs as the city ports receive over 170 million tonnes of goods each year.
The revenue will be used to develop the infrastructure at and around the ports. This is also a way to deal with the congestion problem while the city’s budget is limited.
HCM City Department of Transport said the ports in the city play an important role in connecting the maritime transport of Southeast Asia, Mekong Delta Region with Vietnam’s four major ports of Cat Lai, Nha Be, Hiep Phuoc and Saigon.
However, congestion around the port has become an urgent problem and caused transportation costs to rise. Statistics from 2019 show that the total amount of goods transported via HCM City’s ports will be 237 million tonnes in 2030, putting huge pressure on infrastructure.
Taking lessons from port models in Hai Phong City, the department proposed to collect port charges and service fees to fund more public investment.
Cargo which is temporarily brought into Vietnam for re-export and where the declaration is completed outside of HCM City will mean the owners will have to pay VND2.2m (USD95) for a 20ft container, VND4.4m for a 40ft container or VND50,000 for a tonne of goods. The cost for import-export cargo with declaration filled in HCM City will mean the owners will have to pay VND250,000 per 20ft container, VND500,000 per 40ft container or VND16,000 for a tonne of goods.
Fees for cargo that are used for national defence and natural disaster prevention or social security will be waived.
Tran Quang Lam, director of the Department of Transport said they had to depend on PPP investment or city’s budget for transport projects. However, these sources are limited and PPP models were not suitable for the projects around ports.
If everything goes smoothly, they will be able to contribute VND3trn to the city’s budget each year.
“In five years, we’ll have VND15trn (USD645m). Along with the city’s budget, we’ll have enough to complete the transport projects that connect seaports in HCM City,” he said.
Some of the projects are Nguyen Huu Tho expansion, Ring Road 2 further completion and an upgrade to the canals.
“The number of shipments may rise and the travel times will decrease which means the transportation costs will fall and boost development,” he said.
New PetroVietnam Chairman named
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently decided to appoint Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong as the new Chairman of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).
Vuong will assume the position in replacement of Tran Sy Thanh, who was assigned to be deputy head of the Office of the National Assembly.
Vuong, born in 1963, graduated from the Russian State Geological Prospecting University (MGRI). Previously, he worked in various positions, including Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thai Nguyen province.
He was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade in 2010, then chairman of the Member Council of the Electricity of Vietnam. He came back to hold the post as Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade in 2015, and was in charge of power, renewable energy, environment and sustainable development./.
Global manufacturers flocking to Vietnam, reports Nikkei Asia
As part of the world’s largest financial publication, Nikkei Asia has published an article outlining how Vietnam is preparing for a shift of investment from the world’s giant manufacturing “eagles”.
The article states that three years ago Jack O’Sullivan came to Vietnam to build premium electric bicycles, but factory after factory said it could not make the parts he needed, prompting him to settle on an unorthodox way of bringing them up to speed.
The Irishman then started dispatching employees from Modmo, the bike exporter he founded in 2017, to work alongside local suppliers. Today, Modmo sources approximately 50% of its components from Vietnam, a number O’Sullivan anticipates will rise due to the need to source more parts locally.
The article outlines that the country is currently enjoying an influx of foreign manufacturers, a trend that first began after 2007 when low-end garment and shoe factories began to leave China due to rising costs.
At present Vietnam is hoping to become a major hub for high-tech manufacturing, as the United States’ pressure on China is forcing a re-alignment of global supply chains that support the computer, smartphone, and telecom industries. Already, Samsung alone makes up a quarter of Vietnamese exports, with Intel selecting the country to house its biggest chip assembly plant worldwide.
The article points out that for all global manufacturers, over-reliance on China has become increasingly precarious in the wake of the US trade war, pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, and higher costs. Their relocation to neighbouring Vietnam has helped to boost the domestic manufacturing sector, which at its peak saw annual growth of 21% in February, before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown began.
Taking in investments this year from the likes of the Republic of Korean electronics giant LG and German adhesive tape maker Tesa, Vietnam is on track to become the world’s fastest-growing economy for the year.
Despite these positives, these factors have intensified strain placed on the Vietnamese workforce, its suppliers, and the land available for industry. The country therefore hopes to ride a wave of investment in order to achieve higher growth, although this does pose various risks.
Nikkei Asia quotes Nguyen Thanh Binh, business information director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry, as saying that manufacturing “eagles” are flocking to Vietnam, which must prepare accordingly while building up its nest to welcome the eagles.
The impact of all new sources of demand can be seen domestically, from stuffed shipping containers to roaring factories. Property company Savills state that occupancy rates have risen sharply in most industrial zones over the past two years, now averaging 74% nationally. Indeed, occupancy is even higher close to cities, including 99% in Binh Duong and 94% in Dong Nai, both provinces on the edge of Ho Chi Minh City.
The article emphasises that much of the new investment is flowing into the technology sector, such as the production of earphones for Apple and liquid-crystal displays for Sharp. This keeps within the Vietnamese goal of progressing up the value chain as a means of transitioning towards higher-skilled work. However, there remains a shortage of knowledge on how to create more advanced products, such as Modmo’s bikes, which comes with electric motors, touch screens, and Bluetooth at a price of US$2,400.
Navigos Group, the owner of Vietnam’s biggest jobs site, said 71% of technology companies have reported that a lack of IT talent is their biggest challenge. This issue far exceeds salary costs, legal issues, and other challenges cited in the survey released in April. Similarly, employers report difficulty when attempting to fill middle-manager roles across a variety of industries.
In contrast, Michael Kokalari, chief economist of VinaCapital, rejects the notion that Vietnamese factories and warehouses could be nearing capacity. “Maybe it’s full if you’re so cost-conscious,” he said in an interview, “But if you’re making electronics and other higher-value products, we’re not full yet.”
VinaCapital calculated in a 2019 report that the country has enough industrial land for foreign companies to double the size of their investments at the time. Manufacturing’s 20% share of the local economy remains far below the 30% level seen in other Asian “tiger economies”, therefore leaving plenty of room for growth, the report states.
To keep up with development, Vietnam has future industrial parks being planned, including at least 17 which will open up in the next few years, by Savills’ count. In addition, the training of employees and suppliers must keep up as well, businesses say. Moving forward, O’Sullivan said he hopes to source more bicycle components from the country as domestic expertise rises.
VietJet Air, UPS launch cargo service between Asia and US
Vietnam’s low-cost airline VietJet Air and UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company of the US, have recently unveiled the start of joint operations aimed at flying cargo planes between Asia and the United States, according to the world’s largest financial publication Nikkei Asia.
Collaboration between VietJet Air and UPS began in September when garments, seafood, medical goods, and other products from Vietnam, Thailand, and neighbouring countries began to be shipped from Hanoi to the US on weekly flights via Incheon in the Republic of Korea.
In addition, the firms also collaborated on deliveries between Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Similar to other airlines bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, VietJet has suffered the impact of low demand.
Vietnam welcomed 3.8 million travelers during the first nine months of the year, representing an annual drop of 70.6%, according to the General Statistics Office.
The Vietnamese airline also halted the majority of cross-border services, operating only 15,000 flights during the third quarter, the majority of which were within Vietnam and Thailand, down from 34,000 flights across 12 Asian countries during the third quarter of 2019. The enterprise therefore posted a loss of VND926 billion, equivalent to US$40 million, in air travel in the third quarter, versus a loss of VND1.1 trillion in the second quarter.
Despite these challenging times, the company’s future prospects appear to be looking up. “VietJet has been one of the first airlines in Asia to navigate toward air cargo as part of a new business strategy unfolding in response to the pandemic,” said Do Xuan Quang, CEO of the company’s cargo operations, in a statement.
The airline became the first to use excess space in passenger cabins to carry cargo for flights between Vietnam and Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The recent move to work alongside UPS will likely see it expand its cargo business.
“The co-operation with UPS paves the way for VietJet to make Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok regional logistics hubs for one-stop-shop cargo transportation services from Asia to Western destinations,” Quang stressed.
Bac Giang striving to improve business and investment environment
The northern province of Bac Giang has paid particular attention over recent years to improving its business and investment environment and the support programmes it has in place. Continuing to improve the local business and investment environment has been identified as a key task for Bac Giang now and in the years to come.
Change in support for the business and investment community have been seen by the Anh Thao Trading and Production Package Company. Under pressure from a slowdown in business due to COVID-19, the company is now working to ensure employees retain their jobs, and support from local authorities has encouraged Anh Thao to continue its efforts.
Improving its business environment is among Bac Giang’s top priorities for 2020. A working group was formed to assist the chairman of the people’s committee to address enquiries and complaints from investors in the province.
Bac Giang has also established a project to evaluate the competitiveness of districts and departments in the 2020-2025 period, expressing its determination to improve the local business and investment environment.
The project aims to help provincial authorities improve their operational mechanisms and use evaluations of local departments to implement better reforms, thus creating the best possible conditions for investors./.
Indonesia’s foreign debt drops 3.8 percent in Q3
Indonesia’s foreign debt, which includes government and private sector borrowings, in the third quarter of this year was recorded at 408.5 billion USD, a drop by 3.8 percent year-on-year, compared to 5.1 percent in the previous quarter, Bank Indonesia (BI) announced on November 16.
Onny Widjanarko, spokesperson of Bank Indonesia, said that the deceleration was mainly influenced by private sector external debt repayment transactions.
According to the BI’s latest data, the public sector debt, which is raised by the government and the central bank, amounted to 200.2 billion USD, whereas the private sector’s external debt, which includes borrowings of the country’s state-owned enterprises, was 208.4 billion USD.
Specifically, the government’s foreign debt grew at a slower rate at 1.6 percent year on year by the end of September to 197.4 billion USD, lower than 2.1 percent by the end of June.
On the same day, Statistic Indonesia (BPS) said the country’s trade surplus reached 3.61 billion USD in October, higher than the 2.44 billion USD recorded in the previous month.
Indonesian exports totalled 14.39 billion USD, up 3.09 percent from the previous month, while imports fell 3.29 percent to 10.78 billion USD./.
Vietnam attends 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the 31st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting held via videoconference on November 16 evening under the chair of Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali.
During the first session on improving trade and investment, foreign and economic ministers of APEC economies appreciated the efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain cooperation, ensure the flows of essential goods and services, and boost regional economic linkages.
They agreed to further advance economic integration in the region, in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which will contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings.
They stressed the importance of a rule-based multilateral trading system and backed the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s reform efforts.
Many of them spoke highly the significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement freshly signed at the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
The ministers also discussed orientations for APEC cooperation in the time to come, and agreed to beef up cooperation in trade and investment, sustainable and inclusive growth, and digital economic development.
In the second session on inclusiveness, digital economy and sustainable innovation, the participants showed their support for the promotion of digital platform, structure reform, sustainable and inclusive development and innovation.
It is essential to ensure social welfare, increase resilience, boost inclusive economic recovery and minimise the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on developing economies.
APEC needs to pay attention to food security and the sustainable management of natural resources, as well as increasing women’s empowerment and supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the ministers said.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said that the COVID-19 shows mutual dependence between economies.
He stressed the need for APEC members to uphold the spirit of solidarity and responsibility to help the Asia-Pacific region soon overcome current challenges and continue leading the global economic recovery.
Minh suggested APEC continue promoting its pioneering role in stepping up open and free trade and investment, regional economic connectivity and people-centered economic growth.
The Vietnamese delegation also made proposals to help control the pandemic and boost economic recovery, ensure the sustainability of supply chains, and improve the self-reliance against future crises and shocks.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure and the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam once affirmed its continued efforts to, together with the international community, enhance multilateral cooperation, including within the framework of APEC.
The 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting approved a joint statement of the ministers affirming the determination of 21 APEC member economies to continue joining hands in building a self-reliant and prosperous Asia-Pacific region./.
ASEAN member countries promote practical defence cooperation
The ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG) was held via video conference on November 16 and aimed at promoting defence cooperation among ASEAN member states.
The meeting was held under the Chair of Lieutenant General Vu Chien Thang, Director of the Defence Ministry’s Foreign Relations Department and head of Vietnam’s ADSOM WG.
ADSOM WG heads and representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat were updated on the ASEAN defence cooperation process since the last online meeting in May, and discussed documents and the new-standard operating process of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) as well as draft joint statements of the 14th ADMM and the seventh ADMM Plus, scheduled to go online in December.
Preparation work for ADSOM on November 17, ADSOM Plus WG on November 18, and ADSOM Plus on November 19 was also tabled at the meeting.
Expressing an interest in strengthening cooperation between defence experts in the field of chemistry, the Singaporean representative recommended ASEAN member states create an effective channel to stand ready for emergency circumstances like COVID-19.
The representative said that along with ongoing studies of a COVID-19 vaccine, Singapore organised an online conference on infectious diseases in June and a workshop to improve testing capacity and specimen transport in November, attracting the participation of biology and chemistry experts from ASEAN member states.
Meanwhile, the Thai representative said Thailand held a conference in August on increasing the role of ASEAN defence organisations in supporting border management with the participation of the representatives from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, ASEAN defence ministries, and ASEAN defence attaches in Bangkok.
The representative said it is necessary to understand each other’s border management models in order to cooperate and share experience in border protection and transnational crime prevention./.
Vietjet cooperates with HCM City to develop tourism
Vietjet has accompanied tourism development cooperation between Ho Chi Minh City and the northwest, northeast and the central key economic regions in a joint effort to promote tourism development and economic recovery in Vietnam.
As part of the cooperation, a conference on cooperation in tourism development between Ho Chi Minh City and eight northwest provinces including Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Son La and Yen Bai took place on November 14 at Viet Tri city, the northern province of Phu Tho. The event attracted the participation of officials of the government, provinces, cities, tourism industry, travel and aviation businesses.
Aware of its responsibility as a leading corporation, Vietjet commits to accompany provinces, cities to develop tourism coordination and promotion campaigns to stimulate demand so as to create a recovery momentum for the tourism and aviation industry. With 250 flights every day covering domestic destinations, Vietjet flights transport passengers to many attractive destinations across Vietnam quickly, conveniently with a variety of options and quality services.
Vietnam is one of the most successful countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and in quickly recovering its economy to ensure both safe and sustainable development. The cooperation between Ho Chi Minh City and the northwest, northeast and the central key economic regions is aimed to define new directions for tourism growth, further tap the regions’ potentials and advantages in natural resources and strategic location to attract tourists and investment, thus contributing to the recovery of the provinces’ tourism economy.
At the event in Phu Tho, Vice President of Vietjet Do Xuan Quang together with the Tourism Association of Ho Chi Minh City and eight northwest provinces signed a memorandum of understanding to implement activities which help improve coordination to promote and recover tourism, aviation, offer customers the best products and services as well as ensure pandemic prevention.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said that the signing of these coordination agreements between Ho Chi Minh City and other regions marks a new development step in the relationship between local authorities, state management agencies, associations and businesses in tourism.
After the northwest, Vietjet and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City will organise similar conferences and forums in the northeast and the central key economic regions from now until the end of November, 2020.
Workshop looks into Vietnam-Australia mineral exploration, processing cooperation
An international workshop on sustainable cooperation between Vietnam and Australia regarding techniques in mineral exploration and processing in the north of Vietnam was held in Hanoi on November 16.
Organised by the General Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), together with the Embassy of Australia on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of Vietnam-Australia relations, the workshop brought together 60 delegates.
In his opening remarks, Trade Commissioner at the Australian Embassy Shannon Leahy said that despite growing trade protectionism, Australia and Vietnam have committed to maintaining a rules-based multilateral trade system as stipulated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to supporting necessary reform measures for the WTO in response to opportunities and challenges.
The two countries have agreed to bring trade turnover to 10 billion USD this year from 7.8 billion USD in 2018, he said.
The diplomat added that Australia has recognised there are major opportunities for its companies in mining equipment, technology and services (METS) to cooperate with Vietnam in the application of advanced technology.
For his part, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Quy Kien said Vietnam and Australia have fostered long-standing relations in the geology and mineral sector, and mineral exploration and processing is a significant sphere of cooperation.
Vietnam and other countries, however, are facing various problems in mining exploration, he noted.
MoNRE is therefore looking to bolster sustainable cooperation in the exploration and processing of natural resources, Kien said.
The workshop offered a chance for delegates to share experience and ideas in the field. A number of mining techniques and software were also introduced during its two sessions./.
ASEAN urged to be RCEP “power house” to capture global markets
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) shows the rest of the world that signatory countries believe in open and rule-based trade, Iman Pambagyo, Chief of the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee of ASEAN, has said.
“The comprehensive nature of the agreement as well as the principle of “simultaneous start, differentiated timetable” also provide a good example on how countries who are willing to support each other may address the issue of development gaps under a trade agreement,” he told the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Jakarta via email.
ASEAN is at the centre of all so it is important for the grouping to take this journey in the context of realising the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 and beyond, he said.
He thanked the government of Vietnam for lending its political support to the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee to push hard the negotiation on the remaining difficult issues before the deal was officially signed by 15 member countries on November 15.
He described it as the largest trade deal outside the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that ASEAN and its five partners managed to accomplish.
He also urged all signatories to not be complacent as the road ahead will be equally challenging: to implement all the commitments fully and faithfully.
“It may be difficult at the time of departure but we should help each other to make sure that the agreement can enter into force soon and everybody lives with their commitments.”
He called on ASEAN countries to focus on what they are best at and not to push hard to produce everything behind the borders. “Key to ASEAN would be capitalising on the RCEP regional value chains and establishing ASEAN as the RCEP “power house” to capture not only the RCEP markets, but also the global markets.” he said./.
PV Gas marks first gas flow from offshore field to Nam Con Son 2 pipeline
The PetroVietnam Gas Join Stock Corporation (PV Gas) on November 16 welcomed the first flow of gas from Field SV, part of a project on developing the offshore SV-DN gas field to the Nam Con Son 2 pipeline on the mainland.
The project to develop the SV-DN gas field, located in the Nam Con Son Basin, is a prerequisite for the implementation of the Nam Con Son 2 project, which consists of the Nam Con Son 2 and the SV-DN gas pipeline sub-projects, invested in by PV Gas.
The SV-DN field generates about 1.5 billion cu.m. of gas and 2.8 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensate each year, expected to help ensure the firm’s gas supply for electricity production and consuming facilities in the southeastern region.
PV Gas Deputy General Director Hoang Van Quang said aside from the implementation of the Nam Con Son 2 pipeline project, the one on building a pipeline for transporting gas from Field SV-DN has also been promptly carried out to collect and deliver about 2-3 billion cu.m. of gas every year from the SV-DN and Thien Ung-Dai Hung fields to the mainland.
Despite the huge workload, unfavourable weather conditions at sea like storms, and COVID-19 that has hampered the transportation of equipment from abroad, contractors have still managed to complete the projects, according to him./.
Product quality focus during Ha Noi promotion month
Product quality is the focus of this month’s Ha Noi promotion month to encourage consumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic with discounts of up to 70 per cent.
Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan said all products in the promotion programme must be registered with the management agency together with discount rates to be made public for consumers to make price comparisons.
The market watch was also enhanced to ensure the quality of products on sale.
Together with promotion programmes on traditional distribution channels, sales on online channels have been increased together with promoting the use of cashless payment.
In the first half of November, the promotion programme attracted the participation of about 3,000 enterprises, 50 per cent higher than the target.
Lan said the programme was expected to promote consumption in the year-end months amid the pandemic and increase the revenue of participant firms as well as the capital city’s total retail sale revenue.
The total retail sale revenue of Ha Noi was expected to reach 10.5 per cent this year, Lan said.
The capital city saw a growth of 9.7 per cent in retail sale revenue in January-October.
Pham Hoang Hanh, director of Media Mart Supermarket on Pham Van Dong Street, Ha Noi, said the supermarket launched discounts from 30 per cent to 50 per cent for electronic products.
All Media Mart’s products on sale were new, of clear origin and have a genuine warranty, Hanh said.
Marketing director of Pico Nguyen Quang Duc said Pico worked with suppliers to launch promotions for electronic products and home appliances from 25-50 per cent. Additional discounts of 5 or 10 ten per cent would be given to customers who pay via the VNPAY or BIDV banking apps, respectively.
Le Manh Phong Ha Noi, regional director of Central Group which owns the BigC supermarket chain, said the number of shoppers going to BigC in promotion days was up by 20-30 per cent compared to normal.
This was the 11th year Ha Noi has implemented the promotion month.
Coffee sector aims to promote domestic consumption
Local businesses have been advised to enhance intensive processing whilst investing in high-quality products in an effort to develop prestigious brands for the purpose of boosting the domestic coffee sector’s consumption rate from 13% to approximately 30% in the near future, according to insiders.
Despite this growth, the domestic consumption rate locally remains low in comparison with other countries such as the United States, Brazil, and Finland, said Hai. Indeed, due to this the local coffee sector is aiming to boost coffee consumption ratio to between 25% and 30%, equivalent to that of the world’s major coffee producers such as Brazil and Indonesia.
Luong Van Tu, chairman of Vicofa, said the domestic coffee industry is aiming to raise productivity whilst improving product quality, therefore adding value moving forward, as opposed to expanding cultivation areas to meet the tastes of domestic consumers.
At present, several Vietnamese coffee businesses such as Intimex Group Joint Stock Company, Tin Nghia Corporation, Phuc Sinh Group, and Trung Nguyen Group have invested in the building of modern coffee processing factories whilst striving to develop their own brands at supermarkets and through agents.
Phan Minh Thong, chairman of the Board of Directors of Phuc Sinh Group, said with a coherent plan, the local firm’s domestic revenue in recent months has witnessed an increase of 200% compared to the period before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Currently, the enterprise is striving to continue increasing the domestic consumption rate through launching new products that are suitable for the tastes of Vietnamese people whilst looking to develop online sales channels.
Processed fruit and vegetables enjoy robust growth during nine-month period
Despite fruit and vegetable exports enduring a downward trajectory due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the export of local processed fruit and vegetables has witnessed vigorous growth over the opening nine months of the year, according to Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
The country’s major export markets for processed fruit and vegetables include China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands.
The MoIT have indicated that processed fruit and vegetables represent the second largest export item in terms of the fruit and vegetable product structure. In addition, it is also one of the export commodities that has not been majorly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, due to some of the complicated developments caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, several markets have moved to re-impose restrictions in an effort to contain potential outbreaks. These constraints are expected to boost consumption demand for processed products, ultimately leading to an increase in the export of processed fruit and vegetables over the coming months.
Vietnamese processed fruit and vegetable exports this year are anticipated to increase from 14% to 17% in comparison from last year.
Vietnam-China trade turnover reaches US$100 billion in ten months
China has retained its position as Vietnam’s largest trade partner and has become the first market to reach US$100 billion in terms of bilateral trade turnover, with this figure being achieved by the end of October, according to data released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Furthermore, the nation spent US$8 billion on imports from China in October, bringing total import turnover from the Chinese market to more than US$65.6 billion during the opening ten months of the year.
Despite a number of positive signs, recent developments relating to trade tensions between the United States and China, along with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are predicted to affect Vietnamese import-export activities in the near future.
As a means of facilitating the export of goods to China, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has simplified administrative procedures, made institutional reforms, and improved the investment climate in order to reduce costs for businesses.
Moreover, the MoIT has also enhanced online public services, deployed a national single-window mechanism, and co-ordinated alongside relevant agencies to assess China’s import needs, with a specific focus on a number of major export items.
The MoIT has also moved to open a trade promotion office in the localities of Hangzhou and Zhejiang in an effort to strengthen connectivity for Chinese businesses who are seeking business opportunities with local firms.
Vietnam imports most cars from Thailand, Indonesia
Vietnam imported most completely built unit (CBU) automobiles from Thailand and Indonesia during the past 10 months, making up 84% of its total car imports, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Overall, businesses spent US$1.77 billion importing more than 80,000 CBU cars in the reviewed period, an annual decline of 33.8%.
However, Vietnam imported a total of 13,650 CBU automobiles during October, representing an increase of 7.8% from the previous month.
Online gift market heats up in anticipation of Teachers’ Day
In the lead up to the annual Vietnamese Teachers’ Day on November 20, online markets have been filled with a diverse range of different items sold at huge discounts.
To stimulate consumer demand, several e-commerce floors such as Shopee, Tiki, and Lazada have launched promotional schemes with discounts of up to 50% on many gift items that are suitable for teachers.
As a result of these promotions, a number of cosmetic products, including skin cream, shower gel, shampoo, hair conditioner, lipstick, and powder, from popular brands such as Pond’s, Head & Shoulder, Sunsilk, Hazeline, X -men, Romano, and Nivea, have been given huge discounts from now until the end of November 20.
Meanwhile, other online flower shops are also rushing in an effort to lower the price of flower baskets and fresh flower bouquets ahead of Teachers’ Day, with priority given to customers who have placed orders between three and five days in advance.
Thu Hang, a florist, indicates that online sales have helped to save costs, therefore leading to a significant reduction in prices. She reveals due to COVID-19 this year increasing numbers of customers have ordered fresh flowers online this year in comparison to last year.
Along with selling fresh flowers and greeting cards, plenty of online shops have put on sale fashionable clothes, watches, shoes, and handbags, whilst also starting attractive promotional programmes for these items at discounts of between 40% and 60%.
Purchasing gifts online represents both a convenient and affordable way to buy items, with customers enjoying a wide range of options and free delivery, according to Thanh Tung, a customer who regularly shops online.
However, online shoppers are advised to be cautious about transactions to avoid being cheated.
Hanoi poised to host Vietnam Venture Summit 2020
The Vietnam Venture Summit 2020, the second event to be held of its kind, is set to take place in Hanoi on November 25 and will provide a dialogue platform between the Vietnamese Government and a number of major international venture funds.
Themed “Going Digital” the event is anticipated to attract the participation of between 800 and 1,000 delegates, including leaders of various ministries, universities, and research institutes nationwide.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung will join alongside approximately 50 foreign speakers at the function.
The occasion will also see the participation of an array of famous ventures, such as Golden Gate Ventures, Softbank Venture, Sequoia, ADB Venture, and Quiming Venture.
Furthermore, representatives of renowned corporations will participate in the event, including VNG, Grab Vietnam, MoMo, GoJek, VNPay, Tiki, and Sendo.
Ahead of the function, a series of workshops will be held from November 18 to November 20 in an effort to explore the various themes of reimagining ASEAN’s emergence from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and social commerce both nationally and in ASEAN.
During the main summit slated for November 25, delegates will discuss their perspectives on the startup and investor landscape, edtech startups, fintech, payments, and logistics in ASEAN.
To boost the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, Vietnam Venture Summit was first launched in 2019 with the support of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Golden Gate Ventures. The summit became the country’s first ecosystem event that involved key stakeholders, such as policy-makers, global investors, founders, and corporates from across the region.
Bac Giang city strives to transform itself into smart, green city
Bac Giang city, the capital of northern Bac Giang province, will take measures to turn itself into a first-tier city with smart and green development, according to Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vu Tri Hai.
The city will review its urban planning to make necessary amendments that support the development of a smart and green city and ensure the harmonisation of all plannings. It will develop the compact city model in new urban areas which see robust growth of urbanisation and population. In such areas, the city will limit the number of semi-detached houses and encourage the construction of high-rise buildings while setting tighter control of land bank for the long-term use and allocating land for construction of transport projects, green areas and other public works.
Authorities at both provincial and city levels will be required to strengthen the supervision and management of smart and green architecture through strict verification and approval of housing projects and house designs.
At first, Bac Giang city will focus on expanding green areas and prioritising projects which use advanced and friendly-environmentally technologies and are energy efficient. The city will lure investment to local waste-to-energy projects; build and upgrade wastewater collection and treatment systems to prevent partial flooding. It also plans to renovate old streets, build more parks and lakes, and develop a proper network of waste transfer stations that are friendly to the environment.
The city aims to allocate resources and attract private investment to implement a project on managing and developing trees in urban areas over the next five years.
Bac Giang city is implementing the smart city development project for 2020 – 2025 with an initial focus placed on building e-government which is core to develop a smart city. Under the project, the city will digitise database on land and construction planning and licencing and promote use of QR Codes for information to facilitate State management and better serve citizens and enterprises. It also plans to install a network of traffic and security cameras and provide free wifi at selected areas in the city.
Additionally, Bac Giang city wants to cooperate with prestigious and financially capable investors to develop green and smart buildings and urban areas as well as encourages local residents to build a smart and green city through specific and practical acts like protecting and caring trees, classifying domestic waste and disposing trash properly, installing home security cameras, and lodging public administration inquiries and receiving results online.
The city has completed 60 percent of subdivision planning so far and the percentage is expected to reach 100 percent in 2021, raising its detailed planning to 50 percent.
It has focused on mobilise resources for upgrading technical and social infrastructure, particularly in the areas of transport, electricity, water supply and drainage, and the environment.
Since 2015, the city has built five new bridges and 64 km of new urban roads, asphalted all 3 metre wide or more alley roads, and upgraded close to 500 classrooms. It has developed technical infrastructure in 60 urban and residential areas covering 460ha; built two condo buildings with a total of 2,340 apartments; and renovated local squares, parks and public green areas.
The city has applied information technology in building e-government and accelerating public administrative reforms, contributing to boosting the local economic growth. It has created a Facebook fanpage which now has more than 11,000 subscribers to collect feedback and complaints about problems in urban infrastructure, urban order, and environmental sanitation while promoting the use of QR Codes in popularising key contents of draft documents submitted to the city’s Party Congress./.
Vietnam – a magnet for foreign investors: Russian expert
Having the third most vibrant startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has been a promising land for foreign investors, according to Sergey Sinitsyn from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
A report from the ESP Capital and Cento Ventures shows that investment for Vietnam’s share of startup investment value in the region jumped from 5 percent in 2018 to 17 percent last year.
In the past four years, the country’s innovation and startup ecosystem has developed from dawn to a level that is significant to the whole region, Sinitsyn was reported by Sputnik as saying.
Vietnam has become a hub for innovation projects in Asia-Pacific, he said, adding attractive sectors include finance, education, technology, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
Several standout investments are Singaporean Temasek’s participation in VNG Corporation’s project, Softbanks & GIC’s investment in VNPAY, and Warburg Pincus’s investment in MoMo.
Particularly, VNG Corporation became Vietnam’s first ever unicorn tech start-up following investment of GIC, he said.
He stressed Vietnam has high-quality human resources, laying stress on the important roles of universities, institutes as well as business incubators and human resources training centres.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Government plays a tectonic role in encouraging and supporting a modern economy, he said, describing the Ministry of Science and Technology’s effort to organise the annual Techfest Vietnam which creates opportunities for local startups to access international markets like the US, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Russia as a significant milestone in pushing ahead an innovative economy in the nation./.
Malaysian expert highlights opportunities, challenges from RCEP
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a notable success of the 37th ASEAN Summit, bringing both opportunities and challenges to Malaysia and Vietnam, according to a Malaysian expert.
According to Professor Yeah Kim Leng, Senior Fellow and Director of the Economic Studies Programme at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University, as the world’s largest trade bloc, the further tariff reduction, trade facilitation and market access are expected to result in further output and efficiency gains, as well as higher consumer welfare that results from lower prices and wider choices of goods and services, for the 15 signatory members.
“Trade and investment flows among the bloc members will be further strengthened as investor confidence is being enhanced by the commitment to free trade and market access under RCEP,” he said.
Yeah stated that both Vietnam and Malaysia will be among the key beneficiaries as they have sizeable export-oriented industries and foreign direct investment stock. While some industries within each country will face higher import competition, the overall gains in economic efficiency will outweigh the negative effects arising from the decline of industries that are unable to compete.
“With appropriate industrial adjustment policies in place to assist the affected industries, these losses can be minimised while the majority of the population gain from higher economic efficiency, more integrated regional supply chains and higher demand generated by sustained income and job growth,” he noted.
For most sectors already exposed to international and regional competition, both the Malaysian and Vietnamese economies will need less industrial adjustments and government intervention to counter any negative side-effects of RCEP, he added./.
Japanese businesses expect RCEP to boost trade and investment
Japanese business leaders welcomed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement signed by Japan and 14 other partners on November 15, expecting a boost in trade and investment in the region and strengthening of supply chains.
Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), said the signing is extremely significant toward realizing a free and open international economic order at a time when some countries are becoming inward-looking due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Akio Mimura, Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said in a statement that due to the rules and lowering of tariffs, supply chains established by Japanese companies in Asia will become more broad, effective and resilient.
The RCEP, covering some 46 percent of Japan’s total trade, will be the country’s first trade deal with both China, its largest trading partner, and the Republic of Korea (RoK), its third largest.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Japan will eliminate 61 percent of tariffs on agricultural product imports from ASEAN nations, Australia and New Zealand, 56 percent for China, and 49 percent for the RoK, while maintaining tariffs on five product categories — rice, wheat, dairy products, sugar, and beef and pork – to protect domestic farmers.
Meanwhile, the other 14 countries will cut tariffs on 92 percent of Japanese industrial exports including automobile parts and steel products./.
RCEP expected to give boost to Czech exports
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, which was signed on November 15, is expected to open door for Czech enterprises to enter the world’s largest free trade area, according to Czech experts.
Miroslav Diro, spokesperson of the Czech chamber of commerce, said countries having clinched free trade agreements with the Czech Republic like Vietnam and the Republic of Korea can become a gate way for Czech enterprises to reach to the markets of 15 RCEP countries.
Meanwhile, Štěpán Hájek, an analysist of Purple Trading, said removing trade tariffs under the trade deal is a good sign for the Czech Republic’s open economy, particularly when the country is facing pressure from increasing protectionism.
He described the agreement as another advancement of the globalisation process, which is being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luděk Procházka, Managing Director of Gerlach – the largest customs service provider in the Czech Republic, believed that European firms, including those in the Czech Republic, will see an increasing number of orders from RCEP member states./.
RCEP Secretariat should be established, headquartered in Vietnam: Malaysian expert
Member states of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) should establish a secretariat headquartered in Vietnam, Malaysian expert Dr. Hoo Ke Ping has said.
According to him, the signing of RCEP is one of the outstanding achievements of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits chaired by Vietnam
With the agreement, member states, including Vietnam and Malaysia, will have more opportunities to export their products and have more choices of goods supplies.
To speed up the ratification process, the expert suggested the member states consider signing a secretariat like that of ASEAN and its headquarters should be based in the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi.
He also added that Vietnam has succeeded in assuming its role as ASEAN Chair in 2020, especially amid the COVID-19 outbreaks and international trade tensions.
Thai Gov’t borrows 1.5 billion USD from ADB to revive economy
Thailand’s Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has signed an agreement to borrow 1.5 billion USD from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to address economic and social issues caused by COVID-19.
Arkhom said after the signing that the borrowing is part of a royal decree to borrow 1 trillion THB to rehabilitate and revive the COVID-19-hit economy. It will contribute to national development and help limit the spread of the disease. The ADB will charge an interest rate of 0.5 percent.
Of the 1 trillion THB, the government has so far borrowed 338 billion THB, or 34 percent of the total. The government is considering seeking loans from foreign institutions, as many of them have offered COVID-19 relief packages.
He said this loan deal will support medical development, help people affected by the pandemic and revive the Thai economy. The ADB has a policy to grant loans to developing member countries.
The Thai Finance Minister said the loan will be spent in three areas. They include supporting medical and public health practices, helping those affected by the pandemic, which is similar to the financial aid of 5,000 THB a month for three months, and reviving the economic and social sectors.
Funds will be allocated to various projects which receive cabinet approval. Concerning the royal decree to borrow 1 trillion THB, there is still room for borrowing more, but no loan plans are being considered at this time. The ministry is considering loans for infrastructure projects proposed by different agencies.
APEC ministers pledge to boost regional economic recovery
Ministers of 21 APEC member economies have committed to maintaining cooperation to support economic recovery in the context of the COVID-19 gravely impacting the world.
In a joint statement issued at the online 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting on November 16, participating ministers stressed: “We will continue to cooperate, and act swiftly to foster quality growth, safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our people to enhance the resilience of our economies and support strong and inclusive economic recovery.”
The joint statement highlighted the importance of a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment to drive economic recovery at such a challenging time.
“Any emergency trade measures designed to address COVID-19 should be targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, do not create unnecessary barriers to trade, and are consistent with WTO rules,” it reiterated.
“We will further advance the economic integration in the region, in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which will contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings,” ministers said in their statement.
A reliable, interoperable, open, accessible and secure ICT environment leads to a more interconnected and inclusive region, they stated, urging members to share best practices to harness the opportunities of digital economy and foster an enabling environment, acknowledging the importance of cooperation on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening consumer and business trust in digital transactions.
The 21 APEC member economies form a region accounting for 37 percent of the global population, 48 percent of the world trade, and 60 percent of the global GDP.
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