The door wide open for Vietnamese rice into UK market
Incentives brought about by the implementation of the impending UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) are expected to assist Vietnamese rice exporters in increasing their market share in the UK, according to experts.
Currently, the UK is viewed as a potentially lucrative market for Vietnamese rice. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam exported 617,000 tonnes of rice last year, a rise of 10% compared to 2018. Despite the rise, Vietnamese rice export volume to the UK market remains modest at just 0.2%, ranking 22nd among the UK’s largest rice exporters.
Phan Van Co, marketing director of VRICE Co. Ltd., explained that Vietnamese rice exported to the UK is subject to high tariffs of approximately 17%, making it more challenging to compete with other regional rivals such as India, Pakistan, and Thailand.
In addition, he said rice exporting businesses also have to satisfy various stringent requirements set by the demanding market. Aside from fulfilling the Global GAP, Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Points (HACCAP), and ISO standards to export to the United States and the EU markets, the businesses are required to meet additional criteria, such as ensuring human rights for workers.
With the UKVFTA to be signed and come into force soon, import taxes are poised to be substantial reduced, therefore allowing his company to gain easier entry to the UK customers, stressed Co.
Sharing the view, Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Agricultural High-Tech Joint Stock Company, said the door is wide open for Vietnamese rice exporters as the UK has not imposed import quotas on rice, enabling businesses to expand their market share.
Trung An is optimistic about the growth of this market which is one of the largest rice consumers in Europe, said Binh, adding his company is currently seeking partners to import Vietnam’s long grain white rice ST20.
Trung An has sold ST20 to Germany for US$1,000 per tonne since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) came into force in early August.
Binh advised local businesses to strive to meet stringent standards in terms of the environment and human rights set forth by the high-end market. In addition, competent authorities have been urged to synchronise their policies in an effort to facilitate greater rice exports.
The Vietnam Food Association reported Vietnam has shipped 5.74 million tonnes of rice during the past 11 months, raking in US$2.85 billion despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association stated that although the volume of rice exports endured an annual decline of 2.2%, the export value recorded a remarkable increase of 10.4%, even surpassing Thai rice by US$30 per tonne thanks to its high quality.
Due to the advantages from a series of newly-signed FTAs, there appears to be bright prospects for rice exports moving into next year, according to experts.
EAEU gives Vietnam tariff quota of 10,000 tonnes of rice in 2021
Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries pledged to provide a tariff quota of 10,000 tonnes of rice from Vietnam next year under the Vietnam-EAEU Free Trade Agreement.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in determining the allocation of tariff quotas on rice products, as committed in the FTA, on September 8 this year the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) issued Decision No 110 on the allocation of Vietnamese rice import quotas for each member country in 2021.
Armenia has a quota of 400 tonnes, while Belarus9,600 tonnes.
Comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, the EAEU signed an FTA with Vietnam in May 2015, its first with an external partner.
The agreement will abolish 90 percent of tax lines, equal to 90 percent of bilateral trade turnover./.
Webinar connects Vietnamese packaging producers to Turkish importers
The Vietnam – Turkey B2B Matching Webinar on Packaging Products 2020, co-organised by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), the Vietnam Trade Office in Turkey, and the Vietnam Packaging Association (VIPAS), took place on December 16.
Speaking at the event, deputy head of Vietrade Le Hoang Tai stated Turkey is always a top partner of Vietnam in the Middle East.
He said with a highly skilled workforce, abundant supplies of materials and experience in working with demanding markets like the US, the EU, and Japan, Vietnamese packaging producers are able to meet demand of buyers.
Omer Gurkok, purchasing manager at the Turkish industrial and services group Arcelik, advised Vietnamese firms to pay attention to environmental protection, social responsibility, and sustainable development if they seek partnership with Arcelik.
VIPAS General Secretary Luong Thi Thuy Ngan affirmed Vietnam is capable of producing packaging products for Turkish importers, adding that the local packaging sector grows an annual average of between 15 and 20 percent.
Right after the conference, Vietnamese packaging producers and exporters joined virtual B2B sessions with Arcelik’s subsidiaries./.
Real estate sector needs digital transformation for sustainable development: experts
The real estate industry has made changes over the past decade and new technology has affected the way property developers operate their businesses, with the success levels of realty firms being demonstrated through their digital transformation tempo, noted experts at the Houze Day 2020, held on December 12 in HCMC.
A report from BDO International highlighted that real estate is among the five sectors that came under huge pressure and had to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, operators in this sector have to accelerate digital transformation to grow fast and sustainably.
Speaking at the event, Can Van Luc, chief economist at BIDV and a member of the National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council, said that the property sector has been slower in adopting digital transformation than others. Property firms will gain many benefits if they speed up their digital transformation progress, as the types of economic systems have changed a lot, he added.
Specifically, businesses in the field could see a substantial reduction in management and transaction costs by 30-80%, as forecast by Mckinsey & Co, and would need to enhance their ability to approach the market, information as well as further cooperation deals. More business development opportunities related to proptech, the sharing economy, data analyzing and fintech would be opened up for property developers.
According to the BIDV chief economist, as banks have joined hands with fintech companies to set up their monetary business ecosystems, property firms have no choice but to adopt proptech in order to advance. At present, human resources with a low-tech background are the biggest hindrance to property firms. If this issue is addressed, property companies could gain competitive advantages. Only technology can enable a business to advance and make breakthroughs.
Other experts at the event said that property firms would be impacted by drastic digital transformation movements in the next few years, whether they want it or not. They would also encounter fierce competition in terms of product and service diversity. Therefore, forming their own business ecosystem is considered a strategic move to improve their competitive advantages and optimize costs and resources to retain customers.
Pham Lam, founder of the Houze ecosystem, said that as the on-demand economy would become a trend in the near future, the Houze Ecosystem is set to offer a host of closely-connected services on one platform to customers, aimed at helping them enjoy a better experience.
HCMC to fight fake, low-quality goods ahead of Tet 2021
The HCMC government has come up with a plan to fight smuggling, trade fraud and low-quality and fake goods before, during and after the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday or Tet.
HCMC will dispatch law enforcement forces to ports, airports, border gates, train stations, wholesale markets and commercial centers to check Tet goods and handle violations on smuggling and trade fraud, Nguoi Lao Dong Online reported.
The plan, which runs until February 28, 2021, is aimed at effectively preventing the transport of illegal goods and smuggling activities.
The municipal government also ordered the competent forces to strengthen checks on illegal goods, including drugs, weapons or explosive substances, while inspecting the quality of necessities such as food, milk, foodstuffs and medical equipment.
Besides, the municipal government assigned the Border Guard Command to collaborate with the relevant agencies in the city and in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tien Giang provinces to impose harsh sanctions on violators at ports.
Apart from this, the competent forces were also tasked with regularly patrolling at estuaries, border gates and ports to promptly discover violations.
The HCMC Department of Customs was told to raise an alert on the abuse of the automatic customs clearance system and the incorrect declaration of the information of goods.
Why imported sugar cheaper than domestically-produced one?
From 2020, Vietnam implements the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) to reduce import tariffs on sugar. Domestic sugar refineries were happy that when the official import of sugar increases, they can compete and restrict smuggled sugar. However, the joy did not last long, imported sugar is cheaper than domestically-produced one, making many sugar refineries continue to suffer losses, and farmers stop growing sugarcane.
However, in the 2019-2020 crop, which ends in May, the productivity was lower, with the harvested sugarcane area of more than 150,000 hectares, the output of commercial sugarcane at above 7 million tons, the average yield of sugarcane on the harvested area reaching 53 tons per hectare, and sugar production of more than 700,000 tons.
Mr. Cao Anh Duong, Acting Chairman of the VSSA, explained because the income is too low, farmers are no longer interested in sugarcane and have switched to other crops, so sugarcane output has decreased sharply. Thus, this is the sugarcane crop with the lowest sugarcane consumption and processing in the last 19 crops, leading to the lowest number of active sugar refineries, which is only 29 plants now from 44 previously.
The ATIGA is applied by Vietnam to the sugar industry from January 1 this year, in which import tariffs reduce from 80 percent to 5 percent. In the past, the sugar industry faced difficulties because of smuggled sugar. Now, after the ATIGA becomes effective, these difficulties are caused by imported sugar.
Mr. Duong analyzed that entering 2020, Vietnam started to implement the ATIGA commitments for the sugar industry, so the sugar imports have exploded with a large amount of sugar. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in the first eight months of this year, Vietnam had imported 740,931 tons of sugar from Thailand, more than 46,000 tons from Malaysia, and more than 13,000 tons from Myanmar. The amount of sugarcane imported into Vietnam increased six times over the same period last year.
According to the VSSA, the prices of domestic sugar dropped due to the competitive effect of imported sugar. Moreover, sugar smuggling is still happening. Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused sugar consumption to decline, so the prices of sugar have begun to plunge. From there, sugar refineries have only two choices. The first one is to continue to stockpile sugar to deal with the exhaustion of operating cash flows, which means that they will not pay wages for their workers, or they even cannot pay money to farmers in the previous sugarcane crop. The other option is to accept to sell some amount of sugar at a loss to maintain the operating cash flow. Although the sugar refineries tried their best to curb decreases in sugarcane prices to keep raw material growing areas, many of them also have had to shut down.
Explaining the reason why imported sugar is cheaper than domestically-produced one, the VSSA said that there are four main sugar manufacturing countries in the ASEAN, namely Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. However, the remaining countries did not actually open their sugar markets under the ATIGA agreement. They have a mechanism to protect their farmers and domestic sugar industries from the destructive effects of cheap sugar from international markets.
For example, Thailand exported raw sugar at US$350 per ton, while the price of sugar in Thailand was at $450 per ton. The Filipino sugar industry used to be severely harmed by corn sugar imported from China, so it has doubled consumption tax on soft drinks containing corn sugar.
According to the forecast of VSSA, in the 2020-2021 sugarcane crop, there will be four more sugar refineries closed. Mr. Cao Anh Duong suggested that enterprises need to monitor and collect information on the situation of domestic sugar production and trading to propose to the association and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to consider investigating and applying safeguards measures for sugar products following the provisions of Vietnamese laws and international practice.
Moreover, they need to participate in establishing a synchronous and accurate database on import, export, and production based on information provided by competent authorities to prepare trade remedy dossiers, as well as put sugarcane into the support group soon, and make sugar reserves transparent.
Public investment projects rush to promote disbursement
Data released at the recent Government’s regular meeting shows that at the time of fewer than two weeks until the end of this year if there are no unexpected shocks, Vietnam’s economy will possibly achieve growth of 2-3 percent, while the average consumer price index (CPI) will be below the target of 4 percent.
In the context that the country has struggled to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic from the beginning of the year to now, the above results are very positive. Contributing significantly to this success is the strategy to promote public investment as high as possible. Specifically, in the past 11 months, realized investment capital from the state budget reached VND406.8 trillion, equaling to 79.3 percent of the annual plan and increasing 34 percent over the same period last year.
The Government has been very drastic in directing and operating through several conferences and briefings on promoting the disbursement of public investment capital. The Government also sent many delegations to each province to directly resolve difficulties and problems in the process of implementing projects.
However, the immediate workload is not small when about VND200 trillion, one-third of the allocated public investment capital, has not been disbursed yet. This rate in official development assistance (ODA) is even lower as after ten months, just above VND18 trillion has been put into implementation, less than one-third of the total allocated capital.
Therefore, recently, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) continued to hold conferences with ministries, provinces, and foreign donors on the disbursement of public investment capital from the foreign loans of the Government in the first 11 months of this year.
At the conference, the MoF said that it would continue to review and work with provinces and projects with particularly-large account balances. For projects disbursing following output results, the ministry recommended provinces to work closely with management agencies of programs and projects to complete disbursement procedures as soon as the results are available.
As for capital advances that have been transferred to the project account at the State Treasury, the project owners need to urgently disburse, pay for the project activities, and send information back to the MoF.
For projects that do not use up their allocated capital, the MoF requested ministries and agencies to specify which projects to be cut. At the same time, in the coming time, they need to clarify which projects are completely undisbursable in 2020 and which ones can only partially disburse, and coordinate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment in determining the amount of capital that has been allocated in the period from 2016 to 2020 and the actual disbursed capital. If there is a shortage of capital and projects continue to be disbursed in the following years, they will have to be included in the medium-term plan for the period from 2021 to 2025 and the investment capital plan for next year.
Normally, the disbursement progress increases sharply during the last month of the year. However, the problem is not only to disburse all the capital planned for the year but also to ensure efficiency, avoid loss and waste of both resources and investment opportunities, thereby creating growth momentum for the year 2021.
Handicraft makers aim for US$5 billion in export by 2025
The national handicraft sector is striving to retain its position as one of Vietnam’s top ten export sectors, raking in US$5 billion from exports by 2025.
The Vietnam Handicraft Exporter Association reports that Vietnamese handicraft products now enjoy a presence in 163 countries and regions globally, with export turnover throughout the 2015 to 2019 period increasing by an average of 9.5% annually from US$1.62 billion in 2015 to US$2.23 billion in 2019.
The United States remains the largest consumer of Vietnamese handicraft products, accounting for 35% of the country’s annual export turnover. It was followed by markets such as Japan, the EU, Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and the Republic of Korea.
Vietnam’s major handicraft export products include bags, purses, suitcases, hats, umbrellas, toys, sports equipment, ceramics, rattan, bamboo, sedge, and carpets.
In addition, several fashionable items and gifts have also been exported by meeting the shopping needs of foreign visitors to the country, which accounts for roughly 15% of total spending, equivalent to approximately US$15 per person.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), one of the major solutions for the sustainable development of the local handicraft sector is to increase the commercial value of products and participate in international trade fairs in order to seek stable outlets for these products.
The handicraft sector has therefore been urged to devise strategic orientations for exports moving ahead to the 2021 to 2025 period, with a focus on commodity groups that enjoy competitive advantages, and improve overall product quality to meet requirements set by other market segments, especially the middle and high-end markets.
Dutch firm invests US$250 mln in cashew nut production in Binh Phuoc
Representatives from the Mekong Cooperation EUROPE BV (MCE) of the Netherlands and the An Viet Phat (AVP) One-Member Co. recently held a working session with provincial officials to discuss the project, which will be implemented under the form of the circular economic model.
General Director of MCE Nguyen Thanh Tan said the joint venture will develop a 200,000-ha materials zone, a 200-ha plant processing cashew nuts with a capacity of 168,750 tonnes a year, and two plants producing refined cashew nut shell oil for export and cashew peel residue, with a capacity of 118,125 tonnes a year each. The three plants will cover a combined area of 50 ha.
The MCE-AVP joint venture will also build a factory to produce wood pellets for export, with total investment of US$45 million, which is expected to produce 225,000 tonnes of products a year.
Tan said the cashew material area will be developed in line with European organic standards, while by-products such as cashew nut shells will be used for oil production and poor cashew plots used to produce wood pellets for export.
The representative from MCE said that after an experimental planting area is developed, the enterprises will sign deals with farmers via cooperatives to develop raw material areas in accordance with international standards.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Mi affirmed that local authorities will create favourable conditions for the two businesses to implement the project, adding that an investment license will be handed over this month.
Vietnamese clams receive ASC certification
Local clams known as Meretrix lyrata which originate from the northern province of Nam Dinh successfully obtained their first Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification on December 15.
The sustainable farming of Meretrix lyrata clams is part of a project that has been jointly implemented by Lenger Seafoods Vietnam, the International Collaborating Centre for Aquaculture and Fisheries Sustainability (ICAFIS), the Nam Dinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, along with other relevant units.
Following one year on since the initial implementation of the project, Nam Dinh represents the first locality to receive an ASC certification for Meretrix lyrata clams, a factor which has made important contributions to elevating local clam products among the international market.
The nation’s Meretrix lyrate clams are currently popular in several foreign markets globally, including the EU, the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, of which the EU market accounts for 52% of overall clam exports.
Despite these positives, the clam farming sector has also faced numerous challenges in recent times relating to technical barriers, quarantine issues, origin traceability, and the stringent requirements of certification systems.
According to statistics, the fisheries sector contributes over 3% of Vietnam’s total gross domestic product (GDP), with clams being one of the four key aquaculture products.
Austrian businesses remain keen on Vietnamese consumer goods
Firms from Austria have maintained a high demand to import key export commodities from Vietnam, including consumer goods, garments and textiles, and coffee, according to a recent teleconference to discuss trade promotion between enterprises from the two nations.
Vu Ba Phu, director general of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), said as ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam has made great strides in boosting its position as a dynamic nation in the region. In doing so, these efforts have attracted several foreign partners, including potential links with EU member states.
The enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on August 1 served to create a range of opportunities for key local export items, such as textiles, footwear, agricultural products, and wooden products to penetrate the EU and Austrian markets, largely due to the removal of import duties of up to 100%.
Furthermore, commitments relating to services, investment, government procurement, and specific regulations on market access are anticipated to offer a wealth of opportunities for Austrian businesses to allow them to gain easier access to the Vietnamese market of approximately 100 million people.
Moreover, local consumers will also be presented with an opportunity to enjoy high-quality products from the Central European country, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare products, machinery, equipment, and spare parts, Phu emphasised.
Phu noted that Austria has developed into an important trading partner for the nation, adding that following the implementation of the EVFTA, there remains plenty of room for trade growth between both sides moving forward.
Amid the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic negatively affecting the global economy, enterprises from both sides are aiming to expand, seek partners, and diversify their export and import markets.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Le Dung outlined that the Austrian Chamber of Commerce initially opened a representative office in the nation back in 2019, which indicates that Austrian businesses remain keen to expand co-operation ties with domestic companies.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Austria is poised to initiate efforts to strengthen connectivity and create favourable conditions for businesses from both sides to grasp insights into each other’s markets, thereby establishing long-term business relations, the Vietnamese diplomat noted.
With regard to the local investment environment, Thomas Zoepfl, head of SBA thinprint papers at Delfort, stated that his company has invested in the nation since 2015 due to a combination of factors, including its strategic location, highly-skilled workers, strong infrastructure, and incentive policies specifically for foreign investors.
Zoepfl therefore expressed his hope that an increasing number of Austrian firms would do business locally, noting that domestic enterprises can increase key export commodities to Austria as a means of expanding their market share and accelerating trade turnover between the two countries in the near future.
Eleven-month seafood exports down 0.9%
In November alone, the country raked in US$800 million from exporting seafood, with US$418.99 million from shrimp and US$174.64 million from Tra (pangasius) fish.
The US, Japan, mainland China and the Republic of Korea (RoK) were the major import markets of Vietnamese seafood products in the last 11 months, making up nearly 60% of total export value, the ministry said.
Vietnam also spent US$1.59 billion on importing seafood during January-November, a year-on-year decrease of 1.4%.
Of the total imports, 14.4% came from India, 11.1% from Norway, and 9.2% from Japan.
Hanoi to open 40 more OCOP showrooms
They must be rated at least three-star and have been certificated as typical rural industrial products at the municipal and regional levels.
In 2020, 14 OCOP showrooms were put into operation in the capital city.
The OCOP was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2008, based on Japan’s “One Village, One Product” and Thailand’s “One Town, One Product” programmes. It is an economic development programme for rural areas and focuses on increasing internal power and values, and is also to help with the national target programme on new-style rural area building.
Vietnam emerges as strong manufacturing hub in Asia
Singaporean website futureiot.tech has recently published an article that highlights how over the past 15 years Vietnam has emerged as a strong manufacturing hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
The report indicates that Vietnam’s CIP index has been on an upward trajectory since 1990. Indeed, the country is above the world average in all but two key performance indicators in terms of competitiveness, particularly with locally manufactured goods accounting for approximately 90% of national exports, way ahead of the 60% global average.
Despite this, the Vietnamese ranking in terms of the share of medium and high-tech activities in manufacturing indicates that there are signs of a slowdown ahead, falling one place to 40th in 2018.
The country’s global ranking in terms of the share of medium and high-tech activities in total manufacturing value added index only climbed a single place higher to reach 31st in 2018, according to the article.
The report by the Singaporean website outlines that Vietnam has kept its industrialisation process on track, pointing that in September of this year, the Vietnamese Government issued an action plan to implement Resolution No 23/NQ/TW, which sets out a national industrial policy to 2030, with a vision towards 2045.
This action plan has been designed to put the country in the top three leading industrialised economies in ASEAN, the 10-nation economic bloc of Southeast Asia.
Writing in Vietnam Briefing in October, Julia Nguyen indicated that the country appears to be well on track to achieving its goal of being among the top three ASEAN countries 10 years in the future.
Nguyen cited challenges that may lie ahead, such as a dependence on foreign imports that supply approximately 8% of raw materials, spare parts and components needed for production, even while Government policies and local manufacturers ramp up the development of support for key industries.
Although Nguyen believed that focusing on the country’s “tried and tested” sectors will hasten the process industrialisation, she added Vietnam should prepare for the implementation of Industry 4.0 technology to stay competitive.
“Industry 4.0 introduces technologies such as big data, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and many more technologies that promise to optimise production processes so that productivity and profits are increased,” she said.
Indonesia sees decreased investment in energy, mining
Indonesia has attracted an estimated 22.33 billion USD in investment in energy and mining in 2020, lower than 31.9 billion USD recorded last year and the target of 36 billion USD set for 2020, according to Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (EMR).
EMR Secretary General Ego Syahriah said that as of October 2020, 17.7 billion USD was poured into the field, including 8.1 billion USD in oil and gas, and 5.8 billion USD in electricity, 2.8 billion USD in mining and coal, and 900 billion USD in renewable energy.
However, he showed optimism that in 2021, investment in energy and mining will recover to 37.2 billion USD.
Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas said that global investment in the field is forecast to reduce about 30 percent to 228 billion USD this year, far below the initial target of 325 billion USD due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and fall in oil price.
In order to attract more investment in the area, the Indonesian Government has applied a number of measures and renovated policies, including nine investment stimulation packages and tax and fee reduction and payment date extension.
According to the EMR, Indonesian Crude Price (ICP) rose to 42 USD per barrel in late September, higher than the country’s expectation of 38 USD per barrel. The oil and gas sector is estimated to contribute 6.99 billion USD to the country’s state budget in 2020, higher than the earlier forecast of 5.86 billion USD./.
ASEAN maritime cooperation reaps fruits amidst COVID-19
Maritime cooperation within ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms have reaped significant outcomes across spheres despite the COVID-19, heard the 10th ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) that was held both in online and in-person formats on December 15.
In his opening speech, Vu Ho, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s ASEAN Department, said since its inception in 2010, the forum has become an effective framework to promote dialogues, information sharing and coordination between relevant agencies, significantly contributing to regional maritime cooperation and security.
In 2020, ASEAN has established a network on fighting illegal fishing, built a joint action plan on combating marine waste and studied the feasibility of the building of common fishery policies in ASEAN, delegates at the forum said.
They also highlighted the East Asia Summit (EAS) Leaders’ Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, saying maritime cooperation and security are a high priority in action plans for 2021-2025 reached by ASEAN and its seven partners in the year.
The forum also touched upon emerging challenges, including activities and developments that have complicated the situation and increased tensions, thus harming rules-based maritime order, along with non-traditional challenges such as illegal fishing, maritime pollution and plastic waste.
The delegates acknowledged the results and recommendations raised at the seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the forum held by Vietnam on December 12, including the proposal to build ASEAN’s comprehensive, cohesive, responsive and inclusive approach to maritime cooperation.
They shared the view on the necessity to enhance information exchange and coordination between agencies, and ease overlapping, as well as the significance of observing international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The participating countries also discussed measures to consolidate and improve the operational efficiency of the forum.
The 10th AMF formed part activities regarding maritime cooperation chaired by Vietnam in its capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020./.
Hungary, Can Tho city seek cooperation in high-tech agriculture, education
Leaders from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and the Hungarian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Szojka Éva Szilvia, have expressed their hope for stronger cooperation in high-tech agriculture, healthcare, and education.
At a reception for the Hungarian delegation on December 15, Nguyen Thuc Hien, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said Can Tho has created optimal conditions for foreign enterprises to study the market and do business, particularly in infrastructure construction, waste treatment, education, and high-tech agriculture.
It has carried out multiple activities aimed at tightening its friendship with Hungary in culture and trade, he added, highlighting the Can Tho Oncology Hospital, costing 1.72 trillion VND (over 70 million EUR) and including official development assistance (ODA) from Hungary of more than 1.39 trillion VND.
Hien also called on the Consul General to act as a bridge to boost bilateral cooperation in education and high-tech agriculture.
Szilvia said the Vietnam-Hungary relationship was advanced to a comprehensive partnership in 2008, creating momentum for the two countries to sign other important cooperative agreements in the future.
High-tech and smart urban area building are strengths of Hungary, and its Government stands ready to help Can Tho in human resources training and seeking partners when there are specific programmes and projects, she said.
In education cooperation, the diplomat said the Hungarian Consulate General would send officials to schools in Can Tho early in the new year, if the locality is interested, to introduce the Hungarian Government’s scholarships to Vietnamese students.
German wind power developer eyes offshore project in Binh Dinh
Representatives of PNE Group of Germany and the People’s Committee of central Binh Dinh province sat down in a working session on December 15 to discuss an offshore wind power project in the locality.
Accordingly, PNE hopes to soon start construction of the project offshore Phu Cat and Phu My districts, which is scheduled to be deployed in three phases with an estimated investment of 4.8 billion USD.
PNE plans to develop between 154 – 166 wind-turbines with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW.
The first phase will be carried out in the 60-100m-deep zone with a capacity of 700 MW and a budget totaling 1.6 billion USD.
PNE pledged to carry out technical survey related to the project in 2021 and started construction and installation of the pilot phase in 2024.
The firm suggested the local authorities facilitate the project’s investment and propose to the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to add this offshore wind power project to the national power development plan (Power Plan VIII).
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Phi Long committed maximum support for the project, saying that it is in line with Binh Dinh’s policy to develop clean and renewable energy to exploit its natural potential.
Previously, in September, PNE hired a consultant to conduct survey, make a pre-feasibility project and decide to invest in this project.
PNE Group is a German wind power pioneer operating on an international level and it is one of the most experienced project developers of onshore and offshore wind farms.
Binh Dinh is now home to three German-invested projects with a total capital of over 15 million USD./.
Local firms urged to adopt ESG principles for further growth
It is undeniable that adopting environment, society and governance (ESG) principles is helping local companies improve business management and attract more foreign capital.
According to Tom Galvin, director of investment fund Columbia Select Large Cap Growth, ESG principles are one of the decisive factors in making investment as good financially-governed companies also make sure of sustained business development and high responsibility.
The global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disasters has emphasised the importance of how companies handle ESG issues.
According to market members and securities firms, investing in ESG-related assets brings less risk and higher profit in the long term, especially when climate change issues are getting more serious.
Vietnam’s partnership with other nations and economic blocs, for example the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, has motivated local companies to pay more attention to ESG issues to draw attention from foreign investors.
Vietnam Holding has already invested in the Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) and tech group FPT Corporation as the fund has faith in the companies’ high quality of corporate governance and sustainable development policy.
Dragon Capital said the fund accepts to lose 20 percent of investment opportunities when asking firms for ESG scoring and import criteria on environmental protection and climate change response into their business portfolios.
The fund’s executive chairman Dominic Scriven said environmental issues are not the biggest concerns at local companies while governance and social issues are often highly attended, tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn reported.
Jennie C Ahren, head of ESG unit at Tundra Sustainable Frontier, said there is still room for improvement among Vietnamese companies regarding their efforts in environmental protection, social responsibility and corporate governance.
Compared to other nations on the same level of socio-economic conditions, education activities in Vietnam are much more outstanding while interests from foreign investors will also strengthen the conditions on environment, transparency and labour.
A report by the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) in August pointed out that local companies understanding and adopting ESG principles have a higher ability to bounce back during the COVID-19 crisis.
To get higher ESG scores, local companies should audit their supply chains, the compliance of employees and the quality of internal operations and make adjustments if needed, according to Rachael Johnson, Head of Risk Management and Corporate Governance for Professional Insights at ACCA.
The audit will provide detailed information about the suppliers to help local firms get through the rough times such as the COVID-19 pandemic./.
Construction of 40-million USD factory underway in Da Nang
Construction of a 40-million USD sports equipment factory began on December 15 at the Hoa Khanh Industrial Park in the central city of Da Nang’s Lien Chieu district.
Invested by Daiwa Vietnam Limited, the factory sits on 4 ha and is scheduled to be completed in January 2022.
Licensed in 2019, it is the third project of the company at Hoa Khanh, where its investment totals 90 million USD.
Addressing the breaking-ground ceremony, Vice Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh said the municipal authorities will create optimal conditions for the construction of the project and for all investors in the city.
Industrial parks in Da Nang licensed 16 new projects this year, raising the total to 491, including 128 foreign-invested projects with investment of nearly 1.6 billion USD. Of the number, Japanese investors own 52 projects worth more than 644 million USD./.
Thai economy brighter than forecast: expert
The Thai economy may fare better than expected, helped by recovering domestic consumption and exports, according to the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).
Kulaya Tantitemit, acting director-general of FPO said that the Thai economy should contract less than the 7.7 percent the office projected in October because economic conditions are improving, as indicated by the GDP in the third quarter.
Thailand’s GDP contracted by 6.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter following a 1.8 percent decline and a 12.1 percent contraction in the first and second quarters, respectively. After a seasonal adjustment, the economy expanded by 6.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the July-to-September period from the second quarter. In the first nine months, the economy contracted by 6.7 percent.
The improvement was attributed to the easing of lockdown measures and domestic travel restrictions, coupled with measures to rehabilitate the economy through fiscal stimulus.
Full-year GDP contraction was forecast at 7.7 percent this year by the FPO, with growth of 4.5 percent projected for next year.
Kulaya said domestic consumption is the key driver for Thailand’s economic performance this year, while exports shrunk because of the pandemic.
Anusorn Tamajai, former dean at Rangsit University’s Faculty of Economics, estimated that the second wave of COVID infections would cost the local tourism industry about 16 billion baht (530 million USD) in loss during the New Year holidays.
National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) forecasts that the Thai economy will grow by up to 4.5 percent in 2021./.
Vietnamese securities firm receives 85-million-USD foreign unsecured loan
SSI Securities Corporation, one of leading securities firms in Vietnam, on December 15 signed a contract for a 85-million-USD unsecured loan with a group of nine foreign banks led by the Union Bank of Taiwan (UBOT), the largest bank of Taiwan (China).
The 12-month loan is the largest amount that a securities firm of Vietnam has received from foreign banks so far. Earlier, the SSI got a 55 million USD loan from an financial institution group led by SinoPac to become the first security company in Vietnam to access foreign unsecured loans.
A representative of the SSI said that the expansion of foreign loan limit will lay the foundation for the firm to develop its business areas in a more effective manner. The firm plans to allocate the investment in securities services and bond dealing, said the representative, adding that this will help SSI enhance its competitiveness and optimise its capital resources.
SSI is the biggest securities company in Vietnam. As of September 30, 2020, the charter capital of the firm had reached over 6 trillion VND, while its total property was worth nearly 27 trillion VND./.
Singapore to launch travel corridor for business travellers
Singapore is set to launch a new separated travel lane for business travellers on short-term stays in a bid to help recover the local tourism.
Chan Chun Sing, the country’s Minister for Trade and Industry, announced on December 15 via a post on his verified Facebook account that the special travel corridor, called the [email protected] initiative, “will be open to a limited number of business, official, and high economic value travelers from all countries who are coming to Singapore for short-term stays of up to 14 days”.
The applications for the programme will open in mid-January of 2021.
Participants will have to “stay at an appointed facility under the [email protected] initiative, undergo regular routine testing and strictly observe all prevailing Safe Management Measures.”
According to the Straits Times, there had been 16 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Singapore as of noon of December 15, taking the nation’s total to 58,341./.
Seminar talks facilitating green growth
A seminar was held in Hanoi on December 15 to discuss a research on incorporating goals of the national action plan implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and national strategy on green growth into socio-economic development plans of centrally-run cities and provinces.
The event was within the framework of a macro-economic reform and green growth facilitation project funded by the German Government via the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Hoa Cuong called for proposing policies and orientations to incorporating sustainable development and green growth goals into provincial-level socio-economic development plan for each year and for the 2021-2025 period.
Tran Trung Hieu from the CIEM’s research department for social affairs presented major results of the research, focusing on sustainable development goals involving children, women and green growth.
Accordingly, social welfare will be enhanced for people of all ages; a sustainable, comprehensive and continuous economic growth will be guaranteed; and empowerment for women and girls will be increased.
About green growth, goals comprise green industrial production, greenhouse gas emission in agriculture and green lifestyle.
He said there remains a lack of legal framework for socio-economic development planning work.
Deputy head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Thi Dieu Trinh suggested pooling international and private financial resources and updating knowledge on green growth.
Participants shared the view that specific goals should be chosen and a budget is needed to fulfil set goals./.
Trade portal launched to boost international trade procedures
The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) has recently launched the Info Viet-Trade Portal to facilitate international trade procedures in Vietnam.
The Info Viet-Trade Portal at infovietrade.vn was established by VIETRADE with the technical support of the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the funding support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
It is an online platform that provides a step-by-step description of import and export procedures and formalities in Vietnam from the trader’s point of view. The portal fully ensures compliance of the Government of Vietnam with Article 1.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
Available in English and Vietnamese, the portal serves as one-stop-shop providing useful, clear, precise and up-to-date information on export and import procedures in Vietnam in an easily accessible manner for business operators, thereby contributing to fulfilling enhanced transparency, predictability and certainty of trade information in Vietnam for the benefit of policymakers, border regulatory agencies and the business community alike, said VIETRADE Director Vu Ba Phu at the launching ceremony held late last week in Hanoi.
The Info Viet-Trade Portal, which will be maintained and regularly updated by VIETRADE to enhance the user experience, will bring public and private sector stakeholders one step closer, strengthening opportunities for trade-related public-private dialogue and collaboration to boost the conduciveness of the business environment in Vietnam, Phu said./.
OCOP products, specialties to be displayed in Hanoi
A fair introducing products meeting standards in the “One Commune – One Product” (OCOP) programme, along with specialties from cities and provinces nationwide, will take place at the Art and Street Food Space in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district from December 17 to 21.
Within the framework of the fair will be a workshop promoting such products along with an array of activities featuring the culture and arts of the southern region.
Organisers will also honour artisans, businesspeople, and farmers who have greatly contributed to the community this year and promoted Vietnamese culture and farm produce.
Of note, there will be a programme aimed at raising awareness of “5K” in the COVID-19 fight – Khau trang (face masks), Khu khuan (disinfectant), Khoang cach (distancing), Khong tu tap (no gatherings), and Khai bao y te (health declarations) – so that people may live safely with the pandemic in the “new normal”.
Hanoi will open 40 more showrooms for goods from the local OCOP programme in 2021, making them more popular among domestic consumers and foreign visitors.
According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, products to be displayed include silk, confectionery, food, safe fruits and vegetables, and handicrafts.
They must be rated at least three-star and have been certificated as typical rural industrial products at the municipal and regional levels.
In 2020, 14 OCOP showrooms were put into operation in the capital city.
The OCOP was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2008, based on Japan’s “One Village, One Product” and Thailand’s “One Town, One Product” programmes. It is an economic development programme for rural areas and focuses on increasing internal power and values, and is also to help with the national target programme on new-style rural area building./.
- EuroMillions results for Tuesday December 19 as numbers revealed for bumper jackpot worth estimated €135 million
- Daily horoscope for Tuesday December 19 – here’s what the stars have in store for you today
- Bitcoin price – today’s rate in USD and GBP for December 19 and latest news on the fast-rising cryptocurrency
- National Lottery EuroMillions results: Winning numbers for Tuesday December 19 2017 £119million jackpot
- EuroMillions results: Winning numbers for Tuesday, December 19 as jackpot hits £119 million
- Business newspaper marks 25 years
- Humble starts leads to business success
- Southall businesses raided during crackdown on illicit goods
- Consumer confidence falls in December, survey reveals
- Perthshire builder upbeat after refocusing business
- Britain’s small businesses expecting revenue boost from e-commerce
- BT revenues and earnings down as business rates hit telecoms firm
- Sponsored: Dundee Business Week is back – offering more events than ever
- Abertay University to host expert speakers during Dundee Business Week
- Reader poll: who should be Euronews' Business Personality of the Year?
- Scottish business failures at lowest level since 2008 crash
- Vietnam's floating market struggles to stay above water
- Vietnam seeks to pacify China as landmark U.S. carrier visit signals warming ties
- Vietnam: Reißende Fluten sorgen für Chaos
- Typhon meurtrier au Vietnam
VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES DECEMBER 19 have 7572 words, post on vietnamnet.vn at December 19, 2020. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.