Rice export turnover up 10% in 2020
|Workers load bags of rice in Song Hau Food Company under the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation.|
The rice sector is expected to again post high growth this year, when new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) Vietnam has signed with foreign partners come into play.
Amid the difficulties posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rice exporters quickly made appropriate adjustments and actively sought new markets while fully tapping into the advantages brought about by FTAs.
Vice Chairman of the VFA, Do Ha Nam, said 2020 was a successful year for Vietnam’s rice exports, which he attributed to increasing demand in many countries and the improved competitiveness of Vietnamese rice around the world.
The EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) has created a major opportunity for Vietnamese rice to enter European markets and then make inroads into other choosy markets, Nam said.
Experts said that if Vietnam wants to maintain rice export growth in 2021 it needs to focus on building a complete rice value chain and controlling quality in production, processing, and distribution.
The VFA predicted that rice exports will continue to grow this year because export markets, such as the Philippines and Africa, are continuing to sign contracts.
Within the framework of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) FTA, EAEU member states have pledged to give Vietnam a tariff quota of 10,000 tonnes of rice for this year.
Vietnam’s rice exports to the UK will also enjoy zero percent tariffs without quotas under the recently-signed UK-Vietnam FTA.
To fully tap into the advantages available under FTAs, rice export giants such as the Intimex Corporation JSC, the Loc Troi Group, the VRICE Co., and the Trung An Hi-Tech Agriculture JSC are planning to seek additional importers in markets where Vietnam has signed FTAs, especially in the UK.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue to support exporters via providing timely information on market demand and strengthening trade promotion efforts.
Ha Noi has plentiful supply of goods for Tet
Ha Noi began a market stabilisation programme in May last year that will run until June 2021, including a plan to serve the coming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, said Tran Thi Phuong Lan, deputy director of the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade.
The Department of Industry and Trade of Ha Noi had issued a plan to ensure goods supplement in co-ordination with relevant departments, Lan told a meeting on ensuring goods for Tet on Monday.
To date, 30 districts and towns of Ha Noi had built plans and 13 groups of essential goods had been stockpiled by businesses, worth a total of VND39.4 trillion (US$1.7 billion).
However, attracting businesses to participate in the price stabilisation programme had been a struggle, with many businesses reluctant to control prices during price increases or decreases, said Lan.
Do Tue Tam, Deputy General Director of Ha Noi Trade Corporation (Hapro), said from May to now, the corporation had committed to reserving up to VND1 trillion of goods, of which VND200 billion’s worth would be for Tet.
A report from the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade says that the essential goods for Tet include 292,500 tonnes of rice, 56,700 tonnes of pork, 18,900 tonnes of chicken, 18,459 tonnes of beef, 396 million eggs, 315,000 tonnes of vegetables, 11,114 tonnes of processed food, 15,740 tonnes of aquatic products and 156,000 tonnes of fruit.
Accessing the current capacity to supply essential goods in the locality, the department said rice could meet 57.7 per cent, pork 92 per cent and chicken meat basically met demand.
The units in the area had developed a plan to increase the number of essential goods for Tet with an average increase of 7 per cent to 22 per cent compared to the plan of last year, said the department.
At the meeting, Tran Duy Dong, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Domestic Market Department, suggested the municipal Department of Industry and Trade work with other departments, branches and enterprises to ensure the quality of goods, as well as circulation and distribution.
He said the municipal Department of Industry and Trade needed to closely monitor market movements at the end of the year to respond promptly to market instability.
In addition, the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade needed to regulate the supply, sales plans and join hands with State management agencies to prevent soaring pig prices.
The department must also control the import, quality of goods with a clear origin, ensuring food safety and hygiene.
HCM City targets higher exports by key earners in 2021
HCM City has set a goal of boosting the export of its key products this year and beyond via trade promotion activities and assistance to enterprises.
According to a recent survey of manufacturing-processing companies conducted by the municipal statistics office, 35.7 per cent of respondents believe business and production will be better in the first quarter of 2021 than in the final quarter of 2020, while 29.9 per cent predict that the number of export orders will increase and 44.5 per cent believe numbers will remain stable.
Head of the statistics office Huynh Van Hung said COVID-19 has been largely brought under control in Viet Nam, resulting in the production sector exhibiting signs of recovery. Local enterprises, however, continue to face difficulties as many major trading nations are yet to open their markets.
He noted that enterprises are in need of diverse and long-term support relating to information on importers of materials and fuel, new markets and partners, and domestic consumption stimulus measures.
According to Nguyen Phuong Dong, Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, despite facing myriad challenges, last year the city still saw five goods post export turnover in excess of US$1 billion: computers-electronic products and components, with $17.8 billion; garment-textile $4.3 billion; footwear $2.2 billion; machinery-equipment-spare parts $2.2 billion; and other goods $6.9 billion. Together their export value accounted for 83.5 per cent of the city’s total.
Key export markets remained China, the US, and Japan. China imported $10.5 billion worth of goods from HCM City last year, up 23.7 per cent year-on-year. Exports to the US and Japan, meanwhile, stood at $6.7 billion and $2.8 billion, down 0.2 and 16 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.
Phan Thi Thang, Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee, directed local departments and sectors to identify and introduce measures to attract FDI and official development assistance (ODA).
She highlighted the importance of improving the business climate; encouraging the establishment of new enterprises in industrial production, electronics, and IT; and building mechanisms for effective inter-sector and inter-region cooperation.
HCM City’s retail market grew by 11.9 per cent despite pandemic
The HCM City market grew by 11.9 per cent to VND759.7 trillion ($32.84 billion).
Considering the impacts of the pandemic, the growth was surprising, Huynh Van Hung, head of the city Statistics Office, said.
Data from a number of large retailers showed that the market began to bustle again in the second half of 2020 after an initial slump.
It was partly due to trade promotion activities undertaken toward the end of the year and a recovery in consumer demand due to the Government’s efficient containment of the disease.
Mobile World JSC, for instance, reported double-digit growth in both revenues and profits in the first 11 months.
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company reported 21.7 per cent growth in sales.
The food and beverages sector reported a 15.9 per cent rise in earnings before interest and tax.
The pandemic caused a boom in e-commerce as shopping behaviours changed.
According to several market research companies, retail chains have to restructure since brick-and-mortar stores face shrinking profit margins because of fewer customers and soaring costs.
This year the market grew by 6.8 per cent last year to $172.8 billion despite the debilitating economic effect of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the General Statistics Office. Until 2019 Viet Nam’s retail market always grew in double digits.
Great potential ahead for co-operation with India in apparel industry
The nation has bright prospects for greater co-operation with India in the fields of garment and textiles moving forward, according to details released during a recent online trade exchange conference.
The event was jointly held between the Vietnamese Trade Office in India and the Indian Importers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI).
Dr. LB Singhal, general secretary of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), the official body of apparel exporters in India, stated that the Indian Government has moved to take various measures aimed at accelerating growth in the sector by allowing FDI enterprises to invest in this field.
Furthermore, Dr. Singhal added that the Indian Government has also approved a scheme that will offer incentives to manufacture and export specific textile products that are produced from man-made fibre (MMF), efforts which will ultimately encourage the industry to produce high-added value products.
Moreover, the domestic textile and garment market is estimated to have reached a figure of US$100 billion in the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, with the Indian Government subsequently taking numerous measures to accelerate the sector by allowing FDI enterprises to invest in this field, Dr. Singhal noted.
Pham Minh Huong, former managing director of the Vietnam Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex), stressed that India enjoys many advantages, such as supply sources of raw material and training capacity of human resources, in addition to a high level of technology, factors which are expected to provide valuable supplements to the Vietnamese textile industry.
This comes after Vietnam imported roughly US$1.2 billion of cotton and polyester yarn in 2020, of which 62% came from the United States, 18% from Brazil, and 7% from India.
The country also imported US$2 billion of fiber products, including 60% from China, roughly 6% from India, with the remainder coming from Taiwan (China), Indonesia, and the Republic of Korea (RoK), among others.
In addition, the nation also purchased approximately US$10.7 billion of fabric, including roughly 60% from China, the remainder from the RoK, Taiwan (China), and Japan, among others, while imports from India accounted for only 1%.
Huong noted that the country currently ranks third in the world in terms of textile exports, behind China and India, adding that with a long-standing textile and apparel industry, coupled with advantages of natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, and synthetic fibers, India represents a potential market for Vietnamese businesses in future.
Government mulls roadmap to reopen economy post-COVID-19
He said that with a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed, Vietnam is opening its economy to the world but issues have arisen from the pandemic, such as a lack of containers to transport goods.
The Government therefore assigned the Ministry of Transport to improve the quality of Vietnam’s ocean-going vessels to address disruptions in trade.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said the ministry was asked to work with other relevant agencies to draft measures in support of the economy, businesses, and people hit by COVID-19, to be submitted to the Government and PM.
He affirmed that such measures will be announced when they are ready.
Regarding the resumption of passenger transport services, Phuong said this should be done with an abundance of caution to ensure safety because the pandemic remains a complex matter worldwide.
A programme will be launched this year, he said, to help enterprises take advantage of the opportunities from digital transformation.
In regard to perfecting relevant mechanisms, Dung said e-Government will address issues such as information digitalisation and privacy, thus recognising the legal value of electronic documents.
Stock market aims for sustainable development in year ahead
The Vietnam stock market is anticipated to develop in both scale and quality of operation this year, affirming its role as an effective capital mobilising channel for the local economy, according to Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.
During the ceremony, the Minister emphasised that 2021 can be considered an important year for national politics due to the organisation of the upcoming 13th National Party Congress expected to provide a solid foundation for the local economy and the stock market this year.
Furthermore, the amendment of the Investment Law and Enterprise Law, especially the official enforcement of the Law on Securities, is anticipated to create a new legal foundation to enhance competitiveness, improve transparency, and the operational efficiency of stakeholders towards the sustainable development of the Vietnamese stock market.
With regard to key objectives ahead throughout the year, Minister Dung requested that the State Securities Commission and relevant units continue to fine-tune the legal system for the securities market, speed up the restructuring of the securities and insurance markets, whilst also accelerating the equitisation process of State-owned enterprises.
This should be done alongside increasing market size and liquidity, and introducing new products in transactions over the course of 2021, he stressed.
Mekong Capital unveils new investment of US$246 million in Vietnam
The Mekong Enterprise Fund IV Limited Partnership (MEF IV) under Mekong Capital have officially unveiled new investment capital of US$246 million in private Vietnamese firms.
Chris Freund, founder and CEO of Mekong Capital, emphasised that since Mekong Capital was originally established in the country in 2001, the nation has always represented a promising, stable, and attractive investment destination.
This comes in a period when the country’s middle class continues to increase, thereby serving as one of the key driving forces for the national economy and simultaneously creating a solid foundation for consistent national development along with the emergence of a new model of private equity firms.
MEF IV unveiled that they will invest a sum of between US$10 million and US$35 million in minority investments or investment controlling, with this figure set to be put in over a 10-year period through a total of 12 investment items.
Eight groups of agricultural products surpass billions of US$ in revenue
A number of local agricultural products recorded a high export revenue in excess of billions of US$ during 2020, including coffee, rice, cashew nuts, fruit and vegetables, shrimp, along with wood and wood products.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, approximately eight groups of products saw export revenue exceed US$1 billion last year, including seven groups of products that posted export revenue of over US$2 billion.
In line with this, coffee reported an export revenue of US$2.5 billion, while rice saw an export revenue of US$2.8 billion. Elsewhere, cashew nuts, fruit and vegetables, shrimp, in addition to wood and wood products, recorded export revenue of US$2.9 billion, US$3 billion, US$3.4 billion, and US$8.4 billion, respectively.
Throughout the reviewed period, the United States remained the largest importer of Vietnamese agricultural products, with export revenue to the highly lucrative market reaching approximately US$9.8 billion, an annual rise of 22.3% and making up 26.2% of Vietnamese agricultural export revenue.
China came in second with export revenue of roughly US$9.2 billion, a drop of 6.6%, and accounting for 24.6% of the overall market share, while export earning from the EU was estimated at US$3.44 billion, a decline of 0.3% and making up 9.2% of the market share.
Bright prospects ahead for pangasius exports to UK
After enjoying robust export growth of approximately 50% last year despite suffering the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese tra fish (pangasius) exports are expected to maintain positive growth of over 10% in the year ahead, according to insiders.
Ta Ha, an expert of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), says pangasius exports to the UK market during Jan. – Nov. 2020 witnessed a surge of 48% to US$60.15 million.
The UK also emerged as the sole export market to achieve positive growth over a period of nine consecutive months. Statistics indicate that roughly 90% of the UK’s total import volume and value of this item comes from Vietnam. The European country tends to import frozen tra fish directly from the Vietnamese market as opposed to intermediate markets based in the EU.
Most notably, the average import price of pangasius in the UK market has remained relatively stable, ranging from between US$2.98 and US$3.98 per kilo.
Ha also reveals that there are close to 40 local firms involved in exporting pangasius to the UK, and major brands of VDTG, AGIFISH, and VINH HOAN CORP are accepted by the market.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the British people’s consumption habit as they prefer seafood that are easy to be preserved and cooked and offered at a reasonable price. Frozen Vietnamese pangasius are favourites with the British as they are quality products with an affordable price, in addition to standard processing procedures meeting requirements set out by the EU and UK markets.
Furthermore, the recent signing of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) is anticipated to open a wealth of opportunities for pangasius exports to this demanding market.
At present, Vietnam remains on the list of countries to enjoy Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) to the UK. In line with this, local products exported to this market will enjoy GSP as exporters show the certificate of origins (C/O) form A.
HCM City tour agents offer tourists with various promotions
Travel companies in HCM City are introducing many tours for Tet Holiday with big promotions and discounts after no new Covid-19 cases were reported within the past three weeks.
Nguyen Huu Y Yen, director of Saigontourist, said the market was livelier than last month as more people searched for information for HCM City tours. However, the number of customers was still lower than expected. The company also only focuses on the domestic market.
Lai Minh Duy, director of TST Tourist, said they had had prevention plans for several scenarios. Considering the in-bound tour sector alone, revenue in 2020 doubled compared to the previous year. TST Tourist has announced the 2020 Spring Promotion Programme for tourists this Tet Holiday. Many prizes and gifts are offered such as gold leaf or discount for their customers.
Meanwhile, Vietravel said their customers prioritised service quality and safety measures over brand names. Many people want to travel with families or friends and the most popular tours to resorts or to explore nature and new destinations on two-day to five-day trips.
The most popular destinations are in the northeast and northwest regions, Phu Quoc Island and the Central Highlands. 60 tour packages, 150 combo packages and 240 other services have been offered to tourists for Tet Holiday.
Tran Doan The Duy, general director of Vietravel, said they had also started the discount programme for spring 2021. The programme will take place from December 26 to March 21 with gifts worth VND18bn (USD776,500). There is a VND800,000 discount for a three-generation family. Customers will also be given a VND1.5m coupon if they buy tours worth over VND15m.
Saigontourist had co-operated with many four and five-star hotels to offer many discount programmes to attract customers during Christmas and the New Year. For the coming Tet Holiday, they launched several programmes and tours that start on the second day of Tet. Customers that book tours early were also given discounts that went up to VND500,000 (USD22).
Salmon and rainbow trout farmers face huge loses as prices fall
Farmers in Lao Cai Province are still incurring big losses after salmon and rainbow trout prices fell sharply since last year.
Chau Duan Minh in Ngu Son Chi Commune said he used to sell out his fish but last year, he was only able to sell a third of the fish as the market was nearly frozen. He was unable to make sales and still had to spend money to feed the remaining fish.
Hundreds of fish farm owners in Sapa and Lao Cai City were deeply worried because the Pacific salmon would die after spawning. Lao Cai Cold Fish Association said due to Covid-19, travel was limited and the tourism sector in Lao Cai was badly affected in April. As a result, big buyers like restaurants in Sapa and Lao Cai halted contracts, leading to price drop and high inventory.
In April 2020, the fish prices dropped sharply. The price was VND200,000 (USD8.6) to VND220,000 per kilo for a whole fish and VND350,000 per kilo for fish fillet. The prices dropped by VND100,000 to VND150,000 compared to the previous years.
There were 250 tonnes of salmon in Lao Cai that couldn’t be sold until the situation got better in mid-2020.
However, salmon prices dropped again at the end of the year. The prices for rainbow trout also dropped. Vang Sin Pha from Bat Xat District said said he was getting by through just selling one fish at a time, rather than by the kilo, hoping to recover as much capital as possible. He was unable to find buyers for a tonne of rainbow trout at his farm. The price for a small rainbow trout dropped from VND130,000 (USD5.6) to VND90,000 per kilo.
“If I can sell all of the remaining fish, I still incur a loss of VND50m (USD2,100),” he said.
According to Vang Lao San, vice chairman of Den Sang Commune People’s Committee, there are 100 salmon and rainbow trout farms in Den Sang Commune alone. Many farmers have escaped from poverty thanks to the fish. But after two price drops, many of them have incurred huge losses.
Increasing value of Vietnam’s national brand
Vietnam national brand in 2020 is valued at US$319 billion, up 29% compared to 2019, according to Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Thus, over the past four years, Vietnam’s brand value ranking has continuously improved, up nine places from last year to 33rd in the 2020 National Brands list of the world’s 100 most valuable brands and also in the group of strong brands.
A number of large companies have built their brands in the domestic and international markets, helping enhance the position of the national brand of Vietnam. According to the Forbes Vietnam 2020 ranking, the total value of the top 50 Vietnamese brands is over US$12.6 billion, including Thaco, Hoa Phat, Vinamilk, Habeco, Vietnam Airlines, Vingroup, and others.
However, there are still many Vietnamese enterprises who are not properly aware of the role and importance of the brand and have not yet built a strong brand. Although Vietnam has strengths and a leading position in exporting agricultural and aquatic products in key product areas such as rice, coffee, and pepper, the country is yet to have a worthy agricultural brand with the ability to dominate internationally.
Vietnam posts a very large export volume of goods with good product quality, but the value that Vietnamese enterprises earn from these is not high. The main reason is that Vietnam mostly exports raw materials or preliminary processing products through intermediaries or through a brand of other trading partners in foreign countries. Consequently, foreign consumers themselves do not know that the commercial product is a Vietnamese product.
Many enterprises worry about costs and wastefulness in brand building, claiming that branding is only suitable for large enterprises. This mindset causes many Vietnamese brands to be inferior to foreign brands of the same form, quality and price.
A survey conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade also shows that more than 20% of surveyed enterprises have invested in branding while 80% of them are not interested in brand building and do not consider branding as a true business tool, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
It is time for enterprises to recognise and give due attention to building, maintaining and developing the national brand. This is an urgent job, requiring a long-term and consistent plan in terms of State policy and a consensus of effort among the entire business community in order to improve competitiveness and promote the export of Vietnamese goods to the global market.
In addition, there should be guidance and support for enterprises to protect the intellectual property rights related to potential export goods. Enterprises also need supports to build and promote brands in the domestic and international market so that they can continue to invest in improving product quality and competitiveness and increasing exports.
The success of each product will contribute to increasing the value of the Vietnamese national brand, helping Vietnamese products to assert their prestige and position in the international arena.
US$748 million committed to HCMC’s industrial parks in 2020
Export processing zones (EPZs) and industrial parks (IPs) in HCMC attracted some US$748 million in new investment capital last year, increasing 15.79% year-on-year.
According to the HCMC Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA), foreign direct investment in the city’s EPZs and IPs reached over US$363 million, falling 8.3% compared with 2019 due to the global economic downturn and travel restrictions being imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thirty existing foreign-invested projects registered additional capital of over US$182.2 million, dropping 21.54% year-on-year, while there were 16 new projects worth US$180.8 million in total, up 10.5% year-on-year.
The major investors came from the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Sectors that attracted the most foreign investment were industrial services with nearly US$158.2 million, mechanical engineering, footwear, electronics, plastics-rubber, chemicals and clothing.
The city’s EPZs and IPs also attracted US$384.67 million from domestic investors in 2020, soaring 53.94% from the previous year. Thirty-seven existing projects received additional capital of US$72.83 million, a 2.73-fold increase compared with 2019.
According to HEPZA, four key industries of the city attracted 39 of 81 newly-licensed projects—eight FDI projects and 31 domestically-invested projects. These projects are worth US$189.77 million, accounting for 39% of the total investment from new projects.
Supporting industries attracted nine FDI projects and 27 domestic ones worth US$167.2 million in total, making up 34% of the total investment from new projects.
“Foreign and domestic investors are increasing investment in industrial services such as logistics and warehouses. Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, investors still rented land and built warehouse and workshop infrastructure to prepare for the coming years, particularly after the pandemic is brought under control,” a representative of HEPZA said.
Solar farm put into commercial operation in Binh Dinh
The Phu My solar farm project in Binh Dinh Province has been put into operation and connected to the national power grid after seven months of construction, making it the largest solar farm in this central province up to now, Bnews news site reported.
Clean Energy Vision Development JSC, a subsidiary of BCG Energy, broke ground on the solar power project on May 29 last year in the communes of My An and My Thang, Phu My District, Binh Dinh Province.
Covering an area of over 380 hectares, the project costs over VND6.2 trillion. Its total designed capacity is 330 MW, which was divided into two phases, including three plants with a capacity of 120 MW, 110 MW and 100 MW, respectively.
After seven months of construction from May 29 to December 31 last year, 216 MW of 330 MW of the solar farm was put into commercial operation. The remaining amount is slated for commercial operation before February 28 this year.
Once the project is fully operational, it is expected to generate an annual output of 520 million kWh, equivalent to the total power consumption of 200,000 households. It will also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by some 146,000 tons.
Further, the Phu My solar farm will help contribute a stable power source to the country’s production and business activities as well as economic growth. Besides this, its operation will create job opportunities for residents of Binh Dinh.
PM agrees to add two more industrial zones to general development plan
The prime minister has given the green light to add two industrial zones in the northern province of Hung Yen to Vietnam’s development plan for industrial parks.
They are the industrial zone No. 5, which covers over 192 hectares of land in Quang Lang Commune of An Thi District and Nghia Dan Commune of Kim Dong District and the Tho Hoang industrial zone covering 250 hectares of land in An Thi District.
The prime minister urged the Hung Yen government to start the plan in sync with the construction of houses for workers and the development of cultural, social and sports building projects for workers at the industrial parks.
Besides, it is necessary to develop technical and social infrastructure to serve activities at the parks, VietnamPlus news site reported.
Apart from considering a solution to provide skilled human resources and ensure infrastructure connectivity, the provincial government was also told to enhance its efforts to select and attract potential investors to further develop the two industrial zones in line with the prevailing regulations.
In addition, the prime minister asked the Hung Yen government to direct Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC to speed up legal procedures to soon begin operating the Ly Thuong Kiet and Tan Dan industrial zones, which cover 300 hectares and 200 hectares, respectively.
The province was also tasked with urging DDK Investment-Construction Group to quickly complete the construction of infrastructure and put the 100-hectare Kim Dong industrial park into use.
The prime minister asked the province to consider removing some industrial zones—which are incapable of attracting investment—from the province’s development plan.
BRG to invest in VND3-trillion golf course in Hue
BRG Golf Joint Stock Company, an affiliate of Vietnamese golf course investment giant BRG Group, will invest VND3,164 billion into a complex comprising a golf course and an auxiliary service and villa area, covering 127.68 hectares in Vinh Xuan Commune, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien-Hue Province.
Work on the project, which was approved by the prime minister after nearly four years of investment proposals, will start from the first quarter of this year and go on for three years.
According to the approval, the investor is responsible for the truthfulness and accuracy of the project information. BRG must ensure full compliance with the regulations of the law on investment, construction, land use, forestry and environmental resources.
In addition, the prime minister asked Thua Thien-Hue Province to assume responsibility for the project’s commitments, inclusive of converting 37.32 hectares of a forest grown for productive purposes into land in order to implement the project.
Reportedly, in May 2017, the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee submitted a statement to the Ministry of Planning and Investment to consider adding the golf course in Phu Vang District as well as the Vinpearl Loc Binh golf course in Phu Loc District in Vietnam’s golf course development master plan up to 2020.
According to this statement, the investor of the golf course project in Phu Vang is the BRG Group, covering 140 hectares with 36 holes and total investment capital of VND3,636 billion.
Then, in October 2018, the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee held a meeting with BRG, discussing the latter’s proposed investment projects in Phu Vang District and others.
At the meeting, the Thua Thien-Hue leaders unveiled that they would announce the proposed projects in the list calling for investments in 2018-2020 in line with laws and regulations.
In mid-December 2020, the People’s Council of Thua Thien-Hue Province passed the Resolution on the socio-economic development plan in 2021, officially approving a list of key investment projects in 2021, including the golf course project by BRG.
Thua Thien-Hue is now home to three operational golf courses—the Laguna Hue golf course, the Lang Co golf course and the 18-hole golf course complex and associated services in Thuy Bang commune, Huong Thuy town.
Container backlogs at Cat Lai Port affect year-end customs clearance process
As many as 2,874 containers, including 2,029 containers of scrap, getting stuck at the Cat Lai Port in HCMC for more than 90 days has affected the customs clearance process there over the year-end period, according to the HCMC Customs Department.
A representative of the Saigon Port Border Customs Sub-department Region I said that assessment, classification, price evaluation and auction activities at the port have become time-consuming due to the backlog of containers.
Besides this, the prolonged handling of backlogs has restricted the port’s operations and caused regular congestion, especially during holidays. Furthermore, the backlogs led to the severe shortfall of shipping containers, prompting shipping lines to increase transport costs.
Some logistics firms said they had to spend more on cargo transport and loading activities due to the container backlogs. The shortage of empty shipping containers has led container rentals to surge, spelling trouble for companies in various fields.
A company which imported an average of 500-700 containers per month last year said that it had incurred higher costs due to surging sea transport fees and container rentals. There was a time when shipping fees for goods transported from China soared tenfold and those from the United States rose threefold. Such costs had to be added to product prices, the firm’s representative added.
To cope with the backlog of containers during the year-end period, Tran Viet Thang, head of the Saigon Port Border Customs Sub-department Region I, said the sub-department had proposed that the General Department of Vietnam Customs give directions to address obstacles facing shipping lines in tackling the backlogs and quickly return the cleared site so the port can operate at its normal levels of efficiency.
Gov’t mulls over second economic relief package
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has been told to coordinate with the relevant agencies to map out the second Covid-19 relief package plan and then report it to the Government and the prime minister, attendees were told at the Government’s press briefing held today, January 4.
Under the second relief package, the prime minister asked the ministry and the relevant units to prepare the most effective supporting measures for the local economy, businesses and individuals impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic this year, Tran Quoc Phuong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said at the event.
The relief measures that offer direct support to the affected must undergo a thorough study and require regular monitoring and updates from the competent forces, Phuong continued.
Further information about when the second relief package will be launched, its scale and how it will be implemented will be released later, the representative of the ministry added.
At the event, Phuong also stressed the need for the country to quicken digital transformation to bolster the country’s development in the years to come.
According to Phuong, the national digital transformation process needs to be conducted on a large scale, from State agencies and the Government to companies operating in the country.
A late digital transformation would lead to the local economy and businesses lagging behind their peers across the world, he noted.
The Planning and Investment Ministry had earlier proposed that from this year, the Government should launch a program to offer support to businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, in making a digital transformation and restructuring their businesses, so that local firms can catch up with the global digital transformation trend.
Further, the program is expected to help local firms join forces to establish a close business connection as well as encourage small companies to make efforts to expand their scale, the deputy minister said.
Firms aiding Covid-19 fighting efforts to enjoy tax cuts
The Ministry of Finance has proposed exempting firms from paying corporate income tax (CIT) for the amounts spent to support the Government in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Assembly asked the Government to issue guidelines to exempt firms from CIT for the money they used to fund various Covid-19 infection prevention and control efforts.
Over the past few months, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy and the lives of residents, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Despite the difficulties, many enterprises and organizations nationwide have actively rolled out a series of support and sponsorship programs, including giving cash and medical equipment and supplying food for the poor, during the fight against the pandemic.
However, these firms and organizations still had to pay CIT for the money spent on the support and sponsorship activities in line with the corporate income tax law.
As such, it is necessary to issue a decree this CIT break, reported the Government news website.
The draft decree for this matter regulates that firms which offer gifts and cash to sponsor Covid-19 infection prevention and control activities through units that receive sponsorships will be entitled to a CIT cut on the costs.
Units that receive relief aid comprise local governments, the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committees of provinces and cities, healthcare centers, schools and charities, among others, according to the draft decree.
Gallup: Vietnam ranks third globally in economic optimism
Vietnam ranked third globally in terms of economic optimism in a survey recently conducted by Gallup International, behind Nigeria and Azerbaijan.
Accordingly, Nigeria won the highest index with 58 percent, followed by Azerbaijan 47 percent and Vietnam 45 percent.
The index for Russia was minus 41 percent. The lowest level the country recorded was minus 43 percent in 2013.
The survey polled 38,000 people from 41 countries worldwide. Up to 47 percent of respondents said the year 2021 will see economic difficulties while only 6 percent hoped that the world economy will recover.
As many as 40 percent of Russian respondents said this year will be as the same as 2020. Eight percent said it is hard to offer right feedback.
According to analysts, the world economic optimism index for 2021 will be minus 21 percent./.
First hospital lists on HCM exchange
The Thai Nguyen International Hospital has become the first hospital listing on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), with 41.5 million shares put up for sale on January 6.
The total listed value was 415 billion VND (18 million USD), while the reference price on the first trading day was 25,000 VND per share, with a fluctuation of /- 20 percent.
As it is the first hospital to list on HoSE, TNH drew attention from investors during its first trading session, with its price rising 18 percent to 29,500 VND per share. The total transaction volume surpassed 1.38 million units.
The Thai Nguyen International Hospital Joint Stock Company was established in 2012, with charter capital of 415 billion VND. Post-tax profit was 88.8 billion VND in 2019 and 80.2 billion VND in the first nine months of 2020./.
Vietjet named among world’s top 10 safest & best low-cost airlines
New-age carrier Vietjet has been listed in “the World’s Top 10 Safest & Best Low-Cost Airlines 2021” by AirlineRatings, the world’s famous airline safety and product rating website.
The list also includes Ryanair, EasyJet, Frontier, Wizz and Westjet.
AirlineRatings also rated Vietjet at seven-star level, the highest ranking for aviation safety in the world for three consecutive years now.
In making its evaluation, AirlineRatings took into account a comprehensive range of factors including records of safety compliance and incident handling. Especially for this year, the airline’s COVID-19 prevention rating is also taken into consideration.
According to AirlineRatings Editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas, all these airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation and the operational excellence.
“Vietjet has a very modern fleet of aircraft and operationally is now up there with the very best. That is great news for the traveling public in and tourists in Vietnam and the region,” said Thomas.
AirlineRatings, known for its ranking of aviation safety and product, keeps tabs on 385 airlines across the globe using its unique seven-star rating system. It has been used by millions of passengers in the world and has become the industry standard. AirlineRatings also previously awarded Vietjet the “Best Ultra Low-Cost Airline for 2020”.
Bottlenecks must be removed to facilitate innovation: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on January 6 asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to remove bottlenecks in order to facilitate innovation.
Addressing a ministry’s conference in Hanoi to review performance in 2020 and launch tasks for this year, the Deputy PM lauded the ministry for its quick response to major and unexpected tasks regarding vaccines, test kits, and pandemic prevention and control.
He, however, urged the ministry to make its financial mechanism more transparent to boost science-technology and innovation, saying that businesses should be at the centre.
Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat highlighted the contributions of science-technology to the country’s economic growth of 2.91 percent in 2020, stressing that Vietnam posted one of the highest growth rates in the region and the world.
Productivity rose by 5.8 percent each year on average during the 2016-2020 period, higher than the 4.3 percent average posted in 2011-2015 and exceeding the targeted 5 percent, he added.
According to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Xuan Dinh, science-technology contributed to addressing pressing issues facing localities around Vietnam, removing difficulties and supporting enterprises to maintain and restore production and business affected by COVID-19.
The ministry will continue its close coordination with other ministries, agencies, and localities in completing key tasks like implementing the Government’s major programmes and projects and reviewing and perfecting relevant mechanisms, policies and laws in order to make science-technology and innovation the driver of economic growth.
It will further conduct research, especially on COVID-19 vaccines, establish research and development centres and institutes and science-technology and innovation firms, and promote the national innovative startup ecosystem.
Deputy PM Dam also presented a certificate of merit from the Prime Minister to the ministry in recognition of its contributions to national construction and defence./.
Bac Giang prioritises development of industrial sectors serving agriculture
The northern province of Bac Giang is to improve the efficiency of its industrial extension projects, especially those serving agriculture and rural development, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Tran Quang Tan has said.
Under plans to 2025, the province will promote the development of garment-textile, and footwear industries, with a priority on smart manufacturing and automation, along with agro-forestry-fishery processing, agricultural engineering, and handicraft production.
It will also pay due regard to fundamental industrial sectors that are able to penetrate into global supply chains, apply clean and environmentally-friendly technology, or greatly contribute to exports and State budget collection.
The province will also work to build and roll out industrial extension projects and mobilise social sources for such efforts.
Bac Giang conducted 297 industrial extension projects in the 2016-2020 period with more than 30.7 billion VND (1.33 million USD) from the State budget and 229 billion VND in reciprocal capital.
Vocational training courses were arranged based on projects, which also helped improve packaging and origin tracing for local specialties.
All contributed to the growth of 19.8 percent in the province’s rural industrial production value, reaching 23.4 trillion VND last year, accounting for 11.2 percent of the provincial industrial production, from 9.66 billion VND in 2015./.
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