SMEs benefit from State’s business support policies
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from many support policies of the State, especially those in information support; consultation; human resources development; startup and innovation; and value chain participation.
Under Decree 39/2018/ND-CP recently issued by the Government, SMEs will be free to access information in the national information portal for supporting SMEs managed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and other information portals managed by ministries, ministry-level agencies, municipal and provincial-level People’s Committees.
To help SMEs develop their human resources, the State budget will support at least 50 percent of the total cost of a business start-up and business administration training course for SMEs. Meanwhile, SMEs in advantaged areas and those owned by women will be exempted from tuition fees for training.
Business households, which register to shift to enterprises, will be given free consultation and guidance.
SMEs converted from business households meeting paperwork conditions will be exempt from the enterprise registration fee for the first time at business registration offices, and the fee for publicising the content of first-time enterprise registration at the national business registration portal.
They shall also be exempted from appraisal fee and first-time business licensing fee for conditional business lines; and license fee within three years from the date of issuance of the first enterprise registration certificate.
SMEs will also benefit from other support policies concerning intellectual property consultancy; intellectual property exploitation and development; the implementation of procedures on standards, technical regulations, measurement and quality; the pilot of new business models; technology application and transfer; trade promotion and commercialisation, among others.
Vietnam-EAEU trade deal pushes exports to Russia
Russia is one of the important export markets of Vietnam, especially after the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement took effect on October 5, 2016.
Statistics released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that in the first two months of 2018, Vietnam-Russia trade reached 657.7 million USD. Russia spent 343.4 million USD purchasing Vietnamese products, including phones and spare parts, coffee, computers, electronic products, garments and aquatic products.
As compared to the same period in 2017, the strongest export growth was recorded by ceramic products (119.6 percent), followed by cashew nuts (95.6 percent) and steel (82.6 percent).
Meanwhile, Vietnam disbursed 314.2 million USD to import commodities from Russia, including 73.5 million USD for wheat and 71 million USD for steel.
After the Vietnam-EAEU trade deal came into force, two-way trade between Vietnam and Russia enjoyed robust growth with a year-on-year increase of 25.4 percent to 2.7 billion USD in 2016 and a rise of 30 percent to 3.6 billion USD in 2017. Vietnam saw a trade surplus of 491.7 million USD in 2016, 800 million USD in 2017 and nearly 30 million USD in January-February in 2018.
High-quality goods with competitive prices should be developed by Vietnamese exporters if they want to boost shipments to Russia to take advantage of the trade pact, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Russia.
The office also advised Vietnamese exporters to seek reliable partners as importers in Russia prefer the form of deferred payments.
In the coming time, the office will introduce more potential partners to Vietnamese businesses while studying more about commitments in the World Trade Organisation and other free trade agreements to give prompt forecasts about barriers that can hamper Vietnamese exports.
The moves aim to elevate the bilateral trade value to 10 billion USD by 2020 as set by leaders of the two countries.
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Flamingo, VietinBank ink investment agreement
Flamingo Group and Viet Nam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank)’s Phuc Yen branch has signed an investment contract for Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort project.
Under the agreement, VietinBank is the only official investor to provide capital and financial products for Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort, with a total credit of VND1.5 trillion (US$66 million).
Le Thi Van Anh, vice director of Flamingo Group, said the combination of experience and capacity of the Flamingo Group and financial strength of VietinBank promised to bring success for the Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort complex in future. She said the agreement was a premise to build and develop many works with international standards.
Nguyen Van Truong, director of Vietinbank Phuc Yen, emphasised that the signing between the bank and the Flamingo Group show their desire to further develop the relationship between the two sides, which is evidenced by formal co-operation agreements to implement projects in future.
Located on a 7.8ha area, Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort owns 756 villas and has a total investment of VND3 trillion.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.
Vietnam attends tea & coffee expo in Singapore
Vietnamese tea and coffee enterprises are exhibiting their products at the International Coffee & Tea Industry Expo 2018, which opened in Singapore on March 22.
On display at the expo are techniques for planting, processing and preserving tea and coffee and materials and products from countries around the world.
The three-day event, which is expected to welcome 11,000 visitors, serves as a venue for exhibitors to seek customers and establish partnerships.
Participants are focusing on highlighting their unique characteristics in making coffee and tea, and tea and coffee enjoying culture in their countries.
Tran Thu Quynh, Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor in Singapore emphasised the significance of the event for Vietnamese tea and coffee firms, saying it helps them promote their products to international friends.
In the framework of the event, seminars and discussions with experts will be held, aiming to update enterprises on development trends, as well as difficulties and challenges facing the regional tea and coffee industry.
The global demand for coffee is projected to increase to 10 million tonnes by 2020. The Southeast Asian region is forecast to become a promising market for tea and coffee enterprises. –
Petro prices remain stable in latest review
The prices of oil and petrol are kept unchanged after the latest regular review by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance on March 23.
The ceiling prices of E5 are not higher than 18,340 VND per litre, and those of diesel 0.05S and kerosene should not be higher than 15,716 VND per litre and 14,560 VND per litre, respectively.
Meanwhile, the two ministries also decided to maintain the price stabilisation fund for E5 bio-fuel at 669 VND per litre while the use of the fund for diesel was 177 VND per litre.
The average global price of petrol products during the last 15 days to March 23 was at 73.253 USD per barrel for RON 92 and 77.066 USD for diesel.
The cost of ethanol E100 which is used to produce E5 petrol has gone up by almost 1,200 VND per litre compared to one year ago.
The ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust the prices in accordance with fluctuations on the world market.
Vietnam, Oman seek ways to boost economic cooperation
The third meeting of the Vietnam-Oman Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation took place in Hanoi on March 23, focusing on reviewing the implementation of cooperation agreements reached at the previous meeting and seeking measures to further promote bilateral affiliation in the future.
The Vietnamese delegation was led by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, while the Omani team was headed by Minister of Commerce and Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy. The event also drew Omani Ambassador to Vietnam Sultan Saif Hilal Al Mahruqi.
The two ministers briefed each other on socio-economic situation in each country. They agreed on a number of measures to boost bilateral partnership, including speeding up negotiations for the soon signing of an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders.
The two countries will enhance cooperation between their Chambers of Commerce and Industry to encourage business communities of both sides to increase delegation exchanges as well as trade, investment promotion activities.
At the same time, they will share information to update their businesses on trade policies as well as import-export regulations, market demand, business opportunities and projects in each country.
Meanwhile, they will consider the possibility of expanding cooperation in areas of oil and gas, finance, banking, labour, agriculture, aquaculture, transport, culture, sport and tourism.
Concluding the event, the two ministers signed a minute of the meeting.
Statistics showed that in 2017, trade between Vietnam and Oman reached 116.7 million USD, up 122.2 percent over 2016. Vietnam exports were 40.9 million USD, up 74 percent, mostly from cellphones and spare parts, machines and equipment, automobile parts, and agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the country imported 75.8 million USD worth of products from the Middle-East country, a rise of 161 percent over the previous year, mostly metals, ore and minerals, plastic materials, animal feed and materials.
So far, Oman has run five investment products in Vietnam with total registered capital of nearly 340 million USD.
Work starts on 7.5 million USD factory in Vung Ang EZ
The construction of a 170.8 billion VND (7.5 million USD) factory manufacturing mechanical products, machinery and spare parts started at Phu Vinh industrial park inside Vung Ang economic zone in Ky Anh town, the central province of Ha Tinh on March 23.
Covering 25,880 square metres, the factory is designed to produce 1,800 steel mills and rollers each year, along with 100 products of conveyer belt rollers, 500 tonnes of wear-resistant plates, and 800 tonnes of mechanic products per year.
The factory will cooperate with Formosa Ha Tinh to create a production chain in steel industry.
This is the second project built in Phu Vinh after the park completed its infrastructure system.
Currently, the park is hosting four FDI projects with total investment of over 23.3 million USD, mostly in steel industry and mechanics.
Hanoi offers promising investment opportunities for Japanese firms
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung has assured Japanese businesses that the capital city of Vietnam will be an attractive and successful investment, business and tourism destination for them.
The municipal administration held a meeting on investment and tourism promotion cooperation between Hanoi and Japan on March 23.
The event, part of the Japanese culture exchange festival marking the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties, drew about 200 delegates representing local ministries and sectors, the Japanese Embassy, and many Japanese businesses.
Hanoi authorities gave participants an overview of the city’s investment and tourism cooperation with Japanese partners, along with cooperation potential. They called for stronger investment in hi-tech agriculture, health care, education and environment.
Chairman Chung said Hanoi’s administration pledges to create the best possible conditions for Japanese investors and enterprises.
Isao Iijima, a special advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, expressed his hope that cooperation between Vietnamese businesses and Japanese firms with advanced technology will be enhanced.
Japan is the leading ODA provider for Hanoi when it has pledged nearly 3 billion USD for 32 ODA-funded projects in the city. It is also the second biggest foreign investor in Hanoi with over 950 projects worth over 5.4 billion USD.
The Hanoi People’s Committee and the Japanese Embassy held an investment promotion conference in June 2016. An array of investment, trade and tourism promotion activities have been implemented since then. As a result, there were 226 new investment projects of Japan with total registered capital of 981 million USD in Hanoi in 2017.
At the meeting, Japanese agencies and businesses inked many cooperation documents on investment, tourism, health care and agriculture with Hanoi counterparts.
Vietnamese, Hong Kong businesses seek stronger partnership
More than 40 enterprises from Hong Kong (China) and hundreds of Vietnamese firms gathered at an event in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21 to seek opportunities to expand partnership.
Addressing the event, Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, who led the Hong Kong business delegation, said that the visit of the firms to Vietnam aims to foster connections with Vietnamese peers and find solutions to lift up the partnership.
Participants focused on cooperation opportunities in production and investment, as well as finance-banking, infrastructure, legal and arbitration issues, thus exploiting the newly-signed free trade agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN.
According to the Hong Kong side, Hong Kong was the ninth largest trade partner and fifth biggest importer of Vietnam with two-way trade reaching 18 billion USD in 2016.
In the past five years, trade partnership has seen double-digit growth. Hong Kong was one of the first foreign investors in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam is among 25 most attractive destinations of Hong Kong businesses. Total Hong Kong’s FDI to Vietnam has hit 1.6 billion USD.
The trade and investment cooperation between the two sides has yet to match potential of the two sides, stated Yau.
Meanwhile, Margaret Fong, head of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said that Vietnam has shown impressive growth over decades. Trade ties between Vietnam and Hong Kong rose 43 percent over the past years, she said, holding that there is room for both sides to further expand the partnership.
She revealed that in this September, Hong Kong will organise a festival and exhibition event with the participation of over 100 life-style brands to introduce to Vietnamese customers about fashion, entertainment and foods of Hong Kong.
Leading experts in logistics, e-commerce from Hong Kong will share the way to broaden market for Vietnam’s services and products, she said, adding that the events will not only open up new business opportunities but also strengthen mutual understanding between the two sides.
Japan shares experience in developing beauty industry
Japanese experience was shared at a workshop in Hanoi on March 21 which discussed legal basis for the training and development of the beauty industry in Vietnam.
The event was organised by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Rapport Hair Group Ltd, and the Vietnam Association for Vocational Training and Social Work.
Vu Xuan Hung, Director of the Department of Formal Vocational Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said beauty jobs do not simply relate to techniques but are linked with many fields such as medicine, pharmaceutical and aesthetics.
Workers in this industry need not only specialised skills but also knowledge about health care, pharmaceutical and cosmetics. Some jobs even require artistic talent, and to do these jobs, workers have to comply with legal regulations.
The beauty industry is among the sectors with the fastest growth in Vietnam at present, he added, noting that beauty services are increasingly diverse. They not only help to perfect a person’s beauty but also bring about useful solutions to recovering people’s health and spirit.
Training in and developing beauty care jobs are a demand in the society, and these jobs are considered to create high employment opportunities for young people, Hung said.
However, the development of establishments providing beauty services and job training remains uncontrolled. While there is a lack of management of the quality and safety of these establishments, there haven’t been particular regulations on the foundation of hair and nail salons, said Vice President of the Vietnam Beauty Association Tran Thi Thuy Nga.
Hironobu Kitagawa, chief representative of JETRO Hanoi, said Japan is experienced in building policies on the beauty industry. JETRO suggested the two countries cooperate in devising regulations and rules for this sector.
The beauty industry creates an invisible added value which is bringing satisfaction and confidence to customers, he said, expressing his hope that Vietnam-Japan cooperation in this field will become more fruitful.
Central Group to expand investment in Vietnam
Thailand’s Central Group is planning to spend 200 billion THB (around 6.3 billion USD) on expanding domestic and overseas retail networks and hotels in the next five years, with Vietnam named as a prioritised market.
The group has set a target of 397.3 billion THB (12.6 billion USD) in revenue this year. It is estimated that the proportion of the Vietnamese market in the group’s revenue structure would grow from 13 percent to 20 percent in the next five years.
The Central Group is now the biggest retailer in Vietnam, owning 31 supermarkets (Big C), 59 food stores (Big C, Lanchi Mart), 49 clothing boutiques (Robins, DELALA, Supersports, Marks & Spencer), 79 stores for building materials, home decoration and electronic devices (Nguyen Kim, B2S), and three e-commerce websites (nguyenkim.vn, robins.vn, and B2S.com.vn).
The conglomerate expects to increase its total stores to 735 by 2022, which will span 2.5 million square metres of retail space in 57 Vietnamese provinces and cities.
EC ready to support Vietnam in fighting IUU fishing: EU commissioner
The European Commission (EC) is willing to cooperate and support Vietnamese authorities in their reforms to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner of the European Union for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
In an interview granted Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Brussels on the occasion of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong’s ongoing working visit to the EU from March 20-24 to promote the removal of “yellow card measure” in Vietnam for IUU fishing, Vella said the EC welcomes the high level commitments expressed by Vietnamese authorities, notably the Plan adopted by the MARD to implement urgent measures to overcome the yellow card adopted in October 2017.
“Nonetheless, the European Commission reiterates its concerns as regards the translation of such commitments into tangible measures aiming at addressing the serious shortcomings that led the Commission to adopt the yellow card,” he noted.
According to Vella, the adoption of the pre-identification (yellow card) of Vietnam as non-cooperating country in fighting IUU fishing in October 2017 is the formalisation of a dialogue in place since 2012. This step is a warning, but does not imply any kind of trade related measures.
“The objective of the EU IUU policy is to enter into a logic of cooperation with the competent authorities of third countries to ensure they align their legal and administrative frameworks with their international obligations to fight against IUU fishing and establish adequate control mechanisms,” he said.
Vietnamese authorities are expected to provide by April 2018, 6 months after the adoption of the yellow card, with a progress report addressing the implementation of the action plan, he said, adding that the EC will evaluate, including by means of visits to the country, the content of the action plan in light of the shortcomings established in the Commission Decision of 23 October 2017.
Talking about the possibility of removing the yellow card for Vietnam in this Decision Vella said any action as regards Vietnam will follow a careful analysis of the actions undertaken by the authorities to remedy the deficiencies that led to the yellow card.
“The revocation of the yellow card will only be possible if all the mentioned deficiencies are sufficiently addressed.”
It is to be noted that, in case the situation is not improved, the Commission may proceed with the identification of the country as non-cooperating in fighting IUU fishing (red card) and with the proposal to the Council of the EU to list the country as non-cooperating in fighting IUU fishing, he noted.
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