HCM City works to boost retail market
Ho Chi Minh City’s total retail and service revenue in the first six months of 2018 is estimated at VND502.55 trillion (US$22.11 billion), up 11.7% over the same period last year.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, the city currently has 239 traditional markets, 209 super markets, 42 trade centres and 1,609 convenience stores.
The domestic retail market has continued its stable development trend with last year’s revenue expanding 10.9%. The strong growth of the retail market is creating big chances for domestic production, trading and supply firms.
Nguyen Anh Duc, Deputy General Director of the Saigon Co.op said that recently, the firm has partnered with Singapore’s NTUC Fair Price to launch a convenience store chain called Cheers that opens 24 hours a day to meet the demand of customers. Duc added that 50 Cheers shops are expected to be opened across the country in 2018.
In the end of this year, the city has launched four price stabilization programmes in late 2018 with an aim to promote the market with the engagement of 90 enterprises and credit organisations.
Total capital to support enterprises joining the four programmes is VND19.65 trillion, up 8.14% over that in 2017 with the same interest rate as that of last year from 5.5% to 10% per year.
At the same time, the city has focused on trademark building and enhancing prestige for the programmes as well as local enterprises and products engaging in the programmes by strengthening communications and supporting firms expanding market across the country.
The city has also assisted localities to implement the programmes, especially those in southeast and southwest regions. Logos of the programmes will be popularized to help customers recognise products sold during the programme.
Ha Tinh takes lead in GRDP growth in H1
Many localities has recorded high gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in the first six months of 2018, led by the central province of Ha Tinh with 32.94%, reported the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Ha Tinh was followed by Bac Ninh with 16.97%, Hai Phong with 16.3%, Thai Binh 12.32% and Bac Giang 13.31%.
Other localities enjoying GRDP growth of over 10% were Quang Ninh (10.16%), Lao Cai (10.12%), Ninh Thuan (10.11%), and Long An (10.96%).
In the second groups with GRDP expansion from 8% to under 10% included Thai Nguyen (9.85%), Ha Nam (9.64%), Ninh Binh (9.45%), Dak Nong (9.28%), Quang Ngai (9.32%), Kien Giang (9.22%), Hai Duong (9.04%), Lam Dong (8.85%), Binh Thuan (8.58%), Dong Thap (8.02%), and Hau Giang (8.01%).
Meanwhile, some localities saw low growth, especially the northern mountainous provinces of Hoa Binh (3.74%), Lao Chau (3.92%), and Cao Bang (4.16%).
Particularly, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau suffered minus 1.2% in GRDP growth in the first half of this year.
Duong Manh Hung, Vice Director of the GSO’s Department of National Account System, said that the high GRDP growth seen in several localities was thanks to development of industry-construction sectors.
Notably, in Ha Tinh province, the Fomosa steel plant contributed 95.61% to the local industry-construction sector’s growth, pushing the province’s GRDP expansion to 32.94%.
At the same time, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh grew 7.07% and 7.27%, respectively, and their development significantly influenced the whole country.
Big gap has been seen in GRDP growth of eight key economic regions. The Red River Delta region posted 12.02% growth and the north central and central coastal regions recorded growth, 8.61%, while the southeast region gained only 4.17%.
The reason behind the fact is the strong development of the industry-construction sector in many Red River Delta, northern and central coastal provinces such as Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Ha Tinh and Quang Ngai. Meanwhile, Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s result pulled the whole southeast region’s performance down.
The northern midland and mountainous region recorded growth of 8.43%, followed by the Mekong Delta region (7.61%) and the Central Highlands region (7.28%).
Rubber businesses need sustainable development strategies: workshop
Rubber businesses should devise sustainable development strategies to maximise opportunities generated by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), experts said at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on June 14.
Tran Ngoc Binh, from the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said many opportunities and pressures will await the rubber sector after the deal comes into effect.
He explained that natural rubber will enjoy 0% import duty in member countries of the CPTPP.
“This creates opportunities for Vietnamese natural rubber to expand the market. However, the domestic rubber sector will have to face a fierce competition since natural rubber production countries will step up exports to Vietnam,” Binh added.
The countries will also completely scrap tariffs imposed on rubber products within 16 years, according to the official.
He suggested businesses abide by regulations on product origin in order to utilise tax incentives as committed.
Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, from the Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA), highlighted the common development trend of the world’s rubber sector that commits to sustainable development, with higher productivity and quality.
To bring into full play advantages offered by the integration process in order to expand the market, the Vietnamese rubber sector should focus on building its brand name, while ensuring quality, prestige and sustainable development, she said.
The official said local firms can promote their prestige by observing laws and policies towards labourers, and perform their social responsibility.
She also proposed rubber associations intensify the public-private partnership (PPP) in management to look towards sustainable development.
Vietnam currently ranks third globally in natural rubber production and export, according to the VRA.
The association revealed that in 2017, the country earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.
The Vietnam Rubber Group alone produced over 250,000 tonnes of rubber latex and earned revenue of VND21.38 trillion (US$936 million), exceeding the plan by 20%. Its pre-tax profit reached over VND4.1 trillion (US$179.58 million), surpassing the yearly plan by 36%. The firm contributed VND1.7 trillion (US$74.46 million) to the State budget in the year, while paying its employees about VND7.1 million (US$310) each per month averagely.
The original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed by 12 countries in February 2016 but US President Donald Trump pulled his country from the deal upon his inauguration in January 2017.
The remaining 11 countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, signed the pact and renamed it the CPTPP in March 2018 in Chile.
Local wind power tempting despite low incentives
Investors are keeping their faith in Vietnam’s wind power sector, even though it is not taking off due to an unbankable purchase power agreement, seven years after the government released the incentives for wind power projects.
Asked whether investors would contemplate leaving Vietnam’s wind sector, Morten Dyholm, vice president of Vestas Group, stated that investors see great potential, huge demand, and strong political commitment here. Wind power is one of the most competitive energy sources globally and one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
“Thus, global firms will not leave this market,” he said, adding that a series of petitions have already been submitted.
Having co-operated with many investors, Duong Tan Long, head of the Energy and Electricity at the Binh Thuan Department of Industry and Trade, said that foreign investors are still waiting for feed-in-tariff (FiT) adjustments as well as policy changes in the near future.
While Vietnam boasts a solid national energy policy and has set realistic targets, work still needs to be done to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the market rules as well as the procurement process. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the country needs to untangle the knots step by step in order for the wind power sector in Vietnam to take off, providing major economic and environmental benefits as well as making Vietnam an attractive investment destination for international investors.
Bui Vinh Thang, business development manager of major global renewable developer Mainstream Renewable Power, told VIR at Vietnam’s recent first wind power conference that Mainstream is expected to start construction on its wind power project in the southern province of Soc Trang in 2019.
Last year, Mainstream set a target to build and operate three wind power projects with a combined capacity of approximately 940 megawatts (MW) in Vietnam, in partnership with local and international developers.
Under their memorandum of understanding, Mainstream and GE Energy Financial Services will invest around $2 billion in the construction of the 800MW Phu Cuong wind power project in Soc Trang, developed in co-operation with local partner Phu Cuong Group, which will remain involved in the project throughout its five development phases. The first phase, slated to produce 150-200MW, is expected to conclude its financing by the end of the year.
However, Thang said that without a bankable power purchase agreement (PPA), the project would not be able to keep on track.
Oliver Duguet, CEO of The Blue Circle, which is developing the Dam Nai wind power project, one of seven wind power projects in Vietnam that have started construction, previously told VIR that, as the availability of long-term project debt financing is the key to wind power projects being built in Vietnam, at least 2,000MW would become financially viable through a PPA indexation, contributing to Vietnam’s energy independence as well as to the long-term national target of 6,000MW of wind power being installed by 2030.
Duguet stressed that The Blue Circle is ready and committed to playing a major role in Vietnam’s future growth in wind power.
Binh Son refinery reports high profit in six months
Vietnam sees trade surplus of US$2.67bn in five months
Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$2.67 billion in the first five months of the year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Total import-export value in the reviewed period hit nearly US$186 billion, of which the FDI sector earned more than US$120 billion.
Notably, the FDI enterprises grossed US$66.34 billion from exports, nearly 17% higher than the same period last year, making up more than 70% of the country’s export turnover.
Up to late May, total import turnover displayed a sharp increase of 15.6% to US$2.95 billion, posting a trade surplus of US$0.34 billion.
FDI businesses spent US$53.81 billion in imports, up 8.6% and accounting for 58.7% of the country’s total import turnover.
Reference exchange rate opens new week with rise
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate for June 18, the first day of the week, at 22,602 VND/USD, up 7 VND from the last day of previous week.
With the current trading band of + /-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,280 VND/USD and the floor rate 21,926 VND/USD.
The opening hour rates at commercial banks either stayed unchanged or saw slight rises.
Vietcombank and BIDV maintained the same rates as on June 15, buying the greenback at 22,785 VND/USD and selling at 22,855 VND/USD.
Techcombank adjusted both rates up by 10 VND, listing the buying rate at 22,765 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,865 VND/USD.
The reference exchange rate was on a rising trend throughout the week from June 11 to 15, opening the week at 22,567 VND/USD and ending at 22,595 VND/USD.
Meanwhile, the trend at commercial banks was mixed during the week.
The buying rate at Vietcombank opened the week at 22,765 VND/USD and ended the week at 22,755 VND per USD. The selling rate started the week at 22,835 VND/USD, and ended at 22,845 VND per USD.
At BIDV the buying rate was at 22,765 VND/USD on the first day of the week and 22,775 VND/USD on the last day. The selling rate was 22,835 VND/USD and 22,845 VND/USD, respectively.
At Techcombank, the buying rate stood at 22,745 VND/USD on Monday (June 11) and 22,755 VND/USD on June 15. The selling rate was at 22,845 VND/USD on Monday and 22,855 VND/USD on Friday.
Tourism contributes greatly to Da Nang’s economic development
Tourism has become one of the significant contributors to central Da Nang city’s socio-economic development, said Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh.
The tourism sector has contributed to promoting Da Nang’s images, giving a facelift to the city, creating more jobs, and improving the environment and living conditions of local people, he said.
Bui Dao Thai Truong, Project Director of Germany’s Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, suggested that Da Nang should organise more tourism events, roadshows and fairs while increasing connectivity with travel agencies and airlines, training foreign languages for local tour guides, and making use of social networks to promote tourism.
He suggested local authorities focus on middle and long term strategies such as improving means of transport, promoting eco-tourism near seaports and creating unique tourism products that are friendly to the environment.
At the same time, the city needs to improve tourism infrastructure and developing human resources, he recommended.
Other experts advised Da Nang to connect with the Asian-Pacific region in the coming time by increasing low-cost flights, drawing middle-class travelers, and developing adventure and medical tourism.
Da Nang is a popular tourist destination in central Vietnam. The online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb announced a list of the world’s top 10 destinations for the 2018, in which Da Nang ranked fifth in booking surges of up to 255 percent.
According to the municipal Department of Tourism, the number of visitors to the central coastal city is increasing with annual average growth of 20.06 percent in the 2013-2017 period.
In 2017, the city welcomed 6.6 million tourists, 2.1 times higher than the figure in 2013. The tourism industry generated 186,770 jobs in 2017 and grossed over 19.5 trillion VND (854.1 million USD) in revenues, 2.5-fold increase from 2013.
This year, the city was ranked second in the list of the 10 most popular destinations among solo or couple travelers, according to the Republic of Korea’s Ticket Monster Inc.
The website said people who plan to travel abroad with family members chose Da Nang as the most popular destination.
The city is also the second-most popular destination among couple of travelers, followed by Bangkok (Thailand) and Guam (the US), it said.”
Vietnam’s third largest city has welcomed 538,000 Korean tourists so far this year, accounting for a third of total foreign arrivals in the city, according to the municipal tourism department.
The RoK is expected to surpass Chinese tourists and become the biggest group of visitors to Da Nang in the near future.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Da Nang was said to be the best place to live in Vietnam with many world-recognised recorded.
The US’s New York Times listed Da Nang among 52 places to go in 2015. The city was recgonised as one of the world’s 20 low-carbon cities at the 44th APEC Meeting on Energy in the US in 2012.
Da Nang International Airport was ranked third among the best airports in the world in 2014, according to a survey by Dragon Air.
The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort won the Asia’s Leading Luxury Resort in 2014 thanks to its perfect combination of traditional beauty and modern, luxurious standards.
The US’s Forbes Magazine selected My Khe Beach in Da Nang as one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet in 2013.
The cable line that takes visitors to the peak of Ba Na Hills at an altitude of 1,487 metres in just 17 minutes and is able to carry 3,000 passengers per hour won four Guinness Records in 2013.
Sun Wheel, which is 115 metres in height and situated in Asian Park, Hai Chau district, Da Nang, was listed among the 10 tallest wheels in the world.
Kien Giang targets 9.5 billion USD for socio-economic development by 2020
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang aims to mobilise 9.5 billion USD for socio-economic development by 2020 and 45 billion USD by 2030.
The adjusted target was recently approved by the Prime Minister as part of a master plan to 2020 and towards 2030 for the province.
Kien Giang targets becoming a well-developed locality and a transportation and tourism service destination in the Mekong Delta, and a development hub of the southern key economic region.
The province aims for an average Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of 7.5-8 percent per year by 2020.
Also, the province is striving to improve quality of transport services, while promoting its advantageous geographical location and natural conditions of the province.
The province has so far this year attracted 41 FDI projects from 19 countries and territories with a total registered capital of 1.44 billion USD, of which 37 percent has been disbursed.
Central Highlands eyes regional tourism connectivity
Enhancing regional connectivity is key to fulfilling the tourism potential of the Central Highlands, according to the Government’s master plan on tourism development for the period through 2020.
Though the plan envisions connecting localities in the region and creating unique tourism products, the tourism sector has not achieved any significant breakthroughs so far.
Tran Hung Viet, General Director of Saigontourist, said it was necessary to have a thorough master planning and plans on regional connectivity, thus creating synergies to fulfil the tourism potential and boost investment.
Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Deputy Director of the Lam Dong provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said provinces in the Central Highlands found it difficult to create distinctive products since they had so much in common.
The Central Highlands should create a clear tourism brand before its provinces create their own brands and determine their products, she said
After making comprehensive plans for the Central Highlands and its localities, relevant authorities should collaborate with travel agencies to take the products to potential tourists, she added.
Travel agencies have been reluctant to make use of existing products, she said.
The Central Highlands has great potential for tourism, with its spectacular waterfalls, forests, mountains, ethnic groups with rich culture, and others.
Some popular destinations include Lung Leng Archaeological Site, Ngoc Linh Mountain, Yali Waterfalls, Mang Den Ecotourism Site, Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum province; Chu Dang Ya Volcanic Mountain, Kon Chu Rang Nature Reserve in Gia Lai province; and Lac Pond, Draynur Waterfalls, Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak province.
The Central Highlands is also known for its gong culture, which was recognised by UNESCO in 2005 as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In fact, each province in the area has some distinctive attractions that can be used to boost tourism.
While Lam Dong province is blessed with cool weather, green nature and some intangible values, Gia Lai province has many interesting cultural stories and literary gems related to Stor village, Nup Hero, and others during the wartime.
Dak Nong province has immense cultural variety in the form of some 40 minor ethnic groups.
Vietnam moves to organic fertiliser
Some farmers in the south central province of Ninh Thuan have gone green.
Watermelon farmers in An Hai commune, Ninh Phuoc district have made use of muck and agricultural waste mixed with a fungus called Trichoderma to make natural fertilizer, in a process that only takes two months.
Nguyen Van Lai, a local farmer, said that the organic fertiliser is safe for the air, soil and people living near the planting area. Plant productivity also doubles compared with using inorganic fertiliser and pesticides.
Using agricultural waste to make organic fertilizer also helps cut costs, which combined with the improved productivity brings about twice as much profit.
The move is a trend a lot of Vietnamese farmers are following and is also a direction endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the agricultural sector must speed up the production, usage and consumption of organic fertiliser and reduce the amount of inorganic fertiliser. This move aims to improve plant productivity, quality and aid the environment.
Tran The Hinh from the Low Carbon Agricultural Support Project (LCASP) said that last year Vietnam imported more than 3.7 million tonnes of fertiliser worth 960 million USD. In the first five months of this year, the country imported 1.8 million tonnes of fertiliser, down 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
This showed that Vietnam has switched from using inorganic fertiliser to self-made organic fertiliser, he said.
He said that 40 million tonnes of straw, corn and sugar cane residue and other kinds of post-harvest waste are discharged every year. The farming sector releases 80 million tonnes of waster each year. Farmers can use this waste to make organic fertiliser.
Nguyen Dang Nghia, Director of the Tropical Agriculture Consultation and Research Centre, said that all kinds of microorganism fertiliser, organic microorganism fertiliser and probiotics are good for plants and preserve soil.
Ly Van Son, Deputy Director of Ecofarm, said microorganism fertiliser is made from manufacturing industry waste such as residue of beer, soy beans or fish bones mixed with microorganisms. Each kg of microorganism organic fertiliser contains 140 types of nutrition.
For two months, the mixture must be isolated from air, otherwise, it will turn into soil and lose its nutritious elements. After composting, the organic fertiliser must be packaged and isolated from the air, he said.
To make 11 tonnes of organic fertiliser to replace currently-used inorganic fertiliser, enterprises need a large-scale technology line to ensure fertiliser quality, he said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam’s farming sector uses 11 million tonnes of fertilisers only 8 percent of which is organic.
Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said fertiliser plays a key role in farming. Vietnam has 10 million ha of farmland. Organic production covers only 43,000 ha of land which means organic fertiliser has not been widely used.
If each ha of farmland needs 10 tonnes of organic fertiliser, it is estimated Vietnam needs 200 million tonnes of organic fertiliser to have safe products, recover soil and protect the environment.
Many fertiliser enterprises have switched to manufacturing organic fertiliser such as Binh Dien fertiliser company, PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation, WEHG bio-fertiliser company, Ecofarm and Que Lam Corporation.
Fertiliser businesses have also thought about exporting organic fertiliser.
Nguyen Minh Son, Deputy Director of the Binh Dien Fertiliser Company, said Vietnam’s organic fertiliser is competing with that of ASEAN countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
Fertiliser companies need to focus on quality to keep their place in domestic and global market, he said.
As of December 2017, Vietnam had 713 organic fertiliser products manufactured by 180 licensed facilities. These facilities can produce up to 2.5 million tonnes of fertiliser per year.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has launched policies to encourage organic fertiliser production and consumption from available domestic materials. The ministry has also created favourable investment and production conditions for organic fertiliser companies.
Minister Cuong said that between 2020 and 2030, the ministry plans to set up national planning on fertiliser production which looks to larger production and consumption of organic fertiliser.
“The ministry will attract more investment and take advantage of sources from developed countries and international organisations to transfer and apply latest technology,” he said.
Hanoi needs new momentum for growth: Prime Minister
Hanoi needs to seek new, breakthrough, sustainable momentum for growth in order to materialise its development vision, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The leader was speaking at the conference “Hanoi 2018 – Investment and Development Cooperation” in Hanoi on June 17, the city’s largest investment promotion forum in the year with the participation of nearly 1,000 businesspeople and investors at home and abroad.
Hanoi should devise a master plan and an action programme for its development, he said, taking Cau Giay district as an example, which has emerged from a very poor locality into an urban area with industrial value exceeding 43 trillion VND (1.9 billion USD) and State budget contribution of over 7 trillion VND (308 billion USD) thanks to the effective planning scheme.
The PM noted his belief that the capital city will take the lead nationwide in developing Industry 4.0 and the digital economy, while speeding up the building of a smart city.
He urged the city to create high-quality human resources in spearhead sectors like artificial intelligence and data science, and carry forward its role as the country’s cradle in personnel training in natural sciences like mathematics, physics and computer science.
He also asked the city to provide timely support for investors when they meet difficulties, and create breakthroughs in land-related procedures for investors.
Besides, more attention should be paid to the construction of public facilities such as parks and public toilets, with all toilets at schools and hospitals satisfying set standards, the leader said.
He called on investors to promptly carry out projects in the city, and urged municipal authorities and investors to coordinate with each other in land clearance.
Applauding Hanoi’s achievements in socio-economic development over the past time, especially its efforts in building the e-Government, PM Phuc expressed his hope that the city will promote its locomotive role in development in the Red River Delta region and the country as well.
Speaking at the conference, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai, said the event demonstrates Hanoi’s commitments to improving the business environment, accompanying enterprises and turning the private economic sector into an important impulse in the city’s economic reform.
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung revealed that Hanoi aims to help start-ups with all expenditures and convenient services from August 1, 2018. This proposal is expected to be presented at the sixth meeting of the municipal People’s Council in early July, 2018.
He said domestic private investments make up 51.1 percent of the city’s total investment capital. The city, to date, has attracted 2,200 projects run by private investors, worth more than one quadrillion VND (44 billion USD).
As of June 15, more than 4,300 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects valued at 33.38 billion USD had come to the city. In 2016-2017 and the first six months of this year, the city lured 12.46 billion USD in FDI, equivalent to the number recorded during 1986-2015, Chung said.
At the conference, Hanoi signed memoranda of understanding on cooperation with other localities including Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen, Vinh Phuc, Hai Duong, Son La and Bac Giang, and agencies, organisations and investors.
On this occasion, the city handed over investment decisions and licences to 71 projects worth 397.33 trillion VND (17.48 billion USD), including 11 FDI projects with total investment capital of over 130 trillion VND (5.72 billion USD).
Vietnam works to bolster exports to China
Reform of administrative procedures to facilitate origin certification granting, customs procedures and related process is recommended by experts in order to increase export to China, a potential market with considerable risks.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that for the past 14 years, China has been the largest trade partner and second largest export market of Vietnam. Vietnam is also the 8th biggest trade partner and the biggest one in the ASEAN bloc of China.
Two-way trade in 2017 reached 93.7 billion USD, up 30.2 percent from the previous year. The figure is expected to hit 100 billion USD in 2018.
It is noteworthy that Vietnam’s trade deficit with China declined at an average 16.1 percent a year in 2016-2017, and 15.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.
However, experts said that there are many unpredictable risks in the Chinese market, citing an example that Chinese traders do not use payment through letters of credit (L/C) like in other foreign countries. Vietnamese exporters also face risks when many Chinese firms just make a deposit of 30 percent of the contract value.
As Vietnam’s import-export activities rely heavily on the Chinese market, domestic businesses will face challenges when there is a change in trade policies or protectionism in the neighbouring country.
Thus, regular technical guidance should be given to export companies so that they can fully benefit from the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA).
A set of measures to support the exporters in market information, capital and exchange rates should be mapped out. Meanwhile, relevant authorities must complete import-export management mechanisms, and work to prevent cross-border smuggling and boost sustainable exports.
Local firms must make their own efforts as well. It is necessary for them to update market information, new regulations on product quality and consumers’ taste in different Chinese localities.
They should give priority to improve capacity and enhance trade promotion activities in China. Copyrights and trade brands must receive due attention.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said it will join hand with relevant ministries and branches to increase popularisation on the contents of the ACFTA, World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments and agreements between the two countries.
Da Nang seeks EU investment
The central city of Da Nang has been compiling simplified investment procedures to support European businesses with more transparency and a reduction in informal charges.
Speaking at the Whitebook Briefing 2018 between representatives of EuroCham, European businesses and the city’s leadership on June 14, Deputy Director of the city’s Investment Promotion Agency Huynh Thi Lien Phuong said new procedures will be introduced later this year, helping European investors to obtain investment licenses, clear land and understand tax and customs regulations.
She said Da Nang has been working hard on administrative reform while promoting 2018 as The Year of Investment Attraction.
Phuong said the city will offer cooperative opportunities to European partners and local colleges to boost education, information and communication technology (ICT) and human resources training.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho said the city will create favourable conditions for investors and tourists from the EU.
He said Da Nang and EuroCham have been cooperating well to promote the city’s investment environment.
EuroCham’s Co-chairman Denis Brunetti said: “EuroCham and Da Nang have been cooperating closely for the past two years, and that is also due to the excellent work of our local EuroCham central Vietnam delegates.”
The local government understands that EuroCham members and European business at large could be the best partners for their investment strategy vision over the next few years, betting on excellence in ICT, tourism, education and other value-added sectors – in which European businesses are global leaders, he added.
Brunetti also introduced the focus and content of the Whitebook 2018 at the meeting, highlighting its most important sectoral and cross-sectoral issues and recommendations, ranging from important regulations on distribution and customs, to calls for greater enforcement of sustainable practices among businesses in Vietnam.
The Whitebook 2018 was officially launched in Hanoi.
Jose Sanchez-Barroso Gonzalez, Vice Honorary Consul of Spain in Da Nang, suggested more direct flights from Europe to Da Nang with connections to popular destinations in central Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
He said Da Nang should connect with Hoi An, Hue and Quang Ngai to offer extension stays for European tourists, and Da Nang could also become a base for connections with Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Bali and Phuket.
Gonzalez said Da Nang should develop a master plan for tourism development that focuses on sustainable business and a ‘green’ environment.
Dang Ngoc Hai, branch director of Axon Active Vietnam, said the city should consider how it can reduce training times for ICT students while improving the quality of students to meet the increasing demand for manpower in the IT sector.
He also said that English language skills could help IT students get jobs for foreign companies in Da Nang.
Nguyen Hai Minh, the tax and legal partner at Mazars Vietnam, said local authorites should apply international standards when it comes to tax and transfer pricing to ease pressure on the tax system.
He said support measures for SMEs and start-ups should also be implemented.
There are currently 73 EU-backed FDI projects in Da Nang worth 219 million USD. French investors account for 40.5 percent of FDI investment from the EU, with 21 projects in the city.
Import-export turnover between the city and the EU reached 316 million USD in 2017.
More efforts required to fight cigar smuggling
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, head of the national steering committee for combating smuggling, trade fraud, and counterfeits, has signed into issuance of official dispatch No.222/CD-BCD389 on strengthening the fight against illegal smuggling, transportation and trading of cigars.
Under the document, customs forces nationwide were asked to intensify the inspection and control and coordinate with authorized agencies to timely detect, arrest and handle those who illegal transport and trade cigars through international border gates, especially at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International Airports and customs areas.
The Ministry of Defence was requested to direct border and coast guard forces to intensify patrols and control at border areas, both on land and at sea, for timely detection, arrest and handling of cigar smugglers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security was asked to hold responsible for working with authorized agencies to identify areas and target groups, thus stepping the fight against cigar smuggling gangs.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade was demanded to direct market management forces to coordinate with relevant agencies to regularly inspect and control the market, handle the illegal storage, transportation and trading of cigars in the domestic market and the illicit cigar trading via the Internet.
According to the official dispatch, authorized forces and localities have arrested and handled over 20 million packages of cigarettes.
However, illegal cigar trading and transportation activities have become increasingly complicated, especially in big cities and key provinces. Notably, Hanoi’s authorized forces and the General Department of Customs have arrested two cases of cigar smuggling and illegal transportation with a total of 42,000 cigars.
VASEP urges boosting shrimp exports to US
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP) has proposed to the State to find solutions in dealing with trade barriers in the United States (US) market and promoting shrimp exports to this market.
The proposal was under a series of suggestions submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure sustainable development of Vietnam’s fishery industry, including shrimp.
The association suggested that the government should continue to pay more attention to diplomatic activities with the US to quickly remove trade barriers, especially anti-dumping tariffs for shrimp.
According to local shrimp exporters, high anti-dumping duties and the Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (SIMP) are major barriers that prevented them from boosting exports to this market over time.
In April 2018, the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration confirmed that foreign shrimps and abalone would be added to the SIMP, beginning January 1, 2019.
The SIMP requires importers to report traceability information on imported seafood from the point of capture to the point of first sale in the US, in order to thwart illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity.
Accordingly, American shrimp importers have until December 31, 2018, to comply with the regulations under the SIMP programme.
Meanwhile, in March, the US Department of Commerce announced preliminary results of anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese shrimp, measured up to 25.39 per cent during the 12th Administrative Review (POR12) period from February 1, 2016, until December 31, 2017. This was considered too high compared with previous disclosures.
Local enterprises said the high anti-dumping duty and SIMP would make it difficult for Vietnam to increase shrimp exports to the United States in the time to come.
According to Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP general secretary, the US market has great seafood demand, especially shrimp. It has imported an average of some 600,000 tonnes of shrimp per year, but Vietnam’s shrimp exports have accounted for 10 per cent of the demand every year (some 60,000 tonnes) due to the anti-dumping duty. India has accounted for 32 per cent of the market share in this market, followed by Thailand and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Vietnam can export 150,000 tonnes of shrimp per year. Therefore, the local businesses need to improve their quality and competitiveness to expand their market share in the US market, said Hoe.
VASEP reported in the first four months of this year that Vietnam gained a growth of 13.8 per cent in shrimp exports to US$1 billion against the same period last year, but the value of exports in April reduced slightly, 0.4 per cent year-on-year, to $275 million. The reduction was due to a drop in the export price, high supply and a plunge in the volume of shrimp exports to the US and China.
Last year, Vietnam achieved a growth in shrimp exports in most export markets, excluding the US. The shrimp exports to the US fell eight per cent year-on-year mainly due to high anti-dumping tariffs.
- Baton Rouge, New Orleans Business Briefs for Dec. 29, 2019
- Rafferty Law cuddles up to his mother Sadie Frost as they enjoy some quality together in the Cotswolds in rare snap during brief break from filming Twist
- 17 dead, 18 missing, 1,400 homes lost, 5 million hectares burned and 500 million animals dead: What you need to know about Australia's bushfire crisis - as tens of thousands flee ahead of apocalyptic conditions on Saturday
- Bailout: Governors reject FG’s N162m monthly repayment plan
- Adam Neumann got a sweet $1.6-billion WeWork exit package. It could get sweeter
- Macy’s woes; Amazon’s loss; Google’s apparent win; a bot for dogs
- Double-dip recession affords George Osborne no escape from this reality
- Nestle wraps up share buyback, cooks up another
- Pork scarce mars year of economic wonders in Vietnam
- Pork scarcity mars year of economic wonders in Vietnam