Vietnam, EU reiterate commitment to trade, investment deals
The Vietnamese Government and the European Commission (EC) have pledged to carry out the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) in a timely and effective manner.
The commitment is expressed in a joint statement issued by Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Cecilia Malmström following their meeting on October 19 in Brussels on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM 12).
The statement said the Vietnamese Government is preparing plans to fulfill obligations under the free trade agreements while the EC stands ready to support the necessary reforms and adjustments through technical assistance.
Both sides acknowledged the relevance of the trade and sustainable development chapter of the FTA and agreed to jointly promote initiatives in this field, including the ratification of the outstanding fundamental ILO conventions.
At their meeting, both sides spoke highly of the efforts and advancement made after completing the legal review process for the two free trade pacts last summer. The Vietnamese minister lauded the European Commission for its approval and submission of the deals to the European Council for approval on October 17.
Tuyen Quang seeks investment, cooperation chances from Czech Republic
A delegation of the northern province of Tuyen Quang led by Deputy Chairman of its People’s Committee Tran Ngoc Thuc has held a working session with leading officials of Pardubice province of the Czech Republic to explore chances of cooperation and investment between the two localities.
During the session on October 19 in Pardubice city, the two sides briefed each other of their potential and strength. A representative of the Czech province said Southeast Asia in general, and Vietnam in particular, is the region of the choice of Pardubice enterprises for investment. He also pointed out that the first issue is that enterprises of the two localities need to be bridged and updated so that they can come to know the needs of the other side as well as their laws, cultures, practices, potential and specific situations.
Representatives of a number of Pardubice enterprises said they are ready to transfer the technology if Vietnamese companies are interested in, as the country is a very good location for development thanks to its abundant sources of materials for production in service of both domestic consumption and export.
For his part, Thuc highlighted the points in common between the two provinces, including those in population, area, cooperation potential, especially in tourism. Tuyen Quang calls for attention from investors, especially from Pardubice, to agriculture and tourism, Thuc stressed, adding the details of cooperation will be discussed through proper channels.
Pardubice is located in the central part of the Czech Republic, about 140km from Prague, and has a population of half a million. Covering an area of over 4,500 square kilometres, the province boasts strong points in industry, mining, chemicals, electric applicances, electronics and tourism. The Vietnamese community there numbers about 1.500.
Gala reviews Proud of Vietnamese Goods programme
The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade held a gala in Hanoi on October 21 to review the “Vietnamese Goods Identification – Proud of Vietnamese Goods” programme.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said it is the fourth consecutive year the programme has been held to raise public awareness of producing, distributing and consuming Vietnamese goods.
Launched in the beginning of this year, the programme has fulfilled set targets, including promoting the popularity of Vietnamese consumer goods to millions of customers, he said, adding that support has been provided for Vietnamese firms to seek proper banking, infrastructure and technological solution services, thereby improving their competitiveness.
He said the Vietnamese Goods Development Partners’ Conference held in HCM City on October 11 attracted nearly 400,000 businesspeople, including CEO of leading Vietnamese enterprises, global suppliers and local suppliers of equipment, materials and specialties.
In addition, conferences on popularising models of supplying key Vietnamese goods in industrial and processing zones in Quang Ninh and Can Tho also created a bridge between businesses and millions of workers in many localities.
Hai said the ministry will continue holding activities to realise Decision No.634/QD-TTg dated April 29, 2014 on approving the domestic market development project in combination with the campaign “Vietnamese people prioritise Vietnamese goods”.
Ngo Sach Thuc, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, lauded the ministry for building Vietnamese consumption culture and helping produce quality and competitive goods to meet domestic demand and export.
The ministry also popularised the programme via the social media, thus attracting millions of consumers, he said.
Thuc said the Steering Committee on the campaign set the goal that by 2020, all consumers and businesses will become aware of the campaign; all centrally-run cities, provinces, ministries, departments and socio-political organisations will build the media channel “Proud of Vietnamese goods”; Vietnamese goods will account for 80 percent of market shares in traditional distribution channels in remote, mountainous and rural areas; all centrally-run cities and provinces will build stable points of sale and basically complete data on the network of Vietnamese goods distribution in 63 cities and provinces nationwide.
He urged the ministry to help enterprises improve the competitiveness of their products and services as well as deliver commitments to protecting consumers’ interests and building national trademark for Vietnamese goods.
At the gala, seminars on measures to win the heart of Vietnamese consumers and connectivity to develop Vietnamese goods were also held.
Vietnam’s food industry seeks cooperation opportunities in Europe
About 30 Vietnamese enterprises are showcasing their products at the Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (SIAL), the world’s largest food innovation exhibition, in Paris from October 21-25.
They bring to the event such products as vegetables and fruit, pepper, cinnamon, cashew nuts, honey, rice and rice products, which are Vietnam’s major export staples.
Agrotex Vietnam JSC that specialises in pepper and cinnamon hopes that it will win many contracts with European partners during its first-time participation in the exhibition.
Reindert Kekker, from the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said European food and beverage importers have paid more attention to Vietnamese products and highly valued those introduced at the exhibition.
Vietnamese businesses have closely coordinated with local farmers to turn out high-quality products like pepper, honey and cashew nuts, meeting increasing demands of European customers, he said.
Vietnam’s participation at the biennial event forms part of activities within the national trade promotion programme and the programme on building brand names of Vietnamese food.
SIAL Paris brings together thousands of businesses from about 200 countries, and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to seek cooperation opportunities.
Central Vietnam promotes tourism in Singapore
IZ purchase brings An Phat Holdings closer to $1 billion revenue goal
The An Phat complex has gained a new lease on life
By taking over Viet Hoa-Kenmark Industrial Zone (IZ), An Phat Holdings expects to actualise its billion-dollar revenue goal in 2018.
After winning at the auction organised by Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) in March this year, An Phat became the new owner of Viet Hoa-Kenmark IZ and renamed the IZ to An Phat Complex Hi-Tech IZ.
An Phat Hi-Tech JSC, now An Phat Hi-Tech Industrial Park Ltd., a subsidiary of An Phat Plastic & Green Environment JSC (HSX: AAA), was established in October 2017 with the charter capital of VND100 billion ($4.42 million).
After receiving the IZ, AAA and An Phat Holdings focus on investing in the production of high-tech, eco-friendly plastic products such as biodegradable bags and high-tech PVC construction materials, with a total investment capital of VND2.05 trillion ($90.97 billion) and 6,000 employees.
At present, works are being carried out by the enterprise with the aim of completing the repair of the industrial park infrastructure and the five workshops by December this year. It is expected that the whole block will be completely renovated and eligible for business in July 2020.
An Phat Holdings also revealed that the firm expects to achieve the $1 billion revenue in 2018 in all sectors. By taking over IZ, An Phat Holdings will attract domestic and foreign investors and actualise its billion-dollar goal.
An Phat Holdings also revealed that the firm expects to achieve the $1 billion revenue in 2018 in all sectors. By taking over IZ, An Phat Holdings will attract domestic and foreign investors and actualise its billion-dollar goal.
The firm also determined that the project’s life cycle is about 39 years (2018-2056) and the payback period is 10 years and six months. The revenue of the Industrial Park will mainly come from the lease of land available with infrastructure for 40 years and completed workshops, while the rest comes from the collection of wastewater treatment fees and infrastructure charges.
Looking at the ongoing projects in the plastics industry, An Phat Complex Hi-Tech IZ is considered a promising corporation.
16 years since its establishment in 2002 with the charter capital of only VND500 million ($22,100), An Phat has a stable position in business and is now a corporation with 2,500 employees and 11 subsidiaries.
In 2017, the thin film packaging production of An Phat Holdings reached 8,000 tonnes per month, which made the firm the largest manufacturer and exporter of plastic films in Southeast Asia, with 100 per cent products exported.
Viet Hoa-Kenmark IZ was licensed in 2005 with the scale of over 46 hectares in Viet Hoa, Hai Duong. The developer Kenmark Group from Taiwan promised to inject $500 million to turn the empty land into a mammoth IZ.
According to the plan, in the first phase, Kenmark was set to disburse about $98.4 million. However, after three years of deployment and building infrastructure, including a wastewater treatment plant and 13 factories, in 2010, the developer abruptly returned home, suspending the project without further notice.
The problem is that previously Kenmark borrowed $67.6 million from three banks ($39.1 million from BIDV, $18.5 million from SHB, and $10 million from Habubank). Subsequently, Habubank was merged with SHB, who inherited Habubank’s loans.
BIDV also put the IZ on sale numerous times to recover the loans, but failed until the auction on March 2018, where An Phat Hi-Tech Joint Stock Company paid a price equalling the starting price of the auction (VND756.45 billion – $33.47 million), resolving “the blood clot” that Hai Duong authorities were anxious to remove for years.
Now it all rides on An Phat Holding to turn the tides and revive the IZ to gradually realise its billion-dollar revenue target.
Hanoi steps up efforts to attract investment in IZs
Hanoi is supporting enterprises to deeply understand new customs and tax regulations in order to minimise risks in export-import activity, boosting investment in local industrial zones (IZs).
According to deputy head of Hanoi Industrial and Export Processing Zones Management Authority Nguyen Duc Quang, there are nine active IZs in Hanoi, with another one preparing to call for investment.
IZs in Hanoi are expected to attract $230 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, and increase revenue to $1.77 billion.
Agreeing with Quang, although investment has boosted the growth of IZs and made valuable contributions to the city’s socioeconomic development, there are still insufficiencies in land clearance, the leasing price of land, and procedures. Especially, limited information on tax incentives and customs regulations has been limiting investments in Hanoi’s IZs.
The Master Plan on Hanoi’s IZ Development until 2020 set out a schedule to develop 17 industrial and hi-tech parks on a land area of 3,500 hectares.
According to Quang, to support business and manufacturing activities as well as extricate enterprises operating in IPs from difficulties, the management board has been trying to improve administrative formalities, for instance, by issuing Certificates of Origin (C/O) within two hours by 3rd level public services (the service which enables applicants to fill in and submit all documents online, but make payment and receive results directly at supply units), reducing the time and cost of 18 administrative formalities by 25 per cent, curtailing the number of administrative formalities to 77.
Moreover, they are also making efforts to approach and give timely support to enterprises to acces incentiveswhen investing in the IZs.
According to a representative of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, businesses should have clear understanding of customs regulations for smooth import-export flows and to eliminate possible risks.
Concurrently, it is essential to have a thorough grasp of customs clearance, pending customs process, and separating release from clearance procedures. Besides, entrepreneurs should also note some of the mistakes in customs declaration.
The Master Plan on Hanoi’s IZ Development until 2020 set out a schedule to develop 17 industrial and hi-tech parks on a land area of 3,500 hectares.
To avoid these errors, the General Department of Vietnam Customs spent much time on guiding enterprises, simultaneously simplifying formalities and regulations. Besides, the department also implemented VNACCS/VCIS (Vietnam Automated Cargo And Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Intelligence Information System) to reduce the time and paperwork.
Regarding tax incentives for enterprises operating in IPs, Duong Thu Huong, deputy head of the Hanoi Department of Taxation’s Taxpayer Support Bureau said, according to present laws, Corporate Income Tax (CIT) incentives are granted to newly-registered projects and added-capital projects which meet the criteria of the locality.
Accordingly, enterprises will be able to access tax incentives when they invest in the sectors of education, healthcare, and environmental protection, among others.
Besides, the CIT incentive policy is also applied in IZs and industrial clusters.
Huong also remarked that CIT incentives available for projects in encouraged sectors do not apply to any other income, except for income which directly relates to the incentivised activities (such as disposal of scrap) or income derived from business and production contracts in encouraged locations.
“Keeping up with the latest information on tax policies, taxable objects, tax exemptions, and incentive policies helps enterprises to ensure their own interests, which encourages investment, stepping up production and businessin Hanoi,” she added.
Deputy director of the Hanoi Promotion Agency Nguyen Ngoc Tu stated, “Hanoi is always on the side of businesses and supports them in time to study new customs and tax policies, minimising risks and confusion, thence, creating an advanced investment environment, attracting investment in IZs at the location.”
SSC fines Haxaco and Phuong Nam for weak reporting
The State Securities Commission (SSC) has just issued a decision to impose administrative fines of VND60 million ($2,654) and VND240 million ($10,619) on Hang Xanh Car Service JSC (Haxaco)—a local dealer of Mercedes—and Phuong Nam Cultural JSC, respectively, for incorrect reporting.
Accordingly, Haxaco has violated regulations by not mentioning the firms related to its business in its corporate governance reports in 2016 and 2017. The firms include Can Tho Car Mechanic JSC, PTM Car Service and Trade Manufacturing JSC, and even several individuals making transactions with the firm.
Haxaco is the first and biggest dealer of Mercedes in Vietnam, holding 30 per cent of Mercedes’ market share in the country.
In early October, SSC also decided to impose a fine of $10,619 on Phuong Nam Cultural JSC for announcing its financial information after the deadline stipulated by the regulations of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX) and SSC.
Accordingly, the information in question includes the separate and unified financial statements for 2016’s second half, 2017’s first quarter, 2017’s first half, and the document explaining 2016’s business results.
Phuong Nam also announced false information related to its profit after corporate income tax and corporate management fees.
Over the past few years, Phuong Nam’s business performance has been poor. Especially, in 2017, the firm announced record losses of VND66.4 billion ($2.93 million), raising its accumulated losses to VND106 billion ($4.69 million).
Along with this, its long-term debt from Cross Junction Investment (CJI) also forced Phuong Nam to sell its most efficient investment, CJ CGV, at a price equalling only 60 per cent of what the stakes were worth seven years ago.
Three markets with highest export growth in 9 months
India, China and the Republic of Korea (RoK) were the three export markets of Vietnam posting the highest export growth of more than 20% during the first nine months of this year, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Vietnam’s exports to the RoK increased by 26.1% to US$13.45 billion while exports to China surged 29.9% to US$28.81 billion respectfully. Exports to India obtained an impressive growth of 88.6% to US$5.18 billion.
The Vietnam Customs reported that the country’s exports hit US$179.47 billion in nine months, a year-on-year rise of an incredible 15.8%. Seven groups of products achieved high export growth, including telephones and components; garments; computers, electronics and components; machines, equipment and tools; steel; cameras and components and footwear.
In the opposite direction, the country’s imports grew 11.6% to US$173.14 billion with 30 groups of key products having an import value of more than US$1 billion each. 45 out of 58 key markets with import values of more than US$100 million in nine months had positive growth.
China remained the largest supplier of goods to Vietnam with a value of US$47.26 billion in the period, up 12.9% against the same period last year. Major products that Vietnam imported were machines, equipment, and tools (up 5.7%), telephones and components (up 7.5%) and computers, electronics and components (up 7.8%).
HCM City upscale apartment sales much higher than Hanoi
Phu Tho now among most developed northern mountainous provinces
From a small-scale economy and disaster-prone province, Phu Tho has grown to become the second most developed province in the northern midland and mountainous region after implementing the local 18th Party Congress’ resolution for only half of the 2015-2020 tenure.
The announcement was made at the 15th meeting of the province’s 18th-tenure Party Committee in the beginning of October.
In his remarks at the event, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Hoang Dan Mac said the province’s 18th Party Congress for the 2015-2020 tenure outlined four key breakthroughs in economic development, which are infrastructure investment, public administrative reform, human resources development, and tourism. It has also set 20 main objectives, five tasks, and nine key solutions to boost local socio-economic development towards sustainability.
The provincial Party Committee has adopted 43 resolutions related to individual sectors, 12 action programmes, and a number of guiding documents, tailored to fit the context of each district.
Half way of the tenure, Phu Tho has achieved and exceeded nine out of 20 objectives, while the implementation of 11 others are in progress and are expected to be completed by 2020.
The local economy has seen strong growths over the last three years with positive economic restructuring and the GDP expanding 1.32 times compared to 2015. Investment in infrastructure development has also increased to create a great push for the province’s socio-economic growth.
Last year, the province’s total export value rose 36.8 percent year-on-year to 1.3 billion USD, with the highest figures seen in shipments of garment and textiles, sport shoes, plastic, and processed tea. This was the second time that its export revenue had surpassed 1 billion USD. Of the total amount, 1.1 billion USD was contributed by foreign-invested companies.
Notably, the local culture has also marked a remarkable achievement as the unique art of Xoan singing was transferred to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2017 in recognition for efforts by the local communities to reinforce its popularity.
Closely linked to the worship of the Hung Kings, Xoan singing is a religious practice rooted in the ancestral worship of the Vietnamese people. It is traditionally performed during the first two months of the lunar calendar in holy places such as temples, sanctuaries, and communal houses.
There are three forms of Xoan singing: worship singing for the Hung kings and village guardian spirits; ritual singing for good crops, health, and luck; and festival singing where villagers alternate male and female voices in a form of courtship.
The musical tradition used to be inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011 due to the declining appreciation of the genre amongst young people.
According to the Party Committee, the province has accelerated public administrative reform and cut back thousands of jobs in the public service sector to enhance efficiency. Some 17,300 part-time civil servants working for residential areas and 570 full-time governmental employees across the province have been let go of, while governmental units have been merged or dissolved to reduce the total from 97 to 32.
Phu Tho has focused on capacity building for grassroots Party committees and recruiting new Party members. More than 3,200 people have joined the Communist Party each year, exceeding the congress’ target.
It has also worked hard to maintain and consolidate local defence and security, as well as promoting thrift and the prevention of wastefulness and corruption.
Inspection and supervision at Party committees at all levels have been strengthened in a regular and comprehensive manner with the focus on “sensitive” areas or “hot” issues of public interest.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Bui Minh Chau said Phu Tho will further strive to implement four breakthroughs and foster better coordination between relevant state agencies to remove barriers for enterprises, encourage the application of new technologies, diversify products, and improve local competitiveness.
The province will also continue to develop commercial farming and forestry in tandem with supply chains and agricultural restructuring, as well as build new-style rural areas with sustainable poverty reduction. Additionally, it plans to promptly settle complaints and denunciations over Party members and organisations.
Vietjet launches Da Nang – Bangkok route
Low-cost carrier Vietjet’s first flight on the Da Nang – Bangkok route safely landed on October 15.
The direct daily flight connecting Da Nang and Bangkok is the 7th route connecting Vietnam and Thailand, in line with the most routes and frequency between these two countries including Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Lat, Da Nang to Bangkok, direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai and Phuket.
The daily flight service from Da Nang to Bangkok departs Da Nang at 13:35 pm and arrives in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi airport) at 15:15 pm, while the flight in the opposite direction departs Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi airport) at 11:10 am and arrives in Da Nang at 12:50 pm (All in local time). Each flight takes 1 hour and 40 minutes.
On the occasion, Vietjet is offering three thousand shock fare tickets with the campaign ‘It’s time to Vietjet!’ with one-way price from only VND 68,000 (excluding taxes, fees) only for booking from October15 – 17, 2018, during the golden hours from 12:00 to 14:00 (GMT+7) on the airline’s website: www.vietjetair.com (also compatible with smartphones at https://m.vietjetair.com) or www.facebook.com/vietjetthailand (just click the “Book Now” tab). Payment can be easily made with international debit and credit cards, including Visa/ MasterCard/ AMEX/ JCB/ KCP/Union. The promotion is valid for travel from October 16, 2018 to March 30, 2019.
VinaChem Expo in HCMC next month
The Vietnam International Exhibition on Chemical Industry (Vinachem Expo 2018) will be held in HCM City from November 28 to December 1, offering a platform for domestic and foreign businesses to exchange information and explore business opportunities.
More than 80 local and foreign exhibitors at 150 booths will display the latest technology and equipment used in the agricultural chemical industry, fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals used for textiles, dyeing, painting, coatings and waterproofing.
Within the framework of the 13th exhibition, the Department of Plant Protection, Chemicals Agency in collaboration with industry associations will organise seminars and conferences on the chemical, painting and coatings industries, along with visits to industrial parks and factories in HCM City and neighbouring provinces and meetings with businesses in the fields of chemicals, fertilisers and plant protection.
Organised by the Viet Nam Advertisement and Fair Exhibition JSC (Vietfair) in collaboration with other organisations, the annual exhibition aims to enhance trade promotion and co-operation between local and foreign businesses in the chemical sector.
VinaChem Expo is organised together with the 10th International Paint Industry and Coating Material Exhibition (Vina Coatings) at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Hyundai Thanh Cong recalls over 11,500 Grand i10s units
Hyundai Thanh Cong is recalling 11,540 locally assembled Grand i10 cars because the bolts in the crankshaft pulley are at risk of fracturing.
According to a report from the Vietnam Register, the recall campaign includes sedans and hatchback models of the Hyundai Grand i10 manufactured by Hyundai Thanh Cong from June 7, 2017 to March 31, 2018.
The recall campaign will be conducted nationwide to fix the error, and the costs will be covered by Hyundai Thanh Cong.
After importing the vehicles for a long time, the company invested in a manufacturing line and started assembling the models at its factory in the northern province of Ninh Binh in July 2017.
The Hyundai Grand i10 is one of the best-selling cars in Viet Nam with 1,572 units sold in September this year, bringing total sales to 17,792 units in the first nine months of 2018.
Licogi 16 earns $70m after-tax profit in nine months
Licogi 16 Joint Stock Company (Licogi 16) posted consolidated sales of nearly VND1.62 trillion (US$69.38 million) in the first nine months of 2018, a year-on-year increase of 93 per cent.
Of which, revenue from construction and other sales accounted for 80 per cent, while the rest came from real estate.
The parent company’s after-tax profit from January to September was VND93 billion, up 75.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.
On October 12, Licogi 16 signed a cooperation agreement with Nikko Sekuritas Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s biggest investment banking firms. The coordination includes implementing two construction projects in Indonesia – a $50-million financial tower in Jakarta and a 6.7km highway with estimated capital of $200 million. At the same time, Nikko would invest $50 million into Licogi 16’s 50MW solar energy project in central Viet Nam.
Nikko is currently a founding shareholder of Licogi 16. Through its two financial companies, Lucerne Enterprise Ltd and Ns Advisory Inc Pte, Nikko holds 26.47 per cent of Licogi shares after the private placement in January of this year.
Licogi 16 in early September announced the purchase of two million shares to reduce the number of shares in circulation, increasing shareholder value. Time for purchasing was from September 14 to October 13.
Credit growth must be controlled
Authorities need to closely control the rapid increase in Viet Nam’s credit-to-GDP gap so as not to cause high inflation as in the past, experts have warned.
Reports from Saigon Securities Inc (SSI)’s retail research division showed high credit growth has pushed total outstanding loans of credit institutions to VND7 quadrillion (US$299.15 billion), equal to 130 per cent of the country’s GDP against the 100 per cent rate at the end of 2014.
With the rise, the credit-to-GDP gap has increased in the past few years, from negative growth in 2014 to 30 per cent in 2018 the report noted, adding that the rate is much higher than that of other countries including Thailand (6.1 per cent), Indonesia (6.8 per cent), China (12.7 per cent) and the Republic of Korea (-2.4 per cent).
“The rapid increase in the credit-to-GDP gap is a risk indicator that needs to be controlled so as not to cause inflation as it did in 2008 and 2010,” SSI analysts said.
The warning was made in the context that the CPI in the first nine months of 2018 increased 3.2 per cent compared to end of 2017, the highest increase in recent years.
According to the analysts, the policy of stabilising exchange rates and curbing domestic inflation needs to be prioritised as it is very difficult to control external factors, such as crude oil price or US dollar value. Credit growth should be tightened to reduce liquidity pressure, narrow the credit-to-GDP gap and keep inflation at a reasonable rate.
Banking expert Pham The Anh said that as Viet Nam has overcome the downturn and is recovering, the country should focus on sustained growth and avoid excessive reliance on credit as before.
According to Anh, the 6.7 per cent GDP growth target this year has almost been reached so, monetary policy needs to shift from growth support to inflation caution as inflationary pressure is the biggest risk for the economy in the rest of the year.
The central bank should limit the money supply to the economy and lower the 17 per cent annual credit growth target to 12-14 per cent this year, Anh recommended.
Previously, the International Monetary Fund also warned Viet Nam’s credit growth was too high, suggesting the country should lower the rate from the current 17 per cent to below 14 per cent to reinforce macroeconomic stability.
HN aims to collect $55.5m a day
The Ha Noi State Treasury set a target to collect VND1.3 trillion (US$55.5 miilion) per day, said Dao Thai Phuc, director of the Ha Noi State Treasury at a meeting on Saturday.
The capital city of Ha Noi targeted collection of VND238.4 trillion this year, a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent.
However, according to the Ha Noi State Treasury, the total state budget collection through the Ha Noi State Treasury was VND161.5 trillion as of Saturday, accounting for 67.7 per cent of the year’s plan.
The budget spending through the Ha Noi State Treasury was VND79.7 trillion.
The Ha Noi State Treasury had put forward a number of measures to complete the budget collection, such as co-ordinating closely with the city’s tax department and customs department to speed up the collection for the State budget and continuing to urge payment, the director said.
In terms of State budget spending, the Ha Noi State Treasury would actively co-ordinate with investors to remove obstacles and complete procedures for payment to accelerate the disbursement process of investment projects and reach the central and local target programmes, he said.
Ta Anh Tuan, general director of the Viet Nam State Treasury, asked the Ha Noi State Treasury to boost administrative reforms and expand, modernise and digitise the collection points.
Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the Ha Noi’s People’s Committee, said that some collection sources in the area was were becoming less lucrative as export-import tariff lines were cut. He demanded the sectors of treasury, taxation, finance, planning and investment of the city co-ordinate smoothly in the process of budget collection.
He asked the mentioned branches to boost the application of information technology, towards digitising documents to reduce procedures for agencies and enterprises.
The chairman of the Ha Noi’s People’s Committee also suggested the capital city’s State Treasury co-ordinate with the relevant agencies to pilot collection using scratchcards to help people, enterprises and organisations reduce time and effort when paying the State budget.
Bình Dương attracts more FDI
Binh Duong Province as of September has attracted more than 3,430 FDI projects with over US$31.4 billion of registered funds, ranking among the top three in the country in FDI attraction, after HCM City and Ha Noi.
Nguyen Thanh Truc, director of Binh Duong’s Department of Planning and Investment, said that more foreign companies were investing in the province and looking for Vietnamese business partners.
The province’s road infrastructure and its 29 industrial parks have also developed strongly in recent years.
Last year, FDI companies contributed to 48.5 per cent of the province’s investments and over 82.8 per cent of its exports, according to Truc.
Binh Duong is the newest member of the World Technopolis Association which helps members apply advanced technologies in regional development.
The province was also chosen to host the 2018 World Technopolis Association Summit on October 10.
Tran Thanh Liem, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said that membership in the association would help Binh Duong improve its technology capability and become a smart city.
Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of the board of Becamex IDC Corp (Binh Duong-based conglomerate), said the province’s reputation as an attractive area for investment has lured many multinationals.
For instance, the industrial parks of a joint-venture between Singapore-based Sembcorp Development (which specialises in urban development) and Becamex IDC have attracted over $9 billion from 630 businesses in 60 countries and territories.
Bac Ninh licenses 148 new projects
So far this year, authorities of the northern province of Bac Ninh have licensed 148 new investment projects worth 376.154 million USD.
The province also allowed 94 existing projects to increase their capital by over 652.1 million USD and revoked 17 projects with a combined investment capital of more than 153 million USD.
At present, as many as 1,275 foreign-invested projects from 32 countries and territories are operating in Bac Ninh.
In July alone, the province issued new investment registration certificates for 20 FDI projects with a total registered capital of more than 120.5 million USD, and allowed nine projects to increase capital totalling 62.6 million USD.
Foreign investors poured their money into 13 out of the 21 sectors in Bac Ninh.
The processing and manufacturing industry attracted the largest amount of foreign investment, with 902 projects worth over 15 billion USD, accounting for 93.5 percent of the total investment in the locality.
It is followed by the fields of real estate and construction, and warehouse transportation.
Large investment projects of Bac Ninh include the ultra-clear laminated glass factory project in Yen Phong Industrial Park, a film and membrane production plant in Que Vo III Industrial Park and Lotte Cinema Bac Ninh.
Local authorities have focused on promoting the economic restructuring, and devised policies to attract more FDI to hi-tech sectors and products which create high added values.
Transparency for Cai Lay Tollgate is a must: expert
Discussing the controversial Cai Lay Tollgate in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, an expert has noted that if an extra tollgate is built on the bypass alongside the current one on National Highway 1A to collect toll fees, it is vital to publish the relevant information in a transparent manner.
The operator of Cai Lay Tollgate, National Highway No.1 Tien Giang Investment Co., Ltd, built a 12-kilometer road bypassing Cai Lay Town and gave a facelift to a 26.5-kilometer section of National Highway 1, which runs through Cai Lay Town in Tien Giang, under the build-operate-transfer format.
The company set up a tollgate on National Highway 1 to recover capital of roughly VND1.7 trillion, but since toll collection started, in August 2017, drivers have staged strong protests, repeatedly paralyzing the tollgate’s operation.
Drivers reasoned that the investor had only built the bypass, so it only had the right to collect tolls on vehicles that use this road section. They considered it unreasonable to charge vehicles running elsewhere on National Highway 1A and found the toll fee too high, as it is almost the same as the fee for using the 40-kilometer HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway.
In December 2017, following more protests, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the suspension of the tollgate operation and called on the transport ministry to seek solutions.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong stated at a Government press conference on Monday that his ministry was weighing the pros and cons of two solutions.
The first solution is to keep the tollgate at the current site and offer special discounts for vehicles with fewer than 12 seats, trucks weighing less than two tons and commuter buses, with a fee reduction from VND35,000 to VND15,000 per trip.
The second solution is to build another tollgate on the bypass alongside the current one on National Highway 1A. The current fares will be applied to both tollgates.
These two solutions include fare reductions and exemptions for households living within 10 kilometers of the tollgate.
Following a recent meeting with the People’s Committee of Tien Giang, the local government was in favor of the second option to ensure more fairness, according to Deputy Minister Dong.
He said that the ministry will continue to improve these options and further assesses their effects, as well as work with the relevant agencies such as the Ministries of Public Security and Information and Communications to have the final solution based on the instructions of the Prime Minister.
A transport expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, told The Saigon Times that the main issue is to make relevant information available to the public.
He pointed out that investment capital should be made public for all construction work, including the construction of the new bypass and the facelift of the national highway. Besides this, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam should present solutions to update data on the number of vehicles travelling through the two tollgates.
These steps will act as the basis for determining capital recovery and the toll collection period at each tollgate.
Nguyen Van Phuong, a truck driver transporting goods between the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and HCMC, echoed the same views as the expert. He noted that the second option could be optimal. “It is necessary to publicize information on investment capital for each construction component and traffic circulation volume,” he said.
Saigon shopping malls moving out of downtown: property consultancy
Shopping malls are mushrooming outside Ho Chi Minh City’s central business district, a new report by Jones Lang LaSalle Vietnam says.
The real estate service firm (JLL) said the most prominent example is Landmark 81 in Binh Thanh District, which opened in the third quarter with 46,000 square meters of retail space. The tallest building in Vietnam has retail outlets of many major international and domestic brands.
This year there will be more new entrants in the non-CBD area such as Estella Place (District 2), Cong Hoa Garden (Tan Binh District) and TTC Plaza (Binh Thanh District).
Retail space in the non-CBD area currently accounts for 80% of the total supply in the city and the ratio will remain to be on the rise in the coming time, JLL said.
The current rental rate in the city retail market is US$46.2 per square meter per month, down 0.2% quarter-on-quarter and 0.7% year-on-year.
But in the non-CBD area, it is only at US$37.
According to JLL, though supply of retail space is booming in the suburbs, international brands and major financial players continue to prefer the downtown area.
Therefore, with the increasing supply of retail space outside the CBD area, the competitive pressure of the locations in the non-CBD area will be more fierce in future.
It warned that with the rise of e-commerce, retailers would need to focus on creating new shopping experiences to survive.
The Vietnamese e-commerce market grew by 25% last year and is expected to maintain this rate for the next three years, according to the Vietnam E-Commerce Association.
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