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Nearly a third of local sugar plants shut down

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A farmer harvests sugarcane. Nearly a third of domestic sugar plants have shut down – PHOTO: THANH HOA

HANOI – Only 29 of 40 local sugar plants remained operational in the 2019-2020 season due to a high volume of sugar imports and the deployment of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) with lower tax rates for sugar imports from ASEAN markets, according to the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA).

The 2020-2021 season is forecast to be a hard time for the sugar sector, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic remains a big challenge. Four more sugar mills—Son Duong, Nong Cong, Van Phat and Pho Phong—are likely to stop their operations due to a shortage of input materials, resulting in their poor performance.

The local sugar sector has been hit for many years due to the smuggling of sugar, mainly from Thailand.

Meanwhile, other ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, despite commitments to the ATIGA, have still employed measures to protect their sugar firms.

Vietnam has fulfilled its commitments to the agreement since January 1 by setting no limits on the volume of sugar imports from ASEAN countries and applying a tax rate of 5% for sugar imports from these markets.

According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, nearly 884,300 tons of sugar was imported into the country in the January-October period of this year, higher than the locally-produced volume of sugar. Of the total, sugar from Thailand accounted for 87.67%.

Due to a high volume of low-cost sugar imports, the prices of local sugar products have plunged, leading to low sugarcane prices. As a result, many farmers have incurred debts and stopped growing sugarcane.

In reality, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into sugar products that originate from Thailand in September. The ministry had earlier imposed anti-dumping measures on high-fructose corn syrup products originating from China and South Korea.

According to VSSA, Thailand has banned sugar imports, while Indonesia and the Philippines have allowed the import of a volume of sugar equivalent to the deficiency in volume.

In these three countries, sugarcane farmers are supported through direct and indirect aid and the profit sharing system to ensure they earn a stable income.

Specifically, the Thai Government annually provides at least US$1.3 billion to the sugar sector.

Therefore, Nguyen Van Loc, acting general secretary of VSSA, proposed Vietnam should apply trade remedies in line with the international law and rules of the World Trade Organization.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/79609/nearly-a-third-of-local-sugar-plants-shut-down.html

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Vietnam Airlines receives multimillion-dollar bailout package as state investment

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State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the investment arm of the Vietnamese government, is looking to funnel VND8 trillion (US$347 million) into the charter capital of the flagship air carrier Vietnam Airlines.

On Thursday, Nguyen Chi Thanh, CEO of SCIC, revealed that the state-owned company is working with Vietnam Airlines to settle the share prices for the airline’s incoming offerings.

As per the government’s Resolution 194 on the bailout for Vietnam Airlines in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the air carrier is allowed to offer more shares to existing shareholders to increase its charter capital. The government has assigned the SCIC to buy shares of Vietnam Airlines.

While Vietnam Airlines is devising the plan to increase its capital via share offering before submitting it for appraisal of the State Securities Committee, SCIC is working to set an offering price that matches the market evaluation, Thanh said.

According to the SCIC leader, in order to set a proper price, Vietnam Airlines must figure out its corporate value, which in turn requires a business plan for no less than five years.

However, the business has yet to provide a long-term business plan as its future are still kept in limbo, with the date for resumption of international flights – a significant baseline for the plan – is still largely uncertain.

“As the development of the pandemic on the world remains unpredictable, it is hard to establish a business plan for Vietnam Airlines. Without it, we can’t assess the value of the company. Only when Vietnam Airlines returns on international routes can its business operation recover,’ Thanh remarked.

On behalf of SCIC, Thanh suggested enlisting the help of a reliable international auditing firm to assess the corporate value of Vietnam Airlines.

Meanwhile, SCIC will continue working closely with the airline and report to the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises as well as other relevant authorities to ensure the efficiency and lawfulness of the investment process.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20210116/vietnam-airlines-receives-multimilliondollar-bailout-package-as-state-investment/58820.html

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Think tank forecasts 6.46 percent growth for Vietnam

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Think tank forecasts 6.46 percent growth for Vietnam

A container ship docks at Ben Nghe Port in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Claudine Van Massenhove.


A government think tank has pegged economic growth at 6.46 percent this year thanks to the country’s success in containing the Covid-19 outbreak and maintaining stability.

Vietnam is one of the fastest recovering economies in Asia, the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) said in a report.

In the best case scenario, credit growth would be 13 percent against 10.1 percent last year, it said.

But it also warned of risks that could hamper growth, like the unpredictable global economic situation as the pandemic situation remains severe in many countries and possible anti-dumping and countervailing investigations by the U.S. and other countries.

Several international organizations have forecast a strong recovery for Vietnam this year, with lender HSBC forecasting growth of 7.6 percent. The International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank have forecast 6.5 percent and 6.1 percent growth.

The government has set a target of 6.5 percent.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/economy/think-tank-forecasts-6-46-percent-growth-for-vietnam-4221938.html

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SCIC to invest VND8 trillion in Vietnam Airlines

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A Vietnam Airlines plane – PHOTO: ANH QUAN

HCMC – The Government’s investment arm, State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), plans to invest VND8 trillion in Vietnam Airlines, SCIC general director Nguyen Chi Thanh announced on January 14.

In accordance with the Government’s Resolution 194 on supporting Vietnam Airlines to overcome difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the national flag carrier will issue shares to its existing stakeholders to raise its charter capital. SCIC would represent the Government, which owns 86% of the national flag carrier, to buy the shares.

Thanh said Vietnam Airlines is drawing up the share issuance plan, which will be submitted to the State Securities Commission of Vietnam for consideration, and working with SCIC to determine the issue price.

According to the SCIC leader, to determine the issue price, Vietnam Airlines and SCIC have to evaluate the carrier’s enterprise value, which is based on its business plan for the next at least five years.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is still developing complicatedly globally, making it hard to determine Vietnam Airlines’ business plan. We cannot evaluate the carrier’s enterprise value without the business plan,” Thanh said.

SCIC has selected a world-renowned audit firm to help evaluate the enterprise value of Vietnam Airlines. SCIC is also working with the airline, the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises and other relevant agencies to ensure effective, careful and lawful investment in Vietnam Airlines.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/80183/scic-to-invest-vnd8-trillion-in-vietnam-airlines.html

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