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Online commerce is on the rise



Under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, commercial transactions in the last year have had to adapt to an online form.

Xúc tiến thương mại trực tuyến lên ngôi

As the oldest and most prestigious trade promotion event in Vietnam over the past 30 years, for the first time, the Vietnam Expo 2020 could not be held as usual last year. In 2019, the fair had up to 600 stalls of local businesses from 15 provinces and cities and partners from 23 countries and territories. Notably, five international pavilions welcomed more than 21,000 entrepreneurs.

Also affected by the pandemic, other trade promotion events and exhibitions could not be organized. Many international textile, livestock, agricultural exhibitions in HCM City have been cancelled or postponed until the end of this year to wait for Covid-19 control and resumption of international flights.

Nguyen Thu Hong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad), said that under the impact of Covid-19, commercial transactions must adapt to the online form. Combining online and direct transactions has become a good choice for the exhibition industry.

Since late 2020, Vinexad has used an exhibition model combining online and real booths. Two-way meetings are scheduled and transactions made via an intermediary application during the exhibition.

“We applied the online trading model as soon as the epidemic broke out early last year. The transaction has gradually achieved better results, especially when the remote booth was applied,” Hong said.

Bui Thi Thanh An, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade Promotion under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said due to the influence of Covid-19, trade promotion activities have been stuck, so the department has used information technology for promotions. A number of online transactions have been held with very positive results.

For the Chinese market alone, the department last year organized eight to 10 trade promotion events, using the forms of “cloud exhibition” and “no direct contact”.

Because it has been impossible to organize direct fairs and exhibitions for trade promotions, many initiatives to promote online trade have been launched and positively supported. The Vietnam Expo this year will use the combined model of traditional booths and “remote booths” in order to deal with obstacles caused by the pandemic.

Many fairs close

Tina Phan, Indochina Market Manager of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said: “Because it is impossible to bring Vietnamese businesses to Hong Kong to find sources of goods or sell goods, through this event, we will bring Hong King firms back to Vietnam. In addition to helping Hong Kong businesses introduce products to Vietnamese traders through the exhibition, we also want to connect Vietnamese companies with Hong Kong via online platforms.”

Mr. Park Ki Young, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea (MOTIE), said that Vietnam is an important partner of South Korea and that Vietnam hopefully would become a major link in the supply chain of South Korea, especially in the fields of automobile, electronics, footwear, and textiles.

In 2021, manufacturing, trading and service firms using this model will be encouraged to participate in online events.

Thu Ky



Inflation fears begin as economy recovers



Customers shop at a supermarket in HCM City. VNA/ Photo

HCM CITY — The cost of raw materials used in many industries have risen sharply in the last few months, putting pressure on the prices of many essential goods.

Instant noodles, seasoning, cooking oil, and others have seen prices increase by 7 -10 per cent since the end of 2020.

The price of meat and poultry has increased by 10 -15 per cent.

Nguyễn Thị Trâm, a pig farmer in Đồng Nai Province’s Thống Nhất District, said the price of a 25kg bag of bran has increased from VNĐ245,000 in October last year to VNĐ295,000 now.

Prices of raw materials used to make feed, such as corn, rice bran and fish flour, are also rising.

But farmers cannot hike poultry price since they have to compete with cheap imported products.

Globally, the prices of raw materials and fuels are expected to rise again as COVID is gradually controlled, vaccination is done on a large scale and production and trade recover.

Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Tuyến of the Academy of Finance predicted the consumer price index (CPI) to rise more than last year but remain below 4 per cent for the year, the target set by the National Assembly.

Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, director of the Ministry of Finance’s price management department, warned there would be pressure on prices this year because of the rise in fuel prices.

But a spokesperson for a large supermarket chain in HCM City said the price of each item would be carefully considered before any increase is made, and essential goods are not expected to be affected much in general. —


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FTA providing impetus for Việt Nam – Chile trade



Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade  Đỗ Thắng Hải  (centre) poses for a group photo with participants of the meeting in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of MOIT

HÀ NỘI — Despite there being no commitments on services and investment in the Việt Nam – Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the pact has boosted trade and economic ties between the two countries.

The view was shared at the fourth meeting of the Việt Nam – Chile free trade council, which was held online and chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Đỗ Thắng Hải and Vice Minister of Trade at Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rodrigo Yanez on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European – American Market Department, the two countries have enjoyed robust relations over the years.

Despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade in 2020 topped US$1.28 billion, up 4.43 per cent year-on-year and 2.5-fold higher than the figure recorded in 2013, prior to the FTA coming into effect.

Chile is one of Việt Nam’s four largest trade partners in Latin America, while Việt Nam is the largest trade partner of Chile in ASEAN.

Goods trade in the first four months of this year rose 15.3 per cent year-on-year to $401.1 million, with Việt Nam’s exports standing at $321.3 million, up 11.8 per cent.

Both sides recognised the efforts made to implement the FTA.

The subcommittee for trade in goods discussed matters regarding tariffs and origin of goods and considered the application of electronic certificates of origin to simplify procedures for exporters in both countries.

Meanwhile, the subcommittee for hygiene and phytosanitation worked on import procedures for several agricultural products.

Việt Nam has begun risk analysis on Chilean kiwi fruit while the South American country said it will begin analyses of Vietnamese rambutan in July.

Both agreed to step up measures to help Vietnamese and Chilean businesses capitalise on the Việt Nam – Chile FTA as well as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after it is ratified by Chile. —


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Vietnamese refrain from travel as Covid-19 returns



Passengers are seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC in this file photo by Vietnam News Agency. Airlines are rushing to cope with the rising demands for refunds, postponements and cancelations of flight tickets as Covid-19 has reemerged – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Airlines are rushing to cope with the soaring demands for refunds, postponements and cancelations of flight tickets as the reemergence of Covid-19 is scaring off travelers.

Hoang Mai from Thu Duc City, HCMC told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that she had just been refunded the money for her Vietnam Airlines flight tickets on the HCMC – Hanoi route on May 5 because more Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in Hanoi.

“I bought the tickets so that I could attend my relative’s wedding back home but because of the current outbreak, the wedding has been postponed. I asked for a refund and switched to a voucher for booking tickets within a year. The cash refund will be available in the next three months,” Mai said.

Many others have also cancelled plans to go home, on business trips or on vacations with family and loved ones to locations such as Danang, Nha Trang and Hanoi.

Customers have also contacted tour operators to delay their departures in May. Various tour operators said that no one has been contacting them for information on new tours.

On May 6, Vietravel Airlines implemented solutions to support passengers amid the Covid-19 reemergence.

Those affected are mainly independent travelers who bought tickets for flights to affected or isolated areas scheduled from May 5 to 20, passengers awaiting their test results, those who tested positive for Covid-19, passengers under treatment for Covid-19 and those affected by lockdowns or traveling restrictions implemented by authorized local authorities. These passengers have been offered one free change of flight date/itinerary.

A refund is offered free of charge to passengers with tickets that meet the refund conditions. The money will then be refunded to the accounts of agencies or passengers within 30 days. As for passengers who need to change flight dates/itineraries, this change must be made at least four hours prior to the new leg’s departure.

In the case of group inclusive tours, cancellations/changes must be notified 72 hours prior to the first leg’s departure. Particularly for flights from Hanoi, Danang or areas declared to be affected by Covid-19, passengers will receive free refunds according to current regulations and the money will then be refunded to the accounts of agencies or tour operators within 30 days.

Similarly, Bamboo Airways will also be applying refund regulations to all cases that qualify for refunds or reservations. Prior to that, Vietnam Airlines’ Southern branch also announced its policies to assist domestic passengers affected by Covid-19.


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