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Sapa Airport project expected to incur losses for 8 years

A view of Con Dao Airport. The Sapa Airport in Lao Cai Province is expected to incur losses for eight years – PHOTO: TL

HCMC – Although the public-private partnership project has drawn support from the Ministry of Transport, the Sapa Airport in Lao Cai Province is expected to rack up losses in the first eight years due to its small scale and stiff competition from the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway.

The Government of Lao Cai Province has completed the prefeasibility study of the project, which is located in Cam Con Commune of Bao Yen District, and the document has been sent to the Government and relevant agencies for approval.

Of the total investment of some VND4.2 trillion, local authorities will contribute 28.5% or some VND1.2 trillion to reduce the pressure on the central budget that is struggling with several mammoth projects such as the Long Thanh International Airport and parts of the North-South Expressway.

The project is expected to cover 317 hectares and serve 1.5 million passengers a year, with one runway and a road system connecting with the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway. It will be used for both civil and military purposes.

The local government will use its money for the site clearance, to build roads and the air control tower, while the remaining capital at some VND3 trillion, which will be provided by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, will be used for the construction of the runway and terminals.

Lao Cai Province estimates operating the project for 50 years, including four years for construction and 46 years for capital recovery.

However, the Ministry of Transport has advised the local government to come up with a solution to ensure the financial viability of the project. The project is forecast to incur losses in the first eight years due to its small scale and tough competition against the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, which cuts the travel time from Hanoi City to Lao Cai to only four hours.

Besides this, the province has been asked to review capital contribution ratios to secure the feasibility of the project and the plan to increase its capacity to three million passengers per year from 2035.



Bến Tre urged to step up public investment disbursement

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc works with leaders of the Mekong Delta’s Bến Tre Province on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/ Photo

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Thursday urged the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre to work hard to complete yearly targets and tasks, with the local public investment disbursement rate set at at least 90 per cent.

He pointed out difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and drought facing the locality, and its low disbursement rate.

Bến Tre should utilise opportunities from international integration, especially free trade agreements (FTAs) to which Việt Nam is a member like the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), he said.

The PM praised Bến Tre for its high provincial competitiveness index and other indices, and asked the locality to step up administrative reform and improve the local business environment.

More attention should be paid to management of climate change projects, he said, stressing that Bến Tre needs to take a step ahead in digital transformation to pave the way for digital economic development.

PM Phúc agreed in principle on Bến Tre’s mobilisation of resources from different economic sectors in building a transmission line system connected to renewable energy projects in the province.

It was reported that Bến Tre’s socio-economic development has been impacted by COVID-19 and drought.

The pandemic has forced 55 businesses to dissolve and more than 130 others to suspend their operations. As of mid-June, the province had received 6,200 applications for unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, drought has affected 5,300ha of rice, 28,00ha of fruit trees and 2,000ha of giant river prawns, with total economic losses amounting to VNĐ1.66 trillion (US$71.65 million). —


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Vietnam should speed up public investment disbursement to lure Japanese investments: official

More than 1,000 Japanese businesses participated in the teleconference, which sought ways to attract Japanese investments into Vietnam, held on July 9, 2020 – PHOTO: MPI

HCMC – Vietnam should seek to fast-track disbursement for public investment projects and improve transparency in policy execution to attract Japanese investments, a Japanese official said at a teleconference on July 9 held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to boost Japanese investments in Vietnam.

More than 1,000 Japanese businesses in Japan and around the world took part in the event, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Envoy Okabe Daisuke from the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam stated that Japanese investors have shown keen interest in Vietnam.

A survey on Japanese enterprises in Asia and Oceania conducted by JETRO in February 2020 revealed that 63.9% of Japanese businesses doing business in Vietnam said they would further step up activities in the Southeast Asian nation.

This rate was highest among the Association of South-East Asian Nations and third in Asia and Oceania, behind Bangladesh and India.

Daisuke urged Vietnam to speed up capital disbursement for public investment projects. He said Japan is ready to support the country in the execution of projects that would bolster economic growth.

The country also needs to ensure transparency, fairness and effectiveness in implementing policies and further foster international integration in order to lure investments, according to the envoy.

Aguin Toru, Chief Representative of JBIC’s Hanoi Office, said the bank considers Vietnam a key area and an important partner of Japan in many fields, such as infrastructure, manufacturing and natural resources.

The bank has offered support to 82 projects implemented by Japan’s small- and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam, according to Aguin Toru.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang told the participants that Vietnam has successfully controlled the novel coronavirus pandemic, adding that the country has also adopted many policies, including the revised Law on Investment, the revised Law on Enterprises and the Public-Private Partnership Law.

He stressed that the Vietnamese National Assembly has approved the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement.

Do Nhat Hoang, director of the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency, noted that Vietnam has political stability, high economic growth, abundant human resources, a potential market and an increasing per capita income.

Vietnam has also expanded international integration and cooperation with other economies worldwide, stated Hoang.

Vietnam occupies a strategic position as it takes some three to five hours to fly from the Southeast Asian country to Asia’s investment hubs, such as Thailand, China, Japan and India, according to the official.

He stated that Vietnam has also come up with preferential policies to attract foreign investment, with priority given to new technology, environmentally friendly and high-value projects.

“We have representatives in Japan’s cities and provinces to support Japanese businesses,” he said, adding that partners could get in touch with the Foreign Investment Agency and investment support centers in the Northeast Asian nation.


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Eased regulations set up EVFTA agriculture benefits

Though Vietnam’s agricultural sector will receive attention from the forthcoming EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, it needs to overcome some challenges to enjoy optimum preferential treatment.

1499 10 eased regulations set up evfta agriculture benefits

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC, told VIR that Vietnamese rice products exported to the European Union are currently subject to tariff rates of between 5 and 45 per cent. European importers are responsible for tariff payments so they often increase Vietnamese rice prices to make profit.

In the time to come, Vietnamese rice products will see mostly duty-free tariff quotas as soon as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is implemented. This will help increase the competitiveness of Vietnam’s rice exports to the EU market as importers can now lower the price for European consumers.

Binh said that Trung An is currently exporting less than 10,000 tonnes of fragrant rice to France, Poland, Russia, and Denmark. The company is expected to increase its export volume to 12,000 tonnes of fragrant rice to the EU once the agreement comes into force, expected to be in August.

The company has made investments in the cultivation process to produce pesticide-residue-free rice for the EU market. Most recently, the company has successfully placed its Trung An rice brand name on packaging to promote Vietnamese rice to EU consumers.

Meanwhile, Do Thi Thanh Thuy, representative of Nam Viet Corporation, said that the company is exporting pangasius, or basa fish, to the EU, Middle East, South America, and Asia. Each month, the company exported $7 million worth of products to Europe. With upcoming official enforcement of the EVFTA, the company expects to boost its export volume to the EU by 30 per cent.

Nicolas Audier, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), told VIR that agricultural goods represent some of Vietnam’s biggest exports to the EU market where cashew nuts, coffee, fruit, vegetables, and seafood are sold in large quantities. So, once the EVFTA is implemented and tariffs begin to fall, there will be huge opportunities for Vietnamese exporters to grow their market share. For instance, three years after the EVFTA’s entry into force, tariffs on processed agro products will fall from 37 to 6 per cent, and for fisheries from 60 to 15 per cent. After seven years, both will fall even further to just 2 per cent each.

On the same note, a representative of Nafoods Group said that the EVFTA will be a major boost to Vietnam’s exports, helping to diversify markets and export commodities, especially agricultural and aquatic products, where Vietnam has many competitive advantages. Accordingly, all exported products will benefit from tax incentives and trade facilitation, including Vietnam’s key agricultural products like rice, coffee, honey, livestock, fruit, and seafood.

Nafoods is currently exporting juice and individual quick-freezing (IQF) products which are produced and processed from fruit materials such as passion fruit, mango, dragon fruit, and banana. It means the company will enjoy the preferential treatment once the EVFTA takes effect.

In 2019, the export revenue to the EU market accounted for 45 per cent of Nafoods’ total export revenue structure. In the first six months of 2020, its export volume has increased by 50 per cent on-year. After a period of research and evaluation, Nafoods has carried out investment to raise production capacity of existing factories. The increase aims to meet the demand of international markets including the EU with more than 30,000 tonnes of finished products a year. In 2022, Nafoods will complete the development of a fresh fruit packaging factory and cold storage as well as the installation and operation of a drying production line. The company is expected to increase its revenue from value-added products by 150 per cent and dried products by 100 per cent. By optimising production lines, its IQF and juice products will increase by 30-50 per cent of the production capacity against 2020.

However barriers will still be in place that Vietnam is required to overcome if it is to unlock the full potential of the EVFTA. Thuy from Nam Viet said that some barriers are strict and unnecessary. “We proposed that the government should work closer with the EU to lower the technical barriers and ease administrative processes to help Vietnamese exporters,” Thuy added.

Still, Eurocham chairman Audier argued that products exported to the European market will need to meet the EU’s stringent safety requirements, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Food safety is critical, and consumers must have confidence that the produce sold and consumed meets these high standards.

Therefore, it is essential that domestic producers are aware of these standards, and this will require information-sharing and capacity-building from both the Vietnamese authorities and foreign business communities.

A second, related challenge is the international image of Vietnamese produce. While Vietnamese cuisine is popular around the world, the perceptions of Vietnamese agricultural produce – in particular concerning issues such as the use of pesticides – could be improved, according to those in the industry. If Vietnam can meet these high food safety standards, it will help to grow the positive reputation of Vietnamese produce.

“One further issue is the EU’s yellow card warning for illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. However, we know that both the government and the fishing sector are working hard to address concerns around the traceability of fish, and I hope that this will be resolved soon,” Audier explained. “Indeed, I am confident that Vietnam is more than capable of overcoming these challenges and realising the full benefits of the EVFTA for its agricultural sector.” VIR

Thanh Van


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