Breakthroughs in institutional reforms could help GDP grow 6.76 percent in 2021-2023
A corner of Ho Chi Minh City – the southern hub of Vietnam
If breakthroughs in institutional reforms are achieved to improve growth quality, coupling with timely and sound fiscal and monetary policies, the Vietnamese economy could expand 6.76 percent a year during 2021-2023, according to Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Tran Thi Hong Minh.
Minh presented the forecast while speaking at the workshop “Making Economic Recovery and Institutional Reforms Intertwined After COVID-19 – Way Forward for Vietnam” recently held by CIEM with the support from Aus4Reform and the Australian Embassy to Vietnam.
According to the scholar, thanks to good control of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has seen good recovery in its socio-economic activities.
Right in the time of the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country witnessed great strides in international integration such as ratification and implementation of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Although Vietnam is one of the very few countries successfully containing COVID-19, creating a basis to recover and promote domestic production, as well as reopen the economy safely, Vietnam needs to adopt a long-term plan for post-pandemic economic recovery, Minh added.
CIEM has outlined three scenarios for economic growth, based on Vietnam’s management of the pandemic this year. Under the first scenario, CIEM forecasts that the Vietnamese economy will grow at an average 6.35 percent a year in the next three years.
Under the second scenario, with fiscal and monetary policy easing, the average growth could reach 6.7 percent.
Under the third scenario, with fiscal and monetary easing along with institutional reform, the economy could expand 6.76 percent.
Regarding the reform process for Vietnam, Nguyen Anh Duong from CIEM said that it should continue its COVID-19 prevention work and its efforts to remove bottlenecks facing the business community and workers and promote economic institutional reform this year.
In 2022, it is necessary for the country to carry out economic recovery measures in tandem with economic institutional reform. Meanwhile, solutions to support economic recovery should be withdrawn, and focus should be sharpened on economic institutional reform, Duong added.
Vietnam can achieve better economic growth if it loosens monetary and fiscal policies, but it could suffer from higher inflationary pressure, he pointed out.
Loose monetary and fiscal policies could result in higher economic growth and improvements in productivity if combined with institutional reform, he added./.
VN-Index bounces back on large-cap stocks
Shares ended mixed on Tuesday, with the market benchmark reversing course on large-cap stocks as domestic and foreign investors flocked back.
The VN-Index edged higher yesterday, up 3.98 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 1,219.75 points. The index lost slightly in the morning trade.
However, the market breadth was still negative with 221 stocks declining while 190 rose.
The market liquidity was high as domestic investors poured in nearly VND15.5 trillion, equivalent to a trading volume of nearly 618.2 million shares.
In a daily report to customers, Bao Viet Securities Company expected that the VN-Index might recover when it falls back to test the support territory of around 1,200 points in the few next sessions.
“Rising selling pressure as long holidays are coming, as well as portfolios’ restructuring of investments funds are factors affecting the remaining sessions of the week,” the company added.
The recovery of the index was due to gains from large-cap stocks. The VN30-Index, tracking the 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, climbed 0.69 per cent to 1,283.81 points. Fourteen of the 30 large-cap stocks in the VN30 basket jumped while thirteen slid.
Big stocks from banking, materials and real estate sectors rebounded yesterday with real estate stocks leading the gains.
Accordingly, No Va Land Investment Group Corporation (Novaland, NVL) still posted the biggest gain in market capitalisation, up 6.21 per cent.
Followed by Hoa Phat Group (HPG), Masan Group (MSN) and Vingroup JSC (VIC), rose by 2.18 per cent, 3.16 per cent and 0.46 per cent, respectively.
Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Sacombank (STB) and HDBank (HDB) also posted gains of more than 1 per cent.
Losses of some big stocks like Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (PLX), Vincom Retail JSC (VRE) and Vietnam Rubber Group JSC (VRG) weighed on the market. These stocks all decreased more than 1 per cent.
Meanwhile, on the Ha Noi Stock Market (HNX), the HNX-Index fell 0.04 per cent to 280.56 points with the HNX30-Index also witnessing losses of 0.03 per cent.
During the session, nearly 102.4 million shares were traded, worth over VND1.7 trillion.
Foreign investors came back strongly yesterday as they poured VND406.76 billion into HoSE. They also net bought a value of VND6.87 billion on the northern bourse.
Vietnam’s 2nd WTO trade policy review session opens
The second Trade Policy Review (TPR) session of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for Vietnam was held in the form of videoconference on April 27.
The Vietnamese side was chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, and the WTO side by Botswana Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme.
In her opening address, Molokomme spoke highly of Vietnam’s economic achievements in the recent past and said the country had responded to most of the 850 questions posed by 31 WTO members in a short time.
On behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, Khanh underlined the positive results recorded by Vietnam since its first TPR session in 2013, including the outcomes in export-import and economic improvements and reforms, along with the building and enforcement of trade-related policies in the time to come.
Data shows that Vietnam’s exports-imports have surged 170-fold since the beginning of the country’s Doi Moi (Renewal) process in 1986, 37-fold since it joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, and four-fold since becoming an official WTO member in 2007.
The WTO’s World Trade Statistical Review 2020 revealed that Vietnam enjoyed the fastest growth among 50 countries and territories, with the largest world merchandise trade, jumping to 23rd place in 2019 from 39th in 2009.
The figures illustrate the openness of Vietnam’s economy and the country’s close compliance with international commitments since joining the WTO.
Khanh also emphasised Vietnam’s determination in further integration, economic reforms, and enforcement of international commitments.
Delegates highly valued Vietnam’s accomplishments and appreciated its active role in WTO activities.
WTO members posed questions regarding Vietnam’s economic environment, trade and investment institutions, trade policies on customs regulations, preferential export-import tariffs, and the development of major sectors like agriculture, aquaculture, and energy, among others.
The TPR is one of three pillars of the WTO and held regularly to ensure transparency in the implementation of commitments and obligations.
Vietnam is in the group of members with a seven-year review cycle. Its first took place in 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland./.
Unused flight slots to be seized: CAAV
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has warned that flight slots that are unused for five weeks in a row since March 28 would be taken away.
This is one of a number of measures adopted by CAAV to ensure the effective use of taking off and landing slots from airlines to meet higher demand during the summer’s peak travel season.
Statistics from the CAAV showed that Pacific Airlines, Vietravel Airlines and Vietnam Air Services Company (Vasco) top the list of airlines that use less than 80 percent of the allocated slots.
Pacific Airlines used a mere 38 percent of confirmed slots at Tan Son Nhat International Airport while Vietravel Airlines had a ratio of 23.8 percent. At Noi Bai International Airport, Vasco, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines has 33.3 percent of its slots unused.
Between April 12 and April 18, the Tan Son Nhat Airport saw most of airlines utilise their slots except for Pacific Airlines with 15.9 percent of its slots unused. The ratios of slots unused at the Noi Bai International Airports were low but that of Vasco reached 51.2 percent.
Dinh Viet Son, deputy head of the CAAV, said the authority has seized unused slots from foreign carriers and distributed them to domestic airlines since international services were suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic to prevent ineffective use of slots and facilitate the operation of domestic flights.
The CAAV also requested air carriers return the unused slots within seven days so that they could be allocated to other airlines.
The Tan Son Nhat International Airport can handle 984 flights each day, while the Noi Bai International Airport can serve 708 flights.
In related news, the CAAV has requested tightening security measures at airports to ensure order and security during the four-day holiday on the occasion of National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1). Agencies were asked to arrange facilities and staff to meet increasing demand during the holiday.
The national holidays on April 30 and May 1 are expected to see increased travel demand as May 1 falls on Saturday and State employees and students could have an additional day off on May 3./.
Improvements to business climate slowing: VCCI report
Efforts to improve Vietnam’s business climate have continued despite COVID-19 but progress appears to have slowed down compared to previous years and differs between fields, according to the latest report from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said the business climate features many restrictions that need to be addressed in the next five years.
Although legal regulations, administrative procedures, and business investment conditions have become more transparent, the public disclosure of State plans and reports for enterprises have been noted by many as remaining too general and not overly useful.
Conditions to join a number of sectors have been cut to facilitate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enter the market, but policy fluctuations for sectors requiring large investments and with long capital return periods have hindered companies from putting down their money.
While many administrative procedures can now be done online, they still exhibit shortcomings and are not user-friendly, Loc said.
Tran Thi Hong Minh, Director of the Aus4Reform Programme, said the implementation of the Australian-funded programme in support of economic reform in Vietnam have so far posted significant achievements, contributing to helping the country lift its international rankings.
Also Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), Minh pointed to a series of bottlenecks facing businesses, like overlapping and unnecessary business conditions and an ineffective single-window mechanism.
VCCI Chairman Loc also noted that further improvements towards sustainable development require a concerted effort from both businesses and State agencies./.
Anti-corruption efforts helping cut informal business costs
The Government’s anti-corruption efforts have proven increasingly effective, helping enterprises significantly reduce informal costs, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
The Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2020 report conducted by VCCI shows that the rate of companies forced to pay informal charges fell to 44.9 percent from 66 percent in 2016, the lowest proportion since 2006.
The amount of informal charges paid has also dropped significantly over time, as only 5.4 percent of enterprises reported they spent over 10 percent of revenue on informal fees, down 3.7 percent compared to the figure in 2006.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of the VCCI’s Legal Department, said the burden from informal costs has been steadily declining, as 84.4 percent of enterprises consider them to be at an acceptable level.
Most businesses said the majority are for land-related administrative procedures, inspections, import and export activities, or the bidding process.
More than 2 percent of foreign-invested enterprises said they had to spend 10 percent of their revenue on informal charges in the 2016-2017 period, which was down to 1.2 percent in 2020.
According to the report, 41 percent of enterprises plan to expand their business in the next two years, down significantly from the 51 percent reported in 2019.
Meanwhile, up to 13 percent said they will scale down or even cease doing business – the highest level since VCCI began compiling the PCI./.
HCM City apartment market lacks new supply of affordable units
High- and mid-priced apartment projects continued to lead the HCM City market in terms of new supply in the first quarter, with affordable units remaining scarce, according to real estate consulting firms.
With 4,900 units, primary stock was down 56 percent quarter-on-quarter and 31 percent year-on-year, according to Savills Vietnam’s quarterly report on the city property market.
Grade B led primary supply with a 57 percent share. New urban areas in districts 2, 7 and 9 had a 78 percent share of grade B primary supply.
Quarterly sales of less than 2,100 were the lowest in five years and represented a quarter-on-quarter decrease of 76 percent and year-on-year decrease of 56 percent, mostly due to lower primary supply.
A higher rate of large-sized units with higher unit prices has slowed performance at existing developments, Vo Thi Khanh Trang, associate director of research at Savills, said.
Prices moved up across all grades, especially in new phases of existing developments, where unit prices increased by 6 percent over their previous launch, she said.
There is very limited supply of affordable units with primary prices of under 1,000 USD per square metre and new supply would steadily fall in the coming years, she said.
Limited land availability in central areas is pushing up prices of apartments, she added.
According to DKRA Vietnam, the prices of affordable apartments doubled between 2013 and 2020 to 30-32 million VND (1,300-1,380 USD) per square metre.
In the first quarter of this year, they went up by another 5-10 percent.
Even in neighbouring provinces such as Binh Duong and Dong Nai, apartment prices have jumped to 33-45 million VND (1,430-1,950 USD) per square metre.
Grade A led primary supply last year with a 69 percent share while supply of grade C were almost zero, according to a report by DKRA.
In the first quarter of this year grade A continued to lead the HCM City apartment market in terms of new supply and there was very limited supply of affordable units, it said.
A study by the HCM City Real Estate Association showed that high- and mid-priced units accounted for 70 percent and 25 percent of apartment supply last year.
The affordable segment accounted for only 1 percent of the primary market at a mere 163 units.
Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the association, said an apartment project with initial listing of 30-33 million VND (1,300-1,430 USD) per square metre is now sold at 50-55 million VND (2,160-2,380 USD).
It is simply raised to a higher grade and sold at higher prices, making it impossible for end users to afford it, he said.
A survey by the HCM City Institute for Development Studies estimated the housing demand in the city in 2021-25 at 45 million square metres.
The limited supply of affordable apartments and rapid increase in prices mean apartments are bought for speculative purposes.
Around 70 percent of high- and mid-priced apartments are left unoccupied as a result, the survey found./.
HCM City, Singapore cooperate in urban planning
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Planning-Architecture and Singapore’s Centre for Livable Cities (CLC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in developing sustainable urban planning in the city on April 26.
The signing of the deal was witnessed by Vo Van Hoan, Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee, and Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Jaya Ratnam.
Sharing the city’s development orientations in the future, Hoan said that the city aims to become a smart and innovative city and a financial centre of the country and the region.
Its Thu Duc city is designed to be a high-tech city, he said, adding that HCM City hopes that Singaporean firms will seek investment opportunities in the city and engage in the building and development of the city.
Hoan underlined HCM City defines that economic development must go along with the improvement of the sustainable growth of the city as it is facing many challenges in urban expansion, including fast construction speed, high population density, and environment pollution.
Therefore, the MoU will lay the foundation for cooperation between the two sides in an important issue of the city, and pave the way for bilateral collaboration in the future, he said.
For his part, Ambassador Jaya Ratnam noted that the relationship between Singapore and Vietnam and HCM City in particular has seen strong growth. He spoke highly of important achievements that Vietnam and the city have gained in COVID-19 prevention and control.
The diplomat said that over the years, Singapore has been the largest investor in HCM City, which reflects the great interest and confidence of Singaporean investors in the city at present and in the future. Singaporean firms are willing to work with HCM City partners in sustainable urban development, he added.
Under the MoU, the two sides will support each other in the coordination among experts and businesses to give consultancy and training for HCM City in coping with challenges arising during the urban development process, while collaborating in giving advice or organising training to improve the life quality and sustainability in housing development, smart city, planning adjustment, as well as in urban infrastructure, traffic, land management, architectural conservation and green space.
Both sides also agreed on other cooperation formats such as meetings, conferences and workshops, as well as in the provision of consultation services and programmes on capacity improvement./.
Danang parades investing advantages
Continuously ranked at the top of the leading cities and provinces in the national Provincial Competitiveness Index, Danang has emerged as one of Vietnam’s hotspots offering an outstanding investment environment.
According to the latest figures from the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) 2020 offered by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Danang sits among the top five cities and provinces with a “very good” quality of economic management at 70.12 points.
This is the third consecutive year that Danang has been in the top five of the PCI. Among ten sub-indices of the index, Danang placed itself in four top-ten indices – third place for sound labour training policies (7.87 points); fourth for low entry costs for start-ups (8.75 points); seventh for easy access to land and security of business premises (7.35 points); and eighth for limited time requirements for bureaucratic procedures and inspections (8.62 points).
Over 16 years after joining the PCI survey, Danang has topped the list on seven occasions, as well as three years at second rank and four years in fifth place. The statistics show that Danang is maintaining its attractive investment environment, with efforts helping the coastal city achieve fruitful results and attract a large number of prestiguous investors and entrepreneurs from both inside and outside the country.
According to Danang Department of Planning and Investment, over the last four years the central city attracted 163 local projects with the total registered capital of $3.3 billion, and 530 newly-licensed foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with the total registered capital of more than $1 billion. The investment and production operation of domestic and foreign-invested enterprises contribute an average of over 9 per cent to the added value of the city’s economy and creates jobs for more than 93,100 labourers.
Additionally, these investment projects help effectively brand Danang as an ideal investment destination and promote the city in international integration and cooperation in many other fields.
In the first quarter of 2021, Danang decided to approve an investment research policy and registered licences for two domestic projects outside industrial zones with the total investment capital of $13.9 million and three other projects in industrial and high-tech parks. Moreover, Danang has issued investment certificates for nine newly-registered FDI projects with the total registered capital of $146.4 million, of which five increased their investment capital by $9.4 million.
Nguyen Trung Chinh, chairman of CMC Group, said that Danang owns various potentialities and has a vibrant and attractive investment environment to meet the demand of the business community. The group is developing its CMC Creative Space complex in the city with the total investment of VND12 trillion ($521.7 million) and targets to build up the city into an international digital hub following the national strategy. “Danang has an important position with favourable conditions to become a hub of the region, so we have invested in developing our Creative Space complex following this approach,” said Chinh.
Facing the reality
The fruitful results from investment attraction of the central coast city come from the efforts of the city’s administrative system to improve the investment environment towards creating the best services for entrepreneurs. The city’s authorities have issued 14 legal documents related to investment support policies and mechanisms, as well as revised and upgraded outdated ones.
The city also completed the adjusted master plan for the city to 2030 with vision to 2045; thus enabling the setup of eco-friendly industrial parks (IPs) and investments in the IT Park in Hoa Vang district and other structures.
The city meanwhile announced 31 sets of administrative procedures for the local authorities related to business and investment activities and reviewed more than 100 administrative procedures to help organisations, entrepreneurs, and individuals cut costs and time.
Danang also diversifed its investment promotion channels in strategic and targeted markets while its leaderships enhanced promotion activities and campaigns inside and outside the country, where they worked directly with investors and businesses to resolve their requests and obstacles.
However, the city’s investment attraction mission still faces shortcomings. Most domestic projects invest in real estate like hotels and resorts while investments in industrial and high-tech sectors count for merely 10 per cent. Meanwhile, FDI attraction from large-scale transnational corporations is still limited, and most projects have small- and super-small registered capitals.
Realising its shortages and current results, Danang has proposed a series of solutions to maintain investors’ confidence. The city will focus on six main solutions to improve its investment environment, such as issuing adjustments of its master plan for land use, approving the subdivision plans, and define types of projects needed to attract investment and create dynamism for the city’s development.
Meanwhile, the city continuously pushes the speed of schemes like the Masterplan to Develop High-tech Parks, the Experimental Enhancement of Innovation and High-tech Startups, and High-quality Human Resources Development.
To solve its infrastructure problems, Danang is investing in developing its transportation and logistics systems. The city is also enhancing the selection of investors to complete infrastructure and put certain projects into operation, such as Hoa Cam, Hoa Nhon, and Hoa Ninh IPs. The city’s authorities will also concentrate on solving all these obstacles of high-tech parks to construct the second phase of Danang IT Park.
In its administrative renovation, the city is continuing to shorten processes related to investment procedures while completing its digitalisation scheme.
According to Nguyen Van Quang, Secretary of Danang Party Committee, the city recognises its shortcomings to improve its investment environment. “Danang’s leadership will try its best to listen to the response of businesses on what issues they are facing, from obstacles of administrative procedures to negative behaviours of officials during their operation in the city,” Quang said.
“Danang has a lot of potential and advantages for businesses so we commit to creating competitive conditions to attract investors,” Quang explained. “The city is determined to complete its logistics system, upgrade the international airport, build a cargo terminal at the airport, and increase the capacity of Tien Sa Port, among others.”
“We always try to stay transparent, consistent, and committed in calling for investment, especially in land mechanisms and policies, while shortening the administrative documents and procedures for businesses,” stressed Quang.
More flights to Ca Mau to be launched in June
Flights connecting the southernmost province of Ca Mau with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City may be launched this June according to local authorities.
The Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee announced last Saturday that Bamboo Airways may launch flights connecting the province with the country’s two biggest cities using E175AR/E175LR planes from late June.
The carrier has asked local authorities to carry out repairs to the current runways in order to better serve flights and other services.
Chairman of the provincial people’s committee, Lam Van Bi said that they would create favourable conditions to ensure fuel supplies and other technical and environmental issues to conduct the flights safely.
According to the upgrade plan for the Ca Mau Airport, which has been approved by the Ministry of Transport, the current runway of 1,500 metres long will be expanded to 2,400 metres to serve A320 and A321 planes. The upgrade work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
At present, the airport only serves one return flight to and from Ho Chi Minh City with ATR 72-500 aircraft.
Workshop discusses labour market development to boost economic restructuring
Vietnam’s labour market has seen certain improvements in recent years but there remain many problems, heard a workshop in Hanoi on April 26.
Held by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and the Australian-supported Restructuring for a more competitive Vietnam (Aus4Reform) programme, the workshop featured discussions on the development of the labour market to promote economic restructuring in the country.
Deputy Director of CIEM Tran Kim Chung said economic restructuring is among the Party and State’s major policies to renew the growth model and improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s economy.
One of the most important aspects of economic restructuring is to gradually shift from growth based on an increased quantity of inputs for production to one based on improved workplace productivity and quality, the application of science and technology, and innovation.
To do that, Vietnam must further distribute production resources, including human resources, to sectors with stronger competitiveness, higher productivity, and more substantial contributions to economic development, Chung went on.
He noted that the labour market has seen certain improvements through favourable policies and legal framework for development, increasing workplace quality and competitiveness and creating jobs.
According to CIEM researchers, workers have shifted from agriculture to the industrial and service sectors, from the informal sector to the formal sector, from unstable jobs (self-employment, unpaid family labour) to more stable, sustainable, and secure jobs, from simple occupations to highly skilled occupations, and from low-productivity sectors to others with higher productivity.
Worker awareness of social and unemployment insurance has also improved greatly, and the proportion of those taking part in voluntary social and unemployment insurance has grown considerably.
However, the CIEM study also pointed out a number of problems in Vietnam’s labour market, including legal documents and policies being yet to cover all parties, worker redundancies, low employment quality, and a serious imbalance in labour supply and demand between regions and economic sectors.
While informal and unskilled labour still accounts for the majority, intermediate institutions and welfare and insurance policies remain weak and ineffective, the study found.
Chung held that to boost the labour market in the time ahead, it is necessary to refine regulations and policies on human resources training, job creation, and wages, while developing intermediate institutions, welfare mechanisms, and social insurance for workers, for a modern and effective labour market to come into being.
Nguyen Tu Anh, an official from the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, said the wage policy should be amended in tandem with the development of intermediate institutions, welfare mechanisms, and social insurance, to promote a modern and effective labour market integrated into the regional and global labour markets, thereby helping with economic restructuring./.
Binh Duong works hard on infrastructure development, administrative reform
The southern province of Binh Duong will concentrate on promoting infrastructure development and administrative reform, which are considered as two key pillars in creating breakthroughs in socio-economic development.
Addressing a meeting of the provincial 11th Party Committee, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Tran Van Nam said Binh Duong has basically completed the dual goals of COVID-19 prevention and socio-economic recovery and development.
The province’s industrial production index in the first quarter of 2021 was estimated to have increased 6.9 percent year-on-year. Some 255 new businesses were also established.
Its export turnover stood at 7.7 billion USD, while its import value was 5.6 billion, up 30.4 percent and 20 percent compared to the same period last year, respectively, resulting in a trade surplus of nearly 2.1 billion USD.
As of March 31, Binh Duong had attracted nearly 30.8 trillion VND (1.34 billion USD) in domestic investment and 468 million USD in foreign direct investment, increases of 50 percent and 59 percent year-on-year, respectively.
Nam said the province will continue to accelerate site clearance and compensation and roll out specific measures to remove difficulties facing the locality in compiling planning for land use and urban and smart city development.
It will also work on speeding up the construction of roads and overpasses and tightening the management of the real estate sector, he added./.
Central localities showcase tourism stimulus programmes in HCM CityĐà Nẵng City and the provinces of Quảng Nam, Thừa Thiên Huế and Quảng Bình have offered hundreds of tour packages, travel products and services with attractive discounts at a promotional programme in HCM City.
The programme titled ‘Amazing Central Heritage’ is aimed at promoting the unique heritages of the four central localities.
A wide range of new travel products and services with high quality are offered to tourists at discounted prices as part of effor
ts to revive the tourism industry, Trần Văn Phúc, deputy director of Thừa Thiên Huế Province’s Department of Tourism, said.
Nguyễn Xuân Bình, deputy director of the Đà Nẵng Department of Tourism, said on Friday that the programme in HCM City, a key market for the central region’s tourism sector, attracted the participation of more than 300 travel firms that offered tour packages, including cuisine and leisure travel products and entertainment activities.
They received a large number of bookings for the Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1) holidays and upcoming summer holidays, he added.
The ‘Amazing Central Heritage’ four-day tour package priced at VNĐ4.09 million (US$177) a person and the ‘Amazing Đà Nẵng’ three-day package priced at VNĐ3.49 million ($150) are among the most popular.
Tourists can enjoy free entry at many attractions in Đà Nẵng such as the Ngũ Hành Sơn tourist area, Đà Nẵng Museum, and Đà Nẵng Fine Arts Museum.
Hotels and resorts in the city are offering 20-50 per cent discounts on room rates and services until year-end.
The four localities will strengthen oversight and seek feedback from tourists on the quality of products and services.
City’s efforts to attract visitors
The HCM City Department of Tourism has been undertaking various promotion activities to attract tourists.
Its attractive destinations, distinct cultural and traditional identities, diverse cuisine and shopping experiences have been showcased at various events such as the Áo Dài (Vietnamese traditional dress) Festival in March, the HCM City International Marathon in April and HCM City Travel Fair in May.
Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, said travel bloggers and celebrities would be invited to the ‘Sài Gòn – Check in’ programme.
Many travel firms in the city have strengthened links with their counterparts elsewhere to create new travel products.
Domestic travel has shown signs of recovery with tourist firms in the city getting a lot of bookings for the upcoming holidays on April 30 and May 1, she added.
Organic chickens and organic success for young man in Quảng Bình
After losing his father early in life, a young man in Quảng Bình Province has launched a successful start-up and provided for his family.
Nguyễn Văn Nhị, 30, owns a livestock breeding company with annual revenue of VNĐ6 billion (US$260,200) in the central province’s Quảng Thạch Commune, Quảng Trạch District.
His company sells the famous chicken product brand Nhị Nguyễn and NN01 bio-feed for livestock.
He won the Lương Đình Của Award in 2020 and a Certificate of Merit from former Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for his achievements in economic development and contributions to the community.
His mother, Cao Thị Liễng, 63, said Nhị was the second child among her six children and after his father passed away at a young age, Nhị gave up his dreams of attending university to help his mother provide for the family.
He decided to go to HCM City to find a job after finishing grade 12 in 2009.
“He wanted to help me make money to take care of his young brothers,” Nhị’s mother said.
“Nhị is a person who worked hard, overcome a difficult life away from home and always had the will to get rich.”
When he worked as a hired labourer for farms in the south, he spent his nights studying to gain experience.
“My child was always eager to return to his hometown to settle down”, Liễng said.
After saving a little capital, in 2017 he decided to return to his hometown to develop his own farm.
The same year, Nhị established Nhị Nguyễn Agricultural Development Company specialising in raising chickens using biological feed.
“I saw the increasing need to use healthy and organic food becoming more and more popular,” he said.
Chickens on the farm are raised entirely organically, without using industrial feed or antibiotics.
At that time, no other chicken farm in Quảng Bình was doing the same thing.
“This gave me more and more determination,” said Nhị.
Nhị learned how to raise chickens from television programmes, books, and the internet.
He learned the locality had many agricultural by-products such as bran, corn, soybeans and fishmeal, but they were not used effectively.
“Use of industrial feed increases livestock costs and reduces profits,” he said.
He researched and found recipes and ingredients to create chicken food that had enough nutrients and ensured the final chicken products were safe for consumption.
After a lot of trial and error, in late 2020, he successfully researched and processed ‘NN01 bio-feed’ for chickens, with the main ingredients being bio-products, agricultural by-products (maize, paddy, barley and digestive yeast), organic antibiotics, water and tonic.
VietGap standard Nhị Nguyễn chicken products are trusted by customers and have received good feedback.
“Industrially raised chickens, after cleaning and packaging, sell for about VNĐ100,000-120,000/kg and Nhị Nguyễn chicken costs VNĐ270,000/kg,” Nhi said, adding, “it is high and stable profit.”
He has expanded his business by connecting with 40 farms in Quảng Bình, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces to raise Nhị Nguyễn chickens.
The company has invested in production costs, organised technology transfer training courses and purchased output from farms.
Each month the farm sells 4-5 tonnes of meat in northern provinces and Đà Nẵng City.
Head of Agriculture and Rural Development Department of Quảng Trạch District, Trần Văn Định, said local authorities highly appreciated the Nhị Nguyễn chicken production model.
“It has brought high efficiency in both economic value and the environment, meeting the needs and tastes of clean and safe food of people today,” he said.
HCM City focuses on developing infrastructure for e-commerce
HCM City is focusing on developing its infrastructure for e-commerce amid the rising trend in online shopping, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.
Figures from the department show that 62.5 per cent of local consumers use the internet for shopping, while 17.9 per cent choose online payments.
The value of online shopping rose 13.8 per cent annually in recent years, the department reported.
According to Ha Ngoc Son, head of the Import-Export Management Office under the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, the city aims to provide training to at least 70 per cent of public servants in economic sectors on general knowledge on State management over e-commerce activities, focusing on factors supporting such activities.
However, Son also said the city needs support from the State on planning, land reserves, and financial resources in the form of public investment.
Meanwhile, Tran Thai Son, founder and CEO of e-commerce platform Tiki.vn, said shopping demand via e-commerce floors is rising, adding that in HCM City it is double or even triple the country’s average.
Along with enterprises and e-commerce floors, more small businesses and individuals have also engaged in distributing and selling goods through e-commerce apps, he said, stressing the crucial need to expand infrastructure serving these activities.
Experts said that COVID-19 has hindered the development of international trade activities while encouraging sellers and buyers to join the e-commerce market, thus leading to a new trend of exporting goods via e-commerce channels.
They said that in order to take part in e-commerce activities, businesses need a network of warehouses and delivery centres, and the city needs to pay greater attention to the development of the logistics sector.
Phan Thi Bich Hue, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Tay Thai Binh Duong Company, said the southern hub should consider logistics as a spearhead sector.
In particular, she pointed out that many logistics firms have faced difficulties in accessing land for their business.
Support to be provided to SMEs in intellectual property
Support is to be provided to small and medium – sized enterprises (SMEs) enabling them to use intellectual property (IP) rights to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses, said Dinh Huu Phi, Director of the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam.
SMEs took centre stage at this year’s celebration of World Intellectual Property Day (April 26) with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) Director General Daren Tang describing them as an engine for growth in a post-pandemic world.
Phi said that SMEs played a significant role in global economies, citing statistics that SMEs accounted for 90 per cent of all companies worldwide and contributed 40 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). In Viet Nam, the figures were 97 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively.
Commercialising IP and using it for business growth was critical for SMEs in a post-pandemic world, he said.
Phi said that efforts were being made to improve the mechanisms and policies to create favourable conditions for enterprises in creating, forming, exploiting and protecting their intellectual property rights.
Specially, the national IP strategy by 2020 put SMEs as a focus, which aimed to encourage innovation and cooperation between enterprises and research institutes and universities to develop IP assets for socio-economic development goals.
He said that support would be provided to IP development and protection for key products of Viet Nam and products of the “One Commune, One Product” programme.
Accordingly, the focus would be placed on building and implementing a management system for geographical indication, certification marks, collective mark associated with the registration of cultivation area code, food safety, quality certification and traceability as well as developing the value chain for protected products.
It was also important to enhance trade promotion activities to promote the commercialisation of IP assets, he said.
During the past five years, more than 500 key agricultural products received support from the IP asset development programme. The IP Office of Viet Nam was also providing support in terms of geographical indication protection in Japan for Luc Ngan lychee, Binh Thuan dragon fruit and Buon Ma Thuot coffee.
Support in terms of trademark protection were also provided to Thai Nguyen tea and Chu noodles.
Phi said that many protected products were recognised widely with increased added value, such as Cao Phong orange, Phu Quoc fish sauce, Luc Ngan lychee, Ha Giang orange and Ben Tre green-skin pomelo.
No one can register exclusive trademark for ST25
Regarding the applications for “ST25” rice by five US firms submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which triggered concerns that exports of this rice to the US would be affected, Nguyen Van Bay, Deputy Director of the IP Office of Viet Nam, late last week said that no one could obtain exclusive protection for ST25 mark for a rice product from the ST25 rice variety.
The rice variety named ST25 has been granted the Protection Certificate No 21.VN.2020 under Decision No 45/QD-TT-VPBH dated March 6, 2020 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Crop Production. The holder of the certificate was the private company Ho Quang Tri and the breeders of the rice variety were scientist-farmer Ho Quang Cua and his colleagues, Tran Tan Phuong and Nguyen Thi Thu Huong.
Bay said that the rice variety was different from the rice made of this variety, adding that ST25 was name of a generic rice variety, not a brand, and rice made from this variety would be called ST25 rice when sold in the market.
Each company must develop their own brand name for their ST25 rice, for example ST25 Bao Minh.
He stressed that it was impossible for foreign companies to register Vietnamese rice ST25 as an exclusive trademark protection, according to the Law on IP.
ST25 rice won the top prize at the World’s Best Rice Contest in the Philippines in 2019, marking the first time a Vietnamese rice variety won the title in the contest’s 11-year history. ST25 rice won second place at the event in 2020.
Viet Nam, India share strategic, comprehensive partnership
The Indian Consulate in HCM City will be hosting 75 events to celebrate its 75th anniversary of independence on August 15 next year as well as to mark India and Viet Nam’s strong partnership in different sectors.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in HCM City, said he has travelled to around 24 out of 29 provinces in Southern Viet Nam and has been amazed by the infrastructure development and opportunities available for cooperation in each of these provinces.
Bilateral trade reached around US$12.3 billion in 2019 from $200 million in 2000 and both sides have now committed to taking it to $15 billion at the earliest. Viet Nam is the 18th largest trading partner of India and 3rd among ASEAN countries. India is the 7th largest trading partner of Viet Nam, he said.
However, it is felt that there is a lot of untapped potential in this area. The COVID-19 crisis has given an opportunity to both sides to join hands and set up alternative global supply chains in different products that have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Sethi said Indian companies in infrastructure, food processing, energy, pharmaceutical, agriculture, IT, higher education, medical care, and automotive sectors can invest through partnerships with Vietnamese companies.
The consulate has been organising multiple trade and investment meetings with relevant agencies and different provinces to raise awareness about opportunities available in both countries.
The consul sees tremendous scope for cooperation in sectors of higher education and IT. With its world-class institutes, quality teaching, excellent academics and alumni in the corporate world, India has achieved huge success and international recognition in areas of higher education, R&D, IT and training.
“We hope to organise many physical meetings in the coming days once the pandemic is controlled and international travel resumes,” he said.
Exports of mango, guava and mangosteen to Russia soar
Viet Nam was the fourth largest supplier of mango, guava and mangosteen to Russia in January this year, reaching 226 tonnes, worth US$807,000, up 114 per cent in volume and 62.7 per cent in value compared to January last year.
The proportion of imports from Viet Nam accounted for 6.1 per cent of Russian total import volume.
Statistics of the International Trade Center (ITC) showed that imports of mango, guava and mangosteen of the Russian market grew sharply in the 2016 – 2020 period, increasing 68.4 per cent per year on average.
Import value reached $83.46 million last year, up 187.7 per cent over 2019 and 612.2 per cent higher than 2016.
Russia imported the most mango, guava and mangosteen from Peru in January this year. The proportion of imports from this market accounted for 69.4 per cent of the total import volume.
The Russian market still had plenty of room for Vietnamese exporters to exploit as Russian fruit and vegetable production was still limited, and due to climatic conditions, the country could not produce tropical fruit and vegetables, said ITC.
Meanwhile, the demand for vegetables and fruits among Russian people is increasing. Therefore, Russia has to import up to two thirds of its annual fruit and vegetable consumption.
According to statistics from the General Department of Customs, the export of vegetables and fruits reached $403.71 million in March this year, up 12.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Export of vegetables and fruits increased continuously in the past three months, after decreasing since September last year.
Exports of vegetables and fruits reached $966.72 million from the beginning of the year to the end of March, up 8.7 per cent year-on-year.
Viet Nam’s fruit and vegetable exports to Australia, Taiwan, Russia, and Malaysia also grew strongly in the first three months of this year; while exports to markets such as Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands dropped.
CPTPP opens up prospects for Vietnam’s exports to the Americas
Two years after it came into effect, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has helped Vietnam significantly boost its exports to other member nations and open the door to members in the Americas, which are bursting with potential, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai told a seminar in Hanoi on April 27.
With the theme “CPTPP – Opportunities for Vietnam’s Exports to American Markets”, the deputy minister told the gathering that economic and trade ties between Vietnam and the Americas have grown robustly over recent years.
Ratified on December 30, 2018, the CPTPP took effect in Vietnam on January 14, 2019. In 2020, when COVID-19 first struck, trade between Vietnam and the Americas stood at 111.5 billion USD, up 16 percent against 2019. Of this, Vietnam’s exports were worth 89.7 billion USD, accounting for 31.7 percent of its total and representing an annual growth rate of 21.7 percent.
In the first quarter of this year, Vietnam posted improved exports to many CPTPP member countries in the region. Notably, its value of shipments to Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Peru stood at 1.13 billion USD, 321 million USD, 931 million USD, and 134 million USD, respectively, for increases of 15 percent, 12 percent, 17 percent, and 35 percent.
Hai suggested Vietnamese firms study the possibility of exploiting existing incentives, economic links, and infrastructure in member countries to seek business opportunities and diversify export markets and products.
Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Canada Do Thi Thu Huong recommended that Vietnamese companies be active in studying the agreement, particularly regarding preferential tariffs and rules of origin, and to take advantage of e-commerce platforms to connect with their Canadian counterparts amid COVID-19.
Participants also pointed to challenges facing cooperation between Vietnam’s business community and other CPTPP members, including those from the Americas. They include geographical distance, different languages, and a lack of up-to-date market information.
Some Vietnamese enterprises also find it difficult to meet quality standards and rules of origin in target markets./.
Retail petrol prices up slightly in latest adjustment
Retail petrol prices were up by nearly 200 VND per litre from 3pm on April 27 following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.
The retail price of E5RON92 bio-fuel increased 182 VND to a maximum of 17,988 VND (0.78 USD) per litre, while that of RON95-III rose 191 VND to no more than 19,161 VND per litre.
The prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene, meanwhile, went up 187 VND and 432 VND to 14,328 VND and 13,259 VND per litre, respectively.
According to the two ministries, the prices of petrol and oil in the global market have been rising for 15 days, resulting in the domestic price hike this time.
They review fuel prices every 15 days to keep domestic prices in line with the global market./.
Transport sector to disburse nearly 10.86 trillion VND of public investment
The Ministry of Transport has said its units are expected to disburse close to 10.86 trillion VND (470 million USD) of public investment by the end of April, fulfilling 28 percent of the annual target.
Projected disbursement in April alone is over 4 trillion VND, surpassing the monthly target by about 507 billion VND.
According to the ministry’s Department of Planning and Investment, the ministry has been assigned to disburse close to 43 trillion VND this year, including 38.16 trillion VND worth of domestic investment and over 4.83 trillion VND of foreign funds.
Disbursement plans for more than 38.54 trillion VND of the sum, including over 15 trillion VND for sub-projects within a project constructing the North-South expressway, have been completed to date./.
US group proposes 15-billion-USD LNG project in Soc Trang
Millennium Energy Vietnam Co., Ltd., a member of the US-based Millennium Group, has proposed to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Soc Trang province.
Once approved, it would be the largest LNG project in the Mekong Delta region.
The project has a designed capacity of 9,600MW. The investor needs an area of 200 hectares to develop the project. The construction will be implemented in two phases.
According to Lam Hoang Nghiep, vice chairman of Soc Trang People’s Committee, the province will organise a site visit and then the investor will have to build the detailed planning which the province will submit to the government for approval.
The investor committed to using modern equipment and ensuring safety for the environment./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes