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Vietnam emerges as FDI hub in Asia: Eurasian Times

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The article says in the race to become an Asian Tiger, Vietnam FDI has averaged more than 6% of GDP, which is the highest rate in any emerging country, as per American multinational investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets strategist Ruchir Sharma, quoted in a report by Livemint.

The Eurasian Times attributes the success to Vietnam’s business-friendly investment policies, the blossoming of industrial zones, and ample supply of young workers that make Vietnam an attractive destination for investors.

Ever since, the country has witnessed an annual growth rate of 10.4% and last year’s record high of US$16.12 billion – an 81% increase overall, it notes.

According to the publication, even in the time of COVID-19 crisis, Vietnam’s economy is in a good position because the government has introduced tax breaks, the delaying of tax payments, and land-use fees for businesses, revising the investment law and landing a trade deal with the European Union (EU)./.

Over-one-billion USD project kicked off in Thanh Hoa

A tourism project worth almost 25 trillion VND (over 1 billion USD) was started on October 26 in the northern coastal province of Thanh Hoa by Sun Group, one of Vietnam’s largest real-estate developers.

The 550-hectare project consists of a massive plaza, pedestrian streets, hotel and resort complexes and recreational facilities.

The Sam Son project is part of the Sun Group’s long-term development strategy to transform Sam Son city and Thanh Hoa province into a tourism centre of Vietnam, said a representative of the group.

The construction of the plaza and pedestrian streets in Sam Son city are set to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. A 60-metre tall monument is to built at the centre of the plaza as a new symbol for the city.

Tourists may take part in numerous recreational and festive activities in the plaza to experience local traditions and culture.

The Sun Group said it has also been working on a plan to develop an ecocity luxury complex for international tourists./.

Fruit, vegetable exporters need to focus on policy changes: conference

A farmer harvests dragon fruit, which is among Vietnamese fruits exported to China

With China making regulations for fruit and vegetable imports more stringent, Vietnamese businesses need to pay close attention to the changes and comply with them, experts told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on October 27.

According to Ta Quang Kien, Acting Director of the Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development Department’s agriculture produce commercial policies division, China imports 9-10 billion USD worth of fruits and vegetables annually and accounts for more than 70 percent of Vietnam’s exports.

However, “Vietnam’s vegetable and fruits exports to China fell by 25.9 percent in the first nine months of the year.” Besides, growth in exports has been declining since 2015.

Nguyen Quang Hieu, head of the plant protection department’s international co-operation division, said China was tightening control over its farm produce imports and their quality, and requiring exporters to declare farming zone codes and packaging facilities.

China is also working with Vietnam on updating export protocols for eight of the nine fruits that the latter is able to export, namely dragon fruit, watermelon, banana, rambutan, lychee, jackfruit, longan, and mango.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said safety awareness is rising among Chinese and so regulations are becoming stricter, especially with regard to chemicals and disease prevention.

“More farmers should be encouraged to acquire VietGap certification and adopt safe farming practices.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is negotiating to export more new fruits and vegetables to China, including durian and yam.

It will continue to update the list of businesses that can export frozen fruit products to China and focus on issuing codes for farming zones and packaging facilities for export to China.

It is also working with provinces to better understand their challenges and raise awareness of China’s policies on produce imports./.

Positive signs for steel industry at year-end

The production and consumption of building materials started resuming at the end of the third quarter this year as lots of construction works were speeding towards completion, however, local producers have been warned to watch the market to avoid a possible surplus.

Trinh Khoi Nguyen, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), spoke to more than 100 participants who took part in a seminar that reviewed the steel market in the first nine months in Hanoi on October 26,

“Though the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic made great difficulties for the production and consumption of steel products, making many local producers not achieve the same growth rate as in previous years, there have also been good signs for the industry in the period,” he said.

“The drastic direction of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on speeding up the public investment projects will be actively implemented and make the local industry rise,” Nguyen told Vietnam News.

“If that workload is accelerated at the end of the year, it will surely have a positive impact on the recovery and growth of the building materials industry, the steel industry included,” he added.

According to the VSA, both production and consumption of steel products increased in the first nine months of the year when production reached 18.34 million tonnes, from 17.46 million tonnes from the last same term in 2019.

“There are huge Chinese-invested integrated carbon steel mills in ASEAN and Vietnam while the steel consumption potential in those countries is reported to be increasing up to 7 percent in the region by 2021,” Nguyen said.

Local producer Hoa Phat was reported to have exported more than 1 million tonnes of steel billets to China so far this year.

A representative from Hoa Phat Group said the exports, of which more than 70 percent were to China, were thanks to the firm’s effort and investment in technology and products and as well as the Chinese policy to close low-tech steel producers in China.

He added buying steel from ASEAN was in some periods more effective and economical for Chinese buyers but also mentioned it was still a big challenge for the local industry to compete with Chinese firms when production resumed.

“Local producers should diversify their products and enhance their export to ease the pressure in the local market and better compete with the world,” he said.

A representative from Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, which also exported more than 1 million tonnes of steel products this year, said as Vietnam controlled the pandemic very well, the construction industry has resumed well and created opportunities for the steel industry.

Together with big steel producers, smaller firms also discussed difficulties for steel billet prices at the seminar.

Nguyen told Vietnam News: “We will create more seminars so producers can meet and discuss challenges and opportunities. In the long term, steel producers need to strengthen their market research, not only in the country but also in the regional and international markets, for each type of product to achieve the highest efficiency or they will lose out.”/.

Indonesia provides stimulus package to revive aviation industry

The Indonesian Transportation Ministry has agreed to provide the aviation industry with a stimulus package worth 216.5 billion Rp (14.75 million USD) aimed at cutting costs and boosting demand throughout the COVID pandemic.

The ministry’s air transportation director general, Novie Riyanto, said that the stimulus package consisted of 175.7 billion Rp worth of service fee exemptions at 13 airports across Indonesia, as well as 40.8 billion Rp worth of subsidies for a flight capacity calibration fee.

The exemption would be available for flights booked between October 23 and October 31 with scheduled departure before midnight of January 1, 2021, the ministry stated.

The flight facility subsidy serves to ease the cost burden for airport operators, including state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura (AP) I and AP II.

Novie expressed the hope that the stimulus will help lower the burden for those who travel using air transportation and reignite the aviation industry, which could spill over into tourism and other industries.

Statistics Indonesia data show that the number of domestic air passengers between January and August fell 56.99 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 21.6 million people. Meanwhile, the number of foreign air passengers in the same period plummeted 71.51 percent yoy to 3.5 million people.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) earlier this year estimated that Indonesia’s aviation industry would suffer a 49 percent passenger drop and an 8.2-billion-USD-fall in revenue this year from last year as an impact of the global health crisis./.

Workshop seeks to improve trade defence capacity

A workshop was held in Hanoi on October 27 to discuss trade remedies – a tool to protect the interests of domestic production industries amid Vietnam’s ongoing integration into the world economy.

Addressing the workshop, Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Centre for World Trade Organisation and Economic Integration, Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, said that with 13 existing free trade agreements (FTAs), in particular the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), Vietnam is opening up its market to goods from 51 partner countries.

Substantial imports, however, are likely to cause significant damage to the long-term interests of a number of domestic industries.

The workshop aimed at equipping businesses and associations with the skills needed to use trade defence instruments and to provide a venue for them to offer their opinions on the new legal framework for the field, such as the draft scheme on improving trade defence capacity and the draft circular on the implementation of the EVFTA, along with detailed guidelines on the process of filing complaints and joining in trade defence lawsuits, she said.

Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Remedies Authority, Le Trieu Dung, said trade defence instruments play a significant role in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese goods as well as manufacturing industries.

He introduced the draft circular guiding the implementation of the EVFTA on trade defence, saying that it applies trade remedies in the transitional period as well as anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures./.

Overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs give opinions on HCM City’s development

A conference gathering together overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs was held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 27, with a view to tapping into this resource to contribute to the southern economic hub’s development.

Standing Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said the conference was an occasion for local authorities to hear the opinions of domestic and overseas entrepreneurs and experts, to help with the city’s economic recovery, digital transformation, and COVID-19 response, as well as the promotion of Vietnamese goods in the global market, especially after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect on August 1.

The overseas Vietnamese community has been continually developing and now numbers some 5.3 million people in over 130 countries and territories. They have integrated intensively into all aspects of their host societies, according to Vice Chairman of the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese Luong Thanh Nghi.

They have always made practical and effective contributions to national development, he said, noting that overseas remittances to Vietnam have totalled some 170 billion USD since 1990.

Overseas Vietnamese have invested about 4 billion USD in 3,000 projects in the homeland, creating a large number of jobs and contributing to the country’s economic growth. They also play a critically important role in paving the way for Vietnamese goods to enter foreign markets, Nghi added.

Local and overseas entrepreneurs and representatives from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) shared their experience in business development and trade promotion.

They also discussed the opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese firms in Europe from the EVFTA./.

Local firms expect modest growth due to COVID-19

Through the two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, confidence in the growth prospects in 2020 of enterprises has gradually diminished.

This information was released by Vietnam Report (VNR) at the award ceremony of the Top 500 most profitable companies in Vietnam in 2020, so-called Profit500, held in Hanoi late last week.

VNR’s survey results in 2020 show that only 54.1 percent of enterprises were optimistic about the revenue growth prospects and 49.1 percent of enterprises were confident about profit growth prospects, down by 27.9 percent and 29.9 percent, respectively, compared to the assessment of revenue and profit growth prospects surveyed by Vietnam Report in September 2019.

The survey results show how the pandemic has seriously damaged the market sentiment.

Speaking at the ceremony, Pham Anh Tuan, a representative from online newspaper VietNamNet, said that for the first time in economic history, there was an economic crisis on a global scale stemming from a pandemic. This is the first time the concept of a “new normal” has been introduced when talking about efforts to recover the economic, social and production environment of the business community.

“In that context, for businesses, profit is not enough, but it must be sustainable profits based on strong internal capabilities, flexibility to adapt to the market and a reputable brand, trusted by many customers and investors,” Tuan said.

The honoured businesses are those with effective and sustainable production and business activities as well as good profitability in the face of many challenges resulting from the pandemic. In addition, they have kept a firm position in their industry and have the potential to become pillars for the future development of Vietnam’s economy.

In this year’s Profit500 ranking, some industries continued to record more businesses than the average level, including construction, construction materials and real estate (23.9 percent), finance (11.6 percent), food and beverages (10.9 percent), and electricity (6.3 percent).

Return on assets (ROA) of enterprises in Profit500 reached 11.4 percent, slightly down from 11.9 percent in 2019. However, the average return on equity (ROE) increased by 21.7 percent compared to 20.9 percent in 2019. This showed that the efficiency in using capital of enterprises has been improved.

Notably, the number of businesses in the food – beverage – retail – packaging industry in 2020 also dominated the ranking. In this event, Vietnam Report also announced the Top 10 prestigious enterprises in the food – beverage – retail – packaging industry with the aim of recognising the achievements of reputable companies in the industry.

In a quick survey of enterprises in the industry conducted by the company in August, about half of surveyed firms said that their operations had been affected, of which, the group of alcoholic beverages was facing the most challenges because of Decree 100. Production capacity of the beverage group currently only operates at 80 percent compared to before the pandemic.

Also under the event, Vietnam Report published the Vietnam Earnings Insight 2020 Bilingual Report with the theme “Restructuring – Recovering growth momentum in a new normal period”.

According to the report, Vietnam’s economy recorded a growth rate of 2.12 percent in the first nine months of 2020 – the lowest compared to the same period of 2011-20. However, in the current difficult situation, maintaining a positive growth rate is still considered a positive and good sign.

The challenge for Vietnamese businesses is not only to maintain production and business activities and ensure social safety regulations, but also to build a suitable operating system following market trends./.

Vietnam, Australia work to boost two-way trade

A trade working group within the framework of the Ministerial-level Vietnam-Australia Economic Partnership Meeting convened an online meeting on October 27.

The two sides reviewed the implementation of contents reached in last year’s meeting, discussed bilateral and multilateral trade issues and those at regional and global forums, measures to tackle trade difficulties and the progress of building the Vietnam-Australia economic cooperation enhancement strategy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vietnamese side suggested Australia offer more active assistance in opening the market for Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery products to reach more balanced and sustainable trade, boost collaboration in trade defence, competition management, industry and energy, e-commerce, trade and investment promotion, technical support in the implementation of free trade agreements to which both countries are members.

Vietnam proposed Australia raise the awareness of its associations, businesses and localities about bilateral trade promotion activities.

The Australian side spoke highly of Vietnam’s role in its trade and suggested boosting cooperation in the fields of education-training, mining and tourism.

Vietnam expressed wish to work more closely with Australia to launch priority cooperation in education-training and planning of universities and exchange of students and lecturers.

The Southeast Asian nation also proposed soon completing the signing of a Protocol amending the aviation agreement signed by the two Governments in 1995, thus creating favourable conditions for the two nations’ airlines to operate direct flights.

On multilateral issues, the two sides reviewed cooperation within regional and global frameworks, including the serious delivery of commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

They also suggested ways to deal with common issues related to origin certification in the CPTPP, expressed their determination to soon sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, and shared opinions on reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

Both sides pledged to continue working closely together to realise the Vietnam-Australia economic cooperation enhancement strategy and reporting trade coordination contents to the Ministerial-level Vietnam-Australia Economic Partnership Meeting scheduled for late 2020 and early 2021.

Trade between Vietnam and Australia grew by 8.2 percent on average during the 2010-2019 period, amounting to over 7.9 billion USD in 2019, up 3 percent annually.

In the first nine months of this year, the figure went up 2.3 percent annually to over 6.1 billion USD./.

Vietnam Association of Fish Sauce established

The Vietnam Association of Fish Sauce (VAFS) was launched in Hanoi on October 27.

The association’s founding members come from cities and provinces nationwide, representing fish sauce producers, traders, exporters and importers, scientists, managers and testers, of which there are 35 fish sauce processing establishments involved in exporting to more than 20 markets, including the US, EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, a representative of the association, said the sales and production volume of fish sauce of the association’s founding members account for about 70 percent of the total sales and output of the Vietnamese fish sauce industry.

Speaking at the congress of the association in the 2020-2025 term, Thuy said this was an important event marking a new development of the domestic fish sauce industry.

This is a house for all members to cooperate closely to affirm the position of Vietnamese fish sauce on the international market, Thuy said.

The association will focus on solving problems in processing technologies to help fish sauce products meet the standards of importing countries.

At the first congress, Tran Dang, former director of the Department of Food Safety under the Ministry of Health, was elected as the association’s chairman./.

Malaysia calls for stronger APEC cooperation in food security

Malaysia has called for stronger efforts and cooperation in food security among the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries to face post-COVID-19 challenges.

The Malaysian Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) in a statement said the message was conveyed by its minister, Dr Ronald Kiandee when chairing APEC’s Ministerial Policy Dialogue on Food Security, which was held virtually on October 27.

Minister Kiandee, in his welcoming address, said cooperation should be further enhanced in the fields of food technology, innovation and capacity building.

According to the minister, importance should be given to improving the resiliency of food systems, ensuring sustainable food resources and thorough usage of technology and digital economy in the agriculture sector. He added that this would ensure that the APEC economies have the ability to address any uncertainties in future.

MAFI said the dialogue involving 21 APEC and APEC Business Advisory Council countries, also came up with a statement on facilitating the flow of food and agricultural products across borders, minimising disruptions on the global food supply chain and ensuring the trade links remain open for regional food security sustainability./.

Singapore’s factory output rises 24.2 percent in September

Singapore’s factory output might be a bright spot in the economy, thanks to the booming pharmaceutical and electronics sectors, according to the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB).

Manufacturing output surged 24.2 percent last month, compared with the same month last year – the biggest year-on-year increase since December 2011.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 8.5 percent.

Biomedical manufacturing production expanded by 89.8 percent year on year. On a year-to-date basis, the biomedical manufacturing cluster grew 26.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

The electronics sector also posted robust growth of 30.1 percent last month. This was led by the semiconductor segment, which grew 37.4 percent, supported by demand from cloud services, data centres and the 5G market, EDB noted.

The demand for chips remains strong, economists noted.

Chemicals also saw a slight increase in output, by 0.4 percent. The specialities segment grew with higher output in industrial gases and additives. But the petrochemicals and petroleum segments contracted on the back of plant maintenance shutdowns.

The transport engineering cluster recorded a 35.8 percent plunge in output last month.

Growth is expected to remain uneven across different clusters and segments, as some such as transport engineering were hard hit by COVID-19 outbreak./.

Fisheries targeted to become major production industry

Vietnam aims to develop its fisheries sector into a large commodity production industry with competitive capacity and responsible and sustainable integration in line with international institutions, contributing to improving incomes for industry workers.

According to the Vietnam fisheries development strategy to 2030 and vision to 2045, the aquaculture economy is to account for 30 percent of GDP in agro-forestry-fisheries.

The total output of domestically produced aquatic products is to reach 10 million tonnes, while export value is to hit 18-20 billion USD.

The strategy also aims to generate over 3.5 million jobs.

At a conference held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on October 26, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development collected opinions from participants on the 4th draft on the strategy.

Delegates also reviewed the implementation of the national target programme on sustainable aquaculture development in 2016-2020.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, over 14.47 trillion VND (over 619.6 million USD) was allocated to 148 projects in the 2016-2020 period, including 21 fishing ports, 45 anchorage areas, 65 concentrated cultivation areas, and 15 breeding production centres.

The sector’s production value grew by an average of 6 percent annually in the 2016-2020 period. Total fisheries output in 2019 reached 8.15 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, export turnover in 2019 hit 8.6 billion USD and is expected to reach 10 billion USD this year.

The directorate, however, said investment allocation has met just 33 percent of needs, while post-investment management has remained ineffective.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, the sector still boasts great potential for development, so in the coming time it is necessary to cut exploitation output, strengthen conservation, and promote marine farming towards sustainable fisheries development and the removal of theEuropean Commission (EC)’s “yellow card” over illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing./.

Foreign currency deposits account for over 94 percent in Cambodia: Moody’s

The dollarisation remains high in Cambodia, revealed the latest annual report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the Southeast Asian nation.
The report said foreign currency deposits accounted for more than 94 percent of all deposits in the country in August last year. 

Moody’s Investors Service says that any prolonged dollar weakness is likely to benefit Asian borrowers outside of Japan but have a limited impact.

In a statement issued in Singapore, the US credit rating agency said some market experts noted that while this would weigh on the profitability of some companies with significant US dollar revenues, it would lower debt-servicing costs for Asian excluding Japanese issuers and have a limited impact overall.

The authorities underscore the importance of maintaining exchange rate stability as a nominal anchor to help keep inflation manageable. However, they are aware that a high degree of dollarisation continues to limit the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC) ability to implement monetary policy effectively./.

Prices of E5 RON92, RON95 petrol products down slightly

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance on October 27 announced adjustments to retail prices of some petrol products, with the price of E5 RON92 and RON95 being cut by 159 VND and 182 VND per litre, respectively.

The price of E5 RON92 is now no higher than 14,109 VND per litre and of RON95 petrol no higher than 14,940 VND.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel rose 90 VND per litre to 11,218 VND at a maximum, while kerosene now costs 9,717 VND per litre, up 123 VND.

The price of Mazut also increased by 340 VND per kilo to 11,261 VND.

The two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to make adjustments in accordance with fluctuations on the global market.

In the most-recent adjustment, on October 12, the ministries cut the price of E5 RON92 by 53 VND per litre and of RON95 by 138 VND per litre.

Prices of kerosene and mazut rose 145 VND and 95 VND, while the price of diesel remained unchanged at 11,128 VND per litre./.

Four ASEAN countries to sign deal in cross-border power trading

Singapore is set to ink an agreement with Laos, Thailand and Malaysia at an ASEAN meeting next month to advance cooperation on cross-border power trading, Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said on October 26.

The memorandum of understanding for the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) is expected to be signed at the 38th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting, which will be hosted by Vietnam mid-November, Tan said in a speech at the Singapore Energy Summit, which is part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2020.

The LTMS-PIP currently involves the sale of electricity from Laos to Malaysia, with Thailand acting as a transit country, according to a September 2019 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Establishing multilateral power trading would allow ASEAN member states to tap into the potential benefits of an integrated ASEAN power system, including reduced costs and an increased ability to integrate variable renewable energy resources, the IEA said in the report.

Tan quoted an ASEAN Energy Outlook report set to be published next month as saying that the ASEAN Centre of Energy has predicted that the regional energy demand would increase by more than 70 percent between 2020 and 2040.

To ensure a sustainable energy future, the ten member states have agreed to lower energy intensity and grow the renewable portfolio in their energy mix, he said.

Within ASEAN, there are also extensive discussions to promote the use of natural gas through a well-coordinated and connected regional gas market, the minister added./.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau to speed up key national projects

The southern coastal province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau has asked the Government to allocate capital from the central budget to speed up progress of national key projects in the province over the next five years.

Of the 16 major public-invested projects, three of the most important projects are the Bien Hoa – Vung Tau expressway, Phuoc An Bridge and 991B Road, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

Nguyen Van Tho, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the three national key projects would connect the southern key economic region with the Cai Mep – Thi Vai deep water port, a key port in the region.

“The port system can receive large container vessels of up to 200,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) and is capable of international goods transport, which allows direct export to the EU and the US without transshipment, reducing logistics costs and improving the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods,” he said.

The expressway, connecting Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai and Ba Ria City in Ba Ria – Vung Tau, is expected to be completed and opened to traffic by 2025.

The province said it had asked the PM to approve the pre-feasibility study for the first phase of the project, which will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) investment model.

To build the expressway, around 34.2km of the road will be built in Dong Nai and 19.5km in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The project requires an estimated investment of 23.07 trillion VND (995.5 million USD), according to the provincial People’s Committee.

The province proposed that 9.95 trillion VND should be sourced from the State budget to fund site clearance and construction of the section in the province, and that 13.125 trillion VND should come from the private sector.

The developer of the project will mobilise the remainder from its own budget and bank loans. To recover capital, the investor will be allowed to collect toll fees from road users for about 25 years.

The expressway is expected to ease traffic congestion on National Highway 51, and facilitate travel between Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau provinces and HCM City and the southern key economic zone.

Another national key project is the Phuoc An Bridge, which will connect the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex with the Ben Luc – Long Thanh expressway.

The 4.3-km bridge will be built in Phu My Town in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and Nhon Trach district in Dong Nai province.

The bridge is expected to cost 4.88 trillion VND. The province has asked for an allocation of 50 percent of the cost (2.4 trillion VND) from the central government budget over the next five years.

In addition, the 991B road is an important project with a total cost of 3.95 trillion VND, of which the central government has already allocated 920 billion VND. The province has asked the government to arrange an additional 2.22 trillion VND over the next five years.

Call for investment in 23 projects

In addition to 16 key public-invested projects, the province is calling for investment in 23 national key projects, according to a report from the provincial People’s Committee.

These projects include ports, cultural parks, airports, roads, inspection centres, tourism services, and urban area works.

Of the 23 projects, nine land plots will seek investment through auction of land-use rights and public property auctions, including one that has already been successfully auctioned.

In addition, the province has added the April 30th Park in Ba Ria City and a national grid system for Con Dao district to the list of key projects that need speeding up.

Pham Viet Thanh, Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, said the province would choose qualified and reputable investors to carry out the projects.

“Relevant localities and agencies must follow the progress of each of the key projects and remove difficulties in a timely way and deal with arising problems,” he noted.

With a coastal line of over 30km, Ba Ria-Vung Tau serves as the country’s major trade gateway due to its proximity to industrial zones, port complex, major highways, and transshipment routes.

Located on the southeastern coast, the province is one of the leading foreign direct investment (FDI) sites in Vietnam./.

Cambodia approves electricity projects worth 830 million USD

The Cambodian government has approved more than 830 million USD worth of electricity infrastructure projects, which consist of a 150MW hydropower dam, a 265MW coal-fired power station, and three transmission lines.

According to the minutes of the Cambodian Council of Ministers’ Plenary Session, the 150MW Stung Tatai Leu dam will be built on the upper reaches of the Tatai River in Koh Kong province’s northern Thma Bang district by the Chinese state-owned China National Heavy Machinery Corp.

Costing over 389.4 million USD, the project is expected to generate an average of 527 million kWh per year, with the electricity sold to state-run electricity supplier Electricite du Cambodge at 0.0792 USD per kWh.

Meanwhile, a 199.52km-long 500kV transmission line connecting Phnom Penh to the Cambodia-Lao border and another being 107 km at length and linking Battambang province with the Cambodian-Thai border will also be built at costs of more than 330.46 and 110.94 million USD, respectively.

Cambodian Government spokesman Phay Siphan said a plan has been put in place to trim electricity prices once a year since 2016, when the development of the national grid and large power sources steadily began to blossom./.

State budget collection in 2021 expected to rise 1.5 percent

State budget collection is expected to rise 1.5 percent over 2020, according to a Government report on State budget estimate for 2021, which is being put on discussion before being submitted to the National Assembly.

The report further said State budget collection in the year is estimated at over 1.343 quadrillion VND (about 58 billion USD). The amount mobilised for State budget is about 15.5 percent of the GDP.

It also projects State budget expenditure in 2021 at 1.68 quadrillion VND, 3.4 percent lower than the estimate in 2020.

Meanwhile, public debt in 2021 is predicted to stay at 46.1 percent of the GDP.

The report predicted that the world economic situation in 2021 will continue to be difficult due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which is causing a fall in investment, trade, human resources, supply connections and affecting consumer’sconfidence.

The growth recovery will greatly depend on the controlling of the pandemic, according to the report.

Alongside, climate change, extreme weather conditions and other epidemics are also threatening the recovery of many economies.

Meanwhile, the domestic economy will continue to face risks and challenges to complet the duo targets of controlling the pandemic and promoting economic growth.

The report defines that the State budget purpose in 2021 is to mobilise, allocate and effectively use State resources for the macro-economic stability, speeding up economic recovery and ensuring social welfare.

The restructuring of State budget in line with the streamlining of the public apparatuses and the saving of the budget are another objective of the year.

The report projects that economic growth in the year will expand 6 percent compared to 2020, while the rise of consumer price index will be about 4 percent. The crude oil price is predicted to stand at 45 USD per barrel, and export revenue to grow about 5 percent./.

OCOP trade fair held in Lao Cai

The “One Commune, One Product” (OCOP) and farm produce trade fair in the northern region has been held in Lao Cai province.

The event created a chance for farmers, businesses, cooperatives and sellers to meet and exchange, thus promoting the implementation of the OCOP programme and supporting localities to build new-style rural areas in a sustainable and effective manner.

Italso provided an opportunity for northern localities to introduce their potential and advantages in agriculture and rural tourism services, and for regional companies and cooperatives to meet and seek partnerships.

The fair featured 318 booths run by regional cities and provinces, research institutes, agro-businesses, and cooperatives showcasing star-rated OCOP products and high-quality agricultural, forestry, and fishery commodities.

It also exhibited key export items such as vegetables, pepper, cashew nut, coffee, and rice, as well as effective agricultural models, technologies, and agricultural services./.

VN fruit, vegetable exporters need to be on top of Chinese policy changes: conference

With China making regulations for fruit and vegetable imports more stringent, Vietnamese businesses need to pay close attention to the changes and comply with them, experts told a conference in HCM City yesterday.

According to Ta Quang Kien, acting director of the Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development Department’s agriculture produce commercial policies division, China imports US$9-10 billion worth of fruits and vegetables annually and accounts for more than 70 per cent of Viet Nam’s exports.

However, “Viet Nam’s vegetable and fruits exports to China fell by 25.9 per cent in the first nine months of the year.” Besides, growth in exports has been declining since 2015.

Nguyen Quang Hieu, head of the plant protection department’s international co-operation division, said China was tightening control over its produce imports and their quality, and requiring exporters to declare farming zone codes and packaging facilities.

China is also working with Viet Nam on updating export protocols for eight of the nine fruits that the latter is able to export, namely dragon fruit, watermelon, banana, rambutan, lychee, jackfruit, longan, and mango.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said safety awareness is rising among Chinese and so regulations are becoming stricter, especially with regard to chemicals and disease prevention.

“More farmers should be encouraged to acquire VietGap certification and adopt safe farming practices.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is negotiating to export more new fruits and vegetables to China, including durian and yam.

It will continue to update the list of businesses that can export frozen fruit products to China and focus on issuing codes for farming zones and packaging facilities for export to China.

It is also working with provinces to better understand their challenges and raise awareness of China’s policies on produce imports. 

Coastal property project increases investment capital

A coastal property project has been given approval from Da Nang City’s authorities to increase its investment value from VND380 billion (US$17 million) to VND2.1 trillion ($94.5 million).

The city’s planning and investment department confirmed to Viet Nam News the project, for which the Nam Phat Resort and Villa development company was given an investment licence in 2008, would increase the number of luxury villas from 47 to 86 and build a new complex of 50 luxury apartments, while an 18-storey hotel will be built with 157 rooms instead of 100 as listed in the initial investment licence.

The department said the project would be built on 15ha in coastal Ngu Hanh Son District for launching in the third quarter of 2021.

According to the department, two companies – Manwell Global Limited and Bella Pacific limited – from the British Virgin Islands will contribute $18.9 million for developing the project.

A report from the city’s property association unveiled the coastal city now has 28,600 rooms – 10 times as many as in 2007.

In the middle of October, domestic BRG Group commenced construction of the 36-storey BRG Da Nang Golf resort with a total investment of VND1.63 trillion ($71 million) in Ngu Hanh Son district. The project is expected to add 500 more rooms to the city’s tourism industry. 

Becamex IJC to offer 80 million shares for sale

Becamex Infrastructure Development JSC (Becamex IJC) will sell 80 million shares in a public offering deal to increase charter capital.

The company expects to raise at least VND800 billion (US$34.5 million) from the share sale, which will take place at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. Each share is worth at least VND10,000 ($0.43).

The initial price of the auction is the share’s book value recorded in the latest financial report or the average 30-day share price prior to the notice of public offering.

The offering date has not been decided yet.

The income raised from the share sale will be spent increasing capital and investment for the firm’s projects.

The company said in a statement that the capital hike would help cut capital costs, improve the working competency, and increase its earnings to meet the full-year targets.

Becamex IJC’s shares, listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange as IJC, fell 1.6 per cent to end Monday at VND12,300 apiece.

In early 2017, Becamex IJC halved its charter capital, a move that was rarely seen among local companies.

The firm bought back 50 per cent of total outstanding shares from shareholders for VND10,000 apiece in early 2017. The company’s shares listed on HoSE as IJC were trading close to VND8,500 apiece.

Funding for the share buyback was the firm’s income from selling assets at affiliates. After the share buyback, Becamex IJC cut its capital by half to VND1.37 trillion.

Becamex IJC is a member of the Investment and Industrial Development Joint Stock Corporation (Becamex, HoSE: BCM). Becamex has a 78.8 per cent stake at its affiliate. 

Techcombank posts robust earnings gains in 9 months

Viet Nam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has reported big earning gains in January-September to keep performing well amid the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Techcombank reported a total pre-tax profit of VND10.7 trillion (US$462.6 million) and a total revenue of VND19.3 trillion in the past nine months, up 20.9 per cent and 33.5 per cent year on year.

The post-tax profit in the nine-month period was up 20.6 per cent to VND8.6 trillion. At the end of September, return on assets (ROA) ratio was 3.0 per cent and the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was 16.7 per cent.

“Our robust capital and funding positions have enabled us to support our customers and weather the difficult operating environment this year,” Techcombank CEO Jens Lottner said in a statement.

“As we look towards the end of 2020 and beyond, we are cautiously optimistic that the impact of COVID-19 has peaked and that proven preparedness of the Government, together with the collective experience of the business and broader community, will allow us to manage and mitigate risks should there be another breakout,” he said.

“Importantly, the long-term drivers for growth are intact, and we remain focused on the consistent execution of our strategy and investments in digitalisation to improve our customer experience,” he said.

Techcombank announced its total operating income grew 33.5 per cent on-year to VND19.3 trillion in nine months and net interest income rose 28.4 per cent on-year to VND13.3 trillion.

In addition, nine-month net fee and commission income jumped 65 per cent on-year to VND3.1 trillion. The bank said that the figure accounted for 16.2 per cent of the total revenue, boosted by bond underwriting activity during nine months.

Operating expenses totalled VND6.3 trillion ending September 30, up 27.1 per cent on-year while the cost to income ratio was cut by 1.7 percentage points to 32.8 per cent.

In the third quarter of 2020, Techcombank continued to write off its non-performing loans. Risk provision in the first nine months jumped 3.6 times to VND2.2 trillion from last year’s number.

At the end of the third quarter, total assets were VND401.5 trillion, up 9.2 per cent on-year and 4.6 per cent year-to-date. Total credit extended to customers as of September 30 increased by 14.4 per cent on-year and 8.3 per cent year-to-date to VND279.4 trillion.

The non-performing loan ratio (NPL) was 0.6 per cent on September 30, down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter and down 1.2 percentage points from last year.

The bank explained bad debt write-off and ongoing prudent risk management were the important factors towards lower bad debt ratio.

Total deposits were VND252.6 trillion at the end of September while non-term deposits totalled VND97.5 trillion and time deposits were worth VND155.1 trillion.

The three figures were up 9.2 per cent, 22.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent year-to-date, respectively, reflecting the “success in optimising its cost of funding.” 




HCMC approves 1st bus rapid transit route



HCMC approves 1st bus rapid transit route

A bus is stuck in traffic in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

HCMC has given the green light for its first bus rapid transit line at a cost of VND3.27 trillion ($142 million) and to be completed by 2023.

Green bus route 1 will run 26 kilometers through Districts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, Binh Tan, and Binh Chanh in a dedicated lane at an average speed of 60 kilometers per hour.

It will have a fleet of 42 buses with a capacity of 60-72 passengers, 28 stations and eight parking lots for personal vehicles.

The city will build footbridges at several places for people to access the stations. The buses will have a smart ticket system using electronic cards and smartphones.

Of its $142 million cost, 87 percent will be borrowed from the World Bank.

It is one of six routes planned to reduce routine congestion in a city that lacks efficient public transport to serve its 13 million residents.


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China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP



The 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit kicked off on Friday, highlighting booming digital economy cooperation and the implementation of a recently signed major trade pact.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for cultivating a closer community with a shared future for China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when addressing via video the opening ceremony.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit via video on Nov. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

This year’s expo aims to deepen cooperation in trade, the digital economy, science and technology, health, and other fields.

With an exhibition area of 104,000 square meters, the expo has 5,400 booths in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. More than 1,500 enterprises from home and abroad will participate virtually in the four-day event, according to the organizers.

The expo will also host 11 high-level forums and more than 160 economic and trade promotion activities.

China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP

Booming digital cooperation

This year is designated as the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation. Strengthening digital economy cooperation was the common call of ASEAN leaders at the opening ceremony.

ASEAN’s digital economy is estimated to increase from 1.3 percent of the group’s GDP in 2015 to 8.5 percent in 2025, according to ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, adding that China is leading the development of digital infrastructure and is an important partner of ASEAN in promoting the digital economy in the region.

This year’s expo also highlights the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s biggest trade pact, which was signed earlier this month by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including ASEAN’s 10 member states and China. It was a massive move for regional economic integration, multilateralism and free trade.

China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP

The signing ceremony of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is held via video conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 15, 2020. (VNA via Xinhua)

The expo features an exhibition area, and enterprises from RCEP countries including Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand have participated in the event, according to Wang Lei, secretary-general of the expo’s secretariat.

High-level dialogue conducted during the expo will promote greater participation from RCEP members, said Wang, adding that the expo will help integrate the market advantages and resources of the 10 ASEAN members with the capital and technical advantages of other RCEP members.

“I believe that the RCEP will also provide a solid foundation for an open, inclusive, and rules-based global trade environment,” said Myanmar President U Win Myint at the expo’s opening ceremony.

Xu Ningning, executive president of the China-ASEAN Business Council, said that opening up the markets of the 15 countries to each other will bring about new changes and closer regional cooperation. 

(Source: Xinhua)


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VNR petitions for reduction of infrastructure charge



Passengers board a train. VNR has proposed an infrastructure use fee reduction – PHOTO: LE ANH

HANOI – Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) has proposed reducing the infrastructure charge from 8% of its railway transport revenue to 2% due to the difficulties caused by Covid-19.

The proposal has been sent to the Ministries of Transport and Finance and the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises.

This year, VNR may generate nearly VND3.2 trillion in revenue and its losses were estimated at VND643 billion. It has minimized its operation cost and furloughed its staff.

VNR and transport firms have encountered cash flow difficulties to maintain their operations. They are finding it hard to overcome their budget deficit, VNR Chairman Vu Anh Minh said.

VNR needs VND320 billion in 2020 and VND350 billion in 2021 to make good its losses.

VNR’s railway transport revenue was estimated at VND2.7 trillion this year. With this revenue, it will have to pay VND213 billion as the infrastructure use fee.

If the proposal to reduce the infrastructure use fee is approved, the fee will be cut by VND160 billion. The reduced amount in 2021 will be an estimated VND179.5 billion.

Thus, the firm can make good half of its budget deficit.


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