Revenue to state budget increases over 10 percent
The revenue to the state budget in the first 9 months of this year amounted to 1,084.7 trillion VND, representing 80.75 percent of the projection and an increase of 10.75 percent over the figure recorded in the same period last year, according to the Finance Ministry.
Meanwhile, the expenditure from the state coffer was estimated at 116.3 trillion VND, with the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic being prioritised. By the end of September, 29.1 trillion VND from the state budget was spend on the fight and support to those adversely affected by the pandemic.
Despite the serious impacts of the pandemic, the revenue still increased year on year thanks to the economic growth momentum in the last month of last year, the ministry said.
For the rest of the year, the ministry will continue accelerating administrative procedure reforms on taxation, simplifying business conditions, and joining other forces in fighting losses of the revenue to the state budget and creating a healthy business environment, thus encouraging and attracting investment./.
Joint venture oilfield produce 1 million tonnes of crude
The Ca Tam oilfield has pumped up 1 million tonnes of crude oil after it was put into operation three years ago.
According to the Vietnam-Russia Vietsovpetro joint venture, the field has generated a revenue of 427.5 million USD and paid 169 million USD to the state budget.
The field exceeded its 2020 production plan by 18 percent and the figure is projected at 5 percent this year.
Besides operating a well in the field, the joint venture is designing and procuring equipment for the second to be put into operation by the end of next year, it said.
Vietsovpetro is focusing its resources on developing new oilfields in the time to come, a representative of the joint venture said./.
Hanoi’s tourism sector moves to adapt to new context
The fourth wave of COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on tourism in Vietnam, including Hanoi, but it has also opened up opportunities to restructure this industry, change approaches to the market, and align products to travellers’ demand and the reality, according to insiders.
In the capital city, the pandemic has forced up to 95 percent of travel businesses and agencies to shut down or suspend operations, 1,550 accommodation establishments to halt activities or shift to other sectors, and about 11,600 workers to take a furlough or terminate their labour contracts. Meanwhile, all tourist destinations had to close, and more than 90 percent of the transport fleet stopped working.
Some enterprises have sought new ways to survive the situation such as providing charter flight and counseling services, many have even shifted their business lines.
As relic sites, scenic landscapes, museums, and other destinations in Hanoi shut down their door to tourists, a number of those places have applied new technologies like the 3D virtual reality, organised digital exhibitions, and created audio files and video clips to attract viewers.
Tourism authorities are working to encourage Hanoians to visit local places of interest, and travel firms also view this as an appropriate measure as the capital city have yet to reopen to tourists from other localities.
Positive signs have been seen in the COVID-19 fight in Hanoi and Vietnam as a whole. Many provinces and cities have been gradually relaxing or lifting social distancing.
Given this, businesses in the tourism industry are expecting to resume activities and serve travellers as soon as possible.
Phung Quang Thang, Chairman of the Hanoi Travel Agents’ Association, said that in the current context, domestic tourism is still the “lifebuoy” for enterprises when the time for reopening to international visitors remains unclear. They have no other choices but to develop safe and “sandbox” travel programmes.
He held that to organise safe tourism, it is necessary to involve different agencies and sectors, apart from efforts by the tourism sector.
Nguyen Thi Huyen, CEO of the Vietrantour travel company, said localities should assist businesses to select outstanding and safe destinations to attract tourists, carry out pandemic safety measures at those places, and boost tourism promotion.
Preparing for tourism resumption but still ensuring safety for the local community, visitors, and travel service suppliers is the top priority of Hanoi’s tourism sector at present. The city is making a plan on tourism recovery and development from now to the year’s end, with the COVID-19 safety taken into account.
Director of the municipal Tourism Department Dang Huong Giang said her department has proposed four stages of tourism reopening on the basis of the Health Ministry’s guidelines for safe adaptation to the pandemic.
If permitted by the Hanoi People’s Committee, the tourism sector will begin resuming activities right this October. Eligible accommodation facilities, destinations, and travel and transport companies will be allowed to reactivate operations.
It will continue developing safe and creative destinations and applying information technology more strongly to diversify tourism products in order to attract domestic travellers, the official noted./.
Over 40 percent of firms in Long An resume operations
Over 5,800 firms or 44 percent of the total number of registered enterprises in the southern province of Long An resumed operations as of October 13.
Of them, 1,871 were in manufacturing sector with more than 151,700 workers and 4,000 in services and key necessities with some 57,800 labourers.
The provincial steering board of COVID-19 prevention and control said the province strives to have all companies return to work by late November, towards achieving the new normal by early 2022.
Under Plan No.3222/KH-UBND on the recovery of business and trade activities issued by the provincial People’s Committee, all enterprises are allowed to resume operations when they meet requirements for pandemic prevention and control and take responsibility for the effort to local authorities.
Local authorities and medical stations will assist firms in gradually rebooting their activities, contributing to the dual goals of fighting the pandemic and restoring economic development./.
Quang Binh mulls fostering cooperation with RoK
A webinar to bolster cooperation between the central coastal province of Quang Binh and the Republic of Korea (RoK) was held on October 15.
At the event, head of the Department of Foreign Affairs for Provinces at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Tran Thanh Huan said the ministry and the Embassy of RoK in Vietnam together with RoK partners have organised various events to bolster cooperation between the two countries at large and Quang Binh and the RoK in particular.
Briefing the participants on Quang Binh’s potential and strengths across multiple fields, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Vu Dai Thang said the webinar offered a chance for Quang Binh and RoK businesses and investors to enhance connection and information sharing, thereby fostering investment in the Vietnamese province.
Investors from the RoK are among prioritised partners of Quang Binh and they will receive optimal conditions to operate in the province, he added.
Relevant agencies over the time have worked to call for investment in sectors that Quang Binh boasts strengths, particularly services and tourism, industry and agriculture, with due attention paid to sustainable development of forest and maritime economy.
At the event, participants also discussed economic recovery plans, investment trends of RoK firms, advantages of Quang Binh’s business climate and incentives for foreign firms, outstanding tourism products and prioritised tourism projects, among others./.
Vice President attends Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs’ Forum
Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan on October 15 attended the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs’ Forum themed “Digital Transformation: From perception to action” on the occasion of Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13), Vietnamese Women’s Day (October 20) and the 20th anniversary of the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs’ Council.
Speaking at the event, Xuan said the Vietnamese Party, State and society have increasingly spoke highly of the role of enterprises and businesses owned by women in particular which have made important contributions to Vietnam’s development.
Together with the cause of gender equality, the contingent of female entrepreneurs has been growing stronger, with their firms accounting for 26.5 percent of the total nationwide, placing Vietnam sixth among countries with the highest number of businesswomen.
In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they actively engaged in prevention and control while making contributions to social welfare, she said.
According to the Vice President, the event afforded participants a chance to share experience and seek ways to step up digital transformation, towards building a healthy and sustainable business environment.
She expressed her belief that the business community will contribute to effective and practical policy planning and enforcement, accelerate business restructuring, including digital transformation, for rapid and sustainable development.
Following the event, the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs’ Council held a ceremony to celebrate its 20th founding anniversary (May 8)./.
Vietnamese lighting products enter Korean market
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Rang Dong, Vietnam’s leading LED lighting manufacturer, has been introduced in the Republic of Korea. This represents the first attempt at penetrating into the market by a Vietnamese electrical firm.
At the 19th International Light Convergence Expo held recently at the Korea International Exhibition Centre (KINTEX) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, products from Rang Dong –Vietnam’s leading lighting manufacturer – grabbed the attention of many foreign partners and local consumers.
Light bulbs from Vietnam have been exported to the Korean market before, but were manufactured for foreign partners so did not bear any Vietnamese brand names.
After meeting the stringent quality requirements in the RoK, Rang Dong’s products have now been introduced to Korean consumers.
“Importers have lauded the quality of Rang Dong’s products compared to others in the range. We will hold more strategic programmes to introduce its products to local consumers,” said Choi Ho-wook, managing director of Rang Dong Korea.
The Expo attracted the participation of about 200 companies in 500 stalls, including major names in the industry such as Samsung and LG, among others. In addition to domestic lighting products, Rang Dong also introduced decorative, street, and security lights and other smart technology devices./.
Vietnam Pavilion impresses international visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai
The Vietnam Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai complex impressed international visitors with 800 non la (conical hats) hanging at the front of their display and miniatures of 18 pieces created by renowned Vietnamese contemporary artists.
The pavilion is located in the ‘Opportunity’ themed area with a total area of 850sq.m spread over three floors, two of which are for exhibition activities and the third, a VIP and office area.
The first floor of the pavilion includes a 10-screen area with an introduction revealing 10 things you need to know about Vietnam; a cultural-traditional area with ancient bronze drums, a dragon head of the Ly Dynasty, a statue of Quan Am Buddha, water puppetry, traditional musical instruments, national costumes, panorama screen showing stories about history and famous landmarks, science and technology area displaying ‘Make-in-Vietnam’ products and a tourist discovery area with touch screens and 3D displays.
The second floor focuses on introducing Vietnamese quintessential products, national brands, and exported agricultural produce, Vietnamese coffee culture, a circular economy model in coffee production and Vietnamese marine farming technology.
Speaking at the Vietnam Pavilion inauguration event, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ta Quang Dong said the Vietnam Pavilion demonstrates the Government’s solid commitment and efforts in promoting the country’s image and upholding cultural values and the creativity of Vietnamese people.
Choosing the main theme ‘Distilling the Past, Shaping the Future’, the Vietnam Pavilion shows creativity in the interior, art displays, model installations combined with technology interaction along with an attractive culinary space and special art performances, promising to promote the beauty, potential, and development opportunities of the country.
In addition, the Vietnamese delegation also actively participated in international exchange activities such as performing dan bau (Vietnamese monochord) with traditional orchestras and famous Middle Eastern music stars.
Vietnam is the only Asian country to have a virtual reality zone set up under the virtual tour project hosted by the Internationale de la francophonie (OIF).
Vietnam Day (December 30, 2021) is considered the most important event of Vietnam at Expo 2020 Dubai with the participation of senior leaders from the country.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has coordinated with ministries, sectors, and units to plan a variety of activities such as a parade, display of the flag of Vietnam at Al Wasl – one of the largest 360-degree dome squares in the world, a large-scale fashion art show at the large outdoor stage, Vietnam Film Week and a tourism and commercial promotion programme.
On October 12, monochord artist Le Giang collaborated with traditional Middle Eastern band and male singer Aseel Abu Baker at Jalsat Music Night, one of the top art shows of EXPO 2020 which received a lot of attention from the international media and audience./.
Vietnam-Denmark Friendship Association has new president
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh was elected as President of the Vietnam-Denmark Friendship Association (VDFA) for the 2021-26 tenure during its third Congress held on October 15.
The event was organised in both in-person and virtual forms.
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), voiced her belief that under the leadership of Thanh and the executive committee for the 2021-26 term, the VDFA will obtain new achievements and further contribute to promoting the Vietnam-Denmark friendship and comprehensive partnership.
The association needs to foster cooperation with non-governmental organisations, educational establishments and firms of the countries so as to step up the bilateral relations as well as the Vietnam-EU ties, she added.
The VDFA has rolled out numerous activities to promote the images of Vietnam and its people and culture to Danish friends and vice versa, notably a drawing contest for children which helps deepen mutual understanding and friendship between people of the countries.
Such activities serve as a foundation for the Governments and people of Vietnam and Denmark to continue to expand and carry out cooperation programmes in a more comprehensive and effective manner in the coming time, heard the event.
The Vietnam-Denmark relations have been strengthened over the years. The countries elevated their relationship to comprehensive partnership level in 2013./.
NG Biotech expected to open R&D centre for infectious diseases in Vietnam
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue has expressed his wish that NG Biotech would continue working with Vietnamese partners to establish a research and development centre for prevention and control of communicable diseases, not only for COVID-19.
During a reception in Hanoi on October 15 for Founder and Chief Technology Officer of NG Biotech Company Milovan Stankov, Hue affirmed that the Vietnamese Party and State always consider public health care as a top priority.
He welcomed the cooperation between NG Biotech and Vietnamese firms to facilitate the transfer of SARS-CoV-2 testing kit production technology.
Congratulating a joint venture between NG Biotech and Vietnam’s Vingroup on its readiness to produce SARS-CoV-2 testing kits, Hue expressed his hope that NG Biotech and T&T Group will work closely together as scheduled to manufacture more products for prevention and control of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B and other tropical diseases.
The Vietnamese National Assembly and Government are striving to fine-tune institutions, including the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment and the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, he said.
He added that Vietnam has paid due attention to improving its business climate and offering all possible support to domestic firms and attracting foreign direct investment, with priority given to health care and education.
On the occasion, the top legislator also thanked NG Biotech for its donation of 1 million rapid antigen testing kits to Vietnam in September.
Stankov, for his part, said he wants to share scientific knowledge and technologies in the field of production, development and distribution of biological products, medicines, quality testing devices, including rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing kits, to help Vietnam improve its capacity of fighting COVID-19 and other diseases.
He also expressed his readiness to learn about Vietnamese people’s demand for health check-up and treatment to produce suitable medical products./.
Top legislator chairs meeting on fiscal, monetary policies
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on October 15 chaired a working session with agencies to discuss the management and coordination of fiscal and monetary policies amid COVID-19.
In his remarks, Hue said the fourth plenum of the 13th Party Central Committee issued many decisions and policies, including those on managing fiscal and financial policies in a flexible and effective manner, creating resources to ensure macro-economic stability as well as major economic balances.
The working session offers an opportunity for agencies to scrutinise issues of concern in policy management, he said.
The top legislator asked NA committees to actively coordinate with ministries and government agencies to review the spheres that still have room for manoeuvre in order to roll out fiscal and monetary policies, thus effectively serving the pandemic combat, social welfare and economic recovery and development./.
More than a hundred leading brands honoured
More than 100 leading brands of Vietnam in 2021 were honoured during a ceremony held in Hanoi by the VnEconomy – Vietnam Economic Times on October 13.
The event aimed to hail the efforts, strong will and resilience of businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic using initiatives and digital transformation solutions. These help firms actively adapt to the pandemic and maintain their production and business activities while ensuring the welfare of their employees and promoting social, corporate responsibility.
The honoured 109 firms operate in various economic sectors such as banking and financial services, real estate, digital services and consumer retail.
Launched in 2003, the leading brand vote receives an enthusiastic response from the business community across the country. Thousands of firms have been honoured so far.
The programme focuses on honouring the Vietnamese business community, different fields and economic sectors, with typical strong brands selected on clear, focused and appropriate criteria.
Speaking at the event, President of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations Phan Xuan Dung highly appreciated the Vietnam Economic Times for hosting the event.
On the occasion of Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13), he extended his congratulations to the successful enterprises, who have overcome challenges to achieve breakthroughs in their operation over the past two years.
He said enterprises are the main force of the economy and the programme has special value and meaning as Vietnam’s economy and the economies of many countries in the world are weakening./.
Kien Giang province – bright spot in foreign investment attraction in Mekong Delta
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the production and trade of businesses, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang remains an attractive investment hub for domestic and foreign investors.
The province has so far attracted 817 projects with total capital of 539.5 trillion VND (23.7 billion USD), including 55 FDI projects with over 2.7 billion USD.
Kien Giang ranked 20th among 63 provinces and cities and the second among 13 cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta in terms of registered FDI capital.
As many as 374 projects have been put into operation, accounting for 45.78 percent of the total projects with a total investment of 63 trillion VND.
To gain the above-mentioned achievements, the province has directed agencies and localities to carry numerous solutions such as strengthening administrative reform, streamlining procedures, especially those relating to enterprise registration, investment, natural resources, construction, tax and customs.
The investment environment has been improved and favourable conditions have been created for enterprises to manufacture and trading effectively./.
Disasters cause economic losses of 1-1.5 percent of GDP annually
Over the past 30 years, natural disasters in Vietnam cause the death or missing of nearly 400 people along with economic losses of about 1-1.5 percent of GDP each year.
The information was released at a recent ceremony held by the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control to celebrate International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management (ADDM).
Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh said that with the theme “Cooperation to overcome challenges together”, the event affirms Vietnam’s determination in cooperating with countries, agencies of the UN and ASEAN, and international organisations in raising global awareness of mitigating disaster risks and improving adaptive capacity and responding more effectively to natural disasters in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, Vietnam is one of the countries which are most affected by climate change and often suffer from many types of natural disasters, especially storms, floods, landslides, drought, and saltwater intrusion.
Therefore, the Vietnamese Party, State, and Government, local authorities, and socio-political organisations always pay attention to disaster prevention and control, he stressed.
Vietnam has actively joined international organisations and forums related to natural disaster prevention and mitigation, Thanh said, adding that Vietnam always is an active member and effectively contributes to ASEAN’s joint efforts in disaster risk reduction and prevention.
However, there are still many limitations related to forecast, warning, resources, equipment, infrastructure, forces, application of science and technology, and post-disaster recovery, he said. The COVID-19 pandemic poses a requirement to effectively respond to risks when they occur at the same time with natural disasters.
The Vietnamese Government always considers natural disaster prevention and control the top task of the whole political system in order to protect the people’s lives, health, and property, Deputy PM Thanh said.
Vietnam highly values and hopes that countries, organisations and international friends continue to accompany and support Vietnam in early access to advanced science and technology, and resources to promptly respond and quickly overcome impacts and consequences of natural disasters./.
Room remains for Vietnam, Canada to expand trade cooperation
Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Canada increased by 12.8 percent last year and 28.5 percent in the first seven months of this year, reflecting a reliable and complementary trading partnership, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Cao Phong has said.
He made the statement at a seminar entitled “Vietnam-Canada Supply Chains Cooperation: Present and Future” held in both virtual and in-person forms on October 15. It aimed to explore opportunities to foster collaboration between Vietnamese and Canadian companies in supply chains in the current and post-COVID era.
The Vietnamese diplomat said the friendship and the growing cooperative relationship between Vietnam and Canada provide a firm foundation for a reliable and sustainable supply chain.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Vietnam and Canada are founding members, offers tax incentives for trading in both consumer goods and raw materials. This factor creates favourable conditions for trade, providing goods, services and materials for production lines in the context of the turbulent global economic environment, ensuring human and economic security of the two countries, Phong said.
Echoed the opinion of Phong, Senator Victor Oh emphasised that although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected global trade, statistics show trade ties between Vietnam and Canada remain firm, proving that there are still growth opportunities to explore. Since 2015, Vietnam has been Canada’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Canada has removed 94 percent of the total tariff lines on goods importing from Vietnam within the framework of CPTPP, and Vietnam has abolished 66 percent of tariff lines on Canadian goods.
Jay Allen, Executive Director for the Trade Policy and Negotiations – Asia Division at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) said the CPTPP is a great success for businesses as well as consumers in Vietnam and Canada. Given the two countries’ deep ties, trade cooperation has just begun, he said.
Ambassador Phong recommended that in order to adapt to the new normal situation in the post-COVID-19 period, businesses of the two countries need to further discuss the establishment of a common governance support centre, the B2B model ( transaction conducting between two companies), research and development (R&D), after-sales service, digitisation and digital security.
With a GDP growth rate of 1.42 percent in the first nine months of this year, Vietnam is an attractive destination for investment and business activities thanks to its political and macroeconomic stability as well as dynamic and abundant human resources.
As a founding member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Vietnam can act as a bridge for Canadian businesses to reach a market of 2.2 billion people, or almost 30 percent of the world’s population, with a combined GDP of 26.2 trillion USD or about 30 percent of global GDP. In the opposite direction, Canada can be a door for Vietnamese goods to penetrate the US and Mexican markets – members of the new North American Free Trade Agreement./.
Vietcombank completes 98 percent of yearly credit plan
By the end of the third quarter, the credit of the Foreign Trade Joint-stock Bank (Vietcombank) was 923,385 billion VND (40.550 million USD), an increase of 11.5 percent over the whole of 2020 and representing 98 percent of this year’s plan, according to the lender.
Since 2020, the bank has conducted 9 interest rate reduction to help people and firms adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year alone, its reduction of interest for customers will amount to 7.1 trillion VND.
Besides, Vietcombank is also realising its commitments for support to social welfare work and the pandemic fight with about 350 billion VND.
In the last months of this year and toward next year, the bank will continue to focus on renovating the intensive growth model, shifting its operation structure, thus ensuring sustainable growth with a high efficiency and productivity to serve the economic recovery.
It also commits itself to maintaining a reasonable interest rate to continue supporting firms in adapting themselves to the new context, and to providing social welfare to those directly affected by the pandemic./.
Timber deal clearing path for US trade
The announcement that the United States has decided not to take any trade action on Vietnamese timber following a 12-month investigation is helping to clear the path for increased trading activity between the two.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced on October 1 that an agreement had been reached with Vietnam addressing the former’s concerns regarding the Timber Section 301 investigation, which relates to environmental matters.
The agreement is meant to secure Vietnam’s commitment to “keep illegally harvested or traded timber out of the supply chain and protect the environment and natural resources,” as stated by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).
“Ambassador Tai determined that the agreement provides a satisfactory resolution of the matter subject to investigation and that no trade action is warranted at this time,” noted the USTR.
The agreement that both countries signed ended a year of anxiety for Vietnamese furniture exporters and recognises the partnership between Vietnamese manufacturers and American buyers.
Vietnam had been tasked with solving issues related to illegally sourced or traded timber, including improving the legal framework, removing confiscated timber, verifying legality of domestically harvested timber, and working with high-risk countries to improve border checks and law enforcement cooperation.
“I commend Vietnam for its commitment to address our concerns,” said Tai. “With this agreement, Vietnam will provide a model, both for the Indo-Pacific and globally, for comprehensive enforcement against illegal timber.”
President Joe Biden is helping Vietnam by gradually removing investigations of the previous administration related to alleged violations of trade regulations.
Last October, the USTR launched an investigation under Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974 to investigate Vietnam’s use of allegedly illegally harvested or traded timber. This agreement – along with that between the US Treasury Department and the State Bank of Vietnam in July to settle accusations of currency manipulation – ensures that the door for exports to the US is opened again.
Vietnam’s wood processing industry still relies on exports to the US market for efficiency because this market represents the largest and fastest growing. Despite the impacts of the pandemic, Vietnam’s timber exports in the first eight months of 2021 reached $6.4 billion, up 58.8 per cent over the same period in 2020. Last year, total exports of timber and products thereof to the US reached $7.4 billion, accounting for 57 per cent of the total export in the sector.
“The signing of the agreement marks the beginning of an era of tighter control within the import-export supply chain more closely, including the domestic market, which up to now was rather loose,” said Dr. To Xuan Phuc from non-profit organisation Forest Trend.
Though the USTR does not impose sanctions on Vietnamese timber items exported to the US, Vietnam’s government has to commit to several new conditions, some of which are relatively strict, Phuc said.
Tran Le Huy, general secretary of the Binh Dinh Forest Products Association explained, “Vietnam is trying to improve the legal framework, inspect, and supervise the import of input materials more closely to ensure a transparent production system.”
Vietnam’s legal system for the sector encompasses Decree No.102/2020-ND-CP, stipulating the legal timber guarantee system as well as several other commitments that Vietnamese manufacturers have to strictly comply with.
Huy, who has been observing forest-related policy development for more than two decades, said, “I have never seen such a large number of timber investigations before. Thus, we are required to reduce risks in the import of wood materials, and this needs to be done with both policy adjustments and practical activities.”
On average, Vietnam annually imports 2-2.5 million cubic metres of round timber from Africa, South America, Laos, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea, equivalent to 40-50 per cent of the total volume of imported logs and sawn timber.
Hanoi to host Vietnam-Singapore forum for senior energy industry leaders
A Vietnam-Singapore forum specifically for senior energy industry leaders is scheduled to be held on October 21 in Hanoi in order to discuss how to maintain growth and sustainability, even during crises and challenging contexts.
The key topics on the agenda for discussion are global energy sector development and trends, challenges, opportunities, and strategic implications for the nation. This is along with methods for navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic as adopted by leading regional corporations such as Temasek Holdings and Sembcorp Industries.
Speakers include influential regional leaders such as Douglas Foo, president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, chairman of the Vietnam-Singapore Business Council, and a nominated Singapore MP. He will be joined by Vu Minh Khuong, associate professor at the National University of Singapore, Fadah Alsagoff, management team member and head of enterprise development at Temasek Holdings, Singapore, and Wong Kim Yin, group president & CEO of Sembcorp.
Pham Thi Thu Hang, CEO of VIETSTAR Training and Consulting JSC, one of the forum’s organisers, stated the forum offers a prime opportunity to both Vietnamese and Singaporean businesses to share their experiences, create value, and further boost the good relationship between the two countries.
“We will make efforts and focus our resources to make Vietnam-Singapore Board Forum successful and bring practical values,” she said.
Co-organised by the Paris Graduate School of Management, the forum will run with the title of ‘Enhancing Resilience, Strategy Formulation and Execution in the New Normal: Singapore Experience for Energy Industry’ and will be held at the Fortuna Hotel Hanoi in conjunction with Zoom webinars in both nations.
Firms with bad debts can access zero-interest loans for salary payments
Firms incurring bad debts can now get zero-interest loans from the loan package of VND7.5 trillion aimed at supporting Covid-19-affected employers with salary payments and production restoration in line with the Government’s instructions.
Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai issued Resolution 126 amending Resolution 68 on policies to support employers and employees affected by the pandemic.
Under the new resolution, the condition in which only employers with no bad debts at credit institutions are allowed to access the loan package has been removed.
Requirements on bad debts and tax finalization had hindered enterprises from benefiting from the loan package.
As of late September, the loan package had seen fewer than 1,000 employers get loans to pay the salaries of over 130,700 workers, with a disbursement of 6%.
Since the bad debt obstacle has been removed, the central bank expects the loan package to be quickly disbursed to help businesses resume their production operations, the local media reported.
The loan package benefits enterprises which have laid off their laborers participating in compulsory insurance for 15 days or more, from May 1 to March 31 next year, and those that suspended their operations due to the pandemic.
Lenders energise foreign-owned power projects
A handful of local and foreign banks are leveraging their insights and optimising financial resources to promote energy and power transition in Vietnam, thus contributing to the country’s sustainable national energy policy.
Vietnamese lenders Techcombank and MB last week inked an agreement to facilitate a $1.4 billion syndicated loan package for Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4 gas power plants projects, backed by Vietnam’s second-largest electricity producer, PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power). The projects are the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) ventures in which PV Power has arranged capital without guarantees from the Vietnamese government. As a result, Techcombank and MB become the mandated lead arranger of a consortium that supports bidding procedures, offshore loans, export credit agencies, and asset management.
Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4 power plants based in the southern province of based in Dong Nai are the first and largest LNG projects in Vietnam with a combined capacity of 1,300-1,760MW, and are slated to be the electric load centres for the south of the country.
“PV Power expects the vast expertise of Techcombank and MB to smooth the path for it to be proactive in credit sources, as well as reduce the state budget burden on the national energy development path,” said Nguyen Duy Giang, deputy general director of PV Power.
MB board member Pham Nhu Anh told VIR, “Clean and sustainable energy has always been a strategic focus for us. With this collaboration, we will make great strides to bring best-of-its-kind financial services to contribute to the country’s energy development.”
Anh noted that MB has spent roughly $3 billion on key projects on wind power and solar power with Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4 being the first major chemical gas project that MB has been involved in.
In 2020, Citibank and INGbank signed a letter of authorisation to provide financial assistance to the project. French financial services multinational Societe Generale also expressed its keen interest in lending for the two projects.
Elsewhere, HSBC Vietnam last week confirmed it would provide short-term green trade finance in renewable energy construction for Power Construction JSC No.1 (PCC1), a leading Vietnamese engineering, procurement, and construction company.
This is the first sustainable finance service that HSBC has offered to a local corporate in the wind sector, and the third for Vietnamese businesses in renewable energy in general, after two green facilities were provided to REE for its rooftop solar project last year.
Stephanie Betant, head of Wholesale Banking at HSBC Vietnam, said, “This first for renewable energy means we are particularly excited to provide green financing to PCC1 for wind power, a Vietnamese leader and a promising source of energy for Vietnam’s growing needs.”
Betant explained that the transaction reflects the efforts of HSBC Vietnam in supporting the government’s Resolution No.55/2020 on Vietnam’s energy development strategy for the decade, with a vision towards 2045, to prioritise clean energy.
The huge potential of Vietnam’s renewable energy, and wind energy in particular, continues to be acknowledged by foreign-owned financial institutions.
Last month, Proparco, a development finance group partly owned by the French Development Agency, granted a $50 million loan package to HDBank to support the lender’s portfolio of climate-friendly projects.
“Proparco has prioritised supporting private actors committed to the fight against climate change. We are delighted to initiate the partnership, which will contribute to the energy transition in Vietnam,” said Raphael de Guerre, head of Proparco’s office for North and Southeast Asia.
Vietnamese shrimp remains competitive in Germany due to price advantage
Local shrimp enjoys a competitive advantage over other rivals such as Greenland, Bangladesh, India, and Ecuador in the German market thanks to its lower price amid challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Germany represents the largest import market for Vietnamese shrimp in the EU, thereby accounting for 26% of the total value of local shrimp exports to the EU.
The nation’s shrimp exports to Germany during the opening seven months of the year saw an increase of 40% to US$83.6 million.
However, shrimp exports in August and the first half of September to the demanding market endured a decline due to social distancing measures serving to disrupt production activities.
Thanks to robust growth seen over the previous months, shrimp exports to the Central European country by mid-September enjoyed an increase of 24.5% to US$97.2 million.
Kim Thu, an expert of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), revealed that Vietnamese shrimp exports to Germany have sufficiently taken full advantage of the EU-Vietnam Trade Agreement (EVFTA), largely due to the tax reduction placed on several products coded HS03061792, HS 03061799, HS 16052110, HS 16052190, and HS 16052900.
Amid the ongoing complex nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany has moved to increase its import demand for convenient, instant, and easy-to-cook products both at home and canned products, with certified sustainable shrimp products consistently being favoured by German consumers.
These factors represent advantages for Vietnamese shrimp enterprises as they strive to increase exports to the fastidious market moving forward.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan
A pivotal time to capture tourism property potential
Vietnam should complete a sturdy legal framework in order to allow non-nationals to buy tourist property in the country, according to international experts.
|Tourism real estate wants to bounce back after experiencing 18 months of hardship. VIR Photo Le Toan|
Talking with VIR, Dr. Sopon Pornchokchai, president of the International Real Estate Association in Thailand and Thai Appraisal & Estate Agents Foundation, noted that foreigners remain extremely interested in owning apartments in the likes of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
“There appears to be an opportunity to initiate urban resorts for foreigners. Major chains of world-class hotels and resort properties can participate in plots of land planned and provided by the central government or local governments as well,” Pornchokchai said. “In Thailand, this issue is an open policy with minor restrictions. This is because when foreigners own tourism real estate, it brings about many other benefits in terms of tourist flow and cash. So this is not a disadvantage.”
Moreover, he suggested the government allow investors to lease properties, particularly in the case of apartments.
“For affluent senior citizens, a lease could be up to 30 years, which is an ample period of time for them. For others, it could be up to 50 years. In addition, Vietnam should have an annual property tax, capital gain tax, and estate tax at a similar rate that appears in western countries,” he said.
But creating a complete legal framework to cover all activities in tourism property is a pressing issue, which the Ministry of Construction (MoC) is looking into (see opposite). Thailand has many laws and policies that govern the operation of the tourist real estate market, but these legal regulations are deemed clear and specific, according to Pornchokchai. “Based on those, it is easy for the government to manage and investors are also comfortable in the implementation and deployment process,” he said.
Mark M. Kitabayshi, global coordinator for Asia-Pacific at the US National Association of Realtors, said that based on experience in the US, there is an apparent division of real estate development areas, including tourism real estate.
In terms of tax policy, the US attracts investment by exempting and reducing taxes. Currently, while only foreign resident financiers have to pay foreign investment tax, only US residents are subject to capital gains tax, so it evens out, Kitabayshi says. “Other taxes, like property tax, are set by each state but it is the same for nationals and foreigners. So this does not make it challenging for overseas investors to make a purchase,” he added.
Lessons from the US prove that for Vietnam to determine the place and type of investment, the nation must evaluate where tourists come from, for what purpose, and for how long. Other factors are the relationship with current real estate-related regulations such as zoning and related funding regulations.
In recent years, before the pandemic strangled the industry, the tourism real estate segment has developed actively with many high-end products such as condotels, shophouses, resorts, homestays, and farmstays in Vietnam. However, policies and laws on tourism real estate are still incomplete and inconsistent, causing confusion for state management of the market in localities and causing a bottleneck for business activities.
According to Nguyen Manh Khoi, deputy director of the Department of Housing Management and Real Estate Market under the Ministry of Construction, tourism property is currently overseen by many different regulations and laws. The current laws on land and real estate mention tourism property including condotels, resort villas, and farmstays as “commercial and services construction”. This means that tourism properties are built on tourism and service land plots, which is why they are not given long-term ownership.
“This misleading situation causes confusion for tourism property developers, buyers, and local authorities, leading to a dispute in their business,” Khoi explained.
Meanwhile Doan Van Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, admitted that tourism property faces major problems.
“The laws on investment and tourism real estate business still have many significant gaps, such as complicated investment procedures that waste time and cost for developers,” Binh said. “There are no regulations or policies to attract foreign investment in tourism real estate. However, the current land law allows foreigners to buy houses – but not for tourist real estate.”
Moreover, Vietnam has no legal regulations to control ambiguity in profit commitment, capital mobilisation, and sharing profit in timeshare properties.
Tourism real estate was once dubbed a “golden egg” for Vietnam some years ago. According to the Vietnam Association of Realtors, more than 18,000 condotels were launched for sale in 2020. However, liquidation was very low and the pandemic has since continued to wipe out the resilience of the condotel market.
According to Nguyen Hoang, director for research and development at DKRA Vietnam, the condotel segment was creaking before the pandemic hit.
“From 2016 to 2018 this segment had enormous supply, with tens of thousands of apartments put into the market every year,” Hoang said. “However, after this, some project developers could not pay the rental yield as committed, upsetting owners and causing conflicts to break out.”
Predicting the development of condotels in the near future in Vietnam, Hoang said that with tourism activities still severely reduced, major obstacles will persist until socioeconomic activities are fully resumed.
Boosting e-commerce tax collection
HÀ NỘI — Tax revenue from cross-border e-commerce activities reached more than VNĐ1 trillion (US$43.5 million) in the first nine months of this year.
The General Department of Taxation said about 14 large corporations and technology companies in the world and eight cross-border e-commerce websites operating with income in Việt Nam fulfilled their tax obligations through Vietnamese organisations and individuals.
Tax revenue from Vietnamese organisations that have signed online advertising contracts with foreign organisations that have not established legal entities in Việt Nam such as Google, Youtube or Facebook was estimated at VNĐ4.1 trillion from 2018 to the end of September this year.
Of which, Facebook paid VNĐ1.56 trillion; Google VNĐ1.53 trillion; and Microsoft VNĐ533 billion.
Tax revenue from cross-border e-commerce activities reached about VNĐ1.14 trillion last year. That of the first nine months of this year reached about VNĐ1.01 trillion, equaling 88.95 per cent of last year.
The General Department of Taxation has issued many documents to guide foreign suppliers providing cross-border services. Of these, Netflix has declared and paid taxes in accordance with Vietnamese tax law.
The General Department of Taxation is continuing to issue documents to request these companies to fulfil their tax declarations and payment obligations in accordance with Vietnamese law.
Tax authorities will co-ordinate with relevant State management agencies, commercial banks and tax authorities of other countries to implement tax management measures for overseas suppliers.
In the past two years, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, forms of online commerce, advertising, and shopping experienced strong growth.
Experts in the financial and economic fields said that during the pandemic, while most economic sectors were negatively affected, the digital economy and e-commerce are some of the few industries to see growth, even impressive growth.
Experts say that the tax potential of enterprises operating across borders is quite large.
It is necessary to continue to strengthen the review of non-resident e-commerce transactions in Việt Nam, thereby building a tax management mechanism in accordance with international practices, combating the loss of tax revenue from cross-border transactions.
In particular, experts also recommended continuing to research, develop and issue sanctions to prevent taxpayers from evading tax obligations. It is also a must to ensure effective and tight management of tax sources arising in the field of e-commerce. —
Masan increases its 2021 cash dividend by 20% to VND1,200 per share
The additional VND200 per share would result in a combined VND250 per share to be paid in late December 2021 as VND950 per share has already been paid to shareholders on 16 July 2021, according to the company’s statement.
In combination with the increased cash dividend, Masan’s Board of Directors has approved to seek opinions of the General Meeting of Shareholders for the issuance of bonus shares at a 5:1 ratio to its existing shareholders as of the book-closing date.
Over the past two years, the company’s shareholders have remained patient as Masan implemented its turnaround plan for WinCommerce, laid the foundation for its “mini-mall” concept, and realigned the group business units to evolve into a pure consumer platform.
Masan management view the aforesaid corporate actions as ways to reward shareholders while adhering to its balance sheet’s medium-term target, which has significantly strengthened in 2021. The issuance of bonus shares is also expected to benefit shareholders with improved trading liquidity since management believes the continued roll-out of its mini-mall concept will drive significant shareholder value creation.
Management has outlined a preliminary 2022 plan to re-expand the number of mini-market locations (Winmart+) by 700-1,000 in 2022 to reach 3,300-3,600 in total by year end. Masan also have plans to convert at least 50% of its existing Winmart+ locations into mini-malls, which currently combines WinMart+ (grocery), Phuc Long Kiosk (coffee and tea), pharmacy, Techcombank (financial services), and Reddi (mobile telecommunication) to provide consumers an integrated loyalty offering.
In late December 2021, Masan and Masan Horizon expect to receive a cash dividend of VND1,406 billion from a subsidiary, Masan MEATLife, as part of the company’s overall treasury initiative to upstream excess to the group level.
The VND250 per share will represent VND295 billion in total cash and the bonus issuance will increase MSN share count by 236,106,938 to 1,416,641,630 shares.
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