Vietnam likely to earn 300 billion USD in exports this year
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The industry and trade sector is exerting all-out efforts to achieve the target of 300 billion USD in export turnover this year in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic is seriously affecting global trade.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Agency, Vietnam earned 202 billion USD from exports in the first nine months of 2020, a year-on-year rise of 4 percent.
The export value is expected to surge in the fourth quarter when Vietnam brings into full play incentives of signed free trade agreements, especially the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement which became effective on August 1.
In August, Vietnam’s export turnover to the EU reached 3.25 billion USD, up nearly 4.7 percent compared to that of July. The turnover in September also posted a 14 percent surge year-on-year.
To achieve 300 billion USD in export turnover, the Ministry worked on a trade promotion plan for 2020-2025, which focuses on potential and advantageous products.
The ministry will assist local businesses in intensifying exports, especially to the Republic of Korea, Japan and China, and continue organising virtual business exchanges and trade promotion activities./.
HCMC’s sluggish office market prompts landlords to turn flexible over payments
Theoffice market in HCMC continued to go through a stagnation period in terms of performance due to Covid-19, which strongly affected many enterprises, CBRE Vietnam said in its third quarter report.
The market witnessed a negative net absorption in the first nine months of 2020. Some 31% of major transactions collected and closed by CBRE were for contraction purposes, which is expected to continue becoming a trend until the end of this year.
There was no new supply in the HCMC office market in Q3 of 2020. The supply remained at roughly 1.37 million sq. meters.
In Q3 of 2020, Grade A vacancy was recorded at 11.5%, up 3.3 percentage points y-o-y and slightly down by 0.3 percentage points q-o-q. The contracted space of Grade A by the end of Q2 of 2020 was gradually absorbed in Q3 of 2020 by existing tenants at the given buildings through the expansion and renewal of contracts.
The Grade B vacancy remained unchanged compared to the last quarter but increased slightly by 1.3 percentage points compared to the same period last year.
In the reviewed quarter, Grade A rent stayed relatively the same q-o-q but decreased by 5% y-o-y.
Although remaining unchanged q-o-q, landlords were still very flexible in terms of payments and closing rents. Some landlords even offered a closing rent of US$3-4 psm pm, lower than the asking rent for new tenants.
Insurance, technology and retail/trade/e-commerce were the top three most active sectors in terms of office leasing despite the Covid-19 outbreak. These three industries accounted for 69% of the total transactions closed and collected by CBRE in Q3 of 2020.
The construction of new office buildings in HCMC was still moving forward and some 80,000 sqm is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Most of the new additions will concentrate in Binh Thanh and seven other districts.
The landlords of these upcoming buildings have proactively decreased their asking rents by US$1 to US$3 psm per month compared to Q4 of 2019 to attract tenants.
The office rental rate in HCMC is expected to drop by 8-10% y-o-y and the vacancy rate will increase by 7-9 percentage points y-o-y by the end of 2020 due to new supply and the negative impact of Covid-19.
If a vaccine for Covid-19 is successfully released by December 2020, the rental rate in 2021 is forecast to be relatively stable. However, if a vaccine is only released by June 2021, the rental rate will continue to shrink further by 5% compared to that of 2020.
Pham Ngoc Thien Thanh, associate director of CBRE Vietnam, said Covid-19 has reshaped the market dynamics, with the negotiation power shifting toward occupiers. The market will have more new projects coming online in decentralized areas with competitive rents.
“In response, landlords will be more flexible in terms of rental rates and leasing terms. To stay ahead of the competition, landlords should consider applying workplace strategy tools to evaluate the current strengths and deficiencies of their buildings, in order to come up with an optimal solution to increase the value of their assets,” Thanh said.
Deposit rates seen dropping further at year-end
Many lenders have continued slashing the deposit rates applied for individual customers in the wake of the third policy rate cut announced by the State Bank of Vietnam early this month.
Vietcombank has announced a new rate list, offering a deposit rate at 3.1% per annum for the one-month tenor, down 0.3 percentage points compared with early August. Meanwhile, its six-month rate has dropped slightly to 4% per annum and that for the 12-month term has been lowered to 5.3% per annum.
At ACB, depositors are subject to a one-month rate of 3.6% per annum, down by around 0.1 percentage point, while the six-month rate stays unchanged at 5.1% per annum.
Techcombank revised its mobilization rates in the middle of September, with the rate for the one-month tenor slashed by 0.3 percentage points at 2.55% and six-month tenor by 0.2 percentage points at 4.4% annually. Therefore, its one-month rate is lower than that of other banks, while the six-month rate remains competitive.
Meanwhile, some private banks still offer higher rates, with HDBank applying a rate of 3.55% per annum for the one-month term and 5.45% per annum for the six-month tenor.
VIB now applies a 4% rate for a one-month deposit, the maximum level regulated by the State Bank of Vietnam. Meanwhile, the bank’s six-month rate stands at 5.9% per annum.
Some banks have also revised down mobilization rates for tenors of six months or longer, cutting them by between 0.1 and 0.5 percentage points.
Data from SSI Securities Corporation showed that most small lenders have cut mobilization rates since late September while large banks have kept them intact.
In September, bank rates fell between 0.2 and 0.8 percentage points for most tenors. Since early this year, deposit rates have dropped by 1.2 to 2.4 percentage points.
Quoting FiinGroup’s statistics, Bao Viet Securities said the fall of mobilization rates is the result of strong liquidity at banks. The deposit rates of tenors under six months are expected to fall further but those of the long term may remain stable in the last quarter of 2020.
Early this month, the central bank cut policy rates for the third time this year, following the first and the second cuts in March and May, respectively.
“The central bank’s decision will not affect mobilization rates. The key factor is the lending situation at banks. Deposit rates are projected to dip 0.1 to 0.3 percentage points in the last quarter of 2020,” said the SSI report.
Dong Nai’s two riverside roads require VND5.2 trillion
The southeastern province of Dong Nai is set to build two riverside roads with a total length of some 10 kilometers and a total cost of over VND5.2 trillion in the coming months.
The projected 4.6-kilometer road along the Cai River, a branch of the Dong Nai River, had earlier been approved by Dong Nai Province’s People’s Council with a total investment of over VND3.9 trillion. The provincial project management board, the investor of the project, recently submitted the feasibility study report of the project to the provincial government for approval.
The road will start from Ha Huy Giap Street in Bien Hoa City’s Quyet Thang Ward and end at Tran Quoc Toan Street in An Binh Ward. The project will comprise five bridges consisting of Chim Tau, Tan Mai, Ba Bot, Rach Gio and Suoi Linh, with a width of some 23 meters each, according to the provincial project management board.
Over VND3.2 trillion will be spent on site clearance and compensation for 500 households affected by the project, work on which is set to begin in the 2020-2024 period, VnExpress news site reported.
Another riverside road, which will run from Hoa An Bridge in Bien Hoa City to Vinh Cuu District, will need a total cost of over VND1.3 trillion. The 5.2-kilometer road project will consist of building a road surface and pavements, installing traffic signs and signal lights and drainage systems. Other components also include planting trees and building the Rach Lung Bridge.
The projected road, which will be 34 meters wide, will use the State budget, with some VND385 billion set aside for the construction. Some VND713 billion will be used for site clearance and compensation.
In addition, the province will construct a park and embankments with a total cost of over VND614 billion.
The province expects the two riverside roads to stimulate the socioeconomic development of Bien Hoa City and Vinh Cuu District, ease traffic jams facing the city and facilitate transport between the province and other southern provinces.
Seminar looks to expand farm produce market in North America, ASEAN
Ho Chi Minh City’s Centre for Trade Promotion and Investment on October 14 held a seminar on expanding the market of Vietnamese food and agricultural products in North America and within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The event aimed at helping enterprises in the city and other localities nationwide seek opportunities for connectivity and cooperation so as to increase their exports to the two markets.
Highlighting the markets’ potential, participants suggested competent public agencies continue organising trade promotion programmes to propel trade between Vietnam and countries of the two regions.
However, they said, entering the markets, particularly the North America, requires product quality improvement, product diversification, and clear origins that can be traced easily.
Firms, meanwhile, ought to overhaul their structures from human resources to production chains to boost their competitiveness in an international business environment, they added./.
Indonesia helps tourism sector weather COVID-19
Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio recently vowed to disburse an aid package worth 3.3 trillion IDR (224 million USD) for tourism-related businesses and local administrations.
The move aimed to help cushion the impacts of the pandemic on the sector and improve health protocol implementation at tourist destinations.
The aid is to be sourced from the Indonesian government’s COVID-19 economic recovery fund of 695.2 trillion IDR, aimed to finance the healthcare system and bolster the economy.
Wishnutama said that the grant is expected to help the hotel and restaurant industry that is facing financial difficulties and the local administrations that are losing out on revenue due to the pandemic, adding that the grant was expected to help the businesses and administrations until December.
The pandemic has depressed the tourist industry amid the imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in various regions to curb virus transmission.
It has wiped out around 85 trillion IDR of Indonesia’s tourism revenue as of July, with estimated 70-trillion-IDR losses posted by the hotel and restaurant industry, according to data from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).
The number of foreign visitors to Indonesia dropped 68.17 percent to 3.41 million visits as of August this year, compared to 10.71 million visitors in the same period last year, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data./.
Checks on imported products to boost growth: minister
Reforms of checks on imported products would help improve the business climate while reducing time and costs, which would give significant room for growth, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung has said.
Dung was speaking at the Government Office’s meeting on Tuesday to discuss the draft project about reforms of quality and food safety control on imported products following the proposal of the Ministry of Finance.
Dung said there were barriers in procedures for importing products, which was time-consuming and pushing up costs, adding that the project aimed to tackle these problems and create a favourable business environment.
The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report announced in October last year revealed Viet Nam’s ranking for the ease of trading across borders dropped four spots from 100th to 104th out of 190 economies while the ease of doing business fell one spot from 69th to 70th.
Detailed measures must be raised to improve ease of trading across borders as well as the business climate and national competitiveness, especially in the context that the Vietnamese Government set the targets of simplifying and cutting at least 20 per cent of business regulations and slashing at least 20 per cent of compliance costs, Dung said.
“If we do well with reforms on checks on imported products, it will create large room for growth,” Dung said.
Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said reforms were being carried out but more drastic measures were needed to create breakthroughs.
Specialised checks on imports remained a burden on business, which increased time spent on customs clearance and undermined national competitiveness in trading across borders, she said.
Mai said the project would aim to cut time and costs and create favourable conditions for business, protect the rights of businesses and consumers and improve efficiency in the management of imported products.
The project would focus on reforms which would make customs the focal point for quality and food safety control on imported products.
The finance ministry estimated the reformed model would help reduce the number of declarations for quality and food safety control per year by about 54.4 per cent and help save 2.4 million working days, equivalent to VND881 billion (US$37.8 million).
A representative from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the project needed to clarify the roles of other ministries in carrying out specialised checks and post-clearance checks to have the most appropriate reforms.
Ngo Hai Phan, Director of the Government Office’s Administrative Procedures Control Agency, said the project would put enterprises at the centre to create the best possible conditions for their operation, reduce time and costs while improving transparency and efficiency in management.
Dung also asked ministries to hasten reforms to remove inconsistencies and overlaps which were burdening businesses.
During the past four years, 3,893 out of 6,191 business prerequisites were removed or simplified, together with removing 6,776 out of 9,926 product lines subjected to specialised checks for customs clearance. This helped save more than 18 million working days, equivalent to more than VND6.3 trillion.
Long An promises best conditions for investors
This month Masan MEATLife, a subsidiary of Masan Group, commissioned the VND1.8 trillion (US$77.6 million) MEATDeli Saigon Meat Processing Complex in Long An Province.
Situated in the Tan Duc Industrial Park in Duc Hoa District, the plant is designed to process 140,000 tonnes of chilled pork and 15,000 tonnes of other products such as braised pork, pork rolls, shredded pork, and others annually in the first phase.
The second phase will expand the capacity to 25,000 tonnes a year and enable production of 14,000 tonnes of pork by-products such as blood flour, plasma, collagen, and meat and bone powder.
Its processing line was supplied by Dutch company Marel, the world leader in meat processing equipment, and includes an automation system with three robots. It is considered the most modern meat processing and slaughter facility in the country.
The province has also seen several other big-ticket projects get under way in recent times.
Dong Tam Group opened the first phase of the Long An International Port in Tan Tap Commune in the province’s Can Giuoc District and at the same time began work on the second phase of the project.
The 147ha port is being developed in three phases at a cost of nearly VND10 trillion ($430.7 million). It will have seven wharves able to receive ships of up to 70,000DWT. More than 400,000sq.m is earmarked for warehouses to store farm produce, steel, fertilisers, and other products from the Mekong Delta.
The port is seen as key to reducing traffic congestion and logistics costs in Long An and the Mekong Delta.
In May TIZCO Joint Stock Company and Viet Nam Innovation Parks Management Corporation broke ground for the 1,800ha Viet Phat Industrial Park, one of the country’s largest IPs.
According to province leaders, the series of large projects that have come to Long An recently, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic, are expected to greatly contribute to socio-economic development and prove the attractiveness of the province to investors.
Tran Van Can, chairman of the province People’s Committee, said with its location in a prime spot in the Southern Key Economic Region, Long An serves as a bridge between HCM City and the delta.
It achieved annual growth of 9.11 per cent on average in the 2016-20 period, among the highest in the country, he said.
Its economic structure continues to shift quickly towards industrialisation and modernisation and per capita income has topped VND72.6 million ($3,130), among the highest in the delta.
“The provincial government has determined that administrative reform, improving the business environment, enhancing competitiveness, and supporting enterprises are among its key tasks.”
Since 2017 Long An has remained in the top group in the Provincial Competitiveness Index.
It tops the delta in attracting FDI with total registered capital of $6.5 billion so far, and also has 2,000 local companies with combined capital of VND230 trillion ($9.94 billion).
According to the province People’s Committee, Long An has 16 industrial parks and 21 industrial clusters with occupation rates of 87.3 per cent and 89.7 per cent.
To further attract investment in the coming time, especially FDI investment, the province has focused on developing infrastructure at selected industrial zones and clusters and expects to open them this year.
People’s Committee vice chairman Nguyen Van Be said the province would continue to solicit investment in infrastructure in industrial parks and elsewhere.
The province wants to attract investment in industrial parks and clusters and has prioritised projects involved in the supporting industries, hi-tech agriculture, seafood processing, and among others.
In recent years the province had focused on improving the quality of education and training to provide the market with a more skilled workforce, he said.
Huynh Van Son, director of the province Department of Planning and Investment, said every year activities were undertaken to promote investment, trade and tourism in key markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US.
In addition, infrastructure developers at industrial parks and clusters also directly sought investors to invest in their facilities, even sending delegations abroad to solicit investment, advertising in the media and participating in conferences to provide information about industrial parks.
Can said, “Long An will create the most favourable conditions for domestic and foreign investors and businesses.”
“The province’s motto is ‘your difficulties are also our difficulties, your success is also our success’.”
Novaland ties up with German group for setting up clinics
Property developer Novaland Group and MediVerbund AG, a German medical business group, have signed a memorandum of understanding for setting up a joint venture company to establish German-standard clinics and emergency centers at NovaWorld Phan Thiet and other projects in HCM City.
The first clinic will open in the third quarter of 2021.
According to the MoU, through the joint venture MediVerbund AG will help set up a chain of specialist medical centres, polyclinics and emergency centers directly managed and operated by German doctors.
MediVerbund AG, which has more than 30 years’ experience in setting up clinics and managing them based on international and European standards, represents hundreds of thousands of resident doctors and psychotherapists in Germany.
At the ceremony, Dr Werner Baumgarter, chairman of the board of directors of Medi Verbund AG, said: “We aim to bring ‘made in Germany’ processes and experiences to the Vietnamese market.
“With our years of experience in clinical operations and procedures we hope to provide the Vietnamese people with the best possible patient care.”
MediVerbund will be responsible for providing the JV with the required equipment, techniques and know-how to develop the clinics, he said.
Throughout the operation of the company, MediVerbund will also provide trainings to doctors, nurses, midwifes, technicians, and other personnel to ensure the staff are well trained and abreast of the latest examination and treatment technologies and methodologies.
Novaland has interests in many fields including property, finance, tourism, and traffic infrastructure.
It has developed nearly 50 housing and hospitality real estate projects with over 60,000 units and has hundreds of tourism – leisure – culture – healthcare projects in the works.
Its projects are in many cities and provinces in southern Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, and others.
NovaWorld Phan Thiet – World’s Beach City for Wellness – is a unique project developed by Novaland in Binh Thuan on an area of 1,000ha.
It is conveniently connected near Ho Chi Minh City and other major cities with a combined market of 15 million people through international airports, sea, rail, and road.
SCIC to sell entire stake in cooking oil giant Vocarimex
The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has announced it will sell its 36.3 per cent stake, or 44.2 million shares, in the Viet Nam Vegetable Oils Industry Corporation (VOC).
Interested investors must register to buy the whole lot, according to the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.
The initial price of each VOC share will be VND22,690 (US$0.97), which means SCIC could expect to receive a minimum of VND1 trillion ($43 million) after the divestment.
The auction will be held at 2:30pm on November 4 at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.
VOC, or Vocarimex, was founded in 1976. The firm was equitised in 2011 and transformed into a joint stock company in 2014 with initial charter capital of VND1.2 trillion. It began trading on the UPCoM in 2016.
Vocarimex is one of the giants in the cooking oil industry as it owns edible oil brands such as Voca, Soby, Ruby, Sun Go and holds 24 per cent capital in Cai Lan Vegetable Oil Co Ltd, the owner of well-known brands such as Neptune, Simply, Meizan and Cai Lan.
Vocarimex is also a major shareholder of Tuong An Vegetable Oil Joint Stock Company, holding 26.5 per cent capital, Kido Nha Be Cooking Oil Co Ltd, holding 49 per cent capital, LG Cosmetics Co Ltd with 40 per cent capital and Vegetable Oil Packaging Joint Stock Company with 51 per cent capital.
Vocarimex reported VND110 billion after-tax profit in the first six months of 2020, up from VND99 billion profit in the same period in 2019. January-June revenue was VND1.37 trillion, up from VND1.3 trillion from a year ago.
Viet Nam’s leading food company Kido Corporation is Vocarimex’s biggest shareholder, holding a 51 per cent stake or nearly 62.12 million shares. SCIC’s 36.3 per cent stake, or 44.21 million shares, makes it the second largest shareholder.
SCIC is a government agency set up to restructure State-owned enterprises to make them more efficient and to enable the state to consolidate capital in key sectors.
In August 2019, SCIC conducted a divestment auction in Vocarimex with a starting price of VND22,300 per share, but it was unsuccessful as there were no investors participating.
The market price at that time was only VND15,600 per share, equivalent to 70 per cent of the starting price. Observers said that in the context of the lack of prosperity in Vocarimex’s business picture, the starting price of SCIC did not attract the attention of investors.
Bình Dương focuses on supporting industry
Bình Dương Province is pushing ahead with the development of supporting industries to increase the use of local content in manufacturing to reduce costs.
In recent years the province has been focusing on industries that produce raw materials for manufacturing such as fibre, fabric and colouring for the textile and garment industry and metal and components for the mechanical industry.
It has also been creating a favourable investment climate and encouraging small and medium-sized businesses to enter supporting industries.
Bình Dương is among the top five provinces and cities in the country in terms of supporting industries, with around 2,300 such businesses and having domestic businesses that are linked up with foreign businesses to gain access to modern technologies.
However, they only meet around 40-45 per cent of the requirements of the textile and garment industry and less than 20 per cent in the case of other industries such as electronics and automobiles, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
Mai Hùng Dũng, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the department has been tasked to work closely with business groups to better understand their demands and with industrial parks to help supporting industry businesses network with domestic and foreign partners, and improve their capabilities.
COVID-19 is affecting manufacturing industries that rely on imports, and businesses are realising the importance of using domestic materials, the department said.
Bình Dương has 29 industrial parks and 12 industrial clusters occupied by over 43,000 businesses in a range of industries.
Hải Phòng strives to develop further
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Wednesday applauded Hải Phòng City for its achievements in the last five years which affirmed the city’s position as an international port city, a leading industrial hub of Việt Nam and the main gate to the sea for other northern provinces.
Addressing the city’s 16th Party Congress, Phúc said he was honoured to be a National Assembly deputy voted in by Hải Phòng residents.
“Hải Phòng has created better images, roles and prestige in the domestic and international stage,” Phúc said, adding that the city used to be silent but now it was shining with breakthroughs due to its dynamic and inclusive development.
Hải Phòng led the country in terms of economic growth in the last five years with the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) making up 5.1 per cent of Việt Nam’s gross domestic product while in 2015, the rate was more than 3 per cent.
The city has also developed relatively systematic and modern transport infrastructure. Before 2015, there were 38 bridges in the city but in the last five years, 46 new bridges were built. The city is home to 13 industrial parks with a total area of 6,000 ha, all ready for new investment.
The PM appreciated Hải Phòng’s efforts in land clearance which is a common bottleneck for many projects nationwide. Within five years, the city withdrew nearly 10,000ha of land from more than 600 organisations and 54,000 households, of which 11,000 were relocated.
“No complicated incidents were reported despite the huge land clearance work, something few localities across the country can do,” Phúc said, adding that the smoothness of the work reflected harmonious cohesion among authorities, the Party and the people.
PM Phúc also highly praised the city’s Party Committee for prioritising investment in social welfare before economic growth, which resulted in impressive poverty reduction. Only 0.22 per cent of the city’s households are under the poverty line now.
At the congress, PM Phúc agreed with the city’s Party Committee on the three main development pillars that it identified for the next term in 2021-25, namely high-tech industry, seaports-logistics and tourism-commerce.
The city was asked to find creative ways to obtain resources for development.
“Direct foreign investment should be selected carefully, priority should be given to those with high technologies, ensuring harmony among industrial development, services and environmental protection,” he said.
Hải Phòng has great advantages and opportunities to make breakthroughs in its development in the next five years, the city’s top leader Lê Văn Thành said at the 16th Party Congress.
With unity, innovations and enterprisingness, Hải Phòng’s Party Committee had led and contributed to the city’s breakthrough development in all fields, said Thành who is a member of Party Central Committee, Secretary of the city’s Party Committee and Chairman of the city People’s Council.
He said almost all goals set up by the city’s 15th Party Congress five years ago were achieved with some fulfilled 2-3 years earlier than planned.
For example, the city’s GRDP increased 14.02 per cent in the last five years, double the growth rate of the previous period and 2.1 times higher than national average growth.
The city’s GRDP per capita is about US$5,863 per year, twice the number of 2015.
The city collected about VNĐ408.5 trillion for State-budget in the last five years, up 2.65 times compared to 2010-2015.
The city successfully mobilised social resources for development with total social investment in the last five years hitting VNĐ564.3 trillion and just 10 per cent of the funding coming from the State budget.
Its index of industrial production (IIP) increased on average 20.64 per cent yearly or 2.12 times than that of 2010-2015. The city’s industrial production developed toward high-tech and friendly to the environment, particularly with the Vinfast automobile factory and LG’s electronic component producing factory.
Parts of Hải Phòng International Port went into operation, having the capacity to deal with ships with loads of 200,000 tonnes.
Major tourism firms like Vingroup, Sun Group and Geleximco invested billions of dollar to develop international standard tourism facilities in the country.
The poverty rate of the city dropped from 3.86 per cent in 2015 to 0.22 per cent in 2020.
“Social order and security are ensured, people’s living conditions have been improved significantly, which make local people proud of the city as well as trust in Party, State and Government’s leadership,” Thành said.
Thành said leaders with strong political bravery, good morality, enterprisingness, high responsibility, pioneering spirit and ability to unify people were decisive factors to the city’s achievements.
Additionally, public resources were used effectively and economically, Thành said, adding that public investment must not be scattered and State-funded projects could not be delayed.
Under a Politburo resolution dated last year on the city’s development, Hải Phòng is planned to complete industrialisation and modernisation by 2025.
It is also hoped to be the key point of the country’s marine economic development and an international tourism hub.
The city set major development goals including GRDP growth of 14.5 per cent per year, GRDP per capita of $11,800 in 2025 and its index of industrial production (IIP) increasing 21.5 per cent yearly.
The city expects to collect VNĐ145 trillion for the State budget by 2025, of which, domestic revenue is VNĐ65 trillion.
Between 2021 and 2025, the city’ social investment is hoped to reach VNĐ1.2 trillion, its export revenue $35 billion and the city’s ports are expected to deal with 300 million tonnes of goods.
In the next five years, the port coastal city expects to welcome 20 million tourists.
Thành said that the city had identified key measures to realise the goals.
More resources would be used to develop and modernise urban areas with typical features of a port city, particularly river-side urban areas like those along rivers of Tam Bạc, Cấm, Hạ Lý, Lạch Chay. Thuỷ Nguyên District is planned to become a city by 2025.
The city will concentrate on improving transport infrastructure, industrial zones’ facilities, simplifying investment procedures and creating favourable conditions to attract investors to industries that the city has advantages like food processing, manufacturing, high-tech industry and environmentally-friendly industry.
The city also hopes to speed up ongoing major tourism projects, call for investment in other tourism projects, shopping malls, five-star hotels or resorts and develop its key tourism products so the city can become an international tourism hub.
He said that the city would continue to innovate the growth model and restructure its economy with the three key pillars.
The city would also concentrate on increasing efficiency and effectiveness in managing land, natural resources, protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity and actively responding to impacts of climate change and seawater level rise.
Thành said that Hải Phòng would strive to become a hub of education and training and health care in the coastal northern region.
Ensuring social order and security, national defence and upholding national sovereignty over sea islands together with effective foreign affairs activities and international/regional integration remained main tasks for the city, Thành said.
The city would also improve its political system, building transparent and strong Party organisations, renovating and perfecting the organisational apparatus of the political system and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of local governments, he said.
Boeing wishes to cooperate with Vietnam in developing aviation technology
Giant aerospace manufacturer Boeing on October 15 it would seek cooperation opportunities with its Vietnamese partners to develop aviation technology with more safety, sustainability and efficiency, similar to the partnership with Etihad Airways in the latest ecoDemonstrator programme.
Introducing the cutting-edge technologies tested in this programme, Douglas Christensen, Programme Manager for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator, said that the programme could accelerate the development of new technologies, bringing about safer flights for passengers – the core of the partnership between Boeing, airlines and government agencies.
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator for 2020 focuses on four main features that aim to lower noise pollution from airplanes in big cities in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang, where airports are in or near the city.
Secondly, Boeing has developed ultraviolet light, which disinfects aircraft cabins and cockpits without the need for conventional disinfectants. In the ecoDemonstrator programme, the company also tested an antibacterial coating that can be used in frequently exposed areas in the cabin.
Thirdly, Boeing has tested the airspace operating system and flight route, as well as the pilot connection system on their aircraft. These systems will help to use aircraft and their light routes more efficiently.
Fourthly, in test flights under ecoDemonstrator, Boeing used a combination of conventional and sustainable fuels, aimed at reducing emissions.
Boeing also assesses that Vietnam’s aviation infrastructure is capable of adapting to new technologies in order to move further towards sustainable development.
In Vietnam, there are many Boeing aircraft, especially the 787 Dreamliner, which is being operated by a number of domestic and international airlines, offering the quietest passenger experience and high fuel efficiency.
Boeing attaches great importance to its technology development partnership with partners and customers in Vietnam as part of its orientation towards an innovative, sustainable and efficient aviation industry.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, through the ecoDemonstrator programme, Boeing has developed various new sterilisation technologies. The company also cooperates with airlines to study the transmission mechanisms of the disease, while providing in-flight air purification systems and sharing information so that passengers feel secure when flying.
Localities launch tourism stimulation products
Facing numerous difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, localities around the country have launched a series of attractive tourism stimulation products.
The programme, themed “Seven localities – attractive and safe tourism”, will be implemented by Ho Chi Minh City and six other provinces including Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh.
Under the programme, the localities will enhance their cooperation to effectively promote and explore tourism products as well as stimulation activities such as the reduction of prices for accommodation services, entrance fees and vouchers for tourists attractions.
In Lao Cai province, Sapa is one of the destinations pioneering the second tourism stimulation initiative with a programme entitled “I Love Sapa”.
Accordingly, Sun World Fansipan Legend is applying the programme “Love Vietnam” with a free buffet lunch worth VND200,000 for tourists buying cable car tickets to the top of Fansipan mountain or a return ticket on the Muong Hoa train worth VND100,000 on all weekdays from now until the end of December.
In addition, Sapa town will welcome visitors with unique art performances by local artists.
In the near future, huge discounts and promotions will be offered by a series of travel businesses, hotels and restaurants in the town.
However, the locality will continue to strictly implement measures to prevent and control the epidemic.
Da Nang has been the locality most affected by the second COVID-19 outbreak in late July. Once the epidemic was brought under control, the city’s tourism sector launched the campaign “Da Nang misses You” campaign to attract tourists.
Ho Chi Minh City also has a programme themed “Hello Ho Chi Minh City” to introduce the image of a safe, dynamic and friendly city. Accordingly, tickets to tourist attractions and tourism service providers have been reduced.
Meanwhile, Quang Ninh province issued a stimulation package worth around VND100 billion; offered a 50% discount on tickets to destinations in Ha Long Bay, entrance fees to famous sights and selected accommodation in the locality.
On the occasion, Binh Thuan and Khanh Hoa provinces have also developed many new tourism products as well as expanding their stimulation programmes to attract more visitors.
HCMC proposes early construction of two elevated roads
HCMC is set to develop 55 traffic infrastructure projects next year, with priority given to major projects to cope with traffic congestion hotspots, especially the construction of two elevated roads.
The HCMC Transport Department has proposed that the municipal government approve a scheme to invest in the 55 traffic infrastructure projects in 2021. Regarding capital, the department suggested that VND87.75 trillion be financed by the State budget and VND68.613 trillion be mobilized from private sources through the private-public partnership.
It suggested building the two elevated roads in the inner-city areas with a total investment of some VND32.9 trillion.
Of them, the elevated road No. 1, measuring 9.5 kilometers long, would run from Cong Hoa Street to Thu Thiem Bridge No. 1. The road, once completed, is expected to ease traffic congestion facing the inner-city streets and some roads leading to the city’s Tan Son Nhat airport.
The elevated road No. 5, which will be 21.5 kilometers long, will start from Station 2 in Thu Duc District, running along the National Highway No. 1 to An Suong.
According to the city’s transportation development plan earlier approved by the Government, the city was supposed to build five elevated roads with a total length of 70.7 kilometers by 2020. However, 15 years since the plan was outlined, the five road projects still remain on paper.
Meanwhile, many investors had come together to study the development of the elevated roads but then gave up.
In 2007, South Korean firm GS E&C studied building the elevated road No. 1 with four lanes and US$340 million in investment. In 2009, the firm requested that the project be suspended due to financial infeasibility.
In 2009, the Vietnam Urban and Industrial Development Investment Corporation suggested building the elevated road No. 5, with funding of over VND36.6 trillion but then quit the project as well.
Currently, the HCMC Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) wants to develop an elevated road in the city.
In late June this year, CII said that it was studying a 14-kilometer-long elevated road project, which would run from Truong Chinh Street in Tan Binh District to Nguyen Van Linh Street in Binh Chanh District and require VND24.5 trillion in investment.
Bui Hoa An, deputy director of the HCMC Transport Department, said that the department is working with other agencies to propose tapping the State budget to build an elevated road first, aimed at ensuring the feasibility of the project.
HCMC strives for economic recovery
There are just more than two months left until the end of 2020 – the year with too many fluctuations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With much effort, Ho Chi Minh City still managed to maintain the growth rate in the first nine months of the year, with six out of nine service industries posting good growths, which is a foundation for economic recovery and growth in the last months of the year.
After the first social distancing from April 1 to 15, which helped to successfully prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, on May 5, the People’s Committee of HCMC immediately held an online seminar on “Restoring and developing the economy of HCMC in 2020”, under the chairmanship of the leaders of the city, representatives of departments, research institutes, economic experts, associations, and key enterprises, to discuss and propose solutions to both maintain the results of the prevention of Covid-19 and focus on economic development.
Having determined enterprises as the core and the motivation for economic development, the city has carried out several programs to support and create conditions for enterprises to promote production and business activities. Accordingly, it held many meetings and worked directly with most associations and enterprises in many fields to listen, summarize, and report to the Prime Minister on policies to continue supporting enterprises, workers, markets, and credit. Of these, the important issue is not only to provide more credit for active enterprises but also to charge off debts for enterprises directly affected by the pandemic. On the other hand, the city has continued to join hands with enterprises to stabilize markets, access new markets, better exploit the domestic market, organize to connect supply and demand, connect production with consumption channels in the city, and at the same time strongly deploy public investment projects, supporting the real estate market to develop healthily.
In June and July alone, HCMC had held many trade promotion activities and trade fairs to stimulate domestic consumption. For instance, the program “60 days of golden promotion” with the participation of many enterprises offered discounts and gifts to attract customers. As a result, 1,242 enterprises registered 1,745 promotional programs with a total value of more than VND146 billion. In July, the municipal People’s Committee kicked off the program on “Stimulating consumer demand in 2020” in the form of a trade fair connecting with manufacturing and distribution enterprises. The conference with a scale of 650 booths participated by 486 enterprises from 29 provinces and cities nationwide displayed and introduced thousands of specialties and key products of many regions. Besides selling products, enterprises successfully connected, with 172 memorandums of understanding and principal contracts signed between suppliers and buyers.
From September 24 to 27, the city’s Department of Industry and Trade continued to hold a conference to connect the supply and demand of goods in 2020 with the participation of more than 1,000 enterprises from 43 provinces and cities. Here, enterprises from HCMC and other cities and provinces signed 595 supply and consumption contracts.
Currently, many activities to support enterprises of the city have been carrying out online. Typically, the Center for Trade Promotion and Investment of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) connects online many programs with different topics, creating more playgrounds for enterprises through groups on Viber and its website. This approach also urges the digital transformation of enterprises in approaching the global market, accelerating the world to be flat faster in the process of economic integration.
With such effort, although the economy of the city has not regained its high growth momentum and the gross regional domestic product only increased by 0.77 percent in the first nine months of the year, there were some bright spots. Of which, export turnover rose by 4.9 percent over the same period. Total retail sales of goods and service revenue showed signs of rapid recovery as the second quarter saw a decrease of 11.5 percent, while it was just 0.1 percent in the third quarter. The types of online businesses, e-commerce, and non-cash payments have strongly developed, creating a solid foundation to promote the development of the digital economy and digital transformation of the city.
Mr. Tran Tri Dung, Head of the Department of Trade Administration of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said that from now to the end of the year, the department would promote the connection between banks and enterprises, helping enterprises to have the chance to borrow capital with low-interest rates to invest in the production of essential goods. Besides, to motivate commodity rotation, clear inventory, and recover capital for reproduction, the department would organize consumption promotion fairs, promotions, and exhibitions of supporting industry products, and conferences and seminars to answer questions about newly-signed free trade agreements, thereby helping enterprises to make good use of opportunities and increase exports of goods.
To maintain purchasing power amid the current difficult situation, modern distribution networks in the city have launched several promotions, at the same time, stimulated the demand for goods through channels, such as telephones, websites, and apps, and support the delivery of goods. The timely change in sales methods has contributed to helping enterprises to improve revenue and draw consumers back.
At the dialogue on “Recovering and developing the economy of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of complicated developments of the Covid-19 pandemic” held on October 3, Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong of the municipal People’s Committee said that HCMC has returned to the new normal pace of life. This is a huge achievement and the effort of both the political system and citizens. However, the downside of the prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic has heavily affected all aspects of the city’s socio-economic status. Of which, the second wave of Covid-19 sent the city’s economy back into difficulties when it had just begun to recover. Amid that context, there were still more than 6,000 enterprises resuming operations and more than 30,000 newly-established enterprises with registered capital of VND696 trillion. Of these, 579 enterprises have registered capital of over VND100 billion each.
According to Mr. Phong, the city’s leaders will soon organize working sessions with each industry association to listen to their opinions and promptly remove difficulties for enterprises. Contrariwise, enterprises need to actively make suggestions to the city and the Government in the promulgation of policies to promote economic development, as well as support enterprises better in the new normal condition.
Dr. Tran Du Lich, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group, also said that the economy is facing many difficulties, but there are still opportunistic factors of the post-Covid-19 period. What the country has done to fight against the pandemic and protect the lives of people will contribute to making Vietnam more attractive in the fields of investment and tourism in the eyes of foreign investors. For domestic enterprises, they must restructure both input and output markets to avoid risks and participate in the value chains to survive and develop.
Freight and logistics stocks on the rise despite pandemic
HÀ NỘI — Freight and logistics stocks have seen major gains since the beginning of 2020 even as the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy.
According to the General Statistics Office, the country’s exports topped US$254 billion during the first 11 months of the year, making for an increase of 5.3 per cent over the previous year, while imports were estimated at $234.5 billion.
Increased trade activities coupled with a number of international trade deals which were recently signed or came into effects such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have significantly boosted investors’ confidence in logistics stocks.
A number of stocks such as VSC, GMD, DVP, DXP, SFI and HAH have seen double-digit growth in recent months and some of them set all-time high records on the trading floor.
Experts, however, pointed out the recent rise in stock value did not necessarily come from better business performance but rather investors’ optimism in the sector’s future. For example, despite the increased trading value, Gemadept has reported a 32 per cent drop in profit in the first three quarters, Tân Cảng Logistic (TCL) a 15 per cent drop and Hải An Logistics a 9 per cent drop.
A container shortage, typically experienced by logistics firms during the end of the year when import/export activities are at the highest level, especially for an export-oriented economy such as Việt Nam, contributed to an increase in logistics costs.
A report from the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA) showed more than 40 per cent of firms had difficulty finding containers for their cargo with up to 17 per cent unable to rent them. This has created a large backlog of cargo at port and storage facilities across the country, which generated additional revenue for logistics firms.
Meanwhile, freight charges have skyrocketed in recent months. According to Freightos, a Hong Kong-based shipping company, the freight charges for a 40-feet container from China to the US west coast has almost tripled to near $4,000.
Investors also seem to be betting on an increase in port charges as Việt Nam’s current prices were comparatively low in the region. A statement from the VLA said the sector has set an objective to bring charges to 60-70 per cent of the region’s price level by 2025, which they have planned to start bringing up at the beginning of next year. —
Nearly a third of local sugar plants shut down
|A farmer harvests sugarcane. Nearly a third of domestic sugar plants have shut down – PHOTO: THANH HOA|
HANOI – Only 29 of 40 local sugar plants remained operational in the 2019-2020 season due to a high volume of sugar imports and the deployment of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) with lower tax rates for sugar imports from ASEAN markets, according to the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA).
The 2020-2021 season is forecast to be a hard time for the sugar sector, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic remains a big challenge. Four more sugar mills—Son Duong, Nong Cong, Van Phat and Pho Phong—are likely to stop their operations due to a shortage of input materials, resulting in their poor performance.
The local sugar sector has been hit for many years due to the smuggling of sugar, mainly from Thailand.
Meanwhile, other ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, despite commitments to the ATIGA, have still employed measures to protect their sugar firms.
Vietnam has fulfilled its commitments to the agreement since January 1 by setting no limits on the volume of sugar imports from ASEAN countries and applying a tax rate of 5% for sugar imports from these markets.
According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, nearly 884,300 tons of sugar was imported into the country in the January-October period of this year, higher than the locally-produced volume of sugar. Of the total, sugar from Thailand accounted for 87.67%.
Due to a high volume of low-cost sugar imports, the prices of local sugar products have plunged, leading to low sugarcane prices. As a result, many farmers have incurred debts and stopped growing sugarcane.
In reality, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into sugar products that originate from Thailand in September. The ministry had earlier imposed anti-dumping measures on high-fructose corn syrup products originating from China and South Korea.
According to VSSA, Thailand has banned sugar imports, while Indonesia and the Philippines have allowed the import of a volume of sugar equivalent to the deficiency in volume.
In these three countries, sugarcane farmers are supported through direct and indirect aid and the profit sharing system to ensure they earn a stable income.
Specifically, the Thai Government annually provides at least US$1.3 billion to the sugar sector.
Therefore, Nguyen Van Loc, acting general secretary of VSSA, proposed Vietnam should apply trade remedies in line with the international law and rules of the World Trade Organization.
UL help deliver confidence in life safety & business continuity
Building owners and operators know that life safety and efficient operation are important concerns. However, meeting these criteria requires thorough understanding, effort and knowledge.
UL has helped many investors in Vietnam and the community in the field of inspection and verification as they build a safe foundation for buildings and occupants.
Customers choose to work with UL to help demonstrate their safety commitment to occupants, insurers as well as take advantage of such added values as detailed and complete reporting, useful information for further informed decisions, improvement and study. They may also have improved peace of mind that systems have been objectively inspected and accurately evaluated.
According to Ms Lưu Thị Thanh Mẫu, CEO of Phuc Khang Corporation, “The infrastructure quality in Vietnam is gradually developing in parallel with the perfection of safety standards. Vietnamese real estate companies have also been contributing significantly to improving general safety standards and applying international assessment programs for their buildings.”
Along with pioneering the application of green building assessment programs, Phuc Khang Corporation has been cooperating with UL to evaluate comprehensively systems of fire protection, security and life safety inside buildings and fully trusted in UL’s competence and expertise to these programs.
Rome by Diamond Lotus of Phuc Khang Corporation is the first residential building that applied UL Standards right from its design stage”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UL had urgently built an evaluation program for reoccupancy
(Building Reoccupancy), aiming to support enterprises as they emerge from occupancy restrictions.
Some services provided by UL’s Building Inspection Services in fire and life safety include: occupancy classification, fire zones/compartmentation, emergency and escape lightning, and illumination of means of egress; as well as other important services in security systems and fire protection systems such as fire pump, sprinkler, burglar alarm system and monitor detectors.
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