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VIETNAM’S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 28

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Dong Nai to open three huge industrial parks

VIETNAM'S BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 28
The entrance of Amata Industrial Park in Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa City. Dong Nai Province is stepping up the completion of paperwork to establish three industrial parks spanning a total of 820 hectares – PHOTO: PLO

Dong Nai Province is stepping up the completion of paperwork to establish three industrial parks spanning a total of 820 hectares in Cam My, Long Thanh and Thong Nhat districts.

In line with the master plan for developing industrial parks in Vietnam approved by the Government, Dong Nai Province has 35 industrial zones.

To date, the provincial government has established 32 zones and is in the process of completing procedures to call on investors and set up the remaining three industrial parks as soon as possible, Phap Luat Online reported.

The three zones comprise Cam My Industrial Park covering an area of 300 hectares in Cam My District’s Thua Duc Commune, Phuoc Binh Industrial Park spanning 190 hectares in Long Thanh District’s Phuoc Binh Commune and Gia Kiem Industrial Park covering 330 hectares in Thong Nhat District.

Besides, the province is set to upgrade and expand the current eight industrial zones in some districts of Long Khanh City to boost the industry development in the province.

While calling for investments in the coming months, the province will prioritize hi-tech projects, which can offer high value and use few laborers, noted Dong Nai Chairman Cao Tien Dung.

Once in place, the industrial zones are expected to attract many local and international investors, he added.

CAAV proposes withdrawing BlueSky’s aviation business license

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has written to the Ministry of Transport proposing it cancel the general aviation business license of BlueSky Air JSC as the firm has yet to operate flights after 10 years of being licensed.

CAAV granted a general aviation business license to BlueSky on June 8, 2010, according to the authority. However, to date, the firm has yet to obtain an Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC), an approval to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

In line with the Government’s Decree 89/2019 on the aviation business, the general aviation business license of a firm will be canceled if the firm fails to get an AOC within three years from the date of issuance of the license.

The decree also regulates the Ministry of Transport has jurisdiction over the revocation of a license in this case and the firm which owns the revoked license must suspend the operation of its aviation business.

As such, the authority proposed the ministry issue a decision canceling BlueSky’s general aviation business license in line with the prevailing regulations, the local media reported.

Momentum for Vietnamese shrimp to make breakthroughs

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With COVID-19 being brought under control in Vietnam, many local products have started posting exponential export growth, including shrimp.
 
Since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect in the middle of this year, export volumes of Vietnamese shrimp to the EU have increased 10 to 20% compared to the same period last year, bringing export volumes in the first nine months to 2.7 billion USD, up 10%.

Shrimp is among the items in the aquaculture sector experiencing the strongest rebound after COVID-19. Export value is expected to reach 3.8 billion USD by the end of this year, for an increase of 10% compared to 2019.

The continual improvements in product quality over recent times have resulted in Vietnamese shrimp carving out larger shares in major markets.

To maintain momentum, enterprises have exerted every effort to develop closed-loop supply chains that enable product origin to be traceable at any point.

Despite the global challenges that remain from the pandemic, demand for fisheries products has still risen 5% this year. Vietnamese shrimp are expected to penetrate more deeply into global markets in the long term, given the free trade agreements Vietnam has signed and the country’s determination to improve quality./.

Work suspended on Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expy project

The construction of the Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway project, connecting HCMC and the Long An and Dong Nai provinces, has been suspended due to severe capital shortage.

Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), the investor of the expressway project, has written to the ministries of Planning and Investment, Justice, Transport and the State Audit Office of Vietnam, proposing the removal of obstacles facing the country’s key project, triggered by a serious funding shortfall.

Eight packages sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and executed since May 2015 to date have seen over VND4.4 trillion disbursed, equivalent to 72.6% of the contract value. However, many contractors refused to continue work on the project as they have not been paid for the completed works.

After the ADB’s first loan agreement worth US$350 million expired in June last year, the contractors stopped working on the project due to capital shortage. Regarding the bank’s second loan agreement worth US$286 million, as it has not been extended, the contractors stopped the construction in early 2020.

VEC has yet to inspect the completed work as well as make payments to the contractors, as the investor is waiting for an extension of the second loan agreement.

Earlier, in August this year, the Ministry of Finance had proposed to ADB to extend the second loan agreement to December 31, 2023.

To facilitate the implementation of the project, VEC requested the ministries to seek the bank’s approval for the extension.

VEC added that the project needs US$17 million of funding for this year, US$87.7 million for 2021, US$53.2 million for 2022, and US$54.13 million for 2023.

Aside from the obstacles in foreign loans, the project has not received reciprocal capital financed by the State budget since January 2019. Accordingly, localities through which the expressway runs could not complete site clearance and handover processes.

Safety now outweighs prices in tourism sector: expert

Tourists are now more concerned about their safety when they travel rather than the prices of tourism products and services, as Covid-19 remains a challenge for the world, said Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Travel Division under the HCMC Department of Tourism.

At a seminar, “Promoting safe tourism”, held in HCMC on October 22 by the Saigon Times Group, Anh said the department had worked out many solutions to help the tourism sector recover, including introducing safe destinations for tourists. Earlier, safety standards were provided for tourism facilities.

Another important factor is the attraction of tourism products, Anh said, adding that HCMC must reach a consensus over safety standards with other localities to facilitate the travel of local residents to other parts of the country.

Tran Minh Hung, editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group, agreed that it is necessary to have standards for safe tourist sites and such information should be simple and easy to understand to help tourists feel comfortable and secure.

Speaking at the seminar, accompanied by Images Travel Co., Ltd, Dang Manh Phuoc, director of Outbox Consulting Company, said a survey conducted by the company showed that 92% of respondents were anxious about lodging facilities being clean and safe. Up to 83% of tourists would not go on tours if they have to remain quarantined at destinations.

Therefore, Phuoc suggested safety standards with four main objectives for tourism service suppliers and tourists: supporting firms and staff in the tourism sector in deploying regulations on Covid-19 prevention and control, setting up criteria on public health safety, building tourists’ confidence in safety standards and helping tourists discover new experiences at new destinations.

Safety is now the key for tourism services, said Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions Tourism Company. He proposed that tourists’ requirements while traveling, such as room cleaning, catering and payment, should be taken care of via apps. Tourists should be encouraged to use the stairs instead of elevators to prevent the gathering of people.

Ngo Minh Duc, chairman of HG Holdings, sounded more positive when considering safe travel as an opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism to recover from 2021 as many other countries worldwide are still struggling to control the pandemic. Vietnam has done the job well, so the tourism sector should be prepared to resume.

He proposed the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism come up with a safe tourism operation process and choose some source markets to test the process on a trial basis.

Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, said the association had provided safe tourism criteria and connected localities to help tour operators take tourists to safe destinations. It had also asked travel firms to prepare new business plans and choose safe source markets.

According to experts, if safe tourism solutions are not worked out soon, Vietnam cannot welcome international tourists until the middle of next year. If the tourism sector takes longer to recover, the relevant sectors, such as aviation, transport, lodging, catering and entertainment services, will also find it hard to get better.

In reality, the Government has assigned the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to build safe tourism operation processes in a transparent manner, said HG Holdings Chairman Duc, who is also a consultant to the National Tourism Council.

Although international tourists have contributed significantly to the country’s economic development, enterprises in the tourism sector should boost the domestic tourism segment in the next 12 months, Duc advised.

Similar seminars will be held in Quang Nam Province on October 29, in Can Tho City on November 6 and in Hanoi on November 11.

HCMC’s foodstuff production, processing continues to post good growth

According to the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City, the food, foodstuff, and beverage processing industry in the first nine months of this year increased by 1 percent while it only edged up 0.7 percent in the same period last year.
Of these, foodstuff processing was estimated to surge by 3.4 percent while it went down 3.1 percent in the same period last year. It has become the brightest spot in the situation of industrial production of the city.

According to the report by the Food and Foodstuff Association of HCMC, although the export turnover of processed foodstuff products is only equal to 30-40 percent of that during the time before the Covid-19 pandemic, enterprises still maintains stable production. Retail sales of food and foodstuffs in the first nine months was estimated at VND103.88 trillion, up 11.9 percent over the same period last year, accounting for 11 percent of the total retail sales. Meanwhile, the proportion of retail sales of food and foodstuffs in the same period in the previous year was 9.6 percent.

In October this year, amid the context of widespread flooding in the central provinces, HCMC-based enterprises in the fields of foodstuff and essential goods processing, such as life jackets and pharmaceutical products, continue to increase capacity to ensure the supply with stable selling prices for people in flooded areas.

On the other hand, manufacturers are preparing raw materials to produce products for the Lunar New Year. At the same time, they are proposing support in forecasting the market situation to timely balance production and promoting export to the European market to take advantage of opportunities brought by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.

Vietnam’s exports not entirely rely on aquatic exports
SGGPSunday, October 25, 2020 13:12
The Office of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), on October 24, informed the press that the balance of trade of Vietnamese goods between domestic and foreign-invested (FDI) enterprises was veering strongly, at the same time affirmed that Vietnam’s current export turnover does not entirely depend on shrimps and fish.
 

Processing shrimps for export. (Photo: SGGP)
According to the report on the export situation within 20 years of the MoIT, in 2001, the export turnover of FDI enterprises accounted for 45.2 percent of total exports, including crude oil. The proportion of exports of FDI enterprises increased gradually, reaching the highest level of about 71.4 percent in 2018. For many years, Vietnam’s exports had relied on the achievements of foreign enterprises.

However, since 2019, the export turnover of domestic enterprises has risen sharply, while that of the FDI sector has increased slowly or decreased, so the proportion of the export value of the FDI sector has gradually declined, the MoIT informed.

In the first nine months of this year, the export turnover of FDI enterprises merely touched US$131.1 billion, a decrease of 2.8 percent over the same period last year, accounting for 65 percent of the total export turnover of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the export turnover of domestic enterprises in 2019 hit $82.96 billion, up 19 percent compared to 2018, much higher than an increase of 4.2 percent of the FDI sector. In the first nine months of this year, the export turnover of the domestic sector surged by 19.5 percent, while that of the FDI sector fell by 2.8 percent.

The domestic sector posted positive growth amid the context that agricultural and aquatic exports were facing difficulties, showing that the growth motivation of the domestic sector is not mainly dependent on the export growth of the group of agricultural and aquatic products as in previous years, but from the group of industrial products, said the MoIT.

Although the FDI sector’s exports have been showing signs of inferiority in the past two years, compared to the domestic sector, the MoIT said that FDI enterprises have contributed to changing the structure of export products in the direction of reducing the proportion of mining products and primary products, and gradually increasing the proportion of manufactured goods, such as electronics, computers and components, plastic products, electrical wires and cables, and bicycles and accessories.

Before 2003, crude oil accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total export value of FDI enterprises. But in the first nine months of this year, the proportion of crude oil in the total export turnover of FDI enterprises only accounted for 1 percent.

Banks asked to cut lending rates for central region

The State Bank of Vietnam has asked local banks to reduce lending rates for customers in the central region to help them settle down their lives after the floods. 

The governor of the State Bank of Vietnam on October 23 sent official documents to all credit institutions and foreign banks’ branches and the branches of the SBV in the central region such as Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Danang and Dak Lak.

From October 6 to 21, heavy rain and flooding in the central region and the Central Highlands have resulted in severe flooding and landslides. Many people died and houses destroyed in the flood and landslides. The situation will continue in the coming weeks.

In order to support local people, the State Bank of Vietnam has issued the orders banks to review the damage caused to their customers and have suitable support policies like extending the deadlines or reducing lending rates.

The branches of the State Bank of Vietnam across Vietnam must update the information about the weather and flooding to review the outstanding loans that are damaged by flooding and landslides.

Credit institutions must tighten measures to protect both their assets and personnel. The banks should report back the results of the implementation and support services. They will later submit detailed reports about outstanding loans and the number of affected customers, the number of customers they supported and the implemented solutions.

Singapore to pilot electricity imports from Malaysia

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore said on October 26 that the city-state will import electricity from Malaysia under a two-year trial from late 2021.

In its media release, EMA said the trial aims to assess and refine the technical and regulatory frameworks for importing electricity into Singapore, and this will help to facilitate larger-scale imports from the region in the future.

“To meet our climate change commitments, there is a need to change the way Singapore produces and uses energy,” EMA said, adding that tapping on regional power grids for cleaner energy resources is one strategy to further diversify Singapore’s energy supply.

In a keynote speech delivered at the opening of the Singapore International Energy Week, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said the move is part of Singapore’s plan to strengthen the “regional grid architecture”.

The country will kick this off by importing 100 MW of electricity for a trial period of two years to see how the market works. Once the concept takes off, it will be able to extend this to other regional players, according to the official.

EMA plans to issue a request for proposal by March next year for 100 MW of electricity imports, which will make up about 1.5 percent of Singapore’s peak electricity demand.

Under this request for proposal, electricity imports could begin in late 2021. An importer will be selected through an open and competitive selection process, the authority said./.

Vinh Phuc aims for 11-percent annual growth in commercial-service sector

The northern province of Vinh Phuc is aiming for an average nearly 11 percent growth per year of the commercial and service sector in the 2021-2025 period while developing a modern network of commercial and service facilities.

According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Ngoc Phi, total goods retails and services revenues of the province during 2015-2020 were estimated at over 260 trillion VND (11.23 billion USD at current exchange rate), with an annual growth rate of 10 percent.

The figure is expected to increase to 410 trillion VND in the five following years.

Along with economic growth, local people’s living conditions have improved, stimulating demands for modern retail models such as supermarkets or convenient stores.

Phi attributed the good growth in trade and services to local administration’s policies and mechanisms that were designed to facilitate the engagement of all economic sectors in trading and service activities. The province has also invested in infrastructure for trade and services such as markets and stores.

Vinh Phuc has approved a trade development master plan and another on the network of markets, supermarket and trading centres in the province to 2020 with a vision to 2030, which were in accordance with its socio-economic development plans.

The province encouraged the development of modern retail forms such as shopping centres, chains of convenience stores and e-commerce, thus facilitating local residents’ access to modern commercial channels.

At the same time, the network of traditional markets will be maintained and upgraded.

A priority in the province’s policies is to promote the application of information technology and scientific-technological advances in financial, credit, insurance, taxation, payment and trade services, thus enhancing the quality of those services. /

Singapore’s electronics sector continue stable growth

Singapore’s electronics industry – particularly semiconductors – has outperformed other segments of the economy amid the coronavirus-induced recession and will remain a major source of employment, Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said at a recent press conference.

The industry as a whole reaped 5.7 billion SGD (4.2 billion USD) in fixed assets investment in the first nine months of the year and recorded 376 million SGD in total business expenditure.

Chan said that these investments will create about 1,100 jobs when they are fully realised over the next three to five years, and come on top of the opportunities already created by the industry so far this year.

Around 130 electronics companies have offered more than 2,800 employment opportunities since April – 1,880 jobs, with the rest comprising attachments and training slots, the Ministry of Trade and Industry noted. Almost all of the jobs were for professionals, managers, executives and technicians, it said.

The industry has seen its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) surge from less than 1 percent in 1990 to 6.9 percent last year.

The electronics industry as a whole employs 70,500 workers in semiconductors, consumer electronics and information technology, and accounted for about 39 percent of Singapore’s manufacturing GDP last year.

The semiconductor industry alone lifted output 1.7 per cent year on year in the first half of this year, even as the overall economy suffered its worst-ever recession./.

Circular economy key for rapid and sustainable development

A circular economy is the future of every nation’s economy, of all production and business activities. It is the key for rapid and sustainable development, participants heard at a recent forum, entitled “Circular Economy: Direction for Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam”.

Speaking at the event in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said that the development of a circular economy has gradually become a trend among nations, especially developed countries with few resources and when the world’s resources are increasingly becoming depleted.

“Vietnam has faced an increasing amount of generated waste while raw materials and fossil fuels are increasingly exhausted. In addition, most Vietnamese businesses have outdated technology, small production scale and lack of resources to invest in recycling,” said Phuong.

Therefore, Phuong said, implementing a circular economic model will help Vietnamese enterprises achieve their sustainable production and consumption goals.

“Following a circular economy for Vietnam is an inevitable requirement to overcome the limitations of the traditional growth model. Circular economic development helps Vietnam avoid depending on the outside economy, especially for raw materials and fuels for production,” stressed Phuong.

“The transition to a circular economy is a great opportunity for Vietnam to develop rapidly and sustainably, not only achieving its economic, social, environmental, and climate change responses, but also helping to achieve goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” added Phuong.

At the forum, delegates exchanged knowledge and shared experience for businesses in the implementation of initiatives and business models related to the circular economy such as: measures to help businesses develop sustainably; opportunities and challenges for circular economic development in Vietnam; eco-industrial parks – an efficient model of the circular economy; and cyclic model in a company’s sustainable development strategy.

General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Nguyen Quang Vinh said that the circular economy was a new model, but was very effective and suitable for all economies. In which, the awareness of environmental protection should go hand in hand with practical actions to protect the environment in the process of rapid and sustainable growth of economic activities.

Former Director of the Institute of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Strategy Nguyen The Chinh said that the circular economy should go along with technological innovation and design.

“Circular economy requires coordination, sharing and linking stakeholders. It also requires a team of good experts and the classification and cleaning of waste before being reused and recycled,” Chinh said.

To develop the circular economy in Vietnam, Chinh said, priorities should be given to promulgate a clear legal corridor and to conduct extensive research. The development of the circular economy needs to be based on sectors, fields and localities and create mechanisms to form market dynamics.

“It is necessary to implement circular economic development with a roadmap and priorities and increase exchange and learn from international experiences, combining high technology and the fourth industrial revolution. And an issue that is needed to be solved immediately for Vietnam is to sort waste at source,” added Chinh.

The event is a multidimensional forum for policy makers, representatives of businesses, experts, researchers to exchange, discuss and make recommendations to solve current problems and to promote the development of a circular economy in Vietnam.

Le Thi Ngoc My, Head of Sustainability at Heineken Vietnam, said that climate change was one of the most serious threats to Vietnam. The company has applied the circular economy model wherever possible to have a positive impact on the environment.

My said that Heineken Vietnam now used renewable thermal energy at five out of six of its breweries. When the company switched to clean biomass energy to brew, the company was able to source approximately 40,000 tonnes of agricultural waste, which also generated 52.6 billion VND for local farmers in 2019. This initiative reinforces that it is not only good for the environment and local community but also beneficial to the business.

According to UNIDO, circular economy is an economic model in which all activities from design, production to service delivery move towards reusing matter and eliminating negative environmental impacts. Circular economy brings four basic benefits through taking advantage of resources, including: saving resources, protecting the environment, promoting economic development, and social benefits.

Laos reopens local border gates to facilitate business

The Lao Government is temporarily reopening some local and customary border crossings in a bid to revive the economy and minimise the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the English-language newspaper of Laos, Vientiane Times, reported on October 26.

The move is part of government efforts to balance the imposition of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 with the easing of restrictions to enable businesses to import and export goods, the newspaper cited the Lao PDR Trade Portal.

The lifting of certain restrictions would not only allow improved cross-border trade between four provinces in Laos and its neighbouring countries, but also help businesses lower their production costs and overcome the challenges facing them, and recovering the country’s economy.

The opened ones include the Nongmar customary border crossing in Khammuan province, Ban Vang local border crossing in Vientiane province, Thasa-ath customary border crossing in Borikhamxay province, and the Panghay local border crossing in Luang Namtha province.

Notably, the Panghay border crossing will reopen from November 1 until June 30 next year to aid trade between Laos and China.

In Laos, goods are mainly imported and exported through international border crossings which are equipped with the necessary facilities and personnel to screen and identify anyone carrying the virus.

To date, Laos has reported 24 COVID-19 cases, with no deaths./.

FDI flow into Indonesia drops 5.1 percent in nine months

The flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indonesia dropped by 5.1 percent from 317.8 trillion Rp (21.61 billion USD) in the first nine months of 2019 to 301.7 trillion Rp in the same period of 2020, the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) has reported.

However, the domestic direct investment (DDI) jumped 9.3 percent to 309.9 trillion Rp from 293.5 trillion Rp of the same period last year.

The country posted investment disbursement of 611.6 trillion Rp in the last three quarters, up 1.7 percent year-on-year. In the third quarter only, total investment jumped 8.9 percent to 209 trillion Rp from 205.7 trillion Rp.

Meanwhile, the disbursement of FDI rose 8.7 percent in the third quarter, the first growth this year, to 106.1 trillion Rp from 105 trillion Rp.

Speaking at a virtual conference on October 23, Chairman of BKPM Bahlil Lahadalia said the critical period for investment realization in the COVID-19 pandemic era is over.

He believed that in the next quarter, the amount will be higher than the last quarter thanks to the Omnibus Law, which is expected to be implemented this year to overcome a number of regulatory obstacles and ease of licensing./.

Egypt emerges as promising market for Vietnamese canned tuna

Vietnam’s tuna exports to the Middle East and Africa have seen positive signs since the beginning of the year despite declines in overall seafood exports in the face of COVID-19, First Secretary and Head of the Trade Office at the Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt Nguyen Duy Hung said on October 25.

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Vietnam’s exports of seafood to the Middle East and Africa, he told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s reporter in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs shows that seafood exports to Vietnam’s three largest markets in the region – Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt – plunged during the first nine months of 2020. Seafood shipments to Egypt nosedived 35.6 percent year-on-year to 23.5 million USD, Hung said, compared to an 8.7 percent decline in overall exports to the country.

He attributed the steep decline to weakening demand for imported food in general because of measures taken by the Egyptian Government to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which have included night-time curfews, bans on gatherings, and closures of restaurants. Egypt’s policies limiting imports and boosting exports to bridge the trade deficit this year also represent challenges for Vietnamese seafood exporters, he added.

Vietnam’s tuna shipments, particularly canned tuna, have experienced decent growth over the last several years. According to a report from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), canned tuna exports accounted for 2.29 percent of Vietnam’s total tuna exports to Egypt, or 11.9 million USD, in the first three quarters of this year. The share was the second-highest in the Middle East and Africa, after only Israel.

Egypt imported 160 million USD worth of tuna last year, with 89.5 percent, worth 145 million USD, coming from Thailand. Vietnam was second but with just 5.6 percent of the market share, or 9 million USD, Hung continued, so possesses major potential to increase tuna exports to the country, as COVID-19 has made it evident that importers must diversify their supply sources.

Such trends are a “golden” opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to gain a stronger foothold in the market, he noted./.

Masan High-Tech Materials, Mitsubishi Materials to forge strategic alliance

Masan High-Tech Materials Corporation has signed definitive agreements to establish a strategic alliance in the tungsten industry with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, with an objective of developing a leading high-tech tungsten materials platform.

As part of the deal, Mitsubishi Materials will buy more than 109.9 million newly issued shares through a private placement for an estimated value of 90 million USD.

Once completed, Mitsubishi Materials will become the second largest shareholder of Masan High-Tech Materials with an ownership of 10 percent.

The two sides will discuss the development of a separate business unit to strengthen and unlock the synergies between their respective mid-stream tungsten platforms.

After the acquisition of H.C Starck, a leading global mid-stream tungsten business this June, forming strategic partnership with Mitsubishi Materials is validation of the Masan High-Tech Material’s transformation into a vertically integrated high-tech tungsten platform.

Foreign media spotlights Vietnam’s success in FDI attraction

Vietnam has emerged as a hub of foreign direct investment (FDI), according to the eurasiantimes.com.

In an article published on October 26, the website said in the race to become an Asian tiger, Vietnam’s FDI has averaged more than 6 percent of GDP, the highest in any emerging country, as per American multinational investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets strategist Ruchir Sharma, quoted in a report by Livemint.

The Southeast Asian nation’s recent economic data shows a rise of 18 percent in exports, with a 26 percent jump in computer and component exports and a 63 percent jump in machinery and accessories exports.

Friendly business and investment policies, development of industrial zones, and ample supply of young workers made Vietnam an attractive destination for investors, it said.

Ever since, Vietnam has witnessed an annual growth rate of 10.4 percent and last year’s record high of 16.12 billion USD – an 81 percent increase overall, it noted.

Even in the time of COVID crisis, the country’s economy is in a good position because the government has introduced tax breaks, the delaying of tax payments, and land-use fees for businesses, revising the investment law and signing a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), it stressed. 

From July 2020, the EU has lifted 85 percent of its tariffs on Vietnamese goods, gradually cutting the rest over the next seven years, while FDI worth over 12 billion USD was registered in the first four months of this year./.

MoIT’s projects keep racking up debt with no end in sight

The clock is ticking on 12 large economic projects started by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) with no solutions to their debt problems in sight a few months ahead of a deadline to resolve them, said a report by MoIT to the National Assembly.

The projects, worth billions of dollars, have been racking up debt for years. By the end of June, the projects’ total liabilities reached VND63.3 trillion (US$2.7 billion) with owner’s equity dripping in the red by VND7.2 trillion and losses at VND26.3 trillion, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

Four fertiliser plants under the Vietnam National Chemical Group reported heavy losses of over VND1 trillion in the first six months of 2020.

Meanwhile, attempts to sell them off have been unsuccessful. For example, the VND3.4 trillion Phuong Nam Pulp Mill did not even start operation except for several test runs before it was put up for sale in 2017. Three years later, the mill has racked up more than VND3 trillion in debt.

Most projects have not been able to make payments to their creditors or have had to delay payments. By the end of 2019, commercial banks had pumped nearly VND21 trillion in the 12 projects.

Five of the 12 projects have been buried in legal disputes, mainly with their engineering, procurement and construction contractors, making it impossible to determine final investment value and the losses to the State.

Investors and contractors have cited differences in the equipment, construction works and trial runs agreed in original contracts compared to the actual tally after many adjustments were made over an extended period of time, according to a report by a committee overseeing the projects.

The lack of special provisions to resolve disputes and manage the projects means there won’t be answers in the near future, according to experts. They said such projects are too big and too complex for one ministry or one agency to handle. 

Starting a business now takes less time

The Vietnamese Government has issued a decree which reduced the time needed to start a business from 16 days to six days in an effort to improve the business climate.

Under Decree 122/2020/ND-CP which took effect in mid-October, there were now only three procedures – which would take six days altogether – to complete before starting a business in Viet Nam.

Specifically, three days would be for handling business registration procedures, two days for opening a bank account and one day for issuance of invoices.

In comparison, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report pointed out that one must go through eight procedures in 16 days to start a business in Viet Nam. The report ranked Viet Nam 115th among 190 economies and sixth in ASEAN in terms of the ease of starting a business.

According to Bui Anh Tuan, Director of the Agency for Business Registration, the decree reduced the administrative procedures businesses must conduct. Specifically, enterprises now needed to submit only one set of documents at the business registration agency, instead of four, including business registration, employee use declaration, social insurance registration and printed invoice registration at four separate agencies.

The information would be shared among relevant management agencies online.

Tuan said that this would help create favourable conditions for starting a business while ensuring the Government’s management target as well as reducing time and costs for handling the procedures.

The decree also created a mechanism for State management agencies to exchange information online and apply information and technology in handling administrative procedures which would help improve transparency, he added.

Tuan said that the decree was a bold effort in improving the ease of starting a business in Viet Nam as well as improving the overall business environment.

The Government’s Resolution No 02/NQ-CP dated January 1 stressed that improving the business climate and national competitiveness was the priority of the Government this year, setting the target that Viet Nam would rank fourth in ASEAN in the ease of doing business and move up 10-15 spots in the ranking of the ease of starting a business.

According to the Decree No 22/2020/ND-CP dated February 24, newly-founded firms would be exempt from license fees in the first year of operation, meaning that paying license fees would no longer be a procedure for starting a business.

As the National Assembly passed the Law on Enterprise 2020 which would take effect from the beginning of next year, the procedure of seal announcement would also be eliminated from the process of starting a business. 

Vietnam emerges as FDI hub in Asia: the Eurasian Times

The Eurasian Times has recently published an article on Vietnam’s success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), saying the Southeast Asian nation has emerged an FDI hub in Asia.

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

The country’s recent economic data shows a rise of 18% in exports, with a 26% jump in computers/components exports and a 63% jump in machinery/accessories exports.

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

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

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

Beginning July 2020; the EU has lifted 85% of its tariffs on Vietnamese goods, gradually cutting the rest over the next seven years, while FDI worth over US$12 billion was registered between January and April 2020.

Hotels race to offer discounts

Many hotels in HCM City are racing to launch attractive discounts to attract customers after Covid-19.

According to the HCM City Department of Tourism, from now to the year end, many hotels in HCM City will slash prices by 20-60% along with offering various free services such as spa, ironing and airport transportation.

Many five-star hotels in the city such as Lotte Hotel Saigon, Rex, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Mgallery Hotel Des Arts Saigon, Grand, Pullman, Majestic, Park Hyatt, The Reverie Saigon, Nikko Saigon and Le Meridie are providing preferential packages related to room rent, wedding party and food services.

Hotels of between 2-4 stars have followed suit with appealing discounts. For instance, Lotte Hotel Saigon has offered a 32% discount for room prices, including free breakfast. Customers can also cancel reserved rooms without being charged. For rooms which are priced at VND1.99 million, customers are provided a 20% discount of services at Legend Healing Spa as well as food services.

The discount of up to 45% is also applied to rooms of Rex Hotel booked online or the hotel’s websites.

Lots of other hotels like Grand and Park Hyatt hotels are trying to attract customers through their preferential programmes.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, said that many hotels in HCM City have also registered to be paid quarantine sites to have more revenues and create jobs for their staff.

Vietravel Airlines poised to take flight this December

Vietravel Airlines will launch its first flight in mid-December 2020 as opposed to the previous schedule of starting flights during the first half of 2021, according to Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of Vietravel, one of Vietnam’s leading tour operators.

Addressing the 2020 Business Forum hosted by Forbes Vietnam October 15, Ky revealed that he has now received a flight permit and the company will move forward with plans to conduct its first flight on December 18.

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung signed a decision approving the Vietravel Airlines project, with total investment reaching VND700 billion.

Vietravel Airlines will be headquartered at Phu Bai International Airport in Thua Thien-Hue province, central Vietnam. It is designed to provide domestic and international air transport services, setting a goal of welcoming one million passengers during its first year of operation.

Ky added that due to COVID-19 the airline will largely focus on the domestic market of 100 million people in the near future, alongside a small number of businesses.

Plans proposed by Vietravel will see the airline use three aircraft during the first year, and the fleet is expected to expand to eight by the fifth year.

Ky also said that the company’s revenue from domestic travel in July was unexpectedly higher than before, adding that the tourism industry is likely to bounce back due to the return of the international market in autumn of next year.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/SGT/NDO/Dtinews 

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/vietnam-s-business-news-headlines-october-28-684000.html

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China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP

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

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

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

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

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

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

China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP

Booming digital cooperation

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

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

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

China-ASEAN Expo opens, featuring digital economy, RCEP

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Xinhua)

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/china-asean-expo-opens-featuring-digital-economy-rcep-694444.html

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VNR petitions for reduction of infrastructure charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/79630/vnr-petitions-for-reduction-of-infrastructure-charge-.html

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Mekong Delta expressway network expansion: infographic

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Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/infographics/economy/mekong-delta-expressway-network-expansion-infographic-4200146.html

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