Agro-forestry-fisheries post trade surplus of US$6.2 billion
The agro-forestry-fisheries sector recorded a trade surplus of approximately US$6.2 billion during the first eight months of the year, representing an annual increase of 4.9%, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The sector’s total import-export turnover stood at an estimated US$46 billion during the reviewed period, with export and import value dropping by 0.9% and 2.5%, respectively.
Notably, the United States has become the largest consumer of Vietnamese farming products with export turnover reaching over US$6.3 billion, marking an annual rise of 14.2% and making up 24.13% of the overall market share.
Elsewhere, China ranked second with estimated export turnover suffering a decline of 10.1% to US$6.28 billion, accounting for 24% of the total market share.
Meanwhile, exports to markets such as the EU, ASEAN, and Japan endured drops of 2.2%, 11.4%, and 1.8% to US$2.5 billion, US$2.24 billion, and US$2.2 billion, respectively.
August alone witnessed the agro-forestry-fisheries sector gross US$3.6 billion from exports, representing an increase of 3.5% from the corresponding period last year, with the total export turnover during reviewed period dropping by 0.9% on-year to US$26.15 billion.
Despite several export items such as rubber, pepper, and tra fish experiencing a downward trajectory, items such as rice, vegetables, cassava, shrimp, timber and wooden products, cinnamon, and bamboo enjoyed robust export growth when compared to last year’s corresponding period.
Despite suffering a decrease in terms of export volume, the value of rice exports soared by 10.4% to US$2.2 billion due to a hike in export prices, reaching US$488 per tonne.
Furthermore, seven agricultural products recorded turnover exceeding US$1 billion each, with wooden products grossing over US$5.4 billion.
The MARD said that it has coordinated with relevant ministries, localities, and businesses to remove export hurdles amid the complicated nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in major markets. It has also kept firms up to date with market changes, especially in China, Vietnam’s key market, to help them make proper adjustments in production strategies.
In addition, relevant agencies have also focused on removing technical barriers, conducting negotiations to expand markets to China, the EU, the Eurasian Economic Union, the US, and Brazil, while also exporting seafood products to the Saudi Arabian market.
Sub-committee for socio-economic affairs of Party Congress convenes
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is also head of the Sub-Committee for Socio-Economic Affairs of the 13th National Party Congress, chaired its sixth plenary session in Hanoi on August 28.
PM Phuc lauded the sub-committee’s members for their efforts in building the 2021-2030 socio-economic development strategy and socio-economic orientations and tasks for 2021-2025, which were sent to Party congresses at all levels for further comments.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the economy grew just 0.36 percent in the second quarter, the lowest in the past three decades, adding that the figure reached only 1.81 percent in the first half.
Despite the difficulties, the Government will strive to post positive growth this year, he said, adding that several sectors still grew, while trade was in surplus by over 10 billion USD and positive signs were seen in boosting the disbursement of public investment.
In a survey conducted recently by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Education and Information, 97 percent of respondents expressed their belief in the measures adopted by the Party and State to fight COVID-19. Therefore, national aspirations, innovation, and creativity with Vietnamese culture as a basis should be affirmed in draft documents, PM Phuc said.
He requested specifying outstanding results in achieving the dual goal of fighting the pandemic and restoring socio-economic development, which reflected efforts of the entire political system, business community, and people nationwide, making important contributions to strengthening public trust in the Party’s leadership.
The leader also suggested further analysing newly emerging issues such as disasters, climate change, and pandemics, and agreed with the editorial group on adding contents of digital transformation and new national manufacturing capacity, with a focus on the development of national businesses, into draft documents.
The sub-committee consented with the editorial group’s proposal to supplement contents regarding talent nurturing, formation of new national manufacturing capacity with self-reliance and resilience of the economy being taken into account.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Finance were asked to reconsider targets related to finance, State budget, and public investment to serve the building of documents and draft public investment plans for 2021-2025 for submission to the Government and National Assembly.
The PM also highlighted a need to step up investment, including social and public investment.
Meeting promotes ASEAN – East Asia economic cooperation
Economic ministers from ASEAN member countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US met virtually on August 28 for the eighth meeting (EAS EMM) as part of the 52nd meeting of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52) and relevant meetings.
The East Asia Summit Economic Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM) was chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.
Participants applauded the growth of trade and investment flows among East Asian countries, while underlining that the COVID-19 epidemic has created many unexpected challenges to people’s lives as well as socio-economic development for most economies in the world.
They urged the continued strengthening of regional economic cooperation and coordination to repel the pandemic, towards ensuring economic development in the whole region and the macro-economic stability.
Participants emphasised the importance of maintaining supply chains in the region, while affirming their determination to promote trade and investment, especially for essential goods and services such as health care, vaccines and foods.
They applauded initiatives to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the establishment of the ASEAN fund to respond to the disease and the regional reserve of medical supplies to effectively combat the pandemic.
They underlined the role of digital technologies and cross-border cooperation among EAS member countries, saying that future priorities should be given to small businesses and household economies amid the fight against COVID-19.
The ministers highly appreciated the region’s support for the reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and pledged to work together to reform the WTO in a transparent and comprehensive manner, and work hard for a sustainable multilateral trading system.
Gold demand up sharply in HCM City in July
Gold sales increased sharply in HCM City in July, according to the State Bank of Vietnam.
More than 132,450 taels of gold were bought last month, 51 per cent up from the previous month, for VND6.899 trillion (US$696.3 million), while 80,019 taels were sold, up 10 per cent, for VND3.893 trillion ($167.2 million), its HCM City branch reported.
A tael equals 1.22 ounces or 37.5gm.
According to the central bank, gold prices have risen to new highs since July on the back of global trends.
Globally, prices topped US$2,000 for an ounce for the first time ever on August 5.
Among the reasons for the rise are the impact of COVID-19 on markets, concerns over tensions between the US and China and stimulus packages to combat the economic impact of the pandemic released by countries, which sparked inflation concerns.
In Viet Nam, SJC gold prices reached a record VND 62 million ($2,663) on August 6. At the end of 2019 the precious metal was selling at VND 43.13 million.
The central bank said as of mid-August global prices (based on free market exchange rates) were VND2.6 million per tael lower than in Viet Nam, down from VND3.7 million late last month but much higher than the VND138,000 at the end of last year.
Despite the volatility in prices, the domestic market saw little speculation, it said.
At 5pm on August 27 the buying and selling prices were $1,940 and $1,941 per ounce on the world market and VND55.3 million and VND56.3 million per tael in Viet Nam.
MoF launches national open budget portal
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) launched the open portal for state budget at https://ckns.mof.gov.vn in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
Minister Dinh Tien Dung, Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber, director of the World Bank’s Operations Manager Stefanie Stallmeister and Canadian Embassy’s Acting Head of Cooperation Nina Seahra kicked off the launching ceremony.
According to the MoF, the portal will have positive impacts on the activities of the state budget, especially in publishing the budget openly for people.
The portal was developed by the MoF under the AAA Programme that was co-financed and commissioned by the Swiss Government and the Government of Canada through the World Bank since 2016.
It was built on the basis of reference to cutting-edge models from around the world and the local requirements for budget transparency and publicity, as the next step in the Government’s and the MoF’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the supplement, management and use of public resources.
MoF said the portal will help synthesise public budget reports faster and more accurately, adding it was also a tool that monitors the public implementation of ministries, central and local agencies in Viet Nam.
As a result, the public budget reports of ministries, central and local agencies will become simpler and more convenient while it will also be a communication channel that provides the data and information needed to help citizens, businesses, researchers and organisations at home and abroad to grasp issues related to finance and banking as well as the national policy in the country.
Stallmeister said: “The portal will improve the openness, transparency and efficiency of the national budget while contributing to strengthening macroeconomic management, risk awareness and accountability in public service,” adding access to budget information was important not only at all levels of government, but also for all citizens and businesses.
Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber said: “The pandemic is forcing governments around the world to face difficult budget decisions that require everyone to cooperate and take timely actions. People can only do that with access to up-to-date and complete information on the budget. The portal is a tool that will help Vietnamese ministries and people overcome such challenges.”
Minister Dung said: “The portal was launched to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the financial sector of Viet Nam. It showed the administrative reform effort of MoF, which is gradually replacing paper reports with electronic reports.”
Footwear exports fall in many markets
The export turnover of Vietnamese footwear products has sharply decreased, according to data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The department said this month it was estimated at 1.305 billion USD, 17.29 percent lower than in August last year. In the first eight months of the year, export turnover for footwear of all kinds reached 10.8 billion USD, 9.46 percent less than in the same period last year.
According to the department, the two largest markets for local footwear products, the US and the EU, have placed fewer orders.
As the leading market, demand from the US has decreased compared to the previous year. Export turnover of footwear of all kinds from Vietnam to the US in July topped 496.14 million USD, up 13.41 percent compared to July 2019 but total exports of the products to the market reached 3.43 billion USD in the first seven months, down 8.58 percent from the same period last year, accounting for 36.1 percent of the total export turnover of footwear products.
As the second-largest footwear export market, export turnover to the EU reached 303.25 million USD in July and 2.213 billion USD in the first seven months, the latter marking a decrease of 32.54 percent from the same period in 2019.
In the EU, the two markets with export turnover of more than 500 million USD in Belgium and Germany also reported declines. Export turnover of footwear to Belgium reached 553.87 million USD, down 17.25 percent while exports to Germany reached 505.35 million USD, down 10.36 percent.
With a footwear export value of more than 500 million USD, Japan’s imported turnover of local footwear products decreased by 2.05 percent to stay at 551.74 million USD in the first seven months.
Exports to China, the third-largest export market of footwear products, have been increasing. Last month, it reached more than 198.9 million USD, up 29.39 percent compared to July 2019, while exports hit 1.14 billion USD in the first seven months, up 18.85 percent compared to the same period last year.
Also in the EU, however, there was still some good growing markets such as Turkey with 36.07 percent, Poland with 61.51 percent and Sweden increased by 9.09 percent, Switzerland with 2.35 percent and Slovakia with 1.02 percent.
Also according to the department, footwear exports of foreign-invested enterprises (FDI) reached 988.21 million USD last month, down 18.65 percent compared to July last year. In the first seven months of this year, the footwear export turnover of FDI enterprises reached 7.24 billion USD, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the total export turnover of this commodity group of the country. Compared to the first seven months of 2029, it was a reduction of 8.45 percent.
State Treasury raises over $270 million worth of G-bonds at latest auction
The State Treasury mobilised a total of 6.32 trillion VND (273.2 million USD) worth of Government bonds at the latest auction held by the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).
At this auction, the State Treasury issued bonds worth of 5.5 trillion VND of 5-year, 10-year, 15-year and 30-year terms.
Just 20 billion VND was raised from 5-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 1.7 percent, equal to that of the previous auction on August 12.
All the 3 trillion VND worth of 10-year bonds was mobilised with an interest rate of 2.9 percent, 0.02 higher than the August 19 auction. Additional 1.5 trillion VND was raised through an auxiliary auction of the 10-year bonds.
The 15-year bonds called for 1.3 trillion VND with an annual interest rate of 3.07 percent, up 0.02 percent from the August 19 auction.
All the 500 billion VND worth of 30-year bonds was sold with a yearly interest rate of 3.5 percent, equal to that of the August 12 auction.
Since the beginning of 2020, the State Treasury has mobilised over 168.5 trillion VND worth of Government bonds through auctions./.
HCM City seeks investment from US businesses, summit told
HCM City will create the most favourable conditions for US businesses to invest in fields such as transport, urban infrastructure, smart city, agriculture, health, education, trade, and services, a top city official has said.
Speaking at the “HCM City-US Business Summit: Driving Partnership and Innovation for the Future” meeting yesterday, Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city Party Committee, said both Viet Nam and the US should put aside the past and establish partnerships in various fields.
“Over the past 25 years since the diplomatic normalisation began, bilateral relations have continued to achieve impressive results.
“Viet Nam is the 13th largest trading partner of the US, with two-way trade turnover reaching US$77 billion last year. The first half of this year saw bilateral trade hitting $38 billion, up 7 per cent year-on-year.”
With its favourable geographical location, improved infrastructure and attractive financial incentives, the city is a popular investment destination for businesses from countries globally, including the US, France and Italy, according to Nhan.
More than 160 US businesses have invested in it over the past 10 years.
Intel has since 2010 invested $1 billion in its production line in the city and its exports have exceeded $36 billion.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said Viet Nam-US relations were not simply a story of resolving the past.
They represented “a symbol of co-operation, trust-building and sharing the future,” he said.
“In this difficult pandemic period, the relationship once again demonstrates that both countries are making their co-operation more effective and innovative.
“We want to share with you the city’s vision to develop projects to build an innovative and interactive urban area in its eastern part, a smart city, and an international financial hub.”
The Government has already approved the city’s proposal to merge the eastern districts of 2, 9 and Thu Duc into one administrative unit, tentatively called ‘Thu Duc City’.
As the country’s most dynamic and largest city that accounts for 25 per cent of the GDP and 30 per cent of revenues, HCM City is home to the Quang Trung software park, the most successful IT model nation-wide, which now employs 10,000 workers and earns $500 million annually from software exports.
“The city would ceaselessly work to build a liveable, friendly and safe city for its people and the international community.
“We promise to enhance HCM City-US co-operation in all fields such as education, technology, economy, trade, investment, culture, people-to-people exchanges.”
Chad Ovel, chairman of AmCham Vietnam, said: “We are grateful to the Vietnamese Government for its impressive and transparent management of the pandemic in the country, which enables it to become one of the first economies in the world to reopen and begin its economic recovery”.
Mary Tarnowka, executive director of AmCham Vietnam, said the Vietnamese market was growing steadily with its many advantages such as abundant human resources and favourable policies and investment environment.
Viet Nam, especially HCM City, is expected to attract US businesses in sectors like technology, health, education, telecommunications, aviation, digital economy, renewable energy, and finance and banking, according to the director.
The one-day event also discussed investment strategies for high-tech supply chains and financial technology development.
Action plan for CLMV economic co-operation adopted
An action plan for Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) economic co-operation ahead in the 2021 to 2022 period was approved at the 12th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Economic Ministers’ Meeting held in Hanoi through an online platform.
The five major areas featured include trade and investment co-operation, the fulfillment of regional commitments, post-epidemic recovery plans, a CLMV development framework, and human resource development.
This occasion marks an important event within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings which are scheduled to take place from August 22 to August 30 in Hanoi.
During his speech, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh outlined that 2020 marks a very special year, with increasing protectionism occurring along with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, which has resulted in a series of supply chain breaks and disruptions. In addition, the economics, trade, investment, tourism, and investment of many countries has been severely affected, with plenty of firms facing numerous difficulties that have forced them to stop production and business activities.
These challenges pose difficulties for the CLMV bloc moving forward with their dual task of ensuring epidemic prevention and control, whilst allowing for an economic recovery. Additionally, there have certain factors which have interrupted or delayed the progress of implementing a number of projects and activities under the CLMV Action Plan for 2020.
Minister Anh therefore suggested that the CLMV strive to strengthen co-ordination on policies and measures to overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19, continuing to support business connections in a new form, removing difficulties for them in relation to import-export activities, and dealing with problems regarding border trade activities.
One of the major issues that ministers focused on was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities and ways of co-operation in response to the recovery efforts.
Minister Anh therefore asked participants to outline new co-operation projects on research, training, capacity building, and technical assistance in areas such as digital economy, innovation, start-up support, and smart manufacturing. In addition to a 5G ecosystem, co-operation between innovation centers of CLMV countries, transport infrastructure, trade, and logistics connectivity.
As a means of ensuring the normal operation of supply chains, to assist businesses when solving difficulties, and overcoming the declining trend of trade exchanges among CLMV countries, Minister Anh also suggested countries take a score of stronger measures aimed at facilitating trade.
This should be done alongside simplifying processes and procedures for import and export activities, and customs clearance at border gate areas, while simultaneously strengthening transport and logistic connections.
“The CLMV bloc needs to continue sharing information and experience in policy formulation, creating a favourable environment to enjoy the ongoing strong investment shift amid the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to making CLMV an important and attractive destination for investors,” the minister emphasized.
HCM City helping travel companies survive COVID-19
Some 90-95 percent of the travel companies in HCM City have suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal Department of Tourism reported on August 24.
The pandemic has forced companies to split their workforce into shifts working from home or to lay off employees until the outbreak is brought under control.
Occupancy in local accommodation is down 91.5 percent year-on-year, while the number of workers in the sector fell 61 percent. Businesses are forecast to face more difficulties in the time ahead.
Given this, the municipal Department of Tourism has mapped out two scenarios and specific measures to support these companies.
Under the first scenario, in which the disease is contained by September, the department will roll out a tourism promotion programme in the domestic market, linking travel companies, accommodation facilities, transport businesses, and tourist sites to introduce new and safe products, said Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the department.
In the other, under which the pandemic lasts until the end of the year, the department will focus on workforce restructuring and training and helping businesses with market orientation and product building.
The department has also proposed the municipal People’s Committee continue with concrete solutions and create favourable conditions for travel companies to access the Government’s support packages, Hoa said.
Vietnamese fruit poised to be re-exported to US market
The export of fresh Vietnamese fruit to the United States has resumed with US Embassy staff in Vietnam returning to work at local irradiation centres this week, according to a statement made by the Plant Protection Department.
Information about the resumption was released on August 24 by Nguyen Quang Hieu, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Plant Protection Department.
The latest development will see the US Department of Agriculture send quarantine experts from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the nation in order to check the quality of fruits that will be exported to the US market.
Following a request made by the US side, Noi Bai International Airport is to be selected as a destination for APHIS quarantine officials with the arrangement of their accomodations set to be made by the US Embassy in Vietnam.
During the experts’ quarantine period, the Plant Protection Department under the MARD will closely work with the US Embassy in Vietnam to allow staff to continue supervising the quarantine activities for fresh fruit which are to be exported to the US market.
Most notably, the Plant Protection Department has recently exerted great efforts in order to find seats on flights, including airlines such as Asiana, Korea Air, and Nippon Airlines, for the APHIS experts in order to allow them to enter the country as swiftly as possible.
Since the initial novel coronavirus outbreak in March, the US requires their staff to return home, including APHIS experts.
Once the US withdrew their staff, those working at the US Embassy in Vietnam were authorised to conduct quarantine for fresh fruits being exported to the US.
However, due to these staff being extremely busy with official duties, they have been unable to implement quarantine procedures, leading to a recent halt in the export of fresh Vietnamese fruit to the US market.
Can Tho prepares first batch of rice to EU with zero tariff
Trung An High-tech Farming JSC based in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is completing the packaging of the first batch of rice to the EU, which will enjoy zero percent tax.
Earlier, the company signed rice contracts with three German consumers with a total of 3,000 tonnes, of which 150 tonnes of ST20 and Jasmine will be included in the first batch.
Trung An’s General Director Pham Thai Binh said on August 27 that the company has exported rice to Europe for many years. However, this is the first batch to be delivered to the region since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect on August 1, with zero percent tariff, as compared with 5-45 percent in the past.
To be accepted in the EU, the rice must have clear origin and meet GlobalGAP or equivalent standards, according to Binh, adding that the company will sign more contracts with French and Italian clients in the time ahead.
Rice quotas for Vietnam under the EVFTA are expected to push the country’s rice exports up from the second half of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Under the EVFTA, the EU pledges to provide an annual rice quota of 80,000 tonnes to Vietnam and completely liberalise trade in broken rice.
Meanwhile, the EU also sets a range of conditions for those quotas such as origin certificates on Vietnamese rice. The rice exported to the EU must have authenticity certificates issued by Vietnamese authorities.
Australian firms urged to explore opportunities in ASEAN
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Simon Birmingham called on Australia’s business community to explore more opportunities in the ten ASEAN member states during a webinar held over the weekend.
The ASEAN-Australia: The Road to Recovery Interactive Webinar was jointly held by the Australia-ASEAN Council, the ASEAN Committee in Canberra, and Asialink, to celebrate the bloc’s 53rd founding anniversary.
Birmingham highlighted that growth potential in ASEAN countries, like Vietnam and Indonesia, coupled with established ties between Australia and nations such as Singapore and Malaysia, would provide major opportunities for Australian enterprises to further strengthen cooperation in trade and investment with ASEAN.
He noted that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to be inked by 15 countries across Indo-Asia-Pacific, will also facilitate business activities. He expects the deal will encourage Australia’s business community to seek opportunities in ASEAN nations, driving future growth.
CEO of Australia Post Christine Holgate, who is also chairman of the Australia-ASEAN Council, said she hopes that ASEAN would offer Australian companies opportunities to develop and participate further in the international strategic playground.
Indonesia: Bali delays plans to welcome foreign arrivals in September
Plans to reopen Bali to international visitors on September 11 have been postponed following the Indonesian government’s decision to wait until the end of this year.
In a recent statement, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said that the government is still prohibiting its citizens from traveling abroad at least until the end of 2020, adding that in line with the policy, Bali cannot also open its gate to foreign tourists.
Koster added that the government fully supports the province’s plans to reopen to international travelers as part of tourism recovery efforts, however Bali should be careful.
Following the decision, Bali is said to be focusing on efforts to attract domestic tourists in a bid to smooth its way to tourism and economic recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hit Bali’s economy, 80 percent of which relies on tourism. The Bali’s economy contracted 10.98 percent in the second quarter of 2020, and at least 2,667 labourers who work in the tourism sector have lost their job, and 73,631 people have been forced to take unpaid leave.
Previously, Bali was planning to reopen its tourism in three phases, starting on July 9 with the reopening of tourist sites to local residents, to be followed with reopening access to domestic travelers from regions across Indonesia. The third phase would have been to start welcoming foreign travelers on September 11.
Myanmar, Japan agree to reopen borders to each other’s citizens
Myanmar and Japan have agreed to reopen borders for expatriates and other long-term residents as soon as early September, relaxing travel restrictions that were imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi reached the agreement with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at their meeting in Naypyidaw capital of the Southeast Asian nation on August 24.
The deal enables expatriates and other long-term residents to travel reciprocally provided they stay at home or at a designated place for 14 days after arriving and taking other measures to reduce the risk of infection.
Japan currently bans in principle entries by foreign nationals from 146 countries and regions. However, it has launched talks with 16 economies, including Myanmar, in recent months to resume travel in tandem with the restart of socio-economic activities.
Besides Myanmar, Japan has also reached similar deals with Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos earlier this month.
Myanmar is the final leg of Motegi’s four-nation tour that included Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Laos.
Footwear businesses adapt to COVID-19 pandemic
The leather and footwear industry is finding new supply and demand sources to overcome difficulties due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seventy percent of raw materials for domestic leather and footwear production are imported from China, according to Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, general secretary of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso).
Therefore, the pandemic has caused difficulties for domestic leather and footwear enterprises.
Many businesses have sought material sources from other markets such as India, Europe, Singapore, and Japan to maintain production.
Along with the diversification of raw material sources, leather and footwear companies have been more active in finding partners.
Many businesses shared that some markets in Europe and Japan had shown signs of recovery with the disease better controlled.
The Vietnam – EU free trade agreement (EVFTA), which took effect from the beginning of this month, also helped leather and footwear businesses expand markets and get more orders, said Xuan.
The pandemic was still complicated, but if enterprises worked hard to find partners and improved their competitiveness, the opportunities would still be great, said experts.
Businesses and experts said that trade promotion activities, as well as support from management agencies, should be further promoted.
The Lefaso general secretary said the leather and footwear industry needed to overcome weaknesses in chain linkage.
She also recommended a separate decree for the leather, footwear, textile and garment industry to develop the fashion industry in the country.
The report on industrial production and trade activities in the first seven months of this year of the Ministry of Industry and Trade found the production of leather and related products increased by 7.6 percent last month compared to the previous month but was down 4.4 percent over the same period last year.
It decreased by 4.2 percent in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period last year.
Footwear export turnover of all kinds was estimated at US$9.53 billion in the seven months, a year-on-year drop of nearly 8 percent.
Imports of raw materials for the industry also reduced by 14.1 percent in the first six months.
Cambodia’s domestic tourism maintains growth
Cambodia’s tourism sector served over 1.4 million domestic tourists during the five-day holiday last week, which were offered in compensation for the Khmer New Year holiday postponed in April, reported the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.
This is a positive sign for the tourism industry in the context of anti-pandemic measures.
The Khmer Times on August 24 quoted President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents Chhay Sivlin as saying that tourists felt more confident about the Government’s safety measures to contain COVID-19 while they also paid attention to health and safety.
It is estimated by tourism observers that Cambodia will lose around 3 billion USD in revenue from tourists because of the lack of international visitors and the sector would take up to seven years to recover.
The same day, the Cambodian Health Ministry announced that Cambodia reported no new COVID-19 cases for seven consecutive days. The tally remains at 273.
Quang Ninh a pioneer in smart tourism development
The northeastern province of Quang Ninh is one of the pioneers nationwide in implementing smart tourism solutions.
Smart tourism infrastructure has been improved throughout the province and is based on smart city development.
Simply put, smart tourism refers to the application of information and communications technology to ensure interaction between managers, businesses, and tourists.
Quang Ninh has favourable conditions to implement smart tourism, according to industry insiders, as it was ranked third in the Vietnam ICT Index in 2019.
Building integrated tourism data and a tourism portal has been defined as the first move and one of the top priorities in smart tourism for Quang Ninh.
Visitors are now able to access the local tourism information portal at halongtourism.com.vn and discoverhalong.com in Vietnamese, English, and Chinese, or through Quang Ninh tourism sector’s fanpage on Facebook, for the latest information.
These websites not only introduce popular destinations, entertainment, festivals, and specialty dishes but also include guidance for visitors to book rooms, cars, and tickets online, as well as hotlines to accept feedback on services.
They are expected to apply artificial intelligence in the future to help holidaymakers select and design their itinerary by themselves.
Quang Ninh also provides free wifi at airports, bus stations, and residential and tourism areas.
All vessels on Ha Long Bay – the province’s stand-out attraction – have had GPS installed to ensure tourist safety.
In April 2019, Uong Bi city launched its Dulichuongbi app for smartphones, which suggests popular destinations and provides detailed information on access, costs and estimated time to reach them.
Such apps are not only useful for travellers but also help businesses save on advertising costs and increase their links with customers and partners.
Quang Ninh is now focusing on its smart tourism administration centre, which is expected to be put into operation this year.
Smart tourism is expected to help Quang Ninh fully exploit its natural advantages for sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.
In particular, Ha Long Bay literally “descending dragon bay”, was twice recognised as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000. The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem.
In 2018, Ha Long Bay made it into the top 15 Instagrammed global cruise destinations based on a survey of 1.8 million posts tagged on various ships and ports by travel cruise site SeaHub.
In 2019, British travel magazine Rough Guides included Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay in its selection of the 100 most beautiful places to visit next year. It describes “the scattering of limestone pinnacles jutting out of the smooth waters of Ha Long Bay”, around four hours east of Hanoi capital, as an “incredible sight”.
Most recently in 2020, Ha Long Bay was named amongst the 50 most beautiful natural wonders on Earth selected by US-based magazine Insider.
Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a master plan to develop Ha Long city into a world-class tourism and service hub by 2050. Under the plan, Ha Long will be converted into a civilised and friendly sea tourism city with synchronous and modern socio-economic infrastructure systems.
Vietinbank issues more 130mln USD worth of bonds this year
The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) is selling 30 million bonds, worth 3 trillion VND (130 million USD), to the public in the tier-2 public offering this year which takes place from August 27 – September 24.
The bonds offered are non-convertible, not secured by assets and without an attached warrant.
Of the total, half are 8-year bonds that will mature in 2028 while the remainders are 10-year bonds maturing in 2030.
Interest rates are calculated by reference interest rate plus 0.9 percent per year for bonds maturing in 2028 and reference interest rate plus 1 percent for those in 2030.
On July 30, the bank announced it had successfully distributed all 70 million bonds, worth 7 trillion VND, in the tier-1 public offering.
Vietinbank plans to offer a total of 100 million bonds to the public in 2020 to raise the bank’s working capital and expand credit while ensuring prudential ratios are in line with regulations by the State Bank of Vietnam.
In the first half of this year, the bank reported a 39.6-percent increase in after-tax profit to over 6.01 trillion VND.
Indian, ASEAN firms urged to resolve differences, remove non-tariff barriers
Business communities of India and ASEAN should work to resolve their differences, remove non-tariff barriers, ensure sanctity of rules of origin and open markets to expand two-way trade, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on August 27.
Addressing the ASEAN-India Business Council, Goyal said both the sides need to work together to further advance the bilateral relationship as two-way trade is witnessing signs of decline from 81 billion USD to 77 billion USD.
It is probably the first time the two countries saw a 5-percent de-growth, he said.
He said India and ASEAN have not been able to harness the full trade potential for various reasons, but now is the time to expand trade, address concerns and resolve differences.
Goyal said it is important that businesses of both sides work to resolve differences, create a more valuable and trusted regional value chains, remove the non-tariff barriers on both sides, ensure sanctity of rules of origin, and open markets to expand trade, as people say, “it takes two hands to clap”.
Goyal highly spoke of the business council meeting, saying it is a good forum to discuss concerns and best practices, share ideas, and flag the problems.
The Indian minister said the two sides have not yet been able to start the review of free trade agreement in goods.
Two-way trade has increased from 57 billion USD in 2010 to only 77 billion USD in about nearly 9-10 years, which does not present an exciting picture, Goyal said.
Nearly 4,000 new firms established in Binh Duong
A total of 3,999 new enterprises have been set up in the southern province of Binh Duong since the beginning of 2020, with their registered capital totaling approximately 26.95 trillion VND (1.16 billion USD).
The figures showed slight annual decreases of 2.5 percent in the number of firms and 0.5 percent in capital value.
The reduction, despite being small, reflected the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations in the province.
On average, each firm registered 6.74 billion VND worth of capital during the period, increasing 2.08 percent on-year.
The freshly established companies operate across 17 sectors.
Sectors that recorded annual increases in the number of newcomers included agro-fishery (up 68.75 percent); health and social aid activities (45.45 percent); information and communications (13.64 percent); and education and training (13.70 percent). Particularly, the electricity production and distribution posted a significant rise of 1,685 percent against last year.
Phu Huu Minh, vice director of the Binh Duong Department of Planning and Investment, said to facilitate new registrations in the current difficult time, the department has capitalised on the function of its information system, delivered outcomes via postal services, and guided firms to use online administrative services.
THACO exports new batch of cars to Myanmar
The Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO), one of Vietnam’s leading automakers, recently exports 80 Kia Solutos to Myanmar.
This was the third batch of passenger cars the automaker has exported to the country since last December.
The vehicles were manufactured in the THACO Kia Plant at the THACO Chu Lai Industrial Park in central Quang Nam province.
The company plans to deliver a total of 1,200 passenger cars to ASEAN countries this year, including over 600 to Myanmar.
It is also eyeing shipping other types of vehicles assembled in Vietnam to Myanmar, following the exports of Ceratos and Solutos.
Given that Myanmar boasts increasing auto sales growth, stronger exports to the country are part of THACO’s target of becoming a manufacturing and export hub of Kia Motors in Southeast Asia.
THACO delivered cars to Myanmar for the first time in December last year, comprising 120 Kia Ceratos. Eighty vehicles were then shipped in May.
Figures from the Automotive Association of Myanmar show that sales in 2019 hit nearly 22,000, up five-fold in the last three years.
Demand for motor cars in the country has also been on the rise as the government adopts favourable policies to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. About 2,630 vehicles were sold in June, up 20.4 percent against May./.
ASEAN, China boost trade links
Economic ministers from ASEAN member countries held a meeting with representatives from China’s Ministry of Commerce on August 27.
This 19th consultations took place within the framework of the 52nd Meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52) and related meetings in the form of a teleconference.
The two sides shared the view that China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner since 2009, with total trade value amounting to 507.9 billion USD last year, or 18 percent of the bloc’s total trade.
Chinese FDI in ASEAN reached about 9.1 trillion USD last year, accounting for 5.7 percent of total FDI injected into the bloc.
2020 marks the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-China comprehensive economic ties, with the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area put into operation comprehensively.
Delegates reached consensus on the next steps to deal with shortcomings in the cooperative programme in the time ahead.
They said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has remained the top priority of ASEAN, and negotiations on trade liberalisation and more intensive and extensive investment will be carried out only after the deal is signed.
The ministers also stressed the significance of joint efforts in enhancing cooperation in order to promote trade and investment, towards post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
They, therefore, applauded the joint statement on boosting cooperation within the free trade agreement as well as in the fight against the pandemic.
ASEAN, US continue to foster economic engagement
The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and the US Trade Representative (USTR) Consultations took place virtually on August 27 as part of the 52nd meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52).
The function was co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
At the event, the ministers spoke highly of significant progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in the 2019-20 period and the US-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) initiative.
They welcomed cooperation plans to further carry out the initiative in the 2020-2021, and a proposal to organise a US-ASEAN dialogue on labour rights and trade this year to enhance mutual understanding and exchange views on labour rights in free trade agreements (FTAs).
At the event, ASEAN ministers also highly valued the US’s technical support for ASEAN in the spheres of innovation and e-commerce.
Delegates of both sides expressed concern about the COVID-19 pandemic which has taken its toll on people’s lives and economic growth around the globe.
Tourism, transport, manufacturing, retail and other services are among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, as well as the supply sectors and the financial market, they underlined.
They reiterated the importance of opening the markets for trade and investment in a bid to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and maintain the flow of products and services between the two sides.
The ministers agreed to refrain from imposing measures which restrict the flow of essential goods, including non-tariff ones, to address difficulties triggered by the pandemic.
Moreover, they consented to apply measures promoting economic recovery during and after the pandemic.
Of note, the ministers appreciated the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC)’s efforts to strengthen trade and business relations between the sides.
They also welcomed an e-commerce report by the US-ABC and took note of initiatives in the report, which aim to help ASEAN nations develop an e-commerce ecosystem and allow seamless cross-border e-commerce activities.
Total trade value between ASEAN and the US increased 12 percent last year. Statistics of ASEAN showed that two-way trade hit 294.6 trillion USD, while FDI from the US into the bloc was 24.5 trillion USD.
The US has become the second largest trade partner and the leading investor of ASEAN in 2019.
HCM City pledges to facilitate operation of foreign businesses
Ho Chi Minh City always creates favourable conditions for foreign businesses to operate in the city, contributing to local socio-economic development, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said on August 27.
At a meeting with General Director of Samsung Vietnam Choi Joo-ho, Phong said the city’s leaders are interested in the operation of Samsung and other foreign investors.
He lauded the group’s efforts in maintaining production and ensuring export revenue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed his belief that the RoK-invested company will pour more investment and operate stably in HCM City and Vietnam at large.
For his part, Choi thanked HCM City’s authorities for their support, saying Samsung Vietnam will soon expand its investment in the southern metropolis.
Later the same day, Phong met with Kim Huat Ooi, Vice President and General Director of Intel Products Vietnam Co., Ltd., during which he spoke highly Intel’s contributions to the city’s development, especially its investment in the high-tech park and its role in high-tech personnel training and climate change response in the locality.
At a virtual meeting with the World Bank’s Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region Victoria Kwakwa on the day, Phong appreciated the bank’s sponsor programmes in Vietnam and HCM City in particular which, he said, have helped improve living standards of local residents and spur socio-economic development.
In response, Kwakwa congratulated HCM City and Vietnam for their initial achievements in containing the pandemic, saying the city has maintained its role as the nation’s economic locomotive.
Applauding the city’s performance in administrative reform, the WB official suggested local authorities continue to coordinate with relevant agencies to soon complete necessary procedures for the disbursement of the bank’s loans in the city.
Conference promotes Japanese investment in Binh Duong
Some 280 leaders of Japanese enterprises took part in an online investment promotion conference on Wednesday to introduce the southern province of Binh Duong’s industrial capacity.
Organised by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Binh Duong-based industrial infrastructure developer Becamex IDC, the function gave information on local industrial parks and incentives for investors, while collecting investors’ profiles and demand.
Representatives of provincial competent agencies and sectors took the occasion to answer questions from Japanese firms that are looking for investment and co-operation opportunities in the locality.
Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Mai Hung Dung said Viet Nam and Binh Duong prioritise foreign-funded projects that apply advanced technologies and have high value-added and linkages to form global supply chains.
With strength in industrial development, Binh Duong is the best option for foreign investors in Viet Nam, he added.
The province ranks second nationwide in terms of foreign investment attraction by reeling in more than US$35.05 billion from 65 nations and territories.
ASEAN, UK boast high economic cooperation potential: Indonesian official
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) welcomes the United Kingdom (UK)’s proposal to become the grouping’s dialogue partner to explore bilateral economic cooperation potential, said Indonesian Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto.
The Indonesian minister was attending the “AEM Troika Open-ended Dialogue with UK Trade Ministers” that was held online as part of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM-52) which is taking place from August 22-29.
He said that during the event, participants discussed various global and regional development issues related to COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and UK tariff simplification based on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
He held that ASEAN and the UK share high potential of cooperation in areas of digital economy, financial technology, especially among micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as in environment.
Statistics from the ASEAN Secretariat shows that the UK is the 13th ASEAN trading partner with total trade hitting 35.7 billion USD in 2019. The UK is the sixth biggest investor of ASEAN with an investment of 7.7 billion USD.
ASEAN, Hong Kong hold consultations
Economic ministers from 10 ASEAN member countries and Hong Kong, China (HKC) met virtually on August 28 for their Fourth ASEAN Economic Ministers-HKC Consultations (AEM-HKC Consultations) as part of the 52nd AEM Meeting.
It was co-chaired by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and HKC’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau Tang-wah.
Two-way trade between ASEAN and HKC reached 111 billion USD last year, or 3.9 percent of ASEAN’s total foreign trade. HKC was the bloc’s seventh largest trading partner. Total FDI flows from HKC stood at around 11.3 billion USD, accounting for 7 percent of all FDI injected into the bloc.
The two ministers shared their concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a devastating toll on economies and people’s lives around the world.
They underscored the importance of concerted efforts made by countries regionally and globally to combat the disease.
They agreed that the continued cooperation between ASEAN member states and HKC through the utilisation of the two-sides’ free trade agreement (the AHKFTA) and Investment Agreement (the AHKIA) is vital to recovering the two economies and boosting bilateral trade.
The AHKFTA and AHKIA are in force in HKC and ASEAN nations, except for Brunei and Cambodia, where the two agreements are still in the process of ratification.
The ministers asked the two member states to fast-track domestic consultation and have the agreements take effect by the end of this year.
ASEAN economic ministers also welcomed 25 million HKD in funding provided by HKC for the bloc in January to beef up bilateral economic and technical cooperation over the next five years.
ASEAN economic ministers hold consultations with partners
ASEAN Economic Ministers held online consultations on August 28 with external partners – China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (RoK) – within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.
The consultations were co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama and Korean Minister of Trade Yoo Myung-hee.
Having expressed their concern over the harmful impacts of COVID-19 on the lives of people in the region, the ministers agreed to continue consolidating cooperation to overcome the pandemic and develop economies, including maintaining supply chains, especially for necessities such as medical supplies and food.
They highlighted the need to maintain the trust of the regional business community and focus resources on promoting socio-economic stability, in particular signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.
In order to effectively realise the ASEAN+3 joint declaration on mitigating the adverse impacts of COVID-19, adopted by ASEAN+3 ministers on June 4, the ministers pledged to enhance cooperation to carry out the action plan and stand ready to cope with contingencies in the region.
The ministers welcomed the progress made in the RCEP negotiations as well as moves to prepare for its signing later this year.
They reaffirmed the importance of bringing the RCEP into life to bolster businesses’ trust and strengthen the regional economic architecture, and expressed support for an open multilateral trade system based on common principles.
ASEAN, Russia work to shore up supply chains
ASEAN Economic Ministers joined an online consultation with Russia on August 28 as part of the 52nd meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52).
The consultation was chaired by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Russia’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Vladimir Ilichev.
Delegates from the two sides underlined the negative impact brought about by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which has dealt a blow to people’s lives and economic development in many countries in the region.
They pledged to continue working together to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on economic development, the macro-economy, and financial stability, through the opening of markets and investment, as well as ensure the flow of essential goods in the region, particularly in medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and food.
They spoke highly of the effective implementation of the bilateral agreement between ASEAN and Russia.
Moreover, they reviewed the implementation of the Post-2017 ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Work Programme.
They welcomed the achievements gained in the fields of agriculture, energy, infrastructure, financial services, and digital technology within the framework of the cooperation programme.
Delegates also agreed to strengthen cooperation in those fields, which is expected to help ASEAN enhance its competitiveness, technological development, and infrastructure.
They appreciated the implementation of a cooperation programme between ASEAN and the European Economic Community (EEC) on economic cooperation in 2019-2020.
The significance of bolstering connections between the economies of ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was highlighted, in a bid to bring the two sides’ economic and trade potential into play.
Of note, the ministers said they highly valued the efficient collaboration between the Russia-ASEAN Business Council (RABC) and the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (SEOM) on the sidelines of the ASEAN-EAEU meeting on economic integration held in Moscow last year, pinning hopes on future cooperation activities.
ASEAN figures show that total trade value between ASEAN and Russia reached 18.2 billion USD in 2019, accounting for 0.6 percent of ASEAN’s total.
FDI from Russia to ASEAN nations hit 45 million USD.
ASEAN, China laud bilateral trade-investment growth despite pandemic
Economic ministers from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on August 27 welcomed the robust growth of bilateral trade and investment despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a joint statement of the 19th AEM (ASEAN Economic Ministers)-MOFCOM (Ministry of Commerce of China) Consultations, which was held virtually, the ministers considered the growth a demonstration of resilience and huge potential of trade and economic cooperation between ASEAN and China. The consultations were part of the 52nd meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52) and related meetings hosted by Vietnam.
The ministers reaffirmed the importance of strengthened collaboration to promote trade and investment for economic recovery and acknowledged the important role of the rules-based multilateral trading system in driving post-pandemic economic recovery.
They reiterated their support to ensure the enforcement of existing international rules as well as for the WTO reform to uphold a free, open, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment.
The ministers also hailed the Joint Statement on Enhancing Cooperation under Free Trade Area (FTA) and Combating COVID-19, which sent a positive signal of utilizing the FTA to promote trade and investment, maintain regional and global supply chains, mitigate the pandemic’s economic impacts, and build a stronger economic region.
China remained ASEAN’s largest trading partner since 2009 while ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner for the first time in the first half of this year, said the statement. In 2019, their bilateral trade reached 507.9 billion USD and foreign direct investment flows from China to ASEAN amounted to 9.1 billion USD.
ASEAN, Japanese Economic Ministers seek measures to boost economic recovery
The 26th Consultations between ASEAN Economic Ministers and the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry took place on August 28 within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM-52).
The event was co-chaired by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Japanese Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi.
The participating ministers noted that total trade between ASEAN and Japan reached 225.9 billion USD in 2019, accounting for 8 percent of the bloc’s total. Japan’s investment totalled 20.4 billion USD, or 12.7 percent.
These figures made Japan ASEAN’s fourth-largest trade partner and second-largest investor last year.
Delegates expressed concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives and regional and international economies.
They reaffirmed a commitment to joining hands to mitigate any negative impacts of the pandemic and to exerting every effort to ensure macro-economic and financial sustainability through market re-opening for trade and investment, as well as the sustainability of supply chains, in particular those for necessities such as medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and food.
The ministers stressed the importance of joint efforts in fostering economic development and social stability in the region, including the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.
They also acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan they adopted at their virtual meeting on July 29. The plan includes specific measures to sustain the close economic ties developed by ASEAN and Japan, mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on economies, and strengthen economic resilience in response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministers also welcomed the first protocol to amend the ASEAN-Japan Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP), which took effect on August 1.
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