Regional specialities programme sales of many products for Tet
|A Big C supermarket in Dong Nai province displays goods made under the ‘One Commune One Product’ programme. Such goods will be sold by many retail chains for Tet (Photo: congthương.com.vn)|
Le Kieu Phuong, director of Phuc Thinh Production and Commerce Co. Ltd, said her company recently got One Commune One Product (OCOP) certification for three prawn cracker product lines in Ca Mau province.
It was now working on getting the products stocked by large supermarket chains before Lunar New Year aided by the certification, she said.
In Dong Nai province, seven OCOP producers have signed contracts with Central Retail Vietnam to sell 21 products. Tea and dried fruits and vegetables will be sold at two Big C supermarkets in the province, where more and more people are becoming interested in regional specialties.
Nguyen Thi Bich Van, media director of Central Retail Vietnam, said the two supermarkets would design their display shelves to ensure OCOP products easily catch the eye of shoppers. This was a part of the company’s commitment to support OCOP products.
MM Mega Market was also selling 56 OCOP confectionery and jam products for Tet at a discount of up to 50 percent to introduce them to more customers.
Do Quoc Huy, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, said the company was helping develop OCOP goods, but their limited output means they could only be sold locally and not across its retail chains.
The two-year-old OCOP programme has helped a number of localities develop a wide variety of agriculture and non-agriculture products, providing steady incomes to many locals./.
Opportunities for commodity exports via e-commerce
Food, beverages, and agricultural products can be viewed as the commodity groups which have enjoyed robust growth through e-commerce platforms, with each of them anticipated to see plenty of room for further development, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.
The workshop, organised by on January 12 by the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), aimed at discussing solutions for boosting exports via Alibaba.com, one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms.
Tran Phu Lu, Deputy Director of the ITPC, emphasised that e-commerce has become a new business trend globally, with the nation’s e-commerce growth index in recent years reaching high at over 30 percent annually, and revenue at approximately 3 billion USD.
Lu noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed both challenges and opportunities for businesses as they strive to promote trade activities via online platforms. He also advised local businesses to take advantage of trends and focus on the export of essential products, such as food, personal care items, and household appliances.
Bui Nha Uyen, Manager of Alibaba Dealer Channel in Vietnam, pointed out that the impact of COVID-19 has seen consumers prioritise shopping through online platforms, with markets such as the United States, India, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and the UK taking the lead.
Alibaba’s statistics indicate that despite complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visitors to e-commerce sites witnessed an increase of 92 percent, and the quantity of orders skyrocketed by 177 percent.
As the purchasing power of some major markets is forecast to enjoy a recovery in the post-COVID-19 period, the trend of online shopping becomes increasingly popular as it saves time and cost for sellers, which is expected to open up bright prospects ahead for the export of agricultural products, food, and beverages in future.
According to Tran Thi Yen Phi, Managing Director of the DWS Company, her company has grasped the latest trend through actively launching digital platforms in order to join reputable and large-scale e-commerce floors.
She advised small businesses to cooperate with large e-commerce platforms which have had ecosystems for operating stores, providing shipping and after-sales services in order to save cost and time./.
An Giang has new solar power
The Sao Mai-An Giang solar power plant, invested by the Sao Mai Group in the southern province of An Giang, has been completed and expects to generate nearly 400 million kWh of electricity to the national grid each year, the group announced on January 12.
The plant, located in An Hao commune, Tinh Bien district, was built with total investment of over 6 trillion VND (more than 260 million USD at current exchange rate). It has a total capacity of 210 MWp.
After two years of construction, the plant was connected to the national grid on December 2, 2020. It employs more than 100 local workers and is expected to pay more than 120 billion VND to the province’s budget, said Chairman of An Giang People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh.
According to the official, An Giang has great potential for the development of renewable energy, including solar energy. The province has proposed that the Government invest in a 500kV transmission line connecting An Giang with O Mon in Can Tho city in the 2021-2025 period. If approved, the transmission line will facilitate the development of renewable energy plants in the province./.
EVFTA provides impetus for intensifying Vietnam-Germany trade ties
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and German Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier co-chaired the first meeting of the joint committee for economic cooperation between the two countries which took place virtually on January 12.
The Vietnam-Germany joint committee for economic cooperation was established to identify possible areas for enhanced cooperation and remove obstacles for companies from the respective host country, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) said in a press release.
In addition to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting focused its discussions on trade and industry, energy, vocation training and recruitment of skilled workers.
Speaking at the event, Altmaier said Vietnam and Germany has long been linked by a close and strong partnership which both sides want to further advance through the meeting.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which entered into force in August last year has provided significant impetus for intensifying the bilateral trade relations, he noted.
He further emphasised that the exchange between the two countries are more important than ever in the current COVID-19 crisis because only open markets and free trade can make it possible for the two sides to overcome the crisis and get the economies going again more quickly.
According to the BMWI, the special interest of German economy in strengthening cooperation with Vietnam was shown by the participation of a number of leaders of business associations and major corporations, such as Andreas Schick, chairman of the Vietnam committee at the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV) and a member of Schaeffler AG’s Executive Board; and Joe Kaeser, President and ECO of Siemens AG and Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business.
The Vietnam – Germany trade in goods has quadrupled over the last 10 years with Germany now being Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the EU./.
Domestic investment up over 37 percent in Hai Duong
The northern province of Hai Duong secured more than 14 trillion VND (606.9 million USD) in domestic investment in 2020, a year-on-year rise of 37.2 percent, according to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.
The provincial People’s Committee granted approval to 285 investment projects last year, including 190 new projects and 95 others adding to existing capital. There were only 142 newly-registered projects and 71 projects adding capital in 2019.
Le Xuan Hien from the department said the province has enhanced its management and supervision over public, domestic, and foreign projects, while quickly removing bottlenecks for investors in key projects.
He described local efforts to improve administrative procedures as an important factor in attracting investment, adding that the province sharpened its focus on simplifying procedures regarding business registration and investment inspection.
In 2021, the province will outline regulations on domestic and foreign investment attraction this year and continue to prioritise the development of public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
Along with handling challenges relating to land, construction, and environmental procedures, it will also promote regional cooperation to step up the building of regional facilities.
Hai Duong has improved its investment climate over recent years. It moved up eight places in 2019 to 47th in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), with 63.85 points. Six indices were higher than in 2018, such as market participation, access to land, transparency, support services for businesses, and human resources training.
During 2020-2025, the province targets improving its business environment further, attracting large enterprises and supporting small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups.
Thai Tourism Ministry gets companies input on COVID-19 remedies
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has gathered input from the tourism and hotel industries on potential measures to aid them in the current COVID-19 crisis, with loan deferments, utility discounts, and a tax deadline postponement among the measures to be proposed to the Prime Minister on January 12.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, disclosed that the ministry has held talks with representatives of the tourism, hotel, and convention businesses to decide on measures to assist these businesses heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Several measures were proposed in the discussion, including a 15 percent electricity charge discount, soft loan offers, tax filing deadline extension for the 2020 tax year, loan deferment offers, a co-pay wage subsidy scheme for workers in these industries of up to 7,500 baht per month, as well as a suggestion to establish a fund to help tourism businesses.
These proposed ideas will be submitted in writing to the Prime Minister for his consideration on January 13.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will also be proposing a new Hotel Quarantine program, where international arrivals can serve their quarantine in a hotel, being required to stay within their room for the first 10 days, then being allowed to come out to use hotel facilities during the last four days.
This proposed arrangement will need to be approved by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, while participating hotels must meet the standards set by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of the Interior.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, said a tourism promotion campaign targeting senior citizens has been pushed back due to the new wave of COVID-19 cases. The campaign is now being considered for a new launch date in March or April.
Mr Yuthasak said the extension of the Travel Together campaign will expire on April 30. Registered persons who have booked holiday stays as part of this campaign can now amend their bookings while keeping all their benefits, according to the campaign’s terms and conditions.
He said all sectors are now working to find suitable measures of assistance, while racing to procure and deliver vaccines to the people, in order to end the pandemic and allow the tourism sector to restart in full./.
Bamboo Airways launch routes to Con Dao, Phu Quoc
Bamboo Airways has just opened two new routes connecting the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho with two popular tourist destinations, Con Dao islands in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Phu Quoc islands in the southern province of Kien Giang, the airline’s representative said on January 12.
Flights on the routes will be operated by Embraer 195 aircraft on all days in a week, with frequency to be adjusted based on actual demand.
Each flight will take about one hour.
Bamboo is offering tickets at from only 49,000 VND (just over 2.1 USD) excluding taxes and fees one way on the Can Tho-Phu Quoc route and from 809,000 VND (35 USD) one way on the Can Tho-Con Dao route.
To celebrate the new routes, the airline is offering free returning-leg for passengers on the Can Tho-Phu Quoc route and a 50 percent discount for the Can Tho-Con Dao, which is applicable for tickets booked and paid during December 23, 2020 to January 24, 2021./.
Vietnam-Germany joint committee on economic cooperation holds first meeting
The first meeting of the Vietnam-Germany Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation was held online on January 12, during which participants discussed the cooperation possibilities in industry and trade, manufacturing-processing, energy, and education-training.
Addressing the event, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that Vietnam attaches great importance to its strategic partnership with Germany and hopes to further facilitate bilateral economic, trade, and industry cooperation.
The ministry has worked to provide optimal conditions for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs), especially those from Germany, to operate in Vietnam, he said, as they are an important factor in the country’s economic growth.
He expressed an interest in expanding cooperation in energy with the German side, not only in traditional and renewable energy but also in the reserving and transmission of power, as well as in ensuring power security and distribution in a balanced, suitable, and economic manner.
Regarding industrial cooperation, Minister Anh suggested that the German side continue to provide favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to engage more deeply in the production chains for components and accessories of major German firms, thus contributing to promoting the supporting industry and creating a sustainable foundation for Vietnam’s industrial sector.
He also proposed that Germany support Vietnam in forming a centre for digital transformation in production, which would help it seize opportunities presented by Industry 4.0.
For his part, German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said that Vietnam is a priority for Germany, and he pledged that the country would give full assistance to effective implementation in trade and industry with Vietnam, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), thus boosting bilateral ties.
The EVFTA is a mechanism that helps businesses on both sides penetrate more deeply into each other’s market, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed both sides to work harder for economic recovery.
The ministers agreed that, in the future, the two sides will continue applying the Fast Track mechanism to deal with obstacles facing businesses on both sides more effectively.
Concluding the meeting, the two ministers signed the minutes of the meeting and agreed on a time for the second meeting of the committee in 2022.
The Vietnam-Germany Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation was set up following an agreement signed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to realise the economic partnership between the two countries and lift ties to a higher level while making them more practical, thus supporting businesses on both sides.
Within the framework of the meeting, talks were held to discuss cooperation opportunities, especially in energy, digital transformation, and manufacturing-processing.
Germany is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in Europe and consumes 19 percent of its exports to the EU while also serving as a gateway to other European markets.
Vietnam, meanwhile, ranks 24th out of 144 goods providers of Germany, and 78th among 144 importers of the country.
Figures from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that as of the end of November, two-way trade stood at 9.08 billion USD, with Vietnam’s exports reaching 6.05 billion USD, up 0.5 percent year-on-year.
Germany had also invested in 378 projects in Vietnam as of that time, with total capital of over 2.2 billion USD, ranking it 17th out of 139 countries and territories investing in the country. German projects are mostly in manufacturing-processing, technical services, information and communications, and banking and insurance./.
VinFast sells over 29,480 vehicles in 2020
Vietnam’s domestic automaker VinFast, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup, sold a total 29,485 cars in 2020, according to a sales report of the company.
In the final month of the year, the company set a new sales record as 4,503 vehicles were sold, breaking its previous one of 4,040 in November.
The automaker’s incentives and stimulus programmes attributed to the surge of its sales at the year-end, a VinFast representative explained.
Of particular note, it rolled out a promotion exceeding 600 billion VND (26.03 million USD) to those who purchased VinFast cars before the end of December.
VinFast boasts a network of service workshops expected to be present in all 63 cities and provinces nationwide by the end of this year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a report that Vietnam’s auto industry has been one of the key sectors most affected by the pandemic, with production in the first quarter falling 10.5 percent year-on-year to 56,200 units while inventories tripled./.
Fruit and vegetable exports hit over 3.2 billion in 2020
Vietnam earned 3.26 billion USD from exporting fruit and vegetables in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 13 percent, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported.
Exports were down because many items with high export value saw volumes fall sharply, such as dragon fruit, which accounts for about 36 percent of total export value but fell nearly 10 percent in volume, bananas (down 13 percent), durian (56 percent), lychee (22 percent), and watermelon (36 percent).
Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VINAFRUIT), attributed the result to declining imports from China, saying it imported 25 percent less fruit and vegetables than in 2019.
He noted, however, that exports to other countries still posted stable growth, such as Thailand (140 percent), the US and the Republic of Korea (RoK) (both 11 percent), and Japan (5 percent).
Fruit and vegetable exports were severely influenced by the development of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, Nguyen said.
According to MARD, Vietnam also spent 1.29 billion USD on importing fruit and vegetables last year, down 27.5 percent against 2019.
China, the US, and Australia are Vietnam’s largest providers, the ministry said./.
EVN lauded for ensuring power supply
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on January 12 lauded the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) for its efforts in ensuring electricity supply for socio-economic development, as well as daily activities.
With multiple technological and financial solutions, the group raked in 1.52 trillion VND (65.98 million USD) in profit in 2020, exceeding the set target, and contributed 27.8 trillion VND to the State budget, the Deputy PM said in his remarks at a meeting in Hanoi.
Pointing out huge tasks for the EVN this year, Dung urged the group to develop a synchronous, smart and modern infrastructure system, speed up the building of a competitive, transparent and effective retail power market that matches socialist-oriented market economy institutions.
The exploitation and use of domestic energy resources should go in tandem with export and import, he said, asking the EVN to upgrade and build a cutting-edge power transmission and distribution network.
The Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises, and relevant ministries and agencies should create optimal conditions for the EVN to fulfill its assigned tasks, he stressed.
According to Duong Quang Thanh, Chairman of the EVN Member Council, the group expects to churn out more than 228 billion kWh of electricity in 2021, up 5.16 percent year-on-year, and raise the digitalisation rate of services to over 95 percent.
Vietnam’s electricity sector ranked second in ASEAN and 23rd globally last year, with more attention paid to power supply in rural, mountainous and island areas, he reported.
The group said it plans to complete many important projects in 2021, including the Thuong Kon Tum hydropower plant, the expanded Da Nhim hydropower plant, and Phuoc Thai 2 and 3 solar power plants.
It will start the construction of the expanded Hoa Binh hydropower plant, the Quang Trach 1 thermal power plant, the expanded Ialy power plant, and the O Mon 4 thermal plant, while accelerating investment procedures for others.
The EVN is also scheduled to launch up to 227 power projects of 110-500kV in the year.
Nguyen Tai Anh, EVN Deputy General Director, said the group invested and put into operation many major electricity projects last year, helping to improve the domestic power infrastructure./.
Thailand’s domestic air travel hit hard by COVID-19
Figures drawn from 20 airports across Thailand showed that domestic air travel plunged since the start of the year due to COVID-19, announced the Department of Airports (DoA).
In Thailand, both domestic and international fights last year dropped 55 percent to 464,944, from 1.04 million in the year before.
Domestic passengers passing through the 20 airports also dropped by 60 percent from an average 30,000 a day before the New Year to 12,000.
Before the long New Year holiday, 160 flights operated into and out of the airports on average each day. After the holiday, flights were down 40 percent to 100 per day on average.
Meanwhile, Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on January 11 said he had proposed a plan to allow foreigners to quarantine in some of the country’s many golf resorts.
The ministry is discussing with the Ministry of Public Health and the country’s COVID-19 taskforce to offer hotel and golf quarantine for tourists with medical certificates, he said.
Foreign tourists would be able to spend a two-week quarantine period at a specified resort and move around in the hotel area and also play golf, rather than just isolating in their rooms, he added.
The plan, which is subject to the approval of the cabinet, comes as the Southeast Asian country is grappling with a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Thailand has so far reported more than 10,500 COVID-19 infections and 67 deaths./.
Korean firm expands tire cord plant in Vietnam
Kolon Industries, an industrial materials producer of the Republic of Korea (RoK), on January 12 said it will expand its tire cord plant in Vietnam to increase exports from the Southeast Asian country, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
The company will invest 68 billion KRW (62 million USD) in its wholly-owned Kolon Industries Binh Duong Company Ltd. to help the Vietnamese subsidiary expand the plant by September next year.
Tire cords are used as reinforcing materials for tires, designed to keep tires in shape and to enhance durability.
Kolon Industries invested 140 billion KRW to build a 16,800 tonne-a-year tire cord plant in Vietnam in 2018. The planned investment for the expansion will bring the plant’s output capacity to 36,000 tonnes a year.
The company has three tire cord plants in the RoK, China and Vietnam, with their overall output capacity reaching 103,200 tonnes./.
HAGL Agrico shareholders approve new development strategy
At an extraordinary general meeting in HCM City last week shareholders of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agriculture International JSC (HAGL Agrico) approved an increase in the company’s capital by VND7.414 trillion (US$323.06 million) by issuing 741.4 million shares to Truong Hai Agriculture Company (Thagrico), a subsidiary of automaker THACO.
The meeting also approved business plans for 2021 – 23 and elected the board of directors and the supervisory board for the 2020 – 25 term, with Tran Ba Duong, the THACO chairman, named chairman of HAGL Agrico.
Speaking at the meeting, Tran Bao Son, the company’s general director, said since it was established in 2010 HAGL Agrico had focused on growing rubber and oil palm on a total of 85,000 hectares in Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces and Laos and Cambodia.
“However, ever, due to the sharp fall in rubber prices, our company fell into a serious crisis, faced many difficulties, lost liquidity, was unable to repay loan principal or interest, and had total debts of VND18.414 trillion ($800.6 million) as of August 3, 2018.
“In that context, we have invited THACO to be a strategic investor to carry out financial restructuring to pay off debts and convert a large area of oil palm and rubber trees into fruit trees.”
Over the past two years THACO has worked with HAGL to resolve the financial difficulties so that HAGL Agrico could pay off debts that have fallen due and develop fruit cultivation.
As of November 30 last year HAGL Agrico had total liabilities of VND16.078 trillion and its accumulated losses as of September 30 was VND2.663 trillion.
“It can be said that HAGL Agrico has escaped from the verge of bankruptcy but still faces great difficulty in paying the above debts. At the same time [we] continue to need [working] capital to take care of the fruit orchards and invest in infrastructures such as irrigation, electricity, transportation, warehouses, cold storage, and internal logistics.
“Therefore, HAGL Agrico continues to restructure.”
He added that the board of directors of HAGL Agrico decided to sell four subsidiaries (An Dong Mia Company and Hoang Anh Quang Minh Company that own 17,305ha in Cambodia and Hoang Anh Dak Lak and Highland Dairy that own 3,439ha in Viet Nam) to Thagrico for VND9.095 trillion ($394.9 million).
An electric pulley cableway system for harvesting bananas at an HAGL Agrico farm. — Photo courtesy of the company
As of the end of last year the company had 13,200ha under banana, mango and other fruits.
It plans to have another 9,700ha under fruits by 2023 (5,200ha under banana, 2,500ha under mango and 2,000ha under pineapple).
By the end of 2023, it will have 21,800ha under fruits and 8,434ha under rubber.
As for livestock breeding, it will carry out beef cow farming based on the semi-grazing and concentrated fattening models with a total herd of 110,000 head by 2023.
The company has also carried out studies to come up with a large-scale agriculture – forestry and livestock development strategy in Laos and plans to establish an industrial park specialising in the processing of agricultural and forestry products in southern Laos.
To accomplish its targets, this year HAGL Agrico will focus on creating a master zoning plan for large-scale farming and husbandry areas. It will ensure topography and soil are suitable for each kind of fruit to facilitate mechanisation and modern management and synchronise technical infrastructure to meet the needs of irrigation, garden care, harvest, transportation, and preservation at farms.
It will plant 1,000ha of banana in Attapeu, Laos, and 1,000ha of mango in Rattarakiri, Cambodia, at a cost of VND500 billion, and focus on tending to existing orchards (5,360ha of banana, 4,000ha of mango) to improve quality and yields.
It is also considering switching from coconut, tangerine, avocado, and dragon fruit to other strategic fruits on more than 1,000ha of land.
It will invest an estimated investment of VND450 billion in barns and pastures for breeding 8,000 cows in phase 1 and spend another VND950 billion in agricultural machinery and equipment, infrastructure, fruit packaging plants, offices, accommodation for workers, kindergartens, medical centres, and others.
The estimated total investment in 2021 will be VND1.9 trillion, while fruit output is expected to reach 154,000 tonnes and latex production will top 11,000 tonnes.
The company’s estimated revenue in 2021 is VND2.109 trillion (VND1.766 trillion from fruits and VND343 billion from rubber latex).
The company focuses on expanding both exports and domestic consumption of fruits, providing clean agricultural products of consistent quality and quantity and gradually closing its value chain to affirm its position in the market.
“With the above development strategy and financial situation of HAGL Agrico, we are sure that in the coming time, the business results of HAGL Agrico will be more efficient and develop sustainably,” Son said.
State capital management commission completes tasks for 2020
The Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) has settled 233 out of 259 cases transferred from ministries, including 44 in 2020, heard a conference in Ha Noi on Monday.
Throughout 2020, the commission submitted proposals to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on restructuring and adjusting the charter capital of many enterprises, while consulting on inefficient enterprises.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts, it showed strong performance in leading the State-owned sector at a time with various challenges.
With efforts to realise the dual goals of preventing the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting socio-economic development, State-owned economic groups and corporations completed all tasks and plans set for the year.
The total revenue of 19 State-owned enterprises topped VND767 trillion (US$33.26 billion), equivalent to 87.36 per cent of the yearly target and 85.72 per cent of the result in 2019. Pre-tax profit was estimated at more than VND21 trillion, while the State budget payment of 17 out of the 19 enterprises exceeded VND56 trillion, equivalent to 112 per cent of the goal for 2020 and 79.3 per cent compared to that in 2019.
Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh hailed the achievements the commission had made.
He noted that the commission, which was formed three years ago and has been operational for nearly two years, had overcome difficulties to complete all assigned tasks, maintaining and expanding State capital in enterprises.
He suggested the commission enhance its management efficiency while improving transparency and accountability, thus not allowing losses and waste of State capital and property.
At the same time, it should show stronger performance as the capital ownership representative at 19 groups and corporations, aiming to develop the State capital at enterprises, he said.
The commission would need to build specific criteria and indications assessing the efficiency of enterprises, while strengthening the application of technological advances in supervising businesses’ operations, stated the Deputy PM.
He stressed that the restructuring and renovation as well as the equitisation of State-owned enterprises should be sped up with higher quality, along with the digitalisation of businesses amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Meanwhile, it is necessary for the commission to focus on detecting projects and enterprises suffering losses and inefficient operations.
On the occasion, four members of the commission were honoured with the Labour Order, third class, while seven others received certificates of merit from the Prime Minister in recognition of their outstanding performance and contributions to national construction and defence.
Regional specialities programme sales of many products for Tet
Many products made under a programme called ‘One Commune One Product’ that facilitates the development of regional specialities will be sold through major retail channels during Tet next month.
Le Kieu Phuong, director of Phuc Thinh Production and Commerce Co. Ltd, said her company recently got One Commune One Product (OCOP) certification for three prawn cracker product lines in Ca Mau Province.
It was now working on getting the products stocked by large supermarket chains before Lunar New Year aided by the certification, she said.
In Dong Nai Province, seven OCOP producers have signed contracts with Central Retail Viet Nam to sell 21 products. Tea and dried fruits and vegetables will be sold at two Big C supermarkets in the province, where more and more people are becoming interested in regional specialties.
Nguyen Thi Bich Van, media director of Central Retail Viet Nam, said the two supermarkets would design their display shelves to ensure OCOP products easily catch the eye of shoppers. This was a part of the company’s commitment to support OCOP products.
MM Mega Market was also selling 56 OCOP confectionery and jam products for Tet at a discount of up to 50 per cent to introduce them to more customers.
Do Quoc Huy, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, said the company was helping develop OCOP goods, but their limited output means they could only be sold locally and not across its retail chains.
The two-year-old OCOP programme has helped a number of localities develop a wide variety of agriculture and non-agriculture products, providing steady incomes to many locals.
Thailand adopts measures to support locals, businesses amidst COVID-19
The Thai cabinet on January 12 approved a number of measures to reduce the cost of living and increase liquidity, and ease the impact of the new wave of COVID-19 infections.
The measures including cutting down electricity and tap water charges, a handout of 7,000 baht (about 230 USD) over two months to needy people, and provide soft loans to eligible businesses, local media reported.
Internet usage fees would be reduced and internet speeds boosted to support work from home.
The 90 percent reduction in land and building taxes and the reduced 0.01 percent fee for property transfers and mortgages will be extended.
The government will reopen its co-payment consumption subsidy scheme later this month, for 1 million people. The 1 million rights were unused from the two previous rounds of registration.
Soft loans would be arranged to boost liquidity, for eligible people and businesses. The government had allocated 200 billion baht (6.64 billion USD) for this.
Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government has enough money to support the new COVID-related financial measures.
About 490 billion baht remained from the Finance Ministry’s 1-trillion-baht borrowing project to cope with COVID-19’s impact, and about 130 billion baht from the government’s contingency fund could also be used for this purpose, he said.
Thailand on January 12 reported 287 new COVID-19 cases, 278 of them local transmissions, bringing the total since COVID-19 first appeared in January 2020 to 10,834. No new deaths were reported, leaving the accumulated toll at 67.
Earlier this month, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) downgraded Thailand’s economic outlook, with only 1.5-3.5 percent growth this year if the government fail to control the new wave of COVID-19 in three months. JSCCIB predicted that the country’s exports will expand by 3-5 percent this year, down from the previous estimate of 4-6 percent expansion, following the new outbreak./.
China, Myanmar agree to accelerate construction of economic corridor
China and Myanmar have agreed to accelerate the construction of an economic corridor between the two countries to boost bilateral ties during the visit of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Myanmar.
At the meeting with Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing on January 12, Wang said the main purpose of his trip is to communicate with Myanmar on implementing the results of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit last year and exchange views on developing bilateral ties in the next stage.
He said China hopes the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) will be fully implemented to help Myanmar to develop and revitalise. He also announced that China will provide assistance of vaccines and medical supplies to help Myanmar fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourage Chinese enterprises to carry out further vaccine cooperation with Myanmar.
For his part, Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar is willing to play an active role in deepening the friendly cooperation with China, especially accelerating the CMEC building. He also thanked China for its assistance in fighting the coronavirus./.
Difficult year ahead for leather-footwear sector: experts
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue creating trouble for the leather-footwear sector in Europe and the US – its key markets for export, in 2021, the Sai Gon Giai phong newspaper reported, citing experts’ opinions.
In 2020, the sector shipped overseas 19.5 billion USD worth of products, an annual decrease of 11.5 percent.
As the pandemic has basically been placed under control in Vietnam, long-term orders have returned. However, experts said the difficult situation will prolong throughout 2021.
To counter COVID-19 negative impact, Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, a consultant for USAID’s Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises Programme, said the only solution for leather-footwear enterprises is to overhaul their production by investing in automation, productivity promotion, and building closed production chains.
There is a rising trend of customers preferring long-lasting products over “fast fashion” goods, she noted.
Insiders said leather-footwear production is mostly limited to Cut, Make, Trim activities, and exports were mostly done via intermediaries rather than directly with importing brands. Companies involved often lack human resources for information updates on markets and customers. Most of them produce goods following orders. Their reliance on imported materials also hinders them from meeting origin rules set by new-generation free trade agreements.
Cao Quoc Hung, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, affirmed a series of measures are deploying to sustainably develop the sector via building domestic material supply sources, forming domestic leather-footwear value chains, and fostering a workforce that can meet firms’ requirement for management, design, technique, market development, and R&D.
Ensuring environmental protection and labour safety are also key to helping the sector clear technical barriers and integrate deeper in the global market, he noted./.
National annual figure for labour productivity set to rise by over 7.5%
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently issued a master plan aimed at improving productivity based on utilising science, technology, and innovation for the 2021 to 2030 period, under which the annual target for average labour productivity is expected to surge by over 7.5 % by 2030.
The plan is to be implemented in order to make productivity into an important driving force for development across all sectors, largely through the application of new renewal achievements in science, technology, management systems, and tools that help to improve productivity. This is in addition to combining with research, training, and retraining of human resources, in line with Industry 4.0 trends.
This scheme underlines the need to fulfill national science and technology tasks, whilst providing support to local firms in research, innovation, technology transfer, and application in an effort to enhance productivity and total-factor productivity (TFP) based on science, technology, and innovation.
Moving forward, the nation is making every effort to achieve the goal of science and technology contribution through TFP, with this expected to contribute approximately 50% to economic growth.
In line with the plan, between 30 and 35 centrally-run provinces and cities will complete their own plans in order to improve productivity based on science, technology, and innovation, while five to seven groups and corporations will deploy the implementation of productivity plans.
Furthermore, at least 500 small and medium-sized enterprises of centrally-run cities and provinces will launch pilot projects focusing on productivity improvement, whilst continuing to promote research, the application of science and technology, and innovations to boost productivity.
Bac Ninh province always creates favourable conditions for Korean firms: Official
The authorities of northern Bac Ninh province always create favourable conditions for, and work to promptly remove difficulties facing foreign businesses, including those from the Republic of Korea (RoK), to effectively operate in the locality, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Dao Hong Lan has said.
Lan made the statement during a reception for Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan on January 13, during which she called on Korean investors to pour more investment into Bac Ninh in the time to come, especially in development of smart cities, education-training, hi-tech agriculture, supporting industry, environmental protection and energy saving, and automobile and component manufacturing.
The provincial authorities will also make it easier for local enterprises to export goods, especially handicraft products, to the Korean market, she noted.
According to the official, Bac Ninh is one of the provinces with the fast growth rate and leading indicators in the country. The province is home to 10 concentrated industrial parks, attracting more than 1,500 foreign-invested enterprises from 37 countries and territories.
The RoK is taking the lead in terms of foreign investment in Bac Ninh, with 945 projects totalling 13.27 billion USD, accounting for about 66.33 percent of the total amount of foreign investment in the province, Lan stressed.
Recently, the provincial authorities have worked closely with relevant agencies to allow foreign experts, managers, highly skilled workers, mainly from the RoK, to enter the province for working, she noted.
In order to minimise difficulties for businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bac Ninh has extended the deadline for tax payments for Korean firms, benefiting 178 enterprises with the total amount of 1.15 trillion VND (nearly 49.9 million USD).
Fore his part, Park highly appreciated Bac Ninh’s achievements in socio-economic development and foreign investment attraction, and thanked the local authorities for their policies to support Korean enterprises amid difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He expressed his hope that Bac Ninh will have more mechanisms and policies to facilitate Korean firms’ investment, thus further contributing to the province’s economic development.
The ambassador promised to encourage Korean businesses to explore and invest in Bac Ninh province, especially in developing smart cities and hospitals, protecting the environment, and cooperting in education-training./.
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