AFD provides loan of 70 million EUR for expanded Hoa Binh hydropower plant project
A concessional loan worth 70 million EUR (81 million USD) without government guarantee for the expanded Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant Project was inked on November 10 between the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) group and the French Development Agency (AFD).
The project includes two turbines with a combined capacity of 480MW and has a total investment of 9.22 trillion VND (406.7 million USD), 70 percent of which is commercial loans, including the 70 million EUR loan from the AFD and the rest from domestic commercial banks.
Once completed, the expanded plant, located in the northern province of Hoa Binh, will help increase power generation for the northern region and reduce production costs. By optimising water flows, the annual electricity output will be raised by about 495 million kWh, thus helping replace fossil fuel in power generation and cut down greenhouse gas emissions.
The new turbines will also help ease the burden on existing ones, helping increase the lifespan of the equipment and save maintenance expenses.
The project started in January this year. Its first turbine is scheduled to become operational in the second quarter of 2024 and the second turbine in the fourth quarter of the same year.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Hanoi, AFD Director in Vietnam Herve Conan said following the success of bilateral cooperation in renewable energy in recent years, the AFD and EVN decided to expand their partnership to the key project in energy transition in the country.
He added the loan signing matches the Vietnamese Prime Minister's strong statements made at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), demonstrates the EVN's trust in the AFD, and marks the group's ambition to sustainably develop energy – which also suits the AFD's strategy that all of its projects be 100 percent compatible with the Paris Agreement./.
Credit grows strongly in Oct
The country's credit growth reached 8.72% last month, much higher than the 6.5% in the same period last year, according to a report by the SSI Securities Corporation.
The higher-than-expected credit growth indicates signs of economic recovery after stringent social distancing measures were lifted early last month.
In October, some VND77.7 trillion was injected into the economy, nearly double that of the previous month. Of this, the trade and service sector received the most capital, at VND34.9 trillion, followed by the industry and construction sector with VND15.6 trillion.
As of the end of the third quarter of this year, most banks have approached their credit growth caps for this year. Therefore, SSI expected the State Bank of Vietnam to soon adjust up the upper credit growth limits for eligible banks.
The high credit growth was an important factor to help banks maintain high profits in the January-September period. However, credit growth seemed to slow in the third quarter due to the Covid-19 pandemic and banks' higher credit risk provisions.
At a recent meeting with investors, Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank CEO Nguyen Hoang Linh said the bank's credit growth stood at nearly 16%, up from the 10.6% at the end of June. The bank expected its credit growth cap to be raised to 25% this year.
In a report on the banking sector issued early this month, Maybank Kim Eng Securities Limited forecast that the central bank would continue raising the credit growth caps in the last quarter to support the nation's economic growth. Last year, credit unexpectedly surged in the last three months of the year and the central bank raised the credit growth caps twice.
According to SSI, both deposit and lending rates continued to fall slightly in October. Specifically, the deposit rates were 3%-4% for less-than-six-month savings, 3.7%-5% for six to 12-month tenors and 4.2%-6.5% for savings of over 12 months.
The lending rates stood at 5%-7% for short-term loans and 9%-11% for loans with a term of over 12 months.
VITM Hanoi 2021 postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19
The Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) Hanoi 2021 is scheduled to resume next year as a result of complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the plan, VITM Hanoi is scheduled to take place at International Centre of Exhibition (ICE ) from March 31, 2022, to April 3, 2022.
Running with the theme of “New normal situation, new opportunities”, VITM Hanoi 2021 represents an opportunity for localities and tourism businesses to popularise their brands, introduce products, tighten co-operation, and boost connectivity in the field of tourism. In addition, the occasion will also offer visitors tourism packages at reasonable prices.
HCM City to launch retail promotional month
According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, the programme, which will last from November 15 and December 31, is intended to boost consumer spending.
Online products will be displayed in the city's Department of Industry and Trade's booths. Companies need to have their own stalls at a fair which is scheduled to take place at Phu Tho Indoor Stadium to sell products.
Food, fashion, and consumer goods will all be available.
The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade plans to hold the two similar events annually from next year. The first would run from June 15 and July 15 and the second between November 15 and December 15.
Fashion shops in HCM City are offering up to 50 percent off on some products.
Shares gain slightly on petroleum stocks
Viet Nam’s stock market rebounded slightly on Wednesday thanks to the growth of petroleum stocks but the decline of large-caps in the banking group curbed the rise of indices.
The market benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) gained 0.24 per cent to end at 1,465.02 points.
The index had lost 0.41 per cent to end Tuesday at 1,461.50 points.
The market’s liquidity was positive with 258 stocks rising, while 194 slid.
Investors poured over VND29.7 trillion (US$1.3 billion) into the southern exchange, equivalent to a trading volume of 985.5 million shares.
On HOSE, foreign investors were net sellers of VND695 billion for the first time after five consecutive days of net buying, mainly focusing on Pan Group (PAN), Hoa Phat Group (HPG), Nam Long Group (NLG) and Vinamilk (VNM).
The 30 biggest stocks tracker VN30-Index lost 0.22 per cent, to end at 1,523.79 points. Thirteen in the VN30 basket climbed, while 13 decreased and four stayed flat.
Many stocks in the VN-30 basket lost ground and pressured the market, including Hoa Phat Group (HPG) falling 2.1 per cent, Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) dropping 0.1 per cent, Vietinbank (CTG) losing 1,4 per cent, Techcombank (TCB) falling 1.1 per cent and VPBank (VPB) down 0.9 per cent.
On the other side, Petroleum stocks attracted strong cash flow as a series of stocks in the group gained ground, such as Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (PLX), soaring 7 per cent, PVPower (POW) gaining 2 per cent and PetroVietnam Gas JSC (GAS) rising 1 per cent.
On a sector basis, 21 out of 25 sector indices on the market gained ground, including real estate, securities, oil and gas, wholesale, retail, information and technology, food and beverage, rubber production, construction, and seafood processing.
On the other side, losers were construction materials, banking, insurance and logistics.
On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index gained 1.30 per cent to end Wednesday at 438.24 points.
The index had gained 0.12 per cent to end Tuesday at 432.64 points.
During the trading session, more than 150.8 million shares were traded on HNX, worth nearly VND3.9 trillion.
New approach, mindset on industrialisation, modernisation discussed
The internal strength and competitiveness of Viet Nam's industry are poor while its added value also remains low. The local industry still largely depends on foreign resources such as foreign direct investment capital, spare parts and components, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai.
Deputy Minister Hai made the comments at a symposium on a new mindset and approach to industrialisation and modernisation to 2030, held by the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission in coordination with relevant agencies in Ha Noi on Tuesday.
This is one of 10 symposiums within the framework of the third Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo themed “Accelerating modernization and industrialization in digital era," which is taking place from November 9 to December 6.
Addressing the event, vice chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Duc Hien emphasised that Viet Nam has set a goal of becoming a developing country with modernity-oriented industry, surpassing the low-middle income level by 2025, and a developing nation with modern industry and high-middle income by 2030.
Viet Nam aimed to become a developed and high-income country by 2045, Hien added.
To achieve the above-mentioned goals, one of the key tasks is to promote industrialisation and modernisation on the basis of scientific and technological advances and innovations, Hien said.
At the same time, Viet Nam needed to identify the context and major trends of industrialisation and modernisation, thus introducing a new mindset and approach to industrialisation and modernisation, he noted.
At the symposium, domestic and foreign participants shared and clarified issues about the context and major trends of industrialisation and modernisation in the world as well as international experience in realising industrialisation and modernisation, and innovation experience to accelerate post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Deputy Minister Hai told participants that after 35 years of accelerating industrialisation and modernisation, Viet Nam’s industry has made certain achievements. In 2020, the proportion of the processing and manufacturing industry reached 16.7 per cent of the country's GDP. Of the figure, the proportion of medium and high-tech industries accounted for 40 per cent of the added value and export turnover of the industry.
In the 2020 edition of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)'s CIP Index, Viet Nam ranked 38th among 152 countries in 2018, compared to 41st position in the previous year.
However, Hai said that the process of industrialisation and modernisation in the past three years has been relatively slow, with little change due to the limited resources and poor internal capacity of Vietnamese enterprises while enterprises did not get much support from the State.
Hai also attributed the slow pace of industrialisation and modernisation to unskilled human resources with a low ratio of trained workers and there was a lack of linkage between manufacturing businesses and training institutions. Managers of manufacturing businesses have less experiences in competitiveness in the global market.
The technological level of Vietnamese industrial businesses remained limited. According to a 4IR (Industrial revolution 4.0) readiness assessment conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, most Vietnamese businesses are standing outside the 4IR. Viet Nam’s industrial sector has low access to all pillars of smart manufacturing.
Hai said industrial production faces many difficulties in access to investment capital. The manufacturing sector required a large amount of long-term investment capital while social resources invested in production were limited due to the slow return on investment.
The deputy minister noted that the reason for the problems was a lack of attractive legal framework and policies in order to support domestic industrial enterprises to improve their productivity, competitiveness, and technological innovation thus becoming an important driving force for the country’s development.
He suggested that 2025 could lead to further challenges that require great efforts of all stakeholders and breakthroughs are also needed to accelerate the growth of the local manufacturing industry.
Vimedimex chairwoman detained over land auction irregularities
Aside from Loan's arrest, the police detained seven other people, including Vuong Thi Thu Thuy, an officer of the district's Project Management Board, and Nguyen Thi Dieu Linh, general director of the Hanoi Valuation and Investment JSC.
The preliminary investigation results show that the Dong Anh District Project Management Board in August last year held an auction for a plot of land covering nearly five hectares in the district's Co Duong Commune. The plot was estimated to cost some VND500 billion.
However, Loan colluded with officials of the Dong Anh District Project Management Board and those of the valuation and investment firm to adjust down the land value. By forging 12 survey papers, the defendants lowered the land value to around VND300 billion.
Then, a land appraisal council approved the floor price of the land plot at some VND18 million per square meter to carry out the auction.
The Vimedimex chairwoman established many companies to join the auction. One of her firms won the auction with a bid of over VND20 million per square meter. One month after the handover of the land plot, Loan sold the land plot from VND80 million-VND100 million per square meter.
JICA-funded wind power projects become commercial operation
Three wind power projects co-funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have been put into commercial operation, the agency announced on November 10.
The three onshore wind power plants – Lien Lap, Phong Huy and Phong Nguyen, which have a combined capacity of 144 MW, meet conditions for enjoying the subsidised electricity price.
JICA signed a loan agreement on May 21, 2021 to provide 25 million USD for developing these projects along with other co-sponsors being the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Export Finance Australia (EFA).
These wind power projects are financed firstly by JICA under the project loan form in Vietnam./.
Ministry proposes use of State budget for eight projects of Eastern North-South Expressway
The Ministry of Transport has submitted a pre-feasibility report on the construction of the Eastern North-South Expressway in the 2021-2025 period.
In the report, the ministry proposed investing in building 729km of the Eastern North-South Expressway in 2021-2025, dividing into 12 components projects, of which eight would be funded by the State budget.
Those eight projects are Vung Ang – Bung, Bung – Van Ninh, Van Ninh – Cam Lo, Quang Ngai – Hoai Nhon, Hoai Nhon – Quy Nhon, Quy Nhơn – Chi Thanh, Can Tho- Hau Giang, and Hau Giang – Ca Mau.
The remaining four projects, namely Bai Vot – Ham Nghi, Ham Nghi – Vung Ang, Chi Thanh – Van Phong, and Vam Phong – Nha Trang – will be conducted in the public-private partnership (PPP) form.
According to leaders of the ministry, the total investment for the 729km Eastern North-South Expressway project in the 2021-2025 period is estimated at 148.49 trillion VND (6.54 billion USD), with 131.21 trillion VND to come from the State budget. All projects would be started in the period.
For the four PPP projects, the ministry suggested ratios of State capital in the projects should range from 54-65 percent. It also proposed the Government submit reports to the National Assembly Standing Committee on changing investment form in case the PPP is not successful.
In its previous proposal submitted in late September, the ministry suggested that all the 12 projects are implemented in the PPP forms. It also proposed starting only nine projects in the 2021-2025 period.
According to the ministry, ground clearance for the eight projects using public investment capital would be conducted in 2022-2023 period so that construction can start in late 2023 and complete in mid-2026.
Meanwhile, preparations for the remaining four PPP projects will be carried out from now to 2022, while ground clearance activities will be implemented between 2022 and 2023. The projects are hoped to be launched in late 2023 and finish in 2026./.
Seafood industry expects strong recovery in operations in coming months
The seafood industry expects that the Government’s support policies will go a long way towards helping businesses restore production and export activities as the end of the year approaches, after the latest outbreak of COVID-19 stemmed business activities.
Last month, the Government issued Resolution 128, which provides guidance on the “safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic”. It is intended to create conditions for resuming production and economic development across the economy, including in the seafood industry.
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has requested that the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Health, Industry and Trade, and Finance, as well as the State Bank of Viet Nam, cooperate to remove barriers to the production, consumption and export of agricultural products and seafood caused by the pandemic.
“After Resolution 128 was issued, the Vietnamese seafood processing and exporting enterprises quickly restarted production to complete signed export contracts. The production had been suspended temporarily during the social distancing period,” said Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Huynh Hai Trieu, Deputy Director of Minh Hai Seafood Export Processing Joint Stock Company, said his company must speed up production if they are to meet orders from domestic and foreign partners as planned.
Bui Vinh Hoang Chuong, Chairman of the Director Board of Ca Mau Seafood Joint Stock Company (Seaprimexco), said its factories have increased capacity from 30 per cent to nearly 70 per cent to deliver goods to partners in October and November.
Along with boosting exports by the end of the year, Le Van Quang, General Director of the Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company, has proposed localities encourage farmers to reproduce shrimp for processing export products. This reproduction is expected to ensure supply for shrimp processing.
Nguyen Hoai Nam, VASEP Deputy General Secretary, said: “At present, localities are implementing measures to control the pandemic according to Resolution 128, but the seafood industry still faces issues.”
Those difficulties include a lack of raw materials, labour shortages, higher input costs (labour, transportation, equipment for epidemic prevention and production in new conditions), and a lack of capital.
"VASEP has proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) support enterprises in resuming production and business after COVID-19. The ministry needs to quickly deploy vaccinations for workers, including fishermen, to maintain production activities," Nam said.
The global supply of shrimp decreased due to the impact of COVID-19 around the world. This will, in turn, lead to an increase in prices in the future, said Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Director Board of FIMEX Vietnam.
Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy Director of the General Department of Fisheries, said many large fishery producers are still suffering from a lack of labour, including Binh Dinh, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Ca Mau and Kien Giang. In addition, export markets continue to strictly control quality and import procedures, especially China.
Therefore, Hung suggested that "MARD prioritises funds for production recovery of fishing supply chains, including the building of cold storage and product distribution systems, and modernisation of infrastructure at fishing ports."
"At the same time, the ministry needs to strengthen negotiations to expand the export market and remove trade barriers for Vietnamese seafood products, especially negotiation with China, to boost goods circulation at the border gates."
Le Van Su, Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee, has suggested the Government introduce more supportive policies to overcome those difficulties and help recover operations in the fishing industry.
Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, confirmed that the market potential is very good for seafood products, especially towards the end of the year. On the other hand, the higher prices of seafood on the global market is an opportunity for the domestic fishery industry to resume business and recover some losses sustained over the past few months.
According to VASEP, seafood exports in the first ten months of this year increased slightly to 2.4 per cent year on year to US$7.1 billion, including $918 million in October, up 47 per cent compared to September.
The main products that saw an increase in exports were tuna, squid, octopus and shrimp. Molluscs in particular grew in export value by 39 per cent in the first ten months of the year, to $113 million.
The US is still the largest export market for Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 24 per cent of the total export value at $1.7 billion, up 25 per cent year on year. Japan accounts for 15 per cent, or $1.08 billion, of the market. China and Europe both account for 12 per cent at $872 million and $864 million, respectively. Exports to the South Korean market accounted for 9 per cent, reaching $643 million.
According to Nam, there is great potential in seafood exports by the end of this year, but the fishery industry will still find it difficult to achieve its target of $8.8-9 billion set at the beginning of the year.
The demand for seafood import markets is still high and domestic seafood processing activities are resuming. This is expected to ensure that seafood exports grow by the years’ end, he said. The US and EU markets have quickly recovered thanks to vaccination and the economy has almost completely re-opened. The Australian and Russian markets also have increased import demands, due to a decrease in domestic output.
However, domestic transport costs and freight rates of ports increased significantly to affect production costs. This is a big obstacle for the seafood export enterprises, according to Nam.
First investor approved for joint VSIP in Binh Dinh
Kurz International Holdings GMBH from Germany has been granted an investment licence for a hi-tech coating and thin film project worth 40 million USD at Becamex Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in the south central province of Binh Dinh.
Kurz International are the first foreign investor to be approved at the 1,425 ha park in the central coastal province. It comes just one year after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the park owner Becamex Binh Dinh Joint-Stock Company.
The project will be built on 12 ha with a total capacity of supplying 15 million square metres of hi-tech film and coating products. It's expected to begin operation from the second quarter of 2023.
The project highlights the efforts of local authorities, investors and the park owner in land clearance and infrastructure preparations, despite the delays and setbacks caused by COVID-19.
According to the Binh Dinh economic zone administration, the Becamex VSIP Binh Dinh – the areas first industrial, urban and service zone – was developed thanks to a total investment of 3.3 trillion VND (142.1 million USD). It is a part of the Nhon Hoi economic zone, in the province’s Quy Nhon City.
The park was designed to draw 2 billion USD and create about 150,000 jobs for the province, and neighbouring provinces, along the central coast of Vietnam.
Last year, the province opened a 20km route connecting the Nhon Hoi economic zone and Phu Cat Airport, to encourage business and tourism.
Nine VSIPs, a typical economic cooperation model between Vietnam and Singapore, have been developed in Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong and Nghe An. They have attracted 840 partners and investors from 30 countries and territories, and a total investment of 14 billion USD.
VSIP complexes nationwide cover around 8,600 ha and have created around 250,000 jobs for Vietnamese and foreigners./.
Businesses in Dong Nai want new loans to resume production
Businesses in southern Dong Nai province have called for reducing bank interest rates and restructuring debt repayment to enable them to resume operations now that the COVID-19 pandemic is basically under control.
Nguyen Trong Tu, Director of Trieu An Production Trading Co, said his business incurred huge losses during the pandemic last year. After it seemed to be under control, he borrowed money from a bank to renovate his factory, but the fourth wave of COVID had hit his prospects hard, he said.
Strict social distancing caused his company to suspend operations for months, causing customers to cancel orders, he said.
Since he had some money saved, he was able to survive previous waves, but now he had run out, he said, adding the risk of going bust would be very high if he could not get the loan interest reduced, frozen or rolled over.
Besides debt rollover, businesses also want fresh credit to buy raw materials, but said it was very difficult to get new loans because most of their assets had been mortgaged already.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Tien Dung said the demands made by businesses, especially with regard to cash flows to revive production, were valid and should be addressed.
The State Bank of Vietnam should consider loosening lending policies further, he said.
According to banks, they too have been hit hard by the pandemic since many customers have been failing to repay loans.
"It is very difficult for the banks to sharply reduce loan interest rates at this time."/.
National forum on culture & business slated for December 5
The Culture & Business Forum is set to take place in both in-person and virtual forms on December 5 with a view to connecting domestic and foreign business communities.
The national forum in Hanoi will be attended by Party and State leaders who will come to join enterprises, managers, and researchers to discuss business culture and affirm the importance of culture to sustainably developing the economy and facilitating the business environment, Ho Anh Tuan, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Business Culture Development, told a press conference on November 9.
It will also be an occasion for enterprises to submit proposals on ways to tackle difficulties and recover and develop the economy, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
The event will review the five-year implementation of the "Building the Vietnamese business culture" campaign launched by the Prime Minister. A ceremony will also be held to honour enterprises meeting the Vietnamese business culture standards.
Themed "Acculturation – Foundation for sustainable recovery and development", the forum is organised by the Party Central Committee's Information and Education Commission; the Ministry of Industry and Trade; the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the organising board of the "Building the Vietnamese business culture" campaign; the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union; and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)./.
Law-making activities for CPTPP implementation under scrutiny
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in co-ordination with the Central Institute for Economic Management held a webinar on November 10 regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) from a legal perspective.
The CPTPP has a direct impact on many of the country's domestic legal institutions. Therefore, amending and developing domestic legal regulations to ensure compatibility with commitments represents a key task in the agreement implementation process.
Charles Thursby-Pelham, first secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, stated that the comprehensive review of law-making activities to realise the CPTPP is useful for State agencies, the VCCI, various associations, and each business when assessing the overall benefits of the agreement. The results will also be conducive to the wider implementation of the CPTPP, along with free trade agreements (FTAs) in general moving forward.
On behalf of the research team, Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the Centre for WTO and Integration under the VCCI, said a total of 11 legal documents have been issued aimed at carrying out the commitments of the CPTPP immediately. This is in addition to four documents which are being drafted for the implementation of the CPTPP commitments in line with the roadmap in the 2019 to 2021 period.
According to Trang, most of the provisions set out in legal documents are compatible with the commitments of the CPTPP that have been “internalised”. Indeed, some regulations are at a higher level than required or are in line with an earlier roadmap, she said.
Trang also made recommendations aimed at improving the overall efficiency of law-making in the implementation of the CPTPP, as well as newly signed FTAs, such as the review of regulations’ compatibility with FTA commitments and the development of legal plans which must be done in a more inclusive manner.
The compilation of legal documents should thereby be done as swiftly possible, with the compiling agency paying special attention to consulting the affected subjects, she said. In addition, she added that the process of implementing commitments must be regularly monitored and inadequacies should be promptly dealt with.
The seminar and research report regarding law-making efforts to implement the CPTPP are part of the VCCI’s series of activities which aim to support local businesses in relation to the CPTPP and other FTAs. In the near future, the VCCI will continue to carry out events aimed at providing information on the commitments and the implementation of FTAs. This will be done in order to support firms as well as relevant state agencies to bring maximum benefits for the Vietnamese economy during the process of carrying out these agreements.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau launches e-commerce portal for tourism
The southern coastal province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has launched an e-commerce portal to provide information about local tourism services and destinations.
Tourists can quickly access information on tourism sites, accommodations, food and beverage services, and entertainment and shopping places through the portal at dulichbariavungtau.com.
Hotel bookings and itineraries of tours are available on the portal.
Trần Thị Thu Hiền, deputy director of the province's Tourism Department, said: "Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has received huge support from the Việt Nam E-Commerce Association to launch the province's e-commerce portal for travel."
"In the near future, the province will link its portal with other e-commerce portals for travel across the country and abroad to expand the market and reach out to potential customers.”
The department has also announced a plan for a virtual travel expo on the portal in December.
The expo themed "Cất Cánh Du Lịch Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu 2021" (Tourism Promotion of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu 2021) shows the province's efforts to revive its tourism sector in the "new normal” and promote the province's tourism products and services.
Trịnh Hàng, the department's director, said tourism businesses and agencies in the province temporarily stopped operation because of the impact of the pandemic.
He added the department launched the e-commerce portal and virtual tourism fairs to help enterprises promote their services and approach customers, as well as encourage them to accelerate their digital business model strategy.
Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has launched a pilot programme for visitors from other provinces and cities.
Hiền said the work is part of the province's efforts in reviving its tourism sector and promoting its services and cuisine.
The department has released safe tourism criteria to ensure control and prevention of COVID-19 at accommodations, tourism areas and service suppliers, and for tourist agencies.
All employees, service staff and customers must be fully vaccinated and strictly comply with the Ministry of Health's 5K protocol.
The province has decided to first allow The Grand Hồ Tràm Resort & Casino and Bình Châu Hot Springs to re-open for tourists on October 15. Two accommodations have met the safe tourism criteria.
Hạng said the department has submitted a plan on safe adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic for tourism to the province's People's Committee that will apply for all accommodations and tourism businesses in the province.
He said that all the tourism sector of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu would probably resume services this month.
HCM City export businesses gradually return to normal
Export companies in Ho Chi Minh City are recovering well following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions as workers from other provinces gradually return to work.
Companies in labour-intensive sectors such as textile and garment and footwear are now basically back to normal.
In order to help export companies to speed operation, government financial support and simplification of procedures are in need.
The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade said it would offer a credit support package worth 70 trillion VND (over 3 billion USD) this year to help businesses access preferential loans and resume production.
Echoing the trend, the HCM City branch of the State Bank of Vietnam confirmed that banks would provide credit to businesses at supportive interest rates this quarter./.
Petrol prices increase sharply as oil prices remain unchanged
The domestic prices of E5 RON 92 and RON 95 continued to rise on November 10 following the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade announcing their latest price adjustments.
Furthermore, the prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene remain unchanged as part of the regular price review.
The price of Mazut 180CST 3.5S is to be sold at no more than VND16,821 per kilogramme, a drop of VND389 per kg.
With a view to supporting local livelihoods and production, the ministries decided to increase expenditure for the petrol price stabilization fund by VND100 to VND2,000 per litre.
Without making use of the fund, fuel prices could rise from VND758to VND1,359 per litre or kilogramme.
The two ministries noted that the prices of E5RON92 and RON95 on the global market have also surged by 1.71% and 2.10%, respectively, over the past 15 days. In addition, the prices of diesel 0.05S, kerosene, and mazut dropped by 0.78%, 1.33%, and 6.31%, respectively.
Reference exchange rate up 5 VND
The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,105 VND/USD on November 11, up 5 VND from the previous day.
With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,798 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,412 VND/USD.
The opening-hour rate at commercial banks saw slight fluctuations.
At 8:30 am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,525 VND/USD and the selling rate 22,755 VND/USD, both down 5 VND from November 10.
Meanwhile, BIDV kept both rates unchanged, listing at 22,560 VND/USD (buying) and 22,760 VND/USD (selling)./.
Shrimp exports to RoK enjoy positive growth this year
Vietnamese shrimp exports to the Republic of Korea (RoK) in the final quarter of the year are anticipated to record positive growth, bringing this year’s export turnover to an increase of between 3% and 5% compared to last year.
The projection has been made by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Despite experiencing a decline throughout August due to the impact of COVID-19 social distancing measures, local shrimp exports to the RoK market in September and the first half of October grew by 3.6% and 26%, respectively.
Furthermore, the country's shrimp exports to the RoK by mid-October also increased by 0.9% to reach approximately US$278 million compared to the same period from last year.
The association also pointed out that the recovery of shrimp exports to the RoK market can largely be attributed to local businesses’ plans to boost exports to various Asian markets as a way of taking full advantage of the geographical distance and lower logistics costs compared to European and American markets.
Moving forward, shrimp demand to the RoK is projected to see between now and the end of the year thanks to their scheme to live safely with the pandemic, the expansion of personal consumption, and a reduction of oil taxes.
During the opening nine months of the year, the RoK increased imports of processed white-legged shrimp and frozen black tiger shrimp with a rise of between 5% and 12%, respectively.
Vietnamese shrimp export items to the RoK include headless shell white-legged shrimp, frozen Nobashi vannamei, frozen butterfly sushi white-legged shrimp, and PD vannamei shrimp.
The average export price of local black tiger shrimp to the market during the reviewed period range between US$11.7 and US$14.6 per kilo, while the export price of white-legged shrimp fluctuated between US$7.9 and US$1.83 per kilo.
Resuming international flights a necessary move: experts
Resuming international flights is a necessary move at present after a long shutdown, heard an online seminar held by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) on November 10.
The MoT recently submitted to the Prime Minister a plan on the resumption of regular international flights with the aim of helping tackle difficulties facing airlines, promote economic recovery, and revive the tourism industry.
Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said many countries across the world have reopened international flights, and Vietnam, which has suspended such flights since early February 2020, should not be an exception.
The best possible conditions will be provided for tourists with "vaccine passports", he added.
Highlighting the necessity to resume international flights, Nguyen Quang Trung, head of the planning and development division of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation, held that to achieve the twin targets of developing the economy and ensuring pandemic prevention and control, the aviation sector should prioritise passengers from countries which have well controlled COVID-19 like the Republic of Korea, Japan, the US, and European nations.
He noted entry and quarantine rules receive the most attention now. The current policy of seven days of concentrated quarantine and then another seven days of home quarantine can attract only overseas Vietnamese wishing to return home, and it needs changes so as to attract foreign tourists.
Echoing the view, Cuong said the biggest obstacle now is the rules on health quarantine, adding that the shift from "zero COVID-19" to "flexibly living with COVID-19" is a very important change.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Le Phuc, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the tourism sector is ready to welcome international travellers, and it will deal with any problems arising by working closely with ministries, sectors, and localities./.
Reviewing law-making activities essential for better CPTPP’s implementation
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in coordination with the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) on November 10 organised a virtual seminar on the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) from the law-making perspective.
The seminar is held within the framework of the Australian-funded programme, Aus4Reform, which assists the Vietnamese Government in achieving its goal of improving the business environment and modernising the national economy.
The CPTPP has a direct impact on many of Vietnam’s domestic legal institutions. Therefore, amending and developing domestic legal regulations to ensure compatibility with commitments is the most important task in the implementation of the agreement.
Charles Thursby-Pelham, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, said that the comprehensive review of law-making activities to implement the CPTPP is useful for State agencies, the VCCI, associations and each business when assessing the benefits from this agreement. The results will also be helpful for the next steps in the implementation of the CPTPP in particular and free trade agreements (FTAs) in general in the future.
On behalf of the research team, Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the Centre for WTO and Integration under VCCI, said a total of 11 legal documents have been issued to carry out the commitments of CPTPP immediately and four documents are being drafted for the implementation of the CPTPP commitments in line with the roadmap in the 2019-2021 period.
According to Trang, most of the provisions in legal documents are compatible with the CPTPP commitments that have been “internalised”. Some regulations are at a higher level than required or with an earlier roadmap, she said.
Trang also made recommendations to improve the efficiency of law-making in the implementation of the CPTPP as well as newly signed FTAs, such as the review of regulations’ compatibility with FTA commitments and the building of law-making plans need to be done in a more inclusive manner.
The compilation of legal documents should be done as soon as possible and the compiling agency should pay special attention to consulting the affected subjects, she said, adding that the process of implementing commitments needs to be regularly monitored and inadequacies should be promptly dealt with.
The seminar and research report on law-making efforts to implement the CPTPP are part of the VCCI’s series of activities to support businesses relating to CPTPP and FTAs. In the coming time, VCCI will continue to carry out events to provide information on the commitments and the implementation of FTAs in order to support businesses as well as relevant state agencies to bring maximum benefits for Vietnam’s economy during the implementation of these agreements./.
Corporate culture – strength for businesses to move forward
Corporate culture is the strength and pedestal for businesses to recover from the COVID-19 and move forward, according to experts.
General Director of Garment 10 Corporation Than Duc Viet described corporate culture as the root to help his business grow 10-15 each year.
Generations of labourers have worked for the corporation where they also benefit from educational and educational services, he said, highlighting May 10's fulfilment of social responsibility.
Many experts have suggested enterprises build corporate culture matching their business strategies, while making efforts to create unique products and culture to affirm their brands in the market.
Under Decision No. 1846/QD-TTg, the Prime Minister designated November 10 as Vietnam Corporate Culture Day to promote the role, position and significance of corporate culture.
The Day is also set to raise public awareness of corporate culture, and boost the development of corporate culture in Vietnam./.
White & Case: High-growth industries in Vietnam attract investors
High-growth industries in Vietnam continue to attract investor interest despite disruptions caused by COVID-19, according to White & Case, an international law firm that serves companies, governments and financial institutions based in the United States.
Vietnam's mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is set for another robust year following 2020's potent performance, White & Case wrote in an article posted on its website.
In the first three quarters of this year, deals with disclosed value totalled 3 billion USD. 2021 is on track to overtake last year's total figure of 3.9 billion USD as there are three months left, it said.
According to the article, deal volume last year reached a record high since 2006, and this momentum continued into the first three quarters of this year with a total of 41 deals announced, equal to that of 2021's figure.
As a result of these deals, the financial services sector attracted the highest deal value across all sectors during the first three quarters of this year, with a total of 1.5 billion USD in deals with disclosed values recorded.
While financial services topped the value table, the industrials & chemicals sector generated the most deals of any sector with a total of seven deals announced during the first three quarters of the year.
Some sizable deals have been recorded within the electronics space such as the Republic of Korea’s Sunji Electronic's 47.7 million USD acquisition of Bangjoo Hi-Tech, a manufacturer of electronic components and circuit boards.
Despite being affected by COVID-19, Vietnam continues to establish itself as a regional hub for electronics production. The country's electronics exports have climbed from 47.3 billion USD in 2015 to 96.9 billion USD in 2019, ranking it 12th in the world.
A total of 20 deals were announced in the first three quarters of 2021, just three deals behind 2020's record annual total. The healthy level of activity displays growing confidence among local firms as they look to beef up their capabilities and scale up operations.
The Asian Development Bank revised its forecast for GDP growth for Vietnam from 6.7 percent to 3.8 percent in September but the country's economy still grow faster than the Southeast Asian regional average of 3.1 percent.
According to the article, the endurance of Vietnam's dealmaking activity in the face of the ongoing COVID disruption displays both market resilience and an enduring appetite for local assets. Strong underlying fundamentals such as an educated, low-cost workforce, a burgeoning middle class, and a stable political climate will continue to make the country an attractive investment destination, it said.
High-growth industries such as consumer finance, electronics and retail will continue to attract attention from both strategic and private buyers, providing plenty of opportunities for dealmaking in the final quarter of the year. The easing of restrictions in October and the ongoing vaccination programme will only further boost the country's recovery, said the article./.
PV GAS's market cap exceed US$10 billion
PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV GAS) has become one of the five businesses with market capitalisation of over US$10 billion in November.
The rest four enterprises in the list are Vinhomes, Vingroup, Vietcombank, and Hoa Phat Group.
Statistics from the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE), the market capitalisation of companies listed at the floor reached over VND5.6 quadrillion (US$247.7 billion) in late October, up 9.1 per cent over the previous month and accounting for 89 per cent of the national GDP in 2020.
Particularly, the HoSE reported that it has seen 45 enterprises with market capitalisation exceeding $1 billion, up 15 per cent compared to that in September with some new names.
With its stock price rising 48 per cent since the beginning of this year, PV GAS has made a record in the price at VND125,000 per share in October, pushing the firm's market cap to VND238.28 trillion ($10.54 billion).
Earlier this year, PV GAS has been named among the top 50 listed companies 2021 by Forbes Vietnam for the 9th consecutive year.
Forbes Vietnam said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies included in the list have sought business opportunities, achieved good results and contributed to the country's economic development.
The firms have made the best performances on the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE) and the Hanoi Exchange (HNX).
Forbes Vietnam made the assessment based on such indicators as Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), Return On Equity (ROE), Return On Capital (ROC) and Earning Per Share (EPS) during the 2016-20 period.
The companies have recorded combined post-tax profits of over VND174.48 trillion ($7.58 billion), a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent.
Other firms in the oil and gas sector were also named in the list, including PetroVietnam Power Corporation, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation, PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Service Corporation, and PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertiliser JSC.
Despite the recovery of petrol prices, profits of many businesses in the oil and gas sector dropped in the third quarter of this year due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September this year, PV GAS and US-based AES Corporation signed a joint venture agreement on the establishment and operation of Son My LNG port warehouse limited company in New York under the witness of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The joint venture agreement was based on the main terms of the joint venture contract of Son My LNG (liquefied gas) port warehouse project signed in October 2020.
The Son My LNG port warehouse is one among a series of LNG power projects in the south central province of Binh Thuan, with an estimated total investment of $1.31 billion, and a capacity of 3.6 million tonnes a year in the first phase and up to 9 million tonnes in the next phase.
The port will receive, process and supply LNG reprocessed as fuel for Son My 1 and Son My 2 power plants, expected to be put into operation by the end of 2025.
Online expo explores future of ‘collaborative robots’ in business
Collaborative robots (cobots) may well be the future of automation in production around the world. That is exactly what leading automation experts discussed recently at the Collaborative APAC – Cobot Expo 2021, an online event organised by Universal Robots on November 9.
Unlike traditional industrial robots, cobots are collaborative and are designed to work alongside human employees, giving businesses the combined benefits of humans and robots. The online event showcased new concepts and approaches to automation involving the perfect human-robot collaboration.
"As companies move towards a new-normal, we are witnessing supply chain challenges and labour shortages caused by an ageing workforce and different career choices. Collaborative automation is setting a trend for people to ascend to more interesting jobs," said Kim Povlsen, President, Universal Robots.
"We believe that cobots have become a perfect companion for human operators. With more than 10 million tasks currently done by humans, we foresee the growth of cobots to rise exponentially. There are huge opportunities to help businesses create more meaningful jobs and further accelerate the wave of automation," said Povlsen.
"The disruption to supply chains and sudden material shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left manufacturers coping with transitions. With all the benefits cobots could offer, such as flexibility and its small footprint, business owners and manufacturers are realising that they can remain competitive in the market. This allows for more activities in collaborative automation and even bringing back businesses that were previously moved offshore," said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia Pacific, Universal Robots.
With the theme ‘Collaborate’, Cobot Expo 2021 is a platform where manufacturers can seek answers to tough questions on automation as well as learn and exchange ideas with industry experts.
At the event, cobot experts addressed business challenges posed by an ageing workforce, labour shortages and shifting career aspirations as the topic of ‘Refining Automation’ and empowering the digital workforce of the future.
Experts also shared business concerns such as how to drive success and avoid pitfalls in automation projects, as well as ways to ensure safety and productivity.
The ‘Collaborative APAC – Cobot Expo 2021’ conference, exhibition and live chat takes place online from November 9 to 10; recorded sessions are available on-demand until December 31, 2021. Befitting a truly Asian event, the presentations are in English, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese on selected topics.
Purpose-driven regulations desired for affordable housing
The shortage of low-income housing for workers in industrial zones and people in urban areas has become a hot topic in Vietnam, with the government and other authorities looking to get to the bottom of the situation.
With a monthly salary of VND13 million ($565) for the couple, there is not much chance for Hoa's family to afford a small flat in Ho Chi Minh City, even after a decade of trying to save.
"The price of houses is increasing at a rocketing speed and I would have to pay over VND1.2 billion ($52,000) for a 40 sq.m flat here, meaning around VND30 million ($1,300) per sqm," Hoa said.
The price of social housing, however, is currently around VND13-17 million ($550-750) per sq.m but Hoa's family would find it hard to meet the dozens of criteria that buyers must pass to have a slot at buying one.
Figures from the Ministry of Construction (MoC) showed that the demand for social housing from 2011 to 2020 was about 440,000 units in total. However, so far, only around 86,000 units have been completed.
Regarding houses for workers in IZs, figures from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour released that over the last five years, the whole country has built 2.58 million sq.m of homes for them, occupying only 13 per cent of the demand. Moreover, since early this year, no social housing projects for workers has been completed due to the pandemic.
The MoC is currently revising the Law on Housing 2014, which will add more incentives for projects to build homes for workers. The ministry is also collecting comments on a draft decision for a national housing development strategy for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2040.
In the first phase, by 2025 the country strives to build over 222,000 social homes for about 890,000 low-income people in urban areas, and over 163,000 houses for 654,000 workers in IZs and export processing zones.
On November 2, the MoC said that it has sought approval from the prime minister for a massive VND65 trillion ($2.82 billion) credit package for building social houses. The credit component package would target workers in IZs who want to buy or lease homes, and project investors developing accommodation for sale to such workers.
Director of the MoC's Housing and Real Estate Management Department Nguyen Trong Ninh said that currently the management and development of social houses is covered by the laws on housing, land, investment, and also Decree No.82/2018/ND-CP from 2018 on the management of IZs and economic zones (EZs).
"However, all of those legal frameworks have only regulated a general policy on social housing development while there have not been any separate documentation made for housing for workers," Ninh said.
Pham Hong Diep, chairman of Shinec, the developer of Nam Cau Kien IZ, told a seminar on developing IZ infrastructure held last week that the capital sources to build worker's housing are in a severe shortage.
Article 9 of Decree No.100/2015/ND-CP from 2015 stipulates that project investors are entitled to get preferential loans in Vietnam. According to Diep, however, the source of concessional loans from the Bank for Social Policies or credit institutions for social housing development is still limited.
Figures from the MoC noted that, according to the previous plan, the state was to allocate $391 million for building social housing by 2020. However, the budget allocated in the 2016-2020 period was $90 million only.
Meanwhile, the four commercial banks designated by the State Bank of Vietnam – Vietcombank, BIDV, Agribank, and VietinBank – have not yet been allocated capital to provide interest rate compensation for social housing loans from 3 to 4 per cent currently.
Along with the lack of capital, a lack of land funds to develop worker housing is also an existential problem. According to Diep, many localities have not included social housing development targets for workers in their annual 5-year housing development plans as prescribed by law, and have not yet planned and invested in technical infrastructure.
Article 5 of Decree 100 stipulates that real estate developers must set aside 20 per cent of their land fund for developing social houses, which can be replaced by cash submissions.
"This regulation leads to a fact that many developers scale down their projects to less than 10ha and submit cash instead of land for this responsibility," Diep said.
Meanwhile, complicated procedures in social house development have prevented some investors from jumping in. Le Huu Nghia, CEO of Le Thanh Construction and Commercial Ltd., said the complicated procedures mean three years can be taken up for proceeding with a single project, discouraging developers.
Nguyen Tran Hai, director of Truong Phat Group, said that the company plans to build 10,000 units for workers in IZs in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta province of Long An by 2025. However, he has had to halt this investment for now, even though 800 units are complete, due to complicated procedures the group cannot meet. Hai suggested the conditions could be simplified and focus on employees working locally, who have paid social insurance, and who do not have any accommodation yet.
"Investment profit in social housing is not high as the buyers are low-income people. If the regulations are complicated, it is very difficult for developers like us to implement projects," Hai stated.
Decree No. 49/2021/ND-CP released in April on the development and management of social housing stipulates that investors of social housing projects are eligible to reserve 20 per cent of the total land area to build commercial housing. However, Hai said developers can never reach this figure because the cost of land compensation always rises.
Finance Ministry proposes economic stimulus packages worth VND40 trillion
Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc said the ministry supports the Government's plan to launch economic stimulus packages, to accept an increase in overspending of the State budget this year before reducing overspending in the following years.
Speaking at a Q&A session on November 9 as part of the 15th National Assembly's second sitting, Phoc said that the Finance Ministry proposed the Government develop economic stimulus packages through interest rate support valued at VND20 trillion per year and VND40 trillion for two years.
Suppose the lending rate for production and business activities is at 4% per year and the Government rolls out an interest rate support package valued at VND40 trillion for two years, it is estimated that some VND1 quadrillion worth of loans would be given. This means around VND1 quadrillion would be pumped in the economy to help create jobs, facilitate production and increase revenue, and then reduce the overspending of the State budget.
The minister added that the country's state budget revenue this year is expected to exceed the target, while the budget expenditure would be the same as planned, and the overspending of the State budget would comply with the National Assembly's regulations.
He said the Government had issued multiple fiscal policies to support businesses and local residents as well as to serve the Covid fight, with a total value of around VND200 trillion.
Further, in response to opinions that the room for extending public debt remained ample and it was necessary to raise the overspending of the State budget, the finance minister asserted that the room remains little as the Government had borrowed over VND1.8 quadrillion in the 2016-2020 period. For the 2021-2025 period, the Government is set to borrow over VND3 quadrillion, which is 1.77 times higher than the previous period. Also, the public debt by the end of 2025 is estimated to be 1.6 times higher than the 2020 figure.
However, Phoc affirmed that the Finance Ministry would back the Government's move to launch economic stimulus packages.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan
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