However, up to 70 percent of Vietnamese people use the Internet. This towering number of people surfing the internet shows an irreversible trend of the urgent digital transformation.
By Ho Son – Translated by Anh Quan
However, up to 70 percent of Vietnamese people use the Internet. This towering number of people surfing the internet shows an irreversible trend of the urgent digital transformation.
By Ho Son – Translated by Anh Quan
Hai Van Pass among ten most beautiful drives worldwide
Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass in Da Nang city has been listed among the 10 most beautiful drives in the world, according to a recent article published by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Hai Van Pass has been dubbed “one of the best coast roads in the world” by Jeremy Clarkson, former host of British motoring show Top Gear. The website also recommends that those travelling along the route take the road slow as conditions can become a slightly foggy.
Running for a total length of 20km, the pass has become one of the most popular destinations for visitors to snap photographs, with over 52,000 photos taken at the site uploaded to Instagram.
The global list is based on analysis provided by Pentagon Motor Group (PMG), which searches more than seven million Instagram hashtags in order to uncover the world’s most stunning routes.
As part of PMG’s research, they discovered that the Great Ocean Road in Australia is the most beautiful road trip in the world, followed closely by the Big Sur in the United States and Jebel Hafeet in the United Arab Emirates.
Vietnam extends condolences to Indonesia over sunken submarine
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on April 26 sent a message of condolences to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi over the sunken submarine KRI Nanggala-402.
Indonesia’s Antara News Agency reported that KRI Nanggala-402 became untraceable on April 22 during live torpedo training exercises off the Indonesian holiday island of Bali.
The 40-year-old submarine was found split into three pieces on the sea bed after five days of search efforts. All the vessel’s 53 crew have been confirmed dead./.
HCM City cancels fireworks celebrating National Reunification Day
Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong on April 26 cancelled the fireworks display celebrating the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday, to prevent any spread of COVID-19 given the complex of the pandemic in neighbouring countries and the world.
The city leader asked the Department of Culture and Sports to review preparations for other activities to mark the special occasions, with pandemic prevention and control measures to be strictly implemented.
He also requested that local departments, agencies, and localities remain vigilant in fighting the pandemic, while working hard to control illegal immigration, thus ensuring safety during the holidays and also the upcoming general elections.
The city has gone 73 days without any community transmission of COVID-19. It remains at risk of an outbreak, however, due to complex developments of the pandemic in Thailand and Cambodia.
Held every year on this occasion, 15-minute fireworks displays had been planned at five venues on April 30./.
Top legislator holds working sessions with NA committees
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on April 26 held working sessions with the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs and Committee for Legal Affairs.
At the working session with the Committee for Social Affairs, the top legislator lauded the committee for its initiatives during the 14th tenure, saying it has taken the lead in consulting the public.
He asked the committee to review the legal framework on the organisation and operation of the legislature and its agencies, as well as delegations of NA deputies and People’s Councils.
The committee should draw up a project to improve its operational quality and efficiency across spheres, he said.
During another working session with the Committee for Legal Affairs, Hue attributed successes of the 14th NA to contributions of the committee.
He also stressed the need to have a long-term strategy in law building in order to ensure the leading role of the NA in legislative activities, and a synchronous legal system./.
No COVID-19 cases logged on April 27 morning
Vietnam documented no COVID-19 infections in the past 12 hours to 6am on April 27, making the nation’s tally unchanged at 2,852 cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
The health ministry’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department said that, a total 2,516 COVID-19 patients have been given the all clear. The death toll remains at 35.
Among those under treatment, 13 have tested negative for the virus once, 15 twice, and 20 thrice.
There are 38,919 people having close contact with confirmed cases or entering Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions under quarantine at present, including 518 at hospitals, 23,409 at concentrated facilities, and 14,992 at home.
According to the ministry, a total 259,736 frontline workers nationwide received COVID-19 vaccine shots as of 4 pm on April 26.
In a bid to live safely with the pandemic, people should strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.
Localities intensify COVID-19 prevention measures ahead of holidays
Increased pandemic prevention measures have been noticed in cities and provinces nationwide, as the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labour Day (May 1) holidays approach.
Strict fines are imposed on people without facemasks in public places in Ho Chi Minh City, the local authorities said in an urgent direction issued on April 26.
Accordingly, public-awareness-raising communications on COVID-19 and pandemic prevention and control measures have been ordered, with restrictions in place for mass gatherings. Those involved in organising illegal entries in the city also face strict punishments.
The same day, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Xuan Dung emphasized a high risk of new outbreaks during and after the upcoming holidays at a meeting of the municipal Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on April 26.
He urged the active implementation of pandemic measures that prioritise early detection, quick quarantine, and effective treatment. Wearing facemask is a must in public areas and on public transport vehicles; and events that gather a large number of people are restricted.
The capital will continue its vaccination drive correctly, safely, and efficiently, according to Dung.
Also on April 26, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long had a working session with the Can Tho People’s Committee, asking the Mekong Delta city to soon complete its national-level COVID-19 treatment hospital and prepare for complicated developments of the epidemic in the future.
For the work to be done, he assigned the Can Tho General Hospital to collaborate with localities and the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Can Tho also needs to establish a 400-bed COVID-19 treatment hospital in Phong Dien district that is capable of accommodating up to 800 beds when necessary, the minister underscored./.
13th National Party Congress’ outcomes informed to Japanese Communist Party
Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Le Hoai Trung on April 26 chaired a teleconference to inform the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) on the outcomes of the 13th National Party Congress.
Attending the meeting on the Japanese side was Vice Chairman of the Presidium of the JCP and head of its International Department Ogata Yasuo.
Trung thanked the JCP Central Committee and JCP Chairman Shii Kazuo for extending congratulations on the success of the congress and the re-election of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
He briefed the Japanese side on outcomes of the congress as well as main contents of the congress’ documents regarding various issues such as socio-economic development, Party and political system building, Vietnam’s foreign policies and future development orientations.
Trung underlined that the congress has an important significance, with the continued application and development of the Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh thought. It set the goal of developing the country to 2025 and 2030 with a vision to 2045, he added.
He said that Vietnam continues implementing the consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism, diversification of external relations, active and proactive integration into the world, maintenance of a environment of peace and stability, thus enhancing the country’s position and prestige on the international arena.
Trung affirmed that the Communist Party of Vietnam attaches importance to the traditional friendship with the JCP as well as the Vietnam-Japan relations, while expressing his hope that the two Parties and countries will continue to strengthen their partnership in the new situation.
He proposed a number of specific orientations and measures to promote the relations between the two Parties and nations in the near future.
For his part, Ogata Yasuo once again congratulated the CPV on the success of the 13th National Party Congress, saying the information of the congress’ outcomes to the JCP shows the Party, State and people of Vietnam’s appreciation for the JCP as well as the friendship between the two countries’ people.
He agreed with Trung’s proposal on the promotion of bilateral relations, expressing his belief that under the leadership of the CPV, Vietnamese people will successfully implement the congress’ Resolution and gain new achievements in national reform and socialism building, thus playing a positive role in consolidating peace, security and development in the region and the world.
At the meeting, the two sides also discussed a number of regional and international matters of shared concern./.
Miss H’Hen Nie in the hot seat at Miss Universe Vietnam 2021
Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 title holder H’Hen Nie has been selected to join the panel of jury at the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021.
H’Hen Nie will join Vo Thi Xuan Trang, principal of John Robert Powers school, and Dr Le Diep Linh, doctor of anthropology, to judge contestants at the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021, said organisers of the beauty pageant.
H’Hen Nie, who was crowned Miss Universe Vietnam 2017, was one of the five final contestants at Miss Universe 2018. She has actively taken part in social activities and inspired young girls to live a healthy lifestyle.
The beauty queen is considered to be a suitable figure in the hot seat who can provide expertise, connect and assist contestants in performing their role throughout the contest.
The announcement of the jury was made several days before current Miss Universe Vietnam title holder Nguyen Tran Khanh Van leaves for Miss Universe 2021, one of the big four major international beauty pageants.
For the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021, organisers said they are receiving applications from April 23 to September 8, 2021.
Contestants will be selected in many localities across the country, including Hanoi, Long Hai, Vung Tau, Da Lat, Bao Loc, and Ben Tre.
The final round will take place in Long Hai, while Ho Chi Minh City will play host to the semi-finale and finale of the contest.
Dong Hoi boosts night-time tourism through walking street
The inauguration of a pedestrian street in Dong Hoi city in the central province of Quang Binh on April 23 is anticipated to diversify tourism products, accelerate service and trade activities, and develop a strong night-time economy moving forward, according to local authorities.
The inauguration of the pedestrian street will be part of a series of other activities which are being held within the framework of Dong Hoi Culture and Tourism Week 2021.
After being suspended for a year due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the occasion is set to be held between April 23 and May 2, with plenty of cultural, culinary, and artistic activities taking place, such as a street carnival, a traditional boat racing on the Nhat Le river, a Bai Choi singing festival, art performances, and traditional folk games.
Hoang Thi Thanh Nhung, vice chairwoman of the Dong Hoi City People’s Committee, said the city has now completed all necessary infrastructure and decorated the pedestrian street area. This has been done whilst ensuring the safety of all residents and visitors who can come to enjoy a unique cultural space at night, especially to mark the occasion of the upcoming Reunification Day on April 30 and May Day (May 1) holiday.
Vinh Phuc: wartime bomb moved out of residential area
The Military High Command’s sapper force in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on April 25 moved a bomb weighing 340 kg from a residential area in the province’s Vinh Yen City to a safe place.
The bomb, measuring 40cm in diameter and 125cm in length, was found 2.5m underground on April 20 when workers dug the foundation of a house on Ton Duc Thang Street.
Locals living in the dangerous area with a radius of 500m around the spot where the bomb was unearthed were evacuated to safe areas. During the process of transporting the bomb, people living along the route were also evacuated to ensure safety.
Businesses, organisations, and temporary markets nearby were asked to close on the day the bomb was moved./.
Tien Giang takes measures to supply water to more households
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has taken measures to supply water for daily use to more households in areas affected by saltwater intrusion to ensure no one has to buy water at high prices.
For its eastern region, which includes the districts of Go Cong Dong, Go Cong Tay, and Tan Phu Dong and Go Cong Town, it has drilled seven borewells at a cost of more than 10 billion VND (434,000 USD), according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It undertook 23 projects for installing pipes to carry water from pumping stations in My Tho City to areas in the east without tap water.
The eastern region now has 198 water pumping stations with a capacity of 98,640cu.m a day that supply 17,804 urban households and 118,266 rural households.
At the beginning of this dry season, which lasts between December and May, the province had finalised plans to set up 103 public water supply sites to provide free water to 6,516 families living in the east in rural and remote areas, outside sea dykes, along the coast, near estuaries, and in fields that do not get tap water and have difficulty getting water for daily use.
It has so far set up 41 of them to supply 1,400cu.m a day, and will set up the rest when the situation worsens.
It has instructed coastal districts to strengthen advocacy about storing freshwater appropriately and using it carefully.
In the islet district of Tan Phu Dong, which is severely affected by saltwater intrusion during the dry season, 1,500 of the 11,800 local households do not get tap water.
But 12 pipes with a total length of 24.2 kilometres have been laid to supply water to the three coastal communes of Phu Dong, Phu Tan and Phu Thanh this year.
The district has also set up five free public water supply sites to benefit households in Phu Tan Commune.
It has pumped water from rivers when the salinity is below 2 grammes per litre into ponds for storing it.
These have helped resolve the shortage of water, Bui Thai Son, Secretary of the district’s Party Committee and Chairman of its People’s Committee, said.
Fireworks to be held in Vietnam on Reunification Day
Firework displays will be organised in many provinces and cities to welcome Reunification Day and May Day Holiday.
A firework display will be held in six locations in Hanoi from 9 pm to 9.15 pm on April 30. High altitude fireworks will be held at Hanoi Post Office in Hoan Kiem District and the Flower garden in Son Tay Town. Low altitude fireworks will be held at the Headquarter of Hanoi Moi Newspaper, Thong Nhat Park, My Dinh National Stadium and Van Quan Lake.
Quang Ninh People’s Committee announced that low-altitude fireworks for 15 minutes will be held at Cam Pha, Ha Long and Dong Trieu. Cua Lo Town in Nghe An Province and Quang Tri Province will also hold a firework display to launch the sea and island tourism season 2021.
Vo Trong Nam, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports said the city will hold firework displays at four locations, including Saigon River Tunnel, Landmark 81 Building, Dam Sen Park, and Can Thanh Commune, and Can Gio District.
A series of cultural and sports events will be held in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Reunification Day and May Day. Ho Chi Minh City authorities encouraged individuals and businesses to fly the national flag during the holiday.
Ha Long beach to open soon
A beach in Ha Long City in the northern province of Quang Ninh will be opened on May 1.
The artificial beach, the first public one in Ha Long City, is 900 metres long and nearly 100 metres wide, running along Tran Quoc Nghien Road.
Tran Quoc Nghien Road connects to other famous tourist sites like Quang Ninh Museum, Library, October 30 Square and Ha Long Flower Park.
People in the Hon Gai area often come to local unlicensed beaches or beaches in the Bai Chay area for swimming. With the high demand of the public, Ha Long authorities decided to open a beach in the Hon Gai area.
The beach is part of a VND680 billion (USD29.56 million) project to upgrade areas around Tran Quoc Nghien Road. Of this funding, VND100 billion has been used for the beach investment.
Ha Long authorities are seeking public opinion for the name of the beach based on the three proposals Ha Long, Hon Gai and Hong Gai.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Son, vice chairman of Ha Long City People’s Committee, most of the surveyed opinions have preferred the name Hon Gai so far.
Job market shows strong signs of recovery
Vietnam’s job market showed strong signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2021, opening up various opportunities for workers, especially highly-skilled workers.
The labour market has been steadily recovering since early in the year, according to data from Adecco Vietnam, with the number of job openings in March rising 40% against January. Growth in job applications was 26%.
Sectors seeing an increase in hiring demand in the quarter included Engineering and Manufacturing, Energy, IT, E-commerce, Electronics, Semiconductor Design, Civil Engineering, and Industrial Construction.
The combination of global supply chain shifts and the positive impact of free trade agreements will offer new prospects for Vietnam’s economy into the future, leading to a significant increase in employment opportunities and hiring demand, said Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Adecco Hanoi’s Recruitment Manager.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the labour market in Q1 was livelier than in the same period last year, according to the municipal Centre for Human Resources Forecasting and Labour Market Information (FALMI).
Its figures show that there were over 44,000 job vacancies and nearly 19,500 jobseekers in the southern economic hub during the period, increasing local human resources demand by 13.14% year-on-year. The majority of vacancies (70.38%) were in the services sector, followed by industry (29.51%) and agriculture (0.11%).
The centre forecasts that the city will need between 68,600 and 73,500 workers, mostly in the fields of IT, electronics and electricity; mechanics and automation; healthcare and medicine; accounting and auditing; finance, banking and securities; real estate; and tourism, lodging and catering services.
Adecco Hanoi Office Director Nguyen Thu Ha explained three main reasons contributing to the current situation. The first is the Government’s successful efforts in virus prevention and containment, she said. Second, businesses have gradually ramped up their operations and are eager to bounce back after a period of economic stagnation. Third, in terms of psychology, people now are better able to take care their health and cope with coronavirus anxiety.
FALMI said that demand for trained workers in HCM City made up 85.72% of the total, including 22.19% for university graduates or higher.
Commenting on the labour market outlook for 2021, Andree Mangels, General Director, Adecco Vietnam believed that the recovery of the economy and the global trends of digitalisation will open up opportunities for skilled workers.
A recent survey from the Adecco Group on shifts in workplace expectations in the post-pandemic world indicate that 82% of participants appreciate the strict hygiene regulations at work.
Other noticeable expectations among workers are flexibility (80%), adequate facilities for remote working (79%), investment in technology (77%), financial support policies (77%), and regular updates on business plans and performance (75%).
Various activities prepared for Reunification Holiday in Quang Ninh
About 18 cultural activities will be held in Quang Ninh Province during the coming Reunification Day Holiday.
This is a part of the 27 events to stimulate the tourism industry in Quang Ninh from April 30 until mid-May. Some of the highlights are the opening of Hon Gai Beach and Ha Long-The Gathering of Wonders Show.
Ha Long Carnival also returns and will be held on Tuan Chau Island on April 30, Hon Gai on May 1 and FLC Ha Long Resort on May 2. Former Miss Vietnam beauty queens will join the street performance along with various well-known singers and artists. A fireworks display will be held at three locations.
Along the Tran Quoc Nghien Street are the martial art show, I Love Ha Long photo exhibition, street music, kite flying contest and other activities. Some other summer events in Quang Ninh are Three Regions Circus Gala 2021 in Cam Pha City, Tay Ethnic Culture Day in Tien Yen District and the 60th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Co To Island.
Tourism firms that participate in the stimulus programme have also offered various discounts. Quang Ninh is expecting 500,000-550,000 tourists for the Reunification Holiday.
Pham Ngoc Thuy, director of Quang Ninh Department of Tourism said, “We have worked with other parties to ensure the human resources and equipment for the programme. We have also inspected hotels and other facilities where the main events will be held to keep the prices stable and to ensure a pleasant holiday for visitors.”
Vietnam should be cautious about reopening doors to international tourists: McKinsey
Vietnam should not take risks and reopen its doors and border gates to international tourists until the country reaches herd immunity through widespread Covid-19 vaccination, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Many opinions have thrown their support behind the proposal to reopen doors to boost travel and trade, while the firm said in its recent report that Vietnam should ensure there are no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases and should not allow free travel until the country reaches herd immunity.
Following this method, Vietnam’s tourism sector can recover in 2024 thanks to the domestic tourism segment, which regained its growth momentum last year after social distancing was lifted. The travel demand will continue to accelerate and recover quickly, according to the firm.
Local tourists who are not allowed to take foreign trips will alter their plans and opt for tours in Vietnam and spend more money than they did in 2019.
Vietnamese visitors spent US$5.9 billion on tourism in foreign countries in 2019. This is a big chance for local tour operators to tap the local tourism market, according to the report.
The consulting firm also suggested tourism firms offer more luxurious tours to tourists and reduce the prices of their products to stimulate travel. The reduction should not be a long-term solution, said McKinsey & Company.
The firm also presented some solutions to help Vietnam and other countries maintain the status of having no new locally-infected Covid-19 cases during their recovery process, including taking the domestic travel demand into account, considering setting up prices, applying digital technology and offering new experiences to tourists.
Besides, tour operators should also grasp information about the travel demands of international tourists and meet safety regulations to be ready to serve foreign visitors before Vietnam reopens its doors.
Those who organized illegal exit on NA chairperson’s flight to stand trial next month
The HCMC People’s Court will hold the first-instance hearing early next month for eight people who had earlier helped nine people travel to South Korea on a flight transporting a delegation of the then National Assembly (NA) chairperson in late 2018.
Among the eight accused, three were indicted for allegedly organizing the illegal exit from Vietnam, comprising former director of GVA Company Le Thi Lieu, an ex-official of a magazine under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Tran Thi Tuyet and former director of TD Vietnam Education Consulting and Training JSC Luong Manh Hung.
Five others were charged with allegedly mediating so that the nine could go abroad, the local media reported.
On August 6, 2018, the NA’s Foreign Affairs Committee asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to make a list of enterprises accompanying the NA chairperson to China and South Korea. The Ministry of Planning and Investment assigned the Foreign Investment Agency and the Investment Promotion Center-North Vietnam to do the job.
The schedule changed and the delegation visited only South Korea from December 4 to 7, 2018.
However, nine people of the delegation did not return to Vietnam after the trip. Six of them were helped by Lieu and her accomplices to illegally escape to South Korea.
In early 2018, Lieu made contact with Hoang Anh, a resident of Nghe An who was living in Germany, and discovered that many residents in Hoang Anh’s hometown wanted to travel to South Korea for work. Through Trinh Bang Dung, Hoang Anh introduced Lieu to some of these people, who had to pay US$10,000 each to be taken to South Korea.
The accused agreed that Dung would collect US$11,500 each to earn profit.
After hearing the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s news, Lieu directed her employees to prepare dossiers and complete procedures so that she and her customers could be a part of the NA’s delegation.
She asked her customers to wear formal clothes and learn information about the companies they represented. Once in South Korea, under the pretense that they had to meet their partners or go shopping, they took back their passports and stayed on to look for jobs.
According to investigators, Lieu earned more than VND700 million from these people.
Sapa woos tourists with big stimulus programs
The People’s Committee of Lao Cai Province in collaboration with the Sapa Tourism Association has launched a big tourism stimulus campaign to attract more visitors to the northern mountainous region.
The program, themed Huong Sac Lao Cai (The Beauty of Lao Cai), received a positive response from some 100 tourism businesses, including hotels, homestays, car agencies and tourist spots in Sapa town in Lao Cai Province.
Discounts offered by all the units range from 20%-70% and will go on from April 10 to December 31, the local media reported.
Trinh Xuan Truong, chairman of the People’s Committee of Lao Cai Province, said that this is the largest-scale stimulus program to ever be implemented by Lao Cai to date.
The committee, along with Lao Cai’s Department of Tourism, will accompany districts and towns as they organize various programs and extraordinary tourism activities imbued with the highland’s cultural identity throughout 2021, painting a colorful and attractive picture of Lao Cai and offering a rich experience for tourists.
Pham Cao Vy, chairman of the Sapa Tourism Association, expects the program to be a hit among tourists, helping local tourism, especially tourism businesses make a quick recovery and flourish.
So far, Lao Cai’s tourism stimulus program has been receiving positive feedback as booking rates toward the end of April across Sapa alone have reached 80% and up to 100% for the upcoming holidays of April 30 and May 1.
Aside from the unprecedented discount program, lots of exciting events and festivals will be held throughout 2021 to give tourists an unforgettable experience in Sapa.
UK education and technology on roadshow in HCMC
The British Consulate-General in HCMC in collaboration with the British University Vietnam, NashTech Vietnam and Study in Wales on April 23 organized the “UK Education and Technology Roadshow” in HCMC, following its success in Hanoi, Danang and Haiphong.
The double-decker bus visited four universities–the University of Greenwich Vietnam, the University of Science – Vietnam National University HCMC, the Hong Bang International University and the University of Economics and Finance HCMC.
More than 1,200 students in the city had the opportunity to learn about studying in the UK and the skills needed for future work from two Chevening alumni: Nguyen Thi Phuong Nghi (Master of Philosophy in Therapeutic Science at the University of Cambridge) and Ton Nu Tuong Vy (Master of Education and International Development at the University College London).
The UK Government’s Chevening Scholarships Officer was also present at the roadshow to provide more information about the scholarship such as the selection criteria, the number of scholarships per year and the benefits of being awarded the prestigious scholarship.
Besides, the roadshow also provided information about studying in the UK and tips to choose suitable programs based on the strengths and interests of students.
In case students prefer to study in Vietnam, there are also domestic programmes to pursue recognized UK degrees, which can offer value for their future career paths.
British technology company NashTech also spoke about job opportunities at the company as well as the desirable skills employers look for in an international working environment.
Speaking at the event, British deputy consul general in HCMC Sam Wood said education, technology and skills training are key pillars in the UK and Vietnam bilateral partnership.
“I hope that the students in HCMC learned more about joint-training programmes, scholarships and career opportunities after graduating. Whether you want to acquire world-renowned valuable skills in the UK, or receive a UK-recognized degree in Vietnam, the UK has it for you,” Wood said.
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and partner organizations, Chevening offers full coverage for a one-year Master’s degree at any university across the UK.
Music performance to be held in complete darkness in HCMC
A special music performance will be held in complete darkness at the SOUL Live Project Complex in HCMC on April 25, enabling the audience to focus entirely on the experience provided by music and the word.
“Music In The Dark” promises to be an evening where music has more emotional power because all visual distractions will be eliminated.
Studies show that some 70% of all the body’s sensory receptors are located in the eyes. Therefore, when listening to music in the dark without any stage effects, the audience can explore the purity of sound.
In the dark, music becomes the only language. Listeners may find it unfamiliar at first but music will gradually touch every corner of their soul in a surprisingly enchanting way.
The main highlight of the event is the performers’ vocals as an amazing instrument capable of conveying a wide range of emotions. Whether as a solo or in combination with another voice or all together as a choir, the human voice has incredible power.
This concert features vocal students, teachers and ensembles, both accompanied and unaccompanied, from the Soul Music & Performing Arts Academy’s Faculty of Music. With the theme of “HOME”, the songs offer diverse forms of vocal music for different combinations of voices.
This is the fourth year that “Music in the Dark” is being organized. The event also serves as an opportunity for the community to support charitable causes, including assistance for blind people.
The concert is not suitable for children under 10 years of age and begins at 7 p.m.
20 streets in Thu Duc City named after historical figures, famous people
A road naming ceremony of 20 arterial streets and new residential areas in Thu Duc City after historical figures and famous people was held at the Thu Thiem new urban area yesterday under the witness of leaders of HCMC and Thu Duc City and delegates.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Thu Duc City People’s Committee Mr. Hoang Tung emphasized that this was considered as a meaningful activity to express respect and commemorate the great contributions by historical figures to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the country.
The event contributes to the implementation of urban and administrative management and creates favorable conditions for organizations and individuals in the economic, cultural and social transactions in Thu Duc City.
According to Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, former Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee and Head of Ho Chi Minh City’s delegation of National Assembly deputies, the event was also a great honor for families as well as deep gratitude for the previous generations who had made great contributions to the fight, construction and defense of the country.
Besides, the street naming ceremony aims to mark the 46th anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30, 1975-2021).
Accordingly, 20 streets in Thu Duc City were named after famous and historical figures namely To Huu, Tran Bach Dang, Nguyen Thien Thanh, Bui Thien Ngo, Tran Van Sac, Nguyen Dinh Thai Ly, Ho Thi Nhung, An Tu princess, Luu Dinh Le, Tinh Trieu, Bach Dong On, Pham Van Ngon, Dang Binh Thanh, Dang Dinh Tuong, Duong Lam, Duong Thanh, Tran Quy Kien, Tran Duc Thao, Nguyen Thi Thich and Nguyen Thi Diep. The street naming is based on Resolution No. 86 / NQ-HDND dated December 9, 2020 of the People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City on the addition of street names and road naming in HCMC.
Attending at the ceremony were former Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Head of Ho Chi Minh City’s delegation of National Assembly deputies Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan; alternate member of the Party Central Committee, member of the Standing Committee of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Secretary of the Thu Duc City Party Committee Mr. Nguyen Van Hieu; Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Ms. Phan Thi Thang;
HCMC to hold culture-art activities to mark National Reunification Day
Ho Chi Minh City has planned a series of culture and arts events to celebrate the upcoming National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1).
According to Vo Trong Nam, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports, a photo exhibition on Vietnam’s border areas at Lam Son Park in District 1 will kick off activities on April 26.
On April 28, an exchange with witnesses of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign is scheduled. The campaign liberated the south of Vietnam, paving the way for the country’s independence and reunification after 21 years of separation.
There will also be ceremonies to bestow the Hero of People’s Armed Forces title upon recipients and to announce the Prime Minister’s decisions on recognising Can Gio district as a new-style rural area and Thach An commune as an island commune under the administration of HCMC.
The department’s pop music centre will hold a special concert on the evening of April 29, while the local Police High Command’s brass band will perform on the evening of April 30, both on District 1’s Nguyen Hue walking street.
A host of activities are also set for May in celebration of President Ho Chi Minh’s 131st birthday on May 19.
Vietnamese publisher releases internationally-famous books
After making an effort to purchase copyright, the Youth Publishing House released a series of books for children along with the National Geographic Kids’ scientific book series.
These books with good content and design not only bring vivid knowledge to children helping them to learn more about the world around them but also are a way to nurture reading habits for families.
The Youth Publishing House has translated books into Vietnamese. For the first time in Vietnam, five volumes of the National Geographic Kids scientific books including Human Body; What Would Happen?; Explorer Academy; Do not read at midnight have been released.
The books with coherent presentation of scientific information, accurate and interesting illustrations are very interesting ensuring that readers will not miss any knowledge. Along with that are the images beyond small readers’ understanding. After reading, small readers will build up a useful mind map by themselves, with outstanding scientific knowledge retention.
Another set of scientific books including eight books to be released on this occasion is My Science Castle. The eight books are about animals to plants such as how eggs hatch into chicks; Why do whales migrate; Why does the seed sprout in the spring; How tadpoles turn frogs; How do our bodies work; Is black bear dangerous; How do caterpillars turn butterflies.
The book series is the first adventure in natural history sharing with readers the amazing world of science with its up-to-date knowledge, eliciting curiosity, curiosity and desire to explore for each child. The stories are attractive from beginning to end, clarifying all questions of children. The book ‘How our bodies work’ will answer them: How do we smell and taste food? How do we hear and look? Why do we have teeth? What is the skeleton for? Why do we have muscle? Why do we have skin? How does the brain work?
The book sets including Horrible Histories, Horrible Science, Horrible Geography, The Knowledge has published more than 40 titles and more books will be released as predicted. They are designed to get children interested in science by concentrating on the trivial, unusual, gory, or unpleasant.
Most small readers are excited about science after reading these series of books such as Horrible Science, Horrible Geography, and Horrible Geography.
Parents can’t miss books of Om Books publisher such as Wait for Your Turn, Never Give Up, I am not scared, Let’s Shake Hand, Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?
Restaurant reported on overpriced bill
Accordingly, on April 23, 2021, a tourist with the Facebook account Van Le visited a seafood restaurant named Thap Ba 86 (located at the address of 29 Pham Van Dong Street of Nha Trang City).
After listening to the recommendations from the restaurant, Van Le decided to order 3 seafood dishes, with the price ranging from VND200,000 to 420,000 per kilo (approx. US$8.7-18.3). The whole meal was captured and posted on Review Du Lich Nha Trang Forum. This meal was bill VND1,460,000 in total ($63.6).
The tourist annoyingly said that he had already asked for the detailed price of each seafood kind before ordering, yet in the end he was still billed illogically. Among them, the price of sweet snail was the most unacceptable, at VND1.8 million per kilo ($78.4).
Explaining the situation to the local authorities, Nguyen Van Luong – the restaurant owner – first confirmed that the discussed bill was from his restaurant. He further stated that sweet snails in his restaurant have diverse sizes, some of which are extremely large and unique in the city (18-19 snails per kilo). This leads to such a high input price of VND1.2 million a kilo ($52.3). Therefore, the retail price mentioned above is not at all overpriced.
He also displayed the bills of other customers as an illustration, one of which was over VND9 million ($392) for a meal including 2.4 kilo of sweet snail.
Van La said that he had visited the People’s Committee of the ward where the restaurant was sited right on that day, but had been instructed to contact the special tourism-support hotline of the province instead, since this organization was not authorized for such matters.
However, Nguyen Thi Le Thanh, Deputy Director of Khanh Hoa Province Department of Tourism, shared that the concerned tourist did not report the case to the above hotline.
HCMC focuses on tourism advertising plan
The tourism sector of Ho Chi Minh City will focus on promoting safe tourism destinations and services, including shopping, healthcare, agriculture and resort.
To create more new and attractive tourist products, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism established survey teams to connect new products and tours, tourism routes on the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) as well as for other holidays in the year.
Besides, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism planned to develop new mid-term and long-term tourist products to meet the needs of domestic and foreign tourists. Ho Chi Minh City also focuses on attracting travelers from provinces and cities nationwide to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa.
On the same day, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Da Nang in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism launched the “Back to the miraculous heritage domain” program to promote and attract tourists to experience the beautiful landscapes of four provinces and cities. The program aims to recover the tourism industry after the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, the contents were released at a brief meeting between the Municipal Department of Tourism and press agencies about tourism stimulus programs and the development of HCMC in the coming time yesterday.
Ca Mau-Nam Du-Phu Quoc high-speed boat route to be resumed
Phu Quoc High Speed Boat Joint Stock Company (Phu Quoc Express) will resume operation of Phu Quoc high-speed boat in Ca Mau-Nam Du- Phu Quoc route on the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1).
Particularly, the maritime tourism routes of Ca Mau- Phu Quoc, Ca Mau- Nam Du, Nam Du- Phu Quoc, Phu Quoc- Ca Mau, Phu Quoc-Nam Du, Nam Du- Ca Mau will operate daily from April 29 to May 3.
From May 4 to August 15, Ca Mau- Phu Quoc, Ca Mau- Nam Du and Nam Du- Phu Quoc routes will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and routes of Phu Quoc- Ca Mau, Phu Quoc- Nam Du, Nam Du- Ca Mau will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Earlier, the Phu Quoc High Speed Boat Joint Stock Company put the Phu Quoc high-speed boat into operation on Ca Mau-Nam Du- Phu Quoc route in July 2020.
That is the first sea-island tourism route of Ca Mau Province, contributing to the tourism development of Ca Mau Province. However, the route was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
50% Vietnamese travelers are willing to travel in May and June
The newly launched “insight snapshot” by Outbox Consulting show that 50% of local travelers are intending to travel in May and June, among them, 40% are more interested in sightseeing and cuisine.
Summer is considered as one of the most important travel seasons of Vietnam tourism. In the current context when the country is making effort to contain Covid-19 pandemic while boosting economic growth, the success of this peak tourist season will be decisive for the recovery of Vietnam’s tourism industry.
The insight snapshots entitled “Vietnamese Travel Behaviors – Summer 2021” conducted by Outbox Consulting shows that half of those surveyed are willing to travel this summer, especially in the coming May and June. Over 30% all travelers start looking for travel information three to four weeks before their trip and social media is the main source of information for their trips.
Covid-19 has changed the behavior of tourists almost completely. According to the survey, price is the most important factor affecting decision-making at a destination, accounting for 30% of all mentions.
Travelers of Gen X (aged 41 to 56) and Gen Z (aged 18 to 24) consider price as the most important factor when choosing a travel agent. Meanwhile, Millennials (aged 25 to 40) tend to be more generous when traveling as they take more into account the travel agent’s reputation, customer service and feedback from friends/relatives about tour quality.
In addition, service quality and safety account for over 30% of all mentioned factors determining travelers’ satisfaction at a destination. Also, the research showed that 42% independent travelers book accommodation first before any other services.
Contrary to the fussy tour selection trend of Gen Z and Millennials, travelers of older generation seem to be more reckless in choosing a tour. They don’t need up to a month to plan where to travel. While the younger generation of tourists, aged between 18 and 40, tend to be pickier about their destination as they usually take about one to two months to decide where to travel.
“Du Lich Viet, Vietravel & Saigontourist are three most popular travel agents trusted by package-tour travelers,” the Outboxs’ insight snapshot showed.
Unlike conventional long-format analysis reports, the “insight snapshot” displays important information prominently to help readers easily get an overview of research results and focus on data. It is considered an initiative of Outbox Consulting to help both individuals & businesses in the tourism industry understand Vietnamese in terms of who they are, their travel preferences, travel motivations, and their behaviors during the planning and booking for a trip in summer 2021.
USAID-supported forest service project generates US$120M for Vietnam annually
The eight-year project increases transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in payment for forest environmental services.
A forest service project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2012-2021, enables Vietnam to generate roughly US$120 million per year.
The USAID Vietnam Forests and Deltas project on climate change program that costs US$31.4 million and implemented by Winrock International helps Vietnam’s transition to climate resilient and low-emission sustainable development, according to the US Embassy in Hanoi.
The news was released on April 22 to mark the completion of the project and launch the new USAID Sustainable Forest Management project and USAID Biodiversity Conservation project with the attendance of Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Ha Cong Tuan and USAID Acting Mission Director Bradley Bessire.
The project supported MARD to successfully implement the Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system at the national scale.
The project supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to successfully implement the Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system at the national scale.
The annual earnings of approximately US$120 million help finance the management of roughly six million hectares of Vietnam’s forests.
The PFES system contributes to increasing incomes and living standards for hundreds of thousands of people living in the mountainous areas who receive payments to protect forests.
The project also helps MARD expand the PFES system to increase its transparency, efficiency and effectiveness through application of electronic payments in disbursing funds and enhancement of monitoring and evaluation.
In addition, the project trained about 350,000 people on climate change adaptation, forest management and livelihoods development and helped over 200,000 people implement climate change risk reduction practices in the Mekong and Red River Deltas.
Over more than eight years of implementation at the national level and in the provinces of Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Son La, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Lam Dong and Long An, the project achieved significant results, receiving wide recognition from the government of Vietnam, local communities, and other related stakeholders.
Airlines urged to tighten COVID-19 preventive measures
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) have issued a telegram urging both airports and airlines to strengthen their supervision over passengers wearing face masks in terminal areas, especially during Reunification Day on April 30 and May Day on May 1, along with the upcoming summer season.
This move comes following several passengers flouting rules regarding the wearing of face masks in quarantine areas at airports, despite regulations being put in place, thereby increasing the risk of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic spreading via aviation hubs.
The CAAV has therefore requested that all airports and airlines remind passengers in the terminal area to strictly abide by regulations regarding wearing face masks as a means of preventing the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airlines have been urged to refuse to transport passengers who fail to fill in medical declaration forms and those who disregard epidemic prevention rules, while strictly punishing individuals who violate these rules.
At present, local airlines have entered the peak season in terms of meeting the growing travel demands of passengers during the upcoming holidays with the number of travelers anticipated to see a 40% increase compared to the same period from last year.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Fruit exports to the US thrive
Vietnam’s fruit exports reached about 1 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, up 10 percent compared to the same period last year. Of the figure, exports to the US – Vietnam’s 4cond-largest fruit and vegetable market – accounted for 30 percent. The market’s potential is expected to grow in the time to come.
Growth is expected to continue in the future due to increasing market demand.
The US is Vietnam’s second-largest fruit market, after China. It imports about 150 million USD worth of fruit each year. While the figure is rather modest, it is still significant in creating a driving force for fruit growers to improve the quality to meet the requirements of other demanding markets.
Greater profit margins will create fiercer competition in the market. The price of Vietnamese fruit, meanwhile, is always higher than in countries such as Thailand.
Prices are expected to fall in the time to come, though, as more enterprises invest in post-production facilities and irradiation areas. This will be a foundation for enterprises to cooperate more strongly to sustainably exploit markets./.
SMEDF expects to directly provide loans for SMEs from this year
The Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (SMEDF) expects to deploy direct lending for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from this year.
This will help SMEs access the Government’s preferential capital through many different forms, according to the ministry.
At present, this fund has often provided loans through the entrusted banks and financial supports for SMEs.
The SMEs enjoying those loans including start-ups, and enterprises in industrial clusters and value chains will take loans via five entrusted banks by the fund.
These five commercial banks are Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV); Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB); Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB); HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HD Bank) and Bac A Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Bac A Bank), reported the Vietnam News Agency.
The lending rate of those loans in April 2021 was 2.16 per cent per year for short-term loans and 4 per cent per year for medium and long-term loans to overcome difficulties in production and business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the duties of receiving, managing and using financial sources, domestic and foreign entrusted capital to create capital to support the development of SMEs, the fund has more capital for SMEs.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, early this month, the SMEDF had a meeting with those banks to evaluate the implementation of indirect lending in 2020. They have also set this year’s disbursement target for loans providing for eligible SMEs.
The fund has also organised activities to improve operation ability of SMEs, such as seminars, training, consultancy and investment promotion.
Up to now, the capital from the SMEDF’s lending programme has been used effectively. The enterprises with the loans are operating well with many production and business expansion projects being implemented as planned, so the enterprises have repaid principal and interest.
Tax watchdog eyes further reforms in the next ten-year period
The tax watchdog was eyeing further reforms in the 2021-30 period with focus on simplifying tax procedures and applying information technology in management to contribute to improving the business climate and bringing Viet Nam to the top 30 in the world in terms of the ease of doing business.
Director of the General Department of Taxation Cao Anh Tuan said that the tax reform strategy in the 2021-30 period aimed at two goals, improving and synchronising tax policies to implement socio-economic development goals and developing a modern and streamlined tax system that operates efficiently.
Tuan said that reforms must ensure the stability, sustainability and transparency of the tax collection revenue while seting up a competitive economic environment appropriate to the country’s integration and development process.
The highest goal of reforms was to promote production and increase the competitiveness and encourage Vietnamese enterprises to participate in global value chains to create high added value.
Accordingly, the corporate income tax would be kept stable at 20 per cent as currently to the end of 2025 and adjustments could be put under consideration from 2026 depending on the Vietnamese economy’s situation and the global context.
Regarding value added tax, it was necessary to narrow down the subjects for tax exemption to expand the tax base, from 20 categories of goods and services in 2025 to 12 in 2030.
He added that the efforts would be made to speed up the development of an e-government towards a digital government by 2030 and bring Viet Nam to the top 50 countries in the world and third in ASEAN in terms of e-government and digital economy.
The Ministry of Finance recently asked the General Department of Taxation to continue to strengthen the application of information technology in tax management. Specifically, priority would be placed on expanding the application of electronic invoices, electronic tax payment, registration fee payment and individual tax payment.
By 2022, the tax watchdog targeted that all administrative tax procedures would be conduct electronically with connection to the national public service portal at level 4.
Phi Van Tuan, Deputy Director of the General Department of Taxation, said that it was important to keep a close watch on the compilation of tax policies to ensure that the administrative reforms really create a more favourable environment for taxpayers and there would be no new procedures.
Currently, the tax watchdog was developing circulars and decrees to guide the implementation of the Law on Tax Management No 38, Tuan said, adding that close watch was being placed on the process to ensure that no new procedures arise in the new circulars.
The General Department of Taxation’s report showed that electronic tax declaration was implemented in all 63 provinces and cities nationwide. The tax watchdog also cooperated with 50 commercial banks to facilitate electronic tax payment and refund.
Gov’t affirms FDI’s important role in Vietnamese economy
The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector continues to be an important economic driver, contributing to making Viet Nam more prosperous, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said.
At the connections for development forum 2021 with the theme ‘Presenting opportunities and challenges from the movement of FDI flows in the new context’ co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and newspaper Vietnam Economic Times on Monday in Ha Noi, Minh said since 1987, along with the process of renewing and opening up the country’s economy, the Law on Foreign Investment had been enacted. The country had seen three FDI waves, which had made the FDI sector present in many important industries and contribute significantly to the overall socio-economic development of the country.
As of December 2020, over 33 years of developing and attracting FDI, Viet Nam has 33,070 FDI projects with registered capital of more than US$384 billion, of which about $231.86 billion has been disbursed.
In order to successfully attract FDI in the new context, the Deputy PM said the Government would focus on solving four issues.
Firstly, Viet Nam would be determined to maintain a stable socio-political environment, considering it a competitive advantage of the country in the context that the world has many unpredictable uncertainties and it is difficult to forecast the COVID-19 pandemic.
Second, the country would focus on improving the quality of institutions and legal policies towards enhancing transparency, soundness, safety and efficiency as well as improving the governance and macroeconomic management of the State to attract high-quality FDI inflows and enhance the competitiveness of the economy.
In addition, the Government would encourage and support domestic enterprises to enter into joint ventures, contribute capital and purchase shares of FDI enterprises in projects using high and new technologies and supporting industries to master technology, manage and develop national products.
Third, the Government would prioritise investment in infrastructure development to create smart and efficient connections to help reduce transaction costs and enhance the competitiveness of businesses, investors and the entire economy.
In particular, the Government would encourage investment in education and science and technology, considering it an engine of growth for the country in the coming decades.
Finally, together with investment attraction, provinces and cities would organise and support investors to build their projects effectively and promptly through reforming the business environment and administrative procedures, especially in land clearance.
Minh expected the measures would help reduce investment costs for investors and strengthen their confidence besides supporting domestic enterprises to develop and participate more deeply in the global production and distribution chains.
Vietnam not impacted by ban on importing 13 types of Algerian fruit
The Algerian Ministry of Trade has recently informed the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance about the updated list of suspended fruit imports into Algeria during the harvest time, according to the Vietnam Trade Office based in Algeria.
In total, there are 13 types of fruit, including oranges, tangerines, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, grapes, pears, apples, almonds, figs, pomegranates, camellia, and quince, which are subject to the list.
The decision has been made with the aim of protecting domestic production, along with intensifying control over imported fruit as part of efforts to avoid billing over real value, whilst simultaneously ensuring food safety quality for the health of consumers.
Due to the nation not exporting these types of fruit to the North African country, there will no effect for Vietnamese farmers. In fact, this ban was initially introduced and applied by Algeria back in July, 2020, whilst they are among one the few countries globally not to be a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
COVID-19 crisis may be opportunity for Vietnam’s agricultural trade: Experts
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the global economy and created unprecedented trade uncertainty and challenges for all sectors, but from the crisis may come opportunity for Vietnam’s agricultural trade, experts have said.
At a workshop held by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and the Australia – Vietnam Economic Reform Programme (Aus4Reform Programme), Do Lien Huong from IPSARD said that although the agricultural sector suffered a decline in agricultural trade last year, it maintained a trade surplus of 10 billion USD.
There are challenges for Vietnam’s agriculture since the country has no particular support policies for the sector while demand in traditional trade partners such as China and the US are falling.
“The pandemic highlighted shortcomings in the agricultural sector and imposed stringent requirements on uniform policies as well as production and cultivation methods,” Huong said.
She stressed that the agricultural sector could find new markets if changes are made in a timely manner.
According to Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Hoai Nam, the shipment of seafood in 2020 fell 1.9 percent year-on-year due to increasing input costs and labour shortages.
In the first quarter of 2021, however, seafood exports inched up 6.9 percent from the same time last year.
Nam said that Vietnamese firms may have opportunities to promote exports and gain greater market share in the time to come as large markets such as the US, Japan, and China are increasing imports while competitors like India and Thailand are struggling with spiralling pandemic outbreaks.
Regarding the production and trade of fruits and vegetables, Chairman of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Nguyen Thanh Binh said production and shipments have fallen since 2019 as a result of the US – China trade war and COVID-19, but he believed they will bounce back this year.
It is necessary to promote production links and form a sustainable value chain to improve food safety, quarantine, and origin traceability, he suggested, adding that localities and businesses should focus on large-scale production and the application of advanced technologies and good practice standards such as VietGAP and GlobalGAP.
Other experts held that State agencies should provide businesses with full market information and raise awareness about import-export activities.
In addition to expanding markets and adjusting the export market structure, the State should also outline measures to stimulate the economy and support companies in production and business.
According to Director of the Legal Department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dau Anh Tuan, Vietnamese enterprises expect support from the State, including exemptions from corporate income taxes, extensions on tax payments, and reductions or extensions on social security payments, among others./.
Workplace productivity improvements needed for economic competitiveness: Expert
Vietnam must look to improve national workplace productivity if it wants to promote its economic competitiveness and growth, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.
Loc made the statement at a workshop held by the VCCI and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Hanoi on April 28, part of activities launched by VCCI to improve workplace productivity at businesses.
According to Loc, Vietnam’s workplace productivity has improved remarkably in recent years, posting a rise of 5.8 percent each year in the 2016-2020 period and exceeding the target by 0.8 percent.
The country’s growth model has gradually reduced a dependence on the exploitation of natural resources, raw material exports, low-cost labour, and credit expansion, and begun relying on the application of science, technology, and innovation, he said.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Vietnam’s workplace productivity in the 2011-2020 period rose 5.11 percent, 2 percent higher than the average in ASEAN.
Its productivity has improved significantly but is still low compared to countries such as China and India, it noted.
Kenichi Ohno from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies of Japan said with the support of international organisations such as the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), a number of productivity improvement programmes have been implemented in Vietnam over recent years, contributing significantly to boosting workplace productivity.
Vietnam should learn from Japan’s experience and tools as well as those of other Asian countries to improve its workplace productivity.
The Japanese Government and business community are willing to cooperate and support Vietnam in effectively improving productivity, he said.
Participants at the workshop also highlighted the important contribution of the digital economy to productivity and efficiency in the economy, saying that this is a new driver of rapid improvements./.
Measures to bring Vietnamese goods to the world sought
Ways to facilitate Vietnam’s development of cross-border e-commerce were discussed at a workshop on exporting Vietnamese products to the world with Amazon on April 28 in Hanoi.
The workshop was held jointly by the Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, and Amazon Global Selling.
Lai Viet Anh, deputy head of the agency, said Vietnam has the fastest cross-border e-commerce growth rate in the world.
Cross-border e-commerce continues to be an effective way for Vietnamese businesses to open their doors to global supply chains and minimise risks when traditional supply chains are disrupted or stagnant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
Last year, despite the impact of the pandemic, Vietnam’s business-to-consumer e-commerce sales grew by 18 percent to 11.8 billion USD, accounting for 5.5 percent of the country’s total retail sales and service revenue. It is eyeing annual growth of 25 percent during 2021-2025, to hit 35 billion USD.
To help Vietnamese goods connect effectively with the global market, Anh stressed the need for enterprises to engage in and adapt to the trend, besides measures carried out by competent agencies.
Assessing cross-border e-commerce as an effective export channel, acting director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan said that sales via e-commerce platforms are also one of the fastest ways for businesses, especially those of small and medium size, to build their own brands for bringing goods to the world.
Gijae Seong, Vietnam Country Manager at Amazon Global Selling, said his company hopes to contribute more to the development of cross-border e-commerce in Vietnam.
Joining hands with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in helping Vietnamese businesses develop cross-border e-commerce, Amazon Global Selling officially launched a programme aimed at enhancing support for Vietnamese sellers on their journey to the world by providing them with cross-border e-commerce knowledge, helping them set up and operate stores on Amazon, and improve their competitiveness./.
Vietnam Grand Sale 2021 to offer discounts up to 100 percent
The Vietnam Grand Sale 2021 will take place nationwide from July 1 to 31, with discounts of up to 100 percent, heard a press conference in Hanoi on April 28.
Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Vu Ba Phu said merchants can register to introduce products and services in line with regulations.
Apart from exhibitions, they can also join traditional festivals in localities to develop tourism and e-commerce and encourage cashless payments.
Last year, over 27,450 promotional programmes were held in response to the event, nearly 1,000 of which offered discounts of 80-100 percent, 1,100 60-79 percent, and some 2,500 50-69 percent.
Discounts were mostly on apparel, consumer goods, electronics, and telecommunications via supermarkets, retail networks, and electronic transaction floors.
According to the General Statistics Office, the total retail of goods and services reached 431.9 trillion VND last July, up 3.3 percent against June and 4.3 percent year-on-year.
Experts said the event will help raise public awareness about Vietnamese goods and services and provide a means for suggesting support policies for participating firms./.
Measures sought to expand export markets for farm produce
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan asked agencies within the ministry, local authorities and departments of agriculture and rural development of localities to focus on measures to seek new export markets for Vietnamese farm produce, stressing that this is a decisive factor in the country’s agricultural economic development.
Addressing a national conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on April 28, the minister underlined the need to pay special heed to building orientations for domestic and international market development for agricultural products.
Jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the municipal People’s Committee, the conference aimed to identify measures to effectively implement plans to restructure the agricultural sector in the 2021-2025 period.
Hoan said it provided a venue for ministries, localities, and businesses to share their experience and discuss ways to improve the value chain of Vietnamese farm produce in the time to come.
According to the minister, Vietnam is ranked 17th in agro-forestry-aquaculture exports in the world, with turnover hitting 41.2 billion USD in 2020, accounting for 1.95 percent of the global total. Therefore, there is major space for Vietnam to boost such exports.
Relevant ministries, sectors, localities and business associations were urged to work hard on addressing bottlenecks so as to develop agricultural product markets in the time to come. They were asked to continue negotiations to remove technical and trade barriers in key markets such as the US and the EU, while promoting negotiations to facilitate the export of fresh fruit and vegetables, aquatic products, birds’ nests, and meat to China, as well as expanding exports to Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the Eurasian Economic Union, Africa, and ASEAN, and for the Halal market.
Attention should also be paid to planning domestic production to create agricultural products that meet the requirements of fastidious countries, participants said.
They emphasised the need to strengthen trade promotion activities, bolster the application of technology in agricultural development, raise the quality of farm produce for export, while share experience, global market trends and issues relating to brand building and protection, and geographical indications with businesses operating in agriculture./.
Deputy PM lauds contributions of Japan’s financial, credit organisations
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on April 28 hosted a reception for Masahiro Yoshimura, General Manager of Business Development Department at Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), who is also in charge of managing Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).
At the meeting, Minh said the Vietnam-Japan relationship is developing fruitfully across spheres, and Japan is now Vietnam’s largest ODA supplier with about 27 billion USD.
Japan is also Vietnam’s second foreign investor with accumulated investment amounting to 60.3 billion USD, making up 15.7 percent of total foreign investment in the country.
Japan is the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam, with bilateral trade reaching 60 billion USD last year, the official added.
Minh attributed the achievements to contributions in terms of both finance and operational experience of Japanese financial and credit organisations over the past time, including SMFG.
The Vietnamese government appreciates the role of SMBC that has operated in Vietnam over the past nearly two decades, providing financial and banking services, as well as support for many major energy and infrastructure projects in the country with combined funding of about 20 billion USD.
Minh expressed his hope that SMFG and SMBC in particular will develop further and expand its investment and business in Vietnam, while continuing to work as a bridge for Japanese firms in the Southeast Asian nation.
The Vietnamese government also encourages the participation of credit organisations with financial potential, experience and capacity to help local credit organisations, the Deputy PM said, adding that he welcomed SMBC’s investment in FE Credit – a consumer finance division of VPBank, and noted his belief that the cooperation will be a success.
For his part, Yoshimura pledged that SMFG will continue to prioritise its efforts and resources to business development in Vietnam, saying he believes that the group will contribute to the growth of relations between the two countries.
He said SMBC’s investment in FE Credit is the biggest foreign invested project in the banking sector in Vietnam, which has demonstrated SMFG’s commitments to contributing to the country’s development as well as the bilateral ties for a long run.
Currently, Japan ranks third in terms of its presence in Vietnam’s banking sector, with six branches, two financial companies and 10 representative offices./.
Room for Vietnam – US post-pandemic cooperation considerable: Experts
Vietnam and the US have huge potential to boost cooperation in trade and supply chains after COVID-19 is brought under control, experts said at a conference held by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) on April 28.
According to ITPC Director Nguyen Huu Tin, Vietnam and the US have enjoyed impressive strides forward in economic cooperative ties, with the US being Vietnam’s largest export market and Vietnam being the US’s 6th-largest importer.
The US has shifted to purchasing products from emerging countries, including Vietnam.
Vietnam has affirmed its position as an important trade partner of the world’s largest economy, Tin said.
For the first time in 26 years of relations, the US is Vietnam’s largest export market, he said, adding that two-way trade in the first quarter topped 25.9 billion USD, up 33.5 percent year-on-year, with Vietnam’s exports estimated at 22.2 billion USD.
The two governments and business communities have made efforts in the past to bolster cooperation in a practical fashion and based on the complementary nature of the two economies.
Vietnam is stepping up its economic reform and international integration while enhancing win-win cooperation with the US. Meanwhile, the US has attached much importance to ties with Vietnam and encouraged its companies to set up value chains with the country and expand investment.
Thanks to the good control of COVID-19 in Vietnam, Vietnamese firms have a huge advantage over foreign rivals struggling to fight the pandemic, Tin stressed, while suggesting that improving business and production capacity and capitalising on the US market will provide opportunities for Vietnam’s economy to develop further in the time to come.
Evaluating the cooperative potential between Vietnam and the US, Alexander Tatsis, Economic Officer at the US Consulate General in HCM City, said they have witnessed advancements in their trade and foreign relations over more than two decades.
He highlighted that the US’s demand for high-quality Vietnamese products has been increasing due to changes in the global supply chain, and US firms sees Vietnam as a potential, safe investment destination post-pandemic.
Meanwhile, AmCham Vietnam Executive Director Mary Tarnowka said that Vietnamese staples like tropical fruit, rice, and fish sauce are now popular in the US.
Pointing to the complementary nature of the two economies, she underscored that Vietnam has good production capacity in the fields of agriculture, seafood, and wood processing, among others, while the US is the world’s leading materials supplier and has the strongest purchasing power.
Vietnam is an important link in the global supply chain, and the country’s development has positive impacts on the US market, she said.
Ken D. Duong, Director of the TDL International Law Firm, suggested Vietnamese firms select suitable measures to effectively access the US market, adding that small businesses should export products via popular e-commerce platforms in the US, as this helps them cut costs at a time when the number of online shoppers is increasing amid COVID-19.
Medium and large-scale firms should establish representative offices or find distributors in the US, he said.
It is also necessary for enterprises to protect their trademarks by registering them not only in the US but also in target markets, he recommended./.
Vietnam’s economic growth likely to expand 6.7 pct in 2021: ADB
Vietnam’s economic growth is expected to rebound to 6.7 percent this year despite the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in nearby countries, and rise to 7 percent in 2022, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 released on April 28, the ADB said Vietnam’s economic growth will be boosted by export-oriented manufacturing, increased investment, and expanding trade.
The growth momentum is expected to continue, thanks to ongoing reforms to improve the business environment and Vietnam’s participation in multiple free trade agreements (FTAs) involving almost all advanced economies.
Rising international oil prices and increased domestic consumption is expected to push inflation up to 3.8 percent this year and 4.0 percent in 2022, the report said, adding that faster-than-expected recovery in China and the US would significantly expand Vietnam’s trade and growth prospects.
The report said Vietnam can maintain inclusive growth by softening the pandemic’s impact on poverty and incomes.
The ADB also raised its 2021 economic growth projection for developing countries in Asia amid ongoing COVID-19 vaccine campaigns and the sharply increasing export demand in the world market.
The developing region in Asia, comprising 45 countries in Asia Pacific, is forecast to grow 7.3 percent by 2021, and 5.3 percent in 2022.
Meanwhile, the growth rate forecasted for the Southeast Asian region is 4.4 percent, down from the earlier projection of 5.5 percent due to the instability in Myanmar. The Philippines, the slowest economy in Southeast Asia last year with a 9.6-percent contraction, is forecast to grow 4.1 percent this year./.
Bamboo Airways opens three new domestic routes to Quy Nhon
Bamboo Airways officially announced on April 28 its opening of new routes from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, Da Lat city in the Central Highlands’ province of Lam Dong, and Thanh Hoa city in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa to Quy Nhon city in the south-central province of Binh Dinh.
There will be five flights weekly on the Can Tho – Quy Nhon route, four on Da Lat – Quy Nhon, and three on Thanh Hoa – Quy Nhon.
Quy Nhon’s Phu Cat Airport now hosts a total of seven routes, catering to 60 flights on a daily basis.
Vice Chairman of the Binh Dinh Provincial People’s Committee Lam Hai Giang said the opening of the new routes marks a new stage of development in provincial air passenger transport and tourism, toward its goal of welcoming 4 million arrivals by air in 2021 and 8 million by 2025.
Quy Nhon hosts more than 5 million tourists annually. Most local hotels are already fully booked for the upcoming National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday./.
Vietnam racks up nearly 1.9 billion USD in trade surplus in four months
Vietnam posted a trade surplus of nearly 1.9 billion USD in the first four months of the year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency.
The foreign-invested sector enjoyed 14.4 billion USD in trade surplus while domestic firms reported a trade deficit of 12.5 billion USD.
In the first four months to April 20, foreign investors pumped 12.25 billion USD in Vietnam, equal to 99.3 percent of the amount recorded in the same period last year.
Of the amount, nearly 8.5 billion USD was poured into 451 new projects, up 24.7 percent in value and down 54.2 percent in project numbers year-on-year.
Meanwhile, more than 2.7 billion USD was added to 263 existing projects, down 10.6 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively.
The remaining investment capital, over 1 billion USD, was used for capital contribution and share purchases in a total 1,151 transactions.
Foreign investors landed investment in 17 sectors, with processing and manufacturing absorbing the largest amount of capital (5.2 billion USD), followed by power generation and distribution (5.1 billion USD), real estate (778 million USD), and whole sale and retail sale (464 million USD).
Among 67 countries and territories having investment in Vietnam in the period, Singapore took lead with 4.8 billion USD, Japan came second with more than 2.5 billion USD, and the RoK was the third largest investor with 1.5 billion USD.
Localities that attracted the most FDI were Long An (3.3 billion USD), Can Tho (over 1.3 billion USD), and Ho Chi Minh City (1.1 billion USD).
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that the ministry will work to complete mechanisms with a view to improving business climate for foreign investors, and set up preferential mechanisms to attract investment into the fields of high technologies and source technologies./.
Quang Nam province develops sustainable marine tourism
The central province of Quang Nam has been paid due attention to the development of tourism infrastructure as the locality is looking to develop sustainable sea and island tourism products.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Thanh Hong, Quang Nam is working to create strong “brand” names for its sea and island eco-tourism models.
Quang Nam is home to renowned Hoi An ancient city, a UNESCO cultural heritage site. Over the years, Hoi An has been a top global travel destination and considered as a living museum of history and architecture.
Besides, it houses Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island) which was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in May 2009 thanks to its diverse eco-system and ancient cultural and historical sites.
Secretary of the Party Committee of Hoi An city Tran Anh said sustainable sea and island tourism development has been an inevitable choice of the ancient city.
The city successfully restore local coral reefs to serve scuba diving of visitors, particularly foreigners, he said, adding with support of advanced technologies, locals in Tan Hiep commune assisted marine reserves to recover more than 6,000 coral reefs./.
Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line to begin commercial operation from May 1
Hanoi’s first metro service running from Cat Linh to Ha Dong will start commercial operation from May 1 as directed by the Prime Minister.
Safety problems in the project have been removed, according to a report from the Ministry of Transport, adding ACT – French safety consultants – which is hired to oversee the final stages of the metro project – is expected to complete safety certification for the railway on April 28.
Travel on the Cat Linh – Ha Dong Urban Railway will be free for the first 15 days of operation.
After that, a one-way ticket will cost 15,000 VND (0.65 USD). Then, the operation unit will notify passengers of the price of monthly and quarterly tickets soon.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong Urban Railway project started in 2008 with a total investment of 18 trillion VND (782.6 million USD) and was initially expected to be completed in 2016. However, it has missed its completion deadline several times.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong line runs 13.5km with 12 stations, encompassing Cat Linh, La Thanh, Thai Ha, Lang, Thuong Dinh, Ring Road 3, Phung Khoang, Van Quan, Ha Dong, La Khe, Van Khe and Yen Nghia.
Meanwhile, Management Authority for Urban Railways Ho Chi Minh City said that two three-car trains and four six-car trains for the first metro line (Metro Line 1) in the southern hub are expected to arrive in the city between May and July.
The two three-car trains will be shipped from Japan on May 1 and reach Ho Chi Minh City in nine days. The remainders will be delivered to the city in June and July.
The trains will be on trial run from Quarter 4 this year. Within the same time, other tasks like operations, training, technology transfer, and examination will be in progress.
Metro Line 1, which is 20 kilometres long with 3 sub-stations and 11 stations, is 83 percent complete and is expected to officially open for use in 2022. It is built at the total cost of more than 43.7 trillion VND./.
CPI in April records decline of 0.04%
The General Statistics Office (GSO) unveiled on April 29 that the consumer price index (CPI) in April slipped by 0.04% compared to the previous month but rose by 1.27% from the figure recorded last December.
This latest decline in the CPI can largely be attributed to a plentiful supply of goods coupled with a low consumption demand for electricity and water.
CPI in April climbed by 2.7% against the same period from last year, while the average CPI during the initial four months of the year saw an increase of 0.89%, the lowest rise since 2016, with core inflation increasing by 0.74%.
Among the 11 main groups of consumer goods and services throughout April, a CPI decline was recorded in four categories, including restaurant and food services (down 0.13%), housing and construction materials (down 0.43%), post and telecommunications (down 0.2%), and cultural, entertainment, and tourism services (down 0.11%).
Elsewhere, the surge in the CPI could be seen in six groups, including transportation (up 0.87%), beverage and tobacco (up 0.14%), and household appliances (up 0.11%), while prices remained stable in other groups, such as garment and footwear.
According to the GSO, there are a number of other factors behind the CPI increase during four-month period, including rising rice prices and the increasing consumption demand for sticky rice and other forms of delicious non-glutinous rice during the Lunar New Year festival, known locally as Tet.
These moves have served to make rice prices during the reviewed period climb by 7.76% against the same period from last year. Experts also attributed the CPI hike to rises in the prices of food, oil and gas, and educational services.
Along with reasons for the CPI increase, experts said the slight CPI decline was also affected by the Government’s deployment of support packages for residents and businesses negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In addition, railways, airlines, and travel firms have also offered attractive discounts to stimulate tourism demand, causing travelling ticket prices to decline.
April witnessed local gold prices move in tandem with global gold prices, while the US dollar in the global market rose amid a tightening control of interest rates in the United States, along with improved prospects relating to the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Europe.
Workshop examines export opportunities for farm produce post COVID-19
Localities and businesses must focus on developing large-scale production by applying advanced technology and organic farming practices in order to generate high-quality products for processing and export, experts have said.
Do Lien Huong, deputy head of the Department of Market Research and Commodity Development, revealed that rice exports have significantly increased in recent times due to the rising global demand. In contrast, seafood and fruit exports have endured a downward trajectory due to disruption occurring in supply chains and high transportation costs.
Huong noted that despite agricultural trade witnessing a decline, it should not be considered a concern as food items remain essential goods amid the ongoing impact caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nguyen Hoai Nam, vice secretary general of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that seafood exports last year faced falls of 1.9% compared to 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 impact.
The most influential factors include the high input costs and a serious shortage of workforce caused by social distancing measures which have ultimately led to a sharp decrease in production capacity, Nam confided.
Despite these drops, local seafood exports during the first quarter of 2021 recorded signs of recovery, securing a growth rate of 6.9% compared to the same period from last year. This recovery can largely be attributed to a sharp increase in export turnover in most products and major markets.
Nam predicted that while Asian countries such as India and Thailand are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States, Japan, and China are poised to increase imports in the coming months, offering Vietnam plenty of opportunities to boost production and exports. Yet, he also noted seafood exports would be affected by high transport and input costs.
For fruit and vegetables, Nguyen Thanh Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, revealed that the import-export turnover of the products has suffered a decline since 2019, due to the dual impact of both trade wars and COVID-19.
Vietnamese production and consumption of fruit and vegetables is expected to rebound and enjoy strong growth momentum moving forward, Binh stated.
He went on to underline the need to promote regional connectivity as it forms a sustainable and highly-effective production value chain, whilst also applying high technology and Good Agricultural Practice, such as VietGAP and Global GAP in farming.
The State should provide timely market information and launch economic stimulus measures to support enterprises in order to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis, Binh noted.
The workshop was co-hosted by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) in conjunction with the Australia supports Vietnam’s economic reform program (Aus4Reform).
HCM City needs a push to become a global financial centre: conference
With a favourable business environment and rapid and steady economic growth, HCM City meets all essential conditions to become a global financial centre, a conference heard in the city on Tuesday.
The city contributes around 22.3 per cent to the country’s GDP and 27 per cent to the national budget, and attracts 34 per cent of the country’s FDI.
It has excellent financial infrastructure with numerous banks, financial intermediaries, investment funds, and financial firms that play a vital role in attracting and distributing capital.
Dr Tran Du Lich, member of the Government Advisory Group, said the city is a gateway to major financial centres and capitals in Southeast Asia, and the idea of turning it into a regional and international financial centre is not new.
However, the growth of the financial sector, especially HCM City’s, has not been consistent and the dependence on the banking system for capital has been significantly distorting the financial markets, he explained.
Key characteristics of international financial centres include a deep, liquid and sophisticated capital market, and competitive tax and regulatory regimes designed to attract foreign investment in financial services.
HCM City must become a development locomotive for the country and the key economic regions in the south, and drive the development of the Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands.
It needs to strengthen its competitiveness in terms of institutions, human resources and infrastructure.
It should continue to aim for sustainable growth by improving its competitiveness and growth quality through healthy economic restructuring, and ensure a favourable business environment for enterprises and encourage start-ups, innovation and smart-city measures.
Lich said the plan to make HCM City a regional and international financial hub should be stated clearly in the national strategic economy to ensure the National Assembly and Government could develop policies and specific mechanisms.
To turn HCM City into a financial centre requires three phases, with the first phase from now until 2025 used to complete all the necessary infrastructure for the financial centre, he said.
In the second phase until 2035 the key mission would be to complete its institutional, human resources and urban infrastructure requirements, he said.
The third phase from 2035 should develop an international financial market, he added.
Experts said with strong support from the Government and local authorities, HCM City would graduate from being a national financial centre to a regional and then international centre in future years.
Viet Nam-US trade has new opportunities post-pandemic
Viet Nam plans to further enhance trade and investment cooperation with the US, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, said a city official.
Speaking at a seminar on Wednesday Viet Nam – US Trade, Nguyen Huu Tin, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre in HCM City (ITPC), said: “US-Viet Nam trade has made impressive progress in recent years, with the US currently being Viet Nam’s largest export market.”
Last year, Viet Nam ranked sixth in the world and third in Asia in exports to the US, after China and Japan, he said.
The US is shifting from imports of goods from traditional exporters to other emerging countries, including Viet Nam. “Viet Nam is gradually asserting its position as the leading partner of the world’s largest economy,” he said.
Tin attributed the achievement to “an open, dynamic and practical cooperation” of the two countries’ governments and business communities.
The US has encouraged American enterprises to establish production and value chains between the two countries.
Viet Nam can benefit from its control of COVID-19 by enhancing trade with its partners, Tin said. Vietnamese businesses should grasp the “golden opportunity” to innovate and improve production and business capacity to exploit the US market, he added.
Nguyen Ba Thien Thu, chief representative of Registrar Corp, an FDA consulting firm, explained that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food, beverages, drugs, medical devices and cosmetic products available for commercial distribution in the US.
“Local businesses need to understand the FDA standards for exporting goods to the US market,” she said.
The FDA regulations include safety and sanitary requirements for products exported to the US. To export food to the US, businesses are required to register wirh the FDA, while complying with the new labeling regulations and the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) by FDA.
Some local businesses are facing problems reaching required standards and quality, especially on completing procedures for FDA certification.
In the future, local enterprises must have FDA certificates for their products to be exported to the US.
To reach FDA standards, Vietnamese enterprises must have input materials that meet those standards. The US market has high technical and high product quality requirements.
Experts said Viet Nam should complete its system of standards and regulations to improve the quality of exports to the US. This will promote the competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the global market.
The event was organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre in HCM City.
Experts impressed by Vietnam’s renewable energy adoption
The UK’s Financial Times on April 26 ran an article highlighting that the expansion of Vietnam’s wind and solar farms is proving crucial to powering its economic growth.
According to data from Irena, an inter-governmental renewable energy organisation, Vietnam’s production from solar and wind increased 237 percent and 60 percent, respectively in 2020, raising the share of these sources to a quarter — almost a decade ahead of schedule, it wrote.
With an average speed of more than 10 metres a second, Vietnam’s territorial waters rank in the top 10 percent of the windiest places on the planet.
The seas off the provinces of Binh Thuan and Soc Trang where developers plan to build multibillion-dollar offshore wind farms are also relatively shallow, with depths of 20 metres to 50 metres.
The author quoted Thu Vu, an energy finance analyst at the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis as saying that Vietnam’s renewable energy adoption is impressive. The higher cost of offshore units relative to onshore or nearshore wind, the expert noted.
Ian Hatton, Chair of Enterprize Energy, a UK-renewable energy company, said in order to reduce cost, Vietnam must improve its infrastructure, build substations, and lay cables along the seabed for offshore production, or finding alternative solutions. Enterprize is experimenting with converting wind energy and seawater to hydrogen.
He also noted an example of the dilemma facing low- and middle-income nations such as Vietnam. Accordingly, if they produce enough energy to meet demand without improving transmission infrastructure, additional capacity could be squandered.
But William Gaillard, Vice President of wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, believed that Vietnam has “shown a path for others to follow, adding that the combination of an attractive feed-in-tariff with ambitious installation targets and a transparent permitting process has been a critical factor in unlocking this market./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Visiting historical places helps inspire patriotism
April 30th is reunification day, one of the most important historical events of the nation. On the occasion, many people visit historical landmarks to learn more about the war and the value of peace.
The museum is also a place for younger generations to learn more about the country’s history and promote patriotism.
The Independence Palace is also an ideal place for parents to take their kids, as well as for both domestic and international tourists. It was the site where the Vietnamese Revolutionary Army won their battle.
Through such visits, younger generations can learn about the harshness and cruelty of the war and its consequences. Moreover, they will become more appreciative of peace and national sovereignty which a generation of soldiers laid down their lives for./.
Parliamentary diplomacy helps raise Vietnam’s stature in int’l arena: NA leader
The 14th-tenure National Assembly (NA) has performed its duties well in all aspects, including parliamentary diplomacy, helping to raise Vietnam’s stature in the international arena and contributing to the country’s development, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said on April 29.
At a working session with the NA’s Committee for External Relations, the top legislator noted aside from assisting the parliament in making laws, conducting supervision, and issuing decisions on important issues, the committee has coordinated the NA’s relations with other countries’ parliaments and international and regional inter-parliamentary organisations under the direction of the NA Standing Committee and the NA chairperson.
He said the committee has done a good job of advising the NA and its Standing Committee about external parliamentary relations, actively taken part in international and regional parliamentary forums, and coordinated well with diplomatic activities of the Party, the Government, and the people.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it helped the NA successfully chair the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) via videoconference last year.
In the time ahead, he requested, the committee needs to make an action plan to push ahead with reforming and improving its performance, thus helping to continue bringing into play the pioneering role of diplomacy in creating and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, mobilising external resources for national development, and promoting Vietnam’s position and prestige in line with the viewpoint on and major orientations for diplomacy stated in the documents of the 13th National Party Congress.
It should identify the focal and strategic issues, as well as the key targets in bilateral and multilateral activities with the ultimate goal of working to guarantee the legitimate interests of the State, enterprises, and the people, Hue said, demanding attention to economic diplomacy that centres on the people and businesses./.
Con Dao Island to be linked with national grid via submarine cables
The Prime Minister has approved a proposal from Vietnam Electricity (EVN) to expand the national grid from the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang to Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s Con Dao Island via submarine cables.
At a recent meeting with leaders of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the PM agreed to the project, which had been considered by relevant agencies for a period of time.
Experts held that the best solution to supply power to Con Dao Island is to expand the national grid from Soc Trang.
Solar, wind, and gas-fired power generation on the island is neither stable nor profitable enough for investors, and solar or wind energy can only serve as supplementary power sources, they went on.
Echoing that view, Chairman of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tho stressed that as the top target is to ensure security and defence, providing electricity from the national grid on the mainland is much more stable than other forms of power supply and will also minimise the impact on Con Dao Island’s environment and ecology.
Electricity demand on Con Dao, which is an increasingly popular tourist destination, has been on the rise.
The two diesel-fired power plants on the island have a combined capacity of just 12 MW, or 7 MW lower than existing demand. Major resorts and hotels must therefore equip themselves with generators.
Last November, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau provincial People’s Committee asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to propose the PM permit the consideration of the project bringing electricity from Soc Trang to Con Dao via submarine cables, and that the project be included in the medium-term investment plan for 2021-2025.
The project is set to start at the 220kV power station in Vinh Chau town in Soc Trang province and will feature 3 km of power lines on the mainland, another 15 km in shallow waters, 78 km of submarine cables, and 4.5 km of 110kV lines on Con Dao Island. It is expected to need total investment of 4.8 trillion VND (200 million USD)./.
Bac Giang improves quality of human resources
The northern province of Bac Giang has set a goal of raising its rate of skilled workers to 80 percent and the rate of those with training certificates to 27 percent by 2025.
During the 2021-2025 period, vocational training establishments in the province will provide training to 147,500 workers. The rate of university graduates gaining employment after they complete their studies is to reach more than 90 percent.
To meet these goals, Bac Giang is focusing on planning vocational training establishments in an open and flexible manner, ensuring the scale and structure of professions being offered. The province will also continue to review and arrange public colleges and schools in a streamlined way, focusing on medicine, pharmaceuticals, and health care, while introducing several vocational training support policies.
It will also upgrade infrastructure and training equipment at vocational training establishments, so they are more appropriate for the fourth Industrial Revolution.
By 2020, the province was home to 44 vocational training establishments that offered training to nearly 36,000 people each year in a total of 109 professions.
During 2016-2020, local vocational training establishments provided training to more than 155,200 people in the priority fields of industry, construction, and services (totalling nearly 87 percent).
As part of a project on improving the quality of vocational training for rural workers under the National Target Programme on New Rural Development for the 2016-2020 period, Bac Giang allocated over 43.8 billion VND in support of training 15,386 rural workers.
As of last year, the rate of skilled workers in the province stood at 70 percent, an increase of 19.5 percent from 2015./.
People living near Ea Sup Lake catch fish and lotus stems to make a living
The bountiful fish and lotus stocks in Ea Sup Lake in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk have helped people living near the lake thrive.
Located near Ea Sup Lake is a community of hundreds of households who make a living by catching fish.
Most of them hail from southern provinces and moved to the lake in 2009, hoping that catching fish and snails would improve their livelihoods.
Like many villagers, Nguyễn Văn Hưng rides a boat to the lake to catch fish at 3-4pm and comes back at 4-5am the next morning with full nets.
“I have been living here for more than 10 years. There are not many lakes in the Central Highlands region like Ea Sup where we can catch fish. We are quite happy about our life although sometimes we don’t catch a lot of fish. We earn VNĐ200,000-300,000 per day from fishing,” he told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
Phùng Văn Thanh, 53 years old, and his family moved from his hometown in the south-central province of Bình Định to Ea Sup Lake 10 years ago.
The water level in the upper and lower parts of Ea Sup Lake is high year-round so people can catch fish all the time.
“At first, we caught fish for our meals only but then the abundant source of fish here helps us make a living,” he said.
Thanh and his wife catch about 20-30kg of fish every day. Then they dry the fish under the sunshine and sell them to traders who come to their house to buy.
“Traders like the fish because of their quality. Fishermen in this area use nets, fishing rods and traditional methods to catch fish, which do not harm aquatic resources so we can stay in the fishing job for a long time,” he said.
“Ea Sup is the freshwater fish production area of the province. Fishing gives people a high and stable income. The fish are sold to provincial markets and other neighbouring localities like HCM City and Bình Dương,” he said.
Lê Hoàng Tiến, a villager, said “We release the nets to catch fish every night and pick lotus stems and lotus seed pods in the daytime.”
During the lotus season in the summer, villagers swim to the middle of the lake to pick lotus seed pods and lotus stems which can be processed to make food.
Holding a bunch of lotus stems in her arms with her body soaked in water and mud, Phạm Thị Thương said: “I did not eat anything for breakfast before I dove into the lake because a full stomach would make it difficult to swim.”
“Picking lotus stems requires skills. We must move gently in order not to make the lotus break. The pickers have to dive for several hours in the water, crawling to the lotus roots to find the stems,” she said.
Lotus stem collectors have to wake up early and stay in the lake until midday. On lucky days, they can find areas with lots of lotus and bring back 10 bunches. Each bunch is sold at VNĐ15,000 for those who want to make shrimp and lotus stem salad and pickles.
Lê Hoàng Tiến rides a boat to the middle of the lake where the water level is the highest to pick lotus seed pods.
After removing the lotus nuts from the pods, he collects 30kg of nuts each day which sell for VNĐ30,000 per kg.
“Many people in Buôn Ma Thuột City want to buy old lotus seeds and dry them for long-term preservation. Sometimes we can not collect enough seeds to meet the demand,” he said.
“Life here is hard but at least we have a job to make a living,” he said.
Giao Thuy’s school a shelter for children with disabilities
The School for Children with Disabilities in Giao Thủy District, northern Nam Định Province, has acted as a shelter for disabled children for the past 30 years.
The school is the only one in the province to cater to disabled children.
Beside regular education, students suffering many different types of disabilities were taught life skills, provided with rehabilitation, and offered vocational training.
“They are equipped with skills to be confident, integrate into the community, thereby striving to thrive in life and looking for a suitable job,” said Nguyễn Thị Oanh, the school’s principal.
The school currently has 10 teachers and 125 students mainly from Nam Định Province, as well as some from neighbouring provinces.
The teachers have to take on many jobs at the same time, both teaching and giving the students physical training, life skills, as well as helping them in daily activities and during meals.
Nguyễn Thị Kiều Diễm, one of the teachers, has to work very hard even though her class has just 10 students.
She had to help each child to follow the lesson, because it was easy for them to lose focus.
“Sometimes in class, the children talk and do not pay attention to the lesson,” she said.
“I have to stop the lesson, then walk around and correct each child’s posture, telling them how to open their mouths to pronounce each word.”
The lessons are short, but sometimes it takes an entire day or more to complete it.
Students, when first entering school, have different cognitive levels and health conditions, so teachers have to look for a suitable teaching method for all students in a class, Diễm said.
“Teachers must understand the health of each student, in order to plan accordingly. We must have love for children, patience and encouragement for students, helping them to boldly develop their own abilities.”
Bùi Thị Minh Hương, who has spent 30 years at the school, said: “The teacher is really like a mother, a friend, they must understand the cognitive and physiological abilities of each child.”
As the teachers can adjust their methods and the content of the lesson, the lessons can be subdivided and adjusted.
To save money, teachers often take advantage of old appliances as tools to help children with difficulties in mobility.
Most of the students live at the school, so three rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television and fans.
Three members of staff also stay with the students to ensure that they were studying and living safely.
As a deaf student attending 4th grade at the school, Đỗ Thị Ngọc Mai, 17, can speak slowly or use sign language to communicate with people.
“I am very happy to be taught knowledge and sewing skills here,” she said.
“I hope that after graduating from school I can find a job in a local business to make money, help my parents, especially take care of myself.”
Nguyễn Thị Oanh, the school’s principal, said Giao Thủy District People’s Committee has provided facilities for the school.
Some children with autism, after a year or two of studying at the school, can integrate and study in normal primary schools, according to Oanh.
After leaving the school, some students can follow higher levels of education and many can get jobs in factories.
In recent years, the number of students wishing to attend the school has increased. The school has called on donors to help upgrade facilities and asked local enterprises to give students jobs.
Kindergarten teacher on island dedicated to her career
Vũ Hồng Thắm, 35, decided to become a kindergarten teacher after graduating from college because she wanted to contribute to pre-school education in Vân Đồn Island District, northern Quảng Ninh Province.
In 1991 when she was five years old, Thắm moved with her family from her hometown of northern Thái Bình Province to re-settle in Vân Đồn under a Government policy to encourage people to re-settle in new living zones to redistribute the population in the country by shifting a large number of population from deltas and cities to mountainous, border and island regions.
She said all three of her sisters always encouraged each other to study hard to have a stable career in the future to help their parents, and Thắm did well in high school.
From a young age, she was gifted at singing, dancing, painting, and storytelling. Many friends told her she was suited for teaching and she agreed, so she decided to study at Quảng Ninh Province College of Teachers’ Training in 2004.
During her period at the college, Thắm was an active student and won high prizes in competitions such as storytelling, painting, camping and Mid-Autumn Festival acting.
Thắm always left a good impression on her teachers and friends, an old friend at the college said.
In 2007, she graduated and immediately applied to work as an apprentice at a Hạ Long City kindergarten.
After that, she was assigned by the city Education and Training Department to teach at Thắng Lợi Kindergarten in a poor island commune.
“The first day I went to Thắng Lợi Kindergarten, I taught the four-year-old children’s class, with only five boys,” she said.
“These boys had torn clothes and no sandals, and the first thing I did was fund a towel to clean their face, then they sat around me and sang.”
For teachers in Vân Đồn Island District, moving to the island commune under the teacher rotation policy of the provincial education sector, was a valuable experience for their career.
Each teacher experienced three to five years teaching in the island communes, teaching the educators to share and shoulder the hardships of local people.
For young teachers, working on the island brought experiences to help them mature in their career, Thắm said.
She returned to work in a Hạ Long City kindergarten in 2009 and was valued as an excellent teacher.
She received many prizes and medals such as the province-level good teacher title. For her educational project ‘Building a child-centred kindergarten in the 2016-20 period’, she was named a province-level excellent labourer.
“Thắm is a dynamic and professional teacher. She is always trusted and loved by children and their parents,” said Nguyễn Thị Loan, Principal of Hạ Long Kindergarten.
Vietnam always treasures strategic partnership with Singapore: Party official
Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Le Hoai Trung had talks via videoconference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the external relations commission of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), Vivian Balakrishnan, on April 29.
On behalf of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, Trung informed the Singaporean official about the outcomes of the party’s 13th National Congress.
He applauded the recent strides in relations between the two countries and the two Parties under their strategic partnership, affirming that the Vietnamese Party and Government always treasure and wish to further intensify the Vietnam-Singapore strategic partnership.
The official also highly valued the ties between the two Parties that have been developing in an increasingly substantive manner in many aspects such as high-level mutual visits and cooperation in personnel training.
For his part, Balakrishnan once again congratulated the CPV on its successful 13th National Congress, along with the enormous achievements of Vietnam in national development over the past years.
He also hailed the positive outcomes that the Vietnamese Party, Government, and people have obtained in combating COVID-19 and developing the economy despite the pandemic’s negative impacts.
The minister noted with satisfaction that the two countries’ relations have continued to be reinforced in all fields, and that the PAP and the Singaporean Government attaches importance to promoting the strategic partnership with Vietnam.
He called for increased contact between the countries’ leaders, noting that both sides share many similar viewpoints, including those on international issues of common concern.
Balakrishnan expressed his belief that under the CPVs leadership, the Vietnamese people will harvest more achievements to develop Vietnam into a prosperous nation.
State President visits families of contributors to national reunification in Hanoi
State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 29 visited some families in Hanoi whose members took part in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, which was the peak of the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1975 that led to the South Liberation and National Reunification on April 30 the same year.
The State leader and local officials went to see Maj. Gen. Hoang Trung Kien, who got injured on April 30, 1975 while driving a tank to the Independence Palace, which was the headquarters of the administration of the then Republic of Vietnam. Kien, now residing in Nam Tu Liem district, was the Political Commissar of the High Command of Tank and Armour before retiring.
President Phuc later visited the mother of martyr Nguyen Thai Lai in Tay Ho district. Lai laid down his life in the southern battlefield on April 26, 1975.
Talking to the two families, the President affirmed that the Party and State always keep in mind and are grateful to the heroes, martyrs, and war invalids who dedicated themselves to the cause of national liberation and reunification.
The President asked Hanoi’s leaders and local authorities to better care for revolution contributors so as to partly compensate for their sacrifice and losses.
He also expressed his hope that the families will keep adhering to the Party and State’s guidelines, policies, and laws and actively join efforts to help with the capital city’s development./.
Vietnam, Hong Kong foster collaboration
Vietnamese Consul General to Hong Kong Pham Binh Dam on April 29 was received by Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam, as he began his tenure in the Chinese special administrative region.
At the reception, the host said as Hong Kong has recovered its stability, the region’s relations with Vietnam are seeing more room for stronger development in trade, investment, tourism, and yacht industry.
In 2020, trade between the two economies reached over 24 billion USD, with Vietnam being the third biggest trade partner of Hong Kong in ASEAN.
Lauding Vietnam’s effective COVID-19 prevention and control, Lam said it is time for Vietnam and Hong Kong to seriously consider establishing a bilateral travel mechanism.
Informing her guest on Hong Kong’s quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore, she expressed her hope for negotiations between Hong Kong and Vietnam to take place so that the two can set up a similar mechanism in line with their conditions and situations. She believed it will help their residents travel easier.
For his part, Dam praised Lam’s leadership role toward developing Hong Kong into a prosperous city and an important international financial hub as well as her success in restoring the local social order and controlling the pandemic in the past year.
Speaking highly of the leader’s determination and commitment to establishing a travel corridor with Vietnam, Dam stated although thorough consideration is needed, it is a suitable time for seeking measures to ease cross-border travel restrictions, facilitating businesses and bilateral exchanges.
The diplomat took the occasion to thank the Hong Kong administration for relaxing regulations on granting student visa to Vietnam as well as committing to making similar relaxation regarding other types of visa.
He said he believes under Lam’s leadership, Hong Kong’s multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam will reap more fruitful outcomes in the time to come./.
COVID-19: Hanoi raises warning to highest level, two new cases suspected in Hung Yen
Vice Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Xuan Dung required raising the warning against COVID-19 resurgence in the city to the highest level at a meeting of the municipal steering committee for COVID-19 control on April 29 afternoon.
He noted that two F1 cases have been detected in Hanoi in connection with the latest cluster of cases in the northern province of Ha Nam, and urged relevant agencies to accelerate tracing work.
The official also stressed the need to tighten monitoring in the context of hundreds of thousands of people travelling during the April 30-May 1 holidays and returning to Hanoi thereafter.
Anyone who leaves Hanoi during the holiday is required to make health declaration when returning, he said.
Later in the evening, CDC Hanoi confirmed one new patient in connection with the case in Ha Nam.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Disease Control in the northern province of Hung Yen said two persons in the province had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in connection with the patient in Ha Nam. They have been hospitalized in the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
The Health Ministry has issued an urgent notice in the evening of April 29, requiring passengers on flight VJ133 departed from Hanoi for Ho Chi Minh City at 10:15 am on April 27 to contact the nearest medical establishment for consultation and help, and call hotlines of the Health Ministry, CDC Ho Chi Minh City and CDC Hanoi to provide the telephone numbers of those who have had made close contact with them.
On April 29, Vietnam recorded 45 COVID-19 cases, one of which was a man who developed symptoms and tested positive for the coronavirus after completing quarantine in Da Nang and returning to his home in Ha Nam. So far five other persons have been confirmed to have contracted the virus from him, including four in his family and another who later travelled to HCM City on flight VJ133. The two cases in Hung Yen have yet to be confirmed by the Health Ministry.
Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital ready to admit COVID-19 patients
The Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Saigon Medical Investment JSC and Cambodia’s Sokimex Co, stands ready to admit COVID-19 patients, its General Director Ton Thanh Tra has said.
The Cambodian Government has allowed private hospitals and medical clinics to admit COVID-19 patients provided they satisfy 11 criteria set by the Cambodian health ministry, the doctor said, adding that the hospital is now reviewing the criteria.
Apart from 30 rooms exclusively for COVID-19 patients, the hospital has prepared another 20 stand-by rooms and will expand capacity to treat 100 COVID-19 patients if necessary, he said.
The hospital has also coordinated with Cambodian authorities in COVID-19 vaccinations and helped the country with two ambulances, two drivers, and two nurses during the transportation of COVID-19 patients or suspected cases to treatment and quarantine facilities.
On April 24, the hospital and the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia visited and presented gifts to Vietnamese families in the host country that are in difficult circumstances or living in locked-down areas.
Nguyen Tri Thuc, Director of Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City, said that over the past seven years the Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital has transferred technology to Cambodia and helped the country in the training of doctors./.
Red-crowned cranes return to Mekong Delta
More than 30 red-crowned cranes have returned to the Phu My Biosphere Reserve in Kien Giang province and the Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap province after a year of absence.
A representative of the Phu My Biosphere Reserve confirmed that 30 cranes had been here for half a month.
The red-crowned cranes have returned, but have not gathered among the grey sedge. Instead they have found a quiet corner within the reserve. In the afternoon, the cranes typically fly to Anlung Pring, Cambodia to rest.
About 150 kilometres away, a family of three cranes was spotted in the Tram Chim National Park last week.
Le Thanh Cu, deputy director of the park, said that that the crane family returned from 2017 to 2019, but in 2020 they did not come back.
The Tram Chim National Park has been recognised as the world’s 2,000th Ramsar site (a wetland designated to be of international importance under Ramsar Convention) and the first in the Mekong Delta, with an area of more than 7,300 hectares. It is one of the world’s most famous stops for red-headed cranes, a factor that helped Tram Chim become a Ramsar site./.
Hanoi photo exhibition celebrates National Reunification Day
A photo exhibition is taking place in Hanoi to celebrate the 46th National Reunification Day (April 30).
The exhibition is being organised by the Thang Long-Ha Noi Heritage Conservation Centre.
On display are nearly 100 photos on historical moments in Hanoi and Saigon on April 30, 1975, which reveal the joy of people around the country after receiving news of victory from Saigon.
Notably, touching stories and memories from historical witnesses who spent years fighting for the reunification of the country are recounted within the framework of the exhibition, as a means of re-enacting history.
The exhibition is open to visitors until the end of May./.
Vietnam, Costa Rica discuss boosting ties
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son held online talks with Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Rodolfo Solano Quirós on April 29 to discuss specific ways to strengthen the bilateral friendship and cooperation, on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
The two ministers agreed to facilitate the exchange of delegations and meetings at all levels and regularly and flexibly maintain deputy ministerial-level political consultation mechanisms between the two foreign ministries.
They explored the possibility of negotiations on bilateral cooperation agreements, particularly in economy, trade, and investment, and also considered expanding cooperation in climate change response, agriculture, green energy, maritime navigation, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.
The Costa Rican Minister congratulated Vietnam on adopting effective measures against COVID-19 and maintaining economic growth.
Both sides agreed to update information on the pandemic in each country, and to step up international cooperation efforts, including the effective production and distribution of vaccines.
On regional and global issues, they pledged to work closely together and offer mutual support at the UN and multilateral and inter-regional forums, including the Forum for East Asia – Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC).
The Vietnamese side lauded Costa Rica for enhancing economic and trade ties with the region via institutions such as ASEAN, APEC, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)./.
Books on Vietnamese currency, banking system released
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) introduced two books on the history of the Vietnamese currency and of the central bank at a press conference on April 29, to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s banking system (May 6, 1951-2021).
SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said the book on Vietnam’s currency is the first-ever scientific work on the birth, characteristics, material, and socio-economic meaning of the currency in different historical periods spanning a thousand years.
Since 1945 especially, the currency can be viewed as an important historical source reflecting the struggle for national independence and reunification and the building of socialism under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
The book, which took five years to complete, features more than 1,200 currency samples, including those issued and circulated in the country from the start of King Dinh Tien Hoang’s reign in 968.
The book on the history of Vietnam’s banking system, meanwhile, highlights significant milestones, achievements, and lessons on its construction and development over the past 70 years./.
Hopes high for tourism recovery in Thua Thien-Hue
Tourism operators in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue are hopeful that business will bounce back as public holidays and the summer near and stimulus policies and new tourism products are carried out.
According to Chairman of the province’s Tourism Association Dinh Manh Thang, hotel occupancy rates are estimated at 80 percent for the April 30-May 1 holidays and this is a robust sign in the context of the tourism sector being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since many tourist destinations and accommodation facilities are offering substantial discounts while maintaining good services, this is an opportunity for domestic travellers to experience high-end tourism services.
Entrance fees to a number of local hotspots have been slashed to attract more visitors. Tourism operators are benefiting from 50 percent discounts on entrance fees at the Hue Monument Complex from March to August, while the Le Ba Dang Memory Space is offering a 60 percent reduction on ticket prices from January to June and the Alba Thanh Tan Hot Spring Resort offers 50 percent off for visitors booking combo deals from March to August.
Local hotels of three- to five-stars are offering discounts of 50 percent for all of 2021.
According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Tourism Nguyen Van Phuc, new tours and service packages have been developed in recent times, including Coming to Hue from Hai Van Quan, Discovering Your Limits with Hue, and experiencing cyclos and the “Ao dai ngu than” (five-flap robe).
Most recently, the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre resumed the firing of cannons at Hue flagpole at 8pm on Saturdays and at major celebrations.
Smart tourism has been promoted in the locality, with the best programme being “Finding the lost royal palace”. With virtual reality technology VR360, visitors are able to admire imperial architecture with their own eyes.
With the VN Guide application, meanwhile, tourists can also enjoy antiques through a 3D space at the Museum of Royal Antiques.
In response to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s “Vietnamese people travel to Vietnamese destinations” campaign, Thua Thien-Hue has joined hands with Quang Nam, Da Nang, and Quang Binh to organise various programmes to attract domestic travellers with new tourism products./.
HCM City, UNICEF boost cooperation in child care
Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan lauded UNICEF’s efforts in programmes to promote child care and protection in Vietnam.
During a reception for Chief Representative of UNICEF in Vietnam Rana Flowers in the locality on April 28, Hoan highlighted positive working results between the municipal authorities and UNICEF in implementing the “Child Friendly Cities Initiative” project, saying that this helps the city address priorities in terms of child protection, health, education, nutrition, and social care.
On the basis of results achieved in implementing the project, HCM City wishes to expand cooperation with UNICEF in Vietnam in specific programmes and projects, towards improving social services, supporting policy development, creating technical foundation and favourable conditions for child protection and care, and exercising children’s rights in line with the city’s sustainable development orientation in the future, he said.
For her part, Flowers affirmed that UNICEF is an organisation tasked with providing technical assistance for Vietnam to help the country perform governmental projects related to ensuring children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF in Vietnam is interested in and looks forward to understanding Ho Chi Minh City’s vision on issues related to children’s rights in order to complete a cooperation plan between UNICEF and Vietnam in the next five years, she said.
Flowers praised efforts and good performance made by the municipal authorities in implementing the “Child Friendly Cities Initiative” project, expressing a hope for strengthened cooperation and experience sharing between the UN agency and HCM City in solving child-related challenges in the process of building the city into a smart, modern and kid-friendly city in the future./.
Mobilising human value in national development: PM
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held a working session with leaders of the Ministry of Planning and Investment on April 28, during which he stressed the important role of the human value in national development.
Attention should be paid to mobilising and effectively using natural resources such as land, forests, sea, air and environment to serve national development, he said.
It is also necessary to make cultural tradition, history traditions and the tradition of solidarity and unity of the nation become development resources, he added.
Chinh directed the Ministry of Planning and Investment to consider internal resources a fundamental, long-term and decisive strategy, and external resources an important, essential, frequent and breakthrough factor.
He stressed the principle of “three don’ts” in addressing problems for localities, businesses and people: Don’t say “no”, Don’t say “difficult”, and Don’t say “yes” but then take no action.
Minister Nguyen Chi Dung stated that the ministry is making the Government’s action plan implementing the 13th National Party Congress’s Resolution to submit to the Government in May and mid-term socio-economic development and public investment plans for 2021-2025 to report to the Government and submit to the National Assembly as regulated.
The ministry is also building a project on development of sea-based economic linkage clusters in line with building a strong sea-based economic centre with an orientation to 2030, which is expected to be submitted to the Prime Minister in December.
An economic restructuring project for 2021-2025 and a national strategy on green growth for 2021-2030 will be developed as well in order to be submitted to the Government leader in May and June, respectively./.
Party, State guarantee resources for legal training: State President
The Party and State ensure resources for legal training to meet the requirements of judicial reform, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc told a meeting of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform in Hanoi on April 29.
The meeting looked into the implementation of a project on building the Hanoi Law University and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law into key educational institutions for training legal officers, and another on turning the Academy of Justice into a major training centre for judicial positions.
The President lauded the achievements made in implementation, which, he said, demonstrates these educational institutions’ efforts in promoting their name and prestige in legal training.
He also identified limitations in the work, saying that due attention has yet to be paid during training to the ethics and morality in judicial positions.
Phuc urged relevant agencies to create optimal conditions for these educational institutions to expand their operations, improve educational quality, and boost coordination with courts and people’s procuracy systems.
The meeting also mulled a project on solutions to enhance the control of the quality of legal training.
The President ordered the building of the project in accordance with the orientations set by the committee, and asked the Ministry of Education and Training to name a specific deadline for the rearrangement of 95 legal training establishments nationwide./.
Vietnam-China joint patrol in Tonkin Gulf ends
The patrol forces of the Vietnam Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard on April 28 finished their first joint patrol on the waters adjacent to the demarcation line in the Tonkin Gulf between the two countries in 2021.
In a phone call with a representative from the patrol force of the China Coast Guard, Colonel Tran Van Tho, deputy commander, chief of staff of the High Command of the Coast Guard Region 1, and head of the Vietnamese patrol force, stressed that both sides had coordinated closely and well performed the approved plan.
The joint patrol has contributed to promoting the fine relationship between the two Parties, States and peoples in general and between the two coast guard forces in particular.
The two sides patrolled through 13 points in the demarcation line in the Tonkin Gulf. They conducted phone discussions, and checked and monitored one fishing vessel of China and three of Vietnam, and stepped up disseminations on regulations related to fishing and COVID-19 prevention and control./.
Japan-funded energy efficiency project launched in Da Nang
The People’s Committee of central Da Nang city on April 28 launched a project on enhancing energy efficiency for local people funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Energy consumption in the city is on a rise on account of robust economic development, particularly tourism.
The project will survey the power consumption of at least 350 local houses, office buildings and hotels; install measuring devices in 70 buildings; and support 14 others in applying energy-saving solutions to cut consumption by at least 10 percent.
It also looks to strengthen education on environmental protection among elementary and secondary school students and raise public awareness of energy efficiency.
According to Homma Kazunari, Deputy Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam, via the project, Japan’s advanced technique and technology will be transferred to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, local businesses, organisations and people in the hope of forming a mechanism of using energy efficiently across the city.
The project will be carried out until 2025 at a total cost of nearly 23.6 billion VND (nearly 1.03 million USD), with 23.1 billion VND funded by JICA and close to 500 million VND sourced from the city’s corresponding fund./.
Vietnam puts great importance on youth development: NA deputy
Vietnam puts great importance on fostering the youth’s development, with more and more young people elected as deputies to the National Assembly (NA) every tenure, said Dinh Cong Sy, Vice Chairman of the NA’s Young Parliamentarians Group, at a global conference on April 28.
Sy is among around 200 young parliamentarians attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s 7th Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, themed “Post-COVID-19 recovery: A youth-responsive approach,” held virtually on April 28 – 29.
He cited the fact that Vietnam’s NA adopted the Youth Law last year, and in 2011, established the Young Parliamentarians Group which now consists of 131 members under 45, accounting for 26 percent of total legislators to the 14th NA. The group aims at strengthening connectivity among young legislators and enhancing their engagement and contribution to the NA’s agenda, he said.
He noted that the NA young deputies have been very proactive in law-making, supreme supervision and decision-making, particularly major national affairs while listening to the youth’s opinions and wishes and conveying their expectations to the NA.
They have been also working to assess the impacts of laws and policies on the youth, he said, adding that many opinions and recommendations of young NA members have been taken into account in policy and law making.
Sy held that it is very important to promote youth empowerment and participation in policy and law making and to bolster capacity building to sharpen their leadership skills.
Addressing the launch of the event, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong said the health and socio-economic shocks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted significantly young men and women all around the world. A new chapter for youth empowerment is needed and this new chapter must be at the heart of post-pandemic recovery efforts, he said.
This year’s conference focuses on preserving and fulfilling fundamental youth rights and stepping up youth empowerment across the pandemic recovery efforts; exploring the best means to promote youth participation in shaping youth-responsive recovery; providing guidance on how to reinforce education systems, maximize youth employment, and adjust health services everywhere.
It features four debate sessions, namely “Youth participation: A sine qua non for youth-responsive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” “Supporting higher and university education: A priority of the recovery agenda,” “Healthy youth beyond the pandemic” and “Economic empowerment: Transforming the challenge into an opportunity.”/.
Local film industry strives for greater professionalism
An international virtual workshop aiming to help the local film industry achieve greater sustainable development and higher competitiveness in integration was held on April 28 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Association of Film Promotion and Development (VFDA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA) of the United States, the International Language and Country Studies Institute (ILACS), and VTV Digital.
The workshop attracted the participation of plenty of foreign filmmakers, directors, and critics who shared their experience and wanted to expand their co-operation alongside Vietnamese colleagues.
Addressing the event, director Phan Dang Di noted that many Vietnamese filmmakers have been caught plagiarising material in the past, such as purchasing scripts and remaking movies, meaning that the local film industry cannot develop in a professional manner.
Local filmmakers must therefore pay close attention to scripts or the content of films in order to boost the local film industry towards greater professionalism, he noted.
Director Charlie Nguyen said he believes the domestic film industry must produce its own movies and should not rely on remaking products from foreign countries. Indeed, he said Vietnam needs a new team of enthusiastic and high-skilled scriptwriters.
Nelson Mok from Singapore’s Film Group said that Vietnamese films should aim for domestic success before recording achievements abroad.
He stressed the importance of advertisements through communications, while reminding of the recent success of “Bố già” (Old Father), not only at home but also in Singapore. Mok therefore stated that the Vietnamese film industry can gain better results in international markets in the future.
During the workshop, delegates raised concerns about copyrights issues in the country, especially when many movies are broadcast on the internet before being screened at cinemas. They therefore asked relevant agencies to implement strong punishment for such violations.
Nguyen The Ky, president of the Central Council for Theory and Criticism of Literature and Art and president of the Voice of Vietnam (VOV), said the impending Law on Cinematography will serve to create a legal corridor for Vietnamese cinema to develop domestically and integrate internationally. In addition, the completion of the law will facilitate foreign filmmakers to co-operate alongside their Vietnamese counterparts.
The workshop provided an opportunity for Vietnamese filmmakers to gain experience from the United States, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Europe, which have a developed cinema industry, said Ky.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Ministry keeps anti-dumping duty on aluminium from China
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has decided to continue imposing anti-dumping duties on certain aluminium products originating from China with a tax rate from 4.39 per cent to 35.58 per cent after carrying out the first review.
On September 28 last year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a decision to impose anti-dumping duties on some aluminium products originating from China with a rate from 2.49 per cent to 35.58 per cent.
The ministry initiated the investigation into the anti-dumping case in January 2019. The investigation found injuries to the domestic aluminium industry. Specifically, most domestic producers suffered losses, many production lines had to stop operating and a large number of workers lost jobs.
The major cause was found to be the dumping of aluminium products originating from China at margins of 2.49 per cent to 35.58 per cent.
In mid-2020, the ministry received an inquiry to conduct the first review on anti-dumping duties on Chinese aluminium products.
After the review, the ministry issued a decision on April 20 this year which took effect five days later to continue levying anti-dumping duty on some aluminium products originating from China.
On the same day, the ministry also issued a decision after carrying out the first review about the imposition of anti-dumping duty on some painted flat-rolled alloy and non-alloy steel products originating from China and the Republic of Korea. Accordingly, the anti-dumping duties of 2.56 per cent to 34.27 per cent were imposed.
April industrial production expands 24.1 per cent
Viet Nam’s index of industrial production (IIP) in April rose by 24.1 per cent year-on-year, driven by the positive impact of free trade agreements (FTA), according to the General Statistics Office.
The IIP in the first four months of 2021 enjoyed a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent, boosted by the growth of manufacturing and processing (12.7 per cent), electricity production and supply (6.6 per cent), and water supply and waste and wastewater treatment (7.5 per cent).
Key industries that recorded high increases include metal production (37.9 per cent), motorised vehicle production (32.9 per cent), and furniture production (17.6 per cent).
On the contrary, the mining sector posted a decrease of 5.7 per cent against the same period last year.
The number of labourers working in industries as of April 1 rose by 1.5 per cent month-on-month, and 1.8 per cent year-on-year.
To address inventory and promote production in the future, the Ministry of Planning and Investment proposes localities continue reforming administrative procedures, simplifying specialised inspection procedures, and implement the Prime Minister’s Decision approving the Action Plan on improving competitiveness and developing logistics services.
Sectors are advised to focus on supporting the development of the domestic markets, studying consumption stimulus policies for locally-made products, and developing supporting industries.
Vietnam could lead SE in renewable energy development: German newspaper
Vietnam will soon lead Southeast Asia in renewable energy development, Germany’s Energiezukunft highlighted in its latest article, describing the country’s energy transition as very impressive.
Vietnam is experiencing a solar boom, with 11.6 GW of power of this kind added to the national grid last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Only 105 MW of solar electricity was installed in the country in 2018, and the figure rose to 5 GW in only a year later, and even to 16.5GW in 2020, the article said, adding this is a considerable increase as compared to other nations at the same time.
As demand for energy in this Southeast Asian country is forecast to shoot up dramatically in the coming time, big players in the field have invested heavily in solar energy plants. Last summer, a 45 MW plant was put into operation in the central province of Ninh Thuan by Sharp Energy Solutions Corporation, contributing some 76 MWh per year. The firm is carrying out another five 245 MW plants in the country.
The successful solar energy story in Vietnam was sparked by a special market mechanism, which drew much interest from investors. Under the purchasing power at fixed prices, investors would sell the renewable energy they create to the grid at a fixed price – one that would more than cover the cost of investing in renewable energy facilities.
Vietnam could carry out more bidding mechanisms for solar projects, in which all renewable energy projects which are not subject to the fixed price mechanism are able to join.
The Vietnamese Government is planning to double the power capacity in the next 10 years. Accordingly, 29 percent of the nation’s electricity will come from renewable energy source by 2030, and 18 percent from hydropower.
Capacity of renewable energy is envisioned at 45 GW, much higher than the previous plan of 27 GW – the level which is achievable within 2021 or next year as the latest.
Although the energy transition is taking place rapidly, coal-generated electricity accounted for 28 percent of the nation’s total power. However, renewable energy will take the lion’s share by 2045./.
Ca Mau develops high-quality rice farming
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau will step up the application of advanced technology to expand high-quality rice material farming, according to Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Thanh Trieu.
Under the province’s planning, local farmers will cultivate rice on an area of some 110,000 ha, with an average yield of 4.7 tonnes per ha by 2025. Ca Mau will strive for a rice output of 520,000 tonnes by 2025, which is expected to then remain stable until 2030.
Trieu said the focus will be sharpened to develop organic rice materials that meet both domestic and international standards as well as promote the value chain of the food.
In the meantime, the shrimp – rice rotary cultivation model will be developed with a view to increasing the amount of certified organic shrimp, he added.
Farmers are encouraged to shift to growing high-quality rice varieties that are resilient against disease.
Figures from the department show that the local rice growing area increased to 117,390 ha in 2020 from 112,534 in 2017. The yield surged by an average of 0.64 tonnes per ha to 4.54 tonnes in 2020.
The department turned 50,000 ha of ineffective fields into cultivating high-yield rice that is resilient to climate change. In particular, it has successfully planted the grain under international organic standards./.
Bac Giang moving towards digital transformation
The northern province of Bac Giang is striving to develop information technology infrastructure for digital transformation and also the development of smart urban areas.
According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Mai Son, Bac Giang targets its digital infrastructure being able to provide an average of 14 GB of data each month per broadband subscriber by 2025, with the figure to increase to 27 GB by 2030.
It also envisages that each 100 local people will be connected to 75-100 IoT devices by 2025 and 150-200 by 2030. Consideration is also being given to the construction of an information technology industrial park.
Son said that priority will be given to building and upgrading local fibre optic lines to serve the development of broadband services and smart urban areas.
The province is striving to expand its broadband infrastructure to all villages while having more than 80 percent of households connected to cable internet by 2025.
Half of the local population are to have e-payment accounts within the next four years and all residential areas will have 5G coverage.
By 2025, the locality will prioritise digitalisation in key sectors such as education, health care, transportation, agriculture, and the environment, and develop the provincial capital Bac Giang city into a smart and modern urban area.
According to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Duong Van Thai, as digitalisation is an inexorable trend, the local Party Committee is working to issue a resolution on digital transformation right this month, having asked local authorities at all levels to join in the process.
Bac Giang province is home to 1,422 base transceiver stations (BTS), with 3G and 4G services covering the entire province. There are more than 1.77 million mobile phone subscriptions and over 1.25 million internet subscribers.
Total telecommunications revenue in 2020 topped 1.9 trillion VND (82.17 million USD). There are 658 IT and telecommunications enterprises in the province who earned over 153 trillion VND in revenue last year./.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau expanding IPs to welcome investment
New waves of investment coming to the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau will push up demand for land rentals at local industrial parks (IPs), which in turn will need to be expanded.
According to the provincial IPs management board, the province is home to 16 IPs covering a total area of 9,054 ha.
Together they house 469 valid projects worth more than 20.09 billion USD, with occupancy rates standing at 52.35 percent.
Nguyen Anh Triet, head of the board, noted that the upcoming expansion of local IPs is in line with a Government decree as well as State regulations on the management and planning of IPs and economic zones.
The board proposed the addition of eight more IPs on more than 8,120 ha in the 2021-2025 period.
In response, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tho asked relevant departments and sectors to tightly monitor the establishment and expansion of local IPs, taking into consideration their investment effectiveness and impact on the environment and social welfare.
Nguyen Khac Thanh, General Director of Tin Nghia – Phuong Dong Industrial Park Joint Stock Company, said an immediate expansion is necessary to meet investors’ demand./.
Kien Giang province eyes 12.7 percent export growth in Q2
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is aiming at 218 million USD in export revenue in Quarter 2, a year-on-year surge of 12.7 percent.
With this figure, total earnings from exports in the first half will likely top more than 355 million USD, accounting for 47.3 percent of the annual plan and up 2.3 percent year-on-year.
According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the locality pocketed more than 136 million USD from exports in Quarter 1, down 15.5 percent year-on-year.
Of the total, rice brought home 42 million USD, seafood over 45 million USD, leather shoes 27 million USD, fruit and vegetables 5.66 million USD, and other products 15.17 million USD.
COVID-19 made it difficult for local firms to ship products to traditional markets, and processors also faced a shortage of raw materials due to climate change and diseases, the department said.
However, with sound business strategies, many companies were successful in fulfilling contracts and were able to ship products to markets on the road to recovery.
Local companies also received legal documents on the application of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of WTO member states, which could affect the shipment of Vietnamese agricultural products.
The department also provided support and worked to remove bottlenecks in capital, materials, workers, trade promotion, and market development for local producers./.
HCM City lures $1.14 billion in FDI in four months
HCM City reported a foreign direct investment (FDI) influx of USD1.14 billion in the first four months of 2021, a year-on-year decline of 12.92 per cent.
Approximately $360 million was channelled into 100 new projects, primarily in commerce ($225.1 million ) and real estate ($125.8 million).
Meanwhile, $403 million was added to 30 existing projects and another $377.6 million was used for capital contribution and share purchases in a total 547 transactions.
Foreign investors pumped most of the capital in processing and manufacturing with $322 million, making up 28.2 per cent, followed by commerce with $321.2 million, real estate ($196.3 million), science and technology activities ($175.4 million), and education-training ($30.3 million).
Among 55 countries and territories investing in the city during the period, Japan took the lead with $494.4 million, Singapore second with $281.6 million, and the Republic of Korea was third with $97.7 million.
Hua Quoc Hung, head of the management board of industrial and export processing zones of HCM City, said the southern hub’s processing and industrial zones had lured $237 million as of late April, an increase of 26 per cent against the same period last year.
The municipal People’s Committee has devised a plan to meet with FDI businesses in a bid to improve investment climate and support the firms, as well as introduce major projects and the city’s investment plans for the next five years.
Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Group acquires 49% stake in FE Credit
VPBank on Wednesday signed an agreement to sell a 49 per cent stake in FE Credit to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Group (SMFG) in a transaction that values the non-bank lender at US$2.8 billion.
SMBC Consumer Finance Company (SMBCCF), a subsidiary of SMFG, bought the stake.
Through this transaction, FE Credit is expected to receive support in capital resources, management capacity and experience in the consumer finance sector in Asia from SMBC Group, especially SMBCCF – a leading consumer finance company in the Japanese market. At the same time, this transaction will add a large amount of capital to VPBank, contributing to enhancing the bank’s financial potential to capture new investment opportunities in the market.
For SMBC Group, the investment in FE Credit is part of the group’s mid-term strategy to expand its business base in Asia. SMBC Group expected that this investment would create synergy in both sharing and acquiring business know-how of its partners.
FE Credit is currently the leading consumer finance company in Viet Nam with approximately 50 per cent market share, 20,000 service referrals nationwide, and over 13,000 employees. During the development process, FE Credit has consistently carried out the mission of “meeting the need to access official credit capital of all classes of the population in order to improve the quality of life”. With small loans, FE Credit is especially focused on serving middle and low income earners – a segment which has not yet been served by banks – to help reverse their dependence on “black credit”. FE Credit has served nearly 11 million Vietnamese people through its unsecured loan products and services so far.
SMBC is one of the three largest financial and banking groups in Japan, with total assets of over $2.1 trillion as of December 31, 2020. The group operates globally in retail banking, corporate banking, and investment banking, with a presence in more than 40 countries. SMBCCF is the leading consumer finance company in the Japanese market with more than 900 branches nationwide. In the Asia region, SMBCCF has established subsidiaries in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and China.
M&A expected to soar in second half
Despite a drop in mergers and acquisitions during the pandemic, a breakthrough is expected in the second half of the year thanks to some billion-dollar deals in the making.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) report of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) in the first four months showed significant decreases in capital contributions and share purchases, with 1,151 instances (down 64.1 per cent) and a total investment of $1 billion (down 57.8 billion).
This can be explained by the fact that the economy and investment activities in the country were not yet impacted by COVID-19 in the first few months of 2020, so FDI and M&A activities were still quite dynamic during that time. Specifically, $827.3 million was poured into the economy through capital contribution and share purchases in the first two months of 2020, and the figure surged quickly to $2 billion in the first quarter and $2.48 billion in the first four months.
However, after one year hit by the pandemic, the FDI mobilisation and M&A deals’ value in the first four months of 2021 has reflected the worry of foreign investors.
“Amid the economic and financial instabilities during the past year, it is understandable that investors are holding their money and think a lot more before making any large investment decisions,” Nguyen Viet Cuong, an FIA senior expert, explained, but saying that FDI mobilisation in the first four months of 2021 was acceptable, compared to other countries.
“While there was a decline in the number of deals and M&A deal value in the first four months, the value of capital contributions and share purchases has soared by 10-30 per cent on-year,” added Cuong.
The average value of capital contributions and share purchases in the first quarter and four months of this year was estimated at $1,1 million and $870,000, respectively, while they were $793,000 and $772,000 last year.
According to the FIA, between January and April, industries like processing and manufacturing; real estate; wholesale, retail, vehicle repair; science and technology and professional activities have seen hundreds of M&A deals with hundreds of millions of dollars in value.
Singapore and South Korea were the biggest M&A investors with $265 million and $258 million these months, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan.
PDP8 expected to be tabled for government approval in June
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been asked to revise and adjust the Power Development Plan 8 to submit to the government in June.
At the meeting between ministries and relevant authorities, which was hosted by Le Van Thanh, Deputy Prime Minister cum head of the National Steering Committee for Power Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) was asked to review the draft Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8).
This masterplan was not approved in late March under the 2016-2020 government term as expected, though the MoIT on behalf of the Appraisal Council presented the report on the assessment of the draft PDP8 for the period of 2021-2030, with a vision to 2045. Accordingly, the Appraisal Council reached a conclusion that the draft PDP8 met the conditions to be submitted to the government for approval.
Previously, on March 18, the Appraisal Council organised the second meeting to vote to approve the appraisal report and the content of the masterplan. Four members agreed with the appraisal report and the master plan in full, while 22 others said they would approve the report and the masterplan if the latter was adjusted.
The report on assessment also mentioned that although the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment approved the environmental impact report of the master plan, however, it is still necessary to adjust other contents of the master plan.
EVN, PetroVietnam and National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) have also expressed concerns about the content of the draft PDP8. Notably, the masterplan does not evaluate primary energy (energy sources found in nature that have not been subjected to any human engineered conversion process) or the proportion of local and imported primary energy in order to ensure national energy security as well as problems relating to imported materials namely liquefied natural gas (LNG) and imported coal, among others.
In addition, according to the above groups, the designed power transmission system has a large capacity to accommodate the registered renewable energy generation capacity and future potential. However, there will be problems if renewable energy and power transmission projects are not implemented synchronously, which will cause waste for both the investors and the state. Thus, EVN, PetroVietnam, and EVNNPT requested further adjustments to the draft to better suit current realities
Furthermore, numerous power grid projects were named without deciding on an actual location, which may impact the land clearance process and prolong the time for land clearance compared to the timelines stipulated in the draft PDP8.
Ninh Binh proposes to build airport and remove thermal power plant
Ninh Binh People’s Committee has proposed building an airport to support tourism development and simultaneously removing a thermal power plant.
In a report submitted to the prime minister, the province requested adding its own airport to the national airport planning in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050.
According to the proposal, the airport would be constructed in 2021-2025 from private capital, with state investment only needed to construct infrastructure connecting to the airport.
The province has highlighted two potential locations for the project, in Kim Son and Yen Khanh districts.
The airport in Ninh Binh would be able to handle planes the size of A320 and A321 models to welcome tourists. According to the province, Ninh Binh has great potential to develop its tourism sector with a diverse landscape including Trang An Landscape Complex and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, among others.
The province forecast that by 2025, it would welcome 8-9 million passengers, including 2.5 million foreigners.
The province has submitted a similar proposal early this year to the Ministry of Transport.
According to the draft master plan on the development of the national airport network to 2030 with a vision to 2050, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has proposed to have 26 airports by 2030, 14 of which will be international airports. The number could reach 30 by 2050.
At present, Vietnam has 22 airports in operation, nine of which are international and 13 domestic. Seven airports are located in the north, while seven others are in the central region. The remaining eight ones are located in the south.
Along with the airport, the province is seeking the prime minister’s approval to stop the operation of the 100MW Ninh Binh Thermal Power Plant and remove the 220kV substation from the province. The thermal power plant has been operating since 1974.
Singaporean startup pours $15 million into Vietnam’s cashback market
E-commerce cashback platform ShopBack has injected around $15 million into Vietnam with a view to creating a new shopping habit for local shoppers.
Truc Nguyen, country manager of ShopBack Vietnam said that the startup unveiled its beta launch in Vietnam in late 2019 and made an official debut last August. It has continuosly improved the app and invested $15 million in the local market. To date, VND22 billion($956,520) in cashback has been given out to ShopBack users in Vietnam.
“Depending on the market conditions, user demand, and readiness of our technical and product partners, we will expand our offerings and raise more investment to make cashback a new shopping habit in Vietnam,” she said.
ShopBack is backed by e-commerce group Rakuten Group Inc., one of the better-known companies that dole out cash-back rewards for online purchases. Other investors into the startup are EV Growth, Temasek Holdings, and Credit Saison, among others. ShopBack has raised a total funding of $134 million since 2014.
The increasing number of internet users, rising internet penetration, and steady increase of the e-commerce share of total retail sales in Vietnam makes it a core and high-potential market for ShopBack. Vietnam presents a tremendous opportunity for the startup to grow and succeed in the digital space, with large marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada, Tiki, and Sendo – all of whom are its merchant partners – experiencing record-breaking growth in the past years.
The country manager said that it will focus on increasing the number of partners and clients in the next 2-3 years. With the current growth trajectory, ShopBack is likely to reach 2 million users in Vietnam.
In line of booming e-commerce demand, Vietnam has welcomed more online cashback platforms such as Finhay, Cashbag, Catback, and ShopBack. However, there are aslo some fraud cashback scams that customers need to be aware like consumer rewards app MyAladdinz. There is a key difference between legitimate players from fraudulent ones, which are operated like multi-level platforms. They require shoppers to submit money to the apps to receive rewards, after a short time they will shut down and steal all users’ money.
Proactively welcoming the fourth FDI wave
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the global economic structure, breaking production and circulation chains, promoting new technology development and “rectifying” investment flows. In that context, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam also needs to be adjusted to suit the new situation.
Entering its 33rd year of implementing the open-door policy to attract foreign capital, up to now, FDI inflows have become one of the important drivers of Vietnam’s economic growth with a significant increase in theircontribution to GDP.
By the end of 2020, the whole country has 33,070 valid FDI projects with total registered capital of over US$384 billion, the implemented capital having reached US$231.86 billion, equalling more than 60% of the total registered. FDI is present in all 63 localities in the country and is invested in 19 out of 21 industries in the national economic sub-sector. The FDI sector accounts for a large proportion of total industrial production value and the total export value of Vietnam, and revenues to the State budget have steadily increased over the years.
However, along with the positive contributions, the limitations of foreign capital flows have also been clearly revealed. Of which, the biggest limitation is the low level of connection and spread of the FDI sector to the domestic investment sector; the attraction and transfer of technology from the FDI sector to the domestic investment sector not meeting expectations, and limitations in attracting FDI in a number of priority industries and sectors and from multinational corporations. In addition, there has been a phenomenon ofsome enterprises not strictly following the law on investment or regulations on environmental protection.
According to some economic experts, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for Vietnam to actively attract new generation FDI in a more selective manner, with quality, efficiency, technology and environmental protection as the main evaluation criteria. In order to catch up with the flow of the fourth wave of FDI taking place globally, Vietnam needs to be more adaptive, proactive and creative.
At the macro level, the Government will focus on solving a number of major issues. These are to maintain the stability of the macroeconomic, socio-political environment, a competitive advantage of Vietnam in attracting FDI; focus on improving the quality of institutions, policies and laws in order to implement the policy of foreign investment cooperation with priority and selection associated with the goal of improving competitiveness, building an independent economy and prioritising investment in infrastructural development.
At local level, it is necessary to organise and support effectively and promptly investors to build projects with the fastest speeds, the shortest times and the highest levelsof effectiveness through the reform of business and administrative procedures, especially procedures for land and land clearance, and so on.
Enhancing tourism development in the new normal state
The complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic has left both types of international tourism, inbound and outbound, almost paralysed; therefore, domestic tourism has been identified as the salvation to gradually restore the country’s smoke-free industry.
The importance of domestic tourism
According to travel experts, the COVID-19 epidemic has caused the tourism sector to be full of hardships but also offered an opportunity for the sector to look back and learn lessons from the crisis. One of the most important lessons is to re-realise the importance of domestic tourism in order to balance development policies among different types. Vu The Binh, Standing Vice Chairman of Vietnam Tourism Association said that previously, domestic tourism was not considered a key branch, so did not received proper attention. The demand, preferences, trends, favourite products of Vietnamese tourists or tourism services serving Vietnamese people have not been clearly shaped. The relevant agencies should develop a strong domestic travel market even after the pandemic is controlled completely.
The statistics of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that the number of domestic tourists was only 30 million in 2011 but increased to 85 million (nearly tripling) in 2019, equal to an average growth rate of about 15% per year. Trip time as well as spending of domestic tourists is increasing by an average of 3.7 days and VND1-1.6 million. In 2015, the domestic tourists only contributed VND158 trillion to the total revenue of the sector and VND334 trillion in 2019, with an average increase of about 20.5% per year. This showed that during 2011-2019, before the pandemic appeared, domestic travel saw positive growth. Currently, Vietnam is controlling the epidemic quite well and a series of companies and travel service providers are offering promotions to stimulate demand, so the purchase of domestic tours and products has increased sharply. Airlines must continuously increase supply capacity and open more domestic routes. Many accommodation establishments in “favourite” tourist destinations have to announce “out of rooms” during the upcoming holidays. These are proof that domestic tourism is a potential market. If effective exploitation policies are implemented, this market will ensure the sustainable development of the whole sector.
In response to urgent requirements about the need to have a specific strategy to promote domestic tourism, towards increasing the resistance of Vietnamese tourism, Vietnam Tourism Association, in collaboration with the Ninh Binh Provincial Department of Tourism and Tourism Association, held the 2021 National Domestic Tourism Forum themed “Domestic tourism – The driving force to restore Vietnam tourism in the new normal state”. The event featured the participation of leaders from travel management agencies and nearly 500 enterprises around the country. At the forum, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung affirmed that in recent years, Vietnamese tourism sector has taken the number of visitors and revenue from the international market as a measure of the tourism development’s effectiveness. This is about to change. The tourism sector needs to go firmly on both international and domestic feet.
Linking and diversifying products
According to the tourism sector’s leader, four groups of measures should be implemented to develop domestic tourism. Firstly, travel businesses should soon restructure themselves and recalculate important and key aspects of domestic travel business. Secondly, it is essential to re-study the domestic tourism market. Thirdly, the linkages should be strengthened on the basis of developing unique tourism products and contributing to spreading their values. Lastly, relevant agencies should focus on gradually forming culture in destinations.
It is a fact that with international travel businesses having also shifted their attention to domestic tourism, the competition in this “territory” has become even more fierce. That situation requires tourism service providers to enhance their linkages and coordination to share benefits while finding ways to self-position their travel brands through the development of diversified but unique tourism products. According to Director of the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Quy Phuong, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the needs and tastes of tourists regarding safety, experiences of nature and the ecosystem, small groups, short time, and technology applications. Therefore, the localities and enterprises should proactively innovate, create and develop new products in line with the customers’ demand.
In recent times, several units have built new tourism products that have attracted a large number of visitors such as tours to the Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh hot springs, Ha Long Bay by seaplane, Hoa Lo Prison at night, and air balloon experiences in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District. The introduction of these new products has contributed to creating an exciting atmosphere for the domestic tourism market, bringing more options to travellers. To promote domestic tourism in Vietnam, tourism development orientations must ensure security, safety and principles of respect for the environment, harmony with nature, respect for local culture and identity, proactive adaptation to the epidemic and sustainable development.
In addition, the experts noted that the Government, ministries and agencies should make policies and solutions to remove difficulties for the enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, in facing COVID-19 outbreaks. The direct assistance includes financial support, tax exemptions and concessional loans. The indirect supports are human resources training, the promotion of common destinations. The joint efforts from all tourism service providers, management agencies and relevant ministries will create a positive ecosystem for boosting domestic tourism development, thus ensuring the operation and growth of the tourism sector in the new normal state.
Hanoi works to ‘refresh’ tourism image to lure visitors
As one of the country’s tourism markets, Hanoi is rolling every effort to ‘refresh’ the image of tourism to lure domestic visitors, with a focus on creating new experiences and strengthening connection with other localities to develop more attractive tourist products.
A night tour at the Hoa Lo Prison historical site was launched to provide visitors with a unique experience with a combination of sounds and lights which change as they walk through different rooms inside the prison-turned-museum.
Visitors will be filled with a range of special emotions, from sympathy for prisoners in the gruesome conditions of a colonialist prison to respect for their resolute resilience and fighting spirit for national independence.
According to head of the site’s management board Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, Hoa Lo Prison welcomes hundreds of visitors every year. The site has also chosen as a venue for extracurricular activities of many schools to educate their students about the country’s revolutionary tradition and patriotism.
The management board has coordinated with travel agencies to launch two night programmes at the site, which have received much appreciation from visitors.
In addition to the night tour at Hoa Lo Prison, many other new tourist products have also been launched to welcome back visitors to the capital city, including tours to explore Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Indochinese styled buildings in Hanoi, and places of interest along Red River such as Chem and Soc temples, Bo De Pagoda, Bat Trang pottery village, and Me Linh flower village.
Of which, the tour to Indochinese-styled buildings, which is designed by travel company Hanoitourist, helps visitors to gain a closer insight into typical buildings constructed in Hanoi in early 20th century, namely the Sofitel Metropole Legend, the Hanoi Opera House, the National Historical Museum, and the Government Guest House.
Meanwhile, the Hanoi Tourism Department in coordination with tourism departments of Ninh Binh, Quang Ninh, Sa La, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City recently debuted the ‘Hanoi+’ tours, which connects Hanoi with tourist attractions in the neighbouring localities.
In order to provide travellers with high-quality tourist products at affordable prices, Hanoi’s tourism sector has actively worked with, airlines, railway sector, travel associations, hotels, restaurants and management boards of tourist attractions in implementing programmes on restructuring the hospitality sector and stimulating domestic travel demand.
Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang said that after more than a year facing numerous many difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic, travel businesses want to grasp opportunities for recovery.
Therefore, the department receives enthusiastic cooperation from those operating in the tourism sector, she stated, adding that airlines have launched generous discounts for passengers, particularly for travel agents who buy tickets in bulk.
The active participation from the businesses has contributed to the building of tourism products at attractive prices while ensuring quality.
The recent Hanoi Tourism and Cuisine Festival 2021 brought together travel agents and transport businesses from 12 localities which have strong advantages of tourism, including Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh, Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Binh, and Ha Giang, among others. Around 1,000 tour packages were on sale at the event with prices seeing discounts of up to 25%.
However, after a year of falling in “hibernation” and facing great losses due to COVID-19, thousands of travel businesses and accommodation establishments have remained closed. Many of them have hesitated to “restart” because of worries that the risks may return.
Since then, as stated by Director of Flamingo Redtours Company Nguyen Cong Hoan, travel businesses are seeking for the State’s support, particularly in terms of tax and land lease payment extensions so that they are able to return to the market.
Vietnamese tourists pay stronger attention to sustainable tourism
According to a survey by Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel companies, nearly 100% of Vietnamese tourists want to stay in eco-friendly accommodations at least once.
The survey was conducted with 29,349 participants from 30 travel markets found that 81% of global travellers aspire to stay in eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable accommodations at least once. Accordingly, almost 1,005 Vietnamese tourists aged 18 years and over who participated in the survey expressed their desire for these kinds of accommodations. Meanwhile, the figure is 98% in Thailand, 90% in Singapore and 81% in the Republic of Korea.
Previously, an online survey conducted by Booking.com in July 2020, with the participation of 20,934 people from 28 countries and territories around the world, showed that over 53% of global visitors, including 59% from Vietnam, 68% from Thailand and 60% from Chinese Taipei, admitted that they pay more attention to sustainable tourism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Anthony Lu, Country & Mekong Region Head (China) at Booking.com, its study proved many restrictions enacted globally have inspired 59% of Vietnamese travellers to prioritise sustainable travel in the future. This is a positive sign that travellers will be more considerate before they make decisions about their future travels, while also being aware that any sustainable actions they take will help correct their impact on the environment. No matter how small or simple, Vietnamese visitors are believed to have a great impact on the environment and the tourism sector.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made global residents to re-evaluate their effects on their surroundings, towards sustainable travel in the future after travel restrictions are removed.
In fact, Vietnam is an advantageous country for sustainable tourism development. The country possesses nine world biosphere reserves recognised by UNESCO and over 30 national parks, including six ASEAN heritage parks that maintain their ecosystems, diversity and values of population. Notably, Vietnam owns 400 hot water resources, ranks 27th out of 156 nations with seas in the world with 125 beaches, most of which are beautiful. It is also among the 12 countries with the most beautiful bays (Ha Long and Nha Trang).
Over the years, tourism activities in Vietnam have been held towards sustainable tourism, with many resorts receiving international green certificates such as EarthCheck and Green Growth 2050, including Banyan Tree Lang Co in Hue City, Caravelle Saigon, Angsana Lang Co, Avani Quy Nhon, Anantara Mui Ne Resort and Spa, Harbour View Hai Phong and Anantara Hoi An Resort.
Long An wants companies to invest in Ring Road 3
The Long An government has proposed allowing companies to invest in a section of the Ring Road No. 3 project that will run through the Mekong Delta province aimed at speeding up the construction of the key traffic route, according to the provincial government.
The section will be 6.65 kilometers long, have six lanes and cost VND4.63 trillion. Of the total investment, site clearance will cost VND1.6 trillion, Thanh Nien Online reported.
The provincial government had earlier passed a plan allowing the Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (Becamex IDC Corp.) and Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park Joint Venture Co. to study and map out a 1/2,000 master plan for the Becamex-VSIP Service-Industrial and Urban Area project in Ben Luc District. The project is set to cover some 2,300 hectares, with some 4.7 kilometers of the Ring Road No. 3 cutting through.
As such, the investors proposed allowing them to implement the site clearance works for the 4.7-kilometer section and invest in two parallel lines in line with the master plan.
The solution was appropriate, said the Long An government, proposing the Ministry of Transport ask the Government and relevant ministries and departments for opinions so that Long An Province can hold tenders and choose investors to speed up the project.
Due to its limited budget, the province also proposed the Ministry of Transport use the capital from the central budget to develop the remaining 1.95 kilometers of the section of the Ring Road No. 3.
The Ring Road No. 3 project was approved by the prime minister in 2011. The 89.3-kilometer-long Ring Road 3 will pass through Dong Nai, HCMC, Binh Duong and Long An. As planned, the ring road would be completed by 2020, but a mere 16.3 kilometers of the road running through Binh Duong Province has been completed, accounting for 17.9% of the total length.
Number of newly-established firms in Jan-Apr hits new record
In the first four months of 2021, nearly 44,200 new enterprises were established, up 17% over the same period last year and the highest-ever recorded for the period, according to the Business Registration Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The result was positive as the number of newly-established enterprises fell over 13% in the same period last year due to the pandemic, news site VnExpress reported.
The retail, wholesale and auto and motorbike repair sectors saw the highest number of newly-established enterprises at nearly 14,700, followed by the construction sector with 5,700 companies and the processing and manufacturing sector with 5,600 firms.
However, the real estate, healthcare, social welfare, service, education and logistics sectors reported the highest growth in the number of new enterprises.
New firms registered total capital of nearly VND628 trillion, also an all-time high for the period.
According to the Business Registration Department, the increase in newly-established firms highlighted the recovery of the economy and enterprises’ confidence in the country’s economic development prospects in the coming periods.
However, the number of enterprises withdrawing from the market in the first four months of the year also increased to some 51,500, mainly the small ones. Of the total, 28,350 businesses temporarily stopped operations for a certain period and 16,400 others completed procedures for disbandment.
Firms withdrawing from the market were mainly those in the healthcare, education, mining, property and agriculture sectors. More than 91% of enterprises suspending their operations and 89% of dissolved firms had charter capital of less than VND10 billion and operated for less than five years.
According to the Business Registration Department, they were vulnerable to the pandemic. Many enterprises have chosen to suspend operations to review the development of the market, seek new business plans or wait for the Government’s support policies.
HCMC plans to borrow US$100 million from WB for eight programs
The HCMC government has proposed borrowing US$100 million from the World Bank (WB) to provide capital for its eight policy programs as the city’s budget is not enough for its development demand.
The municipal government has asked the standing board of the municipal Party Committee for its opinion on the second development policy operation program (DPO-2). This program includes eight policy sub-programs relating to the standardization of the shared database, announcement of vector-based zoning plans, increase of wastewater drainage and treatment service prices and organization of tenders for State-owned commercial housing assets for production and business purposes, among others.
According to the municipal government, the Government approved over VND42.2 trillion for the city this year, including VND14.8 trillion in official development assistance loans and VND27.4 trillion from the city’s reciprocal capital, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, the capital needed is over VND47.8 trillion. Thus, the city will face a shortage of over VND20.4 trillion.
In April 2020, the Ministry of Finance disbursed loans for the DPO-1 program and VND2.86 trillion was provided for 153 projects.
Vietnam’s outward investment in Jan-Apr soars 7.9 times
Vietnam’s outward investment in the first four months of 2021 reached nearly US$546 million, surging by 7.9 times compared with the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Specifically, 18 projects worth US$142.8 million received investment licenses and nine projects got additional capital of US$403.2 million.
Data of the ministry showed that Vietnamese companies invested in 10 sectors in foreign countries between January and April. The science and technology sector attracted the largest investment with US$279.8 million, accounting for 49.6% of the total.
Retail ranked second with US$147.8 million, accounting for 27.1%, followed by agriculture-forestry-aquaculture and supporting services.
Vietnamese companies invested in 15 countries and territories, with the United States absorbing US$302.3 million of the registered capital (accounting for 55.4%), followed by Cambodia with US$89.1 million (16.3%), France, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.
As of April 20, Vietnam had 1,417 valid outward investment projects worth US$21.8 billion. The biggest investment was poured into mineral exploitation, accounting for 36% of the total, followed by the agriculture-forestry-aquaculture sector with 15.4%.
Laos was the biggest recipient of Vietnamese investment to date, accounting for 23.1% of the registered capital, followed by Cambodia with 13% and Russia with 12.7%.
Vietnam’s outward investment in 2020 was more than US$590 million, increasing 16.1% year-on-year.
It needs objective remarks for rice export decline
There are different remarks over the good harvest and export prices of rice in the Mekong Delta but the strong decline in rice export volume. In all, subjectively, businesses have been paying more attention to improving rice quality to meet the strict standards of many markets; while objectively, the global demand for food reserves has been increasing and the prices of Thai and Indian rice have made record highs in recent years. In this context, Vietnam can “leisurely” wait for positive rice export results in the upcoming months. However, the real scenario is not quite so.
The scenario may not unfold as expected because of the following reasons.
First, it’s not known what the basis for the remark “The high global demand for food reserves has pushed up the world’s rice price”(1) is but two most prestigious agencies for global rice, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), have quite different remarks.
According to the latest forecast by the USDA, the global rice reserves early this year were large, at nearly 178 million tons. Though the volume grew insignificantly against the year-earlier period, it increased by more than 14 million tons from the same period in 2019 and was enough to meet the consumption demand over 129-130 days. Obviously, this is a scenario contrary to the period when the global rice reserves were thin, only enough to meet the consumption demand over half the time above (64-68 days in 2006-2009). For the consumption demand for up to 80 days, the time the reserves can meet this demand is equivalent to seven years (2005-2011), which was the period of the global rice price fever.
Further, the USDA also argued that the global rice growing area this year has increased quite strongly, resulting in an increase of 10 million tons of rice, not standing “the same” as in 2020.
In this situation, the global rice imports this year are forecast at only 43.7 million tons, up 1.33 million tons from 2020, while imports in 2020 were 1.65 million tons lower than 2019. As a result, the global rice imports have been on a downward trend against the record imports of 47.2 million tons in 2018.
The statistics and the forecast of FAO, albeit somewhat different, also show a similar trend in general.
Therefore, one cannot refer to certain particular phenomena to assess the global rice supply and demand as mentioned above. This is also the unpersuasive point mentioned in the scandal over rice export quotas in Vietnam early last year.
Second, the price increase by Thai rice exporters is true, but possibly because of force majeure causes, while the information about the increase of Indian rice price “past the records in recent years”(1) needs verification.
India’s rice exports in the first two months of this year increased exponentially, certainly because of the strongest price decline since the end of the global rice price fever.
According to official statistics of India, the country’s rice exports in the first two months reached 3.63 million tons, surging 84.2% year-on-year, but the average price was only US$460 per ton, the lowest since 2008.
Notably, while exports of fragrant rice fell, exports of non Basmati rice surged 162.1%. The average price of Basmati rice in the first two months was US$855 per ton, the lowest since 2017, and white rice US$353 per ton, a record low since 2008.
Meanwhile, the increase in the price of Thai rice since 2020 is due to reasons beyond the imagination of Thai rice traders, in addition to other reasons similar to those of Vietnam. They are the heavy crop losses in early 2020 due to record droughts in decades, floods which have pushed up production costs, the Thai Government’s diverse rice supports to stabilize prices and the appreciation of the baht. The synergy of these factors slumped rice exports and increased rice storage strongly in 2020. The storage is forecast to continue at a very high level this year.
This situation in Thailand, coupled with the strong price rise of Vietnamese rice, may force some customers to turn their back on Vietnamese rice and switch to the abundant supply of Indian rice with soft prices, especially white rice.
Third, the increase in the price of Vietnamese rice due to the improvement of the rice quality or Vietnamese rice exporters’ increased attention to rice quality improvement and traceability to meet strict standards of export markets like the EU, the U.S. and South Korea is certainly something true and worth cheering in terms of quantity, but it may be doubtful in terms of quality.
Statistics of the USDA show that five years ago, the fastidious markets of Europe, America and Australia accounted for 11.3% of the total of 50.8% of Vietnamese white rice exports and only 2% of the total of 44.6% of Vietnamese fragrant and glutinous rice exports (the total rice exports is 100%). However, in 2020, the share of white rice exports to these markets plunged drastically to 6.9% while the share of glutinous and fragrant rice exports increased to only 2.7%.
Nevertheless, this statement is not meant to completely negate the efforts of the rice industry, but on the contrary, it needs recognition for enterprises which have developed rice material areas and sustainable rice value chains to build a brand for rice. Still, with the possibly vast remaining rice area, it’s too optimistic to say that more and more attention is being paid to the rice quality, and so it may not be sound to say that this is the reason for the rice price increase.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Six years later, in summer 2019, I returned to Copenhagen to visit Jorgen Nilsson and his wife Ulla-Stina, my old friends. Jorgen picked me up at Frederiksberg metro station. He welcomed me with open arms: “Hello Little Na, welcome home!”
I rushed to hug him with a heart full of dear feelings. Jorgen and his wife call me Na, a nickname that my parents and close friends often call me. For them, I am always a little Na.
I first met the old couple more than a decade ago in Hanoi while they were visiting the Temple of Literature, as Vietnamese Poetry Day was taking place. They bought my poetry collection ‘ Nhung Chiec Gai Trong Mo’ (Thorns in Dreams) at a bookstore there. When they heard that the author of the collection was attending the Poetry Day at the Temple, they wanted to meet me. It was poetry that brought us together.
Their three-bedroom apartment is located on the fourth floor of an old house without an elevator in Pile Allé Street. The house faces the street and its back opens onto a spacious courtyard, with flower gardens and fruit-laden trees.
My visit was made when Ulla turned 80 and Jorgen was 86. On Sunday, August 25, their daughters, Mette and Lotte, hosted a joint birthday party for them, with around 20 guests. That was the reason I went to Copenhagen at that time.
My room in the house had a window overlooking Frederiksberg park and the Royal Danish Summer Castle. On the chair, Ulla prepared towels and a nightdress robe for me. On the table, she placed a book entitled “Tales from Moominvalley” by Tove Jansson – a famous Finnish female writer, a family album, a map of Copenhagen and an old postcard. I realised that it was the postcard I sent to Jorgen on his birthday in 2014.
In the family album, I saw a lot of my photos, which I had emailed to them over the previous years. The couple printed them and placed them next to the pictures of their own family members. They even noted down the dates of the photos in the way many parents do. My eyes were suddenly stinging but my heart was comforted. I felt relaxed and peaceful. After a long journey, I realised that I will always have a place to live in the bosom of their house.
During my stay with the Nilssons, I cooked some popular Vietnamese dishes such as fried spring roll, ‘ bun cha ’ (noodle with grilled pork), salads of vegetables and dried beef, steamed spring roll, and chicken ‘ pho’ . My hosts were impressed with the fresh and savoury tastes, particularly the sweet and sour sauce, in the Vietnamese dishes.
One day I decided to make ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ (beef noodle without broth). Literally, ‘bun bo Nam Bo ’ means southern-styled beef noodle, but someone told me that it was created by a Hanoian woman dozens of years ago. She opened a restaurant on Nam Bo (now Le Duan) Street in Hanoi, serving noodles with grilled beef, herbs, sweet and sour sauce, and pickled green papaya. Whether from the North or the South, ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ is still one of the most favoured Vietnamese dishes of people outside the country’s borders.
Jorgen Nilsson and Ulla-Stina enjoy ‘bun bo Nam Bo’, cooked by Vietnamese poet Nguyen Bao Chan during her stay with their family in 2019. (Photo: Nguyen Bao Chan)
On that morning, I joined Ulla in a walk along Vesterbrogade, a busy shopping street where we could find the ingredients needed to cook ‘bun bo Nam Bo’ . Ulla asked me whether the dish was only served on special occasions as she found that it required a lot of ingredients and took a lot of time to cook. She was surprised to know that it was just a normal daily dish in Vietnam, she surely has her respect heightened for the patience of Vietnamese women.
To cook ‘ bun bo Nam Bo’, I first thinly sliced beef, then well seasoned it with oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and finely chopped garlic and lemongrass. The beef was stir-fried on a high heat until it was just about done.
I also fried shallots, roasted peanuts, and pickled green papaya, carrots, and lettuce with vinegar, sugar and chilli.
The making of the sauce is vital as it is the soul of the dish. Without the exact measurements, I often mix fish sauce, sugar, vinegar in a sufficient amount of warm water and taste it until they incorporate well together, as the balance can depend on the brands of fish sauce and vinegar. Finally, I add pepper, garlic and some drops of fresh lime to finish the sauce.
I didn’t put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together as is often served at restaurants. Instead, I placed each ingredient in a separate dish so that the diners could mix them by themselves in their own bowls. As it is a beef dish, Jorgen opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The astringent wine mixed well with the ingredients of ‘ bun bo Nam Bo’ , creating an interesting taste.
We enjoyed a cosy dinner full of laughers and tears. I felt like I was at home and Nisson couple were my own parents. I recited to them a Vietnamese folk verse, which literally means “Whoever experiences sweetness and sourness in life together, please don’t forget each other.” They were touched and held my hands. “Na, you are like our third daughter. Thank you for this delicious meal, and thank you for coming back to us,” Ulla told me.
Despite drinking quite a lot during the dinner, I got up very early the next morning. I opened the window and heard the birds chirping from the trees at the park. The air was cold and pure. Looking down, Pile Allé Street was still quiet. The city was waking up. The sky was blushing as the first sunlight began to lighten up the intersection between Vesterbrogade and Pile Allé, gently covering the city with a dreamy golden glow. A new day had come.
I heard Jorgen making coffee in the kitchen. Then the sound of Ulla softly walking toward my room. She knocked on the door and called me in her gentle tone: “Na, let’s get up for breakfast!” – “Yes, I’m up right now,” I replied.
The aroma of coffee and bread filled the air. This city has become so familiar to me! Here the Nilssons gave me a home and a warm kitchen, where I can return any time.