Logistics sector to step up digital transformation
Logistics, considered a backbone of Vietnam’s economy, is among eight sectors prioritised by the national programme for digital transformation until 2025.
According to the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA), the sector has grown 14-16 percent annually over recent years. It now gathers together some 3,000 domestic firms and 30 others offering transnational services. Of those, 89 percent are domestic businesses and 10 percent are joint ventures while the number of foreign-funded companies represents just 1 percent of the total.
The VLA said the cost of logistics in Vietnam as a proportion of GDP is 18 percent, compared to 9-14 percent in developed countries. The high cost is attributable to limited sea port infrastructure and weak cost reduction efforts. Together with fierce competition, the digital economic boom, and pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, these have made digitisation in the sector a must.
Vietnamese logistics companies offer between 2 and 17 services, mostly in transport, warehousing, and fast delivery. About half apply technology in their operations.
Nguyen Tuong, VLA Deputy General Secretary, said investment shortages from the very beginning, difficulties in choosing suitable technological applications, a sense of distrust in technology, and a fear of change are hindering the sector from pressing ahead with digital transformation.
Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Agency of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said transformation in this core sector would trigger a similar process in other parts of the supply chain.
Experts have said that smart logistics involve master plans and strategies with the involvement of cloud computing technology, adding that it will be conducive to improving customer services, information flows, and automation.
To reduce logistics costs, Nguyen Hoang Long, Deputy General Director of the Viettel Post Joint Stock Corporation, said the engagement of both the Government and enterprises is needed. While the Government should offer planning and assistance for the building of national logistics centres, as well as preferential land and port taxes, enterprises need to invest in better management and boosting connectivity within the sector, he said.
Administration reform and capital support are also necessary for logistics firms undertaking digital transformation, insiders have said./.
US removes anti-dumping duty on Minh Phu frozen shrimp
The Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company announced on February 17 that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has cancelled a decision issued on October 13, 2020 on the imposition of anti-dumping tariffs on the company’s frozen shrimp products exported to the US.
Its CEO Le Van Quang said the latest CBP decision allows Minh Phu to continue exporting frozen shrimp to the US without being subject to an anti-dumping duty imposed on shrimp from India or any other anti-dumping duties.
Minh Phu has also been refunded anti-dumping duties it temporarily paid under the October 13 decision, Quang added.
The CBP had applied the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) to conclude that frozen shrimp products exported by Minh Phu to the US should be subject to duties in accordance with the anti-dumping order imposed on shrimp from India. It said the company did not provide sufficient evidence as requested by the CBP to prove that it was not using shrimp originating from India for export to the US.
Minh Phu decided to send an administrative complaint to the CBP’s senior agency, because the decision ignored key evidence that it had an effective traceability system and was not using raw shrimp from India for exports to the US.
In fact, Minh Phu clearly demonstrated its separation and traceability method approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the US Department of Commerce, based on its requirements for the Seafood Import Monitoring Programme.
Minh Phu successfully applied and effectively operated a high-tech shrimp farming model at its two farming areas of Minh Phu Kien Giang on 600 ha and Minh Phu Loc An on 300 ha. It has also been establishing a network of shrimp suppliers across the Mekong Delta and Vietnam’s south that use diverse models of sustainable shrimp farming./.
HCM City sees sharp fall in number of tourists
Ho Chi Minh City recorded 1,800 visitors booking hotel rooms during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from February 9 to 17, the municipal Department of Tourism reported after summarising figures from 22 of the 124 local 3 to 5-star hotels.
Tourists numbers were down sharply compared to Tet last year, primarily due to the COVID-19 outbreak right before the holiday.
Recognising that many people had decided not to return to their homeland because of the pandemic, many travel companies offered various short tours to nearby safe destinations.
Department Director Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said it coordinated with accommodation providers to manage those coming from pandemic-hit regions while strictly implementing safety standards for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Providers were also asked to ensure guest safety by applying the Ministry of Health’s message featuring 5K (in Vietnamese) Khau trang (facemask)- (Khu khuan) disinfection- (Khoang cach) distance- (Khong tu tap) no gathering – (Khai bao y te) health declaration.
Analysts have forecast that fluctuations will be seen in the number of visitors to local accommodation providers this year, which are posting occupancy of less than 10 percent./.
Hapaco eyes investment in 4-trillion-VND wind power project
The Hapaco Group JSC is planning to invest 4 trillion VND (174.1 million USD) in a wind power project in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
The project is among those to be submitted for approval at the group’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which is slated for March 14.
The meeting will also discuss an investment in building a 23-ha care centre for the elderly in the northern city of Hai Phong’s Thuy Nguyen district as well as Hapaco’s new development orientations in social housing and guest worker services.
Hapaco (stock code HAP) was one of the first listed on Vietnam’s stock market. As of December 31 last year, its total asset exceeded more than 808 billion VND.
Last year, the group reeled in 335 billion VND in revenue, an annual decrease of 11 percent. Its after-tax profit, meanwhile, hit 34.3 billion VND, up 69 percent on-year./.
HCM City: Consumer prices see slight rise after Tet holiday
Consumer prices in Ho Chi Minh City showed slight fluctuations on February 16, or the fifth day of the new lunar year and the last day of the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, with most traders in wet markets resuming business.
It is noteworthy that prices of fresh vegetables and fruit increased remarkably compared to before Tet, as consumers tend to buy more of those goods after feasting during the holiday.
Reports of the Thu Duc wholesale market said supplies of vegetable, fruits and flower are abundant at stable prices.
Besides wet markets, most supermarkets, convenience stores and shopping centres in the city are scheduled to re-open on February 17, ensuring supplies of goods when residents return to the city after the holiday.
In the context of unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city and the country, businesses in HCM City have stocked 57.5 million facemasks and 3.39 million bottles of hand sanitizer to meet epidemic prevention demands./.
Brand building – key to add value to business
Vietnam enterprises need greater efforts to build their brand names so as to better competitive edge amidst rapid integration, according to experts.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency, although the number of businesses honoured with the Vietnam National Brand increased throughout years (from 30 in 2008 to 124 in 2020), it lagged behind expectations.
Deputy head of the agency Hoang Minh Chien said the Vietnam National Brand (Vietnam Value) Programme has raised awareness of many local firms and corporations of the important roles of brand name in improving value of their products and the businesses themselves.
It is difficult to develop Vietnam brand for specific products, he said, adding despite being the world’s leading agro-forestry-fisheries exporter, Vietnam lacks in branded products in its shipments.
Up to 80 percent of Vietnamese agricultural exports are yet to have brand name. Many exports in the nation’s “one-billion USD” club such as timber, rubber, pepper and cashew nuts have not their own brand names yet, according to agricultural specialist Hoang Trong Thuy.
Chairwoman of the Ngan Ha Science and Technoloy Company Limited Pham Thi Kim Loan said a good brand is developed from good-quality products as well as fine customer service and marketing strategies.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Advice Council to the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy Nguyen Quoc Thinh stressed that besides financial resources, businesses need dogged determination and in-depth knowledge of brand building.
Chien said the Ministry of Industry and Trade will accompany enterprises to develop and popularise their brand names, adding focus will be sharpened on raising public awareness of brand development, helping businesses to satisfy criteria of the Vietnam National Brand Programme, and introducing the brands to domestic consumers and international partners.
According to the Brand Finance, value of the Vietnam Nation Brand skyrocketed 175 percent from 141 billion USD in 2016 to 319 billion USD in 2020. The country also jumped 17 places from 2016 to 33rd in the list of the world’s 100 most valuable brands compiled by the UK consultancy./.
Ninh Binh strives to host 7 million visitors in 2021
Ninh Binh has launched promotion activities on social networks, among other activities.It is also working with the provincial tourism association to mobilise travel agencies’ engagement in demand stimulus activities and increase service quality.
Ensuring related security and order, environmental sanitation, and COVID-19 prevention and control are also key tasks, noted the official.
According to statistics from the department, during the recent three-day New Year holiday, the province received more than 32,000 visitors. Most of them went to local renowned destinations like Trang An Landscape Complex – a world cultural and natural heritage site, Cuc Phuong national park, and Van Long submerged natural reserve.
In 2020 the province hosted 2.8 million tourists, equaling to just 37 percent of the 2019 figure. The reduction was largely due to the impact of the pandemic./.
Kien Giang promotes border trade infrastructure connectivity with Cambodia
The southern border province of Kien Giang has facilitated the implementation of a memorandum of understanding on border trade infrastructure development and connectivity between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Ha Tien city and Giang Thanh district have been asked to build a list of border trade infrastructure items, with priority given to connectivity with Cambodian localities, according to the Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chin.
Kien Giang has also supported trade promotion and the attraction of investments in border trade infrastructure construction.
Local competent agencies have taken measures to simplify administrative procedures in order to make it easier for traders and border residents in customs clearance.
The province has effectively implemented cooperation agreements with Cambodian localities and joined hands with the Cambodian side in national defence as well as external affairs in border areas./.
Kien Giang moves to promote marine economic growth
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has planned to further promote sustainable marine aquaculture in line with the “Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Marine Economy by 2030 with a Vision to 2045”.
Local leaders said the province will fully tap its potential and advantages to promote marine aquaculture in a modern manner in connection with tourism development, while ensuring the environment and national defence and security at seas and islands.
The plan aims to contribute to accelerating the restructuring of agriculture, promoting marine economic growth, and improving competitiveness and local incomes.
It aims to have 7,500 farming cages by 2025, including 4,700 traditional fish cages, 1,900 hi-tech fish cages, and 900 cages for breeding other seafood.
The water surface areas for cage farming and mollusc farming are expected to reach 7,000 ha and 24,000 ha, respectively.
The farming yield is to reach 113,530 tonnes and be worth 7.54 trillion VND (327.6 million USD), including 29,870 tonnes from cage farming and 83,660 tonnes from mollusc cultivation. The sector is forecast to employ 18,510 workers.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, farming areas in Phu Quoc city, Kien Hai island district, the island commune of Tien Hai in Ha Tien city, and Son Hai and Hon Nghe in Kien Luong district will focus on farming groupers, cobias, yellow-fin pompanos, and seabass, as well as blue lobster, mantis shrimp, crab, and oysters for pearl farming.
Meanwhile, coastal areas in Ha Tien city and the districts of Kien Luong, Hon Dat, An Minh, and An Bien will develop zones for farming molluscs such as blood cockles, saltwater mussels, green mussels, and oysters.
Local authorities must also fully tap the potential and effectively use the sea for farming, towards promoting agricultural economic restructuring, increasing productivity and output, and ensuring food hygiene and safety.
The locality has worked hard to create more jobs and improve incomes in coastal communities and those on islands, cut inshore fishing activities, preserve the environment, and minimise activities that deplete natural aquatic resources.
It aims to develop marine farming at an industrial-scale using modern technologies that can produce a large volume of products for both export and domestic demand.
The province also attaches special importance to promoting links and cooperation in producing raw materials, processing and consuming aquatic products, ensuring food hygiene and safety, and protecting the environment, contributing to protecting and regenerating aquatic resources and preserving biodiversity.
It has synchronously implemented solutions on land and water surface areas for marine farming, and mechanisms and policies to boost production and attract investors to high-tech aquaculture.
The locality has also paid heed to applying credit and incentive policies to support aquaculture development and high-tech agriculture, as well as to improving the quality of human resources in the sector./.
Lao Cai aims to welcome 5 mln visitors this year
The northern province of Lao Cai, home to the popular holiday town of Sa Pa, has set a target of welcoming 5 million visitors this year and earning more than 696 million USD in tourism revenue.
The province will exert efforts to attract more domestic holidaymakers.
Sa Pa has long been among the country’s leading destinations. Of note, young people accounted for more than 70 percent of tourist arrivals to the town in 2020.
Lao Cai also aims to devise 130 new tourism products to meet demand from tourists and encourage them to return in the future.
Lao Cai’s tourism sector bore the brunt of the ill-effects of the pandemic and welcomed just 2.2 million visitors last year, down by more than half against 2019./.
Opportunities forecast for Vietnam’s economy in 2021: experts
Apart from challenges, many opportunities will be offered to the Vietnamese economy in 2021, experts have said.
Such agreements as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to which Vietnam is a signatory will open up wide doors for the country to further integrate into the world.
Economist Nguyen Minh Phong forecast that Vietnam’s agriculture, industry, export-import, and the domestic financial, stock and real estate markets will grow further in the year.
Notably, with the current growth rate of the local processing sector, Vietnam would join the group of newly-emerging industrialised countries in the coming years.
Pham Dinh Thuy from the General Statistics Office said that the GDP growth target of 6.5 percent set by the Government is feasible in the normal situation. However, this would be a challenge for the country as 2021 is the first year of implementing the 2021-2025 socio-economic development plan.
The official pinned hope on the development of such sectors as food, garment-textile, wood processing, metal production, construction and electricity production.
To achieve the set economic targets, it is a must to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, suggesting stepping up economic restructuring, churning out typical products, streamlining administrative procedures, improving the domestic investment environment, and improving the country’s competitiveness.
Thuy also highlighted the significance of trade promotion and foreign investment attraction, which, he said, needs specific plans.
Pham Viet Hoai, Chairman of Kym Viet JSC, said the application of digital technology would bring about positive results to any firm.
According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong, after the PM adopted the national digital transformation programme, many sectors have reaped significant outcomes, benefiting people and the entire economy.
Digital transformation is vital as it helps enterprises improve their business governance and adapt to the latest changes in technology, market and consumer taste, he said./.
Exports from six ASEAN countries drop only 2.2 pct despite pandemic: JETRO
Exports from six Southeast Asian countries fell 2.2 percent in 2020 from a year earlier to a combined 1.35 trillion USD, a relatively marginal decline despite COVID-19, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
Of the six, only Vietnam posted an increase in exports for the year, up 7 percent to 282.66 billion USD, with a 5.2 percent drop to Japan more than offset by a 25.7 percent rise to the US and an 18 percent expansion to China.
Meanwhile, the Philippines logged a 10.1 percent fall in exports last year, followed by a contraction of 6 percent in Thailand, 4.1 percent in Singapore and 2.6 percent each in Malaysia and Indonesia.
The combined trade surplus of the six ASEAN members more than triple to 133.66 billion USD, as easing energy prices and shrinking domestic demand led to steeper declines in imports than exports.
Thailand’s trade surplus surged 144.5 percent, compared with an increase of 83.5 percent for Vietnam, 43.9 percent for Singapore and 25.6 percent for Malaysia.
The Philippines narrowed its trade deficit by 46.3 percent to 21.84 billion USD. Indonesia chalked up a trade surplus of 21.74 billion USD, a turnaround from a deficit of 3.6 billion USD in 2019.
Singapore accounted for 27.4 percent of the six countries’ total trade by value in 2020, followed by Vietnam at 21.3 percent, Thailand at 17.1 percent, Malaysia at 16.5 percent, Indonesia at 11.9 percent and the Philippines at 5.8 percent./.
Central Da Nang city to build duty-free zone
Da Nang’s authorities are building a detailed plan for the city’s first international duty-free zone and smart urban area for investors, with construction set to commence soon as the Import-Export Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) has asked the city to allocate land for the project.
Director of the city’s Investment Promotion Agency Huynh Thi Lien Phuong told Vietnam News that the project had been finalising the city’s first international standard downtown duty-free zone and factory outlet centre.
Lien said the city would offer the best conditions for the investor to start the project.
She said the city also planned a downtown free-duty shop at the coastal crown plaza in Ngu Hanh Son District to seek investment.
In 2019, IPPG proposed the project with an investment of 434 million USD, but an appropriate land area was yet to be offered.
In 2018, chairman of the group, Jonathan Hanh Nguyen, urged the city to build a third terminal to ease congestion and design an international standard duty-free zone and recreational area to funnel tourism towards Hoi An, Hue and Da Nang.
He said Da Nang would be a new location for a luxury shopping centre for future development and investment attraction.
Da Nang has been designing the 1,100ha Hi-Tech Park as Vietnam’s ‘Silicon Valley’ to earn revenue of 1.5 billion USD each year with 25,000 jobs and a satellite city of 100,000 people after 2023.
The US-based aviation firm Universal Alloy Corporation (UAC) put the Sunshine Aerospace Components Factory into operation in the first phase in 2020.
The Republic of Korea’s LG Electronics also debuted its research and development (R&D) centre – the second in Vietnam – at the Da Nang Information Technology Park Tower
CMC Corporation, the second-largest information and communications technology (ICT) group in Vietnam, plans to build the Da Nang-based CMC creative space – a digital hub in the Asia-Pacific region – with an estimated investment of 522 million USD.
To date, Da Nang has 876 foreign direct investment projects worth a total of 3.52 billion USD./.
More trade remedy probes predicted for Vietnamese enterprises this year
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is set to bolster action while Vietnamese enterprises have been recommended to gear up preparations as more trade remedy investigations are expected in 2021.
Vietnam’s participation in 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) has helped fuel its trading activities.
MoIT data shows that export turnover boomed from 15 billion USD in 2001 to nearly 100 billion USD in 2011 and then 281.5 billion USD in 2020. The figure is expected to rise 4-5 percent this year.
Sharing the same upward trend in exports, however, is the number of trade remedy cases instigated against Vietnamese goods.
Vietnamese exports, including major foreign currency earners like shrimp, tra fish, steel, and wooden products, have been subject to nearly 200 trade remedy cases so far.
The country has successfully dealt with about 43 percent of cases, thus ensuring the continued export of basa fish and shrimp to major markets like the US and the EU at zero percent or very low tariffs.
It has also launched 19 trade remedy probes itself into imported goods, including steel, chemicals, plastics, fertiliser, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sugar.
Chu Thang Trung, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam (TRAV), said trade remedies are appropriate policy tools that the WTO recognises and permits its members to use in international trade.
WTO figures show that more than 4,500 trade remedies have been applied by members since the organisation was established in 1995. Such measures are clearly not an abnormal phenomenon, Trung said.
Vietnam’s membership of many FTAs has sped up the removal of tariff barriers on its exports, giving its goods a greater degree of competitiveness in import markets. It has also put more pressure on producers in importing countries, forcing them to use legal trade policy tools to protect their interests, including trade remedies, the official added.
TRAV Director Le Trieu Dung said trade remedies are increasingly common and are legal measures permitted by the WTO to ensure fair competition between domestically-made goods and imported equivalents.
He pointed out that due to some countries’ trade protection policies and lingering difficulties in the global economy in 2021, the number of trade remedy investigations targeting both Vietnamese exports and imports into the country is predicted to remain high for the foreseeable future.
This will expose domestic manufacturers to new challenges, especially as key FTAs like the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will present fierce competition.
Therefore, he added, TRAV has recommended businesses equip themselves with knowledge on trade remedy regulations, particularly those of Vietnam and its export markets, while gearing up resources to cope with any trade remedies.
Pointing out certain shortcomings, experts have said the capacity of local businesses in regard to trade remedies remains modest, while there are ongoing problems in legal regulations and coordination among related agencies.
MoIT has developed a plan on improving the capacity of Vietnamese enterprises to handle trade defence measures now the country is party to many new-generation FTAs.
Experts also held, however, that enterprises themselves need to change their thinking and turn competitive pressure into momentum for reform, development, and product improvement.
Nguyen Thao Hien, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s European – American Market Department, said that to help reduce trade remedy cases, businesses should promote the manufacturing of goods for which domestic material supplies are at hand, as well as those with high added value and rich growth potential amid the pandemic, such as agricultural products, food, and medical equipment.
They must ensure strict quality control and update processing technology so as to raise the value of their products, she added.
Trade remedy investigations can be initiated by one or just a few foreign companies but they pose risks for entire sectors, analysts said, suggesting that Vietnamese firms stay updated with information and actively work with their business associations and State agencies on an effective response.
TRAV Director Dung said that this year, apart from plans on enhancing trade remedy-related capacity and coordination, the authority will also implement plans on building and operating an early warning system for trade remedies and overhaul rules of origin./.
Tens of wind power projects to be operational in Quang Tri
As many as 22 wind power projects with a combined capacity of 907 MW are set to be put into operation in the central province of Quang Tri by year end.
To meet the deadline, the locality has urged project investors to speed up the construction, while pushing ahead with the maintenance of National Highway 9 and other routes to facilitate project equipment transportation.
The local Department of Industry and Trade has also suggested the provincial People’s Committee instruct relevant agencies and units to swiftly remove bottlenecks to site clearance.
As of January, the Ministry of Industry and Trade had approved 31 wind power projects in Quang Tri to date, with an accumulative capacity of 1,177 MW, of which seven are under construction.
Earlier, Huong Linh 1 and 2 wind power projects in the province came into service, significantly contributing to local budget collection.
Apart from projects that had received the green light of the ministry, Quang Tri has tens of others that are under study with a total capacity exceeding 3,600 MW.
The locality has adopted various solutions to support businesses operating in energy in general and wind power in particular such as providing them with consultations in tax, insurance, contract, land and environment, and building the e-government.
Estimations by the ministry showed Vietnam would face a shortage of 6.6 billion kWh in 2021, 11.8 billion kWh in 2022 and 13 billion kWh in 2023. It would require a total investment of 130 billion USD in new power projects by 2030 to make up for the shortages, equivalent to 12 billion USD annually.
The country’s power demand was forecast to increase by 8.5 percent per year over the next five years and seven percent between 2026 and 2030.
Research showed Vietnam had the potential to develop around 8,000MW hydroelectricity from small plants, 20,000MW of wind power and 3,000MW of biomass power and 35,000MW of solar power by 2030./.
UKVFTA hoped to promote Vietnam’s exports
The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which became effective on January 1, is expected to create a strong motivation pushing Vietnam forwards on the path of economic development and international integration.
According to Kenneth Atkinson, head of the British Business Group in Vietnam (Britcham), the deal will help strengthen trade and support employment, while promoting growth in both countries.
The erasing of 65 percent of the total tariff immediately after the deal takes effects and 99 percent of the tariff in 6-7 years will bring about practical benefits to British exporters of machineries, chemicals, and brandy, he held.
Along with the reduction of legal barriers as well as burden in administrative procedures in the two markets, the official said, highlighting that the UKVFTA will help observe the regulations and commitments that the two Governments and business communities have agreed on.
The deal will also ensure the increase in the trade by more than 3,000 UK businesses engaged in export activities to Vietnam, while meeting the demand for Vietnamese goods of UK customers, he said.
Atkinson asserted that the area of solar and wind power will receive priorities from the business communities and governments of both sides.
Experts held that Vietnamese products account for only 1 percent of the 700 billion USD import revenue of the UK, so Vietnam has high potential to provide more products to the promising market, including telephones, accessories, garment and textile products, footwear, seafood, wood and furniture, computers, cashew, and peppercorn.
The UK is currently the third largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe.
Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that the UKVFTA not only facilitates the trade of goods and services but also helps promote partnership in many other areas, including green growth and sustainable development.
As the UK has officially left the EU, which means the preferential policies that Vietnam enjoys thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will not be applied in the UK anymore, the UKVFTA has eased concern of the business community about the interruption of trade with the European country, he added./.
Vietnam targets modernity-oriented agriculture: Minister
Vietnam will continue with the building of a modernity-oriented agriculture sector with complete value chains in 2021, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.
Cuong told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s reporter that such production chains will be developed on the basis of three groups of major products – the club with export revenue of at least 1 billion USD, agricultural products that are of localities’ strength like longan in northern Hung Yen province and lychee in northern Bac Giang province, and “One Commune, One Product” (OCOP) goods.
Vietnam has paid attention to product quality during its international economic integration, Cuong said, stressing the significance of organic agriculture.
The sector will also take various solutions to call for the involvement of businesses, while promoting the linkages between them and farmers and cooperatives.
To attract more enterprises, the sector will further provide consultations for the Prime Minister in order to complete mechanisms and policies, as well as administrative reforms, he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will also closely coordinate with localities to facilitate investment, the minister said, adding that greater efforts will be made to step up the formation of new-style cooperatives.
Cuong said the application of digital technology should be intensified in spheres, and the MARD will join hands with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Information and Communications in this regard.
In another interview with the Dien dan Doanh nghiep (Business Forum) newspaper, Cuong said that 2020 was a year full of challenges and difficulties for Vietnam’s economy, including the agriculture sector, due to the COVID-19 crisis. The sector also had to face natural disasters, including unprecedented drought.
The growth and trade targets for the sector last year were also the highest ever, with exports set at over 41 billion USD.
However, Cuong noted, thanks to the efforts of the entire political system, ministries, sectors, localities, and economic elements, the agricultural sector managed to secure growth of about 2.65 percent and post export earnings of 41.25 billion USD, with nine groups of commodities enjoying shipments of over 10 billion USD.
The agriculture sector’s export target of 44 billion USD this year, set by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, is a high but feasible goal. Vietnam earned about 3.49 billion USD from exports of agricultural, forestry, and fisheries products in January, up 27.1 percent year-on-year, data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shows.
Under a plan recently approved by the PM, Vietnam expects the annual figure to reach some 60-62 billion USD by 2030./.
Thanh Hoa looks to develop tourism into spearhead economic sector
The north-central province of Thanh Hoa has set a target of turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector by 2030.
Amid the difficulties posed by COVID-19, the province welcomed 7.3 million visitors in 2020, earning 10.394 trillion VND (over 453.6 million USD), representing 65.5 percent and 50.7 percent of targets, respectively.
Thanh Hoa’s tourism sector has posted impressive growth in recent years.
But Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thi said that its development is still not commensurate with potential.
Thanh Hoa lacks high-quality products to attract and meet the demand of international tourists, while its promotional activities remain ineffective and tourism human resources fail to meet requirements in the context of integration, he said.
According to Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, Thanh Hoa needs to introduce changes to take its tourism industry forward.
It should propose that the Government allow it offer incentives for tourism investment, she said.
Attention should be paid to accelerating the implementation of priority strategies for tourism development and administrative reform, and supporting businesses towards attracting strategic investors in developing infrastructure facilities serving tourism development, especially transport infrastructure.
Thanh Hoa should also focus on enhancing its cooperation with other localities to create new tours, develop high-quality and competitive products, and promote digital transformation and the application of information technologies in tourism activities./.
Kien Giang eyes 60-100 million USD in FDI over next five years
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has set its sights on pulling in 60-100 million USD worth of FDI over the next five years, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chin.
It will focus its efforts on fulfilling plans on medium-term public investment and socio-economic development in 2021-2025, striving to attract 40 to 50 FDI projects with registered investment of 60-100 million USD in total, Chin said.
It aims for local social investment to reach 48 trillion VND (2.07 billion USD) this year.
The province has been accelerating communications campaigns on its strengths, potential, and investment incentives to attract both domestic and foreign investors.
Priority is being given to numerous areas, including road infrastructure; river ports; sea ports; electricity; water supply; solid waste treatment; renewable energy; infrastructure development in industrial parks and clusters; fishing, aquaculture and fish processing; intensive farming and industrial agriculture; supporting industries; tourism; services; education; and high-quality healthcare.
It also wants to attract large-scale projects with advanced technologies in high-tech agriculture and food processing.
Cooperation with ministries and government agencies will be stepped up to take part in investment promotion events in major partners such as the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, and the US, as well as those who are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The province will also increase dialogue with local businesses and investors to help them tackle any difficulties and create an open and fair business climate.
Kien Giang is calling for investment in 144 projects in priority fields. It has to date granted in-principle approval and investment licenses to 49 projects with total investment of 22.66 trillion VND.
The Mekong Delta province welcomed 206 projects during the 2016-20 period, including 22 foreign projects with nearly 133 trillion VND in total capital./.
Outlook positive for Vietnam’s retail market
Despite a raft of difficulties facing Vietnam’s retail market, economists and insiders are still optimistic about the outlook for the sector in the time ahead, according to the Vietnam Report JSC.
In a recent survey, Vietnam Report found that nearly 42 percent of Vietnamese retail companies have been seriously impacted by COVID-19, while half said the impact has not been too serious and 8 percent experienced only minor effects.
Many people have had to cut their spending after becoming jobless or having their wages reduced due to the pandemic. Retail companies, meanwhile, have had to face a shortage of capital and disrupted supply chains.
However, Vu Dang Vinh, General Director of Vietnam Report, said economists and insiders remain optimistic about the sector’s outlook.
In following COVID-19 prevention and control regulations, many consumers have opted for online shopping, convenience stores, shopping centres, and supermarkets, rather than traditional markets.
Vinh pointed to the increased popularity of multi-channel marketing, both online and in-person, while adding that thanks to quick changes, many retail businesses, including giants like Lotte Mart, have posted online sales growth of 100 to 200 percent, especially in Hanoi and HCM City.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are also expected to boom in Vietnam’s retail market in the time ahead, he said, explaining that more than 60 percent of local retailers are of small and medium-size and have significant demand for capital, so are ready to enter into partnerships.
Analysts also said the mini-supermarket model has proven superior amid the pandemic, as it can limit large gatherings.
Retailers have therefore poured more investment into this model while introducing more changes to better meet customer demand./.
Tra Vinh-based business promotes coconut product export
An enterprise based in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has been stepping up the export of coconut shell activated carbon and other coconut products as a way to benefit the company itself and local farmers.
Between January 1 and February 10, the Tra Bac Joint Stock Corporation (TRABACO) shipped more than 900 tonnes of coconut shell activated carbon to various markets, including the US, the UK, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Peru, Ecuador, Israel, and China.
General Director of the firm Huynh Khac Nhu said his company has inked a number of contracts with both new and existing partners since the year’s beginning, with 2,000 tonnes of coconut shell activated carbon to be delivered between now and June 2021.
TRABACO’s activated carbon, used for air purification, gold refining, electroplating, and odor control in different industries, meets environmental and health safety standards, thus winning over trust from many domestic and foreign businesses and consumers, he noted.
The product has been exported to more than 30 countries and territories in around the world.
Apart from coconut shell activated carbon, the company also produces and exports others made from coconut like coir carpets, dried coconut shreds, and frozen coconut milk.
To improve product quality and ensure stable material supply, it has contracted farmers to develop a 300ha organic coconut farming zone in Tieu Can district and partnered with a local agricultural cooperative in coconut purchase.
Nhu added these are initial steps in the firm’s plan to form a zone of clean material supply, which will help promote TRABACO’s product quality as well as income for farmers in Tra Vinh province./.