By Thanh Minh – Translated by Anh Quan
Stem science technology engineering math
Hai Phong to have new alternate airport
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has proposed a new international airport in Hai Phong City to support the Cat Bi Airport by 2050.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said they had completed the evaluation report on airport network planning during the 2021-2030 period with a view to 2050. The report has been sent to the Ministry of Transport and the evaluation board for review. In the report, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam suggested keeping all 28 airports until 2030. Cao Bang Airport would be built later by 2050. Vietnam would have a total of 14 international airports and 15 domestic airports.
In March, Hai Phong authorities proposed construction of a new international airport in Tien Lang District, Hai Phong City, as a major airport for Hanoi and to replace Cat Bi Airport in the future since Cat Bi Airport can’t be expanded. The new airport will be 120 km from Hanoi and connected to the Hanoi-Hai Phong Highway.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam proposed to keep the plan in which an alternate airport would be built in Hai Phong to support Noi Bai and Cat Bi airports as per prime ministerial directives issued in 2011.
By 2030, the airports in Vietnam must be able to serve 278 million passengers and 4.1 million tonnes of cargo per year.
Vietnam reports 26 new COVID-19 cases on May 5 evening
Vietnam recorded 26 new COVID-19 cases, including eight imported and 18 domestically-transmitted infections in the past 12 hours to 6pm on May 5, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.
The domestically-transmitted infections include one case in central Quang Nam province, one in the capital city of Hanoi, one in southern Dong Nai province, one in northern Hai Duong province and 14 others at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.
The new patients brought the total number of COVID-19 infections in the country to 3,022, including 1,626 domestically-transmitted cases. Of them, 56 cases were detected since the latest outbreak hit the country on April 27.
According to the MoH’s Medical Service Administration, a total of 2,560 patients were given the all-clear from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, while the death toll related to the disease remained at 35.
Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments, 24 tested negative to the virus, 12 twice and 38 thrice.
As many as 40,736 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently quarantined across the country, including 560 in hospitals, 21,733 in state-designated establishments and 18,443 at their residences.
The MoH also decided to extend the compulsory concentrated quarantine period to 21 days instead of 14 days as previously, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at a regular meeting of the Government on May 5 morning.
The decision came into force right on May 5, the minister said.
The local centres for disease control must be accountable for monitoring and medically supervising people who complete the concentrated quarantine period for the next seven days.
In a related move, the MoH’s Medical Service Administration has asked the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district to take drastic measures to prevent transmissions among its staff after 14 of its members tested positive to the virus and the establishment was put under lockdown on May 5.
The hospital was requested to devise plans to maintain its medical checkup and treatment for inpatients who are currently quarantined and treated at the facility./.
Kim Chung facility of national tropical diseases hospital under lockdown
The Health Ministry has directed placing the second facility of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Kim Chung commune in Hanoi’s outlying district of Dong Anh under lockdown from 8am on May 5, after several medical staff tested positive to SARS-CoV-2.
After a doctor of the hospital was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on May 4, the hospital immediately collected samples of staff members and patients in certain departments for testing, some of which turned out positive. The hospital suspected that it is a cluster of infections from an inpatient treatment area.
During the lockdown period, the hospital will only admit new COVID-19 patients for treatment.
The Health Ministry instructed that only severe cases of COVID-19 should be moved to the Kim Chung facility, while patients who had received treatment at the facility within the past 14 days must be traced and put under quarantine./.
COVID-19 fight, NA election high on Cabinet meeting’s agenda
The fight against COVID-19 and National Assembly election are among issues which are at the top of the agenda of a regular monthly Cabinet meeting held in Hanoi on May 5.
Dozens of infections have been detected in Vinh Phuc, Ha Nam, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hung Yen, Yen Bai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, with some carrying the variant B.1.1.7 originating from the United Kingdom and the variant B.1.617.2 originating from India.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh earlier criticized several cities and provinces for lax management that has led to fresh outbreaks in the community.
Cabinet members are scheduled to discuss drastic measures to halt the spread of the virus.
They are also set to examine preparations for the upcoming elections of deputies to the National Assembly and local People’s Councils slated for May 23.
They will review national socio-economic development for April and the first four months of the year, while looking at measures to implement the dual goal of epidemic prevention and economic recovery.
Vietnam documents no COVID-19 infections on May 5 morning
Vietnam logged no new COVID-19 infections in the past 12 hours to 6am on May 5, making the nation’s tally unchanged at 2,996 with 1,608 locally-transmitted cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment Department said the country has seen 2,560 recoveries so far.
A total 40,736 people who came in close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine nationwide, including 560 at hospitals, 21,733 other quarantine sites, and 18,443 at home.
Among patients under treatment, 24 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 12 twice, and 38 thrice.
A total of 585,539 frontline medical workers and members of community-based anti-COVID-19 groups in Vietnam had been injected with COVID-19 vaccine as of 4pm on May 4. The country began its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on March 8.
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)./.
VFF: holding election campaigns in line with COVID-19 control regulations
The standing board of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee asked localities to hold election campaigns in accordance with requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control.
In a guideline issued on May 4, Vice Chairman of the VFF Central Committee Ngo Sach Thuc urged standing boards of VFF chapters at all levels to coordinate with election committees at the same level to decide the number and the form for meetings with voters based on the situation in their respective localities.
Localities in normal state or under social distancing measures could hold conferences with voters either offline or online.
For localities under lockdown, local VFF committees should work with Party Committees and election committees at their corresponding levels to select the suitable methods to hold election campaigns, with priority given to campaigning via the mass media.
In case candidates are infected with COVID-19 or under quarantine, the standing boards must reach consensus with election committees on the way to organizing election campaigns, with priority given to campaigning via the mass media.
Throughout a five-step process with three rounds of close, democratic, cautious, and non-discriminatory consultations, the lists of candidates for the elections of deputies to the 15th legislature and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure have been finalised.
Voters nationwide will cast their vote to choose 500 out of 868 candidates for the 15th National Assembly on May 23./.
Vinh Phuc, Ho Chi Minh City police deal with illegal entries
|Illegal Chinese immigrants|
Accordingly, Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh, 36, residing in the province’s Vinh Yen city, was charged with organising the illegal entry and residence of 52 Chinese nationals in the locality.
The same day, the Ho Chi Minh City’s police reported that they found 11 illegal immigrants, all foreigners, in the city, and detained two involved persons.
As many as 69 officers were also deployed to ensure security and order in two places under lockdown.
During the four-day holiday, local police also increased inspections to ensure traffic order and create favourable conditions for travelling./.
Up to 39 suspected illegal immigrants found in Vinh Phuc
Thirty nine allegedly illegal foreign immigrants were detected in Vinh Yen city in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on May 3 night as local police are stepping up efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks which have become more complicated in recent days.
The foreigners were found residing in four locations in Khai Quang and Lien Bao wards.
Local authorities seized personal belongings of the foreigners for further investigation, and disinfect their lodging facilities.
Many foreigners are residing in Vinh Yen city, which houses a lot of industrial parks and lodging facilities.
Local authorities are examining and classifying foreigners with illegal entry and residence in the province so as to have effective settlement measures.
The Ministry of Health said on May 3 that Vinh Phuc province documented eight COVID-19 local transmissions, all making close contact with Chinese experts who earlier tested positive for the virus.
Provincial authorities have ordered a halt to meetings and other events with gathering of more than 20 people, as well as non-essential services such as karaoke and massage parlours, bars and dance clubs as part of COVID-19 prevention measures./.
Quiz on Army Games launched
The People’s Army Newspaper together with the Ministry of National Defence’s Department for External Relations held a press conference in Hanoi on May 4 to introduce a quiz on the International Army Games.
Speaking at the press conference, deputy head of the department Pham Manh Thang said the contest aims to promote the games, which encourage international defence cooperation between nations, and to honour the People’s Army of Vietnam’s achievements at previous events.
Vietnam is actively preparing itself to host a number of competitions within the games this year, he said, adding that meetings have taken place to discuss options for organising these activities at the Mieu Mon training centre in Hanoi in line with COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the People’s Army Newspaper Le Ngoc Long said the contest, held weekly from May 6 to August 8, features multiple choice tests and requires that contestants submit their predictions of the numbers of people with correct answers.
In addition to weekly prizes, there will be one first prize worth 20 million VND (865 USD), two second prizes worth 10 million VND each, three third prizes of 5 million VND each, and 10 consolidation prizes of 3 million VND each.
The International Army Games 2021 is scheduled for August 22 – September 4, with 13 host nations, including Russia, Armenia, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan, Qatar, China, Mongolia, Serbia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Of the 34 competitions, Vietnam will host the rescue and sniper events./.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau: Early voting held for soldiers, fishermen
Officers, soldiers and fishermen working for days at sea off the coast of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau cast their votes to elect deputies to the 15th National Assembly (NA) and People’s Council at all levels on May 4 – earlier than scheduled.
The early voting was held in five constituencies in the provincial capital of Vung Tau for naval and coast guard officers and soldiers, fishery surveillance forces, workers on offshore oil platforms, and fishermen, nearly three weeks before the national polling officially takes place on May 23.
Two working groups were also dispatched from the wharf of Brigade 171 to organize advance polling for voters at offshore economic, scientific and technical service stations on the southern continental shelf, known as DK1 platforms, and on ocean-going naval vessels.
Bidding farewell to the working groups, Tran Dinh Khoa, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee and head of Vung Tau city’s steering committee for elections, requested the groups to ensure all forces on duty at sea cast their votes and exercise their rights as citizens.
According to the Naval Region 2’s High Command, there are 378 officers and soldiers on duty at 15 DK1 platforms and on naval vessels at sea.
The groups are set to return to the mainland before May 23./.
Foreign parliamentary leaders congratulate new Vietnamese NA Chairman
Parliamentary leaders of Switzerland, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Israel have cabled messages of congratulations to Vuong Dinh Hue on his election as Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly.
The messages were sent by President of the National Council of Switzerland Andreas Aebi, President of the Senate of Chile Yasna Provoste Campillay, Speaker of the Consultative Council of Saudi Arabia Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, and Speaker of the Parliament (Knesset) of Israel Yariv Levin./.
Long An’s Asia-Pacific tourism membership funded
The Long An Golf Investment – Development JSC and Hoan Cau Group will fund the southern province of Long An’s 130th membership of the Tourism Promoting Organization for Asia-Pacific Cities (TPO).
The contract signing ceremony took place in the province on May 4.
Accordingly, they will fund the membership cost of 500 USD and the annual fee of 3,000 USD during the province’s membership.
Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Tan Hoa said via its membership, Long An could connect with other TPO member cities to develop tourism together through discussing strategies and grasping tourism trends in the region, amid the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
He asked relevant agencies and units to work closely with the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to explore the possibility of expanding cooperation between the tourism sector and firms to tap existing potential and strengths.
Hoa also suggested paying attention to resort tourism and supplying tourism value chains.
TPO is an inter-city network aimed at promoting exchange and cooperation among major cities, with key projects such as information sharing, marketing tourist sites, developing new tourism products, and training human resources.
It now groups 130 member cities from 15 countries and 50 tourism organisations./.
Amnesty must be carried out strictly, transparently: State President
State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has directed that the implementation of amnesty measures follows a strict, open, and transparent process in accordance with the law, to avoid any possible negativity.
He made the comments while working with leaders of relevant agencies on the enforcement of the 2018 Law on Amnesty, on May 4.
Amnesty is a major policy of the Party and State, demonstrating the humanity of the regime and holding great political, economic, social, and diplomatic significance, Phuc said, adding that it affirms the special policy of clemency held by the Party and State for inmates with good results in studying, training, and rehabilitation.
Amnesties on special occasions, holidays, or major national events aim to encourage prisoners to rehabilitate themselves and qualify for amnesty policies, and the implementation of the law on amnesty demonstrates the orientation towards building a law-ruled Socialist State of Vietnam, he stated.
The President asked the Ministry of Public Security and relevant agencies to propose major regulations on amnesty in the time to come.
According to an assessment from the Ministry of Public Security, the 2018 Law on Amnesty has basically addressed the shortcomings in the 2007 version in order to improve the effectiveness of amnesty work.
After the National Assembly adopted the Law on Amnesty in 2007, Vietnam’s State President has granted seven different amnesties, under which a total of 87,000 inmates have been freed ahead of their scheduled release dates./.
Vietnamese students in Laos get support amid COVID-19
The Vietnamese Embassy in Laos on May 4 handed over gifts to Vietnamese students at the National University of Laos (NUOL) who are facing difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presented by Vietnamese Counsellor of Culture and Education Tran Dai Thang and the officer in charge of community work, Vu Tu Oanh, the gifts include 1,000 medical masks and foodstuff.
Amid the complex developments of the pandemic, Lao medical staff in cooperation with the Vietnamese Association in Vientiane conducted COVID-19 testing on Vietnamese living and working in Thatluang, Naxay and Sisangvone wards and the area around the NUOL.
Those showing symptoms will be placed in quarantine and receive timely treatment./.
Journey to share love with border guards, policy beneficiaries, the poor
A programme entitled “A Journey to Share the Love” was launched in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on May 4.
Jointly organised by the provincial Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Ministry of Public Security’s Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, and the Phu My Hung Development Limited Company, the programme targets border guards on duty in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and also policy beneficiaries, the poor, and poor students with good academic results in Duc Hoa, Duc Hue, Can Giuoc, Ben Luc, Thu Thua, and Tan Tru districts.
With total capital of 2 billion VND (86,500 USD), the programme will present 230 gifts worth 500,000 VND each to policy beneficiaries, young workers, and the elderly, grant 120 scholarships worth 500,000 VND each to local students, and give gifts worth 1 million VND each to 12 Heroic Mothers.
Twenty-five houses worth 70 million VND each will be built and handed over to families living in extremely difficult circumstances, while daily necessities, solar lighting, and cash totalling 35 million VND will be presented to two border stations in Duc Hue district./.
Universities turn to online learning as pandemic continues
In light of rising concerns about the spread of Covid-19 and calls to contain the virus, a growing number of public and private universities in Vietnam have shut down in-person classes after April 30 and May Day holidays.
Specifically, Hanoi University of Science and Technology asked lecturers and students to use Microsoft Teams for online teaching and learning from May 4 to 9 while experimental sessions and practice are paused until further notice.
Similarly, Foreign Trade University required students in campuses in Hanoi and the Northern Province of Quang Ninh to take online classes from May 4 to 16. The school must ask for permission from the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control if it opens in-person classes.
The management board of the Academy of Journalism and Propaganda also decided to switch to online learning from May 4 until there is a new announcement. Students at the Transportation University also made the switch to online classes instead of face-to-face classes from May 3.
The University of Transport Technology, the Faculty of Law of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Natural Sciences, University of Thuyloi, Hanoi University of Education 2, Banking Academy, University of Commerce, University of Business and Technology followed suit.
Prior, the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment, Hanoi University of Finance and Banking, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education had announced teaching and learning via the internet to prevent and fight against Covid-19.
Hanoi strives to create 160,000 new jobs despite Covid-19
Strengthening cooperation and linkage in the development of tourism products with businesses, industries, localities in the country and foreign countries will be a measure to boost job generation in the city.
The Hanoi People’s Committee will put effort into creating some 160,000 jobs for workers by the end of 2021 despite the negative impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on almost aspects of life, according to the city’s job creation plan in 2021.
To accomplish the above-mentioned target, the municipal authorities will promote the application of science and technology and take a number of measures to tighten the linkage between vocational education and businesses to develop the labor market.
Hanoi will also apply new technologies to build a system connecting supply and demand for training model with the participation of schools, enterprises and students.
Under the plan, the city expects to effectively roll out industrial programs and projects, lure more investment projects into industrial zones as well as fostering craft villages in the direction of improving quality, efficiency and competitiveness.
Hanoi’s authorities will step up industry restructuring, promoting the development of hi-tech agriculture and organic agriculture to stimulate consumption markets.
The city will also concentrate on improving investment environment, solving difficulties for production and business, and thoroughly addressing petitions of enterprises, especially those on administrative procedures reform.
“Hanoi will perform synchronous solutions to support the development of small and medium enterprises in the period of 2021-25, promoting start-ups and innovation,” noted the plan.
Strengthening cooperation and linkage in the development of tourism products with businesses, industries, localities in the country and foreign countries is also a measure to boost job creation to be taken by Hanoi city.
In early 2021, the Hanoi Employment Services Center under the Hanoi Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs launched Vietnam Employment Service Portal (ESIP) and the Information Technology (IT) Job Transaction Floor, with the expectation of helping local companies to find highly qualified human resources, analyze and forecast the market outlook in 2021 and the subsequent years.
The job transaction floor targets units and enterprises; vocational training schools; IT students from vocational facilities, and those who have the need for finding jobs, learning, and labor export.
“Hanoi is one of the largest labor markets in the country. With the launch of the ESIP, we highly value the city’s creativeness in coordinating with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs,” said Vu Trong Binh, director of the Employment Department under the MoLISA.
Besides, the city used the Anti-Unemployment Fund to train employees working in enterprises. This is considered as a preventive solution to combat unemployment and ensure social security.
The city also provided more information on the labor market, supports job seekers to post job resumes, and helps enterprises to post recruitment announcement through website: vieclamhanoi.net.
Vietnamese students to compete at int’l science, engineering contest
Seven projects of Vietnamese students are to compete at the 2021 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which will be held virtually from May 16-21.
The projects all came first in their respective fields at the national high school Science and Engineering Fair for the 2020-2021 academic year recently held in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
The 2021 ISEF is to see the participation of 2,000 ninth through twelfth graders from over 80 countries and territories across the world, with about 1,500 projects in 21 fields.
The contest has a total prize value of over 5 million USD in the form of scholarships, internships and awards./.
Quang Nam’s flood-hit residents receive new houses
The skinny woman trembled, seemingly unable to stand still because of her happiness to receive a house thanks to the work of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam and local people’s generosity.
Luu Thi Phuong, 56, in Que Thuan Commune, Que Son District, Quang Nam Province, saw her house destroyed by a storm in October 2020.
She was one of the thousands of people who lost nearly all of their assets due to the storms of 2020 in central Vietnam.
Her husband died when she gave birth to her fourth child 16 years ago, so Phuong alone raised her four small children.
“Life is so hard. I work alone in the field as a hired labourer to support these children,” she said.
Now, her two eldest daughters have their own families and work in a local factory. However, her two sons have health problems, so they still live at home and can only work as hired labourers around the commune.
In the new two-storey house, she reserved the most solemn area on the second floor as an altar for her husband. On the first floor, she presented a set of wooden tables and chairs bought from money saved by children.
“I give my thanks to the UNDP, the provincial People’s Committee and the Red Cross. Without this support, I don’t know when we would have been able to build such a house,” she said.
“I will pick up local neighbours to live at my house if there are floods and storms in this area,” she added.
The house with a ground area of 16sq.m and worth 110 million VND (5,000 USD) was one of more than 430 storm-resistant houses provided by the UNDP in five provinces in central Vietnam.
This assistance activity is part of the project ‘Responding to natural disasters in Vietnam’ funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
At the end of April, the UNDP handed over 10 houses to people in Quang Nam Province as part of the UNDP’s 2021 plan to build flood-resistant houses.
In addition to building more than 430 new houses, the UNDP in collaboration with the People’s Committees of central provinces that suffered heavy damage in the storms last October (Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai) and the Red Cross completed the repairs and reinforcement of more than 3,300 damaged houses.
Some 3,300 household kits have also been provided to poor households. Household items, including kitchen equipment, blankets, curtains, personal protective equipment, and chemical disinfectants were all necessary for people to get back on their feet.
UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, Caitlin Wiesen, said that more than ever, affected people, especially the poor, women and girls were in need of safe houses and essential items to deal with the damage.
“Our safe homes have saved thousands of people during the historic floods and storms that devastated central Vietnam,” she said.
“However, there is still a long way forward to be able to assist those in need of safe homes.”
Tran Van Tan, Deputy Chairman of the Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee, said there were still many poor households, lonely mothers and disabled people suffering difficulties in life and some had lost their homes in last year’s floods.
“This makes the poor, who already struggle so much, in even greater difficulties without community support.”
Tan said the local authorities appreciated the UNDP’s efforts and timely support to build and repair the houses.
“It is very practical and meaningful support for local people. We hope to continue to receive this support so that people living in areas affected by storms and floods have a warmer life,” he said.
At a house handover ceremony at Que Thuan Commune last week, Nguyen Van Tien, Deputy Chief of the Standing Office of the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, said: “I appreciate the co-ordination of UNDP that help people in the disaster area.
“This assistance not only solves immediate post-disaster recovery but is also sustainable for local residents living in frequent disaster areas such as central Vietnam.”
The UNDP is also organising a crowdfunding campaign titled ‘Safe House, Peace of Life’ to support the construction of 100 new safe houses in vulnerable locations in Quang Binh Province and further construction of safe houses in Que Son District, (Quang Nam Province) and Ly Son island district (Quang Ngai Province).
“In particular, our safe homes in Ly Son Island will have a new design and enhanced resistance to special wind conditions, and rooftop solar systems are capable of providing sufficient lighting systems for households,” said Wiesen.
Central Vietnam was battered by strong storms and floods last October. According to the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention, more than 230 people were killed or went missing. At least 380,000 houses were flooded, damaged or collapsed./.
Brazilian films to be screened in Hanoi
A Brazilian film week will take place in Hanoi from May 10 – 14, hosted by the Brazilian Embassy in Vietnam.
Five outstanding Brazilian movies, including Nise: The Heart of Madness, Jules and Dolores, Trinta, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, and Buddies, will be screened free of charge at the National Cinema Centre.
Through the event, the embassy wants to introduce unique characteristics of Brazilian culture to local audiences.
All the movies will be shown in their original language whilst featuring both English and Vietnamese subtitles./.
Newly established firms grow at fastest pace since 2017
The number of new enterprises established in the first four months of 2021 rose 17.5 percent from a year earlier, the fastest growth since 2017, and it increased in all economic sectors, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Between January and April, nearly 44,200 new firms were set up with 627.7 trillion VND (27.2 billion USD) worth of capital and 340,300 employees registered, up 17.5 percent, 41 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.
The registered capital averaged 14.2 billion VND per business, rising 20 percent year on year.
The total capital poured into the economy topped 1.42 quadrillion VND in the first four months, including 792.9 trillion VND of additional capital from 14,900 existing businesses.
Besides, nearly 19,300 enterprises also resumed operations, growing by 8 percent from a year earlier, the GSO reported.
In April alone, the number of newly established firms approximated 14,900, registering 179.9 trillion VND worth of capital and 94,600 employees. These figures respectively went up 33.1 percent, 59.1 percent, and 30 percent from the previous month.
The registered capital averaged 12.1 billion VND per business, rising 19.6 percent month on month and 1.7 percent year on year.
As many as 5,745 companies resumed operations in April, up 50.8 percent year on year.
The GSO held that these are positive signs for enterprise development in the time ahead.
To create further momentum, Director of the GSO’s Industrial and Construction Statistics Department Pham Dinh Thuy said it is necessary to stimulate investment among export manufacturers so as to ready goods supply once global markets are reopened and to capitalise on chances generated by free trade agreements, especially the one between Vietnam and the EU.
He also pointed out the need to swiftly develop supporting industries to ease the burden on the import of input materials.
Businesses expect the Government will invest more in the transport system to boost the connectivity between key production areas and international ports of entry, develop the logistics network, set up technical centres to help companies meet export standards, and push ahead with strongly improving the business climate, Thuy added./.
Dong Thap striving to preserve intangible cultural heritage
The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap recently released a plan on preserving and bringing into play the art of “Don ca tai tu” music and song and “Ho Dong Thap” (Dong Thap singing), both of which are national intangible cultural heritages, so as to improve awareness and raise a sense of responsibility in the community and the political system regarding the task.
Not only a national intangible cultural heritage, “Don ca tai tu” music and song was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
Evoking people’s lives and work on the land and rivers of the Mekong Delta, it is an indispensable part of spiritual activities and the cultural heritage of local people and helps to foster amateur cultural activities.
Meanwhile, “Ho Dong Thap” is a type of folk singing that reflects the thoughts and sentiments of local residents.
Authorities have worked on studying and revitalising the art. In particular, training courses have been held in all district-level localities, while classes and extra-curricular activities have been organised at all schools province-wide so as to inspire a love among students for the cultural heritage.
Ngo Hoang Viet, Deputy Director of the centre for culture, sports, and radio broadcasting in the province’s Cao Lanh city, said 47 “Don ca tai tu” clubs with 530 members have been set up around town.
Vice Chairman of the Dong Thap provincial People’s Committee Doan Tan Buu noted that local authorities are striving to have “Don ca tai tu” and “Ho Dong Thap” clubs established in 50 to 70 percent of all communal-level localities.
They are also encouraging each commune, ward, and township to form one club and maintain festivals on the arts annually at the provincial level and biennially at the district level.
The province is also stepping up communications in the media to help turn “Don ca tai tu” and “Ho Dong Thap” into typical tourism products of Dong Thap./.
Parents struggle to find semi-boarding schools for their children
Many parents want to enroll their children in semi-boarding schools, which keep students for a full day.
Mai Nguyên, whose child is in the first grade at Lê Văn Thọ Primary School in HCM City’s District 12, said that she was looking for a full-day school as she had been suffering from hiring someone to pick up and take care of her child every afternoon.
Many parents in HCM City, especially from large migrant areas, are in a similar situation in which their children can only be at school for half a day.
Lê Anh Tuấn said that this was the second year that his family and other parents had had to rent a car together to pick up their children, who then would go to their teacher’s house afterwards.
“The teacher is responsible for taking care of all of the students until late when their parents are then able to pick them up after work. I want to find a semi-boarding school which would allow my child to stay at school for the whole day in Bình Thạnh District,” Tuấn said.
He said that his child was under stress from having to travel between different places during the day.
In the 2020-2021 academic year, many primary schools have given priority to two study shifts or a semi-boarding session for all first-grade students, while reducing the rate of two study shifts or semi-boarding sessions for second graders and upper grades.
According to the HCM City Department of Education and Training, 18 out of 24 districts are relatively stable in terms of arranging two study shifts per day for first graders.
Some districts such as Gò Vấp, Bình Tân, Tân Phú and District 12, however, are not able to do so, due to the large number of children entering the first grade.
At Lê Văn Thọ Primary School in District 12 which has over 4,500 students with about 90 classes, all students have switched to one study shift per day to avoid overcrowding.
In mid-May, many districts in HCM City and Thủ Đức City will announce early entry enrollment for students in the area. Parents should take note of each area’s enrollment regulations to prepare necessary documents for their children.
Even though parents have the tendency to apply for resident registration in District 1, the number of students who are able to attend the first grade in this area is calculated based on the number of fifth graders graduating from the schools.
“Students’ resident registration has been carefully reviewed in recent years. Children who are not from the area are not usually accepted to schools in District 1,” a representative of District 1 said.
According to the city People’s Committee’s early enrollment regulations, parents need to pay attention to important timelines and submit documents on time for their children.
Reading culture promoted in Cầu Giấy District apartment building
For more than 20 years, the space under the stairs of the first floor in the A3 apartment building in Nghĩa Tân Ward of Hà Nội has been home to bookshelves.
Newcomers or those who first visit the building may be surprised as the bookshelves and reading materials there belong to no one. They are shared and look after by the residents of the building.
The mini library has bookshelves, tables and chairs and books of all genres shelved in different areas such as classics, fiction, non-fiction, history, healthcare, science, law, memoirs as well as daily newspapers.
Đào Thị Anh Tuấn, a resident of the building, has spent many years voluntarily arranging newspapers and books at the library.
Tuấn said before 1999, people usually parked their motorbikes, ran small business stalls or occupied the stair area for personal purposes.
“Some retired people and veterans living in the building had an idea to set up a public library there, making it the first special cultural stair in the city,” Tuấn said.
It was then turned into a common cultural area for the community where people can go to read books, newspapers and talk to each other.
“We called on the residents to donate newspapers, books, tables and chairs,” she said, adding they set some rules to ensure the reading corner runs effectively. For example, every household takes turns to clean the stair daily, remove advertisements or drawings on walls and funds are raised by the residents to buy more books and newspapers.
“For over 20 years, the stair has been a familiar place for the building’s residents to gather and share their reading habit,” she said, adding that such activities also helped tighten the relationship of the different generations, neighbours and solidarity of the community.
While the young find interesting or useful resources for their studies or reading pleasure, older people enjoy reading news and events from daily newspapers. Many of them come to read and discuss news and events together.
Đỗ Trung Minh, a retired official who helps run the library, said the space under the stairs at the A3 building was quite large – about 20 sq.m, so it used to be used for parking.
Some people even left garbage there, he said.
“Since we cleaned up and opened a reading corner there, the area looks much better and residents have a place to meet, read and talk,” he said.
Another resident, Nguyễn Thị Hát, said she found many useful medical books and materials at the small library under the stairs.
“I usually read books and articles about how to stay healthy and avoid illness,” she said.
Đào Tùng Dương, a secondary school pupil, said he usually went to the library to read after school.
“Reading printed books and magazines is better for my eyes rather than using a mobile phone,” Dương said.
In the era of the internet, tablets and e-readers, reading culture is still maintained and promoted here, thanks to the “cultural stair”.
From this model, many community activities have been organised such as the weekly cleaning of the whole building, fundraising for people suffering from natural disasters and cooking competitions.
The success of the “cultural stair” of the A3 apartment block has even been spread to dozens of other neighbouring apartment buildings in Nghĩa Tân Ward.
The ward’s authorities have called on other buildings to implement the same model which has proved effective in promoting the reading culture and community connection.
Vietnam Airlines employees return about US$43,417 to passenger
Flight attendants of the flight VN7177 from Hanoi to the Central City of Da Nang on April 24 discovered and promptly returned valuable property to a passenger, Vietnam Airlines said yesterday.
Vietnam Airlines employees found a wallet in the seat 1A with US$45,000 and VND50 million, ATM card and other important personal papers with the total value of over VND1 billion (US$43,417). Flight attendants informed the lost-and-found counter which returned the wallet to the passenger.
The passenger later sent a thank-you letter to the flight attendants and employees of the lost-and-found counter.
Every year, Vietnam Airlines flight attendants and ground staff pick up and return many of valuable assets left on aircrafts to passengers.
The airline advised that passengers can go to the Lost and Found counter, or contact the airline’s representatives and airport security for assistance if they leave their property in planes.
Thousands of new COVID-19 cases reported in Southeast Asian countries
The Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand on May 3 reported thousands of new COVID-19 cases, while Indonesia announced that it detected several new infections of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant in Jakarta.
The Health Ministry of the Philippines confirmed 7,255 new cases, lifting the country’s tally to 1,062,225, including 17,525 deaths.
The Southeast Asian country started its COVID-19 vaccination programme from March, giving over 1.9 million doses of vaccine to its people. The Philippine government planned to vaccinate 70 million people this year to achieve the community immunity.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Ministry of Health reported 2,500 new cases, including 2,496 domestic infections, bringing its national count to 417,512. As many as 1,551 deaths related to COVID-19 were confirmed in the country.
The Public Health Ministry of Thailand on the same day reported a new daily high of 31 deaths and 2,041 new infections. This took the total number of cases in the country to 71,025 since the pandemic began last year. The death toll stands at 276.
Prasit Watanapa, a professor of medicine, warned that the country faces a crisis if the number of deaths continues to rise. He urged people to be strict about wearing face masks, to follow all measures advocated to curb the latest outbreak and to accept vaccination.
Indonesian Minister of Health Budi Gunadi announced that his country recorded two cases in Jakarta infected the B.1.617 variant, which was firstly detected in India.
An infection of the SARS-CoV-2 variant found in South Africa was reported in Bali, he added.
So far, Indonesia has recorded 1,677,274 cases, including 45,796 deaths.
The Cambodian government has announced its decision to lift the lockdown in Phnom Penh and the city adjacent to the capital – Ta Khmao in Kandal province from May 6./.
Exhibition on National Assembly opens in HCM City
More than 200 photos and documents featuring the development of the National Assembly of Vietnam are being displayed at the Southeastern Armed Forces Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
The exhibition, which opened on May 4, is to welcome the elections of deputies to the 15th legislature, and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure.
It gives visitors an insight into the formation of the legislative body, the first general election on January 6, 1946, the 75-year journey of the NA, and the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh in the legislature.
Among the documents on the display are those regarding regulations of the Constitution and laws towards the NA and People’s Councils at all levels, as well as documents relating to the elections.
The exhibition also highlights contributions of the armed forces of Military Region 7 to preparations and organisation of the elections.
In his opening remarks, Colonel Thai Thanh Duc, Deputy Chief of the Department of Politics of Military Zone 7, stressed the significance of the exhibition, saying it aimed to raise the awareness of Vietnamese people, especially young officers and soldiers of Military Zone 7, about the NA and elections.
The event will last until the end of May./.
Hanoi detects new COVID-19 infection at Times City
An Indian expert, who works for local automaker Vinfast, has been confirmed with COVID-19 in Hanoi, the municipal Centre for Disease Control said on May 4.
The man, born in 1984, arrived in Vietnam on April 17 and was immediately put under 14-day quarantine at a hotel in Hong Bang district, the northern city of Hai Phong.
He tested negative for the coronavirus twice during the mandatory quarantine period, and left for Hanoi on May 1 to stay with his wife and children at Park 10, Hoang Mai district’s Times City.
He visited Vinmec Hospital on May 3 for a commercial COVID-19 test and his test result turned out positive. He is now under treatment at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.
Authorities are actively tracing people having close contact with him for COVID-19 test and quarantine to prevent the virus spreading further.
A day earlier, Hanoi reported one case of COVID-19 in Bac Tu Liem District. He was on the same flight from Da Nang to Hanoi last week with two Chinese experts, who had later been found infected with COVID-19./.
Central region closes entertainment venues, schools to fight COVID-19
Local authorities in central Việt Nam shut down various entertainment venues from midnight on Monday after a community COVID-19 case was confirmed in the region.
All bars, discotheques, karaoke parlours, entertainment areas, internet, massage parlours and mass gatherings in public in the cities of Đà Nẵng, Hội An and Thừa Thiên-Huế, and Quảng Nam and Quảng Ngãi provinces were shut after a spa ticket salesman at a hotel in Đà Nẵng was found to be positive on Monday.
Since then, a massage therapist who works at the same hotel has also tested positive.
Health officials have been tracing the contacts of the two new patients and have listed 21 sites including restaurants, bars, karaoke parlours and bus stations in Hội An and Đà Nẵng that the salesman visited between April 21 and May 2 so people who visited them can submit health declarations.
Kindergartens, schools and universities in Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam were also closed from Tuesday morning until further notice from education authorities.
Quảng Nam Province has asked all residents returning from Hà Nội and HCM City and Yên Bái, Hưng Yên and Hà Nam provinces to report their health status and destinations they visited during the four-day holiday (April 29 to May 3) through the national online health declaration system.
Đà Nẵng has also ordered all taxis and public buses to only carry half of their passenger capacity, while a safe distance (2m) and face mask-wearing is a must for all in public.
Medical staff of a lab in central Việt Nam tests samples for SARS-COV-2. Photo courtesy of Thiện Nhân Health Centre
Trade centres, accommodation sites and restaurants are still open, but strict virus prevention measures are required, including hand-washing stations, face masks and temperature checks.
Sunny Club staff in Vĩnh Phúc infected with Indian coronavirus variant: health ministry
Staff working at Sunny Club in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc contracted the Indian variant of coronavirus, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology took samples of COVID-19 patients in Vĩnh Phúc, Hà Nam, Hưng Yên and Hà Tĩnh provinces to trace the origin of the virus.
Samples taken from three female staff of Sunny Club showed they had contracted B.1.617.2, the Indian variant, known as a ‘double mutant’, which has been found in at least 17 countries.
They are among six bar staff confirmed as having COVID-19 last week after being in close contact with a Chinese expert who came to the bar and tested positive earlier.
Six samples in Hà Nam, two in Hưng Yên and two in Hà Tĩnh (taken from two patients traveling from Laos to Việt Nam by road) showed they were infected with UK variant B.1.1.7.
The health ministry on Tuesday morning reported a man living in Hà Nội, who was on the same flight as two Chinese experts, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Associate Professor Trần Đắc Phu, a senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, said a case deemed to have had close contact with an infected person on a flight is someone sitting within two rows of that person. The man in Hà Nội indeed sat two rows from the two Chinese experts.
The environment on the plane is an enclosed space. If passengers do not strictly comply with protective measures, the risk of infection is high, he said.
Việt Nam has reported flight attendants infected with COVID-19. It is compulsory for passengers to wear masks on the plane, but sometimes they take off the masks. Coughing, talking, and sneezing on the place can spread the virus. Pathogens can be found on the surfaces of chairs and toilet door knobs. If a person touches those surfaces then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, they can be infected, he said.
In a related move, seven provinces and cities in Viet Nam have closed schools from Tuesday amid the high risk of COVID-19 community infection.
Children at kindergarten and students at primary, secondary and high schools in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Hưng Yên have been off from schools since Tuesday until further notice after community cases were detected in these areas.
Most universities in Hà Nội have turned to distance learning.
Schools in Yên Bái City, Nghĩa Lộ Town, Văn Chấn and Trấn Yên districts of northern Yên Bái Province and Hà Nam Province will remain shut until May 9.
Schools in Vĩnh Phúc Province will be closed until May 8.
Border provinces step up efforts to stop spread of COVID-19
Provinces and cities across Việt Nam, especially border areas, are stepping up their COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.
Đồng Tháp provincial border guards are making efforts to prevent people from entering the province illegally from Cambodia to stop the virus from entering the community.
At about 4.30am on Monday, during patrol duty on the Sở Thượng River in Thường Thới Hậu A commune, Hồng Ngự District, the border guard discovered 14 people, including 11 adults and three children, on seven wooden boats, preparing to illegally enter Việt Nam.
Previously, on Saturday and Sunday, they discovered 55 people travelling in 23 vehicles to the border on the Tiền River to prepare to illegally enter the country.
On Đồng Tháp southern province’s 50.5km long border with Cambodia, comprising 40km of the river border and 10.5km on the mainland, the border forces deployed 21 fixed posts and 18 mobile control teams on patrol duty.
Meanwhile, in the northern mountainous province of Hà Giang, hundreds of soldiers have been deployed on the Việt Nam-China border for border management and protection and COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control.
Colonel Lưu Đức Hùng, Political Commissar of the Hà Giang Border Guard Command, said the provincial border guards have worked with other forces to maintain operations of all fixed control posts, mobile teams on the border, supplement the establishment of posts when necessary to ensure tight control at the border gates and trails.
“We are determined to fight the pandemic from the border and carry out the ‘dual task’ of managing and protecting the sovereignty and preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Hà Giang has more than 277km of border with China. Due to the complex terrain and long border, illegal entry and exit activities are very complicated to handle.
Major Tạ Tấn Hoàng, director of the Xín Cái Border Guard Station in Méo Vạc District, said pandemic prevention has been activated at the highest warning level.
In all 69 medical posts across the province, in addition to measuring body temperature and sterilising surfaces, people from other provinces and cities entering Hà Giang are instructed to make a medical declaration.
On Monday, chairman of the Lạng Sơn Province People’s Committee Hồ Tiến Thiệu checked prevention and control activities in a number of key units and areas in the province.
At the Hữu Nghị International Border Gate, Thiệu said the pandemic was developing in a complex manner with many cases of community infection in some provinces and cities. Therefore, the forces on duty at the border gate must uphold their sense of responsibility, promote vigilance and strictly comply with pandemic prevention measures.
At Tân Thanh Border Gate, many drivers still do not wear masks and many people gather at restaurants and yards with a potential risk of spreading the disease. Thiệu asked the forces on duty here to take measures to prevent and control the pandemic under the Ministry of Health’s guidance.
He called for pandemic checkpoints on both access roads to the Tân Thanh bus station to ensure strict control of people and vehicles entering and leaving, and require all people entering and leaving the area to be medically examined, wear masks and keep a safe distance.
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
Start-up has become a trend among youngsters with driving ambition. Some, though still in college, have started their business out of their actual studies.
These students from University of Science and Technology under University of Da Nang have cooperated with those from Da Nang University of Economics to commercialise an idea of aquaculture wastewater treatment. Their project has won first prize in a contest looking for business idea by German Business Association in Vietnam recently.
It seems that students in Da Nang understand so well that key for success in business is networking. Let’s take an example of this aquaculture wastewater treatment. Here students at the Chemical Engineering Faculty have reached out to Electrical and Electronic Engineering Faculty to ask for help in building an automated system as recommended by the contest’s judging panel. They have also cooperated with students from different colleges as implementing the project.
It could be seen that there are more and more students in Da Nang competing at national and international start-up contests. Their rankings in those competitions have been significantly improved recently.
Start-up, especially innovation start-up, has grown as a trend among students in Da Nang thanks to great efforts from both universities, local authorities, and especially students. They make us have more faith in Vietnam’s start-up movement./. VNA
The 100 in the list have made contributions to solving urgent global issues such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic or have made breakthroughs in their own fields.
Le Thi Quynh Mai of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Vietnam in Hanoi leads a team of women researchers who were awarded the 2019 Vietnamese Kovalevskaia Award for their successful isolation of a new strain of the novel coronavirus.
Her team has spent the last two decades fighting deadly diseases, most notably SARS, A/H5N1 bird flu and H1N1.
Tran Thi Thu Ha from Thai Nguyen University in the northern province of the same name also won the 2019 Vietnamese Kovalevskaia Award for her research into the breeding and intensive cultivation of trees, the propagation and rearing of non-timber forest products and medicinal herbs and the development of medicinal plants.
Vuong Thi Ngoc Lan from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy was one of three recipients of the 2020 Ta Quang Buu Awards, an annual prize given by the Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage and honor scientists with outstanding achievements in basic research in the fields of natural sciences and engineering, for her research comparing the transfer of fresh and frozen embryos for in vitro fertilization.
Pham Tien Son of Da Lat University was also a recipient of the 2020 Ta Quang Buu Awards for his studies into generic properties for semi-algebraic programs.
Nguyen Truong Thanh Hieu of HCMC’s Ton Duc Thang University was yet another recipient of the 2020 Ta Quang Buu Awards for his studies into determining electron inelastic mean free paths in materials. The inelastic mean free path (IMFP) is an index of how far an electron on average travels through a solid before losing energy.
(From top L to bottom R) Scientists Tran Thi Thu Ha, Vuong Thi Ngoc Lan, Le Thi Quynh Mai, Pham Tien Son and Nguyen Truong Thanh Hieu. Photos courtesy of Asian Scientist.
Every year since 2016 the Asian Scientist Magazine has been compiling a list of the continent’s most outstanding researchers to celebrate the success of the region’s best and brightest, highlighting their achievements across a range of scientific disciplines.
To make the list, scientists must have received a national or international prize in the preceding year for their research, made a significant scientific discovery or provided leadership in academia or industry.
Asian Scientist is published by a team of professional science and medical journalists with contributions from industry and academia.
HÀ NỘI – Five Vietnamese scientists have been listed in the 2021 edition of Asian Scientist 100, an annual list that recognises the achievements of the region’s outstanding researchers by Singapore’s Asian Scientist magazine.
The list highlights their contributions to solving urgent global issues including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are Assoc. Prof. Dr. Trần Thị Thu Hà of Thái Nguyên University; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vương Thị Ngọc Lan from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCM City; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lê Thi Quỳnh Mai from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE); Phạm Tiến Sơn of Đà Lạt University; and Dr. Nguyễn Trương Thanh Hiếu from Tôn Đức Thắng University.
Hà was named ninth on the list, while Lan, Mai, Sơn and Hiếu ranked 19th, 21st, 89th and 98th, respectively.
Trần Thị Thu Hà won the 2019 Vietnamese Kovalevskaya Award for her research into the breeding and intensive cultivation of trees, the rearing of non-timber forest products and the development of medicinal plants.
Lê Thị Quỳnh Mai leads a team of women who were awarded the 2019 Vietnamese Kovalevskaya Award for further successful isolation of a new strain of SARS-CoV-2, making Việt Nam one of the first four countries to successfully isolate the virus in 2020.
Her team has spent the last two decades fighting deadly diseases, most notably SARS, A/H5N1 bird flu and H1N1.
Vương Thị Ngọc Lan was one of the three recipients of 2020 Tạ Quang Bửu Award thanks to her study on the efficiency between the transfer of fresh or frozen embryos in women without polycystic ovaries for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). It showed the transfer of frozen embryos yielded similar results to fresh ones, and the research has helped doctors and patients make better choices and increase the chance of success of IVF.
Tạ Quang Bửu Award is an annual prize held by the Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage scientists with outstanding achievements in basic research in the field natural sciences and engineering.
Phạm Tiến Sơn and Nguyễn Trương Thanh Hiếu were also recipients of the 2020 Tạ Quang Bửu Award.
Phạm Tiến Sơn was honoured for the project ‘Generic properties for semialgebraic programmes’ which was published by SIAM Journal on Optimization , while Hiếu was awarded for a project entitled ‘Low energy electron inelastic mean free path in materials’.
To be considered for the 2021 edition of Asian Scientist 100, individuals must have been awarded a national or international prize in 2020 for their research.
Alternatively, the honoree must have a significant accomplishment in scientific discovery or leadership that benefits academia or industry.
As COVID-19 spread across the world last year, scientists from all across Asia joined forces to stop the coronavirus in its tracks.
“It is now clearer than ever that science – and scientists – are what will help us overcome challenges like COVID-19 and longer term issues like climate change,” said Dr. Rebecca Tan, editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine.
“We are committed to shining a spotlight on the scientists who often work behind-the-scenes to bring much needed innovations like new vaccines to the world,” he said. – VNS