However, up to 70 percent of Vietnamese people use the Internet. This towering number of people surfing the internet shows an irreversible trend of the urgent digital transformation.
By Ho Son – Translated by Anh Quan
However, up to 70 percent of Vietnamese people use the Internet. This towering number of people surfing the internet shows an irreversible trend of the urgent digital transformation.
By Ho Son – Translated by Anh Quan
The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has made the world realize the limitations in the current supply chain, which shows an over reliance on just one link, which is a plausible reason for the collapse of the system.
|Fig.1: Exports & Imports of countries (%), August 2018-February 2121. Source: Haver Analytics|
The current ongoing pandemic is also providing the time to ease pressure on Vietnamese trade as restructuring of the Global Supply Chain is being dealt with. Only those countries that are well-prepared and have successfully controlled and contained the pandemic will be able to see a good outcome and macroeconomic stability in the future by an improved marketing strategy.
Break in supply chain
The repeated closure of the border, and immigration restrictions during the current pandemic have caused trade activities and global value chains to be disrupted or broken, especially the important supply chains to the US, China, Japan, Germany, and the European Union (EU). All these countries are reeling under the havoc being caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, manufacturing and business facilities of 1,000 of the world’s largest suppliers have upto 12,000 units in Covid-19 quarantined areas, most of which are located in China.
This explains why there is a breakdown in the Global Value Chain (GVC) that is seriously affecting trade activities for almost 50% of international trade. In addition, the application of digital transformation in manufacturing and business activities has made countries increase automation, in order to improve production capacity and withdraw from the GVC, so as to localize the economy. The disruption of Global Supply Chains is also due to sanctions inflicted during the US-China trade war, along with rise of protectionism. The industries in the world are overly dependent on China, so the leading countries tend to withdraw from what is considered the factory of the world.
Closer linking of the supply chain with the value chain is essential for ease of control. The US-China trade war had partially initiated and spurred this process when China thought it needed a strategy to undermine America’s leading role in global trade. The pandemic is not the only reason that has caused a change in the structure of the Global Value Chain, though it may perhaps have been the catalyst to speed up the process. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, intensive production of imported raw materials for exports has decreased sharply. Looking back over the last 30 years, the decentralized production system has been effective and has made a great contribution to GVC, but it still depends on the ability to trade, transport, and implement different trade policies of each country.
At the same time, a new form of production in the Global Value Chain is gradually emerging. With the development of digital technology, multinational companies are moving closer to consumer markets to reduce transportation costs, and increase sales. The production activities of supply chain units will have to be restructured, forcing companies to consider strategies to reduce production fragmentation where cheap labor is available.
Raising Vietnamese trade
Vietnam had a record trade surplus of USD 19.1 bn in 2020, although the US remains the largest export market with a trade surplus of USD 62.7 bn. Meanwhile, the trade deficit with the largest importer of China was at USD 35.4 bn. When looking at the trade activities of East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) countries, it is easy to see that Vietnam has the highest growth in import and export value (Fig. 1). In exports, ASEAN-5 countries export more goods and services to the US than China and other major trading partners, while importing the most from China (Fig. 2). These trends are similar to the trade statistics of Vietnam in 2020.
|Fig. 2: Exports & Imports of ASEAN-5 with selected partners (%), 2019-2020. Source: To Cong Nguyen Bao et al (2021), data extracted from WB (ASEAN-5 countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam).|
The Covid-19 pandemic has also created an opportunity for Vietnam to access and thereby participate more strongly in the Global Supply Chain, so that it can become a new nucleus in the Global Value Chain. There are some factors that can contribute to this process. First, Vietnamese exports have now risen to approximately 53.4%. Second, labor costs in Vietnam are lower than in China. Third, the business environment and competitiveness in Vietnam has improved since 2020, ranking the country at 70th place, up 23 places compared to 2010.
However, raising Vietnamese trade to new levels will not occur overnight, but will require systematic planning in preparing the right solutions as well as resources. As the world is facing a multitude of challenges in unforeseen and uncertain ways, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of unilateralism, growing geopolitical rivalry between major countries, and the coming of the digital age, many factors need careful consideration.
There are now five basic principles that can shape the strategy for Vietnamese trade. First, we need to improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness. Second, we need to enhance our involvement in the global supply chains. Third, we must improve out value-added products for exports in the value chain. Fourth, we must apply digital technology to all our economic activities. Fifth, we need to make cognitive changes so as to adapt better to the world markets.
Agro-forestry-fisheries exports up over 24 percent in Jan-Apr
The import-export value of agro-forestry-fisheries products in the first four months of 2021 stood at about 32.07 billion USD, with exports estimated at 17.15 billion USD, a 24.2 percent increase year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported.
With import value of 14.93 billion USD, Vietnam posted a trade surplus of about 2.2 billion USD, down 41.1 percent year-on-year, according to the ministry.
The export value of main agricultural products was estimated at 5.9 billion USD, up 9 percent year-on-year, while the figure for key forestry products was 5.33 billion USD and fisheries products 2.39 billion USD, increases of 50.9 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, year-on-year.
Upturns were seen in the export of many products, including rubber (nearly 112 percent), tea (nearly 8 percent), rice (1.2 percent), fruit and vegetables (9.5 percent), cassava and cassava products (24 percent), breeding products (37.4 percent), tra fish (nearly 3 percent), shrimp (5.5 percent), and furniture (over 71 percent).
Falls, meanwhile, were recorded in the export value of coffee, at 11.6 percent, and cashew nuts, at 7.8 percent.
Asian markets consumed 46.9 percent of Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fisheries products during the period, while the Americas accounted for 27.6 percent, Europe 10 percent, Oceania 1.4 percent, and Africa 1.4 percent.
The four leading markets were the US, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
Vietnam also spent 5.01 billion USD in the first four months on importing agro-forestry-fisheries products, with 1.38 billion USD outlaid on breeding products, 679 million USD on aquatic products, 997.4 million USD on major forestry products, and 2.31 billion USD on input materials.
The ministry will continue to keep domestic firms informed about new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations in major export markets, while maintaining its close watch over the production, price, and supply of farm produce in localities around the country./.
Shares decline over worries on rising COVID cases
Vietnamese stocks struggled in volatile markets on Thursday with sentiment hit by increasing COVID-19 cases nationwide with the VN-Index failing to maintain its uptrend.
The market benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) declined 0.47 per cent, or 5.86 points, to finish the trading day at 1,250.57 points.
The market breadth was negative as 262 stocks declined while 148 rose and 48 stocks ended flat.
The southern market index had risen 1.15 per cent to finish Wednesday at 1,256.43 points.
The market’s liquidity was high with nearly 730.5 million shares traded on the southern market, worth VND20.3 trillion (US$882.2 million).
Market sentiment has been weakened amid worries over the fourth wave of COVID-19 some of Viet Nam’s cities and provinces.
Nationwide, there have been 64 COVID-19 cases in the fourth wave of the disease, in cities of Ha Noi, Da Nang and HCM City and the nine provinces of Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Vinh Phuc, Quang Nam, Dong Nai, Hai Duong, Yen Bai, Thai Binh and Bac Ninh.
“After Wednesday’s strong rally, the VN-Index corrected slightly after approaching the historic peak of 1,260-1,280 points,” said BIDV Securities Co.
“Market liquidity decreased slightly along with the continued net selling trend of foreign investors on both exchanges had caused a market correction to the threshold of 1,250 points.
“Cash flow weakened compared to the previous session. The VN-Index may consolidate in the short term around 1,250 points before retesting the 1,260-1280 level in the mid term.”
The 30 biggest stocks tracker, VN30-Index, lost 0.17 per cent to 1,344.64 points.
Of the VN30 basket, seven stocks increased while 27 decreased.
Among the banking stock group, Vietcombank (VCB) had the most negative impact on the market as it fell 1.88 per cent, closing at VND98,300 per share.
Dairy giant Vinamilk (VNM) dropped more than 2.6 per cent, closing at VND89,600 per share, recording the lowest level since August 4th, 2020. Moreover, this was the session where VNM was net sold for six consecutive sessions by foreign investors and had the largest net selling value since March 5, 2021.
Another notable loser was Sabeco (SAB). This stock has fallen for four consecutive sessions, closing at VND156,000 per share on Thursday, the lowest level since July 1, 2020. Like Vinamilk (VNM), the beer giant’s shares have still been net sold by foreign investors, though not as much as the dairy giant.
Meanwhile, on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index rose 0.06 per cent to close Thursday at 281.09 points.
The northern market index had risen 1.16 per cent to close Wednesday at 280.93 points.
During the session, over 115 million shares were traded on HNX, worth VND2 trillion.
Overloaded renewable energy affects power system operation
Excess renewable energy has affected power system operations in Viet Nam, said the leader of the National Power System Dispatch Centre of Vietnam Electricity (EVN).
Nguyen Duc Ninh, director of the centre, said during a dialogue between EVN’s leaders and electricity experts on the operation of the national power system on May 4 in Ha Noi that the increasing solar and wind power was causing many difficulties in the operation of the power system.
According to Ninh, the proportion of renewable energy currently contributed up to 60 per cent of the peak load at noon and was prioritised for use at a maximum level, meaning the centre had to stop buying power from hydroelectricity sources around the time. As the result, the hydropower plants in central and southern Viet Nam, with nearly 8,000MW, had to stop working at noon to prioritise the purchase of renewable energy.
The centre also said from 2019 to the end of 2020, there was a boom in renewable energy from solar and wind power. For example, Ninh Thuan Province has the largest rate of renewable energy in the country with thousands of MW, but has very low demand for electricity itself so it transfers most of the production to other localities.
As of April 2021, out of the total power capacity, the country has 7,700MW of rooftop solar power and about 9,200 MW of farm solar power. The current capacity of wind power projects of 612MW was expected to increase up to 4,500-5,400MW between September and October this year.
The centre, which is responsible for ensuring normal operation of the electricity market in Viet Nam, added the phenomenon of redundant renewable energy was now affecting the operation of the power system, such as overloaded local lines and large gap in load between peak and off-peak hours.
Tran Dinh Long, Vice President of the Vietnam Electricity Association, said at the dialogue: “The boom in renewable energy projects is leading to difficulties in state management,” adding: “The current shortcoming is that the PPCs of provinces do not consult the electricity sellers about difficulties in operation and connection when they approved the energy projects so it leads to a lack of control in the development of renewable energy projects over time.”
Sharing the same view, Ha Dang Son, director of the Centre for Energy and Green Growth Research, said that the explosion of solar and wind power projects in recent years mainly comes from the fact that local authorities have approved too many projects.
Nguyen Minh Khoa, head of EVN’s legal department, said in accordance with the Law on Investment, the Provincial People’s Committee will approve investors of solar and wind power projects. When the local authorities issue a project license, EVN is not allowed to refuse to buy electricity from those projects but only take part in price negotiations.
At first, EVN strived to operate all the sources with the lowest total production cost. The main reason for the issue was the low demand for electricity, the lack of synchronous investment in grid projects and the slowdown of the economy and the widespread influence of COVID-19. The group will continue to review, update, and adjust the processes to suit the electricity system’s operating conditions.
Ngo Son Hai, EVN’s Deputy General Director, also said that the reduction of renewable energy sources has been reported to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
He added that according to the ministry’s guidance, as renewable energy sources are overloaded, they will be a priority to be used the most. Once the mobilisation remains redundant, they will be equally cut to fit the situation.
Southern stock market posts high transaction value in April
Liquidity of the southern stock market in April stood at the highest level from the outset of the year, with more than 14.51 billion stocks traded at a value of over 366.94 trillion VND (15.94 billion USD), according to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE).
Average transaction value per session was over 18.34 trillion VND, up 18.68 percent from March, and 47.41 percent from the same time last year.
HOSE also said that trading of covered warrants (CWs) – Vietnam’s third securities product after stocks and futures also heated up in the month, with over 506.38 million items sold at the value of 2.32 trillion VND.
The market also saw the benchmark VN-Index set a 20-year record high of 1,268.28 points on April 20, with total value of market transaction on the day topping 22.46 trillion VND.
The index in April edged up 4.02 percent from the previous month to end at 1,239.39 points, and surged 12.28 percent year-on-year.
Material, finance and real estate stocks performed well in the month, with VNMAT stocks rising 16.2 percent, VNFIN surging 10.55 percent and VNREAL up 10.47 percent.
Meanwhile, energy, utility, and consumer goods stocks suffered the respective declines of 10.03 percent, 5.04 percent, and 2.95 percent.
The net sales of foreign investors fell 93.87 percent from March to 751 billion VND.
HOSE saw no newly-listed stocks in the month, while five codes of LAF, TVB, PAN, BSI and ASG moved to the Hanoi Stock Exchange.
As of April 29, 511 security codes were being trade on HOSE, including 391 stocks, three close fund certificates, seven exchange traded funds (ETF), 79 CWs, and 31 bonds.
The stock market capitalisation on HOSE reached more than 4.46 quadrillion VND, increasing 4.12 percent from March, and accounting for around 73.87 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2020./.
EVN to cut 8 billion kWh of coal-fired power output
State-owned corporation Vietnam Electricity (EVN) expects to cut 8 billion kWh of coal-fired power output this year to increase the portion of solar and wind power, Nguyen Duc Ninh, director of the National Load Dispatch Center, said at a meeting on May 4.
EVN has planned to mobilize some 32 billion kWh of solar and wind power this year, twice as much as 2020. As of late April, the total capacity of solar farms was 9,200 MW, while that of rooftop solar power and wind power was some 9,600 MW and 612 MW, respectively. Some new wind farms with a total capacity of 4,500-5,400 MW are expected to be put into operation in the rest of this year.
According to EVN, the large production of renewable energy has also put pressure on the electricity system and transmission lines.
Overloads have been reported in Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and some central provinces, especially midday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the electricity demand is low and solar power capacity reaches its peak.
Nguyen Duc Cuong, member of the Board of Directors of EVN, said although the output of renewable energy has soared, Vietnam still needs to maintain other sources such as liquefied natural gas-fired, coal-fired and hydro power.
“With advanced technology, coal-fired power plants have been able to solve many problems, including environmental pollution,” he stressed.
According to the National Load Dispatch Center, Vietnam’s capacity of solar and wind power will reach some 20,000 MW this year, accounting for over 30% of the total power capacity. However, renewable energy output contributes only 12% of the total and is expected to rise to 17% in the next five years.
Therefore, the country needs to maintain the portion of traditional energy (liquefied natural gas-fired, coal-fired and hydro power) at 40-80% to ensure power security.
EVN has planned to cut 1.3 billion kWh of renewable energy in 2021. The corporation said in the coming time, it will cut renewable energy capacity by 15-20%. Particularly, solar power and wind power output will be cut by 13.3% and 4.8%, respectively.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the development of renewable energy, especially solar power, has seen positive results, attracting large investment and contributing to effectively exploiting the potential renewable energy resources in the country.
However, the boom of high-capacity renewable energy plants, mainly in the central and southern regions, has overloaded inter-regional transmission lines and caused an oversupply.
CAAV proposes adding airport at Cao Bang to airport master planning
In its evaluation of the master plan to broaden the development of the airport network by 2030 with a vision to 2050, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam proposed prioritising investment in building and upgrading major international airports in the next 10 years, as well as adding one more airport at Cao Bang by 2025.
Accordingly, the number of airports in the country will remain unchanged by 2030 with 28 airports, including 14 international airports and 14 domestic airports. By 2050, the country will have one additional domestic airport at Cao Bang.
Although the number of airports has not increased, the designed capacity of the airport systems has increased significantly by 2030.
Specifically, the airport system has to meet the transport needs of about 278 million passengers a year, as well as accommodate an average increase of 8.1 per cent a year. Addiitonally, it will also need to handle a cargo throughput to about 4.1 million tonnes a year, increasing at an average of 10.3 per cent per year.
This increase is huge compared to the total designed capacity of about 95 million passengers a year in 2019.
To achieve this goal, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam proposes focusing on major international airports such as Long Thanh, Tan Son Nhat, Danang, and Noi Bai airports.
Preliminary calculations show that the total capital that needs to be invested in airport infrastructure in the next 10 years is about VND400 trillion ($17.34 billion), most of which is to invest in new construction or upgrading international airports.
Measures sought to capitalise on European market
An online conference was held in Ho Chi Minh City on May 5 to seek measures and strategies to effectively approach and exploit the promising but choosy European market.
Tran Thi Trang, head of the Training Office of the HCM City Center for Trade Promotion and Investment (ITPC) said that Europe is one of the largest trade partners of Vietnam, while Vietnam is the second biggest trade partner of Europe in Southeast Asia.
Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, trade exchange between the two sides has still been maintained, especially since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, import-export activities have been on the rise and forecast to continue to grow in the future, she said.
Meanwhile, Zachaier, director for supply chain at Source of Asia (SOA), said that Europe is a potential market that is the target of many countries. Vietnam is the one of the important trade partners of Europe with outstanding advantages thanks to the EVFTA. By the end of 2020, four months after the deal took effect, Vietnam’s exports to the EU saw positive signs despite impacts from COVID-19.
Vietnam’s exports to Europe reached 42 billion USD, he noted, adding that the figure has accounted for only 2 percent of the total import value of the EU, showing that there is large room for Vietnamese goods to penetrate into the market.
He said that European consumers are paying greater attention to sustainability, including the origin trace, social responsibility and environmental protection.
In that context, Vietnamese exporters should assess the sustainability of their products and the regulations in the market, thus designing strategies to adjust the supply chain to suit international standards and rules, he suggested.
Huynh Thanh Trung, Director of LeanWares Company, said that Vietnamese enterprises have seen limitations in high added value stages such as designing, development research and marketing.
He said that Vietnamese businesses should focus on building standardised factories, while controlling the supply chain in an effective manner to meet the demands of the European market.
Do Van Huy, Manager of the Shire Oak International project in Vietnam, said that European consumers care a lot about the environment and climate change, and prioritise products produced with green energy.
Dinh Thi Tuyet Nhung, SOA’s international market development team leader, held that the similarity of successful enterprises such as Vinamilk, Viettel and Kova is focusing on their product quality right from the stage of developing the domestic market. Once winning the home market, they started studying and approaching foreign markets, she said./.
Retail sales, service revenue hit 73.5 billion USD in four months
The total retail sales and service revenue surged 10.02 percent year-on-year to 1.695 quadrillion VND (over 73.5 billion USD) in the first four months of 2021, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Retail sales of goods in the January-April period were estimated at over 1,352.7 trillion VND, up 9.8 percent against the same period last year.
Increases were seen in the sales of textiles (up 11.8 percent), food and foodstuff (up 11.5 percent), vehicles (up 11.1 percent), and cultural and education products (up 9.5 percent).
Revenues from accommodation and catering services in the four-month period was estimated at 164.5 trillion VND, up 10.1 percent year-on-year./.
1.14 billion USD raised from G-bonds in April
The State Treasury raised more than 26.3 trillion VND (over 1.14 billion USD) worth of Government bonds (G-bonds) via 16 auctions on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in April.
The figure was 215 percent higher than March’s.
Compared to the previous month, interest rates of bonds in successful bids expanded on the maturities of 5 years, 10 years and 15 years, with increase ranging from 0.05 – 0.06 percent each maturity, while those of 20 years and 30 years remained.
On the secondary G-bond market, the average trading value in the month reached nearly 9.79 trillion VND per session, down 5.99 percent month-on-month.
The total outright purchases of G-bonds hit over 1 billion bonds valued at 116.6 trillion VND.
Meanwhile, the total volume traded via repos exceeded 742 million bonds, worth more than 79.1 trillion VND, up 10.17 percent from the previous month.
Foreign investors made purchases of over 2.34 trillion VND, and outright sales of close to 1.63 trillion VND./.
Vietnamese meat exports to RoK market enjoy surge
Vietnam’s exports of meat and meat products to the Republic of Korea (RoK) in February witnessed robust growth due to increasing demand, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade..
As a result, the RoK made up 19.3% of Vietnam’s total meat export value in February, the highest export rate for Vietnamese livestock products to this market.
Major export items throughout February include frozen chicken and duck feet which account for 77.3% of the country’s total export value of livestock products to the RoK.
During the two-month period, the RoK increased its imports of poultry products to compensate the domestic supply source which has been negatively impacted by avian flu since the end of last year.
Veitnam also exported other products such as frog meat and processed meat to the RoK market.
Travel companies face tough times as tours face mass cancellations
Many travel companies in Vietnam are seeing an increasing number of cancellations for summer holiday tours amid fears of a new Covid-19 outbreak.
A woman in Hanoi, Hoai Thu said she wanted to take her children to Danang but news about Covid-19 cases found in several provinces, including Danang on May 3, worried her. Thu then cancelled the tour despite having paid VND10m (USD434).
In HCM City, many tours for the Reunification Holiday have ended, some longer tours will end in one or two more days. Most of the customers called to cancel tours for the summer holiday from May to July.
Pham Quy Huy, director of Kiwi Travel, said 80% of their tours had been cancelled and some other tours were postponed. This would pose difficulties because of many pre-arranged services and contracts. The company would lose about VND1bn (USD43,300).
Nguyen Minh Man, PR director of TST Tourist, also shared the same difficulties.
“We actually got used to not rolling out new tours when there was an outbreak but the current situation worries us. We have to carefully prepare amid the pandemic and have plans for different scenarios to boost business in third and final quarters,” he said.
Tran Doan The Duy, director of Vietravel, said they immediately removed tours to Ha Nam when an outbreak was detected there. They haven’t received any directives from the authorities about suspending tours so they still issue a surcharge for customers when they cancel tours in accordance to the contract.
“We have replaced different destinations in tours to Ha Nam, Hanoi or Yen Bai to ensure a safe trip for tourists. The tourists have to fill in the medical declaration forms and our vehicles are disinfected frequently,” he said.
Tran Thi Bao Thu from Fiditour-Vietluxtour said they were following the situation to have suitable plans. Each customer was given a face mask and hand wash. Their guides were asked to not lead tourists to crowded places.
“We surveyed the sites carefully and collaborated with accommodation facilities to make sure that all preventive measures are followed,” she said.
Lack of legal corridor results in stagnant renovation of old apartments
Time has taken its toll on old buildings in Ho Chi Minh City and most of them have fallen into disrepair.
Residents living in fear in such dilapidated old apartments. Despite governments’ efforts to renovate these old buildings, lack of legal corridors resulted in a stagnant renovation of old apartments.
Vinh Hoi apartment building in District 4 is classified at level D, the dangerous level. The outer walls of the 4-story high building are covered with thick moss. More dangerous, over time, the ceilings of the apartments have been damaged, revealing concrete and steel.
According to the owner of apartment A18, from the end of 2018 till the middle of 2019, the district administration has called for investors to participate in the construction project and planned for resettlement; however, the coronavirus pandemic 19 stopped the plan.
Truc Giang apartment building, which is ranked level D, suffers the same fate. The apartment building is empty because residents have moved to new places; yet, three families still refused to move to other places because they said their new residence is too far from the workplace.
The city is now home to 474 apartment buildings, which were built before 1975 and only 10 of them have been rebuilt. The others, such as Nguyen Thien Thuat in District 3, Vien Dong in District 5, Ngo Gia Tu and An Quang in District 10, and Thanh Da in Binh Thanh District, have seriously deteriorated, threatening the safety of residents and damaging the city’s landscapes.
According to the People’s Committee in District 4, three apartment buildings in the district ranked level D were built before 1975. Most of the residents in apartment Nguyen Tat Thanh agreed to move to new residences; however, the local administrators have not failed to choose investors.
Three families in Truc Giang refused to relocate in Phu Tho apartment in District 11. Governments have repaired Tan My apartment in District 7 as a temporary residency for residents in Vinh Hoi apartment which is being under construction.
The renovation of the old apartment building has bumped into barriers although it is prescribed by law. For instance, the five-story Truc Giang Apartment has a land area of 843 square meters with 123 apartments each from 10-30 square meters.
District 4 People’s Committee has repeatedly invited investors to participate in renovation and reconstruction projects, but because of the small land area, investors will not make a profit.
According to the Department of Construction, there exist many inadequate regulations on renovating and building old apartment buildings.
For example, the current regulations on compensation, assistance, temporary resettlement and resettlement are no longer appropriate.
Moreover, there has been no consensus on the exemption or reduction of land use fees and financial obligations arising from the adjustment of increasing planning and architectural indicators.
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has authorized people’s committees in districts to renovate the old apartment building, but during the process, district administrations have encountered many problems related to the current legal system; therefore, they had no choice but report to the People’s Committee for further guidelines.
In addition, in early 2021, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has submitted amendments and supplements to the Decree 101/2015 on renovating and rebuilding old condominiums to the Ministry of Construction but the city is still waiting for approval.
National strategy built for digital economy, society development
The Prime Minister has ordered the building of a national strategy on developing a digital economy and digital society to be completed in August.
The Ministry of Information and Communications has been tasked with the mission.
Vietnam last year began its national digital transformation programme focused on a “digital government, digital economy and digital society”.
Under the programme by 2030, the country will adopt new technologies and models, completely overhaul the way the Government operates, updates business operations, changes the work style of citizens, and creates a safe, secure and humane digital environment.
The digital economy is projected to produce 20 percent of the country’s GDP in the near future, with at least 10 percent of each economic sector part of the digital economy, while annual labour productivity will likely increase at least 7 percent.
Experts said the country is set to be among the top 50 countries in the information and communication technology development index within the next five years./.
Vietnam should continue support for vulnerable groups: IMF official
Vietnam will record positive economic growth in 2021, at around 6-7 percent, if the country continue support for vulnerable groups in the economy, as well as the freshly-rolled out vaccination campaign, said Jonathan Ostry, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Southeast Asian country needs to lay a foundation for strong growth in the mid-term, including ensuring sufficient revenue resources for infrastructure development and implementation of public investment, he stressed.
It is necessary for the nation to ensure a resilient financial system, and continue efforts to better the investment climate, Ostry added.
Regarding a plan that is being drafted by the Vietnamese Government to assist enterprises during the pandemic, the IMF official held that the country’s fiscal policy should be loosened to support economic activities, and limit negative impacts from the pandemic.
Policy adjustments depend largely on the speed of economic recovery at the global level, which is undergoing a lot of uncertainties, he said.
Pointing out weak uptake of tax deferrals in Vietnam, particularly in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, the IMF recommended introduction of temporary corporate income tax (CIT) loss-carry backwards to improve firms’ cash flows, better targeting of temporary CIT reductions to benefit distressed but viable small-and medium-sized enterprises, and introduction of temporary provisions for accelerated depreciation or investment tax credits to lower to user cost of capital and encourage investment.
He moved to underscore that Vietnam’s economic growth story in the past three decades is notable since it is sustainable and inclusive growth that helps improve local livelihoods.
Thanks to market-oriented reforms which enable improvements in the business climate, and attraction of huge amount of FDI flows, Vietnam has risen from being in the group of the world’s poorest country to gaining the “middle-income” status.
The country should work more to better the business environment and ensure an equal playground, he said, adding this includes reforms geared towards simplifying and reducing the regulatory burden for domestic firms, easing entry costs for enterprises, continued reform of state-owned firms, and enhancing good governance.
Additionally, he suggested Vietnam enhance human capital and technology access to boost labour productivity, which facilitate investments in more complicated products that can gain better competitive edge in the international market./.
Textile & garment exports maintain growth momentum
The domestic textile and apparel industry has maintained its growth momentum with four-month export turnover increasing by 13.33% to US$11.747 billion compared to the same period from last year, according to data released by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS).
Of the overall figure, garments accounted for the largest proportion with US$8,766 billion, followed by fiber with US$1,638 billion, and fabric with US$740 million.
The United States, Europe, and Japan continue to be the major consumption markets for Vietnamese garments and textiles, and several local firms have secured orders until the end of the year.
By sustaining steady growth, Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the VITAS, expresses his optimism that the set export target of US$39 billion can be achieved this year.
According to industry experts, the country’s garments and textiles enjoy a competitive advantage in several major markets, including the EU and the US, whilst the export prices of cotton T-shirts remain higher than the same types of items made in other regional countries such as Bangladesh.
However, several businesses point out that although production has bounced back following a hit caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), their export revenues have yet to reach previous highs.
The decline in export turnover can largely be attributed to the fact that some companies like Garment 10 have received a number of orders at lower prices of outsourcing compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, a representative of Hue Textile and Garment Joint Stock Company expresses his worry that the second quarter of this year would be a difficult period for the garment sector as it coincides with the transition period between seasons. This period often sees sharp price fluctuations, changes in the structure of orders, product types, and declining percentage of free-on-board (FOB) orders.
Amid the complex nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the garment sector is anticipated to be impacted by global trends, including market volatility and fluctuations.
The VITAS has therefore advised local businesses to closely monitor market changes, adjust production strategies, and seek new orders, while simultaneously making efforts to utilise green solutions in production towards sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue promoting exports by optimising opportunities brought by free trade agreements (FTAs), diversifying export and import markets, along with improving the competitiveness of export products and developing trademarks.
Kien Giang rolls out measures to attract visitors
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has called on local travel companies to actively implement promotional programmes and plans to lure tourists now that COVID-19 has been largely brought under control.
The province’s major orientations are to connect tourism development with the facilitation of the trade and service sectors, thus increasing sales of domestic products.
It will promote itself as a safe, friendly, and attractive destination for sea and island tourism.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Tourism Bui Quoc Thai, Kien Giang will focus on markets where COVID-19 has been controlled when detailing its roadmap for re-opening to foreign tourists.
As Kien Giang and the province’s Phu Quoc Island have remained safe, without any community infections being recorded, the locality has seen a quick recovery in the number of visitors after each COVID-19 outbreak, he said.
In the first quarter of 2021, Kien Giang welcomed nearly 1.2 million visitors, down 32.9 percent year-on-year and representing 16.8 percent of its annual target, with total revenue standing at about 1.56 trillion VND (67.6 million USD).
Kien Giang has attracted 325 tourism projects to date worth nearly 356 trillion VND, covering a total area of 10,120 ha, primarily on Phu Quoc.
President of the Kien Giang Tourism Association Tran Quoc Khanh said that during the upcoming Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday, Kien Giang and Phu Quoc in particular are set to welcome a large number of visitors.
Provincial authorities have asked localities and local travel companies to strictly implement pandemic preventive measures in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health.
Kien Giang is working with relevant agencies on the provision of “closed tourism packages” – in which guests generally stay at one destination with little travelling – for Russian visitors arriving on charter flights.
Thai said the locality will continue to also appeal to Vietnamese holidaymakers as well as foreigners living in the country.
The province aims to welcome 7 million visitors and earn 11.5 trillion VND from tourism this year.
Along with fostering links with northwestern, northern, and Central Highlands localities, Kien Giang will also focus on preparing infrastructure for tourism, while offering promotional programmes to attract more visitors, Thai said./.
FTA providing impetus for Vietnam – Chile trade
Despite there being no commitments on services and investment in the Vietnam – Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the pact has nonetheless been a boost to trade and economic ties between the two countries.
The view was shared at the fourth meeting of the Vietnam – Chile free trade council, which was held online and chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai and Vice Minister of Trade at Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rodrigo Yanez.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European – American Market Department, the two countries have enjoyed robust relations over the years.
Despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade in 2020 topped 1.28 billion USD, up 4.43 percent year-on-year and 2.5-fold higher than the figure recorded in 2013, prior to the FTA coming into effect.
Chile is now one of Vietnam’s four largest trade partners in Latin America, while Vietnam is the largest trade partner of Chile in ASEAN.
Trade in goods in the first four months of this year rose 15.3 percent year-on-year to 401.1 million USD, with Vietnam’s exports standing at 321.3 million USD, up 11.8 percent.
Both sides recognised the efforts made to implement the FTA.
The subcommittee for trade in goods discussed matters regarding tariffs and origin of goods and considered the application of electronic certificates of origin to simplify procedures for exporters in both countries.
Meanwhile, the subcommittee for hygiene and phyto-sanitation worked on import procedures for several agricultural products.
Vietnam has begun risk analysis on Chilean kiwi fruit while the South American country said it will begin analyses of Vietnamese rambutan in July.
Both agreed to step up measures to help Vietnamese and Chilean businesses capitalise on the Vietnam – Chile FTA as well as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), after it is ratified by Chile. The latter agreement will make a significant contribution to bolstering bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, and investment./.
PV Power rated “Positive” by Fitch Ratings
Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings has for the first time assigned the PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power) a Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of “BB” with a positive outlook.
The rating is on par with that of Vietnam and major groups such as the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Vietnam Electricity (EVN).
PV Power is the first Vietnamese power producer and the first unit of PetroVietnam to be assigned an international credit rating.
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and in the opening months of 2021, PV Power still stably, safely, and effectively operated its power plants and fulfilled its targets.
Total output of commercial electricity reached 19.166 billion kWh last year, or 103 percent of the plan. The company earned over 30.2 trillion VND (1.31 billion USD) in revenue and posted more than 2.87 trillion VND in pre-tax profit, or 107 percent and 120 percent of the targets, respectively. Its contribution to the State budget exceeded 1.68 trillion VND, or 118 percent of the plan.
Its pre-tax profit stood at 720 billion VND in the first quarter of this year, or 106 percent of the plan.
With this rating from Fitch, it is expected that PV Power will have greater capacity to raise capital in the international market./.
2021 Top Thai Brands expo kicks off in HCM City
The 2021 Top Thai Brands expo opened at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on May 6.
The annual event is among the largest trade expos showcasing Thai products in Vietnam.
Director of the Thai Department of International Trade Promotion’s HCM City Office Suparporn Sookmark said preventive measures are in place as the expo is held amid complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She voiced a hope that firms, manufacturers and distributors can make use of the opportunities brought by the event to bolster trade between Thailand and Vietnam in the coming time.
Top Thai Brands expo is being held as an in-person and online event which features products of more than 50 businesses, including food and beverages, health and beauty products, household products, textiles and garments, among others.
It will run until May 9.
Exhibitors are also seeking partners for trade and network expansion.
According to Thai Consul General in HCM City Apirat Sugondhabhirom, over 200 Thai companies are operating in Vietnam./.
Vietnam, Cambodia lift trade ties
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien held a working session with Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam Chay Navuth in Hanoi on May 6 to discuss measures to strengthen bilateral ties across trade, industry and energy.
Dien expressed his belief that under the leadership of the Cambodian Government and with prevention and control measures, Cambodia will soon wipe out COVID-19 pandemic and restore its economy.
On the occasion, he presented 10,000 anti-bacteria clothing masks to the Cambodian Embassy in Vietnam, and 10,000 others to each of the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce; Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation; and the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Both sides spoke highly of bilateral trade ties over the past years, with an annual growth of around 18 percent during 2010-2019.
Last year, two-way trade tripled from 2010. In 2019, it reached 5.2 billion USD, surpassing the target of 5 billion USD. They expressed their belief that the figure will grow more strongly in the near future.
The two sides agreed to maintain and renovate customs clearance model at border gates on roads and waterways, ensuring that the supply chain will not be disrupted, especially for necessities such as medical and food supplies, amid the pandemic.
At the same time, they will review, revise and sign legal frameworks related to trade, especially an agreement between the two Governments to step up bilateral trade for the 2022-2023 period.
They vowed to accelerate the implementation of a master plan to carry out the Memorandum of Understanding on connectivity and development of border trade infrastructure between the two governments.
Further support will be offered to firms to promote trade, build trademarks and distribution channels, enhance information sharing, fight against smuggling across the border, enhance power purchase partnership, and ensure the stability and safety of each nation’s electricity system.
Concluding the event, Dien affirmed that the Ministry of Industry and Trade is ready to work with the Cambodian Embassy and other units to lift Vietnam – Cambodia relations in the near future.
The ministry’s Department of Asian-African Markets reported that two-way trade reached 2.69 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, up 103.68 percent annually. Of the figure, Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia rose by 15.83 percent year-on-year to 1.22 billion USD, mostly iron and steel up 20.8 percent, apparel 15.5 percent, oil and gas 18.4 percent, apparel and footwear materials 10.6 percent.
Meanwhile, imports from Cambodia soared by 443 percent annually to 1.47 billion USD, including cashew nuts 711 million USD, up 497 percent; rubber 318.3 million USD, up 999 percent; vegetables 13.3 million USD, up 48.2 percent, iron and steel scraps 10.7 million USD, up 216.7 percent./.
Transport minister supports construction of Ring Road No.4
Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has expressed support for the construction of Ring Road No.4 because it is of the utmost importance, linking Hanoi with nearby provinces.
During a conference held in Hanoi on May 6, The asked Hanoi and related provinces namely Vinh Phuc, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh and Bac Giang to speed up the implementation of the project to ease traffic pressure on Ring Road No.3.
The project is expected to not only ease traffic overload, expand development resources, connectivity and trade in goods among localities in the Hanoi Capital Region and the northern key economic region, but also help Hanoi and the provinces gradually perfect transportation systems as planned, making it easier for them to step up socio-economic development in both urban and rural areas, said Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung.
Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Duong Duc Tuan highlighted the development of the Hanoi Capital Region’s framework transportation network to carry passengers and goods over the past years, including seven expressways namely Hanoi – Lao Cai, Hoa Lac – Hoa Binh, Hanoi – Thai Nguyen, Hanoi – Hai Phong, Cau Gie – Ninh Binh, Thang Long Boulevard and Noi Bai – Bac Ninh, as well as the renovation and expansion of Noi Bai International Airport.
Tuan stressed that the Master Plan on Hanoi Capital Region set Ring Roads No.4 and No.5 as two important routes for regional connectivity.
In order to build Ring Road No.4, which will pass through 14 districts of the localities with a total length of around 98km, he asked the Transport Ministry and the provinces of Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc and Bac Giang to offer feedback on the project to report to the Prime Minister.
About capital structure, he suggested allocating around 25 trillion VND (1.08 billion USD) from the State budget to Hanoi, Hung Yen and Bac Ninh. The localities must earmark 50 trillion VND each from their budgets, and the remaining will be from build-operate-transfer (BOT) investors./.
Binh Duong works hard on infrastructure development, administrative reform
The southern province of Binh Duong will concentrate on promoting infrastructure development and administrative reform, which are considered as two key pillars in creating breakthroughs in socio-economic development.
Addressing a meeting of the provincial 11th Party Committee, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Tran Van Nam said Binh Duong has basically completed the dual goals of COVID-19 prevention and socio-economic recovery and development.
The province’s industrial production index in the first quarter of 2021 was estimated to have increased 6.9 percent year-on-year. Some 255 new businesses were also established.
Its export turnover stood at 7.7 billion USD, while its import value was 5.6 billion, up 30.4 percent and 20 percent compared to the same period last year, respectively, resulting in a trade surplus of nearly 2.1 billion USD.
As of March 31, Binh Duong had attracted nearly 30.8 trillion VND (1.34 billion USD) in domestic investment and 468 million USD in foreign direct investment, increases of 50 percent and 59 percent year-on-year, respectively.
Nam said the province will continue to accelerate site clearance and compensation and roll out specific measures to remove difficulties facing the locality in compiling planning for land use and urban and smart city development.
It will also work on speeding up the construction of roads and overpasses and tightening the management of the real estate sector, he added./.
Hai Duong prepares to introduce Thieu litchi on e-commerce platforms
Authorities of the northern province of Hai Duong are carrying out necessary procedures to offer from 5-10 products meeting standards in the “One Commune – One Product” (OCOP) programme, including Thieu litchi, for sales on e-commerce platforms before May 18.
The province will sell the products on Alibaba.com, Voso.vn, Sendo.vn, and Lazada.vn.
As part of activities to implement the plan, the provincial Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) held a training programme on traceability of origin and trade promotion on e-commercial floors in both the online and face-to-face forms on May 6.
The course, which was joined by around 120 participants from local agricultural service cooperatives and producers of OCOP products, aims to help further promote Thieu litchi and OCOP products of the province.
Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Director of Vietrade’s centre for IT application said her agency is committed to supporting businesses to implement successfully the plan.
Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said through the programme, the agriculture sector hopes to help individuals and organisations to understand more about the processes of origin traceability and transaction when joining e-commerce platforms, thus expanding markets for local agricultural products.
Hai Duong’s Thieu litchi has conquered many fastidious markets such as the US, Australia, the European Union (EU), Japan and Singapore.
Last year, the province’s litchi production yield reached an estimated 43,000 tonnes worth 1.16 trillion VND (nearly 50.4 million USD), including 20,000 tonnes of Thieu litchi. 50 percent of the total output was exported.
In 2021, Hai Duong plans to harvest 55,000 tonnes of litchi, with 50 percent of the total to be exported to China, and about 5-7 percent to fastidious markets./.
Coastal province aims to be centre for shrimp seed production
The south – central province of Ninh Thuận targets becoming Việt Nam’s centre for high-quality shrimp seed production by 2030.
The coastal province has already attracted many large companies and groups that have invested in concentrated aquatic seed production areas.
Nguyễn Khắc Lâm, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that three concentrated areas produce aquatic seeds with a combined area of 265ha.
The 125-ha An Hải in Ninh Phước District is the province’s largest concentrated aquatic seed production area, followed by the 100-ha Nhơn Hải area in Ninh Hải District.
The Nhơn Hải area has the largest production scale and aquatic seed output in the province.
The 40-ha Sơn Hải area is zoned for producing disease – free parent shrimp that produce shrimp seeds for breeding. It is the country’s only concentrated area that produces parent shrimp.
Shrimp seed is one of the province’s 12 specifically identified agricultural products. It has received high marks for quality from other provinces and cities.
The production of shrimp seeds has increased year by year and has exceeded the target each year, according to the department. The province produced 42.6 billion shrimp seeds last year, up 4.1 times against 2010.
The province supplies about 35 per cent of the country’s shrimp seed demand. “The province sells the remaining shrimp seed output to provinces and cities nationwide,” he said.
The province accounts for only 5 – 10 per cent of its shrimp seed output. The black-tiger shrimp seeds are sold mostly to the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, while its white – legged shrimp seeds are sold mostly to coastal provinces and cities.
The shrimp seeds are strictly inspected for disease before they are sold to other provinces and cities.
Seed production plan
Under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s plan to develop the shrimp industry to 2030, the country will have to produce 250 – 300 billion shrimp seeds a year by 2030, according to the ministry’s Directorate of Fisheries.
Under the plan, Ninh Thuận alone will have to produce 50 – 60 billion shrimp seeds.
With its investment in shrimp breeding infrastructure and the use of advanced techniques by shrimp-seed producing companies, the province plans to gradually restructure production and increase the quality and output of shrimp seeds.
The province aims to have 10 per cent of each of its shrimp seed production establishments producing 500 million seeds a year by 2025.
It targets producing a total of 50 billion high-quality shrimp seeds by 2025 and 60 billion high-quality shrimp seeds by 2030.
The goal is to have all seed production establishments inspected for disease safety by 2030.
It also targets having enough parent shrimp to produce seeds for black tiger shrimp and white – legged shrimp, two major shrimp varieties bred in the country.
Võ Văn Nha, deputy head of the ministry’s Aquaculture Research Institute No 3, said the targets of 50 – 60 billion shrimp seeds a year in the 2025 – 30 period is feasible.
“The important thing is that the province should give priority to investing in infrastructure and restructuring shrimp seed production establishments, and use advanced techniques and protect the environment,” he said.
Ninh Thuận has 450 shrimp seed production establishments, accounting for more than 22 per cent of such establishments in the country, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.
However, the number of small and medium – size establishments accounts for up to 80 per cent of the province’s total shrimp seed production establishments.
The use of advanced techniques is still low, while high-quality parent shrimp must be imported.
To meet the targets, the provincial People’s Committee has told the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to invest in infrastructure for the three concentrated aquatic seed production areas.
It also told the department to invest in infrastructure in the 125-ha An Hải concentrated aquatic seed production area and to expand the area to more than 200ha.
The plan, which will invest VNĐ189 billion (US$8.2 million) in An Hải, is expected to attract companies with sufficient financial and technological capacity to invest in areas producing high-quality aquatic seeds.
The department is also planning to upgrade the Nhơn Hải concentrated aquatic seed production area. The plan, which will cost about VNĐ155 billion ($6.7 million), will invest in infrastructure for transport, electricity and water supply, and waste water treatment.
The province also aims to improve the State’s management of the quality of aquatic seeds and services related to aquatic seed production, and will strengthen co-operation among stakeholders in aquatic seed production and promote markets for aquatic seeds.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Hai Van Pass among ten most beautiful drives worldwide
Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass in Da Nang city has been listed among the 10 most beautiful drives in the world, according to a recent article published by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Hai Van Pass has been dubbed “one of the best coast roads in the world” by Jeremy Clarkson, former host of British motoring show Top Gear. The website also recommends that those travelling along the route take the road slow as conditions can become a slightly foggy.
Running for a total length of 20km, the pass has become one of the most popular destinations for visitors to snap photographs, with over 52,000 photos taken at the site uploaded to Instagram.
The global list is based on analysis provided by Pentagon Motor Group (PMG), which searches more than seven million Instagram hashtags in order to uncover the world’s most stunning routes.
As part of PMG’s research, they discovered that the Great Ocean Road in Australia is the most beautiful road trip in the world, followed closely by the Big Sur in the United States and Jebel Hafeet in the United Arab Emirates.
Vietnam extends condolences to Indonesia over sunken submarine
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on April 26 sent a message of condolences to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi over the sunken submarine KRI Nanggala-402.
Indonesia’s Antara News Agency reported that KRI Nanggala-402 became untraceable on April 22 during live torpedo training exercises off the Indonesian holiday island of Bali.
The 40-year-old submarine was found split into three pieces on the sea bed after five days of search efforts. All the vessel’s 53 crew have been confirmed dead./.
HCM City cancels fireworks celebrating National Reunification Day
Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong on April 26 cancelled the fireworks display celebrating the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday, to prevent any spread of COVID-19 given the complex of the pandemic in neighbouring countries and the world.
The city leader asked the Department of Culture and Sports to review preparations for other activities to mark the special occasions, with pandemic prevention and control measures to be strictly implemented.
He also requested that local departments, agencies, and localities remain vigilant in fighting the pandemic, while working hard to control illegal immigration, thus ensuring safety during the holidays and also the upcoming general elections.
The city has gone 73 days without any community transmission of COVID-19. It remains at risk of an outbreak, however, due to complex developments of the pandemic in Thailand and Cambodia.
Held every year on this occasion, 15-minute fireworks displays had been planned at five venues on April 30./.
Top legislator holds working sessions with NA committees
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on April 26 held working sessions with the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs and Committee for Legal Affairs.
At the working session with the Committee for Social Affairs, the top legislator lauded the committee for its initiatives during the 14th tenure, saying it has taken the lead in consulting the public.
He asked the committee to review the legal framework on the organisation and operation of the legislature and its agencies, as well as delegations of NA deputies and People’s Councils.
The committee should draw up a project to improve its operational quality and efficiency across spheres, he said.
During another working session with the Committee for Legal Affairs, Hue attributed successes of the 14th NA to contributions of the committee.
He also stressed the need to have a long-term strategy in law building in order to ensure the leading role of the NA in legislative activities, and a synchronous legal system./.
No COVID-19 cases logged on April 27 morning
Vietnam documented no COVID-19 infections in the past 12 hours to 6am on April 27, making the nation’s tally unchanged at 2,852 cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
The health ministry’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department said that, a total 2,516 COVID-19 patients have been given the all clear. The death toll remains at 35.
Among those under treatment, 13 have tested negative for the virus once, 15 twice, and 20 thrice.
There are 38,919 people having close contact with confirmed cases or entering Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions under quarantine at present, including 518 at hospitals, 23,409 at concentrated facilities, and 14,992 at home.
According to the ministry, a total 259,736 frontline workers nationwide received COVID-19 vaccine shots as of 4 pm on April 26.
In a bid to live safely with the pandemic, people should strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.
Localities intensify COVID-19 prevention measures ahead of holidays
Increased pandemic prevention measures have been noticed in cities and provinces nationwide, as the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labour Day (May 1) holidays approach.
Strict fines are imposed on people without facemasks in public places in Ho Chi Minh City, the local authorities said in an urgent direction issued on April 26.
Accordingly, public-awareness-raising communications on COVID-19 and pandemic prevention and control measures have been ordered, with restrictions in place for mass gatherings. Those involved in organising illegal entries in the city also face strict punishments.
The same day, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Xuan Dung emphasized a high risk of new outbreaks during and after the upcoming holidays at a meeting of the municipal Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on April 26.
He urged the active implementation of pandemic measures that prioritise early detection, quick quarantine, and effective treatment. Wearing facemask is a must in public areas and on public transport vehicles; and events that gather a large number of people are restricted.
The capital will continue its vaccination drive correctly, safely, and efficiently, according to Dung.
Also on April 26, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long had a working session with the Can Tho People’s Committee, asking the Mekong Delta city to soon complete its national-level COVID-19 treatment hospital and prepare for complicated developments of the epidemic in the future.
For the work to be done, he assigned the Can Tho General Hospital to collaborate with localities and the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Can Tho also needs to establish a 400-bed COVID-19 treatment hospital in Phong Dien district that is capable of accommodating up to 800 beds when necessary, the minister underscored./.
13th National Party Congress’ outcomes informed to Japanese Communist Party
Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Le Hoai Trung on April 26 chaired a teleconference to inform the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) on the outcomes of the 13th National Party Congress.
Attending the meeting on the Japanese side was Vice Chairman of the Presidium of the JCP and head of its International Department Ogata Yasuo.
Trung thanked the JCP Central Committee and JCP Chairman Shii Kazuo for extending congratulations on the success of the congress and the re-election of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
He briefed the Japanese side on outcomes of the congress as well as main contents of the congress’ documents regarding various issues such as socio-economic development, Party and political system building, Vietnam’s foreign policies and future development orientations.
Trung underlined that the congress has an important significance, with the continued application and development of the Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh thought. It set the goal of developing the country to 2025 and 2030 with a vision to 2045, he added.
He said that Vietnam continues implementing the consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism, diversification of external relations, active and proactive integration into the world, maintenance of a environment of peace and stability, thus enhancing the country’s position and prestige on the international arena.
Trung affirmed that the Communist Party of Vietnam attaches importance to the traditional friendship with the JCP as well as the Vietnam-Japan relations, while expressing his hope that the two Parties and countries will continue to strengthen their partnership in the new situation.
He proposed a number of specific orientations and measures to promote the relations between the two Parties and nations in the near future.
For his part, Ogata Yasuo once again congratulated the CPV on the success of the 13th National Party Congress, saying the information of the congress’ outcomes to the JCP shows the Party, State and people of Vietnam’s appreciation for the JCP as well as the friendship between the two countries’ people.
He agreed with Trung’s proposal on the promotion of bilateral relations, expressing his belief that under the leadership of the CPV, Vietnamese people will successfully implement the congress’ Resolution and gain new achievements in national reform and socialism building, thus playing a positive role in consolidating peace, security and development in the region and the world.
At the meeting, the two sides also discussed a number of regional and international matters of shared concern./.
Miss H’Hen Nie in the hot seat at Miss Universe Vietnam 2021
Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 title holder H’Hen Nie has been selected to join the panel of jury at the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021.
H’Hen Nie will join Vo Thi Xuan Trang, principal of John Robert Powers school, and Dr Le Diep Linh, doctor of anthropology, to judge contestants at the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021, said organisers of the beauty pageant.
H’Hen Nie, who was crowned Miss Universe Vietnam 2017, was one of the five final contestants at Miss Universe 2018. She has actively taken part in social activities and inspired young girls to live a healthy lifestyle.
The beauty queen is considered to be a suitable figure in the hot seat who can provide expertise, connect and assist contestants in performing their role throughout the contest.
The announcement of the jury was made several days before current Miss Universe Vietnam title holder Nguyen Tran Khanh Van leaves for Miss Universe 2021, one of the big four major international beauty pageants.
For the Miss Universe Vietnam 2021, organisers said they are receiving applications from April 23 to September 8, 2021.
Contestants will be selected in many localities across the country, including Hanoi, Long Hai, Vung Tau, Da Lat, Bao Loc, and Ben Tre.
The final round will take place in Long Hai, while Ho Chi Minh City will play host to the semi-finale and finale of the contest.
Dong Hoi boosts night-time tourism through walking street
The inauguration of a pedestrian street in Dong Hoi city in the central province of Quang Binh on April 23 is anticipated to diversify tourism products, accelerate service and trade activities, and develop a strong night-time economy moving forward, according to local authorities.
The inauguration of the pedestrian street will be part of a series of other activities which are being held within the framework of Dong Hoi Culture and Tourism Week 2021.
After being suspended for a year due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the occasion is set to be held between April 23 and May 2, with plenty of cultural, culinary, and artistic activities taking place, such as a street carnival, a traditional boat racing on the Nhat Le river, a Bai Choi singing festival, art performances, and traditional folk games.
Hoang Thi Thanh Nhung, vice chairwoman of the Dong Hoi City People’s Committee, said the city has now completed all necessary infrastructure and decorated the pedestrian street area. This has been done whilst ensuring the safety of all residents and visitors who can come to enjoy a unique cultural space at night, especially to mark the occasion of the upcoming Reunification Day on April 30 and May Day (May 1) holiday.
Vinh Phuc: wartime bomb moved out of residential area
The Military High Command’s sapper force in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on April 25 moved a bomb weighing 340 kg from a residential area in the province’s Vinh Yen City to a safe place.
The bomb, measuring 40cm in diameter and 125cm in length, was found 2.5m underground on April 20 when workers dug the foundation of a house on Ton Duc Thang Street.
Locals living in the dangerous area with a radius of 500m around the spot where the bomb was unearthed were evacuated to safe areas. During the process of transporting the bomb, people living along the route were also evacuated to ensure safety.
Businesses, organisations, and temporary markets nearby were asked to close on the day the bomb was moved./.
Tien Giang takes measures to supply water to more households
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has taken measures to supply water for daily use to more households in areas affected by saltwater intrusion to ensure no one has to buy water at high prices.
For its eastern region, which includes the districts of Go Cong Dong, Go Cong Tay, and Tan Phu Dong and Go Cong Town, it has drilled seven borewells at a cost of more than 10 billion VND (434,000 USD), according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It undertook 23 projects for installing pipes to carry water from pumping stations in My Tho City to areas in the east without tap water.
The eastern region now has 198 water pumping stations with a capacity of 98,640cu.m a day that supply 17,804 urban households and 118,266 rural households.
At the beginning of this dry season, which lasts between December and May, the province had finalised plans to set up 103 public water supply sites to provide free water to 6,516 families living in the east in rural and remote areas, outside sea dykes, along the coast, near estuaries, and in fields that do not get tap water and have difficulty getting water for daily use.
It has so far set up 41 of them to supply 1,400cu.m a day, and will set up the rest when the situation worsens.
It has instructed coastal districts to strengthen advocacy about storing freshwater appropriately and using it carefully.
In the islet district of Tan Phu Dong, which is severely affected by saltwater intrusion during the dry season, 1,500 of the 11,800 local households do not get tap water.
But 12 pipes with a total length of 24.2 kilometres have been laid to supply water to the three coastal communes of Phu Dong, Phu Tan and Phu Thanh this year.
The district has also set up five free public water supply sites to benefit households in Phu Tan Commune.
It has pumped water from rivers when the salinity is below 2 grammes per litre into ponds for storing it.
These have helped resolve the shortage of water, Bui Thai Son, Secretary of the district’s Party Committee and Chairman of its People’s Committee, said.
Fireworks to be held in Vietnam on Reunification Day
Firework displays will be organised in many provinces and cities to welcome Reunification Day and May Day Holiday.
A firework display will be held in six locations in Hanoi from 9 pm to 9.15 pm on April 30. High altitude fireworks will be held at Hanoi Post Office in Hoan Kiem District and the Flower garden in Son Tay Town. Low altitude fireworks will be held at the Headquarter of Hanoi Moi Newspaper, Thong Nhat Park, My Dinh National Stadium and Van Quan Lake.
Quang Ninh People’s Committee announced that low-altitude fireworks for 15 minutes will be held at Cam Pha, Ha Long and Dong Trieu. Cua Lo Town in Nghe An Province and Quang Tri Province will also hold a firework display to launch the sea and island tourism season 2021.
Vo Trong Nam, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports said the city will hold firework displays at four locations, including Saigon River Tunnel, Landmark 81 Building, Dam Sen Park, and Can Thanh Commune, and Can Gio District.
A series of cultural and sports events will be held in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Reunification Day and May Day. Ho Chi Minh City authorities encouraged individuals and businesses to fly the national flag during the holiday.
Ha Long beach to open soon
A beach in Ha Long City in the northern province of Quang Ninh will be opened on May 1.
The artificial beach, the first public one in Ha Long City, is 900 metres long and nearly 100 metres wide, running along Tran Quoc Nghien Road.
Tran Quoc Nghien Road connects to other famous tourist sites like Quang Ninh Museum, Library, October 30 Square and Ha Long Flower Park.
People in the Hon Gai area often come to local unlicensed beaches or beaches in the Bai Chay area for swimming. With the high demand of the public, Ha Long authorities decided to open a beach in the Hon Gai area.
The beach is part of a VND680 billion (USD29.56 million) project to upgrade areas around Tran Quoc Nghien Road. Of this funding, VND100 billion has been used for the beach investment.
Ha Long authorities are seeking public opinion for the name of the beach based on the three proposals Ha Long, Hon Gai and Hong Gai.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Son, vice chairman of Ha Long City People’s Committee, most of the surveyed opinions have preferred the name Hon Gai so far.
Job market shows strong signs of recovery
Vietnam’s job market showed strong signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2021, opening up various opportunities for workers, especially highly-skilled workers.
The labour market has been steadily recovering since early in the year, according to data from Adecco Vietnam, with the number of job openings in March rising 40% against January. Growth in job applications was 26%.
Sectors seeing an increase in hiring demand in the quarter included Engineering and Manufacturing, Energy, IT, E-commerce, Electronics, Semiconductor Design, Civil Engineering, and Industrial Construction.
The combination of global supply chain shifts and the positive impact of free trade agreements will offer new prospects for Vietnam’s economy into the future, leading to a significant increase in employment opportunities and hiring demand, said Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong, Adecco Hanoi’s Recruitment Manager.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the labour market in Q1 was livelier than in the same period last year, according to the municipal Centre for Human Resources Forecasting and Labour Market Information (FALMI).
Its figures show that there were over 44,000 job vacancies and nearly 19,500 jobseekers in the southern economic hub during the period, increasing local human resources demand by 13.14% year-on-year. The majority of vacancies (70.38%) were in the services sector, followed by industry (29.51%) and agriculture (0.11%).
The centre forecasts that the city will need between 68,600 and 73,500 workers, mostly in the fields of IT, electronics and electricity; mechanics and automation; healthcare and medicine; accounting and auditing; finance, banking and securities; real estate; and tourism, lodging and catering services.
Adecco Hanoi Office Director Nguyen Thu Ha explained three main reasons contributing to the current situation. The first is the Government’s successful efforts in virus prevention and containment, she said. Second, businesses have gradually ramped up their operations and are eager to bounce back after a period of economic stagnation. Third, in terms of psychology, people now are better able to take care their health and cope with coronavirus anxiety.
FALMI said that demand for trained workers in HCM City made up 85.72% of the total, including 22.19% for university graduates or higher.
Commenting on the labour market outlook for 2021, Andree Mangels, General Director, Adecco Vietnam believed that the recovery of the economy and the global trends of digitalisation will open up opportunities for skilled workers.
A recent survey from the Adecco Group on shifts in workplace expectations in the post-pandemic world indicate that 82% of participants appreciate the strict hygiene regulations at work.
Other noticeable expectations among workers are flexibility (80%), adequate facilities for remote working (79%), investment in technology (77%), financial support policies (77%), and regular updates on business plans and performance (75%).
Various activities prepared for Reunification Holiday in Quang Ninh
About 18 cultural activities will be held in Quang Ninh Province during the coming Reunification Day Holiday.
This is a part of the 27 events to stimulate the tourism industry in Quang Ninh from April 30 until mid-May. Some of the highlights are the opening of Hon Gai Beach and Ha Long-The Gathering of Wonders Show.
Ha Long Carnival also returns and will be held on Tuan Chau Island on April 30, Hon Gai on May 1 and FLC Ha Long Resort on May 2. Former Miss Vietnam beauty queens will join the street performance along with various well-known singers and artists. A fireworks display will be held at three locations.
Along the Tran Quoc Nghien Street are the martial art show, I Love Ha Long photo exhibition, street music, kite flying contest and other activities. Some other summer events in Quang Ninh are Three Regions Circus Gala 2021 in Cam Pha City, Tay Ethnic Culture Day in Tien Yen District and the 60th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Co To Island.
Tourism firms that participate in the stimulus programme have also offered various discounts. Quang Ninh is expecting 500,000-550,000 tourists for the Reunification Holiday.
Pham Ngoc Thuy, director of Quang Ninh Department of Tourism said, “We have worked with other parties to ensure the human resources and equipment for the programme. We have also inspected hotels and other facilities where the main events will be held to keep the prices stable and to ensure a pleasant holiday for visitors.”
Vietnam should be cautious about reopening doors to international tourists: McKinsey
Vietnam should not take risks and reopen its doors and border gates to international tourists until the country reaches herd immunity through widespread Covid-19 vaccination, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Many opinions have thrown their support behind the proposal to reopen doors to boost travel and trade, while the firm said in its recent report that Vietnam should ensure there are no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases and should not allow free travel until the country reaches herd immunity.
Following this method, Vietnam’s tourism sector can recover in 2024 thanks to the domestic tourism segment, which regained its growth momentum last year after social distancing was lifted. The travel demand will continue to accelerate and recover quickly, according to the firm.
Local tourists who are not allowed to take foreign trips will alter their plans and opt for tours in Vietnam and spend more money than they did in 2019.
Vietnamese visitors spent US$5.9 billion on tourism in foreign countries in 2019. This is a big chance for local tour operators to tap the local tourism market, according to the report.
The consulting firm also suggested tourism firms offer more luxurious tours to tourists and reduce the prices of their products to stimulate travel. The reduction should not be a long-term solution, said McKinsey & Company.
The firm also presented some solutions to help Vietnam and other countries maintain the status of having no new locally-infected Covid-19 cases during their recovery process, including taking the domestic travel demand into account, considering setting up prices, applying digital technology and offering new experiences to tourists.
Besides, tour operators should also grasp information about the travel demands of international tourists and meet safety regulations to be ready to serve foreign visitors before Vietnam reopens its doors.
Those who organized illegal exit on NA chairperson’s flight to stand trial next month
The HCMC People’s Court will hold the first-instance hearing early next month for eight people who had earlier helped nine people travel to South Korea on a flight transporting a delegation of the then National Assembly (NA) chairperson in late 2018.
Among the eight accused, three were indicted for allegedly organizing the illegal exit from Vietnam, comprising former director of GVA Company Le Thi Lieu, an ex-official of a magazine under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Tran Thi Tuyet and former director of TD Vietnam Education Consulting and Training JSC Luong Manh Hung.
Five others were charged with allegedly mediating so that the nine could go abroad, the local media reported.
On August 6, 2018, the NA’s Foreign Affairs Committee asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to make a list of enterprises accompanying the NA chairperson to China and South Korea. The Ministry of Planning and Investment assigned the Foreign Investment Agency and the Investment Promotion Center-North Vietnam to do the job.
The schedule changed and the delegation visited only South Korea from December 4 to 7, 2018.
However, nine people of the delegation did not return to Vietnam after the trip. Six of them were helped by Lieu and her accomplices to illegally escape to South Korea.
In early 2018, Lieu made contact with Hoang Anh, a resident of Nghe An who was living in Germany, and discovered that many residents in Hoang Anh’s hometown wanted to travel to South Korea for work. Through Trinh Bang Dung, Hoang Anh introduced Lieu to some of these people, who had to pay US$10,000 each to be taken to South Korea.
The accused agreed that Dung would collect US$11,500 each to earn profit.
After hearing the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s news, Lieu directed her employees to prepare dossiers and complete procedures so that she and her customers could be a part of the NA’s delegation.
She asked her customers to wear formal clothes and learn information about the companies they represented. Once in South Korea, under the pretense that they had to meet their partners or go shopping, they took back their passports and stayed on to look for jobs.
According to investigators, Lieu earned more than VND700 million from these people.
Sapa woos tourists with big stimulus programs
The People’s Committee of Lao Cai Province in collaboration with the Sapa Tourism Association has launched a big tourism stimulus campaign to attract more visitors to the northern mountainous region.
The program, themed Huong Sac Lao Cai (The Beauty of Lao Cai), received a positive response from some 100 tourism businesses, including hotels, homestays, car agencies and tourist spots in Sapa town in Lao Cai Province.
Discounts offered by all the units range from 20%-70% and will go on from April 10 to December 31, the local media reported.
Trinh Xuan Truong, chairman of the People’s Committee of Lao Cai Province, said that this is the largest-scale stimulus program to ever be implemented by Lao Cai to date.
The committee, along with Lao Cai’s Department of Tourism, will accompany districts and towns as they organize various programs and extraordinary tourism activities imbued with the highland’s cultural identity throughout 2021, painting a colorful and attractive picture of Lao Cai and offering a rich experience for tourists.
Pham Cao Vy, chairman of the Sapa Tourism Association, expects the program to be a hit among tourists, helping local tourism, especially tourism businesses make a quick recovery and flourish.
So far, Lao Cai’s tourism stimulus program has been receiving positive feedback as booking rates toward the end of April across Sapa alone have reached 80% and up to 100% for the upcoming holidays of April 30 and May 1.
Aside from the unprecedented discount program, lots of exciting events and festivals will be held throughout 2021 to give tourists an unforgettable experience in Sapa.
UK education and technology on roadshow in HCMC
The British Consulate-General in HCMC in collaboration with the British University Vietnam, NashTech Vietnam and Study in Wales on April 23 organized the “UK Education and Technology Roadshow” in HCMC, following its success in Hanoi, Danang and Haiphong.
The double-decker bus visited four universities–the University of Greenwich Vietnam, the University of Science – Vietnam National University HCMC, the Hong Bang International University and the University of Economics and Finance HCMC.
More than 1,200 students in the city had the opportunity to learn about studying in the UK and the skills needed for future work from two Chevening alumni: Nguyen Thi Phuong Nghi (Master of Philosophy in Therapeutic Science at the University of Cambridge) and Ton Nu Tuong Vy (Master of Education and International Development at the University College London).
The UK Government’s Chevening Scholarships Officer was also present at the roadshow to provide more information about the scholarship such as the selection criteria, the number of scholarships per year and the benefits of being awarded the prestigious scholarship.
Besides, the roadshow also provided information about studying in the UK and tips to choose suitable programs based on the strengths and interests of students.
In case students prefer to study in Vietnam, there are also domestic programmes to pursue recognized UK degrees, which can offer value for their future career paths.
British technology company NashTech also spoke about job opportunities at the company as well as the desirable skills employers look for in an international working environment.
Speaking at the event, British deputy consul general in HCMC Sam Wood said education, technology and skills training are key pillars in the UK and Vietnam bilateral partnership.
“I hope that the students in HCMC learned more about joint-training programmes, scholarships and career opportunities after graduating. Whether you want to acquire world-renowned valuable skills in the UK, or receive a UK-recognized degree in Vietnam, the UK has it for you,” Wood said.
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and partner organizations, Chevening offers full coverage for a one-year Master’s degree at any university across the UK.
Music performance to be held in complete darkness in HCMC
A special music performance will be held in complete darkness at the SOUL Live Project Complex in HCMC on April 25, enabling the audience to focus entirely on the experience provided by music and the word.
“Music In The Dark” promises to be an evening where music has more emotional power because all visual distractions will be eliminated.
Studies show that some 70% of all the body’s sensory receptors are located in the eyes. Therefore, when listening to music in the dark without any stage effects, the audience can explore the purity of sound.
In the dark, music becomes the only language. Listeners may find it unfamiliar at first but music will gradually touch every corner of their soul in a surprisingly enchanting way.
The main highlight of the event is the performers’ vocals as an amazing instrument capable of conveying a wide range of emotions. Whether as a solo or in combination with another voice or all together as a choir, the human voice has incredible power.
This concert features vocal students, teachers and ensembles, both accompanied and unaccompanied, from the Soul Music & Performing Arts Academy’s Faculty of Music. With the theme of “HOME”, the songs offer diverse forms of vocal music for different combinations of voices.
This is the fourth year that “Music in the Dark” is being organized. The event also serves as an opportunity for the community to support charitable causes, including assistance for blind people.
The concert is not suitable for children under 10 years of age and begins at 7 p.m.
20 streets in Thu Duc City named after historical figures, famous people
A road naming ceremony of 20 arterial streets and new residential areas in Thu Duc City after historical figures and famous people was held at the Thu Thiem new urban area yesterday under the witness of leaders of HCMC and Thu Duc City and delegates.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Thu Duc City People’s Committee Mr. Hoang Tung emphasized that this was considered as a meaningful activity to express respect and commemorate the great contributions by historical figures to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the country.
The event contributes to the implementation of urban and administrative management and creates favorable conditions for organizations and individuals in the economic, cultural and social transactions in Thu Duc City.
According to Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, former Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee and Head of Ho Chi Minh City’s delegation of National Assembly deputies, the event was also a great honor for families as well as deep gratitude for the previous generations who had made great contributions to the fight, construction and defense of the country.
Besides, the street naming ceremony aims to mark the 46th anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30, 1975-2021).
Accordingly, 20 streets in Thu Duc City were named after famous and historical figures namely To Huu, Tran Bach Dang, Nguyen Thien Thanh, Bui Thien Ngo, Tran Van Sac, Nguyen Dinh Thai Ly, Ho Thi Nhung, An Tu princess, Luu Dinh Le, Tinh Trieu, Bach Dong On, Pham Van Ngon, Dang Binh Thanh, Dang Dinh Tuong, Duong Lam, Duong Thanh, Tran Quy Kien, Tran Duc Thao, Nguyen Thi Thich and Nguyen Thi Diep. The street naming is based on Resolution No. 86 / NQ-HDND dated December 9, 2020 of the People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City on the addition of street names and road naming in HCMC.
Attending at the ceremony were former Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Head of Ho Chi Minh City’s delegation of National Assembly deputies Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan; alternate member of the Party Central Committee, member of the Standing Committee of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Secretary of the Thu Duc City Party Committee Mr. Nguyen Van Hieu; Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Ms. Phan Thi Thang;
HCMC to hold culture-art activities to mark National Reunification Day
Ho Chi Minh City has planned a series of culture and arts events to celebrate the upcoming National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1).
According to Vo Trong Nam, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports, a photo exhibition on Vietnam’s border areas at Lam Son Park in District 1 will kick off activities on April 26.
On April 28, an exchange with witnesses of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign is scheduled. The campaign liberated the south of Vietnam, paving the way for the country’s independence and reunification after 21 years of separation.
There will also be ceremonies to bestow the Hero of People’s Armed Forces title upon recipients and to announce the Prime Minister’s decisions on recognising Can Gio district as a new-style rural area and Thach An commune as an island commune under the administration of HCMC.
The department’s pop music centre will hold a special concert on the evening of April 29, while the local Police High Command’s brass band will perform on the evening of April 30, both on District 1’s Nguyen Hue walking street.
A host of activities are also set for May in celebration of President Ho Chi Minh’s 131st birthday on May 19.
Vietnamese publisher releases internationally-famous books
After making an effort to purchase copyright, the Youth Publishing House released a series of books for children along with the National Geographic Kids’ scientific book series.
These books with good content and design not only bring vivid knowledge to children helping them to learn more about the world around them but also are a way to nurture reading habits for families.
The Youth Publishing House has translated books into Vietnamese. For the first time in Vietnam, five volumes of the National Geographic Kids scientific books including Human Body; What Would Happen?; Explorer Academy; Do not read at midnight have been released.
The books with coherent presentation of scientific information, accurate and interesting illustrations are very interesting ensuring that readers will not miss any knowledge. Along with that are the images beyond small readers’ understanding. After reading, small readers will build up a useful mind map by themselves, with outstanding scientific knowledge retention.
Another set of scientific books including eight books to be released on this occasion is My Science Castle. The eight books are about animals to plants such as how eggs hatch into chicks; Why do whales migrate; Why does the seed sprout in the spring; How tadpoles turn frogs; How do our bodies work; Is black bear dangerous; How do caterpillars turn butterflies.
The book series is the first adventure in natural history sharing with readers the amazing world of science with its up-to-date knowledge, eliciting curiosity, curiosity and desire to explore for each child. The stories are attractive from beginning to end, clarifying all questions of children. The book ‘How our bodies work’ will answer them: How do we smell and taste food? How do we hear and look? Why do we have teeth? What is the skeleton for? Why do we have muscle? Why do we have skin? How does the brain work?
The book sets including Horrible Histories, Horrible Science, Horrible Geography, The Knowledge has published more than 40 titles and more books will be released as predicted. They are designed to get children interested in science by concentrating on the trivial, unusual, gory, or unpleasant.
Most small readers are excited about science after reading these series of books such as Horrible Science, Horrible Geography, and Horrible Geography.
Parents can’t miss books of Om Books publisher such as Wait for Your Turn, Never Give Up, I am not scared, Let’s Shake Hand, Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?
Restaurant reported on overpriced bill
Accordingly, on April 23, 2021, a tourist with the Facebook account Van Le visited a seafood restaurant named Thap Ba 86 (located at the address of 29 Pham Van Dong Street of Nha Trang City).
After listening to the recommendations from the restaurant, Van Le decided to order 3 seafood dishes, with the price ranging from VND200,000 to 420,000 per kilo (approx. US$8.7-18.3). The whole meal was captured and posted on Review Du Lich Nha Trang Forum. This meal was bill VND1,460,000 in total ($63.6).
The tourist annoyingly said that he had already asked for the detailed price of each seafood kind before ordering, yet in the end he was still billed illogically. Among them, the price of sweet snail was the most unacceptable, at VND1.8 million per kilo ($78.4).
Explaining the situation to the local authorities, Nguyen Van Luong – the restaurant owner – first confirmed that the discussed bill was from his restaurant. He further stated that sweet snails in his restaurant have diverse sizes, some of which are extremely large and unique in the city (18-19 snails per kilo). This leads to such a high input price of VND1.2 million a kilo ($52.3). Therefore, the retail price mentioned above is not at all overpriced.
He also displayed the bills of other customers as an illustration, one of which was over VND9 million ($392) for a meal including 2.4 kilo of sweet snail.
Van La said that he had visited the People’s Committee of the ward where the restaurant was sited right on that day, but had been instructed to contact the special tourism-support hotline of the province instead, since this organization was not authorized for such matters.
However, Nguyen Thi Le Thanh, Deputy Director of Khanh Hoa Province Department of Tourism, shared that the concerned tourist did not report the case to the above hotline.
HCMC focuses on tourism advertising plan
The tourism sector of Ho Chi Minh City will focus on promoting safe tourism destinations and services, including shopping, healthcare, agriculture and resort.
To create more new and attractive tourist products, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism established survey teams to connect new products and tours, tourism routes on the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) as well as for other holidays in the year.
Besides, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism planned to develop new mid-term and long-term tourist products to meet the needs of domestic and foreign tourists. Ho Chi Minh City also focuses on attracting travelers from provinces and cities nationwide to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa.
On the same day, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Da Nang in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism launched the “Back to the miraculous heritage domain” program to promote and attract tourists to experience the beautiful landscapes of four provinces and cities. The program aims to recover the tourism industry after the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, the contents were released at a brief meeting between the Municipal Department of Tourism and press agencies about tourism stimulus programs and the development of HCMC in the coming time yesterday.
Ca Mau-Nam Du-Phu Quoc high-speed boat route to be resumed
Phu Quoc High Speed Boat Joint Stock Company (Phu Quoc Express) will resume operation of Phu Quoc high-speed boat in Ca Mau-Nam Du- Phu Quoc route on the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1).
Particularly, the maritime tourism routes of Ca Mau- Phu Quoc, Ca Mau- Nam Du, Nam Du- Phu Quoc, Phu Quoc- Ca Mau, Phu Quoc-Nam Du, Nam Du- Ca Mau will operate daily from April 29 to May 3.
From May 4 to August 15, Ca Mau- Phu Quoc, Ca Mau- Nam Du and Nam Du- Phu Quoc routes will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and routes of Phu Quoc- Ca Mau, Phu Quoc- Nam Du, Nam Du- Ca Mau will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Earlier, the Phu Quoc High Speed Boat Joint Stock Company put the Phu Quoc high-speed boat into operation on Ca Mau-Nam Du- Phu Quoc route in July 2020.
That is the first sea-island tourism route of Ca Mau Province, contributing to the tourism development of Ca Mau Province. However, the route was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
50% Vietnamese travelers are willing to travel in May and June
The newly launched “insight snapshot” by Outbox Consulting show that 50% of local travelers are intending to travel in May and June, among them, 40% are more interested in sightseeing and cuisine.
Summer is considered as one of the most important travel seasons of Vietnam tourism. In the current context when the country is making effort to contain Covid-19 pandemic while boosting economic growth, the success of this peak tourist season will be decisive for the recovery of Vietnam’s tourism industry.
The insight snapshots entitled “Vietnamese Travel Behaviors – Summer 2021” conducted by Outbox Consulting shows that half of those surveyed are willing to travel this summer, especially in the coming May and June. Over 30% all travelers start looking for travel information three to four weeks before their trip and social media is the main source of information for their trips.
Covid-19 has changed the behavior of tourists almost completely. According to the survey, price is the most important factor affecting decision-making at a destination, accounting for 30% of all mentions.
Travelers of Gen X (aged 41 to 56) and Gen Z (aged 18 to 24) consider price as the most important factor when choosing a travel agent. Meanwhile, Millennials (aged 25 to 40) tend to be more generous when traveling as they take more into account the travel agent’s reputation, customer service and feedback from friends/relatives about tour quality.
In addition, service quality and safety account for over 30% of all mentioned factors determining travelers’ satisfaction at a destination. Also, the research showed that 42% independent travelers book accommodation first before any other services.
Contrary to the fussy tour selection trend of Gen Z and Millennials, travelers of older generation seem to be more reckless in choosing a tour. They don’t need up to a month to plan where to travel. While the younger generation of tourists, aged between 18 and 40, tend to be pickier about their destination as they usually take about one to two months to decide where to travel.
“Du Lich Viet, Vietravel & Saigontourist are three most popular travel agents trusted by package-tour travelers,” the Outboxs’ insight snapshot showed.
Unlike conventional long-format analysis reports, the “insight snapshot” displays important information prominently to help readers easily get an overview of research results and focus on data. It is considered an initiative of Outbox Consulting to help both individuals & businesses in the tourism industry understand Vietnamese in terms of who they are, their travel preferences, travel motivations, and their behaviors during the planning and booking for a trip in summer 2021.
USAID-supported forest service project generates US$120M for Vietnam annually
The eight-year project increases transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in payment for forest environmental services.
A forest service project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2012-2021, enables Vietnam to generate roughly US$120 million per year.
The USAID Vietnam Forests and Deltas project on climate change program that costs US$31.4 million and implemented by Winrock International helps Vietnam’s transition to climate resilient and low-emission sustainable development, according to the US Embassy in Hanoi.
The news was released on April 22 to mark the completion of the project and launch the new USAID Sustainable Forest Management project and USAID Biodiversity Conservation project with the attendance of Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Ha Cong Tuan and USAID Acting Mission Director Bradley Bessire.
The project supported MARD to successfully implement the Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system at the national scale.
The project supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to successfully implement the Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system at the national scale.
The annual earnings of approximately US$120 million help finance the management of roughly six million hectares of Vietnam’s forests.
The PFES system contributes to increasing incomes and living standards for hundreds of thousands of people living in the mountainous areas who receive payments to protect forests.
The project also helps MARD expand the PFES system to increase its transparency, efficiency and effectiveness through application of electronic payments in disbursing funds and enhancement of monitoring and evaluation.
In addition, the project trained about 350,000 people on climate change adaptation, forest management and livelihoods development and helped over 200,000 people implement climate change risk reduction practices in the Mekong and Red River Deltas.
Over more than eight years of implementation at the national level and in the provinces of Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Son La, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Lam Dong and Long An, the project achieved significant results, receiving wide recognition from the government of Vietnam, local communities, and other related stakeholders.
Airlines urged to tighten COVID-19 preventive measures
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) have issued a telegram urging both airports and airlines to strengthen their supervision over passengers wearing face masks in terminal areas, especially during Reunification Day on April 30 and May Day on May 1, along with the upcoming summer season.
This move comes following several passengers flouting rules regarding the wearing of face masks in quarantine areas at airports, despite regulations being put in place, thereby increasing the risk of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic spreading via aviation hubs.
The CAAV has therefore requested that all airports and airlines remind passengers in the terminal area to strictly abide by regulations regarding wearing face masks as a means of preventing the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airlines have been urged to refuse to transport passengers who fail to fill in medical declaration forms and those who disregard epidemic prevention rules, while strictly punishing individuals who violate these rules.
At present, local airlines have entered the peak season in terms of meeting the growing travel demands of passengers during the upcoming holidays with the number of travelers anticipated to see a 40% increase compared to the same period from last year.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Fruit exports to the US thrive
Vietnam’s fruit exports reached about 1 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, up 10 percent compared to the same period last year. Of the figure, exports to the US – Vietnam’s 4cond-largest fruit and vegetable market – accounted for 30 percent. The market’s potential is expected to grow in the time to come.
Growth is expected to continue in the future due to increasing market demand.
The US is Vietnam’s second-largest fruit market, after China. It imports about 150 million USD worth of fruit each year. While the figure is rather modest, it is still significant in creating a driving force for fruit growers to improve the quality to meet the requirements of other demanding markets.
Greater profit margins will create fiercer competition in the market. The price of Vietnamese fruit, meanwhile, is always higher than in countries such as Thailand.
Prices are expected to fall in the time to come, though, as more enterprises invest in post-production facilities and irradiation areas. This will be a foundation for enterprises to cooperate more strongly to sustainably exploit markets./.
SMEDF expects to directly provide loans for SMEs from this year
The Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (SMEDF) expects to deploy direct lending for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from this year.
This will help SMEs access the Government’s preferential capital through many different forms, according to the ministry.
At present, this fund has often provided loans through the entrusted banks and financial supports for SMEs.
The SMEs enjoying those loans including start-ups, and enterprises in industrial clusters and value chains will take loans via five entrusted banks by the fund.
These five commercial banks are Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV); Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB); Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB); HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HD Bank) and Bac A Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Bac A Bank), reported the Vietnam News Agency.
The lending rate of those loans in April 2021 was 2.16 per cent per year for short-term loans and 4 per cent per year for medium and long-term loans to overcome difficulties in production and business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the duties of receiving, managing and using financial sources, domestic and foreign entrusted capital to create capital to support the development of SMEs, the fund has more capital for SMEs.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, early this month, the SMEDF had a meeting with those banks to evaluate the implementation of indirect lending in 2020. They have also set this year’s disbursement target for loans providing for eligible SMEs.
The fund has also organised activities to improve operation ability of SMEs, such as seminars, training, consultancy and investment promotion.
Up to now, the capital from the SMEDF’s lending programme has been used effectively. The enterprises with the loans are operating well with many production and business expansion projects being implemented as planned, so the enterprises have repaid principal and interest.
Tax watchdog eyes further reforms in the next ten-year period
The tax watchdog was eyeing further reforms in the 2021-30 period with focus on simplifying tax procedures and applying information technology in management to contribute to improving the business climate and bringing Viet Nam to the top 30 in the world in terms of the ease of doing business.
Director of the General Department of Taxation Cao Anh Tuan said that the tax reform strategy in the 2021-30 period aimed at two goals, improving and synchronising tax policies to implement socio-economic development goals and developing a modern and streamlined tax system that operates efficiently.
Tuan said that reforms must ensure the stability, sustainability and transparency of the tax collection revenue while seting up a competitive economic environment appropriate to the country’s integration and development process.
The highest goal of reforms was to promote production and increase the competitiveness and encourage Vietnamese enterprises to participate in global value chains to create high added value.
Accordingly, the corporate income tax would be kept stable at 20 per cent as currently to the end of 2025 and adjustments could be put under consideration from 2026 depending on the Vietnamese economy’s situation and the global context.
Regarding value added tax, it was necessary to narrow down the subjects for tax exemption to expand the tax base, from 20 categories of goods and services in 2025 to 12 in 2030.
He added that the efforts would be made to speed up the development of an e-government towards a digital government by 2030 and bring Viet Nam to the top 50 countries in the world and third in ASEAN in terms of e-government and digital economy.
The Ministry of Finance recently asked the General Department of Taxation to continue to strengthen the application of information technology in tax management. Specifically, priority would be placed on expanding the application of electronic invoices, electronic tax payment, registration fee payment and individual tax payment.
By 2022, the tax watchdog targeted that all administrative tax procedures would be conduct electronically with connection to the national public service portal at level 4.
Phi Van Tuan, Deputy Director of the General Department of Taxation, said that it was important to keep a close watch on the compilation of tax policies to ensure that the administrative reforms really create a more favourable environment for taxpayers and there would be no new procedures.
Currently, the tax watchdog was developing circulars and decrees to guide the implementation of the Law on Tax Management No 38, Tuan said, adding that close watch was being placed on the process to ensure that no new procedures arise in the new circulars.
The General Department of Taxation’s report showed that electronic tax declaration was implemented in all 63 provinces and cities nationwide. The tax watchdog also cooperated with 50 commercial banks to facilitate electronic tax payment and refund.
Gov’t affirms FDI’s important role in Vietnamese economy
The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector continues to be an important economic driver, contributing to making Viet Nam more prosperous, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said.
At the connections for development forum 2021 with the theme ‘Presenting opportunities and challenges from the movement of FDI flows in the new context’ co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and newspaper Vietnam Economic Times on Monday in Ha Noi, Minh said since 1987, along with the process of renewing and opening up the country’s economy, the Law on Foreign Investment had been enacted. The country had seen three FDI waves, which had made the FDI sector present in many important industries and contribute significantly to the overall socio-economic development of the country.
As of December 2020, over 33 years of developing and attracting FDI, Viet Nam has 33,070 FDI projects with registered capital of more than US$384 billion, of which about $231.86 billion has been disbursed.
In order to successfully attract FDI in the new context, the Deputy PM said the Government would focus on solving four issues.
Firstly, Viet Nam would be determined to maintain a stable socio-political environment, considering it a competitive advantage of the country in the context that the world has many unpredictable uncertainties and it is difficult to forecast the COVID-19 pandemic.
Second, the country would focus on improving the quality of institutions and legal policies towards enhancing transparency, soundness, safety and efficiency as well as improving the governance and macroeconomic management of the State to attract high-quality FDI inflows and enhance the competitiveness of the economy.
In addition, the Government would encourage and support domestic enterprises to enter into joint ventures, contribute capital and purchase shares of FDI enterprises in projects using high and new technologies and supporting industries to master technology, manage and develop national products.
Third, the Government would prioritise investment in infrastructure development to create smart and efficient connections to help reduce transaction costs and enhance the competitiveness of businesses, investors and the entire economy.
In particular, the Government would encourage investment in education and science and technology, considering it an engine of growth for the country in the coming decades.
Finally, together with investment attraction, provinces and cities would organise and support investors to build their projects effectively and promptly through reforming the business environment and administrative procedures, especially in land clearance.
Minh expected the measures would help reduce investment costs for investors and strengthen their confidence besides supporting domestic enterprises to develop and participate more deeply in the global production and distribution chains.
Vietnam not impacted by ban on importing 13 types of Algerian fruit
The Algerian Ministry of Trade has recently informed the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance about the updated list of suspended fruit imports into Algeria during the harvest time, according to the Vietnam Trade Office based in Algeria.
In total, there are 13 types of fruit, including oranges, tangerines, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, grapes, pears, apples, almonds, figs, pomegranates, camellia, and quince, which are subject to the list.
The decision has been made with the aim of protecting domestic production, along with intensifying control over imported fruit as part of efforts to avoid billing over real value, whilst simultaneously ensuring food safety quality for the health of consumers.
Due to the nation not exporting these types of fruit to the North African country, there will no effect for Vietnamese farmers. In fact, this ban was initially introduced and applied by Algeria back in July, 2020, whilst they are among one the few countries globally not to be a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
COVID-19 crisis may be opportunity for Vietnam’s agricultural trade: Experts
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the global economy and created unprecedented trade uncertainty and challenges for all sectors, but from the crisis may come opportunity for Vietnam’s agricultural trade, experts have said.
At a workshop held by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and the Australia – Vietnam Economic Reform Programme (Aus4Reform Programme), Do Lien Huong from IPSARD said that although the agricultural sector suffered a decline in agricultural trade last year, it maintained a trade surplus of 10 billion USD.
There are challenges for Vietnam’s agriculture since the country has no particular support policies for the sector while demand in traditional trade partners such as China and the US are falling.
“The pandemic highlighted shortcomings in the agricultural sector and imposed stringent requirements on uniform policies as well as production and cultivation methods,” Huong said.
She stressed that the agricultural sector could find new markets if changes are made in a timely manner.
According to Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Hoai Nam, the shipment of seafood in 2020 fell 1.9 percent year-on-year due to increasing input costs and labour shortages.
In the first quarter of 2021, however, seafood exports inched up 6.9 percent from the same time last year.
Nam said that Vietnamese firms may have opportunities to promote exports and gain greater market share in the time to come as large markets such as the US, Japan, and China are increasing imports while competitors like India and Thailand are struggling with spiralling pandemic outbreaks.
Regarding the production and trade of fruits and vegetables, Chairman of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Nguyen Thanh Binh said production and shipments have fallen since 2019 as a result of the US – China trade war and COVID-19, but he believed they will bounce back this year.
It is necessary to promote production links and form a sustainable value chain to improve food safety, quarantine, and origin traceability, he suggested, adding that localities and businesses should focus on large-scale production and the application of advanced technologies and good practice standards such as VietGAP and GlobalGAP.
Other experts held that State agencies should provide businesses with full market information and raise awareness about import-export activities.
In addition to expanding markets and adjusting the export market structure, the State should also outline measures to stimulate the economy and support companies in production and business.
According to Director of the Legal Department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dau Anh Tuan, Vietnamese enterprises expect support from the State, including exemptions from corporate income taxes, extensions on tax payments, and reductions or extensions on social security payments, among others./.
Workplace productivity improvements needed for economic competitiveness: Expert
Vietnam must look to improve national workplace productivity if it wants to promote its economic competitiveness and growth, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc.
Loc made the statement at a workshop held by the VCCI and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Hanoi on April 28, part of activities launched by VCCI to improve workplace productivity at businesses.
According to Loc, Vietnam’s workplace productivity has improved remarkably in recent years, posting a rise of 5.8 percent each year in the 2016-2020 period and exceeding the target by 0.8 percent.
The country’s growth model has gradually reduced a dependence on the exploitation of natural resources, raw material exports, low-cost labour, and credit expansion, and begun relying on the application of science, technology, and innovation, he said.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Vietnam’s workplace productivity in the 2011-2020 period rose 5.11 percent, 2 percent higher than the average in ASEAN.
Its productivity has improved significantly but is still low compared to countries such as China and India, it noted.
Kenichi Ohno from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies of Japan said with the support of international organisations such as the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), a number of productivity improvement programmes have been implemented in Vietnam over recent years, contributing significantly to boosting workplace productivity.
Vietnam should learn from Japan’s experience and tools as well as those of other Asian countries to improve its workplace productivity.
The Japanese Government and business community are willing to cooperate and support Vietnam in effectively improving productivity, he said.
Participants at the workshop also highlighted the important contribution of the digital economy to productivity and efficiency in the economy, saying that this is a new driver of rapid improvements./.
Measures to bring Vietnamese goods to the world sought
Ways to facilitate Vietnam’s development of cross-border e-commerce were discussed at a workshop on exporting Vietnamese products to the world with Amazon on April 28 in Hanoi.
The workshop was held jointly by the Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, and Amazon Global Selling.
Lai Viet Anh, deputy head of the agency, said Vietnam has the fastest cross-border e-commerce growth rate in the world.
Cross-border e-commerce continues to be an effective way for Vietnamese businesses to open their doors to global supply chains and minimise risks when traditional supply chains are disrupted or stagnant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
Last year, despite the impact of the pandemic, Vietnam’s business-to-consumer e-commerce sales grew by 18 percent to 11.8 billion USD, accounting for 5.5 percent of the country’s total retail sales and service revenue. It is eyeing annual growth of 25 percent during 2021-2025, to hit 35 billion USD.
To help Vietnamese goods connect effectively with the global market, Anh stressed the need for enterprises to engage in and adapt to the trend, besides measures carried out by competent agencies.
Assessing cross-border e-commerce as an effective export channel, acting director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan said that sales via e-commerce platforms are also one of the fastest ways for businesses, especially those of small and medium size, to build their own brands for bringing goods to the world.
Gijae Seong, Vietnam Country Manager at Amazon Global Selling, said his company hopes to contribute more to the development of cross-border e-commerce in Vietnam.
Joining hands with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in helping Vietnamese businesses develop cross-border e-commerce, Amazon Global Selling officially launched a programme aimed at enhancing support for Vietnamese sellers on their journey to the world by providing them with cross-border e-commerce knowledge, helping them set up and operate stores on Amazon, and improve their competitiveness./.
Vietnam Grand Sale 2021 to offer discounts up to 100 percent
The Vietnam Grand Sale 2021 will take place nationwide from July 1 to 31, with discounts of up to 100 percent, heard a press conference in Hanoi on April 28.
Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Vu Ba Phu said merchants can register to introduce products and services in line with regulations.
Apart from exhibitions, they can also join traditional festivals in localities to develop tourism and e-commerce and encourage cashless payments.
Last year, over 27,450 promotional programmes were held in response to the event, nearly 1,000 of which offered discounts of 80-100 percent, 1,100 60-79 percent, and some 2,500 50-69 percent.
Discounts were mostly on apparel, consumer goods, electronics, and telecommunications via supermarkets, retail networks, and electronic transaction floors.
According to the General Statistics Office, the total retail of goods and services reached 431.9 trillion VND last July, up 3.3 percent against June and 4.3 percent year-on-year.
Experts said the event will help raise public awareness about Vietnamese goods and services and provide a means for suggesting support policies for participating firms./.
Measures sought to expand export markets for farm produce
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan asked agencies within the ministry, local authorities and departments of agriculture and rural development of localities to focus on measures to seek new export markets for Vietnamese farm produce, stressing that this is a decisive factor in the country’s agricultural economic development.
Addressing a national conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on April 28, the minister underlined the need to pay special heed to building orientations for domestic and international market development for agricultural products.
Jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the municipal People’s Committee, the conference aimed to identify measures to effectively implement plans to restructure the agricultural sector in the 2021-2025 period.
Hoan said it provided a venue for ministries, localities, and businesses to share their experience and discuss ways to improve the value chain of Vietnamese farm produce in the time to come.
According to the minister, Vietnam is ranked 17th in agro-forestry-aquaculture exports in the world, with turnover hitting 41.2 billion USD in 2020, accounting for 1.95 percent of the global total. Therefore, there is major space for Vietnam to boost such exports.
Relevant ministries, sectors, localities and business associations were urged to work hard on addressing bottlenecks so as to develop agricultural product markets in the time to come. They were asked to continue negotiations to remove technical and trade barriers in key markets such as the US and the EU, while promoting negotiations to facilitate the export of fresh fruit and vegetables, aquatic products, birds’ nests, and meat to China, as well as expanding exports to Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the Eurasian Economic Union, Africa, and ASEAN, and for the Halal market.
Attention should also be paid to planning domestic production to create agricultural products that meet the requirements of fastidious countries, participants said.
They emphasised the need to strengthen trade promotion activities, bolster the application of technology in agricultural development, raise the quality of farm produce for export, while share experience, global market trends and issues relating to brand building and protection, and geographical indications with businesses operating in agriculture./.
Deputy PM lauds contributions of Japan’s financial, credit organisations
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on April 28 hosted a reception for Masahiro Yoshimura, General Manager of Business Development Department at Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), who is also in charge of managing Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).
At the meeting, Minh said the Vietnam-Japan relationship is developing fruitfully across spheres, and Japan is now Vietnam’s largest ODA supplier with about 27 billion USD.
Japan is also Vietnam’s second foreign investor with accumulated investment amounting to 60.3 billion USD, making up 15.7 percent of total foreign investment in the country.
Japan is the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam, with bilateral trade reaching 60 billion USD last year, the official added.
Minh attributed the achievements to contributions in terms of both finance and operational experience of Japanese financial and credit organisations over the past time, including SMFG.
The Vietnamese government appreciates the role of SMBC that has operated in Vietnam over the past nearly two decades, providing financial and banking services, as well as support for many major energy and infrastructure projects in the country with combined funding of about 20 billion USD.
Minh expressed his hope that SMFG and SMBC in particular will develop further and expand its investment and business in Vietnam, while continuing to work as a bridge for Japanese firms in the Southeast Asian nation.
The Vietnamese government also encourages the participation of credit organisations with financial potential, experience and capacity to help local credit organisations, the Deputy PM said, adding that he welcomed SMBC’s investment in FE Credit – a consumer finance division of VPBank, and noted his belief that the cooperation will be a success.
For his part, Yoshimura pledged that SMFG will continue to prioritise its efforts and resources to business development in Vietnam, saying he believes that the group will contribute to the growth of relations between the two countries.
He said SMBC’s investment in FE Credit is the biggest foreign invested project in the banking sector in Vietnam, which has demonstrated SMFG’s commitments to contributing to the country’s development as well as the bilateral ties for a long run.
Currently, Japan ranks third in terms of its presence in Vietnam’s banking sector, with six branches, two financial companies and 10 representative offices./.
Room for Vietnam – US post-pandemic cooperation considerable: Experts
Vietnam and the US have huge potential to boost cooperation in trade and supply chains after COVID-19 is brought under control, experts said at a conference held by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) on April 28.
According to ITPC Director Nguyen Huu Tin, Vietnam and the US have enjoyed impressive strides forward in economic cooperative ties, with the US being Vietnam’s largest export market and Vietnam being the US’s 6th-largest importer.
The US has shifted to purchasing products from emerging countries, including Vietnam.
Vietnam has affirmed its position as an important trade partner of the world’s largest economy, Tin said.
For the first time in 26 years of relations, the US is Vietnam’s largest export market, he said, adding that two-way trade in the first quarter topped 25.9 billion USD, up 33.5 percent year-on-year, with Vietnam’s exports estimated at 22.2 billion USD.
The two governments and business communities have made efforts in the past to bolster cooperation in a practical fashion and based on the complementary nature of the two economies.
Vietnam is stepping up its economic reform and international integration while enhancing win-win cooperation with the US. Meanwhile, the US has attached much importance to ties with Vietnam and encouraged its companies to set up value chains with the country and expand investment.
Thanks to the good control of COVID-19 in Vietnam, Vietnamese firms have a huge advantage over foreign rivals struggling to fight the pandemic, Tin stressed, while suggesting that improving business and production capacity and capitalising on the US market will provide opportunities for Vietnam’s economy to develop further in the time to come.
Evaluating the cooperative potential between Vietnam and the US, Alexander Tatsis, Economic Officer at the US Consulate General in HCM City, said they have witnessed advancements in their trade and foreign relations over more than two decades.
He highlighted that the US’s demand for high-quality Vietnamese products has been increasing due to changes in the global supply chain, and US firms sees Vietnam as a potential, safe investment destination post-pandemic.
Meanwhile, AmCham Vietnam Executive Director Mary Tarnowka said that Vietnamese staples like tropical fruit, rice, and fish sauce are now popular in the US.
Pointing to the complementary nature of the two economies, she underscored that Vietnam has good production capacity in the fields of agriculture, seafood, and wood processing, among others, while the US is the world’s leading materials supplier and has the strongest purchasing power.
Vietnam is an important link in the global supply chain, and the country’s development has positive impacts on the US market, she said.
Ken D. Duong, Director of the TDL International Law Firm, suggested Vietnamese firms select suitable measures to effectively access the US market, adding that small businesses should export products via popular e-commerce platforms in the US, as this helps them cut costs at a time when the number of online shoppers is increasing amid COVID-19.
Medium and large-scale firms should establish representative offices or find distributors in the US, he said.
It is also necessary for enterprises to protect their trademarks by registering them not only in the US but also in target markets, he recommended./.
Vietnam’s economic growth likely to expand 6.7 pct in 2021: ADB
Vietnam’s economic growth is expected to rebound to 6.7 percent this year despite the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in nearby countries, and rise to 7 percent in 2022, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 released on April 28, the ADB said Vietnam’s economic growth will be boosted by export-oriented manufacturing, increased investment, and expanding trade.
The growth momentum is expected to continue, thanks to ongoing reforms to improve the business environment and Vietnam’s participation in multiple free trade agreements (FTAs) involving almost all advanced economies.
Rising international oil prices and increased domestic consumption is expected to push inflation up to 3.8 percent this year and 4.0 percent in 2022, the report said, adding that faster-than-expected recovery in China and the US would significantly expand Vietnam’s trade and growth prospects.
The report said Vietnam can maintain inclusive growth by softening the pandemic’s impact on poverty and incomes.
The ADB also raised its 2021 economic growth projection for developing countries in Asia amid ongoing COVID-19 vaccine campaigns and the sharply increasing export demand in the world market.
The developing region in Asia, comprising 45 countries in Asia Pacific, is forecast to grow 7.3 percent by 2021, and 5.3 percent in 2022.
Meanwhile, the growth rate forecasted for the Southeast Asian region is 4.4 percent, down from the earlier projection of 5.5 percent due to the instability in Myanmar. The Philippines, the slowest economy in Southeast Asia last year with a 9.6-percent contraction, is forecast to grow 4.1 percent this year./.
Bamboo Airways opens three new domestic routes to Quy Nhon
Bamboo Airways officially announced on April 28 its opening of new routes from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, Da Lat city in the Central Highlands’ province of Lam Dong, and Thanh Hoa city in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa to Quy Nhon city in the south-central province of Binh Dinh.
There will be five flights weekly on the Can Tho – Quy Nhon route, four on Da Lat – Quy Nhon, and three on Thanh Hoa – Quy Nhon.
Quy Nhon’s Phu Cat Airport now hosts a total of seven routes, catering to 60 flights on a daily basis.
Vice Chairman of the Binh Dinh Provincial People’s Committee Lam Hai Giang said the opening of the new routes marks a new stage of development in provincial air passenger transport and tourism, toward its goal of welcoming 4 million arrivals by air in 2021 and 8 million by 2025.
Quy Nhon hosts more than 5 million tourists annually. Most local hotels are already fully booked for the upcoming National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holiday./.
Vietnam racks up nearly 1.9 billion USD in trade surplus in four months
Vietnam posted a trade surplus of nearly 1.9 billion USD in the first four months of the year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency.
The foreign-invested sector enjoyed 14.4 billion USD in trade surplus while domestic firms reported a trade deficit of 12.5 billion USD.
In the first four months to April 20, foreign investors pumped 12.25 billion USD in Vietnam, equal to 99.3 percent of the amount recorded in the same period last year.
Of the amount, nearly 8.5 billion USD was poured into 451 new projects, up 24.7 percent in value and down 54.2 percent in project numbers year-on-year.
Meanwhile, more than 2.7 billion USD was added to 263 existing projects, down 10.6 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively.
The remaining investment capital, over 1 billion USD, was used for capital contribution and share purchases in a total 1,151 transactions.
Foreign investors landed investment in 17 sectors, with processing and manufacturing absorbing the largest amount of capital (5.2 billion USD), followed by power generation and distribution (5.1 billion USD), real estate (778 million USD), and whole sale and retail sale (464 million USD).
Among 67 countries and territories having investment in Vietnam in the period, Singapore took lead with 4.8 billion USD, Japan came second with more than 2.5 billion USD, and the RoK was the third largest investor with 1.5 billion USD.
Localities that attracted the most FDI were Long An (3.3 billion USD), Can Tho (over 1.3 billion USD), and Ho Chi Minh City (1.1 billion USD).
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that the ministry will work to complete mechanisms with a view to improving business climate for foreign investors, and set up preferential mechanisms to attract investment into the fields of high technologies and source technologies./.
Quang Nam province develops sustainable marine tourism
The central province of Quang Nam has been paid due attention to the development of tourism infrastructure as the locality is looking to develop sustainable sea and island tourism products.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Thanh Hong, Quang Nam is working to create strong “brand” names for its sea and island eco-tourism models.
Quang Nam is home to renowned Hoi An ancient city, a UNESCO cultural heritage site. Over the years, Hoi An has been a top global travel destination and considered as a living museum of history and architecture.
Besides, it houses Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island) which was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in May 2009 thanks to its diverse eco-system and ancient cultural and historical sites.
Secretary of the Party Committee of Hoi An city Tran Anh said sustainable sea and island tourism development has been an inevitable choice of the ancient city.
The city successfully restore local coral reefs to serve scuba diving of visitors, particularly foreigners, he said, adding with support of advanced technologies, locals in Tan Hiep commune assisted marine reserves to recover more than 6,000 coral reefs./.
Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line to begin commercial operation from May 1
Hanoi’s first metro service running from Cat Linh to Ha Dong will start commercial operation from May 1 as directed by the Prime Minister.
Safety problems in the project have been removed, according to a report from the Ministry of Transport, adding ACT – French safety consultants – which is hired to oversee the final stages of the metro project – is expected to complete safety certification for the railway on April 28.
Travel on the Cat Linh – Ha Dong Urban Railway will be free for the first 15 days of operation.
After that, a one-way ticket will cost 15,000 VND (0.65 USD). Then, the operation unit will notify passengers of the price of monthly and quarterly tickets soon.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong Urban Railway project started in 2008 with a total investment of 18 trillion VND (782.6 million USD) and was initially expected to be completed in 2016. However, it has missed its completion deadline several times.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong line runs 13.5km with 12 stations, encompassing Cat Linh, La Thanh, Thai Ha, Lang, Thuong Dinh, Ring Road 3, Phung Khoang, Van Quan, Ha Dong, La Khe, Van Khe and Yen Nghia.
Meanwhile, Management Authority for Urban Railways Ho Chi Minh City said that two three-car trains and four six-car trains for the first metro line (Metro Line 1) in the southern hub are expected to arrive in the city between May and July.
The two three-car trains will be shipped from Japan on May 1 and reach Ho Chi Minh City in nine days. The remainders will be delivered to the city in June and July.
The trains will be on trial run from Quarter 4 this year. Within the same time, other tasks like operations, training, technology transfer, and examination will be in progress.
Metro Line 1, which is 20 kilometres long with 3 sub-stations and 11 stations, is 83 percent complete and is expected to officially open for use in 2022. It is built at the total cost of more than 43.7 trillion VND./.
CPI in April records decline of 0.04%
The General Statistics Office (GSO) unveiled on April 29 that the consumer price index (CPI) in April slipped by 0.04% compared to the previous month but rose by 1.27% from the figure recorded last December.
This latest decline in the CPI can largely be attributed to a plentiful supply of goods coupled with a low consumption demand for electricity and water.
CPI in April climbed by 2.7% against the same period from last year, while the average CPI during the initial four months of the year saw an increase of 0.89%, the lowest rise since 2016, with core inflation increasing by 0.74%.
Among the 11 main groups of consumer goods and services throughout April, a CPI decline was recorded in four categories, including restaurant and food services (down 0.13%), housing and construction materials (down 0.43%), post and telecommunications (down 0.2%), and cultural, entertainment, and tourism services (down 0.11%).
Elsewhere, the surge in the CPI could be seen in six groups, including transportation (up 0.87%), beverage and tobacco (up 0.14%), and household appliances (up 0.11%), while prices remained stable in other groups, such as garment and footwear.
According to the GSO, there are a number of other factors behind the CPI increase during four-month period, including rising rice prices and the increasing consumption demand for sticky rice and other forms of delicious non-glutinous rice during the Lunar New Year festival, known locally as Tet.
These moves have served to make rice prices during the reviewed period climb by 7.76% against the same period from last year. Experts also attributed the CPI hike to rises in the prices of food, oil and gas, and educational services.
Along with reasons for the CPI increase, experts said the slight CPI decline was also affected by the Government’s deployment of support packages for residents and businesses negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In addition, railways, airlines, and travel firms have also offered attractive discounts to stimulate tourism demand, causing travelling ticket prices to decline.
April witnessed local gold prices move in tandem with global gold prices, while the US dollar in the global market rose amid a tightening control of interest rates in the United States, along with improved prospects relating to the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Europe.
Workshop examines export opportunities for farm produce post COVID-19
Localities and businesses must focus on developing large-scale production by applying advanced technology and organic farming practices in order to generate high-quality products for processing and export, experts have said.
Do Lien Huong, deputy head of the Department of Market Research and Commodity Development, revealed that rice exports have significantly increased in recent times due to the rising global demand. In contrast, seafood and fruit exports have endured a downward trajectory due to disruption occurring in supply chains and high transportation costs.
Huong noted that despite agricultural trade witnessing a decline, it should not be considered a concern as food items remain essential goods amid the ongoing impact caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nguyen Hoai Nam, vice secretary general of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that seafood exports last year faced falls of 1.9% compared to 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 impact.
The most influential factors include the high input costs and a serious shortage of workforce caused by social distancing measures which have ultimately led to a sharp decrease in production capacity, Nam confided.
Despite these drops, local seafood exports during the first quarter of 2021 recorded signs of recovery, securing a growth rate of 6.9% compared to the same period from last year. This recovery can largely be attributed to a sharp increase in export turnover in most products and major markets.
Nam predicted that while Asian countries such as India and Thailand are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States, Japan, and China are poised to increase imports in the coming months, offering Vietnam plenty of opportunities to boost production and exports. Yet, he also noted seafood exports would be affected by high transport and input costs.
For fruit and vegetables, Nguyen Thanh Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, revealed that the import-export turnover of the products has suffered a decline since 2019, due to the dual impact of both trade wars and COVID-19.
Vietnamese production and consumption of fruit and vegetables is expected to rebound and enjoy strong growth momentum moving forward, Binh stated.
He went on to underline the need to promote regional connectivity as it forms a sustainable and highly-effective production value chain, whilst also applying high technology and Good Agricultural Practice, such as VietGAP and Global GAP in farming.
The State should provide timely market information and launch economic stimulus measures to support enterprises in order to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis, Binh noted.
The workshop was co-hosted by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) in conjunction with the Australia supports Vietnam’s economic reform program (Aus4Reform).
HCM City needs a push to become a global financial centre: conference
With a favourable business environment and rapid and steady economic growth, HCM City meets all essential conditions to become a global financial centre, a conference heard in the city on Tuesday.
The city contributes around 22.3 per cent to the country’s GDP and 27 per cent to the national budget, and attracts 34 per cent of the country’s FDI.
It has excellent financial infrastructure with numerous banks, financial intermediaries, investment funds, and financial firms that play a vital role in attracting and distributing capital.
Dr Tran Du Lich, member of the Government Advisory Group, said the city is a gateway to major financial centres and capitals in Southeast Asia, and the idea of turning it into a regional and international financial centre is not new.
However, the growth of the financial sector, especially HCM City’s, has not been consistent and the dependence on the banking system for capital has been significantly distorting the financial markets, he explained.
Key characteristics of international financial centres include a deep, liquid and sophisticated capital market, and competitive tax and regulatory regimes designed to attract foreign investment in financial services.
HCM City must become a development locomotive for the country and the key economic regions in the south, and drive the development of the Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands.
It needs to strengthen its competitiveness in terms of institutions, human resources and infrastructure.
It should continue to aim for sustainable growth by improving its competitiveness and growth quality through healthy economic restructuring, and ensure a favourable business environment for enterprises and encourage start-ups, innovation and smart-city measures.
Lich said the plan to make HCM City a regional and international financial hub should be stated clearly in the national strategic economy to ensure the National Assembly and Government could develop policies and specific mechanisms.
To turn HCM City into a financial centre requires three phases, with the first phase from now until 2025 used to complete all the necessary infrastructure for the financial centre, he said.
In the second phase until 2035 the key mission would be to complete its institutional, human resources and urban infrastructure requirements, he said.
The third phase from 2035 should develop an international financial market, he added.
Experts said with strong support from the Government and local authorities, HCM City would graduate from being a national financial centre to a regional and then international centre in future years.
Viet Nam-US trade has new opportunities post-pandemic
Viet Nam plans to further enhance trade and investment cooperation with the US, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, said a city official.
Speaking at a seminar on Wednesday Viet Nam – US Trade, Nguyen Huu Tin, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre in HCM City (ITPC), said: “US-Viet Nam trade has made impressive progress in recent years, with the US currently being Viet Nam’s largest export market.”
Last year, Viet Nam ranked sixth in the world and third in Asia in exports to the US, after China and Japan, he said.
The US is shifting from imports of goods from traditional exporters to other emerging countries, including Viet Nam. “Viet Nam is gradually asserting its position as the leading partner of the world’s largest economy,” he said.
Tin attributed the achievement to “an open, dynamic and practical cooperation” of the two countries’ governments and business communities.
The US has encouraged American enterprises to establish production and value chains between the two countries.
Viet Nam can benefit from its control of COVID-19 by enhancing trade with its partners, Tin said. Vietnamese businesses should grasp the “golden opportunity” to innovate and improve production and business capacity to exploit the US market, he added.
Nguyen Ba Thien Thu, chief representative of Registrar Corp, an FDA consulting firm, explained that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food, beverages, drugs, medical devices and cosmetic products available for commercial distribution in the US.
“Local businesses need to understand the FDA standards for exporting goods to the US market,” she said.
The FDA regulations include safety and sanitary requirements for products exported to the US. To export food to the US, businesses are required to register wirh the FDA, while complying with the new labeling regulations and the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) by FDA.
Some local businesses are facing problems reaching required standards and quality, especially on completing procedures for FDA certification.
In the future, local enterprises must have FDA certificates for their products to be exported to the US.
To reach FDA standards, Vietnamese enterprises must have input materials that meet those standards. The US market has high technical and high product quality requirements.
Experts said Viet Nam should complete its system of standards and regulations to improve the quality of exports to the US. This will promote the competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the global market.
The event was organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre in HCM City.
Experts impressed by Vietnam’s renewable energy adoption
The UK’s Financial Times on April 26 ran an article highlighting that the expansion of Vietnam’s wind and solar farms is proving crucial to powering its economic growth.
According to data from Irena, an inter-governmental renewable energy organisation, Vietnam’s production from solar and wind increased 237 percent and 60 percent, respectively in 2020, raising the share of these sources to a quarter — almost a decade ahead of schedule, it wrote.
With an average speed of more than 10 metres a second, Vietnam’s territorial waters rank in the top 10 percent of the windiest places on the planet.
The seas off the provinces of Binh Thuan and Soc Trang where developers plan to build multibillion-dollar offshore wind farms are also relatively shallow, with depths of 20 metres to 50 metres.
The author quoted Thu Vu, an energy finance analyst at the Ohio-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis as saying that Vietnam’s renewable energy adoption is impressive. The higher cost of offshore units relative to onshore or nearshore wind, the expert noted.
Ian Hatton, Chair of Enterprize Energy, a UK-renewable energy company, said in order to reduce cost, Vietnam must improve its infrastructure, build substations, and lay cables along the seabed for offshore production, or finding alternative solutions. Enterprize is experimenting with converting wind energy and seawater to hydrogen.
He also noted an example of the dilemma facing low- and middle-income nations such as Vietnam. Accordingly, if they produce enough energy to meet demand without improving transmission infrastructure, additional capacity could be squandered.
But William Gaillard, Vice President of wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, believed that Vietnam has “shown a path for others to follow, adding that the combination of an attractive feed-in-tariff with ambitious installation targets and a transparent permitting process has been a critical factor in unlocking this market./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
|Raymond Mallon, a senior economic expert based in Vietnam|
Most external observers recognise Vietnam’s socioeconomic performance since 1975 as a remarkable development success story. From one of the world’s poorest countries, Vietnam has drastically reduced poverty and leapfrogged to middle-income status, while also achieving health and education outcomes typically seen at much higher income levels.
The Party formally adopted central planning as the economic model for the reunified country in 1976 with a focus on state-owned heavy industry, collectivisation of agriculture, and abolishing private enterprises.
The country faced enormous difficulties over the following decade with limited resources, economic instability, food shortages, and negligible private investment, coupled with US led-economic sanctions and cessation of development support from major western development agencies.
There was some decentralised experimentation with economic reforms in the early 1980s targeting market-based production incentives. This experimentation helped demonstrate that economic reforms could improve well-being.
Despite a struggling economy, Vietnam was able to develop a relatively effective and equitable system for delivering public health and education services to the bulk of the population. The resulting improvements in human capability helped lay the foundations for subsequent successful economic reforms.
The relatively equitable distribution of agricultural land early in the reform process was also crucial as it helped ensure broad-based benefits, thus helping build support for such reforms.
The economic situation was dire when the doi moi reforms were formally announced in 1986 with food shortages, high poverty rates, hyper-inflation, and macroeconomic instability. External economic inflows from the former Eastern bloc countries were also set to decline further with the break-up of the former Soviet Union.
The reforms were introduced incrementally as the process required “learning by doing” and because extensive consensus building was often needed prior to securing the support needed to implement reforms.
Key initial reforms included allowing farmers to use agricultural land to farm and to allow farm produce to be sold in the markets. Restrictions on small-scale private retail activity were also lifted. The previous sector focus moved from heavy industry to more labour-intensive agriculture, manufacturing, and services. These reforms generated an immediate positive supply response, boosting food availability and economic growth rates.
The successful macroeconomic stabilisation programmes in the late 1980s and early 1990s were also critical to improving living standards and providing the greater certainty needed to mobilise foreign and domestic investment in business activity.
Tax and budget reforms implemented from the late 1980s, together with increased inflows of development support, led to increasing budget revenues, and a greater concentration of public expenditure on providing better public services and infrastructure.
Following the adoption of a foreign investment law in 1987, and subsequent trade reforms, foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade increased dramatically. By the late 1990s trade and FDI to GDP were high relative to other comparable countries. These ratios have continued to grow over the last two decades.
The United States lifted its objections to multilateral (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Asian Development Bank) financing operations in 1993 and loosened its trade embargo in 1994, further expanding the range of investment financing and trade opportunities available to Vietnam.
Vietnam actively pursued international trade and economic integration agreements since the 1990s. Membership of ASEAN in 1995 and the ASEAN Free Trade Area was an important turning point in Vietnam economic development and its place within the region.
Vietnam acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2007, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2019 and signed the Regional Economic Cooperation Partnership last year. It has also signed bilateral trade agreements with several countries, notably the EU, Japan, South Korea, and the US.
Rapidly-growing external economic links stimulated competition and facilitated rapid inflows of tech, know-how and ideas in addition to increased capital and access to international markets. Increasing numbers of Vietnamese began travelling abroad for business and leisure further facilitated the transfer of ideas.
The late 1990s/early 2000s enterprise law and related reforms marked an important turning point leading to the gradual emergence of a domestic corporate sector. Prior to these reforms, bureaucratic obstacles had made it difficult for private businesses to grow and develop the scale often needed to engage with foreign investors and to be competitive in international markets.
Since the 2000s, the government had focussed on regular review of, and actions to address, bottlenecks to trade and business. Business-related laws were periodically amended, and bureaucratic and administrative procedures were gradually streamlined despite periodic setbacks.
Government consultations with the business community and other stakeholders to identify constraints became more regular and systematic. This was important as businesses faced increased competition from new business entrants.
The net result is that domestic private output, employment and exports grew at a faster rate than both the state and FDI in recent years. While the pandemic has particularly impacted the domestic private sector over the last 12 months, overall private sector growth is expected to recover strongly from 2021.
|Vietnam has transformed immensely over the past few decades, photo Le Toan|
Vietnam is already close to, or exceeds, average developed country levels for some health and education indicators. However, there remain major gaps relative to average per capita income in developed countries and in areas such as the human living environment.
Reducing these gaps will not be easy, given the challenging global economy, climate change, the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, and a population that will soon start ageing. Rapid urbanisation provides an opportunity for accelerated poverty growth but needs to be managed well to improve living environments in urban and rural areas. Global technological innovations related to Industry 4.0 will disrupt the status quo generating both opportunities and risks.
Sustained broad-based productivity growth will be essential for reaching developed country per capita income levels. Accelerated progress in developing vocational training, higher education, and lifelong learning opportunities, while continuing to strengthen the relevance of primary and secondary education, will be critical to accelerating productivity growth.
Reducing the substantive productivity gaps between informal and formal employment, between women and men, between rural and urban areas, and between different sectors needed could boost growth, generate more benefits for marginalised groups, and promote more equitable economic growth.
Sustained efforts to enhance the competitiveness of domestic private enterprises will also be critical. Policymakers should continue working with the business community, workers, educators and the community to identify and address bottlenecks. Renewed efforts are needed to further reduce corruption.
Benchmarking Vietnam’s performance with neighbouring countries has proved to be an effective tool for holding government agencies accountable for delivering improvements. This approach should be extended to other priority policy areas.
The potential scale economy benefits from urban agglomeration are substantial. Developing urban clusters can facilitate technology transfer and help nurture the development of a creative and innovation-led economy.
A renewed focus is needed to build market economy institutions. There is a need for strong and independent economic regulators (for example, for competition, energy, and telecommunications), to enforce property rights (for instance, courts, and arbitration), to better protect the environment, and to improve transparency, corporate governance, and accountability mechanisms.
A growing middle-income population will demand better environmental management and improved living environments, including better-enforced pollution controls, reduced environmental degradation, improved sanitation and waste management, and increased parks and green areas. Improved living environments will also be important in attracting and retaining the best national and international talent needed to build a creative, knowledge-based economy.
Better environmental infrastructure and management is also needed to sustain improvements in productivity and to facilitate urban agglomerations. In addition to promoting national and international action to slow climate change, increased attention should be given to the impacts of climate change when planning infrastructure development.
It will be increasingly important to boost public expenditure efficiency and to reallocate resources to better reflect the priorities of an increasingly urbanised and middle-class society, an increasingly more sophisticated economy, and an ageing population with declining workforce participation rates.
Despite these real and difficult challenges, there are good reasons for remaining optimistic that Vietnam will achieve its ambitious goals.
Manoj Barthwal – Chairman, Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam
As a prominent member of ASEAN, and with a host of free trade agreements with the developed world, Vietnam foresees a bigger role in world politics and trade. It, therefore, needs its strategic partnership with India to maintain its superiority and sovereignty in the region.
The uncertainty in global trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the over-dependence of world trade on China and the importance of the India-Vietnam trade route for international business. There is a growing realisation across the world to have an alternative cost effective manufacturing hub and a reliable source of finished goods and raw materials.
Vietnam, due to its proximity to China and India and due to its size, makes for a symbiotic partnership to achieve this goal. Vietnam has shown its exemplary resilience in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, whereas India has shown its manufacturing strength in being the largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to the world.
In light of the above, I foresee a possibility of very strong business ties between the two nations. My goal as a chairman of the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam is to improve the understanding of each other’s business interests and inherit strengths, so that we may work towards realising the true trade and investment potential between the two nations and complement each other in getting due recognition on global platforms.
Michael Chiu – Chairman, Hong Kong Business Association Vietnam
Vietnam has done a stellar job in handling the pandemic and is admired by most of the world for a country that has limited resources to handle this level of adversary. Vietnam has raised its game to maintain growth during 2020 and the trend continues for a very positive trajectory into 2021.
The association has been a great source of information for our community during COVID-19 and we continue to disseminate information about business opportunities in Vietnam and for collaboration opportunities with the Hong Kong business community in Vietnam and in Hong Kong.
The investment from Hong Kong and China has not slowed down, and indeed we are seeing many first-time investors in Vietnam. Vietnam is on the road map for many to expand to and this will continue to materialise.
The association has been participating at high level conversations through the Vietnam Business Forum and other mediums, representing members and investors to communicate challenges and contributing to administrative reform and Industry 4.0 improvement with the Vietnamese government.
These constructive conversations will continue to benefit our community of members and their investments in Vietnam. We continue to assist our members to access the Vietnamese market by sharing our experience, knowledge, and connections.
Patrick Downey – Manager, Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions
My recommendation would be for the new government to follow the policies and procedures of the last one. This particularly applies to the COVID-19 pandemic which has been the most adverse event to happen to the world for many years but the past government did a very good job in handling it and keeping it under reasonable control. This needs to continue until it is truly eliminated.
Our business with the Success Software entity is focused via our Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions distributorship on assisting companies to recruit, develop, and also train personnel to maximise productivity, professionalism, and results.
However, with many organisations reducing staff and business functions because of the adverse effect of COVID-19, the negative reaction has not only been detrimental to them but has seriously and adversely effected our business. Here’s to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and a bright and prosperous future for all.
Kenneth Atkinson – Senior board member, British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam
We would like to congratulate Vietnam on its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as all our members have been very grateful for Vietnam’s swift action and successful containment of community spread and all have considered themselves lucky to be in Vietnam.
As one of the oldest business chambers in Vietnam, it is especially pleasing to see the growth of Vietnam’s engagement with the international community and its success in the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020 and election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2019, as well as the second tenure as council president during the 2020-2021 period.
These efforts help Vietnam attract continuing high levels of foreign investment and should continue to do so going forward. In 2020, we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s strategic partnership with Vietnam and conclusion of negotiations of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. This maintains the tariff reductions on trade gained as part of the EU-Vietnam deal and also improves market access for UK companies.
Our business centre, which supports trade and investment between our two countries, has already seen an increase in enquiries from the UK, and we have seen a significant increase in trade flows in the first quarter of 2020.
We look forward to continuing our engagement with Vietnamese authorities and companies and also to assisting in the growth of UK trade and investment.
Aleksandrs Parfjonovs – Head of Vietnam Operations, Grindeks JSC
Generally, compared with all other countries, Vietnam has handled the COVID-19 situation amazingly, as currently in Europe the pandemic is increasing and it has huge impacts on businesses. For example, most of our head office employees must work from home.
As for the new government, we have a new health minister who supported a very important law for the pharmaceutical industry and currently our business in Vietnam is actually growing because we can supply more high-quality medicines to the patients, despite COVID-19.
I think the Vietnamese government is doing a good job and needs more support to implement the EVFTA, as this new policy was extremely difficult to achieve, but is even more difficult to implement. I personally hope that the vaccination plan will be implemented faster and the government will open borders, especially for foreign experts who are vaccinated to move without quarantine. However, this is a global challenge which every country is working hard to resolve.
Greg Ohan – CEO and co-pioneer, The Sentry Vietnam
We have been very fortunate as the government has taken many effective measures to minimise the negative impact of COVID-19. Vietnam learned and drew from its experience in dealing with the SARS virus in 2003. Suspending flights immediately and restricting visas and visitors to contain the spread of the pandemic appears to have paid off.
As the number of cases began to drop, gradually lifting social isolation measures and reopening the economy allowed businesses to resume. This has maintained a positive environment for business and set the global spotlight on Vietnam.
Like other organisations, we have stepped up to the challenge, having to adapt our business to both protect our employees and to continue serving our customers and communities.
Business-model innovation was a key differentiator for our firm during the pandemic. New digital experiences and services in response to changes in customer behaviours and needs, in addition to new strategic partnerships, allowed us to be more resilient.
As a result of Vietnam’s policy, we have gained an advantage of resiliency compared to others. While normal business operations will never be the same, thanks to Vietnam’s recovery, both domestic and international investors are increasingly looking to Vietnam.
K. M. Leong – General manager, Southeast Asia, Xiaomi International
Despite COVID-19, the explosion of digital transformation and new platforms has been creating so many opportunities for corporations of all sizes.
During this uncertain time, technology is the key to opening opportunities for growth, enhancing operations, improving customer experience, and creating new business models. In these changed circumstances, digital transformation would have a bigger effect, enabling enterprises to play a critical role in shaping new realities to support the local market.
Xiaomi understands that digital transformation is a long-term process. Xiaomi achieved amazing results across all segments in 2020, and we will keep investing in research and development and support the local market in alignment with the government’s directions.
Katsuhiko Usui – General director, Sapporo Vietnam
Vietnam has made great efforts which and achieved great development in economic and social aspects. According to statistics, by the end of 2020, Vietnam’s economy has a scale of about $343 billion, ranking in the top 40 largest economies in the world and fourth in ASEAN.
In addition, Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country to achieve five UN action targets, with groups of measures to reduce CO2 emissions, promote renewable energy, and enhance resilience to climate change. Efforts in many aspects have helped Vietnam’s national brand value reach $319 billion in 2020, ranking 33rd in the world.
We believe that Vietnam will continue to be one of the most attractive long-term destinations.
Sapporo Vietnam has been operating in this market for 10 years, and we will continue to bring new and unique experiences to Vietnamese consumers, thereby becoming an essential brand in Vietnam.