The Vietnam Trade Office in Australia has said it has taken measures to protect Vietnamese rice trademarks after an Australian firm registered for trademark protection of rice varieties ST24 and ST25.
Nguyen Phu Hoa, head of Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, said T&L Global Foods Supply Pty Ltd has sought to register the “Rice; Best Rice of the World” trademarks for the two varieties.
Both rice varieties ST24 and ST25 were developed in Vietnam by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua and his colleagues and have won international prizes.
The office has spoken with Cua about coordinating action and being actively engaged in discussions with leaders of T&L Global Foods Supply, which said it would check the matter with its brand unit.
The agency has also sent documents and photos to IP Australia to clarify that the ST24 and ST25 rice varieties were developed by Cua and a team of Vietnamese scientists, and have been granted patents in Vietnam.
It has asked IP Australia to consider the matter and to avoid possible disputes that could affect ST24 and ST25 rice exports from Vietnam to Australia.
Vietnam is also meeting with lawyers in Australia to prepare the necessary steps in line with IP Australia’s regulations, Hoa told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
He suggested Cua step up completing procedures to join in addressing the case and protecting the trademark.
Do Gia Thang, Director of Nguyen Do Lawyers in Australia, said it takes three to four months to carry out checks on a patent registration.
If an application meets all the requirements, the IP agency will issue a notice accepting the trademark and disclose the decision, he said, adding that the trademark, however, still has to wait for another year before the decision officially comes into force.
This is not the first time ST24 and ST25 rice have lost their trademark protection rights in foreign countries, as there were certain applications made to register ST25 in the US previously.
Vietnam exported rice worth 4.7 million USD to Australia in the first quarter of this year, a year-on-year increase of 66 percent./.VNA
|More and more US-based businesses find Vietnam a good replacement for China|
Hong Kong-based QIMA specialised in providing supply chain compliance solutions has just released a survey of over 700 companies across the globe. Of this, the number of US-based respondents selecting the Southeast Asian country as the leading sourcing location has doubled against four years ago, to 43 per cent in early 2021.
Similarly, 25 per cent of EU companies also listed Vietnam as one of the three leading sourcing markets in this year’s first quarter, down 15 per cent on-year but up 11 per cent against the same period of 2019.
Of all establishments switching to suppliers in new geographic regions last year to avoid COVID-19 impacts, nearly one-third revealed that the 100-million population country is one of their best options. For US-based business, the rate was even higher, at 40 per cent.
QIMA also forecast the trend to continue this year. Of the companies asked for finding new suppliers over the next 12 months, 38 per cent of US-based establishments and 28 per cent of those from the EU stated that they are planning to relocate some sourcing to Vietnam or buy more from current suppliers there. On the other hand, only 6 per cent of US-based brands and 11 per cent of those from the EU were looking for suppliers in China.
Also, US-based respondents showed some signs of dissatisfaction with Chinese sourcing. While one-third of them are planning to purchase more from Chinese suppliers in 2021, almost as many reported plans to completely stop buying from the market.
Nevertheless, words and actions often differ. Pointedly, in the survey, 73 per cent of companies said they had plans to look for new suppliers in 2020 but only 38 per cent were able to follow through on those schemes. For brands headquartered in the US, 93 per cent declared to diversify supply chains in early 2020 but only 49 per cent carried out these plans.
By Huong Anh
The 18 local community cases were recorded in Hanoi capital (15), Dong Nai province (1) and Hai Duong province (1).
Notably, 14 of the cases in Hanoi were detected at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, becoming a new coronavirus hotspot in Vietnam.
The hospital was cordoned off during the day for epidemiological investigation, contact tracing and testing.
Under a decision signed by Dr Dao Ngoc Thach, director of the hospital, the hospital has been closed to visitors, starting on May 5, until further notice.
The same day, the Ministry of Health also announced an additional eight imported cases that are Vietnamese citizens entering the country via air and land borders.
As of 18.00hrs on May 5 Vietnam has confirmed 3,022 coronavirus cases, including 2,560 recoveries.
More than 40,000 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients and entered from epidemic hit countries are being placed in quarantine for medical surveillance.
The number of fatalities caused by COVID-19 and other related illnesses remains at 35.
The World Bank stated in its April bulletin that the Vietnamese government has continued to manage the COVID-19 health crisis well. As of May 5, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 2,996 cases with only 35 deaths. At the same time, Vietnam had received over 900,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses. The country expects to obtain 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility and AstraZeneca in 2021.
“Vietnam is recovering from its COVID-19 shock, but this recovery has been uneven
Surging production and trade
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), in April, Vietnam’s index for industrial production (IIP) increased 24.1% year-on-year “thanks to the effective control of COVID-19 and of free trade agreements helping stimulate local production,” in which the manufacturing and processing sectors created 80% of industrial growth, ascending 29.1% year-on-year.
The most dynamic sub-sectors include beverages as businesses are ramping up production to serve domestic demand in the summer. The manufacturing of metals, electronic components, electrical equipment, machinery, and motor vehicles also grew thanks to strong external demand. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) index rose from 51.3 in February to 51.6 in March, confirming the continued expansion of manufacturing.
In the first four months of 2021, the IIP climbed 10% year-on-year, in which the manufacturing and processing sector expanded 12.7% year-on-year – higher than the 9.7% year-on-year rise during the same period last year.
“After last year’s slowdown, industrial production is projected to gain momentum on the back of returning demand from key international partners. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the underlying strength of Vietnam’s industrial sector remains intact: Vietnam is an attractive low-cost base for manufacturing firms, including those looking to relocate from China due to US-China trade tensions,” said Spain-based FocusEconomics, which provides in-depth economic analysis globally, in its May report sent to Nhandan Online. “That said, a sluggish rollout of the vaccine, coupled with an uncertain development of the pandemic, pose a risk to the positive outlook.”
Spain-based FocusEconomics, which provides in-depth economic analysis globally, estimates that Vietnam’s industrial output will grow 9.2% in 2021, down 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2022, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect industrial production to expand by 8.4%.
Also according to the GSO, one of the clearest pieces of evidence for Vietnam’s surging industrial production is the soar in exports and imports in the first four months of 2021.
Figures showed that in the first four months, the economy’s total export-import turnover is estimated to hit US$206.51 billion, including US$103.9 billion from exports – up 28.3% year-on-year, and US$102.61 billion from imports – up 30.8% year-on-year.
Notably, in terms of imports, turnover of production materials is estimated to be US$96.31 billion, up 31.4% year-on-year, accounting for 93.9% of the economy’s total import turnover. The import turnover of consumer goods is estimated to be US$6.3 billion, up 22.5% year-on-year and making up 6.1% of the country’s total import turnover.
In terms of products, the most important contributors to the build-up of merchandise trade were computers, electronics, and machinery, which accounted for about one-third of total trade value. Their export and import grew last month by 45% and 26%, respectively, exemplifying the heavy reliance of Vietnam’s exports on foreign inputs.
Exports of textiles, garments, and footwear also rebounded, growing by 15.5% year-on-year and 19.2% year-on-year respectively, while those of mobile phones fell by 19.1% year-on-year.
The strong export growth was mainly driven by more resilient foreign-owned exporters. Their exports increased by 32.1% on-year, compared to a fall of 10.8% year-on-year in local firms’ exports. In terms of trading partners, the booming exports reflected strong demand from the US and China, as well as a rebound in demand from the EU market.
The higher level of imports is related to the growing procurements of goods from China, ASEAN, and the Republic of Korea.
Expecting higher economic growth
FocusEconomics wrote in its May report, sent to Nhandan Online, that looking ahead, economic recovery should gather pace later in 2021, with the second quarter’s results projected to be significantly higher than in the first quarter of the year. However, the still-high infection rates in Europe and the US and the associated limitations on international travel cloud the positive outlook somewhat.
Regarding the outlook, Dhiraj Nim and Khoon Goh, economists at ANZ, commented, “Vietnam’s first-quarter GDP print may have partly dampened the optimism regarding
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect Vietnam’s GDP to expand 7.1% in 2021, and 6.8% in 2022.
Meanwhile, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a robust recovery is expected in 2021 despite some economic scarring.
“Growth is projected to strengthen to 6.5% as normalisation of economic activity continues, businesses recover, and private consumption and business investment rebound,” said a fresh IMF report on Vietnam’s economy. “Manufacturing and retail sales are expected to lead the recovery, while travel and hospitality services will remain subdued. Net exports will continue to contribute positively to growth as external demand picks up.”
The IMF suggested that priority should be given to improving the business environment and ensuring a level playing field. Reforms geared towards simplifying and reducing the regulatory burdens faced by domestic private firms, improving access to land and financial resources, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and reducing corruption could spur firm profitability, investment, and growth.
In addition, easing entry and exit costs for formal firms would allow for higher formalisation of new and young firms, reduce informality, and allow for a faster
According to the GSO, in the first four months of 2021, the economy saw nearly 44,200 newly-established enterprises with a total registered capital of VND627.7 trillion (US$27.3 billion), employing 340,300 labourers – up 17.5% in the number of enterprises, 41% in capital, and 7.8% in the number of labourers as compared to those in the same period of last year.
In particular, the average registered capital of each newly-established business in the first four months of the year was VND14.3 billion (US$617,400), up 20% on-year. If an additional VND792.9 trillion (US$34.47 billion) registered by 14,900 operational enterprises is included, the total registered capital inserted into the economy in the period is VND1.42 quadrillion (US$61.74 billion).
Furthermore, the first four months also saw 19,300 enterprises resume operations, up 8% year-on-year.
HCM City (VNA) – 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./.