BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/9

HCMC calls for private investment in boat stops along Saigon River






The HCMC government is calling for private waterway transport and tourism services enterprises to invest in stops along the Saigon River to spur waterway tourism in the city.

The municipal Departments of Transport and Planning-Architecture, and districts across the city are jointly drawing a plan to develop a waterway system and examine positions for such stops. Bach Dang Wharf on the Saigon River is considered the central station to serve passenger transport activities and waterway tourism.

In addition, Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi Port, which is near Bach Dang Wharf, has good facilities and convenient traffic systems for passenger transport and tourism development.

Relevant agencies proposed developing the port to cater to domestic and foreign passenger ships.

However, the city has difficulty promoting waterway tourism due to a lack of connectivity between waterways and roads, and underdeveloped ports and wharfs.

According to a waterway tourism development plan in the 2017-2020 period approved in June, the city will focus on waterway tourism promotion.

Accordingly, at least seven waterway tourism routes will be launched in the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be, Soai Rap and Long Tau rivers as well as canals in HCMC, including the Bach Dang-District 7 route, the route from Bach Dang Wharf to Tau Hu in districts 8 and 5, the Bach Dang-District 9 route, and the route from Bach Dang Wharf to Binh Quoi.

The city targets to attract 450,000 tourists using waterway services next year and the number will increase 15% annually. Waterborne tourism is expected to fetch VND540 billion (US$24 million) in revenue this year.

Nepal seeks tourism cooperation with HCM City

Twenty-one Nepalese businesses operating in the aviation and tourism sectors recently visited Ho Chi Minh City to study potential tourism cooperation and sign agreements in this field with the locality.

Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, dubbed the “roof of the world,” along with many historical and religious relic sites. 

Therefore, the focus of the tourism cooperation will be climbing and spiritual tourism. 

Anil Lama, President of the Nepal Society of Travel and Tour Operators, said at an exchange programme in HCM City on September 10 that apart from exploring Mount Everest, visitors can take part in other activities like pilgrimages, boat rides and parachuting.

Samsung, Panasonic face US$21mn in back taxes in Vietnam

Samsung Vina Electronics and Panasonic AVC Vietnam may have to pay a combined total of over US$21 million in back taxes for incorrectly declaring imported liquid crystal (LC) films.

The possibility is being considered by the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, which recently requested consultation with the General Department of Vietnam Customs in a dispatch discussing the issue.

According to the dispatch, the two companies imported LC films worth a total taxable amount of VND16,056 billion (US$707.31 million).

LC film is used in the production of liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens as well as LED displays, yet both firms declared it as zero-rated goods, attracting a favorable tax rate of zero percent.

However, according to the municipal customs department, citing an earlier guideline by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, LC screens are listed in a three-percent tax category.

Using this rate of tariff, both Samsung and Panasonic would have been taxed VND481.68 billion (US$21.18 million) on their imported LC films.

The companies are refuting the suggestion, claiming that the guideline had only been circulated internally within customs agencies and not been made known to the public.

Luu Manh Tuong, head of export-import tariff at the General Department of Vietnam Customs, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper Sunday, September 9, that it had reported the case to the Ministry of Finance and requested further instructions with regard to the potential collection of back taxes from both companies.

Tuong said Samsung Vina Electronics and Panasonic AVC Vietnam would not be liable for the amount if they are not found to be at fault for the incorrect declaration.

If that is the case, the companies would only need to ensure that future imports of LC films are declared under the new tariff rate, he added.

Experts warn of high credit growth risks

As the Government is striving to obtain credit growth of 20% to 22% this year, many economic experts voiced their concerns over possible adverse impacts of high credit growth on businesses and the economy.

Speaking at a recent seminar organized by HSBC Vietnam Bank, Tran Dinh Thien, head of the Vietnam Economics Institute and a member of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory group, said the Government has raised this year’s credit growth goal from 18% to 20-22%, a record high in five or seven years.

It is not difficult to obtain the target, but the Government should clarify the ultimate goal of the high credit growth, Thien said.

Loan growth is supposed to speed up economic development. However, spurring credit up in the final months will not support gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year but in 2018. Meanwhile, next year could require different economic solutions.

In addition, many enterprises are incapable of turning credit into business growth. Currently, the number of Vietnamese firms able to pay corporate income tax accounts for 33%, down sharply against several years ago, and meaning a vast number does not earn a profit.

It is necessary to improve business efficiency first before credit growth could bring about positive results, the expert explained. Besides, high credit growth will place inflationary pressure on the economy.

Credit growth may result in high inflation as seen five years ago, when large volumes of loans were injected into the economy. Therefore, the Government is recommended to maintain credit growth at 18% or below to avoid inflation risks.

Besides, there is a high risk that credit would flow into the property sector. Speculation remains a big issue in Vietnam, so banks may provide huge capital for the stock market and the real estate sector to achieve high credit growth goals, the expert said.

Ngo Dang Khoa, head of trading at HSBC Vietnam, said some VND600 trillion must be injected to the economy in the last four months of 2017 to obtain the credit growth rate of 20-22%.

The nation has seen huge dong liquidity but mostly due to VND160 trillion the State Treasury is keeping at banks. Liquidity will decline as the State Treasury will speed up disbursement from now to the end of this year.

To secure capital sources for reaching high credit growth, banks will have to hike interest rates to mobilize more from the public. Sustainable development in the future cannot be superseded by short-term growth, Khoa said.

VN, South Africa discuss trade ties     

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the South African Embassy in Viet Nam held a conference yesterday in Ha Noi to discuss the promotion of bilateral trade, investment and tourism, and future potential between the two countries.

Doan Duy Khuong, VCCI’s Vice Chairman, said during the conference’s opening speech that at the moment, Viet Nam is considered South Africa’s top strategic partner in the South East Asian region.

Speaking at the conference, Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape Province in South Africa, said that she was delighted to see the two nations reaching new heights in their trade relations.

Bilateral trade turnover between the two countries takes the lead among Viet Nam’s exports and imports with African partners; and South Africa is also considered Viet Nam’s hub to reach other African countries, as well as countries from the five major emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), the G-20 and many other important international trade organisations, said Khuong.

Over the past 10 years, total bilateral trade turnover between Viet Nam and South Africa has increased five times, from just over US$192 million in 2007 to over $1.03 billion as of the end of 2016; in which exports from Viet Nam to South Africa was worth more than $868 million last year, with imports at approximately $148 million, according to VCCI’s findings.

Chief exports from Viet Nam to South Africa include mobile phone parts and accessories, computers, electronics devices, footwear, rice, pepper, cashews, coffee, and furniture.

On the other hand, Viet Nam’s imports from South Africa chiefly range from industrial supply, textile materials, leather, chemical products, common metals and iron.

Furthermore, in the past five months, South African firms have invested up to more than $100 billion into building infrastructure in Viet Nam, with hope of investing another $400 billion in the next 15 years.

Zille expressed her delight at such progress, stating that it would be a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to enhance collaboration, and push for imports in more prospective goods such as coffee or industrial cement.

She also stated that both Governments encourage firms to actively participate in maritime transportation and logistics to better facilitate bilateral trade. Simultaneously, she hoped that there would be better collaboration on human resource training and investment.

The VCCI also said that between the two countries, some industries would have more room for growth than others, such as mining, iron and steel processing, mineral extraction, wood and pulp manufacturing.

Viet Nam has been considering a more in depth cooperation with South Africa in the fields of thermoelectric power, automobile assembly, food processing, wine making and shale oil production.

Yesterday’s conference also featured discussions on the potential for tourism between the two countries. It is seen as a great chance for businesses to meet, exchange information, build networks and establish partnerships on all trade, tourism, culture and education relations between the two nations.

The conference was held on the occasion of Zille’s official visit to Viet Nam with 19 South African business delegates, working in various manufacturing industries ranging from household applications, electronic devices, coal, ore, canned goods to mining, wine making and water processing.

Hanoi mulls 6 cross-river projects worth US$2.5bn

The administration of Hanoi is seeking government approval for its development of six projects crossing the Red River and Duong River, costing a combined VND57 trillion (US$2.51 billion).

The first one is the Tu Lien Bridge, which runs three kilometers across the Red River and connects Hanoi’s Tay Ho and Dong Anh Districts.

The bridge is part of a nine-kilometer extension of the Hanoi – Thai Nguyen Expressway.

The second project includes the construction of the Thuong Cat Bridge and its access roads, which stretch 5.2 kilometers from an intersection with Belt Road 3 in Bac Tu Liem District to the Bac Thang Long industrial zone in Dong Anh.

Tran Hung Dao River Tunnel is the third project, running 3.1 kilometers from the border of Hoan Kiem and Hai Ba Trung Districts to Long Bien District on the other side of the Red River.

In the fourth project, the second phase of the existing Vinh Tuy Bridge will be constructed, fully linking Vinh Tuy Ward in Hai Ba Trung District to Co Linh Street in Long Bien District.

The Duong Bridge, measuring 1.4 kilometers in length, will be built across the Duong River, connecting Long Bien’s Duc Giang Ward with Yen Vien Town in Gia Lam District.

The final project will see the construction of the 5.4-kilometer Giang Bien Bridge and its access roads, running through Long Bien and Gia Lam Districts.

According to Hanoi’s administration, the proposed bridges and river tunnels would establish an inter-connection among its belt roads, and speed up the urbanization of its districts situated to the north of the Red River.

Hanoi has also requested government permission to employ special mechanisms in calling for private investments in these projects.

Winter crops to span 410,000 ha in northern region

Northern provinces aim to cultivate the upcoming winter crop on 410,000 hectares, up 10,000 hectares from the same period last year.

The cultivation is hoped to yield an average of 65-70 million VND (2,860 – 3,080 USD) per hectare, with total production value hitting up to 28 trillion VND (1.23 billion USD).

Weather forecasts for the crop are favourable, with abundant water from reservoirs making up for limited rainfall.

At a working session on the 2017 winter crop held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on September 11, Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Cultivation Department, urged northern localities to use all necessary measures to attain the production area targeted.

Son said apart from maize as the major plant for kernels and byproducts, attention should also be paid to fruit and vegetables with high commercial value.

The northern winter crop plays an important role in the agriculture sector in Vietnam. 

According to a report by the Cultivation Department, cultivation area of the crop last year shrunk compared from 2015, but returned higher revenue of 25 trillion VND (1.1 billion USD), an annual increase of 2.7 trillion VND (118.8 million USD).

Innovation exchange launched to serve Industry 4.0

The Novelind innovation exchange was launched yesterday with that aim of connecting individuals, organisations and companies with scientists to serve community development.

It has attracted the participation of more than 200 scientists from about 50 universities, research institutions and companies nationwide.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dương Trọng Hải, Head of the Industry 4.0 Institution at Nguyễn Tất Thành University, and founder of the project, said that there was not yet a quality standard for research in Việt Nam. The Vietnamese economy requires initiatives serving Industry 4.0, however, the needs have not yet been satisfied.

“Therefore, the exchange is a platform in which enterprises, authorities or individuals can seek initiatives by scientists. This is a stepping-stone in the formation of a technological ecosystem based on the three elements of Industry 4.0: research, education and manufacturing. Novelind is expected to create a technological market and favourable conditions to promote creativity and growth of enterprises, contributing to economic development,” said Hải.

The exchange is also a destination for technological organisations to find the best technological solutions. Conversely, through Novelind, innovations developed by other individuals or agencies can be connected with those searching.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Principal of Nguyễn Tất Thành University, highly appreciated the idea of Novelind.

“It will be a huge success when the exchange attracts scientists in solving social issues. Therefore, Novelind needs the support from universities, research institutions and enterprises,” said Hùng.

According to Nguyễn Xuân Hòai, Head of the Institute of IT Research and Development under Hà Nội University, the exchange needs to solve financial, legal, technological and communication challenges. It should be a fair ground which brings equal opportunities for all stake-holders.

Vũ Anh Tuấn, Head of the Hoa Sen Group start-up community project, said that though it is an open space, the exchange should be transparent with an independent audit. It does not need rapid development but an excellent and socially-oriented management board. 

G-bond capital disbursed slowly

Capital mobilised from the issue of G-bonds in the first eight months of this year was very positive, however, it was quite a contrast to the disbursement of the capital source.

According to the Ministry of Finance, total capital mobilised from G-bonds in the first eight months of this year reached nearly 144.1 trillion VND (6.34 billion USD).

The amount was equal to 78.6 percent of the annual plan.

However, unlike the success of the G-bond mobilisation, the disbursement of the capital source in the period was very slow. Just 2.46 trillion VND (108.37 million USD) was disbursed, equal to only 4.9 percent of the plan.

Due to the slow disbursement of public investment, including G-bond capital, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had to ask authorities to take more drastic measures to rectify the late disbursement of investment capital for public projects.

Thirty ministries and provinces reported the slow disbursement of public investment, mainly due to the lack of proper direction by heads of ministries and localities, in addition to inadequacies of related procedures, slow land clearance and limited capacity of project contractors.

The PM noted that slow disbursement of public investment leads to a bottleneck in national economic growth and rising public debt.

Vietnamese tea exporters enjoy robust achievements

Vietnam’s tea exports in the first eight months of the year reached 90,000 tonnes, earning 142 million USD, up 12 percent in volume and 11.8 percent in value compared to the same time last year, according to the Vietnam Tea Association.

Tea was sold at nearly 1,570 USD per ton on average, down 1.5 percent from last year.

Pakistan imported the most tea from Vietnam.

Other top tea consumption markets included India, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan (China).

Tea exporters said that there is an abundance of raw materials thanks to safe cultivation applied in all tea zones nationwide.

Vietnam, South Africa seek to foster trade, investment ties

A workshop was held in Hanoi on September 11 to further promote Vietnam-South Africa trade, investment and tourism cooperative relations. 

In his opening speech, Doan Duy Khuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Vietnam is now a leading partner of South Africa in Southeast Asia, with bilateral trade increasing fivefold in the past decade from 192 million USD in 2007 to 1.03 billion USD in 2016.

Vietnam has mainly shipped phones and components, computers, electronic products, footwear, rice, cashew nuts, coffee and wooden products to South Africa, while imported plastics, garment-textile and footwear materials, chemical products, metals and steel from the African country, he said.

Vietnam and South Africa still have potentials for stronger cooperation in such industrial sectors as mining, steel manufacturing, logging, and pulp producing. Vietnam is considering the possibility of partnership with South Africa in thermal power, auto production and assembly, foodstuff processing and beverages, among other sectors.

Helen Zille, Premier of Western Cape province, who is leading a business delegation to Vietnam, expressed her delight at the fruits of Vietnam-South Africa trade ties, but saying that economic ties have yet to be on par with potentials and expectations of both nations.

Zille suggested Vietnamese and South African enterprises work together to tackle difficulties in transport costs and regional economic downturn, and urged them to take the initiative in seeking partners.

She said the two governments have encouraged cooperation between marine shipping and logistics firms to facilitate import and export activities.  

The official said in the past five years, South Africa has invested more than 100 billion USD in infrastructure development and planned to pour an additional 400 billion USD into this field in the next 15 years. This will open up an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to boost export of products such as cement, she added.

Ca Mau works to promote fishery sector

The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has applied a number of measures to boost the development of the local fishery sector as part of efforts to optimise local advantages.

In implementing a project on restructuring the agriculture sector, with a breakthrough in shrimp farming, the province has encouraged locals to apply ecological shrimp farming models as well as models meeting international standards. 

Ca Mau has also offered financial assistance to fishermen in building and upgrading vessels.

The province currently has 91 vessels eligible for receiving the support. Commercial banks in the locality have to date signed lending contracts with 32 ship owners with total loans of 325 billion VND.

Su Van Minh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tran Van Thoi district, said the district has launched 18 ships newly built with the support, joining the fleet of 2,300 ships of the locality.

Minh said that the locality will continue upgrading the capacity of the fleet, while setting up fishing cooperatives and multiply outstanding models in the field.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, total seafood output of the province in the eight months of 2017 fetched 339,500 tonnes, equal to 64 percent of the yearly target, up 3.5 percent year on year, including 109,330 tonnes shrimps, a rise of 5.6 percent.

Alongside, the province’s catch reached 137,200 tonnes, including 9,530 tonnes of shrimp. Total seafood exports of Ca Mau hit over 616 million USD.

Japanese firms seek investment opportunities in Ha Nam

A business delegation from Hyogo prefecture and Kobe city of Japan held a working session with leaders of northern Ha Nam province on September 11 to inquire about the local investment environment.

Speaking at the event, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Dinh Khang said Ha Nam is now home to 60 Japanese firms, accounting for one-third of the total number of foreign-invested enterprises in the province, with a total registered capital of over 560 million USD, mostly in mechanical engineering, automobiles, motorbikes and supporting industry. 

Ha Nam highly evaluated the competence and cooperation of Japanese businesses and expected more Japanese investors to carry out projects in the province, Khang said.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu Dai Thang briefed the guests about the province’s economic potentials and investment attraction policies, with priority given to high-tech and supporting industries. 

He said the Dong Van III industrial park with a favourable location and modern infrastructure is reserved for Japanese investors. 

In agriculture, Ha Nam has advocated attracting investment in high-tech agricultural zones, apart from health care, education and training, and tourism, he said, adding that upon investing in the locality, businesses will receive assistance in electricity, water, workforce recruitment and security and order in line with the province’s 10 commitments to investors. 

Shiro Muramoto, a special advisor of Kobe city’s commercial centre, said the visit aims to seek business opportunities in Ha Nam. 

He said a number of firms in Kobe and Hyogo are interested in doing business in the province.

APEC members discuss fostering small firms     

Fostering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is considered one of the keys to generating growth and innovation in the APEC region, heard a forum on start-ups and MSMEs held on Monday on the sidelines of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting being held in HCM City.

The forum was a platform for entrepreneurs, business experts, investors and regulators from APEC economies to discuss support for MSMEs and start-up businesses such as enabling them to innovate, integrate and access the global value chain right among other issues.

It also enabled the APEC members to share experiences, ideas and tools to support businesses and start-ups to form a vibrant and networked bloc-wide community.

There are 110 million MSMEs in APEC, accounting for 98 per cent of all business and 70 per cent of exports and employing 54 per cent of the population.

Canadian ambassador to Viet Nam, Ping Kitnikone, said though MSMEs play an imporAPECtant role in the growth of all member economies, they are still facing many challenges as they tend to stay local and small.

"Therefore, they need support to realise their growth potential such as on how to take risks, attract businesses, access regional and global markets."

According to Hoang Van Dung, chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), 75 per cent of Viet Nam’s companies are small or medium-sized, and they are facing difficulties in expanding and accessing finance and the global value chain.

He made three recommendations to help grow MSMEs in the region, which will be submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017 in Da Nang.

He said the first is to enhance MSMEs global presence through the digital economy since "e-commerce and ICT services offer MSMEs opportunities to enhance competitiveness and innovation to further access international markets and overcome obstacles in trade."

Second is to help MSMEs access finance as it is one of the biggest challenges preventing them from joining the global market, he said.

He said one of the ways to resolve this problem is by APEC member economies engaging more in setting up financial services and enabling regional dialogues on fintech and finance education.

Third is to foster women entrepreneurship by starting training courses to equip them with skills, enhance their capacity and networking to achieve leadership positions, especially economic roles, and connecting women entrepreneurs in the region to empower more women to build businesses, he said.

Reports from the World Bank and ILO show that 47.4 per cent of women in the East Asia and Pacific region partly own firms as compared to the global average of 34.4 per cent.

Though in Viet Nam there is 73 per cent participation in the labour force by women, the pay gap between men and women is large and widening.

The forum resumes today with more round-table discussions on building a start-up eco-system, entrepreneurship education and training, and finance and business consultancy services for start-ups in the region.

After the forum, a joint statement on promoting start-ups and MSMEs will be presented to the SME ministerial Meeting.

APEC delegates discuss hurdles to supply chain finance     

Providing micro, small and medium enterprises with access to financial services as a means of promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment is very important since they still find it difficult to get the financing they need to grow and create jobs, the APEC SME Finance Forum heard in HCM City on Monday.

Nguyen Hoa Cuong, chair of the APEC SME Working Group and a senior official in the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said in his opening speech: “MSMEs stimulate domestic demand through job creation, innovation and competition, and are thus a driving force behind a resilient national economy. In addition, SMEs in global supply chains promote international trade.

“Prioritising SMEs’ development is therefore critical for promoting inclusive economic growth. This priority for APEC 2017 will help maintain important momentum to advance APEC’s work with regard to MSMEs.”

But lack of access to finance is a major barrier to their growth, he said.

“Given the diversified nature of SMEs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for SME finance. However lending sophistication and the diversification of financing modalities can help SMEs access the right type of finance for their evolving needs along their growth path.”

Julius Caesar Parrenas, APFF coordinator, APEC Business Advisory Council, and senior advisor at the Japanese-based Nomura Research Institute, told Viet Nam News: “The traditional sources of finance have been banks, but it has been very difficult for SMEs to access finance through banks, mainly because most developing countries in the region do not have the financial infrastructure, a system to implement or credit information.

“And so from the point of view of banks, it is very difficult for them to lend to SMEs because of the risks involved due to the underdevelopment of the financial market infrastructure.

“Now that is being addressed and APEC is doing a lot about it, but in the meantime the question is: what are the sources we can tap to finance SMEs?

“And so we are looking at the innovation space. There has been a lot of innovation in the financial sector, which opens up a lot of opportunities for SMEs to access finance.”

At the first session of the forum, titled “Challenges of SME finance and the recent innovations around the Asia Pacific region”, speakers reflected on the difficulties faced by SMEs in obtaining funding and took stock of significant recent innovations in the region, especially in digital finance, and discussed the associated challenges.

How to organise and optimise receivables and inventory finance by leveraging the chain relationships and the role of supply chain finance in the SME finance market were also highlighted.

A session on “Scaling up supply chain finance to strengthen SME competitiveness and innovation” reviewed the developments in supply chain finance in the Asia-Pacific region.

It discussed the main lessons from developing a sustainable and inclusive supply chain finance market, the value-addition that supply chain finance provides in building competitive eco-systems, whether supply chain finance benefits SMEs to the desired extent, how supply chain finance can be best used to strengthen SME competitiveness and innovation, and how APEC economies can leverage more cross-border supply chain finance to deepen regional economic integration.

At another session on “Developing electronic supply chain finance platforms in the digital age”, delegates discussed the increasing movement of supply chains online together with their financial institutions, as a result of which electronic supply chain finance platforms have emerged strongly in some markets.

They also discussed if these platforms have fulfilled their promises in general, made supply chain finance easier and cheaper for SMEs with the digital channels and helped more SMEs participate effectively in global and regional supply chains.

The last part of the forum, a panel discussion, considered the way forward and what more could be done to promote the development of supply chain finance and electronic supply chain finance platforms.

Delegates heard that these could involve further policy and regulatory reforms and sector capacity building or at the level of specific supply chain finance providers. 

Japanese firm gets customs priority status     

The General Department of Customs (GDC) has recognised Japanese printer manufacturer Fuji Xerox Hai Phong Co Ltd in the northern port city of Hai Phong, as a priority enterprise.

This status gives the company access to special customs incentives, which will enable the firm to conduct fewer procedures, get tax refunds first while checking is performed later, have goods cleared quickly and establish a single goods declaration system for multiple exports and imports.

Under Circular 72/2015/TT-BTC, regulating the application of a priority policy for customs procedures, customs inspection and the supervision of exported and imported goods by enterprises, businesses need to have more than US$100 million worth of export and import turnover per year to be considered a priority enterprise.

The conditional annual export revenue of an agricultural and fisheries company is $30 million.

Meanwhile, companies that manufacture goods for export in Viet Nam can be considered for this status if they earn $40 million in revenue per year.

According to the GDC, priority enterprise status applied for Fuji Xerox would last for three years. If this term expires but the company still meets the required conditions, the term can be extended.

Fuji Xerox Hai Phong was established in VSIP Hai Phong Industrial Zone in Thuy Nguyen District in 2012 with a capital of $36 million, making it one of the largest foreign direct investment companies in the city.

The company specialises in the manufacture and export of laser printers, digital electronic copiers, laser scanners, and related components. The number of employees at the company as of August 2016 was 2,200.

Eight enterprises currently enjoy priority status for customs in Hai Phong.

According to the post-clearance audit unit under the GDC, some 63 companies in Viet Nam are presently making use of this policy. 

State budget collection up 13 per cent

Total State budget collection in the first eight months of this year was estimated at VNĐ762.8 trillion (US$33.4 billion), an increase of 12.8 per cent over the same period last year.

The amount is equivalent to 63 per cent of the whole year’s estimates, according to the Ministry of Finance. In the reviewed period, domestic collection reached VNĐ603.6 trillion, up 10.7 per cent year-on-year, accounting for 61 per cent of the year’s estimates.

The ministry said budget revenues from crude oil exports, estimated at roughly VNĐ29.97 trillion, met 78.3 per cent of estimates, up 11.3 per cent over the same period in 2016.

Import-export activities contributed VNĐ190.8 trillion to the State budget, an increase of 9.5 year-on-year and equaling 66.9 per cent of projected revenues.

According to the ministry, total budget spending was VNĐ793.5 trillion, up 7.8 per cent year-on-year, completing 57.1 per cent of the yearly target. Of the estimate, budget investment for development was VNĐ137 trillion.

Regular expenditures in eight months were estimated at VNĐ585 trillion, equaling 65 per cent of the year’s estimate, up 7.4 per cent over the same period last year.

Debt payment and interest expenses during the period totaled VNĐ68 trillion, meeting 68.9 per cent of annual target and increasing by 14.6 per cent year-on-year.

SeABank and BRG Group receive ASEAN awards     

The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) was recently honoured by the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) for its social responsibility.

SeABank received the honour in the award category “SME Corporate Social Responsibility” at the ABA in Solaire Pasay City, Philippines.

The awards were first organised by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) in 2007 with the goal of recognising businesses that contribute to socio-economic development, work with governments to stabilise the macro-economy and enhance the competitive capacity of the ASEAN business community in the world market.

Additionally, Le Thu Thuy, BRG Group vice chairwoman and standing vice chairwoman of SeABank’s management board, was the only Vietnamese honoured with the Legacy Award, which is given to an iconic entrepreneur from each country in ASEAN.

Tra fish fair to take place in October     

The tra fish and Vietnamese seafood product fair will be held from October 6 to 8 at the Agricultural Exhibition Centre in Ha Noi’s Cau Giay District.

The fair is an opportunity for businesses, distributors and consumers to popularise their images and brand names, promote consumption of tra fish and fish products in the domestic market in general and the northern market in particular, and boost the expansion of international and regional markets, partcicularly the Chinese market. In addition, it is also a chance for businesses to expand, connecting distributors, supermarkets and consumers inside and outside the country.

The fair is expected to attract over 100 booths of domestic and foreign enterprises, showcasing seafood products such as tra fish, value added products and auxiliary products for tra fish production and other key Vietnamese seafood items.

Tran Dinh Luan, deputy general director of Directorate of Fisheries, said the tra fish products exhibited at this fair must be fully labeled and the origin should be easy to trace.

The fisheries directorate will support to expand distribution channels to consumers via wholesale and retail centres in the north, thereby boosting sales in the potential domestic market of 92 million people, Luan added.

Under the framework of the tra fish and Vietnamese seafood product fair this year, three main events will take place -- a workshop on tra fish production and consumption, an exhibition with over 100 booths and a cuisine programme introducing dishes made from tra fish by famous chefs.

Quang Ninh’s efforts pay off in improving competitiveness

Unceasing efforts have helped Quang Ninh continue to rise in the ranking of provincial competitiveness index (PCI), from the fifth place in 2014 to the third position in 2015 and the second place in 2016.

The northern coastal province particularly recorded remarkable improvements in the sub-indices of entry costs for business startup, informal charge, transparent business environment, proactive and creative provincial leadership, and business support services.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long affirmed that the province has made uninterrupted efforts over the past four years to improve its PCI ranking. Quang Ninh’s position among the top five localities reflected the active involvement of the entire political system in the province.

According to the chairman, Quang Ninh has developed its own Department and District Competition Index (DDCI), which contributed to enhancing the competition capacity of local agencies and authorities and was applauded by the business community.

Chairman of Texhong group Hong Tianzhu said the group chose Quang Ninh for its investment as it received attention and timely support of the local authority, as seen through the rapid land clearance and technical infrastructure building. The group was also satisfied with the short duration of dealing with administrative procedures.

In 2017, Quang Ninh attracted a series of tourism projects from major economic groups such as Sun Group, Vingroup and FLC, with total investment capital amounting to 100 trillion VND.

The province is accelerating the pace of several transport plans to create stronger momentum for economic activities, such as a highway connecting to the Hanoi-Hai Phong highway, the Van Don international airport and the Van Don special administrative-economic zone.

Quang Ninh has emerged as a cradle of daring ideas and reform models, said Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). He cited as examples the building of a public administrative centre to improve public services and the establishment of an independent investment promotion agency. The province has also been able to get the community and businesses involved in reform efforts by giving them the power to assess the performance of management agencies and authorities through the DDCI.

As early as 2015, Quang Ninh deployed the model “Business cafe” which sought to connect State management agencies and enterprises and provide a venue for interaction and open talks between authorities and business community. The model proved to be a success in bringing authorities and businesses closer and promote dialogue between the sides.

The provincial authorities have also been holding quarterly discussions with the business community, while assigning People’s Committees at lower levels to hold regular meetings with local enterprises in order to timely address their problems.

Chairman of the Quang Ninh Business Association Pham Van The said the meetings at local level give more firms the opportunities to come face-to-face with relevant agencies and have their difficulties heard.

In order to maintain its high ranking in the national PCI, Quang Ninh is aware that there is more it has to do. The province can be considered a model of success thanks to its strong shift in the way of thinking, from managing to serving the business community and considering businesses as long-term cooperative partners in local economic development.

Quang Ninh drew in more than 47 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first six months of 2017.

The sum came from two new and six existing projects, raising the number of valid FDI projects in the province to 58, with total registered capital worth over 2.3 billion USD. 

The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the province expanded by 9.6 percent in the first half of this year as compared with 9.2 percent in the same period last year. 

In the first quarter, the province’s GRDP grew 8.3 percent while the figure recorded in the second quarter was 10.7 percent, the fastest pace since 2012. 

With the performance, Quang Ninh has been listed as one of the leading cities and provinces in the northern key economic region and nationwide as well. 

In order to reach the target of a 10 percent growth rate, the province will focus on drastically instructing the implementation of socio-economic development tasks and solutions set for 2017.

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