Banks cool but VN-Index hits new peak

Bank stocks cooled down on Wednesday but the benchmark VN-Index still hit a new 10-year peak at 802.78 points, equivalent to an increase of 0.36 percent over the previous session.

This was also the highest level since February 15, 2008.

The market breadth was positive on the HCM Stock Exchange with 175 stocks rising, 99 falling and 69 closing unchanged.

Large-cap stocks were the main support with 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the exchange gaining value while nine slumped.

Gainers on September 13 expanded to a wide range of sectors, from steel industry, retail, food-beverage and energy.

Hoa Phat Group (HPG), the biggest listed steelmaker, topped advancers, up 4.1 percent at 36,900 VND (1.63 USD) a share. With nearly six million shares changing hands, the shares were among the top 5 most active stocks by market volume.

Another steel company Hoa Sen Group (HSG) also increased 1.3 percent. Big energy firms such as PV Gas (GAS), PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service (PVD) and Petrolimex (PLX) were up 0.9 percent, 2.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Realty stocks saw divergence. Big companies such as VinGroup (VIC), Novaland Investment Group (NVL) and Kinh Bac City Development (KBC) dropped between 1-2.4 percent, smaller firms including Sacomreal (SCR), Khang Dien Investment & Trading House (KDH), Phat Dat Real Estate Development (PDR) and Dat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) climbed 1-4 percent.

Banks cooled down when three of seven listed lenders advanced, three ended flat and one declined. Three banks maintaining growth yesterday included Vietnam Prosperity Bank (VPB), Sacombank (STB) and Eximbank (EIB).

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index was up 0.68 percent at 104.43 points.

Despite September 13’s rally, many analysts have warned that liquidity barely improved so the market needs more signals to confirm a steady uptrend.

A total of 189.5 million shares worth nearly 4.5 trillion VND (198.2 million USD) were traded in the two markets on September 13, down 3 percent in volume and almost unchanged in value compared to  September 12’s figures.

These levels were also lower than the daily trading volume of 250-300 million shares and value of 5-6 trillion VND per session in the past rallies.

Aluminium extrusion, galvanised steel escape Australia's anti-subsidy duties

Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) will not impose anti-subsidy duties on aluminium extrusion and zinc coated (galvanised) steel imported from Vietnam, according to the trade defence department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The ADC initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into the products in August and October 2016. 

The department said Vietnam was accused of subsidising aluminium businesses in three programmes relating to tax incentives.

Following the investigations, the ADC said that one of the three investigated Vietnamese companies did not receive any incentives from the programmes.

The other two companies and other producers/exporters received subsidies but the margin was negligible, prompting the ADC to end the subsidy investigation.

For galvanised steel, the ADC determined that the Vietnamese companies under investigation received subsidies from only three out of 19 programmes relating to tax and investment incentives, with the amount of subsidies also negligible.

The decision in favour of the Vietnamese side bodes well for future litigation related to trade defence.

Supplier Day 2017 organised in HCM City

The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) organised the Supplier Day 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13, drawing the participation of nearly 100 foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises and a large number of local suppliers.

According to Frank Weiand, co-chair of the AmCham manufacturing committee, the annual event aims to connect FDI manufacturers and local suppliers, thus helping them update each other on the markets and demands.

In order to join the global supply chain, enterprises are required to produce products with good quality, reasonable prices and production time.

Local suppliers must improve themselves to meet requirements of quality management systems and production factors to provide products for FDI firms and multi-national groups.

Pham Quan, Director of the WAHL Vietnam Company, highlighted the significance to the event, saying that it helps FDI enterprises find potential suppliers, thus reducing products’ prices and raise the localisation rate. 

Meanwhile, local businesses can understand expectations of FDI firms for their products, prices and services while taking the occasion to introduce their products and enter the global supply chain.

Exhibitions help promote support industry

The Vietnam-Japan Support Industry Exhibition and the Vietnam Support Industry Exhibition 2017 opened in Hanoi on September 13.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, raising the localisation rate in the automobile, garment-textile, footwear, and electronic industries,  and entering the global production and supply chain are important for Vietnam.

The ministry has been implementing the programme on support industry development from 2016 – 2025 to help local firms apply management systems in line with the global production chain’s requirements, so they can become suppliers for domestic and foreign clients, Khanh said.

He also expressed his belief that the events will create opportunities for local support industry firms to approach new trends and engineering and technology achievements and meet with potential partners from Japan and other nations. 
The three-day events drew more than 200 brands from 20 nations and territories worldwide, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Singapore, and Thailand.

Through the exhibitions, participants showcased their advanced technologies for electronic component manufacturers, seeking clients and tightening links with local manufacturers.

Hironobu Kitagawa, Head Representative of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Hanoi said enterprises need to understand the significant role of the support industry in the entire value chain. 

JETRO is willing to support Vietnamese firms, he pledged.

French group opens supermarket in Hà Nội

Auchan Retail Việt Nam opened a new supermarket in Hà Nội on Tuesday, its 15th in Việt Nam.

The new one is at the Goldsilk Complex, Hà Đông District.

It stocks food, cosmetics, furniture, clothing and electrical goods and household applicances including traditional ready-to-eat food and Auchan brands.

Jorge Fernandez Asensio, general director of Auchan Retail Việt Nam, said the company’s commitment is “low cost everyday", and it fights for fresh, clean food products, for the people’s health. 

Auchan group was founded in 1961 and is France’s second largest retail distribution network. The group’s stores are present in 16 countries.

HCM City farm, consumer goods fair promotes local produce
A farm produce, food and consumer goods fair which opened at the Tan Binh District Culture and Sport Centre in HCM City on September 12 seeks to promote production and consumption of Vietnamese products.

The six-day fair has 200 booths displaying a wide range of agricultural products, foods, fashion items, jewellery, handicrafts, wooden products, household utensils and other consumer goods.

Visitors can enjoy music shows every night and try a range of cuisines.

It is organised by the district People’s Committee together with the Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion Joint Stock Company.

At the opening ceremony, the organisers gave gifts to 50 disadvantaged children from the district.

Series of exhibitions on supporting industries open in Ha Noi
Three exhibitions on supporting industry opened at the International Centre for Exhibition in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

These events included the seventh Viet Nam-Japan Supporting Industries Exhibition, Industrial Components and Subtrancting Vietnam 2017 and NEPCON Vietnam 2017, and were held by the Reed Tradex Limited Company and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said the increase in local part supply rates in key manufacturing industries such as automobiles, textile and garment, footwear and electronics as well as participation in global supply and production chains are top concerns of Viet Nam.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), with its management role in the supporting industry, has been implementing a programme to support industry development from 2016 to 2025, aiming to help Vietnamese businesses apply advanced management systems that meet the requirements of the global production chain.

Khanh said the exhibitions would provide opportunities for Vietnamese supporting suppliers to learn new market trends in technology. They could also contact with potential partners from Japan and elsewhere to boost the development of the supporting industry in Viet Nam.

The two events, which will last until tomorrow, are being attended by more than 200 leading brands from 20 countries and territories, including Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand.

As one of the most high-potential markets in ASEAN, the electronics industry in Ha Noi is developing thanks to strong investment and support from the Government. To become a strong manufacturing base, manufacturers and assemblers will need new technologies and business networks to increase their productivity in this key sector.

According to Chief Representative of JETRO Hironobu Kitagawa, businesses need a deep understanding of the importance of the supporting industry for the whole value chain.

With Japan’s extensive experience, JETRO will be able to assist Vietnamese businesses and co-operate without any hesitation with Viet Nam’s specific requirements, said Kitagawa.

At the exhibition, Japanese exhibitors will look for potential suppliers, while Vietnamese exhibitors hope to have successful exchanges with Japanese suppliers.

Cotton Day event opens in HCM City
The first event of its kind in Viet Nam, Cotton Day 2017, is promoting connections between garment and textile companies and partners, suppliers and experts in the cotton sector.

The event, held in HCM City’s District 1 on Tuesday, attracting more than 200 domestic and foreign-invested garment firms as well as foreign cotton producers, was organised by the US Cotton Council International (CCI) in Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).

Speaking at the workshop, VITAS Chairman Vu Duc Giang said that US cotton had played an important role in the quality of Viet Nam’s garment and textile products over the years.

CCI Director William Bettendorf, who noted that Viet Nam is the number-one importer of US cotton, praised the powerful growth of the country’s textile and garment sector.

The sector in Viet Nam earned US$19.8 billion from exports in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 9.9 per cent year-on-year, according to VITAS.

During the workshop, participants heard about the latest US trade policies, information on global supply and demand for cotton, and fashion trends of famous brands.

In the first seven months of the year, Viet Nam imported 808,000 tonnes of cotton worth $1.47 billion, with 60 per cent of the cotton from the US.

This year, CCI supported Viet Nam’s fashion brands using the COTTON USA ™ label to create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese exports and better transparency for consumers about origin of materials.

At the event, a fashion show introduced new collections of the Canifa and John Henry brands, including five winning collections of the COTTON USA ™-Fashion Design Contest, which was organised in July.

CCI works with the US Department of Agriculture as well as spinning mills, fabric and garment manufacturers, brands, retailers, textile associations and governments around the world.

Cotton Day, one of CCI’s biggest events in Asia, began in Japan in the 1990s and has been held in Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand and Bangladesh.

High-quality and eco-friendly COTTON USA ™ materials are sold in more than 50 countries.

PetroVietnam exceeds business targets
The National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) notched up total revenue of VND319.6 trillion (US$14 billion) in the first eight months of this year, exceeding its target by 19 per cent.

Of the figure, PetroVietnam contributed VND60.2 trillion to the State budget. In the reviewed period, the group exploited some 17.12 million tonnes of oil, accounting for 66.3 per cent of the year’s plan. The production of oil reached 10.49 million tonnes and gas production reached 6.63 billion cubic metres.

From January to August, PetroVietnam produced 14.29 billion kWh of electricity.

Besides this, the group produced 3.82 million tonnes of petrol and some 1.18 million tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser, exceeding 19.8 per cent and 10.3 per cent of the eight month plan, respectively.

In the remaining months of 2017, Petrovietnam will focus on handling five weak projects – Dinh Vu polyester fibre plant, bio-ethanol plants in Dung Quat and Binh Phuoc, Phu Tho ethanol plant and Dung Quat shipbuilding project.

Support agencies key to SME growth
Agencies that support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to keep up with business trends and formulate measures to promote SME development, Dang Huy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said at the 45th Meeting of the APEC Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) now taking place in HCM City.

Dong said the role of support agencies was important because “advances made in digital technology today and drastic changes brought by the 4.0 industrial revolution will create new opportunities for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

He added that, through APEC fora, SMEs had gained knowledge and created legislation in line with international economic practices.

However, since many SMEs are still struggling with weak competitiveness, APEC economies and SMEs have promoted improved governance; facilitated technological innovation by giving priority access to finance; and opened up new market opportunities, while ensuring an enabling environment for doing business.

The 45th two-day SMEWG includes representatives from 21 economies who are discussing the outcomes of previous meeting and the group’s strategic plan for the 2017-20 period.

A number of ideas on how the group can contribute to priority areas towards 2018 was also exchanged. The priority areas include: entrepreneurship and innovation and the internet and digital economy; financing for business expansion and capability development; and inclusive business ecosystems that support SME growth and market access for SMEs.

Also discussed were examples of how to develop entrepreneurship, foster innovation, access finance, and create business ecosystems.

Vietnamese representatives presented an initiative on promoting innovative start-ups, while Thailand and Peru shared the development of a strategy on green, sustainable and innovative micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Japan shared a report on APEC best practices for promoting the supporting industry in the region, while Malaysian representatives spoke about financing for business expansion and capability development and Singapore presented information on its startup ecosystem.

“Exchanges and discussions at the meeting will contribute to fostering our shared future in the APEC region. SMEs are the driving forces in the context of rapid development in digital economies,” Dong said. “We are discussing the potential for practical co-operation, and most importantly identifying priority areas to strengthen SMEs competitiveness throughout the APEC region. In doing so, we will set the track for SMEs in our APEC economies to start up and grow robustly in the right direction.”

SMEs, the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC region, account for over 97 per cent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies.

SMEWG works toward the achievement of APEC’s Bogor Goals by fostering an enabling business environment for SMEs to grow and develop into export-ready firms.

Province to invest $31.5m in food processing industries
The People’s Committee of the southern province of Tra Vinh has decided to call for investment worth VND710 billion (US$31.5 million) to develop the local food processing sector.

The sector’s development is aimed at helping raise the province’s industrial production value to VND40 trillion ($1.78 billion) by 2020.

Specifically, the seafood processing industry is expected to create jobs for 1,700 locals and post production value of VND554 billion. The province plans to have 28 cattle and poultry slaughter houses, employing 1,800 people and contributing VND106 billion to the province’s industrial production value.

It also hopes to reap VND4 billion in revenue from vegetable and fruit processing.

Key projects that the province would focus on include a peanut processing factory in Cau Ngang District with production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year and plants processing beverages from fruits and vegetables in Cau Ke and Tieu Can districts with annual capacity of two million tonnes.

Other projects that need to be developed are a factory processing fruits and vegetables for export in Tra Vinh City’s Long Duc Commune and a plant processing cattle and poultry meat in Tra Cu District, with annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes each.

In the near future, the province will expand a seafood processing factory in Duyen Hai Town with designed capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year.

As planned, the province will mobilise VND700 billion from private enterprises to finance the activities, while the rest will be sourced from the local State budget and other project funds such as the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development Project and the project for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta (AMD Tra Vinh).

European developer announces 1st housing project in VN
EZ Land, backed by the KEY SICAV SIF fund from Luxembourg, has announced plans to build 1,000-1,500 apartments a year for the next five to eight years.

Speaking at the company’s launching ceremony in HCM City on Tuesday, Oliver Brazier, managing partner of EZ Land Vietnam, said the company would focus on mid-priced apartments for which demand is high now and expected to remain so in future.

Its first project is HausNeo in District 9, where 568 apartments will be built at a cost of VND500 billion (US$22.02 million).

EZ Land’s apartments would be inspired by the Bauhaus style – which shuns ostentation -- he said.

The company has “a goal of putting the first bricks for the sustainable development of the real estate market in Viet Nam,” he added.

The prices would be announced in October, but a typical two-bedroom apartment would cost VND1.4-1.5 billion, the company said.

With the Government’s policy of supporting the property market, growing GDP and incomes and high demand for a first home among millennials, Viet Nam, especially HCM City, is an attractive destination for developers, the company said.

Market climbs on large caps support
Shares rose steadily on the HCM Stock Exchange, with the VN-Index hitting 806.43 points on Thursday morning, up 0.44 per cent over Wednesday.

The overall market condition was neutral, with 131 shares rising, 115 falling and 97 remaining unchanged.

Large-cap stocks again supported the market, as 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity advanced and only six declined.

The gainers that had the greatest influence on the market were PV Gas (GAS), Petrolimex (PXL), Vietcombank (VCB) and VinGroup (VIC), as well as Vietinbank (CTG), Masan Group (MSN) and steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG).

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index was also up 0.18 per cent at 104.62 points.

Investors showed their confidence in the market outlook, boosting the market liquidity.

A total of 139 million shares worth a combined VND2.6 trillion (US$114.6 million) were traded in the two markets, up 40.4 per cent in volume and 13 per cent in value compared to Wednesday morning's trade.

The afternoon trade session starts at 1pm. 

CAEXPO helps boost Vietnam-China trade ties

The China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS), which enters its 14th year this year, have helped boosted trade cooperation between ASEAN and China as well as Vietnam and China, said Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh.

Talking to the press on the occasion of his trip to China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to attend the 14th CAEXPO and CABIS, Deputy PM Binh said since its launch in 2004, CAEXPO has become an important event for businesses of both sides.

At this year event in Nanning, capital of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, from September 11-13, Vietnam was represented by 250 booths, the most among ASEAN countries, introducing various products, including farm produce, processed food, footwear, consumer goods, wooden products and handicrafts.

As an active member of ASEAN, Vietnam’s participation in CAEXPO demonstrates the importance that the country’s Government, localities and enterprises give to strengthening ties with China and Chinese localities, he said.

The event is also a chance for Vietnam to promote its national image, products and trademarks, increasing exports from Vietnam to ASEAN countries and China.

The Deputy PM highlighted that Vietnam prioritises boosting its friendship with China, its largest trade partner and leading source tourism market. Vietnam is also the largest ASEAN trade partner of China and leads ASEAN countries in the number of tourists to China.  

Besides, Guangxi has been a pioneering Chinese locality in cooperating with Vietnam. Trade between the province and Vietnamese localities has contributed largely to Vietnam-China trade revenue.

Collaboration between Guangxi and Vietnam in tourism, agriculture, culture, education, people-to-people connection, and border management has also been fruitful, said Binh.

Vietnam also values the position of Guangxi in the cooperation between the two countries, especially with the two countries promoting connectivity within the framework of the “Two Corridors, One Belt” and the “Belt and Road” initiatives.

Binh stressed the need for Guangxi and Vietnamese localities to continue rolling out measures to implement the common perspectives reached by leaders of both countries, while boosting win-win cooperation in all fields, including the management of the border, contributing to building a border of peace, stability, cooperation and development.

Korean bioproducts penetrate into Vietnamese market

More than 120 bioproducts in cosmetics, functional food, medical equipment and environment made in the Republic of Korea (RoK) are being introduced to Vietnamese consumers at an exhibition that opened in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13.

The event was co-organised by the Chuncheon Bioindustry Foundation (CBF) and Lien Hoa Group, a partner of the CBF in Vietnam. 

CBF President Ju-Su Jeon said that the exhibits were produced with the RoK’s latest technology and based on research conducted by CBF experts. The products have been available in more than 100 countries worldwide so far and are trusted by consumers due to their quality, he said.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Chuncheon Choi Dong-yong stressed that the city is home to 60 bio-technology companies which have a wide range of functional food granted certificates from the Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA).

With a fast-growing economy along with a large population, Vietnam is a fertile land for Korean bioproducts in the next few years, he added.

Meanwhile, Truong Thi Nhi, General Director of the Lien Hoa Group, said that Korean bioproducts will allow domestic consumers to access quality and safe products.

The exhibition also creates a chance for Vietnamese and Korean businesses to seek partners to join supply-distribution chains while promoting cooperation and technology transfer between the two countries.

The exhibition will run until September 15.

Helping ethnic people start business

The Government’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs has launched an action plan to support startups by ethnic minority people by attracting investment and promote efficient production.

Ethnic groups have business advantages in their unique cultures and their agricultural and handicraft specialties. What they lack is capital and information about government policies and consumer markets. 

The Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and relevant agencies have teamed up to support ethnic minority startups.

Minister and Chairman of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien said, “We’ll focus on growing high value indigenous trees and raising animals with strong market demand. We’ll help them develop their forest economy, particularly agro-forestry processing and distribution."

"We’ll promote and conserve their ethnic cultures so they can develop community tourism, generate jobs, sell local products, and boost incomes,” he added.

The Committee has organized business training courses for ethnic people, offered them incentive loans, and connected them with buyers for their agricultural products. 

Mr. Chien said, “We don’t set too ambitious a plan, just steady progress. We target 100 successful startups next year. Then we’ll review the program and replicate successful models."

"We encourage young people to nurture and realize their dreams by promoting their advantages, sharing information, cooperating, and taking risks,” he noted.

In May the Committee and the World Bank organized a forum on Cooperation and Connectivity to support ethnic minority startups.

Concerted effort in environmental protectionism

APEC economies are now standing in the doorway of deeper cooperation. With climate change becoming an increasing security threat, will member economies press for a deeper cooperation at the APEC Summit 2017 this November?

The APEC has made remarkable progress in the past quarter century. A significant share of goods and services accrue little or no tariffs at all and good work has been done to deal away with barriers to trade and services. 

Additionally, most sectors are now open to international investment, signalling the remarkable headways made towards economic unity and the creation of a free trade area.

Riding on this remarkable momentum, the APEC economies find themselves at a place where they might start looking beyond trade policy and intensify efforts to achieve the far larger objectives set at their first meeting in 1993.

These objectives spelled out in the APEC Leaders’ Economic Vision Statement include coordinating policies to tackle emerging global challenges. 

In fact, a multitude of the current ails of humanity seem to strike the Asia-Pacific particularly hard.

Climate change and environmental concerns, connectivity, and joint human resources development are all on the list awaiting closer cooperation.

APEC economies are now in the right place to work out a specific roadmap to tackle the most urgent issues where concerted effort of the Asia-Pacific could affect unprecedented gains.

The weight of accord among the APEC economies has already been felt on the global scale when the APEC’s model of voluntary concerted unilateral decision-making led to the Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement.

As developing economies are subject to the most adverse effects of climate change, a particularly strong accord among the APEC economies was born, creating some much-needed pressure to facilitate a stronger stance on climate change. 

The concert was somewhat understandable: about 70% of natural disasters occur in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the APEC website.

As the APEC also account for 60% of the global energy consumption, it is imperative to reduce the portion of fossil fuels in the regional energy mix to mitigate the growing damage caused by climate change. 

The accelerating industrialization and urbanization across the member economies are a particular cause to step up environmental protection and sustainability efforts as energy demand and consumption levels are set to skyrocket by 2020.

Concerted action has obvious benefits in as much as it creates unified international response to problems transcending the toolkits of national decision making, boosting the efficiency of mitigation efforts.

The cooperation of APEC economies, a sizeable bloc of many of the globe’s developing countries and prime victims of climate change and other transnational security threats, makes for heavy pressure in the international scene, pushing for mitigation efforts along the lines of the common but differentiated responsibilities principle endorsed by the UNFCCC of 1992, as can be seen in the Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement.

Showing a united front is not only a potent tool to better exert pressure in the international arena, but a precursor to regional cooperation on technology and know-how transfer. 

As a regional grouping, the APEC has significant internal depth facilitating the traffic of goods, services, people, and information among member economies.

Environmental protection, as such, has been on the table since the 1993 APEC Leaders’ Economic Vision Statement, but little has been done during the 1990s or the 2000s, even. 

Much of this can be ascribed to the fact that although APEC leaders envisioned a wider cooperation from the early stages, it has taken until 2011 to make the first significant step by agreeing to reduce energy intensity by at least 45% by 2035.

The next step was made in 2013, when the APEC Foreign and Trade Ministers agreed to increase forest cover by 20 million hectares by 2020.

Ministries also committed to promote sustainable forest management and enhance governance through institutional and legal frameworks, indigenous community participation, and strengthened efforts to combat illegal logging and associated trade, among others.

2014 proved a big year for environmental commitments, as the year saw both the Beijing and the Xiamen Declarations. 

In the Beijing Declaration APEC Energy Ministers vowed to double the share of renewables in the regional energy mix by 2030, while in the Xiamen Declaration ocean-related ministers identified four areas for collaboration.

The early 2010s saw sprouting environmental initiatives taking shape, such as the Green Towns initiative, a series of low-carbon model town projects helping urban planners formulate feasibility and development plans for reducing their city’s carbon footprint by setting carbon dioxide emission targets and initiatives from solar power to electric motorbikes.

According to the APEC website, the initiative has so far been implemented in Tianjin (China) in 2011, Samui Island (Thailand) in 2012, and Danang (Vietnam) in 2013 and its next stop will be San Borja in Peru.

Another environmental cooperation method under the aegis of the APEC is the Clean Transportation initiative promoting clean energy for shipping.

These projects running under the APEC Transportation Working Group focus on lowering the carbon footprint of marine transportation and promoting sustainable port development and construction. 

The APEC has also agreed to promote “the usage of electric vehicles and energy-efficient automotive components and standards across the region.”

The Adapting to Climate Change initiative is the venue for the APEC to collaborate with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to assess the impacts of climate change on agriculture in developing APEC economies and to help local farmers adapt to changing weather conditions.

The project models rainfall and temperature changes, analyzing how they affect crop yield and identifying vulnerable regions.

The APEC Climate Center provides climate information, research, and technical support to help economies mitigate climate-related hazards. The center also runs regular symposia and seminars as well as the Outreach Program for Developing Countries.

APEC economies are also promoting trade in a wide range of environmental goods in the region—“from solar panels to wind turbines,” as put by the organisation website.

The original aim was to reduce tariffs to 5% or less by the end of 2015. Throughout the years, the APEC economies grew from environmental goods importers (2002-2007) into slight exporters, a tendency that will hopefully continue, increasing the gap between exports and imports.

As the APEC is gathering this November in Danang, Vietnam for another summit, member economies as well as the world at large are awaiting progress transcending trade policy and cooperation. 
With luck, such progress will be visited upon the field of environmental cooperation, further cementing unity and decisive action to a growing international concern.

Foreign airlines offer zero-fare tickets for September

AirAsia, Qatar Airways and Emirates have announced they will offer a huge quantity of super-promotional air tickets priced from US$0.

Under the promotional program, AirAsia has launched 5 million tickets priced from US$0. These tickets will be sold via the airline’s online system and mobile applications from now to September 17. 

The promotion is applied for all flights from Vetnam to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang with departure time from March 1, 2018 to November 21, 2018.

Qatar Airways has offered a discount up to 40% on airfares sold from now till September 19 for a group of 3 passengers purchasing economy-class tickets to Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Warsaw, Munich and Berlin. Flying time is applied from now till May 31, 2018.

Emirates Airlines has also offered tickets priced from US$541 from Hanoi to Dubai and other European and American cities including tax and fees. Booking time is applied from now till the end of September 21, 2017.

Cathay Pacific has also provided a discount of 30% on air tickets for flights departing from HCM City to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and other cities in the US and Canada with prices from US$520 (excluding tax and fees) from now till the end of October 30. The prices are applied for flights departing before December 15.

Talk on Dong Nai real estate kicks off in Ho Chi Minh City

Industry experts are holding in-depth discussions on the pros and cons of property investment in Dong Nai province.

The on-going talk, named “Dong Nai Real Estate Market: Opportunities and Challenges,” includes presentations and panel discussions from leading experts in the property sector. Representatives are hailing from the Dong Nai Department of Construction, Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, government agencies, leading law firms, and property companies.VIR and Eximrs are co-organisers of the event. The talk is live-streamed on VIR’s sister publicationswww.baodautu,vn and

Participants at the talk highlighted the fact that Dong Nai province, covering an area of 5,900 square metres, is situated right next to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City. The province also enjoys a well-connected traffic system to Southern Vietnam, making it one of the most popular destinations for real estate investment.

Dong Nai recently emerged back in the spotlight thanks to the Long Thanh International Airport project, which is slated to complement Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Various opportunities for real estate investment have arisen as a result, with special interest for land plots.

However, scams and fraud have also been proliferating and experts will discuss how investors can spot shady projects. Tips on preventing reckless speculation and another property bubble will also be given at today's event.

Potential for capacity cooperation between Vietnam & China

Vietnam and China have major potential for investment cooperation, Mr. To Ngoc Son, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asia and Africa Markets at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), told the Vietnam-China Capacity Cooperation Conference in Nanning, China, on September 13.
He identified the conditions that boost cooperation between the two countries, including positive developments in economics, cultural similarities, and Vietnam being the largest trading partner of China in ASEAN and its ninth-largest partner in the world. 
“The Vietnamese Government has changed the law, abolishing a series of administrative procedures to promote investment by foreign enterprises,” he emphasized.
He also touched on the potential for cooperation between Vietnam and China thanks to the latter’s population of 1.4 billion people and the official visit to be made by Xi Jinping to Vietnam in November, which will promote greater cooperation and drive bilateral relations forward.
China’s market has an important role to play in economic cooperation. Mr. Son also emphasized that there are opportunities available for enhancing economic, trade, and investment cooperation between the two sides in the process of development and the strong reform of the two economies.
Vietnamese and Chinese leaders have said that under the guidance of the two governments, cooperation in productive capacity has potential and important mechanisms will better support Chinese enterprises who have been investing and will invest in Vietnam.
They suggested that the initial identification of specific projects in production capacity should focus on promoting cooperation in the future through memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed in September 2016.
The “Vietnam-China Cooperation Conference” was held by the Department of Investment and Foreign Investment of the State Development and Reform Commission and the Development and Reform Commission of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with support from the Center for International Cooperation under the State Development and Reform Commission and Vietnam’s Department of Asian and African Markets.
The aim of conference was to create opportunities for links within the Vietnam-China Productivity Cooperation project.
It was also attended representative of the Departments of Industry and Trade of Bac Giang province and Dong Thap province as well as Vietnamese and Chinese enterprises.
The conference was a key activity within the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and part of cooperative efforts between China and Vietnam to expand fields of cooperation and secure practical results in the future.

14th China-ASEAN Expo underway

With the theme “Together to Build the 21st Century Silk Road, Tourism Promotes the Regional Economy”, the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO 2017) officially opened at the Nanning International Exhibition Convention Center in Nanning, China, on September 12.
Delegates from China and the ten ASEAN member countries were in attendance, as were representatives from enterprises. In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said that China is ASEAN’s largest partner.
China and ASEAN will support each other to reach trade targets set for this year, he went on, and he believes that CAEXPO and the China-ASEAN Business Investment Summit (CABIS) have promoted China-ASEAN relations.
“China is one the largest tourism and trade partners of Vietnam and Vietnam is the largest tourism and trade partner of China in ASEAN,” he emphasized. “I expect to see sustainable and high-quality investment projects in Vietnam in the time to come.”

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong firmly believes that CAEXPO 2017 plays an important role in promoting trade between China and ASEAN countries and especially between China and Vietnam. “We will export more Vietnamese goods to China and improve the balance of trade through CAEXPO,” he told VET.
CAEXPO is a multilateral cooperation activity between ASEAN and China, held annually in China and bringing many practical benefits for Vietnamese enterprises, enhancing and affirming Vietnam’s profile within ASEAN-China cooperation.
Ms. Doan Thi Ha, Chairman of the Vietnam Mong Cai Van Tho Import and Export Co., said that CAEXPO 14 presents many cooperation opportunities for her enterprise. “We brought a variety of durian products as well as special products to exhibit to Chinese and ASEAN customers,” she said. “We expect to connect with more Chinese enterprises in the future.”
Vietnam’s participation in CAEXPO 14 promotes its national image and the image of its brands and products. The Vietnam Pavilion includes enterprises in competitive industries and developing export sectors such as agricultural products, seafood, foodstuffs, and wooden furniture.
The fair also featured more than 4,600 booths from over 2,500 enterprises in China and ASEAN countries in different fields at three locations: the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, the Guangxi Exhibition Center, and South China Town, Guangxi.

Vietnam’s major power projects to be completed in September

The State-owned power utility corporation EVN has announced that it is stepping up construction work in order to complete its major power generation and transmission projects in September.

They include the Trung Son Hydropower Plant, an extension to the Thac Mo Hydropower Plant, as well as the Nghi Son 1, Mong Duong 1, Vinh Tan 2 and Duyen Hai 1 Thermal Power Plant.

EVN will also continue the trial run of the Thai Binh Thermal Power Plant’s first turbine.

In September the National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT), a member of EVN, is scheduled to complete a number of transmission projects in Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai and Thai Binh, among others.

Last month, EVN connected the Thai Binh Thermal Power Plant’s second turbine to the national power grid, began construction of nine transmission projects and completed 18 other transmission projects.

Newly connected power plants in August have added another 1,535 megawatts to the national capacity.

August also saw the operations of the power system in Quang Tri province’s island district of Con Co transferred to EVN.

Building brand for Vietnamese agricultural products

Vietnam's agricultural sector has exported many agro-forestry and aquatic products, many of which have export revenue exceeding more than US$ 1billion per year. But still over 80% of agricultural products have yet to be integrated with a brand and are sold without logos or labels. This is a big disadvantage, weakening Vietnamese agricultural products’ competitiveness in the world market. For that reason, building brands for agricultural products is highly necessary.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the export revenue of agro-forestry and aquatic products in the past eight months reached US$23.66 billion, up 13.5% over the same period in 2016. Of which, Vietnam’s rice exports in August have been estimated at 504,000 tonnes worth US$220 million, bringing the volume of exported rice over the past eight months to four million tonnes and US$1.75 billion, 19.8% and 17.5% increases in volume and value respectively, over the same period in 2016. Vietnam has been one of the leading countries in exporting rice for decades, but the logo and brand of Vietnamese rice have not been available.

On May 21, 2015, the Prime Minister approved the Scheme on development of Vietnam’s rice brand by 2020 with vision to 2030, aiming to improve the position the value and image of Vietnam’s rice, increase the awareness of producers, importers, distributors and domestic and foreign customers, which is the foundation to reinforce and develop the market, in addition to increasing the added value, market share and competitiveness in the world market,.

In nearly two years since the approval of the scheme, a logo design contest on Vietnam’s national rice brand was launched by the MARD in April, 2017. However, up to now, after nearly five months since launching the competition, the organising board has not yet selected a logo which fully reflects the traditional image, reputation and quality of Vietnamese rice, to be announced in September, 2017.

Not only rice, Vietnam’s agricultural products are widely known in the domestic and foreign markets. Many products have been protected by the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) on trade names, geographical indications and appellations of origin of goods, but the products have not been integrated with a brand and are sold without logos or labels. Many products have been sold internationally using foreign branding. This is a big disadvantage, weakening Vietnamese agricultural products’ competitiveness, especially in the international economic integration process, which is more and more widespread today. It is necessary to enhance the competitiveness of the product and create products with clear origin, with the quality meeting the standards, demands and tastes of the market.

Besides accelerating the implementation of the Scheme on the development of Vietnam’s rice brand by 2020 with vision to 2030, the agricultural sector is urgently completing a programme on developing Vietnam's main agricultural product brand by 2020 for a number of products, such as tea, coffee, mango, dragon fruit, and shark catfish, with their geographical indications. However, in order to build and develop the major agro-products brand, branches and localities should implement several basic solutions, such as prioritizing investment in localities’ characteristic agro-products and exported products; creating conditions for enterprises and cooperatives to approach resources that aim to promote the potential of land, finance, science and technology, and develop markets; training human resources; promote the connection of "four houses" (managers, scientists, enterprises and farmers) to closely and effectively participate in the roadmap for branding agricultural products.

Authorities should complete the required legal regulations on brand and it is necessary to unite trademarks in legal documents, in addition to building a comprehensive program on the development of Vietnam's agro-product brand, including full implementation guidelines on the roadmap, financial tools, techniques, coordination mechanism.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to strengthen the inspection and supervision of the quality for products, which have been building a brand to ensure good quality and a stable, gradually affirmed "reputation" in the market. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen trade promotion activities in order to promote branded products; mobilize farmers to participate in associations and craft villages to unify their views on the application of good agricultural production processes; limit spontaneous production and to not negatively affect the brand of the local products in the eyes of domestic and international consumers.

At present, the agricultural sector has ten major agro-forestry and aquatic products which are exported to large markets throughout the world, such as the US, EU and Japan, of which eight products have export revenue of more than US$ 1 billion, including coffee, rubber, rice, seafood, cashew, pepper, vegetables, wood and wooden products. In order to take advantage of Vietnam's participation in free trade agreements, the MARD has prioritised the building of brand for Vietnamese agricultural products, the first being the brand name for the rice product.

Hau Giang's authority urges to check Hong Kong paper mill

Following the complaints of locals near Hong Kong-invested paper mill Lee & Man in the Mekong delta province of Hau Giang, Province’s Party Chief Tran Cong Chanh ordered the plant to check its wastewater treatment system.

The order was made at a meeting between the Party Chief, leaders of related agencies and the Hau River Industry Park management board and Lee&Man plant managers on September 13.
Local people residing near the Lee & Man paper making complex along the Mai Dam River in Hau Giang Province have complained last week that their lives had been impacted by the noise and smell from the plant.
Mr. Chanh met residents living near the paper mill to listen to their opinion.
General Director of the paper mill Chung Wai Fu said at the meeting that low quality recycled paper residues were giving off damp stench. After receiving resident's complaints, the plant has treated the residues to eliminate the foul smell.
Before, in March, the paper mill has given off the stench and noise when it operated.

DHC, SPA approve to distribute dividend payment

Dong Hai Ben Tre Corp (DHC) announced to close its shareholders ‘list on September 25; issue 2.6 million shares for 10 percent dividend payment in 2016 and 5.1 million shares for current shareholders, priced at VND 18,000 per share.
DHC has currently chartered capital of up to VND 256billion. If successful, this issuance will help increase its chartered capital up to VND 345 billion.
The Saigon Plastic Association (SPA) approved of issuing 8.5 million shares to current shareholders, priced at VND 10,000 per share. SPA announced its revenue for the first half of this year reached VND 101.8billion, pre-tax profit of 7.6billion.

SPA plans to reach its revenue of up to VND 107.2billion from now till year-end.

TNI issues 31.5million shares

Thanh Nam Group JSC (TNI) will organize an unscheduled shareholders’ meeting on September 19, aiming to announce the selling of 31.5 million shares for its current shareholders with a cost of VND 10,000 per share and to mobilize VND 315 billion.
The amount will be used to invest in real estate projects; short term loan payment and additional capital source.
Earlier, TNI’s shareholders approved the project to set up Danang-New Sun Company which has chartered capital up to VND 200billion.

This year, TNI targets to reach revenue of up to VND 1,008billion, after-tax profit of VND 20billion.


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