BUSINESS IN BRIEF 13/4

Golden opportunity for Vietnam honey exports

The US and Asia are offering an ever-expanding market and sweet opportunity for Vietnam honey exporters.

Vietnamese honey is sold in these markets as a premium product, retailing at pharmacies, high-end supermarkets and department stores.

“Vietnam currently ranks the sixth largest honey exporter in the world and second in Asia, after China,” said Bui Quang Hung a trade official.

Last year, the country exported more than 46,600 tonnes of honey with revenue exceeding US$120 million, Hung reported, adding that 90% of the volume was exported to the US with shipments to the EU on the uptick.

“Local producers shipped more than 80 tonnes of honey to the EU in the first quarter of this year alone, with more exporters targeting the lucrative market.”

US buyers in particular enjoy the different flavours of Vietnamese honey, as well as the health benefits.

Though the US market has great potential, they warn that businesses should never put all their eggs in one basket.  It’s best to spread sales around in several markets.

Local beekeepers and suppliers also have to be aware that it’s important to protect their reputation and know that this is particularly important for honey, with border testing having been stepped up.

This comes on the heels of discoveries of honey highly contaminated with cheap sweeteners and with lead or antibiotics from a number of businesses in unscrupulous countries.

Russian investment into Vietnam at record high

Russian foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam is at record levels with 106 separate investments totalling roughly US$1.95 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency.

Fuel, energy and metallurgy are the frontrunners with regard to FDI with six investment projects in the oil and gas sector at US$531.2 million.  

The remaining investments are principally concentrated in the industrial manufacturing and processing industry.

Russia ranks 17th out of the 101 countries investing in the nation. It has invested in 24 of the 63 provinces and cities nationwide, with Binh Dinh province having attracted the largest portion.

Eximbank in merger talks with a local bank

Vietnam's Eximbank, 15.07% owned by Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp , is in talks with unlisted domestic lender Nam A Bank about a possible merger, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The discussions come as Vietnam's central bank seeks to reform an overcrowded sector of more than 40 local lenders, many of which are considered by analysts to be under-capitalised and laden with bad debts that are dragging on the economy.

"The intention is there, but whether the banks would go ahead with the consolidation is still uncertain," said one of the sources who has direct knowledge of the talks.

Another source, a business analyst specialising in Vietnam's banking sector who has spoken to several people directly involved in the matter, said the talks had been going on for several months.

An executive from Nam A Bank, when asked to confirm the talks, said: "That content is not included in the agenda of the bank's annual general meeting next week." The person declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Officials from Eximbank were not immediately available for comment.

Two former executives of Nam A Bank, who left their positions last month, are running to be board members of Eximbank, according to an Eximbank proposal published in March, which is subject to approval by shareholders at an annual meeting later this month.

The two people currently represent 20% of voting shares in Eximbank.

Both lenders are based in Ho Chi Minh City.

The central bank has said it expects six to eight mergers this year, while the long-term goal is to bring the number down to 15-17 lenders.

Earlier this month, Vietnam's unlisted Mekong Housing Bank said in a shareholder meeting document that it planned to work with BIDV, the country's second-biggest partly private bank by assets, to complete a merger plan this year.

Last month, the central bank approved a merger between unlisted Maritime Bank and Mekong Development Bank, while it acquired all the shares in Vietnam Construction Bank, based in Long An province, in February.

Other mergers in the works include Sacombank with Southern Bank, preparations for which began last year.

Vietnam garment, footwear SMEs should improve supply chain management: workshop

Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in leading industries, like garments and footwear, should upgrade their capacity in supply chain management to raise the added-value of their products, local and foreign experts said at a recent workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.

As Vietnam has signed, or is finalizing, trade pacts with many foreign partners and economic blocs, upskilling their capacity in supply chain management will help foster their competitiveness, the experts commented at the workshop on supply chain readiness training and garment and footwear sectors on Tuesday.

The event, co-organized by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the U.S. Agency for International Development, was the first activity in a series to be conducted to help 30 SMEs in the two industries in Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia grasp opportunities for integration and development, the organizing board said.

According to the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, 98 percent of Southeast Asian firms operating in the garment and footwear sectors are small- and medium-sized enterprises, which contribute significantly to the region’s turnover.  

"The number of small- and medium-sized enterprises account for over 96 percent of businesses across the ASEAN region and contributed greatly to the global GDP. This is an important economic base for the region, as they will become strong partners in the global trading operations when supported with necessary tools and resources,” said Jeff McLean, UPS Vietnam country manager.

However, those SMEs are not actively involved in the world and the ASEAN market, and have yet to play a specific role in the global value chains.

ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic bloc consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

According to reports unveiled at the workshop, in the context of global economic integration, one certain company will not produce a complete product as they did in the past, but they will only focus on making one or some parts with different levels of added value, which is part of the world’s value chain.

Thus, local businesses need access to new criteria and new tools which will enable them to adapt to flexible changes in supply chain management in order to effectively respond to the development of the global economy.

One of the world's leading garment businesses shared their experience that improving supply chain management lies in constant creativity and innovation, and is based product quality assurance, confidence in delivery, cost competitive and sustainable standards building.

"The world is increasingly open for business and bringing endless opportunities for SMEs in the ASEAN region," said Jim O'Gara, president of South Asia District, UPS Asia Pacific.

"The future manager will not only compete on price but also on the ability to respond rapidly and faster services," he added.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council on March 4, 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding on creating the U.S.-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

The Business Alliance will combine the efforts of the USAID and major U.S. corporations to develop the capacity and boost competitiveness of SMEs in the ASEAN region.

The alliance will use training programs, mentorship opportunities, and cloud technology to support SMEs in the five key areas: access to finance; access to regional and international markets; human resource development; access to information and advisory services; and access to technology and innovation.

SMEs are the backbone of the ASEAN economy, accounting for more than 96 percent of all enterprises and for between 50 and 95 percent of all employments in many ASEAN member states, according to the USAID.

Strengthening the capacities and capabilities of SMEs in the ASEAN region is among the highest impact interventions that can be made to accelerate growth there and advance the interests of the ASEAN Economic Community, the USAID said.

Vietnamese agriculture concerns about export prospects

Technical barriers to trade have concerned several farm products of Vietnam which are not supposed to be able to compete against foreign ones after economic integration when import tariffs return to zero percent.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, farm produce exports sharply fell in the first three months of this year while competitive advantage of Vietnamese farm produce is at an alarming rate. In the first quarter, total farm produce exports merely reached US$6.13 billion, down 13.2 percent over the same period last year. Of which, various key farm produce, including seafood, rice, coffee, and wood, have drastically dropped.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors said that seafood export turnover has also sunk 23 percent in the first three months of this year, the strongest drop in the past five years. Of which, shrimp whose export turnover accounts for 40 percent of seafood exports posted steepest decline of 30 percent, and pangasius exports slid 18 percent.

Meanwhile, according to the Vietnam Food Association, the country’s rice exporters have contracted to export 2 million tons of rice and have delivered 720,000 tons since the beginning of this year. However, in comparison to the previous year, it shows a decrease of 30 percent in both volume and value.

A few years ago, agriculture proudly backed the economy amid economic crisis. However, most agricultural experts said that domestic agriculture has reached its limits with many products not be able to add more value as well as increase productivity. The country has advantages on rice, seafood, pepper, and cashew but weakness on husbandry products, fruits, and other farm products.

Agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat said that from now to 2018, common trend of countries in the ASEAN is to send import tariffs of agricultural products to zero percent. Tariff will still be imposed on a few farm products, but not high. Accordingly, farm produce will be imported and exported among the countries easily. It raises concerns about how to improve competitiveness for Vietnamese farm produce or the domestic market will be dominated by foreign ones.

Earlier, the government was able to protect domestic industries by import tariffs. However, once import tariffs are removed, the only measure that the government can use is technical barriers which include quarantine regulations and food safety standards.

However, Mr. Phat emphasized that technical barriers have to comply with international regulations and standards and scientific ground. In addition, domestic agriculture industry must improve competitive ability for local farm products in order to attract customers.

He revealed that next week, the Ministry will have a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to implement measures to promote and support farm produce exporters.

The ministry also ordered relevant departments to carry out solutions and resolve obstacles for businesses who meet difficulties in procedure. Before June 30, all HS codes of agriculture industry will be announced and the government will cut 50 percent of procedures of veterinary quarantine, plant protection, and food safety, compared to current procedures.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on April 9 held an online meeting with 63 provinces in Ha Noi City to discuss on urgent measures to promote competitiveness of Vietnamese farm produce amid regional and international economic integration.

HCMC, Phnom Penh strengthen investment and trade, tourist cooperation

Within the framework of official visit and work in Laos People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia Kingdom on April 6 - 11, Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Le Thanh Hai yesterday led Ho Chi Minh City delegate to join in an exhibition and workshop “The Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade, Tourist Promotion into Cambodia Market.”

Attending at the workshop was Men Sam An, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection and over 270 Cambodian and HCMC businesses.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chairman of Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Pa Socheatevong appreciated the guest delegate’s visit, aiming to contribute to tighten friendship, solidarity and cooperation between Phnom Penh and HCMC authorities.

In early 2014, Phnom Penh collaborated with Ho Chi Minh City to build Cho Ray- Phnom Penh Hospital with total capital of US$ 40 million. In addition, two cities’ authorities also strengthened investment cooperation in industries of telecommunications, aviation, agriculture, rubber plant and bank.

Two ways trade turnover between two cities reached at US$ 323 million in 2013 and US$ 253 million in 2014 in the sectors of petrol and gas, rubber, iron and steel , and household goods.

During the first three months of this year, Vietnamese government has licensed four projects of Cambodian enterprises. Besides, Royal Government of Cambodia has licensed 65 investment projects of Vietnamese businesses with total value of US$ 388 million.

With the stable politics, Cambodia’s economic growth increased 10 percents per year in the period of 2003- 2008, and seven percents per year in the period of 2014- 2015. The economic growth is predicted to exceed seven percents a year in industry of agriculture, tourist, bank, service, clothing and building in next years.

With preferential bilateral cooperative policies, two countries’ trade turnover has increased rapidly in recent years. On the occasion, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister thanked Vietnamese investors’ oustanding contributions for the country’s development.

Through this event, Vietnam businesses will find new potential partners as well as investment opportunities in Cambodian market, said deputy prime minister Men Sam An.

Cambodian government in general and Phnom Penh authority in particular will continue to advertize deeper investment laws, rules and policies to Vietnamese businesses, added deputy Prime Minister.

Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Le Thanh Hai said that the workshop was held on the occasion of marking Cambodia’s Chaul Chnam Thmey New Year. It creates favourable opportunity for HCMC enterprises to not only update relevant information about investment environment and oppoturnity in Cambodia but also exchanged experiences to partners.

More than 40 businesses, leading corporations in HCMC joined in this workshop.

Through the workshop, Secretary Le Thanh Hai hoped that Cambodian enterprises will find new investment and cooperation opportunities in Ho Chi Minh City.

PM approves $100m loan to bridges work

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a US$100 million loan for a project to upgrade weak highway bridges.

The project, funded by the Republic of Korea, aims to build new bridges and upgrade about 60 connecting bridges on highway systems across the country.

The work is aimed at connecting localities and economic zones, reducing transport costs and traffic jams and contributing to socio-economic development.

The project will be carried out within four years with an added VND638 billion ($30 million) of domestic money.

Viet Capital Bank net profits up by half

Viet Capital Bank has reported a net profit of VND207 billion (US$9.59 million) last year, a year-on-year increase of 53 per cent, thanks to impressive growth from forex trading, stock investment and other activities.

The bank also reported an increase of 12 per cent in terms of total asset value, reaching VND25.78 trillion ($1.19 billion) at the end of last year, and 13 per cent growth in capital mobilisation.

Its total outstanding credit balance was VND15 trillion ($695.4 million) last year, up 40 per cent over 2013, of which outstanding loans were worth VND12.99 trillion ($602.2 million), an increase of 29 per cent.

In its media release, the bank said it always kept the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at around 14-15 per cent, much higher than the minimum rate of 9 per cent set by the State Bank of Viet Nam.

VAMC to adjust NPL interest rate

The Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) intends to cut the applicable interest rate for purchased non-performing loans (NPLs) in US dollars from 4.5 per cent per annum to 4.3 per cent.

However, interest rates on NPLs denominated in Vietnamese dong and the Euro will remain unchanged at 9.9 per cent and 5.7 per cent per annum, respectively.

The new interest rates will be applied during the second quarter of this year, from April 1 to June 30.

As per Circular 19, the State Bank of Viet Nam requires VAMC to review and adjust (reduce) the interest rates applied to the purchased NPLs in keeping with the repayment capacity of the borrowers, the interest rates prevalent in the market and based on the agreement with customers. Those interest rates will be publicised by VAMC quarterly.

This is the fourth time VAMC has announced an adjustment in interest rates applicable to the purchased NPLs.

The company had adjusted interest rates for the first time during the second quarter of 2014, when it decided to significantly cut interest rates on the bought NPLs in dong from 15 to 18 per cent per year to only 10.7 per cent per year.

During the third quarter of 2014, VAMC kept interest rates on NPLs in dong unchanged, but slashed interest rates on debts denominated in the US dollar and the Euro.

In December 2014, VAMC cut interest rates applicable in the first quarter of 2015 from 10.3 per cent per year to 9.9 per cent per year for NPLs denominated in the dong and 4.7 per cent per year to 4.5 per cent for NPLs in the US dollar, while keeping the rate for NPLs in the Euro unchanged at 5.7 per cent per year.

VAMC plans to buy NPLs worth VND100 trillion (US$4.76 billion), or 2.5 per cent of banks' total outstanding loans, this year.

Last year, VAMC bought NPLs worth about VND96 trillion ($4.57 billion), raising the total bad debts it had purchased from credit institutions to VND135 trillion ($6.43 billion), or 3.4 per cent of the total outstanding loans.

Binh Dinh exports more garments and timber

Some key Binh Dinh export commodities recorded substantial surges in value and volume compared to last year, especially in the garment and timber product sectors, said Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Vo Mai Hung.

The province earned nearly US$22 million worth from exported garments (up 34.4 per cent) and shipped abroad $18.03 million worth of eucalyptus woodchips (up 30 per cent), $3.86 million of construction stone (up 33 per cent), and $34.7 million of timber (up 6.7 per cent).

Meanwhile, the export of minerals reported big falls, with titanium shipments dropping almost 62 per cent.

As a result, the province garnered $165 million in total export revenue during the reviewed period, rising by 0.7 per cent from a year before, he added.

The Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh said foreign markets had an increased demand for outdoor furniture, enabling local companies to operate at full capacity.

Meanwhile, provincial apparel production is likely to continue growing as the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group and foreign firms have invested in a number of factories across Binh Dinh.

The locality is currently shipping goods to 58 countries and territories. The European Union, the US, Japan, and China are the largest markets.

Binh Dinh is located in Viet Nam's central key economic region, which also comprises Da Nang city and the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai.

Textile tech on display at HCM City expo

The 2015 Vietnam Saigon Fabric and Garment Accessories Expo (Saigon Tex) that opened yesterday offers local textile and garment firms an opportunity to get a close look at and obtain the latest technologies available globally.

It has attracted 655 firms from 21 countries and regions such as UK, India, Taiwan, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Italy, France, Sweden, and Thailand, a big increase from last year.

On their part, the exhibitors will have the chance to establish new contacts and explore business opportunities.

A series of seminars will be held on the sidelines of the event on topics such as preparations to be made by textile and garment businesses for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); rules of origin for textile and garment products to key export markets; and lean model in textile and garments.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa told the inaugural ceremony that the garment and textile industry aimed to achieve local content rate of 60 percent this year and 70 per cent by 2020. At present the industry depended heavily on imports of raw materials, and increasing the local inputs rate was important since Viet Nam was currently negotiating some trade agreements, including the TPP.

The sector eyed an export target of $28 billion this year and $50 billion in 2020.

Hoang Ve Dung, deputy general director of Vinatex, said value addition by Vietnamese textile companies remained low since they mostly did processing and sub-contracting for foreign companies.

Organised by the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group in collaboration with the VCCI Exhibition Services Co. and CP Exhibition Co. at the Tan Binh Exhibition and Convention Centre, it will go on until April 12.

Reformed theatre re-opens

The region's biggest cai luong (reformed opera) theatre Tran Huu Trang will re-open next week in HCM City's Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1, after two years of renovation.

The city's Department of Culture and Sports invested VND132 billion (US$6 million) on the building.

Four new plays about social and family problems will be staged by the theatre this year, according to theatre director and People's Artist Tran Ngoc Giau.

Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre was founded from three art troupes, the Southern Cai Luong Theatre, Giai Phong Cai Luong Theatre and Music and Dance Sai Gon-Gia Dinh Troupe.

Since its establishment in 1998, the theatre has staged hundreds of performances and attracting dozens of talented actors, including cai luong stars Hong Nga and Que Tran.

Bac Ha opens night market

Bac Ha District, one of the most famous tourism destinations in the northern province of Lao Cai, has opened a night market at the district's centre market.

The night market, which is open every Saturday, holds art performances and offers food, souvenirs and other products. The district's famous cuisines include thang co (a special dish of Mong people cooked from horse meat) and home-brewed corn wine.

With cool weather year-round, Bac Ha has amazing sightseeing such as mighty mountains, beautiful caves and terraced fields. The district has exotic cultures with 14 ethnic minorities and historic sites like Bac Ha temple and the palace of Hoang A Tuong.

The palace, built in 1919 – 1921 with European architecture, is called the house of the King of Meo people (Mong people) as Hoang Yen Chao and his son Hoang A Tuong ruled over Bac Ha during French colonial rule. About 70 per cent of Bac Ha's population are ethnic Mong.

See top eating fish being caught

Now is the season of catching bong lau, a kind of catfish species that lives in the wild in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta. Visitors can join tours watch fishermen catch bong lau on the Vam Nao River in An Giang Province.

The tour, organised by the An Giang Farmers Tourism Centre, also offers other services, including staying at stilt houses, dishes cooked from bong lau and Don ca tai tu music and song, which is a UNESCO recognised intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The activity of watching fishermen fishing is held on the Vam Nao River section in Tan Phu District. Linked with the Tien and Hau rivers (two tributes of the Mekong), the section is where fishermen cast nets. The caught fish are about 3 – 7 kilos.

Bong lau, famous for its delicious flesh, is caught from lunar November to April. The fish price is between VND150,000 and VND250,000 (US$7-11) a kilo.

Vung Tau to host kite festival

Vung Tau City in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau will host the sixth International Kite Festival 2015 on April 21-27.

Nearly 150 artists from 22 countries and territories will participate in the festival themed "Flying with Viet Nam". Several activities including kite flying competitions and a training course on making kites will be held during the event.

Vung Tau City is well-known nationwide for its tourism and beautiful beaches. Bordered by the sea on three sides, the city has beautiful mountains, thermal springs, pagodas and other cultural relics.

Thanh Hoa launches river tours

The Thanh Hoa Province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has launched its first waterway tours on the Ma River. Tourists can enjoy landscapes along the river banks and visit historic sites.

The tours, which depart at the Ham Rong Tourism Boat Station in Hoang Hoa District, will take tourists upstream or downstream the Ma River.

On the tour that goes downstream, tourists can visit several famous sites such as Nguyet Vien Village in Hoang Quang Commune, which produced many illustrious students and scholars under the feudal Confucian education system; Trang Quynh (a legendary wit living in the 18th century) Temple and Sam Son, a well-known beach destination.

The tours cost VND300,000 – 350,000 (US$14 - 16) each.

Ancient village sits on river

Long Tuyen (also called Binh Thuy), one of the country's five top ancient villages, is a must-see destination in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city of Can Tho as the 170 year-old village in Binh Thuy District has beautiful natural scenery and cultural relics.

About 5km away from Can Tho's centre, Long Tuyen is located along the peaceful and poetic Binh Thuy River. Locals build their houses and fruit orchards along the river banks, creating picturesque scenery with fresh air and quiet settings.

Binh Thuy Temple, Nam Nha and Hoi Linh pagodas, patriot Bui Huu Nghia's Tomb, the Communist Party of An Nam's office and nha co vuon lan (ancient house with orchid garden) are the village's national heritage sites.

Exchange programme celebrates traditional New Year in Asian countries

An exchange programme took place in Hanoi on April 9 to celebrate diverse traditional New Year festivals in Asian countries.

The programme were organised by the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations; Embassies of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka; the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association; the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association; the Vietnam-Thailand Friendship Association; along with the Hanoi Buddhist Association.

The event was attended by more over 250 representatives of related ministries, departments and agencies.

The exchange programme offered delegates an opportunity to take part in cultural activities, such as water-fights, tying lucky wristbands and traditional art performances of Asian countries.

The annual event aims to increase mutual understanding between Vietnamese people and the people of other Asian nations.

FDI boosts Vietnam’s economic growth

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has played an important role in boosting Vietnam's economic growth, said participants of a workshop, held in Hanoi on April 9.

FDI has been an important source that directly participated in and promoted the creation of several industrial sectors with a high demand for technology and added-value products, such as machinery manufacturing, energy, computers and telephones, they said.

FDI has also played an important part in the country's export and import activities over the past years, they said, adding the FDI sector contributed towards ensuring the supply of foreign exchange as well as the national balance of payments.

Director of the National Centre of Socio-economic Information and Forecasting Mai Thi Thu said since the Law on Foreign Investment was issued in 1987, FDI capital has had great impact on Vietnam's economy by mobilising capital for development and promoting economic development.

FDI also contributed towards creating conditions for the transfer of technology, generating jobs for the local people and accelerating the country's global integration, she said.

Several products produced by foreign-invested businesses have established themselves firmly in international markets, such as telephones, electronic components and garments and textiles.

Director of the planning and investment ministry's Foreign Investment Agency Do Nhat Hoang said FDI helped to strengthen the linkage between foreign and domestic businesses, and assisted Vietnam's economy to integrate deeper with the global economy.

The government and authorised agencies of ten created conditions and improved the investment environment to draw more foreign investment, he said.

However, a number of participants pointed out the shortcomings of FDI businesses, such as slow transfer of technology for domestic partners, environmental pollution caused by some FDI projects or tax evasion by some businesses, causing public concern, while affecting the investment environment of Vietnam.

The Foreign Investment Agency said Vietnam granted licences to 267 new FDI projects in the first quarter of this year, with a total registered capital of more than 1.2 billion USD.

The country expects to draw 18 billion USD in FDI this year, and the FDI disbursement is expected to be 12 billion USD.

Vietnam attracted 17,579 FDI projects worth 251.8 billion USD over the past 30 years, since the Law on Foreign Investment was issued in 1987.

FDI projects cover a wide range of sectors, including minerals exploitation, agro-forestry and fisheries, processing industry and services such as real estate, healthcare and education.

Asian investors such as Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China) are among the top foreign investors in Vietnam.

Seminar discusses ways to promote Thai Nguyen tea brands

A seminar was held in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on April 9 to discuss ways to consolidate and protect Thai Nguyen tea brands in US, China, and Taiwan markets.

The event was co-organised by the provincial Department of Science and Technology and the Farmers’ Association and attended by representatives from the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam as well as from tea enterprises.

In order to promote the Thai Nguyen tea brand, local authorities have been advised to actively publicise outstanding achievements in tea production and orientations in developing the industry.

Participants also stressed the need to raise awareness of registering trademarks in these overseas markets.

Safety standards for tea planting and processing were also mentioned.

Currently, Thai Nguyen is ranked second in terms of tea output nationally, just behind Central Highlands Lam Dong province, with more than 20,700 hectares of tea and harvesting some 192,000 tonnes of fresh buds annually.

Only 20-30 percent of Thai Nguyen tea has been exported to overseas markets.

Da Lat farm produce sold at Lotte supermarkets

Da Lat farm produce and food will be sold at Lotte supermarkets as part of a cooperation agreement between the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong’s Trade, Investment and Tourism Centre and the Republic of Korea’s Lotte Mart signed on April 9.

The two sides agreed to bridge local businesses which specialise in manufacturing and processing vegetables, fruits, and food with the 10 Lotte supermarkets in Vietnam .

Lam Dong agriculture enterprises will be able to sign direct contracts with the RoK company to bring local farm produce to consumers across the country and receive support in goods transport.

Lotte supermarkets will reserve spaces offering Da Lat agricultural products abiding by the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP)’s manufacturing process.

Lam Dong is the biggest vegetable and flower growing area in the country with over 53,000 hectares of vegetables and 7,400 hectares of flowers, producing nearly 1.8 million tonnes of vegetables and 2.3 billion flowers annually.-

PVN targets 7.6 billion USD in revenue in Q2

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petro Vietnam or PVN) targets 164.6 trillion VND (7.62 billion USD) in revenue during the second quarter of 2015, paying 30.1 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) in tax.

According the first quarter report, PVN’s revenue totaled 132.2 trillion VND (6.12 billion USD), fulfilling 18.4 percent of its yearly target. To hit the 2015 goal, the group needs to generate additional 555 trillion VND (25.7 billion USD) in the remaining months.

The firm plans to expand exploration into new oil fields to boost crude oil reserves up to 35-40 million tonnes as well as continue ongoing structural reforms approved by the Prime Minister.

Reducing costs, using all resources effectively and ensuring safe and stable operations of local units are among this year’s action plan to spur the company’s revenue.

The national group will also conduct portfolio classifications and rankings, giving priority to urgent initiatives or important projects in 2015.

PVN exploited 7.21 million tonnes of gas and oil in the first quarter, 7.6 percent higher than its quarterly target and representing an annual increase of 4.9 percent.

Output of crude oil reached 4.61 million tonnes while that of gas topped 2.6 billion cubic metres, 10.4 percent and 3 percent above the quarterly target, respectively.

It produced 1.67 million tonnes of petroleum, up 6.2 percent from the same period last year. The figure was 21 percent higher than the quarterly target and fulfilled 30.2 percent of its yearly goal.-

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR

Golden opportunity for Vietnam honey exports, Russian investment into Vietnam at record high, Eximbank in merger talks with a local bank, Viet Capital Bank net profits up by half, VAMC to adjust NPL interest rate
 
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