BUSINESS IN BRIEF 7/4
Online bargain app launched

An online bargain app for mobile phone users, called hago.me, has been launched, allowing online shoppers to freely haggle with various store owners for a product at the same time.

Ngo Tran Cong Luan, director of Hago.me Trading Co Ltd, said the app is aimed at helping consumers feel confident to find the best deal, especially with well-known brands. Sellers at online stores normally offer products at fixed prices, making it impossible for customers to bargain.

The purpose of the app is to create a comfortable feeling for both the seller and the buyer. These stores will remain anonymous when both sides discuss prices through an online chat room. After reaching a deal, sellers are able to know buyers’ phone numbers to decide time and place of delivery.

According to a press release issued on the launching day of the app last Saturday, the service will offer products in eight categories including housing, vehicles, vehicle maintenance, electrical appliances, and audio-visual electronics. Currently, some 70 online stores have been connected to the hago.me app to sell items of the foresaid areas.

To benefit from the service, consumers need to download the app on their smartphones and then start bargaining for good prices and purchasing goods without paying any fees to the app management company. To gain consumer trust, online stores are required to sell only genuine products, brand-new and branded goods.

The service is now only available on iPhones and other iOS devices while those using Android devices will be able to use the app later.

CBU auto imports from India leap


Online bargain app launched, CBU auto imports from India leap, Ministry proposes legal corridor to develop organic farming, Vietnamese increasingly prefer electronic payments, Samsung records impressive 2016 growth


Vietnam had imported more than 4,780 completely-built-up (CBU) autos from India in the year to mid-March, a 3.3-fold surge from the same period last year, according to data of the General Department of Customs.

Vietnam mainly imported under-nine-seat cars from India in the period with a total value of US$18 million, or nearly US$3,798 per unit.

The customs said the average import price of under-nine-seat cars in the first two months of this year was nearly US$18,000 per unit compared to the US$12,000 in the same period of 2016.  

The average price of under-nine-seat autos imported from India in the first months of this year was lower than the average of US$3,849 per unit in 2016 and US$3,955 per unit in 2015.

Industry watchers said autos imported from India were popular compact models with reasonable prices such as Ertiga of Suzuki. However, the import price is 2.5-3.5 times lower than the selling price on the domestic market as the vehicles are subject to multiple taxes and fees as well as sale, transport, storage, marketing and service charges. 

On top of that, auto imports from India are subject to higher import tariffs than vehicles from ASEAN countries.

In the first two months of this year, nearly 15,300 CBU autos were imported into Vietnam, up a staggering 36.5% over the year-earlier period. Of the total, cars of nine seats or below soared 143.7% year-on-year to 9,600, autos of more than nine seats upped 3.8% to 109, trucks fell 11.2% to more than 5,000, and other vehicles plunged 62.8% to 540. 

About 8,800 out of total auto imports were manufactured in two ASEAN countries, Thailand and Indonesia, leaping 62.3% versus the same period last year, according to the department.

Vietnam spent US$110 million importing 5,714 CBU autos from Thailand in January-February, representing respective increases of 37.6% and 20.9% against a year ago. Of which, cars of nine seats or smaller accounted for 46.5%, or 2,658 units worth US$47 million, surging nearly 79% in volume and 2.2 times year-on-year.

Trucks made up 3,044 of the total imported from Thailand with a total value of US$61 million, down 5.9% and 6.5% year-on-year, respectively.

Meanwhile, auto imports from Indonesia numbered 3,108 units worth US$54 million, skyrocketing over 342% in volume and more than 561% in value over the same period last year. Of the total, autos of nine seats or below shot up to 2,544 units (81.9%) compared to only two units in the same period last year, while trucks made up 564 units worth over US$4 million, inching down 19.4% and 44.1% year-on-year, respectively.

South Korea was the third largest CBU auto exporter to Vietnam in the first two months, with 2,045 units worth nearly US$28 million, up 2.3% in volume and 5.6% in value from a year ago.

Of the total, vehicles of nine seats or less from the Northeast Asian market accounted for 1,114 priced at nearly US$6 million, up 70.6% in volume and 77.1% in value, with the import price of US$4,964 per unit compared to US$4,764 per unit in the first two months of 2016. Trucks made up 849 units worth US$15 million, down 20.2% in volume but up 84.6% in value compared to the same period last year.

Ministry proposes legal corridor to develop organic farming

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed the Government to task it to build an organic farming development project in the phase of 2018-2025 to recognize and certify organic products, which have been self-proclaimed by producers in the market.

Aside from that, the ministry has suggested land and credit incentives and issue of breakthrough policies to lure social investment in the field.

According to deputy minister Tran Thanh Nam, organic farming development has met with lot of barriers because Vietnam has no national standard system for this field and no certification organization.

Legal system has been asynchronous for production, certification and quality supervision of organic products. Consumers’ belief in these products has not been high. Organic farming has been implemented spontaneously over small scale in many different areas without plans.

Lot of organic food self-proclaimed by producers have been offered for sale without supervision or certification by domestic authorized agencies. The organic concept has burst out in the market, social networks and forums for the last one year.

As food safety and hygiene has become an urgent issue, many people have paid heed to the new products, supposed to be produced naturally without chemicals and meet tight regulations on production, processing and preservation.

The number businesses investing in hi-tech and organic farming has been increasing, reported the ministry. Recent clean food and farm produce expos in Hanoi and HCMC have showcased organic rice, vegetables, milk, honey, tea and hundreds of other organic items, priced rather expensive. A kilogram of organic vegetable has been priced VND25,000-30,000.

The market has seen 4-5 organic rice brand names with the lowest price of VND35,000 and the highest price of VND150,000 a kilogram, tenfold normal. Organic pork fetches VND220,000-250,000 a kilogram while clean pork has swung around VND110,000-140,000.

Mr. Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy head of the Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said Vietnam has not granted organic certification to any business.

Representatives of some authorized agencies affirmed that organic standards applied by some large companies in Vietnam are from independent international organizations such as Control Union and IFOAM. Assessment and certification depend on their prestige not recognition from local authorities or associations.

At a conference on organic agriculture by the ministry in Hanoi on April 4, many companies brought their products to the event to advertise.

Talking about organic food, Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that in fact the Ministry of Science and Technology had issued a set of organic food standards in 2015. However regulations have been unclear so in the upcoming time, the two ministries would have to work together to give norms for these products and specific guides for businesses and certification organizations.

There must have a connectivity for international organizations to recognize Vietnam's organic standards, he added.

According to Mr. Cuong, organic and hi-tech faming development is inevitable to meet local consumption demand and develop tourism as the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam has been increasing.

He affirmed that organic agriculture is the country's direction in the upcoming time. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that 30 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide have implemented or headed toward organic farming with 59 establishments.

Of these, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has planted 3,000 hectares of coconut trees. The central province of Ninh Thuan grows 448 hectares of grape, Indian jujube (Vietnamese apple) and vegetables.

In addition, there are some organic models in the northern region such as vegetables in Luong Son, Hoa Binh and Soc Son, Hanoi; tea in Bac Ha, Lao Cai and Ham Yen orange in Tuyen Quang.

Some businesses certified by international organization have successfully exported their organic farm produce to the EU, the US, China. Of them is Vien Phu Company with 200 hectare of hybrid rice, Organik Da Lat providing vegetables and Ecolink making tea products.

In the breeding field, Vinamilk has invested in an organic farm with 500 dairy cows and TH True Milk with 1,000 cows. Bao Chau and Anh Dao farms have also obtained certificates by international organizations.

Vietnamese increasingly prefer electronic payments

Vietnamese consumers are increasingly leaving their cash at home, with 62 per cent preferring to use electronic payments, according to Visa’s 2016 Consumer Payment Attitudes Study conducted in Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries and released recently.
Consumer preference for electronic payments in Vietnam has grown 8 per cent compared to the 2015 survey results. Conducted on 500 individuals in six key cities and provinces - Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Can Tho, Hai Phong and Khanh Hoa - reveal that there were 67.4 million bank accounts in Vietnam in 2016 compared to 16.8 million in 2010.
Payment by card, however, only accounted for 3 per cent of all personal consumption expenditure in the cities and provinces, while 50 per cent of e-commerce spending was processed by cards.
Vietnamese consumers are also carrying less cash in their wallets, with 29 per cent saying they are carrying less than they did five years ago. When asked why, the majority of respondents said it was because of their greater use of cards (59 per cent) and safety concerns over carrying cash (56 per cent).
The findings come on the back of an announcement that the Vietnamese Government plans to make transactions almost totally electronic by 2020, with the goal of having only 10 per cent of transactions conducted using cash.
“At Visa, we are wholly supportive of the government’s plans to shift the economy to electronic payments,” said Mr. Sean Preston, Visa Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. “Vietnam is undergoing phenomenal economic development at the moment, and we see this as being an important step in the right direction.”
“By moving towards electronic payments, the government will be able to achieve a much better level of transparency, which is good for maintaining tax revenues and combatting the ‘grey economy’. Furthermore, with more international travelers streaming into the country, electronic payments will encourage them to conveniently and confidently spend at a wider range of merchants, which in turn will help to spread the benefits of tourism more broadly throughout the economy.”
Visa’s survey also found a range of other positive indicators for the cashless economy. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they shopped online at least once a month, up 11 per cent from 2015. Consumers said that reading reviews, comments, and feedback on social media was one of the key factors influencing their shopping behavior (73 per cent), followed by promotional offerings (53 per cent).
The growth of smartphones in the country has also resulted in an increase in mobile commerce, or m-commerce. Almost 70 per cent of respondents shopped at least once a month on their smartphone, dominated by Gen Y (73 per cent) and Gen X (63 per cent) consumers.
Earlier this year, Visa announced that mVisa, its QR based payments service, will soon be expanded to merchants and consumers in ten countries, including Vietnam. mVisa is a mobile payments solution that will bring the benefits of easy and secure digital commerce to financial institutions, merchants, and consumers, helping accelerate the global migration from cash to electronic payments.
By removing the need for merchants to invest in expensive point of sale (POS) infrastructure, and with more than half of the adult population owning a smartphone, mVisa has the capacity to bring electronic payments to a greater number of people in Vietnam than ever before.
The survey also uncovered positive attitudes towards some of the less frequently discussed aspects of electronic payments. For instance, 77 per cent of Vietnamese respondents had a favorable view of services that use automated payments to eliminate the physical process of paying, such as taxi apps like Uber. Furthermore, 72 per cent said that they were comfortable with the use of biometrics such as fingerprints and face recognition for payment authentication.

Samsung records impressive 2016 growth

Despite the problems surrounding the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung’s revenue and profits still increased solidly in 2016, with major contributions made by its two subsidiaries in Vietnam.  
The South Korean technology giant’s financial report showed that Samsung Electronics Vietnam in northern Bac Ninh province (Samsung Bac Ninh) and Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thai Nguyen in northern Thai Nguyen province (Samsung Thai Nguyen) grew strongly last year and earned the highest revenue and profit for Samsung Electronics.
Samsung Bac Ninh recorded net revenue of VND408 trillion ($17.9 billion) and net profit of nearly VND43 trillion ($1.89 billion), an increase of 5 per cent year-on-year.
Samsung Thai Nguyen, meanwhile, recorded revenue of VND495 trillion ($21.7 billion), an increase of 21.6 per cent year-on-year, while its profit rose 65 per cent to over VND55.5 trillion ($2.44 billion). Its profit has therefore more than tripled since 2014.
In addition, Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV) and Samsung Electronics HCMC CE Complex (SEHC), after one year of operations, also recorded revenue in the trillions of VND. Net revenue at the four Samsung subsidiaries in Vietnam reached over $46.2 billion and profit nearly $4.4 billion.
Samsung Display officially received an investment license on February 24 for a $2.5 billion expansion project at Bac Ninh province’s Yen Phong Industrial Park.
The government announced in principle approval for the expansion, giving it the preferential treatment available to large-scale projects. Through the expansion, Samsung Display will increase its investment in Vietnam to $6.5 billion. This was also the first billion-dollar project licensed in the country this year.
Samsung has now invested a total of $17.363 billion in Vietnam. The recent expansion also dispels concerns that it may halt its investment plans in Vietnam following recent incidents.
On February 12, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid a visit to the Samsung complex in Bac Ninh, where he expressed a desire for Samsung to allow more domestic companies to join its production chain. “Vietnam in general and Bac Ninh province in particular will create a favorable environment for Samsung to expand its business in the country, including ensuring political stability and sufficient labor resources,” he said.

PM urges increasing rice added-value

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged ministries, sectors and localities to work hard to enhance the added-value of Vietnamese rice.

In Instruction No. 180/TB-VPCP, the PM said authorities need to continue reforming legal frameworks and operational structures in line with globalisation trend to ensure Vietnamese rice better meets the demand of regional and global consumers.

Ministries, sectors, associations and enterprises should accelerate the expansion of cultivation land and develop models for large-scale fields and concentrated goods production, the document noted.

Support should be provided to strengthen links between cooperatives and enterprises, new-styled cooperatives should be established, value-chains for rice production, processing and consumption should be developed and agricultural labour should be reduced and shifted to other sectors.

Rice production planning needs to be reviewed while certain areas need to be zoned off for growing rice in line with food security targets, market demand and climate change. Low-efficiency rice growing areas and salt-infected land should be used to raise shrimp and grow other crops to increase efficiency.

Domestic and global demand should be calculated while anticipating the development of rice production in Vietnam and other nations.

The PM also requested the agriculture sector to reform science and technology application and devise incentives for research and development of high-yield and market-relevant rice varieties.

The rice sector needs to aim for multiple tasks, not only ensuring food security but also promoting exports, food safety, environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

It should mechanise production to enhance efficiency while applying advanced technology in production, processing and preservation to reduce post-harvest losses. Supervision need to be strengthened to control the use of fertilisers and pesticides in production.

Focus should be placed on building and upgrading the irrigation system and climate change adapting works.

The sector needs to maintain traditional markets, while stepping up trade promotion in potential ones to expand.

The PM also urged the sector to develop brand names for Vietnamese rice and rice enterprises to improve their competitiveness at home and abroad.

MoT revises transport regulations
     
The Ministry of Transport has proposed revoking regulations that require transport businesses to have a minimum number of vehicles according to the type of transport service they have registered to provide.

The proposal was made in a draft to amend Decree 86/2014/ND-CP on conditions for auto transportation business, which is being circulated for opinion contributions.

Under Decree 86 issued on September 2014, enterprises or cooperatives which provide taxi services must have at least 50 cars if they operating in some “special” cities or at least 10 ones in other cities and provinces.

Companies that provide transportation services for goods and passengers under contracts and undertake the transport of tourists by vehicles for a distance of over 300km must have at least 10 vehicles if they have offices based in central cities and at least five if their offices are located in other localities.

Many experts said the regulations are unnecessary and irrational as they hinder the participation of small enterprises, thereby making the market less competitive.

Also under the decree, a taxi is not allowed to operate for more than eight years in special urban areas and 12 years in other localities.

The draft amendment states that a taxi is not allow to be used for over 12 years regardless of the place of operation.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said currently, more than 70 per cent of transport businesses are small scale, but the current regulations do not create a healthy competitive market or a foundation for companies to improve service quality.

In addition, the regulations are also setting barriers for the implementation of other plans such as projects that allow transport companies to bid for operation licences on some fixed routes or bus routes.

The ministry also proposed repealing the regulation that requires companies to register transport business if they have to purchase trucks to transport goods.

Under the draft document, many other business conditions, such as the provision that enterprises and cooperatives sign labour contracts and pay social and health insurance for employees, have also been removed because these obligations are already stated under the Insurance Law and Labour Code.

The ministry has proposed to add a new article that allows operators to use software to connect the operator, drivers and passengers instead of relying on the company’s traditional central dispatch systems.

This regulation will support the operation of Uber and Grab Taxi in Viet Nam and electronic contracts will be legalised.

The ministry hopes the new draft will help to better manage transportation firms and encourage firms to invest in technology and improve their services.

Sweet future for Vietnam confectionery

Market observers see a positive outlook in the long term for Vietnamese confectionery exports.

Their optimism is based on a steady double-digit growth in export value for several years and an upward tick in investment and production expansion by local firms.

According to the Business Monitor International (BMI), the nation’s confectionery sector has experienced a relatively high and stable growth rate and it is forecast to earn revenues of 40 trillion VND (1.8 billion USD) in 2018.

China, the United States and Cambodia were the top three importers of Vietnamese confectionery last year, followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea. China is set to maintain its leading position this year, with import growth estimated at over 40 percent.

Confectionery exports went up 15 percent year-on-year in 2016 with an export value of 532 million USD, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) estimates. The export value in 2015 was 463 million USD.

The growth in exports and better prospects have spurred investment in the industry, the MoIT has said.

To promote cooperation between Vietnamese enterprises and experienced international confectioners, the German Bakers’ Confederation and the organising committee of the international trade fair for bakery, confectionery and snacks (IBA 2018) are treating Vietnamese enterprises as significant partners, according to the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

The IBA has been a rendezvous for experts in the bakery, pastries, and snack industries since 1949. It is a platform for innovation and provides a complete overview of all novelties in the market. IBA 2018 will take place from September 15-20 in Munich, Germany.

Nguyen Trung Chinh, representative of the GHM Company in Vietnam, an affiliate of Munich-based GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen mbH, said Vietnamese confectionery products are capturing the attention of foreign investors.

"In early April, GHM General Director Diether Dohr will come to Vietnam to meet with local confectionery companies, and introduce them to German manufacturers and importers,” Chinh said.
 
With improved quality, modern packaging and a more diverse range of products, the Vietnamese confectionery industry is developing strongly, especially in the premium segment.

Statistics compiled by the MoIT show that imported confectionery now accounts for 30 percent of the market share. In 2016, Vietnam’s confectionery imports reached over 250 million USD, up 20 percent year-on-year.

A representative of the Phu Hung Securities Corporation told Dau Tu that the confectionery industry is not just looking at huge export potential, but also a surge in import earnings.

"With a large and young population, Vietnam’s average confectionery consumption is currently about 2 kilogrammes per person per year (lower than the world average of 3 kilogrammes per person per year). Confectionery consumption among the 65 percent of the population that live in rural areas, which means that that there are plenty of market opportunities for both confectionery makers and traders, " he said.

Confectioners like Bibica Corporation, which has popular brands like Hura, Choco Bella, Orienko, Zoo, are trying to maintain and strengthen their market position.

The Dau Tu report notes that besides building a new plant in Hung Yen province, Bibica is preparing to operate its 12 million USD cupcake production line.

The company has also implemented a 3.3 million USD project to produce the Hifat soft candy and has another project worth over 670,000 USD to produce round cakes.

The Hai Ha Confectionery Joint Stock Company, another well-known firm, is building a new factory with a daily capacity of about 62 tonnes a day in Bac Ninh province.

Vu Quoc Tuan, deputy manager of external relations and internal communications department with confectioner Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam, said that imported candy has triggered fierce competition in the country’s confectionery market.

He said: "This is the necessary motivation for local manufacturers to invest more in new production technology, improve product variety and enhance product quality, serving the diverse demands of demand of domestic and international consumers."

Various activities to take place at Vietnam Expo 2017

Themed “Vietnam Expo - Enhancing Regional and Global Economic Links”, the 27th Vietnam International Trade Fair – Vietnam Expo 2017 will take place in Hanoi from April 19 – 22 with a variety of activities.

With an aim to promote exports and the domestic market, the event will feature diversified products of local companies, particularly those winning the Vietnam Value Awards, such as industrial and household plastics; tires and rubber products; electricity meters, cable and lines; among others. 

The event is expected to attract 500 enterprises from 23 countries and territories, including Belarus, Uganda, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Japan, Malaysia, India, the Republic of Korea (RoK), China and Vietnam, covering 600 booths.

The RoK, Vietnam’s third biggest trade partner and an honorary country at Vietnam Expo 2017, will send 130 enterprises to the event, showcasing their products in cosmetics, processed food and electronics at 136 booths. 

A space for Vietnam – RoK product design, which is a joint effort between the Vietnam Trade Promotion Department and the Korean Institute for Design Products, aims to display signature products of the two countries. Advisory counters will be set up here to provide advice to businesses.

The Vietnam Trade Promotion Department will also design a booth to provide updated information on Vietnam’s investment environment as well as investment policies of different localities. 

A forum on Vietnam Exports Promotion will be held during the trade fair while a meeting between businesses from Vietnam and China’s Guangxi province will take place on April 20 to seek trade opportunities. 

The event will be held at Hanoi International Exhibition Centre at No. 91 Tran Hung Dao street.

Organic agriculture seeks solutions to grow

Organic agriculture is an important direction for the development of Vietnam’s agriculture, given the growing demand for quality and food safety, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong. 

Speaking at a conference on organic farming held in Hanoi on April 4, the minister said until recently, food sufficiency was the priority of Vietnam, hence the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticide to ensure food supply.  

But the situation has now changed as the country already meets its demand for food and quality and safety has gained priority over quantity, he stressed. 

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said organic agriculture has made progress in recent years. 

Statistics from the institute for organic farming showed that Vietnam had over 76,000 hectares of organic farms in 2015, 3.6 times higher than the figure for 2010. Most of these farms concentrated in Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Lam Dong, Ben Tre and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Vietnamese organic agricultural products have been exported to Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Singapore.

Currently, there are about 59 organic farming establishments in 30 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide and two large-scale organic dairy cow farms run by Vinamilk and TH True Milk. 

The country has approximately 115 makers of organic fertilizers, with registered capacity amounting to 2 million tonnes per year. In reality, these facilities turn out an estimated one million tonnes a year, accounting for only 10 percent of the total amount of fertilizers used across the nation. 

In fact, a large number of farmers are reluctant to shift to organic practice, due to strict regulations, high costs and unsecure markets.

In addition, Vietnam is yet to have national standards and verification organisations for organic production, thus available products on the market have not won consumers’ trust.

To tackle these challenges, Deputy Minister Nam stressed the necessity of protecting unpolluted land and water sources, and completing standards and inspection systems for organic production.

He proposed that the Government assign the MARD to build an organic agriculture development project between 2018 and 2025, and a legal framework to certify organic produce and ensure production transparency.  

Policies on land and credit incentives are also needed to attract investment in the sector, Nam added.
 
Most of chicken meat imports come from US

Vietnam imported around 22,500 tons of chicken meat valued at US$19.8 million from early this year to March 15, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

most of chicken meat imports come from us hinh 0 Most of import chicken products in recent years come from the US, Brazil and the Republic of Korea.

Last year, chicken meat from the three markets accounted for 87% of total chicken imports into Vietnam. The import value from the US alone reached US$61.1 million, making up 56% of total revenue. Most of the import products were chicken drumstick with average price of US$0.68 (VND15,500) a kilo.

Since early this year, Vietnamese businesses have imported 12,200 tons of chicken from the US totally valued at US$10.1 million, including 11,300 tons of drumsticks (US$9.2 million) at an average price of US$0.8 (VND18,000) which is too cheap compared to domestic products on the market.

Earlier in 2015, the Animal Husbandry Association in southeastern Vietnam planned to lodge an anti-dumping lawsuit against the US chicken imports. The price of US chicken on HCM City market was VND23,000 per kilo, which was half as expensive as Vietnamese products and one-quarter as expensive as they were sold on the US market.

The association proposed reconsideration of the quality of chicken imported from the US.

Jellyfish exploitation in Co To Island

These days, Co To Island in Quang Ninh province is in the middle of jellyfish season.

Some people call jellyfish “white gold” because it is a major source of income for thousands of fishermen and people who work in seafood processing plants.

Around midnight, Dinh Van Thuy heads out to sea. Like hundreds of other fishing boats on Co To Island at this time of year, his trawler is simply equipped: fishing nets, 1000-Watt light bulbs, and spoon-nets. 

From January to April jellyfish of different colors are adrift on the Co To sea surface.

Thuy said, “Our work is simple we fish out drifting jellyfish using rackets instead of hooking them. If you are strong, you can get more. When the sun rises, we go back to shore to sell them. It depends on the weather. Some days, we harvest thousands of jellyfish. On other days, we get nothing.”

In the past, jellyfish used to bother fishermen. Now they are considered ‘white gold’ with high nutritional and export value. 

In recent decades, Co To, the jellyfish center of Vietnam, attracts thousands of fishermen and workers from Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, and Thanh Hoa province when jellyfish season arrives.

Fishing out jellyfish is hard but profitable work. Fishermen can earn up to US$1.8 from a kilo of jellyfish.

But jellyfish need to be processed. Nguyen Viet Ngoi, the owner of a processing workshop, showed us in detail each step: “The sorted jellyfish heads and legs are cleaned in centrifugal tanks for 10 to 12 hours and then moved to different tanks with salt concentration rising from 20 to 25%. It takes from a few days to a whole month of soaking to turn out hard white jellyfish parts with no water inside.”

A 9-12 kilo barrel of finished product is worth about US$50 but a barrel of red jellyfish can be worth up to US$440. Last year Ngoi exported more than 20,000 barrels and made a profit of US$44,000. 

Each processing workshop has 50 workers who work in shifts round the clock and earn a good income.

Mai Thi Thao, a local worker, said, “Though it’s tiring work, it’s OK because it pays a good income. Sometimes I can earn US$440 a month. Over the past three months, our monthly income has reached nearly US$1,800.”

When the season is over, the locals turn to other fishing or tourism. Jellyfish fishing and processing has made some Co To islanders rich enough to build big restaurants and hotels.

Dao Van Vu, Deputy Chairman of the Co To People’s Committee, said, “We require jellyfish processing facilities to be far from residential and tourist areas to protect beaches, seaside resorts, and residential compounds. To be licensed, owners of processing plants commit to building rubbish collection and waste treatment systems to protect the environment. All 28 facilities in the district are committed to environmental protection.”

Vu said Co To has worked with the Vietnam Fisheries Trade Union to support fishermen and processing facilities have coordinated with each other to stabilize the price of jellyfish.

“Co To is completing the second phase of a Tonkin Gulf Logistic Service Center. We are calling for investment in seafood processing, especially high-tech processing of locally consumable products, and encouraging the production of instant jellyfish packages for tourists and for export,” Vu added.

In the long term, Co To authorities plan to make jellyfish a tourist specialty that visitors will buy.

SaigonTex 2017 creates partnership opportunities

An international garment and textile equipment and material exposition – SaigonTex 2017 began in Ho Chi Minh City on April 5, bringing together 1,200 businesses from over 20 countries and territories to seek deals and partnerships.

At the opening ceremony, Phan Chi Dung, Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Light Industry Department, said the expo is annual important event of the country’s garment and textile industry and becomes a reliable destination for local and foreign businesses to find partners.

The event will enable participating producers and businesses to seek extra material supply sources and new technology and equipment to raise their local content and add more value to their products, he said.

Though garments and textiles are among the industries bringing the highest income for Vietnam, the sector has mostly undertaken outsourcing deals and is yet to develop a supply chain, hence its low added value gains. 

In 2016, the sector raked in 28.5 billion USD from exports, a rise of 5.2 percent on-year, with its main markets being the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

SaigonTex 2017, the 29th edition, will run through to April 8.

Việt Nam’s animal feed imports up sharply

Việt Nam’s import value of animal feed and material for production of animal feed witnessed a year-on-year increase of 41.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
This was stated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The value reached US$955 million in the first three months, including $343 million in March.
The ministry said that Việt Nam mainly imported those products from Argentina, accounting for 47.2 per cent of total imports; the United States, 15.7 per cent; India, 4.2 per cent; and China, 3.4 per cent.
In another development, the ministry’s Department of Livestock Production sent official letter 468/CN-TĂCN to animal feed importers in Việt Nam to ask them to stop the import of some animal feed products containing antibiotics stimulating growth from January 1, 2018.

Binh Dinh lures 12 more investment projects

Chairman of the central province of Binh Dinh Ho Quoc Dung said the province welcomed 12 investment projects in the first quarter this year thanks to its efforts in clearing land and investment promotion.

Four of them, worth a total of 1.3 trillion VND (58.78 million USD) were invested in Nhon Hoi Economic Zone, raising the total number and value of the EZ’s projects to 55 and 36.58 trillion VND (1.6 billion USD).

The EZ has disbursed more than 8.3 trillion VND (365.2 million USD), or 22.8 percent of its total registered capital, up 694 billion VND (30.5 million USD) from 2016.

As of now, local industrial parks have drawn 228 projects, with a combined capital exceeding 11.11 trillion VND (489.2 million USD), of which 64.8 percent has been implemented, up 303 billion VND (13.3 million USD) from 2016.

Of which, three are foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, worth 6.37 million USD, raising the total FDI flow in the province to 70 projects and 786.7 million USD.

The province’s industrial production value to date has exceeded 2.79 trillion VND (122.8 million USD), up 8.95 percent from the same period of 2016.

Dung said the province will continue trade promotion and calling for investment while facilitating local firms, particularly in furniture, aquatic product processing, apparel and industrial food processing.

Incentives will also be offered to trade villages, private sector, cooperatives and small- and medium-sized enterprises in handicrafts.

Efforts will be made to accelerate traffic works and economic and technical infrastructure facilities, projects applying the build-tranfer method and projects using official development assistance, Dung said.
     
Gates open for clothing and textiles expo in HCM City

One of the country’s premier platforms for fashion fabrics and clothing accessories has opened its gates at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.

This year’s edition of the – SaigonTex 2017 (April 5-9) – features a wide selection of womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, fabrics and accessories with an increased number of technical textiles manufactures, Phan Chi Dung from the Ministry of Industry and Trade told reporters at the opening. 

The accessories hall at the fair is showcasing an impressive diverse range of products from the best Asian manufacturers. On the other hand, the print design and garments halls have also attracted leading Asian studios.

Over 1,200 exhibitors are displaying their Spring/Summer 2018 pre-collections at the event in all 10 halls that have been completely sold out. Italy, Portugal, Turkey, France, UK, Spain, Germany and many more countries are participating at the fair with a wide range of collections.

Moreover, the show is expecting a footfall of 22,000 visitors, with the size of the event having doubled that of last year with a more than 60% increase in the number of exhibitors, said Dung.

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