VNPT helps Directorate of Fisheries improve management     

The Directorate of Fisheries (DoF) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has signed a cooperation agreement with Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) for applying information technology (IT) in fishery resource management.

Under the six-year agreement signed on February 5, VNPT will give advice to DoF to select information and telecommunications technology for the management of fishery breeding and resource exploitation, development of the resource and ensure safety for humans and fishing boats.

The group will also help DoF build a database for farming and breeding activities, and apply IT solutions to prevent the problems of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

VNPT and DoF will join hands to launch a communication system for fishermen, and connect the system of fish and boat management with the fishery database.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nguyen Ngoc Oai, acting general director of the DoF, highlighted the significance of IT application to improve the efficiency of fishery management, meet strict requirements of import markets on origins, especially when the European Commission has issued a yellow card warning to Viet Nam.

Viet Nam received the warning after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said that he hoped the cooperation would not only help the sea patrol forces to inspect local boats but also foreign ships to exploit seafood resources illegally in Viet Nam’s seashore.

Deputy minister of Information and Communications Pham Hong Hai asked VNPT to study carefully the characteristics of the fishery sector to develop practical, modern products and applications serving the sector’s management and ensure the efficiency of cooperation in the long term. 

4-star hotel opens in Binh Duong     

Bcons Construction Investment joint Stock Company on Wednesday opened a four-star hotel in the southern province of Binh Duong.

Bcons Binh Duong is located on Bach Dang Street in Thu Dau Mot City at the site of the old province People’s Committee’s guest house.

It has 70 guest rooms and a gym, swimming pool, and spa.

It is about five minutes from Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, 7km from the Viet Huong Industrial Park and 8km from the Viet Nam – Singapore Industrial Park, and near amusement places like Dai Nam Park and Lai Thieu eco-tourism park.

The opening of the four-star hotel marks an important step in the province’s efforts to attract more investors and tourists.

Binh Duong is a key economic hub of the country and has been a magnet for foreign investors.

Bcons’s development portfolio includes Samland Airport apartment building and Sacom Resort. 

Home Credit reports $1.27b sales last year     

Consumer finance company Home Credit Vietnam said it had sales of nearly VND29 trillion (US$1.27 billion) last year, a year-on-year jump of 50 per cent.

The number of customers rose to 7.2 million.

Last year the company launched new products including credit cards.

Its mobile application won the award for the 2017 “Best Consumer Finance Mobile App Vietnam” from International Finance magazine at a ceremony in Singapore recently.

Mobile application Home Credit Vietnam, launched in March 2017, has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times. It now has an average of 40,000 daily users with 5,500 people installing it on their smartphones every day.

Allan Meldgaard, head of online, said soon customers can register for cash loans online through the mobile app instead of meeting a sales agent like they have to do now.

The company offers loans of up to VND80 million ($3,500). 

Eximbank’s profit up 160% in 2017     

Vietnam Rubber Group eyes higher profits, Vietnam, a prioritised destination of Dutch businesses, 640 firms get quality certificates, Home Credit reports $1.27b sales last year, Eximbank’s profit up 160% in 2017

Viet Nam’s Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) posted a pre-tax profit of VND1.017 trillion (US$44.6 million) last year.

This marked a year-on-year increase of 160.5 per cent and exceeded the yearly target by 70 per cent.

The growth in Eximbank’s profit in 2017 is not attributed to its core business activities but to mainly irregular income from divestment and bad debt settlement.

Eximbank sold Sacombank’s shares in December 2017 and earned a portion of the profit, amounting to VND126 billion. Bad debt recovered in the fourth quarter of 2017 brought some VND400 billion profit for the bank.

From the beginning of 2017 to the end of June, credit increased by 3.3 per cent, while for the second half of the year, credit increased by 13.32 per cent. Credit growth mainly came from short-term loans worth VND46.67 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 37.32 per cent. Medium and long-term loans increased only 3.35 per cent to reach VND54.64 trillion.

Meanwhile, mobilised capital increased by 14.84 per cent to VND117.53 trillion. In particular, term deposits increased 15.6 per cent to VND110.43 trillion, accounting for 85.45 per cent of the total mobilised capital.

Operating expenses fell slightly by 2.18 per cent compared to 2016 with nearly VND2.21 trillion due to a staff drop of 3.03 per cent to some 6,021 employees. Eximbank did not open any new branches or transaction offices throughout 2017.

The ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) dropped to 2.27 per cent from 2.95 per cent in 2016. NPLs balance also fell by VND261 billion to approximately VND2.3 trillion. 

Vietnamese food in high demand in Laos ahead of Lunar New Year

Many Vietnamese families in Vientiane have switched their regular work to wrapping and boiling square glutinous rice cake to meet high demand ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year festival. 

Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy, member of a Vietnamese family in Laos, said she could wrap 200 square and cylindrical glutinous rice cakes per day but the supply is yet to meet the demand because the number of orders for business partners and employees is huge, not to mention retail Vietnamese and Lao consumers.

Thuy said Lao people are keen on glutinous food, especially square glutinous rice cake. Each year on this occasion, her family consumes 2-3 tonnes of glutinous rice but the supply remains insufficient. 

This year, Ha Thi Kim Loi hired two Lao workers to wrap cakes which number over 100 per day. 

According to her, most of the Vietnamese nationals buy glutinous rice cakes as gift for Lao fellows. 

In high demand was also pork pie which is not only for family use but sent to their relatives abroad.

Vietnam Rubber Group eyes higher profits

The Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) targets an 8 percent rise in revenues and 33 percent rise in pre-tax profits this year, VRG Deputy General Director Nguyen Tien Duc has said.

At a recent meeting to review last year’s performance and discuss this year’s targets, VRG settled for a revenue and profit targets of 23 trillion VND (1 billion USD) and 5.5 trillion VND (242 million USD).

Last year it had achieved 120 percent and 136 percent of the corresponding targets.

It expects its core business, natural rubber, to be the main source of revenue, accounting for 15.5 trillion VND.

VRG also generates income from its industrial zones, wood business and manufacture of rubber products.

VRG plans to list on UPCoM as early as April and on the HCM Stock Exchange in June or July.

It is also hoping to sell another 11.88 percent of its equity to strategic investors, some 50 million shares to its employees and 830,000 shares to its trade union.

HCMC farm production shoots up     

The average production value per hectare of agricultural land in HCM City has increased year after year even as the area shrank, according to the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Last year the value increased by 10.9 per cent to VND450 million (US$19,806) per hectare, among the highest in the country.

This was a result of shifting the farming structure towards an urban-oriented model and increasing the use of sophisticated technologies.

Thus, in some places, unproductive rice and sugarcane growing areas became farms growing bonsai, flowers and vegetables, bringing farmers higher profits.

More than 389ha of lands were converted last year, up 385.5 per cent, and farmers grow vegetables and fruits in them.

Vegetables bring revenues of VND1-1.4 billion per hectare annually; orchids, around VND2 billion; dairy cows (at a scale of 20 head per household), VND800 million; shrimp, VND2.7-3 billion per hectare; and ornamental fish, VND10-12 billion per hectare.

These farmers earn 30-40 per cent profits.

According to the department, vegetables were grown on a total of 17,270ha, 12.4 per cent up from 2016, with the output rising 14.3 per cent to more than 419,410 tonnes.

The city also had around 2,300ha of land under flowers and ornamental trees, up 7 per cent.

There were 142,653 cows, a year-on-year decrease of 6.6 per cent, and 343,300 pigs, a decrease of 4.6 per cent, it said.

Aquaculture and seafood output rose by 5.5 per cent.

The city exported 18.2 million ornamental fishes for $20 million, a year-on-year increase of 21.2 per cent, it said.

Agriculture accounted for only 0.8 per cent of the city’s economy, but it was worth VND19.6 trillion, comparable to one of the country’s larger agricultural provinces.

Its agro-forestry and fisheries sectors expanded at 6.3 per cent, 2.2 times the national average.

This year, the farm sector would strive to raise average production per hectare to VND500 million and grow agro-forestry and fisheries by 6 per cent, the department said.

To achieve its targets, it said the city would continue its agricultural restructuring, especially enhancing the use of high-tech methods including bio-technology to provide safe and quality products. 

Ha Noi’s export value up 24% in January     

Capital city Ha Noi gained a year-on-year growth of 24 per cent in export value to reach US$1.05 billion in January.

The export value from the state-owned sector was $139 million, up 9.8 per cent; it was $352 million from the private sector, up 16.6 per cent; and $556 million from foreign direct investment, up 33.6 per cent.

In January, all key export items achieved strong growth in export value, including agricultural products (up 3.6 per cent against the same period last year); computer, components and peripherals (up 68.1 per cent); transport means and components (up 12.7 per cent); machinery and components (up 21.8 per cent); and glass and glass products (up 25 per cent).

Ha Noi’s export value has increased sharply in recent years because businesses in the city have taken advantage of the recovery of major economies of the world, such as the United States, Japan, the European Union and China, reported

Meanwhile, municipal authorities have also come up with solutions to support enterprises in promoting exports, including programmes connecting banks with enterprises, land and tax policies and policies encouraging enterprises to apply advanced technology for production, processing and consumption.

Nguyen Gia Phuong, director of Ha Noi Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Centre, said to support enterprises in expanding export markets and promoting brand products, the centre had continuously organised delegations of enterprises to join large international fairs and paid special attention to markets that signed free trade agreements with Viet Nam.

The capital city has welcomed foreign enterprise delegations to Ha Noi to facilitate trade cooperation with local businesses to support trade villages, agricultural production enterprises and textiles and garment companies in seeking customers.

However, it will not be easy for Ha Noi to reach the growth target of 7.5-8 per cent in export turnover set by the People’s Committee of Ha Noi for this year against last year because importing countries have trade barriers and quality standards for imported goods from foreign countries, including Viet Nam. Moreover, local enterprises have not signed long-term contracts.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, deputy director of Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade, said the department and the People’s Committee would continue supporting enterprises in taking loans and entering export markets. Specifically, they would strengthen trade promotion activities in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and Germany, he said.

"Ha Noi welcomes delegations of foreign import enterprises to help local businesses diversify the export markets," he said.

The department would also continue administrative reforms, reduce business and investment conditions and improve the quality of online public services.

In the process of restructuring the export sector, the department would focus on improving the competitiveness of products, efficiency of investment and enterprises’ ability to join the global value chain.

Experts said to increase the export value, enterprises should renew models of products according to the demand on markets and increase competitiveness by cutting production costs. They also need to improve product quality and develop the brand as well as promote cooperation with local businesses. In addition to this, they should take advantages in export opportunities from free trade agreements that Viet Nam has signed with foreign partners. 

EVN’s power generation rises 12% in January     

The Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) said it had generated an estimated 14.6 billion kWh electricity in January, a year-on-year increase of 12.06 per cent.

The produced and imported electricity last month reached 17.1 billion kWh. Transmission on the North-Central and Central-South 500kV lines was 1,900MW and 3,500MW, respectively, bringing some 50.5 million kWh to the South every day, meeting 19.3 per cent of the demand in the region.

EVN co-ordinated with the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to discharge water through generation of electricity from Hoa Binh, Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang hydropower plants to serve agriculture production of the winter-spring crop 2017-18 in the northern midland and delta areas.

The group said the average power consumption in February was estimated at 477 million kWh a day, and the maximum load capacity would be close to 28,110MW.

EVN plans to run hydropower and thermal power plants to their full capacity to ensure water supply for agricultural production of the winter-spring crop 2017-18 in the North. It will work to ensure safe operation of the transmission system, especially the North-South 500kV transmission line. 

Vĩnh Long to revamp agriculture

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Vĩnh Long has set a target this year to earn VNĐ22.42 trillion (US$987.29 million) from agricultural production by restructuring the sector with a focus on product quality.

The vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Nguyễn Văn Liêm, asked the sector to increase the added value of products and reduce production costs.

He said the province should adjust production structures, crops and the scope of jobs in areas affected by salt intrusion and climate change.

“It’s important for the province to change its thinking in shifting from agricultural production to an agricultural economy, giving priority to quality production according to clear planning,” he said.

The province needs to apply advanced technology and promote mechanisation in agricultural production and aquaculture, he added.

The province should also improve the quality and competitiveness of rice, sweet potato and citrus fruit (Năm Roi pomelo, Da Xanh pomelo, king orange), as well as pigs, cows and pangasius, among others.

Also needed are promotion of trade and investment in new plant varieties and application of hi-tech in pre-processing products in compliance with VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said it would restructure crops by reducing the production area and increasing the area for farm produce and fruit trees.

In particular, it plans to reduce the area for ​​rice from nearly 170,000 hectares to 159,000 hectares, and increase the area for ​​crops and fruit trees from 54,000 to 55,000 hectares.

It will support the development of key fruit trees, and improve production linkages and traceability of products.

The province also plans to develop cattle and poultry breeding in the direction of biosafety by using advanced technology to improve product quality and productivity. The development of pangasius and fish cages will also be a priority.

In 2017, the province achieved over VNĐ22.1 trillion worth of agricultural, forestry and fishery production, an increase of 2.14 per cent over 2016.

The cultivation reached a growth rate of more than 5 per cent compared to 2016.

The aquaculture sector recorded positive signs, with production areas and purchase prices increasing.

Last year, the production value of aquaculture was 1.38 per cent higher than the previous year.

Trần Hoàng Tựu, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said in 2017, the province’s agricultural sector faced many challenges.

The prices of agricultural products were unpredictable, causing difficulties for producers as well as agencies in planning agricultural production.

Some products such as sweet potatoes and other vegetables showed signs of productivity decline, and the province failed to attract enough enterprises to invest in agriculture and rural areas.

He said it was important to call for investment in preliminary processing and brand building to create added value for agricultural products. 

Trade counsellors must proactively support domestic firms: PM

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged trade counsellors to proactively assist domestic businesses by providing information about foreign markets, promoting trade and investment activities, and increasing sale of Vietnamese products abroad.

He made the request at the Commercial Counsellors Conference in Hanoi on February 7, which saw the presence of Vietnamese counsellors at 57 Trade Offices and seven of their branches abroad along with representatives from ministries and enterprises.

The country’s import-export turnover reached 425 billion USD in 2017, a positive outcome which was significantly contributed by the Vietnamese Trade Offices abroad, the PM said, adding that Vietnam has 21 products with over one-billion-USD export turnover and many others worth tens of billions of USD.

The Government is setting major export turnover targets for key commodities such as rice, shrimp, medicine, vegetables and fruits; hence, it wants to hear proposals of trade counsellors to promote the export of products, Phuc said.

Highlighting market seeking as a difficulty, he said “If we could find good markets accepting Vietnamese goods and the two sides share mutual benefits, domestic businesses are able to expand production.”

The Trade Offices will play a crucial role in finding new markets for exports, he added.

The PM asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to give timely rewards to Trade Offices and commercial counsellors who actively contribute to promoting exports of staples such as shrimp, mango, dragon fruit, lychee, star apple, longan and chicken to the Asian market.

In the current stage of socio-economic development, economic diplomacy needs due attention so the Trade Offices must have an important role in Vietnamese embassies abroad.

He requested trade counsellors to do their utmost to help realise the country’s trade turnover of 500 billion USD in 2018.

The counsellors should take the success of businesses as measurement of their operational efficiency.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Trade Offices abroad carried out over 500 trade promotion activities in 2016-2017 to help domestic and foreign companies update regulations on import-export and trade connectivity.

They also actively worked with the Department of Trade Defence under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to deal with trade defence measures such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidy applied by countries importing Vietnamese goods. 

The Trade Offices provided information and handled 12 anti-dumping cases in 2016 and 13 others in 2017.

Aquatic export surges in January

Fishery export value amounted to 560 million USD in the first month of 2018, up 15.6 percent from the same period last year.

Also in January, Vietnam imported 151 million USD worth of aquatic products, an annual increase of 55.8 percent.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, fishing activities are in its high time of the year, with Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, and Khanh Hoa harvesting approximately 690 tonnes of tuna fish during the month.

In the domestic market, prices of Tra fish materials in the Mekong Delta region remained at high levels, ranging between 27,000 and 29,000 VND per kg due to supply shortage. The situation is unlikely to change soon, as export is brisk while supply sources expand only marginally. 

The prices of shrimp are projected to follow an upward trend compare to the last month of 2017 thanks to increases in consumer and factory’s materials demand.

The US, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea were top four importers of Vietnamese aquatic products last year, together accounting for 55 percent of the country’s total fishery exports.

Mekong innovative startups support programmes open for applications

The Destination Mekong and the Mekong Business Initiative on February 7 announced their 2018 Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) business support programmes are now open for applications.

For the first time, the MIST Startup Accelerator is welcoming applications for tourism, hospitality, and travel tech startups headquartered in Thailand, besides Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The Startup Accelerator provides support to early-stage companies with innovative and scalable business models. The programme will close to applications on March 10, 2018.

The 15 to 20 startups selected to the Accelerator will attend an all-expenses-paid intensive boot camp where they will compete for six months of advanced mentorship, in-kind acceleration support valued at 20,000 USD, prize money up to 10,000 USD, and customised business matching with potential investors and partners.

The MIST Market Access Program, now in its second year, is soliciting applications from successful, small-to-mid-sized international tourism, hospitality, and travel tech companies that want assistance expanding into Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The Market Access Program will close to applications on March 31, 2018. Past participants have hailed from Australia, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United States. 

As many as five companies accepted into the Market Access Program will receive consulting to support their market access plans, and they will be introduced to key stakeholders in the region including government and industry leaders. The applicant with the highest-potential plan for the region will receive a complimentary market access tour valued at 15,000 USD. 

"The Greater Mekong Sub-region’s government, tourism, and hospitality leaders have embraced MIST as a force for innovation, sustainability, and growth in the region,” said Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. “Through this programme, we have created the ideal mechanism for tourism innovators and travel startups to get paired with investors and industry mentors who can equip them to scale and thrive.”

Destination Mekong and the Mekong Business Initiative – with the backing of the Government of Australia, the Asian Development Bank, and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office – launched MIST in 2016 to propel innovation in the rapidly growing tourism markets of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. MIST aims to expedite tourism industry growth, create an ecosystem that inspires innovation, and promote sustainability in tourism.

Vietnam, a prioritised destination of Dutch businesses

Vietnam is a magnet for investments from the Netherlands, said Chairman of the Dutch Business Association in Vietnam Edo Offerhaus.

At an exchange programme between Vietnamese and Dutch businesses held in Ho Chi Minh City on February 7, Offerhaus noted that Vietnam has an impressive economic growth in recent years with large-scale and great potential market. 

Besides expanding production to increase market share in Vietnam, Dutch corporations also pay attention to products that can be re-exported to the Netherlands and other countries, he said, stressing that the companies want to cooperate with Vietnamese partners in agriculture, food processing, health care and water treatment.

He suggested that both sides need to step up collaboration in enhancing capacity in agricultural production and control of product quality towards green and sustainable development and increasing trade value for farm produce.

The Netherlands has strengths in high-tech agriculture and food processing as it knows how to link researchers, firms and farmers to optimise production chain. Meanwhile, Vietnam has advantages in agricultural production; however, quality of farm produce has not been under good control, he explained.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, Business Development Manager at the Asia Chemical Corporation, said that Vietnamese firms should take full advantage of the cooperation with the Dutch companies to improve products’ quality and meet demands of fastidious consumers.

At the event, companies from the northwest European country said that the EU is a potential market for Vietnam’s electronic spare parts and products, coffee, rice and seafood. However, Vietnamese firms must ensure quality standards and transparency in information.

The Netherlands is currently the largest trade partner of Vietnam in the EU with bilateral trade reaching 2.9 billion USD in the first five months of 2017. It is also one of the biggest EU investors in Vietnam with total investment worth nearly 8 billion USD.

An Giang: Exports of agricultural products, clothing hike in January

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has seen impressive hikes in exports of agricultural products and clothing in January, according to Vo Nguyen Nam, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.

An Giang exported nearly 35,900 tonnes of rice for nearly 17.4 million USD last month, up 69.8 percent in volume and almost doubling the value of January last year. It was mainly thanks to higher demand from foreign markets like the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The province’s seafood export value soared by 77.8 percent to 28.36 million USD though the volume rose by only 28.5 percent to about 12,000 tonnes in January. The growth is forecast to remain strong owing to increasing orders from China.

It earned 957,000 USD from shipment of 595 tonnes of fruits and vegetables, up 85.8 percent and 71.4 percent, respectively.

The earnings from export of clothing and bags in the first month of 2018 doubled the same period last year to 12.87 million USD as the province exported about 1.94 million items, up 67.2 percent year on year.

Other products experiencing high growth included footwear, fertilizers, pesticides, and cigarettes.

An Giang has taken bold steps to boost exports in recent years. It has provided regular updates on market information and policies, as well as timely forecast of demand and prices of foreign markets to guide local exporters. 

It has also promptly adopted measures to help firms solve difficulties when there were negative signals flashing in a foreign market.

Furthermore, the province has actively connected and coordinated with Vietnamese trade counselors abroad to bolster trade promotion and gain more access to the overseas markets.

640 firms get quality certificates

The Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Products conferred its recognition on 640 businesses at a ceremony held in HCM City on February 7.

Most of the recipients of the Vietnamese High-Quality Goods certificate are manufacturers of sauces, spices, confectionary, non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, jewellery, electrical and household equipment, dried foodstuffs, and instant foods. They could be named as confectionery maker Bibica Corporation, Ha Long Canned Food JSC, Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), Thai Tuan Group Corporation, Sai Gon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco).

They were selected from 834 companies voted for by consumers in a three-and-half-month survey by the association, which directly interviewed 13,000 consumers in 12 cities and provinces.

This year’s the survey also got consumers’ opinions online to compare with the direct survey results to increase objectivity and reliability.

Then, relevant agencies checked the information for transparency before identifying the 640 for giving the Vietnamese High-Quality Goods certification.

Vu Kim Hanh, the association’s chairwoman, said last year it created a new set of criteria for the food sector, “High quality Vietnamese goods - Integration Standards”, based on legal provisions for product quality.

She said 66 food businesses have received the “High quality Vietnamese goods - Integration Standards” certification.

The new standards are expected to make Vietnamese goods more competitive in both the domestic and export markets, she said.

This year the association would create a similar set of criteria for the non-food sector, she added.

The awards ceremony was attended by more than 600 delegates, including State officials, city and provincial leaders, representatives of international organisations and businesses. 

More firms hoped to ship aquatic products to Russia

More Vietnamese businesses may soon be allowed to export aquatic products to Russia this year after a Russian working group made a fact-finding tour of some Vietnamese exporters, said Trade Counsellor of Vietnam in Russia Duong Hoang Minh.

Minh said Vietnam’s trade office in Russia had earlier held a working session with local agencies.

The move was made after Vietnam was given a “yellow card” warning by the European Commission in September 2017 for failing to progress in fighting illegal fishing, which could lead to a drop in aquatic exports to the EU and other markets.

The counsellor said exports to Russia have encountered difficulties recently since this country and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), of which it is a member, limited aquatic product imports and only allowed 21 Vietnamese companies to ship products to Russia.

However, there are more than 500 Vietnamese businesses eligible to export to the EU and other demanding markets at present. Therefore, the trade office of Vietnam has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to persuade Russian agencies to lift barriers to Vietnamese aquatic products.

It also invited relevant agencies of Russia and the EAEU to make fact-finding tours to Vietnam in an effort to have more companies be allowed ship aquatic products to these markets, Minh added.

In 2017, Vietnam exported 2.2 billion USD worth of goods to Russia, up 35 percent year on year. Commodities with high export growth included vegetables, fruits, cashew nuts, textiles-garments, wood products, machinery and spare parts.

The counsellor said the Vietnamese trade office in Russia will now focus on helping businesses boost shipments and capitalise on the Vietnam-EAEU Free Trade Agreement.

It will also continue working to understand regulations and commitments in the World Trade Organisation and free trade agreements, as well as possible trade barriers.-

JETRO: 70 pct of Japanese firms want to expand business in Vietnam

 According to the latest survey conducted by the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO), up to 70 percent of Japanese businesses said they want to expand operations in Vietnam, a year-on-year rise of 10 percent.

The survey revealed that more than two-thirds of the 652 Japanese enterprises operating in Vietnam have expansion plans, mainly due to the country’s rising revenue and high growth potential.

Hironobu Kitagawa, chief representative of JETRO in Hanoi, said the figure is higher than in other regional countries, indicating Vietnam continues to be an attractive investment destination.

The survey also showed that 65.1 percent of Japanese companies recorded profits in Vietnam last year, while 19.4 percent reported losses.

Vietnam is attractive to Japanese businesses thanks to market size and growth potential as well as socio-political stability and low labour costs.

However, Japanese firms suggested Vietnam tackle major issues such as rising labour costs, incomplete legal framework and vague implementation, and complicated tax and administrative procedures.

Despites these shortcomings, the JETRO chief representative believed that Vietnam remains an attractive destination for Japanese firms.

With current investment trends, businesses are likely to invest in consumption products, services and retail in 2018 and beyond, he said.

JETRO also pledged to support Vietnamese firms who want to invest in Japan, he noted.

VinFast debuts technician training centre in Hai Phong

VinFast Manufacturing and Trading Company Limited, a subsidiary of Vingroup, opened a centre for mechatronic and industrial mechanical technician training in northern Hai Phong city on February 7.

The training centre is located in the VinFast auto manufacturing complex in the Dinh Vu – Cat Hai economic zone. It is expected to become operational this August, training 200 students in its first academic year.

After finishing a two-and-a-half-year course, trainees will be granted vocational certificates under the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

They will have opportunities to work at the VinFast auto and electric bike factory, more than 300 German companies in Vietnam and 47,900 German firms around the world, according to VinFast.

The centre is part of VinFast’s development strategy. In the first phase, the business will mainly employ foreign experts, aiming to become a leading auto and e-bike producer in the region. Meanwhile, it will step up personnel training so its staff can master advanced production techniques.

Airbus markets its newest airplane to Vietnam

European plane maker Airbus is seeking to tap Vietnam’s fast-growing aviation market by introducing its newest A350-1000 airplane to local air carriers.

Jean Francois Laval, Airbus executive vice president for customer affairs in Asia, told local media in Hanoi last Friday that Airbus has received 169 orders from 11 large airlines around the world for the new airplane. He was speaking in Hanoi as part of a trip to many Asian destination by the fuel-saving wide-body plane suitable for long-haul services.

Laval said that demands for the two-aisle aircraft with a capacity of 366 passengers mainly come from the Asia-Pacific region, and predicted the demand would remain strong in the next 20 years.

With this strong growth, the Asia-Pacific market remains crucial for plane manufacturers, he said.

Citing a forecast by Geneva-based IATA, Laval said the growth rate in the global aviation market is dramatic, up 10% or more in 2018 and the coming years.

Airbus in a report released last Friday in Hanoi also said the world’s demand for the next 20 years was about 35,000 aircraft.

The new plane, which comes with a price tag of US$366 million with basic interior amenities, has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and Federal Aviation Administration in November 2017.

The manufacturer believed that A350-1000 is an effective solution to several fast-developing markets, as it is suitable for air routes in high demand. The newly designed and wide-body aircraft will make passengers comfortable, especially on long-haul flights such as pan-Pacific routes.

Vietnam’s air carriers in the past couple of years have signed contracts with aircraft makers to purchase hundreds of new planes, but no local airlines have cut deals to buy the latest Airbus version.

To date, the most modern Airbus in the local fleet is the A350-900 acquired by Vietnam Airlines, which has been serving high-demand domestic and international flights.

As planned, both Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air will launch air services to the U.S. as instructed by the Government. Such long-haul flights will require local air carriers to have modern, big airplanes from giants like Airbus and Boeing to ensure cost-effective services.

Vietnam Rubber Group eyes higher profits, Vietnam, a prioritised destination of Dutch businesses, 640 firms get quality certificates, Home Credit reports $1.27b sales last year, Eximbank’s profit up 160% in 2017