BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 13/11

Interest in Singles’ Day sales skyrockets in VN

An analysis conducted by online shopping aggregator iPrice found that Việt Nam’s interest in November 11 Singles’ Day sales skyrocketed this year.

According to internet traffic data, the company discovered a huge jump of 210 per cent in the number of customers participating in the Singles Day sales in Việt Nam compared to the same time last year.

By analysing Vietnamese search trends on Google, iPrice found that keyword searches for “November 11” began growing steadily nearly two weeks prior to the date, three times higher in search interest compared to the same period last year.

In addition, Vietnamese consumers were now much more familiar with the November 11 tradition which originated from China, and excitedly look forward to it as an important annual promotion period.

For the event, big merchants offered different promotions with discounts being the most popular, together with vouchers, flash deals, payment method promotions, free shipping promotions, in-app games, web-based games and a TV game show.

The report said that merchants in Việt Nam were paying more attention to interacting and entertaining their customers rather than just attracting them with discounts.

According to an expert from advertising platform Criteo, the year-end months were the opportunity for merchants to boost e-commerce sales and November 11 Singles’ Day was still not the occasion offering the highest revenue.

Criteo statistics showed e-commerce websites in Việt Nam saw an increase of 238 per cent in revenue and 78 per cent in traffic on November 11 last year compared to normal days.

Criteo forecast that December 12 would also be a popular day for e-commerce websites.

Nguyễn Hương Quỳnh, director of market research company Nielsen Việt Nam, said that e-commerce was a playground for merchants, adding that e-commerce platforms were offering a number of promotions to attract buyers on special occasions.

Quỳnh said Vietnamese shoppers were attracted to online promotions. She stressed that it was more important for e-commerce platforms to think about how to attract buyers after promotion programmes end.

The Singles’ Day sales hit another record of US$30.8 billion in China this year. 

Taiwan lifts temporary ban on Vietnamese animal oil     

Taiwan has announced it is lifting a temporary ban on the import of animal oils and fats from Viet Nam starting on January 1, 2019, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Asia – Africa Market Department.

At the end of 2014, after cases of Viet Nam’s oil exports not meeting Taiwanese import standards, Taiwan announced temporary management measures. Taiwan temporarily halted imports of beef, pork, goat and sheep oils and fats from Viet Nam.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has actively co-ordinated with relevant Vietnamese agencies to work with Taiwan to lift the ban.

The ministry said Taiwan has amended its Regulation for Systematic Inspection of Imported Food, extending the scope of imported products subject to inspection to include imported egg and animal oil products. The new measure will come into effect on January 1, 2019.

The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) said the food safety management system of countries that intend to export egg and animal oil products to Taiwan should be qualified by TFDA’s systematic inspection, according to an announcement by Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) on September 17.

Only products from qualified export countries and establishments will be accepted by the TFDA for import inspection. All products that are confirmed to meet standards set by the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation and other related regulations are allowed to enter Taiwan’s markets. 

Online market for agricultural products launched

     Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development, More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020, Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time

The website www.gcaeco.vn, an online marketplace for agricultural products and clean food, was officially launched in Ha Noi on Wednesday as part of the Global Clean Agriculture (GCA) project.

According to Doan Xuan Huy, managing director of GPC, the e-commerce platform was developed for PC and as a mobile app for iOS and Android, with fully integrated features such as search, ordering, shipping and payment, allowing buyers and sellers to make direct transactions.

He said the website had developed and owned Blockchain technology to trace the origin of the products and provide fast, secure. The IoT technology integrated through API gateway would help all participants monitor and supervise the chain transparently.

At the launching ceremony, many businesses said they expected the project would let buyers and producers of agricultural products reach each other without any intermediaries, bringing down purchase costs. 

Agro-fishery-forestry exports surge     

The agricultural sector earned US$32.6 billion from agro, fishery and forestry exports during the first 10 months, up 8.1 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Exports of key farm produce hit $16.4 billion from January-October, 2.3 per cent higher than the same period last year, reported MARD’s Agro Processing Market Development Authority.

Earnings from seafood, husbandry and forestry products were estimated at $7.24 billion, $460 million and $7.6 billion, rising 6.2 per cent, 9.5 per cent and 16.3 per cent, respectively.

Over the 10-month period, Viet Nam pocketed $2.6 billion from shipping 5.2 million tonnes of rice abroad, an increase of 1.7 per cent in volume and 14.1 per cent in value year-on-year.

Strong growth in rice export value was seen in Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Coffee export revenue also bounced back after a steep decline. About 1.57 million tonnes of coffee were sold to foreign countries for $2.98 billion in the reviewed period, a year-on-year increase of 21.3 per cent in volume and 0.9 per cent in value.

Regarding fruit and vegetables, Viet Nam exported around $3.3 billion worth of products, marking a 15.5 per cent year-on-year rise. Exports of cassava reached 1.92 million tonnes for $739.6 million, down 9.78 per cent in volume but up 16.1 per cent in value.

In contrast, a decline in export value was seen in pepper (33.4 per cent), rubber (7.3 per cent) and tea (7.7 per cent).

Viet Nam has integrated further into the world economy by joining new free trade agreements (FTAs), opening up more opportunities for agricultural, forestry and fishery exports for the nation, according to MARD.

The domestic agricultural sector planned to continue large-scale production development in the direction of modernisation to increase added-value for sustainable agricultural development.

MARD would also regularly co-ordinate with other ministries, sectors, associations and enterprises to closely monitor the production and consumption of agro-forestry products to formulate policies to expand the market and remove difficulties to ensure effective consumption of agricultural products for businesses and producers, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

The ministry was ready to work with enterprises to develop quality agricultural products for export. It was important to co-ordinate to implement efficient policies, said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tran Thanh Nam.

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Export-Import Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said that businesses needed capital and land but also Government policies to encourage the development of the sector. The Government needed to create favourable conditions for the sector’s development.

Viet Nam has six major markets accounting for 77 per cent of total exports: China, the US, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN and the EU.

The dependence on some markets was a matter to be considered, but could be seen as a reason for Viet Nam to diversify its export markets. The MoIT would support enterprises looking for new export markets, Hai said.

Viet Nam was the fifth largest farming exporter in Southeast Asia and the fifteenth largest in the world, according to MARD.

From 2016 to 2018, total the export value of agriculture, forestry and fishery products was estimated to reach $109.21 billion, an average increase of 12.17 per cent and higher than the rate of 9.7 per cent set from 2011-15, reported Hai quan (Customs) newspaper.

During that period, 10 commodities reached export value of at lease $1 billion, including rice, rubber, coffee, pepper, cashew, cassava, fruit, vegetables, wood and wooden products, fish and shrimp. Of which, five products gained an export value of $3 billion per each: fruit, cashew nuts, coffee, shrimp and wooden furniture.

In terms of export markets, Vietnamese agricultural products are available in more than 180 countries and territories, including the 10 largest markets: China, the US, Japan, S Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and Italy.

MARD has focused on developing markets for agricultural products, and has actively co-ordinated with relevant agencies to promote exports of high quality products to remove technical barriers for markets such as the US, Australia and Japan.

Electricity output surges 11 percent year-on-year

The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has announced that it generated a total 182.6 billion kWh of electricity during the January-October period, a year-on-year increase of 10.7 percent.

Commercial power production in the period rose 9.78 percent to 159.3 billion kWh, of which domestic power supply increased 9.87 percent.

In October, power transmission on the north-central and central-south lines were reckoned at 15.7 billion kWh, bringing 68.1 million kWh per day to the southern localities, or 25.4 percent of the region’s demand.

Trust indexes for the electricity supply over the first 10 months continued to improve, with the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) recording 646.76 minutes, down 24.32 percent compared to the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, the momentary average interruption frequency index (MAIDI) was 1.3 times per client and the System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), 5.33 times.

The group’s power loss rate was estimated at 6.95 percent, 0.25 percent lower than the set plan.

In particular, Vietnam’s Getting Electricity indicator was ranked 27th among the 190 countries and economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report issued at the end of October, up 37 places from last year. The indicator was assessed based on the procedures, time, and cost to connect to the national grid; reliability in electricity provision; and transparency of electrical costs.

This has been the fifth consecutive year that Vietnam’s Getting Electricity index has improved. With 87.94 points, its highest level so far, Vietnam recorded the greatest indicator improvement in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is also among the top four countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in terms of best electricity access.

The EVN noted that it has implemented various measures to improve customer services recently, including the launch of an online portal and a 24/7 hotline. This year, the electricity sector has worked with authorities nationwide to offer more services to businesses and people, as well as enhance transparency. 

The EVN forecast an average power consumption for November at 611 million kWh a day, with the maximum load capacity close to 32,840 MW. The group will run hydropower and thermal power plants to their full capacity at the same time to reserve sufficient water for power generation during the dry season in 2019. In addition, it will work to ensure safe operation for transmission, especially the North-South 500 kV transmission line.

Furthermore, the group asked its members to strictly follow Direction No.1905/CT-EVN dated April 18, 2018 on natural disaster prevention and search and rescue, standing ready to guarantee safety for reservoirs and hydropower plants in case of floods and storms. 

Khanh Hoa: over 49 mln USD in ODA mobilised for development projects

Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development, More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020, Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time

The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has mobilised over 1.14 trillion VND (over 49.26 million USD) in official development assistance (ODA) from foreign donors towards infrastructure and socio-economic development projects in the locality. 

According to the provincial People’s Committee, procedures for the signing of loan agreements of six projects have now been completed. One of these is a sustainable environment project for coastal cities under the Nha Trang city sub-project, invested in by the provincial management board for development projects and worth over 1.6 trillion VND, with nearly 1.35 trillion VND sourced from the World Bank. 

Another agreement is for a project for the 2018-2024 period, looking to improve and upgrade the main canals of Cam Ranh and Suoi Dau reservoirs, invested in by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  The project has a total investment of 421 billion VND, including over 343 billion VND sourced from the Asian Development Bank. 

Other projects mainly focus on treating waste from hospitals, vocational training, land and land-related database management, and upgrading dams in the locality. 

The provincial People’s Committee said the total outstanding debt for the aforementioned projects is within the outstanding limit of the locality, and Khanh Hoa province can guarantee its debt payment plan from 2023 onwards with a minimum duration of 15 years.

Vietnam Rice Festival 2018 to take place in Long An in December

Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development, More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020, Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time

The third Vietnam Rice Festival will be held in Tan An city, in the Mekong River Delta province of Long An, from December 18 - 24.

The logo of Vietnam's national rice brand will be announced at the opening ceremony for the festival.

The festival will feature numerous activities, including a rice contest, an exhibition on Vietnamese rice exports and a number of important seminars.

The festival aims to provide trade promotion solutions in the field of agriculture and rural development, as well as support enterprises and farmers in their operations, contributing to improving the competitiveness of Vietnamese rice in the world market. 

The event also offers an opportunity for managers, businesses, scientists and farmers to approach and update market information and advanced technologies in rice production and business from around the world.

Over 400 organisations and enterprises across the country have registered to take part in the third Vietnam Rice Festival.

The first and second editions of the festival were held in Hau Giang province in 2009 and in Soc Trang province in 2011, respectively.

Airports Corporation of Vietnam earns healthy profits over first three quarters

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) earned trillions of VND in revenue in the initial three quarters of this year. 

Specifically, it earned over 3.9 trillion VND (169.5 million USD) from sales and services just in the third quarter, raising the total to about 12 trillion VND between the beginning of this year to September 30, up 15.8 percent year-on-year. 

Revenues from financial activities hiked from 893 billion VND in 2017 to over 1.1 trillion VND this year. Profits in affiliated companies reached 257 billion VND, up 43 percent. 

By the end of the third quarter, ACV’s after-tax profit for the year so far had topped 4.9 trillion VND, up 67 percent annually. As of September 30, 2018, its total assets reached more than 53.5 trillion VND. 

ACV leaders attributed the growing revenue to increasing passenger and cargo volume at airports and rising aviation service fees in line with the Decision No.2345/QD-BGTVT by the Ministry of Transport. 

Economists forecast that ACV could increase its revenue by an additional 1.081 billion VND each year thanks to the new aviation service fees. 

Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time

Vietnam is selected to be one of the first Asian nations to kick-start the second edition of the Start-upper of the Year Challenge held by Total Group and several other sponsors.

The information was released at a meeting with organisers and the jury of the Vietnam Challenge held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 6.

After the success of the first Challenge in 34 African countries, this year’s competition has been extended to a total of 55 countries around the world.

Three winners from each country will receive financial support, extensive publicity and coaching. From among these three winners per country, the jury will select grand winners by region, who will be offered additional support. They will also have a chance to take part in the international competition slated for March 2019 in Paris, France.

According to the organising board, the Vietnam Start-upper of the Year Challenge page has so far attracted more than 50,000 visits.

The meeting with the organisers and the jury aimed to help contestants understand more about the competition’s purposes and significance, and share experience to form, develop and complete business initiatives within and beyond the framework of the competition.

More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020

Vietnam aims to have 1 million businesses by 2020, and to reach this lofty goal, more timely solutions are needed, according to Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), there were more than 702,700 businesses as of early July, including nearly 2,500 State-owned firms – down 6.6 percent from 2016. There were more than 541,700 companies in the non-State sector – up almost 11 percent and some 16,170 foreign direct investment (FDI) firms – up 15 percent.

In 2017, the number of new businesses hit a record of some 126,860, up 15.2 percent from the previous year. Their registered capital surpassed 1.2 trillion VND (51.6 million USD), soaring by 45.4 percent, while average capital per company reached 10.2 billion VND (439,000 USD), up 26.2 percent.

Total pre-tax profit of all businesses exceeded 876 trillion VND (37.7 billion USD) last year, up about 23 percent from 2016.

The GSO noted between 2010 and 2017, firms with real operations increased by 10.5 percent while the number of employees in this sector rose by 5.9 percent annually. Their capital, revenue, profit and contribution to the State budget hiked 15.4 percent, 15.6 percent, 13.7 percent and 12.4 percent each year, respectively.

Notably, the number of new firms has climbed by more than 100,000 annually over the last couple of years, over 110,000 in 2016 and 126,000 in 2017.

The office said the State-owned sector has been declining in both scale and contribution to the budget. Meanwhile, the opposite has been seen among non-State and FDI firms.

GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said Vietnam’s economy is developing well with a surge in business numbers. This has partly demonstrated the increasingly favourable investment and business climate in the country.

However, Director of the GSO’s Industrial Statistics Department Pham Dinh Thuy said up to 96.7 percent of total companies are non-State firms at a small scale. Although the number of enterprises is growing rapidly, most of them are small and medium sized and the number of major ones is falling. As a result, it will be harder for them to join global production chains.

Meanwhile, among the more than 5 million individual business households, only 103,000 are eligible to become businesses, he noted.

With current trends, it is difficult for Vietnam to reach the target of 1 million businesses by 2020, Thuy added.

Minister Nguyen Chi Dung urged overhauling regulations, reducing business conditions that are hampering companies and business households’ activities and stepping up administrative reform to help firms be set up and grow.

He said the 5.1 million individual business households employ 8.7 million workers. The Government needs appropriate policies to encourage them to transform into businesses.

Dung added the quality of human resources also decides whether or not the economy is able to develop amid Fourth Industrial Revolution. Therefore, the Cabinet should also align training methods and programmes with Industry 4.0.

Thuy recommended the Government maintain macro-economic stability, improve the investment climate and help companies, especially business households, cooperatives and cooperative groups, to apply sci-tech advances and develop manpower.

GSO General Director Lam added in the context of Industry 4.0, Vietnam should also issue a tax policy that can facilitate businesses’ investment in technology, innovation, product quality improvement and competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Republic of Korea’s Chamber of Business in Vietnam Ryu Hang Ha called for clear regulations since policy vagaries, such as in tax policies, greatly affect businesses.

Vietjet offers 10,000 cheap tickets to Japan

Budget carrier Vietjet Air announced on November 6 that it will offer 10,000 promotional tickets on flights to Japan from November 7-9. 

The promotional tickets, priced from 0 VND, are on sale to mark the launch of the Hanoi-Osaka route on November 8, 2018. 

They will be applicable for Hanoi-Osaka flights from November 8, Ho Chi Minh City-Osaka flights from December 14 and Hanoi-Tokyo flights from January 11, 2019, to March 30, 2019. 

The promotional tickets are available on www.vietjetair.com and www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam.

Aiming to become a “consumer airline,” Vietjet Air often opens new routes, adds more aircraft to its fleet, invests in modern technology and offers more added-on products and services.

With a fleet of more than 60 aircraft, Vietjet Air operates 385 flights each day. The airline has already transported more than 60 million passengers on a network featuring 93 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The carrier plans to operate more than 120,000 flights and serve some 24.1 million passengers by the end of 2018 on a total of 39 domestic and 61 international routes.

Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development

German businesses are ready to cooperate with and support Vietnam in developing wind power as the country boasts huge potential for renewable energy, including wind energy.

The statement was made by German Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City Andreas Siegel at a seminar on wind energy in Vietnam hosted by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Vietnam on November 6.

Speakers at the event held that in the context of increasingly severe climate change and gas emissions that cause environmental pollution and threaten lives of people on the globe, the development of renewable energy – a source of clean energy – is extremely important, contributing to sustainable socio-economic growth.

Berthold Breid, Director of Renewables Academy AG (Renac), said that Germany is now focusing on developing renewable energy which accounts for 36 percent of the country’s total energy sources.

According to participants, Vietnam boasts favourable conditions to develop renewable energy, including wind energy. Under a draft national renewable energy development plan of the Energy Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country’s wind power output is expected to reach over 1,600MW by 2020 and 11,000MW by 2030.

However, besides advantages, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of the institute’s Renewable Energy Centre, pointed out challenges to wind power development in Vietnam such as shortcomings in policies and regulations, and limited land funds for wind farm development. 

Vu Chi Mai, an expert from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), said that renewable energy is defined as one of the strategic cooperation areas between Vietnam and Germany. 

Therefore, GIZ is always willing to help Vietnam improve its legal framework and capacity development and promote technological cooperation with the country, she noted.

Ben Tre moves to boost agricultural product exports

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has employed various measures to boost exports of farm produce, particularly fruits, as shipments of the products have remained modest.

According to Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Le Van Khe, the province has conducted market studies to provide managers an insight into domestic and foreign demand for local fruits and to identify its competitive advantages.

Ben Tre has also restructured the local agriculture sector to make the most of the province’s advantages in farm economy and sea-based economy and at the same time, improve agricultural productivity towards mass production of high-quality agricultural products for processing and export. 

Additionally, the province has zoned off large-scale farming areas for local fruits like coconut, mango, green-skin and pink-flesh pomelo, rambutan, mangosteen and durian.

It has also helped local enterprises upgrade agricultural technology and promote the use of scientific and technological advancements in farming. It has encouraged processing firms to invest in large-scale farms and expand links with growers to ensure stable production supply.

Ben Tre is famous for its Xiem coconuts, with some 72,000 hectares of coconut trees producing 600 million coconuts per year. Farms with other fruits cover nearly 28,700 hectares with annual output of approximately 350,000 tonnes.

According to statistics from the Department of Industry and Trade, though Ben Tre is a regional hub of many tropical fruits like coconut, most of its fruits have been only exported to the Chinese market in small volumes for years or sold in the domestic market. Over the past three years, the province’s farm produce exports were estimated at 117 million USD, accounting for just 6 percent of its total shipments.

Thanks to the province’s efforts, its fruits have entered strict markets like the EU, the US and Canada, especially after local coconuts and green-skin and pink-flesh pomelos were certified with geographical indications.

The province plans to increase its coconut’s brand power by creating a network between coconut farmers and businesses, reducing the cost of production, providing funding for studying technology and techniques in coconut farming, as well as increasing land for coconut farming by 20 percent.

IDhub co-working space opens exclusively for designer community

IDhub, Vietnam’s first and largest co-working space exclusively for the designer community, has opened its doors at the third floor of 100 Lo Duc Street, Hanoi.

Co-working space is a fast emerging trend in developed countries. IDhub was designed as a community-focused co-working space catering to architects, contractors, and designers in Vietnam. With an emphasis on wellbeing, ID hub has created an eco-working environment for designers with an abundance of greenery and plants. The co-working space also offers a wide spectrum of modern amenities, such as a reception, a guest lounge, meeting rooms, a kitchen and serving area, as well as a garden café.

In particular, IDhub boasts amenities specially catering for interior design and construction like a showcase room for diverse and reliable material samples in the market as well as a library corner filled with the world's leading interior design magazines and books. Other amenities at IDhub include a 2D and 3D graphics library with huge resources from members in the community as well as a shelf to display catalogues from reputed interior finishing product suppliers in the market.

Besides creating an ideal working environment, IDhub also offers a range of other benefits for the designer community, including networking, seminars, workshops, and training sessions on a variety of topics related to interior design and the application of new technology in furniture design and construction. The collaborative events are expected to provide IDhub’s members with the latest insights and market trends in modern furniture design and construction.

IDhub co-working space was co-developed by Vu Tuan Truong, Vu Cuong Quyet, and Le Anh Tuan. The founders shared the vision of developing a fresh, dynamic, and professional playground that ignites passion and promotes creativity among Vietnam’s young interior designer community.

Addressing the launching ceremony on October 29, Vu Cuong Quyet, co-founder of IDhub cum general director of Dat Xanh North JSC, said, “Several architects and designers have gathered at IDhub’s innovative co-working space to work and collaborate. The growing community at IDhub is expected to satisfy the huge demand of our homebuyers who are looking for interior design and construction services.”

On the same note, Le Anh Tuan, founder of VietCG, said that IDhub will become a good starting point for developing the designer community. Co-working space gives opportunities for architects, designers, contractors, and real estate brokers to interact more, thus providing better value to end-customers.

Ho Thi Thuy Hien, sales manager of An Cuong Wood Working JSC, a supplier partner for the project, said that An Cuong will continue to accompany IDhub’s community to deliver the best quality products for consumers in the market as well as introduce the firm’s latest materials and technology to the co-working space members.

Moving forward, IDhub is expected to become a leading and reliable platform for homeowners, designers, builders, as well as prestigious interior products and material suppliers in the market.

In addition to the founders and renowned architects, the launching event also saw the participation of IDhub’s leading local and international partners in supplying interior finishing products and materials, such as An Cuong, HPL, Formica, Rehau, Catalan, Hafele, Bosch, Daikin, Inax, and American Standard.

More effective public investment attributed to rapid, sustainable growth


Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development, More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020, Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time

Vietnam has restructured public investment toward faster and more sustainable economic growth. A government report says public investment has contributed significantly to Vietnam’s GDP growth of 6.98% in the past 9 months.

Since the Law on Public Investment took effect in 2015, the government has ordered ministries, sectors, and localities to implement medium-term public investment plans. The National Assembly’s Resolution on medium- term plans for 2016-2020 period provides legal foundation for public investment management.

Over the past three years of restructuring public investment, Vietnam has obtained remarkable results. Social investment and public investment in particular have been more effective as evidenced by the rising number of completed projects. The proportion of public investment in total social investment has dropped to 34.5%.

Pham Tat Thang, a National Assembly deputy for Vinh Long province, attributed the improvement to government effort.

He said, “The government, ministries, sectors, and localities have effectively implemented the medium-term public investment plans set by the National Assembly. The goal of restructuring and improving public investment has been achieved. Public resources have been prioritized to national target programs, health care, education, training, and culture.”

Despite encouraging results, the proportion of investment spending remains low and capital earmarked for the national target program meets only 53% of demands.

Vu Thi Luu Mai, a National Assembly deputy for Hanoi has suggested that scattered and unfinished investment should be stopped to make public investment restructuring a success.

“We must change the way resources are distributed and follow the order of priority stipulated by law. Project proposals need close coordination between localities to avoid the problem of too many small projects without an overriding one. The State should only invest in areas which other economic sectors cannot invest in,” she said.

The selection of projects for medium-term public investment is facing hurdles.

Nguyen Thanh Hien, a deputy of Nghe An province, said, “Capital planning remains slow and unstable, undermining project progress and investment capital use. Capital disbursement is also low, especially the disbursement of government bonds. Key national projects are not progressing as rapidly as expected. I call on the government to take stronger measures, clarify the responsibilities of parties involved in each phase of a public invested project, and create indexes to gauge project effectiveness.”

The National Assembly, the government, ministries, and localities will speed up the allocation of prioritized resources to disadvantaged areas and draw up lists of projects that effectively use Official Development Assistance (ODA).  

Export revenue drops in October

Export revenue in October topped 20.8 billion USD, a drop of 1.5 percent from the previous month, but increasing 2.3 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. 

In the month, export earnings of the domestic sector posted a 1.5 percent increase on a monthly basis to 5.6 billion USD, while that of the foreign-invested sector decreased 2.6 percent to 15.17 billion USD. 

Meanwhile, import turnover in the month totalled 20.7 billion USD, up 6.1 percent from last month and 13.6 percent from one year ago. 

The country enjoyed a trade surplus of 100 million USD in October. 

Total export revenues for the January-October period came to 200.3 billion USD, up 14.2 percent year on year.

Import value for the 10-month period stood at 193.84 billion USD, up 11.8 percent from the same period of 2017, translating into a trade surplus of 6.4 billion USD. The domestic sector reported a deficit of 20.7 billion USD while the foreign-invested sector posted a surplus of 27.1 billion USD (including crude oil).

Statistics revealed that export staples that continued to post increases in earnings included telephones and parts, textile-garment, electronics, computers and parts, machinery and tools, and footwear. 

Export of some farm produce and aquatic products also rose, except for coffee and pepper bean which earned less compared to the same period last year despite higher shipments due to declining export prices. 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast that export turnover of the entire 2018 could reach 239 billion USD, an increase of 10-12 percent. The manufacturing and processing sector is expected to bring home 196.18 billion USD, rising 12.5 percent, while agriculture and fisheries are predicted to earn 27.5 billion USD, up 5.4 percent.

Border EZs move to grow further

Improved infrastructure and simplified administrative procedures have made border-gate economic zones in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Lang Son bordering China stand out in attracting a large amount of goods through the border gates. 

The Mong Cai border gate is among a few that have applied special development mechanisms in Vietnam since 1996. To date, preferential treatment has been used to build an urban area with comprehensive infrastructure for development.

Trade between Vietnam and China through the border gate reached 5-7 billion USD a year on average. About 2.4 million people crossed the gate annually.

According to Nguyen Tien Dung, Vice Chairman of the Mong Cai People’s Committee in Quang Ninh province, the local authority has paid heed to building infrastructure and ports to improve transport capacity. 

The authority has mobilised resources from businesses and investors in various mechanisms, especially build-operate-transfer and public-private partnership models for logistics development, he said.

The reduction of custom clearance time and costs, together with efforts to improve infrastructure, has created optimal conditions for businesses compared with other border gates.

An agro-forestry-fishery exchange centre is under construction at the area and this is a step forward for exports to China.

Duong Van Thanh, Chairman of Thanh Dat JSC, said his company is proposing the local authority build a deep water seaport to reduce transportation costs, as goods transported through the sea takes only half of that by land to Cao Bang or Lao Cai provinces. 

Meanwhile, the Dong Dang – Lang Son border gate economic zone houses a diversified trade system with 12 border gates, including two international ones. 

Over the years, the zone has played an important role in boosting economic development in Lang Son province.

In 2017 alone, the economic zone granted investment certificates to eight projects with registered capital in excess of 150 million USD.

Nguyen Cong Truong, Vice Chairman of the Lang Son People’s Committee said the province is working to link its border gates with Chinese ones to enable smooth goods flow.-

Global contest for social entrepreneurs comes to VN     

Blue Venture Award, a contest for social entrepreneurs, was launched in HCM City on Tuesday to promote development of social enterprises and help solve social and environmental problem in the community.

Organised by Pernod Ricard Vietnam and TV Hub, the competition also seeks to create a platform for young entrepreneurs, enabling them to reach out internationally to learn from start-ups around the world.

The contest will select a representative for the country to participate in an international competition called The Venture to be held next May.

The contestants, start-ups from fields that bring practical value to the community, will go through a selection process.

Blue Venture Award is part of a global entrepreneurial award, The Venture, founded by Chivas Brothers, to support social entrepreneurs who aspire to promote positive change in the world and spread the message that a company can both do business well and create a social impact.

It was first held in 2014, and has since spread to more than 40 countries including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Israel, the UK, and the US.

In the last three years it received over 6,000 applications, with 73 entering the global finals and start-up businesses receiving investments of US$4 million.

They have undertaken community projects that provide 24 million litres of clean water, help children and women attend school, reduce CO2 emissions by 60 million tonnes, recycle 1,300 tonnes of waste, and save eight million trees.

Pork prices expected to higher     

The price of pork in Viet Nam is set to keep rising over the next few months due to African swine fever devastating pig populations.

The Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said last month, the price of live pigs hit VND45,000-51,000 per kilo in the north, VND45,000-52,000 per kilo in the central region and VND52,000-54,000 per kilo in the south.

The price of pork in October doubled against its price during the same period last year, reaching a record high over the past few years.

Earlier, huge demand stemmed from the reduction in pig production after an oversupply of pork in early 2017 led to huge losses for farmers.

According to Nguyen Xuan Cuong, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) pig breeding cost is VND35,000-36,000 per kilo while the average selling price for live pigs is VND50,000 per kilo.

High pork prices could pose a risk of more imported pork entering Viet Nam, he said.

In reality, pork prices in recent months increased by 200 per cent compared with the middle of 2017.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, director of MARD’s Department of Livestock, claimed Viet Nam has been one of the countries with the highest pork price in the world.

The ministry therefore sent a document to chairmen of provincial People’s Committees to provide regular information on pork price and supply while asking breeders and traders to help stablise the market.

Viet Nam ranks sixth globally in term of pork output.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pork output worldwide in 2019 would be increased by 1.4 per cent from this year.

China is expected to continue to be the biggest pork producer in the world. Its pork output in 2018 was estimated at 433.25 million tonnes, accounting for 48 per cent of the world’s total output.

EU took the second position in term of pork output, accounting for 21 per cent of the total.

European business remains positive about doing business in Viet Nam     

New data from EuroCham’s Business Climate Index (BCI) has revealed that European business leaders remain positive about doing business in Viet Nam.

Over 200 representatives of EuroCham member companies responded to the latest BCI, covering the third quarter of this year, which was released yesterday.

Confidence in Viet Nam’s trade and investment environment is at 81 points, the second-highest point since the end of 2016. Despite a slight dip since the high watermark of the second quarter – the highest BCI score for 18 months – business sentiment in the third quarter remains strong.

EuroCham enterprises continued to perform well in the last quarter, with 57 per cent describing their situation as ‘good’ and a further 10 per cent as ‘excellent’.

“The results of EuroCham’s latest BCI are another vote of confidence in Viet Nam’s trade and investment environment. Our members continue to report positive signals across the board, from increasing their investment to growing their workforce,” said Nicolas Audier, Co-Chairman of EuroCham.

“In October, EuroCham and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) co-organised a high-level lunch in Brussels with the Prime Minister, bringing together almost 20 major business leaders from across Europe eager to grow their investment in Viet Nam. The strong interest in this event highlights the appetite of European investors to increase their footprint in Viet Nam, with ratification of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement on the horizon. EuroCham will continue to push for the quick ratification of this historic deal, and encourage more European trade and investment in Viet Nam in the future.”

Meanwhile, just 8 per cent described their situation as negative in the third quarter.

Looking ahead to the next quarter, business leaders remain optimistic, with just under 60 per cent anticipating a ‘good’ outlook for their enterprise, with a further 11 per cent looking forward to an ‘excellent’ end to 2018.

EuroCham members are also positive about Viet Nam’s macroeconomic future, with 58 per cent predicting ‘stabilisation and improvement’ in the next quarter and 32 per cent believing that it will remain static. Meanwhile, less than 10 per cent of business leaders anticipate a worsening outlook.

The BCI looks into the detail of business operations of European companies, asking questions about staffing, investment plans and revenue prospects. More than half of business leaders anticipate growing their workforce in the fourth quarter, with 41.9 per cent predicting a ‘moderate’ and a further 8.4 per cent predicting a ‘significant’ increase. Less than 8 per cent believe that their headcount will fall.

Likewise, in excess of 50 per cent of EuroCham members believe their business will grow its investment in the last quarter of 2018, with 40.9 per cent predicting a ‘moderate’ rise and 10.8 per cent predicting a ‘significant’ rise. Just 6 per cent foresee a reduction.

Revenue projections are even more impressive, with some 70 per cent of business leaders anticipating either a ‘significant’ (15.3 per cent) or ‘moderate’ (56.2) rise in orders or revenue in the fourth quarter. 


Germany willing to support Vietnam in wind power development, More efforts needed to have 1 million firms by 2020, Vietnam takes part in Start-upper of the Year Challenge for first time
 
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