BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 31/3

HCM City’s annual I-Star Awards for business innovation open

The 2nd I-Star Award 2019 Competition kicked off in HCM City on March 29. 


Registration for the 2nd I-Star Award for creativity, innovation and business start-ups in HCM City has opened, the competition organisers announced on Friday.

The awards, given by the city Department of Science and Technology, are divided into four categories: small and medium business start-ups showing creativity, economic efficiency and positive impacts on society; organisations and individuals offering innovative solutions that benefit the community; media works that have a great impact on the community; and investors, experts, and incubator organisations that support innovation and start-ups.

There are three prizes in each category. The winners will be chosen by a group of experts and online voters from the community.

Nguyễn Việt Dũng, director of the department, said the annual competition honours outstanding and innovative start-up achievements by individuals and organisations.

“The award promotes the use of research outcomes in production and the community to foster the city’s sustainable development.”

He called on donors to continue supporting the awards.

Entry forms are available at doimoisangtao.vn/giaithuong2019.

People can vote on the website until the end of September.

The awards ceremony will be held on the sidelines of the “Week for HCM City Innovation, Start-ups and Entrepreneurship” in October.

More information is available at 2839320121, doimoisangtao.vn/giaithuong2019 and giaithuong@doimoisangtao.vn.

The competition received nearly 200 entries when it debuted last year.

Eleven individuals, organisations and businesses received the 2018 I-Star Award and a cash prize of VNĐ50 million (US$2,150).

The prize money for the awards was donated by businesses, organisations and individuals. 

Vietnamese, RoK firms cooperate in guarantee insurance development

BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC) will cooperate with Seoul Guarantee Insurance (SGI) in developing guarantee insurance products in Vietnam under a memorandum of understanding recently signed by the two sides in Hanoi. (Photo: thoibaotaichinhvietnam.vn)

BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC) will cooperate with Seoul Guarantee Insurance (SGI) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in developing guarantee insurance products in Vietnam under a memorandum of understanding recently signed by the two sides in Hanoi. 

They will also work together to propose state management agencies amend and supplement legal regulations to facilitate the development of guarantee insurance. 

BIC General Director Tran Hoai An said guarantee insurance is a new sector in Vietnam, with few insurance firms offering these services,  and legal regulations have yet to be completed. 

However, he said, Vietnam has great potential for guarantee insurance development as the macro economy is forecast to grow stably, leading to an increase in demand for guarantee insurance. 

Guarantee insurance will offer another channel ensuring financial safety for customers, and contribute to the growth of the insurance sector and the national economy, he said. 

Guarantee insurance is commonly used in the construction industry as security for a project or piece of work agreed upon in a contract.

SGI was established in 1969 under the name of Korea Fidelity and Surety Company. As a comprehensive guarantee service provider, SGI is currently the domestic market leader in the surety and credit insurance industry.

Trade with Southeast Asian markets boosted

Vo Tan Thanh, vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaks at the Southeast Asia Outbound Investment Forum in HCM City on March 28 


Vietnamese companies should further invest in and trade with Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, heard a forum in Ho Chi Minh City on March 28.

According to Vo Tan Thanh, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Thailand is Vietnam’s largest trading partner among ASEAN countries, with bilateral trade reaching over 17.5 billion VND in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent.

Vietnam’s trade with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar also grew in 2018, he said at the Southeast Asia Outbound Investment Forum.

Vietnam ran a trade deficit with Thailand because it imported a lot of machinery and equipment, raw materials for domestic production and automobiles, he said.

In 2018, Thailand was the biggest source of automobiles for Vietnam, he added.

Vietnam’s exports to these markets include mobile phones and components, computers, electronic products and components, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, vehicles and spare parts, garment and textile products, crude oil, and gasoline.

As of last year, Thailand was the ninth largest investor in Vietnam out of 130 countries and territories with 10.5 billion USD in 528 projects.

Laos ranked 52nd with 70 million USD, Cambodia was 56th with over 64 million USD and Myanmar, 99th with one project worth 800,000 USD.

Vietnamese companies have invested in all these countries, including nearly 26 million USD in Thailand.

They have invested over 3 billion USD in Cambodia to make the country among the five largest foreign investors in there.

Vietnam was the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar with nearly 2 billion USD in 70 projects.

Investment and trade ties between Vietnam and these countries remain short of their potential and they are making efforts to set this right.

Vietnam and Thailand for instance have set a target of increasing their trade to 20 billion USD by 2020, while Vietnam and Laos target 10 percent growth in trade this year.

To provide local companies seeking to expand operations in Southeast Asia with more information about these markets, VCCI in collaboration with Tilleke & Gibbins, a leading Southeast Asian law firm, held the first Southeast Asia Outbound Investment Forum.

2019 Food Hotel Vietnam attracts 630 local, foreign exhibitors

A press briefing to introduce the 2019 Food & Hotel Vietnam expo to be held from April 24 to 26 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCM City 


The 2019 Food & Hotel Vietnam, the country’s leading international food and hospitality trade exhibition, will offer businesses the opportunity to network and keep abreast of the latest industry culinary and hospitality trends and product innovations.

The 10th edition of the event will be the largest so far and feature more than 630 local and international exhibitors from 29 countries and territories, said BT Tee, general manager of UBM VES, the event’s organiser.

It would also feature 20 international group pavilions, including Ireland, Poland, Germany, the Republic of Korea, the US, Spain, Turkey, and China, he said.

It will showcase a wide range of food and beverage products, dairy products, poultry meat, equipment for making confectionery, and equipment and services for the food and hospitality industry.

In addition to displaying the latest products and services in the food and hotel sectors, the expo will also include the 2019 Vietnam Culinary Challenge, a short-term barista training workshop, and the barista and coffee experience programme.

The Vietnam Hospitality Managing Director Forum – CEO Talks titled “Riding the wellness wave” will be held on the sidelines of the event to discuss new investment trends in the hospitality industry.

According to experts, Vietnam’s strong economic growth, large population and rising incomes make the food and beverage sectors appealing to investors.

With the tourism industry in robust health, the number of foreign visitors keeps rising, increasing demand for hospitality and food equipment and services, they said.  

Food & Hotel Vietnam will be held from April 24 to 26 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCM City.

French parliamentarian backs EU-Vietnam free trade agreement

An apparel factory of the Far Eastern New Apparel Vietnam company in Bac Dong Phu Industrial Park of Binh Phuoc province 


President of the France-Vietnam Friendship Group at the French National Assembly Stephanie Do said the group strongly backs the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which she described as a gateway for EU and Vietnam to access each other’s market more easily. 

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Paris ahead of an official visit to France by Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, the MP said the EVFTA plays an important role in promoting economic and commercial exchange, benefiting both the EU and Vietnam. 

She noted that France is the 16th biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, but accounts for less than 1 percent of the Vietnamese market.

France wants to develop strongly bilateral relations in all aspects, so as to enhance France’s position in Vietnam both in friendship links and economic and trade exchange, Stephanie Do said, adding that the French Government has expressed the wish in many high-level visits, such as the visit by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in 2018 and the upcoming visit by President Emmanuel Macron. 

The MP said the French-Vietnamese relationship has never been stronger than now, not only in friendship links but also in strategic cooperation across various fields like economy, health care and education. 

Mentioning the Vietnamese community in French, which numbers around 300,000, Stephanie Do said more and more Vietnamese French want to join the political scene. She said she had coordinated closely with the Vietnamese Embassy in France and many associations to promote the Vietnamese culture in France and help the French discover the rich and interesting culture of Vietnam. 

The MP voiced her hope that the two sides will increase cooperative activities through close ties with the Embassy and representative missions of Vietnam in France.

Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan is scheduled to pay an official visit to France from March 30 to April 3 at the invitation of President of the National Assembly of France Richard Ferrand. This is the first official one by a NA leader of Vietnam after 11 years, aiming to accelerate the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.

Vietnam int’l trade fair to take place next month

The Vietnam International Trade Fair for this year, the Vietnam Expo 2019, will be held in Hanoi from April 10-13, organisers said on March 29.

This is a chance for companies to seek partners in various product groups such as plastics, rubber, paper, construction materials and industrial components. It is also where they can popularise and raise the value of the trademarks of made-in-Vietnam products so as to develop the domestic market.

Organisers further said participating companies will get consultation from a Republic of Korea design promotion institute, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade on designs, market surveys and logo development.

The expo will remain open from 9am to 6pm at 91 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district.

Da Nang inaugurates Information Technology Park

Delegates cut ribbon to inaugurate first phase of Da Nang Information Technology Park 


Da Nang IT Park Development Joint Stock Company inaugurated the first phase of the Da Nang Information Technology Park (Danang IT Park-DITP) in Hoa Vang district on March 29.

At the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that as information technology is playing an increasing role in socio-economic development, IT centres like the DITP will help attract high-quality human resources inside and outside the country.

“The Government always creates favourable conditions for Da Nang city to enhance investment in the IT sector”, he stressed, expressing his hope that more capital will flow into the city’s IT projects.

The park, which covers 341 hectares in Hoa Vang district with total investment of more than 120 million USD, aims to become the central Vietnam’s “Silicon Valley”. The first phase, built at a cost of 47 million USD, has completed infrastructure, office and working space for rent on 131ha, ready to serve investors.

The second phase of the project, spanning 210 hectares and costing 74 million USD, will be implemented in 2019.

According to Chairman of Da Nang IT Park Development JSC Nguyen Tam Thinh, the park expects to create revenue of 1.5 billion USD and generate 25,000 jobs each year. Besides, it will encourage the training of advanced technologies at local universities.

EU supports Vietnam to improve destination competitiveness

At the press conference 


The European Union’s technical assistance project, started from February 2019, will help Vietnam strengthen competiveness of its destinations and gain a better position in the changing international tourism market, according to the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).

TAB convened a press conference on March 29 informing the EU’s assistance, which will go via the tourism development fund.

In the next 12 months, EU experts will work with Vietnamese partners and the TAB on the building of the competitiveness index of destinations, which is necessary for the sustainable development of the Vietnamese tourism sector.

The competitiveness index will be piloted in Vietnam’s five leading destinations, including Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue city, Hoi An city, and Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Vietnam ranked 67 of the 136 countries in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness index in 2017, thank to its natural resources, culture, and competitive price.

The competitiveness index will serve as a comparative tool stimulating healthy competitiveness and encouraging service and environment improvements in destinations. It is expected to create changes first in local competitiveness and then national competitiveness.

In February, 2019, the establishment a state-owned tourism development fund got the Prime Minister’s approval.

Operating as a single-member limited liability company under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, it will be used for building plans, allocating funding for tourism promotion activities, and supporting tourism growth in line with the law as well as national strategy and development planning.

The fund’s 300-billion-VND (12.9 million USD) charter capital is set to be financed by the State budget in the first three years following its establishment.

The State budget will also grant it an annual sum to cover operational costs. The sum will be sourced from the total annual budget collection from tourism entrance fees (5 percent) as well as visa and entry-exit services for foreigners (10 percent). 

Early in February, the PM has approved a project to restructure the tourism sector to turn it into a spearhead economic sector for the country and make Vietnam one of the nations with the most developed tourism sector in Southeast Asia.

The project sets a target of 45 billion USD in tourism revenue by 2025, with exports through tourism reaching 27 billion USD.

The sector is hoped to contribute more than 10 percent of GDP and create 6 million jobs, including 2 million direct jobs. At the same time, the sector hopes to serve 32 million foreign tourists and more than 130 million domestic visitors.

March CPI falls 0.21 percent month on month

Prices of food and food services in March dropped 1.42 percent from the previous month 


Lower prices in seven of the 11 groups of consumer goods and services helped drag the consumer price index (CPI) in March down by 0.21 percent from last month, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

GSO General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said on March 29 that the CPI in March rose 0.69 percent from last December and 2.7 percent year on year.

The core inflation – which is the CPI excluding food items, energy products, and state-managed healthcare and educational services – in March dropped 0.06 percent against February. However, it still rose 1.84 percent from the same period last year.

The CPI in the first quarter grew 2.63 percent year on year – the slowest pace for Q1 in three years. The core inflation in the first three months climbed 1.83 percent against the same period of 2018.

Month-on-month decreases were seen in seven groups of goods in March, namely food and food services (down 1.42 percent); garment, headwear and footwear (0.17 percent); culture, entertainment and tourism (0.09 percent); beverage and cigarette (0.08 percent); postal and telecom services (0.07 percent); household equipment and utensils (0.03 percent); and other goods and services (0.04 percent).

Four groups with higher prices are transport (up 2.22 percent), housing fees and construction materials (0.78 percent), medicine and healthcare services (0.03 percent), and education (0.01 percent).

Pointing out contributors to the GDP growth in Q1, Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department Do Thi Ngoc said consumption demand surged in January and February in anticipation of the Lunar New Year holiday, thus raising food prices. Prices of public transport services also increased as a result of soaring travel demand during the long holiday.

Additionally, global prices of essential commodities like fuel and steel rebounded, leading to higher import, export, industrial production and agricultural production cost indexes in Q1.

Meanwhile, factors helping to curb the CPI growth included lower consumption demand after the Lunar New Year festival, impact of the African swine fever epidemic, and petrol and gas prices revised down during the period, Ngoc noted.

Hanoi promotes investment-tourism cooperation with Japan

The Hanoi People’s Committee organised a conference to promote investment and tourism cooperation with Japan in the capital city on March 29.

According to Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Doan Toan, Japan’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in the city exceeds 10 billion USD, accounting for 25.5 percent of its total FDI value.

Japanese-funded projects, like Nhat Tan-Noi Bai road, Nhat Tan Bridge, and the building of a smart-city area, have played an important role in the capital’s growth. Meanwhile, as Hanoi’s third biggest tourism partner, Japan had 303,000 tourists visiting the city last year.

Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen said Japanese firms have been investing in various projects with effective operations in the city.

Hironobu Kitagawa, a representative from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), informed the conference that the fund channelled into the Hanoi smart city project was the biggest among the top-ten works invested in by Japan in Vietnam last year. 

He said that the estimated proportion of Japanese firms making profits in Vietnam reached 65.3 percent in 2018, praising the strengths of the local business climate such as high growth, stable political-social conditions, and low labour costs.

A number of the Hanoi market’s shortcomings were also mentioned at the conference, including the incomplete legal system, complex tax-related procedures, and difficulties in purchasing domestic materials and spare parts.

Toan stated that the capital city is committed to stepping up administrative reform with people and enterprises as the centre.

Local authorities are willing to listen to feedback and proposals from the business communities in Vietnam and abroad to better the investment environment, he added.

As part of the conference, a discussion with Japanese firms operating in Hanoi and a signing ceremony of memoranda of understanding on trade, investment, and tourism cooperation were held between the city’s public agencies and enterprises alongside their Japanese peers.

HCM City’s CPI rises 0.11 percent in March

Ho Chi Minh City’s consumer price index (CPI) in March rose 0.11 percent over February and 4.01 compared to the same time last year.

According to the city’s Statistics Office, upturn was seen in the prices of seven out of 11 consumer goods groups.

The highest rise was seen in the price of transportation, with 2.66 percent month-on-month, followed by housing fees, power, water supply services, fuel, and construction materials at 0.83 percent; culture, entertainment, and tourism at 0.65 percent; beverage and tobacco at 0.59 percent; medicine and medical services at 0.01 percent; and education at 0.01 percent.

Meanwhile, decreases were recorded in the prices of other goods and services (0.47 percent); post and telecommunications (0.11 percent); equipment and household appliances (0.15 percent); and foods and catering services (0.98 percent).

In the food and catering services sector, food prices were down 1.53 percent, and the price of catering services decreased 0.44 percent, while the price of foodstuffs rose 0.01 percent compared to that in February.

At the same time, the price of gold dropped 0.32 percent, while that of the US dollar increased 0.03 percent month-on-month.

No SOE equitisation plans approved in first quarter of 2019

General Director of the Corporate Finance Department Dang Quyet Tien speaks at the event 


No State-owned enterprises (SOEs) gained approval for their equitisation plans in the first three months of 2019, according to the Ministry of Finance’s Corporate Finance Department.

Dang Quyet Tien, General Director of the Corporate Finance Department, said at a press conference on March 28 that the lack of approvals had slowed the equitisation plan set by the ministry for SOEs under its management.

In 2019, the Ministry of Finance has set a goal to equitise 18 SOEs, plus 41 SOEs left over from 2018 that failed to meet their targets. 

If the SOEs did not make any progress, they would likely fail to accomplish their plans on schedule, Tien said.

Factors slowing down the equitisation process include the SOEs’ scale of business and assets – which require careful valuation to avoid losses for the State budget – and land issues, he told reporters.

Some of the SOEs had not completed their land use plans and submitted them to Government agencies, Tien said.

Local authorities should also take responsibility for the late equitisation as officials have performed poorly in inspecting and issuing land use certificates for SOEs, leading to delays, he said.

Under Document 991/TTg-DMDN dated July 10, 2017 by the Prime Minister, the finance ministry is responsible for pushing the equitisation of 127 SOEs, including 82 that must undergo the process in 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, 23 SOEs got approval for their equtisation plans with total corporate value of 31.7 trillion VND (1.36 billion USSD), 53 percent of which is State capital.

Total charter capital of the 23 SOEs was 20.3 trillion VND, 60 percent of which is State ownership. Those firms sold 2.54 trillion VND worth of shares to strategic investors and 5.43 trillion VND worth of shares through initial public offerings (IPOs).

From 2016 to 2018, the Government and its agencies approved equitisation plans for 159 SOEs with total corporate value of 442.3 trillion VND, 46.5 percent of which is State capital.

Deputy PM welcomes J Trust’s interest in CBBank restructuring plan

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (R) and CBBank  Senior Managing Director Nobiru Adachi 


Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue welcomed Japanese-based J Trust Corp’s aspiration to involve in the restructuring of Vietnam Construction Bank (CBBank) during a reception in Hanoi on March 29 for its Senior Managing Director Nobiru Adachi. 

The Deputy PM said the Vietnamese government provides every possible support for domestic and foreign investors, especially those with strong financial and governance capacity as well as experience in banking, to take part in restructuring weak Vietnamese banks. 

He told the guest that the government advocates finding partners to sell or restructure the CBBank, which will be decided by the Cabinet and the PM based on suggestion made by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). 

The government and investors want the most feasible and beneficial solution to parties concerned, he said. 

The host asked Adachi and collaborators to continue discussing their offer plan with the CBBank and the SBV to submit to the government and the PM for consideration. 

As a number of investors are also interested in CBBank, he urged J Trust to take relevant steps soon. 

Apart from CBBank, he also welcomed J Trust’s involvement in restructuring other credit organisations in Vietnam. 

Adachi, for his part, said J Trust now offers commercial banking, retail finance and debt collection services across Asia, from Mongolia to Indonesia. It successfully revived several financial-consumption companies and restructured weak banks in the Republic of Korea and Indonesia. 

If permitted, J Trust not only wants to contribute capital but also technology to CBBank and will do its best in the effort, he said, expressing his hope that the Vietnamese government and the SBV will create favourable conditions for the success of its negotiations and transaction. 

He told the Deputy PM that with experience in working for the Japanese Finance Ministry and bringing official development assistance-funded projects to Vietnam since 1997, he wished to further contribute to bilateral ties.

Vietjet honoured as “the Best Service Foreign Low-Cost Carrier” in RoK

Deputy Director of Commercial Strategy and Planning Jay L Lingeswara (centre) receives the award for Vietjet in Seoul on March 28. 


Vietjet was recognised as the best service among foreign low-cost carriers in the Republic of Korea (RoK) during an award ceremony in Seoul on March 28.

The “Korea Prestige Brand Awards” were hosted by the Korea Economic Daily newspaper with the sponsorship of the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Brand Management Association.

Established in 2004, the awards are held annually to honour brands that are trusted and favoured by Korean customers via public survey.

According to the organisers, Vietjet was selected because of its reasonable prices and excellent service, providing more chances for Korean people to go abroad.

Vietjet operates eight routes between Vietnam and the RoK. It will launch its ninth route connecting Nha Trang with Busan in July this year.

“With a desire to bring an exciting flight experience to Korean customers, our flight crew has many Korean pilots and flight attendants who are friendly and ready to assist local passengers,” Vietjet Deputy Director of Commercial Strategy and Planning Jay L Lingeswara said.

The modern Airbus fleet, flexible, reasonable fares and quality in-flight services have also helped Vietjet be well received in the Korean market, he said.

Hai Phong drops seven positions in PCI ranking

With 64.48 points, the northern port city of Hai Phong has slipped seven positions to 16th out of 63 localities nationwide in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) in 2018.

According to the PCI Report 2018 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam, the city scored 6.12 points in time cost; 5.21 points in policy bias; 7.81 percent points in labour policy. 

The drop showed that the city’s performance in economic management, business environment and efforts in administrative reform have yet to meet the expectation of the business community.

In the recent three years, the city has recorded a number of achievements in socio-economic development. Under the Politburo’s Resolutions No.45 dated January 24, 2019, the city is expected to become a leading locality in modernisation and industrialisation and a driving force for socio-economic growth of the northern region and the whole country.

By 2025, the city will basically complete the modernisation and industrialization process, and become a smart city by 2030.

Under the PCI Report 2018, the northern province of Quang Ninh continues to be the leading locality in the field with 70.36 points, followed by the Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap and Ben Tre with 70.19 points and 68.09 points, respectively.

EU supports Vietnam to increase competitiveness of tourism destinations

EU supports Vietnam to increase competitiveness of the tourism destination. Photo: Ha Phuong

The European Union (EU) will support Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) in the development of the management and operation of the Tourism Development Fund and increase competitiveness of destinations.

The information was announced by Deputy Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Vietnam Tom Corrie at a press conference on March 29 to introduce the EU’s assistance, which will go via the tourism development fund.

The event was part of the 2019 Vietnam International Travel Mart – Hanoi (VITM), which take places from March 27 to 30.

According Tom Corrie, EU expects to work with the Vietnam government and the TAB in the next 12 months on  building  the competitiveness index of destinations, which is necessary for the sustainable development of the Vietnamese tourism industry.

“We are supporting TAB to work on the modalities for a Tourism Development Fund, which should help Vietnam further improve its marketing and image as a fantastic tourism destination,” Tom Corrie emphasized.

In addition, EU supports the development of a Tourism Destination Competitiveness Index. Such a comparison tool will foster a spirit of friendly competition and encourage all tourism destinations to improve services and environment over time.

The competitiveness index will be piloted in five leading destinatons of Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue city, Hoi An (Quang Nam province), and Ho Chi Minh City.

Speaking at a press conference, Project Team Leader Mary McKeon said that the competitiveness index will serve as a comparative tool stimulating healthy competitiveness and encouraging service and environment improvements in destinations. It is expected to create changes first in local competitiveness and then national competitiveness.

Earlier, in February 2019, the establishment a state-owned tourism development fund got the prime minister’s approval. Operating as a single-member limited liability company under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, it will finance building plans, allocating fund for tourism promotion activities, and supporting tourism growth in line with the law as well as national strategy and development planning.

The fund’s VND300 billion (US$12.9 million) charter capital is set to be sourced from the state budget in the first three years following its establishment.

PPPs must be a win-win exercise for all stakeholders: WB director

The Vietnamese government should ensure all stakeholders reap benefits from the public private partnership (PPP) as the country is seeking to revamp its legal framework to lure funds into much-needed infrastructure, according to a World Bank (WB) official.

 World Bank Vietnam Country Director Ousmane Dione

World Bank Vietnam Country Director Ousmane Dione 


Although PPPs have proven to be a very successful framework to help governments provide the much-needed infrastructure to underpin future economic growth, as well as provide broader social benefits, it does not mean PPPs are always successful in these countries nor in all sectors, World Bank Vietnam Country Director Ousmane Dione said at a workshop on PPP in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on March 27.

“Failures have happened, and we have learnt that for PPPs to be a success, there must be a recognition that this is a long-term partnership, where both the public and private sectors need to share not only rewards but also risks. As with any partnership, if the risks and rewards are not shared fairly, then it is very likely that the partnership will fail,” Dione noted.

The legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks also need to be clear and robust to enable investors to accept risks over the longer term with some certainty of the framework within which these risks are being taken, he added.

The country director pointed out that for year, the Vietnamese government has introduced several regulations to promote private sector investment in infrastructure, service delivery, and equipment provision. However, despite some successes, notably in transport and energy sectors, private sector investment to-date has still been relatively low.

To deal with constraints and ensure clear rules of engagement, transparency in bidding and procurement and appropriate risk sharing arrangements between the public and private sectors, the government is now currently drafting a new PPP law which will consolidate all the PPP related legislation under one law, and therefore provide a comprehensive and enabling regulatory framework to facilitate PPP projects successfully.

The World Bank and several development partners stand ready to support Vietnam to bring in global experience, expertise, knowledge and financing on this agenda, Dione said.

Taking HCM City as an example, he said the city is a rapidly urbanizing mega-city and an emerging economic powerhouse in the Southeast Asia region, counted as among the country’s most attractive destinations for foreign direct investments.

In order to maintain its economic competitiveness and meet the challenges stemming from an ageing demographic, HCMC will require further investments in infrastructure especially in areas like transport, health, education and the environmental sectors.

Like most cities across the world, public investment alone will not be sufficient to meet the large infrastructure and service delivery needs of Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, he stressed the need to improve the efficiency of its public investment and work towards leveraging more from the private sector. “If Ho Chi Minh City succeeds, it will set the path for the overall development of cities in Vietnam.”

South Korea grants Vietnam US$5.5 million for building investment data

South Korea has decided to give US$5.5 million in non-refundable aid for a project to upgrade and develop the national information system on investment of Vietnam, local media reported.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on March 28 kicked off the project, consisting of three main components which are consulting, system building and project management. 

The project aims to build a national database on foreign investment in Vietnam and Vietnamese investment abroad, serving as a basis for the formulation and execution of policies on foreign investment of Vietnam.

Additionally, the project is expected to integrate and share data with other national information systems and develop search and analysis engines.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang affirmed that the project is a significant contribution to e-government and strengthening administrative reform, Tien Phong newspaper reported.

KOICA Country Director for Vietnam Kim Jinoh said that this is one of the priority projects in implementing South Korea's New Southern Policy, which identifies Vietnam as a key partner.

In its national cooperation strategy with Vietnam in 2016 – 2020, South Korea gives priority to four fields namely transportation, public administration, health management, education and training.

The above-mentioned project belongs to the field of "Public administration governing", which is the second priority field of Korea’s support.

First-quarter GDP increases 6.79 percent


Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.79 percent in the first quarter of 2019, heard a press conference in Hanoi on March 29. 

According to Director General of the General Statistics Office (GSO) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Nguyen Bich Lam, stable growth was seen in the agro-forestry-aquaculture; industry and construction; and service sectors, with respective increases of 2.68 percent, 8.63 percent and 6.5 percent.

Notably, the industrial sector climbed 8.95 percent compared to the same period last year. Processing and manufacturing was the pillar of the growth, scaling up 12.35 percent.

The service industry saw great contributions from wholesale and retail sales, financial, banking and insurance activities, accommodations and restaurants, transportation and warehouses. 

Trade and service activities in the quarter also saw expanded growth. The total retail sales and services revenue climbed 12 percent year-on-year, exceeding 1,184 trillion VND (nearly 50.9 billion USD).

Lam said the macro-economy was stable while inflation was controlled at the lowest level in the last three years. 

The investment and business environment has improved, helping lift the number of newly-established firms to the highest level in the last five years. 

Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment has decreased, the economy’s production capacity is expanded, creating momentum for economic development, he added.

Vietnamese, RoK firms cooperate in guarantee insurance development

BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC) will cooperate with Seoul Guarantee Insurance (SGI) in developing guarantee insurance products in Vietnam under a memorandum of understanding recently signed by the two sides in Hanoi. (Photo: thoibaotaichinhvietnam.vn)

BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC) will cooperate with Seoul Guarantee Insurance (SGI) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in developing guarantee insurance products in Vietnam under a memorandum of understanding recently signed by the two sides in Hanoi. 

They will also work together to propose state management agencies amend and supplement legal regulations to facilitate the development of guarantee insurance. 

BIC General Director Tran Hoai An said guarantee insurance is a new sector in Vietnam, with few insurance firms offering these services,  and legal regulations have yet to be completed. 

However, he said, Vietnam has great potential for guarantee insurance development as the macro economy is forecast to grow stably, leading to an increase in demand for guarantee insurance. 

Guarantee insurance will offer another channel ensuring financial safety for customers, and contribute to the growth of the insurance sector and the national economy, he said. 

Guarantee insurance is commonly used in the construction industry as security for a project or piece of work agreed upon in a contract.

SGI was established in 1969 under the name of Korea Fidelity and Surety Company. As a comprehensive guarantee service provider, SGI is currently the domestic market leader in the surety and credit insurance industry.

Firms urged to make changes to foster export to China



Vietnam is the third biggest supplier of aquatic products to China with about 1.2 – 1.3 billion USD worth of these commodities shipped to China annually 


Vietnamese businesses have been urged to change their production and export methods to boost shipments to China – a big but increasingly demanding market for agricultural imports.

At a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on March 28, Vice Chairman of the High-Quality Vietnamese Product Business Association Cao Lam Vien said China has strong purchasing power thanks to its fast economic growth and rising per capita income that approximated 10,000 USD in 2018.

Data of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs show the country imported more than 137 billion USD worth of agricultural products in 2018, including 3 million tonnes of rice, nearly 5 million tonnes of cassava chips, 1.2 million tonnes of pork and 1 million tonnes of beef. It also imported 14.8 billion USD worth of aquatic products, 8.4 billion USD of fresh fruits and more than 830 million USD of vegetables.

These figures indicate that China’s demand for agro-aquatic products is huge, presenting an opportunity for major agro-aquatic exporting countries like Vietnam, Vien noted.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam exports about 1.2 – 1.3 billion USD worth of aquatic products to China annually, making it the third biggest supplier of these commodities to the market. Meanwhile, China is the fourth largest market for Vietnamese aquatic products.

Vien said for the last 30 years, trade between the two countries has been conducted mainly via unofficial small-scale channels over the border. This form of trading poses many risks in terms of payment while making it difficult to control products’ quality and quantity. Additionally, agricultural producers and exporters of Vietnam have yet to pay due attention to trademark registration in China to join official distribution systems.

Recently, China has tightened food safety regulations and demanded businesses import goods via official channels. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s agricultural products are also facing fierce competition for similar commodities of other countries.

The official called on Vietnamese firms to change their production and export methods, noting that they should ensure their products meet China’s new requirements in terms of quality, origin traceability, packaging, labeling and barcodes.

He also suggested they take part in prestigious fairs of China such as the SIAL expo in Shanghai and the China-ASEAN Expo in Guangxi, or agriculture trade fairs so as to access big partners and clients. They also need to make use of e-commerce to diversify their distribution channels in the market.

Secretary-General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe said China’s tightened control of food safety and unofficial small-scale trading is a challenge and but also a chance for Vietnam’s agro-aquatic products to improve.

At present, export through sea routes from Vietnam, especially southern localities, to China is increasingly favourable thanks to cheaper costs, and 2019 will offer opportunities to boost sea exports to China, he noted.

He asked managerial agencies to control product quality by examining and granting quality certificates for goods destined for China because 80 percent of Vietnamese aquatic products are currently exported to this market via unofficial channels which do not request quality certificates. They should also provide businesses with timely updates on the market’s import policies.


Firms urged to make changes to foster export to China, First-quarter GDP increases 6.79 percent, Over 7.3 trillion VND for power grid in central, Central Highlands regions, No SOE equitisation plans approved in first quarter of 2019
 
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