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Vietnam will remain at the centre of Asian supply chains and one of the most competitive manufacturing locations in the Asia-Pacific region, said analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit in a report on the country released on January 13.

The report entitled Rising star: Vietnam's role in Asia's shifting supply chains, focused on examining Vietnam’s labour market, investment attraction policy, and trade relationships.

Accordingly, low-skilled manufacturing wages rise will be kept at a moderate pace relative to Vietnam’s regional competitors. However, specialised labour in manufacturing and services professions will remain scarce. In the field of investment, high-tech manufacturers will continue to enjoy incentives for many years to come. In addition, Vietnam has joined many trade agreements and maintained good relations with trading partners, helping to reduce transaction costs for local businesses.

EIU Senior Analyst John Marrett said tax and foreign direct investment policies as well as measures to control foreign trade and exchange are the main strengths of the Vietnamese business climate compared to other countries in the region.

These are underpinned by the country’s domestic political stability, which is higher than that of most other Southeast Asian countries with similar economic development level, he added.

The EIU is a global leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis./.

Construction on wind power project begins in Ca Mau

Construction of a wind power project started in Nguyen Huan commune, Dam Doi district, the southern province of Ca Mau on January 16.

Invested by the WTO Construction Trading Joint Stock Corporation, the project’s first phase has total investment capital of over 10 trillion VND (over 432 million USD), with four wind power plants 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D to be built in coastal communes of Tan Tien and Nguyen Huan in Dam Doi district, and Tam Giang Dong commune of Nam Can district.

These plants, comprising 83 wind turbines with a capacity of 4.5 MW each, are scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.

WTO Construction Trading JSC and the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) have signed a power purchase contract for this project.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Tien Hai highlighted the significance of the project, saying that it will contribute to promoting industrial and tourism development of the locality in the future./.

Fishery sector carries out electronic traceability

The Directorate of Fisheries is implementing software and piloting the electronic traceability for seafood products to meet State management and market requirements.

Nguyen Quang Hung, deputy director of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the directorate has been using paper-based records of traceability for catching fishery products on the sea.

However, that has taken time and not ensured the accuracy during filling information for the traceability, including region and volume of catching fish, he said.

Fishermen have also complained that in the bad weather, they have had difficulties in completing the documents. In addition, record keeping is also not convenient.

To solve this problem, the Directorate of Fisheries is developing electronic traceability software and will pilot it in a number of localities such as Vung Tau, Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen.

The traceability software is expected to apply to fishing activities nationwide over the next three years, the Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported.

The electronic fishing dairy and the traceability software will improve the accuracy and convenience in completing information about traceability for seafood products and managing that information, Hung said.

The directorate will also train fishermen, fishing port management systems and fisheries sub-departments in 28 provinces to use that software.

He said the traceability of fishery products is now compulsory according to the needs of the market. It is also one of the mandatory requirements to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) of the European Union.

Domestic consumers also need transparency in traceability of seafood products from the supply to stages of processing and consumption.

Vietnam has carried out the traceability of seafood products since the Law on Fisheries 2003 was introduced with the requirement that records must be kept in diaries to serve the traceability of products.

The fishery sector has had 57 fishing ports eligible to grant certification on traceability of seafood products. They have asked fishermen to keep a diary while at sea and vessels purchasing fish to have reports from fishing vessels. Arriving at the port, the port management agencies would confirm origin of the seafood products. Then, the Fisheries Sub-Department will certify origin before exporting or selling to the market, Hung said./.

Viettel posts 11.5 billion USD in 2020 revenue

The military-run telecommunication group Viettel posed revenue of over 264 trillion VND (11.48 billion USD) in 2020, up 4.4 percent against the previous year and exceeding its yearly plan by 2.4 percent.

Its pre-tax profit reached 39.8 trillion VND, a year-on-year rise of 4.1 percent, fulfilling 103.9 percent of the yearly plan.

In the telecommunication field, 10 investment markets of Viettel abroad saw significant growths in revenue and profit, sending home nearly 333 million USD.

In the domestic market, the group’s mobile service still led the market with a share of 54.2 percent.

Viettel also piloted the provision of 5G services in the country.

These outcomes made the group the number one brand in Southeast Asia last year and the ninth in Asia with a valuation of 5.8 billion USD, according to a Brand Finance report./.

Dong Nai attracts over 226 million USD in FDI on first days of 2021

The southern province of Dong Nai secured 11 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth more than 226 million USD in the first half of January, the highest recorded in the same time in the past five years, according to the provincial management board of industrial parks.

Large projects included Hansol Electronics (100 million USD) in Ho Nai Industrial Park and Ojitex plant (60 million USD) in Loc An – Binh Son Industrial Park, said deputy head of the board Pham Van Cuong, adding that the investors committed to disbursing capital, building plants and purchasing machinery in Quarter 1, and putting the projects into operation by the end of 2021.

Thanks to the investors’ confidence in the Vietnamese economy as well as the sound business climate in Dong Nai, the province has attracted a huge amount of investment right at the outset of the year, Cuong affirmed.

Competent authorities always support investors in completing procedures, he said, stressing foreign firms who have already developed projects in the province will serve as a bridge to popularise local strengths to other investors.

According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Tien Dung, since Dong Nai has seen industrial development and FDI attraction as a top priority in 2021 despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the province will work to enhance investment promotion, complete infrastructure system to welcome new investment waves, and step up administrative reforms.

Dong Nai province now has 32 operating industrial parks, with an occupancy rate reaching over 80 percent.

The province will open three other industrial parks on an area of some 6,500 hectares in Long Thanh and Cam My districts, build Long Thanh International Airport, and construct various expressways such as Ben Luc-Long Thanh, Dau Giay-Phan Thiet, Dau Giay- Lien Khuong, and Bien Hoa-Vung Tau./.

Hai Phong targets at least 2.5 billion USD in FDI in 2021

The northern port city of Hai Phong will make efforts to attract between 2.5 - 3 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021, according to head of the management board of Hai Phong’s economic zones Le Trung Kien.

Accordingly, the municipal authorities will focus on luring FDI to industrial and service projects using modern and environmentally friendly technologies.

To that end, attention will be paid to promoting management and technical infrastructure development of industrial parks and clusters in the next five years.

Adjustments will be made to the master plan for the construction of the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone, while more IPs will be established in accordance with the city’s action plan to attract investment to the three economic pillars of hi-tech industry, seaport-logistics, and tourism-commerce.

Hai Phong will pilot the transformation of two operating industrial parks into eco-industrial parks, and deploying the model of chain-linked industrial zones to enhance connection among enterprises operating in the IPs with those outside.

Local authorities are working hard to speed up land clearance for construction of a number of industrial zones and Hai Phong international gateway port, as well as promoting administrative reform to make it easier for operating projects in the city and those to be put into operation in the coming time.

Last year, industrial and economic zones in Hay Phong attracted nearly 1.53 billion USD in FDI from 39 new FDI projects and 25 capital-added ones, up 21 percent compared to the same period last year.

By December 31, 2020, these zones lured 400 FDI projects totaling nearly 16.25 billion USD./.

Can Tho to focus on development of large-scale IPs

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will pay due regard to the development of large-scale industrial parks (IPs), Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Hong has said.

Hong made the remarks during a conference of the city’s industry and trade sector to review activities in 2020 and roll out this year’s tasks, which was held on January 13.

Local authorities will foster the planning of large-scale IPs and work to attract investment from major corporations.

Can Tho has already submitted plans for a 500-ha IP in O Mon district and another on 900 ha in Vinh Thanh district.

The city is also eyeing the development of two IPs covering an area of 500 ha each in Thoi Lai district, which may be built alongside residential areas, shopping malls, and universities.

Its industrial and construction sector expanded 1.69 percent in 2020, Hong noted, adding that only two of six IPs in the city has seen full occupancy rates.

According to the Department of Planning and Investment, there are 251 valid projects at the city’s processing zones and IPs with 1.76 billion USD in registered capital, 64.14 percent of which has been disbursed.

Total revenue of enterprises at the procession zones and IPs was estimated at 1.87 billion USD, hitting 99.91 percent of the set target last year.

More than 35,420 workers were employed at Can Tho’s processing zones and IPs, representing a year-on-year decline of about 3,200.

Some 4.66 million USD was channelled into IPs through two projects last year, while 10 others received additional funding of 5.13 million USD in total./.

Firms warned over intellectual property

Experts are again issuing a warning to local enterprises to pay attention to intellectual property (IP) rights when doing business overseas.

According to Le Ninh Giang, director of the centre for IP technology and application (IPTA) said a lot of enterprises focused on forming businesses, calling for investment capital but not registering for any IP protection rights.

He said it comes as no surprise when he discovers cases where companies lost their IP assets in foreign countries when trading.

He said cases concerning Phu Quoc fish sauce, Vinataba cigarettes or Buon Ma Thuot cafe were good examples of just some companies who have fallen foul of foreign IP regulations.

Giang said: “Many business owners still don’t know about IP registration and they are not yet aware of the importance of protecting IPs when exporting their products.

“While multinational enterprises in the world have invested a lot of resources in registering IP, few local enterprises understand the importance of the issue.”

He said in many cases, Vietnamese enterprises invested a lot in their brands in the country, making their products known by local consumers, but when they went to the international market, they became anonymous or already lost their brands which were being registered by another foreign company.

Vu Thi Thuan, chairwoman of Traphaco said: “In the pharmaceutical industry, there are many creative values that need to be protected. However, the current understanding of IP protection in Vietnam is not yet sufficient, leading many businesses to potentially violate the law.

"For sustainable development and integration, local enterprises must firstly respect IP rights.”

In order to effectively implement commitments on IP with further integration to the international economy, lawyer Pham Duy Khuong, SB Law Firm said: “Vietnamese enterprises need a strategy for international trademark registration with good consideration for cost, time, quantity and country of registration.”

Khuong advised businesses to learn carefully about the register to save time, cost and bring the best effect to the trademark in a foreign country.

Lawyer Le Quang Vinh from BROSS & Partners Law Firm added: “If the enterprises don’t register for IP protection, they will lose export opportunities to expand their markets and will face with legal risks and lose many opportunities to benefit from free trade agreements like CPTPP, EVFTA, RCEP.

“If they discover that their IP rights have been lost, it is necessary to quickly research and collect evidence, file an objection and cancel or suspend the validity of the rights.”

At the same time, seeing the increasingly deepening international integration of Vietnam through the participation in the new generation of free trade agreements (FTAs) as well as the wave of the industrial revolution 4.0 and the trend of trade protection in the world, the National Office of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Science and Technology also organised a consultation workshop on the draft law to amend and supplement the current IP Law in Hanoi earlier this week.

It was expected that after this process, the law will have 18 chapters and 235 articles./.

Vietnamese firms capitalise on UKVFTA to promote exports to UK

Vietnamese enterprises should be well-prepared to enhance shipments to the UK, particularly after the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement took effect on December 31, 2020, according to insiders.

Statistics from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) showed that Vietnam exported some 355 million USD worth of seafood to the UK market in 2020, particularly shipments of tra fish surging 15 times as compared to 2019.

Chairman and General Director of Nha Trang Seaproduct Company Ngo Van Ich said that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) did not impact Vietnamese exports, and this relished exciting prospects for shipments in 2021.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Vietnamese exporters since the UK’s import tariffs are the same as those of the EU while the country’s demand for seafood imports is expected to be stable or even increase in the coming time, Ich said.

In a bid to tape advantages from the free trade deal to the fullest extent, VASEP Deputy General Secretary Nguyen Hai Nam suggested local firms need to work to gain competitive edge over their competitors, improve production and business capacity, as well as apply science-technology to increase value of their products.

Besides, they should obey the rules of origin, enhance supervision over the use of antibiotic in processing, and ensure food safety to meet requirements of the importers, he recommended./.

HCM City speeds up disbursement of public capital

Ho Chi Minh City is taking drastic measures to promote disbursement of public funds, which plays an important role in economic development amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the municipal People’s Committee, nearly 32 trillion VND (1.38 billion USD) was disbursed as of December 31, 2020, some 27.3 trillion VND of which came from the city’s budget (accounting for 74.1 percent of the assigned plan) and the remainder from the state budget (equivalent to 57.2 percent of the plan).

Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Le Thi Huynh Mai said the results did not live up to expectations of the Government and the city leaders, pointing out tardy disbursement of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) capital affected the city’s outcomes.

Since the state budget year 2020 will end on January 31, 2021, the department will ask investors to speed up the work, striving for the disbursement rate of 95 percent for the whole year, she said.

The city plans to disburse more than 35.8 trillion VND for nearly 3,500 projects this year.

In a bid to realise the target, Mai said, the city will abide by legal regulations, particularly the Law on Bidding, and work to ensure the best contractors are chosen to develop local projects.

Along with sharpening focus on making compensation, and giving resettlement support to those who have to relocate, the city will step up examination and supervision in the public investment field so as to assure effective use of public funds.

Mai said her department will continue to make monthly and quarterly evaluation of the disbursement situation of agencies and investors, and give out timely measures to improve efficiency of state budget use./.

CIEM issues two scenarios for economic growth for 2021

The Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) introduced two scenarios for Vietnam’s economic growth 2021 during a seminar held in Hanoi on January 15.

The event was co-hosted by the CIEM and the Australia Supports Economic Reform in Vietnam (Aus4Reform).

Accordingly, Vietnam could achieve a growth rate of 5.98 percent in the first scenario and 6.46 percent in the second scenario. The average inflation was estimated at 3.51 percent and 3.78 percent, respectively.

Export was expected to grow by 4.23 percent in the first scenario and 5.06 percent in the second scenario. Trade surplus was forecast to stand at 5.49 billion USD and 7.24 billion USD, respectively.

Nguyen Anh Duong, head of the CIEM's General Research Department, said the forecast is based on several risks in 2021, including COVID-19 vaccine accessibility, uneven economic recovery in partner markets, monetary loosening in several Asian nations and more trade defence measures in importing nations.

CIEM experts said the domestic economy will be affected by several factors this year such as the fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapid development of digital transformation, as well as stronger consumption demand.

According to them, Vietnam could face trade defence lawsuits and investigations on tax avoidance and origin fraud not only in the US market.

They stressed that it is necessary to focus on improving macro-economic foundation and reforming economic institutional system in combination with effectively dealing with risks in the “new normal” context.

Integration, reform and sustainable development must be closely intertwined, CIEM Director Tran Thi Hog Minh said.

Experts discussed macro-economic situation in the last half of 2020 and the whole year, economic prospect for 2021, proposed orientations to economic reform as well as measures for macro-economic management for 2021./.

SCIC reports 286 mln USD in pre-tax profit for 2020

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) announced on January 14 that its pre-tax profit soared over 36 percent in 2020, hitting an estimated 6.58 trillion VND (around 286 million USD).

The corporation posted revenue of over 7.94 trillion VND, up 15 percent.

It contributed over 9.33 trillion VND to the State budget, 2.7 times higher than the annual plan.

General Director Nguyen Chi Thanh revealed the plans set by the corporation for 2021, saying it will give priority to considering investment possibilities in a number of key sectors, fields, and projects, while ensuring its financial capacity and investment effectiveness in accordance with market principles.

The divestment of State capital in the SCIC’s enterprises was implemented in line with legal regulations, ensuring publicity and transparency, achieving high efficiency, and preserving and developing State capital, Thanh said.

 

It successfully sold stakes in 253 companies in the 2015-2020 period and part of shares in 14 others, collecting over 42.1 trillion VND.

Its investment disbursement has totalled 14.97 trillion VND over the last five years./.

Hai Phong targets at least 2.5 billion USD in FDI in 2021

The northern port city of Hai Phong will make efforts to attract between 2.5 - 3 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021, according to head of the management board of Hai Phong’s economic zones Le Trung Kien.

Accordingly, the municipal authorities will focus on luring FDI to industrial and service projects using modern and environmentally friendly technologies.

To that end, attention will be paid to promoting management and technical infrastructure development of industrial parks and clusters in the next five years.

Adjustments will be made to the master plan for the construction of the Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone, while more IPs will be established in accordance with the city’s action plan to attract investment to the three economic pillars of hi-tech industry, seaport-logistics, and tourism-commerce.

Hai Phong will pilot the transformation of two operating industrial parks into eco-industrial parks, and deploying the model of chain-linked industrial zones to enhance connection among enterprises operating in the IPs with those outside.

Local authorities are working hard to speed up land clearance for construction of a number of industrial zones and Hai Phong international gateway port, as well as promoting administrative reform to make it easier for operating projects in the city and those to be put into operation in the coming time.

Last year, industrial and economic zones in Hay Phong attracted nearly 1.53 billion USD in FDI from 39 new FDI projects and 25 capital-added ones, up 21 percent compared to the same period last year.

By December 31, 2020, these zones lured 400 FDI projects totaling nearly 16.25 billion USD./.

Can Tho to focus on development of large-scale IPs

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will pay due regard to the development of large-scale industrial parks (IPs), Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Van Hong has said.

Hong made the remarks during a conference of the city’s industry and trade sector to review activities in 2020 and roll out this year’s tasks, which was held on January 13.

Local authorities will foster the planning of large-scale IPs and work to attract investment from major corporations.

Can Tho has already submitted plans for a 500-ha IP in O Mon district and another on 900 ha in Vinh Thanh district.

The city is also eyeing the development of two IPs covering an area of 500 ha each in Thoi Lai district, which may be built alongside residential areas, shopping malls, and universities.

Its industrial and construction sector expanded 1.69 percent in 2020, Hong noted, adding that only two of six IPs in the city has seen full occupancy rates.

According to the Department of Planning and Investment, there are 251 valid projects at the city’s processing zones and IPs with 1.76 billion USD in registered capital, 64.14 percent of which has been disbursed.

Total revenue of enterprises at the procession zones and IPs was estimated at 1.87 billion USD, hitting 99.91 percent of the set target last year.

More than 35,420 workers were employed at Can Tho’s processing zones and IPs, representing a year-on-year decline of about 3,200.

Some 4.66 million USD was channelled into IPs through two projects last year, while 10 others received additional funding of 5.13 million USD in total./.

Bac Ninh rolls out red carpet for South Korean firms

The authorities of northern Bac Ninh Province always create favourable conditions for foreign businesses, including those from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Dao Hong Lan has said.

Lan made the statement during a reception for Korean Ambassador to Viet Nam Park Noh-wan on Wednesday, during which she called on Korean investors to pour more investment into Bac Ninh, especially in the development of smart cities, education-training, high-tech agriculture, supporting industry, environmental protection and energy-saving technology, and automobile and component manufacturing.

Provincial authorities will also make it easier for local enterprises to export goods, especially handicraft products, to the Korean market, she said.

According to the official, Bac Ninh is one of the provinces with the fastest growth rate in the country. The province is home to 10 concentrated industrial parks, attracting more than 1,500 foreign-invested enterprises from 37 countries and territories.

The RoK leads in terms of foreign investment in Bac Ninh, with 945 projects worth a total of US$13.27 billion, accounting for about 66.33 per cent of the total amount of foreign investment in the province, Lan said.

Recently, provincial authorities have worked with agencies to allow foreign experts, managers and highly skilled workers, mainly from the RoK, to enter the province to work, she noted.

To minimise difficulties for businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bac Ninh has extended the deadline for tax payments for Korean firms, benefiting 178 enterprises to the tune of VND1.15 trillion (nearly $49.9 million).

For his part, Park highly appreciated Bac Ninh's achievements in socio-economic development and foreign investment attraction and thanked local authorities for their policies to support Korean enterprises amid difficulties posed by the pandemic.

He expressed his hope that Bac Ninh will have more policies to facilitate Korean firms’ investment.

The ambassador promised to encourage Korean businesses to invest in Bac Ninh Province, especially in developing smart cities and hospitals, protecting the environment, and co-operating in education-training.

Export turnover via An Giang’s border gates hits US$1.31 billion in 2020

Export turnover through border gates in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang exceeded US$1.31 billion in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent, according to the provincial Department of Customs.

Addressing a conference on Wednesday, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Phuoc asked the department to build a detailed plan to realise its goal for State budget collection and spending in 2021.

He asked the department to effectively implement tax and fee measures to support enterprises and business households in recovering production and business activities, while promptly solving difficulties related to tax administrative procedures for local people and enterprises.

Phuoc also underlined the need for the local customs sector to pay special attention to post-customs clearance inspections, specialised supervision, and combating smuggling and trade fraud, especially for conditional imports, independent shipments and temporary imports for re-export and temporary exports for re-import.

The sector should work with agencies to promote administrative reforms to improve the local business climate and competitiveness, he said.

The official also emphasised the importance of communication activities to raise public awareness about the dangers of smuggling and illegal cross-border trafficking of goods and urge people not to assist illegal acts.

According to the head of the provincial Department of Customers Tran Quoc Hoan, despite difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, An Giang’s customs department collected VND321.2 billion for the State budget last year, 45 per cent higher than the plan set by the Ministry of Finance.

A total of 62 smuggling cases and violations of customs regulations were handled in the year, collecting more than VND2.6 billion. 

Vietnamese food producers should embrace changing trends to survive: experts

Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Industry and Trade held a conference on January 14 to review the activities and performance of the food and foodstuff sector in 2020 and consider plans for the new year.

Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association, said the sector’s output last year was only 0.7 percent down from 2019, thanks to efforts by the government to both combat the COVID-19 pandemic and keep the economy growing.

As for plans for 2021, she called on the department to organise more trade promotions to help businesses promote their products and expand their market.

Besides, there has been a surge in demand for healthy foods and immune-boosting, natural and organic produce globally, including in Vietnam, amid the pandemic.

Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, said cooking and eating at home has become increasingly common and HCM City’s food industry must be in tune with this trend to sustain development.

At the same time, consumers have become increasingly aware of environmental protection, especially in affluent markets.

The global market for plant-based foods and products replacing meat is estimated to reach 480.43 billion USD by 2024, which offers producers of these products a great opportunity, he said.

Globally consumers want food brands to be more transparent by providing information about their supply chain and consistent nutrition information while enhancing environmental protection, he said.

They also want food brands to come up with more plant-based products and those that could be cooked in multiple ways, he said.

“By ensuring traceability, enterprises will have an opportunity to raise the competitiveness of their products, their brands’ prestige and their profile in the market,".

Delegates quoted recent market research as saying products with traceability and reliable quality with embedded sustainable economic, social, and environmental values are favoured by consumers.

To survive and thrive, food producers must adopt new business models by combining online and offline distribution, embrace digitisation, apply technology in the value chain from farm to table, and improve product quality and value and the customer experience, they added./.

Samsung urged to back Hanoi in smart city development

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh suggested Samsung provide the city with technical support in developing smart city and smart transport and promoting digital transformation.

He made the suggestion during a January 14 meeting with the General Director of Samsung Vietnam, Choi Joo Ho, who paid a courtesy call to report on the Republic of Korea (RoK) company’s projects in Hanoi.

Choi said that work on Samsung’s Research & Development (R&D) Centre in Hanoi started last March and is on schedule, with 23 percent completed.

Once opened, the centre will employ about 3,000 tech engineers primarily responsible for developing software, the 5G network, artificial intelligence (AI), and Big Data, he said, adding that this will contribute to economic growth in Hanoi and Vietnam at large.

Samsung Vietnam is committed to strictly complying with local regulations and ensuring workplace safety. He also asked for continued support from local authorities so the R&D centre will be finished by the end of 2022, as planned.

Anh pledged to create all possible conditions for Samsung to speed up progress and quickly put the centre into operation.

As Hanoi aims to stay ahead of other cities and provinces in science-technology and innovation and become more competitive regionally, the chairman said he expects Samsung to share its tech solutions in multiple areas, including 5G and Big Data, to support the capital in smart city and smart transport efforts and accelerate digital transformation.

Samsung Electronics Vietnam’s 16-storey R&D Centre, its largest in Southeast Asia, will cover a total area of over 11,600 ha in the new town of Tay Ho Tay in Hanoi’s west.

This is the first time Samsung Electronics has built its own centre for R&D activities overseas. It is also the largest R&D centre among FDI companies in Vietnam.

It is estimated to cost about 220 million USD./.

RCEP to help farm produce expand presence in global markets

The recently-signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will create opportunities for Vietnam’s agricultural products to extend their reach in the region and the world, experts have said.

Le Duy Minh, President of the Vietnam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association, told a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on January 15 that the agriculture sector has been integrating intensively and extensively into the world but also faces considerable difficulties and challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, trade disputes between major economies, and an increase in technical barriers in many countries.

Vietnam signed a number of important economic deals in 2020, heralding a new era of economic integration with opportunities to expand export markets and attract more domestic and foreign investment.

Among the deals, the RCEP, which gathers together 10 ASEAN countries and five partners (the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand), is the world’s largest free trade agreement (FTA), as it covers a market of about 2.2 billion consumers and accounts for some 30 percent of the global GDP.

Minh said the commitments in the RCEP to open up goods, services, and investment markets, simplify customs procedures, set up trade-facilitating rules of origin, and minimise trade barriers are expected to boost the development of regional and global value chains and foster member economies, including Vietnam.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said the country could be one of the greatest beneficiaries from the RCEP, as most other members have strong demand for goods where Vietnam holds strengths, such as agricultural and aquatic products.

Thanks to the harmonisation of rules of origin between the RCEP members, Vietnam’s exports can better meet requirements and benefit from preferential tariffs to increase shipments to member countries like Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, he said.

These countries also have relatively similar import standards and consumer tastes, not to mention lower logistics costs and more conducive transportation thanks to their relatively close geographical proximity to each other, Nguyen said.

According to the General Director of the Vina T&T company, Nguyen Dinh Tung, a short-term benefit created by the RCEP is favourable conditions being created for talks on opening export markets for more agricultural products. Commitments and trade facilitation measures under the deal will also promote the growth of new supply chains, thus boosting international-standard agricultural production.

Apart from the opportunities, participants also pointed to a host of challenges, such as satisfying rules of origin and quality standards and the competition from foreign rivals in both the domestic and foreign markets.

Tung suggested businesses view FTAs, including the RCEP, as a chance to improve product quality, perfect supply chain management, and promote competitiveness to further meet the market's demand./.

3.6 trillion VND to be invested in Tay Ninh port cluster

The People’s Committee of the southern province of Tay Ninh has approved the investment policy for a port cluster project costing over 3.6 trillion VND (156.07 million USD) in Trang Bang district’s Hung Thuan commune.

The 259.22-ha project comprises a logistics centre, an inland container depot and Tay Ninh general port. It will form a synchronous infrastructure and transport network, cut time for goods shipments and logistics costs, and contribute to socio-economic development in the region.

A joint venture between the Tay Ninh Logistics Joint Stock Company (TANIL), the International Investment Trade and Service Company (ILS), and ASGL Global Logistics will be in charge of construction.

The project has a lifespan of 50 years, with its first phase to be put into operation in the first quarter of 2023. It is expected to generate about 1,500 jobs by 2035./.

Vietnam maintains stable exports to Israel in 2020

Vietnam earned an estimated 700 million USD from exporting goods to Israel in 2020 despite difficulties and obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Vietnamese Trade Office in the Middle East country.

The figure showed a slight reduction from 774 million USD reported last year. This is said to be a positive result in the context that the Israeli market witnessed fluctuations, disturbances and difficulties amid political instability and negative impacts from the pandemic.

Notably in November last year, Vietnam's export value to Israel surged by 27.2 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 51.04 million USD.

Turnover of most key export items rose strongly in the month, with coffee up 108.6 percent, footwear (35 percent), phones and accessories (31 percent), and textiles and garments (21.4 percent) cashew nuts (16.9 percent), and seafood products (3.3 percent).

Israel, with a population of only 9.3 million, is the third largest export market of Vietnam in the Middle East, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE ) and Turkey./.

Tax, transparency important to bring housing prices to appropriate levels

Imposing asset taxes and improving market transparency would help bring skyrocketing housing prices in Viet Nam to appropriate levels, experts have said.

The market has not had a balance between supply and demand for many years, according to Nguyen Manh Ha, Deputy President of the Viet Nam Real Estate Association. There was also a severe shortage of housing supply in major cities nationwide.

Ha pointed out that affordable homes at prices of below VND25 million (US$1,120) per sq.m had nearly disappeared from the market in HCM City while in Ha Noi, this segment accounted for just about 10 per cent.

Thus, housing prices were becoming unaffordable for a majority of citizens, he said.

For example, a new housing price level was set in just a short period of time in HCM City, he said, adding that affordable projects become mid-end and mid-end become high-end. The problem was that this was simply an increase in price, not in quality, which might easily cause a market bubble, he added.

According to Tran Dinh Thien, former Director of the Viet Nam Economics Institute, it was necessary to have appropriate tax policies to bring housing prices to the appropriate level.

A tax to prevent speculation of real estate assets would be helpful, Thien said, adding that appropriate tax policies would be an effective tool to prevent speculators from pushing up housing prices.

Thien said called for improving market transparency from all parties, including management agencies, planning makers and project developers, to lower housing prices.

Market transparency was very important, which would enable home buyers to easily get access to accurate and adequate project information.

Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said transparency played an important role in stabilising housing prices. Vo said it was necessary to develop an information system about the real estate market to improve transparency.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, general director of Dai Phuc Land, said housing prices would decrease when there was an excess of supply over demand.

In recent years, many projects faced legal problems, especially in HCM City, which caused a shortage of supply and pushed up housing prices.

Huong said policies to encourage the development of projects were needed to improve supply which would help cool housing prices.

Policies to tackle existing legal problems in housing projects must be employed, Huong said, adding that the Government should also devise policies to promote the development of social housing projects and affordable homes.

“Boosting supply will lower prices,” Huong stressed.

Nguyen Van Dinh, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Realtors, said it was necessary to apply technology in construction to lower costs together with the simplification of investment procedures to shorten the investment progress.

Another important factor was lowering borrowing costs, Dinh said.

According to the Ministry of Construction, about 75-80 per cent of housing demand was for homes at a price of below VND25 million per sq.m. 

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR