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A total of 10,728 new firms were established in May with total registered capital of 112.7 trillion VND (4.83 billion USD), up 36.1 percent in number and 20.1 percent in capital from the previous month, according to the General Office of Statistics (GSO).

With the May figure, the number of new firms set up in the first five months of the year reached 48,300 with total capital of 557 trillion VND, down 10.5 percent in number and 16.7 percent in capital year-on-year.

Taking into account the 817.4 trillion VND added to existing firms, the capital flow into the economy in the period came to 1,375 trillion VND, a decrease of 17 percent compared to the same period last year.

Besides, 21,700 firms resumed operation, up 10.5 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, 26,000 firms suspended operation for a certain period, up 36.4 percent year on year, and 16,500 suspended pending dissolution procedures, down 14.5 percent. Nearly 6,100 firms dissolved in the five months, down 4.8 percent, with 2,200 of them in whole and retail, automobile and motorbike repair./.

Hanoi attracts 1.56 billion USD in FDI in five months

Hanoi attracted 1.56 billion USD in FDI in the first five months of this year, it was reported at a video meeting of the municipal People’s Committee on May 29.

The city saw the establishment of 12,260 new firms in the period with total registered capital of 181.4 trillion VND (7.78 billion USD), down 10 percent in number but up 9 percent in capital compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, 1,261 firms dissolved during the period, 7,075 others suspended operation and 3,669 resumed production and business.

Hanoi continues to perform fairly in enhancing local competitiveness and administrative reform. It came in at second place in the 2019 Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index) for the third year in a row with 84.64 percent. The capital city gained 68.8 points in the 2019 Provincial Competitiveness Index, 3.4 points more than previous year, to rank the 9th for the second straight year.

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of the committee Nguyen Duc Chung said local authorities have made concerted efforts to carry out the double task of epidemic prevention and economic development.

Hanoi has gone through 43 consecutive days without any new community infection of COVID-19, and all 118 COVID-19 patients in the city have recovered.

The city will continue to implement the directive of the municipal People’s Committee’s Chairman on preventing and fighting the pandemic along with the tasks and solutions set by the Government, the Prime Minister in the “new normal” situation./.

Vietnamese companies seek business opportunities in Singapore

Vietnamese agricultural, fishery and food businesses were updated on the Singaporean market at an online conference held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore on May 29.

The event, which saw the participation of over 100 representatives of agencies, organisations and businesses of the two countries, offered Vietnamese firms a good chance to directly interact with Singaporean partners, thus introducing their products.

According to head of the Vietrade Vu Ba Phu, Singapore, one of the countries with the most dynamic economy in Asia - Pacific, is playing an important role in trade cooperation with Vietnam.

The country considers Vietnam as one of the key markets to help it offset the shortage of goods, especially agricultural products, fisheries, food and construction products.

Addressing the event, Chairman of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation and the Vietnam-Singapore Business Council (VSBC) Douglas Foo said Vietnam and Singapore signed a series of free trade agreements (FTAs), and their membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has created great opportunities for the two countries to further expand cooperation.

Tran Thu Quynh, Trade Counselor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore said the two countries' trade supports each other rather than compete, adding that this is a favourable condition for Vietnamese exporters of agricultural, fishery and food products to expand their market share in the country.

Quynh said in order to adapt to the new situation, Vietnamese businesses need to prepare for changes in the consumption trends in the Singaporean market, and pay attention to building supply networks in order to create capacity to adapt to risks.

She stressed the necessity for Vietnamese firms to take advantage of e-commerce channels to do business because e-commerce in Singapore is booming in all areas.

Vietnamese and Singaporean businesses should enhance cooperation in capital, technology, brand and consumption network to increase production scale and added value of products, Quynh noted.

The Vietnamese Trade Office is willing to assist Vietnamese businesses in exhibiting and introducing their products, she said.

It will also support Vietnamese businesses in market research through trial sales on local e-commerce channels such as Redmart, Ezbuy, Eamart, Market Fresh, Quynh added./.

Philippines considers 16.7-billion-USD stimulus package

The Philippine government is eyeing a stimulus package worth 846 billion pesos (16.7 billion USD) to enable a full economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

The stimulus package, which is waiting for Congress' approval, would include a cut in corporate income tax and modernisation of the country's fiscal incentive systems, Dominguez said.

Local businesses have urged lawmakers to pass these reforms early so that small, medium and large companies can resume their operation and recover from the public health crisis.

The Philippine tax authority said the country's total tax revenue in the first four months of 2020 dropped sharply to 527.41 billion pesos (22.6 million USD), or 25.4 percent below last year's collection over the same period.

Despite the decreased revenue, Dominguez said the Philippines remains "financially able" to meet the unexpected challenges of the pandemic.

The country also has practiced fiscal discipline and exercised prudence in state spending, he added./.

Vinamilk products sold at RoK’s online stores

Products of Vietnamese milk producer Vinamilk (Vietnam Dairy Products JSC) have made their entry into the market in the Republic of Korea (RoK), said a RoK dairy business.


Vina Korea, a company set up by five Korean distribution firms for the sale of Vinamilk products, said on May 29 that it began to sell milk tea, soybean milk and condensed milk-based coffee products in the market through online stores.

Vina Korea Chief Financial Officer Yun Yo-wang said that Vinamilk products meet high Eurozone hygiene and food safety standards.

The firm’s products are now available on online shopping malls, such as 11Street Co. and eBay Korea LLC.

Vinamilk, established in 1976, owns 13 factories in Vietnam and the largest dairy farm network in Asia. It also runs farms and plants in the US, New Zealand, Cambodia and Poland.

Last year, its export turnover expanded 14.8 percent as compared with 2018. Since 1997, its products have been shipped to more than 50 countries and territories, with total value surpassing 2.2 billion USD./.

Post-pandemic business, investment opportunities shared with UK firms

Business and investment opportunities in Vietnam after the COVID-19 pandemic were discussed at a video talk held on May 29 by the Foreign Ministry, the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK and Asia House - a UK centre of expertise on trade, investment and public policy in Asia.

The event saw the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence, and business executives from around 40 UK groups and major enterprises such as HSBC, De La Rue, KPMG, Prudential, and Standard Chartered.

The talk is a valuable chance to connect UK businesses and Vietnamese Government agencies, said Son, adding that it helps popularise information about policies and increase cooperation opportunities in the context of the two countries taking drastic measures to control the COVID-19 and recover their economies.

He told participants that Vietnam is working on a “dual target” of disease prevention and economic recovery and development, with a hope for a 5-percent economic growth this year.

The Government has taken urgent measures to boost production and business, and improve the investment environment, especially Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision to set up a special working group on post-COVID-19 investment promotion, he stated.

The Government official stressed that Vietnam and the UK can further develop their strategic partnership, particularly in economics and trade, given opportunities brought by Brexit.

He also suggested UK investors seize opportunities brought about by Vietnam’s post-COVID-19 economic and trade incentives, the shifting of the supply chain from other countries to Vietnam, and the enforcement of new-generation free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

At the talk, UK businesses showed their interest in the bilateral cooperation, investment opportunities, and Vietnam’s new trade and investment promotion policies./.

Vietnam posts 1.9bln USD trade surplus in first five months

Vietnam reported a trade surplus of 1.9 billion USD in the first five months of this year amid the ongoing complexity for global markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), export turnover reached 99.36 billion USD, down 1.7 percent year-on-year.

The domestic sector’s export value was 33.3 billion USD, up 10.4 percent compared to the same period last year, while the FDI sector’s exports, including crude oil, were valued at 66.06 billion USD, down 6.9 percent.

Commodities seeing strong growth in export value during the period included machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts with 25 percent; computers, electronic products, and components with 22.1 percent; rice with 17.2 percent; coffee with 2.9 percent; and cashew nuts with 2.2 percent.

Those with declining turnover were telephones and components (8.8 percent), textiles (14.5 percent), footwear (4.6 percent), fruit and vegetables (10.3 percent), rubber (29.6 percent), and pepper (17.9 percent).

Import value in the first five months, meanwhile, reached 97.48 billion USD, down 3.8 percent year-on-year, GSO said.

The US remained the largest importer of Vietnamese goods in the period, with turnover reaching 24.6 billion USD, up 8.2 percent. It was followed by China with turnover of 16.3 billion USD, up 20.1 percent.

Vietnam’s exports to the EU and ASEAN fell 12 percent and 13.4 percent, with turnover of 12.9 billion USD and 9.4 billion USD, respectively.

After posting solid growth in the first quarter, Vietnam’s trade picture has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since April. Export turnover in April was just 19.7 billion USD, down 18.4 percent against March and 3.5 percent year-on-year./.

January-May FDI down 17 percent

Vietnam attracted a total of 13.9 billion USD in FDI in the first five months of this year, a fall of 17 percent year-on-year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on May 29.

There were 1,212 newly-registered projects with 7.4 billion USD in investment, down 11.1 percent in number but up 15.2 percent in capital, respectively.

A total of 3.5 billion USD was added to 436 existing projects, a year-on-year increase of 31.4 percent, while capital contributions and share purchases by foreign investors stood at nearly 3 billion USD, down 60.9 percent.

Processing and manufacturing was the most attractive sector among foreign investors, the GSO said, receiving 6.9 billion USD.

Among 58 countries and territories registering new projects in Vietnam in the first five months, Singapore was the largest investor, with 4.3 billion USD, accounting for 58 percent of the total. Following was Taiwan (China) with 743 million USD, China with 694 million USD, Hong Kong (China) with 500 million USD, and the Republic of Korea with 441 million USD.

As of May 20, 6.7 billion USD of FDI had been disbursed this year, a year-on-year decline of 8.2 percent, of which over 4.9 billion USD went to projects in the processing and manufacturing industry.

Vietnamese investors had 60 new projects abroad in the period, with combined capital of 161.9 million USD. They also added 18.8 million USD to eleven existing projects.

Local investors had investments in 21 countries and territories during the period, with Germany being the largest recipient, with 92.6 million USD. Following was the US with 21.7 million USD, Myanmar with 21.2 million USD, and Singapore with 18.9 million USD./.

HCM City fosters linkages between academia, companies

HCM City authorities are helping companies access new technologies by promoting linkages between researchers and businesses, but more collaboration is needed, speakers said on May 28 at a meeting in the city.

Trieu Thanh Son, deputy head of the Research Management and Cooperation Department under the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, said the city has been offering assistance to companies in registration of intellectual property rights and fostering linkages between researchers and businesses.

“HCM City is now promoting the science and technology market to enable companies to adopt new technologies and increase their labour productivity.”

More collaboration between academia and businesses, however, is needed so that research results can be converted into practical technology, he added.

Nguyen Anh Ngoc, deputy director of HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, noted that the Government provided support to businesses and scientists for research, but there were no tools to foster links between scientists and businesses.

“There is a big gap between schools and research institutes and enterprises.”

The city has fostered linkages between researchers and businesses, but the results have not met expectations, he said.

When researchers try to find partners to commercialise their research ideas, they often encounter resistance because of policy-related issues, he added.

Another obstacle is that businesses too often focus on short-term commercial goals instead of long-term investment in technology and research.

Nguyen Khac Thanh, deputy director of the Department of Science and Technology, said the department has offered numerous programmes and State policies to researchers and businesses.

The department helps businesses improve their technologies and products and assists them in working with scientific and technological organisations.

The department also offers support to start-ups, fostering incubation and adoption of technologies, and organises exhibitions, scientific and technological transfer conferences, and business networks.

The department has established a Scientific and Technology Business Club to facilitate networking and exchange, and technology transfer. Its board of chairmen includes six members from formally recognised scientific and technology businesses.

However, enterprises need to be more proactive and innovative, and take part in networking events, he said.

Doan Thanh Khe, director of Phat Viet Food Technology Ltd Company, said the company regularly invests in high-quality modern facilities and equipment as well as a trained workforce and scientific research.

HCM City has more than 74 recognised science and technology businesses out of around 200 nationwide. Ninety percent of enterprises in HCM City are micro- or small-sized enterprises and lack the financial and human resources for R&D.

The city has approved a science and technology market development programme, which targets increasing the value of science and technology products and services by 15 percent annually in the next five years and 20 percent in the case of key technologies./.

Vietnam hailed for good economy, stable politics: Japanese business executive

Vietnam is a potential and emerging market, with low risks, good economy and stable politics, Eto Shinji, General Manager of Japanese building product distributor JUTEC Corporation’s Overseas Business Department, has said.

“That's why we decided to go there. That was in 2015,” he noted in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Tokyo recently.

According to him, at first, his company tried to sell Japanese building materials in the Vietnamese market. But unfortunately, the way of building houses in Vietnam is totally different from Japan’s one, and thus, building materials used in Vietnam are totally different from those used in Japan.

“We had tried to sell our products to those who have special technical knowledge of Japan, but it was not easy. As a result, we changed our mindset to adapt to the market and then, decided to enter its real estate market because we thought that there is a close link between the two markets,” he said.

Despite that fact, Eto Shinji went on to say that his company will return to Vietnam’s building material market in the future because the rich in your country is getting bigger and Vietnamese people prefer Japanese products and companies.

“We understand that the chance for that business is coming soon, maybe in five years or 10 years. We strongly believe so,” he said.

Regarding JUTEC Corporation’s establishment of a joint venture with ISN Real Estate Management JSC. (ISN REM), an affiliate of the ISN Corporation, Eto Shinji said his company chose this partner since ISN REM is the only company that is targeting to Japanese people living in Vietnam, and it has a great network of for-rent condominium owners. Additionally, its manager, who was educated in Japan, has deep knowledge of Japanese people’s taste.

Eto Shinji revealed that on May 25, JUTEC Corporation got an investment certificate from the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment to set up the joint venture. Its registered capital is 20 billion VND, of which the Japanese company owns 50 percent.

Its main business is to lease houses and offer Japan-standardized condominium management and operation services to foreign customers, especially Japanese nationals who are currently living and working in Vietnam.

“Thus, we want to cooperate with Vietnamese tenants who want to rent their apartments or condominiums to Japanese nationals living in the country, he said.

The other business is to distribute Japanese building materials in the market, he said,a dding that the firm now has one showroom in Ho Chi Minh City.

“For this, we want to provide Japanese-style building materials solutions for homebuilders in Vietnam so that to increase their houses’ value,” he noted./.

Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa provinces work to promote tourism after COVID-19

The People’s Committee of the south-central province of Ninh Thuan launched its ‘Vietnamese people travel Vietnam’ programme on May 29 with the aim of reviving the local tourism sector after COVID-19.

A total of 35 local accommodation establishments, restaurants, tour operators and travel businesses have registered with the programme, pledging to offer discounts ranging from 10% to 30% on the price of their services from May 29 to December 31, 2020.

Students and children aged under 12 years will enjoy free entrance to the Research Centre for Cham Culture in Phan Rang – Thap Cham city, and the Du Long film studio in Thuan Bac district.

On the occasion, the local authorities inaugurated the province's smart tourism portal, which is designed to advertise the land and people of Ninh Thuan as well as update information on the tourist products and services of local travel businesses to visitors at home and abroad.

Also yesterday, Khanh Hoa provincial People’s Committee held a stimulating domestic tourism programme in Hanoi to promote the locality’s tourism potential to Hanoi city dwellers.

The event attracted the participation of more than 40 Khanh Hoa-based travel businesses, offering discounts of up to 50% on their services and products.

With an estimated population of 8 million and high travel demand, Hanoi is seen as a key potential market for other cities and provinces in terms of their own tourism markets.

Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province embraces organic farming

More and more farmers in the southern province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu are going organic.

They use compost made from manure and earthworm waste and organic pesticides made from ginger, garlic, red chilli, and alcohol. They use traps and other traditional tools to catch pests.

Hồ Hoàng Kha, who has a 10ha green skin and pink flesh grapefruit orchard in Phú Mỹ Town’s Sông Xoài Ward, switched to organic farming on 3ha eight months ago.

Though the yield on the 3ha has decreased slightly to 75 tonnes a year from 80 tonnes, quality and prices are better, he said.

But the fruits fetch VNĐ35,000 (US$1.3) a kilogramme, VNĐ5,000 higher than normal, he said.

He now plans to expand the organic farming method to the remaining 7ha, he said.

 

Sông Xoài Ward, one of the province’s largest green skin and pink flesh grapefruit growing areas, is well known for the quality of its fruit.

It has established a co-operative with a few members using organic methods.

Hồ Văn Kiệt, director of the co-operative, said members are being taught organic methods to enhance the brand name of the Sông Hoài green skin and pink flesh grapefruit.

“This will open up export opportunities and secure steady prices and outlets.”

The co-operative has more than 130 members and 180ha of orchards out of the commune’s 200ha.

In recent years the province’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department has been teaching farmers organic farming methods.

Lương Văn Quang was one of the first farmers in Bà Rịa City’s Long Hương Ward to be trained and he has been growing vegetables on his 4,000sq.m field since 2017.

When he first switched to organic farming, he found the vegetables had a longer gestation period and did not look as attractive as those grown using normal methods, he said.

But after a period they began to develop rapidly because the soil had recovered its fertility, and costs became 30 per cent cheaper than that of normal farming methods, he said.

“Organic vegetables are popular with consumers, and so they fetch high prices and demand is steady.”

Under a plan to develop organic farming in 2020 - 25 the province will develop more models for growing rice, pepper, cacao, vegetables, and fruits.

This year it plans to implement four of them for farmers to adopt for growing pepper, cacao, vegetables and green skin and pink flesh grapefruit.   

The Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department admitted organic farming is yet to be done on a large area in the province.

Trần Văn Cường, director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to expand the area needs time, human resources and funds to train farmers.

PM targets powerful, prosperous status for southern key economic region by 2035

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 30 requested the southern key economic region to strive to become a powerful and prosperous region by 2035, ten years ahead of the deadline for the same goal for the whole Vietnam.

He made the remarks while chairing a meeting in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province between permanent Government members and officials of the eight localities in this region, which comprises Ho Chi Minh City and the seven provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Long An, and Tien Giang.

The southern key economic region is the only of its kind in Vietnam that boasts sufficient conditions and advantages for industrial and service development to achieve a fast, efficient and sustainable growth. It is currently the largest FDI magnet of the country, a leading economic driver, and a gateway for Vietnam’s trading with the world.

Addressing the event, PM Phuc applauded the eight localities’ attainments in COVID-19 prevention and control, social security ensuring, and economic development, which have joined the entire country’s efforts to defeat the pandemic.

He also highly valued their resolve in economic development and persistence with the initial targets set for this year.

Regarding the region’s development goal, he emphasised that this is the key among the four key economic regions of Vietnam, describing it as a “diamond octagon” in Southeast Asia as well as Asia given its economic development and healthy living environment.

The PM pointed out that the strength and competitiveness of this region outpace the others’, asking the localities to bring into play their solidarity and join hands to innovate and hold responsibility for national development.

Responding to proposals submitted at the meeting, PM Phuc assigned relevant agencies to devise special mechanisms for key economic regions, especially the southern one.

He told the Ministry of Planning and Investment to consider an aid package from the Government for the localities to invest in urgent infrastructure and transport facilities – a factor of leading importance in local socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance need to work on solutions to facilitate credit institutions’ engagement in infrastructure development projects, particularly those under the private-public partnership (PPP). The Ministry of Transport has to establish projects on boosting transport connectivity among industrial parks and economic zones in the region.

The eight localities need to prioritise developing digital economy, e-commerce, and the 5G network, which are crucial for high technology development, according to him.

At the session, the PM also asked them to implement the Government’s recently-issued Resolution 84/NQ-CP well so as to further tackle production and business difficulties and stimulate consumer demand which is an important driving force for GDP growth.

Prior to the meeting, PM Phuc had made a fact-finding tour of Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port in Phu My town, Phuoc An Bridge, the location of the Cai Mep Ha logistics project, and Hyosung Industrial Park in Ba Ria-Vung Tau./.

Budget collection in HCM City drops 16 percent

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has been put  under control in Vietnam, its negative impacts were still felt in many fields, including budget collection in Ho Chi Minh City.

Total budget collection in the city in the first five months of this year stood at 139.37 trillion VND (5.97 billion USD), equivalent to 34.3 percent of the estimate and down 16 percent from the same period last year.

Domestic revenues dropped 13.6 percent to 92.3 trillion VND (33.1 percent of the estimate), and revenues from crude oil decreased by 38.9 percent year on year to over 5.95 trillion VND (48.8 percent of estimate). Revenues from import-export activities went down 16.6 percent to 41.1 trillion VND (35.7 percent of estimates).

Contributions by the State sector accounted for 9.6 percent of domestic revenues, down 13.5 percent. The non-State sector contributed 23.5 trillion VND to the State budget, down 24.5 percent, and the FDI sector 25.85 trillion VND, down 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the city’s spending surged by 11.7 percent to 22.6 trillion VND in the period, as the city implemented policies to support businesses and the population overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

The city’s tax authority reported that around 255,000 firms or 97.35 percent of the total have benefited from delayed payment of tax and land rent. In addition, 43,000 business households and small traders have also been allowed to postpone tax payment.

HCM City: CPI down 0.33 percent in May

Ho Chi Minh City’s consumer price index (CPI) in May went down 0.33 percent from the previous month and 1.38 percent compared to December 2019, according to the city’s Statistics Office.

However, the May CPI rose 1.4 percent on-year, the office said.

Three of the 11 groups of goods and services used to calculate the CPI saw month-on-month price declines. The transport group saw the strongest fall of 2.29 percent, followed by food and catering services with 0.41 percent and housing, electricity, water, fuel and building materials with 0.97 percent.

The groups of garment-headgear-footwear and education saw no fluctuations during the period, while all other groups recorded price increases.

In the first five months of 2020, the municipal average CPI increased 3.76 percent annually./. 

Vietnam takes new tax step to stimulate car market

The move would help support the development of local supporting industries, particularly the automobile manufacturing and assembling in the 2019 – 2023 period.

The Vietnamese government has agreed to remove import tariffs for auto parts and accessories, which are currently cannot be manufactured domestically.

Vietnam removes import duties for auto parts not manufactured domestically.

The decision, set to take effect from July 10, is part of the government’s Decree No.57 dated May 25, 2020 on amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Decree No.125 on export duty schedule, preferential import duty schedule and lists of commodities and their flat tax rates, compound tariff and “out-of-quota” tariff rate, aiming to increase the localization rate and enhance the competitiveness of Vietnam’s automobile industry. 

In order to qualify for this new policy, enterprises must provide sales contract of auto parts with local auto manufacturers and/or assemblers, those that are given operation license by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Moreover, enterprises should have business license related to production of auto parts and accessories, as well as have their own car production facilities in Vietnam.

The review period for preferential tariff treatment for enterprises are from January 1 – June 30 or from July 1 – December 31, annually.

For parts and accessories that only require basic processing, rather than a thorough process to become final products, would not be entitled to the 0% tariff rate. 

Local auto manufacturers previously voiced concern over the insufficient support from Decree No.125 for the automobile industry, as it failed to create considerable advantages for domestic cars over imported ones from other ASEAN countries. 

The auto parts manufacturing sector in Vietnam currently enjoys incentive policies for investments, but such incentives are not remarkably attractive compared to other sectors, leading to low localization rates. 

Moreover, domestically produced auto parts are also facing fierce competition from imported products in ASEAN, which are having zero import tariff under the effect of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA). 

Monthly data from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) revealed car sales in Vietnam are reported at 64,100 units in the first four months this year, down 36% year-on-year.

Sales of domestically assembled cars reached 40,574 units during the period, down 33% compared to the same period of last year, while imported completely-built-units (CBUs) totaled 23,526 units, down 40%. 

Malaysia to lift ATM operating hour restrictions

Malaysia will lift restrictions on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) operating hours between 8am and 8pm, implemented during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), on June 1.

Senior Minister cum Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on May 31 that ATM operating hours will return to normal on June 1 as per banks' practices.

The Malaysian Government had enforced the 8am to 8pm ruling on April 19, following findings by the police that many were out late at night on the pretext of wanting to make money withdrawals from ATMs.

“The public, however, must keep complying with social distancing protocols while using the ATMs,” he said at the daily media briefing on the CMCO here today.

By the end of May 30, Malaysia had confirmed 7,762 COVID-19 cases, including 115 deaths./.

Over 115.7 million USD poured into upgrading Thi Vai int’l port

Thi Vai International Port Co., Ltd (TVP) has announced its investment of more than 2.7 trillion VND (115.7 million USD) in improving land at the Thi Vai international port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The company plans to select four contractors to implement the project, with bidding sessions scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

The total funding for the project is set to be sourced from TVP’s capital and commercial loans.

Covering over 42,000 square metres, the port can receive 50,000DWT container vessels and 5,000DWT ferries. Along with the main quay with a length of 300m and a width of 27m, the port has a 155m long and 130m long ferry wharfs, and two 40 tonne cranes.

TVP is a joint venture of five investors, two from Vietnam and three from Japan./.

COVID-19 obstacle but also motivation to promote digital transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic showed the important role of digital transformation in prevention and control activities, bringing life to a “new normal” state.

The pandemic is both an obstacle but also a motivation to promote comprehensive digital transformation in all fields, in each enterprise, each organisation and individual.

This year has been identified as the beginning year of national digital transformation to move towards a digital Vietnam.

The Vietnam Digital Transformation Award 2020 has been officially launched.

Over two years of launching, the award has attracted attention and received registrations from hundreds of technology enterprises.

The organisers will receive registrations until June 30. The awarding ceremony is expected to be held in September.

“The biggest goal of the organising committee set at this time was through the awards, technology enterprises continued to confidently research and create Vietnamese practical technology products and other businesses and organisations bravely changed the development model based on the application of digital technology to create a breakthrough development,” said Nguyen Minh Hong, head of the organisation board and chairman of the Vietnam Digital Communications Association.

Nguyen Huy Dung, director of the Authority of Information Technology Application, Ministry of Information and Communications, affirmed that the organisation of the award was to find and honour specific solutions and digital transformation stories and thereby contribute to change people's perception about the role of digital transformation.

The award also aims to spread social influence in the public, where the honoured products belong and exist to serve the people.

When it comes to digital transformation, people often pay attention to the "digital" but skip the "transformation".

Most businesses and organisations think that just buying and applying technology will improve their productivity immediately.

In fact, digital transformation needs a comprehensive process, maximum support in the process of completing complex administrative procedures, shortening time and effort.

Most enterprises and organisations were currently aware of the implementation of digital transformation to improve labour productivity and optimise costs but if having such thinking, they can not do it successfully, said Dung.

Successful digital transformation required comprehensive transformation of all activities of agencies and organisations to generate new values, he said.

In the technology flow, digital transformation was no longer an option but has become a vital factor for the development of businesses, said Dung.

The Vietnam Digital Transformation Award was a communication channel of digital transformation, digital economic development for the whole society, through the introduction of new technology solutions and successful digital transformation models, which helps society better understand digital transformation and digital technology as well as help organisations and businesses find a suitable direction./.

PM targets powerful, prosperous status for southern key economic region by 2035

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 30 requested the southern key economic region to strive to become a powerful and prosperous region by 2035, ten years ahead of the deadline for the same goal for the whole Vietnam.

He made the remarks while chairing a meeting in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province between permanent Government members and officials of the eight localities in this region, which comprises Ho Chi Minh City and the seven provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Long An, and Tien Giang.

The southern key economic region is the only of its kind in Vietnam that boasts sufficient conditions and advantages for industrial and service development to achieve a fast, efficient and sustainable growth. It is currently the largest FDI magnet of the country, a leading economic driver, and a gateway for Vietnam’s trading with the world.

Addressing the event, PM Phuc applauded the eight localities’ attainments in COVID-19 prevention and control, social security ensuring, and economic development, which have joined the entire country’s efforts to defeat the pandemic.

He also highly valued their resolve in economic development and persistence with the initial targets set for this year.

Regarding the region’s development goal, he emphasised that this is the key among the four key economic regions of Vietnam, describing it as a “diamond octagon” in Southeast Asia as well as Asia given its economic development and healthy living environment.

The PM pointed out that the strength and competitiveness of this region outpace the others’, asking the localities to bring into play their solidarity and join hands to innovate and hold responsibility for national development.

Responding to proposals submitted at the meeting, PM Phuc assigned relevant agencies to devise special mechanisms for key economic regions, especially the southern one.

He told the Ministry of Planning and Investment to consider an aid package from the Government for the localities to invest in urgent infrastructure and transport facilities – a factor of leading importance in local socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance need to work on solutions to facilitate credit institutions’ engagement in infrastructure development projects, particularly those under the private-public partnership (PPP). The Ministry of Transport has to establish projects on boosting transport connectivity among industrial parks and economic zones in the region.

The eight localities need to prioritise developing digital economy, e-commerce, and the 5G network, which are crucial for high technology development, according to him.

At the session, the PM also asked them to implement the Government’s recently-issued Resolution 84/NQ-CP well so as to further tackle production and business difficulties and stimulate consumer demand which is an important driving force for GDP growth.

Prior to the meeting, PM Phuc had made a fact-finding tour of Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port in Phu My town, Phuoc An Bridge, the location of the Cai Mep Ha logistics project, and Hyosung Industrial Park in Ba Ria-Vung Tau./.

Viet Nam wood products exports increase by 6 per cent despite pandemic

Exports of wood and wood products in the first four months of the year were worth nearly US$3.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 6 per cent, according to the General Department of Customs.

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the wooden processing industry, thanks to Viet Nam’s effective control of the outbreak and competitors in Southeast Asia, the EU and the US having to stop production, businesses have found new markets, Le Minh Thien, chairman of the Binh Dinh [Province] Timber and Forest Products Association, said.

Besides, an improvement in the country’s business and investment environment has helped boost the industry’s manufacturing and export activities, he said.

Do Xuan Lap, chairman of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES), said thanks to its efficient pandemic control, Viet Nam has become an attractive investment destination for many wood processing companies with turnover in the billions of dollars.

Viet Nam expects the wood processing industry’s exports to top $12.5 billion this year, up 10 per cent from last year, according to VIFORES.

Of this, $8.68 billion will come from timber exports and $2.99 billion from wood products exports, with other forest products accounting for the rest.

So far this year exports to the US have seen a sharp rise, while there has been robust growth in shipments to Japan, the UK, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s department of import-export said.

With Japan and Canada also being members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), it said Vietnamese firms are starting to take advantage of the reduced tariffs under the trade deal to penetrate these markets.

With the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) set to take effect this year, Vietnamese firms can also look forward to similar tariff cuts by and increased exports to the EU, already one of Viet Nam’s major markets.

The country’s top 10 markets are the US, Japan, China, South Korea, the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, France, and the Netherlands.

Viet Nam mainly exports dressing tables and kitchens and bathroom furniture to the US and EU. Exports of outdoor and office furniture account for only 40 per cent of the total, and so there is great potential to increase them in future, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said.

The industry must restructure the whole production chain, from varieties of trees to promoting sustainable forest management, and implement its commitments under the EU-Viet Nam Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA-FLEGT) to ensure its exports of timber and wooden products come from legal sources, he said.

Design and branding are thus important factors in improving the competitiveness of Viet Nam’s furniture and other wooden products, he added.

Wooden and furniture products are mainly produced in southern and central provinces like Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, Tay Ninh, and Binh Dinh.