Shares retreated on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on Tuesday as selling pressure increased strongly towards the end of the session.

The VN-Index lost more than 10 points, or 0.69 per cent, to close the day at 1,466.45 points. The index increased 0.2 per cent on Monday.

The slump of heavyweight stocks was behind the downfall. Steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) was among the biggest decliners, down nearly 3 per cent, followed by Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR), down 2.8 per cent, Vinhomes (VHM), down 1.2 per cent and PV Gas (GAS), down 1.9 per cent. These four stocks alone were responsible for half of the VN-Index’s loss.

Financial stocks also underperformed when leading stocks such as Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), TienPhongBank (TPB), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and VNDirect Securities (VND) all sank in the red. Only some closed flat or increased slightly. Only insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) climbed 3 per cent while Military Bank (MBB) and Sacombank (STB) increased 0.2 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

On the bright side, logistics and transportation groups were big gainers with more than 30 stocks gaining value. Port of Hai Phong (PHP), Vietnam Airlines (HVN), Gemadept Corp (GMD), Hai An Transport and Stevedoring (HAH), Da Nang Port (CDN) and Vietnam Ocean Shipping (VOS) leapt between 2 and 7 per cent each.

Liquidity was maintained at a high level, however, with more than 1.2 billion shares worth VND34.8 trillion (US$1.5 billion) traded, slightly up compared to the previous session.

By contrast, on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index gained 1.79 per cent to end the session at 452.25 points, extending its rallying streak to nine consecutive rising sessions.

The northern bourse’s index has climbed nearly 27 per cent since early October with only three declines out of 33 sessions.

Liquidity decreased, however, with nearly 194 million shares worth VND4.6 trillion, down 8.5 per cent in volume and 11.7 per cent in value compared to Monday’s figures.

Foreign traders remained being net buyers on both exchanges, picking up shares worth a net buy value of VND307 billion.

According to Viet Dragon Securities (VDSC), the stock market continued to diverge and showed signs of profit taking. Many pennies and midcaps still maintained their upward momentum but investors need to be careful with this group of stocks to avoid short-term risks.

“Although the market still maintains its uphill momentum, the increasing force is gradually weakening. We also need to pay attention to having a reasonable defence strategy,” Bao Nguyen, VDSC’s stock analyst said in the company’s report.

B&T wind power farm cluster inaugurated in Quang Binh

B&T wind power farm cluster inaugurated in Quang Binh hinh anh 1

The B&T wind power farm cluster with a capacity of 252 MW was inaugurated in Quang Ninh and Le Thuy districts, the central province of Quang Binh on November 16.

As one of the largest wind power farms in Vietnam to complete commercial electricity generation, the cluster comprises BT1 farm in Quang Ninh district with 26 turbines, and BT2 farm with 24 turbines in the first stage and 10 turbines in the second stage.

It is expected to generate 648 million kWh of clean electricity, or 60 percent of total power consumption in Quang Ninh, contributing to reducing 581,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

It is the third project by AMI AC Renewables Co. Ltd that has gone into operation, following the 50 MWp AMI Khanh Hoa and 30 MWp BNT Dak Lak solar power farms that generated electricity for commercial use in 2019./.

Reference exchange rate up 7 VND

The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate at 23,114 VND/USD on November 17, up 7 VND from the rate on the previous day.

With the current trading band of  +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applicable to commercial banks during the day is 23,807 VND/USD and the floor rate 22,420 VND/USD.

The opening-hour rate at commercial banks stayed stable.

At 8:25 am, Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,520 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,750 VND/USD, unchanged from November 16.

Similarly, BIDV also kept both rates unchanged, listing at 22,550 VND/USD (buying) and 22,750 VND/USD (selling)./.

Gold prices set new peak of over VND61 million per tael

Domestic gold prices continued to enjoy a considerable rise on November 16 to surpass the VND61 million per tael mark, reaching a new peak for this year.

This comes after the trading session on November 16 witnessed the Saigon Gold and Jewelry Company quote its SJC gold price at VND60.65 million for buying and VND61.37 for selling in Hanoi.

Elsewhere, trading in Ho Chi Minh City saw buying and selling prices for gold bars quoted by the company at VND60.65 million and VND61.35 million per tael, respectively.

These latest price changes represent rises of VND550,000 for buying and selling each in comparison with the prices recorded on November 15.

Furthermore, Doji Group in Hanoi listed each tael of SJC gold at between VND60.45 million and VND61.15 million for buying and selling, marking respective increases of VND650,000 and VND550,000 compared to the prices recorded on the previous day.

Gold in Ho Chi Minh City was priced at between VND60.6 million and VND61.1 million per tael for buying and selling, showing increases of VND500,000 and VND400,000 per tael in terms of buying and selling from the prior day.

In terms of a global perspective, the trading session on November 16 witnessed the world’s gold prices hover at approximately US$1,864 per ounce.

Moreover, gold prices on November 15 reached US$1,866.03 per ounce, the highest level seen over the past five months due to people becoming increasingly worried about inflation, with gold viewed as a safe haven asset that can be bought.

In relation to the local forex market, the State Bank of Vietnam moved to adjust the exchange rate of major foreign currencies, with US$1 now being exchanged for VND23,107.

Vietnam - US trade likely to hit US$100 billion this year

The trade turnover between Vietnam and the US this year is expected to reach US$100 billion, increasing more than 200 times compared to 1995, heard a forum on bilateral trade promotion on November 16.

Delegates share opportunities to ramp up exports to the US and avoid lawsuits. (Photo: VNA)
Bilateral trade has increased hundreds of times, from just US$451 million in 1995 when Vietnam and the US normalized diplomatic ties to US$90.8 billion in 2020, revealed Hoang Quang Phong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The first eight months of this year saw bilateral trade gross US$73 billion and the figure is expected to reach US$100 billion later this year, said Phong.

Despite the global supply disruption caused by COVID-19, many US businesses have stepped up negotiations to invest in Vietnam’s manufacturing and processing, clean energy, aviation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals among other areas.

Vietnam is the 10th largest trading partner of the US, with its exports increasing by 230% over the past five years. Meanwhile, the US is also the largest trading partner of Vietnam, with its exports also soaring by more than 175% in the reviewed period.

The wood processing industry is among those that have brought much hard currency from the US market, according to Ngo Sy Hoai, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFOREST).

Vietnam is currently the largest exporter of wood products to the US, while it is the second largest consumer of the US’s wood materials after China.

This year, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, wood exports to the US is anticipated to reach only US$8 billion, lower than the US$10 billion target set at the beginning of the year.

Yet, Hoai believed that Vietnam’s wood exports to the US – a market of approximately 300 million consumers – would leap to US$10 billion in the near future.

At the forum, speakers pointed out that Vietnamese businesses are keen to penetrate the large, lucrative US market, in terms of capital, science and technology, and management skills. Meanwhile, US businesses expect Vietnam to carry out extensive reforms to make its business and investment environment more attractive.

However, they warned the US is tending to increase protection through new regulations and standards on food safety, product origin and quality, barring Vietnamese exports. In addition, Vietnam exports large amounts of products to the US, but most of them are raw products.

Experts suggested that businesses increase deep processing and meet requirements on origin of production materials, to avoid trade defense lawsuits.

Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh noted it is necessary to develop a roadmap to elevate the two countries’ relations from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic partnership which is in line with the interests of both Vietnam and the US, as well as with Vietnam’s foreign policy and its relationship with other countries.

According to the former ambassador, the US is yet to return to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), but it has put forward many initiatives on climate change, renewable energy, digital trade, and infrastructure development.

These are new potential areas of cooperation between the two countries, stressed the diplomat.

He suggested that both countries consider another free trade agreement and increase consultations to remove obstacles and penetrate each other’s markets.

NextTech launches US$50 million blockchain fund

The NextTech Group has announced the Next100 Blockchain (next100.vc/blockchain) investment fund, which has a fund size of US$50 million that focuses on investing in equities and digital assets (Tokens) in blockchain technology start-ups in the early stages.

Through an exclusive 8-way due diligence approach, Next100 Blockchain intends to become an essential reputational indicator, to be a "lighthouse" that help the Crypto investing community relieve unpleasant stories in the context of up to 80 per cent of blockchain projects with crowdfunding classified as frauds.

NextTech aspires to be a reputable foundation for reliable and competent Blockchain technology start-ups. Next100 Blockchain was established as a specialised investment fund for blockchain technology start-ups in Viet Nam and all around the world. Blockchain start-ups that get funded by Next100 Blockchain will have access to the broad Blockchain Community through the AntLaunch platform of the Antex.org Ecosystem and the Stable Coin VNDT.com.

“The most distinguishing features of Next100 Blockchain is the comprehensive evaluation system and stamp affirming the capacity and legitimacy of the project team. Further to that, the investor enables communication to engage Blockchain Start-ups to the Crypto investment community and other reputable funds around the world, forming a launching pad for a strong Start-up to reach out to the global Crypto market,” said Shark Nguyen Hoa Binh, Founder and Chairman of the venture.

Blockchain technology is progressively becoming a major global technological trend, and the Crypto investment fever that burst during the COVID-19 outbreak has turned it into a substantial financial investment channel. According to research published by CB Insight, global blockchain startups raised $4.38 billion in the second quarter of 2021, an exponential rise of more than 50 per cent over the previous quarter and nearly 9 times the amount raised in the same period last year. Notwithstanding the pandemic's difficult dynamics, the number and total value of community investments in Blockchain enterprises in Viet Nam have surged significantly over the last two years. 

Vietnam, Czech Republic boost cooperation in auto manufacturing

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai hosted a reception in Hanoi on November 16 for Ambassador of the Czech Republic Vítězslav Grepl and a delegation from Skoda Auto, a car maker of the Czech Republic, who came to seek partners to build an automobile factory in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Hai said the exchange of high-level delegations over the past years has created a driving force for bilateral economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries.

He added that Vietnam’s auto industry has grown rapidly over the past three years and welcomed Skoda Auto's plan to invest in Vietnam. The presence of Skoda vehicles in Vietnam will help diversify the domestic auto market, Hai said.

Grepl, for his part, expressed his hope that auto manufacturing will become a focus of bilateral cooperation in the future.

Ondrej Cerny, a representative of Skoda Auto, said the car maker was established in 1985 in the Czech Republic and is part of Volkswagen Group.
 
The company plans to build an auto factory in Quang Ninh and begin exporting automobiles by 2023, he said, adding that he hoped the Vietnamese Government, ministries and agencies will offer all possible support for Skoda Auto.

Hai said Vietnam signed 14 free trade agreements with countries in and outside the region, especially commitments related to the auto industry in ASEAN, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. Therefore, he suggested the Czech Republic side thoroughly consider Vietnam’s international commitments as well as domestic laws to carry out investment.

As of October 2021, the Czech Republic has invested in 38 valid projects worth 91.23 million USD, ranking 49th out of 140 countries and territories investing in Vietnam./.

Forum seeks ways to promote Vietnam - US trade in new context

Trade has become a pillar of the growing bilateral relationship between Vietnam and the US, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Hoang Quang Phong said on November 16.

Speaking at a forum on promoting Vietnam-US trade in the new context, jointly organised by the VCCI, Business Forum Magazine and Vietnam Airlines in Hanoi, Phong said that Vietnam has been attractive to US businesses with a market of nearly 100 million consumers, positive growth, open policies, close connection with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market and other major markets in the world thanks to a network of free trade agreements.

The forum was held on the occasion of a regular commercial flight route between Vietnam and the US that was officially established by Vietnam Airlines to promote trade cooperation between the two nations.

Remarkable progress has been made since Vietnam and the US normalised their relations, meeting the interests of the governments, people and business communities of the two countries, Phong said.

He said that despite the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and its complicated developments which disrupted the supply chains, 2020 was the first year that the total trade turnover between Vietnam and the US has exceeded the 90 billion USD benchmark, reaching 90.8 billion USD.

Vietnam has become the 10th largest trading partner of the US, while the US is also the largest trading partner of Vietnam. Vietnam is one of the first countries in Asia to sign a trade agreement with the US.

Many commercial investment opportunities between the two countries will be opened up when there is a regular direct flight of Vietnam Airlines connecting the two countries, Phong said.

Vietnam's export turnover to the US has increased by 230 percent, while exports from the US to Vietnam have also grown by more than 175 percent over the past five years. Key Vietnamese products exported to the US are machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts.

Participants at the forum exchanged views on issues related to the ways businesses can adopt to ensure their interests and tariff preferences when exporting to the US as well as matters that they should pay attention to meet high standards of product quality and dealing with technical barriers.

At the forum, Charles Ranado, Commercial Counselor of the US Embassy in Vietnam, handed over a certificate of routine flight licence to Vietnam Airlines, making it the first and only airline of Vietnam permitted to operate regular flights to the US at present./.

Auto market to continue growing: experts

The domestic auto market is expected to grow further in the remaining months of this year after expanding up to 120 percent in October, experts have said.

The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) said on November 16 that vehicle sales of its members reached 29,797 last month.

Of the total sales, there were 19,865 passenger cars, up 138 percent month on month; 9,492 commercial vehicles, up 94 percent; and 404 specialised vehicles, up 45 percent.

In terms of origin, the sales of domestically assembled and imported cars hit 15,344 units and 14,453 units, increasing 110 percent and 132 percent compared to September, respectively.

The association attributed the impressive rise to COVID-19 prevention and control measures rolled out by the Government.

In the first 10 months of this year, the total sales of VAMA members reached 218,734 vehicles of all types, up 3 percent from the corresponding time last year.

Experts said the January-October sales did not fully reflect the entire Vietnamese car market because the brands of Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Volvo did not disclose their figures.

Looking at the sales of automobile brands in Vietnam last month, Hyundai secured the first place. It was followed by Toyota, Kia, Ford, VinFast, Mazda and Honda./. 

Vietnam enjoys 10-month trade surplus of US$125 million

Vietnam racked up a trade surplus of US$2.74 billion during October to bring its trade surplus during the opening 10 months of the year to US$125 million, according to figures released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

This comes following the country’s total import and export value of goods in October expanding by 2.4% to US$55 billion from the previous month.

Of the figure, export value surged by 6.8% to US$28.87 billion, while imports dropped by 2.0% to US$26.13 billion.

These represent positive signs for the national economy due to exports bouncing back and demand from the global market showing gradual recovery.

In the reviewed period, the country’s total import and export value enjoyed a surge of 22.6% to US$539.42 billion against the same period from last year, of which exports and imports rose by 17.4% and 28.5% to reach US$269.77 billion and US$269.65 billion, respectively.

Furthermore, the foreign-invested sector grossed US$197.49 billion from exports throughout the reviewed period, an annual increase of 20.8%, while the sector's imports surged by 31% on-year to US$176.54 billion.

Vietnamese trade exchanges with Asia soared by 23.6% on-year to US$349.12 billion, thereby accounting for the highest proportion of 64.7% in terms of the nation’s total import-export value.

Moreover, the country’s trade turnover with the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa also picked up by 23.1%, 12.9%, 44%, and 24.2%, respectively.

Investment capital to Quang Tri surges 10-fold since start of 2021

As of mid-November, the central province of Quang Tri had granted investment licences to 56 projects with total registered capital of nearly 69.6 trillion VND (3.05 billion USD), up 10-fold against the same period last year. 

The increase was attributed to Quang Tri’s efforts in COVID-19 prevention and control and maintaining socio-economic development. The province has also bolstered administrative reforms and support for investors.   

The energy sector attracts the highest amount of capital, particularly wind and gas-fired power.

Since the start of this year, Quang Tri has given in principle approval to a number of major wind power projects, namely the Huong Linh No.5 with more than 1.34 trillion VND and Huong Hiep No.2 worth 1.37 million VND.
 
As many as 17 wind power projects in the province were put into commercial operations before November 1 to enjoy the Government’s incentive, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vo Van Hung.
 
In regards to gas-fired power, in October, local authorities granted permission to the Hai Lang LNG power centre project – first phase, with a capacity of 1,500MW and registered capital near 53 trillion VND.
 
The project, located at the province’s south-east economic zone, is expected to come into commercial operation by 2026-27./.

Next-decade Finance Strategy to boost economic recovery

It is urgent for Vietnam to develop financial and budgetary solutions to stablise the macro-economy and boost economic recovery and development post-COVID-19, Deputy Finance Minister Vo Thanh Hung told the Vietnam Finance Forum 2021 on November 16.

This year’s event was themed “Finance Strategy for the 2021 – 2030 period: Solutions for Economic Recovery and Development in Vietnam.”

Also speaking at the event, Dr. Nguyen Nhu Quynh, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Finance’s National Institute for Finance (NIF) said according to the next decade’s Finance Strategy, the national finance policy plays a pioneering role in effectively mobilizing, distributing and using both domestic and foreign resources, and directing the resources into fulfilling priority socio-economic development goals in each certain period of time.

It is important for the country to focus more on improving policies to effectively mobilise resources for development, enhancing business climate and accelerating the mobilization of non-State resources, Quynh said.

He also emphasized the need to tighten control of State budget deficit, properly manage public debts and step by step provide more fiscal space for heightening the national finance’s resilience.

Vice Chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission Dr. Vu Nhu Thang said to develop a healthy and efficient financial market and minimise impacts of systemic crises, Vietnam must reform the financial sector through facilitating fair competition and stability of the banking system.

He further urged for the improvement of financial infrastructure to enable the country to keep up with the ever-changing fintech trends./.

More effective use of trade remedy tools needed when joining FTA: experts

Trade remedies should be utilised more and in a more effective way to ensure fair competition and protect domestic production in the context of Viet Nam’s deeper integration into the global economy through more free trade agreements (FTAs), according to experts.

Trade remedies are measures allowed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to prevent unfair competition such as dumping and subsidies for imported goods. These also prevent a sudden surge of imported goods which has the potential to cause serious damage to domestic manufacturing industries.

The demand for the use of trade remedy tools will also be higher along with the development of global trade. Trade remedies have been recognised by many countries as a necessary tool to stabilise domestic production and protect employment for domestic labourers.

Viet Nam has so far joined 15 Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and is negotiating two other FTAs. Among the 14 FTAs that have come into force, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Viet Nam-European Union Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the UK-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) are three new generation FTAs with comprehensive commitments in many economic and trade fields.

The signing of these agreements helps expand the market, attract investment, and bring competitive advantages to Viet Nam's exports, but also puts domestic production at risk of fraud of origin, illegal transfer of goods and evasion of trade remedies tax.

To deal with the issues, the Government of Viet Nam and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have developed many projects and programmes to improve the capacity of Vietnamese businesses relating to using trade remedies.

Specifically, the Prime Minister approved two projects on "Strengthening state management on combating evasion of trade remedies and origin fraud", and "Building and effectively operating an early warning system on trade remedy" with the aim of preventing and responding to foreign trade remedy lawsuits, towards sustainable exports.

A project on enhancing trade remedy capacity in the context of Viet Nam’s participation in new generation FTAs was also ratified. It creates a comprehensive framework to enhance the effectiveness of trade remedies and improve knowledge and capacity of enterprises on trade remedies.

The overall goal of the project is to perfect the legal system on trade remedies to ensure their consistency with international commitments, new generation FTAs, and the interests of the economy in the process of international integration as well as to effectively use trade remedies to protect domestic production and benefits of consumers.

The project will focus on reviewing legal documents in the field of trade remedies in the 2022-2025 period, thereby proposing amending the Law on Foreign Trade Management or developing a Law on Trade Remedies.

Currently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is actively co-ordinating with relevant ministries and agencies to develop a plan of action to carry out the project, ensuring the full implementation of the set goals, and protecting legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese manufacturing industries and enterprises in the process of participating in FTAs. 

Experts discuss measures to sustainably develop blue economy

The Vietnam Institute of Economics (VIE) on November 16 held a webinar named “Blue economy: Opportunities, challenges and solutions for sustainable development”, aiming to seek ways to develop the sea-based economy, build the blue economy, and ensure harmony between socio-economic development and environmental protection.

In his opening remarks, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Bui Quang Tuan, VIE Director, said that Vietnam has a favourable geographical position for the sea-based economy with more than 3,260 km of coastline spanning 28 provinces and cities. Coastal provinces and cities contribute about 47-48 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), of which the marine economic sectors contribute about 20-22 percent of GDP.

However, the country’s sea-based economy still faces major challenges related to marine environment and resources, climate change, sea level rise and livelihoods of local people, stated Tuan.

Assessing the current sustainable development status of Vietnam's coastal economic zones, Dr. Le Van Hung from the Institute for Regional Sustainable Development said that many coastal economic zones have not been able to create remarkable spillover effects as the quality of investment projects is still low, and investment capital has so far focused on industries that use much resources and energy such as petrochemical, steel, cement, and thermal power.

Talking about the marine environmental security in Vietnam, Dr. Ha Huy Ngoc from the Vietnam Institute of Economics said that the nation’s marine environment is under great pressure from domestic socio-economic development, international trade and cross-border impacts. The main sources of waste causing environmental pollution and directly affecting people's health are 878 urban areas and 369 industrial zones, about two thirds of which are located in coastal areas.

In order to develop based on the sea and benefit from the sea, Vietnam needs to balance the exploitation and preservation of the values that the sea brings, and promptly address and prevent problems related to marine environment security, Ngoc said.

According to the researcher, priority should be given to expanding the system of marine and island conservation zones to create long-term reserves, as well as promoting international and regional cooperation to peacefully solve the risks of conflicts of interest from the sea.

At the webinar, experts proposed Vietnam develop and issue a governance framework to respond to environmental disasters, and promulgate specific regulations to strengthen control over maritime and island environmental pollution./.

Vietnam’s farm produce exports to Australia post good growth

Despite difficulties brought by COVID-19, Vietnam’s farm produce exports to Australia enjoyed positive growth, gradually conquering one of the most challenging markets in the world.

Head of the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia Nguyen Phu Hoa said Vietnamese brands have been gaining increasing trust in Australia, following a programme on building brands of Vietnamese products over the past years and efforts made by businesses.

Statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that two-way trade neared 9.1 billion USD in the first nine months of 2021, a year-on-year surge of 50 percent.

 

It is noteworthy that farm produce exports expanded by 32 percent. Australian firms have reduced rice imports from other countries but still purchased a large volume of the grain from Vietnam.
 
Vietnam and Australia recently announced an Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy, aiming to soon bring the bilateral trade to 15 billion USD and open up chances for Vietnamese exporters to penetrate the Australian market in the coming time.
 
Vietnam has carried out numerous projects and programmes to help the domestic business community improve their capacity and capitalise on free trade agreements (FTAs). The Ministry of Industry and Trade has set up a website on FTAs to provide information on the deals and Vietnam's commitments. It also launched the Viet-Aus Trade app last year, which offers support and information for exporters.
 
At the same time, firms have paid due attention to gaining Certificates of Origin (C/O) for their products in a bid to be exempted from tariffs in accordance with the FTAs, Hoa added.
 
According to him, maintaining quality of products is the most important factor to keep competitive advantage. Exporters are also advised to keep updated on the Australian market in order to be prepared for arising problems./.

Nearly 93.4 percent of power users shift to cashless payment

Some 93.38 percent of electricity customers have shifted to cashless payment so far, compared to last year’s 91.72 percent, according to the State-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

Non-cash payment has been highly regarded by users as a safer and more convenient way to pay power bills as it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting physical contact.

The EVN has been providing cashless payment services on its customer services mobile app, official websites and the national public services portal. Additionally, the group has cooperated with banks and payment intermediary service providers to offer customers with a wide range of options to make digital payments, for examples, through banking accounts, e-wallets and QR codes.

The company has also worked with its partners to give away promo codes and gifts in a bid to encourage more users to turn to non-cash payment.

According to AppotaPay's forecast, Vietnam’s cashless payment market will grow strongly in the next three to five years. In particular, mobile money and e-wallets will be key services to help expand non-cash payments share in Vietnam.

A recent report by the Government showed out that cashless payments continue to become more popular, topping 36.28 quadrillion VND (1.6 billion USD) in the first nine months of 2021.

During the period, 435.25 million transactions worth 22.78 quadrillion VND were made via the Internet, up 54.1 percent in volume and 30.7 percent in value. More than 1.19 billion others worth over 13.5 quadrillion VND were conducted via mobile phone, surging 74.98 percent in volume and 93.69 percent in value./.

Vietnam, Suriname look to expand economic cooperation

Vietnamese Ambassador to Brazil and Suriname Pham Thi Kim Hoa has vowed to do her utmost to develop good friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Suriname at a meeting with President of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi following the ambassador's presentation of credentials.

Ambassador Hoa congratulated the Surinamese people on the economic achievements they have made under the leadership of President Santokhi.

She emphasized the necessity to expand the bilateral economic partnership as it is yet to match both sides’ potentials.

Welcoming the ambassador to his country, President Santokhi expressed his respect for Vietnamese people, vowing that he will provide the best conditions for Vietnamese living in Suriname.

On November 12, the Vietnamese Ambassador held a meeting with Surinamese Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Albert Ramdi, during which Ramdin highly spoke of Vietnam’s role in the international community.

He said Suriname will support Vietnam at multilateral forums and step up the exchange of all-level delegations in the coming time, adding that the country wants to learn from Vietnam’s experience in post-harvest processing, particularly of rice and fisheries.

The Vietnamese diplomat also met with President of the Suriname Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jaynath Padarath to discuss ways to accelerate trade and expand cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and wood, as well as in the organisation of training courses and exchange programmes in agriculture.

Ambassador Hoa also took the occasion to talk with the Vietnamese community in the South American country, most of whom used to work as sailors on fishing boats of Suriname, the Republic of Korea and India./.

Southern region urged to speed up key projects on air connectivity

Construction of key projects enhancing air connectivity between HCM City and areas in the southern key economic zone needs to begin on time to avoid financial losses, experts have said.

The new passenger terminal T3 at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City is expected to start in December, but its investor - the State-run Airports Corporation of Việt Nam (ACV) - said it was still waiting for 16ha of vacant land required for the project managed by the Ministry of National Defence.

Meanwhile, construction of component projects of Long Thành International Airport project in Đồng Nai Province, a national key project, is three to six months behind schedule.

By 2025, the new airport is expected to relieve overloading at the Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport.

Đỗ Tất Bình, deputy director of ACV, said that construction of passenger terminal T3 of Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport might lag behind schedule.

The defence ministry has completed a plan to hand over the 16ha area in Tân Bình District, and is waiting for a decision from the municipal People’s Committee, but ACV has not yet received a response in writing from the People's Committee, reported the Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper.

After the decision is made, new procedures will take a lot of time, at least the next six months.

“Due to the urgency of the project, authorised agencies should hand over the land to soon start construction first, and the procedures can be finished later,” Bình said.

The new passenger terminal T3 project has total investment capital of nearly VNĐ11 trillion (US$483.5 million) and is expected to be completed within 37 months.

The new terminal will serve 20 million passengers per year and help to reduce the load on Tân Sơn Nhất Airport.

“If the project is delayed for even one year, thousands of billions of Vietnamese đồng would be lost,” Bình said.

When the pandemic is under control, the demand for travelling abroad will be high and will put pressure on Tân Sơn Nhất Airport, Trần Du Lịch, a member of the Prime Minister's economic advisory group, said.

By 2025, Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport will still play a very important role in contributing to the city’s economic recovery and the country’s development.

It will still handle 45 million passengers a year even when the new Long Thành Airport is officially put into operation.

Long Thành will accommodate 80 per cent of international visitors and 20 per cent of domestic visitors, while Tân Sơn Nhất will carry 20 per cent of international tourists and 80 per cent of local tourists to the city.

“The new passenger terminal must be built to increase the service capability of Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport as soon as possible, and we should not wait for the Long Thành International Airport to be completed,” Lịch said.

Nguyễn Thiện Tống, an aviation expert, said the expansion of Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport is designed in sync with the construction of Long Thành International Airport.

“Therefore, it is impossible to delay completion of the facilities at the two airports, because this is considered as an airport cluster, not a separate project serving specific needs of each area,” he said.

The delay in administrative procedures is one of the causes for the slow construction progress of Terminal T3 project.

“Relevant authorities need to have solutions to remove obstacles from legal procedures to speed up construction of the new terminal,” he said.

Lê Văn Tiếp, chairman of Long Thành District’s People’s Committee in Đồng Nai Province, said the implementation of social distancing measures in the fight against COVID-19 has affected progress in land clearance, compensation and resettlement for affected households.

Around 3,800ha of 5,000ha of total land area required for the new airport project have been handed over by local authorities.

There also have slow construction works of resettlement areas in Lộc An and Bình Sơn communes.

“The procedures for transferring licences and land use rights of more than 900 cases have not yet been completed, which is one of the biggest problems we are facing now,” Tiếp said.

The province is setting up a working group to remove problems in site clearance compensation and other issues.

The central budget has allocated 100 per cent of the total investment capital of VNĐ22.85 trillion (about $1 billion) for the new airport project, but the disbursement is low compared with schedule, reaching only 47 per cent of the total investment capital.

The province has proposed that the Government make adjustments to its feasibility study report on the Long Thành International Airport project, aiming to save more than VNĐ4.1 trillion ($180.3 million) but still ensuring good living conditions for residents moving into resettlement areas.

It also asked to be allowed to use the savings for building a new six-lane provincial highway which will connect National Highway No 51 and the Long Thành International Airport’s back gate at a cost of VNĐ7 trillion ($307.8 million).

Lương Minh Phúc, head of the HCM City Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment, said the unit in collaboration with the city’s Department of Transport and authorities of Tân Bình District are preparing to begin construction of several traffic infrastructure works to ease congestion in areas around the Tân Sơn Nhất airport and link with the new Teminal T3.

Construction of a new road connecting Trần Quốc Hoàn and Cộng Hòa streets in Tân Bình District is expected to start in the first quarter next year and to be completed within 18 months.

It also includes building two underpasses at Phan Thúc Duyện - Trần Quốc Hoàn and Trường Chinh - Tân Kỳ Tân Quý intersections and an overpass in front of the new terminal.

Hoàng Hoa Thám and Tân Kỳ Tân Quý streets and a section of Cộng Hòa Street will be upgraded and expanded, with investment costs of hundreds of billions of đồng. 

Finance forum looks into solutions for economic recovery

The nation must devise financial and budgetary solutions aimed at stablising the macro-economy and boosting economic recovery and development in the post-COVID-19 period, Deputy Finance Minister Vo Thanh Hung said on November 16 at the Vietnam Finance Forum 2021.

As part of his address at this year’s “Finance Strategy for the 2021 – 2030 period: Solutions for Economic Recovery and Development in Vietnam” event, Dr. Nguyen Nhu Quynh, deputy director of the Ministry of Finance’s National Institute for  Finance (NIF), said according to the next decade’s Finance Strategy, the national finance policy will have a pioneering role in effectively mobilising, distributing, and using both domestic and foreign resources.

This will primarily involve directing the resources into fulfilling priority socio-economic development goals in each phase.

He went on to urge that the nation must focus more on improving policies as it strives to effectively mobilise resources for the purpose of development, along with improving the local business climate and accelerating the mobilisation of non-State resources, Dr. Quynh said.

Dr. Quynh also underlined the necessity of tightening control of State budget deficit, properly managing public debts, and providing greater fiscal space for heightening the national finance’s resilience.

According to Dr. Vu Nhu Thang, vice chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Commission, as a means of developing a healthy and efficient financial market, along with minimizing the impact of systemic crises, the country should reform its financial sector. This should be done through facilitating fair competition and stability within the banking system.

He further urged improvements to be made to financial infrastructure in order to enable the country to keep up with the ever-changing Fintech trends.

Mekong Delta approves eco-tourism project in cajuput forest

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has approved the development of an eco-tourism and amusement area at the Trà Sư cajuput forest in Tịnh Biên District by 2030.

It will foster eco-tourism by protecting and conserving natural resources and biodiversity, attracting domestic and international visitors, and helping conserve the 845ha forest.

An Giang Tourimex has been given the approval to lease 158 hectares for 20 years and the remaining 686ha will be used for other eco-tourism activities.

Located just 150km from HCM City, Trà Sư is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna.

It is a typical cajuput forest on the western part of the Hậu River, a tributary of the Mekong. Waterways that cut through a forest of green melaleuca trees are a great way to reconnect with nature, breath in the fresh air and listen to the sound of chirping birds, a world away from the noise and bustle of cities.

Visitors can also enjoy watching locals harvest cajuput flower honey. Depending on the quality, a litre of this honey costs VNĐ300,000 to over 1 million (US$13 - 43).

During a tour, visitors travel by motorboat and switch to a rowing boat on reaching the heart of the forest. This is when they can see many birds foraging and nesting. The forest is home to about 70 species of birds, including storks and bitterns.

Last year Trà Sư was named the most beautiful forest in Việt Nam by the Việt Nam Records Organisation.

It will be the fourth forest in the delta to exploit eco-tourism, the other being Đất Mũi eco-tourism site in Cà Mau Province, Tràm Chim in Đồng Tháp and U Minh Thượng in Kiên Giang.

RoK’s robot giant enters Vietnamese billion-dollar smart toy market

Luxrobo, a robotics company from the Republic of Korea (RoK), has initiated plans to expand its presence in Vietnam by bringing MODI smart construction toys to the billion-dollar market.

Penetration into the Vietnamese market can also be considered a crucial step for the RoK’s robot giant as it seeks to expand its presence in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Being the fastest growing digital economy in the Asia-Pacific region, the country is a major market where learning to code can be considered key to the future success of young people. Indeed, the growth rate of the Vietnamese digital economy is anticipated to reach US$33 billion by 2025.

Sang Hun Oh, CEO of LUXROBO emphasized the need for next generations to learn how to code and use software as 99% of jobs will use robots or computers in the coming time. 

MODI is a smart building toy set for programming education from preschool to college. Alongside the hardware, there are tailored lessons that have been co-developed by Luxrobo in conjunction with global educational institutions such as UCLA.

The MODI smart construction toys feature over 14 different programmable modules that work in conjunction with the curriculum, whilst the MODI kit enables programming and customisation.

This results in almost limitless creations that are bounded only by the imagination as each of the toys have no open circuits, thereby making them safe for children of all ages.

LUXROBO has sold more than 50,000 MODI units in the RoK, with 1,000 schools also making using MODI as part of their curriculum.

With an estimated market size exceeding US$5 billion annually and an increasing standard of living, the Vietnamese toy market is set to represent an increasingly attractive destination to several toy brands in the near future.

Vietnam, RoK promote business cooperation

The Korea Federation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (KBIZ) and the South Chungcheong administration jointly held the 2021 Pitching Day to promote business cooperation between Vietnamese and Korean enterprises.

The event, held both physically and virtually, attracted the participation of leaders of South Chungcheong province, Daejeon and Sejong cities, and more than 50 businesses in the region.  

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung welcomed the RoK side’s initiative to host the Pitching Day, noting that discussions will help popularize and strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Chungcheong region, one of the leading administrative-scientific-industrial centers in the RoK, holds all favourable factors to pioneer in promoting trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, stressed the diplomat.

Given the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pitching Day is expected to help connect and create market access opportunities for both Vietnamese enterprises as well as Chungcheong SMEs, he said.

Chungcheong has cooperative relationships with a number of Vietnamese localities. Over the past years many of Vietnamese agricultural products, processed foods, and consumer goods have entered the local market of more than four million consumers.

The region is also home to a large Vietnamese community, with about 200 Vietnamese students currently studying at local education institutions.

HCM City clothing businesses face difficulties as demand drops

HCM City’s clothing businesses are struggling to reopen as the domestic market remains “frozen”, with low customer demand and business customers reluctant to buy clothing items and materials from each other.

Thai Trang, owner of a clothing and fashion business in District 5’s An Dong Market, which also supplies clothes to other fashion stores around HCM City and other provinces, told Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper that her market stall and factory had been closed since the end of May.

She has been struggling to find buyers since some of her customers in HCM City are still closed, are also struggling to sell, or are focusing on selling their own stock first.

Meanwhile, her customers in the Mekong Delta are worried about new COVID-19 outbreaks, thus refusing to buy from her.

Her business still has an abundance of summer clothing items produced before May.

“My 80 factory workers and nearly 10 vendor staff are eager to return to work, but these goods are hard to sell so it’s hard to resume production.”

Suppliers of textile and garment materials are also finding it difficult to sell their large amounts of stock.

Ly Thanh Sinh, director of Minh Long Hung Textile and Sewing JSC, told the newspaper that domestic businesses in the textile and garment industry are waiting for positive market developments.

He said the market is currently frozen and that customers visiting modern distribution channels such as malls and supermarkets are mostly buying essential goods, and wholesale clothing markets have not fully reopened.

Business customers from other provinces are reluctant to buy since transport of goods across provinces remains difficult.

“The domestic textile and garment industry has been hit just as heavily as the tourism industry. Demand stimulation is needed for the market to improve, but that requires locals to have money, and most locals are struggling to make a living and have to save money.”

Some large local businesses have been able to reopen, albeit slowly. Viet Thang Jeans Co., Ltd. recently reopened 12 stores across Vincom malls around the country, offering large discounts to attract customers.

Pham Van Viet, general director of the company, said that revenue has been poor, with stores only making up to VND2 million (US$88.9) per day, compared to VND10-15 million per day year-on-year.

According to the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association, local businesses have been focusing on expanding their domestic markets, but the fourth COVID-19 wave halted their plans. The pandemic situation is improving, so businesses are slowly resuming their goals.

HCM City, Viet Nam’s COVID epicentre, reopened on October 1 after months of strict lockdown measures, forcing many businesses to close down. 

BRG and Sumitomo to eye on Da Nang’s infrastructure projects

Local property developer BRG Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Group have submitted investment proposals as part of their ongoing development of key infrastructure and logistics networks upgrades in the central city. The proposals were submitted during a meeting with the city's leaders as part of Da Nang's development towards becoming a 'smart' city.

The city’s Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) said BRG and Sumitomo said they will strengthen logistics networks and the air and sea connections, to improve Da Nang’s resiliency and enhance economic growth.

It said the two businesses are willing to jointly promote the Lien Chieu deep-sea port, Da Nang International Airport, logistics centre and seaport and airport connections.

“It’s just a meeting in introducing the city’s capability and experience at investment promotion projects to key investors. The two investors have kept their eyes on infrastructure projects in Da Nang, but more details and further studies of projects are needed in the coming time,” said IPA Director Huynh Thi Lien Phuong.

“Da Nang plans to develop four key infrastructure bases, including a seaport and airport system; hi-tech industry and smart city; information technology digital economy and hi-tech agriculture in the Master Plan,” she said.

Last October, BRG Group commenced construction of the 36-storey BRG Da Nang Golf resort with a total investment of $71 million in Ngu Hanh Son district – three years after launching the five-star Sheraton Grand Da Nang resort.

The banking-real estate-golf group and Sumitomo have been developing a series of industrial parks in Ha Noi, Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc as well as Fiji Mart chains in Ha Noi.

BRG and Sumitomo have been developing a ‘smart’ urban area in the north of Ha Noi, with a total investment of $4.2 billion.

The BRG Group alone has been implementing a master plan for the development of Hoa Vang District northwest of Da Nang.

BRG Group, Japanese Sumitomo Group, VNPT Group, Vietnamese Seabank agreed on cooperation deals in fintech, developing smart cities and other projects in Tokyo 2019.

In 2020, experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) began a survey on the feasibility of the Lien Chieu Port construction project.

The development of Lien Chieu Port aims to turn the central city into the main logistics centre of ASEAN and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) that links Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The Universal Alloy Corporation (UAC) from the US launched the first stage of the $170 million Da Nang-based Sunshine Aerospace components manufacturing plant last year.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Fujikin International Incorporated from Japan started construction of an R&D centre at Da Nang High-Tech Park worth $35 million, while Japanese Daiwa Viet Nam also began building its third factory in the city with an investment of $40 million.

Da Nang has been calling for investment from Silicon Valley and the US in health care, hi-tech industries, Artificial Intelligence, education, real estate and automation at Da Nang hi-tech park and industrial zones.

Da Nang has drawn 503 projects, including 130 FDI worth $1.8 billion and VND27.56 trillion ($1.2 billion), from domestic investors. 

Vietnam Airlines to regularly fly direct to US late this month

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will operate its regular commercial direct flights to the United States, with the first such flight to start on November 28, announced Le Hong Ha, general director of Vietnam Airlines, on November 16.

Ha also revealed that the national airline has received its permit from the competent authority for conducting regular non-stop flights to the US.

It had documents approved by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the permit issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In the first phase, Ha said Vietnam Airlines will operate a route connecting Ho Chi Minh City and San Francisco with a frequency of two flights per week.

It will increase the number of its weekly direct flights to the US to seven as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and international routes are completely reopened,

The first Vietnam Airlines flight is scheduled to depart from Ho Chi Minh City on November 28 evening and last for about 13 hours 50 minutes. The return flight will take off from San Francisco on November 29 evening (local time) and land in Ho Chi Minh City on December 1 morning.

Wide-body aircraft Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be used to run on the route

Vietnam Airlines will become the first Vietnamese airline to be allowed to operate regular direct flights to the US which has the most stringent barriers, legal procedures and aviation security regulations in the world.

Ha said the airline is examining flight routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to other destinations in the US such as Los Angeles or Houston in the near future.

The US is a huge and potential air transport market, but is also the most competitive market in the world. Currently, there are about 20 airlines operating routes between Vietnam and the US.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS NOVEMBER 16

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS NOVEMBER 16

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