Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh welcomes Japanese investors to continue investment expansion in Viet Nam as the Southeast Asian country has switched away from zero COVID-19 policy to safe adaptation to the pandemic. 

Pham made the above statement during his meetings with leaders of Eneos, Aeon, Marubeni, Fast Retailing, Mitsui, and Sojitz groups in Tokyo on Tuesday. 

Pham, who is on an official visit to Japan, named a series of areas that Viet Nam gives priority to attracting foreign investment, such as renewable energy, sustainable development, climate change adaptation, digital transformation, innovation and human resource training.

Viet Nam is drafting a new national power development plan for the 2021-2030 with a focus on clean and renewable energy, said Pham.

He affirmed the Government of Viet Nam commits to creating an open, transparent and fair business environment for foreign investors, including those from Japan.

Leaders of the Japanese business giants highlighted Viet Nam's business climate has become increasingly improved and informed PM Pham about their investment plans in ASEAN member State.

Tsutomu Sugimori, Eneos Chairman and CEO said his company started investment in 1990s and became a strategic partner of the Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) in 2016.

Aeon, which has poured US$1.18 billion in Viet Nam since 2014, planned to double the number of its trade centers in the country, according to Aeon President and CEO Motoya Okada.

Fast Retailing began business operation in Viet Nam since 2018 and Uniqlo – a wholly owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing is now the partner of 45 garment companies in Viet Nam, said Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing Chairman and CEO.

Masayoshi Fujimoto, Sojitz President and CEO said Sojitz runs 17 joint ventures in Viet Nam with total revenue of around US$ 1 billion./.

Construct ceramics offer huge export opportunity: trade ministry

With its exports of ceramics for the countruction sector accounting for just 0.9 per cent of the global total, Viet Nam has much more room to boost export of the products, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Its Centre for Industry and Trade Information said the country was the ninth largest exporter in 2016-20, with the value growing at an average 8.2 per cent a year.

Despite COVID-19, its exports grew by 9.9 per cent last year to US$375.5 million.

Yet, Viet Nam's exports are very modest compared even to regional competitors such as Thailand, the centre said.

A study on the global ceramics market by global market research company Technavio found that the ceramics market is expected to reach $64.52 billion by 2025 driven by factors such surging demand for lightweight and high-performance materials.

A spokesperson for the centre said there is huge potential for construction ceramic exports since the material is widely used in structural details of buildings from masonry and paving to wall cladding and hollow aggregates for lightweight concrete.

Acid- and heat-resistant ceramic products are also widely used in the chemical, metallurgy and other industries, he said.

They are durable and have a long life, are made from local raw materials, come in a diverse range, meet various demands from customers, their production technology is relatively simple, and their cost is competitive, he added.

The ministry said to promote the industry, it is necessary to establish centres for processing and standardising raw materials.

But it is also necessary to take advantage of tariff preferences offered by free trade agreements, import modern production technologies and machinery and expand global market share, it said.

Ceramic products are made in a number of craft villages in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces and Ha Noi, with Bat Trang Ceramic Village in Ha Noi’s Gia Lam District being the oldest and most famous in the country. 

IMO Secretary-General hails Vietnam's maritime development potential

IMO Secretary-General hails Vietnam's maritime development potential hinh anh 1

Vietnam has great potential for developing maritime industry, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Kitack Lim said during a meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long at the IMO’s headquarters in London on November 22.

The IMO official appreciated the dynamic development of Vietnam's maritime industry over the past two decades, saying that with a large population and a quality workforce, Vietnam has great advantages in the field of shipbuilding and supply of ship navigation equipment.

With its geographical position in the Indo-Pacific region, Vietnam also has favourable conditions to cooperate with countries that have strengths in maritime industry such as Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, and China, he said.

For his part, Ambassador Long affirmed that the coastal and marine economy plays an important role in economic development of Vietnam, as the country has a long coastline and deep-water seaports in all three regions of the country, and is connected to the East-West economic corridor.

He suggested Secretary-General Lim assist Vietnam in improving its maritime capacity, thus turning maritime development potential into national advantages, practically contributing to the nation’s economic development and position.

According to the IMO official, one of the issues of great concern of the shipping industry is climate change. He noted that IMO will have to raise its carbon emissions reduction target to catch up with international trends.

He stressed that this is the time for coastal countries to comprehensively promote maritime activities.

The official also affirmed IMO’s readiness to support Vietnam in building maritime capacity as well as raising Vietnam's role in IMO.

IMO is a United Nations agency with 174 member countries. It works to ensure the legal framework and the safety and security of shipping and prevent marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

Vietnam became the 126th member of IMO in June 1984. So far, Vietnam has joined 24 important Conventions and Protocols of the organization.

Vietnam's maritime and search and rescue activities have been highly valued by IMO. In 2020 and 2021, two search and rescue crew members of the Vietnam Maritime search and Rescue Coordination Center (Vietnam MRCC) were honoured by the organization for their prominent performance in their duties./.

US firms offer development suggestions to the south

A conference entitled “Meet the USA: Partnering for Reopening, Recovery and Rebound in the Southern Economic Region” was held both online and offline in Ho Chi Minh City on November 23.

The event was co-hosted by the Foreign Ministry’s External Affairs Department and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung said the event takes place at a time when the country is hard hit by the pandemic, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces.

He thanked US firms for partnering with the Vietnamese Government in the fight against the pandemic and lobbying the US Government to offer vaccines to Vietnam.

The Deputy Minister wished that the Vietnamese-US business community would continue working closely with the Vietnamese ministries, agencies and localities and directly engage in developing bilateral economic ties between the two countries.

Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Vietnam Marie Damour said the US is proud of contributing to Vietnam’s fight against the pandemic, especially the vaccination campaign, with 20 million vaccine doses, 16 million of them have arrived in Vietnam. The US has also helped Vietnam with nearly 30 million USD in cash.

She described Vietnam as the 10th largest trade partner of the US and an important part in the global supply chain. Therefore, the event afforded both sides a chance to discuss ways to restore production, boost recovery and develop the economy.

Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan affirmed the city's determination to continue with administrative reform to improve business climate in the city, quickly complete market economy institutions, create a legal environment of fairness, equality and healthy competition for all economic sectors at home and abroad, and resolutely fight corruption.

Ho Chi Minh City will maintain regular dialogues with domestic and foreign business communities to make timely policy adjustments for the benefits of the city and the business community, he said, adding that the city is ready to take the lead in initiating and piloting new models and mechanisms to foster partnerships with enterprises and southern localities.

During the two sessions of the conference, leaders of southern cities and provinces pledged to offer all possible support to firms, including those from the US, to do long-term business there.

Representatives from AmCham and US enterprises also offered recommendations to help with sustainable economic recovery and development and expressed their confidence in economic growth in Vietnam in general and localities in the southern economic region in particular./.

Vietnam, Russia boost agricultural, aquatic trade ties

Delegates at a forum on November 23 suggested Vietnamese firms further study the Russian market to increase the export of agricultural and aquatic products to the country.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam speaks at the forum. (Photo: VNA)
The online forum was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development (MARD), the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, the Russian Embassy in Vietnam, and the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia.

According to MARD Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam, Vietnam is holding No. 1 position in trade turnover with Russia in Southeast Asia, and is Russia’s sixth largest trade partner in Asia-Pacific.

Two-way trade reached US$4.5 billion during the 2018-2020 period, of which farm produce accounted for around 18-20%, or US$900 million each year.

In the first 10 months of this year, Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery export to Russia stood at US$469 million, up 32.6% year-on-year.

Vietnam mainly shipped aquatic products, coffee, cashew nuts, fruit, tea, wood and rice to Russia, while importing aquatic products, wheat, fertilizers, timber, meat and dairy products.

The two sides should make use of their advantages and turn challenges into opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Nam said.

Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergey Lvovich Levin said the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement has opened up trade opportunities for the two countries.

Vietnam is a dynamic and developed market in the region, the official said, stressing the two countries would promote their agricultural trade to a new level.

Echoing Levin’s views, Vietnamese Trade Counselor in Russia Duong Hoang Minh said thanks to the EAEU, most of Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic exports to Russia have enjoyed a zero tariff.

He suggested Vietnamese enterprises participate more in major Russian exhibitions to further study the market, thus boosting agricultural and aquatic export to the country.

In addition, they should invest more in the products that have advantages like coffee, aquatic products and processed fruit, he said, explaining that raw material exports bring about low economic values.

To Tuong Lan, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), suggested agencies of the two countries work to remove difficulties facing their businesses.

She called on the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance to allow more Vietnamese seafood enterprises to enter the Russian market, saying the two sides can promote bilateral payments in local currencies and launch rail services to ease the pressure on the sea route.

Nam expressed his hope that during the upcoming visit to Russia by President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the two countries’ competent agencies will continue to review regulations on food safety, and expand the list of exporters.

HCM City businesses manage to overcome COVID-19 woes

Some HCM City businesses have been able to shrug off the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and achieve their targets thanks to thorough preparations.

DLG Ansen Electronic Co., Ltd. has been able to fulfil its contracts despite the pandemic, and even got plenty of new orders from satisfied customers.

Dang Cong Binh, director of the company, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that many overseas customers had been greatly worried about whether the company could fulfil its orders, and so it had to prove to them production had not been interrupted.

“We had to live-stream our staff working normally and being healthy and show that we had abundant materials to sustain production to put our partners at ease.”

After the city began to reopen, the company started paying for more worker shifts to increase its production.

The company also prepared for global supply chain breakages by stocking up on raw materials months beforehand, allowing it to continue production throughout the pandemic.

Unlike many other businesses, it did not have much problem with retaining staff, since it mostly employed local workers who were able to return to work easily.

It has also been more proactive in dealing with COVID cases, setting up its own facility to treat patients.

Workers feel at ease since they are all fully vaccinated and people coming into contact with patients are stationed to work at separate locations and regularly monitored.

The company has its workers tested for COVID every three days, and they all wear masks and face shields at work and are distanced from each other.

Supermarket operator Saigon Co.op began making contingency plans for various scenarios in the third quarter last year, basing them on what some neighbouring countries are doing.

Le Truong Son, deputy director of the company, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that the planning allowed it to adapt quickly and sustain its activities to ensure steady supply of food to the city.

“The company encountered many difficulties due to the pandemic. We had to make quick decisions and carry out new selling methods which we had never done before, such as selling to customers in quarantine zones and working with union groups and the military.”

The city also greatly helped Saigon Co.op, he said.

Most businesses in HCM City have been able to reopen and resume production, but face problems such as low demand and high expenses.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Facilitation Agency is organising a series of offline and online consultation programmes until the end of the year to offer businesses in a wide range of industries information and advice on import-export opportunities.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said these events are aimed at helping businesses overcome challenges and sustain exports. 

Rubber latex rises in price, businesses benefit

Rubber latex businesses are reporting positive profits thanks to skyrocketing prices since the beginning of this year.

The natural rubber industry has emerged as a remarkable bright spot, as the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affects the production and business of all economic sectors.

Rubber products increased by 13.9 per cent in volume and 46.5 per cent in value in 10 months of this year over the same period last year, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The average export price of many rubber products in 10 months reached US$1,680 per tonne, up 4.1 per cent over the same period last year.

A report by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said that the total global demand for natural rubber this year is estimated to grow by 9.3 per cent year-on-year to 14.1 billion tonnes. Meanwhile, the supply is estimated to grow only 2 per cent, reaching 13.86 billion tonnes.

ACB Securities Company (ACBS) said that the rising demand for rubber was due to the recovery of the global economy after the pandemic when vaccination rates were increasing.

The recovery of the global economy would stimulate transportation activities in both civil and industrial sectors, creating growing demand for tyres, a key driver of rubber demand.

High rubber prices have had a strong impact on the profit of the rubber industry since the beginning of this year.

In nine months of the year, Viet Nam Rubber Group achieved net revenue of VND16.7 trillion (US$726 million) and profit after tax of VND3.8 trillion, up 37.7 per cent and 87.7 per cent respectively over last year.

The company said that the positive business results came from its proactive response in accordance with the new normal state of production. At the same time, the selling price of rubber products increased and stabilised; the selling price of wood products and rubber industrial products also increased, helping the gross profit and profit after tax of most of the group's capital-contributing units to improve significantly compared with the same period last year.

A report by Dong Phu Rubber JSC showed that its revenue reached VND727 billion in the first nine months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 15 per cent, profit after tax reached nearly VND161 billion, up 23.2 per cent.

Notably, this enterprise exported $686,000 of rubber in September. Its export value reached $5.65 million from the beginning of the year to the end of September, up 166 per cent.

ACBS said that the natural rubber industry was likely to have a shortage of supply in the near future, but the price might fall due to the slow down in auto production because of a shortage of electronic chips, even though the demand for cars in China is rising.

Statistics from the General Department of Customs show that China is the most important rubber export market of Viet Nam. China consumed 70 per cent of Viet Nam's rubber exports, equivalent to 901,734 tonnes in the nine months of the year.

The decline in rubber prices was mainly attributed to the automotive service group, while lower grade rubbers saw a slight increase in prices thanks to the resumption of production around the world.

ACBS expects that the average rubber price this year will be about 31 per cent higher than the average level last year.

According to ACBS, although Viet Nam is the fourth largest rubber exporter in the world, it is still facing some pressure to meet global quality standards for natural rubber products.

Vietnamese rubber companies still need to make more efforts to meet higher standards and expand export markets. 

Banks race to increase capital at year-end

State-owned and private joint stock banks have been racing to increase charter capital in the last months of this year to boost financial strength and meet the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV)’s regulations on capital adequacy ratio.

On November 22, 2021, BIDV announced it would close the list of shareholders for collecting written opinions on a plan to increase capital through issuing shares to pay dividends. According to the approved plan, the bank will increase its charter capital by VND8.3 trillion to VND48.52 trillion through distributing dividends in shares and issuing additional shares.

SHB has recently also planned to increase capital from VND19.26 trillion to more than VND26.674 trillion.

Meanwhile, ABBank has announced during the period from November 18 to December 8, 2021, the bank will receive capital from the issuance of more than 114.26 million shares to existing shareholders at the price of VND10,000 per share.

ABBank has also completed the application to the State Securities Commission to carry out the issuance of more than 11.426 million shares to employees under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Notably, right after completing the offering to existing shareholders and issuing ESOP shares, ABBank will continue to distribute bonus shares at the rate of 35 per cent from the undistributed profit source and the reserve fund worth a total of nearly VND2.44 trillion to raise its charter capital to nearly VND10 trillion.

Some other banks planning to significantly increase charter capital in 2021 are Sacombank with a rise of nearly 32 per cent; VIB, 44.2 per cent; SCB, 32.8 per cent; OCB, 31.8 per cent; ACB, 25 per cent; and HDBank, 25 per cent.

To date, more than 20 banks, such as Vietcombank, VietinBank, BID, SHB, VPBank, TPBank and OCB have increased charter capital to meet the central bank’s regulation. Banks must have their capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to meet Basel II standards as prescribed in Circular 41/2016/TT-NHNN by January 1, 2023. Up to now, 16 out of 35 banks have met the requirement.

Besides meeting the central bank’s regulation, capital increase will also contribute to improving banks’ financial strength and helping them increase medium and long-term capital source to expand business activities. Therefore, the race to increase charter capital among banks is forecast to continue strongly in 2022.

After the first nine months of this year, VietinBank surpassed BIDV to become the bank with the largest charter capital in the country’s banking system. After issuing nearly 1.1 billion shares to pay dividends at the rate of more than 29 per cent, VietinBank’s charter capital increased to VND48.01 trillion. The bank has planned to ask for approval to continuously raise charter capital to VND54.13 trillion at its general meeting of shareholders this year.

It was followed by VPBank with nearly VND45.05 trillion after the bank completed the issuance of shares to increase charter capital by nearly VND19.75 trillion.

However, VP Bank’s position is forecast to change as Vietcombank’s board of directors has recently approved a plan to increase charter capital by VND10.23 trillion to more than VND47.32 trillion. 

Investors warned against investment through unlicensed floors

The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) has warned investors on the risk of conducting business and investment activities on trading floors that are not organised and operated by the Vietnam Stock Exchange (VNX) and its subsidiaries.

The commission noted that recently, some organisations and individuals have invited investors to make securities transactions through foreign exchange (forex) trading floors, forex-related derivatives and virtual securities trading activities, including companies that are not licensed by the SSC.

The SSC stressed that apart from the VNX and its subsidies of Ha Noi Stock Exchange and Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, no organisation or individual is allowed to organise and operate stock exchanges.

The SSC does not manage and supervise securities companies or organisations operating stock exchange floors that are not licensed by the commission.

Therefore, the SSC advised investors to be vigilant and carefully check information before making or engaging in transactions on unlicensed trading floors or intermediary organisations to avoid losses.

Stocks see extraordinary performance despite poor business results

With the recent waves of speculation, corporations' business performance is no longer proportional to stock prices. Despite negative business results and continuous losses in profits, the market prices of many businesses still skyrocketed.

One of these stocks is CMS of CMVIETNAM JSC, listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX). It is one of those posting the strongest gains in the past month with 18 consecutive gaining sessions, of which 13 sessions recorded the biggest intraday gain of 10 per cent.

CMS shares closed last week at VND19,600 per share (US$0.86 per share), 4.3 times higher than that of last month.

In April, CMS stocks were put on a warning list as the parent company witnessed a loss in 2020.

Contrary to its performance on the stock market, the business results of CMVIETNAM are not positive with continuous losses.

In the last three years, 2019 was the only year in which the enterprise recorded positive profit growth, but its profit was only VND4 billion. Meanwhile, in 2020, CMS reported a net loss of nearly VND14 billion, which was also the biggest loss in its business history.

In 2021, the company’s business situation has not improved. In its financial statement for the third quarter of 2021, the company’s net revenue fell 9 per cent over the same period to VND55 billion. However, operating below cost of goods resulted in a negative VND452 million in the company's gross profit.

After deducting expenses, CMVIETNAM reported a net loss of more than VND2.3 billion. Last year, it posted a loss of VND5.6 billion.

For the first nine months of the year, its net revenue reached VND133.1 billion, down 44 per cent over last year. Corporate profit after tax was negative nearly VND9 billion, up 19 per cent compared to the loss of the previous year.

In 2021, CMVIETNAM set a target of VND196 billion in consolidated revenue and VND4.12 billion in consolidated profit before tax. However, with huge losses in the first months, the chance to achieve its business plan is very unlikely.

In addition, stagnant business activities put pressure on cash flow during the period, causing a fall from positive VND51 billion to negative VND63 billion. Cash flow from investing activities recorded a positive amount because during the period the company recovered loans and purchased debt instruments of other entities.

CMVIETNAM isn't the only company whose business performance is poor but its stock price is still rising.

CEO of C.E.O Group JSC is another example. CEO shares tripled in just a month despite its bad business results, with a net loss of VND223.6 billion in the first nine months of 2021.

CEO shares ended last Friday session at VND31,500 per share, gaining for a 12th consecutive day.

In the third quarter, the company’s net revenue plummeted 53.1 per cent year-on-year to VND123.8 billion. Although its cost of goods sold also dropped 25.5 per cent, the decline in revenue was larger due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said. Therefore it still posted a loss of VND58.8 billion in the third quarter.

Another case is HUT of BOT tycoon Tasco after it recorded losses for seven consecutive quarters, but HUT stock prices still nearly doubled after only three months to VND15,300 per share on November 19.

Tasco’s financial statement showed that its net revenue decreased 15.8 per cent on-year to VND162 billion in the third quarter. Even though its cost of goods sold fell 32.6 per cent, increases in other expenses including financial expenses and general and administrative expenses caused a loss of VND72.8 billion during the period.

As of September 30, it recorded a loss of VND146.4 billion.

Many experts said that the phenomenon was due to most of the cash flow in the market coming from new investors.

New investors participating in the market often do not pay attention to the financial statements and business performance, but only follow the waves with the desire to make profits as quickly as possible.

However, experts also warn investors to be cautious of stocks with bad internals but strong increases in market prices and volumes.

Therefore, before participating, investors should learn carefully about the business situations, choose the optimal buying points and have a strict risk management plan to avoid falling into the trap of junk stocks. 

Mercedes Benz Vietnam recalls nearly 1,800 C200 cars for inspection

Mercedes Benz Vietnam has announced that 1,773 C200 cars manufactured from December 2014 to February 2018 will be recalled for inspection and a software update.

The recall programme is expected to run until December 31, 2025. Inspection and software update are free of charge and take approximately 30 minutes for each car.

According to Vietnam Register, the automobile manufacturer withdraws those cars from circulation to inspect and software-update the engine control box in order to fix overheating problems in generator diodes. Generator diodes would break if overheated.

Mercedes Benz Vietnam said no incidents related to the above-mention error have arisen so far. However, the automaker will still recall those cars to prevent risk and ensure customer safety.

Previously, on October 14, 56 model GLC 200 and GLC 300 cars were recalled for inspection and collision sensor replacement. This recall programme is carried out from October 10, 2021 to December 31, 2025. 

Customers who want to check if their cars are on the recall list could contact Mercedes Benz Vietnam and its authorised dealers, or visit its official website for support. 

Malaysia steps up trade promotion in Vietnam

Vietnam and Malaysia still have large room to step up trade cooperation in such fields as food, beverages, and personal care products, heard the Malaysia-Vietnam Trade Promotion Programme held by the Malaysia Trade Office in Vietnam (Matrade) in Ho Chi Minh City on November 23.

Speaking at the event, Malaysian Consul General in HCM City Wong Chia Chiann said that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting trade and connecting with partners through digital platforms and online trade exchange programmes are effective solutions for the two sides to shorten their distance and maintain regular cooperation.

According to her, Malaysian exporters pay attention to the Vietnamese economy thanks to its GDP growth of 2.91 percent in 2021, economic reforms during the pandemic, and the 100 million-strong population.

As Vietnam has basically overcome the fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks and is in its economic recovery process, it is a good chance for Malaysian businesses to cooperate with Vietnamese partners to speed up both countries’ economic recovery, she said.

Raphy MD Radzi, Trade Commissioner of Matrade in HCM City said the trade promotion programme aimed to link Malaysian exporters with Vietnamese enterprises in the form of strategic business cooperation, in order to promote bilateral trade between the two countries.

It is also part of Matrade's initiatives to support the commitment of both governments to raise two-way trade to 18 billion USD by 2025, he added.

During the programme which lasts until the end of November 25, 17 Malaysian businesses are expected to introduce smart solution platforms and automated machines, personal care products, and instant meals and beverages.

Around 150 online business meetings with 50 Vietnamese companies will also be organised within the framework of the event.

 

As of October 2021, Malaysia had run 664 projects worth over 13 billion USD, ranking eighth among foreign investors in Vietnam. In the first ten months of 2021, two-way trade hit 10.16 billion USD, up 23.2 percent year-on-year, of which Vietnam's exports were valued at 3.51 billion USD, an increase of 24.9 percent./.

German journal highlights Vietnamese stock market’s prospects

German securities news site Börse-online.de on November 22 ran an article highlighting the high prospect of the stock market of Vietnam and the Vietnamese economy after COVID-19, underlining that the Southeast Asian country may grow 8% next year.

The article said that the difficult period has passed in Ho Chi Minh City. The country's economic and financial hub is now recovering. Stock values have increased over 5% in the past six weeks, and the risk of a recession seems to have been averted.

In early October, Vietnam eased lockdown measures as 76% of people in HCM City were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccination rate is also high in other cities and regions. This is a result of shifting the strategy from “zero COVID-19” to “living safely with COVID-19” by the government.

According to the article, the restrictions imposed across the country from July to the end of September to prevent the spread of the fourth wave of COVID-19 impeded the growth. In the 2009-2019 period, Vietnam’s economy achieved an annual growth rate of 7 percent. 

To improve people’s living standards, the Government of Vietnam is partially equitising State-owned enterprises and listing these companies on the stock exchange. This contributes to making Vietnam increasingly attractive to foreign investors. In the future, the Government of Vietnam hopes to further accelerate the pace of reform. 

The article cited analysis organisation DBS Vietnam that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth may return to 8% next year.

Not only in Ho Chi Minh City but also in Hanoi, the information technology centre of Da Nang, the port city of Hai Phong as well as in provinces such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong, more and more workers are returning to work.

Like equity investors, direct investors believe that Vietnam, which is still classified as a Frontier Market, will be moved to the group of Emerging Markets in the next few years. Therefore, despite the large investment, investors now want to further expand their activities.

Recently, LG Display spent US$1.4 billion to expand its production facility in Hai Phong. Nestlé Group or Tetra Pak Group of Sweden also expanded production activities in Vietnam. 

In terms of demographics, up to 68% of the total population of 97 million people are in the working age of 15 and 64, and about 1.5 million people enter the labour market every year. According to Vietnam Invest Review magazine, by 2030, Vietnam will have about 56 million people in the middle class compared to the current figure of 23 million.

Wages and incomes of Vietnamese people have also increased rapidly. According to data from the German Industry and Trade Association (GTAI), the average annual income of Vietnamese people in 2020 was EUR1,526, double that of 2012, and it is expected to be EUR5,156 by 2030. 

What investors are also very interested in is that the Vietnamese Government is aware of the importance of the stock exchange for economic development. Banks alone cannot finance the investment of domestic companies, so the capital market is needed and this market is also growing, according to the article.

Up to 745 companies are listed on the stock market compared to only 24 companies in 2004. By the end of 2020, the market capitalisation reached EUR160 billion. In the future, many promising information technology companies will also appear on the list of stock exchanges.

The article said that Vietnamese leaders expected to promote the Internet economy as a driving force for growth and production, so they have advised and supported startups from this industry. It is expected that by 2025, 80 % of public services will be handled online or via mobile phone. The Vietnamese Government has set a target that in the next three years, the digital economy will contribute 25-30% to GDP.

Iron and steel exports to Belgium enjoy robust growth

With Belgium becoming one of the leading Vietnamese export markets in Europe, iron and steel exports to this market witnessed vigorous growth during the initial 10 months of the year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

October alone saw Vietnamese export turnover to Belgium stand at nearly US$309 million, bringing its 10-month export value to this market to US$2.874 billion, or a year on year rise of 53.4%.

Four groups of commodities, namely seafood, textiles, footwear, and iron & steel, raked in over US$100 million each from exports.

Most notably, Vietnam exported 716,733 tonnes of iron and steel worth US$848.9 million to Belgium during the 10-month period, representing a 10-fold increase in terms of volume and 16-fold rise in turnover compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam spent US$476.55 million importing goods from Belgium throughout the reviewed period, a year on year increase of roughly 18.8%. Pharmaceutical imports alone were valued at US$195 million, marking an increase of 60%.

Shrimp exports likely to climb to over US$3.8 billion this year

Vietnamese shrimp exports are anticipated to rise by 2.7% compared to last year to reach over US$3.8 billion this year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

After enduring a sharp decline in August and September, local shrimp exports bounced back in October with turnover hitting US$425.3 million, just a drop of 1.5% year on year.

Of the total export value for October, Vietnam raked in US$117.7 million from exporting shrimp to the United States, representing an increase of 19% compared to October last year.

The October figure raised Vietnam’s 10-month shrimp exports to the US to US$892.7 million, or a year-on-year increase of 22%. Experts believe local shrimp exports to this lucrative market will maintain this growth momentum until the first quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, shrimp exports to the European Union are also picking up steam. October alone saw Vietnamese businesses ship roughly US$74 million worth of shrimp products to the EU, up 13%, bringing its total export value of these products in this market to approximately US$482, up 10.4% year on year.

Experts say there remain bright prospects ahead for Vietnamese shrimp exporters as the consumer demand in the EU market during the remaining months of the year is increasing due to a scarcity of goods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By contrast, Vietnamese shrimp exports to China since the beginning of the year have fallen by 25% to US$341.5 million compared to the same period from last year.

This plunge was largely attributed to China’s strict control over the SAR-CoV-2 virus on imported aquatic products, which has caused congestion at some of its ports.

Despite production gradually recovering, domestic firms continue to face numerous difficulties, especially with regard to vaccinations for workers and the state’s support policies aimed at restoring production capacity and maximizing the opportunities from import markets, according to the VASEP. 

Working groups to boost public investment disbursement established

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has approved the setup of six working groups to speed up the disbursement of public investment in many localities from now to the year-end.

Localities in the list include Cao Bang, Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Son La, Phu Tho, Can Tho, Kien Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang Tra Vinh, Long An, HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Hanoi, Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc.  

The working groups will also focus on helping to beef up the public investment disbursement in different ministries and agencies, including the ministries of industry and trade, construction, natural resources and environment and the Electricity of Vietnam.

The working groups are tasked to define the causes of the problems in the implementation of public investment projects, particularly those using ODA capital and concessional loans from foreign investors as well as put forward solutions to speed up the disbursement and improve the efficiency of the capital.

They are supposed to submit reports on the inspection results and recommendations (if any) to the prime minister within five working days from the date of completing the inspections while ministries, agencies and localities are requested to coordinate with the groups on the implementation of their duties.

Their operations last from November 22 to December 10.

Industrial real estate set to remain attractive to foreign investors next year

The demand for industrial land, logistics services, and ready-built warehouses is poised to continue recording strong growth moving into next year, according to real estate experts of Savills Vietnam.

With demand for data centres and cold storage increasing significantly, Vietnam will therefore represent an attractive destination for mega projects moving forward.

John Campbell, manager of Industrial Services at Savills Vietnam, said low-value industries are beginning to be established elsewhere in Southeast Asia as Vietnam no longer offers the same incentives as it had done previously. Indeed, industries such as textiles and furniture are struggling to source affordable labour and land locally, although both foreign and high value-added investors remain bullish on long-term Vietnamese growth prospects.

The Savills Vietnam expert went on to analyse that the country is expected to continue its move up the value chain due to its stable growth, local business climate, various free trade agreements (FTAs), and the shift of firms relocating out of China.

He noted that some trends are forecast to continue emerging moving into 2022 and beyond, including Industry 4.0 and smarter manufacturing, the modernisation of supply chains, sale-leasebacks, and new models of Industrial Zones, data centres, and cold storage facilities.

He emphasised that the Government’s re-opening plan has served to consolidate the trust of businesses and investors, adding that the resumption of international flights will be a perquisite factor that will significantly contribute to a successful 2022.

In addition, coupled with an encouraging re-opening plan, the Government’s enthusiastic support for foreign investors and the sheer resilience and adaptability of local enterprises has contributed to opening up bright prospects for stronger economic recovery ahead.

Pham Van Nam, co-founder of Vietnam Industrial Park Portal, said the establishment of foreign-invested industrial parks will therefore create a fiercely competitive market in the future.

This move is expected to become the driving force for relevant businesses to develop industrial park infrastructure, promote investment, and create products that meet the diverse needs of financiers.

2022 TechGirls Program seeks Vietnamese candidates

The US Mission to Vietnam is seeking candidates for the 2022 TechGirls Program.

According to the organisers, all female Vietnamese students, proficient in English, in grades 10 or 11 studying at Vietnamese high schools who demonstrate an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and intend to pursue higher education or a career in technology are welcome to apply. Successful candidates will demonstrate their leadership capability through academic work, community involvement and extracurricular activities. Up to three scholarships are available for Vietnamese students. The application deadline is Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, TechGirls is an exchange program designed to connect and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by providing them access and opportunities to advance their skills and pursue their dreams.

In 2022, the program will invite 136 young women from 37 participating countries along with 25 US peers in a dynamic four-week US-based experience with a 7-month mentoring program (including pre- and post-exchange). The exchange will take place in July-August 2022 (if conditions allow) in partnership with Virginia Tech University. TechGirls participate in an interactive technology and computer camp, then travel to one of the following cities: Austin, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Portland or Seattle for job shadowing at a tech company. Participants will also have homestay and community service experiences and are required to implement follow-on projects that serve the needs of their communities in the months that follow their return home.

Participant costs for program administration, international and domestic travel, housing, and food are covered by the US Department of State.

The program components in the United States will be organized taking into consideration all necessary safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state, local, and campus authorities.

Steering Committee urges land handover for Van Phong 1 BOT Power Plant's sub-component projects

The National Steering Committee for Power Development has urged Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan provinces to hand over land for the transmission lines to connect Van Phong 1 BOT Thermal Power Plant to the national grid in December.

The deadline to hand over land in December for the Van Phong 1 project's sub-components was set by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, head of the National Steering Committee on Power Development in a document sent to Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan provinces on November 9.

In order to reach this deadline, the deputy prime minister asked the two provinces to complete procedures for forest use conversion within November and coordinate with the Electricity of Vietnam to compensate and resettle for households in the project area.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is assigned to complete the appraisal report on the policy of changing forest use purposes related to projects to connect the plant to the grid to report to the prime minister for approval before November 15.

Thecluster of works to connect the plant to the grid includes the 500 kV Van Phong-Vinh Tan transmission line as well as the transmission line connecting Thuan Nam station to Van Phong-Vinh Tan line, and the 500 kV Van Phong substation.

These projects have to be completed in December. Vietnam will have to compensate the plant's investor (Van Phong Power Co., Ltd., a Vietnamese company invested by Sumitomo Corporation) $1 million per day if the construction is behind the deadline. After six months, the amount to be compensated is about VND5 trillion ($217.4 million). And after six months, the BOT contract of Van Phong 1 Thermal Power Plant will be terminated and the government will have to buy back the plant.

The delay in handing over the ground for the project to connect the plant to the grid has affected the construction progress, the risk of delay is great.

Meanwhile, according to the commitment, the projects to connect this BOT power plant must be completed in December 2022. According to a representative of the Central Power Project Management Board (National Power Transmission Corporation), the project operator, the biggest risk to the progress of the project cluster is the 500kV Van Phong-Vinh Tan transmission line project, which is facing a lot of difficulties in land clearance.

By early November, there were 133 positions of column foundation that had not been handed over by the locality to the project management board. 30 per cent (52 out of 172 positions) of the positions in Khanh Hoa and 60 per cent in Ninh Thuan (81 of 131) have yet to be handed over.

Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 - the linkage between intelligents and entrepreneurs

Taking place on November 20-21 with numerous sessions on healthcare, education, business, technology, sustainable energy, Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 with the theme "Transformation: New value - New methods" has opened up opportunities for local and overseas intellectuals and entrepreneurs to connect.

Trinh Thanh Luan, representative of Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 speaking at the meeting
Under the sponsorship of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan, the Ministry of Planning and Investment's (MPI) National Innovation Centre (NIC) in collaboration with the Association of Vietnamese Intellectuals in Japan (AVIJ) and relative units, Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 was held directly in Tokyo and live broadcast over the world. The event was participated by more than 30 prestigious speakers, 50 guests (local and foreign intellectuals and businessmen), and 1,000 audience members from the Vietnamese community in Japan and intellectual associations in other countries over the world.

At the meeting, they discussed challenges that Vietnam is struggling with, and identified new values, new development concepts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting is also the linkage among Vietnamese intellectuals in Japan, being a chance for them to connect to ministries, agencies, and the business community for cooperation and development in the time to come.

At his opening speech, a representative of Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 Trinh Thanh Luan said that as of early 2021, there were about 448,000 Vietnamese people living, studying, and working in Japan, more than half of whom are intellectuals, including students, scientists, and experts in various fields.

"Being a strong community, the Board of Directors of Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021 wishes to create a forum gathering Vietnamese intellectuals in Japan with the long-term goal of building and developing the Vietnamese community in Japan, as well as developing Vietnam," said Luan.

The first Vietnam Summit in Japan was organised in 2019 with the participation of more than 60 speakers and 900 attendants across 10 sessions related to the theme "Make in Vietnam – Opportunities and Challenges".

At the Vietnam Summit in Japan 2021, Vietnam Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam said that with nearly 500,000 people, the Vietnamese community has become Japan's second-largest expat community, significantly contributing to its socioeconomic development, and becoming a bridge of friendship and bilateral cooperation.

In particular, the community of Vietnamese intellectuals and experts with high qualifications is growing with about 1,000 people a year, many of whom are holding important positions in teaching and research at prestigious universities as well as leading enterprises in Japan, in many fields such as it, electronics, agriculture, and health. Along with a force of young intellectuals, young entrepreneurs starting a business and a large number of international students full of enthusiasm, is playing a leading role in the development of the Vietnamese community in Japan.

From the Vietnamese bridgehead, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong highly appreciated the efforts of the Vietnamese intellectual community in Japan in uniting, gathering, and promoting connections through the Vietnam Summit in Japan.

He also affirmed that the Vietnamese intellectual community in Japan is an integral part of the great national unity bloc. This is the time that Vietnam focuses on promoting creative capacity, turning science-technology and innovation into a driving force for the country's rapid and sustainable economic development. 2021, the first year of implementing the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress, includes great challenges.

"To overcome difficulties and take advantage of new technological achievements, we need to continue to strive and contribute all of our intellect and efforts to the faster and sustainable development and innovation of the country, towards the goal of becoming a developed and high-income country by 2045," said Deputy Minister Dong.

Property sector poised for strong recovery in 2022

The strict lockdown situation has taken the wind out of the sails of the property market in the south but experts predict this sector will rebound swiftly in 2022.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Ho Chi Minh City condo market witnessed a sharp drop in both new launches (down 70.0 per cent on-year) to 1,600 units and sales volume (down 68.4 per cent on-year) to 1,582 units, a five-year low.

The new supply of ready-built houses was heavily limited with only 10 units, down 99.2 per cent on-year.

VNDIRECT estimated that secondary prices in 12 out of 22 districts in the city fell by 0.5-9.2 per cent on-quarter but still increased on a yearly basis. Meanwhile, the average condo primary price climbed 17.0 per cent on-year to $2,271 per square metre.

Unlike in Ho Chi Minh City, in Q3/2021, new condo supply in Hanoi stayed relatively flat, with a decrease of 0.6 per cent on-year, to 3,483 units.

However, sales volume plunged 33.4 per cent on-year due tolow take-up rate and disrupted sales activities.

The Q3/2021 new ready-built housesupply was flourishing, with an increase of 877.8 per cent on-year (around 440 units) in new launches and an increase of 206 per cent on-year (410 units) in sales volumes.

Just as with Ho Chi Minh City, VNDIRECT predicts discounts on secondary prices on a quarterly basis but an increase on a yearly basis. The average primary price of a condo rose 15.9 per cent on-year on average to $1,542 per sq.m.

In 2022, experts expect the residential market to recover, based on three factors: a broad-based recovery of macro fundamentals propelling the property market in 2021, housing purchasing decisions underpinned by affordable mortgage interest rates, and a surge in new supply thanks to the loosening of regulatory bottlenecks.

Hospitality property is expected to recover quickly in the future on the back of COVID-19 vaccination along with the recovery of tourism in Vietnam. The headwinds from the pandemic may be over in the hospitality property market from the end of 2021.

Policy credit efficient to ensure social well-being

By the end of this third quarter, more than $11.26 billion of policy credit under diverse government support packages came to needy households and other policy beneficiaries through the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) system, helping many locals to escape poverty in a sustainable manner.

Developing high-tech agricultural production model in Thieu Hoa district, Thanh Hoa province with capital taken from VBSP system
As of now, the VBSP system has reported more than $10.53 billion in total outstanding balance to nearly 6.4 million needy households and other policy beneficiaries. The bank is deploying over 20 policy credit programmes with constantly improving credit quality. The bad debt rate is often kept below 1 per cent of total outstanding balance.

Currently, policy credit is divided into two main groups.

The first group involves credit programmes serving production, business, and job creation with 14 ongoing programmes. These programmes also lend labourers going to work abroad under labour export contracts, households coming from ethnic minority groups, as well as afforestation and livestock breeding programmes, among others. These programmes account for 74 per cent of total outstanding balance.

The second group involves credit programmes targeting consumer needs such as for housing and learning demands, clean water and environmental sanitation in rural areas, with six ongoing programmes. These programmes make up 26 per cent of total outstanding balance.

To enhance the efficiency of policy credit and contribute to poverty reduction, particularly the fight against black credit, VBSP wishes to continue having active support from the central bank (SBV) and relevant government agencies.

To support businesses with loans to pay work suspension allowances for labourers or restore production in light of Decision 23 dated July 7, 2021 of the prime minister, by September 30 the VBSP system had disbursed around $20.08 million to benefit 81,686 labourers in 63 cities and provinces nationwide. These credit sources have contributed to ensuring social well-being and production continuity, creating a catalyst for development in the new normal.

In the past nearly two decades since its establishment, VBSP’s credit sources have reached more than 40 million needy households and other policy beneficiaries. Policy credit sources have come to all communes and wards in the country, giving priority to communes in rural and remote areas, and those belonging in ethnic minorities and areas with special difficulties for development.

These credit sources have helped more than 6.1 million households get out of poverty and create jobs for over 4.7 million labourers. Nearly 134,000 labourers from policy beneficiary families have borrowed from the VBSP system to work abroad under term contracts.

More than 3.7 million pupils and students have taken loans from the VBSP system to support their learning. More than 15.2 million clean water and environmental sanitation works in rural areas, as well as over 744,000 gratitude houses to support needy households and policy beneficiaries were built resorting to VBSP credit sources.

Policy credit has contributed to the efficient implementation of the national target programme on sustainable poverty reduction, new countryside development, job creation, ensuring social well-being, social order and security in localities, and pushing up socioeconomic development under the message “Not leaving anyone behind”, from there pushing back black credit in rural areas.

As black credit has become increasingly complex in diverse localities across the country, VBSP’s Board of Management has mandated surveying the possibility of VBSP customers sourcing capital from "black credit" groups.

Quick surveys in several localities in the country’s different parts and statistics by VBSP branch offices show that no VBSP customers have had direct links with such groups.

Just about 150 borrower families suffer indirect impacts with black credit due to the involvement of their family members. On that basis, VBSP envisages seeking approval from the prime minister for pilot implementation of expanded credit programme to needy households to serve their legitimate capital demands.

In addition, VBSP has deployed a raft of measures on credit expansion serving production and people’s demands with a view to curtailing the use of black credit, such as raising unsecured lending limit to VND100 million ($4,350)per household and loan duration to 120 months maximally, in parallel to strengthening credit quality management, and joining efforts with local governments and diverse organisations on agricultural, forestry, and fisheries promotion to bolster capital usage efficiency.

Efforts are also made to improve people’s awareness about policy updates in this regard.

Notwithstanding, to enhance the efficiency of policy credit and contribute to poverty reduction, particularly the fight against black credit, VBSP wishes to continue having active support from the central bank (SBV) and relevant government agencies like the Ministry of Public Security.

The trend of “contactless travel” boosted amid pandemic

The prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the consumption habits of customers in all aspects, including tourism.

In addition to requirements of experience, visitors are particularly interested in the safety during their journeys. To meet this demand, "contactless travel” has been considered a solution as well as an appropriate direction to help tourism develop flexibly and adapt to the pandemic.

“Contactless travel” can be understood as a form of tourism towards providing services that help minimise direct contact among people to limit the risk of infection while still ensuring the products’ quality and not affecting the tourists’ experiences. Previously, all activities of ordering and using services as well as carrying out travel procedures needed the direct work with officials and employees from relevant units. However, “contactless tourism” will help these processes operate smoothly thanks to automation technology. At the airport, passengers can check-in automatically, get e-tickets, check in luggage online and make online customs declarations at e-kiosks.

These solutions not only help to save time for passengers but also maintain safety for passengers because they no longer have to queue to check in or worry about the risk of losing documents. At the hotel, instead of directly checking in, checking out and looking for travel itinerary advice directly at the front desk, guests can pick up and return the keys by themselves and turn on the equipment in their rooms via automatic technology and facial recognition features.

Over the past years, many travel businesses have actively accelerated digital transformation and the use of technological advances in the introduction of their products and supporting visitors to find out information, order and pay for tours online. A number of online travel platforms have been formed, allowing users to purchase packaged tours, air tickets and hotel rooms via online transactions.

In order to improve the ability to meet the tourists’ demand amid the pandemic, potential corporations and businesses have also planned to invest in new technologies. Vietnam Airlines has developed a contactless check-in service for travelers via its website, mobile application and automated kiosk system.

SunGroup has researched the implementation of touchless technology in welcoming visitors. Meanwhile, Vinpearl has cooperated with VinBigdata Institute to launch the Smart Butler app that allows guests to give voice orders when they want to find out information about restaurants and amusement parks. The first "touchless hotel" chain named SOJO Hotels has appeared in Vietnam, providing guests with fully automated experiences, including receiving keys, opening rooms, turning on equipment and customising temperature and lights, through smartphone apps, creating a safe and convenient model amid the pandemic.

Along with speeding up technological apps in providing tourism services, some travel agencies have actively built new tourism products towards contactless and self-contained operation such as caravan tours by self-driving cars, cycling tours to explore the destinations, and tours to French architectural works inside Hanoi. These are good signs showing the active participation of tourism agencies in the new normal.

The development of “contactless travel” during the pandemic has continued to prove that digital transformation is the future of travel. To keep up with the trend and not lose the competitive advantage in tourism, businesses should pay great attention and give appropriate investment in technology. This process needs the companionship, support and facilitation from the authorities, especially when the majority of tourism businesses in Vietnam have small and medium sizes. However, due to mobilising the strengths of automation, “contactless travel” is still not really friendly for disadvantaged people who have difficulty in using technology such as people with disabilities or the elderly. It is crucial to have more research to help “contactless travel” in reaching more people.

Central provinces join hands to bring S.Korean tourists back

Four provinces in central Vietnam yesterday, November 22, organized a joint virtual seminar to introduce tourism services to South Koreans.

Quang Nam, Danang, Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Binh at the event put forward their roadmaps to reopen inbound travel, which has been suspended natiownide since the first outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020.

The seminar took place shortly after Quang Nam and Danang started implementing their inbound tourism reopening plans, earlier approved by the country’s national tourism authority.

Tour operators in South Korea said they would like to launch package tours using charter flights to take tourists to Vietnam during the year-end travel season and the upcoming Tet holiday.

Addressing the event, Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of the Danang Tourism Department, said the central Government recently allowed Danang, Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Quang Ninh to offer inbound tours on a pilot basis.

He added that the Covid situation in Vietnam, especially in these five provinces, has been brought under control, with the vaccination rate for people aged 18 and older reaching 67%. A majority of tourism staff have been fully vaccinated.

In Danang City and neighboring Quang Nam Province, the local authorities have received requests to resume the international travel segment. The two will arrange group tours for foreign guests in the upcoming time, especially those from South Korea.

Vietnamese Ambassador to South Korea Nguyen Vu Tung said that the bilateral relations between Vietnam and South Korea are thriving in all fields and South Korea remains one of the most important partners of Vietnam.

According to Tung, as the pandemic has been brought under control, this is the right time to discuss reopening tourism, aimed at implementing the Government’s dual task of Covid prevention and control and economic development.

Speaking at the event, Ahn Min Sik, South Korean Consul General in Danang, said central Vietnam, especially Danang, is among the favorite destinations of South Korean tourists. South Korean visitors to central Vietnam have been on the rise, from some 210,000 in 2015 to around 1.8 million in 2019, which accounted for 41% of the total number of South Korean visitors to Vietnam in 2019.

Despite the impact of the pandemic , the travel demand of South Koreans remains high. Therefore, there would be a large number of South Koreans coming to central Vietnam once the region reopens its borders to international travelers, the Consul General said. 

Vietnam sends over 43,500 workers overseas from Jan-Oct

Vietnam sent a total of 43,584 workers to work overseas between January and October 2021, equivalent to only 48.42% of the year’s target, according to the Department of Overseas Labor under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

In October alone, 766 laborers went abroad, equivalent to only 17.16% of the figure recorded during the same period last year (4,463). 

Japan received the largest number of Vietnamese workers last month with 142 people, followed by South Korea with 46, Taiwan with 38 and Hungary with 35.

Vietnam earlier set a target to send some 90,000 workers abroad under labor contracts with partners in 2021, including nearly 19,400 workers to Taiwan, approximately 19,190 to Japan, some 1,650 to China and 748 to South Korea. However, the Covid-19 pandemic affected the plan.

Up to now, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore have reopened to Vietnamese workers thanks to the improved Covid situation.

According to Pham Viet Huong, Deputy Director of the Department of Overseas Labor, Japan has since November 8 relaxed entry regulations for priority groups, including Vietnamese apprentices and guest workers, as part of the Government’s economic recovery policy.

The Japanese Ministry of Justice has provided preliminary guidance on receiving apprentices in accordance with a set roadmap. Accordingly, in November, Japan is only accepting applications from apprentices who were granted residency status from January 1 to June 30, 2020.

In December 2021 and January 2022, the country will receive applications from apprentices granted residency status from January 1 to December 31, 2020, and from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021, respectively.

Regarding regulations on Covid infection prevention and control, the quarantine period has been shortened to three days for workers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid with one of the three vaccines approved in Japan (Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca), and have negative RT-PCR test results within 72 hours before landing.

Apart from holding negative RT-PCR test results, workers who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid or have received other vaccines are still required to undergo quarantine at home for 14 days upon arrival.

Meanwhile, South Korea has lifted restrictions on the number of workers entering the country daily and weekly. Previously, the number of workers allowed to enter the country was limited to 100 people per day and 600 people per week.

Nguyen Gia Liem, Deputy Director of the Department of Overseas Labor, said the department will continue to update new policies from labor markets and provide guidance for Vietnamese enterprises.

Commutation of gambling ring leader’s sentence shows signs of abuse of power: lawyers

Lawyers have decried the early release of Phan Sao Nam, who was found guilty of masterminding an online gambling ring, from jail. They have called for the law enforcement agencies to determine possible signs of abuse of power among some officials at the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Court.

The People’s High Court in Hanoi recently announced the cancellation of Nam’s commutation issued by the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Court. He was sentenced to five years in jail term in 2019 for organizing illegal gambling and laundering money.

The People’s High Court ordered Nam to come back to prison and serve the remaining 22 months plus.

According to the People’s High Court’s panel of justices, the Quang Ninh court’s commutation decision lacks legal merit.

Commenting on the issue, lawyer Nguyen Minh Long at the Hanoi Bar Association cited Clause 2, Article 71 of the 2019 Law on Criminal Judgement Execution, saying that within three working days since the date the cancellation of the commutation takes effect, the district-level criminal judgment enforcement agencies, and those at the military zone-level or above have to inform individuals directly affected by the commutation cancellation.

Within seven days of announcing the cancellation of a commutation, the people affected by the decision must show up at the criminal judgment enforcement agencies to complete the remaining sentence. Or else they will be escorted or wanted.

Long added that people with serious disease(s) could delay serving the remaining sentence until they recover. Besides, if the breadwinner of a disadvantaged family has to serve a jail sentence, he/she would be allowed to delay it for one year, except for those who violate regulations on national security or commit other serious crimes.

Echoing this viewpoint, Tran Van Do, former deputy chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court, said Nam would have to be brought back to prison to serve the remaining jail term once the People’s High-level Court’s cassation decision takes effect.

According to lawyer Hoang Trong Giap, director of the Hoang Sa law firm, aside from enforcing the judgment against Nam, competent agencies have to clarify the wrongdoings of some leaders of the Quang Ninh People’s Court for issuing a commutation to Nam without legal merit. These leaders showed signs of abusing power while performing official duties as regulated under Article 356 of the Criminal Code, Giap said.

In addition to Phan Sao Nam, former chairman of VTC Online JSC, another key figure of the gambling ring, Nguyen Van Duong, former chairman of the members’ council of the Hi-tech Security Development and Investment Company, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Hung Yen pledges to create optimal conditions for Japanese investors

Vietnam’s northern province of Hung Yen will create optimal conditions for investors from Japan, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Quoc Van has said.

He made the pledge during a conference on cooperation between localities of Vietnam and Japan held in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture on November 23.

The provincial leader briefed the participants on the province’s socio-economic growth, advantages in industrial development infrastructure and human resources.

He highlighted that Hung Yen boasts a favourable location and transport conditions as it borders Hanoi capital and is close to Noi Bai airport and an expressway network.

With abundant human resources and vocational schools meeting labour demand, the province hopes to welcome Japanese investment in industrial park (IP) infrastructure, high-tech IP development and environmentally friendly industries.

Hung Yen is currently home to more than 500 foreign businesses, including 170 Japanese firms, which have poured in excess of 3 billion USD into the locality, Van said.

He added that Japanese investors have built the 350-ha Sumitomo IP in Hung Yen, and the province is facilitating the expansion of the IP by another 200ha./.

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS NOVEMBER 23

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS NOVEMBER 23

Demand for industrial, logistics estates at core of enquiries next year: Savills