Post-pandemic cooperation prospect of Vietnam, Hong Kong hinh anh 1

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (China) jointly held a teleconference on post-pandemic economic recovery – Vietnam-Hong Kong partnership on September 20. 

Speaking to Vietnam News Agency's correspondents, Anthony Lam, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) and CEO and Vice Chairman of the Golden Resources Development International Ltd., said a number of Hong Kong manufacturers have recently expanded production out of Hong Kong and to ASEAN, including Vietnam, for different reasons. 

About the potential of cooperation between Vietnamese and Hong Kong firms, Lam said Hong Kong is focusing resources on health care and pharmaceuticals so its businesses could consider investment in those fields in Vietnam. 

He stressed that Vietnam boasts a young, hardworking, highly skilled workforce who are ready to learn. For this reason, the country could consider investing in hi-tech sectors like automated manufacturing lines and artificial intelligence, instead of labour-intensive industries, he said.  

According to Lam, Vietnam holds an advantage compared to other ASEAN member states in having road connectivity with China, thus Chinese manufacturers can easily move their production facilities from Guangdong, Guangxi to Vietnam, then export products to Europe, the US and Australia. 

Noting that Vietnam’s shipments to Europe and the US still transit in Singapore, he said if Vietnam could invest in seaports to serve the direct transport of goods to Europe and the Pacific, the country could draw more foreign investors and those from Hong Kong in particular. 

Lam suggested that the Vietnamese Government should issue incentives to stimulate the development of hi-tech firms and encourage the improvement of technology knowledge./.

HDBank gets $50m from French development agency to finance green projects

Proparco, the private sector financing branch of Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), has granted a US$50 million loan to HDBank to finance green projects and promote sustainable development in Viet Nam.

It marks the first collaboration between Proparco and HDBank.

A pioneer in green lending, HDBank has in past years helped foster Viet Nam's economic development while minimising the impacts on the environment.

The loan will help the bank get closer to international standards in green credit.

All projects funded by HDBank satisfy green criteria such as reducing energy consumption, reducing CO2 emissions, reducing pollution, and targeting sustainable growth.

Green projects promise to create more than 1,350 direct and indirect jobs.

They will contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Based on their common views on sustainable development, creating long-term values for the economy and community and society, the two sides promised to have more strategic cooperation in future.

Since 2018, HDBank has been financing green projects to support high-tech agriculture and renewable energy.

As of August 31 this year, its outstanding loans to green projects were worth nearly VND13.5 trillion ($593.2 million).

Through its green credit programme, the lender not only provides customers with the best financial solutions but also targets sustainable values, promotes renewable energy, ensures the national energy security, supports hi-tech agriculture, and contributes to environmental protection.

HDBank was the first member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to receive the Green Deal Award, a recognition for its notable achievements in green finance while participating in the ADB Trade Finance Programme.

It was also voted by readers of Vietnam Economic Times as the Best Bank for Green Credit Financing in 2019. 

Bright prospect continues for Vietnam's FDI attraction

Positive signs of investment inflows have been seen during meetings between National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and executives from many big European firms on the occasion of Hue's working visit to the European Parliament and a number of European countries from September 5-11.

Positive signs of investment inflows have been seen during meetings between National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and executives from many big European firms on the occasion of Hue's working visit to the European Parliament and a number of European countries from September 5-11. 

Those meetings show that large corporations, such as Exxon Mobil, Infra Asia Invest, Siemens Energy AG and Orsted Group, are still very interested in investing in Vietnam. 

Christian Bruch, Chairman, General Director of Siemens Energy AG (Germany) affirmed the company's desire to participate in energy projects in Vietnam, saying that he will continue to seek investment opportunities in this field in the future.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Orsted Group, which runs 27 wind power projects in the world, did not hide its ambition to form a joint venture or association with T&T Group to research and invest in wind power projects in Vietnam.

The US’s Exxon Mobil is determined to pursue the Ca Voi Xanh (Blue Whale) project, Vietnam’s gas field offshore, with an estimated capital of tens of billions of dollars. In addition, the corporation has mapped out a plan to pour investment in another gas-fuelled power project in Hai Phong and this plan gets support from Vietnam.

Infra Asia Investment (IAI) has invested in industrial parks in Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh province with an investment capital of 1.2 billion USD. Fabien De Jonge, a member of the Board of Directors of IAI, said that it is planning to expand its investment activities in the field of renewable energy including wind power and solar power.

Regarding information that the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures might cause foreign investors to leave Vietnam,  Alain Cany, Chairman of EuroCham Vietnam said that these are mainly “transfer of orders and is a temporary decision of businesses” and “no European businesses have left Vietnam yet.”

According to the EuroCham Vietnam chairman, although some orders have moved out of Vietnam, investors still stay in the country. The hesitation, if any, is only for some new investors who are making new investment decisions.

HSBC said in a recently published report relating to this issue: “Despite possible challenges, Vietnam is still an attractive destination for investors in Vietnam in the future.”

According to HSBC, Vietnam's strong foundational conditions will help offset short-term fluctuations caused by COVID-19. The fact that LG Display has just made an additional investment of 1.4 billion USD to increase OLED screen production in the country is a typical example. Previously, in February this year, LG Display had hiked capital by 750 million USD.

With positive moves from large corporations in combination with optimistic information from Europe and strong foundation conditions of Vietnam, it can be expected that the prospect of attracting foreign direct investment in Vietnam is bright./.

Experts disagree with coal roadmap in Power Development Plan

The Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA) raised concerns over the draft of the National Power Development Plan for the 2021 - 2030 period (PDP VIII).

As the draft still includes the use of coal power for 10 years and continues to extend its development to the 2045, VSEA’s representative said: “The option contains many risks and is not feasible."

Commenting on the draft, the alliance said it was a "setback", adding about 3,000 MW of coal power and reducing about 8,000 MW of renewable electricity by 2030.

VSEA's recommendation clearly stated that the concentration of traditional power sources for the current grid was only to ensure the stability of the current power system but would lose the opportunity to catch up and integrate globally, creating impetus for the country's advanced energy economy and green development.

VSEA said that though draft PDP VIII aimed for the development of power sources in reducing coal power and promoting the exploitation and use of renewable energy sources, the structure and expected development of power sources did not reflect the same idea.

Over the next ten years, there should be no more new renewable energy sources approved, according to the draft.

Though the VSEA recognised the current grid could not yet meet the development of renewable energy sources in Vietnam and managers must reduce capacity in many places, it said suppressing renewable energy was not the optimal solution.

The alliance said with rapid improvements in technology, solar power in Vietnam was able to compete with the cost of coal power production this year, while wind power was forecast to compete with new coal power by 2025.

Regarding concerns about solar power which generates electricity for six hours during the day and causes local overloading of the grid, the alliance said the matter will be overcome with solutions such as selling electricity on-site to factories, applying smart technology in power grid management and administration, upgrading the power grid and letting the private sector take part in public bidding to choose solar power investors.

While the draft PDP VIII increases coal-fired power to about 22,000 MW by 2030 and another 8,000 MW by 2045, VSEA said: “We believe that the feasibility of these projects needs to be re-evaluated based on actual access to capital, the development of these projects in the past and recent major changes in the industry as major financial sources for coal power in Vietnam have all been closed.”

VSEA added there were fluctuations of coal prices. The coal price in the first six months of 2020 was 98.8 USD per tonne but now it increased to 159.7 USD per tonne.

The alliance said: "With coal price increasing to 150-160 USD per tonne at present, electricity price ranged from 10-11 cent/kWh, more expensive than offshore wind power according to FIT at 9.8 US cent/kWh."

In conclusion, the alliance said PDP VIII should stick to the path of renewable energy development, avoid being hindered by recent renewable energy obstacles, adding instead of cutting clean electricity and avoiding dangerous coal power sources.

The alliance suggested the incentive mechanism has helped the solar power market in Vietnam grow from zero to about 17,000MW in two years, but in the current draft, the solar power industry in Vietnam will be strangled, causing a series of Vietnamese private enterprises in this field to close.

VSEA said, instead the Power Master Plan VIII should introduce solutions to encourage private participation in the grid and immediately consider researching and applying non-storage battery solutions.

On September 16, a seminar on the matter was held online. Nguy Nhu Khanh, Director of GreenID, also suggested reconsidering coal power projects with low feasibility and including solutions to encourage the private sector to invest in the power grid.

With the same view, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Institute of Climate Change Research, Can Tho University, also said the draft Power Plan VIII could "tighten" the green transition roadmap of Vietnam.

He said that Vietnam was trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the draft would increase coal power capacity and cut green and renewable energy, adding this will cause many impacts and consequences.

Tuan said: “Recently, the European Parliament voted to support the idea of imposing an emission tax on imported goods as the first step in creating a new technical standard that countries exporting goods to Europe, including Vietnam, adding the country must pay attention to or the local goods would be priced too high by a partner for emissions from the use of unfriendly energy."

Mai Van Trung, Vice President of Nami Energy, said the majority of exporters now face the challenge of using clean electricity in the total electricity usage capacity for export products.

In 2022, Vietnam's exports will be subject to a certain ceiling, which means that big brands will impose a proportion of renewable energy in export products. Therefore, in Power Plan VIII, priority should be given to the development of renewable and clean energy.

Speaking at the discussion, National Assembly deputy Nguyen Quang Huan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Halcom Vietnam Joint Stock Company, said even though it was not possible to immediately cut coal power and there must be a gradual reduction plan in the near future, they should find ways to solve the problem as the country still imported coal which was not stable in the long run./.

Banks urged to embrace digitisation

About 67 percent of surveyed banks believe they will lose market share within two years if they fail to digitally transform, according to a new report from cloud banking platform Mambu and The Financial Times Focus (FT Focus).

The ‘Evolve or be extinct’ report was conducted by FT Focus and surveyed over 500 senior banking executives globally to gain insights into their perception of the banking industry, now and in the future.

The results illustrate the urgent need for banks to modernise their offerings, with 58 percent of global respondents predicting they will completely cease to exist in the next five to ten years unless they change their business models.

Pham Quang Minh, General Manager Vietnam at Mambu, said: “What we are seeing in Vietnam in particular is increasing demand for online and mobile banking services from consumers that is driving digital transformation of banks. Online transactions in Vietnam for the first four months of this year jumped 66 percent compared with the same period last year, which has been accelerated enormously by the pandemic.”

“There’s also been a huge increase in the use of e-wallets, payments via smartphones and QR codes, and high demand for ‘instant credit’ solutions such as Buy-Now-Pay-Later, particularly among those segments of the population that remain unbanked or underbanked. Vietnam’s consumers are demanding digital financial solutions, and our industry is rising to the challenge, with banks like Timo, TNEX and Cake at the cutting-edge of digital banking gaining attention around the world. This is an exciting time for Vietnam, but as this research report shows, those banks that are reluctant to take a digital leap risk becoming extinct.”

Looking more closely at Asia Pacific, the FT Focus report indicates that the region is lagging behind other regions on transformation, however, APAC banks are taking steps to ‘catch up’ to the rest of the world, with plans to increase investment in big data, machine learning and blockchain at significantly higher rates than other regions.

Myles Bertrand, Mambu’s Managing Director APAC, said: “The research illustrates how the banking industry is diverging on its approach to digital transformation. While less than one third of APAC banks describe their digital transformation strategy as mature or advanced, there’s an emerging cohort of digital ‘evolvers’ that is bucking this trend and really leading the way. These forward-thinking players are setting a blueprint for the rest of the industry to follow while demonstrating the business case for a customer-centric approach.

“And while the strong commitment from APAC banks to increase their investment in new technologies is very positive, banks in the region also need to change the way they approach innovation, and start proactively embracing new partnerships and collaborations. The ‘ecosystem’ approach has been incredibly successful in other regions, and with half of APAC banks concerned that they lack key internal workforce skills necessary to transform, it will prove very effective here too.”

Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer at Mambu, said: “The last 18 months have shown banks just how important it is for them to have a robust and agile digital banking offering. And with 53 percent of those surveyed admitting they’re at risk of missing digital transformation targets, it's time the industry took note of the financial ‘evolvers’ that are leading the charge in this space. These are fintechs, challenger banks, and forward-thinking traditional players that are prioritising purpose-driven services and great customer experience.”/.

Vietnam business news
Post-pandemic cooperation prospect of Vietnam, Hong Kong

Dong Nai authorities hold dialogue with FDI firms

Authorities of Dong Nai on September 18 held a dialogue with associations and foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses in the southern province to grasp and remove their difficulties amidst complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the event, participating firms praised Dong Nai’s business climate and basically agreed with the province’s pandemic prevention measures.

They said the authorities have provided prompt assistance, particularly regarding administrative procedures, to facilitate enterprises in arranging accommodation for workers to stay and work at their facilities.

They suggested Dong Nai consider easing a number of criteria in its economic recovery plan, particularly concerning regulations on vaccination rate, goods trade and workers’ travel. The plan will be launched on September 20.

Fielding queries from firms at the dialogue, Cao Tien Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, shared their difficulties.

He stated the local authorities will stand side by side with them and create all conditions possible for them to overcome obstacles and recover their production activities.

Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, informed that more vaccines will be distributed for the enterprises in the time to come.

On the occasion, some participating companies presented more than 17 billion VND (743,000 USD) worth of medical equipment and goods to support Dong Nai's pandemic prevention activities./. 

Australian consumers taste Vietnamese farm produce

Consumers in Sydney in New South Wales state of Australia on September 19 had a chance to taste Vietnamese farm produce as part of the weekend farm produce fair.

The farm produce offered to the local consumers included rice cooked with lotus seeds, durians, longans, dragon fruits and coffee.

Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Nguyen Dang Thang said during January – August, Vietnam’s exports to Australia grew by nearly 19 percent. Of which, farm produce exports soared by around 38 percent. Fresh fruits like mango, longan, lychee and dragon fruit have become popular while new frozen products like durian, ginger and dracontomelon are being sought by consumers.

The event was part of a series of Vietnamese farm produce promotion programmes in the country, which was co-organised by the Vietnamese Consulate General in Sydney and the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

At the event, a local man expressed his hope that more high-quality Vietnamese rice will be shipped to Australia in the near future so that local consumers will have chances to taste them./. 

Australian consumers taste Vietnamese farm produce

Consumers in Sydney in New South Wales state of Australia on September 19 had a chance to taste Vietnamese farm produce as part of the weekend farm produce fair.

 

The farm produce offered to the local consumers included rice cooked with lotus seeds, durians, longans, dragon fruits and coffee.

Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Nguyen Dang Thang said during January – August, Vietnam’s exports to Australia grew by nearly 19 percent. Of which, farm produce exports soared by around 38 percent. Fresh fruits like mango, longan, lychee and dragon fruit have become popular while new frozen products like durian, ginger and dracontomelon are being sought by consumers.

The event was part of a series of Vietnamese farm produce promotion programmes in the country, which was co-organised by the Vietnamese Consulate General in Sydney and the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

At the event, a local man expressed his hope that more high-quality Vietnamese rice will be shipped to Australia in the near future so that local consumers will have chances to taste them./. 

Taiwanese firms pour huge investment into Vietnam

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan (China) has injected over US$1.1 billion into Vietnam during the opening eight months of the year, ranking sixth among foreign investors in the country, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.

An assessment report by auditing firm PwC indicates that Taiwanese enterprises’ investment into Vietnam increased from 18% in 2018 to 24% by the end of 2020, ranking fourth after the United States, Japan, and China.

Most notably, although Vietnam has temporarily suspended the entry of foreign nationals since the COVID-19 outbreak hit early last year, Taiwanese foreign direct investment (FDI) into its territory has increased by 53%, with a number of large electronics projects to be deployed in the north of the country.

Most notably, Pegatron invested US$485 million in the northern city of Hai Phong, while Wistron also poured roughly US$300 million into the northern province of Ha Nam.

To seize upon investment opportunities and transform risks into opportunities, Taiwanese enterprises have always considered Vietnam to be the most important link in Southeast Asia, specifically in the trend of shifting the global supply chain with a primary focus on the electronics and telecommunications sectors.

In addition, the Vietnamese Government is actively promoting digital transformation, which is widely regarded as a crucial policy in attracting foreign enterprises, including Taiwanese investors.

A representative from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan (China) also reveals that major Taiwanese electronics giants, such as Foxconn, Weistron, and Foxlink, have all injected capital into the Vietnamese market, with plans ahead to expand their investment in the country.

According to the Taiwan-Vietnam Economic Cultural & Educational Development Association, the Vietnamese Government has also focused on training a high-quality workforce by recently launching a talent training co-operation programme.

Moreover, the signing of a series of new generation free trade agreements (FTAs) is anticipated to accelerate the digital transformation locally, which has become a driving force for hi-tech firms as they pour more investment capital into Vietnam.

Latest data released by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs show Vietnam is one of the five countries and territories globally where Taiwanese businesses have invested the most, behind Hungary, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong (China), and the US. 

Vietnam enjoys positive trade growth with CPTPP markets

Vietnam has benefitted from implementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as two-way trade between it and other CPTPP markets rose 23.36% to US$52 billion during the seven-month period, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Vietnam witnesses robust export growth to CPTPP member countries (Photo: thoibaotaichinhvietnam.vn)
The value accounted for 13.86% of Vietnam’s total foreign trade turnover in the reviewed period, said the MoIT.

In July, trade exchanges between Vietnam and its CPTPP markets increased 22.16% year on year to US$7.9 billion.

July alone saw strong export growth recorded in a number of key export items, including machinery and equipment, spare parts, and phones and components.

However, several export items, such as textiles and garments, computers and components, and footwear experienced a downward trajectory to the market.

Exports to Japan, Singapore, Canada, and Malaysia in July endured a decline, while exports to Chile, Peru, and Australia increased significantly compared to June.

Meanwhile, almost all Vietnamese imports from the CPTPP markets witnessed an upward trend during the reviewed period, with the exception of coal, glass and glass products, pharmaceuticals, and paper products.

Notably, among key import items, the import of machinery and equipment increased slightly at 1.82%.

Overall, Vietnam posted a trade surplus of US$86.28 million with the CPTPP markets in the seven-month period, a decline of 75.94% against the same period from last year.

The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between 11 countries around the Pacific Rim, comprising Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The trade agreement was signed by ministers of the 11 CPTPP countries in San Diago, Chile, in March 2018. 

Australian consumers taste Vietnamese farm produce

Consumers in Sydney in New South Wales state of Australia on September 19 had a chance to taste Vietnamese farm produce as part of the weekend farm produce fair.

The farm produce offered to the local consumers included rice cooked with lotus seeds, durians, longans, dragon fruits and coffee.

Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Nguyen Dang Thang said during January – August, Vietnam’s exports to Australia grew by nearly 19%. Of which, farm produce exports soared by around 38%.

Fresh fruits like mango, longan, lychee and dragon fruit have become popular while new frozen products like durian, ginger and dracontomelon are being sought by consumers.

The event was part of a series of Vietnamese farm produce promotion programmes in the country, which was co-organised by the Vietnamese Consulate General in Sydney and the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

At the event, a local man expressed his hope that more high-quality Vietnamese rice will be shipped to Australia in the near future so that local consumers will have chances to taste them. 

Firms face labour shortage after social distancing

Many firms are worried about labour shortages after resuming operations after the social distancing period.

HSBC Vietnam said that firms in Vietnam were facing major problems of disrupted cash flow, increased raw material costs and labour shortages.

Ngo Dang Khoa, head of Markets and Securities Services at HSBC Vietnam, said, "The workforce have faced a lot of difficulties amid the outbreak and will continue to face even more after the outbreak is controlled. Firms also have difficulties in attracting and keeping employees. These problems must be solved quickly to ensure an economic recovery."

Such problems are even more pressing at textile companies that employ hundreds of thousands of workers. The Bac Giang Industrial Park Management Board said only half of the workers showed up after the social distancing period. Many workers were still wary about the pandemic, some had returned to their home provinces and were busy with personal matters and others could not be reached.

Le Quoc Viet, chairman of the job search website Vieclamnhamay.vn said the pandemic had caused deaths, unemployment, and disrupted production lines. The labour force has now spread across many provinces and cities like Binh Duong, Dong Nai and HCM City.

"If measures are not applied, the country's GDP, competitiveness and investment attractiveness will be affected. We have prepared a campaign to help firms resume operations and workers return to work," Viet said.

Fourteen business associations have submitted letters to the prime minister wanting to resume safe operations. According to the associations, the index of industrial production in August dropped by 49.2% compared to the same period last year. Eighteen percent of EU firms have moved orders to other countries and many firms are on the brink of bankruptcy.

The associations asked to give vaccination priorities to firms that are implementing a stay-at-work programme behind frontline workers, the elderly and people with underlying conditions. Instead of a 14-day quarantine, workers should only need to be tested negative for Covid-19 when travelling between provinces to work, especially in provinces that have agriculture and fisheries production lines. People who have been fully vaccinated should be able to travel around freely.

The associations also hoped to simplify procedures to let foreign experts work in Vietnam. 

Dong Nai implements socio-economic recovery plan

The southern province of Dong Nai has started the gradual restoration of socio-economic activities, while ensuring the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, from Monday.

Plan No 11102/KH-UBND of the provincial People's Committee aims to restart business following a period of social distancing.

The province is home to 103 communes, wards and towns classified as green areas. In addition, the Center for Disease Control of the province has classified 25 communes, wards and townships as risk zones; 23 communes and wards are high-risk zones and 19 communes and wards are very high-risk zones.

Leaders of the provincial Department of Health said that the key task in the coming days is to strengthen inspection and supervision of cross-infection in concentrated isolation areas and hospitals; strictly control hostels in locked down areas; strengthen testing, screening, and strictly control the source of infection at companies implementing the "3 on-site" model.

Regarding vaccinations, up to now, the whole province has administered 1,848,424 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 1,750,190 people, accounting for 77.65 per cent of the provincial population aged above 18 years, including 98,234 people receiving two full doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The province's plan is to speed up vaccination for workers in factories to gradually restore normal production after Monday.

There are more than 610,000 workers in industrial zones in the province. Recently, businesses with a large number of employees have been given priority for the first dose of vaccine.

Dong Nai holds dialogue with FDI firms

Authorities of Dong Nai held a dialogue session with associations and foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses in the southern province on Saturday to help remove difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the event, participating firms praised Dong Nai’s business climate and agreed with the province’s pandemic prevention measures.

They said the authorities have provided prompt assistance, particularly regarding administrative procedures, to facilitate enterprises in arranging accommodation for workers to stay and work at their facilities.

They suggested the province consider easing a number of criteria in its economic recovery plan, particularly concerning regulations on vaccination rate, trade and travel from Monday.

Fielding queries from firms at the dialogue, Cao Tien Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, sympathised with their difficulties.

He said local authorities will stand side by side with firms and create all conditions possible for them to overcome obstacles and recover production activities.

Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, said that more vaccines will be distributed for the enterprises.

Some companies presented more than VND17 billion (US$743,000) worth of medical equipment and goods to support the province's pandemic prevention activities. 

Finance Minister affirms State budget sufficiency

Finance Minister Ho Duc Phoc has affirmed that the State budget is enough for expenditures planned by the National Assembly (NA) and the Prime Minister.

Answering reporters’ queries about the State budget situation amid the pandemic at present, Phoc said following the Prime Minister’s directions, ministries, agencies and localities saved at least half of the cost of conferences and working trips at home and abroad, and 10 per cent of other regular expenditures this year to supplement financial resources for the COVID-19 fight and other necessary tasks.

So far, about VND14.62 trillion (US$635 million) from regular expenditures have been saved.

The finance ministry suggested the PM submit a proposal to the NA Standing Committee on using the saved sum to add to the central budget reserve fund 2021 and provide for ministries, agencies and localities to fight the pandemic in the most effective manner.

According to the minister, up to VND21.4 trillion from the State budget has been used for anti-pandemic efforts. Meanwhile, the national COVID-19 vaccine fund has raised nearly VND8.7 trillion.

The ministry also proposed measures to support firms such as extending deadlines for payment of added value, corporate and individual income taxes, and land lease this year; reducing telecom and electricity bills, bank interest rates, and environment protection taxes. It also suggested the Government issue the aid package worth VND26 trillion for employers and employees who meet difficulties amid the pandemic.

Phoc added that the ministry will continue recommending measures to the Government and the legislature to increase budget saving, as well as ensure spendings for pandemic combat and social welfare for residents, contributing to rapid economic recovery and development. 

Hoa Phat’s steel sales posts 16% increase in 8 months

Hoa Phat’s construction steel sale in the first eight months of the year reached nearly 2.5 million tonnes, posting a 16 per cent year-on-year increase. With the results, Hoa Phat’s construction steel market share rose by 37 per cent, 9 per cent higher than the beginning of the year.

This figure shows the strong growth of Hoa Phat steel despite difficulties facing the market due to the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Sales of Hoa Phat construction steel in August reached 268,000 tonnes, falling nearly 17 per cent from the same period last year.

According to the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA), Viet Nam's crude steel production capacity is currently about 24 million tonnes a year. Crude steel production output in 2021 is expected to reach about 21.2 million tonnes, meeting domestic demand and exports. In the January-August period, crude steel output reached over 13 million tonnes, up 23 per cent over the same period last year.

The production and sales of finished construction steel in August posted the lowest monthly output in 5 years in the 2017-2021 period, mainly due to social distancing in many localities. VSA members produced 713,000 tonnes of construction steel last month, down 8 per cent over the corresponding period last year. Steel sales reached nearly 560,000 tonnes, representing a 40 per cent year-on-year decrease.

In the first eight months of the year, construction steel consumption reached 6.6 million tonnes, equivalent to the sales volume of member enterprises in the same period last year. Of which, Viet Nam exported over one million tonnes of construction steel in the eight-month period, up 28 per cent over the same period last year.  

Vietnamese SMEs leveraging the trends in Home & Gardening on Alibaba.com

While the pandemic distances communities physically, it also opens doors for small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to explore their potential with global opportunities via online exporting.

In Viet Nam, several SMEs have succeeded on Alibaba.com, spanning across various industries.

The information was released in the “The Home & Gardening Industry Trends” report by Alibaba.com revealing people are feeling more comfortable working from home.

Home and gardening is one of the key categories on the platform, and Vixemco and Veritas Vietnam (Veritas) are among the top-line brands due to their impressive performance.

Joining Alibaba.com in early 2021, Vixemco has signed three big contracts totaling more than US$70,000 amid the new wave of COVID-19, to meet rocketing demands from the global market.

“We are very excited about our sales performance this year, especially during the pandemic," said Doan Thi Phuong Thuy, Founder of Vixemco.

"Thanks to Alibaba.com, we are able to deliver the products that consumers need. Alibaba.com is now the primary distribution channel of Vixemco, taking up 80 per cent of company revenue.

"Our plan is to invest more in human resources and international marketing plans on the platform. In the near future, we will develop more home decoration products from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, banana fiber and corn to meet the trend of limiting plastic consumption from Western countries.”

Veritas Vietnam (Veritas) is a leading enterprise in eco-friendly, safe, and bioplastic products. Their strength is applying advanced technology to create products from bioplastic combined with Vietnamese coffee grounds, reducing dependence on fossil raw materials.

Since joining Alibaba.com, their reputation has reached beyond the borders of Viet Nam, and the awareness of their products and technology is recording a stellar order rate increase of 300 per cent.

Despite the hardships that COVID-19 brings in, Veritas is still receiving a high volume of inquiries and orders worldwide via the platform.

Le Thanh, CEO of Veritas, shared about the company’s outstanding results on Alibaba.com: “It’s very impressive that Alibaba.com is bringing in revenue for businesses even during the pandemic, and helping them expand their exposure beyond their home markets.

"Veritas has established solid partnerships globally in challenging markets such as the US, the EU and Japan. This is an achievement that we could not be able to achieve if we did not join Alibaba.com."  

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

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 19

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS SEPTEMBER 19

About 67 per cent of surveyed banks believe they will lose market share within two years if they fail to digitally transform, according to a new...