vietnam economy,Vietnam business news
Deputy Director of the Viet Nam Customs, Luu Manh Tuong, at the meeting. — Photo

 A delegation led by Deputy Director of the Viet Nam Customs Luu Manh Tuong had a dialogue with enterprises, business associations and agencies to determine the HS code application for rubberwood panels on Wednesday.

Concluding the meeting, Tuong said the customs office continued to clearly define the production and processing process of the product in a specific, public, transparent and fair manner to determine the appropriate HS code.

The classification and application of tax rates must comply with the provisions of law, and the latest provision is Circular 65/2017 on Viet Nam's list of import and export goods and the tariff in accordance with the provisions of the Government and related legal documents, said Tuong.

The application of HS codes must comply with international customs standards, he said.

If they did not comply strictly, the management agency arbitrarily applied the wrong HS code so enterprises did not have to pay taxes which would violate regulations and customs officers would be disciplined, while enterprises will be subject to tax arrears, he noted.

However, to help enterprises solve problems, the deputy director proposed Dong Nai Customs Department help businesses to export goods as usual, firstly for businesses to enjoy the tax rate of 0 per cent.

A representative of the Tax Policy Department under the Ministry of Finance said Viet Nam was a member of the World Customs Organisation, therefore customs offices must comply with regulations on goods classification.

The handling of problems with enterprises needs to be focused on, with an improved spirit of co-operation between State management agencies and enterprises, ensuring compliance with the provisions of law, said the representative.

Earlier, the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (Viforest) sent an urgent petition to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ministry of Industry and Trade about congestion of wooden planks set for export at ports.

The congestion was attributed to Document No. 4250/TB-TCHQ issued by Viet Nam Customs on June 24.

"The wooden plank products have been subject to HS 4418 so far, however, with the latest announcement of the Viet Nam Customs, this product will be subject to HS 4407 with an export tax rate of 25 per cent,” said Viforest Chairman Do Xuan Lap.

Viforest has proposed the Ministry of Finance tell customs offices in localities to allow the products to be exported with a tax rate of 0 per cent and immediately review and cancel Document No. 4250/TB-TCHQ. 

Gold prices plummet to nearly VND58 million per tael

Domestic gold prices suffered a drop of between VND500,000 and VND1 million per tael for selling, falling to VND58 million per tael during the opening session of the week on the morning of August 10 following a series of sharp increases in recent times. 

The Saigon Gold, Silver and Gemstone joint stock company at 9:30am quoted the price of SJC gold at VND57.46 million to VND59.22 million per tael, representing a drop of between VND1.04 million and VND1.08 million per tael for buying and selling, respectively.

Simultaneously, Phu Quy gold firm listed the price of the precious metal at VND57.5 million and VND59.2 million for its selling and buying prices, marking declines of VND300,000 and VND600,000 per tael, respectively, against the previous session last week.

Bao Tin Minh Chau, one of the nation’s leading gemstone brands, moved to record its gold at between VND57.2 million and VND58.6 million per tael by noon, a fall of VND1.2 million per tael in terms of both the buying and selling prices in comparison to the previous trading session on August 8.

These drops come after prices in the domestic market climbed to VND60 million per tael on August 6 morning, reaching historic highs of VND62 million per tael several hours later.

According to experts, a number of people have been flocking to purchase gold amid sharp increases to global prices. As many gold firms didn’t have a sufficient stock to sell to customers, this shortage of supply served to push prices higher each day.

The recent surge in gold prices may cause increased risk for individual buyers. At sensitive times, gold firms tend to expand the difference between selling and buying prices, with the gap occasionally reaching between VND2 million and VND 3 million in order to ensure buyers share risks with businesses. This is done as a means of keeping individuals cautious when it comes to purchasing gold, economist Nguyen Tri Hieu said.

The recent decreases to hit domestic gold prices can largely be attributed to similar trends occurring in the world’s price of the precious metal. Indeed, the global market on the morning of August 10 saw gold at US$2,030.8 per ounce, down by US$4 per ounce in comparison to the previous trading day.

Furthermore, the price of US dollars showed a slight increase on August 10, with the State Bank of Vietnam listing the exchange rate at VND23,215 per US dollar, up VND15 per US dollar against the transaction two days earlier.

State Bank of Vietnam cuts some interest rates

The State Bank of Vietnam on August 6 announced its decision on cutting some policy rates with immediate effect, the second time this year following the adjustment on March 16. 

Accordingly, the interest rate of compulsory reserves in VND at banks will be 0.5 percent per annum, and the interest rate on dong deposits from banks that exceed the minimum 3 percent requirement will be zero percent per annum, down 0.5 percent compared to the rates stipulated in a decision on March 16 this year.

The interest rate for deposits of the State Treasury, and the Deposit Insurance of Vietnam with the central bank is revised down to 0.8 percent per annum, down 0.2 percent.

The bank said the adjustment was made based on macro-economic developments and the level of interest rates in the market.

Tien Giang attractive to both domestic and foreign investors

As a gateway linking the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City, and the southeastern region, Tien Giang province with its role as an important part of the southern key economic region is becoming increasingly attractive to domestic and foreign investors.

Capital flows from non-State economic sectors play an important role in local socio-economic development. The locality has issued a number of policies to draw investment, upgrade infrastructure and stay ready to capitalise on new investment opportunities.

It also has modern roads and maritime routes, as well as an abundant workforce with over 1.13 million at the working age.

The Prime Minister has given the green light to the zoning of seven local industrial parks covering a total area of over 2,000ha in Tien Giang. The province is also home to 27 industrial clusters under planning, four of them now operational, and over 5,900 operating companies, 454 of which are new.

Tien Giang drew 24 new projects worth over 9.5 trillion VND (413 million USD) in seven months of this year, raising the total revenue to more than 10.3 trillion VND - 93.6 percent of the same period last year.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Anh Tuan said Tien Giang has so far issued nearly 240 documents to step up administrative reform in the fields of construction, land, investment, business and health care, and set up a team to approve projects using non-State capital.

According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, authorities handled 99.93 percent of investment procedures ahead of schedule and 0.06 percent of others on schedule in seven months of this year.

The province also issued a resolution on urban-economic development for three regions till 2020 with orientations to 2030.

The eastern region, including Go Cong township, Go Cong Dong and Go Cong Tay districts, holds the potential for maritime economy, shipbuilding, seaports, maritime transportation, processing of aquatic products, tourism, and fishing logistics services.

The western region, including Cai Lay township, districts of Cai Lay, Cai Be and Tan Phuoc, is strong in food production, especially fruits in combination with farm produce processing and services, and tourism.

The central region, with My Tho city, Chau Thanh and Cho Gao districts, plays an important role in promoting socio-economic development and integration with the southern key economic region, urban areas of Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.

Tuan said the province prioritises competitive projects using advanced pollution treatment technology.

Between now and the year’s end, as well as years to come, Tien Giang will lure in projects in clean industry with high added value, mostly hi-tech aquaculture and agriculture in Tan Phuoc, Chau Thanh, Tan Phu Dong districts.

It will also pitch for investment in waterway tourism in Cai Be district, sea tourism in Go Cong Dong and Tan Phu Dong districts, ecological and spiritual tourism in Tan Phuoc district, finance-banking in My Tho city, and logistics in Go Cong Dong district.

Acting Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Dinh Thong said Tien Giang has set the goal of attracting 30 projects worth over 11.1 trillion VND into three key economic-urban regions.

Attention will be paid for supporting production and trade, trademark building, consumption expansion, and especially facilitating start-ups amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first half of this year, the public investment disbursement reached over 77 percent - the second highest rate nationwide. The figure is expected to hit 100 percent in late November.

This year, Tien Giang has over 5.71 trillion VND in public investment capital, up 37.4 percent year-on-year.

Chairman of the Management Board of the Dong Giao Foodstuff Export JSC (DOVECO) Dinh Cao Khue said the company plans to build a plant to preserve and package fresh fruits for export, as well as a processing plant in My Phuoc commune, Tan Phuoc district, Tien Giang province with a designed annual capacity of around 200,000 tonnes of fresh fruits and 150,000 processed products.

CPTPP members reiterate backing of trade liberalisation

The CPTPP Commission’s third meeting was held on August 6 and ended with the approval of a ministerial joint statement reiterating the members’ commitment to back trade liberalization, and multilateral trade.

The meeting was held in the form of video conferencing under the chair of Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez Colin. The Vietnamese delegation at the event was led by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

The member countries also committed to working together to reboot the regional economy post COVID-19.

The participating ministers underlined the importance of improving the efficiency of the agreement’s implementation, and pushing ahead with the CPTPP ratification by the remaining four countries.

They also discussed the possibility of expanding the deal in the future, along with global economic issues.

Vietnam pledged to join efforts in implementing measures in line with international commitments so as to facilitate the flows of commodities and services, especially essential ones.

The country will also work to enhance connectivity among CPTPP members to consolidate the regional supply chain and strengthen its resilience to external impacts.

The next meeting of the CPTPP Commission is scheduled for 2021 in Japan.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Singapore allows 265,000 foreign workers to return

About 265,000 foreign workers in construction, marine shipyard and processing sectors have been given the green light to return to work in Singapore, said the country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Of these, 180,000 are residents in dormitories, the ministry said in a statement on August 4.

The Singaporean Ministry of Health added that the authorities remain on track to clear all foreign worker dormitories of Covid-19 by August 7.

But 17 standalone blocks in eight purpose-built dormitories will continue to serve as quarantine facilities. They currently house about 9,700 workers, the authorities said.

By August 3, about 273,000 foreign workers, or close to 90 percent of dorm residents, had either recovered or have been tested and found to be free of COVID-19.

Many of them are staying in cleared dormitories or blocks for recovered workers, and can resume work once dormitory operators, employers and workers have made the necessary preparations to minimise the risk of new infections, said MOM.

A worker allowed to resume work will see a green access code on his SGWorkPass app, after taking specified steps. These include downloading an app to update his health status.

The same day, Cambodian media also reported that Thai authorities have prepared to welcome back workers from Cambodia when the country is entering Phase 7 of its plan to ease COVID-19-induced lockdown measures.

U-shaped recovery expected in ASEAN+3: AMRO

A gradual U-shaped recovery is expected for the ASEAN+3 region, which includes ten ASEAN member states, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, according to an updated forecast by ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

Regional growth is expected to slow sharply this year to zero percent, from 4.8 percent in 2019, before rebounding strongly to 6.0 percent in 2021, AMRO said in a statement.

Nine of the 14 ASEAN+3 members are expected to contract this year, while economies projected to record positive growth rates are China and smaller ASEAN economies – Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Strict containment measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading have caused economies to come to a standstill, leading to massive increases in unemployment, disruptions to businesses, and widespread collapse in domestic demand.

Additionally, bans on international travel have decimated the region's all-important tourism sector.

AMRO said the resurgence in infections in some parts of the region had heightened caution about another spate of lockdowns, which the ASEAN+3 economies can ill-afford, even though most still have some fiscal and monetary space to provide support if needed.

Li Lian Ong, AMRO group head and lead specialist for financial surveillance and acting group head for regional surveillance, said the biggest challenge facing the regional policymakers in the second half of 2020 would be balancing the trade-off between easing restrictions to revive their economies and risking another wave of infections.

AMRO said its growth trajectory was predicated on the effective containment of the COVID-19, both regionally and globally.

Thai Vietjet commences 10th domestic service in Thailand

Thai Vietjet has inaugurated its maiden flight VZ330 from capital city of Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport) to Nakhon Si Thammarat, an administrative center of southern Thailand and one of the most ancient cities of the country.

The debut flight took off with guests of honour onboard - Siripat Phatthakun, Governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat and safely landed with lively greetings by water salute and flowers to passengers from Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport and Tourism Authority of Thailand Nakhon Si Thammarat Office.

Celebrating the inaugural flight, Thai Vietjet delivered an enjoyable experience surprised with an in-flight entertainment performed by Thai singer “GunGun”, along with corporate souvenirs gifted to all passengers.

Thai Vietjet’s latest service operates from August 6 with one return flight daily and increases to four flights daily within October, with flight duration of around 1 hour 15 minutes. Having received excellent response from the market for this new route to Nakhon Si Thammarat, the airline has also completed its operational readiness for up to five flights daily by end of the year.

The new route’s tickets are available for booking on website and “Vietjet Air” mobile app, starting from 199 THB (6.4 USD), excluding tax and fees, for one-way fare.
Online check-in service for domestic passengers travelling out of Suvarnabhumi airport are now available for more convenience. All Vietjet flights are in alignment with all global standards and guidelines from the local authorities, including aircraft disinfection.

Vietjet is a fully-fledged member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. As Vietnam’s largest private carrier, the airline was awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 and 2019 by the world’s only safety and product rating website and listed as one of the world's 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018 and 2019. The airline has also been named as Best Low-Cost Carrier by renowned organizations such as Skytrax, CAPA, Airline Ratings, and many others.

Thai Vietjet is cooperating with Vietjet to extend its flight network and provide more opportunities for travellers in the world to discover Thailand and many other countries. Currently the airline operates 13 domestic routes from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi, Udon Thani, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani plus the direct flights from Chiang Rai to Phuket, Udon Thani, Hat Yai 8, and routes connecting Thailand and Vietnam such as Bangkok to Da Lat/ Da Nang, and more international routes from Thailand to mainland China.

Thailand allows longer stay for migrant workers

The Thai cabinet has approved a plan of the Ministry of Labour to allow more than 500,000 foreign workers with legal documents to stay longer for working in the Southeast Asian country until March 2022.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said the approval was given according to the government's new guidelines on the management of migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry’s guidelines aim to ensure the country maintains the labour force needed to strengthen the economy, but also reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections spreading from foreign nationals.

Rachada said the cabinet has decided to allow migrant workers holding passports, certificates of identity and other travel documents, excluding border passes, to continue working from the end of October this year when their permits expire, until March 31, 2022.

There are about 650,000 workers who fall in this group, she added.

Plans to expand Khuyến Lương Port

The Ministry of Transport has recently proposed an expansion project for Khuyến Lương Port, one of the capital city's four key ports.

Under the project, Khuyến Lương Port will be expanded by 8ha with an investment of more than VNĐ500 billion (US$21.5 million).

The plan is to create three more wharfs and increase the goods loading capacity by 1.2-1.5 million tonnes per year.

The port will be capable of receiving 1,000-tonne ships and container barges of 128 TEU (a TEU equivalent to 20-feet container).

Once completed, the port will have six wharfs with a total length of 306m with loading capacity of 1.7 million tonnes of goods a year.

The Hà Nội Transport Department agreed with the ministry on opening it to private investment to relieve pressure on the State budget.

According to the department, expanding Khuyến Lương Port from 9.9ha to 17.9ha falls into the city’s plan on economic development.

As one of the key ports of the city, Khuyến Lương Port should be set up as a logistic centre and be responsible for domestic goods clearance, the representative said. 

Revenue of retail sales and services rises in July

 Viet Nam’s revenue of retail sales and services in July was estimated at VND431.9 trillion (US$18.6 billion), up 3.3 per cent over the previous month and up 4.3 per cent from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Trade and service activities in July continued to increase due to policies on stimulating domestic consumption and tourism, along with government support packages to help people reduce the burden of spending.


This was also the month during the summer vacation of students, so many families travelled in the country.

Revenue reached VND333.8 trillion from retail sales, up 2.6 per cent month on month and up 7 per cent year on year; VND48.2 trillion from accommodation and food services, up 9.2 per cent month on month but down 4.4 per cent year on year; and VND1.5 trillion from tourism, up 29.6 per cent month on month but down 59.7 per cent year on year.

In the first seven months of this year, total revenue of retail sales and services was VND2.8 quadrillion, down 0.4 per cent over the same period last year.

If excluding the price factor, the total revenue decreased by 4.8 per cent year on year while in the first seven months of last year, it gained an increase of 9 per cent year on year.

Of which, the revenue of retail sales in the first seven months reached VND2.2 quadrillion, accounting for 79.2 per cent of the total. It rose by 3.6 per cent over the same period last year because July was a promotional month to stimulate domestic consumption, increase market shares and restore the domestic economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revenue of accommodation and catering services in the first seven months was estimated to reach VND280.9 trillion, accounting for 10 per cent of the total. It was down 16.6 per cent over the same period last year.

Localities having strong reductions in revenue of accommodation and catering services included Khanh Hoa (59.1 per cent), Ba Ria-Vung Tau (46.5 per cent), HCM City (45.1 per cent), Can Tho (27.5 per cent), Da Nang (24.5 per cent), Thanh Hoa (21.5 per cent) and Ha Noi (18.9 per cent).

The tourism revenue in the seven months was estimated at VND11.1 trillion, down 55.4 per cent over the same period last year.

Some localities had a sharp decrease in tourism revenue included Khanh Hoa (76.4 per cent), HCM City (74.9 per cent), Ba Ria - Vung Tau (63.3 per cent), Da Nang (58.6 per cent), Can Tho (57.1 per cent), Quang Ninh (50.5 per cent), Quang Binh (48.6 per cent), Ha Noi (38.6 per cent), Thanh Hoa (38.5 per cent), Binh Dinh (38 per cent) and Hai Phong (23.7 per cent). 

Ca Mau focuses on developing robust marine economy

The southernmost province of Ca Mau has mapped out plans to develop a robust marine economy commensurate with its potential and advantages through 2030 with a vision until 2045.

In its socio-economic development plan, the province has set a target to achieve average annual growth rate of 7 per cent. The marine economic sector will contribute about 30-35 per cent of the province’s total budget revenue.

The average per capita income is about US$3,320 in the period of 2021-25 and about $4,500 – 4,700 in the 2026-30 period.

The province targets gaining $1.45 billion from seafood exports by 2025 based on fostering hi-tech shrimp farming and focusing on developing processed seafood products with high added value.

Ca Mau will strive to meet criteria for a sustainable marine economic development by 2045. By then, the marine economic sector will have developed towards modernisation and become a driving force for the province’s socio-economic growth, said Pham Bach Dang, Permanent Deputy Secretary of the provincial Party Committee.

The living standards and cultural and spiritual life of the people in coastal areas continue to improve. Marine and island resources are managed and exploited appropriately and sustainably and are adaptive to climate change.

The provincial Party Committee has identified a number of important breakthroughs to realise its targets as well as boost the province’s strong marine economic development in the future in line with its available potential and strengths, he said.

Specifically, the province will focus on developing Song Doc and Nam Can urban areas into grade-III urban centres by 2025, with Song Doc urban area to become the province’ s services, trade and marine economic centre.

In addition, the province will foster the development of the marine economic sector, besides other key economic sectors such as fisheries, oil and gas, renewable energy, marine tourism and mechanical engineering industries, with a focus on investment in wind, solar and gas power, eco-tourism and marine tourism projects.

The province aims to complete the Hon Da Bac Tourist Area investment project by 2022, and the master plans for Mui Ca Mau National Tourist Area and U Minh Ha National Park Tourist Area by 2030.

It also aims to become the electricity centre of the Cuu Long (Mekong) delta region by 2030.

The province is completing procedures to call for investment in building the Hon Khoai general seaport and will ask the central Government to invest in upgrading Nam Can port and dredging Bo De sea gate to facilitate the transportation of goods in and out of Nam Can Economic Zone.

Song Doc port is planned to become a cargo port in combination with a port to serve tourists.

Endowed with a 254-km coastline, Ca Mau has a strategic location for defence, security and marine economic development. In particular, Hon Khoai island cluster is close to international maritime routes, which is favourable for maritime economic development.

Ca Mau sea is also known as one of the country’s four key fishing grounds, with abundant and diverse aquatic resources, of which many have high economic value.

OCB gets loan from Work Bank affiliate to support small businesses

 Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) has received a US$40 million loan from the IFC, a member of the World Bank, to support small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money is expected to help the bank increase its liquidity to keep lending and extend repayment periods for existing business customers.

OCB said the “timely” loan would play an important part in helping its customers face the unprecedented crisis.

It would support the development of SMEs and the recovery of the economy, it said.

The bank plans to lend to businesses in sectors severely impacted by the pandemic such as tourism and manufacturing and those like drug and healthcare equipment producers.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, its CEO, said to support small and medium-sized enterprises, the bank has been reviewing the situation.

The IFC said the pandemic has severely affected businesses in Viet Nam, especially small and medium-sized ones, which have been a major driver of economic growth over the last two decades.

The IFC loan is for one year.

Since the outbreak began, OCB has had many programmes to help companies stabilise their production, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including packages with preferential interest rates, free money-transaction rate, free MeInvoice by MISA to new customers, and OCB SME e-Lending.

OCB, established in 2996, is the first bank in Viet Nam to meet Basel II standards. 

Hanoi spends over US$2.4 billion on rural growth in five years

Hanoi spent over VND56.5 trillion (US$2.4 billion) on the development of agriculture, new-style rural areas, and farmers’ living standards between January 2016 and June 2020.

The information was reported at a working session on August 6 between a delegation led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam and the steering board for the Hanoi Party Committee’s Programme 2 on The information was reported at a working session on August 6 between a delegation led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam and the steering board for the Hanoi Party Committee’s Programme 2 on rural development for 2016-2020.

At the function, Chu Phu My, director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in spite of African swine fever and COVID-19, the city’s agro-forestry-fishery in the first half of 2020 grew 1.61% year-on-year.

According to him, Hanoi has so far carried out land allocation on 79,454 hectares. It is home to 164 high-tech farming models and 141 agricultural production connection models. As a result, local farmers are following more sustainable practices to turn out branded products and forming links with enterprises to ensure a stable distribution market.

Meanwhile, the city has six districts recognised as new-style rural areas, namely Dan Phuong, Dong Anh, Thanh Tri, Hoai Duc, Quoc Oai, and Gia Lam.

To date, local authorities recognised 355 out of its 382 communes (92.9%) as new-style rural areas, and 13 as advanced ones. Of the remainder, 24 communes have fulfilled between 15 and 18 of the criteria.

In 2020, Hanoi aims to have Son Tay town and six more districts meeting the criteria, while selecting Dan Phuong and Hong Van communes to propel toward becoming model new-style rural areas.

The national target programme on building new-styled rural areas was initiated by the Government in 2010 with the aim of developing rural regions. The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.

At the meeting, Nam lauded such achievements, stressing that the goal of the national target programme is to improving people’s living standards.

He noted income gap remains between the city’s urban and rural districts, adding that measures to increase local income is important to Hanoi. for 2016-2020.

At the function, Chu Phu My, director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in spite of African swine fever and COVID-19, the city’s agro-forestry-fishery in the first half of 2020 grew 1.61% year-on-year.

According to him, Hanoi has so far carried out land allocation on 79,454 hectares. It is home to 164 high-tech farming models and 141 agricultural production connection models. As a result, local farmers are following more sustainable practices to turn out branded products and forming links with enterprises to ensure a stable distribution market.

Meanwhile, the city has six districts recognised as new-style rural areas, namely Dan Phuong, Dong Anh, Thanh Tri, Hoai Duc, Quoc Oai, and Gia Lam.

To date, local authorities recognised 355 out of its 382 communes (92.9%) as new-style rural areas, and 13 as advanced ones. Of the remainder, 24 communes have fulfilled between 15 and 18 of the criteria.

In 2020, Hanoi aims to have Son Tay town and six more districts meeting the criteria, while selecting Dan Phuong and Hong Van communes to propel toward becoming model new-style rural areas.

The national target programme on building new-styled rural areas was initiated by the Government in 2010 with the aim of developing rural regions. The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.

At the meeting, Nam lauded such achievements, stressing that the goal of the national target programme is to improving people’s living standards.

He noted income gap remains between the city’s urban and rural districts, adding that measures to increase local income is important to Hanoi.

Wood exports witness rebound over seven months

Vietnam’s timber and wood exports during the seven months of the year enjoyed a surge of 6.2% to US$6.09 billion against the same period last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The reviewed period saw the United States, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (RoK) remain as the country’s largest importers.  

Furthermore, July alone saw the nation rake in US$1.05 million from exporting timber and wood products after enduring negative growth in May as a result of the negative impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Moreover, Vietnamese plywood has experienced robust growth over the past five years, recording average annual growth of 31%. Indeed, since 2015, 42 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects have been poured into the local plywood industry, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (AgroTrade).

Despite Vietnamese plywood exports to the US and other major markets growing sharply in recent times, it also poses a range of possible risks of probes and anti-dumping lawsuits being launched by foreign markets.

This comes after the RoK’s Ministry of Economy and Finance recently imposed anti-dumping duties of 10.54% on plywood imported from the nation, while domestic plywood products are also facing an anti-circumvention investigation from the US Department of Commerce.

AgroTrade therefore stated that the local timber industry should strive to optimise a range of benefits brought about by the substantial reduction of import duties in line with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which took effect on August 1, as a means of increasing exports in the near future.

Derivatives market sees liquidity rise in July

 Transactions on the derivatives market in July increased compared to June with average trading volume up by 18.59 per cent to about 212,623 contracts per session, according to statistics from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX).

The session on July 29 had the highest trading volume during the month – also the highest level since the inception of the derivatives market – reaching nearly 356,033 contracts.

The open interest (OI) – the total number of open or outstanding options and futures contracts – surged by 40.43 per cent from the previous month. By the end of July 31, the OI volume of the market reached 38,001 contracts.

The number of derivatives trading accounts continued to increase. At the end of July, the figure reached 132,274 accounts, up 4.86 per cent over the previous month.

In April, transactions carried out by individual domestic investors accounted for a large proportion and stayed at the same level as previous months, at 85.94 per cent of total derivatives trading volume.

The proportion of transactions carried out by domestic institutional investors, excluding self-trading, also stayed almost flat, reaching 13.47 per cent.

As for self-trading, the trading value of this group slumped compared to June, reaching only 0.66 per cent.

Transactions by foreign investors in July decreased according to the general trend of the stock market, accounting for 0.59 per cent of the total trading volume of the whole market.

The trading volume of derivatives rose in July, in contrast to the sluggishness of the underlying market.

When the underlying market falls, investors theoretically seek opportunities to make a profit on the derivatives market, because it allows them to earn profits even as the underlying market declines.

The liquidity of the derivatives market often soars when the underlying market fluctuates. Thus, the derivatives market is an effective solution to retain investors, helping avoid a situation in which they withdraw from the stock market and cause collapses. 

Vinacas targets cashew exports of US$3.2 billion

The Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) has set an export target of 450,000 tons worth US$3.3 billion for the local cashew industry this year, said Pham Van Cong, chairman of the association.

Vietnam exported 232,000 tons of cashew nuts worth some US$1.53 billion in the first half of the year, rising 16% in volume and 1% in value versus the 2019 figures, even though the country was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic uncertainties.

The mild increase in the export turnover was attributed to the plunging export price of the product during the first half, which reached an average US$6,606 per ton, down almost 14% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Vinacas forecast that the industry would import 1.3 tons of cashew materials this year to be processed for export. Specifically, from January to June, the country purchased 635,000 tons of cashew worth over US$781 million, both down some 12% in volume and 22% in value over the figures a year ago.

The association explained that the negative impacts of the pandemic led to frequent delays in the time needed to transport the commodity from Western Africa to Vietnam. Moreover, the demand for cashew imports of local firms remained lower than in previous years, thus sending cashew imports down.

As for domestic production, data from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council indicated that the volume of Vietnam’s raw cashew this year was on the rise thanks to improved productivity but the incomes of local cashew farmers had fallen due to market volatility.

Van Phong Economic Zone attracts billion-dollar project

Millennium Vietnam Company, a member of the U.S.-based Millennium Petroleum Group, plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired power plant project worth up to US$15 billion in the Van Phong Economic Zone in Khanh Hoa Province.

The project is expected to help Van Phong become the largest LNG hub in Southeast Asia and contribute to the socioeconomic development of Khanh Hoa Province and of Vietnam as a whole.

At a recent meeting with leaders of the south-central province, Millennium Vietnam chairman Sam Chan said that the project would have an electricity generation capacity of 9,600 MW and cover 600 hectares in Ninh Phuoc Commune or Ninh Hai Ward, Ninh Hoa Town.

Khanh Hoa Province chairman Nguyen Tan Tuan asked the management of Van Phong Economic Zone to allow Millennium Vietnam to survey the location and conduct further research.

Besides this project, the management of Van Phong Economic Zone said the Southern Van Phong area has attracted a number of other LNG projects.

Vietnam National Petroleum Group and Vietnam Electricity Group are working to commence an oil refining and petrochemical project. In the first phase, they will construct two power plants with a total capacity of 3,000 MW and the Van Phong LNG Terminal with a storage capacity of 180,000 cubic meters. In the second phase, they will build two more power plants with a capacity equivalent to the first phase.

In addition, Tuan Dung Joint Venture has planned to build an LNG-fired power plant covering 200 hectares in Ninh Phuoc Ward, Ninh Hoa Town.

Hoang Dinh Phi, head of the Van Phong Economic Zone authority, said that the advantage of the area is that it gathers many large projects and has a deep-sea port capable of receiving big vessels. The area prioritizes industrial development, especially seaports and petrochemistry as well as sea tourism.

Transport trading floors operate ineffectively

One of the big shortcomings, weakening the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods not only in foreign markets but also in the domestic market, is the high transportation costs. This needs to be resolved immediately when several free trade agreements between Vietnam and many countries take effect. 

Establishing a transport trading floor is a good idea. And authorities had expected that this idea would attract the participation of both shippers and vehicle owners. However, so far, most of the transport exchanges through the websites and the apps have not been successful, the number of users is quite small.  Many transport trading floors even have stopped working.

VinaTrucking, Vietnam’s first transport trading floor, officially operating from December 2015, was expected to help shippers to save 30 percent of shipping costs and help transporters to increase at least 30-50 percent of revenues and reduce waste because up to nearly 50 percent of trucks were empty due to a shortage of goods. However, according to the reporter’s finding, over the past time, on the VinaTrucking exchange, there were only 23 vehicle codes registered to search for freight.

Of which, the four codes CX-1274, CX-1275, CX-1276, and CX-1277 register for container trucks from Binh Duong Province to Phu Quoc Island from January 31, 2018, to October 28, 2020. Some other vehicle codes registered to go from Hai An District in Hai Phong City to Viet Tri City in Phu Tho Province from October 31, 2016, to October 30, 2020. Meanwhile, the list of consignments to be transported is blank. This shows that there are vehicles registering but the source of freight is not available, meaning that the floor has not made any transactions for the vehicle owners yet.

At the same time, at the transport trading floor, the statistics posted on the website on February 18, 2019, were 805 registered transport companies; the number of transactions was 202; the amount of money traded via floor was VND505 million. However, currently, the website of this floor is sometimes accessible, sometimes inaccessible.

According to Mr. Tran Anh Tuan, the owner of a transport company with 158 trucks and container trucks specializing in transporting fruits from the South to Northern provinces, there are many delicate issues that he feels uncomfortable to talk about, but the bottom line is that transport trading floors have not met the needs of transporters.

Mr. Tran Thanh Tai, director of a transport company in Ho Chi Minh City, said that after participating on the floor for a while, he saw that the limitation of the transport trading floor is the lack of prestigious and big transport enterprises. Information that enterprises put on the floor cannot be controlled. Freights are often of high value, if losses occur, who will be responsible for them?

According to Mr. Bui Van Quan, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Goods Transport Association, many members of the association have participated in the transport floor. However, many customers trading on the floor offered unreasonable prices. Moreover, payment procedures were cumbersome, so many enterprises did not trade on the floor anymore. And yet, most of the exchanges were established by some private companies with the main purpose of providing services on commission. These companies "avoid" all the issues related to legality and the transaction procedures between shippers and transporters. So, if there is a risk, who will take responsibility for it?

With the opinions of the transport businesses, Mr. Ta Cong Thuan, General Director of Vinatrucking Transport Trading Floor, said that in the first one or two years, on average, the floor had 300-400 visits, received and handled dozens of orders every day. However, after having had the contacts of each other, shippers and transporters made the agreements by themselves, not through the floor anymore. This is an economic transaction, the two sides agree on their own without any binding mechanism, nor sanctions so the floor cannot do anything.

‘For the exchange to operate effectively, it is necessary to establish a logistics chain. With only a trading floor playing as an intermediary, it is not feasible,’ said Mr. Thuan. When being asked whether the operations of the transport trading floor will continue to be maintained, he answered that they were also considering that.

Objectively, many transport experts said that the State needs to provide more support mechanisms, such as propaganda, building a legal corridor for the floor to operate. In the past time, most of the transactions between shippers and transporters were done in the old way, which is connected stably and has certain benefits to each other. Therefore, changing the method and putting these transactions on the floor is not easy, it takes time and the support of management tools for enterprises to get used to the new method, creating motivation in the initial time.