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Ta Hien street in Hanoi

Night-time economy is expected to develop Hanoi tourism, tourism experts and policymakers said.

The Hanoi Old Quarter, locating in the downtown in Hoan Kiem district, is the most popular destination in the capital city. Tourists come here to explore ancient streets, craft products, local food or experience lives there. In the evening, streets become more crowded and lively with Hang Dao – Dong Xuan nigh fair and outdoor music performances.

Since 2016, Hanoi has allowed Hoan Kiem district to pilot the extension of opening hour of bars and restaurants to 2am. As a result, their revenues increased by about 30 percent.

Following the pilot, tourist arrivals in 2016 neared 1.4 million, up 22.8 percent from a year earlier. The figure went up to 1.95 million in 2017, nearly 2.2 million in 2018 and 2.5 million in 2019.

The number of business households switching to hospitality services increased 594.

Chairman of the Hoan Kiem district People’s Committee Nguyen Anh Quan said the district will pilot the development of night-time economy in the near future, with both indoor and outdoor models.

According to him, Tay Ho district is also developing night-time economy with a space of arts and street food at Trinh Cong Son street.

USD1bn theme park opened in Hai Phong

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Vietnam’s largest theme park built in Hai Phong City on June 21. 

The USD1bn VinWonders Vu Yen Theme Park is located inside the Vu Yen Island Eco-tourism Urban Area and covers 50ha. It includes six indoor and outdoor areas with various themes for children such as education, sports and virtual reality. The Coster World will include rides and roller coaster.

Visitors can observe many rare animals at Vinpearl Safari, the first wildlife care and conservation park in the north of Vietnam. There is also an outdoor water park with three artificial rivers and a shopping area.

Nguyen Viet Quang, general director of VinGroup, said that the completion of the theme park also marked the completion of VinGroup ecosystem in Hai Phong.

"The theme park will bring the most memorable experiences to visitors in Vietnam and overseas and help boost the tourism sector in Hai Phong and Vietnam," he said.

Nguyen Van Tung, chairman of Hai Phong People's Committee, said the theme park further completed the infrastructure for the local tourism and help with the urban development plan to the north.

This is the fourth theme park in Vietnam and the first one of the VinWonders system in the northern region. It is hoped that the theme park will help Hai Phong become the new destination of the world and improve Vietnam's tourism and entertainment services.

US supports Vietnam to improve business satisfaction in conducting customs procedures

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) today launched a report on a survey titled “Business satisfaction and time needed to carry out administrative procedures through the National Single Window (NSW).”

The NSW is a one-stop shop for customs clearances and is expected to simplify import/export administrative procedures in accordance with international practices and standards.

From September 2019 - March 2020, the USAID through its Trade Facilitation Program, the VCCI, and the GDVC conducted a survey to measure the level of satisfaction amongst businesses in doing administrative procedures via the NSW. The survey analysis and recommendations are expected to foster the substantive reforms of all government ministries which currently process administrative procedures through the NSW by reducing costs, shortening processing times, and improving overall efficiency.

USAID/Vietnam Deputy Mission Director Craig Hart, Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai, VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc, and over 100 representatives from the private sector and various government agencies participated in the event, which featured a discussion on the key findings of the report and a panel of eminent business persons to discuss the role of the NSW system and current trade-related reforms in Vietnam.

For the past two years, the USAID Trade Facilitation Program has worked with GDVC, VCCI, and other partners on various activities to reduce the time and cost to trade in Vietnam. With over USD77.6 billion in bilateral trade between the United States and Vietnam in 2019, USAID will continue to actively support the GVN and private sector to undertake reforms and improve the business community’s satisfaction with key trade facilitation tools such as the NSW.

For more information on the USAID Trade Facilitation Program, visit: https://www.usaid.gov/vietnam/documents/fs-tradefacilitationprogramoct2019-eng

Binh Dinh helping enterprises recover after pandemic

The tax department in Binh Dinh province has introduced a number of solutions to help enterprises overcome the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including tax reductions and payment extensions.

According to a report from the tax department, there are over 15,200 enterprises in the locality deemed to have been impacted by COVID-19, with stagnant business operations restricting their ability to pay taxes on time. The department has reevaluated matters and arranged for 97% of enterprises to be given a tax break and tax payment extension up to 25 million USD. The sector has also deployed specific tax support measures for enterprises.

The tax department in Binh Dinh is now cooperating with other ministries and agencies to support enterprises and taxpayers in accessing the support package, so the province can bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic has been fully eradicated./.

Lychee farmers enjoy the fruits of their labour

Farmers in Luc Ngan district in the northern province of Bac Giang are at their busiest during lychee season. Join us to find out more about their juicy trade.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Luc Ngan has still received numerous orders to ship lychee abroad.

Luc Ngan district is expected to harvest 85,000 tonnes of lychee this year. Alongside the domestic market, China, the US, Japan and Singapore are export destinations./.

Vietnam - attractive, safe investment destination: official

Vietnam has proved that it is an attractive and safe destination for investors, as reflected through positive signs in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country in the first five months of this year, according to an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

During the period, newly-registered FDI capital was up 15 percent while additional capital increased 32 percent despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, Do Nhat Hoang, head of the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

He attributed the increases to efforts made by businesses, drastic actions taken by the government to improve the domestic investment environment as well as the timely support of the government, ministries, agencies and localities to enterprises over the past time.

Hoang also highlighted Vietnam’s success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, which, he said, has contributed to affirming Vietnam’s attractiveness and safety in investment.

The official expressed his hope that after Vietnam resumes international air routes, more investors will come to Vietnam and the FDI flows will bounce back later this year, thus creating momentum for the years to come.

Regarding the movement of investment flows of global groups, Hoang said the restructuring of investment has opened up opportunities for many countries, including Vietnam.

However, he added, where the investment flows are redirected to depends on the absorbing capacity of each country and locality.

According to Hoang, Vietnam has been regarded as a bright spot in the ASEAN region by investors thanks to its advantages of political stability, rapid and sustainable economic growth for many years, abundant workforce, big market, increasing per capita income, intensive and extensive international integration, and competitive incentives, plus its geographical location in the centre of Southeast Asia.

In order to attract investment, Vietnam has made continuous efforts to improve its investment environment, he said, citing the National Assembly’s ratification of relevant laws during its latest session, which are expected to create positive impact on the national economy.

The MPI has also proposed groups of solutions regarding investment promotion, project selection, investment environment improvement and incentives, the official added.

Asked about the effects of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) that were ratified at the recent NA session, Hoang said the deals are expected to open up a new period as European investors in Vietnam will benefit from protection mechanisms and exports to the EU will enjoy special tax incentives.

It is now a good time for businesses from the two sides to enhance their cooperation and investment, he stressed.

Hoang expressed his belief that with the protection mechanisms and special incentives in accordance with the two deals, along with Vietnam’s efforts to improve the domestic investment environment, investors from the EU will pay more attention to Vietnam and materialise benefits to be generated by the two deals.

Techcombank targets 13 trillion VND pre-tax profit in 2020

The Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) has set a pre-tax profit target of 13 trillion VND (558.8 million USD) in 2020, just 1 percent higher than the figure last year.

This target was approved at its annual general meeting of shareholders (AGM) held in Hanoi on June 20.

Answering shareholders’ question about the bank's modest profit growth goal, Chairman of Techcombank's Board of Directors Ho Hung Anh said this was a cautious plan due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it would also focus strongly on digital transformation, leading to an increase in investment costs and interest rate support for customers affected by the disease, resulting in a decline in profit margin.

“However, if the economic situation of Vietnam and the world recover soon, the bank's business results would have changes in the third and fourth quarter of this year,” Anh said.

The bank’s total assets were targeted to increase to 431.4 trillion VND, posting a 12 percent year-on-year increase. Deposits will grow to 268.8 trillion VND and loan balance to 291.5 trillion VND, both increasing by 13 percent against 2019, in line with the current credit allowance from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). The bank also planned to keep non-performing loans (NPL) below 3 percent, as stipulated by the central bank’s guidance.

Techcombank’s shareholders approved the plan for retained earnings and investment into fundamental capabilities to continue future growth momentum. The bank’s strong investment in people and systems accounts for its remarkable success in its transformation journey. Techcombank topped the banking sector in terms of profitability and operational efficiency with return of asset (ROA) of 2.9 percent and was among the Top 2 most profitable banks in 2019.

It also approved the increase in charter capital to 35 trillion VND in conjunction with the issuance of 4.7 million ESOP shares for key outstanding employees, in line with resolutions passed in the previous AGM. The shares issued are for purchase rights awarded to eligible employees for performance in 2017.

Anh said Techcombank’s strategy was to focus on some sectors and segments in which they have good control and the largest market share.

For example, five years ago, Techcombank identified the real estate segment as having advantages and rapid development. They could be fully able to control risks, develop business and reality showed that this option was a right selection in the past five years.

He said Techcombank had always chosen big customers with high prestige to create attractive products and services in the market. The bank had been very cautious in selecting customers, not much but be good; not spreading to customers who have high risks.

“Techcombank always follows the trend of low risk, high profit. Instead of working with all 10 customers, we only work with the best three customers. Instead of working in 10 fields, only 2-3 services that the bank can control,” he said.

With concerns from shareholders about the real estate market expected to freeze due to the pandemic, the chairman said that the bank had developed a plan to forecast risks and everything has been under control according to Basel II.

“The bank's capital adequacy ratio (CAR) is nearly 16 percent, nearly doubling the minimum requirement of Basel II’s Pillar 1. So it is all under control.”

Techcombank planned to expand the ecological model approach for the fast-moving consumer goods value chain and reduce the dependence on housing chains (ReCoM). It would continue to accelerate the digital banking model to meet with demands and enhance customers' experience.

10th Meeting on RCEP expected to bring new change to regional, global trade

The 10th Meeting on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), scheduled for June 23 in Hanoi, is expected to bring a new change to regional and global trade.

The meeting will be chaired by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Via rounds of negotiations since 2012 between ASEAN’s 10 member states and six dialogue partners, the RCEP is considered the world’s largest free trade agreement.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said once the RCEP comes into force, it will create a market with about 3.5 billion consumers and a gross domestic product (GDP) of 49 trillion USD, accounting for 39 percent of the world’s.

The deal, scheduled to be signed this year, will also create the world’s largest free trade area with commitments regarding the opening of markets in goods, services and investment, simplification of customs procedures and rules of origin of products.

It is also expected to step up the development of regional and global value chains, propelling economies of ASEAN member states, including Vietnam and partner nations.

Experts highlighted the need to deal with issues related to non-tariff trade barriers, intellectual property rights, and e-commerce to improve the competitiveness of ASEAN businesses, including those from Vietnam so as to expand markets and boost exports.

Myanmar to restart domestic tourism in Q3

Myanmar plans to restart its domestic tourism in the third quarter of 2020, as a first phase of the country’s tourism recovery under the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan.

Under the plan recently launched by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, domestic tourism will resume soon to help 20 to 25 percent of the tourism sector recover.

The ministry and the Religious Affairs and Culture Ministry are in talks to reopen the pagodas and cultural sites so as to restart domestic tourism.

Meanwhile, regional tourism will resume in the fourth quarter of this year, by creating travel bubbles with neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

The ministry is expecting Asian tourism with countries like China and Japan in early 2021, looking at 50 to 60 percent recovery of the industry while international tourism is expected to come back in early 2022 with 80 to 90 percent recovery.

The relief plan consists of three main strategies which are survival - self-finance and stimulus package, reopening - relaxation of lockdown and quarantine and re-launching - reinventing Myanmar tourism and relaxing of regulation accordingly with respective timelines.

Under the plan, the ministry has taken measures such as waiving one-year license fees, deferring lease fees charged to affected state-owned hotels for six months, organising online training, daily allowance paid training and COVID-19 Relief Package training, and running Digital Marketing Campaign, Branding Strategy and E-commerce websites.

As Myanmar is seeing fewer numbers of local transmissions, a total of 1,074 hotels, or 50 percent of total numbers of hotels across the country, have reopened after getting health and safety inspection passes as of June 19.

As of June 20 morning, the country had reported 286 confirmed cases with six deaths.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau seeks to improve logistics competitiveness

Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province authorities plan to spend VND 20 trillion (US$850 million) from now through 2025 on infrastructure to achieve their goal of comprehensive development.

In recent years the coastal province has invested a lot in upgrading and expanding roads, ports and logistics.

As the southern gateway of the country, its ports play an important role, and so developing the port network and logistic centres remains a top priority for the province.

It has a master plan including 69 ports, of which 48 are operational with a capacity more than 141 million tonnes a year.

The total area of ​​the specialised warehousing in the plan is 2,312ha, and the current availability is around 224ha.

Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port in Phu My Town is one of only 21 in the world that can handle ships of up to 200,000 tonnes.

However, the efficiency of port operations and port logistics services is not commensurate with the potential, and so competitiveness with other countries in the neighbourhood is not high.

Cai Mep-Thi Vai has great advantages in terms of having modern and advanced seaport facilities, modern equipment and rapid growth. But to further increase its competitiveness and attract more customers to it, authorities need to develop inter-regional road, rail, and river transportation from key economic areas in the region, experts said.

The Ministry of Transport will allocate funds to speed up the construction of the Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Highway to Dong Nai Province in 2020 to improve transportation, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said.

The province People’s Committee said this would reduce transportation time and make it more convenient for investors to reach neighbouring cities and provinces like HCM City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai both by waterway and road.

Investment has also been made to upgrade intra-provincial transport between industrial zones, ports and logistics centres, it said, adding that upgrades to infrastructure and transportation would continue until 2025.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, one of eight provinces and cities in the Southern Key Economic Zone, has for many years been a magnet for foreign investors thanks to its natural advantages, well-developed infrastructure and attractive incentives.

Investors often invest in preferential sectors such as industry, ports and logistics, supporting industries, tourism, and high-tech agriculture.

To attract more investors, both local and foreign, province authorities have kept improving the investment climate by adopting policies and solutions to strengthen administration and competitiveness. 

EU to remove tariffs on Vietnamese tuna once trade deal takes effect

The European Union will eliminate tariffs on fresh and frozen Vietnamese tuna products, with 11,500 tonnes of canned tuna and 500 tonnes of canned fish balls exempted annually, once a free trade pact the two sides have signed comes into effect possibly in August.

Once the European-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect, the bloc will immediately remove tariffs on frozen tenderloin and fillet under a three-year roadmap and on steamed tenderloin and fillets under a seven-year roadmap.

The signing of the pact is expected to create an enormous opportunity for the Vietnamese tuna industry to gain access to new markets by helping them get tax breaks and thus compete with rival companies from other countries such as Thailand and China.

 

While neighbouring countries are major competitors for Viet Nam and have a large share of the EU market, they have yet to sign any FTAs with the bloc.

According to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP), the pandemic situation in major export markets remains unpredictable.

It called on local businesses to keep a close eye on the global market to make appropriate adjustments since consumers’ incomes are affected and there is a new trend of looking for cheaper alternatives like canned tuna.

Vietnamese tuna products mainly compete with those from Ecuador, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Since Viet Nam is considered to have reached the “maturity” level in seafood exports under the Generalised System of Preferential, a preferential tariff system, on January 1, 2014, it lost preferential treatment.

According to statistics from the General Department of Customs, in the first four months Viet Nam’s tuna exports to the EU fell by 7.2 per cent year-on-year, while canned tuna exports increased by 2.7 per cent.

The National Assembly ratified the trade pact on June 8.

The EVFTA, considered the “most modern, comprehensive and ambitious agreement ever concluded between the EU and a developing country,” will abolish almost all tariffs between the two sides over the next 10 years. 

Ha Noi prohibits using the first floor of resettlement houses for business

The first floors of resettlement apartments in Ha Noi can no longer be used for trading and leasing joint venture purposes.

The city’s People's Committee has assigned authorities in districts, wards and towns to use the first floors of resettlement apartments under State possession for community activities, which are managed and reported in accordance with public asset policies.

Previously, many apartments leased their first floor for trading purpose without the approval of the municipal People's Committee.

Specifically, a report of the Ha Noi Department of Construction said the city assigned the Ha Noi Housing Management and Development One-member Company Limited to manage 148 resettlement buildings with first-floor area of up to 56,937 square metres.

However, the company has arranged for 21 individuals and organisations to use 4,038 square metres for business without the approval of the city People's Committee.

In addition, the entire rental fee of this area of ​​more than VND20 billion (US$858,000) has not been remitted into the State budget. 

Vissan resigned to 20 per cent profit decline this year

Vissan Joint Stock Company targets revenues of VND5.58 trillion (US$240.1 million) and pre-tax profits of VND180 billion ($7.73 million) this year, 12 per cent up and 20 per cent down from 2019.

Announcing this at the annual general meeting in HCM City on Thursday, general director Nguyen Ngoc An said due to the impact of the African swine flu that has hit supply, pig prices will remain high this year, gradually decrease next year and stabilise after that.

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the global economy, including Viet Nam’s, and directly affected Vissan's production and trading, but they are expected to stabilise in 2021, he said.

The company plans to open a slaughterhouse and food processing plant in Long An Province in early 2024, he said.

Since its expenses would increase by then, especially interest and amortisation costs, profits in 2024 are expected to fall, but opening the plant would help increase capacity as well as quality, he said.

In 2020, the company would expand and diversify its online sales channels to provide fresh, safe and hygienic products to consumers quickly and conveniently, he said.

Vissan’s revenue and pre-tax profit reached VND4.99 trillion and VND226 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.

It began sales via a hotline, its Facebook fanpage and e-commerce sites Sendo and Now, he said.

It also launched 10 new processed products, made changes to 16 others to improve quality and reduce production cost and changed the packaging of all its products.

Shareholders also approved many other important proposals at the meeting.

Vissan is one of the country’s leading food companies with 50 stores and more than 130,000 other retail outlets in the traditional and modern trade channels.

‘Prudent’ Tracodi sets modest financial targets for this year

The Transport and Industry Development Investment Joint Stock Company (Tracodi) targets revenues of VND1.92 trillion (US$82.6 million) and after-tax profits of VND101 billion ($4.34 million) in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 13.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent.

The targets were approved at its annual general meeting in HCM City on June 20.

In its revenue structure, infrastructure and property construction is expected to account for the largest share of some VND756.4 billion, an increase of 4.6 per cent over 2019.

Its stone quarrying operations through the Antraco joint venture is expected to contribute VND400.5 billion, with the rest coming from trading, starch production, labour export and training and others.

General director Nguyen Thanh Hung said the company would focus on its core business activities of infrastructure construction, export trade, and labour export this year.

In the construction sector, it would focus on completing construction of the Malibu Resort and King Crown- Thao Dien, solar power projects and rooftop solar and new projects such as Amor Garden, Casa 2, and Lavender, he said.

In the trading sector, it would set up the Tracodi Trading & Consulting JSC to actively boost exports of key products such as modified starch and outdoor furniture, and build and develop the Dr Nam coffee brand, he said.

The passenger transport business, where it operates Vinataxi Company, would continue to see a difficult year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, he warned. So, in addition to the traditional taxi transport business, Vinataxi also planned to enter the fields of motor vehicle assessment and install rooftop power, he said.

The financial targets are based on the impressive results the company achieved last year when profits and revenues were 61.5 per cent and 12.1 per cent higher than the targets at VND1.7 trillion ($76.19 million) and VND121.45 billion ($5.2 million).

The meeting approved several other proposals, including a 16 per cent dividend for 2019, 5 per cent in cash and 11 per cent in shares, and 10-15 per cent for 2020.

Replying to shareholders’ questions about the impact of the pandemic on the company’s business operations and its ability to realize the 2020 targets, Nguyen Ho Nam, Tracodi chairman, said the targets, despite being higher than last year’s, were modest and the company is fully capable.

It is a "prudent" plan that takes into account the difficulties caused by Covid-19, according to Nam. 

E-money transactions surge sharply in Philippines

The value of electronic money transactions in the Philippines surged by 36.2 percent to 1.48 trillion peso (over 29.5 billion USD) in 2019 from 1.09 trillion peso in 2018.

The amount is expected to rise further as the country’s central bank (BSP) has promoted digitalisation.

Vicente de Villa, managing director of the central bank’s financial technology sub-sector, said the accelerating growth in e-money transactions represents a positive development to the BSP’s active effort in promoting e-payments.

Data showed the value of e-money inflows surged by 36.4 percent to 745.23 billion peso in 2019. On the other hand, the value of e-money outflows likewise jumped by 36.1 percent to 740.13 billion peso.

De Villa said the volume and value of e-money transactions are likely to spike this year as more Filipinos shifted to electronic payments amid the pandemic.
To date, the BSP has issued more than 50 EMI licenses, including 31 banks and 23 non-banks.

During the lockdown, he said the BSP approved three new non-bank EMIs including Paynamics Technologies Inc., UPay Digital Technologies, and WIBS PHP Inc.

The BSP launched the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) in December 2015, paving the way for the introduction of clearing houses to raise the level of digital payments to 20 percent by 2020 from only one percent in 2013.

Viet Nam's biggest shipping firm reduces charter capital

Viet Nam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), the country's biggest shipping firm, has to reduce its charter capital by another 15 per cent due to unability to sell shares.

Recently, the State Capital Management Committee at the enterprise decided to reduce the charter capital of Vinalines from VND14.046 trillion (US$604 million) to more than VND12 trillion.

The capital is equivalent to 1.2 billion shares with the par value of VND10,000 each. Of which, the State is holding more than 1.19 billion shares, accounting for 99.469 per cent of charter capital; the firm’s employees are holding 392,500 shares or 0.038 per cent of the stake, the trade union of the firm is holding 500,000 shares, or 0.452 per cent of the stake while the last 5,420,900 shares, representing 0.452 per cent of the stake, will be sold to the public.

Chairman of the State Capital Management Committee at the enterprise told the firm to carry out the relevant procedures to organise its first Shareholders General Meeting to announce the successful transfer to a joint stock company and complete the remaining procedures for equitisation as per the law.

Before, the firm planned to sell 207.8 million shares to strategic investors and 280,921,160 shares in a public auction. However, it could not choose any strategic shareholder, thus had to offer the shares in an IPO in 2018 instead of selling to strategic investors.

However, in the IPO, the firm was able to sell only 0.452 per cent out of the 34.8 per cent stake offered.

According to the provisions of Decree No. 126/2017/ND-CP, in case of failure to sell all shares in accordance with the approved equitisation plan, the equitised enterprise must adjust its charter capital structure.

As the biggest local shipping firm, Vinalines, founded in 1995, is a 100 per cent State-owned enterprise. It was transformed into a holding company in 2006 and a State-owned one member limited company in 2010.

Currently trading on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), shares of the firm were rated at VND11,000 each.

Vietbuild expo in HCM City to feature nearly 1,800 booths

The Vietbuild International Exhibition with the theme Construction – Building materials – Real Estate – Interior and Exterior Decoration will be held in HCM City from June 24 to 28.

The exhibition will have nearly 1,800 booths of more than 400 exhibitors, including many foreign brands.

It is among the first exhibitions this year. Many Vietbuild exhibitions with different themes will be held in the country’s four biggest cities of Ha Noi, HCM City, Can Tho and Da Nang this year.

On display will be building materials, electrical equipment, interior and exterior decorative items, hygiene equipment, door and door accessories, paints, water purifiers, hand tools and others, with many new models and improved features and quality to meet higher requirements from customers for environmentally friendly products.

Professional seminars and business-matching events will be held on the sidelines of the exhibition, including a seminar on “Breakthrough technologies and materials in the construction industry in post COVID-19”, which seeks to encourage businesses to continue research and produce new and high-tech products to meet urban construction and housing market demands towards green and sustainable development.

The exhibitions will offer a platform for companies to meet, exchange information, explore co-operation prospects, and introduce their latest products and technologies, according to the organisers.

They will also help exhibitors understand more about the market and consumers’ tastes so that they can map out appropriate business strategies.

Co-organised by the Ministry of Construction’s Information Centre and VIETBUILD Construction International Exhibition Organisation Corp, the exhibition will be held at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

US consumers taste Vietnamese mangoes

Mai Son district in the in the northern province of Son La announced on June 22 that it has exported an initial batch of 30 tonnes of mangoes to the United States, paving the way for this tropical fruit to enter the US market.

A ceremony was held on June 22 to unveil the export of 30 tonnes of Mai Son mangoes to the US
The export of mangoes to the attentive US market affirms the place of the Mai Son mango brand amid the international market and indicates a positive sign for mango growers after enduring a challenging period caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. 

A local grower based in Mai Son district who has been planting mangoes in accordance to VietGAP standards, said the prices of the fruit domestically have been fluctuating between VND7,000-8,000 per kilo, while the export price stands between VND11,000 and VND12,000 per kilo (or half a US dollar).

Dinh Kim Nhung, director of the Kim Nhung Dong Thap Co, Ltd, said that mangoes grown in Mai Son district are of a high quality and are in good shape, while the large output means that standards are met when exporting to foreign markets.

Moreover, the company has also purchased mangoes from local growers in order to export to China, in addition to local consumption, Nhung added.

In total, Mai Son district is home to over 2,600 hectares for mango growing areas, of which 145 hectares have been granted VietGAP standards. Since the beginning of the harvest season, the province has exported a haul of 5,600 tonnes of mangoes to China.

The export of mangoes to the US market is set to create an array of opportunities for mangoes to penetrate other demanding markets, thereby contributing to the consumption of agricultural products within the locality, promoting production development, and applying safety standards in terms of farming, said Vice Chairman of the Son La provincial administration Nguyen Quoc Khanh.

Throughout the year, Son La province is expected to export over 30,000 tonnes of other agricultural products, including longans, plums, and custard apples to foreign markets.

Farm produce face hurdles to make inroads into EU

While the national agriculture sector is poised to enjoy numerous opportunities brought about by the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), many of its export items are likely to face new challenges when attempting to penetrate the stringent EU market.

The EU currently represents the second largest export market for Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery products after China, importing many of the country’ key farm produce such as  seafood, coffee, cashew nuts, and tropical vegetables. Meanwhile, the country’s main imports from this market are eggs, milk, honey, beef, chicken, pork, and vegetables.

Once the EVFTA comes into full effect, import duties imposed on Vietnamese agricultural products, for instance, broken and long grain rice, will be slashed to 0%.

With regard to seafood, fruit and vegetables, the EU is committed to eliminating 50% of tax lines, while the remaining 50% of tax lines will be removed in the subsequent period in line with the five and seven year roadmap.

The export growth of a number of agricultural products will see an upward trajectory until 2025 due to the effects of the trade pact. Accordingly, rice, sugar, pork, forest products, and cattle and poultry will increase by 65%, 8%, 4%, 3%, and 4% respectively by 2025.

Most notably, the impending trade deal is expected to contribute to attracting investment projects in the local agricultural sector, accelerating the transfer of technology, renovating production methods within the agricultural sector, increasing output, and product quality, thereby allowing Vietnamese agricultural products to meet the stringent standards set by EU importers. 

Economists believe that in order to fully opitimise the opportunities offered by the EVFTA and subsequently penetrate the EU market, Vietnamese agricultural products must first overcome the EU’s technical barriers relating to the rule of origin, product quality, or intellectual property protection.

Economic expert Vu Vinh Phu says the country’s involvement in new generation FTAs such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EVFTA is expected to enhance national competitiveness since Vietnam has an  underdeveloped agriculture compared to other advanced economies. This can be seen when Vietnam is compared to other places in terms of labour productivity, product quality, and prices.

Moreover, the agricultural sector faces stringent competition from farm produce originating from other regional countries due to small scale production, a low level of science and technology, in addition to limitations in terms of food safety, hygiene, and high production costs, Phu notes.

Once the EVFTA fully comes into effect, dairy products and livestock meat from other countries will begin to flood the Vietnamese market at cheaper prices and at a higher quality in comparison to local items, leading to a great number of challenges for domestic farm produce.

Phu therefore emphasises that local farmers and enterprises should move to overcome these impending challenges by creating high-quality products, proactively improving production capacity, seeking new markets, and developing brands for domestic agricultural products.

Concerning exports, the substantial reduction of import tax imposed by EVFTA signatories will encourage the development of local agricultural production.

Economists underline the need to overcome technical barriers regarding plant and animal quarantine, while also ensuring other fundamental factors relating to environmental protection, social responsibility, and distribution for farm produce exports are maintained.  

Experts also state the importance of using science and technology in the production of agricultural products in the future as these products account for 70% of the total domestic consumption market.

“Once we penned the trade pact, we are committed to playing by the rules, especially with regard to food safety, hygiene, competitive prices, and environmental standards. Everything should be done in a a transparent and clear manner,” concludes Phu.

Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of US$170 million in first half of June

The nation posted a trade surplus of US$170 million during the first half of June, bringing the figure recorded from the beginning of the year to mid-June to US$ 3.75 billion, according to the latest initial statistics released by the General Department of Customs.

Meanwhile, the first half of June saw the country's total import and export value reach US$20.57 billion, up 3.3% over the second half of one month earlier. 

During the reviewed period, export turnover hit US$ 10.37 billion, down 5.3% or US$578 million compared to the last 15 days of May.

Export value during the first half of June endured a drop in a number of items such as phones and components, rice, machinery, equipment, tools, spare parts, computers, electronic products and their components, while import value hit US$10.2 billion, up 13.7% (equivalent to an increase of US$ 1.23 billion) over the second half of May.

From the beginning of the year to the end of June 15, the national total export value was US$110.56 billion, suffering a slight fall of 0.7% or US$ 777 million in comparison to the same period last year.

As a result, the total import-export value of the whole country reached US$ 217.36 billion, down 2.3% (equivalent to US$ 5.11 billion) over the corresponding period of 2019.