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Ten out of 12 ministries and agencies have committed to completing the disbursement of foreign loans this year after adjusting down their capital plans, the Ministry of Finance has reported. 

At a conference in Hanoi on October 12, head of the ministry’s Department of Debt Management and External Finance, Truong Hung Long, said that over VND4.2 trillion (US$182.6 million) in foreign loans were disbursed in September, up more than VND558 billion month-on-month.

The disbursement of official development assistance (ODA) and preferential loans, however, remains low due to incomplete site clearance, slow project approval and bidding, and complaints about the bidding process.

Deputy head of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)’s Planning and Finance Department, Dinh Minh Tung, said that, as of September 30, the MoET’s disbursement had met 39% of the target, up 18% against August.

Ministries and agencies were asked to partner with sponsors, agencies, and localities to deal with any difficulties, especially in major projects.

The Finance Ministry pledged to continue considering the disbursement of ODA and preferential loans a key task this year, and will discuss emerging issues with sponsors during the process.

Cashew nut exports to thrive in year-end months

Vietnam’s cashew exports are likely to increase in the remaining months of the year, prompted by surging demand, cashew firms have said.

Vietnam shipped 363,000 tonnes of cashew nuts abroad in the first nine months of 2020, raking in 2.3 billion USD, up 10.6 percent in volume but down 4 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

China’s demand for cashew nuts is on the rise, but importers have imposed stricter requirements on quality and Vietnam’s inventories may be insufficient.

The Vietnam Cashew Association forecast that exports of cashew kernel in the remaining months will surge thanks to growing demand of major importers including the US, the EU, India and China, during their holidays.

The cashew industry targets exports of 450,000 tonnes this year for 3.2 billion USD, according to the association./.

Central bank updates security for card payments

In the wake of new advances in science and technology that pose challenges to security and confidentiality, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) is drafting amendments to Circular 47/2014/TT-NHNN with new technical regulations on security and confidentiality for the card payment system.

Under the changes, banks and payment intermediaries will need to withdraw, remove or deactivate unused, expired or inactive accounts after 90 days, or accounts that are not activated within the required period.

Card numbers must also be kept confidential by only displaying the first six and the last four digits.

Only employees who have the authority to perform certain procedures or the authorities and the cardholders themselves will be allowed access to the full information.

Banks, card payment organisations and payment intermediaries will no longer be allowed to provide intranet addresses and routing information to other organisations without authorisation, and should take measures to protect such information when connecting with third parties.

In addition, workstations must not have access to card data which is not concealed or encrypted.

For payment equipment, all remote administration access connections should be encrypted using strong encryption to minimise cybersecurity risks.

To ensure security, banks and payment intermediaries will need to review software technology at least once a year. If it is no longer supported or does not meet security requirements, it must be repaired or replaced.

Access to all card payment systems must be verified using at least one of these methods: secret password, device, authentication card, biometrics.

The SBV said the provisions under Circular 47 were technical requirements for equipment security serving the card payment system and would not affect bank customers' accounts.

Array of local firms recognised by achieving 2020 National Brand award

A total of 124 domestic enterprises featuring 283 products have been officially honoured with the title of 2020 Vietnam National Brands by the Vietnam National Trademark Council. 

After facing a prolonged spell of challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, this year’s national branding scheme has attracted more than 1,000 enterprises nationwide.

In comparison to 2018’s event, there are an additional 27 businesses which have achieved the award this year, therefore proving the programme’s efficiency to accelerate the import and export of goods and services, whilst also developing the domestic market.

This year’s scheme has attracted numerous well-known brands who have registered for the first time, including Nam Ha Pharmaceutical, Pan, VnPay, Xuan Hoa, Mobifone, BRG, Cholimex, and Vinawind. 

The National Branding Programme, originally approved in 2003, has been the only scheme of its kind launched by the Vietnamese Government towards elevating the country’s image and trademark through various products and services.

The award ceremony for 2020’s national brands is scheduled to be held at the end of November at the Hanoi Opera House.

Ninh Bình targets developing night tourism

More tours to discover Ninh Bình’s urban nightlife and Bái Đính Pagoda will be developed in the near future to bring new experience for tourists, according to Bùi Thành Đông, director of the provincial Department of Tourism.

More than 200 representatives of government and travel companies held a conference in the region to find solutions to promote tourism.

Ninh Bình received 7.5 million tourists including a million foreigners last year, according to Đông. However, received only 2.1 million tourists including 157,000 foreigners from January to September this year, a decrease of 68 per cent.

To increase this amount, Đông said it’s necessary to build new products, renovate traditional tours and especially develop night tourism products to encourage tourists to stay longer.

“If the night activities are attractive enough, tourists will stay longer and consumer more,” he said.

“When tourists stay one night, they will spend money for meals and other services. The fact is that now we can’t meet the goal of number of tourists but I believe that it’s possible to meet the goal of increasing money coming into the region.

“Currently, we manage the relics and beauty spots and protect the environment very well, tourists will not see crowds, beggars or thieves as reported some years ago.”

Dương Thị Thanh, chairwoman of Ninh Bình Tourism Association, said it is necessary to enhance promotion to boost tourism.

"We need the connection and co-operation between travel agents and local service providers and upgrade the quality to attract tourists,” she said. 

Representing enterprises, Trương Quốc Hùng, chairman of UNESCO Hà Nội Travel Club Hà Nội agreed, adding that travel businesses should set up an alliance to share profits, exploit the domestic market and enhance selling products.

“We don’t recommend dropping the price because the low price may lead to the downgrade of service quality, instead, we can offer promotions during weekdays to lower the load at weekends,” he said.   

Nguyễn Tuấn Linh, director of Mr Linh’s Adventures Company, said he had a chance to discover Bái Đính Pagoda at night and had a wonderful experience. The tour started at Hồng Quang Art Stone Centre in the afternoon, then tourists enjoy sunset at Đinh – Lê Kings Temples worshipping Kings Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Lê Đại Hành. The tour ended at Bái Đính Pagoda.

“I have visited Bái Đính Pagoda for many times however this is the first time I came the place at night to enjoy the tranquillity, the beautiful constructions in light and understand more about Buddhism,” he said.

“It’s a chance for people to experience the beauty of the site which you can’t find in daytime, we listen to the monk’s sutra and poems, we enjoy zen singing. It’s a very attractive tour. I will design tours for my customers to the place.”

Due to COVID-19, Ninh Bình will continue to be host of National Tourism Year in 2021.

Petrol prices witness slight increase following latest adjustments

The Ministry of Industry and Trade, along with the Ministry of Finance, moved to revise their petrol and oil prices at 3 p.m. on October 12, with the retail price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 seeing a rise of VND53 to VND14,268 per litre. 

Furthermore, the price of bio-fuel RON 95 went up by VND138 per litre to VND15,122.

Moreover, the price of diesel 0.05S remained unchanged and will be sold at no more than VND11,128 per litre.

Elsewhere, the price of kerosene witnessed an increase of VND145 to VND9,594 per litre, whilst the price of mazut 180CST 3.5S rose by VND95 per kilogram to be capped at VND10,921 per kilogram.

The latest series of price hikes comes amid rising global petrol prices over the last 15 days, according to the two ministries.

Hanoi records remarkable achievements in last five years

Hanoi recorded considerable achievements during the five years of implementing the resolution of the 16th municipal Party Congress for the 2015-2020 tenure.

At the patriotic emulation congress of Hanoi in early October, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the capital city performed its role as the country’s political and administrative centre and a major hub for culture, science, education, economic activities, and international transactions well.

Its efforts and subsequent socio-economic achievements have contributed significantly to socio-political stability, safeguarding defence-security, and ensuring social order and safety in the city and the country as a whole, according to the Government leader.

Between 2016 and 2020, the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) rose 7.39 % annually on average, reaching the set target of between 7.3-7.8 % and exceeding the growth of 6.93 % posted in the 2011-2015 period.

This year’s GRDP is estimated at VND1.06 quadrillion (about US$45 billion), with a per capita figure of some US$5,420, or 1.5 times higher than in 2015 and 1.8 times higher than the nation’s average.

Notably, Hanoi has steadfastly adopted solutions to improve the local investment and business climate. It attracted US$3.28 billion in FDI in the first nine months of 2020 as a result - an encouraging outcome amid lower global investment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is currently home to 6,278 foreign-invested projects with combined capital of more than US$47.7 billion, US$28.5 billion of which has been disbursed.

Notably, US$25 billion worth of FDI capital was channelled into Hanoi between 2016 and 2020, making the capital an outstanding performer in this regard.

Meanwhile, considerable improvements have been posted in urban infrastructure planning and development, construction management, and environmental protection. Hanoi has paid attention to smart city development and completed its one-million-tree programme two years ahead of schedule.

The capital leads Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces in the number of new-style rural communes. It expects to have 10 outlying districts and 371 communes, or 96.1 % of its communes, recognised as new-style rural areas by the end of this year - also two years ahead of schedule.

Hanoi has continued to see major accomplishments in culture, education and training, healthcare, and science and technology. It is the first Vietnamese locality to become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, which is an important driver for it to innovate and develop into a smart, dynamic, and sustainable city, raise its profile, and promote its attractiveness.

It has also actively worked to expand cooperation with international partners, boost cultural and friendship exchanges, and increase trade and foreign investment attraction.

The city now has friendship and cooperative relations with more than 100 capitals and major cities around the world. It has also enhanced ties with central agencies and other localities in Vietnam, thereby promoting its role, standing, and prestige both domestically and internationally.

Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue, who is also head of the city’s delegation of National Assembly deputies, said Hanoi has achieved and surpassed all 16 targets set in the resolution adopted at the 16th Hanoi Party Congress.

A report on the five-year implementation of the resolution also highlighted certain successes in Party building and rectification, streamlining of the political system, and the performance of all-level administrations, sectors, and localities in fulfilling their duties.

However, the report also acknowledged that although Hanoi has posted relatively fast growth and exhibited resilience to external impacts and the COVID-19 pandemic, it has yet to make major breakthroughs or fully tap its potential and advantages. While disbursement of public investment remains slow, the city’s spots in the Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services (SIPAS) and the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) rankings are still modest compared to other localities.

The 17th Hanoi Party Congress for the 2020-2025 tenure is underway and expected to create new momentum and pave the way for fundamental improvements in all spheres, so that the capital will develop faster and more sustainably and live up to the expectations of the Party Central Committee, the local Party organisation and residents, and people nationwide.

Tra fish exports to Mexico record fall of nearly 60%

Vietnam’s tra fish, also known as pangasius, exports to the Mexican market suffered a drop of 57.8% to US$28.5 million by mid-September in comparison to the same period from last year, according to data compiled by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The average export price of frozen pangasius fillets to the North American market throughout the opening eight months of the year ranges from US$1.75 to US$2 per kilo.

At present, more than 25 local businesses have exported tra fish to the Mexican market, with some of the major export items including frozen pangasius fillets and cuts of frozen pangasius slices.

According to statistics released by the International Trade Centre, Mexico’s total import volume of white fish products fell by roughly 35% to 86,000 tonnes last year, with tilapia products from the Chinese market accounting for the highest proportion, followed by Vietnamese tra fish.

Most notably, the import value of tilapia from China and tra fish from Vietnam recorded decreases of over 24% and 40%, respectively, compared to the previous year’s figures.

Furthermore, among the 11 countries participating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Canada, Mexico, and Peru are among the first three markets that the country has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with.

The move has served to open up bright prospects for local fisheries exports to these markets, largely because frozen pangasius fillets now enjoy preferential tariff cuts, from their previous figure of 20% to the current tax rate of 0% in line with the tariff reduction roadmap.

As a result of the adverse impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic globally, pangasius exports to many major markets, including Mexico, are projected to suffer a decline of 50% this year when compared to 2019’s figures.

MoU inked for liquefied natural gas-fired power project in Bac Lieu

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the building of a 3,200MW liquefied natural gas-fired power plant in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu was signed between representatives of the provincial People’s Committee and Singapore’s Delta Offshore Energy Pte.Ltd (DOE), at a ceremony in the locality on October 12.
 
According to the MOU, the signatories are committed to coordinate with central and local management agencies in completing the remaining tasks in developing the projects in 2020 on schedule.

Official negotiations on a 25-year power purchase agreement between DOE and the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) will start immediately after the event. The agreement is expected to be inked by the end of this year.

The technical design is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, enabling the project’s construction to begin in 2021. The first turbine of the plant is hoped to become commercially operational in 2024.

The project, worth approximately US$4 billion, is the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the Mekong Delta region. It is expected to create thousands of jobs and contribute more than VND3 trillion (US$129.6 million) per year to the State budget.

RoK eyes to invest in building smart urban areas in Can Tho

A delegation of the Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation (KIND) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) had a working session with officials of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on opportunities to invest in developing smart urban areas in the locality. 

During a reception for the RoK delegation on October 12, Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Thi Hong Anh said Can Tho is in need of developing such fields as management and operation of export processing zones and  industrial parks; climate change adaptation and environmental protection in urban areas; managing and developing urban areas and residential areas, and housings, and effectively using land; and intelligent traffic; and using database, thus helping the municipal authorities build development solutions for the city.

The city is calling for investment from units that are capable of joining investment in projects in the city, she said, adding that she hopes Korean investors to engage in developing large shopping centres in Can Tho to serve investors from other countries.

A direct air route has been opened between Can Tho and the Republic of Korea, she stressed, affirming that the municipal authorities will work closely with investors to solve related issues as quickly as possible so that the two sides will successfully implement projects.

Teakwon Seo, Executive Vice President of KIND, said his agency wishes to invest in developing smart urban areas in Can Tho.

As KIND is still working on specific options of investing in the Mekong Delta region, it is favourable to invest in Can Tho because it is the largest city in the region and has relatively good infrastructure system, he said.

KIND, the agency under the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, is working in promoting public-private partnership (PPP) projects abroad, and capable of directly investing in projects as an investor through the acquisition of a portion of equity or as a direct lender. It currently manages investment funds with a total capital of up to US$1.5 billion.

The organisation's investment and support areas include transport infrastructure, urban development, electricity, energy and petrochemical industries; water resources and environmental infrastructure. In Vietnam, KIND is operating projects in urban development with a total investment capital of US$390 million.

Vietnamese co-operatives export dragon fruit, pomelo to Canada

Thanh Binh Co-operative’s dragon fruit and Ben Tre Green Pomelo Cooperative’s pink lady pomelo have hit shelves at supermarkets and fruit shops and a juice company in Canada. 

It is the first pomelo brand registered by a Vietnamese co-perative to be exported to Canada.

The Ben Tre Green Pomelo Cooperative has also obtained GlobalGAP certification for the fruit.

For Thanh Binh, this was the third shipment to Canada but the first time it fully carried out a dragon fruit order in its own name, from cultivating to transportation and all stages in between.

It set up a new packing unit in August.

Getting rid of intermediaries is expected to bring its members greater benefits.

Both co-operatives have fully complied with requisite safety standards.

The two co-operatives are among five new ones established under the framework of the Vietnam Cooperative Enterprise Development Project in Soc Trang, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong, and Ben Tre provinces since 2015. 

Funded by Canada and jointly implemented by SOCODEVI and the School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II, the project has helped improve cooperatives’ competitiveness through a variety of activities such as training for farmers, strengthening of governance, upgrades to equipment, marketing, branding, and others.

 

Development strategy for State Audit Office to 2030

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee has issued a resolution on the development strategy for the State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) in the period from 2021 to 2030. 

The resolution highlights the viewpoint that the SAV, as an agency set up by the National Assembly, will operate independently and in accordance with the law, upholding the core value of Independence – Integrity – Professionalism – Prestige – Quality, contributing to the development of a stable, sustainable and transparent national finance.

The development of the SAV should suit the real situation in the country while meeting requirements of the international integration process and matching international principles and practices in the field.

The resolution sets the overall targets of developing the SAV into an effective and important tool of the Party and State in inspecting and supervising the management and use of public finance and assets; enhancing accountability and transparency of agencies funded by the State budget, effectively serving the operation of the National Assembly and Government in performing their functions, and supporting People’s Councils and People’s Committees of localities in performing management, supervision and decision making work.

The SAV must enhance its capacity and efficiency in performing auditing activities through applying information technology, intensifying international cooperation, and ensuring transparency and professionalism, thus contributing to raising the State’s capacity in management and governance of finance and public assets in service of socio-economic development in the period from 2021 to 2030.

Regarding specific targets, the resolution calls for the building and perfection of the legal system to concretise the Constitution and laws on State auditing; along with the building of a professional, effective and efficient apparatus of the SAV. The number of SAV staff members will be decided by the NA Standing Committee but not more than 2,700 by 2030.

A goal set for the 2026-2030 is to conduct regular annual audits of the budget balance at ministries, centrally-run agencies, provinces and centrally-run cities. Audits of operations, specialized audits, information technology audits, and audits of the environment will be promoted, towards accounting for 30 – 40% of the total audits each year. Attention will be paid to detecting loopholes in mechanisms, policies and laws with a view to eradicating them.

The SAV will work to shift from conventional auditing procedures to digital auditing based on big data with the support of Artificial Intelligence in a proactive manner, and improve auditing capacity to meet the requirements of the Government’s management administration work, and supervision work of the National Assembly and People’s Councils.

Regarding international cooperation, professional integration will be the key pillar, towards the goal of quickly narrowing the gap in professional capacity between the SAV and counterparts in the region and the world. Multi-lateral cooperation will be geared raising the SAV’s position in the international community through joining in the implementation and drafting of common auditing standards and rules. Meanwhile, bilateral cooperation will focus on the sharing of experience, technology to enhance the SAV’s capacity. The SAV will organize a number of coordinated audits, send or receive auditors for training, and conduct cross-assessment with regional and global supreme audit agencies.

The SAV will work to complete its electronic working environment in the direction of integrating and sharing data, streamlining internal processes, building a database based on big-data technology and connected with the national financial and asset supervision system, so as to turn the SAV into a crucial tool in macro-economic planning and building development policies for the digital economy in Vietnam.

The resolution assigns the Government to direct relevant ministries and sectors to coordinate with the SAV and agencies of the National Assembly to implement the SAV’s development strategy. National Assembly agencies are tasked with researching, instructing and coordinating with relevant agencies to perfect legal documents to ensure their consistency and uniformity, creating favourable conditions for the SAV to perform its functions and tasks in accordance with the Constitution.

Based on the strategy, the SAV must build a plan for implementation and regularly report to the National Assembly Standing Committee on the outcomes of implementation and propose adjustments or supplements to the strategy, if necessary.

Southern industrial park occupancy rate reaches 84.5%: CBRE

The occupancy rate at operational industrial parks in the major industrial localities in the south averaged 84.5% during January-September, according to a report from CBRE Vietnam. 

The occupancy rate at operational industrial parks in the south stands at 84.5% during Jan.-Sept.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the rate has surpassed 90%.

In the past two years, Vietnam’s industrial property market has seen significant surges in occupancy rate and leasing prices.

CBRE Associate Director Pham Ngoc Thien Thanh said high leasing prices in several industrial parks in HCM City, Dong Nai and Long An, which went up 20-30% from last year, coupled with two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused significant difficulties to the market.

However, in Q3, investors and owners of ready-built factories offered many support policies to their customers, including reducing leasing prices and infrastructure maintenance cost by 10-30%, helping slow down growth of rental cost as compared to the last quarter.

With the pandemic’s impact, the ready-built factory and warehouse market has witnessed a cooled leasing price while the number of inquiries continues to rise in key industrial parks. It is expected that by the end of 2020, the total supply of ready-built factories and warehouses in the south will reach nearly 2.7 million square metres, up 28.3% year on year, Thanh added.

According to CBRE, the coronavirus pandemic also served as a catalyst for a stronger warehouse demand thanks to rapid expansion of e-commerce and backlog of goods. Leasing prices at new warehouses developed by foreign investors inched up 5-10% in the first three quarters from the same time last year.

CBRE forecast that developing cold and frozen storage warehouses will be the trend in the time ahead as fresh food distribution network is expanding nationwide.

Additionally, multi-storey warehouse is a good option for land constrained areas, helping e-commerce enterprises have larger storage space.

US businesses keen to pour investment capital into Vietnamese gas power sector

Firms from the United States are eyeing potential investment opportunities in the nation’s gas power sector, with plans to pour billions of US$ into the ASEAN region, of which the Mekong Delta region will play a key role.

According to this vision, construction work on the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Chan May Gas Power Plant Project in the Chan May - Lang Co Economic Zone in the central province of Thua Thien Hue will feature a total design capacity of 4,000 MW. Work on the project is set to start in the first quarter of 2021 and its first phase for commercial operations will begin in 2024.

This represents an investment project in the form of an IPP (independent power project), with an estimated total investment of US$6 billion expected to create breakthroughs for the domestic energy industry.

During the Vietnam - US Business Summit which was recently held in Hanoi, John Rockhold, general director of Chan May LNG Joint Stock Company, was appreciative of his firm role as the primary investor in the project, along with noting the prospects for renewable energy schemes in the nation. Most notably, the LNG Chan May Gas Power Project has been granted a generous land fund by the locality.

Whilst natural gas power may still be new to the country, US enterprise will focus heavily on LNG investment, Rockhold said, while underlining the need to hold further discussions and obtain an agreement from state-owned enterprises which are involved in power transmission nationwide, especially Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

At present, the Vietnamese need for added energy investment is up to tens of billions of US$ each year, while, many US businesses have strong financial potential, Rockhold noted.

Furthermore, LNG Chan May Gas Power is not the only project with US capital pouring into the local gas power sector. Previously, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and AES Group had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the implementation of the Son My 2 Gas Power Plant, which features LNG gas with a capacity of 2,200 MW.

This comes just a few months after Irtiza Sayyed, global chairman of Exxon Mobil, said the group wants to take advantage of opportunities to invest in the domestic energy sector. Indeed, Exxon Mobil desires to invest in port chains, LNG gas depots, and LNG power plants, with the majority of modern technology in Hai Phong.

The scale of the power generation project by LNG has a capacity of more than 4,000 MW and is expected to come into operation in the 2025 to 2030 period.

In relation to the gas-fired power chain with a capacity of approximately 3,000 MW in Long An, Exxon Mobil will ensure a complete continuous supply of LNG directly from the US and other nations. The import of LNG will therefore contribute to building a harmonious and mutually beneficial trade balance between both sides.

Upon addressing at the Vietnam-US Business Summit, Adam Boekhold, chief executive officer of US International Development Finance Corporation, said US enterprises see plenty of investment and business opportunities in the gas power sector. Over the course of the next few years, investment capital from the US in the ASEAN energy sector will witness strong growth of billions of US$, with the Mekong Delta region being a key area.

According to Rockhold, the demand for energy investment in the nation may be up to tens of billions of US$ annually, with many US businesses enjoying strong financial potential. Moving forward, a number of signed agreements will swiftly be brought into effect by removing obstacles between the two sides.

Seafood exports anticipated to enjoy increase ahead in final quarter

Vietnamese seafood exports during the year’s third quarter began to show signs of a slight increase, with this growth momentum forecast to keep going into the last quarter of the year, according to information released by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). 

After enduring consistent falls during the opening two quarters of the year, Vietnamese seafood exports bounced back with a slight rise of 2% from the same period last year to reach approximately US$2.4 billion. Most notably, export turnover in September reached US$790 million, an annual leap of 9%, bringing seafood exports during the nine-month period to close to US$6 billion, a fall of 4% on-year.

This year, as a result of the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, trends relating to seafood consumption in the global market have changed. Indeed, products that are typically bought by service segments such as Tra fish, also known as pangasius, and other affordable products have encountered falls in demand because of social distancing measures and lockdown orders imposed in numerous nations globally.

Among the country’s export staples, only shrimp enjoyed positive export growth during the first nine months of the year, accounting for a dominant proportion of over 44% of the nation’s aquatic export value, while tra fish exports endured a steep drop of 23.6% on-year.

Since the start of the year, the nation has shipped seafood items to the leading markets such as Japan, the United States, China, the EU, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and ASEAN.

According to predictions made by experts, amid complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the potential for a third wave of outbreaks globally, along with the re-emergence of COVID-19 in the domestic community, local seafood exports during the final quarter are anticipated to face difficulties. These challenges include a recession due to decreased demand, the pandemic having a negative effect on production, and an overall reduction in raw materials.

Despite this negative context, the country seafood still has plenty of opportunities in several key markets. In relation to the US market, the nation can continue to promote shrimp exports, especially white-leg shrimp due to this product still selling well in the retail segment. As such, the country is able to increase processing and the export of products with a long shelf life, such as canned tuna and other marine fish.

As for the EU market, despite the COVID-19 pandemic reducing demand, making it difficult to trade seafood, white-leg shrimp consumption is also witnessing an upward trend.

Furthermore, local seafood products such as shrimp, tuna, octopus, squid, and molluscs now enjoy a 0% tax rate due to the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) on August 1. This reduction in tariffs will serve as extra leverage to boost exports to the EU market ahead in the remaining months of the year, particularly if enterprises with good raw materials are able to effectively take advantage of tax incentives on offer from the trade deal.

The VASEP therefore forecasts that Vietnamese seafood exports in the last quarter of the year will reach approximately US$2.3 billion, a slight drop of 2% compared to the same period last year. Of the figure, shrimp is expected to grow by 9% to US$1.1 billion, Tra fish will drop by 31% to US$ 365 million, and other seafood products will hit roughly US$854 million, an increase of 7.5% on-year.

Telecom giant Viettel to sell 6 percent stake in Viettel Post

Military-run telecom giant Viettel plans to divest a 6 percent stake in its affiliate Viettel Post Joint Stock Corporation (VTP) via a public auction at the Hanoi Stock Exchange in November.

Military-run telecom giant Viettel plans to divest a 6 percent stake in its affiliate Viettel Post Joint Stock Corporation (VTP) via a public auction at the Hanoi Stock Exchange in November.

The information was announced by Viettel Post during a meeting with analysts late last week, VietnamBiz reported.

At the event, representatives from some investment funds said the 6 percent divestment was much lower than the expected 16 percent announced earlier.

According to Viettel, the divestment will be carried out following the group’s roadmap to ensure the benefits of investors. The next divestment roadmap will be implemented in the new restructuring period of Viettel, between 2021 and 2025.

A Viettel representative revealed the group plans to list VTP shares on Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange to ensure better liquidity of the shares. The share listing on Vietnam’s main exchange is expected to be conducted in 2021 – 2025.

Earlier, Viettel announced it would divest from three of its member units listed on the stock market including Viettel Post Joint Stock Corporation (VTP), Viettel Construction Joint Stock Corporation (CTR) and Viettel Consultant and Design Joint Stock Company (VTK).

Currently, Viettel owns 68.08 percent of the charter capital of Viettel Post, 63.12 percent capital in Viettel Construction and 68 percent equity of Viettel Consultant and Design./.

Sympathies sent to flood-hit localities in central, Central Highlands regions

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Tran Thanh Man on October 12 offered sympathies to authorities and families affected by recent floods in the central and Central Highlands regions.

The message, sent to those in the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Gia Lai, and Dak Lak, and Da Nang city, noted that prolonged heavy rains triggered by Storm Linfa and tropical depressions have resulted in severe floods in some provinces and cities in the central and Central Highlands regions.

According to the standing office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, floods had killed 18 and injured many others while 14 people had gone missing as of 8pm of October 11. More than 150,000 houses had been inundated or damaged.

The regions have also suffered heavy losses in terms of crops, aquaculture, and livestock and poultry farming.

The Standing Board of the VFF Central Committee highly values local authorities, VFF committees, and organisations’ high sense of responsibility, search, rescue, and assistance for flood-hit people.

It also requested the VFF committees of these localities to coordinate with local administrations and steering boards for natural disaster prevention and control to help victimised families and continue listing human and property losses to report to the Standing Board so that more support will be provided.

To assist flood victims, the VFF Central Committee’s Standing Board decided to initially offer 5 million VND (215 USD) for each family with dead or missing people and 3 million VND for each seriously injured victim./.

Hai Duong’s lychee, longan export successful beyond expectation

The lychee and longan crops 2020 in the northern province of Hai Duong have been successful beyond expectation.

Apart from increasing exports to the US, Australia, the European Union and the Middle East, Hai Duong also succeeded in navigating new demanding markets such as Singapore and Japan.

Total revenues from this year’s lychee season amounted to 1.16 trillion VND, up 445 billion VND from the previous crops. The province shipped abroad nearly 1,500 tonnes of lychee out of the total harvest of 43,000 tonnes this year.

As for longan, the value of this year’s harvest was estimated at 120 billion VND.

Hai Duong is now home to 9,750ha of lychees and 2,100ha of longan fruits. It built 23 lychee and longan cultivation zones meeting VietGAP standards.

Next year, the sector plans to extend international-standard farming zones for lychee, longan, guava and vegetables while building sustainable connectivity chains to improve their value./.

Trung Nam Group inaugurates 12-trillion-VND solar power project

Trung Nam Group inaugurated a 450 MW Trung Nam-Thuan Nam solar power farm project, a 500kV transformer station and a 220/500kV transmission line in Ninh Thuan province on October 13.

The 12 trillion VND (518 million USD) project spans more than 557 ha in Phuoc Minh commune, Thuan Nam district, and includes more than 17km of transmission lines of 500kV, 220kV stretching from Ninh Thuan to Binh Thuan province.

Luu Xuan Vinh, Chairman of the Ninh Thuan People's Committee, said the project will also make an important contribution to easing the rate of unused plants that wasted thousands of billions of VND each year and improve the business environment in the province.

The plant started operating on September 29 and is expected to produce 1.2 billion kWh of electricity in the first year and more than 1 billion kWh from renewable sources every year.

Nguyen Tam Tien, general director of the Trung Nam Group, said though the project requires complicated implementation in the COVID-19 pandemic, the group with high determination completed in 102 days from the middle of May with the hard work of 8,000 officials, engineers and workers.

The official further said the project will contribute important capacity for regional power grids in Ninh Thuan and the south-central coast.
Two transformer stations of the project, with a total capacity of 1.800MVA and lines designed to improve connectivity, will increase system reliability in the regional power grid.

Trung Nam Group is also the executing unit of Ca Na general seaport project with the capacity of 70,000 - 100,000 DWT per year in Ninh Thuan. Once finished by December 2022, the seaport will make an important contribution to supporting the transportation of equipment, especially super-heavy equipment for renewable energy projects and gas power projects in the field in the province, as a hub of renewable plants in Vietnam./.

Motorcycle sales taper off 18.49 percent

Members of the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (VAMM) sold a total of 677,739 motorcycles in Q3, a year-on-year fall of 18.49 percent.

VAMM has five members: Honda, Yamaha, Piaggio, Suzuki, and SYM. Currently, the five firms are distributing some 100 types of motorbikes, from middle-end to high-end and luxurious vehicles.

Honda Motor Vietnam said on October 12 that its motorcycle sales reached 169,917 vehicles in September alone, accounting for 80.1 percent of the market share.

The Vietnamese motorcycle market also sees the participation of domestic brands such as VinFast and Pega Vietnam, along with foreign brands like Ducati, Kawasaki, BMW, KTM, Benelli, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Royal Enfield, and Motorrad. However, they are not members of VAMM so they do not count towards the sales report.

Experts said the COVID-19 pandemic affected the purchasing power in the quarter.

During January-September, total motorcycle sales were over 1.92 million vehicles, or more than 214,000 pieces were sold each month. This means the motorcycle market could not reach 3.25 million vehicles for the whole 2020 like it did in previous years./.

FLC commences international conference centre’s construction in Vinh Phuc

A groundbreaking ceremony for an international conference centre in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, invested by property developer FLC Group, was organised in the locality on October 12.

Covering an area of over 2 hectares in Vinh Tuong district, the complex consists of a 2,000-seat international conference centre, 200 five-star hotel rooms, an amusement park, a zoo zone, and villas.

According to FLC vice-chairwoman Huong Tran Kieu Dung, the international conference centre will become one of the most modern projects in Vinh Phuc in particular and in the country in general.

The multi-utility complex can meet the demands of resort tourism, entertainment and outdoor activities.

It will serve as a venue for conferences, and art and cultural events, as well as MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Event) tourism activities, thus promoting tourism development in the locality.

Vinh Phuc has been a destination of choice for investors, both domestic and foreign, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of June 2020, it was home to 392 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with a total registered capital of 5.57 billion USD, according to statistics of the locality. The projects were run by investors from 18 countries and territories. The Republic of Korea has the most projects with 210, followed by Japan, China and Thailand.

Many global groups have made their presence in Vinh Phuc, such as Toyota, Honda, Sumitomo from Japan, Piaggio from Italy, De Heus from the Netherlands, Daewoo, Haesung Vina, Partron Vina, Cammsys from the Republic of Korea, Prime Group from Thailand and Weldex from the US.

The province has also attracted 782 domestic direct investment (DDI) with total investment surpassing 93.7 trillion VND (around 4 billion USD at current exchange rate). Several major Vietnamese corporations have chosen Vinh Phuc for their investment, such as FLC, Vingroup, SunGroup, and Viet Duc Steel.

The flow of investment capital, both FDI and DDI, into the province in the first six months of this year decreased as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Total FDI capital in the period stood at 135.6 million USD, equivalent to only 32.1 percent of the figure in the same period last year. The money was poured into 14 new projects and 19 existing ones.

Meanwhile, DDI capital attraction in the period came to 2.67 trillion VND, equivalent to 51.5 percent of the figure in the same period of 2019. The capital was pumped into 24 new projects and nine existing ones.

During the period of social distancing to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies in Vinh Phuc still maintained their connections with investors through many channels, providing them with consultations and latest information. The province has also intensified online investment promotion activities, so as to attract investors after the pandemic is put under control.

Vinh Phuc has designated 18 industrial parks with a total area of 5,228 ha in a master plan to 2020 approved by the Prime Minister. By now, nine industrial parks have received investment certificates. Industrial parks in Vinh Phuc have good technical infrastructure and professional management, thus contributing to attracting investors to the province. They reported an average occupancy rate of nearly 62 percent.

Thanks to the province’s endeavours to complete infrastructure in industrial parks and a transport system connecting them, as well as efforts to improve the business environment and reform administrative procedures, Vinh Phuc has become more popular among foreign investors.

The province reported a total industrial production value of 11 trillion VND in the first six months of this year, down 9 percent year on year, which it blamed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The output of most main products declines, such as automobile down 24.8 percent, motorbike 14.4 percent, and electronic parts 7.7 percent./.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/VIR/VOV/SGT/NDO/Dtinews