Local coffee prices skyrocket on limited supply
Coffee prices have kept rising since the beginning of May as the product is in short supply in the domestic market, according to the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Moreover, a recent severe water shortage has also greatly affected the coffee output of the Central Highlands region which has the largest coffee growing acreage in the country.
The General Department of Customs reported that Vietnam exported 165,800 tonnes of coffee at a value of US$279.83 million during April, a fall of 2.5% in volume and a drop of 5.1% in value.
Indeed, the opening four months of the year saw the nation ship 682,800 tonnes of coffee abroad with a total value of US$1.15 billion, an increase of 8.1% in volume and up 5.3% in value in comparison to the same period from last year.
Moreover, April saw the average export price of coffee drop by 2.7% to US$1,688 per tonne, causing the average export price over the course of the four-month period to suffer an annual decline of 2.6% to US$1,682 per tonne.
Throughout the four-month period, the average export price of coffee to several foreign markets, including Myanmar, Chile, China, South Africa, and New Zealand enjoyed an upward trend. In contrast, the average export price of coffee to other markets such as Singapore, Cambodia, Israel, and the Philippines suffered declines.
Coffee exports during April to several major markets such as Germany, the United States, Spain, Belgium, Russia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea increased from the figures seen during April last year, while exports to Italy, the Philippines, and Algeria all declined.
Most notably, coffee exports to the German market during the four-month period enjoyed a vast increase of 35.4% to US$176 million, while coffee exports to the US market fell by 14.4% to US$102 million.
Vietnamese businesses strive to overcome barriers upon joining EVFTA
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will require Vietnamese businesses to overcome their own barriers in order to fully participate in the trade deal and enjoy its benefits, Nguyen Dinh Cung, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), has stated.
Having recently been submitted to the National Assembly for approval, the EVFTA is widely expected to provide fresh impetus for the nation’s economic recovery after being hit by the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in addition to speeding up various reforms.
According to a Government report, two-way trade and investment between the EU and the country following the trade deal’s implementation is expected to grow at a fairly strong level, positively contributing to the nation’s economic growth and creating jobs for local workers. Most notably, the state budget revenue may also be improved and may enjoy a boost over the medium to long term.
In addition to an impact on the economy, the agreement will have various different implications on sectors relating to the level of openness, competitive advantage, and capacity of each industry. Moreover, the indirect effect of the EVFTA through the pressure of institutional reform will also bring about positive effects for the national economy.
With regard to the EU’s commitment to Vietnamese exports once the trade deal becomes effective, the EU has pledged to abolish import duties on approximately 85.6% of tariff lines, equivalent to 70.3% of the country’s overall export turnover to the bloc. Furthermore, seven years after implementation, the EU will then move to eliminate import duties on 99.2% of tariff lines, equivalent to 99.7% of Vietnamese exports.
With regard to the remaining 0.3% of exports, the EU has committed to offering Vietnamese import’s duties of 0% within a certain quota. Tariffs placed on the nation’s key exports will be eliminated by the EU once the Agreement comes into effect or there has been a roadmap agreed of no more than seven years.
Simultaneously, the country will move to eliminate customs duties relating to 48.5% of tariff lines, equivalent to 64.5% of imports from the EU, once the Agreement comes into effect, followed by roughly 99% of tariff lines, equivalent to 99.8% of imports from the EU, after 10 years.
According to Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, the COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the Vietnamese economy and that of other countries globally, this therefore represents the time to activate production and restart the economy whilst boosting market diversification without relying too much on certain markets.
Vu Tien Loc President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) described the EVFTA as a “highway” which can link the nation to a GDP market of US$15,000 billion, whilst also offering the country the chance to enjoy breakthroughs during its economic recovery period following the COVID-19 epidemic.
Despite this, the VCCI Chairman also noted that participation in this “highway” is not free. “We have to pay fees by investing and upgrading the infrastructure and economic institutions and quality of human resources.
Enterprises must invest, upgrade their management, and business strategies to take full advantage of the opportunities from this agreement. The ratification of the agreement in the context that we have contained the pandemic and are in the period of redevelopment will be considered an important driving force for the Vietnamese economy,” said Loc.
Former CIEM Director Dr. Cung stated that the EVFTA will help boost the market and open up new demands for production, export, and investment through the reduction of tax lines, import, and export procedures that will make investment and business activities more open and transparent.
Stock trading inconsistencies spotted at Camimex Group
The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange has highlighted several inconsistencies in stock transactions related to Camimex Group, with four individual shareholders under suspicion of dishonest trading while the group itself is showing a grievous lack of transparency in the staging of its IPO.
The recent transactions involving Camimex Group, a large local shrimp exporter and producer, raised the red flag over a painful lack of transparency during the process of calling for capital.
Notably, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX) issued the information that Nguyen Trong Ha, chief accountant of Camimex Group, registered selling 3.05 million shares.
The transaction is implemented under the put through method, which is expected to occur from May 18 to June 16, 2020. Ha is currently the largest shareholder of the company, but after the sale, her interest in the company would be zero.
Previously, on May 13, Dang Ngoc Son, a member of the board of directors cum deputy general director of Camimex registered to sell nearly 3 million shares (equalling 11.29 per cent) under the put through method to decrease his holding in the company to 0 per cent. The transaction is expected to occur from May 19 to June 18.
At the same time, Vu Thi Bich Ngoc, the wife of chairman Bui Si Tuan of the Board of Directors, registered to buy 2.99 million Camimex shares, equalling 11.29 per cent stake. The purchase is expected to be completed between May 12 and June 12, 2020.
Without context, these moves would be normal. However, in light of the extraordinary activities in previous months, they become suspect.
Notably, in late January 2020, Camimex published the business results for 2019. Accordingly, full-year profit increased by 74 per cent on-year. Besides, its share value increased by 60 per cent on-year. After that, in early February, Camimex sold 114 million shares to existing shareholders (equaling 100 per cent of its charter capital). At the time, 134 domestic shareholders bought 9.4 million shares (71.2 per cent of the offered shares), five foreign shareholders bought 799 shares, and four private investors bought 3.81 million shares.
Notably, chief accountant Nguyen Trong Ha and Dang Ngoc Son – a member of the Board of Directors cum deputy general director – bought 11.54 and 11.29 per cent of the charter capital. In addition, Ha Van Bang, an investor who previously did not own any Camimex shares, also bought 1.6 million shares to become a large shareholder with the ownership ratio of 6 per cent.
After this sale, in late March 2020, the company published the audited financial statement for 2019, which showed that its after-tax profit decreased by 70.7 per cent against the unaudited figure, while the profit for the whole year declined by 49.1 per cent. As a result, its shares plunged to VND10,800 (46.96 US cents) on April 22.
However, since late April, its shares have risen to VND18,000 (78.26 US cents). Especially, at transaction sessions when its shares hit the ceiling rate, large volumes of shares were matched.
An issue noted by the HSX was that Son and Ha increased their shareholding in the firm from nothing to more than 11 per cent each in only two months and then want to divest their entire holdings via put through deals. On May 11 and 13, Ha Van Bang also transferred his entire holding in the company.
In light of the above information, investors expressed concerns that these shareholders, who are in fact related to the company, only bought share that would have been left unsold otherwise to make the sale seem more successful than it actually was and then wait for the shares to rise and sell.
In addition, in the audited financial statement for 2018, there was a qualified opinion from the State Audit Office of Vietnam relating to the unsold shares, however, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam still authorised the company to implement its initial public offering (IPO) in 2019.
Furthermore, on March 28, 2020, on the day the company published information about the sale, the Board of Directors of the company issued the decision to adjust the purpose of using the mobilised capital. Accordingly, instead of using part of the capital to invest in machinery and equipment and another part to supplement the working capital, the company will pour the entire proceeds into the working capital. Some investors expressed concerns over the sudden change as well as the steps to reach shareholders’ approval for the change.
VIR contacted the investors with these concerns and is waiting for their reply.
Vietnamese iron and steel exports to Germany surge sharply
A number of Vietnam’s export commodities to Germany, such as iron and steel, machinery, and sports equipment, increased sharply during the opening four months of the year, despite the negative impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic globally, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Most notably, the country’s iron and steel exports to the European nation experienced a 27-fold annual increase during the four-month period, grossing a total of US$2 million.
In spite of enjoying rapid growth, this product accounts for a very small proportion of turnover to the German market, therefore it does not make a huge difference to the overall export figure.
In addition, plenty of export commodities to the market have seen an increase in business during the four-month period, despite the complicated nature of developments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
Indeed, the export of machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts increased by 50%, reaching approximately US$199 million. Coffee exports also soared by 26.5% to US$176 million throughout the reviewed period.
Elsewhere, toys and sports equipment enjoyed robust growth of over 187%, reaching a total of US$46.5 million.
Mobile World reports 45 per cent plunge in after-tax profit
The closing of hundreds of Mobile World stores across the country during COVID-19 has made the electronics retailer’s after-tax profit drop by 45 per cent in April.
Accordingly, net revenue was about VND7.834 trillion ($340.6 million) while after-tax profit was VND209 billion ($9.1 million), down 14 and 45 per cent on-year, respectively.
Accumulated figures during the year’s first four months showed net earnings of VND37.178 trillion ($1.6 billion) and after-tax profit of VND1.341 trillion ($58.3 million).
Of this, the total turnover of thegioididong and Dien May Xanhstores plunged by nearly 30 per cent due to halting the operations of more than 600 establishments in the first half of April, with the month being a traditional peak season for the chains.
While the firm tried to optimise operation costs, the nationwide social distancing left an unmistakable mark on its net profit. Meanwhile, its online business recorded a growth of about 20 per cent and occupied about 16 per cent of its total turnover for the month.
The Bach Hoa Xanhstores specialised in food and grocery, thanks to the high demand for necessities, reported record revenue of VND1.8-1.9 trillion ($78.26-82.6 million) and has maintained a daily revenue of VND1.4 billion ($60,870).
VPBank to drop foreign ownership limit from 23 to 15 per cent
At its recent annual shareholders’ meeting, the Board of Directors of VPBank signalled that it would reduce its foreign ownership limit in the coming time.
The bank reported upbeat performance in 2019, with earnings reaching VND8.260 trillion ($359.13 million).
However, it would not issue any cash dividends and instead reinvest these profits into its operations to sustain growth. The Board of Directors also submitted a plan to issue 17 million shares (0.672 per cent of the total outstanding shares) for the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) at VND10,000 (43.48 US cents) per share.
The bank plans to use the existing treasury shares and the lock up will allow recipients to sell 30 per cent of holdings after the first year, another 35 per cent after the second year, and another 35 per cent after the third.
Last year, the bank has issued $300 million of bonds with a three-year term under the Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) programme, with a face value of $200,000 per bond and maturity date of July 17, 2022.
The bonds are issued under the book building method and based on the consultation and arrangement of Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, and J.P. Morgan. The bonds are issued on the international market, that is, investors outside of US territory in line with Regulation S of the US Securities Act of 1993 (amended) and listed at the Stock Exchange of Singapore.
Hanoimilk to be delisted from HNX in June
Once-iconic local milk producer Hanoimilk (HNX: HNM) will be delisted from the Hanoi Stock Exchange in June due to prolonged weak performance.
The Hanoi Stock Exchange has just announced plans to delist 20 million HNM stocks on June 12 with the reason that it has delayed submitting the audited financial reports for the past three years (2017-2019). Previously, the company was suspended from transactions since last October for violating the disclosure requirements of the stock exchange.
Indeed, Hanoimilk has been ailing for more than 10 years. In 2008, the firm reported losses of VND40 billion ($1.74 million) although its revenue rose to VND350 billion ($15.2 million). Since then, it has been falling deeper in the doldrums.
In the latest three years, Hanoimilk reported about VND160-190 billion ($6.96-8.26 million) in net revenue. In 2017, it saw a deficit of VND19 billion ($826,090). In 2018-2019, the company earned tiny profit of less than VND1 billion ($43,480) while local milk giant Vinamilk made a daily profit of nearly VND30 billion ($1.3 million).
As of the end of 2019, Hanoimilk’s after-tax profit was minus VND23 billion ($1 million). Shareholders’ equity in Hanoimilk is about VND200 billion ($8.7 million), equaling 1.1 per cent of Vinamilk’s charter capital.
At last year’s shareholders’ meeting, Hanoimilk’s leaders said that the firm has yet to agree on operating fees, leaving it unable to submit its audited financial reports for three years. “We will try to resolve the problem as soon as possible,” the leaders said.
In the first quarter of 2020, Hanoimilk continued to post weak business results with VND38 billion ($1.65 million) in net revenue and VND4 billion ($173,910) in net losses.
Founded in 2001 and officially coming into operation in 2003, Hanoimilk JSC used to be one of Vietnam’s leading dairy enterprises with branded dairy products IZZI, Yotuti, and Hanoimilk 100 per cent fresh milk.
21 Vietnamese enterprises seek opportunities to export farm produce to China
The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that Vietnam is entering the harvest season of many types of fruits, agricultural products, and foods so several large events to promote trade will be organized shortly to boost exports to the Chinese market as the demand in this country is on the increase after the Covid-19 pandemic.
On May 24, the office of the MoIT informed that the Trade Promotion Agency and the branch of the Vietnam Trade Office in Kunming will collaborate with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade – Yunnan Branch to organize an online trade conference on agricultural and food products between Vietnam and China on May 26 and 27.
At this conference, 21 Vietnamese enterprises trading agricultural, aquatic, and processed products will introduce and offer their products to importers in Yunnan Province, China.
According to Mr. Do Quoc Huong, Head of the branch of the Vietnam Trade Office in Kunming, in Yunnan Province, currently, all production and trade activities have basically returned to normalcy but agricultural production still faces difficulties. The forecast by the Department of Commerce of Yunnan Province shows that from now to the end of June this year, the province needs around 25-35 percent of essential agricultural products, including vegetables, fruits, food, and foodstuffs.
The branch of the Vietnam Trade Office in Kunming forecasts that the demand for food and foodstuffs in Kunming in particular, and Yunnan Province, in general, will highly increase soon. Therefore, Vietnamese enterprises need to promote trade to grasp this opportunity.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Deputy Director of the Export Promotion Center under the Trade Promotion Agency, said that as for the Chinese market, the agency has made plans to hold around 8 to 10 events to connect trade, using the method of “cloud-based exhibition” and “no direct contact” this year.
The online trade conference on agricultural and food products between Vietnam and China (Yunnan) 2020 is the third event of its kind held by the agency in association with relevant departments in the past two months with the Chinese market.
Right after the event with Yunnan Province, the agency will continue to organize a series of online trade conferences with Guangxi, Shandong, Qinghai, Chongqing, and Zhejiang provinces of China.
The MoIT and the MARD also informed that a large-scale online conference on the consumption of lychees between Vietnam and China will take place on June 6.
In Vietnam, there will be several video casting points in Bac Giang, Lao Cai, Lang Son provinces, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh cities. Meanwhile in China, the video casting points will be in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces.
Ministry of Police prosecutes Mon Hue restaurant chain owner for fraud
The investigative police agency under the Ministry of Public Security yesterday decided to launch a criminal investigation into the case of “fraudulent appropriation of assets” at Horizon Property Group Company, which is run by businessman Huy Nhat — the owner of the Mon Hue restaurant chain which abruptly shut down in October last year.
Before, the Ministry received reports from several foreign investors from China, Singapore, and Hongkong who denounced Huy Nhat to appropriate $25 million in investment capital in relation to a resort project in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
Nearly end of 2019, multiple outlets of the Vietnamese restaurant chain Mon Hue shut down amid alleged unpaid debts. At the time, many firms, businesses and individuals had denounced Huy Nhat to the Department of Police for fraud and appropriation of property.
Groups of foreign investors which had contributed capital to the Horizon Langco project tried to contact him and managers of the company but their efforts were unrewarded.
Through investigation, foreign investors realized that it was just a ghost project plus they failed to contact with Huy Nhat; therefore, they decided to denounce Nhat and the company managers to the Ministry of Police.
Present, the Ministry of Police is furthering investigation.
S.Korea Kookmin injects US$100 million in Vietnam branches
Kookmin Bank’s decision to raise its branches’ registered capital in just a short period of time indicates the bank is optimistic about business prospects in Vietnam.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) – Ho Chi Minh Branch has allowed Kookmin Bank – Ho Chi Minh Branch to raise its registered capital from US$70 million to US$100 million, raising the total amount the South Korean bank pumped into its two branches in Vietnam to nearly US$100 million.
South Korea-based Kookmin Bank pumped nearly US$100 million into its two branches in Vietnam.
Kookmin Bank’s decision to raise its branches’ registered capital in just a short period of time indicates the bank’s optimism about business prospects in Vietnam.
Among foreign banks currently operating in Vietnam, South Korean banks have been actively expanding investment and operations, due to growing investment capital from South Korean firms to Vietnam.
In the first four months of 2020, South Korea took the first spot with regard to the number of investment projects in Vietnam with 265, followed by China with 135 and Japan with 116.
In early 2020, the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam (KorCham) requested the SBV to issue licenses for more South Korean banks to operate in Vietnam.
According to Korcham, a steady provision of capital from South Korean lenders is necessary for South Korean investors to invest in the country.
At a national online dialogue between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the business community on May 9, Korcham Vice President Hong Sun said that South Korean enterprises held high regards for Vietnam’s efforts in improving the business environment.
Hong Sun said the Kocham is committed to encouraging high quality FDI inflows from South Korea to Vietnam.
“South Korean and Vietnamese firms would foster a stronger bond in establishing new supply chains amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated Hong Sun, adding South Korean firms would join Vietnam in its economic recovery efforts.
Hanoi to build square, shopping malls around My Dinh Stadium
The city’s Nam Tu Liem district targets to become a modern urban center with comprehensive social and technical infrastructure in terms of services, sports, entertainment and commerce.
Hanoi’s authorities plan to build a series of sports – cultural center, square, hotel and shopping malls around the My Dinh National Stadium in Nam Tu Liem district with the target of transforming the district into a modernized urban area with with a focus on services, sports, entertainment and commerce.
The orientation is included in the conclusion of its Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue at a meeting with the Party Committee of Nam Tu Liem district on May 7.
According to the conclusions, Hanoi’s Party chief agreed on the Nam Tu Liem district’s initiative of opening a night market in Me Tri area to take advantage of a community of 10,000 South Korean expats in the area.
Secretary Vuong Dinh Hue also suggested that the district should consider building a mega mall beneath the My Dinh square, in front of the National Stadium, to maximize the advantages and create a comprehensive system that includes sports – cultural center, plaza, hotel and shopping area around the My Dinh National Sports Center.
Nam Tu Liem district is requested to submit the overall planning of the area around the My Dinh stadium to the municipal People’s Committee for approval before July.
The works on the renovation of the My Dinh National Stadium’s surrounding area include the opening of commercial streets on Dong Bong route to Phu Do cultural center, the promotion of the craft village Phu Do specializing in making vermicelli and the green rice village of Me Tri.
This proposal must be completed in June for competent authorities’ approval.
Vietnam turns to India, Nepal to diversify trade markets
Vietnam could take advantage of the Vietnamese communities living in these two countries to boost exports.
India and Nepal would be potential markets for Vietnam as the country is looking to diversify trade markets and new opportunities out of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Le Hoang Tai, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE).
“India is a large consumer market thanks to a population of 1.4 billion. However, Vietnam’s export turnover to the country remained at a modest level,” Tai said at an online conference discussing trade promotion activities in India and Nepal on May 20.
More importantly, trade relationship between Vietnam and India has a high degree of complementarity, Tai noted, adding the former’s agricultural and food products have high sale potential in India, particularly dragon fruit and catfish, which are fast becoming Indian’s favorite import products.
Other products such as coffee, cashew, rubber, and spices, including star anise and cardamom, could be Vietnam’s next key products to India, Tai added.
Tai said this is VIETRADE’s third conference on the Indian market within a month, showcasing its growing importance for Vietnam’s trade.
According to Tai, both the governments of Vietnam and India recognize the urgency to boost cooperation in expanding production chain in the fields of textile, garment, electronics, and machinery, among others, in which India could be a major source for input materials.
In the first four months of 2020, bilateral trade turnover stood at US$2.84 billion, while Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$321 million with India.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s trade revenue with Nepal has left much to be desired with just around US$30 million per year.
To facilitate export to India and Nepal, Tai suggested Vietnam should take advantage of the Vietnamese communities living in these two countries, with around 500 Vietnamese people living in India and 40 – 50 in Nepal.
Tai expressed strong belief that opportunities for Vietnamese firms in these two markets are huge, given growing support from the two governments, the active participation of business communities and the people.
In 2019, bilateral trade between Vietnam and India stood at US$11.3 billion while investment from India, the world’s fifth largest economy, in Vietnam remained modest at less than US$1 billion. This year, the two countries target a trade turnover of US$15 billion.
Binh Dinh proposes to continue titanium export due to high inventory
The central province of Binh Dinh has proposed the Prime Minister to allow local businesses to continue exporting titanium inventory of about 455,000 tonnes.
Phan Cao Thang, permanent vice chairman of Binh Dinh People’s Committee, said that the provincial People’s Committee has also proposed this titanium inventory would be exported after the local enterprises balance export quantity and domestic consumption.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, titanium exporting enterprises in Binh Dinh have had to suspend production and business activities. Therefore, they have faced many difficulties, including a lack of jobs. That has partly affected socio-economic development of the province, vietnamnet.vn reported.
The pandemic has also meant most titanium processing plants in the province have not exported titanium that was exploited and processed in previous years. So, the province has had high titanium inventories. Meanwhile, the rent for warehouses and storage has reached billions of dong per year.
On July 29, 2019, the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to consider and extend the period of exporting titanium ore inventory according to the ministry’s licence in 2018. The ministry has not yet responded to this issue.
Tuna export market still unstable
In the difficult economic context caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) suggested tuna processors and exporters tap the domestic market.
Tuna exporters said that in case Vietnam had been able to control the pandemic, but it still existed in Europe and the US, the tuna export market would be difficult and unstable.
In addition, tuna is an “expensive dish” at restaurants for people with high incomes but due to COVID-19, many have lost income, causing consumption to decrease even when the pandemic is controlled.
Nguyen Thị Thu Thanh, Director of Sustainable Seafood Limited Company in the southern province of Khanh Hoa, which exports tuna to the US market, said that over the past month, the company purchased about 25-30 billion VND (1.06 million-1.29 million USD) of raw materials but its export volume was about 2-3 billion VND monthly.
Despite inventories, businesses still have to pay money to fishermen and interest rates for banks.
They also have to suffer soaring electricity costs due to cold storage, which adds a significant burden on costs for businesses.
Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, chairwoman of the seafood committee of VASEP, said that Việt Nam was not only a major seafood exporter, but also a potential consumption market of many other countries.
The country has a system of restaurants and hotels for international and domestic tourists; population in the age of high consumption; increasing income, especially in urban areas, accompanied by the tendency to choose meals outside.
“All create a diversified seafood consumption market,” she said. “Therefore, tuna processors and exporters can exploit this potential.”
If we did not take advantage of the domestic market, consumers would choose seafood imported from other countries, she added.
Facing this situation, in order to ensure tuna is consumed, localities with ocean tuna fishing fleets have strengthened the consumption solution, helping the fishing and processing industry overcome the difficulties.
Specifically, the south-central province of Phu Yen has encouraged businesses to focus on promoting tuna products and boosting domestic consumption through service and tourism activities.
At the same time, the provincial People’s Committee discourages fishermen from increasing the number of fishing vessels but concentrate on preservation stages to improve the quality of tuna and boost domestic consumption.
Especially, a number of restaurants, hotels and large tourist areas of the province have regularly invited culinary experts to perform the demonstration of slaughtering and processing of tuna to serve customers in the past year.
These activities have contributed to bring the provincial tuna specialty to many domestic consumers, improving the value and brand of tuna.
Facing the current difficulties of the tuna fishing, processing and exporting industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed management agencies and associations to proactively develop scenarios of agricultural and aquatic exports to meet the increasing demand of world consumers when the pandemic is over./.
Local firms can compete based on sustainability
Local firms are called on to join the fifth programme evaluating and honouring sustainable businesses in Viet Nam on Tuesday in Ha Noi.
Co-hosted by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD-VCCI) under the direction of the Government directive, the Sustainable Business Index (CSI) continues to be used as a basis for assessing the sustainable development of businesses in the programme.
The programme will receive applications from firms of all sizes and industries across the country via offline and online submissions for free. Businesses participating in the programme will declare their information according to the CSI 2020 with 127 indicators in four areas of sustainable development performance index, governance index, environmental index and labour index.
The CSI 2020 has been researched and updated by the VBCSD-VCCI and experts in socio-economic fields to comply with requirements from important free trade agreements (FTAs) that the country has signed recently as well as important changes in labour and environmental management policies that have affected the operations of the business.
Chairman of VCCI, Vu Tien Loc said: “The programme is not only a contest for marking and awarding the most sustainable firms, but also to change mindsets. Instead of doing business just “for quick profit”, the firms will need to think about being a ‘humane business with economic benefits in harmony with social development and environmental protection in the long term.’”
He added: “CSI does not include 127 indicators, it is a very scientific and effective business management tool built specifically for Vietnamese businesses, especially the small and medium-sized ones. CSI helps businesses specify the roadmap for sustainable development, answering the questions of how to become sustainable businesses.”
The programme, which is jointly implemented by VCCI-VBCSD and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour.
Deadline for applications is August 15.
According to the organisers, more than 1,500 businesses participated over the last four years and 300 businesses were evaluated as sustainable businesses.
Quang Yen Economic Zone added to coastal EZ planning
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved adding Quang Yen Economic Zone (EZ) in the northern province of Quang Ninh to the national planning of coastal EZs.
The People’s Committee of Quang Ninh Province will be in charge of making planning for the 13,300 ha EZ to ensure its development doesn’t harm the or national defence and security, while also preserving the forest and historical and cultural relics.
Quang Ninh will also be in charge of attracting appropriate investment into Quang Yen EZ and developing its infrastructure to ensure connectivity between the EZ and others to form a dynamic economic hub for the northern province and the northern key economic region.
With the development of the transport infrastructure system in recent years, especially the Ha Long – Hai Phong Expressway and Bach Dang Bridge, Quang Yen has attracted large investments in property development.
For example, Ha Long Xanh Complex is set to cover nearly 3,200 hectares with total investment of more than US$7 billion and include a modern, smart and environmentally friendly urban area by 2029.
Another project is Amata Agroup’s Song Khoai Industrial Park with a total area of 714 hectares worth $155 million in Quang Yen Town.
Under the planning of developing coastal EZs of Viet Nam by 2020 approved in September 2008, 15 coastal EZs were founded. Three were added in 2010.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, these 18 existing EZs have a total area of 730,550 ha, or 2 per cent of the country’s area.
Exports to Germany rocket despite COVID-19
The first four months of 2020 saw astounding export growth of various commodity groups, including iron and steel, machinery and sports equipment, to Germany despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the General Department of Customs, iron and steel exports were up 27-fold in quantity and 29-fold in value compared to the same period of 2019, reaching US$2 million.
Even though the growth is significant, the value gained overall does not affect the total export turnover to the German market.
Other billion-dollar groups also witnessed impressive growth.
Machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts earned $199 million in value, up 50 per cent.
Toys, sports equipment and parts also recorded a 187 per cent growth with a turnover of $46.5 million.
Coffee is another bright spot in the picture, having gained 26.5 per cent in value and achieved $176 million in turnover.
Lawmakers divided on debt collecting firms
Several deputies called for a ban on debt collecting during a debate between lawmakers at the National Assembly’s session today.
Some lawmakers slammed the debt collection industry, citing numerous incidents in which criminal gangs were found behind or closely linked to debt collecting firms and had reportedly terrorised, blackmailed and threatened victims.
Deputy Tran Van Tien from Vinh Phuc Province, a supporter of the ban, said debt collection itself wasn’t a problem, but the criminal gangs that operated under the guise of those firms were.
Tien said a comprehensive report to evaluate the impact of a ban should be carried out.
On the other hand, many said debt collecting is a legitimate demand of society and should be allowed to operate provided firms could meet all requirements and follow a code of conducts set by law. A set of rules to oversee firms’ activities was needed to prevent similar incidents from taking place, according to lawmakers.
Deputy Mai Hong Hai from Hai Phong City said debt collecting firms were needed as current debt settlement regulations and mechanisms remained highly complex and inefficient. Instead of a ban, Hai called for a review of regulations in the field.
Deputy Tran Hoang Ngan from HCM City said Viet Nam could learn from existing rules and restrictions on firms’ activities in the US and elsewhere.
At the session, lawmakers also voiced concerns over the illegal trade of human fetal tissue for profit.
“The NA Standing Committee takes this matter seriously and is considering adding the trade of human fetal tissue to the current ban of human and human body part trafficking,” said Chairman of the NA’s Committee on Economic Affairs Vu Hong Thanh.
In another development, the NA Standing Committee added portable water production to the country’s list of businesses that needed special requirements, citing its importance to the public.
Hai Duong exports first batches of lychee to Singapore, US, Australia
The northern province of Hai Duong on Monday exported the first batches of lychee to Singapore, the US and Australia.
Of which, Ameii Vietnam JSC exported the first 6.5 tonnes of lychees to Singapore while Rong Do Production, Trade and Services Co Ltd also shipped the first 20 tonnes of lychees to Australia and the US.
At the same day, a delegation led by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong visited a lychee cultivation area in Thanh Son Commune which is granted an area code to export to Japan, and the Ameii Vietnam processing plant in Thanh Xa Commune, Thanh Ha District.
Hoang Trung, Director of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Hai Duong has implemented many solutions for several years to receive export licences for its lychees, especially strict markets like Japan, Australia, and the US. Besides that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has implemented many solutions on policies and procedures to facilitate lychee exports this year.
One of the advantages for exporting lychees this year is that Australia has approved to deploy irradiation in Ha Noi for local fresh fruits, Trung said. In addition, renovation of preservation technology has also created favourable conditions in exporting the fresh fruits to other countries by sea.
For the Japanese market, Trung told Vietnam News Agency that: “The first shipment of lychees to Japan will open the door for further entering this market in the future.”
“Viet Nam will continue to negotiate with the Japanese side in transferring supervision on lychee exports from Japan’s agencies to Viet Nam. That will create favourable conditions for exporting lychees to Japan as well as reduce export costs,” Trung said.
Hai Duong is now home to 9,700ha of lychee cultivation, mostly in Thanh Ha District with about 3,600ha and Chi Linh City with 3,900ha. The lychee output in Hai Duong is estimated at 45,000 tonnes this year. Meanwhile, Viet Nam expects to gain a total lychee output of about 230,000 tonnes this year.
This province estimates to have a total lychee output of 1,500 tonnes reaching Global GAP standards for export to Europe, the US, Australia, Japan and other demanding markets, according to the Hai Duong Department of Industry and Trade.
The total area of growing lychees certified as Viet GAP is over 500ha with an estimated output of 4,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, 19 lychee cultivation areas with a total area of 170ha and a total output of 1,300 tonnes are granted area codes to export lychees to the US, Australia and EU.
Many businesses have registered to buy Hai Duong lychees for export and domestic consumption, including expected export volume of about 4,000 tonnes. Of which, the Ameii Vietnam Joint Stock Company has planned to purchase about 1,250 tonnes for domestic consumption at supermarkets and export to Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Canada.
The Rong Do Manufacturing, Trading and Service Co, Ltd has registered to purchase 150 tonnes of lychees for export to the US, Australia, EU and the Middle East. The Bamboo International Joint Stock Company has registered to purchase 1,900 tonnes of lychees for shipment to Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Brunei and China.
The Thanh Ha Agricultural and Forestry Processing Export Company has also registered to buy 620 tonnes of lychees for export to the UK, France, Germany and South Korea.
Hai Duong expects to gain a growth rate of 30-50 per cent in exporting lychees this year compared to last year.
Pham Thanh Hai, director of the Hai Duong Department of Industry and Trade, said in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hai Duong has also paid attention to the domestic market. Of which, the important markets include Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Can Tho and neighbouring provinces and cities.
Hai Duong’s Thanh Ha lychees have been sold in the domestic market, especially at supermarkets, from early this month, which is the start of the lychee harvest season this year, according to the department.
They include Bac Tom, Intimex, Metro, Co.opmart, Hapro, BigC, Vinmart and wholesale fruit markets in Ha Noi and HCM City. Besides that, the province has also planned to increase its market share of lychees at some new potential markets in the central and central highlands provinces.
Hau Giang Province overrun with property projects
The number of property projects in Hau Giang Province surpasses actual demand, experts have said.
Hau Giang Province has 62 real estate projects that have been approved for development in addition to many existing projects, according to the provincial Department of Construction.
Vi Thanh City, with a population of around 200,000, has 21 new projects under development, while other cities and districts have around 10. The projects cover hundreds of hectares, consisting of mostly land plots.
Many realtors had said there were too many property projects. Nguyen Thanh Nam, general director of T.N.L. Real Estate Company, told Bao Dau Tu newspaper that Hau Giang’s supply of real estate projects was much higher than demand.
The province’s population was only 733,000 as of 2019, and had been declining over the years, he said.
In addition, real estate businesses were mostly targeting investors that plan to resell their property, as opposed to people who were planning to stay there, he said.
Meanwhile, Le Tien Chau, chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said that while the number of urban areas and property projects was adequate, their quality, scale and connectivity were not up to standards.
“Real estate development needs to focus on bettering the lives of locals and urban development should be sustainable. To ensure enough physical space for the future, it should not surpass actual demand,” he said.
The province said it would improve management of real estate development to ensure that pricing would not be too high compared to locals’ earnings, and that calls for investment are done legally.
With an abundance of land and improvements in the investment climate, Hau Giang has been attracting more and more investment projects, especially in real estate.
APEC senior officials hold virtual discussions on economic cooperation
Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies held a virtual meeting on May 28 to discuss economic cooperation and open markets to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.
The meeting was chaired by Hairil Yahri Yaacob, a senior official from Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry.
He urged participating economies to prioritise the undisputed flow of essential goods and services across the region.
The official said this was key to ensuring member economies are able to rebound following the wide-ranging economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Necessary lockdowns and social distancing have been or are still in place region-wide to keep the pandemic from spreading, but the resulting economic slowdown has the potential to cause long-term harms to the lives and livelihoods of millions more, he said.
He called the members to exchange views, review their response to the crisis and formulate a possible coordinated approach to collecting and sharing information on policies and measures regarding COVID-19 and its economic effects.
Malaysia is slated to host the APEC Summit in November.
APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific, with 21 members./.
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