Thứ Ba, 29 tháng 5, 2018


Vietnamese organic products to be displayed at ThaiFex 2018
Some 30 Vietnamese food and beverage producers will showcase their organic products and others at ThaiFex – World of Food Asia 2018, the international food and beverage trade fair held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 29 – June 2.
Participating companies include Vinamit JSC; Ben Tre Import-Export JSC; Trung Nguyen Group; VinEco Agricultural Investment, Development and Productions LLC; Lai Phu JSC; Thuan Thien Thanh Food Investment and Development JSC; Co May Co Ltd; Bibica JSC; and Petrolimex Import-Export JSC.
The Vietnamese pavilion has an “organic and natural village” with organic products like desiccated fruits, rice, processed coconut and milk, alongside products with geographical indication like Phu Quoc fish sauce, Binh Thuan dragon fruits, Binh Phuoc cashew nuts, Ben Tre Xiem coconuts and grapefruits and natural products like Dong Thap lotus on display.
The Vietnamese delegation will run networking programmes between Vietnamese and ASEAN firms. There will be also a seminar with Vietnamese and foreign speakers discussing the potential of the ASEAN market and sharing their experience in developing and commercialising products with geographical indication.
Organised by Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thaifex is set to draw more than 2,500 exhibitors from some 40 countries and territories.
The fair can help connect visitors with exhibitors, thus improving competitiveness of firms for their operation in the global market.
Ha Long city expects investment wave in Boutique shophouses

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The increasing numbers of visitor to northeastern Quang Ninh province’s Ha Long city in recent years creates excellent opportunities for investment deals, especially in boutique shophouses – a real estate model combining mini hotels and shophouses.
Bai Chay, a tourism zone in Ha Long, is attracting real estate investors due to its clean and beautiful beaches. It is home to the Sun World entertainment complex and the hi-end Sun Premier Village resort.
With a floor area of 100 square metres, a shophouse is only suitable for opening a restaurant, café or clothes shop.
Meanwhile, a boutique shophouse with more floor area is multi-functional and can be utilised as mini hotels, bars, leisure facilities, restaurants, spa or beauty salons.
Another plus point of boutique shophouses are their prime location along the Ha Long road and special design for commercial small hotels.
With an area of 632-900 square meters, each boutique shophouse can have up to 21 rooms, allowing owners to enter the mini hotel business without additional renovation costs.
Owners of boutique shophouses will also get long-term ownership certificates.
The boutique hotel and shophouse model emerged in the 1990s in major cities around the world, including Paris, London, New York and San Francisco, and has flourished in Asian tourist resorts in the 2000s.
It is fast becoming an attractive investment option in Vietnam even though it has only emerged in the country in recent years. 
With stunning landscapes, clear turquoise sea and spectacular limestone pillars together with tourism investment projects, Quang Ninh boasts huge potential to develop tourism.
The province has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and 2,000 islets, two-thirds of the total in Vietnam. The spectacular stretch of coast connects the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with majestic natural scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay, Van Don and Co To islands and Tra Co beach with Cat Ba National Park in the northern port city of Hai Phong.
Along with the renowned Ha Long Bay, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, Dai beaches  and in Van Don island district and Tra Co and Vinh Thuc in Mong Cai city have grown in stature among tourists thanks to their breathtaking sea and coral reef.
In 2017, Quang Ninh welcomed almost 10 million tourists, over 4 million of whom were foreigners. The province aims to attract more than 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.
By 2020, Quang Ninh aims to welcome between 15-16 million tourists, including 7 million foreigners, and rake in 30-40 trillion VND (1.3-1.7 billion USD) in revenue. The tourism sector is expected to contribute 14-15 percent to the gross regional domestic product.
ROK-funded project to foster energy efficiency in Vietnam’s industry
The Republic of Korea’s government will provide 1.9 million USD in financial aid for a project promoting energy saving in Vietnam’s industrial sector.
The project “Promoting Investment Market for Energy Efficiency in Industrial Sector in Vietnam” was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Energy Saving and Sustainable Development and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) last week.
The project is part of the World Bank-funded “Vietnam Energy Efficiency for Industrial Enterprises (VEEIE)” project that offers 101.7 million USD to give domestic industrial enterprises better access to loans for energy efficiency investment. 
The financing provided by the WB includes two components – 100 million USD used on developing energy-saving projects for key industries and 1.7 million USD spent on technical assistance for those projects.
The WB project aims to foster the development of energy service companies and to facilitate the implementation of energy saving and energy efficiency projects. It will aid the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment.
ASEAN+3 economies enhance connectivity     
Economies in the ASEAN+3 region should enhance their connectivity, boost the service sector and develop skilled human resources in order to meet global demand, participants were told during a seminar held in Ha Noi on May 25.
The seminar, themed “ASEAN+3 regional economic outlook: resilience and growth in a changing world” was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).
ASEAN+3 comprises ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).
The ASEAN group comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Hoe Eo Khor, chief economist of AMRO, presented a report on the ASEAN+3 regional economic outlook conducted by his office.
According to the report, with improving external demand, the region’s growth is expected to be maintained at 5.4 per cent in 2018 and 5.2 per cent in 2019.
Viet Nam’s GDP in the first quarter of this year is projected at 7.4 per cent. However, the report warned the region to remain vigilant given the significant external risks in the short term of a faster-than-expected tightening in global financial conditions and an escalation of global trade tensions.
If these risks are realised, there would be spillovers to the region through capital outflows, higher borrowing costs, and lower trade and investment flows, the report said.
To enhance resilience, the report said policymakers in the region should continue to build policy space, particularly in monetary policy, in anticipation of tighter global financial conditions ahead. Fiscal policy may have to play a greater role in supporting growth while macro-prudential policy can help safeguard financial stability, the report said.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Viet Nam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) said through the report, Viet Nam gets an insight into ASEAN and the Northeast Asian countries - China, Japan and the RoK. Delegates at the seminar held that regional economies have benefited from foreign direct investment (FDI) activities which look towards exports.
Along with China and other major ASEAN economies, Viet Nam has succeeded in attracting FDI, setting up competitive production areas, generating jobs, increasing productivity and spurring exports, they said.
They also pointed out challenges caused by trade protectionism, changes in the global value chains and new trends of technologies and production.
Against the backdrop, the economies should intensify regional connectivity and integration to consolidate sustainable growth against external shocks, they suggested. 
Banks cut interest rate for short-term deposits     
Many banks have reduced the interest rate for short-term deposits while raising the rate for long-term deposits to restructure capital sources.
BIDV has applied the new rates from May 22, lowering its annual interest rate for three-month and six-month deposits by 0.2 percentage points. Accordingly, the rates for these months are listed at 4.6 per cent and 5.1 per cent per year, respectively.
The bank, however, has maintained a high interest rate of 6.9 per cent per year for 12-month and 24-month deposits.
LienVietPostBank has also lowered the rate for short-term deposits, listing one-month, three-month and sixth-month rates at only 4.4 per cent, 5 per cent and 5.8 per cent per year, respectively.
Vietinbank has followed suit, quoting the interest rate for under-three-month deposits at 4.1 per cent. The bank’s rate for four-month and five-month deposits is 4.6 per cent, while it is 5.1 per cent for six-month deposits.
It has kept the interest rate at 5.5 per cent for six-month to 11-month deposits, much lower than the 6.8 per cent applied to 12-month deposits and 7 per cent for 36-month deposits.
Eximbank has also kept a low rate of 4.6 to 5 per cent for deposits under six months since May 21. However, the bank has increased the rate for long-term loans with 6.8 per cent per year for 12-month deposits and 8 per cent for 24-month and 36-month deposits.
According to the National Financial Supervisory Commission, capital mobilisation of the banking system in the first quarter of this year rose by 3 per cent against 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.
Credit institutions hope the average mobilisation growth in the second quarter (Q2) of this year will be some 4.71 per cent, much higher than Q1, and the annual mobilisation growth will reach some 16.65 per cent, equivalent to the levels of 2016 and 2017.
Credit institutions also expect deposits ranging from six months to one year to account for 83-86 per cent of the total mobilisation in Q2 and throughout 2018.
On the inter-bank market, interest rates for overnight and one-week loans this week inched up by 0.01 percentage points against the previous week while decreasing by 0.01-0.03 percentage points for two-week and one-month loans. 
Vietjet shareholders get dividend of 10%     
Vietjet Aviation on Friday spent VND451 billion (nearly US$20 million) to pay a dividend of 10 per cent by cash to its shareholders.
Consequently, the budget airline has finished its 2017 dividend payment of 40 per cent in cash, the company said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Vietjet announced it would pay 2017’s dividend of 20 per cent by shares. In 2018, the company approved a dividend payment plan by 50 per cent.
Over the years, Vietjet has regularly paid high dividends to its shareholders.
In the first quarter of this year, Vietjet continued to grow. Specifically, revenue stood at VND12.56 trillion, up 146 per cent year on year thanks to the growth in passenger air transport, ancillary and sale and leaseback revenue.
Profit after tax of the parent company’s shareholders stood at approximately VND1.37 billion, a yearly rise of 263 per cent. Earnings per share in this quarter was VND3,026, one of the highest figures in the stock market.
Compared to the yearly target of VND50.97 trillion in revenue and VND5.8 trillion in pre-tax profit, the first quarter’s results achieved 25.5 per cent of the year’s target. 
Huge opportunities in VN for business acquisitions: seminar     
There are huge opportunities across ASEAN for mergers and acquisitions in almost every sector, particularly in Viet Nam, though challenges remain like regulatory hassles and how to add value to companies after inking an deal, experts told a seminar on M&A in HCM City on Friday.
M&A activities are increasing across Southeast Asia, capitalising on the investment boom in the emerging markets in the region, Theng Bee Han, president of the Malaysia Business Chamber Viet Nam, said.
There were a lot of M&A activities in Viet Nam last year, particularly in the real estate sector where transactions amounted to nearly US$1.5 billion, he said.
The deals involved major players from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China, he added.
“Viet Nam, Malaysia and [generally] ASEAN’s wider integration with the global economy offers many new opportunities for M&A.”
Ralf Pilarczyk, head of M&A for ASEAN, Standard Chartered Bank, said last year there were over 4,200 global cross-border M&A transactions valued at over $100 million and they were totally worth $5.1 trillion.
North America and Europe accounted for 76 per cent of the global deals (by value) and the Asia Pacific for 18 per cent, driven by China.
ASEAN accounts for 9 per cent of the world’s population and 2 per cent of global M&A. The bloc saw 116 deals worth $78 billion last year, including four deals in Viet Nam valued at $6 billion.
Research by Pilarczyk and Tina Tejwaney, an M&A expert from his bank, found that some of the main drivers for Viet Nam’s M&A deals are its market size with more than 90 million people, strong growth prospects and the Government’s strong efforts to push for State firms’ equitisation.
“Privatisation is an extraordinary programme,” Pilarczyk said.
It provides tremendous opportunities for foreign investors to buy into the Vietnamese economy across various sectors, and Viet Nam would have huge opportunities to develop its capital market and attract foreign investment, he said.
But the country needs to adjust its regulatory framework in the next few years to engage foreign investors better in accessing information and negotiating deals before they invest.
"Bridging ASEAN" was hosted by Standard Chartered Bank in collaboration with the Malaysian Business Chamber Viet Nam and Singapore Business Group.
The seminar attracted more than 100 business executives from Viet Nam and other countries. The bank held a bridging event last May.
HCM City to hold Industry and Trade Promotion Fair     
The 2018 HCM City Industry and Trade Promotion Fair will be held from July 24 to 29 at District 11’s Phu Tho Stadium, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.
The fair aims to attract 300 businesses and 450 booths, and will organise several events to help businesses promote their brands and products.
A wide range of businesses will take part in the event, including companies in food and beverages, clothing, technologies, shoes, accessories and supporting industries.
The fair plays an important role in improving firms’competitiveness and brand promotion and the reputation of Vietnamese goods, according to Hoang Tho Vuong, director of the HCM City Centre for Supporting Industries Development.
The fair also helps businesses find potential partners and increase exports.
Vietnam’s airlines blame high jet fuel price for pricey airfare
No Vietnamese air carriers were able to make it to the world’s top 50 cheapest airlines, with industry insiders saying they have the domestic high jet fuel prices to blame for their inability to offer really reasonable tickets.
Rome2rio, a leading travel planning platform, has recently published its third Global Flight Pricing report, which ranks the best value airlines for travelers based on the average cost per kilometer, after analyzing over 1.5 million economy-class prices from 200 airlines in the first two months of 2018.
Tigerair from Australia led the list with an average cost per kilometer of US$0.06, followed by Malaysia’s AirAsiaX with $0.07, and AirAsia of Indonesia with US$0.08. Jetstar, a member of Australia’s Qantas Group, ranked fourth with US$0.09.
Six carriers, including the second-largest airline of the United Arab Emirates – Etihad, Indonesia’s Citilink, Iceland's only high performance low-cost airline WOW Air, Oman Air, Indonesian Lion Mentari Airlines and Ryanair from Ireland, closely came after with the same average cost per kilometer of US$0.1.
In the meantime, all three major Vietnamese carriers, Vietnam Airlines, Viejet and Jetstar Pacific, failed to make it to the top 50.
No-frills Vietjet charges its passengers an average of US$0.14 per kilometer, compared to US$0.15 of its low-cost peer Jetstar Pacific.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines had a much higher cost per kilometer ratio, $0.3.
While the three are absent from the Rome2rio list based on the average cost per kilometer ratio, Vietnam ranked 15th in terms of average ticket price by country.
A representative of a Vietnamese airline said that jet fuel is much more expensive in Vietnam than in other countries, resulting in higher airfares, given the fact that fuel accounts for 30%-40% of the total operating costs of a carrier.
“The jet fuel price in Vietnam is 20%-30% higher than in other regional countries,” he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
At its latest shareholders’ meeting, Vietnam Airlines announced that fuel makes up 24-38 percent of the company’s expenses.
Even a one-dollar rise in oil price will lift the cost of the national flag carrier by about VND230 billion (US$10.12 million) a year, according to Vietnam Airlines.
Binh Dinh province calls for RoK investment
The central province of Binh Dinh introduced its potential and advantages to businesses of the Republic of Korea (RoK) on May 28 with a view to attracting investment from this Northeast Asian nation.
The conference to promote the RoK’s investment in Binh Dinh was held at the headquarters of the Korea Industrial Technology Association in Seoul, drawing representatives of about 100 Korean businesses.
Chairman of the Binh Dinh People’s Committee Ho Quoc Dung said the potential and advantages of his province match RoK investors’ investment and business demand. It also shares cultural similarities with the RoK. Therefore, Binh Dinh has chosen the RoK, a dynamic and developed economy, to be the next step in its investment attraction plan.
He called on RoK firms to invest in the fields Binh Dinh has demand for such as electronic component production, seaport and industrial park infrastructure, energy, tourism, and fisheries.
He affirmed that all economic sectors are treated equally, and every enterprise is provided with favourable conditions in accessing information about policies, mechanisms, planning, and investment and business opportunities in Binh Dinh, a Vietnamese central coastal province full of potential and hospitality.
On this occasion, the official also asked the participants to help his province popularise its potential and advantages to their friends, colleagues and other RoK investors.
At the conference, Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu said the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership is flourishing in all spheres. 
The RoK is currently the biggest investor in Vietnam with total investment capital of more than 58 billion USD through last April. Bilateral trade surpassed 60 billion USD in 2017, making the RoK the second largest trade partner of Vietnam and Vietnam the fourth largest trade partner of the Northeast Asian nation.
He noted that the fine political relationship and close people-to-people ties are the factors helping to ensure bilateral economic cooperation.
In 2017, Vietnam welcomed 2.5 million RoK tourists while the number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK grew by over 70 percent. Each country has more than 150,000 citizens living in the other nation at present, Tu added.
Australia-Vietnam forum increases capacity for female entrepreneurs
The Australia – Vietnam Capacity Building Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in Agrifood Business opened in Sydney on May 28, offering a chance for Vietnamese female entrepreneurs to have creative thinking and gain closer access to international standards.
In his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University Barney Glover said that Australia is one of the most reliable suppliers of high-quality agrifood in the world. 
Two-thirds of Australia’s exported farm produce are shipped to Asia, so it is essential for the country to build a business network of agricultural products.
He stressed the need to boost trade ties between Australia and Vietnam as the Southeast Asian nation is emerging as a new and potential market. The two countries’ agrifood holds numerous similarities and can supplement each other.
Trinh Duc Hai, Vietnamese Consul General in New South Wales state, shared that the Vietnamese female entrepreneur community is expanding. Currently, 30 percent of the total Vietnamese enterprises are owned by women.
The Vietnamese Government always supports the community with the aim of raising the proportion to 50 percent by 2020, Hai added.
The Australia – Vietnam Capacity Building Forum is scheduled to take place until June 1. It aims to create opportunities for Vietnamese female entrepreneurs to update information on issues related to improving the competitiveness of enterprises in the market of agricultural production and processing, and understanding the current situation and demand for agricultural products in Australia.
The forum, jointly held by Western Sydney University, Australia – ASEAN Council, and Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Economics, is also a chance for Vietnamese and Australian businesswomen to share their experiences on innovative solutions in preserving and processing agricultural products.
Four criteria for high-tech agricultural firms

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Hanoi attracts 860 million USD in FDI in five months

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The capital city of Hanoi attracted 860 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first five months of 2018, said Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen.
Of the amount, 529.2 million USD was registered to invest in 225 new projects, over 131 million USD was added to 48 existing projects and 199.52 million USD was invested in domestic companies’ stakes.
Quyen said the city has carried out 27 non-state capital projects with combined investment of 27 trillion VND (1.19 billion USD). In addition, 13 projects were permitted to increase investment capital by 1.98 trillion VND (87.2 million USD).
In the first five months of 2018, Hanoi approved another public-private partnership (PPP) project with investment of almost 1.41 trillion VND (62.1 million USD), bringing the total number of PPP projects to 12 with total investment of more than 28.33 trillion VND (1.24 billion USD).
During the reviewed period, 9,420 businesses were established in the city, with combined registered capital of 97.5 trillion VND (4.29 billion USD), down 1 percent in the number but up 36 percent in the volume of investment. The figure raised the total number of enterprises in Hanoi to 241,000.
Last year, the capital city drew up to 3.4 billion USD in FDI.
Workshop discusses application of int’l financial reporting standards
Experience  in applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the US, Malaysia and China was shared at a workshop in Hanoi on May 28.
Jointly organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the event also aimed to collect comments on the draft project on application of IFRS in Vietnam, thus rolling out orientation for the process in the country. 
Vu Duc Chinh, Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department (AAPD) under the Ministry of Finance, said in the strategy until 2020, Vietnam’s accounting and auditing sector will approach international practices.
Over the past 10 years, Vietnam issued 26 accounting standards, but they have exposed many shortcomings, requiring the Ministry of Finance to build a new standard system, he said.  
However, the application of IFRS should be suitable to Vietnam’s condition as the country has many stakeholders in the accounting system because of different types of businesses, Chinh noted.
The Ministry of Finance will gradually build a set of financial reporting standards and issue or recognise an international standard system.
It is necessary to develop a system of accounting standards similar to the system of 26 standards to apply to other subjects, and manuals on the principles of financial reporting, he said. 
The application of IFRS means that the accounting and auditing system will have a common "language" for all businesses in all countries in the world, and this will be very beneficial when Vietnamese enterprises participate in the international capital market, Chinh noted. 
Trinh Duc Vinh, Vice Director of AAPD, said the application of IFRS in Vietnam is to overcome the limitations of the Vietnamese Accounting Standards System (VAS), perfect the legal framework on accounting, and increase the transparency of financial information. 
This also aims to promote the accountability of businesses, helping Vietnamese businesses access more capital sources and list on the international market, so that Vietnam is internationally recognised as a full market economy, he added. 
Sekiguchi Tomokazu from KPMG Vietnam - the provider of audit services said the roadmap for the application of IFRS (or equivalent standards) in each country is different, stressing the need to make thorough plans before application.
Tran Anh Quan, Vice Director of KPMG Vietnam, noted that the application of IFRS is a great challenge to any countries, even developed ones. 
Vietnam is a country with low starting point for economic development, so the application of IFRS is more difficult, he said.
Representatives from JICA said the application of IFRS is very important and the agency can provide financial and technical assistance for Vietnam as well as share Japan’s experience in the work.
Workshop discusses application of int’l financial reporting standards
Experience  in applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), the US, Malaysia and China was shared at a workshop in Hanoi on May 28.
Jointly organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the event also aimed to collect comments on the draft project on application of IFRS in Vietnam, thus rolling out orientation for the process in the country. 
Vu Duc Chinh, Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department (AAPD) under the Ministry of Finance, said in the strategy until 2020, Vietnam’s accounting and auditing sector will approach international practices.
Over the past 10 years, Vietnam issued 26 accounting standards, but they have exposed many shortcomings, requiring the Ministry of Finance to build a new standard system, he said.  
However, the application of IFRS should be suitable to Vietnam’s condition as the country has many stakeholders in the accounting system because of different types of businesses, Chinh noted.
The Ministry of Finance will gradually build a set of financial reporting standards and issue or recognise an international standard system.
It is necessary to develop a system of accounting standards similar to the system of 26 standards to apply to other subjects, and manuals on the principles of financial reporting, he said. 
The application of IFRS means that the accounting and auditing system will have a common "language" for all businesses in all countries in the world, and this will be very beneficial when Vietnamese enterprises participate in the international capital market, Chinh noted. 
Trinh Duc Vinh, Vice Director of AAPD, said the application of IFRS in Vietnam is to overcome the limitations of the Vietnamese Accounting Standards System (VAS), perfect the legal framework on accounting, and increase the transparency of financial information. 
This also aims to promote the accountability of businesses, helping Vietnamese businesses access more capital sources and list on the international market, so that Vietnam is internationally recognised as a full market economy, he added. 
Sekiguchi Tomokazu from KPMG Vietnam - the provider of audit services said the roadmap for the application of IFRS (or equivalent standards) in each country is different, stressing the need to make thorough plans before application.
Tran Anh Quan, Vice Director of KPMG Vietnam, noted that the application of IFRS is a great challenge to any countries, even developed ones. 
Vietnam is a country with low starting point for economic development, so the application of IFRS is more difficult, he said.
Representatives from JICA said the application of IFRS is very important and the agency can provide financial and technical assistance for Vietnam as well as share Japan’s experience in the work.
Vietnamese female entrepreneurs praised for creativity     
Being creative to improve corporate management and approach international quality standards is one of the important factors that can help Vietnamese female entrepreneurs enhance their performance in selling farm produce.
According to the Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Trinh Duc Hai, Vietnamese women have proven themselves to be creative and proactive – these characteristics are often shown by women in the agriculture and food sectors.
The female entrepreneur community is getting stronger, with 30 per cent of Vietnamese firms being led by women, Hai said at a forum on Monday.
The Vietnamese Government always provides the best support for female entrepreneurs as it eyes 50 per cent of all Vietnamese firms being owned by women by 2020, he added.
Truong Ly Hoang Phi, chairwoman of the HCM City Young Businessman Association, told the forum that many Vietnamese women have chosen the agriculture sector as the place to launch new businesses, and they need better access to the international community for improved experience, lessons and partnerships.
The comments were delivered at the Australia – Viet Nam Forum, which was co-organised by the Western Sydney University, the HCM City Economics University and the Australia-ASEAN Council in Sydney, Australia.
The five-day forum, which will end on Friday, is expected to help Vietnamese agriculture business leaders explore new methods of development to create new products that are competitive enough to enter overseas markets, especially those with strict requirements like Australia.
Business owners are also able to explore the Australian market and get an overview of requirements for their products. In addition, the forum will launch a special seminar on how businesswomen perform and manage their firms and balance between their professional and personal lives.
Barney Glover, vice chairman of the Western Sydney University, said that Australia is widely known as one of the highest-quality agriculture produce suppliers in the world.
With two-thirds of its agricultural exports being shipped to Asian markets, it is essential for the country to develop a selling network among them, Barney said.
As Viet Nam has risen as a potential market and there are plenty of similarities between Vietnamese and Australian agricultural products, improving the two sides’ trade relations is necessary, he added.
VN to adopt int’l accounting rules     
Viet Nam is expected to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), replacing the current Vietnamese accounting standards (VAS), by 2020 as part of its efforts to improve transparency, according to experts at a seminar held in Ha Noi on Monday.
The event themed: “Experience in applying IFRS in some countries and roadmap for adoption in Viet Nam,” was co-organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to share experiences on the application of IFRS standards in countries such as Japan, South Korea, the US, Malaysia and China.
Over the past 10 years, Viet Nam has established 26 accounting standards, but now these standards have disadvantages when compared to IFRS, and may create barriers and reduce confidence among foreign investors, said Director of the Accounting and Auditing Policies Department under the Ministry of Finance Vu Duc Chinh.
Chinh said businesses’ financial statements under VAS standards cannot accurately reflect the value of assets and liabilities, so the application of the international accounting system is crucial and inevitable.
“However, it is a tough task to apply international standards in Viet Nam because we have many different types of enterprises,” Chinh said.
According to Chinh, after approval by the Government, the MoF will translate IFRS into Vietnamese so that local firms can accurately and fully understand the contents of the new financial reporting norms.
Trinh Duc Vinh, deputy director of the MoF’s Accounting and Auditing Policies Department, said that the goals of applying IFRS in Viet Nam are to overcome the limitations of VAS, improve the legal framework for accounting, improve the transparency of financial information, enhance accountability of enterprises and help Vietnamese businesses access capital sources and become listed on the international market.
Regarding the roadmap for Viet Nam, participants agreed that during 2018-20, 10 to 20 simple IFRS standards will be selected to be implemented, and officially applied to all the firms listed on the stock market from 2020. All other businesses that wish to apply IFRS and find that the application is possible are also encouraged to do so.
Sharing experiences of some countries in the world, Sekiguchi Tomokazu, a representative from audit company KPMG in Viet Nam, said that the roadmap for the application of IFRS of each country differs depending on the actual situation of that country.
In Korea, all listed companies, financial institutions, state-owned enterprises and other public interest entities are subject to the mandatory application of IFRS from 2011, he said.
Meanwhile, in China, firms are still required to apply the Chinese national accounting standards, so there are no specific rules for applying IFRS, Tomokazu added.
A representative of JICA said that the application of IFRS is very important. In Viet Nam, JICA can provide financial and technical support, facilitate the exchange of experiences on applying IFRS in Japan and help strike a balance between the application of IFRS and the national accounting system. 
Gia Lai lures $220million investment     
The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on Monday granted licences to 10 projects with a total registered capital of VND5 trillion (US$220 million).
The province also signed memoranda of understanding with 11 investors for funding totaling more than VND16 trillion ($700 million) during an investment promotion conference in Pleiku City to foster investment co-operation between the locality and HCM City
In his speech at the event, the provincial People’s Committee vice chairman Vo Ngoc Thanh said from now to 2020, his province will continue to hasten the development of several sectors including hi-tech, agricultural processing, clean and renewable energies and tourism.
Priority will be also given to support local enterprises to expand their co-operation with those from other provinces and overseas, he said.
With its open mechanisms and preferential policies, Gia Lai is ready to welcome investors and to create the best possible conditions for them to operate in the province, he added.
HCM City investors have to date carried out 26 projects capitalised at more than VND6.3 trillion in Gia Lai over the past 15 years, mostly in agro-forestry- fishery, infrastructure development of urban areas and trade, following a socio-economic co-operation programme, which was implemented by Gia Lai and HCM City.
In return, Gia Lai investors have poured nearly VND30 trillion into projects in HCM City.
Chairman of Dong Giao Foodstuff Export JSC (Doveco) Dinh Cao Khue suggested that local authorities establish a professional body in charge of calling for investment while supporting investors in registering their investment projects and addressing difficulties.
He also petitioned the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to assist investors who invest in farming with production planning and facilitate links between them and local farmers.
Also at the event, HCM City issued calls for investment in 190 projects, especially those related to smart urban development. 
Steel firms urged to ensure material transparency     
Local steel makers should follow laws and requirements on origin when exporting their products to the US.
That’s the message from Ho Nghia Dung, chairman of Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA) after the US Department of Commerce (DoC) decided to levy import tax on steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue to collect anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) cash deposits on imports of corrosion-resistant steel (CORE) produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate at the rate of 199.43 per cent and 39.05 per cent, respectively.
CBP will also collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of cold-rolled steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate at the rate of 199.76 per cent and 256.44 per cent, respectively. Dung said the Viet Nam’s steel exports to the US would be sharply reduced with the decision.
Statistics showed that the Viet Nam’s steel exports to the US were reduced from more than 900,000 tonnes in 2016 to 500,000 tonnes in 2017.
After the DoC’s decision, VSA’s members have been quick to seek material for steel production from other countries or local ones instead of importing from China.
He said a big amount of hot rolled steel – the material for colour coated steel and galvanised steel production - was provided into the market after Formosa came into operation.
The amount of imported steel from China in the first quarter of the year was 1.1 million tonnes, half as much from the same period last year and a 29 per cent decrease in term of value.
The US, however, is still the third largest steel importer of Viet Nam despite of the tax levy. In the first three months of the year, the amount of steel exports to the US reached 217,000 tonnes, accounting for 15 per cent of Viet Nam’s total steel exports.
The chairman said the country’s steel sector has seen strong growth of construction steel and flat steel. Viet Nam has been able to produce construction steel products, from ore, steel scrap to hot rolled steel. Previously, Viet Nam had to import hot rolled steel from foreign countries including China, South Korea and Japan.
VSA said they co-operated with ministries, sector and businesses to clarify two issues relating to DoC’s investigation on steel produced in Viet Nam using Chinese-origin substrate.
They would clarify that not all Vietnamese steel originates from China. In addition, Viet Nam has been investing in large and modern scales of final production stages to produce galvanised and cold rolled steel.
The latest information from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) revealed that the DoC would remove the tax levy on Vietnamese steel exporters if they prove that their products were not used material from China.
The ministry would continue to co-operate with relevant steel producers to resolve the requirements from the DoC.
Chu Thang Trung, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Trade Defence, said they suggested producers study and meet conditions from the DoC to be exempted from the tax levy.
The ministry has closely co-operated with VSA and businesses to follow the case from the initiating of the investigation in June 2016.
MoIT asked the DoC to implement investigations objectively and in line with WTO’s regulations as well as the US’s norms. They also asked the DoC not to impose the tax on Vietnamese steel exporters.
VSA and Vietnamese steel producers have also closely co-operated with the US to clarify the material origin for steel production in Viet Nam.
Thua Thien-Hue attracts US$87mn in 5 months     
Thua Thien-Hue province attracted 11 projects worth nearly VND2 trillion (US$87.1 million) in the first five months of this year.
This excludes the Laguna Lang Co project invested by Singapore’s Banyan Tree Group.
So far, the province has attracted 151 investment projects, with VND72.3 trillion of registered capital, including 36 foreign-invested projects with an investment of VND31.2 trillion.
Notably, large investment projects have been granted licences and are being implemented. The Prime Minister has approved the expansion of the Laguna Lang Co project, with a total investment capital of up to $2 billion, along with investment for a casino, as well as the solar power plant of Doan Son Thuy Investment Joint Stock Company, with an investment capital of VND1.15 trillion.
Located in the Chan May – Lang Co Economic Zone, the first phase of the Laguna Lang Co project includes Angsana Lang Co Hotel with 229 rooms and Banyan Tree Residences with 57 villas and an 18-hole golf course, with an initial capital of nearly $300 million.
According to the proposal of the investor, the casino occupies an area of ​​2.64ha with an investment capital of $250 million.
The Banyan Tree Group’s additional investment (compared to its existing hotel portfolio), includes increasing the number of hotel rooms from 2,180 to 3,178. Currently, the investor is preparing to open the casino entertainment complex to foreigners by 2021. The investor also expects to diversify the casino business in three phases, including the first phase with 500 game machines and 50 poker tables.
Tourism has always been a strength of the province and is also one of the most attractive fields of investment today. Other foreign investment projects in Thua Thien-Hue focus on cement, beer, mining, transportation, garments, hotels, restaurants and resorts. Few projects focus on agro-forestry production and agro-forestry-fishery processing.
Currently, the province is trying to attract investment by creating a favourable investment climate to mobilise the highest social resources, prioritising resources for investment in infrastructure, production and economic development, ensuring high economic growth associated with environmental protection and social security and concentrating on overcoming the consequences of marine environmental incidents.
In the short term, Thua Thien-Hue province plans to improve the quality of business associations. The region is investing more than VND2 trillion to implement the key programme of economic and technical infrastructure as well as industrial development in 2018, aiming to further improve the infrastructure of the entire province as well as service capacity while supporting production and business activities.
Made-in-Vietnam woodwork conquering international premium markets

Vietnamese woodwork is making a mark worldwide, from furniture in five star resorts to first class flights.

With high quality and reasonable price, made-in-Vietnam woodwork has made its presence felt in luxury interior design projects worldwide.

Last year, a team of 70 workers from Vietnam of design and construction company AA Corp were sent to the Caribbean to construct the interior of the luxury Park Hyatt St. Kitts resort.

The US$16 million project included components on interior design, millwork and loose furniture.

Dubai based airline Emirates, the largest in the Middle East, also used Vietnamese-made woodwork for the interior of their first class cabins.

“The US, Japan, Dubai, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos all have premium constructions with signature material from Vietnam,” said Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA).

Premium hotel and resort corporations in the world such as Starwood, Accor, IHG, Marriott, Hilton and Fairmont all want to select Vietnamese businesses to design and construct the interior of their buildings, Khanh said, adding that these companies like made-in-Vietnam wood products because of their high quality and reasonable prices. 

With world class craftsmanship, Vietnamese wood businesses can now offer complete five-star woodwork instead of just selling individual products, said Nguyen Chanh Phuong, CEO of Danh Moc Limited Company, which designs kitchens. 

Approaching the high-end segment of the market is what local businesses have been aiming for for years, Phuong said, adding that with improved customer service and advertising, Vietnam can penetrate even further into the premium market.

Vietnamese wood companies also need to thrive to achieve better product value instead of running after revenue goals and export targets, said Tran Viet Tien, CEO of Lavanto Home Décor, which manufactures a variety of home products.

Businesses also need to invest more in automation, human resources and design to reach new heights, Tien said.

Vietnam is currently world’s top five exporter of wood, behind China, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Last year, Vietnam exported US$8 billion worth of wood and forest products and the country aims to reach a US$9 billion target this year.

Vietnam, EU boast high potential to bolster partnership

There is room for Vietnam and the European Union to further bolster their economic, trade and investment cooperation although their partnership is growing strongly, said Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son at the “Meet Europe 2018” that was held in Hanoi on May 24.

The Deputy FM said that Vietnam and the EU have enjoyed sound relations despite the complicated regional and international situation with fierce competition and trade protectionism.

After a framework agreement on comprehensive partnership and cooperation between Vietnam and the EU took effect, the bilateral ties have been expanded in various fields and become more effective, he noted, adding that the EU has not only been the largest non-refundable development aid provider of Vietnam but also the second biggest trade partner and leading investor of the country.

Son said that Vietnam has shared fruitful strategic partnership with the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, while setting up comprehensive partnership with Denmark, strategic partnership on climate change adaptation with the Netherlands, as well as traditional relations with many countries in Northern and Central Europe such as Sweden, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

In the European Free Trade Association, Vietnam has enjoyed growing ties with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Local-level cooperation between Vietnam and Europe has also developed effectively with the increasingly diverse engagement of many partners, stated Son.

However, Son said that there is potential for Vietnam and Europe to expand their partnership. The signing and approval of the free trade agreements between Vietnam and the EU as well as the European Free Trade Association in 2018 are expected to bring about new breakthroughs in bilateral ties.

The pacts are hoped to create new momentum for the two sides to optimise market potential, resulting in new cooperation and investment opportunities for enterprises.

The Deputy FM stressed that the Vietnamese Government has drastically implement synchronous measures to improve its investment and business environment, ensuring that the business community from other countries, including those from Europe, operate smoothly and efficiently in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Bruno Angelet, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, said that the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU will be signed later this year.

He said that the two sides should make reform and adjustments to seek proper measures to ensure the effective implementation of the deal.

He held that the ‘Meet Europe 2018’ will help bring about new business chances for European firms and Vietnamese localities as well as lure more investment.

The meeting is an event connecting enterprises with the Vietnamese Government. It is a joint effort between Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry and the European Business Association in Vietnam.

Việt Nam waits for UK investment wave

Numerous favorable conditions have come together to make Việt Nam an attractive investment destination in the ASEAN, Asia and the world.

Its strategic geographic location, the free trade agreements it has entered into and improvements in the investment environment all make Việt Nam a prime target for a new wave of investments from the United Kingdom, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng said at a meeting with the British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) and the British Accreditation Council (BAC) on Thursday.

Investments in infrastructure and human resources training also contribute to Việt Nam’s attractiveness, he said.

At the meeting, Dũng highly appreciated the potential and capacity of UK businesses and expressed a desire to promote investment cooperation with British investors.

In terms of opportunities awaiting investors, UK businesses can fully participate in infrastructure investments through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model or indirect investments through merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, especially in the context of equitisation and divestment of State-owned enterprises, as they have strengths in infrastructure development, banking and finance, and management technology in many areas, the minister added.

He expressed hope that UK investors will not miss this opportunity, especially with the anticipated passing by the National Assembly of the Law on Special Administrative-Economic Zones, which is the basis for the establishment of three special zones featuring many institutions and preferential policies by the end of this year.

Businesses and financial institutions from the UK can participate as major investors or strategic investors in these special administrative-economic zones, Dũng said, adding that potential investors can take advantage of this new game with very competitive rules to join with the Government of Việt Nam in creating and organising the playground in these special zones.

Programme to support local firms
The Viet Nam Industry Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, officially launched the Viet Nam Supplier Development Programme (SDP) in Ha Noi on Thursday.

This programme is aimed at helping Vietnamese companies become suppliers for multinational enterprises, while enabling existing suppliers to expand their business and share of added value.

Recently, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have implemented a number of large investment projects in Viet Nam, providing opportunities to expand domestic supply to these companies. One of the obstacles, however, is the lack of suppliers in the country meeting global standard requirements.

Given the scenario, the two-year SDP aims to help domestic suppliers meet the requirements of MNEs including quality, price and delivery throughout the value chain in targeted sectors. Subsequently, these firms can be linked to MNEs to seek supply opportunities in the future.

MoIT’s deputy minister Do Thang Hai, said capacity building to establish new business links with MNEs is the first step to enhance the competitiveness of participating local firms. “The purpose of this programme is to move the local firms to the process of creating higher added value in the value chain so that they can produce more sophisticated products and become globally competitive,” he added.

Over the next two years, the programme will work with eight leading MNEs in the automotive, electronics, energy and household appliance sectors, such as Bosch, Canon, Datalogic, Denso, Ford, General Electric, Panasonic and Toyota.

The enterprises were chosen based on their interest in sourcing locally and assisting local companies in finding business opportunities. Some 45 local companies, who are wholly or largely Vietnamese-owned, have been selected to join the programme based on recommendations by participating multinationals and various business organisations.

“Large foreign direct investments into Viet Nam with operations of leading global firms have brought up opportunities to promote Viet Nam’s supporting industry and facilitate local producers’ increased participation in the global value chain,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

Developed in close consultation with MNEs, the programme will assess the business performance and competitiveness of participating suppliers, identify areas for improvement and specific actions to build supply capabilities, and improve long-term competitiveness. In addition, the programme will strive to connect potential businesses with potential buyers effectively.

“We are happy to work with local companies which could compete with suppliers from other countries,” said Yamamoto, corporate planning director, Panasonic Viet Nam. “We expect this programme can help us get business with some potentially long-term partners and promote our local sourcing,” Yamamoto added.

Microsoft’s big punt on cloud computing
Microsoft said on Thursday that it is investing heavily in cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

At the 2018 Azure Summit organised by the company in HCM City on Thursday, which attracted more than 200 developers, technology experts and IT managers, it unveiled a new cloud service called Microsoft Azure.

The company said it is not simply a cloud storage but offers more than 100 services with end-to-end tools.

It has become the first choice of 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, it claimed.

Security, privacy and compliance are embedded into its development methodology and it has been recognised as the most trusted cloud for US Government institutions with more than 70 compliance offerings, the company said.

Pham The Truong, country director of Microsoft Vietnam, said: “Without cloud, organisations will not have access to high-power computing and storage which supports big data analytics. Without big data analytics, emerging technologies like AI/cognitive/robotics will not be possible as they require data.”

Microsoft also said it has invested in AI research and achieved some significant milestones that would have seemed impossible even a few years ago.

At the beginning of this year, its researchers created a technology that uses AI to read a document and answer questions about it like a human being.

Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities and SHB Securities officially merged
Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities JSC (SHS) has completed the issue of nearly 5.4 million shares to swap with shares of SHB Securities JSC (SHBS), accomplising the merger of the two companies.

After the swap, the total outstanding shares of SHS increased to nearly 105.4 million, an equivalent to a charter capital of over VND1.05 trillion (US$46.2 million).

Towards the end of last year, Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities approved the plan of merging SHB Securities JSC into the company in the form of a share swap. Accordingly, SHS would issue shares to SHBS shareholders in return for their shares at a swap ratio of 1:2.78, meaning 278 SHBS shares will convert into 100 SHS shares.

The newly-issued shares will be subject to trading restriction within one year.

In its annual shareholders meeting on April 24, SHS shareholders gave nods to the company’s plan of issuing 26.3 million shares to pay 2017 dividends at the rate of 25 per cent, as well as additional issue of 70.3 million shares to existing shareholders at the rate of 66.7 per cent at the price of VND12,000 per share.

Its charter capital is expected to increase to VND2.07 trillion after the issues.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of VND169 billion in the first quarter, a three-fold increase over the same period of last year.

Commercial banks to support firms
Business representatives have urged commercial banks to revise loan policies and simplify loan procedures to help them pursue investment opportunities.

Speaking at a seminar held on May 23 in Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province, representatives of many firms agreed that complicated loan policies and procedures had caused them to lose many investment opportunities.

The State Bank of Viet Nam’s Ba Ria–Vung Tau branch organised the seminar to connect banks and firms in the province.

The companies said that mortgage assets needed for loan applications posed a significant challenge for them. Many firms with multiple businesses have already had to use mortgage assets to run their overall businesses, they said.

Banks should allow firms to use business contracts as mortgages to apply for a loan, provide start-ups with more preferential loan policies, and revise existing policies that might no longer be relevant with reality, they recommended.

Banks should also be more flexible when it comes to unsecured loans and have a stable interest rate for both short-term and long-term loans.

Nguyen Loi, director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s Ba Ria–Vung Tau branch, said the bank would collaborate with relevant agencies to launch more programmes, with an aim to enhance connections between banks and business firms.

Credit institutions in the area said they had sufficient resources to support individual clients and firms that show potential and have effective business plans.

The SBV will evaluate feedback from business firms and offer necessary support to help firms thrive.

In July last year, the bank sector in the province proposed solutions to help business firms deal with difficulties.

Some programmes included 0.5 per cent deduction in short-term interest rates, and preferential loan policies for firms in the organic, high-tech agricultural sector, among others.

As of April 2018, the total outstanding loans for the economic sector had reached nearly VND62 trillion, up 5.9 per cent compared to the beginning of the year, and up 17.61 per cent year on year.

Ba Ria–Vung Tau continues to have stable capital growth, ensuring economic development.

Only 2% cooperatives have access to loans
Cooperatives play an important role in improving the capacity and position of the economy. However, statistics of the Viet Nam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) show that only some 2 per cent of cooperatives have access to loans, while most still manage by themselves, VCA chairman Nguyen Ngoc Bao said.

According to a report of VCA, cooperative economy and cooperatives have rapidly developed in both quantity and quality, with turnover and profits increasing each year. However, many Vietnamese cooperatives still have internal problems, especially in the new period with the national start-up movement and the application of high technologies in agricultural development launched by the government.

To date, Viet Nam has more than 20,000 cooperatives, 93,266 cooperative groups and 59 cooperative unions in all sectors of agriculture, industry, commerce, service, construction, transport and credit. Cooperatives have played a significant part in promoting economic restructuring, building new rural areas, ensuring social security, stabilising politics and developing socioeconomic.

However, lack of capital makes it difficult for many cooperatives to expand their production or business, even potentially pushing them into bankruptcy, while cooperatives that want to access advanced technology also face many challenges.

The reason why cooperatives find it difficult to access loans is because they do not have collateral and do not meet the strict requirements of banks, the report explained.

Experts suggested that cooperatives should promote the building of trademarks and products for cooperatives to improve their value as well as register their intellectual property for traceability. In addition to this, enterprises should associate with cooperatives in consuming products, bringing cooperatives’ products to domestic and foreign fairs.

HCM City boosts development of supporting industry

Ho Chi Minh City is enacting policies to aid businesses in the supporting industry by encouraging investment, networking between firms and banks, and creating special zones.

The municipal People’s Committee has approved 15 investment projects related to the mechanical, plastic and food industries, with total investment of 938 billion VND (41.3 million USD), 581 billion VND of which would be supported by the government in the form of paid interest on loans, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

A city multi-disciplinary team has also appraised nine projects, at a total of 943 billion VND (41.5 million USD). Two of them have been approved by the city.

The HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) is working with related authorities to form supporting-industry zones in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone and Le Minh Xuan 3 Industrial Zone.

Nguyen Phuong Dong, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said that to provide space for businesses to operate, HEPZA was also building factories at Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone and Linh Trung 1 Export Processing Zone.

Factories in the former are already being rented, while those in the latter are expected to start construction within this month.

In addition, the Department of Industry and Trade is working with the State Bank of Vietnam - HCM City Branch to connect banks with businesses and encourage credit unions and financial institutions to offer credit packages to businesses in the supporting industry.

Also, in accordance with Circular 29/2018/TT-BTC issued by the Ministry of Finance to manage funding for supporting industry development, nation-wide cities and provinces including HCM City can use state funds to provide financial aid to companies and organisations so they can organise exhibitions and conferences on attracting investment.

Accordingly, the companies and organisations in the city would be given up to 70 percent of the total costs for such activities, or up to 12 million VND per participant, as well as help in promotion and brand registration, up to 50 million VND per brand.

Also, according to the circular, the costs for sending business delegations to events in other countries will also be covered up to 70 million VND per participant, depending on the country.

In addition, the costs for appraisal, counselling and certification for businesses in the supporting industry would be fully covered by the State Budget.

All of these efforts are part of HCM City’s plan to develop its supporting industry. The city targets meeting 45 percent of national demand for manufactured inputs by 2020 and 65 percent by 2025.

The supporting industry has not grown as quickly as others, affecting the city’s economic development as a whole.

Vietnam exports three-coloured mangos to Australia

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang has exported 5.4 tonnes of three-coloured mangos to Australia for the first time.

The mango skin changes from green to reddish purple and then yellow when it ripens, so locals have named it the "mango of three colours."

With seeds being imported from Taiwan, this mango variety has become increasingly popular in the Mekong Delta region over the years due to its large size, pretty colours and pleasant taste.

The trees grow well, flowering easily and bearing fruit 18 months after being planted. Each mango weighs between 450g and 700g on average, with the largest ones reaching nearly two kilos.

Deputy Director of An Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Si Lam said the province had cooperated with the Chanh Thu Im-export Company in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre since early April to select mango growing gardens in Cho Moi district, which grow the fruit under VietGAP standards.

The department has also coordinated with a local plant quarantine centre to check quality and issue codes for growing gardens, which are qualified for exports to Australia and the US, said Lam.

The province hopes to begin exporting mangos to the US soon, he added.

Cho Moi district has become the hub of three-coloured mangos after the provincial People’s Committee approved financial support for project on building an area dedicated to the fruit several years ago. The fruit is being grown in nearly 5,000ha, mainly in the My Hiep, Binh Phuoc Xuan, and Tan My communes.

According to Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, an official of the An Giang Plant Protection and Cultivation Agency, about 730 growing households had been trained produce high quality mangoes. Local authorities had set up a chain from supply to consumption with participation of growers and businesses.

HCM City targets 9 percent growth in retail, consumer services

The southern economic hub Ho Chi Minh City has set the target of achieving 6.82 – 9.06 percent growth in the total retail and consumer services from 2026-2030.

It is set under a master plan on trade sector development until 2025 with orientations to 2030 recently issued by the municipal People’s Committee.

Accordingly, services sector will contribute to at least 58 percent of the gross regional development product until 2020. The total retail and consumer services will expand by 8.55 – 11.53 percent annually while retail via shopping malls and supermarkets will reach at least 40 percent of the total.

From 2021-2025, the respective figures will 10.89 – 14.02 percent and at least 50 percent.

In order to achieve the above targets, the city plans to build and upgrade parking lots and warehouses around markets, and ensure food hygiene and safety with clear origin to improve competitiveness.

The city is expected to have at least five leading retailers in Vietnam between 2025 and 2030. It also encourages the opening of convenience outlet chains to meet demand in outlying areas, industrial and processing zones, and apartment buildings.

According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, Ho Chi Minh City is home to 239 markets, including three wholesale markets, 14 first-grade and 54 second-grade markets, and the remaining are third-grade and makeshift markets.

The city records 207 supermarkets and 43 shopping malls, 1,800 convenience stores and mini markets in the inner and outlying areas.

Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Phuong Dong said the city’s retail market has thrived with the emergence of more shopping destinations for local residents.

Auto imports drop sharply last week

A total of 231 cars worth 10.2 million USD were imported to the Vietnamese market over the past week, reported the General Department of Customs.

This marks sharp decreases in both volume and value as compared with the previous week, with 746 cars valued at 21.6 million USD, the department said.

In the week, there were 97 cars with nine seats or less worth 2.5 million USD entering Vietnam, accounting for 42 percent of the total volume. Of the cars, 45 were from Germany and 40 were from Thailand.

Of note, all of the 82 trucks valued at nearly 1.5 million USD imported to Vietnam last week were originated from Thailand.

As many as 52 specialised vehicles worth 6.23 million USD were shipped to Vietnam, with 25 cars from Thailand, 12 from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and seven from China. The rest hail from Japan, France, Australia, Italy and Russia.

Nearly 41.27 million USD worth of auto spare parts were also transported to the country, mainly from Thailand (12.7 million USD), China (6.78 million USD), Japan (6.45 million USD), the RoK (4.66 million USD) and Germany (4.19 million USD).

Statistics show that 84 percent of auto spare parts imported to Vietnam last week were from the above-mentioned countries. 

The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) reported on May 9 that up to 21,123 vehicles were sold in the domestic market in April.

Of the total, the sales of tourist vehicles reached 13,549, up 5 percent, while the sales of commercial vehicles decreased 8 percent to 6,375 units and the sales of specialised vehicles also fell 8 percent to 1,217 units as compared with the previous month.

Notably, the domestically-assembled cars segment saw a fall of 5 percent in sales to 17,910 vehicles. On the contrary, 3,213 vehicles were imported, up 37 percent month-on-month.

During the January-April period, total automobile sales were 80,681 units, a decrease of 7 percent year-on-year. The sales of tourist vehicles increased 2 percent, while that of commercial and specialised cars fell 18 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
The sales of domestically-assembled cars edged up 8 percent against a decrease of 47 percent in the sales of imported cars.

Export of squid, octopus to Russia increase dramatically
Export of squid and octopus to Russia has increased sharply since early this year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In the first three months of this year, the export value of squid and octopus from Viet Nam to Russia reached US$1 million, up nearly 9-fold against the same period last year.

The VASEP said Russia is one of the nine largest export markets for Vietnamese squid and octopus, with impressive export growth recently.

Russia has imported a large volume of Vietnamese fresh, frozen and salted octopus, accounting for more than 90 per cent of Viet Nam’s total octopus export value.

This year, Viet Nam is boosting exports of these products to Russia to regain its market share from competititors from China, Peru, Belarus and Thailand.

In 2016, Viet Nam was the third largest supplier of squid and octopus to Russia. However, in 2017, the exports dropped due to stiff competition from the big rivals.

Government resolution eyes business environment improvement

The Vietnamese Government has issued a resolution on continuing with solutions and tasks to improve the business environment and increase national competitiveness in 2018 and beyond.

The resolution aims to improve indexes related to the business environment in order to jump 8-18 steps from the current 68th place the in World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, with the focus on low-rated indexes.

Specifically, the country will try to move up at least 40 places in the index of Starting a Business, 10 places in Enforcing Contracts and 10 places in Resolving Insolvency.

Under the document, half of business and investment conditions will be eliminated or simplified, while the number of commodity types subject to specialised inspections will be reduced by at least 50 percent.

State management will be shifted from pre-inspection to post-inspection. Additionally, products will be no longer be managed by more than one agency. The rate of import goods subject to specialized customs check will be reduced from the current 25-27 percent to under 10 percent.

The resolution requires hastening the application of information technology in handling administrative procedures, including online public services.

The Government asked Ministers and Chairpersons of People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities to build action plans on carrying out the resolution before May 31, and to direct the implementation of measures to improve the business climate and competitiveness.

Spinning sector greatly contributes to textile export

Vietnam’s fibre and yarn production and export is witnessing a strong growth, boosting the country’s textile and garment export turnover.

In 2017, Vietnam earned 31 billion USD from exporting textiles and garment products, fibre, cotton and materials, of which exports of fibre contributed 3.59 billion USD, up 22.7 percent year-on-year.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, vice general secretary and chief representative of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS) in HCM City said in addition to traditional textiles products, high value-added items such as fabrics, fibre and yarn and textiles and garments accessories have grown well in the first months of 2018.

Notably, Vietnam’s fibre and yarn export alone reached 906 million USD in the first quarter of 2018, up 16.5 percent year-on-year.

Nguyen Binh An, General Secretary of the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association, said prior to 2000, the spinning sector’s production scale reached only 1 million spindles but its capacity was raised to 3.7 million spindles in 2007 and 7 million spindles at present.

Two thirds of yarn produced in Vietnam is for export now, with the main importers being China, Turkey and European and American countries.

Mai said the production scale of Vietnam’s spinning industry would become bigger in the future thanks to advantages brought by free trade agreements the country has joined.

Vietnam is seen as an ideal destination for foreign-invested spinning projects. The Republic of Korea, China and Hong Kong (China) are leading investors of spinning factories in Vietnam. Japan also outsources yarn products to Vietnam.

In 2017, Vietnam exported 700,000 tonnes of fibre and yarn to China.

Experts said many foreign enterprises have invested in Vietnam’s garment and textile industry to exploit opportunities after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed.

MoF aims for e-finance system by 2025
Innovation in mobile devices and cloud technology on a large scale is key to technological application of the fourth industrial revolution, said Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung.

According to the resolution, the Ministry of Finance is applying technological achievements of the fourth industrial revolution to build a smart governance system, as well as providing smart financial services, and actively participating in the development of the digital economy.

The sector will plan to gradually switch applications to the cloud environment while setting up a comprehensive information security governance system, in compliance with Vietnamese regulations and international standards.

When operational, the financial cloud will help improve the electronic working environment. The use of data sharing, streamlining and automating internal processes, and providing the ability to search information on mobile devices, will combine towards paperless offices.

The application of new technology in the fourth industrial revolution period will also create a digital financial ecosystem based on the open data of the finance sector, creating conditions for people, enterprises, agencies and organisations to easily, and equally access information of the sector.

At present, the Government of Viet Nam is investing heavily into the building of e-government structures.

The digital government invests in new technologies of the fourth industrial revolution era such as Internet of Things, blockchain, mobility, cloud computing, big data, data analytics and artificial intelligence to streamline or eliminate processes. This will allow the Government to innovate management and public services, bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness in the digital era.

Becamex, Warburg Pincus in joint venture
Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing, and Becamex IDC Corp, the construction and development giant in Viet Nam, officially launched their joint venture BW Industrial Development Joint Stock Company on Tuesday.

With an area spreading over two million sq.m and an initial investment capital of over US$200 million, BW Industrial is the largest ‘for-rent’ industrial and logistics developer in Viet Nam.

In particular, BW Industrial will focus on supporting the sustainable development of Viet Nam. They are a strategic investor in the global supply chain. With the mission of providing value-added services to other industries through BW Industrial joint ventures, the company ensures to provide the best and most modern real estate solutions for investors in different fields such as mechanical manufacturing, electronics, automobile manufacturing, garments and footwear.

BW Industrial was seeded with eight projects across five cities in each of Viet Nam’s strategic industrial hubs in the North and South, including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Hai Phong, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh. According to the plan, BW will build the foundations of industrial real estate and logistics services to meet the needs of multinational corporations as well as e-commerce companies in Viet Nam.

Jeffrey Perlman, managing director and head of the Southeast Asia division of Warburg Pincus, said, with a sizable population of nearly 100 million people and an increasingly diversified economy, manufacturing and domestic consumption had become the central areas of growth for Viet Nam. This was an ideal time to tap into these growth opportunities with the goal of taking Viet Nam’s industrial and logistics value chain to the next level, he added.

According to Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of Becamex IDC, Becamex contributes only 30 per cent of capital in this joint venture. It is also the policy that Binh Duong Province wants to call for investors to invest in, build for the socio-economic development of the locality. This is also a priority for profit sharing for investors.

Established in 1976, Becamex specialises in developing large-scale industrial townships with one of the largest industrial landbanks in key markets across Viet Nam. Becamex has formed a number of partnerships with foreign players such as Tokyu Corporation, a major Tokyo-based infrastructure developer, and Sembcorp, a Temasek-sponsored industrial group through the Viet Nam Singapore Industrial Park platform (VSIP), which is now widely recognised as one of the most successful industrial park developers in Viet Nam, with over $10 billion of investments to-date.

Warburg Pincus started investing in Southeast Asia in 2013 with Viet Nam as its maiden market. Since then, Warburg Pincus has committed over $1 billion in the region, including in Vincom Retail, Lodgis Hospitality, ARA Asset Management, Go-Jek, NWP, Trax, and others. Currently, the firm has more than $44 billion in private equity assets under management.

VN-India set to boost trade ties
The Assam Investment Roadshow, which took place in Ha Noi on Monday, gave businesses from India in general and from the Assam region in particular investment opportunities with Vietnamese partners, especially in the agricultural field.

A delegation of representatives from government agencies and businesses, headed by Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, attended the event along with other Vietnamese firms and representatives from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At the seminar, Sonowal invited Vietnamese businesses to invest in fields with preferential treatment in India and the Assam market, such as high-tech agriculture, industry, tourism, energy, and trade.

“I am glad to showcase the potential and possibilities of the State at the Assam Investment Roadshow in Hanoi, and lead a delegation of legislators, officials and farmers to Vietnam, a country from which Assam can learn from immeasurably, especially in the agriculture sector,” said Sonowal.

He also asked for Viet Nam’s help to accomplish the Government’s aim of doubling crop income by 2020, and requested Viet Nam open a consulate office in the Assam capital of Dispur.

Assam is a major state in northeastern India, which in recent years has been playing a central role in boosting economic cooperation between India and ASEAN countries.

Monday’s Roadshow was jointly organised by the VCCI in collaboration with Embassy of India and the Government of Assam, India.

Before attending the Roadshow, Sonowal had met with Cao Duc Phat, a member of the Party Central Committee and Vice Chairman of Central Economic Commission, and Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as Hoang Binh Quan, Chairman of the External Relations Commission.

Bilateral collaborations on technology and the exchange of knowledge for the benefit of farmers from both countries were discussed.

According to figures from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the General Department of Vietnam Customs, exports from Viet Nam to India in the first three months of 2018 had reached US$1.57 billion, up 111 per cent from the same period last year. March 2018’s exports from Viet Nam alone reached $637.63 million, up 120 per cent from March 2017.

Imports from India to Viet Nam in the first quarter totalled $1.04 billion, a slight increase of 2.4 per cent from the previous year. The trade surplus for Viet Nam in March was around $267.75 million, and the first quarter reached $532.60 million, a record level so far.

Viet Nam’s products with strong export growth include machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, as well as steel products, coal, rattan, bamboo, rush and carpet products , and mobile phones and phone accessories.

In the opposite direction, imported Indian commodities with high growth rates include ores and other minerals, plastic materials, car parts and paper.

King Broker eyes nation-wide expansion
King Broker plans to expand operations to all 63 provinces and cities, according to Trinh Nguyen Tuan Anh, the founder of the real estate company.

King Broker has been in operation for five years, during which time it has set up systems to support property brokers including organising online training, setting up social media channels to connect brokers and solutions based on Big Data.

It now has nine branches — in Lao Cai, Ha Noi, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Vung Tau, and HCM City – Anh said.

Late last week, to connect brokers, King Broker and Investment Review organised a seminar for 200 brokers in Vung Tau and Dong Nai provinces.

Participants spoke about the market in the two provinces and discussed opportunities and challenges thrown up by industry 4.0 were discussed so that brokers could learn how to succeed in the new technological era.

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