BUSINESS IN BRIEF 4/6
Vietnamese catfish exports dominate US market
Vietnamese tra fish products has dominated the US market from January to April 2018 despite facing many trade barriers, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
It said from the first day of this year until the first half of April, the total tra fish export value to the US market reached US$108 million, a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent.
So far, this value has maintained a high growth compared to the same period last year.
The association expects Viet Nam’s tra fish export value to the US market to slightly increase in the second quarter of this year against the same period last year, although the number of tra fish exporters to the US market is likely to remain at less than three enterprises.
Viet Nam and China are the only exporters of tra fish to the US market, of which Vietnamese tra fish has accounted for 90 per cent of the total imports to the US at present, according to the association.
In previous years, China had mainly exported only fresh and frozen tra and basa catfish to the US market, but from 2017, it has increased the production of frozen catfish fillets worth some $37.2 million.
The average price of Chinese catfish in the US market is quite high, reaching $6.77 per kilo, while the price of Vietnamese catfish stands at only $3.42 per kilo.
Since Viet Nam’s catfish exports to the US market have been increasing, the cost of raw material of tra fish in the domestic market has surged by VND5,000-VND6,000 per kilo compared to the same period last year. This has, in turn, increased the price of catfish in all export markets, including the US.
However, anti-dumping duty and the catfish inspection programme have prevented local seafood enterprises from promoting exports of catfish products to the US market.
VN Silicon Valley Angel Camp improves students’ startup knowledge
The Vietnam Silicon Valley Angel Camp kicked off in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 2, offering a chance for students to learn from startup experience.
The event was jointly held by the city’s student support centre, Department of Science and Technology and the Korea-Vietnam Incubator Park (KVIP).
Vien Tuan Thanh, head of the centre, said that the programme helps students, who want to start up business, to meet and connect with investors and successful entrepreneurs, and provides them with knowledge and skills related to startup.
The programme is expected to help form a startup ecosystem in Vietnam.
During the three-day event, students are expected to discuss how to make investors find out potential startups, learn from experience to develop and control startups, and apply technologies in agricultural production.
Director of the KVIP Pham Minh Quoc advised students not to start up business alone.
He asked them to equip themselves with sufficient knowledge and seek assistance from local authorities, organisations and previous startups so as to ensure success and minimise failure.
An Giang’s infertile paddies grow other crops
Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang switched to growing other crops on 20,000ha of paddy fields during the 2017-18 winter-spring crop, earning big profits and managing to cope with climate change.
The fields are mostly in mountainous areas, and thus far from irrigation sources or infertile.
They grew soy bean, honeydew melon, corn, red chili, vegetables and other crops.
Pham Cong Tao, one such farmer in Tan Chau district’s Phu Loc commune, grew oriental onion in his 4,000 sq.m field and earned a profit of around 80 million VND (3,500 USD) per crop.
The production cost of planting the onion is higher than rice, but the profits from it are four to six times higher than from rice, he said.
Besides, the switch saves him plenty of water and he does not have to worry about drought, he said.
His field is situated in an area of the commune earmarked for growing vegetables and other crops, which has good roads enabling easy transport of the produce.
In any case, traders come to his farm to buy and harvest the oriental onion by themselves, he said.
Many farmers in Phu Tan district’s Tan Trung commune are harvesting soybean and reaping a bumper harvest.
The commune’s safe vegetable co-operative team planted 45ha of soybean in the 2017-18 winter-spring crop and has harvested 38ha so far.
Nguyen Van Minh, one of the co-operative team members, said he has been instructed in soybean farming by the commune Farmers Association and the Phu Tan district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
His 22,000sq.m soybean field yielded a profit of 150 million VND (6,600 USD) in the 2017-18 winter-spring crop, he said.
Vo Chi Tam, Chairman of the Farmers Association, said to restructure agriculture local authorities have supported farmers in their switch to other crops in recent years.
Many farmers in the commune have shifted to soybean, he said.
Tran Anh Thu, Director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has been encouraging farmers to grow other crops on infertile rice fields.
Growing sesame, green bean, corn, soybean, and certain other crops enables farmers to adapt to climate change and ensures a big profit, he said.
An Giang plans to have 40,000ha of specialised areas in its city and every district and town for growing vegetables and other crops by 2030.
It plans to develop those areas through a cooperation model to guarantee outlets for farmers and ensure they use advanced farming techniques.
It also plans to improve the quality of co-operatives and co-operative teams in the specialised areas, and prioritise roads and irrigation facilities there.
It will increase the use of advanced techniques such as automatic irrigation in net houses in those areas, with the crops grown to Vietnamese good agricultural practices standards.
The province will also focus on developing small- and medium-sized enterprises that grow vegetables and other crops and tie up with companies that buy their produce.
Contract signed to start feasibility study for Long Thanh airport
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) on June 2 signed a contract with a joint venture comprising of firms from Japan, France and Vietnam (JFV) for consultancy services and the feasibility study for the first phase of Long Thanh International Airport project.
The feasibility study will be carried out from June 2018 to June 2019 and it will be assessed before submitted to the National Assembly for review in October 2019, said ACV Chairman of the Board Lai Xuan Thanh at the signing ceremony.
The ACV is preparing all required resources and taking necessary steps for the construction of the airport to be started at the end of 2020, he noted. “The airport will be completed and put into use in 2025 at the latest.”
In March, the Ministry of Transport selected the lotus design developed by Heerim Architects and Planners from the Republic of Korea for the project.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho asked Heerim Architects and Planners to closely work the JFV to translate the design into reality in accordance with the agreement.
He also requested the ACV to exert its best efforts to ensure the quality of the feasibility study and enable it to be submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the National Assembly in late 2019.
The JFV joint venture gathers leading consulting and design firms with years of experiences in the airport construction industry, including Japan Airport Consultants (JAC) which provided design and construction supervision services for the expansion of Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai International Airports, ADP Ingénierie from France, Nippon Koei and Oriental Consultants Global from Japan, and Airport Design and Construction Consultancy (ADCC) and Transport Engineering Design (TEDI) from Vietnam.
The Long Thanh International Airport has a total area of more than 5,580 hectares, spreading cross six communes in Long Thanh District, the southern province of Dong Nai. It is set to have a total investment of 336.63 trillion VND (14.8 billion USD), with construction divided into three phases.
In the first phase, a runway and one passenger terminal along with other supporting works will be built to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year. This phase is hoped to be finished by 2025.
In the second phase, one more runway and another passenger terminal will be constructed to serve 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo a year.
After the third phase expansion, the airport will be able serve 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargo each year.
Tinh Bien – An Giang international trade fair opens
The 12th Tinh Bien – An Giang international trade fair opened in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on June 1.
Lasting through June 7, the fair features 350 stalls, which are showcasing a wide range of products like farm produce, household products, food and tourism products.
Ten percent of the total stalls are being operated by foreign businesses.
Visitors to the fair are treated to a speed bull race and art performances every night during its course.
Demonstrations of agricultural machines and gardening advice sessions are also scheduled to take place.
Aiming to enhance trade connectivity between enterprises in South Vietnam and regional countries, particularly ASEAN member states, the Tinh Bien – An Giang trade fair has evolved from a provincial event into an international one.
Agro-forestry-aquatic product exports likely to exceed 40 billion USD
Vietnam’s export earnings from agro-forestry-aquatic products are likely to exceed 40 billion USD this year after reaching 15.6 billion USD in the first five months, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.
The export value of key agricultural products was estimated at 8.25 billion USD in the January-May period, up 9.6 percent year on year. Meanwhile, aquatic products contributed 3.12 billion USD to the total export turnover, up 9.7 percent, and forestry products 3.4 billion USD, up 8.7 percent.
The Vietnam Administration of Forestry said that China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US were the four largest importers of Vietnamese wood and wooden products. The export value of forestry products accounted for nearly 22 percent of the total export value.
In May alone, the country raked in 347 million USD from shipping abroad some 452,000 tonnes of rice, bringing the total value and volume of rice exports in the January-May period to 1.45 billion USD and 2.66 million tonnes, up 40 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively.
Average rice price in the period experienced an increase of 12.9 percent to 503 USD per tonne. China remains the largest buyer of Vietnamese rice, holding 33.5 percent of the market share.
Vietnam also enjoyed robust shipments of cashew nuts. In the five months, it sold 139,000 tonnes of cashew nuts abroad and earned 1.37 billion USD, rising 19 percent in volume and nearly 23 percent in value as compared to the same time last year.
Some 1.3 million tonnes of cassava and cassava products were sold in foreign countries for 460 million USD, falling 25.6 percent in volume and soaring 7.3 percent in value.
Meanwhile, coffee exports increased 16 percent to 820,000 tonnes but dropped 0.8 percent in value to 1.6 billion USD. Rubber exports also fell 12 percent in value to 620 million USD although the exported amount was estimated at 424,000 tonnes, or 16 percent higher than the same time last year.
The export turnover of pepper experienced a plunge of 37.6 percent. A total 108,000 tonnes were shipped abroad at a value of 377 million USD.
The ministry also said that the country spent 12.29 billion USD importing agro-forestry-aquatic products during January-May, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 percent.
Minister Cuong said that the agricultural sector should further its efforts to remove bottlenecks.
Agricultural restructuring towards applying more high technologies into production and branching out value chain is key to tackle the processing and preservation issues, particularly when Vietnam is among five countries most affected by climate change, he noted.
Furthermore, Vietnamese agricultural products also face fierce competition in both traditional and new markets due to tax and technical barriers. Thus, local businesses should keep close watch to the situation to have proper response, Cuong said.
Vietnamese garment sector maintains growth in traditional markets
Many Vietnamese garment firms have maintained high growth in traditional markets this year, including the US, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and member states of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Truong Van Cam said a series of recently-signed free trade agreements (FTAs) is expected to boost the sector.
Since 2001, Vietnam has signed bilateral trade agreements with the US, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, and joined the World Trade Organisation.
However, global demand for textiles and apparels only grows by 1-2 percent each year, resulting in fierce competition, he said.
According to him, most FTAs have rules on product origin for fibre and fabrics while Vietnam imports up to 80 percent of materials.
At present, Bangladesh cuts corporate tax to 20 percent from 35 percent andlinen fiber and spandex import tax from 10 percent to 5 percent. Pakistan waives material and energy taxes for exported apparel while India reduces fibre import tax to 2.5 percent from 5 percent.
The EU offers zero percent tax to apparel from Cambodia and Myanmar while the US waives tax for several Cambodia goods. Vietnamese apparels are still subject to 17.7 percent and 9.6 percent tax when exporting to the US and the EU, respectively.
VITAS called on the State to devise planning and grant licences to major garment industrial areas to attract investment in weaving and dyeing.
It also urged supporting wastewater treatment in industrial zones and discouraging foreign firmsfrom investing in fiber and sewing.
Five-month fishing output surges 2.4 percent
Total fishing output in the first five months of the year increased 2.4 percent year-on-year to 1.3 million tonnes due to favourable weather conditions, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Of the total figure, seafood exploitation was estimated at 1.27 million tonnes, up 2.5 percent from the same time last year.
Coastal provinces specialized in ocean tuna fishing brought home 9,227 tonnes of tuna during January-May, a year-on-year drop of 8 percent. Of the figure, 4,750 tonnes were from Binh Dinh province, 2,287 tonnes from Phu Yen and 2,190 tonnes from Khanh Hoa.
The ministry urged fishermen to build modern fishing vessels and apply high technology in post-harvest process. Meanwhile, low-capacity boats which cause negative impacts on the marine eco-system should be abolished.
Also in the period, Vietnam recorded a year-on-year rise of 9.7 percent in aquatic export value to 3.12 billion USD. The figure for May alone was estimated at 671 million USD.
The US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were the four biggest importers of Vietnamese aquatic products between January and April, making up 52.7 percent of total fishery exports in the period.
Meanwhile, markets with strong growth in aquatic imports from Vietnam were the Netherlands (60.2 percent), China (28.8 percent), the UK (27.4 percent) and Germany (27 percent).
The country imported about 165 million USD worth of fishery products, raising the five-month aquatic import value to 698 million USD, up 33.5 percent from a year earlier.
Tiền Giang breeds more tra fish on alluvial areas
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang is developing intensive tra fish farming in alluvial areas along rivers to produce high quality fish for export.
The province is using more than 120ha of ground area along rivers to breed fish, mostly tra fish, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Năm Đời, who has 20ha of alluvial ground area for farming tra fish in Cai Lậy District’s Tân Phong Commune, said he harvested about 5,000 tonnes of tra fish a year.
He earned a profit of billions of đồng last year as the price of raw tra fish had increased significantly since the previous year, he said. The rise in tra fish prices will encourage more farmers to develop tra fish breeding in alluvial ground areas along the Tiền River.
Tân Phong Commune, which is an islet in the Tiền River, is one of the major areas for breeding tra fish in alluvial ground areas in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province.
The commune has more than 60ha of alluvial ground areas used to farm tra fish, accounting for 50 per cent of the province total’s tra fish breeding area, according to Kiều Mạnh Quân, secretary of the Tân Phong Commune Party Committee.
Cao Văn Hóa, deputy director of the department, said to develop tra fish breeding in alluvial ground areas, the province has paid attention to zoning farming areas and transfering farming techniques for farmers.
The province will also create favourable conditions for tra fish breeders to participate in the delta’s three-tier co-operation plan for production of high-quality tra fish breeds in the delta.
The co-operation plan, which was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in March, aims to establish three-tier tra fish breed production chains that produce about 50 per cent of the Delta’s demand of 2.2 – 2.5 billion fries a year by 2020.
The department has encouraged farmers to breed tra fish under Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards.
The province has 51.4ha of tra fish bred under GAP standards, including 6.4ha under global GAP standards and 45ha under Vietnamese GAP standards. It also has 15.8ha bred under Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards.
In Tiền Giang, main tra fish breeding areas are in islets and alluvial ground areas along the Tiền River in Cai Lậy and Cái Bè districts.
The province plans to have about 180ha of tra fish with an annual output of 67,000 tonnes by 2020.
Located downstream of the Tiền River, a tributary of the Mekong River, Tiền Giang has a dense network of rivers and canals which have advantages for aquaculture development.
Paper sector unfolds into domestic market
Domestic paper production has been relatively stable from the beginning of the year, with the sector producing more than 1.18 tons of different types of paper over the first four months of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 60%, according to the Vietnam Pulp and Paper Association (VPPA).
The increase is attributed to strong performance of large capacity paper mills in the fourth quarter of last year and early this year.
The sector imported 465,000 tons of paper in four months, up 5% against the same period last year for domestic production and consumption, and exports. Most of the imported paper was mainly used for high-end packaging and paper production for the domestic market. However, paper businesses face numerous difficulties brought about by price fluctuation and competition. World prices soared in the first quarter and has further inched up in April.
Since late last year domestic businesses have had to compete with Chinese rivals for buying paper materials and finished products as China intends to reduce paper production to protect the environment.
In the domestic market, paper mills begin to accelerate production to meet increasing demands of the new school year and other activities in the last months of the year.
According to the Vietnam Packaging Association, the domestic packaging industry has achieved high growth over the last 10 years. As a result, the demand for materials has also increased strongly.
Last year, Vietnam imported around US$2.5 billion worth of paper and paper products, US$600 million of which came from China.
Meanwhile, the purchase of materials and paper by Chinese businesses also pushed Vietnam’s paper exports up high. Vietnam’s paper exports skyrocketed 400% to 187,056 tons in the first four months of this year.
Vietnam ranked 6th among countries with highest women business ownership: report
With 31.3% of businesses in Vietnam owned by women, the country has been ranked sixth out of 53 surveyed economies in terms of share of women business owners.
The country has maintained its position from last year and continues to surpass its Southeast Asian peers, China and the US in the ranking by Mastercard.
In the top five, Ghana took the lead, followed by Russia, Uganda, New Zealand and Australia.
The credit card company said Vietnam “stands out as an outperformer” as it ranks the country 18th worldwide in its Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE).
Vietnam scored 65.5 points overall in the index, which is based on three components: women’s advancement outcomes, knowledge assets and financial access, and supporting entrepreneurial conditions.
On the global MIWE map, Vietnam closely resembles Thailand and Hong Kong in Asia, Switzerland and Poland in Europe, and Costa Rica and Colombia in Latin America.
Vietnam’s strength is distinct in Women’s Advancement Outcomes, with 59.6 points - ranking 10th, and Knowledge Assets and Financial Access with 86.7 points - ranking third, trailing only behind Singapore and New Zealand.
Compared to their global peers, Vietnamese women are as likely as men to engage in business, according Mastercard.
The Knowledge Assets and Financial Access component shows Vietnamese women having equal higher education opportunities as men, and of the 57 markets in the MIWE study, Vietnamese women are the only ones who demonstrate equal inclination to borrow or save for their business undertakings as men.
However, Vietnamese women trail in Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions.
At 56.2 points, Vietnam is ranked among the lowest, at 42nd, weighed down by unfavorable conditions in Quality of Governance, where it is ranked 47th, Entrepreneurial Supporting Factors, ranked 48th and Ease of Doing Business, ranked 36th.
Women’s opportunity to rise as business leaders is also surprisingly low as the country is ranked 41st with a point of 26.2, or only one female out of every four leaders.
They are also disadvantaged in terms of receiving relatively low acceptance from society with 68.8 points for Cultural Perception of Women Entrepreneurs, which is lower than most Asian markets, such as 76.2 in Indonesia, 82.2 in Philippines, 76.9 in Thailand, 73.8 in Malaysia, and 79.9 in Hong Kong.
In January, Bloomberg cited September data from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), an American worldwide management consulting firm, as saying that Vietnamese women hold more leading positions on the business map compared to other countries in the region, including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Women hold 25% of CEO or board level positions in Vietnam.
That figure stands at 14% in Malaysia, 10% in Singapore and only 6% in Indonesia, according to BCG.
Cooking gas prices up VNĐ18,000 in southern regions
The price of cooking gas in HCM City and the southern provinces has increased by VND18,000 (79 US cents) for a 12kg canister starting June 1.
The consumer retail price for 12kg canisters will now range from VND345,000 to VND374,000.
Gas traders said the latest hike is on account of the $57.5 per tonne increase in global gas prices this month compared to the previous month, raising prices to $560 per tonne. The price of domestic gas had to be adjusted in accordance with changes in the global market, traders said.
Agents, gas shops, and consumers in HCM City and the southern provinces have been informed about the new rates.
Vietnamese firms capable of joining support industry
Numerous Vietnamese companies have shown their ability to join Samsung’s supply chain thanks to the support of the South Korean group’s innovative consultant programme.
Samsung Viet Nam on Wednesday conducted a two-day visit to six local businesses including three in the north (4P Company Ltd in Hung Yen Province, Post and Telecommunication Equipment Joint Stock Company - Postef in Bac Ninh Province, Me Tran Electric - Electronic Company Ltd in Vinh Phuc Province) which participated in the programme. The other three companies in the south were Y Chi Viet Company Ltd in Dong Nai Province, TBM – Minh Phat Producing and Trading Company Ltd and Phu Tho Hoa Mechatronics JSC – VIEMCO in HCM City. These are enterprises operating in the field of technology, manufacturing mechanical products, electrical and electronic equipment.
After consultations with South Korean experts, Vietnamese firms have improved their productivity and human resources management as well as enhanced their labourers’ skills, thus increasing competitiveness.
Hoang Minh Tri, general director of 4P Company Limited – one of three companies in the north that received the consultation said the electronics sector has always changed rapidly. It was the reason that his company specialising in producing, assembling and providing a vein to electronics devices still has shortcomings though they incorporated numerous changes.
“We targeted to raise our quality to the level of global standards and minimise the prices of products. However, we need many changes to reach those targets,” Tri said, adding that the Samsung consultation programme has helped them include big changes in production and organisation.
For example, the productivity of many of the product segments at the company was increased by up to 85 per cent. The error rate was also reduced by 75 per cent.
Sharing the ideas, Nguyen The Hung, director of Electric - Electronic Company Ltd said the company had striven to make changes in production in a short time after consultation.
Hung added that all of the ideas from Samsung’s experts were valuable and they would be applied in their new factory, which is under construction, to improve their production levels.
The assessment is part of the 12-week Samsung’s business consultation programme designed to strengthen the capacity for the Viet Nam businesses in the supply chain of components and accessories for Samsung.
Accordingly, within 12 weeks, from March 12, South Korean experts have surveyed, assessed these enterprises and directly consulted and worked with Vietnamese businesses in order to innovate their production processes and complete the standards in supplying products and components for Samsung factories in Viet Nam.
For the first time, the field trip to vendors has seen the participation of 25 probationary consultants, who are trainees from the first course of the co-operative training programme for Vietnamese consultant experts that officially kicked-off on April 17.
“I highly appreciate the great potential, the will and determination of Vietnamese enterprises. With support from Samsung, in only 12 weeks, we have clearly recognised the results of innovation efforts that are aimed at improving and enhancing the competitiveness of these enterprises.
The programme is also an opportunity for the trainees of the cooperative training programme between Samsung and Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to experience and learn from Samsung’s South Korean experts, thereby improving the re-coaching capacity for Vietnamese enterprises, creating core suppliers that have significant impact on the development of Vietnamese supporting industry,” said Shim Won Hwan, president of Samsung Electronics Viet Nam Complex.
Vu Khanh, a representative from the MoIT said the co-operative training programme for Vietnamese consultants between Samsung and the ministry showed that the Vietnamese Government has paid a lot of attention to promoting the local support industry in the world integration process.
“The visit and assessment revealed that all of the production processes in the firms participating in the programme had improved and were quite different from the previous three months,” Khanh added.
He expected the Vietnamese consultants joining the consultation programme to gain the experience and knowledge from South Korean experts to apply them in the local firms.
Along with the commitment to jointly develop Viet Nam’s support industry, after great efforts to seek and connect with Vietnamese vendors, the total number of Samsung’s suppliers has increased to 308 vendors, of which, the number of Vietnamese tier-1 vendors has increased dramatically from only 4 in 2014 to 29 in 2017. It is expected that this number will reach 50 by 2020.
Việt Nam values business, diplomatic ties with Japan
Viet Nam always considers the Japanese business community a leading strategic partner in the process of restructuring its economy, as well as in improving the growth, quality and competitiveness of the country, said State President Tran Dai Quang at the Viet Nam Investment Promotion Conference in Tokyo on May 31.
Speaking at the event, organised by Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), which saw participation from representatives of some 600 Vietnamese and Japanese businesses, Quang said that Viet Nam’s consistent policy is to co-operate with Japan based on 45 years of shared interests in geography, politics and strategic economics.
Quang stressed that towards achieving the goal of modernisation, Viet Nam was in great need of a modern and synchronous infrastructure system, as well as an advanced education system, which are present in Japan.
Japanese businesses could expand co-operation and investment in Viet Nam, especially in the fields of manufacturing, modern agriculture, information technology, smart cities, services, infrastructure, finance, banking, start-ups based on innovation and creativity, as well as take part in the equitisation of State-owned enterprises.
Quang said Viet Nam had become an attractive economic partner for Japanese enterprises. The successful co-operation among enterprises played an important role in promoting the development of relations between the two countries.
Japan is the largest official development assistance (ODA) partner of Viet Nam, with over US$30 billion committed at present. This contributes significantly to developing infrastructure, improving human resource quality, strengthening the governance capacity, and accelerating hunger elimination and poverty reduction.
Projects funded by ODA from Japan are being put into effective operation throughout Viet Nam. The T2 Terminal of Noi Bai International Airport, Lach Huyen International Port and the HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway are some notable examples.
On investment, Japan is always the leading partner of Viet Nam with over 3,700 projects with total registered capital of over $50 billion. In 2017, two-way trade turnover reached more than $33 billion.
Last year, over 30,000 Vietnamese people visited Japan, and nearly 80,000 Japanese people visited Viet Nam.
President Quang also pointed out that the Viet Nam Investment Promotion Conference was a valuable opportunity for the business communities of the two countries to look back on the results of investment co-operation, as well as to share vision of development in the future. The event would play an increasingly important role in deepening the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia over the coming years.
He said the Japanese business community, including leading corporations, would not only play a pioneering role in investment co-operation, but would also promote more efficient cooperation between the two countries.
"We appreciate the discipline, sense of responsibility, modern technology, advanced management and corporate culture of Japanese enterprises and entrepreneurs during the process of investment and business development in Viet Nam," said Quang.
Quang pointed out that Viet Nam had become a dynamic economy with a GDP of around $230 billion and a commercial scale of over $420 billion. With a population of close to 100 million people, Viet Nam was a rapidly growing purchasing power market with a fast developing middle class.
Viet Nam is an open economy and is actively promoting international integration with the free trade agreements that have been signed in recent years. To date, Viet Nam has attracted nearly $322 billion from 126 countries and territories in key economic sectors, such as manufacturing, infrastructure development, construction, real estate, energy, tourism, and distribution, said Quang.
Many leading international corporations are investing and doing business effectively and have become an important component of economic growth in the country, he added.
Speaking at the event, Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoji Muto said that infrastructure was an important factor for the development of a country, and Japan was paying attention to this field in Viet Nam.
Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Hiroyuki Ishige recalled cooperation outcomes between Japan and Viet Nam, especially their efforts to the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), emphasising that the deal will be a driving force for economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in the future.
Also at the conference, President Quang, Japanese State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoji Muto, and JETRO Chairman Hiroyuki Ishige witnessed the ceremony of handing over investment certificates and memorandums of understanding on co-operation projects between enterprises and localities of the two countries.
The President and delegates also witnessed the launch of the Ha Noi-Osaka direct flight of budget carrier Vietjet Air, which will operate daily return flights from November 8 this year. With this milestone, Vietjet Air increased its total international routes to 45.
In a meeting with JETRO Chairman Hiroyuki Ishige, Quang expressed his thanks and appreciation for the cooperation and support of JETRO to Viet Nam in general and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in particular.
JETRO has helped the MPI in recent years to connect enterprises and organise the investment promotion conferences. On top of this, they have jointly held seminars to solve difficulties and obstacles faced by enterprises of the two countries.
Quang asked JETRO to promote investment from Japanese enterpises in Viet Nam in the fields of clean and high-tech agriculture, supporting industries and mechanical engineering, and help the country to improve value chains of Vietnamese agricultural products and foodstuffs in order to create favorable conditions for them to reach the Japanese market.
Gov’t aims to boost industry, construction
The Government aims for the industry and construction sector to account for 30-35 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, according to the country’s new plan for industrial restructuring in the 2018-20 period, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on May 25.
The plan aims to realise the National Assembly’s resolution on restructuring the economy in the 2016-20 period, including the industry and construction sector.
The plan stipulates that the industrial growth rate must be higher than the GDP growth rate; the proportion of manufactured goods in the total export turnover should reach 85-90 per cent and labor in industry and construction should account for 25-30 per cent of all jobs.
The Government aims for an annual average productivity growth rate in industry of over 5.5 per cent. It also seeks to narrow the gap between Viet Nam and ASEAN-4 countries on indices of industrial competitiveness and increase the number of hi-tech industries in the manufacturing and private sectors. The plan also targets value-added growth in the manufacturing industry from 8 to 10 per cent.
In the period up to 2025, the proportion of processed and manufactured products among total goods exported will remain above 85 per cent and the amount of labor, enterprises and investment in the industry will be higher than in the 2015-20 period.
In order to realise the above objectives, the Government proposed the following key tasks and solutions.
Firstly, the application of advanced technology in production must be strengthened and industrial production must be linked with environmental protection and response to climate change. A roadmap to replace and eliminate obsolete equipment in factories must be built while polluting factories must be shut down.
Secondly, the value chain of products such as textiles, leather, footwear, chemicals, food and electronics must be upgraded to increase value-added and the ability to participate in the global production network must be enhanced in order to effectively exploit recent free trade agreements.
Thirdly, priorities should be given to develop the domestic steel industry; plants should use environmentally friendly technologies; small-scale steel mills and rolling mills, backward technologies and inefficient use of resources must be reduced and the sustainable use of energy must be promoted.
Lastly, trade promotion and brand development for Viet Nam’s industrial products and industrial enterprises should be boosted. Resources on implementing the annual national trade promotion programme in industries in which Viet Nam has advantages, such as food processing, beverages, textiles and footwear, should also be expanded.
Vietcombank, PV GAS up co-operation
Vietcombank and PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (PV GAS) signed a comprehensive strategic co-operation agreement in the central city of Quy Nhon earlier this week.
The agreement marked an important step in cooperation between the two sides.
Under the agreement, Vietcombank and PV GAS agreed to ensure transparency, competitiveness and effectiveness in their cooperation.
Vietcombank will provide overall financial packages, including project financing, international payment, money flow management and individual finance with numerous preferential policies to PV GAS.
The two sides also signed a credit contract on the same day. According to the contract, Vietcombank will provide a short-term credit of VND4 trillion to supplement floating capital to PV GAS and its subsidiaries.
They will also enhance cooperation in retail services.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Vietcombank’s management board chairman,said the bank and PV GAS had been co-operating for 28 years.
“Vietcombank shared the key role of PV GAS in the Viet Nam gas industry development master plan as well as in implementing targets in the country’s petrolimex development strategy,” Thanh said, adding that the two sides will create success in their own business strategies, diversifying cooperation both domestically and globally.
Retail sales, services revenue up by 10.1%
Viet Nam’s total revenue from retail sales and services in the first five months of this year maintained a high growth since the beginning of the year.
This was partly due to improving living standards of the people, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The total revenue rose by 10.1 per cent year-on-year to VND1.75 quadrillion (US$76.4 billion) in the first five months, said GSO.
If inflation were excluded, the increase would be 8.3 per cent, higher than the 7.5 per cent growth recorded in the first five months of 2017, it said.
The high growth rate was up by 9.5 per cent in the first month, by 10.09 per cent in the first two months, by 9.9 per cent in the first three months, by 10.8 per cent in the first four months and by 10.1 per cent in the first five months.
Vu Manh Ha, domestic economy expert at GSO, said the high growth in revenue showed an increase in people’s purchasing power and medium-income people as well as stability in price and high supply of commodities.
The high purchasing power pushed the revenue of retail goods in the first five months of this year up by 11 per cent year-on-year to VND1.33 quadrillion, accounting for three-fourths of the total retail sales and services revenue.
Sectors posting a positive revenue increase included food (up by 12.1 per cent), textiles and garments (12.4 per cent), home appliances (11 per cent), cultural and educational products (9.1 per cent) and transport services (8.5 per cent).
Meanwhile, retail sales in accommodation, restaurant and catering services surged by 8.9 per cent year-on-year to VND214.4 trillion.
Revenues from other services, such as wedding and beauty services, reaching a high level in this period showed the diversity of consumer demand, Ha said. The revenue rose by 4.6 per cent year-on-year to VND196.5 trillion.
HCM City recorded the highest growth in purchasing power at 13.5 per cent during the first five months. It was followed by Thai Nguyen Province, up by 13 per cent; Ha Noi, up by 12.6 per cent; and Lam Dong Province, up by 12.56 per cent.