VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 8

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Germany’s Framas Group expands local production

Framas Group, the leading injection molding machine manufacturer of Germany, has unveiled its plan aimed at expanding production activities in Nhon Trach 2 Industrial Park in the southern province of Dong Nai.

The move comes following the group leasing a ready-built factory area of 20,000 square metres from KTG Industrial, with the intention of expanding its scale within the Vietnamese market to meet the increasing demands from customers, reported the Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

The 10-year lease contract demonstrates the resilience of the Vietnamese economy and the industrial real estate sector, despite the adverse impacts caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam seeks stronger trade, investment ties with Luxembourg

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Nguyen Van Thao has paid a visit to Luxembourg during which he met with officials from a number of local ministries, organisations and corporations to seek stronger economic cooperation between the two countries.

During the meetings, both sides showed interest in stepping up cooperative ties, given that border reopening has started worldwide post-pandemic. Cooperation in economy, finance and investment continued to be at the centre of discussions thanks to opportunities brought by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

The two sides also briefed each other on the socio-economic development their respective countries last year and plans for border reopening in 2022.

Luxembourg partners affirmed that they are ready to coordinate with Vietnam to organise celebrations of the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations (1973 – 2023). The Embassy of Vietnam has been working with Luxembourg authorities and businesses to host a Vietnam – Luxembourg business forum in the European country in October.

The two officials agreed to together push for the exchange of delegations at all levels and build plans for future cooperation with focus on finance, logistics, hi-tech, tourism, and high-quality human resources training.

HCM City shakes hands with EuroCham, VIAGS to promote tourism development

The Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourism Department on March 7 signed cooperation agreements with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and Vietnam Airport Ground Services Company Limited (VIAGS) on boosting tourism in the city.

The deals are part of efforts to sustainably speed up tourism recovery and development in HCM City and the whole nation.

Accordingly, HCM City and the EuroCham will work together in promoting MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and events) and cuisinary tourism in the city in the 2022-2024 period.

Under the agreement, the two sides will strengthen activities on market research, tourism statistics and human resources training, while sharing experience in tourism management and operation.

They will expand the direct channel of promotion to introduce the image of the city to more European firms and citizens in Vietnam as well as those in foreign countries.

Infrastructure boosts HCM City property market

The Ho Chi Minh City property market is expected to develop strongly in 2022 on the back of a number of infrastructure projects being completed or started during the period, experts said.

Many of the projects are meant to improve connectivity or reduce congestion.

They include the An Phu Intersection in Thu Duc city. The junction of three major roads, the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Highway, Mai Chi Tho Boulevard and Luong Dinh Cua street, suffers from constant congestion, which peaks during weekends and other holidays as people travel to Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.

Another project to be taken up is the widening of National Road 50 in Binh Chanh district. The My Thuy Intersection will be finished this year, helping reduce traffic jams and accidents around Cat Lai Port and increase cargo transportation capacity.

Other projects in the city include widening of Tan Ky-Tan Quy street, upgrades to Tran Van Muo street and Thi Tran-Thoi Tam Thon, construction of Rach Kinh Bridge, and works to prevent landslides near Giong Ong To Bridge.

The development of infrastructure in the city is expected to drive property prices up.

Rising fuel cost forces Grab to revise up fares

Grab will raise the GrabCar five-seater service fee in Hanoi and HCMC to VND29,000, and the seven-seater fee to VND34,000 for the first two kilometers, both up VND2,000 against the current levels. The GrabCar service fees will also edge up VND10,000 per kilometer after the first two kilometers, up by VND500, said local news reports.

In other provinces and cities, the GrabCar fares will also be adjusted up by VND2,000-VND2,500 for the first two kilometers, and up by VND600 per kilometer from the third kilometer onward.

For the GrabBike service in Hanoi, passengers will be charged VND13,500 for the first two kilometers, up VND1,500, and VND4,300 per kilometer after that, up VND300. In HCMC, the fare will rise to VND12,500 for the first two kilometers and VND4,300 for each of the following kilometers.

Similarly, the fare hike will be applicable to other services, such as GrabExpress, GrabMart and GrabFood.

The ride-hailing service provider said the fare increase is aimed at coping with the volatility in domestic fuel prices and consumer prices. The move is expected to help its driver-partners improve incomes and encourage them to continue working.

Nearly 24 million USD to be invested in modernising Quang Ngai’s irrigation system

The Prime Minister has given in-principle approval to a project modernising the central province of Quang Ngai’s irrigation system for better climate change adaptation, which has total investment of 23.86 million USD.

Of the total capital, 19.2 million USD comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR).

It aims to modernise 28 cannals of the Thach Nham irrigation work which has a total length of 94.153km, while building a new pumping station and reparing seven others. The valves of Nui Ngang reservoir will also be upgraded.

The project also included the application of measures for effective management of internal field water.

Hanoi moves to develop agricultural, rural tourism

The People’s Committee of Hanoi has made a plan on developing agricultural and rural tourism in tandem with new-style rural area building during 2022 – 2025, part of efforts to boost sustainable tourism development.

In this plan, each suburban district holding potential and advantages for agricultural and rural tourism will develop from one to three community-based tourism services or sites, with at least 50 percent of those products registered for intellectual property protection and recognised as three-star or higher products under the “One Commune, One Product” (OCOP) programme.

Each potential locality will build at least one agro-tourism connectivity model involving farmers, cooperatives, business households, and enterprises.

Besides, the city will provide training for at least 80 percent of the workforce at local tourism facilities and villages, officials in charge of tourism management, and other stakeholders in agricultural and rural tourism.

The municipal administration will develop six models of green and sustainable agricultural and rural tourism in the suburban districts of Thuong Tin, Dan Phuong, Thanh Tri, My Duc, and Thach That, as well as Son Tay town.

Domestic gold prices plunge after hitting all-time high

After skyrocketing to VND74.2 million per tael on March 8 morning, domestic gold prices tumbled sharply to VND72.5 million just in two hours.

Earlier in the morning, the prices of gold bar were traded at VND74.2 million per tael in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

In the global market, gold prices hovered at approximately US$1,986.2 an ounce on March 8, a decline of US$14.1 per ounce compared to March 7.

The gold prices are equivalent to VND55.01 million per tael when converted to the local currency, or VND18.39 million per tael lower than SJC gold prices recorded at the same time.

In terms of the local forex market, the State Bank of Vietnam also moved to adjust the exchange rate of major foreign currencies, with US$1 now exchanged for VND22,990.

Vietnamese firms double investment overseas in first two months

Vietnam invested US$44.5 million overseas during the first two months of the year, approximately 2.1 times higher than the same period from last year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

A total of 21 projects were granted new investment certificates, with a total registered capital of US$51.7 million. Notably, a project adjusted capital with an additional US$9.19 million and another registered for a reduction of US$16.4 million.

During the past two months, Vietnamese firms invested in 10 fields, with mining taking the lead (US$33.54 million) followed by wholesale and retail (US$15.1 million).

They poured capital into eight countries and territories. Laos represented the largest destination for Vietnamese investment reaching US$48.23 million, followed by Singapore, the United States, China, and the Republic of Korea.

As of February 20, Vietnam had 1,429 valid overseas investment projects with a total capital of over US$20.9 billion.

ADB specialist proposes ways to empower women-owned firms in Vietnam

Principal Private Sector Development Specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Donald Lambert has pointed out three ways that banking boards need to do to further empower women’s businesses in Vietnam.

Women-owned businesses have been a driving force for the economy and their establishment and development are strengthened in many countries.

In Vietnam, women own 24% of businesses. Lambert said in his article on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8) that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned by women in Vietnam face significant barriers to finance.

Despite similar business performance, women-owned SMEs are 10 percentage points less likely than those run by men to have a bank loan. When they do get loans, they are smaller amounts and have shorter tenors. On average, SMEs owned by men can expect loans with maturities that are 19% longer.

These constraints are not just a problem for women entrepreneurs, the specialist said, adding that they are a problem for the Southeast Asian country.

Overseas Vietnamese invest in 370 local projects

Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) from 29 countries and territories globally have invested in 376 projects in the nation worth approximately US$1.72 billion, according to Vu Van Chung, deputy director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

The majority of investment made by OVs has been poured into 42 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide, with a major focus on the processing and manufacturing industries.

Overseas remittances to the nation each year typically reaches over US$10 billion, with this figure at roughly US$12.5 billion for 2021, thereby representing a significant source to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development, Chung said.

Vietnamese tuna exports impacted by Russia-Ukraine conflict

The ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has significantly affected Vietnamese tuna exports to these markets, according to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

At present, Russia represents the 13th largest importer of Vietnamese tuna. Last year saw Vietnamese tuna exports to the Russian market reach over US$14 million, accounting for 2% of the country’s total export value. In particular, tuna exports to Russia in January enjoyed an annual increase of 427%.

Furthermore, Ukraine is also currently the country’s 19th largest tuna import market. Over the past five years, the export value of tuna has continuously increased, with last year witnessing tuna export value soar by 106% on year.

According to the VASEP, some exported orders were returned back due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Currently, local tuna exports to the two countries must be halted due to the risks of banking transactions, coupled with supply chain disruption on production and imports and exports.

Moreover, both Ukraine and Russia are the most important suppliers of sunflower oil to the global market, including Vietnam. Therefore, if the conflict continues to escalate, the price of most of the vegetable oils used in tuna processing will jump to all-time highs, thereby pushing up the production cost of canned and bagged tuna in the to come.

Vietnam a magnet for foreign investment: Business Times

Thanks to policies to support post-COVID-19 recovery, and the gradual resumption of tourism activities, Vietnam is an investment attraction magnet, The Business Times of Singapore wrote.

According to The Business Times, “decisive containment measures and well-targeted government support” as defined by the International Monetary Fund in its report during the early years of the pandemic helped limit economic depression from the health crisis.

According to the Singapore Business Federation’s (SBF) National Business Survey which was conducted from July to October last year, Singapore businesses remain keen on the Vietnamese market.

Vietnam came in second in terms of countries Singapore businesses were most keen to invest into. Of the 440 companies who said they are planning for future expansion, 31 percent said they wanted to go to Vietnam.

Singapore has been the top investor in Vietnam for the last 2 years.

Can Tho sets up working team for Mekong Delta farm produce center project

A working team has been formed to guide the implementation of the National Assembly’s policies and mechanisms for the projected Mekong Delta farm produce manufacturing, processing and consuming center in Can Tho.

Under the Can Tho government’s decision, Duong Tan Hien, vice chairman of Can Tho, leads the team, while Pham Duy Tin, head of the Can Tho Management Board for Export Processing and Industrial Zones, is his deputy.

The team is in charge of counselling the municipal government and the chairman of Can Tho to implement the policies and mechanisms to develop the center.

The Can Tho Department of Planning and Investment is in charge of working with other relevant agencies to quickly prepare a detailed plan to establish the center and set up a steering committee for the project before March 10. The city will submit the plan to establish the center to the Government for approval in April.

The center is projected to cover some 10,670 hectares of land in Binh Thuy, O Mon and Phong Dien districts, featuring several functional areas such as economic, service, hi-tech industry and logistics areas.

The establishment of the center in Can Tho City will help address the consumption of farm produce in the Mekong Delta region, boost the growth of the logistics system, increase the value of products, create jobs and stabilize the incomes of farmers in the region.

Six component projects of North-South Expressway shorten construction schedule

The Ministry of Transport, on March 7, informed that six out of ten projects of the Eastern section of the North-South Expressway for the 2017-2022 period had registered to shorten the construction schedule.

Accordingly, the projects have drawn up the construction plans again, putting forward solutions to shorten the progress of a part, or the whole project by at least three months compared to the previous ones.

Specifically, the Mai Son Project – National Highway 45 will be completed in September 2022; the National Highway 45 – Nghi Son Project will be completed in May 2023 for 29.68km out of 43.28km, and the rest will be 1.5-2 months later due to soft ground treatment; the Nghi Son – Dien Chau Project will be completed in April 2023 for 25km out of 50km; the Cam Lo – La Son Project will be completed in September 2022; the Nha Trang – Cam Lam Project will be completed in the second quarter of 2023; the Cam Lam – Vinh Hao Project will be completed in the third quarter of 2023.

The Ministry of Transport also said that the remaining four component projects, Vinh Hao – Phan Thiet, Phan Thiet – Dau Giay, Dien Chau – Bai Vot, and My Thuan No.2 Bridge had also been studying ways to speed up progress and shorten the construction time.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/VGP/SGGP

Two-month public capital disbursement faster than last year’s same period

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