Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Economy moves towards growth, auditors predict

Economic
activity in Vietnam is likely to pick up this year and in 2014, auditing
firm Ernst Young predicts in its forecast about rapid-growth
markets.

This year, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is
expected to be 5.5 percent, and the consumption price index (CPI) 7.8
percent.

In 2015, the country’s GDP is estimated to climb to 7.1 percent and the CPI to fall to a growth of 4.8 percent.

“The
near 7-percent growth trend can be regained by 2014, as export markets
recover, if banks become more stable and if rule changes are enacted for
planned foreign direct investment,” Ernst Young said in its
report.

“Import substitution will continue to contain the trade
deficit, despite consumption picking up as inflation subsides. But
competition from other low-cost locations is a downside growth risk,” it
added.

In its forecast, Ernst Young said that China will
continue to move up the value chain, creating many development chances
for other Asian countries, including Vietnam.

China plans to
generate 8 percent of GDP by 2015 in seven strategic areas: energy
conservation and environmental protection, new-generation information
technology, biotechnology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new
materials, new energy and clean-energy vehicles.

Thanks to such
changes, other markets like Vietnam and regional countries as well as
countries in Africa where the salary is low will strongly emerge in some
industries such as the garments and textiles.

“We expect
Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to increase their combined share of the
world textile market from around 5 percent currently to more than 10
percent over the next 25 years,” it said.

In addition to garments, the telecom industry in these markets is also expected to develop strongly.

Vietnam
is one of 25 rapid-growth markets cited in the report that have shown
improvement thanks to an increase in trade and demand for commodities.

Ernst Young said these markets have started to regain momentum.

Dak Lak discusses local coffee industry’s prospects

The
Central Highland province of Dak Lak hosted a March 10 conference as
part of its ongoing four-day coffee festival to discuss the local coffee
industry’s prospects.

The event, co-organised by the Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Dak Lak provincial
People’s Committee, aims to encourage Vietnamese coffee products to join
the ranks of value-added goods.

The conference’s domestic and
international delegates exchanged views on local and global coffee
markets, discussed ways to renovate coffee industry, and shed light on
the policies required to ensure sustainable development of the coffee
sector.

Vietnam has grown into the world’s second largest coffee
exporter over the past two decades. From a coffee planting area of
21,200 ha in 1961, Vietnam has expanded the area to its current 614,500
ha, with an average output of 2.32 tonnes/ha.

Recent years have
seen an average annual 1.7 million tonnes of coffee with export earnings
of U$3.74 billion. This revenue has helped make the coffee industry an
important contributor to the wider agricultural sector’s export
turnover.

Many delegates voiced concerns regarding the quality of
Vietnamese coffee products, suggesting the local coffee industry should
proactively adapt to the repercussions of climate change and improve
collaboration with other sectors to secure steady long-term growth.

Vietnamese timber products win overseas favour

Australia’s
Midway Tasmania Wood Imports Director Wayne Smith believes Vietnamese
timber products boast better quality for lower prices than comparable
products.

Smith made the remarks upon visiting the Vietnamese pavilion at the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2013 on March 9.

He
said his company has imported Vietnamese wood products for ten years.
Brothers Furniture Co. Ltd supplies him with 7–8 containers annually.

Pham
Van Sau, Director of the Binh Duong-based Brothers Furniture Co. Ltd,
said Midway Tasmania is among his firm’s ten regular customers—mostly
comprising timber importers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK,
EU, and Africa.

Sau said he will depart the international fair in
Singapore having received numerous orders worth millions of US dollars.
“All my company’s exhibited items were already purchased by this year’s
opening ceremony,” he said.

French Luke Import Company Executive
Director Kwanruen Ah Tun also values Vietnamese handicraft products.
Her firm has been an import customer for nearly two decades. Luke Import
will buy about 10 containers of handicraft products in 2013. “Our
import volume is likely to increase. The products exhibited by Vietnam’s
Grass Co. at this year’s trade fair were especially exciting,” she
said.

The ongoing fair in Singapore coincides with the 30th ASEAN
Furniture Show (IFFS/AFS), attracting 466 exhibitors from 26 countries,
including 27 from Vietnam.

Vietnam is currently Southeast Asia’s largest timber exporter, the second biggest in Asia, amongst the world’s top 10.

Last year the country earned US$4.5 billion from wood exports, a 19 percent increase on 2011.
Vietnam
ships its timber products to around 120 countries. The major US, EU,
Japanese, and Chinese markets constituted more than 70 percent of the
country’s 2012 timber export value.

ASEAN, EU boost economic integration

ASEAN
Economic Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner have made important
proposals for fostering trade and investment cooperation between the two
regions.

The third ASEAN-EU Business Summit (AEBS) concluded
successfully in Hanoi on March 9. The summit delivered with practical
proposals for the agricultural economy, automobile industry, financial
services, information technology, infrastructure/connectivity, and
pharmaceuticals.

In his closing speech, Deputy Minister of
Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said the summit created opportunities
for broader economic, trade, and investment cooperation between ASEAN
and the EU.

Hoang asked ASEAN and EU countries to honour their
commitments and follow through on the proposals adopted at the summit in
the interests of mutual development for a prosperous ASEAN and EU.

The
results of the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, the 12th AEM-EU
Consultations and the third ASEAN-EU Business Summit were announced at a
press conference in Hanoi on the same day.

ASEAN Secretary
General Le Luong Minh noted that the average 7 percent growth in two-way
trade reflected both sides’ unwavering commitment to facilitating trade
and investment. The consultations between ASEAN Economic Ministers and
the EU also recognised recent progresses in implementing bilateral and
multilateral trade agreements.

Minh said the consultations also
discussed the possible resumption of bilateral free trade agreement
negotiations between ASEAN and the EU.

During the ASEAN-EU
Business Summit, views were exchanged on promoting trade and encouraging
investment in a manner encompassing the feedback received from
enterprises.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht underscored the
success of the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, saying it will lead
to a more favourable business and investment environment for EU-ASEAN
cooperation.

He affirmed ASEAN-EU FTA negotiations will be accelerated, emphasising the EU’s interest in ASEAN’s actively developing market.

The inter-regional trade deficit is currently narrowing thanks to a number of ASEAN member nations’ huge demand for EU products.

He
said he believed that the EU will soon become ASEAN’s largest economic
partner, and that the formation of the ASEAN Community by 2015 will
resonate with significance for the EU.

Brazil inspects Vietnam’s seafood safety conditions

A
delegation of Brazilian inspectors is in Vietnam from March 5-15 to
assess the country’s seafood safety control system, according to the
Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The
inspectors work for Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and
Food Supply (MAPA) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

During
the delegation’s stay in Vietnam, the inspectors will make fact-finding
tours of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance
Department’s regional quality management centres, seafood processing
factories, and shrimp and fish farms.

Hai Vuong Ltd Company,
Khanh Hoa Canned Food, Hung Vuong JSC, Mekong Delta Food Factory,
Southern Fishery Industries Ltd Company and Nam Viet JSC will be
inspected.

The Brazilian delegation will also study the risks facing a number of Vietnamese aquatic products.

The inspectors will announce their preliminary findings in Ho Chi Minh City at the end of their trip.

A Brazilian delegation representative said MAPA will send an official report detailing the results of the trip in two months.

Vietnam’s seafood exports to Brazil, one of the country’s promising seafood importers, exceeded US$79 million last year.

Exhibition honours Vietnamese coffee trademarks

More
than 700 booths representing 221 domestic and foreign businesses are on
display at a Dak Lak province exhibition dedicated to coffee.

The event, running from March 9–13, is one of the 13 key activities comprising the 4th Buon Me Thuot Coffee Festival.

The booths showcase coffee and its associated by-products, coffee processing equipment, and new technologies.

As
many as 650 stands from Vietnamese enterprises including Trung Nguyen
Coffee Joint Stock Company, Vinacafe Corporation, and An Thai Coffee are
promoting their famous product ranges such as Weasel, Legendee,
Creative, and Passiona.

Dak Lak is consolidating its coffee trademarks’ presence on domestic and foreign markets.

The
exhibition and the festival in general is a golden opportunity for
domestic coffee enterprises to negotiate partnerships, market their
trademarks, and introduce Buon Me Thuot’s coffee industry to the world.

Da Nang lures international investors

The
central city of Da Nang is set to host the Conference on Investment
Promotion for the Central Coastal Region from March 21-23.

The
event will attract around 300 participants from provinces, ministries
and international organisations, according to the city’s People’s
Committee.

The two-day conference at the Crowne Plaza Da Nang
will be a chance for businesses, international and domestic investors
and the leaders of nine provinces and cities in the region to seek
investment opportunities.

It will also provide an opportunity to review existing investment projects to ensure future effectiveness.

According
to the organising committee, the conference will draw representatives
from the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and various
Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam (including American, European and
Australian).

Business associations from Germany, Singapore,
Chinese Taipei and S.Korea, and the United Nation Industrial Development
Organisation (UNIDO) and UN-Habitat will also be on hand.

The
region, containing Thua Thien– Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh
Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan, has attracted 943
projects, including 775 FDI ones, with a total capital of over US$1.3
billion.

PM opens ASEAN-EU Business Summit

Prime
Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has delivered an important speech to the third
ASEAN-EU Business Summit (ASEAN-EU 2013), opened in Hanoi on March 9.

The
summit is part of the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat and the
12th ASEAN Economic Ministers and EU Trade Commissioner (AEM-EU)
Consultations.

The summit’s participants also included EU Trade
Commissioner Karel de Gucht, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy
Hoang, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, and 600 representatives
from leading ASEAN and EU businesses.

In his speech, PM Dung
described the summit as a good opportunity for the ASEAN and EU business
communities to foster cooperation and connectivity and pass on their
recommendations to ASEAN and EU management agencies.

The event is
especially signifcant as ASEAN nears fulfilling the goal of building
its community by 2015 while economic relations between ASEAN and the EU
continue to develop.

The establishment of the ASEAN community,
the regional body’s foremost priority, depends on the crucial pillar of
the economic community. It will engender favourable conditions for
investment capital circulation and trade exchange, creating business
operation expansion opportunities and greatly benefiting the more than
600 million ASEAN people.

In conjunction with building the
economic community, ASEAN is sparing no effort to deepen its integration
with regional and global partners. Enhancing cooperation with the EU in
the name of sustainable development and prosperity is a major focus.

The
trade and commercial cooperation between the two blocs has grown
steadily in spite of global economic doldrums. The EU is ASEAN’s second
biggest trade partner and the source of its biggest foreign investment
inflow. ASEAN is the EU’s third biggest trade partner.

The EU has
also provided most of the technical support ASEAN received for its
common development target and its experience has proven very valuable
during ASEAN’s community-building process.

Dung said that as the
coordinator of ASEAN-EU economic cooperation, Vietnam always supports
propelling ASEAN-EU trade and investment to new heights. The EU and a
number of ASEAN member states including Vietnam are accelerating
bilateral free trade area (FTA) agreement negotiations that will serve
as firm foundations for future comprehensive ASEAN-EU cooperation.

Vietnam
welcomes and wants to encourage the business community’s involvement in
ASEAN’s and the EU’s combined efforts to strengthen the relationship
between the two blocs.

The business community’s activities and investment will significantly contribute to successful ASEAN-EU cooperation, Dung said.

Sharing
his views with PM Dung on the results of ASEAN-EU cooperation over the
years, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht affirmed the two blocs’
importance to each other.

Karel de Gucht said the governments of
both regions need to work together on reducing trade barriers and
facilitating business investment.  It is essential to reach internal
unanimity on negotiations between the EU and ASEAN.

The two blocs should coordinate with and support each other using Singapore’s model as inspiration.

Governments
need to counsel businesses to ensure growth, fuel innovation, and apply
technological advances, the EU Trade Commissioner noted.

The 3rd
ASEAN-EU Business Summit is a high profile economic forum for foreign
and domestic policymakers and international business leaders to discuss
potential improvements in areas including the agricultural economy,
automobile industry, financial services, information technology,
infrastructure/connectivity, and pharmaceuticals.

Vietnamese footwear enjoys preferential European tax

The
Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s European Market
Department reports the European Commission (EC) has decided to extend
Vietnam’s eligibility under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

The
EC’s Decision No.1213/2012 removed eight countries’ exports from the
list of GSP beneficiaries. Accordingly, Vietnamese products, primarily
footwear were not affected.

The newly-adjusted tariff scheme,
which supplements the previous EC Decision No.978/2012, will come into
force from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016.

ASEAN officials agree on common goal

ASEAN
economic ministers signed two amended protocols and adopted a number of
important initiatives at their 19th annual retreat in Hanoi on March 8,
towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by
2015.

The protocols are to amend ASEAN Economic Agreements Related to Trade in Goods and the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement.

During
the two-hour event, participants specified orientations for economic
cooperation in 2013 to realise the goal of building the AEC by 2015, and
discussed initiatives on improving ASEAN competitiveness and
connectivity with partners by building a business network and mechanisms
to facilitate small-and medium-sized enterprises.

They also
considered the roadmap for negotiating the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Protocol (RCEP), which manifests ASEAN’s central and leading
role in establishing a regional economic structure.

Deputy
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said the RCEP negotiations
are expected to start this year and conclude before 2016, creating the
world’s largest free trade area that encompasses 50 percent of global
population and 30 percent of global gross domestic product.

Nguyen
Thi Hoang Thuy, Deputy Head of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department
under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said ASEAN needs to
streamline trade, services, investment and transport to realise the AEC
Blueprint.

Regarding customs procedures, ASEAN member nations
devised a joint customs strategy for the 2011-2015 period and are
striving to implement a one-door mechanism, making it easier for
regional countries to transmit information via an electronic network.

The
association has implemented self-certification for the origin of
products on a pilot basis, including electricity, electronics,
pharmaceuticals, farm produce and automobiles, gradually building a
coordinated mechanism among the bloc in this field.

ASEAN nations
worked out a joint management mechanism on cosmetics, electricity and
electronics, and are building a similar system for medical equipment,
traditional medicine and nutrition supplements.

An action plan for the 2011–2015 period was also drawn.

Aung
Naing Oo, who is leading the Myanmar delegation, said due to great
differences in economic development between the group of Cambodia, Laos,
Myanmar and Vietnam and the rest of ASEAN, the region must work
together to bridge the development gap, which is a challenge in the
establishment of the AEC by 2015.

A meeting on ASEAN-EU
investment and trade opportunities was organised by the Vietnam Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on the same day as part of the third
ASEAN-EU Business Summit.

Addressing the event, VCCI Chairman Vu
Tien Loc said ASEAN is a dynamic economic region with average annual
growth of 5.5 percent. It has rising purchasing power and a higher role
in the international arena, he added.

The two regions have agreed
to boost economic links for sustainable growth. The businesses are
ready to thrive in fields of their strength and high demand like
footwear, agro-fishery, human resource development, clean energy and
infrastructure, Loc said.

A Myanmar representative introduced to
international investors promising fields like transport infrastructure,
sea ports, roads and trans-national transport, especially in the Greater
Mekong Sub-region.

Participants also pointed out shortcomings in
ASEAN, like the economic development gap among member nations,
differences in environment, and laws on investment and trade, especially
taxation, customs, economic and technology potential, and human
resource quality.

They suggested governments promptly negotiate a
suitable cooperation mechanism and establish a free trade area between
the two regions.

Cambodia to expand banking system along Vietnamese border

The
Cambodian Government has approved plans to expand the banking system
along its shared border with Vietnam to support trade activities between
the two countries.

The decision was announced on March 7.

Cambodian
Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed with the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s
proposal to establish state-owned and private bank branches along the
border with Vietnam, aiming to improve the conditions for trans-border
business.

The banking system expansion will contribute to solving
payment problems plaguing commercial transactions exchanged by
Vietnamese and Cambodian traders and people.

The
Vietnamese-Cambodian border is over 1,000 km long and features 10
international gates, 12 main gates, 25 sub-gates, and 9 gate economic
zones.

Trans-border export and import turnover in the 10
Vietnamese and Cambodian border provinces increases by an annual average
of 30 percent per year on average. The majority of business comes from
export quotas.

Vietnam’s primary Cambodian exports include
fertiliser, mechanical equipment, seafood, and agricultural produce,
while it mainly imports timber products, corn, rice, cassava, cashew
nuts, and rubber latex.

Last year’s trade turnover between
Vietnam and Cambodia totaled US$3.3 billion–up 17 percent on 2011. The
two countries are striving to push the figure to US$5 billion by 2015.

EU optimistic about business prospect in Vietnam

Results
of the 10th quarterly EuroCham Business Climate Index survey released
on March 7 showed that business confidence and outlook among European
businesses in Vietnam is improving slightly.

This quarter the
level has risen from the recent record low of 45 to 48 points. However,
the Index remains below the half-line and EuroCham members that
participated in the survey continued to express general concern about
their current business situation and outlook as well as the impact of
increased taxes, fines and official scrutiny.

The EuroCham
Business Climate Index increased by 3 points to 48. Slightly less than
half of the businesses that participated in the survey are active in the
services industry, a quarter in manufacturing and the rest in trading
or other activities.

Compared to the last survey, there was a
relatively large in- crease in respondents assessing their current
business situation as positive from 26 percent to 40 percent.

With
respondents holding a neutral view remaining fairly stable at 36
percent, there are still a quarter of respondents holding a negative
view of their current business situation.

The business outlook
for respondents has also improved slightly: those reporting a neutral
view remained stable at 42 percent, with slight improvement in those
with a positive view to 30 percent, balanced by a slight decline in
negative view to 28 percent.  

Reported investment plans however
seem to be stabilizing. There are less companies intending to
significantly increase investment, which is down from 11 to 7 percent of
the sample; but also less companies reporting the intention to cut
investment, which has reduced from 27 to 24 percent.

With the
majority of companies i.e 73 percent either expecting to keep their
investment at similar levels to 2012, or to increase investment
slightly.

Overall some 78 percent of respondents report they are
maintaining or increasing their in- vestment, indicating a continued
faith in Vietnam’s medium term future.  

Whilst the share of
companies expecting revenue to increase remained relatively constant at
45 percent, those expecting a drop in orders fell from 32 to 23 percent,
which is a significant improvement.

Concerns about inflation
are declining slightly, though still 45 percent of companies expect
inflation to have a significant impact on their business in the
medium-term. Members were also asked to indicate what they think the
rate of inflation will be and the average came to 5.12 percent.

This
continues to decline and is now very significantly below respondents
perceptions a year ago, where the average inflation rate was predicted
at 7.83 percent.    

Respondents appreciation of the
macroeconomic situation is also improving. Whereas last quarter a
massive 72 percent expected a further deterioration in conditions, this
has now fallen back to 57 percent, though this is still a majority of
respondents expecting a further deterioration, and only 43 percent
expecting stabilization and improvement.

EuroCham Chairman Preben
Hjortlund commented on the survey: “This is welcome news and reflects a
perceived stabilization in the macroeconomic situation. However we must
remember that the index is still the wrong side of 50 and is well down
on the 79 level achieved only 2 years ago. We need now to see continued
efforts by the Government to improve the underlying structural problems
of the economy“.  

Malaysia, Vietnam coordinate in trade protection

Vietnam
and Malaysia will build an information exchange and cooperation
institution to investigate trade protection cases to support and protect
the rights of the two countries’ businesses.

Vietnamese
Minister of Trade and Industry Vu Huy Hoang and Malaysian Minister of
International Trade and Industry Dato’Sri Mustapa Mohamed reached the
agreement at the Vietnam-Malaysia Joint Trade Committee meeting, the
second on the sidelines of the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in
Hanoi on March 7.

The two sides emphasized the importance of
trade policies and discussed cooperation in promoting investment, trade,
industry and agriculture, as well as publicising business regulations,
especially in the context that the two economies will contribute to
building an ASEAN economic community by 2015.

Hoang stressed
that the bilateral relations have continued to grow since the first
meeting of the Vietnam-Malaysia Joint Trade Committee in September,
2011.

Bilateral political relations were marked by high-ranking
visits, including President Truong Tan Sang’s trip to Malaysia in
September 2011, and the meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
and his Malaysian counterpart at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia last
November.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Malaysia
diplomatic ties, the two countries have signed a total of 13 agreements
in trade, investment, science and technology, and telecommunications.

Accordingly, bilateral trade turnover from 2009 to 2012 grew by 24 percent each year, up to US$7.9 billion in 2012.

In
2012, Malaysia ranked 8th among 92 countries and territories and 2nd
among the Southeast Asian nations– 428 projects worth US$10.1 billion in
Vietnam.

Last year, Vietnam exports to Malaysia were estimated
at US$4.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 56 percent, and its
imports from the country at US$3.4 billion.

SEOM discusses economic cooperation initiatives

ASEAN senior economic officials have discussed a wide range of pressing issues and economic cooperation initiatives for 2013.

The
ASEAN Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM), attracting delegations from 10
ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretariat, was held in Hanoi on
March 7 as a prelude to the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Retreat.

The AEM Retreat runs in Hanoi until March 9 and is the major event of the year for discussion of economic aspects within ASEAN.

The
focus of the SEOM was on the implementation of the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) Blueprint for 2015 and the finalization of reports for
submission to ASEAN Economic Ministers.

Documents expected to be signed by ASEAN economic ministers were also scrutinized at the meeting.

ASEAN,
one of Vietnam’s most important trading and investment partners, is the
nation’s third largest export market and the second largest supplier of
goods for domestic businesses.

Vietnam’s trade turnover to ASEAN member countries reached more than US$38 billion in 2012.

The
19th ASEAN Economic Minsters’ Retreat gives participants the chance to
discuss essential initiatives to boost regional economic cooperation and
set goals for ASEAN economic integration towards the establishment of
the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

Within the framework
of the 19th AEM Retreat, the 12th Consultative Meeting between ASEAN
Economic Ministers and EU Trade Commissioners will also be held on March
9 to discuss the programs and initiatives to promote economic
cooperation and trade and investment relations between the two regions.

Vietnam is currently the coordinating country for ASEAN-EU economic cooperation.

Dong Nai, Japan cooperate in support industries

Representatives
from the Dong Nai provincial People’s Committee and Japan’s Kansai
Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (KBETI) met on March 6 to discuss
cooperation plans.

They agreed to create favourable conditions
for support businesses from the Kansai region to invest in the southern
province of Dong Nai.

They were committed to setting up  a
consultation board to help promote environmental protection and human
resource training, especially in the industrial sector to foster links
between Japanese businesses and training centres in Dong Nai.

KBETI Head Toshihiro Kobayashi said more than half of Kansai investors set sight on  Asian countries.

Dinh
Quoc Thai, Chairman of the Dong Nai provincial People’s Committee, 
said the province has so far attracted investors from 35 countries and
territories with a total registered capitalization of over US$23
billion.

Japan is Dong Nai’s third largest investor with over 130
businesses operating with their total investment valued at nearly US$3
billion.

US$112 million ADB loan for agricultural development

The
State Bank of Vietnam (SVB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed
two credit loan agreements worth nearly US$112 million in Hanoi on
March 7.

The first, from the Asian Development Fund to the value
of US$74 million, aims to sponsor a low-carbon farming project to
encourage sustainable, effective and environmentally friendly
agricultural production that limits carbon emissions by developing waste
management facilities.

The project will also provide credit for a
value-adding chain producing bio-gas as well as facilitate the
implementation of cutting edge technologies.

SVB said agriculture
is the largest generator of green-house gas in Vietnam, accounting for
50 percent of the country’s total volume of green-house gas emission .

However,
breeding livestock, for instance, actively contributes to poverty
reduction and bring economic prosperity in rural areas and more and more
farmers and small to medium businesses have been involved in the
industry.

Once completed, the project will help reduce pollution
from agricultural waste and create a cleaner environment in at least 10
provinces, namely Lao Cai, Son La, Phu Tho, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Ha
Tinh, Dinnh, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Soc Trang.

The second loan
worth US$37.88 million aims to strengthen the Vietnamese government’s
capacity to prepare and implement ADB assisted projects effectively.

Draft regulation threatens expulsion and fines for foreign seafood traders

Individuals
and organisations working with foreign traders to buy domestic aqua
products could be strictly fined, according to a draft regulation.

The government has just announced a draft decree on administrative punishments in the seafood industry.

As
a result, a fine of up to VND100 million (USD4,782) could be applied to
firms while individuals could be fined VND50 million (USD2,391).

Seafood
companies have welcomed the regulation, saying that it’s a proactive
and efficient solution to foreigners being able to outbid local firms on
domestic seafood.

Tran Van Linh, General Director of Thuan Phuoc
Trading and Seafood Joint Stock Company in Danang City said the
regulation would be an effective measure to prevent purchases by foreign
traders as well as deal with domestic seafood material shortages.

Foreign
traders have been buying Vietnamese seafood products in the central
coastal region. They buy different type of seafood materials at prices
much higher than the rates offered by Vietnamese seafood companies.

This
has left local traders bemoaning the serious shortage of input
materials. Many local seafood firms have to import between 60% and 70%
of materials for their production.

Nguyen Ngoc Duc, Director of
De Khang Phu Thanh Seafood Processing Company said many traders from
Australia, South Korea and Taiwan are also buying Vietnamese seafood.

“At
ports of Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh Province and Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan
Province, foreign traders buy tonnes of tuna before local seafood firms.
This is because local fishermen prefer selling their products to
foreign traders to get higher returns. Domestic seafood companies can’t
afford higher buying prices,” Duc commented.

He hoped that such high fines would be a good deterrent to illegal seafood purchases in the near future.

Tran
Thien Hai, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Shrimp Export and
Processing (VASEP) said the regulation would ensure long-term benefits
for fishermen as it could protect them from foreign traders being easily
able to outbid local buyers.

Many seafood companies are worried
that there is little evidence to find of collusion between Vietnamese
firms and individuals with foreign traders in buying domestic seafood
materials.

Tran Van Linh, General Director of Thuan Phuoc Trading
and Seafood Joint Stock Company said many foreign traders come to port
to select seafood for their purchases. Vietnamese mediators are
responsible for direct purchases.

“It’s really difficult to prove
there is a relationship between foreign traders and Vietnamese
mediators. If we find any foreign traders buying local seafood materials
who refuse to pay a fine we have no other choice but expel them from
our country,” Linh commented.

Agreeing with Linh’s assessment, Le
Dung, Vice Chairman of Ca Mau People’s Committee said cooperation
between Vietnamese mediators and foreign traders was hard to prove.

To
ensure efficient implementation of the regulation, it requires tight
coordination among relevant agencies so as to detect and prevent
possible wrongdoings.

Duong Tien The, Deputy Director of the
Directorate of Fisheries’ Aquaculture Department said as this was still a
draft decree, the agency is collecting opinions on the issue. It will
issue more documents to guide the implementation after the regulation is
approved.

“Despite it being difficult, it should be possible to find evidence through conducting inspections,” The added.

Price adjustments feared to fuel inflation: survey

Credit
institutions described adjustments in prices of the items subject to
State management as the greatest risk to inflation control in 2013, the
Monetary Statistics and Forecast Department of the central bank said.

As
per a report on the latest survey of credit institutions done by the
department, price adjustments are believed to have the biggest impact on
inflation this year. The other factors are changes in monetary and
fiscal policies.

Efforts to curb inflation in 2013 heavily depend
on price stabilization of the items on the State control list, said the
surveyed credit institutions.

Inflation control is believed to
be a tough challenge, especially when the Government’s Resolution 01
aims for CPI rise of 6-6.5%, lower than the 6.81% in 2012, and GDP
growth of 5.5%, versus 5.03% last year.

Nearly 90% of the
respondents believed inflation would be kept at a single-digit level
this year. About 70% of them expected a rate of 5-10%.

Therefore,
they hoped both deposit and lending rates would go down further. Nearly
70% expected deposit and lending rates for Vietnamese dong to fall at
most two percentage points.

Credit institutions thought the
inter-bank exchange rate would stay stable or just inch up. Most banks
forecast the rate would go up 1-3%.

Only 17% of the respondents
said the business environment would be favorable to their operations in
the first half of 2013. However, they hoped the situation would improve
in comparison with 2012.

Some 60% of credit institutions
complained they were adversely affected by the business environment in
the second half of 2012, while only 20% said so in the first half of the
year.

The majority of the respondents hoped their pre-tax
profits this year would be higher than in 2012, with most expecting a
20% growth in profit, says a report on the Government web portal
chinhphu.vn.

Credit institutions are affected the most by
business and financial conditions of their clients. Around 85% predicted
risk from clients would not lessen in the first half of 2013.

Most banks hoped credit growth would be better than in 2012. The majority of them eyed growth of 10-20%.

Deposit
growth was expected to be consistent with credit growth. The survey
respondents forecast deposits in Vietnamese dong would be higher than
those in foreign currencies.

In addition, credit institutions
said they would prioritize funds for the key sectors such as
agriculture, export, supporting industries and small and medium-sized
enterprises. They would limit credits for real estate and stocks.

Credit
institutions remained cautious about the economic situation and their
performance in 2013, but they still hoped for improvement.

The
survey respondents hoped the central bank would slash interest rates to
reasonable levels, strictly handle the credit institutions breaching the
interest rate caps and create a healthy environment for monetary
operations.

Since the fourth quarter of 2011, the central bank
has inspected credit institutions every six months to detect changes in
the business cycle earlier than the official statistics, serving the
making of the monetary policy and the management of the central bank.

Findings
from the survey on factors triggering high inflation are largely
similar to remarks by the National Financial Supervisory Commission in a
report released in Hanoi on Monday.

As covered by the Daily on
Tuesday, price management policies are the key factor for curbing
inflation this year while impacts of other macro elements would not be
significant.

The commission therefore called for relevant
authorities to attend to measures to ensure stable prices of essential
commodities, especially those on the State control list like power,
fuels, and public services.

Businesses honoured for social responsibility

Fifty
businesses have been honoured for boosting community development by
shouldering outstanding shares of social responsibility.

Fifty
businesses have been honoured for boosting community development by
shouldering outstanding shares of social responsibility.

Speaking
at the award ceremony in Hanoi on March 10, Deputy Minister of Planning
and Investment Nguyen Van Chung praised businesses’ role in encouraging
a sense of community and promoting national patriotic movements.

He urged other enterprises to follow their example, fulfilling social responsibilities and contributing to national development.

A
representative from Dung Quat Oil Refinery Plant—one of the
awardees—pledged to improve living conditions and workplaces for
employees and protect the plant’s surrounding environment.

Workers
are also encouraged to accept social responsibility to earn consumer
trust and increase the company’s competitiveness, bolstering its
sustainable development in the current global integration process, he
said.

Businesses involving themselves in the Ministry of Planning
and Investment’s social responsibility programme must meet the
organiser’s strict criteria. These include long-term development
strategies, social welfare schemes, and resources for development.

Of
the programme’s thousands of participating businesses, 122 have been
recognised for meeting responsibilities like tax obligations, customs
clearance, environmental protection, worker’s insurance payments, and
quality control to the level of international standards.

2013 Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival opens

As
scheduled, tonight (Mar 9) Dak Lak province is holding the opening
ceremony to mark 5 th Festival of Buon Ma Thuot Coffee with 500 domestic
and international participants.

200 artists form the Central
Theatre, the art unit Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Lam Dong, Dak Nong, Gia
Lai, along with Canadian traditional music and dance artists will be
performing in the opening ceremony with the theme “Plateau colorful
identity”.

The 2013 Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival, will be
attended with the representatives of the ministries of Foreign Affairs,
Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development, Culture, Sports
and Tourism, Information and Communications.

Other prime
participants include the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association, Trung
Nguyen Coffee Joint Stock Company, Vinacafe Corporation and the
provincial people’s committees of Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong
and Lam Dong

Becoming a biennial program since 2011, the Buon Ma
Thuot Coffee Festival is a national-level event to regularly promote
Vietnamese coffee to the world. Over the last two decades, Vietnam has
grown from a minor player in the global coffee industry.

Because
of its climate, Vietnam is better suited to growing harsher, stronger
robusta coffee that is often processed into instant coffee drinks used
worldwide. Vietnam is the world’s biggest robusta exporter.

Vietnam’s
booming coffee industry is building its global brand by organizing
coffee festivals and conducting a nationwide search for the nation’s
first-ever coffee “ambassador”.

She’ll be at the forefront of a
campaign to promote the image of Vietnamese coffee both within the
country and to the global market.

The winner of this ladies-only
contest will be announced on March 10 at the country’s 2013 Buon Ma
Thuot Coffee Festival from March 9 to 12 in Central Highlands’ Dak Lak
province, Vietnam’s coffee growing hub.

The goal is to select best 25 candidates, from whom one will be pointed as Vietnam’s coffee ambassador.

European firms show optimism in Vietnam’s economy

The
quarterly survey of business indicator of European enterprises in
Vietnam, conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce last month,
showed that confidence and optimism among European companies for Vietnam
has gradually improved.

The business climate index for Vietnam rose from 45 points to 48 points this quarter.

Half
the companies participating in the survey were from the service sector,
a quarter from the manufacturing sector, and the rest from trade and
other sectors.

The number of firms giving an overall positive
comment on the current business situation rose to 40 percent from 26
percent in the last quarter. Investment projects maintained growth with
78 percent companies giving feedback that they have been maintaining
operations as before or even expanding investments.

Preben
Hjortlund, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce, said the
figures indicated better economic stability. However, the index remained
below midpoint index of 50, while it was 79 points two years back.

Vietnam imports fewer commodities in February

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, import of some commodities in February showed a decline.

Import
of petroleum and oil declined by 22 percent in volume and 24 percent in
value, over the same period last year, while import of liquid petroleum
gas dropped by 32 in volume and 30 percent in value.

Among
indispensable commodities, import of items for processing and exports by
FDI companies continued to post robust growth. For instance, telephones
and spare parts, except cell phones, soared 81.5 percent; wire and
cable surged 30 percent; computers, electronic products, and components
rose 36.6 percent.

Last month, import turnover of controlled
goods was estimated at US$222 million, down 33.6 percent compared to the
previous month, and 43.9 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, import
of limited goods touched $400 million, a decrease of 35.7 percent over
last month and 3.8 percent year-on-year. Import of automobiles with less
than 9 seats and motorbikes fell by 37.8 percent and 33.2 percent,
respectively.

Dak Lak discusses local coffee industry’s prospects

The
Central Highland province of Dak Lak hosted a March 10 conference as
part of its ongoing four-day coffee festival to discuss the local coffee
industry’s prospects.

The event, co-organised by the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Dak Lak provincial
People’s Committee, aims to encourage Vietnamese coffee products to join
the ranks of value-added goods.

The conference’s domestic and
international delegates exchanged views on local and global coffee
markets, discussed ways to renovate coffee industry, and shed light on
the policies required to ensure sustainable development of the coffee
sector.

Vietnam has grown into the world’s second largest coffee
exporter over the past two decades. From a coffee planting area of
21,200 ha in 1961, Vietnam has expanded the area to its current 614,500
ha, with an average output of 2.32 tonnes/ha.

Recent years have
seen an average annual 1.7 million tonnes of coffee with export earnings
of U$3.74 billion. This revenue has helped make the coffee industry an
important contributor to the wider agricultural sector’s export
turnover.

Many delegates voiced concerns regarding the quality of
Vietnamese coffee products, suggesting the local coffee industry should
proactively adapt to the repercussions of climate change and improve
collaboration with other sectors to secure steady long-term growth.

No more licenses for construction steel projects

The
Ministry of Industry and Trade might not issue investment licenses to
new construction steel projects as local steel demand has been way below
the country’s supply.

According to the Vietnam Steel Association
(VSA), the local construction steel industry turns out about 11 million
tons annually while the country only consumes 5.5 million tons a year.

Speaking
at a meeting on Monday, Nguyen Manh Quan, director of the Heavy
Industry Department under the industry ministry, said that the ministry
this year only calls for investment into steel billet production. The
ministry will consider not granting investment certificates to rolled
steel projects given the local supply far exceeding the demand, he said.

Pham
Chi Cuong, chairman of VSA, noticed despite the fact that many local
steel plants only operated at 60% of capacity, one more construction
steel plant with an annual capacity of one million tons will be active
this year. Furthermore, Formosa steel plant in Ha Tinh Province will
come on stream with a capacity of one million tons a year in 2015, he
added.

The industry ministry on January 31 approved a development zoning plan for the steel production and distribution system.

Under
the plan, the nation by 2020 will remove small-scale cast iron and
steel billet plants and rolled steel production lines, exclusive of cast
iron furnaces for the mechanical industry and stainless rolled steel
and high-quality steel production lines.

The nation from 2013
will not license new projects having backward technology, causing
environmental pollution and wasting energy.

“The zoning plan of
the steel industry is in the right direction, but problems rest with the
issuance of investment licenses and the project’s supervision,
resulting in many steel plants failing to run in full swing,” Cuong
stressed.

Source: VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VIR

By vivian