Home » Vietnam Business News March 22/2024

Vietnam Business News March 22/2024

Conference mobilises resources for nature-based agricultural development

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan on March 21 called on international partners to support the Vietnamese Government in carrying out nature-based agricultural models and projects in the Mekong Delta which has been hard hit by climate change.

Attending a conference on mobilising resources for nature-based agriculture held in Ca Mau province, the minister laid stress on the significance of nature-based solutions to improving farmers’ livelihoods and promoting the agricultural sector’s recovery, adding the approach helps mitigate and respond to climate change through the process of carbon absorption of land, wetland and forest, preserve nature and biodiversity, and maintain the future for food system.

Against this backdrop, agricultural producers should stand ready to shift to production measures that can restore nature while developing an effective and sustainable food system, he said.

Director of WWF-Vietnam Van Ngoc Thinh said that the WWF and its partners have implemented several nature-based solutions in the Mekong Delta region such as rice-fish, rice-shrimp, rice-lotus and shrimp-mangrove forest farming, which have shown economic efficiency while contributing to preserving biodiversity.

The WWF is willing to share the models with a view to developing agriculture sustainably and ensuring people’s health, he added.

At the event, international partners like the EU, the US, Australia, FAO, UNDP, WWF, international financial funds, and domestic and foreign enterprises committed resources to roll out nature-based measures in the region.

They recommended economic, technical and financial solutions, and related mechanisms and policies to promote nature-based agriculture in Vietnam and bolster international cooperation in the field.

The Mekong Delta contributes more than 90% of the country’s rice exports, and plays an important role in ensuring the global food security as Vietnam is now the world’s third largest rice exporter. The region is also rich in biodiversity with an array of ecosystems, from oceans, rivers and streams to mangrove forest islets and wetlands.

However, it is facing various challenges, including drought, saline intrusion and climate change which have affected local production and livelihoods. The region could be submerged by the end of the century if urgent actions are not taken across the river basin.

Scientists also said that 90% of the region’s land will be flooded if sustainable measures are not put into place./.

Forum promotes ESG practices in Vietnam

Businesspeople, experts and managers exchanged views on sustainable development and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) practices in enterprises at a forum on March 21.

With the theme of “Gaining a competitive edge – sustaining the future through the 2024 Vietnam ESG Initiative,” the forum was organised by the Agency for Enterprise Development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in coordination with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Vietnam Improving Private Sector Competitiveness Project (IPSC).

The participants also discussed what businesses should do to meet new requirements, and corporate administration strategies in the new context, among other issues.

Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, Director of the Office of the Private Economic Development Research Board (IV Board), said amidst global economic integration, Vietnamese businesses are facing many challenges in meeting stringent requirements for green, sustainable development set by investors, partners, and international markets and consumers, noting ESG practices would help them not be left behind on the path towards green growth.

Some participants said green, sustainable transition requires huge investments, thus long-term investment visions in cutting-edge and energy-saving machines should be set out.

They also suggested the establishment of ESG committees at listed companies with their own personnel.

The forum provided a panorama picture of sustainable transformation requirements at home and abroad, as well as their impacts on Vietnamese firms, and updates on the Vietnam ESG 2024 Initiative

The 2024 Vietnam ESG initiative, co-launched by USAID and the MPI, encourages businesses to align sustainable development strategies with their business goals to seize new opportunities in the context of green transition, and improve their competitiveness when joining the globally supply chain.

Enterprises, cooperatives and business households that are committed to taking actions to deploy and apply ESG practices, transform or expand a sustainable business environment are encouraged to register for the initiative before 5:00 p.m. on March 31, 2024.

They should visit https://esg.business.gov.vn/esg-vietnam or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usaid.ipsc. to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Participating businesses will receive support to approach domestic and foreign partners that will help them with sustainable business ecosystems, improve their reputation, and attract clients, partners and relevant sides.

Notably, three selected enterprises will receive technical support valued at up to 2 billion VND (81,000 USD) to pilot, implement, or roll out ESG initiatives towards green transition./.

Vietnam, Australia share experiences in climate-smart agriculture

The Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) and Australia’s Beanstalk Agtech company on March 21 signed a two-year memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation in smart agriculture in response to climate change.

The signing was one among a series of activities of the VietShrimp Aquaculture International Fair 2024, themed “In company with shrimp farmers”, which is taking place in the southernmost province of Ca Mau from March 20-22.

Cherie Russell, Acting Deputy Ambassador of Australia to Vietnam, said that Beanstalk Agtech is in charge of implementing the ‘Australia Vietnam Partnership for Climate-Smart Agriculture’, a programme focusing on curating bilateral collaboration opportunities to advance climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in Vietnam.

This agreement will promote joint economic growth as well as the exchange of information and experience in the field of smart agriculture between the two countries, she said, adding that it is also a basis for the two sides to cooperate in promoting, distributing and marketing products and services in both Australia and Vietnam.

Beanstalk Agtech is leading a delegation of 12 Australian agricultural technology businesses to the Mekong Delta region to seek cooperation opportunities to apply climate-smart technology solutions to the Vietnamese rice and shrimp industries.

The VINAFIS will support promotion and distribution in localities to expand the scale of Australian businesses in Vietnam./.

Khanh Hoa province seeks cooperation opportunities with Indonesia

Chairman of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa province Nguyen Tan Tuan on March 21 said the south-central locality wants to cooperate with Indonesian localities, ministries and agencies in the areas of their strengths.

Speaking at the “Meet Khanh Hoa-Indonesia” event, jointly held in Nha Trang city by the provincial People’s Committee, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Indonesian Embassy in Vietnam, the official stressed that Indonesia is Vietnam’s third largest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while Vietnam is the fourth biggest of Indonesia in the grouping.

Indonesia was also the first Southeast Asian nation to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1955, he continued.

Tuan briefed the participants on Khanh Hoa’s potential, strengths and development orientations in aquaculture, high-tech agriculture, tourism and trade, and suggested the two sides step up exchanges and promote their close ties, contributing to strengthening the Vietnam-Indonesia relationship.
 
In his remarks, Ambassador Denny Abdi emphasised that the friendship between the two countries has been growing across spheres, with bilateral trade reaching 13.8 billion USD last year.

To deepen the cooperation, Vietnamese and Indonesian investors should look towards such areas as digital economy and tourism, and enhancing collaboration in agriculture and aquaculture, he suggested.

Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono noted that the Indonesian Government commits, encourages and creates optimal conditions for foreign investors to operate in maritime and fishery areas.

At the conference, the two sides looked into their potential, strengths and cooperation ability, with priority given to processing-manufacturing, energy, tourism, and high-tech agriculture.

Following the event, Indonesian delegates visited Australis Aquaculture, LLC, Van Ninh KN solar farm, a tourism-agriculture cooperative and some tourist sites in Khanh Hoa./.

Petrol prices up more than 700 VND per litre​

Petrol prices were revised up by more than 700 VND per litre from 3pm on March 21 following the latest adjustment of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Finance.

The retail price of E5RON92 rose by 729 VND to 23,219 VND (0.94 USD) per litre, while that of RON95-III increased by 741 VND per litre to 24,284 VND per litre.

The prices of diesel, and kerosene went up 465 VND, 560 VND to 21,014 VND per litre and 21,266 VND per litre, respectively.

With this price adjustment, the ministries decided not to use the petrol and oil price stabilisation fund./.

Vietnam, Netherlands strengthen agricultural cooperation

Vietnamese and Dutch experts compared notes on scientific, technological and financial solutions to boost sustainable agricultural development and respond to climate change in the Mekong Delta at a forum in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21.

“The Vietnam-Netherlands: Mekong Delta Business Forum 2024” was organised by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam, and the European country’s Consulate General in HCM City.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said the Mekong Delta is a key agricultural production hub of Vietnam, providing 56% of rice output, 70% of aquatic products, and 64% of fruits for the domestic market and exports.

However, limited transport infrastructure remains a bottleneck in regional development, along with climate change impacts, saltwater intrusion and erosion, although the Government and localities have taken a string of countermeasures, the official noted.

He also briefed the participants on the development plan for the Mekong Delta for the 2021-2030 period with a vision towards 2050, which targets green, nature-based agricultural transformation, and the enhancement of transport and logistics connectivity with HCM City and the southern key economic zone.

To that end, the region needs huge resources in terms of science, technology and finance, he said, stressing the importance of international cooperation and investment, including that from the Netherlands, in this regard.

Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers pointed to both opportunities and challenges to agriculture in Vietnam and its Mekong Delta region, and affirmed that the Netherlands stands ready to share its experience and cooperate with Vietnam in delta planning, with solutions that harmonise economic growth and nature conservation.

Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Christianne van der Wal-Zeggelink said agricultural development programmes in special regions like the Mekong Delta need the engagement of different sides.

Agricultural production in the context of climate change requires crop varieties with high tolerance to soil salinity, she suggested, adding that pesticides should be replaced by natural enemies to ensure product quality and protect the environment.

Within the framework of the working trip to HCM City by the Dutch business delegation, enterprises and organisations of the Netherlands and the Mekong Delta signed 18 memoranda of understanding and cooperation agreements in many fields, from aquaculture and sustainable rice cultivation to water treatment technology, and climate change response./.

Two-month exports to Singapore see drastic upturn

Vietnam’s exports to the Singaporean market during the opening two months of the year increased sharply by 19.32% to reach nearly SDG1.23 billion, according to figures released by the Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore.      

Cao Xuan Thang, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Singapore, said in February alone, the total import-export turnover between both sides reached more than SGD2.26 billion, suffering a decrease of 9.48% against the same period from last year. 

Most notably, exports from Vietnam to Singapore continue to maintain a fairly strong positive growth rate of 8.05% to reach SGD550.6 million, while import turnover decreased by nearly 14% to more than SGD1.71 billion.

The import-export turnover between Vietnam and Singapore during the two-month period reached more than SGD5.17 billion, up 4.18% on-year.

Of the figure, exports increased sharply by 19.32% to nearly SGD1.23 bilion and imports rose by 0.21% to nearly SDG3.94 billion. 

In February, some export commodities enjoyed robust export growth in the Singapore market, including iron and steel, up 32.85 times, and petroleum products, up nearly 1.45 times.

To assist Vietnamese businesses in  boosting exports to the Singaporean market, the Trade Office will continue to update Singapore’s market situation, investment policies, as well as strengthening trade connectivity, Thang noted. 

Gov’t doubles effort to control gold market

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has requested relevant ministries and agencies to take more measures to manage the gold market.

These ministries and agencies are the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) and Ministries of Public Security, Industry and Trade, Justice, Science and Technology, Information and Communications and the Government Inspectorate.

The move was made in the wake of sharp fluctuations of domestic gold prices which have disrupted market stability, financial and monetary market safety as well as social psychology.

Specifically, the SBV was tasked to keep a close watch on both international and domestic gold price markets to respond to fluctuations and minimize discrepancies between domestic and international gold bar prices and prevent the “goldization” of the economy and avoid negative impacts on exchange rates, interest rates, monetary markets, foreign exchange and overall financial security. 

The SBV is also in charge of reviewing the enforcement of Decree 24/2012/ND-CP, dated April 3, 2012 on managing gold business activities and putting forward amendments before March 22, 2024.

The SBV, in collaboration with relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies, is responsible for inspecting gold trading enterprises, gold shops, bullion traders, distribution and trading agents, and other market participants in order to combat smuggling, profiteering, speculation, manipulation, and other practices that disrupt market stability.

The Ministries of Public Security, Industry and Trade, Finance, Justice, Information and Communications, as well as other relevant agencies and local authorities, are instructed to actively coordinate with the State Bank of Viet Nam in managing the gold market.

Under Decree 24/2012/ND-CP, the SBV has a monopoly on gold production and import, while Saigon Jewelry Company (SJC) was the sole maker of SJC-branded bullion.

The monopolies cause imbalance in supply and demand in the gold market, causing domestic gold prices to differ widely from world prices. At some points, the price gap was up to VND20 million a tael, which was unreasonable.

With huge gaps in domestic and world gold prices, smuggling for profit increases, which makes it difficult to manage the gold market, causes loss to the State budget and poses risks to foreign exchange rates. Speculation and manipulation are also distorting the domestic gold market.

Experts suggested it is time to amend the decree and hope that the gold market will experience greater liberalization in the future.

In a regular government meeting in February, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh tasked the central bank to promptly propose amendments to Decree 24/2012/ND-CP on gold business management. The Prime Minister’s Directive No 06/CT-TTg on February 15, 2024, urged the State Bank to expedite the review of the Decree and propose effective solutions for gold market management in the first quarter of 2024./.

Raw garment materials factory opens in Thanh Hoá

A factory producing raw materials for the textile and garment sector opened its doors in the central province of Thanh Hoá on Wednesday. 

Covering 120,000sq.m in the Bỉm Sơn Industrial Park, the factory is expected to create more than 1,500 jobs in the first phase, with an estimated goods output of about US$100 million each year, congthuong.vn reported. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of Thanh Hoá People’s Committee Nguyễn Văn Thi praised the factory, saying that it would contribute to fostering the province’s socio-economic development and creating jobs for local people. 

It would also make a contribution to facilitating the development of supporting industries for the domestic garment industry, reducing dependence on imported raw materials and increasing production initiative, he said. 

Vũ Đức Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association agreed. He said that the launch of the factory would help meet huge local demand for raw garment materials while proactively reducing transportation costs for local garment firms. 

General Statistics Office figures reveal that Việt Nam earned US$5.2 billion from exporting textile and garment products in the opening two months of 2024, a 15-per cent increase compared to the same period of 2023. The figures put textiles and garments in fourth position among revenue-generating sectors.

Last year, the country’s garment and textile export turnover also saw a yearly rise of 10 per cent to $44.4 billion. 

Lobster exports soar 18-fold in two months

Lobster exports reeled in nearly 30 million USD in January and February, an over 18-fold increase compared to the same period last year, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has reported.

China remained the largest importer of the product with a value of nearly 29 million USD, 27 times higher against 2023.

Since October 2023, China has ceased importing Vietnamese ornate spiny lobsters due to regulations related to its wild animal protection law. On January 20 this year, a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development led by Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam worked with the authorities of China’s Guangdong province on agricultural trade development cooperation. Both sides agreed to coordinate in resolving issues related to the trade of sturgeons and spiny lobsters under special mechanisms.

Apart from China, Vietnam also exports lobsters to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the US.

According to VASEP, seafood exports also rose by 13% annually in the period, primarily driven by a remarkable 64% surge in January.

Several key products saw positive growth in the two months, with the export turnover of whiteleg shrimp increasing by 18%, tuna 21%, tra fish 6.5%, and giant tiger prawn 9%./.

Vietshrimp 2024: Measures sought to recover shrimp industry

The VietShrimp Aquaculture International Fair 2024, themed “In company with shrimp farmers” opened in the southernmost province of Ca Mau on March 20.

The event, co-hosted by the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries, the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS), the Vietnam Fisheries magazine, and Ca Mau province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, features about 200 booths of 150 domestic and international exhibitors.

The two-day fair also includes four seminars about technology transfer to promote circular economy in the Vietnamese shrimp value chain, low-emission and sustainable shrimp industry through circular economy, quality improvement and value enhancement for Vietnam’s shrimp industry, and discussion on how shrimp farming to achieve the highest efficiency.

VINAFIS Chairman Nguyen Viet Thang said that for many years, shrimp has been a key product of Vietnam, bringing home nearly 4 billion USD from export each year, accounting for about 45 – 50% of the total aquatic export value.

Currently, Vietnam is one of the largest shrimp-producing countries in the world and is in the top four in the world in terms of exports together with Ecuador, India and Indonesia.

However, because of difficulties both inside and outside the country, Vietnam’s shrimp export turnover in 2023 declined to only 3.45 billion USD, down 19.8% compared to 2022.

The industry is forecast to continue to face many challenges this year including abnormal weather conditions, high input material prices, high risk of diseases, high inflation in many countries and high logistics costs.

The organiser of VietShrimp 2024 hopes the fair will provide a venue for the State, scientists, businesses and farmers to sit down together to seek effective solutions to bring the shrimp industry back to the growth trajectory and realise the goal of sustainable development, he said. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that Vietnamese seafood products have entered nearly 170 countries and territories, and Vietnamese shrimp products are now sold in more than 100 markets.

He said that Vietshrimp 2024 – the fifth of its kind held annually in Vietnam – is designed to promote and introduce the potential, strengths, image and brand of Vietnamese shrimp. It also creates an opportunity for authorities, experts, scientists, businesses, cooperatives and shrimp farmers to keep updated on the situation and new scientific and technical advances and discuss measures to overcome limitations and shortcomings of the shrimp industry.

Le Van Su, Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau provincial People’s Committee said shrimp has played a key role in Ca Mau’s agricultural industry.

In 2023, the province had about 278,000 ha of shrimp farming area, producing 231,000 tonnes, and earning over 1 billion USD from shrimp export, accounting for 40% of the total shrimp farming area in Vietnam, 22% of the country’s output and nearly 30% of the country’s shrimp export value.

Su acknowledged the difficulties and limitations that the province’s shrimp industry is facing, noting that the Vietshrimp 2024 will bring opportunities for local authorities and farmers to learn and improve shrimp production, processing and exports in the coming time./.

VinFast seals deal to distribute electric vehicles in Micronesia

VinFast Auto has signed a cooperation agreement with Guam AutoSpot on the distribution of its electric vehicles (EV) in Micronesia, announced the Vietnamese automaker in its recent press release.

As per the pact, Guam AutoSpot will be VinFast’s first official distributor in the region, with the former expected to begin its import of the latter’s EVs and components in May.

As previously announced, VinFast will expand its operations to at least 50 countries around the world in 2024.

Founded in 2008, Guam AutoSpot boasts a well-established dealer network across Micronesia. For over 15 years, they have built a reputation for delivering high-quality products and services.

Micronesia is emerging as a potential EV market, fueled by the participation of international brands and the development of charging station infrastructure./.

Businesses face mounting hardships amid rate hike

A US Federal Reserve policy meeting is taking place this week on March 20 with the Fed forecast to retain the current base rate to deal with inflation concerns. The move will mean the US dollar remains at a high level, putting pressure on domestic currencies around the world.

Since the start of the year, Vietnam has seen the US dollar selling price inch up slightly from 1.6-1.7 per cent, whereas in other markets, it has risen by as much as nearly 4 per cent.

This has caused a detrimental impact to businesses who deal in large dollar-denominated amounts.

Dang Ngoc Hoa, chairman of Vietnam Airlines, said that if the exchange rate rose by 1 per cent, the company’s expenses could swell an additional $12.5 million.

“Therefore, if the exchange rate jumped 5 per cent, our expenses might increase by more than $62 million, so we need the exchange rate to remain stable with the lowest possible rate hike,” said Hoa.

For businesses in the steel, cashews, and garment and textile sectors, a more costly dollar has increased their imported material expenses.
Similarly, Le Manh Hung, chairman of PetroVietnam, noted that the group currently faces VND38 trillion ($1.58 billion) in dollar-denominated outstanding loans.

“A rising exchange rate signifies soaring expenses for the group, creating concern for our production and business efficiency,” said Hung.

For businesses in the steel, cashews, and garment and textile sectors, a more costly dollar has increased their imported material expenses.

According to the Vietnam Steel Association, their members are facing a spike in the price of imported materials such as steel scraps, fat coal, and steel ore.

Similar complaints have also come from the Vietnam Association for Seafood Producers and Exporters, and Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS).

Tran Huu Hau, vice-secretary of VINACAS, revealed that higher raw cashew cost has driven up prices for consumers, badly affecting their competitiveness.

“Even though exporters are covered when firms collect dollars from export contracts, the rate increase has significantly driven down profits,” said Hau.

Than Duc Viet, CEO of Garment 10 Corporation (Garco 10), a significant member of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group, believes that the company’s production and business activities have rebounded this year thanks to a growth in order numbers.

“The higher exchange rate has led to a rise in the value of export orders, but we also face cost overruns associated with the import of input materials and machinery,” said Viet.

Last year, Garco 10 saw a 21 per cent drop in profits, mostly thanks to the exchange rate, compared to 2022.

Tran Thi Ha My, senior analyst at Viet Dragon Securities JSC, predicts that the impact would be insignificant if the rate hike was in the range of 2-3 per cent, however, if the rake hike hits 4-5 per cent or more, firms could face even more hardship.

“Rate hike pressures could abate in the second half of this year amid abundant forex supply, and the possibility that the Fed might begin to cut interest rates. In addition, the State Bank of Vietnam’s policy change on gold market management might also have a positive impact on the exchange rate,” said My.

A report from the General Statistics Office shows Vietnam’s export value reached an estimated $24.8 billion in February, while imports were valued at $23.7 billion.

So far this year, domestic businesses have reported a trade deficit of almost $4 billion.

VinaCapital to inject $1 billion into Quang Nam

Holding trust in the provincial potential for marine tourism development, Vietnam-focused venture fund VinaCapital pledges to continue investing $1 billion in the locality.

Speaking at the conference announcing Quang Nam’s planning on March 16, Don Lam, deputy head of the Private Economic Development Research Board and member of the Board of Directors of Hoi An South Development Co., Ltd. (Hoiana), noted that Quang Nam’s planning for 2021-2030 was an important milestone, especially in the eastern region of the province.

According to Don Lam, the land of Hoiana was previously a deserted area, yet as soon as Cua Dai Bridge and the coastal road were formed in 2016, the entire eastern region had transformed strongly, quickly becoming the area eyeing the highest growth in the province.

This affirms Quang Nam’s vision in conceiving the province’s socioeconomic development strategies.

On that basis, the provincial planning for the rest of this decade will continue promoting the appraisal and planning approval efficiency, from there creating motivation for Quang Nam and the eastern region in particular to fully develop.

“We believe in the potential for marine tourism development in Quang Nam’s eastern region, rooted on distinct cultural and historical advantages of Hoi An and increasingly clear driving forces such as Cua Dai bridge, and the coastal road connecting to Chu Lai airport.

Recently, the prime minister’s guidance and approval of the Land Law and the Law on Real Estate Business 2024 attest to the government’s commitment to diversifying tourism offerings and tourism real estate such as condotels and beach villas,” said Don Lam.

To continue creating growth momentum for the eastern region, he proposed that Quang Nam soon promote the provincial general planning scale 1/5,000 and subdivision planning scale 1/2,000 to help businesses to expand investment into driving local socioeconomic development.

This shall create conditions to turn Hoiana into a multi-functional coastal resort development with diverse infrastructure and services such as schools, international hospitals, shopping malls and high-end convention centres.

This aims to turn Hoiana into a model project, piloting the implementation of ‘golden visa’ scheme for high-end, long-stay visitor groups such as high-tech experts, elderly retirees or high-income ‘young retirees’, among others.

“These groups of tourists shall bring revenue to the state coffers and great job opportunities for the local area. As a foreign investor, we hope to receive companionship and support from the local government as well as from the central level in quickly resolving the project’s legal aspect, the planning, and land acquisition issues,” Don Lam said. “We commit to continue investing up to $1 billion in the upcoming phases of the project when legal procedures are completed and maximum conditions are created to expand business activities. We are poised to join hands for the development of Quang Nam and Vietnam’s economy in the spirit of ‘harmonious benefits, shared risks.”

Starting construction in April 2016, the $4 billion Hoi An South Resort Project (Hoiana) has now completed phase 1 valued at $500 million with 1,200 luxury rooms, an 18-hole coastal golf course, and a world-class entertainment area.

In the past two years, despite numerous hardships persist, Hoiana has contributed more than VND1 trillion ($41.6 million) to state coffers, growing into one of the largest taxpayers in the province. The project has created jobs for nearly 3,000 local labourers, helping to raise income and improve the quality of life for locals.

Real estate businesses seek to unlock capital resources

At a March 14 conference on resolving difficulties for production and business chaired by the prime minister, several business leaders presented ideas to remove obstacles related to capital sources for real estate developers.

Bui Quang Anh Vu, CEO of Phat Dat Real Estate Development Corporation, told VIR that his company faced many challenges related to capital and liquidity last year. However, thanks to the government’s timely solutions and the trust of investors, Phat Dat successfully mobilised capital by issuing private shares to professional securities investors, raising more than $28 million.

By the end of 2023, Phat Dat had paid its corporate bond debt of $104 million ahead of schedule, bringing its bond loan balance to zero.

“Our real estate projects have all completed the legal requirements to qualify for bank loans,” Vu confirmed.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Military Commercial Bank (MB) provided comprehensive financial solutions of more than $250 million to investors in the company’s project in Binh Duong province. In February, MB continued to provide a loan package of $62.5 million for the project.

However, Vu proposed some more recommendations, “We need more preferential credit packages, shortened approval times, loosened conditions for credit institutions to disburse funds, and reduced lending interest rates along with increasing access to credit capital.”

“The government should provide more policies to simplify legal procedures for the real estate market so that projects are eligible to be traded on the market. It should also actively direct and establish an inter-ministerial working group to support localities and businesses to promptly resolve difficulties,” he added.

Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), believes that credit growth in 2024 will reach its target of 15 per cent. “We applaud the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) for assigning credit growth targets to all commercial banks from the beginning of the year, which has never happened before” said Chau.

The SBV leaders also confirmed the extension of Circular No.02/2023/TT-NHNN on the rescheduling of debt payment and the maintenance of debt groups by credit institutions and foreign banks to support customers in difficulties as well as retain low-interest rates for a cheap capital supply.

Regarding real estate credit, growth in the first two months of 2024 has been just 0.23 per cent. Chau hopes that credit growth will improve, as the real estate sector has a lot of influence on the performance of the entire economy.

Legal issues are currently the greatest obstacle in the real estate sector, with 70 per cent of all difficulties faced related to legal concerns. The HoREA recommended competent state agencies to solve these problems so real estate projects can qualify for credit access.

“This is a non-credit effective solution to promote credit growth. Without adequate legal regulations, credit institutions have no framework to lend,” Chau said.

Chau requested that authorities complete guiding documents for the laws on land, housing, and real estate soon; as well as suggesting businesses accelerate restructuring processes.

Japan takes bold steps to lure Vietnamese workers

The Japanese Embassy in Vietnam in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held a workshop in Hanoi on March 19, highlighting Vietnam’s and Japan’s efforts to promote labour mobility between the two nations.

At the event, the Japanese side introduced Japan’s policy on migrant worker recruitment and a technical project being implemented by JICA and competent agencies of Vietnam to improve the transparency of the programme to dispatching labourers overseas.

According to First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy Ishii Chikahisa, Japan has great demand for workers in the fields of food and beverage production, construction, manufacturing, electronic information, automobile maintenance, and shipbuilding industry, among others.

He said Vietnamese workers have an important role to play in the Japanese economy, adding some 500,000 Vietnamese are working in Japan, increasing eight folds in ten years.

Although Vietnamese labourers are known for their industriousness, they need to join technical intern training to improve their language competence and vocational skills, he added.

Nagata Yuki from Japan’s department of immigration and residency management said that the Japanese government has submitted a new policy to receive foreign workers, including those from Vietnam, to the diet for approval.  

When the policy takes effect, it will prioritise ensuring foreign workers’ rights and creating promotion opportunities for them, so that they will feel secure when living in the country, he said.

Meanwhile, JICA Vietnam Deputy Chief Kubo Yoshitomo said the new policy is significant to Japan, which is getting greyer, as it will help the country ease the labour shortage pressure for national development./.

EU and France provide $78.5 million for Quang Nam and Quang Tri to tackle climate change

The central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Tri will receive financial support worth €72.3 million ($78.5 million) from the EU and France to tackle the impacts of climate change.
 
Financing agreements for two climate change adaptation projects in the central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Tri were signed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance and the French Agency for Development (AFD) on March 15, with a total value of €72.3 million ($78.5 million).

Both projects will receive technical assistance from the EU–funded Water and Natural Resources Management Facility (WARM Facility), aiming to reinforce the capacity of local authorities in project management, implementation of adaptation measures, and the local population’s resilience to climate change.

Vietnam is considered one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, combined with population growth and urbanisation, are increasing the risk of hazards, such as coastal erosion and flooding across the country.

Among the affected provinces, Quang Nam, over the last decade, has witnessed serious coastal erosion with increasing intensity, which causes heavy damage to people’s property and the tourism industry. In the province of Quang Tri, Dong Ha city experiences frequent effects of climate change, including flooding, land subsidence, saline intrusion and drought. This heavily impacts the safety and lives of people, while the city’s current infrastructure is deteriorating.

Speaking at the event, Vo Thanh Hung, Deputy Minister of finance, expressed gratitude to the EU and AFD for supporting Vietnam to implement its climate commitments and strengthen its resilience to the impacts of climate change. He emphasised Vietnam’s expectation to enhance this partnership to reach the goals set in the country’s socioeconomic development policy, particularly supporting provinces and cities in implementing initiatives that will lessen the effects of climate change, strengthen resilience, and promote green growth.

Peteris Ustubs, director for Middle East, Asia and Pacific of the European Commission’s International Partnerships Directorate, said, “Investing in projects like those supported by the WARM Facility not only strengthens local communities’ resilience but also contributes to efforts in addressing global climate change effects. These initiatives are in line with the EU’s Global Gateway strategy to narrow the global investment gap, and are a testament to the EU’s commitment to be a faithful partner of Vietnam in climate action and sustainable development.”

Olivier Brochet, French Ambassador to Vietnam, also shared, “France, through AFD, has the ambition to support Vietnam in its climate priorities through a range of climate projects at provincial level. Among them are the Quang Nam project to cope with coastal erosion related issues, and the Quang Tri project to improve infrastructure adapted to flooding risks, with the aim of lifting economic growth and improving living conditions. These two projects are supported by the WARM Facility to implement technical assistance that helps strengthen their capacity towards an integrated coastal zone and urban resilience management.”

The WARM Facility, a grant of €20 million ($21.7 million) provided by the EU and leverage for an AFD loan of €300 million ($325.6 million), supports the preparation and implementation of strategic investment projects in the areas of water and natural resources management in response to key local challenges of climate change. The WARM Facility contributes to the implementation of the EU’s GlobalGateway strategy.

Rising customs clearance time through Hữu Nghị international border gate

Functional forces on both sides of Hữu Nghị international border gate (Việt Nam) – Friendship Pass (China) have agreed to add two working hours per day to carry out timely customs clearance of goods and ease difficulties for Chinese exports and Vietnamese import enterprises.

Normally the functional forces work until 6pm every day, but now will work to 8pm, from March 17.

The Management Board of Đồng Đăng – Lạng Sơn Border Gate Economic Zone said the number of vehicles carrying import and export goods through Hữu Nghị international border gate has increased sharply from March 13 until now.

Nearly 800 vehicles per day on average carry import and export goods across the border, an increase of nearly 200 vehicles compared to the early days of March.

Trần Văn Nghĩa, Deputy Director of Hữu Nghị Customs Branch, said that the customs force has arranged more civil servants to staff the facility, and assigned officials to proactively notify businesses and shippers about the policy of increasing working hours. All these efforts are creating more favourable conditions to carry out customs clearance of goods.

Statistics from the functional forces show that boosting working hours and measures to channelise and regulate vehicles has helped increase the number of vehicles imported into Việt Nam by about 150 vehicles per day; on average, about 700 imported vehicles and about 80 exported vehicles per day.

The Chinese side has also reduced congestion. Proactively regulating goods early and remotely helps customs to timely complete clearance of goods.

Lạng Sơn provincial authorities recommended that businesses, shippers and drivers of the Vietnamese side with import and export goods cleared through the province’s border gates regularly update their information on export-import at border gates by specialised agencies to regulate goods properly, thereby helping Lạng Sơn’s border trade activities to be stable and fast, without congestion due to waiting. 

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