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Business in brief
Date :  12/01/2018
(Sourced from various news agencies)
  • 2018 is of paramount importance for Vietnam’s roadmap to undertake its international economic integration commitments, said Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at this year’s first meeting of the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration in Hanoi on January 11. The country has so far ratified 10 bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with regional and world partners and it is going ahead with negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and bilateral FTAs with Israel and Cuba. Around 60 world economies have been conducting negotiations with Vietnam including key trade partners who account for approximately 90% of the Southeast Asian nation’s trade turnover. (VOV)
  • Vietnam imported 262,321 live buffaloes and cows and nearly 42,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat at a value of more than US$410 million last year, according to the Department of Animal Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The country also bought in more than 6,500 tons of pork worth US$11.07 million and 81,000 tons of poultry meat worth over US$75.7 million from overseas. The Department says imported meats are sold at market for cheap prices. As an example, the prices of US and Australian beef vary from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per kg, while Indian buffalo meat is priced at VND90,000-150,000 per kg, and a kg of chicken costs VND35,000-60,000. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the average price for US chicken imported to Vietnam is at roughly VND19,000 per kg and pork at VND27,000/kg. (VOV)
  • The volume of fruits and vegetables imported from Thailand is expected to surge this year as import tariffs imposed on these products are reduced to zero percent, heating up pressure on their Vietnamese peers. In 2017, Vietnam imported over 1.55 billion USD worth of fruits and vegetables, an annual increase of 68 percent, with Thai products accounting for a lion’s share of the sum. Thailand’s fruits and vegetables have secured a foothold in Vietnam and are taking up more shares in the market. A number of Thai fruits such as durian, purple mangosteen and rambutan are also grown in Vietnam but still gain favour from local consumers. Thai fruits and vegetables have more stable and year-round supply compared to their Vietnamese peers. The Vietnamese products were said to face shortcomings in post-harvest preservation process and packaging, making them less attractive to domestic consumers. (VNA)
  • Vietnam is ranked level 1 with “Exercise normal precautions” in the Travel Advisories assessment by U.S. Department of State, which was announced on Jan. 10, 2018. According to U.S. Department of State, Vietnam is graded as the safest group which has the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. The Travel Advisory Levels helps travellers to assure their own safety when travelling internationally by dividing destined countries into four levels. The levels for safety and security risk are varied from the highest risk-level 4: “Do not travel” to the lowest-level 1: “Exercise normal precautions”. (VGP)
  • HCM City’s retail sector has been growing steadily, achieving an 11.3 per cent increase by the end of 2017 compared to 2016, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade. According to the department, the total revenue of the retail sector last year was over VNĐ923.84 trillion (US$40 billion). Revenue from retail sales was VNĐ594.65 trillion, accounting for 64.4 per cent of total retail revenue (retail sales and retail services). The city had 207 supermarkets in 2017, an increase of 18 compared to 2016. At least 116 of them are domestic supermarkets, while 91 are foreign-owned. In addition, there were around 43 shopping malls in 2017, three more than in 2016. Fourteen of them are foreign owned. There were around 1,100 convenience stores in 2017, 218 more compared to 2016. (VNS)
  • The 2018 Vietnam Blockchain Week will be held in HCM City in March to promote the potential of blockchain and 4.0 technologies. Organised by Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL), the event also aims to highlight Vietnam’s position as a global hub of 4.0 technologies and advocate support from Vietnamese regulators to create a facilitating and nurturing environment for blockchain and 4.0 technologies. The event expects to attract 1,500 participants to demonstrate how blockchain is transforming the global economy and how Vietnam is poised to become the next global blockchain and 4.0 technologies hub. It will be held on March 7 and 8 at Riverside Palace in District 4. (VNS)
  • Revenue from the General Department of Customs (GDC) in 2017 hit VNĐ297 trillion (US$13 billion) last year, a year-on-year increase of 9.5 per cent and equivalent to a 4.3 per cent increase on the annual target. In 2017, the GDC carried out nearly 9,000 post-customs clearance inspections, including 1,300 inspections at companies and more than 7,200 at local customs offices. The department also boosted inter-sectoral co-operation to prevent and detect smuggling and trade fraud. There were fewer smuggling cases unearthed in 2017, but they were high in value. Customs officers last year discovered 15,184 violation cases, down 1.97 per cent annually. However, the value of smuggled goods was more than VNĐ789 billion, up 89.58 per cent year-on-year. A total of VNĐ334.8 billion of this was added to the State budget, marking a 95 per cent surge from 2016. (VNS)
  • The tax amount collected from state own enterprises (SOEs) reduced 77.37 percent over 2016 to VND15,768 billion (US$694 million) last year and from local SOEs went down nearly 83 percent to VND6,445 billion, reported HCMC Taxation Department. Conversely, tax payment from foreign invested companies and non-state sector buinesses and service firms moved up 18.88 percent to VND58,019 billion and 13.7 percent to VND48,849 billion respectively. Two revenues strongly increasing from these two economic sectors comprise special consumption tax, up 36.49 percent, and resource tax. Total tax revenue in HCMC was VND238,889 billion, up 16.84 percent over 2016. Of these, crude oil brought VND16,865 billion, raising 18.61 percent. Domestic income excluding oil, lottery and land use fee was VND197,266 billion, increasing 12.1 percent. (SGGP)
  • Vietnam Securities Depository reported that there were 447 foreign investors granted with transaction codes in the stock market last December, higher than the previous month when it reached 428 investors. That was an impressive number because December usually sees the lowest number of registrations every year, it said. Of the 447 investors, there were 28 organizations and 419 individuals. In the entire year of 2017, 23,506 foreign investors got transaction codes including 3,550 organizations and 19,956 individuals. The number of newly registered foreign investors was quite similar to eventful trading activities by the foreign sector in December in HCMC Stock Exchange with purchase and sale values reaching VND17,419 bilion (US$767 million) and VND16,293 billion respectively. Positive transactions by the foreign sector in 2017 was one of the important motive powers supporting the market rally. (SGGP)
  • VietinBank has decided to reduce interest rates for short, medium and long term loans to five sectors deemed as priority by the Government. Accordingly, as from January 11, interest rates will be cut by 0.5 percent per year for short, medium and long term loans in Vietnamese dong to firms operating in agriculture-rural development, for-export production and business, small- and medium-sized enterprises, support industry and hi-tech production. Start-up firms with feasible business and production plans and household businesses that were upgraded into official firms, are also eligible for the preferential loans. Besides, credit programmes with special interest rates will continue to be applied to businesses with good financial status and effective production and business activities. (VNA)
  • The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Hyundai Motor said it is considering building a car plant in Southeast Asia with Indonesia and Vietnam being possible locations. The intention came from the intense political ties between Beijing and Seoul after the RoK allowed the US to deploy its anti-missile defense system THAAD in the country, hurting Hyundai and other Korean firms that are highly reliant on the Chinese market. Hyundai expects its China sales to reach about 900,000 vehicles in 2018, a recovery from last year, according to a company spokeswoman. Hyundai has not disclosed estimates for 2017 China sales but the figure of 900,000 would still be far below its production capacity of 1.65 million vehicles in its biggest market. The company aims to sell 7.55 million vehicles in 2018 amid sluggish global economic growth that reduces demand in numerous key markets. (VNA)
  • Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) has ended its “12-year marriage” with Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), offloading its entire holding of more than 154 million shares in the Vietnamese bank. The transaction was completed on January 9 for an undisclosed sum. According to the Vietnam Depository Securities Centre’s announcement, Standard Chartered APR Limited transferred 89.9 million, equivalent to 8.75 per cent of ACB’s capital, to Estes Investment Ltd and Sather Gate Investment Ltd. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Ltd sold 64.2 million shares, or 6.25 per cent of ACB’s capital, to three investment companies, including Boardwalk South Ltd, Whistler Investment Ltd and Estes Investment Ltd. ACB’s shares are trading at some VNĐ40,000 (US$1.75) a share on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, which valued the sale at about VNĐ6 trillion ($263.2 million). (VNS)
  • The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is calling for 969 billion VND (over 42.63 million USD) in investment in ten priority agricultural and rural development projects. The projects include construction of a freshwater reservoir for agricultural production in Don Chau, Duyen Hai district; farm produce quality and safety management programme; programmes to encourage agriculture, fisheries and rural development and support agricultural restructuring. The province will prioritise projects developing cattle, pig, goat and poultry farming in areas zoned off for animal husbandry and building meat processing and feed factories. Tra Vinh aims at comprehensive agricultural development towards effectiveness, sustainability and large-scale commodity production with high added value in an effort to improve farmers’ living standards, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Trung Hien. (VNA)
  • Authorities in the central coastal province of Phu Yen will spend nearly 2.12 VND trillion (93 million USD) developing aquaculture from now until 2025. From now until 2020, the province will invest more than 1.45 trillion VND (64 million USD) in conducting 13 key projects that aim to boost sustainable fisheries development. These projects include building Long Thanh aquaculture infrastructure system, upgrading infrastructure for the Hoa An aquaculture production centre in Song Cau town, building a fishing port, a tuna auction market and a tuna processing factory with a capacity of 1,800 tonnes per year in Tuy Hoa city. In Song Cau town, the province will also construct a frozen seafood processing factory with a capacity of 3,500 tonnes per year and a factory to produce feed for lobsters, which can make 1,000 tonnes per year. (VNA)
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