BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 4/1

Created 04 January 2019
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Southeastern provinces’ economy performs well in 2018,Vietnamese exports reach new markets,Da Nang, EU begin solar power project,Hai Duong grants licences to first foreign-invested projects in 2019

Southeastern provinces’ economy performs well in 2018, Vietnamese exports reach new markets, Da Nang, EU begin solar power project, Hai Duong grants licences to first foreign-invested projects in 2019

Cashew farmers fear poor yield during harvest season

Farmers in Binh Phuoc province, the country’s largest cashew producer, are facing unfavourable weather and the possibility of a poor harvest during the current blooming season.

The southeastern province normally has warm weather now, which causes the trees to bloom and bear fruit, but cold weather since the end of December has affected the development of cashew fruit and flowers.

In addition, the southern region is expected to see heavy rains from the ongoing Typhoon Pabuk.

Dieu Keng, whose four-hectare cashew orchard is now blooming in Bu Gia Map district’s Duc Hanh commune, said: “We are really worried... Weather changes will have an adverse impact on the cashew flowers.”

If rain continues or the storm affects the area, many of the flowers and young fruit on the cashew trees will fall off the trees.

Keng is spraying chemicals on his trees to protect flowers and prevent pests, which have increased in number because of prolonged rains. Fungi can also cause disease to the trees.  

Hoang Van Thang, who has three hectares of cashew trees in Dong Xoai city’s Tien Thanh ward, said some of the fruit on his trees had dried and fallen.

“If the weather continues to be bad, farmers will face a poor harvest as we had in previous years,” he said.

Luu Van Thuy, head of the Tien Thanh Ward Farmers’ Association, said unseasonable rains and prolonged cold winds could affect cashew flowers.

Cashew is one of the province’s key crops that have helped reduce poverty in the area.

The province has more than 173,900ha of cashew trees, accounting for 32 percent of its perennial trees.

About 80 percent of the province’s cashew trees are planted with seeds, not with grafted seedlings, and a large number of them are old with low yields, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department has encouraged farmers to replace the old trees with high-yield cashew varieties and warned farmers to regularly inspect their cashew orchards to prevent disease outbreaks.

The province has five co-operatives that produce organic cashew nuts on a total area of 4,000ha in Bu Dang, Phu Rieng and Bu Gia Map districts and Dong Xoai town.

It has 226 enterprises and 328 establishments that process cashew nuts for domestic consumption and export. The province’s cashew nuts are known for their taste and quality.

Viglacera to list shares on southern bourse

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) has approved the listing of the State-owned glass and construction ceramics producer Viglacera on the southern bourse.

Viglacera will list 448 million shares on the southern market with the code VGC – the same ticker it has on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

The total value of the listed shares is 4.48 trillion VND (194 million USD).

The HoSE listing will help Viglacera increase its stock liquidity and facilitate the Ministry of Construction’s sale of its 54 per cent stake in the firm during the first quarter of this year.

The change of listing will also help Viglacera’s shares attract more attention from investors.

In 2018, the company earned 600 billion VND (26 million USD) in pre-tax profit, up 6 percent against 2017.

On January 4, VGC shares on the HNX ended trading up 1.15 percent, settling at 17,600 VND per share.

Viglacera was established in 1974 under a decision by the Ministry of Construction. In 2014, the company was equitised with a charter capital of 2.64 trillion VND (114.3 million USD).

Vinaconex charged with $217,391 in tax arrears

During the inspections in 2017, due to wrongful declaration resulting in the lack of tax payment, Vinaconex was fined for tax arrears of nearly VND5 billion ($217,391).

On the basis of the State Audit Office of Vietnam’s conclusions, the Hanoi Tax Department issued Decision No.81243/QD-CT-KTT6 on December 11, 2018 on sanctioning tax administrative violations of Vinaconex (VCG on HNX).

Specifically, due to the wrongful declaration, Vinaconex is subject to a fine of 20 per cent of the total missing tax amount, equalling to VND775 million ($33,700).

In addition, according to the conclusions of the SAV, VCG has to pay additional corporate income tax of VND3.9 billion ($169,565) and VND300 million ($13,043) for late payment. Therefore, the total fines and tax arrears VCG has to pay is nearly VND5 billion ($217,391).

On December 14, Vinaconex paid the fines in full.

According to Decision No.405/2018/QD-HDQT on December 13, Vinaconex's board of directors has recently approved the resignation of general director Do Trong Quynh. At the same time, Nguyen Xuan Dong was appointed as general director of the corporation instead.

Vinaconex also announced on its website replacing Do Trong Quynh with Nguyen Xuan Dong as legal representative.

Nguyen Xuan Dong is the chairman cum general director of An Quy Hung Co., Ltd., who spent VND7.367 trillion ($320.3 million) from the company's funds to buy 255 million shares, equivalent to 57.71 per cent of Vinaconex's shares, on November 22.

In 2018, Vinaconex set the goal of increasing total revenue by 9.3 per cent on-year. Accordingly, Vinaconex expects its revenue to reach VND19.44 trillion ($845.22 million) and after-tax profit to hit VND1.3 trillion ($56.5 million).

On the stock market, VCG closed the December 17 trading session at VND21,400 ($0.93) per share, bringing its market capitalisation to about VND9.452 trillion ($410.96 million).

Vietnam records surplus in trade with Canada

Trade between Vietnam and Canada in 2018 is estimated at 6.36 billion CAD (4.6 billion USD), up 4.2 percent from the previous year, with the Southeast Asian nation recording a surplus of some 4.34 billion CAD.

According to preliminary data of Statistics Canada, Vietnam’s exports to the North American country rebounded in 2018 to 5.35 billion CAD, up 5.2 percent year on year. Its imports from Canada stayed flat at around 1.01 billion CAD.

Vietnam’s major foreign currency earners like textile-garment, footwear and wood products posted good growth. Several new products recorded surges in overseas shipments, including plastic and rubber products (27 percent), coconut oil (100 percent), and paper products (50 percent). 

In contrast, the export of mobile phones to Canada continued to fall sharply for the second straight year, dropping by 11 percent from 2017, and was equivalent to only 50 percent of the export value in 2016.

Imports of some big groups of commodities from Canada rose strongly such as coal (up 2.5-fold), wood pulp (up threefold) and leather materials (up 70 percent), while others posted declines, leading to a stagnant import turnover.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is expected to promote bilateral trade. With Canada’s fast tariff reduction roadmap (from 17 – 18 percent to zero percent in three years), some Vietnamese items are forecast to witness strong export growth as from 2019 like textile-garment, footwear, handbags, plastics and wood products.

For their part, Canadian businesses are interested in Vietnam’s opening of its market for foreign agricultural products such as pork, beef, chicken, aquatic products and fresh fruits.

Aside from the CPTPP, impact of the US-China trade war has also made many Canadian firms plan to move some of their factories and orders from China to Vietnam, which is also a chance for the ASEAN nation to boost shipments to Canada.

Airports operator to host 112 million passengers in 2019

Vietnam expects to receive more than 112 million passengers through airports in the country in 2019, or 8 million people higher than the previous year, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has said.

The plan is made based on a robust socio-economic outlook with GDP growth forecast at 6.6-6.8 percent as well as a bright prospect on Vietnamese transportation market expansion.

The Airports Council International (ACI) forecasts the Vietnamese aviation transportation to top the group of markets with more than 50 million passengers a year during 2016-2040. Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts Vietnam as the world’s 5th fastest growing aviation market, which will transport 150 million passengers by 2035, a representative from the ACV said.

In 2019, the ACV will continue boosting investments and upgrades in airport infrastructure, and mobilising resources for construction and development of strategic airports like Long Thanh International Airport in southern Dong Nai province. Furthermore, due attention will be paid to IT application into airport management and operation in line with international standards.

Expansion of aprons will be made at busy airports like Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Lien Khuong, Cat Bi, Vinh and Phu Bai. 

The ACV is making preparation for its key projects, including construction of Terminal 3 at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, new terminals at Da Nang and Cam Ranh International Airports, expansion of Terminal 2 at Noi Bai International Airport, and Terminal 2 at Cat Bi, Vinh, Phu Bai, Dong Hoi and Tho Xuan International Airports.

According to the corporation’s report, the ACV’s revenue in 2018 was estimated at 17.84 trillion VND (768.27 million USD), surpassing the set plan by 11 percent, and rising 18 percent against 2017.

At present, the Vietnamese aviation market has the participation of 68 foreign airlines from 25 countries and territories and the four local carriers Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Vasco.

The 68 foreign and three of the Vietnamese carriers (except Vasco) operate nearly 130 international routes linking Hanoi, HCM City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Hai Phong with 28 countries and territories around the world.

Meanwhile, the four local airlines are running 48 domestic routes from Hanoi, HCM City and Da Nang to 18 local airports.

Agricultural sector strives for 3 percent GDP growth in 2019

The agricultural sector targets 3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It will strive for some 42-43 billion USD in export revenue, 48-50 percent of communes recognised as new-style rural areas, and 41.85 percent in forest coverage.

The ministry said that the sector enjoyed a successful 2018 when it contributed 8.7 percent to the country’s economic growth in the year. The value of agriculture, forestry and fishery expanded 3.76 percent, the highest level in recent seven years. Meanwhile, the export of agro-forestry-fishery products hit a record high of 40 billion USD.

As of the end of 2018, a total of 3,787 communes nationwide or 42.4 percent had been recognised as new-style rural areas, representing a year-on-year rise of 8.02 percent. 

According to the National Coordination Office of the National Target Programme on New Rural Development, the southern province of Dong Nai has taken the lead in this regard, with all of its 133 communes gaining the status. 

More than 322 trillion VND (13.8 billion USD) has been mobilised to carry out the programme, including 8.7 trillion VND (374.1 million USD) sourced from the State budget, the office said. Rural residents donated more than 18.3 trillion VND to implement the programme.

The robust results were spurred by strong restructuring, which shifts from quantity to quality and added value, and from small-scale production to value chain.

However, the ministry said that the growth is not sustainable as there is a shortage of connection between farmers and cooperatives and businesses.

Maritime sector needs better seaport planning: minister

The maritime sector should pay more attention to seaport planning, especially in the central and the Mekong Delta regions, said Transport Minister Nguyen Van The. 

Speaking at a conference in Hanoi on January 2, the minister highlighted the special significance of the maritime sector as most of cargos from foreign countries are handled through seaports before entering the Vietnamese market.

To attract major international ships, Vietnamese seaports and maritime businesses should promptly form a big database in order to fully automate administrative procedures at the ports, he said. 

The official also asked the sector to review its human resources and tighten its links with the railway and waterway sectors. 

Lauding the sector’s efforts in administrative reform and application of achievements of the fourth Industrial Revolution, The said it has significantly contributed to national socio-economic development. 

Nguyen Xuan Sang, head of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, reported that as of December 2018, Vietnam had 1,593 ships with total capacity of about 7.8 million DWT, ranking fourth in ASEAN and 30th globally. 

The country is home to 272 wharfs with accumulated annual capacity exceeding 550 million tonnes. 

Last year, local seaports handled about 524.7 million tonnes of cargo, up 19 percent year-on-year, and served 5.8 million passengers, up 28.9 percent against 2017. 

Around 1,300 businesses in the country are providing maritime services. However, they have fulfilled only a quarter of the market demand.

Hai Duong grants licences to first foreign-invested projects in 2019

Leaders of the northern province of Hai Duong on January 2 granted investment licenses to firms from Hong Kong (China) and Seychelles to operate in local industrial parks. 

The projects are invested by Leo Paper Bags Manufacturing (1982) Limited of Hong Kong, and True Voice International Inc of Seychelles.

With a total investment of over 40 million USD, the Hong Kong firm focuses on producing paper bags and cards. It covers 8 ha of land in the Cam Dien-Luong Dien Industrial Park in Cam Giang district. The plant is scheduled to become operational in July 2021. 

Meanwhile, True Voice International Inc invested its project in the Cong Hoa Industrial Park in Chi Linh town with total investment of 8 million USD. The plant, which specialises in producing machinery and components related to audio amplification equipment, is expected to be put into operation in 2020. 

This is the second project invested by the Seychelles firm in Hai Duong. Previously, the enterprise implemented a 5.1-million-USD project in the Phu Thai Industrial Park of Kim Thanh district. 

In 2018, Hai Duong attracted over 532 million USD of foreign investment, up 51.3 percent year-on-year. The locality granted investment licenses to 38 new projects with total registered capital of over 224 million USD, and 36 capital-added projects worth 308 million USD. 

Total investment of foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises in Hai Duong is estimated to reach 490 million USD, 8.8 percent higher than that of 2017, lifting the total disbursement of FDI firms in the locality so far to 4,590 million USD, accounting for 60.4 percent of the registered FDI.

Binh Dinh works to make it more popular among tourists

The central province of Binh Dinh aims to welcome 5.1 million tourist arrivals in 2019, up 25 percent from the previous year.

To achieve the target, Binh Dinh is stepping up attracting investment in tourism infrastructure. The provincial authorities have given permission to 26 tourism projects, including nine hotels, 15 tourist areas, one safari park and one soft skill training centre.

Binh Dinh welcomed more than 4 million tourists in 2018, up 10.6 percent from the previous year.

Among visitors to Binh Dinh, there were over 286,400 foreigners and 3.8 million domestic holiday makers, respectively rising by 8.3 percent and 10.8 percent.

The tourist number increase was attributed partly to the improved infrastructure and services at accommodation facilities.

Binh Dinh is rich in cultural and historical traditions and boasts many scenic sites along its 134km-long coast.

Da Nang, EU begin solar power project

The central city of Da Nang, in cooperation with the European Union (EU), has launched a pilot project to develop solar energy in the city.

The Da Nang Energy Conservation and Technology Consultant Centre (DECC), under the municipal Department of Science and Technology, will design and install solar energy systems at the Da Nang General Hospital, the Oncology Hospital, two schools and six households on a pilot basis and build a database of solar power capacity in the city as well as a policy framework for clean energy development.

The project, funded by the EU to the tune of 447,000 USD, aims to increase accessibility to clean energy and raise awareness among businesses and households of solar power, energy saving and environmental protection.

It aims to be a good example for localities in Vietnam to promote mass use of renewable energy technology at household and public buildings.

The city also plans to build a 4.4MW solar farm on 6.7ha of the closed Khanh Son Landfill in Lien Chieu district at a cost of 5 million USD to supply 7.7 million kWh (kilowatt per hour) per year to the city’s power grid, while reducing 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Da Nang has great renewable energy potential, with a 90km coastline, 2,000 hours of sunlight per year and average wind speed of 3m per second.

According to the municipal Industry and Trade Department, about 30 percent of the city’s population use solar power for water heaters, while about 20 five-star hotels and resorts are using a solar power water heating system.

Da Nang has applied nano-lighting technology and saving solutions to reduce 30 percent of power consumption at public sites since 2009.

Solar power systems and energy-saving Light-emitting Diodes (LED) were installed in deep-sea fishing vessels as a pilot project in 2013.

Quang Binh aims to serve 4.3 million tourists in 2019

Southeastern provinces’ economy performs well in 2018, Vietnamese exports reach new markets, Da Nang, EU begin solar power project, Hai Duong grants licences to first foreign-invested projects in 2019

The central province of Quang Binh hopes to welcome 4.3 million visitors in 2019, about 250,000-300,000 of them foreigners, and earn some 5 trillion VND (more than 214 million USD) from tourism. 

In 2018, the locality reaped significant achievements in tourism development. It greeted more than 3.9 million visitors, a year-on-year rise of 18.2 percent. 

Notably, the number of foreign arrivals to the locality exceeded 200,000, up 53 percent compared to 2017.

The tourism sector raked in nearly 4.5 trillion VND (more than 192 million USD) in revenue in the year, 20 percent higher than that of the previous year.

The results were attributed to efforts by local authorities to tap local advantages for tourism, focusing on diversifying products. 

Many tours were opened to serve increasing demand of visitors, especially eco-tours, community tours and tours of Quang Binh’s popular destinations. 

Travel agencies operating in the locality have also paid attention to developing infrastructure facilities. 

Quang Binh is home to about 350 tourist accommodation facilities, including one 5-star hotel, five 4-star hotels and eight 3-star hotels. About 40 travel companies are operating in the locality, including 14 international ones.

Local authorities have also worked hard on national, regional and international tourism promotion, while enhancing connection with other localities in this field. 

Quang Binh boasts rich tourism resources and is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha -Ke Bang National Park and the world’s largest cave Son Doong.

The province also has the longest coastline in Vietnam, with beautiful beaches and delicious seafood. It was chosen as one of the filming destinations of the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Kong: Skull Island”. 

Supermarkets report sharp rise in sales during New Year

There was a surge in sales at supermarkets and shopping malls during the four-day New Year holiday.

Many supermarkets said the number of shoppers had increased by two or three times compared to normal days.

They increased stocks of products usually in high demand during holidays such as fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, semi-processed and ready-to-eat foods, frozen foods, and soft drinks. 

Though many also increased the number of check-out counters, the large number of customers meant long queues.

Some supermarkets ran out of fresh foods. A spokesperson for Saigon Co.op said during the New Year holiday, customer numbers at Co.opmart, Co.opXtra and Co.opFood had doubled over normal days as had sales of fresh foods, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Sales of clothing and kitchen appliances had been 30 percent higher, he said. 

Saigon Co.op’s Sense City department stores in Ben Tre, Can Tho and Ca Mau were also crowded, with people coming to watch films, eat and shop for clothing, footwear and cosmetics, especially if there were discounts.

Republic of Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart said sales had been up 20 percent, with processed and ready-to-eat foods, soft drinks, fruits and vegetables, and dried foods being the biggest sellers.

Promotions had greatly contributed to the higher sales, it said.

Lotte offered many promotions at its 13 stores nation-wide, including discounts of up to 49 percent on many leading brands.

Big C supermarkets, which offered discounts, also said sales had increased significantly.

However, traditional markets like Ba Chieu and Thi Nghe in Binh Thanh district, Go Vap in Go Vap district, and Binh Khanh in District 2 said the number of customers had been slightly down compared to normal days.

Traders there said this had been because many people had returned to their hometown or travelled.

Nguyen Thu Nga, a trader at Thị Nghe Market, said prices had remained normal except for some fresh products, whose prices had gone slightly up.

Officials managing wholesale markets said there had been abundant supply during the holiday and so prices had been steady.

Binh Duong: Tet bonuses for workers rise 10 percent from last year

Southeastern provinces’ economy performs well in 2018, Vietnamese exports reach new markets, Da Nang, EU begin solar power project, Hai Duong grants licences to first foreign-invested projects in 2019

Lunar New Year (Tet) bonuses for workers in businesses in southern Binh Duong province will increase by some 10 percent from last year, according to a recent survey.

The survey of 244 enterprises, conducted by the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, shows that the highest bonus, 120 million VND (5,142 USD) per person, will be provided by a foreign invested firm. Meanwhile, 1.5 million VND each will be the lowest level.

Deputy Director of the department Pham Van Tuyen said most businesses based in Binh Duong aim to raise salaries and give bonuses to their employees this year. 

Many of them also plan to present gifts and bus tickets to help workers return to their hometowns for Tet, the biggest traditional festival of Vietnam that falls in early February this year.

That will help improve workers’ lives and build strong labour relations, Tuyen added.

Binh Duong is a major industrial hub in the southern key economic region. It currently houses 29 industrial parks and 12 industrial clusters. The province is home to nearly 3,500 foreign invested projects with total registered capital of more than 31.7 billion USD, ranking third just behind the southern economic hub Ho Chi Minh City and the capital city Hanoi.

Vietnamese exports reach new markets

Vietnam exported goods to 200 countries and territories worldwide in 2018, including 50 major markets, Sai Gon Giai phong (Liberated Saigon) daily reported. 

Vietnam would increase its export turnover if the country knows how to optimise advantages generated by free trade agreements (FTAs)  it has signed, said Trinh Thi Thu Hien, head of the product origin bureau under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Export-Import Department. 

The country’s export to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) exceeded 21 billion USD last year, while that to China hit nearly 36 billion USD and to Japan was close to 17 billion USD. The Republic of Korea (RoK), Australia and New Zealand also remained big markets for Vietnamese products. 

Hien added that the numbers are expected to be higher in 2019 when the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and trade deals with the EU and the US are approved. 

According to Huynh Van Hanh, Vice President of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City, the wood sector earned 9.3 billion USD from exports last year, surpassing the set target of 9 billion USD, with a trade surplus of 7 billion USD, the highest as compared with other industries. 

The US and the EU remained the most potential markets for Vietnamese wood processors, but in fact, domestic businesses met only 1 percent of consumption demand in these markets.

Many firms said the US was still a key market as among 29 products with export value exceeding 1 billion USD in 2018, ten were shipped to the US. 

Experts stressed that it is necessary to identify markets for each group of goods, saying China, the EU, the US, ASEAN, Japan and the RoK, in order, should be the major destinations for Vietnamese farm produce and seafood. Meanwhile, the US, the EU, China, Japan and the RoK will be the main markets of Vietnamese industrial products. 

They also suggested domestic enterprises expand export markets, especially to countries that have committed to cutting tariffs under FTAs they have signed with Vietnam.

Experts, however, warned that local businesses are facing a range of technical barriers when approaching the foreign markets.

Vu Thi Kim Hanh, President of the Vietnamese High Quality Product Business Association, said Vietnamese agricultural products should meet GlobalGap standards in order to integrate deeper into the global supply chain. 

Also, garment-textile businesses need to change their production process to ensure safety for consumers, save natural resources and energy, and minimise waste, she added. 

Besides, reducing barriers at home, especially those regarding administrative procedures on business conditions, would help promote exports and improve competitiveness of domestic firms, said Tran Dinh Thien from the Vietnam Institute of Economics. 

He suggested competent agencies promote their role in assisting businesses to grasp new technical barriers in the world market, thus helping them change production plans and processes and ease risks in export.

Southeastern provinces’ economy performs well in 2018

Provinces in the southeastern region posted impressive economic figures in 2018, proving themselves an important growth engine of the whole country.

The Binh Duong People’s Committee reported that the local gross regional domestic product (GRDP) rose 9.01 percent, with a 9.79-percent increase in the industrial production.

The province attracted nearly 1.4 billion USD of foreign direct investment (FDI) and 5.2 trillion VND (222.8 million USD) of domestic capital. Last year, its export revenue increased by 15.6 percent from 2017. Exports by foreign invested businesses rose 17.5 percent to account for 80.5 percent of the total overseas shipments.

As a result, Binh Duong recorded a trade surplus of over 4.8 billion USD, up more than 100 million USD from the previous year. The exports included wood, textile-garment, footwear, rubber, and ceramics.

Notably, wood export reached 4.48 billion USD by the end of October, rising 8.5 percent year on year and making up almost half of the country’s total export of the product.

[Infographics: Vietnam's GDP in 2018 expands 7.08%, highest since 2011]

Meanwhile, the neighbouring province of Dong Nai estimates its export turnover in 2018 at over 18.6 billion USD, up 11.7 percent. Its trade surplus of around 2.6 billion USD surged over fourfold from 2014, the first year Dong Nai enjoyed a trade surplus – 625 million USD.

About 980 million USD of FDI capital was poured into 106 new projects, and another 870 million USD was added to 92 existing ones in Dong Nai, according to local authorities.

In Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, the economic growth rate reached 7.2 percent, contributed by the year-on-year expansion of the GRDP (6.43 percent), the industrial production value (8.72 percent), and exports (13.32 percent, excluding oil and gas).

Chairman of the Binh Duong People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem said in 2019, his province will push ahead with industrial development while paying more attention to the sectors with high added value and less environmental impact like electricity, electronics, and auto manufacturing.

At the same time, Dong Nai will continue prioritising investment attraction to supporting industries so as to raise the rate of local components in products, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Vinh said, noting that once the domestic supply of materials is ensured, the trade surplus will rise even higher in line with export growth in the coming years.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau authorities said in the time ahead, they will promote the five economic pillars of industry, seaports, logistics, tourism and hi-tech agriculture, which in turn will help the province reduce its dependence on the oil and gas sector and the FDI capital. 

Aquaculture grows towards an industrial scale

The coastal provinces of Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu have grown their aquaculture to an industrial scale and currently farm a large variety of species.

The three, among the country’s most important fisheries provinces, have a combined coastline of 450km and a number of rivers and lakes suitable for aquaculture.

Quỳnh Quang Huy, head of the Bình Thuận Province Fishery Sub-department, said thanks to favourable natural conditions such as climate and good quality water, the province enjoys great advantage in the production of shrimp seeds (black-tiger shrimp and white-legged shrimp).

Seed production is done in a concentrated manner and on a large scale, he said.

The province has 135 enterprises and other industrial-scale establishments that produced nearly 25 billion hatchlings last year.    

Mai Kiều, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the department has developed models for breeding shrimp based on Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards.

It also organises training courses on VietGAP standards for shrimp farmers, he said.

Nguyễn Văn Lâm, a farmer in La Gi Town who adopted one such model two years ago, said it enables high yields since the survival rate of shrimp is more than 90 per cent.

“The average profit is twice as from traditional farming methods.”

Bình Thuận has set a target of aquaculture accounting for more than 30 per cent of its total fisheries value by 2020.

It has 900ha of shrimp farms with an average annual yield of 9 -10 tonnes per hectare.     

Farmers also raise various kinds of freshwater fishes like marble goby, tilapia and bronze featherback on an area of 1,800ha. Last year they harvested more than 5,500 tonnes.

Farmers in the province also breed various kinds of marine fishes such as grouper and cobia and lobster in floating cages.

In neighbouring Ninh Thuận Province, farmers have developed concentrated shrimp farming areas based on VietGAP standards, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The province, the country’s largest shrimp seed producer, produces more than 30 billion shrimp hatchlings a year, mostly black-tiger shrimp and white-legged shrimp, which meets 30 per cent of the country’s demand.

It plans to have 2,300 – 2,500ha of aquaculture farms and supply 36 billion hatchlings by 2020.

In Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, many farmers breed shrimp and other aquatic species to VietGAP standards.

Nguyễn Đăng Nhân, who has had a 12ha white-legged shrimp farm in Xuyên Mộc District for five years, said he harvests three shrimp crops and a total of around 20 tonnes per hectare per year.

His VietGAP-quality shrimps sell at higher prices and have steady demand, he said.

Traders pay VNĐ3,000-5,000 (US$0.12- 0.21) more per kilogramme for them than for traditionally farmed shrimp, he said.

Trần Văn Cường, director of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said besides fishing at sea, the province also has large areas for breeding aquatic species in the Thị Vải, Dinh, Ray and Đu Đủ rivers and Đá Đen, Sông Ray and Châu Pha lakes.

It has zoned more than 16,100ha for breeding aquatic creatures in floating cages, ponds and lagoons, he said.  

Its aquaculture development plan envisages raising 80 per cent of the creatures to VietGAP standards by 2020. 

It will apply advanced techniques to increase yield and ensure food safety.

Cường said to meet the targets the province would step up investment in infrastructure in areas where aquaculture is concentrated.

Aquaculture has helped turn fallow lands in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu into areas that produce high-value aquatic species, and become one of the province’s important fields in recent years.

Its aquaculture has shifted from the extensive farming model to advanced extensive farming, semi-industrial farming and industrial farming models, according to its Fishery Sub-department. 

Vietnam strengthens efforts to remove EC’s "yellow card" warning on seafood

Vietnam has stepped up measures with an aim to convince the European Commission (EC) to remove a “yellow card” warning on its seafood, with strengthened efforts paid by all the relevant authorities, localities and fishermen.

As planned, in January 2019, the EC’s inspection team will return to Vietnam to inspect and assess the situation and the results of implementing EC’s recommendations on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This is the third time EC has inspected IUU issues in Vietnam. Previously, from May 15 to 24 this year, the EC team had field trips in several localities, followed by another inspection by the European Parliament in October.

Since October 23, 2017, when EC announced the application of "yellow card" warning measures for Vietnamese seafood products exported to the European Union (EU) market, with efforts and determination, Vietnam has "internalised" international and regional regulations on anti-IUU into its 2017 Fisheries Law as well as other related guiding documents.

The dissemination of information related to the "yellow card" warning has been boosted to relevant organisations and individuals in various localities, with strong measures also being implemented to handle violating fishing vessels. Most recently, the Kien Giang provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has made public a list of 25 fishing vessels and ship owners, in Rach Gia city and three districts of Chau Thanh, Kien Hai and Phu Quoc, that were committing IUU. In addition to naming them on public media, the province also required functional agencies to investigate, verify and strictly handle violations according to the provisions of law.

However, as Vietnam has 28 provinces with sea, with nearly 110,000 fishing vessels actively fishing, including 33,000 offshore fishing boats, the sole province of Kien Giang, or several other localities, cannot remove the "yellow card" by themselves. All need a synchronous engagement from the relevant ministries, sectors and localities in strictly implementing the government’s policies on numerous urgent tasks and solutions to remove the EC's warning, considering it as one of the top political tasks. The National Steering Committee for Combating IUU and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) should be the acting bodies to direct the implementation from the central to local levels, in order to promptly rectify and rearrange the operation of fishing activities.

In addition, the ministry should continue to complete documents guiding the implementation of the 2017 Fisheries Law, ensuring the effectiveness of such legal documents right from the beginning of 2019. At the same time, it should also develop the plan to deploy the Agreement on Port State Measures, which Vietnam has just joined, as well as the completion of the accession to the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement.

It is also necessary for the MARD to cooperate with the Ministries of Planning and Investment, and Finance and Transport, as well as relevant localities, in reviewing the fishing port system and anchorage areas, thus making additional adjustments for investment and upgrade in accordance with the current capacity of the fishing fleet.

Another key task is building control mechanisms for ships and seafood products originating from Vietnamese ports, while compiling documents to guide ship owners and fishermen to declare necessary information on fishing origins to serve the supervision work. The equipment of long-range positioning on fishing ships should be strengthened in a compulsory manner to facilitate inspection of offshore fishing.

For localities with frequent fishing vessels and fishermen violating foreign waters, together with strictly handling fishing vessels, it is crucial to consider and clarify the responsibilities of the heads of related administrations at all levels, thus, not to allow “one rotten apple to spoil the barrel”.

CPTPP trade deal officially takes effect

The 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) officially came into force on December 30, creating a free trade area covering more than a tenth of the global economy.

The trade deal, signed in March, is the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, a similar deal that included the US. However, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the TPP soon after he was elected.

The CPTPP will cut tariffs on agricultural and industrial products, ease investment regulations and enhance protection of intellectual property.

The 11 member countries of the CPTPP hope that the trade pact will help to counter growing protectionism.

Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore became the first six members to ratify the pact, setting the stage for its entry into force.

The CPTPP is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded and strips 98 percent of tariffs for the 11 countries with a combined GDP of more than 13.5 trillion USD and close to 500 million consumers.

It is expected to promote economic growth and poverty reduction, create more jobs and improve the living condition for the people of the member nations.

The trade deal was signed by 11 member states, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in Santiago in March 2018.

 

Source: VNS - Bridge

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