Last update: 13:00 | 12/03/2018

CP TPP expected to boost Vietnam-Chile economic ties

The newly-signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP TPP), of which Vietnam and Chile are members, is expected to be a new push for the economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two nations, held Vietnamese Ambassador to Chile Nguyen Ngoc Son.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, the diplomat noted that since Vietnam and Chile set up their diplomatic relations in 1971, the two countries have enjoyed sound partnership in all fields.

They have signed many deals facilitating their affiliation, including a free trade agreement in 2012. Two-way trade grew impressively to 1.3 billion USD in 2017 from only under 200 million USD in 2005.

They have set up dialogue mechanisms in politics and economy, along with annual meetings to review cooperation outcomes and map out collaboration plans for following years. 

Son stressed that the two sides are open economies, holding that the CP TPP will help further expand and develop bilateral economic, trade and investment partnerships. 

The ambassador said that almost all Presidents of Chile have visited Vietnam, reflecting the country's appreciation of Vietnam's role in the Southeast Asian region. In multilateral organisations, Chile has always supported Vietnam, especially in the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and other inter-regional organisations. 

Chile assisted Vietnam in its bids to join the UN Human Rights Council in the 2014-2016 tenure, and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the 2016-2018 period, while supporting Vietnam in running for a seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

At the same time, Vietnam has lauded the role of Chile and supported the country’s candidacy for positions in the UN agencies ​and other international organisations, including the UN Human Rights Council and UN Security Council, said Ambassador Son.

However, he said that bilateral investment remains modest, citing they are yet to have any project in each other' territory.

The diplomat also pledged that the Vietnamese Embassy in Chile and its trade affairs office will exert more efforts to introduce investment​ and trade opportunities in Vietnam to Chilean businesses.

Vietnam appreciates Japan’s leading role in CPTPP signing

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son spoke highly of Japan’s leading role in negotiating and signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) while meeting Japan’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii on March 9 in Tokyo.

Son congratulated Japan on its successful organisation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Ministerial Meeting on the Southeast Asia Regional Programme, affirming that the meeting will help boost cooperation between OECD and ASEAN nations in a practical and effective manner.

He asked Japan to continue backing the stance of Vietnam and ASEAN in the East Sea issue, and maintain coordination with Vietnam at regional and international forums such as the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), G20, and within the framework of Japan-Mekong cooperation.

He expressed his hope that Japan will remain the largest investor in Vietnam with more capital poured into supporting and manufacturing industries and hi-tech agriculture, maintain its ODA provision in infrastructure, and facilitate Vietnam’s exports, especially agricultural products.

Iwao Horii spoke highly of Vietnam’s participation in and contributions to the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Southeast Asia Regional Programme.

He showed his delight at the signing of the CPTPP between Vietnam, Japan and nine other countries in the Pacific Rim.

He expressed his hope that Vietnam will create more favourable conditions for bilateral economic cooperation projects, and said that Japan will maintain its assistance to develop infrastructure in Vietnam and the Mekong sub-region, including the East-West Economic Corridor.

He affirmed that his country supports efforts to maintain peace, stability, and maritime and aviation freedom in the East Sea.

Both host and guest agreed to coordinate closely to prepare for visits made by the two countries’ leaders this year when they are celebrating the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Nghe An asked to double economic scale by 2025

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the central province of Nghe An to work harder to double its economic scale by 2025, becoming a locality with high income in the region.

The Government leader made the request while addressing the 10th annual meeting with investors conference in Nghe An on March 10, which drew a large number of domestic firms and foreign businesses from various countries such as Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Australia.

Lauding​ the local government's efforts ​​and strong determination to attract investment, the PM sai​d that Nghe An's experience is helpful for other localities in investment promotion.

He held that the joint determination of local government and investors has made Nghe An an attractive destination for businesses with large projects, showing the good combination between domestic and foreign-invested capital resources.

The PM noted that Nghe An has various favourable conditions for development in all fields​, including its location​ as a transit point of northern and southern economic regions, as well as a population of nearly 4 million.

The province ranked 25th out of 63 localities in the 2016 provincial competitiveness index, ​seven spaces higher than 2015, he noted, adding that many other indications, including those on market engagement and labour training, also increased.

However, the province's performance in unofficial costs and land use remained modest, he said, asking the locality to continue improving its investment and business environment to lure more investors.

The PM urged Nghe An to continue building a dynamic, action-oriented and dialogue-willing government with better services for investors, while fully implementing commitments with investors and staying ready to respond to their requests.

Nghe An should join neighbouring Thanh Hoa and Ha Tinh provinces to form a growth ​with modern industry and smart agriculture and play the role as the driving force for the inclusive growth of the northern central region and the country as a whole in the near future.

He underlined that the province needs to tap its advantages in location to draw more investment, technology and high quality human resources, while encouraging and creating favourable conditions for the growth of support industries and other related sectors.

Although industry and services play a more important role in the economy, Nghe An province should develop agriculture comprehensively, with the focus on biological, organic and hi-tech agriculture, considering it a firm ​basis to ​for the locality to grow sustainably and strongly,​ PM Phuc said.

The province should pay attention to early upgrading the Thanh Thuy border gate and Vinh airport to international ones, attract investment from the private sector, especially in infrastructure of industrial zones, seaports and airports, and work to hasten the progress of a highway project which will help reduce the travel time from Hanoi to Nghe An to 2.5 hours.

The Government leader stressed the need for the locality to improve the quality of education and carry out policies to draw investment in high-quality universities and vocational schools in the fields of information technology, bio-technology, and manufacturing technology, as well as encourage the involvement of both domestic and foreign intellectuals in the local economic development.

He requested ministries, sectors to soon study and submit to the Government appropriate policies and mechanisms to connect the north central and central economic regions and Nghe An in particular to mobilise maximum resources and improve the business and investment environment in order to help Nghe An and its neighbouring Ha Tinh grow stronger in the time to come.

He also asked investors to ​realise their commitments, combine economic development with environmental protection, and ensure the interests of labourers.

This year’s conference continued to attract numerous big investment projects in Nghe An. The province granted investment licences to nine projects, and signed 16 memoranda of understanding on investment cooperation with a total registered capital of 13.1 trillion VND (576.4 million USD).

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Sai Gon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) handed over three agreements providing credits worth 800 billion VND (35.2 million USD).

On the same day, the Government leader offered incense at the Dong Loc T-junction Relic Site to commemorate the 10 female youth volunteers who died on duty at the T-junction during wartime in Can Loc district, Ha Tinh province.

He also paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at Nghe An’s Kim Lien relic site.

Growth boosts demand for industrial land


Demand for industrial land around the country is expected to increase thanks to significant growth in terms of both industrial production and FDI.

Last year HCM City’s index of industrial production grew by 7.9 percent while Hanoi’s expanded by 7.1 percent.

FDI flows into HCM City topped 6.3 billion USD while for Hanoi they were worth 2.4 billion USD, a national year-on-year increase of 22.5 percent, and most foreign and domestic investors are seeking to expand production.

At HCM City IPs, according to real estate service consultant Colliers International, at the end of 2017 the average annual rent was 142.2 USD per square metre, an increase of 0.9 percent from the previous year.

HCM City now has 20 operating IPs with a total area of 3,025 hectares. Cu Chi district has the largest number of industrial parks totally measuring 863 hectares, but the price is lowest there at 80-90 USD per square metre.

By 2025 it is expected that more 2,300ha in eight new industrial parks will come into the market with a promise of better infrastructure and services.

From now through 2025 rents are expected to increase sharply.

Authorities around the country continue to offer incentives to promote supporting industries.

The HCM City science and technology department has set up a database for all enterprises in supporting industries, including foreign companies, for easy connection and technology transfer.

Around 200 hectares in the Hiep Phuoc and Le Minh Xuan 3 Industrial Parks will be earmarked for supporting industries.

Hanoi has 11 industrial parks with 2,700 hectares, mostly in outlying districts.

Rents in Hanoi’s IPs increased more than in HCM City in 2017 with an occupation rate of 82.6 percent, 5.3 percentage points higher than the year before.

By 2020, Hanoi will have 14 more IPs with 6,100 hectares in operation.

“With a business-friendly environment and high demand from customers, we hope the trend will continue through 2018,” David Jackson, General Director of Colliers International Vietnam, told the Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times) newspaper.

“Hanoi is a good location close to northern industrial centres like Hai Phong, Hung Yen and Bac Ninh, and this helps the city be the best location for IPs.”

In other cities too, demand for industrial land has increased as many enterprises have expanded their production since the beginning of this year.

For instance, HTMP Ltd signed a contract with TNI Holdings Vietnam to expand its production at the Quang Minh Industrial Park, Japanese automobile parts maker Toyoda Gosei started construction of a new plant in Tien Hai Viglacera Industrial Park in the northern province of Thai Binh.

Industrial production has recovered and is expected to expand, and the occupancy ratio at industrial parks has significantly increased, especially this year.

Lack of funds hinders MSMEs’ growth

Micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) account for nearly 97 percent of the total number of businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, with more than 90 percent of newly-established ones every year belonging to this category.

But despite being the backbone of the city and country’s economy, MSMEs facing many challenges in accessing funding to upgrade technology to boost productivity and competitiveness.

According to a survey by the HCM City Business Association, of the number of original brand manufacturers (OBM) – enterprises that design their own products, buy components produced by others and sell products under their own brands – operating in city’s six key industries of mechanical engineering, food processing, chemical-plastics-rubber, electronics-information, textile-garment and footwear, only 48 percent are MSMEs.

Moreover, MSMEs that operate as OBM in mechanical engineering, chemical-plastics-rubber and electronics-information use limited or out-of-date technologies.

Do Phuoc Tong, chairman of the HCM City Association of Mechanical Electrical Enterprises, said that most mechanical enterprises are MSMEs or household businesses.

Since they lack new technologies and research and development capacity, MSMEs, usually working as sub-contractors for big companies or second- and third-class suppliers, mainly handle raw materials and assemble products with very low value addition, he said.

Besides, Vietnamese consumers’ preference for “foreign brands” is also a big challenge for MSMEs.

Tong said there are Vietnamese products that match the quality of foreign-made items, but they are not accepted in local markets until they are exported to overseas markets like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand and imported back to Vietnam.

Export-import enterprises claimed it is because Vietnamese export products are “better” than local ones though local manufacturers said they are of the same quality.

Whatever the reason is, the fact remains that enterprises have to bear the logistics costs of sending their products overseas to sell them at home.

MSMEs are unlikely to grow rapidly in the near future due to shortcomings in Government policies, one of which is the tax regime, according to experts.

To attract foreign investment, the Government waives tax on import of machinery, equipment and tools by foreign direct investment (FDI) companies for use in manufacture. But local enterprises have to pay 10 percent import tariff on the same stuff.

The cumbersome procedures involved in getting loans also make it harder for MSMEs to operate. Most lenders demand mortgage of assets which is a big problem for MSMEs.

Nguyen Dinh Tue, director of the Centre for Supporting Small and Medium sized Enterprises, said because of financial constraints, MSMEs cannot upgrade their technologies or improve productivity to compete on price.

To support MSMEs, the Government needs to create a healthy business environment and reduce issues like red tape and harassment. Besides, to help them access credit, the Government should share their risks to reduce their mortgage burden, Tue said.

Director of the city’s Department of Trade and Industry, Pham Thanh Kien, said his department is considering a lending rate cut in preferential loans for enterprises to below 7 percent.

The municipal Department of Trade and Industry recently said it would continue to work with the State Bank of Vietnam’s Branch in HCM City to implement the bank-enterprise link-up programme in the city with a focus on five sectors and industries.

They are agriculture and rural development, exports, MSMEs, supporting industries, and enterprises that adopt new technology.

Under the programme, credit institutions in the city can sign up to lend to enterprises at a preferential interest rate of 6.5 percent for short-term loans and 8–9 percent for medium- and long-term loans.

Moreover this year, banks will consider further cut interest rates for enterprises that borrow a second or a third time through the programme.

The link-up programme, initiated by the SBV, began in 2012. Last year, banks provided loans worth more than 300 trillion VND (13 billion USD) to 15,778 enterprises participating in the programme.

Vietnam start-up investment rises 42 percent 

Up to 291 million USD was poured into Vietnamese start-ups last year, a year-on-year increase of 42 percent, according to a recent report by Topica Founder Institute (TFI).

Ninety-two start-ups received investment last year, almost a double from 2016.

Domestic investors accounted for 64 deals, while foreign investors made 28.

For the first time, local venture capitalists and angels bypassed foreigners in deal count. However, foreign investors still generated higher deal value.

The amount domestic investors poured into Vietnamese start-ups in the past year was only 46 million USD, relatively modest compared with the 245 million USD from foreign investors.

Among investors, 500 Startups led in successful investment deals, with 11 acquisitions, followed by ESP Capital, a new homegrown venture capital firm.

With 20 million USD in establishing funds, ESP Capital is focused on technology start-up companies in their beginning stages (pre-seed and seed funding stages), with investment funds from 50,000 USD to 300,000 USD.

Thanks to the rise of domestic investment funds, Vietnamese firms like VIISA, ESP, VSV, 500 Startups Vietnam and Shark Tank have completed 49 early-stage deals last year.

Formerly known as a "unicorn" startup in Asia, Sea Group (formerly Garena) topped the list of investors pouring capital into Vietnamese start-ups last year.

The report said that Sea paid 64 million USD to acquire an 82 percent of stake in Foody, a restaurant review start-up.

Besides, Sea also acquired two top Fintech and logistic players. The details are undisclosed but the value is estimated at up to 50 million USD.

CyberAgent Ventures, a venture capital fund from Japan, continues to be one of the most active funds in Vietnam.

The fund successfully exited four deals this year with Foody, CleverAds, Tiki and Vexere.

In addition, the Norwegian telecommunication company Telenor’s acquisition of 701Search, regional holding of, a local classified site, for 109 million USD was one of the notable deals to watch within the Vietnamese start-up ecosystem.

According to observers, with a growth rate of about 22 percent a year, the Vietnamese e-commerce market is a lucrative slice for businesses with investments from many domestic and foreign tech giants.

Specifically, there are 21 e-commerce investment deals conducted with a total value of 83 million USD last year.

In particular, Tiki has received a Series C investment up to 54 million USD from investors and STC Investment.

Meanwhile, Sea, which is well-known for managing and operating popular games, is taking over two Vietnamese start-ups in this field.

Sea CEO Forrest Li shared with the media that the company is moving toward e-commerce. The acquisition of the two start-ups in Vietnam was driven by the attractiveness of the e-commerce market here, reported Thoi bao kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times).

Following e-commerce is foodtech with the presence of Foody, Cooky and an undisclosed platform and social community related to food and restaurants, at a total deal size of 65 million USD.

Fintech ranked third, with eight investment deals, worth 57 million USD.

Media is also one of the hot areas with nine deals and more than 18 million USD in deal value.

Logistics and online travel are also included in the list with five deals in total, valued at 18 million USD and 10 million USD, respectively, with some big names including Vntrip and Inspitrip.

Nghe An lures investments     

Nghe An Province has emerged as a hot investment destination when many areas in the North and South have shown signs of saturation with increasing capital flowing in the province in recent years, attendees told a workshop on investment attraction and support in the province held on March 9.

According to Do Nhat Hoang, director of the Foreign Investment Agency, the region should take the initiative to develop its infrastructure and quality of human resources in order to take advantage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Agreement which Viet Nam and 10 other member countries signed on March 8 in Chile.

Viet Nam, with low cost labour and competitive advantage, is among three ASEAN countries which are on the investment radar.

Meanwhile, Nghe An Province has enjoyed significant growth in investment inflow in the past 10 years thanks to its enormous efforts in building infrastructure and improving the investment climate and business conditions.

The north central coastal province has drawn 980 investment projects (927 domestic and 53 foreign direct investment projects) with total registered capital of VND276 trillion (US$12.1 billion) in the last 10 years, a record high compared to the previous periods, a provincial People’s Committee’s report showed.

In 2017 alone, the province inaugurated 176 new projects with combined registered capital of over VND14.5 trillion.

Dairy firm TH Group has invested a total of VND65 trillion in this region, including a $1.2-billion hi-tech concentrated dairy and fresh milk production project. Sabeco has two projects worth a combined VND2.4 trillion. PetroVietnam has four projects with total investment capital of VND7.5 trillion. Hoa Sen Group has two steel projects worth VND7.3 trillion. Vingroup invested in a resort complex worth VND900 billion.

Many foreign companies have also opted to invest in Nghe An, such as WHA Group’s $1 billion industrial park construction, the $30 million Hitech BSE telecommunications electronic equipment factory and Mavin AustFeed’s VND325 billion cattle feed plant.

Increasing investment has helped the province shift its economic structure towards modernity, contributing to the growth in local budget revenue, from VND4.44 trillion in 2009 to VND12.03 trillion in 2017, creating tens of thousands of jobs for local workers. The province’s per capita income has increased to VND29 million ($1,272) per year.

Nghe An is one of the few provinces which have established an investment promotion and support centre under the provincial People’s Committee. This one-stop agency has helped reduce procedures for investors. The authority has also actively engaged in direct dialogue with the business community to listen to solve problems quickly.

In 2009, the province initiated the first investment promotion conference with the participation of three parties (authority, investors and creditors) which aimed to resolve problems for businesses, enhancing the business environment and attracting more investment.

The “Meeting Investors”, with the participation of the Prime Minister and representatives of leaders of central and local ministries and sectors, has become Nghe An’s iconic annual event with entrants increasing from 200 to about 1,000 visitors this year.

Along with attracting investment by the red carpet and support policies, the provincial authority has been accelerating the planning for infrastructure development, especially transportation, to ensure the favorable movement of goods and services. – VNS

PM attends the 10th investment conference in Nghe An

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will attend the 10th investment promotion conference in Nghe An Province on March 10.

The provincial authority will present its achievements in investment attraction in the province in the past 10 years, as well as introduce its socio-economic issues and investment environment and policy. The Government leader will deliver a speech, giving direction for the province’s investment and socio-economic development in the coming years.

The conference opens investment opportunities for businesses in the region. It is expected to draw 1,000 delegates this year, including state management agencies, embassies, international financial organisations, big domestic and foreign corporations and potential investors. 

Developers should lead planning: experts     

The Government should acknowledge the significant role developers play in the real estate market and in city planning, experts have said.

Dr Huynh The Du of Fulbright University Viet Nam, speaking at a workshop on March 9 on the role of developers in HCM City’s real estate market development programme, said the Government has a limited role to play in setting the scene and developers should be the ones to lead the market as they know what projects need to be built and where.

One developer said: “The city’s urban planning is not done in an effective way at the moment. Even the person who approves [housing] projects does not really have a clear idea of what they are doing.”

Yet to some extent developers have to rely on the master plan, she added.

Du said the Government has the role of regulating the market.

Prof Richard Peiser from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in the US agreed that developers have a big role to play.

“Often city leaders think they are the ones that lead the market and can set the context and the playing field, but developers are the ones who take the risk and someone has to take the risk.

“Developers are the key because they are the ones who tidy up the land, bring the capital and have the responsibility of having the project built.

“They are at the centre of making it happen.”

But he also said one of the key ingredients for a vibrant and competitive real estate market is proper regulation by the Government.

To promote the development of the real estate market, the Government should also try not to limit the participation of FDI investors since they bring capital, promote competition and improve design standards in the market, he said.

Asked how local developers can compete with international players who are from more developed markets if the Government opens the doors wide to FDI investors, he said: “Real estate is a very local business and local developers always have better information and certain natural advantages.”

Maybe in big projects local developers would be somewhat at a disadvantage, so it is appropriate that the Government requires a certain amount of legislation to better monitor the market, he said.

Some protection is good but in general it should not keep out foreign investors, he added.

Last year foreign investment in real estate amounted to 8.5 per cent of the city’s total FDI of $3.05 billion. 

FLC to build resort complex in Quang Ngai     

The People’s Committee of central Quang Ngai Province on Thursday approved FLC Group to build a range of projects in the locality, including a 3,890ha resort complex.

The FLC Binh Chau – Ly Son complex would cover four coastal communes including Binh Chau, Binh Phu, Binh Hoa and Binh Hai in the province’s Binh Son District and 20ha in Ly Son and An Binh islands.

The complex would include a five or six star hotel, beach resort, villas, golf courses, a 1,500-seat international convention centre, entertainment area, trade centre and a boat cruise connecting Binh Chau and Ly Son Island.

FLC Group asked the province to hand over clean land for them to start the project’s first phase in the second quarter of the year.

The two sides also discussed building a 16ha twin tower in the province or hi-tech agriculture projects.

FLC’s chairman Trinh Van Quyet expected that the province would support the investor in launching the project as soon as possible.

The province said tourism and service development are considered a key task in its 2016-20 development plan. Quang Ngai has the potential of diversified landscapes and local distinctive culture. However, it has not seen big tourism projects which could improve the sector.

It added that it would facilitate FLC in completing the necessary procedures for the project. 

Thailand investor buys more BMP stake     

The Nawaplastic Industries, an affiliate of Thailand’s SCG Group, on Friday successfully bought 29.51 per cent of stake of Binh Minh Plastics Company (BMP), or 24,159,906 shares worth more than VND2.33 trillion (US$102.35 million).

The shares have a reference price of VND96,500 each.

The trading has bought the Nawaplastic Industries’ total ownership at BMP to 49.91 per cent of the stake.

The auction was held by the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), which owns over 29.5 per cent of stake at BMP.

At the auction, there were two participants including the Nawaplastic Industries and an individual.

The Nawaplastic Industries has ordered the lot at the reference price, but gave away 20,000 BMP shares to an individual. 

Vinachem announces equitisation plan for 2018     

The Viet Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem) has announced its equitisation and divestment plans for its member companies in 2018.

Regarding the plan, Vinachem will seek the approval of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Industry and Trade to issue a decision on the corporation’s equitisation of its three member companies in the first and second quarter of 2018.

The three companies are the Viet Nam Apatite One Member Limited Company, the Viet Nam Institute of Industrial Chemistry and the parent company of Vinachem.

This is part of Decision No.16/QD-TTg dated January 5, 2018, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, approving the restructuring plan for Vinachem.

The decision, designated for 2018-2020, aims to improve Vinachem’s structure, capacity, production efficiency and business competitiveness.

While signing the decision, the deputy prime minister stated the need for streamlined and compact business models after the equitisation and divestment process at Vinachem and its member companies.

Regarding the divestment plan, the key focus of Vinachem is State divestment from a number of its subsidiaries.

For seven companies that Vinachem is holding 50-plus per cent to less than 65 per cent stake, Vinachem will maintain a 51 per cent stake at Ninh Binh Phosphate Fertiliser Joint Stock Company and Viet Nam Pesticide Joint Stock Company.

At the same time, it will sell a part of its stake in the other five companies, which are Industrial Gas and Welding Electrode Joint Stock Company, Viet Tri Chemical Joint Stock Company, South Basic Chemicals JSC, Lam Thao Fertilisers and Chemicals Join-Stock Company and VanDien Fused Magnesium Phosphate Fertiliser Joint Stock Company.

For nine companies that Vinachem is holding less than 50 per cent stake, it will reduce the portion to 36 per cent. The nine companies are Southern Rubber Industry Joint Stock Company, Da Nang Rubber Joint Stock Company, Yellow Star Rubber Joint Stock Company, Binh Dien Fertiliser Joint Stock Company, Can Tho Fertiliser and Chemicals Joint Stock Company, Southern Fertiliser Joint Stock Company, Net Detergent Joint Stock Company, Lix Detergent Joint Stock Company and Dry Cell and Storage Battery Joint Stock Company.

Vinachem will also divest completely in 15 other companies, including Hanoi Soap Joint Stock Company, Vinh Phu Storage Batteries & Dry Cells Joint Stock Company, Inoue Rubber Viet Nam Co Ltd, TPC VINA Plastic and Chemical Corporation Limited and Southern Chemical Import and Export Joint Stock Company.

"Vinachem has clearly defined its restructure roadmap. However, in order to overcome challenges and difficulties, in addition to the efforts of leaders and staff, Vinachem hopes to receive support from the Government, related ministries and agencies,” Vinachem said.

Vinachem’s main businesses are production and trading of basic chemicals, and mining and processing of raw material for fertilisers, pesticides and chemical production.

VP Bank stock permitted for margin trading     

The HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE) has removed the shares of Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPB) from the list of securities not eligible for margin trading.

Six months have expired since the first trading date on August 7, 2017.

On the stock market, the price of VPB was VND65,100 (US$2.9) per share on Thursday, and the average liquidity was nearly 4.3 million shares per session.

In 2017, VPB posted a pre-tax profit of more than VND8.1 trillion, registering a 65 per cent year-on-year increase.

The bank’s total assets reached nearly VND278 trillion last year, increasing 21 per cent from the previous year.

Customer lending rose by 24 per cent to VND196 trillion in 2017, and the deposit was VND200 trillion, up 16 per cent from the previous year.

Its turnover growth rate in 2017 was VND25 trillion, posting a 48 per cent year-on-year rise. The net profit rose by 36 per cent and net services by 70 per cent. It used more than VND8 trillion for its risk prevention fund.

The bank’s growth quality was also seen through the return on equity (ROE) of 27.47 per cent and the return on assets (ROA) of 2.54 per cent. 

Rong Viet Securities profit doubles     

Rang Viet Securities Company has reported that its profits more than doubled year-on-year in the first two months.

Its pre-tax profit in the period was VND30 billion (US$1.3 million), on revenues of VND75 billion ($3.3 million).

Revenues from margin trading rose by over 48 per cent while income from brokerage saw a whopping 179 per cent jump.

The company said 2018 is the first year since its restructuring.

This year it targets after-tax profit of VND144 billion ($6.3 million).

It plans to increase its registered capital to VND1 trillion ($43 million) by issuing shares and invest in human resources and IT. 

Vinacapital, Maybank Kim Eng host VN Corporate Day in London     

VinaCapital and Maybank Kim Eng Securities hosted the Viet Nam Corporate Day in London on Wednesday and Thursday to showcase investment opportunities in Viet Nam’s stock markets.

The event, featuring large cap companies like Coteccons, FPT Retail, HDBank, Phu Nhuan Jewelry, Eximbank, and Vietjet Air, was attended by around 100 institutional investors with combined assets in excess of US$7 trillion.

“Viet Nam’s stock market has become one of the most attractive destinations for international investors thanks to solid progress in the SOE privatisation programme and the Government’s focus on foreign investments,” Kim Thien Quang, CEO of Maybank Kim Eng Viet Nam, said.

Don Lam, CEO of VinaCapital, said the event was in line with his fund’s efforts over the last 14 years to promote Viet Nam’s impressive growth story to the world and facilitate direct discussions between international investors and Vietnamese businesses.

“From the success of Viet Nam Corporate Day, I believe more investors will take notice that Viet Nam is open for business, and participate in more opportunities to help take Vietnamese companies to the next stages of growth and improve their competiveness in ASEAN and the world.”

Vietnam’s agriculture targets 3.05% growth in 2018

Vietnam’s agriculture reached an export value of US$36.5 billion last year. With positive signals in the first two months of 2018, the sector aims to grow 3.05% this year with an export value of US$40.5 billion, higher than previous plans.

In the first two months of 2018, Vietnam earned more than US$6 billion from the export of agricultural produce. The exports of rice, coffee, tea, cashew nut, vegetables, fruits, and cassava grew both in quantity and quality. The results are attributable to effective restructuring of crop and livestock production. 

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said his Ministry will seek to raise growth targets. 

“We have reviewed measures toward higher growth targets. Next week, we will meet and then submit to the government our revised solutions. This year, we aim to achieve a growth rate of 3.05% against the set target of 3% and earn US$40.5 billion from export instead of previous target of US$38 billion”, said Mr Tuan. 

The Ministry is working to eliminate the “yellow card” imposed on Vietnam’s fisheries by the European Commission before the deadline April 23rd. Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Directorate of Fisheries said that the revised Law on Fisheries has integrated the EC’s recommendations on preventing and fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). 

Ms Dung said, “The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sent dispatches to the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of National Defense requesting close coordination in implementing the Prime Minister’s Decree 45 on urgent measures to deal with the EC’s warnings on fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. 

The Ministry has asked the fisheries surveillance force to increase patrols and monitoring at sea. It updates list of illegal fishing vessels on a monthly basis, increases the local administrations’ responsibilities, and cooperates with other countries which claim violations of fishing vessels.”

China, the US, the EU, ASEAN countries, Japan and the Republic of Korea continue to be Vietnam’s major agricultural export markets this year. 

The Ministry is undertaking drastic solutions including promoting incentives to lure more investment in agriculture, and strengthening the value chain in production, processing and consumption of agricultural products to achieve set targets.

New prospects for Ho Chi Minh City in 2018

Ho Chi Minh City authorities expect 2018 to be a breakthrough year in development, especially now that the city has been tasked with piloting special development mechanisms and policies.

HCM City witnessed positive signals in the first two months of this year. In January, its exports reached US$3.4 billion, up nearly 32% from last year, contributing more than US$1.6 billion to the State budget, up 10%. The industrial development index rose more than 15% and the garment sector signed a number of export deals, 70% of them with US partners. In the first month of 2018, the city established more than 2,800 new firms with a total registered capital of more than US$860 million, up 23%.

Tran Tuan Long, President of Thiet Thach Construction Investment JS Company, said, “I hope that Vietnam and HCM City will achieve even more outstanding economic achievements than last year, a stellar year for the Vietnamese economy. I hope the business community will thrive and help Vietnam's economy thrive this year.”

Returning to HCM City during the first days of this year, Le Ngoc Lam, a Vietnamese living in Japan, was surprised by how much the city had changed in a short period of time, in infrastructure, policies to facilitate businesses' operations, and especially the strong growth of the startup movement. He said he is extremely glad that the municipal administration is quickly using new mechanisms to develop HCM City and attract talent.

According to Lam, “in order to build a smart city and a qualified team of leaders, policies are needed to support human resource training. To attract talent we need a good salary mechanism. Cadres need to be professionally trained for the long term.”

In response to the government motto “Disciplined, incorruptible, active, creative, and effective”, the city will implement 7 breakthrough programs to improve growth and economic competitiveness in combination with comprehensive economic restructuring.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, a Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, said that this year HCMC has adopted 3 new breakthrough solutions to create motivation in addition to the 7 breakthrough programs to exploit the new mechanisms.

He said, “The first solution is to fine-tune the management mechanism. Second is building a smart city. And the third solution is to mobilize domestic and foreign consultants to design an innovative urban center which comprises district 9, home to high-tech zones, district 2 with new urban areas and a financial center, and Thu Duc district with 12 universities with more than 1,500 doctorates and lecturers, and 70,000 students.”

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