03/12/2023   17:05 (GMT+07:00)
Vietnam’s import and export value amounted to US$619.2 billion in January-November this year, up by 8.3% against the same period last year, showed data of the General Statistics Office.
In November alone, the country’s trade with the rest of the world amounted to US$60.9 billion, a 5.9% year-on-year increase.
However, during the 11-month period, export revenue declined by 5.9% year-on-year to US$322.5 billion, while imports dropped by 10.7% to nearly US$296.7 billion.
Vietnam achieved a trade surplus of US$25.8 billion between January and November. The figure surpassed the Jan-Oct data of US$24.6 billion to become the highest level in five years.
Seven groups of export items generated export revenue of US$10 billion or more each, including electronics, computers, and components; phones and phone parts; machinery, tools, and parts; textiles and garments; footwear; automobiles and parts; and wood and wood products.
There were 43 groups of import products that exceeded US$1 billion in revenue, collectively accounting for 92.2% of the nation’s total imports.
The U.S. remained the top export market for Vietnam, bringing in US$88 billion in export revenue in January-November, while China continued to be the largest exporter to Vietnam, contributing US$99.6 billion in Vietnam’s import value.
HCMC achieves 59.8% of public investment disbursement target
HCMC disbursed over VND42.6 trillion in public investment capital in January-November, equivalent to 59.8% of the full-year plan set by the prime minister.
During this 11-month period, the city’s public investment disbursement rose 60.06% against the same period last year, according to the HCMC Statistics Office.
In November alone, State-funded capital construction and major repair projects in HCMC recorded disbursements of nearly VND6.5 trillion, a 16.5% increase against October and a year-on-year rise of an impressive 91.2%.
The city has made significant progress in several major projects, notably the HCMC Metro Line No. 1, which is now over 95% complete. This 19.7-kilometer urban railway, connecting Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City, has a total cost of over VND43,700 billion, or nearly US$2 billion.
The Management Authority for Urban Railways of HCMC (MAUR) looks to put the project into commercial operation by July 2024.
The second component of the HCMC Beltway No. 3 project has also seen expedited progress due to swift compensation for affected households, with 94% of site clearance completed. The Nhon Trach Bridge project on the road is moving as planned, and it is now 38% complete, compared to 33% as initially planned for this time.
However, the National Highway 50 widening project in the outlying district of Binh Chanh has had difficulties with site clearance and the relocation of technical infrastructure. The project’s expected completion date has been set for December 31, 2024.
Expansion of Ho Chi Minh Road in Ca Mau proposed
The Ho Chi Minh Road Project Management Board has proposed the Ministry of Transport approve the VND4,200-billion expansion of a section of the Ho Chi Minh Road from Nam Can to Dat Mui in Ca Mau Province.
The targeted road section is the final part of the Ho Chi Minh Road. The initial phase of the project, covering 58.7 kilometers from Ong Tinh Bridge in Nam Can District to the Dat Mui tourist site in Ngoc Hien District, Ca Mau Province, was completed in 2016.
Recognizing the need to upgrade and widen the road to accommodate the growing travel demand, the Ho Chi Minh Road Project Management Board has proposed upgrading the entire route with two lanes for vehicles and widening the road surface to 12 meters. Additionally, a section within the city will be expanded to 21 meters with four lanes.
Since site clearance for the Nam Can to Dat Mui section was completed during the first phase of the project, there will be no need for further land clearance for this road upgrade and expansion.
The project’s investment cost will be sourced from the State budget. If approval is forthcoming, the Ho Chi Minh Road expansion project in Ca Mau Province is scheduled for completion in 2027.
Agro-forestry-fishery trade surplus in Jan-Nov up by 33.7%
Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery trade surplus in January-November amounted to US$10.55 billion, up by 33.7% year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In the year to November, trade of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products had amounted to US$85.13 billion, down by 5.9% against the previous year, with exports accounting for US$47.84 billion in revenue and imports fir US$37.29 billion.
Six products with export value of US$3 billion or higher include coffee, rice, vegetables, cashew nuts, shrimp, and wood and wooden products. Certain agricultural products such as rice, tea, and coffee got higher export prices.
In November alone, agricultural, forestry, and fishery exports generated US$4.79 billion in revenue, a 13% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. All commodities reported a surge in export prices, with agricultural products rising by 24.7%, forestry products by 2.8%, and fishery products by 1.4%.
During the eleven-month period, agricultural, forestry, and fishery exports to Asian and African countries expanded by 6.8% and 21.7%, respectively. Meanwhile, exports to the Americas, Europe, and Oceania fell.
Textile, garment enterprises need to embrace green transition: Seminar
The imperative for enterprises, including those in the textile and garment sector, to proactively embrace the green transition wave for enhanced global supply chain positioning was highlighted at a seminar in HCM City on Friday.
“Enhancing Competitive Capacity for Textile and Garment Enterprises on the Green Growth Pathway,” organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, HCM City (VCCI-HCM) and Global PR Hub, was attended by executives from over 100 textile and garment enterprises.
Experts said global fashion brands are increasingly prioritising green business and encouraging suppliers to adopt sustainable practices.
Renewable energy, especially solar, is a viable long-term solution for sustainable transformation in manufacturing, they said.
Nguyễn Hữu Nam, deputy director of VCCI-HCM, said textile and garment exports are a key component in Việt Nam’s open economy, and underlined the necessity to adapt to new conditions and regulations in export markets.
Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai, deputy secretary-general of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said Việt Nam’s free-trade agreements (FTAs) with 53 countries offer favourable conditions for market expansion and improving production and business efficiency.
But she also pointed out that newer generation FTAs impose stricter requirements for green growth, posing a challenge to over 80 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises due to their lack of resources to invest in eco-friendly production transitions.
Complex requirements such as LEED certification, supply chain due diligence, origin tracing, and ecological design standards have deterred many businesses from making the transition, she added.
Experts said Việt Nam’s textile and garment companies still have considerable room for exports in international markets and so need to learn and comply with new regulations in major markets like the EU and US.
An expert from AHK Vietnam spoke about the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement boosting Việt Nam’s competitiveness in the textile and garment industry, but noted that the vague provisions on labour protection and social responsibility could challenge Vietnamese enterprises.
Challenges of the green transition by the textile and garment industry were discussed at the seminar, notably from major markets such as the EU, which are tightening environmental standards, introducing the carbon border adjustment mechanism and implementing the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.
Safety, particularly during significant investments such as installing photovoltaic systems, was also highlighted as a major concern.
During discussions on exemplary cases and lessons learned from developed countries, VITAS, WWF Vietnam, SolarEdge Vietnam, LONGi, and HDBank representatives delved deep into green transition in advanced countries, opportunities for Việt Nam and access to green credit for enterprises.
Việt Nam has 7,000 textile and garment companies, 80 per cent of them SMEs, which employ three million workers.
Textile and garment exports have consistently remained among Việt Nam’s top four exports, and the country is the third largest global exporter.
In the first ten months of this year, its exports were valued at US$33 billion despite a 12 per cent year-on-year decrease. But the full-year target is 9.2 per cent lower at $40.3 billion. 
Individuals’ deposit in banks makes five-year record despite lower interest rates
Despite interest rate cuts by commercial banks, deposits by retail customers have continued to increase due to a lack of alternative asset classes.
The State Bank of Vietnam reported that overall bank deposits were worth VNĐ12.68 quadrillion (US$522.4 billion) as of the end of September, 7.3 per cent up for the year.
Retail deposits rose by 10 per cent to VNĐ6.45 quadrillion, the highest since 2018.
In October last year, interest rates had soared to over 12 per cent due to the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) scandal, but have since decreased to around 5 per cent now.
There was a run on SCB following the arrest of Trương Mỹ Lan, chairwoman of Vạn Thịnh Phát Group, who had control over the lender as she had held a controlling stake since a merger in 2012.
The central bank placed the lender under “special control” to head off a contagion that could affect the entire banking industry.
A supervisor at an HDBank branch in HCM City’s District 4, who asked not to be named, told Việt Nam News: “Most banks now have excess liquidity due to low lending.”
Analysts said individual depositors are not expected to move to other asset classes.
Despite the decrease in interest rates, banks’ deposits have kept rising, resulting in a surplus of over VNĐ1 quadrillion.
This has led to the central bank issuing treasury bills to mop up the liquidity and ensure there is no significant impact on interest rates.
Credit growth for the year was only 7.4 per cent as of the end of October, or just half the year’s target of 14 per cent.
Analysts now expect credit growth of only around 12 per cent since loans to property developers and mortgages, which make up 70 per cent, have plummeted.
Exports and industrial production are also facing difficulties, leading to a further decrease in demand.
This is a concern for the economy’s recovery in general, experts warned.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has at multiple meetings stressed the importance of increasing credit access and removing difficulties faced by businesses.
He has instructed the central bank to have flexible and efficient monetary policies to promote growth and ensure safety of the credit system.
State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyễn Thị Hồng remains optimistic that with the various measures implemented to stimulate consumption and explore new export markets, credit growth will pick up by the end of the year. 
Apartment supply in Hà Nội expected to increase
Apartment supply in Hà Nội is forecast to increase in the coming years to meet market demand, especially social housing products and products for low-income people.
Director of Hà Nội Department of Construction Võ Nguyên Phong said that Hà Nội is implementing a housing development programme for 2021 – 2030, aiming at a diversity of housing products, focusing on social housing products, rental apartments and housing for workers in industrial parks. This programme will address the housing needs of the population with different income levels, especially beneficiaries of social housing support policies.
According to the programme, Hà Nội strives for the average housing area per capita to reach 29.5 sq.m (31 sq.m for urban spaces and 28 sq.m for rural areas) in the period of 2021 – 2025. The minimum housing area is estimated to reach ten sq.m for each person.
By 2030, Hà Nội sets the target for the average housing area per capita to rise to 32 sq.m. For social housing projects, the rate of housing for rent reaches at least 10 per cent of the projects.
To reach the goals of the housing development plan for the period 2021-2025, the Ha Noi People’s Committee has approved 15 housing and urban area construction investment projects in the second phase of carrying out this plan.
Accordingly, the market is expected to have 5,662 more apartments and low-rise housing products from now until 2025, including 2,051 social housing units in new urban areas in Hoàng Mai District and Tân Triều commune, Thanh Trì District. 
In August 2023, the authorities approved 162 investment projects to build housing and urban areas in the first phase of implementing the city’s housing development plan for 2021 – 2025. 
They included 146 commercial housing and urban area projects with 91,322 apartments and low-rise housing products, eight social housing projects with 5,572 apartments, and eight projects building resettlement housing with 5,177 apartments.
To solve the difficulties in social housing development, the vice chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee, Dương Đức Tuấn, said that Hà Nội has proposed five solutions to promote housing development to meet the total demand for social housing by 2030 at about 6.8 million sq.m, equivalent to 113,000 apartments, including modern social housing projects with synchronisation in technical and social infrastructure.
Hà Nội will deploy the construction of five social housing areas with an area of 280 hectares to supply about 2.3 million sq.m of floor, equivalent to 38,000 apartments. 
The capital city continues to research locations for developing social housing projects. At the same time, it reviews 68 plots of land, accounting for 20 per cent and 25 per cent of land funds in commercial housing projects and urban areas for building social housing products. 
In addition, the Hà Nội Department of Construction has proposed to increase profits for investors building social housing to 15-20 per cent, instead of the current level of 10 per cent, which does not attract investors.
The department also suggests keeping the regulation that investors of social housing projects are allowed to reserve 20 per cent of residential land to build commercial housing. This is a crucial incentive mechanism for the investors and the condition to lower selling prices, directly supporting home buyers.
It has also proposed that it is necessary to have incentives in terms of loan period, interest rate and legal procedures for the VNĐ120 trillion loan package for social housing development. 
Advancing the mechanism for developing corporate bond market
To build a healthy and sustainable bond market, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently met with relevant agencies to discuss measures for enhancing the policy framework for long-term development.
At the event, which was chaired by Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyễn Đức Chi, ministries, central agencies, associations, and businesses provided their opinions and evaluated the implementation of Decree 08/2023/NĐ-CP while also discussing policy directions for the future.
The Ministry of Finance has submitted Decree 08 to the Government for issuance, aiming to provide businesses with additional time to address immediate challenges related to the private placement of corporate bonds.
According to assessments from regulatory authorities, firms have recently suffered liquidity issues, potentially resulting in delays in principle and interest payments for corporate bonds.
As a proactive measure, these businesses have engaged in negotiations with investors to settle the principal and interest of the bonds using alternative assets (primarily real estate assets), extend the bond maturity period, or modify other terms and conditions of the bonds, such as changes to the timing, method, and frequency of principal and interest payments.
Many businesses with delayed payments have reached negotiation agreements with investors.
This policy, outlined in Decree 08, is a legal basis for companies to talk with investors about restructuring their bond debts and easing repayment pressures.
As a result, businesses have time to adjust their operations, restore production and business activities, and generate cash flows for debt repayment.
The MoF received 13 opinions from ministries, central agencies and participating associations during the meeting. The discussions centred on various topics, including identifying professional securities investors, mandatory credit rating requirements and regulations on reducing bond distribution time.
Among these topics, most delegates agreed there is no need to prolong the suspension period for implementing the provision that categorises individual bond investors as professional securities investors.
The MoF explained that Decree 65/2022/NĐ-CP, which amends Decree 153/2020/NĐ-CP, introduces a requirement that retail investors must have a minimum average portfolio value of VNĐ2 billion (US$82.4 million), based on their assets (excluding borrowed funds), for at least 180 days to be considered professional securities investors.
Decree 153 regulates the issuance and trading of private placements of corporate bonds in the domestic market and the offering of corporate bonds to the international market.
To cater to the demand from retail investors who have the financial capability but have not fulfilled the 180-day requirement specified in Decree 65, and to allow for additional adjustment time in the market, Decree 08 suspends the implementation of that provision until December 31, 2023.
As of now, after more than eight months of implementing Decree 08 (since March 2023), individual professional securities investors have accumulated the required 180-day period to meet the provisions of Decree 65.
So, there is no need to wait for the suspension period to enforce this regulation.
The Deputy Minister of Finance said that the MoF is determined to foster the sustainable development of both the bond market and the private placement of corporate bonds.
To ensure the stability and growth of the corporate bond market, the ministry has devised a range of short-term and long-term measures, including mechanisms and policies. The MoF has already reported to the government leadership to make necessary amendments to regulations governing the private placement of corporate bonds and related parties. This involves examining the Securities Law, Enterprise Law and other pertinent legislation.
According to Chi, if needed, the ministry will propose to the relevant authorities to promptly introduce amended and supplementary laws to address any legal challenges encountered in the corporate bond market.
Furthermore, it is conducting a comprehensive review to refine and enhance the effectiveness of implementing bankruptcy regulations for enterprises, ensuring a well-organised process for handling bankruptcies.
During the meeting, economic experts highlighted the turbulent situation in the corporate bond market following the recent cases involving Sài Gòn Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) and Vạn Thịnh Phát Group. These incidents have caused significant fluctuations, leading to a loss of investor confidence. As a result, investors are now demanding early bond buybacks from companies, posing difficulties for businesses in issuing new bonds.
Adding to the challenges, the overall economic and financial landscape, both domestically and internationally, has been experiencing complex developments, with increasing interest rates and difficulties in monetary liquidity.
Nguyễn Hoàng Dương, Deputy Director General of the Department of Banking and Financial Institutions, under the MoF, said that the ministry has proactively implemented measures to stabilise the market.
According to Dương, the corporate bond market has gradually stabilised, especially since the implementation of Decree 08.
As of November 3, there have been 68 private placements of corporate bonds, totalling VNĐ189.7 trillion. 
Đồng Nai Province develops organic agriculture
Đồng Nai Province is expanding the development of organic agriculture to meet market requirements and improve product value.  
The southeast province has advantages for developing agricultural production as it has more than 270,000ha of farmland and diversified plants and animals.
It has identified the development of organic agriculture, in combination with processing and outlet for agricultural produce, as one of its four breakthrough missions in 2021-25.
It has implemented projects and programmes of developing organic agriculture to increase organic farming areas and diversify organic produce.
It has advocated developing organic farming for orchards, vegetables and other crops, and taught organic farming methods to farmers.
Trảng Bom District has successfully established exemplary organic orchards and encouraged farmers to develop more such orchards.  
Nguyễn Trọng Ý in Đông Hoà Commune was one of the first three farmers in Trảng Bom to develop an exemplary organic orchard for his 17ha of grapefruit.
He plants the fruit under organic farming methods and uses automatic irrigation facilities and organic fertiliser, techniques that help him to reduce production costs by 20 per cent compared to traditional farming methods, he said.
Last year, he earned an income of VNĐ1.2 billion (US$49,600) from the orchard, and many local farmers have visited his orchard to learn the model, he said.
“After applying organic farming, I saw it has many benefits. The first benefit is for the grower, the second benefit is for consumers and the third benefit is the soil of the orchard, as it is not barren and infertile like previously,” he said.
Trần Khắc Dương, Vice Chairman of the Đông Hoà Commune People’s Committee, said: “We will continue developing exemplary orchards in the commune. The commune has some orchards which meet the requirements of exemplary orchards.”
Trảng Bom aims to have at least one exemplary orchard in each commune and town.
The district has issued criteria for developing exemplary orchards such as their scale, application of advanced farming techniques and income.
In Xuân Lộc District, farmers have applied advanced techniques in growing rice and participated in co-operatives to apply mechanisation and produce rice on a large scale.
Many co-operatives in the district have used machines for all rice cultivation stages from tilling, harvesting and preservation.
Cooperative members in the district have applied organic farming methods to grow rice and reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
ST24, one of the world’s best strains of rice, is planted in the district, has been granted a trademark certificate and is popularly sold in the domestic market.
In Vĩnh Cửu District, 1ha of vegetables and 15ha of fruits have been granted organic certificates and 238ha of plants are grown under organic farming methods.
Nguyễn Trần Phước Lộc, head of the Vĩnh Cửu Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said more farmers in the district have focused on organic farming.
However, the province’s organic agriculture has difficulties such as small farming scale and a lack of unified organic farming processes.
The province now has only 25.3ha of pepper, durian and vegetables granted organic certificates.
It has approved a project to develop organic agriculture in 2021-30, to have 1,322ha of crops planted under organic methods in 2025 and 4,400ha in 2030.
The project also aims to develop 200ha of organic aquaculture and develop organic animal husbandry for 290 cattle, 1,700 pigs and 100,000 poultry in 2025.
To develop organic agriculture, the province will develop human resources for organic agriculture, instruct farmers on organic farming methods, build brand names for organic produce and linkages among stakeholders in producing and selling organic produce, implement trade promotion and expand markets for organic produce.
The province has zoned eight concentrated organic farming areas with a total of 19,000ha and identified 23 areas that meet requirements of developing organic agriculture. 
Nguyễn Văn Thắng, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the department will develop linkages among stakeholders in producing and selling organic produce.
He said that the department will prioritise developing infrastructure for concentrated organic farming areas, brand names and trademarks for organic products, trade promotion activities, digital transformation in managing and tracing the origin of organic produce and e-commerce.
Đồng Nai has preferential policies to attract investment in organic agriculture to 2030, including a subsidy of up to VNĐ300 million ($12,400) for the cost of applying for identifying farming area that meets organic farming requirements.
It also gives organic produce producers one-time financial support worth VNĐ9-25 million ($340-1,000) per hectare to buy organic fertiliser for growing durian, mango, grapefruit, honeydew melon, rambutan, pepper, cacao, vegetables, cashew and rice.
Organic animal breeders are given one-time support of VNĐ8 million ($330) for breeding pigs and VNĐ5 million ($200) for breeding chickens.
The province also gives organic produce producers a subsidy of up to VNĐ300 million ($12,400) for the cost of applying for organic certificates.
Vietnam business forum discusses mobilising resources for green transition
Vietnam needs international support, financial cooperation, cutting-edge technology and high-quality personnel to serve its green transition, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told a business forum in Dubai on December 2.
The Vietnam Business Forum, themed “Mobilising Resources for the Green Transition”, was jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Vietnamese Embassy in the UAE and the Global Wind Energy Council. It saw the attendance of representatives from the COP28 Organising Committee and nearly 200 leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), international organisations, businesses operating in the fields of energy, manufacturing, finance and banking, and investment funds.
PM Chinh briefed the participants on Vietnam’s situation, stressing the country will not trade social progress, equality and welfare, as well as environment for economic growth.  
He highlighted that the country is focusing on developing digital economy, green transition, circular economy, knowledge-based economy, and sharing economy, with science, technology and innovation taken as new driving force, and green transition an objective and strategic choice.  
Vietnam will focus efforts on building socio-economic development plans in accordance with its distinct potential, outstanding opportunities, and competitive advantages, while providing legal support for businesses, removing their obstacles, and protecting their legal and legitimate rights and interests, he pledged. 
He used the occasion to call on partners to continue their support for Vietnam’s green development in the spirit of “harmonious benefits, shared risks.”
At the forum, leaders of international organisations and businesses commended the investment environment in Vietnam, especially the country’s green development strategy, and shared the view that Vietnam boasts great potential for renewable energy development, especially wind energy.
The delegates engaged in in-depth discussions on accelerating green transition in Vietnam by optimising its wind power energy potential, and proposed policies and solutions in this regard, including measures to encourage the financial sector to participate in the green transition process and necessary conditions to mobilise large-scale financial funding.
Many cooperation agreements were inked at the forum, covering aviation, carbon credit transactions and carbon emission reduction, and trade collaboration.
Vietjet inaugurates Ho Chi Minh City-Shanghai route
Vietjet Air has inaugurated a new route connecting Ho Chi Minh City and China’s Shanghai, facilitating convenient and easy travel for both residents and tourists.
Vietjet’s Ho Chi Minh City – Shanghai route operates with seven round trips per week, with a flight time of just over 4 hours per leg.
With Vietjet’s new routes, flyers can easily travel to Shanghai, China’s most populous city. The connectivity between Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai will open up more opportunities for the development of high-end products, services, trade connections, and investment attraction.
Ho Chi Minh City, home to nearly 9 million people, is a prominent economic, cultural, and tourist centre of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It is also a transport hub, offering seamless connectivity to a plethora of destinations within Vietnam and internationally.
Retailers anticipate business to pick up in year-end shopping season
Retailers in Vietnam are increasing inventory and have launched promotions in anticipation of opportunities in the year-end shopping season, as there are just over two months left until the Lunar New Year (Tet) – the biggest festival in a year of Vietnamese people.
Experts predict that from now until the end of this year, retail sales of goods and services may increase again as the domestic economy is gradually recovering and disbursement of public investment continues to be promoted.
It is forecast that consumer demand for essential goods will surge during the Lunar New Year, so many businesses have implemented plans to stock up on goods and negotiate with suppliers to ensure supplies.
Keeping pace with the market, major retailers such as Saigon Co.op, Aeon, Lotte Mart, Winmart, MM Mega Market have been continuously conducting major promotions in all commodity groups.
On November 24-25, Ha Noi Midnight Sale, a large-scale promotion event, attracted about 2.4 million shoppers who enjoyed more than 3,000 promotion programmes worth over 25 trillion VND (1.03 billion USD), up 20% over last year’s edition.
This year, it drew about 200 businesses, trade centres and producers, and fashion brands. There were over 10 million visits to the online shopping website.
A highlight of the event is a flash sale display area at Big C Thang Long supermarket with the participation of nearly 20 brands offering discount of up to 70%.
A representative from Big C stated that the supermarket experienced a significant spike in visits, almost 230% higher than on other days of the week.
The Winmart chain also reported a 140% increase in sales and visits compared to other days of the week.
Japan’s AEON reported that sales and foot traffic at AEON Mall Ha Dong and AEON Mall Long Bien malls increased by nearly 200% during the three-day event. The website and mobile app traffic for shopping also nearly tripled compared to regular weekdays.
Vu Thanh Son, General Director of the Hanoi Trading Corporation (Hapro), said that to meet increasing consumer demand during the Lunar New Year 2024, Hapro’s affiliated units and member company have made plans to reserve goods worth up to 1 trillion VND (41.2 million USD).
The Big C supermarket chain shared that since September, the unit signed agreements with partners to supply goods for Tet with a 20% increase in volume compared to the previous Tet.
At the Co.op Mart supermarket system, the amount of goods to serve Tet will rise by about 30% over the same period last year and 50% compared to normal days.
According to Le Viet Nga, Deputy Director of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the ministry will continue to coordinate to closely monitor market developments, ensure sufficient supply of essential goods, especially during holidays and Tet, to prevent product shortages or price wars.
Vietnamese agricultural products introduced at India’s expo
Vietnam’s standout farm produce and processed products are being showcased at the Indian Food Expo, which opened in Lucknow city, Uttar Pradesh state on December 1.
The three-day event draws the participation of more than 200 agricultural producers, importers and exporters in India. It offers opportunities for participants to get updates on the latest trends and innovations of the processing industry and its future.
Machines and equipment used in food processing and packaging are also on display at the event.
India is the world’s second largest agricultural producer, and third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. The country’s food market is forecast to reach 535 billion USD during 2025-2026. Besides, household spending is said to triple by 2030, making it the 5th largest consumer market in the world.
The South Asian country is also the world’s second largest food processor. The government has issued an array of policies to develop the industry, allowing 100% of foreign direct investment in food processing under the automatic route.
Programme held in Thai Binh province to bolster Vietnam – RoK ties
A programme aiming to promote cultural exchange and connect Vietnamese businesses to their counterparts from the Republic of Korea (RoK) is underway in the northern province of Thai Binh.
The provincial People’s Committee organised a ceremony on December 1 to kick of the two-day “Thai Binh Homecoming Day” programme, and the Red River Delta International Agriculture Fair, with the participation of former President of the RoK Lee Myung Bak, RoK Ambassador Choi Young Sam, and former Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, among others.
In his remarks, Chairman of the People’s Committee Nguyen Khac Than briefed the participants on Thai Binh’s traditional culture, saying the events are set to facilitate the access of Korean firms and investors to the Vietnamese market and Thai Binh as well, and create an opportunity for domestic enterprises expand their partnership networks, and promote their products.
Thai Binh hopes for stronger relations between the two countries and peoples, and more opportunities for cultural exchanges between the two sides, he continued.
This is the first time Thai Binh has organised such important events to honour traditional cultural values of the RoK and Vietnam, and the province in particular.
Notably, the fair, part of the national trade promotion programme 2023, features more than 400 booths by over 220 domestic and foreign businesses, of them about half from the RoK.
EU sees Vietnam as vivid demonstration of EVFTA success
Executive Vice President of the European Commission (EC) and EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said Vietnam’s rise to become the bloc’s leading trade partner in ASEAN is a vivid demonstration of the success of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). 
Co-chairing the third meeting of the Trade Committee of the EVFTA in Brussels on December 1, Dombrovskis said the EU appreciated Vietnam’s serious implementation of its obligations under the EVFTA, particularly the establishment of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) on sustainable development and the promulgation of the revised Labour Code and revised Intellectual Property Law. 
He cited EU statistics showing Vietnam’s exports to the EU are four times higher than imports, suggesting the Southeast Asian nation work harder to ensure the trade balance by focusing on the fields of labour – trade union, pharmaceuticals, the registration of cars imported from the EU, and import of EU farm produce. 
The two sides reviewed the implementation of the deal in the areas relating to goods trading, animal and plant quarantine measures, trade and sustainable development, and discussed orientations to handle and cooperate in issues of shared concern.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, who co-chaired the meeting, highlighted the successful implementation of the deal in the three years since it took effect, noting his belief that once EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) is ratified by the EU, the trade relations will grow even stronger.
Vietnam will seriously fulfill commitments in the EVFTA, especially in the spheres of the EU’s concern, he affirmed.
The two sides also exchanged views on multilateral issues such as Indo-Pacific cooperation, World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform, and preparations for the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), scheduled for February 2024 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This was the first in-person meeting between the two sides since the EVFTA took effect in August 2020, following meetings held online due to COVID-19 impacts. The EVFTA is one of Vietnam’s first new generation FTAs, and also the first of its kind that the EU has signed with a developing country in the Asia-Pacific.
On a rotating basis, Vietnam will host the fourth meeting of the Trade Committee and other meetings of relevant specialised committees of the EVFTA next year.
Mariella Cantagalli, a senior expert from the Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) at the EC, told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) that the meeting reflects the good relations between Vietnam and the EU, stressing the deal is strong enough to promote trade between the 27 EU member countries and European businesses and Vietnamese enterprises.
After the three-year implementation of the EVFTA, Vietnam’s export turnover to the EU has increased by nearly 50%, according to EU statistics. Among Vietnamese exports, agricultural products such as rice, cashew nuts, pepper, and rubber have experienced the highest hikes. Meanwhile, EU exports to the country rose by over 40%, mainly machinery, spare parts, textile-garment raw materials, footwear, milk and dairy products, and confectionery.
High-quality manpower could level up semiconductor development
Vietnam is in need of high-quality engineers for the semiconductor industry, which holds great potential to create a breakthrough for sustainable economic development.
According to market research company Technavioa, the semiconductors market in Vietnam is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2021-2025. 
Technavio’s report pointed out that the growing consumption demand is driving market growth. To meet the growing demand for hi-tech and smart equipment using semiconductors, manufacturers in the region will open more factories in the country, resulting in surging demand for manpower. 
However, the lack of skilled labour in Vietnam is a major challenge impeding market growth, according to the report.
Assoc.Prof.Dr Nguyen Van Quy from the International Training Institute for Materials Science under the Hanoi University of Science and Technology said that many international reports showed Vietnam is short of high-quality engineers capable of holding key roles in semiconductor design and manufacturing.
Tech giants such as Samsung and LG said they are willing to recruit hundreds of design and manufacturing engineers every year, he stressed, adding a shortage of skilled workers will affect investors’ plan to expand production in Vietnam.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said that each year, the country needs about 150,000 engineers for the information technology and digital sectors, but only 40 – 50% of the demand has been met. Notably, the semiconductor industry needs some 5,000 – 10,000 engineers each year, but just 20% can be met. 
The big manpower shortage, over 80%, is a major problem needing to be addressed as more than 50 FDI businesses have invested in this industry in Vietnam and they are in need of a large number of personnel.
Experts forecast the semiconductor industry in Vietnam will require about 20,000 personnel holding the bachelor’s or higher degrees in the next five years and about 50,000 engineers in the next 10 years.
FPT Chairman Truong Gia Binh suggested the Government invest in training 30,000-50,000 semiconductor experts to meet the industry’s increasing demand, adding that FPT University wants to receive investment to train semiconductor design and AI engineers to improve the capacity of the workforce in this important sector.
Nguyen Thanh Yen, administrator of the Vietnam Semiconductor Community Group, said that Vietnam should channel investment in human resources training, and the result would be seen in the number of newly established semiconductor firms and the number of students getting jobs in the field every year.
Assoc. Prof. and Dr. Hoang Minh Son, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said though the semiconductor area is not a new training branch, the number of students and graduates remains very low, leading to a manpower shortage in terms of both quantity and quality.
Facing that fact, the Ministry of Education and Training is building an action plan to step up training to increase the quantity and quality of human resources, particularly integrated circuit (IC) designers, for the sector.
 Vietnam has more than 5,570 IC engineers at present, over 85% of whom are in Ho Chi Minh City, 8% in Hanoi and 7% in central Da Nang city. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam has more than 5,570 IC engineers at present, over 85% of whom are in Ho Chi Minh City, 8% in Hanoi and 7% in central Da Nang city. Every year, only about 500 – 600 students graduate from semiconductor training courses of domestic universities, according to data from the National Science and Technology Information Portal.
To quickly raise the number of semiconductor engineers, Son suggested training students who are enrolling in close branches such as electronics engineering, electrical engineering, automation, and mechatronics engineering into those specialised in semiconductor engineering in order to increase the graduates in this field to 3,000 – 4,000 each year.
In addition, many electronics and telecommunications graduates have experience in working for IC and semiconductor-related companies. If receiving more specialised training, they can become a source of high-quality manpower for the industry, he said.
The Deputy Minister also considered re-training the engineers of close majors as a measure for quickly increasing new semiconductor personnel to 5,000 – 6,000 each year.
In 2024, Vietnamese universities will take in 1,000 students and provide them with comprehensive training in integrated circuit design.
Certain banks to get extra credit growth quotas
Those commercial banks that have reported credit growth of 80% or higher in the year to date will be automatically entitled to extra credit growth quotas based on their 2022 rankings, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has announced.
The move comes as commercial banks have found it increasingly tough to lend as the demand for loans in the economy has remained woefully low due to persistent economic woes at home and abroad.
Data of the SBV, the central bank, showed that credit in the banking system had grown a mere 8.21% in the year to November 22 while the SBV’s full-year target is 14-15%, which is subject to change.
On November 29, the central bank wrote to commercial banks announcing that some of them with credit growth of 80% or above achieved so far this year now have extra credit growth quotas for this year based on their rankings of last year.
By July this year, the central bank had already allocated quotas for credit expansion for banks nationwide, with combined credit growth of 14.5%.
State-run banks have struggled to gain high credit growth while privately-held banks have performed well in lending operations.
State-run Vietcombank reported a credit expansion rate of 4% by the end of the third quarter, and BIDV and VietinBank posted credit growth of 9% each.
In contrast, privately-owned banks such as VPBank, MBBank, Techcombank and HDBank have reported achieved double-digit credit growth rates, with VPBank taking the lead at 26%.
Concerned about the lower-than-expected credit growth this year, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recently said the central bank would be held accountable for banking system safety and hindrances to provision of credit for the econony.
M&A deals total US$4.4 billion in Jan-Oct
The Vietnamese merger and acquisition (M&A) market had got 265 transactions worth over US$4.4 billion done in the year to the end of October, up by 23% year-on-year, showed KPMG’s statistics. The average value of each M&A transaction was US$54.5 million.
The first 10 months of the year saw a surge in M&A activity in areas like digital transformation, retail, and consumer goods.
Speakiing at the Vietnam M&A Forum 2023 held in HCMC yesterday, November 28, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said the local M&A market is still attractive to foreign investors thanks to the country’s political stability, high economic growth and the rapid development of the consumer market.
At the forum, financial experts and economists appreciated the Government’s efforts in stimulating economic growth and consolidating investors’ trust over the past time, thus creating M&A opportunities.
Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes