Vietnam Update: April 9, 2020

Vietnam Update | April 9, 2020
Authors: Hai Pham and Minh Vu
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

COVID-19 in Vietnam Update
On March 31, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Directive 16 to establish a 14-day nationwide stay-at-home order and social distancing measures, effective from April 1 to April 15. On April 3, the Office of the Government issued a document detailing the instructions on the implementation of the Directive to standardize the implementation at the provincial and municipal levels across the country and insisted that the Directive did not constitute a stringent lockdown. Following a meeting with the Prime Minister on April 6, the Ministry of Health proposed to extend the “limited lockdown” until April 30.

  • Financial Response

The Vietnamese Government is considering a range of financial responses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy. On April 1, the Ministry of Planning and Investment proposed a draft Resolution on the Government’s fiscal package to support poor and low-income households. The package amounted to US$2.6 billion and would be distributed as cash payments during a three-month period from April to June to six eligible groups including social policy beneficiaries and those who rendered services to the State during the revolution, poor and near-poor households, furloughed workers, unemployed, and individual business households with annual revenues below VND 1 million (US$4,250). The fiscal package would also extend credits to employers through Vietnam Social Policy Bank to pay salaries for their furloughed worker for the three-month period.

In addition, the Ministry of Finance on April 3 proposed deferring US$7.6 billion worth of Value-added Tax (VAT), Personal Income Tax (PIT), and land rents for entities affected by the pandemic, more than double the US$3.46 billion proposal made on March 26. The new proposal would apply to 14 sectors in addition to more than 20 sectors in the previous proposal. The previous proposal extended the deadline for VAT payment to December 15, 2020 for individuals and business households in the listed affected industries, and by 5 months for companies declaring VAT on a quarterly basis (Q1-Q2) or on a monthly basis (March-June). The deadline for the first payment of 2020 for those who directly lease land from the State, those who pay land rental fee on an annual basis, or in the listed affected industries, will be extended by 5 months. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has also proposed a 10 percent discount on electricity rates to relieve financial pressures on households and businesses between April and June, totaling a discount of US$466 million. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance on March 31 has also requested insurers to stop introducing and selling life and non-life insurance packages related to COVID-19, following public discontent of ineligibility to buy insurance.

Earlier on March 13, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issuing Circular No. 1 directing credit institutions and foreign bank branches to restructure repayment periods, waive and reduce interest and fees, and maintain debt classifications in order to support customers affected by the pandemic. The Circular serves as a legal framework to help credit institutions deploy prompt support to help customers affected by the pandemic pursuant to the Government’s Resolution No. 11 issued on February 14. Anticipating the virus impact to exacerbate, on March 31, the SBV issued Circular No. 04 asking commercial lenders to reduce minimum settlement fees by 50 percent via the interbank electronic payment system and Directive No. 02 asking banks to curb on dividends and operating expenses to ensure capital. Following the issuances, commercial lenders have cut down their lending rates by up to 4.5 percent. Agribank also earmarked a package of US$4.3 billion at low lending rates for vulnerable business while VietinBank offered a US$2.5 billion with a 2 percent rate.

  • Industry Impact and Response

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each industry varies, with manufacturing and tourism being hit hard. The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell sharply to 41.9 in March from 49.0 in February, a survey by IHS Markit and Nikkei released on April 1 showed, while TC Motors, Honda Vietnam, Ford Vietnam, and Toyota Motors Vietnam shut down their automobile plants until April 15. As a result, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has proposed the government to reduce 50 percent in VAT and registration fees for customers. In addition, steelmakers estimated that profits in Q1 2020 plummeted at least 30 percent year-on-year and the Vietnam Steel Association has also proposed the government to extend loans for steelmakers and reduce lending rates. Lastly, following the Prime Minister’s Directive 16, tourism officials confirmed more festivals and events have been cancelled or postponed, including the indefinite postponement of the F1 Vietnam Grand Prix. Foreign arrivals to Vietnam declined by 18.1 percent year-on-year in Q1, receiving nearly 3.7 million international tourists only.

On the other hand, the agricultural sector recorded a trade surplus of about US$2.9 billion in Q1 despite the pandemic, according to the General Statistic Office. The total trade value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products were estimated at nearly $15.2 billion. Export value reached about $9.1 billion, the same figure in the first quarter of 2019 while import value decreased by 13.2 per cent year-on-year to $6.1 billion. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural activities, the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association has proposed the Government to increase updates of accurate market information and the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak, helping businesses balance their imports with domestic consumption as well as setting operation plans.

As the 2020 ASEAN Chair, the Government of Vietnam has also demonstrated regional leadership and support for international efforts to contain the pandemic. On April 8, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a video message to a teleconference of health ministers from the Western Pacific region hosted by the World Health Organization, calling for international cooperation and global efforts to fight COVID-19. Vietnam has also discussed bilateral cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 with China, Japan, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, and the US. Since mid-March, Vietnam has donated test kits and masks to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, France, Finland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.  In addition, nations including Nigeria, Poland, Australia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Ireland have offered to purchase Vietnam-made test kits.

The European Council passes EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement
The European Council on March 30 passed the decision to ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). Following the decision, on April 1, the Vietnam National Assembly Standing Committee proposed the Government to assign Ministries and relevant agencies to complete the dossier on the ratification of the EVFTA to submit to the Committee at its 44th session scheduled for mid-April. Previously in February, the Government assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to complete the dossier and submit to the National Assembly for approval at the ninth session. Under the agreement, Vietnam will cut 65 percent of import tax on EU commodities right after the deal takes effect, while the rest will be eliminated over a 10-year period. Meanwhile, the EU will cut more than 70 percent of tariffs on Vietnam's commodities right after the deal takes effect, while the rest will be eliminated over the seven subsequent years.

According to the World Bank, once it comes into effect, the EVFTA, along with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), will help the economy of Vietnam stay resilient to external shocks, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. In its East Asia and Pacific Economic Update April 2020, the World Bank projects GDP growth to decline to about 4.9 percent in 2020 but will recover to 7.5 percent in 2021 and converge at around 6.5 percent in 2022, reflecting an improved external demand and a firming of the services sector, as well as a gradual recovery in agricultural production. The Asian Development Bank released its annual publication Asian Development Outlook 2020 projecting similar trajectories while also forecasting Vietnam’s growth rate to remain one of the highest in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has taken full advantage of the CPTPP by gaining market access to Canada and Mexico, two CPTPP members with which Vietnam did not previously have FTAs with, according to the MOIT. In the first two months of 2020, Vietnam’s exports to Canada rose by 20.39 percent to US$578 million year on year while exports to Mexico reached US$497.2 million.

Vietnam Ensures National Rice Stockpile During Pandemic
On March 24, the Vietnamese Government announced its plans to stockpile rice and suspend new rice export contracts until the end of the month, with an exception for rice exports to the Philippines. The export ban is intended to ensure food security amid growing fears over impacts to the global food supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the announcement, on March 26, the General Department of State Reserves affirmed that national food reserves are sufficient to cater to emergency situations. 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has pleaded for reconsideration of the suspension, with critics arguing that the move would reduce prices and hurt domestic rice farmers, as well as hurt Vietnam’s global reputation as a reliable rice supplier. Vietnam is the third-largest global rice exporter, and the ban will have significant impact on the international rice supply. On March 31, the MOIT submitted the proposal to resume rice exports from April under a monthly quota of 400,000 tonnes during the pandemic to the Office of the Government. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc instructed the Ministry of Finance to store 190,000 tons of white rice by June 15 to ensure the country has a sufficient supply to withstand the virus outbreak. In addition to a rise in demand for rice for the purposes of stockpiling, global rice prices have also surged to a six-year record high due to a drought in Thailand and Vietnam causing drops in production levels.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam Private Sector Development Committee: Survey on COVID-19

The Private Sector Development Committee (Committee IV) of Vietnam, under the Advisory Council on Administrative Procedure Reform to the Prime Minister, is conducting a survey of businesses to identify positive solutions/actions to overcome COVID-19 pandemic difficulties in Vietnam. Members are invited to participate and complete the survey, available here, by COB April 13, 2020.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
National Assembly to pass judgement on EVFTA ratification in upcoming session
European Council approves final procedure for EVFTA
Việt Nam gains higher exports to Canada and Mexico partly due to CPTPP

National Affairs
State-owned corporations and groups may lose $13 billion due to COVID-19
Vietnam to suspend labour export until end of April
Decree 10 paves way for Grab and other ride-hailing firms to begin official operation
Gov't issues instructions on implementation of stay-at-home order
Gov’t considering unprecedented US$2.6b support package for Vietnamese hit by COVID-19
Business survey to begin on April 1
New policies, penalties come into effect this month
Vietnam Government passes new Decree guiding the implementation of a few provisions under the Competition Law | Lexology
PM Phúc attends G20 video summit on COVID-19
NA report looks at COVID-19’s social impacts
NA Standing Committee meeting next month to be held online

Customs
Northern provinces asked to cooperate with China to manage border trade
Instructions on proof of transport in CPTPP
Customs authority reaffirms standard for exporting face masks
Vietnam Airlines Bolsters Cargo Operation
Vinatex to ask for permission to export anti-virus products
COVID-19: new entry-exit regulations between Vietnam and Laos
Vietnam stockpiles rice for coronavirus crisis as food security fears grow

Defense & Security
Vietravel Airlines’ plan for first flights postponed due to COVID-19
Vietnam PM approves establishment of Vietravel Airlines
VN protests, demands compensation for fishing ship China sank in Hoàng Sa waters
Đà Nẵng to export aerospace components next year

Economics
Ministry asks Gov’t to cut tax for transport firms
More sectors to be eligible for tax, land lease payment extension
Vietnam mulls increasing Covid-19 tax deferral package for businesses
Vietnamese economy to grow despite COVID-19: ADB
Vietnam aims at commercializing scientific research results
Developers call for more practical support policies
Vietnamese economy stays resilient to external shocks: WB

Energy
Policies needed to encourage investment in waste-to-energy
Dung Quat Oil Refinery may suspend operation due to COVID-19 pandemic
Government considers 10 pct power price discount to ease Covid-19 pains
Vietnam's travel restrictions threaten transport fuels
Companies request cheaper power to overcome coronavirus impacts
Quarantine zones could get free electricity
Petrol prices see sharp fall of up to VNĐ4,252 per litre
Thai energy firm to invest $457 mln in Vietnam solar farms
Southeast Asia's largest solar power plant to be built in Vietnam
AboitizPower terminates wind farm purchase deal in Vietnam
Super Energy Corp to Invest in Solar Projects Worth 750 MW in Vietnam

Financial Services
Electronic fund transfer fees to be cut by at least 50 per cent
Online shopping surges on Vietnam social distancing campaign
Banks support enterprises
Banks asked to cut lending rates to mitigate Covid 19 pandemic
Ministry of Finance asks insurers not to sell COVID-19-related products
Securities trading uninterrupted during COVID-19 fight: SSC
COVID-19 drives the demand for online financial services
4 Fintech Startups from Vietnam to Watch out for in 2020

Food & Agriculture
New Regulations on Animal Feed and Aquafeed in Vietnam
Farmers, businesses struggle as pepper, cashew prices drop
Cold storage demand surges during COVID-19
RoK to offer 5% preferential import tax on over 55,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice
Agricultural sector gains trade surplus in Q1 despite COVID-19
Wood industry facing losses due to COVID-19
Central region faces water shortage for summer-autumn crop
Vietnam's fertilizer sector avoids coronavirus curbs
Ministry wants rice export ban lifted
Growtech Vietnam expo to feature advanced agricultural technologies
MoIT proposes exporting 400,000 tonnes of rice in April
Vietnam's ban on rice exports still in force, government may set limit: traders
Live hog price to reduce to VNĐ60,000/kg
National food reserves sufficient for emergencies: GDSR
VIDA proposes solutions to rescue business from COVID-19 impact
Manila gets Vietnam’s commitment to continuous rice supply
PHL to be among ‘first to know’ of new Vietnam rice policy
Vietnamese vessel unloads rice in Iligan; city gov’t to buy 20,000 sacks for food packs

Health & Life Sciences
Four new COVID-19 cases reported, total number rises to 245
Việt Nam actively helps foreign representative agencies protect citizens
Vietnam's health-tech startup eDoctor raises funding from Japanese, S Korean VCs
Nine more COVID-19 infections confirmed, eight connected to Bạch Mai Hospital
Vietnam healthcare a big draw for investors
Việt Nam to announce nationwide pandemic
Vingroup proposes a 4.23 mil USD relief package to combat Covid-19
Vietnam assists Laos to fight Covid-19 with medical supplies
Manulife partners with dacadoo for enhanced customer engagement

ICT
Hà Nội to create favourable conditions for digital technology companies
Smooth communication ensured at all time during Covid-19 pandemic
Working from home threatens cyber security during pandemic
Technology solutions sought to develop digital economy in Vietnam
MIC launches campaign to apply Vietnamese technology for digital life
Cambodia and Vietnamese enterprises adopt measures strengthen strategic collaboration

Infrastructure
Vietnam Airlines adjusts flights to Da Nang due to new quarantine policy
Vietnam Railways only operates a couple of trains from April 1 on COVID-19 fight 
Airlines to stop carrying passengers to Vietnam from April 1
Trà Vinh to build two erosion prevention projects
Lotte E&C completes pre-feasibility study for Yen Vien-Lao Cai railway route
Investors sought for key Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu projects
Deputy PM calls for setting up managing unit for delayed expressway project
Vietnam’s public investment disbursement up in first quarter
Duc Giang Chemical to develop $521 million project in Thanh Hoa

Manufacturing
Carmakers hit the brakes over newest emergency measures
Toiling steel ventures ask for state urgency
Việt Nam’s manufacturing drops to record low in March due to pandemic
Vietnam-based Hyundai, Honda plants close amid nationwide lockdown
Vietnam PE sees limited impact from isolation order; ops rates may fall
Automakers seek tax breaks amid slump caused by pandemic

Travel & Tourism
All passenger flights to VN banned from 1-15 April
Vietnam wins ASEAN Tourism Awards
Vietnam postpones festivals
Vietnam counts Q1 tourism damage inflicted by Covid-19
Homestay owners lose customers amid COVID-19 pandemic
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

National Assembly to pass judgement on EVFTA ratification in upcoming session Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 4th Apr 2020
The National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) proposed the government to assign ministries and relevant agencies to complete the dossier on the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVTA) to submit to the NASC at its 44th session scheduled for mid-April. Previously, at the government’s general meeting in February, the government asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to complete the dossier and submit it to the National Assembly for approval at the ninth session. Besides, the MoIT was tasked to build a strategy to implement the trade deal as well as programmes to guide enterprises in learning of and seizing the opportunities and incentives of the agreement, especially to draw up plans to penetrate the seafood and agricultural products segments in Europe. The European Council ratified the EVFTA on March 30, paving the way for the deal to come into force.

European Council approves final procedure for EVFTA vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The European Council on March 30 passed a decision to ratify the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), paving the way for the deal to come into force. Once ratified by the Vietnamese National Assembly in May this year, the deal will officially take effect at the beginning of the summer. The EVFTA is expected to help Vietnamese enterprises reap the benefits of the trade pact, pushing up Việt Nam's exports and diversifing its markets.

Việt Nam gains higher exports to Canada and Mexico partly due to CPTPP vietnamnews.vn 27th Mar 2020
Việt Nam has taken full advantage of the CPTPP to gain strong growth in exports to Canada and Mexico, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). These are the two CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) members that have not yet signed bilateral free trade agreement (FTAs) with Việt Nam. In the first two months of this year, Việt Nam’s exports to Canada rose by 20.39 per cent to US$578 million year on year.

National Affairs

State-owned corporations and groups may lose $13 billion due to COVID-19 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 6th Apr 2020
If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to last for a long time and the price of oil cannot recover, the revenue of 19 state-owned groups and corporations will see a plunge of VND279.76 trillion ($12.16 billion) this year, and eight of them will suffer a damage of VND26.32 trillion ($1.14 billion), according to the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises. In the first three months, these 19 firms under the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises reported a total loss of VND3.7 trillion ($160.87 million). The company suffering the largest damage is Vietnam Airlines with a plunge in accumulated revenue reaching VND6.7 trillion ($291.3 million) on-year and loss of VND2.3 trillion ($100 million). If the pandemic lasts until the fourth quarter of this year, its revenue is estimated to decline by VND72.4 trillion ($3.15 billion) compared to its initial target, with VND20 trillion ($869.57 million) in losses.

Vietnam to suspend labour export until end of April Nhan Dan Online 5th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on April 5 asked the Overseas Labour Management Department to order businesses to suspend sending workers abroad until the end of April. It has also requested leaders of agencies under municipal and provincial Departments of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to step up urgent measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Overseas Vietnamese labour management boards should encourage Vietnamese labourers to stay calm, observe host countries’ regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control, and avoid trips to disease-hit areas, while ensuring rights and interests of the labourers who are affected by the epidemic.

Decree 10 paves way for Grab and other ride-hailing firms to begin official operation Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 5th Apr 2020
Decree No.10/2020/ND-CP is heralding a new development chapter for the Vietnamese transport industry by opening to the trends of the future. Under the new law, Grab and other tech-based car firms can now select a suitable business model and operate on full legal grounds – on a national scale. When deploying Decree No.10/2020/ND-CP on car transport business, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) as the body helping the government compile and execute this important legal document, has a thorough grasp of the document for enforcement in practice. Several localities, however, do not properly understand the document, leading to inadequate enforcement and confusing businesses. Some localities assumed that it is time for ride-hailing firms to stop the trial period. Some others thought these car firms need to operate by the same rules as taxis. Some even believe it is time to encourage drivers of tech-based transport firms to shift into other modes of operation after the pilot project for tech cars ended following the enforcement of Decree 10 from April 1, 2020.

Gov't issues instructions on implementation of stay-at-home order vietnamnews.vn 3rd Apr 2020
The Government Office late Friday issued a document detailing the instructions on the implementation of Prime Minister’s Directive 16 regarding a 14-day nationwide stay-at-home order and social distancing measures starting April 1 to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The directive, which the Government insisted does not constitute a stringent lockdown given that the number of cases in the country remains quite modest, has caused quite a lot of confusion among the public and even local authorities about the scope and intensity of the restrictions to be implemented. Today’s instruction document noted that “a number of the directive’s contents have not been fully understood and uniformly implemented,” referring to surfacing reports of a number of provinces and cities across the country taking the order a step too far, setting up checkpoints at their gateway and imposing a ban on travel to and from their jurisdiction.

Gov’t considering unprecedented US$2.6b support package for Vietnamese hit by COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
The Vietnamese Government is poised to adopt a US$2.6 billion relief package to help those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that has waged devastation on the economy. The draft Resolution on Government’s COVID-19 support, presented on Wednesday at the regular cabinet meeting by the Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng, mostly sets out cash payments during a three-month period starting April through June.

Business survey to begin on April 1 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Apr 2020
The General Statistics Office (GSO) is scheduled to begin a survey of businesses on April 1 with a view to collecting basic information to serve management and policy making, Deputy General Director of the office Nguyen Trung Tien said. The survey will cover enterprises, cooperatives, cooperative unions and people’s credit funds that have been operating since before January 1, 2020, along with production and business facilities of enterprises, he said.

New policies, penalties come into effect this month vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
A range of new policies will come into effect this month, including fines of up to VNĐ100 million (US$4,192) for business owners who fail to pay their employees. The new fines were part of Decree No 28/2020/NĐ-CP, issued by the Government on March 1, regarding administrative sanctions for violations in the field of labour and social insurance. Also, from April 15, Decree No 15/2020/NĐ-CP, issued by the Government on February 3, will come into effect. The decree says that a person found spreading fake news on social media sites will be fined VNĐ10-20 million ($418-836). Also, this month, Circular No 28/2019/TT-NHNN, issued by the State Bank of Việt Nam, will take effect as of April 1.

Vietnam Government passes new Decree guiding the implementation of a few provisions under the Competition Law | Lexology Lexology 31st Mar 2020
Over a year after the passage of the Competition Law, the highly anticipated Decree No. 35/2020/ND-CP on detailed regulations of a few provisions of the Competition Law ("Decree 35") was finally passed by the Vietnam Government on 24 March 2020. Decree 35 will take effect on 15 May 2020. This Decree provides detailed guidance on, among other things, the specific threshold figures for merger control notification, the definition of "control or influence" for merger control purposes, assessing the significant anticompetitive effects, and measuring market dominance based on "significant market power".

PM Phúc attends G20 video summit on COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 27th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc attended the G20 emergency video summit on Thursday during which leaders of the 20 major economies discussed coordinated responses to the widening COVID-19 pandemic. PM Phúc took part in the summit in the capacity as chair of ASEAN 2020, to confirm the responsibilities as well as contributions by ASEAN and Việt Nam to the global efforts in combating the pandemic.

NA report looks at COVID-19’s social impacts Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 26th Mar 2020
Multiple enterprises have closed down or reduced production scale due to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs. The State will have to deploy economic support packages to help businesses revitalize their production and business, and support labourers, it said. For the health sector, if the epidemic is prolonged, health facilities will be under pressure and facing difficulties maintaining the operation of the preventive healthcare system. Meanwhile, the health insurance fund is also forecast to be seriously impacted if the number of COVID-19 cases surges, it said, clarifying that treatment costs for COVID-19 patients are quite high. For the field of labour and employment, job loss and unemployment has increased. Joblessness and strict compliance with disease prevention regulations will lead to lower purchasing power, the report noted.

NA Standing Committee meeting next month to be held online vietnamnews.vn 26th Mar 2020
The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will hold a teleconference of full-time NA deputies next month, said NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân as the 43rd session of the committee that wrapped up in Hà Nội on Wednesday after three days of working. In her closing remarks, NA Chairwoman Ngân emphasised the need to step up the use of information technology in management and online public services and limit meetings of big crowds amid the COVID-19 outbreak. She urged agencies to send documents of the five draft laws to be discussed during the teleconference to legislators to study.

Customs

Northern provinces asked to cooperate with China to manage border trade vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested northern provinces to promote cooperation with their Chinese partners to implement disease control processes and allow goods through the border. On Sunday, Deputy Minister Trần Quốc Khánh sent this request to the northern provinces of Quảng Ninh, Lạng Sơn, Cao Bằng, Hà Giang, Lào Cai, Lai Châu and Điện Biên after the Embassy of Việt Nam in China on Friday sent letters to ministers and People’s Committees in those provinces about China’s efforts to control the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the embassy, China would strengthen the management of goods and restrict entry at border areas between Việt Nam and China.

Instructions on proof of transport in CPTPP Customs News 3rd Apr 2020
To ensure full compliance when implementing the commitments of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the General Department of Vietnam Customs issued a document to instruct provincial customs departments relating to proof of transport in the CPTPP.

Customs authority reaffirms standard for exporting face masks vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
The General Department of Việt Nam Customs has reaffirmed it only handles procedures for exporting medical face masks with the State’s permission and it must ensure supervision to avoid fraud fraud for other types of face masks. The statement, published on haiquanonline.com.vn, reacted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s feedback on March 30 about some media reports that enterprises were struggling to export cloth masks due to problems in distinguishing between medical masks and cloth masks, especially antibacterial cloth masks.

Vietnam Airlines Bolsters Cargo Operation Aviation Tribune 1st Apr 2020
To maintain its pivotal role in Vietnam’s economic growth, from March 2020, Vietnam Airlines has started its cargo-only services covering both domestic and international routes. Accordingly, from the 12th to the 31st of March 2020, Vietnam Airlines has deployed 45 flights to transport freights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Japan, Korea, China, Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangkok. These flights are operated on Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350 aircraft, carrying about 20 – 25 tonnes of cargo per way, equivalent to a load factor of 95% – 100%. These are Vietnam Airlines’ first-ever cargo-only flights, without any passengers and flight attendants. Cockpit crew members are still equipped with full protective gear and all cargo compartments are disinfected upon landing.

Vinatex to ask for permission to export anti-virus products vietnamnews.vn 26th Mar 2020
Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) will ask for the Government’s permission to export anti-virus products as a measure to overcome difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Those include products like antiviral face masks, antibacterial medical clothing and non-woven disposable clothes. Vinatex would enhance its search for export orders of anti-virus products.

COVID-19: new entry-exit regulations between Vietnam and Laos Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 6th Apr 2020
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 5 informed Vietnam citizens of new entry-exit regulations the Lao Government has issued as an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry noted that the Lao government has completely closed all of its international border gates and not allowed any individuals to go through these border gates, except for trucks carrying goods and emergency cases from April 3-19.

Vietnam stockpiles rice for coronavirus crisis as food security fears grow South China Morning Post 28th Mar 2020
Vietnam said on Friday that it plans to stockpile rice and suspend new rice export contracts through the end of the month to ensure it can feed its 97 million population through the coronavirus crisis. The country is the world’s third-largest exporter of rice, behind India and Thailand. In an update on its website, the Finance Ministry said Vietnam’s state reserves department planned to have 190,000 metric tonnes of rice in storage by June 15.

Defense & Security

Vietravel Airlines’ plan for first flights postponed due to COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 5th Apr 2020
The country’s newest carrier Vietravel Airlines has delayed its launch plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline was given principle approval from the Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to start operations in October, but the plans have been put on hold. Founded by one of the country’s largest tour operators Vietravel, the airline is scheduled to start commercial operations in the third quarter of this year with a fleet of three airplanes, which could be raised to eight by 2025.

Vietnam PM approves establishment of Vietravel Airlines hanoitimes.vn 4th Apr 2020
The airline is scheduled to start operation in the second quarter this year with a fleet of three airplanes, which could be raised to eight by 2024. Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on April 3 approved the proposal to set up Vietravel Airlines with a capital base of VND700 billion (US$29.72 million), local media reported. Vietravel Airlines, owned by Vietnam’s leading tour operator Vietravel, plans to provide charter flights for its own tourists and general passengers. In the first year of operation, Vietravel Airlines would operate a fleet of three airplanes and increase the number to eight by 2024.

VN protests, demands compensation for fishing ship China sank in Hoàng Sa waters vietnamnews.vn 4th Apr 2020
Việt Nam has lodged an official complaint with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the Paracel (Hoàng Sa) archipelago, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lê Thị Thu Hằng, said late Friday. The Vietnamese vessel, number QNg 90617 TS, with eight fishermen on board, was fishing near Phú Lâm Island on April 2 when a Chinese marine surveillance ship hit and sank it. She said the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a meeting with a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Hà Nội and presented the protest note, asking the Chinese to investigate and clarify and strictly handle civil servants and the Chinese vessel mentioned above, not to repeat similar actions and at the same time adequately compensate for the losses of Vietnamese fishermen.

Đà Nẵng to export aerospace components next year vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The US-based aviation firm Universal Alloy Corporation (UAC) has put its Đà Nẵng facility into operation. The factory will be a sole-source supplier producing over unique 5,000 aerospace components for Boeing aircraft. Commenced in March 2019, the factory spans an area of ​​16.7ha with a design capacity of 12,470 tonnes of metric systems per year According to the firm, phase 1 of the Sunshine Aerospace Components Factory with a total investment of US$170 million in the Đà Nẵng High-Tech Park, will produce aerospace components to export to the global industry.

Economics

Ministry asks Gov’t to cut tax for transport firms vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has asked the Government to assign the Ministry of Finance to consider reducing several taxes for transport businesses. For the civil aviation industry, the ministry has asked the Government to exempt import and environmental protection taxes on flight fuel from January 23 to December 31, 2020. In the maritime sector, the ministry said the number of vessels transporting goods entering and leaving ports had decreased by 15 per cent in recent months.

More sectors to be eligible for tax, land lease payment extension Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 5th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Finance has suggested adding four sectors into the list of industries eligible for extension of tax and land lease payment deadlines with a total sum of 180 trillion VND (7.82 billion USD). After collecting feedback from ministries, agencies and localities, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung on April 3 signed Official dispatch No.3915/BTC-CST to submit to the Prime Minister about opinions on the draft Decree on tax and land lease payment deadline extension. Specifically, the sectors include those involved in the production of leather and related products; wood and wooden furniture; straw and plastic products; metallurgy, mechanical engineering; automobiles with below nine seats; bed, wardrobe, desk and chair production; and construction.

Vietnam mulls increasing Covid-19 tax deferral package for businesses VnExpress International 4th Apr 2020
The Finance Ministry has proposed deferring VND180 trillion ($7.6 billion) worth of taxes and land rents for entities affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. The value of the new deferral package is more than double the previous one of VND80.2 trillion ($3.46 billion). The new proposal would apply to businesses, organizations, households and individual in 14 more sectors, in addition to the 20 plus sectors listed in the previous proposal, which was announced last week.

Vietnamese economy to grow despite COVID-19: ADB vietnamnews.vn 3rd Apr 2020
Việt Nam’s economic growth rate is expected to slow sharply to 4.8 per cent this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released on Thursday. The report showed the country would suffer an ongoing drop in demand from its principal trade and investment partners. Economic growth decelerated to 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 6.8 per cent in the same period last year. Travel and other restrictions imposed by the Government to slow the spread of the virus led to lower domestic consumption. Manufacturing weathered early headwinds but inputs, including those part of global value chains, are being depleted.

Vietnam aims at commercializing scientific research results SGGP English Edition 31st Mar 2020
Actively participating in several international organizations, Vietnam has gradually increased its worldwide status, including the position in the scientific community. However, Vietnam is still encountering various obstacles finding an ideal method to commercialize domestic scientific research results to serve the general public. In 2019, the number of invention orders in Vietnam reached over 1,000 for the first time, an increase of 42 percent compared to 2018. Several of these come from universities and research institutes, which have had articles published on International Scientific Indexing (ISI) journals. Yet unlike their international counterparts where intellectual property matters are dealt with continuously to both increase the reputation and improve research quality, domestic research institutes are quite unfamiliar with procedures as to intellectual property.

Developers call for more practical support policies Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 31st Mar 2020
Real estate developers are advising the government to detail supportive measures for the sector after Directive No.11/CT-TTg dated March 4 on urgent objectives and solutions for assisting businesses facing difficulties and assurance of social welfare amid the COVID-19 pandemic was issued. According to Nguyen Quang Tin, financial director of Development Investment Construction JSC, as the real estate market is currently devastated by the epidemic, the government should issue strong financial supporting policies to help real estate investors and developers to overcome this difficult time. The government has issued a package of VND250 trillion ($10.87 billion) to support enterprises via the banking system, however, the business community is still waiting for detailed guidelines.

Vietnamese economy stays resilient to external shocks: WB Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 31st Mar 2020
While Vietnam remains significantly exposed to the COVID-19 outbreak and the ongoing turbulence in the global financial markets, its economy stays resilient to external shocks in the first few months of 2020, according to the World Bank (WB). In its East Asia and Pacific Economic Update April 2020, the WB said on the upside, Vietnam is strongly positioned to benefit from numerous free trade agreements that are coming into force over the forecast period. In the first two months, its exports have expanded by 8 percent, FDI inflows amounted to 2.5 billion USD and retail sales were up by 5.4 percent, the bank said, noting that while prospects remain favourable for the Vietnamese economy in the medium term, GDP growth will be affected negatively by the recent coronavirus outbreak, now a global pandemic. The WB cited preliminary estimates as suggesting that the rate of expansion of the economy could decline to about 4.9 percent in 2020.

Energy

Policies needed to encourage investment in waste-to-energy VietnamPlus 5th Apr 2020
Vietnam needed to develop policies to encourage investments in waste-to-energy, also called bioenergy, which would significantly contribute to protecting the environment, experts have said. Tran Viet Ngai, President of the Vietnam Energy Association, said the huge volume of waste produced each day was a burden. If the trash that would otherwise go to a landfill was burned to churn out electricity, it would bring a number of benefits. Generating energy from waste was another source of clean energy at a reasonable cost and would contribute to protecting the environment, Ngai said.

Dung Quat Oil Refinery may suspend operation due to COVID-19 pandemic Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 3rd Apr 2020
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (BSR) is considering suspending the operation of Dung Quat Oil Refinery due to overloaded stores until the market recovers. Since early February 2020, the pandemic has sent demand for transport and logistics into a plummet, leading to a 30-40 per cent decrease in petroleum sales compared to the same period last year. The situation also impacted the operation and business of refineries and petroleum trading facilities. As of now, Dung Quat Oil Refinery has been forced to operate at a reduced capacity. In addition, petroleum importers have to either reduce or suspend product imports.

Government considers 10 pct power price discount to ease Covid-19 pains VnExpress International 2nd Apr 2020
The trade ministry has proposed a 10 percent discount on electricity rates to relieve financial pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total value of the discount is estimated at VND11 trillion ($466 million) and will benefit both households and businesses between April and June, according to a proposal submitted to the government by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Households that consume less than 300 kWh per month will be eligible to avail of the discount. This means a 300 kWh bill will be charged VND563,040 ($23.86) a reduction of VND62,560 ($2.65) from the existing rate. About 87 percent of households consume less than 300 kWh a month.

Vietnam's travel restrictions threaten transport fuels Argus 2nd Apr 2020
Vietnam's latest measures to curb its coronavirus outbreak are dealing another blow to Asia-Pacific's stuttering oil products demand. Vietnam's gasoil and gasoline import demand already fell sharply in first-half March, although lower gasoline prices lent some support to domestic demand. Vietnam's state-owned Petrolimex cut gasoline prices against weaker market fundamentals on 29 March leading to a surge in demand, which prompted Vietnam's ministry of industry and trade to confirm gasoline supplies are sufficient as people rush to buy and store gasoline. The 92R gasoline price on 29 March was at 11.95dong/litre compared with D18.34dong/l on 29 February.

Companies request cheaper power to overcome coronavirus impacts VnExpress International 31st Mar 2020
Businesses are proposing a reduction in power prices to help them overcome challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee had recently proposed the government lower electricity prices by half during peak hours from March to May to help businesses at this time of crisis. The reduction should be applied for three months starting April, and the remaining 50 percent should have payment deadlines pushed back to next year to assist residents during this difficult period. A senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Trade told VnExpress that the ministry was considering options to support businesses in terms of power prices. However, some experts say a reduction is unlikely as power demand is rising despite the pandemic.

Quarantine zones could get free electricity vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
Thousands of hospitals, quarantine zones and hotels that are being used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic may have theirelectricity bills waived for three months starting from April. The move is part of a proposal Vietnam Electricity (EVN) made on Tuesday to allow electricity charge exemptions and reductions for some customers. The proposal aims to ease difficulties for business while ensuring social security amid the coronavirus outbreak. The EVN also proposed halving the power bills of medical facilities that examine, test and treat patients suspected to be infected or infected with COVID-19.

Petrol prices see sharp fall of up to VNĐ4,252 per litre vietnamnews.vn 30th Mar 2020
The retail price of petrol sharply decreased as of 3pm on Sunday, marking the sixth consecutive reduction since the beginning of this year. Following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance, the price of biofuel E5 RON92 fell by VNĐ4,100 to VNĐ11,956 (US$0.69) per litre at the highest, and that of RON95-III was also down by VNĐ4,252 to VNĐ12,560 per litre. Meanwhile, the prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene were VNĐ11,259 per litre and VNĐ9,141 per litre, down VNĐ1,776 and VNĐ2,705 per litre, respectively.

Thai energy firm to invest $457 mln in Vietnam solar farms VnExpress International 30th Mar 2020
The company said in a recent statement that it would pay $72.9 million to acquire a controlling share in four solar power projects run by state-owned utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) in Binh Phuoc Province, 120 km to the north of Ho Chi Minh City. The Thai firm will acquire between 70-100 percent stakes in Loc Ninh 1, Loc Ninh 2, Loc Ninh 3 and Loc Ninh 4 solar plants with a total capacity of 750 megawatts that are under construction. The rest of the money, $383.8 million, will be used to complete construction and develop the projects that are expected to become operational in December.

Southeast Asia's largest solar power plant to be built in Vietnam wam 26th Mar 2020
A 450 megawatt solar power plant, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, will be built in the south central province of Ninh Thuan in Vietnam. The construction of the solar farm in Phuoc Minh commune will start in the second quarter of this year and be completed in the fourth quarter, Vietnam News Agency, VNA, reported on Wednesday, quoting Trungnam Group, investor of the project. The 14 trillion VND (US$592 million) plant will begin generating power by the end of this year.

AboitizPower terminates wind farm purchase deal in Vietnam Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 3rd Apr 2020
Aboitiz Power Corporation from the Philippines has announced a decision to terminate its planned acquisition of Vietnam’s Mekong Wind due to a condition precedent being unmet by the agreed longstop date. The power firm said that it decided to exercise its right to terminate the transaction that involves a 100 per cent acquisition by subsidiary Aboitiz Power International Pte., Ltd. of Mekong Wind Pte., Ltd. from Armstrong Southeast Asia Clean Energy Fund Pte., Ltd. (AAM), according to newswire Businessmirror. According to AboitizPower president Emmanuel Rubio, the corporation cannot disclose details as the parties are still bound by the confidentiality agreement. The corporation is still in discussions with AAM to revisit the acquisition at a future date.

Super Energy Corp to Invest in Solar Projects Worth 750 MW in Vietnam Saur Energy International 31st Mar 2020
Thailand-based Super Energy Corporation has announced that its Board of Directors has approved the investment in solar power projects by a subsidiary of the company in Vietnam, for four projects with a total installed capacity of 750 megawatts (MW). As per the press statement, the total transaction value will not be exceeding USD 456.7 million. And under the agreement, the energy group will pay USD 72.9 million to get majority stakes in four photovoltaic (PV) assets that are under construction in the southern province of Binh Phoc. The balance amount of USD 383.8 million will be allocated to complete the power plants’ construction.

Financial Services

Electronic fund transfer fees to be cut by at least 50 per cent vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
The State Bank of Việt Nam on Tuesday issued a directive to reduce the fees for transactions via interbank electronic payment system by 50 per cent for local banks. The reduction took effect from today to the end of this year, aiming to support production and business to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage cashless payments. Under the Circular 04/2020/TT-NHNN, the central bank asked credit institutions and branches of foreign banks in Việt Nam to review their payment services fees to cut the fees on customers.

Online shopping surges on Vietnam social distancing campaign VnExpress International 5th Apr 2020
Amid the 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign, people in Vietnam are increasingly resorting to online shopping and home delivery. A recent survey by Nielsen Vietnam and Infocus Mekong Mobile Panel found that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on Vietnamese consumer trends. People have reduced the frequency of their visits to supermarkets and grocery stores by 50 percent and to traditional and fresh food markets by more than 60 percent, it found. The country began a 15-day social distancing campaign to contain the pandemic last Wednesday, with the government saying it is a critical period, and banning gatherings of more than two people and telling people not to leave their homes.

Banks support enterprises vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
Incomplete statistics show that businesses have enjoyed cuts of at least VNĐ100 trillion (US$4.25 billion) to support them amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV)’s deputy governor Đào Minh Tú said amid the complex situation of COVID-19, the banking industry should implement measures to support enterprises. These include debt restructuring, debt postponement and extension, as well as interest rate reductions on old and new loans.

Banks asked to cut lending rates to mitigate Covid 19 pandemic vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) Đào Minh Tú has instructed commercial banks to continue reducing lending rates for firms affected by COVID-19 by 2 percentage points per year. The banking industry played an important role in the economy so these solutions would have direct impacts, Tú said during an online meeting on Tuesday. Tú also directed banks to implement support measures such as debt rescheduling to help firms maintain production and business.

Ministry of Finance asks insurers not to sell COVID-19-related products vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
The Ministry of Finance has asked insurers to stop introducing and selling insurance packages related to COVID-19. This request, issued late on March 31, includes life and non-life insurance in compliance with the Prime Minister’s Directive No 16/CT-TTg on urgent measures to prevent and fight the disease. The directive “requests insurance businesses not to introduce or launch products related to COVID-19”, the ministry said, and asked firms to strictly adhere to the directive throughout their networks, while refraining from the use of images of COVID-19 to offer insurance packages.

Securities trading uninterrupted during COVID-19 fight: SSC vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
Trading on the Vietnamese securities market was essential and would not be disrupted under any circumstances during the fight against COVID-19, the State Securities Commission (SSC) said on Tuesday. Trading activities would be thorough and secure, the agency said in a statement, adding that securities trading was one of the essential services regulated by the Prime Minister’s Directive 16 dated March 31 to enhance the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 drives the demand for online financial services Vietnam Insider 26th Mar 2020
As the findings of Robocash Group have shown, the pandemic has made 41% of its customers in the region use remote financial services more often. Among the latter, online financing solutions were mentioned most often, with 23% of all responses in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. E-commerce took second place with 16%. Meantime, tools allowing digital payments of utility bills and other services, as well as online banking apps, got similar results – 13%. Digital and mobile wallets to make received 10% of responses. Remarkably, both open data sources and in-house records of the company have confirmed these findings.

4 Fintech Startups from Vietnam to Watch out for in 2020 Fintech Singapore 26th Mar 2020
Vietnam’s fintech industry gained pace in 2019. Last year, Vietnam ranked second in ASEAN in terms of fintech funding (36%), second only to Singapore (56%). The sharp increase in funding was attributed to two large deals going to payments companies VNPay (US$300 million) and MoMo (US$500 million). The two deals were the top largest and third largest funding rounds of the region. Today, Vietnam is now home to more than 130 fintech startups covering a broad range of services that include  digital payments, alternative finance, wealth management and blockchain. But with the government working on new developments, including a regulatory sandbox, and new regulatory guidelines, notably in the field of P2P lending, among other initiatives, 2020 and the years ahead promise to be exciting for the Vietnamese fintech sector.

Food & Agriculture

New Regulations on Animal Feed and Aquafeed in Vietnam Lexology 6th Apr 2020
On March 9, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) issued Circular No. 04/2020/TT-BNNPTNT (“Circular 4”) on National Technical Regulations on animal feed and raw materials for production of aquafeed. Circular 4 will take effect on July 1, 2020, and will have an impact on entities engaging in animal feed and aquafeed activities in Vietnam.

Farmers, businesses struggle as pepper, cashew prices drop vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
The price of pepper and cashew in southern Việt Nam is falling as demand has dropped due to the COVID-19 crisis, affecting farmers and businesses. Currently, the price of pepper in the Central Highlands and southern Việt Nam is VNĐ34,500–37,500 (US$1.46–1.58) per kilo, the lowest in the past few years.

Cold storage demand surges during COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
Demand for cold storage is increasing due to the lower consumption of food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food accounts for about 80 per cent of cold storage demand in Việt Nam, according to data. However, that figure is rising as the F&B industry suffers and food export orders are cancelled.

RoK to offer 5% preferential import tax on over 55,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice Nhan Dan Online 4th Apr 2020
The Republic of Korea (RoK) is expected to import 50% of its total quota of 55,112 tonnes of rice from Vietnam in the tender scheduled this May with a preferential import tax rate of 5%. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the RoK committed to apply a preferential tax rate of 5% for the quota volume of 408,700 tonnes of imported rice for 10 years, starting from 2020, including rice imports from Vietnam. Meanwhile, the tax rate applied to imported rice outside the quota is 531%.

Agricultural sector gains trade surplus in Q1 despite COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
The agricultural sector recorded a trade surplus of about US$2.9 billion in the first quarter of this year despite suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The trade surplus was up 48.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, the ministry said. In the first quarter, the total trade value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products was estimated at nearly $15.2 billion. Export value reached about $9.1 billion, the same figure in the first quarter of 2019 while import value decreased by 13.2 per cent year on year to $6.1 billion.

Wood industry facing losses due to COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
The wood industry was facing a ‘disaster’ with many businesses left without orders from now until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VTFPA). VTFPA said that the US, EU, Japan, South Korea and China accounted for over 90 per cent of the country’s wood export market, and had all been strongly affected by COVID-19. “Many Vietnamese wood processing enterprises have had orders cancelled of suspended,” said the association.

Central region faces water shortage for summer-autumn crop vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
Thousands of hectares of farmland in the central region were likely to face severe water shortages for the summer-autumn rice crop, according to the General Department of Irrigation. Reservoirs were running low, and smaller water reserves were likely to dry out before the start of crop, which starts this month and runs until May, according to the department. From 13,000 to 22,000ha of cultivation area for the summer-autumn crop in the north central region including Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên–Huế provinces will be seriously affected by the water shortage.

Vietnam's fertilizer sector avoids coronavirus curbs Argusmedia 31st Mar 2020
Vietnam's fertilizer producers will largely avoid new government measures announced today to curb the country's coronavirus outbreak. The government from midnight local time (17:00 GMT) on 1 April until 15 April has ordered Vietnamese residents to stay at home and can only go out for food, essential items or urgent medical services. The government also temporarily closed borders between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to restrict travellers but not goods. But the country's fertilizer production is unaffected by these measures, according to domestic industry participants and producers, which means domestic supplies should be unaffected ahead of the application season starting around May.

Ministry wants rice export ban lifted VnExpress International 31st Mar 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked the government to lift a ban it imposed on rice exports, saying that the position now is comfortable. The country could export 400,000 tonnes of rice each in April and May after retaining stocks of 700,000 tonnes, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a new report to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. It proposed that 400,000 tonnes should first be exported in April and the Prime Minister could decide the May volume in the last week of April.

Growtech Vietnam expo to feature advanced agricultural technologies vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The International Exhibition on Machinery and Technologies of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery to be held at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre from October 28 to 30 will showcase advanced technologies in those fields. Growtech Vietnam, as the annual expo is called, has for many years been a prestigious and quality platform for exhibitors from many countries and territories, including those with highly developed technologies, to display advanced agricultural equipment and technologies.

MoIT proposes exporting 400,000 tonnes of rice in April vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has proposed to resume rice exports from April, with a volume of 400,000 tonnes, after it has compiled reports on production, domestic consumption and exports to submit to the Prime Minister. In the ministry’s report sent to the PM, it suggested exporting 800,000 tonnes of rice in April and May. In the last week of April, based on the development of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and reports of relevant ministries and sectors, the Prime Minister will consider rice exports in May.

Vietnam's ban on rice exports still in force, government may set limit: traders Reuters 30th Mar 2020
Vietnam, the world’s third-largest rice exporter, has not yet lifted the ban on new rice export contracts, traders said on Monday, adding that they expect the government to remove the suspension this week and also impose a quota. The government said last week it would halt signing new contracts until March 28 at the earliest under a review to ensure it has enough domestic supplies to cope with the virus outbreak. “We haven’t been able to sign new contracts and have frozen our trading activities since last week,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. Traders said they expect the government to make a final decision this week on whether the country will resume rice shipments or not.

Live hog price to reduce to VNĐ60,000/kg vietnamnews.vn 30th Mar 2020
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường on Monday in Hà Nội called for 15 major livestock enterprises to reduce the price of live hog to VNĐ60,000 per kilo for stability in the domestic market during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April 1, the live hog price needs to drop to VNĐ70,000 per kilo from VNĐ75,000. It would continue reducing to VNĐ65,000 per kilo by the end of the second quarter and VNĐ60,000 in the third quarter, Dũng said.

National food reserves sufficient for emergencies: GDSR vietnamnews.vn 27th Mar 2020
The General Department of State Reserves (GDSR) affirmed on Thursday that national food reserves are sufficient to cater for emergency situations. Under the Prime Minister and the Finance Ministry’s direction on ensuring food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the GDSR has assigned its regional departments to promptly purchase grain, including 190,000 tonnes of rice and 80,000 of paddy, to meet the procurement target for 2020 assigned by the PM. The ministry on Tuesday proposed the PM allow businesses to continue exporting rice. This proposal was urgently sent to the PM after the General Department of Customs began nationwide suspension of registration and customs clearance for rice export on Tuesday.

VIDA proposes solutions to rescue business from COVID-19 impact vietnamnews.vn 26th Mar 2020
The Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VIDA) proposed the Government increase updates of accurate market information and the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak, helping businesses balance their imports with domestic consumption as well as setting operation plans. Based on updated information, businesses will reduce the amount of imported goods, especially agricultural products that are produced domestically, in order to boost consumption of domestic products.

Manila gets Vietnam’s commitment to continuous rice supply Business Recorder 5th Apr 2020
The Philippines, the world's top rice buyer, said on Thursday it has secured Vietnam's commitment for continuous supply of the staple food, which may include a 300,000-tonne importation, under an existing bilateral trade agreement. The announcement comes after Vietnam, the world's third-largest rice exporter, stopped signing new deals as it checks whether it has sufficient domestic supplies to cope during the coronavirus outbreak. Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he had received a letter from Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh of Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Development expressing Hanoi's commitment to honour its existing supply contracts with Philippine importers.

PHL to be among ‘first to know’ of new Vietnam rice policy Business World 2nd Apr 2020
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said Vietnam has issued assurances on its intent to supply rice to the Philippines, its biggest foreign market, after Hanoi suspended export clearances in late March pending a review of its own domestic requirements during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In a letter to Mr. Dar, Vietnam’s Agriculture and Development Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said Hanoi values its relations with the Philippines within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and particularly the two countries’ bilateral cooperation on rice. Mr. Le said that the Philippines will be one of the first to be notified of Vietnam’s revised rice export policy.

Vietnamese vessel unloads rice in Iligan; city gov’t to buy 20,000 sacks for food packs MindaNews 29th Mar 2020
A Vietnamese vessel loaded with rice docked at the Philippine Ports Authority in Iligan City at 6:55 a.m. Sunday carrying 4,722.63 metric tons of rice, but it may be the last while the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing as the Vietnamese government last Tuesday announced it wsa temporarily stopping issuing clearance for rice shipments to ensure food security for its own people.

Health & Life Sciences

Four new COVID-19 cases reported, total number rises to 245 vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday afternoon, bringing the nation's total to 245, according to the latest report by the Ministry of Health.

Việt Nam actively helps foreign representative agencies protect citizens vietnamnews.vn 4th Apr 2020
Relevant agencies in Việt Nam have been actively helping representative agencies of foreign nations in the country carry out citizen protection measures amid rapid developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lê Thị Thu Hằng said on April 3.

Vietnam's health-tech startup eDoctor raises funding from Japanese, S Korean VCs DealStreetAsia 1st Apr 2020
Vietnamese health-tech startup eDoctor has raised a new round of funding from Japan’s CyberAgent Capital and Genesia Ventures, and South Korea’s early-stage venture capital firms Bon Angels and Nextrans. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed but the startup said it has now raised more than $1 million to date. eDoctor had previously bagged $500,000 in funding on the Shark Tank TV show from CyberAgent Capital, which was represented on the show by its country head Dzung Nguyen.

Nine more COVID-19 infections confirmed, eight connected to Bạch Mai Hospital vietnamnews.vn 30th Mar 2020
Việt Nam's number of confirmed COVID-19 patients bypasses 200 late Monday, with seven being employees of Trường Sinh Company which provides services for Bạch Mai Hospital in Hà Nội, one of the country's top referral hospitals. The others are a patient at Bạch Mai Hospital and a Vietnamese returning from overseas.

Vietnam healthcare a big draw for investors Phnom Penh Post 30th Mar 2020
Analysts said the healthcare sector is becoming more and more attractive to both domestic and foreign investors since demand for quality medical care is increasing. Meanwhile, the government has outlined plans to pull out its investment in many pharmaceutical companies. Business Monitor International reported that spending on healthcare in 2017 was estimated at $16.1 billion, or 7.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. It forecast the spending to grow to $22.7 billion in 2021. To explain this rapid growth, experts pointed to the fact that Vietnam is among the countries with the fastest growing middle class, which always seeks quality healthcare and education services.

Việt Nam to announce nationwide pandemic vietnamnews.vn 30th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc this afternoon agreed with the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control's proposal to announce a nationwide pandemic and required public transport to cease operations. The PM said this is a crucial time to fight COVID-19 and asked the political system and authorities at all levels to concentrate on the battle. He said social distancing is of the utmost importance to prevent the disease from spreading in the community.

Vingroup proposes a 4.23 mil USD relief package to combat Covid-19 Vietnam Insider 26th Mar 2020
Conglomerate Vingroup recently proposed a relief package worth 100 billion VND (4.23 million USD) to procure medical equipment and chemicals for testing of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Through the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, the firm presented 100 ventilators, 20 PCR equipment, 800 test kits and 200 COVID-19 fast-tracking test kits produced by the Republic of Korea. Vingroup has to date allocated nearly 450 billion VND to support the country’s fight against the COVID-19.

Vietnam assists Laos to fight Covid-19 with medical supplies The Star Online 4th Apr 2020
Medical materials from Vietnam arrived in Lao capital Vientiane by a chartered plane on Saturday morning (April 4) to assist Laos to fight against the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The supplies including 333,000 standard face mask, 1,000 of protective clothing sets, and some medical equipment, which is worth over US$300,000, Laos News Agency (KPL) reported on Saturday. A receiving ceremony was held at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane capital, attended by Laoa deputy prime minister and chair of the Task Force Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Somdy Douangdy, and Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos, Nguyen Ba Hung.

Manulife partners with dacadoo for enhanced customer engagement MobiHealthNews 26th Mar 2020
Insurance and financial services provider Manulife announced that it will be collaborating with dacadoo, a Swiss-based global digital health provider to enhance its digital offerings in Asia. The partnership will see dacadoo strengthening Manulife’s existing health engagement platform, ManulifeMOVE. The enhanced capabilities, which features dacadoo’s patented Health Score, will provide ManulifeMOVE’s customers a new scoring method to measure how healthy they are and what they need to do to stay healthy. According to Manulife, the enhanced capabilities will make it easier for ManulifeMOVE customers to make better health decisions by encouraging them to take simple, preventative actions, including on better nutrition, exercise and sleep habits, to improve their long-term health. The new functionalities will be available on the ManulifeMOVE programme and accessible to policyholders in Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam from May 2020.

ICT

Hà Nội to create favourable conditions for digital technology companies vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
Hà Nội's People's Committee is making plans to develop digital technology companies for 2021-25 and 2026-30. This aimed to create favourable conditions for socio-economic breakthroughs. The Department of Information and Communications will be in charge of providing consultancy and support to digital technology companies in the city. The Department of Planning and Investment will propose amendments to the exiting legal framework with a focus on start-ups, innovation and the operation of new business models based on digital technology.

Smooth communication ensured at all time during Covid-19 pandemic SGGP English Edition 2nd Apr 2020
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has just released Document No.1103 to demand that relevant organs ensure the quality and effectiveness of telecommunications, especially Internet connections, during the time of Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam for operation and management tasks of state offices as well as teleworking of citizens. Accordingly, all telecommunications service providers must check and update the infrastructure and operation of their networks to make sure communication is always clear.

Working from home threatens cyber security during pandemic vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
A number of firms have allowed their employees to work from home to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is increasing the risks to cyber security. In January, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) warned local internet users about cyber security, mentioning that various kinds of attacks still exist online and are able to harm users if they are careless. MIC reported 283 cyber-attacks against Vietnamese information systems in the first month of the year. In March, more cases were announced.

Technology solutions sought to develop digital economy in Vietnam VietnamPlus 28th Mar 2020
The International Data Group in Vietnam (IDG) and the Radio and Electronics Association of Vietnam jointly held a teleconference named “World Mobile Broadband & ISP 2020” on March 27 aiming to seek technology solutions to boost digital economic development in the country. Under the theme of “5G & Mobile Broadband Promoting Digital Economy: Visions and Technology Solutions,” the teleconference focused on introducing the roadmap, deployment experience, and new technology proposals to promote the development of mobile and fixed telecommunications infrastructure as well as the trend of developing digital content services on that platform. Delegates exchanged views on the roadmap for 5G planning and development in Vietnam, and studied experience in commercialising 5G in developed countries, digital economy model on the basis of high-speed connection, and building ecosystems on the connection platform.

MIC launches campaign to apply Vietnamese technology for digital life vietnamnews.vn 27th Mar 2020
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng has issued a directive and launched a campaign to apply Vietnamese technology for digital life. The key content of the campaign is to promote digital applications in all fields, create a digital life and create new opportunities to promote socio-economic development. The directive outlines 10 key tasks: developing a digital work environment, health system, training system to serve learning needs and digital utility system serving daily needs.

Cambodia and Vietnamese enterprises adopt measures strengthen strategic collaboration Khmer Times 28th Mar 2020
Viettel Cambodia (Metfone), a subsidiary of Vietnam’s military-run telecommunications company Viettel Group and MB Cambodia, a branch of Vietnam’s Military Commercial Joint- Stock Bank (MB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a five-year strategic partnership of cooperation to strengthen their development in and contributions to Cambodia.

Infrastructure

Vietnam Airlines adjusts flights to Da Nang due to new quarantine policy VietnamPlus 5th Apr 2020
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced on April 5 that it will adjust the frequency of its flights from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang after the central city requires a 14-day quarantine period for passengers from the two major cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the carrier will conduct three flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on each route from April 7-15. It continues operating one flight a day from Hanoi to HCM City and vice versa.

Vietnam Railways only operates a couple of trains from April 1 on COVID-19 fight  Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 2nd Apr 2020
State-owned railway giant Vietnam Railways is now running only a couple of trains on the north-south network to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Vietnam Railways (VNR) has introduced the changes from April 1, in line with the government’s Directive No.16/CT-TTg and those from the Ministry of Transport on urgent measures to prevent and fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic. Accordingly, SE3 train departs from Hanoi Railway station at 7:25 pm everyday, while the SE4 train departs from the Saigon railway station at 20:30 pm.

Airlines to stop carrying passengers to Vietnam from April 1 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has asked airlines to stop carrying passengers to Vietnam as from 00:00 of April 1 until the end of April 15 as part of measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. In an urgent dispatch to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the ministry stated that the suspension will not be applied to those entering Vietnam for diplomatic and official purposes, for participation in major diplomatic events, as well as to experts, business managers, highly skilled workers, and those receiving entry approval of the national committee on COVID-19 prevention and control.

Trà Vinh to build two erosion prevention projects vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
The Trà Vinh Province People’s Committee has approved the construction of two embankment projects worth a total of VNĐ260 billion (US$11 million) to prevent river and coastal erosion. A 1.1km embankment section will be built along the Láng Thé River in Càng Long District’s Đại Phước Commune. It will cost VNĐ60 billion and will be built in the 2020-22 period. When completed, the project will secure the safety of the district’s road along the river, and protect the safety and property of locals. The other project is a 2.5km embankment along coastal areas in Cầu Ngang and Duyên Hải districts and Duyên Hải Town. The project, which will cost VNĐ200 billion, will protect protective forests, fields and sea dykes when it is finished in 2023.

Lotte E&C completes pre-feasibility study for Yen Vien-Lao Cai railway route Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Apr 2020
Three years after receiving the approval from the Ministry of Transport, Lotte Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (Lotte E&C), a member of South Korean giant Lotte Group, completed the pre-feasibility study for the second phase of the project to upgrade the Yen Vien-Lao Cai railway route. This report is a demonstration of Lotte E&C's determination to develop the Yen Vien-Lao Cai railway route. This is because the Ministry of Transport warned the investor in a document that the route is not on the list of public-private partnership (PPP) projects it calls for investment, thus the investors have to build the report on their own and there are expected to be many potential investors to compete for the project.

Investors sought for key Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu projects vietnamnews.vn 1st Apr 2020
Authorities in the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province have been asked to speed up procedures so that investors can be sought for important projects. At a meeting held on March 31, Lê Quốc Tuấn, deputy chairman of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu’s People’s Committee, said that land clearance compensation for important projects must be carried out by local authorities, and that related procedures must be completed soon. The Department of Planning and Investment must create documents to guide the investors bidding process. As for the Lâm Viên Núi Dinh Tourism Area, the department is expected to report on how its investment will be carried out, and the People’s Committee will select an investor for the project if the department is unable to choose one.

Deputy PM calls for setting up managing unit for delayed expressway project vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The Government Office said Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has ordered the setting up of a managing unit for the Bến Lức-Long Thành Expressway project. According to the Vietnam Expressway Development and Investment Corporation (VEC), which is building the highway, the lack of a managing unit to decide on investment has led to a delay in the project. Dũng has directed the Government Office to quickly complete procedures for setting up the managing unit.

Vietnam’s public investment disbursement up in first quarter Nhan Dan Online 29th Mar 2020
Vietnam’s public investment disbursement in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 16.4% compared with the same period in 2019. According to the General Statistics Office, the positive sign is thanks to the government’s efforts to accelerate public investment disbursement to offset the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. Total disbursements in the January-March period were equivalent to 13.2% of the full-year target, which was set at 18% higher than last year’s figure.

Duc Giang Chemical to develop $521 million project in Thanh Hoa Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 27th Mar 2020
Duc Giang Chemical Group JSC, the producer of Duc Giang washing powder, plans to develop the Duc Giang-Nghi Son chemical complex in Tinh Gia district, Thanh Hoa province with the total investment capital of VND12 trillion ($521.74 million). This complex is the largest investment of Duc Giang Chemical so far. To begin the project, the group will rent 80 hectares of land for 50 years sometime between April and September. The construction will be divided into three phases. The first phase has a total investment capital of VND2 trillion ($86.96 million), VND600 billion ($26.1 million) of which comes from company equity and the remaining VND1.4 trillion ($60.87 million) from loans.

Manufacturing

Carmakers hit the brakes over newest emergency measures Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 6th Apr 2020
Auto manufacturers are looking at bleak prospects as the global pandemic weakens sales and pushes them to temporarily suspend production, with the trend expected to continue through April at least. According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) that consists of 17 automaker members, sales in the whole market as of the end of February were down 27 per cent on-year. The VAMA has yet to release sales figures for March, which are expected to be even more damaging. The Vietnamese car market is likely to remain frozen with most stores temporarily closed and production halted due to the coronavirus crisis. Last week, Honda Vietnam, Ford Vietnam, Toyota Motors Vietnam, and TC Motors – which hold the majority of the country’s automotive market – announced suspending the production and assembly of cars over concerns of the pandemic. The halt will last until April 15 in line with the government’s direction on nationwide social distancing.

Toiling steel ventures ask for state urgency Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 2nd Apr 2020
The unpredictability of the global coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the demand for steel and forced steel projects to lay idle or cut production. Nghiem Xuan Da, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) said that Vietnam’s steel market was indeed gloomy, with moderate production and sales. He added that businesses who want to sell their products have to severely lower prices compared to standard market level, though consumption remains very low. Inventories of finished products are increasing, while businesses still have to pay interest on bank loans and storage costs. In the first two months of 2020, the domestic steel production and consumption are estimated to have decreased by 35-40 per cent on-year, in which galvanised steel, sheet metal items, and coating colours for domestic consumption reduced nearly 70 per cent, and cold-rolled steel by 87 per cent on-year, according to Da.

Việt Nam’s manufacturing drops to record low in March due to pandemic vietnamnews.vn 2nd Apr 2020
The Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell sharply to 41.9 in March from 49.0 in February, a survey by IHS Markit and Nikkei released on Wednesday showed. The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the Vietnamese manufacturing sector during March, according to the survey. Business conditions deteriorated to the greatest extent since the survey began in March 2011 amid record falls in output, new orders and employment.

Vietnam-based Hyundai, Honda plants close amid nationwide lockdown Reuters 1st Apr 2020
Vietnam-based Hyundai (005380.KS) assembler TC Motor and Honda (7267.T) Vietnam have shut down their plants for two weeks amid a nationwide social distancing campaign to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the companies said on Wednesday. Honda Vietnam will close both its motorbike and auto plants in the northern province of Vinh Phuc until April 15, while TC Motor, Vietnam’s third biggest car seller, said it will shut its plant in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

Vietnam PE sees limited impact from isolation order; ops rates may fall Icis 1st Apr 2020
Polyethylene market players in Vietnam said downstream plastic manufacturers in the country have thus far not been affected by the government’s announcement of a 15-day isolation period, which started 1 April, but some said plant operating rates could eventually decline as demand slows. Vietnam is an key market for PE exporters as the country does not have major domestic producers and PE imports are free from duties, making it a highly competitive environment. In the week ended 27 March, linear low density PE (LLDPE) import prices in Vietnam fell to $730-790/tonne CFR (cost & freight) Vietnam, the lowest on record since ICIS began tracking the data in August last year.

Automakers seek tax breaks amid slump caused by pandemic VnExpress International 26th Mar 2020
Automakers are seeking tax breaks and fee waivers for buyers to boost demand amid dwindling sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) has asked the government to grant a 50 percent reduction in value-added tax and car registration fees. The proposal by the association, which consists of 17 automakers including Japan’s Toyota, the U.S.’s Ford and local assembler Thaco, would bring down prices if approved.

Travel & Tourism

All passenger flights to VN banned from 1-15 April vietnamnews.vn 31st Mar 2020
The Ministry of Transport has banned all passenger flights to Việt Nam from 1-15 April in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Domestic flights will also be severely reduced with only two flights a day to connect the capital city of Hà Nội and the southern economic hub of HCM City, as well as only one flight per day from Hà Nội and HCM City to the central city of Đà Nẵng. Cargo flights, diplomatic missions, foreign officials, experts, business managers [with required medial documents] are among the few exceptions to the ban.

Vietnam wins ASEAN Tourism Awards VietnamPlus 31st Mar 2020
Two tourism products in Vietnam have been honoured at the ASEAN Tourism Awards Japan 2019 – an annual ceremony organised by the ASEAN-Japan Centre. The tour “Discover Vietnam in Style with Vietnam Airlines’ Business Class” offers tourists the chance to experience a stylish and luxury getaway across Vietnam over seven days. Meanwhile, the tour “Panoramic Experience in Vietnam” is designed for young, vibrant and active Japanese ladies.

Vietnam postpones festivals TTR Weekly 30th Mar 2020
Tourism officials confirmed at the weekend more festivals and events have been cancelled or postponed in alignment with the government’s directive to reduce public gatherings in the country. Earlier in the month, authorities postponed the F1 Vietnam Grand Prix with no hint of the new dates. The entire global F1 race series has been postponed.

Vietnam counts Q1 tourism damage inflicted by Covid-19 VnExpress International 28th Mar 2020
Vietnam saw first-quarter foreign arrivals plummet as entry was restricted and tourism destinations closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The country welcomed nearly 3.7 million international tourists in the period, down 18.1 percent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). Around 2.6 million Asians, who account for nearly 80 percent of total foreign arrivals, visited the country, down 21.1 percent.

Homestay owners lose customers amid COVID-19 pandemic Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 28th Mar 2020
Kim Thanh has been struggling recently to look for long-term tenants for a condo that she rents for short-term stays in Ba Dinh District in Ha Noi. Occupancy rates remained at 80 per cent last month with bookings made via Airbnb or Agoda, according to Thanh. She said, however, that early this month, tourism began to slow down and was now almost “frozen”. She has decided to shut down the business. The landlord of the condo has agreed to reduce the monthly rent by VND2 million (US$85.5) for May, June and July, but Thanh does not think she can continue.