Vietnam Update: April 23, 2020

Vietnam Update | April 23, 2020
Authors: Hai Pham and Minh Vu
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Vietnam to Ease National Limited Lockdown on Risk-based Guideline

As Vietnam shows success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Vietnam has decided not to extend Directive 16 on National Limited Lockdown beyond April 22. Since midnight of April 23, the last remaining high-risk localities, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, have lifted maximum social distancing measures pursuant to Directive 16 issued on March 31, and followed Directive 15, issued on March 27, which imposed limited measures to avoid large gathering but does not require social distancing.

The Government made this decision based on its classification of infection risk which takes into account density of traffic, population, factories, frequency of people movement, and pandemic response capacity of local authorities among others. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his April 15 decision classified the three major cities and nine other provinces as having high risks of infection and should follow Directive 16 until April 22. In addition, 15 medium-risk provinces and 36 low-risk provinces were to follow Directive 15 since April 15. Directive 15 imposes limited measures on public crowds: banning gatherings of more than 20 people in a room and more than 10 people outside the workplaces, schools, and hospitals; suspending all unnecessary gatherings including religious services, cultural, sports, and entertainment events; and keeping a minimum distance of 2 meters when in public. Directive 15 also allows local authorities to decide which business sectors and services can resume operation if they take preventive measures. In addition, for high-risk areas, business activities on streets are strictly banned. On the other hand, Directive 16 imposes national isolation on the principle of every household, village, commune, district, and province going into self-isolation. Citizen are required to stay home and only go out for necessities such as food and medicine or emergency; or working at factories, production facilities, essential goods and service providers and other emergencies. The Directive also puts a ban on more than 2 people concentration outside the workplaces, schools, hospitals and in public places. Despite lifting Directive 16, Vietnam continues to suspend foreign entry into the country with the exception of diplomats and high-skilled labors and experts.

As the economy beings to reopen, the Government of Vietnam will face the daunting task of revitalizing the economy. In the first quarter of 2020, Vietnam achieved a 3.8 percent growth rate as the IMF forecasted Vietnam’s GDP to grow at 2.7 percent for the entire year, albeit still higher than its neighbors. On April 14, the Government revised its economic target to achieve an annual GDP growth of 7 percent during the 2021-2025 period. Following the revision, in the April 15 decision to reopen some parts of the country, the Prime Minister also ordered local authorities to prepare plans to recover the economy after the pandemic and allowed them to make decisions on sectors that can resume operations if the sectors can maintain preventive measures. Aside from the measures to limit the pandemic impact on the economy, looking forward, the Government affirmed its commitment to improve its business environment and infrastructure, expand its export markets, apply advanced technologies and promote the development of the private sector over the next five years. Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong echoed the Prime Minister's decision on April 23 during the national cadres conference in Hanoi. The Party Secretary praised the timely preventive action enabled by national unity to successfully contain COVID-19 and encouraged macro-measures to restore and promote socio-economic development after the pandemic.

Vietnam Contributes to International Effort After Containing COVID-19

The Government of Vietnam has been active in sharing its successful experience abroad and contributing to the global fight against the pandemic. As the 2020 ASEAN Chair, Vietnam chaired a series of video conference meetings including the ASEAN Health Ministers and the ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers in Enhancing Cooperation on COVID-19, both on April 7, the 25th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on April 9, and both the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 on April 14. These meetings allowed the participants and ASEAN Member States to affirm the regional commitment to combat the pandemic and share their successes and experiences in prevention and control, in addition to establishing a joint fund to procure medical equipment during the pandemic. Following the ASEAN meetings, Vietnam Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong shared Vietnam’s experience and success to an online meeting of G20 Health Ministers held on April 19 and chaired by Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia Tawfig Al Rabiah. On April 21, made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 test kits received approval by the United Kingdom and the EU. The kit is produced by Viet A Corporation and the Military Medical University since March 5 and meets all the criteria on virus sensitivity, specificity and accuracy set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Following this approval, Viet A Corporation authorized UK-based partner Redcliffe Bioscience Holdings Ltd., to sell the products in the UK, India, Mexico, the U.S., and certain EU members.

The U.S. and ASEAN are also joining hands to combat the pandemic. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on April 22 affirmed the U.S. commitment to cooperate with ASEAN to defeat COVID-19 and announced the launch of the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures Initiative. In his remark, Secretary Pompeo touted Vietnam’s expedited clearances for charter flights to deliver 2.2 million personal protective suits to the U.S. He also said that the U.S. has released more than US$35.3 million in emergency health funding to help ASEAN countries to fight the pandemic as of April 22. The U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures Initiative will continue to support this cooperation and aim toward long-term partnership in public health by focusing on research, health system capacity, and human capital in health.

Highlights from Vietnam National Cadres Conference on April 23

On April 23, Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong chaired the national cadres conference in Hanoi to discuss a range of priorities, including ongoing efforts to contain the pandemic and revitalize the economy, foreign affairs and security in the South China Sea, and preparation for the upcoming 13th National Party Congress in 2021. Regarding the preparation for the upcoming National Congress, the Party General Secretary emphasized that personnel work must be well carried out from the Party Congresses at all levels to ensure the success of the National Congress and the survival of the Party. He also stressed that the selection of personnel must be done in a scientific, strict, unbiased and objective manner in each stage, deserving the trust and expectation of the entire Party, people and armed forces.

As the world continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, China has been more active in asserting control and presence in the South China Sea. On April 18, China established two administrative districts, one on the Paracel islands and another on the Spratly islands, both under the control of China’s Sansha city. Following this, on April 19 Vietnam issued a statement denouncing China’s action, claiming that Vietnam has repeatedly and strongly reaffirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands. This escalation of tension between the two claimants states is a continuation of an incident earlier this month on April 2, when a Chinese coast guard ship hit and sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel carrying eight fishermen near Phu Lam island of the Paracel archipelago. Following the sinking, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the United States Senators and Department of State have condemned China for its behavior undermining regional stability amid the pandemic. Prior to the sinking, on March 30, Vietnam sent diplomatic notes to the United Nations stating Vietnam’s claims to its territories in the South China Sea.

Vietnam Lifts Ban on Rice Export

Following a moratorium on rice export since March 24 as Vietnam ensures its national rice stockpile, on April 11, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the proposal by Minister of Industry and Trade (MOIT) to export 400,000 tons of rice for the month of April. The Prime Minister also ordered the MOIT to propose an export plan for May before April 25. The MOIT was to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) to export rice without affecting national food security. In addition to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam is also facing saline intrusion and drought in the Mekong Delta, one of its largest agricultural production hubs, and historic heat waves and abnormal weather events, according to Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration.

Following the Prime Minister’s decision to resume rice export, many rice exporters on April 12 noted that the quota filled up only three hours after the General Department of Customs began accepting online customs declarations from rice exporters. The Vietnam Food Association also noted that some 300,000 tons of rice are stuck at ports, awaiting clearance from the Department. The issue stems from the e-custom system the Department used to approve the declarations on a first-come first-serve basis. Facing this issue, the MOIT on April 20 has established an interdisciplinary inspection team to determine the volume stuck at ports and draft a plan to expedite export.

Vietnam Healthtech Thrives Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

As Vietnam contains the COVID-19 pandemic and relaxes limited lockdown beginning on midnight April 23, the Vietnam government is employing digital healthcare technology to ensure a safe return to normalcy. On April 18, Vietnam launched two new high-tech applications to help prevent and control COVID-19, including a platform to examine and treat patient remotely and a Bluezone application on mobile devices that facilitate contact tracing operation. The remote platform is developed by Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group and can help save cost for patient and reduce overcrowding at higher-level hospitals by enabling doctors to consult with patients and examine them with electrocardiographic and ultrasound scans. On the other hand, the Bluezone application utilizes Bluetooth low energy to record encounters of close proximity with other phones using the app. Earlier on March 20, the Singapore Government launched TraceTogether, a similar mobile application, and made the technology for the app open-source globally so others can modify or use the technology freely.

The healthtech sector in Vietnam also enjoys a boost in demand as the pandemic changes consumer’s behavior by encouraging social distancing and accelerates the broader acceptance of digital healthcare, given a growing middle class and a nascent digital infrastructure in the healthcare system in Vietnam. Vietnam-based healthtech startup eDoctor recently raised a new round of funding and attracted more than US$1 million as of April 1. eDoctor on April 15 reported that demand for its online consultation platform increased at least 200 percent in the past few weeks and would most likely continue to grow further. Other large healthtech players in Vietnam, including Vietnam-based Jio Health and Singapore-based Doctor Anywhere, also launched their respective in-app service COVID-19 Telemedicine Assessment and COVID-19 Advisory Clinic to meet the demand for their platform during the pandemic. Nonetheless, the healthtech sector in Vietnam still lags behind its neighbors such as Indonesia and Singapore. According to a report by YCP Solidiance, an Asia-focused advisory firm, in 2019, Vietnam startups recorded only US$7 million in investment compared to US$120 million by Indonesian and US$125 million by Singaporean counterpart.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Draft National Technical Regulation on Phytosanitary Requirements for Imported Regulated Articles

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD) has issued a Draft National Technical Regulations (NTR) on phytosanitary requirements for imported regulated articles. The objective of the draft NTR is to regulate the quarantine requirements of imported plants. The draft NTR sets a zero tolerance on all plant quarantine pests regulated under Circular 35/2014/TT-BNNPTNT issued in 2014. Vietnam has notified these measures to the World Trade Organization as SPS Notification VNM112 and is allowing trade partners and stakeholders to submit comments by May 17, 2020.

Kindly find the Draft NTR in Vietnamese here and an unofficial translation of the draft NTR in English here.

Please submit your comments to Thao Nguyen (tnguyen@usasean.org) and Hai Pham (hpham@usasean.org) by COB Thursday, May 14, 2020 SGT (in both English and Vietnamese). Following this deadline, the Council will consolidate the inputs and create a final submission to share with MARD.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
Extra efforts made to sign RCEP in Vietnam in late 2020
Việt Nam accelerates process to put EU trade deal into operation
EU completes procedures for EVFTA to take effect: Official

National Affairs
Vietnam plans to hold general elections in May 2021
NA Standing Committee’s 44th session to open on April 20
Việt Nam denounces China's move to set up administrative districts over Vietnamese islands
Việt Nam completes report on UNSC presidency month
Amendments of regulations on intellectual property border measures in Vietnam
Vietnam's Draft New Investment Law and Enterprise Law

ASEAN
Response Fund to be created by Asean to cushion COVID-19’s impact in the region
ASEAN events and summits under Việt Nam's chairmanship year might be conducted online: diplomat
ASEAN Film Week 2020 to be held

COVID-19
Social distancing restrictions to be eased in Hà Nội and HCM City
Seven more patients with COVID-19 recover in Ninh Bình Province, total at 214
Students start returning to school in low-risk provinces after months off
G20 Health Ministers Meeting: Việt Nam deploys war-like symbolism in fighting COVID-19
Việt Nam can conduct 13,000 COVID-19 tests a day: National Committee
Vietnam's coastal city reopens basic services
Việt Nam proposes strategies to help fight COVID-19 globally
MoT announces plans to transport passengers amid COVID-19
Social distancing extended for high-risk localities, including Hà Nội and HCM City
Majority of Vietnamese agree to extend social distancing to stop pandemic
$4.3 million donated to support fight against COVID-19 pandemic
US President Donald Trump thanks Việt Nam for COVID-19 support

Customs
Inspection team set up to check rice volume stuck at ports
PM allows exports of medical face masks
Việt Nam Food Association demands priority clearance for rice stuck at ports
Lạng Sơn proposes temporary halt to goods transport at Tân Thanh border gate
Rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota
MoIT requests Hải Phòng to create favourable conditions to transport goods
Ministry launches investigation into anti-dumping duties on polyester yarn

Defense & Security
Aviation policies fair and equal for all airlines, says transport ministry
Airlines and railway firms get payment fee reduction of 35 per cent

Economics
Digital economy contributes to 16.5 percent of Vietnam labor productivity growth
Economic growth slows as GDP rate threatened
US, Vietnam ink $42 m deal on boosting economic competitiveness
Cần Thơ City to build startup ecosystem
Ministry to support businesses to ensure budget revenue
IMF sees Vietnam GDP growth at 2.7 percent in 2020
Logistics groups roll out schemes to avert doldrums
Transport mainstays in call for policy backing
SCIC keeps to SOE divestment plan for 2020
RoK, Vietnam eye closer economic ties despite pandemic
Vietnam targets 7% annual GDP growth over next five years
National conference to tackle obstacles facing enterprises during pandemic
93% enterprises to benefit from cut in corporate income tax
SCIC asked to focus on key sectors
Deadlines for tax and land use fee payments extended

Energy
MoIT proposes keeping current FiT for wind power projects
EVN wants to public list of planned solar power projects in Ninh Thuan
GE inks Phuong Mai supply deal in Vietnam
PetroVietnam proposes restriction of oil imports due to COVID-19
Solar power grows 28-fold in Vietnam's energy mix
Retail price of electricity to drop 10 per cent in three months
Quang Nam prioritises green FDI projects
Thai Super Energy to invest $457 million in four solar power plants in Vietnam

Financial Services
MoF proposes tax exemption
State Treasury raises $21.3 million from G-bonds
State Securities Commission to launch one-stop information disclosure system
Mobile money project to be submitted to the Government this month
Fitch affirms 'BB' ratings on EVN, EVNNPT, PVN; revises outlooks to stable

Food & Agriculture
Đồng Tháp farmers adopt drones to spray crops
Pork price must be stabilised: MoIT
Bình Phước cashew processors face shortage of capital, raw materials
Vietnam, China seek greater cooperation in agricultural development
IFC works with Việt Nam to expand export markets for agricultural produce
Đồng Tháp helps fish exporters amid lower demand during COVID-19
Agricultural land price increases during COVID-19
Vinachem asks to apply 0% tax rate to fertiliser products
PM approves rice export resumption, orders guaranteed food security
Finance Ministry aims to suspend ordinary rice exports

Health & Life Sciences
HCM City launches pharmaceutical price stabilisation programme
Truscreen : expands to Vietnam with Ministry of Health Approval
Remote health check-up platform, COVID-19 prevention app launched
Ministry of Public Security to investigate Hà Nội’s medical equipment purchase
Việt Nam to stop exporting COVID-19 treatment medicines from April 16
Disinfection robot put into trial operation amid COVID-19 fight
Thriving health apps conquer market
VN could become world’s face mask factory amid COVID-19
Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators
Vietnam accelerating ventilator production
Private medical facilities allowed to offer COVID-19 tests: Government

ICT
Vietnam releases data on Internet access quality
OTT takes advantage of cinema slump
Vietnam Issues Guidelines on Cloud Computing for E-Government Deployment
Thailand Delta Electronics PCL to establish subsidiary in Viet Nam this year

Infrastructure
PPP projects must have investment of more than US$4.4 million: NA deputies
Work on two bridges across Cửa Lục Bay in Quảng Ninh to start this month
Bright prospect for construction enterprises despite disease
Two key southern waterways logistics corridors proposed with World Bank funding
Vung Tau: one step closer towards building $1 billion airport
Industrial realty still grows during pandemic
Key fly-over bridge to boost west zone traffic links
Danang sounds horn for investors in Lien Chieu Port infrastructure
National Highway 1A to be upgraded, widened in Mekong Delta
Social housing projects wait for incentives
Crunch time for expressway PPPs

Manufacturing
MoIT issues regulations on auction of import tariff quotas on used autos
Mask exports offer pandemic-hit Vietnam garment makers breathing space
VinFast secures exemption from import tax on parts for exported cars

Travel & Tourism
Most tourism firms forecast 80 per cent revenue drop
A vital mangrove forest hidden in Vietnam’s largest city could be at risk
Vietnam seeks to reopen all domestic flights from Thursday
Vietjet offers Power Pass for unlimited flights in Vietnam
Hà Nội halts $4 million tourism promotion package on CNN
Airlines to increase flights from April 16
Vietjet ensures flights during national social distancing
90 per cent of travel firms suspend operations
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

Extra efforts made to sign RCEP in Vietnam in late 2020 VietnamPlus 18th Apr 2020
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) dialogue partners are advancing the review of legal texts, with an expectation of the process finishing in July so the pact can be signed at the ASEAN Summit in Vietnam later this year as scheduled. Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of the Trade Negotiations Department under Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, said the working panel handling the legal text-scrubbing for the pact has already finished six chapters and is working on the remaining 14 chapters. The first video conference was applied to the RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee meeting on April 7. The next video conference of the committee is scheduled for April 20-24.

Việt Nam accelerates process to put EU trade deal into operation vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The European Union (EU) – Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will officially take effect for both the EU and Việt Nam after the National Assembly ratifies and the two sides complete the notification procedures under the agreement. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Thursday said the country has been aggressively preparing for the approval process. According to EU internal procedures, the EVFTA needs to be ratified by the European Parliament (EP) and then signed by the European Council to take effect.

EU completes procedures for EVFTA to take effect: Official Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 10th Apr 2020
In his recent phone talks with European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh exchanged views on a number of issues related to the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and bilateral cooperation and trade in the context of the raging COVID-19 pandemic. On the agreement, the EU official said the European Council on March 30 passed the EVFTA and by so doing, the EU officially completed its internal procedures for the deal to take effect. Minister Anh said the dossiers for the ratification of the deal have been submitted by the government to the state President to consider submitting it to the National Assembly for discussion and ratification right in its session in May. With this pace, both sides hope the EVFTA will officially take effect in July.

National Affairs

Vietnam plans to hold general elections in May 2021 Nhan Dan Online 20th Apr 2020
Vietnam is planning to hold the elections for the National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels on May 23, 2021, according to the National Assembly Office. NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan presided over a meeting on April 14 to discuss plans for the general elections. The National Electoral Council is expected to be established in May 2020 and will be tasked with preparing for the elections. The 15th National Assembly for the 2021-2026 term will have no more than 500 members, of which 200 are expected to be full-time members.

NA Standing Committee’s 44th session to open on April 20 vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
The 44th session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will open in Hà Nội on Monday. The committee will offer opinions on several draft laws from Monday to Thursday, including the draft Law on Public-Private Partnership, the draft Law on Vietnamese guest workers who obtain labour contracts, the draft law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Environment Protection, the draft Law on Treaties, and several major issues in the draft revised Youth Law.

Việt Nam denounces China's move to set up administrative districts over Vietnamese islands vietnamnews.vn 19th Apr 2020
Việt Nam on Sunday said it "categorically" denounced China’s decision to establish so-called Xisha and Nansha districts to govern over Việt Nam’s islands of Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly), respectively. Việt Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng made the statement on Sunday after Chinese state media reported on the Chinese State Council’s decision to set up the two administrative regions under the so-called Sansha City in Hainan Province, stoking instability in the hotly contested South China Sea (known as East Sea in Việt Nam).

Việt Nam completes report on UNSC presidency month vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The United Nations Secretariat on Thursday announced Việt Nam’s report on the UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency month (Report No. S/2020/258). The report reviews all the activities Việt Nam carried out in January when it held the UNSC presidency. Accordingly, information about the 14 open meetings and 13 closed-door meetings and consultations on hot issues in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America, and matters regarding the maintenance of international peace and security, are mentioned transparently and in detail.

Amendments of regulations on intellectual property border measures in Vietnam IPMAX 16th Apr 2020
On 06 March 2020 the Ministry of Finance issued Circular No. 13/2020/TT-BTC (new Circular 13) amending and supplementing a number of provisions of Circular No.13/2015/TT-BTC dated 30 January 2015 on inspection, supervision and suspension of customs procedures for imported and exported goods that are subject of requests for intellectual property rights protection, and control of exporting and importing counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights (IPRs). The amendments will become effective on 20 April 2020.

Vietnam's Draft New Investment Law and Enterprise Law Baker McKenzie 9th Apr 2020
In order to continue improving Vietnam's business and investment environment, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is drafting two new laws to replace the current Investment Law and Enterprise Law (respectively, the "Draft Investment Law" and "Draft Enterprise Law"). The Drafts have been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly in March 2020 for review. The National Assembly is expected to consider and adopt these Drafts in its upcoming meeting, which is presently scheduled to take place in May 2020.

ASEAN

Response Fund to be created by Asean to cushion COVID-19’s impact in the region Khmer Times 10th Apr 2020
In the 25th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting via video conference Thursday, ASEAN foreign ministers agreed on the establishment of a response to help all member states alleviate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives behind the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, according to a press release from Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, is to mobilise financial resources to address the shortage in medical supplies and to support the research and development of COVID-19. The fund also aims to prepare the member state for responding to future emergencies.

ASEAN events and summits under Việt Nam's chairmanship year might be conducted online: diplomat vietnamnews.vn 9th Apr 2020
The ASEAN Special Summit and the ASEAN+3 Special Summit on COVID-19 Response will be held online on April 14 with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc chairing over the events as ASEAN Chair 2020, the diplomat announced.

ASEAN Film Week 2020 to be held Nhan Dan Online 9th Apr 2020
The film week is scheduled to be held in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City with the aim of promoting the fine values of people in the ASEAN Community. Each ASEAN country will be invited to send a film to the event. The selected films will be translated into Vietnamese and submitted to an evaluation council. Themed “For an ASEAN of cohesion and proactive adaptation”, the film week is expected to enhance the role and position of Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

COVID-19

Social distancing restrictions to be eased in Hà Nội and HCM City vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2020
Social distancing restrictions will be eased in Hà Nội from April 23 as Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc agreed to downgrade the city from the COVID-19 high-risk group to medium-risk. Some areas of the city like Thường Tín, Mê Linh and places with many infection cases are still classified as high risk and ordered to continue strict social distancing measures, the Cabinet leader said at a Government meeting on social distancing policies on Wednesday afternoon. Along with Hà Nội, HCM City, Bắc Ninh and Hà Giang provinces are also in the medium-risk category.

Seven more patients with COVID-19 recover in Ninh Bình Province, total at 214 vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Seven more patients with COVID-19 recovered and were discharged from the Ninh Bình Provincial General Hospital on Monday afternoon. The new recovered cases have brought the number of patients being given the all-clear on Monday to 12 and the country’s total recovered patients to 214, making up nearly 80 per cent of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Việt Nam.

Students start returning to school in low-risk provinces after months off vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Nguyễn Hữu Độ, deputy minister of education and training, said 35 low-risk provinces and cities across the country should consider when to re-admit students as well as put the safety of students and teachers first. Final year students including ninth and twelfth graders should be prioritised to return to school, he said, adding students did not need to be on campus the whole week. Timetables can be re-scheduled to make sure students spend at least three days at school.

G20 Health Ministers Meeting: Việt Nam deploys war-like symbolism in fighting COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Following the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit last month, the G20 Health Ministers Meeting on Sunday called for medical solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly digital solutions for global co-operation, and then, pointing out prioritised responses to the pandemic. The Government of Việt Nam appeals for national unity and has deployed war-like symbolism in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Health Minister Trương Quốc Cường said at an online meeting of G20 Health Ministers held on Sunday. Sharing the country’s experiences in fighting the pandemic, Cường said that Việt Nam had been applying four key strategies, including prevention, early detection, isolation and treatment.

Việt Nam can conduct 13,000 COVID-19 tests a day: National Committee vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Việt Nam has "basically" met the demand for confirmatory testing for COVID-19, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control said on Monday. Across the country, 111 laboratories are now capable of diagnosing the novel coronavirus by using real-time RT-PCR technology. Among them, 39 have been given the go-ahead to conduct confirmation tests, including 22 central-level healthcare establishments and hospitals, 14 centres for disease control (CDCs), and three other units outside the health sector. Their maximum capacity is 13,000 samples per day.

Vietnam's coastal city reopens basic services Vietnam Insider 18th Apr 2020
The southern province’s Vice Chairman, Tran Van Tuan, on Friday afternoon sent a document to lower level authorities on the continuation of measures to strictly control the Covid-19 epidemic. These include keeping beaches closed and reopening restaurants and eateries under close supervision. VNExpress‘ Hoang Nguyen reported Tuan said that Ba Ria – Vung Tau has kept its beaches closed because it is located next to the provinces in the “high-risk” group for Covid-19 infections; therefore, it would be difficult to control people visiting from other localities.

Việt Nam proposes strategies to help fight COVID-19 globally vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh has proposed four special strategies to help the international community cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. He made the suggestions while addressing the Ministerial Video-Conference of the Alliance for Multilateralism on COVID-19 on Thursday.

MoT announces plans to transport passengers amid COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has announced plans to transport passengers by road, rail, sea and air amid COVID-19 from now until April 30. The Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the Vietnam Inland Waterway Administration, Vietnam Railways and the departments of transport of localities are participating in developing the plans. The plans would be divided into two phases. In the first phase between April 17 and 22, chairmen of the local People’s Committees would be assigned to issue specific decisions on the transportation of passengers traveling within the province by public means of transport.

Social distancing extended for high-risk localities, including Hà Nội and HCM City vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
Social distancing measures will be extended for 12 localities at high risk of COVID-19 infections, including Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng, according to a new decision made by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. Along with three big cities, other localities classified as at high risk are Lào Cai, Quảng Ninh, Bắc Ninh, Ninh Bình (Trường Yên), Quảng Nam, Bình Thuận, Khánh Hòa, Tây Ninh and Hà Tĩnh. The social distancing period will last until April 22 or 30, or even longer depending on specific conditions.

Majority of Vietnamese agree to extend social distancing to stop pandemic vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
Nearly 90 per cent of Vietnamese have agreed that the Government should continue its social distancing policy beyond April 15 to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Infocus Mekong Research, a market research service provider. According to the survey conducted on April 14 among 500 Vietnamese, only 5 per cent believed that the country should stop social distancing, while another 6 per cent were neutral. The sentiment was the same across North, Central and South Việt Nam.

$4.3 million donated to support fight against COVID-19 pandemic vietnamnews.vn 10th Apr 2020
The Central Committee of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) handed over VNĐ100 billion (US$4.3 million) to support the health sector in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Việt Nam on Friday. The money is part of a VNĐ133 billion ($5.7 million) fund raised from donors via 2.2 million text messages to support a fundraising campaign for COVID-19 prevention and control in Việt Nam from March 19 to April 9.

US President Donald Trump thanks Việt Nam for COVID-19 support vietnamnews.vn 9th Apr 2020
US President Donald Trump thanked Việt Nam for supporting the country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, confirming that 450,000 ‘Made-in-Vietnam’ protective suits have arrived in the US. “This morning, 450,000 protective suits landed in Dallas, Texas. This was made possible because of the partnership of two great American companies – DuPont and FedEx – and our friends in Vietnam. Thank you!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. This the first of two initial shipments of more than 450,000 DuPont protective suits made in Việt Nam which departed Hà Nội on Tuesday. The deal to send to the personal protective equipment (PPE) vital in the treatment of COVID-19 patients was reached between the Vietnamese Government and the US embassy in Việt Nam.

Customs

Inspection team set up to check rice volume stuck at ports Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 20th Apr 2020
An interdisciplinary inspection team led by the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been established to work with agencies to determine how much rice is stuck at ports so that the ministry can come up with an appropriate rice export plan. The mission of the team is to work with customs authorities and a number of agencies to determine the actual amount of rice volume at ports. The team will then write a report on the rice export situation in April and recommend measures to regulate rice exports in May. This will be submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The team’s working time is expected to be from April 20 to April 24 and will dissolve upon completion of the task.

PM allows exports of medical face masks vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved the export of medical face masks and protective clothing, as long as domestic demand, including reserves, is met first. These products could only be exported to countries that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Phúc asked. Phúc urged the ministries of health and industry and trade to take early actions so producers could export medical face masks and protective clothing as many countries are facing shortages of these products in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Việt Nam Food Association demands priority clearance for rice stuck at ports vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Việt Nam Food Association has petitioned authorities to prioritise customs clearance of consignments of rice exports stuck at ports. It has also urged them to cancel the customs declarations of exporters who submitted declaration forms with high volumes but could not prove they had them ready for export when inspected. The Government recently approved resumption of rice exports, but capped them at around 400,000 tonnes for April with an eye on national food security amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lạng Sơn proposes temporary halt to goods transport at Tân Thanh border gate vietnamnews.vn 16th Apr 2020
The People's Committee of Lạng Sơn Province has sent to the Prime Minister a proposal that Tân Thanh Border gate temporarily stop receiving trucks transporting exported goods to China for 15 days from April 16. According to the People's Committee, as of April 13, there were up to 2,600 trucks carrying exported goods at border gates in Lạng Sơn waiting for entry to China. Of which, the Tân Thanh Border Gate has 1,000 trucks waiting for entry. There were 50 trucks of goods entering China per day during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lower than the 300 trucks per day before the pandemic, reported haiquanonline.vn.

Rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
Many rice exporters were left surprised because the export quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice in April ended quickly in just three hours. Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) issued a decision announcing the rice export quota for April after the Prime Minister gave the green light to resume exporting the product. Rice exporters therefore required their staff to wait for the opening of the online customs portal to submit declaration forms. However, they were unable to access the system. Notably, the portal was opened at midnight on April 11 and by April 12 the quota was fully registered.

MoIT requests Hải Phòng to create favourable conditions to transport goods vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Monday requested Hải Phòng City People's Committee to ensure smooth goods transport of trading enterprises and logistics services coming to and from the city while implementing the COVID-19 pandemic prevention activities. The ministry said during the Prime Minister's Directive 16/CT-TTg on preventing and controlling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hải Phòng City has been given urgent tasks, especially strengthening control of drivers of trucks coming to and from Hải Phòng City.

Ministry launches investigation into anti-dumping duties on polyester yarn vietnamnews.vn 13th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has launched an investigation that may result in anti-dumping duties on polyester filament yarn (PFY) originating from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The investigation was launched after a request from the domestic manufacturing industry. The request, which was submitted on November 7 last year, said that PFY imports from the above-mentioned countries had surged, causing significant damage to the local PFY manufacturing industry.

Defense & Security

Aviation policies fair and equal for all airlines, says transport ministry vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport said it did not assign the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to study a protection policy dedicated to Vietnam Airlines, which recently reported a loss of VNĐ20 trillion due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information that the ministry gave Vietnam Airlines priority on the allocation of time slots for landing and take-off, and controlled the domestic aviation sector’s growth to help the carrier develop business is incorrect, a representative of the ministry told Vietnam News Agency. “All policies are fair and equal for all airlines,” said the representative.

Airlines and railway firms get payment fee reduction of 35 per cent vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Three airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjetair and Bamboo Airways, as well as Vietnam Railways are eligible for a 35 per cent reduction in fees at Vietcombank from now until December 31. According to the National Payment Corporation of Việt Nam (NAPAS), the airlines will receive reduced payment fees for both e-payment gateway services and payment collection as part of a support programme for transport enterprises to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. NAPAS will allow the transport firms free transaction processing and is also coordinating with Vietcombank to reduce payment fees via the bank by up to 35 per cent.

Economics

Digital economy contributes to 16.5 percent of Vietnam labor productivity growth SGGP English Edition 20th Apr 2020
This morning, the university released the publication “Annual Vietnam economy report2019: Improve labor productivity in the digital economy” written by Professor Tran Tho Dat and Professor To Trung Thanh. Digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies, although we increasingly perceive this as conducting business through markets based on the internet and the World Wide Web. Each year during the period 2020 – 2030, the digital economy has contributed to 7 to 16.5 percent of Vietnam labor productivity growth.

Economic growth slows as GDP rate threatened Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 18th Apr 2020
Sticky projected prospects caused by the global health crisis among Vietnam’s key trading partners are expected to hit the domestic economy this year with the manufacturing and processing sector, one of the key growth pillars, to be hit hardest. Never before has Singapore-invested Indo Trans Logistics Corporation (ITL) faced as great difficulties as it does now. In Vietnam, the coronavirus pandemic has sabotaged the firm’s opportunities to increase revenue and profit at least for this year, with its 200 tractor trailers and 110 trucks operating at 50 per cent capacity compared to normal. According to a senior official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), ITL’s plight is becoming common in Vietnam where local production, especially industrial manufacturing, is badly affected by COVID-19.

US, Vietnam ink $42 m deal on boosting economic competitiveness VnExpress International – Latest news, business, travel and analysis from Vietnam 17th Apr 2020
A $42 million US-Vietnam agreement will focus on making the private sector, startup ecosystems and human capital more competitive. Under the agreement signed Wednesday by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, the deal will foster greater entrepreneurship, enable deeper linkages of Vietnamese startups to corporations, investment capital, and other supporting organizations in the international innovation and startup ecosystems; and churn out high-quality human capital needed for a robust knowledge-based economy. The agreement reflects the United States’ continued commitment to support Vietnam’s efforts to become a more open, innovative, and inclusive economy, said Daniel Kritenbrink, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.

Cần Thơ City to build startup ecosystem vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
To develop a complete startup ecosystem and create favourable conditions for startups to be formed, Cần Thơ City People’s Committee has carried out a project supporting national innovative startup ecosystem in Cần Thơ in 2020. According to deputy director of the city’s Department of Planning and Investment Trương Quốc Trạng, this project focuses on four main groups of solutions to increase the number of newly established startups, efficiently call for investment from local firms and encourage household business to pursue enterprise model and branches of representative offices of companies to set their base in the city.

Ministry to support businesses to ensure budget revenue vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Finance will focus on improving the business climate and creating favourable conditions for businesses to accelerate growth, which is important to ensure State budget revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic currently weighing on socio-economic development. Latest updates by the Ministry of Finance showed that the State budget revenue totalled VNĐ391 trillion (US$16.85 billion) in the first quarter of this year, representing a rise of 1.8 per cent over the same period last year. The revenue was equivalent to 25.9 per cent of the plan for the full year.

IMF sees Vietnam GDP growth at 2.7 percent in 2020 VnExpress International 16th Apr 2020
The International Monetary Fund has forecast Vietnam’s GDP to grow at 2.7 percent this year, higher than that of its regional peers. It would strongly rebound to 7 percent in 2021, the IMF said in its "World Economic Outlook" report released on Wednesday. Vietnam’s inflation rate is forecast to be 3.2 percent, lower than the 4 percent target set for the year, the report said.

Logistics groups roll out schemes to avert doldrums Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 16th Apr 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on supply chains globally, logistics firms in Vietnam have experienced decline in revenue but are mustering the strength to overcome the challenges ahead. According to the latest survey by the Vietnam Logistics Association (VLA), around 15 per cent of logistics firms have experienced a 50 per cent decline in revenue against 2019. Also, half of them reported a 10-30 per cent decline in logistics services in local and foreign markets so far compared to last year.

Transport mainstays in call for policy backing Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 15th Apr 2020
State-owned transport giants Airports Corporation of Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines, Vietnam Railways, and Vietnam Maritime Corporation suffered all-time biggest losses in the first quarter of 2020 due to COVID-19 and are trying in vain to recover, seeking for rapid supporting policies from the government. Aviation is one of the transport segments hit the hardest by the pandemic. According to the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC), which manages 19 state-owned giants including five in the transport sector, Vietnam Airlines, ACV, Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), Vietnam Railways (VNR), and Vietnam Maritime Corporation (VIMC) are all suffering huge losses in the three-month span.

SCIC keeps to SOE divestment plan for 2020 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 14th Apr 2020
State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has recently confirmed its plan of divesting 85 state-owned enterprises, including VNSteel, Vinatex, and Bao Viet Holdings, among others. There are 27 listed firms in SCIC’s divestment proposal, including Bao Viet Holdings (HSX: BVH), Bao Minh Insurance (HSX: BMI), Tien Phong Plastic (HNX: NTP), and Binh Minh Plastics (HSX: BMP). On the other hand, SCIC is a major shareholder owning more than 50 per cent of capital in a string of other companies on the list, for example VNSteel (94 per cent), Vietnam Plastics (66 per cent), Seaprodex (63 per cent), and A Chau Food Technology JSC (79 per cent).

RoK, Vietnam eye closer economic ties despite pandemic Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 14th Apr 2020
The Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam held a video conference on April 13 to share ideas on ways to expand their economic ties despite the strain caused by the pandemic on global business activities, according to the Yonhap News Agency. RoK Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Tuan Anh discussed ways to expand bilateral ties in the face of the growing economic fallout from the new coronavirus spread. The two countries also agreed to push for the so-called Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES), which allows them to process certificates of origin through electronic platforms.

Vietnam targets 7% annual GDP growth over next five years Reuters 14th Apr 2020
Vietnam’s government said it will target annual gross domestic product growth of 7% during the 2021-2025 period, even as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to derail global trade and production. The Southeast Asian country’s economy grew at its slowest pace in the first quarter of this year, at 3.8%, as the new coronavirus outbreak hit economic output.

National conference to tackle obstacles facing enterprises during pandemic Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 13th Apr 2020
A national conference between the Prime Minister and enterprises is to be organised soon to identify ways to address the difficulties facing businesses and facilitating their operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak. At a meeting on April 13 to discuss preparations for the upcoming event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the pandemic has had a major impact on the business community, especially the tourism, transport, and hospitality industries. Not only major enterprises and State-owned firms but also private companies and co-operatives, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, have encountered numerous difficulties.

93% enterprises to benefit from cut in corporate income tax vietnamnews.vn 13th Apr 2020
About 700,000 enterprises are expected to enjoy a cut in corporate income tax (CIT) to between 15-17 per cent from July 1 this year, down from the current rate of 20 per cent. This is one proposal by the Ministry of Finance to be submitted to the National Assembly in the May meeting to implement the CIT incentive scheme for micro and small enterprises from July 1, six months earlier than the initial roadmap of January 1, 2021, to alleviate business difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The tax rate for micro and small enterprises is 15-17 per cent depending on the revenue and the number of employees of the business.

SCIC asked to focus on key sectors vietnamnews.vn 13th Apr 2020
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has asked the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to focus its investments on key sectors of the economy to boost efficiency and contribute to socio-economic development. The SCIC should focus on sectors like information technology, telecommunications, food processing, finance, petrol and oil, aviation and railways, Bình said, asking for development strategies for each sector to be clarified.

Deadlines for tax and land use fee payments extended Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 10th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 8 approved Decree No 41/2020/ND-CP on the extension of deadlines for tax and land use fee payments to support businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The decree took effect immediately and the extension would be five months from the deadline for payments. Accordingly, businesses operating in the agro-forestry-fishery, food processing, textile, garment and construction industries would enjoy the extension, besides those operating in transportation, warehouse, accommodation and catering, education, medical services and part-supply sectors.

Energy

MoIT proposes keeping current FiT for wind power projects Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 19th Apr 2020
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) proposed the government to maintain the feed-in tariff (FiT) mechanism for wind power until December 2023, and then conduct bids and auctions to select investors for new projects. According to the MoIT, Decision No.39/2018/QD-TTg adjusting support mechanisms for the development of wind power projects in Vietnam created the motivation for wind power development in Vietnam. Numerous projects were proposed to add to the power planning and begin construction.

EVN wants to public list of planned solar power projects in Ninh Thuan Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 18th Apr 2020
Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has required the Ministry of Industry and Trade to publish the list of grid-connected solar power projects which were added to the power planning with the total cumulative capacity of not more than 2,000MW in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. In addition, Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) proposed the MoIT to issue detailed guidance about which projects need to use MWac or MWp. Previously, the government officially approved a new feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism to encourage the development of solar power in Vietnam.

GE inks Phuong Mai supply deal in Vietnam reNEWS - Renewable Energy News 15th Apr 2020
GE has signed a contract to supply turbines for a wind project in Vietnam. The US company will provide 11 2.4MW-116 units for the Phuong Mai 1 wind farm in Binh Dinh province. The wind farm is slated to begin producing power by the first half of 2021. Special purpose company Phuong Mai Wind Power is developing the project. GE will also provide technical advisory services.

PetroVietnam proposes restriction of oil imports due to COVID-19 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 14th Apr 2020
PetroVietnam has proposed restricting or temporarily halting the import of petroleum as aviation and transport are frozen due to the prolonged coronavirus outbreak. State-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PertroVietnam) has just filed a document to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) about domestic oil consumption. Accordingly, in the first quarter of 2020, the total demand for gasoline across the country is estimated to have dropped by 30 per cent and the plunge will last because tourism, aviation, and logistics are in hot water during the health crisis. Furthermore, the oil stockpiles at Dung Quat Oil Refinery and Nghi Son Oil Refinery have also been rather high.

Solar power grows 28-fold in Vietnam's energy mix Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 13th Apr 2020
In the first three months of this year, Electricity of Vietnam mobilised 2.76 billion kWh of renewable energy, including 2.31 billion kWh of solar power, signifying a 28-fold increase on-year. According to statistics published by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), in the first quarter of this year, the group mobilised a total of 57.29 billion kWh of power, up 6.3 per cent on year, including local supply sources and imported power. The supply of thermal and hydropower both reported declines. Notably hydropower plants generated 8.93 billion kWh while gas provided 9.46 billion kWh, down 30.4 and 15.9 per cent, respectively.

Retail price of electricity to drop 10 per cent in three months Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 13th Apr 2020
The government has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to decrease the retail price of electricity by 10 per cent over the course of three months, in April, May, and June. The 10 per cent discount policy was approved for the retail price of electricity for households from rate 1 to rate 4, as well as businesses and manufacturing companies. The price for service businesses, including hospitality and accommodation, will be adjusted to the rate of manufacturing industries.

Quang Nam prioritises green FDI projects Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 12th Apr 2020
The central province of Quang Nam expects to welcome more FDI projects promoting green growth, according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh. He expressed his appreciation of all FDI projects in the province that have significantly contributed to local socio-economic development. He cited the fact that FDI firms have contributed about 89.34 million USD to the provincial budget, exported 751.24 million USD worth of goods, and employed over 55,000 local workers. The province plans to pursue green growth in the long term, he went on, so it is giving priority to investment in three industries - manufacturing and processing, electronics and telecommunications, and renewable energy - and will ensure the most suitable conditions possible are provided to investors.

Thai Super Energy to invest $457 million in four solar power plants in Vietnam Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 15th Apr 2020
Thai-listed energy firm Super Energy Corporation has recently announced that it would invest in four solar power plants in Binh Phuoc province, Vietnam with the total capacity of 750MW. Accordingly, Super Energy Corporation would pay approximately $73 million to purchase controlling stakes of 70-100 per cent of the four Loc Ninh 1-4 solar plants through a subsidiary in Vietnam. The total transaction value would be no more than $457 million, cited from its regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand. After the investment in the solar plants, the $384 million is set to be poured into the construction which is already underway and will be finished by the end of this year.

Financial Services

MoF proposes tax exemption vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Finance recently has added non-woven fabrics, which are used to produce protective clothing, to the list of goods subject to import tax exemption. The Ministry of Finance proposed the Prime Minister exempt import tax on medical face masks and raw materials for mask production, hand wash and hand sanitiser at the beginning of February in order to help the prevention of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Recently, the ministry has collected opinions from ministries, branches and business associations to complete the draft decree amending and supplementing Decree 134/2016/NĐ-CP on export and import tax and Decree 125/2017/NĐ-CP on the export and import tariff.

State Treasury raises $21.3 million from G-bonds vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The State Treasury mobilised VNĐ500 billion (US$21.27 million) through a Government bond auction on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX) on Wednesday. Some VNĐ3.5 trillion worth of G-bonds were offered, including 10-year and 15-year bonds each valued at VNĐ1.5 trillion, and 30-year bonds valued at VNĐ500 billion. The State Treasury raised VNĐ300 billion worth of ten-year bonds with an annual average yield rate of 2.28 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points from the previous auction on March 11.

State Securities Commission to launch one-stop information disclosure system vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The State Securities Commission (SSC) will soon launch an electronic one-stop information disclosure system for the stock market, news site tinnhanhchungkhoan reported on Thursday. The system will help entities participating in the stock market save time and money when disclosing information and minimise the risk of false disclosures, the SSC said. With the new system, when a business wishes to publicise information, it only needs to send the information to the Việt Nam stock exchange, which acts as a front line in supervising transactions in the market. The system is designed so that the information is simultaneously shared to the public and the SSC for supervision and management.

Mobile money project to be submitted to the Government this month vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
The State Bank of Việt Nam is completing a mobile money pilot project and will submit it to the Government for approval this month, Governor Lê Minh Hưng has said. The pilot project will allow mobile subscribers to use their telecommunication accounts to pay for goods and services up to a limited value. Telecommunications providers like VNPT, Viettel and MobiFone will join in the payment market.

Fitch affirms 'BB' ratings on EVN, EVNNPT, PVN; revises outlooks to stable vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
Fitch Ratings has affirmed issuer default ratings and senior unsecured ratings of Vietnam Electricity (EVN), National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) at 'BB'. However, the rating agency has revised the three companies' outlooks to stable from positive.

Food & Agriculture

Đồng Tháp farmers adopt drones to spray crops vietnamnews.vn 18th Apr 2020
Some farmers in the southern province of Đồng Tháp have started using drones to spray pesticide and fertilizer on their crops after seeing how effective the machines are. The cost of the drones and manual spraying are the same but the drones are more effective. When it comes to pesticide/fertiliser spraying drones, Lâm Trọng Nghĩa, a 33-year-old engineer working at Tam Nông District’s Agriculture Services Centre, is considered the first person to introduce the machines to Đồng Tháp Province.

Pork price must be stabilised: MoIT vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has said pork must be eligible for price stabilisation due to the high demand for this essential good on the domestic market. Despite efforts of market management forces and recent large volume of imports, pork prices have continued to increase in recent times despite 15 livestock enterprises pledging to keep prices under VNĐ70,000 per kilo. On Thursday, live hog prices at farms increased by VNĐ2,000-7,000 per kilo to VNĐ88,000-92,000 in the north.

Bình Phước cashew processors face shortage of capital, raw materials vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Bình Phước Province, known as the "capital of cashew" in the country, is facing problems processing cashews due to limited raw materials and capital. The province has around 134,000 hectares of land for cashew, and over 1,400 processing and exporting businesses that sell to markets such as the US, Australia and China. Only 30 of them are able to import raw cashews for processing. The rest are small and micro businesses.

Vietnam, China seek greater cooperation in agricultural development hanoitimes.vn 17th Apr 2020
At present, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a decline of 7% year-on-year in trade turnover of agro-forestry-fishery products between Vietnam and China. Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong on April 16 held a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo to discuss measures to boost bilateral cooperation in agricultural trade, especially at border gates as the two nations are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Cuong added anti-virus measures are slowing down customs clearance of Vietnam’s farm produce exports to China while trade promotion activities are being disrupted as a result of the current crisis.

IFC works with Việt Nam to expand export markets for agricultural produce vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to expand export markets for its agricultural produce. Over the next four years, the member of the World Bank Group will work with the department to boost exports of internationally recognised-quality dragon fruit and passion fruit. These are two among the largest and fastest-growing single fruit product categories with strong potential to access high-value markets. Exports of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables have more than tripled in just five years to 2018, but the bulk of produce is still exported through informal channels and at less competitive prices due to inefficient standards.

Đồng Tháp helps fish exporters amid lower demand during COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
Đồng Tháp Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is working with the Department of Industry and Trade to help fishery businesses enter countries that have signed free trade agreements with Việt Nam as demand has fallen due to COVID-19. The province is also examining export activities to propose solutions to ministries and authorities about exporters' problems. Due to difficulty in selling their harvests, farmers are incurring losses of VNĐ1,000-6,500 (US$0.04 – 0.28) per kilo of fish.

Agricultural land price increases during COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
While most of the realty segment has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, agricultural land is still a hot investment as more people want to return to rural areas for a more environmentally-friendly life. According to land brokers, the prices of agriculture land have doubled and tripled in Việt Nam’s southern provinces, as many buyers leave the city for the countryside. The trend encouraging people to move from the city to the outskirts started more than a year ago and increased due to the pandemic. Social distancing measures have urged more people to look for gardens and agricultural land instead of being locked down in a crowded city.

Vinachem asks to apply 0% tax rate to fertiliser products vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
The Việt Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem) has sent a document to Việt Nam Fertiliser Association, asking the National Assembly to add fertiliser to the list of products subjected to value added tax (VAT). The group suggested to impose a VAT rate of between 0 and 5 per cent. Vinachem proposed to amend Law No. 71/2014 /QH13 on some articles of tax, which took effect on January 1, 2015.

PM approves rice export resumption, orders guaranteed food security Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 12th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the resumption of rice export provided that food security must be guaranteed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, drought and saltwater intrusion. The PM ordered the MoIT to work with the relevant ministries to report on the rice export in April and propose the export plan for May to him before April 25. Additionally, they also have to build plans for steering the domestic rice market and export in case the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, even until the end of 2020.

Finance Ministry aims to suspend ordinary rice exports vietnamnews.vn 10th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Finance wants the Government to suspend exports of ordinary rice to ensure national reserves are full. The ministry suggested suspending exports until June 15, with sticky rice, organic rice and fragrant rice still exported as usual. The proposal was recently sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), which is drafting a rice export management plan. The plan will be sent to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for approval soon. The finance ministry said the suspension of ordinary rice exports aimed to ensure national food security and reserve targets in 2020 as Việt Nam was coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also greatly affecting many countries over the world.

Health & Life Sciences

HCM City launches pharmaceutical price stabilisation programme vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
The People’s Committee of HCM City has begun its pharmaceutical price stabilisation programme for the 2020-2021 period to meet the need for essential drugs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes 19 groups of drugs to treat common and chronic diseases as well as drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19, produced by the country’s factories meeting World Health Organisation’s good manufacturing practices. The prices of the drugs are 5-10 per cent lower than the prices of similar products in the market.

Truscreen : expands to Vietnam with Ministry of Health Approval MarketScreener 20th Apr 2020
TruScreen Limited (NZX:TRU) (TruScreen or the 'Company') is pleased to advise that it has received approval from the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Vietnam Government for the commercial roll out of the TruScreen cervical cancer screening device. This landmark approval is granted initially for the Hanoi Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital (HOGH). It is anticipated that further rollouts across other public and private hospitals in Vietnam will occur this year. The approval follows a MOH managed clinical trial covering 989 patients which was concluded successfully with a positive clinical outcome at the HOGH. The trial compared the specificity and sensitivity between the results from the TruScreen hand held real time screening device and Pap test for the detection of cervical early stage pre-cancerous, and progressing intraepithelial lesions. The outcome of the trial was assessed by the Vietnam Ministry of Health Professional Advisory Committee which endorsed and approved the introduction of TruScreen cervical cancer screening technology in Vietnam.

Remote health check-up platform, COVID-19 prevention app launched vietnamnews.vn 19th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc attended a ceremony on Saturday to launch two new high tech apps to help prevent and control COVID-19. The technology will allow medical examinations and treatment to be carried out remotely. The second piece of equipment uses a Bluezone app and can detect other people nearby who are positive for the virus through previously saved data. This will help the authorities track and trace people who have come into close contact with positive patients.

Ministry of Public Security to investigate Hà Nội’s medical equipment purchase vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Public Security has summoned officials of the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clarify the purchase of medical equipment, said chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung on Friday. At a meeting of the city steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control, Chung said the police department for corruption, economic crimes and smuggling will investigate the case and all violations must be strictly punished.

Việt Nam to stop exporting COVID-19 treatment medicines from April 16 vietnamnews.vn 16th Apr 2020
The Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV) requires all local drug manufacturing, exporting and importing firms to suspend the export of drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 from April 16. On the morning of April 16, DAV sent a letter to all firms that produce, import and export drugs about temporarily stopping the export of COVID-19 medicines. DAV said the move was to implement the Prime Minister's instruction in Directive No. 15 / CT-TTg dated March 27, 2020 that mobilises all stakeholders in Việt Nam to join the fight against the pandemic.

Disinfection robot put into trial operation amid COVID-19 fight vietnamnews.vn 16th Apr 2020
Researchers from the National Centre for Technological Progress have developed a robot that can disinfect large surfaces quickly to support Việt Nam’s fight against COVID-19. The robot named NaRoVid1 is designed to sanitise the surfaces of hospital rooms. It has been put into trial operation at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases No2 in Hà Nội’s Đông Anh District since April 15. NaRoVid1 is the disinfection product the Ministry of Science and Technology assigned the National Centre for Technological Progress to complete in more than two weeks.

Thriving health apps conquer market Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 15th Apr 2020
The international health emergency currently plaguing the world has initiated a surging demand in digital healthcare in Vietnam, opening doors for telemedicine startups offering solutions that go well with social distancing efforts. Health-tech startups are currently receiving more capital to meet the surging demand. eDoctor has just raised a new round of funding from Japan’s CyberAgent Capital and Genesia Ventures, as well as South Korea’s early-stage venture capital firms Bon Angels and Nextrans.

VN could become world’s face mask factory amid COVID-19 vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
The garment industry was suffering an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19, but the pandemic also brought significant opportunities for Việt Nam to become the world’s face mask factory. Many garment producers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic recently invested in producing face masks as a solution to cope with the difficult time and take the opportunities arising from the supply shortage. Some received export orders worth millions of dollars, a positive sign for the garment industry which was under huge pressure from the pandemic.

Tech firm Bkav to produce ventilators VnExpress International 12th Apr 2020
Vietnamese tech firm Bkav plans to make ventilators after it completes the first invasive ventilator in May says CEO Nguyen Tu Quang. Bkav's decision to produce ventilators was taken after American medical device firm Medtronic earlier this month announced it would be sharing the design specifications, manuals and software code for its Puritan Bennett 560 (PB 560) ventilator for free to help boost ventilator production worldwide. Bkav has been working with the supply chain for its Bphone brand smartphone and will mobilize over 9,000 workers and four factories in its system to start making ventilators based on Medtronic's design.

Vietnam accelerating ventilator production Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 12th Apr 2020
The crucial ventilating equipment used to save the lives of coronavirus patients are becoming a commodity much sought after by many countries, including Vietnam. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested the Ministry of Health (MoH) and related agencies to speed up producing medical equipment to fight against the pandemic, which originated in China over 100 days ago. Phuc said that there will be around 2,000 ventilators produced in the next six weeks, with an increase to 10,000-15,000 after that time. “Vietnam is desperately in need of ventilators. I needed to take action right away before it was too late to help the country to cope with the pandemic,” Phuc said.

Private medical facilities allowed to offer COVID-19 tests: Government vietnamnews.vn 10th Apr 2020
Private medical facilities will be allowed to administer COVID-19 tests according to a Government decision issued on Thursday. The decision follows a request made by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance early in April to allow private medical facilities to perform laboratory tests for COVID-19. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the two ministries to collaborate with related agencies to develop a plan on ordering private medical facilities to provide testing services.

ICT

Vietnam releases data on Internet access quality VnExpress International 21st Apr 2020
Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) has released figures on the country's Internet access quality for the first time, measuring download speed at 61.39 Mbps. The data was collected by VNNIC Speedtest from 30,000 subscribers in 69 networks, mostly Viettel, VNPT, FPT, CMC and MobiFone, three months after system launch. According to the figures, the average fixed broadband download speed in the first quarter reached 61.39 Mbps, 45 percent higher than the measurement data announced by some foreign systems. For mobile networks, the download speed was 39.4 Mbps, 18.7 percent higher than the foreign data.

OTT takes advantage of cinema slump Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 15th Apr 2020
National social distancing measures are dragging CGV and other cineplexes down, causing substantital losses. However, over-the-top services operating online like Netflix have greatly profited from the crisis, especially since they have yet to observe their tax obligations in Vietnam. After the government’s social distancing policy was applied nationwide on April 1, the entire cinema system across the country had to suspend its operation, causing huge damage in revenue for enterprises operating in the sector. Contrary to the dim prospects of cineplexes, over-the-top (OTT) services like FPT Play and Netflix are forecast to benefit from the pandemic.

Vietnam Issues Guidelines on Cloud Computing for E-Government Deployment Tilleke & Gibbins 15th Apr 2020
On April 3, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) issued Official Letter No. 1145/BTTTT-CATTT to provide guidelines on a set of technical criteria and specifications for cloud computing solutions for e-government deployment (the “Guidelines”). State agencies and organizations will rely on these Guidelines to assess and select solutions or lease cloud computing services for the development of e-government. Private-sector entities are also encouraged to refer to these Guidelines when setting up and deploying their own cloud computing platform solutions.

Thailand Delta Electronics PCL to establish subsidiary in Viet Nam this year vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Thailand’s Delta Electronics PCL has recently announced that it will establish a new subsidiary in Viet Nam within the second or third quarter of this year. The 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Delta Thailand will be incorporated in Viet Nam with registered capital of US$500,000, the company said. The nature of the new company’s business will be trade and solutions using Delta’s electronics products that will benefit stakeholders and support local customers.

Infrastructure

PPP projects must have investment of more than US$4.4 million: NA deputies vietnamnews.vn 21st Apr 2020
he National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Monday reached a consensus on the investment scale of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects. While discussing the draft law on PPP at their 44th session, legislators agreed that PPP projects in healthcare and education in remote and extremely disadvantaged areas must have a minimum investment of VNĐ100 billion (US$4.4 million). PPP projects in other sectors and areas must have a minimum investment of VNĐ200 billion ($8.8 million).

Work on two bridges across Cửa Lục Bay in Quảng Ninh to start this month vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Construction on Cửa Lục Bridges 1 and 3 is planned to start by the end of this month in Quảng Ninh Province. The two projects were capitalised VNĐ3.852 trillion (US$163.9 million) under the management of Quảng Ninh Civil and Industrial Work Project Management Board. The investment was extracted from the provincial budget.

Bright prospect for construction enterprises despite disease vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter, construction businesses still firmly believe bright growth lies ahead for the rest of the year. For construction businesses, profits are often reported higher in the last quarter of the year than the other quarters because this is usually the acceleration time for the handover of projects.

Two key southern waterways logistics corridors proposed with World Bank funding Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 20th Apr 2020
Awaiting the prime minister's approval, the project on developing two key waterway logistics corridors with World Bank funding would give a facelift to shipping infrastructure in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. The Ministry of Transport has just proposed the prime minister to give the thumbs-up to a project on developing southern waterways and logistics corridors utilising World Bank loans. The project aims to upgrade the inland waterways transport network in the Mekong Delta region and Ho Chi Minh City and would feature two waterway corridors – the East-West corridor connecting the port complex of the Mekong Delta (and its economic hub Can Tho city), Ho Chi Minh City, Cai Mep, and Thi Vai and the North-South corridor connecting the Binh Duong-Dong Nai-Ho Chi Minh City-Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex.

Vung Tau: one step closer towards building $1 billion airport Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 17th Apr 2020
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has just approved the site for the $1 billion relocation project of the existing Vung Tau airport. The site planning for the new airport covers 248 hectares on Go Gang Island in Vung Tau city’s Long Son commune, still a primitive area and one of the favourite venues to local and international visitors. Vung Tau People’s Committee has assigned the Transport Project Management Unit in Cai Mep-Thi Vai area to work with relevant sectors and branches on the project survey and further study for submission to the province’s management.

Industrial realty still grows during pandemic vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
While many realty segments have suffered losses from the pandemic, industrial realty business have kept growing in Việt Nam. In the first quarter, industrial park rental rates increased in both the north and the south by 12 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively over the same period last year, according to the first quarter report by real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Việt Nam. The report stated that northern industrial realty attracted some large corporations which extended their production from China due to the close location and well-developed infrastructure.

Key fly-over bridge to boost west zone traffic links vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
Trung Nam Land company, a member of Trung Nam Group, has proposed a plan to build a fly-over bridge on the Nam Hải Vân-Túy Loan ring-road. Chairman of Trung Nam Group, Nguyễn Tâm Thịnh, said the fly-over would help ease traffic on the ring-road and the La Sơn-Túy Loan Expressway, while creating a safe route for residents travelling between Hòa Vang and Liên Chiểu districts. He said the bridge would be built from the group’s fund of VNĐ120 billion (US$5.2 million).

Danang sounds horn for investors in Lien Chieu Port infrastructure Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 15th Apr 2020
Danang People’s Committee is looking for investors to join in the development of shared infrastructure at Lien Chieu Port, which has the total investment of VND3.43 trillion ($149.13 million). Danang People’s Committee has submitted a document requesting the prime minister's approval for the investment planning to call for private investment into the shared infrastructure part of the Lien Chieu Port project.

National Highway 1A to be upgraded, widened in Mekong Delta vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has approved a VNĐ1.7 trillion (US$72 million) upgrade of a 20km section of National Highway 1A passing through Hậu Giang and Sóc Trăng provinces. The section, between Ngã Bảy Town in Hậu Giang and Châu Thành District in Sóc Trăng, will be repaired and widened to 20m. Five bridges will also be upgraded. The funds for the work will come from the Government, with VNĐ32 billion ($1.4 million) allocated this year.

Social housing projects wait for incentives vietnamnews.vn 15th Apr 2020
Demand for low-priced social houses and houses for long-term rent was high but incentive policies have not yet encouraged investors. At present, dozens of low-priced social housing projects in Hà Nội and HCM City had not yet been given preferential loans from the Government.

Crunch time for expressway PPPs Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 9th Apr 2020
The key Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway venture has run aground, prompting the Ministry of Transport to reconsider investment scenarios to improve the bankability of each component project – with new alternatives opening and closing the doors for private investment. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has raised concerns over the limited state funding for the development of the vital national transport project after the proposal of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to transform three of the eight public-private partnership (PPP) sections into public investment projects. “If approved, the number of totally state-funded sections will jump from three to six, thus increasing total investment and site clearance costs to VND54.36 trillion ($2.36 billion),” the MoF said in a recent report to the government.

Manufacturing

MoIT issues regulations on auction of import tariff quotas on used autos vietnamnews.vn 21st Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Monday issued regulations and an invitation to carry out an auction of import tariff quotas on used automobiles for this year. The import tariff quotas on used autos are implemented according to commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that came into effect on January 14, 2019, the ministry said. The auction of this year is for 66 used automobiles, including 33 cars with engine capacity of over 3,000cu.m and 33 cars with engine capacity of 3,000cu.m or less.

Mask exports offer pandemic-hit Vietnam garment makers breathing space VnExpress International 15th Apr 2020
Vietnamese garment companies have signed deals to export hundreds of millions of face masks to the U.S. and the E.U. Hanoi-based Garment 10 Jsc (Garco 10) recently received orders for 400 million medical masks and 20 million cloth masks from buyers in the U.S. and Germany. TNG Investment and Trading Jsc in the northern Thai Nguyen Province has been exporting cloth masks to France, Belgium and Germany for almost a month. Industry insiders said shifting from garments to masks allows them to keep production going and pay employees, somewhat mitigating the losses caused by canceled orders, which are estimated at over $470 million.

VinFast secures exemption from import tax on parts for exported cars Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 11th Apr 2020
VinFast, Vietnam’s first electric car manufacturer, has been approved for exemption from import tax on parts to manufacture and assemble automobiles to export for testing, following a the proposal of the Ministry of Finance. VinFast will be one of the special cases under the Law on Export and Import Tax and Decree No.134/2016/ND-CP on guidelines for the law on export and import duties. As of now, VinFast imports parts and components to assemble finished cars and then export them overseas for testing. This move is to facilitate its long-term plan to export luxury cars.

Travel & Tourism

Most tourism firms forecast 80 per cent revenue drop vietnamnews.vn 22nd Apr 2020
More than three-quarters of tourism firms expect their revenue in the second quarter to fall more than 80 per cent from the same period last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey done by the Việt Nam Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) and the Private Economic Development Research Board with nearly 400 tourism and travel firms between April 13 and 17, 77 per cent of tourism and travel firms estimated the loss. The survey aimed to update the business situation of the industry and understand the difficulties of firms to report to the Government and make recommendations to help them recover after the pandemic.

A vital mangrove forest hidden in Vietnam’s largest city could be at risk Mongabay Environmental News 21st Apr 2020
The Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve covers 75,740 hectares (187,160 acres), and encompasses all of Can Gio district, the largest and one of the least populated of Ho Chi Minh City’s 24 districts. Can Gio sits between the central districts and the South China Sea, called the East Sea by Vietnam. While Can Gio’s core is very well-protected, there are areas of concern on its fringes. The design for the bridge linking the district to a neighboring district was approved last year. If built, this bridge would increase vehicle traffic, which largely uses one main road that runs from the ferry landing to the coast. Much larger plans have also been proposed, including an extravagant blueprint from Japan’s Nikken Sekkei Civil Engineering Limited. More immediate threats are shrimp farming, upstream pollution and erosion caused by the huge cargo ships that ply through Can Gio on their way to and from Ho Chi Minh City’s busy ports.

Vietnam seeks to reopen all domestic flights from Thursday Reuters 21st Apr 2020
Vietnam’s civil aviation authority said on Tuesday it is seeking government approval to resume all domestic routes from Thursday after the expiry of a government order for seven more days of social distancing in some provinces. The authority proposed reconnecting flights from the capital Hanoi and business hub Ho Chi Minh City to other domestic destinations from April 23 and increasing the frequency of flights between three key routes.

Vietjet offers Power Pass for unlimited flights in Vietnam TTG Asia 16th Apr 2020
Vietjet has launched the Power Pass, allowing its holders to take unlimited flights within Vietnam and plan their travels up to a year ahead, in a bid to boost travel demand as it reels from a plunge in air traffic. Normally, the airline operates nearly 300 flights daily covering 45 routes across the country.

Hà Nội halts $4 million tourism promotion package on CNN vietnamnews.vn 16th Apr 2020
Hà Nội has halted the 2019-24 tourism promotion package worth US$4 million with the US Cable News Network (CNN) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The package will be rebooted at an appropriate time after the end of the pandemic, said the Director of Hà Nội Culture, Sports and Tourism Department Trần Đức Hải. Hải said CNN expressed goodwill towards Hà Nội’s proposal and took this as a matter of course as there are no tourists at all. “Our view is that we will negotiate and choose an appropriate time to continue this promotional package on CNN after WHO announces the end of the global epidemic.”

Airlines to increase flights from April 16 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 16th Apr 2020
Domestic airlines on April 15 evening announced they are increasing flight frequency between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as from April 16, but the time difference between two consecutive landings in HCM City should be at least 90 minutes. Vietnam Airlines will operate two flights a day on the route, while maintaining one flight daily on the routes between Da Nang and Hanoi/HCM City.

Vietjet ensures flights during national social distancing vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
ietjet has operated regular daily flights and cargo flights to ensure sufficient goods for people and meet their flying demand during the national social distancing period, the airline announced on Tuesday. The carrier has been providing return flights betwwen Hà Nội and HCM City with two return flights on Tuesday and one round-trip per day on Monday and Thursday. It has also increased three flights connecting the two cities to transport passengers who have completed the mandatory quarantine period or have certificates of testing negative for COVID-19.

90 per cent of travel firms suspend operations vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
More than 20,000 staff at hotels and tourist accommodations in HCM City were laid off or put on unpaid leave in the first quarter of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released by the municipal Department on Monday (April 13). Nearly 7,700 staff or 27 per cent of 28,000 workers at hotels and tourist accommodations in the city are working with reduction in working time, the report showed. Hotels and tourist accommodations reported a year-on-year decline of 58 per cent in turnover in the first quarter of the year.