Vietnam Update: June 4, 2020

Vietnam Update | June 4, 2020
Authors: Hai Pham, Minh Vu
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
  • Food & Agriculture Industry Mission to Vietnam - Tentatively planned for Q4 2020
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

FDI Leaving China Heats Up Vietnam Industrial Property Markets and Industrial Zones

The COVID-19 pandemic, following the US-China tariff conflict and new preferential trade frameworks (FTA’s) in Asia, have continued to accelerate the trend of global and regional firms to view ASEAN nations as a commercially competitive alternative destinations in formulating business resilience strategies by diversifying sourcing locations and supply chain nodes to reduce perceived over-dependency on any single market. Among Southeast Asian destinations, Vietnam stands out as an attractive solution for many foreign firms and is driving up the demand for industrial properties. On May 21, CBRE Research & Consulting said that the average asking rent for warehouses will increase by 4 to 11 percent year on year and the total supply of ready-built factory and warehouses will increase year-on-year by 25.3 percent in the North and 28.2 percent in the South. The market for ready-built factories and warehouses is expected to continue its momentum, taking advantage of the e-commerce boom that needs storage spaces as logistics services are disrupted during the pandemic. This demand will encourage more developers to construct ready-built factories and warehouses to maximize the efficiency of land use and cater to the full spectrum of demand. In addition, developers are also integrating 4.0 technologies, such as virtual reality technology, to bring more convenience to potential buyers in the process of leasing, manufacturing, and operating.

In addition to industrial properties, Vietnam’s industrial zones are also seeing the effect of foreign firms diversifying. In the first three months of this year, five new industrial zones were founded with a total area of 800 hectares, compared with only four in the whole of 2019. Director Do Nhat Hoang of the Foreign Investment Agency, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), said that the agency is working with foreign investors considering moving to Vietnam to raise policies enabling a favorable investment climate. He added that the Law on Investment was being amended to enable Vietnam to capture the FDI inflow in the context of the global production transition. According to a report by securities brokerage VNDIRECT, Vietnam’s average industrial land price is 43 percent lower than that of Thailand and 54 percent lower than that of Malaysia, and its corporate income tax rate of 20 percent is among the lowest in Southeast Asia.

The Vietnam Government is monitoring the transition of the global production and supply chain as it develops economic plans to achieve 5 percent GDP growth rate in 2020. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 26 emphasized that key economic regions are the important growth poles of the country. He requested the MPI to work with ministries, sectors, and localities to implement economic development tasks, especially in attracting and welcoming a wave of investment shifted by large corporations and transnational companies on technology.

Vietnam to Reform Administrative Procedure to Revitalize the Economy

As Vietnam considers a range of solutions to help the economy recover after the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, the Vietnam Government recognizes that simplifying administrative procedures can make a valuable contribution to revitalizing businesses. Speaking at a conference held by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform (ACAPR), Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (VinaSME) and the USAID on May 23, Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung said that the Government has simplified administrative procedures during the pandemic as a means to mitigate the economic impact and to remove difficulties for production and business, ensuring food security and disbursing public investment capital to ensure social security. Some simplified procedures include the cut of business registration conditions, reduction of categories of goods and products subject to specialized inspections and the application of digitalization in state agency operation. The Chairman also emphasized digital transformation and technology application being critical to not only the digital economy but also the administrative reforms. The Government has introduced the online National Public Service Portal with 408 online public services for both people and businesses for over six months. In addition, since 2016, the Government has reduced and simplified 3,893 out of 6,191 business conditions, cut 6,776 out of 9,926 categories of goods and products subject to specialized inspections and 30 out of 120 administrative procedures for specialized inspection. The total social saving was estimated at 18 million working days per year, equivalent to more than VND6.3 trillion per year (US$270 million).

The conference comes as businesses eager to resume economic activities after the end of social distancing orders. The General Statistics Office recorded more than 10,720 new firms with a total registered capital of VND112.7 trillion (US$4.83 billion), up 36 percent in number and 20 percent in capital compared to the previous month. Following the conference, on May 28, the World Bank released its May report titled “Vibrant Vietnam: Forging the foundation of a high-income economy”. The report recommends Vietnam to focus on a productivity-driven development model, achieving quality growth through more dynamic firms, more efficient infrastructure, a higher-skilled labor force, and a greener economy. Of these pillars, it recommends Vietnam to strengthen its productive assets, with priority given to building dynamic firms by encouraging competition and easing procedures for those firms’ entry and exit.

Vietnam Promotes Digital Transformation, Wants Data of Digital Economy Stored in Vietnam

As Vietnam is tapping into its Industrial Revolution 4.0, the Ministry of Information and Communications on May 22 launched a campaign to promote digital transformation using cloud computing with the participation of 11 local service providers. Speaking at the event, Minister Nguyen Manh Hung emphasized that cloud computing will play a key role in the future’s digital infrastructure and must be a top investment priority in Vietnam’s digitalization strategy and socio-economic development. In addition, the Ministry made public the entire technical standards and requirements for the State’s e-Government project, giving firms a set of guidelines for the development of cloud computing platforms and applications required by State-owned enterprises and governmental agencies. The Minister also said that the digital economy’s data must stay in the country instead of being stored elsewhere by foreign players. The Minister praised domestic firms for having developed the physical network infrastructure and urged them to do the same for the digital and cloud infrastructure. The domestic cloud computing market is worth nearly US$200 million and growing more than 30 percent annually. Vietnamese firms, however, account for just 20 percent of the market.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

US-ABC Advocacy Tracker

In response to member feedback and in our effort to improve members' ability to plug into our many ongoing advocacy efforts, we have launched a simple Advocacy Tracker on the Council website. The Advocacy Tracker lists all active Call for Inputs with due dates and contacts for which Council staff to reach out to for more information. The tracker can be found on our website under the Members Only section. You may reach out to Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org if you have any questions or feedback regarding the Advocacy Tracker.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
Vietnam, Canada work to optimise benefits of CPTPP
MoIT sets up working groups for EVFTA
EVFTA not a toll-free expressway for Vietnam to integrate: parliament member

National Affairs
NA Standing Committee adopts resolution on public investment in 2021-2025
Seaport ambitions fail to hold water
New decree on management and use of ODA, preferential loans issued
Environment ministry proposes solutions to control pollution caused by transport
Vietnam plans to abolish household registration books

Customs
US is VN’s biggest export market in Jan-May
Local firms should have good knowledge about CE and FDA standards: seminar
MoIT to help local firms cope with trade remedies

Defense & Security
Vietnam Airlines Mulls Ordering 50 New Planes

Economics
New established firms surge 36% in May
State budget revenue reaches over VND427 trillion in first four months
Việt Nam should enhance its productivity to grow: WB
Administrative reforms will help energise firms after pandemic
Quảng Yên Economic Zone added to coastal EZ planning
Key economic regions are major national growth poles, says PM
Guidelines on Vietnam’s Competition Law: Decree 35
Finance Ministry wants to cut corporate income tax for small and micro businesses
VN needs to change its ways to attract FDI leaving China: experts
Vietnam plans 15.84t dong tax cut for small businesses
S&P maintains stable outlook for Việt Nam’s sovereign credit rating
Vietnam job numbers improve as coronavirus recedes

Energy
INTERVIEW: Vietnam, China demand aids Asia's dry bulk shipping despite COVID-19 | S&P Global Platts
PV Power to pay cash dividend, develop solar energy

Financial Services
Vietnamese take increasingly to cashless payments
Vietnam Is Asia’s Best Stock Market Performer in May
China tests digital currency and policy recommendations for Việt Nam
Vietnam cashless spending up 39 percent
Banks urged to promote digitalisation

Food & Agriculture
Việt Nam’s beer market expects big changes in 2020
Ninh Thuận restructures agriculture to adapt to drought
Vietnam to import live pigs to cut live hog prices at home
Asia Rice-India prices retreat from highs, Vietnam sees fresh offers
Lychee production hubs seek to boost consumption amid export difficulty
US becomes Vietnam’s largest supplier of fruits, vegetables
Vietnam assures PH of rice supply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Health & Life Sciences
VN enters 40th day without new COVID-19 community infection, recovery rate rises to 84%
SK Group acquires 25 per cent of Imexpharm
Gradual but radical changes set to sweep pharmaceutical landscape
Global vaccine organization hails Vietnam’s success against Covid-19
 Life Lab and eDoctor sign strategic partnership
Vietnam reports the first case of Zika virus in Da Nang
Pharmaceutical enterprises enjoy good earnings in Q1
Telecom industry expects high growth in next 5 years

ICT
Vietnam among world's cheapest mobile data markets: report
Homemade tech makes Vietnam top contestant in 5G
Local social networking sites shaken by draft amendment
Facebook launches campaign to assist Vietnam in developing digital economy
MPI introduces state-of-the-art operating platform
Vietnam pushes for digital transformation with cloud computing
FPT a match made in heaven for AI centre
Data must stay in VN, says minister

Infrastructure
Gov’t proposes investment options to develop North-South Expressway
Over 115.7 million USD poured into upgrading Thi Vai int’l port
New road and bridge projects for Vietnam
Sluggish land clearance delays key border logistics hub project
Hanoi records positive changes in urban planning and management

Manufacturing
IZs development needs planning to attract FDI
Vietnam industrial property supply rises as companies exit China
Demand for ready-built factories and warehouses increasing: CBRE

Travel & Tourism
Steering Committee: VN still closes borders to foreign tourists due to COVID-19
Vietnam’s golf tourism begins recovery
Vietnam prepares to resume select international flights
Vietnam to resume e-visa issuance to 80 countries
Local airlines would offer more rates with increasing ceiling prices
Vietnam airports required to tighten Covid-19 prevention measures
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

Vietnam, Canada work to optimise benefits of CPTPP Nhan Dan Online 26th May 2020
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has suggested agencies in Vietnam and Canada to devise a mechanism to exchange information and handle trade defence cases. Minister Anh made the request during a video conference with Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng on May 25. The meeting aimed to bolster bilateral cooperation and maximise the benefits of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), paving the way for businesses of both nations to access trade and investment information as the economies gradually recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

MoIT sets up working groups for EVFTA vietnamnews.vn 26th May 2020
The Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has set up different working groups to implement the the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). The department said it will deploy 25 tasks into five key working groups for the agreement. The first group includes building and issuing legal documents. In detail, it will focus on building a circular on rules of origin of goods in the EVFTA in June; studies and exchanges with EVFTA's related agencies in ASEAN countries and South Korea for implementing the joint mechanism under the agreement.

EVFTA not a toll-free expressway for Vietnam to integrate: parliament member VnExpress International 22nd May 2020
The free trade pact with the EU is expected to open an expressway connecting Vietnam with a $15 trillion market, and it is fee-charging, says National Assembly delegate Vu Tien Loc. Loc, a representative of Thai Binh Province, explained "fee" as investment by the government in upgrading the infrastructure, institutions and quality of human resources. "From enterprise perspective, 'fee' comes from the management improvement, investment in changing supply and production chains, thereby meeting the rules of origin requirements of the agreement," he said at the National Assembly session Wednesday.

National Affairs

NA Standing Committee adopts resolution on public investment in 2021-2025 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Jun 2020
The National Assembly Standing Committee resumed its 45th session on June 1, and adopted a resolution stipulating principles, criteria and quota for the allocation of public investment using State budget in the 2021-2025 period. Earlier in the morning the same day, the committee discussed a draft resolution of the NA on piloting specific financial-budgetary mechanisms and policies for the capital city of Hanoi. Another draft NA resolution on recognizing and permitting the enforcement of rulings issued by dispute settlement agencies under the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) was also tabled for examination during the day.

Seaport ambitions fail to hold water Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 28th May 2020
Despite some improvements, seaport joint ventures between foreign partners and state-owned shipping giant Vietnam Maritime Corporation continued to incur losses in the first quarter of this year, rendering profit targets practically unreachable amid the current global health emergency. Nguyen Canh Tinh, CEO of Vietnam Maritime Corporation (VIMC), told VIR that VIMC is one of the logistics companies that have been hit the hardest by the ongoing health crisis. “Our seaports, logistics, and shipping business lines suffered in the first quarter of 2020, including our joint venture (JV) seaports due to interruptions in global trade links.”

New decree on management and use of ODA, preferential loans issued VGP News 28th May 2020
Non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) will be used to finance projects/programs in such fields like infrastructure development, capacity building, policy-making, administration reform, mitigation of natural disasters and climate change adaptation, and social security. This is part of the Government’s newly-issued Decree No. 56/2020/ND-CP on management and use of ODA and preferential loans granted by foreign donors.

Environment ministry proposes solutions to control pollution caused by transport vietnamnews.vn 25th May 2020
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has proposed support policies to encourage environmentally-friendly means of transport which run on electric engines and use renewable fuels. The proposal which aims to control air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been submitted to the Government for consideration. It was made following the ministry’s study on international experience in managing environmentally-friendly means of transport.

Vietnam plans to abolish household registration books Nhan Dan Online 23rd May 2020
The Ministry of Public Security is planning to put an end to household registration books as a residence management method in sweeping proposed revisions in relation to the residential law. A personal ID number can be used to access and update a citizen’s information on the national demographic database, which is shared between various government agencies.

Customs

US is VN’s biggest export market in Jan-May vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2020
The US was Việt Nam’s leading export market in the first five months of the year, despite a slight decrease in total export turnover. Việt Nam's total export and import turnover in the first five months was US$196.84 billion, a 2.8 per cent drop year-on-year, according to the General Department of Statistics. Total export turnover was $99.36 billion, a yearly drop of 1.7 per cent, while imports reached $97.48 billion, down 4 per cent year-on-year.

Local firms should have good knowledge about CE and FDA standards: seminar vietnamnews.vn 27th May 2020
Local businesses need to know clearly about the CE and FDA standards for exporting goods to the EU and US markets, according to experts at a seminar on CE and FDA standards held in Hà Nội on Tuesday. They should avoid the situation that they have sent finished goods to the EU and US markets to get CE and FDA certificates for exporting to those markets, the experts said. If their products could not receive CE and FDA certificates, they would have wasted resources, including capital.

MoIT to help local firms cope with trade remedies vietnamnews.vn 25th May 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is planning to increase the number of training courses it organises on trade remedies for the domestic production industry. The idea is to improve the ability of domestic producers to cope with the application of trade defence measures on the global market. At the same time, the ministry will also provide information about current trade remedies for domestic associations and production industries. This will include guidance on using or dealing with trade remedies for key industries such as steel, wood, seafood, chemicals, textiles and support industries.

Defense & Security

Vietnam Airlines Mulls Ordering 50 New Planes Simple Flying 25th May 2020
Hanoi-based Vietnam Airlines is eyeing a significant fleet expansion. The prospect was raised by the airline’s CEO, Duong Tri Thanh, last week. This comes despite Vietnam Airlines reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and grounding 100 of its 103 aircraft. But Duong Tri Thanh sees opportunities in the midst of an aviation storm.

Economics

New established firms surge 36% in May vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2020
More than 10,720 new firms were set up in May with total registered capital of VNĐ112.7 trillion (US$4.83 billion), up 36 per cent in number and 20 per cent in capital from the previous month, according to the General Office of Statistics (GSO). The GSO attributed this month's positive figures to the end of the social distancing orders and effective support programmes from the Government. However, the number of newly-established enterprises in Việt Nam in the first five months of 2020 totaled 48,300 with registered capital of VNĐ557.9 trillion ($23.91 billion), down 10.5 per cent in number and 16.7 per cent in registered capital year-on-year.

State budget revenue reaches over VND427 trillion in first four months Nhan Dan Online 29th May 2020
As of April 15, total revenue of the State budget reached VND427.2 trillion (over US$18.17 billion), equivalent to 28.2% of the yearly estimate, according to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Of which, domestic revenue reached VND351.6 trillion, fulfilling 27.8% of the year’s target. Revenue from crude oil hit VND17.3 trillion, equivalent to 49.1% of the year’s plan, while State budget collection from exports reached VND58 trillion, accounting for 27.9% of the year’s target. Domestic revenues collected from State-owned enterprises reached VND29.3 trillion, 16.5% of the estimate, while budget collection from foreign-invested enterprises (excluding crude oil) reached VND48.9 trillion, fulfilling 21.4% of the 2020 target.

Việt Nam should enhance its productivity to grow: WB vietnamnews.vn 28th May 2020
Việt Nam should focus on a productivity-driven development model to become a high-income economy by 2045, according to the latest report from the World Bank (WB). The international financial institution launched the 'Vibrant Việt Nam: Forging the foundation of a high-income economy' report yesterday in Hà Nội, urging the country to combine innovation with balanced development and allocation of private, public, human and natural capital to become a richer country.

Administrative reforms will help energise firms after pandemic vietnamnews.vn 27th May 2020
Simplifying administrative procedures is critical to revitalising business after the COVID-19 pandemic. This was one of the key points discussed at a conference held in Hà Nội on Tuesday titled “Recommendations for Regulatory, Policy, and Administrative Procedure Reforms to Support Post-COVID-19 Business Recovery”.

Quảng Yên Economic Zone added to coastal EZ planning vietnamnews.vn 27th May 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved adding Quảng Yên Economic Zone (EZ) in the northern province of Quảng Ninh to the national planning of coastal EZs. The People’s Committee of Quảng Ninh Province will be in charge of making planning for the 13,300 ha EZ to ensure its development doesn't harm the or national defence and security, while also preserving the forest and historical and cultural relics. Quảng Ninh will also be in charge of attracting appropriate investment into Quảng Yên EZ and developing its infrastructure to ensure connectivity between the EZ and others to form a dynamic economic hub for the northern province and the northern key economic region.

Key economic regions are major national growth poles, says PM VGP News 26th May 2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said key economic regions are the important growth poles of the country, urging for the building and completion of regional and provincial planning within national master planning. Speaking at a meeting of permanent cabinet members on the development of key economic regions on May 26, PM Phuc asked leaders of localities in each region to uphold a sense of responsibility in developing the economy of their respective region, and wholeheartedly devote to the development of the entire region, the country and each locality.

Guidelines on Vietnam’s Competition Law: Decree 35 Vietnam Briefing News 26th May 2020
Vietnam recently released Decree 35/2020/ND-CP, providing guidance on the Law on Competition, which went into effect in July 2019. The Decree gives guidance on specific thresholds for merger notifications, anti-competition agreements, and market dominance among others. The Decree particularly provides clarification on mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As per the Law on Competition, a merger is defined as the transfer by one or more enterprise(s) of all its lawful assets, rights, obligations, and interests to another enterprise and at the same time terminates the existence of the merging enterprise(s). Decree 35 took effect on May 15, 2020.

Finance Ministry wants to cut corporate income tax for small and micro businesses vietnamnews.vn 26th May 2020
The Ministry of Finance has proposed the Government cut corporate income tax for small and micro businesses by 30 per cent this year. The proposal was sent to the Government recently. It will then be submitted to the National Assembly for approval this month. If the proposal is approved, the State budget in 2020 will fall by about VNĐ15.8 trillion (US$676 million).

VN needs to change its ways to attract FDI leaving China: experts vietnamnews.vn 25th May 2020
Việt Nam has some great advantages while competing with regional countries in attracting capital flows moving out of China after the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have said. A report by SSI Research said foreign projects set up in industrial parks in the country were up 32 per cent year-on-year in the first four months of the year to US$9.8 billion.

Vietnam plans 15.84t dong tax cut for small businesses The Business Times 25th May 2020
Vietnam is planning a 15.84 trillion dong (S$968.9 million) cut in corporate income tax for small-sized enterprises this year to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. The ministry is seeking a 30 per cent cut in corporate income tax for companies with annual revenue of less than 50 billion dong and fewer than 100 employees, it said in a statement, adding that the plan is pending government approval. Small firms account for 93 per cent of the 760,000 companies in the South-east Asian country, the ministry said.

S&P maintains stable outlook for Việt Nam’s sovereign credit rating vietnamnews.vn 25th May 2020
S&P Global Ratings has announced it has maintained Việt Nam’s sovereign credit rating at BB, with a stable outlook, in its latest report released late last week, according to the Ministry of Finance. The move is a reflection of the strong potential for recovery in Việt Nam’s economy following a period of deceleration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam job numbers improve as coronavirus recedes VnExpress International 23rd May 2020
Labor demand is warming up as companies resume activities after a long hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Data from online recruitment firm VietnamWorks shows that the number of vacancies on its website rose by 20 percent in the first week of May. Its survey of 400 employers in April found 39 percent of them saying they would resume recruitment either immediately or in May. Vuong Bao Ngoc, head of recruitment consulting at online recruitment company Viec Lam 24h, said the labor market is becoming more vibrant and her website has 1.5 million applications from job seekers.

Energy

INTERVIEW: Vietnam, China demand aids Asia's dry bulk shipping despite COVID-19 | S&P Global Platts S&P Global Platts 28th May 2020
Asia's dry bulk shipping market has found support from robust coal demand from Vietnam and China as well as plentiful iron ore flows to China, despite COVID-19 pulling down consumption in other pockets, Vivek Kumar, managing director of Western Bulk Pte Ltd. told S&P Global Platts in an interview. "If you look at the positives for the dry bulk market in Asia, I would say number one has been coal flows to Vietnam. Demand from Vietnam has been the sole driver for South African coal in recent months," Kumar said.

PV Power to pay cash dividend, develop solar energy vietnamnews.vn 28th May 2020
PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power) plans to pay a 2019 cash dividend of 3 per cent instead of paying in shares at a rate of 6 per cent as planned previously. The corporation targets to earn VNĐ35.5 trillion (US$1.5 billion) this year, up slightly from last year. Post-tax profit is forecast to decrease 28 per cent to VNĐ2 trillion.

Financial Services

Vietnamese take increasingly to cashless payments vietnamnews.vn 28th May 2020
Non-cash payments have increased sharply, especially through mobile devices and the internet, according to the State Bank of Vietnam. Speaking at a press briefing in HCM City on Tuesday to announce a series of events for Cashless Day 2020 (June 16), Phạm Tiến Dũng, director of the central bank’s payment department, said the use of cash as a ratio of payments has gradually fallen over the years. Last year online payments went up by 64 per cent in terms of number of transactions and 37 per cent in terms of value, while mobile payments surged by 198 per cent and 210 per cent.

Vietnam Is Asia’s Best Stock Market Performer in May Yahoo Finance 27th May 2020
Vietnam has managed to repeat its success of containing a virus outbreak, helping make the nation’s stock market Asia’s top performer this month. The benchmark equity index has rallied 13% in May, driven mainly by local investors as foreign funds pulled money from risk assets. Vietnam’s currency has rebounded more than 1% after sliding to a record low in March during the global selloff. “We are invested and continue to look for good stock specific stories,” said Joshua Crabb, a money manager at Robeco in Hong Kong, as Vietnam offers a promising medium-term outlook.

China tests digital currency and policy recommendations for Việt Nam vietnamnews.vn 26th May 2020
China officially started testing its sovereign digital currency, the so-called Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), at the beginning of this month, putting pressure on Việt Nam to research cryptocurrency in the context of international integration. Commenting on the move, Báo Đấu Thầu (Bidding) online newspaper quoted Nguyễn Trí Hiếu, a banking and financial expert, as saying that digital currencies were a global trend due to the increasing demand for transactions and payments. For Việt Nam, the move has not had an impact as the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) is yet to allow digital currencies to be used in the country.

Vietnam cashless spending up 39 percent VnExpress International 25th May 2020
Spending via Visa credit and debit cards last year surged 39 percent year-on-year as Vietnamese consumers became less dependent on cash. The data, compiled for a year until December 1, 2019, also showed the number of transactions rising 54 percent during this period, according to a recent release from payment company Visa. A Visa survey also showed that 37 percent of Vietnamese respondents were using contactless payment technology that allows users to simply tap their card on the terminal to make a payment.

Banks urged to promote digitalisation vietnamnews.vn 23rd May 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious effect to the economy, but it has helped accelerate the race for banks to go digital. With many people looking for new options to deal with their financial affairs, digitalisation of services and e-payments are becoming crucial. Statistics showed the country now has 70 credit institutions and intermediaries unit such as E-wallets providing payment services online and through cell phone apps. The total value of digital financial transactions topped VNĐ7.3 quadrillion and 300,000 transactions via mobilephone so far.

Food & Agriculture

Việt Nam’s beer market expects big changes in 2020 vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2020
Việt Nam’s beer market is forecast to see big opportunities this year, as the country has always been held great potential for domestic and foreign beer enterprises. Fierce competition is incoming, as more foreign brands are looking to tap the market. The information was released in the Việt Nam Industry Research and Consultancy (VIRAC)’s latest report. With a population structure among the youngest in the world – 56 per cent of the population is under the age of 30 – Việt Nam Beer Association (VBA) predicts that total consumer expenses in Việt Nam will double and reach approximately US$173 billion by 2020.

Ninh Thuận restructures agriculture to adapt to drought vietnamnews.vn 29th May 2020
The south-central province of Ninh Thuận is restructuring agriculture to adapt to droughts and secure stable incomes for farmers. Lưu Xuân Vĩnh, chairman of the province People’s Committee, said there had been seven years of drought in the last 10 years. During the 2019-20 winter-spring rice crop, farming had to be stopped on nearly 8,000ha because of lack of water, he said.

Vietnam to import live pigs to cut live hog prices at home Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 29th May 2020
Vietnam will allow the import of live pigs for the first time in a bid to counter the skyrocketing live hog prices in the domestic market, said an agricultural official. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien noted the import will be under tight monitoring to prevent negative impacts on the local market. First shipments could probably come from Thailand, he unveiled, adding that the ministry will also create the best possible conditions for the import of breeding pigs to help increase the number of local herds.

Asia Rice-India prices retreat from highs, Vietnam sees fresh offers Successful Farming 28th May 2020
Indian rice export rice prices retreated this week from a more than one-year peak that slowed demand, while Vietnamese rates held near a two-year high as countries battling the coronavirus pandemic sought to bolster stocks. Top exporter India saw rates for its 5 percent broken parboiled variety fall to $370-$375 per tonne from last week's $385-$389, which was the highest since April, 2019.

Lychee production hubs seek to boost consumption amid export difficulty vietnamnews.vn 26th May 2020
Việt Nam’s lychee production hubs in the North have entered the early harvest season this year and are preparing plans for its flagship fruit consumption amid export difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On total cultivation areas of more than 28,100ha, Bắc Giang Province expects to harvest 160,000 tonnes of lychees this year, up 10,000 tonnes over 2019, of which 45,000 tonnes are early maturing lychees collected during May 20 and June 10.

US becomes Vietnam’s largest supplier of fruits, vegetables VietnamPlus 25th May 2020
The US has become Vietnam’s largest supplier of fruits and vegetables in the first four months of the year, recording a 44 percent increase year-on-year in export value to 102.1 million USD, according to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association. Vietnam's overall fruit and vegetable imports fell 42 percent to 376.9 million USD, but imports from several countries such as New Zealand, the US and Korea increased. In the same period last year the US had accounted for only 10 percent of imports.

Vietnam assures PH of rice supply amid COVID-19 pandemic Inquirer 27th May 2020
Vietnam has guaranteed the Philippines of continuous supply of rice even with the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health crisis. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the assurance to President Rodrigo Duterte in a telephone conversation requested by the former Tuesday, a Palace release said.

Health & Life Sciences

VN enters 40th day without new COVID-19 community infection, recovery rate rises to 84% VGP News 1st Jun 2020
Today marks the 40th consecutive day without new community infection of COVID-19 in Viet Nam, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control. The country’s patient tally stood at 326, including 186 imported cases while the number of recovered patients increased to 275, accounting for 84% as of 8:30 am this morning.

SK Group acquires 25 per cent of Imexpharm Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Jun 2020
South Korean conglomerate SK Group has become a large shareholder of Imexpharm (IMP), adding to its considerable portfolio of shares in Vingroup, Masan, and PV Oil. On May 29, SK Investment III, a subsidiary of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group, received 12.32 million shares, equivalent to 24.9 per cent of Imexpharm Corporation (code: IMP). The transaction was carried out through Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) at an undisclosed value. However, at the end of last week, the price of IMP shares was around VND54,000 ($2.35), so if the transaction was made at market price, it would be around VND665 billion ($28.9 million).

Gradual but radical changes set to sweep pharmaceutical landscape Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 30th May 2020
The upcoming implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to transform the competitive landscape of Vietnam’s pharmaceutical and medical industry. Reviewing the EVFTA, we see minimal to no possible breakthrough changes or significant advantages in the landscape of the medical devices market for Vietnamese firms. Both pharmaceutical and medical devices markets are facing some inconsistent requirements in label management regarding original place of manufacturers and packaging locations that can affect the applied tax and origin identification, especially in medical device sectors.

Global vaccine organization hails Vietnam’s success against Covid-19 VnExpress International 28th May 2020
Vietnam was quick to respond to and remains in control of Covid-19, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization said. The country has experience in responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases like SARS, MERS and measles, and in the case of the novel coronavirus, the country "relied on relatively cost-effective solutions: quick strategic testing, aggressive contact tracing, effective public communication campaigns and swift development of testing kits," GAVI said in a post published on its website this week.

 Life Lab and eDoctor sign strategic partnership Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 28th May 2020
SDG Life (Life Lab) and eDoctor have signed a strategic partnership, marking the beginning of a fruitful, long-term co-operation. Accordingly, Life Lab has become an official partner of eDoctor in doing medical tests for the latter’s customers, and will also act as a consultant for eDoctor in developing new healthcare products and services packages. Established in 2019, Life Lab is a high-tech and professional testing centre. Meanwhile, Vietnam-based eDoctor is a mobile app where millions of Vietnamese people can easily access healthcare information and connect with doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.

Vietnam reports the first case of Zika virus in Da Nang Vietnam Insider 26th May 2020
The unidentified man, 25, lives in Lien Chieu District and is under treatment, Pham Hung, head of the General Department of Preventative Medicine’s department for communicable disease control, said on Monday. The Zika virus is primarily spread through mosquitoes and potentially transmitted sexually, from mother to child and through blood transfusion. The disease it causes, Zika fever, produces mild symptoms like fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache, or rash in humans. But it is known to cause microcephaly and other brain malformations in some babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy.

Pharmaceutical enterprises enjoy good earnings in Q1 Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 26th May 2020
Increasing demand for medicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic has helped most pharmaceutical enterprises report positive business results in the first quarter of this year. Pharmaceutical stocks have attracted investors since the outbreak of the disease due to rising need for medical equipment and drugs, as well as forecasts that the pandemic may be prolonged due to the long timeline of vaccine manufacturing.

Telecom industry expects high growth in next 5 years Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 22nd May 2020
Five sectors of telecoms, information and technology, clean agriculture, clean technologies, retail, health care and pharmaceuticals have potential for high growth in the next three years. This was revealed in the FAST 500 Ranking Lists 2020, drawn up annually since 2011, which was announced by the Vietnam Report on May 20. The survey said this also reflects the current development trend of promoting technologies in parallel to protect local firms. They, therefore, have enhanced clean technologies, applying IT in automation, machine learning and data exchanges to reduce time and saving costs as well as strengthen connection among countries.

ICT

Vietnam among world's cheapest mobile data markets: report VnExpress International 28th May 2020
A new study has found Vietnam to be the 10th cheapest country in the world to purchase mobile data. The country’s average price for one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data costs $0.57, much lower than the global average of $5.09, according to a report by Cable, a U.K. broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider. The report was based on an analysis of 5,554 mobile data plans in 228 countries and territories to compare the cost for 1GB of mobile data across the world.

Homemade tech makes Vietnam top contestant in 5G Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 27th May 2020
Fifth-generation mobile network technology has become a firm foundation for the ASEAN’s ongoing digital transformation in which Vietnam is among the most active participants. Local network operator Viettel has the largest market share in Vietnam and is urgently making its last preparations before commercialising the 5G standard next month, looking forward to reaching the world one year later in June 2021.

Local social networking sites shaken by draft amendment Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 27th May 2020
More than 500 local social networking sites will need to secure a permit to continue operations and generate revenue if the draft decree amending the rules on internet management is approved and put into force. Social networking sites with more than one million users or 10,000 interactions a month will have to get licensed through the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to operate in the country, according to Article 23 of the draft amendment to Decree No.72/2013/ND-CP outlining the management, provision, and use of internet services and online information.

Facebook launches campaign to assist Vietnam in developing digital economy VN Ministry of Information and Communications 26th May 2020
Focusing on innovation, safety and digital literacy, smart cities, the digital economy and the community, the “Facebook for Vietnam” programme is being deployed from May to December this year by the company, in collaboration with the US delegation in Vietnam and other partners. As the first comprehensive programme designed specifically for Vietnam by the social platform under the hashtag #fb4vn, the campaign aims to boost the nation’s socio-economic development and join hands to assist its in the path to becoming a digital nation.

MPI introduces state-of-the-art operating platform vietnamnews.vn 23rd May 2020
Việt Nam's Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) on Friday launched a cutting-edge integrated operating centre that is capable of collecting, analysing and disseminating information in the shortest time possible with the highest accuracy. Minister Nguyễn Chí Dũng said the centre was built to integrate existing databases of the ministry’s subsidiaries. It is expected to issue early and clear warnings, improve the country’s socio-economic landscape as well as enhance the MPI’s internal management.

Vietnam pushes for digital transformation with cloud computing Nhan Dan Online 22nd May 2020
The Ministry of Information and Communications has launched a campaign to promote digital transformation using cloud computing with the participation of 11 local service providers. Experts say digital transformation will help Vietnamese enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, adopt a more flexible and cost-effective business model in the post-coronavirus recovery period.

FPT a match made in heaven for AI centre Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 21st May 2020
Vietnam’s ICT-related services group FPT Corporation is looking like the clear favourite to develop the central province of Binh Dinh’s ambitious AI hub, which is planned to turn it into a regional and global powerhouse in AI development. The corporation is reportedly working with the central province to join its project on building its hallmark AI Centre and adjacent supporting urban area. Binh Dinh Department of Planning and Investment early this year announced details of the project, whose investment capital is estimated to be VND4.36 trillion ($189.6 million) and which is aimed to be developed into one of the world’s largest AI centres. The total investment will include VND3.9 trillion ($169.5 million) for construction, with the remaining capital going to site clearance.

Data must stay in VN, says minister vietnamnews.vn 21st May 2020
The digital economy’s data must stay in Việt Nam instead of being stored elsewhere by foreign players, said Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng at a ceremony to promote cloud computing and digitalisation held in Hà Nội yesterday. The minister said cloud computing will play a key role in the future’s digital infrastructure and must be a top investment priority in Việt Nam’s digitalisation strategy and socio-economic development.

Infrastructure

Gov’t proposes investment options to develop North-South Expressway vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2020
The Government has proposed to the National Assembly three options for transforming investment models at sub-projects of the Eastern North-South Expressway for consideration. In all three options raised, three out of 11 sub-projects which were already decided to be public-funded following the National Assembly’s Resolution No 52/2017 dated November 22, 2017 were proposed to continue to be public-funded.

Over 115.7 million USD poured into upgrading Thi Vai int’l port Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Jun 2020
Thi Vai International Port Co., Ltd (TVP) has announced its investment of more than 2.7 trillion VND (115.7 million USD) in improving land at the Thi Vai international port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The company plans to select four contractors to implement the project, with bidding sessions scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The total funding for the project is set to be sourced from TVP’s capital and commercial loans.

New road and bridge projects for Vietnam World Highways 27th May 2020
Vietnam is spending heavily on road and bridge projects in a bid to further develop its growing economy. A series of PPP road projects are being planned, while an important bridge link will be built in due course. Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport meanwhile is working on plans for no less than eight sections of the North-South Expressway project. The eight sections are from: Phan Thiet to Dau Giay; Vinh Hao to Phan Thiet; Cam Lam to Vinh Hao; Nha Trang to Cam Lam; Dien Chau to Bai Vot; Nghi Son to Dien Chau; National Highway 45 to Nghi Son; Mai Son to National Highway 45.

Sluggish land clearance delays key border logistics hub project vietnamnews.vn 27th May 2020
Local authorities of Cao Lộc Commune in northern border Lạng Sơn Province have until July 15 to complete site clearance for the logistics hub for the 144-hectare Đồng Đăng - Lạng Sơn Economic Zone Project, said vice chairman of the provincial People Committee Hồ Tiến Thiệu in a meeting on Wednesday. Authorities need to finish the relocation of an international internet cable line, electrical networks and burial grounds to clear the site so construction can begin, he said. The project has progressed slowly, largely because of a lack of funding to clear the site, according to local officials.

Hanoi records positive changes in urban planning and management hanoitimes.vn 26th May 2020
Hanoi's projects on urban technical infrastructure have been carried out coherently in the order of priority and urgency. In the 2015-2020 period, urban management and infrastructure development in Hanoi city has recorded positive changes, Kinhtedothi.vn quoted a leader of the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture as saying at a meeting on May 25. Projects on urban technical infrastructure have been carried out coherently in the order of priority and urgency, which helps increase the effectiveness of investment, contributes to raising the quality of urban services and improves local residents’ living environment.

Manufacturing

IZs development needs planning to attract FDI Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 1st Jun 2020
The development of industrial zones (IZs) needs a comprehensive plan to capture the transition of the foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow spurred by trade wars and the COVID-19 pandemic in which Vietnam has significant opportunities to become the next global factory.

Vietnam industrial property supply rises as companies exit China VnExpress International 26th May 2020
Supply of ready-built factories and warehouses in southern Vietnam will increase by 28 percent this year to 2.7 million square meters. As more companies arrive from China after the pandemic, supply will rise by 25 percent to two million square meters in the north, real estate consultancy CBRE said in a recent report. It added that the trend of companies seeking to reduce supply chain dependency on China is likely to benefit Vietnam.

Demand for ready-built factories and warehouses increasing: CBRE vietnamnews.vn 23rd May 2020
The development of e-commerce together with delays to import and export activities due to disrupted logistics services has accelerated demand for ready-built factories and warehouses during the COVID-19 outbreak in Việt Nam. In contrast, the number of leasing inquiries for other industrial properties has fallen due to travel bans and social distancing.

Travel & Tourism

Steering Committee: VN still closes borders to foreign tourists due to COVID-19 VGP News 28th May 2020
The National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control agreed Thursday that Viet Nam should continue closing borders to foreign tourists at this time, as external COVID-19 transmission risks still remain. The committee also agreed that inbound tourism would only be resumed once the safety conditions are met and Viet Nam may only consider to open door to tourists from countries where the pandemic is put under control.

Vietnam’s golf tourism begins recovery TTR Weekly 28th May 2020
Vietnam has gained a valuable head start since it emerged from strict lockdown 22 April by rebooting domestic travel and golf tourism. Two of Vietnam’s leading clubs, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip and Laguna Golf Lang Co, are backing promotions to position Vietnam as of the world’s hottest golfing destinations as the country as it now eases its Covid-19 lockdown.

Vietnam prepares to resume select international flights VnExpress International 27th May 2020
The Transport Ministry has asked civil aviation authorities to submit plans by June 10 for reopening some international flight routes. The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has also been tasked with proposing a specific time frame for resuming the flights on a bilateral basis to restore trade and investment activities and revive the tourism industry while ensuring strict maintenance of anti-pandemic measures. The administration will have to submit its report by June 10 for submission to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Vietnam to resume e-visa issuance to 80 countries VnExpress International 27th May 2020
Vietnam will resume issuing e-visas for citizens from 80 countries under the amended Law on Immigration that takes effect July 1, according to a government resolution. Eligible countries include Belgium, Germany, India and South Korea. A full list is available here. Eight international airports which allow foreigners to enter/exit Vietnam using e-visa are: Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, Hai Phong's Cat Bi Airport, Da Nang Airport, Thua Thien-Hue Province’s Phu Bai Airport, Khanh Hoa Province’s Cam Ranh Airport, HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat Airport, Can Tho Airport and Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc Airport.

Local airlines would offer more rates with increasing ceiling prices vietnamnews.vn 26th May 2020
Increasing ceiling rates for airfares would bring more opportunities for local aviation firms to have flexible and suitable price policies in the domestic aviation market. Domestic aviation firms made the statement after the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV) proposed the Ministry of Transport temporarily halt the adjustment of ceiling rates for airfares, which was submitted to the ministry in March.

Vietnam airports required to tighten Covid-19 prevention measures hanoitimes.vn 26th May 2020
Local airports are required to keep applying safety protocol against Covid-19 as the pandemic has not been radically wiped out. Vietnam’s aviation authorities have requested airports to abide by the instructions of the prime minister and relevant agencies on Covid-19 prevention and control, especially the protocol on safety operation of airports. The airports that are designated to receive flights carrying returning overseas Vietnamese, including Van Don, Can Tho, Danang, Cam Ranh are requested to maintain the protocol on cross-infection prevention.