Cuc Phuong National Park boasts a rich and diverse flora of tropical forest. (Photo: VNA)
It is necessary to remove obstacles in developing forest eco-tourism so that travelers can experience the natural environment while ensuring sustainable financial resources for forest protection, benefiting those safeguarding the forests, as well as 25 million people who rely on forests to earn their living, according to experts.
Kơ Să En Luy, a K’Ho ethnic man, has been working as a tour guide at the Centre for Eco-tourism and Environmental Education – Bidoup Nui Ba National Park since 2015.
According to Luy, his profession offers an opportunity for him to pass on knowledge and love for natural conservation to the younger generation, raising awareness on protecting the environment and natural forests.
Bidoup-Nui Ba is one of the four biodiversity centres in Vietnam and one of the world’s important bird areas. It is also the second most diverse area in Vietnam in terms of Gymnospermatophyta plant species and the highest priority of the Truong Son mountain range conservation programme. However, only about 6,000 tourists visited the park in the first nine months of this year, a 10.35% increase compared with the same period last year.
Cuc Phuong National Park has been named “Asia’s leading national park” by the World Travel Awards (WTA) for the fifth consecutive year. Nonetheless, it attracts only about 120,000 tourists annually. This figure is much lower than the 700,000 visitors to Thailand’s Doi Inthanon National Park.
Currently, national parks primarily devise their own tours to lure visitors. However, this approach can exert considerable pressure on the parks, as they must balance between preservation and maintaining the existing biodiversity.
According to Pham Kien Cuong, Director of the Centre for Environmental Education and Services at Cuc Phuong National Park, to invest in infrastructure and services, the park must generate its own revenue as tourism activities are not covered by the State budget.
With a low number of visitors and limited revenue, it’s impossible to provide competitive wages to workers, thus, attracting high-quality employees for tourism-related work is a challenge, he said.
Director of Bidoup – Nui Ba National Park Pham Kien Cuong said he wants to popularise the park, which boasts a rich and diverse flora and fauna, within the community, adding that through understanding about nature and the biodiversity of the forests, people can protect it further.
In line with the government’s directives, the Forest Protection Department is providing recommendations to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on a scheme to submit to the Prime Minister, expected to be issued in 2023, on the development of the multi-purposes values of forest ecosystems by 2030, with a vision until 2050. One of its objectives is to enhance the value of forests through eco-tourism.
Huong said that once this project is approved, it will create opportunities for businesses and national parks, such as Bidoup – Nui Ba, to showcase the diverse biodiversity of the forests to tourists and communities.
According to Trieu Van Luc, Deputy Director of the Department of Forestry, developing eco-tourism in national parks will provide significant resources to improve the livelihoods of people, especially those in buffer zones. It also presents a sustainable financial source for the operation of the management board and staff who take part in the conservation and preservation of forest ecosystems.
Land rules widened to aid tourism
Experts are recommending it is necessary to add types of mix-use housing projects, new urban areas combined with commercial businesses, tourism, entertainment and multipurpose complexes into a revised draft Land Law regulating government land repossession for development.
The draft revised Land Law is being reviewed and completed by authorities and bodies at all levels before being submitted to the National Assembly in its next session, set to kick off on October 23.
Mix-use housing projects, new urban areas combined with commercial businesses, tourism, entertainment and multipurpose complexes are currently excluded in the revised draft, which regulates what land the state can repossess to hand over to investors for development.
This means investors of the aforementioned projects have to negotiate compensation expenses directly with landowners. This is difficult as investors can rarely landowners, and projects have been delayed for years accordingly.
However, if those projects are included in the list of land repossessed by the state for economic and social development, they will be compensated by the local authorities. The state is responsible for land repossesses and handover to investors. Investors can receive land and deploy project construction on schedule.
Developing tourism infrastructure is one of the important solutions to turn it into a key economic sector, according to a 2017 Politburo resolution stating that tourism should be the anchor economy.
Professor Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said that tourism development projects used to be included in the state’s land acquisition in the 2003 Land Law, and that decree 84/2007/ND-CP from 2007 also legislated tourism as a leading sector appropriate for state land repossessions.
However, in the 2013 Land Law, this regulation was removed, and the current revised draft did not mention this subject any more.
“Although the land law has been edited many times, it still left tourism projects behind and this goes against conditions on the ground,” Vo said. “To make tourism become a key economic sector, we need to have specific regulations on tourist land and open policies and mechanisms on land, taxes, investment for tourism real estate. To achieve that, tourism projects and tourism complexes must be subject to state land recovery.”
According to Vu Tien Loc, a member of the National Assembly of Hanoi, it is necessary to add these new land types to the revised law.
“For many localities, the construction of new urban areas and large-scale, modern entertainment tourism projects are really necessary in the process of socioeconomic development,” he said.
“In fact, there have been many projects delayed for many years due to problems in land use rights transference. Therefore, for some specific projects, if the state takes the right to recover land, they will be implemented faster and more efficiently.”
Lawyer Doan Van Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam National Real Estate Association and chairman of CEO Group agrees.
“These additional types of land repossessed by the state will help the current legal system become more consistent with bidding regulation for selecting investors to implement projects and avoiding discrimination between types of land,” Binh said.
In addition, experts have also suggested permitting bidding to choose investors for new urban development projects for more than 300ha, combined with services, entertainment, and multi-functional projects.
In reality, Vietnam has many large-scale urban projects spanning hundreds of hectares, such as Phu My Hung, Vinhomes Ocean Park, Vinhomes Dream City, WaterPoint Long An, and many others.
The addition of large-scale urban projects and multipurpose complexes into the list of land the state may repossess is in line with international trends and actual development needs.
The method of selecting investors through bidding will ensure the successful selection of investors experienced in implementing similar projects and financial capacity.
Sustainability – key to FTA markets: experts
Vietnamese businesses engaging in the global supply chain should secure compliance with sustainable development standards, including those on international labour, so as to access markets with whom Vietnam has signed free trade agreements (FTAs), according to Dang Duc Anh, Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).
At the workshop “Opportunities and Challenges for the Enterprises and Export Supply Chain of Vietnam” held in Hanoi on October 17, Anh stressed that although the signed FTAs has granted Vietnamese products an easier access to more than 50 foreign markets, they, especially new-generation trade pacts, contain regulations dedicated to sustainable development that may pose great challenges for exporters.
Together with mechanisms to promote the implementation of FTAs, Vietnam’s major trade partners such as the EU and the US have ramped up efforts to carry out sustainability commitments through their laws on supply chain due diligence, which require their enterprises to strictly control the supply chain, he added.
In a bid to realise the non-traditional commitments, including environment and labour, under the FTAs, Vietnam has been integrating international labour standards into domestic laws and put them into practice, he said.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Minh Thao, head of CIEM’s Research Department on Business Environment and Competitiveness, suggested state management authorities fine-tune institutions in accordance with international laws, better the business climate by ensuring business freedom and safety and reducing compliance costs to improve capacity of domestic firms.
Enterprises should make meticulous preparation to capitalise on the market, ensure compliance with trade partners’ import standards, and diversify export markets, she said.
Attending the workshop, Tim De Meyer, Senior Adviser on Standards Policy in the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s International Labour Standards Department, said that the ILO commits efforts to ensure welfare for workers and socio-economic vitality, making contributions to sustainable development.
Nearly 170 businesses to join Vietnam Medipharm Expo 2023 in December
As many as 170 businesses from 18 countries globally are expected to participate in the international medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical exhibition (Vietnam Medipharm Expo 2023) slated for December 7 – 9 in Hanoi.
According to the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising company (Vinexad), on display across 220 booths will be a variety of products in five main categories – pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, processing and packaging machinery; medical and healthcare equipment; hospital furniture and services, software, and medical tourism; dental and ophthalmic devices; along with cosmetics and beauty aesthetics equipment.
The event is anticipated to provide an ideal venue for Vietnamese medical firms to introduce their cutting-edge technologies and services to potential customers, seek new international partners, establish ties with manufacturers and suppliers, and facilitate entry into foreign markets.
Most notably, through the expo foreign firms will see huge opportunities to enhance ties with local partners, expand their market shares, and gain greater insights into regulations of the Vietnamese healthcare industry to secure their firm foothold in the domestic market.
A number of trade exchanges, Business to Business (B2B) events, and seminars will be held during the three-day expo.
Realty demand gains strength amid economic recovery
The real estate sector is finally emerging from its slumber as the economic recovery in the third quarter of the year has triggered a resurgence of demand for realty properties.
Apartment blocks under construction in HCM City. Experts said the time of “hitting bottom” had passed and the realty sector is recovering.
Nguyễn Văn Đính, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Realtors (VARS), said Vietnam’s economy was picking up in Q3 with a quarterly GDP growth rate of 5.33 per cent. The optimistic outlook has fueled demand for housing across the spectrum.
The State Bank of Vietnam has given another push to the market by cutting policy rates four consecutive times since March. The drops in interest rates make home ownership increasingly affordable to a broader range of buyers, creating more demand for housing.
According to a recent survey by VARS, 60 per cent of respondents said their customers would continue to invest in realty properties if interest rates keep falling, but with a risk-averse rather than a risk-taking stance.
Lê Đình Chung, director-general of SGO Homes, said the bearish trend was over in some realty segments in big cities, especially residential apartments.
In the land lot segment, the market can absorb between 70 to 80 per cent of the supply at bid prices within 5 per cent of ask prices. Sellers can easily make a sale for between VNĐ30 million (US$1,227) to VNĐ50 million per lot.
“But the resort segment remains lackluster,” said Chung.
In Q3, around 6,000 deals were reached across the country, one and a half times the number in Q2 and two times the level in Q1, indicating a fast recovery in the sector.
Nguyễn Hoàng Nam, director-general of G-Home JSC, said even if the project of one million social housing kicks into high gear, it would not be able to quench the huge demand for affordable apartments.
He said the social housing shortages were more severe in reality as the sale of social apartments had slowed down due to legal complications. He called for measures to remove the setbacks to make social housing accessible to a wider range of buyers.
VARS Secretary General Trần Văn Bình said “restoring customers’ confidence in the market” was the last step to lift sentiment in the sector and get it back on track. He also said the market would pick up steam in Q4 and maintain its momentum into 2024.
It is worth noting that VARS published on October 10 the report titled “Assessing the recovery of the real estate market in Q3 and forecasts for Q4/2023”. Experts applauded the report, saying that its price indicators would serve as a benchmark for land price calculation and realty supply regulation.
Building brands critical for Vietnamese goods to expand market shares in the UK
Building brands is critical for Việt Nam to capitalise on opportunities from the UK – Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) to increase the presence and shares of Vietnamese goods in the UK market, experts have said.
The trade deal, which officially took effect from May 1, 2021 with a roadmap for elimination of 92 per cent of tariff lines by January 1, 2027, has significantly promoted the exports of Vietnamese goods to the UK in recent years. The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics showed that the bilateral trade increased 3.3 per cent to reach US$6.8 billion in 2022 with Việt Nam’s export accounting for nearly 90 per cent.
Tạ Hoàng Lan, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Capacity Development Department under the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency, said that the UKVFTA helped Vietnamese goods gain a competitive advantage in the UK market compared to those of countries which had not had trade agreements with the UK such as China, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Vietnamese goods were becoming more popular in the UK market with many businesses in the UK actively seeking opportunities to put high-quality products of Việt Nam into their distribution systems, a big change since the trade deal came into force, Lan said.
The market shares of Vietnamese goods in the UK market differed according to the product, but ranged around 12-19 per cent, Lan said, adding that major products included garment and textile, footwear, wood products and farm produce.
Still, the market shares of Vietnamese goods in the UK market remained modest, Lan said, adding that the UK’s import from Việt Nam accounted for just 1 per cent of the UK’s $700 billion import demand per year.
“There is significant room for Việt Nam to expand export to the UK, provided by the UKVFTA. However, the lack of recognised brands is keeping the presence of Vietnamese goods modest in the UK market,” she said.
Most enterprises in Việt Nam were not paying adequate attention to building and developing brands, or intellectual property protection in foreign markets, Lan said. While there was an increasing attention to quality, Vietnamese enterprises were not studying the market demand and requirements carefully enough.
“Developing brands in foreign markets, especially selective markets like the UK, is a difficult problem,” Lan said, adding that most Vietnamese enterprises opt to doing outsourcing and exporting under brands of importers. She urged enterprises to consider the UK a strategic market, especially when the UK was joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a mega trade bloc made up of 11 economies including Việt Nam.
According to Đặng Phúc Nguyên, general secretary of Việt Nam Vegetable and Fruit Association, although the UKVFTA helped Việt Nam’s export of vegetables and fruits increase by 8 per cent to reach $20.9 million in 2022 and 28.3 per cent to $11.48 million in the first six months of this year, the presence of these products in the UK remained modest due to the lack of national brands and corporate brands.
Enterprises were not putting enough effort into studying the tastes of UK consumers, Nguyên said. In addition, products were mainly exported under foreign brands.
“It is necessary to develop brands to increase market shares in the UK,” Nguyên said, adding that for the vegetable and fruit industry, the participation of enterprises with strong capacity was important to establish firm brands for Vietnamese products in the UK.
As the UK was a market of high demand, the brand development must be based on increasing quality, ensuring food hygiene and safety, good packaging, and competitive prices, Nguyên said.
The focus must be on improving production technology and developing material areas to meet requirements of the import markets, not only in product quality but also in green and sustainable development, he stressed.
It would take time and effort to develop brands for Vietnamese products in foreign markets, Nguyên said, adding that brands must start from the foundation of the domestic market before going global.
Hoàng Trọng Thuỷ, an expert in agriculture, said that as the UK was highly demanding for product quality, Vietnamese enterprises should focus on renovating production technologies comprehensively and developing the raw material sources to ensure quality requirements.
Vietnamese enterprises should also pay attention to ensuring the UK’s requirements in environment protection, labour, origin traceability and safety to expand exports to this market, he said.
Supports from the Government played an important role in enabling Vietnamese enterprises to expand exports to the UK, especially policies in taxes and land fees, infrastructure development, consistent and transparent policies, and trade promotions, he said.
Trade offices in foreign markets should timely provide market updates and consumer trends to enterprises so that they can build suitable production strategies, Thuỷ added.
“FTAs are not all roses.” Lan from the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency said. FTAs are forcing enterprises to constantly change to meet market requirements.
Lan said that to build brands, Vietnamese enterprises must consider intellectual property protection the key to establish a firm position for Vietnamese products in foreign markets. “Building brands should not be considered an expense but an investment.”
She added that establishing value chains was important to build brands, ensure quality and increase added value for the products.
Lan said that Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency would increase promotion activities in the UK to seek trade cooperation opportunities, provide market information to enterprises and connect businesses between two sides. Promotions would also be enhanced for developing national brands and brands of products of Việt Nam’s strength.
Major Vietnamese alcohol brand faces mounting losses
The Halico Hanoi Liquor JSC, the producer of Hanoi Vodka, has reported losses of over VND2.28 billion in the third quarter of this year, marking the 26th consecutive quarter of losses and a near-40 percent increase in losses on-year.
The Halico Hanoi Liquor JSC, the producer of Hanoi Vodka, has reported mounting losses.
The firm achieved net revenue of VND22.80 billion in the period.
In the first three quarters of this year, Halico earned VND73.90 billion and recorded an aggregate loss of VND5.60 billion.
Last year, the company reported a loss of VND16.63 billion.
Explaining their continuous losses, the 125-year-old industry giant pointed to plunging alcohol consumption due to the economic downturn and increased costs related to supply chains.
Facing rising losses, the company’s management board did not take a salary during the third quarter while the members of the board of directors only received a total payment of over VND 565.80 million.
Halico aims to earn VND215 billion in 2023. The company plans to restore traditional markets?? don’t know what you mean by ’traditional market’? and find new export countries, focusing on Asia and Europe, as well as markets for 70 and 90-degree alcohol products and hand sanitisers.
Diageo, one of the world’s largest alcohol producers, spent VND1,800 billion to acquire 45.57 percent of Halico in 2011.
The Halico plant was originally built by the French in 1898.
Bigger banks hoover up weaker rivals
Prominent Vietnamese banks are making calculated moves to acquire struggling counterparts, signalling a broader restructure of Vietnam’s banking system.
VPBank last week publicly asserted its readiness to assume control of a commercial bank earmarked for compulsory transfer.
“We are primed and ready in terms of resources” said deputy CEO of VPBank, Pham Thi Nhung, highlighting the company’s ambitions to restructure the country’s banking system as tasked to them by the government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
“Such strategic partnerships are poised to fortify VPBank’s capital base, amplifying its capacity to support medium and long-term credits for small to medium-sized enterprises, green development projects, and infrastructural initiatives,” she added.
Nhung also disclosed that VPBank is in the advanced stages of selling a 15 per cent stake to one of Japan’s financial giants – Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a pivotal member of the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG).
This marks the first instance in which the leadership of VPBank has confirmed participation in a compulsory takeover. Prior to this, during the bank’s annual session in April, its chairman, Ngo Chi Dung, had only gone as far as to hint at initial examinations into acquiring weak credit institutions.
Currently, four struggling banks, DongABank, Construction Bank, Oceanbank, and Global Petroleum Bank (GPBank), are on the radar for restructuring. Prior to VPBank declaring their intention to acquire their first commercial bank, Vietcombank and MB had already presented plans to their shareholders for potential mandatory acquisitions, with CB being explicitly associated with Vietcombank and MB being linked to OceanBank.
Last week, a government report presented to the National Assembly (NA) revealed that SBV is actively seeking investors to help restructure troubled bank SCB, with the intention of proposing this plan to the government. This decision follows SCB’s placement under special scrutiny in October 2022 after multiple branches witnessed a surge of patrons withdrawing funds en masse.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had previously emphasised the need for transparency in the restructuring of vulnerable banks, such as SCB, ensuring no assets are misappropriated. This special control is a strategic measure, aimed at closely monitoring the bank to prevent adverse impacts on the institution itself and, more broadly, the national credit organisation system.
“All these banks are obligated to employ consultants to determine their enterprise value. Independent advisory bodies then issue valuation certificates, and these findings are subsequently sent to the State Audit for regulatory auditing,” a source detailed.
Identifying and negotiating with commercially viable banks equipped for compulsory transfers – those with the necessary financial capability, governance, and experience in restructuring weak credit organisations – remains a challenge largely due to their voluntary participation.
“Banks taking on these transfers need ample time to persuade shareholders, especially major ones and strategic foreign stakeholders, to unanimously agree on compulsory transfers,” commented an industry insider.
The mechanisms and financial resources for dealing with frail credit institutions, like in the case of DongABank, are still riddled with inefficiencies and elongated procedures. Problems surrounding the collaboration between various governmental bodies make the process of handling these weak banks more intricate, and a lack of precedents ensure that complexities still surface.
In order to combat this, the SBV plans to instruct banks receiving compulsory transfers to finalise their strategies for acquisition and present them directly to the government for approval and implementation.
There are also amendments underway to the Law on Credit Institutions, which will look to refine the management of vulnerable credit institutions. Draft provisions of the law aim to bolster risk management capabilities and the governance of banks, preventing exploitative and manipulative banking practices for personal gain. This legislation is slated for consideration and passage in the NA’s sixth session at the end of October.
Economic expert Le Xuan Nghia emphasised that the focal point of current bank restructuring efforts should be the resolute handling of frail banks and prioritising the resolution of bad debts. To address these effectively, Nghia believed that it is essential to establish mechanisms to attract investors, including foreign ones, and to stimulate the development of a debt trading market.
“Without the active participation of both domestic and international investors, addressing the issue of bad debts and ensuring the health of our banking system will remain a formidable challenge,” he said. “This underscores the growing sentiment about the importance of global collaboration and the need for a thriving debt market to bolster economic recovery and growth.”
Resort real estate struggles to achieve lift off in fickle market
Although the real estate market has continuously received positive policies from the government to remove obstacles, resort real estate has suffered hugely in recent years and is showing little sign of recovery, with many properties unfinished and unused.
General market difficulties with macroeconomic fluctuations have impacted customer psychology, causing market liquidity to not reach expectations. According to a report by DKRA Vietnam released in early October, in the resort villa segment, new supply was only 81 units from three projects open for sale, an increase compared to the previous quarter of only 7 per cent.
Market demand is low, consumption is equivalent to 2 per cent of the same period last year, and most transactions focus on products priced below VND10 billion ($421,940) per unit.
“Investors are still quite cautious in bringing products to the market, causing supply to continue a downward trend from the middle of late Q2 of 2022 until now,” said Vo Hong Thang, director for Research and Consulting, DKRA Vietnam.
“The general difficulties of the market along with the unexpected recovery of the tourism industry have impacted customer psychology in recent times, causing market liquidity to remain at a low level,” Thang said.
In the resort townhouse and shophouse segment, the market recorded 128 new supply units from just four projects launched for sale. New supply increased compared to the previous quarter but was still at a very low level, equivalent to 7 per cent over the same period last year.
“Market demand decreased significantly, consumption recorded the lowest level in the past five years, only 1 per cent of the same period last year,” Thang said.
The condotel segment in the third quarter of 2023 recorded a sharp increase in supply compared to the previous quarter, with about 656 units from six projects opened for sale. New consumption reached about 203 units, accounting for 31 per cent of new supply.
Binh Dinh led the supply and consumption in the quarter, especially strongly developed resort markets such as Danang and Phu Quoc, which continued to have the lowest sold volume in the market.
The macroeconomy still has many challenges, capital flow is difficult to inject, and the tourism industry has not fully recovered, with the resort real estate market expected to continue to face many difficulties.
According to DKRA Vietnam, it is forecasted that in the fourth quarter, condotel supply is expected to increase compared to the third quarter of 2023, fluctuating at around 400-500 units, mainly concentrated in Kien Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
At the same time, the supply of resort villas and resort townhouses/shophouses is forecast to be equivalent to Q3, or increase slightly. Overall market demand improved compared to Q3 of 2023, but not at a remarkable increase.
In addition to the slow recovery of demand, the oversupply, mainly at coastal tourist destinations, will also contribute to increasing challenges for resort real estate business activities.
According to research by BHS Group, a local real estate consultancy company, in the last three years, more than 80 resort real estate projects have been implemented nationwide. Together, they offered 44,000 resort real estate products to the market.
However, only 31 projects are fully operated, the remaining projects are operated in parts, under construction or even delayed. More than 24,000 of the products are unused, which does not create a landscape for sound investment.
Hoang Huu Minh Dung, head of R&D at BHS Group said, this problem comes from the “in-turn” construction and sales method that investors apply when implementing large-scale projects. This method, according to Dung, is a way to maintain cash flow for investors and draw in customers for the next products being sold.
“However, the risk is that many projects are not fully constructed and leave parts unfinished and not fully put into operation,” Dung said.
Of more than 80 projects spanning all three regions, the central region leads with 34 projects, followed by the north and south regions with 29 and 18, respectively.
Proportionate to the number of projects, the number of resort products in the central region also leads with more than 23,500 unused products, accounting for 53 per cent of the total number of resort products nationwide since 2020. Among those, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen lead with a total of more than 16,000 unused products.
This number is 5,000 in the north, located in Hoa Binh, Haiphong and Phu Tho, and 3,000 products in the south in Kien Giang province.
Vietnam Medipharm Expo to open in Hanoi this December
The 29th Vietnam International Medical, Hospital and Pharmaceutical Exhibition (Vietnam Medipharm Expo) is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from December 7 to 9.
The event, following the previous expo in Ho Chi Minh City last August, will be held at the Hanoi International Exhibition Centre, No. 91 Tran Hung Dao street in Hoan Kiem district.
It will be participated by 170 businesses from nearly 20 countries and territories, including India, Poland, Bangladesh, Taiwan (China), the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the US, Russia, Japan, Pakistan, France, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Switzerland, China, Italy, and Vietnam, the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising JSC (Vinexad) noted.
A wide range of products will be showcased at 220 booths, focusing on five main categories: pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, processing and packaging machinery; medical machinery and equipment; hospital services and furniture, medical software, and wellness tourism; dental and opthalmological equipment; and cosmetics and beauty care equipment.
At the expo, healthcare businesses of Vietnam will have a chance to directly introduce their advanced products, technologies, and services to potential customers, and discuss with international investors and partners to develop partnerships and boost their access to foreign markets.
Foreign firms can explore the Vietnamese market’s demand and potential, learn about local regulations and policies, promote cooperation with Vietnamese partners, and expand their presence in the local healthcare sector.
A business matching programme and many workshops on various topics will also form part of the three-day event, according to Vinexad.
Biotechnology to contribute 10-15 percent to GDP by 2045
The HCMC Biotechnology Center, Vietnam Biotechnology Association (VBA), and the HCMC Science-Technology Department yesterday co-hosted the 16th Asian Congress on Biotechnology, attracting the participation of 400 people worldwide.
The Congress, lasting to October 19, offers a chance for leading professionals from research units, training institutes, businesses in the world to discuss scientific advances, research results in various aspects of biotechnology as well as suitable strategies for global sustainability.
The event includes two plenary sessions and 36 session presentations for 16 key topics in the biotechnology branches, including agriculture and food, applied microbiology, medical biotechnology, nanobiotechnology, biomaterials, synthetic biotechnology.
Director Dinh Minh Hiep of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is presenting his speech
In his speech, Director Dinh Minh Hiep of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development shared that the congress is an important scientific event for the promotion of scientific research and development of applied biotechnology to improve the medical capability for disease prevention, to ensure food security, to cope with climate change, and to boost economic development among Asian countries.
Being a tropical nation severely affected by climate change and transforming from an agricultural economy, Vietnam is highly aware of the critical role of biotechnology in its industrialization and modernization, its economic structural transformation, and its sustainable growth.
Therefore, Vietnam aims at becoming a country with a developed biotechnology industry, a center for smart manufacturing and services, a hub for innovative startup in the biotechnology field in Asia. It also sets the target of having its biotechnology contribute 10-15 percent to the GDP by 2045.
Director Hiep further informed that HCMC is currently training and trying to attract human resources in the biotechnology field while expanding its cooperation with other nations like the UK, France, Japan, Cuba.
The city has invested much in scientific research and biotechnology development. For instance, in agriculture, HCMC fosters studies on new plant varieties, animal breeds, ornamental fish; microbial products for crops, livestock, and aquaculture; vaccine to prevent diseases for aquaculture.
Building business culture: a foundation for sustainable development
Developing a sustainable business culture that helps increase competitiveness is important for Việt Nam’s prosperity, heard attendees at the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) 2023 held in Hà Nội yesterday.
The forum was themed: “Utilising the power of Việt Nam’s business culture towards sustainability and competitiveness in times of change”.
In particular, in the context of the world’s increasingly complex fluctuations, awareness and promotion of cultural advantages play a pivotal role in shaping Việt Nam’s future as a responsible business community and emerging economy with aspirations to become even stronger in the future.
Speaking at the forum, Phạm Tấn Công, President of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The role and importance of businesses and entrepreneurs in society are increasingly being recognised as essential conditions for the gradual revival and development of Việt Nam’s business culture. Business culture is undergoing certain changes, aiming towards sustainable development and responsible business practices. This requires businesses to adapt and adjust promptly, thereby becoming reliable partners, fostering creativity, innovation, and a willingness to co-operate.”
Phan Văn Anh, Vice President of the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour, said: “The Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour views this as a highly practical issue, in line with the trend and deepening integration of Việt Nam into the international community in all areas. It meets the expectations and desires of all agencies, partners, businesses, workers, and trade union organisations. If implemented effectively, this will help build the image and significantly enhance the competitiveness and sustainable development of the Vietnamese business community.”
“It will also play a crucial role in enhancing Việt Nam’s position and capacity on the international stage, realising the aspiration for a prosperous and happy nation. The importance of business culture for the development of a nation is immense. Business culture not only benefits businesses but also helps state management agencies regulate the behaviour of business entities in areas where legal gaps exist. Business culture also helps citizens develop a healthy consumer culture and engage responsibly in economic relations with businesses and the State,” he added.
“Workers are an important subject in business culture in general and organisational culture in particular. Therefore, as a representative organisation protecting workers in Việt Nam, the Việt Nam Confederation of Labour is always committed to and ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to discuss and identify areas for improvement and propose effective solutions that promote Việt Nam’s business culture towards competitiveness and sustainability.”
Speaking at the event, Choi Joo Ho, President of Samsung Vietnam, shared insights on the efforts to build a people-centred corporate culture: “In recent years, the multi-stakeholder forum has become a platform for knowledge exchange, sharing experiences, learning, constructive dialogue, and promoting a common vision among stakeholders for the sustainable development of Việt Nam. In the future, we are committed to nurturing this collaborative effort for the collective prosperity of all.”
“As a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), Samsung Vietnam prioritises the protection and respect of labour rights for both Samsung employees and workers at our partner companies. Samsung’s core values such as ‘People,’ ‘Excellence,’ ‘Change,’ ‘Integrity,’ and ‘Co-prosperity’ are ingrained at all levels of management and among Samsung employees. The quality of our organisation is regularly assessed through the Samsung Culture Index, with the participation of all levels of management and employees. This process helps us identify strengths and weaknesses in our organisational culture, optimise strengths, and proactively address existing challenges in our corporate culture. Samsung continually works to ensure that employees and workers can operate in a safe and conducive work environment, contributing to the shared prosperity of society.”
Not only does it affirm distinct cultural imprints and promote competitive advantages, but the Vietnamese business community and workers also need to integrate global values, including ethical business standards, and promote global co-operation even more rapidly. This integration will help create products and services suitable for various markets, thereby contributing to promoting the creation of new values and being highly adaptable to the changes of the times.
MSF 2023 introduced, for the first time, a contemporary study on “Identifying Việt Nam’s business culture and implications for sustainable development and competitiveness”. The study received professional feedback from leading experts based on surveys and the application of international research approaches and results to Việt Nam’s conditions. The outcomes of the research are expected to bring new perspectives to managers and planners in promoting a business culture that is unique, modern, and highly adaptive. It is also foreseen as useful for businesses, trade unions, and workers in managing business goals through refining organisational culture and corporate culture.
The event attracted over 500 delegates, representing government agencies, ministries, branches, non-governmental organisations, social organisations, associations, businesses, research agencies, universities, trade unions, and interested experts who participated both online and in person.
MSF is an initiative of Samsung Vietnam, first organised in 2018. Through the forum, co-organisers aim to collaborate with government agencies, labour unions, social organisations, businesses, and individuals interested in promoting meaningful discussions and actions for the sustainable development and prosperity of Việt Nam.
Workers could be replaced by robots: experts
Hoàng Nam Tiến, the Vice Chairman of FPT University Council, believes that workers need to constantly learn in order to avoid being replaced by robots.
Tiến made his comments during a forum that was co-held on Thursday by FPT corporation and Navigos to discuss career development amid economic recession.
At the forum, Tiến pointed out that as technology develops, robots are becoming capable of replacing humans in various tasks. Without retraining, workers will be at a disadvantage in the job market.
He cited the example of engineers who previously needed to know a foreign language and a programming language. However, with the abundance of programming resources available on the Internet, programming has become more accessible.
Tiến predicts that in the near future, artificial intelligence (AI) could replace journalists in regular news writing, making investigation and research the remaining crucial tasks for journalists.
Data analysis was highlighted as a valuable skill, and Tiến said he recommended that his children pursue careers in the data analytics industry due to its potential for high salaries. He stresses the need for lifelong learning and acknowledges that industries such as management and international economics now require more in-depth knowledge.
Tiến personally engages in self-study and acknowledges the importance of selecting good teachers and learning from classmates, regardless of their age. He considers artificial intelligence to be a vast field of study.
Also, at the forum Ngô Thị Ngọc Lan, Regional Director at Navigos Search, suggested that workers can pursue self-study in various forms but need to be selective due to time constraints.
Lan emphasised the impact of the technological revolution on unemployment and advised individuals to identify their goals, choose reputable course providers, and balance their time and financial resources when pursuing self-training. Good courses are those that align with future societal needs and provide opportunities to learn from capable classmates.
Large trade potential with Macau
Vietnamese companies joined about 1,200 companies and organisations from 14 countries and territories at the 28th Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF) that is running in Macao (China) from October 19-22.
This was the first international trade–investment promotion event in Macau after the pandemic, which saw the participation of Vietnamese firms, showing Vietnamese businesses’ interest in expanding in the Macau market, Vũ Thị Thuý, head of the Việt Nam Trade Office in Hong Kong, Macau, said on Thursday.
This was the first international trade–investment promotion event in Macau after the pandemic, which saw the participation of Vietnamese firms, showing Vietnamese businesses’ interest in expanding in the Macau market, she said.
Thuý said that the potential for trade exchange between Việt Nam and Macau remained largely untapped, adding that bilateral trade increased impressively in recent years. The Macau market had high demand for Vietnamese food products such as rice, coffee, cashew nuts, fruits and consumer goods.
The bilateral trade would continue to increase, Thuý forecast, urging Macau to increase investments in Việt Nam, not only in the real estate sector but also in the recreation industry, food industry and cultural exchange.
The MIF was a good opportunity for Việt Nam to introduce and promote Vietnamese products to the international market, she said.
The MIF this year attracted the participation of 1,200 enterprises and organisations from 14 countries and territories to showcase the products and services in sectors including healthcare, high and new technology, modern finance, culture, tourism, trade, retail, food production, cross-border e-commerce, energy and environment protection.
Việt Nam was one among four ASEAN countries participating in this year’s MIF, besides Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Statistics showed that two-way trade between Việt Nam and Macau reached US$250.3 million in January- August, a rise of 330 per cent against the same period last year.
Of the figure, Việt Nam’s exports to Macau accounted for 95.6 per cent and rose 379.5 per cent.
Regarding investment, Macau spent $27.9 million to buy stakes in Việt Nam in the first nine months of this year.
From 1988 to date, Macau invested in 18 projects in Việt Nam with total registered capital of $193.5 million.
Vietnamese, foreign scholars discuss impact of pivot to Asia-Pacific on economic policies
Around 100 domestic and foreign scholars, legal advisors, law practitioners, and businesses have shared their thoughts on the pivot to Asia-Pacific and its impact on economic policies in trade, investment and the environment of the region at a two-day conference which opened in HCM City on Thursday.
The conference is co-organised by the HCM City University of Law and the University of Tours in France with the support of the French Embassy in Việt Nam.
According to Lê Trường Sơn, Rector of the University of Law and arbitrator of Việt Nam International Arbitration Centre, Asia-Pacific countries have a strategic position, the region has become the destination of a pivot strategy of major economies in recent decades.
He said in order to implement the strategy, a wide network of free trade and investment protection agreements had been signed among partners in the region, and between countries in the region and other economies in the world. This move raised many legal issues related to the signing and implementation of international trade and investment agreements.
Therefore, the conference aimed to be a dialogue channel between state management agencies, scholars, businesses, legal advisors of Việt Nam, ASEAN countries and other partners participating in trade activities, international business and investment.
It was expected to help Vietnamese policymakers and businesses clearly understand the new business situation in order to develop strategies and solutions for new challenges in the context of international economic integration.
During the two-day conference, more than 40 delegates from France, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India, China, Morocco, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Việt Nam discussed various issues such as legal, economic and commercial practices.
Other issues include the economic policies and laws of major economies in response to Asia-Pacific, and economic strategies of major Asia-Pacific economies.
The discussions were hosted by Christian Deblock, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Law, University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada; Yumiko Nakanishi, Professor of European Union Law at the Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University, Japan; and Rector Sơn.
Vietnamese, Algerian companies explore partnership opportunities
Vietnamese and Algerian businesses gained an insight into the African country’s market and bilateral economic and trade ties at a webinar on Thursday.
The event, held by the Trade Office of Vietnam in Algeria and the Algerian Forum for Import, Export, International Trade and Investment (AFIETI), attracted about 60 businesses, including over 20 Algerian companies.
Considering the seminar as a chance to elevate economic ties on par with the two peoples’ aspirations, AFIETI President Mohamed Hassani said that at the recent business forum held in Hà Nội within the framework of the 12th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee, the two sides strived to set up strategic partnerships in many key areas, including agriculture, food security, technology, renewable energy, infrastructure development, natural resource exploitation, education, and scientific research.
According to Trade Counsellor of Việt Nam in Algeria Hoàng Đức Nhuận bilateral relations have been developing unceasingly over the recent past as seen in many high-level mutual visits and cooperation in multiple areas. In particular, a number of economic agreements and documents have been signed, including a bilateral trade agreement and a memorandum of understanding on trade promotion cooperation, providing a favourable legal framework for the activities of Vietnamese and Algerian businesses.
In terms of trade, their export and import structures are complementary to each other. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, bilateral trade stood at only US$145 million in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts but reached $175 million during the first nine months of 2023, up 60 per cent year on year.
Việt Nam’s exports to Algeria include raw coffee, peppercorn, cashew nut, copra, fishery products, steel, and chemicals. Meanwhile, it imports pharmaceuticals, ores, wastepaper, and animal feed from the African nation.
In terms of investment, the joint venture among the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petrovietnam), Sonatrach of Algeria, and PTTEP of Thailand is a symbol of successful cooperation between the countries. It turned out the first oil flow in August 2015, and the current capacity is about 18,000 barrels per day, Nhuận noted.
However, economic partnerships remain modest compared to the countries’ potential and have yet to meet their leaders’ expectations, he added, pledging that the Trade Office will hold more activities to connect the two sides’ businesses.
At the webinar, the President of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACI) called on Vietnamese businesses to invest in production or processing in his country to capitalise on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Nabil Akriche, an advisor in charge of export and import at AFIETI, said that this forum was working to establish a communication channel between the two sides’ economic insiders, including manufacturers, importers, exporters and investors, to maximise their economic advantages and potential.
He highlighted Algeria’s high demand for coffee, tea, spices, nuts and grains, apparel, materials for the textile-garment industry, footwear, cosmetic materials, plant oil, automobile spare parts, mobile devices, and electronic equipment. He said Vietnamese products were highly valued for prices and quality by Algerian consumers.
Akriche also encouraged Vietnamese firms to import the key and strong commodities of Algeria, such as date palm fruit and related products, olive fruit and oil, poultry and agricultural products, ceramics, cement, and gypsum.
At the event, businesses of the two countries also engaged in talks to learn about each other’s demands and seek partnerships.
Bac Lieu aims for over 1 billion USD in shrimp exports this year
The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is striving for over 1 billion USD in shrimp export revenue this year, said Chairman of the People’s Committee of Bac Lieu Pham Van Thieu.
Together with rice and salt, shrimp is one of the three major export products of Bac Lieu, which contributes 95% to the locality’s total export revenue, Thieu said at a conference on October 20.
The official said that the province aims for 1.3 billion USD in shrimp exports in 2025 and 1.7 billion USD in 2030.
He noted that in the first nine months of 2023, Bac Lieu earned 676 million USD from exporting shrimps, mostly frozen shrimps, which represented a rise of 7.19% year on year.
Currently, the province has 48 aquatic processing facilities with a combined capacity of processing 294,000 tonnes per year.
Bac Lieu shrimps have been available in many countries, including choosy ones like the US, Japan, the EU, China and the Republic of Korea.
However, Thieu also pointed to a number of difficulties that Bac Lieu is facing in shrimp exports, including decrease in demands and increase of prices of input materials.
Director of the Trade Promotion Agency Vu Ba Phu said that last year, Vietnam earned a record shrimp export revenue of 4.3 billion USD, up 11% year on year.
However, recently, the shrimp sector has faced many difficulties, he said, adding that the agency is working to support businesses in developing production and expanding export markets.
Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), advised businesses to increase the supply of organic and sustainable products, and optimise advantages from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to promote exports.
Iron and steel exports drop in September in both volume and value
Vietnam exported 864,424 tonnes of steel and iron worth a total of US$611 million in September, marking sharp decreases of 12.5% in volume and 13.5% in value compared to August.
However, the figures still marked a sharp rise of 63.6% and 43.6% in volume and value, respectively, compared to last year’s corresponding period, reported the General Department of Customs.
Indeed, Vietnamese iron and steel products endured a sharp decrease when they are exported to markets such as the EU, the United States, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
By contrast, exports to India, Turkey and some other markets increased significantly in both volume and value.
Furthermore, Vietnam’s iron and steel exports to Singapore witnessed a huge leap in September with 63,535 tonnes worth over US$34.2 million, up 19.329% in volume and 5.542% in value.