20/11/2023   14:22 (GMT+07:00)
BOT investors must look to diversify funding: SBV
Investors of transport BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects must look to diversify their financing as domestic commercial banks have not been willing to loosen the purse strings, said the State Bank of Vietnam.
According to the central bank, commercial banks have long considered BOT projects as high-risk and often unwilling to jump in. In a report to the National Assembly (NA), the SBV said as of September 30, 22 financial institutes agreed to extend credit to transport BOT projects, whose total outstanding balance has reached over 92.3 trillion VND (3.8 billion USD).
Meanwhile, the bank said the ratio of non-performing loans has been a cause for concern with non-performing loans of the transport sector accounting for 3.83% of the total. As much as 26.52% of the loans were put on a special watch list by the bank.
The SBV said the main reason behind the high percentage of non-performing loans was a lack of financial capacity by most investors. In addition, many BOT projects have reported a decline in revenue in comparison to projected revenue in the initial business plan as they struggled with recent regulation changes in toll collection policy and disputes with local communities. 
As a result, investors have voiced their concerns over financial challenges and losses. A recent report by the Ministry of Transport said as many as eight BOT projects were having difficulties generating revenue, including the Western Bypass of Thanh Hoa City, the construction of the Binh Loi Railway Bridge, the construction of the Thai Nguyen-Cho Moi Road, and the upgrade of National Highway 3, the section of the Ho Chi Minh Road through the Central Highlands, and the renovation of National Highway 91 in southern Can Tho city.
According to the central bank, the total credit outstanding for the above-mentioned projects has reached over 15.85 trillion VND. 
Representatives from commercial banks said revenue generated by BOT projects have often failed to meet the banks’ expectation as many have been experiencing issues in collecting toll and reduced revenue from competition. 
“Without a source of stable revenue, investors cannot pay off principal and interest on time, which will put them on a no-loans list, denying them access to new capital. Meanwhile, banks must also set aside provision for the at-risk loans, heavily hindering their own business operations,” said a bank representative.
During an NA’s session, NA deputy Nguyen Dai Thang from northern Hung Yen province suggested investors start diversifying their funding sources, including looking into the international financial market. He also urged the central bank to provide additional support to investors in seeking out capital. 
Speaking to NA deputies, SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said as most domestic financial institutes prefer short-term loans, finding long-term loans in such large quantities, as often required by transportation projects, will likely be challenging. 
On the other hand, industry experts said some banks may have classified their non-performing loan prematurely as the life cycle for transportation BOT projects have just been extended from 20 years to 25 years. They said it’s unreasonable to judge projects by looking at their generated revenue in the first few years of operation.
HCM City exploits waterway tourism potential
Ho Chi Minh City has been holding various activities this year to promote waterway tourism, including the first-ever river festival and new waterway tours, aiming to better exploit its advantages with a dense river and canal network and rich riverside culture.
The first river festival in the city was held in August this year, providing tourists and residents with new inspiring experiences about the city’s culture throughout periods.
Director of the city’s Tourism Department Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said the festival also helped State management agencies to better identify the city’s potential for waterway tourism and step by step build its brand as a riverside city.  
At the recommendation of the city’s Department of Tourism, the municipal People’s Committee has issued a plan on developing waterway tourism products in the city in the 2023-2025 period.
Under the city’s Tourism Development Strategy until 2030, waterway tourism products are identified as one of tourism products that make a difference for the city, satisfying international and domestic tourists’ needs for exploring cultural values. 
The city has opened many waterway routes in the inner city, facilitating both passenger transportation and river tourism.
According to Nguyen Thi Hau, General Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Association of History, as a riverside city, Ho Chi Minh City needs to design its river banks to beautify the landscape and optimise the values of the Saigon river. In particular, Saigon Port should be converted into a tourist port to facilitate the development of waterway tourism, she said.
Businesses seek ways to adapt to rising electricity prices
After the latest power price hike announced by Vietnam Electricity (EVN), many businesses said they are seeking ways to adapt to the new situation.
Meanwhile, Le Nam Khanh, General Director of Vietnam Cement Corporation (VICEM), said input costs for cement production continued to increase as electricity prices rose by 3% – the first time in 2023 but at the time, coal prices remained high.
Khanh, however, said that the second electricity price hike would have an impact on the business performance of cement producers.
As it was inevitable that electricity costs would increase from this month, we had to maximise other production expenses to keep product prices unchanged, Vu from the Xuan Nguyen Group said.
“In the case of maximum savings but production cost still increase, we have to compensate for losses to maintain stable selling prices. Previously, we used to operate without making profits to retain customers and market size,” he said.
In the immediate future, Vu said Xuan Nguyen would try to keep traditional customers to ensure the operation of the production-processing chain that his firm had built for more than 20 years and to maintain jobs and income for workers and farmers in raw material areas.
Vu said he hoped that economic difficulties would ease and local consumers would relax their spending so that his firm could gradually adjust selling prices of products.
In addition to traditional export markets, the company would also actively seek new and niche ones while recalculating production costs to negotiate better selling prices in the future, he noted.
Vu from the Vit Viet Industry Production and Trading JSC agreed. He said that the immediate solution for his business was to accept loss compensation.
Vit Viet mainly supplied components to foreign direct investment enterprises in Vietnam which always considered and compared different manufacturers in terms of quality and price. So it would be easy for his firm to lose customers if it increased selling prices of products, especially when orders were scarce, Vu said.
According to Mai Hong Hai, Chairman of Vicem Hạ Long Cement JCS, electricity price adjustment was part of the roadmap approved by the Government, so not only cement but many other industries that used a lot of electricity would encounter difficulties.
Calling it an inevitable case, Hai said, cement producers had to curb production costs to overcome this difficult period. He added that top priority should be given to re-organising production to save electricity and cut off other expenses.
Earlier this month, EVN said the retail price of electricity increased by 4.5% to over 2,000 VND (8.2 US cents) per kWh starting from November 9, the second time they went up this year.
According to EVN, the price hike would increase household electricity bills by between 3,900 VND and 55,600 VND per month, while businesses would have to pay an additional 432,000 VND per month.
Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the business department of EVN, said the Government would continue to financially support those in difficult circumstances through cash, their values being 30kWh worth of power use a month.
The latest increase would add about 3.2 trillion VND this year to offset EVN’s financial burdens, said Nguyen Dinh Phuoc, EVN’s chief accountant.
The group would cut regular expenses by an additional 15% and minimise the use of lighting equipment in all units to help solve financial problems, Phuoc said.
High input prices were a major contributor to EVN’s financial loss, according to the Department of Electricity Regulatory under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Vietnam’s largest power company and sole distributor had incurred over 28.7 trillion VND in losses in the first eight months of 2023. Last year, EVN also reported a loss of 26.5 trillion VND.
The company said its inability to stem the bleeding was because it had been operating below cost as prices for raw materials and input had increased significantly since the beginning of the year.
Domestic market should be promoted to maintain economic growth: Expert
Amid difficulties in the world market, greater attention should be paid to promoting the domestic market, one of the “healthy” pillars at present of the economy, to boost growth, according to Prof. Dr. Bui Quang Tuan, Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics. 
The expert noted that in 2023, Vietnam has encountered headwinds coming from the unfavourable circumstances both inside and outside the country, coupled with difficulties of an open economy depending on export.
However, achievements that the country gained in the first 10 months of this year have reflected the proper response of the Government as well as efforts and determination of the whole economy. 
Pr. Dr. Tuan noted that in the January-October period, Vietnam posted a trade surplus of 24.6 billion USD. The country welcomed 10 million visitors in the period, 4.2 times higher than that in the same period last year, exceeding the target for the whole year. At the same time, the disbursement of public investment capital reached 65% of the plan, a 23% surge year on year. Total foreign direct investment (FDI) that the country attracted in the period hit 33.3 billion USD, the highest level since 2019.
Particularly, the average inflation in the first 10 months of this year rose 3.2%, much lower than the target of 4.5%, he said.
However, the expert was cautious when forecasting the growth target, suggesting that a goal of 5 – 5.5% is reasonable.
Prof. Dr. Tuan underlined that as it is impossible to depend on the outside for economic recovery, the country should rely more on the domestic market. Healthy pillars should be promoted, while backup plans should be made for weaker ones, he said.  
Tuan asserted that currently, export is a weak pillar, while domestic consumption has great potential to lead the market in the year-end period.
He pointed out that total retail sales of goods in the first 10 months of this year increased sharply, showing the recovery of consumers’ confidence. At the same time, investment from non-State sector has considerably recovered, while FDI attraction has also gained speed and public investment capital disbursement has improved in both terms of quality and quantity.
In the remaining two months of this year that leads to the new year holiday, the domestic demand is likely to surge, providing opportunities for the country’s economy to make breakthroughs, the expert held.
Forecasting the economic outlook in 2024, Tuan said that it is difficult to give a particular figure. Instead, more attention should be paid to guiding policies to create a more foundation for the future, which are policies in promoting digital economy, green economy and sustainable development, he said, stressing that the sooner these orientations are made public, the better businesses can adjust their plan for the rest of the year and also for longer term.
Only when promoting and restoring internal strength will the economy quickly overcome the current difficult and challenging period, said Tuan. By that way, businesses can consolidate and improve their competitiveness to develop faster and stronger in the future, the expert held.
Hanoi to host Vietnam export promotion forum 2023
The Vietnam Export Promotion Forum 2023 with the theme of “green export promotion” will be held in Hanoi on November 24, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has announced.
The event is expected to gather 300 experts, enterprises and international organisations in Vietnam, aiming to create a channel for dialogue and consultation with many stakeholders to shape, identify difficult problems and opportunities in green trade development, and propose solutions and support policies for green trade.
It is also an opportunity to share practical experiences of pioneering businesses in green production and sustainable export development to meet global green consumption trends.
According to the MoIT, green growth and circular economy are becoming a global trend, drastically practiced in the world’s most developed economies as a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, aiming for a long-term carbon neutral economy.
The ministry said that responsible business and environmental protection are mandatory requirements for businesses producing exports as these factors affect the global value chain of the product. Therefore, the ministry has been promoting information to support businesses in meeting standards and criteria for sustainable development and green growth.
Experts acknowledged that Vietnam is one of the countries with strong commitments to environment at the Climate Change Summit (COP26), including a commitment to pioneer in energy transformation, along with green and digital transformation.
Statistics of the MoIT revealed that import-export is a bright spot of Vietnam’s economy with a total import export turnover reaching 732.5 billion USD in 2022.
In the first 10 months of 2023, the country’s total import-export turnover achieved 558 billion USD, a decrease of 9.6% year on year. Besides a fall in market demand, many foreign markets such as the US,  the UK and the EU have raised standards for imports as an attempt to boost green transition and emission neutralisation./.
Vietnam’s largest furniture fair to be held in three locations next year
Hawa Expo 2024, the largest export furniture fair in Vietnam, is set to take place in March next year in three different locations.
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (Hawa) and head of the organizing committee, said that the event is intended to bring together all domestic and foreign-invested furniture exporting and trading firms.
With over 700 exhibitors, including 50% new exhibitors and manufacturers in Vietnam, visitors will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of exhibitions and connect with potential business partners.
According to Khanh, Hawa Expo 2024 is the first trade fair in Southeast Asia to be held simultaneously in three locations, – Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC), White Palace Pham Van Dong in Thu Duc City, and WTC Binh Duong New City in Binh Duong Province.
Specifically, SECC is a venue that represents the entire industrial supply chain power, bringing together major brands in the industry, ranging from furniture manufacturing, wood materials to transportation units.
At the White Palace, a new and unique experience awaits visitors in the realm of Vietnamese-designed furniture. It is expected to showcase Vietnam and ASEAN design-innovative power.
The WTC in Binh Duong is a space strategically oriented to depict the comprehensive landscape of Vietnam’s highly competitive manufacturing and processing sector.
At the pre-show event on November 17, Hawa signed a strategic collaboration deal with Saigontourist Group. Accordingly, visitors to HawaExpo 2024 will receive special offers on accommodation services, airport transfers, and dining services.
Bắc Ninh’s new FDI projects increase more than three-fold
By October 20, the northern province of Bắc Ninh granted licences to 308 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects this year, worth more than US$908 million. 
The number of projects increased 3.14 times compared to that recorded in the same period last year, while the amount of capital rose 5.1 times year-on-year.
Meanwhile, 127 projects were given permission for additional capital totalling $471.4 million.
Cumulatively, the province now has 2,075 valid FDI projects with a total registered investment capital of more than $24.6 billion.
The above-mentioned result is attributable to the fact that Bắc Ninh has worked to improve the effectiveness of promotion activities and continues to accompany businesses. The province has promoted external relations with many countries, territories and localities to enhance its reputation.
In particular, Bắc Ninh has given special attention to removing difficulties for production and business of local enterprises and people by establishing a “special working group” and five expert groups to resolve problems and effectively support businesses, cooperatives and business households in the locality.
The province promotes administrative reform and improves the investment environment in areas of its strengths, while giving priority to attracting investment in green and sustainable industrial development.
Also in the reviewed period, Bắc Ninh granted licences for 19 domestic investment projects with total registered capital of VNĐ4.44 trillion ($181.7 million). It also allowed 79 operating projects to raise their capital by VNĐ250.4 billion.
The number of new enterprises established in the province so far this year is 2,897, up 33.8 per cent, with a registered capital of VNĐ27.7 trillion.
The province has 17,919 operating enterprises with a total registered capital of nearly VNĐ349.49 trillion. 
Forex eases thanks to better economic outlook, Fed’s unchanged rates
The USD/VNĐ exchange rate has decreased quite rapidly in recent weeks thanks to better domestic economic growth prospects in the fourth quarter of 2023 and decreasing pressure from the international market following the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s unchanged rate decision.
Compared to early this month, the dollar price has currently decreased by VNĐ280, equivalent to a decrease of 1.1 per cent.
The reference exchange rate between the Vietnamese đồng and the US dollar announced by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) at the last trading session of last week decreased by VNĐ50 compared to the beginning of the week.
The SBV last Friday listed the reference rate at VNĐ24,014 per dollar. With a margin of +/- 5 per cent being applied, the exchange rate cap that commercial banks can quote was VNĐ25,214 per dollar, and the floor exchange rate was VNĐ22,812 per dollar.
BIDV listed the rate at VNĐ24,205 and VNĐ24,505 per dollar for buying and selling. All week, the greenback at the bank dropped by VNĐ165 per dollar for buying and VNĐ130 per dollar for selling.
The greenback price listed by Vietcombank was VNĐ24,170 and VNĐ24,540 per dollar for buying and selling. Last week, the price of the dollar at this bank decreased by VNĐ130 for both buying and selling.
According to analysts from ACB Securities Company, in the short term, there are no significant risks for the foreign exchange rate from the domestic economy. The rate and dollar liquidity are reaching a new equilibrium point because domestic economic growth in Q4 2023 is expected to be better than that in Q3 2023, and pressure from the international market is easing in the wake of the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s decision to maintain its policy interest rate for two consecutive months. Besides, the dollar index (DXY) is also cooling down and international trade is showing signs of bottoming out.
In addition, Asian government bond yields also decreased sharply, thereby reducing pressure on foreign exchange rates. Yields on Vietnamese Government 10-year bonds decreased from 3.2 per cent per year near the end of October 2023 to less than 2.8 per cent per year currently.
In recent days, the price of the greenback has continuously gone down. It is in complete contrast to last year’s developments when the dollar increased at a high level. The current dollar price is nearly VNĐ400 lower than the same period last year, equivalent to about 1.6 per cent.
Along with that, in recent days, the SBV has temporarily ceased withdrawing money on the open market operation (OMO). The SBV’s cash withdrawal is aimed at avoiding the amount of cheap money to speculate in the foreign currency market.
However, experts forecast pressure on the exchange rate until the end of this year will still remain.
Dr. Nguyễn Hữu Huân, a lecturer at HCM City Economics University, said Việt Nam’s foreign exchange rate is not only affected by the Fed’s interest rate decision but also depends on many other factors.
According to Huân, the SBV is also trying to reduce the interest rate gap between the đồng and the dollar through issuing bills to withdraw money out of the banking system. The measure has also been effective, but the interest rate gap still remains.
Besides, the need for the greenback to import a lot of goods at the end of the year to serve production and business during holidays, including Lunar New Year, will also put pressure on the exchange rate, he said. 
Remittance flows forecast to increase in year-end months: experts
Remittances to Việt Nam have been on the rise since the outset of 2023, and will continue to increase in the remaining months of the year, especially ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tết holidays), according to experts.
Deputy Director of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s HCM City Branch Nguyễn Đức Lệnh said as of the end of September, the southern economic hub had received more than US$6.68 billion in remittances, a year-on-year surge of 40 per cent and equivalent to 101.3 per cent of last year’s figure.
The robust growth of remittance inflows has backed the monetary and foreign exchange markets amidst fluctuation of strong currencies and high inflation rates in several countries, he stressed.
Remittances from Asia accounted for the lion’s share, making up 53.1 per cent of the total, he said, elaborating that the growth can be attributed to the economic and political stability of the region, as well as expanding international economic relations and labour cooperation.
Lệnh said that with a view to attracting more remittances in the year-end months, credit institutions should work to improve their service quality, while banks should pay attention to popularising remittance transfer and receipt services, as well as local socio-economic development and business climate among Vietnamese expats.
Dr. Nguyễn Trí Hiếu, a finance-banking expert, said that amidst global headwinds, HCM City got an impressive amount of remittance during the first nine months of the year.
He quoted statistics from the SBV’s HCM City Branch as saying the city has been a leading locality in remittance inflows in the past five years, with the amount in 2018 accounting for 44.1 per cent of the country’s total, 48 per cent in 2019, 53.8 per cent in 2020, 52.8 per cent in 2021, and 55.03 per cent in 2022.
Việt Nam is ranked among the world’s top 10 countries in terms of remittances, according to the World Bank.
Around 5.3 million Vietnamese people reside in 130 countries and territories worldwide, with two million having connections to or originating from the city.
Remittances to Việt Nam exceed $10 billion each year. Last year, remittances to the country saw an increase of nearly 5 per cent, amounting to $19 billion. 
HCM City calls for US investment in sustainable economy, technology
Officials of HCM City had a meeting with US enterprises in San Francisco City on November 16 (local time) to call for investment in green growth and high technology in the southern economic hub of Việt Nam.
The event, held within the framework of Vietnamese President Võ Văn Thưởng’s trip to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, attracted nearly 30 major US enterprises operating in such fields as energy, infrastructure, information technology, finance, and innovation.
Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Phan Văn Mãi stressed that his city was aware of its pioneering role in implementing cooperation activities, with a focus on developing high technology, the semiconductor industry, the digital economy, and the green economy.
He informed US firms about HCM City’s green growth and sustainable development strategy, including a green growth strategic framework until 2030 with a vision to 2050 that puts local people and businesses at the centre of transition.
David Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Energy Capital Vietnam, which was founded in 2017 by a group of experienced investors and experts in energy and infrastructure, pledged that his company would invest in innovation and green energy in the time ahead.
Patrick Sweeney, Vice President at Business Executives for National Security (BENS), said many member enterprises of BENS wished to invest in the fields of technology, aerospace, defence, finance, healthcare, and energy in HCM City.
At an investment promotion conference held by the HCM City delegation later on November 16, US Ambassador to Việt Nam Marc Knapper highlighted the favourable conditions in HCM City’s investment climate and called on US enterprises to invest more strongly in the city.
Four memoranda of understanding (MoU) and two letters of intent were signed and handed over between enterprises at the event to step up green growth and high technology projects. 
Quảng Ninh lures $80 million investment from Japan
The northern province of Quảng Ninh on Friday granted licences to some Japan-invested projects capitalised at over US$80 million.
The provincial People’s Committee handed over investment licences to Japanese investors during the Quảng Ninh-Japan Investment Promotion Conference held the same day in the locality.
These projects included Castem Vietnam precision mechanical manufacturing factory, Parts Seiko Việt Nam plant, Tamagawa Vietnam factory and Fujix Vietnam industrial product manufacturing factory.
In his speech at the event, acting chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Cao Tường Huy said his province had taken full advantage of the competitive edge brought by its sufficient and developed infrastructure.
He said that the combination of Quảng Ninh’s solid potential and the strength and experience of Japanese investors had created a solid foundation for success.
The provincial leader also said that Quảng Ninh was willing to create the most favourable conditions for investors in areas where the province had competitive advantages and potentials such as tourism, modern integrated services, processing industry, manufacturing, supporting industries and high-tech industries.
Other sectors were smart technology, marine, logistics, seaports and seaport services, ecological agriculture and renewable energy, he said.
The conference was co-organised by Quảng Ninh Province, Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) as part of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Japan and the 60th anniversary of Quảng Ninh Province.
Themed “Contributing to the sustainable development of Việt Nam-Japan”, the event aimed to boost investment cooperation between Quảng Ninh and Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture.
During the conference, Quảng Ninh also introduced its business investment environment and cooperation opportunities in investment, trade and tourism to businesses from Hokkaido prefecture.
The locality also heard comments from Japanese delegates so that it could perfect investment policies to become an attractive destination for Japanese investors, including those from Hokkaido prefecture.
To date, Quảng Ninh has attracted 173 foreign-invested projects, worth nearly $13.92 billion. Japan is now the province’s third largest foreign investor with 12 projects valued at $2.39 billion, accounting for 17.21 per cent of the total investment capital registered in the locality.
In terms of trade, Japan is the second largest importer of Quảng Ninh.
Local authorities said that the presence of leading corporations from Japan in the province had not only brought capital but also provided opportunities for cooperation and shared technology and management experience, contributing to improving the province’s production and service capacities.
Earlier on Thursday, a flight departing from Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture landed at Vân Đồn International Airport in Quảng Ninh, marking the first direct flight between the destinations.
The flight carried 274 passengers, including a delegation of Hokkaido prefecture led by its Governor Suzuki Naomichi and representatives from Japanese enterprises.
Representatives from Vân Đồn airport wished that authorities in Hokkaido and Quảng Ninh would support airlines to launch direct flights connecting the two localities. —
Bắc Ninh leads the country’s exports for the second consecutive month
The northern province of Bắc Ninh’s export turnover reached nearly US$4.3 billion last month, an increase of more than $100 million compared to September.
This marked the second consecutive month that the province ranked first in the country in export turnover, surpassing HCM City.
HCM City’s export turnover reached $3.7 billion last month, and $3.4 billion in September.
However, HCM City still leads the country in export turnover for the first 10 months of 2023, reaching nearly $35 billion, $2 billion higher than Bắc Ninh.
In addition to these two key localities, there were six provinces and cities with export turnover of $1 billion or more last month, Bắc Giang, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, Hà Nội, Hải Phòng and Thái Nguyên.
In the Top 10 localities contributing the largest export turnover last year, HCM City led with a turnover of $47.5 billion, followed by Bắc Ninh with $45 billion, Bình Dương, Thái Nguyên, Hải Phòng, Đồng Nai, Bắc Giang, Hà Nội, Phú Thọ, Hải Dương.
The 10-month average export price of some processed industrial or energy products decreased significantly compared to the same period last year, such as crude oil down 20.6 per cent, fertiliser down 35.1 per cent, plastic materials down 22.6 per cent, iron and steel down 23.2 per cent.
The country’s total import-export turnover reached $558 billion in the first 10 months of this year, a year-on-year decrease of 9.6 per cent.
Of which, exports reached $291.3 billion, down 7.1 per cent, imports reached $266.67 billion, down 12.3 per cent. 
Fishery industry sees potential export recovery by year end
Việt Nam’s seafood industry expects to see more export recovery through the end of this year as reduction of export slows down and there are advantages in key markets like the US.
Nguyễn Hoài Nam, deputy general secretary of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said that the fishery industry is gradually showing positive performance as the decrease in export turnover in September and October has slowed down compared to the previous months.
According to the General Statistics Office, in September and October 2023, Việt Nam’s seafood exports reached US$814 million and $850 million, down 4.9 per cent and 5.9 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
Total seafood export turnover decreased year on year by 20.5 per cent to $7.45 billion in the first ten months of the year, and 22.6 per cent to $6.6 billion in the first nine months. This value in the first 6-7 months of 2023 decreased by 30-40 per cent.
Nam said that Việt Nam’s main seafood export products, including shrimp, pangasius and tuna, all recorded less optimism in business in the first months of 2023.
The export of main products dropped because major markets such as CPTPP, US, Europe and China reduced demand. In the first two quarters of 2023, seafood export turnover to these markets decreased strongly by 30-45 per cent, the US market even decreased by up to 51 per cent.
However, in the US, a market accounting for a quarter of the world’s seafood demand, the seafood inventory of importers and distributors has been reducing gradually in the second half of this year. Along with that, the consumer confidence index of the American people continues to improve.
Along with the above factors, year-end holidays Christmas and New Year, are expected to stimulate the market’s import demand. Export orders for Việt Nam as well as other markets improved from the third quarter, said Đỗ Ngọc Hùng, Việt Nam’s Commercial Counsellor in the US.
On the other hand, in 2022, seafood only accounted for about 6 per cent of the US food structure, but now the consumption of this item is increasing because Americans are shifting to products that are beneficial to health.
Besides that, according to Hùng, on August 31, the US Department of Commerce issued the preliminary results of the 19th anti-dumping duty administrative review (POR19) by DOC on Việt Nam’s frozen tra fish fillets exported to the US for the period of August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022. As a result, the tariffs imposed on Vietnamese pangasius are at US$0-0.14 per kilo.
Việt Nam’s tra fish production and the related food safety and hygiene control system have also received positive assessment from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service.
These factors have created positive momentum for pangasius exports to the US. Currently, Việt Nam’s frozen pangasius fillets account for about 20 per cent of total white meat fish imports into the US.
Experts predict that the domestic fishery industry will probably see a recovery in exports in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 2024 with many advantages in exporting seafood products to the US market.
However, Việt Nam still faces many challenges as the US is an attractive market.
One of them is that the US still imposes anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese frozen shrimp exported to the US since 2005.
Việt Nam still has many difficulties in building, protecting and exploiting brands of Vietnamese seafood products.
Excluding some large enterprises, other seafood enterprises are only distributing through intermediary and retail channels of Asian importers. They have not yet directly entered the US distribution system.
Long geographical distance and high transportation costs also make Việt Nam’s seafood less competitive than rivals such as Ecuador and India.
Therefore, Hùng said that the businesses should promote exports of potential products such as squid and octopus, and sales on e-commerce channels. They should continue to increase deeply processed products and diversify products.
Meanwhile, for the EU market, Việt Nam’s Commercial Counsellor in Belgium and the EU Trần Ngọc Quân said that EU seafood demand is expected to recover in the last months of 2023.
With the gradual recovery of markets, VASEP forecasts that seafood exports in the fourth quarter could reach about $2.4 billion, equivalent to the same period last year, bringing the total seafood export turnover for 2023 to $9 billion, 17 per cent lower than in 2022. 
An Giang Province promotes OCOP product development
The Trade and Investment Promotion Center of An Giang Province coordinated with the People’s Committee of Long Xuyên City and relevant departments to open the “OCOP product event and An Giang Province specialties for consumers”.
The four-day event from November 16-19 aims to create conditions to support businesses in boosting production and consuming products, developing business and promoting products and brands to consumers inside and outside the province.
At the same time, the event will introduce the image and characteristics of An Giang through its unique culinary culture, traditional dishes and folk cakes to residents and tourists.
There are 76 booths of businesses, production facilities, cooperatives, and traditional craft villages of An Giang Province divided into six zones including area featuring Provincial OCOP, an area for handicrafts and agricultural specialties, a food court promoting record-setting dishes, space to display OCOP products, craft village products and local agricultural products.
Director of the provincial Trade and Investment Promotion Center Lê Trung Hiếu said: “The event of OCOP products and specialties of An Giang Province is held with the purpose of helping businesses to restore production, develop business and promote OCOP products. Through this event, we want to survey customer tastes to support businesses and OCOP product owners to perfect and develop products that are competitive in the market.”
“We prioritise inviting establishments and businesses with OCOP products, specialty products, startup products, craft village products, handicrafts, souvenirs, tourism products and services to participate. For culinary businesses, unique dishes will be displayed, served, and recognised by organisations to create highlights for diners when attending the event. Along with that, it will create conditions for visitors to experience actual products, and enjoy promotions and gifts offered by businesses and product owners to express their gratitude to customers,” Hiếu said.
During this event, the organizing committee will also carry out activities such as awarding certificates of OCOP products and records, trade connection activities between businesses, and street performances to make an impression on event visitors.
An Giang Province is increasingly focusing on the national “One Commune-One Product” programme in combination with tourism to improve rural incomes.
After more than four years of implementing the programme, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province has 92 OCOP products rated between three and five stars, including food and beverages and handicrafts.
It has five co-operatives, one co-operative group, 21 enterprises, and 35 establishments that produce them.
OCOP has helped enhance the value of products and helped producers increase revenue, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nguyễn Sĩ Lâm, director of the department, said the programme has helped the agriculture sector switch from small scale production to developing value chains for agricultural products.
The province has also developed OCOP products in combination with developing rural tourism to improve the lives of people, preserve local cultures and protect the environment.
An Giang aims to develop each OCOP product as a cultural messenger of its respective locality and representative of local traditions and customs, he said.
The products fully exploit their cultural values to attract tourists under the province’s strategy of developing rural community tourism together with building new-style rural areas, he said.
The province has developed tours to places that produce OCOP products such as the brocade weaving village of the Chăm ethnic people in Tân Châu Town, iron products and milk rice paper making villages in Phú Tân District, a carpentry village in Chợ Mới District, and an incense making village in Long Xuyên City.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a pilot model for OCOP community tourism in three communes in Chợ Mới District’s Cù Lao Giêng riverine island.
The province’s departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Culture, Sports and Tourism will develop rural tourism models comprising of farms and OCOP products.
The province will implement trade promotion activities to boost the sales of OCOP products related to rural tourism.
An Giang has beautiful landscapes, including mountains, festivals and historical and cultural sites that attract millions of tourists every year.
The national new-style rural area programme has improved the look of the province’s rural areas and the lives of people there.
The province targets having 70 new OCOP products by the end of this year and 170 more by 2025, with priority for products related to rural tourism. 
Three Vietnamese resorts win Destination Deluxe Awards 2023
A total of three local high-end resorts based in Da Nang and Nha Trang city have been awarded the Destination Deluxe Awards 2023.
Specifically, the Destination Deluxe Award 2023 was presented to the InterContinental Danang Sun Penisula Resort in the central city of Da Nang, TIA Wellness Resort in Da Nang, and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in the southcentral province of Khanh Hoa.
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort clinched the “Holistic Treatment of the Year” category for its impressive experience offered at Mi Sol Spa.
This resort is located on Son Tra peninsula, with the site surpassing the spas at The Datai Langkawi resort in Langkawi of Malaysia and Crown Spa Sydney of Crown Towers Sydney in Australia.
Meanwhile, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay Resort in Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa clinched the “Eco-friendly hotel of the year” title, duly surpassing two other competitors from Cambodia and the United States.
Most notably, TIA Wellness Resort in Da Nang came in second place with the “Wellness Program of the Year” title, behind Italy’s The Heart Retreat Preidhof.
This comes following the central city being highly appreciated by international media. The city was recently named among the 11 best places to visit in Asia in 2024 by the world-renowned travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller
The Destination Deluxe Awards aims to honour the leaders and pioneers in wellness and travel, with the prestigious awards celebrating the hotels, spas, treatments, skincare and wellness brands that drive the remarkable luxury standard of these industries.
The Destination Deluxe Awards span a total of 25 categories and are evaluated by a group of 20 judges, all of whom are well-respected industry experts, as well as 4,000 votes being cast by visitors. 
Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes