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Samson: Việt Nam climbs three spots in global soft power rankings

1st March, 2021

Việt Nam has climbed three spots to rank 47th out of 105 countries in Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index Report 2021.

Việt Nam was the only country among the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to improve its ranking this year. Its overall score was 33.8 out of 100 points, 2.5 points higher than last year, putting it ahead of the Philippines (53rd), Cambodia (89th) and Myanmar (90th). Among other ASEAN countries, Singapore was 20th, Thailand 33rd, Malaysia 39th, and Indonesia 45th.

According to Brand Finance, the improvement was largely due to the fact that Việt Nam has managed the COVID-19 pandemic extremely well. “ViệtNam was spared a year of lockdowns and besieged hospitals, and has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the world,” the report said. “Not only is the response to the pandemic impressive – given its shared border with China – but Việt Nam also experienced one of the highest economic growth rates globally in 2020 – one of a handful of countries with positive growth in 2020.”

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved the Việt Nam National Brand Programme from 2020 to 2030, which aims to increase the value and ranking of the national brand while targeting more than 1,000 products to become strong national brands. The brands from the country are managed through efforts and initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Department of Trade Promotion (Vietrade), under their ‘Việt Nam Value’ programme.

At a national level, Việt Nam has established diplomatic relations with 187 out of 193 member states of the United Nations and completed the process of negotiating and signing new-generation free trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), making the country an important factor in regional and intraregional economic links. At the same time, Vietrade and the MoIT have supported Vietnamese enterprises to improve their capacity through consulting business development, establishing information systems and updating branding knowledge.

All these initiatives and efforts have helped increase the awareness of the public, international consumers, and customers about the programme and Việt Nam Value products through various domestic and international media channels. The MoIT also focuses on promoting geographical indications and collective marks of Việt Nam in foreign markets and helping improve the competitiveness of businesses based on quality reputation, environment-friendly production, and professionalism. The Brand Finance Global Soft Power Index is a research study on the perceptions of 100 nation brands from around the world. It surveys the public as well as specialist audiences, with responses gathered from more than 75,000 people across some 100 countries.   LINK

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Samson:  Việt Nam racks up $1.29 billion in trade surplus in two months

2nd March, 2021

Việt Nam’s trade balance posted positive US$1.29 billion in the first two months of the year, the General Department of Customs has said.

The country’s trade turnover during January-February topped some $95.81 billion, a year-on-year surge of 25.4 per cent. Of the total, exports amounted to $48.55 billion, a yearly hike of 23.2 per cent, while imports were estimated at $47.26 billion, or 25.9 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Foreign-invested companies accounted for 76.4 per cent, or $37.07 billion, of Viet Nam’s total export turnover. Meanwhile, the domestic sector shipped abroad $11.48 billion worth of products.

There were nine commodities joining the billion-USD export club, including telephones and parts ($9.3 billion, up 22.8 per cent year-on-year); electronics, computers and parts ($6.9 billion, up 27.3 per cent); equipment, machines and parts ($5.5 billion, up 72.6 per cent); footwear ($3.2 billion, up 15.4 per cent); and wood and wooden products ($2.4 billion, up 51 per cent). They made up 73 per cent of the country’s export turnover.

Viet Nam also saw strong surge in shipments of several agricultural products, such as fruits and vegetables ($610 million, rising 14.6 per cent), rubber ($516 million, increasing 109.7 per cent), cashew ($442 million, up 21.5 per cent), and cassava ($256 million, up 78.2 per cent).

The US was Viet Nam’s biggest importer as it splashed out $14.2 billion on Vietnamese products, or 38.2 per cent higher than the amount it spent the same time last year. China came second with $8.5 billion, followed by the EU with $6.3 billion, ASEAN $4.2 billion, South Korea $3.4 billion, and Japan $3.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the country spent big ($47.26 billion) on imports, with the foreign-invested sector purchasing $31.64 billion worth of products from abroad for production, up 31.4 per cent, while that of the domestic sector surged 16 per cent to $15.62 billion.

In the two-month period, China was the largest exporter of Viet Nam, with revenue estimated at $17.3 billion, up 85.7 per cent year-on-year, followed by South Korea with $8.4 billion, ASEAN $5.6 billion, Japan $3.1 billion, the EU $2.3 billion, and the US $2.1 billion.

In a bid to support local firms in promoting production and exports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that it will work to capitalise on opportunities from the signed free trade agreements to seek measures for market development. Additionally, it will keep a close watch on the global market to identify key export products, while paying due heed to penning measures for market development.

LINK

Billuke:  All this Viet Nam news….Not bad for a country whose currency rate is 0.000043360772061481 US Dollars….IMO

Samson:  Switzerland-Việt Nam business group debuts

2nd March, 2021

The Vietnamese Embassy in Switzerland recently held a ceremony to launch the non-profit Switzerland-Vietnam business group (SVBG), which aims to promote exchanges and investment and trade co-operation between enterprises of the two nations.

Based in Lausanne, the SVBG, the first of its kind founded by Vietnamese expatriates in Switzerland, will focus on offering trade information via workshops, forums, and internal bulletins; providing legal consultations and guidance; developing links for technological transfers and improvement; and introducing quality human resources. It will also make recommendations for a more favourable business climate to agencies of both nations while organising socio-cultural activities serving its goals.

Speaking at the debut ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador Lê Linh Lan said the group came into being at a special time as Việt Nam has placed the COVID-19 pandemic under control and prepared the best conditions possible to welcome Swiss investors. Lan said the would embassy support the operation of the SVBG.

According to the diplomat, Switzerland is the sixth-largest European investor in Việt Nam, with its investment totalling US$2 billion, mostly in manufacturing – processing and electricity. Currently, close to 100 Swiss firms are operating in Việt Nam.

Meanwhile, Việt Nam is the fourth-biggest trade partner of Switzerland in ASEAN, with bilateral trade exceeding $3.6 billion in 2019. Since 2012, Việt Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – began negotiations for a trade deal which is expected to be signed this year.   LINK

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Samson:  Việt Nam is an attractive destination for Swiss investors

4th March, 2021

Việt Nam is a highly attractive destination for investment because of its unique position to capitalise on the global chain shift, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Lê Linh Lan. Lan told the webinar “Market Focus Việt Nam” on Tuesday: “In the pandemic, Việt Nam’s economy has proved resilient with a positive growth of 2.91 per cent in 2020 while the rest of the world plunged into a deep recession.”

The webinar was organised by Swiss Việt Namese Business Gateway (SVBG) and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG) was also the first official launch of SVBG with Swiss partners and Việt Namese representatives. Lan mentioned the Government’s successful control of the pandemic and effective measures for economic recovery and international economic integration last year contributed to the attraction.

Last year, Việt Nam completed the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), concluded bilateral FTA negotiations with the UK (UKVFTA), and agreed to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Lan said: “With new-generation FTAs such as CPTPP, EVFTA, RCEP, Việt Nam has become one of the region’s fastest-growing and internationally engaged economies, at the centre of a network of 17 FTAs and economic and trade cooperation frameworks with the world’s leading economic hubs.”

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s recent report, Việt Nam has emerged as an attractive foreign direct investment destination in Asia ahead of China and India. The report suggests factors that make Việt Nam more attractive destinations are the incentives for international firms for setting up units to manufacture hi-tech products, the pool of low-cost workers, and the proliferation of free trade agreements, said Lan. She added: “The US-China trade war and the pandemic have accelerated the shift of the global value chain when European and American companies are relocating investment locations or repatriate manufacturing factories to overcome the over-dependence on a single country in the global supply chain system. “As Việt Nam has been able to effectively contain the pandemic and is among the first countries to reopen the economy, Việt Nam is better positioned to attract this capital flow trend. The Government acted quickly to embrace this shift in the global supply chain, decided to establish a high-level special working group, charged with the mission of investment promotion inViệt Nam.”

Lan recognised innovation and digitalisation as the last highlights of Việt Nam’s economy, saying the development of the digital economy for the country’s robust and sustainable development was another attraction to investors. As Việt Nam targeted its digital economy to contribute 30 per cent of the GDP, related businesses have great markets serving both the Government and people in the new era.

Lan said: “Switzerland is an important trade, investment and economic cooperation partner of Việt Nam with strong grown bilateral economic and a trade volume reaching US$3.6 billion in 2019.” Lan added there are more than 100 Swiss companies including big names such as Nestle, ABB, Novartis, Roche, Holcim and Schindler. These firms have been doing successful business in Việt Nam and with the total investment of around 2 billion Swiss francs, Switzerland was now the sixth biggest European investor inViệt Nam. She considered Swiss firms with comparative advantages and strengths in technology, innovation, capital and expertise especially in finance, pharmaceutical, food manufacturing would look more to Việt Nam as a safe and attractive destination for doing business in the post-COVID-19 world of tremendous change and globe supply shift. Lan said: “They will have large room to grow.”

The ambassador hoped the FTA negotiations between Việt Nam and Switzerland will be completed this year when the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations. With the same point of view, Trade Counselor Nguyễn Đức Thương said that the favourable environment has created very good conditions for foreign investors in Việt Nam. Thương added that Việt Nam is also strong in demographics when it is going through a period of “golden population structure”. 

Việt Namese senior leaders are also very interested in creating favourable conditions for foreign investors in terms of the law. The National Assembly of Việt Nam passed a new Law on Investment on June 17, 2020, effective from January 1, 2021, with many new investment incentives.  Thương said even during the pandemic, investment in Việt Nam last year was still very strong, however, he said the top FDI partners were Asian countries of Korea, Japan, and Singapore, Switzerland was currently ranked 19th.  Mentioning Việt Nam as a preferred place to regulate the world’s production chain as the economy of nearly 100 million people has enjoyed political stability in countries and free trade treatment from all major economies of the world, Thương said energy and technology were among top investment fields in Việt Nam.

Attending the webinar, Will Mackereth, Supply Chain director of Nestlé Vietnam said understanding the nutritional deficiencies namely in zinc, iron, iodine, and Vitamin A in the country, Nestlé Vietnam has been providing main products like MILO, Maggi, Nescafé fortified with Vitamins and minerals to millions the local consumers and children. Mentioning Việt Nam as a hub for added-value production, export and distribution, Nestle’s representative said: “ We have a lot of optimism to continue to invest in Việt Nam.”

SVBG the first of its kind founded by Việt Namese expatriates in Switzerland, will focus on offering trade information via workshops, forums, and internal bulletins; providing legal consultations and guidance; developing links for technological transfers and improvement; and introducing quality human resources. It will also make recommendations for more favourable business climate to competent agencies of both nations, while organising socio-cultural activities serving its goals.

According to SVBG, Việt Nam was the four biggest trade partner of Switzerland in ASEAN. Since 2012, Việt Nam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – began negotiations for a FTA, which was expected to be signed this year. LINK

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