News Bulletin 53 - Week 1 March, 2021

Two key economic indicators were published last week. In Vietnam's biggest city and commercial center, it was reported that as much as us$338 million in foreign investments were made into the city in the first two months of the year. Also, Vietnam's trade surplus in the first 6 weeks of the year was an astounding usd3 billion. Clearly trade and investments continue unabated in Vietnam despite the Covid 19 pandemic and travel restrictions into the country.

On the business front, Vinfast announced that it was opening its electric car manufacturing factory in the US and preparing to enter the electric car market there.

In regulatory news, the long awaited draft decree on Personal Data Protection was released for public consultation. In the Decree, there are a number of first time proposals, specifically relating to cross-border transfer of data, processing of sensitive personal data, of specific rights of data subjects, and other related subjects.

The past week spotlight

Vietnam a strategic destination for Samsung’s R&D activities

Samsung Vietnam plans to expand its investment in Vietnam by setting up a research and development (R&D) centre, strengthening cooperation with domestic enterprises, and taking part in public infrastructure projects, its General Director Choi Joo Ho has said.

In an interview with “Tuoi tre” (Youth) newspaper, Choi said Samsung launched the construction of a new R&D centre in Hanoi in March last year, which is scheduled for completion in December 2022.

This is Samsung Electronics’ first R&D centre outside of the Republic of Korea and the largest of its kind by a foreign-invested enterprise in Vietnam, Choi said.

See full details here

Let’s look at some other related financial and business news during the past week:

1. Vietnam’s Jan.-mid-Feb trade surplus hits $3 billion

Vietnam reported a trade surplus of nearly $3 billion by mid-February, according to data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs. The country recorded an import-export turnover from the beginning of the year to February 15 at over $74 billion. 

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2. HCM City: Two-month foreign investment stands at US$337.8 million

Ho Chi Minh City recorded US$337.8 million of foreign investment registered during the first two months of 2021, equivalent to 70.3 percent of the figure in the same period last year.

Real estate attracted most of the sum, US$145.1 million or 43 percent of the total. It was followed by science - technology (US$57.5 million, 17 percent) and processing - manufacturing industry (US$41 million, 12.1 percent), the municipal Department of Planning and Investment said.

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3. US surpasses China to become largest importer of Vietnam's agricultural products

With export turnover of $2.04 billion, the US surpassed China to become the largest consumer of Vietnamese agricultural products in the first two months of 2021.

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4. Supply chain bottlenecks in Vietnam

Vietnam's economy has fared better than that of almost any other country except China during the Covid-19 crisis. It grew by 2.9% last year while most other countries fell into recession.

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5. Vietnam’s Richest Man Plans Electric Car Factory in the U.S.

Vietnamese electric-vehicle startup VinFast plans to open a U.S. factory after setting up a 50-member San Francisco research office as it prepares for California automobile sales in 2022.

See full details here

6. Electronics conglomerates hoping for further incentives

Vietnam’s attraction of overseas electronics and technology conglomerates cannot be overlooked. However, as the government is focusing on long-term acceleration of research and development and incentives for this sector, a shift from merely manufacturing to creating may soon take place among foreign-invested enterprises.

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7. Bright signs from textile and apparel export

Many textile apparel firms have posted upbeat export performance in early 2021 with signed export orders until this upcoming July and August. Recent figures by the Vietnam General Department of Customs show that as of February 15, Vietnam raked in $3.77 billion from textile and apparel exports, up $270 million compared to the same period in 2020.

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8. MPI proposes a draft decree on procurement bidding under CPTTP

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has summited to the Government a draft decree on amending Decree 95/2020/ND-CP providing guidelines on procurement bidding under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTTP).

According to the MPI, the draft decree will amend and supplement some articles of Decree No 95. It aims to guide State companies to execute bidding packages under the CPTTP agreement and EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

See full details here

9. HCM City to focus on AI in aim to become ‘smart city’ by 2030

HCM City authorities plan to promote Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of its effort to become a smart city with e-government, e-enterprises and an electronic society by 2030.

Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the plan, part of the programme on “research and development of AI applications in HCM City for the 2020-2030 period”, will play an important role in smart-city development in the next five years.

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10. Vietnam GDP growth projected to strengthen to 6.5% in 2021: IMF

The upward trend in economic growth would continue to 2022 as the country’s economic growth may reach 7.2%.

Vietnam’s GDP growth is projected to strengthen to 6.5% as normalization of economic activity continues, businesses recover, and private consumption and business investment rebound.

See full details here