Vietnam, Lao to develop linking railway project

Thursday, 19/10/2023 16:49
A joint venture between Vietnamese infrastructure developer Deo Ca Group JSC and Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PetroTrade) has been allowed to develop a railway project linking the two countries, according to Vietnam News Agency.
Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)

General Director of the Deo Ca Group JSC Nguyen Quang Vinh has announced that the Ministry of Transport accepted the joint venture’s proposal on developing Vung Ang – Tan Ap – Mu Gia railway project under the form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

The joint venture as the project investor is required to conduct a pre-feasibility study and submit an assessment report as regulated in the Law on Investment, Law on Railway, relevant laws and planning schemes.

The Vung Ang - Tan Ap - Mu Gia railway project is part of the Vientiane - Vung Ang railway, which was included in the national railway network development planning in the 2021 – 2030 period, with a vision until 2050. It has a length of 103km and is estimated to cost nearly 27.5 trillion VND (1.12 billion USD).

It is an important project, part of the overall Vietnam - Laos railway project, and one of the priorities of the Governments of Vietnam and Laos.

The Vientiane - Vung Ang railway has a total length of 554.7 km from Vung Ang port in Vietnam’s central coastal province of Ha Tinh to Vientiane, the capital and largest city of Laos.

The project will be built under the public-private partnership, with a total investment of 149.55 trillion VND (6.3 billion USD).

Vung Ang port - the railway’s ending point will play an important role in promoting the the two countries' economic ties through trade exchange and maritime transport, targeting the markets of Northeast Thailand, China, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

According to the representative from the Deo Ca Group JSC, after highways, investing in railway infrastructure has been identified as the new direction of the business in the next 5-10 years.

170 eligible rice exporters announced

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Export and Import recently announced a list of 170 eligible rice exporters as of October 18, according to Vietnam News Agency.

Accordingly, Ho Chi Minh City has the highest number of qualified rice exporters, with 37 ones, followed by 36 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, 22 in the southern province of Long An and 16 others in southern An Giang province.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that the whole country exported 6.6 million tonnes of rice in the first nine months of this year, bringing home 3.66 billion USD, up 40.4% annually. In the 34-year history of rice export, it was the first time such a record-breaking figure had been achieved.

In particular, Vietnam previously achieved a record export value of 3.65 billion USD in 2011, but with a total volume of 7.1 million tonnes. However, from 2012-2018, rice export prices declined, keeping the turnover below 2.5 billion USD.

In 2019, rice exports began to rebound, reaching 2.7 billion USD. In 2022, the figure hit 3.5 billion USD, although it still fell short of the 3.65 billion USD record set in 2011.

Comparing to the rice price surge in 2008, Vietnam effectively capitalised on market opportunities this year. Looking back to 2008, the export price of 5% broken rice even reached a peak of 1,000 USD per tonne at times. However, the Vietnamese Government then imposed a ban on rice export, so very few businesses were able to export at that price.

The Vietnamese rice used to demand a maximum export price of 700 USD per tonne.

In the fourth quarter, it is forecast that around 500,000 tonnes of rice will be shipped abroad each month. Therefore, it is likely that a record-breaking 8 million tonnes of rice will be exported this year, resulting in an all-high revenue of 4.5 billion USD.

Japan to issue e-visas for Vietnamese tourist groups

The Japanese Embassy in Vietnam has announced that it will issue e-visas to Vietnamese tourist groups by designated travel companies from November 1, 2023.

Japan is a favorite destination of Vietnamese tourists. (Photo: Saigontourist)

Accordingly, the issuance of electronic visas will begin after completing the preparation work from each of the travel companies on the list designated to organize groups of tourists on package tours.

The applicable visa type is a single-entry visa for tourism purposes for 15 days.

Visa applicants need to present at the airport the "Visa issuance notice" displayed on the screen of a mobile phone connected to the internet. Presentation of PDF files, screenshots or printed hard copies is not accepted.

According to data from the Japan Tourism Board, Vietnam is among the 10 largest markets sending tourists to the country in the first 8 months of 2023.

Vietnam is among the 10 largest markets sending tourists to Japan in the first 8 months of 2023.

In August alone, Vietnamese tourists to Japan numbered 50,000, a year-on-year increase of 16.5%. In the 8 months, Japan greeted 397,000 Vietnamese tourists, a year-on-year increase of 17.4%. With these, Vietnam ranked 7th among the 10 largest markets sending tourists to Japan, after the Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan (China), Hong Kong (China), Thailand and the US.

Meanwhile, Japanese tourists to Vietnam reached 414,000 in the 9 months of the year, ranking 5th among the biggest international tourist markets of Vietnam, but seeing a 50% decrease compared to before COVID-19.

From August 15, 2023, Vietnam officially applies visa policies allowing Japanese tourists to Vietnam to be unilaterally exempted from visas with temporary stay period extending to 45 days.

Vietnam - US trade exceeds 80 billion USD

With import-export turnover exceeding 80 billion USD in the first 9 months of 2023, trade between Vietnam and the US continues to prosper. The United States is now the largest export market for Vietnamese goods.

According to preliminary statistics from the General Department of Customs, in September, Vietnam’s export turnover to the US reached 8.11 billion USD, thereby increasing export turnover by the end of September to 70.23 billion USD.

Textiles and garments are the main export products to the US (Photo:

Since the beginning of the year, commodity exports to the US have encountered difficulties due to reduction in market demand. Despite a decrease of about 15 billion USD compared to the same period last year, the USD is still Vietnam’s largest export market.

Among the export commodity groups to the US; machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts enjoyed the largest export turnover with 12.5 billion USD; followed by computers, electronic products and components with 11.82 billion USD; and textile and garment with more than 11 billion USD.

By the end of September, import turnover from the US reached 10.26 billion USD, down about 900 million USD compared to the same period last year.

With the import-export turnover between the two countries totaling nearly 80.5 billion USD in the 9 months, the US continues to be Vietnam’s second largest trading partner.

The Department of European - American Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that until the end of the year and early 2024, export turnover to the US is forecast to be improved as market demand increases and inventory decreases.

With an average gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of nearly 7% a year and a population of nearly 100 million people, Vietnam is forecast to be a potential market for US companies operating in all fields./.