|Delegates at the workshop (Photo: VNA)
Launching a report titled “Vietnam's economy in 2023 and prospects for 2024: Reforms to accelerate growth recovery” at the event, CIEM experts forecast that Vietnam's GDP will grow by 6.13% in the first scenario and 6.48% in the second scenario with the entire year’s exports increasing by 4.02% and 5.19%, respectively.
The country's trade surplus is predicted to hit 5.64 billion USD and 6.26 billion USD in the first and the second scenarios, respectively, while the average inflation this year is forecast to stand at 3.94% and 3.72%.
CIEM Director Tran Thi Hong Minh said that Vietnam’s economy in particular and the global economy in general will continue facing headwinds in 2024.
However, Vietnam can reap further positive economic achievements in the coming time if the quality of institutional reforms have been improved.
Vietnam does not only rely on fiscal and monetary solutions to promote economic growth but also creates a lot of new motivations from economic institutional reforms. Those driving forces come from promoting innovation, developing new economic models, reforming the business environment, restructuring the economy, and perfecting regional linkage planning and institutions.
The Government has also frankly acknowledged and asked for advice on the issues that need to be resolved, she stressed.
Minh emphasised that experts’ recommendations on strengthening fiscal and monetary expansion for the country’s economic growth are also based on the assessments of improving institutional quality and macro-economic management.
|Vietnam's 2024 GDP growth forecast at over 6% - Photo for illustration (Source: VNA)
CIEM's report also evaluates the results of Vietnam’s implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) over the past two years.
Accordingly, the results in the period 2018-2023 showed that the proportion of Vietnam's imports and exports with RCEP member countries has seen a downward trend and the utilisation of incentives that the RCEP offers is still relatively low, just 0.67%.
Experts recommended that the country to continue to overcome challenges in implementing the RCEP as well as effectively accessing and maximising benefits from the trade deal.
Red River Delta’s industrial parks attract 390 FDI projects in 2023
Industrial parks (IPs), export processing zones (EPZs) and economic zones (EZs) in the Red River Delta granted investment registration certificates to 487 projects in 2023, including 390 foreign direct investment (FDI) and 97 domestic direct investment (DDI) projects, up 63.35% compared to last year’s figure, said the Vietnam News Agency.
Total new and adjusted investment capital in FDI projects reached 13.17 billion USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 74.6% and 99.1 trillion VND (4 billion USD) in domestic ones, a year-on-year hike of 107.1%. Localities with outstanding performances are Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen and Ha Nam.
The management boards of IPs, EPZs and EZs in the Red River Delta have proactively monitored the operations of enterprises with a view to promptly advising provincial and city People's Committees in the region on measures to remove difficulties for them and stabilise production and business, according to Tran Van Kien, head of Ha Nam IPs Management Board. Therefore, investment projects in the region have been implemented quickly, ensuring their progress and positively contributing to local socio-economic development.
|A gas range component production line of the Japanese-invested Paloma Vietnam Co. Ltd in the Vietnam - Singapore Industrial Park in Hai Phong city. (Photo: VNA)
Total revenue of FDI enterprises in the region's IPs, EPZs and EZ topped 142.8 billion USD, up 20.5% compared to 2022 and that of the DDI business sector hit 475.5 trillion VND, up 35.1%. They contributed 8.48 billion USD and 29.4 trillion VND, respectively, to the State budget last year.
The Red River Delta region is home to 11 EZs with a total area of 442,224 hectares and 179 IPs and EPZs with a total area of 49,348 hectares, of which 99 zones have been put into operation.
Kien said that this year the boards will focus on making recommendations for the design of investment policies suitable for each industry in order to attract quality FDI capital, and the organisation of investment promotion activities and policy dialogues with enterprises on measures to tackle difficulties facing them, especially those relating to administrative procedures and land issues.
Vietnam's largest spices exporter receives investment from EU
Phuc Sinh JSC has announced that the company successfully sold shares to an investment fund from Europe with an undisclosed amount, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Phan Minh Thong, General Director of the Phuc Sinh JSC, said the fund would not participate in operating the business but simply provide financial support. This has been the first time the company received foreign investment in 22 years of operation. The deal was completed after 18 months of negotiation.
“In the context of a limited capital market, having an investment with a moderate capital price is very meaningful. We are valued at U320 million USD. The amount is not too large but not small either, which could help us build two coffee processing factories this year,” Thong said.
|A factory of Phuc Sinh JSC in the southern province of Binh Duong (Photo courtesy of the firm)
He added that in recent years, many companies wanted to invest in Phuc Sinh. However, they were refused because of not properly evaluating Vietnamese agriculture value, which is very low compared to companies in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even the Philippines.
“Vietnam's agricultural industry is developing strongly and has many opportunities to attract foreign investment. Phuc Sinh also wants to raise more capital to develop factories, and also call for additional capital specifically for the K-Coffee coffee chain. However, we only accept financial investment and do not need strategic investors,” he said.
Established in 2001, Phuc Sinh is one of the leading exporters of pepper, coffee and agricultural products in the country. In the spice industry, the company has been leading since 2007.
A recent report from SFV-Export (the project to strengthen export capacity for small and medium enterprises in Vietnam's spices, vegetables and fruits industry) showed that Phuc Sinh is the largest exporter of Vietnamese spices to the EU, with 15.1% market share, a sharp increase from 8.4% in 2022.
British foreign travel agents eye Vietnamese destinations
A number of British foreign travel agents are keeping close tabs on potential Vietnamese destinations thanks to the country’s visa exemption policy for UK citizens to stay for 45 days, along with convenient air travel, according to Radio the Voice of Vietnam.
According to UK media outlet Travel Weekly, with more than 2,000 miles of coastline, delicious street food, blissful palm-tree-backed beaches, vibrant cities, and relaxed cruises along the Mekong, Vietnam’s appeal is clear.
It also noted that it’s now even easier for British people to visit the country since Vietnam Airlines started operating four flights per week from the UK's biggest airport Heathrow to Hanoi, as well as three flights per week to the largest metropolitan area Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, the visa exemption stay limit for UK tourists has also increased from 15 days to 45 days.
According to James Williams, a luxury travel designer of Carrier Luxury Holidays, Vietnam offers excellent value for money in all standards of travel, ranging from the basic backpacker to the luxury market.
“My favourite area is Hoi An, which is famous for the Chinese lanterns that light up the cobbled streets each evening. The city provides a more peaceful insight into Vietnam than the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,” he added.
|The ancient town of Hoi An, a famous World Heritage site in central Vietnam. (Photo: baoquangnam.vn)
Meanwhile, Sandra Foreman, a business development manager of Wendy Wu Tours, told Travel Weekly that the new unilateral visa exemption offers an incredible opportunity for travel agents to take advantage of.
“With a generous allowance up to 45 days, agents can take full advantage of offering longer stays in the country. More-flexible itineraries can entice more travelers to explore the diverse landscapes and rich culture of Vietnam, without the burden of visa applications. It’s a win-win for agents and clients alike,” she stressed.
Moreover, a number of interesting tours to the country have also been launched by British travel tours, such as Wendy Wu Tours’ Magical Mekong Cruise & Beach holiday which comprises of a seven-night cruise on the Victoria Mekong where guests sail from Kampong Cham in Cambodia to southern Vietnam. This is then followed by a four-night sand and spa holiday on idyllic Phu Quoc. Others include Intrepid Travel’s 15-day Scenic Vietnam that adds a stop in Quy Nhon.
In addition, Exodus Adventure Travels’ Hidden Vietnam: Sapa & Beyond tour will take clients to a homestay in a tribal village in the hill region of Sa Pa, where guests are treated to a home-cooked meal, as well as visiting the secluded Lan Ha Bay and popular Cat Ba Island. This is along with G Adventures’ Geluxe Collection, a new style of trip that offers clients the chance to be physically active, stay in ‘one-of-a-kind’ accommodation, enjoy gourmet experiences, meet communities and learn about their respective cultures./.