Vietnam News Today (Dec. 24): Conference Highlights Outlook For Vietnamese Relations With India

Vietnam News Today (Dec. 24): Ample room ahead for stronger ties with South Africa; “Bamboo diplomacy” a valuable concept in int'l relations: Indian expert; Conference highlights outlook for Vietnamese relations with India; Foreign investments in property market expected to soar.
December 24, 2023 | 12:15

Vietnam News Today (Dec. 24) notable headlines

Ample room ahead for stronger ties with South Africa

“Bamboo diplomacy” a valuable concept in int'l relations: Indian expert

Conference highlights outlook for Vietnamese relations with India

Foreign investments in property market expected to soar: experts

Vietnamese-branded products displayed on world popular e-commerce platforms

Busy atmosphere descends on Hanoi’s Old Quarter for Christmas

Korean expert hails positive results of Vietnamese diplomacy in 2023

Condolences extended to Czech Republic over university shooting

Vietnam to have good preparation for 2024 Futsal Asian Cup

On December 14, Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan chairs an official welcome ceremony for Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile on his working visit to Vietnam.
On December 14, Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan chairs an official welcome ceremony for Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile on his working visit to Vietnam.

Ample room ahead for stronger ties with South Africa

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to combine political and human relations with the economic relationship between Vietnam and South Africa, according to South African Ambassador to Vietnam Vuyiswa Tulelo.

On December 22, 1993, the two countries officially established diplomatic relations. Overcoming difficulties and limitations due to geographical distance, the traditional friendship between both sides over the past 30 years has been cultivated and has become more and more substantive and effective, with this being demonstrated through cooperation across multiple fields.

However, the two countries still have plenty of room to collaborate and develop together moving forward.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of both nations' diplomatic ties, Ambassador Tulelo granted an interview to VOV regarding the potential and expectation for the relationship between two countries in the near future.

Upon assessing the co-operative relations between the two nations over the past three decades, the South African diplomat said since establishing diplomatic relations, the two countries have really made progress when finding a mechanism to adjust their relationship. As a result, the two sides work through a joint cooperation forum, which focuses on science, technology, and cultural exchanges.

There is also a joint committee aimed at building a trade and defense partnership dialogue. It can be said that the two sides have really come far over the past 30 years, but there remains ample room to do more and develop further.

Ambassador Tulelo highlighted a number of outstanding results achieved through high-level exchange visits on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, including the visit to South Africa of Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan on November 9 and the visit to Vietnam by South African Vice President Paul Mashatile in December.

As a result, the Vietnam Confederation of Industry and Commerce (VCCI) and the South African Chamber of Commerce will soon sign a co-operation agreement. In addition, the Vietnamese Embassy in South Africa launched Vietnam Day in a bid to introduce Vietnamese culture and land and people to South African people.

During the visit to Vietnam by Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile, the two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on higher education. Most notably, VP Mashatile mentioned that Vingroup is considering expanding its market to South Africa to produce parts for electric cars, cited VOV.

The South African Deputy President has promised to return next year with a trade delegation as part of efforts to promote investment and trade links between the two countries, the Ambassador went on to say.

Regarding economic relations, South Africa continues to maintain its position as the nation’s leading trading partner in Africa, with trade exchanges between the two countries in recent years reaching an average of about US$1.3 billion per year.

Talking about the bilateral trade ties, Ambassador Tulelo stated that the trade aspect has always been a bright spot in mutual relations. However, the good foundation of political and human relations between the two countries can create conditions for both to do even better.

One of her tasks during her three-year term in Vietnam is to make every effort to step up trade links between the two countries. During high-level visits by leaders of the two countries this year, the two sides agreed to strive to bring bilateral trade turnover up to US$2 billion. To achieve this goal, both countries still have a lot of work to do.

The two partners need to have mechanisms, frameworks, and measures in place to facilitate their goods accessing each other's markets. There should be discussions and evaluations of market-accessible products with the other party.

For example, in agriculture, South Africa has exported apples, grapes, and pears to the Vietnamese market and continues to promote South African orange products, eventually expanding to wine products, she said.

Regarding the goal of connecting people and tourism cooperation, Ambassador Tulelo highly appreciated the Vietnamese announcement of the electronic visa program (EVISA) for South Africans. This helps to eliminate a lot of administrative procedures when South Africans come to Vietnam. South Africa is also trying to implement a similar programme for Vietnamese people visiting South Africa.

Every quarter, the Embassy still organizes schemes to introduce South African culture and tourism in Vietnamese localities, she continued.

Asked about her expectations for the joint relationship in the near future, the diplomat said she hopes that prior to the end of her term of office, the two countries will conduct a state visit as it will be the most symbolic connection between the two countries.

With that exchange, she hopes that the two sides will be able to resolve the set targets, such as in trade, and both sides can resolve the technical and legal issues that govern bilateral trade.

She also looks forward to having such a state visit, where both parties can establish a framework and roadmap for the joint relationship over the next 30 years.

“Bamboo diplomacy” a valuable concept in int'l relations: Indian expert

Vietnam's “bamboo diplomacy” is a strategic and valuable concept in international relations, according to former Deputy National Security Advisor of India SD Pradhan.

Speaking to Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondents in New Delhi, the expert said that the “bamboo diplomacy” characteristic demonstrates the steadiness in policy and flexibility in external relations of Vietnam based on the Ho Chi Minh ideology as well as national interest.

It reflects Vietnam's great attention to the role of multilateralism in settling global issues, said Pradhan.

Former Deputy National Security Advisor of India SD Pradhan (L) in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)
Former Deputy National Security Advisor of India SD Pradhan (L) in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)

He held that over the years, the “bamboo diplomacy” school has helped Vietnam reap important achievements in external relations amid the complicated world situation.

The policy has helped enhance Vietnam's position in the international arena and ensure the country's economic growth, said the expert, noting that Vietnam has so far established strategic partnership with countries from different blocs, ensuring the maintenance of independence and protection of national interests.

In terms of economy, Vietnam has posted fast growth, at 8.02% in 2022, higher than the forecast by the IMF and World Bank. Total import-export revenue of Vietnam last year grew 9.5% to 732.5 billion USD, he said.

He underlined that the “bamboo diplomacy” school should be popularized and added to research topics of academic organizations, according to VNA.

Pradhan also highlighted Vietnam's contributions to building an environment of peace and prosperity in the world, especially as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure and ASEAN Chair in 2020. In the period, Vietnam chaired more than 30 meetings to discuss security issues in the Middle East, Colombia, the Central African Republic and West Africa, and evaluate operations of peacekeeping missions in Yemen, Cyprus and Libya, the expert said.

Regarding the relationship between India and Vietnam over the years, Pradhan said that the two countries have shared the same approach. Both have emphasized the significance of maintaining peace and security for economic development, and the role of multilateralism, while sharing friendly relationships with other countries, he added.

The expert held that the two sides should continue coordinating actions at multilateral forums to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

In addition, the two countries need to become production/ processing centers to promote their role as trade bridges between the East and the West. Besides, Vietnam and India should strengthen cooperation in developing advanced technology to promote economic growth, while fostering cooperation in the field of defense, he asserted.

Conference highlights outlook for Vietnamese relations with India

Both Vietnamese and Indian scholars and experts gathered together to take part in a conference on December 22 in Hanoi aimed at discussing achievements recorded in bilateral relations over the past 50 years and outlook for the bilateral ties in the future.

Participants agreed that both sides share a time-honored relationship with strong connections in their history and culture.

The modern stage of bilateral ties is closely attached with the name of President Ho Chi Minh, VOV reported.

At the event.
At the event.

Former Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien, the first Vietnamese diplomat deployed to India to set up the Vietnamese Consulate General, underlined that the joint relationship is a special one. Indeed, India provided Vietnam with great support during its historical struggle for independence, he said.

Participants affirmed that despite considerable instability around the world, the solidarity and strong trust between both sides has provided encouragement and confidence to overcome the current period.

Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Sandeep Arya stated that the two nations share a similarity in promoting technology with the establishment of special task forces to make full use of the technological development during the growth process in each country.

At the event, participants also highlighted the potential of co-operation between the two sides in various fields, including digital transformation.

They stressed that as both nations are striving for net-zero emissions, their experience in national energy transition can be helpful for each other, including models and policies regarding electricity auctions, power grid management, electricity purchasing, and electric vehicle use encouragement.

Foreign investments in property market expected to soar: experts

Foreign investors are expected to plough large amounts of money into the Vietnamese property market in 2024-26.

Market research company Cushman & Wakefield said recently “Many transactions are in the negotiation process with a positive outlook. The expected investment goals still lie in finding clean, good-quality land funds with real value, as well as having legal ownership rights… and development potential.”

While there are still challenges, Cushman & Wakefield believe this is the right time for businesses to step up activities, especially those with deep pockets.

It attributed the optimistic forecast to falling bank interest rates and the passage of many new decrees that remove obstacles faced by the property sector.

Besides, the Government is implementing many other solutions to improve the quality of real estate projects, transparency, rule of law, and the business environment in general.

The property market, notably in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, has developed rapidly since the Law on Real Estate took effect in 2003.

Since then, M&A activities have also increased significantly in both number and value, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

But data from RCA and Cushman & Wakefield shows a slump in 2023, with the figure for the first nine months falling by 33% year-on-year to US$729 million due to the lack of high-value deals, cited VNA.

A project in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: VNA)
A project in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: VNA)

Asian investors from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan (China), and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have led the way with advantages like geographical location, cultural similarities and understanding of local laws.

Overall, 2023 transaction data shows that foreign investors still account for most property transactions, purchases and investment activities, with the domestic sector accounting for less than 10% of transactions.

The company attributed the downturn to the fact that domestic businesses are still facing many unfavorable factors, such as the generally tricky situation of the economy, unresolved project legalities, corporate bond problems, and lack of access to capital.

“As the global economy is going through uncertainty, an emerging country like Vietnam has become quite a promising investment market,” said Trang Bui, country head of Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam.

The attractive rate of return in Vietnam is an essential factor in the investment decisions made by foreign investors, Cushman & Wakefield said.

Since 2018, Vietnam has seen a total of US$4.2 billion in property investment, of which housing and industrial assets accounted for 46% and 28%, according to RCA and Cushman & Wakefield data.

This shows foreign investors remain focused on traditional assets, mainly serving the needs of actual end users.

The high-end housing market remains the top choice of foreign investors. With increasing disposable income and rapid urbanization, especially in Hanoi and HCM City, Vietnam has expanded its appeal to investors who want to target the housing sector.

Until 15 years ago, FDI flows were concentrated in the high-end housing segment.

Well-known names in the market, such as Keppel Land and Capitaland, were among the first to offer high-end real estate projects, such as The Estella and The Vista.

The total supply of luxury apartments in HCM City then was around 1,700 units, of which about 1,000 were by foreign developers.

The market has since started seeing more foreign investors like Hong Kong Land, Frasers Property, Mapletree, Daiwa House, Nomura, Sumitomo, Lotte Group and GS.

This has increased the number of luxury apartments developed by foreign investors to 23,800 units as of Q3 2023.

Since 2018, the industrial and logistics real estate segment has outperformed most others thanks to growth in manufacturing, exports, e-commerce, transportation, and warehousing.

The manufacturing sector accounts for the majority of FDI as many businesses are interested in Vietnam as a new destination for expansion in Southeast Asia.

Foreign funds continue to look for investment opportunities in the form of well-located office real estate in Vietnam, especially in HCM City.

In the last five years, rentals in office buildings have improved, especially grade A.

Since 2022, the market has been seeing some transactions, notably with the sale of hotels Ibis Saigon South and Capri by Fraser in HCM City.

In 2023, there was a significant transaction in the retail sector worth $52 million by Singapore's Keppel Land Group.

Vietnamese-branded products displayed on world popular e-commerce platforms

Scores of Vietnamese-branded products have been displayed on popular e-commerce platforms in the world contributing to the promotion of Vietnamese products.

Worldly popular e-commerce platforms help bring not only foreign currency to the country but also revenue for manufacturers. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnamese e-commerce has continuously recorded outstanding growth and the market size is expected to exceed US$20 billion in 2023.

Currently, a number of Vietnamese brands are available on Amazon shelves such as Minh Long ceramics, Sunhouse-branded household appliances, Truong Tho sea grapes, Made in Vietnam 3D postcards and sedge weaving fine art. Businesses whose products are displayed on Amazon said that they have been receiving more orders and more customers know about their products. From September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023, over 17 million products from Vietnamese businesses were sold to Amazon customers around the world.

However, it is really not easy to sell commodities for potential markets such as North America and Europe through the Amazon electronic commerce channel.

A leader of a business who is learning how to sell on Amazon said that the process of bringing goods to this channel is very strict, not as simple as just posting products for sale, giving attractive prices, and addresses to get customers’ orders, SGGP reported.

Two women are looking for products by surfing e-commerce platforms.
Two women are looking for products by surfing e-commerce platforms.

According to him, if any businesses want their goods to be listed on e-commerce platforms in North America, mainly the US, they must have a warehouse in this country. Therefore, if that business has poor sales, packaging and changing goods for customers will be a burden on businesses.

In addition to the Amazon electronics trading platform, a number of domestic e-commerce platforms such as Tiki, and Shopee Vietnam are also chosen by many businesses and individuals to sell their commodities. Although these domestic e-commerce platforms have requirements, the requirements are not as strict as Amazon so the competition is also tougher, said the leader. Currently, many businesses have been selling goods and services through electronic commerce channels, making the competition fiercer. For instance, if any business wants their products to stand out from the other kinds, that business must increase promotions, and cut profits to pay more for advertising costs, the leader revealed.

According to Business Director Nguyen Quach Nhi of Tiki platform, many businesses are successful in selling on the Tiki e-commerce platform, while many others are not as successful as expected due to a lack of knowledge and a lack of a team of professional staff understanding how to sell goods on e-commerce.

In that context, Tiki has worked with departments, provinces, cities, schools, and supermarkets to support businesses by providing training and connecting businesses and improving products to promote consumption.

Mr. Gijae Seong, Managing Director of Amazon Global Selling Vietnam, also commented that e-commerce is one of the big trends that businesses must pay attention to if they want to develop globally. He affirmed to continue supporting Vietnamese businesses to improve products’ quality and packaging to meet customers’ demand as well as promote Vietnamese-branded products in the world market.

According to economic experts, e-commerce platforms are giant online marketplaces that can sell all products. But it will take a long time to make a business grow strong and gradually appear on the world e-commerce platforms’ counters and shelves.

Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Nguyen Phuong said that the department plays the role of ‘matchmaker’ to connect e-commerce platforms with businesses. E-commerce platforms are intermediaries, with warehouses and transporters, and are the extended arms of businesses and consumers.

Above all, businesses should make efforts to improve product quality and design; only such, they can sell their products.

Many economic experts said that online business is developing very strongly, but competitiveness is extremely fierce. Economists also pointed out that many businesses investing large amounts of money in this platform had to quietly withdraw because they could not compete against others. Therefore, businesses need to prepare good internal resources including capital, quality and product design before participating in the global e-commerce platforms.

Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Market Surveillance Department Nguyen Tien Dat said that the department has regularly carried out inspection and control of the origin and quality of goods on e-commerce platforms. In addition, the Department also focuses on building an e-commerce information portal and database system so that ministries, agencies and authorities can share information in the fight against counterfeit goods, and protect consumers who buy commodities on e-commerce platforms.

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