Vietnam Aims to Strengthen Ties With MERCOSUR Through FTA Negotiations

Vietnam's overseas investment and tourism industry are both making headlines this October 3 as the country continues to thrive. According to figures released today, Vietnam's overseas investment increased by 4.6% over the past nine months. Meanwhile, Forbes magazine named Vietnam's Ha Long Bay one of the best travel destinations in the world for 2024. To prepare for the peak tourism season, localities throughout the country are gearing up, and the country is also promoting negotiations of a free trade agreement with the MERCOSUR bloc.

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Vietnam News Today (Oct. 3) notable headlines

  • Vietnam’s overseas investment up 4.6% during nine months
  • Forbes names Ha Long Bay among 24 best destinations for travel in 2024
  • Localities gearing up for peak tourism season
  • Vietnam promotes negotiations of FTA with MERCOSUR
  • Germany’s Lower Saxony wants to strengthen economic cooperation with Vietnam
  • Seminar talks Vietnam-Japan labor cooperation potential
  • Online cuisine map to bring Vietnamese foods to the world
  • Trade Office helps Vietnamese firms grasp opportunities in Canadian market
  • Non Nuoc Cao Bang receives Global Geopark title certificate

A car assembly factory of Vinfast (Illustrative photo: VNA)

Vietnam’s overseas investment up 4.6% during nine months

Vietnam’s overseas investment approximated US$416.8 million during the first nine months of 2023, rising 4.6% year on year, reported the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Of the amount, over U$244.8 million was registered for 84 new projects, equivalent to 70.5% of the value posted in the same period last year, while more than US$171.96 million was added to 18 existing ones, surging 3.38-fold. Vietnamese investors poured money into 14 sectors abroad during the nine months. The wholesale and retail sector topped the list with nearly US$150.64 million, accounting for 36.1% of the total, channelled into 26 new projects and six existing ones. The information and communications sector ranked second with over US$114.35 million, or 27.4%. It was followed by electricity production and distribution, agro-forestry-fisheries, and processing – manufacturing, statistics show, cited VNA. Among the 24 countries and territories recording Vietnamese investments during the period, Canada took the lead with over US$150.2 million (36%) poured into one new project and one existing project there, followed by Singapore, Laos, and Cuba. As of September 20, Vietnam had 1,667 valid overseas investment projects with combined capital of nearly US$22.1 billion. They include 141 projects worth almost US$11.67 billion of State-invested enterprises, making up 52.8%. The investments concentrated on mining (31.5%) and agro-forestry fisheries (15.5%). Meanwhile, the biggest destinations of Vietnamese investments were Laos (24.7%), Cambodia (13.3%), and Venezuela (8.3%), according to the FIA.

Ha Long Bay is among 24 best destinations for travel in 2024, according to OvationNetwork/Forbes

Forbes names Ha Long Bay among 24 best destinations for travel in 2024

Globally-renowned magazine Forbes of the United States has named Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage site in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, on the list of the 24 best destinations for travel in 2024. “The unprecedented demand for travel we saw last year continued in 2023,” says Zane Schafer, vice president and general manager of OvationNetwork. “Next year, people will be looking for a deeper, more experiential connection with destinations that are off the beaten path.” OvationNetwork, an American television network, shared its list exclusively with Forbes.

Mui Ne beach in Binh Thuan province. (Photo: baobinhthuan.com.vn)

Localities gearing up for peak tourism season

Localities are diversifying tourism products and stepping up promotion activities to attract both domestic and foreign holidaymakers in the remaining months of this year. The Department of Planning and Investment of Ho Chi Minh City reported that in the first nine months of this year, the southern metropolis welcomed 27 million domestic visitors and 3.5 million foreign tourists, up nearly 25% year-on-year, and earned VND125.45 trillion (US$5.16 billion) from the sector, a rise of 35.8%. In the south-central coastal province of Binh Thuan which hosts the 2023 National Tourism Year, the total number of tourists surged 75% year-on-year to hit nearly 7 million, exceeding the yearly target by 0.4%. Notably, its tourism revenue in the nine months doubled that of the same period last year to reach VND17.67 trillion. In the southeastern region, Tay Ninh emerged as a major destination with 4.2 million visitors, and tourism revenue of VND1.76 trillion, up 49.7% year on year. In the Mekong Delta, Ben Tre reported a 79% surge in the number of visitors with 1.7 million and VND2.14 trillion in revenue. As the peak season for international tourism is approaching, HCM City has launched new products, including community-based tours to Thieng Lieng island hamlet in Can Gio district, and night tours. Notably, tours exploring the architecture of the headquarters of the municipal People’s Council and People’s Committee, which have been launched since the National Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holidays, will be maintained until the end of this year, available on the last weekends of each month. The city has also offered cultural and tourism products in combination with events, conferences, cuisine, health care and waterway services, while enhancing tourism promotion in such markets as the Republic of Korea (RoK), India and China, according to VNA.

MERCOSUR is Vietnam's 13th largest trading partner with bilateral trade value rose from US$2.45 billion in 2011 to US$12 billion in 2022. Photo baodautu.vn

Vietnam promotes negotiations of FTA with MERCOSUR

The Minister President of the German state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil. (Photo: Thomas Banneyer/dpa)

Germany’s Lower Saxony wants to strengthen economic cooperation with Vietnam

The Minister President of the German state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, has raised high expectations of strengthening cooperation with Vietnam, especially in economy and labor, following his six-day trip to the Southeast Asian country, starting on October 1. Suddeutsche Zeitung newswire quoted Stephan Weil ahead of his departure, saying Vietnam is an important partner of the European Union in Southeast Asia and an important location for German companies to diversify their markets. Weil also highly appreciated Vietnam’s increasing position since the enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). “I am looking forward to our trip and I am pleased about the strong interest in the Lower Saxony economy,” said Weil. According to the Minister President, Vietnam is also an interesting destination for Lower Saxony thanks to its comparatively young population, when it comes to the shortage of skilled workers in the Germany State. The Press Office of Lower Saxony said Vietnam has experienced remarkable economic growth over the past 30 years and it is now one of the world’s most important manufacturing locations for electronics, clothing, footwear, and furniture. German business associations and firms are very interested in the workforce from Vietnam, especially workers in the fields of health care and food catering, as well as in industry and craft making. Therefore, Vietnam is also an attractive destination for Lower Saxony in the current context of skilled labor shortages. German statistics show Germany is currently Vietnam’s largest trading partner in the European Union with bilateral turnover reaching about EUR18 billion (more than US$19 billion) last year, cited VOV. About 500 German companies have opened their representative offices in Vietnam. Many German companies are considering investing in Vietnam in an effort to diversify markets and production locations. Minister President Stephan Weil is beginning a six-day working trip to Vietnam on October 1 to further develop economic relations between Lower Saxony and Vietnam, according to the State Chancellery. Economic and political discussions and business networking events will be high on the agenda.

Rosie Nguyen