Vietnam and UK Assess Efficiency of UKVFTA Trade Agreement

Amidst national celebrations, Vietnam and the United Kingdom have begun assessing the efficacy of the recently-signed UKVFTA agreement, while foreign retail distributors have identified Vietnam as a strategically-desired location. Meanwhile, the public bicycle-sharing service has made its debut in Hanoi, with an estimated 410,000 passengers passing through Noi Bai Airport during the National Day holidays.

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Vietnam News Today (Aug. 25) notable headlines

Vietnam and UK examine UKVFTA trade pact efficiency

Foreign retail distributors choose Vietnam as a strategic location

Public bicycle-sharing service debuts in Hanoi

About 410,000 passengers are expected at Noi Bai airport during the National Day holidays

Vietnam’s new passport design with ‘place of birth’ receives positive global response

PM Lee’s visit significant to Vietnam-Singapore ties in both present, future: Expert

Tens of thousands of international tourists arrive on cruises

Ho Chi Minh City to host third international music festival

Vietnam remains a bright spot for FDI attraction

Vietnam and the UK hold the second meeting of the trade committee on the UK - Vietnam free trade agreement to examine the efficiency of the trade pact. (Photo: congthuong.vn)
Vietnam and the UK hold the second meeting of the trade committee on the UK – Vietnam free trade agreement to examine the efficiency of the trade pact. (Photo: congthuong.vn)

Vietnam and UK examine UKVFTA trade pact efficiency

Vietnam and the UK reviewed the efficiency of their free trade agreement (UKVFTA) since its enforcement at the second meeting of the Vietnam – UK Trade Committee on the UKFTA held in Hanoi on August 24.

The meeting was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Phan Thi Thang and UK Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston.

The two officials examined reports on the results of meetings of technical committees in charge of trade and investment, e-commerce and government procurement, commodity trading, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), along with trade and sustainable development.

They highly appreciated the various technical committees conducting meetings, thereby promptly resolving issues that had arisen, as well as actively sharing updates on related legal regulations of each party, contributing to the effective implementation of the UKVFTA in the second year of its entry into force.

The two sides also discussed a range of issues of mutual concern, including improving access to the UK market for Vietnamese rice, and calculating the rate of taking advantage of the agreement, cited VOV.

The two sides agreed to continue to cooperate actively and closely at all levels moving forward in a bid to further improve the effective utilization of the agreement’s commitments, with these efforts helping to promote trade – investment relations between both sides.

They agreed to hold the third meeting of the Trade Committee on the UKVFTA in London next year.

The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement officially came into effect on May 1, 2021, with many key Vietnamese products having the opportunity to gain access to the UK market – the sixth largest economy in the world.

Under the trade deal, the UK has pledged to eliminate 85.6% of tariff lines for Vietnamese goods since the enforcement of the pact, along with up to 99.2% of tariff lines from January 1, 2027. The remaining 0.8% of tariff lines will partially be liberalised through tariff rate quotas, with preferential tariffs for in-quota products of 0%.

Thanks to the tariff reductions, many key Vietnamese products such as seafood, fruit, coffee, rice, textiles, and furniture, among others, will have the opportunity to make inroads into the lucrative UK market.

Foreign retail distributors choose Vietnam as strategic location: official

Many foreign retail distributors, promoting strategies to diversify their supply chains and ensure a sustainable and resilient supply, have chosen Vietnam as a strategic location in the global supply chain, according to Ta Hoang Linh, Director of the European-American Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The Vietnam International Sourcing 2023 next month will be a chance for Vietnamese enterprises to meet hundreds of leading distributors and importers around the world to find cooperation opportunities as well as exchange information and learn from their experience so that Vietnamese goods can better access international distribution channels, said Linh.

On the other hand, foreign distributors and importers can find more reputable partners from Vietnam, and collect more useful information about Vietnamese products so as to diversify sources of goods for distribution systems in the host markets.

Illustrative image (Photo: vneconomy.vn)
Illustrative image (Photo: vneconomy.vn)

To meet big distributors’ demand and diversify export markets, the official advised Vietnamese firms to grasp information, and better market and customer positioning to focus on researching and developing suitable products for each market, building a methodical production and export plan to be able to adapt to requirements when participating in the supply chain.

Enterprises need to pursue green production, ensure transparency and traceability, and pay due attention to implementing social responsibility and environmental protection and ensuring labourers’ rights and interests, Linh stated.

It is also necessary to build and promote brands, he said, adding that the Ministry of Industry and Trade will carry out activities to raise awareness of businesses of sustainable development, green production and branding, according to VNA.

Through cooperation mechanisms, it will continue to advocate for policies with trade partners to remove barriers in terms of market access to minimize the burden on costs for local manufacturers and exporters.

The MoIT will maintain coordination with other ministries, sectors and associations to step up trade promotion, and support enterprises in selling goods in the domestic market and export markets, added the official.

The Vietnam International Sourcing 2023, to be held from September 13 – 15 in Ho Chi Minh City, is expected to attract 8,000 visitors and about 200 business delegations from 30 countries and territories worldwide.

Public bicycle-sharing service debuts in Hanoi

Tri Nam Group on August 24 launched a public bicycle-sharing service in Hanoi in an effort to keep the capital city clean and green.

In the first phase, 1,000 bicycles, including 500 electric bicycles, will be arranged at 79 stations across the city. These bicycle stations are linked to bus stops, public parks, and tourist attractions.

The firm will charge VND10,000 for a 30-minute trip on electric bikes and VND5,000 for a 30-minute trip on normal bicycles. Full-day hire will cost VND120,000 for an electric bike and VND60,000 for a normal bike.

Addressing the ceremony, Do Ba Dan, CEO of Tri Nam JSC, noted that during the 7-day test run starting August 16, as many as 7,454 trips had been recorded, with a combined length of nearly 47,000km. According to calculations, he said bike riders had helped reduce more than 2,844 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere as opposed to traveling by motorcycles.

Nguyen Manh Quyen, deputy head of the Hanoi government, said the city gives priority to achieving the sustainable development goal and improving the quality of life for its people. The use of clean energy vehicles, including bicycles, will help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, reported VOV.

At a public bicycle sharing point on Dao Tan street.
At a public bicycle-sharing point on Dao Tan Street.

The development of the public bicycle-sharing service will contribute to improving operational efficiency and diversifying modes of public passenger transport, gradually changing people’s travel habits, and reducing environmental pollution, noted the official.

To use the bike, riders are required to download a free public bicycle-sharing application called TNGo, top up their account, and use a magnetic card or smartphone to scan the QR code on the key to unlock the bike.

The application also supports riders in finding the nearest bike station, registering for a rent, choosing a fare based on time of use, and viewing transaction history, along with offering exercisers, and measuring burned calories and travelled distance.

The bike stations do not need custodians, and users can return the bike at any station. In case the amount of money in the account is not enough, riders can continue to travel by a public e-bike, and the rental fee will be calculated the next time when they deposit money into the account.

About 410,000 passengers expected at Noi Bai airport during National Day holidays

Noi Bai International Airport (NIA) in Hanoi is expected to welcome about 410,000 passengers and nearly 2,500 flights during the four-day National Day holidays, up 37% and 17% annually, respectively, the NIA’s leader said on August 24.

The airport forecast a 5% increase in passenger traffic compared to regular days, cited VNA.

At Noi Bai International Airport (Photo: VNA)
At Noi Bai International Airport (Photo: VNA)

During this period, the peak day is expected to cater to more than 106,000 passengers, including 31,000 foreigners and over 75,000 domestic visitors; and 637 flights, including 230 international and more than 407 domestic ones.

The airport also encourages passengers to complete web check-in or use kiosks at the terminal for self-check-in, which helps save time by avoiding queues at the check-in counters.

The upcoming holidays will last from September 1-4.

Vietnam’s new passport design with ‘place of birth’ receives positive global response

After the “place of birth” information was incorporated into passports, the procedures for visa applications, entry and exit, residence, and associated processes in other nations have proceeded seamlessly and without complications.

Every nation has reacted favorably. They have lauded Vietnam’s passport and visa strategies, which provide ample information to ascertain the identity of passport bearers, said a leader from the VID to the Vietnam News Agency.

From July 1, 2022, the MPS started issuing standard passports without electronic chips in a new format for Vietnamese citizens.

Prior to the formal introduction of this new passport design, both the MPS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated the format to the representative offices of all nations in Vietnam.

Following a month of this notification, no nation provided feedback.

An official of the Vietnam Immigration Department guides a citizen to conduct procedures for a passport in Hanoi. Photo: VNS
An official of the Vietnam Immigration Department guides a citizen to conduct procedures for a passport in Hanoi. Photo: VNS

Nevertheless, towards the close of July the previous year, several countries declared a temporary halt on visa issuance for Vietnam’s new passport version.

The reason was that the passport does not contain information on the passport users’ place of birth, cited VNS.

To overcome the difficulties, the Government directed the MPS and overseas Vietnamese representative agencies to add the information in the new passports.

Foreign countries approved the additional information. But they said that the acceptance was only temporary, and suggested Vietnam soon add information to the main profile page.

On November 15 last year, at the fourth session, the 15th National Assembly (NA) issued Resolution No 27/2022/QH15, which agreed to add “place of birth” to the passports of Vietnamese citizens.

Implementing the NA’s resolution, the MPS issued the Circular No 68/2022/TT-BCA on December 31 last year regulating passport forms.

The information was added to passports since the beginning of this year.

At the same time, the new passport form separates “last name”, “middle name and first name” on two lines to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese citizens when carrying out immigration procedures and residing abroad.

It also helps foreign authorities to distinguish last name and first name of the citizen, avoid confusion in documents issuance to Vietnamese citizens.

Amended laws

On June 24 this year, the NA approved the law amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam.

The VID said that the amended laws abolished regulation that the passport must be valid for six months before exiting the country.

It facilitates citizens when carrying out immigration procedures, especially for citizens with valid passports for less than six months but have foreign entry visa for residence.

The VID assessed that the amended laws was suitable with actual conditions, simplified administrative procedures including the ones on electronic devices.

The laws helped improve State management efficiency in exit and entry of Vietnamese citizens and unify with the legal system.

Rosie Nguyen