Laos welcomes more than 800,000 foreign visitors in Q1

Laos welcomed nearly 831,250 foreign tourists in the first quarter of this year, according to the country’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Thailand took the lead in the number of visitors with 344,405, and was followed by Vietnam and China with 179,885 and 143,312, respectively.

The number of European tourists topped 57,400 and those from Russia reached 11,573.

The tourism industry of Laos has recently received much praise from media publications around the world as it is considered one of the most attractive destinations in 2023.

With the number of visitors arriving in the country in the first quarter, the Lao government will most likely fulfill its goal of attracting 1.4 million foreign tourists this year, thereby contributing to speeding up the recovery of the industry as well as the national economy, which has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic ./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Luxembourg Prime Minister concludes official visit to Vietnam

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and a high-ranking delegation of Luxembourg left Vietnam, successfully concluding their official visit to Vietnam from May 3-5 at the invitation of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

During his stay in Vietnam, Bettel held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Chinh, witnessed the signing of cooperation documents in finance, including an agreement on strategic partnership in green finance between the two countries’ finance ministries, met with the press on outcomes of the talks, had a meeting with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, and visited the Temple of Literature and the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.

The PM also visited Ho Chi Minh City, attended and delivered a speech at the Vietnam-Luxembourg Business Forum, visited the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange and the War Remnants Museum, and scoped out climate change impacts in the area along Sai Gon River.

During the meetings, the two sides affirmed their wish and determination to advance the bilateral relationship to a new development period, making it more intensive, extensive and substantive.

They agreed on measures to enhance the political trust and deepen the friendship and multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries such as increasing all-level delegation exchanges, effectively implementing bilateral cooperation mechanisms and establishing new ones, and pushing ahead with the construction of logistics centres.

The Luxembourg PM consented to effectively and fully materialising the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in order to boost bilateral trade, and to urge other EU countries to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

The leader also noted his support for EU-Vietnam cooperation in sustainable fishery, and the EC to remove its ‘”yellow card” warning on Vietnamese seafood at an early date.

Apart from green finance, the two sides concurred to step up collaboration in culture, science-technology, information-communications, people-to-people exchange, tourism, and climate change response.

Regarding regional and international issues of shared concern, they affirmed their further coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations such as ASEAN-EU cooperation, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the United Nations, especially at the time when both countries are members of the UN Human Rights Council, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

On the East Sea issue, they reiterated the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, neither using force nor threatening to use force, and settling disputes by peaceful measures in line with international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two sides expressed their support for the early approval of a substantive, effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law.

Following the visit to Luxembourg by PM Chinh in December 2022, PM Bettel’s official visit to Vietnam demonstrates the two countries’ resolve to work together in elevating the bilateral cooperation to a new height./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Real estate market to rebound thanks to new policies

Rising demand for housing in urban areas in the 2021-2030, along with the Vietnamese government’s new policies on land, market transparency and bond issuances, is expected to spur the development of real estate market and opening up capital flows for businesses in the coming time, according to industry experts.

Statistics from the Ministry of Construction showed that the country’s urbanisation rate, which now stands at 40%, will expand to 45% by 2030.

With the current population growth rate and housing demand, around 70 million sq.m of urban housing is needed each year.

As the global real estate market is forecast to slow down in 2023, it’s hard for the Vietnamese market to avoid the impact. However, according to the Vietnam Association of Realtors (VARS), the segment of social and affordable housing will grow because urban development is still attracting the attention of investors.

Some investors like Vinhomes plan to build 500,000 social houses in the next five years. Him Lam and Hung Thinh also have plans to participate in the construction of social housing in the near future.

Given the fact that the supply of affordable apartments accounts for less than 2% of the total supply of new apartments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the social housing segment can recover thanks to this supply and the support from the Government’s new policies, said expert Nguyen Thi Cam Tu from Vndirect Securities Company.

She cited Government’s Resolution No 33/NQ-CP on solutions removing and promoting the development of a healthy and sustainable real estate market and Decree No.8/2023/ND-CP on amendment of a number of articles in decrees stipulating the private offering and trading of corporate in the domestic market as examples. They can help ease liquidity pressure in the short term, she noted.

In fact, real estate businesses are facing liquidity pressure when entering the peak period of bond maturity.

According to Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), the volume of such bonds maturing in 2023-2024 will reach about 230 trillion VND (9.8 billion USD), including 119 trillion VND in 2023 and 111 trillion VND in 2024.

Le Hoang Chau, President of HoREA, said Decree No. 08 will have a very positive impact on the handling of 119,000 billion VND worth of bonds due in 2023.

Experts said that the issuance of recent legal documents has creates a legal corridor for businesses to access capital, thereby resuming their operation. Enterprises have a chance to restructure debt, extend loan principal and interest, gradually removing bottlenecks of the real estate market.

The Government has committed to build more than 1 million social housing and houses for workers by 2030 to meet the needs of middle and low income households. This move creates a driving force for businesses, especially those with land available suitable for building social housing projects./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

State budget revenue reaches 645.4 trillion VND in four months

The total State budget revenue in the first four months of this year reached 645.4 trillion VND (over 27.52 billion USD), accounting for 39.8% of the estimate and 95% of the same period last year, the Ministry of Finance announced on May 5.

According to the ministry, although the revenue in the first four months of the year was quite good compared to the estimate, the monthly tended to decrease as the January collection reached 14.7% of the estimate, February 7.7%, March 8.9%, and April 8.6%.

Out of the 12 sources for domestic revenues, eight ensure collection progress with their State revenue topping 34% of the estimate, while the rest saw their revenue lower than the estimate

Out of the 63 provinces and centrally-run cities nationwide, 25 localities recorded state budget revenue topping 38% of this year’s targets.

Sixteen localities saw the collection higher than that in the same period of 2022, and 47 others were lower.

The Ministry of Finance also said that the state budget balance expenditure in the four months reached 500.3 trillion VND, equaling 24.1% of the estimate, up 6.1% over the same period in 2022.

It said expenditures in the four months were carried out as planned, meeting demand for socio-economic development, defense, security safeguarding, state management, debt repayment, and implementation of social security tasks./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

State President meets British, Cuban leaders in London

State President Vo Van Thuong had separate meetings with British and Cuban leaders, as part of his trip to the UK to attend the coronation of King Charles III from May 4 to 6.

The Vietnamese leader met with the UK’s House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, House of Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, and Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, among others British officials.

During the meetings, Thuong rejoiced at positive developments of the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership in the context that the two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic ties.

The British officials shared their view on the significance of Thuong’s visit, stressing Vietnam is a leading partner of the UK in the region as the European nation is accelerating the implementation of its Indo-Pacific strategy.

They also noted with pleasure the dynamic developments of the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership over the past more than 10 years in all fields, and agreed to continue increasing all-level delegation exchanges in all the channels of Party, State, Government, parliament and people-to-people exchange, while further fully and effectively materialising the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and bilateral cooperation mechanisms like the defence policy dialogue and the Vietnam-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).

The two sides expressed their wish to expand and deepen the bilateral cooperation in such potential spheres as national defence-security, green economy, climate change response and renewable energy.

Thuong suggested the UK help Vietnam in finance and technology, and raising the country’s capacity within the framework of the Just Energy Transition Partnership, towards fulfilling its commitments at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which took place in the UK in 2021.

Regarding cooperation at regional and international forums, the two sides agreed to closely coordinate and support each other in multilateral frameworks like ASEAN-UK cooperation, the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council for 2023-2025, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The British officials affirmed their support for Vietnam’s and ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea, the settlement of disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as negotiations for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China.

In a meeting with Vice President of Cuba Salvador Valdés Mesa, Thuong emphasised that the relationship between Vietnam and Cuba is exemplary in terms of purity, rarity, exemplar and loyalty. Mesa, for his part, said the bilateral political ties have been constantly consolidated and strengthened, as reflected through regular all-level delegation exchanges, and expressed his belief that the relationship will grow further in the time ahead./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

NA Chairman meets Hai Phong voters

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on May 6 met with voters in Ngo Quyen district, the northern port city of Hai Phong, ahead of the fifth meeting of the 15th legislature.

Local voters raised opinions on the draft Land Law (revised), environmental protection, the fight against corruption and wastefulness, cultural and tourism development, firefighting, incentives to businesses, and policies on education-training.

They were delighted at socio-economic achievements Vietnam and Hai Phong in particular recorded in 2022 and the first months of 2023 in the context of global uncertainties and COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

The top legislator said international friends have commended Vietnam’s anti-corruption efforts, noting its corruption perception index has been improved significantly.

Regarding the draft Land Law (revised), Hue said the bill has been identified as a focus of the law and ordinance making programme of the 15th legislature, and that more than 12 million voters and people have given their feedback on the draft law.

According to the leader, the draft law will be further scrutinised at the upcoming session of the NA Standing Committee, and then the fifth and sixth sittings of the legislature, and it will be approved only when it satisfies set conditions.

On environmental protection, he asked competent agencies in Hai Phong to provide consultations for the municipal People’s Committee in issuing legal documents on household solid waste management.

The chief legislator also touched upon the public-private partnership in tourism and sports, preferential policies in tourism development, and incentives to lure talents to the education-training sector.

He lauded Hai Phong’s efforts in reforming administrative procedures and improving its business environment, and urged the city to make better performance in the work.

Later the same day, Hue and other officials pressed the button to inaugurate the convention and performance centre project and the technical infrastructure system in the North Cam River New Urban Area./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency