Businesses search for ways to overcome COVID-19

Monday, Mar 23, 2020 16:01

Workers at Viet - Trung Mining and Metallurgy Co Ltd produce steel billets. — Photo

Many businesses are struggling from a lack of raw materials and falling exports due to the impacts of the global pandemic COVID-19.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the pandemic had had a strong impact on industrial production.

The index of industrial production in the first two months of this year increased by 6.2 per cent over the same period last year, much lower than the increase of 13.7 per cent in 2018 and the 9.2 per cent reported last year.

The processing and manufacturing industry was the most heavily affected with growth in the first two months at only 7.4 per cent, much lower than the increase of 11.4 per cent posted in the same period last year.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade stated that if the pandemic continued until the second quarter of this year, the impacts would become evident on the manufacturing industry.

A representative of the Viet Nam Steel Corporation (VNSteel) also said that the market was unfavourable and the pandemic was having a negative impact on production and business of its units.

Production and business at Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC (Tisco) under VNSteel were seriously affected last month.

Specifically, Tisco’s consumption reached 14,000 tonnes by February 26, only fulfilling 23 per cent of its monthly plan.

The representative said the most badly hit was the Viet - Trung Mining and Metallurgy Co., Ltd due to its location near the Viet Nam - China border.

The company is heavily dependent on commercial activities between the two sides. Its raw materials and equipment, which are mainly imported from China, stand stagnant now.

Especially, coke inventories are very low, failing to meet the domestic demand for iron ore production and consumption.

To solve the difficulties, VNSteel has asked the company to work with relevant authorities in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai to resume normal import and export activities for coke and steel billets in order to maintain production and business activities.

At the same time, the company is also looking for alternative sources from Russia and Indonesia.

The corporation also proposed support solutions from the People's Committee of Lao Cai such as extending tax payment times for businesses.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, CEO of Vision Materials Vietnam Company Limited, said that in the current situation, finding new markets was very important because the disease would remain complicated.

Difficulties in importing raw materials would continue, he said. The company was actively seeking alternative sources of goods instead of China.

"We hope the authorities will strengthen trade promotions so the business community in general and our company in particular can access other sources," Vinh said.

In order to solve these difficulties, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has directed his departments to work directly with industry associations and localities to find solutions to "rescue" businesses.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will co-ordinate with branches and localities to handle border-gate issues to promote import and export circulation with China and find alternative markets for Vietnamese goods.

At the same time, the ministry has also directed trade offices and branches in Asia, Africa, Europe and America to assess consumption demand, market capacity, tastes and Vietnamese export growth potential to offset export declines due to the impacts of COVID-19, especially taking advantage of the preferential policies offered by the EU – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). — VNS

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