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  • 12/08/16--18:01: Article 3
  • To enter Vietnam, foreign brewers follow a roundabout path

    Foreign brewers often set up joint ventures with Vietnamese partners and then take over the capital contribution from the Vietnamese partners. Why do they have to take this roundabout path to enter the market?

     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, vn news, beer, Sabeco, Habeco, SCIC
    Experts believe that licenses are the main hurdle for new enterprises to join the beer market. In order to open breweries, enterprises must get licenses from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Though the regulations are clear, it is still difficult to obtain licenses because the licensing depends on the beverage industry development strategy.

    In some cases, foreign companies can obtain licenses through negotiations between governments. However, in general, investors must follow complicated procedures to get licenses.

    Masan Group, for example, in order to develop a brewery in Hau Giang province, has used a license granted earlier to another company.

    Analysts believe that this is why both Heineken and Carlsberg lust for the stakes of Sabeco and Habeco, the two Vietnamese brewers.

    Foreign brewers often set up joint ventures with Vietnamese partners and then take over the capital contribution from the Vietnamese partners. 

    Carlsberg is a success story about how a foreign company penetrated the Vietnamese market. The Danish brewer has acquired Hue Brewery which owns Huda and Huda Gold brands.

    Analysts commented that Carlsberg took a wise move when it avoided the competitive southern market and decided to dominate the central region, which accounts for 6 percent of total beer consumption in Vietnam.

    It also plans to penetrate the northern market, which consumes 35 percent of total consumption, by buying 17.3 percent of Habeco’s stake.

    In 1994, Carlsberg set up a joint venture with Hue authorities with 50 percent of capital contribution. In 2011, it spent VND1.88 trillion to take over the 50 percent of capital from city authorities.

    With the same method, Carlsberg acquired South East Asia Brewery. The brewery was established in 1994 and run by a joint venture between Carlsberg and Viet Ha Company. In 2014, Carlsberg completed the takeover after buying all the stakes held by Viet Ha.

    Sapporo, another foreign brand, set foot in Vietnam in 2011, when it joined forces with Vintaba, a tobacco manufacturer, to set up a brewery. A short time later, Sapporo increased its ownership ratio in the brewery to 100 percent, while the Vietnamese amateur players left the playing field.

    Heineken NV does not hold the largest market share, but it is now dominating the high-end market segment through two subsidiaries, Heineken Vietnam Brewery Ltd in charge of the central and southern market, and APB Hanoi in charge of the northern market.

    Heineken NV now holds a 60 percent stake in Heineken Vietnam Brewery, while Satra, a state-owned trading enterprise, holds the remaining 40 percent. 

    Chi Mai, VNN

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  • 12/08/16--23:52: Article 2
  • Vietnam suspect blames meth for child torture

    Nguyen Thanh Dung is pictured at a police station in Ho Chi Minh City. 

    Tuoi Tre

    A suspect in custody for allegedly torturing and raping a child blamed his actions on the influence of meth during an interrogation with Vietnamese police on Thursday.

    Shortly after his arrest on Wednesday by C45, the criminal police unit under the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, Nguyen Thanh Dung was taken to the ministry’s southern headquarters for investigation.

    The 34-year-old man, from the southern province of An Giang, was the fourth suspect identified by police in the Cambodian province of Kompong Cham for raping and abusing a two-year-old Cambodian toddler.

    Prior to Dung’s arrest in Vietnam, the other three suspects, a Dutchman and two Cambodians, were taken into custody by Kompong Cham police.

    According to officers, Dung appeared calm during yesterday’s interrogation with Vietnamese police, admitting that he is the man in the child-torture videos that surfaced online earlier this week and were met by widespread uproar.

    In one of the videos, Dung appears to hit a naked boy before torturing him with a stun gun and strangling the child.

    Police say the investigation will continue until they identify when the footage was filmed and how many abusive interactions Dung had with the child.

    Nearly 50 different video clips showing Dung abusing various children were found on his mobile phone, according to C45 officers.

    Dung also admitted to being in an intimate relationship with Stefan Struik, the Dutch suspect arrested in the case and CEO of Kamkav, a company with cocoa plantations in Mondolkiri and a palm sugar plant in Kompong Cham.

    Dung said Struik had given him some money to return to Vietnam and open a company, but the two still keep in touch and maintain a sexual relationship.

    The suspect underlined that neither he nor his partner had sexually abused the toddler. “We are still working with Cambodian police to verify this aspect of his testimony,” a C45 officer noted.

    Dung also confessed to police that the victim in the video is one of the twin sons of a couple employed on Struik’s cocoa plantation. Dung said the crimes took place when the couple asked him to babysit the child.

    He also claims he may have been under influence of meth and lost control of his behavior during the horrific event.

    Dung said he feels remorse of his actions and has tried to commit suicide twice since the videos but failed in both attempts.

    The suspect said he felt hurt by the shouts and cries from the toddler while he watched the video at the police station.

    A C45 officer said Dung has only made initial testimonies and police are working to verify his confession.

    “Judging from his appearance, Dung displays no signs of being a heavy drug user,” the officer said.

    In the meantime, C45 head Ho Sy Tien said Vietnamese police have yet to make plans to extradite Dung to Cambodia as local police still must “work with him to clarify some details.”


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  • 12/09/16--00:26: Article 1
  • Bình Thuận seeks higher prices for wind power

    The Phú Lạc wind farm in the south-central province of Bình Thuận began operation last month. VNS Photo Nguyễn Thanh

    HCM CITY - The Bình Thuận Wind Power Association has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to raise the selling price of wind power to US$9.5-10 cents per kWh, up from the current $7.8 cents.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade has reportedly sent a proposal about the price to the Government.  

    Bùi Văn Thịnh, chairman of the Bình Thuận Wind Power Association, said as many as 19 wind power projects had been registered in the south-central province of Bình Thuận, but work on them had yet to begin.

    Investors had postponed the projects because regulated prices for this source of energy were below production costs, he said.

    “The investors are hopeful that the Government will raise the price,” Thịnh said.   

    The number of wind power projects in Việt Nam remains low since only wind turbine towers, accounting for 20 per cent of production costs, can be produced locally, while investors have to import the remaining components.

    Việt Nam plans to produce propellers valued at 10 per cent of the investment cost, turbines worth 7 per cent of the cost, and several other small components.

    A South Korean firm in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province produces wind turbine towers, while a US company manufactures turbines in the northern port city of Hải Phòng.

    "If the wind power market achieves strong growth in the future and attracts foreign investors capable of producing complicated parts, we will be able to raise the localisation ratio to more than 40 per cent," Thịnh said.

    With a price of only 7.8 cents per kWh, investors find it difficult to recover capital.

    For example, China has reached a localisation ratio of almost 100 per cent for their wind power projects, but the selling price of the energy stands at $8-10 cents per kWh, according to Thịnh.

    Việt Nam needs to switch to renewable energy such as wind and solar power as the country has cancelled its first two nuclear power projects and has started implementing commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, experts have said.

    The country’s total wind power output has reached only 160MW, far below the huge potential that exists in the country.

    The Government has released its National Electricity Development Plan for the 2011-2020 period with a strategic priority on renewable energy, with wind power capacity targeted at 800 MW by 2020 and 6,000 MW by 2030.

    Viet Nam News

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  • 12/09/16--01:16: Article 0

    More than VNĐ15 trillion tax arrears irrecoverable


    Irrecoverable tax debts were estimated to total more than VNĐ15 trillion (US$669.6 million) as of October 31, rising by 1.4 per cent over the end of last year, the General Department of Taxation said.

    The irrecoverable tax debts accounted for more than 20 per cent of total tax arrears.

    Tax authorities until October 31 collected a total VNĐ33.5 trillion worth of tax debts.

    A recent report by the General Department of Taxation showed that tax revenues totaled VNĐ753.4 trillion in the 11 months of this year (excluding revenue from State stake sales at State-owned enterprises). The tax collection met 93.1 per cent of the estimate for the full year and was equivalent to 107 per cent of the same period last year.

    Tax revenue from crude oil reached VNĐ35.6 trillion, or just 63 per cent of the estimate, since oil prices remained at low levels.

    The Ministry of Finance said tax reforms were hastened this year to create favourable conditions for businesses.

    The ministry said 92 tax administrative procedures were removed this year, along with the application of nationwide e-tax declaration and payment system.

    The ministry’s statistics also revealed that budget collection rose 6.3 per cent in the 11-month period to touch VNĐ911 trillion.

    The Government is expected to add VNĐ1.039 quadrillion to the nation’s coffers this year, with 80 per cent coming from domestic collection.

    Parkson Hanoi to close one more shopping center

    Parkson Hanoi Co Ltd, a unit of Malaysian retailer Parkson, is to close Parkson Viet Tower in Hanoi on December 15 after eight years of operation.

    Early last year, the company shut down Parkson Keangnam Landmark on Pham Hung Street in the capital city. Experts said Parkson had closed its shopping centers in Hanoi due to fierce competition and heavy losses.

    Many shopping centers in Hanoi have operated inefficiently in the past, as many tenants have left due to big losses. For example, Grand Plaza on Tran Duy Hung Street ceased its operation owing to a slump in sales. After three years of closure, the shopping mall Grand Plaza has been replaced by an interior furniture supermarket called Kasa Grand.

    Trang Tien Plaza, one of the first shopping centers in Hanoi City, is located next to the landmark Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake. After years of poor business performance, it has leased its facility to Imex Pan–Pacific Group (IPP Group).

    The group invested VND400 billion in the center’s innovation, and reopened it in early 2013. At that time, many experts predicted IPP Group would improve the performance of this center. However, the business situation has not fared as well as expected.

    A report of Savills Vietnam indicated that business at Hanoi-based shopping centers has been less vibrant. Total retail space supply has increased with the launch of at least three new projects – T1 Tower of Thang Long Victory, Thang Long Garden and Victoria Van Phu. However, average occupancy has been on the decrease.

    As reported by market researcher JLL, unoccupied space at commercial centers in Hanoi had risen from 25% in the first quarter to nearly 26% in the second quarter, and represented a year-on-year rise of 10 percentage points.

    Many commercial centers are located in unfavorable locations that are inconvenient to local residents, or near existing trade centers, prompting fierce competition, according to Nguyen Van Dinh, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Property Brokers.

    Tra fish firms suggested to study market demand first

    Instead of carefully gauging market demand before turning out products, many domestic tra fish enterprises have ignored that step and focused on production only, which has made their products less competitive on global markets, said experts attending a conference in Can Tho City on December 6.

    Le Xuan Thinh, deputy director of Vietnam Cleaner Production Center (VNCPC), said so far, enterprises have only produced what they want rather than what the market wants.

    “Making enterprises change their way of thinking is the objective of the Sustainable Pangasius Supply Chain (SUPA) project,” he told the conference on market demand in the viewpoint of customers and European retailers.

    Axel Hein, an expert of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Austria, noted how customers are largely unaware of tra fish from Vietnam. “When asked what tra fish is, a group of young consumers in Austria said it is a low-cost freshwater fish which has no bone and therefore, can be processed into different dishes,” he told the conference.

    Vietnamese enterprises can use tra fish to make dishes for children or process it into fish balls or packaged fish rather than simply exporting tra fish fillets to Europe, Hein suggested.

    Aside from creating new products, he said local firms should promote tra fish farming and processing techniques on YouTube to appeal to more consumers in the EU.

    In addition, the packaging of tra fish products should be attended to so that such products become more eye-catching to consumers.

    Not only that, exporters have to put information on the origin of tra fish products or guidance on how to cook tra fish on the packaging and ensure that the information is accurate, he added.

    Robert Herman, managing director of Austria-based Yuu’n Mee, said enterprises have to produce tra fish of high quality to approach customers with stricter requirements.

    In order to do so, Vietnamese tra fish has to meet criteria set by importing markets, he said.

    The goal of the SUPA project is to make at least 50% of small and medium tra fish processing firms meet the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards.

    Founded in 2010 by WWF and IDH (Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative), the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent not-for-profit organization with global influence.

    ASC aims to be the world’s leading certification and labelling program for responsibly farmed seafood.

    So far, only 35, or 16.3% of tra fish farms in Vietnam, have received ASC certificates.

    Incoming remittances to HCMC predicted to drop this year

    Incoming remittances to HCMC are expected to edge down this year due to the recent unfavorable political and economic developments worldwide, although this source of foreign currency steadily increased around 10% a year previously.

    Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the HCMC branch of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), said incoming remittances to the city are estimated at US$5 billion in 2016, falling by over US$500 million from a year earlier. The smaller sum is attributed to a decline in remittances from the U.S. 

    Incoming remittances in the fourth quarter alone usually account for 40-42% of the total, with nearly two-thirds sourced from the U.S.

    Minh said an imminent interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve this month has prompted remittances from this country to fall.

    Besides, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said he would scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact when he takes office. This might have made Vietnamese American investors hesitant over bringing money to the homeland to tap into opportunities from the trade agreement.

    By end-September, 71.9% of remittances to HCMC had been channeled into the production field, 21.9% into real estate and 6.2% to families of overseas Vietnamese.

    In the 2012-2015 period, remittances to HCMC increased 10% per annum, from US$4.1 billion in 2012 to US$4.85 billion in 2013, US$5 billion in 2014 and US$5.5 billion in 2015. Remittances to the southern economic hub make up 50% of the country’s total.

    SBV deputy governor Dao Minh Tu has been cited by Thanh Nien newspaper as saying that incoming remittances to Vietnam are expected at US$9 billion this year, much lower than in 2015.

    According to a World Bank report, incoming remittances to Vietnam stood at an estimated US$12.25 billion last year.

    HCM City to tighten fiscal discipline

    HCMC will tighten fiscal spending given revenue constraints as a result of tariff cuts and a lower level of retained budget revenue.

    With the percentage of budget revenue the city may retain slashed from 23% to 18%, a series of solutions for revenue management will be carried out next year, said HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong at the opening session of the municipal People’s Council on December 6.

    Specifically, the city will tighten fiscal discipline, settle problems related to taxation to help businesses boost their activities and fulfill their tax obligations, said Phong at the third meeting of the council on December 6.

    Notably, capital allocation will be based on how to balance the budget. Funding will be prioritized for projects within the seven breakthrough programs.

    HCMC will offer incentives to lure investors from all economic sectors into infrastructure development, with a focus on public-private partnerships.

    As per the plan for public investment in HCMC next year, the central budget will provide nearly VND7.2 trillion, while the city will supply itself more than VND25.1 trillion.

    The total budget revenue of the city next year is estimated at over VND347.8 trillion, an increase of nearly 16% from 2016, whereas the total budget spending is put at some VND70.64 trillion.

    A HCMC People’s Council deputy suggested the city focus on fueling production as a long-term solution for sustaining revenues. Thus, the municipal government should early specify the incentives for each type of production to assist businesses to grow.

    Initially, the city government said a VND1-trillion package would be launched to support entrepreneurship and help household businesses turn into companies.

    In addition, the time for business registration will be shortened. And preferential policies on taxation, credit, land and manpower combined with attraction of multinational corporations will be implemented in line with the development of domestic enterprises and supporting industries.

    “The city will go ahead with the plan for restructuring SOEs and divesting State stakes in enterprises, grant public service units autonomy, call for the private sector’s involvement in public services, let eligible public service units go public, and cut budget spending,” said Nguyen Thanh Phong on the economic development plan for next year.

    HCMC to spend US$81.4 million dredging Ba Lon Canal

    The HCMC government is seeking approval from the municipal People’s Council to execute the Ba Lon Canal dredging project at a cost of VND1,850 billion (US$81.4 million) financed by the enterprise restructuring assistance fund.

    In a document sent to the council on December 6, the city government said the project aims to dredge the canal with a total length of nearly 7.5 kilometers running from District 8 to Phong Phu Commune in Binh Chanh District.

    The project is expected to be executed between this year and 2020, and when completed, it will help upgrade the drainage system in the south of the city, and connect the system with another project to improve flood control, which is underway in the area.  

    In addition, the city government has asked the council for permission for 55 public investment projects of Group B, costing a total of VND20 trillion which will be financed by the city’s budget.

    Prior to the meeting of the HCMC People’s Council, many city residents expressed concerns over the rapid urbanization, resulting in many environmental problems, including the encroachment on drainage canals, and urban flooding caused by rains and high tides.

    Steel industry no longer governed by master plan, says VSA

    The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) has reminded the Ministry of Industry and Trade that the State would no longer manage the steel industry with any master plan if the Planning Law was voted through and put into force in 2018. Regarding the current practices, a steel project cannot be approved if it is not named in the master plan for the industry.

    As per the draft Planning Law submitted to the National Assembly (NA), the steel industry and many others will no longer be governed by planning but by other laws like the Enterprise Law, the Investment Law, the Law on Quality Standards and the Law on Environmental Protection, VSA said in a written comment on the draft planning for the steel industry until 2025, with a vision to 2035.

    This planning, therefore, will only serve as a reference before investors make their decisions. Also, the issuance of investment certificates will be done according to the opinions of the relevant ministries, not just the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The draft Planning Law stipulates that only 21 industries need national planning for their use of marine resources and large-scale infrastructure. For most of the other industries, including steel, the industry ministry is no longer responsible for doing the planning.

    This draft law has been widely discussed by the NA since September, with most opinions against the planning for the steel industry, yet the industry ministry has still drafted planning and gathered opinions.

    Foreign investors should not be invited into the projects to produce normal steel products whose supply is redundant. Instead, they should be encouraged to invest in the production of alloy and high-quality steel, says VSA in the written comment signed by Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Sua.

    Currently, domestic investors are capable of developing large-scale steel complex projects. Foreign investors already account for a high proportion in the steel industry, so there is no need to call for others, VSA states. The steel association also notes that it is a major shortcoming of the industry ministry to adjust the planning without setting an aim for the development of hot-rolled and high-quality steel, almost 100% of which Vietnam has to import at the moment. Meanwhile, many projects of construction steel and steel billets are still conceived.

    VSA also pointed out other faults in the ministry’s draft planning. Remarkably, in this draft planning, a mammoth project for “expansion of the second phase of Thai Nguyen Steel Factory”, which has made losses and remained inactive, is listed as “no investor”. This is incorrect since it is a project of Vietnam Steel Corporation and other shareholders.

    VSA proposes this project should be thoroughly handled and similar projects that have yet to get going should be eliminated, including several other infeasible projects slated for 2017-2025.

    Vietnam aviation sector posts staggering growth

    The total number of air passengers is estimated to reach 52.2 million this year, up a staggering 29% year-on-year, according to data of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

    Low-cost carriers Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific have operated 50 domestic air services connecting Hanoi, HCMC, and Danang with 17 domestic airports. Therefore, the number of domestic passengers has soared to 28 million, up 30% year-on-year.

    In addition, the number of passengers using budget air services on domestic routes is expected to amount to 15 million this year, accounting for nearly 55% of the total number of domestic flyers.

    As of end-November, the total fleet of the local carriers has amounted to 147 airplanes, and five more planes would be delivered in the rest of this year.

    This year there are 52 foreign airlines of 28 countries and territories operating 78 air services to and from Vietnam. Local and foreign carriers also have conducted chartered flights to Hue, Can Tho and Dalat among others.

    Local carriers in the January-November period of this year operated over 228,000 flights.

    However, there were some 36,844 delayed flights, accounting for 16.1% and up 0.6 percentage point year-on-year, while 1,605 canceled flights were reported, making up 0.7% and rising 0.2 percentage point year-on-year.

    First hotel project licensed into hi-tech park

    Beton 6 Construction & Civil Engineering Corporation was awarded a license on December 6 to develop a commercial center and a hotel inside the Saigon Hi-Tech Park in District 9, HCMC, the first time such facilities are to be developed in the park.

    Beton 6 will pour some VND453 billion to develop the Saigon East Commercial Center, comprising a trade center and a convention-hotel complex, in the hi-tech park.

    The trade center, named Satra Center Mall, will have total floor space of 32,000 square meters, mainly catering to experts, workers and students in the park, as well as residents in nearby areas. Le Thien Giao, director of Beton 6 Construction & Civil Engineering Corporation, said at a function to receive the business certificate from the hi-tech park management on December 6 that his company had also inked an agreement with Saigon Trading Group (Satra), allowing the latter to manage the trade center over a period of at least 30 years upon the center’s completion in 2018.

    Meanwhile, a complex of convention halls and a five-star hotel will also be developed as the second component of the project. This 15-floor hotel will also cater to businesspeople in the park as well as their partners.

    Giao said his company would look for a well-known hotel management company to manage the facilities.

    The HCMC Saigon Hi-Tech Park is currently home to some 50 tenants, many of them multinationals like Samsung, Intel and Nidec, employing over 33,000 laborers.

    Hanoi hosts international exhibition on security

    The 2016 Homeland Security Expo, the only international exhibition on security in Vietnam, opened for the first time in Hanoi on December 7, marking the start of a series of annual programmes introducing the latest equipment, information and technologies in the field.

    The two-day event features 50 booths set up by 40 companies from the leading nations in the areas of security and defence, such as Russia, the United States, India, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Singapore and hosts Vietnam.

    On display at the exhibition are products from many of the world’s popular brands in the fields of security, safety and defence, including KB Radar, Emirates Special Vehicle, Digital Barriers, GDMS, Convidence Reeco Tech, Tata Motors Limited, Dermilog Indentification, Smiths Detection, Arvind, IRITECH, Panasonic System Solutions, SKICHEL and CPRO Vietnam.

    With the goal of introducing and exchanging equipment and technologies serving the security and defence industry, the exhibition promises to bring the most advanced products and technologies to those working in the sector in Vietnam, according to the organising committee.

    The event is expected to be a platform for Vietnamese companies to establish new relationships and advertise their products to potential international customers. It also offers a good opportunity for both domestic and foreign enterprises to facilitate international cooperation, experience sharing and technology transfers.

    PM signs off on budget allocation for 2017

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a decision allocating budgets for government ministries, central-level agencies, provinces and centrally governed cities for 2017.

    The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Investment have been asked to guide other ministries, the state power utility EVN, Agribank, provinces and cities to implement the budgets in line with the Law on the State Budget and the Law on Public Investment.

    Meanwhile, they are in turn requested to prod State-owned enterprises under their jurisdiction to pay their taxes in full after setting aside the required funds.

    Provinces and cities are required to spend all the funds from lotteries on investment for development, of which more than half should go to education, vocational training and healthcare.

    At least 10% of lottery revenues should be spent on building new-style rural areas while the rest may be spent on climate change response projects and other important programmes.

    Ministries, provinces and cities are required to make efforts to increase revenues and reduce unnecessary spending in order to provide funds for a minimum wage rise from July 1.

    The basic wage used to calculate salaries for state workers, pension payments and other benefits will increase from the current VND1.21 million to VND1.3 million a month.

    In 2017 funds will not be provided to projects that had a disbursement rate of less than 30% as of September 30, 2016, except for the cases in which delays are unavoidable.

    Funding for workshops, conferences, foreign field trips, cars and expensive equipment will also be cut.

    Total investment capital of BRT adjusted

    The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport said yesterday the city green transport development project - building bus rapid transit (BRT) on Vo Van Kiet and Mai Chi Tho was adjusted with total investment capital of US$ 131million, a decrease of over US$ 12.7million compared to last preriod.

    The management board of urban transport investment & development proposed the solution to build two new lane BRT with total length of 3.8km on Mai Chi Tho (starting from Dong Van Cong to Cat Lai intersection), aiming to reduce traffic jams.

    It is estimated that around 6,000 passengers per day will use this route for the first year's operation (2019). Next years, the number of passengers using the BRT is expected to increase and by 2026 it will be able to reach 25,360 passengers a day.

    However, motor/car parking lots are far away the BTR therefore it proposed to build motor parking lot at bus stops.

    The department suggested the people's Committee to invest high speed-buses from the city's green transport capital and encourage the private sectors to join in buying high speed-buses as per its green transport plan.

    State assets must be secured during SOE equitization

     More than VNĐ15 trillion tax arrears irrecoverable, Parkson Hanoi to close one more shopping center, Incoming remittances to HCMC predicted to drop this year, Steel industry no longer governed by master plan, says VSA

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called for the equitization process of Vietnam during the 2016-2020 period to be faster, clearer, and stricter, with the value of land use rights no longer incurring a loss for the State.

    “The discussion on the determination of land use rights for enterprises is essential”, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, when he chaired the national videoconference implementing the rearrangement and renovation of SOEs during the 2016-2020 period.

    Decree 59 sets a 30-day time limit for local administrations to give their official opinions on land prices to be applied to equitized enterprises. Some provinces have stated that the time allowed was too short, making the valuation of lands inaccurate.

    Recently, during the divestment of State capital in two beer giants- the Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Habeco) and the Saigon Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), the Vietnamese leader called for the land use rights to be taken into account during the valuation process.

    “A full and complete discussion over a regulatory change will be made, as Decree 59 on the conversion of enterprises with 100 per cent State-owned capital into shareholding companies has shown inadequacies”, the PM told the gathering.

    Figures from the Steering Committee for Enterprise Renewal and Development revealed that the number of SOEs has declined significantly from some 6,000 in 2001 to 718 as at the end of October 2016, focusing on 19 sectors. However, the proportion of stakes sold only accounted for 8 per cent of the total capital that the State is holding.

    There is a need to determine the sectors that the State should entirely divest from. “The classification list of SOEs is in my hands”, PM Phuc said. One thing holds the Vietnamese leader back, “how much should the dominant shares be in sectors that the government needs to control?”

    During the next five years, the State will only hold 100 per cent of the capital in key sectors. “Those that the State does not need to hold controlling stakes in will have to conduct equitization in accordance to the market mechanism, ensuring transparency and avoiding a loss of the State’s assets,” said Vice Chairman of the Office of the Government Mr. Le Manh Ha.

    “Those who deliberately slow down the equitization process, or do not want to be privatized, will be liable for their actions”, said PM Phuc. The removal of all legal obstacles in the equitization process, development of evaluation systems for equitized enterprises, and the application of international corporate governance practices will be set.

    During the first 11 months of this year, the military-run telecom operator Viettel, the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation (Vinafood1), and eight corporations under the Ministry of Construction (MoC) and Hanoi, sold the State stakes in other enterprises worth VND2.8 trillion ($123.2 million), bringing in VND5.08 trillion ($223.6 million).

    ACV divests all shares at Hanoi Ground Services

    Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has announced it will divest all its shares, equivalent to 20 per cent of charter capital, at Hanoi Ground Services Joint Stock Company (HGS).  

    The Ministry of Transport directed ACV to sell the shares to other founding partners through an auction if over two founding partners will buy them, or through an agreement if only one founding partner buys the shares.  

    ACV is also requested to buy the shares under public auction for other investors who are not founding partners. “The starting price will be determined by valuation organizations in accordance with the law on valuation,” said Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong.

    The aviation giant, on December 3, announced to its intent to sell nearly 4 million shares of its subsidiary Southern Airports Services JSC (Sasco), with the stock code SAS, . 

    From December 6 to January 4, ACV will register to sell 3.95 million SAS shares out of a total of 67 million SAS shares owned by ACV, equivalent to 51 per cent of the charter capital of Sasco.

    SAS shares are now trading at a price of VND26,000 ($1.17) per share. At this price, ACV is expected to gross VND100 billion ($4.4 million).

    More than 2.17 billion shares of ACV have officially traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) since November 21, with a reference price on the first day of VND25,000 ($1.1) per share. Ten days later, the price rose to VND41,000 ($1.84) per share, an increase of 64 per cent.   

    ACV also divested a part of its capital in Saigon Ground Services JSC (SAGS) before trading on UPCoM. ACV sold 132 million shares of SAGS, reducing the ownership percentage from 54.62 per cent to 48.02 per cent, equivalent to 9.6 million shares.  

    HSG has charter capital of VND150 billion ($6.6 million), providing ground services at Noi Bai International Airport with approximately 30 per cent of market share.

    In the first seven months of 2016, HSG achieved revenue of VND170 billion ($7.48 million), profit after tax of VND28 billion ($1.2 million), with return on equity reaching 30 per cent.

    This year, HGS signed a contract to provide services for Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Malindo Air, Hainan Airlines and Nok Air.

    ACV is a joint stock company operating under the parent-subsidiary structure, with the state holding majority stake. In October 2015, the government approved its equitization plan, with state ownership to fall to 75 per cent.

    ACV manages 22 airports throughout Vietnam, seven of which are international and 15 domestic, with 21 directly managed by the corporation. It also has a range of joint ventures with other companies.

    DAS Capital seeks strategic partnership with Tan Tao

    DAS Capital Fund from the US has recently announced plans to become the strategic partner of Tan Tao Investment Industry Corporation (HoSE: ITA) by making an investment capital contribution of $150 million.

    Under the plan, DAS Capital will buy ITA shares for $20 million, then raise its investment to $150 million over several phases.

    DAS Capital, founded in 2011, has expanded its presence all over the world and made a strong foothold in Asia. The Los Angles-based fund’s portfolio currently stood at $5 billion.

    This week, a high-level delegation headed by Nebojsa Micic Micko, executive vice president of DAS Capital in Southeast Asia, paid a visit to Vietnam to explore the opportunity of becoming ITA’s strategic partner.

    According to Micko, Vietnam is well-known as an emerging market with significant potential. The country already signed a wide range of free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the EU-Vietnam FTA. This is the right time for investors to study the market and make an investment decision.

    He highlighted that this is the first time DAS Capital ventures into Vietnam. The fund is looking to cooperate with a prestigious local company who has strong growth, a matching portfolio, and high potential yield.

    ITA general director Thai Van Men noted that Tan Tao has a diversified portfolio across many industries, like healthcare, education, real estate, and infrastructure development. In particular, the firm is one of the leading industrial park (IP) developers in Vietnam with many projects nationwide, such as Tan Tao IP in Ho Chi Minh City and Tan Duc IP in the southern province ofLong An.

    “ITA has seen growing interest from investors due its rapid development in the past few years. The firm welcomes both local and foreign strategic investors to increase investment capital for its upcoming projects,” he added.

    Viettel’s Burundi arm wins 2 world communication awards     

    Viettel’s subsidiary in Burundi, Lumitel, won the “Best operator in an emerging market” and “Best brand” awards at the 2016 World Communication Awards (WCA) held in Britain last month.

    To win these awards, Lumitel had to overcome a challenge from international telecom companies like Orange (France), Telstra (Australia), Airtel (India), Ooredoo (Qatar) and Telkomsel (Indonesia).

    Lumitel has invested in laying 3,000km of fibre-optic cable to cover all of Burundi’s 18 provinces, and the number of its base transceiver stations equals that of all four of its competitors put together.

    One month after starting operations Lumitel became the second biggest player.

    After one year the company was first with a 46 per cent market share and 1.5 million subscribers out a total population of 10 million.

    Last October Lumitel had been recognised as the Most Successful New Enterprise of the Year, its first international award, by the International Business Awards – IBA Stevie Awards, after it built complete, high-quality infrastructure within a short time, used IT in sales, registered all smart phone users’ private information, and set up a distribution network covering remote areas.

    For Viettel, this was the fifth “Best operator in an emerging market” award after its subsidiaries in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and Timor Leste also won it.

    The World Communication Awards were established in 1999 to recognise excellence amongst global telecom operators. They are open to all fixed and mobile operators and service providers who operate fully or partly in what is widely recognised as a developing market. 

    Da Nang Port lists 66 million shares on UpCoM     

    Da Nang Port has made its debut on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange with 66 million shares, under the code CDN.

    The Da Nang Port Joint Stock Company said the listing would contribute towards the company’s future development by driving it to constantly innovate, enhance business and put in place modern administrative methods, thus creating favourable conditions to mobilise capital from investors for business development and expansion.

    Da Nang Port began operations under the joint stock company on July 24, 2014, with a registered capital of VND660 billion (US$29 million). It is one of the 12 businesses under the management of the Viet Nam Maritime Corporation that is being equitised, in accordance with the Corporation’s restructuring plan for the 2012-15 period, approved by the prime minister in 2013.

    After equitisation, the port faced many challenges from the global shipping industry as well as competition from other ports in the country. With its focus on receiving container shipping, bulk carrier and passenger shipping, developing the market, strengthening investment in infrastructure and training, the company has shown positive growth compared to its performance before equitisation. Its profit in 2015 was 10 times higher than that of five years earlier.

    On July 30, 2016, the company began the second phase of work on expanding Tien Sa Port, which requires an estimated investment capital of more than VND1 trillion. Once complete, Da Nang Port will be able to receive ships with 10 million tonnes of goods and more than 150,000 gross tonne passenger ships. 

    Mebipha to invest in vertical integration     

    Mebipha Manufacturing & Trading Co. Ltd. will invest in a hi-tech, closed poultry farm in 2017 as part of its vertical integration chain, to supply farmers with feeds and breeders.

    The company aims to increase its export turnover, construct a complete vertical supply chain for sustainable growth and become one of the top three leading veterinary companies in Việt Nam by the end of 2016.

    As a manufacturer of veterinary pharmaceutical products, complete premix and feed additives and preventive and curative medicines for farming and aquaculture, Mebipha distributes its products across the country and exports to countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

    It has researched, produced and distributed many products such as antibiotics Ceftri One LA, Josa INJ and Tri Alpha, which are popular with farmers owing to their effectiveness and reasonable rates compared to imported antibiotics.

    The company’s three antibiotics had been ranked as one of the ten best national veterinary products by the Animal Husbandry Association of Viet Nam, the Department of Livestock and the National Agriculture Extension Centre on November 24, 2016. 

    Fruit producer Vinamit get US, EU organic certification

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    Vinamit Joint Stock Company, a producer and exporter of vacuum-fried fruit and dried-fruit products, has had its farming and processing certified as organic separately by the US Department of Agriculture and EU’s Ecocert.

    It received the USDA and EU organic certifications for around 80 products, its three farms totalling 171ha in Binh Duong Province and its two processing and packaging plants in the province.

    The certification follows its efforts to strictly conform to US and EU organic farming requirements for the past three years, Nguyen Lam Vien, the company’s chairman and general director, said.

    Organic certification is considered the highest food hygiene and safety standard globally.

    To obtain the certificate, growers must not only ensure they do not use fertilisers, pesticides, chemicals, stimulants, hormones or genetically modified seeds, but also have to guarantee that their organic farming practices meet environment-friendly, bio-diversity and sustainable development standards, he said.

    Achieving the certification would enable the company to export to fastidious markets like North America, Japan and the EU, he said.

    Richard De Boer, managing director of Control Union Vietnam, said, “consumers are becoming more and more aware of what they eat.”

    In the last three to five years organic consumption has been growing by 5-10 per cent a year.

    The global organic market is worth around US$80 billion, with the US being the main consumer, De Boer said. 

    SCIC and IFC partnered to promote corporate governance     

    Viet Nam’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on improving corporate governance practices during equitisation, on December 7.

    “Corporate governance has always been an SCIC priority to improve the performance of its portfolio. With a portfolio of about 200 companies, we are conducting thorough assessments to strengthen corporate governance in these companies to improve their value,” said Nguyen Đuc Chi, Chairman of the SCIC.

    By purchasing equity in state-owned companies and mobilising capital from international buyers, IFC agreed to support SCIC and its portfolio companies in executing their divestment plan and exploring financing opportunities in the agribusiness, services, and manufacturing sectors. The two parties will consider privatisation opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

    Over the next two years, IFC will develop a corporate governance-improvement plan, using international practices for some SCIC companies. IFC will also conduct annual training programmes for potential directors of corporations on various aspects of corporate governance, like board effectiveness, financial oversight and transparency.

    “Co-operation with SCIC is part of our efforts to support the equitisation of state-owned assets and help further strengthen the private sector as a key driver for economic growth and employment in Việt Nam,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC’s Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific.

    IFC expected to not only increase the performance of the SCIC portfolio, but also to accelerate growth, and attract more foreign investment to State-owned firm equitisation.

    IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

    Since its first direct investment in Việt Nam in 1994, IFC has catalysed $5.6 billion of investment to 120 projects in infrastructure, manufacturing, agribusiness, renewable energy, and finance in the country. 

    FTAs useless for local retailers     

    A recent report of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) shows free trade agreements will little impact on the country’s enterprises, however, many disagree with the findings.

    The Phap luat Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh (HCM City Law) quoted Huynh Van Minh, chairman of the HCM City Enterprises Association, as saying that the study results were not realistic.

    Small and medium- sized enterprises account for 90 per cent of the country’s total enterprises and these enterprises have several weaknesses, he added. He said the size of these retailers was increasingly shrinking.

    Sharing the same view as Minh, Dao Xuan Khuong, an expert on distribution and retail, said the largest impact of free trade agreements are the tariffs, which will gradually reduce to zero per cent.

    Foreign retailers already had connections with suppliers globally; therefore, if price of Vietnamese producers were not competitive, they would import goods from abroad into Viet Nam.

    However, it was not easy for local retailers to do the same as they did not have similar trade relationships with global suppliers, he said.

    "The fact that some local retail businesses leave the market shows that they are unable to ultilise the advantages of the preferential tariff of zero per cent, unlike foreign retailers. Besides this, they realise their capital is not enough to compete in the long term, so their decision to withdraw is a wise strategy,” the expert said.

    In addition, Nguyen Phi Van, an expert on retail and franchise, said it was the consequence of the unready and passive Vietnamese enterprises, which were satisfied with local and regional markets, while investors in neighbouring countries, especially Thailand and Malaysia, were keen for international co-operation. 

    Industrial machinery equipment and material expo opens in HCM City     

    The 11th Viet Nam International Exhibition on Industrial Machinery Equipment, Material and Products (Vinamac Expo 2016) opened in HCM City on December 7.

    The expo features more than 450 booths set up by 250 Vietnamese and foreign exhibitors, including those from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, South Korea, the US, Japan, Singapore and China.

    Products on display includes a wide range of machinery, steel pipes, metallurgy, materials, metal and welding items, chemicals, paint, coating materials, and textile, printing and advertisement equipment, among others.

    Conferences on the textile industry, fertilisers and pesticides, welding and metalworking, the chemical industry and others will be held alongside the expo.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nguyen Quang Huy, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Southern Affairs, said the exhibition offered an opportunity for Vietnamese manufacturers and foreign companies to seek new business opportunities and technology exchange.

    Organised by the Viet Nam Advertisement and Fair Exhibition JSC in collaboration with HCM City Association of Mechanical Engineering and other local and international organisers, the expo at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre will run until December 10. 

    SBV works to prevent credit fraud

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) this week instructed concerned agencies and organisations to keep a strict check on the use of credit cards to prevent false transactions.

    In a move aimed at keeping the credit card market safe so it develops healthily, the SBV issued Document No9325 / NHNN-TT dated December 5, directing card issuers, card payment organisations, payment intermediary organisations and SBV’s branches across the nation to prevent the use of credit cards in sham transactions, in which card-accepting units permit card holders to withdraw cash via points of sales (POS) without making any real transactions related to the sale or purchase of goods and services.

    The central bank said it had recently come across some cases where credit card holders had used the card to simply withdraw cash.

    Such kind of transactions are prohibited under Vietnam’s law as they are a risk and can negatively affect the healthy development of the country’s credit card market, the SBV noted in the document posted on its website.

    To manage the card market better, the central bank has asked card issuers and card payment institutions to scrutinise and select only reliable card-accepting units. Then, they have to closely monitor credit card transactions to avoid sham transactions, it said.

    Before issuing credit cards to customers, these agencies must conduct a comprehensive assessment and scrutiny to meet the country’s legal regulations on granting credit.

    The central bank has prohibited payment intermediary organisations from providing services for pretended transactions.

    The SBV has also asked card issuers and card payment institutions to raise awareness among people about false transactions and other frauds related to card and electronic payments.

    Besides raising people’s awareness about pretended transactions and following a non-cash payment policy, the SBV’s branches must regularly conduct inspections to uncover violations, the central bank said.

    BRG and Sumitomo embark in real estate and retail

    Vietnamese leading private group in finance, banking and golf resorts BRG Group has established a strategic relationship with Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation to increase to collaborate in potential business sectors, especially the real estate and retail.

    The co-operation, which was marked by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on December 1, is considered a foundation to exploit and develop the two parties’ potential during the co-operation progress in numerous sectors, including real estate, Nhat Tan-Noi Bai urban development project, high-tech agriculture and retail sectors.

    In addition, it is also an important landmark, which supports for the two parties’ expansion of business activities, simultaneously help to confirm the value of the two firms’ brand.

    “Sumitomo sees BRG Group as a leading private group in Vietnam. We believe that BRG Group has characteristics we are looking for in a local partner. The MoU will lay the foundations of our partnership and enable us to work closely together on specific business agreements that produce new synergies and add value to both parties,” said Masao Sekiuchi, CEO of Sumitomo Corporation Asia & Oceania.

    Established in 1993, BRG is an conglomerate, providing services in many areas, including real estate, hospitality, entertainment, golf courses, trade, retail, production, and construction. 

    In real estate, BRG has developed projects in most major cities in Vietnam, with a focus on commercial buildings with the BRG Commercial brand, apartments with BRG Homes, apartments for rent with BRG Suites, and hotels and resorts with the BRG Hospitality brand. 

    With many projects invested basically, the group has confirmed its position through expansion of business activities and increasing to co-operate with domestic and foreign partners. 

    The group targets to build a sustainable development, matching regional and international levels.

    Meanwhile, Sumitomo is one of the largest trading and investment companies in Japan engaged in multifaceted business activities through a network of 132 locations in 67 countries worldwide with total 70,000 employees.

    Sumitomo was first established a representative office in Vietnam in 1995, which became Sumitomo Corporation Vietnam LLC in 2007. 

    Sumitomo has contributed broadly to Vietnam’s socio-economic development through diversified business activities, including import and export, manufacturing and processing, development of industrial parks, power plants, urban railways, and many other meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

    Danish goliath to pioneer wind energy in Vietnam

    Vestas Wind Systems from Denmark, the world’s leading wind energy producer, has promised to help Vietnam unlock its vastly underused wind potential.

    “Vestas has been present in Vietnam since the beginning of the country’s wind journey. The firm has recently taken a new step in development by setting up Vestas Vietnam in Hanoi. The legal entity aims to call for new industry partners to implement wind projects in the country,” Chris Beaufait, president of Vestas Asia Pacific and China, said at Vietnam Wind Seminar 2016 last week.

    In 2016, the company has supplied 12 Vestas V100-2MW wind turbines for Phu Lac 1 Wind Power Plant in the central province of Binh Thuan. The project is expected to deliver 24 megawatts (MW) of clean and reliable power to Vietnam. 

    Next year, Vestas looks forward to delivering the 30MW Huong Linh 2 project in the central province of Quang Tri. 

    Under an order from Vietnamese company Tan Hoan Cau, Vestas will manufacture 15 V100-2.0MW turbines.

    Beaufait stated that the Phu Lac 1 and Huong Linh 2 projects can serve as best practice examples and change the way the government and stakeholders look at wind power development in Vietnam, thereby paving the way for the full realisation of Vietnam’s wind potential.

    Indeed, while Vietnam is blessed with abundant wind resources, only 158MW of wind power have been put into operation to-date. 

    Investors face many challenges due to a number of regulatory and market barriers, such as a low feed-in-tariff (FIT), weak grid and transmission systems, as well as the lack of financing options.

    Pham Trong Thuc, head of the New and Renewable Energy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said that the current FIT of 7.8 US cent per kWh is not attractive enough for investors, while the proposed 10.4 US cent per kWh is not feasible at the current stage of development.

    “The MoIT is assessing three large existing wind farms in Bac Lieu and Binh Thuan provinces to establish the real costs of electricity production. We expect a number of wind projects will be implemented when the new FIT is put in place,” he added.

    “In addition, the government also plans to increase the localisation rate in the wind energy sector to lower investment costs. The MoIT and GE have inked a Memorandum of Understanding to develop 1,000MW wind energy in Vietnam by 2025. Under the agreement, we aim to achieve 60 per cent of localisation for the project,” he said.

    According to Danish Ambassador Charlotte Laursen, Vietnam’s power development strategy targets 7% renewable energy in the total national electricity production in 2020, increasing to 10% in 2030, excluding hydro-power.

    “Wind has an important role to play in achieving these targets. Denmark is well prepared to help Vietnam meet, and perhaps, even exceed these targets,” she noted.

    Industrial equipment expo opens in HCM City

    The 11th international exhibition on industrial machinery, equipment, materials and products (VINAMAC EXPO 2016) kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    As many as 250 groups and companies from Austria, the Republic of Czech, Germany, the Republic of Korea, the US, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, China and Vietnam are showcasing their products at 450 pavilions.

    The event is divided into five thematic exhibitions on metallurgy, iron and steel; welding and machining technology; metals and components; chemicals, paints and coatings; textile printing and inkjet advertising.

    Deputy head of the South Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Nguyen Quang Huy said the VINAMAC EXPO 2016 offers a good chance for businesses in industry and support industry to popularise their brand names as well as seek partners and expand domestic and international markets.

    The expo also enables enterprises at home and abroad to transfer technology and promote trade and investment activities, he added.

    A number of workshops on steel prospects in 2017, textile printing industry, and flora protection will be held as part of the event.

    The annual VINAMAC EXPO is organised by the Fair and Advertising Joint Stock Company (VIETFAIR) in coordination with ministries, and domestic and foreign associations. 

    The fair will last until December 10./.


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  • 12/10/16--01:00: Article 1
  • Social News 10/12

    Project helps improving maternal and newborn care


    A Save the Children project helped improve knowledge on maternal and newborn care for thousands of mothers and health workers in Yen Bai Dak Lak and Ca Mau provinces from mid 2012 to December 2016.

    The project helped build three newborn units for hospitals of Yen Bai Province including those in Tram Tau and Luc Yen districts. Following several training courses, surgeons of the Tram Tau District hospital performed three surgeries with the support of colleagues from the provincial hospital, although no surgery was undertaken at the hospital over the past eight years.

    Maternal fatality rate has reduced, while many premature newborns have been saved thanks to the facilities and human resource support from the project, according to a health worker at Dak Lak General Hospital’s Obstetrics Unit. Project experiences also contributed to development of the National Master Plan for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health for 2016-2020 and the National Guidelines for Reproductive Health services.

    With a fund of 3.5 million USD from the Atlantic Philanthropies Foundation, the project titled “Scale up of the model of Household to hospital Continuum of Maternal and Newborn Care" in Vietnam, was implemented by the Ministry of Health and the Hue Medicine and Pharmacy University.

    The project aims to improve access to quality maternal and newborn health services, to increase demand for and utilisation of those services by mothers and newborns and to strengthen the ongoing management and policy environment to ensure sustained reductions in maternal and newborn death and disability.

    VNA seeks to improve quality of publications on ethnic minorities

    The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) held a conference on December 9 with leaders from 16 northern mountainous provinces on ways to improve the quality of VNA’s specialized pictorial newspaper on ethnic minorities and mountainous region.

    Addressing the conference in Tuyen Quang province, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi stressed that the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is the only bilingual newspaper serving ethnic minority communities across 45 provinces in the country. 

    Given the importance of the publication, the General Director said the VNA always pays particular attention to its quality from the format to content, as well as the distribution of the newspaper to readers. 

    He added that the VNA has signed agreements on information sharing and dissemination with the Steering Committees of the Northwest, Central Highlands and Southeast regions, and the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is an important channel to implement the agreements.

    Since July, 2012, the VNA has published 11 bilingual versions of the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial in Vietnamese and 11 ethnic languages, with 68,000 copies each edition.

    In the northern region, the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is published in Vietnamese-Mong and Vietnamese-Tay with 25,000 copies each edition in 16 provinces.

    Since January, 2017, the VNA will publish the newspaper’s Vietnamese-Chinese version.

    Nguyen Hong Thang, Vice Secretary of Tuyen Quang provincial Party Committee, said the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial gradually meet ethnic minorities’ demand for information in Tuyen Quang.

    Delegates to the conference recommended that the newspaper should try to ensure the accuracy when translating from Vietnamese to ethnic languages, improve distribution network and introduce the newspaper to local schools.

    Embassy in China unveils statue of President Ho Chi Minh

    A bronze statue of President Ho Chi Minh was unveiled at the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing, China, on December 9 as a gift from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.

    The statue features President Ho Chi Minh working in the Presidential Palace’s garden in Hanoi. 

    It is the fifth and also the last edition cast in a mould created by Mexican sculptor Pedzo Remizes Ponzanilli, who was inspired by a photo taken by photographer Dinh Dang Dinh that depicts the late leader reading newspapers at the Presidential Palace’s garden in 1960. 

    Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Minh Khoi said President Ho Chi Minh spent the longest time in China during the years he went abroad to do revolutionary activities.

    He was a close friend of many Chinese revolutionaries and also treasured the neighbourliness and friendship between the two countries. President Ho Chi Minh, his Chinese counterpart Mao Zedong, and other leaders of the countries worked hard to nurture bilateral unity and amity.

    The Party, State and people of China also respect the late Vietnamese leader, Khoi said, noting that there remain many relics of his activities in China. The late President visited the Vietnamese Embassy.

    Four other editions of this statue are positioned at a park in Mexico City, the Presidential Palace relic site and the headquarters of the Vietnam News Agency and Hanoi’s administration in the Vietnamese capital city.

    President lauds role models in anti-drug fight

    President Tran Dai Quang lauded individuals and collectives who stood out in the fight against drug during a meeting held in Hanoi on December 9. 

    Over the past years, the Party and State have issued a number of policies and measures to combat the trafficking of addictive substances and drug-related crimes. 

    Since 1997, the anti-drug police have uncovered 172,000 cases, arrested more than 283,000 offenders, and confiscated over 3,179kg of heroin, 4,558 kg of opium, 30,000kg of dried marijuana, 87kg of cocaine, 1,044kg and about 1.7 million methamphetamine pills, together with weapons and assets worth thousands of billion VND. 

    They also busted and eradicated 7,872 drug hot-spots. 

    A number of effective anti-drug models in residential areas have been duplicated nationwide.

    Speaking at the meeting, President Quang described the anti-drug campaign as a crucial, urgent and long-term task of the world and Vietnam in particular. 

    He asked the Party committees and authorities at all levels to direct the campaign, considering it a regular political task, while mobilising collective power to realise the national strategy on drug prevention and control until 2020 with orientations towards 2030. 

    The State leader urged the anti-drug police to work closely with border and coast guards, local customs and police, and concerned agencies to fight trans-national drug rings, eradicate drug manufacture and storage areas, and prevent the re-plantation of plants containing addictive substances. 

    Relevant agencies were requested to improve the efficiency of collaboration with their foreign counterparts, especially those in neighbouring countries, as well as effectively combat the smuggling of drugs into Vietnam and raise public awareness of drug danger and complicated tricks of drug dealers.

    The outstanding people will also later gather at a ceremony, which will also commemorate 22 officers and people who laid down their lives for the anti-drug effort. 

    It forms activities celebrating the 20th anniversary of traditional day of Anti-Drug Police (March 12).

    Vietnamese, Lao youths called to nurture special relations

    General Secretary and President of Laos Bounnhang Volachith has called on Vietnamese and Lao youngsters to join hands to nurture the special rapports between the two countries.

    He made the appeal at a meeting with 20 outstanding Vietnamese children led by Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCMCYU) Central Committee Nguyen Long Hai in Vientiane on December 9.

    The friendly exchange between young generations is the most vivid demonstration of the bilateral traditional friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation, he said.

    Hai said during the visit to Laos from December 4-10, Vietnamese children engaged in numerous activities, which helped them understand better about the close-knit and time-honoured relations between the two countries’ Parties, States and peoples.

    Such exchanges created excellent opportunities for the youngsters to understand the mutual understanding, trust, and faithful relationship between Vietnam and Laos, he added.

    Earlier, Vietnamese children joined art and sports exchanges with their peers from Bolikhamxay province and Vientiane.

    On the occasion, the HCMCYU department for children and its counterpart from the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding on implementing friendship activities in 2016-2017.

    International Kite Festival opens in Vung Tau


    The International Kite Festival, themed “Dance of Peace”, was opened in Vung Tau city, the coastal province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau on December 9.

    The annual festival, the seventh of its kind, attracts 94 artisans, including 64 international ones from 23 nations and territories, including the US, the UK. Taiwan (China), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Ukraine, Scotland, New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Holland, France, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, and South Africa. The rest are from the kite clubs across the nation.

    This year event features the first-time-attending kites, such as the Hoa Huong Duong (Sun Flower) Kite from Brazil, the big-sized kites from New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland, or Ngu Hanh Giao Tranh (the Fight of five basic elements), con Rong chau Tien (Dragon’s and Fairy’s descendants) from Vietnam.

    During the three-day festival, international artisans will teach students how to make kites at several secondary schools in the province.

    Thousand farmers join environment protection campaign

    Nearly 1,000 farmers in Can Tho City are joining a campaign to collect empty pesticide containers discarded on their farms.

    The campaign is part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Can Tho’s environmental protection program launched on Tuesday. An official of the department said farmers did not properly dispose of used pesticide bottles and packaging.

    Nguyen Thi Kieu, vice director of the department, said local farmers use tons of pesticides for their crops and they often throw away empty pesticide containers on the farms, polluting the environment.

    The program is expected to raise awareness of environmental protection among farmers.

    Statistics of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed farmers nationwide use 35,000-100,000 tons of pesticides a year.

    In the program, 4-5 tons of used pesticide containers can be collected. The department is also organizing some workshops to educate farmers to use pesticides in a safe and environmentally friendly way, with support from nearly 100 staff of Syngenta, and 50 officials of the department and other agencies.

    Healthcare insurance fees likely unchanged next year

    Healthcare insurance fees are expected to remain unchanged next year, at 4.5% of salaries of those working in the public sector or those having labor contracts valid for over three months, according to the Ministry of Health.

    The ministry said around 80% of the population has health insurance coverage after two years of implementing the amended Law on Health Insurance. The result is 130 million insured patients have been treated at public hospitals and other medical facilities.

    The health insurance fund has become the main financial source for operations of many healthcare facilities, according to the ministry.

    It is predicted that 91% of the population would be covered by health insurance by 2020, said Pham Luong Son, deputy director of Vietnam Social Insurance.

    Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan said the implementation of the Health Insurance Law and other legal documents in the field has exposed many inadequacies in the past.

    Some regulations are not adequate and clear, so they need to be reviewed to identify and fix problems in order to match the reality.

    The Health Ministry noted that while the health insurance fund is still in good balance, there should be plans to gradually raise health insurance fees after 2018. Therefore, it is necessary to study fee hikes from now on.

    In particular, healthcare fees should be hiked gradually by 0.3 to 0.5 percentage point a year, starting from 2019, the ministry suggested.

    Mobile carriers asked to prioritize postpaid subscribers

    The Ministry of Information and Communications has suggested that local telcos offer preferential policies for subscribers to postpaid phone services, heard a meeting on Tuesday.

    Nguyen Duc Trung, head of the Department of Telecommunications, said mobile carriers should adopt policies to increase customers of postpaid services, instead of attending too much to prepaid users.

    Statistics of the ministry showed that by the end of August, the total number of domestic mobile subscribers had surpassed 128 million, 90% of them prepaid subscribers.

    Earlier, the ministry launched an extensive campaign aimed at blocking improperly registered simcards, targeting unidentified prepaid subscribers accused as the key source of spam texts.

    Accordingly, holders of 12 million simcards not properly registered were notified for re-registration. However, only 600,000 subscribers have met the requirement.

    Therefore, more than 11 million simcards would be deactivated.

    Of this total, Vinaphone accounted for 3.8 million, and Viettel and Mobiphone with 3.7 million and 3.3 million respectively.

    Motorbike import ban, car restriction suggested

    For fear traffic congestion would worsen in the city in the not too distant future, a deputy of the HCMC People’s Council suggested that the municipal government forbid the import of motorcycles, restrict the number of cars and promote the use of electric bicycles.

    The HCMC People’s Council on December 7 discussed the socio-economic development of the city in 2016 and the targets for 2017 during their third session.

    A prominent issue causing concerns among many citizens is the discrepancy between traffic infrastructure development and the growth of vehicles, deputy Tran Quang Thang remarked. There are now 8.5 million motorbikes and about 660,000 cars in HCMC, deemed as too many for the city’s infrastructure and causing severe traffic congestion.

    “As infrastructure development is not fast enough, we may prohibit the import of motorcycles and limit the number of cars. There may be caps on the numbers of taxicabs, motorbikes and cars, since the downward trend of automobile import tariffs is encouraging people to purchase cars for individual use,” Thang proposed.

    He also suggested the city develop electric cars, pay attention to electric bicycles and those using gas, and plan more car parks.

    Meanwhile, deputy Vo Thi Ngoc Thuy said a challenge for HCMC in 2017 and thereafter was how to foster sources of revenue and cut down on spending. A short-term solution for expense reduction is to review bus subsidization, which is exerting a great burden on the city budget and giving no motivation for bus operators to cut spending and boost revenue.

    Thuy believed the subsidization of a number of bus lines had created unhealthy competition, where subsidy recipients did not improve their service quality and outsiders did not dare to join the market. As a result, the number of passengers has fallen over the years.

    Therefore, she suggested subsidies should be directly given to bus commuters as a solution to increase the number of passengers since operators would have to compete in terms of service quality, with greater investment in advertising and bus stops.

    At the meeting on December 7, the HCMC People’s Council deliberated budget revenue in 2017. Since the biggest contributors to the city budget this year are domestic revenue, crude oil and import-export duties, HCMC may focus on these three pillars in 2017 to boost budget revenue.

    For domestic revenue, the city government expected the share of FIEs to grow more than 35% next year, while the local private sector and personal income tax will also make greater contributions.

    On the target of 50,000 startups in 2017, deputy Cao Anh Minh deemed it as essential to carefully calculate the number of active enterprises and of the inactive ones to accurately reflect the reality. The city should encourage the establishment of businesses in supporting industries, production of high added-value items, and spearhead industries.

    HCMC wants elevated road to Tan Son Nhat

    Authorities of HCMC are seeking approval from the Government to select investors for an VND18-trillion (US$794 million) elevated road designed to ease heavy traffic near the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

    According to a petition sent to the Government on Tuesday, the city plans to build five elevated roads with a combined length of 70.7 kilometers. Under the city’s transport zoning plan, local authorities expect to build one or two elevated roads after 2020 but no projects have been deployed so far.

    Early completion of relevant procedures to kick off construction of the first elevated road will help ease traffic congestion in Tan Son Nhat airport area, the city government said.

    The highway is designed to stretch 9.5 kilometers from Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh District to the Phu An Bridge in Binh Thanh District. Local government plans to spend VND15 trillion on construction and VND3 trillion on site clearance and compensation.

    Earlier, the city assigned South Korea’s GS E&C Company to study and invest in the elevated road under build-operate-transfer (BOT) format but the firm later withdrew from the project. 620 Chau Thoi Concrete Corporation was the second investor to suggest building the road but it also pulled out of the plan.

    The investors failed to go ahead because the large-scale project requires huge capital. Meanwhile, other steps such as studying, site clearance and compensation are time consuming, making capital recovery infeasible.

    Therefore, the city government has asked for permission to select investors for the project as per the Bidding Law.

    Technological solutions in response to climate change introduced in Mekong Delta


    Technological solutions to help cope with climate change in the Mekong Delta and the South-western regions were introduced at a seminar held in Can Tho City on December 8.

    Co-organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in collaboration with 13 Departments of Science and Technology in the Mekong Delta region, the event aimed to bring into force techniques and materials that could help locals deal with the negative effects resulting from climate change to their production and daily activities.

    Vuong Duc Tuan, deputy head of the National Agency in the Southern Region under the MOST, stressed that the Mekong Delta is the world’s second most affected region in regards to the extent of damages caused by climate change. Its consequences are not only losses of land due to erosion and flooding, but also unpredictable economic losses to crops due to drought and saltwater intrusion.

    At the same time, the Mekong Delta is also a region with a high level of technological application with 134 technology solutions to cope with climate change in 2016. The urgent demand has pushed up the need for technological intervention to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

    Experts and inventors came up with a range of new feasible technological solutions for the Mekong Delta region, such as non-metallic fiber reinforced concrete, road construction technology with soil stabiliser derived from enzyme or sulfonate compounds and non-burnt brick making technology.

    In addition to solutions for construction materials, the workshop also looked at initiatives on genetically modified crops to adapt to climate change, of which citrus fruit varieties are used for salt tolerance by the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI).

    Dr. Vo Huu Thoai from the institute said that soil salinity had great influence on the growth and development of citrus varieties and hybrids, reducing chlorophyll, starch and total sugar content while increasing potassium, sodium and chlorine in leaves.

    Experts at SOFRI have developed five salt tolerant green-skin grapefruits which have been cultivated in Tan Phu Dong District (Tien Giang province) and Mo Cay Nam District (Ben Tre province) with salinity resistant level up to 8‰.
    Ship detained for illegally transporting petrol

    Authorities have detained a Dominican vessel for illegally transporting petrol offshore central Phú Yên Province.
    The SWIFT ship, with 18 crewmembers onboard, was arrested while it was transporting more than 4,300 tonnes of RON 92 petrol from the South to the North on Monday.
    The ship’s captain, Theinmin from Myanmar, failed to present legal documents proving the origin of the petrol.
    The ship is presently anchored at the province’s Xuân Đài Bay, pending further investigation.

    Four critically injured after house fire in HCM City

    The condition of four people who were rescued from a house fire in HCM City’s Phú Nhuận District on Tuesday continues to be critical.
    One of the victims is unlikely to survive, doctors at Chợ Rẫy Hospital said on Wednesday.
    Dr Ngô Đức Hiệp, head of the hospital’s Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns, said the four victims had suffered gas burns.
    Hiệp said the four victims were in critical condition as the burns blocked the respiratory tract and lobes of the lung, leading to respiratory failure, which meant a high risk of fatality.
    HCM City’s Police of Fire Prevention and Fighting Department, in cooperation with Phú Nhuận District’s police were on Wednesday inspecting the five-storey house on 126D Trần Kế Xương Street.
    At 11am on Tuesday, an explosion was heard from the house, following which the fire spread quickly. Locals used fire extinguishers to stamp out the blaze and managed to rescue the four men trapped inside.
    The explosion occurred on the fourth floor. Initial investigation showed that the victims used gasoline while smoking.

    27 projects develop human resources at grass-root level

    Twenty seven small-scale projects focusing on developing human resources at the grass-root level have been run in localities in the north, central and south regions.
    The projects, conducted by Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in Việt Nam, are targeted at improving the living conditions and livelihood of residents.
    Funds will depend on the specific scale and the length of each project, ranging from JPY10 million (US$87,500) to JYP100 million ($875,000). The maximum length of a project is five years.
    Masuda Chikahiro, deputy chief of JICA Việt Nam, told local media at a press conference this morning that residents would directly benefit from projects implemented at a grass-root level.
    Developing human resources was believed to be a sustainable way to develop a locality, he said.
    Under the projects, Japanese non-governmental organisations and Japanese localities would cooperate with JICA to provide technical support to localities in Việt Nam, he said.
    Models from Japan would be adjusted to fit with the current conditions in Việt Nam before being applied, he said.
    According to data from JICA Việt Nam, Japan’s Kasama City has helped mountainous Sơn La Province cultivate clean farm produce, Sapporo City has provided technical support to develop human resources for the information technology sector in Hà Nội, Seki City has provided training to raise the capability of nurses in giving care to the elderly in Đà Nẵng City and Fukushima Province has assisted in developing human resources for the healthcare sector in HCM City.
    Masuda also said connections between Japanese and Vietnamese people would be enhanced via the projects.

    VND300 mln provided for scientific project in agriculture

    The Department of Science and Technology in Ho Chi Minh City announced to support maximum of VND300 million or 70 percent of a scientific project in agriculture.

    The amount is part of the program to support science-tech application in agriculture. A farmer household, a cooperative, an enterprise or start-up group having a project to apply scientific or technological achievement into agriculture in HCMC’s Binh Chanh, Cu Chi, Can Gio, Nha Be and Hoc Mon outlying districts and districts 9, 12, Binh Tan, Thu Duc and Go Vap will receive a sum for production re-structure and development, export, productivity improvement. The projects aim to raise income and offer employment to locals.

    Projects should be sent to the Department at 244 Dien Bien Phu Street District 3 or email before March 10, June 10, September 10 and December 10 annually.

    Ma River dying from pollution

    Waste water from households and forest product facilities are destroying the Ma River in Thanh Hoa Province and threatening the livelihoods of local people.

    There are dozens of forest product facilities along the Ma River but only one or two facilities are legally-recognised companies. According to the locals, despite the fact that small facilities don't have licenses, they have operated and discharged waste into the river for years.
    Even bigger, licensed facilities are also discharging waste water into the river. The Duyet Cuong Company was recently fined VND414.2m because its waste water didn't meet the standards.
    The discharge pipeline under Highway 15C, belong to Bao Yen Construction Services Tourism Company, dumps waste water directly into Ma Ham Stream. The polluted water then flows into Ma River.

    A local said many old people had died because of cancer while children were suffering from sinusitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. They don't dare to start any fish farms on the river.
    In August, tens of tonnes of farmed fish from Ba Thuoc District to Vinh Loc District died. Cam Thuy District saw 41.5 tonnes of dead fish and Vinh Loc District had 13 tonnes.
    Trinh Duc Du, head of Quan Hoa District Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said Bao Yen did discharge waste water into the stream. "This company has been fined many times. However, we also have difficulties as their land use right was issued by Hoa Binh Province while the business license was issued by Thanh Hoa Province," he said.

    Last year, asides from the VND414.2m fine of Duyet Cuong Company, other fines are small. Bao Yen was fined VND2.5m and Song Ma Co-operative was fined VND7m.
    The Ma River is also being destroyed by households waste and pesticide farmers used before planting from the mountainous areas to the delta. Nguyen Van Son, a local in Cam Thuy District, said they couldn't raise farmed fish anymore and there's hardly any agriculture land left. Many people have left home to find jobs in other provinces.
    Duong Van Chan, chairman of Cam Ngoc Commune, Cam Thuy District, said, "The farmers haven't been compensated after the mass fish deaths. If this continues, many people will fall into poverty again."

    No Vietnamese killed, injured in Indonesia earthquake

    There have so far been no reports of any Vietnamese citizens being affected by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Indonesia’s western province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra on December 7, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in Jakarta.

    The embassy said there are very few Vietnamese living in the area, and it is coordinating with Indonesian agencies to keep updated.

    As of the afternoon of December 7, quake fatalities climbed to almost 100 and more than 600 others were injured.

    Search and rescue operations are underway involving large numbers of military, police and disaster management forces as well as volunteers.

    Indonesia often experiences earthquakes and volcanoes because it lies in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire.

    Aceh was also hit by a 9.2 magnitude quake followed by a tsunami in 2004, which killed 120,000 people and severely devastated the province.

    Disadvantaged youth to get vocational training

    Starbucks Vietnam and The Asia Foundation, an international nonprofit development organization, on Monday announced a one-year vocational training program in Hanoi to prepare young people from disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in Vietnam’s fast-growing food and beverage industry.

    The Starbucks vocational training program will engage 50 youth aged between 18 and 24, including those who have been affected by family violence, human trafficking and poverty, in a training program to achieve job and life skills to be succeed in the retail sector.

    As part of the program, youth will receive both classroom instruction focused on subjects such as customer service, English language learning, financial literacy and work readiness, as well as on-the-job training. Starbucks partners and employees will actively engage in the program by providing seminars and in-store experience. Upon completion of the program, learners will receive six months of follow-up assistance to help them secure full-time employment.

    Mark Ring, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, said in a statement that as Starbucks continues to grow in Vietnam and across Asia, they wish to do their aspiration to build a different kind of company – one committed to performance that is driven through the lens of humanity – and being a positive force in building the future success of young people.

    Together with its partners The Asia Foundation and REACH, a local non-governmental organization specializing in providing vocational training, career advice, and job placement to some of Vietnam’s most disadvantaged youth, Starbucks Vietnam aims to provide lifelong experiences and skills for disadvantaged young people in the nation as they represent a huge pool of talents. However, there are also challenges for many young people to gain access to work. “We have created this project to build confidence, self-esteem and training which will help them to succeed in the economy,” said Patricia Marques, general manager of Starbucks Vietnam, in a statement.

    According to a report from the General Statistics Office, in 2015 the unemployment rate among youth is more than triple the overall unemployment rate, standing at 6.75%. While well-educated workers are able to access expanding opportunities in the private sector, for less educated workers, and particularly those from rural areas, it is much more challenging due to their lack of education, skills and business connections. This leaves them with fewer options and makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.

    Hour of Code 2016 programme launched in HCM City

    The HCM City Department of Education and Training and Microsoft Vietnam has co-hosted the Hour of Code 2016 event for primary and high school students.

    hour of code 2016 programme launched in hcm city hinh 0 The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in more than 180 nations around the globe with the aim of increasing access to computer science education for all students worldwide.
    It helps improve students’ logical thinking, ignite their passion for computer science, and enhance their creativity to develop problem-solving skills.

    The annual event is part of the ongoing Computer Science Education Week from December 5-11 and gives valuable prizes to both students and teachers.

    Quảng Trị gets seeds from governmental flood relief

    Quảng Trị has received 340 tonnes of seeds as part of flood relief from the government, the central province People’s Committee announced yesterday.

    The seeds include rice, sweet corn and vegetables and they will be sowed for the upcoming winter-spring crop.

    The governmental relief supply is a move to assist farmers in the province to grow new crop after their previous produce was destroyed by the repeated floods in October and November.

    Quảng Trị is among the four provinces in the northern part of the central region of Việt Nam hit by the floods. The others are Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình and Thừa Thiên- Huế.

    On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc decided to supply 2,016 tonnes of rice seeds, 325 tonnes of sweet corn seeds, and 58 tonnes of vegetable seeds to the provinces hit by floods, storms and cold weather.

    They are Vĩnh Phúc, Hà Giang, Lào Cai and Yên Bái, as well as Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế and Ninh Thuận. Hà Tĩnh and Ninh Thuận get the maximum quantity – 540 and 410 tonnes of seeds, respectively – due to their wide cultivation area.

    The PM assigned the ministry of agriculture and rural development to coordinate the relief job and authorities in those localities to deliver the seeds to farmers on time.

    HCM City increases over 1,000 buses on New Year holidays

    The Ho Chi Minh City Public Transport Management Center will increase about 1,048 buses for 17 its routes to meet travel demand during New Year holidays.

    If the number of passengers suddenly increase on the routes, the transport center will add more buses at the Eastern and Western Bus Stations on December 30 and 31.

    It is estimated that the number of passengers will increase during New Year holidays as state employees, workers and students get three-day off, from December 31, 2016 to January 2, 2017.


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    Ben Tre coconut value chain shared in Italy


    Models and experience on enhancing the value of processed coconut products from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre resulting from public-private partnerships have been shared at a programme in Rome.

    The event was held as part of the 4P (Public-Private-Producers Partnerships) programme organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at its headquarters in Italy’s capital city on December 7.

    Ben Tre Import and Export JSC (Betrimex), a Vietnamese company specialising in processing and exporting products made from coconuts, shared their experience in social activities within the 4P Project at the event.

    The 4P Project aims to facilitate relationship among the public and private sectors and small producers, enabling farmers to access to markets; the concerned parties taking risks, investing and sharing profits together while improving economic life in rural areas in general and raising incomes for disadvantaged farmers in particular.

    In this project, to contribute to local socioeconomic development, Betrimex deployed a model for linkages between businesses and farmers following the value chain associated with coconuts.

    According to the Ben Tre Coconut Association, the coconut tree is typical of Ben Tre with the area in which it is cultivated there stretching over 63,000ha, the largest of any province in the country. However, the value created from coconuts for farmers is still not high and not commensurate with the potential of the country's largest coconut-producing region.

    Low prices plus dependence on foreign traders make coconut prices fluctuate constantly, having negative effects on farmers’ lives.

    In Betrimex’s model, when they signed cooperation agreements with the company, farmers received support with farming supplies such as fertiliser, pesticides and technical training in organic farming to maintain sustainable coconut plantations. The company also covered output consumption for farmers and purchased coconuts right at their gardens.

    Betrimex also gave out the floor price with the commitment that even if the market price was lower than the ceiling price, the company would purchase all coconuts from farmers at a higher level, and vice versa.

    With incentives and effective support policies to resolve farmers’ worries, after one year of implementation, currently about 540 households are participating in the company’s programme, cultivating an approximate production area of 450ha with a yield of 4.4 million coconuts a year.

    Betrimex was the only Vietnam representative to share its experience at the 4P Rome event. Participants reviewed midterm 4P project’s results and exchanged lessons learned during implementation of the project.

    Forum repeats Government’s resolve to build facilitating government

    The Vietnamese Government is working to build a consistent and effective administrative system that facilitates development and acts for the sake of people and enterprises, considering this the most important task in 2016-2020.

    That commitment of the Cabinet was reiterated by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc while addressing the 2016 Vietnam Development Forum (VDF 2016), themed “Facilitating and action-oriented government – New driving force for development”, in Hanoi on December 9.

    At this year’s forum, instead of presenting reports and prioritised orientations, Vietnam’s Government agencies sought for development partners’ and experts’ viewpoints and assessments of Vietnam’s economic prospects in 2016-2020, impacts on and challenges to the national economy in the coming years, and multi-dimensional effects of global political and economic situations, and bilateral and multilateral trade agreements on the national economy. 

    Listening to speeches at the forum, PM Phuc said they are useful for Government agencies to precisely evaluate Vietnam’s situation and development prospects amid complex and unpredictable developments in the world, thereby devising appropriate measures to realise the set objectives and plans.

    In 2016, the country’s GDP growth is expected at 6.3 percent while foreign reserves are at a record of some 41 billion USD. Despite a nosedive in global trade, Vietnam still enjoys a rise of around 8 percent in exports and 2-3 billion USD in trade surplus, he told development partners.

    Stressing the target of rapid, sustainable and inclusive growth that leaves no one behind, he agreed with the development partners on their opinions about factors that can strongly affect Vietnam’s growth outlook such as fluid oil prices, emergence of trade protectionism, public debt payment, non-performing loans, and climate change.

    Vietnam will work harder to revamp business climate, improve competitiveness, and have key business climate criteria comparable to the average of Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – four other ASEAN countries. It will also encourage innovation, start-up and private businesses, he said.

    Another solution is pushing ahead with more substantively economic restructuring, and State-owned enterprises equitisation in line with the market mechanism, he said, asking the World Bank (WB), especially its International Finance Group, to help Vietnam deal with non-performing loans which, experts said, will influence macro-economic stability and growth if they are not settled soundly.

    He also called for the WB and other development partners’ support to ensure social welfares, protect the environment and respond to climate change.

    Co-chairing the VDF, WB Country Director for Vietnam Ousmane Dione congratulated the country on a stable macro-economy for five straight years, deeming this as an important foundation to accelerate growth and development.

    He said to achieve the set targets, Vietnam should perfect its market mechanism and market-oriented approach. The socio-economic development plan for 2016-2020 should be aimed to bring about greater benefits for people. ODA capital also needs to be used in a more effective fashion in order to promote the private economic sector.

    He expressed his belief that with the Government’s commitments and strong actions, Vietnam will attain ambitious goals, and development partners will assist it with knowledge, experience and best practices.

    The VDF 2016 is a new approach to the cooperation relationship between Vietnam and development partners. This approach is derived from the Consultative Group Meeting for Vietnam and the Vietnam Development Partnership Forum.

    VIB wins “Bank of the Year 2016” award

    Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has won the “Bank of the Year 2016” award, making it the first local bank to receive the prestigious award for two consecutive years.

    The award was presented by The Banker (Financial Times) magazine in London (United Kingdom) on December 7.

    In addition to VIB’s efforts in business operations reflected by Tier 1 capital, total assets, net profit, return on equity (ROE) and non-performing loan ratio, The Banker highly praised the bank for its transparent management model, sustainable growth strategy, and efficient support for Start-up and small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Besides, VIB’s application of advanced banking technologies, continuous innovation, and efficient and effective marketing activities during the year based on its understanding of market segments were also well recognised by The Banker, which then helped the bank make a difference on the market.

    Over past 10 months, the bank’s total assets and capital adequacy ratio (CAR) reached more than 93 trillion VND (over 4 billion USD) and 14.46 percent, respectively and the bank's equity reached 8.38 trillion VND, while its non-performing loan ratio decreased sharply to 1.49 percent.

    VIB is one of the few local banks selected by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to pilot Basel II. Among the banks selected for pilot implementation of the Basel II, VIB has the highest readiness level with its CAR of approximately 13 percent according to Basel II standards. Specifically, VIB’s advanced technology platform is also well in place for Basel II.

    Previously, VIB was approved by SBV to increase its charter capital to more than 5.64 trillion VND in a move to help expand the bank’s business activities.

    In the latest report by Moody’s, VIB had its credit rating upgraded to B2, making it continue to be in the top banks with the leading credit ratings in the market.

    The “Bank of the Year” award is exclusively granted to the top bank in each country. It is the world’s longest running and most prestigious international banking title.

    Each year, The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the countries judged. Over 1,000 applications from 154 countries are collected and judges select winning banks based on evidence provided to determine the bank in each country which saw the maximum overall progress in the past 12 months.

    The judging is carried out by an editorial committee on the basis of submitted entries, data from The Banker's Top 1000 database and the editors' personal knowledge of the market.

    Vietnamese firms updated on Cambodia’s investment policy

    The Cambodian Government’s new policies on investment attraction  and facilitation to foreign investors were introduced to Vietnamese enterprises attending the 7th Mekong Forum in Phnom Penh on December 9. 

    Accordingly, the Cambodian Government will neither restrict currency trading nor control capital and goods prices, while maintaining one-stop-shop services, and import tax exemption for machinery and materials.

    Representatives from the Vietnamese side also updated participants on the country’s bilateral economic cooperation policies, affirming that the Vietnamese Government always creates favourable conditions for and encourage Vietnamese companies to expand investment and business in Cambodia. 

    Hosted by the Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Economic Development and Cooperation Association (VILACAED) of Vietnam, the event is part of activities to mark the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties.

    It offered a good chance for enterprises from the two countries to share information and establish partnerships, contributing to further promoting trade links within the ASEAN Economic Community. 

    On the occasion, several Vietnamese outstanding enterprises and entrepreneurs were presented with awards in recognition of their effective investment and business in Cambodia and remarkable contributions to the country’s socio-economic development. 

    Vietnam is one of Cambodia’s leading economic partners with two-way trade reaching 3.4 billion USD in 2015.

    As of May 2016, Vietnamese businesses operated 183 projects worth 2.85 billion USD in Cambodia.

    Meanwhile, Cambodia ranked second among over 60 countries and territories attracting Vietnamese enterprises.  Direct investment from Vietnam in Cambodia has recorded a strong surge, especially in agriculture, forestry, energy, finance-banking, insurance, and telecommunication.

    Grab to pay drivers’ taxes soon

    Grab, a technology company offering a wide range of ride-hailing and logistics services through its mobile app, will start paying taxes on behalf of its partner drivers from December 12.

    Grab Vietnam is assigned to collect and pay taxes on behalf of its partners who do not pay taxes via transport business units. Therefore, the firm is responsible for filing and paying value-added tax and personal income tax imposed on its partner drivers. 

    Grab’s partner drivers in Vietnam are taxed 4.5% on their earnings, of which 1.5% is personal income tax and 3% is value-added tax. In addition, they pay 1% from Grab’s rewards.

    The firm will charge service fees on its ride-hailing mobile app (20% of earnings) but will not deduct tax payments for organizations and individuals paying taxes via transport business units. These organizations are responsible for paying taxes on behalf of their own partners.

    In related news, Uber, also a ride-hailing service provider, has finished its declaration and tax payment procedures. The company also pays taxes on partner drivers’ behalf when using the Uber app.

    IFC and Loc Troi join forces in sustainable rice farming

    International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, said on December 7 it is cooperating with Loc Troi Group to apply sustainable farming standards and practices in the local firm’s rice value chain.

    The partnership is to help Vietnam’s agricultural sector to expand rice trade globally, increase profit and improve the livelihoods of farmers.

    According to an agreement between the two sides, IFC will support Loc Troi to apply the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standards so that farming households will be able to use resources efficiently. Around 4,000 farmers will be trained to produce high-quality rice in the initial phase and the number of beneficiaries will increase in the next phases.

    IFC has invested in and given advice to the private sector in developing countries over the past 60 years.

    Its investments in Vietnam have reached US$5.6 billion since 1994. The organization has supported Vietnam to carry out 120 projects in sectors like infrastructure, production, agriculture, renewable energy and finance.

    Huynh Van Tho, chairman of Loc Troi Group, was cited in an IFC statement as saying that Loc Troi will strictly monitor quality and carefully check all stages of its value chain. Paddy growers will be trained to apply SRP standards to their farming areas to build a rice brand that can compete on world markets.

    Ping Kitnikone, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam, said IFC’s consulting activities in Vietnam’s agriculture sector are backed by the Canadian government. Canada supports Vietnam to pursue sustainable economic growth by improving the competitiveness of its agriculture and taking measures to cushion the impact of climate change.

    The initiative is to help Vietnam with its agricultural restructuring program whose objectives are to improve the farming sector’s competitiveness and make the most of opportunities on global markets.

    Vietnam, one of the world’s biggest rice exporters, is facing tough competition with Thailand, India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    Kazakhstan wants to cooperate with Vietnam in railway sector

    Kazakhstan expressed its interest in cooperating with Vietnam in railway transport, thus promoting bilateral trade between the two countries in the years to come.

    Last year saw a sharp fall in bilateral trade due to Kazakhstan’s economic recession.  Specifically, two-way trade reached US$162.1 million, falling 71% against 2014, according to data released on December 7 by the embassy of Kazakhstan in Vietnam.

    Of the total, Vietnam’s exports to Kazakhstan accounted for US$153 million, down 70% year-on-year, and imports made up US$9.1 million, dropping 87%.

    At a press conference held on December 7 on the occasion of celebrating 25 years of Kazakhstan’s Independence Day, Beketzhan Zhumakhanov, Kazakh Ambassador to Vietnam, said bilateral trade in the first ten months of this year has bounced back to US$275.5 million, with Vietnam’s exports and imports making up US$155.8 million and US$120.5 million respectively.

    In May 2015, Vietnam and the EAEU, which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, signed a free trade agreement (FTA), which will spur trade between the two sides as 90% of tariff lines are slashed to zero, Beketzhan Zhumakhanov added.

    According to the embassy, Vietnam’s major exports to Kazakhstan include farm produce and garments, while it imported steel and vehicles from the member state of the EAEU.

    However, cargo transport from Vietnam to Kazakhstan faces many challenges owing to the geographical distance. The shipping time could last around two months, affecting the quality of farm produce exported from Vietnam.

    Transport is an important factor for fostering business and trade cooperation between the EAEU and Vietnam. Therefore, Kazakhstan wants to boost cooperation with Vietnam in the railway sector to facilitate trade, the ambassador said. 

    The ambassador also believed the opening of a railroad will make it easier for transporting goods of ASEAN member countries to the EAEU.

    Carbon footprint vital for company position

    Enterprises need to calculate their carbon emissions and announce non-financial statistics besides financial ones to position themselves in a changing market, heard a conference named Carbon Footprint-Corporate Solutions for Sustainable Growth in HCMC on Tuesday.

    Min Hwa Hu Kupfer, chairwoman of Vietnam Holding (VNH), told the conference that a firm’s investment and development go hand in hand with social and environmental responsibilities, which is an inevitable trend.  

    Green investment is not new to foreign businesses but quite strange to Vietnamese peers. Therefore, VNH held the conference to help local companies understand and do carbon footprint calculations.

    Attendees at the conference also discussed climate change, policy and corporate solutions to manage energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

    The chairwoman said environmental information disclosure, including carbon footprint, will make differences among companies.  

    Vu Quang Thinh, chief executive officer of VNH, said enterprises have to find solutions to contribute to the fight against climate change and rising sea levels which will directly affect their operations.  

    Tran Anh Dao, deputy general director of the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, told the conference that businesses create jobs for people and pay taxes to the State. However, they also cause greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and extreme weather conditions.  

    Dao said now is the right time for businesses to act to protect the planet for future generations.

    Nick Beglinger, an expert in sustainable growth and a member of the World Wild Fund for Nature, said local firms could seek advice from experts to calculate their carbon emissions when they consider new investment projects.

    They can make clear price differences and the efficiency when choosing clean or dirty technologies, coal-fired or renewable energy, and baked or unbaked bricks, to name just a few. He said an initial investment may be huge but operating costs will drop in the long term.  

    Beglinger affirmed that in the long run investment in clean technology will bring in higher profit than outdated technology. Investors will prefer enterprises using clean technology, he noted.

    In the near future, consumers will buy products of such businesses. Firms’ statistics about environment, energy and gas emissions will be part of their competitiveness indexes, he added.   

    Expert Nguyen Dang Anh Thi told the conference that many big enterprises have pledged to provide information about electricity, water and heat consumption and carbon emissions on products’ tags by 2018. Customers will look at businesses’ actions when making purchases rather than only shareholders and State management agencies.   

    He said capital mobilization for projects that apply clean technology will be easier than for those with dirty technology.   

    Min of VNH said enterprises have to do carbon footprint calculations and control carbon emissions as many more shareholders and investors pay attention to these matters. She said VNH itself makes carbon footprint calculations and wants a low level of carbon emissions in its portfolio.  

    DAS Capital to invest US$150 million in ITA

    U.S.-based financial investment fund DAS Capital plans to pour around US$150 million into Tan Tao Investment & Industry Corp. (ITA) to become a strategic shareholder of the Vietnamese industrial zone developer.

    A source from the local firm said a delegation of DAS Capital had a meeting with ITA leaders to discuss the deal early this week.

    Headquartered in Los Angeles, DAS Capital has opened many branches in Asia such as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia. With a portfolio of US$5 billion, it is exploring investment opportunities in emerging markets such as Vietnam.

    DAS Capital has been interested in ITA shares and is looking for opportunities to become its strategic shareholder, the source said.

    Both sides have reached agreement in principle on some basic matters. In the first stage, the fund will buy around US$20 million worth of ITA shares before adding more capital to raise the total investment to US$150 million.

    DAS Capital has viewed Vietnam as an emerging and potential market with high gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the region. Notably, Vietnam is going to sign many new-generation free trade pacts, making it a plus in attracting foreign investors.

    This is the first time DAS Capital has considered investment in Vietnam. Aside from developing industrial zones, ITA has tapped many other sectors such as health, education, real estate, thermal power and infrastructure.

    Fintech firm GoBear enters Vietnam

    Tran Nhat Khanh, country director of GoBear Vietnam, looks on - PHOTO: DUC TAM

    HCMC - Fast-growing fintech firm GoBear, Asia’s first comprehensive metasearch engine for insurance and banking products, has made debut in Vietnam by launching its comparison services for the products in the fields.

    The Singapore-based startup said it offers customers in Vietnam its financial product comparison that is online, easy to use, personalized and free of charge.

    Andre Hesselink, founder and chief executive officer of GoBear, told the launch event in HCMC on December 7 that the company has expanded to Vietnam to bank on growth opportunities driven by increasing numbers of customers in the fields and Internet users and high smartphone penetration in this market.  

    GoBear’s entry into Vietnam follows its successful operations in other major Asian markets. The firm was launched in Singapore last year before extending its presence to Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong.

    GoBear said in a statement that more than 4.5 million users have put their trust in the firm when it comes to comparing insurance and banking products such as credit cards and personal loans. As one of the fastest growing fintech startups in Asia, GoBear has helped simplify financial shopping experience which is often complicated and full of jargons.

    “GoBear was formed on the idea of the need for an online tool to help users search for complex financial products in a transparent and unbiased way… we provide a transparent overview of the market and with our personalized search and filtering functions, consumers can have a side-by-side comparison easily based on their needs,” Hesselink said.

    In Vietnam, GoBear provides credit card and personal loan comparison services at for nearly 200 credit cards and 30 lending facilities selected from a variety of some 50 existing banks and finance companies in the market.

    Hesselink said it is expected that with GoBear customers can find products that they are looking for.

    Tran Nhat Khanh, country director of GoBear Vietnam, said GoBear does not sell products directly to customers but instead simply offers a free and transparent comparison experience based on personalized needs.

    “Users do not buy anything from GoBear. We display information about different credit cards and personal loans available in the market for users to easily compare and choose the ones that best fit their needs,” Khanh said.

    SBV: Secured loans account for majority of bad debt

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    Bad debts secured by assets make up most of all the non-performing loans but banks still have difficulty handling those properties, resulting in a deadlock in debt settlement, said the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) at a conference in HCMC on December 6.

    According to a notice released by the central bank’s media department, secured debts make up more than 90% of the total bad debt.

    Credit institutions have met obstacles in handling mortgaged assets due to a lack of regulations or inconsistent laws, the department said. Meanwhile, the 2015 Civil Code, which will take effect early next year, has no specific regulations guiding how to take over mortgaged assets.

    A number of lenders told the conference that they have encountered difficulties when allowing clients to register real estate projects as mortgaged assets due to unclear regulations on the handling of mortgaged assets. Therefore, it takes credit institutions much time and effort to deal with mortgaged assets.

    Foot-dragging law enforcement is costly and places significant impact on banks’ operations.

    Vu Dinh Anh, a financial expert, noted that handling mortgaged assets is meant to offset losses caused by bad debt.  However, borrowers usually do not closely cooperate with and sometimes confront lenders when they deal with mortgaged assets.  

    Anh said both sides should coordinate to cope with this matter efficiently.

    Lawyer Nguyen Thi Phuong from the Vietnam Banks Association said the right to deal with mortgaged assets is a civil right. Credit institutions are permitted by law to handle mortgaged assets.   

    As the 2015 Civil Code that will take effect from January 2017 does not have specific regulations on mortgaged asset confiscation, the Ministry of Justice should coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to study and issue such regulations to support lenders, according to the central bank.

    SBV pays tribute to GIZ Vietnam

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) held an awards ceremony to honor GIZ Vietnam leaders and managers with the Diploma of Merit and Commemorative Medal, given by the SBV Governor on December 8.

    Since 1993, the German government through GIZ has repeatedly organized large scale programs and projects to support the Vietnamese banking system in its projects to develop in a sustainable manner.

    The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vietnam Mr. Christian Berger, witnessed Deputy Governor of SBV Mr. Nguyen Dong Tien award the Diploma to the Country Director of GIZ Vietnam, Mr. Jochem Lange.

    The Commemorative Medals for contribution to the development of the Vietnam Banking system have been awarded to Mr. Lange, GIZ's Chief Technical Advisor and Program Director in Viet Nam, Dr. Michael Krakowski, and other managers and staff of the program to acknowledge the significant contributions of individuals and GIZ in helping to reform and develop the Vietnam banking system.

    SBV’s Governor highly praised the value of GIZ during the recent times of banking changes, seeing this as a symbol of the “deep, trusted, sincere friendship” and expressed the hope that SBV would continue to receive the support from the German government via the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vietnam and GIZ.

    ’The Prime Ministers of both countries have mutually agreed that the project of developing the financial system as part of the strategic cooperation relationship is especially valuable in the Hanoi Joint Statement issued in October 2011”, said Ambassador Berger.

    GIZ has actively cooperated and supported SBV to finalize the necessary mechanisms and regulatory framework.  This has allowed the central bank to fulfill its function as well as ensuring a safe and effective operation for the banking system.

    The German organization has played a huge role in helping to design the Law on State Bank of Vietnam, the Law on Credit Institutions, monetary policies and especially the open market operations, anti-dollarization strategy and planning, the internal management framework and internal audits for commercial banks.

    GIZ has also always focused its efforts on improving the capacity of bank staff. GIZ and SBV have held comprehensive basic and in-depth vocational training programs both in Vietnam and overseas for banking directors and experts.

    With its Macroeconomic Reforms - Green Growth Program, GIZ has been actively cooperating with SBV to finalize the mechanism and policy framework while at the same time improving the capacity of the finance-banking-green credit, helping the central bank to successfully implement the green growth mission and reform the economy in a sustainable manner.

    Even though the implementation of the program has not been long, GIZ has made remarkable contributions to the writing of many policies and initiating projects, laying the foundation for the reform and development of the green banking in the future.

    In order to implement the National Strategy for Green Growth and the National Action Plan on Green Growth for the 2014 – 2020 period, the SBV's Governor issued Directive No.03 dated in 2015 to promote green credit and social and environmental risk management in the credit activities.

    Vingroup plans to divest stake in Phat Loc Express

    Vingroup is planning to divest its stake of 79.96 per cent in Phat Loc Express, formerly known as Vinlinks.

    The Nikkei Asian Review revealed that Phat Loc Express achieved sales of over $9 million in 2015, and the purchase price will likely be a similar amount.

    A representative of Vingroup, however, told VET that Vingroup may sell the logistics company at an, as yet, undisclosed time so detailed information from Vingroup has not yet been revealed. “We have just mentioned this issue in a shareholder meeting,” she added.

    Vingroup last month signed a memorandum of understanding with SG Holdings, the parent firm of Japanese logistics provider Sagawa Express. This move would see the latter expand its presence in Vietnam.

    SG Holdings said in a statement that the partnership with Vingroup aims to solve the logistics issues in tandem with the growing retail business, according to Nikkei.

    Vingroup launched Vinlinks in July last year after acquiring almost 80 per cent of the Hop Nhat Group which was bought for the equivalent amount that Vingroup will selling Phat Loc Express for. The Nikkei also revealed that in addition to the stake purchased from Vingroup, SG Holdings will buy the entire stake of Phat Loc Express.

    The Phat Loc Express is the fifth largest delivery service player in Vietnam with warehouses in four major provinces and cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho. It has over 200 transaction points across the country.

    SG Holdings entered Vietnam in 2012. Last month, its subsidiary Sagawa Vietnam completed the construction of a multi-tenant facility in Dong Nai, after opening door-to-door delivery service counters in Takashimaya in Saigon Centre, one of the Ho Chi Minh City’s biggest shopping malls.

    Vingroup is one of Vietnam's leading property developers with a network of consultant partners and leading global designers and quality real estate projects and services. It has recently secured an additional international syndicated loan of $300 million to finance its real estate developments and reorganize its debts, following its first international syndicated loan of $150 million in 2013.

    Alongside the core business of real estate development, Vingroup is the operator of the local retail market network which includes shopping malls, supermarkets and convenience stores.

    Previously, Vingroup signed cooperation contracts with nearly 250 local enterprises in seven industries - food, cosmetics, stationary, toys, household appliances, fashion and textiles. This was done under its program to support and promote domestic production. The enterprises are from eight cities and provinces nationwide.

    Vingroup and its subsidiaries VinCommerce, Vincom Retail, VinEco, and VinDS offered solutions packages for these enterprises, such as incentive policies to distribute their products within the group’s networks and to enhance their brand presence.

    VnSteel lowering ownership at KMT

    Vietnam Steel Corporation (VnSteel) has registered to sell over 4.7 million KMT shares of Central Vietnam Metal Corporation (Cevimetal).

    After the sales, VnSteel will lower its ownership rate from 82.95 per cent to 36 per cent. Expected trading will happen from December 12, 2016 to January 4, 2017 through order matching and agreements. “The target of selling KMT shares is to divest”, said Mr. Doan Phong, member of Finance Department at VnSteel told VET.

    KTM shares are traded at about VND 10,000 ($0.44) per share on the stock market. VnSteel will receive about VND47 billion ($2.06 million) based on this price. This share increased significantly in November.

    Currently VnSteel holds nearly 8.2 million KMT shares (the rate of 82.95 per cent). After successfully divests, VnSteel will reduce its ownership rate to about 36 per cent of KMT chartered capital.

    Cevimetal is a subsidiary of VnSteel. Their main business is supplying different kinds of steel to various projects and importing-exporting metal, steel billets. During the first nine months of 2016, the net sale of Cevimetal reached VND1.3 trillion ($57.22 million). After-tax profit was VND4.8 billion ($211,340) which was twice the amount the same time in 2015.

    In the third quarter off 2016, the net sales of Cevimetal reached VND 342.3 billion ($15.05 million). After-tax-profit was VND793 million ($34,907) which was higher than their profit after tax in the second quarter 2016.

    The total assets of Cevimetal were worth about VND504 ($22.2 million) in the third quarter 2016. The company equitized and officially went into operation in the form of a joint stock company in January 1, 2006.  Cevimetal has a nationwide network of units; it supplies various kinds of steel with an attractive sales policy.

    VnSteel was established by merging Metal Corporation and Steel Corporation. The birth of VnSteel is associated with the history and development of the country's metallurgical industry. It has set a solid foundation for the development of the domestic steel industry. VnSteel operates as a joint stock company with over 50 subordinate units, subsidiaries and associated companies.

    The main sectors of VnSteel are steel manufacturing and business and the materials and equipment related to the steel industry. In addition, VnSteel also enhances business areas such as finance investment, port operators, logistics services, warehousing, offices, investment and trading infrastructure of industrial zones and real estate, and labor export.

    Along with market development in Vietnam steel, VnSteel also pays attention to sustainably develop the environment, protect it and use national resources reasonably. Moreover, this company takes care of social benefits.

    January-November import of cars decreases     

    Vietnamese auto businesses spent US$174 million to import some 10,000 complete built up (CBU) units in November, an increase of 1,000 units and $12 million in comparison with the previous month.

    A report from the General Office of Statistics (GOS) revealed that some 97,000 cars were shipped to Viet Nam during the January-November period, with the total value at nearly $2 billion. The figures marked a year-on-year decrease of 12.9 per cent in volume and 19.6 per cent in value.

    The decrease in total value is said to be a result of the adjustment of special consumption tax early this year. As of January 1, the special consumption tax on imported cars is calculated keeping in mind their cost, insurance and freight value, plus current import tariff.

    Seven months later, the tax witnessed another adjustment as it was significantly increased by between 60 per cent and 150 per cent of the car value on vehicles with high engine displacement.

    With the decrease in both volume and value in the first eleven months of this year, total import value this year will definitely be lower than the previous year.

    The country last year saw 126,403 imported CBUs, with the value of more than $3 billion, according to the GOS.

    Harley-Davidson opens showroom in Da Nang     

    The first American-made motorcycle, the iconic Harley-Davidson, has introduced its first showroom in the central and central highlands region in Da Nang city.

    It’s also the third official authorised agent of the American motorcycle manufacturer in Viet Nam after HCM City and Ha Noi.

    The Da Nang-based centre, which was invested by Al Naboodah International (Viet Nam) company, will provide full service, spare parts, and accessories for modification among motorcycle lovers in the central region.

    The centre also introduces new manufactured motorcycle models – Milwaukee-Eight, Touring, the Sportster, Harley Davidson Street 750, Iron 883, and Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) – from the mother company.

    Harley Davidson Da Nang also offers hire-purchase and Harley Owner Group Assistance (a roadside rescue and recovery facility) for customers.

    The famous American motorcycle manufacturer introduced its first showroom in HCM City in 2013 and Ha Noi in 2015.

    Harley Davidson was made popular in HCM City during the American war in the 1960s, but the motorcycle has become a firm favourite on Ha Noi streets, with the capital’s 80-strong Harley-Davidson club making its debut in 2010.

    According to the Viet Nam Registration Department, 8,682 motorbikes with engine capacities of more than 175 cc were imported to Viet Nam between 2014-15.

    Interbank rate peaks after 7 months     

    Overnight rate as well as one-week and two-week interbank interest rates shot up in December to a general 3-3.5 per cent per annum, in comparison with the below one per cent in the previous month.

    In the past two weeks, interbank interest rates have shown the tendency to increase with great amplitudes for all three maturity dates, the Research and Investment Advisory Department at Bao Viet Securities Joint Stock Company (BVSC) said.

    The average overnight rates increased by 1.45 per cent to 3.04 per cent annually, the one-week interest rates increased by 1.49 per cent to 3.18 per cent, whereas the two-week rates increased 1.34 per cent to 3.42 per cent annually.

    The State Bank of Vietnam announced credit growth at the end of November 2016 to be 15.8 per cent, while capital formation growth reached 15.2 per cent.

    According to BVSC, the rapid increase in credit growth for the last month was not an irregular movement, as the demand for loans across the economy generally spikes at the end of the year. Surplus liquidity due to rapid credit growth, together with a certain amount of VND leaking into the foreign currency sector following several recent exchange rate changes, would serve as one of the direct causes pushing interbank interest rates to a new level.

    BVSC expected interbank rates to maintain the current high in weeks to come, fluctuating at 3-4 per cent per annum.

    Half of Asia-Pacific SMEs predict growth in exports: survey

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    Nearly half of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the Asia- Pacific region say that their revenue from intra-regional exports will grow over the next 12 months by an average of 22 per cent, according to a global research survey conducted by FedEx Express.

    SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region, which derive an average of more than 68 per cent of their revenue from exports, are capitalising on the growth potential of other markets in the region.

    Karen Reddington, president of FedEx Express in the Asia-Pacific region, said research showed that despite challenging global economic conditions, SMEs in the region were tapping other Asian markets for growth opportunities.

    “What emerges is a broadly optimistic picture, with SME exporters in the region planning to embrace technology and the digital economy to help overcome a wide range of business challenges, from higher production costs to increasing competition,” she said. 

    The study also revealed a sense of optimism among the SMEs largely fueled by e-commerce potential.

    Eighty per cent of the region’s SME exporters leverage e-commerce to sell to other markets, and 44 per cent of them foresee growth in e-commerce revenue in the next 12 months.

    In line with the boom in e-commerce, momentum is building behind m-commerce (purchases made using mobile devices) and social commerce (purchases made via social media platforms).

    Some 68 per cent of small businesses in the region are currently selling their products via mobile applications and 67 per cent offer customers the option of making purchases via social media platforms like Facebook.

    M-commerce and social commerce account for an average of 22 per cent of regional SMEs’ export-driven revenue.

    SMEs believe that both kinds of e-commerce will continue to drive growth. Nearly half of all SMEs expect their m-commerce (47 per cent) and social commerce-driven (49 per cent) revenue to increase over the next 12 months.

    Competing in the digital economy, however, presents new challenges. Almost four out of ten (38 per cent) of SMEs in the region cited increasing international competition as a top business challenge.

    To navigate this new competitive landscape, small businesses also see technology as the means to cope. Thirty-seven per cent of them say they plan to invest in new technology to overcome business challenges, and almost two-thirds (65 per cent) believe that doing so will also help them export more in the future.

    SMEs also see the value of an efficient supply chain, which is essential to meet customer expectations, helping SMEs win customers and improve bottom lines.

    More than 90 per cent of Asia-Pacific SMEs agree that “logistics plays an important part in their export businesses”.

    E-commerce, in particular, is driving demand for faster delivery, with a significant 66 per cent of SMEs in the region engaged in e-commerce, indicating that they are willing to pay a premium for faster delivery services.

    “This research study confirms our long-held view that, for SMEs, technology and supply chain solutions dramatically level the playing field in competing with larger players,” Reddington said.

    “Increasingly, SMEs are investing in technology and looking to their logistics providers to help them adapt to their customers’ evolving needs, penetrate new cross-border markets, and ultimately ensure that their businesses remain competitive and sustainable.”

    The independent study titled “Global Trade in the Digital Economy: Opportunities for Small Businesses” was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of FedEx to provide insights into global export opportunities and challenges facing SMEs.

    Completed in September, the results were based on interviews with a total of 9,000 senior executives of SMEs from 17 markets across four regions.

    FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. 

    APEC dialogue looks to create dynamism for growth, integration     

    An Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) dialogue with businesses was held in Ha Noi on December 8 with the theme “Creating new dynamism for growth and integration.”

    The dialogue, an initiative of Viet Nam as the host of APEC activities in 2017, drew some 400 delegates from international and regional organisations, commerce chambers, associations and businesses from APEC economies.

    Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, and Antonio Basilio, director of the APEC Business Advisory Council’s International Secretariat, were among the keynote speakers.

    Opening the dialogue, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, chairman of the 2017 APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings, said Viet Nam wants to turn APEC into a forum for the sake of people and businesses. Diverse activities involving enterprises will take place throughout 2017.

    Meanwhile, Chairman of Ha Noi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung highlighted the Vietnamese capital city’s reform and integration efforts and reiterated commitments to revamping local business climate change towards a big hub in Asia-Pacific.

    He highly valued the APEC dialogue’s cooperation focus on business facilitation, trade liberalisation and technical economic investment and cooperation, adding that Ha Noi expects APEC 2017 will effectively implement the prioritised orientations on sustainable and inclusive growth, creativity and regional economic connectivity to improve small and medium enterprises’ competitiveness and ensure food security and sustainable agriculture.

    He stated that Ha Noi welcomes and will always create a favourable environment for business cooperation for mutual development. It hopes more and more APEC partners will consider this city a trustworthy destination for cooperation and investment.

    At the dialogue, entrepreneurs appreciated APEC’s efforts to promote trade and investment liberalisation and build an open and transparent business and investment environment. They also voiced their wish to join in and practically contribute to APEC’s cooperation in 2017.

    VN, Malaysia work to meet $15b trade target     

    Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and Malaysia should be strengthened further as the two countries have set a two-way trade target of US$15 billion by 2020.

    During a dialogue with 20 Malaysian firms in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, Vietnamese ambassador Pham Cao Phong answered many queries and promised to convey the suggestions made to Vietnamese authorities.

    Malaysian firms spoke highly of Viet Nam’s trade policies and offered suggestions to increase exports to Malaysia, including conducting marketing campaigns at home and abroad, building and promoting trademarks for favourable products and improving the quality of food preservation. Malaysia currently imports agro-forestry-fishery, iron and steel products from Viet Nam.

    Several Malaysian firms also expressed interest in building processing plants and preservation warehouses in Viet Nam.

    At the event, the Vietnamese embassy and Malaysian firms agreed to establish a Malaysia-Viet Nam Trade Office in Malaysia, which will represent Malaysian firms doing business in Viet Nam.

    On the same day, a roundtable conference was held between Vietnamese and Malaysian firms in Ha Noi. In his speech at the event, deputy minister of industry and trade Do Thang Hai said the two countries have yet to explore the full potential of trade exchange.

    Viet Nam could ensure a steady supply of agricultural products such as rice, tea, coffee, seafood and pepper to Malaysia on a long-term basis, Hai said, even as he invited Malaysian firms to come to study Viet Nam’s market and seek new business opportunities.

    Hai suggested that the two governments review trade rules and clear obstacles relating to administrative procedures, customs, standards and quarantines.

    Both countries need to share their experience and technology transfer in the fields of energy, oil and gas, mechanical manufacturing and agri-fishery product processing. There should also be closer co-operation to develop value chains in oil and gas, agriculture, seafood, footwear, garment and textile, and support industry, Hai said.

    At their end, Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, president of Kuala Lumpur Business Club, invited Vietnamese enterprises to visit Malaysia to exploit investment opportunities.

    Two-way trade between the two nations touched US$6.8 billion in the first 10 months of this year, up 3.4 per cent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.

    During this period, Viet Nam exported $2.7 billion worth of goods to Malaysia, down 14 per cent, while its imports witnessed a yearly rise of 19 per cent, to $4.1 billion.

    Bilateral trade would likely reach $8.1 billion by year-end, which will be 4.3 per cent higher than 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has forecast. Of this, Viet Nam’s exports would be $3.2 billion and its imports may hit $4.9 billion, which suggests that Viet Nam will see a trade deficit of around $1.7 billion, nearly three times higher than that seen in the previous year.

    In terms of investment, Malaysia has pumped $412 million into Viet Nam over the past 11 months, ranking 11th among the 68 countries and territories investing in the country, as per data from the Foreign Investment Agency. 

    Record high fruit and veggie exports in 2016

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    Fruit and vegetable exports hit US$186 million in November, bringing the value in 11 months of this year to approximately US$2.2 billion, up from the 2015 record of $1.8 billion. cited statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as saying that China was the largest market for Vietnamese vegetables and fruits, accounting for 70.4 per cent. It was followed by South Korea with 4 per cent, the US (3.5 per cent), and Japan (3.1 per cent). Meanwhile, Viet Nam spent $814 million on imported vegetables and fruits, mainly from Thailand and China, in the period, up 44 per cent year-on-year.

    Earlier, the ministry forecast the export value of domestic fruits and vegetables would likely reach US$2.5 billion by the-year end.

    According to the ministry, the vegetable and fruit industry grew from exporting $235 million to 36 markets in 2005 to exporting $1.8 billion to 60 markets in 2015.

    The export value in 2015 reached a record high of $1.8 billion, 123 per cent higher than in 2014.

    Vietnamese exporters have promoted vegetable and fruit exports to both traditional and new markets, including markets with strict rules, such as the US, EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    In order to promote fruit and vegetable exports, Viet Nam should review plans for growing fruit and vegetables for export, suggested the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Initially, the State would concretise the general plan for agricultural development by 2020 and towards 2030. Under the plan, the development of fruit and vegetables would be implemented closely in advantageous regions with each province developing one or two major types of fruit trees.

    Production would be expanded, with the growing of some trees to meet the demands of importers and also provide material for export processing factories. 

    Daiei Kankyo Japan wants to invest in Thanh Hoa

    Daiei Kankyo, a Japan’s foremost waste management business group wants to invest in Thanh Hoa province, especially in environment, said its representative, Mr.Tatsuo Yamashita at a recent working session with provincial leaders.

    Mr Yamashita proposed cooperation fields such as waste water treatment at Nghi Son Economic Zone, and waste and waste oil treatment and recycling techniques.

    In the coming time, the company will discuss projects related to environment treatment in details with relevant authorities, he said.

    Thanh Hoa has attracted investment in domestic waste management and treatment of waste water from Nghi Son EZ. Five areas have been zoned for domestic waste treatment with a daily capacity of 5,000-10,000 tons each.

    The province has also made a pre-feasibility study for a project on Nghi Son EZ’s waste water treatment with an investment of US$102 million.

    HCM City plans US$652-million elevated road to ease traffic congestion

    Ho Chi Minh City’s municipal government is seeking permission from the central government to build an elevated road to help reduce traffic congestion.

    Road Number 1 will run for 9.5km with total investment of about VND15 trillion (US$652 million), local media reported on December 8.

    The four-lane road is expected to begin at Lang Cha Ca Roundabout in Tan Binh District near Tan Son Nhat International Airport and end at Phu An Bridge in Binh Thanh District.

    It will serve as the backbone for a future elevated road system.

    It will also act as a link from the downtown to belt roads around the city, alleviating the rising transport pressure on the country’s economic hub.

    Ho Chi Minh City also has plans to build four other elevated roads with a combined length of more than 70km.

    Construction of the city's first metro line linking Ben Thanh Market and Suoi Tien Theme Park started in December 2013 in District 9.

    Plans for more metro lines are underway.

    State asset panel said to be a must

    Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue is pushing for establishment of a committee under the Government to manage an estimated VND5 quadrillion (US$223 billion) worth of capital at State-owned enterprises (SOEs).

    Hue at a meeting with ministries on December 7 asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which was in charge of drafting a decree on establishment of the committee, to clarify three points.

    These are the necessity of a committee specialising in managing State capital at enterprises, overview and forecast of SOE restructuring by and after 2020 and State ownership performance.

    The establishment of the committee was necessary to remove conflicts among State functions by separating State ownership performance from policy making and market regulation.

    Accordingly, ministries and people’s committees would no longer have the function of representing State ownership at SOEs.

    Hue said that the VND5 quadrillion committee would help improve the ministries’ management of State capital.

    “The management of State capital would be centralised,” Hue said.

    State capital was currently managed by ministries, people’s committees and the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC).

    Hue urged the planning and investment ministry to clarify responsibilities of the committee, which including consulting the Government on State ownership and supervising the use of State capital.

    Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said at the conference the draft would be completed next week to be submitted to the Government for comments.                                                         

    Under the draft, the committee would soon directly manage State capital at 30 SOEs in various areas, such as electricity, oil and gas, aviation, maritime and telecommunications.

    The 30 companies reportedly accounted for more than 80% of the total value of State capital and assets.

    False rumors rally Vietnam’s gold, dollar markets despite gov’t denial

    Rumors surrounding the replacement of the current Vietnamese currency have continued to put adverse impacts on the domestic dollar and gold markets, despite repeated warnings from state agencies against the unfounded information.

    The currency replacement rumor has sent dollar prices skyrocketing, especially on the unofficial market, since the beginning of the month.

    The greenback on the ‘black’ market reached a record VND23,000 a dollar on December 3 as the rumor mill went into overdrive.

    Accordingly, rising dollar prices sent gold prices in Vietnam through the roof, with some traders taking advantage of the rumors to manipulate the rates.

    The market manipulation widened the gap between Vietnamese and global gold prices, as well as the margin between asking and selling quotes at local gold shops.

    On the global market, gold closed at $1,171.1 an ounce on Wednesday, or VND32.08 million (US$1,432) a tael (37.5 grams), while Vietnamese gold shops quoted the precious metal at VND36.45 million ($1,627) a tael, a price gap of VND4.37 million ($195) a tael.

    Vietnam’s gold prices move in reverse direction from global peers, fretting local buyers.

    “I have no idea why prices in Vietnam rose by VND400,000 [$17.86] a tael while global rates are falling,” Chinh, a resident in Ho Chi Minh City, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    The woman is sitting on hot bricks, having borrowed loans in gold when price was only VND34 million ($1,518) a tael.

    Gold has lost $167 an ounce, or VND4.58 million ($204) a tael, on the global market since last month, but prices keep fluctuating strongly in Vietnam, with the false currency replacement largely to blame, according to industry insiders.

    “The rumors first rallied the dollar market, and the gold market was affected in the same manner,” Nguyen Thi Cuc, deputy general director of PNJ, a major gold trader, explained.

    Nguyen Thanh Long, chairman of the Vietnam Gold Traders Association, said many gold shops have taken advantage of the rallied market to boost prices even further.

    While SJC, the country’s largest gold trader, set the gap between ask and bid prices at only VND400,000 a tael at December 7’s closing session, the difference was VND500,000 a tael at gold shops.

    The State Bank of Vietnam quashed the groundless rumors in a public warning earlier this month, and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reiterated the denial at a government conference on Tuesday.

    The premier reassured that the government is totally capable of stabilizing the foreign exchange rate and the macro-economy, without forgetting to task relevant agencies with tracing the rumor makers.

    On December 7, the foreign exchange agency under the State Bank of Vietnam also reiterated that the central bank is closely watching the dollar and gold markets and will have timely intervention if necessary.

    “The public should not believe rumors and remain cautious about any decision to sell or buy,” the agency head Nguyen Ngoc Canh warned.


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  • 12/10/16--23:18: Article 7
  • Vietnam arrests former CEO, four other ex-executives of Dong A Bank

    Tran Phuong Binh, former CEO of Dong An Bank. 

    Tuoi Tre

    Vietnam's police have arrested the former chief executive officer and four other ex-staff of a troubled partly private bank which has been under central bank surveillance since August last year, the bank said on Saturday.

    Former CEO Tran Phuong Binh and four staff of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Dong A Bank, who have been suspended since August 2015, were taken into custody as the police were investigating the lender over its banking and monetary operations, the unlisted bank said in a statement.

    The State Bank of Vietnam, the country's central bank, placed Dong A Bank, under special supervision on Aug. 13, 2015 "for violations in financial management and credit grants" by some executives, the statement said.

    Vietnam's fragmented banking sector has undergone major reform in the past few years, with stricter lending and debt classification, forced takeovers, numerous fraud investigations and the formation of a state-run asset management company to support commercial lenders.

    Bad debts have been cut to 2.62 percent of the sector's total outstanding loans in September, from 2.93 percent in September 2015, based on central bank data.

    Dong A Bank, 6.87 percent owned by the Communist Party chapter in Ho Chi Minh City as of late 2013, said it recorded positive lending growth since this August, while the ratios of its reserves for ensuring liquidity and repayments have now been above the central bank's requirements.

    The bank statement reaffirmed "all its business activities have been normal, clients' benefits are ensured."

    On Friday Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the government was seeking to step up dealing with banks' bad debts and that the Asian Development Bank and a Vietnamese private partner were planning to buy one of the country's weak banks.

    He did not name the bank in question.

    Earlier this month, Moody's said its "outlook for Vietnam's banking system over the next 12-18 months was stable, as it has been since December 2014."

    Vietnam's macroeconomic stability and resilient economic growth will continue to support the banks' weak credit profiles, "while capital buffers will continue to deteriorate because of high loan growth," Moody's said.

    The central bank estimated loans to grow 18 percent this year from 2015, accelerating from an annual expansion of 17.26 percent last year.


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  • 12/10/16--23:37: Article 6
  • Land price soars on Phu Quoc Island as a result of billionaires’ race

    The investment boom on Phu Quoc Island, with the appearance of the biggest real estate developers, from Vingroup and Sungroup to BIM and CEO, has caused land prices to escalate daily.

     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, vn news, Phu Quoc Island, CEO, Vingroup

    “Tran Hung Dao is the most expensive street in Phu Quoc. The land is priced at VND50-60 million per square meter,” said Ty, a taxi driver, pointing to numerous bungalows. They were all built, mostly by private investors, in recent years.

    Savills Vietnam, in a market analysis report released recently, said that Phu Quoc is now a ‘golden land’ for tourism development. However, most of the hotels have been developed by locals and are small, while only a few are managed in a professional way.

    The report pointed out that by the first quarter of 2016, only 33 percent of hotel room supply on the island, about 2,500 rooms, meet 3-5 star requirements. Sixty percent have been operational for only two years, after the Phu Quoc Airport was built.

    When asked about the prices of land plots on Tran Hung Dao Street, Tu, a real estate broker, said the prices vary depending on the position. 

    The investment boom on Phu Quoc Island, with the appearance of the biggest real estate developers, from Vingroup and Sungroup to BIM and CEO, has caused land prices to escalate daily.

    “You can buy a land plot on this side of the road at just VND20-30 billion. But if you want the plot on the other side which faces the sea, the price would be VND50-60 billion,” he said.

    Thirteen years ago, 1,000 square meters of land could be bought at VND15 million, but now the price is up to VND5-6 billion.

    Multi-trillion dong projects

    Phu Quoc is the focus of the 2016 national tourism program. Called the ‘pearl island’, it is located in an advantageous position, near international maritime routes and air routes which link Phu Quoc and other regional cities such as Singapore, Siem Reap, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

    Many infrastructure projects have been developed by the government since 2012, including the 110 KW national electricity grid (VND2.36 trillion), a transport backbone route (VND1.2 trillion) and the Phu Quoc Airport expansion (VND1 trillion).

    The new infrastructure has paved the way for private investors to pour money into Phu Quoc. Vingroup has developed an international passenger port (VND1.6 trillion) and the Safari Zoo (VND3.15 trillion).

    Sungroup in April 2016 announced two large projects – Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay and Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort. It is also injecting money into JW Marriott, a high-end resort, and The Ritz-Carlton Reverse.

    In 2016, the CEO Group started the Novotel Phu Quoc Resort project with investment capital of VND4.5 trillion.

    Chi Mai, VNN

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  • 12/11/16--00:39: Article 5
  • Labour exports hurt by lack of foreign language skills

    Few countries have as many of their citizens working abroad as Vietnam, or depend so greatly on labour exports for economic vitality, says the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    labour exports hurt by lack of foreign language skills hinh 0

    According to the Department, it has supplied an enormous amount of guest workers, nearly 55,600 to foreign markets under official arrangements since 2011, eight out of 10 of whom were unskilled workers. 

    Out of the total some 31,000 guest workers went to the Japanese market; 12,000 to Taiwan; 5,000 to Malaysia; 3,500 to the Republic of Korea (ROK); and 4,100 worked in other markets.

    The jobs created for these workers provided a lifeline for these workers and their families to get financially ahead, lift themselves out of poverty and learn life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

    Nguyen Thi Ly, headmaster of Thu Duc College of Technology, noted that as many as 300 of the school’s graduates had been placed by the Department to work in Japan and all of them are excited about the high rate of pay they earn.

    One graduate reported he saved US$40,000 after working just three years in Japan.

    Huynh Ho Dai Nghia from the Labour Export Department of the Saigon Garment Company echoed Mr Ly’s comments, noting that nearly all workers sent to the Japanese market reported the salaries are high.

    Not only do they describe being able to save a lot of money, said Mr Nghia, but almost all of them say they returned home with broader knowledge and professional working skills. A few even reported they saved enough money and got the skills to start their own businesses.

    Nguyen Xuan Lanh, an assistant to director of Esuhai Company that employs thousands of workers for businesses in Japan, Taiwan and the ROK, also noted these markets have high demands and opportunities for guest workers to earn large sums.

    The company earlier this year sent nearly 1,000 engineers and trainees to Japan and all report the money is excellent, he noted.

    However, far too many guest workers are being held back by their lack of foreign language skills said Tran Viet Phu, deputy director of HCM City Vocational College of Economics and Technology.

    The City currently has 46 companies and 23 branches that are qualified to export labour abroad, said Mr Phu.

    In addition, the City’s vocational colleges have signed training agreements with Japan and the ROK to train workers. However, the number of trainees is not sufficient to meet the actual demand, most notably due to lack of foreign language qualifications.

    Due to the cost and time consideration, some companies have been cutting corners and not paying proper attention to ensuring workers are adequately trained prior to sending them overseas.

    Most notably they do not meet the foreign language working requirements and as a result they cannot function in a foreign environment and their labour contracts are consequently being terminated early.

    Consequently, the lack of foreign language skills is holding labour exports back, noted Mr Phu.

    To boost labour exports, controls need to be put in place to better train and test candidates for the guest worker program to develop a workforce with high-level foreign language skills adequate for employment abroad.


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  • 12/11/16--00:58: Article 4
  • IPP Group seeks investment in Tan Son Nhat airport

    The Imex Pan Pacific Company Limited (IPP Group), a Vietnamese diversified conglomerate, has been seeking to invest in a dual-use terminal with a capacity of around 10 million passengers per year at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
    The IPP Group has recently sent a document to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) for the project implementation of the construction and investment in expanding the airport terminal system at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, a close source associated with IPP told VET.

    Specifically, IPP has proposed to build another dual-use airport terminal with a capacity of 10 million passengers per year, bringing the total exploitation capacity of Tan Son Nhat International Airport up to 40 to 50 million passengers per year, according to the development plans from now until 2025.

    The company will use 100 per cent of investment capital from local resources, not from partnerships or associations with any foreign partners.

    IPP’s proposal stems from the government’s policies that allow for the investment, which aims to reduce the load for Tan Son Nhat International Airport. However, with the current pace of development, the IPP Group noted that it will be a while before the terminal is ready to serve passengers. 

    Nevertheless, Tan Son Nhat Airport, in the short term, needs investments for the expansion. These efforts are combined with the improvement of aircraft parking capacity and taxiways until the Long Thanh International Airport is completed and begins operations in 2025.

    The IPP Group is a diversified conglomerate that controls about 60 leading international brands in Vietnam. It has participated in investments in the country’s aviation infrastructure and non-aviation services for many domestic and international airports.

    The IPP Group has stakes in a number of ground service companies in Vietnam, which control the system of duty free stores at multiple international airports in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phu Quoc, among others.

    It has also engaged in providing non-aviation services at the NAIA Airport in the Philippines and has sought a cooperation agreement with the operating unit of Incheon Airport in South Korea in supporting the operations of airports in Vietnam.

    The IPP Group is a private enterprise with over 31 years of investment and development in Vietnam and 47 projects with an investment of over $480 million. In 2015, the company also became a strategic investor in Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV).

    VN Economic Times

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  • 12/11/16--01:29: Article 3
  • Vietnam's sugar industry development strategy in a muddle

    The figures to which the agriculture ministry (MARD) has been using while drafting the sugar industry's development strategy are not sufficiently reliable.

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    MARD has decided that by 2020 the total sugar cane growing area would reach 300,000 hectares, while sugar cane output would be 21 million tons with average yield at 70 tons per hectare.

    The growing area would be unchanged by 2030, but the sugar cane output would increase to 24 million tons, as the average yield would be 80 tons per hectare

    Nguyen Hai, secretary general of the Vietnam Sugar Cane Association (VSSA), said MARD might consider the average yield now (64-65 tons per hectare, according to the ministry) when programming productivity for 2020 and 2030.

    The figures to which the agriculture ministry (MARD) has been using while drafting the sugar industry's development strategy are not sufficiently reliable.

    However, Hai said that 64-65 tons per hectare is not a reliable figure. “The actual yield is low in Vietnam,” he said.

    The sugar cane yield is very high in some areas. In Phung Hiep district of Tien Giang province, for example, farmers can harvest nearly 100 tons per hectare, while in Tay Ninh province, the figure could be 75 tons per hectare. However, the yield is very low in the northern and central regions.

    Hai doesn’t think MARD referred to Thailand’s average yield when programming the industry development for Vietnam. He said the sugar cane average yield in Thailand is 65 tons per hectare, not 70-80 tons per hectare, as some sources said.

    Le Van Banh, head of the Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Processing and Salt Production Department, said that, considering Thailand’s production, it is necessary to learn about its ‘technology map’, cultivation techniques, varieties, productivity and product quality, and figure out where Vietnam is on the world’s production map.

    “We need to know where we are to figure out plans and measures to implement the development program in 2016-2020 and after 2020,” he said.

    As the data based on which MARD is drafting the development program is believed to be unreliable, Vu Huyen Duc, deputy chair of VSSA, speaking at a conference to review the 2016-2017 sugar cane crop, asked the plan compiler to revise the program.

    A report shows that Thailand’s sugar productivity increased sharply from 6 million tons in 2000 to 11 million tons in 2015-2016 crop. This means that after 15 years, the country’s sugar output increased by 5 million tons. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s output increased by 500,000 tons during the same time, from 700,000 tons to 1.2 million tons.

    Many experts have shown concern about the slow development of the sugar industry, saying that the protection policy has made the industry less competitive, with the production cost 30-40 percent higher than the average level in the world.

    Kim Chi, VNN

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  • 12/11/16--01:38: Article 2
  •  What’s cooking? A lot of things, actually

    Rural falvours: Residents of Điện Bàn Town cook their farm produce at a harvest festival. Fish, potatoes, maize are cooked on straw or firewood stoves. Rural areas in the town are a favourite destination for rural lifestyle tours offered the tourists. VNS Photo Công Thành

    A catering trend is blowing new winds across Điện Thọ Commune in Quảng Nam Province, empowering women, creating off-farm jobs and spreading prosperity. Thiên Thanh has the story.

    On weekends, long before the onset of dawn, things start buzzing in Châu Lâu Hamlet.

    In fact, it gets busier – and noisier – than a beehive. Courtyards echo with the sounds of people calling out various things from the kitchen. Then there’s the thump of big knives pounding on big chopping boards, the clanging of pans, the sound of water running…

    But the strongest evidence of a feast, or several feasts, in the making is the aroma of shrimps being stir fried that float into the small streets. And along these winding streets, mini-vans soon get loaded with food trays.

    “We can only have a simple meal of vegetables, either boiled or stir-fried, with rice to keep us going,” said Trần Thị Thu Hà, a local catering business owner.

    “My favourite food is boiled vegetables with pickled cucumber dipped in anchovy paste,” she said, adding, “I cook and smell the food too much. Now I don’t like meat or seafood. I only crave vegetables.”

    Hà sometimes takes as many as 10 catering orders a day. “Now we need to get food ready, when the minivans are back, the food must be ready to go, too. We cater to parties in Đà Nẵng City and we must get there on time.

    “During the weekends and on festive days, our days start at 2am and run till 5pm.”

    Hà says she has 10 close employees and when orders come rushing in, she has to hire up to 40 or even 50 people.

    “The biggest party I’ve served is 200 tables,” she said, meaning serving a wedding feast for 2,000 people. And these are seven-course meals!

    Hà has been in this business for six to seven years. She’s gotten so busy she can’t take time off.

    As soon as Hà and the women sip some tea to complete their meal, they head out to work. There’s plenty to do: picking and cleaning vegetables, chopping meat and ribs, slaughtering chicken.

    Hà is soon glued to her mobile phone, taking or checking orders. Her iPad is full of food presentation photos. She is constantly looking to improve her service.

    Finishing touches: The kitchen team of Ngọc Ánh, a caterer in La Trung Hamlet, gets the food ready for serving. - VNS Photo Thiên Thanh

    Hands on

    We went to neighbouring La Trung Hamlet, which is also in a high bee-hive mode. Seeing off a line of motorbikes catering to smaller parties, Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh returned to her huge kitchen, now empty because everything had gone.

    She has been overworked. Her sleep-deprived eyes check out chickens being boiled in whole in a big pot. “Today we cater to eight parties. The closest one is a wedding in the neighbouring village. Thirty-five tables of ten.”

    A mâm, or table, is a full seven-course meal with starters like salads, main courses, soups and vegetables, and deserts, for 10 people. 

    “Everyone has gone to the parties. I was here before the rooster began to crow. And I will be here until the last dishes of food is out at 4pm,” Ánh said. Next to where she’s standing is a booking calendar that shows 12 catering orders for the day.

    Though she has people helping in the kitchen, Ánh maintains her job of marinating and being the principal chef in her kitchen.

    “I get orders for the good food that I make with my own hands. I can’t make an excuse that I’ve got too many orders and pass the job to someone else. That’s not good. I want to keep my good reputation.

    “Each day, I only accept orders for a little more than 1,000 people to ensure my good quality.”

    When the orders rush in, not only are the chefs overworked, other villagers get their share of work, too. Nguyễn Thị Tuyết, who helps out every time a kitchen calls, said: “Sometimes three or four people call in one day, so I have to serve the one who called first. There’s so much work to do. The only concern is if you can manage it.”


    Deep fried:The stoves are busy and the kitchen bustles with a lot of energy. VNS Photo Thiên Thanh

    Military precision

    In this business, the chef who directs her kitchen also needs to work in sync with what’s happening in the wedding hall.

    When the master of ceremonies begins proceedings in the big hall, Lê Thị Mai of La Trung Hamlet, de facto chef in the kitchen, snaps out her order: “Start!”  It is only then that the food will be taken to the plate.

    Everything has to be very well organised so that the food trays are taken to the dining room in order.

    “Hot dishes must be warmed up and served right then,” Mai said.

    As the MC said “Thank you”, Mai called out: “Ready! Dishes, go!” Her team of 10 waiters, all decked out in smart uniforms, held the dishes up to their shoulders, and walked in harmony with the music, gently placing the trays on the tables.

    “In the past, we used to get all the food ready on the table,” Mai said.

     “But just seeing too much food at one time, people felt full and did not find it delicious.”

    “People need time to taste the food, so each course is served in an order. We wait for at least 10 minutes after the starter to serve the main course. We serve the fried dishes with accompanying soups. And we serve fruit for desert,” she said.

    Ánh, who still keeps the actual cooking job to herself, said: “Catering to parties is like getting married to a big family. You can’t say no to clients who come to you, but do not have so much to spend.”

    The norm in the village has been to charge between VNĐ70,000 to 100,000 per person.

    “If the client cannot afford higher rates, then we try our best to serve them at between VNĐ70,000 and VNĐ80,000 per person.

     “We have to treat each and every client of ours the same way. Even if they cannot pay more, we still show them that we care so that they are impressed and satisfied. Only then can we survive in our business,” Ánh said.

    Served in style: Shrimps roosting on a glass, a popular starter. - VNS Photo Sơn Hà

    Fabulous Four

    Until a decade or so ago, whenever food for wedding parties, birthdays and death anniversaries was talked about, everyone turned to the Fabulous Four: Tằm, Dung, Hoa and Nữ. These women are seen as the “founding goddesses” of the catering service in the village.

    Then, all the women in the village followed the Fabulous Four to help with cooking and serving for big parties. They didn’t mind being called to only clean vegetables or peel garlic, or wash dishes.

    Some of the women learnt the work and started to cook and cater for their family parties. And when guests began appreciating the food and service, the women started accepting bigger orders.

    Ngọc Ánh of La Trung is one of them.

    “I helped out for a few years. Then I thought, ‘Oh, I can make all the dishes, why not try on my own?’ she said.

    “The first party I cooked for was for my cousin,” Ánh recalled.

    “Guests coming here from Đà Nẵng praised me to the sky. Then they asked me to come to Đà Nẵng and cook. That was it.”

    Ánh said she printed name cards to give out at parties, and now she has more orders from Đà Nẵng than from neighbouring villages.

    “At first, I only wanted to do weddings. Now, I take any order: house-warming, birthday, special events and death anniversaries.”

    Unions and reunions: The Ngọc Ánh service now caters to all kinds of events in Đà Nẵng City and neighbouring villages in Quảng Nam Province. - VNS Photo Thiên Thanh

    Win win

    In the catering hamlets, some women have signed up for food safety classes or cooking classes, and have begun surfing the Internet to learn new dishes and expand their menus.

    According to Võ Thị Tình, chairwoman of the Điện Thọ Commune Women’s Union, there are 200 catering households in the commune, mostly in the Đông Hòa, La Trung and Châu Lâu hamlets.

    To encourage the catering trend, the local Women’s Union chapter proposed that the Quảng Nam Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs opens cooking and food safety classes.

    “We have given out 100 cooking certificates (since 2013),” Tình said. This has created more income-earning opportunities for the women of the district.

    Almost all women have left farm work to their husbands and children, and gotten involved in the catering business.

    “Everyday if I help out in the kitchen, I get paid VNĐ200,000 ($9),” said Nguyễn Thị Xí, a long-time farmer from Đông Hòa. If I work hard and come early to work in placing tables, I get VNĐ350,000 ($15). Those who can cook get paid more than VNĐ400,000 ($18) a day. Every month, we work for 20 days and we get bonuses too.”

    The catering trend has turned a new page for the villagers of Điện Thọ. The business owners have minivans and new villas. The supporting services have spread the prosperity. Those who can’t cook supply fresh food and seafood, they rent out tables and make-shift wedding halls or music equipment.

    In Điện Thọ, it’s hard to find a rundown looking old house. They are all new and clean.


    Having fun: Thu Hà, a caterer, and her husband participate in a TV game show.

    Viet Nam News

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  • 12/11/16--05:00: Article 1

    RoK initiates AD investigation into Vietnam Ferro and Silico-Manganese

     rok initiates ad investigation into vietnam ferro and silico-manganese hinh 0

    The Korean Trade Commission (KTC) has announced to initiate an anti-dumping investigation on ferro-manganese (FeMn) and Silico-Manganese (SiMn) products imported from Vietnam, Ukraine and India.

    The move followed a petition lodged by Korean businesses namely Dongbu Metal, Simpac Metal, Simpac Metalloy and Taekyung Industrial on September 29.

    The period subject to investigation is between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 (which can be adjusted after considering opinions of plaintiffs and defendants) and the loss analysis will be conducted for the period from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016 (which can be extended if necessary).

    A Vietnamese exporter is named in the KTC’s announcement.

    If Vietnam businesses want to join the investigation they should send an Application for Participation to the KTC within three weeks.

    Businesses which are not an object producer of investigation but still apply for participation will be imposed a weighted average of dumping rate according to the Republic of Korea’s Customs Act.

    Those businesses which do not submit applications for participation or export products after the investigated period, the KTC may levy anti-dumping margins based on available information according to the Customs Act.

    The KTC will send a questionaire to relevant businesses, producers and governments. They will have 40 days to answer these questions.

    Individual savings at banks surge over 17 percent

    Savings at banks remained attractive to locals, with deposits of individuals in the first nine months of this year seeing a sharp surge of more than 500 trillion VND (22.02 billion USD).

    According to a report from the State Bank of Vietnam, individuals deposited nearly 3.5 quadrillion VND at banks in the first nine months of this year, up 17.08 percent against late last year. Savings at banks by institutions during the period also rose 10.65 percent to 2.34 quadrillion VND, the central bank reported.

    Despite low interest rates, depositors said they preferred savings at banks since it was absolutely safe, while other investment channels, such as securities and real estate, had high risks.

    According to the central bank, currently, the popular deposit interest rates are 0.8-1 percent per year for demand and under one-month terms, and 4.5-5.4 percent for 1-6 month terms. The popular rates applicable for medium- and long-term deposits of 6-12 months and above 12 months are 5.4-6.5 percent and 6.4-7.2 percent, respectively.

    In the past week, several commercial banks, such as BIDV, Agribank, Techcombank and Viet Capital Bank, unexpectedly slightly cut dong-denominated deposit interest rates by 0.1-0.3 percent per year to balance their liquidity and cut input costs.

    Thanks to the increase in deposits, liquidity at commercial banks this year is abundant, helping the banks in lowering lending rates to support domestic production and business.

    The central bank reported that lending of the banking sector as of November 22 had expanded by around 14 percent against December last year, with dong loans rising 15.3 percent. The central bank’s credit growth target of 17-18 percent this year is feasible with focus on five prioritised sectors of agriculture, exports, spare-parts industries, high-tech, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Madagascar welcomes Vietnamese businesses

    Madagascar is willing to roll out red carpet for Vietnamese businesses to make investment in the country, Vietnamese Honourary Consul in Madagascar Eric Andry Ramiandrasoa told President Tran Dai Quang on December 8.

    Ramiandrasoa, who is leading a trade delegation to Vietnam, said the current trip offers a good opportunity for Madagascan businesses to study cooperation agreements with Vietnamese partners such as the military-run telecom group Viettel and the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.

    The recent visit to Madagascar by President Tran Dai Quang to attend the 16th Francophone Summit has created a premise for collaboration between the two countries’ business communities, he added.

    For his part, President Quang affirmed that the Vietnamese State always supports the development of equal and win-win business cooperation based on national and international law.

    Vietnam is home to over 600,000 enterprises, including numerous groups and companies operating effectively abroad, he noted.

    The Southeast Asian country is ready to partner with Madagascan firms in agriculture, aquaculture, garment-textile, cement production, and construction materials, he said.

    It also boasts strength in other fields such as aviation, telecommunication, hydropower, infrastructure investment – seaport, and accommodation for low-income earners.

    Vietnam pledged to create optimal conditions for Madagascan companies to build bilateral business partnership, he affirmed.

    First gas flow from Thien Ung field pumped

    The Vietnam-Russia Oil and Gas Joint Venture Enterprise (Vietsovpetro) has welcomed the first flow of oil and condensate from TU-6 well of BK-TNG platform in the Thien Ung field.

    About 540,000 cubic metres of gas and 200 tonnes of condensate a day are generated from the well.

    Vietsovpetro has applied technical solutions to bring gas and condensate to the mainland via Bach Ho oil as soon as possible.

    BK-TNG platform in the Thien Ung field is part of Lot 04-3, which was assigned to the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Russia’s AO Zarubezhneft Oil and Gas Company. Vietsovpetro was assigned as the manager.

    The Thien Ung field was discovered by Vietsovpetro in 2009.-

    Vietnam, RoK hold joint committees’ sessions

    Two joint committees between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea have taken place in Seoul to promote bilateral trade and investment.

    The Vietnamese delegation to the events was led by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, while the RoK delegation was headed by Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-hwan.

    In the minutes signed at the end of the seventh session of the Vietnam-RoK Joint Committee on cooperation in nuclear power, industry and trade, the two sides were unanimous on some contents of bilateral cooperation in such fields as energy and mineral, technology incubator, material and spare part production, human resources development, garment-textile, distribution, logistics and trade promotion.

    This will be foundation for the two sides to build and carry out specific projects to boost collaboration in industry, trade and energy.

    In the joint statement of the first session of the Joint Committee on the implementation of the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA), the two sides acknowledged each other’s efforts in carrying out bilateral cooperation activities in the fields of animal and plant quarantine, technical standard, thus implementing commitments in the VKFTA effectively.

    Ministers Tran Tuan Anh and Joo Hyung-hwan spoke of the development of the two countries’ economic, trade and investment ties in recent years, especially after the VKFTA came into effect in late 2015.

    They agreed to continue efforts to deepen the trade, industry and energy cooperation, contributing to realising the two countries’ strategic cooperative partnership and the goal of 70 billion USD in bilateral trade by 2020.

    They also agreed to convene the next sessions of the two joint committees in 2017. The time and venue will be discussed and fixed later.

    APEC dialogue looks to create dynamism for growth, integration

    An Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) dialogue with businesses was held in Hanoi on late December 8 under the theme “Creating new dynamism for growth and integration”.

    The dialogue, an initiative of Vietnam as the host of APEC activities in 2017, drew about 400 delegates from international and regional organisations, commerce chambers, associations and businesses from APEC economies.

    Alan Bollard – Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat and Antonio Basilio – Director of the APEC Business Advisory Council’s International Secretariat were among keynote speakers.

    Opening the dialogue, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Chairman of the 2017 APEC Senior Officials’ Meetings, said Vietnam wants to turn APEC into a forum for the sake of people and businesses. Diverse activities involving enterprises will take place throughout 2017.

    Meanwhile, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung highlighted the Vietnamese capital city’s reform and integration efforts and reiterated commitments to revamping local business climate change towards a big hub in Asia-Pacific.

    He highly valued the APEC dialogue’s cooperation focus on business facilitation, trade liberalisation, and technical economic investment and cooperation, adding that Hanoi expects APEC 2017 will effectively implement the prioritised orientations on sustainable and inclusive growth, creativity, and regional economic connectivity to improve small and medium enterprises’ competitiveness, and ensure food security and sustainable agriculture.

    He stated that Hanoi welcomes and will always create a favourable environment for businesses’ cooperation for mutual development. It hopes more and more APEC partners will consider this city as a trustworthy destination for cooperation and investment.

    At the dialogue, entrepreneurs appreciated APEC’s efforts to promote trade and investment liberalisation and build an open and transparent business and investment environment. They also voiced their wish to join in and practically contribute to APEC’s cooperation in 2017.

    Japan boosts agriculture partnership with Vietnam

    The Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance will actively work with the Vietnam Farmers’ Union to implement cooperation activities and share experience in developing high-quality agricultural production following Japan’s model.

    Tsutomu Takebe, special advisor to the alliance, made the affirmation while meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on December 8.

    He noted that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has coordinated with the Vietnam Farmers’ Union to carry out programmes that attracted many businesses.

    Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh said he hopes the two countries will boost cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the coming time.

    He proposed Japan provide more support for Vietnamese farmers in applying Japan’s efficient models.

    Swedish firms seek links with Vietnamese counterparts

    Leading Swedish companies including Ericsson, ABB, and EP joined a press conference in Hanoi on December 8 to introduce their strengths, aiming to seek cooperation with Vietnamese partners.

    At the event, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Hogberg stated he will attempt to boost cooperation between the two nations, especially in economy and trade.

    Representatives from Ericsson, ABB, and EP introduced participants to their projects in Vietnam and other countries.

    Ericsson - a global leader in ICT solutions, mentioned consumer trends in 2017, stressing that artificial intelligence, virtual reality technology, and products based on the platform of the two technologies will be popular.

    New technologies and products will help narrow the distance between producers and consumers, and create new business models.

    ABB – a technology firm specialising in energy, focused on renewable energy and smart grids, and the use of these in Vietnam.

    The firm also pointed out challenges facing Vietnam in developing the electricity industry, and gave recommendations on smart grid models and energy saving.

    Meanwhile, EP shared its experience in education and training, especially in foreign language training.

    UN convention supports Vietnamese businesses

    The UN Convention on International Sales Goods (CISG), which supports the businesses of its 80 member countries, will take effect in Vietnam on January 1, 2017.

    Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the WTO Centre of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Vietnam aims to boost exports through the convention.

    Vietnam’s import-export activities have been rising and international goods sales amount to a large number.

    Businesses can use the CSIG without trade negotiations, she added.

    Vietnam joined CSIG in December 2015 and most of Vietnam’s major trade partners are members of the convention. Expenses in contract negotiations will be saved when it takes effect.

    Dialogue seeks to increase Vietnam’s exports to Malaysia

    Vietnam and Malaysia are aiming to achieve 15 billion USD in two-way trade by 2020, a goal the two nations’ leaders set, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Cao Phong told a dialogue with Malaysian importers in Kuala Lumpur on December 8.

    Attending the event were 20 Malaysian firms which import agro-forestry-fisheries, iron and steel products from Vietnam.

    Phong said the dialogue aims to acquire feedback to achieve the goal.

    Participants put forward proposals to increase Vietnam’s exports, including conducting more marketing campaigns at home and abroad and improving the quality of food preservation.

    Several firms expressed interest in building a processing plant and a preservation warehouse in Vietnam.

    Phong answered Malaysian importers’ questions and pledged to convey their suggestions to Vietnamese authorities.

    The embassy and Malaysian firms agreed to establish the Malaysia-Vietnam Trade Office in Malaysia, which will group Malaysian firms doing business in Vietnam.

    According to the General Statistics Office, two-way trade hit 6.8 billion USD in the first ten months of this year, up 3.4 percent annually. Vietnam exported 2.7 billion USD worth of goods to Malaysia, down 14 percent, and spent 4.1 billion USD on imports, an 18.8 percent increase.

    Steel sector’s growth to hit 10-12 percent in 2017

    The steel industry is likely to enjoy a 10-12 percent growth next year, said the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh city on December 8.

    According to Chu Duc Khai, VSA Vice President and General Secretary, steel consumption greatly depends on the country’s GDP growth.

    With expected GDP growth of 6.2 percent this year, and the operation of 10 steel projects in 2017, the sector’s growth is expected to further expand, Khai said.

    However, he warned of challenges ahead as cheap steel from China would continue to enter the domestic market.

    Vietnam also has to meet strict technical standards when it exports steel.

    To cope with difficulties, the country will have to apply trade protection measures and technical barriers to restrict steel imports, Khai noted.

    The VSA has filed petitions to the Government demanding anti-dumping measures be imposed on several steel products imported to the country.

    Subjective, objective flaws hamper national single window’s effects

    Subjective and objective shortcomings have hampered the national single window (NSW) mechanism from fully benefiting businesses, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has said.

    He made the assessment at a meeting of the national steering committee for the ASEAN Single Window, the NSW and trade facilitation in Hanoi on December 8.

    He attributed the flaws to lax coordination among ministries and sectors in administrative procedures.

    The most important point is that ministries, sectors, authorities at all levels, enterprises and people must be fully aware of the NSW, he said, repeating the Government’s commitment to providing optimal conditions for businesses.

    Highlighting the NSW’s benefits, Hue said it helps save custom clearance costs and time and creates an attractive investment climate, improving national competitiveness. The mechanism is also useful to building a modern administration, a component of an e-government.

    Only 13 percent or 36 of the 280 administrative procedures are performed through the NSW. Meanwhile, Vietnam targets 80 percent and 100 percent of those procedures to be handled by the NSW by 2018 and 2020, respectively.

    The Deputy PM asked for all administrative procedures related to state management of imports, exports, goods in transit, people and vehicles entering, exiting or in transit in Vietnam to be handled through the NSW at level 4 – the highest level of online public services.

    The Government aims to put Vietnam in the top four ASEAN countries in terms of administrative procedures settlement by 2020.

    Those objectives are not easy to achieve, and utmost efforts must be made to realise them, Hue stressed.

    He underlined the need to persuade businesses to have their procedures handled through the NSW as the mechanism won’t be effective if businesses don’t use it.

    Ministries and sectors must overhaul legal frameworks and streamline administrative procedures since most obstacles come from this step. The national steering committee should listen to the opinions of firms to minimise irksome procedures, he added.

    Ten ministries and sectors have used the NSW as of November 2016. 213,000 administrative dossiers of more than 8,350 businesses were handled through the NSW by November 25, said General Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can.

    According to the World Bank, Vietnam climbed 15 places from 2015 to the 93rd position among 190 economies in terms of trading across borders. The time needed to carry out export and import procedures is 108 and 138 hours, respectively.

    While the time for document compliance for imports was cut from 106 hours to 76 hours, while that for exports was reduced to 50 hours from 83 hours. The cost for document compliance for both imports and exports is about 2.5 USD per hour, saving 600 million USD in the first 10 months of 2016.

    Business community – impetus for ASEAN economic links: PM

    The ASEAN Business Community is the momentum for the economic linkage, creating a new impetus for trade and investment development within the bloc, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    Addressing the 3rd Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit in Hanoi on December 8, he stressed the community plays an important role in initiating creative start-up ideas.

    Vietnam is joining ASEAN efforts to further strengthen and deepen the intra-bloc cooperation, he said, noting the centre role of ASEAN in the region, especially in economic, trade and investment cooperation have received support of international business communities, including global leading groups.

    The world and ASEAN region are facing with great challenges in security, economy, food, monetary, climate change, and protectionism. However, the 4th industrial revolution brought great opportunities to development, he said.

    He urged for closer cooperation in economic and transport infrastructure development, thus facilitating cross-border trade and investment.

    ASEAN member nations need to promote renovation and creativeness, improve their competiveness, and engage more in the global supply in order to achieve higher added values, he stressed.

    While expressing the hope that outside investors will seek win-win cooperation opportunities with ASEAN partners, Phuc affirmed that the Vietnamese Government is working hard to improve investment and business climate, and welcomes all enterprises from ASEAN and other regions to the country.

    This is the first event of this kind that brought together ASEAN leaders working in trade and finance, and representatives of government agencies from the regional nations. It focused on measures to overcome challenges and define important opportunities for growth, cooperation and development in the region.

    Participants assessed policies in the ASEAN Economic Community, and debated issues related to cross-border investment in the field of consumer products, infrastructure, goods, energy, finance-banking, communications and technology.

    ASEAN, comprising Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei, forms a consumption market of 600 million people and a GDP of nearly 3 trillion USD a year.

    EVN to put into use key power projects in December

    The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has said it will inaugurate and put into operation a number of key projects in December to ensure power supply in the dry season of 2017.

    The projects include the hydropower plant in the northwest province of Lai Chau and the 220kV power lines in Hanoi, northern Lao Cai and Yen Bai, central coastal Binh Thuan and Ba Ria – Vung Tau, and southern Binh Duong provinces.

    The EVN has upgraded two turbines at the Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant in the central province of Binh Thuan and continued measures to ensure environmental safety at Vinh Tan Power Centre.

    The National Power Transmission Corporation has so far launched 316 national grid projects and completed 304 of them.

    The EVN completed the building of the 110-kV sea-crossing cable line to provide electricity to Lai Son island commune in Kien Hai district, southern province of Kien Giang.

    It also launched rural electricity projects in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, southern Ca Mau, Hau Giang, Kien Giang and south central coastal Khanh Hoa provinces./

    Cooperative development programme reviewed in Quang Nam

    A Canada-funded programme to promote the economic efficiency of cooperatives in Quang Nam, An Giang, Tien Giang from 2012 – 2017 was reviewed in the ancient city of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam on December 7.

    The review was jointly organised by the Vietnam Cooperatives Alliance and SOCODEVI, a Canadian non-profit international cooperation and development organisation.

    Statistics show that the programme has helped 17 cooperatives in the provinces improve their performance, providing better services for their members and communities.

    Experts have guided cooperatives how to make business plans and strategies, personnel development plans and market research. Thanks to the training, cooperatives have actively applied advanced tools to improve their management capacity.

    Nearly 300 training courses were organised for 15,000 cooperative members in the three provinces to better their understanding of cooperative-related legal documents and the role of cooperatives in economic development.

    The programme provided more than 2 billion VND for 19 business development projects of participating cooperatives.

    From these outcomes, the programme will be expanded to other localities nationwide.

    Nguyen Thanh Su, Director of the Dai Hiep Cooperative in Dai Loc district, Quang Nam province, said the programme has helped enhance the capacity of his cooperative’s leaders, thus improving its performance. His cooperative now has over 2,000 members.

    Vice President of the Vietnam Cooperatives Alliance Nguyen Dac Thang underlined the need for Vietnamese cooperatives to learn from international experience.

    The alliance will continue perfecting related policies to develop the collective economy in the new situation, he said.

    Vietnam, Russia’s Kursk province reinforce partnership

    Vietnamese firms converged at a business forum in Hanoi on December 7 to learn about the potential of doing business in the Russian province of Kursk.

    Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Kursk committee on external relations Grebennikov Vicktor Nikolaevich said Kursk boasts a convenient location and temperate climate suitable for cultivation and animal breeding. The province produces different types of cereals, high-quality meat and dairy products, and develops heavy and light industries, and mining.

    Hoang Quang Phong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Vietnam-Russia ties have been strengthened in the pillar fields of trade, investment, oil and gas, and energy. Two-way trade is on the upward trend.

    Vietnam has so far invested in 20 projects worth 3 billion USD in Russia while Russian businesses have poured 2.08 billion USD into 114 projects in Vietnam.

    Kursk province and Vietnam could supplement each other in the fields of industry, agriculture, food, communications and mining, Phong said.

    Tran Kim Oanh, Director of the Industry and Trade Investment Promotion Centre from the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, said two-way trade between Vietnam and Kursk hit 2 million USD last year.

    According to Oanh, Kursk exports mechanical products, electrical appliances, chemicals, consumer goods and food to Vietnam.

    The two sides can expand collaboration in industry, nuclear power, agriculture and processing, education - training, and tourism.

    A number of Kursk-based firms such as the Kursk nuclear power plant, Spektr-Pribor, Conti-Rus are interested in expanding partnership with Vietnam.

    Measures sought to develop enterprises in HCM City

    The third session of the ninth People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City on December 7 focused on measures to realise the target of 50,000 new firms in 2017 and 500,000 by 2020 while improving local business performance.

    Currently, the city has 290,000 enterprises. Of which, 36,000 were established in 2016, with 39.8 percent in real estate, and 18.7 percent in trading – retail, and only 6.4 percent in science and technology field.

    Deputy Pham Quoc Bao said despite the statistics, only 175,000 firms are actually operational, and the number of those which suspended operation or moved out of the city is rising. In order to achieve the set target of new enterprises, it is necessary to review statistics and the real performance of firms, while more attention should be paid to firms’ quality, he said.

    Deputy Cao Anh Minh suggested that the city offer more incentives to encourage new firms in support industry and science-technology field.

    Another deputy, Cao Thanh Binh cited a survey conducted in several districts on the conversion of family businesses into firms, which showed only a few of them have changed their models.

    Council deputies paid attention to the need to develop public services to support the increasing number of local firms, including administrative reform and the tax agency’s workforce.

    Director of the municipal Department of Taxation Tran Ngoc Tam said his department is working with local tax agencies to assist family businesses in changing their operation model.

    According to Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Su Ngoc Anh, the city has designed funding packages to support newly established firms.

    He stressed that the authorities are doing their best to improve the investment environment and business climate to facilitate business operation and expansion.

    Task huge for Vietnam to cut trade deficit with ASEAN

    The task of cutting trade deficit with ASEAN is huge for Vietnam as it involves a wide range of efforts from reforming technology to improving product quality, according to trade officials.

    With a population of over 600 million and a growing income, ASEAN is an important trade partner for Vietnam but the problem the country faces is that it imports more than it exports.

    Vietnam has been unable to narrow the trade deficit, which has been about six billion USD since 2010.

    By October, 2016, Vietnam’s exports to ASEAN hit 14.2 billion USD but imported goods worth 19.1 billion USD from the market, creating a deficit of around five billion USD so far this year.

    Myanmar has been a bright point of Vietnam’s exports to ASEAN countries, with export growth rate surging by 93.5 percent in 2013, 51.7 percent in 2014, 9.5 percent in 2015 and 22 percent by the end of May, 2016.

    According to experts, the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has facilitated trade among member countries, allowing goods from other ASEAN countries to enter Vietnam easily and pushing Vietnam’s import bill higher.

    On the other hand, Vietnam’s goods have not been very competitive internationally and faced fierce competition and technical barriers to ASEAN markets, slowing down Vietnam’s exports to ASEAN countries.

    Another problem is that Vietnamese enterprises lack information on clients and rivals to successfully penetrate ASEAN markets, according to Pham Minh Hoa, from the Dong Anh Electrical Equipment Corporation, adding the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) should do more to help enterprises.

    Pham Thu Hang, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said to boost exports to ASEAN, Vietnamese enterprises need to reform administration and build appropriate business plans, boost linkages, improve competitiveness and capability to meet market demands.

    Enterprises should be flexible and sensitive in identifying and seizing opportunities offered by the AEC to create long-term plans.

    An expert from the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, advised enterprises to provide updates on legal regulations, especially food safety, and reform technology to produce high-quality products.

    A representative from the MoIT said information on ASEAN markets will soon be published on ministry’s website.

    The MoIT’s E-Commerce Department also has a general information channel on markets as well as export-import tariff charts.

    Vietnamese tourists to South Korea on the rise

    More than 230,000 Vietnamese tourists visited South Korea between January 1 and November 30, a 53.2 percent year-on-year increase and up 75.4 percent compared to 2014, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam.

    The number of Vietnamese tourists visiting South Korea is expected to reach 240,000 this year.

    The number of South Korean tourists visiting Vietnam is also rising, hitting 1.4 million in the first 11 months of this year, an increase of 39 percent over the same period last year.

    South Korea has ranked as the 2nd place among top countries with most tourists to Vietnam behind China.

    The KTO has organized many events promoting South Korean tourism in Vietnam and honoring Vietnamese partners who have outstanding contribution to the success of South Korean tourism industry.

    Vietnam endeavours to shift to productivity-led growth model

    A recent resolution adopted by the 12th Party Central Committee bases Vietnam’s new growth model on three pillars: growth quality, labour productivity and competitiveness to replace the old one led by capital, cheap labour and exports.

    The document, known as Resolution 5, adds that in order to update the growth model, it is necessary to reform public services, agriculture as well as industry and services, in addition to continuing to restructure state-owned enterprises, the financial market and public investment - three major tasks pursued over the last five years.

    Although Vietnam is still among the fastest-growing economies in the world, its GDP growth rates in recent years have been fairly unsteady. The average growth rate during the 2011-2015 period was 5.91%, compared with 6.32% during the 2006-2010 period and far below the target of between 7% and 7.5%.

    If Vietnam cannot sustain high growth in the years ahead, the country is likely to be caught in the middle-income trap when the population is growing towards 100 million but the gross domestic product is not rising correspondingly. Last year, Vietnam produced goods and services worth a total of only US$192.4 billion and its GDP per capita reached US$2,100, just above the low-income level.

    The quality and pace of growth cannot improve when both sectoral and regional shifts in the economic structure are slow. At the end of 2015, agriculture still made up nearly 19% of GDP (down by 8 percentage points compared with two decades earlier) while contributions of the industrial sector rose by the same points to 37% and services largely remained unchanged at 44%.

    Moreover, economic growth was mainly stimulated by a number of major provinces and metropolises. Only 13 provinces and centrally-governed cities made contributions to the central budget revenues while the remaining 50 provinces had to frequently receive funds from the central government to balance their budgets.

    Although total investment has fallen to 31.7% of GDP during the 2010-2015 period from 39.2% five years earlier, the efficiency of investment has made little improvement with ICOR, a measure of efficiency, remaining high at 5.4 during the 2010-2015 period, down from 6.2 during the previous five-year period. Notably, state-owned enterprises still accounted for nearly 40% of total investment, of which 40-50% was financed by the state budget, which led to a higher fiscal deficit and public debt level.

    In the past five years, the budget deficit has always far exceeded expectations. Public debt also rose from 50% of GDP in 2011 to 62.2% in 2015, of which government debt went up from 39.3% to 50.3% and foreign debt from 37.9% to 43.1%.

    As such Resolution 5 has targeted a spending deficit below 4% in 2020 and 3% in 2030, public debt at 65% or less, government debt at 55% or less and foreign debt at 50% or less by 2020, with each of the above-mentioned indicators falling by 5 percentage points by 2030.

    Vietnam’s labour productivity has increased steadily from VND44 million a year in 2010 to VND79.4 million in 2015 but remains low compared with many countries in the region and the world. In addition, productivity differs sharply between economic sectors and clearly reflects a growth model led by cheap labour and exploitation of natural resources.
    While productivity of the mining and property sectors stands at VND1.7 billion and VND1.3 billion respectively, that of manufacturing is only VND71 million and the agricultural sector is even lower at VND30.6 million. As such, Resolution 5 sets a series of goals and solutions to increase productivity.

    Productivity over the next five years will increase by 5.5% annually and the percentage of farm workers will fall from 44% in 2015 to below 40% in 2020. Total factor productivity will contribute 30-35% to economic growth during 2016-2020. The ratio of skilled workers will increase from 19.9% in 2015 to 25% in 2020 through education, training and development and transfer of advanced technologies.

    According to the World Economic Forum, national competitiveness is the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. National competitiveness is closely connected with competitiveness of each locality, sector, enterprise and product. Though having seen much improvement, Vietnam’s competitiveness still has many shortcomings.

    According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2015, Vietnam ranked 56th among 140 economies with a score of 4.3, up 12 notches compared with 2014 and was Vietnam’s highest position during the 2016-2015 period. However, in the ASEAN region, Vietnam only ranked above Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia while remaining below Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei, which all scored above 4.5.

    Areas that Vietnam performed poorly included institutions (85/140), financial market development (84/140), higher education and training (98/140), infrastructure (76/140), business sophistication (100/140), technological readiness (92/140) and innovation (73/140).

    In the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report, Vietnam ranked 60/138, down 4 places from the previous year despite achieving a higher score. Meanwhile Singapore ranked number 2, Malaysia 25, China 28, Thailand 34, Indonesia 41, the Philippines 57 and Brunei 58.

    It is apparent that enhancing national competitiveness is a critical factor in the age of globalisation and economic integration characterised by increasingly intense competition.

    Aware of the significance of higher national competitiveness in the new growth model, Resolution 5 continues to place a strong emphasis on three strategic programmes, namely the fine-tuning of market institutions, the upskilling of the labour force and the upgrade of infrastructure, while pushing reforms in all economic sectors together with taking measures to streamline state economic management towards building a supportive government that facilitates the growth of strong private corporations with advanced technologies as well as assisting small and medium-sized enterprises to increase their innovation capacity.

    Kazakhstan eyes all-round links with Vietnam

    Kazakhstan wants to boost cooperation with Vietnam, especially in politics, trade and investment, Kazakh Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumakhanov has said.

    Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on December 7 on the threshold of Kazakhstan’s Independence Day (December 16, 1991-2016), the diplomat highlighted flourishing relations between Vietnam and his country over the last 24 years.

    The free trade agreement (FTA) signed in 2015 between Vietnam and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which is joined by Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, contributes to fostering trade between the two sides, he added.

    He hoped through the agreement, goods exchange will be increased between Vietnam with Kazakhstan and with other EAEU member nations.

    Regarding negotiations to build a railway linking Vietnam, China, and Kazakhstan, the ambassador said the three sides signed railway transport agreements, which enable the goods to transit through China.

    Electricity output climbs over 11 percent in 11 months

    The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said it produced and bought 162.1 billion kWh of electricity between January and November, up 11.21 percent compared to the same period last year.

    Of the total, the amount of produced electricity reached 75.06 billion kWh, an annual increase of 22.32 percent.

    The EVN estimated that its combined power output would hit 177 billion kWh in 2016, exceeding the yearly target by 1.1 billion kWh and up 10.85 percent from 2015.

    The rate of electricity loss in the first ten months was calculated at 7.88 percent, down 0.34 percent annually.

    During January-November, the EVN began the construction of 268 power projects and put into operation 288 facilities with capacity raging from 110 to 500 kV. These figures are expected to jump to 316 and 304, respectively, by the end of this year.

    In December, the group plans to complete upgrading two turbines at the Vinh Tan 2 thermopower plant and implement measures to address environmental issues at Vinh Tan power centre.

    Wheat imports up in ten months

    Vietnam imported more than 4 million tons of wheat valued at US$849.5 million during the first ten months of this year, up 100.1% in volume and 62% in value, according to Vietnam Customs.

    wheat imports up in ten months hinh 0 Australia was seen as the top leader in exporting wheat to the Southeast Asian nation with 1.3 million tons at US$323.5 million, accounting for 68% (up 35.88% in volume and 15.64% in value), trailed by Brazil and the US.

    Wheat imports from Canada dropped sharply by 81.31% in volume to US$54,800 tons and 80.09% to US$14.5 million.

    In the reviewed period, the nation imported from the two new suppliers, 69,900 tons from the UK and 58,500 tons from Russia.

    SJC gold price stunted
    Saigon Jewelry Company’s (SJC) gold price experienced a slight rise of VND50,000 (US$2.26) per tael (1.02 ounces), despite strong fluctuation of the world gold price.

    As of the end of the December 8 morning session, growth rate for official listed SJC gold price slowed, clocking in at VND36.5 million per tael ($1650), compared with the previous session at VND36.45 million per tael ($1652).

    SJC gold price listed by Doji Ha Noi experienced slight increase and slight drop, eventually returning to the previous session’s price at VND36.42 million per tael ($1646).

    This constancy in price ended following the sudden surge that SJC gold price experienced during the previous three days.

    As of December 07, 2016, the listed price for SJC gold reached VND36.6 million per tael ($1654), equal to a VND400,000 rise per tael ($18.08) compared with the price on December 5, 2016, and VND4.5 million ($203.8) higher than the world gold price at that point.

    On the current situation, the Foreign Exchange Management Department of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) officially commented, assuring stability in the gold market, despite expanding difference in domestic and international price. The amount of circulated and traded gold remained relatively low, down by some 20 per cent compared with the same period last year, and there was no mass hysteria in buying or selling.

    Representatives from SBV also affirmed a close watch on the domestic gold market’s development and readied appropriate means and procedures to intervene if required.

    The current world gold price is some $1.176.5 per ounce, up by $8 per ounce since the close of the last session. This was an increase of 0.6 per cent from the severe drop within the last 10 months at $1.157 at the beginning of the week.

    The FED expects to increase fund rates in the following week, which signifies a negative movement for gold price as this would in turn increase the holding cost for unproductive assets such as gold.

    Domestic investors are advised to remain calm and discreet with their purchases or only speculate using prestigious gold brands.

    Changes at powerhouse FLC Group

    FLC Group has announced plans to divest its capital of VND550 billion ($24.2 million) at two subsidiaries including FLC Vinh Phuc Investment and Development JSC and FLC Hoang Long Industrial Zone JSC.
    The FLC’s Board of Director on December 6 decided to transfer all shares with a value of VND100 billion ($4.4 million), equivalent to 100 per cent charter capital of FLC Vinh Phuc Investment and Development JSC.
    The group also decided to transfer its capital of VND450 billion ($19.8 million), equivalent to 100 per cent charter capital of FLC Hoang Long Industrial Zone JSC.
    In the third quarter, FLC’s Group revenue stood at over VND1.09 trillion ($48 million), down 18 per cent year-on-year, with profit after tax at VND86 billion ($3.8 million).
    In the first nine months, the group’s revenue reached over VND4.7 trillion ($206.8 million), up 40 per cent year-on-year, of which, revenue from real estate accounted for 51 per cent of the total revenue. Profit after tax reached VND655 billion ($28.8 million), up 4 per cent year-on-year.

    Ms. Huong Tran Kieu Dung, CEO of FLC Group in an interview with local media in November said that the group completed a pre-tax profit plan of VND1.2 trillion ($52.8 million). “In the last two months, the group continued to implement projects and promote mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with a number of other projects,” Ms. Dung was quoted as saying. “Currently, the group is developing detailed plans for 2017, and we hope to continue to record positive business results in the future.”
    Last month, the Faros Construction Corporation (ROS), in which FLC Chairman Mr. Trinh Van Quyet holds 65 per cent of the capital, will issue additional shares to fund real estate projects and rename itself as the FLC Faros Construction Corporation.
    At an extraordinary shareholders meeting on November 29, ROS announced a proposal to issue 107.5 million shares to existing shareholders, at a ratio of 4:1. The share issue will collect a minimum of VND1.075 trillion ($47.72 million) and fund the investment in the FLC Sea Tower project in Quy Nhon city in south-central Binh Dinh province.
    The offering price is expected to be VND12,500 ($0.55) per share and will not be lower than the par value of VND10,000 ($0.44). ROS’s shares are currently trading at around VND120,000 ($5.32).
    The issue will be conducted in the first quarter of 2017 after being passed at the upcoming shareholder meeting with procedures approved by the State Securities Commission (SSC). Mr. Quyet overtook Vingroup Chairman Pham Nhat Vuong as the richest man on Vietnam’s stock market on November 14.
    With 279.559 million shares in ROS and 108.86 million in FLC, his holdings stood at VND33.25 trillion ($1.49 billion) on that day, up VND2.1 trillion ($96 million). In contrast, shares in Vingroup (VIC) fell VND1,100 and closed at VND42,900, pushing Mr. Vuong’s holdings down VND1.16 trillion ($52 million) to VND30.7 trillion ($1.37 billion).
    The FLC Group and Faros have become major players in Vietnam’s real estate and construction sectors. The total value of their projects nationwide, including the VND5.5 trillion ($246.6 million) FLC Samson Beach & Golf Resort in Thanh Hoa, the VND7.5 trillion ($337.7 million) FLC Quynhon Beach & Golf Resort in Binh Dinh, and the FLC Vinh Phuc Resort (Phase I) in Vinh Phuc, has been estimated by real estate consultants Savills at more than $3 billion.

    Construction begins at HCMC's $233 million tower

    The Saigon Diamond Corporation, a Vietnamese real estate joint venture, has recently organized the ground breaking ceremony for the Saigon Jewelry Center (SJC) tower project located at the “golden” quadrangular area surrounded by Le Loi, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Le Thanh Ton and Nguyen Trung Truc streets in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.
    Saigon Diamond is a joint venture of three shareholders including Ho Chi Minh City Finance and Investment State-owned Company (HFIC), Sai Gon Star Infrastructure and Real Estate Investment Development Corporation (Sai Gon Star) and Vietnam Infrastructure and Property Development Group (VIPD).
    “The project includes 6 basements and 54 floors with a total investment capital estimated at around $233 million,” Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan, Head of Public Relations Department at Saigon Diamond Corporation told VET. The joint venture was established for investment and management of the SJC tower project only, she said.
    This project was said to be related to Van Thinh Phat Group, one of the leading real estate and hospitality groups in Vietnam, by local media. However, the representative of the joint venture gave no further comment on this information.
    Saigon Diamond Corporation was founded in 2007 and then was given the investment certification for the SJC tower project in the same year by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
    The project is located in the “core” central area of the southern city where a range of the busiest trading and cultural activities usually take place. The tower is designed as a luxurious multi-purpose building complex with a height of 200 meters consisting of a trade center, offices, apartments, restaurants and many enclosed amenities which aim at providing the highest quality services for customers.
    At the same time, the project also contributes to enhancing the modern landscape of the city’s central area.
    The project is planned to be constructed and put into operation within four years. Once completed, it will be a modern designed skyscraper, fitting into the urban landscape of the area and contributing to the development of the city’s business environment.
    VIPD, one of the project’s major shareholders, has announced on its website that it will invest in a number of real estate projects in the future including VIPD Tower, Minh Ngan Industrial Park, Catinat Square and others. It is also known as the company which bought Vincom Center A from Vingroup at the price of nearly $440 million in 2013 then changed the name of the trade center to Union Square.
    Kinh Do Corporation (which has been known as Kido Corporation since 2015) sold 50 per cent of its stakes in the SJC project in 2010 with a profit of about $19 million although the buyer has not been unveiled.


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  • 12/11/16--05:03: Article 0
  • Classical music concerts celebrate Christmas season

    Two classical music concerts will be held in HCM City on December 12 to welcome the Christmas season.

     Classical music concerts celebrate Christmas season, entertainment events, entertainment news, entertainment activities, what’s on, Vietnam culture, Vietnam tradition, vn news, Vietnam beauty, news Vietnam, Vietnam news, Vietnam net news, vietnamnet news,

    The Republic of Korea's soprano Cho Hae-ryong will perform at the Winter Concert to welcome the Christmas season at the HCM City Conservatory of Music on December 12.

    The Winter Concert, which will present works by Verdi, Mozart, Stachowski and Glinka, will feature soprano Cho Hae-ryong from the Republic of Korea and cellist Zdzislaw Lapinski from Poland.

    Lapinski is the artistic director of the Chamber Ensemble Primo Allegro. He is also professor and head of the cello department at the Academy of Music in Kracow, Poland.

    The artists will perform with Vietnamese tenor and Meritorious Artist Ta Minh Tam, pianists Nguyen Thuy Yen and Nguyen Lan Anh, and clarinetist Nguyen Tuan Loc.

    The Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra will also be featured.

    The concert will be led by conductor and Meritorious Artist Tran Vuong Thach, director of the HCM City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera.

    At another Christmas concert in the city, the Saigon Classical Music Group will present a Holy Night concert at the city’s Southern Women’s Museum.

    The concert will feature classic carols as well as compositions by Shostakovich, Wohlfahrt and Franck.

    Excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Haydn’s Messiah and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow will be performed during the night as well.

    The performance will feature young vocalists, violinists and pianists of the Saigon Classical Music Group, together with the Saigon Choir.-VNA

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  • 12/11/16--23:38: Article 8
  • Vietnam hungry for bigger bite of cocoa market

    The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) says Vietnam appears to be the new frontier of cocoa cultivation and is a promising region for production expansion given inadequate global supplies.

    vietnam hungry for bigger bite of cocoa market hinh 0

    On November 30, the ICCO in a statement estimated the world production of cocoa to have hit 4.031 million metric tons for the 2015-2106 season, which is some 150,000 metric tons short of satisfying global demand.

    With ordinary cocoa commanding a sales price ranging US$2,800-US$3,300 per metric ton over the past year and higher flavoured cocoa’s selling for as much as US$5,000 per metric ton— the market is ripe for Vietnam to expand production says the ICCO.

    Speaking earlier this year at an industry forum in Ho Chi Minh City, Laurent Pipitone, director of the economics and statistics division of the ICCO, told the audience demand for dark chocolate and fine flavour cocoa has been dramatically rising around the globe, especially in the EU and US.

    The direction for Vietnam segment, he recommended, is to focus on getting a toehold in the quality premium chocolate market.

    To accomplish this, he said, the segment would need to reorganize and develop the capacity to efficiently produce and process large volumes of quality cocoa on a consistent basis, year in and year out.

    Naturally, that would require significant investment to fund the cost of restructuring the segment, Mr Pipitone added.

    The segment currently has an estimated 11,200 hectares under cultivation, with productivity remaining far too low at an average of 0.85 metric tons of dry beans per hectare.

    This defect largely arises because of plant over density, improper shade management, and ineffective application of fertilizers and insecticides— all of which are problems that can readily be corrected.

    The Vietnam government has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve infrastructure, expand training and strengthen linkages among smallholder farmers and other actors in the supply chain of the segment.

    With nearly 50,000 hectares of coconut and fruit trees in the Mekong Delta, and about 100,000 hectares of cashew nut trees in the southeast and Highlands regions, there is huge potential to expand cocoa cultivation and cutback production of less profitable produce, said Mr Pipitone.

    Statistics of the ICCO show that two-thirds of all world production is in Africa, 17% in Asian countries and 14% comes from South America. Cocoa is mainly processed into cocoa butter, powder, paste/liquor and chocolate confectioneries.

    Cocoa butter is also used in the manufacture of tobacco, soap and cosmetics, but mainly for confectionery products.

    Out of a total of 4,395,657 metric tons of cocoa produced in 2011, the latest year for which comprehensive worldwide estimates have been prepared, Vietnam produced 6,000 metric tons of cocoa from 11,000 hectares of production.

    The Southeast Asian country ranked as the 11th largest producer in the globe of cocoa behind the Dominican Republic in 10th place, which produced 54,279 metric tons.

    Brazil was the largest producer at 1,350,320 metric tons accounting for slightly over half (54%) of global market share. Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria trailed Brazil in descending order of magnitude with production and global market shares of 712,200 (42%), 700,000 (42%), and 400,000 (32%), respectively.

    Europe remains the largest processor of cocoa by some margin, says the ICCO, but the most dynamic region is Asia, now recording an average annual growth rate of 7%, and the time is right for Vietnam to reach out and take a bigger bite of the market.


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  • 12/11/16--23:49: Article 7
  • Social News 12/12

    Free treatment offered for poor patients with severe tumours, hematoma

    Dr McKay McKinnon of the Surgery SOS charity Organisation in Chicago offers free surgery to poor patients with tumours and hematomas that are difficult to treat.

    Free examinations and treatments were provided to around 25 poor patients with tumours and hematomas on December 8 at HCM City University Medical Centre.

    The exams, which are offered to patients who have conditions that require difficult surgery, have been provided by the centre’s doctors and Dr McKay McKinnon of the Surgery SOS charity organisation in Chicago since 2011.

    The programme’s first patient was a man from Ðà L?t who had a 90 kilo tumour.

    McKinnon said the programme offered Vietnamese doctors exposure to advanced technologies in surgery.

    The funds for the programme are collected from Dr McKinnon and friends.

    The Surgery SOS charity Organisation was set up to raise funds to help poor Vietnamese patients.

    Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral to undergo extensive roof renovation

    Ho Chi Minh City's municipal government has approved a proposal to restore the roof of the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, according to the Infonet news site.

    The cathedral, located in District 1, is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city. Any restoration work to the building needs prior approval from the local government as it is a protected heritage site.

    The restoration of the roof, 91m in length and 35m in width, will be carried out from 2017-2019 and will be financed by the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese.

    In June last year, Father Ho Van Xuan, a representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese, said that a project to restore the cathedral was being considered as some parts of it had degraded due to the weather. The restoration work will be conducted carefully to "keep the original beauty" of the cathedral, said Xuan, who will act as head of the project’s management board.

    The management board has already hired the Saigon Construction Quality Control JSC to assess the condition and decided that the top priority is to fix leaks in the roof.

    There are around 50,000 tiles on the roof of the cathedral, and one of the most difficult aspects of the project will be to source the Marseilles tiles used in the original construction, according to Xuan.

    The restoration project will be split into three phases: the roof, the interior and finally the two bell towers.

    The walls of the cathedral, which have been defaced by vandals, will also be repainted.

    The church will still hold weekend masses for parishioners during the restoration work, according to the archdiocese.

    The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral was built by French colonialists between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers with a height of 58 meters (190 feet).

    2017 UPU letter-writing contest launches in Hai Duong

    The Ministry of Information and Communications on December 10 ceremoniously launched the 46th International Universal Postal Union (UPU) Letter-Writing Competition for 2017 in Hai Duong Province.

    Millions of youth all over the globe, up to age 15, have participated in the annual International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People at the national and international levels since it began in 1971.

    The contest is an excellent way of encouraging literacy in children. It develops their skills in writing composition and their ability to express thoughts clearly on paper. The competition also makes them aware of the important role postal services play in the world.

    Each year, the UPU International Bureau announces a theme. Participating countries then organize the competition at the national level with support from its Post and local education authorities.

    All entries must be submitted through the national Post. Each country chooses a national winner and submits this entry to the international round, held by the UPU. An international jury, chosen by the UPU International Bureau, judges the letters and selects the winners and entries worthy of a special mention.

    The theme selected for the 2017 competition is – Imagine you are an advisor to the new UN Secretary-General; which world issue would you help him tackle first and how would you advise him to solve it?

    The topic was chosen to celebrate the election of the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who will take office in 2017. Children are encouraged to use their imagination as they write to the Secretary-General envisioning a positive change they would like to see in the world.

    All member countries are invited to participate by organizing a competition on the national level before sending their top composition to the UPU. Each country's best letter must be submitted to the International Bureau no later than 5 May 2017.

    Established in 1874, the UPU, with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, is the second oldest international organization worldwide.

    With its 192 member countries, the UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.

    On the occasion, a certificate of merit and cash award of US$1,500 was presented to Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, a ninth grader at the Nguyen Trai secondary school in Hai Duong who won the first prize at both the national and international rounds in last year’s competition.

    She is the second student to win first prize. The first was Ho Thi Hieu Hien, a student from the central city of Da Nang, who won in 2010. Vietnamese students have won a total of 12 prizes, with two first prizes, one second, three third and six consolidation prizes.

    Vietnam airlines found selling tickets for not-yet-approved extra flights

    Vietnam’s airlines have been selling tickets for the upcoming Lunar New Year, the busiest travel time of the year, for a couple of months when it turned out their extra-flight plans may not be approved.

    The 2017 Lunar New Year, or Tet in Vietnamese, falls late January, but people in big cities normally start flying back to their hometowns weeks before the New Year’s Eve to observe the country’s traditional holidays with their beloved.

    Airfares usually shoot through the roof during this special occasion but easily sell out, and people therefore tend to book tickets even months before departure.

    However, early ticket buyers are sitting on hot bricks, when the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) recently announced that the planned additional flights of local carriers have yet to be approved - and may never be.

    Three Vietnamese airlines, flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and low-cost Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific, all announced they will add thousands of flights during Tet, and already started to accept booking over the last two months.

    Vietjet plans to add 1,500 flights during Tet, having started sales for 1.5 million tickets with departures between January 15 and February 15, 2017. The no-frills carrier said there is huge demand for flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to northern and central destinations, adding Tet tickets are selling out.

    Jetstar Pacific has also announced an addition of 1 million seats for the busy travel time, up 25% from last Tet.

    In the meantime, Vietnam Airlines said it will add nearly 900 flights, or 185,000 seats, for travels between January 15 and February 13, totaling the number of seats available during Tet to 1.6 million.

    Despite these widely publicized plans, it turns out that the airlines have sold tickets for additional flights even before they are allowed to offer the extra services.

    “These announced additional flights are only based on the plans of each carrier, not the final official figures,” CAAV head Lai Xuan Thanh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    Thanh said it is not simple to add new flights, as “a carrier has to have enough resources.”

    According to the official, 67% of the extra flights have departure time between 11:00 pm to 7:00 am the following day.

    “Aviation employees are not allowed to work overtime, given the importance of their job,” he said, implying that there will be not enough airport personnel to work after midnight.

    Thanh said the extra flights may even paralyze operations of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

    “In 2016 the flight frequency at Tan Son Nhat is already 28 percent higher than normal rate,” Thanh said. “If the frequency is raised further, the whole airport will be completely stuck.”

    Thanh underlined that even during the busy Tet occasion, the frequency at Tan Son Nhat must be maintained at 40 landing/takeoff per hour.

    “The CAAV will also thoroughly check the operation capacity and service ability of each carrier and will not approve their extra-flight plans if they fail to ensure these requirements,” Thanh said.

    “If you offer additional flights and then fail to serve passengers, they will get a lot angrier than usual.”

    Dang Tuan Tu, director of Tan Son Nhat, said the airport also needs the final approval from the CAAV for the additional flights, rather than just the announcement from airlines.

    Tu made no secret that his airport will continue to be overloaded during Tet.

    The airport is expected to handle some 32 million passengers by the end of this year, far surpassing the designed capacity of only 25 million passengers a year, according to the director.

    Passengers who already bought Tet tickets said they do not care about the business between airlines and the aviation watchdog, as “the carrier should by all means offer service as stated in the tickets it sold to passengers.”

    “It is not about money, as we may get a refund for the booked tickets,” said Trang, a Ho Chi Minh City-based worker who plans to fly home in the north-central province of Ha Tinh. “What matters more is we are unable to return home for Tet.”

    Commenting on the risk passengers now face with the additional flights, Thanh said the airlines have to take full responsible for their passengers.

    “Just because airlines have already sold tickets for additional flights does not mean that CAAV must approve these services,” Thanh said.

    The CAAV added that it is carriers who wanted to be allowed to sell tickets before getting approval for additional flights in the first place.

    Under the old regulation, airlines were only allowed to start selling tickets after they obtained approval for the extra services.

    “But airlines later petitioned that they be allowed to sell tickets in advance, and they will be fully responsible for any problems that may arise, to which the government has agreed,” Thanh said.

    Labour exports hurt by lack of foreign language skills


    Few countries have as many of their citizens working abroad as Vietnam, or depend so greatly on labour exports for economic vitality, says the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    According to the Department, it has supplied an enormous amount of guest workers, nearly 55,600 to foreign markets under official arrangements since 2011, eight out of 10 of whom were unskilled workers.

    Out of the total some 31,000 guest workers went to the Japanese market; 12,000 to Taiwan; 5,000 to Malaysia; 3,500 to the Republic of Korea (ROK); and 4,100 worked in other markets.

    The jobs created for these workers provided a lifeline for these workers and their families to get financially ahead, lift themselves out of poverty and learn life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

    Nguyen Thi Ly, headmaster of Thu Duc College of Technology, noted that as many as 300 of the school’s graduates had been placed by the Department to work in Japan and all of them are excited about the high rate of pay they earn.

    One graduate reported he saved US$40,000 after working just three years in Japan.

    Huynh Ho Dai Nghia from the Labour Export Department of the Saigon Garment Company echoed Mr Ly’s comments, noting that nearly all workers sent to the Japanese market reported the salaries are high.

    Not only do they describe being able to save a lot of money, said Mr Nghia, but almost all of them say they returned home with broader knowledge and professional working skills. A few even reported they saved enough money and got the skills to start their own businesses.

    Nguyen Xuan Lanh, an assistant to director of Esuhai Company that employs thousands of workers for businesses in Japan, Taiwan and the ROK, also noted these markets have high demands and opportunities for guest workers to earn large sums.

    The company earlier this year sent nearly 1,000 engineers and trainees to Japan and all report the money is excellent, he noted.

    However, far too many guest workers are being held back by their lack of foreign language skills said Tran Viet Phu, deputy director of HCM City Vocational College of Economics and Technology.

    The City currently has 46 companies and 23 branches that are qualified to export labour abroad, said Mr Phu.

    In addition, the City’s vocational colleges have signed training agreements with Japan and the ROK to train workers. However, the number of trainees is not sufficient to meet the actual demand, most notably due to lack of foreign language qualifications.

    Due to the cost and time consideration, some companies have been cutting corners and not paying proper attention to ensuring workers are adequately trained prior to sending them overseas.

    Most notably they do not meet the foreign language working requirements and as a result they cannot function in a foreign environment and their labour contracts are consequently being terminated early.

    Consequently, the lack of foreign language skills is holding labour exports back, noted Mr Phu.

    To boost labour exports, controls need to be put in place to better train and test candidates for the guest worker program to develop a workforce with high-level foreign language skills adequate for employment abroad.

    Vietnam man dreams of conquering North Pole

    Sporting a dusty, weather-beaten look topped with a man bun, 28-year-old Vietnamese man Hoang Le Giang is competing against international applicants for a chance to conquer the North Pole.

    Giang has been a popular name in Vietnam’s social media community since registering for the Fjällräven Polar voting contest, a competition that will award the winner with a 300-kilometer sled trip through the North Pole next April.

    Fjällräven Polar was established in 1997 by Swedish sled drivers Åke Nordin and Kenth Fjellborg after organizing their first sled trip through the Scandinavian Arctic.

    With Giang’s resume as an experienced trekker with seven climbs in the Himalayas under his belt, having traveled to 30 different countries, one may find it surprising to learn that the virile-looking man had suffered from asthma and obesity as a kid.

    It may come as a bigger surprise that Giang only began mountain-climbing five years ago.

    “I was always a rebel at school,” said the Bon Jovi fan, “I would tell my literature teacher ‘no’ when she asked whether I liked a certain book. It was my way of letting my feelings as a reader be known.”

    Giang said his favorite song from the American rock band Bon Jovi is It’s My Life, a song he described as reflective of his once powerful ego.

    “I have become less of a rebel and more of a thinker since I took up mountain climbing,” Giang said, “When you climb, you have enough time by yourself to reflect on your life.”

    One of Giang’s most crucial moments in his travels took place last April while climbing in the Nepali village of Chomrong when the earthquake hit.

    “Everything happened so quickly, and in that precise moment, suddenly I felt more worried for my family than for myself,” Giang recalled, “What if my family members were forced to endure loss just because of my personal satisfaction?”

    Since then Giang has altered his outlook on the dangers of adventurous trips and taken preparatory safety measures more seriously.

    As of December 9, Giang’s entry for Fjällräven Polar is leading the vote count with nearly 35,000 votes, nearly 12,000 votes ahead of Mongolian Erka Erdenee.

    With less than a week until the contest ends, Giang’s prospect of winning his dream trip is bigger than ever.

    Giang said him winning the voting contest would be a powerful message for other youths and that “when your enthusiasm is big enough, you can achieve anything in life no matter how average you are”.

    “After all, I’m just as average as anybody,” Giang said humbly.

    Fresh Vietnamese grads dissatisfied with life in the workplace: survey

    When it comes to being happy and satisfied at work, fresh graduates in Vietnam are reported to have the lowest level of happiness in the region, according to a survey conducted by employment websites JobStreet and JobsDB.

    The survey covered 50,000 graduates across seven countries and territory, and revealed that the average satisfaction rating of Vietnamese graduates is 4.9 on a 10-point scale.

    Filipinos are the happiest workers (6.5), followed by Indonesia (6), Thailand (5.9), Malaysia (5.5), Singapore (5.2) and Hong Kong (5.1)

    Another survey in the second quarter of 2016 of nearly 1,200 fresh graduates in Vietnam also said that 75% of the respondents viewed salary as the most important factor when it came to finding a job. Meanwhile, job description -- the crucial factor that can determine whether the job is suitable for the candidate - was their fourth priority.

    These factors have affected the satisfaction levels of the Vietnamese labor force, Job Street said.

    The employment website added that average salaries in Vietnam have risen in 2016, but many fresh graduates are still unrealistic about their starting salaries.

    “Maybe new graduates are being paid less than what they were expecting," said marketing manager of JobStreet Duong Thi Ngoc Hai, "but I think they should devote their time to learning from new experiences and improving both hard and soft skills rather than aiming for a high-paid position.”

    JobStreet quoted many employers as saying that graduate students ought to put themselves in the shoes of employers, who need time to adjust salaries in line with their employees' capabilities and performance.

    Tran Duc Huy, a businessman who runs an interior design company, said that fresh graduates, apart from asking for higher salaries, are different from the previous generation.

    “They are more intelligent, more innovative, but also more demanding, less hard-working and less loyal.”

    Female Vietnamese worker dies after robbers set her on fire in Angola

    A female Vietnamese worker in Angola was killed and another seriously injured after robbers set them on fire at the hostel they were staying in, according to the Vietnamese embassy in the African country.

    About 10 days ago, a group of robbers broke into their hostel in Huambo Province and bound Hoang Thi Van, 29, and two other workers - one Vietnamese and the other Angolian. When the workers failed to hand over their money, the robbers poured fuel on them and set them on fire.

    Other workers heard the victims' screams and rushed to the scene. Van died in hospital on December 9 while the other Vietnamese worker was seriously injured, said Nguyen Dinh Ky, chairman of Thien Cam Town in Vietnam’s central province of Ha Tinh, Van's hometown.

    The Vietnamese embassy in Angola is enlisting support to help repatriate Van’s body as her poor family cannot afford the transport costs.

    Van is not the only Vietnamese worker to be killed in the African nation. In March, two male Vietnamese workers also from Ha Tinh, Dang Quoc Nghia, 44, and Nguyen Viet Hau, 33, were killed by armed robbers.

    130,000 overseas Vietnamese to return home for Tet holiday

    The Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese expects about 130,000 overseas Vietnamese to fly home for the upcoming Lunar New Year, or Tet, the country's most important holiday.

    Nguyen Hong Hue, chairman of the association, said the estimate is based on visa application data.

    The number of returning Vietnamese overseas is forecast to sharply increase from mid-December to mid-February, with an estimated 3,000-4,000 arrivals daily.

    Tet begins on the first day of the first lunar month, which falls on January 28 next year, but festive celebrations can stretch over days both before and after that. The official break for the upcoming Tet is one week.

    Tan Son Nhat, the country’s largest international airport, will be under more pressure during this holiday season.

    The airport, designed for both domestic and international flights, has become increasingly strained. It is expected to handle up to 31 million passengers by the end of this year, far beyond its maximum capacity of 25 million, said Lai Xuan Thanh, director general of the Civil Aviation Administration.

    Customs officials at the airport said they stand ready to make sure that customs check only takes about 25-27 seconds.

    There are around five million Vietnamese overseas, according to the World Bank.

    By 2014, 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants resided in the US. It was followed by Australia with 227,000 Vietnamese immigrants, Canada with 183,000, and France with 126,000, according to mid-2015 estimates by the United Nations Population Division.

    Remittances from Vietnamese overseas remain a key source of funds for the country's economy, equivalent to about 8%-10% of gross domestic product.

    Vietnamese-Americans alone sent back about US$7 billion last year. The number is expected to reach US$8 billion this year.

    Vietnam recorded roughly US$13 billion in overseas remittances last year, slightly up from US$12 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank.

    Poland’s Independence Day celebrated in HCM City

    The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Vietnam-Poland Friendship Association’s HCM City chapter held a get-together in HCM City on December 9 to mark the 98th Independence Day of Poland (November 11, 1918-2016).

    Attending the event were Szymon Widarski, Polish Vice Ambassdor to Vietnam, representatives of the Polish community in HCM City and Vietnamese alumni in Poland.

    Nguyen Dang Cuong, President of the Vietnam-Poland Friendship Association’s HCM City chapter, recalled Poland’s struggle for independence, stating that Vietnam and Poland share an aspiration for peace and both are ready to sacrifice for independence and territorial sovereignty.

    Szymon Widarski thanked the HCM City people for bridging the two cultures over the past time, thus helping strengthen the friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries’ people.

    Arts festival honours diverse ethnic cultures

    An arts festival dedicated to the unique and diverse culture of ethnic minorities in Vietnam will take place at Hoan Kiem Lake fountain (Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square) on December 11 morning from 9:30am.

    The festival will gather over 100 members of different groups nationwide, including Khmer, Tay, Gia Rai, Pa Co, Muong, Pa Then and Mong. All dances and songs are rehearsed, curated, and performed by ethnic people themselves, just as they do in everyday life.

    Following the huge success last year, the fourth festival, themed "Indigenous knowledge - Spring of life", aims at the practical values of indigenous knowledge, a complete system accumulated and refined after thousands of years.

    The event is organised by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment (iSEE).

    The festival will also take place on December 13 at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, 77 Hao Nam, Hanoi, with exhibitions, traditional games, performances and interactive activities. Entrance is free.

    Malaysia-Indonesia-Vietnam Culture Week concludes

    The Malaysia-Indonesia-Vietnam Culture Week wrapped up in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on December 10, with nine artisans and teams honoured for their excellent contributions to the event’s success.

    The event, kicked off on December 8 at the Thai Nguyen’s Museum of Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups, was part of efforts to preserve and promote a number of traditional trades, including weaving, batik painting and producing handicrafts.

    The event also aims to encourage creativity in the trades, thus creating new tourism products.

    The 25-member Malaysian delegation was led by Princess of Terengganu, while Indonesian team was headed by Venny Afwany Alamsyah, a batik artisan.

    Vietnam also sent 30 artisans from five ethnic minority groups to the event to introduce traditional weaving, embroidery and fabric dying of Vietnam.

    According to the organising board, the event was a success, leaving strong impressions to visitors, while inspiring youngsters of ASEAN countries and the three countries in particular in promoting the values of traditional arts, especially weaving, printing and batik dying.

    An art performance of Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia was also held at the closing ceremony.

    Hanoi food fest features culinary arts of other countries

    The flavours of international cuisine and entertainment activities will be offered during the annual food festival held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The event will take place on December 11 at Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 298 Kim Ma Street, Hanoi.

    Visitors to the festival also have ample chance to enjoy music and dance performances at the more than 117 food displays and learn more about culinary arts of other countries.

    There will also be a wide variety of charitable events raising money for the needy and disadvantaged for which the donations have been earmarked for the support of orphans and people with disabilities. Entrance fee is 10,000 VND (0.5 USD).

    VNA seeks to improve quality of publications on ethnic minorities

     The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) held a conference on December 9 with leaders from 16 northern mountainous provinces on ways to improve the quality of VNA’s specialized pictorial newspaper on ethnic minorities and mountainous region.

    Addressing the conference in Tuyen Quang province, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi stressed that the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is the only bilingual newspaper serving ethnic minority communities across 45 provinces in the country.

    Given the importance of the publication, the General Director said the VNA always pays particular attention to its quality from the format to content, as well as the distribution of the newspaper to readers.

    He added that the VNA has signed agreements on information sharing and dissemination with the Steering Committees of the Northwest, Central Highlands and Southeast regions, and the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is an important channel to implement the agreements.

    Since July, 2012, the VNA has published 11 bilingual versions of the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial in Vietnamese and 11 ethnic languages, with 68,000 copies each edition.

    In the northern region, the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial is published in Vietnamese-Mong and Vietnamese-Tay with 25,000 copies each edition in 16 provinces.

    Since January, 2017, the VNA will publish the newspaper’s Vietnamese-Chinese version.

    Nguyen Hong Thang, Vice Secretary of Tuyen Quang provincial Party Committee, said the Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial gradually meet ethnic minorities’ demand for information in Tuyen Quang.

    Delegates to the conference recommended that the newspaper should try to ensure the accuracy when translating from Vietnamese to ethnic languages, improve distribution network and introduce the newspaper to local schools.

    Vietnam hands over four sets of remains to US

    A ceremony was held at the Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi on December 9 to hand over four sets of remains believed to be of US servicemen who went missing in action during the war.

    The remains were discovered during the 125th joint field activity between Vietnam and the US, conducted between October and December this year.

    The remains will be sent to Hawaii for further examination.

    This is the 139th transfer of American servicemen’s remains since 1973.

    Speaking at the ceremony, a US Government official hailed the humanitarian policy, goodwill and cooperation of the Vietnamese Government and people in searching for US servicemen missing in action during the war.

    Searching for the remains of US servicemen in Vietnam is part of humanitarian cooperation between the Vietnamese and US Governments.

    The two-decade war in Vietnam claimed the lives of 58,000 Americans and at least three million Vietnamese.

    1,000 more bus trips in HCM City during New Year

    The HCM Public Passenger Transport and Management Centre has said 1,048 more trips will be operated on 17 city bus routes between December 31 and January 2 to cope with the New Year rush.

    The centre said on December 8 that increasing the number of trips would improve passengers’ safety and comfort, and instructed bus operators to prepare well, saying if the number of passengers increased sharply, they should be ready to operate more buses.

    The centre will also operate 25 additional inter-provincial buses at the Mien Tay Coach Station on December 30 and 31.

    Deputy PM inspects flood-hit areas in Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on December 9 visited Tuy Phuoc district in the south central province of Binh Dinh, one of the hardest hit areas by recent floods where many villages are still being isolated.

    The Deputy PM asked for the relocation of residents living near the bank of Ha Thanh river in Luat Le village to safer places, while requesting Binh Dinh’s authorities to give timely support to flood victims.

    The province should roll out measures to assist families facing difficulties, while mobilising forces to help locals repair their houses to resume normal lives and production after the flood.

    According to Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, flood has killed 16 people and injured five others, while collapsing 225 houses, uproofing 120 others and destroying nearly 20,000 hectares of rice fields and harming many transport and irrigation works.

    Deputy PM Dung directed the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, and Industry and Trade to help Binh Dinh overcome consequences of the disaster, especially restoring damaged roads.

    The same day, the Deputy PM visited the family of Nguyen Minh Hai in Phuong Quang commune whose house was destroyed by flood, and the bereaved family of Dao Minh Tai in Nhon An commune, An Nhon town. Tai was swept away and killed by floodwater on the way home from school on December 8.

    According to Chairman of Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee Ho Quoc Dung, the two consecutive floods over the past month killed 16 persons and injured 5 others. A total of 225 houses in the province collapsed and nearly 20,000ha of rice was destroyed. Total losses were estimated at 800 billion VND (over 35.4 million USD).

    Also on December 9, Deputy PM Dung visited and handed over gifts to flood victims in Binh Dinh’s neighbouring province of Quang Ngai.

    The recent floods killed 10 people in the province, leaving four missing and inundated 1,800 houses. More than 700 hectares of rice fields and over 3,500 hectares of crop were damaged. National Highway 24 and 24C as well as many provincial roads were also affected.

    The Deputy PM required the locality to timely deliver aid to flood victims to ensure no one suffers from hunger. Priority should be given to recovering farming production, repairing houses and public works and preventing diseases.

    President meets armed forces voters in HCM City

    President Tran Dai Quang on December 11 met voters from armed forces in Ho Chi Minh City, during which he lauded their responsible opinions as well as valuable proposals.

    He noted that in 2016, Vietnam has seen many important achievements in socio-economy, culture, defence-security and external relations. However, the country has also faced newly-emerged crimes, including high technology crimes as well as traditional and non-traditional challenges, he said.

    The President affirmed that the strengthening of defence-security is key for the success of socio-economic development plan and international integration of the country, which also requires for armed forces’ good preparation and readiness to safeguard of the country’s sovereignty, unification, territorial integrity in all circumstance.

    He underscored that armed forces should focus on strengthening political education as well as fostering close relationship with people and loyalty to the Party, nation and people, while actively engaging in popularising Party and State’s law and policies and socio-economic development, poverty reduction and natural disaster response.

    He highlighted the need for armed forces’ reform and higher training quality, along with accurate forecast of destruction schemes of hostile forces and their wrongful arguments.

    President Tran Dai Quang clarified the significance of the building of armed forces as well as strong and pure Party organisations in armed forces, as well as the pioneer role of the forces in implementing the Party resolutions on Party building as well as in the fight against morality degradation.

    During the meeting, the President answered to the voters’ questions on a number of current problems, including the slow issuance of legal documents that hinders the implementation of laws, while acknowledging their opinion on the need for specific regulations for the authority, equipment and tools to handle administrative violations.

    He also agreed with voters’ ideas to integrate defence-security with socio-economic development in plans and strategies in specific fields, as well as the re-verification of major projects on defence-security and the defining of responsibility of individuals and collectives for loss of the projects.


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  • 12/11/16--23:59: Article 6
  • Why do FIEs find it difficult to transfer technology to Vietnamese workers?

    South Korean-invested enterprises have found it difficult to transfer technology to Vietnamese workers because the employees often leave for cities to look for jobs, according to Ruy Hang Ha, chair of KoCham.

     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, vn news, Samsung, Kocham, FDI
    Ha spoke at a meeting with the local press on the occasion of the 2016 Vietnam Business Forum (VBF). One of the important issues on the agenda of this year’s working session was how to strengthen cooperation between Vietnamese and foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) for sustainable economic development.

    Ruy Hang Ha and Vu Tien Loc, the co-chairs of VBF, said that FIEs have played an important role in Vietnam’s economy, but there were challenges.

    Experts have expressed their disappointment about technology transfer that foreign investors have promised. Some of them say that foreign investors deliberately delayed technology transfer.

    Samsung from South Korea is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam. Samsung Electronics has set up at least five legal entities in Vietnam, namely Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV), Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thai Nguyen (SEVT), Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV), Samsung CE Complex and Samsung Vina Electronics, which trades Samsung’s products in the domestic market.

    Ryu Hang Ha said that foreign-invested enterprises want to cooperate with Vietnamese companies but there exists a gap between willingness and implementation, especially in technology transfer.

    He said technology transfer depends heavily on the Vietnamese side. If Vietnamese enterprises have weak capability, tech transfer will fail despite the willingness and readiness of FIEs.

    He said that it was not difficult to find suitable workers for enterprises in Hanoi, HCM City or Hai Phong. However, it is difficult to find skilled workers in other localities.

    “Many engineers, after being trained at our enterprise for two to three years, quit and left for large cities,” he said, referring to the last five years in Quang Ngai province.

    His enterprise trains about 100 engineers a year, but many of them leave the enterprise and head for big cities.

    Loc, who is chair of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said that it was necessary to enhance connections among the government, FIEs and local enterprises, and that each party must fulfill its tasks well.

    Of these, the government has to improve the business environment, while FIEs must play a central role and Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises the role of satellite enterprises.

    Dau Anh Tuan from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) cited a Fulbright report as saying, of the four engines of Vietnam’s economy, FDI is the only strong engine.

    Samsung from South Korea is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam. Samsung Electronics has set up at least five legal entities in Vietnam, namely Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV), Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thai Nguyen (SEVT), Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV), Samsung CE Complex and Samsung Vina Electronics, which trades Samsung’s products in the domestic market.

    Nam Chi, VNN

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  • 12/12/16--00:06: Article 5

    ICAEW: Bright growth prospect for Vietnam in next two years

     ICAEW: Bright growth prospect for Vietnam in next two years, Construction permit issuance time to fall to 42 days, HCM City seeks road investor, HD Bank inks loan deal for Da Nang condotel project

    Despite a slowdown in the first half of this year, Vietnam will have positive economic growth in 2017 and 2018 thanks to high foreign direct investment (FDI) and strong domestic fundamentals, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said in an Economic Insight – Southeast Asia report.

    According to the report, the fundamental macroeconomic outlook for the ASEAN region remains reasonably positive in the context of global economic and political uncertainty.

    Recent data point towards a pickup in trade for several economies such as Vietnam and Singapore, and ASEAN central banks may be able to adopt easing policy to support growth.

    ASEAN economies are also vulnerable to a more generalized slowdown in globalization or an erosion of the broad consensus in favor of free trade. However, many economies in the region, including Vietnam, have been highly successful in moving up the global value chain as a result of the opportunities presented by free trade and investment flows.

    Low oil prices and prolonged drought that affected agricultural production contributed to a slowdown in activity in Vietnam during the first half of 2016, said the report.

    But the slowdown is limited thanks to strong industrial growth that continues to be boosted by FDI and a better business environment.

    Indeed, FDI is on track for another record year in 2016 – attracted by low costs, improving infrastructure and skills and a deregulated business environment increasingly open to 100% foreign ownership, ICAEW said.

    The report also said growth prospects for 2017 and 2018 are brightest in the Philippines and Vietnam.

    “We expect growth to moderate to a more sustainable rate of 6% a year in 2017 and 2018,”

    Priyanka Kishore, ICAEW economic advisor and Oxford Economics lead economist, was quoted as saying in a press release of ICAEW. She however added that although the Government has set out a number of projects aimed at promoting growth in short term, Vietnam still sees little fiscal stimulus possibility and significant increase in budget deficit.

    What is going on shows that the success of Vietnam’s economy depends heavily on whether the country can continue to have more trade opportunities with economies having higher incomes, and access to financial resources and technological investments or not, she said.

    Mark Billington, Regional Director of ICAEW South East Asia, said that in recent years, huge FDI flows have spurred the country’s economic growth.

    Trade agreements play a key role as they are not only capable of directly promoting trade and investment flows, but also help bring good business practices to signatory countries.

    Therefore, if the economic growth rate through those cooperation agreements shows signs of slowing down, the Government and businesses should look for alternative ways to improve the business environment, he said.

    Construction permit issuance time to fall to 42 days

    The director of the HCMC Department of Construction said a single-window system for issuance of construction permits would be soon deployed with this process to be shortened from the current 75 to 42 days.

    Director Tran Trong Tuan was speaking at a question and answer session during the ongoing sitting of the HCMC People’s Council on December 8.

    Deputy To Thi Bich Chau wondered how the issuance of construction permits would be done with the construction department as the only agency in charge. Other deputies raised questions on the licensing of high-rise building and housing projects affecting city traffic.

    In response, Tuan said all high-rise building and housing projects must have their technical designs evaluated before construction permits are granted. One of the conditions for these projects is they must be consistent with planning, and meet technical infrastructure requirements such as water supply and drainage, and green space.

    In reality, many housing projects have already been developed while technical and social infrastructure projects remain on paper, Tuan noted. The city leaders are aware of the discrepancy between housing and infrastructure development planning.

    To remedy this situation, all housing projects will be appraised to see if they are connected to technical and social infrastructure or not.

    The construction department is drawing up a program for housing development in five years and ten years. And to ensure infrastructure connectivity, the city government in mid-2017 will submit a report to the municipal people’s council on the requirement for a link between housing and technical infrastructure in each area and in the city as a whole.

    On the complaints about the lengthy construction licensing process, Tuan said the total length of time is 75 days at present, excluding the time for investors to prepare necessary documents.

    “A shorter time will help investors and citizens reduce waste, so we are finalizing a draft for the single-window system for issuance of construction permits so that the pilot scheme may start in January 2017, with an aim of slashing the time from 75 to 42 days. It will last until September 2017, then a review will be done to submit a report to the Ministry of Construction before the program is deployed citywide,” Tuan explained.

    Deputy To Thi Bich Chau suggested the construction department should immediately handle personnel responsible for the time-consuming construction licensing process.

    She added the high density of construction works in certain areas was making traffic congestion worsen, especially in District 1.

    Tuan admitted cross-checks and transfers of records were extending the time of licensing.

    On the situation of construction works causing traffic jams, he said his department will examine and evaluate all the existing projects and the progress of the surrounding roads, such as Le Loi Boulevard in District 1 and the area near the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, to take measures against traffic congestion.

    HCM City seeks road investor

    The HCM City People’s Committee has asked permission from Prime Minister Nguy?n Xuân Phúc to hire an investor for the elevated road No. 1 project.

    The 9.5-km elevated road No. 1, extending from the Lang Cha C? junction to Phú An Bridge in Bình Th?nh District, is expected to ease traffic jams near Tân Son Nh?t International Airport.

    The road, 17.5 metres wide with four lanes, would cost more than VNÐ15 trillion (US$681 million) and pass through the districts of Tân Bình, Phú Nhu?n and Bình Th?nh.

    Under a Government decision, the city plans to build five elevated roads with a total length of 70km.

    The elevated road No.1 would be the key road linking the four other elevated roads.

    The network of elevated roads is expected to hasten the pace of traffic from the city’s inner areas to outer ring roads and city gateways.

    Previously, the city People’s Committee had appointed South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction Corp. (GS E & C) to research and invest in the elevated road under the Build – Operate – Transfer (BOT) mode. However, GS E & C said in 2009 that it could not conduct the project.

    Another investor, Châu Th?i Concrete Corporation No. 620, had also proposed investing in elevated road No.1, but withdrew later.

    According to the city’s Department of Transport, construction of elevated road No. 5 linking Hà N?i Highway in Th? Ð?c District with the Tân T?o-Ch? Ð?m junction in Bình Tân District will kick off early next year.

    HD Bank inks loan deal for Da Nang condotel project

    The HCM City Development joint-stock bank (HD Bank) has agreed a VND1.7 trillion (US$75 million) loan to investors in the Ariyana beach resort and suite Da Nang projects for a 30-year term.

    General Director of Ariyana joint-stock company, Nguyen Canh Son said the deal, which was signed in early December, will help investors access capital at a favourable interest rate.

    He said the Ariyana Beach Resort and Suite Condotel project started construction from 2015 with total investment of VND4 trillion ($178 million) on a coastal area of 4ha of Non Nuoc Beach in Da Nang city.

    He said the 27-storey project, which includes the Ariyana International Urban and Tourism Complex, will provide 4,000 rooms by the second quarter of 2018.

    He said the company has been building a 3,000-seat conference and exhibition centre in the project for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit to be held in Da Nang next year.

    According to Da Nang city’s investment promotion board, tourism real estate remains a popular investment in the central city, attracting 25 foreign direct investment projects worth US$1.8 billion.

    The city has so far developed 16 tourist property projects consisting of 749 villas, 609 of which are for sale and 140 for lease.

    Deposits rise in Dong Nai’s banks
    Credit organisations in Dong Nai Province have mobilised VND153 trillion (US$6.8 billion) in deposits from early this year till date, which is 23 per cent higher than at end-2015.

    Of this, Vietnamese d?ng deposits touched VND143 trillion, the State Bank of Viet Nam’s (SBV) branch in Dong Nai said.

    The branch also said that total outstanding loans from the early this year to now is VND133 trillion, 21 per cent higher than that at the end of 2015. This is also the first time in the past four years that credit organisations in the province have gained a year-on-year growth of 20 per cent in deposits and loans.

    Loans related to construction and industrial sectors accounted for 43 per cent of the outstanding loans, amounting to around VND55 trillion, while loans of the agro, forestry and fishery sector stood at VND20.5 trillion.

    Following the central bank’s preferential credit policy for priority economic sectors, banks in Dong Nai have lent tens of trillions of Vietnamese dong to 40,000 customers at a preferential interest rate of 7 per cent per year between early 2016 to date.

    The priority economic sectors include agriculture, rural areas, exports, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the supply and technology industries.

    Tran Quoc Tuan, director of SBV’s Dong Nai branch attributed the increase in deposits to the stability in deposit interest rates. During the same period, the lending interest rates was between 6 per cent and 11 per cent, so many organisations and individuals took money to expand production and business. Banks in the province have operated efficiently and have good liquidity, he said.

    Many banks in Dong Nai have given short-term loans with interest rates of 4 per cent per year to customers whose financial affairs are healthy and transparent.

    The push on inspection and supervision as well as correction of mistakes at some banks have reduced bad debts in Dong Nai’s banks. Bad debts account for 1.4 per cent of the total outstanding loans, a drop of 0.27 per cent compared to the end of 2015. Bad debts have been higher in the industrial, construction, trading and service sectors than in the agro, forestry and fishery sector.

    Vina Mazda recalls Mazda3 for airbag fault
    Vina Mazda, a member of the local Truong Hai Automobile Company (THACO), has recalled over 16,000 Mazda3 1.5L and 2.0L Sedans and Hatchbacks using SkyActiv technology engine for side air-bag control faults.

    Thaco said in a statement that all Mazda3 cars produced in the Quang Nam-based Vina Mazda plant between December 9th, 2014 and November 1st, 2016 will receive free software updates to fix incorrect operations over past two years.

    Experts from Mazda Japan company confirmed that the side air-bag control fault does not affect the car’s operation.

    Earlier, Vina Mazda had informed the Viet Nam Register for the Mazda3 recall programme.

    The local car maker said it needs only 10 minutes to complete the software correction.

    Vina Mazda also reconfirmed that it has not recorded any accidents or incidents related to the Mazda3’s incorrect operation of the side air-bag control system.

    Last year, Vina Mazda also recalled 170 Mazda3 1.5L car models--out of 4,000 vehicles in the country--for repairs to the Check-Engine signal appearing on the car’s warning light.

    Last month, Vina Mazda also recalled 4,809 Mazda2 (produced from August 24, 2015 to September 26, 2016) cars to fix a fault related to the check-engine light.

    In June, VinaMazda recalled more than 10,000 Mazda3 cars for a similar fault.

    Thaco plans to produce over 112,000 cars in 2016, with expected revenue of US$3 billion.

    Earlier this year, Thaco began operation of a new production line of trailers and special purpose vehicles in the Truong Hai-Chu Lai Mechanical Automobile Industrial Zone, and start construction of a new Mazda plant, two new truck and bus plants and other supportive industries for several car models.

    Thaco, the largest automobile maker in Viet Nam, has produced and distributed vehicles for three manufacturers including Kia from South Korea, Mazda from Japan and French giant Peugeot.

    ADB to assist a local troubled bank

    A solution to deal with troubled commercial banks has been decided upon, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc revealed. The regional development bank is planning to assist the Vietnamese government to solve the problem.
    “The Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with a Vietnamese private partner is planning to acquire a troubled commercial bank”, the Vietnamese leader said at the Vietnam Development Forum (VDF) in Hanoi on December 9.
    Furthermore, ADB may also introduce partners who are capable of helping Vietnam to settle bad debts and safeguard fragile commercial banks, according to PM Phuc.

    Mr. Jonathan Dunn, Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Vietnam believes the acceleration of bad debt settlement will help the credit institution system better support competitive private enterprises, and this would bolster growth prospects.
    This idea comes just in time. In late October, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told a National Assembly (NA) meeting that the government will consider the possibility of letting poor performing commercial banks go bankrupt, instead of assisting them as it did in the past.
    The government is determined to restructure the banking system with top priorities being protecting the interests of depositors and preventing the "domino" effect, which happens when one bank stops operation, and others follow, said Deputy Prime Minister Hue.
    Since this troubled commercial bank is likely to be rescued, things will look brighter for the settlement of bad debts, a problem which has not yet been successfully resolved.
    Overhanging bad debts have been a burden on Vietnam’s economic growth since 2012 when total toxic debts, mostly in the real estate sector, reached VND280 trillion ($12.5 billion), equivalent to 11 per cent of the GDP.
    Last year, in an attempt to consolidate the country's fragmented banking sector, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) took over troubled lenders Global Petro Bank (GP Bank), Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) and Ocean Commercial Bank.
    The buy-out of these troubled banks aimed at helping SBV become fully proactive in reforming them, ensuring safety and stability in the banking system and maintaining political security and the social order, the central bank said in a statement.
    The Vietnamese government started tackling non-performing loans (NPLs) in the banking system in 2013 when it officially set up the bad-debt bank the Vietnam Asset Management Corporation (VAMC).
    According to a report of the National Financial Supervision Commission (NFSC) on the country's economic situation in the first nine months of the years, bad debts of 19 credit institutions accounted for 55.1 per cent of the total NPLs of the system.
    As of the end of August this year, the banking system had reportedly tackled VND548 trillion ($24.1 billion) worth of bad debts, said the central bank, of which almost 42.8 per cent was housed at the central bank-run VAMC.
    The government is trying to develop a debt trading market, and complete legal frameworks to deal with mortgages and enhance capacity of the VAMC. Last month, the NA has passed the Law on Property Auctions, which will facilitate bad debt resolution where it involves property assets. Of which, analysts believe that VAMC will be empowered by the Law to auction bad debts and collateral assets belonging to financial institutions.

    PJ's Coffee expanding in Vietnam

    PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans (PJ’s) has announced its second location to be opened in Ho Chi Minh City’s Sala Project in Nguyen Co Thach Street, District 2 on December 16.
    Ballard Brands LLC., the parent company that operates PJ’s, appointed TRG International - represented by Rick Yvanovich - as Vietnam’s Master Franchisee, overseeing all Vietnamese store locations, operations and support.
    The new shop features PJ’s full menu with a wide selection of iced, frozen and hot coffee drinks, teas, freshly baked pastries and more. “We are honored to provide PJ’s coffee and tea products to customers not only across the US, but now across the world,” says David Mesa, Chief Development Officer of Ballard Brands.
    Mr. Yvanovich plans to open at least 10 additional locations in the next five years. The first store was opened in Vincom B Center Shopping Mall in Ho Chi Minh City in August this year.

    To-date, PJ’s currently operates 85 locations in seven states and has plans for tremendous growth with its Vietnamese and future international locations. “PJ’s Coffee exudes quality,” says Mr. Yvanovich. “Our customers in Vietnam will appreciate not only PJ’s high-end coffee and tea products, but the experience offered each time a customer visits a location.”
    Similar to New Orleans, Vietnam - the second largest producer of coffee in the world - shares a strong love for coffee and incorporates the beverage into its everyday culture. Because Vietnam’s climate is hot and humid year-round, Vietnamese tend to favor chilled coffee beverages and flock to cafés as a place to delight in specialty coffees and socialize throughout the day.  
    PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan, a pioneer in the coffee industry that demonstrated that better beans, superior roasting techniques, and pure passion for the art of coffee-making mattered.

    Many coffeehouses today make iced coffee by pouring hot coffee over ice, resulting in an inferior beverage. PJ’s Original Cold Brew Ice Coffee is brewed daily using a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans, while producing a coffee that is 2/3 less acidic – a process and technique pioneered by the founder and used for more than 30 years at all PJ’s locations.
    PJ’s coffee bean buyers travel the world to hand select the finest beans – from Brazil to Costa Rica, from Columbia to Kona (Hawaii) – everywhere the best coffee grows.
    Founded in 2012 by Paul, Scott and Steve Ballard, Ballard Brands is a multi-branded restaurant and coffee company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana in the US. The company’s restaurant portfolio includes retail brands PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, WOW Café: American Grill & Wingery, The Original City Diner, and Boardhouse Serious Sandwiches.

    Modern aquaculture developments will improve profits

    A high demand, increased incomes and improved fish farming methods will increase the consumption of seafood in Vietnam and export abroad.
    by Linh San
    Vietnam's aquaculture market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.73 per cent during the period 2016-2020, according to latest forecast by Research and Markets.
    The aquaculture market in Vietnam is one of the biggest aquaculture in the world, according to the Research and Markets' forecasts with annual domestic consumption of seafood per capita in the country is about 78 lbs. (35.4 kilos) per capita.
    This consumption figure is expected to increase by 5.37 per cent on average per year for the period of 2015-2020. The total consumption of seafood in the domestic market in Vietnam was over 710 thousand metric tons in 2015 and is expected to reach 940 thousand metric tons by 2020.
    Key vendors in the Vietnamese market include: Camau Seafood Processing and Service Joint Stock Corporation, Dongnam Seafood, Phuong Dong Seafood, Food Joint Stock Company Ca Mau Seafood Exports, Hung Vuong Mekong, Minh Phu, Ngoc Sinh Seafood, Oriental Seafood, to name just a few.
    With the improvements in freshwater aquaculture technology, the steps in the production of seed production have changed from intensive water use land-based systems to water-saving and water productivity-enhancing interventions. Irrigation systems and irrigated agriculture are integrated with fish seed production.
    Optimizing the use of irrigated agricultural land can be further explored for its expansion and commercialization potential. For fry to fingerling rearing, the use of cages and net enclosures is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam. Such initiatives contribute to the enhancement of productivity of irrigated water bodies.
    Vietnam is one of the most suitable places for seafood and fish farming because of its long and rich coast line. Infrastructure development, growing consumption of fish, high disposable income of consumers, and export of farmed fish and seafood are some of the key drivers, which enable Vietnam to contribute significant revenue to the aquaculture industry in Asia Pacific.
    The need for aquaculture in Vietnam stems from the high demand from wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and individual consumers.

    VnSteel lowering ownership at KMT

    Vietnam Steel Corporation (VnSteel) has registered to sell over 4.7 million KMT shares of Central Vietnam Metal Corporation (Cevimetal).
    After the sales, VnSteel will lower its ownership rate from 82.95 per cent to 36 per cent. Expected trading will happen from December 12, 2016 to January 4, 2017 through order matching and agreements. “The target of selling KMT shares is to divest”, said Mr. Doan Phong, member of Finance Department at VnSteel told VET.
    KTM shares are traded at about VND 10,000 ($0.44) per share on the stock market. VnSteel will receive about VND47 billion ($2.06 million) based on this price. This share increased significantly in November.
    Currently VnSteel holds nearly 8.2 million KMT shares (the rate of 82.95 per cent). After successfully divests, VnSteel will reduce its ownership rate to about 36 per cent of KMT chartered capital.
    Cevimetal is a subsidiary of VnSteel. Their main business is supplying different kinds of steel to various projects and importing-exporting metal, steel billets. During the first nine months of 2016, the net sale of Cevimetal reached VND1.3 trillion ($57.22 million). After-tax profit was VND4.8 billion ($211,340) which was twice the amount the same time in 2015.
    In the third quarter off 2016, the net sales of Cevimetal reached VND 342.3 billion ($15.05 million). After-tax-profit was VND793 million ($34,907) which was higher than their profit after tax in the second quarter 2016.
    The total assets of Cevimetal were worth about VND504 ($22.2 million) in the third quarter 2016. The company equitized and officially went into operation in the form of a joint stock company in January 1, 2006.  Cevimetal has a nationwide network of units; it supplies various kinds of steel with an attractive sales policy.
    VnSteel was established by merging Metal Corporation and Steel Corporation. The birth of VnSteel is associated with the history and development of the country's metallurgical industry. It has set a solid foundation for the development of the domestic steel industry. VnSteel operates as a joint stock company with over 50 subordinate units, subsidiaries and associated companies.
    The main sectors of VnSteel are steel manufacturing and business and the materials and equipment related to the steel industry. In addition, VnSteel also enhances business areas such as finance investment, port operators, logistics services, warehousing, offices, investment and trading infrastructure of industrial zones and real estate, and labor export.
    Along with market development in Vietnam steel, VnSteel also pays attention to sustainably develop the environment, protect it and use national resources reasonably. Moreover, this company takes care of social benefits.

    FLC Faros 'abnormal' share move is normal

    The share move of FLC Faros Construction Corp. is nothing but normal, the company's top leader strongly affirmed on December 8.
    "The price of ROS shares which have been increasing over the past year is normal," FLC Chairman Mr. Trinh Van Quyet replied to VET on the sidelines of the Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit in Hanoi on December 8 when being asked whether there were any abnormal moves to ROS share price. "Good products have a higher price, and their increase depends on the market's demand."
    The market value of FLC Faros, nearly 70 per cent-owned by Mr. Quyet - now Vietnam’s richest man in the nation's stock market in terms of US dollar value - has shot from $170 million at the time of its September IPO to $2.2 billion now, becoming the country’s seventh-biggest listed company.
    FLC Faros lists few projects on its website that weren’t commissioned by FLC, and its brand name was largely unrecognized before its IPO. No other construction company in Vietnam has a market valuation anywhere near that of FLC Faros. Nor have any enjoyed similar recent price gains. Coteccons Construction JSC, the second largest after FLC Faros, is valued at $510 million.
    ‘One step to heaven’ is what the entire market believes FLC Faros’ share move has experienced. An article published last month by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has highlighted the surge in FLC Faros’ stock, claiming this as a reminder of the odd situations investors can find in frontier markets, those a notch less developed than emerging markets.
    FLC Faros’ net profit was up 170 per cent in the first nine months of this year to VND232.1 billion ($10.4 million). The company bought a large stock of land at low prices throughout Vietnam during a property-market downturn. Still, analysts say its performance doesn’t justify the company’s stock now being valued at more than 120 times FLC Faros’ forecast earnings for this year.
    Local institutional fund managers are believed to be anxious that a small group of investors could be pushing up the value of FLC Faros. The aim could be to ensure that large exchange-traded funds, which investors use to passively invest in Vietnamese stocks, automatically buy shares in the company, further supporting its market price.
    Mr. Kevin Snowball, Chief Executive of PXP Vietnam Asset Management in Ho Chi Minh City, was reported by WSJ as saying that if FLC Faros’ stock price falls as fast as it has risen, the losses could hurt Vietnam’s reputation. “We would sincerely hope that the relevant authorities take firm action to protect the reputation and integrity of the market,” Mr. Snowball said.
    In a response, “I have received the reconciliation request from the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) in regard to the share move of FLC Faros”, said Mr. Quyet. For the ‘abnormal’ share move of Faros, he affirmed that “the higher the share price, the better the quality”.
    The company’s main business is building projects run by property developer FLC Group JSC, controlled by the same individual, Mr. Quyet. The sharp rise in FLC Faros’ share price means it is now valued at about $2 billion more than FLC Group itself and has raised concerns that any fall could trigger a widespread selloff in Vietnamese shares.
    “There is no way there will be a selloff in FLC Faros,” said Mr. Quyet. “Rather than selling out, I am planning to buy in more shares.” With nearly 70 per cent ownership rate in FLC Faros, Mr. Quyet is currently the company's biggest shareholder. Because of that, “I will have to make an announcement if I want to sell off,” he said.
    In regard to the growth of FLC Faros’ stock price in the future, Mr. Quyet said "the share price will depend on the supply and demand of the market".
    On the other hand, Mr. Le Thanh Vinh, FLC Faros’ Chairman said in a letter to shareholders last month that he expected FLC Faros’ stock price to rise another 50 per cent from the closing price of VND108,700 ($4.81), adding that the company is seeking shareholder approval to expand into other business areas, including retailing, transport, power and telecommunications, and to issue more shares.
    Economists predict Vietnam will be among the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2016, expanding about 6 per cent, as it benefits from a manufacturing industry that has grown in importance over the years. That and increased foreign-direct investment helped push the VN-Index to an eight-year high of 688.89 on October 19. FLC Faros increased more than 780 per cent since its September 1 debut, and is leading gains on the gauge.
    The index, up 13 per cent this year, has topped a 2.7 per cent decline in the MSCI Frontier Markets Index and 4.2 per cent advance in MSCI South East Asia Index. That has made Vietnamese shares expensive relative to their peers, with a 12-month price-to-earnings ratio of 13.2, more than 10.6 for the frontier measure.

    Labor export exceeds target

    As of late November, 108,530 workers were sent to work abroad, surpassing the preset goal by 8.5%, according to the Viet Nam Labor Export Association.

    In November, labor exporters provided 10,120 guest workers, representing a year-on-year increase of 2.88%.

    In the January-November period, the northeast Asian nations and territories remained among the biggest employers of Vietnamese workers by recruiting 99,780 people and accounting 91.95% of the market.

    In the first 11 months, up to 58,659 people were employed in Taiwan (China), accounting for 58.78% of total laborers to the northeast Asian region.

    Viet Nam sent 33,593 guest workers to Japan, up 36% against the same period last year. Over 7,200 others found jobs in the Republic of Korea, representing a year-on-year surge of 14%.


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  • 12/12/16--01:48: Article 4
  • Vietnamese embassy visits Cambodian victim in child torture video

    Nguyen Thanh Dung is pictured at a police station in Ho Chi Minh City.Tuoi Tre

    The Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia on Sunday visited the family of a local toddler, who was seen being abused by a Vietnamese national in a viral video that sparked widespread outrage in both countries last week.

    Counselor Nguyen Manh Cuong led the diplomatic delegation, joining members from the General Association of Vietnamese Cambodians (GAVC) to call on the family in Keo Phos District, located in the southwestern Cambodian province of Preah Sihanouk.

    In a video that surfaced on the Internet earlier this month, the family’s two-year-old son, also of Vietnamese origin, was seen being tortured, strangled and hit with a stun gun by a Vietnamese man identified as Nguyen Thanh Dung.

    Dung, hailing from An Giang, a southern Vietnamese province bordering Cambodia, is in Vietnamese police’s custody for investigation, following his arrest on December 7.

    The embassy’s delegation consoled the family on the pain their son had to endure, reassuring them that competent Vietnamese agencies are working actively with their Cambodian counterparts to resolve the case and bring justice to the victim and his family.

    In response, the toddler’s family extended their thanks to the embassy and the GAVC, expressing their hope that the case will soon be settled.

    The child is being fostered by Senator Oknha Mong Reththy, deputy head of the Cambodian criminal police unit, and is leading a stable life at a new plantation, away from where he had the nightmares with Dung.

    As earlier reported, the victim is the son of a couple who work for the cocoa plantation run by Dutch national Stefan Struik, a sexual partner of Dung. Struik was charged on Friday for allegedly concealing evidence and failing to report the abuse, according to the Cambodia Daily.  

    Senator Reththy spoke highly of Vietnam’s cooperation in resolving the case, as well as the timely solace from the embassy to the victim and his family.

    During an interrogation with Vietnamese police, Dung confessed his act but argued that he might have been under the influence of crystal methamphetamine when torturing the kid. Police also found 49 videos of him abusing the child in his mobile phone.

    As regards these videos, the Cambodia Daily quoted James McCabe, head of the Cambodian police’s Child Protection Unit, as saying that the clips show the same suspect and victim.

    All of the videos capturing the “cruel and sadistic acts” were filmed in a streak of four days in late August, according to McCabe.

    The Child Protection Unit chief also told the Cambodia Daily that work is underway to extradite Dung back to Cambodia to face trial.

    “I am hopeful that it will be a successful application, but it will take some time as procedures need to be followed – and primarily due to the high profile nature of this investigation and the offender,” he told the Phnom Penh-based daily.


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  • 12/12/16--01:58: Article 3
  • Vietnam faces challenges in fulfilling climate deal

     Vietnam has a long list of tasks to fulfill in order to meet its commitments to reduce 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under the historic Paris Agreement (Photo

    Hanoi -Vietnam has a long list of tasks to fulfill in order to meet its commitments to reduce 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under the historic Paris Agreement, Jenty Kirsch Wood, senior technical specialist of disaster risk management and climate change of UNDP, said at workshop in Hanoi on December 8.

    The national adaptation plan (NAP) needs to clearly point out adaptation priorities as well as clarify the policy framework for adaptation to climate change, she said.

    Under the Paris Agreement’s Implementation Plan, Vietnam has outlined five major tasks to meet the commitments it made when ratifying the pact last month, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, preparing human resources, running a system of measurement, reporting verification, and improving policies.

    The challenges facing Vietnam include budget constraints and overlapping strategies that present a test for domestic policy makers, Wood said.

    Developing strategies to adapt to climate change and managing loss and damage [a compulsory term in Paris Agreement’s Implementation Plan] is essential, she said.

    She urged the Government to encourage private sector engagement in areas of green growth, energy and industrial reform, she said.

    Pham Van Tan, deputy head of Department of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, said that from now to 2020, Vietnam has to focus on carefully preparing human resources and legal frameworks to fully meet the commitments by 2030.

    One of Vietnam’s main tasks is to sharply raise public awareness of climate change and of the legally binding commitment to reduce 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, he said.

    Thea Konstantinidis, policy advisor of the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) said Vietnam also has to ensure that vulnerable groups are prioritised and their resilience improved.

    The Paris Agreement, which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C, has been ratified by 115 countries.-VNA

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