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  • 01/13/17--05:37: Article 0
  • Five B2B events not to miss at APEC 2017


    There will be five events within the framework of APEC 2017 to connect companies to find trade and investment opportunities, as announced by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a press conference on January 12.

     
    The events are as follows:

    1. APEC Startups Forum will be held on the sidelines of the Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting in September 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City. The purpose is to encourage entrepreneurship in the APEC. The event expects to welcome about 300 leaders of startups from Vietnam and other APEC countries.

    2. APEC Business Advisory Council 4 (ABAC 4) will meet from November 4 to 7 in Danang. The meeting will see the participation of 250-300 leaders of companies in the region. ABAC 4 is going to ratify the annual ABAC report and the proposals of ABAC to APEC economic leaders and prepare the content for the dialogue between APEC economic leaders and ABAC. 

    3. The forum on promoting trade and investment with Vietnam will be held by VCCI on November 8 in Danang, during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week. The forum will be a chance for international investors to get to know Vietnam and its new policies as well as to meet companies. There will be about 800 participants hailing from Vietnamese government agencies, leaders of localities, and companies from Vietnam and the APEC. 

    The “Vietnam the destination for international investors” expo will be the venue for localities to introduce incentives for investors and projects calling for investment.

    4. APEC CEO Summit 2017 will be held from November 8 to 10 in Danang. The conference will have the participation of 1,000 delegates, including chairpersons, CEOs of multinationals and big companies in the APEC and other countries.  

    Speakers at the conference enumerate APEC economic leaders, top managers from leading companies and, international experts in economics. Participants will discuss issues related to international cooperation and economic growth. 

    On the sidelines, B2B meetings will be organised for companies to find opportunities of cooperation in investment and trade. 

    5. The dialogue between APEC economic leaders and ABAC members is going to be held in the framework of APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Danang. The conference will have the participation of 21 APEC economic leaders and 63 members of ABAC. This is the chance for ABAC to submit its annual report and proposals to improve the business environment in the region, and for the leaders to talk to the business community about ways to encourage growth, trade, and investment.

    The activities will be valuable opprotunities for companies to raise their voice in matters of their direct interests and promote their brands to companies and businesses from the APEC in order to increase cooperation in trade and investment.

    This year’s APEC will be themed “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future.” Boosting trade and investment and promoting economic integration, structural reforms, and SME innovation are critical to enable APEC economies to better harness all opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution and the third wave of globalisation. The theme also accentuates APEC’s common and long-term goal of building a peaceful, stable, integrated, and prosperous community spanning the Asia-Pacific.

    The four priorities of APEC 2017 are strengthening regional economic connectivity, fostering sustainable, creative, and inclusive growth, increasing regional economic cooperation, supporting micro, small and medium firms, and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture by adapting to climate change.

    The Vietnamese government encourages companies to join in the dialogues with government agencies and companies from APEC countries to increase trade and investment cooperation.


    By Hong Anh, VIR


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  • 01/13/17--19:10: Article 2
  • Vietnam-US ties continue to develop well


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has expressed his delight at the fine development of Vietnam-US relations on many fronts, especially since the two countries established a comprehensive partnership framework.


    vietnam-us ties continue to develop well hinh 0

    At a reception for US Secretary of State John Kerry in Hanoi on January 13, the Vietnamese government leader said he believes that based on the existing platform, the two countries will continue to step up long-term, substantive and effective relationship on the basis of respect for each other's institutions and national development roadmap.

    Bilateral ties have grown steadily as evidenced by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s US visit in 2015, and President Obama’s trip to Vietnam in 2016.

    The cabinet leader also underlined the need to devise plans to continue to maintain momentum of relations, including maintaining meetings and exchange visits at all levels, and promoting cooperation in dealing with the consequences of war and other fields.

    PM Phuc reiterated Vietnamese leaders’ invitation to attend the APEC Summit in 2017 and to visit Vietnam to President-elect Donald Trump and stressed the economic and strategic importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement for member countries, including the US.

    The Vietnamese government leaders also praised the US’ positive contributions to promoting peace, stability, cooperation and development of the Asia - Pacific region and the world.

    PM Phuc thanked the US Secretary of State for his personal efforts to advance the normalization of Vietnam-US relations over the past decades.

    At a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Secretary of State John Kerry the same day, the Vietnamese side asked the US for an early recognition of market economic status, reduce trade barriers for Vietnamese goods and prioritize cooperation in overcoming war consequences.

    vietnam-us ties continue to develop well hinh 1

    Deputy FM Son praised the significance of the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership and expressed Vietnam’s willingness to cooperate with the US in uplifting ASEAN central role. Both discussed the East Sea situation and reiterated the necessity of international law compliance, diplomatic and legal procedures in addressing disputes for peace, stability, security, freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

    He also called on the US to prioritize cooperation in addressing war consequences, especially dioxin decontamination at Danang and Bien Hoa airports, and implement effectively the Joint Vision Statement on Defense Cooperation issued in 2015 and the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation signed in 2011.

    Secretary John Kerry reiterated the US commitment to respecting Vietnam’s political institution, independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity and supported Vietnam’s hosting of the APEC Year 2017. 

    He said the US has a long-term interest in the Asia Pacific and believed that the new US administration will continue fostering relations with the region. He said the US kept a close watch on the East Sea situation and supported dispute resolution through diplomatic and legal procedures based on international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

    The US diplomat expressed his pleasure to return to Vietnam, and said the two countries’ relations have developed well across many fields over the past 20 years.

    The US is willing to provide more assistance for Vietnam to cope with climate change, especially in developing clean energy, build sustainable infrastructure, manage water resources and ecological system, as well as accelerate the implementation of dioxin detoxification at Danang and Bien Hoa airports, he said.

    He noted that the official operation of the Fulbright University Vietnam will contribute to developing high-quality human resources in Vietnam.

    Kerry also supported the central role of ASEAN and stressed the US will continue coordinating with the association to strengthen intra-bloc solidarity and promote ASEAN-US strategic partnership. 

    The US also advocated the settlement of disputes in the East Sea via peaceful means and legal and diplomatic processes on the basic of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

    During his visit to Vietnam, Kerry is to meet Ho Chi Minh City Party Secretary Dinh La Thang and delivered a speech about Vietnam-US relations.

    VOV


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  • 01/13/17--19:42: Article 1
  • Wooden furniture manufacturers face material shortage


    The lack of wood materials has once again caused difficulties for wooden furniture manufacturers.

    vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, vn news 
     According to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Viforest), Vietnam needs 31 million cubic meters of wood materials every year. The country still has 10 million hectares of natural forests, but they are mostly forests with poor reserves and low quality.

    It has 3.8 million hectares of planted forests, including 2.7 million hectares of forests which provide wood for production.

    Meanwhile, by the end of 2015, only 10-12 percent can provide wood with the quality and size good enough to make wooden furniture products. Rubber forests can provide 3 million cubic meters of wood each year.

    Therefore, Vietnam needs additional wood material supply sources with a growth rate of 10-15 percent per annum.

    Do Xuan Lap, chair of the Binh Dinh provincial Timber and Forest Product Association, in the context of material shortages, Chinese businesses operating under the mask of Vietnamese enterprises have set up many factories and units to collect wood for export to China.

    The move by Chinese businesses may contribute to a ‘wood material crisis’.

    The changes in policies related to timber exports applied by neighboring countries have encouraged Chinese businessmen to scramble for timber materials in the region. 

    To ease the thirst for wood materials, Chinese businessmen now compete with Vietnamese to collect wood in the countries which Vietnam imports from, and in Vietnam as well.

    In 2014, Myanmar prohibited the export of large-size round wood and sawn timber. In 2016, Laos released a similar decision. In 2015, the Chinese government prohibited to exploit timber in the natural forests in the northeast of the country.

    To ease the thirst for wood materials, Chinese businessmen now compete with Vietnamese to collect wood in the countries which Vietnam imports from, and in Vietnam as well.

    In 2015, China imported 107 million cubic meters of equivalent roundwood, worth $19.5 billion.

    Since 2009, Chinese businesses began collecting sawn rubber timber in Vietnam, pushing up prices from VND3.5 million per cubic meter to VND5.6 million.

    According to Forest Trends, the sawn rubber timber exports to China have soared from less than 120,000 cubic meters in 2015 to 170,000 in the first nine months of 2016.

    “They (Chinese businessmen) collect all kinds of timber and accept both high- and low-quality products, thus hurting Vietnamese wooden manufacturers,” said Truong Mong TInh, director of Moc Luc Company in Binh Duong province.

    “While the material supply is uncertain, wooden furniture prices must not increase,” she complained. “It is necessary for Vietnam to prohibit the export of roundwood, immediately."

    Vietnam hopes the wooden furniture export turnover would reach $10 billion by 2020. In order to reach that goal, it would need 4-5 million cubic meters of wood materials more each year. However, this was a big challenge.

    According to Bui Nhu Viet from BIFA, cajuput and acacia only provide wood with best quality after seven to 10 years of planting. However, Vietnamese farmers now prefer growing F4 and F5 with which they can harvest after four to five years, but the quality is not good enough.


    Thanh Lich, VNN


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  • 01/13/17--20:15: Article 0
  • They are women and mothers, not machines


    Viet Nam has had a relatively better record than many countries in the world when it comes to recognising and protecting women’s rights, despite the pernicious impacts of patriarchy and Confucianism.


     Image result for nuoi con bang sua me

    And things have gotten even better in this regard over the last several years, with lawmakers approving a number of preferential policies for female workers, especially those of child-bearing age and those with small babies to nurture.

    The approval of the 2012 Labour Law brought great relief and happiness to female workers across the country. Fertility leave was increased from four to six months, female workers with babies under 12 months old got an hour off during the day, and those in their menstrual cycles got a 30 minute break.

    However, in what appears to be a one step forward, two steps back move, it has been reported that the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) is preparing an amendment to the Labour Law that will cut the maternity benefits female workers are currently entitled to.

    Ha Dinh Bon, director of the ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs, said many companies have asked for these breaks to be eliminated to avoid negative impacts on their businesses.

    The enterprises argue that their manufacturing has been hit by financial obstacles, and if there were too many preferential policies for female workers (too many breaks), they would not be able to set up proper production plans, especially with production lines in the garment or leather industries.

    Bon said regulations should consider the benefits of both enterprises and workers. If the law had too many preferential policies for female workers, they might become a barrier.

    “When enterprises have to bear so many expenses including fund for production and social insurance, enterprises will find ways to avoid hiring female workers,” he explained.

    These explanations have not assuaged the increasing concerns of female workers.

    Do Thi Tinh, 35, a mother of three sons, was shocked on hearing about the proposal.

    Tinh’s youngest son is five months old, and she is set to return to work for a company in Long Bien District one month from now, following current fertility leave regulations.

    “My son breastfeeds two times each night, and one more time before I go to work, so I’m really tired and sleepy. The 60 minutes extra time for resting and taking care of the baby is necessary and worthy,” said Tinh, who is also sleep deprived whenever her son is ill and cries all night.

    Given this stress, her desire for extra rest is well founded.

    In 2015, workers of a company in HCM City’s District 12 went on a strike and the reason surprised many people. They were not demanding higher salaries or allowances or overtime. They struck work over time limits set by the company for workers to go to toilets and have a drink.

    The company had nearly 1,000 workers, most of them women. It regulated that each worker can go to the toilet twice a day, between 9.30am and 10.30am, and between 2pm to 3pm. To go to the toilet, they must have a badge and a time slot. With the limited number of badges and toilet time, each worker had no more than a minute in the toilet. The wages of workers who violated these regulations were docked.

    This story is just one small example of difficulties faced by workers, especially women. Many women working on production lines at industrial zones and processing zones struggle to overcome many obstacles, big and small, from low salaries to shortage of accommodation and kindergartens for their children.

    Instead of giving them more support, how can anyone think of taking existing support away from them? And if the laws on extra break time for menstruating and lactating women are repealed, it can set the stage for more such regressive moves in the name of neutrality and a level playing ground for workers and enterprises.

    A healthier employee is in everybody’s interests, surely. Against the loss of income claimed by enterprises, this is the payoff for an extra hour off per day for female workers with babies under 12 months. And it is important for the child’s health as well. No less a person than the Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Dao Hong Lan, praised this provision a few days ago, saying it was a commendable humanitarian move.

    Lan is not just a Deputy Minister. She is a mother of two children. With the 60 extra minutes, women can return home at midday to breastfeed their babies, or go home earlier in the afternoon to take care of the little ones, she said.

    Being breastfed and cared for by their mother will give the babies greater resistance to illnesses and lay a good foundation for their future health, she added.

    Female workers make up more than 48 per cent of total workers in the country, and 25 million are of the child-bearing age. Taking care of them and their children means taking care of the country’s future.

    So I, along with all women and, I hope, most men, would like the preferential policies to continue.

    Meanwhile, I would like those espousing the repeal of these policies to think: Enterprises are created by entrepreneurs. Who gives birth to them, and nurtures them to this stage in their growth? 

    VNS


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  • 01/15/17--03:57: Article 2
  • Ministry wants to resume mining, but local authorities demur


    While the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) wants to resume exploitation of Thach Khe, the largest iron mine in South East Asia, after eight years of interruption, Ha Tinh provincial authorities are reluctant to do so.

     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, TPP, US President Obama, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news, Thach Khe, iron mine, steel mills

    Local authorities are hesitant to develop the project due to doubts about raising capital. To date, shareholders have contributed VND1.809 trillion in charter capital, which means VND244 billion more is needed.

    Of the five shareholders, only Vinacomin has contributed the committed capital. Mitraco, one of the shareholders, has said it would withdraw from the project.

    Meanwhile, it is estimated that the project needs VND14.5 trillion, including VND7 trillion for the first phase.

    According to Ha Tinh provincial authorities, Thach Khe Iron JSC has contacted domestic and foreign banks, but it has not received any official agreement on loans.

    Meanwhile, nearly all the VND1.809 trillion contributed has been disbursed for the project.

    However, Truong Thanh Hoai, director of the Heavy Industry Department, said the ministry has submitted to the government a plan to restructure shareholders.

    Regarding the three shareholders which have not contributed enough capital, certain shareholders will be asked to transfer their capital contribution to others. MOIT does not intend to prolong the capital contribution process, he said. Vinacomin is considering contributing more capital.

    MOIT is also considering calling for capital from private investors, such as Hoa Sen and Hoa Phat Group.

    “They (private investors) have money, and if they contribute capital, they would be in charge of consuming the iron ore to be exploited, which will ensure the feasibility of the project,” he said.

    While the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) wants to resume exploitation of Thach Khe, the largest iron mine in South East Asia, after eight years of interruption, Ha Tinh provincial authorities are reluctant to do so.

    The iron consumption capability is also a concern for Ha Tinh provincial authorities.

    Vinacomin has asked for the PM’s decision to delay implementation of a 2 million ton per annum ingot steel project, which would use iron ore from Thach Khe.

    Ha Tinh fears that the iron ore from Thach Khe may not sell well because of limited domestic demand.

    The ore exploited in Vietnam is mostly provided to Hoa Phat, Thai Nguyen and Viet Trung steel mills. Some mining companies have recently asked for permission to export iron ore in inventory.

    An analyst said that it was not by chance that MOIT has decided to restart Thach Khe mining. A series of large blast-furnace steel projects such as Ca Na and Dung Quat are also being considered.


    Le Ba, VNN


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  • 01/15/17--04:34: Article 1
  •  Vietnamese Mekong Delta’s mass exodus


    People in the once-famous granary of the Mekong Delta are abandoning the grind of country life for better-paying jobs elsewhere.


     
    Barren soil in a Mekong Delta locality makes it difficult to grow crops.Tuoi Tre


    Several thousands of penniless farmers and unskilled workers, including those in their 60s, from each of many Mekong Delta provinces, are leaving their barren fields and families behind for job opportunities in major cities, industrial zones and emerging resort towns. 

    Whole areas of the countryside are now made up almost exclusively of the elderly and the very young.

    The residential quarter along T29 Canal in U Minh District, Ca Mau Province, was an in-demand location around 10 years ago, with all the necessary infrastructure in place to serve locals’ daily needs. 

    It is an entirely different story now, however.

    Nguyen Tien Hai, chair of the provincial People’s Committee, said that sadly many local households had abandoned their paddy fields which had become contaminated with growing amounts of alum.

    Bui Be Tam, one 35-year-old resident, lamented that her family had suffered heavy losses on their 2,000-square-meter paddies because of the impoverished soil condition and inclement weather over the past several seasons.

    Hitting rock-bottom, her husband, Nguyen Van Luc, has started working as a construction worker in provinces east of Ho Chi Minh City.

    He has continued to struggle to make a living at times, however.

    Luc recently returned home with only one U.S. dollar in his pocket, forcing them to consider a move to a neighboring town for the chance to make a better living.

    Tran Quoc Viet, a local official in Nguyen Phich Commune, U Minh District, revealed that dozens of entire families had moved, while countless others have been forced to live separately from their one or two breadwinners.

    Another poor neighborhood, Long Phu Commune in Long Phu District, is known for its high rate of migration to Soc Trang Province.

    During the salinity crisis of 2016 alone, it is estimated that more than 6,000 residents relocated for better job opportunities, however the real statistics could be even higher.

    Front doors across the commune have been shut for months. 

    Son Sil, 60, said that he was looking after a plot of land abandoned by one of his friends and tending to his three young grandchildren after their parents found jobs as workers at garment companies in Binh Duong Province, approximately 30 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. 

    Lam Thi Thuy, 53, said she had gathered a team made up of the middle-aged and elderly who now work as hired hands for field owners.

    “Our bosses have no other choice but to hire us in order to make their soil arable or harvest crops as all of the young people have left,” she explained.

    Dang Thanh Quang, vice chair of Tran De District People’s Committee also in Soc Trang, said the local administration was providing farmers with support in salinity-resistant seedlings and soil reclamation, and had persuaded them to summon their relatives working away in time for the coming harvest.  


     
    Youths are hard to come by in many localities across the Mekong Delta, with only the elderly and kids left behind. Photo: Tuoi Tre


    Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Tam, director of Kien Giang Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, put job scarcity and rising unemployment among rural youths down to the increasing automation of agricultural production over recent years.    

    According to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s findings, the majority of rural youths have left their hometowns for manual jobs in cities and towns located to the east of Ho Chi Minh City.

    Phu Quoc Island, a paradise retreat in Kien Giang Province, which has transformed from a rough diamond into a polished pearl, and a magnet for major domestic and international investors, has also been a draw for migrant workers. 

    The island has received thousands of new arrivals from neighboring provinces as demand for manual workers at mushrooming construction sites has surged in response to the boom in tourism.

    Even ‘retirees’ cannot resist the temptation.

    Tran Van Nhu, 60, from Can Tho City, and dozens of laborers his age now scrape together a living as construction workers in Phu Quoc.

    “Even the elderly are getting harder to come by in my neighborhood. Only children are around in the deserted villages,” he said sadly.

    Tran Van Ut, 42 and Van, his wife, residents of An Bien District in Kien Giang, have worked as construction workers in Phu Quoc for 10 months now.

    Van said the couple had not visited their two children at home for almost a year, though it takes them only three hours by boat to reach home.

    Preliminary statistics by labor management agencies in several Mekong Delta provinces reveal that up to 26,382 internal migrants left Ca Mau for jobs in other provinces during the first 10 months of 2016, while Soc Trang and Kien Giang have witnessed a mass migration of more than 10,000 and 20,000 new residents each year.

    Apart from impoverished soil, a hostile climate and shrinking profits from crop and fish farming, people are tempted by reports of well-paid jobs from their relatives and neighbors who already work in these locations, according to Nguyen Tien Hai, chair of Ca Mau Province People’s Committee.

    The local administration has provided farmers with assistance, including improving the quality of available land, and helped them switch from rice crops to other lucrative yields.

    Le Hoang Dien, director of Soc Trang Province’s Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, found the migratory trend entirely understandable.

    To stem the flow of people, however, the provincial People’s Committee has provided aid worth more than VND40 billion ($1.73 million) to disaster-struck, impoverished households, and plans to call for further outside investment in order to maintain the local labor force for the long term, he noted.     

    TUOI TRE NEWS


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  • 01/15/17--05:09: Article 0
  • What does the $2.7 billion trade surplus mean?


    Analysts were cautious about the trade surplus of VND2.7 billion in 2016, saying that the figure did not show the entire picture of the national economy. 


    vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, vn news, FIEs, trade surplus, GDP 

    It is still necessary to say who exported products and what they exported, they said.

    The General Statistics Office (GSO) has released a report saying that Vietnam exported more than imported by $2.68 billion in 2016. Th country saw a trade surplus again after one year of trade deficit. In 2015, the trade deficit was over $3 billion.

    A trade surplus is always good news for Vietnam economy as it means that the country gets more money than it spends and there is no need to worry about foreign currency supplies.

    In previous years, Vietnam usually imported more than it exported. As a developing economy, it needed to import machines and input materials in large quantities to run domestic production. Therefore, a trade surplus was always hailed as a great achievement.

    However, Bui Trinh, a renowned economist, is cautious when talking about this year’s trade surplus as he still sees problems.

    Analysts were cautious about the trade surplus of VND2.7 billion in 2016, saying that the figure did not show the entire picture of the national economy. 

    First, statistics show that foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) made up 70 percent of total export turnover, while exports from Vietnamese enterprises were modest.

    The export items were mostly telephones and phone parts, computers, electronics & electronic parts, and textile and garments, worth tens of billions of dollars.

    “The exports were mainly products made by FIEs and products in labor-intensive industries which had low added value,” he commented.

    Trinh went on to say that Vietnam exported manufacturing products ‘on behalf’ of other countries.

    Pham Tat Thang, a senior researcher from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), agrees that Vietnam’s export has been heavily relying on FIEs and on some certain export items. 

    The export of mobile phones alone, for example, in the first 11 months of 2016 reached $38 billion.

    Thang does not think the export in 2017 would make a breakthrough, predicting that the export growth rate would be around 7 percent.

    However, Trinh said there were still positive signs in Vietnam’s import/export picture in 2016. 

    These include a sharp increase in exports of farm produce and seafood, except rice, while the export of raw natural resources decreased.

    When asked about the impact of Brexit on Vietnam-UK trade, GSO’s head Nguyen Bich Lam said in the EU, the UK is Vietnam’s third biggest export country, after Germany and the Netherlands, which account for 13-15 percent of total export turnover to the EU. 

    In terms of imports, the UK is the fourth largest partner, after Germany, France and Italy, accounting for 7 percent of Vietnam’s import turnover from the EU.

    As such the UK only makes up 3 percent of Vietnam’s export turnover and 0.4 percent of import turnover.

    Thanh Mai, VNN



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  • 01/16/17--02:04: Article 0
  • VCB, ACB mobilised $452 million in bonds last year


    The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (VCB) and the Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) issued a total of $452 million worth of bonds in 2016.


     VCB, ACB mobilised $452 million in bonds last year, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
    Customer and VCB employee during a transaction at VCB office in Ha Noi. Together with ACB, the bank had issued a total of more than $451 million bond worth in 2016 to public investors.


    The 2016 year-end reports revealed that while VCB issued VND8 trillion (US$360 million) worth of bonds, ACB issued VND2.05 trillion ($92.6 million) worth of bonds, lower than its target of VND2.5 trillion.

    VCB issued public bonds worth VND2 trillion in 2016 with a 10-year maturity date and a total yield consisting of the benchmark yield plus a 1 per cent annual rate. The bank issued bonds from October 26 to November 25, 2016. The State Bank of Viet Nam had given VCB the nod to issue bonds using domestic currency at a face value of $360 million.

    ACB issued VND1.05 trillion worth of bonds from November to December 2016. Its initial plan was to issue bonds worth VND1.5 trillion to add to its second-rate capital and ultimately increase its mid- and long-term capital rates.

    While ACB did not achieve its goal, it has successfully mobilised a long-term source of capital of up to 10 years. In the first five years, ACB will give an interest rate equal to the benchmark rate plus 2 per cent per annum, which will increase to 2.5 per cent in the next five years.

    VCB’s report at the year-end business conference for 2016 and its 2017 implementation plans show that the bank has issued VND8 trillion worth of bonds to the public and other financial institutions, including VND6 trillion worth of additional premium bonds.

    On June 30, 2016, ACB had reported having mobilised VND1 trillion worth of bonds with a five-year maturity period. It initially registered a public offering but its bonds were offered to only 34 investors, seven of whom bought 85.75 per cent of the total issued bonds. The yield for the first period will be 8.5 per cent per annum, with a floating rate equal to the benchmark rate plus 2 per cent for the following period.

    In 2016, issuing shares to attract capital did not prove to be a great success for commercial banks in Viet Nam, but the capital flow was strong owing to bonds issuance.

    VNS


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  • 01/16/17--02:30: Article 0
  • Year-end parties turn nightmare for Ho Chi Minh City residents


    Noise pollution has become an alarming issue in several neighborhoods in Ho Chi Minh City as many families and organizations have begun to organize year-end parties, with loudspeakers and karaoke machines operating at their maximum capacity.

    A caricature describing the noise pollution from year-end parties in a neighborhood in Ho Chi Minh. City. Tuoi Tre

    Festive activities to celebrate the end of the lunar year has seemed to be taken up a notch in the southern hub with modern and high-capacity loudspeakers and karaoke sets, alongside the usual endless partying and drinking.

    Many residents have been powerless against such activities, having no other choice than to put up with the noise during their daily routine.

    P., residing at an apartment building in District 5, said that she has to ‘suffer’ the annoyance at this time of each year.

    She recalled an incident on Thursday last week, when a party was thrown in the yard of the complex, overwhelming the entire neighborhood with music from four large loudspeakers.

    P. had to call for help from local officers, who did not seem to be helpful as the noise started again when they left the place.

    During the second report, the local police unit confirmed they could not take any action to stop the noise.

    “It’s a once in a year occasion. Just let them enjoy the party,” P. quoted the officers as saying.

    At several other households in the apartment building, young children and sick elderly people also had to endure the torment.

    The end of the year is the time when merchants at the Ho Thi Ky flower market in District 10 to celebrate, little did they know that their joy could be painful for some others.

    Loan, who lives about 20 meters from the market, stated that about 10 tables and two sets of loudspeakers were placed outdoors for the celebration on Friday night.

    “I had to take my children and old mother elsewhere to escape the agony. Many nearby residents were also forced to evacuate the place until the party was over,” Loan recalled.

    Meanwhile, T.K.H., a 62-year-old resident in Tan Phu District, is often thrown into misery during Tet or other holidays.

    H.’s neighbors recently bought a new set of karaoke machines for their year-end party that began at 11:00 am.

    The man is living with his wife and 90-year-old mother, who could not seem to bear the noise even when all doors and windows were closed.

    “I asked them to turn down the volume for the sake of my mother’s health and was threatened by a group of drunk men,” he said.

    N.V.M. in Binh Tan District reported a similar case, as she was yelled at by the party-goers from a nearby house.

    “They all reeked of alcohol, saying that I was being inconsiderate and threatening to pull down my house,” M. recounted.

    TUOI TRE NEWS


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  • 01/17/17--01:55: Article 4
  • Foreign investment flows into solar energy


    Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Chinese and Taiwanese solar panel makers who want to make use of tax advantages to export to the US and Europe, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.


     Foreign investment flows into solar energy, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news

    Recently, Chinese companies GCL-SI and Trina Solar signed contracts with Vietnam-based Vina Solar Technology Co., Ltd on solar cell manufacturing at Vietnamese plants.

    The GCL-SI company announced plans to invest 32 million USD in the partnership with Vina Solar.

    President of GCL-SI Shu Hua said the investment brings production cost advantages for the company and helps it arrange the supply chain.

    This move also increases competitiveness and allows the firm to make inroads into the US and European markets since both apply trade barriers against solar panels made in China and China’s Taiwan, according to a report of GCL-SI.

    With investment of 100 million USD, Trina Solar has completed the construction of a solar cell manufacturing project with annual capacity of 800MW in the northern province of Bac Giang.

    According to the deal, Vina Solar will supply and assemble PV modules for Trina Solar.

    President and CEO of Trina Solar Jifan Gao said the factory is a result of his company’s global strategy following its cell factories in Malaysia and Thailand.

    The cooperation will bring mutual benefits and cutting-edge solar technology for Vietnam and create about 1,000 local jobs, he added.

    Last November, China’s JA Solar Group launched a one-billion-USD project to build a solar cell manufacturing plant at Quang Chau industrial park in Bac Giang.

    The province has become a solar cell manufacturing centre in Vietnam with eight licensed projects capitalized at 635 million USD, which have total capacity of 5,200 MW a year.

    Global demand for solar panels is forecast to gradually increase, while installation and production costs will continue falling, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

    This is why the solar cell industry in Vietnam is warming up after the failure of several projects in the past, including the 300-million-USD project of Global Sphere in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and IC Energy’s 390-million-USD investment in the central province of Quang Nam.

    VNA


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  • 01/17/17--02:04: Article 3
  • Foreign investment flows into solar energy


    Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Chinese and Taiwanese solar panel makers who want to make use of tax advantages to export to the US and Europe, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.


     Foreign investment flows into solar energy, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news

    Recently, Chinese companies GCL-SI and Trina Solar signed contracts with Vietnam-based Vina Solar Technology Co., Ltd on solar cell manufacturing at Vietnamese plants.

    The GCL-SI company announced plans to invest 32 million USD in the partnership with Vina Solar.

    President of GCL-SI Shu Hua said the investment brings production cost advantages for the company and helps it arrange the supply chain.

    This move also increases competitiveness and allows the firm to make inroads into the US and European markets since both apply trade barriers against solar panels made in China and China’s Taiwan, according to a report of GCL-SI.

    With investment of 100 million USD, Trina Solar has completed the construction of a solar cell manufacturing project with annual capacity of 800MW in the northern province of Bac Giang.

    According to the deal, Vina Solar will supply and assemble PV modules for Trina Solar.

    President and CEO of Trina Solar Jifan Gao said the factory is a result of his company’s global strategy following its cell factories in Malaysia and Thailand.

    The cooperation will bring mutual benefits and cutting-edge solar technology for Vietnam and create about 1,000 local jobs, he added.

    Last November, China’s JA Solar Group launched a one-billion-USD project to build a solar cell manufacturing plant at Quang Chau industrial park in Bac Giang.

    The province has become a solar cell manufacturing centre in Vietnam with eight licensed projects capitalized at 635 million USD, which have total capacity of 5,200 MW a year.

    Global demand for solar panels is forecast to gradually increase, while installation and production costs will continue falling, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

    This is why the solar cell industry in Vietnam is warming up after the failure of several projects in the past, including the 300-million-USD project of Global Sphere in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and IC Energy’s 390-million-USD investment in the central province of Quang Nam.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 01/17/17--02:26: Article 2
  • Ministry proposes tax hike on petroleum


    The Ministry of Finance has proposed, in a draft law, to almost triple the environmental protection tax on oil and gas consumption from the current VNĐ3,000 (US$0.13) to VNĐ8,000 per litre.

     

    The Ministry of Finance has proposed a hike of environmental protection tax of up to VNĐ8,000 per litre. - Photo xangdau.net


    The draft will be submitted for approval to the Government in June and the National Assembly in October.

    The new draft law also added E5 bio-fuel and E10 ethanol blend fuel to include in the environmental protection taxes of VNĐ2,700-7,200 and VNĐ2,500-6.800 per litre, respectively, though the products are considered cleaner and environmentally friendly than others.

    In addition, the tax on aviation fuel was suggested to be increased from the current VNĐ1,000-3,000 to VNĐ3,000-6,000 per litre.

    The tax on diesel fuel is expected to increase from the current VNĐ500-2,000 to VNĐ1,500-4,000 per litre, while that of mazut would also go up to VNĐ900-4,000 from VNĐ300-2,000 per kilo.

    Plastic bags are also expected to see higher environmental taxes, rising from VNĐ30,000-50,000 to VNĐ40,000-80,000 per kilo, if the draft is approved.

    Earlier, Minister of Finance Đỗ Hoàng Anh Tuấn acknowledged that the sector would continue promoting the collection of environmental protection taxes. This year, the ministry would expand categories to be taxed.

    Tuấn said if the current environmental protection tax on petroleum was increased over the ceiling level, the value of collections would be 10 to 20 times higher than the direct collection from non-agricultural land use.

    The ministry said the increased tax on some natural resources, and environmental protection on petroleum, had contributed to the domestic collection, thus easing difficulties for the State budget.

    Experts believed that the proposed increase in the environmental protection tax would also raise gasoline costs in the country.

    Võ Trí Thành, deputy head of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said the Government should review the application of both special consumption taxes and environmental protection taxes, since the special consumption tax includes environmental fees.

    Meanwhile, economist Nguyễn Minh Phong said a hike in the environmental protection tax had been a method for increasing the State budget through petroleum prices. However, whether the tax was spent on environmental protection should be clarified, as there has been no specific report on the issue.

    “The necessary issue is how to use the collection effectively, transparently and following the current laws,” Phong added.

    In 2014, a similar hike was imposed, raising taxes from VNĐ1,000 to VNĐ3,000, which the ministry referred to as a good way to stabilise the national budget.

    According to the current law on environmental protection taxes issued in 2012, products such as oil, gas, grease, coal, and plastic bags are subject to these types of tariffs.

    Statistics from the ministry also indicated that the environmental protection tax contributed from 1.5 to 4.1 per cent of the annual revenue of the national budget.

     VNS 


    0 0
  • 01/17/17--02:41: Article 1
  • New compensation regulations issued

     
    Farmers in the Mekong Delta struggled to grow rice during the dry season in 2016. (Photo:VNA)


     Hanoi  - Aquaculture farmers directly affected by natural disasters and epidemics will receive compensation worth up to 60 million VND (2,600 USD) per hectare, according to Decree No 2 issued by the Government last week.

    The decree, to take effect from February 25, will regulate compensation forms and levels to help farmers recover production after being affected by natural disasters and epidemics, in accordance with Article 3 of the Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.  

    Vietnam is an agricultural country with 23 million farmers, more than the total number of farmers in 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership partner countries, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.

    Natural disasters that occurred in the country during the first half of 2016 damaged hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice and vegetables, killing tens of thousands of cattle and poultry and incurring financial losses of some 16.9 billion VND (749 million USD).

    Support for agriculture and forestry losses are set at 30 million VND (1,300 USD) per hectare and 20 million VND (881 USD) per hectare respectively, according to the decree.

    For salt production, each hectare of salt field that is damaged by more than 70 percent will receive support of 1.5 million VND (66 USD); each hectare of salt field that is damaged between 30-70 percent will get support of 1 million VND (44 USD).

    The State will provide farmers with financial aid to purchase chemicals to destroy cattle and poultry that either suffer from disease or are being raised in areas affected by disease.

    In-kind supports are also available; however, each household will only benefit from one compensation policy that is most suitable to their conditions.

    Farmers will only receive compensation if their production activities are in accordance with the production plans and instructions of local authorities, and they have implemented all measures to prevent and respond to natural disasters and epidemics under the guidance and direction of specialised agencies and the authorities.

    Farmers must have either initial registrations for concentrated breeding and aquaculture that are certified by the communal People’s Committees, or quarantine certificates, to receive the compensation.

    Damage will only be approved for compensation if they occurred at the same time as natural disasters, as certified by local steering committees for natural disaster prevention and control, or in the period between the announcement of an epidemic’s start date and end date.-VNA

    0 0
  • 01/17/17--02:46: Article 0
  • Vietnam manufacturing starts 2017 firing on all cylinders

    The manufacturing sector starts the new year amid a surge in new orders with the Industrial Production Index having increased 8.30% in December, 2016 over the same month in 2015, reports the General Statistics Office.


    vietnam manufacturing starts 2017 firing on all cylinders hinh 0

    The economy is starting the year on a high note with the manufacturing sector showing signs of faster growth, says the GSO.

    The gain is within economists’ expectations for the index that has averaged 9.09% from 2009 until 2016. The fact that the end of the year figure is slightly below the average simply reflects that low energy prices are weighing the index down.

    The index, says the GSO, shows that the country’s manufacturing sector remains solid.

    It is also in alignment with the Purchasing Managers Index, which indicates the sector ended calendar year 2016 firing on all cylinders on the back of a surge in new orders, output and employment.

    The PMI – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – posted 52.4 in December, down from November’s reading of 54.0 but still signalling a sturdy monthly improvement in the health of the manufacturing sector.

    In addition, the PMI shows that manufacturing is on a roll with operating conditions having strengthened for 13 consecutive months.

    According to surveyors compiling the PMI, manufacturing respondents in Vietnam say higher new orders in the latter months of 2016 is the main factor leading to production growth in December.

    In fact, new manufacturing export orders in December rose at the fastest pace in the PMI survey’s nearly 5-year history and were equal with the first month of data collection in March 2011.

    Although higher new orders put pressure on capacity of some manufacturers, a slight slowdown in the rate of expansion enables firms to keep on top of and better manage their workloads.

    Another upbeat sign for the manufacturing sector in Vietnam on the cusp of the new year 2017— overall backlogs of work have decreased for the first time in three months.

    In addition, manufacturers report they are continuing to boost staffing levels throughout the Southeast Asian country for December, the ninth consecutive month in a row they have done so.

    They also report that requests for faster deliveries of purchased items were met by those in the supply chain in December as lead times shortened for the fourth month running, helping to keep inventory levels on track and at their peak.

    VOV


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--01:54: Article 4
  • JICA upbeat over Vietnam prospects

    Vietnam saw its economy rebound in 2016, leaving a brighter outlook for 2017. Yamamoto Kenichi, deputy chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) Vietnam Office, spoke with VIR’s Thanh Tung about his office’s expectations for the local economy in the time to come.

     
    Yamamoto Kenichi

    What is JICA’s expectation for Vietnam’s economic prospects for 2017?

    Before talking about the prospect, let me recall some significant challenges and achievements of Vietnam in 2016 as I believe they will pave the way for performance in 2017. In the first half of 2016, the economy experienced negative growth in the agriculture sector, due to severe drought and salinity intrusion.

    But the sector performance gradually improved in the later half. This suggests its potential to further contribute to Vietnam’s economic growth, if agriculture restructuring is properly implemented.

    In the context of sluggish global trade, Vietnam  achieved an 8.6 per cent growth rate in export value in 2016. The actual economic growth rate in 2016 was 6.21 per cent, lower than the National Assembly’s targeted 6.7 per cent and the government’s expectation of 6.3-6.5 per cent. However, given the difficulties and challenges mentioned above, it is highly appreciated.

    I believe in a brighter picture for the economy next year, with a higher economic growth rate.

    What challenges do you see waiting for Vietnam in 2017?

    Many challenges remain for Vietnam to weather. For example, I have not seen significant actions in the progress for non-performing loan resolution and state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform.

    If these matters are not resolved, they may become obstacles for Vietnam to get back to the high economic growth trajectory experienced in the period before the global financial crisis.

    Given the expected increasing volatilities in the global economy in 2017, only restructuring efforts will help strengthen the economy from its inside to better cope with external headwinds and seize the opportunities for high and sustainable growth.

     
    JICA believes reforms hold the key for Vietnam’s economic future - Photo: Le Toan


    What are your policy recommendations for the government?

    From my point of view, the future holds challenges for the nation to overcome in addition to the advantages it will bring.

    This is especially true in Vietnam’s adaptation to conditions of the ASEAN Economic Community, and of the several free trade agreements coming into force.

    One of the most important policy questions is how to improve the country’s investment and business climate in order to increase investment from domestic private sectors.

    In this context, the Vietnamese government is suggested to carry out policies that promote the investment climate of business through the restructuring of key sectors, including SOEs, the banking system, and logistics systems – in such a case as fully and efficiently utilising the port system around Ho Chi Minh City.

    The international competitiveness of Vietnam could be enhanced more strongly when the government pays more focus to facilitating finance to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are working in supporting industries.

    Also, developing a favourable financial mechanism for farmers and/or agricultural enterprises that have concrete and feasible business plans in the agricultural sector could be very important in helping increase the value of agricultural products. This is considered a key factor for improving the competitiveness of Vietnam’s agriculture in the future.

    VIR


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--02:09: Article 3
  • Vietnamese invest heavily in Australian cattle industry


    Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has unveiled that the first large-scale purchase of an Australian cattle ranch – for beef production – by a Vietnamese company has been made, in the Northern Territory, south of Katherine.

    The purchase of the US$13.6 million cattle ranch by An Vien Pastoral Holding and Agriculture Company is the first far-reaching Vietnamese agricultural investment in the land down under on record, says MLA.

    Per MLA, Pham Nhat Vu, chair of the An Vien Media Group holding company, was listed the official successful bidder of record for the purchase of the 200,000-hectare cattle ranch.

    The deal includes the purchase of 10,000 head of Brahman cattle.

    Commenting, an MLA spokesperson said: When you see high-net-wealth individuals and global corporations making beef investments in Australia, it shows confidence in the Australian beef industry and gives confidence that they believe the consumption of red meat globally is strong.

    vietnamese invest heavily in australian cattle industry hinh 0

    Though An Vien did not initially respond to requests for comments on the deal by GlobalMeatNews, says MLA, it is widely speculated the impetus for the investment is that it is much easier for Vietnamese to invest in big ranches in Australia than procure the large amounts of land needed in the Southeast Asian country.

    It is a very complicated undertaking in Vietnam to get even a 100-hectare size plot of land, which is the bare minimum necessary to operate a large-scale ranching operation, says a local Vietnamese rancher.

    For comparison purposes, there are many cattle operations in Australia that cover thousands of hectares each, he says, adding that the move makes good strategic business sense.

    Even though Australian taxes are much higher compared to those in Vietnam, weather and market conditions are more favourable and even a comparatively small US$4 million investment could provide a solid rate of return.

    While Vietnam is better known for receiving foreign direct investment rather than providing it, in recent years, forward thinking Vietnamese companies have been looking to invest in numerous countries— from Laos to Russia, and Australia.

    A spokesperson for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) disclosed that in 2015, Vietnamese outward foreign direct investment into Australia was US$348 million, while Australian investment into Vietnam was an estimated US$1 billion.

    Vietnamese also are acquiring a growing taste for beef, and the An Vien Pastoral Holding and Agriculture Company might be targeting exports back to their home market.

    An Austrade spokesperson said there had been an exponential growth in the number of cattle exported by Australia to Vietnam over recent years, with a peak in 2015 of 360,000 head.

    He forecasts that 200,000-live head of cattle would be imported into Vietnam from Australia in calendar year 2017, in part fuelled by the lack of import tariffs from Australia to Vietnam.

    In addition, the Austrade spokesperson noted that the Vietnam government considers live cattle as a useful input that can have added value within Vietnam through slaughtering and processing.

    Beef consumption per capita per year in Vietnam, according to official sources, currently stands at 2.5 kilograms in a nation of an estimated 95 million people, which is expected to grow in coming years.

    VOV


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--02:16: Article 2
  •  10 most outstanding M&A deals in 2016


    The biggest M&A deals in 2016 were the following:

    1. SCIC sold 78.4 million Vinamilk shares, or 5.4 percent of Vinamilk’s charter capital, to F&N Bev Manufacturing in a deal worth VND11.3 trillion ($500 million).


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    SCIC offered to sell 130.6 million Vinamilk shares, or 9 percent of stakes of the nation’s largest dairy producer. Only two foreign institutions, F&N Dairy Investment and F&N Bev Manufacturing, registered to buy the shares and only 5.4 percent of stakes were sold.

    After the transaction, F&N raised its ownership ratio in Vinamilk to 16.5 percent.

    2. MobiFone spent VND9 trillion to buy 95 percent of AVG in a deal worth VND9 trillion ($400 million) in January. The deal is part of the telecom giant’s plant to develop television services, one of its four strategic business fields (mobile services, retail, multimedia and TV).

    3. Big C changed hands after a $1.1 billion deal. The seller, French Casino transferred its stakes in Big C to Thai Central Group in a plan on financial restructuring. 


    Central Group obtained Big C after defeating the other big candidates, namely South Korean Lotte, Thai TCC Holding, Hong Kong’s Dairy Farm, Vietnamese Massan and Saigon Co-op.

    Central Group obtained Big C after defeating the other big candidates, namely South Korean Lotte, Thai TCC Holding, Hong Kong’s Dairy Farm, Vietnamese Massan and Saigon Co-op.

    4. A complicated affair was made by Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group in February-April.

    In February, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agrico (HNG) announced it issued 59 million shares to two strategic shareholders. With the price of VND28,000 per share, HNG collected VND1.652 trillion. The buyers were An Thinh Rubber and Cuong Thinh Rubber.

    Ten days later, HNG spent VND1.65 trillion, the amount of money it got from the share issuance, to buy Indochina Rubber from Cuong Thinh and An Thinh.

    5. Metro Vietnam was transferred to Thai TCC Holdings which accepted to pay $879 million. With the deal, TCC has taken over all Metro Vietnam’s branches and material facilities, including 19 distribution centers and real estate.


    6. Keangnam Landmark 72, the tallest twin tower in Vietnam, has a new owner. Mirae Asset Securities and AON BGN have bought the tower at $350 million.

    7. ANA Holdings bought 107,668,938 stakes of Vietnam Airlines, or 8.771 percent of chartered capital of the nation’s flag air carrier in a deal worth $109 million. The share price was equal to the IPO price in November 2014, at VND22,307 per share.


    8. About 11 million Vissan shares were transferred to Anco at the price of $64 million.

    Three investors registered to attend the share auction, including CJ Group, a big player from South Korea.

    9. Duc Viet, the sausage manufacturer, sold 99.99 percent of stakes to Daesang Corp, valued at $32 million.

    10.Quoc Cuong Gia Lai took over a shopping mall in Da Nang initially developed by Hoang Anh Gia Lai. The value of the deal was $40 million.


    M.Ha, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--02:19: Article 1
  • Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City among world's most dynamic cities


     

    Saigon by night. 

    Tuoi Tre

    Two of Vietnam’s biggest cities have made it to the list of the top ten most dynamic cities around the globe, the World Economic Forum announced on Wednesday.

    Ho Chi Minh City secured the second spot, whereas Hanoi came eighth in the list topped by Bangalore, India’s tech hub, the WEF said on its website, citing the 2017 City Momentum Index (CMI).

    According to CMI, compiled by investment management company JLL, a city’s capacity to embrace rapid change determines its ability to compete in the world.

    “The overriding factors that characterize the world’s most dynamic cities are technology and innovation — and cities that best absorb, adapt and leverage these drivers come out on top,” the WEF said.

    Both of the Vietnamese representatives in the top ten are considered “high potential” cities, those that “continue to attract capital from foreign investors betting on their transition from low-wage manufacturing to high-value activities,” according to the WEF report.

    Bangalore took the number one spot, with India having snatched the lead from China as home to some of the world’s fastest-changing cities, taking six of the top 30, compared with China’s five.

     
    The index examines 42 variables in each of the 134 cities or metropolitan areas. Those factors can be grouped into three areas: two that reflect strengths for short-term changes and one used to determine longer-term economic sustainability.

    The first set of factors, which accounts for 40 percent of the overall ranking, includes socio-economic factors – GDP, population, air passengers, corporate headquarters and foreign direct investment.

    The second, accounting for 30 percent, focuses on commercial real estate momentum, which encompasses changes related to construction, rents, investment and transparency in the office, retail and hotel sectors.

    The third group includes innovation capacity and technological prowess, access to education and environmental quality. It accounts for 30 percent of the index.

    Although the most dynamic cities are spread throughout the world, more than half of the top 30 in the 2017 ranking are in Asia-Pacific.

     
    The WEF noted in its report that CMI “isn’t a measure of the ‘best’ cities in which to invest.”

    “It is intended to identify change and highlight which cities or metropolitan areas may be best at positioning themselves to compete in today’s ever-changing economic landscape,” the report explained.

    TUOI TRE NEWS


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--04:04: Article 0
  • New e-gaming rules alter the betting scene


    Electronic gaming services in Vietnam, which are accessible to foreigners only, will have to meet more stringent business requirements under a new decree coming into force on February 15.


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    Under Decree No.175/2016/ND-CP, issued on December 30, 2016, amendments were made to some clauses of the previous law-Decree No.86/2016/ND-CP on businesses in prize-winning electronic 

    games for foreigners. With the new legislation, electronic gaming machines (EGM) now have to be 100% new, with technical specifications clarified by the manufacturer, and certified by independent certifying 

    agencies operating in G7 countries.

    The new decree maintains the prohibition on Vietnamese nationals entering gaming facilities, as regulated by Decree 86.

    Five-star or equivalent hotels and resorts are free to open electronic gaming services as long as they are in a separate facility and adhere to specific security requirements. Hospitality businesses with less 

    than five stars will no longer be allowed to operate such services.

    Notably, the legal slot machines installed in such facilities nationwide would need to be modified to offer a payout percentage of 90%. Authorised operators would have to obtain re-certification by the 

    government to prove their slot machines meet the new conditions.

    Prof. Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, investment consultant for Van Don Special Economic Zone and Casino Complex in the northern province of Quang Ninh, said, “Although the new decree tightens conditions on 

    gaming machines, it is a significant step forward in the development of the Vietnamese gaming industry.”

    Vinh said the new decree gives more detailed guidance compared to the last one, the core change being new restrictions on the use of EGMs, including a requirement that all EGMs, including a requirement 

    that all EGMs offer a payout percentage of at least 90%. This rate is not specified in the last decree which made huge profits for investors.

    Also, according to the Ministry of Finance, the new guidelines are much needed, as the old policy is archaic and not comprehensive enough to manage such a complex business.

    The change forced Hong Kong-listed Success Dragon to terminate one of its two deals with two slot clubs in Vietnam for the provision and management of EGMs, following difficulties both clubs encountered 

    when trying to obtain business certificates, according to its website last week.

    In December 2015, the company announced that it had reached deals with the two slot clubs-one located in Le Meridien Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, the other at One Opera Hotel in the central city of Danang-to 

    provide the investment and operational management of the EGMs for the clubs.

    “Both Le Meridien and One Opera have encountered unexpected difficulties in obtaining the requisite business certificates for the operation of an EGM business,” said Carlos Luis Sakas Porras, Success 

    Dragon International Holdings Limited’s chairman and executive director.

    Success Dragon further warned that there had been “a core change of Vietnamese laws in respect to EGM” that contributed to the company’s current problems. It said it is in the process of discussing and 

    negotiating with the Le Meridien slot club for a new cooperative approach.

    “The board considers that the termination has no material adverse impact on the business operation and financial position of the group,” the company stated. It added that further announcements would be 

    made if there were any future developments regarding the deals.

    Electronic gaming services were first allowed in Vietnam in 1992, and since then, many gaming businesses have received licences nationwide.

    VIR


    0 0
  • 01/18/17--23:49: Article 5
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/1


    Satra launches convenience stores in Can Tho


     

    The Saigon Trading Corporation (Satra) launched two convenience stores (Satrafoods) in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho on January 18 with a view of helping local customers to shop safe food.

    The new shops have brought Satra’s Satrafoods stores to 102 nationwide and the corporation plans to open eight more Satrafoods stores in Can Tho alone this year and set up the model in Ben Tre province.

    Satrafoods sells around 2,500 food items, with VietGAP - labeled vegetables and fruits accounting for 70-80 percent. It also sells fruits imported from the Netherlands, France, the Republic of Korea, the US, and New Zealand.

    At the inaugural ceremony, Tran Van Bac, Satra’s Deputy Director General, unveiled a plan to expand the corporation’s retail shops to 172, including 155 Satrafoods stores, two restaurants, and one Satra Bakery & Café.

    The corporation is going to build two trade centres in Cu Chi district and district 6, in Ho Chi Minh City, Bac said.

     Established in 1995, the State-owned corporation made revenues of nearly 55.3 trillion VND and a profit of nearly 11.1 trillion VND in 2016, expanding 12 percent and 26 percent from 2015. It has a staff of nearly 10,000 employees.

    Can Tho currently houses 18 marts and trade centres and over 100 wet markets and convenience stores. The city recorded a total goods retail value of 95.6 trillion VND in 2016, leading other localities in the Mekong delta and ranking third nationwide after Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

    SMEs urged to build brands

    Brand building must be the core of small-and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) competition strategies going into the fourth industrial revolution, experts said at conference in Hanoi on January 16.

    Nguyen Van Nam, Director of the Institute for Brand and Competition Strategy, stressed that the fourth industrial revolution was rapidly changing the ways of doing business and significantly affecting SME operations.

    However, most SMEs were reportedly using outdated technologies, Nam said, citing statistics showing that only 10 percent of SMEs have applied modern technologies.

    “Updating SME’s approaches is essential to their competitiveness,” Nam said.

    According to Nguyen Quoc Thinh, National Branding Programme consultant, SMEs should not aim at competing by price but by brand. “When asked, roughly 90 percent of firms said that improving competitiveness could be achieved through lowering prices and enhancing quality. However, SMEs should note that creating market demand should be the target.”

    Economic expert Vo Tri Thanh urged SMEs to link with each others to develop the value chain. “This will be an efficient solution for SMEs to develop their brands.”

    “Applying technology in production is also vital, which will create pressure on firms to use resources efficiently and create high-added value products,” Thanh said.

    Le Van Anh, Director of the Centre of Law Consultancy and Human Resource Development, said that only 21 percent of Vietnamese SMEs managed to participate in the global value chain, compared to 30 percent in Thailand and 46 percent in Malaysia. Vietnamese SMEs are mainly services firms with a mere 20 percent operating in manufacturing. About 85 percent of them have revenue below 2 billion VND (88,800 USD) per year.

    From a different angle, Nguyen Van Toan, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, said that SMEs’ credit access must be improved.

    Toan said capital had been among the biggest difficulties for SMEs; they struggled to get credit due to a shortage of mortgaged assets and an ineligibility for trust-based loans.

    He said that the Government should raise policies to promote venture capital to create resources for start-ups.

    Do Thuy Duong, Director of TalentPool, an SME operating in capacity training, said that the dynamics of SMEs were of significant important in competition. “SMEs, themselves, must be active. Competition is for development, not inhibition.”

    A survey by the Association of SMEs revealed that SMEs accounted for 98 percent of the total number of firms in Vietnam. Just 2.2 percent of the firms were of medium size, while the rest were of small and super small sizes.

    However, SMEs provided jobs for 51 percent of the country’s workforce and contributed to 40 percent of the gross domestic product.

    The Government is drafting a law on supporting SMEs which is expected to give them a boost. The private sector is recognised as a main driver for Vietnamese growth.-VNA

    Southeastern region leads in foreign attraction

    The southeastern region remains the most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam.

    According to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the region had three out of the five localities nationwide drawing the most foreign investment in 2016.

    Ho Chi Minh City led with 836 newly-licensed projects, 222 existing ones with capital adjustment, and 1,935 others with foreign investors’ stakes.

    Total newly-registered and increased capital was estimated at 3.42 billion USD in 2016, accounting for 14 percent of the country’s total foreign investment.

    As a dynamic trade centre, HCM City lured FDI in various fields including real estate, wholesales, information and communication, food and beverage services.

    The municipal statistics office said HCM City has 6,000 projects with total registered capital of 40.6 billion USD.

    Meanwhile, Binh Duong and Dong Nai came fourth and fifth with respective total newly-registered and increased capital of 2.36 billion USD and 2.23 billion USD.

    Other southeastern localities such as Long An, Binh Phuoc, and Binh Thuan were also attractive to foreign investors.

    During its development, the southeastern region has proven strong in manufacturing.

    Compared to other cities and provinces nationwide, southeastern localities boast advantages in geography, climate and transport infrastructure, which aid the development of manufacturing models and services.

    The southern province of Dong Nai is one example. According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, at the end of 2016, Dong Nai attracted 1,664 projects worth 30.3 billion USD. 

    It has 1,253 valid projects capitalised at 25.7 billion USD.

    The locality is prioritising projects using high technology and skilled workers as well as the support industry and environmentally-friendly projects.

    Meanwhile, Binh Duong counts 2,827 projects with total capital of 25.7 billion USD, making up 13 percent and 8.5 percent of the country’s total foreign projects and capital respectively.

    The province is home to 28 industrial parks and 10 industrial clusters, the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial, My Phuoc, and Dong An parks.

    HCM City banking sector sets high goals for 2017

    Strong efforts from the HCM City banking industry are needed to complete its mission in 2017, a high-ranking official has said.

    Speaking at a conference held in HCM City on January 17, Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said the “the banking industry for many years has been considered the blood  

    vessel of the economy and one of the most important industries of the city”.

    During the 2011-15 period, the city’s banking industry reached an annual growth of 10.1 percent, ranking second among other sectors in growth.

    “This year, the city aims to collect 348 trillion VND (15.5 billion USD) for the State budget, an increase of 16.6 percent year-on-year, and an increase of 26 percent for city collections,” he added.

    To complete its mission, Phong has told the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and commercial banks to improve supervision and inspection of credit activities for real estate projects and build-operate-transfer  

    (BOT) transport projects; promote the restructuring of the banking industry; and settle bad debts.

    “Increasing network security, ensuring safety for customers’ assets and further mobilising local residents’ savings are the most important tasks for SBV and commercial banks,” Phong said.

    To Duy Lam, Director of SBV’s HCM City branch, said that in 2016, total assets of the banking industry in HCM City increased 14.4 percent to 2.9 quadrillion VND (126 billion USD), with 10.7 million bank  cards, a year-on-year increase of 8.1 percent; and 36,500 POS, or growth of 8.6 percent.

    The local banking sector’s bad debt ratio was 3.6 percent, a reduction of nearly 8 percent compared with 2015.

    “Last year, the monetary market and banking activities in HCM City remained stable, despite many unexpected events in the world’s economy, affecting the Vietnamese economy,” Lam said.

    By the end of 2016, the deposit interest rate was 4.8-5.2 percent for dong under six month terms, 6.6-7 percent for over 12 months, and zero for US dollar loans.

    The short-term lending interest rate for five priority industries was around 7 percent and did not exceed 8.5 percent for other industries. It was 8.7-9.7 percent for medium- and long-term loans.

    The foreign currency exchange rate increased 1.23 percent compared with last year and total remittances were around 5 billion USD.

    “The liquidity of the banking system remained stable and the safe operation index was ensured. Capital usage ratio was 82.9 percent,” Lam added.

    He also said that banking activities in HCM City achieved growth and development, in which outstanding loans increased 19.3 percent, the highest growth in recent years.

    “Banking services developed well and business results of financial institutions improved,” he added.

    Retail banking services and electronic banking like mobile and internet banking achieved high growth of more than 50 percent compared with 2015.

    “Activities that helped solve difficulties for the business community were executed well, with total outstanding loans of 770 trillion VND (35 billion USD), an increase of 10 percent over 2015, in which 145 trillion VND was borrowed at preferential interest rates,” Lam added.

    The Banking – Enterprises Connectivity programme allowed nearly 22,000 customers to borrow 281 trillion VND.

    Lam also warned that financial institutions in HCM City must be aware of potential risks, especially bad debt and slow restructuring, which could affect the sustainable and stable development of the banking system.

    “Technological risks also need more attention,” he said.

    This year, the banking industry in HCM City has set a goal of reaching 18 percent credit growth, 16 percent growth of capital mobilization, and bad debt under 3 percent.

    “The banking sector will continue to implement the credit programmes of the Government, SBV and the city,” Lâm added.

    SBV Governor Le Minh Hung said that SBV “would pay attention to bank restructuring and settling of bad debts in 2017”.

    Last year, SBV restructured five “special” banks and ensured safe operation of the entire system.

    “We have reviewed the last five-year period of restructuring and settling bad debts and will release the next five-year plan soon,” he said.

    In addition, SBV will work with agencies to map out a special law on supporting the banking sector in restructuring and resolving bad debts, which will include legal regulations.

    Obstacles in existing legal regulations will also be addressed under the new law to remove hindrances in resolving bad debts.

    The SBV has set a goal to gain credit increase of 16 percent for a growth of 16-18 percent in total payments, and will try to cut medium- and long-term interest rates, as well as stabilise the foreign currency exchange rate.

    Vietnam manufacturing starts 2017 firing on all cylinders

    The manufacturing sector starts the new year amid a surge in new orders with the Industrial Production Index having increased 8.30% in December, 2016 over the same month in 2015, reports the General Statistics Office.

    vietnam manufacturing starts 2017 firing on all cylinders hinh 0 The economy is starting the year on a high note with the manufacturing sector showing signs of faster growth, says the GSO. 

    The gain is within economists’ expectations for the index that has averaged 9.09% from 2009 until 2016. The fact that the end of the year figure is slightly below the average simply reflects that low energy prices are weighing the index down.

    The index, says the GSO, shows that the country’s manufacturing sector remains solid.

    It is also in alignment with the Purchasing Managers Index, which indicates the sector ended calendar year 2016 firing on all cylinders on the back of a surge in new orders, output and employment.

    The PMI – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – posted 52.4 in December, down from November’s reading of 54.0 but still signalling a sturdy monthly improvement in the health of the manufacturing sector.

    In addition, the PMI shows that manufacturing is on a roll with operating conditions having strengthened for 13 consecutive months.

    According to surveyors compiling the PMI, manufacturing respondents in Vietnam say higher new orders in the latter months of 2016 is the main factor leading to production growth in December.

    In fact, new manufacturing export orders in December rose at the fastest pace in the PMI survey’s nearly 5-year history and were equal with the first month of data collection in March 2011.

    Although higher new orders put pressure on capacity of some manufacturers, a slight slowdown in the rate of expansion enables firms to keep on top of and better manage their workloads.

    Another upbeat sign for the manufacturing sector in Vietnam on the cusp of the new year 2017— overall backlogs of work have decreased for the first time in three months.

    In addition, manufacturers report they are continuing to boost staffing levels throughout the Southeast Asian country for December, the ninth consecutive month in a row they have done so.

    They also report that requests for faster deliveries of purchased items were met by those in the supply chain in December as lead times shortened for the fourth month running, helping to keep inventory levels on track and at their peak.

    France’s Alstom wins first metro system contract in Vietnam

    A consortium led by French rail transport equipment provider Alstom signed on January 17 a contract with a Hanoi transport agency to supply technology and equipment for a metro line in the Vietnamese capital.

    france’s alstom wins first metro system contract in vietnam hinh 0 In its first-ever integrated metro system contract in Vietnam, Alstom, as the leader of a consortium with Colas Rail and Thales, will provide a metro system for the Hanoi Metro Line 3, so that it can start commercial operation in 2021.

    Alstom’s share of the contract is worth around €190 million (US$230.22 million), the French company said in a press release the same day.

    The 12.5km Hanoi Metro Line 3 is the second metro line under construction in the capital city.

    As part of this contract, 12 stations and one depot at Nhon for train maintenance will be built, according to Alstom.

    Once operational, the line is expected to carry 8,600 people per hour and per direction (PPHPD). This capacity will be progressively increased within ten years after its operation commencement.

    Alstom will supply and integrate the metro system which is composed of 10 Metropolis trainsets, Urbalis 400, Alstom’s CBTC  solution which controls train movement, enabling them to run at higher frequencies and speeds in total safety, as well as the power supply and depot equipment together with Colas Rail.

    “In the context of the France-Vietnam collaboration, we are delighted to sign this contract which aims to improve Hanoi’s transportation system and reduce the growing traffic in the city,” said Jean-François Beaudoin, senior vice president with Alstom Asia Pacific.

    “With its advanced and sustainable technology and 16 years’ expertise in metro integrated solutions, Alstom is the preferred partner to provide Vietnam with a greener and smarter transportation system.”

    The project will involve six Alstom sites in France, Valenciennes, Saint-Ouen, Le Creusot, Tarbes, Ornan and Villeurbanne.

    Alstom, which is the world’s leader in the supply of integrated urban mobility systems, has been awarded 18 integrated metro projects in over a decade in cities such as Singapore (Circle Line), Guadalajara (Mexico), Dubai (UAE), Riyadh (KSA), Los Teques (Venezuela), and Panama (Metro Line 1&2).

    State bank adjusts reference exchange rate down by 4 VND

    The State Bank of Vietnam set the reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,164 VND per USD on January 18, down 4 VND from the day before.

    With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,830 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,499 VND per USD. 

    In the opening hour, BIDV and Vietinbank listed the buying rate at 22,535 VND per USD, and the selling rate at 22,605 VND per USD. 

    In Eximbank, the buying rate was 22,510 VND per USD and the selling rate was 22,610 VND per USD, unchanged from January 17.

    Meanwhile, Vietcombank bought one USD for 22,535 VND, and sold one USD for 22,605 VND, up 5 VND from the previous day.

    THACO, RoK firm partner to manufacture agricultural machines

    The Truong Hai Automobiles Joint Stock Company (THACO) will partner with the LS Mtron Corporation from the Republic of Korea to manufacture and distribute agricultural machines on the Vietnamese market.

    Under the terms of a deal signed in the central province of Quang Nam on January 17, LS Mtron will transfer its technology to THACO to manufacture agricultural machines with the localisation rate of 50 percent and THACO trademark for exclusive distribution in Vietnam from October 2017.

    In the second stage, the joint venture will expand production to export its agricultural machines to foreign markets. 

    The move is in line with THACO’s development strategy to turn itself into a multi-sector group, with a focus on mechanical engineering and automobile industries.

    Ja Eun-koo, Vice President of LS Mtron Corporation, said the company began manufacturing agricultural machinery in 1977. Its tractors with LS trademark currently account for the largest share in the RoK and are being produced in China and Brazil. 

    LS Mtron has exported tractors to more than 40 countries and territories worldwide, including 12,000 machines to North America – the world’s largest agricultural machine market. 

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang said the THACO – LS Mtron cooperation will contribute to industrialisation and modernisation in agriculture, thus helping to improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s agricultural products and living conditions of farmers.

    More long-term Government bonds to be issued in 2017

    Vietnam’s financial sector will issue long-term Government bonds in order to raise 340 trillion VND (over 15 billion USD) for the State budget in 2017.

    Of that targeted sum, 184 trillion VND (8.15 billion USD) will be used to offset budget overspending and the remaining 156 trillion VND (6.91 billion USD) will be spent on paying off original loans.

    The Vietnam State Treasury said it has issued a variety of Government bonds, with terms ranging from 3-30 years, mostly from 5 years upwards to ease the debt payment pressure on the State budget in the near future.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, up to 91.1 percent of Government bonds issued in 2016 has terms of at least five years, surpassing the target of 70 percent set by the National Assembly.

    The average interest rate for Government bonds last year was 6.49 percent per annum, down 54.5 percentage points from 2011.

    In 2016, the State Treasury raised 281.75 trillion VND (12.48 billion USD) from Government bonds, 55 trillion VND (2.43 billion USD) from social insurance. 

    It disbursed 1.9 billion USD from official development assistance (ODA) capital and preferential loans, meeting the estimated budget spending.

    Vietnam fresh dragon fruit gets ‘visa’ to enter Japan

     Japan has agreed to officially import fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam, the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association said on January 17.vietnam fresh dragon fruit gets ‘visa’ to enter japan hinh 0 This is the second Vietnamese fresh fruit licensed by Japan to enter the market after mango.

    Like mango, exported dragon fruit should undergo a hot steam treatment process. Besides, the fruit should be bought from plantation areas having a Code of Practice granted by the Plantation Protection Department.

    The Australian Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources has recently released its final review of bio-security import requirements for Vietnam’s fresh dragon fruits to officially penetrate the market.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed to build brand names for dragon fruit and mango - two key agricultural products of Vietnam as they are produced on a large scale with high consumption value, and food security is ensured.

    Suspicions abound Alma Resort

    Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd., the developer of Alma Resort in the central province of Khanh Hoa and also the first to introduce the “vacation ownership” format in Vietnam, may be cheating customers by incorporating unclear information into contracts.

    The company’s registered address and its actual office where activities are carried out are different.

    According to the company’s website at http://alma.vn/contact-us, the company has two addresses, one in Hanoi (floor 7 and 15 of the Capital building at 109 Tran Hung Dao in Hoan Kiem district) and one in  

    Ho Chi Minh City (floor 29 and 30 of the Lim building at 9-11 Ton Duc Thang street in District 1). 

    These are the two locations where the company holds conferences to introduce the project to potential customers.

    However, on the national business registry database at https://dichvuthongtin.dkkd.gov.vn, there are two companies with the same name registered, namely Alma-Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd, headquartered at Vien Dong Hotel at No. 1 Tran Hung Dao Street in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa, and Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd, based at 22 Hat Giang Street, also in Nha Trang.

    The vacation ownership contracts signed with customers show that the developer of the project is Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd. with the tax number of 4201550314.

    When one looks this number up in the database of the General Department of Taxation, the result is Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd, with one address in Khanh Hoa and one in Dalat—which is totally different from the information on the website Alma.vn.

    Lawyer Tran Duc Phuong from the Ho Chi Minh City Lawyers’ Association said the reason the two offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are not registered may be that Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd. is a foreign-invested company and may not be allowed to provide vacation ownership services in Vietnam as that may violate Vietnam’s WTO commitments.

    He said that government agencies should investigate the discrepancy in order to make sure there is no tax evasion and that the company meets all requirements set out by Vietnam’s WTO commitments regarding services. This would be fair to domestic companies and would ensure that Vietnamese customers have the right to sue in case of a dispute.

    Alma Resort has an area of 30.24 hectares on Cam Ranh Peninsula in Khanh Hoa. It has the total investment of $300 million. Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd. is owned by Israeli businessman Igal Ahouvi. 

    The project received its investment certificate in 2013, but did not start until 2016. 

    For many times customers have raised concerns about the project because of the “strange” clauses in the contracts that they signed with the company, such as disallowing customers to sue and disallowing them to discuss the project with the press.

    Pham Thi Nhu Trang, head of the marketing department of the company, said that because the contracts are not for the sale of real estate, the company does not need to keep customers informed on the progress of the project. The developer promised that the project is going to start operation in 2018 and that customers will be able to exercise the contract and have vacations at the project.

    VEPR: Don’t pursue growth at the cost of stability

    The Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) has said that this year’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 6.7% is high and that authorities should not try to achieve the target at the expense of macro-economic stability.

    In a quarter-four report on macro-economic conditions released on January 16, VEPR attributed a decline in the industrial sector to lower-than-expected GDP growth last year, Dan Tri news site reports.  

    Vietnam’s economy expanded 6.21% in 2016, lower than the Government’s revised target of 6.3-6.5% and the 6.68% growth rate in 2015.

    Although foreign direct investment (FDI) pledges have edged up, the 6.7% growth goal for 2017 set by the Government is ambitious. Therefore, VEPR warned management agencies against striving to obtain the high target and loosening controls on the macro economy. 

    There are signs that inflation would likely increase in the coming time. Therefore, the 2017 inflation target of 4% would be a tough task, VEPR said. Price hikes in the healthcare and education sectors, surging prices of goods during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) and a possible spike in power prices may pile pressure on inflation. 

    If inflation exceeds 5%, nominal interest rates will go up. This will affect production and the financial market, and hinder economic growth.  

    VEPR in the report said the corporate sector, especially the manufacturing-processing segment, is expected to become a highlight of Vietnam’s economy this year. The development of this sector is backed by the Government’s determination to streamline administrative procedures and improve the business climate, which is evident in the issuance of decrees 19 and 35 last year.

    The report also pointed out that ministries and agencies would need time to join hands to implement the two decrees. Market participants and investors are keeping a close eye on how the Government will deliver on its policies. 

    VEPR said controlling State budget spending, especially regular expenditures, is another challenge. Budget collections will only be enough for regular spending, so the Government will have to borrow to fund  

    the deficit and investment projects. This will cause public debt to surge.

    The institute proposed the Government strictly implement the payroll trimming plan, cut regular expenditures and eliminate financial aid for State associations and organizations.

    According to VEPR, the global economic uncertainty will greatly affect the home market. The U.S Federal Reserve’s rate hike in December last year and the possibility of three interest rate increases this year would lead the exchange rate between Vietnam dong and the U.S. dollar to climb. This will affect export and result in a trade deficit in 2017. 

    Besides, banks will have to revise up interest rates to maintain the value of the dong and keep money in the banking system given the greenback’s appreciation.

    Interest rates may edge up, thus impacting the real estate market.

    Oil exporting countries reached an agreement on an output cut in January, which could send oil prices up. Although the oil price spike would cause State budget revenues to increase, higher crude oil and commodity prices could ignite inflationary pressure. Consumer prices have inched up in recent times due to rising public service prices.

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could discourage businesses from setting up shop in Vietnam. Therefore, to maintain growth momentum, the country will have to boost reforms to back local enterprises to expand operations and improve competitiveness.

    SBV boosts money supply via OMO

    The central State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has been pumping money into the system through open market operations (OMO) and credit institutions have absorbed a fairly large volume compared with the past few weeks in preparation for higher demand for the dong during the final days of the lunar year.

    A total of VND21.15 trillion, with a 28-day term and an interest rate of 5% per year, was injected via OMO last Friday. The winning volume was 2-4 times higher than normal.

    For example, credit institutions absorbed only VND8.27 trillion last Monday and nearly VND7 trillion last Wednesday via OMO, whereas the bill channel failed to lure buyers and already fell due last weekend.

    “Bank liquidity is getting tighter as the Lunar New Year is drawing near. And the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) is pumping money into the banking system through OMO,” a money dealer at a bank told the Daily.

    That is the reason why the interbank interest rate went up on the morning of January 16, exceeding the level of 5% for all transactions from overnight to two weeks. However, market liquidity remained stable as an advantage for the whole year.

    The change in the financing cost has affected the bond market, making the primary government market quieter, with a lower ratio of successful bids.

    The U.S. dollar interest rate on the interbank market has slightly increased following a fall in the previous two weekends, standing at 1.15% for overnight, 1.32% for one week, 1.52% for two week, 1.55% for one month and 1.98% for three months.

    Interbank foreign exchange transactions have taken place in a fairly quiet atmosphere in recent sessions. The interbank market has not overcome the inertia generated by the SBV’s hike of the greenback buying price to VND22,575.

    Information on foreign currency inflows continues to help stabilize the exchange rate. On January 16, the central reference rate was put at VND22,161 per U.S. dollar, unchanged from last weekend, with the floor and ceiling at VND21,496 and VND22,826 respectively.

    Banks predict the exchange rate will remain stable at VND22,570-22,575 this week, with the rate on the free market to go down to VND22,720-22,760.

    Banks believe the abundant remittances along with overseas Vietnamese returning home for Tet in droves is the reason why the free market is more awash with foreign currency and the exchange rate may be reduced between now and the holiday.

    Another reason comes from U.S. politics. International financial circles have not overcome the frustration over the so-called “disappointing news conference” of the U.S. president-elect.

    The market has reacted negatively as investors feel uncertain about Donald Trump’s economic policies. Besides, Fed Chair Janet Yellen in a speech focused on the U.S. labor market without mentioning forecasts for near future.

    As always, when the greenback goes down, gold will mark up. The world gold price has been surging sharply in recent trading sessions, picking up 0.65 percentage point early on January 16 Asian time, to US$1,203.36 an ounce.

    Under the pressure from the rise in global markets, domestic gold price inched up VND100,000 per tael for both buying and selling. Currently, the price quoted by SJC is VND36.47 million a tael for buying and VND36.77 million for selling.

    The domestic gold price is now VND3.7 million per tael higher than the world’s. A tael equals 1.2 troy ounces.

    HCMC approves complex project in Saigon Port

    Ngoc Vien Dong Urban Investment & Development Company has got the green light from the HCMC government to develop a residential complex housing a population of up to 13,000 on the premises of Saigon Port overlooking Nha Rong Wharf in District 4 along Nguyen Tat Thanh Street.

    Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi complex, as the project is called, will be a commercial and services center, comprising many high-rise buildings with 3,116 apartments, 32 villas, schools, medical centers, and other infrastructure facilities, said a source of the HCMC Department of Planning and Architecture.

    Under Decision No.6815, the investor has to meet requirements for investment under the prevailing rules, and coordinate with relevant agencies to handle compensation and site clearance.

    In case the city government expands Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, the investor would be responsible for handing over an area of the project site to facilitate the street udgrade.

    The project covering 32.1 hectares with a waterfront length of 1,800 meters would require total investment capital of more than VND11 trillion (some US$487.4 million).

    The company is expected to sell housing units in the project from 2018 and will offer dividends of over 10% per year to shareholders.

    Saigon Port Co Ltd partnered with Vingroup to establish the Ngoc Vien Dong company with a 26% stake to be held by the former.

    Vietnamese voluntary soldiers' contributions praised

    Leaders of Lao Party, State, and National Assembly hailed contributions made by Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts to Laos’s national liberation cause while receiving a delegation of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts, who are on a visit to Laos from January 16-20.

    Major-General Huynh Dac Huong, head of the National Liaison Committee and former Commissar of the High Command of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and military experts in Laos glowingly spoke of the long-standing friendly relations between the two countries.

    He thanked the Lao Party, State and people for supporting Vietnam in the cause of national liberation and reunification, and affirmed the Vietnamese veterans will actively engage in people-to-people exchanges and educate young generations to nurture and develop the bilateral special relationship.

    Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Volachith, National Assembly Chairman Pany Yathotou, and President of the Lao Front for National Construction Central Committee Saysomphone  

    Phomvihane stressed the significance of the visit from January 16-20, as it is the first made by a Vietnamese delegation to Laos in 2017, the year the two countries will host activities to mark the 55th founding anniversary of Vietnam – Laos diplomatic relations (September 5, 1962) and the 40th anniversary of signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (July 18, 1977). 

    Both nations have always stood side by side to fight foreign invaders as well as providing mutual support in their national building and development cause.

    Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts are a noble symbol of the faithful and special relations between the two countries. The Lao Party, State and people always bear in mind their valuable assistance in the cause of national liberation and national defence and building thereafter, the Lao leaders said.

    Arts and crafts show opens in Hanoi

    An arts and crafts show has opened in Hanoi at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts featuring exceptional works in ceramics, decorative fibre, glass, sculpture and mixed-media among others.

    At the event running January 18-23, hailed as one of the more innovative shows in the industry are more than 80 pavilions exhibiting hundreds of works by some of the nation's top artists and artisans.

    The fair is arranged into a wide variety of interesting TET themes and there are a wide variety of cultural festivities, calligraphy demos, art exchanges and song and dance performances to ring in the New Lunar Year.

    Safety of locally produced foods emphasized at TET fair

    As part of a continuing campaign to reinforce the importance to local farmers of producing safe foods, a government sponsored TET food fair has opened in Hanoi at the Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture.

    During the 8-day event running January 18-25, samples of traditional TET foods, such as Moc Chau tea, Dien Bien rice, Ha Long cuttle and Lang Son pork are being offered to highlight the quality control efforts producers have been making over the past year.

    At some 200 pavilions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says the quality of fruit, vegetables and other food items is ‘fully vouched for’.

    Representatives of the Ministry say the purpose of the fair is to convey correct information about the safety of foods to consumers and to reinforce food safety importance to farmers and others in food connected industries.

    At the event, fairgoers will have an opportunity to shop at pavilions that feature items most often use during Tet such as traditional five-fruit trays, offerings to worship Tao Quan (the Kitchen God) along with many time-honoured gifts.

    Vietnam, China celebrate 67 years of diplomatic ties

    Vietnamese and Chinese leaders have exchanged congratulatory messages on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (1950-2017).

    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim  

    Ngan exchanged messages with General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and State President Xi Jinping, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang, and Chairman of the National People’s  

    Congress of China (NPCC) Standing Committee Zhang Dejiang.

    On the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who heads the Vietnam-China Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation, also exchanged congratulatory messages with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who leads the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

    Post accession FDI boom

    With a level created by World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, Vietnam has witnessed a boom in foreign direct investment (FDI) and a stable rise in disbursed amounts of the capital.

    The accession to the WTO in 2007 marked an extremely important milestone for Vietnam’s social and economic development. Memberships in WTO forced Vietnam to make a series of changes to its laws in order to assimilate with international norms.

    Foreign investors rushed to tap the country’s potential as an emerging market, and demand grew significantly, said Phan Huu Thang, former director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s (MPI) Foreign Investment Agency (FIA).

    “At that time, the Investment Law 2005 was revised with three outstanding points: creating fairness in treatment between domestic and foreign investors, empowering localities to grant investment certificates, except for mammoth projects, and diversifying investment models such as build-transfer, build-operate-transfer (BOT), and state stake sales”, Thang recalled.

    “The WTO membership and the revision of this law led to the biggest boom seen in Veitnam’s FDI during 2006-2008. The total newly registered and expanded FDI in Vietnam hit an all-time high of US$71.72 billion in 2008. Many mammoth projects in this period focused on industrial and real estate sectors, including the US$3 billion Vung Tau oil refinery, and the US$3 billion Quang Ngai steel project”.

    Starting in 2007, IT, entertainment services, agricultural, forestry, and fisheries processing, heavy industry, tourism, and industrial park infrastructure were among the most attractive sectors to foreign investors in Vietnam.

    According to Thang, Vietnam’s FDI increased year-on-year and grew at a higher rate in comparison to other nations in the region, including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and even the Philippines in some sectors.

    Despite a slowdown in FDI during 2009-2012 due to the global economic downturn, Vietnam’s FDI has rebounded in recent years.

    Accession to the WTO has also had a positive impact on FDI disbursement, with the rate continuing to grow, a reflection of investors’ growing confidence.

    The total FDI disbursement rose sharply from around US$3 billion in 2005 to over US$4 billion in 2006, and to over US$11.5 billion in 2008. Total disbursement reached a record high in 2016 at US$15.8 billion.

    Thang attributed the improvements in the local business climate to the revision of the Investment Law 2005, and other related laws such as the Land Law and the Law on Science and Technology.

    “After witnessing the post-WTO accession boom, Vietnam’s FDI and disbursement has stabilised in recent years, seeing an average annual rise of 10%-15%”, Thang said.

    “The important thing to note is that the FDI absorption of Vietnam’s economy is around US$10-US$15 billion annually. Thus, the country should pay more attention to selecting qualified projects to license with specific criteria, and also increase post-checks to enhance project efficiency”, Thang added.

    Thang said that Vietnam’s FDI disbursement is likely to rise 15% in 2017. Meanwhile, the total newly registered and expanded FDI sum is expected to rise 10%-15%, from US$24.37 billion last year. Two or three BOT power projects worth around US$2 billion each are major contributors to these projections. They are to be licensed in the first quarter of 2017.

    HCM City makes efforts to ensure warm Tet for all people

    The southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City has been undertaking activities to bring a happy Tet (Lunar New Year) to all people, especially those in disadvantaged circumstances.

    The municipal People’s Committee set aside VND760 billion (almost US$34 million) to present gifts to beneficiaries of governmental policies and other disadvantaged groups.

    Nguyen Thi Thu, Vice Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city increased the total money by 15%, equal to VND100 billion (US$4.5 million), to take care of people in need during the Lunar New Year.

    This year, the city’s Tet gifts range from VND500,000 to VND3 million (US$135). Total funds used to take care of those who rendered services to the country were VND332 billion (US$15 million).

    As many as 51,000 poor households will receive a gift worth VND1.1 million (US$49) each. The city will also give gifts to 49,500 people who are receiving frequent social sponsorships and more than 79,300 people aged 80 upward.

    Households in Can Gio district with disadvantaged circumstances will receive gifts worth VND800,000 each. The city will also offer gifts each worth VND1.4 million to 156,000 public servants.

    By mid January, the HCM City Red Cross gave 444,444 gifts worth VND600,000 each to poor households, families of Agent Orange victims and others.

    Tran Van Tuan, Vice President of the HCM City Red Cross, said the association will hand over houses to poor families in Hoc Mon district before Tet.

    Trieu Le Khanh, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s chapter in HCM City, said the agency has used VND38 billion (US$1.7 million) to help poor and disadvantaged people.

    Vice President of the HCM City Labour Federation Nguyen Van Khai said the federation had prepared 120,000 gift packages for workers.

    Pham Hong Son, Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Committee , said the committee also prepared 8,500 gifts and 11,000 coach tickets for workers and students.

    HCM City makes efforts to ensure warm Tet for all people

    The southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City has been undertaking activities to bring a happy Tet (Lunar New Year) to all people, especially those in disadvantaged circumstances.

    The municipal People’s Committee set aside 760 billion VND (almost 34 million USD) to present gifts to beneficiaries of governmental policies and other disadvantaged groups.

    Nguyen Thi Thu, Vice Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city increased the total money by 15 percent, equal to 100 billion VND (4.5 million USD), to take care of people in need during the Lunar New Year.

    This year, the city’s Tet gifts range from 500,000 VND to 3 million VND (135 USD). Total funds used to take care of those who rendered services to the country were 332 billion VND (15 million USD).

    As many as 51,000 poor households will receive a gift worth 1.1 million VND (49 USD) each. The city will also give gifts to 49,500 people who are receiving frequent social sponsorships and more than 79,300 people aged 80 upward.

    Households in Can Gio district with disadvantaged circumstances will receive gifts worth 800,000 VND each. The city will also offer gifts each worth 1.4 million VND to 156,000 public servants.

    By mid January, the HCM City Red Cross gave 444,444 gifts worth 600,000 VND each to poor households, families of Agent Orange victims and others.

    Tran Van Tuan, Vice President of the HCM City Red Cross, said the association will hand over houses to poor families in Hoc Mon district before Tet.

    Trieu Le Khanh, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s chapter in HCM City, said the agency has used 38 billion VND (1.7 million USD) to help poor and disadvantaged people.

    Vice President of the HCM City Labour Federation Nguyen Van Khai said the federation had prepared 120,000 gift packages for workers.

    Pham Hong Son, Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Committee , said the committe also prepared 8,500 gifts and 11,000 coach tickets for workers and students.Hà Nội to install barriers on BRT roads

    Physical barriers will be installed on Hà Nội’s roads on a pilot basis to make the bus rapid transit (BRT) system more effective.

    The plan, which has got a nod from the city People’s Committee, is expected to be implemented before Lunar New Year (January 26).

    As of now, the dedicated BRT lanes are indicated through road markings and signs and are managed by the traffic police.

    Barriers will now be installed to prevent other vehicles from entering the BRT lanes and slowing down the purportedly fast public transport system. The city is introducing BRT to try and reduce rush hour traffic.

    The installation of physical barriers on roads in the BRT route has proved to be successful in big cities such as Jakarta, Indonesia, where the BRT system has provided an effective traffic solution.

    Experts have a word of caution, though. The plans to set up barriers should be studied carefully as roads in the city are already heavily congested during peak hours, they said. The risk of accidents is higher on such roads, and the barriers will affect traffic regulations if there are jams.

    Nguyễn Hoàng Hải, director of Hà Nội Public Transport Management and Operation Centre, said barriers would be set up at some places from the bus shelter to the next intersection to limit lane encroachment.

    In the future, the city’s transport department will install warning systems at intersections and fine violators to discourage lane encroachment, Hải said.

    The city’s first BRT route became operational on January 1. The 14-km route runs along the streets of Ba La, Quang Trung, Lê Trọng Tấn, Tố Hữu, Lê Văn Lương, Láng Hạ, Giảng Võ, Giang Văn Minh and Cát Linh. The bus is expected to complete its one-way journey within 30-45 minutes.

    People have responded positively to the BRT system, statistics from the Hà Nội Transport Corporation shows, with around 130,000 passengers using it in 10 days.

    Under Government Decree No 46/NĐ-CP, issued last year, a biker will be fined VNĐ300,000 to 400,000 (US$13-17) if caught driving in the BRT lane deliberately. The fine is VNĐ800,000 to 1.2 million ($35-52) for cars.

    VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR


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