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  • 01/18/17--23:59: Article 4
  • Vietnam's gas industry targets doubling output by year 2035

    The Vietnamese gas industry aims to double its exploitation output to reach as much as 21 billion cubic metres by 2035, according to a master plan approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc early this week.

     Vietnam's gas industry targets doubling output by year 2035, 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

    The current output of roughly 11 billion cubic metres will be maintained to 2020 and pushed up to 19 billion cubic metres by 2025 and 21 billion cubic metres by 2035.

    Vietnam also plans to import 1-4 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 2021-25 and 6-10 billion cubic metres from 2026-35.

    The master plan estimates that the gas industry would need US$10.6 billion for 2025 and another $8.5 billion in the next 10-year period to develop gas pipelines, stations, compressed natural gas and LNG plants and LNG warehouses.

    Vietnam will encourage investment in the gas industry while State capital will be used to build infrastructure.

    International co-operation will also be promoted to attract investment from multinational oil and gas groups, according to the master plan. It also says that incentives will be developed to encourage investment in producing LNG overseas for distribution in Vietnam.

    Under the plan, a database will also be built with regular updates, especially in gas reserves, together with the application of technology to improve exploitation efficiency and prevent waste of natural resources.

    About 80% of the total gas output is expected to be used for electricity generation.

    In addition, gas consumption is set to expand in industrial production and transport to protect the environment.


    0 0
  • 01/19/17--00:12: Article 3
  • Social News 19/1

    Ministries asked to speed up online public service delivery


    Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam urged ministries and agencies on January 18 to accelerate the delivery of online public services, first focusing on those that help to reduce budget expenditure.

    He noted that Vietnam should learn from countries with a high availability of online public services, such as France and Japan.

    The deputy PM said that Vietnam’s e-government ranking could further improve if ministries and agencies increase the number of public services provided on the web.

    According to the 2016 UN E-Government Survey, Vietnam ranked 89 among 193 countries overall, but ranked 74 on the scope and quality of online services, 110 on telecommunications infrastructure and 127 on human capacity.

    The UN report shows there are more and more countries providing online public services through a single portal.

    New technologies such as big data and the internet of things are becoming effective tools in enhancing the effectiveness of public services while social media has played a greater role in communication between the people and the government.

    Representatives of ministries and agencies said much of the data used by the UN to calculate Vietnam’s ranking had not been updated or even provided, such as the expected number of years of schooling and average number of years of schooling, which were not provided by the Ministry of Education and Training.

    Similarly, actual data on such indicators as the number of internet users, the number of fixed telephone lines, the number of mobile subscribers, the number of wireless broadband subscriptions and the number of fixed broadband subscriptions were all higher than suggested in the data used by the UN survey.

    Deputy PM Dam said those rankings affected the competitiveness of the nation and its appeal to foreign investors.

    Therefore he asked the Ministry of Education and Training to quickly provide the missing information and asked the Ministry of Information and Communications to work to improve e-government indicators.

    Workers, students receive 5,000 free bus tickets for Tet

    Ho Chi Minh City authorities held a ceremony offering 5,000 bus tickets for workers and students to return home for Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays in the municipal Youth’s Cultural House on January 17.

    The program entitled “Spring buses-Gathering in Tet holiday” aiming to support disadvantaged students and workers to their homeland on Tet is co-organized by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Ho Chi Minh City, the HCM Communist Youth Union, the Ho Chi Minh City Students Support Center in association with Thanh Nien Newspaper and PepsiCo.

    Launched in 2002, the annual event has provided chances for more than 42,000 poor students, and workers to receive free bus tickets for Tet over the past 15 years.

    Media works on anti-smoking awarded

    Thirty six outstanding works by professional and non-professional journalists on the harmful impacts of cigarettes were awarded prizes in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

    The writing competition to combat smoking, held by the Ministry of Information and Communications and Health Ministry, is among the activities to mark World No Tobacco Day (May 31), an annual World Health Organisation event to inform people of the dangers of smoking and the tobacco industry.
    Started in May last year, the contest received 205 works under four categories - printed newspapers, online newspapers, TV broadcasting and radio broadcasting – in eight months.
    The first prizes of the four categories were presented to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper, Đồng Nai Province’s online newspaper, Hải Phòng City’s Television and Hà Nội Television., Việt Nam News Agency’s e-newspaper, received the second prize with its work “Joining hands to build a non-smoking family.”
    At the award ceremony, Nguyễn Minh Hồng, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications and head of the contest’s organising committee, said the entries this year were submitted by reporters, editors of media agencies, media officers of education and communication centres nationwide, and non-professional writers, such as those who are retired, people from ethnic minority groups and students.
    The submissions vary from documentaries, interviews, opinions to poems and songs.
    “The works from professional journalists show multi-faceted and sharp views on aspects of smoking prevention and fight. The highlights are implementation of laws, regulations, cigarette smuggling prevention and specific statistics, as well as documents and witnesses to prove harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking,” he said.
    He hoped the contest would motivate journalists to have better media works to change awareness and behaviour of the whole society towards the harmful habit.
    Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of the Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment and director of Fund for Tobacco Harms Prevention under the Health Ministry, said non-infectious illnesses, such as blood-pressure related diseases, heart failure, diabetes and cancer, are all caused by smoking andbecomean epidemic. Smoking not only has consequences on one’s health, but also has significant socio-economic impact. Preventing and combating smoking are hard work, he noted.
     “The works submitted to the contest lead to trust and encouragement for officials, who implement smoking prevention activities, and have a powerful dissemination effect,” he said, lauding and thanking journalists for their efforts in the fight against smoking. — VNS

    Four sentenced for illegally taking people abroad

    The Hà Nội People’s Court on Monday sentenced four people to 15-24 months imprisonment for illegally taking people abroad.
    Trịnh Quang Trung, 57, from Hoàng Mai District, Vũ Bích Hà, 47, from Ba Đình District, and Nguyễn Thị Thêu, 30, from Thanh Trì District, were sentenced to 24, 20 and 16 months imprisonment, respectively. Nguyễn Hoàng Yến, 25, from Hoàng Mai District, received 15 months’ probation.
    According to the investigation, at the beginning of 2014, three people from the central provinces wanted to work in Germany, but their files did not meet the requirements to enter Europe.
    They asked Hà to help them complete their files.
    Hà asked one of her acquaintances, Hoàng Thế Khanh, from Đống Đa District, to help. Khanh agreed at the price of US$13,500 per person.
    Khanh then persuaded Trung, Thêu and Yến to assist.
    On September 15, 2014, they completed procedures to take the three people to Bulgaria and provided them fake identity cards with Bulgarian nationality, from where they were to proceed to Germany. However, they were caught while crossing Greece and were deported to Việt Nam three months later.
    Khanh died before court proceedings were initiated against him.

    Motorbikes allowed on slip road at southern expressway

    Motorbikes will have access to the 4-km slip road connecting the HCM City – Long Thành – Dầu Giây (HLD) expressway beginning next Friday, according to the city’s Department of Transport.

    Motorbikes will travel in an emergency parking lane starting from the junction of An Phú in HCM City’s District 2 to the junction of a second ring road in HCM City’s District 9.

    The department, in cooperation with Việt Nam Expressway Corporation (VEC), is also installing a barrier between the motorbike lane and automobile lane, and is adjusting signboards and signal lights at the dividing lanes near the entrance lanes of the expressway.

    Cars will operate at a maximum speed of 70km per hour on the lanes closest to the median of the slip road.

    Cars, coaches and lorries weighing less than 3.5 tonnes will be allowed to run at the same speed in the middle lane, and motorbikes at a maximum speed of 50 km per hour in the right lane.

    The arrangement allows for more efficient use of other parts of the expressway and reduces vehicle overload on Mai Chí Thọ, Nguyễn Duy Trinh, Đỗ Xuân Hợp and Võ Chí Công streets during the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.

    The 55-km long expressway opened in early 2015, costing more than VNĐ20.6 trillion (US$936 million). It passes through HCM City and Đồng Nai Province.

    Tết gifts presented to Chăm people in HCM City

    Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình on Sunday visited and presented Tết (Lunar New Year) gifts to ethnic Chăm who live in HCM City.

    At the office of District 8 People’s Committee, Bình offered 210 scholarships worth VNĐ1 million (US$44.3) each to poor Chăm students with good study results.

    Tết presents were also gifted to 200 poor Chăm households.

    Chăm people’s lives have seen positive changes, with more well-off households and children attending schools, according to recent reports.

    Bình praised the authorities’ efforts in improving the social welfare of the Chăm last year, and said that more financial benefits should be given, especially to poor families, to help them thrive while maintaining their cultural values.

    On behalf of the Party and State, he sent the warmest wishes to the Chăm people in HCM City as well as those who live in other provinces.

    On the same day, he visited heroic Vietnamese mothers, impoverished families and others in Long An Province’s Cần Giuộc District, who each received a Tết gift.

    He urged local authorities to look after them, ensuring that welfare beneficiaries in the area have a happy Lunar New Year.

    Two students die of diphtheria in Quảng Nam

    Two students died of diphtheria at a boarding school in the mountainous Tây Giang district of Quảng Nam province, director of the provincial health department, Nguyễn Văn Hai, confirmed to the Việt Nam News on Tuesday.

    Hai said the two students – Bhling Boong, 17, from A Vương commune, and his schoolmate ZơRâm Sáo, 17, from A Xan commune – died on January 4 and 9, respectively.

    He said 11 other students, kitchen staff and teachers, suspected of being infected with the disease, had tested negative for diphtheria and were well and 21 students have been quarantined for further monitoring at local medical centres and at home.

    According to the provincial health department report on Monday, Bhling Boong displayed signs of illness on December 24, when he had difficulty breathing and a high fever. He died on the way to hospital on January 4. Local medical staff did not conduct any tests on his excrement.

    ZơRâm Sáo, 17, was found ill on January 2 before going to hospital on January 7, where he died two days later. Sáo’s stool tested positive for diphtheria.

    Three cases of fever and sore throat, symptoms of the bacterial infection, are being treated at Đà Nẵng pediatrics and obstetrics hospital and Tây Giang district’s health centre. They tested negative for the disease.

    The department, in collaboration with the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute, carried out chemical spraying and cleaning of houses and schools in 10 communes of Tây Giang district over 10 consecutive days, as well as vaccinating residents.

    The district has a population of 16,000, of which 90 per cent are members of ethnic groups. Many live in poor households and some were not immunised against the disease.

    The school, 50km west of Quảng Nam Province’s Tam Kỳ City, is home to 789 students, 71 teachers and kitchen staff.

    In 2015, three people in the province’s Phước Lộc Commune also died of diphtheria.

    Two sentenced for murder

    The Hà Nội People’s Court on Tuesday sentenced two men to eight years and 10 years imprisonment for murder.
    Nguyễn Văn Chiến, now 17, from Mê Linh District, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He committed the crime when he was 15 years old. Nguyễn Đức Tuấn, 17, from Đông Anh District, committed the crime when he was 16 years old and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
    Chiến befriended an 18-year-old girl on Facebook and fell in love with her. Subsequently, Chiến discovered several emotional messages between the girl and another man on her mobile phone. Overcome by jealousy, Chiến wanted to harm the girl.
    He asked Tuấn, a friend, to help him.
    On February 28 last year, Chiến and Tuấn took the girl to the latter’s house. Seeing the girl standing at the balcony on the second floor, Chiến and Tuấn came near and pushed her to the ground.
    The two men then took the girl to hospital, and told her mother that she slipped. She was treated at the Saint Paul Hospital but died on March 2 last year due to serious injuries.
    The two men were ordered to VNĐ100 million (US$4,400) as compensation to the girl’s family.

    Traditional Vietnamese products on display ahead of Tet

    The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched an exhibition cum trade fair honouring traditional crafts in Hanoi on January 18 on the occasion of upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

    The “Tet Viet 2017” Exhibition also aims to welcome important events in 2017, including the 87th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3).

    As many as 80 booths showcase nearly 100 traditional handicraft products such as sculptured, rattan and bamboo, silk and pottery items; and agricultural products, among others.

    Visitors can try making folk Dong Ho paintings with craftsmen from Thuan Thanh district, the northern province of Bac Ninh, and enjoy traditional art performances, cockfighting, and traditional food.

    Other activities include a painting exhibition, calligraphy writing, among others. It will take place until January 23 at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts at No 2, Hoa Lu street, Hanoi.

    The same day, the Vietnam Trade Promotion Center for Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development opened a one-week trade fair with the participation of 200 pavilions from nearly 200 enterprises across the country.

    The event aims to accelerate the consumption of special agro-forestry-fishery products nationwide, such as Nhat Tan peach and kumquat trees, yellow apricot trees from the south, chung cake, Moc Chau tea, Dien Bien rice, and fruits.

    Director of the centre Da Van Ho, who is also head of the organising board, said the event introduces high-quality agricultural products. It aims to raise public awareness of producing and consuming clean agricultural products to develop sustainable agricultural production chain.

    WB lends Vietnam US$77 million to help poor students

    Disadvantaged kids and their teachers will receive dual-ethnic language textbooks as part of the plan.

    The World Bank has granted Vietnam a credit line of US$77 million for a project to help reform the general education system in Vietnam.

    Vietnam will also contribute US$3 million to raise the total funding for the project to US$80 million.

    A ceremony to kick off the project was held by the Ministry of Education and Training and the World Bank in Hanoi on January 17.

    The project, which will run until 2020, aims to improve education for primary and secondary school students.

    It will also provide textbooks aligned with the revised curriculum and assessment system.

    Students from poor families will be able to borrow new textbooks under the project.

    New bilingual textbooks in Vietnamese and other ethnic languages will also be made available online to train teachers.

    Japanese firms offer technology and training to reduce traffic accidents

    One person is killed every hour by accidents on Vietnam's roads at present.

    Japanese companies are looking to help reduce the number of road accidents in Vietnam by introducing surveillance technology and driving safety courses.

    Logistics company Nippon Express will pay to install digital tachographs to 150 trucks in Vietnam this month to record the vehicles’ movements and provide necessary training to drivers, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

    If the system proves effective, Vietnam's Transport Ministry will make the devices mandatory on all trucks across the country. Logistics firms will be required to pay for the new technology.

    The devices will be connected to a server at the company’s office in Ho Chi Minh City and record data such as engine revolutions, acceleration and tilt, while detecting sudden movements like starting, braking and steering. The data will be logged every 30 seconds, allowing the company to rank drivers and provide training to improve their driving skills.

    In Malaysia, the company’s system has cut the number of traffic accidents by a tenth and increased the fuel efficiency by nearly 10%, the report said.

    Traffic accidents kill one person every hour in Vietnam, according to official figures. The rate is three times higher than in Japan.

    Automakers Honda and Toyota also plan to provide more driver training courses in Vietnam.

    Toyota Motor in March last year awarded its first specialist qualifications to eight people, including a police officer and a car dealer.

    The company plans to extend the program and train a few dozen more auto safety instructors this year.

    Deputy Minister of Public Security Bui Van Thanh was quoted by the Nikkei as saying that taking advantage of the global automakers' know-how could help reduce the number of accidents in Vietnam significantly.

    Honda is also expected to open a driving safety training center in the northern province of Vinh Phuc this summer. The center, covering 32,000 square meters, is similar to those Honda runs in Japan and Singapore, and will receive 12,000 trainees every year.

    Traffic accidents in Vietnam surged significantly from 10,000 in 2012 to more than 30,000 in 2013. The number has been reduced slightly in recent years, to around 21,600 in 2016.

    Vietnam raised fines for traffic violations by 20-60 percent to a maximum of VND18 million ($800) in August last year.

    But experts said there are still high risks of traffic crashes given the rising number of smart phones and vehicles.

    Vietnam’s car sales in 2016 hit a 20-year high of 304,427, up a staggering 24% from the previous year. Around 3.1 million new motorbikes also hit the street last year, up 9.5% from 2015.

    Ho Chi Minh City steps up administrative reform

    Administrative reform is one of the seven key tasks of Ho Chi Minh City. This year, the city will apply e-planning and provide better public utility services to its citizens and businesses.

    Ho Chi Minh City is running 1,700 online public services, enabling citizens to get business licenses, house construction permits, and birth or ownership certificates via the Internet.

    Nguyen Thao Loan, a resident of Binh Tan district, said “I strongly support the use of IT in administrative procedures. Online registration is fast and convenient. It makes district officials more organized and helpful to the public.”

    A one-stop-shop system applying e-governance has become available at the district and communal level. Power delegation combined with administrative reform has been carried out aggressively.

    This year, Ho Chi Minh City will focus on e-governance, making at least 50% of public services online. Paper invitations to meetings are a thing of the past.

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said administrative reforms will lead to Ho Chi Minh City becoming a smart city.

    “We are continuing administrative reform and empowering state management. Cumbersome procedures do harm to our development and business environment. We should create the best possible conditions for businesses and the people,” noted Mr Phong.

    Increase in drug-resistant TB in southwest

    An increase in the number of resistant-TB cases has occurred in the southwestern region of Vietnam, according to the head of the region’s national TB prevention and control office.

    At a conference on TB prevention held last week in Can Tho, Dr Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan said that nearly 1,300 patients with resistant TB were diagnosed every year in the southwestern region, accounting for 25% of the total number of resistant-TB patients in the country.

    The provinces of An Giang (220), Dong Thap (150) and Kien Giang (130) have the highest number of resistant-TB cases in the southwestern region, while Ca Mau, Vinh Long, Can Tho, Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces face a shortage of medicine and chemicals as well as funds.

    Between 2011 and 2015, the prevalence of patients with TB per 100,000 people in the region was 141, according to the Ministry of Health. The figure was 1.3 times higher than the national rate of 112.

    Nhan said besides the shortage of human resources, staff in charge of TB prevention and control in the region had received insufficient allowances (benefits beyond salary and bonuses).

    Dr Nguyen Viet Nhung, head of the country’s national TB prevention and control programme, said that TB prevention should be considered the task of the entire community.

    He said that more investment was needed for new technologies as well as medicine for treatment and prevention in order to reach the target of TB elimination.

    In the 2017-2020 project on active intervention in TB prevention in the southwestern region, the Can Tho TB and Lung Disease Hospital is expected to become the leading specialised centre in the region.

    The national TB programme aims to raise the rate of successful TB detection and treatment cases and reduce the number of resistant-TB cases from now to 2020.

    Central Highlands provinces rearrange activities of plantations

    State-owned plantations in the Central Highlands plan to restructure to boost business efficiency, according to the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands Region.

    Thirty-one out of 38 plantations in the region are State-owned single member limited liability companies (LLC).

    Dak Lak province has the most restructured forestry units but still uses the “State-owned single member LLC” model.

    It has maintained production tasks, providing products, public services and other business activities for six partially State-owned single-member forestry companies – Kroong Bong, Ma D’rak, Ea Kar, Buon Wing, Chu Pha and Ea Wy.

    Dak Lak plans to form a LLC of two-member or more for eight single-member forestry LLCs – Chu Ma Lanh, Rung Xanh, Ya Lop, Ea H’Mo, Thuan Man, Ea H’leo, Phuoc An, Buon Ja Wam to connect material areas with the processing industry and the market.

    According to the Steering Committee, rearranging forestry companies in the region has been slow and some State-owned single-member forestry LLCs have not been effective.

    Deforestation, land occupation and illegal logging were reported to occur at some enterprises while linkages between some units are ineffective.

    According to the steering committee, forestry companies in the Central Highlands mainly manage natural forest and buffer forest with a combined area of 651,685 hectares. The planted forest is just 31,783 hectares.

    Commune planning key to national goals

    Experiences of social economic development programme (SEDP) highlight that successful community-based planning using the SEDP process will not only create opportunities to improve the effectiveness of public investment.

    The policy dialogue, organised in Hanoi on January 17 by Oxfam, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank, aimed to promote discussions on opportunities, feasibilities, challenges and ways to integrate National Target Programmes (NTPs) into SEDP at a commune level.

    There are currently two NTPs focusing on sustainable poverty reduction and new rural development.

    Local planning reforms at commune level increase opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to participate in planning meetings, Hoang Xuan Thanh, leader of the Oxfam advisory team, said.

    A programme named “Commune Planning Reform” under the framework of “Pro-poor policy monitoring and analysis” of 2014-16 funded by Irish Aid and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation shows that commune-level planning reforms gradually improve the quality of annual planning and implementation.

    The reforms have been conducted in seven provinces, namely Lao Cai, Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Quang Tri, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan and Tra Vinh.

    “Integrating NTPs into SEDP helps mobilising, distributing and using better sources, contributing to sustainable poverty reduction in Vietnam,” he said.

    Thanks to the SEDP planning reform at all province, district, and commune levels in some provinces, proposals by lower levels are consolidated into plans by higher levels, he said.

    However, the integration faces several challenges, for example, the risks of deterioration of planning quality after funded projects end.

    Nguyen Minh Tien, chief of secretariat of the Central Co-ordinating Office for New-style Rural Areas, said that Vietnam had enough legal foundations to expand local planning reforms to commune level.

    "What the communes are waiting for is an official instruction circular from the Ministry of Planning and Investment," Tien said.

    "Without the instruction, each locality has three plans - one on social economic development, one on national target programmes on sustainable poverty reduction, and another on national target programmes on new-style rural area development, and will not be able to implement the integration.

    “The National Assembly has approved mid-term public investment resolutions, which facilitate localities in the implementation and integration of NTPs into SEDP,” he said.

    However, he said, at the commune level, making plans rarely meets requirements on quality. The biggest challenge is localities’ capacity, in particular, their consultation and training capacity. Expenses on improving capacity and consultation are very limited.

    The meeting agreed that it is necessary to have a legal framework from the central level on planning and integrating NTPs, SEDP, and other projects.

    HCM City to launch vegetable origin QR scan

    After pork, vegetables have become the second food in Ho Chi Minh City to have their origin made traceable via a simple QR scan.

    The first batch of traceable greens will hit selected Ho Chi Minh City supermarkets on January 18, with a full-scale rollout expected in April.

    The program is the second of its kind launched by the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), with the origin of pork sold in the city’s markets and supermarkets made traceable since January.

    Since January 1, city residents have been able to check the origin and journey of their pork by installing a free mobile application able to scan a QR-coded label on the pork’s package.

    Similar origin traceability will be made available for vegetables starting on January 19, according to Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, deputy director of DARD.

    Cuc said customers could use any QR code scanner available on their smartphones to scan the one-time label on any package of vegetables under the program, which will provide them with all the necessary information regarding the produce.

    This information includes the vegetables' name; where and when they were grown, when they were packaged and distributed; as well as a list of any pesticides and fertilizers used.

    The program will be piloted at selected supermarkets until the end of March, before a full-scale rollout to all VietGAP-certified cooperatives in the city, Cuc said.

    VietGAP, or Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice, is a local agricultural production safety program aimed at setting standards for the production of clean and safe farm produce.

    As many as one million metric tons of vegetables are consumed in Ho Chi Minh City per annum, around 24% of which is produced locally with the rest provided by farms in other provinces, according to DARD director Nguyen Phuoc Trung.

    The introduction of a food origin tracing program is the inevitable result of the need to improve customers’ trust in the city’s food safety, Trung said.

    HCM City sees fruitful cooperation year with int’l partners

    The year 2016 saw effective collaboration between Ho Chi Minh City and international partners, an official has said.

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong made the remark at a meeting with representatives from foreign missions, international and non-governmental organisations, and overseas business associations in the city on January 17 on the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet).

    He highlighted the city’s socio-economic accomplishments last year and its plans for the future.

    External activities were carried out effectively in politics and diplomacy, economics, culture, and work relating to overseas Vietnamese, he said.

    He hoped consul generals along with representatives from foreign organisations and businesses will continue forging cooperation between the city and countries around the world to develop HCM City into a major centre of finance, trade, science and technology in Southeast Asia.

    Consul General of the Netherlands and head of consul generals delegation of countries in HCM City Simon Van Den Burg said the city is a model of successful economic development.

    He expressed his desire to work with municipal authorities to support the city’s development.

    HCM City’s health insurance balance records surplus

    Ho Chi Minh City’s health insurance fund recorded a surplus of 680 billion VND (over 30 million USD) in its balance last year.

    Cao Van Sang, Director of the municipal Social Insurance Agency, said more than 6.4 million local people bought health insurance in 2016, accounting for 78 percent of the city’s population. The figure is one percent higher than the city’s target but lower than the country’s average level.

    The agency will transfer 20 percent of the sum to the HCM City People’s Committee to buy health insurance for the poor and provide equipment for health establishments at district and commune-levels across the city.

    Nguyen Thi Thu, Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the rise in the number of people buying social and health insurances last year was attributed to the concerted efforts of the city’s insurance sector and local administrations.

    However, she noted, the local administrations, especially the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s chapters at all levels, should make greater endeavours to fulfill the target of increasing health insurance coverage to 80.7 percent of the city’s population in 2017 and 90 percent in 2020.

    Vietnamese community in China gathers to celebrate Tet

    The Vietnamese community in China on January 16 gathered at the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet), the year of the Rooster.

    Addressing the event, Ambassador Dang Minh Khoi reviewed the socio-economic development of the country during the past year, as well as the Vietnam-China ties.

    He stated that the Vietnam-China relations have been growing positively, stressing that the freshly-ended China visit of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has been fruitful with important orientations set forth for the bilateral relationship in the future.

    He acknowledged efforts of the Vietnamese community in China over the past years, expressing his hope that they will help foster Vietnam-China ties.

    Participants at the event also enjoyed traditional music, dance performances and food.

    Earlier on January 14, the Vietnamese Embassy and the Vietnamese Association in Mozambique jointly held a get-together in Maputo to celebrate Tet, the most important festival of the year that falls in late January.

    NA, State leaders pay Tet visits to disadvantaged people

    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan presented Tet gifts to poor households in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival on January 17.

    She also attended a ceremony to hand over four primary schools, two health care stations, nine rural transportation works to the local government of Giong Trom town in Ben Tre’s Giong Trom district.
    At the ceremony, 100 newly-built houses were also presented to the poor in the locality. All facilities are worth over 33.7 billion VND (1.49 million USD) funded by the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).

    The leader also paid a Tet visit to the Military Headquarters of Ben Tre where she expressed her hope that the headquarters will continue collaborating closely with the local Party Committee and government in fulfilling all socio-economic tasks and ensuring security and defence in the locality.

    She made a Tet visit to Bishop of Vinh Long Diocese Huynh Van Hai and workers at Luong Quoi coconut processing factory in An Hiep commune, Chau Thanh district.

    Meanwhile, Vice State President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh paid a Tet visit to Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, underprivileged children and poor households in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai the same day.

    She handed over 100 scholarships of the Vietnamese Children Sponsoring Fund to children living in the province’s social sponsoring centre. She visited and presented scholarships and gifts to local ethnic minority people in Ia Phi commune, Chu Pah district..

    HCMC to build two more water plants

    Authorities of HCMC have mapped out a plan to build two more water plants and upgrade water pipelines in outlying districts between now and 2019 to ensure sufficient water supply for residents.

    According to a plan for water supply development in 2017 and the coming years drafted by the HCMC Department of Transport, the two facilities would be Kenh Dong 2 and Thu Duc 4 water plants which are scheduled for completion in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

    They are designed to supply an additional 550,000 cubic meters of clean water per day for the city and increase the city’s total water supply capacity from 2.4 million cubic meters currently to 2.95 million cubic meters per day in 2019.

    So far, HCMC has achieved the goal of supplying clean water to all households in the city after Cu Chi District last week announced all families in the district have access to clean water.

    The city would set aside VND3,450 billion (some US$152.8 million) to develop water pipes to supply 142,380 households, mainly in the outlying districts such as 12, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, and Cu Chi where people are using water from water tanks, general water meters and water purifying facilities for households.

    The city’s rising population has put great pressure on the water supply network. Meanwhile, many houses fitted with water meters have still been using well water for daily activities in order to save on expenses.  

    From this year, the city government would continue to call for local people to use clean water, restrict the exploitation of underground water and improve the quality of running water.

    Mien Dong coach station will become parking lot

    After HCMC’s Mien Dong Coach Station is moved to District 9, its existing premises in Binh Thanh District will be used to meet transport infrastructure needs like a parking building, not for commercial developments, said HCMC Party chief Dinh La Thang at a tour to the station on Sunday.

    One of the city’s main tasks is to replace Mien Dong Coach Station by a new one in District 9 this year to ease traffic congestion around the station. Then the construction of a multi-level parking lot will commence on the land with an aim of serving public transport demands.

    Thang said the city will not build any shopping mall in the area.

    Under the detailed zoning plan approved by the HCMC government in 2014, the land at the current bus station would be divided into two parts for construction of a parking lot and a 20-to-25-storey commercial complex consisting of a commercial center, service, hotel, and office facilities for lease. The city authorities would then auction the location in order to help raise funds for the new Mien Dong Coach Station project.

    Earlier, many people had expressed concerns over the scheme to establish the shopping mall and offices, saying such a scheme would worsen traffic congestion around the area.

    Traffic around the station has been heavy as Tet is approaching, resulting in traffic congestion on nearby roads in the daytime.

    Draft law puts external loans under strict control

    Provinces and ministries would have to go through the Government to take out foreign loans, instead of directly accessing foreign lenders, to fund their socio-economic development projects, according to a draft law on control of public debt.

    The draft law prepared by the Ministry of Finance states that local governments, ministries and agencies must submit their plans to use official development assistance (ODA) loans for their projects and programs to the Prime Minister for consideration and approval. The plans should clarify the need to use ODA loans, investment purpose and project scale, the efficiency and return on investment of the projects, and their repayment plan.

    The draft law requires the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and relevant agencies, to appraise the plans and report their viability to the Prime Minister for consideration.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment should work out a review report on the need of local governments and agencies to use ODA loans for their investment projects that have already got the PM’s nod and help look for finances for projects.

    Local governments, ministries and agencies should carry out the feasibility studies for their projects and programs based on the ‘in principle’ approval of the PM for submission to competent agencies for approval. Then, the projects will be forwarded to authorities for approval in line with the prevailing regulations.

    The Ministry of Finance will work with ministries and localities which have projects using ODA loans over borrowing terms before proceeding with borrowing agreements.

    Ministries, agencies and localities should prepare lists of projects and programs subject to allocation of State money for submission to competent authorities to approve the use of the Government’s source of development investment.

    The Ministry of Finance will check and sign on-lending agreements or authorize agencies to strike such deals for the eligible projects and programs, according to the draft law. The ministry should report budget estimates for the loans sourced from the State budget to competent agencies for approval.

    The draft law also puts an emphasis on the efficient use of the ODA loans. Ministries and local governments will have to earmark their budgets to timely settle payments for on-lending of ODA loans.

    Ministries and local governments will be required to get the PM’s nod for their plans to seek and use concessional loans for investment.

    External commercial loans should be taken out for lending-on for the projects and programs with a high return on investment. The investors will have to submit to the PM their reports on how to use the capital source for their projects.


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  • 01/19/17--00:34: Article 2
  • Vietnam's economic challenges in 2017

    Vietnam economy will encounter more difficulties in 2017 than in 2016 amid global geopolitical changes and financial uncertainties, experts say.

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    Many economists have said that the 6.7 percent GDP growth rate target set by the government for 2017 was too ambitious as Vietnam only obtained 6.21 percent growth in 2016.

    In the context of the increased budget deficit, fiscal policy would not help support growth. Therefore, it is highly possible that monetary policy loosening will be maintained.

    However, some forecasts say it would be difficult to maintain the current stable interest rates. Some commercial banks have raised interest rates again, while bad debt, the exchange rate and higher requirements on capital adequacy ratio will affect the interest rate.

    If interest rates go up, this will affect businesses’ demand for lending. This means the credit growth plan may be unattainable and loose monetary policy will not bring desired effects, affecting the GDP growth plan.

    Some forecasts say it would be difficult to maintain the current stable interest rates. Some commercial banks have raised interest rates again, while bad debt, the exchange rate and higher requirements on capital adequacy ratio will affect the interest rate.

    In the last three years, credit has been growing, nearly reaching 20 percent. Some international institutions have warned that rapid monetary policy loosening would bring high risks to the economy.

    Regarding the dong/dollar exchange, Governor of the State Bank Le Minh Hung said the dong lost only 1.2 percent of its value in 2016. However, analysts do not believe that modest depreciation will continue in 2017.

    If US President Donald Trump expands fiscal policy, the US dollar would continue appreciating in the world market and capital flow would head for the US, thus putting pressure on new emerging economies like Vietnam.

    Meanwhile, the zero percent ceiling interest rate on dollar deposits has made it less attractive to bring dollars to Vietnam.

    The overseas remittances (kieu hoi) to Vietnam decreased sharply in 2016, but the foreign currency supply was still plentiful thanks to increased disbursement in FDI, the trade surplus and foreign portfolio investment.

    In 2017, the capital flow to Vietnam may change direction as a result of the FED decision on raising the prime interest rate, the US policy on attracting enterprises to invest in the US and the failure of the TPP trade agreement.

    Vietnam gained the trade surplus of $2.7 billion in 2016 thanks to the increase in exports and the decrease in imports caused by the domestic weak demand. Meanwhile, in 2017, Vietnam’s export would bear the impacts from the devaluation of many currencies in the world against the dollar. The stronger Vietnam dong would encourage imports, which means that the trade deficit may return.

    From July 2017, Vietnam may have to borrow ODA capital at market interest rates, while higher interest rates and shorter-term loans would affect Vietnam’s foreign currency supply source. 

    Kim Chi, VNN

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  • 01/19/17--04:42: Article 1
  • Vietnam severely behind on public transport usage

    A report by property consultants Savills Vietnam said that the rate of people that use public transport in urban is the lowest in Southeast Asia.

    According to the report, which assesses the impacts of transport infrastructure on real estate markets, the rate of Hanoi and HCM City land allocated for transport infrastructure development is lower than that for other cities in the region.


    Traffic jam on a street in Hanoi (Photo by VietnamNet) 

    Car sales in Vietnam have experienced an annual rise of 35% over the past five years and the rate is forecasted to be much higher by 2025 in Hanoi and HCM City. This is attributed to the country's economic growth and higher per capita income. Meanwhile, more people continue flocking to Hanoi and HCM City to live, while the transport infrastructure development remains limited, which has added more pressure to traffic problems in the two cities.

    Savills also indicated that parking fees in many central areas in Hanoi and HCM City Mức surpass regional cities like Bangkok, Manila or Jakarta. The overly-high costs are because of the limited parking spaces available in Hanoi and HCM City in contrast to the development of high-rise buildings.

    The rate of people who use means of public transport in Hanoi and HCM City is the lowest in the region as these two cities are now only in the first stages developing their urban metro rail links, a similar situation to which Bangkok went through in the 1990s.

    Savills also suggested that Vietnam should learn from Bangkok’s experiences in dealing with traffic problems, particularly metro development and air pollution. 

    The company added that public transport development, especially urban railway systems, would have positive impacts on the real estate market in cities.

    By Phuong Dung, 

    0 0
  • 01/19/17--04:47: Article 0
  • What did China do to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracels) on Jan 19, 1974?

    This satellite photo shows Duncan Island, part of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea, where the January 19, 1974 battle took place.

    Today marks the 43rd anniversary of China’s forceful seizure of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

    Bui Thanh, a senior Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper journalist, has penned a brief, yet sharp, reflection on the events of January 19, 1974 and why he believes the day should not be remembered as when Vietnam lost Hoang Sa.

    Winter, 1946. Vietnam, a young nation, entered a nationwide resistance battle to protect her independence. Off at sea, Chinese troops began to take action against the country’s sovereignty.

    China, in the name of an Allied power, dispatched a naval fleet to its southern seas, mapping an 11-dotted line on the waters and claiming Chinese sovereignty over them. They ran fieldtrips and destroyed constructions, temples, and all other traces of the Vietnamese, French, and Japanese. They named the four biggest islands in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratlys) after their warships.

    It was an intrusion without a single gunshot that took advantage of an Allied power disarming the Japanese.

    And then the world changed.

    The Chinese troops under Republic of China leader Chiang Kai-shek were defeated by the Chinese Red Army, and were eventually forced to leave the Chinese mainland for Taiwan.

    The world changed, but Beijing’s ambition to exclusively occupy the East Vietnam Sea did not.

    In 1956, the Chinese army sent troops from Hainan Island to occupy Phu Lam (Woody) and other islands east of Hoang Sa. Three years later, they continued to make landfall on the western islands, but were swept away by reinforced naval and marine units from the Republic of Vietnam.

    By 1974, things had become much different.

    The U.S. shook hands with China through agreements reached in the Shanghai Communiqué 1972. And then the U.S. started to withdraw from Vietnam through the 1973 Paris Peace Accords and the Chinese seized the opportunity to wrest Vietnam’s Hoang Sa by force.

    The Republic of Vietnam’s navy force failed in their first battle at sea against Chinese troops on January 19, 1974. More than 70 soldiers died and were given a funeral in the heart of Saigon, on the 27th day of the last lunar month, before Tet (Lunar New Year).

    That day has gone down in Vietnam’s history as a painful memory, when a part of the country, which ancestors had spent generations protecting, was separated from the motherland.

    It has been 43 years since.

    Vietnamese do not consider January 19 as the day when we lost Hoang Sa - the beloved islands that had been protected by generation after generation of men on Ly Son Island and the brave Quang region. They will forever be the natural blood and flesh of Vietnam.

    It has been 43 years but we will always look to Hoang Sa in remembrance, whenever Tet is near.


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  • 01/20/17--05:09: Article 0
  • Most impressive real estate projects among top three developers

     Pham Nhat Vuong, president of Vingroup, Trinh Van Quyet, president of FLC and Bui Van Nhon, president of Novaland are developers of the most luxurious projects in Vietnam. They have now jumped into the low-cost apartment market segment.

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    The list of the richest stock billionaires released by Vietnamese press agencies has shown a big change: Trinh Van Quyet, 42, has replaced Pham Nhat Vuong at the top of  the list. However, Vuong still is the richest Vietnamese person on Forbes’ list with assets worth $2.2 billion. Forbes not only considers stock assets of billionaires, but also unlisted assets.

    Quyet is the richest billionaire who owns FLC, one of the largest real estate firms, and Faros, one of the fastest growing firms in Vietnam. Just within two years, Faros’ charter capital has increased to VND4.3 trillion.

    FLC has been developing a lot of large-scale high-end real estate projects throughout the country.

    These include FLC Samson beach & Golf Resort in Thanh Hoa province (VND5.5 trillion), FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort (Binh Dinh) VND7.5 trillion, FLC Vinh Phuc Resort, FLC Ha Long in Quang Ninh, FLC Vinh Thinh Resort, FLC Quang Binh and FLC Do Son.

    Most recently, in late December 2016, with the witness of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc, FLC committed to invest $1.1 billion to implement the second phase of FLC Vinh Thinh.

    The group owned by the young businessman also possesses a series of other projects, including FLC 36 Pham Hung, FLC Star Tower and FLC Twin Towers in Hanoi. In Thanh Hoa, it has FLC Hoang Long IZ, while in Quy Nhon, it has Tam Duong II IZ, FLC Landmar Tower. 

    Pham Nhat Vuong, president of Vingroup, Trinh Van Quyet, president of FLC and Bui Van Nhon, president of Novaland are developers of the most luxurious projects in Vietnam. They have now jumped into the low-cost apartment market segment.

    Following success in the high-end market, the big players have jumped into the low-cost market segment, previously dominated by less powerful conglomerates.

    The presence of VIngroup, which owns a huge number of apartments, in the low-cost market is believed to remap the market.

    With record high transactions in 2016, Vingroup earned VND70 trillion, or four times higher than 2014.

    Vinhomes Central Park alone brought VND30 trillion, the beachfront villas complex VND20 trillion and Vinhomes Times City VND15 trillion. The remaining came from Vinhomes Royal City and VInhomes Nguyen Chi Thanh. Also in 2016, the giant also began selling Vinhomes Metropolis, Vinhomes Golden River and Vinhomes Thang Long.

    Novaland is a well known name among real estate developers with acquiring golden land plots in the inner city of HCMC and central business districts. But it became even better known on December 28, 2016 when it began listing shares on the bourse.

    It now owns 40 real estate projects, including 30 under construction.

    VietNamNet Bridge,Ha Vi

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  • 01/21/17--01:24: Article 0
  • Competition in farm-material growing areas heats up

    Many foreign conglomerates have jumped into the Vietnamese farm produce market after Vietnam signed a series of FTAs.

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    Phan Huu Thang, a respected foreign investment expert, said that Vietnam attracted more foreign direct investment (FDI) into the agriculture sector since 2015.

    Many Japanese enterprises have shown their intention to invest in the farm produce processing sector or set up businesses to collect farm produce for export in the Central Highlands.

    South Korean and Taiwanese have also eyed Vietnam’s agriculture. CJ Group from South Korea has invested $2.1 million in a chili project in Ninh Thuan province. In the third quarter of 2016, it announced a plan to pour $500 million into Vietnam’s agriculture.

    Lotte in April 2016 revealed the plan to set up a logistics company with the emphasis on farm produce collection in Vietnam to export to South Korea.

    Huynh Ngoc Phien, who was an advisor to a Thai company in Vietnam, said 4-5 years ago, many Thai companies set up their representative offices in Vietnam which organized the networks of local agents to collect farm produce to export to Thailand.

    Many foreign conglomerates have jumped into the Vietnamese farm produce market after Vietnam signed a series of FTAs.

    Since the mid-1990s, many big conglomerates from Japan, the US and Europe have come to Vietnam to collect farm produce for export, especially coffee, tea, cocoa and rice.

    A report from the General Department of Customs (GDC) showed that 14 out of 30 leading roasted coffee exporters in the 2013/2014 crop were foreign invested enterprises, including Armajaro, Olam, Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC), Sunwah Commodities and Neumann Gruppe.

    LDC, to serve its trade, cooperates with 6,000 farming households, 30 agents and 110 heads of farmers’ teams in the Central Highlands to implement a program on developing coffee plants with 4C and UTZ certificates.

    To date, LDC has set up its agents to collect Robusta coffee in Lam Dong and Dak Lak, the biggest coffee growing areas in Vietnam, and has built an Arabica production plant in Lam Dong and one Robusta plant in Pleiku.

    In 2013, LDC joined forces with Vietnamese Vinafood 1 to set up a joint venture which runs a rice miller in Dong Thap province.

    Vietnam’s cocoa farming, despite modest output, also attracts foreign investors because the area has suitable climate and soil conditions to grow materials to make chocolate.

    Instead of collecting, preliminarily treating and exporting cocoa beans to chocolate manufacturers in the world, Vietnamese enterprises can only grow and provide fermented cocoa beans to international traders such as Cargill, ED&F Man and Mitsubishi.

    However, there are only two existing companies - Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam and Mars.

    These enterprises support cocoa growers and run closed production chains, from farms to finished products.

    Le Ha, VNN

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  • 01/22/17--23:20: Article 1
  • Social News 23/1

    Tay Ninh: Cross-border cracker smuggling increases in run-up to Tet


    Smuggling of firecrackers from Cambodia to Vietnam has increased considerably during days approaching Tet (Lunar New Year), according to Tay Ninh Police’s economic police division.

    The province’s police on January 21 caught a 30-year-old man smuggling 10 kilogrammes of crackers on motorbike from Cambodia to Vietnam.

    The man, residing in Dong Tien hamlet, Tan Dong commune, Tan Chau district, confessed that he bought crackers from Cambodia and was transporting them to Vietnam for selling.

    The case is under further investigation.

    The trans-border smuggling of crackers from Cambodia to Vietnam often increases during the Tet festival. Smugglers often transport crackers at night and hide them at home before selling.

    According to Colonel Le Hong Duong, Deputy Commander of the Tay Ninh Border Guard Command, on January 7 and 15, the border stations in Ka Tum and Tan Ha, Tan Chau district, seized dozens of kilogrammes of crackers illegally transported from Cambodia to Vietnam.

    Cambodian Royal Guards extend New Year wishes to Vinh Long

    A Cambodian Royal Guards delegation led by Deputy Commander General Keo Sa Bun visited and extended wishes to the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long on January 21 on the occasion of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year).

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Quang thanked the delegation for visiting the province on the occasion of Tet, Vietnam’s largest traditional festival during the year.

    He briefed the guests on the province’s social and economic achievements and hoped the affection between the two countries in general and between Vinh Long province and Cambodia in particular will always thrive.

    General Keo Sa Bun expressed his great gratefulness to Vietnam and Vinh Long in particular for their all-round assistance to Cambodia over the past time.

    He said he believes that the solidarity and friendship between the two nations will continue to be strengthened and nurtured by next generations.

    He  also wished Vinh Long province’s leaders, armed forces and people a happy and successful new year.

    Vietnam peacekeeping centre launches official website

    The Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre inaugurated its website at on January 20.

    Run by the Ministry of Defence, the site provides official information, videos and photos related to Vietnam’s engagement in the UN peacekeeping missions, including training and international cooperation activities.

    In his speech launching the website, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army Pham Ngoc Minh stressed that the launch of the site is necessary given the booming of internet and its many advantages in information sharing.

    The site will help disseminate information and attract resources to support the centre’s operation, he added.

    Founded in 2014, the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre has sent 12 officers to serve as staff officers, liaison officers and military observers at the UN missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Their performance has been highly regarded by the UN, the mission commanders and international counterparts.

    Poor households receive aid for Tet festival

    Poor workers, households and children nationwide have received financial support to welcome the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

    The northern port city of Hai Phong earmarked 1.2 billion VND (540,000 USD) for assisting poor workers in the locality.

    The Hai Phong economic zone presented gifts to 3,618 workers and 40 free rides to their homes in the countryside on January 25-26.

    On the occasion, its trade union hosted an event gathering more than 3,600 workers from local industrial and economic zones.

    In the central province of Quang Tri, the State President’s gifts worth nearly 6.7 billion VND were handed over to 32,720 families of war heroes and policy beneficiaries.

    The provincial authorities at all levels offered gifts worth around 895 million VND (40,680 USD) to 4,355 families of policy beneficiaries and residents living in need, and nearly 1,486 tonnes of rice to 31,363 families in specially disadvantaged circumstances.

    Philanthropists and businesses also donated 35,430 gifts totalling 15 billion VND (681,000 USD) to local poor households.

    On January 22, more than 2,000 children living in difficulty met at an event held by the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union.

    They were treated with music performances and gifts.

    Labour federations assist poor workers ahead of Tet

    Labour federations nationwide have held activities in support of poor workers ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

    On January 21, the standing board of the Dien Bien provincial Labour Federation hosted a gathering to present gifts to 62 needy workers, each worth 700,000 VND (30.4 USD).

    In the evening the same day, the Labour Federation of southern An Giang province also offered gifts to 700 poor workers, each worth 600,000 VND (26 USD) in cash and kind.

    Also on January 21, families of 600 workers met at an event in Ho Chi Minh City, an annual activity hosted by the municipal General Confederation of Labour.

    Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh La Thang also attended the event.

    Statistics from the confederation showed that more than 686,900 workers and civil servants in the city have received financial support worth in excess of 253 billion VND (11 million USD) for the occasion.

    Officials pay New Year visits to localities

    Party and State officials and local authorities paid visits to units and localities ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival on January 21-22.

    Politburo member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan presented gifts to 200 poor households in Tieu Can district and Tra Vinh city in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh.

    While in Vinh Long, another province in the Mekong Delta region, the poor and policy beneficiaries also received gifts from the official.

    Working with local authorities of the two provinces, Nhan asked for greater efforts to improve social welfares for disadvantaged people, especially during Tet, besides the main task of boosting economic development.

    In the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, authorities of the city and Cai Rang district presented Tet gifts to 300 merchants in Cai Rang floating market, each worth 300,000 VND (13 USD).

    While Soc Trang province, the Bach Dang square in Soc Trang city was inaugurated after four months of upgrading, serving as a venue for Tet celebration activities.

    In An Nghiep industrial park, the provincial Labour Federation held a programme attracting more than 500 poor workers to offer them a warm Tet.

    In Long An province, local authorities paid Tet visits to border guards and other forces working in the border line.

    On January 22, head of the Party Central Committee’s Organisation Commission Pham Minh Chinh visited to armed forces, families of policy beneficiaries and heroic Vietnamese mothers in the central province of Quang Nam.

    Poor access to loans hinders production development

    Difficulties in borrowing money from banks have made it difficult for farmers to develop agricultural production in Hanoi.

    Tran Dinh Thanh, head of the Farmers Association of Ba Vi district’s Cam Linh commune said the association includes 61 households raising a total of 270,000 chickens, reported by Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

    It needs 17 billion VND (748,000 USD) to maintain their breeding activities, he said.

    This meant each household was required to contribute about 300 million VND (13,200 USD).

    However, most of them could borrow only 100 million VND (4,400 USD) from banks because to borrow more, banks required farmers to use their land-use right certificate as collateral, he said.

    Most households rent land for breeding farms, so they have no land-use right certificates.

    Ngo Thanh Tung, head of a group of animal breeders in Dong Anh district’s Viet Hung commune in Hanoi said the group is raising more than 50 sows and hundreds of pigs.

    The group provides jobs for more than 20 local labourers with regular income of 3-5 million VND (132-220 USD) each month, he said.

    Yet he and other breeders could only access 12 month loans from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). The short-term loans affected the breeders’ mindsets as they had to pay their loans back quickly, he said.

    Thành said he hoped the Government would help farmers could borrow middle and long-term loans in the future.

    In June 2015, the Government issued Decree 55/NĐ-CP, aiming to create favourable conditions for farmers to borrow money with preferential treatment. Under the decree, farmers can get a loan from 50 million – 3 billion VND (2,200 - 1.3 million USD) but were required to give banks their land-use right certificates before receiving money.

    A representative from the SBV admitted to shortcomings in providing loans for farmers.

    Nguyen Tien Dong, head of the SVB’s Credit Department said he knew many famers who failed to borrow money due to the need to provide land-use right certificates as collateral.

    He said the SVB will ask the Government to amend regulations on mortgages to fix the shortcomings.

    Economist Can Van Luc said lending money without collateral should be carefully considered because banks would risks borrowers failing to pay back their loans.

    It is easy to see why banks had to carefully calculate the feasibility of a project before lending money, he said.

    Luc said authorised agencies are advised to provide training for farmers so that they use the money they borrowed from banks effectively. When they present a feasible plan, they can borrow money from banks easier.-

    Central Highlands improves human resources training

    The Central Highlands is deploying a number of measures to improve human resources training.

    According to the regional steering committee, since 2014, Central Highlands localities have opened 327 training classes for 27,409 officials at communal level.

    Particularly, the region is prioritising financial resources to train officials from ethnic minority areas to sharpen their administrative management skills and political theory.

    The committee has proposed centrally-run relevant agencies build a special training curriculum for the region.

    The Central Highlands comprises of five provinces, namely Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong and Lam Dong.

    Art programme welcomes OVs to homeland spring

    A special art programme was held at Thong Nhat (Reunification) Palace in Ho Chi Minh City on late January 20 to welcome overseas Vietnamese (OVs) returning to enjoy the homeland spring.

    More than 1,000 expatriates representing more than 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese around the world, along with senior officials and representatives of embassies and international organisations attended the annual programme.

    Opening the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted the strong and comprehensive implementation of works relating to OVs, noting fruitful assistance to OVs, teaching and learning of Vietnamese, visits to Truong Sa archipelago, youth summer camps and exchanges.

    This year, the Foreign Ministry and the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese Affairs will continue working with other ministries and localities to carry out various activities, both at home and abroad, to call for OVs’ joint efforts in national development, he added.

    Wishing the expatriates a happy New Year, President Tran Dai Quang reiterated OVs are an integral part of Vietnam, and the Fatherland always welcomes them back.

    He noted the country’s significant achievements over three decades of reforms, attributing those successes partly to precious material and spiritual support of OVs.

    He also expressed his delight at the all-round development of OVs, saying many expatriates succeeded in studying, working and doing scientific research and business which has made Vietnam known around the world.

    OV communities have also gained a foothold in many countries and greatly contributed to their local society. They have also educated their children about the homeland, the Vietnamese language and traditional culture.

    The President voiced his hope that OVs will keep united to work for national development and for Vietnam’s friendship and cooperation with other countries. He vowed the best possible conditions for them to return to the homeland and have a better life in foreign nations.

    HCM City’s leaders meet overseas Vietnamese on eve of Tet

    Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders on January 20 held a meeting with overseas Vietnamese who returned home to welcome the Lunar New Year festival (Tet).

    Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, informed the overseas Vietnamese about the city’s socio-economic achievements and hailed their contributions to the southern hub by doing business, transferring technologies and making recommendations to HCM City.

    He called on the overseas Vietnamese to continue upholding their patriotism, working as a bridge between Vietnam and other countries worldwide and joining hands to develop HCM City into a modern and civilised city.

    On behalf of the participants, Tran Hoang Minh, a Vietnamese expatriate from the US, thanked the local authorities for favourable conditions that they have created for overseas Vietnamese to live, work and invest in the city.

    Expressing his impression on Ho Chi Minh City’s positive changes, Minh stated that Vietnamese expatriates always remember and are willing to contribute to their homeland.

    More compensation comes to Formosa incident-hit residents


    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has asked the Ministry of Finance to make an advance payment of 1.68 trillion VND (over 74 million USD) to compensate local residents in four central coastal provinces for their losses caused by a maritime environment incident last year.

    The four effected localities, namely Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, will receive 560 billion VND, 760 billion VND, 160 billion VND and 200 billion VND, respectively. This is the second round of compensation for the affected people.

    The sum is sourced from the compensation of Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd, whose wastewater caused mass fish deaths along the coast of the four provinces, affecting the lives of over 260,000 fishermen and seafood traders.

    Formosa agreed to pay damages of 500 million USD to help local fishermen switch to other jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment. The company also vowed to deal with shortcomings in its waste and wastewater treatment.  

    Deputy PM Binh requested the Ministry of Finance to promptly transfer the money to the localities while asking the provincial authorities to ensure the proper allocation.

    HCM City supplies clean water to all households

    The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City announced on January 20 that the city has fulfilled the target of supplying clean water to all of its 1.9 million households.

    Over the past two years, the Saigon Water Supply Corporation and the Saigon Water Infrastructure Company has sped up the implementation of projects to provide clean water for additional 390,000 families in District 12, Binh Tan, Binh Chanh and Hoc Mon districts, accomplishing the goal at the end of 2016 as scheduled.

    Le Van Khoa, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the supply of clean water to all of the city’s households helps to ensure local residents’ health and protect of underground water sources.

    He noted 92 percent of water samples taken from drilled wells in the city were contaminated, affecting people’s health in the long term.

    Khoa also revealed that the city is planning to expand its water supply systems by  installing over 1,000 km of water pipelines by 2019 and completing the construction of  Kenh Dong and Thu Duc 4 waterworks in 2018.

    Tet gifts presented to Vietnamese-Cambodian families

    Vietnamese Ambassador Thach Du and staff of Vietnamese representative offices in Cambodia on January 20 visited and presented gifts to a number of Vietnamese-Cambodian households in Phnom Penh on the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet).

    While extending his Tet greetings to the families who are policy beneficiaries, the ambassador affirmed that the Party and State always consider overseas Vietnamese, including those in Cambodia, an inseparable part of the Vietnamese nation.

    He highlighted the revolutionary tradition of the Vietnamese community in Cambodia as well as their contributions to the country’s resistance wars, adding that that the Party and State has designed a number of policies to help them overcome difficulties, stabilise their lives and contribute to the homeland.

    Representatives of the families thanked the ambassador and officials for their care and greetings, and pledged to exert more efforts in their lives and study, boost economic development, strengthen solidarity, integrate well into the Cambodian society and uphold customs and culture of Vietnam.

    The Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia is also scheduled to present Tet gifts to 200 poor Vietnamese-Cambodian families in Kien Svay district of Kandal province on January 23.

    Catholic committee pledges to contribute to national development

    The Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics is committed to implementing campaigns initiated by the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), stated Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the committee Tran Xuan Manh.

    Manh made the statement when he visited the VFF Central Committee’s office to extend Lunar New Year greetings on January 20.

    The priest asked for further collaboration from the VFF Central Committee so that the Catholic committee would contribute more to the nation’s socio-economic development.

    Appreciating Manh’s goodwill and greetings, Vice President and Secretary General of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man spoke highly of the committee’s contributions to the country’s economic growth, security and social welfare.

    Man noted that the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics and 40 other religious signed a cooperation pact with the VFF to protect the environment and tackle climate change impacts. The Catholic committee also mobilized support from followers for drought and flood victims, as well as worked to raise legal awareness and respect among their followers.

    He said he believes the Catholic committee will continue its good services in the coming time.

    More islanders connected to national power grid in Kien Giang

    More than 3,000 households in three island communes - Lai Son, Hon Nghe and Son Hai - in the southern coastal province of Kien Giang have been connected to the national power grid.

    The Electricity of Vietnam Southern Power Corporation (EVNSPC) marked the official inauguration of the electricity supply projects to the communes at a ceremony on January 20.

    According to the EVNSPC, the three projects had a combined investment of 652 billion VND (28.68 million USD), sourced from the Government’s Programme 2081 on power supply for rural, mountainous areas and islands from 2013-2020.

    The project to supply electricity for Lai Son island commune in Kien Hai district installed 43km of 110kV cables including 24.5km at sea, 13 transformer stations, and meters for 1,956 households. The project, with total investment of 467 billion VND (20.54 million USD), was started in December 2015 and completed in November 2016.

    The project to supply electricity for Hon Nghe island commune in Kien Luong district installed 16.3km of 22kV of medium voltage sea-crossing cables, 9.9 km of medium voltage cable on the island and meters for 526 households on the island. The project, worth nearly 140 billion VND (6.16 million USD), was carried out between February and December, 2016.

    The project on Son Hai island, which began in December 2016 and finished on January 19, 2017, included the installation of 4.8km of medium voltage cables on land, 4km of sea-crossing cables and meters for 556 households on the island.

    It had  total investment of nearly 45 billion VND (1.98 million USD), of which nearly half was sourced from the provincial budget.

    According to the EVNSPC, similar projects will be implemented to bring electricity to other island communes in Kien Giang, namely An Son in Kien Hai district, and Hon Thom in Phu Quoc district during 2017-2020.

    Overseas Vietnamese urged to popularise traditional culture

    President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has expressed wish that the overseas Vietnamese would popularise traditional culture to Vietnamese generations abroad and international friends.

    He made the statement during a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on January 20 with 100 outstanding overseas Vietnamese who will attend the annual Xuan Que Huong (Homeland Spring) programme scheduled for later this month.

    Nhan informed them that the committee and several agencies are devising a plan to assist Vietnamese nationals abroad in preserving Vietnamese identity and language.

    He wished that the overseas Vietnamese would join hands for the homeland development, especially in the field of start-up as well as contribute to tightening ties between Vietnam and international friends.

    Several delegates suggested opening Vietnamese cultural centres abroad, making it easier for Vietnamese nationals to meet each other and introduce traditional culture to foreign friends.

    They also urged relevant agencies to ease traffic congestion, deal with environment pollution and unsafe food while accelerating administrative reform to attract foreign direct investment.

    It is necessary to increase external information services, diversify information channels and provide a full database on seas and islands sovereignty, they said, adding that start-up projects should consult intellectuals and businesspeople overseas to achieve the best results.

    According to them, authorised agencies should closely liaison with the overseas Vietnamese communities abroad to bring more students to foreign countries to improve foreign language skills and expertise.

    Traffic website expected to help ease traffic jams in HCM City

    Everyone who wants smooth movement on roads in Ho Chi Minh City now can visit the city’s traffic website at, which made its debut on January 19.

    A mobile app of the website, managed by the municipal Department of Transport, for Android phones is also available.

    It supplies updated information about traffic density and movement speed, along with live images of traffic recorded by more than 300 cameras of the Transport Department across the city.

    Website users can keep up with information on congested streets and the control of traffic flow so as to choose the best route to go.

    Details of parking areas or public toilets, among others, can also be found on this website, which is also designed to help users easily give feedback on traffic problems.

    At the launch, Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee Khuat Viet Hung said HCM City is taking the lead in applying IT in traffic infrastructure management. Basing on the city’s experience, the Transport Ministry will consider similar applications for the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam and other localities.

    Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Van Khoa said IT application is a pragmatic non-structural solution to traffic congestion, which has got worse in the city recently. It helps with not only traffic management but also the building of a smart city.

    Traffic solutions for major intersection

    Solutions to ease traffic congestion on the Phap Van intersection of Hanoi have been proposed by the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam.

    The Phap Van intersection has high traffic flow as its connects the Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway with Ring Road 3 and the Nuoc Ngam coach station with the Giap Bat coach station.

    Traffic congestion occurred over all traffic lanes that surround the intersection during peak hours and holidays, said Nguyen Van Huyen, Director of the directorate.

    The quality of the current transition lanes fall short of traffic demand, due to damaged road surface and obscured traffic signals, making it an urgent task to renovate the intersection and develop more transition lanes, he said.

    The renovation project for the intersection is currently in its second phase, aiming to construct 6 traffic lanes for motor vehicles, which are estimated to be inaugurated at the beginning of 2018.

    A new turning lane will be developed so that vehicles can turn right from the feeder road of the intersection’s interchange to a transition road from the Thanh Tri Bridge.

    A switch back curve will be developed under the Phap Van viaduct to reduce the number of vehicles taking the left turn at the intersection between the Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway and Ring Road 3 to enter the city.

    A new right-turn lane will be connected to the Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway to ease traffic congestion at the highway’s entrance that crosses Ring Road 3.

    The administration also proposed improvements to the connection point between Ring Road 3 and National Highway 1 to make it easier for vehicles to turn right to go into the city’s centre, as well as connecting the right-turn lane from the Tran Thu Do street with the entrance lane of the Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway.

    The solutions are estimated to cost 423 billion VND (18.6 million USD), of which some 256 billion VND (11.3 million USD) will be spent on site clearance.

    They will be carried out under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) mechanism.

    Conference seeks to develop responsible tourism in HCM City

    A conference was held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19 to discuss how to develop responsible tourism as part of efforts to achieve economic growth, preserve culture and protect nature.

    Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Bui Ta Hoang Vu said tourism growth has posed a challenge to management, planning, the environment, tourism resources and culture.

    Peter Semone, Executive of Destination Human Capital, and President of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) underlined the trend of responsible tourism in the world.

    He suggested the city’s tourism sector focus on promoting the quality value of tourism and raising the public awareness of responsible tourism development while designing a smart city in line with modern tourism development.

    HCM City aims to become a worth-living city, which will make it an attractive destination for international tourists, Peter said, adding that the city needs to preserve its historical values while upholding its cultural identity to lure tourists.

    Addressing the conference, Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee said a continuous growth has been seen in tourism revenues, but yet met the city’s expectations. Responsible tourism lays the foundation for the sustainable development of the sector until 2020 and a vision through 2030.

    The event aims to bring all stakeholders together for the sustainability of the environment, socio-economic and community in tourism development.

    The local tourism sector has recorded an average annual growth of 8-10 percent. It expects to lure six million international tourists and build “an attractive, friendly and safe” tourism city in 2017.

    Over 2.6 million USD raised for flood victims via fatherland front

    Ministries, agencies, individuals and organisations have so far donated 62 billion VND (2.69 million USD) to flood-hit victims in the central and Central Highlands regions via the National Relief Fund and Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee.

    The sum was raised in response to appeals of President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan to support victims of flood, drought and saline intrusion last year.

    On January 19, a representative from the Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) handed over 105 million VND (4,500 USD) to the VFF Central Committee in Hanoi on January 19 to aid flood-hit victims in the central region.

    In the past, the VOV raised 621 million VND (27,000 USD) for the effort and called on individuals and organisations to work together for the victims.

    Speaking at the event, Vice President and Secretary General of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man pledged to transfer the sum to the victims as soon as possible ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year.

    He said last year, the country incurred losses from disasters, including the marine environment incident.

    Vocational training strengthened for rural labourers

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a plan on vocational training for 1.4 million rural labourers from 2016-2020.

    Under the plan, at least 80 percent of the graduates will be employed or improve their income.

    Among them, one million will receive short-term primary vocational training on agricultural production, while the rest will train at intermediate and college levels.

    According to the ministry, the targeted group includes the agricultural labour force in areas implementing agriculture restructuring and new-style rural area building. Priority will be given to those working on farms, cooperatives, and enterprises in connection with farmers, the disabled, disadvantaged households and women.

    Training services will focus on technical and management skills in cultivation, husbandry, fishing, fish farming, salt processing and salt production. The training will also help implement programmes on restructuring agricultural production, adapting to climate change and addressing maritime environment pollution.

    Localities will select appropriate the occupations related to large-scale agricultural production, chain-production, hi-tech products, and food safety.

    Pilot training courses will be held in key production areas before being applied widely. Training curricula will be revised to be more relevant to the labour market and hi-tech agricultural production.

    Capacity building will be enhanced for vocational teaching and managing staff at all levels.

    Wheelchairs given to war invalids, disabled people

    The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) received 1,000 wheelchairs for war invalids and the disabled from IM Japan – a Japanese international human resources training agency, on January 19.

    Addressing the event, MoLISA Minister Dao Ngoc Dung lauded the contributions of the IM Japan in Vietnam, especially to Vietnam-Japan labour cooperation, adding that the ministry will promptly deliver the wheelchairs to people in need.

    Chairman of the IM Japan Yanagisawa Kyoei expressed his hope that the gifts will help the disabled integrate better into society.

    On the occasion, MoLISA handed out 200 wheelchairs to people of Thai Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces.

    Vietnamese, French notary associations establish twin ties

    The notary associations of Vietnam’s northern province of Thai Nguyen and France’s Rouen-Normandy region have inked an agreement to establish their twin ties.

    Jean Déléage, a member of the Supreme Council of French Notary, who is in charge of notary cooperation in Southeast Asia, witnessed the signing ceremony in Thai Nguyen on January 19.

    At a meeting with Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nhu Van Tam the same day, the guest was told that Thai Nguyen is one of the three biggest education-training centers in Vietnam.

    Therefore, the demand for certification of contracts and documents from organisations, businesses and individuals in the locality is increasing, Tam said.

    This requires the province to further improve the operational efficiency of judicial agencies, including notarial activities, he added, proposing the French notary association to support the Vietnamese partner in the sphere.

    According to the deal, the two sides will regularly exchange information and documents on notarial profession, share experience in the field, and refine procedures for drafting documents to ease concerns in inheritance, land, and identity.

    The agreement will come into force within five years and be automatically extended once in five years if the two sides have no documents to end its validity.

    Thai Nguyen was the seventh locality of Vietnam to sign the twin cooperation with France after Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Hai Duong and Vinh Phuc.

    New film on life of VN diaspora in Russia

    The life of the Vietnamese diaspora in Russia will be reflected in a new soap opera produced by Việt Nam Television titled Moscow – Mùa Thay Lá (Moscow – Season of Falling Leaves).

    This is Việt Nam Television’s first film to be completely shot in Russia.

    Director Trọng Trinh said the romantic yellow colours of the fall in Moscow and the emotional story of love and friendship will be key factors in attracting audiences.

    The film stars Hồng Đăng and Hồng Diễm, the couple who won viewers’ hearts in the TV series Cầu Vồng Tình Yêu (Love Rainbow), which aired in 2015.

    In Moscow – Mùa Thay Lá, Đăng and Diễm play Minh and Phương, each other’s first love, who are separated by an unexpected upheaval. After many years, they meet again in Moscow and find that their hearts still beat for each other. However, there is a big gap between them because Phương is married to Đức, one of Minh’s friends. Phương is in a difficult situation because she has to choose between present happiness and the deep love of her past.

    “Diễm performs her role in the film very successfully and so does Đăng,” said director Trinh.

    “Their teamwork was perfect, although they’d not worked together for a year or so.

    “I believe that the film will touch people’s hearts. It’s worth waiting for.”

    The film was shot in Moscow and neighbouring areas. For Vietnamese people who have lived and studied in Russia, the film offers a trip down memory lane to familiar sites like the Red Square, Lenin Hills, Moscow Metro and the multi-functional Hà Nội-Moscow complex.

    The film crew moved to different areas to find beautiful autumn scenes. When shooting began in Moscow, the leaves hadn’t changed colour. So the film crew had to travel to Sergiyev Posad City where autumn had already arrived.

    “A lot of effort and hard work by the film crew made the peaceful and beautiful autumn scenes possible,” Trinh said.

    “We had to manage the weather, food, the time zones, traffic jams and the distance between countries.”

    The four-episode film will be screened on VTV1 from January 29 to February 1.

    Nguyen A introduces new photo book on Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages

    Local veteran photographer Nguyen A last week launched his new photo book on Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritages on Nguyen Van Binh book street in District 1, HCMC, reports Sai Gon Giai Phong.

    The book features 11 intangible cultural heritages of Vietnam, acknowledged by UNESCO, including tug-of-war, cai luong (southern opera), ca tru (traditional ceremonial singing), gong cultural space in the Central Highlands region and Hue imperial music.

    Nguyen A told the audience at the book launch that he has more courage and passion to work on the book after countless meetings with artists, artisans, professors, scientists, scholars and farmers who have contributed to developing and preserving all the heritages of Vietnam which have been acknowledged by UNESCO.

    Nguyen A had made hundreds of trips last year between north and south to meet artisans and related people to finish the book.

    “Spring Fair” returns to Hanoi

    The annual Spring Fair titled ““Lantern Street” celebrating the traditional lunar New Year opened at the Quan Ngua Stadium in Hanoi on January 16.

    The event is a place where people can buy specialties of three regions for Tet holidays, take pictures and enjoy “Lantern Street”, traditional art performances.

    The Spring Fair features nearly 500 display booths of businesses nationwide, presenting thousands of items.

    The fair will run until January 23.

    Vietnamese Tet fair opens in Hanoi

    The “Vietnamese Tet holiday 2017” fair opens at the Vietnam Exhibition Center for Culture and Arts on January 18.

    The meaningful event gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about traditional Tet holiday in the country.

    Visitors will be immersed in the atmosphere of old New Year  at the “Vietnamese Tet holiday 2017” and take part in many cultural activities, such as exhibitions, “Tet holiday with traditional crafts”, “Paintings of the Year of the Rooster 2017”; “Spring Calligraphy” corner; spring flowers arrangement; folk games; food fair; and art performances.

    The Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City announced that 18 science and technology projects of high school students were awarded the first prize of the contest for science-technology research held by the Department lately.

    Of 37 entries sent to the organizer, 18 of them were selected for applicable creativity. Projects showed that high school students pay attention to automation, technology and technique.

    In addition, the organizer selected 19 and 156 projects to give second prizes and third prizes.

    All first prize projects will be sent to the national competition of science and technology held by the Ministry of Education and Training next time.

    The annual competition aims to encourage high school students to carry out science and tech researches and apply knowledge into practice.

    Northern press festivals in full swing

    A press festival to welcome the Year of the Rooster opened at the Viet Xo (Vietnam – Russia) Friendship Cultural Palace in Hanoi on January 17.

    Organised by the Hanoi Journalists Association, the event features 23 stalls of publications that together offer a socio-economic overview of the capital city last year.

    The festival, which also serves as a gathering for journalists, lasts until January 18.

    On the occasion, the municipal journalists association held a ceremony to present the Ngo Tat To press award to outstanding news stories last year. Reporters from the Hanoi Moi newspaper and Hanoi radio-television secured first prizes at the print and television categories.

    The same day, similar festivals took place in the northern provinces of Bac Giang and Dien Bien.


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  • 01/22/17--23:42: Article 0
  • How did money breed money in 2016?

    The heavy gold price fluctuations in 2016 allowed gold investors to make a profit of 17 percent just within three months, while investments in V-30 securities brought profit of 26 percent.

     social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news,  gold price, dollar price, SBV

    Bank deposits, which brought the most modest profit, were still favored by many people who have idle money. The current ceiling deposit interest rate is 5.5 percent a month for less than six month terms.

    Though the lending interest rate is on the decrease, the deposit interest rate keeps relatively stable. By September 30, the average deposit interest rate had increased slightly by 0.4 percent if compared with the end of 2015.

    Most banks set the deposit interest rates at between 6.5 and 6.9 percent per annum. Only Bac A and PVCombank offer higher interest rates of 7.4-7.5 percent per annum.

    As the US dollar was stable throughout 2016 and it only appreciated in the last days of 2016, the investment in the dollar did not bring the expected high profit.

    By the end of 2016, the dollar price quoted by most commercial banks was at VND22,720-22,790 per dollar, up by 1.1-1.2 percent compared with the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, in the two years before, the increases were sharper, at 2.48 percent and 5.34 percent.

    The strongest gold price in four years appeared in June and July when the gold price reached its peak of VND39.8 million per tael. The record low level was established in February when SJC gold price quoted by Bao Tin Minh Chau was VND32.79 million. 

    The heavy gold price fluctuations in 2016 allowed gold investors to make a profit of 17 percent just within three months, while investments in V-30 securities brought profit of 26 percent.

    If investors bought gold in April, when the price was the lowest, and sold in early July, when the price was the highest, they made a profit of VND5.64 million per tael, a profitability of 17 percent.

    On December 31, 2016, SJC gold price quoted by Bao Tin Minh Chau at VND36.18 million per tael, up by 10.9 percent over the end of 2015.

    Investing in securities was a good decision for investors in 2016. The VN Index experienced ups and downs in the year, but the upward trend was the clearest tendency.

    Thanh Nien quoted a report of Maybank Kim Eng Securities as saying that the profit securities investors in 2016 could be up to 18-20 percent, if counting the 15 percent increase of the VN Index and the dividends paid by listed companies to their shareholders.

    Nguyen Thi Ngan Tuyen from Maybank Kim Eng Securities said that many investors have excluded gold out of their investment portfolios because of the high risks. It is not easy to make investment in securities, but the report about the attractive profit of securities investors in 2016 will encourage investors to try the investment channel.

    Thanh Mai, VNN

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  • 01/23/17--01:40: Article 3

    Mekong Delta region targets 9.4 percent export growth

     Mekong Delta region targets 9.4 percent export growth, Reference exchange rate goes down 2 VND, Thai investor to develop solar power project in Quang Ngai, Power tariff likely to keep unchanged this year

    Provinces in the Mekong Delta region aim to generate 15 billion USD from exports in 2017, surging 9.4 percent from the previous year, according to the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region.

    To reach the goal, the provinces plan to accelerate trade and investment promotion and seek new export markets for their agricultural goods.

    Top priorities will also be given to changing the structure of exports towards high-value goods, applying advanced science-technology while reducing exports of low-value farm produce, the committee said, adding that provinces will also speed up administrative reforms to better facilitate businesses and support them in fostering technical innovations to improve production capacities.

    Localities with large export turnovers, such as Long An, Tien Giang, Can Tho, and Dong Thap, will hold dialogues between leaders and enterprises to solve difficulties in capital, policies and markets.

    Last year, provinces in the region earned 13.7 billion USD from exports, up 7.4 percent year-on-year. The major export commodities included seafood, rice, processed food, garment and textile, footwear, and handicraft.

    Several regional localities recorded high export value in 2016, including Long An with 6.6 billion USD; Tien Giang (3.3 billion USD); Can Tho (1.4 billion USD) and Dong Thap (1.2 billion USD).

    The Mekong Delta region comprises Can Tho city and 12 provinces – An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Vinh Long. The region has advantages in agriculture, seafood farming and fruit.

    Reference exchange rate goes down 2 VND

    The State Bank of Vietnam set the reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,191 VND per USD on the morning of January 23, down 2 VND from the end of last week.

    With the current +/- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,856 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,526 VND per USD.

    Meanwhile, Vietcombank bought one USD for 22,530 VND, and sold one USD for 22,600 VND, unchanged from the end of last week.

    BIDV listed the buying rate at 22,520 VND per USD and the selling rate at 22,590 VND per USD, down 10 VND.

    In Eximbank, the buying rate was 22,510 VND per USD, while the selling rate was set at 22,600 VND per USD, down 10 VND.

    Vietnam, UK boost strategic partnership

    The Vietnam-UK Network has contributed significantly to stimulating the strategic partnership between the two countries, said Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Van Thao at a recent meeting of the network.

    Thao said the two partners overcame difficulties to secure sound cooperation outcomes last year, with bilateral trade revenue increasing 15 percent year-on-year.

    There are 12,000 Vietnamese students studying in the UK, he added.

    The diplomat noted that room for future cooperation remains extensive.

    Alok Sharma, UK Minister for Asia and the Pacific, also spoke highly of contributions made by the Vietnam – UK Network, adding that the growth of the bilateral partnership could play an important role in developing the Asia-Pacific economy.

    The Vietnam-UK Network was established in January 2013, as part of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to the UK. It is an overarching umbrella group bringing together organisations and individuals with shared interests in Vietnam to promote Vietnam – UK cooperation.

    Thai investor to develop solar power project in Quang Ngai

    Thailand’s Triple Win Corporation plans to develop a solar power project in Duc Pho district in the central province of Quang Ngai later this year.

    The provincial Department of Industry and Trade said the Thai investor has been preparing a pre-feasibility study on developing a 150 megawatt (MW) project in coastal Pho An commune, 40km south of Quang Ngai city.

    The department said the solar power project will help the province’s ‘green’ growth efforts and provide a ‘green’ power source connected to the national grid.

    In 2015, the province began construction on a 19.2 MW solar power plant in Mo Duc district with total investment of nearly 900 billion VND (41 million USD).

    When finished, the power station, which covers 24ha, will supply 28 million kilowatts an hour to the national grid.

    In 2005, a solar power project was developed in An Binh islet of Ly Son island district, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai, however the district started using power from the national grid at the end of 2014.

    The province has called for domestic and foreign investment in infrastructure projects in Dung Quat Economic Zone and other industrial parks.

    According to latest reports, the central province has attracted 36 foreign direct investment projects, worth 4 billion USD.

    Singapore’s Sembcorp has been preparing to construct a 141ha thermal power plant in the Dung Quat Economic Zone

    The 2,100MW thermal power plant has investment capital of 2 billion USD for the first phase, and is expected to become operational by the third quarter of 2020.

    Power tariff likely to keep unchanged this year

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has not yet decided to adjust power tariffs this year and has been calculating basic prices, the ministry announced at an electricity production cost conference in Hanoi on January 20.

    The ministry said that EVN is required to build a basic price for the year of 2017 based on calculation of 2015 and estimates of 2016.

    Concerning those numbers, Electricity of Vietnam’s (EVN) 2015 power turnover reached more than 234.3 trillion VND (10.32 billion USD) or equivalent to electricity retail price of 1,630 VND per kWh.

    Turnover from activities relating to power production and trading in 2015 was 2.5 trillion VND.

    According to Deloitte Vietnam’s independent audit report, the losses which have not been calculated into EVN’s electricity production and trading in 2015 were up to 8.5 trillion VND. The losses came from the foreign exchange rate differences throughout the group’s wholly invested companies. Its foreign exchange rate difference at companies which EVN hold shares was over 1.3 trillion VND.

    EVN in 2015 therefore posted a slight loss in power production and continued to sell electricity lower than the production cost.

    Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of the ministry’s Electricity Regulatory Authority, said that in 2015 the prices of main fuels including coal, oil and gas affected the electricity production. The Ministry of Science and Technology in the same year promulgated a decision to increase gas prices sold to electricity production by 2 percent while keeping coal prices stable.

    “The important factor in 2015 was that hydropower plants did not reach the set productivity due to unfavourable hydrological conditions. The power output from hydropower plants was reduced and EVN had to mobilise electricity from coal-fired and gas-power plants. This affected to production costs,” Tuan added.

    He added that according to current regulations, construction costs of villas and tennis courts have not been calculated into power production cost. The construction has come from the EVN’s welfare fund, of which, turnover from EVN’s financial activities was around 1.01 trillion VND and those from its corporations was 194.3 billion VND. Turnover from dividend and profit was 60.95 billion VND.

    He said the losses from the foreign exchange difference would be gradually accounted into power tariffs.

    EVN Deputy General Director Dinh Quang Tri said in 2015 that the group has itself avoided roughly 3.5 trillion VND in foreign exchange difference losses thanks to maximising costs and increasing profit. The remaining losses will be gradually accounted for.

    “Normally, the foreign exchange difference losses must be accounted in a year according to the accounting mechanism. However, the EVN asked the ministry and finance ministry to gradually handle the losses over five years due to its special characteristics. If the loss was accounted all at once, power tariffs would surge. The losses would be taken into account of power tariff or reducing production costs,” Tri said.

    “The ministry would review the basic prices. If there is a change of input prices such as fuel, foreign exchange and rates of power resources higher than 7 percent, the power tariff would be adjusted,” he added.

    Businesses urged to act for consumer rights

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Competitive Management Department launched a programme in Hanoi on January 20 encouraging businesses to take actions to protect consumer rights.

    The programme’s launch, in response to the Vietnamese Consumer Rights Day (March 15), aims to raise businesses’ social responsibility for consumers by obeying legal regulations on the protection of consumer rights, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.

    He noted that the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights has contributed to building a healthy consumption environment in Vietnam since it took effect in July 2011.

    Under the programme, goods and services trading companies can conduct activities such as building procedures to receive and address customers’ complaints, opening training courses and workshops on consumer rights and safe consumption, and providing free repair of products for customers, among others, said deputy head of the Competitive Management Department Trinh Anh Tuan.

    It will run from the launching day to the end of March.

    Food factory using Thai technology inaugurated in Ben Tre

    The Go Dang JS Company (GODACO) on January 19 inaugurated its food processing factory in An Hiep commune, Chau Thanh district, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.

    The factory was built on an area of 20,000 square metres in the An Hiep industrial zone, with total investment of 20 million USD.

    The factory using technology transferred from the GFS Company of Thailand has a designed capacity of processing 10,000 tonnes of aquatic products a year to export to the European Union, the United States and Japan. It generates jobs for 400 workers.

    GODACO Director Nguyen Van Dao said first products of the factory have been shipped to Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE.

    The company targets 23,000 tonnes of products in 2017, earning 1.75 trillion VND (77.5 million USD), with 70 million USD from exports.

    VASEP believes in 7.4 billion USD of aquatic exports this year

    Aquatic exports are likely to increase 5 percent from last year to 7.4 billion USD in 2017, despite difficulties in overseas markets and fiercer competition, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said.

    It forecasts growth in shipments to the US, the EU and Japan – the three biggest markets. While the shipments of aquatic products to the US could expand 5 percent to 1.5 billion USD, those to the EU and Japan are likely to rise only 1 percent and 2 percent to some 1.2 billion USD and 1.1 billion USD, respectively.

    At a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19, VASEP Chairman Ngo Van Ich said although aquatic exports encountered problems in the first three months of 2016, they started to rebound in the Q2 and grew for the rest of the year, reaching more than 7.05 billion USD for 2016.

    Revenue rose by 7.4 percent from the previous year and contributed some 22 percent to total agro-forestry-fishery exports.

    Vietnam shipped aquatic products to 161 markets in 2016 with 3.13 billion USD worth of shrimp and 1.67 billion USD worth of tra fish, both of which went up about 7 percent.

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam described last year’s aquatic exports as impressive as the agricultural sector contracted in the first half of the year, and few believed shrimp export volume would reach 652,000 tonnes since only 190,000 tonnes were exported in the first six months of 2016.

    He said facing an unfavourable situation, many seafood processors and exporters shifted to environmentally friendly development models instead of racing to export as much as they could.

    While the quality of aquatic products improved last year, marine pollution along the central coast in early 2016 affected the prestige of Vietnamese seafood. Some countries enhanced examinations of fisheries products from Vietnam, said Nguyen Nhu Tiep – Director of the agriculture ministry’s National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department.

    VASEP Secretary General Truong Dinh Hoe said saltwater intrusion, high production cost of raw materials, strong competition and technical barriers in import markets will remain challenges for seafood businesses.

    Agreeing, Tam warned of an emerging challenge with some countries protecting local production through technical barriers or food safety and quarantine regulations to hamper imports.

    Businesses should keep updated on export markets to avoid having their goods returned, he said.

    At the meeting, enterprises also asked the Government for support policies to ensure the domestic supply of raw materials, improve farming-processing-export links, and reduce production costs.

    Implementation of water project to be extended

    The Prime Minister has approved adjustments to an investment project on water supply and urban waste water treatment funded by the World Bank (WB).

    The deadline for implementing the project will be extended to December 31.

    The Prime Minister asked the State Bank to work with the WB to adjust the agreement on the project in line with law.

    The Ministry of Construction and People’s Committees involved in the project were asked to ensure the implementation of the project on schedule.

    Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh also adopted a proposal on projects to connect transport in northern mountainous provinces and upgrade the East-West Corridor in the Greater Mekong Sub-region using loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

    He also approved an investment project on technical support to enhance links in the East-West Corridor using non-refundable official development assistance from the ADB.

    Financial mechanisms for the projects will be determined based on meetings between the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Transport with the bank.

    The Ministry of Finance will coordinate with the Ministry of Transport and agencies and localities to build a finance mechanism.

    Vietnam, US team up for food safety

    The High Quality Vietnam Products Business Association, the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Washington-based Global Food Safety Forum have signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation in food safety.

    Herb Cochran, AmCham Executive Director, called food safety an issue of concern in both Vietnam and the US.

    “The first objective of the MoU is to help Vietnamese companies join global food supply chains under the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) International Food Safety Capacity Building Plan,” he said.

    The US imports 15 percent of its food, 20 percent of vegetables, 50 percent of fruit and 80 percent of seafood.

    The US Congress requires that the “FDA develop an International Food Safety Capacity Plan to help foreign and food industries that export food to the US.”

    The US FDA will provide “training of foreign governments and food producers on US requirements for safe food. To reach our objective, we will arrange delegation visits to the US and Vietnam, workshop and town hall meetings, websites in English and Vietnamese, Internet-based training programmes targeting company managers, technicians, and official representatives from safety regulatory agencies, special on-site training at Vietnamese companies.”

    In March, a delegation will visit the US to meet with parties in the US Congress, US government agencies including FDA, USDA, USTR, USAID, State and Commerce, as well as business associations such as the International Food and Beverage Alliance.

    In April, Dr. Rick Gilmore, founder and CEO of Global Food Safety Forum, will visit Vietnam on an exploratory mission to establish contacts, hold workshops, plan future events, and gauge the needs of relevant parties in business and government, he said.

    “Our co-operation under the MoU will help both Vietnam and the US Government and business implement TPP and TFA (WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement). Ratification is an important legal step. Equally important is that businesses and government co-operate to understand and meet the food safety requirements.”

    The signing ceremony was part of a year-end party of the Leading Business Club.

    Underground scanning system to be installed at airport

    HCM City Customs Department will soon deploy an underground scanning system for luggage at Tan San Nhat International Airport to facilitate entry of passengers and minimise time spent on procedures.

    The deployment of underground scanning will allow all registered baggage of passengers that are entering to be checked via scanner without disassembly and damage.

    If the scanner detects luggage with suspicious items, it will continuously be monitored throughout the time it move in the underground system until the procedures stage. When passengers receive the baggage, they will be directed to the inspection area and customs declaration for further execution.

    Only those passengers who are believed to be carrying suspicious items in their luggage must take further steps of customs inspection, according to the department.

    The application of the new system will also reduce the pressure on customs officers and they will have more time to focus on handling suspected cases and violations.

    Meanwhile, the department will also apply the e-manifest system (a module used by airlines, shipping lines and forwarders for the submission of manifest and shipping documents) at Tan Son Nhat airport.

    It is expected that the system will reduce the procedures and time taken on entry, exit or transit procedures. At the same time, customs authorities will apply the electronic chip system for tracking suspicious luggage to ensure strict management, improve efficiency while handling violations and preventing drugs trafficking and illegal weapons transportation across the border.

    In a bid to promote reform and modernisation, since the beginning of the year 2017, HCM City’s Customs Department has implemented electronic monitoring procedures under Article 41 of the Customs Law for seaports and airports.

    Accordingly, customs authorities and enterprises will connect via information technology systems to exchange data on imported and exported goods during customs clearance at seaports, simplifying procedures and reducing time and costs of enterprises.

    Since last year, customs officers have deployed the container scanning system at large ports, such as Cat Lai, VICT port and Phuoc Long ICD, for inspections before exported and imported goods are loaded and unloaded, thereby accelerating the clearance of goods while ensuring strict management of customs.

    New regulation prepares for BASEL II

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a new circular to prepare for the application of BASEL II standards in the domestic banking system.

    Under Circular 41/2016/TT-NHNN issued recently, commercial banks must maintain a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of at least 8 percent from January 1, 2020.

    The new circular will replace Circular 13/2010/TT-NHNN that currently regulates minimum CAR of at least 9 percent for banks.

    However, according to the central bank, commercial banks that are capable of implementing the new regulation earlier than the above date can register to apply earlier.

    The central bank’s move is aimed to prepare for the application of BASEL II standards in the domestic banking system. Under BASEL II standards, minimum CAR is required at 8 percent.

    According to a recent report from the National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC), minimum CAR of the entire banking system this year is estimated at 11.3 percent.

    However, experts estimate that when the BASEL II is applied, the current CAR at banks would reduce sharply due to an increase in the amount of their risky assets.

    The NFSC also reported that a pilot application of BASEL II at 10 banks showed that the CAR at the banks will reduce sharply compared with the current situation. Taking the four State-owned banks of Vietcombank, BIDV, Vietinbank and Agribank for example, their current CAR stands at nearly 9 percent, but it reduces to less than 8 percent when applying BASEL II standards.

    Vietnam currently applies Basel I for the banking industry. However, the central bank has selected the 10 largest and most prestigious domestic commercial banks to apply in a pilot phase the BASEL II standards.

    The banks, which will pilot capital and risk management methods according to Basel II standards, is due to complete the pilot run by 2018 and the Basel II application will be then deployed at other commercial banks in the country.

    Basel II is a new, higher level for Vietnamese banks in accordance with Basel Accords standards set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The application is flexible to different countries but the overall spirit is tighter regulations on banking operations.

    Industry insiders said the Basel II application in Vietnam would be a challenge for local banks; however, it is a must as it is believed to be the best solution to make Vietnamese banks healthier.

    Le Trung Kien, Deputy Director of the SBV’s Department for Banking Operation Safety Policies, said banks would face challenges in human resources and finance when the Basel II is applied, however, applying Basel II’s standards is a key task listed in the programme on credit institution restructuring.

    Besides this, Kien said, "it is essential for local banks to apply Basel II when Vietnam integrates with the global economy, as most of other regional banks have, so far, applied Basel II or even Basel III."

    Businesses push ahead with trade promotion in early 2017

    The National Trade Promotion Programme has been carried out since the beginning of 2017 in order to expand markets and diversify export commodities.

    Speaking at a conference in Hanoi on January 19, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ta Hoang Linh said the programme targets European countries such as France, German, Belgium and Italy as well as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members like Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and New Zealand, along with countries in the ASEAN Economic Community like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    The programme also focus on developing domestic market, especially in rural, border and disadvantaged areas, and implementing effectively the campaign “Vietnamese prioritise using Vietnamese goods”, he added.

    The management board of the programme planned to work with associations, localities and enterprises immediately to map out trade promotion activities according to sectors and economic regions in medium and long terms in order to build feasible and high-quality projects.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said the ministry will continue implementing practical activities to help businesses register for protection and geographic indication, and connect with the Vietnamese commercial system abroad to develop their brand names.

    Last year, the programme supported 6,000 businesses to sign domestic and foreign contracts and transaction deals worth over 354 million USD and 890 billion VND (39.4 million USD) respectively at trade promotion events.

    Temporary floating bridge built to boost Vietnam-China border trade

    A ground-breaking ceremony for a temporary floating bridge over the Ka Long border river was held in Mong Cai city of the northern province of Quang Ninh on January 19.

    The bridge is the first of its kind connecting Mong Cai city with Dongxing city of China.

    The bridge which has total investment of 160 billion VND (7.09 million USD) is 114m long and 12m wide, and has two lanes for vehicles.

    Once completed, the floating bridge will boost import-export activities and economic development between the two border cities and minimise the weather impact on goods transport while reducing cost of transportation, contributing to the socio-economic development of the two localities.

    Le Nguyen, a passionate for dragon fruit products

    The Ham Duc dragon fruit cooperative in Binh Thuan province was set up in 2015 and is now headed by Ms Le Nguyen. In a little more than a year, they have established their trademark in the domestic and foreign markets.

    le nguyen, a passionate for dragon fruit products hinh 0 Binh Thuan province is a principal producer of dragon fruit in Vietnam. In recent years, the price of dragon fruit has dropped sharply, causing great financial losses for local farmers. Ms Le Nguyen came up with the idea of establishing the Ham Duc dragon fruit cooperative to buy dragon fruit at a stable and reasonable price.
    Ms Le Nguyen said “Since we began purchasing dragon fruit to make wine, farmers don’t have to accept the low prices offered by fruit wholesalers. We are now producing red and white dragon fruit wine. The wine is good for your health”.

    Ms Le Nguyen has also done research to create other products like dried dragon fruit and dragon fruit juice. Her ideas have helped to boost local incomes and living standards.

    Ms Nguyen Thi Hai, a member of the Ham Duc cooperative said “Our life has greatly improved since we joined the cooperative. It has generated stable jobs and income for us. The work of the cooperative is not too complicated. Anyone can do it”.

    Ham Duc cooperative’s dragon fruit products are now available in many provinces and cities nationwide. And Ms. Le Nguyen recently signed a contract to export dragon fruit wine to Cambodia. The cooperative attended the 13th ASEAN-China Fair and signed a contract to sell its wine to the Chinese market. 2 batches have already been exported to China. Market demand for dragon fruit wine is growing.

    “We plan to build a factory. The work is suitable for female workers. Even the elderly can do it. We are looking for new outlets for local dragon fruit,” Ms Le Nguyen noted.

    The Ham Duc dragon fruit cooperative has become a role model for other local Farmers Associations to follow.

    Sun Group opens Dragon Park in Ha Long

    On January 25, Sun Group will officially open the biggest theme park in Southeast Asia, Dragon Park, in Ha Long.

    The park, which is part of the Sun World Ha Long Park entertainment complex in Ha Long city of Quang Ninh province.

    The park has 30 games and has been certified by Technischer Überwachungsverein (TUV).

    This is the first theme park in Asia that is managed by Spanish brand Parques Reunidos, which manages about 60 parks in 14 countries in the world.

    With area of 40 hectares, Dragon Park was designed to provide visitors with unforgettable moments.

    Games are designed to suit people of many ages including children, teenagers, and adults.

    For children, Dragon Park opens up a magical world with games inspired by well-known fairytales such as Magic Cup and Fairytale Train.

    Children can also join mini tours to explore Paris and the Eiffel tower through the Tour de Paris.

    Teenagers and the whole family can ride on the two-story carousel or on a boat in the river under the shade of bamboos.

    The highlight of the theme park is games such as the Phi Long Than Toc roller coaster, the longest one in Asia with length of 1.1 kilometres, manufactured by B&M at limited number.

    The Rhino Sling has players go around the giant horns and free fall atup to 65 kilometres per hour.

    Experiental games such as Pirate Boat, Explorer and Dragon Track are a chance for visitors to explore Dragon Park in the best way. All the games at the park are imported from Europe.

    Besides the games, Dragon Park also attracts tourists due to the scenery with over 100,000 flower bushes and 10,000 trees.

    After playing, visitors can rest at one of the restaurants in the park and enjoy diverse dishes and high quality service.

    Dragon Park is the second biggest part of Sun World Ha Long Park, which started operation after the Queen Cable Car made two world Guinness records and the Sun Wheel were introduced in June 2016.

    Launched on the occasion of the lunar New Year, Dragon Park is ready to welcome millions of visitors in the holiday.

    As Southeast Asia’s biggest water park, also in the same complex, is going to open to visitors in March, Dragon Park is the most modern tourism product Halong has ever had, and is expected to add to the appeal of the city.

    Tuan Tu vegetable village in spring

    Tuan Tu is a famous vegetable village in Ninh Phuoc district, Ninh Thuan province. It’s especially crowded with traders before Tet.

    The Cham people of Tuan Tu village earn their living by growing vegetables, supplying tons of vegetables and fruits to the market.

    Villager Chau Thi Ot says “Our grandparents grew watermelons, beans, and cabbages for the family. We have applied farming technology to grow many other types of vegetables, which bring us a stable income.”

    Using modern technology, farmers in Tuan Tu village have increased their productivity and ensured food safety and hygiene. Tuan Tu farmers apply Vietgap standards to growing asparagus. Farm households have formed a cooperative which contracts to supply vegetables to companies and supermarkets.

    Hung Ky , Head of the Tuan Tu Cooperative, says “We cannot meet all of the market demand for asparagus. Our lives have improved and some families are better-off.”

    Hardworking farmers have turned Tuan Tu village, which was endowed by nature with fertile land and favorable weather, into a verdant and attractive tourist village.

    Deutsche Bank expects Vietnam’s GDP to grow 6.4%

    Thanks to the sustainable recovery of agriculture and export, Vietnam is expected to achieve GDP growth of 6.4% this year, up from 6.2% in 2016, said Juliana Lee, senior economist at Deutsche Bank, at a recent meeting with the media.

    The economist said this forecast was carefully made, taking into account risks Vietnam might face given global economic uncertainties. However, this is less significant than the Government’s commitments to further reforms to tap growth potentials in the long term.

    Deutsche Bank anticipates the boom of Vietnam’s economy based on export growth and steadily rising foreign investment, as well as the Government’s promises on further restructuring.

    With considerable progress in economic reforms, supported by foreign capital inflows, the dong might strengthen, in contrast to the predictions of its steady devaluation against the U.S. dollar, said Lee. This would also entail risks affecting Deutsche Bank’s forecast for a growth rate of more than 6%, she added.

    Vietnam can achieve progress in bank restructuring and bad debt resolution. Earlier, a detailed guidance on State ownership has been released, signaling an acceleration of State-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring this year.

    SOE restructuring is vital to the financial situation of Vietnam since it not only assists long-term growth but also improves the financial situation in the coming time, Lee said. For example, the proceeds from the sale of SOEs may be used to partly settle public debt.

    Lee stressed the importance of tackling bad debt and boosting credit risk management to ensure the stability of the banking system, in case interest rates went up in the medium term.

    In fact, Vietnam is looking for greater foreign investments.

    Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has unveiled the intention to raise the limit on foreign ownership in banks and make it easier for foreign investors to gain access to the domestic stock market, as early as at the beginning of this year. As a result, foreign investors may be given full control of struggling banks in Vietnam.

    Overall, the senior economist at Deutsche Bank said conditions would remain favorable for business and investment in Vietnam. And the country is carrying out significant improvements in their business climate.

    In the ease of doing business index of the World Bank, Vietnam has moved to 82nd in 2017 from 91st in 2016.

    Despite its relatively good performance in terms of getting credit, registering property and dealing with construction permits, Vietnam still needs to make more efforts in terms of paying tax, starting a business and resolving insolvency. The State Bank of Vietnam is developing related laws to facilitate the settlement of bad debts.

    The forecast of Deutsche Bank for Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2017 is a little lower than that given by Standard Chartered Bank five days before.

    Jens Ruebbert, chief country officer of Deutsche Bank Vietnam, said his bank last year had struck a number of deals in the market of Vietnam, including the initial public offering of Vietjet Air, Thailand’s Central Group’s acquisition of Big C Vietnam and Singha Asia’s investment in Masan Consumer.

    Microsoft and FPT develop strategic partnership through cloud development

    US technology giant Microsoft and FPT, a local leading information technology and telecommunications company, has signed an enterprise agreement related to digital transformation, particularly cloud deployment.

    The agreement (EA) tightens the long-term and sustainable strategic partnership that has been lasting for almost 20 years between the two leading IT corporations.

    Specifically, FPT will be the first and the largest enterprise in Vietnam to deploy Microsoft’s cloud computing for the entire operations of the corporation in order to optimise operational efficiency, improve competitiveness.

    Besides, FPT will also promote the provision and deployment of Microsoft's advanced cloud services to the corporation's clients.

    “As the two global and local IT corporations, Microsoft and FPT want to continuously strengthen this long-term, sustainable relationship via technology cooperation. The move to cloud by Microsoft technology will surely help FPT further develop, complete its mission to bring technology, knowledge to enable Vietnam to reach potential and partly address the socio-economic issues,” said Vu Minh Tri, CEO of Microsoft Vietnam.

    In the first phase, FPT will adopt Microsoft Office 365 to move its entire system and data to the cloud, at the same time deploying One Drive for Business and Skype for Business to optimise operating performance.

    In the next phase, FPT and Microsoft will strongly develop the cloud (including Office 365 and Microsoft Azure) to digitally transform for clients in Vietnam.

    According to FPT CEO Bui Quang Ngoc, cloud services are strongly growing worldwide and gradually replacing traditional ones to help businesses solve the problem of cost, human resources and risk management.

    FPT is doing digital transformation in all areas such as management, technology, sales, and customer service.

    The deployment of Microsoft Office 365 cloud is one of FPT’s steps on digital transformation way to become the pioneer enterprise in the fourth industrial revolution.

    “With the experiences and capabilities recognised by its customers and partners, FPT will provide optimum, beneficial and truly unique solutions and services for customers in the digital revolution,” Ngoc stressed.

    Nowadays, most of the world’s large technology companies have adopted cloud computing.

    However, in Vietnam, the majority of businesses are still reluctant to move their system and data to cloud, particularly large ones. Such a large tech corporation as FPT pioneers in application Microsoft Office 365 advanced cloud for a large number of users will contribute to push other businesses access and adopt cloud.

    With the strength of Vietnam’s leading provider of IT services, FPT and Microsoft will jointly develop cloud market segment in Vietnam and other countries.

    Earlier, in 2010, Microsoft and FPT signed the cooperation agreement to develop cloud computing services. FPT has been distributing, deploying Microsoft's software and cloud services for a lot of large enterprises.

    One major project of FPT Japan’s transformation from Notes to Office 365 with Calsonic Kansei (the world’s leading car part manufacturer) was selected as a case study by Microsoft Japan and posted on the corporation’s blog.

    FPT is currently the most senior partner of Microsoft. In their 20-year history, Microsoft and FPT have collaborated to bring Microsoft’s powerful solutions to customers in Vietnam and other countries, such as e-government (eGov), eTax, eCustoms, and eHospital, among others.

    The two parties also cooperate in network architecture building, personnel training, hardware purchase, software distribution and development in order to provide the comprehensive cloud computing solutions that are proper for Vietnamese customers.

    French kiwifruit approved for import into Vietnam

    The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association has unveiled that fresh kiwifruit from France have been approved for import and will soon be hitting supermarket shelves across the country.

    The Association made the announcement at a joint news conference in Ho Chi Minh City with officials from the French Consulate General at which they stated the organically grown kiwifruit have undergone thorough testing and pose no pest or health safety risk.
    Kiwifruit are the second fruit from France to receive approval for market entry into Vietnam.  Presently, French apples are sold at supermarkets throughout the country such as Big C, Coopmart and MM Mega Market.

    AkzoNobel launches global chemicals start-up challenge

    AkzoNobel has just launched Imagine Chemistry, providing an exciting opportunity to partner with start-up firms, students, research groups and career scientists from across the world to jointly exploit the knowledge of chemistry and solve several real-life chemistry-related challenges.

    The challenge is part of an integrated approach to further deploy AkzoNobel’s innovation capability in support of its growth ambitions.
    The company believes there is tremendous potential even in mature chemistries, and the challenge aims to tap into that as well as uncover new opportunities.

    Imagine Chemistry, launched in conjunction with global professional services firm KPMG, aims to address a number of specific societal challenges as well as finding new sustainable opportunities for AkzoNobel businesses.

    “Our world is made of molecules and we believe that chemistry, mastering the elements, is essential to making the world a better place,” explained Peter Nieuwenhuizen, RD&I director for AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business.

    “To get there, we believe open innovation will be vital, seeking ideas both internally and externally to advance our technology and mutually gain from creative thinking. Imagine… with all of our knowledge of chemistry, we can work together to solve some of life’s biggest problems. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.”

    Imagine Chemistry focuses on finding solutions within the following five areas: Revolutionizing plastics recycling; wastewater-free chemical sites; cellulose-based alternatives to synthetics; bio-based and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners; and bio-based sources of ethylene

    In addition, there are “open challenges” for broad ideas in two further areas: Highly reactive chemistry and technology and sustainable alternatives to current technologies.

    All challenges are business-driven and should go commercial in a 3-5 year time horizon.

    A dedicated online challenge platform has been launched, operated by KPMG, where participants can submit their ideas and solutions. Anyone who registers will get feedback from AkzoNobel chemicals experts.

    The challenge will give the winners the chance to see their ideas become a commercial reality.

    “We will provide access to customers, investors, subject matter experts, mentorship and an accelerator programme, along with additional support. The collaboration could take on many forms: a joint development agreement, having AkzoNobel as a launch customer, organizing partnerships, or investing in your startup. Our ultimate goal is to innovate together,” Nieuwenhuizen added.

    “Imagine Chemistry is just the latest example of the commitment of AkzoNobel to fostering innovation, and also to doing innovation differently,” he added.

    It follows a recent decision by the company to participate in a €50 million collaborative venture capital fund, run by Icos Capital, that will focus on investing in early stage chemical and clean technology innovation start-ups, as well as plans to establish an Open Innovation Centre at the AkzoNobel Chemicals Research Facility in Deventer, the Netherlands.

    “Vietnamese people do perform really well at natural science, and chemistry is a prominent field.  As the government is increasingly investing in natural science education, chemistry-related majors have been rising strongly in Vietnam that attract thousands of young talents,” said David Teng, general director, AkzoNobel Paints Vietnam.

    “I believe that Vietnam is a potential country for chemical talents to grow, and AkzoNobel – as a leading company with chemistry background, see itself to play an important role to contribute to the development of chemistry in Vietnam.”
    In Vietnam, the Imagine Chemistry challenge is organised nationwide, opening an opportunity for students, researchers and especially for all those who have a huge passion for chemistry to turn their concepts into reality.

    Businesses encouraged to take actions for consumer rights

    On January 20, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Competitive Management Department launched a programme in Hanoi calling for businesses to take actions to protect consumer rights.

    The programme’s launch is designed to raise businesses’ social responsibility for consumers by complying with legal regulations on the protection of consumer rights, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.

    The Law on Protection of Consumer Rights has contributed to building a healthy consumption environment in Vietnam since it become effective in July 2011, he said.

    Under the programme running from the launching day to the end of March, goods and services trading companies can conduct activities such as building procedures to receive and address customers’ complaints, opening training courses and workshops on consumer rights and safe consumption, and providing free repair of products for customers, among others, said deputy head of the Competitive Management Department Trinh Anh Tuan.

    Tata Group investigates different angles in Vietnam

    India’s Tata Group announced plans to expand into Vietnam in a wide range of business sectors, focusing on energy, coffee processing, and agricultural machinery.

    Indronil Sengupta, executive director of Tata Group in Vietnam, confirmed in a recent meeting with President Tran Dai Quang that the group’s expansion plan will target solar and wind power projects, a coffee processing plant in Binh Duong, and the installation of agricultural machinery in the Mekong Delta.

    The movement came after a series of its subsidiaries, such as Tata Power, Tata Projects, Tata Chemical, and Tata Motors, were reported to be on the lookout for opportunities in Vietnam. Optimism is high, although the failure of Tata Steel’s US$5 billion steel project in the central province of Ha Tinh is still fresh in the memories of seasoned employees.

    “The demographics and the economic development stage of [Vietnam] represent a market for several products and services from Tata Group,” the group stated in a report on its website.

    In late 2016, Tata Coffee announced plans to set up a state-of-the-art freeze-dried coffee plant in Vietnam with an installed capacity of 5,000 tonnes per year. The plant in Vietnam will serve global customers of Tata Coffee new product mixes of freeze-dried coffee, according to the website.

    Sanjiv Sarin, managing director of Tata Coffee, in a press release issued late last month, said, “This move is in line with the company’s strategy to strengthen focus on differentiation, premiumisation, and customer-centricity. Vietnam offers an attractive business environment besides being the largest Robusta coffee-growing region. The plant will help us further expand our global footprint.”

    Tata Power plans to increase investment in Vietnam to exploit business opportunities in an increasingly energy-thirsty market. To supply such energy, it is looking at renewable as well as thermal sources.

    Tata Power proposed to invest in the build-operate-transfer (BOT) Long Phu 3 thermal power plant in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, after it had been granted approval by the Vietnamese government to build the $2 billion plant in the province. In November 2013, the company inked a memorandum of understanding regarding the plant’s construction with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    In a previous interview with VIR, Sengupta said that, with the potential growth of the economy and the expanding market, he believes that Vietnam will remain at the top of Tata Group’s list of interests. Although he also mentioned that the 2013 failure of Tata Steel’s $5 billion steel project in Vietnam may cause the group to take heed.

    Jitendra Manghnani, the country manager at Tata International, a subsidiary of Tata Group, said in his business trip to Vietnam that the enterprise would invest in an agricultural machinery plant in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, according to Can Tho’s official website.

    The plant would supply machines for the Vietnamese market as well as overseas. The capital investment for the project, still undisclosed, would likely be enormous.

    “Tata International has been distributing farm machinery in Africa through strategic partnerships with reputed manufacturers and global leaders.

    Our in-depth understanding of the needs of the farming business makes us a reliable partner that farmers depend upon in the places where we operate,” he said.

    National Trade Promotion Programme under scrutiny

     On January 19, the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade hosted a conference on the National Trade Promotion Programme aiming to expand markets and diversify export commodities.

    In his speech, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ta Hoang Linh said the programme targets European countries- France, German, Belgium and Italy as well as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members such as Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and New Zealand, along with countries in the ASEAN Economic Community like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    The management board of the programme has worked with associations, localities and enterprises immediately to devise trade promotion activities according to sectors and economic regions in medium and long terms in order to build feasible and high-quality projects.

    The programme also focus on developing domestic market, especially in rural, border and disadvantaged areas, and carrying out effectively the campaign “Vietnamese prioritise using Vietnamese goods”, he said.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said the ministry's practical activities aim to help businesses register for protection and geographic indication, and connect with the Vietnamese commercial system abroad to develop their brand names.

    Last year, the programme supported 6,000 businesses to sign domestic and foreign contracts and transaction deals valued at US$354 million and US$39.4 million.


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  • 01/23/17--01:53: Article 2
  • 4.0 industrial revolution to bring major changes to labor market

    Vietnam’s cheap labor force will no longer be an advantage in attracting investment as the cost for applying advanced technologies is getting lower. Thus, a large number of Vietnamese workers will be thrown off production lines.

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    The director of a South Korean precision molding company based in Thach That Industrial Zone in Hanoi said he can imagine how his production line will work in the future.

    It will be an automatic system with robots and artificial intelligence. When materials run out, this will be recognized by robots which will issue commands to pour more materials into the production line.

    This scene will be seen in the near future, when the world begins the 4.0 industrial revolution with the boom of information technology and internet. By that time, machines and robots will not only be able to work, but command and regulate as well.

    Vu Tien Loc, chair of VCCI, noted that the 4.0 industrial revolution will come as quickly as a typhoon and the number of workers to be hit will be very high. However, Vietnamese businesses still do not have any plans to prepare for it. 

    Vietnam’s cheap labor force will no longer be an advantage in attracting investment as the cost for applying advanced technologies is getting lower. Thus, a large number of Vietnamese workers will be thrown off production lines.

    Meanwhile, Canon, a foreign investor in Vietnam, has been upgrading its machines and technology. After eight years, the number of workers at its factory has fallen from 13,000 to 8,000.

    Dao Thi Thu Huyen, chief secretariat of Canon Vietnam, said Canon’s managers were surprised as Vietnam can lose its advantage in cheap labor costs quickly.

    At the 2016 World Economic Forum, Vietnam was cited as one of 10 new emerging markets with garment & footwear and electronics the sectors making the greatest contribution to economic development.

    However, according to Loc, in both fields, Vietnam just does simple assembling which brings low added value. These will be the labor intensive labor industries that will suffer heavily from the 4.0 revolution.

    Analysts said that in the past, foreign investors flocked to Vietnam because they were attracted by the cheap labor costs. However, as the minimum wage has been increasing, the labor costs have risen.

    Therefore, investors will utilize high technology to use less labor. Besides, with protectionism, it is highly possible that enterprises like Nike and Adidas will set up production bases in their countries to get support from governments and apply high technology to reduce costs.

    ILO estimates that 86 percent of workers in garment & footwear and 75 percent of workers in electronics will face the risks to be brought by the revolution.

    David Lamotte from ILO Asia Pacific said the initiatives like robotic automation has been applied in many industries, including garment & footwear and electronics in ASEAN and China.

    Le Ba,VNN

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  • 01/23/17--02:03: Article 1
  • Vietnamese firms ignorant about EU FTA

    Up to 69% of Vietnamese exporters to the European market said that they only heard about the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and were unaware of its content.

    The information was mentioned in a survey about impacts of EVFTA on Vietnam’s policy and mechanism reforms released by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) recently.


    Up to 69% of Vietnamese exporters to the European market said that they only heard about the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) 

    According to the survey which covers 120 companies which have signed export contracts with EU partners, 26% said that they only knew a little about EVFTA while only 5% admitted that they have thorough knowledge of the agreement which is scheduled to take effect early 2018.

    Due to the ignorance about the agreement, up to 63% of the interviewed exporters have not made any preparations for the agreement which is scheduled to take effect in early 2018.

    The in-principle agreement reached on August 4 2015 includes the elimination of over 99% of all tariffs. Vietnam will liberalise tariffs over a ten-year period and the EU will do likewise over a seven-year period.

    Experts, however, warned that the EVFTA is a new deal with more commitments to cut tariffs, create commercial advantages, and improve the investment and business environments, competition, and sustainable development. It will also create challenges because the EU is one of the most competitive markets in the world.

    Vietnamese companies are advised to study more information about European markets, pay more attention to raising their product quality as well as packaging. Many Vietnamese companies said that a taskforce should be set up to provide information about EVFTA for the business community.
    By Nguyen Tuyen,

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  • 01/23/17--18:23: Article 0

    Vietnam cotton industry grows on Chinese demand

     vietnam cotton industry grows on chinese demand hinh 0

    Despite concerns that the industry might continue to decline, cotton imports of Vietnam have increased in the first few months of 2016-17. It is estimated that imports will experience an increase of 18%.

    One of the major reasons for the uptick in Vietnam’s cotton industry is the demand for yarn in China. This has been explained by the recent growth in the Chinese garment industry.

    The industry has thrived on the demand from the US and Europe for inexpensive manufactured clothes.

    In China, the industry focuses on producing finished textile goods, which explains the demand for the yarn from Vietnam. Some experts and industry watchers had been concerned that China’s internal cotton production would increase to the point where it would render Vietnam imports unnecessary.

    However, as many in China increasingly turn to the cities for employment and the urban lifestyle, China is having a harder time meeting its agricultural labor needs and hence a high dependence on yarn imports from Vietnam has developed.

    Way too much supply deflating natural rubber market

    The global natural rubber market is currently starting its fifth year of surplus that is creating excessive stockpiles of inventory and contributing to a steady fall in prices, says the Vietnam Rubber Association.

    Speaking at a press conference launching an international rubber expo in Ho Chi Minh City last December, Vo Hoang An, deputy chair of the VRA, told reporters that it is expected by the year 2020 there will be a surplus of approximately 1 million tons of natural rubber and 3 million tons of synthetic rubber.  

    An noted Vietnam natural rubber exports for 2016 surpassed expectations jumping 10.6% in volume to 1.26 million tons and 9% in value to US$1.67 billion when compared against 2015.

    On the downside, however, the average price for rubber fell 6.3% to US$1,290 per ton over the course of the year.

    Vietnam was the fourth largest exporter of natural rubber, he said, primarily shipping product to China and Malaysia who collectively account for roughly two-thirds ofthe country’s rubber exports.

    However, he was less optimistic about the outlook for 2017.

    The world demand for rubber, he pointed out, is primarily used to manufacture tires, and the looming economic slowdown in China could potentially spill over and slow the demand for natural rubber.

    Asia accounts for 93% of the world rubber production, he added, noting that Thailand is the largest producer followed by Indonesia and then Vietnam, the third largest.

    Other large rubber producers in the region include India, China and Malaysia.

    China is the world's largest consumer of rubber followed by India and the US. Increasing consumption of tires and industrial rubber products in the US is expected to boost the global demand for rubber.

    Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, head of the Vietnam Rubber Association’s advisory board has recently recommended the commodity not be sold at the current low prices.

    Hoa pointed out that production had been cut by rubber growers in the last two months of 2016 and many smallholders are in the process of shifting production to other agricultural crops.

    Meanwhile, Hoa urged Vietnamese rubber processors to invest more in advanced technology and seek out new buyers for their products.

    She suggested that they plan on attending the Rubber and Tyre Vietnam, an international exhibition, to help them get up-to-date on the latest technologies and products and build new relationships.

    To be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre June 13-15 this year, it is anticipated that the exhibition will see more than 80 local and international participating exhibitors.

    There will be conferences and seminars at the three-day exhibition, she noted, as well asa rubber sourcing fair to enable Vietnamese tire and rubber producers and foreign buyers to compare notes and explore business opportunities.

    Businesses push ahead with trade promotion in early 2017

    The National Trade Promotion Programme has been carried out since the beginning of 2017 in order to expand markets and diversify export commodities.

    Speaking at a conference in Hanoi on January 19, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ta Hoang Linh said the programme targets European countries such as France, German, Belgium and Italy as well as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members like Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and New Zealand, along with countries in the ASEAN Economic Community like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    The programme also focus on developing domestic market, especially in rural, border and disadvantaged areas, and implementing effectively the campaign “Vietnamese prioritise using Vietnamese goods”, he added.

    The management board of the programme planned to work with associations, localities and enterprises immediately to map out trade promotion activities according to sectors and economic regions in medium and long terms in order to build feasible and high-quality projects.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said the ministry will continue implementing practical activities to help businesses register for protection and geographic indication, and connect with the Vietnamese commercial system abroad to develop their brand names.

    Last year, the programme supported 6,000 businesses to sign domestic and foreign contracts and transaction deals worth over US$354 million and VND890 billion (US$39.4 million) respectively at trade promotion events.

    Jetstar Pacific deploys online check-in service

    The low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific on January 19 inaugurated an application that enables passengers to conduct check-in on its website. 

    Accordingly, passengers flying with Jetstar Pacific starting from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang city, can perform check-in on the website before they arrive at airports.

    The service is only applicable to passengers holding Vietnamese nationality and having no luggage. 

    Previously, the airline also applied mobile check-in service to make customers’ flying easier, especially during the lunar New Year festival. 

    The new applications significantly contribute to improving the airline’s service quality, thus attracting more passengers using its services. 

    On the same day, Jetstar Airways, an Australia–based member airline of the Jetstar Group, began selling tickets for the two direct air routes connecting Vietnam and Australia, including the HCM City-Melbourne and HCM City-Sydney services. 

    The arlines uses Boeing 787 aircrafts for the routes. The flights on these routes are also connected to 37 internal and international air routes operated by Jetstar Pacific. 

    This is the first time the low-cost carrier has opened a direct long-distance route between Vietnam and Australia. 

    Jetstar Pacific is a member of the Jetstar Group, one of the largest low-budget airlines in Asia-Pacific. It is running flights to 80 destinations in 17 countries in the region.

    Temporary floating bridge built to boost Vietnam-China border trade

    A ground-breaking ceremony for a temporary floating bridge over the Ka Long border river was held in Mong Cai city of the northern province of Quang Ninh on January 19.

    The bridge is the first of its kind connecting Mong Cai city with Dongxing city of China.

    The bridge which has total investment of VND160 billion (US$7.09 million) is 114m long and 12m wide, and has two lanes for vehicles.

    Once completed, the floating bridge will boost import-export activities and economic development between the two border cities and minimise the weather impact on goods transport while reducing cost of transportation, contributing to the socio-economic development of the two localities.

    Foreign visitors to Da Nang rise in Lunar New Year

    The central city of Da Nang is expected to welcome 100,356 foreign visitors in the Lunar New Year 2017, an increase of 26.6 percent year-on-year, according to the Department of Tourism.

    The total number of visitors coming to Da Nang city is estimated to reach 243,230, rising 9.5 percent compared to last year.

    Recently launched international direct flights were credited for the rise of foreign visitors to the city, mostly from the Republic of Korea, China and Japan.

    Da Nang will host several cultural events to celebrate Lunar New Year 2017 such as an event on New Year’s Eve on the Han River and a spring flower festival.

    The city was honoured as Asia’s leading festival and event destination by the World Travel Awards in 2016. 

    The Da Nang airport is now operating 20 international routes, including 11 direct and 9 charter ones. 

    Da Nang served more than 5.51 million visitors last year, up 17.7 percent from 2015. Of the figure, 1.67 million were foreigners, marking a 31.6 percent increase.

    Dried food helps enrich Son La people

    In recent years, producing dried beef and pork has created new income for many households in Son La province. When Tet comes, the dried meat market is busier than ever. Son La branded products are now in demand nationwide.

    Nguyen Thi Ly’s family in To Hieu ward, Son La City, has been making dried meat for 20 years. At first Ly only sold dried pork meat and sausages. In 2006, when she realized the potential of dried meat market, Ly’s family invested more than US$1,500 in building a smoker oven and vacuum-pump. Now her family sells nearly 2 tons of dried beef a year, and more than 1 ton of dried meat during Tet. Ly says she makes an annual net profit of US$8,800.

    “I have 20 years of experience. The busiest time of the year is around the Tet holiday when the number of customers calling or coming to my house to order goods is much higher. This job gives us a stable income, enough money for the children to attend school,” Ly elaborates.

    Son La’s dried meat is made of pork, beef,  buffalo meat, or horse meat mixed with the typical spices of Thai ethnic people - chili, ginger, garlic, and “mac khen”, - a kind of forest peppercorn with a distinctive aroma.

    After being seasoned, the meat is smoked over firewood for 2 days and 1 night and then steamed. The last step is to continue to smoke the meat until it is dry to ensure it will keep for a long time. 

    Each step is done manually, Hoang Thanh Binh, a tourist of Hoa Binh province, says “Son La’s dried meat is delicious and distinctive. Both children and adults like it. I bought several kilos as gifts for my family and friends.”

    During this year’s Tet holiday, the Son La dried food market is offering a new product: dried Giang fish. Dried Giang fish is prepared like other dried foods, but it takes more time to smoke the fish and it’s a bit more complicated to prepare. A kilo of this specialty can cost as much as US$13.

    Lo Thi Muon, an experienced seller in Heo hamlet, Son La City, says “This year many people have ordered this product for Tet instead of dried beef, pork, or sausage because it is a new dish with a different flavor and it’s not greasy or cloying.”

    Son La has hundreds of outlets selling dried meat of various kinds, earning each household about US$13,200 per year.

    Son La dried meat is trusted by consumers for its quality, hygiene, and safety, according to Lu Van Truong, Deputy Head of the provincial Veterinary Department. 

    “During the Lunar New Year, the volume of poultry and cattle used to make food greatly increase. We have asked grass-roots units and the inspection agency to step up inspection and monitoring of slaughtering activities and punish all violations. We are also warning people to buy stamped products which indicate hygiene and slaughtering checks.”

    Sun Life now wholly foreign-owned

    Sun Life has recently made the switch to Sun Life Vietnam, a 100% foreign-owned subsidiary of Canadian life insurance company Sun Life Financial, aligning with the parent firm’s global strategy to better serve Vietnamese customers.

    This week, Sun Life Vietnam is launching a series of grand opening ceremonies, combined with its distribution kick-off events in major cities throughout Vietnam.

    The series of events will officially mark the debut of the Sun Life Vietnam brand to the general public after Sun Life Financial Inc. acquired the remaining 25 per cent charter capital of PVI Sun Life Insurance Company Limited from PVI Holdings on November 7, 2016. The company’s new name, Sun Life Vietnam Insurance Company Limited, reflects its current status as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Life.

    Launched in 2013, Sun Life Vietnam has established itself as a market leader and industry pioneer in pensions. According to Larry Madge, CEO of Sun Life Vietnam, the leadership of the company is working hard to align not only the look and feel but also the core competence of Sun Life Vietnam with Sun Life Financial Group.

    “This transaction will add to Sun Life’s momentum in Vietnam,” Madge said. “Being a full member of Sun Life Financial Group, Sun Life Vietnam is well positioned to leverage financial strength as well as the over-150-year financial services expertise of the group.”

    Strategy-wise, Sun Life Vietnam will continue with a distribution strategy covering individual and group employee benefits through agency and corporate sales channels.

    On the one hand, the company will maintain its strength in retirement products with PVI as its distribution partner, and develop partnerships with other distribution partners who have access to unique markets. On the other hand, Sun Life will develop the agency channel for individual sales as one of its strategic priorities.

    For individual insurance in Vietnam, the agency channel has long been the dominant outlet for most life insurers. However, high agency turnover and rampant poaching adversely affect the sustainable development of the industry. Sun Life Vietnam will apply Sun Life Financial’s MRA model, which is a time-tested and highly effective agency strategy applied across the firm’s operations in Asia to build a high-quality, highly productive agency force.

    MRA stands for “Most Respected Agency”. Sun Life Vietnam aims to build an agency force which is the most respected within the industry - and most importantly, in the eyes of clients. For a Sun Life advisor, MRA means putting clients’ interests first and living by four MRA core values: being caring, professional, inspiring, and winning.

    The “caring” aspect can be seen in the way the MRA takes care of and understands its clients, to offer them financial solutions meeting their changing needs at different life stages.

    The “professional” facet provides credibility and trust. Sun Life Vietnam ensures its MRA representatives are professional, by applying a well-defined recruitment process and career path together with product knowledge and professional accreditation.

    The “inspiring” side is related to engagement and excitement. The company provides a supportive and motivating workplace to help its advisors achieve leading roles in industry groups. Finally, the “winning” factor is related to performance excellence and ultimately market leadership.

    “We have defined 12 cross-country metrics to track progress building the MRA. These core values are embedded into our agency operations,” said Madge. “In sum, MRA is one of Sun Life’s top strategic priorities. We are convinced that our MRA strategy will yield huge benefits to all our advisors, and most importantly, to our clients and the market as a whole.”

    Though the market is still small and people’s awareness about insurance is still far lower than that in mature markets, Vietnam holds a lot of potential.

    The total premium income of life insurance companies in Vietnam was VND49.67 trillion (US$2.23 billion) in 2016, up 29.8 per cent on-year, according to data by the Insurance Supervisory Agency under the Ministry of Finance. In the past three years, growth has averaged 30 per cent.

    “I believe that the strong growth of Vietnam’s life market doesn’t come all of a sudden, but as the collective result of all the key macro- and micro-economic factors,” Madge said. “Learning more about Vietnam, I am personally quite optimistic about the life market and excited that Sun Life Vietnam will be accelerating its investment in the market to help bring improved finance security to more Vietnamese people.”

    According to Madge, these impressive figures mean that Vietnamese people have an increasing awareness of the importance of having financial solutions for them and their families.

    “The future development of Vietnam’s life insurance market lies in growing the needs of customers. People will only be interested in life insurance if we can help them understand that our solutions can fulfil their needs, not only once but also at different life stages of their life time,” Madge said. 

    He added that this dynamic highlights the importance of Sun Life’s “Brighter Life” approach, which involves keeping clients for life, rather than just going for a product sale.

    With its “Brighter Life” model, Sun Life delivers outcomes that matters to a client’s life. These include the right type of insurance, impressive investment results, sound financial planning advice, support in returning to work after an illness, and most importantly, peace of mind.

    “We will make it easier for clients to do business with us, we will increase our proactive contact, and we will resolve problems better. By doing so, clients will stay longer, buy more, and refer more business to us,” Madge explained.

    In Vietnam, likewise, the company’s aim is to help Vietnamese clients achieve lifetime financial security by offering a strong suite of life insurance, health, and savings products.

    As a full member of Sun Life Financial, Sun Life Vietnam is now well positioned to adopt and leverage the “Brighter Life” strategy for sustainable growth according to Madge.

    “With over 70 years of experience in pensions, savings, and retirement funds, our expertise in retirement insurance is unique and time-tested. This is a solid base for Sun Life Vietnam to move ahead on, as an industry pioneer and a market leader of this type of insurance,” he said. “We will continue to leverage our hereditary strength, utilise local market insights, and build on our track record in Vietnam’s market to enhance our footing in this market .”

    Tourism to peak during Tet holiday

    In recent years, instead of welcoming in the Lunar New Year at home, many Vietnamese families have opted to go travelling to experience the Tet atmosphere in domestic and international destinations.

    Aiming to meet the demand, during this year’s Tet holiday, travel agents have launched attractive tours, along with a range of promotional programmes.

    Tet is the longest holiday of the Vietnamese people, a time for family members who live apart to be reunited and spend time together. For this reason, Tet has become a golden opportunity for families to go travelling. During this year’ holiday, most Vietnamese people have one week off during the holiday.

    According to statistics of travel company Fiditour, 60% of customers have purchased tours during Tet, while Vietravel has recorded around 70%. The tours are generally three or five-day tours.

    This year the schedule for the long Tet holiday was released soon, for this reason people were able to make travel plans in advance. Meanwhile, travel agents have been receiving bookings for tours as long as two months ago.

    Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy General Director of Hanoi Redtours, said that in regards to domestic tourism, tours visiting heritage sites in the central region are thriving. 

    In the north, many visitors have also selected destinations in the northeast and northwest regions to experience the Tet celebrations of ethnic groups. Popular destinations, such as Danang, Nha Trang, Da Lat and Mui Ne, are also the choice of many visitors, who want to relax with their family.

    Meanwhile, in the Mekong River Delta region, Phu Quoc and Chau Doc are considered as the most attractive destinations.

    Furthermore, this year the holiday season has witnessed the tremendous growth of the demand of outbound tours. The reason is simple: outbound tours offer attractive destinations, a wide range of activities during traveling and more importantly, the price is equivalent to inbound tours.

    The destinations most popular among Vietnamese travellers are Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, China and Hong Kong – countries which are near Vietnam and which have similar cultures.

    Particularly among the young Thailand is a hot destination as the price is reasonable. Other places chosen by a large number of Vietnamese include China and Singapore as they have beautiful landscapes, various shopping choices and a number of eye-catching traditions to celebrate the lunar New Year.

    According to travel agents, the number of domestic tourists rose by 10-20% over the same period last year. Aiming to attract more people to spend money on tourism, travel agencies in the country have offered a large number of promotion programs.

    In general, travel firms all have raised tour fees by 20-30% as costs have been rising on par with demand, therefore travel firms have had to increase tour fees to cover expenses. 

    Outbound tour fees have increased by 25%, while domestic tours have risen by 20-30%. However, the 20-30% tour fee increases have not reduced demand. The number of travellers booking both domestic and outbound tours has increased over previous years.

    It is clear to see that the long Tet holiday has helped stimulate the demand for traveling.

    Hanoi aims to receive 4.3 million inbound tourists

    Hanoi aims to receive 23.61 million visitors, including 4.3 million foreigners in 2017, the municipal Department of Tourism said at a meeting in Hanoi on January 19.

    In 2016, the tourism sector played an important role in the capital city’s economic development. The number of tourist arrivals to Hanoi increased significantly.

    The city welcomed more than 21.8 million visitors, including over 4 million foreigners, up 11% and 23% respectively. Hanoi was also selected among the world’s cheapest holiday destinations by international travel magazines.

    The results were attributed to diverse effective measures taken by the sector. The Hanoi Tourism Department has organized a number of impressive events in the country such as Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM), a ‘Memory of Hanoi’ program, a traditional craft village festival, and Hanoi Ao Dai festival. It has attended and conducted tourism promotion activities at international travel fairs in China, Japan, France, and the UK. It has also coordinated with CNN to promote Hanoi images on the world renowned TV channel.

    This year, Hanoi will continue to improve the quality of tourism services and conduct new tours to attract more visitors and obtain VND66.611 trillion from tourism revenue.

    Hà Nội tax revenue up 16 per cent

    Hà Nội collected over VNĐ160.5 trillion (US$7.1 billion) in taxes this year, 4 per cent higher than its annual target and 16 per cent higher compared with 2015.

    This was reported by the municipal Tax Department. 

    Of the estimate, domestic tax revenue (excluding budget collections from crude oil) reached VNĐ158.7 trillion, up 18 per cent year-on-year and increased by 3 per cent in comparison with the yearly target, Nguyễn Thế Mạnh, director of the Hà Nội Taxation Department, said during a conference held by the department in Hà Nội on Tuesday.

    The department conducted inspections on over 17,900 companies located in the capital city, Mạnh said, adding that the inspections aim to reduce unpaid tax and force businesses to comply with tax laws, thus avoiding losses for the State budget.

    A focus on debt collection by Hà Nội’s Tax Department this year has resulted in the recovery of VNĐ12.7 trillion in arrears, up 30 per cent year-on-year, Mạnh said, adding that the city’s tax department has become the country’s leading tax unit in debt collection.

    Mạnh said the application of information technology was one of the key reforms needed in the administration of taxation.

    Time and costs spent on completing procedures in taxation had already been significantly reduced thanks to a series of measures promoting administrative reform, including the application of IT in tax management, he said.

    As many as 98 per cent of businesses in the city used online tax filing procedures and 93 per cent registered for e-tax payments as of the end of 2016, Mạnh said. 

    Vietinbank successfully issues bonds at low interest rate

    Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) announced it successfully issued non-convertible five-year bonds worth VNĐ2 trillion (US$88.1 million) at annual interest rate of 5.8 per cent.

    Compared with the interest rates of other bond issued recently, the 5.8 per cent rate is considered the lowest rate. It is even lower than the interest rate of 7 per cent per year applicable for deposits of over three years in Vietinbank.

    Previously, in December 2016, Vietinbank also issued 10-year bonds worth VNĐ2.9 trillion at interest rate of 7.5 per cent in the first five years.

    Vietinbank reported a high profit of VNĐ8.25 trillion in 2016, 4 per cent higher than the target set at the bank’s general meeting of shareholders.

    As of December 31, 2016, the bank’s total merged assets were estimated at VNĐ947 trillion, up 22 per cent from the previous year.

    Also in 2016, the bank’s total outstanding loans were VNĐ720 trillion, a year-on-year rise of 18 per cent, while total mobilised capital reached VNĐ862 trillion, up 21 per cent. By the end of 2016, the bank continued to effectively manage the quality of assets with bad debt ratio of less than 1 per cent.

    The bank in 2017 has set a target of a 15-17 per cent rise in total assets and an 18 per cent increase in outstanding credit.

    Banking system liquidity under pressure until Tết ends

    Liquidity of the banking system from now until the end of Tết (Lunar New Year) will remain under high pressure due to rising capital demand.

    According to Bảo Việt Securities Company (BVSC), the State Bank of Việt Nam last week had to pump a net VNĐ3.786 trillion (US$166.78 million) into the system through open market operations (OMO) channel to support liquidity of the banking system.

    The few weeks before Tết are often the peak time for the banking system’s liquidity, when capital demands rise sharply due to seasonal reasons.

    BVSC also reported that inter-bank interest rates last week rebounded rather sharply within the range of 0.07-1.2 per cent.

    Specifically, the average interest rate for overnight term increased 1.2 per cent to 4.6 per cent per year; 0.3 per cent for one-week term to 4.7 per cent per year and 0.07 per cent for two-week term to 4.8 per cent per year.

    The inter-bank interest rate rebounded quickly only after a week of cooling down, proving that the system’s liquidity is still suffering from pressure during the weeks close to Tết.

    “We maintain our view that from now until Tết, the system’s liquidity will remain under pressure and at some points certain support will be needed from the central bank,” BVSC analysts said.

    They also forecast inter-bank interest rates from now until the end of Tết would continue anchoring at a high level, ranging from 4.5-5 per cent per year.

    Vietnam to debut first dairy fair

    The Vietnam Dairy Association will collaborate with Vietnam Advertisement and Fair Exhibition JSC to hold Vietnam Dairy 2017, the first international festival about milk and milk products in Vietnam.  

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other agencies have supported and agreed to sponsor the fair. It will be held at Friendship Palace in Hanoi from May 31 to June 3.

    The fair will introduce all production processes from choosing the cows to selecting the feed. The processing line, labelling process and food safety standards will also be presented. The fair will act as a bridge to help companies in Vietnam and overseas exchange technologies and conduct business.

    Vietnam Dairy Association hopes to provide a space for major local and international brands to participate at the fair, while also providing consumers with a greater understanding about the industry and dairy products.

    Parents can also bring their children along to participate in the Children's Festival on June 1.

    The fair is hoped to connect dairy companies with management agencies, nutrition experts, education facilities, distributors and consumers.

    Vietnamese dragon fruit to head to to Japan

    Mr. Nguyen Huu Dat from the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association confirmed with VET that red-flesh dragon fruit will be exported to the tough Japanese market shortly. “The official announcement was made by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during the visit to Hanoi by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on January 16 and 17,” he said.

    This is the second Vietnamese fruit to be licensed for export to Japan, following mangoes. Like mangoes, the red-fresh dragon fruit must also be steam-treated before being exported, to counteract fruit flies.

    The Vietnamese exporters are still to be officially named but Mr. Dat predicted they would be Ho Chi Minh City’s GoodLife, Binh Thuan province’s Hong An, Binh Duong province’s Fine Fruit Asia and Yasaka, and Long An province’s Hoang Phat Fruit, as they have factories with steam treatment systems that meet Japanese regulations.

    Earlier, Australian agriculture officials released their final report on the quality of fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam, according to the Australian Embassy in Vietnam. The first shipments will reach Australian shores sometime this year.

    Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources finished its draft report on dragon fruit imports from Vietnam and a 60-day period for feedback and discussion was then in place before the final step of allowing the imports was taken by the Australian Government. Australia will allow imports from all dragon fruit-growing regions in Vietnam as long as the fruit meets the country’s biological safety standards.

    Vietnam exported more than 10 tons of lychees to Australia last year, according to the Vietnam Trade Office at the Vietnamese Embassy in Australia. The first consignments were shipped to Australia and the US in 2015, even though the volume was small, at just 35 tons in total.

    Dragon fruit has the highest export value among Vietnam’s fruit and is expected to be one of nine key export fruit in the future. Export volumes to the US, however, remain small as a great deal comes from China via unofficial channels. Official exports account for 2-3 per cent of the total, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    Resolution on tourism development released

    The Political Bureau issued Resolution 08-NQ/TW on tourism development on January 16, targeting to convert tourism into a spreahead economic sector.

    Under the Resolution, the number of international and domestic tourists is set to soar 10.2% and 11.8% per year, respectively.

    Last year, Viet Nam welcomed 10 million foreign guests and 62 million domestic visitors. The tourism sector contributed 6.8% of GDP. 

    Nevertheless, the tourism sector failed to tap its potentials, strength, and meet expectations. Tourism products remain unattractive with low competitiveness. Tourism human resources were weak and faced a shortage.

    The Resolution set a goal that by 2020, the tourism sector will be converted into a spreahead industry, serving to promote socio-economic development; profession; technical infrastructure; high-quality, diversified, brand-name, competitive products with national cultural identity.

    Especially, it targets to attract 17-20 million international guests and 82 million domestic ones. The sector would make up 10% of GDP. Tourism revenue would hit US$ 35 million. Tourism export would reach US$ 20 billion and generate 4 million jobs including 1.6 million direct jobs.

    By 2030, tourism will become a spreahead economic sector. Viet Nam will enter the list of Southeast Asian countries leading in tourism.

    To realize the aforesaid goals, the resolution mentioned a group of eight solutions on (1) renovating awareness and thinking on tourism development; (2) restructuring tourism; (3) perfecting mechanisms and policies; (4) developing infrastructure and technical materials; (5) strengthening tourism promotion; (6) generating a favorable environment for tourism businesses; (7) developing human resources; (8) rasing State management on tourism./.

    Local steel producers fret about imported steel alloy

    Steel billet and some other steel imports from China have been in steep decline but construction steel disguised as steel alloy to enjoy low tariffs is still flowing into Vietnam, which industry insiders said would adversely affect domestic steel production.

    Ho Nghia Dung, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), told the Daily on January 17 that the current volume of steel billet imported from China has decreased by 60%. Other types of steel have also fallen sharply compared to early last year due to the adoption of some trade defense measures.

    However, an increasing volume of long steel and construction steel has been imported into the country in the form of steel alloy that can evade trade defense duties. “The association has been cooperating with firms to clarify the issue while still voicing its alarm to protect local production,” he said.

    He added the steel industry reached an average growth rate of 12% last year, generating good profits for local firms.

    VSA estimated the total steel consumption this year would reach 17 million tons, including construction steel, cold rolled steel, welded steel pipes and galvanized sheets, a year-on-year increase of two million tons. In particular, the consumption of construction steel would be around 8.2 million tons, up by one million tons compared to last year.

    Dung expected consumption in the domestic market would remain stable this year. In addition, steel prices would be higher than last year, as raw material prices on the world market have been on the rise. The growth rate of the sector is predicted at around 12-15% year-on-year.

    Prices of steel billet on the world market rose by around US$25-45 per ton last December, resulting in a month-on-month increase of VND0.6-1 million each on the local market.

    The steel industry produced 15 million tons of finished products, including cold rolled steel, cold-rolled coil (CRC) steel, steel pipes and galvanized sheets that met domestic demand and yielded relatively positive export results in 2015.

    However, Vietnam still imported nine million tons of hot-rolled coil (HRC) steel as raw material for production of other steel products.

    Vietnam’s coffee export forecast to fall this year

    Vietnam’s coffee export this year is predicted to plunge by 20% to 30% compared to 2016 due to bad weather.

    Nguyen Viet Vinh, general secretary of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa), said the country last year shipped abroad some 1.79 million tons of coffee worth US$3.36 billion, up 33.6% in volume and 25.6% in value against the previous year.

    Vicofa forecast the country’s coffee exports this year might tumble 20-30% to only some 1.3 million tons. Vinh ascribed the sudden fall this year to the impact of El Nino, causing drought in the Central Highlands, the key coffee growing area, and cold weather in northern provinces.

    In addition, the growing acreage of replanted coffee along with the massive planting of pepper and fruit trees has contributed to the fall in coffee output for export in the 2016-2017 crop. This also poses many challenges for the sustainable development of coffee in the Central Highlands, Vinh added.

    According to the coffee replanting program initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, some 120,000 hectares of coffee will be replanted in the Central Highlands region between 2014 and 2020. However, work on the scheme has been slow given financial distress. One of the reasons is high interest rates for bank loans.

    Mobile carriers prepare plans to fight network jamming at Tet

    Mobile carriers have unveiled plans to cope with network jamming during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet. MobiFone plans to send out around 30 mobile base transceiver stations, especially to crowded places with high cell traffic, during the long holiday.

    The mobile cell sites can improve the quality of 3G and 4G services in places like the Sword Lake and Huong Pagoda in Hanoi, Yen Tu Pagoda in Quang Ninh, Han River Bridge in Danang, and Nguyen Hue pedestrian square in HCMC.

    VinaPhone will increase its bandwidth and capacity for its 3G network on 900MHz frequency.

    It will also focus on the upgrade and expansion of coverage areas, prevention of call, 3G and SMS jamming in key areas, as well as update of information security plans.

    VinaPhone installed more than 7,900 3G cell towers last year, bringing the total number of 2G/3G stations to over 54,200 nationwide. The coverage has increased by roughly 2.5 times over the previous year.

    Meanwhile, MobiFone has doubled its network capacity over 2015, with nearly 10,000 3G cell sites installed.

    Statistics of MobiFone showed that a large number of its customers traveling back to their hometowns in southwest, central provinces and the northern delta during Tet have in recent days led to a rise of 2 or 3 times in calls and text messages compared to normal days.


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  • 01/24/17--02:27: Article 4
  • Third Vietnamese dollar billionaire emerges

     Tran Ba Duong, a big shareholder of Thaco, a manufacturer, the largest privately run conglomerate, could be on a par with Pham Nhat Vuong and Trinh Van Quyet, the richest billionaires, if Thaco shares are listed on the bourse.

    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, thaco, Tran Ba Duong, VAMA 

    Thaco share price has been increasing steadily in the OTC market. The price increased by another VND2,000 per share on January 17 after it rose twofold to VND150,000 per share in the last few months.

    Thaco’s charter capital is VND4.150 trillion, and 415 million shares in transactions. With the current price, its capitalization value is $2.8 billion. Tran Ba Duong, chair of Thaco’s Board of Management, and his wife hold more than 65 percent of the company’s shares.

    This means that Duong and his wife hold shares worth $1.8 billion. The figure could be even higher if Thaco shares are listed on the bourse and continue the price upwards like other shares such as Sabeco, Habeco, ACV, Vietnam Airlines and Faros.

    At present, there are two dollar billionaires in the stock market. One of them is Pham Nhat Vuong, who holds 720 million VIC shares worth VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion). The other is Trinh Van Quyet who holds 290 million ROS shares and 114 million FLC shares worth $1.6 billion, or VND36 trillion.

    Tran Ba Duong, a big shareholder of Thaco, a manufacturer, the largest privately run conglomerate, could be on a par with Pham Nhat Vuong and Trinh Van Quyet, the richest billionaires, if Thaco shares are listed on the bourse.

    Bui Thanh Nhon and his family members directly and indirectly hold more than 65 percent of stakes of Novaland, worth VND23.4 trillion, or over $1 billion, is also a potential dollar billionaire.

    As such, if Duong puts Thaco shares into transactions on the official bourse, he would become one of the Vietnamese richest stock billionaires, together with Vuong and Quyet.

    In fact, Thaco once registered to list Thaco shares at the HCMC Stock Exchange in 2010. However, the difficulties the enterprise met in the 2010-2012 period which lowered its profits, hindering the listing plan.

    Like many other billionaires, Duong also invests his money in agriculture, a sector with great advantages. However, unlike the other billionaires, Duong focuses on agricultural machines.

    The sharp increase in Thaco price has put Thaco’s shareholders in high spirits. VietinBank Securities, which bought 2 million Thaco shares in 2010 and believed it made a wrong investment decision as the profit decreased sharply in 2011-2012, is now happy as the share price has soared.

    However, Duong is not the biggest shareholder of Thaco. The company’s finance report showed that its biggest shareholder is Tran Oanh Production & Trade Ltd which holds 221 million shares, or 53.34 percent of Thaco’s chartered capital.

    Tran Oanh bought 32 million Thaco shares more in late 2016.

    Tran Oanh is the company in which Duong is a capital contributor, while his wife – Vien Dieu Hoa, is a member of the board of management and CEO.

    Le Vi, VNN 

    0 0
  • 01/24/17--02:50: Article 3
  • Confectionery giants face fierce Tết competition

    A confectionery aisle at the Aeon Supermarket in Ha Noi. - VNS Photo Doan Tung

    HCM CITY - Confectionery giants are struggling to compete for market share during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, which begins next week.

    Big companies like Kinh Đô Mondelez, Bibica, Topcake, Hải Hà, Hữu Nghị, and Biscafun have launched promotion to attract more customers. 

    With the slogan “Seeing Kinh Đô Means Seeing Tết”, Kinh Đô Mondelez has introduced more than 40 confectionery products to serve the Tết market, priced at VNĐ40,000-200,000 (US$1.8-8.8) to serve a range of customers. 

    Vũ Quốc Tuấn, deputy general marketing and communication director of Kinh Đô Mondelez, said Kinh Đô began running promotions for Tết since the end of last month.

    Bibica has also introduced more than 1,800 tonnes of new confectionery products to the market, a rise of 10 per cent over the same period last year.

    Most of Bibica’s confectionery products are available at more than 500 stores, supermarkets and 10,000 retail shops nationwide.

    Trương Phú Chiến, general director of Bibica, said sales had doubled the target after nearly a month of introducing new products.

    “Bibica focused on improving product quality and selling Tết products earlier. It has emphasised various segments of products to meet customer demand,” he said.      

    Meanwhile, Topcake is ready for competition with two major segments, including the high-end segment priced at VNĐ100,000-150,000 and the low-end segment at VNĐ40,000-100,000.

    Lâm Ngọc Thẩm, general director of Topcake, said Topcake early last year invested in advanced technology and improved production capacity.  

    Other well-known brands such as Hải Hà, Hữu Nghị and Biscafun are also expected to increase confectionary output by 10 per cent to serve the holiday this year. 

    Business Monitor International (BMI) reported that Việt Nam’s confectionery market is expected to generate VNĐ40 trillion (1.76 billion) in 2018.

    BMI pointed to the high market potential in Việt Nam, where the average person consumes around two kilos of sweets a year, compared to the global average of 2.8 kilos.

    The high growth has attracted many foreign businesses.

    Foreign competition

    The confectionery sector generates $1 billion every year in Việt Nam and most of the profits go to foreign firms.

    Many Vietnamese economists worry that outsiders are taking over the market since local consumers appear to have lost their appetite for locally made cookies, cakes and candies.

    Although accounting for more than 70 per cent of market share at big supermarkets like Big C, Lotte and Aeon, more and more foreign confectionary brands are present in Việt Nam.

    Severe competition between local and foreign brands exists in minimarts, retail shops, traditional markets and industrial parks.

    There are few major local names to compete with Tous Le Jours, Paris Baguette and Orion from South Korea, Break Talk from Singapore, Mars and Kraft Foods from the US, or Euro Cake from Thailand.

    The foreign snack brands import all of their supplies instead of using Vietnamese ingredients.

    A representative of Pat’a Chou, a French bakery brand with two outlets in HCM City, said they imported everything from wheat flour to milk powder from Europe.

    A vendor at wholesale Bình Tây market in District 6 said it was very difficult to sell local confectionery products as they were not as eye-catching as foreign brands and the selection was quite poor.

    “Most of my customers prefer foreign brands,” he said.

    Lưu Thuỳ Vân, 42, a confectionery importer in HCM City, said customers seemed to prefer foreign confectionery products over local ones.

    Imported sweets are becoming more diverse in the high-end segment with famous brands from Europe such as Denmark, France and the UK as well as in the mid-range segment with products made in Thailand and Malaysia.      

    More and more foreign confectionery companies have invested in local businesses.

    For example, the Kinh Đô group now belongs to Mondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers after a merger and acquisitions deal.

    In addition, Orion Vina was invested in by the Orion group of South Korea.

    To compete with foreign brands, industry insiders said the local confectionery businesses should reform its practices, from packaging to quality to price of products.

    Fake and counterfeit products are another challenge faced by local businesses, which has become a serious issue during the Tết holiday.

    Nguyễn Thành Phương, a representative of the HCM City Market Management Division, said counterfeit confectionery products had become a critical issue as it was becoming more difficult to identify counterfeit products.

    Counterfeit products are produced not only locally but are also imported, requiring businesses to work more closely with agencies to fight such products, he said. - VNS

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  • 01/24/17--19:32: Article 2
  • Catfish exports to US face shutdown in 2017

    Vietnam catfish exports to the US market face being shut down this coming September 2, after efforts to abolish a program shifting regulation of catfish producers to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) fails.

    catfish exports to us face shutdown in 2017 hinh 0

    The US Congress considered repealing the program shifting the responsibly for regulating imported and domestic catfish operations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the USDA.

    The FDA has traditionally regulated seafood, while the USDA regulates meat. The new program essentially redefines the definition of meat to include fish, subject to much more stringent USDA regulation.

    In May 2016, the Senate had voted to eliminate the change. However, in December 2016 the US House of Representatives leadership declared they would not bring the matter to the floor and allow for a vote.

    When Congress adjourned in December 2016, this essentially killed any chance of eliminating the program through congressional legislative action— meaning that the new catfish program is here to stay for a while, say the experts.

    Though many leading critics of the program have declared it – ‘wasteful,’ ‘protectionist’ and a ‘blatant trade barrier’ – specifically aimed at helping the US farm raised catfish industry, there does not appear to be any reasonable possibility of it changing in the foreseeable future.

    The USDA transition period for the change ends on September 1, 2017.

    This means that Vietnam as an exporting country of Siluriformes – the scientific name for pangasius and other catfish – needs to apply for a grant of equivalence to the USDA by August 31, 2017.

    A grant of equivalence by USDA means that the US government deems Vietnam’s food safety system its equal, the experts underline.

    At any time after the submission of the application by the Vietnam government, the USDA could either say they would work with the government to suggest changes to their system that would make them USDA equivalent or they could terminate all exports in their entirety.

    There is no reason not to believe the USDA would not work with the Vietnam government to bring its system into compliance with the new USDA standards. It is also important to note that no one is suggesting that the catfish industry standards in Vietnam are in any way inadequate.

    The problem is that achieving USDA equivalence requires changing laws and regulations that were designed by the Vietnam government to meet FDA standards, which  now must be changed to comply with the USDA standards.

    This is by any measure a huge undertaking, note the experts.

    Getting equivalence to the USDA could be a time consuming and difficult process requiring a lot of political will, said Sang Phan, president of the US arm of Vinh Hoan, one of the largest pangasius producers in Vietnam.

    With the time frame and deadline date of September 1, it will be an extremely tough challenge for the Vietnam government to get its USDA equivalency grant, Phan added.

    Pertinent parties within Vietnam have been taking a variety of actions, such as working with USDA representatives on implementing self-reporting tools, which is a major piece in the equivalency review, noted Phan.

    Much has been accomplished, but more need be done and we are hopeful for a favourable ruling by the USDA by the deadline, he said. The risk for both sides of an end to trade is considerable.

    In 2016, the US imported 322,000 metric tons of pangasius catfish from Vietnam, in whole fish equivalent, according to official US data. That is around 26% of the total production of Vietnam, which was 1.22 million metric tons through October, according to the data.

    Even if approval wasn’t obtained by the deadline, Phan said US customers could stock up on inventories in the run up to the deadline date to buy a little extra time to get the USDA equivalency approval.

    In the time leading up to September, with proper planning, Vietnamese sellers could work with US customers to make sure their need is met, he said, noting it’s possible to shuffle supplies from other countries to the US market.

    In other words, the situation Phan is referring to is that if Vietnam’s approval was on track for November 1, that would mean there would be a 2-month export ban (September 1 – November 1).

    He is suggesting that US customers could purchase sufficient inventories to cover the 2-month period prior to imposition of the export ban of September 2.

    Alternatively, said Phan, the Vietnam government and businesses in the industry are hopeful that other markets could pick up the slack, if the worst-case scenario that imports into the US are terminated, if only temporarily, were to become a reality.


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  • 01/24/17--19:57: Article 1
  • Vietnam’s 2016 economy remains buoyant despite slower growth: OBG

    Vietnam’s economy in 2016 was highlighted by a GDP slowdown, an underperforming agriculture industry, slower inflation and increases in credit and foreign investment, the Oxford Business Group has reviewed.

    Employees are seen at a footwear factory in Vietnam.Reuters

    “Strong domestic demand and record high foreign investment inflows underpinned the continued rapid growth of the Vietnamese economy in 2016,” the Dubai-based research firm said in its “Vietnam Year in Review 2016” report on Tuesday.

    Vietnam’s economy grew at a 6.2 percent pace last year, slightly behind the target of 6.3 percent, but higher than the IMF estimate of 6.1 percent, according to date from the Government Statistics Office. The growth in 2015 was 6.68 percent.

    It was the first GDP slowdown for the Southeast Asian country in four years, but per capita GDP in 2016 rose five percent to a new high of $2,215, the Oxford Business Group noted.

    According to the report, the 6.2 percent GDP growth is remarkable, with Vietnam’s agriculture strongly marred by adverse climatic events in 2016, including the worst drought conditions in 30 years and repeated flooding events.

    “Environmental factors, combined with lower commodity prices in some markets, saw agriculture’s growth trimmed to 1.36 percent for 2016, its lowest since 2011,” the report reads.

    “The main factor at play in the downturn was a decrease in the volume and value of rice exports, which fell by 25.8 percent and 21.2 percent to 4.88 million tons and $2.2bn, respectively.”

    Positive signs

    One of the positive signs of Vietnam’s economy last year was the 21.82 percent credit growth in the banking sector, with the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) projecting the rate to be somewhere between 18 percent and 20 percent.

    Oxford Business Group reiterated a statement by SBV governor Le Minh Hung as telling reporters late December that if the credit growth is maintained this year, the central bank could raise its key interest benchmark to keep inflation and economic expansion balanced.

    In the meantime, Vietnam’s inflation also slowed in 2016, with consumer price index rising 2.66 percent, well below the 5 percent increase forecast by the government.

    The report noted, however, that pressure might be exerted on the index in 2017, as price rises gained momentum late in the fourth quarter of last year. The government has projected inflation of 4 percent for 2017. 

    The Oxford Business Group also praised Vietnam for maintaining the dong at a steady course, with the currency only depreciating by 1.2 percent against the dollar throughout the year, just “unlike a number of emerging economies, which saw sharp falls in the value of their currency push up the cost of imports.”

    The most significant performance of Vietnam’s economy in 2016 was the strong increase of foreign direct investment (FDI).

    Actual foreign investment inflows rose by nine percent last year, reaching a record high of $15.8 billion, the report says, citing the Ministry of Planning and Investment data. In the meantime, additional FDI fund for existing projects, and commitment for new funding collectively reached $24.4 billion, up seven percent year on year.

    Most of the FDI went to the manufacturing and processing sector, which accounted for 63.7 percent of all inbound investments, whereas the automotive wholesale, retail and repair sector made up 7.8 percent, and real estate, 6.9 percent.

    As for 2017 outlook, the Oxford Business Group quoted the IMF as predicting Vietnam’s GDP to rise by 6.2 percent.


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  • 01/24/17--20:20: Article 0
  • Transport ministry supports Tan Son Nhat Airport flyover

    The Ministry of Transport has agreed on HCM City’s proposal to build a flyover road to help ease traffic congestion for Tan Son Nhat International Airport, said Deputy Minister Nguyen Hong Truong.

    Speaking to DTiNews, Deputy Minister Nguyen Hong Truong said that in the near future, Tan Son Nhat Airport would have a third terminal and another runway, so traffic in the area would face more serious pressure.


    Traffic jam at the area around Tan Son Nhat International Airport

    “The solution to build an elevated road to Tan Son Nhat Airport as it would be very suitable for the airport planning. The ministry will submit the proposal to the government for consideration,” Truong added.

    According to the proposal made by a group of companies, including Dong A Infrastructure Corporation, the road will start from Terminal 2, run along Phan Thuc Duyet and end at Hoang Van Thu Street.

    The VND2.6 trillion (USD123 million) road will take 18 months to build.

    Tan Son Nhat Airport welcomed over 32 million passengers in 2016 and the number could reach 40 million in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the airport’s design capacity is only 25 million people per annum.

    HCM City has proposed to the Ministry of Transport to increase the number of night flights to reduce congestion at the airport.

    By Nhu Quynh,Dantrinews

    0 0
  • 01/25/17--19:06: Article 0
  • Even it up: Tackling income inequality in Vietnam

    After nearly two decades of institutional and economic reform, the poverty rate in Vietnam has begun to show signs of rapid decline, says Oxfam International in a post on its website.

    even it up: tackling income inequality in vietnam hinh 0

    In 1990, Vietnam was among one of the world’s poorest countries with a GDP per capita of just US$98. By 2010, the GDP had reached US$1,000 per person per year resulting in the World Bank reclassifying the country upwards into the ranks of the lower middle income status.  

    Notably, however, out of the total Vietnamese population of 95 million, 13 million still live below or at the poverty line and millions more remain in the classification of near poor, notes Oxfam.

    However, recently poverty reduction has begun showing signs of slowing down because of persistent deep pockets of poverty remaining impervious to governmental actions. This is especially true for ethnic minorities, who account for 14% of the population, but make up more than half of the country’s poor.

    Despite the strong record of poverty reduction over the past 20 years, today, Oxfam says increasing inequality in these pockets threatens to erode that progress unless drastic measures are undertaken.

    Per Oxfam, the 210 wealthiest Vietnamese today earn enough in one year to lift 3.2 million people out of poverty and end extreme poverty throughout the Southeast Asian country, but inexcusably the poor continue to be left out in the cold when it comes to reaping a fair share of the benefits of economic integration.

    Today, economic inequality continues to be reinforced by inequity of voice and opportunity, with the poorest excluded in favour of the richest.

    Millions of people – ethnic minorities, small scale farmers, migrants, informal workers, and women – are still more than likely to remain poor and excluded from services and political decision despite the economic gains of recent, says Oxfam.

    To tackle the dangerous repercussions of the sizable gap between rich and poor, Oxfam underscores, the Vietnam government should urgently implement progressive policies on governance, taxation, public spending, public services, labour rights, and civic engagement.

    Economic expert Pham Chi Lan says the poverty reduction achievements of the government are undeniable and commendable, however, inequality has become wider not by design but principally as the result of unchecked market mechanism.

    Left unchecked, says Lan, open markets will not find by themselves equilibrium to balance the three pillars – the government, market mechanisms and society.

    They must be controlled through effective and comprehensive legislation.  The middle-income class is fundamentally a creation of the government and will not exist or flourish absent thorough governmental oversight.

    Open markets in and of themselves will create a nation of those who have and those who do not have— with very few, if any, people remaining in the middle, Lan postulates as the middle-income class is by its very nature a creation of the government.

    Ngo Truong Thi from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs agrees with Lan, saying the government has never been more focused on tackling and narrowing the gap between rich and poor.

    Any setback from the exemplary achievements made over the past couple of decades is just a natural part of the process of moving to a more industrial and higher income society, he adds.

    There are always ebbs and flows in any major undertaking, but no one should doubt the government’s firm commitment to ensuring there is a fair and equitable distribution of income among the country’s citizens.

    Thus in 2017, poverty reduction programs will refocus their concentration on poor communities and the creation of novel avenues for which all citizens from all walks of life and heritage will have equal access and opportunity to prosper and lift themselves out of the grips of poverty.


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  • 01/25/17--22:59: Article 5
  • Abnormal rains to persist in Ho Chi Minh City: meteorologist

    Heavy rains are forecast to continue to wet Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon, after locals were surprised by an unseasonal downpour Wednesday afternoon.

    Two women walk under the rain on January 25, 2017.Tuoi Tre

    According to Ho Chi Minh City-based meteorologist Le Thi Xuan Lan, the rain that hit multiple areas of the city on Wednesday was caused by equatorial depression combined with disturbances in the east wind.

    Satellite images show observable thunderclouds over Ho Chi Minh City and other southern provinces such as Dong Nai, Kien Giang, Tay Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Long An, the weather expert added.

    Lan said more rains are to be expected in these areas today, with chances of heavy rains in the late afternoon into the evening.

    Abnormal rains have taken a toll on flower sellers in the city, who count on the Lunar New Year holiday season for their living.

    At Gia Dinh Park in Tan Binh District where decorative flowers were being sold at a seasonal market on Wednesday afternoon, many customers rushed for shelter as the unexpected downpour hit without warning.

    “Who could have thought that it would rain [at this time of the year], so I didn’t bring a raincoat,” said Hong Oanh, a resident in Go Vap District.

    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    The heavy rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    The heavy rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    Flower sellers wrap plastic bags around their trees to protect them from the rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    Flower sellers wrap plastic bags around their trees to protect them from the rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    Flower sellers wrap plastic bags around their trees to protect them from the rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Sài Gòn bất ngờ mưa lớn chiều 28 Tết
    Flower sellers wrap plastic bags around their trees to protect them from the rain in Ho Chi Minh City on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Nguyen Minh Tung and his wife and son, who were on their way back to their hometown in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long on a motorbike when the rain hit, were taking shelter at a gas station in Tien Giang Province.

    “All our luggage is wet,” Tung said. “If our son catches a cold now, it would be the end of Tet for us.”

    Along the National Route 1 in Tien Giang Province, many commuters on motorbikes could be seen stopping at roadside eateries and gas stations for shelter as the heavy rain made it impossible to continue their homeward journey.

    “I have never seen a weather like this before,” Dinh Van Thin, 84, a local in Tien Giang Province said of the abnormal rain, adding that normally the rainy season would have stopped a few months prior to Tet.

    Tet, or Lunar New Year, is a traditional national holiday in Vietnam which celebrates the coming of a new year in the lunar calendar, which falls on January 28 this year.

    Mưa lớn, người miền Tây về quê bằng xe máy vất vả
    Commuters on the National Route 1, January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Mưa lớn, người miền Tây về quê bằng xe máy vất vả
    A decorative apricot tree is knocked over by heavy winds on the National Route 1, January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Mưa lớn, người miền Tây về quê bằng xe máy vất vả
    A woman walks under the rain on January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
    Mưa lớn, người miền Tây về quê bằng xe máy vất vả
    Commuters on the National Route 1, January 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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