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  • 02/16/17--02:33: Article 2

    Enabling domestic private sector investment in Vietnam

     enabling domestic private sector investment in vietnam hinh 0

    Vietnam has consistently rated poorly in global measures of domestic private sector development, a key to the country’s future economic success, said experts at a recent forum in Hanoi.

    A report last year by the World Bank, they noted, showed that Vietnam ranked 78th out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business index with poor-quality infrastructure and business environment cited as the two major constraints to growth.

    There is an infrastructure backlog, particularly in the remote and rural areas, and the investment needed to cure the problem is far beyond the Vietnam government’s resources, said the World Bank report.

    Thus, far too many Vietnamese still live in remote and rural areas that have severely restricted access to commercial markets and services that many people around the globe take for granted.

    Better infrastructure and continuing economic reform to build the domestic private sector are needed for the Government to reduce poverty and reach its ambitious goal of becoming an industrialized country by the year 2020.

    The fastest growing region in Vietnam is the Mekong Delta, which is bound to be the future agricultural and industrial hub of the country. But for that to happen, better infrastructure need be constructed.

    Most of the country is also plagued by critical supply-side constraints linking producers and consumers, whether that connectivity lie with connecting people to essential services such as hospitals and schools or to commercial services.

    One of the most direct and practical solutions is through the expansion of the domestic sector and finding innovative ways to encourage them to fund the construction of badly needed infrastructure, said Nguyen Duc Thanh at the forum.

    Mr Thanh, who is the director of the Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research, said there has been for far too long an overreliance on the foreign sector for economic growth and too little evolution of the domestic sector.

    The foreign sector, said Mr Thanh, currently accounts for two-thirds of exports and one-quarter of the country’s employment.

    As a result, the domestic sector, once the major driver of the country’s economic growth, has been stymied— constrained by lack of competitiveness with foreigners, limited access to finances and a slackening of consumer demand by Vietnamese, who increasingly prefer to purchase foreign goods to those made locally.

    One practical solution, according to Mr Thanh is straightforward.

    He suggests that all state-owned companies be sold off to the domestic sector and let private sector ingenuity operate them profitably and use those earnings to invest in and solve the country’s infrastructure and connectivity problems.

    Mr Thanh believes state owned enterprises are bloated with bureaucracy and inefficiency and are a drain on the country’s limited resources rather than a contributor to them.

    The faster the Government enables and engages the domestic private sector to invest in infrastructure throughout the remote and rural areas of the country and build a national supply chain the better, said Mr Thanh.

    Truong Dinh Tuyen, the former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade agreed. There are many obstacles to overcome in development of the domestic private sector, however, transferring state owned enterprises to the private sector is a good first step to prosperity.

    In addition, domestic companies can benefit tremendously from identifying good examples of how foreign companies operate their businesses, and copy those policies and practices that are appropriate for Vietnam.

    If domestic companies work closely with their foreign counterparts to share experiences, they will reap tremendous benefits by increasing their competitiveness that will pay off over the long-term by improving productivity and in turn prosperity.

    Vietnam enjoys more than US$1 billion trade surplus with Philippines

    Vietnam’s exports to the Philippines rose by 9.94% to US$2.2 billion last year while imports dipped 47.5% to over US$1 billion, according to Vietnam Customs.

    Thus, last year Vietnam got more than US$1 billion trade surplus with the Philippines.

    Vietnam mainly exported industrial, manufacturing, agri-forestry and seafood products, of which machines, equipment and tools ranked first with US$221.2 million, up 8.09%, trailed by telephones and components with US$214.2 million, up 56.22% and computers, electronics and components with US$204.3 million, up 41.75%.

    Most export products obtained a growth and even impressive. They are pepper (up 188.26%), chemicals (up 105.9%) and cement and clinker (up 100.04%). Only 24.2% of export products saw a decrease and rice recorded the deepest decline of 64.17% to US$167.4 million.

    Korean multiplex chain leads booming movie market in Vietnam

    CJ-CGV has quickly emerged as the dominant cinema chain with more than half of the market share.

    Korean multiplex chain CJ-CGV, which currently has 38 cinemas and 247 screens in Vietnam, managed to triple its net profit last year to VND93.4 trillion (US$4 million).

    The chain has aggressively expanded in Vietnam since 2011 when it spent US$73.6 million to acquire an 80-percent stake in Megastar, one of the biggest local operators at the time.

    After the acquisition, CGV maintained an impressive growth rate with revenue hitting VND870 billion in 2012 and VND1.1 trillion in 2013, equivalent to year-on-year increases of 45% and 27%. The operator also reported substantial growth in net profit, generating on average VND120 billion per year; three times higher than the best achieved by Megastar.

    In the next two years, despite steady revenue growth, CGV recorded a significant decline in net profit due mainly to massive investments in new cinemas and foreign exchange fluctuations.

    Its 2014 revenue only matched 2013, and net profit tumbled by 40% to VND70 billion. In 2015, while revenue soared by 60% to VND1.76 trillion, net profit slumped by 55% to VND31.5 billion.

    CGV has established itself as the leading distributor in the country. It has won exclusive distribution rights to handle movie releases for giant film studios like Universal, Paramount, Disney and Warner Bros, and also topped the distribution rate for local movies.

    Trade is a two-way street: Vietnam has imported more from the US

    In fact, a lot more. Over the past decade shipments to Vietnam have quadrupled, with machinery and equipment topping the list.

    Last year Vietnam surpassed the Philippines to become the fourth biggest Southeast Asian market for American goods, according to latest data from the US Department of Commerce.

    Shipments from the US to Vietnam hit US$10.2 billion, up more than four times compared to 2007, approaching the number recorded by Thailand. Singapore and Malaysia remained at the top.

    Vietnam mostly imported machinery and crude materials for manufacturing last year. Besides, American agricultural products, especially soybean, also made major inroads.
    Vietnam has been one of the top suppliers of a wide range of goods for the US While trade relations between the two countries have mostly been discussed with a focus on exports from Vietnam, it should be noted that a large number of American businesses also view Vietnam as an increasingly important market.

    Bilateral trade has been expected to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an ambitious trade pact connecting Vietnam, the US and other 10 countries.

    But what is going to happen now that the Trump administration has officially pulled the US out of the deal? Experts say the demise of the pact could hurt businesses in both Vietnam and the US.

    “The TPP would have lowered 18,000 tariffs for US companies to export their goods to those 11 markets,” said Karen Gerwitz, president of World Trade Center Denver, Colorado.

    Experts say without joining the TPP, the US will have to negotiate on new bilateral trade deals with Vietnam and some other Southeast Asian countries, a process that will require a lot of time and effort.

    As China and the European Union have been trying establish footholds in this fast-growing region, the clock is now ticking for the US.

    Banks under pressure to reduce lending interest rates

    Early this year, the Government asked credit institutions to cut costs to reduce lending interest rates and to help enterprises to reduce the cost of loans, which will require considerable effort from the whole banking system.

    It can be said that deposit interest rates at commercial banks are now stable without variation compared to the time before Tet. Some commercial banks increased their deposit rates slightly by 0.1-0.3% per year, which did not reflect the general trend of the market.

    A bank official said that with the flexible monetary policy of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), particularly the implementation of open market operations to ensure the liquidity of the credit institution system in late 2016, the monetary market and interest rates were kept stable.

    The deposit interest rates now stand around 0.8%-1% per year for non-term deposits and deposits with a term of less than one month; 4.5-5.4% per year for deposits with a term of one month to less than six months; 5.4-6.5% per year for deposits with a term of six months to less than 12 months; and 6.4%-7.2% per year for deposits with a term of over 12 months.

    Meanwhile, lending interest rates are hovering around 6.8-9% per year for short-term loans, 9.3-11% per year for long-term loans; and 6-7% per year for prioritised sectors.

    Deposit interest rates in Vietnamese dong are not as high as expected by most depositors, but this is considered a safe investment channel with clear profits and low risk. In the context of stable gold prices and stock markets but unpredictable real estate, savings are still a good investment channel.

    According to the State Bank, it will continue to carry out monetary policy in a synchronous manner to regulate liquidity and interest rates in accordance with developments in the macroeconomy. In addition, the State Bank asks credit institutions to balance their sources of capital, cut costs and enhance business efficiency to reduce lending interest rates in order to share difficulties with lenders.

    On top of the tasks of stabilising interest rates and lowering lending interest rates, commercial banks have been put under pressure to reduce costs and hasten restructuring along with settling non-performing loans.

    Economist Le Xuan Nghia said that there is room for lowering lending interest rates in 2017, which will largely depend on the credit policy of the State Bank and the settlement of non-performing loans by commercial banks.

    Vietcombank Deputy General Director Pham Thanh Ha said that stabilising interest rates in 2017 will require considerable effort from commercial banks amid inflation and the rise anticipated in interest rates in US dollars.

    Ha stated that there will be room for Vietcombank to stabilise and reduce interest rates, particularly short-term lending interest rates for prioritised sectors and start-up businesses as the bank has resolved, and controlled non-performing loans.

    Many economists have said that it is hard to lower lending interest rates in the condition of stable deposit interest rates in addition to objective factors from the domestic and world economy. As a result, maintaining stable interest rates as in 2017 will see a number of challenges including the possibility of inflation increasing in 2017, the anticipated rise in interest rates in US dollars and pressure from non-performing loans and restructuring from weak banks.

    Particularly, the SBV’s regulations on the ratio of short-term funds used for medium- and long-term loans effective from January 2017 will force commercial banks to boost deposits. In addition, non-performing loans have yet to be resolved completely, resulting in higher provision and operation costs for commercial banks which will affect the possibility of reducing lending interest rates.

    Along with the duties assigned by the Government, the State Bank also set the target for the banking system of decreasing lending interest rates by 0.5-1% in 2017, which is not easy to achieve amid enormous pressure from both subjective and objective factors.

    Garment exports to US, Japan hit 15 billion USD in 2016

    The US and Japan imported 15 billion USD worth of garment and textile products from Vietnam in 2016, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas).

    The figure accounted for 53.5 percent of the garment and textile sector’s export turnover of 28.3 billion USD last year.

    The association said that to fulfill the target of earning 30 billion USD from exports this year, the sector will continue boosting shipments to the US and Japan, with a view to maintaining an export growth of 6 percent in these markets.  

    In 2016, Vietnam’s apparel saw lower than expected results, with 28.3 billion USD in exports, meeting about 90 percent of the set target and up 5.7 percent year on year.

    Vitas attributed the low export turnover to a lack of export orders due to fierce competition from foreign textile and garment producers, while global demands declined.

    Car sales tumble almost 40 percent in January

    Car sales in Vietnam in January plunged 39 percent from the previous month to 20,232 units, following a 20-year record in 2016.

    The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) reported on February 13 that the sales of passenger cars dropped 35 percent to 14,749 units. Commercial vehicles and special-purpose vehicles also experienced the same trend with 5,098 and 385 units sold, down 45 percent and 64 percent respectively.

    A 34-percent decline was recorded in the number of domestically assembled vehicles, at 15,504 units. Meanwhile, 4,728 imported completely built units (CBU) were sold, falling by 51 percent month on month.

    Compared to January 2016, car sales last month contracted 13 percent. Although those of commercial and special-purpose vehicles respectively decreased 38 percent and 56 percent, the sales of passenger cars climbed 5 percent.

    The sales of domestically assembled cars and imported CBUs sank 11 percent and 18 percent year on year, respectively, according to VAMA.

    Among VAMA members, Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) continued to take the lead with 6,511 units sold in January, holding a 33.2-percent stake in the market. It was followed by Toyota Vietnam (5,318 units, 27 percent) and Ford Vietnam (2,544 units, 13 percent).

    Insiders partly attributed the sales decline to late January’s coincidence with the time prior to and the Lunar New Year holiday. Many people didn’t buy cars since they thought they might not receive new vehicles on the busy last days of the old lunar year.

    To prepare for the tariff on CBUs imported from other ASEAN countries to be cut from 40 percent to 30 percent on January 1, 2017, many businesses offered big discounts last November and December, attracting a large number of buyers in the last two months of 2016 and boosting the car sales last year to a 20-year record of more than 304,000 units.

    Other people who were not in an urgent need for a new car delayed the purchase as the import tariff on CBUs with the ASEAN origin will further go down from 30 percent in 2017 to zero percent next year, VAMA said.

    Certified coffee farming improves local income in Dak Lak

    The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak currently records 44,000 households producing certified coffee on a total coverage of 64,107ha with an output of 226,100 tonnes of coffee beans, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoai Duong.

    Their coffee cultivation meets UTZ (sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea), 4C Code of Conduct for Coffee Sector standards. Several others meet Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) and Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International requirements.

    Cu M’gar district is home to 10,000 households with 15,000ha of UTZ and 4C certified coffee, accounting for 45 percent of the total coffee coverage in the district.

    Notably, all 10 units gaining Buon Me Thuot coffee geographical indication recognition involve in growing coffee meeting UTZ, 4C and RFA standards.

    However, Duong admitted that certified coffee farming in the district remains limited with only 64,107ha out of 203,356ha in the province.

    The province is encouraging businesses and farming households to expand certified coffee cultivation in order to improve their income and protect ecological environment in coffee-growing areas, he said.

    Mekong Delta province boosts economic restructuring

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is pushing ahead with economic restructuring, towards increasing the proportion of industry, trade and services.

    It strives to record annual gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth of 11-12 percent from now to 2020.

    The industrial production value is expected to reach 19-20 percent in the period while the ratio of industry, construction and services will make up 70 percent of the GRDP.

    Priorities will be put on seafood processing, farm produce, agricultural equipment, support industry, apparel, and wind power.

    The province also encourages the development of tourism, scientific research, education-training, logistics, information technology, and agro services in order to create a breakthrough in boosting industry, trade and services.

    Businesses are called to forge connectivity with farmers to create clean and safe products.

    Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Ngo Chi Cuong said local authorities have improved administrative procedures, policies and created a favourable environment for businesses to quickly implement key infrastructure projects, especially at the Dinh An economic zone, while developing the seaports system and logistics activities.

    Through strengthening investment promotion at home and abroad, the province prioritise to appealing for capital from Japan, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore under the public private partnership (PPP) form in major spheres at the Dinh An Economic Zone and Duyen Hai Power Station.-

    Vietjet to launch Da Nang-Seoul route

    The budget carrier Vietjet Air will launch daily flights from the central city of Da Nang to Seoul (the Republic of Korea) on May 31 in a bid to meet the increasing travel demand of tourists and businesspeople.

    Flight time between the two destinations will be four and a-half hours.The flight from Da Nang will depart at 23.45pm and arrive in Seoul at 6am (local time). The return flight will take off at 7am (local time) and land at 9.40am in Da Nang.

    In celebration of the new route and on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the airline will run a three-day promotional offering of 500,000 air tickets priced from only 5,000 VND (15 US cents) starting from February 14 to February 16.

    The promotion applies to all international routes from HCM City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Da Nang to Seoul, Busan (RoK); Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (China); Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand); Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia); Yangon (Myanmar); and Siem Reap (Cambodia) from March 1 to December 12.

    As for the Da Nang-Seoul route, the promotion is available for use from May 31 to December 31.

    Da Nang is the fourth Vietnamese city to be linked by air with Seoul, after HCM City, Hanoi and Hai Phong.

    Vietjet plans to expand its international network in 2017, looking to boost regional trade and integration.

    Cuttlefish, octopus export to grow

    Cuttlefish and octopus exports this year are expected to increase by 4% from last year to reach US$470 million, according to the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP).

    VASEP general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said that Vietnam earned US$440 million from cuttlefish and octopus exports last year, a year-on-year increase of three per cent, with the Republic of Korea, Japan and the EU the largest import markets.

    Exports of frozen cuttlefish and octopus contributed 34 per cent and 32 per cent of the total exports, respectively, and dried and processed products the rest.

    Demand from Japan, the EU and other markets recovered significantly in the last few months of the year, but exports to the largest import market of ROK, which accounted for 38 per cent of total cuttlefish and octopus exports, fell strongly.

    In the last few years, a scarcity of raw materials was a hurdle for mollusc exporters, who had to depend on imported sources.

    The situation is expected to continue this year, with imports of raw materials forecast to increase strongly in the first quarter of the year.

    Global demand for this kind of mollusc will not be high, but there is drastic competition among export countries, he said.

    VASEP forecast cuttlefish and octopus exports just slightly higher than four per cent this year, Hoe said, adding that exports in the first quarter were estimated to reach $80 million, a year-on-year decrease of 1.93 per cent.

    While exports to ROK and Japan could fall slightly in the first quarter, exports to EU will rise but not by much.

    Ground-breaking tourism accelerators accepts projects in the Mekong region

    The Mekong Innovative Start-up Tourism (MIST) Initiative has announced two new accelerators designed to make it easier and faster for innovative tourism businesses to get established in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    The MIST Start-up Accelerator will take entries from early stage companies with either travel technology or traditional tourism business plans. The MIST Market Access Accelerator welcomes applications from mature international tourism start-ups needing assistance entering the region. Both accelerators will close to applications 19 March.

    Applicants must demonstrate how they will create jobs, generate positive community impact and contribute to sustainable tourism growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Vietnam.

    “The MIST accelerator programmes give a leg up to tourism investments that create jobs, help local communities, and support entrepreneurship, especially for women,” explained Dominic Mellor, senior Asian Development Bank economist and head of the Mekong Business Initiative.

    Founders accepted into the MIST Start-up Accelerator will attend mini boot camps to further develop their business plans. The top business plans for each country market will win MIST Innovation Grants, with the best overall receiving USD10,000 and the three runners-up receiving USD7,000.

    MIST Market Access Accelerator participants will join familiarisation tours of relevant Mekong region markets. Through these tours, they will receive coaching, custom market insights, and introductions to supplier networks and relevant stakeholders.

    Participants in both MIST accelerators will pitch their plans to investors, global acceleration programs, and tourism leaders at the Mekong Tourism Forum in June (Luang Prabang, Lao) and APEC Summit in November (Danang, Vietnam). In-country teams will provide additional advisory services tailored to participants’ business needs.

    “The Greater Mekong Subregion is among the fastest growing tourism destinations on earth. Start-ups can disrupt traditional practices to adapt to changing consumer behaviour, but let’s also encourage responsible innovation that enhances the region’s appeal for future generations,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Co-ordinating Office.

    MIST is a joint venture of the Mekong Tourism Co-ordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative. It receives regional funding, advisory and technical support from the Asian Development Bank the Australian government, Amadeus Next, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Village Capital. It has been endorsed by young entrepreneurs associations and start-up groups in Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    Investor accused of cheating residents to use smaller entrance

    Residents at Home City Apartment Building in Cau Giay District, Hanoi are complaining about being cheated by the building's investor that is forcing them to use a longer route and smaller entrance to enter the building.

    Home City is a new project and the residents have moved in only 10 days ago. But most residents said they felt like they were tricked by the investor, Van Phu Invest JSC.

    In the contracts, it is stated that the official address is 117 Trung Kinh Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi. However, the entrance on this street has been blocked ever since the residents moved in. They were asked to use the entrance on Nguyen Chanh Street that is about 1km away.

    Pham Dinh Tuan, a resident, said, "The entrance route on Nguyen Chanh Street is really small. We've worked with the investor several times but their explanation is not good enough."

    Bui Thi Hien, another resident, said she bought the apartment at the price of VND35m (USD1,500) per square metre because it is on Trung Kinh Street, which would be easier. "We have to go through another road to reach Nguyen Chanh Street and it's not worth the money," she said.

    The residents also complained about the lack of street lights, accidents and congestion on Nguyen Chanh Street. Deliverymen also face difficulties when finding routes to enter the building. In addition, the cable service, monthly parking fee and hygiene in the basements are also being criticised.

    In response, Van Phu Invest JSC said they didn't do anything wrong.

    Their project, which includes high-rise building and a primary school, were approved by Hanoi People's Committee and the Department of Planning and Architecture. In the approved project, the entrance to the primary school is on Trung Kinh Street and the entrance to the high-rise building is on Nguyen Chanh Street. Even in their model that was presented to potential buyers also showed the entrance.

    The company also complained that the residents as well as visitors often park vehicles along Nguyen Chanh Street to the building's gate and cause congestion. The company had to warn the residents that if they don't park in the basement, they will have to pay parking fees on the street.

    "Our monthly parking fees also follow the regulation. The maximum fee applied for nine-seat cars is VND3m (USD132)," the company's representative said.

    Alma Resort developer confuses customer with valueless “ownership certificate”

    Besides anomaly in representative offices and unreasonable clauses in the contract, the certificate that Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd., the developer of Alma Resort in the central province of Khanh Hoa, gives to customers also contains confusing information that raises the suspicion that the company is cheating the customers.

    Alma Resort developer confuses customer with valueless “ownership certificate”
    In a letter to VIR, a customer named S said that after signing the contract to own a vacation with Paradise Bay Resort Co., Ltd. and pay the deposit, he received a certificate of ownership issued by a company named Hutchinson Trustees based in the UK.

    S said that Alma told him this certificate ensured that he could join in an international club that allow him to exchange vacation weeks at Alma Resort for week at another hotel in another country.

    However, on the certificate there are a lot of opaque details. Specifically, the company certifying the ownership is “Hutchinson Trustees”, with address at “5 - 6 Priory Court, Tuscam Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YX, United Kingdom”, and phone number: “(+44) 1276 482000”.

    Searching “Hutchinson Trustees” on the company registry website of the UK government at returned three results of three companies, all at the same address, namely Hutchinson Trustees Limited; Hutchinson Trustees Secret Bay Residences Properties Limited and Hutchinson Trustees (Lithuania) Limited.

    These companies have one director in common named “RICKARD, Anna Kathryn”. Of the three companies, according to the link,, Hutchinson Trustees Secret Bay Residences Properties Limited was dissolved in 2014. For the remaining two there is no information about their operation status.

    But whether they are still operating or not, on the certificate that S received, there is no information about whether Rickard represents which of these two companies. Judging by the stamp on the letter that is attached with the certificate, it may be Hutchinson Trustees Limited.

    However, the address “5 - 6 Priory Court” and phone number “(+44) 1276 482000” belong to yet another company with the website and name “Hutchinson & Co Trust Company Ltd”, with email address at, instead of as written on the certificate. This company also has many directors, one of whom is RICKARD, Anna Kathryn.

    Lawyer Tran Duc Phuong from the Ho Chi Minh City Lawyers’ Association said that this certificate does not have any legal value in Vietnam.

    According to Decree 111/2011/ND-CP issued by the government dated December 5, 2011, on certification and legalisation by the embassy, the certificate by UK company Hutchinson Trustee has to be legalised by the Embassy of UK in Vietnam before being used in Vietnam.

    As per Vietnamese laws, the certificate has no value because a certificate of a third party has no value to certify a contract of renting a room or a villa, no matter whether the third party is a Vietnamese or foreign company.

    In fact this certificate can be understood as a notice about setting up an account at a company that facilitates people exchanging and selling vacations.

    Eastin Duyen Ha Resort Cam Ranh to open

    The Eastin Duyen Hai Resort in Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa province, will open during the second quarter of this year.
    The resort covers 17.4 ha and has a total of 651 rooms, suites and villas, including 372 superior rooms, three suites in a high-rise block, 148 deluxe garden rooms in a two-storey block, 32 deluxe rooms in a villa block without a pool, 24 family deluxe rooms in a villa block with a pool, 16 one-bedroom garden villas, nine one-bedroom pool villas, 30 two-bedroom lagoon villas, five two-bedroom pool villas, four three-bedroom garden villas, and eight three-bedroom pool villas.
    All rooms are decorated in a contemporary, internationally-influenced design and feature Eastin brand-standard deluxe facilities, providing the ultimate in comfort and convenience for both business and leisure travelers.
    The resort boasts a variety of enticing food and beverage options for guests to choose from, including an all-day dining restaurant with terrace, a beach restaurant, a lobby lounge, a shopping arcade and deli, a pool bar, a sports bar, a kids’ club, a dumpling depot and a Japanese sushi and teppanyaki restaurant.
    Other facilities include U Spa, with six double and four single treatment rooms, foot massage and separate Jacuzzis for men and women, a fitness center, a kids’ pool, a kids’ club, a games room, an outdoor swimming pool, and an expansive sports complex including tennis, volleyball and badminton courts as well as pétanque and croquet.
    It’s state-of-the-art conference and banquet facilities. with the latest audiovisual technology, can cater to any type of event, from large corporate meetings and seminars to dream weddings and private parties. Facilities include a large function room seating up to 800 guests and three boardrooms and two meeting rooms.
    Cam Ranh is renowned for its pristine beaches and wonderful scenery and is easily accessible, being both close to the airport and Nha Trang city.
    Eastin Grand Hotels in Asia feature luxury five-star accommodation, bespoke facilities and dining venues designed to please the local and international travelers. Every hotel is fitted with modern and contemporary amenities, attentive services and consistency to ensure a perfect stay.
    With the motto “Value For All Occasions”, Eastin Grand’s pledge is to offer the very best in comfort, service and facilities at the most attractive prices with maximum flexibility.

    No need to wait for ODA, Da Nang firm says
    The main water supply company in Da Nang City, Dawaco, has proposed that it raises funds on its own to build the Hoa Lien Water Plant rather instead of using non-refundable Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds from Japan.

    The proposal was made by the company’s general director, Ho Huong, in a meeting with the city’s leadership this month.

    Huong said the company’s water plants with a total capacity of 210,000 cubic metres each day have been overworked in summer when it exceeded designed capacity to supply 260,000 cubic metres a day.

    He said the company will have to supply 660,000 cubic metres each day in 2025, and needs an early start to be able to do that.

    Using ODA funds would mean that the Hoa Lien Water Supply Plant can only begin operations by 2022, given the complicated procedures, management and operations associated with such funding.

    “We can raise funds ourselves fund for the first stage of the Hoa Lien water plant in the fourth quarter of 2017 and begin operations in late 2019, providing an additional 120,000 cubic metres of clean water each day,” Huong said.

    “The Hoa Lien Water plant would use VND4.8 trillion (US$212.3 million) for a 20-year construction and operation period, but we can reduce investment capital by using our funds with build the plant faster,” he said.

    While the ODA funding would be for a PPP (public-private partnership) project, Dawaco can raise funds from shareholders because it is a joint-stock company.

    Huynh Duc Tho, Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee, said the city will review Dawaco’s proposal soon.

    Tho asked the company to prepare a fundraising plan with a strict construction schedule. The city will decide the best way of investing later, he said.

    This is the second project in Da Nang that the investor has spurned ODA funds. The Da Nang Port Company raised funds from shareholders instead of using ODA from Japan.

    Da Nang authorities have said the city is set to face a water crisis in the coming years as water exploitation has equaled existing designed capacity with 200,000 cubic metres taken from the Vu Gia River.

    Meanwhile, the Cau Do water station, the city’s major supplier, is struggling often with highly saline water due to a lack of supply from the upstream rivers during the dry season.

    The city had called for Public-Private-Parnership (PPP) investment projects in waste water treatment and clean water supply and it seeks to become a ‘green’ city.

    It has estimated project costs at VND6 trillion (US$267 million), of which $218 million would be used for urban infrastructure, to reach the ‘green’ target (an environmentally friendly city) by 2025.

    In 2015, the city had listed 19 projects calling for investments of VND16.5 trillion (US$768 million) under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.

    The same year, it presented a US$115-million budget proposal for upgrading waste water treatment stations, waste water drainage systems and drainage channels in the city. The World Bank had agreed to loan US$100 million for this project.

    Nod for logistics centre at Da Nang Hi-tech Park
    Da Nang High-tech Park’s management board has granted an investment certificate to the first logistics project in the central city with total registered capital of VND316 billion (US$14 million).

    The U&I Logistics Centre, funded by the U&I Logistics JSC in southern Binh Duong province, will cover more than 5ha in the Da Nang Hi-tech Park.

    The first phase of the project will be implemented in the third quarter of 2017 and the second phase will start in Q1 of 2021.

    Once completed, the project will provide logistics services such as delivery of import-export products, customs procedures and transport of goods by road and inland waterways for businesses in Da Nang Hi-tech Park.

    The project is expected to meet the demand for logistics services of enterprises operating in Da Nang High-tech Park. It is expected to facilitate and improve transport and trading activities in the park and help Da Nang turn Lien Chieu Port into the city’s logistics centre.

    Ford sells 2,544 units in January
    Ford Vietnam reported January sales of 2,544 units with its EcoSport, Ranger and Transit models continuing to retain segment leadership.

    The Ranger led with sales rising 3 per cent year-over-year to 1,342 vehicles and accounting for almost half the pickup trucks sold in the country.

    The EcoSport SUV remained the leader of the compact SUV segment, selling 449 vehicles.

    The Transit maintained its leadership of the commercial bus and van segment with sales of 289 vehicles.

    The Everest SUV delivered sales of 116 vehicles while the Explorer premium SUV sold 137 units. Ford Vietnam recently began importing the latter from the US with a 2.3L EcoBoost engine.

    Focus saw sales of 110 units, while the sporty Fiesta saw sales rise 12 percent from a year ago to 94 units.

    Enterprises see opportunities in 2017

    Trần Văn Mỹ, general director of Phong Điền Scavi Company, said that his company is building an industrial centre specialising in textile and garment at the Phong Điền Industrial Park Huế City.

    The first hub of its kind in Việt Nam was in fact run on a trial basis in 2015 and 2016.

    Mỹ said the facility is due to be put into operation in the second quarter of this year, bringing together various segments involved in textile production such as feedstock, fabric accessories, design, fashion illustration and finally production of large volumes of finished products for exports.

    This closed production chain is expected to help not only strengthen the brand appeal and prestige of Vietnamese garment and textile products in the global market, increasing exports, but also address the current scale in the sector.

    It is also expected to attract foreign investment since many foreign apparel manufacturers are keen to invest in the Vietnamese textile industry where there are specialised models.

    Elsewhere, the CEO of Việt Nam VP9 Company,  said his company has set itself a sales target of US$300 million from technological products, particularly internet-based television cameras.

    Explaining the company’s ambitious target, he told Tài Chính & Chứng Khoán that Việt Nam is the first country in the world to successfully develop smart cameras that run Android and instal millions of Android applications, ushering in a new era of the internet of things.

    Those smart products are now in demand around the world, and so are expected to be shipped to major markets such as the US, Europe and Japan, he said.

    Besides focusing on exports, many companies including State and private ones have also drawn up ambitious strategies to expand their shares in the domestic market this year by enlarging distribution networks and consolidating their brand strengths.

    They include Việt Tiến Garment Company, Sài Gòn Co.op, Thegioididong, FPT, Vingroup and Vinamilk. They plan to increase their investments by 50 per cent to expand their distribution systems.

    It is not only such big companies but also many small ones, including start-ups, who plan to step up investment in production and business and their distribution networks this year.

    Analysts said many companies hope to increase exports this year thanks to possible advantages created by positive changes expected in both the domestic and global economies, including free trade agreements, many of which effect this year.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted the global economy to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, while the World Bank believes 3.1 per cent growth is likely.

    The Vietnamese economy is expected to be steady with inflation remaining under control. In addition, the Government will continue to implement measures to improve the business and investment environment and support businesses.

    According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in 2017 Việt Nam’s economic integration will be further momentum.

    It will have to implement all commitments under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with China and with other ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and new generation free trade agreements.

    This is expected to create highly favourable conditions for the country’s economic development.

    But analysts also warn about the many challenges in both the domestic and overseas markets that Vietnamese enterprises might face and have to overcome if they want to seize the opportunities, particularly for exports.

    They said the growth quality as well as competitiveness of the Vietnamese economy remains low. Besides there is macroeconomic instability and infrastructure lack of adequate to meet the development needs.

    Recent global developments such as US President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and Britain’s vote to quit the EU show that some major economies are tending to protectionism and reduced trade liberalisation.

    This will change the structure of global commodity supply and demand, significantly affecting the global market and of course exports by Vietnamese businesses.

    The analysts said Vietnamese businesses should focus on exploiting their domestic market, adding it would be an important factor in survival and development.

    Analysts think banks can cut rates

    After Lunar New Year-Tết, liquidity at most banks is rather plentiful as people have again started putting their savings into them.

    Yet many of them have quietly raised their deposit interest rates by 0.1-0.3 percentage points.

    For instance, Eximbank raised the rate on three-month term deposits by 0.2 percentage points to 5.5 per cent.

    Small banks have had to increase interest rates on long-term deposits to 8 per cent. They also had to give “lucky money” to those who made short-term deposits.

    The chief of a bank with a chartered capital of VNĐ5 trillion  said though liquidity is good bank had to increase deposit interest rates in order not to lose market share to smaller banks.

    One of the reasons lenders are vying with each other to hike their deposit interest rates is that they have to have enough money since there is a possibility of strong credit growth of 18 per cent to even 30 per cent this year.

    But this rate hike in the new year has gone against the State Bank of Việt Nam’s desire to lower interest rates to support the economy.

    Some banking insiders also mentioned some other factors that are expected to impact the rates this year.

    The first is the imminent strengthening of the dollar after the US Federal Reserve increases interest rates an expected three times this year as economic growth and inflation pick up.

    They pointed out that đồng interest rates always have a close correlation with the value of the greenback.

    The second reason is that Circular No.06, which caps the ratio of short-term funds that can be used for medium- and long-term loans, will reduce it from 60 per cent to 50 per cent this year.

    This has forced banks to restructure their finances and increase interest rates on medium- and long-term deposits.

    The hike in wages this year is likely to bring inflationary pressure on the economy.

    However, some analysts said there remains a possibility of deposit interest rates falling this year in spite of many factors that seem like preventing such a likelihood.

    But this requires the central bank to effectively control credit growth, and mechanisms and policies for bad debt settlement to prove their efficacy.

    Nguyễn Thị Hồng, deputy governor of the SBV, said a series of new policies for settling bad debts would be announced this year. This might enable banks to steady and reduce first the deposit interest rates and then the lending interest rates.

    The SBV governor has also expressed determination to address the bad debts problem this year. The central bank will carry out many debt buying and selling market measures and set up a transparent debt trading market that will attract domestic and foreign investors.

    The central bank instructed credit institutions to seriously implement regulations and guidelines related on interest rates under its Directive No.01/CT-NHNN issued this year.

    Vietcombank chairman Nghiêm Xuân Thành said if bad debts are recovered by the Việt Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) it would help banks have “more room” to lower interest rates.

    Lowering the interest rates will become even more feasible if banks can recover their bad debts by themselves.

    This year Vietcombank plans to buy all VNĐ4.3 trillion of NPLs that it sold to the VAMC, three years earlier than planned.

    It will then settle the bad debts using its provisioning, hoping that as and when the debts are actually recovered the bank’s financial capacity will improve.

    A Vietinbank official said this year the lender would focus on settling bad debts, and buy back all the bad debts it had sold to the VAMC.

    Amid the fierce competition between banks, Vietinbank plans to completely settle the bad debts year instead of in 2018 as it had planned earlier.

    No need to wait for ODA, Da Nang firm says     

    The main water supply company in Da Nang City, Dawaco, has proposed that it raises funds on its own to build the Hoa Lien Water Plant rather instead of using non-refundable Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds from Japan.

    The proposal was made by the company’s general director, Ho Huong, in a meeting with the city’s leadership this month.

    Huong said the company’s water plants with a total capacity of 210,000 cubic metres each day have been overworked in summer when it exceeded designed capacity to supply 260,000 cubic metres a day.

    He said the company will have to supply 660,000 cubic metres each day in 2025, and needs an early start to be able to do that.

    Using ODA funds would mean that the Hoa Lien Water Supply Plant can only begin operations by 2022, given the complicated procedures, management and operations associated with such funding.

    “We can raise funds ourselves fund for the first stage of the Hoa Lien water plant in the fourth quarter of 2017 and begin operations in late 2019, providing an additional 120,000 cubic metres of clean water each day,” Huong said.

    “The Hoa Lien Water plant would use VND4.8 trillion (US$212.3 million) for a 20-year construction and operation period, but we can reduce investment capital by using our funds with build the plant faster,” he said.

    While the ODA funding would be for a PPP (public-private partnership) project, Dawaco can raise funds from shareholders because it is a joint-stock company.

    Huynh Duc Tho, Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee, said the city will review Dawaco’s proposal soon.

    Tho asked the company to prepare a fundraising plan with a strict construction schedule. The city will decide the best way of investing later, he said.

    This is the second project in Da Nang that the investor has spurned ODA funds. The Da Nang Port Company raised funds from shareholders instead of using ODA from Japan.

    Da Nang authorities have said the city is set to face a water crisis in the coming years as water exploitation has equaled existing designed capacity with 200,000 cubic metres taken from the Vu Gia River.

    Meanwhile, the Cau Do water station, the city’s major supplier, is struggling often with highly saline water due to a lack of supply from the upstream rivers during the dry season.

    The city had called for Public-Private-Parnership (PPP) investment projects in waste water treatment and clean water supply and it seeks to become a ‘green’ city.

    It has estimated project costs at VND6 trillion (US$267 million), of which $218 million would be used for urban infrastructure, to reach the ‘green’ target (an environmentally friendly city) by 2025.

    In 2015, the city had listed 19 projects calling for investments of VND16.5 trillion (US$768 million) under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.

    The same year, it presented a US$115-million budget proposal for upgrading waste water treatment stations, waste water drainage systems and drainage channels in the city. The World Bank had agreed to loan US$100 million for this project.

    Enterprises see opportunities in 2017

    Trần Văn Mỹ, general director of Phong Điền Scavi Company, said that his company is building an industrial centre specialising in textile and garment at the Phong Điền Industrial Park Huế City.

    The first hub of its kind in Việt Nam was in fact run on a trial basis in 2015 and 2016.

    Mỹ said the facility is due to be put into operation in the second quarter of this year, bringing together various segments involved in textile production such as feedstock, fabric accessories, design, fashion illustration and finally production of large volumes of finished products for exports.

    This closed production chain is expected to help not only strengthen the brand appeal and prestige of Vietnamese garment and textile products in the global market, increasing exports, but also address the current scale in the sector.

    It is also expected to attract foreign investment since many foreign apparel manufacturers are keen to invest in the Vietnamese textile industry where there are specialised models.

    Elsewhere, the CEO of Việt Nam VP9 Company,  said his company has set itself a sales target of US$300 million from technological products, particularly internet-based television cameras.

    Explaining the company’s ambitious target, he told Tài Chính & Chứng Khoán that Việt Nam is the first country in the world to successfully develop smart cameras that run Android and instal millions of Android applications, ushering in a new era of the internet of things.

    Those smart products are now in demand around the world, and so are expected to be shipped to major markets such as the US, Europe and Japan, he said.

    Besides focusing on exports, many companies including State and private ones have also drawn up ambitious strategies to expand their shares in the domestic market this year by enlarging distribution networks and consolidating their brand strengths.

    They include Việt Tiến Garment Company, Sài Gòn Co.op, Thegioididong, FPT, Vingroup and Vinamilk. They plan to increase their investments by 50 per cent to expand their distribution systems.

    It is not only such big companies but also many small ones, including start-ups, who plan to step up investment in production and business and their distribution networks this year.

    Analysts said many companies hope to increase exports this year thanks to possible advantages created by positive changes expected in both the domestic and global economies, including free trade agreements, many of which effect this year.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted the global economy to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, while the World Bank believes 3.1 per cent growth is likely.

    The Vietnamese economy is expected to be steady with inflation remaining under control. In addition, the Government will continue to implement measures to improve the business and investment environment and support businesses.

    According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in 2017 Việt Nam’s economic integration will be further momentum.

    It will have to implement all commitments under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with China and with other ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and new generation free trade agreements.

    This is expected to create highly favourable conditions for the country’s economic development.

    But analysts also warn about the many challenges in both the domestic and overseas markets that Vietnamese enterprises might face and have to overcome if they want to seize the opportunities, particularly for exports.

    They said the growth quality as well as competitiveness of the Vietnamese economy remains low. Besides there is macroeconomic instability and infrastructure lack of adequate to meet the development needs.

    Recent global developments such as US President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and Britain’s vote to quit the EU show that some major economies are tending to protectionism and reduced trade liberalisation.

    This will change the structure of global commodity supply and demand, significantly affecting the global market and of course exports by Vietnamese businesses.

    The analysts said Vietnamese businesses should focus on exploiting their domestic market, adding it would be an important factor in survival and development.


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  • 02/16/17--02:48: Article 1
  • Fate of Samsung’s investments in Vietnam questionable?

    Samsung finds itself in hot water with its last year overly wrought with exploding mobile phones and political scandals. Will this affect the group’s plans in Vietnam?

     Fate of Samsung’s investments in Vietnam questionable?, 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
    Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong allegedly had a key role in the South Korean corruption scandal

    Currying favour

    Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong had a less-than-ideal Valentine’s day this year, as Seoul prosecutors looking into the recent bribery allegations brought against him announced intentions to make a second attempt to arrest him.

    The scandal centres on impeached South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s confidante Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her ties to the president to strong-arm local firms to “donate” nearly $70 million to two non-profit foundations, which Cho allegedly used for personal gain.

    As reported before, Samsung was the single biggest donor, giving millions of euros to Choi and her daughter, allegedly in exchange for policy favours from Park in return.

    After his father’s heart attack in 2014, Lee has become the de facto head of the Samsung Group. According to allegations, he had a key role in the scandal and is accused of bribing Choi to the amount of $40 million.

    Once released for insufficient evidence and freshly over a marathon questioning on February 13, Lee had little time to breathe as the prosecution made its announcement on the next day.

    Prosecutors are investigating whether Samsung’s payments to Choi were aimed at currying favour and secure state approval for the controversial merger of two Samsung units in 2015. The step was seen as a means of third-generation power transfer to Lee Jae-Yong and garnered strong opposition by many investors.

    Exploding devices

    Perhaps the biggest news in the latter months of 2016 was Samsung’s debacle with its Galaxy Note 7 units. On September 2, the company suspended the sales of the phablet and recalled 2.5 million Note 7 devices that had been shipped worldwide, after faulty batteries started exploding while charging.

    The recall, servicing, and re-shipping of products hit the company badly not only on the financial front, but—probably more importantly—by hurting the brand’s image at large.

    Notably, Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV), one of the two facilities producing the Galaxy Note 7 units, reported a loss of VND3 trillion ($131.98 million) and a 30 per cent, VND32 trillion ($1.41 billion), reduction in revenue compared to the second quarter.

    Nevertheless, looking at the annual figures, SEV still made a net profit of VND25 trillion ($1.09 billion) in the other three quarters of the year, posting encouraging results at the most trying year in a while.

    The other facility responsible for producing the faulty Note 7 units, Samsung Huizhou in China, and its US mobile trading arm Samsung Electronics America reported losses of $307.59 and 114.9 million, respectively.

    In January, Samsung’s investigation arrived at the conclusion that the battery suppliers were to blame for the faulty devices, but realised that the findings would not fully mitigate the damage done to the brand.

    Altogether, Samsung claimed that the debacle cost approximately $5 billion to the group, and an additional $170 million to strengthen product safety, and its first place in the global smartphone market to Apple in the last three months of 2016.

    Samsung Electronics is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, with three manufacturing plants in Bac Ninh (SEV), Thai Nguyen (SEVT) and Ho Chi Minh City  (SEHC). With an export turnover of over $37 billion in 2016, Samsung Electronics in Vietnam contributed 20 per cent to the country’s exports.

    Samsung Display going strong?

    On February 10, VIR reported on Vietnamese subsidiary Samsung Display’s plans to expand its production base in Bac Ninh. The $2.5 billion project would push the firm’s investment in Vietnam to $6.5 billion in early 2017.

    Minister and Government Office chairman Mai Tien Dung has confirmed that the proposal lodged by the Bac Ninh People’s Committee to grant the same privileges to the project as are applied similar large-scale hi-tech projects was approved by the government.

    “We are currently in the legal setup stage, hoping to secure the investment certificate by the upcoming 20th anniversary celebrating Bac Ninh’s re-establishment,” said a provincial source knowledgeable in the matter.

    Probably the first multi-billion dollar investment in the Year of the Rooster, the expansion project has come in the wake of Samsung Display’s global successes throughout 2016.

    Last April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung had signed to supply OLED screens to US tech giant Apple. The screen volume was not disclosed, but it was estimated to be in the range of 100 million units.

    Shortly after, Japanese Nikkei broke the news that Samsung is planning a $6.82-billion investment to upgrade and expand its OLED screen production lines for the Apple deal.

    In late 2016, DigiTimes, Taiwan’s leading high-tech media outlet, disclosed that Samsung Display will supply AMOLED screens—a kind of OLED screen—for Apple’s new iPhone line in 2017.

    Samsung Display’s Bac Ninh plant is reported to have reserved individual production lines to meet Apple’s demands, news in line with the company’s plans to turn Vietnam into their global manufacturing base.

    Will Samsung’s current debacles put a halt to its expansion in Vietnam?

    Before political shenanigans and the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Vietnam was to play a pivotal role in Samsung Group’s development plans. Express intent to turn the country into a major production base was followed by sound action: both by bringing the production of the Note 7 to Vietnam and by preparing Samsung Display for the stellar Apple deal went far beyond empty words.

    In addition, the corporation’s commitment to raising the local supporting industry to be able to operate at the adequate standards offers a rare opportunity for Vietnamese businesses, in line with the corporation’s agreement with the Vietnamese government to increase the localisation rate and the presence of local companies in Samsung’s component supply chain.

    “I do hope that, through Samsung’s supporting programme, Vietnamese enterprises could gain the knowledge and experience to enhance their capacities. Samsung believes that if a product can be localised, we will maximise its localised content," said Han Myoungsup, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics.

    As previously reported by VIR, as of January 16, 2017, nearly 200 Vietnamese enterprises were participating in the supply chain of Samsung’s three plants in Vietnam, including 20 tier-1 and 178 tier-2 vendors. The corporation planned to raise the number of tier-1 suppliers to 29 throughout the year.

    Will the damaged reputation from units produced in Vietnam, albeit due to battery suppliers’ error, have a negative impact on Samsung’s plans, taking away once-in-a-lifetime opportunities on the horizon?


    0 0
  • 02/16/17--03:13: Article 0
  • Gov't, ministries, bankers and businesses cooperate to breed shrimp

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided that Vietnam should become the shrimp production base of the world. 

    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, drought, shrimp, VASEP 

    The target of exporting $10 billion worth of shrimp products by 2025 is within reach, he said.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said it hoped the shrimp export turnover would climb to $10 billion a year by 2030. However, Phuc said the target was too low and that this can be reached sooner, by 2025.

    He went on to say that he wants to see Vietnam to become the ‘world’s shrimp production base’.

    While the plan has raised doubts among some analysts about its feasibility, others believe that the $10 billion goal is attainable for several reasons.

    Shrimp adapt well to saltwater intrusion

    According to MARD’s Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Vietnam’s agriculture is facing three challenges – small-scale household production, climate change and deep international integration.

    Meanwhile, brackish shrimp is a product can be developed in the context of climate changes. 

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided that Vietnam should become the shrimp production base of the world. 

    Vietnam can expect more than $3 billion worth of shrimp exports and 700,000 hectares of shrimp breeding area.

    The natural conditions, climate and weather conditions in Vietnam, especially the Mekong Delta, are very favorable for shrimp farming.

    The pioneer

    Phuc said if Minh Phu Seafood JSC sets the target of exporting $2 billion worth of shrimp by 2021, the entire Ca Mau province would be able to obtain export turnover of $4 billion.

    The remaining $6 billion export turnover can be obtained by other provinces and cities. This means that the $10 billion target by 2020 can be reached

    Le Van Quang, president of Ca Mau-based Minh Phu Group, said Minh Phu has its reason to set such a target, affirming that this is a feasible plan as the group plans big changes in production, marketing and technology application.

    There’s no limit for shrimp export, no price crisis

    Dang Quoc Tuan, deputy chair of Viet Uc Group, affirmed that Vietnam has all necessary conditions to turn into the world’s shrimp production base.

    Tuan said Vietnam can master the technology of farming and producing breeders, while it is now among the world’s leading shrimp exporters.

    Shrimp is a popular product and the consumption market is large. The shrimp price has never fallen.

    Deputy Governor of the State Bank Nguyen Phuoc Thanhy said that banks have enough capital to develop the shrimp industry, including the capital for exporters, farmers and processors.

    Chi Mai, VNN

    0 0
  • 02/17/17--05:56: Article 0

    PM prompts Jardine Matheson to expand operations in Vietnam

    PM prompts Jardine Matheson to expand operations in Vietnam, Vietnam yarn spinning industry going strong, MARD works to remove obstacle for agro-forestry-fishery export, Tracodi to list in HCM City 
    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) receives Jardine Matheson Chairman Henry Keswick on February 17

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the UK’s Jardine Matheson Group to expand operations in Vietnam, thereby helping to promote the growing strategic partnership between the two nations.

    Receiving Jardine Matheson Chairman Henry Keswick in Hanoi on February 17, PM Phuc affirmed that the Vietnamese Government has been taking various measures to create a favourable business environment in line with international standards and free trade agreements Vietnam has joined for foreign enterprises, including Jardine Matheson.

    The PM spoke highly of Jardine Matheson’s diverse and successful investment and business activities around the world, adding that the Government and agencies of Vietnam will continue to provide optimal conditions for the firm to expand operations in the country.

    Meanwhile, Henry Keswick highly evaluated the vigorous growth of Vietnam’s economy, noting that the group is bolstering cooperation with Vietnamese businesses, especially the Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO) – one of the biggest private groups in the Southeast Asian nation.

    Jardine Matheson plans to make long-term investment in Vietnam, he said, expressing his hope that the group would receive more support from the Vietnamese Government and relevant agencies.

    Keswick affirmed that his firm is willing to partner with Vietnamese enterprises to contribute to the development of the bilateral strategic partnership.

    Japanese firms tour farming areas in Lam Dong

    A delegation of 20 Japanese businesses visited several farming and processing companies in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on February 16-17 as part of a business connectivity programme.

    The fact-finding tour was co-organised by the Lam Dong Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Centre and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

    In Duc Trong district, the delegation visited the Da Lat Tu Nhien Company which makes and exports frozen and dried vegetables and fruits to Japan, and the Hoa Mat Troi (Sun Flower) company which is Lam Dong’s biggest exporter of oncidium orchids to Japan.

    In Da Lat city, they called on Da Lat Gap and Langbiang Farm which are among leading companies in planting safe vegetable. The delegation also toured the wholly Japanese owned Create Star strawberry farm.

    Later on February 17, the Japanese businesses and 48 firms in Lam Dong convened a business connectivity event.

    Speaking at the event, the Japanese side lauded the quality of local farm produce.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham S highlighted Japan’s strength in biotechnology, plant varieties, agricultural equipment and greenhouse construction, and pledged all possible support for Japanese firms operating in the province.

    The local firms also expressed their wish to access Japan’s advanced technology and the Japanese market.

    Vietnam yarn spinning industry going strong

    Raw cotton imports of Vietnam have been on the upswing for the past six consecutive years with roughly 40% of the demand being filled by the US cotton industry, according to official statistics.

    Much of the growth in demand has resulted from the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement that provides duty free access for Vietnam-produced yarn that is shipped to its northern neighbour.

    If Chinese mills were to import raw cotton directly from the US they would be required to pay a 40% above-quota duty. However, by relocating their mills to Vietnam the yarn manufacturers benefit from the tax savings.

    Foreign sector mills in Vietnam account for an estimated one-half to two-thirds of the cotton spinning in the country with the lion’s share of the output shipped to Chinese mills for further processing.

    A key factor driving the growth of the cotton spinning segment in Vietnam is the rapidity of the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement that came into force in 2010.

    With full implementation, the customs duty on yarn transported into China from Vietnam, or from any of the other nine Southeast Asian ASEAN member countries, is reduced to zero.

    Other ASEAN members such as Indonesia also recorded a rise in yarn exports to China since 2010, while yarn exports to China from major non-ASEAN countries including Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) dropped during that same time frame.

    The chief suppliers of cotton to Vietnam, apart from the US, are currently India, Brazil, Australia and Cote d’Ivoire. Together, these five countries account for roughly 70-80% of the Southeast Asian country’s cotton imports.

    There had been some concern that China might step up its own cotton production to meet its growing need for materials for the manufacture of finished textile products, lessening its demand for yarn from Vietnam.

    However, as more and more Chinese citizens move away from the farms to the larger metropolitan areas of the country, it appears unlikely the country would be able to find sufficient workers to meet this in addition to its other agricultural needs.

    Currently, Vietnam exports roughly 65% of the yarn (cotton and other) it produces with China, Turkey, and the ROK the largest purchasers. Export volume of yarn rose 12% in 2015, totalling 961,777 tons. Out of this, 498,100 tons went to China, which was an increase of 26% over the previous year.

    Estimates put the volume at 1.17 million tons or 5.37 million bales for the 2015-2016 year, up 25% over 2014-2015.

    The future looks strong for the cotton spinning segment in Vietnam. There have been a number of investments both from within the country and from abroad to improve manufacturing processes such as spinning, weaving, and dyeing.

    Vietnam is also a part of several free trade agreements that are creating more opportunities for its industries. These agreements include a free trade agreement with the EU, one with the ROK, and a third with Eurasia.

    While cotton cultivation by farmers in Vietnam may be falling as they opt to grow other commodities, the country’s position in the global cotton spinning industry appears to be under little threat.

    Though the country relies heavily on imports to sustain its yarn production, current prices combined with the country’s portfolio of free and bilateral trade agreements mean that the segment should have little concern over the long-term.

    Vietnamese businesswoman to participate in Emerging Leaders Programme

    Young Vietnamese businesswoman Dao Lan Huong has been named one of fifteen social entrepreneurs from across the region chosed to participate in the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP), which is scheduled in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia this March.

    The list was announced by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julia Bishop on the morning of February 17.

    The young innovators are the founders of enterprises that address poverty, health, education, technology and environmental degradation.

    Minister Bishop congratulated all the participants on their selection for the programme, which will forge new partnerships with businesses and other organisations and further enhance Australia’s relationships with the countries of Southeast Asia.

    Dao Lan Huong joined PeaceSoft/Nexttech Group as a co-founder in 2004 when she was still in college and helped develop its vision, strategy and operations to grow the company from five to 400 staff members.

    She is currently CEO at Weshop Global & Co-founder of Nexttech Group, a regional cross-border e-commerce business with footprints in the US, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

    In addition to founding Teky Academy—the first technology academy in Vietnam—and inspiring others to join the business in executive positions, she also invested in the Vietnam Investment Club (VIC) to help good startups.

    During the eight-day programme, Huong and other participants will have the opportunity to learn new techniques and identify opportunities to scale up, increasing their enterprises’ impact. They will also be introduced to leading Australian social ventures and industry experts, which will foster connections across the region.

    MARD works to remove obstacle for agro-forestry-fishery export

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has devised a 2017 trade promotion plan to remove obstacles in markets and increase exports of agro-forestry-fishery products.

    According to Vo Thanh Do, deputy head of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-forestry-fisheries products and Salt Production, the ministry is also working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to expand markets for the products.

    To strengthen rice exports to the largest market of China, the ministry will focus on implementing a protocol on plant quarantine in rice exports to China. It will invite Chinese agencies to conduct capacity evaluation before granting licences to Vietnamese rice producers and exporters, said Do.

    The ministry will also hasten negotiations with China to allow more products to be shipped to the market, including fruit, pork, dairy products and seafood.

    Do added that the ministry will also work to secure the US’ approval for Vietnamese mango and star apple to be sold in the US.

    In the Japanese market, the ministry wishes to increase the allowed levels of antibiotics in Vietnamese shrimp in line with regulations in other developed countries, while lobbying the country to import Vietnam’s red flesh dragon and “thieu” lychee.

    To increase exports of fruit, Vietnam will strengthen exports of fresh mango to Thailand, mango, longan, lychee and rambutan to Taiwan (China), and dragon fruit to Australia,  while asking the Republic of Korea to import star apple, longan, rambutan and lychee.

    At the same time, the MARD will ask Australia to evaluate Vietnam’s safe shrimp production chain and then recognise Vietnam as a disease-free region, said Do.

    He also revealed that the ministry will build a roadmap to devise obligatory technical criteria for aquaculture exports, while supporting enterprises to build trademarks.

    In January, export turnover of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture was estimated at 2.54 billion USD, a year-on-year decrease of 1.4 percent.

    Vietnam, Cambodia state banks foster partnership

    Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Le Minh Hung and Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) Chea Chanto have agreed to step up the two banks’ win-win cooperation.

    At a conference between the SBV and the NBC in the ancient city of Siem Reap, Siem Reap province on February 17, they agreed to organise the conference annually and increase cooperation to implement reached agreements on border trade payment, banking supervision, and anti-laundering and counterfeit money.

    They also noted speeding up cooperation with Laos and Myanmar.

    Apart from assistance in university education, the SBV will provide an additional 15 post-graduate scholarships for Cambodian graduates in banking a year from 2017.

    The two sides committed to making it easier for commercial banks to establish partnerships and commerce and trade presence in the respective country towards spurring the banking system growth and better serving operations of respective businesspeople and investors.

    At the end of the conference, Governors Le Minh Hung and Chea Chanto signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the two banks.

    Tracodi to list in HCM City
    Transport and Industry Development Investment Joint Stock Company (Tracodi) will list on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange in April.

    It is expected to have a chartered capital of VND324.8 billion (US$14.24 million).

    Tracodi, which has interests in mining, labour export, construction, and foreign trade, reported pre-tax profit of VND61 billion last year, up from VND25.5 billion in 2015, Tran Nguyen, deputy head of its investor relations department, told stock market investors at a meeting on Thursday.

    Its revenues increased from VND190.6 billion ($8.35 million) in 2015 to VND835.3 billion ($36.63 million) last year, with stone mining, construction and import-export sectors being main contributors, he said.

    The company has set a pre-tax profit target of VND67.1 billion on revenues of VND918.8 billion this year, he said.

    Tracodi has many group and allied companies such as An Giang Joint Venture of Construction Material Exploitation and Processing (Antraco), Vinataxi and Vinacafe Da Lat JSC.

    Some of Tracodi’s ongoing projects include a $49 million upgrade to provincial roads in Long An Province, upgrade of Nguyen Huu Tri Street linking HCM City’s Binh Chanh District with Long An Province’s Ben Luc District, a grade A mixed-use building in HCM City’s District 1 and a residential-shopping complex in Cu Chi District.

    VPBank posts record pre-tax profit
    Viet Nam Prosperity Bank Joint Stock Bank (VPBank) reported integrated pre-tax profit of VND4.9 trillion (US$218 million) in 2016.

    This represents a year-on-year increase of 53 per cent, a record since its establishment.

    VPBank on Thursday announced its impressive businesses results for 2016. Accordingly, its net income last year reached VND15.1 trillion, or VND4.5 trillion higher than the previous year.

    It said the increasing collection of VND715 billion (up 180 per cent) from resolving debts contributed a significant amount to the high pre-tax profit.

    The bank’s total assets in 2016 reached nearly VND226 trillion, posting an increase of 16.5 per cent from the previous year.

    Its total capital mobilisation was VND172 trillion or 13 per cent higher than that of 2015. The rate of long-term deposits saw a significant increase from 40 per cent in 2015 to 50 per cent last year.

    Its capital adequacy ratio remained at 13 per cent, which was higher than nine per cent stipulated by the State Bank of Viet Nam.

    The bank said its total costs for operation in 2016 rose only by 16 per cent from the previous year as it has taken drastic measures to save spending and maximise effectiveness.

    Its loans to customers reached 17.5 per cent, with strong growth in the retail sector, including individuals, small-and-medium sized enterprises.

    In addition, the loans to real estate sector were reduced from 19.5 per cent in 2015 to 15.8 per cent last year. Its bad debt rate was also reduced from 2.43 per cent to 2.03 per cent in 2016.

    VPBank is the only bank in the country awarded the National Brandname for three consecutive years, besides receiving many international awards.

    The bank is among the top seven banks in Viet Nam.

    First mobile banking for the poor launched
    The Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) on Thursday launched a mobile banking service designed to improve the access of disadvantaged people.

    The project, which is supported by the Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform, aims to increase access to a full range of financial services for low-income households, especially women-led micro-enterprises that lack access to traditional banking services.

    The project will be implemented in co-operation between VBSP, Mastercard and the Asian Foundation over three years.

    Improving access to financial services is increasingly recognised as key to creating greater economic opportunities for the poor. Unfortunately, in addition to credit, abour two-thirds of Vietnamese people, particularly in rural areas, are disconnected from other formal banking services. This is partly due to the high cost of operating bank branches in remote areas where small frequent transactions are the norm.

    Viet Nam has undergone a rapid evolution in information and communications technology with telecommunications networks covering almost the entire country and adults owning mobile phones. However, the use of mobile technology for financial transactions is relatively rare and cash transactions remain pervasive.

    “The project will help poor and near-poor households and other social policy beneficiaries to access sustainable and effective financial services, contributing to alleviating poverty and connecting the poor with the economy,” said Hoang Minh Te, VBSP’s deputy director.

    He said applying new technology is in line with the Government’s socio-economic development strategy for the 2011-20 period. This will also be one of tools to diversify the bank’s products and services as well as increasing its efficiency in order to serve an increasing number of customers.

    VBSP will send account-related information via SMS texts to clients, thus improving transparency and reducing delinquency rates. The bank will pilot mobile banking for customers to make its transaction procedures automatic.

    “We want to make a real difference in reducing powerty and ensuring that poor people have access to financial system. Lessons drawn from other markets have shown that digital payments are cheaper, more efficient and ultimately more sustainable,” said Arn Vogels, chief representative of Mastercard Indochina.

    Being a specialised and the biggest State-owned financial institution, the bank has provided financial services, especially loans to help reduce poverty and achieve social targets effectively.

    VBSP’s strength is a nationwide network of 63 branches, 629 transaction offices, nearly 200,000 savings and credit groups in more than 11,000 communes.

    It serves nearly seven million customers with total outstanding loans of VND157 trillion. Nearly 80 per cent of the debtors live in rural and remote areas.

    Enterprises fret over Halong Bay entrance fees

    The government of Quang Ninh has informed Halong Bay entrance fees from this April onwards will be based on routes rather than destinations, causing concern that the costs tourists have to bear will shoot up.

    The entrance fees will be calculated according to five tourist routes that start from the wharf. For the five final destinations of Van Canh Park, the caves and caverns, the marine culture conservation center, the marine leisure center and Gia Luan Harbor, the fees will be VND250,000, VND250,000, VND200,000, VND200,000 and VND250,000 per visitor respectively.

    Tourists wishing to stay overnight will have to pay a charge ranging from VND500,000 to VND750,000 depending on the routes and the length of their stay.

    Currently, tourists to Halong Bay pay the general entrance fee of VND120,000 per person, and an additional VND30,000-50,000 for each of the destinations they choose from the list of 19. The rate for an overnight stay is VND200,000.

    Businesses believe the new way of charging is unreasonable, making the actual costs for tourists to Halong Bay to increase sharply, or even double from the current levels. Many travel companies and foreign shipping lines are lodging their complaints.

    In addition, the fee hikes will go into force in just three months, giving tour operators little time to renegotiate the costs of the contracts they signed with travel companies at home and abroad a year ago or more.

    A boat tour operator in Halong Bay said a two-day-one-night trip that takes in two destinations in the chargeable list would cost some VND460,000 each.

    Tourists do not often choose their destinations on the same route as the new regulations of the province, but may select one destination from this route and one other from another route. Thus, from April 1 onwards, if going on the same journey as now, tourists must pay twice as much.

    “The cost for two people will be up to VND1.5 million, equal to the rate of staying in a 3-star inland hotel for two, while visitors are not offered any extra services. This is unreasonable,” said the tour operator.

    This businesswoman said she was having a hard time dealing with the contracts with foreign partners, because some of them would be executed this year though having been signed in 2015.

    A number of travel companies in HCMC have similar comments, saying the fee hikes announced by Quang Ninh are out of the blue, spelling great trouble for them. In other tourist destinations, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a fee increase is often announced two years in advance.

    Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails, said that despite the financial aid offered by a number of boat owners in Halong Bay, travel companies with the already-signed contracts would still have to shoulder part of the fee hike. Then, this increase will be factored in their tour prices.

    “Constant price hikes will make a destination less competitive. I think it is unreasonable to collect wharf entrance fees from tourists. To attract visitors to the bay, there must be a wharf. This is what a tourist destination must have. Why should there be extra charges?” she said.

    Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, a unit specializing in catering to international cruise ships, said he was having a headache with the fee hike decision. Many shipping lines have responded unfavorably to this decision and said they might consider changing their destinations if there were further fee increases.

    “Halong Bay is a brand to attract visitors. Therefore, this brand should be promoted as a highlight to lure visitors to travel to and spend, rather than getting engrossed in charging their visit,” he said.

    Japanese enterprises look for local farming partners

    Many Japanese enterprises have introduced some items such as noodles and dried fruits to Vietnamese partners during a business matching session on February 15 with an aim to look for partners for cooperation in production and distribution.

    Enterprises of both sides had a meeting to exchange and seek cooperation opportunities as part of the Vietnam – Japan Business Connecting Program in the agricultural sector held by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Vietnam.

    The event attracted the participation of 20 Japanese firms and 80 Vietnamese enterprises. Most of them are small and medium enterprises, according to the news site BizLIVE.

    Hiroshi Chishima, vice head of JETRO’s representative office in Vietnam, said the Japanese business delegation had made a fact-finding trip to Lam Dong Province and a hi-tech agricultural zone in Vinh Phuc Province prior to the meeting. The Japanese firms said Vietnam has great potential for agricultural development but the local agricultural sector is mainly dependent on small-scale and household businesses.

    In the coming time, Japanese enterprises will step up cooperation with Vietnam in the sector based on technology transfer in an effort to improve farming methods and increase the quality of products, Hiroshi Chishima added.

    Nguyen Danh Nhan, chairman of Central Agricultural Joint Stock Company, expressed his interest in cooperating with some Japanese firms in the coming years.

    However, the investment of foreign enterprises in Vietnam is still facing numerous challenges in terms of land and administrative procedures. The number of Japanese firms investing in the local agricultural sector remains modest, Hiroshi Chishima said.

    Farm produce testing center in Mekong Delta unlikely

    Opening a testing center for agricultural products in the Mekong Delta is still a hard nut to crack due to many hindrances, although this is a necessary investment to help bolster farm exports from the region, said an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology.

    Vuong Duc Tuan, vice president of the Southern Operations Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology, told a press conference held in HCMC on February 15 to introduce the upcoming International Mekong Delta Agricultural Festival that the ministry wants to open a testing center in the Mekong Delta despite huge cost.

    However, the biggest difficulty is to identify key products and main markets, as each market requires a different set of testing criteria. For example, fruit irradiation is allowed in Australia but disallowed in Japan.

    A few years ago, Japan asked for an area of land in the Mekong Delta to build a testing center, but the plan was not realized due to the different testing requirements, Tuan said.

    “Building a testing center for exporting agricultural products needs a strong coordination among producers who have a better understanding of the needs of importing markets,” Tuan added.

    Truong Quang Hoai Nam, vice chairman of Can Tho City, said he proposed opening a testing center for farm products in the Mekong Delta at a recent conference.

    Nam noted that importing countries release new standards yearly and require new testing procedures that increase prices of products. Sanitary and quarantine requirements are among 16 technical barriers that importing countries often employ to protect domestic production without breaking international trade rules.

    According to Nam, administrative agencies should ask importing countries not to add new epidemic quarantine requirements.

    Many enterprises spend a lot of money and time to transport products to faraway testing centers before sending shipments abroad. Some of them even have to send products to Thailand for testing.

    At the press conference on February 15, the organizer also briefed reporters on the forthcoming International Mekong Delta Agricultural Festival.

    The event is scheduled for March 9-13 at Can Tho International Exhibition Fair Center on Le Loi Street in Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City.

    Major activities at the event include introducing farm produce, new farming technology and high-tech farming models.

    Besides, a conference will be held to introduce new sci-tech applications in production to improve product quality and productivity as well as to connect scientists, producers and agricultural enterprises.

    The festival is organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta.

    Abbott franchises 28 products to Domesco Dong Thap

    Abbott will franchise 28 products including 17 ordinary and 11 cancer-treatment drugs to Domesco Medical Import - Export Joint Stock Corporation, said a representative of Abbott in Vietnam.

    The representative also said that Abbott as a stakeholder of the local corporation will support Domesco in producing and trading activities in Vietnam. Specifically, Abbott will help Domesco build a new factory in Dong Thap by providing technological support and consultancy as well as training programs.

    From September to November 2016, Abbott sent specialists to Domesco’s factory in Dong Thap to help improve the local firm’s capacity.

    Wisepass app launched for spirit lovers

    Startup firm Wisepass has launched a mobile app that allows member users to enjoy spirits and wines at low prices at food and beverage outlets in HCMC.

    The app has been built for casual drinkers looking for new experiences. Wisepass said the app enables users to get one bottle every night at every eligible bar in HCMC for a total of VND6 million (around US$265) a month.

    Wisepass buys spirits and wines from suppliers and distribute them to its users through the Horeca network of hotels, restaurants and cafes. The firm has clinched deals with 29 partners in HCMC and 121 members have registered for the app to gain access to 16 selected spirits and wines.

    In addition, the app helps the company collect data of the sector and spirits and wines whose sales are strong, as well as information about regular drinkers.

    The information is important to firms in the spirit and wine sector and market research companies as well, said Tran Lam, co-founder of Wisepass.

    Lam said users of the app are increasing and that VIISA has agreed to invest in Wisepass. The company is eyeing people who look for lunch at signature restaurants.

    Hanoi sees newly released Taxi Group app

    Taxi Group in Hanoi launched a mobile taxi booking app named Taxi Group for Android and IOS devices on February 15, providing 5-7 seat taxicabs with an average fare of VND10,000-15,000/km for rides in the capital.

    Similar to formerly-launched Thanh Cong Taxi app, Taxi Group initially serves Hanoi area only. The app offers traditional taxi service with an average fare of VND13,900-15,900/km and Eco taxis with a fare of VND10,700.

    With the app, the fare is announced after the pickup location and the chosen destination are entered by guests. Taxi companies normally apply traditional taxi tariffs to bookings via mobile apps.

    A test booking for a 3km distance on a traditional 4-seat taxi from 9 Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem District to Havana Cafe at 1 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh District with Taxi Group resulted in a tariff of VND45,000, or nearly VND15,000 a kilometer, whereas the Eco taxi fare was down to only VND31,000 for the same distance.

    Taxi Group has acquired more than 2,000 Toyota cars such as Vios and Innova in Hanoi and some other northern provinces for traditional taxi service, and Hyundai 110 for Eco taxi operations.

    The app provides users with driver’s contact and vehicle details. Computer bookings are also available on Taxi Group website ( Taxi Group currently offers a VND50,000 discount on a user’s first ride by entering promo code “HIGROUP”, starting from the app launch date on February 15.

    Pangasius demand to rise about 20% in 2017

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Can Tho City (VCCI Can Tho) has predicted the demand for tra fish, or pangasius, would rise 20% in traditional and potential markets this year, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    Notably, pangasius products bound for Asian markets, especially China, are expected to be 1.5 times higher than the U.S.

    The Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries has proposed the production plan for 2017, including the pangasius farming area of 5,000-5,500 hectares, output of more than 1.15 million tons, and export turnover of more than US$1.7 billion.

    Nguyen Phuong Lam, deputy director of VCCI Can Tho, said the pangasius farming acreage has decreased lately, but productivity has increased and thus higher prices of material fish.

    In 2016, the area under tra fish farming in the Mekong Delta shrank by 11% against 2015 to some 3,070 hectares, but output reached 1.08 million tons, up 5%, and productivity averaged out at 313 tons a hectare, up 10%.

    In addition, the raw fish price has increased. In January of 2017, the raw fish price leapt to VND28,000 (US$1.23) a kilo compared to VND18,000-19,000 a kilo in the year-ago period.

    Vo Thi Thu Huong, deputy secretary general of the Vietnam Pangasius Association (VN Pangasius), said the demand for oversized pangasius had edged up, especially of China.

    In 2016, pangasius export turnover totaled US$1.7 billion, up 9.6% against 2015, with the U.S. and China being the biggest importers.

    There are currently about 200 enterprises in Vietnam processing and exporting tra fish to 138 markets. The top three enterprises are Vinh Hoan, Bien Dong and Nam Song Hau.

    VCCI Can Tho changes promotion tactic

    VCCI Can Tho will take a new approach in trade and investment promotions by organizing smaller events tailored to the need of enterprises rather than staging large-scale programs, said Nguyen Phuong Lam, deputy director of VCCI Can Tho.

    Formerly, the Mekong Delta was little known to potential investors, so big promotion events were organized to capture their attention. However, the region has become known to many enterprises now, so VCCI Can Tho will focus on medium and small investment promotions, Lam added.

    To attract investors from Japan and South Korea, for example, VCCI Can Tho will run small conferences for just about 10 enterprises. Lam thought that it will be more effective if the organizer attends specifically to the enterprises’ demand.

    Circular on businessmen’s cross-border trading activities defined

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued Circular No.34/2016/TT-BCT stipulating the cross-border trading activities of businessmen at Decision No. 52/2015/QĐ-TTg on management of border trade activities with bordering countries.

    The Circular says that businessmen launching cross-border trading activities are Vietnamese ones, including businesses, household business and co-operatives.

    The Circular defines documents and procedures for registering cross-border trading activities through border sides and crossings.

    Commodities used for cross-border trading activities are listed in Clause 1, Article 6 of Decision No. 52/2015/QĐ-TTg.

    Export and import items through the border sides and crossings of the border economic zones must meet the criteria of Decree No. 187/2013/NĐ-CP on implementation of the Trade Law with respect to international purchases.

    The Circular comes into effect from February 15, 2017.

    CJ Group breaks ground on animal feed plant in Binh Dinh

    A subsidiary company of CJ Group, the CJ Vina Agri Co., Ltd, held a ground-breaking ceremony on February 16 for US$19.4 million animal feed plant at Nhon Hoa Industrial Park in An Nhon Town, Binh Dinh province.

    The plant will be constructed on an area of 4.1ha with a design annual capacity of 150,000 tons. It will be equipped with hi-tech production technologies and equipment.

    After the project comes into operation in January 2018 it will be the sixth animal feed plant of CJ Group in Vietnam.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Ho Quoc Dung, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, thanked CJ Group for choosing Binh Dinh as its destination to expand investment.

    He hoped that the group will serve as a bridge to call on more Korean investors to the province and pledged to create favourable conditions for investors to operate effectively.

    On the occasion, CJ Vina Agri donated VND100 million to victims of recent floods in the province.

    Paddy prices rise as winter-spring crop ready for harvest

    Domestic paddy prices have increased by 12 percent as the winter-spring crop in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is ready to be harvested.

    In An Giang province, fresh paddy IR50404 is being sold at 4,500-4,600 VND per kilo, high-quality paddy 4,700-4,800 VND, and dried high-quality paddy 5,650-5,800 VND.

    Meanwhile, fragrant Jasmine paddy is priced at 5,300-5,400 VND per kilo, a rise of 50-100 VND.

    In Can Thơ city, fresh paddy IR50404 is being sold for about 4,400-4,500 VND per kilo, and Jasmine paddy at 5,400-5,500 VND, an increase of 150-200 VND compared to the price before Tet (Lunar New Year), and an increase of 200-500 VND per kilo compared to the same period last year.  

    The price of husked rice on the market is 10,000 VND per kilo and Jasmine rice 14,000 VND per kilo.

    The rise in prices for paddy has caused an increase of 5 USD per tonne for rice exports compared to prices before Tet.

    Enterprises buy 100-200 tonnes of rice on average each day, while some even buy 300-400 tonnes, said Le Van Hung, deputy director of the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade.

    The Song Hau Food Company has stored more than 40,000 tonnes of husked rice and 5,100 tonnes of unhusked rice at 5,850-6,100 VND per kilo.

    The company plans to buy another 40,000 tonnes of rice.

    Vuong Dinh Thanh, Vice Chairman of the An Giang provincial People’s Committee, said lcoal enterprises are purchasing about 3,000 tonnes of rice per day to achieve the set target of 150,000 tonnes.

    The Tien Giang Food Company has bought 10,000 tonnes of rice at 5,900-6,100 VND per kilo.

    Meanwhile, businesses in Dong Thap province plans to purchase 660,000 tonnes of husked rice.

    Low productivity was among the reasons for the rise in paddy prices. Many enterprises purchase husked rice and sold more than 293,000 tonnes to Filipino buyers, which contributed to an increase in price.   

    Most enterprises said the productivity of paddy in this year’s winter-spring crop fell by 30-40 percent compared to last year due to unpredictable weather, causing disease in paddy.

    Industry ministry issues regulations on citizen reception

    Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has recently signed into action the ministry’s regulations on reception for citizens, which took effect right after the signing.

    The reception, open on weekdays at the ministry’s headquarters at No.54 Hai Ba Trung street, Hanoi, aims to acquire public feedback on violations of the Party and State policies and guidelines, and direct citizens to exercise their rights and obligations when they file complaints and denunciations.

    The minister is scheduled to receive citizens on Friday of each month’s third week. In case he is absent, a deputy minister will take on the task.

    In cases of urgency, the minister will meet citizens out of schedule.

    The ministry’s inspectors are responsible for making periodic reports on citizen receptions and the settlement of complaints and denunciations and submit them to the ministry’s leaders before the 15th day of each quarter’s last month, making it easier for them to report to the Government Inspectorate.

    Violations regarding citizen receptions will be strictly dealt with in line with the law.

    Dong Nai attracts additional 163 million USD in FDI

    The southern province of Dong Nai has lured 16 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth almost 163 million USD since the start of the year, announced the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.

    Of the investment, 126.7 million USD was registered to pour into seven new projects and the remainder (36.2 million USD) was added to nine existing projects.

    The new projects mainly came from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, Singapore, British Virgin Islands and Germany.

    According to the Department of Planning and Investment, FDI projects invested in Dong Nai province recently focus on its prioritised fields such as high technology, supporting industry and environmentally friendly projects.

    By February 15, a total of 1,671 FDI projects had been invested in the province with a combined capital of 30.46 billion USD, including 1,260 valid projects worth 25.83 billion USD.

    These projects came from 44 countries and territories, with the RoK, Taiwan (China) and Japan being the leading investors.

    Binh Duong aims for 1.4 billion USD in 2017 FDI attraction

    The southern province of Binh Duong has set a target of attracting at least 1.4 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2017, prioritising projects with high technology and large-scale ones on urban and service development.

    According to Nguyen Thanh Truc, Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the province has seen good signals in luring FDI this year, with 696.3 million USD flowing in in January.

    Major projects llicensed in the first month of 2017 include the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park III with an investment of 284.75 million USD, and an automobile tire cord and airbag factory worth 220 million USD invested by the Republic of Korea’s Kolon Industry Inc in Bau Bang industrial park.

    As of present, Binh Duong is home to more than 2,800 FDI projects worth 25.5 billion USD, becoming one of the five leading localities in FDI attraction.

    In 2016, Binh Duong saw over 2 billion USD being poured in 240 new projects and 123 existing ones, equivalent to 145 percent of its target. Most new projects were in the fields of manufacturing and processing industries and service.

    Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea were three countries with highest investment in Binh Duong during the year.

    FID enterprises in Binh Duong paid over 9.09 trillion VND (399.4 million USD) of tax, reaching 100.3 percent of estimate and equivalent to 112.5 percent of that in 2015.

    HCM City opens 11 new waterway piers

    The HCM City Inland Waterway Port Authority has built 11 inland waterway piers for boat tours.

    The piers are located at Lo Gom street in District 6, Binh Dong street in District 8, Binh Hoa residential area in Binh Thanh district, Hoi Son pagoda in District 9, Phu Xuan wharf in Nha Be district, and Giong Chua relic site in Can Gio district.

    The piers host both waiting rooms and berths. The structures took almost four years to build and cost 20 billion VND (885,000 USD), the authority said.

    The Departments of Planning and Architecture, Transport, Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed these facilities to facilitate waterway tourism.

    With nearly 1,000km of rivers and canals, the city has identified waterway development as a huge opportunity for tourism.

    Experts said the development of waterway transport infrastructure will not only grow tourism in HCM City but also link it with popular tourist attractions in the southern region, the Mekong Delta and Cambodia.

    Besides, it is a solution to reduce traffic congestion, they pointed out.

    ThreadSol debuts garment cost-cutting solutions

    ThreadSol, an enterprise material management solutions provider for the sewn products industry, has unveiled two cost-saving solutions for the textile industry, intelloBuy and intelloCut.

    The company said they could help Vietnamese apparel manufacturers greatly save on material costs and boost profits in an industry that is heavily dependent on economic priorities.

    IntelloCut offers cut plan, roll plan and lay plan, with its cloud computing structure helping access the solution from any point.

    The company said its flagship product had been proven to optimise fabric usage by saving a minimum of 10 percent.

    IntelloBuy is a material estimation solution that gives accurate buying consumption for a particular style, saving on costs at the buying stage for manufacturers worldwide.

    “It’s high time Vietnamese apparel manufacturers realise the gravity of targeting fabric costs to increase profits,” Saurav Ujjain, principal consultant of ThreadSol, said.

    “In order to stay competitive, they need to achieve this through automation of processes by adopting advanced solutions.”

    Large amount of money withdrawn via open market operation

    The State Bank of Vietnam withdrew a large amount of money worth 177 trillion VND (7.79 billion USD) via the open market operation and the issue of Treasury bills in the past week.

    A report from the Saigon Securities Incorporate (SSI) showed that the central bank issued 14-day T-bills worth 50 trillion VND in the week.

    According to the SSI, the withdrawing was made after the central bank had to pump a large amount of money to the banking system to support the liquidity before Tet (Lunar New Year) when the capital demands surged sharply.

    In the past week, interest rates for Vietnamese dong loans of different tenors also dropped sharply on the inter-bank market.

    The overnight rate was quoted at 1.6 percent against 4.45 percent at the end of previous week.

    The rates for one-week, two-week and three-week loans also stood low at 2 percent, 2.9 percent and 3.8 percent against 4.67 percent, 4.73 percent and 4.8 percent at the end of previous week.

    SSI forecast that interest rate on the inter-bank market would continuously decline next week.

    Berjaya Land to shed asset in Phu Quoc

    Berjaya Land Bhd. will sell its entire stake in Vietnamese 4-star Berjaya Long Beach Resort Phu Quoc to Sulyna Hospitality Hotel Restaurant Travel Service Co., Ltd. at the price of VND333.25 billion, or RM65.32 million (US$14.67 million).

    In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Berjaya Land Berhad (BLand) announced transferring its entire 70% holding in Berjaya Long Beach Resort Phu Quoc (BLong Beach) to Sulyna Hospitality Hotel Restaurant Travel Service Co., Ltd. (Sulyna).

    In addition, according to the agreement between the two parties, Berjaya Leisure (Cayman) Ltd. will also waive the entire debt amount of about VND87.50 billion ($3.85 million) owed to it by BLong Beach so that the acquirer can take over the holding free from all encumbrances.

    The transfer is expected to take place by early 2018, including the waiving of debts by Berjaya Leisure (Cayman) Ltd. The gross proceedings, estimated at VND333.25 billion ($14.67 million), will be utilised as working capital of the BLand Group.

    The remaining 30% stake is in the hands of joint venture partners Le Thi Chi Private Enterprise (25%) and Long Beach JSC (5%).

    BLong Beach received its investment certificate and was incorporated on November 1, 2007. BLong Beach was principally involved in the operation and management of an international 4-star resort cum spa hotel on Phu Quoc Island, known as the Long Beach Resort Phu Quoc.

    The hotel has 109 standard rooms, 6 suites, and 4 VIP suites, with a swimming pool, restaurants, functioning/banquet rooms, and a spa centre.

    BLand decided to go ahead with the deal in order to realise its investment in BLong Beach.

    Berjaya Land Berhad is one of the largest subsidiaries of the Berjaya Corporation. It operates in real estate, casinos, and entertainment.

    BLand will have a controlling interest in two large hotels after disposing of BLong Beach, namely InterContinental Hanoi Westlake (75% ownership) and Sheraton Hanoi Hotel (70%).

    According to BLand’s 2016 annual report, both hotels saw increasing occupancy rates on-year, with 2.1 and 9.9%, respectively, and increasing revenues.

    Additionally, BLand is the 100 per cent owner of Vietnam Financial Center and Vietnam International University Township in Ho Chi Minh City. It also holds an 80% interest in property developer Berjaya-Handico 12 Co., Ltd. known for Hanoi Garden City, and a 75% stake in Bien Hoa City Square in Dong Nai province.

    H&M hiring staff for first store in Hanoi

    The Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is preparing for its Vietnam debut this year.

    The Swedish low-cost clothing outlet, H&M, announced it would open a store in Vietnam this year, making it the fourth fast fashion label to enter Vietnam after Zara, Mango and Gap.

    The company has remained circumspect about where and when the first outlet would open, but a source at the Manpower Group, a multinational human resource consulting firm, told VnExpress it is handling the entire recruiting process.

    According to a recruitment announcement, H&M's first store in Vietnam will occupy about 2,000 square meters in Hanoi and employ roughly 100 people.

    The firm also plans to hire employees in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the Manpower announcement.

    H&M currently operates around 4,200 stores across 64 markets.

    In spite of falling earnings, the retailer has shown no sign of slowing down its global expansion.

    In addition to Vietnam, it has announced the plan to open stores in Georgia, Colombia, Iceland and Kazakhstan this year.


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  • 02/18/17--19:18: Article 6
  • Vietnamese businesses grapple with Brexit


    Back in June of 2016, Britain sent shockwaves throughout Vietnam and around the globe by voting to leave the EU.

    vietnamese businesses grapple with brexit hinh 0

    Now, eight months after the vote to withdraw, Vietnamese companies with exposure to the country, primarily those in the clothing, textiles and agriculture segments, are bracing for the impact of the long-feared ‘hard Brexit’.


    UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech on January 17 that Britain will not attempt to remain in the EU single market but will start negotiations with the EU in March over its exit, and will be out in two years.

    The impact of the Brexit vote has been felt most sharply on Vietnam in terms of lowering the country’s exports.

    The pound has plummeted, at one point reaching 31-year lows, which has had the effect of making imports from Vietnam more expensive for British consumers and is causing a slowdown in imports of a wide range of goods.

    Visa UK and Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins told reporters recently that clothing and household goods retailers in Britain experienced a particularly difficult January.

    Jenkins noted that sales in Britain for the first month of 2017 saw the biggest drop in nearly five years.

    Le Tien Truong, general director of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group noted Brexit is having a significant impact on clothing exports and that orders dropped sharply in January.

    It’s difficult to quantify the impact but he fully expects sales to Britain to drop to record lows for 2017.

    The UK has been the largest export market for clothing and textile exports over the past few years, accounting for one-fifth of the total consignments to the EU, said Truong.

    Traders at one of the largest wholesale markets in Britain have said the prices for imports of fish are up by as much as 40% owing to the drop in the value of the pound, which has led to sluggish imports.

    It means fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry are all much more expensive for traders to buy.

    One trader in Britain reported that all our prices, for anything from outside of this country, have gone up. Our average profits have fallen by up to 15%. We cannot pass that on.

    The cost of fish, meat and poultry in Britain has soared by up to 44% since the Brexit vote, according to the British newspaper the Mirror.

    Matt Southam, of the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, warned of further currency- driven increases in meat prices.

    Retailers have held off until Christmas was out of the way— but now we are seeing the first of maybe two or three price hikes of fish, meat and poultry price increases expected for 2017, he added.

    In the short-term at least, it looks like Vietnamese exporters are in for a wild ride full of twists and turns over the next couple of years as Britain makes its hard Brexit from the EU.


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  • 02/18/17--19:36: Article 5
  • Social News 18/2

    HCMC chairman sets deadline for Thu Thiem site clearance


    Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong instructed the management board of Thu Thiem new urban area and relevant agencies to complete site clearance this year at a working session with the board on February 16th.

    Deputy head of the board Nguyen The Minh reported that site clearance has been stuck with 84 cases comprising three religious establishments. Compensation has met with difficulties because early last year the city’s inspectorate sent a document asking the board to solve petitions involving many people. 

    Therefore, the board has just mobilized to reclaim land from six cases. The low site clearance has affected citizens’ life as well as investor attraction, slowed construction progress, increased loan interest and resettlement housing management costs. That together with incomplete compensation in District 1 has been reasons for the behind schedule building of Thu Thiem 2 bridge. The bridge’s piles in the middle of the Saigon River have not been built because the wharf of Ba Son shipyard has not been removed. 

    So far, 150 land plots totaling 185 hectares at Thu Thiem new urban area has had investors and been implemented. Of these, 101 plots will be used for payment of Build-Transfer projects with the total value of VND32 trillion (US$1.41 billion), 24 plots for building public works with state budget without land use fee collection. Twenty five plots will be invested under the form of land delivery with land use fee collection expected to approximate VND8,061 billion ($354.04 million). 

    The remaining of 26 plots over 36 hectares is expected to bring VND11 trillion ($483.12 million) in land use fee. Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong asked the board to choose investors for these 26 land plots as per plan and instructions by the city Party Standing Committee. Relevant sides should synchronously manage infrastructures to connect Thu Thiem with District 2 and determine directions for the new urban area’s administrative management model and smart urban area management center from now. 

    The board consulted city leaders about solutions to handle unused resettlement housing fund. Loans for construction of Thu Thiem new urban area has topped VND16 trillion ($703 million) but the value of the remaining 26 land plots nears only VND11 trillion. 

    Meantime, the resettlement housing fund has been built with demand lower than supply providing a total of 10,529 apartments. Of these 4,903 have been built and transferred to District 2, of these only 3,296 apartments have been arranged for dwellers. The remaining unused apartments have put a burden on management and loan payment.

    Mr. Phong says that the city will propose the Government to solve the unused apartments to prevent them from running downgraded and reclaim stagnant capital because the matter comes within the Government’s jurisdiction. 

    Projects have been approved and implemented in Thu Thiem new urban area comprise technical infrastructure for the 38.4 hectare resettlement area in Binh Khanh Ward, four main roads in the new urban area, a central square and riverside park, an eco-forestry park, an embankment along the Saigon River circling the new urban area, Thu Thiem 2 bridge, canal dredging and digging of a central lake and new canals. 

    All green tree parks have yet to have investors. The board’s leaders have auctioned land plot no 7-1 to build hotels and resorts which have so far attracted registration by eight large businesses.

    Tougher penalties on food safety violators

    Head of the Committee for Cultural and Social Affairs Thi Thi Tuyet Nhung proposed tougher penalties on violators of food safety regulation to curb the unhygienic food in the district 1.

    At a meeting with People’s Committee in district 1 on February 16 upon food safety, Ms. Nhung expected the district administration to develop what its has achieved as well as increase information of food safety not only in traditional markets but also in street eateries and food caterers for industrial parks ands schools.

    Deputy Chairwoman of people’s committee in district 1 Nguyen Thi Thu Huong said that in 2015 and 2016, the district has implemented the guideline of food safety by organizing month-long action campaign of the matter by varieties of activities aiming to raise people’s awareness of food safety.

    The district cleared the makeshift markets including markets in Ton That Dam Street, in an alley in Nguyen Van Trang Street and in sidewalk in Co Giang Street. The district concentrated on developing supermarkets. Inspectors conducted quick tests to ensure fresh food sold in markets.

    Before, the Committee for Cultural and Social Affairs under the municipal People Council’s also liaised with managers of Ben Thanh Market in District. The committee delegators inspected the origin of food and vegetables in the market. Ms. Nhung hoped that the market management board will enhance traders’ awareness of safe food and provide training to staffs, shop assistants to win customers and travelers’ trust.

    Roundabout in front of Ben Thanh Market will be demolished

    The HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways will start on February 18 to demolish Quach Thi Trang Roundabout and the central bus station in front of Ben Thanh Market to make room for building Ben Thanh Central Station as a key component of the first metro line.

    From February 18, work will start on a massive scale on the central station project, said a representative of Project 1 Management Unit, which is building Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line. The area in front of Ben Thanh Market will be off limits to vehicle traffic.

    Ben Thanh Station will include four basements at a depth of 30 meters. The first basement will house a ticket lobby, an office and a control room. The second one will be used as the platform of the metro line, while the third one will be used as a transship ticket lobby afterwards. The last basement will be the platform of the second metro line to be constructed later.

    The underground station will stretch from the area in front of Ben Thanh Market to September 23 Park.

    During the construction process, the HCMC Department of Transport will have some traffic adjustments to prevent congestion.

    Vehicles will be banned on Pham Ngu Lao Street from Yersin to Tran Hung Dao Street. Yersin Street will become one-way in the direction from Tran Hung Dao Street to Pham Ngu Lao Street and Le Thi Hong Gam Street. Similarly, Ky Con Street will be one-way from Le Thi Hong Gam to Tran Hung Dao.

    Vehicles are not allowed to stop over or park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Calmette Street from Le Thi Hong Gam to Tran Hung Dao, Tran Hung Dao Street from Quach Thi Trang Roundabout to Yersin Street, Ky Con Street and Yersin Street from Le Thi Hong Gam to Pham Ngu Lao.

    Can Tho to build Hung Kings Temple

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has announced a project to build Hung Kings Temple, reports Tuoi Tre newspaper.

    Can Tho is the center of the delta, so the temple will be a sacred place for people from around the delta to come worship the country’s founding fathers.

    The city will spend an estimated VND50 billion paying site clearance compensation, which will be sourced from the city government, businesses and individuals.

    The temple will cover nearly 3.7 hectares at the administration zone of Binh Thuy District and take three years to complete. Tran Viet Phuong, director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho City, said the city would hold a contest to select the best design for the temple.

    Hospitals can share medical test results before July 1

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Medical Association to develop a roadmap to share medical test results among first-grade hospitals and mutually recognize such results before July 1, 2017, the Government Office said.

    Deputy PM Dam required the Ministry of Health to promptly complete the guidelines to implement the test results management project in 2016-2025. By January 1 next year, test results from special-grade and first-grade hospitals should be shared.

    In addition, the Vietnam Medical Association is told to appraise and make public the quality of hospitals including such clinics’ testing quality in accordance with criteria of the Ministry of Health.

    Many experts highly appreciate the connection of hospitals’ computer systems to share medical test results as it will reduce expenses for patients and save doctors’ time. Moreover, it will help address cases in which some hospitals refuse to recognize test results of others.

    Ministry unit wraps up report on construction of Mekong Delta bridge

    The Ministry of Transport’s Project Management Unit No 7 has finished an investment report on the proposed cable-stayed Rạch Miễu Bridge No 2 over the Tiền River in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta.

    The bridge, which will link the provinces of Tiền Giang and Bến Tre, will cost around VNĐ3.5 trillion (US$160 million), be 16 metres wide and have four lanes.

    Unit No 7 proposes to build it under the public-private partnership mode if official development assistance (ODA) funds are not available.

    The bridge will actually consist of two sections: one of around 1.8 kilometres from Mỹ Tho City in Tiền Giang to the Thới Sơn sandbank, and the other of 600 metres from the sandbank to Bến Tre.

    Rạch Miễu Bridge No 2 will be three kilometres upstream of Rạch Miễu Bridge No 1.

    After the Cổ Chiên Bridge linking Trà Vinh and Bến Tre provinces was built in 2015, the number of vehicles going over Rạch Miễu Bridge No 1 to HCM City from Trà Vinh and neighbouring Vĩnh Long Province during holidays has increased sharply.

    The Ministry of Transport has tasked Unit No 7 to also raise money to build the bridge. 

    Thua Thien – Hue: fishermen effectively use compensation


    Most fishermen in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have effectively used their compensation for the marine environmental incident, according to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Dinh Duc.

    Beneficiaries in Phu Vang district and Phu Loc district mainly spent their money on buying fishing tools and upgrading their fishing vessels, Duc said.

    Phan Tuoc from Thuan An town, Phu Vang district has three offshore fishing ships. He received 440 million VND (19,360 USD) in compensation. He used the money to pay his employees, repair his ships, and buy fishing tools. During a three-day offshore trip, his first in 2017, he caught five tonnes of fish, including 500 kg of tuna, and earned 150 million VND (6,600 USD).

    Tran Ven from Loc Tri commune, Phu Loc district spent 100 million VND (4,400 USD) of his compensation to repair his ship. He plans to use the second batch of compensation to buy more fishing tools to fish for tuna offshore.

    According to Nguyen Van Phuong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, in the second-phase payment of compensation, the province will receive 200 billion VND (8.8 million USD).

    The locality urged localities and relevant bodies to complete the payment of the first batch while finalising the list of affected households for the second batch.

    As of February 15, 18,114 out of 19,900 affected households have received compensation worth nearly 322 billion VND (14.17 million USD), accounting for over 80 percent of the total compensation of 400 billion VND (17.6 million USD) in the first phase.

    Phong Dien district distributed nearly 29 billion VND (1.27 million USD) for 2,046 beneficiaries, Quang Dien district paid over 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) to 1,329 people; Phu Vang district over 129 billion VND (5.67 million USD) to 7,031 people; Phu Loc over 126 billion VND (5.54 million USD) for 6,156 people; and Huong Tra town over 19 billion VND (836,000 USD) for 1,552 people.

    In late June 2016, Taiwan-invested Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company admitted responsibility for the environmental incident, which affected the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue. It pledged 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD) in compensation.

    The Ministry of Finance transferred 3 trillion VND (134 million USD) to the localities in the initial phase. Of the amount, Thua Thien-Hue got 400 billion VND (17.6 million USD), Quang Binh 1.1 trillion VND (48.5 million USD), Ha Tinh one trillion VND (44.1 million USD), and Quang Tri 500 billion VND (22 million USD).

    Child dies from meningococcal disease

    A 30-month-old child with meningococcal meningitis died on Monday, prompting health officials to take preventive measures against the spread of the disease.

    The child, from the city’s District 8, was admitted to the Pediatrics Hospital No 1 last Friday with a high fever, headache and skin rash, Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy director of the city’s Health Department, said on Wednesday.

    After six hours of treatment, doctors were unable to save the life of the child.

    Samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid were collected and sent to the Pasteur Institute in HCM City for testing, Hưng said.

    Nguyễn Trí Dũng, director of the Preventive Medicine Centre, said “People who had close contact with the patient received antibiotics to prevent them getting the infection.”

    “The centre is also closely monitoring the area for cases of meningococcal disease within the last 10 days so that early diagnosis and treatment should be given to infected people,” he added.

    Meningococcal disease, which is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitides, is spread to other people who have had close contact with the patient.

    A vaccination, as well as good hygiene practices, can help prevent the disease, Hưng said.

    Household poverty in northwest region falls 3.4 percent in 2016

    The northwest region of Vietnam recorded stable socio-economic development in 2016 with the household poverty rate dropping by 3.4 percent from the previous year. 

    The Steering Committee for the Northwest Region reported the situation in the region to a delegation of the National Assembly’s Council for Ethnic Affairs at a working session in Yen Bai on February 17.

    The region comprises 12 provinces (Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Hoa Binh, Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lang Son, Phu Tho and Tuyen Quang) and 21 western districts of central Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces. 

    Over 62 percent of the region’s population of 11 million are ethnic minorities.

    The Steering Committee reported that the local material and spiritual life continued to be improved last year thanks to the enforcement of many policies such as those on infrastructure building, medical and educational services promotion, water supply, legal aid, and resident resettlement.

    All communes in the region have also far been accessible by car while 92 percent of the households have been connected to electricity.

    However, transport infrastructure has yet to meet the development demand, the committee admitted, adding that unplanned migration still continued, involving nearly 4,500 households between 2011 and 2016.

    The Committee asked for help in manpower training and job provision, and more investment in transport facilities, especially roads connecting villages and linking communes with provincial and national roads. It also urged a law on ethnic groups to be built.

    Chairman of the NA Ethnic Affairs Council Ha Ngoc Chien spoke highly of the committee’s efforts, stressing that the northwest remains the poorest region in Vietnam.

    He requested the committee to review the effectiveness of existing policies and programmes targeting mountainous regions and ethnic minority groups, and suggest ideas about developing human resources and training ethnic minority officials.

    Yen Bai develops agro-forestry-fishery product processing


    The northern mountainous province of Yen Bai aims to develop comprehensive raw material and hi-tech processing facilities to boost the development of its agro-forestry-fishery sector.

    According to the province’s industrial development plan to 2020, with a vision to 2025, the province will focus on the processing industry, developing trademarks and expanding markets for local products.

    Yen Bai is blessed with material resources for wood processing, with 430,000 hectares of forests, including nearly 300,000 hectares of production forests, producing more than 450,000 cubic metres of wood and over 25 million bamboo trees. Between 14,000 – 15,000 hectares of new forest are planted every year. 

    Currently, there are 104 wood processing facilities, with a combined annual capacity exceeding 176,000 cubic metres, and hundreds of other wood peeling and slicing facilities, producing over 200,000 cubic metres per year. However, most of them use low-tech production lines, resulting in low quality products.

    To improve this situation, the province wants investment in producing high-quality furniture for export, aiming to increase an annual capacity to 300,000 products.

    The wood processing sector aims to earn 850 billion VND (37.4 million USD) by 2020, and double this by 2025.

    The province has also zoned off areas for industrial tree plantation to produce raw material for wood processing.

    The province has more than 11,000 hectares of tea trees, mainly in Van Chan, Tran Yen, and Yen Binh district, producing 85,000 tonnes of tea per year. It also has over 40,000 hectares of cinnamon trees, producing over 7,400 tonnes of dry cinnamon bark. Its 16,000 hectares of cassava also produce more than 300,000 tonnes of cassava per year.

    Van Yen district has huge potential for agri-forestry processing. The district has 30 firms, cooperatives and over 70 households involving in processing cinnamon; six firms and cooperatives, and over 1,000 households processing cassava; and 15 firms, cooperatives, and 70 private facilities processing timber.

    The district aims to earn 900 billion VND (39.6 million USD) from industrial production by 2020.

    According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, there are 99 tea-processing facilities with a combined daily capacity of 1,200 tonnes of fresh tea leaves, producing over 25,000 tonnes of dry tea per year.

    The four local cassava processing factories also produce 66,000 tonnes of flour per year.

    The province has 13 cinnamon oil extracting factories with a total annual capacity of 955 tonnes, and 120 family facilities.

    Yen Bai aims to develop its local facilities while calling for investment in hi-tech processing factories to use its huge supplies of raw material and increase the quality of its products.

    The province also wants investment in processing camellia fruits and bamboo shoots, in an effort to raise the economic value of these products to 50 billion VND (2.2 million USD) by 2020 and 200 billion VND (8.8 million USD) by 2025.

    Several cattle meat processing facilities will be built with a combined capacity exceeding 3,000 tonnes per year.

    Death in the air: Pollution-related fatalities see sharp rise in Vietnam

    Air pollution fatalities in Vietnam are the second highest in Southeast Asia, a new study has found.

    A new environment study paints a very bleak picture of Vietnam, measuring its air pollution as the second deadliest in Southeast Asia in terms of the raw number of premature deaths.

    Deaths attributable to dangerous air particles in Vietnam jumped 60% from 26,300 in 1990 to 42,200 in 2015, according to the report issued jointly on February 14 by the Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute focused on the health impacts of air pollution, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

    In Southeast Asia, the country's fatalities came second only to Indonesia’s, the study found. Vietnam has the third largest population in the region.

    Ambient particulate matter ranks fifth among risk factors for total deaths around the world, after high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.

    Ambient air pollution is measured by the concentration of PM2.5, a fraction of the width of a human hair which is released from vehicles, industry, as well as from natural sources like dust.

    Pollution in Vietnam worsened between 2000 and 2005, but improved later and thus stayed almost unchanged over the surveyed period.

    The study named India as the world’s new deadliest country as its rapidly worsening air pollution has surpassed China’s.

    About 1.1 million people die prematurely each year in India, with nearly a 50% increase in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015, the study found.

    It found air pollution worsened in most parts of South Asia but improved in the United States and Europe, thanks to policies to curb emissions.

    Can Tho to host Mekong Delta farm festival next month     

    The first International Agriculture Festival and Fair of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta will be organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology from March 9 to 13 in Can Tho City.

    It will feature 300-500 booths set up by local and international exhibitors operating in agricultural and agricultural-related sectors.

    The event aims to support agricultural development in the delta through research and use of technology and building trademarks.

    It will include an exhibition of farm produce and technologies, a seminar on using technologies to improve productivity and quality, a programme to connect suppliers and buyers of agricultural technologies and equipment, a cooking contest, and other events.

    Truong Quang Hoai Nam, deputy chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, said the festival is an important event that would create opportunities for enterprises, scientists and officials to meet, share experiences and enhance co-operation in research and use of technology to increase the agricultural sector’s competitiveness.

    In a letter to the organisers, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said amidst the farm sector’s restructuring efforts to increase value addition and ensure development in line with the new-style rural area building, the festival is expected to promote smart production in the region as envisaged by the Party and State.

    The delta, which has 13 cities and provinces, plays an important role in the country’s agrarian economy, accounting for 80 per cent of rice exports and nearly 60 per cent seafood exports. 

    Book on Hanoi’s Renewal process debuts

    A ceremony was held by the Hanoi municipal Party Committee on February 14 to launch a book entitled ‘Hanoi – 30 years of Doi Moi (Renewal) and Development (1986-2016)’.

    The chief authors of the book are Dr. Pham Quang Nghi, former Politburo member and Secretary of the Hanoi municipal Party Committee; and Professor, Dr. Phung Huu Phu, Vice Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council and former Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee (PCC)’s Commission for Communication and Education.

    Articles featured in the book were written by professors, doctors, scientific researchers and journalists who have a strong attachment to and special sentiment for Hanoi.

    At almost 700 pages, the book is divided into five chapters, providing readers with an objective and comprehensive overview of the capital’s achievements during 30 years of the Renewal process.

    The book focuses on highlighting the results in Party building, socio-economic developments, urban management, defence and security, and international co-operation.

    The appendix, which consists of 32 pages of photos, features outstanding activities held in Hanoi before and during the Renewal process.

    Most notably, numerous articles openly point out the limitations and shortcomings in all fields that the capital must overcome as well as valuable lessons for managers.

    The book is expected to raise awareness of the great achievements that Hanoi’s Party, government and people have gained over the past 30 years as well as the city’s contributions to national construction and development.

    HCMC copes with chickenpox

    In these days, cases of chickenpox have surged in medical facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and the trend is forecast to rise in the next time.

    In the Children Hospital No.1’s Infection Ward, since the beginning of the year, inpatients with chickenpox have reported to reach 24 and many of them have suffered serious illness though it is early in the chickenpox season. Head of the Ward Dr. Truong Huu Khanh said that in recent years, the rate of adults who get disease is much more than children.

    Before, children in kindergartens and primary schools were usually infected with the disease, now adults in the age of 25 - 30 have chickenpox and then transmit to kids.

    In the Children Hospital No.2, cases of chickenpox taken to the hospital continuously skyrocketed after the Tet holiday ( the Lunar New Year), the hospital treated 240 outpatients and six inpatients. Head of Infection Ward Dr. Do Chau Viet explained unpredictable weather resulted in increased cases of chicken pox and complicated development.

    Chickenpox develops in Vietnam during transition from spring to summer, usually lasting from February to June. Peak season falls in April and May and widely spread. Accordingly, medical experts forecast without preventative measures, the disease will break out widely in the next time. The Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health issued warning of the chickenpox.

    Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine Tran Dac Phu said that chickenpox is an acute disease caused by Varicella Zoter virus which causes a blister-like rash. The virus spreads easily from people with chickenpox to others who have never had the disease or been vaccinated.

    The virus spreads mainly by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters, and possibly through tiny droplets from infected people that get into the air after they breathe or talk, for example. 

    A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs. Chickenpox is usually mild and passes without causing any serious problems, said medical workers, but sometimes complications including skin infections, lung infections, and infections of brain or nerves can occur. Chickenpox can cause deaths on little children, blood cancer kids, or else children will suffer serious encephalitis.

    Therefore, parents should absolutely spread any drugs on rash without doctor’s prescription to prevent infections.

    Dr. Khanh warned that the older people are, the more chance people get the disease seriously.

    Deputy Head of the municipal Department of Preventive Medicine Dr. Le Hong Nga said vaccine is the best way to prevent the disease. Women should inject vaccine against chickenpox one month before becoming a mother. People should wash their hands before feeding kids.

    HCMC to improve farmers’ income with biological technology

    Chairman of the Vietnam Biology Association Professor Nguyen Lan Dung suggested Ho Chi Minh City to apply biological technology in agricultural development at a meeting with city Party Chief Dinh La Thang on February 13th.

    Talking about the overview of the country’s biological technology procedure, Professor Dung pointed out the strength and the weakness of the agriculture sector in the city and the city position in comparison with the agriculture in the world.

    He mentioned the importance of the technology in agriculture as well as provided consultation of models and applications for the government rural area development  plan in HCMC.

    To help improve the agriculture sector, Professor Dung proposed HCMC to set up a plan for a factory to plant seaweed in freshwater. Another thing suggested by Professor Dung was to invite Taiwanese experts who will give consultation on raising virus-resistant virus. Last but not least he convinced the municipal authority to transfer from growing rice to growing fresh vegetables in outlying districts.

    Party Chief Thang thanked the professor for the his practical suggestions and asked relevant agencies and the Biotechnology Center in HCMC to work with the professor and his Association to make research and application of biology into production, aiming to improve farmers’ life.

    Biological technology not only plays a vital role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities but also boost farm productivity which help increase farmers’ income, said Party Chief Thang. 

    Accordingly, he asked the Association and Professor Dung to enhance researches and create genetically modified foods for long-term strategy as well as build connection between areas of growing trees and areas to process materials. 

    At first, the city place orders for researches on orchid seeding plants and milk cow.

    Scientists should make researches on orchids seeding plants and milk cow to raise productivity, aiming to raise farmers’ income especially those in outlying districts Can Gio and Cu Chi, said Party Chief Thang.

    Weird weather causes massive damage for nearly 39,000 hectares of fruits

    Unseasonable rains and cold weather influenced agricultural production and caused extreme damages for farmers in the southeastern region for previous couple days.

    According to the Dong Nai Agriculture Extension Center, nearly 20,000 hectares of cashew plantation in the province were dry and its fruits were fallen, including around 1,582 hectares of cashew trees were inflicted with disease of Colletotrichum gloeosprioides and 2,039 hectares were completely destroyed by stinkbug.

    Additionally, baby mango fruits fell from trees in an area of nearly 7,000 hectares and durian flowered prematurely in an area of around 12,000 hectares and that was estimated total damage of  nearly VND 10 billion. 

    To deal with the unusual weather and complicated disease, the provincial Agriculture Extension Center collaborated with Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have often opened courses of training and instructing technology for caring and preventing diseases for trees.

    Pink eye outbreak reported in North Vietnam

    Since early February, 2017, there have been increased cases of pink eye disease in the North Vietnam, said the National Eye Hospital.

    The hospital said that more people with pink eye disease have arrived in the hospital for examination and treatment since early February. The hospital admits 150-200 pink eye patients each day and most of them are kids and adults with weak resistance.

    Medical workers said the disease usually breaks out in September and October annually but it unpredictably occurred in early this year.

    Patients are most residents in Hanoi and its neighboring provinces.

    Dr. Hoang Minh Anh from the National Eye Hospital said that the virus causing the disease has been spreading widely in the air in the present weather; hence many people who catch the disease have spread it to others through respiratory droplets,  saliva and shaking hands.

    To prevent the wide spreading, medical workers warned people with the disease not to contact with others and stay at homes. Once experiencing serious illness, they should go to nearby medical facilities for treatment without buying drugs of their own choice because there are many eye drops in the market containing corticoid which can reduce eye sight without doctors’ guideline.

    Overpass to go up at Dau Giay Intersection

    Work started on Sunday to build an overpass at Dau Giay Intersection where national highways 1A and 20 meet, which will ease congestion at a major traffic hotspot in Dong Nai Province when completed in early 2018.

    The four-lane overpass at Dau Giay Intersection is constructed along National Highway 1A, including 10 spans of 34.6 meters in length and 16 meters in width each. Auxiliary facilities will also be built at the junction to smooth traffic and allow vehicles to travel at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour.

    The project to upgrade Dau Giay Intersection is part of a project to upgrade and expand National Highway 20, which connects Dau Giay in Dong Nai with Bao Loc City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

    BT20-Cuu Long Joint Stock Company as the contractor, which joined forces with the authorities of Dong Nai Province to break ground for the project, will also widen a 1.5-kilometer-long section of National Highway 20 in Thong Nhat District of Dong Nai Province from Dau Giay Intersection towards Dalat City. The road section measuring 20.5 meters in width has four lanes for automobiles and two lanes for rudimentary vehicles, in addition to roadside drainage ditches, and lights along the median strip.

    The project requires a total investment of around VND299 billion (US$13.2 billion) sourced from the remaining capital of the restoration and renovation project of National Highway 20 stretching from Dau Giay to Bao Loc. It is scheduled for completion in March next year.

    Dau Giay Intersection is the converging point of national highways 20 and 1A, and Provincial Road 769. Therefore, traffic is very heavy there. The expansion of National Highway 20 will contribute to the growth of the new urban area in Thong Nhat District, said Tran Van Vinh, deputy chairman of Dong Nai Province, at the launch ceremony.

    When the intersection upgrade project is in place, the chronic traffic congestion in the National Highway 1A section through the province will be eased.

    Earlier, the National Highway 20 upgrade and renovation project was earmarked a total investment of VND5.26 trillion (US$231.7 million). Completed in April 2015, its remaining capital is around VND1.2 trillion (US$52.8 million).

    Dong Nai Province got the go-ahead from the Ministry of Transport to use the capital for construction of Dau Giay Intersection in order to reduce traffic congestion there.

    The money is also used to build a 15-kilometer-long bypass around Bao Loc City with an aim to reduce heavy trucks driving through the city center.

    National Highway 20 through the provinces of Dong Nai and Lam Dong is the main road linking HCMC and the Central Highlands.

    More than VND2 trillion planned for rural vocational training

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to spend over VND2 trillion on vocational training in rural areas in 2017-2020, focusing on sectors supporting agricultural restructuring and high-tech agriculture.

    Ma Quang Trung, head of the Department of Economic Cooperation and Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said around VND400 billion will be disbursed in 2017, including VND250 billion from the State budget, VND145 billion from provincial coffers, and the balance from other sources.

    Besides, the Government calls for private enterprises to invest in rural vocational training to ease the strain on the State budget.

    According to Decision 71/QD-TT, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development targets to give training to 1.4 million rural laborers until 2020, including one million people getting short-term training courses of less than three months and 400,000 others undergoing more in-depth training. The training programs will be made more practical to suit the actual situation in each locality.

    “Farmers cannot practice high-tech agricultural methods without training from enterprises and co-operatives. We will supervise and guide enterprises and co-operatives to ensure effectiveness. 2017 will be the year for working out high-tech agriculture models,” Trung added.

    Some large corporations actually have their own training centers. The ministry will coordinate with these centers to provide workshops for rural workers by financing their training programs.  


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  • 02/18/17--19:52: Article 4
  • The bankers who return from Eastern Europe

    With powerful financial resources gained from their businesses in Russia and Eastern Europe, the following bankers have easily reached success in Vietnam.

     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, Eastern Europe, VIB, Pham Nhat Vuong

    Ngo Chi Dung of VP Bank

    VP Bank was established in 1993 with modest charter capital of VND20 billion.

    In 2010, when small banks were requested by the State Bank to increase the charter capital to VND3 trillion at least, VP Bank successfully raised its capital from VND2.117 trillion to VND4 trillion.

    With powerful financial resources gained from their businesses in Russia and Eastern Europe, the following bankers have easily reached success in Vietnam

    The charter capital increase was then associated with a series of big changes of the bank, including the logo and the new brand recognition system. And there was the hand of Ngo Chi Dung as VP Bank’s president in the changes.

    Dung is a banker with ‘Eastern Europe origin’. He studied in Moscow and obtained a doctorate in economics. Before joining VP Bank, he was the member of BOD of VIB in 1996-2004.

    In 2005-2010, Dung was the chair of KBG Group in Russia and deputy chair of Techcombank.

    VP Bank’s charter capital had reached VND9.1 trillion by the third quarter of 2016, while the total assets were VND205 trillion. This means the bank’s charter capital increased by 450 times after 13 years.

    Maritime Bank’s Tran Anh Tuan and Nguyen Nguyet Huong

    Tuan and Huong are a well known couple in the banking sector. While Tuan is chair of Maritime Bank’s BOD, Huong is the bank’s chair of the founders’ council.

    Tuan studied and started his business in Russia 10 years before he returned to Vietnam in 1996.

    Tuan and Huong held the most important positions (CEO and chair of BOD) at VIDGroup. At first, VIDGroup was introduced as having six subsidiaries, but now it has 12 subsidiaries with huge investments in infrastructure and real estate.

    In 2007, VIDgroup bought Maritime Bank stakes from Vinalines.

    After becoming Maritime Bank’s chair, Tuan has taken drastic measures to settle bad debts. By 2015, the non-performing loan ratio had fallen to below 3 percent as requested by SBV.

    HDBank’s Nguyen Thanh Hung and Nguyen Phuong Thao

    In Vietnam, Thao is better known as the CEO of Vietjet Air, the private air carrier which has made many aircraft purchases recently.

    However, she is a big banker as well. As deputy chair of HDBank, Thao made her mark with a series of M&A deals, including the admission of Dai A Bank into HD Bank. The bank also bought SGVF, a finance company, and then sold a 49 percent stake to a Japanese partner and renamed it HD Saison.

    Nguyen Thanh Hung is now chair of the founding council of Sovico Holdings, where Thao is chair of BOD. Sovico invests in finance companies and banks and has been present in 10 countries. 

    Thanh Mai, VNN

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  • 02/18/17--20:17: Article 3

    Seafood firms urged to register online


    The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department has urged local seafood producers to apply for e-certificates through the national single window registration system.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s agency, known as NAFIQAD, said in a statement sent to local companies early this week that sea product processing companies must study the single-window regulations published on the websites of the Vietnam National Single Window, the General Customs Department, MARD and NAFIQAD.

    In the statement, local seafood producers are required to contact NAFIQAD’s local representative offices so that they will receive instructions to apply for e-certification for sea products via the national single window registration system.

    In addition, seafood enterprises need to prepare required procedures such as e-signatures and accounts and register for e-certification of product packages that are being exported to the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China from March 1 onwards. E-certification for seafood exported to other markets such as the EU will be done after the system is completed.

    From March 15, NAFIQAD will stop receiving and resolving complaints and appeals over wrong information in the paper certification for sea products that are exported to RoK and China if incorrect information is provided by the companies.

    NAFIQAD also asks its local offices to generalise the effectiveness of using the National Single Window registration for all seafood processing and exporting companies in the area.

    NAFIQAD on May 16, 2016 asked its local offices in the Cà Mau Province, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City to pilot two new administrative procedures on the national single window registration system in order to grant certifications for local prioritised and non-prioritised seafoods that are exported to China and South Korea.

    Since, NAFIQAD’s local offices have processed more than 1,200 registrations on the system and have granted nearly 600 e-certifications to local seafood companies.

    However, the number of e-certificates granted to Vietnamese seafood producers on the national single window registration system has been less than expected, because a number of NAFIQAD’s local offices and seafood companies have remained unwilling to use this method.

    In the near future, NAFIQAD will stop receiving paper registrations and local companies will only be able to submit their registrations on the national single window system.

    Vietnam, Korean businesses explore more investment opportunities

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Changwon City, the Republic of Korea, have held an exchange meeting to introduce Changwon businesses to Vietnamese partners.

    Business people from both sides introduced and studied their investment environment and Vietnam’s policies on hi-tech investment in the 2017-2020 period. They also shared opportunities and challenges and investment and export policies.

    Head of the city Department of Economics, Song Seong Jea, introduced the participants to the potential and strength of Changwon – one of economic centres in the RoK and said Korean businesses want to cooperate with Vietnamese partners to further enhance trade and investment ties.

    On the occasion, Changwon signed cooperation deals with the VCCI, K-DEC, Small-Medium Business Link (SMBL) and Korean Chamber of Commerce (Korcham).

    Central Highlands warns about black pepper coverage expansion

    Pepper coverage in the Central Highlands provinces has increased, despite prices falling by 9 - 11 percent over recent time.

    According to local pepper farmers, despite pricees dropping to about 115,000 VND per kilogramme, almost half from the same period in 2016, pepper trees are still much more lucrative than coffee, cashew and rubber trees or other crops.

    More households in the Central Highlands have replaced their coffee, cashew and rubber trees and crops with pepper in spite of local authorities’ warnings and poor conditions for growing pepper.

    Dak Lak had nearly 600 hectares of pepper plant die in 2016 to being grown in unsuitable areas and the use of low-quality pepper varieties, causing huge losses for farmers.

    According to the Central Highlands Steering Committee, the uncontrollable expansion of pepper coverage will increase the risk of spreading diseases and killing pepper crops while reducing supply of other products.

    The region’s pepper coverage exceeds 71,000 hectares, including 14,400 hectares planted in 2016, much larger than limits set in government plans.

    Dak Lak has the largest pepper coverage of more than 27,500 hectares, followed by Dak Nong with nearly 25,000 hectares, and Gia Lai with 15,697 hectares.

    Workshop seeks to help women promote startups

    A workshop themed “Build-A-Business” was held in Hanoi on February 16, offering an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to learn how to start business and improve the efficiency of their enterprises. 

    As part of activities in the Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) project in Vietnam initiated by the US Department of State, the event was organised by the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the International Peace and Development Organization of Spain.

    Executive Director of WECREATE Vietnam Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh said that entrepreneurs at the workshop received advice from more than 50 experts working in various fields.

    Participants will present their business models and discuss measures to increase revenue after analysing the strengths and weaknesses in their ideas. 

    Businesswomen need support in the form of knowledge and policies from the State to aid their start-up activities, Minh said. 

    Sean Griffin,  co-founder of WECREATE centres worldwide, presented a discourse on startup thinking at the event, which underlined the importance of effort, determination and experience sharing in the startup process. 

    WECREATE Vietnam is an entrepreneurial community centre for women interested in starting or expanding a business. It works to arrange training courses and business connection events. 

    Initiated in October last year, it helped train over 180 entrepreneurs and establish 18 startup groups. It provides tools for women to establish businesses. It plans to train about 1,400 businesswomen, set up 121 new enterprises and create more than 2,200 new jobs.

    Frozen shrimp exports to RoK must undergo quarantine

    Frozen shrimp exported to the Republic of Korea (RoK) from member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including Vietnam, must undergo quarantine checks before shipping to the market. 

    This was stated in new regulations under the country’s law on fishery disease management.

    The RoK Embassy in Vietnam  has delivered an announcement about these new regulations from the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries to Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade because Vietnam, a WTO member country, has been exporting shrimp to the RoK for many years.

    The RoK has added frozen shrimp products to the list of seafood products that must undergo quarantine checks before entering the country from April 1, 2017. At present, frozen abalone and oyster are required to undergo quarantine checks before being exported to the country.

    The RoK has recognised six centres in Vietnam that qualify to undertake quarantine checks on seafood products exported to the country. From April 1, the centres must cooperate with the RoK's relevant offices to implement quarantine checks on Vietnamese frozen shrimp products, reported.

    Subsequently, the centres should update local seafood exporters with the new regulations to avoid mistakes while exporting seafood to the RoK.

    Industrial production in HCMC falls 13% in January

    Ho Chi Minh City’s Industrial Development Index fell 13.06 per cent in January compared to December, according to the city’s industry development report for the first month of the year. 

    Its Industrial Development Index was up 3.82 per cent against January 2016, however, while processing and manufacturing was estimated to have increased 3.45 per cent.

    The reason behind the monthly decline is that manufacturing increased sharply in December for the Tet (lunar new year) holidayent i.

    Four main industry sectors were down 10 per cent month-on-month but increased 4.3 per cent compared to January 2016. Mechanical manufacturing is estimated to have increased 3 per cent year-on-year.

    Vehicle production, especially the production of automobiles, is forecast by leaders of Ho Chi Minh City to grow in 2017, led by two automobile manufacturing enterprises: the Vinh Phat Motor Company, with 9,000 units, and the Daehan Motor Company, with 10,000 units.

    Food processing is estimated to have increased 2.88 per cent compared to January 2016. Methods to control food origin make production costs higher but contributes to improving product quality.

    Pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics are estimated to have fallen 2.5 per cent while electricity increased 15 per cent.

    Manufacturing technology and computer assembly have grown to meet demand.

    The report also noted that the result is stable compared to January 2016.

    Conference on developing high-tech agriculture in Hanoi

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Hanoi People’s Committee co-organised a conference on February 16 to discuss their co-coordination in developing high-tech agriculture in Hanoi.

    The event was attended by Politburo member and Secretary of the Hanoi municipal Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai, members of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong; Deputy Secretary of Ha Noi Party Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang; Chairman of Hanoi municipal People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung.

    At the working session, the two sides agreed to strongly promote cooperation in the future, especially focus on developing high-tech agriculture, building a large-scale concentrated goods production area, strengthening food safety work and dealing with environmental pollution.

    Hanoi proposed to the MARD to create conditions for the city in building big wholesale markets, with an investment of up to US$250 million.

    At the event, representatives of the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also agreed with a proposal from the municipal People’s Committee to lower the level of the Red River dyke and asked local authorities to plan an itinerary.

    Earlier, the municipal People’s Committee has proposed lowering a 1.1-km section of the dyke running from Thang Loi Hotel to An Duong mouth gate in Tay Ho (West Lake) District from 13.4 metres to 12.4 metres.

    Connectivity crucial for success of Vietnamese investors abroad

    Thorough preparations and good connectivity are among crucial factors for enterprises to be successful when investing in other countries, according to Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

    Addressing a workshop in Hanoi on February 17 on overseas investment, Tuan said that Vietnamese firms should also fully understand and abide by the law in the host country to ensure their effective investment.

    At the same time, they should prepare themselves to deal with changes of policies in the host countries as well as cultural differences, he said.

    In the last several years, Vietnam has encouraged business community to invest abroad, especially Laos and Cambodia, he noted, adding that the support of the Government has also been a significant factor contributing to success of Vietnamese firms in expanding their business abroad.

    He also stressed the need for investors to share their experience and lessons.

    Pham Quang Tu, a representative of Oxfam Vietnam, noted that Vietnam’s investment abroad has increased in both the number of projects and capital volume over the past years.

    In 1989-2015, Vietnamese firms invested nearly 21 billion USD in 1,049 projects overseas, he said, adding that Laos and Cambodia are the two traditional markets of Vietnam with highest numbers of investment projects. Mining was the sector that attracted the largest amount of Vietnamese capital, followed by agro-forestry-fisheries, said Tu.

    However, Tu cited Oxfam’s survey which showed Vietnamese firms have faced many difficulties related to policy, land, and culture when investing abroad.

    He suggested that investors should consult affected community during their operation in other countries, and urged that guidance be issued regarding corporate social responsibility in various fields and stages of investment.

    TCIE Vietnam to produce Nissan X-Trail model in Da Nang     

    TCIE Vietnam will produce the Nissan X-Trail SUV at its Da Nang automobile plant for the local and export markets, company Director Lee Jiunn Shyan said last week.

    Lee said he hoped the new model would become a popular brand in the central city. The company, part of Malaysia’s Tan Chong Motor Group, started operations in the Hoa Khanh industrial zone in the city’s Lien Chieu District in 2013 with a total investment of US$40million.

    The automobile plant has provided the domestic market with two sedan models – the Nissan Sunny XV automatic transmission and XL manual transmission – with 2,000 units manufactured during the first year. According to TCiE, the Nissan Sunny XL manual transmission model accounted for 60 per cent of sales in 2015.

    The factory is the first and only Nissan Sunny assembly plant in central Viet Nam, with an annual capacity of 6,500 vehicles.

    The company has invested in new production lines to diversify its car models in 2017. As scheduled, it will operate a new plant of vans and trucks at the Da Nang-based factory from 2017, with a total investment of $15 million. The new automobile plant will produce 500 Nissan vans and 2,000 Nissan trucks per year.

    The city’s administration also asked the company to join as a supplier of buses for the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) development project.

    In 2016, the city held a promotion event in Malaysia to call for investors in the fields of automobile electronic equipment, solar power cells, tourism and food processing, in addition to industrial parks.

    Malaysia is the eighth biggest investor in Da Nang with 13 foreign direct investment projects worth $102 million. 

    Nipro starts work on new $300 million facility in Vietnam

    Nipro Pharma Corporation – Japan’s biggest prescription drug contract manufacturer – is expanding its operations in Vietnam with a new project worth $300 million in the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP).

    The $300-million plant is meant to increase the company’s capacity to meet the growing demand for medical equipment and build a more stable supply system.

    According to Nipro’s announcement, the company targets a consolidated net sales of JPY500 billion  ($436 million)  by 2020 and JPY1 trillion by 2030. The wholly-owned subsidiary called Nipro Vietnam Co., Ltd. found an ideal location in Ho Chi Minh City, due to its suitability for export-import activities and abundant young workforce.

    Nipro Vietnam will be established with a chartered capital of $70 million and is planned to start operation on October 30. As mentioned before, the total investment value will be $300 million including the plant that will look to produce for domestic and international customers.

    Information published on Nikkei Asian Review claims that the facility will produce catheters, blood tubing, and other products for dialysis. Previously, Nipro has relied on a Thai subsidiary in this business line, but has decided to sate the growing demand for dialysis treatment products via a new facility in Vietnam.

    In late 2016, Nipro got a license for the $300 million project in SHTP, after investing $150 million in the first plant in northern Vietnam.

    "The project will focus on research and development (R&D), and medical equipment production. If everything goes smoothly, the project is likely to be kicked off in 2017," said Le Bich Loan, deputy chairwoman of the park’s (SHTP) Management Board.

    The Osaka-based company said Monday that within three years, it will build the factory and install production equipment for around $190 million. Output is to begin in October 2018. Plans call for investing another $110 million or so through 2025 in additional capacity at the plant.

    The factory will make catheters, blood tubing and other products for dialysis for sale mainly in Japan and to a lesser extent Southeast Asia. Nipro has relied on a Thai subsidiary to produce for these markets. 

    The new project at SHTP is not Nipro's first project in Vietnam. In 2012, the firm kicked off its first plant in the northern port city of Haiphong, and began operation in 2015. The Japanese firm is also planning to enlarge its production activities in the city in the near future to serve the growing domestic demand.

    According to VIR source, the Haiphong site of Nipro Pharma Vietnam has an area of approximately 150,000 square metres, equivalent to 18 football fields. The firm has so far used just 30,000sq.m, and will develop the rest soon for domestic sales.

    Nipro made the move following the expansion of the global healthcare group Sanofi and B.Braun, Germany's biggest pharma and medical equipment producer.

    In late 2015, Sanofi inaugurated its third plant worth $75 million in Vietnam. Its other two plants, also in Ho Chi Minh City, are now running at maximum capacity, but they have not been able to keep up with demand. Currently, 80 per cent of Sanofi’s products manufactured in Vietnam are sold in the domestic market, and the rest are exported to other Asian countries.

    Seeing the potential of the local medical equipment market, B.Braun plans to invest an additional $270 million in some new projects in Vietnam in the next years. 

    B.Braun Vietnam began operating the first phase of its medical equipment production in Hanoi in 2011 with the total investment capital of $54 million. After three-year operations, the firm's revenue reached $72 million in 2013. 

    In 2014, the German firm decided to invest an extra $50 million in the second phase of the project to meet local growing demands.

    Japanese survey acclaims improving business conditions

    The number of profitable-making Japanese firms in Vietnam in 2016 increased 4 per cent from 2015, contributing to make Vietnam an attractive investment destination in the future.

    The Hanoi office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) today announced the result of the annual survey on the business activities of Japan-affiliated companies in Asia and Oceania, including Vietnam in 2016.

    The survey conducted from October to November of 2016 covering nearly 11,000 Japanese firms investing in 20 countries and territories, of which 4,642 produced valid answers. In Vietnam, 1,285 Japanese firms joined the survey, of which 639 gave valid answers.

    According to the survey, 62.8 per cent of Japanese firms in Vietnam answered that they made a profit in 2016, up 4 per cent from 2015. Specifically, those in the manufacturing sector, the percentage of export processing enterprise (EPE) and non EPE answered to have a profit was 59 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively.

    In comparison to other regional nations, this rate in Vietnam was higher than Thailand (61.9 per cent) and Indonesia (59.8 per cent), but lower than the Philippines (77.5 per cent), and China (64.4 per cent). 

    The survey also showed that 25.1 per cent of Japanese companies in Vietnam said that they incurred a loss in 2016, up 1.1 per cent from 2015.

    Regarding the risks in doing business, many Japanese firms (60 per cent) are still worried about risks in doing business in Vietnam, with increasing labour cost, imperfect legal system and unclear performance, underdeveloped infrastructure (electricity, logistics...), and complicated tax procedures being the top concerns.

    According to the survey, compared with 2015, Japanese firms' sentiment about risks in doing business in Vietnam improved much in 2016. In particular, 48.4 per cent included imperfect legal system and unclear performance among the risks, down from 63.3 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile, 38.5 per cent complained about complicated tax procedures, down from 53.9 per cent in 2015. 

    Remarkably, in terms of favourable business climate conditions, Vietnam ranked fourth among 15 countries in political stabilisation with 63.4 per cent. Over 50 per cent of Japanese firms also highlighted Vietnam's market scale and growth, as well as cheap labour cost. 

    With increased revenue, and growth prospects, 66 per cent of Japanese firms tend to increase their business operations in Vietnam, up from 63.9 per cent in 2015. This rate was higher than the Philippines (54.4 per cent), Indonesia (51.6 per cent), Thailand (50.1 per cent), Malaysia (44.1 per cent) and China (40.1 per cent).

    Showa Denko set up new $44 million facility in Vietnam

    On February 14, 2017, Japanese Aluminium Can Corporation (SAC), a consolidated subsidiary of Japanese Showa Denko (SDK), announced establishing its second Vietnamese production plant.

    To be located in Quang Nam province in Central Vietnam, the facility will produce aluminium cans. According to the company press release, the new production line will have a capacity of 700 million cans a year.

    In addition, SAC will install new production lines in its first factory, Hanacans JSC in Bac Ninh province, to bring total production to an annual two billion cans by October 2018. The total investment in the two facilities is expected to be JPY5 billion ($44.04 million).

    Mother company SDK’s long-term plans in Vietnam has been stressed in its medium-term business plan “Project 2020+”, where already in 2015 it expressed intent for a capital expansion in its Vietnamese aluminium can factory (Hanacans), aiming to produce for existing and new domestic and international markets.

    After the 2014 acquisition of the first production line Hanacans, SAC has been continuously increasing sales, mostly in Northern Vietnam, to the point where operation rates have been pushing the limits of production capacity since the second half of 2016. 

    Picking Quang Nam province for the new plant aligned comfortably with strategic considerations. On one hand, the Vietnamese government and the provincial authorities offer favourable conditions, due to the initiative to enhance industrial infrastructure and attract businesses to the location.

    On the other hand, SAC’s Hanacans has already started expanding shipments to Central Vietnam and establishing a new facility closer to its newest customers is only logical.     

    Infrastructure boosts Dong Nai property market

    The property market is booming in the southern province of Dong Nai of thanks to its excellent infrastructure.

    The local Department of Construction said 250 property projects were developed recently, 15 by foreign investors and involving a minimum investment of US$10 million.

    Some that had stalled in 2008 have been revived, it said.

    Land and ‘ecological’ villas are the most popular developments, especially near the proposed Long Thanh International Airport.

    The projects here include Thac Giang Dien (Giang Dien Fall) Resort, Sakura ecological urban area targeted at expats and The ViVa, another urban area.

    Tri Thuc Tre newspaper reported that LDG company plans to develop several projects on a combined area of 150ha, including Premium Eco Village, Diamond Valley, EcoLife Village, and expand Suoi Mo Tourism Area.

    This year the company will also begin construction of The Viva Square, a shopping mall.

    Other developers like Kim Oanh and EximRS plan to continue investing in the province. Last year Kim Oanh developed RichLand City and EximRS Company was a seller of the Long Hung urban area project.

    Amata Group is completing procedures for two projects in Long Thanh District.

    In Long Hung District, an urban area called Waterfront will be developed jointly by Vietnamese and Singaporean investors at a cost of $750 million.

    VinaCapital Group and DIC have resumed the 200ha, $400 million Hoa Sen Dai Phuoc project in Nhon Trach District.

    The booming market has also sparked off M&A deals. Thanh Thanh Cong Group for instance has bought a 35 per cent stake in Tin Nghia Company, one of the biggest real estate players in the province.

    With the market gathering momentum, prices are rising.

    Brokers said the prices of land and houses in Bien Hoa city and the districts of Long Thanh, Nhon Trach and Vinh Cuu have risen by 10-20 per cent depends depending on how close they are to the developing infrastructure.

    Developers expect prices in places close to infrastructure construction to keep increasing.

    Furthermore, the economy has been recovering for the last two years and bank interest rates are steady, meaning demand for property is rising quickly, they said.

    Nguyen Thanh Lam, chairman of the Dong Nai Property Association, said the market in Bien Hoa, Trang Bom, Long Thanh, Nhon Trach would continue to boom through this year.

    The Dong Nai property market got a boost with the construction of the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Highway, which has cut the distance to the south-eastern provinces.

    Besides, National Highway 1A connecting Dong Nai with HCM City has been widened.

    In 2015 the market began to react to the information that Long Thanh International Airport will be developed, and it was approved last year.

    Last July the HCM City People’s Committee petitioned the Government to build the Cat Lai Bridge 2 between District 2 and Nhon Trach in Dong Nai, which will help reduce the distance by 10km. 

    Nam Kim JSC implements Microsoft solution to boost business success

    Microsoft Vietnam, Nam Kim Steel JSC and Votiva Vietnam- a leading Microsoft Dynamics implementation service provider- today joined “Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP Implementation Kick-off Project” ceremony at Nikko Saigon Hotel.

    Microsoft Dynamics is a line of easy-to-use, integrated and adaptable ERP and CRM applications that enable business decision-makers to quickly respond to market shifts, take advantage of new trends, increase their competitive edge and drive business success.

    “With the objective to empower the information technology systems of Nam Kim Steel in order to standardise and easily expand our business in the future we chose Microsoft Dynamics AX because this system meets our expectations,” said Pham Manh Hung, general director of Nam Kim Steel. 

    “This is the first Microsoft Dynamics AX project for steel industry in Vietnam. With our solid experiences in manufacturing segment and more than 10 years of experience in consulting and implementing this solution in Vietnam, we are very confident to deliver this project successfully,” said Dinh Tien Dung, Votiva’s managing partner.

    Named among top 50 enterprises in Vietnam, Nam Kim Steel is one of the country’s leading steel producers. 

    Nam Kim Steel was established in 2002. It is headquartered in An Thanh Production Zone, Thuan An district, Binh Duong province in an area more than 43,000 sq.m. 

    Nam Kim 2 Steel Factory was located in Dong An 2 Industrial Park, Thu Dau Mot town, Binh Duong province in an area more than 65,000sq.m. 

    Equipped with six modern production lines, Nam Kim 2 Steel Factory reports a total capacity surpassing 400,000 tonnes per year. 

    To meet the demand for high quality products in domestic and foreign market, the company has invested in Nam Kim 3 Factory with latest production lines imported from Germany. 

    When the factory goes into operation, Nam Kim Steel’s capacity will touch 1.2 million tonnes per year.

    The core business of Nam Kim Steel is manufacturing and distributing hot-dip 55 per cent zinc-aluminum alloy coated steel sheet in coil (NAKI ZINCALUM), hot-dip zinc coated steel sheet in coil (NAKI ZINC), color coating steel sheet in coil (NAKI COLOR), NAKI PIPE, and other industrial products. 

    These products are mainly applied in the field of industrial and civil construction, interior – exterior decoration and handicraft goods, electro mechanics manufacturing, precision engineering and stamping steel products.

    After six months of system evaluation, analysing and testing of system factors, industry factors between several major ERP systems in the world and implementing partners, based on the criteria of the international norm ISO/IEC 25010, Votiva Vietnam has been chosen by Nam Kim Steel to consult and implement the enterprise management system using Microsoft Dynamics AX platform.

    The complete and comprehensive solution Dynamics AX for manufacturing process will support Nam Kim Steel to standardide all business processes and functions including finance, sales, supply chain, production, transportation, human resource management (HRM), enterprise asset management, Business Intelligence (BI), inventory mobility and integration with other operating systems.  

    The deployment is expected to finish within 10 months and about 250 employees from four production sites will fully operate in one centralised system.

    Votiva is appointed by Microsoft as a trustworthy partner to distribute and implement diverse Microsoft Dynamics applications in Vietnam and other South East Asian markets.

    FPT's 2016 business results and 2017 plans approved

    FPT has announced the approval of resolutions on its business results for 2016 and business plans for 2017 by its Board of Directors.

    It also set business strategies for the period from 2017 to 2019.

    Total revenue reached VND40.5 trillion ($1.78 billion) last year, an increase of 1.5 per cent compared to 2015.

    Pre-tax-profit was VND3.1 trillion ($132.9 million), up 5.7 per cent, and after-tax profit VND2.5 trillion ($110.25 million), up 6 per cent.

    FPT set a target of 2016 revenue reaching VND45.796 trillion ($2.01 billion) and pre-tax profit VND3.1 trillion ($136.7 million). Though 2016 revenue was up compared to 2015, it still fell short of targets.

    The revenue target for this year is VND 46.6 trillion ($2.05 billion), with pre-tax-profit of VND 3.4 trillion ($149.9 million), increases of 15 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

    2016 profits from overseas markets grew 40 per cent and contributed one-third of its total profit.

    The corporation’s overall goal is to become a global conglomerate and a pioneer in the digital world from 2017 to 2019.

    It will issue preferential shares prior to June 30 to employees making noteworthy contributions last year.

    Recipients of these preferential shares are staff from Level 5 upwards and a number of officials, with the total amount not to exceed 0.5 per cent of charter capital. The shares cannot be sold for three years.

    FPT is expected to finalize its list of shareholders on March 1, for its shareholders meeting on March 31 at the Daewoo Hotel in Hanoi.

    Toyota expands network in Vietnam

    Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) has expanded its dealer/branch network and authorized service stations in the south of Vietnam in order to meet increasing demand and bring better quality products and services to customers.

    Toyota Ly Thuong Kiet Co., Ltd - Tay Ninh branch (Toyota Tay Ninh) officially began operations on February 14 at 50 Hoang Le Kha Street, Tay Ninh city, 85 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Toyota Tay Ninh has total investment of VND59 billion ($2.65 million) and sits on an area of 3,655 sq m.

    In the first period, it will follow 2S operations (Service and Spare Parts). Beside its favorable location, Toyota Tay Ninh also possesses all the latest standards and requirements of Toyota Global regarding human resources, workshop equipment, and infrastructure.

    The dealer has two main areas: a 540 sq m Showroom area and a 2,010 sq m Service & Maintenance workshop and consists of 12 General Repair stalls and 18 Body and Paints stalls. The paint stalls follow Toyota Global standards, with advanced paint mixing technology to ensure environmental friendliness. Toyota Tay Ninh’s service workshop is expected to be able to service approximately 23,000 vehicles a year.

    With professionally trained staff and modern infrastructure and facilities following Toyota Global standards, Toyota Tay Ninh will provide high-quality services and spare parts and bring the greatest satisfaction to customers.

    Currently, besides its headquarter in northern Vinh Phuc province and branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, TMV has 47 dealers/branches and authorized service stations in 22 cities and provinces throughout the country. It has 15 outlets in the north, 22 in the south, and ten in the central region. With the opening of Toyota Tay Ninh, it has strengthened its determination to bring its sales and service network closer to customers.

    Mekong accelerators launched

    The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) Initiative has announced two new accelerators designed to make it easier and faster for innovative tourism businesses to get underway in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    The MIST Startup Accelerator will take entries from early stage companies with either travel technology or traditional tourism business plans. The MIST Market Access Accelerator, meanwhile, welcomes applications from mature international tourism startups needing assistance entering the region. Applications for both accelerators will close on March 19.

    “The MIST accelerator programs give a leg up to tourism investments that create jobs, help local communities, and support entrepreneurship, especially for women,” said Mr. Dominic Mellor, senior Asian Development Bank economist and head of the Mekong Business Initiative.

    Applicants must demonstrate how they will create jobs, generate a positive community impact, and contribute to sustainable tourism growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    Founders accepted into the MIST Startup Accelerator will attend mini bootcamps to further develop their business plans. The top business plans for each country market will win MIST Innovation Grants, with the best overall receiving $10,000 and the three runners-up receiving $7,000.

    MIST Market Access Accelerator participants will join familiarization tours of relevant Mekong Region markets. Through these tours, they will receive coaching, custom market insights, and introductions to supplier networks and relevant stakeholders.

    Participants in both MIST accelerators will pitch their plans to investors, global acceleration programs, and tourism leaders at the Mekong Tourism Forum held in June in Luang Prabang, Laos, and the APEC Summit in November in Da Nang. In-country teams will provide additional advisory services tailored to participants’ business needs.

    “The Great Mekong Sub-region is among the fastest growing tourism destinations on earth,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. “Startups can disrupt traditional practices to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, but let’s also encourage responsible innovation that enhances the region’s appeal for future generations.”

    MIST is a joint venture between the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative. It receives regional funding and advisory and technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Government, Amadeus Next, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Village Capital. It has been endorsed by young entrepreneur associations and startup groups in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    MBI is an advisory facility that promotes private sector development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. It fosters the development of the innovation ecosystems by supporting business advocacy, alternative finance, and innovation. It is supported by the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government.

    HCMC, Taichung join hands to lure tourists

    Travel firms in Taichung (Taiwan) and HCMC have signed agreements to promote tourist attractions, build tourism products and assign staff to support each other in an effort to lure travelers visiting the two destinations.   

    Speaking to the Daily on the sidelines of a signing ceremony in HCMC on February 13 Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, said this cooperation is meaningful as there are detailed plans to boost tourism growth in both sides.

    She said the association wants to draw on experience from Taichung in product development and organization of events to lure travelers. 

    According to the association, around 330,000 Taiwanese visited HCMC and the number of HCMC travelers to Taiwan was estimated at 20,000 last year.

    Taiwan has emerged as a tourist attraction to Vietnamese in the past two years. The number of Vietnamese visitors to Taiwan is small but it is increasing strongly compared to other nations like South Korea and Japan. Prices of package tours are much lower than in previous years. 

    Taichung City’s Tourism Office told the signing ceremony on February 13 that the city expects Vietnamese travelers to this city would be equivalent to half of the Taiwanese visitors to HCMC. 

    A Taichung-based enterprise told the Daily that it is expecting an increase in the number of Vietnamese arrivals and that it is working on plans to provide new products for these customers.

    David Wang, director of sales at China Airlines’ branch in Vietnam, said the carrier is operating 21 weekly flights from HCMC to Taipei and Taichung in coordination with Vietnam Airlines. 

    China Airlines plans to increase flights to Taipei and launch the HCMC-Kaohsiung service in the coming time.

    PM okays strong tourism policy for Quang Ninh

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved many policy measures for Quang Ninh Province to attract more tourists, including schemes to allow locals to enter a casino there, develop Van Don airport into an international one, and establish a tourist police team on a trial basis.

    A recent announcement issued by the Government Office highlights such measures by the Prime Minister following a meeting between the Government and Quang Ninh authorities on December 22.

    The announcement does not specify when locals can entertain themselves at Van Don Casino, nor the schedules for establishing the tourist police team and upgrading the airport.

    At the meeting, the Prime Minister also agreed that Quang Ninh can execute many other economic and tourist policies.

    Regarding the investment and selection of investors for the service, tourism and casino complex at Van Don economic zone, PM Phuc suggested that the province and relevant agencies jointly work to finish investment procedures and assessment as stipulated.

    On the scheme to establish Van Don Economic-Administrative Zone, PM Phuc assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment and relevant agencies to draft regulations to govern this, and submit the draft to the Government at the monthly Cabinet meeting in May 2017. In addition, he agreed to hand over the land to the investors to upgrade Van Don Airport into an international one under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.

    Last year, Quang Ninh welcomed 8.3 million visitors, up 7% against 2015, with 3.5 million being foreigners. Its tourist revenue exceeded VND13 trillion, up 23%.

    In the master tourism development plan until 2020 with a vision to 2030, Quang Ninh targets to become an international tourist center and a national tourist hub.

    The province expects to lure 10.5 million visitors by 2020, including four million foreigners, and earn total revenue of VND30 trillion.

    FPT opens Vietnam’s biggest software export center

    Vietnam’s software giant FPT Software has inaugurated its F-Ville 2 software village at Hoa Lac High-Tech Park in Hanoi.

    Together with F-Ville 1 which has been operational since 2013, FPT Software’s working place has become Vietnam’s biggest software export center with 5,000 workers, said an FPT representative. The company looks to turn this center into a global hub of digital transformation services.

    Truong Gia Binh, chairman of FPT Group, said his company will invest in education and infrastructure to back up the development of this center, Vietnam News Agency reports.

    F-Ville 2 is part of the F-Ville project licensed in 2012 with a total floor area of 28,000 square meters, supplying working space for 3,000 people. F-Ville 1 supplies jobs for 2,000 workers.

    The software company said 5,000 workers at F-Ville together with IT workers at FPT Software in Japan, Germany, France, Slovakia, Singapore and South Korea will research and develop projects for the Japanese market.

    For 2017, FPT Software aims for revenue of US$300 million, up 30% from the previous year, and continues to develop digital transformation.

    In 2017-2020, FPT Software will need an additional 20,000 workers at all positions of checkers, programmers, engineers, translators and project administrators.

    Japan is always the most important market for FPT Software as the company fetched revenue of US$100 million from this market in 2016. In 2017, FPT Software aims to be among the top 50 enterprises in information technology services in Japan.

    FPT Japan is expected to contribute half of the group’s US$1 billion revenue in 2020.

    Government approves EVN financial management mechanism

    The Government has issued Decree 10/2017/ND-CP on a financial management mechanism for Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN), the Government said on its news website.

    According to the decree, EVN’s capital sources include State money, the firm’s mobilized capital and other sources of funding raised in line with the prevailing regulations.  

    EVN is allowed to use State capital and other financing sources for its operations in accordance with the prevalent rules. The enterprise must use capital efficiently and inform the State and the Ministry of Finance of its capital use, losses, solvency issues and other financial matters.  

    EVN is permitted to raise capital from domestic and foreign organizations and individuals to fund its business plans and take responsibility for the use and repayment of loans, if any.

    The company must ensure that liabilities do not exceed its equity by over three times as mentioned in its quarterly and annual financial reports. 

    EVN’s capital mobilization channels include bond sales and loans from credit institutions, financial organizations, individuals, non-corporate entities and employees.      

    The decree says EVN is disallowed to raise money to invest in sectors like securities, banking, insurance, investment fund, real estate and finance. 

    According to the decree, EVN can invest in business sectors that are stipulated in EVN’s operation charter but its investment must be in accordance with the prevailing regulations and ensure efficiency.

    EVN is banned from receiving capital contributions from its subsidiaries and other third-tier offshoots. The firm’s overseas investments must be approved in accordance with the law.

    Lending to household businesses as usual

    Individuals in search of loans for family-run business and production activities, if meeting the conditions set out by banks, can get credit without having to upgrade their operations into firms as required by new legislation, the central bank said.

    In line with the 2015 Civil Code that stipulates participants in civil relations are legal entities and individuals only, Circular 39/2016/TT-NHNN specifies that borrowers from credit institutions are legal entities and individuals, says the website of the central bank.

    In other words, those who are not legal entities (households and cooperatives) are not eligible for bank loans. In case they are in need of loans for business activities, individuals may take out loans to meet the capital requirements of their own, of the business households, the production establishments or the private companies which they own.

    Talking to the Daily, the deputy general director of a HCMC-based bank that has launched several credit packages for traders at markets remarked the provisions of Circular 39 clearly defined the borrowers: individuals and legal entities. This does not make any difference from before, with just more specific words written on paper added.

    “So far, we have been lending to traders at markets as individuals, not as household businesses or organizations. It is because household businesses are a virtual name, whereas a specific person must assume the responsibility,” he said.

    Individuals can still get loans for production and business. Depending on the value of the loan, collateral may vary, he noted.

    As for interest rates, this is an economic relationship between the lender and the borrower, he noted.

    Loans for corporate clients do not necessarily enjoy a lower interest rate than individuals. Interest rates depend on banks, market demand, risk or loan size.

    Hoang Thi Van, owner of a stone jewelry manufacturing facility in HCMC’s District 12, said she borrowed VND100 million from a bank a year ago for production.

    This loan was borrowed as a personal loan, not one for a household, with Van’s house used as collateral. The interest rate for the purpose of production is lower than that for business and even lower than consumption.

    Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc, chairman of Basico Law Firm, said households, household businesses or cooperatives are a virtual entity, essentially an individual or a group of ones, which has been removed from the 2015 Civil Code.

    It is a right move that Circular 39 excludes “households” from the list of borrowers, Duc said. This is just a change of form, while the essence remains the same.

    Households and household businesses shall operate as one or several individuals, with their owners no longer the default representatives.


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  • 02/18/17--23:14: Article 2
  • Misconduct charges irk trade official

    Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, and her family have made headlines for owning significant stakes in Dien Quang JSC – a dominant lighting firm – as investigations began to determine if there are any conflicts of interest.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Ho Thi Kim Thoa (pictured third from right), Photo: Le Toan

    The matter of transparency in equitised Vietnamese firms has come to the public eye once again as Thoa’s family was found to possess approximately 34 per cent of Dien Quang’s shares. In fact, various members of Thoa’s family have a matrix of intertwined connections with the lighting firm.

    First, prior to her appointment as a deputy minister of Industry and Trade in 2010, Thoa had worked at Dien Quang for 18 years and held the highest position of chairwoman and CEO for five years. After leaving Dien Quang to serve as deputy minister, Thoa continued to scoop up shares of the firm throughout the years. She currently owns 4.91 per cent after making multiple purchases.

    Thoa’s brother Ho Quynh Hung, meanwhile, became Dien Quang’s chairman and CEO in 2010 when Thoa took office. Hung currently owns 7 per cent of the firm’s shares.

    Moreover, Thoa’s daughters and mother also own a substantial amount of the company. Her daughter Nguyen Thai Nga, with 12 per cent ownership, started working for Dien Quang in 2012 and has since been appointed as deputy CEO and board member. This means Nga is reporting directly to her uncle Ho Quynh Hung.

    Nguyen Thai Quynh Le, Thoa’s other daughter, is also a shareholder of Dien Quang, owning 6.5 per cent of the company. Tran Thi My Xuan, Thoa’s mother, has purchased 3.83 per cent of the firm thus far.

    Another curious family tie is Thoa’s other brother Ho Duc Lam, who is the chairman and CEO of Rang Dong JSC, Dien Quang’s major competitor in the Vietnamese lighting equipment market. In other words, the two brothers run their own lighting firms while their sister has significant shares in one and simultaneously serves in office.

    The controversy goes deeper with Ho Duc Dung – Ho Duc Lam’s son and nephew to Thoa and Ho Quynh Hung. In 2014, Dung bought VND25.74 billion ($1.17 million) worth of Dien Quang’s shares, which were put on sale by State Capital Investment Corporation as part of the divestment plan. A year later, Dung sold the entire stake to his uncle Ho Quynh Hung.

    The complexity of Thoa’s involvement in Dien Quang, all while serving as a deputy minister, has raised questions of whether she has committed any serious legal infractions.

    On February 16, Nguyen Phu Trong, Party General Secretary, ordered relevant authorities to look closely into this issue.

    Nguyen Hoang Hai, deputy head of the Vietnamese Financial Investors’ Association, told VIR that there is a legal gap on this matter. He urged the government to investigate whether as a deputy minister, Thoa has launched any regulations in favour of Dien Quang.

    “We need to find out if any regulations or laws have given Dien Quang an undeserved edge against its competitors in the market. Moreover, Thoa has been accused of buying Dien Quang’s stocks at low prices to benefit from price surges afterwards. This also requires further investigation,” said Hai.

    Truong Thanh Duc, a lawyer at BASICO law firm, noted that public officials are prohibited from setting up or running their own companies in Vietnam. However, there has yet to be any rules on the officials’ share ownership in equitised firms.

    “Due to this ambiguity, the deputy minister does not seem to have broken any laws outright. That said, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, where Thoa serves, has direct control over Dien Quang, so there is the possibility of a conflict of interest,” said Duc.

    By Phuong Nguyen, VIR

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  • 02/18/17--23:21: Article 1
  •  State monopoly bill deemed “regressive”

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s new draft decree on goods, services, and localities subject to state monopolies has received barracking from local and international experts.
    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has submitted to the government a draft decree on goods, services, and localities subject to state monopolies. The draft includes a controversial list of 20 sectors and professions subject to state monopolies (see box).

    Sesto Vecchi, managing partner of the US law firm Russin & Vecchi, questioned the list. “Why is MoIT creating new monopolies? No justification is provided and the justification is not self-evident,” Vecchi told VIR.

    He said that even when state participation can be justified, in many cases, the private sector may also contribute in some sectors like irrigation, hydro plants, power distribution, and the importation of cigarettes and cigars.

    “The state is only one of several stakeholders. The draft appears regressive as the private sector already participates in some named sectors. Would the monopoly remove their participation?” argued Vecchi.

    Tran Trong Binh, senior attorney from Hanoi-based French law firm Audier and Partners, told VIR that such a list is “irrational”, and if it is approved, it will “vex” the market, which is now required to be more transparent, with less state monopolies, especially in the context of Vietnam’s deeper international integration.

    “The draft decree has gone against the Constitution adopted in 2013, which states that enterprises are allowed to do business in the sectors not banned by law, and also against the laws on Investment and Enterprises issued in 2015,” Binh said. “While the government is boosting the establishment of start-ups and restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOEs), this new document will undermine the market’s competitiveness by preventing private investors from investing in many sectors on the list.”

    The Law on Commerce 2005 stipulates that the government shall specify a list of goods, services, and localities subject to state monopolies. This specific list has taken 12 years to create.

    “I don’t understand why the draft decree is now being made. It should have been enacted 12 years ago. And now such a decree is unsuitable to Vietnam’s development,” said Nguyen Dinh Cung, head of the Central Institute for Economic Management. “Who will take responsibility for such a delay?”

    According to Cung, many of the sectors prescribed in the list should not be banned and can be engaged in by private firms. The state should hold a monopoly over some sensitive sectors only, such as electricity transmission or railways, so that access to these services can be ensured.

    MoIT responded to the negative reactions to the draft decree by stating that the decree is built to fulfil the Law on Commerce 2005, which allows the state to monopolise for a given period of time the trading in a number of goods and services in certain localities in order to protect national interests.

    “The list is aimed to help enhance the systemisation and transparency of all goods, services, and geographical areas that are subject to state monopolies in commercial activities in line with Vietnam’s international commitments, and existing policies and regulations,” said an MoIT document released last week to explain the issuance of the draft decree.

    “The list also acts as a foundation for state management bodies and other entities in society to perform their supervision over state monopolies in the listed sectors.”

    But Dau Anh Tuan, head of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legislation Department, said that the reasoning behind MoIT’s enacting the list is “unpersuasive”.

    “In the list, it is likely that some sectors will find it difficult to lure the investment of private firms, such as public goods and services,” Tuan said. “Under existing regulations, these sectors are sill engaged in by some private firms as they are not monopolised by the state.”

    By Thanh Dat, VIR

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  • 02/19/17--00:26: Article 0
  • U.S. carrier group patrols in tense East Vietnam Sea

    A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the East Vietnam Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway and concerns it could become a flashpoint under the new U.S. administration.


    Sailors man the rails as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier departs on deployment from Naval Station North Island in Coronado, California, U.S. January 5, 2017.Reuters

    China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its so-called sovereignty in the East Vietnam Sea.

    The U.S. navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in the East Vietnam Sea on Saturday. The announcement was posted on the Vinson's Facebook page.

    The strike group's commander, Rear Admiral James Kilby, said that weeks of training in the Pacific had improved the group's effectiveness and readiness.

    "We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," he was quoted as saying by the Navy News Service.

    Friction between the United States and China over trade and territory under U.S. President Donald Trump has increased concerns that the East Vietnam Sea could become a flashpoint.

    China wrapped up its own naval exercises in the East Vietnam Sea on Friday. War games involving its own aircraft carrier have unnerved neighbors with which it has long-running territorial disputes.

    China lays claim to almost all of the resource-rich East Vietnam Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year.

    Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the waters that command strategic sea lanes and have rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits.

    The United States has criticized Beijing's construction of man-made islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and expressed concern they could be used to restrict free movement.


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  • 02/19/17--19:47: Article 1
  • Mellowing out in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

    Editor’s note: LeiChandra Truong is a Vietnamese American who spent two years living in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. She submitted this story to Tuoi Tre News from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she now lives.


    A man and woman fish in the Mekong

    On the peaks of the Himalayan Mountains, springtime warmth melts abodes of snow, sending icy water on its 4,500 kilometer journey south, to the Mekong Delta, known as Mien Tay or the southwestern region of Vietnam. The water brings an abundance of growth, so much so that it’s overflowing with locals set to reap its benefits.

    Sitting on a rickety wooden motorboat, my friend Nancy and I playfully splashed water on each other, mesmerized by the vast expanse of green foliage on this riverway, verdant trees shading the path, and floating lotus lily pads resting on the water’s surface. It was like entering a different world, where life moves slower.

    It was nice for both of us to escape the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City. My friend was working for a seafood export company and brought me along to the city of Long Xuyen for a few days. Though my visit to the Mekong back in 2011 was short, the place, people and culture still hold a warm place in my heart.

    After our boat trip, Nancy introduced me to some of her friends. They are a generation older than us and I was shocked that I could address them as anh and chi (brother and sister) even though it’s not socially or culturally correct. They wanted to place importance on the friendship and not the typical hierarchy of seniority inherent in Vietnamese culture. Without a doubt, my new friends were the coolest people ever.

    A colourful woman rows her load of bananas towards Chau Doc Town in the Mekong Delta for sale at the market. Photo: McKay Savage

    We all spent time together at the beach, coffee shop, restaurants, and spent time in the mountains as well. I loved being with them because of their hospitality and kindness. They would playfully joke around, all smiles, and showed that they cared about our well-being. After being in Ho Chi Minh City, I was accustomed to people who were more business-oriented and said things that they didn’t mean, leaving me wondering about the true message behind their words. However, with Mekong people, the message was straightforward. They are blunt, honest, and say what they mean.

    People in this region are more easygoing than people from other regions of Vietnam because of the plentitude of food available. Over 50% of Vietnam’s rice production is from the Mekong Delta region. There are also lots of fish. If a person is hungry, he or she can just catch a fish and eat it. When people don't have to worry about being fed, they relax and take their mind off survival. The weather is hot all year round here so people don't have weather out the cold either. There’s always going to be enough food and warmth.

    Though the Mekong Delta region is great to visit, the area has its issues. Those residing in the outskirts of cities like Long Xuyen and Can Tho live in poverty. Women and children are prone to becoming victims of human trafficking.

    Pollution is another problem the region faces. One local told me that people used to be able to eat a fish the same day it is caught. Now, because of water toxicity, people put live fish in a bowl of water for a week to purify its flesh before cooking it.

    In spite of the problems in the Mekong, I enjoyed my visit and have hope that things will change for the better there. There are several NGOs working towards sustainable farming practices and human trafficking prevention, among other issues.

    It’s been several years since I last visited the Mekong. Though I can’t go back and visit often, I aspire to be more like the Mekong people – kind, generous, truthful, genuine, humble, and thankful. Abandon the scarcity mindset and know that there’s always going to be enough to go around. The earth, water, and rivers will provide enough resources for us all. There’s no need to worry or hurry, just lie back in a hammock under a tree and sip on some coconut juice.


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  • 02/19/17--19:59: Article 0
  • PM sets bar high for shrimp exports

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has set a shrimp export target of US$10 billion by 2030.


    However, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc disagreed with this, saying the target is too low and can be reached by 2025.

    He went on to say that Việt Nam should become the world’s shrimp production base.

    But analysts are divided on this.

    Some said reaching $10 billion even in 2025 would be difficult since the agriculture sector faces many challenges like the small, household scale of production, climate change and international integration.

    Besides, global seafood exports now are worth around US$130 billion, with shrimp accounting for only around 10 per cent or $13 billion, they said.

    According to the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the exports are growing at an average rate of around 15 per cent a year.

    But in reality, it will not be easy to achieve the 15 per cent growth rate.

    Even if it is achieved the global trade in shrimp will only reach $30 billion by 2025.

    For Việt Nam to achieve the $10 billion export value by 2025, it would have to both increase shrimp output and value addition of shrimp products.

    Experts calculate that if the added value of shrimp is doubled by 2025, the country would earn $6 billion from exports.

    For the $4 billion remainder, it would have to produce an additional 1 million tonnes of shrimp.  

    Last year shrimp exports were worth $3.1 billion. To achieve this, the country had to produce 650,000 tonnes.

    Việt Nam might be able to produce an additional 1 million tonnes of shrimp, but almost certainly cannot double value addition because its companies already process shrimp using advanced technology.

    Lê Văn Quang, chairman of the Cà Mau-based Minh Phú Seafood JSC, said his company has set a target of exporting $2 billion worth shrimps by 2021.

    It is a feasible plan since the company plans to make major changes to production, marketing and technology application, according to the chairman.

    PM Phúc said if Minh Phú alone could export $2 billion, Cà Mau Province’s total exports could be $4 billion and the remaining $6 billion could be managed by other provinces and cities, and the $10 billion target could be achieved by 2025.

    Some analysts concurred with Phúc, saying Việt Nam’s shrimp industry has all the conditions necessary to develop and become the world’s shrimp production hub.

    But they hastened to point out that the country needs to step up investment in infrastructure for shrimp farming and processing to boost productivity as well as value addition.

    Now a full 70 per cent of costs in shrimp production goes towards feed and medicines, most of which are imported.

    Moreover, processors import 17 per cent of the shrimp they require.

    Banks plagued by bad debts, continue to pay low dividends

    Trần Thiện Nguyên, who owns shares in a joint stock bank based in HCM City, hopes this year it will pay higher dividends than in previous years.

    In recent years banks had been paying very low dividends or even nothing, he said.

    As a result, dividend payments have always been a hot topic at lenders’annual shareholders meeting in recent years.

    Analysts blame the low dividends on banks’ high bad debt levels and their slow recovery.

    The chairman of a HCM City-based bank with a chartered capital of VNĐ5 trillion (US$220 million) said last year pre-tax profits were VNĐ484 billion, or 10 per cent higher than the target.

    But it only intends to pay a dividend of around 5 per cent, the same as the 2015 rate.

    He explained that the bank had to set aside a considerable amount of money for risk provisioning since the market was still beset by many difficulties.

    The banking sector still has non-performing loans worth about VNĐ200 trillion (US$8.8 billion) bought by the Việt Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) but remaining unresolved.

    To settle bad debts, banks are having to use considerable sums of money for their risk provision accounts, which has a big impact on their bottom line.

    Eximbank for instance had to set aside VNĐ1.2 trillion last year for provisioning, or 82 per cent of its net interest income. In the event, its pre-tax profit was only VNĐ300 billion.

    Therefore, Eximbank’s after-tax profit was only VNĐ202 billion, 70 per cent down from 2015.

    VIB Bank’s provisioning was VNĐ532 billion, or 56 per cent of its net interest income.

    At the same time banks are also struggling to adopt international bank management standards prescribed under the Basel II accord as required by the central bank.

    Basel II requires minimal capital requirements, regulatory supervision and market discipline.

    To achieve this goal, banks must increase their capital to meet capital adequacy ratio (CAR) norms. Under Basel II standards, they need to have CAR of around 9 per cent.

    State giant BIDV is one of the lenders that would have to mobilise more capital to meet the 9 per cent norm.

    Opportunities to invest in agriculture

    The Việt Nam Rubber Group (VRG) plans to equitise along with 20 of its subsidiaries in the third quarter of this year.

    The valuations of the targeted companies have more or less been completed.

    VRG is working with auditing firms to check the legal provisions on valuations, and has outlined concrete plans for converting its member companies into shareholding businesses. The company is also looking for strategic investors after equitisation.

    The Việt Nam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2), whose plan to equitise was approved by the Government, is set to equitise in the fourth quarter.

    VRG and Vinafood 2 are among several large companies under the agriculture ministry due to go public this year.

    Others include Agriculture Materials Company, Vinafood 1, Việt Nam National Coffee Corporation, and Hạ Long Fisheries Company.

    In the first quarter the ministry will disinvest from several companies: Việt Nam Fisheries Corporation, Sugar and Sugarcane Company, and Việt Nam Maize Development and Investment Company.

    It is planned that around VNĐ2.19 trillion worth of disinvestments will be carried out in the agriculture sector in 2017-20.

    Market observers said the fact that several major agricultural companies would be equitised this year and the Government would disinvest from many large companies would provide several opportunities for those who want to invest in the agricultural sector.

    By Thiên Lý, VNS

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  • 02/20/17--00:40: Article 0
  • Cross-ownership status in banks difficult to stop

    The State Bank, while admitting that it is difficult to eliminate cross-ownership in commercial banks, said in many cases, institutions and individuals borrow money from credit institutions to buy bank stakes or contribute capital to banks.

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    Analysts, when talking about relations among Vietnamese banks, commented that this is a ‘spider’s web’. Though the central bank has stated that the cross-ownership status must be eliminated, while setting up limits in bank ownership ratios, the problem still has not been settled.

    In fact, commercial banks have been trying to withdraw their capital contributed to other banks. Maritime Bank has divested from MB and it now holds less than 5 percent of MB’s charter capital instead of 8.96 percent as previously.

    Meanwhile, VietinBank has lowered its ownership ratio in Saigon Bank from 10.39 percent to 4.91 percent.

    The State Bank, while admitting that it is difficult to eliminate cross-ownership in commercial banks, said in many cases, institutions and individuals borrow money from credit institutions to buy bank stakes or contribute capital to banks.

    Vietcombank contributes the most capital to other banks. It now holds stakes in four other credit institutions: 7 percent of capital of MB bank, 8.24 percent of Eximbank, 4.72 percent in OCB and 4.37 percent in Saigonbank. It also has 10.91 percent of stakes in the Cement Finance JSC.

    Which shares will Vietcombank retain and which it will sell? Vietcombank’s chair Nghiem Xuan Thanh said the State Bank has allowed Vietcombank to maintain the current ownership ratio at MBB, a profitable bank.

    He revealed that Vietcombank will only retain the capital contribution to two banks, while it will consider the market situation and banks’ business plan to make a decision on whether to keep the shares. As for OCB and Saigonbank, its share value is less than VND100 billion, a small investment compared with Vietcombank’s total assets.

    As for Eximbank, though it held shareholders’ meetings twice in 2016, the withdrawal of 8.76 percent of capital from Sacombank was not mentioned. The cross-ownership ratio has been a big problem for Eximbank for many years because it causes personnel problems and internal conflicts.

    In June 2016, Vietinbank successfully lowered its ownership ratio in Saigon Bank to 4.91 percent, followed by the move to withdraw capital from Sai Gon Port JSC and Hai Phong Port JSC.

    In April 2016, MobiFone registered to sell its shares at SeABank and TP Bank. However, no investor showed interest in SeABank stakes.

    Meanwhile, TP Bank could only find six investors who bought 8.7 millions shares. VNPT, a telecom group, still has not divested from Maritime Bank.

    Bui Quang Tin from the HCMC Banking University said that it was not easy to find partners to transfer bank shares.

    In most cases, the share prices at the time when banks contributed capital were higher, which means that banks would take a loss if selling shares now.

    Chi Mai, VNN

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  • 02/20/17--00:53: Article 1
  • Foreign animal feed frenzy verges on monopoly, local makers allege

    Competition in Vietnam’s animal feed industry is falling out of balance, with foreign firms dominating more and more of the local market.

     Image result for san xuat thuc an chan nuoi

    Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association, told VIR that local authorities “cannot force foreign animal feed makers, who are investing heavily in the country, to stabilise their product prices or call them ‘monopolists’, because they are not violating Vietnam’s law and they are operating under market law”.

    Currently, 58 foreign firms operating over 70 plants occupy close to 65 per cent of the domestic animal feed market share.

    At a recent shrimp development conference in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, local firms told the government that animal feed prices in Vietnam are at top-tier international levels due to these foreign firms’ monopoly. They asked the government to establish limits on the market.

    However, Lich said these firms are in fierce competition with one another, which prevents them from “entering co-operation to establish a monopoly over the market”.

    Under the Competition Law, an enterprise is considered to hold the dominant position in a market if it has a market share of 30 per cent or more in a relevant market or is capable of considerably restricting competition.

    A group of enterprises is considered to hold a dominant market position if they take concerted action to restrict competition, falling into one of the following categories: (a) two enterprises with total market share of 50 per cent or more on the relevant market; (b) three enterprises with total market share of 65 per cent or more on the relevant market; (c) four enterprises with total market share of 75 per cent or more on the relevant market.

    The law also stipulates that an enterprise is considered to hold a monopoly if there is no enterprise competing in the goods or services dealt on the relevant market.

    “No enterprise in Vietnam is either holding a dominant position or a monopoly over the local animal feed market,” Lich said. “For example, though Thai-backed C. P. Vietnam Livestock Corporation is Vietnam’s biggest foreign animal feed producer, it occupies only 15-17 per cent of the local market share.”

    Last year, C.P. made three million tonnes of feed - a big portion of Vietnam’s total output of 21 million tonnes produced by over 200 firms.

    “Foreign animal feed makers have to report their product prices on a monthly basis to the Ministry of Finance’s Price Management Department. Thus they can’t raise their prices without cause,” he added.

    A source from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MARD) Livestock Production Department told VIR that “It is impossible to say that foreign firms are monopolising or holding a dominant position in the local animal feed market, because no firm has a market share of 30 per cent or more, as laid down in the Competition Law.”

    He added that since mid-2016, the rate of foreign firms asking permission from MARD for importing animal feed materials rose 10-15 per cent. “A great number of foreign animal feed firms are expected to enter Vietnam this year to undertake big projects, due to rising local livestock production,” he said.

    A big Japanese group is planning to invest $100 million into making animal feed in the southern province of Dong Nai this year. And also this year, US-based agribusiness conglomerate Cargill Group will put into operation its 12th animal feed mill in Vietnam, a $30 million initiative in the southern province of Binh Duong. This mill will have a total annual capacity of 260,000 tonnes.

    South Korea’s CJ Group will also invest millions of dollars into a new plant, its sixth, in the south-central province of Binh Dinh. This 120ha project will also comprise a pig-breeding farm. 

    And other major foreign producers are getting on the feeding frenzy. Chinese animal feed producer Tequhope plans to set up 12 animal feed plants in Vietnam through 2020. Currently, Tequhope operates a plant in the northern province of Bac Giang.

    Production of animal feed is also growing fast, at about 21 per cent on-year over the past few years.


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  • 02/20/17--01:20: Article 0
  • Nghe An urged to make top 20 on provincial competitiveness index


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked Nghe An province to improve its investment environment and strive to be listed in the top 20 localities nationwide with the highest competitiveness index over the next two years.

    The Prime Minister made the request at a working session with the province’s key leaders on February 19 to review the locality’s socio-economic achievements in 2016 and the first months of 2017.

    He hailed the province for fulfilling 25 out of 27 criteria regarding socio-economic development in 2016.

    Accordingly, Nghe An recorded the highest budget collection with over VND11 trillion last year. A total of 152 communes in the province have been recognised as new-style rural areas. The locality has also gained positive progress in culture, security and social safety.

    Outlining tasks for the province in 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc tasked Nghe An to continue its robust implementation of the Politburo and Government’s resolutions.

    The locality was requested to enhance economic restructuring, develop hi-tech agriculture, protect the environment, improve people’s living conditions, and maintain security and social order.

    It was also assigned to stand out as an incubator for start-up businesses and work out solutions to raise the quality of human resources as well as protect and uphold indigenous cultural characteristics.


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  • 02/21/17--01:28: Article 0
  • Vietnam's car market has second-fastest growth in world

    Vietnam was the second fastest growing car market in the world in 2016, with imports favored by most Vietnamese buyers. 

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    JATO, a UK-based market analysis firm, in its latest report, showed that the Vietnamese market grew by 27.1 percent in 2016, becoming the second fastest growing market in the world, just after Singapore.

    JATO said 84.24 million cars sold all over the world, including 228,478 cars sold in Vietnam. As such, Vietnam ranked 34th in sales. However, with the growth rate of 27.1 percent, it ranked second in terms of growth.

    An analyst commented that Vietnamese favor imports while the supply has been increasing.

    Vietnam was the second fastest growing car market in the world in 2016, with imports favored by most Vietnamese buyers. 

    He cited a report of the General Department of Customs (GDC) as saying that in January 2017, 2,600 CBU (complete built unit) cars were imported from Thailand, worth $51.7 million, accounting for 80 percent of CBU total imports. Vietnam also imported cars from India, 1, 006 products, worth $3.73 million.

    Also according to GDC, in 2016, Vietnam spent $2.34 billion to import 113,567 cars.

    Thailand, South Korea, India and China, the countries which have advantages in low-cost models, are the biggest exporters to Vietnam.

    The CBU imports from Thailand have reached 34,336, from India 22,000, from South Korea 20,204 and from China 10,989.

    The tariff cut is one of the reasons why Thailand has become the leading exporter to Vietnam.

    According to ATIGA (Asean Trade In Goods Agreement), since 2015, the tariff on CBU imports from ASEAN countries has been decreasing step by step to zero percent by 2018.

    The tariff on CBU imports from ASEAN will be cut by 30 percent by 2017, and have reduced to 40 percent on average by 2016.

    With the import tariff cuts, domestically assembled cars have become less competitive in prices than imports. This has prompted foreign invested enterprises to shift to import cars for domestic sale instead of continuing to make cars.

    A report showed that $24.4 billion worth of foreign direct investment was registered in 2016, an increase of $1.7 billion over the year before. Car trading ranked second among the business fields which most attracted FDI with 505 projects licensed in the year.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment, noting the surge in the FDI in car trading, attributed this to the new policies and tariff cuts.

    Investors now can see great business opportunities in the Vietnamese car market. The high population and improved income both promise ideal opportunities for car traders.

    In January 2017, the number of cars with nine and fewer seats from ASEAN increased by 234 percent compared with the same period last year.

    Tran Thuy, VNN

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  • 02/21/17--01:55: Article 2
  • Social News 21/2

    HCM City’s authorities want to draw int’l tourists to Dam Sen Park


    Deputy Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Mr. Tran Vinh Tuyen yesterday asked the city’s Department of Tourism to attract international visitors to Dam Sen Park which is the city’s largest natural park in District 11.

    The vice chairman also asked the District 11’s authorities to launch solutions in accordance with its strong points in the implementation of the seven breakthrough programs in his visit to the district.

    The seven breakthrough programs aims to satisfy the requirements for development, integration and an increase of the city residents’ quality of life, suiting the 12th National Party Congress and the city’s 10th Party Congress Resolutions.

    Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of District 11 proposed the municipal People's Committee to approve the detail master plan 1/2000 of Phu Tho Racecourse soon. Under the plan, the local authorities will begin the construction of a school, park and a children’s entertainment area.

    Thanh Hoa builds coastal road

    TheTransport Department of Thanh Hoa province yesterday held a groundbreaking ceremony of a coastal road connecting Sam Son town and Nghi Son Economic Zone. 

    A groundbreaking ceremony of a coastal road connecting Sam Son town and Nghi Son Economic Zone.

    State President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang, Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai and leaders of ministries and agencies attended in the ceremony. 

    In the first phase, the distance of road is 16,946 kilometers, running from Nam Song Ma Boulevard in Quang Chau commune of Sam Son town to Ghep bridge in Quang Nam commune of Quang Xuong district. 

    Total investment capital for the construction costs VND 1,479 billion (US$ 65.74 million). 

    The project marks the 70th anniversary of the first visit to the province by late President Ho Chi Minh.

    Bac Lieu urged to promote hi-tech agriculture

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has asked the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu to focus on developing hi-tech agriculture and sea-based economy. 

    During a working session with local key officials on February 20 as part of his ongoing three-day visit to Bac Lieu to examine its Party building and socio-economic development, the Party chief highlighted the province’s great potential for developing wind and solar energy, tourism, and off-shore fishing, urging the local authorities to give priority to the sectors. 

    He requested the locality to protect the environment and natural resources, work to mobilise all social resources for development, promote regional links and create a favourable business climate to attract investment. 

    To effectively implement socio-economic and cultural development and defence-security tasks, Bac Lieu needs to well perform the Party building duty and strictly implement of the 12th National Party Congress’s Resolution on building and revamping the Party.

    He emphasised the need to better criticism and self-criticism to find out limitations and shortcomings for timely solutions. 

    The Party leader expressed his hope that Bac Lieu will continue fully tapping its potential and strengths to achieve a stronger development in the future.

    Last year, Bac Lieu’s gross regional domestic product increased 5.38 percent from the previous year. The locality recorded positive development in agricultural production, with food productivity hitting over 1 million tonnes per ha. It welcomed 1.24 million visitors, earning 1 trillion VND in revenue. 

    The rate of poor and near-poor households fell 3.31 percent and 1 percent respectively, surpassing the set targets.

    The day earlier, Party Secretary Trong visited a super-intensive shrimp farming model in glass houses in Vinh Thinh commune, Hoa Binh district, which applies environmentally friendly technologies in production. 

    He also made a tour of the Bac Lieu wind-power plant in Vinh Trach Dong commune in Bac Lieu city, which includes 62 turbines with a combined capacity of 99.2 MW.

    Gia Lai strives to have 80 more new rural communes

    The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai has made effort to have additional 80 new-style rural communes by 2020, or 43 percent of the total communes.

    After five years, 21 communes have been recognised as new-style communes in the locality.

    Vo Ngoc Thanh, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee affirmed that Gia Lai will prioritise infrastructure development in rural areas. 

    The province will continue raising public awareness of the campaigns like “All people stay united to build new rural areas and civilised urban areas”.

    The national programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Government in 2010, includes 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics and defence, aiming to boost rural areas of Vietnam.

    The criteria cover infrastructure development, production capacity improvement, environmental protection and cultural value promotion.-

    Tien Giang reinforces Go Cong sea dike to protect farm land

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is reinforcing the Go Cong sea dike to protect thousands of hectares of coastal agricultural land, according to a local official.

    The 530 metre-long section in Tan Dien commune, Go Cong Dong district is seriously vulnerable to strong winds and wave, said Nguyen Thien Phap, head of the water resource management and flood and storm prevention division under the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The construction of wave-proof structure and concrete-surface dike has been accelerated to be completed and put into use by stormy season in 2017, Phap said, noting it cost nearly 20 billion VND.

    The Go Cong sea dike is over 21,000 metres long, protecting over 28,000 hectares of cultivation land in the coastal districts of Go Cong Dong, Go Cong Tay, Go Cong town, and Cho Gao.

    Over the past years, landslides triggered by climate change and strong winds have damaged the protection forest outside the dike, putting the dike at the risk of collapse, particularly the 12-km section in Tan Dien and Tan Thanh communes in Go Cong Dong district.

    The locality has also piloted making sand dike outside the sea to plant protection forests, thus reinforcing the local sea dike.

    Tien Giang works to ensure clean water in coastal districts

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has taken several measures to ensure clean water resources for residents of coastal districts, preventing drought and saline intrusion in dry season of 2017.

    Initially, the province will increase the capacity of fresh water reserves by dredging ponds, while promoting dissemination to raise public awareness of keeping and saving water for dry season.

    The provincial People’s Committee also required relevant agencies and localities to reopen 165 public water supply points for coastal residents. As many as 183 new water pipelines will be built for over 7,700 households living in Go Cong Dong, Go Cong Tay and Tan Phu Dong districts and Go Cong town, with a total length of 150,000 metres. 

    The solution to clean water demand in the eastern part of Tien Giang province is estimated to cost more than 215 billion VND (9.4 million USD).-

    Patrols increased in Chu Mom Ray National Park to protect wildlife

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    Chu Mom Ray National Park in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum is stepping up patrols to protect the local wildlife habitat, after a gaur (a type of bison) was killed by a truck recently.

    Bui Van Quang, Director of Chu Mom Ray, said the park’s management board asked the constructor of Provincial Road 674 to minimise building activities to protect gaurs, an endangered species in Vietnam.

    The park is home to a herd of 10 gaurs, and experts are studying their movement to seek ways to protect them, he said, adding that the park’s staff are increasing patrols to limit human impacts like illegal logging and poaching on the wildlife.

    On February 17, a gaur weighing about 800kg rain into a truck carrying construction materials in the park and died.

    The park’s management board said the animal may have been on the road because it lost its herd and the habitat was disturbed by construction activities.

    The carcass of the gaur will be used for scientific study and education.

    APEC 2017: anti-illegal logging group convenes session

    APEC’s Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) opened their meeting on February 20, as part of the first Senior Officials’ Meeting of APEC (SOM-1).

    The session focused on finding measures to boost links within the Asia-Pacific in a bid to protect forest resources, prevent illegal logging and enhance capacity of APEC member economies in legal timber trade.

    Participants discussed ways to improve connections between producers and consumers as well as between small-scale forest growers and wood processing companies to ensure that only legal timber is allowed to be exported.

    At the function, Nguyen Van Ha, deputy head of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, said Vietnam is making effort to scale up forest coverage nationwide, with the rate increasing to 40.84 percent in 2015 from 33.2 percent in 2010.

    APEC member economies account for 53 percent of the global forest areas. They also make up 60 percent and 80 percent of the global timber production and value.

    Founded in 2011, the EGILAT serves as a platform for the economies to strengthen policy dialogue on combating illegal logging and associated trade, as well as promoting the trade of legally harvested forest products.

    The SOM-1 is underway in Nha Trang city, the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, from February 18 to March 3.

    HCM City urges accelerating Peninsula land clearance

    All the land needed to develop the Thu Thiem urban area on Thu Thiem Peninsula in HCM City’s District 2 must be acquired this year, municipal People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong has told the project management board.

    Nguyen The Minh, deputy head of the New Thu Thiem Urban Area Project, said acquisition of 84 properties had been delayed, and early last year the People’s Committee had instructed relevant authorities to settle their owners’ grievances.

    The delay in acquiring the lands affected local residents, hindered investment promotion and construction works, and increased expenses related to resettlement, he said.

    It also delayed construction of Thu Thiem Bridge No 2, he said.

    The Thu Thiem Area includes 150 plots of land measuring 185ha earmarked for investment projects and public works.

    Some of the investment projects are already underway, including infrastructure work at a 38.4ha resettlement area in Binh Khanh ward, four major roads on the peninsula, the central square and riverside park, and a model eco-park.

    Other projects that have been approved are an embankment around the peninsula, Thu Thiem Bridge No 2, an artificial central lake and canals.

    Minh sought the People’s Committee’s instructions on what to do with unsold apartments built for households moved out of the area.

    The project management board plans to build 10,529 apartments, of which 4,903 have been completed and handed over to the District 2 People’s Committee.

    But only 3,296 have been bought by resettled families, with the rest remaining unsold, causing a huge financial and administrative burden for authorities.

    Phong said city authorities would find a solution to the problem.

    He instructed the management board to identify investors for 26ha of land the city owns on the peninsula.

    He called for linking the peninsula’s infrastructure with those of other areas in District 2.

    HCM City’s District 1 ups the ante in ‘sidewalk reclamation’

    Parts of state-owned buildings were demolished and cars towed away on February 20 as authorities of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City stiffened their fight against sidewalk encroachment.

    A team of police and urban management officers was led by Doan Ngoc Hai, deputy chairman of District 1, on February 20 to penalize illegal occupancy of downtown sidewalks.

    At the crossroads of Nam Quoc Cang and Nguyen Trai, the officers forced the removal of steel sheets fixed onto a section of the sidewalk by a nearby office building operator, while confiscating billboards and advertisement panels that protrude from stores over the pedestrians’ path.

    The authorities also booked six cars for being parked on the sidewalk, and towed away two others whose owners refused to cooperate.

    A parking lot operator was also fined VND20 million (US$893) for putting nearly 100 motorbikes along the sidewalk.

    Even state-owned buildings were not exempt from the crackdown, as the officers forcefully uprooted a flower bed outside District 1’s Center for Political Education on Nguyen Trai Street, apparently because the construction was taking up space from the sidewalk.

    The elevated part of the sidewalk in front of the center was also ordered to be leveled to guarantee safety for pedestrians.

    “District 1 will carry out this campaign thoroughly, and violations by public agencies will be the first to be penalized to set an example for the people to follow,” Hai stressed. “All are equal before the law and must be subject to the same penalties upon violation, be it a government agency or a common citizen.”

    “I will resign if I fail to deliver on my promises,” Hai said. “Those are not empty words.”

    Truck driver’s murderers arrested

    The provincial police, in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Police, recently apprehended two suspects allegedly responsible for the murder of a truck driver on February 14.

    The two were attempting to steal the 34.3 tonnes of steel he was carrying.

    On Sunday, Colonel Nguyễn Công Khôi, head of the Bắc Ninh criminal police (PC45), told the media that the two apprehended suspects are Nguyễn Minh Liên, 34, and Trương Việt Cường, 38, both hailing from Kim Thành District in the northern province of Hải Dương.

    The truck driver was Chu Văn Phong, 41, from Ứng Hoà District of Hà Nội.

    According to the initial testimony, Liêm was working as a tractor driver for some time and personally knew Phong. Phong made a deal with Liêm on the phone to sell a certain amount of the steel the former was ordered to transport from Hải Dương to Hà Nội on the fateful day.

    When Liêm and Phong’s truck reached Hưng Yên Province, Liêm asked Phong to stop and let Cường hitch a ride.

    Cường and Liêm then killed Phong, reportedly with a knife, and hid his body in the cabin.

    The subjects told the police that later Liêm drove the truck around to find an interested buyer. Eventually, Liêm sold the entire 34 tonnes of steel to a company in Gia Lâm District of Hà Nội and received VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) in initial payment, following which they were arrested.

    The provincial police announced their decision to initiate criminal proceedings against Liên and Cường on the grounds of murder.

    At present, the 34.3 tonnes of steel have been confiscated by the Bắc Ninh provincial police for further investigation.

    Earlier, last week, some people noticed that a truck was parked on the side of Road 280 in Lương Tài District, giving off a foul smelling odor and with no signs of activity for several days.

    On inspection, the body of a man was found decomposing, tied up and covered with a blanket.

    The GPS on the truck was reportedly deactivated and damaged, so the owner of the steel shop, where Phong worked, was unable to locate the truck.

    Lương Tài District police immediately secured the scene, managed traffic on that section of the road and carried out the investigation.  

    One more victim of alcohol poisoning dies

    An ethnic man, who was under intensive treatment, died of alcohol poisoning in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu on Sunday.

    The victim was identified as Chẻo Sìn Hào, 51, living in Sín Chải hamlet, Sì Lở Lầu Commune of Phông Thổ District.

    Chẻo Sìn Hào was discovered in a state of coma and was in a severe condition when he was hospitalised.

    The victim’s family said he bought the alcohol drink from the Sì Lở Lầu Commune market.

    Last weekend, the largest fatal alcohol poisoning of this year occurred in the country. The incident took place in Tà Chải Village, where seven people died, while 31 are still being treated in Lai Châu General Hospital and the Phong Thổ District health centre.

    The local government has seized and destroyed nearly 4,800 litres of alcohol without brands and original certificates.

    Ministry asks VFF to treat Long An strictly

    The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism yesterday asked the National Sports Administration and the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) to strictly punish Long An following their behaviour in the match between Long An and HCM City in the V.League 1 on February 19.

    The match was delayed for 10 minutes as Long An refused to play to protest referee Nguyễn Trọng Thư’s decision to issue a penalty to HCM City in the 79th minute with the score tied at 2-2.

    After being persuaded to return to the pitch, Long An goalkeeper Nguyễn Minh Nhựt turned his back when the penalty was taken, allowing it to score.

    Afterwards the Long An players allowed HCM City to walk through their defence and score twice more, leaving the final score 5-2 to HCM City.

    The incident caused bad press for Vietnamese football as the story was covered by various international media outlets, with many mocking the Long An players.

    Chairman of the VFF, Lê Hùng Dũng said the VFF would deal with the case severely.

    According to Dũng, the match seriously affected Vietnamese football’s image. Long An’s behaviour was unprofessional, unsporting and disrespectful to the fans.

    “I haven’t discussed whether the referee’s decision was right or wrong but Long An’s reaction was unacceptable. The VFF has directed the tournament’s organising board to send a report to the federation,” said Dũng.

    Yesterday, Long An’s chairman Võ Thành Nhiệm offered the Long An Football Joint Stock Company’s board of directors his resignation.

    “Although I didn’t tell the players to do, as a leader of the club that harmed the image of Long An football and Vietnamese football, I will accept responsibility and resign as chairman,” said Nhiệm.

    “If the board of directors don’t agree, I will still resign,” Nhiệm added.

    Meanwhile, goalkeeper Nguyễn Minh Nhựt was suspended for three matches without pay.

    Long An won the V.League 1 in 2005 and 2006.

    False advertising alleged at Alma Resort

    Alma Resort may not meet the five-star standard that it claims to.

    According to complaints of some customers sent to Vietnam Investment Review, according to the advertisement, the resort is going to have 200 villas and 400 apartments, equal to 30,000 units of vacations a year, and can host up to 3,500 guests at a time.

    The resort has five types of apartments and villas for customers to choose from, namely type A (one bedroom, for a maximum five people), type B(with two bedrooms, maximum seven people), type C (three bedrooms, maximum nine people), type D (two bedrooms, maximum seven people) and type E (three bedrooms, maximum nine people).

    According to the contract, guests have to ensure that the number of people staying do not exceed the maximum for each type of apartment. During the vacation, guests can use services such as waste collection, towel change, bed making and changing of bedsheets, blanket and cleaning of the whole room once per week.

    If there’s any other service or if the above services are performed more often than said in the contract, the customers have to pay according to the price table applicable at the time of service.

    Customer S said that he signed a contract to own a vacation at a type A apartment with area of 70.8 square metres including the balcony, for five people, with kitchen, living room, balcony, a big bedroom with one bed and a big bath room. 

    Annex A of his contract enumerated some equipment available in the apartment but the description is very general, and according to the contract, “the equipment and furniture are planned by Paradise Bay Resort Co. Ltd. but are subject to change.”

    S said that the apartment, though advertised to be “luxury,” lacks basic equipment such as a TV and air conditioning. The once-a-week cleaning is less often than the cleaning done at cheap hostels. 

    Meanwhile, customer V from Ho Chi Minh City said that her type B apartment also lacks air conditioning and hot water. Meanwhile, the apartment was advertised to have two bedrooms but there’s no information on how big the beds are.

    Lawyer Tran Duc Phuong from the Ho Chi Minh City Lawyers’ Association said that given the information on the contracts, and as per Decision 217/QD-TCDL dated June 15, 2009, on the national standard to classify accommodation facilities, Alma resort won’t even fit the criteria to have a one-star rating. Also, it is illegal for the developer to introduce the project as having a five-star rating while stating in the contract that the design and equipment in the apartments “are subject to change.”

    AirAsia Runway to search for fashion talents in ASEAN

    Budding fashion designers in ASEAN are invited to challenge themselves at the AirAsia Runway 2017 which will be held from April to June 2017.

    Vietnamese designer Phuong My and editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam Pham Ngoc Luu Uyen and Andrew Tan, founder of the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week and Vivy Yusof, co-founder of FashionValet, one of the popular brands in Malaysia, will be judges at a qualifying round in Vietnam which is expected to be held in HCMC on May 6. Top two contestants from Vietnam will represent the country at the finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2017.

    The contest which is in its 3rd edition is aimed to search for fashion talents aged between 18 and 30 in ASEAN. Contestants are advised to apply registration forms and three other sketches for women’s costumes to The deadline for online registration is April 29.

    The qualifying rounds will respectively take place in Manila, the Philippines on April 1, Singapore on April 8, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on April 15, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 22, Bangkok, Vietnam on May 6, Thailand on May 20, Yangon, Myanmar on May 27, Jakarta, Indonesia on June 3, Vientiane, Laos on June 10 and Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 17.

    The winner will receive a grand prize of 350,000 ringgit (nearly US$80,000) and a spot at KL Fashion Week Ready To Wear 2018, and a prize worth 25,000 ringgit (around US5,600) from the sponsor FashionValet brand to sell his/her collection at the website, and 150,000 rewarding points from AirAsia BIG, and flight tickets from AirAsia.

    Andrew Tan, founder of the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week Ready To Wear, said in a statement that this year’s contest is expanded to five more ASEAN countries to help budding designers create their own brands.

    Short circuits the sole cause of boat blazes in Halong Bay

    The authorities of the northern province of Quang Ninh cited short circuits as the main reason for seven cruise ship fires in the World Heritage-listed Halong Bay since 2014 until now.

    Nguyen Duc Long, chairman of Quang Ninh Province People’s Committee, has asked the owners of tourist boats operational in the bay to replace electric wiring embedded in the hulk with fire-proof wiring, remove inflammable material, and install semi-automatic firefighting equipment. Otherwise, they will have to stop operation of tourist boats.

    All the boats made of wood from 2005 or earlier and offering overnight stays for tourists have to complete the above requirements by the end of next month, and the remaining boats by the end of June this year, Long told a meeting held last Wednesday to discuss urgent measures for preventing fires and other risks on boats in Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.

    A blaze engulfed a boat last week in the Halong Bay but no casualties were reported. This was the second incident at the bay in 2017.

    According to the provincial government, seven wooden tourist boat fires related to power problems have been recorded from 2014 until now.

    As for wooden boats, materials used for soundproofing and heat insulating are made of foam which is easy to catch fire. 

    The total number of tourist boats operating in Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay has now amounted to 534, with wooden boats accounting for a majority and those offering overnight accommodation service numbering some 250.

    The provincial government is mapping out a plan to gradually eliminate overnight tourist boats in the bay. Besides, the authorities of Halong City are required to make an adjustment of anchoring sites for boats to stay overnight, moving them closer to the shore to facilitate firefighting in case they are set on fire.

    Sputnik, VOV sign cooperation agreement

    Russia’s Sputnik agency and Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) have reached an agreement to boost bilateral cooperation in information.

    Sputnik News Agency and Radio has signed a cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s national radio broadcaster - Voice of Vietnam (VOV). It is Sputnik’s first cooperation agreement with a Vietnamese media outlet.

    The parties have agreed to develop a bilateral professional relationship in information to strengthen cooperation between Russia and Vietnam and to provide assistance to each other’s journalists.

    Sputnik and VOV have started sharing text materials and will soon share radio news and produce analysis, research, technology, culture, and education programs.

    Head of Sputnik International Broadcasting Anton Anisimov said, “Sputnik is honored to cooperate with one of Vietnam’s leading media outlets. We have the same goal – to give our audiences broader access to professional, quality, and up-to-date information about developments in Russia and the Southeast Asian nations.”

    VOV President Nguyen The Ky said, “The cooperation agreement that Voice of Vietnam and Sputnik have signed is evidence of a lasting friendship between our countries’ media outlets. This agreement will give our countries new opportunities to learn more about the cultural values, history and current developments in our countries through the exchange of radio programs, which will help strengthen the traditional relations of friendship between the Russian and Vietnamese nations.”

    VOV is a national media holding comprising several radio channels, more than a dozen television channels, a printed newspaper, two online newspapers, a news centre, a radio broadcasting technology centre, two radio and television schools, one advertising and radio services centre (VOVas), and the Export-Import Company Information Equipment Supplies (EMICO).

    Sputnik ( is a news agency and radio network with multimedia news hubs in dozens of countries. Sputnik broadcasts through its websites in over 30 languages, as well as on analogue and digital radio, mobile apps, and social media.

    Sputnik newswires are available by subscription 24/7 in English, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.

    The multimedia portal Sputnik Vietnam is one of Sputnik’s resources broadcasting in East and Southeast Asian languages, including Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

    Photo exhibition on Hanoians’ national resistance struggle

    A photo exhibition showcasing 60 days of fighting by the soldiers and general populace of Hanoi against the French colonialists opened on February 17 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the battle (February 17, 1947-2017).

    The exhibition aims to review the remarkable historical tradition of the capital’s soldiers and people, as well as help visitors, especially young people, to feel proud of the tradition of protecting the country, said a representative from the Vietnam Historical Science Association.

    Until mid-December 1946, the situation in Hanoi and other regions from the 16th Parallel to the north of Vietnam became increasingly serious. After attacking and occupying Hai Phong, the French decided to speed up their invasion by taking inhumane measures like occupying illegally the head office of Ministry of Finance and conducting savage massacres at Yen Ninh and Hang Bun Streets.

    In the face of the conspiratorial and violent actions of the enemy, the Party and President Ho Chi Minh led the army and people of northern Vietnam to prepare for combat and to move agencies, treasures, workshops, food and raw materials machinery out of the cities. On the other hand, the Party and the President tried to take advantage of opportunities to reduce the probability of a war. However, that attempt came to nothing, as the French colonialists preferred war.

    On the evening of December 19, 1946, Vietnamese troops zeroed in their cannon at Lang Fortress, initiating the war. The next morning, Radio the Voice of Vietnam broadcastPresident Ho Chi Minh’s appeal for national resistance. As a responce, Hanoi’s army and people heroically fought for each of their houses and street corners over 60 days and nights. They managed to contain the enemy and to foil the enemy’s scheme for capturing main Vietnamese organs, which facilitated Vietnam’s entrance into a long-term resistance war.

    Ha Tinh first performs Miles operation for rectal cancer

    The General Hospital in the central province of Ha Tinh yesterday announced it has performed successfully abdominoperineal resection, formally known as the Miles operation, for rectal cancer. 

    66 year old patient Dau Thuyet in Can Loc District suffered low rectal cancer. Four months ago, he moved his bowel with blood; lately, he had his bowel with more blood in addition to fatigue and weight loss; accordingly he was taken to the hospital where he underwent CT scan and endoscope.

    Medical workers concluded that he has low rectal cancer. Doctors proposed to use the Miles operation.

    The 3 hour operation got success. Two days after the surgery, the patient could eat slight food and recovered. It is scheduled that he will be discharged from the hospital after one week treatment. Later, he will undergo further treatment with chemical.

    Dr. Nguyen Trong Doan who conducted the operation said that the Miles operation has some advantages such as less pain, quick recovery and less risk of infection.

    The hospital now can conduct endoscope for stomach illness, rectal diseases and inguinal hernia.

    South faces rain, cyclone and strong wind

    While nationwide weather maintains cirrus clouds without rain, the southern region are warned small- medium rain, thunderstorm, cyclone and powerful wind from February 19- 20, reported the Central Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Center.

    From February 19- 20, the weather condition in the northwest and northeastern provinces, including Hanoi continues keeping cirrus cloud without rain, slight wind of level 2- 3, average humidity of 55- 94 percent and the lowest temperature at 14- 20 degrees Celsius.

    Yesterday, the north- central provinces from Thanh Hoa to Thua Thien- Hue have also experienced cirrus cloud without rain, slight wind, humidity at 60- 95 percent and the lowest temperature at 17- 20 degrees Celsius.

    Both the south- central, central highlands and southern provinces were warned small- medium rain, thunderstorm and cyclone in evening or at night on the large scale with its lowest temperature at 15- 25 degrees Celsius and humidity of 53- 92 degrees Celsius.


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    Wide range of customs issues tabled at APEC meeting

    The General Department of Vietnam Customs (Vietnam Customs) is chairing the first meeting of the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) in Nha Trang city from February 21-23.

    The event has drawn more than 50 delegates of customs agencies from the 21 APEC economies. It is part of the ongoing first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting in Nha Trang, south central Khanh Hoa province.

    With this year’s APEC events themed “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering A Shared Future”, the meeting will look into the priorities of the Asia-Pacific region such as promoting sustainable, creative and inclusive growth; enhancing regional economic connectivity; improving the competitiveness and creativity of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises; strengthening food security and sustainable agriculture to adapt to climate change.

    The function will focus on implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the single-window mechanism, IT application and risk management in customs management, the management of cross-border implementation of intellectual property rights, and the enhancement of cross-border e-commerce.

    Vietnam Customs suggested the APEC economies connect the single-window mechanism, increase sharing information about and experience in fighting smuggling and trade fraud, thereby helping customs agencies facilitate trade and ensure trade security in regional supply chains.

    These are also major targets of the Collective Action Plan, which the SCCP submitted to the APEC Secretariat for approval in 2016.

    Vietnam wants the member economies to boost experience sharing, assistance in capacity improvement, and technical support among customs agencies to intensify customs cooperation in the region, Vietnam Customs said. 

    Dung Quat refinery sees 2017 gross profit down on lower oil prices

    The refinery's shorter production period due to routine maintenance will also contribute to falling revenues.

    Dung Quat refinery, Vietnam's sole such facility, is expected its gross profit to plunge 66% this year to VND1.68 trillion (US$74 million) on an expected drop in crude oil prices and shorter production time, its operator firm said.

    Revenue this year by state-owned Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co, an affiliate of national oil and gas PetroVietnam group and which operates the US$3 billion refinery, is expected at VND62.4 trillion, down 17% from 2016, the company said in its financial statement published for the first time.

    “The target has been set cautiously, based on the scenario with oil prices at US$50 per barrel," Chief Executive Officer Tran Ngoc Nguyen told VnExpress, "but we will strive [for higher revenues] since oil prices have edged up on the world market and the refinery’s planned maintenance plan can be shorter than initially expected.” 

    The routine maintenance, its third since operation of the refinery capable for processing 6.5 million tons of crude oil a year (130,500 barrels per day) began in 2011, has been scheduled for mid-2017 and last 52 days, Nguyen said.

    Binh Son has planned to conduct its initial public offering by late June 2017.

    The refinery, in the central province of Quang Ngai, now meets around a third of Vietnam's demand for fuel and oil products.

    Footwear exports tend to rise from midyear

     Wide range of customs issues tabled at APEC meeting, Footwear exports tend to rise from midyear, Barriers challenge Vietnam investors in Laos, Cambodia, Ministry told to seek ways to catch up with new industrial revolution

    Footwear exports have constantly increased in recent years from US$6.5 billion in 2011 to US$13 billion in 2016, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    It analysed that footwear exports often begin rising in the second quarter and obtain the highest growth in the third quarter of the year.

    The US has been the leading importer of Vietnam footwear for many years. Footwear exports to the market have accounted for 30% of the country’s total footwear export value and 11% of the country’s total exports to the world largest economy.

    Last year, the US imported US$4.484 billion worth of Vietnamese footwear products, a year-on-year rise of 10%. Other major importers of Vietnamese footwear included China (US$904.9 million, up 20%), Belgium (US$825.4 million, up 14%), Germany (US$764.7 million, up 8.4%) and Japan (US$674.9 million, up 12.9%).

    However, according to a latest report from Vietnam Customs, footwear exports hit only US$1.169 billion in January, down 4.8% against the same period last year.

    Barriers challenge Vietnam investors in Laos, Cambodia

    Changing policies and strict quotas for guest workers are among the key barriers to Vietnamese investors in Laos and Cambodia, the two neighboring countries that account for over one-third of Vietnam’s outbound investments.

    The hindrances were pointed out at a seminar held in Hanoi last week on opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese investors in Laos and Cambodia.

    Vietnamese firms have got involved in nearly 1,200 projects worth a total of roughly US$21.4 billion in Russia, Africa, Laos, Cambodia and other overseas markets. The total comprises of more than US$5 billion in Laos and almost US$3 billion in Cambodia.

    Vietnamese investment in Laos and Cambodia mainly concentrates on the agricultural-forestry sectors, telecommunications, mining and medical treatment which Vietnamese businesses have an advantage, heard the seminar.

    Vietnamese firms have registered a combined US$2.2 billion for rubber plantation projects in the two neighboring countries. Of which, Vietnam Rubber Group has invested in 23 projects while Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group has poured money into four projects. 

    The Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment said Vietnam’s increasing offshore investment has shown the fast expansion of many local businesses and the country’s economy. However, Vietnamese companies have to grapple with multiple challenges when investing in overseas projects, especially those in Laos and Cambodia.

    Vietnamese firms have to struggle with legal changes in Laos and Cambodia as the two countries are improving their investment regulations. Cambodia has suspended allocation of land to agricultural-forestry projects or reduced the durations of the land leases to all projects to 50 years from the previous 70-90 years, including the land already allocated to investors.

    Such changes have made life hard for foreign investors and affected their legitimate rights, heard the seminar.

    Vietnamese investors of rubber projects have had difficulty getting sufficient as land as pledged by the host country.

    Another challenge relates to a regulation of Cambodia which allows the Vietnamese guest workers to make up only 10% of their total headcount even though they cannot find sufficient local workers.

    The regulation has posed barriers to a 6,310-hectare rubber plantation of Dau Tieng-Kratie Joint Stock Company and rubber planting projects of Daklak Rubber Co Ltd and Phu An Real Estate Co Ltd. 

    Pham Quang Tu of Oxfam Vietnam said a number of Vietnamese firms sought land for rubber tree planting in Laos and Cambodia in 2007-2008 while the world rubber price was leaping. Investors rushed to get land and carry out site clearance immediately after they obtained licenses for their projects despite different land zoning plans in various regions. So interest conflicts between investors and local people were inevitable, affecting the lives of locals and the production of investors.

    To solve the problems, the agency proposed investors and local governments step up cooperation in exchanging information about investment policies, building a transparent investment environment and making full use of their resources.

    The agency requested Cambodia to avoid the impact of new policies on the projects already licensed to foreign investors including those from Vietnam. It is important for Cambodia to simplify cross-border procedures for goods transport, facilitate preservation and tests of farm produce, and consider exempting visas for guest workers at Vietnamese-invested projects.

    Ministry told to seek ways to catch up with new industrial revolution

    The Government has told the Ministry of Science and Technology to work with relevant ministries and agencies to propose ways to mobilize resources to make the most of opportunities afforded by the world’s fourth industrial revolution.

    Proposed ways should be submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration this month, heard a meeting held by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Hanoi last week to gather comments to improve a draft report on how the country could benefit from the fourth industrial revolution.

    Dam Bach Duong, head of the Hi-tech Department at the Ministry of Science and Technology, told the meeting that the report will detail technological trends and their impacts, lessons of countries, potential and capability of Vietnam, opportunities and challenges, and orientations for the country to leap forward alongside the fourth industrial revolution.  

    Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pham Dai Duong said trends of the industrial revolution have been seen in a number of sectors.

    Representatives of the ministries of transport, industry-trade, education and training, and agriculture-rural development, and the central bank stressed the need to conduct an overall assessment of the country’s economy, especially in terms of financial and labor issues.

    They agreed that the fourth industrial revolution would lead to changes to production, corporate governance and social structure. These require solutions to problems related to technology, infrastructure connectivity, laws and policies.

    The industrial revolution will leave both positive and negative impacts on countries, including Vietnam. Relevant ministries and agencies should weigh pros and cons of the revolution before suggesting viable measures for submission to the Government for approval to help the nation optimize opportunities from the revolution and reduce its negative impacts.

    Experts warned the fourth industrial revolution would spark public concerns about further applications of digital technology, the sharing of information on social media, social morality and technological risks. Vietnam will be left behind the world’s development pace if the country cannot find effective ways to cushion the negative impact of the revolution.

    Therefore, the technology ministry proposed the Government tell ministries and agencies to evaluate how the industrial revolution will impact the sectors they oversee and suggest coping measures so that a comprehensive strategy is mapped out for the country to fully seize opportunities from the industrial revolution.

    The first industrial revolution was developed in 1784 based on the use of water and steam energy to mechanize production while the second industrial revolution starting in 1870 counted on electric energy to create large-scale manufacturing. Electronic and information technology was the driving force in the third industrial revolution in 1969 to automate production.

    Tuan Chau, Vingroup to develop luxury resorts in Can Gio

    Tuan Chau Group and Vingroup are proceeding with projects to develop coastal luxury resorts in Can Gio District, which the HCMC government expects to boost the development of resort tourism in the city’s outlying coastal district.

    Le Minh Dung, chairman of Can Gio District, said Vingroup has proposed expanding the area of its resort on reclaimed land in the district to nearly 1,000 hectares from the current 600 hectares while Tuan Chau wanted to build a resort on 300 hectares in the coastal area of Can Thanh.  

    Dung told the Daily that Tuan Chau’s resort is planned to go up next to the resort of Vingroup.

    Can Gio District has been told to revise the zoning plan for the entire coastal area of the district, Dung said. He added the Government previously gave ‘in principle’ approval to the resort on 600 hectares but the investor now wanted the area to increase to 1,000 hectares.

    In addition to new tourism projects, the city government will help Can Gio District diversify tourism products and make the most of its potential related to seafood and tours to its mangrove forests, island of monkeys, and places to produce swallow nests, HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said.  

    Tuyen said the city government had thrown its weight behind Can Gio District’s effort to develop more tourism products during his field trip to the district last Saturday.

    Tuyen told reporters during his field trip that the city would create favorable conditions for Can Gio to boost tourism by organizing free-of-charge services for tourists to travel from the center of the city to the district, investing more in infrastructure development and calling for businesses to build more rest stops in the district. 

    “Can Gio’s potential and natural advantages are huge and they should be developed to turn the district into an appealing destination for not only domestic tourists but also those from abroad,” Tuyen said. 

    In November 2016, HCMC proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment seek the Prime Minister’s nod to add a 36-hole golf course covering 135 hectares in Can Gio to the national zoning plan for golf course development until 2020. The Can Gio Golf Club project planned by Can Gio Tourism Urban Area Joint Stock Company under Vingroup costs around VND900 billion (US$39.6 million), excluding site clearance cost and loan interest.

    Can Gio is in southeastern HCMC and 60 kilometers from the city’s downtown area. The district is crisscrossed by canals and rivers and home to mangrove forests which were recognized as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2000. 

    Can Gio, which has a coastline of more than 13 kilometers, attracted one million visitors and gained tourism revenue of VND400 billion (around US$17.6 million) last year. It targets more than one million tourists this year.

    Realty brokers assoc opens office in Mekong Delta

    The Vietnam Association of Realty Brokers under the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA) on Saturday opened a representative office in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

    The office will be a representative organization for all realty businesses, exchanges, and individuals active in the field of real estate brokering in the delta.

    Nguyen Manh Ha, chairman of of the association, told the opening ceremony that the association of realtors in Can Tho will support and protect the legitimate interests of real estate firms and those working in the industry.  

    Real estate brokerage has long been a globally legal activity to facilitate the development of the property market, where it acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate products, Ha noted.

    After ten years of implementing the Law on Real Estate Business in Vietnam, enterprises and individuals involved in the brokerage business have grown strongly in both quantity and quality.

    The brokering service now attracts the participation of tens of thousands of people who work as real estate brokers. Of which, some 30,000 brokers have gained trading certificates, Ha said.

    According to a report of the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Department under the Ministry of Construction, the country currently has more than 1,000 real estate trading floors.

    Besides, 90% of housing transactions on the market are made through real estate trading floors and independent brokers.

    Currently, the association has nearly 3,500 members, mostly at large real estate trading floors nationwide. Meanwhile, the number of members in the office of the Mekong Delta amounted to 100.

    Apart from the delta, the association of brokers also has previously opened its representative  offices in HCMC, Hanoi, Danang City, Nha Trang City, and Haiphong.

    Chinese province seeks investment opportunities in Dong Nai

    A delegation from the Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries of China’s Jiangsu province visited the southern province of Dong Nai to seek investment opportunities, especially in hi-tech industries.

    Meeting with the delegation, Tran Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said Dong Nai boasts a strong industrial development with 30 operational industrial zones.

    The province now has valid 1,253 foreign-invested projects with a combined registered capital of 25.67 billion USD. Of which, 73 projects worth 935 million USD are invested by Chinese enterprises

    Vinh said Dong Nai is willing to cooperate with Chinese enterprises in particular and foreign businesses in general in hi-tech and environmentally-friendly projects.

    He also expressed hope for more effective economic collaboration between Dong Nai and Jiangsu in the future.

    For his part, Yang Yong, Vice President of Jiangsu’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, enterprises in his province are interested in investment opportunities in Dong Nai.

    Vietnamese chicken breast to be exported to Japan

    First batch of processed chicken breasts of a Dong Nai-based poultry company will be sold in Japan in July, according to the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Branch of the southern province of Dong Nai.

    The Koyu & Unitek Co., Ltd, located in the Long Binh Industrial Zone, has to form a closed production chain ensuring food safety to meet its partner’s standards, according to the Gon Giai phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper.

    The shipment is expected to open new opportunities for local farmers and help them lessen their dependence on the domestic market.

    Koyu & Unitek will export about 300 tonnes of chicken breasts to Japan per month.

    The southern province of Dong Nai is home to 16 million farmed chickens.

    Tay Ninh approves 22 million USD fruit processing factory

    The People’s Committee of Tay Ninh province last week approved in principle the development of a fruit and vegetable processing factory, expected to cost about 500 billion VND (22 million USD), in the locality.

    Financed by Lavifood JSC, the factory will cover 150.000sq.m in Go Dau district. Construction will commence in March and completion is slated for October.

    Products produced at the factory will be exported to several countries and regions, including the EU, the US, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Australia.

    Lavifood JSC is also operating a fruit processing factory in the southern province of Long An, with a total capacity of 10,000 tonnes of products annually, said its general director Pham Ngo Quoc Thang.

    Binh Duong aims for 20-percent tourism growth

    The southern province of Binh Duong wants to attract more foreign direct investment for tourism development, aiming to achieve an annual growth of 20 percent in the next four years.

    According to Huynh Ngoc Dang, Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the locality needs about more than 6.3 trillion VND (277.2 million USD) to invest in the sector. 

    Local authorities will focus on protecting land funds for developing ecotourism, towards attracting foreign investment for high-quality service sectors, Dang said.

    He added that attention will be paid to promoting tourism in combination with shopping and sports, ecotourism, and cultural tourism. 

    Additionally, tourism clusters will be formed, providing garden and trade-village tours, and tours to historical and cultural relic sites. 

    Binh Duong recorded an annual average increase of 2.3 percent in the number of visitors to the locality from 2011-2015. 

    The locality served 4.39 million holiday-makers in 2016, up 4.5 percent against the previous year. It raked in 1.2 trillion VND (52.8 million USD) from tourism activities, a year-on-year increase of 7 percent.

    Bac Giang concentrates on infrastructure investment

    The northern province of Bac Giang is paying heed to infrastructure investment in industrial parks and clusters to attract businesses.

    This year, local authorities will focus on the implementation of large-scale projects such as the construction of an industrial park in Hiep Hoa district, a logistics centre in Bac Giang city, and a thermal power plant in Luc Nam district.

    The provincial People’s Committee has put a public administrative centre into operation in September 2016 to reduce time and costs spent on administrative procedures by businesses.

    The locality will hold meetings and dialogues every three months with entrepreneurs to help them remove difficulties.

    From 2017, the province pledged to make it easier for enterprises to access land in line with the State’s Land Law 2013.

    In January 2017, Bac Giang granted investment licenses to eight foreign direct investment projects with total registered capital of 159 million USD. 

    As such, the province has hosted 1,145 investment projects so far, including 270 FDI projects totaling 3,693 million USD.

    Tuyen Quang calls for investment in tourism sector

    The northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang is preparing to hold a conference on investment, trade and tourism promotion in an effort to attract investment in the local tourism sector.

    Nguyen Hai Anh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the conference will take place in on February 27 with the participation of around 600 representatives from major corporations and international organisations, and economic experts.

    This is the first time the province has organised such a conference to introduce its advantages, potential, investment opportunities and incentives to local and international investors, he said.

    Many of 15 projects Tuyen Quang is calling for investment this time are for tourism development, including the Song Lo Resort City, the Nui Dum and Phieng Bung ecological tourism areas, he added.

    Anh said that considering tourism one of the province’s four economic breakthroughs, Tuyen Quang has been implementing many infrastructure projects serving tourism development. It has partnered with northwestern provinces and key tourist attractions to lure visitors.

    The province welcomed 1.4 million tourists in 2016 and more than 400,000 in the first months of this year.

    Tuyen Quang boasts great potential for tourism development as it is just three and a half hours by coach from Hanoi and is home to many revolutionary and historical relic sites, notably the Tan Trao special national historic relic site.

    In addition, there are Mother Goddess temples, eco-tourist sites and ethnic groups’ cultural villages, among others.

    The province has built its own tourism brand through the Tuyen Citadel Festival that coincides with the mid-Autumn Festival, displaying hundreds of giant lantern models.-

    Tata Coffee takes step to setting up in Binh Duong

    Tata Coffee, a subsidiary of Tata Group, is eyeing the southern province of Binh Duong for a US$50 million project in Vietnam, making good on a pledge last year.

    Indronil Sengupta, a representative of the Indian conglomerate, informed Binh Duong authorities of the group’s proposal to invest the sum in a freeze dried instant coffee plant in the province.

    The plant is expected to be located at the VSIP II Industrial Park, with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes per annum. The plant in Vietnam will serve global customers new freeze-dried coffee product mixes. Tata Coffee has made steady progress in growing its freeze-dried instant coffee business, which is now about 20 per cent of its overall instant coffee portfolio according to a Tata representative.

    “This move is in line with the company’s strategy to strengthen its focus on differentiation and customer-centricity. Tata Coffee’s commitment to quality, process improvement, sustainability, and understanding customers will help us grow in this market,” said Sanjiv Sarin, the company’s managing director, in a press release late last year.

    Freeze-dried coffee is a growing sector globally in the instant coffee segment, Tata Coffee said. Instant coffee accounts for about 20 per cent of the global coffee consumption, with freeze-dried instant coffee remaining the most popular.

    The company said that it is India’s second-largest exporter of instant coffee, and the country’s largest producer of speciality coffee. It also exports green coffee – unroasted beans – to countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America.

    “Tata Coffee has made steady progress in growing its freeze-dried instant coffee business, which is now about 20 per cent of our overall instant coffee portfolio. Vietnam is considered an attractive business environment, and is the largest robusta coffee growing region. The plant will help us further expand our global footprint,” Sarin said.

    Tata Coffee already has 19 manufacturing plants in southern India, including sites at Coorg, Chickmaglur, and Hasan in the Indian state of Karnataka, and in Theni district within Tamil Nadu.

    Established in 1922, Tata Coffee is the largest integrated coffee plantation company in the world. Tata Coffee grows coffee on its own estates, processes the beans, exports green coffee, manufactures and exports instant coffee, and sells retail coffee with its own branding in its home market.

    Vietnam is a major world coffee bean exporter. According to statistics published by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam exported 1.79 million tonnes of coffee beans worth $3.36 billion last year.

    High liquidity, but no drop in interest rates

    Despite good liquidity in the banking system, the peculiarities in Vietnam’s monetary policy management has prevented the decline of interest rates on deposits, a central economic report said.

    The Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs in its Vietnam annual report in February 2017, entitled: ’2017 – Overcoming difficulties and continuing to develop’, said that it would be difficult to use inter-bank rate to impact the market interest rate due to the peculiarities in Vietnam’s money and banking policy management.

    According to the commission, there is a major difference in the monetary policy management of Vietnam compared with other countries. The committee explained that in Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries, the monetary policy management is implemented in accordance with the inflation target. However, the monetary policy management in Vietnam is for multi-purposes, including inflation control, foreign exchange stability and capital control.

    It defeats these purposes, when there is pressure on foreign exchange rates, the commission said.

    It has cited last year’s experience in the report. When the exchange rate increased sharply in the wake of US’s Fed interest rate rise, the central bank had to sell the US dollar and increase the interest rate of treasury bills to reduce the pressure on the foreign exchange rates. It caused a sharp rise in inter-bank rate.

    Therefore, according to the commission, maintaining low interest rates in the inter-bank market triggers instability, and it will be a barrier to the commercial banks unwilling to lower interest rates (mainly long-term rates).

    Besides this, excess liquidity in some banks does not easily flow into other banks that are short on liquidity and do not have good asset quality. According to the committee, it is difficult for the latter to borrow from the first, unless they have secured assets such as G-bonds.

    Therefore, the latter must increase interest rates to higher levels than the average rates to be able to attract depositors.

    This year, the central bank has targeted keeping the interest rate stable, but some commercial banks inched up deposit interest rates in the first month of the year.

    However, the central bank said the rise was only in some small-sized banks and did not reflect the common trend of the entire banking system. It affirmed that interest rates were stable in the first month of 2017 and would remain steady for the entire year.

    Currently, deposit interest rates average at 0.8% to 1% per year for below one-month terms, 4.5% to 5.4% per year for one-month term to six-month terms, 5.4% to 6.5% per year for six-month terms to 12-month terms and 6.4% to 7.2% per year for terms exceeding 12 months.

    Online retail uploads into rapidly expanding Vietnamese market

    E-commerce is forecast to hit US$10 billion by 2020, accounting for 5% of the country’s retail market.

    Vietnam’s e-commerce market climbed to about US$4 billion in 2016 as one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide. 

    Revenue from online retail in Vietnam is forecast to hit US$10 billion by 2020, accounting for 5% of the country’s retail market.

    “The growth rate of Vietnam’s e-commerce market is estimated at about 35%, which is 2.5 times higher than Japan,” said industry expert Duc Tam at the recently-held Vietnam Online Business Forum 2017.

    Online sales in Vietnam have expanded rapidly in recent years, currently accounting for 3.39% of the country’s retail market. The total retail market grew 10.2% last year to US$118 billion, mainly fuelled by a growing middle-class with expanding disposable incomes and an increasing number of internet users.

    The World Bank forecasts that Vietnam’s US$200 billion economy is likely to grow to a trillion dollars by 2035. More than half of its population, compared with only 11% today, is expected to join the ranks of the global middle class with consumption of US$15 a day or more.

    According to one estimate, about 30% of the population will be buying goods and services over the internet in 2020, with each shopper spending an average of US$350 per year.

    Just three years ago Vietnam was ranked the smallest e-commerce market in Southeast Asia in terms of sales. Now its online retail is gaining momentum with more than half of the country's 92 million people increasingly turning to online shopping.

    According to Internet World Stats, Vietnam is currently ranked 18th in the world in terms of the number of internet users, with mobile subscription rates as high as 4 out of 10 people.

    HCM City looks to improve tax collection     

    HCM City has asked the municipal tax authority to enhance preventative measures against tax fraud and transfer pricing to ensure tax revenue and improve business confidence.

    Deputy Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Tran Vinh Tuyen, said at a conference Sunday that the Government is urgently working to develop a scheme to prevent losses from tax collection and transfer pricing.

    “The benefits from the scheme will not only include increasing tax revenue but also enhancing business confidence,” Tuyen said.

    Tuyen stressed the importance of creating favourable conditions for firms to boost their business in order to fulfill this year’s tax collection goal.

    Tran Ngoc Tam, Director of the city’s Department of Taxation, explained that transfer pricing is a scheme that firms use to avoid paying taxes due to differences in tax rates among countries. “The corporate income tax of Viet Nam should be reviewed to narrow the gaps with other countries,” Tam said.

    Tam said that the taxation framework, especially on the operation of multinational companies with transactions between related entities, should be improved to prevent transfer pricing.

    He said the database on average industry benchmarks should be developed soon, calling such systems useful in inspecting firms with related–party transactions.

    According to Nguyen Hoang Minh, Deputy Director of the southern branch of the State Bank of Viet Nam, transfer pricing requires close coordination between relevant organisations and agencies to ensure efficiency.

    The central bank is striving to reduce the proportion of cash transactions, from 19-20 per cent to 10 per cent currently, which is a solution to prevent tax losses.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said that the municipal tax watchdog must hasten inspections, with a focus on sectors and firms in which it is easy to commit tax evasion, adding that punishments must be strong enough to deter violations.

    “Tax reform, especially the application of information and technology, must be hastened,” Mai said.

    Mai asked the municipal taxation department to improve tax collection among e-commerce businesses booming in the southern city.

    Pham Thanh Kien, Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said that there are around 80,000 e-commerce websites in the city, half of which operate regularly. It remains difficult to collect taxes on these businesses.

    Kien said that nearly no taxes are collected on sales activities via Facebook, adding that local authorities should work with the social network to form mechanisms to control revenues.

    HCM City planned to collect VND238.9 trillion (US$10.4 billion) for the State budget in 2017.

    Last year, the city’s tax revenue reached nearly VND203.3 trillion, increasing by 10.5 per cent over 2015.

    Vietnamese entrepreneur to attend emerging leaders programme     

    Young Vietnamese businessperson Dao Lan Huong has been selected as one of 15 entrepreneurs to take part in the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Programme (A2ELP).

    The event is scheduled to take place in Melbourne and Sydney in March this year.

    The list of businesspeople was announced by Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop on Friday.

    Minister Bishop said the selected entrepreneurs have made contributions to eradicating poverty, improving healthcare and promoting education, technological development and environmental protection.

    A2ELP is hoped to promote partnerships among enterprises and organisations and further deepen relations between Australia and countries in Southeast Asia, she said.

    Hương is executive director of Weshop Global, which specialises in e-commerce in the United States, Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia and Thailand.

    While she was a student in 2004, Huong joined PeaceSoft/Nexttech Group – a technological startup enterprise – as its co-founder. She worked to build strategies for the firm, developing it into a strong 400-employee group from only five people. Huong held many important positions in PeaceSoft/Nexttech, and also invested in the Vietnam Investment Club to help young entrepreneurs in startup activities.

    A2ELP is designed to create meaningful people-to-people links among entrepreneurs across Asia. It will bring together 10 social entrepreneurs from South-East Asia and five from Australia to take part in a series of innovative learning and development opportunities in 2017.

    It will also offer participants a good opportunity to learn from the experiences of Australia’s leading experts in identifying opportunities and dealing with implicit negative impact on their businesses.

    FPT Securities to remove foreign-ownership limitations     

    FPT Securities Joint Stock Company (FPTS) has obtained approval from the State Securities Commission to lift its foreign ownership limit.

    FPTS is a member of the information-technology-telecommunication group FPT Corporation, the largest ICT conglomerate in Viet Nam. FPT Corporation holds 20 per cent of the capital in FPTS.

    At the moment, Tokyo-based SBI Financial Services Co Ltd is the only foreign investors in FPTS, owning 20 per cent of the brokerage firm’s capital.

    FPTS’ 90.3 million shares were traded on the HCM Stock Exchange on January 13 with the code FTS at the starting price of VND18,000 (80 US cents), but the price has fallen 28 per cent this year.

    IB Securities to issue $26.67m of bonds     

    The Ha Noi-based IB Securities JSC plans to issue VND600 billion (US$26.67 million) worth of bonds in 2017.

    The bond notes will be unconvertible and non-guaranteed. The bonds will mature in one to three years, with the face value of each bond note VND1 billion.

    The annual yield rate is less than 12 per cent for the first year after issuance. The yield rate will be adjusted every six months based on the average deposit rate of the four state-owned commercial banks plus a margin of 4 per cent on either side.

    The bond will be issued on several occasions with the first issuance expected in the first quarter of 2017. The next issuances will be based on the result of the first one and the company’s demand for capital.

    IB Securities in 2016 earned revenue of VND182.16 billion and post-tax profits of VND54.8 billion, a increase of 19.3 per cent and a decrease of 17 per cent from 2015’s figures. 

    Vietnamese businesses grapple with Brexit

    Back in June of 2016, Britain sent shockwaves throughout Vietnam and around the globe by voting to leave the EU.

    Now, eight months after the vote to withdraw, Vietnamese companies with exposure to the country, primarily those in the clothing, textiles and agriculture segments, are bracing for the impact of the long-feared ‘hard Brexit’.  

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech on January 17 that Britain will not attempt to remain in the EU single market but will start negotiations with the EU in March over its exit, and will be out in two years.

    The impact of the Brexit vote has been felt most sharply on Vietnam in terms of lowering the country’s exports.

    The pound has plummeted, at one point reaching 31-year lows, which has had the effect of making imports from Vietnam more expensive for British consumers and is causing a slowdown in imports of a wide range of goods.

    Visa UK and Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins told reporters recently that clothing and household goods retailers in Britain experienced a particularly difficult January.

    Jenkins noted that sales in Britain for the first month of 2017 saw the biggest drop in nearly five years.

    Le Tien Truong, general director of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group noted Brexit is having a significant impact on clothing exports and that orders dropped sharply in January.

    It’s difficult to quantify the impact but he fully expects sales to Britain to drop to record lows for 2017.

    The UK has been the largest export market for clothing and textile exports over the past few years, accounting for one-fifth of the total consignments to the EU, said Truong.

    Traders at one of the largest wholesale markets in Britain have said the prices for imports of fish are up by as much as 40% owing to the drop in the value of the pound, which has led to sluggish imports.

    It means fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry are all much more expensive for traders to buy.

    One trader in Britain reported that all our prices, for anything from outside of this country, have gone up. Our average profits have fallen by up to 15%. We cannot pass that on.

    The cost of fish, meat and poultry in Britain has soared by up to 44% since the Brexit vote, according to the British newspaper the Mirror.

    Matt Southam, of the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, warned of further currency- driven increases in meat prices.

    Retailers have held off until Christmas was out of the way— but now we are seeing the first of maybe two or three price hikes of fish, meat and poultry price increases expected for 2017, he added.

    In the short-term at least, it looks like Vietnamese exporters are in for a wild ride full of twists and turns over the next couple of years as Britain makes its hard Brexit from the EU.

    Vietnam joins ASEAN Village at Multicultural Festival in Australia

    The Vietnamese Embassy in Australia participated in the ASEAN Village at the 2017 Multicultural Festival which took place from February 17-19 in the capital of Canberra.

    This was the first time all 10 ASEAN countries gathered in an area at the festival, creating a favourable environment in which for visitors to learn about their land, people, culture and traditional cuisine.

    At the event, Vietnam, along with other regional countries, displayed cultural publications and souvenirs as well as traditional dishes and specialities. In addition, visitors to the festival had a chance to enjoy traditional arts performances of ASEAN countries.

    The formation of the ASEAN Village at this year’s festival aimed to introduce the diverse culture of the Southeast Asian region to foreign friends, particularly Australian people, as well as to demonstrate the solidarity of ASEAN countries, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Canberra Luong Thanh Nghi.

    With over 300,000 Vietnamese living, working and studying in Australia, Vietnam has significantly contributed to the cultural diversity of the nation, added Ambassador Nghi.

    By participating in the festival, Vietnam can effectively introduce the beauty of its land, people and culture, contributing to tightening the friendship and co-operation between the two countries, particularly mutual understanding between the two peoples.

    Over the past 42 years, the bilateral co-operation between ASEAN and Australia has developed well, particularly in the economy.

    Visiting ASEAN booths, Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Multicultural Affairs of the Canberra Capital Territory (ACT) government, said that the ASEAN Village was one of interesting areas at the festival and the presence of ASEAN countries indispensable to this multicultural event in Canberra over the past two decades.

    The 2017 Multicultural Festival featured over 400 pavilions belonging to organisations, embassies and communities from various countries around the world, stretching nearly 10km along the streets in the centre of the capital.

    Last year’s event attracted more than 280,000 visitors.

    Vietjet to build US$140-million aviation technology center in HCMC

    Vietnam’s low-cost air carrier Vietjet on Saturday received an investment certificate from the management board of Saigon Hi-Tech Park for a US$140-million project to develop the Center of Aviation Technology.

    The center would be located on an area of 5.54 hectares at Research & Development Training and Incubation Zone (Science Zone) in the park.

    Vietjet has set a target of developing the facility as a professional aviation research and training center meeting international standards.

    The project is expected to get off the ground next month. The first phase of the project will be a Full Flight Simulator Center for pilot training, run in partnership with aircraft manufacturer Airbus. It is scheduled to go into operation after 12 months of construction. 

    Earlier, Vietjet also clinched a deal with Airbus to establish a flight and maintenance training center in Vietnam to train pilots, engineers, mechanics, flight dispatchers and flight trainers in February 2016.

    The opening of the center of aviation technology is aimed to train pilots and engineers at home to save the cost of sending them abroad for training.

    On the same day, Vietjet also got a membership certificate from the International Air Transportation Association (IATA).

    Vietjet last year posted revenue of some VND27.5 trillion (nearly US$1.21 billion), and profit of VND2.3 trillion. In addition, the budget carrier reported a load factor of 88.9%, with more than 14 million passengers transported in 2016.

    Thai Nguyen bolsters cooperation with Swedish firms

    The northern province of Thai Nguyen hopes to cooperate with businesses from Ostergotland province of Sweden in various fields, said Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nhu Van Tam.

    The official made the statement during a conference to promote trade and investment cooperation between local businesses and their peers from Ostergotland on February 20.

    At the conference, Tam introduced the strengths of Thai Nguyen, higlighting the fields that the province wants investment in including industry, import-export, tourism finance, services, education, health, environment protection and industrial waste treatment.

    Emphasising the sound relations between the two countries, Elisabeth Nilsson, Governor of Ostergotland affirmed that bilateral trade ties are also growing. The prospects of collaboration between the two countries and two localities are remarkable, especially in Sweden’s strong suits like environment, climate change, green technology, urban transport and education, she added.

    The Governor noted that businesses of Ostergotland wish to invest in Thai Nguyen province in renewable energy, environmental protection and waste treatment.

    At the conference, a memorandum of understanding on clean technology between the Thai Nguyen Business Association and Cleantech Ostergotland, a Swesdish non-profit organisation, was inked.

    Champasak gains insight into HCM City’s agricultural development

    A delegation of the Lao province of Champasak visited the Biotechnology Centre and the Agricultural Hi-tech Park of Ho Chi Minh City on February 20.

    The delegation was led by Secretary of the provincial Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and Governor of Champasak Bounthong Divixay.

    Briefing the guests about the Biotechnology Centre, Director Duong Hoa Xo said the centre’s studies and application of biotechnology have reaped encouraging outcomes such as successfully cross-breeding orchid species, creating new roots for Ngoc Linh ginseng by gene transfer, and inventing shrimp disease test kits.

    Champasak boasts favourable natural conditions for agriculture, he said, suggesting his centre and the Lao province cooperate in training manpower, transferring plant tissue culture technology and farming techniques, applying biological products, exchanging medicinal plant genes, and developing cattle.

    The Lao side also toured the Agricultural Hi-tech Park to better understand the cultivation of orchids, honeydew melon, and mushroom by using technologies.

    Bounthong Divixay said his delegation is very interested in hi-tech agriculture and wants to learn from HCM City’s experience in this field.

    On the occasion, the guests also paid tribute to heroic martyrs at Ben Duoc Temple, the Saigon – Cho Lon – Gia Dinh Revolution Memorial Complex, and the Cu Chi tunnels.


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  • 02/21/17--02:12: Article 0
  • Overhaul set for guest-worker program

     The Vietnam government has announced sweeping changes to the guest worker program, in a bid to dramatically increase the number of skilled labourers working in foreign markets.

    overhaul set for guest-worker program hinh 0

    The revised regulations, many months in the works, would make it easier for youth with postsecondary training to get good paying jobs in markets like Japan and Germany, said the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. 

    Building upon the success of last year, which saw a record 1.6 million guest workers, the Ministry has implemented a number of administrative fixes to boost yet even higher employment figures in the program.
    One of the more pressing problems for today’s college and university graduates is finding suitable employment in the domestic economy, said Ministry representatives. Far too often students are graduating without being able to find jobs due to a mismatch of skills and needs.

    In the fourth quarter of last year alone, an estimated 220,000 recent graduates found themselves unemployed. Our goal is to reduce that number by helping these youth find positions in foreign markets through the guest worker program, the Ministry noted.

    Dao Trong Thi, former chair of the Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children of the National Assembly, said that more than just an administrative fix is needed to resolve the chronic unemployment problems but these changes are a great first step.

    Ultimately, the real solution to the unemployment crisis among the young is better consultation of students to insure they are seeking employable training along with improved goal setting for achieving national economic growth.

    Deputy Minister Doan Mau Nghiep of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs agrees wholeheartedly.

    The new regulations are a boon to youth, who have long complained that the education system is failing them, Nghiep noted. It is also important to not lose sight of the fact that they help these young people obtain invaluable work experience working in an international setting.

    The new policies encourage the development of a long-term strategy that sets the proper priorities and contain an appropriate level of coordination among pertinent governmental ministries and agencies to insure they operate both efficiently and effectively.

    The changes that have been given effect prioritize sending medical practitioners and nursing professionals to Japan and Germany with skilled information technology, electronics, communications, biology and agriculture graduates to Japan.

    Those with degrees related to mechanical engineering will go to the Republic of Korea (ROK), and several European and Middle East countries. While those with degrees in cooking and the culinary arts will work in the ROK.

    The ministry is also currently studying new markets like Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Israel.

    Pham Viet Huong, deputy head of the Department for Overseas Labour Management, said this year many new opportunities have opened up for college graduates with high skill levels in Japan and Germany.

    These new opportunities have all come about as a result of the new sweeping changes brought about by the overhaul of the guest worker program.

    It shows the guest worker program reform is very valuable and already paying huge dividends.


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