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  • 03/15/17--02:26: Article 3
  • ANZ Vietnam to sell retail banking business


    ANZ Vietnam is selling its retail banking business and five banks have expressed interest, according to local media.


     ANZ Vietnam to sell retail banking business, 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

    Three foreign banks and two domestic banks, which have not been named, were reported by SaigonTimes as being interested in acquiring the retail businesses of the 100 per cent foreign-owned bank.

    Last October, ANZ Group CEO Mr. Shayne Elliot was quoted as telling foreign media that the bank would look to exit its retail and wealth assets in the Philippines and Vietnam but had no plans to do likewise in Cambodia and Laos. 

    “Further investments do not make sense for us given our competitive position and the returns available to ANZ,” he said.

    In the same month, Singapore’s largest bank, DBS Bank Ltd (DBS), acquired the wealth management and retail banking business of ANZ in five markets for $77.7 million more than the book value. 

    The businesses acquired were in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia, with total deposits of $1.2 billion, loans of $7.77 billion, investment assets under-management (AUM) of $4.6 billion, and total revenue of $582.7 million in FY 2016. 

    They serve about 1.3 million customers, of which 100,000 are affluent and 1.2 million are retail customers.

    DBS, however, will not be allowed to acquire ANZ Vietnam’s retail banking business, according to a source, who added that the Singaporean bank is not among the five potential suitors.

    ANZ Vietnam was not available for comment at the time of writing. 

    Last November, an ANZ Vietnam representative told local media there were no plans to sell its retail and wealth businesses in Vietnam but it would continue to examine ways to improve its retail and wealth operations.

    Regardless, the exit is reasonable given its modest figures for the first half of 2016.

    During the January-June period, interest income fell 17.3 per cent year-on-year to VND578 billion ($25.4 million) and fee and commission income was down 5.6 per cent to VND153.3 billion ($6.7 million). 

    The bank would have made a loss if drastic changes in other income sources had not saved the day.

    From a net loss of VND21.7 billion ($953,000) during the first half of 2015, foreign currency exchange recorded a net gain of VND163.3 billion ($7.2 million) for the bank in the first half of 2016, securing an after-tax profit of VND176.8 billion ($7.7 million) as at June 30, up 30 per cent year-on-year. Its bad debt ratio rose to 1.25 per cent from 1.16 per cent as at the beginning of the year.

    ANZ Vietnam now has eight transaction offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, providing Retail & Wealth, Consumer Finance, Corporate, Financial Institution, and Public Sector services to customers.

    Last year, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) withdrew the business license of the ANZ Banking Group Limited - Hanoi Branch (ANZBLG), which opened in 1993, at the request of the ANZ Group, to bring together the two entities of the bank operating in Vietnam. 

    In 2009 the ANZ Group established a fully foreign-owned local bank called ANZ Bank Vietnam Limited and has since continued to operate the latter. 

    VN Economic Times


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  • 03/15/17--02:58: Article 2
  • Developer remains upbeat as Vietnam’s bauxite project logs $165mn loss


    A bauxite megaproject in Vietnam’s Central Highlands has been making losses totaling VND3,696 billion (US$165 million) in the last three years, but the developer is unconcerned, believing that it will start generating profits in 2017.


     

    Workers are seen at the Tan Rai bauxite plant in Lam Dong Province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.Tuoi Tre


    Vietnam currently has two major bauxite mining projects, Nhan Co in Dak Nong Province and Tan Rai in Lam Dong Province, both developed by Vinacomin, the country’s state-run coal and minerals giant.

    Bauxite, an aluminum ore, is the world's main source of aluminum.

    Nguyen Van Bien, Vinacomin’s deputy general director, confirmed toTuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the Tan Rai bauxite plant has been operating at a loss.

    The facility was commissioned in October 2013 and was forecast to suffer losses within the first four years of operations, according to the official.

    “However, the real losses are much bigger than expected, now standing at VND3,696 billion,” Bien said.

    The projected losses for the project were originally VND860 billion ($38.39 million).

    Bien quickly added however that the difference between projections and reality is not really VND2,836 billion ($126.61 million), and that the losses have little to do with his company’s capacity.

    “Real losses from business activities were only VND2,520 billion [$112.5 million], or VND1,660 billion [$74.11 million] higher than predicted,” he elaborated.

    “The remaining VND1,176 billion [$52.5 million] losses can be attributed to foreign exchange rates.”



    A corner at the Tan Rai plant


    Bien said the ‘projected losses’ in 2014 were “only for reference,” before blaming poor business performance on a myriad reasons.

    “The biggest factor is the current market rate,” he said.

    “We had expected the aluminum price to be $326 a metric ton in 2014, from which it would steadily increase by an annual rate of 1.21 percent.

    “We then anticipated the aluminum price to average $350 a ton in the 30-year course of the project.”

    In reality, prices at some points slumped to as low as $200 a ton, leading to huge losses, he explained.

    Bien also blamed several policy changes which he said has diluted the effectiveness of the project.

    “The government at first allowed both Tan Rai and Nhan Co to enjoy export duty exemption, but the projects now have to pay a 2 percent export tax,” he said, adding that natural resource taxes and other fees had also increased.

    The Tan Rai bauxite project was approved for construction at a total cost of VND7,787 billion ($347.63 million), with a capacity to produce 600,000 metric tons of product per year.

    However, the investment plan has been adjusted four times, with the project eventually costing VND15,414 billion (688.13 million) in initial investment.

    Despite this, it had been widely anticipated that the project would likely incur losses once commissioned.

     
    Time to gain

    Asked about the future of Tan Rai, the Vinacomin official remained upbeat about the potential for the project to yield a profit.

    “We have mastered the technology and managed to cut costs,” he explained.

    In 2014, the cost price of a metric ton of aluminum produced by Tan Rai was as high as VND5.1 million ($228), but the 2016 rate was only VND4.1 million ($183).

    Bien said the export price currently stands at $350 a ton, or nearly VND8 million, meaning the project should now be able to make gains.

    “We expect to make a VND100 billion [$4.46 million] profit in 2017, and this will rise in following years,” he said.

    “We will aim to recoup investment in ten or 12 years from 2013.”

    The other bauxite plabt, Nhan Co, was approved in 2007 with a total investment of VND3,285 billion ($146.65 million), and is capable of producing 300,000 metric tons of product per year.

    Total investment has spiked to VND16,821 billion ($750.94 million), with the developer aiming to more than double its capacity to 650,000 metric tons per year.

    TUOI TRE NEWS


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  • 03/15/17--03:13: Article 1
  • Việt Nam, Korea seek co-operation in renewable energy
     

     

    The national strategy for developing renewable energy till 2030, with a vision to 2050, will make new technologies in this field important for Việt Nam. - VNA Photo


    HÀ NỘI – The Vietnam Energy Association (VEA) and South Korea’s association of energy storage industry development (KEIDA) on Tuesday jointly organised an international conference on new technologies in power and renewable energy.

    The implementation of the national strategy for developing renewable energy till 2030, with a vision to 2050, makes new technologies in this field important for Việt Nam, said Hoàng Quốc Vượng, deputy minister of industry and trade, speaking at the conference, which was held in Hà Nội.

    Trần Viết Ngãi, chairman of VEA, said that as Korea was the third major economy in the Asia Pacific region with a developed energy industry, the conference would offer business opportunities to both countries in terms of seeking partners and co-operation in technology transfer.

    Korea’s Wongwang Electric Power has already granted US$5 million for the implementation of some solar energy projects in Việt Nam, Ngãi noted.

    Chang Ho Choi, president of KEIDA, said that energy storage system (ESS) technologies and renewable energy had been thriving for years in South Korea thanks to government support. He expressed hope that Korean technology will be applied in Việt Nam and contribute to the development of the new energy industry.

    At the event, enterprises from Korea shared their experiences on ESS technology, various business models and case studies in their own country as well as foreign nations. - VNS


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  • 03/15/17--03:32: Article 0
  • Agri-food sector needs less direct state oversight: World Bank


     Agriculture and the country’s overall food system are at a turning point, said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, at a recent forum in Hanoi discussing post-2016 development goals and targets.


    agri-food sector needs less direct state oversight: world bank hinh 0

    While having a strong track record and ample opportunities for future growth- both at home and abroad—the sector faces major demographic, economic, and environmental challenges.

    The Vietnam Development Report 2016, ‘Transforming Vietnamese Agriculture: Gaining More from Less, which the World Bank released last September, details the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, Dione noted.

    To remain competitive in the international market, the report said the country needs to restructure the sector to improve supply, quality, food safety and, most importantly, start producing products with higher added value.

    This stands in stark contrast to its history of mass producing commodities with low added values, the report declared.

    It outlines an agenda for strengthening short- and longer-term public and market institutions that would be needed to achieve the ambitious goals it has set out for the sector.

    The country’s agricultural output is exacting too high a price on the environment, said Ousmane Dione. Business as usual is no longer an option for the sector. Growth has slowed, it is vulnerable to climate hazards, and it is having a disastrous environmental impact.

    Change would help overcome these challenges, Dionne asserted, and help ensure the future of agricultural growth would better meet the expectations and aspirations of the people of the country.

    The report highlighted the fact that agriculture in the country has made enormous progress. The country has emerged as one of the leading exporters of agri-food commodities and is among the top five for farm raised fish and seafood, rice, coffee, tea, cashews, black pepper, rubber, and cassava.

    However, agriculture has experienced low quality growth, as evidenced by meagre profits for smallholder farmers, considerable under-employment among workers and unreliable product quality and food safety.

    It also suffers from limited technological or institutional innovation, the report concluded. The growth that has been achieved has principally been the result of increased cropping areas and more intensive use of chemicals and fertilizers.

    The report offers a variety of policy recommendations to address the challenges.

    The government, it said, could deploy an effective combination of improved regulations, better incentives and streamlined services to stimulate and monitor a more effective food safety and consumer protection system.

    In addition, it could help with policy instruments to better manage agriculture related risks, as well as create and maintain a favourable enabling environment for agribusiness.

    In conclusion, however, in a more flexible, market-driven, and knowledge-based agriculture system, reducing the amount of direct governmental involvement would make the transition to a more modern agri-food system sector in Vietnam smoother.

    VOV


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  • 03/15/17--03:54: Article 4
  • Government SOE initiative international ovation


    The government’s latest order to further control the business and production performance of state-owned groups and corporations has received the international thumbs-up.

     
    illustration photo, source: zing

    In a resolution on solutions for macro-economic monitoring released on March 10, the government ordered ministries and localities’ people’s committees to “strengthen the inspection and supervision of the operational effectiveness of all state-owned groups and corporations.”

    The groups and corporations will also have to periodically report their operational results to the government.

    The government’s tough move, aimed to make groups and corporations more transparent, has been highly commended by foreign experts.

    Hong Sun, general secretary of the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam, told VIR that the move “will help strengthen foreign investors’ confidence in the government’s efforts to make state-owned enterprises (SOEs) operate transparently.”

    “SOEs’ money is by nature that of the public. Thus it is quite necessary to have close control over their operations,” he said.

    “International financial organisations and foreign firms are greatly interested in Vietnamese SOEs’ operations, because they want SOEs to quicken their equitisation,” he said. “However, over the past many years, such operations have never been made transparent.”

    Echoing this view, Aaron Batten, country economist from the Asian Development Bank’s Vietnam Resident Mission, also told VIR that the Vietnamese government should have closer control over SOEs. It is also necessary to “reduce, and eventually remove state ownership in many commercial sectors of the economy, to allow the private sector to grow and compete on a level playing field.”

    According to Batten, Vietnam currently adopts a decentralised system of ownership over SOEs. The system is common in countries that have favoured economic intervention by the state and with a large number of SOEs, as it allowed the line ministry to use sector expertise to implement an active industrial policy.

    “However, decentralisation also causes fragmented ownership, weakening the power of the state to push ahead with SOE reforms. Lacking clear accountability lines and being difficult to coordinate can contribute to inefficiencies within SOEs,” Batten said.

    Meanwhile, Warren Mundy, managing director of Australia’s BlueStone Consulting Pty., Ltd. and former commissioner of Australia’s Productivity Commission, told VIR that in Vietnam, SOEs dominate many important markets, such as electricity, gas, oil, minerals, telecommunication services, domestic air transportation, credit financing, and railways, which is unfair to private firms.

    “Transparency, openness, and a strong commitment to robustly reforming SOEs and institution are central to ensuring a level playing field for all enterprises, and that Vietnam can lure more foreign direct investment,” stressed Mundy, who used to work with Vietnam’s Central Institute for Economic Management on economic reforms.

    The International Monetary Fund suggested that Vietnam should accelerate the reform of the SOE sector. Key elements include: faster and more comprehensive equitisation, while ensuring due process; transparency of equitisation procedures and their use; enforcement of disclosure and reporting requirements; governance reforms to address conflicts of interests between regulations and SOE management, along with strengthened accountability; continued divestment from non-core areas; restructuring and eventual exit of unprofitable SOEs; and the creation of a level playing field with the private sector by curtailing SOEs’ preferential access to credit and other resources.

    By Thanh Thu, VIR


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  • 03/15/17--04:10: Article 3
  •  VCCI warns about severe corruption


    About 49% of the FDI firms still have to bribe authorities, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) reported at the launch of the provincial competitiveness index (PCI) on March 14.

      
    Corruption is severe in Vietnam

    Several surveys have been carried out with FDI firms to ask what obstacles they faced during investment in Vietnam such as 'greasing fees' when asking for permits, joining agreements to provide goods and services for state agencies or when doing customs and court procedures.

    However, most of the firms were reluctant to answer or didn't answer truthfully for fear of being harassed later, especially firms from countries that signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

    25% of firms admitted that they had given bribes for investment permits and 13.6% said they gave commission money to compete for contracts from state agencies. Both of these rates were lower than 2015.

    32% of firms said they always faced difficulties when refusing to give bribes, 26% often and 30% sometimes have those difficulties.

    According to the VCCI, the total amount of money lost to corruption should not include only direct bribery money but also the lost effectiveness of the project when weak contractors are selected. The cost of projects have increased against estimates, while the quality is often poorer.

    The survey also points out that 49% of firms confirmed that they had given bribes when doing customs procedures, a decrease of 10% from previous year. 56% agreed with the statement that state officials used the excuse to monitoring the law compliance to ask for bribes. 19% said they decided against lawsuits for fear of bribery in court.

    On the other hand, there are also many firms actively give bribes to officials. 45% gave bribes during inspections last year to reduce the probability of fines. They think that bribery is common now; it's an unwritten rule so they actively give bribes without being asked for.

    "Such perceptions show the severity of corruption in Vietnam and the difficulty of the fight against corruption. It has become so common that both sides don't even need to mention it anymore," VCCI said in the report.

    Dantrinews


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  • 03/16/17--03:31: Article 2
  • Smart home gadgets fail to find a mass market

    The vision of the smart home has been around for decades and it is a hyped trend that has failed to take off and find a mass market, according to a survey by Accenture digital, a leading US global technology consultant.

    smart home gadgets fail to find a mass market hinh 0

    The 2016 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey for communications, media and technology companies polled 28,000 consumers in 28 countries on their use of consumer technology and found that growth was stalled in both smartphones and smart homes. 


    The days of huge growth in the smartphone market appear to be over, the survey found.

    Only 48% of consumers said they planned to purchase a smartphone during the next 12 months, which was a six-point drop from the purchase intent rate in 2015and a more than nine-point drop from the 2014 peak.

    As it related to smart homes, promoters and builders of the Internet of Things (IoT) have long promised consumers a more convenient future where people would live in smart homesthat have surveillance cameras, thermostats and garage door openers that would turn themselves on and off automatically.

    Their refrigerators would automatically detect when the groceries it holds were low and reorder and deliver them from the supermarket. It’s a vision of a world where computers triumph and controlthe lighting and heating of a house.

    The smart home, of course, would have intelligent appliances in the kitchen, connected to the Internet, which could both cook or refrigerate food as directed from a mobile phone or personal computer.

    The only problem with this hypothetical world is that consumers have – almost no interest whatsoever – in using technology for home automation or control, the Accenture survey showed.

    Other studies sponsored by companies including Whirlpool, Cisco Systems, Direct Energy, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Zensys reached the exact same conclusion.

    Consumers reported that price was the top barrier to the purchase of smart home gadgets, with 62% believing they are too expensive. This perception was consistent across all age groups and countries.

    Russia, Romania and the Philippines reported the highest share of consumers saying price was a barrier.

    In addition to a lack of interest and price, other roadblocks to the mass adoption of smart home solutions included the fact that smart home devices and security systems have proven easily hackable by cyber attackers.

    Overall, nearly half (47%) of consumers surveyed by Accenture cited privacy risk/ security concerns as a barrier to adoption with Indonesia (60%), South Africa and China(both 58%) reporting the greatest concerns.

    Complexity was also listed as a top barrier. The ultimate purpose of the smart home is to solve problems, not create new ones. However, ease of use is not the norm with current smart home products.

    Clearly, when it comes to smart home products, most consumers perceived little value that would make a positive change in their lives and were more interested in simple solutions to real, everyday problems they face.

    VOV


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  • 03/16/17--03:53: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/3


    Smart home gadgets fail to find a mass market

    The vision of the smart home has been around for decades and it is a hyped trend that has failed to take off and find a mass market, according to a survey by Accenture digital, a leading US global technology consultant.

    The 2016 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey for communications, media and technology companies polled 28,000 consumers in 28 countries on their use of consumer technology and found that growth was stalled in both smartphones and smart homes. 

    The days of huge growth in the smartphone market appear to be over, the survey found.

    Only 48% of consumers said they planned to purchase a smartphone during the next 12 months, which was a six-point drop from the purchase intent rate in 2015and a more than nine-point drop from the 2014 peak.

    As it related to smart homes, promoters and builders of the Internet of Things (IoT) have long promised consumers a more convenient future where people would live in smart homesthat have surveillance cameras, thermostats and garage door openers that would turn themselves on and off automatically.

    Their refrigerators would automatically detect when the groceries it holds were low and reorder and deliver them from the supermarket. It’s a vision of a world where computers triumph and controlthe lighting and heating of a house.

    The smart home, of course, would have intelligent appliances in the kitchen, connected to the Internet, which could both cook or refrigerate food as directed from a mobile phone or personal computer.

    The only problem with this hypothetical world is that consumers have – almost no interest whatsoever – in using technology for home automation or control, the Accenture survey showed.

    Other studies sponsored by companies including Whirlpool, Cisco Systems, Direct Energy, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Zensys reached the exact same conclusion.

    Consumers reported that price was the top barrier to the purchase of smart home gadgets, with 62% believing they are too expensive. This perception was consistent across all age groups and countries.

    Russia, Romania and the Philippines reported the highest share of consumers saying price was a barrier.

    In addition to a lack of interest and price, other roadblocks to the mass adoption of smart home solutions included the fact that smart home devices and security systems have proven easily hackable by cyber attackers.

    Overall, nearly half (47%) of consumers surveyed by Accenture cited privacy risk/ security concerns as a barrier to adoption with Indonesia (60%), South Africa and China(both 58%) reporting the greatest concerns.

    Complexity was also listed as a top barrier. The ultimate purpose of the smart home is to solve problems, not create new ones. However, ease of use is not the norm with current smart home products.

    Clearly, when it comes to smart home products, most consumers perceived little value that would make a positive change in their lives and were more interested in simple solutions to real, everyday problems they face.

    Korean Tourism launches marketing blitz in Vietnam

    The Korean Tourism Organization has launched a marketing blitz, touting the technology, culture and food of their country as they seek to persuade sports fans from Vietnam to make the long journey to north-east Asia.

    The organizers are proud that they are hosting the U20 World Cup 2017 this coming May 20-June 11 and the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 and see the events as an opportunity to attract tens of thousands of Vietnamese.

    There is good reason for optimism, said Ms Trang, one of the organizers, as we expect Vietnamese visitors will top last year’s numbers in 2017 and hit a record high of more than 300,000, largely due to the sporting events.

    Local markets gain marginally, await US Fed announcement    


     Local markets gain marginally, await US Fed announcement, Business expo to boost ASEAN-Africa trade, Seaprodex's capitalization up 50% in three sessions, Nidec says to pour more capital into HCMC 

    Shares went up marginally on Wednesday morning on rising caution ahead of the results of the US Federal Reserve meeting.

    The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange inched up 0.04 per cent to 715 points. On the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, the HNX Index was up 0.3 per cent at 87.4 points.

    Many large-cap stocks such as VinGroup (VIC), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), Military Bank (MBB), Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), PV Gas (GAS), Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and Hoa Sen Group (HSG) slipped this morning.

    On the positive side, property stocks continued to attract money inflows and buoyed the markets.

    FLC Group (FLC), Hoang Quan Consulting Trading Service Real Estate (HQC), Dat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) and Novaland Investment (NVL) were among the most heavily traded stocks and rose between 0.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent.

    The US Fed Reserve went into a meeting on Tuesday night. Results of the two-day meeting will be revealed on Thursday morning, Vietnamese local time. The positive report on the US unemployment rate has strengthened the forecast of an interest rate rise. The Fed’s decision may have a negative impact on emerging and frontier markets, including Viet Nam, in terms of foreign withdrawal and forex movements.

    A total of 101 million shares worth around VND2.1 trillion (US$93.6 million) were traded in the two markets.

    The afternoon session starts at 1pm.

    Business expo to boost ASEAN-Africa trade

    The 2017 Africa-ASEAN Business Expo (AABE) will take place in Johannesburg city, South Africa, from November 6-8.

    Ambassadors and chief trade representatives of ASEAN, Mauritius, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, and Cameroon in Pretoria met with Edward Liu, Managing Director of Conference & Exhibition Management Services (CEMS), on March 15, to discuss the event.

    The event will include an exhibition, a business forum for the African-Asian region, and business match-making meetings, focusing on education, environment, services, finance and business, food, retail, healthcare, housing construction, infrastructure building, information technology, transport, water treatment, and tourism.

    The expo, which will be held by Singapore Manufacturing Federation and CEMS, is expected to draw 3,000-4000 visitors and entrepreneurs.

    ASEAN’s trade-investment promotion organisations, including the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are partners of the AABE organising board.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Vu Van Dung, who is also Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Pretoria, said trade and investment between southern Africa and ASEAN has enormous potential.

    The upcoming expo will create an excellent opportunity for businesses to embrace links and promote trade and investment, he added.

    It will also help popularise ASEAN and its members, including Vietnam, to South Africa and the southern part of Africa, on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN, he said.

    Trade between ASEAN and Africa recorded an annual increase of 15 percent from 1989 to 2014. 

    Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore are the biggest trade partners of Africa, while South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are the largest importers of the bloc.

    Currently, 300 companies from ASEAN are operating in Africa, mainly in agriculture, machine manufacturing, oil drilling, and urban development.

    South Africa is the main market of Vietnam in the south of Africa. Two-way trade reached about 1.1 billion USD in 2015 and is expected to increase.

    Vietnam ran a trade surplus of nearly 1 billion USD with South Africa, mainly exporting mobile phones, footwear, computers, electronic products, and garments, while importing iron, steel, chemicals, cotton, fibre and fertiliser.

    VN-Index slips, awaits US Fed results

    Shares dropped slightly on March 15 on the HCM Stock Exchange as investors remained cautious ahead of the results of the US Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.

    The benchmark VN-Index edged down 0.22 percent to close at 713.14 points. The southern market increased 0.64 percent on the previous day. On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index inched up 0.34 percent to end at 87.45 points.

    Blue chips led the downturn as 18 of the 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity slumped and only eight advanced.

    The results of the two-day Fed meeting are set to be revealed on March 16 in Vietnamese local time. However, according to analysts, this rate hike, if any, is forecast to have little impact on the emerging and frontier markets.

    Unlike the previous two rate hikes, currencies in emerging and frontier markets have maintained positive movements since the end of December until now and there has been no sign of foreign capital withdrawal from these markets.

    Investors were calm before Fed’s announcement due to advance warning from the US central bank and stable developments in emerging markets are expected to keep foreign capital inside these countries, said Nguyen The Minh, head of the capital market analysis division at Saigon Securities Inc.

    “When the decision is announced, the market will be able to fluctuate. But in my opinion, such volatility will be short term and the market will soon be back to normal,” Minh told the website ndh.vn.

    After a surge in the past rallies, shares in developed markets in the EU and United States have become more expensive in comparison with counterparts in emerging markets and foreign funds will unlikely sell off here, Minh added.

    On March 15, a total of 178 million shares worth nearly 3.9 trillion VND (171 million USD) were traded in the two Vietnamese exchanges. Foreign investors were net buyers for a combined value of 56 billion VND in the two markets.

    Losers included market-leading stocks in financial, energy and steel sectors such as Vietinbank (CTG), Vietcombank (VCB), Military Bank (MBB), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), PV Gas (GAS), PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service (PVD), Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and Hoa Sen Group (HSG).

    After a hot rising streak, many realty shares corrected down, including Hoa Binh Construction (HBC), Novaland Investment (NVL) HCM Infrastructure and Investment (CII), Kinh Bac City Development (KBC), Tan Tao Investment Industry (ITA) and Coteccons Construction (CTD).

    Airlines face turbulent airport charge hikes in Vietnam

    However, aviation authorities maintain that the hike will not affect ticket prices.

     The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) wants to raise the service charges airlines have to pay to fund airport expansion projects, but claims this will not affect ticket fares.

    Airlines would have to pay an extra VND143 billion ($6.3 million) annually following the increase, while just VND5,100 or U.S.22 cents would be added to ticket fares.

    “The change is too small for airlines to justify a ticket hike,” said Le Manh Hung, director general of Airports Corporation of Vietnam, the operator of domestic civilian airports.

    Pending approval, the charges would rise by five percent from July 1, and jump 10 percent from January 1, 2018. 

    Vietnam’s largest airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai in Hanoi, designed for both domestic and international flights, have become increasingly overloaded.

    Proceeds from the hike would fund projects to upgrade runways and departure gates to accommodate the increasing number of people traveling by air in Vietnam, according to the CAAV.

    The charges Vietnamese airlines pay have remained unchanged since 2011, the CAAV said, adding they are only 47-67 percent of what other Southeast Asian countries charge.

    Vietnam’s airline industry is growing at the third-fastest pace in Asia-Pacific, with the number of travelers jumping 29 percent in 2016 from the year before to about 52.2 million passengers, according to the CAAV.

    Hoa Sen to attend Vietbuild International Exhibition Fair

    With the aim of broadly advertising its products, the Hoa Sen Group again participated in this year’s Vietbuild International Exhibition Fair in Hanoi, with the theme “Construction - Building Materials - Real Estate & Interior Decoration Exterior,” which opened  on March 15 at the National Exhibition Construction Center, 1 Do Duc Duc Street, Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi.

    The exhibition, which will last until March 19, features 1,700 booths from 450 companies in the fields of construction, real estate, and interior décor.

    With a 54 sq m booth in Area A1, Hoa Sen’s products have attracted many visitors. 

    Hoa Sen focuses on three main products at the fair: Hoa Sen Steel Sheet, Hoa Sen Plastic Pipes, and Hoa Sen Zinc Tubes, which are all of international-standard quality with reasonable prices, fast delivery times, and sound after-sales services, to meet the strictest demands of local and foreign markets. All three products have won national brand awards for a number of years.

    Hoa Sen  also holds visual experiments to help customers see the durability, flexibility and impact resistance of Hoa Sen Plastic Pipes. This is testimony to the Group’s commitment to product quality, with pipes manufactured using advanced technology from Europe under a strict quality control process.

    Over the past 16 years, the Hoa Sen Group has been striving to bring the best products to consumers nationwide. Thanks to the serious implementation of sales policies at its branches, Hoa Sen is becoming increasingly closer to consumers in all regions of the country.

    In order to expand the Hoa Sen brand, the Group is rapidly deploying plans to expand its distribution network, especially in the north, by opening more than 100 branches this year and 500 branches nationwide in 2018.

    It is also constantly expanding its production systems in all regions to improve capacity, reduce logistics costs, and increase product competitiveness.

    The Hoa Sen Group began construction of the Hoa Sen Yen Bai steel pipe factory project in Tran Yen district, northern Yen Bai province, on March 1, witnessed by Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Tra, Chief of the Provincial Party Committee, and other senior provincial officials, partners of the Hoa Sen Group, and local people.

    Covering an area of 20ha, the project has investment capital of over VND1 trillion ($44 million) with three phases.

    Upon completion, the steel pipe factory is expected to make a major contribution to the provincial budget and create 400 jobs.

    The factory is a major project within the Group’s expansion plans, which are aimed at enhancing production capacity and expanding supply chains to meet increasing demand in the north of the country.

    “The Hoa Sen Yen Bai steel pipe factory is Hoa Sen’s fifth in the north and one of ten major projects around the country,” said Mr. Tran Ngoc Chu, CEO of the Hoa Sen Group, adding that the factory will operate effectively and contribute to economic development in Yen Bai in particular and the north in general.  

    With the aim of expanding domestic and international markets, the Hoa Sen Group will boost its investment in major projects, especially in the northern and central markets. This is a key part of affirming its leading position as a global growth business, as voted by Euromoney. 

    Seaprodex's capitalization up 50% in three sessions

    After announcing positive business results, the market capitalization of the Vietnam Seaproducts Joint Stock Corporation(Seaprodex) increased 50 per cent in just three sessions where its ceiling was reached.

    Seaprodex’s shares (UPCoM stock code SEA) increased in the three sessions to VND19,000 ($0.83) per share. Though still short of the peak reached late last December, the share price has increased 41 per cent since the beginning of March.

    All 125 million SEA shares have been traded on UPCoM since December 23, 2016, with a reference price on the first trading day of VND11,400 ($0.5) per share. It rose quickly, hitting its ceiling for three consecutive sessions and peaking at VND23,800 ($1.04) per share. The Southern General Export-Import Corporation (Geleximco) sold all its 18.75 million shares around this time, withdrawing more than VND290 billion ($12.7 million). SEA shares then declined sharply, to as low as VND12,000 ($0.53) per share.

    Its recent rise has been put down to the positive business results in 2016 contained within its consolidated financial statements for the fourth quarter of 2016. Annual revenue was nearly VND1.513 trillion ($66.3 million), up 6 per cent compared to 2015. But due to increased costs of goods sold, gross profit was VND118 billion ($5.17 million), down VND4 billion ($180,000).

    However, it also recorded nearly VND310 billion ($13.6 million) in profit from associates and joint ventures, of which VND304 billion ($13.32 million) was from Proconco Vietnam Joint Stock Company, compared to VND56 billion ($2.45 million) in 2015. 2016 after-tax profit was VND308.4 billion ($13.57 million), 4.2 times higher than the profit in 2015. After-tax profit for parent shareholders was over VND302 billion ($13.2 million).

    At the end of 2016, the company’s undistributed earnings after tax reached more than VND514 billion ($22.52 million). Equity was VND1.879 trillion ($82.3 million), of which contributed capital was VND1.25 trillion ($54.8 million).

    Phu Nhuan Jewelry to issue 9.8mn shares in private placement

    The Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (HSX stock code PNJ) has recently approved the issuance of 9.83 million shares in the form of private placement for individual and institutional investors with financial capacity. Re-sale of the shares will be restricted for one year.

    PNJ currently has over 98.27 million shares. The new issuance is equal to 10 per cent of charter capital and it is expected that charter capital will increase to over VND1.081 trillion ($47.56 million) after the issuance. The minimum offering price will be no less than 10 to 15 per cent of the closing price at the date of approval of the share offering plan by the State Securities Commission.

    About VND60 billion ($2.63 million) from the proceeds will be used to cover the cost of opening 40 new stores and branches this year and VND600 billion ($26.3 million) as working capital for the 40 stores. The company is also expected to use about VND25 billion ($2.63 million) for purchasing new jewelry-making machinery and equipment.

    Phu Nhuan produces and trades gold, silver, and gemstone jewelry and buys and sells gold bars and fashion accessories and is one of the largest enterprises in the industry. It has three sales channels: retail, wholesale and export. The retail segment plays the most important role, accounting for 55 per cent of total revenue and 80-85 per cent of gross profit. PNJ is the market leader in jewelry in Vietnam, with a market share of 25 per cent, and is far ahead of its nearest competitors, DOJI and SJC, which hold market shares of less than 10 per cent.

    PNJ’s shares were listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange in March 2009. Since the beginning of this year, its share price has increased from VND67,000 ($2.93) to VND78,000 ($3.42), or 16 per cent.

    HVG shares hit ceiling on promise of higher profits

    After announcing an expected net profit of VND400 billion ($17.5 million) in 2017, the share price of the Hung Vuong Joint Stock Company (HSX stock code HVG) hit its ceiling on March 14.

    HVG has just published its annual report for 2016. Its management noted it was a difficult year due to the impact of oil price fluctuations, Brexit pushing up raw material prices, and export prices of pangasius (basa fish) falling sharply. It therefore lost more than VND49 billion ($2.15 million) during the year.

    The company’s 2017 target is for VND20 trillion ($876.2 million) in revenue and net profit of VND400 billion ($17.5 million). In 2018 it will record VND25 trillion ($1.095 billion) in revenue and about VND700 billion ($30.67 million) in net profit.

    In 2016 it lost VND49 billion ($2.15 million) after auditing, while its financial report put net profit at VND308 billion ($13.5 million). The company said this was due to an incorrect accounting of revenue.

    In the first quarter of this year, HVG recorded revenue of VND5.787 trillion ($253.5 million), up VND200 billion ($8.76 million) year-on-year. However, cost of goods sold increased sharply, resulting in a pre-tax profit of VND37.4 billion ($1.64 million), down 45 per cent year-on-year. After-tax profit was VND 30.5 billion ($1.34 million), with less than VND10 billion ($440,000) for shareholders of the parent company.

    According to its annual report, it currently has 33,000 tons of fish fillet in stock. Its pig breeding project is a new step in Hung Vuong’s strategy. The pig industry is booming, with most profits being earned by foreign corporations due to the lack of high quality breeding centers. Hung Vuong’s two pig breeding projects in An Giang and Binh Dinh province are therefore suitable investments.

    Hung Vuong is one of the largest seafood producers, processors and exporters in Vietnam. The company listed its shares in November 2009. Its charter capital currently stands at more than VND2.27 trillion ($99.45 million).

    Vietnamese agencies to inspect, remedy problems mentioned by Japanese firms

    Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) hosted a talk between Japanese enterprises and Vietnamese agencies about export import problems and food safety and hygiene standards yesterday, when agency representatives directly responded to some mentions by the enterprises and said that relevant ministries would immediately inspect and remedy other problems in HCMC.

    According to Mr. Motohisa Nakagawa, head of Business Environment Committee Board under the Japanese Business Association of HCMC, food samples imported into Vietnam for development study purposes must experience official inspection procedures if volume exceeds five kilograms as per current regulations. That has increased commercial costs and slowed customs clearance of businesses.

    Local agencies’ certification of food safety knowledge of sales personnel at distribution systems has been longer than the regulation of 10 days.

    In addition, regulations on shelve system and goods display at convenient stores and modern distribution systems have caused waste and trading cost raise for businesses. Especially, the use of pesticides with high toxicity at many farms in Lam Dong province has indirectly affected food quality and safety standards of farms invested by Japanese firms, he added.

    A representative of Vietnam Customs answered that the customs sector has no regulation on sample volume inspection and now proposes to repair Government Decree 38/2012 in order not to tighten sample volume because each type of goods need a different sample volume.

    The Ministry of Health’s representative said that sample inspection could not base on quantity to prevent from the equitation of all types of goods in inspection. Five kilograms of material can create only some products but five kilograms of aromatic spices can produce a lot of products.

    The representative advised businesses to prove that their import consignment is for testing and commit not to consuming or circulating in the market.

    Relevant ministries will inspect other problems reported by Japanese firms at the event and remedy shortcomings in law enforcement.

    Nidec says to pour more capital into HCMC

    Nidec Corporation of Japan, which has invested in numerous projects in HCMC over the years, will continue pouring capital into its projects in the city, including a research and development (R&D) center, the company’s president said at a meeting on March 14 with Chairman of HCMC Nguyen Thanh Phong.

    Nidec has invested in 46 countries and territories around the world, including 21 years in Vietnam. “We want to invest more, but we also need better support,” said Nidec Corporation’s President Shigenobu Nagamori at the meeting here on March 14.

    He added Nidec will continue investing in HCMC, Hanoi, and Danang, and will boost technology transfer in Vietnam in the near future.

    Nidec is one of the most important investors in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) with five factories and registered capital of more than US$380 million. Chairman Phong noted that during his visit to Nidec’s factory in Japan, he was impressed by Nidec’s manufacturing technology.

    Phong appreciated the plan by Nidec to set up an R&D center in Saigon Hi-Tech Park, saying the deeper investment and technology transfer of Nidec will create a spillover effect, boosting investment and technology transfer from large corporations, especially high-tech corporations in the city.

    “We are looking forward to speeding up advanced manufacturing technology, increasing localization and improving the role of HCMC and Vietnam in the global value chain. Therefore, I appreciate the commitment and strategy of Nidec to coordinate in long term with HCMC,” Phong said.

    To prepare for the operation of the R&D center, SHTP is currently working with Nidec Corporation to recruit staff to send to Japan for training. Till now, 16 students have been recruited and sent to Japan by Nidec. However, to ensure human resources for Nidec’s R&D center in the future, Phong suggested the corporation should provide advanced technology and equipment and collaborate with trainers from universities and vocational schools in the city.

    Phong said HCMC is making efforts to improve the investment environment, from administrative reform and investment procedures to infrastructure improvement. “We will create favorable conditions for Nidec to expand business in the city, especially in providing high-quality labor,” Phong added.

    Enterprises more environment-conscious after Formosa crisis

    The Formosa environment pollution incident is a wake-up call to enterprises as they have become more compliant to policies and adopt internal environment regulations, announced the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in their Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI 2016) report released on March 14.

    The report points out that since Formosa dumped toxic industrial waste into the sea on the central coast, killing more than 100 tons of fish, businesses have been more aware of their obligations to conform to environmental regulations issued by local authorities despite higher costs. This rate is as high as 95% at FDI enterprises and 91% at domestic enterprises.

    Besides, 97% of FDI enterprises and 96% of domestic enterprises agreed that it is enterprises that should be responsible for protecting the environment.

    Edmund Malesky from the U.S.-based Duke University, one of the authors of the PCI 2016 report, said enterprises have accepted not to pursue economic growth at the cost of the environment. He also revealed that enterprises are willing to spend more to comply with environmental regulations or to enforce their own internal regulations to avoid causing pollution.

    The survey shows that the majority of enterprises (50% of FDI enterprises and 45% of local firms) believe that environmental protection is important and they are willing to pay a reasonable cost for specific activities as well as the application of more regulations. In addition, it is also widely understood that enterprises would suffer from environmental pollution.

    The results of the PCI survey also show that a large number of enterprises have made concerted efforts to prevent environmental pollution by applying internal environmental regulations and launching training programs. Some 75% of FDI enterprises and 73% of private enterprises are now applying “green policies” such as using energy and material in the most economical and efficient manner to minimize pollution in their own working environment.

    Fuel firms: VAT invoice requirement causes big headache

    Fuel firms are having difficulty complying with regulations on issuing value added tax invoices for customers, heard a dialogue with the HCMC Tax Department on March 14.

    The Ministry of Finance’s Circular 39/2014 specifies that when an establishment sells goods to partners in other provinces and cities, it must issue value added tax invoices for use in the transport process, according to a representative of Dai Nam Petroleum Import-Export Limited Liability Co.

    The representative said as a general fuel agent, the company sells goods to various retail agents in many localities at different times. As a result, the enterprise finds it hard to provide such documents for its numerous customers in a timely manner.

    Talking to the Daily on the sidelines of the event, the representative said the company sends by fax the VAT invoices for drivers, and then forward original documents to purchasers. However, faxes are not valid when market monitors inspect their commodities, resulting in hefty fines.

    Hence, the representative proposed the tax department come up with an effective solution to permit the company to use a different kind of documents instead of VAT invoices to ship their goods.

    Nguyen Nam Binh, deputy director of the department, said enterprises must follow the circular’s regulations strictly. However, the department has plans to make a recommendation to higher agencies to make amendments and additions to the policy in line with enterprises’ production and trading activities.

    VSI explains management cost leap

    Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) said higher payouts and investments in better services for customers have led to an upsurge in its management cost in recent years and stressed that the increase is in line with its roadmap.

    VSI made the point after a State Audit of Vietnam report showed that its total management cost was pushed up to VND7.4 trillion in 2015, leaping nearly 75.8% over the previous year, equivalent to over VND3.19 trillion (around US$140 million). For this reason, experts expressed concern over the solvency of the agency.

    However, VSI explained the payment surge was due to increasing payouts for beneficiaries and more money spent on information technology (IT) to improve the agency’s operation that were all anticipated in its roadmap.   

    Speaking at a dialogue on the management cost of VSI in Hanoi last week, VSI’s deputy general director Pham Luong Son said the agency had sent a plan on the cost increase of over VND3.19 trillion to the Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries and agencies.

    In fact, the management cost of social, health and unemployment insurance in 2015 was checked and submitted by the Ministry of Finance to the Prime Minister, and the Government leader approved the cost to be at VND6.56 trillion, up 59% or over VND2.44 trillion compared to the estimate in 2014. 

    The rise of over VND2.44 trillion aimed to enable VSI to finance a number of plans it implemented in 2014 and the previous years but did not get or receive sufficient capital allocations to realize the Government’s Resolution 11/NQ-CP dated February 24, 2011 to rein in inflation, stabilize the macro economy and ensure social welfare. 

    Son said some of the amount was spent on the increasing number of social, health and unemployment insurance allowances, boosting administrative reform and online transactions, and investing in the application of IT. In 2015, the cost of services for and expanding numbers of insurance customers soared 36% compared to 2014 due to higher premiums collections and payouts.

    However, VSI’s regular expenditures in 2015 inched up only 6% year-on-year as a result of the annual pay rise, Son said. He underscored the importance of adjusting up the management cost to help the agency fulfill urgent tasks.

    Bui Sy Loi, deputy chairman of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, said people always attended to the benefits of social and health insurance policies and were concerned over administrative cost increases. It is important to explain to them the rationality of higher costs.

    Loi said the NA Standing Committee issued a resolution approving the management cost of VSI to rise a maximum of 2.3% compared to total premiums collections and payouts and was financed by the profit the agency earned from its investments, not the social insurance fund. 

    Earlier, the health insurance sector set a target that 80% of the country’s population would have bought the insurance product by 2020 but the proportion has already reached 81.7%. An additional one million people purchased social insurance last year.

    The 2014 social insurance law requires a boost to the application of IT in the sector to make the operation of VSI transparent and better connect social and health insurance buyers with hospitals and the national social insurance system.

    New balm production line built in Da Nang     

    The Da Nang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (Danapha) has invested VND80 billion (nearly US$3.5 million) to build a new production line for the Golden Star Balm, a product that it will export to the Russia and East European markets.

    The company told Viet Nam News that exports of the balm to Russia, East Europe and Southeast Asia accounted for 70 per cent of the company’s annual revenue, with the domestic market accounting for just 5 per cent of total sales.

    The Da Nang-based company said 20 million units of various balm products including inhalers, balm and medicated oil are exported to Russia and East European countries annually.

    Last year, the city granted an investment licence to Danapha’s first nano-technology and biotech project with total investment of VND1.5 trillion ($67 million) at the city’s Hi-Tech Park.

    The company plans to produce a billion tablets and 100 million units of injectable drugs per year from 2017-2018, and it is testing nanotechnology-based cancer injections to make treatment of the disease cheaper.

    Danapha opened its first plant meeting GMP-WHO (good manufacturing practices criteria set by the World Health Organisation) standards in 2009. 

    HCMC seeks to connect IT solution vendors with enterprises

    The HCMC Department of Information and Communications plans to organize an event in April to link information and telecommunication technology (ICT) enterprises with other businesses and agencies in need of new solutions.

    The information was announced at the conference “IT enterprises to build a smart urban city” held at the HCMC Convention Center.

    Vo Thi Trung Trinh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Information and Communications, said that in April 2017, her department, at the request of the HCMC People’s Committee, will hold a meeting between firms in demand of technology solutions and ICT enterprises. Participants will have their own booths for solution introduction and presentation to representatives of HCMC agencies.

    Speaking at the event, HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said the city, with the aim to develop the smart city, wanted to apply technology to solve specific problems such as transport infrastructure, flood control, waste management, and urban environment. HCMC is willing to place orders for practical solutions from ICT firms.

    At the event, many ICT enterprises also presented their new solutions applicable to various sectors of the city’s economy.

    Phi Tuan Anh, chairman and CEO of P.A.T Information Technology Consulting Company, presented solutions to waste management and smart urban city construction at the event. Of that, data about waste collection labor, quantity of waste, and collection equipment will be collected and analyzed to provide appropriate solutions for waste collection process optimization.

    In addition, data about daily waste collection routes is needed to be managed by technology to rationalize collection schedules, he said.

    A representative of CMC Saigon System Integration Limited Company said HCMC should build a data center at city level to support the deployment of technology applications in different sectors.

    Nguyen Viet Dung, director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology, said there will be many IT solutions for the smart city plan. Therefore, the city should set up a channel to receive such solutions and facilitate cooperation between solution providers and users.

    Law on secrecy underway

    The draft Law on Protection of State Secrets has just been unveiled, with the dates of declassification for each level of secrecy.

    Unlike the prevalent Ordinance on Protection of State Secrets, this draft law does not specify the scope of State secrets according to each level of confidentiality. Instead, it stipulates the most common issues concerning national security and interests as a basis for State agencies, organizations and localities to identify and draw up the list of State secrets.

    However, on the authority to decide the scope of State secrets, the drafting agency is considering two options. In the first option, the Prime Minister shall decide the list of State secrets viewed as “strictly confidential” and “top secret”, while the Minister of Public Security shall be in charge of “confidential” ones.

    The Minister of Defense shall issue a list of “confidential” materials in the field of national defense and compile a list of “strictly confidential” and “top secret” ones for submission to the Prime Minister for approval.

    This option ensures the stability of the list of State secrets when the Law on Protection of State Secrets takes effect. However, the Minister of Public Security shall have to wait for the Prime Minister to promulgate the list of State secrets seen as “strictly confidential” and “top secret” before the release of the list of “confidential” materials.

    In the second option, the Minister of Public Security shall decide on the list of State secrets on the basis of agreement with the heads of central and local agencies and organizations, while the Minister of Defense shall be responsible for the State secrets in the field of defense.

    With this option, the list of State secrets is uniform and takes effect at the same time for practical implementation.

    IFC, Loc Troi help farmers with sustainable rice farming

    Training courses will be organized for around 4,000 farming households to learn new farming practices to grow high-quality rice in a sustainable way.

    The training is part of an international sustainable rice production program in Vietnam, which is being carried out with the support of International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank Group, Vietnam’s Loc Troi Group, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Sustainable Rice Forum with SRP (Sustainable Rice Platform).

    Loc Troi said in a statement that the program would support farmers to embrace sustainable farming practices in the group’s value chain.

    It will also help Vietnam’s agriculture expand its global market share, increase profitability and improve farmers’ livelihoods, Loc Troi said.

    In the next two years, the group will get IFC support to show 4,000 farming households how to grow rice in line the Sustainable Rice Platform’s agricultural standards and practices. Adopting the SRP standards, farmers would gain many benefits such as effective farming practices and higher income.

    Chairman of Loc Troi Group Huynh Van Thon said he expected the program would help the group successfully build a high-quality rice brand to compete on international markets.

    Richard Bale, Canadian consul general in HCMC, said he appreciated the involvement of the private sector in promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth as it would benefit  thousands of farmers in the Mekong Delta.

    Loc Troi Group is building a rice production value chain model in Vietnam with the participation of about 25,000 farming households.

    Used public autos sold at VND46 million each

    Ministries, agencies and local governments in Vietnam have reported revenues of VND35 billion (US$1.5 million) from 761 used public autos which were auctioned off last year, meaning each brought around VND46 million (over US$2,000) on average.

    Tran Duc Thang, head of the Public Asset Management Department at the Ministry of Finance, told a meeting in Hanoi last week that the actual number of vehicles sold at auction last year totaled 1,105 units.

    Meanwhile, an additional 2,041 autos are subject to auction but the agencies using them have yet to report to the ministry, Thang added.

    Auctions of State assets must be made public and transparent in line with the prevailing regulations, he stressed, adding those deliberately infringing State regulations would face punitive sanctions.

    Statistics show the total number of public automobiles had amounted to more than 34,000 by late last year. He said their combined original cost was VND22 trillion (around US$1 billion) and their residual value was VND7-8 trillion.

    When asked about the legal basis for local governmetns to receive cars gifted by enterprises, Thang said the Prime Minister’s Decision 64 issued in 2007 allowed ministries, ministerial agencies and local governments to decide whether or not to receive gifts and there is no need for them to report to the Ministry of Finance.

    But he noted the decision seems to be no longer suitable for the reality, so it might be revised in a way that requires gift recipients to report.

    Satra to launch IPO late next quarter

    Saigon Trading Group (Satra) plans to launch its initial public offering (IPO) at the end of quarter two this year, said deputy general director Tran Van Bac last week.

    Bac said Satra and a consulting firm have finished the group’s asset evaluation and submitted a report to the city’s Steering Committee for Equitization.

    He said the city’s departments and agencies have approved the plan. It is expected the city government will have the final say on the enterprise’s value, and Satra after that will launch its IPO.

    The equitization plan, in fact, has been slower than targeted, as the State Audit of Vietnam had to certify the process of determining the asset value, financial figures and reports in advance. The HCMC People’s Committee must then review the accuracy of evaluation, and asset transfer processes, he said.

    He added the State will own over 65% of Satra’s chartered capital after the IPO, and will gradually reduce the stake in line with Decision 58/2016 by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue. This means the Government will lower the State stake to less than 50%.

    Revenue of its whole system reached VND55.2 trillion (US$2.42 billion) last year, a 12.3% rise over 2015. The profit, however, was estimated at nearly VND11.1 trillion, up 26.2%.

    The parent company reported revenue of VND9.5 trillion and profit of over VND2.7 trillion.

    Satra has plans to implement major projects such a commercial zone at the Binh Dien wholesale market, logistics service at the zone, a new cold storage system, and a trading platform for flowers and ornamental plants this year.

    Satra will also develop retail systems, especially Satrafoods convenience stores, with an aim to create goods distribution channels for its member companies and others. Retail sales are expected to reach VND15-16 trillion in revenue.

    Can Tho pledges support for enterprises

    Chairman Vo Thanh Thong of Can Tho City has said the city will lend a helping hand to local enterprises.

    Right at a meeting between the city government and nearly 100 enterprises last week, Thong solved about 20 petitions regarding planning, environment, land, tax and administrative reform.

    For a proposal by Vinacam Company for a high-tech agriculture loan, he asked the branch of the State Bank of Vietnam in Can Tho to work with Vinacam and other enterprises with the same need this week to mull whether such loans could be given.

    He told the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Thot Not District to tackle another proposal by Vinacam for leasing 1.6 hectares of land as part of the company’s US$100 million export rice production expansion plan.

    Regarding VND46.1 billion in tax arrears and goods procedures at Vinataba Philip Morris, he requested the Tax Department to ask the General Department of Taxation and the Ministry of Finance for early resolution.

    For a plan of the Western Agricultural Products Export Company to lease 200 hectares of land for expansion, Thong said this is a legitimate need of a company, so the company and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will have to meet and give an answer to the company.

    Thong assigned the director of the Department of Industry and Trade to propose solutions to violations of contract terms by agricultural goods enterprises and farmers.

    Tan Cang - Cai Cui Company asked Can Tho City to reduce maritime fees to help it develop logistical services for container ships. The company also wants the city to support it to network with local enterprises. The chairman said he took note of the company’s proposals.

    Finance Ministry hailed as administrative reform pioneer

    The Ministry of Finance has been a pioneer in administrative procedure reform, particularly in tax and customs, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) President Vu Tien Loc said.

    Loc made the point at a seminar held by the Ministry of Finance, VCCI and the World Bank (WB) in Hanoi on Tuesday to announce an assessment report on tax reform and business satisfaction, according to the Government’s news website (chinhphu.vn).

    Considering businesses as a key driver for the country’s growth, the Government has issued Resolution 19 on improvement of the country’s business environment and competitiveness on a yearly basis since 2014 and Resolution 35 on supporting business growth. 

    Loc said since the issuance of Resolution 19, the ministry has always taken a lead in administrative reform, focusing on tax and customs procedures. Assessment reports conducted by independent research organizations on business satisfaction with tax reform showed the ministry and the General Department of Taxation had been open to constructive comments and willing to make changes for the benefit of businesses.

    The business community hailed the ministry’s effort to streamline tax procedures as this has made tax policies transparent and consistent with international practices, resulting in a higher level of satisfaction among firms and people.

    Nguyen Van Thoi, chairman of the business association in Thai Nguyen Province, said the association with more than 5,500 member firms had a positive view on tax procedure reform.

    Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department at VCCI, said six financial and four tax regulations were among the 30 best business regulations just nominated by VCCI. This is a clear indication of real reform.

    Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said the ministry had been executing an action plan for the financial sector, particularly for tax and customs. The ministry has revised and simplified administrative procedures to cut the time required for preparing, filing and paying taxes by 420 hours to 117 hours a year.

    Last year, the ministry eliminated 32 tax procedures, and tax agencies applied information technology to tax collection and payment to help taxpayers save time and create favorable conditions for firms to complete relevant procedures. As a result, more than 99% of firms have filed taxes only, over 96% have registered to pay taxes online, and nearly 94% have registered for Internet banking service. More than two million tax payment transactions totaling over VND404 trillion have been done successfully.

    However, up to 64% of firms said the tax data transmission system was usually jammed and 41% claimed tax procedures remained burdensome and tax refunds were still time-consuming.

    Dung said the assessment report on business satisfaction and tax procedure reform gave the ministry an overview of what has been achieved and what needs to be improved for tax management to meet the expectations of taxpayers.

    HCMC to impose strong sanctions on land-use violations

    HCMC authorities have announced to carry out inspections and impose strong sanctions against violations of land use and management in the city from now to 2020.

    According to a plan issued on March 7 by the city government, law enforcement agencies will inspect land management at district and ward levels this year.

    In 2018, authorities will inspect land use and management at industrial zones and economic zones, especially those showing signs of violation.

    In 2019, the city will inspect land use and management outside industrial zones and economic zones, particularly land allocation, land lease, land transfer, change of land-use purposes, and land rights and obligations.

    In 2020, the city will concentrate on inspecting land used for growing rice.

    Statistics show the city currently has more than 10,000 establishments inconsistent with urban planning. HCMC authorities have just planned to relocate them for fears that they impact on the environment and people's lives.

    Many of the establishments outside industrial zones and economic zones are of small scale and have low investment capital, limited space and outdated waste treatment technology.

    Business unsatisfied with online public services

    Import-export firms have complained that they still have to come to customs offices to get multiple procedures done, instead of handling them online. The General Department of Customs said online services for 41 procedures have been made available since early March.

    Speaking to the Daily, a manager of a customs services firm in HCMC said just half of the procedures are still handled offline. Enterprises are required to fill in the form and scan it for online submission. After that, they have to print it out and ask for approval.

    For South Korea-issued certificate of origin (C/O), the customs should go online to view it but enterprises are still told to print it out and send the paper to the customs.

    A leader of a customs department in southern Vietnam said that for some procedures, electronic documents could be submitted online but are never processed by the customs.

    Enterprises thought customs officers lack a sense of responsibility while customs officers said relevant ministries and agencies did not coordinate well with the customs, rendering online customs services helpless.

    February auto sales jump 50%

    February auto sales dipped against the previous month but soared strongly versus the same period last year, said a report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

    The report, issued on Wednesday, showed 17,621 autos found buyers last month, a 13% month-on-month decrease but a year-on-year rise of a whopping 50%. Of the volume, there were 10,044 passenger cars, down 32% against January, 6,344 commercial vehicles, up 24%, and 1,233 special-purpose autos, up 220%.

    Automakers delivered 14,560 domestically-assembled cars to customers last month, down a mere 6% over the previous month but only 3,061 imported completely-built-up (CBU) autos were sold, down a hefty 35% compared with the previous month.

    Auto sales usually slow during the first months of year, especially the month after the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet), since people tend to purchase cars for travel during Tet holiday.

    February auto sales were lower than in January but sharply leapt against the year-ago period.

    Industry watchers said month-on-month comparisons would not reflect the true picture of the industry. Year-on-year comparisons would help, they said, adding auto sales reply on seasons.

    By comparing with the same period last year, the auto market has changed for the better. For instance, Truong Hai Auto Joint Stock Company (Thaco) took the lead with 7,720 units sold last month, accounting for 45% of the market’s total and rising a whopping 85% against the same month last year.

    Similarly, Toyota Vietnam came second with nearly 3,580 units sold, up 51% year-on-year, followed by Ford Vietnam with over 1,800 autos finding buyers, up 23% year-on-year.

    Other automakers such as General Motors Vietnam, Mitsubishi Motors Vietnam, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam, and Honda Vietnam also enjoyed respective year-on-year sales growth of 80%, 69%, 65% and 15%.

    Overall, over 37,800 autos have been sold in the year to date, up 8% year-on-year. In particular, nearly 24,800 passenger cars were sold, up 21%, 11,400 commercial vehicles, down 11% and some 1,600 special-use vehicles, up 5%.

    Especially, domestically-assembled cars rose by 13% to over 30,000 units while CBU autos dropped by 5%, totaling nearly 7,790 units.

    VAMA predicted auto sales would grow around 10% this year compared to 2016 sales of over 304,000 units.

    Singapore’s ex-minister: Metro development should supercede road expansion

    Mah Bow Tan, former Minister of National Development of Singapore, has urged HCMC to prioritize developing metro and bus transit to cope with traffic problems, especially congestion, instead of widening roads.

    Speaking at a meeting city vice chairman Le Thanh Liem and leaders of some departments on Tuesday, Mah Bow Tan said Singapore experienced the same problems in the past and that the city should have short-, medium- and long-term plans to solve them.

    Charging vehicles for entering the city center or imposing a car parking fee is a short-term vision, he noted. The medium-term plan is to develop metro lines and bus routes rather than expand roads.

    In Singapore, he added, the roads have been even narrowed to restrict car use.

    Vice chairman Liem said HCMC is experiencing a slew of challenges such as insufficient infrastructure, flooding and pollution.

    An official of the HCMC Department of Transport said the city has more than 12,000 taxi cabs aside from a huge number of Uber and Grab vehicles. The total number of passenger vehicles of less than nine seats is nearly 34,000, he noted.

    Mah Bow Tan said Singapore has about 28,000 taxi cabs but still allows Uber and Grab services. However, Singapore considers taxis as private cars. In the downtown area, taxi drivers are required to pay a fee, which discourages taxis from entering the city center.

    Buildings still electricity guzzlers

    Buildings in Vietnam are and will remain the largest consumers of electricity despite plenty of regulations on green buildings.

    According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), the rapidly growing middle class and its associated lifestyle which includes intensive air-conditioning use, accounts for a big proportion of energy consumption growth in the main cities of the country.

    Tomaso Andreatta, chairman of the green growth sector committee of EuroCham, said the development of green buildings in Vietnam is still in its infancy with only 40 buildings with green certification.

    This is due to a lack of enforcement of regulations and there is little or no incentive to reduce operating costs due to low energy prices.

    There are already several measures taken by the Government and the Ministry of Construction since 2010, such as Decision 567/QD-BXD (30-40% non-fired brick usage by 2020); Directive 10/CT-TTg and Circular 09/2012/TT-BXD (100% state projects and other projects over nine floors to have over 50% usage of non-fired brick materials); and Decree 121/2013/ND-CP (VND20-30 million fines for non-compliance). However, the enforcement of these laws is not properly implemented.

    Besides, the Vietnam energy efficiency building code (VEEBC) published in 2013 by the Ministry of Construction is legally mandatory and comprehensive, and reflects international and local norms. Nonetheless, the code is poorly disseminated and buildings are not currently required to follow this code to obtain a construction license.

    EuroCham recommends the Government provide effective encouragement for building owners to have their buildings certified as green. In addition to international green building certification already available in Vietnam such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) of the U.S. Green Building Council and Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) of International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC) issues LOTUS green building certification.

    EuroCham will support a move to recognize multiple systems for use in Vietnam, letting the market determine which systems are practical and useful. These systems could be licensed for operation based on a set of simple criteria such as transparency, reliability and coherence according to recognized norms.

    EuroCham also recommends the Government encourage all buildings to achieve the minimum standards of the VEEBC code in order to receive a building license at basic design stage. Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) could apply lower power tariffs to buildings with low energy consumption but higher prices to power guzzling buildings.

    Tomaso Andreatta said a lot of sustainable building solutions on the market and best practices at companies are available. EuroCham recommends a macro perspective showcase to define incentives and policies to have a clear urban planning design including not only green building but water, waste, traffic and environment livelihood improvement and implementation towards a smart city vision.

    According to real estate developers, operators will benefit from green buildings. Property developers can use green building certification for their apartment buildings as a way of improving publicity while homeowners can benefit.

    Tran Nhu Trung, deputy general director of Nam Cuong Corporation, one of the real estate developers which have set a goal of obtaining EDGE certification of IFC for all its buildings in 2020, said energy consumption in buildings with EDGE certification is 20-27% lower than in normal ones whereas construction cost may increase 2% to 5%.

    Poul E. Kristense, senior technical adviser to the Vietnam Green Buildings Program of World Bank/IFC Hanoi, said, according to Danish experience, there is a need for state regulation to support the development of green buildings. Instead of building new power plants, the Government of Vietnam should support construction of green buildings to save energy to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

    Korea-Vietnam Incubator Park faces impediments

    The Korea-Vietnam Incubator Park (KVIP) has been facing a lot of difficulties, leading Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue to order relevant ministries and agencies to swiftly find ways to prop up the park in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

    Hue, speaking at a meeting in Hanoi on Tuesday, told the Ministry of Industry and Trade to negotiate with Korea over financial support to purchase necessary equipment and bring Korean experts to the park to boost technology transfer and incubation.

    The Ministry of Finance will be responsible for proposing preferential import-export and corporate income taxes for KVIP. The Ministry of Science and Technology will have to provide consultants for the park to support business incubation and innovation startups.

    Hue proposed KVIP look for scientists and experts at the city’s universities and promote the image of the park to attract domestic and international investors.

    As part of a multi-faceted cooperation program between the two countries to fuel the delta’s socio-economic development, KVIP requires a total investment of US$21 million, with nearly US$17.7 million of it coming from a Korean grant and the remainder from the Can Tho government.

    The park was put into operation in Can Tho City in the third quarter of 2015. The Korean side has given equipment for research and development activities in three major sectors: farm produce, seafood processing and mechanical engineering.

    Korea has yet to send Korean experts to the park to help with operation and provide finances for buying indispensable equipment. Therefore, activities of KVIP remain limited.

    The park has attracted only three incubation projects which occupy a mere 200 square meters out of a total of more than 13,000 square meters, and cost a total of VND17 billion.

    Foreign suppliers eye local packaging industry

    Vietnam’s packaging industry, with average annual growth of 15-20%, has grown attractive to foreign suppliers of machinery and equipment, heard at a press conference on ProPak Vietnam 2017 in HCMC on March 9.

    The international exhibition will take place from March 21 to 23 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in the city, featuring around 380 exhibitors from 28 countries and territories such as India, Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, China, and Italy.

    BT Tee of Singapore Exhibition Services in Vietnam, one of the two organizers of the exhibition, said Vietnam has a strong appeal to overseas manufacturers because of the market’s advantages and human resources. Meanwhile, domestic producers are improving production efficiency and investing in the packaging sector to enhance their competitiveness.

    Moreover, the increasing demand for food, beverages and pharmaceuticals has led to a pickup in packaging demand. International firms said the nation’s packaging industry has been sluggish while domestic goods production for local and overseas markets is expected to grow sharply, resulting in huge packaging demand.

    Many machinery, equipment and technology suppliers have seen the potential of the domestic market through their participation in fairs and exhibitions. They have launched Vietnam-based offices in order to respond manufacturers’ needs promptly.

    Cigarette smuggling causes huge tax losses

    The Vietnam Tobacco Association has sent the Government a report saying that cigarette smuggling caused tax losses of VND8 trillion (US$350.8 million) last year.

    Illegal trading and transportation of cigarettes are forecast to increase by 10% against 2015, Tien Phong newspaper quoted the association as saying.

    The association has sent seven measures to the Government, ministries and agencies to step up the fight against cigarette smuggling.

    The association has sought approval from the Government for destroying all smuggled cigarettes which have been confiscated and building a cigarette incinerator for environmental protection.

    The Government, according to the association, should provide modern equipment for law enforcement to deal with cigarette smugglers.

    The association proposing filing criminal charges against those smuggling 500 packs of cigarette or above.

    The association ascribed the increase in cigarette smuggling to lax law enforcement. 

    Jan-Feb oil output down sharply

    Vietnam saw a steep decline in crude oil output in the first two months of the year, driven by tough production and business conditions, VietnamPlus quotes a Ministry of Industry and Trade report as saying.

    About 1.2 million tons of crude was pumped in February, down 15.9% over the same period last year. This took to 2.6 million tons the total production in the first two months, down 14.2% over the same period last year.

    In February, Vietnam exported 540,000 tons of crude worth US$225 million, down 5.4% over the same period in 2016. After two months, 1.04 million tons of crude was shipped abroad with a total value of US$432 million, down 9.6% year-on-year.

    This year, Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) is expected to pump 14.2 million tons of crude, down more than three million tons against 2016. Its total revenue in 2017 is forecast to reach VND437.8 trillion (US$19.2 billion) with the oil price projected at US$50 per barrel.

    To achieve the above targets, the ministry asked PVN to pump as much oil as possible and put into operation White Rabbit 3 oilrig in the second quarter of 2017. Besides, PVN needs to work with contractors to revise exploration plans to facilitate an oil pumping boost.

    Despite the oil price plunge in 2016, PVN realized its production and business targets. PVN sold 16.68 million tons of crude, with 7.59 million tons of it going abroad and 7.1 million tons supplied for the Dung Quat Oil Refinery.

    Crude oil output beat the 2016 target by 1.19 million tons, reaching more than 17 million tons. Of this, domestic extraction was 15.2 million tons, 1.18 million tons higher than expected and overseas production was 2.03 million tons, up 0.6% against 2015. 

    In 2016, PVN reported total revenue of VND452.5 trillion (US$19.85 billion), contributing VND90.2 trillion (US$3.96 billion) to the State budget.

    Pepper growers stop selling on price fall

    Pepper prices have plunged to around VND100,000 a kilo in recent days, leading farmers to stop selling to wait for better days.

    Hoang Phuoc Binh, deputy head of the Chu Se Pepper Association in Gia Lai Province, said the current pepper price is much lower than expected, so pepper growers are retaining their stocks in anticipation of a price rebound.

    The pepper growing area has been expanded over the years, leading to an oversupply on the market.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country in the January-February period this year shipped 16,000 tons of pepper worth US$112 million to foreign markets, down nearly 20% in volume and 36% in value against the same period last year.

    The average pepper export price in January stood at US$7,492 per ton, falling 20% year-on-year.

    In addition, the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) has forecast 2017 would be a difficult year for the country’s pepper sector due to price volatility and pepper output in 2016-2017 will amount to 180,000 tons.

    Japan provides US$345 thousand of ODA for Vietnam

    Representative from the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Japan signed agreements on March 10, providing US$345 thousand of non-refundable ODA for five programs in southern Vietnam.

    The programs are aimed at improving socio-economic infrastructure and include the construction of a kindergarten, water systems, medical equipment at hospitals and technology to assist people with hearing problems in Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Dak Lak, Ninh Thuan and Tra Vinh.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Kawaue Junichi, Consul General to HCM City, said that since 1995, Japan has provided an estimated US$13.5 million in non-refundable ODA for programs in southern Vietnam.

    Japan, said the Consul General, is proud to be the largest ODA donor to Vietnam.

    Vietnam active in regional economic, trade integration

    Vietnam will continue reforming its economy, improving the business climate and fully implementing the commitments it has made to the free trade agreements (FTAs), actively contributing to regional economic and trade integration.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh made the statement at a recent ceremony to launch of the report “Charting a course for trade and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific” at the Australia Embassy in Washington D.C, the US.

    He noted the Vietnam – US relations, affirming that the two nations will continue fostering their comprehensive partnership in all fields, including raising the economic – trade relations to a new height on the win-win basis.

    As the host of APEC 2017, Vietnam will work with the US and other member economies to boost the dynamic development of the region, he said.

    According to the report, global and regional trade, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, has been suffering huge challenges because of a growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, reflected by Brexit and the US’s withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty, it said.

    Central Highlands’s untapped potential awaits investors: PM

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has described the Central Highlands as a "sleeping beauty” whose enormous potential and advantages have yet to be fully tapped.

    He made the comment at the region’s fourth investment promotion conference in Buon Ma Thuot city of Dak Lak province on March 11. 

    The biggest-ever investment promotion event in the region brought together nearly 1,000, including economists, Vietnamese and foreign entrepreneurs, along with representatives of international organisations and diplomatic agencies.

    The Government leader considered the Central Highlands, consisting of Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Nong and Lam Dong provinces, as a springboard to the development of the central region as well as the southeast and southwest of Vietnam.  

    The region is home to nearly 2 million hectares of basalt, or 60 percent of this soil’s total area in Vietnam, which is favourable for coffee and pepper farming. Although the country is a leading coffee and pepper exporter in the world, most of the exported products are unprocessed with low added value, PM Phuc analysed, suggesting investors focusing on these trees to rake in higher benefits.

    Regarding tourism potential, he said the Central Highlands boasts imposing natural landscapes, many beautiful sites and a nice climate which are suitable for tourism and also cannot be found in other regions.

    He underlined the Government and the region’s determination to turn the Central Highlands epics into world intangible cultural heritage, asking the region to conserve local cultural identities, especially the gong culture.

    At the conference, PM Phuc asked the Central Highlands provinces to form large-scale organic agricultural areas. He recommended them promote industrial development by modernising agriculture, boosting processing activities, and expanding the value chain of products from industrial trees.

    The Central Highlands also needs to enhance regional connectivity to expand the market for its products and foster tourism, he added.

    He reiterated the Government’s resolve in protecting forests, which is regarded as the core of security in the region as well as the entire country.

    “We should be aware that protecting forests is meant to protect the living environment, water resources, livelihoods of people and heritage space of our ancestors. All activities to destroy forests and exploit forest products illegally are crimes,” he said. 

    The leader praised investors in the region for creating a new momentum for local development, asking them to do as they say when investing here.

    At the event, head of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands To Lam, who is also Minister of Public Security, pledged to support and closely cooperate with investors.

    Aside from the Government’s incentives, the provinces also have their own support policies such as in site clearance, infrastructure building, and making environmental impact assessment reports. They will streamline administrative procedures and ensure transparency to help investors save time and unofficial expenses, he added.

    At the conference, some projects received credit agreements worth over 29 trillion VND (1.27 billion USD) from banks. Investment certificates and agreements were handed over to projects with a combined capital of 80 trillion VND (3.5 billion USD).

    HCM City, Belgian locality look for closer ties

    Authority of Ho Chi Minh City is always willing to create favorable conditions for Belgian firms in general, and those from East Flanders in particular, to invest into the city, especially in high-tech agriculture and biotechnology, a municipal official has said.  

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong made the statement at a meeting with visiting Governor of Belgium’s East Flanders province Jan Briers on March 10. 

    While briefing the guest on the city’s recent development, Phong affirmed the exchange of visits of the two localities’ officials has contributed to strengthening the Vietnam-Belgium relationship and links between HCM City and East Flanders in particular. 

    He suggested East Flanders officials facilitate HCM City firms’ operation in the Belgian locality, helping them connect with more local enterprises in the coming time.  

    He said he looks forward to stronger cooperation between East Flanders and other Belgian localities with the Vietnamese locality, thus increasing two-way trade value as well as the number of investment projects in HCM City. 

    For his part, Jan Briers said East Flanders’s authority always maintains close relations with HCM City, adding that the win-win cooperation between the two localities is positive.  

    He affirmed that his visit to HCM City demonstrates East Flanders’s confirmation to promote cooperation programmes between the two localities, bringing interests to both sides. 

    He expressed his hope that the two sides will work to jointly organise trade and investment promotion activities, aiming to bolstering links across fields.

    Conference promotes Vietnam-Singapore trade partnership

    Up to 110 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of Vietnam attended a conference in Singapore on March 10 to seek trade and investment partnership. 

    The businesses’ participation benefited from an initiative jointly made by the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association, the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore and the Vietnamese Entrepreneurs’ Club under the Vietnamese Association of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises.

    In his speech at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Nguyen Tien Minh highlighted the significance the conference and the presence of Vietnam’s SMEs at the event, saying this shows the businesses’ dynamism to look for business and investment opportunities in foreign markets.

    Through Singapore, Vietnamese firms can make inroads into other markets in the region and the world, especially Europe – the important trade partner of both Vietnam and Singapore, he noted.

    Thian Tai Chew from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) said many of the SBF’s 24,000 members, mostly SMEs, are interested in Vietnam’s food, retail, e-commerce, supply chain, and infrastructure and urban development. 

    These sectors are Singaporean SMEs’ strengths and they want to share experience with Vietnamese partners, he said, reporting the SBF’s latest survey that says Vietnam ranks third among ASEAN member nations that Singaporean firms want to pour their investment into. 

    The Vietnam-Singapore relations have recorded strong developments in recent years across such fields as economy, defence, education-training, and people-to-people exchange. 

    Singapore is Vietnam’s third largest foreign investor, with a total investment of over 38 billion USD poured into 1,600 projects in terms of processing, technology, production, real estate, construction, transport and logistics. 

    The country is also the 12th biggest trade partner of Vietnam, with two-way trade doubling in the last decade, hitting nearly 16 billion USD in 2016. 

    Recent high-ranking visits of the two countries’ leaders helped lift the bilateral ties, promising to open many new opportunities for the two sides’ enterprises to foster trade and investment links. 

    The upcoming visit to Vietnam by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in late March is expected to promote all-around ties between the two countries, especially in people-to-people exchange.

    Experts urge firms to enter supply chains

    Companies that want to enter the global supply chain should show initiative and make concerted steps to enhance their capacity and growth, Dr Shantanaru Bhattacharya of Singapore Management University said at a forum held in HCM City on March 10.

    “They should not passively wait for the government to help their growth,” he said.

    Bhattacharya spoke at a seminar on the global supply chain held by the Business Association of High-Quality Vietnam Product Companies.

    “Vietnam is perfectly positioned to be the next manufacturing hub in Asia,” he said, adding that the country has a huge advantage in location and cost as well as human capital.

    However, the training level of the workforce remains at a basic level, and employees lack the skills to quickly adapt to work, he added.

    Both Vietnamese and foreign employers have had to spend more capital to retrain their employees, he said.

    Small- and medium-size enterprises, which account for large proportion of businesses in Vietnam, have also faced difficulties accessing domestic and foreign finance.

    He said the Vietnamese government should create stable policies to develop the manufacturing economy.

    Zulkifli Bin Baharudin, executive chairman at Indo Trans Logistics Corp in HCM City, said that many Vietnamese were not good at teamwork.

    However, team skills help companies improve, which, in turn, makes it easier to enter the global supply chain.

    Many Vietnamese enterprises represent only a small part of the global supply chain, according to a representative of Vietnam Supply Chain.

    For example, in the garment sector, local companies’ contracts are primarily for sewing and cutting designs for their partners, she said.

    If employees have higher skills, companies can more easily move up the global supply chain, she added.

    At the forum, the Business Association of High Quality Vietnam Products Companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Management University to provide a general non-binding framework of collaboration between the parties.

    Cooperation will include management practice in Vietnam and the Mekong Delta region, and assistance in research and exchange of academic publications and information.

    The partners will also engage in joint research projects and academic activities.

    Formation of Bac Van Phong special administrative-economic zone debated

    Officials of the Government and the southern central province of Khanh Hoa looked into a plan on building the Special Administrative-Economic Zone (SAEZ) of Bac Van Phong (Northern Van Phong) on March 11.

    The working session in Nha Trang city also discussed the making of draft laws on special administrative-economic units. It was an activity to implement the Government’s Resolution No. 103/NQ-CP, dated December 5, 2016, on the formation of the special administrative-economic units of Van Don (northern Quang Ninh province), Phu Quoc (southern Kien Giang province), and Bac Van Phong (Khanh Hoa).

    Accordingly, the Bac Van Phong SAEZ will be located in the north of the Van Phong Economic Zone and have an expected area of around 66,000ha.

    The People’s Committees of Quang Ninh, Kien Giang, and Khanh Hoa were ordered to work with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and relevant agencies to complete the SAEZ plans. They also have to propose specific mechanisms and policies for the respective zones to authorised agencies so as to make a draft law for each zone.

    At the session, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh stressed that the SAEZs will be established by the National Assembly and directly subordinate to the Government. He asked Khanh Hoa’s authorities to clarify the scale and organisation of an administration needed for the Bac Van Phong SAEZ so that it will suit the zone’s development orientations.

    The province also needs to continue fine-tuning mechanisms and policies necessary for optimising the Bac Van Phong SAEZ’s particular advantages, he added.

    Chairman of the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee Le Duc Vinh said the Bac Van Phong SAEZ should become an international centre of seaport, financial, tourism, medical and educational services that meet global standards.

    He suggested a common law be designed for the three SAEZs of Van Don, Phu Quoc, and Bac Van Phong and also include specific mechanisms for each zone as recommended by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    He said the draft law should be part of the lawmaking plan for 2017 and submitted to the National Assembly for approval in 2018.

    The Van Phong Economic Zone covers an area of 150,000ha, including 70,000ha of land and 80,000ha of water surface, in Van Ninh district and Ninh Hoa township. It is a multi-sectoral economic zone with a designed focus on container and petroleum transit services, oil refining, and petrochemistry.

    It has attracted 145 investment projects with a total registered capital of 1.47 billion USD. Seventy-nine projects with an implemented capital of 600 million USD have been operational.

    Joint efforts urged to improve national business climate

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked for a concerted effort and responsibility of all Vietnamese enterprises to further improve the national business climate and competitiveness in line with the spirit of the Government’s Resolution No.19. 

    Addressing at a conference to launch the Resolution in 2017 in Hanoi on March 10, the Deputy PM underlined the role of the Government in guiding the implementation, and called on the business community to have confidence and patience to improve the national business climate. 

    This is the fourth time in the four consecutive years the Government has issued a Resolution on tasks to improve the business climate and national competitiveness, showing the country’s strategic breakthrough effort in institution reform, with the focus on administrative procedures.

    This has contributed to Vietnam’s improved business environment ranking done by the World Bank (WB) in 2016, now standing at 82nd from the 91st – the highest improvement level since 2008. 

    Vietnam is aiming to reach the level of ASEAN 4 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines) later this year in terms of business environment; become one of the top 70 and 80 countries in terms of start-ups and protection of minority investors, respectively; and among the top 30 countries listed by the World Bank in transparency and access to credit. 

    By 2020, the country also targets being among the top 40 countries ranked by the World Economic Forum in access to loans, achieving the average level of ASEAN 4 countries in competitiveness and that of ASEAN 5 (Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines) in terms of the Global Innovation Index released by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. 

    On e-government, comprehensive reform will be conducted in telecommunications infrastructure, human capital and online service indexes, so that the country will be rated among the top 80 countries in the UN e-government ranking.

    By the end of this year, most public services involving citizens and businesses will be launched at Level 3 and Level 4 which allows online payments and applications.

    The government asked ministers and leaders of ministry-level agencies, government units, centrally-run municipal and provincial People’s Committees to devise action plans before February 28 to execute the resolution. 

    Municipal and provincial authorities were requested to launch one-stop shop models to simplify and shorten time for administrative procedures involving taxes and fees.

    Deputy PM urges acceleration of highway project in Tien Giang

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked relevant ministries, sectors, and investors to work closely with authorities of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang to quicken the construction of  the Trung Luong – My Thuan expressway, aiming to complete the project by 2019 – one year ahead of the schedule.  

    During a working session with the local authorities, ministries, and sectors on March 10, the Deputy PM highlighted the significance of the infrastructure project to tapping into local economic potential and reducing traffic congestion, urging relevant units to take all-out efforts to ensure the set progress.

    He praised efforts made in overcoming difficulties to perform the project, saying that units involved need to pay special heed to both mobilising investment sources for the project, and ensuring safety in the process of construction and the quality of the work. 

    According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat, the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway has a total length of 51.1km, running through districts of Chau Thanh, Tan Phuoc, Cai Lay, Cai Be and Cai Lay town of Tien Giang. 

    It is implemented with a total investment of over 14.67 trillion VND (642.4 million USD). Land clearance for the work was basically completed and the construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of this year. 

    Le Van Huong, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee recommended the Deputy PM to urge investors to accelerate the construction progress, towards promoting socio-economic development and helping reduce traffic jams and accidents in the locality. 

    Previously, Deputy PM Dung made an inspection tour of the intersection between the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway and the Trung Luong-Ho Chi Minh City highway in Chau Thanh district, and examined the construction of a section of the Trung Luong-My Thuan highway in Cai Lay town.

    Hanoi, Japan beef up trade, tourism ties

    A forum on trade – tourism promotion between Hanoi and Japan took place in the capital city on March 10, with a range of cooperation pacts signed.

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said Hanoi welcomes Japanese investment in high-tech agriculture, urban railway projects, human resources training, tourism and health care.

    He pledged to create favourable conditions for Japanese investors.

    Nagai Katsuro, who oversees economics affairs at the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, said Japan has strongly invested in Vietnam for years and intends to increase capital in the northern region, including Hanoi, to make use of the competent workforce and potential market.

    The Japanese Government is considering raising official development assistance for Vietnam with a particular interest in major infrastructure projects in Hanoi, he noted.

    He also highlighted the appeal Vietnam has for Japanese tourists.

    Participating Vietnamese and Japanese firms discussed cooperation in tourism, health, culture, and transport.

    As part of the forum, Hanoi authorities and Japanese investors signed memorandums of understanding on various joint projects in the city, including the building of a shopping mall, the transfer of automatic flower cultivation technology, and the provision of flower seeds. Other projects mentioned were on developing an international-standard medicine distribution system and training operators for the Hanoi Metropolitan Metro Railway project.

    Japan is now the top investor in Hanoi, with more than 800 projects worth about 5.2 billion USD.

    Soc Trang to build high-quality shrimp farm

    The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang met representatives of the Viet-Uc Seafood Joint Stock Company on March 9 to discuss building the first high quality shrimp farm in the locality. 

    The 40 billion VND (about 1.75 million USD) project will sprawl 23 hectares in Huynh Ky Hamlet, Vinh Hai Commune, Vinh Chau District. Once operational, it will produce 3 – 4 billion juvenile shrimps. 

    The project aims to provide shrimp to producers nationwide, said Tony Dang Quoc Tuan, Vice President of Director Board of the Viet – Uc Seafood Joint Stock Company, adding that it is also hoped to help build a Vietnam shrimp brand.  

    Construction of the farm is set to start in April this year, helping Vinh Chau become a centre for supplying shrimp products and high-quality young shrimps in the Mekong Delta.

     The farm is expected to boost development of the local aquaculture sector while contributing 30 – 50 billion VND a year to the local budget. 

    Agencies in Vinh Chau District have been asked to carry out land clearance and support the investor in completing documents to implement the project, said Le Thanh Tri, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee. 

    As the biggest young shrimp producer in Vietnam, the Viet – Uc Seafood Company has seven shrimp farms from Nghe An to Ca Mau and one super-intensive indoor shrimp farming system in Bac Lieu.

    Leather, footwear industry seeks ways for growth

    The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) will run a leather and footwear promotion conference focusing on improving business and export capability for enterprises on March 15 in HCM City.

    About 300 firms manufacturing footwear and materials for the industry inside and outside Vietnam are expected to attend the conference 

    The enterprises are expected to discuss various problems in the industry, including planning, the investment environment and impact of free trade agreements.

    They will also touch on the state of the industry in Vietnam in the context of integration, market demand and technical requirements for the industry to benefit from free trade deals.

    Lefaso hopes the conference will bring benefits to local and foreign enterprises, promote cooperation and attract investment.

    Vietnam promotes trade in Egypt

    The Vietnam Embassy in Egypt is willing to support local firms in seeking Vietnamese partners to study each other’s market, stated Ambassador Do Hoang Long at a trade promotion workshop in Mansoura city, Dakahlia province, on March 9.

    The workshop was organised by the Vietnam Embassy and the business chamber of Dakahlia, gathering representatives from more than 40 major import-export companies in the province.

    In his speech, Long stressed that Vietnam offers favorable conditions to foreign investors.

    Based on their friendship, Vietnam and Egypt should intensify measures to boost partnerships, particularly in agro-forestry-fishery and tourism, the diplomat added.

    Introducing the local market, head of the Dakahlia business chamber Ahmed Roab said the workshop was an opportunity for Egyptian enterprises to learn about the Vietnamese market, thus facilitating trade-investment ties between localities of the two countries.

    Trade counsellor at the Vietnam Embassy Pham The Cuong informed the workshop of Vietnam’s business climate and policies for investment attraction, and fielded questions on trade affairs between the two countries. 

    According to Cuong, trade revenue between Vietnam and Egypt hit about 314 million USD last year, of Vietnamese exports to Egypt made up 249 million USD.

    Participants proposed Vietnam send business delegations to trade fairs in Egypt.

    They said they expected the Vietnam Embassy’s support would help Dakahlia enterprises boost exports, particularly fruit, to Vietnam.

    In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, trade counsellor Cuong said bilateral trade has fallen short of potential, while Egypt’s political unrest and currency depreciation affected Vietnamese goods in the market.

    However, the northeast African economy is being reformed, which could be a good sign for bilateral trade in the future, Cuong noted.

    Egypt has a population of 92 million, with import demand estimated at more than 80 billion USD per year.

    International Mekong Delta agriculture festival opens

    The International Agriculture Festival and Fair of the Mekong Delta region opens in Can Tho City on March 9, featuring nearly 150 domestic and international exhibitors.

    The five-day event includes 300 booths displaying agriculture-related products and technologies.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung said that the festival aims to create opportunities for scientists, inventors, enterprises, cooperatives and farmers to seek investment cooperation to branch out while promoting Mekong Delta agriculture.

    Some 50 standout businesses in the delta were awarded the “creative agricultural science” medals at the ceremony. The award honours enterprises and individuals who made remarkable achievements in the search for and production of high-tech equipment for agriculture.

    The festival also includes 14 seminars on using technology to improve productivity and quality and a programme to connect suppliers and buyers of agricultural technologies and equipment.

    In addition, cultural and entertainment activities are scheduled during the event such as a cooking contest and an Ao ba ba (Vietnamese silk ensemble) contest.

    The Mekong Delta, which has a city and 12 provinces, plays an important role in the country’s agrarian economy, accounting for 80 percent of rice exports and nearly 60 percent of seafood shipments.

    Hai Phong fosters investment, tourism links with Japan

    A forum was held in Hai Phong on March 12 to promote investment and tourism partnerships with Japan, one of the biggest investors in the northern port city.

    Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Le Van Thanh noted Japan is the fourth biggest trade partner and the largest official development assistance provider of Vietnam.

    Hai Phong was one of the first localities to welcome Japanese firms seeking business opportunities after Vietnam began the Doi Moi (Reform) process. Its achievements over the last three decades are partly thanks to Japanese investors, he noted.

    The city currently houses 486 foreign direct investment projects worth nearly 14 billion USD from 36 countries. They include 130 Japanese projects with combined capital of 4.14 billion USD. Japan ranks first in number of projects and second in investment capital in the city.

    Introducing local tourism potential, Thanh said Hai Phong is a coastal city with hundreds of islands of all sizes and magnificent landscapes, including Cat Ba Island – a UNESCO world biosphere reserve – and Do Son beaches.

    In 2016, the city posted economic growth of 11 percent, about 1.7 times higher than the national average. Hai Phong Port handled more than 80 million tonnes of goods, a year-on-year rise of 17 percent. 

    Meanwhile, about 3 billion USD of foreign investment was poured into Hai Phong, making the city the top foreign investment destination in Vietnam, Thanh said, adding that the city also has developed transport infrastructure.

    At the forum, Japanese entrepreneurs mentioned the benefits of enhanced partnerships with them to Hai Phong, especially in industry, tourism, and employment opportunities in Japan for Vietnamese people.

    Hai Phong and Japan signed three memorandums of understanding (MoU) on cultural exchanges and tourism promotion.  The city also inked an MoU on flower cultivation with the Greenwin company and another on developing logistics and transportation systems with Fukuyama Transporting Co. Ltd.

    Vietnam active in regional economic, trade integration

    Vietnam will continue reforming its economy, improving the business climate and fully implementing the commitments it has made to the free trade agreements (FTAs), actively contributing to regional economic and trade integration.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh made the statement at a recent ceremony to launch of the report “Charting a course for trade and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific” at the Australia Embassy in Washington D.C, the US.

    He noted the Vietnam – US relations, affirming that the two nations will continue fostering their comprehensive partnership in all fields, including raising the economic – trade relations to a new height on the win-win basis.

    As the host of APEC 2017, Vietnam will work with the US and other member economies to boost the dynamic development of the region, he said.

    According to the report, global and regional trade, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, has been suffering huge challenges because of a growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, reflected by Brexit and the US’s withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty, it said.

    Rise in inter-bank interest rates dismissed as seasonal

    Since mid-February interest rates on VND loans on the inter-bank market have surged, somewhat surprising analysts since liquidity at most banks is pretty steady.

    In the first week of March interbank rates for all tenors went up by 30-70 basis points from less than 4 percent.

    In fact, the average interest rate on the interbank market rose rather sharply, especially for overnight loans, by 0.66 percent a year to 4.22 percent.

    The rates for one-week and two-week loans went up by 0.36 percent and 0.28 percent to 4.32 percent and 4.44 percent per year, while one-month rates hardened by 0.3 percent to 4.74 percent.

    Some analysts said though liquidity in the banking sector is still high, it has reduced a bit.

    They pointed to the fact that the State Bank of Vietnam has been injecting money steadily in recent times through open market operations (OMO).

    According to Bao Viet Securities Company, between February 20 and 24 the central bank pumped in 15.715 trillion VND (698.4 million USD) through OMO. Meanwhile, bonds worth 5.036 trillion VND have matured.

    Also during this period the central bank issued seven- and 14-day treasury bonds worth 7 and 9 trillion VND, while bonds worth 49.9 trillion VND fell due.

    This means a total 33.9 trillion VND was pumped into the economy via treasury bills.

    Rising interest rates on the inter-bank market has helped stabilise the dollar-dong exchange rate after a strong rise by the dollar in recent times.

    Many analysts opined that the higher inter-bank rates would not last long, and expect them to fall sharply right in the end of the first quarter.

    Others said the increasing rates are not a cause for concern since the inter-bank rates remain below the levels that require the central bank to intervene.

    Besides, the banking sector’s loans-to-deposits ratio remains at 80-85 percent, meaning liquidity is good.

    In other words, the increase in the inter-bank rates is merely seasonal, they said.

    In the early part of the month credit institutions often park their money with the SBV to meet compulsory reserve requirements, and in the latter part actively lend money.

    That is why inter-bank interest rates often rise in the first and second weeks of a month and decrease later on.

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


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  • 03/16/17--04:05: Article 0
  • Experts support North-South Expressway project


    Several transport experts have thrown their support behind construction of the North-South Expressway despite public concerns over its huge cost, saying the road would play a vital role in north-south transport in the long run, especially in the absence of a high-speed railway.


    Experts support North-South Expressway project, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news 

    After the Ministry of Transport submitted the pre-feasibility study of the project to the Government with estimated capital of VND314.1 trillion (US$13.7 billion) last week, the public and some experts have deemed the project as unnecessary. 

    They said National Highway 1A had been widened with four lanes, in addition to railway and sea routes and Ho Chi Minh Road connecting the two ends of the nation.

    However, some other experts said the project will play a vital role in the long run.

    Nguyen Van Thu, former director of the Institute of Transport Planning and Management, told the Daily that National Highway 1A is forecast to become overloaded in the next few years, given the fast increasing number of vehicles. Railway lines are in poor condition while sea routes take a lot of time to travel.

    If the expressway is developed, it will facilitate goods transport between the north and south, saving a huge amount of time and money, he said.

    Transport expert Pham Sanh shared Thu’s view, saying that heavy congestion often grinds traffic to a standstill on many national highways.

    He said some sections of the planned expressway should be developed first, especially in regions with heavy traffic and where traffic accidents often occur.

    Besides, the Government should invest in expressways for Hanoi-Vinh, HCMC-Nha Trang and Trung Luong-Can Tho sections because of their necessity and feasibility.

    Such opinions are voiced as the Government is expected to convene a meeting on March 15 to discuss whether or not to develop the North-South Expressway.

    The North-South Expressway is expected to stretch 1,372 kilometers, beginning at the Cao Bo Intersection in the northern province of Nam Dinh and ending at the Dau Giay Intersection in the southern province of Dong Nai, according to the pre-feasibility study.

    The project requires total capital of VND314.1 trillion, with around VND96.6 trillion (US$4.2 billion) sourced from the State budget.

    The transport ministry has floated three options.

    Under the first option, three sections will be built first, namely Cao Bo (Nam Dinh)-Vinh (Nghe An), Cam Lo (Quang Tri)-Tuy Loan (Hue), and Phan Thiet (Binh Thuan)-Dau Giay (Dong Nai), stretching a combined length of 467 kilometers, with VND41.4 trillion (US$1.8 billion) funded by the State budget.

    In the second option, over 910 kilometers of the expressway will be constructed, including sections of Cao Bo-Van Ninh (Quang Binh), Cam Lo-Tuy Loan, Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa)-Dau Giay. The Government will provide VND63 trillion (US$2.7 billion).

    For the third option, the State budget will offer VND70 trillion (US$3.06 billion) to invest in 1,015 kilometers consisting of Cao Bo-Van Ninh, and Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen)-Dau Giay sections.

    The ministry has suggested the Government selecting the first option in order to meet transport demand and balance the State funding for other key transport infrastructure projects.

    SGT


    0 0
  • 03/16/17--04:27: Article 3
  • Foreign electronics manufacturers fighting possible anti-dumping tariff on PCM/VCM


    At the recent session held by Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to gather opinion from parties related to the investigation to decide whether to apply anti-dumping tariff on some polyurethane-coated steel sheet and vinyl-coated metal (PCM/VCM) products, big appliance manufacturers asked to get PCM/VCM imported in order to make electronic appliances out of the scope of the tariff and give them a separate HS code, otherwise they would reconsider their investments in Vietnam.

     
    A possible cost hike

    Samsung Electronics HCMC CE Complex (SEHC) said this kind of PCM/VCM is different from the kind used in construction in both technical specs and purpose, so they do not cause harm to the domestic industry.

    It said that the anti-dumping tariff, if applied, will make the company’s goods less competitive globally, and will limit the possibility of the company raising investment in Vietnam.

    SEHC estimated that the tariff would increase costs by about $25 million. “We proposed leaving PCM/VCM out of the scope of the anti-dumping tariff. We will work with the MoIT on controlling imports,” the company said in its speech at the session.

    LG Electronics Vietnam Haiphong said the PCM/VCM it is currently importing is not yet produced domestically. The domestically produced version does not meet PoHS standards and the technical specs the company needs, while imported PCM/VCM is more durable.

    LG has been importing zinc-coated unalloyed steel sheets (PCM/VCM), with the HS code 7210.7010 from China and South Korea in order to produce washing machines. Though domestically produced and imported goods have the same HS code, according to the company, the technical specs are largely different. LG proposed the same as Samsung.

    A representative from Panasonic also said that there should be another HS code for PCM/VCM used to produce appliances and it should be excluded from the scope of the anti-dumping tariff, explaining that the PCM/VCM produced domestically for construction does not meet PoHS standards and cannot be used to produce refrigerators.

    Panasonic said it planned to export more products made in Vietnam, to destination like Japan, but the anti-dumping tariff would force them to reconsider these plans and they may have to move the factory to another Asian country.

    Plight of domestic players

    Nghiem & Chinh Law Office proposed a 30 per cent tariff to be implemented for the duration of four years. The firm and steel companies that supported this tariff said that in 2013-2015 there was an unusual growth in colour-coated steel imports and there were signs of significant harm to the domestic industry.

    In 2015, the total revenue of colour-coated steel producers decreased by 11 per cent on-year. Production costs rose by 4 per cent. Net profit per product unit decreased by 82 per cent. The market share of domestic companies decreased by 10.66 percentage points. In 2013-2015, the decrease was an annual 8.5 percentage points on average.

     

    Inventory in 2016 also rose 3.5-fold of the 2013 volume, to 120,000 tonnes. Due to competition from imports, the price of similar domestically-produced colour-coated steel products decreased sharply in 2013-2016. In 2016, the price decreased by 35 per cent on-year.

    Vietnam Steel Association (VSA)’s data showed that in 2016 imports of colour-coated steel was 592,860 tonnes, up 91 per cent on-year and 357 per cent compared to 2013. The VSA also proposed the MoIT to consider the tariff in order for the Vietnamese steel industry to grow sustainably.

    By The Hai, VIR



    0 0
  • 03/16/17--04:37: Article 2
  • Vietnamese billionaires - the ‘disgraced supermen’


    As of March 6, 2017, seven out of 10 of Vietnam's richest stock billionaires were doing business in the real estate sector.


     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,  Pham Nhat vuong, Trinh van Quyet, billionaire

    In 2008, Hollywood introduced a superhero who was unlike anyone else before, played by Will Smith. The character was not welcomed in society, because he did not care about the side effects that he might cause when trying to help people. For example, when he tried to stop a train to save a person, he caused physical damage.

    Recalling the fantasy character, Tri Thuc Tre compared him with Vietnamese billionaires who got rich thanks to their investment in real estate projects.

    As of March 6, 2017, seven out of 10 of Vietnam's richest stock billionaires were doing business in the real estate sector.

    Some economists, when comparing Vietnam with developed economies, commented that the richest billionaires make money from technology, but Vietnamese billionaires' profits are mostly from real estate projects.

    Though appreciating what real estate billionaires contribute to the economy, the economists noted that Vietnam needs ‘technology billionaires’.

    Two of the real estate billionaires are Pham Nhat Vuong, president of Vingroup, and Trinh Van Quyet, president of FLC.

    The Forbes magazine on March 3 2016 announced the world's billionaire list 2016 in which Pham Nhat Vuong is still the only Vietnamese on Forbes' list of the world's richest people, ranked 1,011th.

    FLC has become especially well known since 2011 when FLC began listing shares on the bourse.
    The hallmark which helped FLC improve its fame was the FLC The Landmark Tower project, covering an area of 4,500 square meters on Le Duc Tho Road in Hanoi.

    Tran Du Lich, a renowned economist, said the ranking of billionaires in Vietnam does not truly reflect the asset value Vietnamese billionaires have, because analysts can only count the volume of stocks they hold, not the other kinds of assets.

    However, he said many people have become rich in the last 10-20 years thanks to investments in real estate, including land, mines, hydropower and forests.

    Professor Tran Van Tho from Waseda University said at a workshop on the nation’s policies for industrial development held several days ago in Hanoi that eight out of 10 rich people in Japan succeeded from industrial production, not from real estate investments.

    Tho said that real estate has attracted the biggest domestic and foreign investment in the last 10 years.

    A report of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) showed that $297.4 million worth of foreign direct investment capital poured into the real estate sector in January 2017, equal to 25 percent of entire year of 2016.

    “Vietnam won’t have successful industries as desired if it only has real estate and trade,” he said, adding that Vietnam has no other choice than stepping up industrialization.  


     Viet Ha, VNN


    0 0
  • 03/16/17--04:52: Article 1
  • Chairman of northern Vietnam province intimidated for putting brakes on sand exploitation


    The chairman of the People’s Committee in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh has been the victim of threats since launching a campaign to end harmful sand exploitation in a local river.

     

    An officer inspects a sand dredging barge in the Cau River in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh.

    Nguyen Tu Quynh, chairman of the provincial administration, has sent a letter notifying the prime minister that he and other officers had been threatened for ending a sand dredging project in the Cau River, an 83 kilometer long waterway snaking through Bac Ninh and Bac Giang Provinces.

    Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday, Chairman Quynh stated he had asked the Ministry of Public Security to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the investors behind the detrimental project.

    According to the official, three sand exploitation projects along the waterway were approved in 2014 and executed by the Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration (VIWA).

    Ha Luu Company, the contractor hired by VIWA to carry out one of the three, was found to be taking advantage of the project to illegally exploit sand, causing serious damage to local dams and riverbanks.

    The damage was only exacerbated by local sand thieves also operating in the area, according to the official.

    It cost the provincial People’s Committee about VND30 billion (US$1.3 million) to fix the environmental impacts of the project, resulting in the committee putting a ban on similar projects since 2015.

    However, a dredging project reappeared in November 2016, with around 40 boats operating on a daily basis, sparking concern from the local public over its threats to the environment.

    “Our probe revealed that the People’s Committee in Bac Giang Province approved the plan to be carried out until the end of 2017,” the Bac Ninh’s chairman stated.

    Officials threatened

    Chairman Quynh confirmed to Tuoi Tre he himself had been threatened after trying to interfere with the project.

    However, the official refused to reveal further details of the threats and intimidation experienced by him and other officers.

    “We have informed the prime minster of the situation. As competent authorities are probing our case, we cannot provide further information regarding the threats,” he elaborated.

    Aside from the investigation, the province’s leader has also requested the Ministry of Transport to conduct an evaluation on the river dredging project.

    He quoted the suggestion of the Bac Ninh People’s Committee to cease the project due to its negative effects on the environment.

    According to the chairman, the fact that the project developer and local sand thieves operate at the same time is creating a significant challenge for competent agencies to identify and prevent the criminals.

    Tuoitrenews


    0 0
  • 03/16/17--06:04: Article 0
  • Vietnam from a Briton’s perspective


     Editor’s note: Helen Major from the UK is sharing several of her personal observations of Vietnam since relocating to the Southeast Asian country with her Vietnamese husband.


    Ho Chi Minh City from above. Tuoi Tre


    I’m British. I’m married to a Vietnamese man. For the first few years of our marriage, we lived in Britain – where my poor husband had to deal with an intensely curious public whose only real knowledge of his country came from American war films. Recently, however, my husband, our two children, and I moved back to Vietnam. I’ve been to Vietnam before, of course, to visit my in-laws and see where my husband grew up, but actually living here has been quite an eye opener! My children have immediately become Vietnamese, apparently – but I (to my husband’s great amusement) am frequently confused. Here, for your delight, is my bewildered outsider’s perspective on this wonderful nation.

    Smiling

    This is the one that I’m finding it hardest to adjust to. In the UK, we smile to indicate happiness, friendliness, or a particularly British sort of frozen politeness. In Vietnam, a smile can mean all of these things – but it can also indicate apology, skepticism, submission, and more. By the time I’ve tried to think through what my smile could possibly indicate before curving lips upwards, the moment had passed. I’m sure I’ll get used to this, but, in the meantime, I’ll stick to frowning (my husband is used to that...).

    ‘Yes’

    British people like to think of ourselves as polite to a fault, but the Vietnamese take it to a whole new level. I honestly don’t think I’ve heard the word ‘no’ once since I got here. Whatever I ask, whatever I want, the answer is always a polite, courteous ‘yes’. And, confusingly, ‘yes’ sometimes means ‘no’, though I often can’t work out when that is. I think the whole ‘yes’ thing has a lot to do with the exquisite politeness I’ve found in Vietnam. Tact and diplomacy are an absolute way of life here, and politeness is such an art that I frequently feel like a great, rude elephant bumbling around and braying through my trunk. Consideration for others is also key in this country – so much so that it seems Vietnamese often go out of their way to live life in a way which is as good for others as it is for themselves. This seems to apply to everything – from choosing renewable energy suppliers, to holding doors, to (apparently) agreeing with everything that comes out of my loud, obnoxious Western mouth. While I love this, and have the greatest respect for all of the politeness, it does make me feel horrendously rude!

    Greetings

    There are so many different kinds of greeting in this country! I have no idea whether I’m supposed to fold my hands and bow, shake hands, bow from the waist, nod my head, or just clap my hands! Luckily, perceiving that I am an ignorant British person, many people will shake hands with me, Western-style, and make allowances for my failure to greet them in the proper fashion. However, I’ve not seen any other women shake hands, so I’m sure I’m doing it wrong.

    The traffic

    Oh. My. God. I absolutely cannot get my head around the sheer insanity of traffic here. It’s mind-boggling. How my husband and kids dart confidently and safely across roads is beyond me – more than once my poor, long-suffering husband has had to come back and escort me across the street as I dither and twitch on the pavement.

    Strangely similar

    Having said all of this, there still seems to be a strange number of similarities between Vietnam and Britain. They’re both small, rainy countries full of polite people, where the trains never run on time. It’s a home away from home!

    Tuoitrenews


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  • 03/19/17--01:19: Article 4
  • BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF


    New rules require fish and fishery processors to eCertify


    new rules require fish and fishery processors to ecertify hinh 0 

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued new rules that require processors of fish and fishery products to develop and implement e-certification systems for their operations.

    The Ministry last year published guidelines on its website to assist processors in the development of their e-certification plans and to provide information to help them obtain the necessary permits authorizing them to export product to foreign markets.

    The guide was developed by the National Agri-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department of the Ministry to provide ample time for processors to comply with the pending requirements for exporting to foreign markets.

    These guidelines are generally referred to by the Department as the National Single Window system.

    This system is expected to accelerate the pace of customs clearance, thereby improving trade effectiveness and competitiveness with foreign countries and within free trade regions such as ASEAN.

    Vietnam and other ASEAN members have all agreed to each work out a national single window system customs clearance mechanism to achieve an ASEAN Single Window system to enhance regional trade.

    These single window systems allow fish and fishery processors to declare information and documents in standardized form one-time only at a single location to complete and comply with all legal requirements concerning import, export and transit of product.

    In the rules just released, the Department is requiring fish and fishery producers to contact one of their local offices to obtain assistance in applying for and obtaining e-certification for exports through the National Single Window system.

    Effective as of March 1, the Republic of Korea will require all fish and fishery exporters to have complied with the National Single Window system e-certification rules and regulations pursuant to its free trade agreement with Vietnam and ASEAN.

    A similar situation exists with China and all exports to that market beginning March 1 will require the Vietnamese exporter to have complied with the requirements of the National Single Window system.

    Accordingly, effective March 15, the Department will stop providing assistance to any Vietnamese processor experiencing problems with exports to the ROK or China that has failed to properly register and comply with the law and related regulations for e-certification.

    In addition, the Department put all fish and fishery producers on notice that shipments of product to the EU will also soon be subject to e-certification and the National Single Window system requirements.

    The Department said it will issue further guidance for complying with the EU requirements later.

    MoIT to lower safeguard duty on imported monosodium glutamate

    The safeguard duty on monosodium glutamate imported into Vietnam will be lowered from March 25, 2017, according to a decision issued recently by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

    The safeguard duty of 4,390,999 VND per tonne will expire on March 24, 2017. The new duty, set at 3,951,899 VND per tonne, will be imposed from March 25, 2017 until March 24, 2018, the ministry’s Decision 920/QD-BCT dated March 10 says.

    The MoIT’s Competition Management Authority said countries and territories exempted from the safeguard duty are listed in Annex 1 of the decision.

    Monosodium glutamate imported into Vietnam has been subject to the safeguard duty since March 25, 2016, and this imposition will last for four years. The safeguard duty rate will be gradually cut down and slashed to 0 VND per tonne from March 25, 2020.

    Headquarters of Binh Duong’s Kocham becomes operational

    The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kocham) in Binh Duong inaugurated its headquarters building in the southern province on March 17.

    Covering an area of 1,500 metre square, the eight-storey building is built by the Binh Duong Kocham Ltd Co (established by Kocham of Binh Duong branch) with a total investment of 2 million USD.

    It provides not only office space for businesses from the Republic of Korea (RoK) operating in Binh Duong province but also a venue for cultural activities of RoK nationals working and residing in the locality.

    Lee Kwi Jong, Vice Chairman of Kocham Binh Duong said the province has launched many policies to improve the local investment environment and develop infrastructure, thus attracting the interest of RoK firms.
    He said the new headquarters will contribute to luring more investment from RoK to the province.

    To date, the RoK is the third largest foreign investor in Binh Duong with 570 projects with total investment of more than 2.25 billion USD.

    Vietnam, Thailand hoped to boost ties in electronics industries

    Vietnam and Thailand have numerous opportunities to boost partnership in electronics and refrigeration industries, said Chanthapat Panjamanond, an official at the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

    Panjamanond, head of the industrial products division at the ministry’s Department of International Trade Promotion, made the remark at an event in Ho Chi Minh City on March 17 to introduce electronics and refrigeration exhibitions.

    The two countries can become partners in producing electronic and refrigerating equipment as their respective advantages can support each other, he said, elaborating that Vietnam has certain strengths in producing solid-state drives for refrigerators, TVs and air conditioners. Meanwhile, Thailand is regarded as one of the world’s manufacturing hubs with a number of famous electronics and refrigeration brands.

    The official noted stronger bilateral cooperation can help the two countries increase trade, pointing out the fact that Vietnam is importing a relatively large number of electronic equipment from Thailand. However, the import is mainly conducted through a third party, pushing up prices when the products are sold in Vietnam.

    Thailand hopes that more and more Vietnamese businesses will partner with Thai producers to beef up the trading of electronic and refrigerating products. It can also assist Vietnam in manufacturing electrical, electronic and refrigeration equipment by providing high-quality components.

    Sarod Nikimaew, a representative of the organising board of the Bangkok RHVAC 2017 and Bangkok E&E 2017 exhibitions, said Thailand opens large-scale fairs to connect global enterprises with leading manufacturers in the complete supply chain of electric, electronic and refrigeration products.

    Bangkok RHVAC 2017 is one of the world’s five biggest trade fairs on refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. Meanwhile, Bangkok E&E 2017 will showcase the latest technologies for electronic production. Both events are scheduled to take place in Bangkok from September 7-10.

    The organising board said Vietnam should make use of these exhibitions to popularise its outstanding electronic and refrigeration products.

    Changes to institutions urged to improve rice value chain

    Changes to management institutions are needed to improve the rice value chain and Vietnamese rice’s competitiveness, experts said at a workshop in Hanoi on March 17.

    Speaking at the conference, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) Nguyen Dinh Cung said the biggest challenge at the moment is to shift to quality management and promote cooperation and linkage in the chain.

    He stressed that the role of farmers’ organizations and professional organizations in the rice value chain is very important.

    Presenting research results on the existing rice value chain institutions, Dang Quang Vinh, researcher at the CIEM, said the rice cultivation area increased quickly from 2007 and the output rose by nearly 10 million tonnes in the 2005-2015 period.

    Rice yield per hectare rose to 5.76 tonnes, the highest in Southeast Asia and rice export grew 14 percent annually on average in volume and 10 percent in value in the 1989-2012 period.

    Nevertheless, production scale was relatively small with each household having an average 0.44 hectare of land, and rice quality was low and inconsistent.

    According to experts, the rice sector will face a lot of difficulty in the upcoming years due to small scale production which makes it hard to apply scientific and technological advances, climate change, and bad farming practices such as the excessive use of chemicals.

    The research recommended that in order to improve the value of rice production, it is necessary to clarify the right of property ownership, which will serve as the foundation for other activities such as investment, the development of an agricultural land market, and land accumulation for large-scale production.

    Besides that, emphasis should be placed on quality, productivity and farmers’ income instead of quantity and supply.

    A more comprehensive approach to food security is also needed, which pays more attention to nutrition than to rice quantity, according to the research.

    Construction begins at big service-entertainment complex in Kien Giang

    Construction of a 40,000-m2 service-entertainment complex in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang’s Rach Gia City started on March 18.

    Built at a cost of more than 300 billion VND (13.16 million USD), the complex at Phu Cuong Group’s high-end urban area comprises 12 facilities, including a water park, a marina, a helipad, and a 6,000 sq.m sea-view square, along with tennis courts, pools, and an entertainment park.

    It is scheduled to be operational after three years of construction.

    The complex is located on the 30-ha Phu Gia artificial island, a sea-encroaching project.

    According to Director General of Phu Cuong Group Huynh Ha Phuong, the urban area is the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta, which could contribute to making tourism a spearhead sector of Kien Giang by 2020.

    Since 1997, Phu Cuong, one of the leading companies specialised in seafood processing exports in Vietnam, has carried out three sea-encroaching projects in Rach Gia city, helping the city expand by an additional 550 hectares

    Vietnam association of supporting industries established

    The Vietnam Association of Supporting Industries (VASI) was officially established in Hanoi on March 18 with a view to contributing to relevant policy planning and connecting domestic and foreign markets.

    The move is one of the important results of the project “Vietnam Supporting Industries to Europe” within the framework of the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project funded by the European Union. The project is being conducted by the Supporting Industry Enterprise Development Centre and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Institute for Industrial Policies and Strategies from June 2014 – June 2017.

    Truong Thanh Hoai, Director of the MoIT’s Heavy Industries Department, said Vietnam’s processing and manufacturing sector contributes just 14 percent of the gross domestic product, much lower than Thailand’s 26 percent and China’s 36 percent.

    He attributed such weak performance to limited connectivity among domestic enterprises as well as between them and foreign partners, adding that, the birth of VASI is crucial in the current context to help fine-tune relevant policies, thus creating a driving force for support industries.

    VCCI-ITB launches IoT Open Community for Vietnam

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Institute of Information and Technology for Business (VCCI-ITB) launched the Internet of Things Open Community for Vietnam (IOCV) in Hanoi on March 15.

    The IOCV was founded with the mission of gathering social resources to develop open IoT, with free sharing among the Vietnamese enterprise community and consumers in the context of the global fourth industrial revolution.

    Large and small companies operating in many fields, especially information and technology, are participating in the project.

    IOCV has admitted 21 members, including many enterprises and organisations in information and technology, so far including ITB-VCCI, CMC Telecommunication Infrastructure Corporation, Delco Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company and NetNam Corporation.

    Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nguyen Quang Vinh, deputy general secretary of VCCI, called it an important event for the business community in Vietnam.

    “The launch of IOCV opens a new path toward IT development, creating a strong wave with the contribution of the IT community to national development.”

    VN Index falls on portfolio review

    Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index fell back on March 17 while exchange-traded funds accelerated trading on the last day of portfolio reviews for the first quarter of 2017.

    The HCM Stock Exchange’s index dropped 0.6 percent to close at 710.54 points, reversing from the previous day’s gain of 0.3 percent.

    The March 17 decline also sent the VN Index down for a second week with a total decrease of 0.2 percent from the previous trading week.

    The focus of the stock market during the day was the portfolio review conducted by the two major foreign-run exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are present in Vietnam’s securities market: FTSE Vietnam ETF and VNM Vietnam ETF.

    On the last day of the portfolio review, the two ETFs helped boost market trading liquidity sharply with nearly 253.2 million shares being traded worth 5.2 trillion VND (231.8 million USD).

    March 17’s trading figures were 41.4 percent and 32 percent higher in trading volume and trading value, respectively, compared to the day before.

    The stock market fell as the ETFs purchased shares of the targeted companies through advance negotiations with shareholders given high supply from other investors, keeping the prices of those stocks at very low levels.

    Foreign investors recorded a net sell value of 286.36 billion VND, in contrast to the 197.2 billion VND net buy value made on March 16.

    Stocks that were added into the investment portfolios of those ETFs included property developer Novaland (NVL) and Faros Construction Corp (ROS).

    The new strategy used by the ETFs sent the two stocks down to their daily trading limit of 6.9 percent and 7 per cent, respectively.

    As Faros and Novaland are the two large-cap groups in the stock market, the decline of their share prices were the major factor pushing the VN Index down.

    In addition, other blue chips also ended in the “red” area and provided little support for the southern market.

    On the opposite side, the HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange gained 0.5 percent to end at 88.38 points. The northern market index has rallied for a fourth day with a total growth of 1.6 percent.

    The four-day rally also helped the HNX Index record a four-week rising streak. It has increased by 2.9 percent since February 17.

    More than 64.7 million shares were exchanged on the HNX market, worth 951 billion VND.

    ROK business leaders on trade mission to Danang

    A delegation of governmental officials and business leaders from the Republic of Korea (ROK) are visiting with their counterparts in Danang in a push for a greater share of business with Vietnam.

    One of the visiting governmental officials has characterized a boost in commerce with Danang as ‘critical’ to the economic future of the ROK.

    The trade trip is the latest step toward implementing economic cooperation agreements between the governments of the two countries and collaboration agreements among their business communities.

    The trip continues building upon the active trade, tourism and business relationships between the two economies that was augmented with the signing of the Vietnam-ROK free trade agreement in 2015.

    Luring further investment to the central highlands

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders of Ministries and sector have promised to create favorable conditions for the Central Highlands to tap its potential.

    At a conference to promote investment in the Central Highlands, investors promised to accompany the region to boost its growth.

    Over the past few years, Central Highlands provinces have strengthened investment promotion and brought into play their potential.

    From 2011 to 2015, the region’s development investment reached nearly US$12 billion, a year on year increase of 11.33%. Investment by the private sector increased from 53.4% to 69.28%.

    There are 140 FDI projects worth US$800 million being implemented in the province. In the next five years, total investment in the region is expected to reach US$10 billion.

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung urged the region to boost its development to ensure its stability. He said the Ministry of Planning and Investment will help the region realize this goal.

    He said “The Ministry of Planning and Investment promises to create breakthroughs in improving the business environment and supporting enterprises. The Ministry will work with other ministries and sectors and central highlands provinces to develop specific policies, promote the local investment environment, and address difficulties to increase inter-regional connectivity and mobilize resources to contribute to the region’s rapid and sustainable development”.

    The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Le Minh Hung said the State Bank will continue to work with ministries, sectors and localities to fine-tune specific credit mechanisms and realize credit policies for the region.

    Mr Hung said, "We will ask our credit organizations to ensure sufficient credits for the region. Based on the development plan of the region and each locality, we will work out ways to help enterprises and individuals obtain investment capital. At this conference, credit organizations pledged to lend more than US$13 billion for 36 projects to boost the regional socio-economic development.”

    Foreign investment in the central highlands region remains modest. So far, the region’s foreign investment accounts for only 0.65% in terms of projects and 0.25% in terms of registered capital of Vietnam’s total foreign investment.

    Minister Nguyen Chi Dung urged the region to reform investment promotion methods and survey investors’ needs.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam needs to ensure macro-economic stability and maintain the value of the Vietnamese dong to attract foreign investors to the central highlands and Vietnam.

    Mr. Phuc said the Vietnamese government will provide favorable mechanisms for investors.

    He said “It’s important to protect property rights, human rights, and citizen rights in line with the Constitution and law. The Vietnamese government will continue to improve Vietnam’s business environment to be one of ASEAN’s top investment destinations.”

    Shinya Ezima, Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which has had a number of investment projects in the Central Highlands over the past few years, said he believes that the Central Highlands has great potential. He said JICA will increase its investment in the region in the near future.

    The Prime Minister says the Central Highlands plans to focus on developing organic agriculture, and ecological biodiversity, and promoting its cultural heritage. Because of commitments made at the Investment Promotion Conference, the Central Highlands region expects that rapid, sustainable growth will make it a key economic region.

    HCM City keeps priority for VN goods

    HCM City plans to continue promoting the “Vietnamese give priority to using Vietnamese goods” campaign.

    Speaking at a meeting on March 16 to review last year’s campaign, Trần Tấn Ngời, vice chairman of the HCM City Fatherland Front Committee, said many promotional events, including trade fairs, have been organised to showcase local products in the city, even in its rural areas.

    Domestically-made goods now account for 80-90 per cent of all products retailed, according to Ngời.

    Awareness of the importance of the domestic market has improved among companies, and they pay attention to brand registration, developing products to customers’ tastes and expanding their distribution network even in remote areas, he said.

    Ngời said Fatherland Front Committee, the city Department of Information and Communication and the Business Association of Vietnamese High-Quality Products would set up a website on domestically-made products this year.

    He admitted the campaign had shortcomings since many enterprises had yet to focus on improving quality, resulting in many products failing to meet consumers’ needs.

    The campaign, though large in scale, had not captured much attention among consumers.

    Võ Thị Dung, deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, said a survey of 4,000 consumers by the city Party Committee’s Information and Education Commission found that only 60.1 per cent of respondents were interested in the campaign last year compared to 67.3 per cent in 2014, she said.

    The number giving priority to buying Vietnamese goods reduced to 65 per cent from 71 per cent in 2014, she said.

    The city would continue to promote the campaign this year to raise public awareness, she said.

    She urged relevant agencies to review their communication methods to improve the efficiency, with a focus on strengthening co-operation with communication agencies.

    They should bolster checks to prevent fake goods from threatening the health of consumers and to increase consumer confidence in locally-made products, she said.

    FPT plans $4.39mn employee share issuance

     FPT's 2016 business results and 2017 plans approved
    The FPT Corporation (HSX stock code FPT) has recently approved the issuance of a employee stock option plan (ESOP), with beneficiaries being employees at Level No.5 or above and other special staff who have made important contributions to the company’s development.
    It plans to issue nearly 2.3 million shares to the selected employees at a price of VND10,000 ($0.44) per share in April. Sale of the shares is restricted for three years.
    FPT shares are now trading around VND46,000 ($0.44), making the ESOP issuance worth over VND100 billion ($4.39 million).
    In a document expected to be submitted to FPT’s upcoming annual general shareholders meeting, the company’s Board of Directors will seek approval of a dividend payment for 2016 at a rate of 15 per cent per share. It also plans to pay a dividend for 2017 at a rate of 20 per cent, in cash.
    Regarding its ESOP in the 2017-2019 period, sales are restricted for three years and the quantity each year is not to exceed 0.5 per cent of charter capital at the time of issue. The issue will be made from 2018 to 2020.
    FPT is the leading IT company in Vietnam and was the first internet service provider (ISP) and internet content provider (ICP) in Vietnam. Its shares were listed on December 13, 2006 on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HSX).

    CTI to issue 20mn shares

    According to a resolution from the Board Management at the Cuong Thuan IDICO Investment and Development Joint Stock Company (HSX stock code CTI), the company has set a revenue target of VND1.396 trillion ($61.27 million) and after-tax profit of VND140.9 ($6.2 million) for 2017, with an expected cash dividend of 17 per cent. In the second quarter of the year the company will pay a cash dividend for 2016 of 16 per cent.
    At the same time, to meet investment needs this year, the Board also agreed to submit a plan to issue shares to increase charter capital to the next annual general meeting of shareholders, which is to be divided into two parts: the issuance of ESOP shares to employees, and a private placement to strategic investors. The Board plans to issue 2 million ESOP shares at a price of VND15,000 ($0.66) per share at a rate of 4.65 per cent of outstanding shares, with sales limited for one year.
    It also plans to offer 18 million shares to strategic investors at a price of VND22,000-25,000 ($0.97-1.1) per share at a rate of 41 per cent of outstanding shares. The offering is expected to be conducted in the first or second quarter, after approved by relevant State agencies. The total amount raised from the offering will be VND462 billion ($20.33 million).
    According to the Board of Management, the capital mobilized will be used to invest in the build-transfer (BT) Ring Road around Tri An Lake in southern Dong Nai province, a social housing project in Tam Hoa in Dong Nai, and investment in machinery and equipment for the Tan Cang 8 mine and the Doi Chua 3 mine in Dong Nai, and the Xuan Hoa mine in northern Vinh Phuc province. The remainder will be used to restructure short-term debts and other debt. Strategic investors must meet financial capacity requirements and commit to contribute to the development of CTI.
    Mr. Tran Nhu Hoang, Chairman of CTI, said that many funds have expressed an intention to participate in the offering, of which its existing major shareholder - VOF Investment Limited - expects to register to buy 2 million shares. In 2017, he added, revenue from construction and fee collections will increase sharply, with fee increases mainly coming from the build-operate-transfer (BOT) National Highway No.91 project, as the final stage has recently been completed and fees are now being collected. In its stone business, the company has invested in two more crushers and plans to double its capacity compared to 2016.

    Office-tels still without legal framework

    Office-tels, which combine residential and commercial uses and have been growing in popularity in Vietnam’s real estate market over the last three years, remain unrecognized in the country’s legal system and have difficulties in development as a result.
    The issue was discussed at the “Office-tel Market: Development Needs and Difficulties to be Resolved” conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 17.
    According to Mr. Nguyen Tran Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), the office-tel model has been mushrooming for the last three years, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, where there are 40-50 projects. As it is new, however, the legal framework is yet to be adjusted, creating many concerns and problems for authorities, investors, and customers in regard to approval, licensing, investment, distribution and transactions.
    “The greatest obstacle is the issue of granting land use right certificates because the apartment is neither fully used for accommodation nor as an office,” Mr. Nam said.
    For example, in a ten-story building with seven floors for apartments, the owners of the apartments are entitled to a long-term land use rights certificate, while the owners of office-tels on the three remaining floors can only secure a 50-year license. As a result, there will be issues 50 years down the track as to how authorities will act, Mr. Nam said.
    Lawyer Tran Duc Phuong from the Ho Chi Minh City Lawyers’ Association told the conference that the latest Property Law 2014 does not regulate office-tels, so the government must promptly complete the legal framework to recognize and regulate the segment.
    Mr. Nguyen Manh Khoi, Deputy Director of the Department of Housing and Real Estate Market Management under the Ministry of Construction, said there are five main obstacles that need to be resolved when building the legal framework for this type of real estate.
    Firstly, there needs to be an accurate definition of office-tels. Secondly, ownership is only 50 years. Thirdly, it is necessary to specify that investors are authorized to build office-tels on land that is planned for housing or for mixed-use developments. Fourthly, if defining it as a type of property for living, investors must pay other land use fees. Finally, office-tels must also have standards in design, utilities and infrastructure.
    Cushman & Wakefield’s data show that the office-tel product line is well-suited to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), startups, foreign companies wishing to open a representative office, or long-term foreign experts working in Vietnam. Forty per cent of tenants at most office-tel projects are startups and companies wishing to open representative offices, while 10-15 per cent of buyers have actual accommodation needs and the remainder are buyers planning to sub-lease.
    CBRE Vietnam commented that with the combination of both commercial and residential elements, office-tels offer many benefits for both the investor and the user or owner. The economical element is also a positive point in the eyes of users, rather than paying office rents and other fees.
    It also provides more options in terms of office rentals and contributes to enriching a real estate product’s structure and helps in recovering cash flow faster than other types of commercial property.

    Domestic steel prices rise

    Steel prices on the domestic market have gone up by VND400,000-VND600,000 per ton compared to January and steel production also increased as makers stepped up operations after the Tet holiday, according to Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).

    Nguyen Van Sua, vice president of VSA, said the current steel prices at factories are around VND10.6 million to VND11.2 million per ton. Steel prices have risen due to higher material prices and world prices, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

    Beside an increase in the price of domestic steel billet, purchases by distributors to meet part of February's demand and to add stocks for March sales, especially in the northern regions, also caused steel prices to climb.

    According to VSA data, early March domestic steel scrap prices increased to US$285- US$290 per ton, up US$$15-20 per ton compared to late January and early February.

    Meanwhile, world steel billet prices reached US$430-440 per ton in early March, up by US$20-25 per ton. Therefore, domestic steel billet prices had increased from VND9,600 to VND9,800 per kilogram in late February and VND10,200 per kg in early March.

    The hot rolled steel prices remained high at US$515-523 per ton while the highest price recorded was US$528 per ton at the end of last year.

    In February, VSA members’ production reached more than 1.5 million tons, up nearly 29% year-on-year and more than 11% month-on-month while steel sales reached over 1 million tons, up nearly 74% compared to the previous month and over 43% higher compared to last year.

    Exports of steel products reached over 267,700 tons, down 4.5% from last year, but up nearly 7% compared to last month.

    VSA forecasts March sales will continue to increase over February.

    According to the VSA, the local steel industry will continue to face difficulties this year since the United States, which accounted for 27% of Vietnam's steel exports last year, is investigating a tax evasion case against Vietnam given its suspicion that cheap Chinese steel was “retagged” as Vietnamese one for export to the US. The case will cause difficulties for Vietnam’s steel exports stateside, especially with galvanized steel.

    Medical insurance data connection choppy

    Nationwide medical data connection on the portal of the Vietnam Social Security (VSS) has reached 94%. However, the transmission of data is still slow due to regular jamming, especially from lower-level health centers to the portal.

    At a teleconference on March 16 on information technology application in healthcare management and health insurance payment, Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan said smooth connection would facilitate operations of the medical insurance company and prevent health insurance fund profiteering as well as save time for patients.

    While the general connection rate is high, at 94%, some provinces have suffered from the low rate of medical data connection, including Thanh Hoa (69%), Bac Ninh (81%), and Hai Phong (80%), according to statistics of the VSS. The low rates are due to technical issues such as poor power supply or low internet coverage.

    As planned, 100% of provincial and central medical centers are expected to get hooked up to the health insurance company’s portal before June 30. Simultaneously, the deadline for district-level medical centers to get connected to the medical data system is August 31, 2017.

    Huge volume of data to be transmitted – including more than 17,000 technical items, about 20,000 types of drugs and thousands of medical materials – has made the above targets hard to reach.

    Le Lam, deputy director of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), also pointed out a technical issue of the portal itself. He explained the portal does not have an error reporting system yet. When medical centers cannot update information on the portal, they do not know what is incorrect. This has led to the need to update data several times, thereby overwhelming the system.

    Health insurance profiteering is still serious, according to a report of VSS at a meeting with the Committee for Social Affairs of the National Assembly in early March.

    Accordingly, since mid-2016, over 1.2 million people with health insurance coverage have managed to get health checks and treatments twice or more per month. The total number of doctor visits is more than 15 million, including over 83,000 people with weekly visits. In addition, there are three million patients with multiple visits on the same day.

    Transport sector to get more support from South Korea

    South Korea is interested in strengthening cooperation with Vietnam in the transport sector, said Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea Choi Jeong-ho in a meeting with the Ministry of Transport of Vietnam on Wednesday.

    In particular, Korea wants to join hands in numerous railways, seaports, shipbuilding and logistics projects in Vietnam, especially Long Thanh international airport project in Dong Nai Province.

    "We are willing to share our experience and support Vietnam in transport development, especially in training human resources and connecting transport businesses and agencies between the two countries," Vneconomy quotes Choi Jeong-ho as saying.

    According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong, by the end of 2016, Vietnam and Korea have cooperated to complete four transport projects, including Vinh Thinh Bridge, the Southern coastal corridor, the intelligent transport system (ITS) for HCMC – Trung Luong Expressway, and upgrade of Chi Linh - Bieu Nghi section of National Highway 18. Currently, the two countries are carrying out five projects with a total value of US$595.84 million and formulate proposals for five new projects, including three railway projects.

    "In the aviation sector, the two countries have strong cooperation not only in transporting passengers and cargo but also in ground services and human resources training. In addition, South Korea is working closely with Vietnam in the maritime sector, focusing on shipbuilding, seaport construction and investment in loading equipment," Truong said.

    Truong has asked the Korean side to consider two key projects in Vietnam, namely North-South expressway and North-South high-speed railway, while strengthening cooperation and investment in other transportation areas.

    At the meeting, Nguyen Hong Truong and Choi Jeong-ho also signed a memorandum between the two ministries on cooperation in the railway sector and development of multimodal transport systems, logistics centers and cargo terminals.

    HCM City property firms aim for cooperation, stability

    Ho Chi Minh City needs better cooperation among the State, developers, builders, material suppliers and banks to improve the local property market, the HCM City Real Estate Association has said.

    In a document sent to city authorities on developing the property market from now to 2020 with a vision toward 2025, the association’s Chairman Le Hoang Chau said that such cooperation would help the sector develop in a more transparent and stable manner.

    He said that State agencies along with enterprises should improve administrative procedures, develop a one-stop policy, and reduce the number of procedures as well as set up a database of the city’s real estate market.

    Such cooperation among all parties would result in better material prices, Chau said.

    Citing the shortage of city funds, the association also suggested using the financing methods of build-transfer (BT) or public-private partnerships (PPP).

    It also said the city should strictly manage and ensure the quality of construction, and develop social and commercial housing at affordable prices.

    Low-cost housing is especially needed, the association said, because nearly 3 million of the 13 million people in the city are migrants, or 23 percent of the total population.

    Of the total, there are about 400,000 students, with 50,000 people marrying annually.

    The association also cited a Department of Construction report which said that 500,000 families in the city do not own housing.

    During the 2016-20 period, 81,000 households needed social housing, the report said.

    Developing social housing and inexpensive commercial housing as well as housing leased at low prices are the key responsibilities of the city, it said.

    In the last 10 years, HCM City’s real estate market has developed strongly, with two bubble periods, one in 2007 and the other in 2010.

    The market was frozen, however, from 2008 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2013.

    The market began to recover in late 2013, but stagnant signs appeared in mid-2016 as there was an imbalance between demand and supply.

    While supply has primarily focused on the luxury segment with condotels and luxury apartments, the demand was for apartments and houses with affordable prices of around 1 billion VND.

    Over the last 10 years, new housing was built in all districts, beginning in the central part of the city and then moving to the southern area.

    In the last four years, activity has moved to the city’s eastern area, whose key part is the new Thu Thiem urban area.

    Currently, about 1,200 housing projects are registered in the city. Of those, 500 have been suspended because of land clearance problems.

    Stocks to fall further as US interest rate hike looms

    The stock market will likely continue its losing streak this week as investors stay cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting. The sharp drop in oil prices during the last three sessions will also be a dampener, analysts say.

    The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange fell 0.5 percent to finish at 712.21 points on March 10. The index recorded a total fall of 0.6 percent after the last two trading days.

    The two-day losing streak also erased all gains the VN Index had made in the previous four-day period. It closed down slightly below the previous trading week’s ending level of 712.62 points.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index rose 0.5 percent on March 10 to close the last trading session at 88.13 points. The northern market index rallied total 1.8 percent in four days and gained 1.7 percent week on week.

    Last week’s daily average trading volume fell 3.1 percent to nearly 236.7 million shares, while daily average trading value increased by 8.8 percent to 4.18 trillion VND (186 million USD).

    Foreign investors recorded a net sell value of 131.26 billion VND in Vietnam’s stock market, which was a big reverse compared to a net buy value of 349.2 billion VND made in the previous trading week.

    The fact that the VN Index fell through the level of 715 points showed investors’ sentiment was low as they tried to offload parts of their investment portfolios to avoid upcoming negative effects, analysts at BIDV Securities Corp (BSC) noted.

    These effects would be caused by international macroeconomic factors, including the volatility of crude prices and the expectations for a US interest rate increase, BSC added.

    “The stock market’s conditions will remain negative this week. The VN Index may recover slightly in the first one or two days, but its general direction is downward.”

    Investors will highly pay attention to the US Fed’s meeting this week, in which US officials are expected to raise interest rates for the first time this year.

    “As the US employment rate in February was robust on March 10’s report, the Fed will undoubtedly increase the interest rates in the coming decision,” said Nguyen Ngoc Lan, head of brokerage division at the Agribank Securities Company.

    There are two scenarios for Vietnam’s stock market in the case the US central bank decides to raise the rates, Lan said.

    If the US interest rates are lifted by 0.25 percentage point, the most expected development, the impact on Vietnamese stocks will be low as investors have all prepared for the decision, she said.

    But if they go up by 0.5 percentage point, Vietnam will see negative impacts on its securities market with foreign investment moving out of the local market, Lan said.

    Nguyen Hong Khanh, head of the market analysis division at Sacombank Securities Company, said that the incoming interest rate hike is a certainty and the US Fed is expected to lift its rates two more times this year.

    “Increased interest rates will make foreign investors to switch their capital from emerging markets to the US to benefit from higher deposit rates, thus emerging currencies will have to bear a lot of depreciation pressure,” Khanh said.

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


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  • 03/19/17--01:30: Article 3
  • Social News In Brief


    Northwestern culture converges at Dien Bien Ban Flower Festival


     

    March is the month when Ban (Bhauhinia) flowers bloom in Vietnam’s northwest and Dien Bien province organizes its Ban Flower Festival to honor, preserve, and promote local culture and boost its tourism.

    The ban flower is typical of Vietnam’s northwestern region. The flower symbolizes the culture, soul, and pride of people in Dien Bien, Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, and Hoa Binh province.

    Targest Ban flower growing area, Dien Bien province, in recent years has held an annual ban flower festival in March to introduce its landscape, culture, and people and boost local tourism. 

    Taking place from March 11th to 14th this year, the festival coincides with the 5th Dien Bien Culture, Sports, and Tourism Days. It features a range of cultural and sports activities plus a special opening performance on Sunday at the May 7 Square. 

    Le Van Quy, Vice Chairman of the Dien Bien Provincial People’s Committee, said “The opening of the festival features a combination of the contemporary and traditional cultures of Dien Bien province and the beauty of ban flowers. There are a range of activities taking place in the city, districts, townships, and villages during the Ban Flower Festival and Dien Bien Culture and Tourism Days.”

    During the Ban Flower Festival is was an exhibition featuring the culture and tradition of ethnic minorities in Dien Bien, performances of local songs, dances and musical instruments, and showcases of ethnic folk festivals and rituals. 

    Mr. Quy said Dien Bien province has 21 ethnic groups and each of them has its own customs and culture which create a colorful picture for the festival.

    He said “At this year’s festival, we organized a number of new activities including a beauty contest which drew contestants from 8 northwestern provinces. Organizing this contest, we wanted to introduce Dien Bien, its land and people. The contest created an opportunity for 8 northwestern provinces to share experience in boosting tourism. We will also organize a series of cultural events including a celebration of the historic Dien Bien Phu victory on May 7th to attract more tourists.”

    At the Ban Flower Festival, visitors were invited to sample local food including dishes made from flowers such as the ban flower salad of the Thai.

    Lo Thi Tieu Oanh of Noong Chun village in Dien Bien city said “The Thai people make various dishes from ban flowers, but the most popular one is ban salad. The taste of the flower can be mixed with vegetables and  bamboo shoots to create a very special flavor.”

    At this time of the year, ban flowers are in bloom. Their pink and white colors and fragrance pervade the roads to Dien Bien drawing tourists to the northwestern region.

    Registration opens for upcoming Red Cross classes

    The Hanoi Red Cross in collaboration with REACH has announced that registration is now open for free training classes for disadvantaged youth who meet the eligibility requirements.

    Training is available for the six vocations of food and beverage; housekeeping; sales and marketing; web and graphic design; nail art; and hairdressing, makeup and personal grooming.

    In addition, there are classes for those interested in becoming a local tour guide in Hanoi or providing home-stay services. Class lengths vary from three to six months and are provided free of charge including room and board. 

    Class sizes are limited with registration on a first come, first served basis. For those interested in finding out if they qualify or to obtain more information about the classes or to register please visit http://reach.org.vn/en-US/Index.htm.

    National Futsal qualifier opens with 3-3 draw

    Hosts Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng were held to a 3-3 draw by visitors Sài Gòn FC in the qualifying round of the National Futsal Championships at the city’s Military Zone 5 gymnasium yesterday.

    In a later match, Hải Phương-Phú Nhuận of HCM City crushed Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng 4-1.

    Văn Định scored twice for Hải Phong-Phú Nhuận, and Quốc Hưng added one more goal to help the HCM City team to 3-0. Xuân Minh of Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng scored an own goal to make it 4-0.

    Striker Duy Nhầt of Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng pulled back a goal for Đà Nẵng in the last minute of the game.

    The qualifying round, which has five teams – Sài Gòn FC, Hoàng Thư-Đà Nẵng, Hải Phương-Phú Nhuận, Sanest Tourist Khánh Hòa and Kim Toàn Đà Nẵng, will play in the preliminary two-leg round robin format till March 31..

    Four top teams from the qualifying round with the six top-ranked teams from the national championship last year will compete in a two-leg round robin format in the second stage at the Military Zone 7 Gymnasium in HCM City from April 8 to June 24.

    Shooters face ammunition shortage ahead of SEA Games 29

    With less than five months from the biggest sporting event in Southeast Asia, members of Vietnam’s shooting team still find themselves short of bullets to practice for the competition.

    The 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 29) will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19 to 31 2017, where athletes from 11 countries in Southeast Asia will gather to compete in 38 sports.

    Since shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh made history for Vietnam at the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the country’s first-ever gold medal at an Olympic Games, the sport has gained popularity among Vietnamese athlete-wannabes and attracted significant attention from local sport officials.

    However, media attention towards Vinh’s success has revealed that Vietnam’s national shooting squads have been faced with a serious shortage of practice bullets in recent years, forcing shooters to hone their skills while using as few rounds of ammunition as possible, or without any at all.

    Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered that the bullet shortage be solved as soon as possible, but the task has proven tougher than expected, even after a military-run firm had been assigned official supplier of bullets used in sports.

    According to Tran Quoc Cuong, a member of Vietnam’s shooting team to compete in Kuala Lumpur this August, the squad was still “going without” bullets during training sessions as the competition neared.

    Usage of the few bullets they had in store had been extremely economical, as the squad needed to save however many they had left for the real competition, according to Nguyen Thi Nhung, the team’s head coach.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam’s top shooters like Hoang Xuan Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong are having it no better, as they are also practicing without bullets to prepare for the upcoming World Shooting Championships in Germany in May.

    Huynh Phuong Loan, head of Ho Chi Minh City’s shooting team, said a couple of the team’s members have been forced to retire after two or three years of practice due to the serious ammunition shortage.

    Starting December 2013, under a joint decree issued by the Ministry of Public Security and its sports counterpart, companies must pass the bidding process to be able to supply sporting weapons in Vietnam.

    In 2016, a military-owned corporate won the bid to supply sporting ammunition to Vietnamese teams, but the shortage has not been much improved since.

    An official from the General Department of Sports and Physical Training attributed the country’s strict regulations on the import of ammunitions to the delay in purchasing bullets from foreign suppliers.

    “According to quotas stipulated under a government decree, the country may import only VND46 billion [US$2.05 million] worth of sporting ammunition in 2016,” the official said.

    “On average, an ammunition order takes 45 days to complete."

    "It will not be until the end of March that the first shipment of bullets will arrive in Vietnam for distribution to local teams," he said.

    Quảng Nam beat Cần Thơ, remain second

    Quảng Nam came from behind to beat Cần Thơ 2-1 in an early match of the V. League’s 10 round yesterday.

    The visiting side’s Nsi Amogou Jose opened the score in the first minute which excited supporters throughout the game.

    Henry was a solo on the right flank before sending the ball in. Jose escaped from Quảng Nam’s defenders to net the ball.

    Quảng Nam who are at the second place in the ranking were not easy to be bullied.

    They responded with consecutive attacks and grabbed the equaliser in the additional time of the first half. Hà Minh Tuấn’s straight shot found the net.

    The hosts continued to dominate the match after the interval and their effort resulted at the 63rd mark by Đình Thắng.

    The win helped Quảng Nam come level at 19 points with the leader FLC Thanh Hoá but are at the second position due to a goal difference.

    Cần Thơ on the other hand stay at second from the bottom with only five points.

    Hanoians, joyeux International Francophonie Day!

    Celebrations are under way in Hanoi and all around the globe this week to enjoy International Francophonie Day on March 20.

    French speakers and non-French speakers alike from Vietnam to the Caribbean to Canada have gathered in celebration of the French language and the culture of French-speaking nations.

    Many Hanoians are celebrating by buying French pastry from bakeries while others are taking long strolls throughout the city streets, which are dotted with buildings featuring architecture that’s very reminiscent of France.

    Still others are going to bookstores where there is always a large selection of new and used French books. Of course, many fine restaurants in the capital city serve quality French fare in a beautiful bistro.

    Starting March 17, the Hanoi Opera House has been hosting activities including musical concerts sponsored by the Wallonie-Bruxelles Delegation to Vietnam, Organisation internationale de la, the Swiss Embassy in Hanoi and the Institute for Culture Exchange with France.

    Maiden river buses set for June launch in HCM City

    The first two river bus lines in Ho Chi Minh City will open in June to offer locals an alternative traffic-free means of public transport.

    The project’s developer, Thuong Nhat Ltd., is taking over piers and wharfs along the city’s iconic Saigon River to commence building stations for the upcoming river bus routes, according to the Division of Water Traffic under the municipal Department of Transport.

    The first route, Bach Dang-Linh Dong, will take passengers on a 10.8 kilometer trip along the Saigon River and Thanh Da Canal, connecting Bach Dang Port in District 1 to Linh Dong Ward in Thu Duc District.

    There will be seven bus stops along the first route, located in District 1, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc Districts.

    The second route, Bach Dang-Lo Gom, sails off from Bach Dang Port in District 1 and travels along the Saigon River before turning into Ben Nghe Canal and Tau Hu Canal to reach Lo Gom Port in District 6.

    The 10.3-kilometer route will include seven stops in Districts 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8.

    Each route will employ one 80-seat boat in the June inaugration, with plans to eventually expand the fleets to six boats each, according to the municipal Department of Transport.

    The department noted that bus takers will not be required to wear life vests as the boats are designed to ensure maximum safety for passengers.

    The river bus routes have received a total investment of VND125 billion (US$5.58 million), under a build-operate-transfer (BOO) contract.

    Ten fishermen saved after boat collision

    Ten fishermen were rescued after their boat was hit by a cargo ship 24 miles offshore the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on March 17.

    The KH 93968 boat from Khanh Hoa province was broken when colliding with the Panama-flagged Koralia freighter.

    Receiving SOS signal from the sinking fishing vessel, a nearby fishing boat arrived and saved the fishermen on board. They are now in good physical and psychological condition.

    Relevant authorities are conducting investigation into the case.

    Foreign diplomats join friendship spring tour in Hanoi

    HUFO Chairwoman Nguyen Lan Huong

    About 300 delegates, who are government officials and representatives of diplomatic missions and international organisations in Vietnam, visited Tay Phuong pagoda, a special relic site in Hanoi, as part of a friendship spring tour on March 18.

    The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, Hanoi Department of Tourism and Thach That district People’s Committee.

    According to Nguyen Lan Huong, Chairwoman of the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO), the tour is organised annually to introduce Vietnam’s historic relic sites and tourist attractions to international friends.

    It helps promote exchanges and mutual understanding between Vietnam and foreign countries, Huong highlighted.

    On behalf of the international delegates, Saddi Salama, Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam, spoke highly of HUFO’s initiatives for organising activities pushing solidarity and cooperation between Vietnam and other nations.

    The trip ended with a show of ao dai (traditional long tunic) and dancing and singing performance.

    PM inspects waste-to-energy technology model in Ha Nam

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 18 inspected a waste-to-energy (WTE) technology model – a made-in-Vietnam invention successfully applied in Dong Van 2 industrial park in the northern province on Ha Nam. 

    Engineer Nguyen Gia Long, Director of Hydraulic Machine Ltd Company (HMC) and WTE inventor, said at the core of the WTE technology is a process known as gastification which converts wastes into a synthesis gas (syngas) used as a fuel to generate electricity. 

    The WTE model has been successfully experimented by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the provincial People’s Committee since September 21, 2016, during which, 208 tonnes of unclassified solid wastes were processed to generate sufficient power for the lighting system in the Dong Van 2 IP to run during 10 days. 

    The Vietnam Environment Administration’s Centre for Environmental Monitoring reported that emissions from the process meet the standards of Vietnam and the World Health Organisation. 

    At the working session with the PM, Long expressed wish that the government would help the company to ensure WTE patent right and facilitate its wide application. 

    PM Phuc, for his part, lauded the engineer and his staff for their hard work over the past 16 years to research and pilot the WTE model. He asked ministries and agencies to continue to support the company in perfecting the technology, with a view to put it to commercial use nationwide. 

    The leader suggested Ha Nam allows HMC company to handle part of the waste volume in the province during one month in order to compare the cost of the new technology with that of the conventional waste treatment of burying, thus making a detailed report on the economic efficiency of the technology. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Electricity of Vietnam will evaluate the technical aspect, connectivity, stability, volume and quality of power generation using the WTE technology. 

    The PM also hoped that HMC would strive to raise the WTE power generation capacity to more than its existing 0.5MW and complete procedures to commercialise the technology. 

    According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, an average 23 million tonnes of solid wastes are buried in more than 500 landfills nationwide per day, with only 26 of the facilities capable of classifying and recycling wastes.

    Kon Tum: New waterworks built in border district

    Construction of a waterworks kicked off on March 17 in Plei Kan town in Ngoc Hoi border district, Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, which is expected to supply sufficient clean water to about 20,000 local people.

    With a total investment of 90 billion VND (4.1 million USD), the plant has a capacity of 5,000 cu.m of water/day in the first phase. Its capacity will be increased to 10,000 cu.m of water in the second phase (2020-2025).

    The waterworks is expected to begin operation in November 2017, helping improve living conditions and ensuring health for locals in the district.

    Currently, Plei Kan only has a small waterworks with a capacity of 400 cu.m per day, failing to supply enough safe water for over 13,000 local households in Plei Kan town.

    Forum discusses journalists’ occupational ethics in digital era

    Occupational ethics of journalists in the digital era was the topic of a forum held on the sidelines of the National Newspaper Festival 2017 in Hanoi on March 17, drawing a large number of representatives from press agencies, journalists and readers.

    Participants agreed that journalists should be aware of the importance of occupational ethics amidst the country’s deeper global integration and a boom in social networks and smart-phone apps.

    Tran Trong Dung, Editor-in-Chief of Ho Chi Minh City Police Newspaper, highlighted the pioneer role of editors-in-chief of newspapers in strictly following occupational ethics in press activities.

    Editors-in-chief must have a firm political stuff and extensive professionalism, thus leading their newspapers in line with the registered guidelines and purposes, and protecting the country’s and people’s interests, Dung said. 

    In sensitive areas, editors-in-chief must have clear stances and put the interests of the community higher than the interests of their newspapers and the interests of their newspapers higher than the interests of individuals and themselves, he stressed.

    Meanwhile, Trinh Quoc Dung from the Vietnam Journalists’ Association held that the provision of information is now no longer a special privilege of the traditional press, as the social media has enabled individuals to directly provide information to the community in the fastest way. 

    Therefore, journalists joining the social media should show their professional skills and role by sharing accurate, objective and responsible information, he said, adding that this is also an important factor that makes journalists different from the social media.

    Minh Nam from the Journalist Magazine, said that in the fierce race of information between the press and social networks, press agencies should build up the trust of readers who still need high-quality articles instead of sensational news.

    Also on the fringe of the festival, the Vietnam Journalists’ Association’s Journalism Photograph Club hosted an exhibition to introduce 60 works capturing different aspects of the life across the country.

    Symposium looks into Vietnamese’s conception of happiness

    A symposium was held in Hanoi on March 17 to gain an insight into Vietnamese people’s conception of happiness, an activity in response to the International Day of Happiness (March 20).

    Speeches at the event, held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, focused on theories and academic viewpoints on happiness; the necessity of research on happiness; the conceptions of happiness from the religious, ethnological and gender angles; feasible solutions to design family-related criteria and build family happiness; social welfare and literature and arts’ impacts on the happiness of Vietnamese people.

    Deputy Minister Dang Thi Bich Lien said the International Day of Happiness was designated in June 2012 and Vietnam has been organising activities to respond to the day since 2013 with a view to building happy families, happy communities and a happy society.

    The study of Vietnamese people’s happiness and the building of a happiness index will help affirm the country’s commitment to the world and demonstrate its cultural identities amid international integration. That will also help policy makers to devise development strategies and manage the society’s development, she added.

    Assoc. Prof. Le Ngoc Van from the Institute for Family and Gender Studies said though happiness research has become a science in the world, it is still new in Vietnam. The country should study and measure the conception and the enjoyment of happiness and make a happiness index for Vietnamese people.

    Hoang Sa, Truong Sa exhibition comes to Thanh Hoa

    An exhibition titled “Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam – Historical evidence” opened in the mountainous district of Lang Chanh, the north central province of Thanh Hoa, on March 17.

    On display are more than 200 items, documents and maps related to Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagos. 

    The exhibited materials are in Nom (Vietnamese ideographic script), Vietnamese and French languages issued by Vietnamese feudal states, the French government in Indochina (on behalf of the then Vietnamese state), and other foreign states.   

    The exhibits showed how the country had continually asserted, exercised and protected its sovereignty over the two archipelagos through history.

    The event aims to raise awareness of the importance of Vietnam’s sea and islands and citizens’ responsibility in safeguarding the country’s sea and island sovereignty among local residents, especially young people.

    The exhibition welcomes visitors through March 20 and will come to other localities of Thanh Hoa province.

    Vinh Phuc factories thirsty for female workers

    The thirst for female workers is real at industrial parks in northern Vinh Phuc province where the more foreign direct investment (FDI) projects arrive, the more demand for female workers rises, as they are believed to be more skilled at certain jobs.

    According to the trade union of Vinh Phuc’s industrial parks, the number of FDI enterprises in Vinh Phuc rose 54.5 percent from 90 in early 2014 to 139 by March 2017. These companies have recruited 37,790 employees to date, a jump of 86.6 percent from three years ago with an estimated 65-70 percent of them women.

    Local factories have been crying out for workers with recruitment ads hung on the entrances looking for hundreds of employees. For example, JAHWA VINA Electronics from the Republic of Korea has been looking for 5,000 workers while its peers from the RoK, AMOVINA, Vina Circuit and Cammsys have been seeking 500.

    Most of these recruiters seemed to favour female over male candidates as women are considered to be more skilled and suitable for work in textiles, packing and assembling which account for a large proportion of the positions needed.

    The recruitment has been not that easy as the female workforce has not grown as fast as the factories’ labour demand.

    Many benefits have been given by the FDI companies to encourage female workers to stick around, including building residential halls, kindergartens and schools for them and their children near the industrial parks; and providing them with higher payment, return shuttle buses and insurance.

    However, more effective measures, from not only the FDI companies but also local authorities, should be developed to help the companies meet their workforce needs.

    Binh Duong bolsters cooperation with Cambodian women’s association

    Authorities of the southern province of Binh Duong on March 16 received a delegation of the Cambodian women for peace and development of Kratie province.

    At the meeting, Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee briefed the guests on the socio-economic development of Binh Duong.

    Binh Duong and Kratie have cooperated in various fields and set up a good friendship, Liem said.

    A representative of the delegation said that the women’s association of Kratie province wants to study and exchange experience in socio-economic development with Binh Duong province and deepen Vietnam – Cambodia relations.

    The delegation also wishes to study Binh Duong province’s experience in activities of women’s association, education, culture and communications for the socio-economic development of Kratie province.

    Exhibition on Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa, Truong Sa islands

    A three-day exhibition on historical and legal evidence affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes opened on March 17 in Phu Quoc island district of Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

    The exhibition, jointly held by the Ministry of Information and Communications and the High Command of Coast Guard Zone 4, showcased a large number of documents, items and publications as well as nearly 100 maps published in different periods by international and domestic researchers.

    The event also introduced documents in Han and Nom (Chinese characters and ancient Vietnamese scripts) as well as Vietnamese and French issued by feudal dynasties as well as French administration in Indochina between the 17th and 20th centuries, which proved the process of setting up, implementation and protecting of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelagoes.

    At the same time, various versions of administrative documents issued between 1954-1975 highlighting the continuous exercise and safeguarding of the archipelagoes are also on display.

    Visitors to the exhibition will also have a chance to study various relevant documents and publications published by some western countries in 18th and 19th centuries and a collection of 65 maps issued since the 17th century that certified Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.

    The exhibition is expected to help raise awareness, spirit of solidarity, confidence and responsibility of soldiers, officers and locals in Phu Quoc island district in safeguarding the country’s sacred sovereignty over seas and islands.

    Lang Son holds bird flu prevention drill

    The northern border province of Lang Son held a drill on dealing with outbreaks of A/H7N9 and other high-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Cao Loc district on March 17. 

    According to Director of the provincial Department of Health Nguyen The Toan, the drill aims to assess local preparedness in coping with the threat and preventing avian influenza virus from transmitting to humans. 

    It also helped enhance coordination among sectors in disease fighting and prevention, and improve skill of medical and veterinary workers in handling situations related to suspected cases of A/H7N9 avian flu.

    In the simulation scenario, local authorities detected A/H7N9 avian flu virus on a poultry flock and a person was suspected of being infected by the virus.  

    The medical centre of Cao Loc district quickly brought the patient to an isolated area in a polyclinic in Dong Dang town. Meanwhile, the district’s veterinary station was responsible for stamping out the outbreak.

    The police and border guard force coordinated to ensure traffic safety and order in the district.

    The three-day drill contributed to raising public awareness of the importance of preventing the spread of the disease, thus protecting community health. 

    Vice Chairman of Cao Loc District People’s Committee Lieu Van Chien said Cao Loc shares over 74km of borderline with China, where outbreaks of the A/H7N9 avian flu virus have happened recently. 

    The district is also a hot spot for smuggling, including cross-border poultry illegal trade, which is posing a high risk of the virus being transmitted into Vietnam. 

    Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Health Trieu Cao Tan said the drill has met set requirements, stressing that Lang Son’s relevant sectors and forces need to further enhance coordination in the work.

    Japanese experts help Can Tho improve climate change adaptability

    Experts from the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Japan met at a seminar in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on March 17 to discuss the application of emission-reducing technology in urban economic development and enhancement of climate change adaptability. 

    Director of UN-Habitat Vietnam Nguyen Quang said the rate of urbanisation in Vietnam now reaches 34 percent but urban areas account for 70 percent of the total emissions, which has seriously degraded natural resources and polluted the environment. 

    Most major urban areas such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho are in plain and coastal areas. With such rapid urbanisation, they are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to weak technical and social infrastructure. 

    The Mekong Delta is sinking by 2cm compared to sea water level each year while weak water supply and drainage system exposes regional urban areas to the threat of flooding and traffic congestion during the rainy season, he said. 

    To counter such problems, Japan’s Taiho Metals company introduced a system of water-proof doors and flooding shields with 4D design and shock-resistant materials. 

    At the event, scientists also raised their concern about the shortage of fresh water in the region due to drought and saline intrusion – the consequences of gas emission and pollution from unsustainable urbanisation. 

    Participants suggested developing buffer zones to protect coastal urban areas, planting mangrove forests to block waves and reduce erosion, limiting groundwater exploitation and preventing water surface pollution. 

    Norishika Matsuo from Japan’s Daiken Corporation presented an underground reservoir model capable of holding 100 tonnes of water used for daily life and vegetable cultivation. It could be set up within a week at low cost and is suitable for apartments. 

    A number of opinions proposed developing green buildings and building ecological urban areas in order to reduce emissions, making it easier for urbanites to adapt to climate change. 

    In urban areas at risk of saltwater intrusion, Japanese experts suggested using seawater desalination technology. 

    A representative from Kyowakiden company said its sea water desalination system uses pressure-retarded osmosis to process more than 50,000 cu.m per day, adding that it is being widely used in Japan and China. 

    Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Thi Hong Anh lauded the feasible and practical use of the Japanese technologies introduced at the event, and vowed to outline a strategy to the make the best use of local partnership with Japan. 

    She informed that Can Tho has devised a project to use energy effectively and economically, including facilitating the use of renewable energies, solar radiation, geothermal, tidal wave and biogas instead of coal. 

    Can Tho is building a climate change-resilient urban development planning and strategy, under which, a proper water drainage system will be built, among others.

    Ministry strives for sustainable forestry sector development

    The forestry sector will work to increase its average production value to between 5.5 and 6 percent a year, forest coverage rate to 42 percent, and export value to at least 8 billion USD annually from now to 2020.

    The goals were proposed at a conference to review the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s forest protection and development between 2011 and 2016 and set out tasks for 2016-2020 held on March 17. 

    As heard at the function, during the 2011-2016 period, which was set for forestry restructuring, forestry production value grew 6.57 percent per year on average, while the rate of forest coverage inched up from 39.7 percent to 41.19 percent. 

    The average forestry export value between 2011 and 2015 stood at 6.52 billion USD per year, more than doubling that of the previous five-year period. It hit 7.3 billion USD in 2016.

    Participants pointed to obstacles facing the sector during the period, such as illegal logging, timber trafficking, and ineffective implementation of forest planting plans.

    The contribution of the forestry sector to the national economy is still low, far from its potential, they added.

    These issues had various causes, including mild penalties imposed on violations in some localities, as well as troublesome forest land planning and impractical scientific research and technology transfer in others.

    Based on those facts, goals were set for 2016-2020, targeting the development of a sustainable forestry sector, with a total budget of nearly 59.6 trillion VND (2.6 billion USD).  

    Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung acknowledged the sector’s achievement between 2011 and 2016 and urged the ministry to press ahead with completing the 2016-2020 target programme on sustainable forestry development.

    He ordered the ministry and involved State agencies to tighten the management of forest land planning, mobilise capital from society in implementing the programme, and complete policies and mechanisms on forest protection and development, among other tasks.

    He stressed that efforts must be made to realise the common goals of increased productivity and quality, climate change adaptation, and poverty alleviation.

    The agricultural ministry took the occasion to propose that the Government arrange capital for forest protection and expansion projects, prioritise ODA-funded forestry projects, particularly in the Central Highlands, as well as soon approve a report on the feasibility of the sustainable forestry programme and a forest restoration project for the Central Highlands. 

    Binh Duong bolsters cooperation with Cambodian women’s association

    Authorities of the southern province of Binh Duong on March 16 received a delegation of the Cambodian women for peace and development of Kratie province.

    At the meeting, Tran Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee briefed the guests on the socio-economic development of Binh Duong.

    Binh Duong and Kratie have cooperated in various fields and set up a good friendship, Liem said.

    A representative of the delegation said that the women’s association of Kratie province wants to study and exchange experience in socio-economic development with Binh Duong province and deepen Vietnam – Cambodia relations.

    The delegation also wishes to study Binh Duong province’s experience in activities of women’s association, education, culture and communications for the socio-economic development of Kratie province.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 03/19/17--01:41: Article 2
  • Vietnam’s economy too reliant on FDI


    Economists have warned that if Vietnam tries to attract as much foreign direct investment (FDI) as possible and is not selective in receiving capital flow, this will have negative consequences to Vietnam’s private enterprises.


     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,  FDI, Vu thanh Tu Anh, MPI

    A research study by the Party’s Economics Committee found that Vietnam’s industry has been too reliant on the foreign invested economic sector (FIE) while Vietnamese- owned businesses are in big difficulties.

    FIE makes up 50 percent of Vietnam’s industrial output and 70 percent of industrial export turnover. 

    The investment capital from the sector accounts for a very high proportion of the total investment capital (including the state’s investment in infrastructure), even compared with that in fifth-generation industrialization countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and China.

    In 2015, the proportion was 25.5 percent, much higher than Malaysia’s 14.3 percent, China’s 3 percent and Thailand’s 11 percent.

    Meanwhile, the countries with FDI in Vietnam are mostly fourth- and fifth-generation industrialization ones.

    The companies from these countries mostly have a short history of development and limited resources and technologies.  

    Economists have warned that if Vietnam tries to attract as much foreign direct investment (FDI) as possible and is not selective in receiving capital flow, this will have negative consequences to Vietnam’s private enterprises.

    As they still cannot set up a global business culture with the promotion of social responsibility, their technology quality is not high, and likely to cause clash in destination countries. Eighty percent of them have mid-end technology, 14 percent outdated technology and only six percent high technology.

    The concern is that the new technologies in foreign invested enterprises are mostly from holding companies and used in manufacturing just to control the market based on the technological advantages provided by holding companies

    In most foreign invested projects (80.9 percent), foreign investors contribute 100 percent of capital, while there are few projects developed by joint ventures with Vietnamese investors (16.7 percent). 

    A research study released during a workshop on Vietnam’s national policies on industrial development held in Hanoi on March 10 showed the link between foreign invested and Vietnamese owned enterprises is weak.

    The efficiency of technology transfer from foreign invested enterprises in Vietnam is still low, at the 103rd position in 2014, a 46 grade-fall after five years, lower than other regional countries such as Malaysia (13th), Thailand (36th) and Indonesia (39th).

    Most Vietnamese private industry enterprises are small and medium ones, accounting for 94 percent.

    State-owned enterprises have net turnover growth rate of 9.1 percent, much lower than that of FIE (26 percent) and non-state economic sector (13.7 percent). 

    The number of profitable enterprises is on the rise, while the number of unprofitable enterprises is on the decrease. 64.1 percent of enterprises made profits in 2010, while the figure dropped to 48.4 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, 25.1 percent took losses in 2010 and 45.3 percent in 2014.


    Kim Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 03/20/17--02:23: Article 1
  • Social News 20/3


    Vietnamese alumni in RoK meet in Hanoi


    vietnamese alumni in rok meet in hanoi hinh 0 

    As many as 270 alumni and distinguished guests have gathered for the 11th annual reunion in Hanoi hosted by the Vietnam Alumni Association in Korea (FVSAK).

    The gathering gave a chance to graduates from the Republic of Korea (ROK) universities to meet and catch up on what has been happening in their lives with friend and acquaintances.

    In his remarks, Chairman of Hanshin Company Choi Yong Sun said over the past 11 years, Hanshin Engineering & Construction Company has stood side by side with FVSAK to organize such an annual event which acts as a bridge bringing Vietnamese alumni closer.

    The company pledged provide continued support for FVSAK activities aiming to reinforce the friendship between Vietnam and the ROK, Mr Sun added.

    This year, both nations have launched a string of cross-cultural exchange programmes celebrating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, Korean Ambassador Lee Hyuk said, noting that his nation is currently the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, thus generating plenty of jobs for local people.

    The number of Vietnamese students in the ROK has experienced a sharp increase over recent years, amounting to roughly 7,000 at present. Many of them, after returning home, have assumed important positions in State agencies and both Vietnamese and Korean businesses.

    The Ambassador said he hopes Vietnamese alumni will continue their great contributions to boosting national development and fostering the friendship between the two countries.

    Most endoscopy in Binh Dan Hospital carried out by robot

    Ho Chi Minh City-based Binh Dan Hospital yesterday said that 66 endoscopic surgeries  in the last five months were carried out by robots. 

    Robot performed endoscopic surgeries for colorectal, kidney, bladder and prostate cancers.

    Hospital Deputy Director Nguyen Phuc Cam Hoang said that robotically-assisted operations have high rate of success Due to robotic use, the surgery is done with precision, miniaturization, smaller incisions; decreased blood loss, less pain, and quicker healing time. 

    Only one patient with kidney cancer underwent open surgery because the tumor is attached with other organs in his body.

    Requiem held for Gac Ma soldiers in Germany

    A solemn requiem was held in Erfurt, Germany on March 19 to pay tribute and pray for Vietnamese soldiers who died in Gac Ma naval battle almost 30 years ago.

    The ceremony was organised by the Buddhist cultural association of Vietnam in Erfurt to commemorate and express gratitude towards those who fought to protect the national sovereignty.

    After holding a minute of silence and a flower offering, President of the Buddhist cultural association Bui Huu Trung made a remark recalling the battle and heroic sacrifices of the soldiers killed in action at Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago on March 14, 1988.

    Venerable Thich Phuoc Chi and Thich Dong Trinh performed a ritual to pray for the heroes and wish them rest in peace.

    It was also a get-together of Gac Ma survivors who used to serve in naval ships 903 and 505 of Brigade 125 in which they told personal stories of their fight together with memories with their comrades.

    Phu Tho collects 1,000 blood units during Red Spring Festival

    Nearly 1,000 blood units were collected during the “Red Spring Festival” 2017 in the northern midland province of Phu Tho on March 18. 

    The event aimed to encourage local people to donate blood to save lives and enhance their sense of responsibility to the community. 

    It also offered opportunities for blood receiving agencies to practise necessary skills and measures to tackle accidents requiring blood transfusion.

    Following the successful festival, the provincial steering committee for blood donation will continue implementing the campaign in districts and communes to call for the further participation of individuals and organisations.

    In the past five years, Phu Tho province has held over 190 blood donation events with the participation of more than 75,000 volunteers, collecting about 48,000 blood units. It has also seen an increasing number of blood donators year after year.

    Hanoi joins Ireland’s Global Greening initiative

    Ly Thai To Garden in the heart of Hanoi were illuminated with green lighting during the “Joy of Green” held by the Irish Embassy in Vietnam on March 18 as part of the activities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day- Ireland’s National Day.

    Ireland’s Global Greening initiative started in 2010 and it is now a firm feature of St. Patrick’s Day around the world. On the day, hundreds of iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State building in New York, the US, and the Great Wall of China, turn green to encourage environment protection. 

    Speaking at the event, Irish Ambassador Cait Moran said that Hanoi has become the first city in Southeast Asia to join Ireland’s Global Greening Campaign 2017 and Ly Thai To Garden is the 100th landmark in the world to go green for St. Patrick’s Day, together with other iconic landmarks in 35 countries.

    She hoped that the event will encourage Vietnamese people to visit Ireland to discover themselves the magic of its green island and warm hospitality of Irish people.

    Congratulating Ireland on its National Day, Vice Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy affirmed that vibrant activities held within the campaign will help Hanoians understand more about Ireland as well as spread the message of protecting green planet.

    It also contributes to promoting the sound diplomatic relations between the two countries, he added.

    Buddhist Sangha’s Dien Bien chapter convenes congress

    The second congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) chapter in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien took place in Dien Bien Phu city on March 19.

    The congress elected 27 members to the provincial VBS Executive Committee for the 2017-2020 tenure, with Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien continuing acting as its Chairman.

    The congress also selected four members to participate in the 8th National Buddhist Congress for the 2017-2020 tenure, and set out the orientations and tasks for the new term. 

    In the last tenure, local Buddhist dignitaries and followers have raised more than 13 billion VND (570,500 USD) to help local poor households, build two kindergarten schools for Nam Po district and two charity houses for ethnic minority households in Phin Ho.

    The chapter has also held numerous activities, such as Buddhist festivals and workshops on Buddhism.

    On the occasion, a number of units and individuals received certificates of merit for their contributions to Buddhist affairs and the nation.

    US friendship activists visit Vietnam

    Vice President of the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS) Bui The Giang on March 18 met with a delegation from the Club of Friendship Force of San Diego County led by Brenda Pearson, director of the club’s Exchange Programme.

    Giang expressed his hope that the visit, spanning from March 15-31, will help the delegation get a deeper understanding of the country, people, history, culture and customs of Vietnam.

    Briefing the guests on Vietnam’s development and international integration as well as Vietnam-US relations, he noted that the country has faced many difficulties in dealing with war aftermath, including issues related to Agent Orange/dioxin and mine clearance.

    Giang said Vietnam and the US should coordinate more closely in the settlement of these issues to strengthen friendship and mutual trust between the two nations.

    For her part, Brenda Pearson said that all members of the delegation have visited Vietnam for the first time and have good impression on the friendliness and hospitability of Vietnamese people.

    She expressed her hope that their home-stay experience will help them get a better understanding of Vietnam, thus contributing to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the Vietnamese and US people.

    During the meeting, the two sides also discussed issued related to the search of missing-in-action soldiers and the organisation of a Vietnam-US veterans’ forum in late 2017.

    Formed in 1984, the Friendship Force of San Diego County Club has 95 members who share a commitment to world peace through the understanding of people and cultures throughout the world.

    National Newspaper Festival wraps up in Hanoi

    The three-day National Newspaper Festival 2017 with the theme of “Vietnamese press accompanies national renovation” wrapped up in Hanoi on March 19.

    Addressing the closing ceremony, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan highlighted the significance of the event as well as the strong development of the domestic press.

    The event offered opportunities for journalists from across the country to meet and exchange experience while promoting dialogues among journalists, managers and readers, thus helping improve the role, position and prestige of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA), he said.  

    President Nhan also praised the joint efforts made by press agencies and journalists in the fight against corruption and wastefulness in line with the Resolution adopted at the 4th meeting of the 12th Party Central Committee.

    Meanwhile, VJA Deputy Chairman Ho Quang Loi underlined creativeness of several participating press agencies, such as the interactive booth of the Vietnam Television, the on-site studio of the Voice of Vietnam, and the traffic safety contest launched by Bao Giao Thong (Traffic Newspaper), among others.

    The event, the second version of its kind, drew 470 press agencies across the nation, showcasing 437 types of publications, nearly 100 television programmes screened during the traditional Tet (New Year) holiday, and over 250 articles on environmental issues in 2016.

    The organising board gave several awards to participating agencies based on their exhibition space,  covers of special editions, articles and TV/radio programmes.

    The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) received the A prize for its outstanding exhibition space, while its online newspaper VietnamPlus also grabbed the A prize for its excellent article on environmental issues in 2016. 

    The event was jointly hosted by VJA, the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Finance and the Hanoi People’s Committee.

    Three golfers win hole-in-one awards at FLC golf event

    Three golfers made history at the FLC Faros Golf Tournament which conluded yesterday in Thanh Hóa by winning the hole-in-one awards.

    Nguyễn Văn Quế made a hole-in-one at the 11th hole and won prizes worth nearly VNĐ6 billion (US$260,800), including two cars.

    “I have practised golf for five years, and I never thought I would win the hole-in-one award. I am very lucky,” said Quế.

    Trịnh Ngọc Thạch won the hole-in-one award at the third hole with a total prize money of VNĐ4 billion.

    “I am very glad. I can’t believe it is true,” said Thạch.

    Meanwhile, another award belonged to Park Jea Seok of South Korea at the third hole.

    The three-day event at FLC Samson Golf Links attracted more than 1,200 golfers.

    HCM City youths earn a living as mascots, cosplay performers

    More young people in Ho Chi Minh City have taken to performing as mascots and in cosplay outfits to earn pocket money, amuse children and have fun.

    In recent years, mascots and cosplay performers have become an increasingly common sight at many venues throughout the city, particularly in the downtown area.  

    On any given night, Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in District 1 teems with life as city-dwellers and tourists take leisurely strolls and enjoy themselves with their loved ones.

    At the heart of the throng are street entertainers in brightly colored mascot and cosplay outfits.

    These performers cheerily amuse children with their chubby looks, pose for photos and offer candy for VND10,000-VND20,000 (US$0.4-US$0.8) in return.

    Some take the job out of their love of children, while others cling to it as a source of income.  

    Over the past twelve months, Nguyen Khanh Duy, 26, from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, has been a regular at the venue, impersonating the Monkey King, a mythological figure from a much-loved Chinese fantasy film adapted from one of the country’s classic novels, “Journey to the West.”

    Duy continually scratches his head and moves his stick just like his character, who is best known for his agility, evasive nature and magic powers.

    Surrounded by eager kids, the lanky performer waved to one of his street colleagues dressed as Zhu Bajie, the man-eating pig-monster who later became one of the monk’s helpers in the “Journey to the West” masterpiece.  

    “I’m not selling anything tonight, just hanging out with the kids for fun,” Duy told a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter.

    He said that he had come to Ho Chi Minh City to realize his dream of becoming a magician, and had been training with an illusionist and giving mascot performances as a part-time job for one year, having noticed that children love watching and playing with characters from cartoons and fairy tales.

    “I really love children. Their beaming smiles melt away my hardship,” he said, explaining that he started out for fun, but later began selling sweets for extra income.

    “I earn a few dollars each day, but sometimes go home empty-handed as many come for photos but have no intention to buy sweets. It’s no problem though.”

    There are times when Duy even gifts his sweeties to needy children.

    A beverage peddler nearby said Duy also performs magic shows in parks and cultural centers to cover his living expenses.

    “In my early days, it was extremely uncomfortable when I first put on the outfit. On hot days, I was soaked in sweat while tears and mucus dripped from my eyes and nose,” he recalled.  

    Curious looks from passers-by also left him feeling embarrassed.

    “After a while I realized there’s nothing to be ashamed of. During one performance, my heart leapt with joy as children gathered around me for photos, which bolstered my confidence ever since,” he added.

    Much like Duy, Le Hong Duc, a student from a local vocational college, has delighted children and youngsters on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in the outfit of an adorable Teddy Bear.

    Duc said that hundreds of children and young people had posed for photos that night, but only three had bought his sweets.

    “What I earn is barely enough for me to fill my bike with gasoline for the night, but it’s okay, as long as I’m happy,” he said.

    The mascot performers continually remind one another that though sales are poor, they cannot pester visitors or coerce them into buying anything.

    Duy admitted that there were times when he wanted to quit, but he returned to his job a few days later.

    Students residing at the university neighborhood in Thu Duc District have also taken on this kind of work to support their studies.  

    One group of mascot performers living there lamented that they work part-time for a dairy company and receive VND150,000-VND180,000 (US$6.5-US$7.8) per four-hour shift.

    Nguyen Khanh Tien, a sophomore at the University of Science under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, said she stands outdoors in the heavy attire of a white bunny in the scorching heat for several hours a day.

    “I once fainted out of exhaustion and was rushed to hospital. There have also been shows in which my pay was cut by half or 70% after I sat down for some rest or took off my costume to cool off for a short time,” she added.

    New mascot costumes can cost VND10-VND15 million (US$434-US$651) apiece, while used ones fetch VND5-VND8 million (US$217-US$347) each.    

    Tight-budgeted performers can rent the outfits for VND80,000-VND150,000 (US$3.5-US$6.5) per day.

    Amidst the immense hardship, friendship and romances have also bloomed between fellow entertainers.

    Trong Nghia and Mai Phuong, both orphans from Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, approximately 120 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, and students of the University of Economics and Law, got to know each other while performing for an event launched by a real estate company in District 7.

    Seeing Phuong exhausted and dizzy after wearing the mascot costume for hours on end, Nghia bought her some lemonade and went home empty-handed after his pay was cut for that session.

    The couple have been inseparable since that day and now live together in a rented room at the university neighborhood in Thu Duc District.

    Nghia performs at local eateries and restaurants in his Mickey costume, which he bought with a full year of savings, while his girlfriend invites diners to buy sweets.

    Likewise, Duy’s girlfriend, a student at a local university, was attracted to him while he played the role of the Monkey King.

    Despite opposition from the girl’s family based on Duy’s job as a low-income street performer, the young couple have persevered, set on culminating their romance in a blissful wedding.

    HCM City customs seize two pistolets from Hong Kong flight

    Customs officers at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport have seized two pistolets in the luggage of a passenger arriving on March 12 from Hong Kong, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

    The guns were hidden among personal belongings of a 42-year-old Vietnamese man, who was detained for further investigation, the newspaper said.

    Vietnam bans civilian ownership of guns since 2006 and illegal manufacturing, trafficking or trade of weapons is punishable by prison terms ranging from one year to life.

    Yet local customs officers in recent years have busted various attempts of smuggling guns and bullets from the UK, the US, Turkey and nearby countries like Cambodia, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

    40 villas built without permit in Danang

    About 40 villas are being constructed on a natural peninsula in the central Vietnamese province of Danang without permits, while local authorities had not been aware of the violation until recently.

    The Bien Tien Sa JSC has had the foundation of some 40 villas, as part of the Bien Tien Sa eco-resort project, constructed without proper building approval on Son Tra Peninsula.

    Located seven kilometers from Danang on the central Vietnamese coast, Son Tra Peninsula has become increasingly known as an alluring tourist retreat, whose forest is used as a shield from typhoons, and for eco-tourism growth and national defense.

    Authorities in the central city on March 18 carried out an investigation into the case and ordered the project developer to cease the construction.

    According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, the only road leading to the construction site is protected by two layers of security guards, making it impossible for outsiders to enter the area.

    There was no sign indicating ongoing construction at the entrance to the site.

    Inside the location, a part of the local forest was cleared for the building of roads and sewage systems, as well as the foundation of the villas.

    According to a permit signed by Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, former director of the municipal Department of Construction, in February 2009, Bien Tien Sa Company is only allowed to build roads and drainage systems in the area.

    A representative of 319 Mien Trung (Central Region) Construction Company, which was hired for the construction of the project, refused to provide any explanation while speaking to Tuoi Tre.

    He only confirmed that the project developer had submitted a report regarding the ongoing construction to competent agencies following their inspection on March 18.

    “Just ask the local administration. They will give you the answer,” the representative told Tuoi Tre.

    During an interview with the newspaper on March 18, Nguyen Thanh Nam, vice-chairman of the Son Tra People’s Committee, affirmed that the villas had been built without formal permission.

    Aside from the violation, the project developer also failed to hang information signs at the entrance to the construction site as per regulations.

    The company admitted that they just wanted to expedite the project, Nam elaborated.

    Regarding effects on the local environment, Bien Tien Sa has prepared several measures to restore the forest upon completing the project.

    Local authorities will determine a suitable penalty for the developer, the official said, adding that the construction of the villas would be stopped until a legitimate permit is issued.

    Saigon to encourage city-dwellers to walk at least 300m a day

    The Ho Chi Minh City administration has finished drafting a plan to call on city-dwellers to walk more to join the municipal efforts to curb traffic congestion.

    It is expected that the city’s Party members, public servants and students will be the first to join in the walking movement by taking up a habit of walking 300m to 1km a day, whether it is to work or for everyday activities.

    The three-phase movement is planned to run in three years, with the first phase scheduled to begin in April.

    In the first phase, the program seeks to attract participants from District 1 and 3, and will expand to other neighborhoods in the next phases.

    Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the city’s Traffic Safety Committee, believes that the walking movement will help create a habit of walking among city’s residents, resulting in less traffic on the road and therefore reducing congestion.

    With the “sidewalk reclamation” campaign going strong throughout the city, officials are in high hope that more people will take part in the program as many pavements have been cleared.

    Benefits from education cooperation projects with Japan

    Education cooperation between Japan and Ho Chi Minh City has been one of the highlights of bilateral relations.

    Exchange programs of students and teachers as well as various collaboration projects evidence improving education cooperation.

    In recent years, many prestigious Japanese groups have invested in projects to boost a modern and friendly educational climate in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Since 2012, Ajinomoto Vietnam Company has helped the municipal Education and Training Department carry out a “School Meal Project” to improve the nutrition of pupils in the city’s day-boarding primary schools.

    Trung Trac Primary School in District 11 was chosen to pilot a “Model Day-Boarding School Kitchen” under the “School Meal Project”. Phan Van Tri, the school’s rector, says the Ajinomoto Vietnam Company donated US$57,000 to build and equip a kitchen with basic cooking equipment and gadgets.                

    “The model ensures food safety and hygiene, makes optimal use of the kitchen area, and makes the work of the cooks easier. The model has also made meals more delicious and nutritious,” Tri added.

    Cooperation programs in training and transfer of technology are applied at higher school levels. The Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry has worked with more than 20 Japanese schools and research institutes, including Kobe University, Kyushu University, Osaka University, and Saga University.

    Hoa Sen (Lotus) University has organized several student exchange programs with Japan. 75 students went to the each other country to study and experience the local lifestyle.

    Dinh Anh Lan, director of public relations and media at Hoa Sen University, said “Cultural and educational exchanges are the foundation for developing relations between the two countries. After graduation the students will work for various companies and agencies to tighten the cooperative ties between Vietnam and Japan.”

    Vocational training is a cooperative field that has made great strides. Tran Thanh Hai, rector of the Vien Dong (Far East) College, says the school has cooperated with Nakanihon Automotive College in Nagoya, Japan, since 2014. 

    Next month, the Far East College will send its lecturers in automotive technology to study electric and hybrid cars at Nakanihon Automotive College. 

    Some students of Far East College will go to Nakanihon Automotive College for a year and a half to earn international automotive engineering certificates. The Far East College has boosted cooperation with Japan in nursing, construction, and mechanics.

    Tran Thanh Hai, the college’s rector, said cooperation with Japan has raised the school’s awareness of teaching and learning methods, adding: “We have selected subjects that are practical and in line with international standards. Our students have changed their thinking about careers and a more positive learning atmosphere has been created.”

    Ho Chi Minh City’s education sector has collaborated with the Japan Foundation to train Japanese language teachers for middle schools and high schools. The municipal authorities have licensed 40 foreign language centers to teach Japanese.

    Cooperative programs with Japan have helped Ho Chi Minh City’s education sector approach international standards and consolidate the bilateral ties established 40 years ago.

    Truck plunges over Hanoi bridge in failed attempt to avoid road crash

    Most of the container truck fell off the bridge and a rear wheel kept it from hitting the ground.

    A container truck threw itself across a bridge barrier in Hanoi and almost crashed into the ground when it tried to avoid another collision on March 18.

    The truck driver tried to avoid two vehicles that crashed on Thanh Tri Bridge at around 6 a.m. on March 18 by making a sharp turn that went beyond the bridge, eyewitnesses said.

    The truck was held back thanks to a rear wheel, while most of it was off the bridge. Its head was badly damaged.

    All three drivers were injured. Traffic on the bridge was jammed for hours.

    The unusual incident drew the attention of many bystanders and video footage used in this article was provided by Luong Huu Khanh.

    Complete issuing land certificates, HN told

    Permanent Vice Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Council Nguyễn Ngọc Tuấn asked Hà Nội authorities to accelerate the issuance of “red books”, saying that the process must be free from mistakes and lawsuits that affect public rights.

    Tuấn said that municipal authorities in all sectors and levels produced positive results in issuing red books, which are certificates of land-use rights and ownership of housing and associated assets.

    According to Tuấn, land use right certificates so far have been granted to 96.63 per cent of qualified households and individuals.

    As of March 10 this year, more than 1.3 million certificates were granted to households and individuals in residential quarters. There remain more than 252,000 land plots to deal with.

    About 146,884 apartments of housing projects have received house purchase certificates, making up 82.39 per cent of total apartments sold and transferred to residents.

    The city aims to complete red book issuance by the end of June this year.

    However, inspections also revealed shortcomings and obstacles. Tuan urged relevant agencies to overcome obstacles to hit the target.

    He asked the agencies to list cases that have not been granted certificates, especially those facing obstacles.

    To accelerate the process, Hà Nội’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment proposed the municipal People’s Committee issue documents to cut down administrative procedures from 30 days to 14 days.

    The department also asked the committee’s permission to continue establishing land survey documents and land management data serving modern and quick certificate application and issuance.

    The committee assigned the city’s Construction Department and people’s committees at district and town levels to review old apartment buildings that have not been handed over to localities.

    District and town level authorities are in charge of solving land disputes to consider the issuance of land use right certificate while imposing punishments on those who refuse to apply for land registration.

    Lê Thanh Nam, director of the land registration office under Hà Nội’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that cases with written house purchase notes will be considered for red book issuance in the second quarter of this year.

    “Red book issuance of Hà Nội is basically transparent with procedures and time being reduced to facilitate the public,” he said.

    The amount of documents for the process is huge and Hà Nội had been preparing infrastructure and conditions to receive online red book applications, he said. 

    Winners of wood statue carving contest honoured

    The winners of a wood statue carving contest were honoured at a closing ceremony held on March 13 in Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak Province after five days of competition.

    “Gau Be Mang,” a statue featuring a bear picking a bamboo shoot by 26-year-old artisan Y An Bya from Dak Nong Province won first prize.

    Two second prizes went to Y Thai Eban from Dak Lak Province and Ksor Kroh from Gia Lai Province for their works entitled “The Shaman and the Assistant” and “The Couple,” respectively. Three third and ten consolation prizes were also presented to other outstanding entrants.

    According to the jury, the winning entries were honoured for vividly illustrating the lifestyle and cultural and religious practices of ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands region.

    The contest, held under the framework of the sixth Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival and the 2017 Central Highlands Gong Cultural Festival, attracted 70 artisans from the five provinces of the Central Highlands region, plus Quang Nam and Khanh Hoa provinces.

    It aimed to provide an opportunity for participants to exchange experiences and introduce their ethnic group’s cultural characteristics through their works.

    All entries in the contest are being displayed at the Ko Tam Ecotourism Site in Ea Tu Commune in Buon Ma Thuot City for visitors to admire.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 03/20/17--02:42: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 20/3


    Vietnam’s total export turnover amounted to US$176.63 billion last year.


    wood processors: export prospect bright hinh 0 

    Co-held by the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, HAWA, and Lien Minh Wood Handicrafts Joint Stock Co, the four-day fair is taking place from March 8 to 11 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC’s District 7, featuring more than 1,500 booths of 313 domestic and international exhibitors, up 24% and 23% year-on-year respectively.

    The event features 100 foreign brands, up 72% over last year. They come from countries and territories with large woodworking potential and supporting industries such as Singapore, the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia and New Zealand.          

    Teen hackers fined for attack on Vietnam's airport websites

    The Ministry of Public Security said the hackers launched their attacks because they were eager to explore new things and wanted to show off for the hacker community.

    Vietnam's national security service has identified and fined the families of two 15-year olds who launched benign attacks on the nation's airport websites.

    Between Wednesday and Friday, the teenage duo disrupted the website at Tan Son Nhat, the country's busiest airport, along with the sites of the Da Nang airport and three others, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Saturday.

    Investigators identified the suspects as L.C.K.D. from Ho Chi Minh City and P.H.H. from the nearby Dong Nai Province. The attacks caused no permanent damage to the airports or the state.

    The ministry told reporters the teens launched the attacks because they were eager to explore new things and wanted to show off to the hacker community.

    Given their young age and genuine remorse, the police issued administrative fines and asked their families to help monitor them.

    Tan Son Nhat Airport's website was hacked on Wednesday, but resumed normal operations the following day.

    An aviation official said the website could not be accessed on that night, when the front page displayed a cyber security warning.

    No data was stolen and the airport's information system was not damaged, the official added.

    Representatives from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said the hacker behind the attack probably wanted to raise an alert about poor cyber security and did not intend any harm.

    An official from the Southern Airport Authority said the incident didn't affect flights.

    Last July, hackers delayed roughly 2,000 passengers by attacking Vietnam Airlines' domestic check-in computer system.

    A Solar without environmental report?

    China’s JA Solar Vietnam project had to stop construction after the investor was found not to have prepared the necessary environmental impact assessment.

    Nguyen Anh Quyen, head of the Bac Giang Management Board of Industrial Zones where the US$280-million JA Solar is located, admitted at a local conference that JA Solar had started construction before its environmental impact report was approved.

    On November 27, 2016, the JA Solar Vietnam plant officially started construction at Quang Chau Industrial Park in Viet Yen district.

    The start violated procedures. It is reported that the investor submitted the document requesting approval for its environmental impact assessment report to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on February 20, 2017. The results will be released in April 5, 2017.

    The government is tightening supervision of environmental protection measures after the scandal caused by a unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics.

    “We should not trade the environment for overambitious goals,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc previously stressed.

    JA Solar has not disclosed other details related to the plant’s capacity, but said it is expected to create 3,000 jobs during the construction period. Once they start the plant, a revenue of US$5 billion will be generated every year.

    Creating momentum for Vietnam’s tourism development

    Vietnam’s tourism has developed rapidly over the past few years but its potential has not been fully tapped to become a spearhead economic sector.

    The Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee has issued a resolution on strengthening sustainable tourism development. 

    Vietnam’s tourism sector over the past 15 years has contributed to economic restructuring, international integration, and promoting Vietnam’s land and people. The Party resolution aims to achieve tourism professionalism, uniform infrastructure, competitiveness improvement.

    Vietnam aims to attract 17 to 20 million foreign tourists and serve 82 million domestic tourists by 2020. The sector is expected to contribute 10% to Vietnam’s GDP, earn US$35 billion in direct revenue and US$20 billion from exports via tourism, and generate 4 million jobs. Tourism is targeted to become a spearhead economic sector to enable Vietnam to be one of Southeast Asia’s greenest economies. 

    Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam Tourism Administration said “The resolution is of great importance. Its targets and comprehensive solutions show Vietnam’s determination to make tourism a spearhead economic sector.”

    Vietnam’s tourism potential is ranked 24th out of 141 countries but its tourism competitiveness is ranked 75th. The Politburo’s resolution creates an important momentum for the sector. It suggests a number of solutions including changing the mindset on tourism development, restructuring the tourist sector toward sustainable growth and international integration, fine-tuning legislation on tourism development, upgrading infrastructure, continuing to advertise tourism, creating a favorable environment for enterprises and the public to develop tourism, and focusing on human resource training. 

    Mr. Tuan added that “The resolution defines the tourism as an inter-sectoral and inter-regional sector. So, developing tourism is the task of the whole political system at all levels and the whole society, with enterprises and the community playing an important role. It’s important to get all agencies involved in carrying out policies.”

    The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is expected to complete a draft Government Action Program on tourism development to submit to the Prime Minister in April. The Action Program will describe the tasks and policies to be undertaken by each locality and sector focusing on changing the public mindset on tourism development through communications activities.

    More solar power projects to be developed in Binh Phuoc

    The southern province of Binh Phuoc has two communes eligible for solar power projects with capacity between 130-300 MW, according to the Power Development Project Management Board No.6 under the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

    The communes are Loc Thanh in Loc Ninh district and Tan Thanh in Bu Dop district, the board said.  

    Binh Phuoc has high thermal radiation, with about 2,400-2,500 hours of sunshine a year.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Huynh Anh Minh said Binh Phuoc is calling for investment in solar power projects in tandem with high-tech agriculture development. 

    Detailed surveys of land use in the locality should be done to build a roadmap for solar power projects, he said.

    EVN plans to mobilise total investment up to US$1 billion for energy development, focusing on solar energy projects.

    Vietnam has enormous solar potential, especially in its central and southern regions. It has average solar irradiation of 4-5 kWh/squ.m/day, comparable to Thailand and the Philippines, which are more developed solar markets in the region, as well as to mature international markets like Spain and Italy. 

    The Vietnamese Government has recognised this potential and aims to significantly increase renewable energy production, including solar power.

    Under the newly revised Power Development Plan for until 2030, which includes ambitious development targets for renewables, the capacity of solar photovoltaics is hoped to increase from about seven megawatts (MW) now to 850MW by 2020 and 12,000 MW by 2030.     

    Insiders talk climate, integration-adapted coffee industry

    Developing Vietnam’s coffee industry in response to climate change and international integration was discussed at a workshop in Buon Ma Thuot city, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, on March 12.

    Le Van Duc, Deputy Director of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the coffee farming area needs to be kept at about 600,000ha to develop the industry sustainably. 

    The Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Gia Lai, and Dak Nong should be designated as the key cultivation region with 530,000ha. The remaining area should be concentrated in Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kon Tum, Quang Tri, Son La, and Dien Bien provinces.

    He called for more investment in research to develop high-quality coffee varieties which are productive and are resilient to diseases and climate change.

    Existing policies need to be implemented more effectively to develop agricultural and forestry plant varieties, minimise losses in production, expand large-scale fields, and encourage cooperation in agricultural production.

    Duc also underscored the need for manpower training to ensure a high-quality workforce for the industry.

    Meanwhile, Truong Hong, Acting Director of the Central Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute, said aside from planning and technical solutions, the State should launch commercial tree insurance programmes and complete coffee-related policies such as those on infrastructure development, providing soft loans for coffee farmers, and applying science-technology in coffee production.

    Vietnam has about 643,160ha of land for coffee trees at present. Coffee productivity reached 2.43 tonnes per ha in the 2015-2016 crop, generating an output of almost 1.46 million tonnes of coffee beans, up 5,500 tonnes from the previous crop.     

    AEON unveils plans to branch out in Hanoi

    AEON, the largest retail giant in Asia, has unveiled plans to branch out and begin construction on its second mega mall in the capital city of Hanoi.

    The announcement for the new 95,000 square metre mall to be constructed in the urban district of Ha Dong came at a meeting on March 10 of the Hanoi People’s Committee.

    Subject to the putting in place of badly needed bus and railway infrastructure, planning consent being achieved and the signing of pre-lets with tenants, the redevelopment is scheduled for completion in 2019.

    Viet Nam’s firms seek out opportunities in Singapore     

    As many as 110 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Viet Nam participated in a conference in Singapore last Friday to seek business and investment opportunities in this foreign market.

    The meeting was inspired by the co-operation among the Viet Nam–Singapore Friendship Association, the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore and the Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Club under the Vietnamese Association of SMEs.

    At the conference, Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Nguyen Tien Minh highlighted the presence of Vietnamese SMEs participating in the event for the first time, which he said indicated their ability to take advantage of opportunities overseas. Through Singapore, Vietnamese firms can better serve the regional and global market, especially Europe, a significant trade partner for both Viet Nam and Singapore, Minh said.

    The diplomat also said the relationship between the two countries had grown rapidly over the past few years in all fields of co-operation such as economics, defence, education and training and citizen exchange. Singapore is currently the third-largest foreign investor and the leading ASEAN investor in Viet Nam, with over US$38 billion invested in more than 1,600 Vietnamese projects related to the processing, technology, manufacturing and real estate, as well as construction, transportation and logistics industries. In addition, Singapore is Viet Nam’s 12th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade doubling over the last decade to reach nearly $16 billion last year.

    Singapore Business Federation (SBF) representative Thian Tai Chew told reporters that the latest survey found the ASEAN was the top region where Singaporean businesses wanted to expand their investments, while Viet Nam ranked third amongst the Southeast Asian countries for targeted investment.

    He also confirmed that more than 24,000 SBF members, mostly SMEs, were interested in Viet Nam’s market, typically in the food, retail, e-commerce and supply chain space, as well as infrastructure and urban development. Singaporean SMEs shine in these sectors, and they want to share their experiences with their Vietnamese partners.

    Besides providing information on investment and the business environment in Singapore, the conference also gave Vietnamese firms answers to their questions and granted them the opportunity to network and form alliances for co-operative projects or to expand their exports in the near future.

    Recent high-ranking visits between the two countries have developed bilateral relations, promising to open new opportunities for both sides’ enterprises to foster trade and investment links.

    The upcoming visit to Viet Nam by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the end of March is expected to promote co-ordination in a variety of areas, especially in the exchange of citizens. 

    US$2 million expenditure on fruit imports per day

    Vietnam imported more than US$164 million worth of fruit and vegetables during the first two months of this year with 70% of the figure coming from Thailand and China, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    Accordingly, Vietnamese people spend nearly US$2.8 million each day on fruit and vegetable imports, including roughly US$2 million from Thailand and China.

    Since early this year, Thailand has been the biggest supplier of fruit and vegetables for Vietnam with US$82.6 million, followed by China (US$31.6 million), Myanmar (US$15 million) and the US (US$13.2 million).

    Despite being an agricultural nation, Vietnam imported a huge volume of fruit and vegetables during the two-moth period, thus driving import value up from US$200 million to close to US$1 billion.

    Major import products are apples, oranges, pears, kiwis, cherries, mangoes, custard-apple, tamarind, cabbages, salad, and potatoes.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam Customs reports that fruit and vegetable exports jumped 27% to US$421,000 against last year’s same period, primarily targeting the highly lucrative markets of China, Japan, Taiwan and Canada.

    Clean rice processing cuts costs, emissions

    The Sông Hậu Food Company, a rice exporter, has reduced its energy consumption by 983,764 kWh in the past four years, saving US$62,615.

    An official of its parent company, Vinafood 2, said reduced energy costs helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enables cleaner rice production.

    The result was achieved under a project applying efficient, cleaner production methods, said Phạm Văn Tỏ, deputy manager of Vinafood 2’s Technical and Construction Department.

    He said that in rice processing, electricity costs usually account for 20 to 35 per cent of total production costs.

    Energy is usually one of the highest costs a company faces. If it can reduce energy consumption by just a few per cent, it can make a significant savings along with contributing to greenhouse gas reduction, he said.

    In 2013, the corporation had approached the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Programme (RECP), a UNIDO-UNEP joint programme financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by Sofies (a consultancy in Switzerland) and the Việt Nam Cleaner Production Centre Co Ltd (VNCPC).

    A pilot project was implemented in two member enterprises, Sông Hậu Food Company and An Giang Food and Foodstuff Company in 2013, and expanded to six other member companies in March last year.

    Trần Văn Nhân, director of VNCPC, said the rice industry’s export achievements of the past years came at the cost of adverse impacts on the environment during production and processing.

    From the entire rice value chain, the project chose to pilot the processing phase, since this has the largest impact on the environment, he said.

    “We realise that there is a great potential to turn waste resulting from rice milling into biomass energy, which significantly contributes to reducing climate change.”

    In addition, with energy costs accounting for 35-40 per cent of rice production costs, “if we can save a part of the largest expenditure, it will significantly help businesses reduce production costs and increase profits and competitiveness,” he said.

    Through many activities - including cleaner production audits at participating companies, supporting companies in identifying cleaner production technologies and application strategies and training - the project has helped firms improve their energy efficiency.

    It has also suggested measures to turn waste into biomass energy.

    Dr. Martin Fritsch of Sofies said Việt Nam was a leading rice exporter, focusing on large volumes. It was facing quality challenges that weakened its competitiveness.

    The sector needs to effect changes to meet an increase in demand for higher quality rice by creating incentives for rice farmers and millers to adopt sustainable production practices, he said.

    This would also help to avoid continuous degradation of natural resources, such as soil and water, he said.

    The project aims to promote efficient use of natural resources, including materials, water and energy and minimise waste and emissions, including those discharged into the water, air and land.

    Delegates at a recent conference titled “Towards a Sustainable Agro-Industrial Ecosystem in the Mekong Delta in Việt Nam-Focus on the Rice Value Chain,” said the project will enter its "mainstreaming phase" this year.

    A broader collaboration between all stakeholders was necessary to align interests along the value chain and to achieve a “sustainable mainstreaming effect for the Vietnamese rice sector,” they added.

    Basel II inevitable for Vietnamese banks

    As Vietnam becomes more integrated into the world economy, banks looking to improve competitiveness and governance, especially in risk management, should apply Basel II standards.

    At the beginning of the year, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued Directive No. 01/CT-NHNN on implementing monetary policies and ensuring safe and effective banking operations. 

    One of the focuses of the directive is that in 2017, the project to restructure financial institutions and deal with impaired loans in the period from 2016 to 2020 will be conducted, in the framework of which Basel II will be researched and applied to bring banks closer to meeting international standards.

    According to the directive, the whole banking system, not just the ten banks named in February 2016, will have to apply Basel II standards soon.

    General director of Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) Nguyen Dinh Tung stated that the application of Basel II standards is important to integrate with the global banking system, protect customers, and reduce risks and mistakes.

    “However, Basel II proscribes strict criteria for legislation, database management, capital adequacy, and so on, so its application is challenging,” he shared. To deal with this, the OCB prepared a database and funds as the two pillars of risk management. 

    By November 2016, OCB had completed the first stage in its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) project. The bank is completing the final stages to officially apply Basel II in the third quarter of this year.

    Basel II is a set of international banking regulations put forth by the Basel Committee on Bank Supervision (BCBS), which sets minimum capital requirements for banks and requires banks to apply risk management methods.

    In Vietnam, to apply Basel II, banks must deal with expenditures on investment and technology, human resources, and historical transaction data, among others.

    In the project draft to restructure the economy from 2016 to 2020, prepared by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, some goals are set, such as cutting back non-performing loans, reducing the number of weak banks, and assuring 70% of banks apply Basel II in 2020.

    Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu, a financial specialist, believed that the application of international standards is necessary for risk management and to reduce the probability of default, creating trust among depositors.

    Dr Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the Finance and Banking Department of Ho Chi Minh City Open University, said that the difficulty lies in enhancing Vietnamese banks’ capital resources, especially for small banks.

    Schools and stores told to embrace e-payments

    Schools, three wholesale markets and Saigon Co.op’s retail stores in HCM City will accept customers’ electronic payments, instead of cash.

    HCM City vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen has requested Hitachi Asia Co Ltd in Vietnam to install devices that make electronic payments possible at the canteens of some schools, 100 retail stores of Saigon Co.op and Hoc Mon, Thu Duc and Binh Dien wholesale markets.

    In the coming time, commuters can use bank cards to pay for water taxi, water bus and metro services.

    Tran Vinh Ky Son, head of IT at Hitachi Asia in Vietnam, proposed using bank cards or mobile phone apps to buy metro or bus tickets or goods at vending machines, and pay parking and toll fees.

    Cash-based transactions remain popular in Vietnam, leaving huge negative impact on e-commerce enterprises. In recent years, online shopping websites have mushroomed but shoppers still prefer paying by cash on delivery.

    The E-Commerce and Information Technology Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said electronic payments still make up a small fraction. In 2014, 64% of online shoppers chose to pay by cash. 

    A small number of buyers used international credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, JCB and AMEX, debit cards or digital wallets to pay for goods and services.

    More firms burdened with informal fees

    A recent Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) survey found 34% of businesses were grappling with informal fees last year, two percentage points higher than in 2014.

    VCCI on March 7 announced results of the survey of 3,500 operational businesses in the country. Up to 39% of respondents said they would face discrimination if they declined to pay informal fees for officials.  

    Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department at VCCI, said firms had to pay informal fees for taxmen. “They are concerned that they would be in trouble and face more tax inspections although they are doing nothing wrong.” 

    An assessment report conducted in 2016 by VCCI and the World Bank (WB) on tax procedure reform and business satisfaction indicated 53% of firms grappled with tax inspections in the past year.  

    The bigger businesses are, the more inspections they face, Tuan said, adding inspections were reported at 74% of companies with chartered capital of more than VND100 billion, 68% with chartered capital of VND50-100 billion and 67% with chartered capital of VND10-50 billion.

    Tuan said 80% of inspections were carried out by tax agencies, 9% by other authorities and 11% by interdisciplinary teams.

    Tax refund procedures remained burdensome, the report pointed out. Tuan said the survey found 30% of eligible firms did not complete such procedures as they were complicated, 20% considered them as being time-consuming, and 17% complained the requirements were too difficult to meet.

    However, Tuan said firms’ level of satisfaction with access to information about tax and administrative procedures was pretty high and the quality of information improved. For instance, 93% of respondents were satisfied with information posted on the websites of tax agencies and 92% were pleased with dialogues with tax officials.

    Another improvement was that the number of foreign-invested enterprises complaining about tax procedures declined to 53% last year from 57% in 2014. The respective percentages of private companies were 49% and 41%.

    But 31% of firms said tax filing was still troublesome while 26% grappled with tax refunds. Changing tax information and completing procedures for tax cuts and exemptions still challenged 15% and 10% of respondents respectively.

    Speaking at the announcement ceremony of the survey, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said the time required for completing tax filing and payment procedures had been cut to 186 hours a year as recognized by the WB after the Ministry of Finance’s push on streamlined administrative procedures in this area. The ministry is reviewing more procedures and will make them public in the coming time.

    Dung said tax agencies had been told to reduce inspections and not to bother businesses. Direct contacts between taxmen and corporate taxpayers should be limited.

    VCCI chairman Vu Tien Loc said reducing the time for tax procedures from 872 hours a year to the current level was a great effort of the tax sector as assessed by the WB.

    Loc said over the past two years the ministry had asked independent organizations to assess firms’ satisfaction with tax and customs procedures and management, and announced the final results.

    Loc noted the tax sector should work harder to improve the quality of tax rules, simplify relevant administrative procedures and provide more backing for small and medium enterprises.

    Phu Yen strives for 5,000 tonnes of tuna

    Since the beginning of the year, fishermen in the central coastal province of Phu Yen have brought onshore over 540 tonnes of tuna. The volume represented a decrease of 27 percent year-on-year.

    Local fishermen said so far this year, they have enjoyed bumper catches, with each boat netting between 1.5 and 3 tonnes.  However, the total amount was less than last year’s figure, the fishermen said, citing the fact that the area around the Dong Tac fishing port was filled with silt has prevented more than 220 local fishing boats from going fishing.

    In late February, the port was dredged, making way for all boats to begin their voyages. Local fishermen expect that the improvement of the port together with the use of steel-hulled boats will help increase the volume of tuna.

    Phu Yen is now home to nearly 800 fishing boats, working at Hoang Sa and Truong Sa fishing grounds. Local fishermen expect to catch roughly 5,000 tonnes of tuna this year.    

    Saigon Co.op eyes 13-percent growth target

    The country’s leading retailer, Saigon Co.op, has set itself a target of 13 percent sales growth this year.

    It also plans to open eight to 10 Co.opmart supermarkets, one Co.opXtra hypermarket, one Sense City mall, 65 Co.op Food shops, and 500 Co.opSmile convenience stores, develop a new business model targeting high-end customers and enhance the distribution of organic products.

    Diep Dung, Saigon Co.op chairman, said the co-operative would seek to optimise its existing operations, expand its network and improve the quality of goods, services and management and develop human resources and logistics to retain its leading position.

    Despite economic difficulties and intense competition last year, Saigon Co.op saw an 11 percent growth in revenues, while its exports via Co.opXtra hypermarkets, a joint venture with Singapore, went up by 60 per cent.

    It opened 42 new Co.opmart supermarkets, Co.op Food stores, Sense City and Co.opSmile convenience stores last year.

    Speaking at a Saigon Co.op review meeting, Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, hailed the co-operative’s achievements, saying it had contributed greatly to the city’s economic development.

    He urged the company to focus on both expanding at home and strengthening co-operation with foreign partners to sell Vietnamese goods abroad.

    Reference exchange rate up 3 VND

    The State Bank of Vietnam set the reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,254 VND/USD on March 20, up 3 VND from the end of last week.

    With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,913 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,586 VND per USD. 

    In the opening hours, commercial banks made slight changes to their rates. 

    Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,745 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,815 VND/USD, up 5 VND.

    Meanwhile, BIDV set its buying and selling rates at 22,740 VND and 22,810 VND, per USD, down 5 VND.

    Vietinbank revised its buying rate up by 20 VND to 22,750 VND and its selling rate up by 10 VND to 22,820 VND, per USD.

    SBC seeks to boost partnerships among RoK, Asian SMEs

    The Korea Small and Medium Business Corporation (SBC) said on March 19 that it has established cooperation channels with Asian countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia and India, as part of its efforts to bolster regional growth.

    SBC has signed agreements with its partners in Vietnam, Cambodia and India to promote investments and set up close-knit industrial relations that contributes to growth. 

    A delegation led by SBC chief Lim Chae-un visited three Asian countries last week and discussed ways to strengthen ties between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    Officials discussed measures to support enterprises in setting up partnerships and boosting investments.

    SBC asked India to make it easier for firms from the Republic of Korea to do business in the country. 

    The corporation is also planning to come up with follow-up measures to help local SMEs benefit from the signed agreements.

    Coffee supply in Vietnam hits 3-year low

    Coffee prices in Dak Lak, the country’s largest coffee bean-growing province, stood at US$2.08-US$2.11 (VND47,300-VND48,000) per kg at the end of last week as stockpiles remain low.

    Inventories are expected to linger at a three year low until the next harvest season gets underway in October, said Pham Ngoc Bang, deputy general director of Dakman Vietnam based out of Dak Lak.

    He noted that only about one quarter of last year’s harvest is left, which makes it hard to purchase beans. Heavy rain in Vietnam last December took a toll on both bean quality and supply during the drying process.

    Beans are much darker and of lower quality than usual due to the rain, he added, which has resulted in sellers taking a negative hit on prices.

    Activity in the coffee market is expected to pick up over the next few weeks as Indonesian farmers begin an early harvest starting late March before they enter the main harvest season beginning in July.   

    Phung Thi Tho in the multi-billion VND farming business

    Phung Thi Tho of Ba Vi district, Hanoi, has become well-off from farming on her poor piece of land.

    With great determination, Ms. Tho developed 12 hectares of bare land following the garden-pond-livestock model. She has been honored as one of 100 outstanding Vietnamese women.

    Phung Thi Tho comes from a farming family whose income is mainly based on agricultural production. In 2010, Tho’s locality had a policy to encourage local people to develop farming households. She started developing the garden-pond-livestock economic model on 12 hectares of land with only one buffalo. 

    Despite numerous difficulties, Tho tirelessly learned from the experience of others. She said “At first, I planted peas. It took time to harvest peas on the two hills. After that, I shifted to growing jicama. With the revenue from that, I hired workers and invested in grapefruit and longan”.

    During her startup period, Tho faced limited capital and fluctuating markets. With the help of the Women’s Union and the local Farmers’ Association, she survived and expanded her business. Tho took part in training courses on science and technology transfer and studied economic models. Tho’s business has become stable and profitable. The two bare hills are now covered with trees. The 12 hectares of land is used for aquaculture, orchards of grapefruit, longan, jackfruit, pineapple, and animal husbandry. This model generates income of more than US$44,000 per year. 

    Ms. Tho said “I used to employ a lot of workers but now I use machines for digging, cutting roots, and fertilizing. I keep updated on market demand to know what to grow”.

    Tho’s farm provides 30 workers stable incomes of US$130 to US$300 per month. Tho is helping poor families escape poverty and improve their lives. 

    Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha of Ba Vi district, who has worked at Tho’s farm for 7 years, said “Ms. Tho has provided us with stable jobs and income. She enthusiastically shared with us her experience in farming and husbandry”.

    Tho’s garden-pond-livestock model has been replicated in her locality.

    Vietnam boosts tea exports to the US

    The US is the world’s 4th biggest tea consumer. Vietnam exports about 2% of its tea production to the US, earning US$11 million.

    More than 158 million Americans drink tea every day with total spending of over US$80 billion annually for tea products. Americans are demanding customers who require high quality and food safety. 

    Peter Goggi, President of the US Tea Association, said Americans are used to certain types of tea, it’s a challenge to market new products. But Goggi said the unique flavor of Vietnamese tea and Vietnam’s long history of tea growing are advantages.

    Le Hong Thai, Marketing Director of Phu Ho Fram Company, said, “Vietnam has a long history of growing and processing tea. Americans will be interested in the way Vietnamese farmers collect, process, and scent tea leaves with flowers.”

    To build a trademark for Vietnamese tea and penetrate the US market, Vietnamese tea companies are improving product quality, packaging, and food safety and hygiene. They have also launched marketing programs that promote the interesting story of Vietnam’s tea culture.

    At last year’s Toronto Tea Festival, two Vietnamese tea companies won gold and silver awards. Vietnam is the world’s 7th biggest tea producer and 5th biggest exporter.

    SonKim Land wins IAIR award for leadership

    SonKim Land Corporation, a leading Vietnamese real estate developer, received the IAIR Award for “Company of the Year for Leadership Property and Real Estate Vietnam” at the 7th IAIR Summit and Awards held at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.

    SonKim Land had the highest score in this category as a leading real estate developer in luxury projects, including residential, hospitality, retail, and office buildings. 

    It also received points for using modern design methodologies to create economically and environmentally  integrated, self-sustaining master developments.

    Nguyen Hoang Tuan, chairman of SonKim Land, said, “We are very proud of winning this prestigious award, as this is the result of IAIR’s annual surveys to provide a qualitative and quantitative review of the best global firms with a focus on sustainability. This award once again proves SonKim Land’s reputation as a successful property development company in the Vietnamese market, focusing in the premium and luxury segment through developing projects in prime locations.”

    SonKim Land is developing the sky villa project (Serenity Sky Villas) in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3 – a true luxury project in the heart of downtown Ho Chi Minh City. 

    In addition, customers have high trust in the company’s premium residential project Gateway Thao Dien, and the luxury apartment project called The Nassim, a joint venture project with HongKong Land, a reputed global developer.

    “SonKim Land’s ongoing development projects are on schedule, demonstrating stable growth while affirming our strong financial strength of SonKim Land,” Tuan said. “This award creates the premise for SonKim Land to become the leading real estate development and investment company in the country, as well as in the region.”

    Recently, SonKim Land has announced the successful closing of its international round of fundraising. Through the Lemongrass Master Fund, Japanese investors have poured US$100 million into SonKim Land.

    An IAIR Award is among the world’s leading prizes for excellence in the global economy, innovation, and sustainability. For this year’s award, the organising board surveyed its 150,000 readers and gathered information from its editorial staff located around the globe. 

    It has also received important feedback from its main partners – Marcus Evans, Opal Group, IDC, and more – that conduct leading market research, organise industrial conferences, and host international business summits.

    IAIR Awards is a global roadshow held in strategic financial centres such as Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Singapore, Milan, and New York. 

    Some of its past winners and top-ranked companies include Morgan Stanley, Bank of China, Rockefeller, BNP Paribas, IBM, HDFC Ergo, Freshfields, UBS, Novartis, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank, Aviva, Vodafone, Russel Investments, BASF, and Daimler.

    Poor crop hurts cashew farmers

    Many farmers in the southern provinces of Bình Thuận, Bình Phước and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu have been encountering difficulties due to a poor cashew crop caused by bad weather and plant diseases.

    Nguyễn Đình Chương, a farmer who has four hectares of cashew trees in Bình Phước’s Bù Đăng District, said: “We harvested two to three tonnes of cashew nuts a year in the previous years. This year, when cashew prices have gone up to VNĐ40,000–45,000 per kilogramme, we have a poor crop.”

    Many trees gave no fruits at all, he said.

    Bù Đăng has nearly 60,000ha under cashew, the largest in Bình Phước. But over 865ha have been damaged by insects while some other areas have suffered a long drought.

    Ngô Văn Tâm, an experienced cashew grower in Bình Thuận Province, said he harvested very little cashew from his two hectares of land this year, blaming it on untimely rains and white frost.

    Bình Thuận has some 18,000ha under cashew, mainly in the districts of Đức Linh, Tánh Linh and Hàm Tân.

    With over 10,000ha, Đức Linh accounts for the largest cashew growing area in the province.

    According to the Việt Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas), in many areas farmers completely lost their cashew crop, while in other areas they harvested only 40-70 per cent of the normal output.

    This year total output has dropped by half.

    Some 26,000 tonnes of cashew products were exported in the first two months, a 26.2 per cent fall year-on-year. Earnings were down 12 per cent to US$232 million.

    Nguyễn Đức Thanh, chairman of Vinacas, said: “Cashew prices are on the rise in the world market, and higher than last year. Cashew nuts sell for $9.5 per kilogramme while unprocessed cashew sells for $1,800 per tonne. Cashew prices could increase further.”

    According to Nguyễn Văn Lãng, an expert on cashew, the country’s output is not enough for the processing companies and they import raw nuts from Ivory Coast.

    Given the rising cashew prices and poor harvest, large volumes of raw cashew are likely to be imported this year.

    Thanh said if this year local output dropped by 200,000 tonnes, processors would import 700,000-800,000 tonnes.

    Steel prices set for slight rise     

    Steel prices will remain stable on the domestic market this month but are expected to increase slightly soon, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The ministry said in February that local steel prices, excluding value added tax (VAT), were similar to those of the previous month - VND9.9-VND10.6 million (US$434-$465) per tonne of common steel bars in the north, and VND10-VND10.7 million per tonne in the south. The price of rolled steel products stood at VND10-VND10.6 million per tonne in the north and VND10.2-VND10.9 million per tonne in the south.

    Those prices would remain intact this month due to high supply and stable demand, as well as stability of the global steel prices.

    However, those prices would likely increase 1-2 per cent because the local construction market would experience strong growth in major cities this year due to high housing demand, the ministry said. Increasing demand for public investment would also push up prices.

    The World Steel Association forecast that steel markets in Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Philippines would grow 6 per cent due to demand for public investment and expansion of infrastructure, reported cafef.vn.

    Meanwhile, according to the Government’s development plan for the steel industry by 2020, Viet Nam will lack 15-20 per cent of steel beams every year.

    The ministry said that in the first two months of 2017, the steel industry produced 838,700 tonnes of drawn steel, a year-on-year increase of 21.4 per cent; more than 1 million tonnes of rolled steel, a year-on-year surge of 35.4 per cent; and 722,200 tonnes of flat and angle bar, up by 7.1 per cent year-on-year.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade said domestic steel production was able to meet the entire demand for steel ingots, steel beams and cold rolled steel at 7-8 million tonnes per year.

    But Viet Nam could not produce domestically hot rolled steel that is essential input material for many industries, such as cold rolled steel, galvanized steel, steel pipe, shipbuilding and manufacturing, with a high demand on 10 million tonnes per year.

    The nation still must import this product, resulting in a growing trade deficit and opening the door to cheap, low-grade imports to Viet Nam.

    The General Department of Customs reported that during the first two months of this year, the country imported 2.7 million tonnes of steel, spending $1.4 billion. The imports surged by 0.2 per cent in volume and 49.3 per cent in value.

    Average import price in the first half of February reached $538.4 per tonne of steel, a year-on-year increase of 56 per cent, and $378.7 per tonne of steel ingots, a year-on-year surge of 40 per cent.

    The Viet Nam Steel Association said cheap price of steel imports had presented local steel producers with difficult competition. To protect local steel producers, the association has proposed that the Government impose defence measures for some imported steel products. 

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


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  • 03/21/17--01:38: Article 4
  • What's the future for textiles & garments without the TPP?


    With the collapse of TPP, the textile & garment industry will have to revise its investment and development strategy.


    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,  PV Tex, TPP, textile & garment 
    Textiles & garments has been an important export item for many years. In 2005, textiles and garments made up 14.9 percent of export turnover. In 2016, the figure rose to 17.8 percent. 

    In 2005-2016, Vietnam was one of the countries pioneering in global economic integration. It did not skip any free trade agreement (FTA), meaning that Vietnam has exploited all possible FTAs, at least in the medium term.  

    With the collapse of TPP, the textile & garment industry will have to revise its investment and development strategy.

    However, analysts said that even if the agreement became realistic, TPP would not be a ‘magic wand’ that helps the industry skyrocket. With the ‘yard forward’ principle, Vietnam’s textile and garment exports would enjoy preferential tariffs if they use input materials sourced from TPP member countries.

    A research work by Vanzetti & Pham in 2014 showed that Vietnam only imports 5.3 percent of input materials from TPP member countries. This means that if the figure cannot improve, only 5.3 percent of Vietnam’s textile & garment output would enjoy preferential tariffs under TPP.

    Analysts have every reason to doubt Vietnam would not be able to get many benefits from TPP. In fact, Vietnam did not carry out any research work on the quantitative benefits it could expect from TPP. 

    Vietnamese businesses were only inspired by surveys by international organizations that Vietnam would most benefit from TPP.

    It’s still unclear how the textile and industry would work out after TPP collapsed. When TPP was under negotiations, three scenarios for the industry were drawn up.

    First, Vietnam would increase imports from TPP member countries. The solution was not feasible and it should not be discussed further as the US has left TPP.Second, Vietnam would rely on external resources, a solution easily implemented.

    In 2014-2016 alone, $2.563 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) was poured into the textile & garment sector. However, this means that Vietnam’s supporting industries would depend on the foreign invested sector.

    Third, Vietnam would rely on its internal strength. Establishing an inter-provincial cluster of textile & garment production centers has been suggested.

    If the solution is implemented, the eastern part of the southern region, which now makes up 60 percent of total textile and garment export turnover, would be a good choice. 

    HCMC, the nucleus of the cluster, would focus on branding and designing, while other localities would be production centers.

    This southeastern region makes up 50 percent of Vietnam’s most important indexes, including GDP, industrial production output and exports.


    Kim Chi


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  • 03/21/17--01:49: Article 3
  • First Vietnamese woman makes it to Forbes' 2017 billionaires list


    Vietnam has two representatives in Forbes 2017 billionaires list including VietJet Air CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, a newcomer, and Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong who has been listed on five occasions.


    First Vietnamese woman makes it to Forbes' 2017 billionaires list, pham phuong thao, vietjet ceo, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam 
    VietJet Air CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao (left), and Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong were in Forbes' 2017 billionaires list


    Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao who took her budget airline VietJet Air, public in February 2017, is the first Vietnamese woman to be selected to the list.

    Thao, 47, who is also deputy chairman and general director of HD Bank and founding shareholder of Sovico Holdings, ranks 1,678 with total assets of  USD1.2 billion.

    Chairman of Vingroup Pham Nhat Vuong has made a big jump of 144 places in Forbes' list this year, ranking 867 with total assets of USD 2.4 billion.

    It was a record year for the richest people on Earth, as the number of billionaires jumped 13% to 2,043 from 1,810 last year, the first time ever that Forbes has pinned down more than 2,000 10-figure-fortunes. 

    Their total net worth rose by 18% to USD7.67 trillion, also a record. The change in the number of billionaires — up 233 since the 2016 list — was the biggest in the 31 years that Forbes has been tracking billionaires globally. 

    Gainers since last year’s list outnumbered losers by more than three to one.

    Bill Gates is the number one richest for the fourth year in a row, and the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. He has a fortune of USD86 billion, up from USD75 billion last year.

    Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had the best year of any person on the planet, adding USD27.6 billion to his fortune; now worth USD72.8 billion, he moved into the top three in the world for the first time, up from number five a year ago. 

    There were 195 newcomers. Mainland China had the most new 10-figure fortunes with 76. The U.S. was second with 25.

    Seventy-eight people fell off the list, including 33 from China, 7 Americans and 9 who are still super wealthy but share their wealth among extended family members and therefore are not eligible for these ranks. 

    Additionally, 20 billionaires died in the past year, including Enterprise car rental founder Jack Taylor and Michael Ilitch, who launched Little Caesar’s pizza with his wife, Marian.  

    Dtinews/Forbes


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