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- 03/21/17--02:13: Article 2
- 03/21/17--02:25: Article 1
- 03/21/17--03:28: Article 0
- 03/22/17--02:09: Article 5
- 03/22/17--02:30: Article 4
- 03/22/17--02:31: Article 3
- 03/22/17--02:44: Article 2
- 03/22/17--02:53: Article 1
- 03/22/17--03:16: Article 0
- 03/23/17--02:26: Article 2
- 03/23/17--02:49: Article 1
- 03/23/17--02:55: Article 0
- 03/27/17--01:41: Article 15
- 03/27/17--01:43: Article 14
- 03/27/17--02:51: Article 13
- 03/27/17--06:28: Article 12
- 03/27/17--06:41: Article 11
- 03/28/17--02:36: Article 10
- 03/28/17--02:58: Article 9
- 03/28/17--03:11: Article 8
First stomach cancer surgery carried out with robot in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Dan Hospital on March 20 conducted the first stomach cancer surgery with robot arms for a male patient, 54, from the Mekong Delta Dong Thap Province.
Binh Dan Hospital has carried out 60 operations with robot support since December last year.
The patient had gone to the hospital with symptoms of indigestion. After performing diagnostic and laboratory tests, he was diagnosed with stage 3 antral gastric cancer.
The surgery was expected to cut 2/3 of the patient’s stomach and thoroughly remove cancer tumors by surgical robots with a surgery time of about four hours.
Robotic surgery will allow surgeons to thoroughly remove cancerous lymph nodes, while limiting blood loss and tissue damage and minimising the risk of cancer metastases and relapses.
Doctor Hoang Vinh Chuc, head of Binh Dan Hospital’s Gastrointestinal Department and chief of the surgery team said that after undergoing the operation, the patient will fast for 2-3 days to stabilise gastric mucosa and stomach stitching.
During that time, the patient will be fed through his veins and then will be given milk or soup for about five days.
The patient was suggested to be active soon to facilitate intestine operation again, while avoiding fat food and to split daily meals into small pieces.
According to Doctor Chuc, stomach cancer is the most common type of digestive cancer.
To prevent stomach cancer, he suggested limiting the intake of smoked and salted foods, while eating more vegetables and fruits and quitting smoking.
In gastric cancer, there are often excess multiple lymph nodes that should be removed thoroughly during surgical treatment to prevent cancer metastases and relapses.
The advantage of robotic surgery in gastric cancer treatment is that the robot system has a high resolution 3D display, enabling surgeons to clearly see the intra-abdominal structures, especially metastatic nodes, to remove them thoroughly.
Clear observation also helps minimise damage to neighbouring healthy tissues, reduce the risk of complications, and, in particular, decrease bleeding.
Due to the minimal damage, the patients will recover faster after surgery and soon return to normal activities.
The flexible robot arms can fold, stretch and rotate 540 degrees for easy operation in narrow operating conditions.
Robotic surgery has been carried out by Binh Dan Hospital since December 10, 2016. This is the first hospital in Vietnam licenced by the Ministry of Health to treat adult patients with robots.
So far, more than 60 patients have undergone surgeries for major cancers such as colorectal and pancreatic cancer.
After more than three months of implementation, the Dong Thap native was the first to treat stomach cancer with this technique.
Will Vietnam ever be clean?
Since the first caveman threw away a banana peel and the caveman behind him complained, mankind has been grappling with litterbugs.
Trash is seen being piled up at Tam Giang Lagoon, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam.
After cavemen came cities, with the first record of garbage truck-style rubbish removal mentioned in the Egyptian city of Heracleopolis, 2,300 years ago. The ancient Greeks made a law that all non-renewable waste had to be dumped at least a mile outside the city of Athens.
The good people of Pompeii piled their trash next to the tombs of the dead, seeing no difference between the two – funny how people looked at things in the past.
Health-wise, humanity twigged that it might be a good idea to get rid of the rubbish for the sake of the living. Yet, we’re still struggling with unpleasant and unhygienic littering habits in 2017.
As the Vietnamese winter fades and we’re out and about more often, littering becomes more noticeable and each year around this time, the comments start to flow on social forums about ‘litterbugs’ and their selfish, inconsiderate actions.
So why do the Vietnamese still litter so much? How can the Vietnamese be so patriotic about their land while somehow not caring about the environment around them?
I’m not talking about the occasional bag of chicken bones tossed on the street, I mean the piles of trash that I see every day driving along the coastal road from Hoi An to Da Nang and the use of vacant land as the nearest rubbish bin.
They’re told in their schools. They study the problems of pollution. The government posts thousands of signs nationwide about littering. It’s discussed on TV, social forums and in the newspapers. So why does it continue?
Now I should say that people in most nations also dump rubbish or show signs of selfishness in cleaning up their mess. Sydney parks and streets can look like a slum after New Year’s fireworks celebrations. Shame, Sydney, shame.
For Vietnam, littering comes with serious economic effects, reducing usable water resources, damaging agricultural production and harming people’s health via air-borne pollution from rubbish dump burning.
In the major towns and cities, people are generally dutiful in keeping their local spaces clean enough, although sometimes they have to be not so gently reminded by the local authorities.
However, I worry more about the tourism impact which is largely unrecognized and poorly understood.
Beach and river pollution puts people off travel as so many other scenic and pristine tourist destinations are available these days. It also harms the national reputation as foreigners wonder about the local’s mentality and begin spreading the word on the Internet.
Having said that, the amount of rubbish left by tourists themselves is a huge problem for island tourism as it becomes harder to dispose of the waste and will become a growing concern on Phu Quoc Island and Con Dao too.
In the West, it took decades of public education in the media as well as in schools to install a strong sense of public responsibility and establish habits of disposing of rubbish in a sensible way. In nations like Japan, dumping trash anywhere is unthinkable as Japanese society follows the creed of everyone obeying social norms for the good of everyone – including no rubbish anywhere.
In Tokyo, I went to a cherry blossom festival with thousands of locals picnicking in the parks. At the end of the festival, everyone carefully removed all their rubbish leaving the parks almost totally clean. Almost no government cleaners were involved.
As a teacher, I know all too well that it takes time, repetition and a change in attitude before effective change takes place. It’s taken decades in the West to transform people’s habits and even then tougher laws and stricter policing have been required.
As with the traffic, spitting in the streets, public urination and dozens of other things we’d wish people wouldn’t do, it will take decades to develop the kind of personal civic responsibility that people, both personally and collectively, need to ‘do the right thing.’
First we need locals to ‘get the idea’ of not dumping stuff anywhere and making more of an effort to dispose of their trash in a thoughtful way. This, to me, applies more to the countryside folks and the mostly poor, uneducated population. And that’s where parents come into the picture.
It’s up to the first generation, not just to teach the next generation but also to set the example. In Vietnam, a lot is done by observing what others do. If one person doesn’t care – then why should I? If one group does something bad repeatedly then it becomes the norm as the problem seems too widespread to be changed.
So perhaps in the near future what we all see is only the beauty of Vietnam and not the ugliness of people’s bad habits. We’re not cavemen anymore!
(Don't throw trash randomly!)
Public debt growth due to missed GDP target: minister
"The 2011-15 GDP growth was only 5.91 per cent whereas the set target was seven per cent,” he added.
Although the economic growth rate did not reach the designated target, Vietnam had to mobilise capital for investment in transport infrastructure, social security and balance its budget in items supported by overseas assistance, he said.
The minister spoke during a debate in the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) about amendments to the Law on Public Debt Management.
Dũng said after six years of implementation, the law had contributed to mobilising capital to offset State budget overspending, and created investment resources for the economy’s key sectors through the re-lending of foreign loans by the Government and through Government guarantees for domestic and foreign loans.
But given the country’s international integration and the changes in the legal system, many articles of the law were no longer relevant and need to be adjusted, he said.
The majority of NA deputies agreed on the need to revise the law, and also discussed the scope of public debt and which agency should manage the public debt.
In response to a question raised by Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Justice Committee, Lê Thị Nga, on the calculation of public debt and the reason for its rapid increase in recent years, the Minister of Finance blamed weak management.
When questioned about whether the debts of State-owned enterprises should be subject to the Law on Public Debt Management, Dũng said the law shouldn’t include state-owned companies. The ministry defines public debt as government debt, government-guaranteed debt and local-government debt, as regulated by the current law, he said.
According to Dũng, as SOEs are one-member limited company, they have to bear responsibility for the borrowed capital.
"If they fail to pay the debt it would be dissolved in accordance with the law on bankruptcy," he said.
Many NA deputies agreed with Dũng’s opinion, however, some of them expressed their concern over the consequence of excluding SOE debts.
Nguyễn Văn Giàu, head of NA’s External Affairs Comittee, said bad debts of many credit institutions would increase sharply because SOEs were their biggest customers, and many of them were in difficulties.
Who’s in charge
Regarding to the tasks and authoritiy of agencies in public debt management, NA deputy chairman Phùng Quốc Hiển said it was time to debate regulations relating to guarantees and re-borrowing of foreign loans by the Government.
Many corporations could not repay the debt although they were backed by the government, Hiển said.
To settle the above-mentioned problem, the Finance and Budget Commitee proposed that the Mininstry of Finance be the sole agency responsible for land and debt payments rather than many agencies currently managing public debts, leading to loose management and the rapid growth of public debt, the committee said.
Đào Quang Thu, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment didn’t agree with the committee’s proposal, saying that the current management mechanism was suitable to the country’s economic and political mechanism and legal system, creating a mutual supervisory mechanism between ministries.
Currently, the debt management is shared by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the State Bank of Vietnam.
Deputies suggested that inadequacies in mobilising government loans, re-lending and guarantee conditions should be improved and tightened to ensure the efficiency in the use of capital and ensure debt security in accordance with the policy of the State.
The NASC also debated the revision of the Foreign Trade Management Law.
Foreign trade law
Six amendments to the draft Law on Foreign Trade Management were discussed by the NASC on March 20.
The committee agreed that the law should clearly regulate the authority and management responsibilities of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and concerned ministries and sectors on foreign trade.
It should also identify roles and divide management responsibilities on foreign trade for local authorities at all levels, deputies said.
On the issue of managing cross-border trade between countries that share borders, Vũ Hồng Thanh, Chairman of the NA Economic Committee said that the trading conducted at sea by border residents have long been regulated by the law.
However, its provisions on cross-border trading and commodity exchange at sea can only be applied to residents on either sides of the border and not to traders, he said.
Traders that conduct border trade must comply with import and export regulations, he added.
Direct trading conducted between traders at sea without completing necessary procedures as regulated will be considered smuggling, Thanh said. They will be dealt with based on anti-smuggling regulations and those covering illegal transportation of goods across borders, he said.
On developing foreign trade through trade promotions, the Chairman agreed to not regulate the establishment of a Vietnamese trade promotion organisation in foreign countries under Article 108.
A new clause will be added to the article that will have the State encouraging the establishment and involvement of social, occupational and economic organisations and associations in trade promotion activities in foreign countries, he said.
Nguyễn Thuý Anh, chairwoman of the NA’s Social Affairs Committee requested the law’s drafting committee to continue reviewing it to ensure that it is compatibile with other legislation.
Race to compete
It was a sunny day at the Honda dealerships in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district, and Mr. Nguyen Tuan Anh, a 29-year-old project manager at E-Game, was looking for a sedan for VND500 million to VND600 million ($22,000 to $24,400).
“I’m wavering between a Honda City and an import from Thailand, because of the competitive price under ATIGA.”
ATIGA, or the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, is the first comprehensive agreement to adjust all ASEAN trade in goods and was built on the basis of commitments agreed to in CEPT / AFTA and relevant agreements and protocols.
It regulates a tariff reduction schedule for vehicles originating from ASEAN, which fell from 40 per cent to 30 per cent in January and will be 0 per cent in 2018.
Because of tariff reductions, the number of completely-built-unit (CBU) vehicles from ASEAN increased significantly in January.
Vehicles of less than nine seats increased 233 per cent compared to January last year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs and were equal to 45 per cent of import volumes in 2016 as a whole.
The figure totaled 3,048 units, or 62.8 per cent of imports.
Within ASEAN, only Thailand and Indonesia export vehicles of less than nine seats to Vietnam.
Those from Thailand totaled 1,585 units in January worth $31 million, up 55 per cent and 209 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.
There were 1,823 units worth $35 million imported from Indonesia, compared to just one vehicle imported in January last year, worth $10,000.
“When the 0 per cent tariff is applied on motor vehicles, within ASEAN we are most concerned about those from Thailand, because many have localization rates from 70 per cent to over 90 per cent,” said industry expert Dr. Ngo Tri Long.
In the first month of 2017, ASEAN remained the largest source of all types of automobiles imported into Vietnam.
Thailand was the largest in the bloc, with 2,605 units, followed by Indonesia with 1,823 units and India with more than 1,000 units.
Most customers buying CBU vehicles from ASEAN say that prices and services are attractive.
The price of vehicles imported from India are the lowest, averaging just $3,708 per unit, while vehicles assembled in Vietnam such as the Toyota Vios 1.5E is VND564 million ($24,775), which is much higher than any CBU vehicle from ASEAN.
The Kia Morning, the Hyundai i10, and the Chevrolet Spark, all CBUs, cost from VND350 million to VND480 million ($15,375 to $21,085).
Given the reductions under ATIGA, in the second month of the year Toyota Vietnam announced new prices for its two types of Yaris, both of which are CBUs imported from Thailand.
The Yaris G now sells for VND642 million ($28,190) and Yaris E for VND592 million ($25,995), down VND47 million ($2,060) and VND44 million ($1,935), respectively.
When the tariff rate becomes zero their prices will fall by an additional VND130 million ($5,700) to VND140 million ($6,150).
Vietnamese automakers need to adopt reasonable strategies to cut manufacturing costs and attract customers if they hope to compete with CBU vehicles from ASEAN, according to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).
However, ATIGA also regulates that automotive components are also subject to tariff reductions, so local makers are in a position to compete with CBU imports from the region, Mr. Yoshihisa Maruta, President of VAMA, believes.
“This is a good opportunity for automakers that assemble in Vietnam to introduce new products and improve sales in 2018,” he said.
Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) said that completely-knocked-down (CKD) vehicles in Vietnam will meet difficulties when tariffs fall under ATIGA because the price of CBU vehicles from ASEAN are attractive due to low manufacturing costs in Thailand and Indonesia.
It still believes, however, in the potential of the CKD market in Vietnam in the time to come.
Though having to cope with major competition next year when tariffs fall to zero, TMV has adopted strategies to overcome the difficulties and maintain its CKD activities in Vietnam.
Mr. Toru Kinoshita, General Director of TMV, said that measures for CKD assemblers in Vietnam to compete with CBUs from ASEAN include enhancing the localization rate, which would permit lower prices for CKDs, and focusing on key CKD models.
TMV manufactures automobile components in-house and also has arrangements with 29 suppliers for 300 components, which helps it offer CKD vehicles at a reasonable price.
Automobile imports from asean
Source: General Department of Customs
Mr. Minoru Kato, General Director of Honda Vietnam, said that the 0 per cent CBU import tariffs will be a major challenge for domestic automakers, including Honda Vietnam, when it’s introduced next year.
“They will have to adjust their business strategy to maintain production,” he believes.
Preparing strategies to compete in the market, especially with CBU vehicles from ASEAN, makers in Vietnam have cut their prices and presented gifts to customers.
The first to introduce discounts was Truong Hai Corporation, which General Director Bui Kim Kha said improved sales but at a lower profit per vehicle.
“When production increases, the more the company has had to cut prices,” he explained.
“Falling prices result in rising sales, boosting production. This creates a cycle, allowing us to compete.”
Other brands with small market share, such as Chevrolet, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, also offer discounts or provide insurance, accessories, or cash gifts.
Opposite to the accepted wisdom that CBU imports from ASEAN will have a negative effect on Vietnamese automakers, many believe that tariff reductions by themselves will not have a significant effect because imports are still subject to other taxes.
Moreover, vehicles assembled by Toyota, Ford, Honda, and GM are subject to component tariffs of only 15-25 per cent, significantly lower than the CBU tariff.
Therefore, local automakers should be able to compete with CBU vehicles from ASEAN if they have adopted the right strategy.
VN Economic Times
Flights unable to contact sleeping air traffic controller at Vietnam airport
The air traffic control tower is seen at Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong, northern Vietnam.
The incident involving two separate Vietjet flights occurred at Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong City on March 9, with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam completing its investigation into the case earlier this week.
According to the CAAV, the captain of Vietjet flight VJ921 bound for Seoul tried to contact the Cat Bi air traffic controllers 29 times but they never replied.
The flight was expected to depart at 11:45 pm, however the captain could not reach the control center between 10:51 pm and 11:24 pm.
One air traffic controller eventually responded to the VJ 921 by 11:24 pm, meaning the flight took off at 11:58 pm, 13 minutes later than scheduled.
On the same night, another Vietjet flight, VJ 292, was scheduled to land in Hai Phong from Ho Chi Minh City at 11:30 pm, but was also unable to reach the air traffic controllers after ten attempts between 11:14 pm and 11:38 pm.
This meant the controllers kept the VJ 292 captain waiting for 23 minutes before answering the call at 11:39 pm. The flight eventually landed at 11:54 pm, 24 minutes behind schedule.
In a report submitted to the CAAV, Vietnam’s Northern Airports Authority said the equipment at the Cat Bi air traffic control center was in normal working order at the time of incident, and that the loss of contact was caused by human error.
Investigations revealed that on the night of March 9, three staff, including two air traffic controllers – the chief official and his assistant – plus one technician were on duty at Cat Bi.
However, the assistant controller was absent from 9:40 pm to 5:40 am the following day, and his first command was asleep between 9:40 pm and 11:15 pm, according to the report.
On Wednesday, the CAAV said the two controllers had been fined VND7.5 million (US$335) each and had their working license suspended for two months.
The head of the Cat Bi air traffic control center has also been suspended and replaced by an experienced official from Hanoi.
Two other air traffic controllers have been transferred to work at Cat Bi in place of the offending staff.
The CAAV added that it is conducting a comprehensive inspection of the operations of the Cat Bi air traffic control center.
TUOI TRE NEWS
VN called to tackle overfishing as crisis looms
The Government should tighten its grip on overfishing as the seafood capacity in the Vietnamese sea is nearing exhaustion, a top military official said on Tuesday.
Senior Lieutenant-General Pham Ngoc Minh, Vice Chief of General Staff of the Viet Nam People’s Army and Vice Chairman of the National Committee for Search and Rescue, raised his concerns over the alarming situation as he commented on the draft of the amended Law on Fisheries during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC).
“We used to catch a lot of fish whenever we went out to sea in the old days. But now all the sea – Bach Long Vy, Truong Sa or Phu Quoc - was empty of fish,” Minh said.
Vietnamese fishers use all kind of means, from explosives to electricity or toxic substances, to catch great quantities of fish as fast as possible. “That’s why now our fishermen have to fish in overseas waters, and get caught,” he said.
Since the start of the year, 16 Vietnamese fishing ships detained by neighbouring countries like Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Cambodia for illegal fishing, Minh said.
The Senior Lieutenant-General, with some 30 years spent at sea, asked that the amended Law on Fisheries clearly lay out the State’s responsibilities in planning and regulating specific areas allowed for fishing. He also asked authorities to issue fishing quotas to manage the overfishing.
National Assembly National Defence and Security Committee Chairman, Senior Lieutenant-General Vo Trong Viet, also expressed concern about overfishing, blaming it on lack of exploitation bans to preserve resources. “In other countries, even in China, fishing is banned during breeding season. Any violations are strictly punished,” Viet said.
“In Viet Nam, meanwhile, the ban is rather unclear, allowing fishermen to sail to sea for fishing even during the (breeding) season. That’s what led to the fish exhaustion,"
Also yesterday, the NASC agreed to issue a Governmental decree to improve the performance of the firefighting forces following growing fire risks due to rapid urbanisation.
According to the NASC, there were 444,311 incidents including fires, explosions, traffic and labour accidents between 2001 and 2015. At least 177,587 people were killed and 343,340 were injured.
The highest-level legal document regulating the rescue work of the firefighter force is a decision issued by former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2012. However, it falls short of clearly stating specific responsibilities of organisations and individuals in rescue work, leading to confusion and lack of co-operation between different forces, according to the NASC.
Tuesday also marked the close of the NASC’s 8th session. The next one is set for April.
Mekong Delta sinks into the sea
HCM City plans weekend market downtown
The government of HCMC will open a weekend market downtown in the second quarter to create a new shopping and entertainment venue for city dwellers and tourists.
File photo of a hydrofoil heading to a now-defunct pier at the Bach Dang Park. The government of HCMC will open a weekend market at the Bach Dang Park along the Saigon River in the second quarter of this year
Expected to open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, the market will cover 3,000 square meters at the Bach Dang Park along the Saigon River in District 1 and feature 120 stands for art performance, food and folk games, a city government official told a meeting on March 20.
To be eligible for attending the market, vendors must ensure that goods are of clear origin and that they sell only genuine products and guarantee food safety.
All the stands will be cleared to before 8 a.m. on Mondays.
Tran The Thuan, chairman of District 1, described the weekend market as an extension of the Nguyen Hue pedestrian square which is always crowded with people at weekends.
Since the Bach Dang Park and the Nguyen Hue pedestrian square are separated by the busy Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1 authorities are working with the voluntary youth force to map out plans to help visitors cross the street, and regulate traffic in the area.
Tran Quang Lam, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said the area is prone to traffic congestion, especially at rush hour, and the situation would worsen when the nearby Thu Thiem 2 bridge is opened to traffic.
Therefore, Lam noted, a lot of manpower would be needed to help people walk between Nguyen Hue Boulevard and the weekend market.
City vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said the weekend market was a pilot project as the city is planning to build an underground venue connecting the Nguyen Hue pedestrian square and the Bach Dang Park.
The city will look into its impact on traffic, he said.
In a related development, District 1 will carry out a pilot plan to allow food vendors to operate on some streets in the city center.
The district said on March 20 that Nguyen Van Chiem Street would be the first to house stands of 20 households which would be operational from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The second location is Bach Tung Diep Park with a sidewalk being 30 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, where 15 households can sell stuff from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The third site is Chu Manh Trinh Street whose 120-meter-long sidewalk will be occupied by 35 households.
Those vendors will pay no charges for using sidewalk space but be required to ensure food safety, classify waste and have professional selling skills.
The district will consider other streets with wide sidewalks to arrange more stands for street vendors.
Understanding Vietnamese wealthy
According to the 2016 Wealth Report, Vietnam had 168 super-rich people (with assets of $30 million and above) in 2015 and the number is going to increase to 403 by 2025. Seven out of the ten richest people on the Vietnamese stock market trade in real estates.
There have been some commentaries from all newspapers. However, these commentaries should look into the history of Vietnam’s development and these people’s process of getting rich in order to give an objective account.
Where the wealth comes from
When the country switched from central planning to a market economy, a part of the population became rich by selling drugs, prohibited goods, speculation, corruption, or using their relationship with government officials to enrich themselves and relatives. These people the government should detect and punish according to the law.
However, some people took advantage of the time period to invest in sectors with high profit margins in order to accumulate initial capital and then use it to expand to other sectors and form conglomerates.
The owners of many conglomerates in the private sector got rich from land because they took advantage of the time when the price of land was very low and the government was willing to transfer land to the private sector, both domestic and foreign, pretty easily. When the country became a little more developed through urbanisation and industrialisation, the price of land rose, making some people very rich.
It is not right to attribute this to legal opacity and possible relationship with government officials.
In the years after the 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, most of the country was poor. Local governments issued many policies to encourage investment in the private sector, including renting out land to investors for free or at very low fees.
Some say these few people got rich from land, which is public property. This is not really true, because these people also relied on their own business intuition, in order to go from the initial capital to become owners of big companies.
Vietnam currently has 600,000 companies in the private sector, of which a few thousand are of a larger size, and only a small percentage of these got rich from land.
Many rich Vietnamese people were students who went to study in the USSR (now Russia) and Eastern European countries or workers who went to work abroad and took advantage of the transition to a market economy in those countries to amass wealth. Among these is Pham Nhat Vuong, Vingroup’s chairman. He earned millions of dollars from producing and selling instant noodles and other fast food in Ukraine and many Eastern European countries.
Many Vietnamese who live in the US, Canada, the UK, France and Australia sent billions of dollars to their relatives in Vietnam and the relatives used this money to invest, or they themselves set up companies in Vietnam. Many people who worked for foreign companies returned to Vietnam and used their working experience and earnings to set up their own companies and have been successful.
Thus, it can be seen that the rich of Vietnam amassed wealth not only through land but many other ways, too. However, 168 in a population of 93 million is too few. The Wealth Report expected this number at 403 by 2025. An increase would be a good thing.
The right attitude would be to acknowledge the ones that amassed wealth legally and work with law enforcement agencies to detect and punish those that did so illegally, and try to narrow the income gap between people.
The real role of the real estate market
In the past 30 years of Vietnam transitioning from a central planning to a market economy, the country has made numerous achievements. However, Vietnam is still slow compared to other countries. South Korea started as low as Vietnam when it started industrialisation in the mid-60s, but took only 20 years to become an industrialised country with leading global technology companies, such as Samsung and LG, but after thirty years Vietnam only succeeded in getting out of the group of low-income countries. Vietnam also has very few high-tech companies and its private sector in general has low competitiveness. Labour productivity is low. The government is trying to fix these weaknesses in the recently announced restructuring of the economy to follow a new growth model.
Some say that real estate can help short-term growth but is not a sector that the economy can rely on for the long term. One cannot ignore the importance of real estate in economic growth because this sector is an important contributor by being a significant investment channel, a sector that is directly linked to urbanisation, housing demand, the technical infrastructure, hotels, offices, resorts, tourism, the construction material production industry, and furniture production, not to mention the millions of jobs it creates.
Since the 80s Hanoi only built between 50,000 and 150,000 square metres of apartment buildings each year, the old kind, like the ones in Kim Lien and Giang Vo. They are not only small but also monotonous in design. The tallest hotel was the 11-floor Thang Long Hotel. In the recent years, Hanoi builds 1.5-1.6 million square metres annually, with modern architecture. This changes the face of the city. In 1990, the country produced and used 2 million tonnes of cement. In 2016, these figures were pushing 75 million tonnes produced and 65 million tonnes used.
Between 2008 and 2012, the real estate market was at a standstill. Many companies in construction and real estate sales went bankrupt. Many people became unemployed. Bad debts rose. Construction material and furniture production companies also met a lot of difficulties. Eventually, the government had to deploy rescue measures, including the VND30 trillion ($1.32 billion) loan package for homebuyers. This shows that the real estate sector is really important.
In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City there are two urban areas built by foreign-invested companies, namely Ciputra and Phu My Hung. 20 years ago Vietnam was yet to have a big private company in real estate, so the government let Taiwanese and the Indonesian firms build these two modern urban areas in the two biggest cities and gave them many incentives in terms of tax and land rental fees. The developers put in a few hundred million US dollars in each of these two urban areas, but then earned a good few times as much. At that point, the government could not do differently because Vietnamese companies were not yet capable of carrying out such projects. These projects met the demand for housing and through them Vietnamese companies learned the tricks of the trade.
Now there are tens of thousands of real estate developers in Vietnam, including strong companies, such as Vingroup, Sun Group, Dai Quang Minh, and Novaland, among others. They have built modern urban areas with complete facilities and claimed the real estate market as the playground for mostly domestic firms. Only in some cases where it was necessary did the government give projects to foreign investors with high technology and capacity, or let the projects be carried out by cooperation between domestic and foreign companies to increase its quality.
However, it should be noted that big real estate companies need to invest in technology, design, architecture, and process too. Some companies have imported modern equipment and formed a workforce with high qualifications that are capable of designing and creating modern buildings. These firms then went on to set records in terms of construction time, while ensuring the quality of the building.
In recent years, many conglomerates in the private sector expanded operations in many sectors, such as supermarkets, high-tech agriculture, healthcare, and education. Thanks to their financial capacity and their experience in business, they produced good results and earned consumers’ trust. Some five-star hotels in Hanoi, such as Hilton and Daewoo, used to be joint ventures with foreign companies but have been bought by Vietnamese private companies.
A Vietnamese that has made a fortune by selling milk is Thai Huong, chairman of TH Milk. People who have visited her farm, which is a few hundred hectares in area, where she grows grass, rears cows, and produces milk, were amazed. In order to carry out the dream of supplying milk to Vietnamese people, she went to Israel to learn about the most modern technology, hired a company to advise her on growing grass, and bought cows from New Zealand and Australia. In less than 10 years, TH Milk has become one of the two dominant Vietnamese milk companies. It is now in the process of building a project on rearing cows and producing milk on a gigantic scale in Russia.
Thai Huong said that TH Milk aimed to have 137,000 cows by the end of 2017, and that its plants have can meet 50 per cent of the domestic demand for milk through their total capacity of 500 million litres a year. The Asian Book of Records recognised the TH farm in Nghia Dan, Nghe An as the biggest concentrated high-tech dairy farm in Asia.
In 2014 the company started working with government agencies to supply milk to children in kindergartens and primary schools in order to improve the height and health of the Vietnamese populace.
Sapa is one of the most well-known tourism destinations in Vietnam. Since 2016 the town has a cable car developed by Sun Group that carries tourists from Muong Hoa to the Fansipan summit, the highest point of Indochina. The system cost VND4.4 trillion ($193 million). Construction started in November 2013 and the system entered operation in February 2016. Guinness World Records awarded two Guinness certifications for the Fansipan cable system, for the biggest height gap (1,410 metres) between its departure and arrival stations and the world’s longest three-wire cable car (6,292.5 metres).
This project shows that Vietnamese companies are now capable to finance and have the skill to build projects that are complicated both in terms of geography and technology. The project has contributed to attracting domestic and international tourists to Sapa and Lao Cai, create jobs for the people there, and increase local revenues.
Vingroup is a Vietnamese conglomerate that in the past two years has developed hundreds of supermarkets across the country, and invested in high-tech agriculture in many localities. Vingroup has built a supply chain linking producers and distributors using attractive incentives, and it aims to “connect Vietnamese companies in each type of product in order to compete with foreign-invested companies.”
Vingroup has a commission fee of 0 per cent for some agricultural produce that are sold through its supermarkets, while Big C has increased this fee to an unbearable percentage for some Vietnamese companies after it was taken over by Thai investors.
Vingroup has signed a contract with 250 suppliers and agricultural cooperatives to apply new and clean technologies, instruct farmers on how to farm, create a low-cost and fast supply chain for the benefit of producers, companies joining in the chain, consumers, and Vingroup alike.
Vingroup’s forming a supply chain, working with producers and distributors, is a model that many Vietnamese companies in many sectors can learn from. They can create their own supply chains in order to seize new opportunities from the domestic and global market.
Many Vietnamese companies also pay attention to corporate responsibility. They create jobs and set aside a part of their millions of dollars of revenue to do charity, help alleviate poverty, support poor households, and give scholarships to poor students.
Some localities in Vietnam are blessed with geographical ease of access, so they have better infrastructure than others. They attract many foreign-invested projects and see fast socioeconomic growth and are now on the path to modernising themselves, while mountainous localities and those near the borders have numerous difficulties in achieving economic growth. This creates a gap between localities. In recent years many big companies in the private sectors have invested in highways, urban areas, supermarkets, resorts, and industrial parks, as well as planted forests, and contributed to narrowing this gap. These companies helped the government in meeting growth targets at these localities.
At the investment, trade, and tourism promotion conference of Tuyen Quang Povince held at the end of February, some domestic companies registered VND18 trillion ($790 million) in big projects in the coming years. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he appreciated the companies’ efforts and believed that Tuyen Quang is going to grow faster thanks to the projects.
These prospective projects include building a 30kilometre expressway linking Tuyen Quang city with Hanoi-Lao Cai Expressway, reducing the time needed to travel from Hanoi to Tuyen Quang by 40 per cent. Together with other telecommunication, electricity, and water infrastructure projects, this will help the locality better attract foreign investors. The Prime Minister said that the companies should carry out the registered projects and ensure that all three parties, namely themselves, the province, and the community can benefit.
Vietnam’s process of socioeconomic growth is different from other countries’. Therefore, studies should take into account the different historical context of events in order to be able to offer correct explanations.
By Professor, Dr Nguyen Mai, VIR
Trump and Zuckerberg invited to APEC 2017 in Vietnam
Vietnam has sent invitations to US President Donald Trump and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg to attend the APEC 2017 which will be held in Hue, according to Chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc.
Trump and Zuckerberg invited to APEC 2017
"We hope Zuckerberg will attend APEC 2017 to discuss start-up co-operation. However, we’re sure that one female Facebook CEO will attend the APEC 2017 Women and the Economy Forum," Loc said.
Loc said while Vietnam's start-up community was among the world's top 20, but its capacity was in the bottom 20.
The APEC Start-up Forum would be the largest international start-up forum held in Vietnam and expected to be a place where experiences about start-ups in Vietnam and the world will be shared.
It is estimated that about 1,000 CEOs and politicians from around the world will attend APEC 2017.
Vietnam also sent an invitation to the US President Donald Trump.
"We have sent the invitation and hope that he will attend because Trump is the first US president that is also a businessman.
His thoughts and involvement shared with the APEC community may have an immense effect," he said.
Loc went on to say that Vietnam is one of the most favourite destinations for investors in APEC community and many countries are showing interests in it. Vietnam is receiving huge support from the world and APEC this year receives the most interests in recent memory, he said.
Vietnam's lung cancer patients to get free EGFR mutation testing
The central city’s Oncology Hospital, in co-operation with the British–Swedish biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, has launched its first-ever Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation testing programme for non-small cell lung cancer patients in Viet Nam.
Hospital director Nguyen Ut said the testing, which has seen as the first in Asia Pacific region, will help non-small-cell lung cancer patients in the central region increase survival from one to two years with non-progressive of the disease.
“The testing system also helps lung cancer patients save time and money from traveling from the region to HCM city for three-week tests,” Ut said, adding that the EGFR mutation testing will give results within 24 hours instead of several weeks.
He said the 550-bed hospital has seen overload of over 700 patients, of which 30 per cent were local residents and 70 per cent were from 40 provinces and cities.
As scheduled, the hospital and AstraZeneca will give free of charge testing for all patients in the first year.
According to deputy director of the hospital, Nguyen Hoang Long, an EGFR mutation test would cost around VND5 million (US$221) each including health insurance, while a tablet for non-small cell lung cancer costs VND1 million ($44.2) with 50 per cent paid by health insurance.
Long said EGFR mutation testing also allows doctors to diagnose accurately, while patients will ease their pains from taking pills rather than costly chemotherapy.
Nicolas Jones, chief representative of AstraZeneca Singapore’s office in Viet Nam, said EGFR mutation testing plays as the most important role in supporting non-small cell lung cancer patients.
He hopes that the co-operation with Da Nang’s Oncology will provide an easier access to European standard EGFR mutation testing among patients in Da Nang and neighbouring provinces.
He said the launch of EGFR mutation testing will help prolong survival among lung cancer patients and improve health care service in Viet Nam, which is AstraZeneca’s commitment.
Nicolas added that AstraZeneca will provide testing procedure consultation and testing as well as EGFR testing mutation technical training for physicians and medical staffs of the hospital.
According to the ministry of health, lung cancer has a high fatality rate among cancer patients. 19,559 patients--20.6 per cent of cancer patients--died in Viet Nam in 2012.
It’s expected that the country would see more than 29,000 new cases of lung cancer in 2020.
The hospital has provided free of charge treatment and meals for the poor cancer patients in central Viet Nam and free accommodation for their relatives during treatment at the hospital since 2013.
Chinese travelers flock to Vietnam instead of South Korea
Thousands of Chinese travelers entered Vietnam through the Mong Cai international border gate two days after China's ban on travel to South Korea.
According to Luong Quang So, head of the Mong Cai economic zone management board, on the days just before and after Tet (late January and early February), only 8,000-10,000 foreign travelers, including 2,500-3,500 Chinese, entered Vietnam through the Mong Cai border gate each day.
However, the figure increased sharply to 15,000 a day, including 5,000 from China in the last week, an increase of 50 percent over the same period last year.
Duong Van Co, chair of Mong Cai City, said that the increasing number of travelers has put pressure on customs clearance, but this has not had any impact on public order and tourism management.
The accommodations and tourism sites in Mong Cai are still capable of catering to travelers because most of the travelers go on domestic routes.
According to Co, as the number of tourists increases, the fees and charges collected from tourists at the border gate will increase. In 2016, the local authorities collected VND230 billion from this source.
On March 8, South Korean agencies said the Chinese administration met with representatives of tourism agencies and travel firms in Beijing and told the firms to stop providing tours to South Korea, commencing from March 15.
Seoul believes that the move is an unofficial sanction amid South Korea’s THAAD missile system deployment.
Beijing said it was disappointed about the South Korea’s decision, while it revealed to make comments about the retaliation plan.
Analysts said if Chinese travelers are prohibited from going to South Korea, they would flock to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam instead.
Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of the Da Nang City Tourism Department, said the department is keeping a close watch over the number of Chinese travelers.
“The facilities in the city will still be able to serve Chinese travelers even if the number of tourists increases,” Cuong said.
The sea city of Da Nang, with one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, last year received 400,000 Chinese travelers. There are 25 air routes from China to Da Nang with 81 flights provided a week.
Nha Trang City of Khanh Hoa province is also popular with Chinese travelers. It received 1.1 million foreign travelers in 2016, including 525,000 Chinese travelers.
However, Nha Trang has been warned not to rely on the Chinese market. Tran Viet Trung, director of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department, admitted that the rapid development of the Chinese market has caused embarrassing problems in management.
Thanh Mai, VNN
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/3
Danang hi-tech park attracts nearly US$160 million investments
The Danang Hi-Tech Park has licensed seven projects with total investments of nearly US$160 million, according to the management board.
These projects belong to both domestic and foreign investors like Danapha (US$68 million), Tokyo Keiki (US$40 million), and Niwa Foundry (US$30 million).
Doan Ngoc Hung Anh, deputy head of the management board, said the board is positively promoting the park to businesses from Japan and the Republic of Korea in order to attract more foreign investments in the coming time.
A meeting was held with businesses operating in the park on March 21 to get their comments and help them remove obstacles in their production and trading process.
Mr Hung Anh said the board pledged to create the best possible conditions for investors to operate effectively.
We have proposed the Municipal Department of Transport opening a BRT linking the city’s centre to the park to facilitate workers’ travelling, said Mr Hung Anh.
HCM City, World Bank cooperate to improve local life quality
The southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City and the World Bank have agreed to shake hands to improve the quality of life for the city dwellers.
The agreement was reached by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong and Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva during their meeting in the city on March 24 morning.
Phong thanked the bank for supporting the city to carry out projects to address such major issues as environment pollution, climate change adaptation, and local living standard improvement.
The city’s authorities pledged to make effective use of the WB loans and closely work with the bank to implement the aforesaid projects for the sake of the people, he said.
He expressed his belief that the WB in Vietnam will continue its active role in developing the bilateral sound relations.
The Chairman pledged to direct competent agencies to ensure the progress of projects, including the second phrase of the environmental sanitation project, and the flood risk management project.
He proposed the WB provide financial assistance for the city to implement environmental and urban projects, including the construction of the metro line No.6 and the canal reclamation in District 8.
Kristalina Georgieva said she wants to push ahead with cooperation with HCM City to address difficulties in urban development, particularly climate change adaptation and transport infrastructure improvement.
She took note of the city’s proposals and affirmed the WB’s capacity and readiness to support HCM City to realize significant projects to increase its competitive edge and position, thus bringing a better life for local residents.
The two sides will seek new and more effective cooperation methods for technical assistance, development project supervision, and the improvement of human resources for project and urban governance, she added.
New sails for ASEAN-China trade
The first ship carrying fruits from ASEAN countries docked at the Fangcheng Gang Port in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Monday, marking the opening of a new shipping route for transporting fruit between China and the regional bloc.
The route, running from HCM City in Viet Nam to Guangxi Zhuang, is operated by four ships of the Chinese COSCO Shipping Corporation, a State-owned enterprise based in Shanghai. Each ship can carry 1,100 standard containers.
Currently just one ship sails on the route each week, but this is set to increase to two or three times by the end of this year.
The new route is expected to increase fruit exports from ASEAN countries to China, and facilitate China’s export of farm produce and fruit to the ASEAN market.
From the Fangcheng Gang Port in southern Guangxi Province, which borders Viet Nam, the fruit will be transported via rail or road to wholesale farm produce markets in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
In an article posted on the freshplaza.com website last month, Shihe Sun, director of the Guangxi Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, was quoted as saying the province had become a main channel for fruit trade with ASEAN countries.
The province imported 920,100 tonnes of fruit worth $515 million in 2016.
Sun said Guangxi had good transport connections with Viet Nam, making it one of the most convenient channels between China and the ASEAN market. The province has opened the Pingxiang land port, the Guilin airport and the Fangcheng Gang waterway to facilitate the export and import of fruits.
According to the General Department of Customs, Viet Nam earned $309.9 million from the export of vegetables and fruit to China in the first two months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 31 per cent. China accounts for 73.6 per cent of Viet Nam’s total export value of vegetables and fruit.
Viet Nam has imported fruit and vegetables worth $31 million from China during the period, accounting for 19 per cent of its total vegetable and fruit imports.
The volume of Chinese fruit exports is expected to increase rapidly as Viet Nam implements its commitment of zero per cent tariffs under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement.
Under the commitment, Viet Nam will abolish taxes or reduce it to zero per cent for 90 per cent of existing tariff lines by the end of 2018, while the remaining 10 per cent will see further reductions by 2020.
Quang Nam’s six-sector plan for 2025 soars
The central province of Quang Nam has set a target for the provincial GDP in 2025 to be 46 per cent generated by industry and construction and 47.5 per cent generated by services. To achieve the target, local authorities have made a detailed plan, spread over six targeted sectors.
The plan is based on Quang Nam’s study on the coastal backbone route stretching from Cua Dai Bridge in Hoi An to Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in Nui Thanh district.
According to Le Tri Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam People’s Committee, the plan has been thoroughly prepared, with key projects clearly indicated. Various sectors on the rise are mentioned, including the automobile industry, gas-to-power generation, the tourism and service sector, textile and garments, social welfare and living standard improvement for coastal people, and marine safety.
In terms of urban and service development, the Hoiana project will be the core, with direct influence over the four communes of Duy Nghia, Duy Hai, Binh Minh, and Binh Duong in Duy Xuyen and Thang Binh districts.
In order to boost the automobile industry and supporting industries, Truong Hai Auto Corporation is expected to be the key driving force. It has so far had positive spillover effects on the local industry, helping Quang Nam to become the automobile hub of the country.
Textile and related supporting industries will be invested in line with the urban development of Tam Ky.
Do Xuan Dien, director of the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone Management Authority, has said that these industries need to enhance their international competitiveness, starting with Tam Thang Industrial Zone (IZ). Already, Tam Thang IZ has welcomed South Korea’s Panko to build a textile and garment facility there.
Industry and service sectors will be developed in line with Chu Lai International Airport, which is set to become a transit hub for Southeast Asia. The Chu Lai International Airport expansion has so far drawn the attention of big investors like Vietjet and Thien Tan Group.
Key projects of gas-to-power and a new treatment plant for natural gas extracted from the Blue Whale gas field are being developed on a total area of 1,000 hectares by state-run PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) and US firm ExxonMobil.
Last but not least, projects to upgrade fishing ports and anchorage areas in the south-east of the province also need promotion in order to bring more job opportunities and anchor shelters in place for the coastal people of Quang Nam and surrounding localities.
Dinh Van Thu, Chairman of the Quang Nam People’s Committee, said that these six targeted sectors have been identified based on the existing potential and advantages of the province in terms of its location, infrastructure, and policies to attract investment. These concentrations also reflect the development policies of Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, which have been approved by the Vietnamese government.
Most importantly, Chu Lai Open Economic Zone has been home to key projects which play an important role in the development of the central region, including the Hoiana project; Everland; Tam Thang IZ in Tam Ky; the project to develop the automobile industry and supporting industries at Tam Hiep and Tam Anh in Nui Thanh district; and the project to construct a gas treatment plant and a gas-fired power plant in Tam Quang of Nui Thanh district.
According to Dien, with these key sectors, Quang Nam will have a great chance to create more jobs for local workers and diversify various types of services. The blueprint will also provide an opportunity to lure investors.
Dien added that to create more room for the development to the east of Quang Nam and Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, the Quang Nam People’s Committee has adjusted its master plan to allocate 1,500ha for future growth. This increases the province’s total area for development space to 45,000ha, including Chu Lai Open Economic Zone and residential developments along 25 coastal communes, wards, and towns.
Thus, in order to successfully implement these key projects, local authorities and the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone Management Authority will strengthen the management as well as prioritise site clearance to allocate a land fund for investment attraction. In addition, local authorities also pledged to
effectively support investors in administrative procedures. Meanwhile, investment funds for infrastructure development will be diversified.
Vietnam suspends meat imports from Brazil
Vietnam has suspended the imports of meat, livestock and poultry products from 21 factories of Brazil which are suspected of containing unhygienic substances.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) issued a decision to temporarily halt the imports on March 23, asking the Department of Animal Health to closely supervise the imports from Brazil before March 23 and notify authorities if products from those factories are found to contain any irregular properties.
The department was also requested to send an official notice of the decision to Brazil’s authorized agencies.
It will also be responsible for verifying whether Brazil can ensure the hygiene of the products and then report to the MARD.
Vietnam has imported about 3,000 tonnes of meat and meat products from Brazil since the beginning of 2017, which is relatively small compared to nearly 6 million tonnes of meat that the South American country ships abroad every year.
Before entering Vietnam, all meat from Brazil is kept at ports and tested. Only qualified meat is permitted to be sold in the country, the Department of Animal Health said on March 22.
Regarding the Brazilian meat already imported into Vietnam, some large supermarkets such as Big C and Saigon Co.op confirmed that they do not sell beef or chicken products sourced from Brazil.
Reasonable interest rates required for VND100 trillion credit for hi-tech agriculture
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has requested the banking system cut costs to reduce interest rates of the VND100 trillion credit package for enterprises committed to hi-tech agriculture projects by 0.5-1.5% compared to normal rates.
The Deputy PM made the requirement at a working session with ministries and sectors in Hanoi on March 23 to discuss the implementation of Government Resolution No.30/2017/NQ-CP issued on March 7, 2017 for the VND100 trillion (US$4.4 billion) commercial credit package for enterprises involved in hi-tech agricultural production.
He affirmed the significance of the credit package for clean and hi-tech agriculture projects amid the stagnant growth of the agricultural sector, saying that the package has received support from the enterprise community and the public.
The government asked the State Bank to issue guidelines for commercial banks to effectively carry out the credit package as approved by the government.
Deputy PM Hue also told the State Bank to consider the expansion of collateral assets in terms of hi-tech agricultural mortgages through effective business plans, assets formed through the investment process, or trust loans.
He noted that the credit package is a commercial credit package with 0.5-1.5% interest rates lower than standard rates funded by capital from commercial sources but not by subsidies of the government.
Several commercial banks have already provided loans worth around VND3,700 billion (US$162.8 million) for 25 enterprises involved in hi-tech agriculture projects licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Deputy PM pointed out several issues that must be addressed to effectively implement the credit package including specific objects and the scope of the package, ownership certificates for assets on agricultural land, and the mortgage process, among others.
FDI capital strongly increases in March
Foreign direct investment (FDI) capital to Vietnam is expected to reach US$7.71 billion in the first quarter this year, double the number in the first two months and up 91.5 percent over the same period last year, reported the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
As of March 20, the country has licensed 493 new projects with the registered capital of $2.9 billion, up 6.5 percent compared to the same period last year.
In addition, 223 projects added capital with the total funds of $3.94 billion, a year on year increase of 206.4 percent. There were 1,077 deals of capital contribution and share purchase by foreign investors with the total value of $852.86 million, up 171.5 percent over the same period in 2016.
The high increase in March has been contributed by many large scale projects granted with investment certification. Of them is Samsung Display expansion in the northern province of Bac Ninh with the additional capital of $2.5 billion.
In addition, Taiwanese investor registered to increase investment funds at Polytex Far Eastern Company by $485.8 million and Coca-Cola Vietnam supplemented $319.8 million in Hanoi.
Newly licensed projects include $284.75 million Vietnam Singapore III Industrial Park in Binh Duong, $269.54 million Tole Panel Plant in Binh Phuoc and $220 million KVT-1 tire fiber project of Kolon Industries Inc.
The project of Samsung Display has made Bac Ninh the largest FDI attraction province this year with the total capital of $2.61 billion, accounting for 33.86 percent of FDI capital to Vietnam.
Binh Duong is ranked second with the registered capital of $1.39 million, making up 18.04 percent and HCMC ranked third with $600 million accounting for 7.78 percent.
As of March 20, FDI projects have disbursed $3.62 billion, up 3.4 percent over 2016.
Manufacturing sector accounts for 84.9 percent of Q1’s FDI
Vietnam’s manufacturing sector has proven a magnet for foreign direct investment in the first quarter, absorbing 6.54 billion USD, which accounted for 84.9 percent of total registered capital in the period, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Economic experts said that Vietnam needs to research and create favourable conditions for foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses to improve the quality and value of manufactured products.
In addition, FDI enterprises should be encouraged to enlarge investment scale, renovate technology and diversify investment goals to meet legal regulations on foreign investment as well as manufacturing development planning.
Real estate came in second in FDI attraction with nearly 344 million USD, making up of 4.4 percent of total capital, followed by whole sales and retail sale with 296.8 million USD.
The FIA reported that by March 20, investment licenses were licensed to 493 projects with a total registered capital of 2.9 billion VND, a year-on-year increase of 6.5 percent.
Meanwhile, 223 operating projects added 3.94 billion USD in capital, up more than 206 percent from the same period last year. There were also 1,077 deals of capital contribution and share purchase by foreign investors with a total value of nearly 853 million USD, a year-on-year surge of 171.5 percent.
As such, total FDI capital poured into the country was estimated at 7.71 billion USD, increasing 91.5 percent over the same time last year.
Exports of the foreign-invested sector in the reviewed period (including crude oil) reached over 31.4 billion USD, up 13 percent from the same period in 2016 and accounting for 71.8 percent of total exports.
Among 71 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea is the country’s largest investor with 3.74 billion USD, accounting for 48.61 percent of total investment capital. It was followed by Singapore with 911 million USD and China with 823.6 million USD.
Samsung Display Vietnam in northern Bac Ninh province adjusting its capital up by 2.5 billion USD increased the province’s FDI to 2.61 billion USD, or 33.86 percent of the total, making the locality the largest FDI recipient in the period.
Southern Binh Duong province ranked second with a registered capital of 1.39 million USD, or over 18 percent of total foreign investment and Ho Chi Minh came in third with nearly 600 million USD, or 7.78 percent of the total.
Forum looks to tighten Vietnam-Argentina economic links
A forum was held in Buenos Aires on March 23 to give Argentinean businesses an insight into Vietnam’s economy and the two countries’ economic, trade and investment cooperation potential, which is said to remain untapped.
The event was attended by Gustavo Perego – Undersecretary of State at Argentina’s Ministry of Economy and Production, Carlos Restaino – President of the country’s Commission for Integration and Southern Common Market (Mercosur), and representatives of more than 50 Argentinean enterprises.
Opening the forum, Vietnamese Ambassador to Argentina Nguyen Dinh Thao briefed participants on Vietnam’s economic development and incentives for foreign investors. He highlighted the expansion of bilateral cooperation in politics – diplomacy, economy, trade, investment, agriculture, health care, science and technology.
Two-way trade has increased significantly over the past few years, reaching 3.03 billion USD in 2016 and expected to hit 3.5 billion USD this year. Along with Mexico and Brazil, Argentina is one of the three Latin American countries posing trade of over 1 billion USD with Vietnam.
However, those results have not yet matched potential, he noted.
In the time ahead, the countries will continue discussing the feasibility of negotiations for the signing of a trade agreement between Vietnam and Mercosur, which gathers Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. They will also step up collaboration in culture, agriculture, bio-technology, forensic medicine, telecommunications, energy, and pharmaceuticals, he added.
Carlos Restaino analysed the enormous potential for economic, trade and investment partnerships between the countries’ businesses amid growing political relations.
He stressed that Vietnam is a prioritised market in his country’s export diversification and expansion strategy. It is also one of the most important trade partners and the third biggest importer of Argentina in Asia.
Argentina’s main exports to Vietnam include soybean oil, corn, wheat, animal feed and pharmaceutical. Meanwhile, it imports footwear, apparel, rubber, electronic components, and plastic products from the Southeast Asian nation.
Solutions sought for 10 bln USD shrimp export plan
A conference was held in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on March 23 to discuss how to realize the 10 billion USD shrimp export target by 2025 as requested by the Prime Minister.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam directed agencies concerned and localities to keep a close track of weather patterns and epidemic diseases as well as increase output from now on, especially amid the uncertain climate change at present.
Localities should adopt more technological advances in production, with a focus on controlling the quality of fries and spreading effective farming models, he suggested.
The provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang were asked to increase supervision over the use of antibiotics for shrimp, thereby increasing the staple’s value and expanding markets at home and abroad.
This year, the country strives to breed 700,000ha of shrimp with nearly 130 billion fries for an output of 660,000 tonnes.
To that end, the Directorate of Fisheries outlined four specific measures involving environment monitoring and forecast, and response to drought and saline intrusion; fries quality and production; feed management and bio-produce for shrimp farming; and breeding technical process.
It said though suffering lesser impacts from drought and saline intrusion than in the same period last year, the region is still hit by unseasonal rainfalls and changing temperatures, which partly hurts shrimp breeding.
Statistics showed that the new farming coverage has so far surpassed 536,440ha, mostly prawn (more than 521,000ha) and the remaining 15,000ha is for white leg shrimp farming. The total production is estimated at around 40,000 tonnes this year, an increase of 20 percent year-on-year.
Associate Professor Truong Quoc Phu from Can Tho University proposed developing organic shrimp breeding models and opening centres for shrimp fries research to ease reliance on imported ones, making it easier for the formation of value chains and attract more investments.
Luong Minh Quyet, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, suggested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development offer advice on building a Decree on the management of processing, exporting and developing shrimp farming in brackish water.
In order to minimise risks for breeders, he also called attention to relevant agricultural insurance policies and breeders’ access to capital.
Cao Bằng works to improve its PCI ranking
The northern mountainous province of Cao Bang has taken drastic measures to improve its business environment after it ranked at the bottom of 2016’s Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI).
In the PCI 2016 ranking, the province slipped five positions compared to the previous year.
Hoang Xuan Anh, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, has asked all departments and sectors to review their working and to promote administrative reforms.
In the past few years, the province has made a lot of efforts to improve its business and investment environment and go up on the PCI.
Last year, it recorded a growth rate of 6.13 per cent, contributing around VND1.4 trillion to the State budget. The rate of poor households in Cao Bang also reduced by 4 per cent. Despite all this, the province’s ranking slipped as it scored poorly on criteria such as unofficial costs (3.34 points), dynamism (3.41 points), equal competition (3.77 points) and land access (4.78 points).
Nguyen Thai Ha, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said the score was not totally accurate, especially for equal competition.
Of its nearly 2,000 companies, the province has only three State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and four foreign direct investment firms. That’s the reason it could not be said that Cao Bang favoured SOEs, Ha said.
In addition, Cao Bang has always been a poor locality, and thus has limited budget for land clearance for development of industrial parks, Ha explained.
According to the provincial business asociation, PCI survey was conducted on less than half of the total businesses in the province and therefore could not reflect the situation in the province.
Hoang Manh Ngoc, chairman of the provincial Young Entrepreneurs Association, said the PCI ranking reflected a part of the business environment. Cao Bang should have synchronous solutions to improve the role of its administration and its business environment for sustainable development, he suggested. The province should also take steps to make enterprises more aware about the importance of the PCI ranking.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Commitee Anh said improving business environment was an urgent task, adding that in the next PCI ranking, the province aimed to step up by 10 positons.
"We will continue to improve public administrative procedures, increasing transparency and reducing cost and time for people," he said.
All PCI criteria in which the province has scored low would be reviewed and the province would come up with specific solutions and assign responsibility for improvement to specific departments and agencies, Anh said.
HCM City set to host textile, garment industry expo
The Vietnam Saigon Textile and Garment Industry/Fabric and Garment Accessories Expo (Saigon Tex 2017) that will showcase high-end machinery and equipment and feedstock for the textile and garment industry will be held in HCM City next month.
The 35,000sq.m expo is expected to attract nearly 1,200 exhibitors from 23 countries and territories, including Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the US and Viet Nam.
It will also feature several seminars, including on increasing value for Vietnamese textile and garment products, challenges-investment opportunities in the textile and footwear sector and trade barriers from the free trade agreement between the EU and Việt Nam, and today’s global apparel and fashion market.
To be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre, Saigon Tex will offer garment companies a gilt-edged chance to foster relations with foreign enterprises and seek investment opportunities while enhancing technology transfer to increase local content in garment products and improving product quality to meet the needs of local and international buyers.
This will enhance the value of Vietnamese garment and textile products, contributing to the development of the industry amid the country’s international integration.
To be organised from April 5 to 8 by the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group, VCCI Exhibition Service Co., Ltd, CP Hongkong Exhibition Organisation Co., Ltd and CP Vietnam Exhibition Organisation Co., Ltd, the expo is an annual event that meets the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry standards.
HCM City seeks Israel’s help for start-up incubators
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee, has sought support for setting up business incubators from Israel, which has an established reputation as a start-up nation.
At a meeting with President of Israel Reuven Ruvi Rivlin in HCM City on Thursday, Phong spoke highly of Israel’s technical expertise and management capacity in hi-tech agriculture and other projects underway in the city.
He said he hoped that Israeli businesses would continue partnering with HCM City in areas that are its strengths, such as farming, information technology, tourism and personnel training.
Phong requested Israel to continue offering scholarships to local management officials to improve their skills in agriculture, environment, rural reconstruction, economy and education, among others.
On his part, Rivlin said the agreements signed by the two countries and the upcoming bilateral free trade agreement will lay down an important foundation for their businesses and improve co-operation, raising bilateral ties to a new height.
Talking about his Việt Nam visit, the Israeli leader said the country’s scenic beauty will inspire Israeli youngsters to come to the country and thus contribute to strengthening economic, trade and tourism links.
Collaboration programmes in education will help the two countries’ youngsters to bolster mutual understanding and solidarity and share experiences in fields of interests, Rivlin said.
Responding to HCM City’s proposals, Rivlin said Israeli firms, especially those operating in the city, are ready to share experience and invest in start-ups in Việt Nam.
After the meeting, Phong and Rivlin witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a US$200 million financial healthcare package between Israel’s Jasmine Group and Đất Vàng Real Estate Investment Company.
Earlier, the Israeli president and his wife visited a milch cow farm in Bình Chánh District’s Phạm Văn Hải Commune, which uses Israel’s technological know-how as part of the Dairy Demonstration and Experiment Farm project for 2012-2017.
Later, both leaders attended a business forum and witnessed the signing of another MoU on research and development cooperation between Israel Innovation Authority and National Technology Innovation Fund.
Rice prices continue to fall
Rice prices in the Mekong Delta have continued the downward spiral in recent days after they soared to their all-time highs last month.
Nguyen Thanh Tho, a rice trader at Ba Dac wholesale food market in Tien Giang Province, told the Daily on March 20 that enterprises were buying a kilo of unprocessed IR 50404 rice at VND4.500-4.600 per kilo in the delta, down VND200 against a half month ago and VND400 from the record high in end-February.
At Ba Dac wholesale food market, IR 50404 material rice is quoted at VND6,600-6,700 per kilo, down VND300 versus two weeks ago and VND500 over the record high last month.
Rice prices have dipped sharply due to falling shipments to China and the fulfillment of government-to-government (G2G) rice export contracts with the Philippines, said Nguyen Thanh Phong, director of Van Loi Co. in Tien Giang Province. Meanwhile, there is little sign that local exporters could secure new deals.
Another source told the Daily that there is a high possibility that the Philippines would import 250,000 tons of rice under G2G contracts from Vietnam and Thailand in March. “But no move has been made, thus pushing down domestic rice prices.”
The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) cited international media as saying that Vietnam’s rice exports had reached one million tons by March 7, down 4.31% year-on-year, ranking third after India with two million tons and Thailand with 1.5 million tons.
Meanwhile, VFA statistics showed its member enterprises had shipped nearly 674,000 tons of rice by February 28 with a total free-on-board (FOB) value of US$286 million.
VAMC wants to quintuple capital
Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) wants to raise its chartered capital from VND2 trillion to VND10 trillion by 2020 so that it could buy more bad debts in the banking system.
This is one of the proposals VAMC has sent to authorities as part of a roadmap to better its bad debt settlement capacity in 2017-2020.
If the proposal is approved, VAMC would be able to increase its finances, buy more debts, back the formation of a debt trading market and set up a risk management fund.
VAMC was established with total chartered capital of VND500 billion in 2013, which was later adjusted up to VND2 trillion in 2015 following a Government decision.
In addition, VAMC would issue VND45 trillion worth of Government-guaranteed bonds to raise capital from organizations and individuals at home and abroad. The company intends to step up borrowing from domestic and international sources to settle government debts starting in 2018.
Additional funding would be also needed for risk management in its debt trading operations. VAMC wants to launch a fund to supplement its chartered capital and add risk provisions which can be used to fund non-performing loans bought at market prices.
VAMC is continuing to buy non-performing loans from weak credit institutions which are being restructured. It is expected that the company will have bought a total of VND150 trillion through the issuance of special bonds by 2020.
Minister: No SOE loans treated as public debts
Debts owed by State-owned enterprises (SOEs) will not be included into public debt in line with the draft of a revised law on public debt, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee in Hanoi on March 20.
Dung said the law would be revised in a way that public debt only comprises Government and Government-guaranteed debts and debts of local governments as specified in the law on public debt management. Therefore, SOEs will have to settle their own loans.
Dung explained SOEs are like one-member limited liability firms. If they are unable to pay their debts, they should file for bankruptcy in line with the prevailing regulations.
Debts of SOEs would be shouldered by the Government if they are treated as public debt. “This is not reasonable, so the Ministry of Finance will not classify SOE debts as public debts,” Dung said.
Dung said only four countries treat SOE debts as public debts but those SOEs must be public utilities and perform the tasks assigned by their governments like those in Thailand.
Nguyen Duc Hai, chairman of the NA Financial and Budgetary Committee, said most members of the NA Standing Committee have agreed the debt calculation method as defined by the draft of the revised law.
However, NA deputies are concerned that if SOEs default on loans, the country’s credit rating would be affected unless the Government intervenes as seen in some cases where the Government paid on behalf of SOEs. Therefore, they said regulations should be added to enhance debt management and reduce debt-related risks.
Do Ba Ty, vice chairman of the NA, said it is important to map out measures to deal with the consequences of loans owed by SOEs with the majority stake held by the State as the State is responsible for paying their debts if they become insolvent.
Vo Trong Viet, chairman of the NA Defense and Security Committee, voiced his concern that SOEs could spend their loans carelessly if they can still rely on the Government to settle their debts.
Phan Thanh Binh, chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children, underscored the importance of clearly defining the public sector and said the State would be obliged to pay debts of SOEs if they are State-owned.
Binh noted the reality had shown the huge debts of the State-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) had been settled by the State.
According to the draft, public debt does not include debt papers issued by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
Nguyen Duc Hai, chairman of the NA Economic Committee, said the Government explained that according to international practices the central bank of a country is independent. So any debts owed by the central bank are not those of government.
Phung Quoc Hien, vice chairman of the NA, said the SBV is a government agency, so it is unreasonable to not treat its debt as that of the State.
Dung reported at the meeting that soaring public debt is attributable to economic forecasts. The economy was projected to grow 6.5-7% in 2011-2015 but the actual growth was 5.9%, and budget deficit has soared for years as the Government has spent heavily to fuel growth.
He added some Government loans were subject to annual interest rates of 12-13% in 2011-2013, so the Government is facing huge pressure from payments of high-interest short-term debt in 2016-2017.
In addition, disbursements of official development assistance (ODA) loans were estimated at VND17-18 trillion a year but VND50-60 trillion was disbursed, leading to an upsurge in reciprocal funds allocated by the State.
Dung warned if the situation is not solved, the country would continue shouldering the public debt burden.
Vietnam, Singapore explore stronger trade links
The trade relations between Vietnam and Singapore have been developing since they lifted ties to strategic partnership.
According to the Vietnamese Trade Office in Singapore, two-way trade reached nearly 20 billion SGD (equivalent to 14 billion USD) in 2016.
Vietnam remained the 12th biggest trade partner of Singapore in the year, exporting over 4 billion SGD (3 billion USD) and importing nearly 15.7 billion SGD (over 11 billion USD) worth of goods.
High-growth commodities included iron and steel products, grease, leathers, tobaccos, glass products, seafood and vegetables.
Despite a trade balance decline due to Singapore’s economic downturn in 2016, Singapore remained one of the biggest trade partners of Vietnam, after China, Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea, and the largest trade partner in ASEAN.
Vietnam and Singapore have also actively coordinated at regional and international forums, especially within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
The two sides are sparing no effort to connect the two countries’ economies and with others in ASEAN.
Notably, Singapore’s direct investment in Vietnam has continuously increased since 1998, making it the third biggest investor of Vietnam among 101 countries and territories, with a total investment of 39 billion USD, mainly poured into real estate, processing industry, manufacturing, and construction.
The most typical project is the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP).
Industry-trade ministerial-level meetings are conducted periodically (eight months) and rotationally in each country to review the implementation of the Vietnam – Singapore Connectivity Framework Agreement and map out cooperation orientations for the next phase.
So far, the two sides have convened 12 meetings with the latest held in Singapore in September 2016.
Deputy Director of the Export and Import Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Tran Thanh Hai said Vietnam and Singapore recorded an annual average growth of 12 percent.
Singapore imports up to 90 percent of food and foodstuff from foreign markets and this will be a brilliant opportunity for Vietnam to boost the exports of such staples as rice, coffee, tea, vegetables and fruits, and fine-art handicraft products, he added.
Vice versa, Singaporean businesses have strength in processing, packaging, and increasing added value for products, and broad market relationship. As Singapore is considered a global transit destination, Vietnamese firms should, therefore, seek to make inroads into other ASEAN markets via Singapore, he suggested.
To tighten the two countries’ relations, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his spouse are paying an official visit to Vietnam from March 21-24, at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The two sides are expected to discuss strategic orientations and specific measures to further deepen the bilateral strategic partnership in the coming time and keep up with the current rapid developments in the fourth industrial revolution.
They will also continue supporting each other at multilateral forums of ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, and the United Nations for sustainable development and prosperity.
At a meeting with PM Lee Hsien Loong in Hanoi on May 20, 2016, the Vietnamese PM affirmed that his country always attaches great importance to bolstering all-faceted relations with Singapore and hoped Singapore will create the best conditions for Vietnamese firms to export farm produce, seafood, and garment-textile to the market to help balance the trade.
Experts said Vietnam and Singapore should take advantage of their strengths to promote strategic partnership and join the global supply chain. For example, Singapore has strength in capital, research, technology, and markets, while Vietnam boasts advantages in natural resources, labour and markets.
Additionally, it is necessary to help businesses make investments in the respective markets via promoting trade activities and new cooperation methods, especially the public-private partnership (PPP) form.
Experts also recommended drawing investment from multinational groups headquartered in Singapore in the fields of healthcare, education, infrastructure development, processing industry, high technology, and tourism.
Key projects should be defined, especially at industrial parks, urban and logistics areas, they said, adding that the two countries need to create a periodical information exchange mechanism as well as provide information on their socio-economic development situation, policies and laws as a source of reference data for their businesses when seeking market entry.
Regional conference discuss food security
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs jointly held a regional conference on food security in Hanoi on March 22.
Addressing the opening of the two-day event, MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh urged participants to seek cooperation initiatives and measures to promote smart agricultural practices in Vietnam.
He noted that Vietnam is an agriculture-based country with nearly 70 percent of the population living in rural areas. Thanks to the government’s policies to develop agriculture, from a country suffering food shortage, Vietnam has ensured its domestic food supply and provided a large amount of food to the world.
Along with rice, seafood, coffee, cashew, vegetable and fruits have also considerable hard currency earners for Vietnam. However, the country has been among five most vulnerable countries to climate change which has ravaged many localities across Vietnam, he said.
He stated that the agricultural sector has reformed to increase farm produces’ productivity, quality, respond to climate change and minimise climate change impacts by choosing cultivation methods as well as plant and livestock and aquaculture varieties to suit climate situation in each locality.
At the same time, the sector has enhanced research and application capacity to deal with newly emerged challenges due to climate change, including sea level rise, said Doanh.
He stressed the need for a smart agriculture sector as well as the setting up of institutions to support farmers, especially in information, service and capital access.
He also highlighted the significance of close coordination among countries in ensuring food security to the humankind amidst climate change.
The same day, delegates joined a technical conference on food safety, innovative fishery farming and smart agriculture adapting to climate change, as well as food wastefulness and loss.
HCM City hosts agricultural startup forum
An agricultural startup forum will be held on March 23 in Ho Chi Minh City by the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Business Support Association (BSA).
The forum aims to help students, young and small businesspeople figure out new projects and initiatives and exchange ideas with experts and successful agricultural businesses in the city.
The event will include an exhibition on agricultural products and support methods.
Nearly 250 students, youth and owners of small businesses in HCM City will have a chance to access new agricultural products with the application of biotechnology and information technology.
Two major subjects will be dealt with in two forums. A forum will discuss the making of laws for startup businesses with main speakers from DARD. The second with the topic of young agribusiness startups will involve the participation of Vinamit CEO Nguyen Lam Vien, Startup Vietnam Foundation CEO Pham Duy Hieu, Mimosa Tek CEO Nguyen Khac Minh Tri, and owner of Dat Thep Linhzhi Mushroom Nguyen Thi Hieu.
They will give valuable advices to young people and students who want to begin a startup.
MOLISA enhances co-operation with Manpowergroup
Viet Nam needs the ManpowerGroup’s consultation on completing the legal framework for the country’s labour market and employment services, improving the quality of its human resources and on sending Vietnamese workers abroad.
Minister Dao Ngoc Dung delivered this statement at an exceptional meeting of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Soical Affairs (MOLISA) with Simon Matthews, Country Manager of ManpowerGroup in Thailand, Viet Nam and the Middle East in the capital on Tuesday.
Matthews spoke highly of MOLISA’s support, adding that the ManpowerGroup was willing to co-operate with the ministry in the reviewed areas.
The ManpowerGroup will continue to bring resources and experiences of the international labour market into the labour market in Viet Nam up to 2018, following the third Memorandum of Understanding inked between the group and MOLISA.
The company will provide the best employment services based on the knowledge and understanding of the labour market and the policy of MOLISA while co-operating with its agencies to organise workshops and programmes to improve the labour productivity of the Vietnamese workforce.
ManpowerGroup is an American multinational workforce expert, creating innovative workforce solution for nearly 70 years. The group connects more than 600,000 people in 80 countries to work across a wide range of skills and industries daily.
Established in 2008 in both HCM City and Ha Noi, ManpowerGroup Viet Nam is the first 100 per cent foreign company working in the country’s workforce consulting industry.
Hanoi and HCM City top new report on office yields
Viet Nam’s two major c ities, Ha Noi and HCM City, topped the table of office yields, according to the latest World Office Yield Spectrum report by Savills and Australia’s Deakin University.
Viet Nam’s two major cities, Ha Noi and HCM City, topped the table of office yields, according to the latest World Office Yield Spectrum report by Savills and Australia’s Deakin University.
According to data from 54 cities across Asia, Europe, the US, and Australia, Ha Noi scored highest with a prime yield of 8.75 per cent, followed by HCM City at 8.5 per cent. Taipei brought up the rear with the tightest yield of just under 2 per cent while Hong Kong stood at 2.5 per cent.
“These results are positive and reflect the demand for commercial property in both the major markets in Viet Nam. These figures represent growing confidence and demand by occupiers off the back of general growth in the economy and business confidence showing a buoyant rental market,” said Matthew Powell, Director at Savills Ha Noi.
“Both office markets are relatively small in terms of total leasable area on the regional and global stage, so with the competition and potential market risk factors for international of an emerging market like Viet Nam we have seen yields of commercial transactions come up to these levels. Total numbers of commercial transactions are relatively small, especially involving international investors, and Savills has been involved directly with the majority of these.”
Savills commercial leasing team is seeing very strong demand from occupiers in both markets, and strong investor demand for operating commercial property assets, and Savills is actively working on a number of office property transactions across Viet Nam, he said.
The World Office Yield Spectrum report also found yields across 11 gateway cities had firmed by an average 95 basis points since December 2014, with San Francisco witnessing a dramatic 32 per cent fall from nearly 7 per cent to 4.64 per cent, while Shanghai and LA West barely bothered the analysts with falls of just 0.29 and 0.31 per cent, respectively.
Of the gateway cities Sydney led the pack offering by far the most attractive yields at 5.37 per cent, with LA West and San Francisco the only others offering above 4.50 per cent.
Global office yields continue to firm as investors seek safe havens for their funds amidst ongoing economic and political uncertainties, and with those factors likely to prevail in the short to medium term the office investment markets, particularly in gateway cities, look certain to continue to prosper, according to global investment advisor Savills.
The report editor, Savills’ National Head of Research in Australia, Tony Crabb, said generally office markets looked set for another year of strong investment driven by office property’s most preferred investment status along with economic and political factors which had pushed investors towards the safety of bricks and mortar.
“This is an interesting time in the investment cycle where markets have responded to the inflation/growth trade by pushing bond yields and growth stocks, whilst also recognising office markets should perform well as demand grows,” Crabb said.
He said with some level of economic and political uncertainty remaining in most markets it was fair to say that office risk premiums would continue to offer very good value and hence drive demand and, in some instances, even firmer office investment yields.
“Much of what happens in 2017 and beyond will depend on the course the US Federal Reserve takes with regards to interest rates and the new President’s policy settings.”
“Those factors, along with Brexit negotiations and elections in key European countries, will largely determine how currencies behave, how trade flows and how capital moves around the world,” Crabb said.
He said what, if anything, would limit office property investment was the shortage of stock in most gateway markets which had experienced, in some instances, record investment levels in recent years.
“That shortage of stock is being exacerbated by the strength of leasing markets, especially in gateway cities, which is driving tighter vacancy and rental growth, and landlords are happily holding on for the ride,” Crabb said.
Buying illicit ‘self-defense’ weapons is child’s play in Ho Chi Minh City
A seller offers a set of stun guns to a customer in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. The weapon that Nguyen Cao Nhan used to steal a man’s motorbike is seen in the left-corner photo. Tuoi Tre
A wide variety of personal defense weapons are being offered at low prices online, attracting a lot of buyers.
Thanh Tu, the 24-year-old owner of one self-defense shop in the southern hub, is a prominent seller of these types of objects.
Tu often promotes his products online at a cost of between VND450,000 (US$20) and VND1.8 million ($80), using video clips showing how the weapons work in different situations.
In December 2016, one customer asked to directly browse the equipment at Tu’s shop, but it was an offer that he turned down.
Tu said that he would only deliver the products to his customers, ensuring that his products were always in good condition.
Regarding the legitimacy of the weapons, he boasted that his electric tasers have a design similar to regular flashlights, making it difficult for authorities to tell the difference.
“Even if you get caught, the worst thing that can happen is that it gets confiscated,” Tu explained.
Aside from tasers, he also sells electric guns, handcuffs, body armor, and several kinds of pepper spray.
An investigation by (Youth) newspaper revealed that Tu began his business in April 2016.
He claimed that he sells his products to over 15 customers in Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces on a daily basis, and that about 40 percent of his buyers were women.
Another notorious seller of self-defense weapons in the city is a man identified only as Nam.
A buyer named Hung recently contacted Nam and was told to meet him at a pre-arranged spot in Phu Nhuan District.
There, Nam revealed a stun gun about 20 centimeters long along with three bullets, all of which cost VND2.5 million ($110).
Extra ammunition costs approximately VND175,000 ($8) per pack.
Nam demonstrated how the weapon worked, asserting that the gun was very efficient thanks to its high range and strong electric current.
According to an official from the municipal Department of Police, citizens are not allowed to purchase weapons, even if they are for self-defense.
Civilians who trade, transport, and store weapons such as stun guns, tasers, and pepper sprays without a permit could be fined from VND10 million ($440) to VND20 million ($880), said Nguyen Duc Danh, a member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association.
Despite this, residents continue to act against the law in order to protect themselves.
Thanh and her husband from the southern province of Binh Duong said that they had bought a taser flashlight for VND550,000 ($24), as they often travel at night for their jobs.
Toan, another Ho Chi Minh city resident, owns a similar weapon, considering it useful protection for his long daily journey to work.
Unfortunately, these types of self-defense weapons are not always used for good, with many criminals utilizing them in crimes against civillians.
Police records show that in July 2016, officers in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City arrested Nguyen Cao Nhan, 23, for firing a stun gun at a man in order to steal his motorbike.
Nhan claimed he had bought the gun and five bullets online for VND3 million ($132).
The green economy needs the right kind of FDI: gov't
Vietnam is determined not to sacrifice the environment in exchange for foreign direct investment (FDI).
The government, recently reviewing 25 years of (1988-2012) FDI, has decided that Vietnam needs to attract low-carbon FDI and develop a green economy.
A national strategy on green growth aims to improve efficiency in using natural resources and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
To date, Vietnam has gained encouraging achievements in this field. Nguyen Mai, an expert in FDI, now chair of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIEs), cited a report by The Financial Times in July 2015 as saying that with an 8.14 score, Vietnam is leading emerging markets in terms of attracting FDI for green growth.
However, big problems still exist. Mai, in his article published in a local newspaper, pointed out that though the energy consumption ratio of one percent of GDP growth rate has decreased from 2.1 in the early 2000s to 1.3, it is still much higher than the requirements needed by a green economy.
“The acceptance of too many foreign-invested projects in some classic industries such as cement, steel, oil refinery and thermopower has led to the rapid increase in the volume of greenhouse gas emissions, causing bad effects to the environment,” he wrote.
“The number of projects in the renewable energy sector remains modest, though Vietnam has great potential to develop the projects,” he added.
Though Vietnam has nit reached an alarming level in emissions like China, domestic and international organizations have warned about Vietnam’s worrying situation as the smoke and dust concentrations in some large cities have exceeded the permitted level.
Meanwhile, rivers and lakes have become so polluted that their water cannot be used for people or cattle.
The cement industry has developed rapidly in the last few decades since Vietnam shifted to a market economy.
The cement capacity has soared from several millions tons in 1991 to 80 million in 2016, according to the Vietnam Cement Association. The figure is expected to increase to 100 million tons by 2020, though operating plants and plants under construction alone can provide enough cement by that time.
Vietnam has exceeded Thailand and Indonesia to become the biggest cement producer in ASEAN as the two countries stopped building new plants after the 1997-2002 regional economic crisis.
Mai thinks the cement production capacity should not be more than 100 million tons per annum, and that Vietnam should not attract more FDI into the field.
Missing 9-year-old Vietnamese girl in Japan found dead
Sweet future for VN confections
Market observers see a positive outlook in the long term for Vietnamese confectionery exports.
Customers shop for confectionery at a supermarket in Ha Noi. The Vietnamese confectionery industry is expected to earn revenues of VND40 trillion (US$1.8 billion)in 2018.
Their optimism is based on a steady double-digit growth in export value for several years and an upward tick in investment and production expansion by local firms.
According to the Business Monitor International (BMI), the nation’s confectionery sector has experienced a relatively high and stable growth rate and it is forecast to earn revenues of VND40 trillion (US$1.8 billion) in 2018.
China, the United States and Cambodia were the top three importers of Vietnamese confectionery last year, followed by Japan and South Korea. China is set to maintain its leading position this year, with import growth estimated at over 40 per cent.
Confectionery exports went up 15 per cent year-on-year in 2016 with an export value of $532 million, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) estimates. The export value in 2015 was $463 million.
The growth in exports and better prospects seen have spurred investment in the industry, the MoIT has said.
To promote co-operation between Vietnamese enterprises and experienced international confectioners, the German Bakers’ Confederation and the organising committee of the international trade fair for bakery, confectionery and snacks (IBA 2018) are treating Vietnamese enterprises as significant partners, according to the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.
The IBA has been a rendezvous for experts in the bakery, pastries, and snack industries since 1949. It is a platform for innovation and provides a complete overview of all novelties in the market. IBA 2018 will take place from September 15-20 in Munich, Germany.
Nguyen Trung Chinh, representative of the GHM Company in Viet Nam, an affiliate of Munich-based GHM Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen mbH, said Vietnamese confectionery products are capturing the attention of foreign investors.
"In early April, GHM General Director Diether Dohr will come to Viet Nam to meet with local confectionery companies, and introduce them to German manufacturers and importers,” Chinh said.
With improved quality, modern packaging and a more diverse range of products, the Vietnamese confectionery industry is developing strongly, especially in the premium segment.
Statistics compiled by the MoIT show that imported confectionery now accounts for 30 per cent of the market share. In 2016, Viet Nam’s confectionery imports reached over $250 million, up 20 per cent year-on-year.
A representative of the Phu Hung Securities Corporation told Dau Tu that the confectionery industry is not just looking at huge export potential, but also a surge in import earnings.
"With a large and young population, Viet Nam’s average confectionery consumption is currently about 2 kilogrammes per person per year (lower than the world average of 3 kilogrammes per person per year). Confectionery consumption among the 65 per cent of the population that live in rural areas, which means that that there are plenty of market opportunities for both confectionery makers and traders, " he said.
Confectioners like Bibica Corporation, which has popular brands like Hura, Choco Bella, Orienko, Zoo, are trying to maintain and strengthen their market position.
The Dau Tu report notes that besides building a new plant in Hung Yen province, Bibica is preparing to operate its $12 million cupcake production line.
The company has also implemented a $3.3 million project to produce the Hifat soft candy and has another project worth over $670,000 to produce round cakes.
The Hai Ha Confectionery Joint Stock Company, another well-known firm, is building a new factory with a daily capacity of about 62 tonnes a day in Bac Ninh Province.
Vu Quoc Tuan, deputy manager of external relations and internal communications department with confectioner Mondelez Kinh Do Viet Nam, said that imported candy has triggered fierce competition in the country’s confectionery market.
He said: "This is the necessary motivation for local manufacturers to invest more in new production technology, improve product variety and enhance product quality, serving the diverse demands of demand of domestic and international consumers."
HCM City reduces cargo delivery, receiving time at port to ease traffic jams
Saigon Newport Corporation on Monday said that the company would cut down cargo receiving and delivery time at Cat Lai port to reduce traffic jam in the area.
Cargo containers gathering at Cat Lai seaport, District 2, HCMC
A container truck will be permitted to stay in the port within 100 minutes per goods delivery or receiving trip. It will be 150 minutes for out of gauge cargo.
If trucks stay longer than the above time, they must pay VND50,000 an hour. They must pay VND 25,000 for an extra parking less than 30 minutes and VND50,000 for more than 30 minutes.
The fee aims to cope with traffic jam in and outside Cat Lai port, District 2, shorten cargo handling time and limit danger and insecurity at the port.
According to statistics, about 17,000 trucks comprising 13,000 container trucks travel in and out the port a day. Peak time sees up to 21,000 trucks.
Many container lories have not left the port after delivering or receiving goods and parked in internal roads and yards at the port, making traffic jam more serious.
Since early this year, the Department of Transport has coordinated with Saigon Newport Corporation to organize traffic in the entrance gateway to the port, encourage businesses to apply online procedures for cargo delivery and receiving and make payment on the internet, use information technology to improve cargo handling process at the port.
The city has arranged personnel to regulate traffic at An Phu and My Thuy intersections and Nguyen Thi Dinh and Dong Van Cong streets; strictly handle vehicles for wrong parking along routes to the port and overloading.
Vietnam’s Internet on ‘go-slow’ till early April
A representative of one local Internet service provider confirmed on Monday afternoon that repair work to the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable system is expected to be completed by April 5.
The delay has been caused by the late arrival of the repair ship, according to the source.
The AAG is a 20,000-kilometer-long underwater communications cable, connecting Southeast Asia with the U.S. mainland across the Pacific Ocean via Guam and Hawaii.
Vietnam is connected to four international submarine Internet cable systems, namely the AAG, SMW3 (Southeast Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3), TVH (Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong), and IA (Intra Asia).
The problem occurred along the AAG system on February 18, while another error was also detected on the IA cable system in February.
The Intra Asia (IA) underwater cable system was launched in late 2009, connecting Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, while the APG (Asia- Pacific Gateway) links eight countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific, namely Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Japan, and South Korea.
Originally scheduled for completion on March 25, the repair work is now anticipated to conclude on April 4.
According to experts, Internet speed in the country will remain sluggish for at least one more week.
TUOI TRE NEWS