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  • 05/05/17--01:34: Article 3
  •  Three telecom giants see positive Q1

    Vietnam’s telecommunications giants Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone recorded positive revenue and profit results in the first four months of the year.

     Three telecom giants see positive Q1, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam reaking news

    At a meeting with the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), Mr. Tran Manh Hung, Chairman of VNPT, said the group’s profit in the first four months reached 33.8 per cent of the plan and increased 15 per cent year-on-year.

    Telecommunications revenue reached 32 per cent of the plan. All services bar two are growing, with fixed subscriber numbers down 91.3 per cent year-on-year and MyTV services down 98 per cent.

    MobiFone, meanwhile, recorded revenue of VND3.3 trillion ($145.2 million) in April, bringing its four-month figure to VND12.6 trillion ($554.4 million).

    The military-run mobile carrier Viettel recorded revenue in the first four months of VND76 trillion ($3.34 billion) and profit of VND14.2 trillion ($624.8 million).

    The telecom giants are leading the way in the fourth industrial revolution. VNPT is promoting IT solutions such as VNPT-ioffice, VNPT-iGate, VNPT Portal, and a school management system (VnEdu). These solutions have already been widely used in many cities and provinces.

    VNPT is deploying Smart City, having been selected as a partner in the smart city model in Ho Chi Minh City, Kien Giang, Lam Dong, Tien Giang, and Binh Duong provinces, and Phu Quoc Island.

    Viettel recently launched its 4G network, expressing the group’s determination to become a leader in the revolution. According to Deputy General Director Hoang Son, it is the first network operator in the world to have 4G coverage nationwide.

    The military-run mobile carrier is planning to expand its investments to Indonesia and Nigeria, two countries with the largest populations in the world, through Viettel Global, a subsidiary of the group.

    The military-run mobile carrier currently has operations in nine overseas markets: Laos, Cambodia, East Timor, Cameroon, Haiti, Mozambique, Burundi, Peru, and Tanzania, with operations in Myanmar expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.

    An inspection of MobiFone’s purchase of AVG shares has been completed but the results not yet released due to certain problems and the need to compare the results with other inspection units, Mr. Ngo Van Khanh, Deputy Chief Inspector, told the Government Inspectorate’s regular press conference for the first quarter on April 24.

    VN Economic Times

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  • 05/05/17--01:56: Article 2
  • Party Central Committee convenes 5th meeting

    The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) opened its fifth plenary meeting of the 12th tenure in Hanoi on May 5.

    Party Central Committee convenes 5th meeting, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news 
    The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee opens its fifth plenary meeting of the 12th tenure on May 5

    During the meeting, the central committee will debate improving socialist-oriented market economy institutions and rearranging, reforming and improving State-owned enterprises.

    The Committee will also review the implementation of the 15-year-old 9th Party Central Committee’s Resolution on the development of the private economic sector and will consider disciplinary measures against Party members.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong suggested several issues to be discussed at the session.

    Over the past 10 years, the implementation of Resolution of the sixth session of the 10th Party Central Committee on “continuing to complete the socialist-oriented market economy mechanism” has contributed to economic growth and moving Vietnam from the group of less developed countries to the group of developing countries with middle income. It also helped maintain the country’s socialist orientation, developed the economy coupled with social progress while improving the people’s material and spiritual life, and ensuring social welfare and defence.

    However, he pointed out shortcomings, especially in achieving sustainable economic growth, a lack of breakthroughs in using resources for development, State-owned enterprises failing to perform, slow economic reforms and the slow development of some markets.

    The Party chief said that the conference’s task is to issue a new resolution for the continued completion of the socialist-oriented market economy mechanism to 2020 with a vision to 2030 on the basis of the 12th Party Congress’ Resolution and the Resolution of the sixth plenum of the 10th Party Central Committee.

    He asked the Central Committee to analyse weaknesses in the work and map out resolutions.

    On the issue of State-owned enterprise efficiency, he said the Party and State have often discussed and issued various policies to re-organise, reform and develop State-owned enterprises (SOEs), reaping welcome outcomes, noting that the number of firms wholly owned by the State dropped from over 12,000 to 5,655 in 2001 and 718 in October 2016.

    However, SOEs have neither proved the core of the state economy nor led and created growth momentum. Most SOEs’ business performance remains low and is not commensurate with the resources the State has poured into them. A number of SOEs suffered losses, experienced corruption and wastefulness, or invested in multi-trillion-VND but idle projects, worsening bad debt and public debt.

    General Secretary Trong asked members of the Party Central Committee to point out the reason for the sluggish improvement of these long-standing issues.

    He stressed that at this session, they need to pinpoint targets, viewpoints and solutions to address this issue. They should reach a consensus on the role of SOEs amid the equitisation and divestment of State capital at businesses completely owned by the State.

    They also need to look into ways to reform the firms’ apparatus and operations, as well as personnel work and the activities of Party organisations at SOEs.

    He asked them to scrutinise the need to issue a new resolution from the Party Central Committee on SOE restructuring, reform and improvement.

    Over the past 15 years of implementing the Resolution on renovating mechanisms, policies and facilitating the private economy adopted by the fifth plenum of the ninth National Party Congress, the Party and State have issued a number of policies, guidelines and measures to encourage the development of the private economy. 

    The private economy has made greater contributions to rallying social resources for manufacturing and trading, economic growth and restructuring, increasing State budget collection, creating jobs, improving local well-being, ensuring social welfare and settling social issues. Its contribution to gross domestic product is stable at nearly 39-40 percent. Entrepreneurship has grown, as has the start-up movement. 

    However, the private economy’s growth rate has fallen in recent years due to limited capacity, mostly in individual and household businesses. Various private firms operate unstably and face losses, dissolution and bankruptcy. Law violations, trade fraud, tax avoidance and debt, unhealthy competition, environment pollution, and food hygiene remain serious issues. 

    The Party chief asked the Party Central Committee to assess past achievements and thoroughly analyse shortcomings and weaknesses. 

    Following the Resolution set by the 12th National Party Congress and the country’s situation, the Party Central Committee needs to reach consensus with the Party and people on the goals, major tasks and measures to develop a strong private economy, making it a driver of the country’s socialism-oriented market economy, he said. 

    Regarding self-criticism, the Party chief said that in March 2017, the Political Bureau and the Secretariat spent seven days conducting self-criticism on their leadership and steering work in 2016 as well as on the implementation of the Resolution on Party building and rectification adopted by the fourth Party Central Committee (12th tenure).

    The work has been carried out in a democratic, frank, and sincere manner and those who were criticised listened seriously, seeing it as a chance to learn, he said.

    Each Politburo and Secretariat member reviewed his or her responsibility for fields they were in charge of and acknowledged weaknesses or limitations they should fix, according to the Party leader.

    Through the work, the Political Bureau and the Secretariat agreed that in 2016 the regional and international situation faced complicated developments while the country dealt with new incidents, like marine environmental pollution in the central coastal area, severe droughts in the south central and the Central Highlands, and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong delta.

    In this context, the Political Bureau and the Secretariat stood united and promptly issued appropriate solutions to lead the Party, people and army to reap important achievements, which have been lauded by the people, Party members and officials, he noted.

    The achievements gained in 2016 were encouraging, paving the way for the country to enter a new development phase, Trong said.

    He asked the Party Central Committee to correctly assess strong and weak points in the leadership and steering work of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat and the implementation of the Resolution on Party building and rectification adopted by the fourth Party Central Committee (12th tenure). It should point out causes and lessons learnt as well as devise solutions to address weaknesses. 


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  • 05/05/17--02:07: Article 1
  • Vietnamese man swindles multiple firms by impersonating leaders’ voices

    A Vietnamese man capable of impersonating the voice of almost anyone has abused his talent and is now paying the price from inside a jail cell.


    Voice impressionist and scammer Trinh Duy Phuong (L) works with police.Tuoi Tre

    Trinh Duy Phuong, 27, was arrested on Thursday night, following a number of successful swindles via voice impersonation, the hi-tech police unit (C50) under the Ministry of Public Security confirmed later the same day.

    Phuong has swindled business owners throughout the country, from the south-central province of Khanh Hoa to the southernmost province of Ca Mau, out huge amounts of money by calling companies and impersonating local leaders asking to borrow money.

    The 27-year-old, who has a previous conviction for stealing assets, was nabbed while attempting to swindle a VND300 million (US$13,393) SH scooter in the southern province of Long An, according to C50 officers.

    A C50 officer said even police were stunned by the voice impressionist’s talent for mimicking the voice of almost anyone, young or old, after only hearing their voice once.

    “It is impossible to tell this voice impersonator from the real person, especially through the phone,” one police officer said.

    Phuong carried out a number of successful scams and never stayed in the same place for too long, repeatedly relocating between hotels and acquaintances’ houses in southern Vietnam.
    How did he do that?
    According to police files, Phuong first used his voice impersonation scam in 2015, targeting victims in localities spanning from Khanh Hoa to Ca Mau, though only a few of the victims reported the fraud.

    Phuong used the voices of local leaders, celebrities, and religious leaders to target companies he knew already had business or personal relations with those figures.

    In the fraudulent phone calls, Phuong would tell the business owners that he was away on a business trip and one of his relatives had an accident and needed a huge amount of money. The con artist would then ask the businesses to lend him some money.

    The victims, feeling ‘honored’ that the ‘leader’ had turned to them for help, transferred the money to the voice impersonator without hesitation.

    Rather than use a personal bank account to receive the swindled money, Phuong placed expensive orders with electronics stores and requested to clear the payments via bank transfer.

    The con artist would then ask the shop owners for their bank account information and have his victims transfer the money to these store accounts.

    Once the money was transferred, the items were considered paid for and all Phuong had to do was pick up the electronics and resell to rake in easy money without ever having to disclose his bank account or leave a paper trail by withdrawing cash.

    In other cases, Phuong would impersonate a local leader and make reservations for a large party “to welcome government leaders” at a restaurant. The ‘leader’ would insist that he transfer money to the restaurants, but the cross-bank transactions might take some time.

    Phuong then physically visited the cheated restaurants, now in the guise of ‘a nephew of the leader’ authorized to oversee the party preparations.

    He would then ask the restaurants for some cash to buy flowers and decorations for the party, on behalf of the ‘leader’ and immediately flee with the money.

    C50 police said they are continuing their investigation into the case.


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  • 05/06/17--05:54: Article 0

    Vietnam’s northern province to export mangoes to Australia


    Vietnam’s northern province of Son La will export mangoes to Australia for the first time in May, according to the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The department has recently worked with the provincial People’s Committee to build a coordination programme with Agricare Vietnam Co., Ltd to grant codes to areas growing mangoes for export and to implement irradiation services.

    Director of the department’s plant quarantine centre Le Nhat Thanh said his centre will work with the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to hold a training course for farmers and provide codes for Yen Chau and Mai Son districts to export mangoes to Australia.

    Two batches of mangoes (each about 10 tonnes) will be exported to the market at the end of May.

    Mangoes purchased by businesses for export normally cost 15-20 percent higher than others.

    Son La is home to more than 4,000 hectares of mangoes, hundreds of which use the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practice (VietGap).

    Agricare Vietnam Co., Ltd mainly buys mangoes from southern provinces for export. This is the first time the company has purchased mangoes in the north for export.

    Son La mangoes have been sent to Australian partners and received good feedback.

    The local mangoes will be packaged and transported to Hanoi for irradiation before being sold to Australia.

    Apart from round-shaped mangoes, local farmers are expanding areas for hybrid mangoes in Yen Chau, Moc Chau and Mai Son districts. The potential for exporting mangoes to foreign markets is huge.

    The Plant Protection Department is also working with local authorities to grant codes for longan areas in Song Ma district, which has some 6,000 hectares of longans.

    Since 2016, the province asked the department to help businesses build a brand name for Son La longans for exports in 2018.

    Roundtable shares ways to invest in Vietnam

    A roundtable discussing investing in and exporting to Vietnam was held by the enterprise club of the Association of Enterprises in the Ile-de-France region (MEDEF Ile-de-France) on May 4.

    The event drew many French businesses which have invested in and exported to Vietnam, as well as partners who want to learn about Vietnam.

    Michel Jonqueres, Chairman of the International Committee under MEDEF Ile-de-France, said that the two countries have yet to fulfill their economic and investment potential.

    France’s exports to Vietnam were valued at 1.7 billion EUR last year, accounting for only 1 percent of Vietnam’s imports, he said, suggesting French businesses expand operations in the Southeast Asian nation.

    Agreeing with Jonqueres, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Ngoc Son said that France is the 15th biggest trade partner of Vietnam. It is the 13th largest exporter to Vietnam and ranks 16th among countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian country.

    At the event, representatives of Vietnamese trade and investment promotion agencies in France presented the strengths of Vietnam’s investment climate, including stable political system, positive and sustainable growth prospects, competitive labour costs and high domestic demand.

    Le Cong Thanh, Counsellor in charge of investment in France, stated that Vietnam wants to attract investment in hi-tech and environmentally-friendly fields, which are strengths of France.

    Representatives from several French enterprises shared their experience in doing business in Vietnam.

    Some 300 French enterprises currently operate in Vietnam, with a total investment capital of 3.4 billion EUR, generating about 26,000 jobs.

    MEDEF Ile-de-France comprises of enterprises from Paris and seven surrounding provinces.

    Decree designed to encourage investment in agriculture

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) said it is collecting opinions from organisations and individuals for a draft decree on policies to encourage investment in agriculture and rural development. 

    The decree regulates additional incentives and investment support of the State for businesses investing in agriculture and rural development. It will be applied to enterprises established and registered for operation in line with Vietnam’s laws. 

    Under the decree, enterprises having investment projects in agriculture can get deductions of between 50-70 percent of their land rental, or are exempted from the land rental. 

    Businesses having large scale breeding projects will receive maximum financial support of 5 billion VND (220,000 USD) and at least 3 billion VND (132,000 USD) for building wastewater treatment, transport, electricity and water infrastructure, and purchasing equipment. 

    The MPI said agricultural projects invested by enterprises will also benefit from other incentives apart from the above-mentioned regulations.

    Garment-textile businesses seek to penetrate Russia

    With demand to import more than 10 billion USD worth of apparel products each year, Russia is a market with potential for Vietnamese garment-textile businesses.

    According to the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association, businesses have received many jacket and jeans orders from Russian companies in recent years. 

    The garment-textile industry was predicted to get the most benefits when the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union came into force in October 2016.

    At present, Vietnam exports about 320 million USD worth of apparel each year to Russia, making up roughly 2 percent of the country’s total exports. 

    The figure is expected to exceed 1 billion USD, accounting for 10 percent of total exports, in the next few years.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association Vu Duc Giang said Russia has a cold climate, so its consumers have big demand for jackets and jeans.

    However, the problem is how to bring the products into the market at competitive prices since Russia still faces economic difficulties and sales of apparel in the market are not as strong as in the European Union, Giang said.

    Additionally, the geographical distance between Vietnam and Russia will make it difficult for businesses to complete payment, he said, adding that more bank branches should be opened in Russia for direct payment between businesses.

    He advised businesses to study the market thoroughly before exporting to Russia and other northern European nations, as well as to make regular contact with partners for long-term cooperation.

    Enterprises should have business strategies to cope with fierce competition on quality and price in the market, he noted.

    It is necessary to create high-quality products, improve designs, and build brand names, he said.

    According to the Vietnam Customs, garment-textile export turnover to Russia increased by over 30 percent year-on-year to reach 110 million USD in 2016.

    Ca Mau to build rice trademark     

    The southern province of Ca Mau is focusing on building a trademark for its rice, simultaneously promoting the product’s trade and advertisement after being certified as meeting domestic and international quality standards.

    The province is also prioritising connecting with enterprises to popularise Ca Mau’s specialty rice products at agents, shops and supermarkets inside and outside the province.

    Currently, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to restructure the high-quality rice sector by 2020.

    Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched a logo design contest for Vietnamese rice trademark, aimed at promoting the reputation of the country’s rice.

    The contest is part of activities to realise the project to develop Viet Nam’s rice brand to 2020 with a vision to 2030, which was approved by the Prime Minister two years ago. 

    Lý Sơn to develop organic garlic farm

    The Island district of Lý Sơn in the central province will start constructing its first organic garlic farm, with a total investment of VNĐ4 billion (US$177,000).

    The director of the Lý Sơn Island Company, Nguyễn Văn Định, told Việt Nam News that the farm will be built on 2,500sq.m with updated high-tech farming equipment.

    He said the farm will provide 700kg tall shoots of garlic each day after a two-month growth period. It will also employ 50 local residents with stable income.

    Định said the farm will provide technical consultancy for local farmers in the district to develop organic garlic farms with high productivity and price.

    He said the farm can increase its garlic area by growing on ready-made soil on high-rise buildings.

    It’s also the first investment in high-tech farm project in the island, which is 30km off the coast of the central province.

    The farm plans to offer a tour for VNĐ20,000 (nearly $1) per visitor.

    Last year, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, recognised the brand ownership for the products of Lý Sơn Island including garlic, onion, seafood, garlic wine, dried seafood and seaweed.

    It’s also the first made-in-Lý Sơn seafood and aquaculture products to have their own brand nationwide.

    In 2015, 40 tonnes of Lý Sơn garlic were exported to Thailand.

    The company, in co-operation with the island district and the island’s farmers association, plans to produce organic black garlic for export to Japan, the US and Asian countries, and produce garlic oil.

    Lý Sơn garlic has a distinctive flavour and is in high demand at home and abroad. However, this year only 250ha of garlic and onion were planted due to serious drought on the island.

    The island, known as the Kingdom of Garlic in Việt Nam, has 21,000 inhabitants, of whom 73 per cent makes their living from farming garlic and spring onion or fishing. 

    Agro-tourism lures visitors to Mekong Delta province

    Lotus has long been a special plant in Tháp Mười District of Đồng Tháp Province. The beautiful lotus ponds in the Mekong province have been a magnet for visitors to Đồng Tháp.

    Sa Đéc is famous for its flower gardens, which give the city its title as the “Mekong Delta’s flower capital”. Besides the economic value the flowers offer, the gardens have also been developed into stunning tourism sites.

    Tân Thuận Đông is an islet in the Tiền (Anterior Mekong) River in Cao Lãnh city. Vast gardens of fruits such as mango, orange and longan attract visitors, who come to sightsee and also get a first-hand experience of farmers’ lives.

    The locality also offers recreational activities like folk singing and dancing and other cultural performances and unique foods, leaving visitors with unforgettable memories.

    There are now more tours to Đồng Tháp, which offer trips to beautiful flower villages, orchards and lotus fields, turning the province into one of the tourism hubs of southern Việt Nam. 

    Ties with franchisees key to success     

    Building a strong relationship with franchisees is the basis for success in the franchise business, delegates said at a seminar in HCM City yesterday.

    Nguyen Phi Van, chairwoman of Retail and Franchise Asia, said franchising was a common strategy that companies choose when expanding their business.

    Franchsing in the food and beverage industry has developed strongly in Viet Nam, especially in the fast food segment, she said.

    Before starting a franchise, businesses need to evaluate their financial efficiency and the feasibility of their target market.

    They should also build a good internal labour force so they can effectively support their franchisees.

    There are six development phases involved in a relationship between franchisors and franchisee, according to Van.

    They include the “glee phase” (when franchisees are pleased with franchisors); “fee” (franchisees experience practical business operations and feel pressure of expenditures); and “me” (franchisees feel they have explicit knowledge of trading and think that the management role of franchisors is no longer important and does not contribute much to their success).

    The next phase is the “free” phase in which franchisees do not want to be managed. This is the period in which the franchise relationship can break down if the two sides do not have ways to retain their relationship, she said.

    If they pass the “free” phase, they will come to the “see” phase (the two sides will sit down and admit each other’s value and find ways to build a better relationship for mutual benefit).

    The last phase is the “we” phase, which is the peak in the relationship, when the two sides combine their strength to develop their brand.

    Franchisors must understand the various phases in developing the businesses and adopt support plans and training programmes for franchisees in each phase, Van said.

    To have a sustainable franchise, businesses need to understand that the most important aspect in a franchise is building a good relationship, she said.

    To make sure the franchisor and franchisee relationship does not break down, the two sides must adhere to the terms of the franchise agreement, she said.

    Le Thi Ngoc Thuy, director of IP Plus Group, which franchises Viva Star coffee brand, said the company entered into a franchise business in 2013 and has 63 franchised Viva Star coffee shops plus two of its own. Some disagreements arose when franchisees tried to intervene to deeply in the management of franchised shops and did not agree about maintenance fees, she said.

    Lawyer Ho Huu Hoanh said franchisors should clearly state their franchise policies, fees and other terms in their agreements so that franchisors can avoid disputes later.

    Regarding difficulties faced by franchisees, Hoang Son, a franchisee of the US Smoothie Factory, said it faced difficulties in sourcing raw materials for the Smoothie Factory’s product formula in Viet Nam. The two sides gradually solved the problem, with the franchisor helping his company import materials from the United States, he said.

    Huynh Ngoc Hoa, a franchisee of Viva Star Coffee, said the franchisor typically uses a common management process for its entire franchise chain, but should consider adjusting it to suit each region.

    Franchisors should collect feedback from franchisees to better develop the franchise system, he said.

    The seminar is part of a series of seminars included in the Vietnam Retail and Franchise Show 2017 to be held at HCM City’s Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from June 1-3.

    Firms stop pork import, buy local     

    With the glut of pigs forcing local pork prices down to levels comparable with imported ones, some food processing firms in HCM City have suspended imports and increased local purchases.

    A spokesperson for Cau Tre Export Goods Processing Joint Stock Company said the company normally uses both local and imported pork for processing, but with local prices plunging, it has temporarily stopped imports. The company plans to buy 200-250 tonnes, equivalent to three months’ requirement, and stockpile, he said.

    Nguyen Dang Phu, deputy general director of Vissan Co Ltd, said his company has stopped pork imports and is buying more pigs from Long An Province.

    But the pigs must meet VietGap standards, should be bred under the Livestock Competitiveness and Food Safety Project (Lifsap), and must be from farms participating in a HCM City programme to trace their origins, he said.

    Vissan has increased its buying from 1,500 pigs a day to 1,800 in the last 10 days, he said.

    The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade held a meeting with food processing firms and retailers on Wednesday to discuss ways to stimulate consumption of pork.

    It told the meeting that pig prices in the south are VND25,000-30,000 a kilogramme (US$1.10-1.32), a drop of VND13,000-15,000 from a year ago. The prices of pigs bred without following VietGap standards or being part of the Lifsap or origin-tracing programmes have fallen the most.

    A survey by the department in provinces like Long An, Tra Vinh, Dong Nai, Vinh Long, and Ben Tre found that a majority of pig farmers are small households who fail to keep abreast of the market. They mainly sell their pigs to traders for cash and are afraid of tying up with businesses.

    Pig exports have been hit due to various difficulties in recent years, but farmers have not reduced the sizes of their herds, leading to oversupply.

    Retailers told the meeting they have rolled out promotions to stimulate pork demand, which has increased significantly as a result.

    A Saigon Co.op executive said 10-20 per cent discounts since April 25 have increased pork sales at Co.opmart and Co.op Food by 20-30 per cent.

    Ho Quoc Nguyen, PR director of Central Group Vietnam, said within a week of offering 20-30 per cent discounts on pork, sales at Big C have picked up by more than 30 per cent.

    Lotte Mart supermarkets are also offering discounts of 10-20 per cent.

    Nguyen Huynh Trang, the department’s deputy director, said besides working with producers and distributors in HCM City, the department is also in touch with its counterparts in other provinces to explore ways to boost consumption.

    It seeks to establish close links between farmers and businesses and develop an efficient supply chain for the pig breeding sector, she said.

    Trang and others at the meeting agreed that the Government needs to have development plans for the sector to avoid a repeat of this situation in future.     

    Dong Nai earns $5.2b from exports till April     

    The southern province of Dong Nai shipped goods worth US$5.2 billion abroad from January to April, up 12.8 per cent from the same period last year.

    The locality also imported goods worth $4.78 billion during the period, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.

    The department said the trade surplus can be attributed to local businesses’ efforts to seek domestic supply of materials and goods.

    Stronger connection among domestic enterprises has also helped reduce imports while allowing domestic enterprises to enjoy tax incentives when shipping their products to markets with which Viet Nam has signed free trade agreements, including the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, Chile and ASEAN nations.

    Export revenue from traditional markets recorded good growth, such as an 88 per cent increase year-on-year in the RoK market, nearly 13 per cent in Japan, over nine per cent in France and nearly eight per cent in the United States.

    The province’s major export products were footwear, machinery and equipment, vehicles and fibre.

    Meanwhile, a number of agricultural products saw their export price rise in the period, such as cashew nut, coffee bean and rubber latex.

    The locality aims to look for more export markets while developing brand names of agricultural products to increase export revenue. 

    DHL Express Việt Nam receives Gold Award

    DHL Express Việt Nam received the Gold Award for the Best Community Programme at the 9th Global CSR Summit and Awards 2017.

    The awards are the region’s longest reigning and most widely respected CSR summit.

    The award recognises and honours companies for outstanding, innovative and world-class products, services, projects and programmes implemented.

    Receiving the honour for the first time, DHL Express Việt Nam was awarded for its successful community projects, which have resulted in poverty alleviation, better education, business growth and community engagement. As part of the company’s "Living Responsibility" programme, DHL Express Việt Nam focuses on the three pillars of environmental protection (GoGreen), disaster management (GoHelp) and education (GoTeach), as well as supporting employee volunteerism. Through these programmes, DHL Express Vietnam has made a positive impact on the wellbeing of local communities and society.

    “This is the first time DHL Express Việt Nam has participated in the Annual Global CSR Summit and Awards, and we are very proud to be globally recognised with a Gold Award for the Best Community Programme. This is a testament of our dedication to providing the very best community project to our local community here in Việt Nam,” said George Berczely, DHL-VNPT Express general director.

    Presotea seeking local franchisees

    Taiwanese bubble-tea chain Presotea is looking for franchisees in Vietnam to expand its international network, according to Inside Retail, Asia’s leading authority on retail industry news and trends.

    During its expansion plans, Presotea is looking at Vietnam, where the milk- and bubble-tea market is expanding rapidly with numerous international brands already on the ground.  

    “We are looking for partners to set up 30 to 50 stores in Vietnam, with five in the first year,” said Presotea’s overseas business manager, Mr. Jackson Kah.

    What makes Presotea different from other players and become the biggest fresh-tea chain in Taiwan is the use of espresso-type machines to brew tea in a bulk bucket, which preserves the fresh taste. By using tea buckets, Presotea is also able to save and control the quantity of ingredients for its stores.

    Presotea’s menu is filled with various kinds of high quality tea, including Jasmine green, Oolong, Sencha green, and Darjeeling. Customers can hand-pick the ingredients to make their own cup of tea.

    Franchisees should have experience in chain restaurant management and market development and understand consumption trends.

    The franchise investment is upwards of $1 million. Apart from providing standard administration and operation guidelines, Presotea provides in-store problem solving and operation consultation to assist franchisees in meeting the brand’s professional tea brewing standards.

    Presotea is owned by Good Young and currently has 340 outlets in five countries, with more to come.

    There are many bubble-tea brands already in Vietnam, including Ding Tea, Gong Cha, and Chatime.

    Firms compelled to issue e-invoices from 2018

    The General Department of Taxation has ruled that from 2018, firms with chartered capital of more than VND15 billion must issue electronic invoices and periodically send tax offices data on the issued invoices.

    Aiming to have 90% of enterprises issuing e-invoices by 2020, the regulation will apply to enterprises in industrial parks, economic zones, export processing zones, high-tech zones, non-business public units having production or commercial activities as prescribed by law and newly established enterprises.

    From early 2019, many other types of enterprise, including household businesses with revenue of more than VND3 billion, will be forced to issue e-invoices and those with tax codes provided by tax authorities.

    This is the roadmap proposed by the General Department of Taxation under the Ministry of Finance in a proposal for a decree replacing Decree No. 51/2010 /ND-CP and Decree No. 04/2014 /ND-CP on invoices for sales of goods and services.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, the number of businesses using e-invoices has increased significantly over the past few years, rising from 30 enterprises in 2011 to 331 in 2015 and 656 in 2016. The number of electronic invoices issued has also increased sharply, from 9,014 in 2011 to more than 277 million in 2016. E-invoicing will benefit enterprises as it will save time and cost, and improve production efficiency, service quality and competitiveness.

    The Ministry of Finance said that at present, information technology infrastructure can meet the needs for issuing electronic invoices.

    In particular, data of the Ministry of Information and Communications shows that there were more than 43.9 million 3G subscriptions and 9.3 million broadband Internet subscriptions nationwide by January 2017. 3G is available in all of the nation’s 63 provinces and cities while 4G services are also being expanded.

    Electronic tax filing and payment services have been adopted by 576,056 enterprises, accounting for 99% of the total in operation.

    An electronic invoice containing data on sales of goods or services is issued, sent, received, stored and processed electronically. Electronic invoices must comply with the country’s legal regulations and be issued and processed by the computer systems of organizations which have been granted tax codes.

    Sugar import quota for 2017 to be auctioned

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade will put up for auction the quota for importing 89,500 tons of sugar this year, and at least VND140 billion (about US$6.15 million) could be raised if the bid for this year’s quota is the same as that last year.

    The ministry has issued Circular 05/2017/TT-BCT regulating auction of sugar import quota in 2017, which will take effect from May 6 and expire on December 31.

    Traders using crude sugar for domestic refining or refined sugar as a feedstock and relevant individuals and organizations can participate in the auction. The sugar import quota auction will be conducted through a council founded by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The sugar import quota auction in 2016 took place at the office of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on September 7 that year, with 22 valid bids for import of 85,000 tons of sugar. The ministry raised VND128 billion from the auction.

    Experts have expressed concern that this sugar import quota this year may cause an oversupply. According to the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA), the country’s sugar exports to China have come to a virtual standstill over the past few weeks while the amount of sugar smuggled into the local market has surged and its price has been VND500-1,000 lower than domestic products.

    White sugar prices in the final week of April ranged from VND15,100  to VND16,300 per kilo while refined sugar was sold at VND16,800-17,300 per kilo.

    According to data of VSSA, sugar inventories at factories and trading firms had amounted to over 700,000 tons by April 21. At the same time, 13 sugar factories have finished production for the 2016/2017 season.

    New manufacturing orders rise sharply in April

    The strong growth of new orders continued to support rises in output, employment and buying activity in the Vietnamese manufacturing sector in April, with a survey-record increase in new business from abroad reported.

    According to a Nikkei report released on May 3, the Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 54.1 in April, down from 54.6 in March but still a solid monthly improvement in the health of the sector at the start of the second quarter. Business conditions have now improved in each of the past 17 months.

    A sharp rise in new orders was central to the latest improvement in operating conditions, with new business from abroad increasing at a survey-record pace. The rate of growth in new export orders has now quickened in three successive months.

    Panelists linked expansions in both total new business and new export work to strengthening client demand. New orders have increased continuously since December 2015.

    Andrew Harker at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said a record rise in exports was the key highlight from the latest Vietnam Manufacturing PMI survey as firms once again displayed a good ability to secure new work in international markets.

    This success fed through to improvements throughout the sector, with production, employment and purchasing activity all rising solidly in April. The manufacturing sector therefore remains a star performer in Vietnam at the start of the second quarter, the expert said.

    Growth of new work led manufacturers to increase production again in April. The rate of expansion was marked, albeit weaker than March’s 22-month high.

    The rise in production enabled firms to work through outstanding business despite strong new order growth. The fall in backlogs of work was the first since the end of 2016.

    Besides, employment increased for the thirteenth successive month as firms responded to new order growth. The rate of job creation eased, but remained solid.

    A further impact resulting from the rise in new work was a pick-up in purchasing activity by Vietnamese manufacturers. The rate of expansion remained sharp and contributed to a tenth successive monthly rise in stocks of purchases.

    Some panelists mentioned having increased inventories in anticipation of further new order growth in the coming months. Confidence around future rises in new business was also a factor behind continued strong optimism with regards to production over the next year.

    Higher demand for inputs encouraged suppliers to increase their prices during April, thereby leading to another monthly rise in input costs. There were also some mentions of higher prices for goods from China.

    However, the rate of cost inflation eased to the weakest since last October. Output prices also rose at the slowest pace in six months as charges were increased only modestly. Where factory gate prices rose, this was largely in response to higher input prices.

    Vietnam imports 35,000 autos in Jan-Apr

    Imports of completely-built-up (CBU) autos in the first four months of the year increased nearly 20% year-on-year to 35,000 units, according to the General Statistics Office.

    In April alone, Vietnam imported 8,000 CBU autos worth nearly US$200 million, decreasing by about 3,000 units but increasing by US$20 million month-on-month.

    In the first four months, the total spending on CBU auto imports was US$688 million, down 5.7% against the year-earlier period.

    Statistics show that the majority of imported cars this year were cheaper than in the same period last year, especially passenger cars with less than nine seats.

    In the first quarter of this year, the volume of cars with less than nine seats imported from ASEAN countries jumped 67.6% to 14,460 units, with Thailand accounting for 10,050 units, up 28.8%, and Indonesia 4,400 units compared to 833 units last year.

    Experts predicted that car imports from Thailand and Indonesia will continue to grow strongly in the coming time because the duty on CBU autos imported from ASEAN countries will go down from 30% in 2017 to 0% in 2018 under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

    Traders forecast that sales of autos with below nine seats this year will fall by 7-10% over the same period last year as consumers will wait until 2018 to buy cars.

    However, the import volume of auto parts and accessories in the first four months of this year surged. Specifically, Vietnam spent US$320 million importing auto parts and accessories in April, raising the total in the first four months of this year to US$1.15 billion, said the statistics office.

    The country spent nearly US$1.84 billion importing CBU autos and accessories in the first four months, up 3.9% over the same period last year.

    Jetstar Pacific receives IOSA registration     

    Jetstar Pacific Airlines has been registered under the international operation safety audit (IOSA) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

    The low-cost airline has been added to the list of airlines that have received the IOSA registration of IATA.

    The IOSA programme is an internationally-recognised safety evaluation system, designed to assess the operation management and control of safety standards of an airline. According to Jetstar Pacific chief executive officer Nguyen Quoc Phuong, the airline cleared over 900 standards and recommended practices outlined in the programme to get the certification.

    Jetstar Pacific is currently using the Safety Management System approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam and based on standards of IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and Australia’s Qantas Airways. 

    Gyeongsan, Da Nang to co-operate in cosmetics     

    Da Nang and South Korean city of Gyeongsan have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on development and co-operation in the cosmetic industry.

    The MoU, which was signed in Da Nang during a working visit by a delegation from Gyeongsan last week, also aims to boost tourism, investment and technology transfer among businesses based in Korea and Da Nang.

    As planned, Gyeongsan will open a showroom at the city’s exhibition and trade fair centre to introduce cosmetic products and technology.

    Last year, the Da Nang-based Green Belt Technology and Environment Company introduced the first made-in-Da Nang organic cosmetics using local essential oils and available natural ingredients.

    The Arya Tara cosmetic products of Da Nang have been chosen to feature in the ‘typical souvenirs of Da Nang’ list for 2017, when the city hosts the APEC summit this November.

    Tourists from South Korea comprise the second-largest segment of foreign tourist arrivals to Da Nang, with more than 443,000 Korean tourists – nearly 20 per cent of total foreign travelers – visiting the city last year.

    Da Nang is home to 53 foreign direct investment projects from South Korea with total capital of US$734 million.

    The budget airline, T’way Air is operating five flights each week from Da Nang to Daegu, four flights between Da Nang and Seoul, and a daily route between HCM City and Seoul, while Jeju Air offers daily flights from Da Nang to Incheon.

    Local low-cost airline, VietJet Air, also launched a new route from Da Nang to Daegu, South Korea, while Vietnam Airlines has operated a Da Nang-Busan route, with two flights per week, since 2013.

    According to the city’s tourism department, there are 12 flights from South Korea to Da Nang every week, carrying an average of 1,500 passengers.

    As planned, two new direct flights from Da Nang to Pusan and Muan, Korea would be opened later this year.

    The city also plans to boost tour exchanges between Jeju Island; Incheon, Seoul; and other localities, including UNESCO-recognised world heritages Phong Nha-Ke Bang, Hue City, Hoi An and My Son in central Viet Nam.

    HCM City to organise ICT fair     

    The first Electronics – Information Communications Technology Fair & Exhibition 2017 will be organised by HCM City next week.

    The exhibition is expected to have 50 booths displaying new software, electronic, telecommunications and chipset products that can be used to set up e-governance and make the southern metro a smart city.

    It will also feature conference on new products and technologies, signing of agreements for co-operation and technology transactions and a gala dinner for executives in the sector.

    The city Department of Information and Communications will organise the event along with others like the HCM City Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, the HCM City Computers Association, the Viet Nam Information Safety Association, the HCM City Chipset Association, Quang Trung Software Park, and the HCM City National University’s Software Park.

    Asia Coffee-Markets quiet; premiums edge lower in Vietnam

    Coffee export markets were quiet this week with premiums in Vietnam edging down on a rebound in London prices while discounts widened in Indonesia amid a steady supply of bean, traders said on May 4.

    The London ICE July contract extended its rebound for a third straight session, rising 1.95 percent to close at $2,034 per tonne on May 3.

    The 5-percent black and broken grade 2 robusta in Vietnam, the world's largest grower of robusta beans, was quoted at a premium of $20-$30 per tonne to London's ICE July contract, narrowing from $40-$50 per tonne a week ago.

    Coffee was traded locally at 44,800-45,000 dong ($1.97-$1.98) per kg, up from 43,000 dong on April 27. However, trade was thin as farmers held back their stock seeking higher prices.

    "Farmers are still holding onto beans as they want to wait for prices to bounce back to their previous level," said Nguyen Quang Binh, an independent analyst.

    Vietnam exported an estimated 604,000 tonnes (10.1 million 60 kg bags) of coffee in the first four months of 2017, down 8.8 percent from a year ago, the government said on April 28.

    Coffee exports in April were estimated at 150,000 tonnes, well above market expectations of 100,000-130,000 tonnes.

    Discounts widened this week in Indonesia, traders said. Robusta grade 4 defect 80 traded at a $40-$80 discount to the July contract, compared with a $40-$50 discount on April 27.

    "This is because prices at the London terminal have dropped significantly," a trader in Lampung said, adding that the big discount left traders on the sidelines.

    Meanwhile, the market is seeing a steady supply of beans as the harvest continues, traders said.

    Renewable energy will lead the power sector

    Renewable energy will lead the energy sector in the next 20 years and the production cost of renewable energy is gradually approaching that of traditional energy, heard a conference on energy solutions for Vietnam held by General Electric Company (GE) in Hanoi on April 27.

    Andres Isaza, vice president and chief commercial officer of GE Renewable Energy, said there are three trends in the energy industry: technological change, scattered electricity production and reduction of CO2 emissions.

    Digital technology with data analysis software and modern hardware will provide stable power supply at more reasonable costs.

    In addition, the trend toward scattered electricity generation, in which power plants are not centralized at certain areas but located near sources of electricity consumption, will also change the energy sector. Consumers have become electricity producers as more and more individuals and organizations install and operate their own power generation units. Therefore, power firms will face many challenges due to profit decreases.

    In the third trend, the world's electricity industry is required to slash CO2 emissions by using modern technology. In December 2015, as many as 196 countries signed the COP21 Paris agreement to keep global temperatures in this century at no more than two degrees Celsius above the average in the pre-industrial era.

    Vietnam will be directly affected by these changes, said Isaza, and gas power will account for a greater part of the country’s power sector and renewable energy will grow faster than traditional energies.

    According to Isaza, new technology has helped reduce the cost of renewable energy production and in the next 20 years, renewable energy will contribute 60% to growth in the electricity sector.

    Wind power is a source of renewable energy in which Vietnam has advantages, but the Government needs to issue policy incentives and create favorable conditions for this sector to grow and contribute to the development of the electricity industry.

    Basic salary to rise to VND1.3 million from early July

    The monthly basic salary for civil servants and public employees will increase 7% to VND1.3 million (about US$57.2) from the current VND1.21 million from July 1, according to Decree 47/2017/ND-CP issued on April 24 by the Government.

    The new basic salary, which is used for calculating payrolls and allowances, will be applied to public officials, public employees working in agencies and civil service providers of the Vietnam Communist Party or the Government, state-funded socio-political organizations and the armed forces.

    The ministries, ministerial-level agencies and other Government agencies will have to use the unused budget for wage reform in 2016, State budget estimates and public incomes to cover the pay raise in 2017.

    Meanwhile, provinces and cities under the central Government will use 10% of their regular expenditures (excluding salaries and salary-based allowances), part of public incomes, 50% of increased local budget and unused budget for salary reform in 2016 (if any) for the increase.

    Localities having limited budgets will receive additional support from the Government. After using all of the above sources but still lacking money for salary payments, such localities will receive extra money from the State budget.

    Plans weighed to restrict private vehicles in HCMC

    Restricting private vehicles is a must to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in HCMC, said the director of the city’s Department of Transport at a meeting on April 27 on the city’s socio-economic performance in the first four months of 2017.

    Bui Xuan Cuong said the department would send the HCMC People's Committee plans and specific roadmaps to restrict private motorcycles and automobiles in the city.

    The department is working with relevant agencies to research and map out plans to reduce traffic congestion. Transport experts and scientists will join forces to evaluate and adjust the plans before seeking public comment.

    "Restricting private vehicles is an urgent task since the development of the city's transport infrastructure cannot meet the fast growth of private vehicles, causing not only traffic congestion but also environmental pollution,” he added.

    Data as of April 15, 2017 showed the city had had about eight million vehicles, 640,000 of them autos and the remainder motorcycles. In addition, the city has some 169 autos and 816 motorcycles newly registered a day.

    According to the plan to reduce environmental pollution by 2020, the city has to cut 70% of emissions from vehicles. Therefore, controls on private vehicle growth will help reduce not only congestion but also environmental pollution.

    Speaking about the recent traffic congestion situation, Cuong said there are 120 construction site fencing hoardings in the city at the moment. To construct Metro Line No.1, the number of such hoardings will even increase in the coming time.

    Petrol prices slightly drop

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance decreased prices of all oil and petrol products from 3:00pm on May 5.

    Accordingly, the prices of RON 92 slightly dropped by 309 VND per litre to be sold no more than 17,274 VND (76 US cent) per litre.

    The prices of E5 bio-petrol declined by 314 VND per litre to trade at a maximum of 17,068 VND (75 US cent) per litre while the new ceiling prices of diesel oil 0.05S and kerosene are 13,603 VND (59 US cent) per litre and 12,053 VND (53 US cent) per litre. 

    According to the two ministries, the average global price of RON 92 during the last 15 days to May 5 was 62,147 USD per barrel, down 4 USD from the previous adjustment.

    The prices of petrol and oil are adjusted every 15 days depending on changes in the world market. 

    Lao Cai to develop tourism, border gate economic zone

    The Prime Minister has approved a task on planning the development of Lao Cai border gate economic zone in the northern province of Lao Cai to 2040 with a vision to 2050.

    The proposed border gate economic zone will cover the districts of Bat Xat, Bao Thang, Muong Khuong and Si Ma Cai and Lao Cai city on 15,929 hectares.

    It is expected to become a key economic area of the locality, promoting trade, industry and service development and improving locals’ living standard while protecting the natural ecosystem and consolidating national defence.

    It is also hoped to serve as a multidisciplinary economic zone, a development pole of the northern midland and mountainous area and a trade hub of the area of ASEAN and the southwest of China.

    HNX earns 142 billion VND in auctions in April

    Some 142 billion VND (6.2 million USD) was raised through four auctions on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) of state-owned enterprises selling shares from businesses in their non-core areas in April.

    The auctions were held for the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to divest from Barotex Vietnam Investment and Trading JSC, Vietnam National Shipping Lines to sell shares of Vinalines Ship Repair Company, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to offload its shares from a maize investment and development company and Truong Son Construction Corporation to sell shares of Construction JSC 565.

    More than 31 million shares were put up for sale while investors registered to buy some 40 million shares, 31 percent higher than the volume offered.

    Shares in the four auctions sold out.

    In May, HNX will hold nine auctions of the central investment and development JSC, Hanoi Food JSC, Telecommunication Project Construction Development JSC, Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Land JSC, PetroVietnam Oil Quang Ninh JSC, Post and Telecommunication Service Construction JSC, Vietnam General of Agricultural Materials Corporation (VIGECAM), Apax Holding JSC and Viglacera Corporation.

    Lazada begins to sell New Zealand products     

    Lazada began to sell more than 70 New Zealand products ranging from food and beverages to skincare on Wednesday at

    They include milk products are from Anlene and Meadow Fresh, naturally harvested green shell mussels from Pure New Zealand, and natural skincare brand Trilogy.

    Also available are premium products like Manuka honey, natural peanut butter, organic milk powder, goat milk, and beef jerky.

    “We recognise that Vietnamese consumers are not only looking for quality products, but are also very sensitive to product origins,” Karlene Davis, New Zealand’s consul general and trade commissioner in HCM City, said.

    “They are looking for products that they can trust and that come from a clean environment. New Zealand is a leader in food safety and product traceability and is a trusted supplier of high-quality and safe food to consumers in more than 100 countries.”

    This online launch would make “quality products from New Zealand’s sustainable and pristine environment truly accessible across Viet Nam,” she said.

    Last year there was 52 per cent internet penetration in Viet Nam.

    Besides, with changing demographics and consumer behaviour, the e-commerce market is set to grow to US$7.5 billion by 2019.

    New Zealand has a long trading history with Viet Nam, and last year exported $249 million worth of products to the country, with milk powder, butter and dairy spreads being the top items. 


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  • 05/09/17--01:14: Article 3
  • What does ‘airport overloading’ mean for the economy?

    Everyone complains that airports are getting overloaded, but economists and businesspeople say this is a good sign that the national economy is robust.

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    According to Savills, the number of foreign travelers to Vietnam increased by three times in the last decade and witnessed 26 percent growth rate in 2016 compared with the year before.

    Meanwhile, airport infrastructure development cannot catch up with the rapid development of the tourism industry. In 2016, about 8.2 million foreign tourists traveled by air, accounting for 80 percent of total travelers.

    Many airports in large cities have been overloaded for a long time. The airport in HCMC, for example, has to operate at 130 percent of capacity and Nha Trang Airport at 320 percent. 

    The number of foreign travelers to Vietnam increased by three times in the last decade and witnessed 26 percent growth rate in 2016 compared with the year before.

    The Da Nang Airport now runs at 113 percent of capacity though it was upgraded in 2011 to increase the capacity from 4.5 million passengers to 6 million.

    Tan Son Nhat Airport plans to increase the capacity from 25 million to 28 million passengers a year. Da Nang Airport, which has the capacity of 9 million passengers, now will be expanded to serve 4-6 million passengers more.

    Meanwhile, Nha Trang City has been slow with the project on expanding Cam Ranh Airport. However, the expansion project has become out of date: it was planned to receive 2.5 million passengers, while the number of passengers in 2016 reached 4.8 million.

    Under a government master development plan, $5.6 billion would be spent by 2020 to develop airport infrastructure items.

    Pham Ngoc Minh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines, the nation’s flag air carrier, has complained about the overloading of airports, especially Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in HCMC, which seriously affects the operation of air carriers.

    At Noi Bai, the T1 Terminal, which has capacity of 6 million passengers a year, had to serve 9.5 million passengers in 2010. Airlines complain they cannot provide more flights because of the overloaded infrastructure.

    At Vinh Airport, there are only four stalls for passengers to check, while seven flights take off or land every day. Since there is no ILS (instrument landing system), airports have to fly to Hanoi and land in Noi Bai Airport in bad weather.

    While people complain about the poor infrastructure, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of Vietjet Air, can see the ‘positive sign’ in airport overloading.

    “Many people express their concern that the overloading will affect tourism and aviation. While they seem to have excessive worry, I think this is a good sign of economic development,” Thao said, adding that a deserted country is not the sign of development.

    Vietnam now has 22 commercial airports, while Singapore only has two.

    Chi Mai, VNN

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  • 05/09/17--01:22: Article 2
  • Carlsberg & Habeco negotiations may be nearing conclusion

    Carlsberg CEO Mr. Cees’t Hart told the brewer’s first quarter 2017 trading statement’s conference call on May 4 that negotiations with the Ministry of Industry and Trade over an additional stake in the State-owned Hanoi Alcohol Beverage and Corp. (Habeco) has been “hot, complicated, and cumbersome.”

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    Over the course of the last six weeks, Mr. Hart has visited Vietnam three times to discuss raising its stake in Habeco. 

    “The process is no better than we anticipated. It just takes time,” he said.

    He was quoted in February as saying that Carlsberg had not been able to make a bid and there was also uncertainty over whether the Vietnamese Government would abide by Carlsberg’s first right of refusal. 

    “Carlsberg will bid for Habeco in March or April,” he said at the time.

    The government is seeking to equitize Habeco, the country’s second-largest brewer, by selling its 82 per cent stake. Carlsberg, which already has 17 per cent, holds priority purchase rights for a 60 per cent stake.

    While Habeco and Carlsberg Vietnam were unavailable for comment at the time of writing, it seems that both sides have found common ground after multiple visits by Mr. Hart. 

    As he is now expecting an update from the government during the second quarter, it might have accepted a higher bid from the Danish brewer.

    “Vietnam wants to equitize three companies this year, and it seems that the first is Habeco, but that changes from time-to-time: first Sabeco then first Habeco,” he said.

    The government said last October that it would announce the results of negotiations on its priority purchase rights with Carlsberg by the end of that month. It is still not clear why the process has been drawn out.

    The government announced last August that it wants to sell its 82 per cent stake for $404 million, or about VND48,000 ($2.11) a share, which according to the CEO of Carlsberg Vietnam, Mr. Tayfun Uner, is a reasonable valuation, or VND50,000 ($2.2) per share - the same price Carlsberg paid in the 2008 IPO.

    The government is now keen to take the market price as a reference for the deal. After switching from the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) on January 19, shares in Habeco rose 15 per cent in their first day of trading to VND147,000 ($6.50) from a starting price of VND127,600 ($5.65), valuing the Vietnamese brewer at $1.5 billion.

    But a 21.1 per cent year-on-year decline in Habeco 2016 net profit to VND740.1 billion ($32.7 million) saw its share price head downwards. It closed at VND114,000 ($5.03) on February 9 before hitting a low of VND74,000 ($3.25) on April 5. 

    While the price is driven by market supply and demand, the previous surge in the company’s share price did not accurately reflect the underlying value of the business and is mainly due to speculative buying on very thin volumes, Mr. Uner said.

    Habeco’s pre-tax profit during the first quarter rose by 45 per cent year-on-year to VND42 billion ($1.85 million). 

    On May 8, its share price stood at VND86,000 ($3.78) as at 11am Vietnam time.

    With a young, beer-loving population, Vietnam is among Asia’s largest consumer of the beverage, putting it on the radar of international brewers. 

    The country’s beer market grew at an average compound annual rate of 7 per cent from 1999 to 2015 and touched 4 billion liters in 2016. 

    Growth is anticipated at around 4 per cent to 2021, data from researchers Canadean, quoted by investment bank Liberum, shows.

    Kirin Holdings, Asahi Group Holdings, Thai Beverage, Heineken, and Anheuser Busch Inbev SA are among some 20 other investors that have expressed interest in the sale.

    Habeco’s share price soared when a limited number of shares were listed in October, as investors raced to snap them up before the planned sale. 

    The brewer has a market share of about 20 per cent in Vietnam.

    VN Economic Times

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  • 05/09/17--01:33: Article 1

    Vietnam, Norway confer on aquaculture


    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Norwegian Embassy have organised a business seminar on sustainable aquaculture in southern Can Tho city.

    Co-chaired by Tran Dinh Luan, deputy general director of the Fisheries Department, and Ole Henaes, the commercial counsellor at the embassy in Hanoi, the event brought together executives from 16 Norwegian aquaculture companies and local businesses and officials from the directorate and provincial departments of aquaculture.

    The workshop sought to introduce Norwegian technologies in the aquaculture value chain and connect Vietnamese and Norwegian businesses.

    It discussed new techniques and technologies in fisheries and aquaculture processing from renowned Norwegian companies like Artec Aqua, CFlow, Steinsvik, Normex and Pharmaq, including the use of electrolysis and ultrasound in the treatment of seawater, efficient systems for handling and transport of fish, automatic feeding and monitoring systems for fish farms, corrosion-free surveillance cameras for ships, wastewater treatment and organic matter removal systems, and vaccines for fish.

    Assoc Prof Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said with a coastline of over 3,260 kilometres, more than 3,000 islands and islets and 2,860 rivers and estuaries, Vietnam was geographically endowed with ideal conditions for fisheries.

    The country is the third largest fisheries producer with an output of 6.33 million tons last year. It is the leading producer of pangasius and the third largest producer of shrimp.

    Yet, Dung said, the Vietnamese aquaculture sector has also faced major challenges in recent years.

    They include lack of planning leading to unsustainable development, poor breeding fish quality and aquaculture infrastructure, inefficient extension services, high disease prevalence and lack of environmental monitoring and administrative and management capacity, he said.

    The country is in urgent need of building a partnership with an aquaculture superpower like Norway to develop a more sustainable fisheries sector that can produce higher quality seafood products for local and global markets, he said.

    Henaes said many Norwegain aquaculture companies consider Vietnam the most promising market in Southeast Asia, thanks to a number of advantages such as competitive labour costs, skilled workers, open economic policy, favourable geographical conditions and a mutual interest in the blue economy.

    The main objective is for the Norwegian businesses to increase their knowledge of the Vietnamese seafood industry, market their technologies and update their Vietnamese partners on new technological innovations to improve their efficiency, he said. 

    Luan thanked the delegates for their input and assured that the ministry would help identify opportunities for Norwegian investors, create the best possible conditions for them and facilitate long-term relationships.

    The Department of Fisheries would support Norwegian aquaculture businesses as an active dialogue partner and advise them on local political and economic conditions and issues like corporate social responsibility, barriers to business operations and others.

    It would also help them contact the Government, he said.

    It would co-operate closely with Norwegian investment funds like Holbergfondene and Nor-fishing Foundation Fund to allocate money needed for projects and ventures, he said.

    IFC assists Vietnam with sustainable agricultural production

    International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has invested 230 billion VND (approximately 10.2 million USD) in PAN Farm JSC to support the expansion of its seed business, which is suitable for local weather conditions in the Mekong Delta and the south central coastal regions.

    The investment will help PAN Farm expand its seed business via its subsidiary National Seed Corporation JSC (Vinaseed), the largest producer and distributor of crop seeds in Vietnam.

    Vinaseed holds 19 percent of the market share in rice seeds and 60 percent in white corn seeds. 

    Patented seed sales account for about 49 percent of its 2016 consolidated revenues, a figure expected to increase to 82 percent by 2020.

    PAN Farm is a new subsidiary of the PAN Group, a leading Vietnamese agribusiness and food company. 

    This is IFC’s second investment in the group.

    PAN Farm’s success in raising the capital represents the potential of Vietnamese agriculture and the company to international investors, said Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Tra My.

    IFC’s investment in PAN Farm with their international experience in the agriculture sector will help PAN Farm expand its seed and horticulture business and apply sustainable farming practices and standards, she added.

    IFC’s funding will also support PAN Farm’s new horticulture crops through its subsidiary PAN-SALADBOWL JSC and other joint ventures to be established in the future. 

    PAN-SALADBOWL produces flowers for export to Japan and is entering the high quality fruit and vegetable market in Vietnam, leveraging its Japanese partners’ expertise in greenhouse cultivation. 

    IFC also provides advisory services to help PAN Farm and its subsidiaries adopt international practices in food safety and environmental and social performance. 

    “Our priority is to support the Vietnamese agriculture sector by helping build productive, efficient and climate-resilient crops,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. 

    “With IFC’s support, PAN Farm’s food safety and environmental and social standards will match international best practices and boost local industry standards,” he added.

    Credit package for hi-tech agriculture hoped to become fruitful

    The recent credit package worth 100 trillion VND (nearly 4.4 billion USD) for hi-tech agriculture is expected to give a breath of fresh air to Vietnam’s agriculture amid the recurrent problem of “bumper crop, sliding prices”.

    Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Dao Minh Tu told Vietnam News Agency that eight commercial banks have committed to loaning more than 100 trillion VND under this package. Outstanding loans for the application of high technology in agriculture have totalled 26 trillion VND (over 1.1 billion USD), which was given to 3,957 individuals and 64 businesses.

    Of that sum, 21.7 trillion VND (954.36 million USD), or 84 percent, was provided for hi-tech agricultural activities. The remaining 4.3 trillion VND (189.1 million USD) was loaned to projects in clean agriculture.

    There haven’t been any bad debts reported so far, Tu noted.

    Before giving loans, banks have to consider whether borrowers are able to pay off their debts, he said, taking pig farming as an example. If farmers cannot sell their pigs like what has happened recently, bad debt will immediately appear.

    If the market demand is not taken into account when investing in agricultural activities, products will become unsalable, he stressed, adding that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had emphasised the need to consider supply and demand while promoting hi-tech agriculture.

    Criteria for determining projects eligible for the credit package targeting hi-tech or clean agriculture production and business are detailed in Decision 738/QD-BNN-KHCN, dated March 14, 2017, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Commercial banks pledge to give short-, medium- and long-term loans at annual interest rates that are 0.5 – 1.5 percent lower than the normal lending rates of the same loan terms. Banks arrange capital sources for the credit package by themselves.

    Under the package, banks and borrowers can negotiate about whether or not use loan guarantee measures. Borrowers can also use the asset generated by their loans as collateral.

    Hanoian and Saigonese shoppers – emotional vs rational

    People in HCM City tend to spend more time shopping online while those living in Hà Nội are more price sensitive, iPrice’s research on online shopping habits has revealed.

    The study uses data from one million visitors on from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

    According to the research, the majority of online shoppers in the country’s two largest cities are aged 25-34, followed by students and young working adults aged 18-24. Women are shown to prefer shopping online compared with men.

    The report reveals that Saigonese people spend 36 per cent more time on researching products and brands in comparison with Hanoians. This study is backed by the fact that Saigonese people are more open to choices than Hanoian shoppers, with more brands having penetrated in HCM City.

    Both city shoppers are excited about promotions. However, Hanoians show larger price sensitivity than the Saigonese.

    On Black Friday, traffic from Hanoians and Saigonese increased by 80 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively, indicating the price sensitivity of Hanoians during sales, despite the fact that there are more brands and promotion offerings in HCM City compared with Hà Nội.

    In terms of popular browsers, Chrome is the most popular browser in both cities, followed by Cốc Cốc – the Vietnamese browser and search engine. The Vietnamese browser surpasses even Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Cốc Cốc is reportedly the most user-friendly search engine for the Vietnamese, with localised features such as Vietnamese type-writing, file uploading and Vietnamese auto-correct.

    iPrice is Southeast Asia’s Meta-Search platform with presence in seven markets -- Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Việt Nam, as well as Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong. It operates three business lines -- price comparison, product discovery and coupons.

    Vietnamese start-up receives $1million fund from Singapore investor

    Việt Nam International Group (VNI Group) has received a US$1 million fund from a Singapore-based investment fund World Gold Investments PTE. LTD (World Gold).

    World Gold said it would co-operate with VNI to jointly develop its business activities, particularly in consumer business projects, clean foods and restaurants.

    World Gold also committed to investing more capital in each development stage of VNI business projects in the coming years in Việt Nam and other countries. World Gold’s total investment into VNI is expected to reach $15 million in the period between 2017 and 2019 if VNI’s projects are operating effectively.

    “We’ve studied the Vietnamese market and found optimistic investment opportunities in Vietnamese businesses with strong business and long-term vision. The cooperation between World Gold and VNI has been established for exploiting the existing potentials and promoting the advantages of each party, and promote sustainable growth of VNI in the future,” Teo Young Soon, Director of Investment Department said during a signing ceremony of the two sides’ comprehensive cooperation agreement held on May 6 in Hà Nội. 

    Soon said World Gold would give special attention to VNI’s projects such as Gonfarm clean food store chain and Gontasty restaurant chain.

    "The investment capital funded from World Gold will help VNI to expand its business operations scale. In addition, VNI expects the Singapore partner will assist the group in completing their domestic business model and that the two side will cooperate in an international development strategy," said Nguyễn Trung Kiên, General Director of VNI.

    "VNI is focussing on developing a chain of stores providing organic products and safe food, and a chain of restaurants introducing customers to new culinary experiences, with the best quality and professional customer services," said Kiên.

    VNI is a start-up established in 2016. VNI is currently operating subsidiaries in trading company, law firm, training company, media company and technology company.

    Vietcombank to revise new online banking security regulations

    The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Việt Nam (Vietcombank) on Saturday announced on its website that the bank would revise its plan to apply new online banking security regulations.

    The plan to revise the regulations followed responses received by the bank citing the rules unreasonable.

    Vietcombank said that it would consider necessary amendments to online banking security regulations to ensure compliance with the established regulations and international practices while maximising users’ benefits in keeping with the situation in Việt Nam, adding that several terms might cause misunderstanding.

    Several days ago, Vietcombank announced that the new regulations would be applicable from May 10, asking users to maintain high requirements of security when using online banking, also requiring them to commit to being responsible for all damages and costs of any fraud transactions caused by their failure in following the rules.

    The new regulations were termed unreasonable, heavily placing the onus of online banking transactions on the shoulder of users, whenever there are any security problems.

    The bank said that the current regulations would still be applied until there was a new announcement.

    Vietcombank will also regularly send recommendations to its customers and urge them to pay attention to its recommendations to avoid unexpected risks when using banking services.

    It said that it would stand on the customers’ side to protect their interests when the problems were not caused by their faults.

    Vietcombank’s online banking services include VCB-iB@nking, VCB-Mobile B@nking, Mobile Bankplus, VCB-SMS B@nking and VCB-Phone B@nking.

    Vietcombank is among the top four biggest commercial banks in Việt Nam.

    Urgent need to develop private economy

    High on the agenda of the on-going 5th session of the Party Central Committee is economic development, particularly the private economic sector.

    Developing the private economic sector is urgent for Vietnam in its global economic integration.

    After 30 years of renewal, the private economic sector has grown in both quantity and quality. The number of private businesses jumped from 55,000 in 2002 to 495,000 last year, employing 85% of the labor force. 

    Private economic groups in construction, aviation, industry, and agriculture have generated momentum for the economy and boosted GDP growth. 

    Former Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen said: “Private businesses have the advantage of a young population who are industrious, studious, and adaptable to new working conditions. 

    Private businesses which have appropriate strategies and long-term vision can win. The government considers the private economic sector a driving force of the national economy.”

    Despite recent growth, the private economic sector has some disadvantages and shortcomings. 97% of private businesses are small or micro-scale with poor financial, managerial, and technological capability, which hinders them from participating in domestic or global value chains. 

    From 2007 to 2015, 45% of all private companies declared bankruptcy. Nguyen DucTho, General Director of the An Tin Group, said that in the global economic integration, Vietnam should encourage start-ups, issue appropriate policies for private businesses, and simplify procedures for them to access capital, land, technology, and human resources.

    Economist Dao Xuan Sam, former Head of the Economic Management faculty of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, said Vietnam needs to fine tune mechanisms to boost the private economy. 

    “Vietnam sets high targets to promote businesses. Success requires policy reforms that encourage start-ups. The Party has supported private economic development and equitization of state-owned enterprises to build a market economy of fair competition without state-subsidized enterprises.”

    Vietnam hopes to have 1 million businesses by 2020. It will be no easy task for a country that had no more than 500,000 businesses during its 30 years of renewal.

    Promoting APEC cooperation in human resource development

    Human resources play a key role in the economic development of APEC members. A senior policy dialogue on human resource development in the digital era will be held in Hanoi next month as part of the Vietnam APEC Year 2017.

    Science and technology have strongly impacted the production process and eased the workload. Mr. Michel Welmond, Head of the Education Group of the World Bank in Vietnam, said "The definition of fundamental skills is changing. It's not just the matter of basic skills but the ability to apply them in different situations, master technical skills, know how to keep oneself up with the latest developments."

    Technology and digitization have resulted in job reduction. Therefore, appropriate social security policies are needed to adapt to such rapid changes. The senior policy dialogue on human resource development in the digital era will evaluate the role and impact of the digital era on the labor market and the quality of human resources in order to map out social security policies appropriate to workers and promote cooperation between APEC economies. 

    Ms Le Kim Dung, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said “APEC members will discuss ways to improve their social security policies and help workers and disadvantaged people find jobs. Digital technology has created jobs and made labor management more effective.”

    According to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, approximately 130,000 Vietnamese workers went to work abroad last year but the number of skilled workers was low. Vietnamese workers have difficulties in penetrating APEC’s labor markets. 

    At the upcoming dialogue, Vietnam will promote sharing labor market information between APEC economies and skills training to help workers find jobs when technology changes. The dialogue will focus on future employment in the digital and automation era, training to meet the demands of modern economies, the digital era’s impact on the labor market, and aspects of social security. 

    Ms. Dung said, “Human resource development is one of the priorities of the APEC Year 2017 to achieve sustainable development and inclusive growth. At this dialogue, Vietnam hopes to create an action program to strengthen APEC cooperation in employment, labor market information, vocational training, and social security. Hosting the dialogue will raise Vietnam’s prestige in APEC.”

    150 policy makers representing the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Information and Communications, and scholars from the 21 APEC members’ universities and research institutes will participate in the dialogue.

    Int’l cashew conference planned     

    An international clients conference for the cashew industry will be held in southern Binh Phuoc Province next week to provide an opportunity for cashew farmers, processors and traders to exchange information and explore business opportunities with local and foreign partners.

    Nguyen Anh Hoang, director of the province Department of Industry and Trade, said planning and developing cashew nut growing areas, clean cultivation based on VietGap standards, cashew industry development policies, and co-operation for sustainable development of the cashew industry would be on the conference agenda.

    Fact-finding tours to some local cashew farms and processing facilities would be arranged for the participants, he added.

    Huynh Thi Hang, deputy chairwoman of the province People’s Committee and head of the conference organisation board, said Binh Phuoc cashew has been rated among the world’s best by experts and international customers.

    Therefore, through the conference, the province wants to confirm this quality to international customers and promote exports, she said.

    The event would also help local cashew farms and processors and exporters to update global market information and understand customers’ needs to expand their market share, she said.

    Cashew farming and processing are important to the province’s economy as which they employ around 40,000 workers.

    The province has some 143,000 hectares under cashew, accounting for over 40 per cent of the country’s total, and 270 processing factories and 1,400 cashew trading household businesses.

    Last year its earnings from cashew exports were worth US$500 million, or nearly a third of its total export income, she said.

    Hoang said the event is expected to attract representatives from the consulates of the countries importing Binh Phuoc cashew nut and domestic and foreign associations and enterprises engaged in cashew trade with the province.

    It will be held on May 15-16 in Dong Xoai town.

    VN investors eye Laos

    Vietnamese companies have invested US$5.1 billion in 269 projects in Laos, the second biggest by any country.

    A majority of their projects are in property, particularly in hotels and housing areas.

    Among the biggest investors are Long Thanh, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Muong Thanh, Bim Group, and Ha Do.

    Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company’s $1 billion project will comprise a five-star hotel, an 18-hole golf course, luxury villas, schools, and a hospital on an area of 557.4 hectares.

    Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group will invest $35 million to build hospitals, transport infrastructure and housing in Attapeu and Sekong provinces.

    Ha Do Group is investing $250 million in building the first new urban area in Vientiane, the country’s capital.

    Vietnamese real estate businesses are greatly interested in building hotels.

    Bim Group and the Lao Ministry of Security have jointly invested in building the country’s first five-star hotel, Crowne Plaza. The hotel, which opened late last month, provides luxury accommodation for tourists in Vientiane.

    In recent years Laos has been among the fastest growing economies in the region, with growth averaging around 7 per cent.

    The tourism sector is also growing at a rate of knots -- 15.6 per cent a year on average – and contributing significantly to the country’s growth, meaning demand for accommodation and transport is also surging.

    According to Savills, the retail space in Vientiane averaged just 0.10 square metres per capita, rather lower compared to other countries in the region, meaning the development potential for retail space is huge.

    Besides, Vientiane’s office building market is only 0.6 per cent the size of Bangkok’s, 1 per cent of Jakarta’s and 3 per cent of Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City’s.   

    The apartment market is equivalent to 3 per cent of Bangkok’s and 13 per cent of Ha Noi’s.

    The rapid economic growth and undeveloped real estate market have encouraged Vietnamese companies to intensify investment in this country.

    Analysts are confident the Lao property market is set to boom.

    Political and social stability, a rich and unique culture and a comfortable geographical position are huge advantages that enable Laos to attract more and more foreign investors, including Vietnamese, and tourists from around the world.

    Higher fines for violations

    A new Government decree imposes fines of VND200,000 and 500,000 on people publicly distributing advertising leaflets that affect urban beauty and traffic safety, and VND5 million and 10 million on the owners of the advertised products or services.

    According to the decree, which amends regulations related to penalties for such violations, those putting up advertisements on electric poles, traffic lights and trees will be fined VND1-2 million and the owners, VND5-10 million.

    Another new decree amending the penalties for administrative violations in fisheries and animal husbandry increases the fines drastically.

    The decree, to come into effect on May 20, increases the fines for pumping water or other substances into animals before slaughtering or into animal products by four to five times to VND20-30 million.

    The fine for using banned substances in animal husbandry also quadruples to VND40-50 million.

    Those found transporting, trading or possessing animals or animal products containing banned substances will be fined VND40-50 million.

    Boom times for FLC Group

    With at least one project going operational each year, the FLC Group creates 1,000 to 2,000 new jobs annually, an achievement few companies can match, FLC CEO Le Thanh Vinh told the group’s annual general meeting last month.

    Founded in 2001, FLC Group’s resort projects have contributed significantly to changing the local tourism landscape, transforming waste land into attractive tourist destinations, and creating jobs for local people in provinces such as Vinh Phuc, Thanh Hoa, and Binh Dinh, among others. On average, each project employs 2,000 to 3,000 people, of which more than 90 per cent are from the local area.

    “Corporations like FLC have made local tourism fly high by upgrading infrastructure,” Mr. Nguyen Tran Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, said.

    Expanding from its original business fields of investment consulting and corporate finance consulting, the FLC Group has successfully penetrated into the real estate sector since 2010 and made outstanding accomplishments thanks to savvy investment strategies.

    During the 2011-2014 period, when the real estate market in Vietnam was going through a time of considerable turmoil and other companies chose to play it safe, FLC Group decided to merge with or acquire a great number of potential but “frozen” properties at low prices, then develop them into large-scale projects to get ahead of the recovery wave, such as the 28-story FLC Garden City, the 37-story FLC Complex Tower, and the 50-story FLC Twin Towers, among others. The solid legal foundation of the corporation, led by the Dr. Trinh Van Quyet, helped the FLC Group expeditiously close these deals.

    The once frozen properties are now considered outstanding commercial projects in Hanoi that bring considerable profit to the company and consolidate its leading position in the real estate market.

    In addition to commercial real estate, FLC Group also foresees potential in the resort real estate segment in the long term and has been proceeding to explore and invest in pristine tourism spots with beautiful beaches since 2014.

    It will launch FLC Ha Long Golf Club & Luxury Resort this year and announce and kick-off the FLC Do Son Resort in Hai Phong city, the FLC Van Don Resort in Quang Ninh province, and the FLC Quang Binh Resort in Quang Binh province.

    FLC Van Don covers 4,000 ha with total investment of $2 billion, and boasts an 18-hole golf course, a five-star hotel resort, high-end villas, and a large-scale casino. It is expected to be the first casino in Vietnam to cater to both domestic and international gamblers.

    The development value of its assets was estimated at $3.8 billion by real estate consultants Savills. Planning to strike the market with 2,500 condotels, 1,400 villas, 3,500 hotel keys and four golf course this year, the FLC Group aims to become the leading resort real estate investor and developer in Vietnam.

    In 2016, it had VND6.38 trillion ($281.1 million) in charter capital, earned VND6.34 trillion ($279.68 million) in revenue, up 19.2 per cent year-on-year, and recorded VND987.2 billion ($43.5 million) in after-tax profit, up 9.5 per cent. It has set a target for real estate sales revenue of VND13 trillion ($573.43 million) this year, up 100 per cent against 2016.

    The FLC Group has proven its capacity and prestige by speedily developing high-end real estate projects around the country, setting multiple records while at the same time ensuring quality and safety.

    It received a Vietnam Excellent Brand Award from Vietnam Economic Times last month for its socioeconomic contributions in Vietnam.

    Tax Agency employs online tax refund service for first time

    The General Department of Taxation officially implemented tax refund service online after a pilot project in 13 provinces and cities.

    The agency opened training courses of online tax refund for local taxation departments via introduction of E-tax refund process and applications on its website portal.

    The online tax refund service will reduce cost as well as time for enterprises,helping  them focus on their documents.

    400 startup young businesses receive government support

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the local government organized the meeting in Da Lat University last weekend.

    Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee Phan Van Da said that the committee has issued a project to back startup people until 2020.

    As per the project, the province government will give financial aid of around half of expenditure with maximum of VND100 million ($4,398) for individuals and enterprises on the way to open their startup business.

    Additionally, the local government back half of expenditure for scientific application to create new products with maximum of VND50 million for each product. Moreover, startup businesses will receive support when they ask for loan from the fund for startup business and the fund for development of science and technology.

    At the meeting, businesspersons and leaders of agencies shared their experience and policies and help graduates and young people in their startup ideas.

    Can Tho earns VND 30,5 bln tourism turnover during holidays 

    According to the Culture, Sports and Tourism Department of Can Tho city, the city welcomed around 102,500 tourists, including 6,000 international visitors during the four- day holiday, an increase of 12 percent in comparison with the same period of last year.

    Total tourist turnover reached at VND 30.5 billion, increased 17 percent in comparison with the same period of 2016.

    Walking bridge on Ninh Kieu Wharf, Phuong Nam Truc Lam Zen Monastery, My Khanh Tourist Village, Cai Rang Floating Market… were the most attractive tourism destinations on the holidays.

    Multiple Vietnam investors have little knowledge of franchise concept

    Quite a few Vietnamese investors are interested in franchises but have little or no knowledge of this concept.

    Pham Ngoc Liem, director of Liem Thu Company, the owner of the Lee & Tee leather handbag store chain, said his company had received 500 franchise requests for Lee & Tee brand. Most of the requests come from people who have deep pockets and want their relatives to run stores, he said at a workshop in HCMC yesterday. But Liem Thu has denied them all because they are not knowledgeable about franchises.

    Le Thi Ngoc Thuy, director of Distribution World Company, the owner of Viva Star Coffee brand, said her firm’s franchisees oftentimes do not respect the business governance and control principles of the franchiser. Many franchisees even want to change franchised brands, she said.

    Nguyen Phi Van, board chairwoman of Retail & Franchise Asia, said her firm had met many enterprises that wanted to take franchise rights immediately without caring about financial issues. Others even thought what they do is to buy the right while business management is the franchisor’s business.

    This is a misconception, Van said. Franchising is not just about fee and investment but a relationship between those looking for common opportunities for business growth.

    HCMC tourism sector needs supporting services

    The government of HCMC is working on a plan to diversify tourism products but what travel firms need more is to have more supporting services for the sector.

    Last Tuesday, the city launched a new tour to Can Gio, which takes in three sites -- Dan Xay Ecotourism Resort, Vam Sat Ecotourism Resort and the Vietnam Bird’s Nest Exhibition Center.

    Two days later, a quarter specializing in gold and jewelry at Hoa Binh Market in District 5 came into being. Not long before, an oriental medicine quarter was opened, also in District 5.

    Businesses in the sector have expressed appreciation of the city’s effort to create new tourism products. However, these destinations would not be attractive if services for tourists there are not taken good care of.

    The oriental medicine quarter with a wide range of pharmaceutical products lacks stops and places for visitors to experience products. Similarly, tourism-related services are not available at the gold and jewelry trading quarter.

    Visitors can only see new gold, silver and gemstone products or some simple jewelry making steps like putting gemstones onto products and weighing gold. Most of the stores there have their workshops based in other areas.

    Worse still, the quarter has no stops for visitors to take a break or have a drink. Most of the stores are small, making it hard to accommodate dozens of tourists and moreover, their staff do not speak foreign languages, especially English. Public restrooms should be set up to serve tourists.

    Le My Giang, a tourist from Dong Nai, said the jewelry quarter is a great place to visit but it remains unlively.

    There are also no supporting services for the new Can Gio tour program. Can Gio should have more restaurants where tourists can taste local specialties, tour operators said. Resorts like Vam Sat and Dan Xay should include more services that can keep guests from being bored. There should be more games and activities that allow tourists to have some fun.

    “Dan Xay and Vam Sat almost look similar, so they need to special services that can tell them apart,” said Phan Yen Ly, head of international travel at Saigontourist. 

    Nine commodities become billion-dollar-plus export earners in Q1

    Vietnam’s total exports in the first quarter of 2017 are estimated at nearly US$44.64 billion, up 15.1% over the same period last year, with nine commodities becoming billion-dollar-plus export earners, shows data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    The export value of the top 10 commodities amounted to around US$31.76 billion, accounting for 71.1% of the country’s total. In particular, mobile phones and phone components remained the leading export earner despite a year-on-year decrease of 6.1%.

    Exports of phones and phone parts in the first three months of the year amounted to US$7.77 billion. Major importers included the EU with US$2.38 billion (accounting for 30.6% of the total), the United Arab Emirates with nearly US$901 million, South Korea with US$755 million and the U.S. with US$620 million.

    Textiles and garments brought a total export value of US$5.62 billion, up 10% versus the same period last year. The U.S. remained Vietnam's largest textile and garment importer with US$2.72 billion, followed by the EU with US$733 million, Japan with US$715 million and South Korea with US$617 million.

    Exports of computers, electronics and components totaled US$5.52 billion, up 47.8% year-on-year. China remained the largest importer of those goods with US$1.37 billion, up 123.5%, while the EU came in second with US$1.04 billion, up 12.3%. These two markets accounted for 44% of all computer, electronics and components exports.

    Meanwhile, the country obtained about US$3.12 billion from footwear exports, up 11.9% over the same period last year.

    In the first quarter, Vietnam exported US$2.91 billion worth of machinery, equipment and tools, a 37.5% year-on-year increase. The U.S. was the largest importer of this group of items with US$602 million, up 26.7% year-on-year, followed by Japan with US$402 million, up 14.5%, and China with US$370 million, up 85.6%.

    First-quarter exports of agricultural products such as vegetables, cashew, coffee, tea, pepper, rice, cassava and cassava products earned the country US$3.94 billion, up 15.3% over the same period last year.

    Wood and wooden products exports totaled US$1.78 billion, up US$260 million over the first three months of 2016. Meanwhile, the nation exported transportation equipment and accessories worth US$1.71 billion, a pickup of US$310 million, and fishery products gained an export value of a little more than US$1.5 billion, an increase of US$110 million over the same period last year.

    According to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, for the first time the nation had 10 groups of items whose imports exceeded US$1 billion in the first three months. January-March imports of these 10 groups amounted to more than US$30 billion, accounting for 65% of the country's total.

    Vietnam’s total imports in the first three months grew 24.9% against the year-ago period to US$46.57 billion, leaving a trade deficit of US$1.93 billion, or 4.3% of total exports.

    Glutinous rice price dips despite strong export growth

    Glutinous rice exports, especially to China, have grown significantly this year but the price of this kind of grain on the domestic market has plummeted sharply over the same period last year.

    Glutinous rice exports reached 74,000 tons in February, increasing by 23,500 tons over the same period last year. Particularly, sticky rice shipments to China amounted to 67,000 tons, an increase of 26,000 tons over the same period last year.

    In March, total glutinous rice exports reached 161,000 tons, up 43,000 tons over the same period last year and up 87,000 tons compared to the previous month. In particular, China imported 149,000 tons from Vietnam, up 35,000 tons year-on-year and up 82,000 tons month-on-month.

    Despite strong export growth, some traders in the Mekong Delta said sticky rice has edged down by VND1,200-1,300 per kilo over the same period last year.

    Tran Quoc Tuan, a rice trader in Long An Province, said the price of material glutinous rice harvested by combine harvesters ranges from VND5,000 to VND5,100 per kilo (22 U.S. cents per kg), down VND300-400 against half a month ago and VND1200-1300 versus the same period last year.

    “We stock up on hundreds of tons of glutinous rice a day in anticipation of higher prices in the future because China still has large demand for the grain," Tuan added.

    Nguyen Thanh Phong, director of Van Loi Corporation in Tien Giang Province, ascribed the falling glutinous rice price to a fall in imports by China while glutinous rice output in the Mekong Delta, especially Long An and Dong Thap provinces, has steadily inched up.

    Customs warns of import fraud

    The HCMC Customs Department has found some local importers of chicken meat and tiles employing a tricky practice to evade import tariffs.

    The department told the Daily that those enterprises willingly paid import tariffs at the port of entry based on the artificially low import prices they state in the customs form but they later shut down their offices after their goods were cleared by the customs, making it impossible for the customs to collect tariff differentials after a recalculation of the declared import prices.

    They moved to other places and changed tax codes. This practice has resulted in import tariff revenue losses as the customs has mailed its notifications on additional tariff payments to these importers but they have been returned due to wrong addresses.

    Certain businesses have taken advantage of legal loopholes in the Ministry of Finance's Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC, which allows businesses to make additional declarations within 30 days after the date of import clearance, and transport import goods to their warehouses.

    Tax arrears have surged. By April, more than half of VND2.6 trillion in tax debt was irrecoverable. The recoverable tax debt had a maturity of 90 days.

    The Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Customs are working to thwart this illegal practice.

    Thua Thien-Hue appeals for foreign investment

    The central coastal province of Thua Thien-Hue has promulgated an investment promotion plan for 2017, which aims to attract about 300-400 million USD in foreign investment.

    The locality prioritised investment in tourism, services, information technology, healthcare, aquaculture, light industry, urban development, and economic zones.

    It will call for investment from traditional markets like Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, China’s Hong Kong, Japan, the US and countries Vietnam has signed free trade agreements with.

    The province will work with FLC Group, Vingroup, Bitexco, and Viglacera, as well as foreign investment promotion organizations like the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency, and Japan External Trade Organization.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Cao said Thua Thien-Hue wants to promote investment by connecting with investors’ partners such as banks, infrastructure businesses and consulting companies.

    The locality also plans to forge connectivity via direct dialogues between authorities, investors and investment management and trade counseling agencies, he added.

    Currently, investors are studying several projects in the province, including an infrastructure project worth 600 billion VND (26.3 million USD) at a Thien Ha Kameda JSC industrial park.

    The Chan May JSC has registered 850 billion VND (37.3 million USD) in capital to build a wharf at the Chan May Port.

    Meanwhile, Phu Quang Spinning JSC has poured 400 billion VND (17.5 million USD) into a spinning line project.

    The Lang Co marine eco-tourism project of Pacific-Asia JSC has total investment of 580 billion VND (25.5 million USD), while a project refining sand into high-quality materials of A&A Green Phenix JSC is worth 500 billion VND (21.9 million USD).-

    Moody’s raises credit rating for Vietcombank

    Moody, one of the world’s leading credit ratings agencies, has upgraded the credit rating outlook of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Việt Nam (Vietcombank) local currency deposits and issuer ratings to “positive”, from its previous level of "stable".

    The rating’s agency raised the Government of Việt Nam’s outlook to positive from stable at the end of last month.

    In March, Moody also announced a credit rating report separately for Vietcombank, while Moody’s noted the bank’s having the best asset quality in Việt Nam, improved profitability and noted its diversifying its non-interest incomes.

    Vietcombank has been one of the banks conducting effective business operations in Việt Nam. It has been continuously voted the "Best Bank in Việt Nam" by prestigious institutions around the world, while taking the lead in the domestic market on important rankings, such as Top 500 banking brand, Top 500 strongest Asian banks, Top 300 dynamic companies in Asia and Top 100 of the most interesting companies in the Asean region.

    It was noted that the bank has paid attention to international standards in order to improve operational efficiencies.

    Siemens & Vietbay launch Authorized Training Center

    Siemens Industry Software and the Vietbay Consultant and Training Company Ltd (Vietbay) jointly launched the Vietbay Technology Center (VTC)-Siemens PLM Authorized Training Partner in Vietnam, which is part of Siemens’ global training program, on May 5.
    Mr. Angus Marshal, CEO and General Director, ASEAN & ANZ, at Siemens Industry Software, emphasized that the revolutionary changes in technology around the world and reaffirmed the importance of education and training to provide qualified human resources to catch up and seize new technological opportunities.
    “In the Industrial Revolution 4.0, education is a key element,” he stressed, adding that Vietnam has many opportunities to catch up and be successful in the revolution.
    He also shared its new strategy and technology ahead of Industrial Revolution 4.0 and Siemens Industry Software’s educational support programs.
    At the launch, Vietbay signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three universities: the Military Technical Academy, the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, School of Mechanical Engineering, and the University of Transport Technology.
    The MoU serves as the basis for the implementation of specific collaboration between Vietbay and the universities, including the standardization of curricula for training courses related to design technology, process simulation, and production management in higher education, in order to meet market requirements, and provide highly technical human resources with international standard qualifications and certifications, scientific research, and services in product design and development and mold processing.
    “With almost 14 years of growth, Vietbay has a strong position in the licensed software market and CAD/CAM/CAE technology consultation in Vietnam,” said Ms. Dam Thi Hong Lan, founder and CEO of Vietbay.
    Vietbay is one of the leading companies in Vietnam specializing in trading licensed software and office equipment, delivering technological solution in industrial design, simulation analysis, processor programming tools, and product life-cycle management solutions. In partnership with Siemens, it has become the only strategic partner, Gold Partner, and authorized Training Partner of Siemens Industry Software in Vietnam.    
    VTC was established in 2015 with the main function of introducing new technology products to the CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM market in Vietnam and researching and developing application technology solutions.
    One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No.1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of gas and steam turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions, and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive, and software solutions for industry.
    It is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment, such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT.

    90% of Samsung Vietnam managers to be Vietnamese

    Vietnamese will account for 90 per cent of managers at Samsung in Vietnam in the near future, according to Mr. Lee Cheol Ku, Vice President of Samsung Vietnam.
    He added that Samsung needs a total of 500 managers as heads of departments or higher to manage its factories in the country. The proportion of Vietnamese managers currently stands at 50 per cent.
    “Samsung continues to expand our investments in Vietnam, especially in the field of research and development,” Mr. Lee said. “We therefore need a large amount of information technology staff. We focus on candidates’ ability, especially those with good knowledge of information technology.”
    The strengthening of the management team is to part of plans to expand Samsung’s investments in Vietnam. Since 2008, the South Korean electronics giant has recruited 9,393 university graduates and provided them with various training programs.
    Samsung pointed out that the greatest weaknesses of Vietnamese workers are foreign language skills and proactivity. Only 15-20 per cent of candidates pass Samsung’s software test.
    It held the Global Samsung Aptitude Test (GSAT) on April 29 for 8,800 candidates selected from more than 20,000 applicants. The group said it expects to employ about 2,300 people, including 100 at its factory in Ho Chi Minh City and 2,200 in factories in the north.
    Mr. Hyun Woo Bang, Vice President of Samsung Vietnam, in an interview with VET, said that when choosing locations to invest, a huge corporation like Samsung always pays attention to human resources. Vietnam has a large population of about 95 million people and a high proportion of young workers, which are an advantage for Samsung.
    In the years to come, with the technological revolution focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), the development of hardware and software is of equal importance. “I hope that Vietnamese engineers will make a positive contribution to Samsung’s R&D because we have seen good human resources appear from research cooperation projects with many of Vietnam’s universities,” he said. “This is an important factor in helping Vietnam catch up with the fourth industrial revolution.”
    Samsung now has an R&D center in Hanoi, with 1,500 employees. At its factories in Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen provinces it has many engineers who specialize in product R&D. The R&D team in Hanoi focuses on software while the R&D teams in Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh focus on hardware, new cycle development, and technical issues regarding the plants. Many Vietnamese engineers are capable and responsible, which helps improve product quality.

    ASIA DMC sets up representation in UK

    The Hanoi-based regional tour operator ASIA DMC has weighed in in support of the UK’s outbound travel market by setting up representation in the country to offer its luxury programs of personalized travel itineraries in Southeast Asia.
    The UK representation is headed by highly creative travel planner Mr. Gary Toshack, who has been appointed as Director of Sales and Marketing UK and who has over 12 years of experience in developing bespoke, high-end tour itineraries throughout Asia, specializing in China and Southeast Asia, including leading expeditions to remote corners of the region with his former companies China Links and Discover China.
    “It’s a massively challenging position and one that is hugely exciting,” he said. “Classic touring in Asia has traditionally been very successfully sold in the UK in clear and ordered components. While we will still offer traditional touring modules, we will introduce a dynamic, personalized range of content featured in the DMC’s 2017 collection ‘Spirit of Travel’ for UK tour operators that will offer a ‘Rolls Royce’ approach to Southeast Asia travel.”

    Mr. Gary Toshack, UK Director of Sales and Marketing at ASIA DMC

    ASIA DMC unveiled its new brand identity at the World Travel Market in London in 2016, rebranding itself from HG Travel, a Hanoi-born operator that had operated under its original name for 20 years, setting its sights on accelerated growth throughout Asia with office openings and senior appointments in key destinations.
    These included the hiring of Mr. Linh Le in the role of Group Managing Director, who has led the development of the business and its expansion with the establishment of offices in key inbound source markets into Asia and the move to offering responsible and tailored travel experiences for trade partners.
    “We are delighted to welcome Gary to the team,” said Mr. Le. “His experience and passion for developing innovative travel programs makes him an important addition as we seek differentiation in a sophisticated travel market. It is an important and timely step for us as we have great faith in the upscale UK outbound travel market, which is where we will focus and where we feel personalized travel offerings are underserved.”
    In recent years, Vietnam has become an emerging destination for British tourists. According to the General Statistics Office, the number of visitors from the UK to Vietnam in the 2007-2014 period increased steadily. Many international travel companies said that 65 per cent of UK travelers choose Vietnam as their destination because of its culture and natural environment.
    ASIA DMC is one of the leading destination management companies in Southeast Asia, dedicated to B2B trade. Founded in 1997 in Hanoi where the company is headquartered, ASIA DMC welcomes guests to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, where it operates offices led by highly experienced international and local native-speaking professionals.
    It works closely with the HG Foundation, which is leading numerous community and environmental initiatives around the region and which is owned and managed by parent company HG Holdings.

    Cashew output reduces nearly 50 percent

    Vietnam’s raw cashew output reached at 240,000- 250,000 tons, a decrease of 50 percent compared to the same period of last year.

    At a press conference of the 2017 International Clients' Conference for the Cashew Industry of Binh Phuoc, the Binh Phuoc People’s Committee announced that the authority will collaborate with Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) to hold the event.

    Ministries and departments of Vietnam, the embassies of several countries having cashew trading activities with Binh Phuoc and the local cashew processing enterprises will participate in the conference.

    This is considered as an good opportunity for cashew farmers, producers, processing and trading enterprises to negotiate and sign cooperation agreements with domestic and international partners, and to promote export activities as well as prove Binh Phuoc’s cashew potential.

    Last year, the southeastern province exported 153 trillion tons of cashew nuts to reach its export turnover up to US$ 500 million, and the province targets to raise cashew export turnover by US$ 1 billion by 2020.

    Vietjet to offer promotional tickets from 0 VND on international flights

    The low-cost carrier Vietjet will launch a three-day promotion programme from May 9 to 11, offering passengers millions of tickets priced from just 0 VND for international flights.

    The promotional fares, excluding VAT, airport fees and other surcharges, are applied to all domestic and international routes from Vietnam to Seoul and Busan (the Republic of Korea), Hong Kong (China), Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung and Tainan (Taiwan-China), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Yangon (Myanmar) and Siem Reap (Cambodia).

    The tickets are valid for passengers travelling between August 1 and December 31 this year, excluding public holidays.

    The programme is open from 12:00 to 14:00 every day at (also compatible with smartphones at or at (just click the “Booking” tab).

    Payment can be easily made with Visa, MasterCard, JCB, KCP and American Express debit and credit cards as well as ATM cards issued by 29 Vietnamese banks that have been registered with internet banking.

    As part of Vietjet’s summer programme, from May 8 to June 4, passengers participating in the “Free summer – Fly for Free” game at Vietjet’s microsite: will have the chance of winning a weekly award of five free return flights, each flight with five free tickets for a group of five travelers. The grand award will be a free package tour to an optional destination.

    In addition, all customers successfully booking tickets at with instant payment within the golden hours from May 8, 2017 to June 15, 2017 will be invited to join a lucky draw offering gifts of mobile phone top-up cards and air ticket promotion codes at

    Doosan Vina announces newly appointed senior officers

    Doosan Vina has just announced its newly appointed chief financial officer (CFO) and chief representative of Doosan Vina’s Hanoi office.

    Specifically, Won Sug Yeon will become Doosan Vina’s 4th CFO, responsible for the fiduciary management of the company. He and his staff oversee all financial matters of the company including the profit and loss, receivables, payables, taxes and any other financial concerns.

    Won is a 24-year veteran of Doosan.  He joined the company in Korea in 1993 after graduating from Sungkyunkwan University with a bachelor’s degree in Statistical Analysis. He has held senior positions at Doosan Korea in financial analysis, business planning, cost management, and planning and strategy.

    At the same time, Kim Hoon has been appointed to the position of chief representative of Doosan’s Hanoi office. The office is responsible for strategic marketing of the company in Hanoi under Doosan Heavy Industries Global Marketing, East Asia Region 1 which encompasses Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

    Kim studied at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea and in early 2008 joined Doosan Vina with Doosan’s $300 million investment in the central province of Quang Ngai.

    At Doosan Vina he held top positions in human resources, public relations and external relations before being transferred to the Hanoi office in 2013 to handle the marketing of EPC contracts for the company. In this role he was responsible for the management of the company’s multibillion dollar power plant contracts. This has included projects such as the Mong Duong 2, Vinh Tan 4, Vinh Tan 4 extension and the Son Hau 1 power plants.

    Since commencing operations in 2009 Doosan Vina has produced and shipped high tech products for the power, water and logistics sectors worth more than $2.4 billion.


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  • 05/09/17--02:02: Article 0
  • VND21 trillion required to extend metro line from HCMC to neighboring provinces

    VND21,234 billion (about US$935 million) will be needed to extend Metro Line No.1 in HCMC to the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai, according to a research team of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

    VND21 trillion required to extend metro line from HCMC to neighboring provinces, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam 

    In late April, Binh Duong’s government worked with the team on phase 1 of the project to extend Metro Line No.1, which now connects the Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and the Suoi Tien Park in District 9, HCMC.

    The Japanese research team proposed dividing the extension project into three components: a two-kilometer section from Suoi Tien station to Nut Giao station, a six-kilometer section from Nut Giao station to Di An Town of Binh Duong Province and a stretch of about eight kilometers from Nut Giao station to Bien Hoa City of Dong Nai Province.

    The research team proposed developing the extension project in two phases. The two-kilometer extension from Suoi Tien station to Nut Giao station will be built in

    the first phase while in the second phase, the metro line will be extended from Nut Giao station to Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces.

    The total cost of the extension is estimated at VND21,234 billion, with VND2,315 billion of it for the first phase and VND18,919 billion for the second phase.

    According to the research team, the early implementation of phase 1 could help save the construction cost of the two-kilometer extended section, minimize the impact on the operation of Metro Line No.1 and develop a public transit system around Nut Giao station.

    Tran Thanh Liem, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province, threw his weight behind the proposal for the first phase of the Metro Line No.1 extension. HCMC will cover the investment cost while Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces will pay the compensation cost.

    Binh Duong government has asked the research team to submit the design of Nut Giao station to the Ministry of Transport and HCMC.

    Where funding for the extension comes from is still unknown.

    Dong Nai authorities said the metro line extension will reduce private vehicle traffic entering HCMC, helping reduce congestion in the eastern gateway of the city.

    Binh Duong is mulling building a metro line linking Binh Duong New City and Suoi Tien station of Metro Line No.1 to connect Binh Duong’s new center and HCMC.

    Speaking to the Daily, Le Nguyen Minh Quang, head of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), said the city would need an estimated VND5.2 trillion (about US$289 million) for the development of the Metro Line No. 1 this year but ODA capital to be allocated by the Ministry of Planning and Investment would total only VND2.9 trillion.

    Due to the slow ODA disbursement for the project, as of April 26, the city had owed the contractors VND1.34 trillion (about US$58.9 million). Quang said if the city continued delaying payments for the contractors, they might suspend construction work, which will make the project fall behind schedule.

    Both underground and elevated sections of Metro Line No.1 are under construction. Viaducts of the 17-kilometer-long elevated track from Ba Son station in District 1 to Long Binh station in District 9 have been installed.

    The entire metro line is scheduled for completion and operation in 2020.


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  • 05/10/17--02:08: Article 3
  • Insiders question Vietnam’s proposed measures to reduce alcohol impact

    Vietnam wants to levy a number of bans on the sale, marketing and consumption of beer and liquor, but few of them seem viable, industry insiders have claimed.


    A caricature illustrates the controversial draft law on reduce impact of alcohol.Tuoi Tre

    The Ministry of Health is drafting a law on alleviating the impact of alcohol, which includes proposals such as restricting advertising by brewers and banning them from granting scholarships.

    However, experts and industry insiders have said that these bans won’t work and are urging the health ministry to think of more practical and effective measures.

    According to the bill, beer and alcoholic drinks makers should not be allowed to launch promotional campaigns aimed directly at consumers.

    The health ministry also wants to ban all advertising and marketing activities for any beer or liquor products with an alcohol content of more than 15 percent. Advertisements for products below this alcohol content should be banned on public transportation and outdoor billboards.

    The draft law also proposes a prohibition on beer and liquor manufacturers from sponsoring events and programs in the fields of education, culture, arts, education, healthcare and sports, and even suggests banning beer and alcohol from weddings and festivals.

    Besides all those bans, the health ministry also wants to have all alcohol makers contribute to a fund meant to “increase community health”.

    Infeasible and ineffective

    The proposed measures to lessen the effects of alcohol in the bill have been met with immediate objections from the alcohol industry.

    Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of the Vietnam Beverage Association, said it is unreasonable to impose a uniform ban on beer and alcoholic beverages.

    “Learning from other countries, banning beer and alcohol advertising does nothing to reduce consumption,” Viet said.

    Liquor ads are banned in many countries, but publicity activities for beer products are allowed under strict management, including time, place and content.

    “So the proposal to ban all kinds of advertisements for both beer and liquor is totally inappropriate,” he said.

    An official from the Finance and Budget Committee under the lawmaking National Assembly, also said the proposed bans go against the law on advertising.

    “The draft law focuses too much on banning this and prohibiting that, but mentions little about possible policies to increase the awareness of drinkers,” he said on condition of anonymity.

    A music event sponsored by Heineken

    Matt Wilson, corporate affairs director at Heineken Vietnam, said banning beer ads may even increase the consumption of beer.

    Once brewers no longer have to waste money on ads, they will be able to slash prices, boosting consumption even further, Wilson warned.

    The suggestion to prevent beer and liquor makers from doing charity has also been criticized.

    “This proposition is too extreme and will impact the corporate social responsibility of beer makers,” one leader of a major Vietnamese beer maker said.

    “Should a ban be enforced, a number of existing sponsorship and charitable works, such as providing scholarships for needy students and building homes for underprivileged people will be stopped, affecting the beneficiaries.”

    Ngo Quy Linh, head of law and public relations with wine wholesaler Pernod Ricard Vietnam, said the proposal to mandate beer and liquor makers to contribute to a ‘public health fund’ must be reviewed.

    Linh noted that beer and liquor makers are already forced to pay a 60 percent special consumption tax, with that rate scheduled to increase to 65 percent in 2018.


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  • 05/10/17--02:12: Article 2

    Denmark offers support for pig farming

    Denmark, which is well known for its productive and high-quality pig farming, has offered help for Vietnam to develop a safe and traceable pig farming and processing sector.

    Last week Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark Ulla Tørnæs visited Ngoc Ha market in Hanoi and witnessed the way fresh pork is bought and sold at the market. This is a traditional pork trading practice in Vietnam, so it is a challenge for Vietnam to ensure food safety and especially the traceability of pork’s origin, she said.

    In case of food poisoning, the traceability of pork’s origin is an important factor as it lets people know where the product comes from and how it is processed, said Tørnæs.

    Tørnæs also visited the processing chain of Dabaco Group, one of Vietnam’s largest livestock companies. The group has 60 subsidiaries and 10% of them are active in high-tech agriculture.

    Chairman of Dabaco Nguyen Nhu So said Dabaco plans to build a modern slaughterhouse meeting international standards. Bac Ninh Province has allowed land for the project and Dabaco expects to get technical, technological and financial support from Denmark, he added.

    According to Tørnæs, Denmark has the world’s best food safety management system and expects to cooperate with Vietnam to develop a safe and traceable pig farming and processing chain.

    In terms of financial support, Tørnæs said as Vietnam has become a lower middle-income economy, Denmark considered Vietnam a strategic partner in some fields such as food safety.

    In her April 4-5 visit to Vietnam, Minister Tørnæs worked with the Vietnamese side to promote cooperation between the two countries, especially in four areas: education (vocational training), food safety (pork production), environment (businesses’ compliance) and health care (non-communicable diseases).

    Since 1994, Denmark has provided Vietnam with over US$1.3 billion in grants, contributing significantly to Vietnamese development.

    Thai hospitals look to lure Vietnam patients

    Thailand, having the largest number of hospitals in Asia accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), is looking to become a health care center for international patients, including those from Vietnam.

    Ureerat Ratanaprukse, consul general of Thailand in HCMC, said Thailand is now home to 45 private hospitals accredited by JCI, the largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care in the United States. Therefore, Thailand wants to attract international guests who wish to visit the country for medical services.

    Many foreign tourists come to Thailand for cosmetic surgery, organ transplantation, heart surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery and dentistry. Other health services such as spa, physical therapy and long-term rehabilitation are popular as well.

    Ureerat said Thailand is an appealing destination for international tourists thanks to its pristine beaches, ancient pagodas, special street food and high-quality services. Vietnam is a potential source market for the Thai medical tourism sector, she said, as it has high demand for overseas medical treatment.

    Erik Fleischman, director of Bumrungrad International Hospital, said Bumrungrad was the only Asian hospital among the world’s top 10 in 2015 chosen by In addition to 580 beds and more than 30 special treatment centers, the hospital has an internal travel agency responsible for helping patients extend visas, and an interpreter service center with more than 150 staff who can speak in 48 foreign languages including Vietnamese.

    More than 1.1 million patients visit the hospital a year, including 520,000 foreigners from 190 countries. Revenue of this hospital was put at over US$530 million in 2016.

    About 2,500 Vietnamese annually come to Bumrungrad hospital, said Nguyen Thanh Phuong, chief representative of the hospital in Vietnam.

    Dr. Yongyuth Mayalarp, director of the Corporate Partnership and Social Responsibility Department at Phyathai 2 International Hospital, said the hospital specializes in orthopedics, neurosurgery, infertility treatment and marrow transplantation.

    The hospital serves an increasing number of foreign patients as the quality of its services is the same as that of those in Singapore but  its fees are 30% lower, Yongyuth noted.

    Ureerat said Thailand is also strong in beauty care services. Dermaster Wellness & Aesthetic Institution offers plastic surgery, weight loss, and hair transplantation services. Meanwhile, Divana Spa, part of the Dii Health Care System, provides medical and aesthetic treatment focusing on the DNA of the skin and the entire body.

    Thailand is aiming to become the regional medical center. To promote the development of medical tourism, the Thai government has issued policies to attract international investors and tourists such as a visa extension from 30 to 90 days for regular visitors from the Middle East, China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, Ureerat added.

    Thailand has launched a campaign called “Come to Thailand to improve your health” in which patients can get general check-ups, dental services and infertility treatment.

    In 2008, 1.55 million international patients visited Thailand for medical treatment. This number surged to 2.8 million in 2013.

    Medical tourism is one of the key growth drivers of Thailand’s private health sector. According to a report by the Kasikorn Research Center in early 2017, international tourists spend a total of US$1.15 billion a year on medical treatment in Thailand.

    Nearly 550 home ownership certificates issued for foreigners

    Foreign home buyers have got 549 home ownership certificates from Vietnamese authorities since the amended Housing Law went into force on May 1, 2015.

    In the past foreigners were banned from owning houses in Vietnam. The new Housing Law is expected to spur the local real estate market. However, experts said the number of home ownership certificates issued for foreigners is small as it has two years since the law took effect.

    According to the Housing Law and Decree 99/2015/ND-CP guiding the execution of the law, foreign organizations and individuals can buy and own homes at commercial residential projects outside restricted areas of the Ministries of Public Security and Defense.

    New home loan program set up in HCMC

    State employees in HCMC can borrow a maximum of VND500 million (around US$22,000) with an annual interest rate of 4.7% to purchase apartments.

    The HCMC Housing Development Fund has recently announced a low-interest loan program for public officials and civil servants in the city.

    Each individual could borrow up to VND500 million but the loan must not exceed 70% of the value of a home they want to buy. The maximum lending term is 15 years and the interest rate is capped at 4.7%. The home bought will serve as collateral.

    The borrower must have a permanent residence in the city, make a down payment equaling to 30% of the home’s value and show proof of a stable source of income.

    At the time of submitting a borrowing request, the borrower and his or her spouse never own a home or land before, nor have benefited from any housing and residential land policy of the Government. However, those already benefiting from the State’s social housing policy are still eligible to borrow.

    In addition, the borrower must have a seniority of at least three consecutive years.

    U.S. extends anti-dumping duty on Vietnam shrimp

     Denmark offers support for pig farming, Thai hospitals look to lure Vietnam patients, Nearly 550 home ownership certificates issued for foreigners, U.S. extends anti-dumping duty on Vietnam shrimp

    The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to extend the anti-dumping duty on shrimp imports from Vietnam for five more years.

    The ITC voted unanimously to remove the anti-dumping duty on frozen warmwater shrimp from Brazil on May 2 but supported the U.S. shrimp industry’s request to extend the anti-dumping duties on shrimp imports from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in the next five years.

    It said in a statement that the revocation of the existing anti-dumping duty orders could lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.

    Vietnam’s shrimp export sector must prove that it is causing no injury for American shrimp farmers if it wants the U.S. government to revoke the anti-dumping duty on its frozen warmwater shrimp, Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), told the Daily in February.

    John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, hailed the commission’s decision as good news for his domestic shrimp industry, and then emphasized that if the countries subject to anti-dumping duties respect fair trade, the duties could be lifted.

    Meanwhile, major U.S. wholesalers like Performance Food Group, Costco and Publix Super Markets blasted the extension of anti-dumping duties, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

    Hoe of VASEP said the anti-dumping tax would continue to be in place as in the past 10 years. The annual administrative review is to determine an official dumping margin for each particular enterprise.

    In February, VASEP said the U.S. Department of Commerce last September published a final conclusion on the tenth Period of Review (POR10) on shrimp exports from Vietnam in the period from early February 2014 to late January 2015.

    As a result, Minh Phu Seafood Corporation was exempt from the duty as in a number of previous reviews. Although the March 2016 preliminary results showed the enterprise would be subject to a duty of 2.86%.

    Businesses should be prepared amid increasing trend of protectionism

    Vietnamese businesses should be prepared to cope with the increasing trend of protectionism, particularly from the United States, as Vietnam has so far suffered from more than 100 cases related to trade defence from foreign markets.

    According to the Vietnam Import-Export Report 2016, Vietnam had to deal with more than 100 trade defence lawsuits related to Vietnamese exports by the end of 2016, including 66 anti-dumping cases, nine anti-subsidy cases, 15 anti-tax avoidance cases and 15 self-defence cases.

    The US ranks first among countries investigating Vietnam, with 19 cases under way. It is followed by Turkey with 14 cases, India with 14 and the EU with 12. The commodities being investigated are diversified, from those with large export revenue such as iron, steel and yarn to those with small export revenue including dry batteries and plastic set of food containers.

    In 2016 only, Vietnam had to deal with 10 cases of trade defence, including five anti-dumping cases, three anti-tax evasion cases and two anti-subsidy cases, of which, Australia initiated two dual lawsuits on both anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on Vietnamese aluminium extrusion and galvanised steel.

    In particular, US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on trade on January 31 to deal with the US’s huge trade deficit, which will focus on 16 trade partners with which the US had a significant trade deficit in goods in 2016, including China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Italy, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Malaysia, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Indonesia, Canada, Taiwan (China) and Vietnam.

    Since Washington published a list of economies with significant trade surpluses with the US, many countries have issued warnings to their businesses.

    Representatives from the banking, trade and manufacturing sectors of Thailand on April 10 held discussions on trade-related issues with the US and the Federation of Thai Industries advised Thai exporters to be ready for all US policies including raising import tariffs and imposing non-tariff barriers against Thai goods. In addition, Thai exporters were also told to look for new markets.

    Thailand now ranks 11th out of 16 economies reporting the largest trade surplus with the US last year with US$19 billion surplus compared with China’s US$347 billion surplus.

    In Vietnam, the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade also issued similar warnings. At the Government regular meeting in March, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc talked about unpredictable developments in the world market and the increasing trend of trade protection in many countries including the US which can create negative impacts on Vietnam’s exports.

    Particularly, the US is trying to address trade imbalance while Vietnam is one of the 16 largest exporters to the US with a trade surplus of nearly US$30 billion.

    Most recently on May 1, 2017 the US Department of Commerce (DOC) initiated an anti-dumping duty investigation of imports of certain tool chests and cabinets from Vietnam.The next day, on May 2, the DOC and the US International Trade Commission (USITC) decided to extend anti-dumping duties on the import of Vietnamese frozen warm-water shrimp for another five years.

    Therefore, the Ministry of Industry and Trade recommended that businesses actively expand exports to other markets and to be prepared for all US policies such as import duty increase and non-tariff barriers against Vietnamese goods.

    According to the Vietnam Competition Authority, Vietnamese enterprises should use international legal tools and actively co-ordinate with State agencies to cope with the new situation.

    For example, the leading Vietnamese exporter of frozen warm-water shrimp, Minh Phu Seafood Corporation sued the US for violating WTO regulations by imposing anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese shrimp and, as the result, Minh Phu was removed from the anti-dumping duty when exporting shrimp to the US market.

    Budget but costly housing

    It sounds all reasonable when the Ministry of Construction approves a petition by Dat Lanh Real Estate Company to develop commercial condos measuring at 25 square meters each in HCMC to meet the demand of low-income earners. Such condos, with the cost ranging between VND200 million and VND300 million, have been built in several neighboring provinces such as Binh Duong and Dong Nai, and have been sold out since they are affordable to the poor.

    Millions of poor people in HCMC are living in slums or tiny rented rooms, and they need budget homes, albeit small, to have better living conditions. They can purchase the low-cost condos by installment plan, using their monthly rentals coupled with small bank loans.

    But there are numerous concerns behind the ministry’s green light.

    Prevailing regulations put the smallest size for a social condo at 25 square meters, while commercial condos have previously been regulated to be no smaller than 45 square meters each. The amended Housing Law has now abolished the standard size of 45 square meters for commercial condos, allowing for the Ministry of Construction to set a new benchmark. Such standards, however, have not been available, and the permission given to Dat Lanh is just a provisional one pending an official set of housing standards to be issued by the ministry.

    However, such permission – given on April 26 – can serve as a precedent, and other housing developers will follow suit by asking for licenses for small-sized commercial condos. It is easily seen numerous such condo buildings will spring up in the future due to higher commercial viability for both developers and homebuyers.

    Many experts have shown concern about the emergence of so-called sky slums since such tiny condos cannot ensure decent living conditions for residents.

    Moreover, they will pile huge pressure on social and technical infrastructure in the city, especially in densely-populated residential areas. Traffic woes will worsen, water and power supplies will pose new problems, wastewater drainage and other sanitation conditions will deteriorate, the demands for healthcare, schooling and other social services will be more acute, so on and so forth.

    To resolve all such problems will require huge costs, not on the part of small-condo developers and homebuyers, but on the city’s budget and the society. That is to say the overall cost reduction target can hardly be obtainable.

    The biggest hindrance to housing cost reduction in the city, according to developers, is not the standard size of condos, but rather the land tax and other complicated administrative procedures that cost developers both time and money. Therefore, what needs to be done to help the poor acquire budget homes is not necessarily to scale down the size of condos, since such condos, though affordable, are still costly to the society. Rather, tax reduction or exemption plus other financial incentives designated for such developers and homebuyers will help them gain access to more decent living conditions.

    VCCI to propose five measures at meeting with PM

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will make five proposals to remove difficulties facing enterprises at a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    On May 17, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers will take part in a meeting in Hanoi with the business community to hear their thoughts and aspirations.

    This is also an opportunity to review and evaluate the implementation of the government’s Resolution No.35/NQ-CP on business support and development to 2020, suggesting that solutions are sought to effectively implement or amend the resolution.

    Ms. Pham Thi Thu Hang, Secretary General of VCCI, said that the review of the resolution will look at what the government and also local authorities and businesses have done during its one year of implementation. VCCI is gathering opinions from associations and the business community and plans to put forward five groups of proposals to remove difficulties for businesses. These proposals remain confidential.

    Ms. Hang said that the proposals from businesses were sent to the Office of the Government Office and to VCCI. Two-hundred proposals were resolved at the 2016 meeting and 400 have been sent to the Office of the Government and VCCI since the beginning of this year.

    “With hundreds of such requests, VCCI proposes they be divided into groups of major issues of focus,” Ms. Hang said.

    There are two main groups of difficulties that enterprises request be removed by the government as they are unreasonable or overlapping regulations and documents from all levels and administrative procedures.

    Some appear once more after being included previously. Ms. Hang said that most previous issues have been addressed but some only received explanations. “Enterprises hope for more open regulations and for the creation of conditions for development, rather than just receiving explanations from ministries,” she said.

    Looking back over one year of the implementation of Resolution No.35, she said the government has made a great deal of effort to improve the business environment and support enterprises. However, more time is needed to introduce changes at all levels of local government, who directly enforce regulations and administrative procedures.

    Mekong Capital invests in Ben Thanh Jewelry

    Mekong Capital has announced that the Mekong Enterprise Fund III (MEF III) has committed to invest $7.6 million in the Ben Thanh Jewelry Joint Stock Company (BTJ); the fourth investment announced for MEF III.

    With the investment from MEF III, BTJ will build on its existing retail brand to launch a new chain of fine jewelry in Vietnam called PRECITA. “BTJ used to be a 100 per cent State-owned company specializing in manufacturing, processing, importing and exporting jewelry,” said Ms. Shipra Jain, CEO of BTJ, who has 16 years of jewelry retail and e-commerce experience. “After its equitization in 2003, it has achieved great progress and has chosen MEF III as its strategic investor because of the added value the fund and its management company, Mekong Capital, will bring.”

    “Looking at some of the successful investments Mekong Capital has made in the past, we are positive that this relationship will bring a new beginning for BTJ and take it to new horizons of success and growth.”

    “We are very excited about the fund’s investment in BTJ, one of oldest companies in gold and gemstone retail in Vietnam,” said Mr. Chris Freund, Partner of Mekong Capital. “The company’s competitive edge is a dedicated and professional management team with experienced international and local experts. We believe that with Mekong Capital’s well proven approach towards adding value as a shareholder, called ‘Vision Driven Investing’, and its extensive network of international experts and resources, BTJ will improve their operations and deploy best international practices.”

    With the launch of the PRECITA brand, BTJ is looking forward to redefining industry value standards for customers and product integrity. PRECITA focuses on beautiful designs imported from major jewelry markets and the latest Western trends, together with exclusive local designs for local customer needs.

    A member of the Ben Thanh Group, Ben Thanh Jewelry was founded in 1987 and is one of the oldest companies in gold and gemstone retail in Vietnam. Seeing the huge potential of Vietnam’s jewelry market, especially in design and customer experience, in 2016 it recruited a group of professional managers from large jewelry markets and multinational companies to join its management team and develop the PRECITA range of fine jewelry.

    Through PRECITA’s beautiful pieces, BTJ rekindles and celebrates love. PRECITA is committed to quality, integrity and exquisitely designed jewelry to make the jewelry purchasing process a memorable experience for customers who wish to embrace their love. In every piece of PRECITA jewelry, customers will carry a little piece of the heart of their loved ones. PRECITA’s advantages come from a professional leadership team, highly experienced international experts with many years in major jewelry markets, and longstanding relationships with state-of-the-art international suppliers.

    Launched in May 2015, MEF III is a private equity fund and currently has $112.5 million in committed capital. It focuses on investments in consumer-driven Vietnamese businesses such as retail, restaurants, consumer products, and consumer services.

    MEF III typically targets investments ranging from $6-15 million and can make both minority and buy-out investments. It applies Mekong Capital’s well proven approach towards adding value as a shareholder, which is grounded in the Vision Driven Investing framework and Mekong Capital’s extensive network of international experts and resources.

    APEC delegates debate export certificates, role in facilitating trade

    Export certificates and their role in facilitating trade in safe food products in the APEC region was the main topic of a workshop which opened in Hanoi on May 9 as part of the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) and related meetings.

    The two-day workshop was co-organised by the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC), the Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and the Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN).

    On the first day of the workshop, delegates from 21 APEC member economies focused discussion on a range of topics such as developing baseline assessments and self-reports of the APEC economies in the implementation of principles for certification set forth by the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS).

    They identified gaps and challenges in implementing CCFICS principles: risk-based criteria for products that require certification, practical implementation of model certificates, least burdensome measures to achieve the appropriate level of protection and the use of Good Regulatory Practices (GRPs). 

    The panels continued dialogues on using innovative options to improve communication and information flow related to export certificates and discussed the past deliverables that are included in the APEC Export Certificate Toolbox and suggested possible updates and additions.

    They were provided with information on useful tools when considering export certificate regulations, including the use of good regulatory practices; using Codex guidance to determine if or not when an export certificate may be necessary, ways to streamline requirements, appropriate use of technology and elimination of unnecessary certificates such as in the case of low risk products.

    On the second working day, the delegates are scheduled to discuss issues related to the Codex guidance on generic official certificates, the benefits of and challenges when using the model and essential information needed to provide the acceptable level of protection for the importing economy. 

    They will also share experience in implementing the Generic Model Official Certificate (GMOC) in the APEC region.

    APEC groups 21 member economies, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US and Vietnam, which together account for 39 percent of the world’s population and contribute 59 percent of the global GDP and 48 percent of the global trade by November 2016.

    Thai company seeks opportunity in logistics industry in Can Tho

    Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Can Tho city Truong Quang Hoai Nam on May 8 received Sigmund Stromme, Executive Vice President for shipping and logistics at Thoresen Thai Agencies Public Limited from Thailand, who is looking for business opportunities in the local seaport and logistics industry.

    Speaking at the meeting, Nam said logistics is a key industry for the city, noting that the government approved a city proposal to build a logistics hub for the Mekong Delta which will cover 242 hectares in Cai Cui Port, Cai Rang district.

    The city has proposed the government to merge three ports – Tan Cang Cai Cui, Vinaline Cai Cui and Cai Cui – into the largest port in the region with a wharf length of about 1,200 metres, the vice chairman said.

    Site clearance for the logistics hub is underway and firms have visited the site to learn about investment opportunities, he added.

    Nam suggested that Thoresen may be interested in buying stakes in Vinaline to join the port-merging project, building a new port at another site along the Hau River, or investing in the existing system of warehouses and transportation at Cai Cui Port.

    For his part, the executive vice president of Thoresen gave Nam an overview of the Thai company, saying that the company has been operating in fertiliser production and shipping and logistics in southern Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.

    Stromme hoped the company could partner with Can Tho city to improve port management and expand local shipping and logistics services with an emphasis on container transit service to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Singapore.

    After the meeting, the two sides took a field trip to Cai Cui Port.

    Pre-listing firm investments promise large gains     

    Recent returns have shown that investments in pre-listing companies promise big gains for investors who make bets on the firms with impressive business results and clear listing plans.

    Speculations in recent listings such as budget airline Vietjet (VJC) and real estate developer Novaland Investment Group (NVL) have brought investors returns of over 40 per cent. Prices of these shares climbed 43-46 per cent in only one to two months of listing.

    Investors who bought shares of Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (PLX) when it made the initial public offering earned profits of nearly 230 per cent.

    PLX price soared to VND49,000 (US$2.16) on its April 21, 2017 debut, far exceeding its IPO price of over VND15,000 in 2011.

    These return rates have outperformed the benchmark VN-Index, which has expanded just around 8 per cent this year.

    Similar success is expected in the coming listings of Siam Brothers Viet Nam Joint Stock Company and Kido Frozen Food Joint Stock Company.

    Siam Brothers Viet Nam, a Thai manufacturer for rope and net used for fishing, maritime transportation and agricultural sectors, will list 20.54 million shares with the sticker SBV on May 16 on the HCM Stock Exchange at the reference price of VND40,000 a share.

    The 60-year-old company holds a 40 per cent market share of the fishing lines. 90 per cent of the Vietnamese offshore fishing fleets are using specialized rope manufactured by Siam Brothers Viet Nam.

    The company’s shares are trading around VND45,000-48,000 apiece on the Over-the-Counter (OTC) market, a rise of 36.4 per cent over its IPO price of VND33,000 in September 2016.

    With a high dividend rate (mostly over 40 per cent in cash since 2011) and good profit growth (39 per cent in 2016 and 15-23 per cent in the next two years), its share prices are expected to increase when it starts trading this month.

    Share prices of Kido Frozen Food (KDF) are also increasing on the OTC market, trading around VND58,000-60,000 a share, up 11.5 per cent over its IPO price in March this year.

    Kido Frozen Food is the country’s leading ice-cream market leader with a 35-per-cent market share in 2016. It reported after-tax profits of nearly VND143 billion ($6.2 million) last year, a year-on-year growth of 85 per cent.

    The company plans to debut shares on the HCM Stock Exchange in the third quarter of 2017. 

    Auto lending growing rapidly in Viet Nam     

    Auto lending in Viet Nam recorded faster growth than other Southeast Asian emerging markets in the period between 2011 and 2016, according to a research by Singapore-based The Asian Banker.

    This will continue in the next two years, the research has predicted. The research found that Viet Nam had seen a significant increase in auto lending during the past few years, driven by rapid economic growth, improving purchasing power and a growing middle class.

    The Asian Banker said that auto lending would experience extraordinary growth in Viet Nam.

    “We expect that car ownership will continue to increase in Viet Nam in the coming years, as the increasing demand for passenger vehicles is also driven by infrastructure improvements and lower car prices,” The Asian Banker said in a press release.

    “More consumers are switching to cars from motorcycles, as deteriorating traffic congestion and air quality in Viet Nam’s major cities make driving cars a preferred choice. Moreover, cars are considered as status symbols in the country.”

    The growth rate of auto lending was forecast to be around 35 per cent per year in 2017-18 to touch around VND120 trillion (US$5.2 billion) by 2018.

    Auto lending in Viet Nam totalled some VND60 trillion, representing a year-on-year increase of more than 40 per cent.

    Viet Nam made up around 4 per cent of the gross auto lending in Southeast Asian emerging markets in 2016. The Asian Banker anticipated that Viet Nam’s share would go up to 6 per cent in 2018.

    Bank auto lending to individual consumers was expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of around 7 per cent in five Southeast Asian emerging markets, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

    Growth was expected to be sustained beyond 2018 due to factors such as favourable economic environments, increasing consumer purchasing power, relatively young populations with large and growing middle classes, low car ownership, and low auto finance penetration rates in the region, despite the rise of ridesharing services and competition from non-bank auto financing companies.

    In 2018, bank auto lending within these markets is estimated to be worth around $93 billion in total, according to The Asian Banker. 

    Banks to consider loan efficiency     

    Commercial banks take efficiency into consideration when providing loans for high-tech agriculture projects, according to Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Dao Minh Tu.

    Vietnam News Agency on Saturday quoted Tu as saying that a bank would always consider the borrowers’ ability to pay back the loans, based on the consumption of products.

    “If investment and production are not suitable to the demand in the market and the economy, products will be not consumed,” Tu said. “Therefore, enterprises must avoid investment according to a movement, while banks must analyse supply and demand in the economy for agricultural products, especially products from high-tech agriculture projects.”

    Banks should avoid too much investment in agriculture, leading to oversupply of farming products, as this will cause difficulty in the consumption of those products, he said. This is in turn, will make it difficult for the enterprises to pay back the loans, leading to bad debts for banks.

    Promotion of high-tech agriculture must be in line with supply and demand, and the allocation of investment should not be according to movement alone; socialisation of investment activities should be encouraged, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had said previously.

    The Government will focus on providing loans from the credit package of VND100 trillion (US$4.44 billion) for high-tech agriculture projects, Phuc said.

    Tu said that eight commercial banks had registered to provide loans from the package of VND100 trillion for high-tech agriculture projects.

    They have provided total outstanding loans of VND26 trillion for about 4,000 customers, including VND21.7 trillion for high-tech agriculture projects and VND4.3 trillion for clean agriculture projects, he said. At present, there is no bad debt.

    “The initial development of the package has brought positive results,” Tu said.

    Earlier, the SBV issued the Decision 813/QD-NHNN on providing loans for development of high-tech and clean agriculture with the credit package of VND100 trillion. The package is provided to enterprises and individuals having demand on credit to develop projects and plans for clean agriculture, agricultural production and business using high-tech. The projects and plans must meet standards under the Decision 738/QD-BNN-KHCN of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The loans have annual interest rate 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent lower than the interest rate for regular loans at commercial banks. 

    Vietcombank to revise new online banking security regulations     

    The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) on Saturday announced on its website that the bank would revise its plan to apply new online banking security regulations.

    The plan to revise the regulations followed responses received by the bank citing the rules unreasonable.

    Vietcombank said that it would consider necessary amendments to online banking security regulations to ensure compliance with the established regulations and international practices while maximising users’ benefits in keeping with the situation in Viet Nam, adding that several terms might cause misunderstanding.

    Several days ago, Vietcombank announced that the new regulations would be applicable from May 10, asking users to maintain high requirements of security when using online banking, also requiring them to commit to being responsible for all damages and costs of any fraud transactions caused by their failure in following the rules.

    The new regulations were termed unreasonable, heavily placing the onus of online banking transactions on the shoulder of users, whenever there are any security problems.

    The bank said that the current regulations would still be applied until there was a new announcement.

    Vietcombank will also regularly send recommendations to its customers and urge them to pay attention to its recommendations to avoid unexpected risks when using banking services.

    It said that it would stand on the customers’ side to protect their interests when the problems were not caused by their faults.

    Vietcombank’s online banking services include VCB-iB@nking, VCB-Mobile B@nking, Mobile Bankplus, VCB-SMS B@nking and VCB-Phone B@nking.

    Vietcombank is among the top four biggest commercial banks in Viet Nam. 

    Labour crucial for industry 4.0

    Việt Nam needs to invest in human resources to take advantage of and keep updated about the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0, Nguyễn Văn Thụ, President of the Việt Nam Association of Mechanics said.

    The next step, according to him, is technological reform and co-operation among enterprises to avoid investment overlap.

    According to experts, enterprises need labourers with professional skills, especially those developing and designing products. This will create ressure and opportunities for Vietnamese training institutes.

    One example of co-operation between enterprises and training institutes is the partnership between the Vietbay company, specialisng in software distribution and information and technology professional services, Siemens Industry product lifecycle management and three universities - Military Technical Academy of Việt Nam, School of Mechanical Engineering under Hà Nội’s University of Science and Technology and University of Transport Technology.

    Võ Hồng Kỳ, director of Siemens Industry product lifecycle management Việt Nam said that the collaboration aims to enhance competency and quality of graduates and offer them post-graduate job opportunities and to improve lecturers’ abilities. The co-operation is expected to provide high-quality human resources for the engineering sector.

    Mai Duy Quang, vice president of Việt Nam Software Association said it is impossible for enterprises to put into operation the internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence in the near future. However, enterprises can increase productivity by improving staff quality and management.

    Vietnamese human resources have ten to twenty years of experience in information technology application and outsourcing; therefore, the country will be able to keep updated on state-of-the-art technology easily.

    However, the Government must take actions to create conditions for companies to design initiatives rather than paying lip service to the problem, he said.

    Traditional enterprises must improve production capacity by not only depending on low-cost labour but also creative hi-tech workers, he said.

    Isara Burintramart, executive director of Reed Tradex, ASEAN’s leading exhibition organizer, said that Việt Nam’s human resources are ready to learn and step into Industry 4.0. The best way to approach it is to map out strategies and pilot projects.

    Industry 4.0 refers to the trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things and cloud computing.

    G2B meet to facilitate growth     

    An upcoming G2B (Government to Business) conference will target creating favourable conditions for business growth, not merely on solving existing problems facing enterprises, a senior official said on Monday.

    Le Manh Ha, Vice Chairman of the Government Office, was addressing a press conference held to announce details of the second annual meeting between the Prime Minister and businesses on May 17.

    He said the conference will broadly focus on the promulgation and implementation of Resolution 35/NQ-CP, taking in suggestions and requests from business associations and individual firms about improving the business environment in Viet Nam.

    The inputs will be assessed and action by appropriate government agencies under the PM’s guidance, he added.

    Vu Tien Loc, President of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said at the press meet that his institution will submit to the PM around 200 opinions, divided into five groups, from businesses across the country.

    He said the feedback largely dealt with administrative reforms, protection of corporate rights, and the need to reduce operational and production costs.

    Two noteworthy requests from businesses are the streamlining of overlapping legal directives and administrative regulations, he said.

    Businesses mainly want cheaper loans, easier access to credit, a transparent dispute settling mechanism, a transparent inspection regimen and logistical solutions, Loc said.

    A majority of 420 requests sent by businesses to the 2016 conference have been resolved and the few remaining are being processed, he said.

    Resolution 35 has been positively received by 75 per cent of total national businesses, while about 30 per cent considered the changes wrought to be limited.

    Ha said that this year’s conference will reinforce the importance of the private sector as being on par with foreign direct investment and the State-owned sector.

    Loc also said that in order to achieve the 2020 goal of establishing a million domestic enterprises, local authorities and firms will have to work closely together.

    G2B meetings are seen as an effective way to increase understanding and communication between the two sides on many topics of shared interest, including market mechanisms, administrative regulations, legal documents and public sector divestment.

    About 2,000 representatives of domestic enterprises, roughly four times that of 2016, are set to attend the upcoming conference. Of these, 1,500 belong to the household business sector, the FDI sector, State-owned and equitised enterprises, and representatives from foreign embassies and major financial institutions.

    Senior leaders from 63 provinces and cities will attend the meeting via online streaming. The PM and Deputy PMs will monitor the conference, while the Government Office, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the VCCI will chair the event. This year’s G2B conference, themed “Side by side with Enterprises”, will be held at the Viet Nam National Convention Centre.

    Shrimp aids climate change fight     

    Rising sea levels have exacerbated saline intrusion and coastal erosion in Viet Nam, but farmers can make the best out of a bad situation by shifting from agriculture to aquaculture, raising brackish water shrimp.

    This view was expressed by the Directorate of Fisheries (DoF) at the fourth agricultural promotion forum held in the southern province of Bac Lieu last Friday.

    Attending the forum were leaders from relevant sectors, scientists and nearly 200 shrimp farmers from the Cuu Long (Mekong) river delta provinces of Ca Mau, Soc Trang, Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Long An and Bac Lieu.

    DoF official Ngo The Anh said at the forum that raising brackish water shrimp was a key target in the nation’s aquaculture development plans, especially in coastal localities.

    “Currently, brackish shrimp is a leader in the seafood sector, accounting for about 45 per cent of the sector’s export turnover. It’s seen as a product with significant advantage and potential in the context of global climate change.”

    Anh said localities in the Mekong Delta needed to take advantage of all its potentials including natural conditions, available markets, processing technology and experience of local breeders.

    “We have to develop shrimp farming on a large scale using modern technology; this will not only be environmentally friendly but also create high-quality products.”

    The DoF also informed the meeting that various Vietnamese shrimp products had high potential because they were favoured in the world market. There is currently no limit on shrimp products, because its price has almost never dropped.

    Truong The Hung, a shrimp farmer in Soc Trang Province, said he and his peers were more concerned about the quality of post-larvae because they could not check this with the naked eye.

    Most shrimp farmers who expressed their views and opinions at the forum also mentioned difficulties they faced, including raising capital, disease outbreaks, the quality of post-larvae and veterinary medicines, which they said were hurting the shrimp breeding industry.

    Shrimp farmers suffered last year from drought and salinity, which damaged more than 188,000 ha of ponds in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Kien Giang provinces.

    In the early months of this year, Delta farmers raised shrimp on 556,000 ha, more than double the same period last year.

    Kim Van Tieu, Deputy Director of the National Agricultural Promotion Centre, suggested that the DoF continues to focus on managing the quality of post-larvae, probiotics and antibiotics, as well as products to treat the environment, in order to protect the rights and interests of shrimp farmers.

    “Research institutes, schools and businesses need to study and engage in the production of quality, disease-free post-larvae, and produce disease-resistant varieties in the future,” he said. 

    Thua Thien – Hue aims to attract $400m in FDI     

    The central province of Thua Thien – Hue aims to attract around US$300-400 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) this year, according to the province’s recent investment promotion plan.

    The central province is calling for investment from both local and foreign groups in all sectors, but with priority given to sectors of the province’s strength, such as tourism – service, information technology, healthcare, aquaculture, light industries, urban area development and economic zones.

    Investment promotion from traditional investors like Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the US will be stepped up, as well as from countries which would benefit from bilateral and multilateral trade agreements of which Viet Nam is a member.

    The province will work with FLC Group, Vingroup, Bitexco, and Viglacera, as well as foreign investment promotion organisations like the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency, and Japan External Trade Organization.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Cao, said that the province wanted to promote investment by connecting with investors’ partners such as banks, infrastructure businesses and consultant firms.

    The locality also planned to forge connectivity via direct dialogues between authorities, investors and investment management and trade counseling agencies, he added.

    Currently, investors are studying several projects in the province, including an infrastructure project worth VND600 billion ($26.3 million) at a Thien Ha Kameda JSC Industrial Park. The Chan May JSC has registered to pour VND850 billion in capital in building a wharf at the Chan May Port. Phu Quang Spinning JSC poured VND400 billion into a spinning line project.

    The central province has so far attracted 140 projects with total registered capital of VND64.3 trillion in the first quarter of this year, including 35 foreign-invested projects with total investment of $1.74 billion. 

    Air New Zealand launches promotional fares 

    Vietnamese travelers can experience the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand with special fares from just VND14,900,000. 

    Air New Zealand operates the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner two times a week between Ho Chi Minh City and Auckland. The Dreamliner is renowned for its enhanced passenger comfort because of the lower cabin altitude and higher humidity as well as the enhanced sense of space created by the large windows.
    Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner is equipped with state-of-the-art onboard technology and inflight product including the innovative Economy Skycouch, as well as spacious Premium Economy and lie-flat Business Premier seating.
    The promotional price will be on sale from 9 to 29 June, for travel in Economy Class round trip from 24 June to 25 October 2017. 

    Bookings can be made at the online store: through Discover the World located at F06, 1st Floor, The Manor 2 Building, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Ward 22, Binh Thanh District., HCMC. Telephone number: +84-8 6291 2277.


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  • 05/10/17--02:44: Article 1
  • Energy an ongoing challenge for Vietnam

    More than $400 million was spent during the first quarter of this year on importing coal, newly-published figures from the Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center (VITIC) reveal. Volume increased 1.6 per cent year-on-year and price 90.6 per cent.

    Energy an ongoing challenge for Vietnam, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam reaking news 

    Australia remained the largest provider of imports, with nearly 1.3 million tons worth $157.2 million (up 11.6 per cent and 136.8 per cent year-on-year), followed by Indonesia with nearly 1.1 million tons worth $77.2 million (up 127 per cent and 260 per cent).

    Vietnam also imported 555,568 tons of coal worth $60 million from Russia, 232,890 tons worth $52.5 million from China, and 53,385 tons worth $3 million from Malaysia.

    Historically, Vietnam has been self-sufficient in coal but this has now changed. It is now transitioning from exporting to importing energy. “Vietnam imported nearly 10 million tons of coal in 2016 and purchased 5 billion kWh of electricity from China in the peak period,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong told a recent energy conference.

    “While the amount of imported electricity from China is declining, it still stands at around 1 billion kWh,” he added. “Vietnam will also need to import an estimated 17 million tons of coal, equivalent to 31 per cent of demand, to generate electricity to 2020, with the amount to subsequently head further upwards.”

    Coal-fired power, while having environmental impacts, is still the necessary power source for Vietnam to meet its growth demand, Deputy Minister Vuong explained, adding that Vietnam will not sacrifice the environment for economic development. “In the time to come, the supervision process and environmental standards applied on coal-fired power plants will be stricter. Investors will also have to come up with eco-friendly solutions for coal ash handling.”

    Last November, after years of mulling over costs, feasibility, foreign cooperation, and safety issues, Vietnam pulled away from nuclear power. The two nuclear reactors still on the drawing board would have added 40,000 MW to the national grid but the estimated price tag of $27 billion was too high for a country with a public debt now touching 65 per cent of GDP.

    A pressing need to expand its energy generation capacity without burning a hole in the country’s State budget forced Vietnam to turn to what it already had: coal.

    The country’s annual power consumption is about 162 billion kWh, according to estimates by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN). It has some 20 coal-fired plants and plans to increase that number to 32 by 2020 and 51 by 2030. This means that, by 2020, the country’s coal plants will be producing 49 per cent of its electricity output by burning 63 million tons of coal.

    This would then reach 129 million tons by the time it has all 51 plants in operation. Its revised National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020 (PDP XII) makes it clear that thermal power will be the mainstay of its energy mix.

    In the opinion of Mr. Eric Sidgwick, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), energy sources need to be diversified, and the government needs to reduce its reliance on coal and provide for renewable energy to be a substitute.

    “As far as we understand, the Vietnamese Government is eager to have more renewable energy, but the cost, while coming down, is still relatively high,” he told VET. “The issue for Vietnam is that because it is growing so quickly, it will need to use and access more energy.”

    Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a long-awaited decision approving the mechanism on the development of solar power projects, Decision No.11/2017, introducing a tariff of $0.0935 per kWh for the purchase of electricity from grid-connected solar power plants. This is higher than the tariff applied to onshore wind power projects of $0.078 per kWh.

    Professor Tran Dinh Thien, Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics

    “Energy waste stands at 50 per cent in the cement industry, 35 per cent in ceramics, 30 per cent in textiles, 20 per cent in steel, and 50 per cent in agriculture.”

    Mr. Phan The Hung, Deputy Director General of the General Department of Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade

    “$148 billion is needed to develop electricity sources and transmission networks during the 2016-2030 period, including $40 billion during the 2016-2020 period and $108 billion during the 2021-2030 period.”

    Mr. Eric Sidgwick, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    “It is not just the total amount of energy that needs to be looked at, but making supply more efficient.”

    VN Economic Times

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  • 05/10/17--02:50: Article 0
  • Nguyen Thien Nhan appointed Secretary of HCM City Party Committee

    Ho Chi Minh City -The Politburo has appointed Nguyen Thien Nhan, Politburo member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, to be the new Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Party Committee.

    National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (L) presents the Politbuor's decision to appoint Nguyen Thien Nhan as new Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City’s Party Committee (Photo: VNA)

    The appointment decision was presented to Nhan at a conference on personnel work in the city on May 10 morning.

    Politburo member and Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said all Politburo members voted for Nguyen Thien Nhan to hold this new position for the 2015-2020 tenure.

    Nhan will replace Dinh La Thang, who was removed from the Politburo for his past financial wrongdoings as head of the National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

    The disciplinary measures against Thang were announced at the third working day of the 12th Party Central Committee’s fifth plenary session on May 7 under the chair of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

    Also at the May 10 conference, the Politburo presented a decision on Thang’s appointment as deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission.-

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  • 05/11/17--02:08: Article 3
  •  Insurance market abuzz with M&A

    As the trend among foreign insurance companies to acquire 100 per cent ownership over insurance companies progresses at a stable pace, the Vietnamese insurance market expects to witness several major brand name changes.

    Insurance market abuzz with M&A, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam reaking news 

    “Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the insurance industry, life and non-life alike, are not limited to foreign markets and will spread to Vietnam as well,” commented an expert in the field.

    According to 2017 insurance market forecast reports, M&A remains an important goal as insurance companies are seeking for different ways to grow.

    “On the European insurance markets, there have been rumours of big insurance brands to be bought out soon. There has yet to be a definitive move to confirm these rumours, since the information only aims to examine the market’s reactions. However, Asia seems a likely target for M&A,” said an expert.

    According to this expert, a company can consider entering a new market by forming a subsidiary or building a partnership with local enterprises. Certain markets like China or India have encouraged M&A activities in this field by raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the sector.

    A few years ago, entering the insurance market by forming partnerships with local enterprises, especially banks and conglomerates, was a common trend among insurance firms in Vietnam, mainly in the life insurance segment. However, Vietnam’s current rising insurance market is also opening new investment paths for foreign financial and insurance corporations.

    Foreign corporations making an initial capital contribution and then buying up all the local enterprises’ shares after a few years to turn the company into a 100 per cent foreign-owned entity has become a new trend. The insurance market has witnessed similar cases recently, like the acquisition of Sun Life Vietnam or Aviva.

    Experts forecast this trend to continue. At present, there are a few rumours that a Thai insurance group is negotiating to buy shares from some of its Vietnamese partners.

    Another type of M&A in the insurance industry comes from the corporate or regional level. These transactions have certain influences on the development strategy of local branches, including those in Vietnam.

    “Buying brands with small market shares and slow development then investing to rebuild and renew the business and eventually selling when the time comes is a common trick of the trade for many financial groups. This trend is not only popular in Vietnam but also in other markets,” said an expert in the field.

    Commenting on M&A trends in the insurance industry, a CEO of an insurance company said that the above trend has become more fashionable than the old joint venture method in the life insurance sector because of the latter’s inconspicuous results.

    In the non-life insurance segment, foreign financial giants remain enthusiastic in investing in insurance companies with great market shares in Vietnam. For a domestic insurance company having more foreign investment equals to having more opportunities to expand business activities and accessing key technical support.

    On May 5, Petrolimex Joint Stock Insurance Company (PJICO) has signed a contract selling 20 per cent of its shares to Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. (SFMI), a leading insurance company in South Korea, at a price of $1.32 per share and $23.4 million altogether.

    According to its first quarter financial report in 2017, PJICO’s revenue reached $26.4 million, an increase of 8.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2016. The company’s pre-tax profit was $1.8 million, 31 per cent higher. At the end of the first quarter of 2017, PJICO’s total asset value and chartered capital were $184.8 million $31.2 million, respectively.

    After the M&A, Petrolimex remains the biggest shareholder, possessing 40.95 per cent of PJICO’s chartered capital. SFMI, the strategic shareholder, holds 20 per cent of the capital. Other big shareholders of PJICO are Vietcombank (8.03 per cent) and Vinare (7.03 per cent).


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  • 05/11/17--02:10: Article 2
  • Social News 11/5

    Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia join hands in controlling infectious diseases

     Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia join hands in controlling infectious diseases, Presser highlights upcoming Nha Trang Sea Festival, US expert trains doctors on arthroscopy in Hanoi, Ambassador Club to be launched in Hanoi

    Health officials from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia shared experience in fighting infectious diseases, especially avian flu, at a workshop in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on May 10.

    Highlighting the complex developments of infectious diseases in the region and the world at large, participants said comprehensive cooperation between countries sharing border lines is decisive in preventing the spread of the diseases, helping ensure health security between the nations as well as public health.

    Dang Quang Tan, deputy head of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Vietnamese Health Ministry, said Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have carried out a project on curbing infectious diseases funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), adding that the workshop forms part of the project.

    Lysovann from the Cambodian Health Ministry said the three countries have conducted a range of exchanges and exercises to share information and increase public health.

    Reporting a recent outbreak of H5N1 in Svay Rieng in Cambodia’s south-eastern region, he said after hearing about the incident, the local health sector promptly zoned off the area to hinder the disease from spreading.

    Cambodia appreciates the support and cooperation of Vietnamese agencies through the sharing of experience, information and professional skills, he noted, stressing that the three countries will continue to join hands with each other in controlling the diseases and improving public health.

    According to the Vietnamese Health Ministry, cases of dengue fever, malaria and hand-foot-mouth disease decreased in early 2017 with no deaths reported.

    The number of fatalities caused by rabies contracted by 34 percent compared with the same period last year. Six outbreaks of A/H5N1 were recorded among poultry while no human cases were reported over the past time.

    Body of American tourist discovered in Hoi An

    Police in the tourist draw town of Hoi An in central Vietnam discovered the body of an American tourist in a hostel on May 10, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    The dead man has been identified as a 31-year-old American, but his name has yet to be disclosed.

    Police were alerted after locals reported a stench coming from a hostel room on Tran Nhan Tong Street, and subsequently discovered the decomposing body of a male foreigner.

    Investigators are treating the death as a suicide.

    “The victim had been staying at the hostel since 2016," Phap Luat (Law) newspaper quoted Colonel Dinh Xuan Nghi from Hoi An's police force as saying. "During that time, he wrote a suicide note and asked the landlord to send it to his relatives in the U.S.”

    Further investigations are underway.

    Earlier this year, an Australian tourist also committed suicide in Ha Long Bay. Stephen John Scott, 54, reportedly jumped off an anchored cruiser with his legs tied to a heavy dumbbell while visiting the popular tourism destination in February.

    APEC SOM 2 continues discussing women’s role, HR development

    Representatives from APEC member economies continued to discuss the role of women in economy, people with disabilities, human resources development, mining and auto industry in Hanoi on May 10 .

    The First Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) Meeting focused discussion on women’s participation in economic development and measures to promote the inclusion of gender equality in APEC’s specialised areas while defining priorities of action, policy recommendations and preparations for the Women and the Economy Forum 2017 slated for September.

    The 21 APEC economies are currently employing around 600 million women as part of their workforce, with more than 60 percent working in the formal sector, contributing up to 89 billion USD annually to the bloc.

    Meanwhile, the meeting of the Mining Task Force (MTF) debated measures to enhance mining cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, growth based on renovations and social responsibility.

    Delegates held that mining may play an important role in fostering socio-economic development, generating jobs, reducing poverty, improving infrastructure and narrowing development gaps in the region.

    On the same day, the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) and the Group of Friends on Disability Issues co-hosted a symposium on increasing job opportunities for the disabled.

    Participants discussed legal regulations and international frameworks to provide people with disabilities with training, education and social integration while sharing experience in creating jobs and development opportunities for this group.

    At a conference on export licence held by the Food Security Cooperation Forum’s Partnership Training Institute Network (FCSF PTIN) under the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance, delegates agreed that the facilitation of safe food trade and cooperation in improving food safety will be scrutinized at the Food Security Week scheduled for August in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

    Also on May 10, partners of the Auto Dialogue convened bilateral meetings before their plenary session on May 11-12.

    Hanoi plans to open exclusive rapid bus lanes to public buses

    Transport experts are skeptical, saying that more buses in the exclusive lanes could cause traffic chaos and crashes.

    Hanoi plans to open its exclusive rapid bus lanes to public buses from next month on a six-month trial run in an effort to reduce traffic jams.

    Nguyen Hoang Hai, director of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Center, said at a press briefing on May 8 it has asked for the green-light from municipal authorities to start the plan, which will reduce pressure on the road for other vehicles.

    Hai said public buses will make use of five-to-ten minute intervals between rapid bus trips.

    The $53.6 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network stretches nearly 15 kilometers between Kim Ma and Yen Nghia, two of the city’s most populated areas.

    The center is working on technical measures to allow public buses to turn onto the route and relocating some of its existing bus terminals.

    However, transport experts are skeptical, saying that more buses in the exclusive lanes could cause traffic chaos and crashes.

    Hanoi launched the BRT route last December in a bid to promote public transport and reduce congestion. The journey takes 45 minutes, 10 minutes faster than a normal bus.

    The number of daily passengers has increased from around 8,000 to 13,000 since it was launched, compared to the daily average of 3,000 who used to ride public buses along the route, Hai said.

    Human resources in digital era to be hot topic of APEC meetings

    APEC economies will participate in a high-level policy dialogue on human resources development in the digital era in Hanoi on May 14 and 15, as heard at a press conference by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs on May 10.

    The APEC 2017 National Secretariat said the dialogue is considered a highlight of APEC activities this year, as human resources are among key solutions to economic development.

    The dialogue will focus on the topics of employment and workforce challenges in the digital era; policies and models for vocational training amid the 4th industrial revolution; and social welfare policies that need amendments.

    Through these issues, cooperation frameworks on job creation, vocational training and social welfare will be tabled.

    Dao Quang Vinh, Director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs and deputy head of the APEC 2017 National Secretariat, said Vietnam expects to devise an action plan that could provide the groundwork for APEC economies to enhance engagements in the field.

    On the sideline of the dialogue, a number of meetings were scheduled between May 11 and 15. They consist of two separate conferences on labour market information in the digital era and boosting social welfare in APEC region on May 11 and 12; a conference to review preparations for the dialogue on May 13; and a meeting of the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group on May 14.

    About 200 APEC activities are set to take place across Vietnam this year.

    Presser highlights upcoming Nha Trang Sea Festival

    The Nha Trang Sea Festival returns June 10-13, and this year’s event is shaping up to be quite special with more art performances, exhibitions, sporting competitions, and food events than ever before.

    We are extremely excited with the scope and depth of the new attractions coming to the festival this year, Phan Thi Thanh Truc, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa department of tourism, said on May 10 at a press conference.

    We’ve tried to add a little bit of something for everyone at this year’s event to spice it up with more folk games, kite flying, women’s beach volleyball tournaments, a beach handball tourney and an amateur open golf contest to name only a few of the many events.

    We will also concurrently hold bird’snest, wine and coffee festivals along with a special exhibition showcasing the evidence that documents Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos.

    In addition, said Truc, the festival will feature a wide array ofsea food events and city officials are going the extra mile to ensure that all food vendors take precautions to ensure food safety for visitors.

    US expert trains doctors on arthroscopy in Hà Nội

    Nearly 100 doctors from hospitals in Hà Nội and neighbouring provinces are learning advanced arthroscopy techniques during a three-day training course at Saint Paul General Hospital in Hà Nội.

    The training course, that began today, is being conducted under the framework of a cooperation programme between Saint Paul General Hospital and the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA).

    During the three-day event, participants will be taught by Prof Pietro M.Tonino from US Loyola University’s Medicine Centre, Saint Paul Hospital deputy director Prof Trần Trung Dũng and HCM City Sports Medicine Association deputy chairman Nguyễn Trọng Anh.

    Participants will hear lectures on knee and shoulder arthroscopy and be informed of the latest orthopaedic methods for treating complicated shoulder and knee injuries.

    The training course is a good opportunity for Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons to exchange experiences and learn advanced arthroscopy techniques from US-based experts.

    Urgent action to ensure railway safety urged

     Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia join hands in controlling infectious diseases, Presser highlights upcoming Nha Trang Sea Festival, US expert trains doctors on arthroscopy in Hanoi, Ambassador Club to be launched in Hanoi

    Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has ordered the Ministry of Transport to instruct the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam and Việt Nam Railway Authority to work with agencies in provinces and cities that the railway runs through to increase safety.
    Bình, who also heads the National Traffic Safety Committee, requested that the agencies enhance dissemination information on ensuring safety at level crossings for road users.
    It is necessary to appoint guards at crossings that have a high rate of vehicles crossing them as well as places that accidents occur regularly, he said.
    He asked the Ministry of Public Security to work with police in localities to reinforce patrols and deal with violations, especially the illegal lifting of barriers.
    His order came after a north-south train crashed into a seven-seater car at a rail crossing in a residential area in the southern province of Bình Định’s Tuy Phước District on April 24. The accident left four people dead and two injured.
    Bình ordered the People’s Committee of Bình Định Province to identify the cause of this accident and determine the responsibility of individuals and organisations involved, he said.
    The Deputy PM authorised the National Traffic Safety Committee to collaborate with the Ministry of Transport in compiling a report on settlement of the accident and submit it to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc within this month.

    Women’s football championship begins today

    The National Women’s Football Championship will kick off today, with the defending champions HCM City 1 playing Việt Nam Coal and Minerals in HCM City.

    HCM City, who won two of the last seasons in a row, are still considered the strongest among the eight participants.

    Coach Đoàn Thị Kim Chi and her players, including many national team members, especially Golden Ball winner Huỳnh Như, have set a goal of winning a hattrick.

    “Things are different this year, as Phong Phú Hà Nam and Hà Nội 1 have made some changes with a view to replacing us in the top position. However, we will play our best and work hard in every match to defend our title,” said Chi.

    Their first rival, Việt Nam Coal and Minerals, ranked third last year.

    The team hope to change their medal colour.

    Some senior players have retired, but they have appointed the talented Thúy Hằng and Nguyễn Thị Vạn to lead the team.

    In the second match of the day today, HCM City 2 and Sơn La, who were at the bottom of the ranking in 2016, will meet each other.

    Former champions Hà Nội 1 and potential Phong Phú Hà Nam begin their journey tomorrow.

    Hà Nội 1, who finished second after HCM City in the last two years, will meet with Hà Nội 2.

    Phong Phú Hà Nam, under new coach Nguyễn Thế Cường, hope to beat TNG Thái Nguyên as their first step towards winning the championship for the first time.

    Ambassador Club to be launched in Hà Nội

    Tomorrow, the Ambassador Club will be officially inaugurated by the Diplomatic Corps at the Hanoi Daewoo Hotel, fostering friendly relations among the Heads of Mission and their families.

    The event, which will take place at the hotel’s Lakeview Sky Lounge from 7pm to 12pm, will see the attendance of distinguished guests including ambassadors and spouses, representatives of major organisations and media members.

    Master scheme on Vung Tau city adjusted

    The PM has ratified adjustments to the development planning of Vung Tau city by 2035.

    The planning aims to convert Vung Tau city into a national  centre of tourism, finance, and trade of regional and international standards. It will develop the maritime economy and become an environmentally friendly city.

    Under the planning, Vung Tau city has a total area of 15,000 hectares.

    The document targets to review urban planning areas, land funds; supplement urban designs; make strategically environment evaluation; respond to climate change and sea level rise; build a public transport system and urban underground system; and install an urban lighting system.

    The planning sets to propose development orientations on ecological farming and high-tech centers.

    The document also targets to analyze advantages and disadvantages of the city's geographical position as it is located next to HCMC, the biggest metropolis in Viet Nam.

    VND1.4-trillion social insurance debt yet to be settled

    Some VND1.4 trillion in social insurance debt has been overdue for 10 years and is seen irrecoverable, putting about 194,000 workers at risk of losing their insurance benefits.

    Social insurance debt and evasion occur mainly in the non-state sector, said Dao Viet Anh, deputy general director of Vietnam Social Security.

    The main reasons are the low level of compliance with social insurance law by employers, the lack of a sense of responsibility and insufficient attention paid to social insurance for employees, he said at a seminar on “Undoing the bottlenecks in lawsuits against social insurance evasion.” The event was held by the Government web portal in Hanoi on Monday.

    “The most worrying thing is about VND1.4 trillion in social insurance is owed by enterprises that have stopped operating, been disbanded, gone bust or taken flight. This sum has been tracked on the book-keeping system for more than 10 years,” said Anh. He added that this type of debt was almost irrecoverable and the interests of employees at these firms had not been solved.

    By 2015, nearly 194,000 workers had been affected by the VND1.4-trillion debt.

    To strengthen the collection of social insurance debt, grassroots trade unions or their direct superiors (the latter case for units and enterprises which have not set up a trade union) are to file a lawsuit on behalf of workers, according to the Law on Social Insurance and the Trade Union Law.

    However, the lawsuit must be filed by a grassroots trade union or have written authorization from employees. This is one of the reasons why lawsuits brought by trade unions are not effective.

    Although the social insurance agency has transferred more than 1,800 files on insurance debt to trade unions, the number of cases filed by these organizations is small (just 82), said Anh.

    There are cases in which the files have been returned by court for the lack of employee authorization or that of a grassroots trade union. In some others, the court has accepted the case and later issued a decision to suspend settlement on the ground that the plaintiff has no right to initiate a lawsuit in accordance with Articles 186 and 187 of the Civil Proceedings Code.

    Authorization is not the only problem. Many grassroots trade unions dare not bring a lawsuit or authorize their superiors to do so.

    Meanwhile, workers dare not authorize a trade union to sue their employers since they need a job.

    In addition, for a trade union to file a lawsuit and get accepted by the court, the Civil Proceedings Code must be adhered to. Yet, while the Law on Social Insurance took effect on January 1, 2016, the Civil Proceedings Code came into force on July 1, 2016.

    Not only that, the Penal Code become effective on July 1, 2016, but has been temporarily invalidated waiting for amendments at the next National Assembly sitting.

    Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, deemed it necessary to review and unify the promulgation of legal regulations. On pending the synchronization of the legal system, to overcome the current shortcomings, the superior trade unions should be allowed to file a lawsuit for claim of social insurance debt to remove difficulties with authorization for trade unions.

    Truong Ba Temple Festival named national cultural heritage

    The central province of Quang Ngai received on May 10 a certificate recognising the Truong Ba Temple Festival in Tra Xuan town, Tra Bong district, as part of the national intangible cultural heritage.

    Located 52 km to the northwest of Quang Ngai City, Truong Ba Temple worships Thien Y A Na (Lady Po Nagar), the holy mother of the Cham ethnic community in the south central region. It is also dedicated to Bui Ta Han and Mai Dinh Dong, two saints who actually existed.

    The festival at the temple reflects the development of communities in western areas of Quang Ngai and shows local residents’ aspirations for peace and wealth.

    It combines the cultures of the Kinh, Cham and Cor ethnic people. This year’s event, beginning on May 10 (the 15th day of the fourth lunar month), also attracts Hoa (ethnic Chinese) and Hre ethnics, along with people of other ethnic groups in nearby Quang Nam province, Da Nang city and from the south of Vietnam.

    As the Truong Ba Temple Festival is a destination for people of different ethnic groups and religions, it is significant to uniting communities.

    Chairman of the Tra Bong district People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Bac said the festival is an occasion for locals to refresh themselves before a new crop. It also demonstrates the solidarity of people from different areas.

    Lasting through May 12, the festival will include a wide range of activities such as lion and dragon dancing, “ba trao” singing, “ca dao” singing and dancing, gong performances, and folk games.

    It is expected to attract more than 4,000 visitors.-

    Beaches nationwide crowded in summer

    The central provinces saw a rise in number of tourists to their beaches during the four-day national holiday in early May, signaling a bright prospect for sea tourism in the region in particular and in the nation in general, an official has said.

    According to Ngo Hoai Chung, Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), the central region saw a year-on-year increase of around 3 percent in the number of visitors in the first four months this year. International arrivals surged 11-12 percent from the same period last year.

    During the holiday on the occasions of the National Reunification Day and the International Labour Day from April 30 to May 3, all accommodation facilities were occupied up to 95 percent, Chung cited local reports as saying.

    Under the Ministry’s national action plan for tourism development in 2017, priorities are given to assist the central region to recover tourism development from a slump after the marine environment incident last year, according to Chung.

    A number of measures have been implemented including arranging famtrips for press representatives and encouraging tourist agencies to develop new sea-related products. Assistance will be provided to local tourism sector to train human resources for tourism services and hospitality.  

    Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Nam province Le Van Thanh said Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2017 is expected to be a major event in the sea tourism season, with numerous activities such as an international kite flying contest in Tam Thanh beach and a choir competition with the participation of 32 troupes from 15 countries and territories.

    Deputy Director of Vietrantour Pham Thi Bich Ngoc said the company expects to serve 15,000 visitors during this summer, up nearly 30 percent from the same period last year. The most popular tours are those to beaches in Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan in the central region.

    Other sea destinations also hope for a good season. Deputy Director of Tourism Department of the northern province of Quang Ninh Trinh Dang Thanh said since the start of summer, the province has welcomed over 320,000 arrivals, partly thanks to the “Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017”.

    The sea tourism season is expected to see an increase of 30-35 percent from 2016 in the number of visitors.


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  • 05/11/17--02:47: Article 1

    Vietnam province fears ‘another Formosa’ as paper mill raises environmental concerns

    With the fish death disaster caused by wastewater dumped by a steel plant into the waters off central Vietnam still fresh in the minds of citizens, administrators in a province housing a paper mill are worried about giving history the opportunity to repeat itself.


    The construction site of the VNT19 pulp mill is seen in Quang Ngai Province, located in central Vietnam.Tuoi Tre

    The administration of the central province of Quang Ngai has called on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to provide more detailed guidance on how to ensure the VNT19 pulp mill in Binh Son District will not become ‘another Formosa.’

    The Formosa scandal refers to last year’s disaster in which more than 100 metric tons of fish were killed, severely affecting the environment, jobs, and economies of four provinces along Vietnam’s central coast, all thanks to poorly treated wastewater from the namesake steel mill in Ha Tinh Province.

    Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group later took responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay US$500 million in damages to the government.

    In a dispatch sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on April 3, Quang Ngai chairman Tran Ngoc Cang demanded that the ministry confirm that the VNT19 wastewater discharge system installed under the water’s surface is in line with legal regulations.

    The system raised concerns when it was publicized that it is the same system as that used at Formosa Ha Tinh.

    The VNT19 complex, developed by the eponymous company, consists of a pulp making plant, a wastewater treatment system capable of treating 73,000 cubic meters of water per 24-hour period, and a 5.2km discharge pipeline.

    The developer wants to discharge wastewater through Le Ninh River to the Viet Thanh Bay, about 500m to 1,000m away from the Le Thuy beach in the East Vietnam Sea.

    More than 2,000 residents living near the pulp mill earn their livelihood from the sea, so the community was understandably on edge after hearing the mill will discharge its water into the ocean.

    The Quang Ngai administration has every reason to fear that the VNT19 plant will follow in Formosa's footsteps.

    The plant's entrance

    Ignoring requests

    VNT19, located on a 117-hectare plot in the Dung Quat Economic Zone, received its investment license in 2011 for its first-phase operation to run at a capacity to produce 250,000 metric tons of products per year.

    When licensing the project, Quang Ngai insisted that the developer use advanced technology and brand new machinery and equipment for the facility.

    In 2014, the developer asked to increase the capacity to 350,000 metric tons a year. Quang Ngai approved the request under the condition that the developer ensure the project will be pollution-free.

    In September 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment approved the developer’s environmental impact assessment for the facility, reiterating that it must use 100 percent new machines.

    However, after VNT19’s first shipment of equipment and machinery arrived at Dung Quat port in 2015, authorities discovered that the imports were used machines from a dismantled pulp mill in Norway, a clear violation of the company’s commitment to use brand new hardware.

    The discovery came after Quang Ngai had already reclaimed more than 87 hectares of land, including 50 hectares of mangrove palm plantations from local residents to make space for a water supply reservoir for VNT19.

    A piece of used equipment imported for the plant.

    In 2017, the Quang Ngai administration asked the developer to hire an independent agency to assess the plant’s technology.

    VNT19 then contracted Da Nang-based A Viet Co. for the job, but the Quang Ngai technology department quickly detected that the company had not been certified as an assessment firm by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

    In January 2016, the Dung Quat Economic Zone suggested that the Quang Ngai construction department ask VNT19 to relocate their discharge pipeline to Le Thuy beach.

    “Dumping the [treated] wastewater directly into the sea leaves a smaller environmental impact,” the economic zone’s deputy manager Dam Minh Le explained.

    But local residents do not seem to agree, citing the fact that the pipeline is underground as a difficulty in authorities supervising the wastewater discharge.

    Quang Ngai authorities have demanded that the developer build a reservoir to hold the treated wastewater while administrators and locals oversee the treatment quality before the water is released into the sea.

    Le insisted that no solution is better than having the pulp mill discharge its wastewater into the sea.

    “It does not really matter where the wastewater is released,” Le said.

    “What’s more important is that we ensure there is no environmental disaster.”

    Le said the environment ministry will soon send a team of experts to examine the VNT19 project


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  • 05/11/17--03:11: Article 0
  • MARD inspects Mekong landslide aftermath

     MEKONG DELTA – The Ministry of Agricultre and Natural Resources is seeking solutions to prevent landslides in the Mekong Delta, after a landslide occurred on the Vàm Cỏ Lau Canal on Monday afternoon in An Giang Province, causing six houses to collapse and forcing two other households to relocate

    Workers fixing Gành Hào sea dyke in Đông Hải District in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu after it collapsed due to high tides and strong waves. Seawater flowed into residential areas. - VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thanh Liêm

    Late last month, a serious landslide along the Vàm Nao River occurred in Chợ Mới District of the province, causing losses of VNĐ90 billion ($3.96 million).

    The most recent landslide, which occurred in the province’s An Phú District’s Phú Hữu Commune, left a crater that was 100m long, 10m wide and 15m deep.

    As soon as the crack on the canal was discovered on May 4, commune authorities urged local people to evacuate, thus avoiding loss of life.

    Local police and the Army were asked to help residents relocate their properties to safe areas, and to put up warning signs and ban vehicles at the site of the landslide.

    Of the eight households still living in the high-risk area, five houses could collapse at any moment.

    Cao Xuân Diệu, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said that each family whose house collapsed suffered a loss of VNĐ30 million (US$1,320).

    The commune gave each affected household VNĐ1 million in cash and 10 kilos of rice per person.


    On May 9, a group of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) began a four-day trip to review the causes of the landslides in the Delta and work with local authorities to set up plans to deal with disasters that have threatened people’s lives.

    On the first day, the group visited several sea dykes in Bạc Liêu Province.

    Though the province has great potential to develop the sea economy thanks to its 56-km coastline, it has been affected by climate change, rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion and sea dyke breaching, threatening 100,000 people living by the sea, Dương Thành Trung, chairman of the Bạc Liêu Province People’s Committee, said at a meeting with MARD officials.

    Since the beginning of the year, high tides, huge waves and strong winds have damaged the Gành Hào dyke in Đông Hải District’s Gành Hào Town and Nhà Mát dyke in Bạc Liêu City’s Nhà Mát Ward.

    Erosion has occurred on a 940 sq.m area of the Gành Hào Sea Dyke, while erosion on the Nhà Mát embankment stretches for 24 metres. Cracks and subsidence along the rest of the embankment have been reported.

    The two sea dykes play an important role in protecting thousands of households and tens of thousands of hectares of coastal land.

    Bạc Liêu Province has asked for assistance from experts at research institutes and universities to solve the problem of dyke breaching.

    One of the adopted measures would help reduce the height and strength of waves.

    The province has asked for VNĐ340 billion ($14.95 million) of aid to implement measures to prevent further erosion and protect sea dykes.

    Trần Quang Hoài, deputy head of MARD’s Water Resource Directorate, praised the province’s efforts to deal with erosion and instructed it to protect the dykes as the rainy season would come soon.

    After the trip, MARD will work with other ministries and agencies to find a long-term and sustainable plan to combat landslides in the delta.

    The delta has around 265 highly vulnerable spots where landslides have occurred, covering a total 450km in length.

    Landslides have caused an annual average loss of 500ha of land in recent years.

    The situation has worsened in recent years, especially in An Giang Province’s Chợ Mới District and Đồng Tháp Province’s Thanh Bình District.

    Đồng Tháp Province on April 28 declared a state of emergency after several landslides occurred in April along a 210m section of the Tiền River in Thanh Bình District’s Bình Thạnh Commune. -VNS

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  • 05/12/17--06:40: Article 0
  • Social News 12/5

    Vietnam hopes for Laos’s support in Mekong River water management

     vietnam hopes for laos’s support in mekong river water management hinh 0

    National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong has asked Laos to support Vietnam in the regulation and use of the Mekong River’s water resources.

    She made the request at a meeting with Vice Chairman of the Lao National Assembly Somphanh Phengkhammy in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11. The visiting legislator is in Vietnam to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s seminar for the Asia-Pacific region on climate change response.

    Vice Chairwoman Phong considered the Lao officials’ participation as important to the event’s success.

    Vietnam is suffering severe climate change impacts, and it is ready to learn from other countries’ experience in coping with climate change, she noted.

    She added that the regulation and use of the Mekong River’s water resources need to be actively discussed by the Mekong River Commission as this river traverses many countries in the region.

    Regarding bilateral ties, Phong said Vietnam and Laos boast the time-tested friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation. They have also shared much experience at global parliamentary forums as well as during delegation exchanges.

    For his part, Phengkhammy spoke highly of the IPU seminar’s content, along with Vietnam’s preparations for the event. The agenda covers important issues relevant to the current context, especially in Southeast Asia.

    He added his country has included climate change-related issues such as natural disaster prevention and control in its socio-economic development plans.

    Together with Vietnam, Laos is actively preparing for celebrations of 55 years of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and 40 years of the signing of the bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. A ceremony to mark those anniversaries will be held in Laos on July 18, he noted.

    He also expressed his hope that the two parliaments will continue delegation exchanges and provide practical training for officials of Laos.

    IPU Asia-Pacific seminar on SDGs opens in HCM City

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) regional seminar for the Asia-Pacific on responding to climate change and actions of parliaments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) opened in Ho Chi Minh City on May 11.

    The three-day event is co-organised by IPU and Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA).

    The opening ceremony was attended by Chairwoman of the Vietnamese NA Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, IPU President Saber Chowdhury, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong, Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities (Upper House) and Parliament Mahn Win Khaing Than, Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives Alvarez Pantelon, President of Timor-Leste’s National Parliament Aderito Hugo Da Costa and Secretary General of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Isra Sunthornvut.

    In her opening speech, Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said like other Asia-Pacific countries, especially coastal and island nations, Vietnam is seriously hit by climate change.

    She cited Vietnam’s climate change scenarios which projected that by the end of the 21st century, sea water will submerge about 40 percent of the Mekong Delta, 11 percent of the Red River Delta and 3 percent of other coastal provinces. HCM City, the country’s huge economic hub, is forecast to have more than 20 percent of its area flooded by sea water.

    As such, about 10-12 percent of Vietnamese population will bear the direct impacts from climate change and about 10 percent of national GDP will be lost, the chief legislator said.

    Therefore, the Vietnamese NA has reached consensus with the IPU on the agenda of the seminar, focusing on the SDGs, particularly those on gender equality and healthcare in the context of climate change response; challenges, opportunities and actions against climate change; international commitments and the role played by legislative bodies; and the mobilisation of resources to achieve SDGs in general and respond to climate change in particular.

    IPU President Saber Chowdhury hailed the presence of many senior officials in the region at the seminar.

    He stressed that parliaments play an important role in realising the SDGs, while climate change is a global issue that could affect the world’s development, and is related to all 17 SDGs. If the goal on coping with climate change is not achieved, all the remaining goals will suffer, he said.

    According to Chowdhury, as 80 percent of natural disasters are caused by climate change, the key in responding to climate change is to cope with natural disasters. He noted that 88 percent of those who are affected by natural disasters in the world are in Asia-Pacific, therefore, it is necessary to put forth more dynamic strategies for women, children and humankind to fight natural disasters.

    The IPU President said there are five pillars for the fulfillment of SDGs, which are human; peace; prosperity; connectivity between Governments, Parliaments and within Parliaments; economic development and productivity on the basis of social resources.

    He expressed the hope that the seminar will give out strong signals about the Asia-Pacific region’s commitment to the SDGs.

    Secretary of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said the presence of Parliament leaders and legislators at the event reflects the significance of environmental protection to all nations.

    The event offers an opportunity for HCM City to extend its cooperation with countries which are also facing climate change issue, the official added.

    Following the opening session, the first plenary session was held with discussions focusing on SDGs and the role of parliaments in realising those goals.

    Within the framework of the event, a trip to Can Gio district in HCM City will be arranged for delegates as a case study for an economic model adaptive to climate change.

    On this occasion, the Vietnam NA will coordinate with the IPU to announce a toolkit to help Parliaments assess their performance in SDGs achievement.

    Burial services for soldier remains repatriated from Cambodia


    The Central Highland province of Gia Lai on May 11 held a memorial and burial service for the remains of 29 Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who laid down their lives in the battlefields of Cambodia during wartime.

    The remains were found in the northeastern region of Cambodia in the 2016-2017 dry season by Group K52 of the Gia Lai Military Command.

    Over the past 15 years, thanks to the two governments’ assistance and the active coordination of Cambodian authorities, people and armed forces, the group has discovered and repatriated nearly 1,400 sets of remains of fallen soldiers, which were buried at a martyr cemetery in Duc Co district.

    APEC moves to enhance education cooperation

    With the vision by 2030, APEC will have a strong and cohesive education community characterized by inclusive and quality education that supports sustainable economic growth, social wellbeing and employability of people in APEC economies.

    Pham Chi Cuong, Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, made the statement at a Workshop on Action Plan of APEC Education Strategy which opened in Hanoi on May 11 afternoon.

    Cuong expressed his hope that the workshop would provide a platform for APEC economies to discuss bilateral and multilateral cooperation in education and training, and that many new initiatives, projects and programmes would come out.

    The official also affirmed that this was a chance of Vietnam to share experience in education and training with APEC economies.

    For APEC economies, education is an important driver in preparing a population with technical and soft skills to be highly productive and capable of facing the challenges posed by rapidly changing regional and global economic environments.

    Lifting the participation since early childhood through higher education and lifelong learning, especially those from disadvantaged groups, will enable APEC’s citizens to adapt to the structural changes in member economies.

    The action plan will be developed by all economies and for all economies, aiming to achieve a common understanding of the role that education will play in economic growth and integration across the APEC region.

    It will identify the objectives and targets of education development by 2020 with a vision to 2030; synthesize lessons from previous APEC work on education; propose actions to take in each priority area; and recommend implementation levers, in particular, projects and initiatives for the APEC Education Strategy.

    The action plan will also help better links the APEC Education Strategy with education policies in specific APEC economies through relevant domestic projects and initiatives.

    In her interview with Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondents, Wang Yan, Education Network Coordinator of the Human Resource Development Working Group, said the APEC Education Strategy was adopted at the 6thAPEC Education Ministerial Meeting in Peru last year.

    The orientations for APEC education cooperation in the next four years are the main topic of discussion at today’s workshop.  The main task right now is to translate visions and objectives of the APEC Education Strategy into achievable targets and concrete projects and progammes.

    Education research is the focus of APEC economies now. Firstly, it focuses on aligning competency of individuals with society and second is accelerating innovation.  Education cooperation contributes to economic growth in the APEC region, she noted.

    Education cooperation is the responsibility of the APEC Education Network, which now has the participation of all the 21 member economies. Established in 1992, the network has two new initiatives, including granting innovation prizes to outstanding students, lecturers and researchers in the APEC region.

    Subcommittees established to strengthen cooperation with Peru, Uruguay

    The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two subcommittees with Peru and Uruguay to promote cooperation with the two nations.

    A sub-committee will be set up under the Vietnam – Peru Inter-Governmental Committee for economic and technical cooperation, with the other under the Vietnam – Uruguay Joint Committee on economic, trade, and investment cooperation.

    The sub-committees will be chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai. Their secretaries will be department-level officials from the Government Office, with standing members drawn from the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development, Science and Technology.

    The tasks of the Peru sub-committee are prescribed in the Agreement on establishing the Vietnam – Peru Inter-Governmental Committee for economic and technical cooperation signed on August 27, 2015.

    Meanwhile, the Uruguay sub-committee’s role is detailed in the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between Vietnam and Uruguay signed on December 9, 2013.

    Lawmakers urged to promote proper solutions to climate change

    Delegates to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Asia-Pacific conference on response to climate change have stressed the need to raise lawmakers’ awareness of linkages among climate change, gender inequality and health care, thereby building laws to promote appropriate solutions to climate change response.

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Asia-Pacific conference discussing response to climate change and actions of lawmakers to realise sustainable development goals is taking place in Ho Chi Minh City from May 11-13.

    Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said Vietnam will focus on fine-tuning policies to ensure sufficient legal framework for the fulfillment of the Plan of Action and Vietnam’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

    At the same time, goals set in the National Action Plan to implement the Agenda 2030 will be incorporated into the 2016-2020 socio-economic development plan, he said.

    According to him, in order to achieve 17 SDGs, Vietnam will face challenges arising from limited financial resources and needs support from the international community to improve its institutional capacity.

    Lawmakers should have awareness of linkages among climate change, gender inequality and health care, thereby building laws to promote proper solutions to climate change response, delegates said.

    Shoko Ishikawa, representative from the UN Agency on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and head of the NA’s Committee on Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh shared the view that women are more vulnerable to climate change.

    Anh said nearly 80 percent of Vietnam’s population in rural areas lives on agriculture – which is impacted by the changing climate while agricultural land accounts for about 74 percent of the total.

    Participants expressed concern over increasingly serious intensity and frequency of climate change, which they said, could reduce the world’s gross domestic product by 5-10 percent.

    They urged Asian-Pacific nations to work closely together and make clear commitments to climate change reduction by pooling all possible resources for the effort and strengthening collaboration in technology research and transfer.

    They vowed to raise their responsibility and role in refining relevant laws and step up serious delivery of commitments and international agreements on climate change, towards realising the Paris Agreement and contributing to the sustainable development of Asian-Pacific countries.

    Vietnamese women play significant role in development

    Vietnamese women play an important role in socio-economic development, Deputy Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang said.

    The official made the remarks at a forum of mayors on May 11, which took place within the framework of the ongoing Global Summit of Women in Tokyo, Japan.

    As the country’s political and administrative centre, Hanoi has exerted great efforts to promote gender equality, resulting in the noted rate of female labourers at 60.9 percent who engage in almost all sectors, she said.

    Hang stressed that Vietnam has been regarded as the pioneer in removing gender gap over the past two decades.

    However, she said, gender discrimination in the economic sector still remains, leading to the gap of income between men and women.

    Other challenges facing the country include high rate of untrained female labourers and insufficient attention to gender index in all aspects, the official added.

    To promote women’s social role, Hanoi has encouraged them to participate in management and leadership posts and made its best to narrow gender gap in economic and employment fields, raise the quality of female labourers, ensure gender equality in healthcare access and improve State management in this regard.

    At the forum, Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike highlighted the role and contributions of women in the modern world, urging them to be active, dynamic and confident.

    Sharing her own success story, Koike said the resolve and knowledge are the key to achieving objectives of her career.

    The Global Summit of Women takes place from May 11-13, bringing together more than 1,300 delegates from 60 countries worldwide.

    NA Standing Committee to finalise preparations for NA’s third session

    The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will finalise preparations for the 14th-tenure parliament’s upcoming third session during its 10th meeting from May 15-17.

    During the meeting, the NA Standing Committee is set to give opinions on a report giving additional assessment of the implementation of the socio-economic development and state budget plan for 2016. They will also review the realisation of the socio-economic development and state budget plan so far this year.

    Other issues on the agenda include a draft decree of the Government stipulating some special mechanisms and policies for Hai Phong city, and a draft resolution on the settlement of bad debt at credit institutions and on state budget balance in 2015.

    The NA Standing Committee is going to discuss a report on the supervision of the handling of voter’s opinions sent to the parliament’s second session last November.

    Members of the committee will look into the North-South expressway project and amendments to a draft law revising and supplementing a number of articles of the 2015 Penal Code.

    The NA’s third session is scheduled to begin on May 22.

    Saigon: Best place in Southeast Asia for cheap love

    For a night out with a potential life-long love in Ho Chi Minh City, love birds have to shell out around US$35, while in Singapore a date may cost them at least $80.

    A cheap date night combo consists of: dinner for two at a local pub, movie tickets and two cocktails.

    The findings were based on a cost of living index updated recently by, a database that compiles the global cost of living.

    Date nights may be even cheaper in Hanoi where living costs are 2.62% lower than in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Instead of cocktails, Ho Chi Minh City is also the cheapest place for beer with half a liter costing just US$1.5.

    However, if couples fancy a date at an Italian restaurant with appetizers, a main course, wine and dessert, then watch out, Ho Chi Minh City may not be a good choice, take a look at Manila instead.

    It seems that residents should choose their dates carefully, and marry young. It's cheaper that way.

    Recently, Vietnam was named an ideal place to be in a relationship, with a new regional survey naming Vietnamese among the most satisfied lovers.

    If you're looking for smooth sailing in a relationship, hook up in Vietnam.

    Vice President Thinh meets with Japan business community

    Vice State President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh attended a luncheon meeting on May 11 hosted by the Japan Chamber of Commerce at the invitation of the Chamber’s Chair Akio Mimura.

    At the meeting, Vice State President Thinh expressed her appreciation to the roughly 300 participants for their attendance and noted she was keenly interested in learning of the problems they have encountered doing business in Vietnam.

    During this visit, she said she would like to build a relationship of trust with them and wanted them to know that her commitment to developing a strong economic alliance between Japan and Vietnam is unwavering.

    Chair Akio Mimura in turn stated his express appreciation to business leaders representing Japan for gathering. Japan and Vietnam share values and strategic interests and attach importance to freedom as well as the rule of law.

    On this basis, the two countries have experienced problems and need to change their economic relationship for the better but should preserve what shouldn't be changed and deal with the various other issues dynamically.

    Together, he said, the two countries could overcome the current difficulties and then play a leading role in economic growth in the world. With the world situation changing dramatically, he said, he would like to ask for their continuing support in working to strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries.

    Gov’t approves new bridges, roads for HCM City

     Vietnam hopes for Laos’s support in Mekong River water management, Burial services for soldier remains repatriated from Cambodia, Gov’t approves new bridges, roads for HCM City 

    The Government has approved a HCM City plan to build two bridges and a parallel road to National Highway No 50 in HCM City.

    The Cát Lái Bridge will cross the Đồng Nai River and link the city’s District 2 with Nhơn Trạch District in Đồng Nai Province.

    The bridge project, which will be 4.5 km including approach roads, will be 60m wide with six motor vehicle lanes and two mixed lanes.

    The Cần Giờ Bridge will replace the Bình Khánh ferry and link Nhà Bè and Cần Giờ districts.

    The bridge will cross the Soài Rạp River, which will be about 7.3km long, inclusive of approach roads, and 40m wide with four motor vehicle lanes and two mixed lanes.

    The new road parallel to the National Highway 50 will be 8.6km long and 40m wide, with six motor vehicle lanes, extending from Nhà Bè District to Long An Province’s Cần Giuộc District.

    All of the projects will start this year and end in 2020.

    NA committee talks economy

    The National Assembly Economic Committee held a plenary session on Thursday to review the implementation of the national socio-economic development plan in 2016 and early 2017. They also talked about the amended law on credit institutions and a resolution on bad debt settlement.

    The Government report stated that over recent months, the economy has overcome many difficulties to develop, with the macroeconomy basically stabilised and inflation within acceptable limits.

    Money markets, banking activities and the stock market witnessed positive changes. State budget revenue was quite high, exceeding the set target.

    Domestic and foreign investors’ confidence increased thanks to the improvement in the business environment, while more than 110,000 new enterprises were established with registered capital reaching more than VNĐ891 trillion (US$39 billion), the highest number ever.

    Despite these achievements, the economy still faces many big challenges, the report said.

    Economic growth and exports have not met targets. Business production was difficult, especially in the first four months of 2017. Large-scale diseases occurred and avian flu is at risk of breaking out, while the pork industry is in a state of "overcapacity" due to a serious imbalance between supply and demand. In addition, environmental pollution is a concern.

    Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee Nguyễn Đức Kiên said that to reach targeted GDP growth of 6.7 per cent in 2017, the Government needs to focus on some key solutions.

    It is necessary to foster the disbursement of investment capital. If capital disbursement of construction and transport projects is done properly, capital from other economic sectors will be mobilised. He also emphasised the need to increase private capital mobilisation for investment in development.

    In addition, he said if the Government wanted tourism to be the spearhead industry, it is necessary to concentrate investment in it.

    In the afternoon, the Committee examined the draft law on credit institutions and the draft resolution of the National Assembly on dealing with bad debts of credit institutions.

    Urgent need for workers’ housing in Đồng Nai

    Đồng Nai faces a severe shortage of workers’ housing since 60 per cent of the southern province’s one million workers hail from other provinces and cities.

    Most workers and their families live in a shabby rented room because budget social housing is being built too slowly.

    Nguyễn Thanh Sơn is a worker who came from the central province of Nghệ An to work at the Hố Nai Industrial Park in Trảng Bom District 10 years ago.

    He and his wife have three children. The couple earn VNĐ10 million (US$400) a month and can only save VNĐ1-2 million ($45-90) out of that.

    His room measures a mere 15sq.m. His children often fall sick because of their poor condition.

    “We try hard to save for a house but we cannot because our income is just enough for our daily needs,” Sơn told Việt Nam News Agency.

    His is one of 12 rooms in Bùi Chu Hamlet in Trảng Bom’s Bắc Sơn Commune, most of which are rented by workers from central and northern provinces.

    “Owning a house is a very distant dream for us. We used to hear a lot about social housing where workers like us can pay a little every month. But we hear no more.”

    A recent survey by the Đồng Nai Trade Union found only 8 per cent of workers have savings while 72 per cent live from hand to mouth.

    Due to their low incomes, 62 per cent of workers have to work extra time, with most facing financial difficulties and lacking support from their families.

    In recent times several companies that hire a lot of workers, like Phong Thái and Chính Xác Việt Nam in Trảng Bom District and Chinwell Fastener in Nhơn Trạch District, have built a combined 65,000sq.m of bachelor housing for 10,000 workers.

    “Companies building dormitories for their workers is very good but in the long term workers will marry and need their own houses,” Tăng Quốc Lập, deputy chairman of the Đồng Nai Trade Union, said.

    The Trade Union has called on the provincial People’s Committee to build apartments for workers at VNĐ6 million ($266) per sq.m, VNĐ2 million ($85) less than the price stipulated by the Ministry of Construction.

    Workers could pay for the houses each month together with low interest, Lập said.

    Besides, the Trade Union would ask relevant authorities to fix standards for space, hygiene and rents for rented accommodation, he added.

    Nguyễn Thanh Lâm, deputy director of the province’s Department of Construction, said “By 2020, Đồng Nai Province will complete 20,000 apartments for workers and low-income people and dormitories for students.”

    By 2020, housing demand in Đồng Nai would increase to over 80 million sq.m, Lâm said.

    The province said to provide housing, especially for workers, the Government should provide funding for several projects and have more policies to attract investment in social housing.

    In the next three years, another 150,000 rooms are expected to be added around the province for workers and 7,500 apartments in Nhơn Trạch District.

    Rice disease brings misery to Hà Tĩnh farmers

    Local farmers in the central province of Hà Tĩnh are facing a disastrous rice crop season with nearly 5,300 ha of crop attacked over the past two weeks by Pyricularia oryzae Cav – a bacteria that causes rice blast disease.

    Data from the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department showed that the disease mainly attacked rice of the Khang Dân 18, Xi, P6, Thiên Ưu and VTNA2 types.

    Đức Thọ District is believed to suffer the most from the disease with 1,968ha of affected crop, the department said. Of which, about 300ha of crop were completely damaged in the communes of Đức Lạc, Đức Hòa, Đức Đồng, Liên Minh and Trường Sơn, the Nông thôn ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported.

    Trần Thị Sơn, a local farmer in Đức Thọ District’s Đức Long Commune, said her family’s income mainly depended on its 2,880sq.m rice field. Now, about 2,100 sq.m of rice were damaged. “I don’t know what to do now,” she said.

    Dương Thị Bảy, of Thạch Hà District’s Kỳ Sơn Commune, said over 6,120sq.m in her rice field contracted the disease this season. There was no symptom of the disease until the rice flowered, she added. “We will lose about five tonnes of rice this season,” she said.

    Dương Văn Thư of Thạch Đài Commune said that apart from losing the crop, he also had to hire a harvester to deal with the affected rice. The price was VNĐ140,000 ($6) per 360sq.m,  and the affected rice area was about 4,320sq.m, he said. “One loss leads to another loss," he bemoaned.

    To deal with the affected rice areas, many local farmers have to harvest the damaged rice early in the hopes that some rice will remain disease free and they will also get straw to feed their cows and buffalos.

    Nguyễn Thị Vân, of Can Lộc District’s Mỹ Lộc Commune said her rice field was about 2,800sq.m. The entire field had already contracted the disease. She now had to harvest the rice soon and take the straw to her cows.

    Lê Thị Thi, of Thạch Hà District’s Thạch Hà Town, said “Seeing my own field hit by the disease, I am desperately worried.” Thi tried to harvest the rice early, but she only extracted 100 kilos of rice from her 1,000sq.m of field.

    Trần Xuân Định, deputy head of the Plant Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, said prolonged warm weather this year was blamed for the disease.

    Nguyễn Tống Phong, deputy head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said this year’s weather with less sunny and more rainy days was the cause. Between April 22 and April 25 – the time that the rice flowered in every field, prolonged rainy weather occurred, creating favourable conditions for the disease to develop.

    Nguyễn Trí Hà, head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said farmers neglecting to spray pesticide in order to prevent the disease were also to blame.

    The vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Đức Thọ District, Đặng Giang Trung, told Nhân dân (People) online that the district planted rice on more than 6,500ha of agricultural land, including 1,900ha growing Thiên Ưu rice. The affected area was mainly in fields growing Thiên Ưu rice, he added.

    Some people alleged that the problem stems from the quality of the varieties.

    Trung said he asked the State managerial agencies to quickly co-operate with the locality find out the causes of the disease.

    In response, the head of the ministry’s Plant Cultivation Department, Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, led a team on Wednesday to Hà Tĩnh to inspect the situation and seek immediate solutions.

    Joining Ba Na Hills Wine Festival to taste wine of world famous brands

    The festival entitled Taste of Ba Na Hills 2017 will give guests an opportunity to explore the taste of new wines and explore modern day distillation processes.

    The festival will take place on May 22 - 26 at the main stage of Le Jardin D’Amour flower garden in Sun World Ba Na Hills.
    Visitors will have a chance to experiment La Batalla del Vino rituals, a traditional activity at European wine festivals, get involved in the wine making process, visit grape gardens and explore the Debay cellar.

    Between 10am and 1pm, any visitor who buys a cable car ticket will get a coupon for a premium wine of the world’s prestigious brands. Visitors will also enjoy performances by European music band Bryant and dancers.

    Vietnam province fears ‘another Formosa’ as paper mill raises environmental concerns

    With the fish death disaster caused by wastewater dumped by a steel plant into the waters off central Vietnam still fresh in the minds of citizens, administrators in a province housing a paper mill are worried about giving history the opportunity to repeat itself.

    The administration of the central province of Quang Ngai has called on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to provide more detailed guidance on how to ensure the VNT19 pulp mill in Binh Son District will not become ‘another Formosa.’

    The Formosa scandal refers to last year’s disaster in which more than 100 metric tons of fish were killed, severely affecting the environment, jobs, and economies of four provinces along Vietnam’s central coast, all thanks to poorly treated wastewater from the namesake steel mill in Ha Tinh Province.

    Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group later took responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay US$500 million in damages to the government.

    In a dispatch sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on April 3, Quang Ngai chairman Tran Ngoc Cang demanded that the ministry confirm that the VNT19 wastewater discharge system installed under the water’s surface is in line with legal regulations.

    The system raised concerns when it was publicized that it is the same system as that used at Formosa Ha Tinh.

    The VNT19 complex, developed by the eponymous company, consists of a pulp making plant, a wastewater treatment system capable of treating 73,000 cubic meters of water per 24-hour period, and a 5.2km discharge pipeline.

    The developer wants to discharge wastewater through Le Ninh River to the Viet Thanh Bay, about 500m to 1,000m away from the Le Thuy beach in the East Vietnam Sea.

    More than 2,000 residents living near the pulp mill earn their livelihood from the sea, so the community was understandably on edge after hearing the mill will discharge its water into the ocean.

    The Quang Ngai administration has every reason to fear that the VNT19 plant will follow in Formosa's footsteps.

    VNT19, located on a 117-hectare plot in the Dung Quat Economic Zone, received its investment license in 2011 for its first-phase operation to run at a capacity to produce 250,000 metric tons of products per year.

    When licensing the project, Quang Ngai insisted that the developer use advanced technology and brand new machinery and equipment for the facility.

    In 2014, the developer asked to increase the capacity to 350,000 metric tons a year. Quang Ngai approved the request under the condition that the developer ensure the project will be pollution-free.

    In September 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment approved the developer’s environmental impact assessment for the facility, reiterating that it must use 100 percent new machines.

    However, after VNT19’s first shipment of equipment and machinery arrived at Dung Quat port in 2015, authorities discovered that the imports were used machines from a dismantled pulp mill in Norway, a clear violation of the company’s commitment to use brand new hardware.

    The discovery came after Quang Ngai had already reclaimed more than 87 hectares of land, including 50 hectares of mangrove palm plantations from local residents to make space for a water supply reservoir for VNT19.

    In 2017, the Quang Ngai administration asked the developer to hire an independent agency to assess the plant’s technology.

    VNT19 then contracted Da Nang-based A Viet Co. for the job, but the Quang Ngai technology department quickly detected that the company had not been certified as an assessment firm by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

    In January 2016, the Dung Quat Economic Zone suggested that the Quang Ngai construction department ask VNT19 to relocate their discharge pipeline to Le Thuy beach.

    “Dumping the [treated] wastewater directly into the sea leaves a smaller environmental impact,” the economic zone’s deputy manager Dam Minh Le explained.

    But local residents do not seem to agree, citing the fact that the pipeline is underground as a difficulty in authorities supervising the wastewater discharge.

    Quang Ngai authorities have demanded that the developer build a reservoir to hold the treated wastewater while administrators and locals oversee the treatment quality before the water is released into the sea.

    Le insisted that no solution is better than having the pulp mill discharge its wastewater into the sea.

    “It does not really matter where the wastewater is released,” Le said.

    “What’s more important is that we ensure there is no environmental disaster.”

    Le said the environment ministry will soon send a team of experts to examine the VNT19 project.

    Coal and Minerals win at national women’s football

    Việt Nam Coal and Minerals defeated defending champion HCM City 1 2-0 in the opener of the National Women’s Football Championship yesterday at the HCM City’s Thống Nhất Stadium.

    Trần Thị Thu opened the score for Việt Nam Coal and Minerals just a few minutes into the first half.

    Nguyễn Thị Vạn made it 2-0 near the end of the match in a one-two situation with goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh.

    HCM City pushed up their speed, opened consecutive attacks but failed to break the visitors’ strong defence.

    In the later match of the day, HCM City 2 lost 0-1 to Sơn La.

    In today fixture, Phong Phú Hà Nam will play TNG Thái Nguyên and Hà Nội 2 will face Hà Nội 1.

    Yuth wins stage, Cường leads An Giang race

    Yoeun Phi Yuth of Cambodia won the second stage of the Return to Countryside An Giang cycling tournament yesterday.

    Yuth came first with a time of 2hr 53.07min on the 120km stage from Gia Nghĩa Town of Đắk Nông Province to Đồng Xoài Town of Bình Phước Province.

    He was followed by Trần Nguyễn Duy Nhân of Military Zone 7 and stage one winner Quàng Văn Cường of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang.

    Cường remains the tour’s leader after two stages, clocking 3:42.17. Yuth keeps the green jersey as the best cyclist.

    Cambodia top the team ranking. Premium Cycling Vĩnh Long and Military Zone 7 stand second and third, respectively.

    The third stage is on 120km from Thủ Dầu Một City, Bình Dương Province, to Kiến Tường Town of Long An Province.

    Hai Phong launches public service portal


    The Hai Phong People’s Committee launched its official portal on May 11, offering access to online administrative procedures in the northern city.

    Built in 2016, the site – – has provided 173 public services. Document processing progress now can be checked online.

    Speaking at the launching ceremony, Vice Chairman of the committee Le Khac Nam said the website will play a significant role in the local administration reform and business climate improvement, which can lead to better Provincial Competitiveness Index.

    He requested the municipal Department of Information and Communications to continue connecting online single-window services of other agencies and districts with the portal.

    He said a portal is just the first step in building the e-government, which requires infrastructure development, new technology and administration reform.
    MoH urges authorities to enhance prevention of mosquito-borne diseases

    Following the complicated development of dengue and Zika, Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday sent its document to chairpersons of people’s committee nationwide, asking to increase prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.

    The country is entering the rainy season. During the rainy season, mosquitoes get conducive conditions to breed and multiply. The Ministry stressed efforts against mosquito-borne diseases reinforced in preparation for rainy season.

    Local administrations in cities and provinces along with related agencies and social organizations should convince locals to throw away waste to eradicate places where mosquitoes can lay egg and breed as well as cover all water containers, to change the water in flower vases every day and kill larva.

    Localities must keep enough equipment, drugs, and chemicals for preparation of the prevention campaign.

    The municipal and provincial departments of health must intensify supervision to early detect infection cases to handle the outbreaks.  Medical workers must spray chemicals to kill the insect two or three times a week to kill mosquito and its larva.

    The departments of health nationwide must provide training to medical workers how to spray chemicals handle the outbreaks, communication skills to convince locals to kill mosquito. Public and private infirmaries must have mosquito-borne disease treatment guidance.

    Hospitals should follow the treatment guidance to limit the death. Additionally, hospitals should classify patients to treat serious patients first to cut down the mortality and reduce overloading.

    MoH said in early months of the year, despite a reduction of 20 percent of infection cases across the country compared to last year, there has been a surge in some cities and provinces. So far in 217, over 21,000 are infected with dengue with eight deaths. Besides, scattered infection cases of disease caused by Zika virus in some southern provinces.

    Modern auto testing center to be built in Bac Giang province

    Vietnam Register has said that it is going to build a 45-50 hectare automobile testing center in the northern province of Bac Giang at the total capital of VND730 billion ($32 million).

    According to the first design, the center will have five buildings and ten roads for auto testing, auxiliary works and modern equipment in accordance with national standards and international practice.
    The project will serve road motor vehicle manufacturing, assembly, import and export; expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Transport for approval next month before stating construction.
    The auto testing center was started in mid 2008 with the total area of 92 hectares and investment capital of VND1,398 billion. After considering, the Ministry of Transport required the agency to reduce the area to 40-50 hectares and the funds to VND730 billion in 2013.

    Mural paintings disappearing because of new houses contruction

    Many mural paintings in a coastal central commune are on the risk of disappearance because they were painted on dilapidated houses which needs to be re-built.

    Moss-covered walls of dozens of houses in Tam Thanh coastal commune in the central province of Quang Nam had colorful murals painted on them by the Korea Foundation Community Art Exchange Program a few years ago.
    However, they will disappear because they were painted on walls of old and need to repair houses.  For instance, the house of Mr. Phan Van Thanh in Trung Thanh village with the painting of three kids playing ball together - an attractive destination for holiday-makers to have a photo - is run-down seriously.
    Mr. Thanh feels regret at the painting drawn by an old Korean artist in a whole day so he remained the wall waiting for experts to remove it. Before building the new house, he reported to the local authorities, expecting the help of experts in preserving the wall.
    Tam Thanh Commune in Quang Nam Province has been sheltering generations of fishermen and their families.It is home to about 6,000 people in seven villages standing along a 6km stretch of unspoilt beach.
    Nearly 100 houses in Trung Thanh Village were painted. The life of local residents, mostly fishermen, has changed in many ways after the commune hosted an art space late last year.

    The art works feature daily life in the area, including fishing and related activities. Some of the old houses and fences in the area now sport 3-D paintings.

    Chairman of Tam Thanh Commune People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh said that  three houses will be destroyed for building new houses. Experts planned to remove two mural paintings and knock down one in Thanh’s house and later Vietnamese artists will draw similar paintings.

    Mr. Binh called on owners of these houses with mural paintings to report to the local administration to protect the paintings

    APEC Study Centres Consortium convenes conference in Hanoi

    The APEC Study Centres Consortium (ASCC) Conference 2017 opened in Hanoi on May 12 within the framework of the APEC 2017 Second Senior Officials Meetings (SOM2) and related meetings.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, who is also Vice Chairman of the National Committee for APEC, said that over the past nearly three decades, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has asserted itself as a leading economic mechanism in the region and the world that leads the liberalization of trade and investment as well as promote multi-layer cooperation trends.

    APEC represents 39 percent of the global population and contributes 57 percent of GDP and 47 percent of trade in the world, he said.

    In the coming time, APEC will play an indispensable role in the evolving regional architecture, coordinating and connecting regional linkage mechanisms, he noted.

    According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, APEC now holds an important part in Vietnam’s multilateral foreign policy. The country has set up strategic and comprehensive partnerships with 13 APEC member economies. It has also signed and joined free trade agreements with 18 members.

    APEC cooperation in promoting liberalization of trade and investment, developing quality human resources development, facilitating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)’ operations, responding to disasters and enhancing connectivity will greatly contributing to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, he stressed.

    He urged participants at the conference to work to identify emerging trends in Asia-Pacific that have great impact on APEC cooperation, promote the role of APEC in the new context, and propose measures to boost sustainable and inclusive growth, develop human resources, encourage innovation, enhance regional linkages and increase competitiveness of MSMEs.

    In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen Nguyet Nga, Senior Advisor to Vietnam’s APEC 2017 National Secretariat, spoke highly of the role played by policy researchers in fostering understanding and connectivity among APEC members, especially when the region enters its fourth decade of development in 2019.

    Researchers must be pioneers in making policies, laying basic foundations for policy makers to build next programmes and plans, she noted, adding that they should pay more attention to strengthening APEC collaboration in a practical manner and promoting sustainable growth and intensive regional connectivity.

    During the two-day conference, delegates will discuss new trends, challenges and outlook for the Asia-Pacific region, relevance and dynamism for APEC in the new context, and the development of an APEC Labour Mobility Framework.

    They will also focus on measures to promote resilience, sustainable and inclusive growth among APEC member economies, and human resources development and technological innovation in the region as well as deepen regional economic integration, and enhance capacity and competitiveness of MSMEs.

    Network information security of 11 key areas prioritised

    According to Decision No.632/QĐ-TTg of the Prime Minister, the network information security of 11 key areas must be prioritised.

    The 11 key areas include transport (the Ministry of Transport); energy (the Ministry of Industry and Trade); natural resources and environment (the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment); information (the Ministry of Information and Communications); health (the Ministry of Health); finance (the Ministry of Finance); banking (the State Bank of Vietnam); defence (the Ministry of defence); security, social order and safety (the Ministry of Public Security); urban areas (the municipal People's Committees of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City); and the Government's direction and administration (the Office of the Government).

    The Prime Minister also promulgated the list of important national information systems in the fields of information and the direction and administration of the Government.

    Specifically, the information system comprises of the national domain “.vn”; the system of management, control, use and operation of telecommunication satellites; the system of management, control, use, operation of the broadband backbone network; the international switching management system; the submarine fiber-optic communication system, and the land-based cable system.

    The Government's direction and administration area includes the data communication network for Party and State agencies; and the 4-level government document management system.

    The Prime Minister requested relevant ministries coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Defence to develop specific criteria to identify important national information in certain fields, as well as evaluate and propose amendments and/or supplements to the list of important national information before November 30 each year.

    Bebras Challenge 2017 kicks off second round

    More than 350 students have attended the second round of the international mathematics competition Bebras Challenge 2017 in Hanoi and HCM City.

    The event, the first of its kind in Vietnam, is organized by Hanoi Telecom and ISKOOL Education Joint Stock Company.

    In the keynote address at the opening ceremony, Nguyen Cong Toan, director of ISKOOL JSC said the competition aims to promote computer science and computational thinking among school students and contribute to accelerating the development of the scientific and technological revolution in the world.

    All exam papers of students will be sent to the International Bebras Committee for evaluation and the exam results will be unveiled after 30 days. The awards will be presented to the most outstanding students.

    The winning candidates will have an opportunity to attend Bebras summer camp scheduled for June.

    The first round of the contest took place under online platform from March 25 to April 7.

    Japanese manga art on display


    An exhibition of Hokusai Manga, considered the origin of today’s manga, is taking place in HCM City from May 12-26.

    The Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master’s Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics will honour artist Katsushika Hokusai, who created and published first Hokusai Manga over 200 years ago.

    The exhibition will introduce audiences to Hokusai’s publications, focusing on genre, pictorial storytelling and culture.

    It is jointly held by the Japan Foundation Centre and the General Consulate of Japan in HCM City.

    Ethnic minorities’ cultural festival in Huế

    A festival on traditional sports and cultural activities of the mountainous regions will be celebated in the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế from May 15 to 17.

    Held every two years, the event is an effort to honour, preserve and promote the unique cultural characteristics of the ethnic minority communities living in the district, and to make people aware of the tourism potential of the region.

    The festival will see a variety of activities such as an arts performance, traditional clothes fairs and other exhibitions, sports competitions, and mobile film screening.

    Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, vice-chairman of A Lưới District’s People’s Committee, said the unique cultural activities of the ethnic people in the district, such as traditional ways of bathing in the stream, washing hair and catching fish in groups, will be showcased at the festival for the first time this year.

    Around 500 amateur artists and athletes from ethnic minority groups in Thừa Thiên Huế Province’s four mountainous districts of Nam Đông, A Lưới, Phú Lộc and Phong Điền will participate in the event.

    New road to ease Hà Nội traffic congestion

    A 50-metre-wide addition to Ring Road No 1 and parallel to Đê La Thành Street in Hà Nội will soon begin construction, according to a newly approved city’s People’s Committee plan.

    The new road, located in Ba Đình and Đống Đa districts, will start at Hào Nam-Hoàng Cầu crossroad and end at Giảng Võ-Láng Hạ crossroad.

    The Ring Road No 1 has 50-metre wide cross section. Đê La Thành road’s cross section is 17m.

    The land between Ring Road No 1 and Đê La Thành Street has the width of 8 to 12m.

    The crossroads between Ring Road No1 and Đê La Thành Street will be determined following detailed planning along two sides of the Ring Road No 1 approved by local authorities.

    The city’s People’s Committee has assigned the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture to approve road marking plans and hand over documents to peoples’ committees of Ba Đình and Đống Đa districts to manage the road construction following approved planning.

    The area around Đê La Thành Street is a traffic bottleneck. A series of transport projects were built within Ring Road No 1 to reduce traffic congestion of the city.

    Hà Nội’s Ring Road No 1 is a circle route through Cầu Giấy, Tây Hồ, Ba Đình, Hoàn Kiếm, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa districts. It runs from Nhật Tân Ward of Tây Hồ District along Hồng (Red) River to the city’s south and covers Nguyễn Khoái, Trần Khát Chân, Đại Cồ Việt, Xã Đàn, La Thành streets, Bưởi road, and Lạc Long Quân road.

    Remains of 107 martyrs repatriated from Laos reburied in Nghe An

    The central province of Nghe An on May 12 held a burial ceremony for 107 volunteer soldiers and experts falling down in Laos, whose remains were found and repatriated in the 2016-2017 dry season.

    Present at the event was Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung, Secretary of the Nghe An Party Committee Nguyen Dac Phong, and representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Government, Military Zone 4 and special working groups from the Lao Government and Xieng Khouang, Vientiane and Xaysomboun.

    Over the past years, the special working groups of Vietnam and Laos, the Steering Committee for the Search and Collection of Martyrs’ Remains, as well as Nghe An and the three Laos provinces have coordinated closely in searching for remains of Vietnamese martyrs in Laos.

    In the 2016-2017 dry season alone, 104 sets of remains of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers and experts were found in Laos and three sets of remains were searched in Ky Son district of Nghe An.

    According to Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, currently, about over 200,000 martyrs’ remains are still in Laos and former battlefields across Vietnam.

    In the past five years, authorized agencies have repatriated more than 12,000 sets of remains, while the names of more than 300,000 martyrs have yet been defined.

    On the occasion of the 70th Day for Martyrs and War Invalids, Dung called for the entire community to exert efforts to care for the revolution contributors and invalids.

    Tien Giang constructs technical works to control flood

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is implementing a sub-project on managing and mitigating the risk of floods in Ba Rai – Phu An area, which is funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Australia Agency for International Development (AusAID).

    According to Truong Hoang Dieu, Deputy Director of the Management board of sub-projects in the Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) project under the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the sub-project has a total investment of over 335 billion VND (14.74 million USD), including more than 273.2 billion VND (over 12 million USD) from the ABD and AusAID.

    It aims to upgrade irrigation systems and breakwaters to prevent floods and flood tide, thus protecting over 4,500 ha of fruit trees in Cai Lay district, Cai Lay and Cai Be towns.

    The locality planned to construct five big sluices and 23 small ones, and upgrading breakwaters and transport facilities in disadvantages areas.

    The construction of 13 breakwaters began February this year. The remaining works were scheduled to be completed in 2018.

    The sub-project is hoped to make it easy for locals to effectively adapt to climate change, and zone out specialized-planting areas of fruit trees with high value and competitiveness such as mango, green-skin grapefruit, and durian, helping improve their incomes and living standards.

    It would also contribute to promoting new-style rural area building, fine-tuning rural transport systems and protecting the environment.

    APEC trade policy on environmental services deliberated

    As part of the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) and related meeting, the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) hosted a Trade Policy Dialogue (TPD) on Environmental Services in Hanoi on May 11.

    The dialogue was designed to provide information about the classification of environmental services, study the combination of environmental products and services and discuss ways for APEC member economies to support each other in speeding up negotiations on environmental services.

    At the dialogue, Jehan Sauvage, a Trade Policy Analyst in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), shared his expertise about environmental services.

    According to him, there are three basic types of environmental services: key environmental services (wastewater treatment, underground water management); environment-related services (consultant and technical services) and other services directly related to the environment (legal and auditing services).

    Water resources business was also a topic that gained attention from delegates at the dialogue where they mentioned factors considered as a momentum to enhance creativity and efficiency as well as challenges in this field.

    Regarding the limited use of recycled items and disposable products, participants emphasised the importance of circular economic model and ways to reduce the re-use and recycling of items in the daily life. The disposal, treatment and management of waste not only bring benefits to society but also the environment, they noted.

    Overcoming the environmental damage was also a type of service debated by the delegates. This sector has faced a number of challenges due to different standards and regulations on the environment in different economies and political institutions.

    During the course of the final session, the panels deliberated ways to effectively boost renewable energy business, noting that the sense of efficiency in thinking and action could improve the quality of business and enhance competitiveness in the market.

    Legal challenges are likely to hinder development of the renewable energy sector and they should be removed as soon as possible, they said.

    Cường wins An Giang cycling tour’s first stage

    Quàng Văn Cường won the first stage of the cycling tournament "Return to the Countryside An Giang" on May 10.

    Cường of the Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang crew finished the 38km stage around Nguyễn Tất Thành Street in Buôn Ma Thuột City, Đắk Lắk Province, in a time of 49min 27sec and secured the yellow jersey.

    Nguyễn Minh Luận of Premium Cycling Vĩnh Long passed Yoeun Phi Yuth from the Cambodian national youth team in the last second to finish in second place.
    The second stage of 110km is from Gia Nghĩa Town of Đắk Nông Province to Đồng Xoài Town of Bình Phước.
    The annual tournament has nearly 100 international and local athletes vying for a total bonus of VNĐ450 million (US$20,000). It will close on May 19 after 11 stages in Long Xuyên City, An Giang Province.

    Police detect smuggled medicine worth $219,968

    The department of smuggling prevention (C74) under Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and Economic Police of District 4 confiscated smuggled medicine worth VND5 billion ($219,968) yesterday.

    Tens of police officers abruptly paid a visit to a warehouse at 488 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in district 4.

    At that time, a truck driven by Cao Hien Huu traveled into the warehouse. Police officer searched the truck and discovered 41 containers of medicine with more than 750kg of medicine including specific drugs for cancer and diabetes treatment.

    The owner of the warehouse confessed that in their permits all medications were imported from Turkey via Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC and then will be exported to Cambodia through Moc Bai border gate in the southern province of Tay Ninh.

    However, the owner of the warehouse said, later, smugglers will use smaller vans to carry the medicines back to Ho Chi Minh City for consumption.

    Police are furthering the investigation.
    Bridgestone donates 100 smart trash bins to city

    Japanese tire producer Bridgestone Vietnam in April donated 100 smart trash bins to the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

    The event which is a part of the “Together with Bridgestone in response to Earth Day 2017” campaign aims to promote a cleaner environment.

    The first 30 trash bins that previously handed over on April 16 were installed on a pilot basis at Nguyen Hue pedestrian square in HCMC's District 1. The dustbins feature dual compartments to separate organic waste and inorganic waste, water filtration system to grow trees and reflective decals for visibility at night.

    The other 70 smart trash bins were set up in other districts of Ho Chi Minh City.

    Joining Ba Na Hills Wine Festival to taste wine of world famous brands

    The wine festival called The Taste of Ba Na Hills 2017 will give tourists a new experience of different premium wines free of charge and explore the wine making process.

    The festival will take place on May 22 - 26 at the main stage of Le Jardin D’Amour flower garden in Sun World Ba Na Hills.
    Visitors will have a chance to experiment La Batalla del Vino rituals, a traditional activity at European wine festivals, get involved in the wine making process, visit grape gardens and explore the Debay cellar.

    Between 10am and 1pm, any visitor who buys a cable car ticket will get a coupon for a premium wine of the world’s prestigious brands. Visitors will also enjoy performances by European music band Bryant and dancers.


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  • 05/14/17--06:19: Article 1
  • Social News 14/5

    Youngest Vietnamese heart transplant patient goes home

     Youngest Vietnamese heart transplant patient goes home, Vietnamese lass wins national letter writing contest, APEC moves to boost sustainable urbanisation amid globalisation, Khau Pha paragliding festival kicks off in Yen Bai
    Nguyen Thanh Dat, who is believed to be the youngest Vietnamese patient to undergo a successful heart transplant, went home today (May 12) after nearly two months of hospital stay, said official at the Vietnam-Germany Hospital.

    We are indebted to the doctors and the team at Vietnam-Germany Hospital, said family members. They've given Dat a new lease on life. We are all so very excited to be going home now.

    Associate Professor Nguyen Huu Uoc, head of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Department of the Hospital, said the young patient was diagnosed with myocardial expansion due to final-stage heart failure.

    On March 15, doctors at Hospital successfully performed heart transplant surgery on the young man, which was the only treatment that would save his life, he added. The ten-year old is now in stable condition and his prognosis is good.

    Vietnamese lass wins national letter writing contest

    Imagining herself as an advisor to the new UN Secretary-General, young eighth grade student Nguyen Do Huyen Vy from the province of Bac Ninh,wrote a letter advising him of the world issue she would tackle first.

    This topic for the 46th UPU International Letter-Writing Competition was chosen to celebrate the election of the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who took office in 2017.

    In her letter, Vy chose the world issue of war refugees.

    She also advised on solutions for helping the UN Secretary General solve the problem, which included a recommendation to buy islands for refugees from war-torn countries among other recommendations to overcome the consequences of war.

    The letter was written and submitted to the Vietnam Universal Postal Union as part of the national competition. Vy’s letter was chosen the best and has now been forwarded to the International Bureau.

    Each member country's best letter was required by the competition rules to have been submitted to the International Bureau in Bern Switzerland no later than May 5, 2017, where the entries will nowbe judged as part of the international competition.

    APEC moves to boost sustainable urbanisation amid globalisation

    Representatives from APEC member economies and relevant international organisations gathered in Hanoi on May 14 to discuss ways to boost sustainable urbanisation in the context of globalisation and climate change.

    Opening the APEC Dialogue on Sustainable Urbanisation, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Construction Phan Thi My Linh said that the Asia-Pacific region is now home to 42 percent of the world’s population, with 1.8 billion people living in urban areas.

    “The management of the urban transformation is an important and difficult task for the member economies, particularly in the context of globalisation and climate change,” she noted.

    Linh cited Vietnam as an example, saying that after 30 years of reform, the country has made important achievements in urbanisation.

    The urban system has developed rapidly in terms of number and quality, with urbanisation rate increasing from 19.6 percent with 629 urban areas in 2009 to about 36.6 percent with 802 urban areas in 2016.

    The urban sector produces about 70 percent of the country’s total GDP, bringing about much values in industrial production, export and import, science and technology progress and exerting spreading impacts of social economic development to the region and the country.

    However, like many other developed economies, urbanisation in Vietnam has faced many difficulties and challenges, such as the rapid and hot urbanisation overpasssing the management capacity of local administrations, the inconsistant development between technical and social infrastructure, uncontrolled migration, social disparity as well as new arising global problems like climate change and sea level rising.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, who is SOM Chair, stated that together with the increasing urbanisation and its role in social economic development, there are many associated problems and challenges of high levels of impacts on the environment and people.

    “They require changes in urban development and management approaches,” he said, stressing the need for multi-sector and integrated strategies and solutions to support well-managed urban development, problem-solving and innovation toward sustainable and inclusive development.

    The dialogue, held within the framwork of the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings, focuses on discussing institutional framework and policy for sustainable urban development and urbanisation, linkages in regional urban development towards sustainability, urban housing development adaptive to climate change, and development models of energy efficiency and green growth.

    A set of policy recommendations are expected to be formulated from presentations and discussions at the dialogue, which could be refered to while developing the urban agenda in each APEC member economies.

    Human resources help APEC become driving force for global economy

    As a dynamic region with rapid economic growth for many decades, the Asia-Pacific region has become a primary driving force for the global economy thanks to its abundant human resources with high skills which are effectively combined with quality institutional frameworks and close collaboration among member economies, said a Vietnamese official.

    In his opening remark at the 42nd Plenary Meeting of the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG), Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep said the high quality human resources are increasingly important for the development of each country since both the world and region is experiencing huge changes under the impacts of the fourth industrial revolution, especially digital technology.

    “Our urgent task is to promote regional cooperation, study and make timely assessments on the impacts of digital technology on human resources development, based on which proposing pioneer solutions to increase the adaptability of the labour force in the digital age,” he said.

    Diep expressed his hope that the meeting would focus discussion on the Framework of Human Resources Development in the Digital Age for consensus.
    If approved, this will be the outcome document of the APEC High-level Policy Dialogue on Human Resources Development in the Digital Age, with significant contributions to the development of high quality human resources, enhancement of job quality and connection among people in the APEC region, he added.

    The Deputy Minister went on to say that this also contributes to creating a new driving force for building a shared future of a dynamic, cohesive and prosperous APEC community as well as constructing Asia-Pacific partnership for sustainable and comprehensive development in the 21st century.

    Talking with Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reporters on the sidelines of the meeting, Christina Maria Schonleber, Vice Director (International Secretariat) of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), said the fourth industrial revolution will benefit the labour market, especially in the digital age, and create opportunities for skill development with the assistance of new technologies.

    The development of the digital age will lay a foundation for development in the future, she said, adding that the labour market needs to develop further, particularly enhancing transnational connections and expanding vocational training.

    Established in 1990, the HRDWG has conducted work programmes on developing human resources, touching on issues ranging from education to labour and capacity building. In addition, the HRDWG has responsibility to help build cultural awareness and promote gender quality.

    Sixth working day of SOM 2 and related meetings

    The second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) and related meetings entered the sixth working day in Hanoi on May 14 with meetings and workshops focusing on urbanisation, science-technology and the internet economy, among others.

    The SOM Friends of the Chair (FotC) on Urbanisation will host an APEC Dialogue on Sustainable Urbanisation, while the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) will hold a Workshop on APEC Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

    The fourth Meeting of the Ad-hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE 4) and the second Meeting of the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI 2) will be organised.

    Meanwhile, the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) will convene its plenary meeting. Also on May 14, there will be a Project Management Training Workshop.

    Up to 49 meetings, workshops and dialogues of APEC committees and working groups have been held to prepare contents for SOM 2 scheduled to take place on May 17-18.

    Party chief meets with Hanoi voters

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met with constituents in Ba Dinh, Tay Ho and Hoan Kiem districts, Hanoi, on May 13 in preparation for the third session of the 14th National Assembly.

    The capital’s constituents applauded the drastic leadership and management of the Party Central Committee, Politburo and Government over the past time, saying the efforts have created positive changes in social spheres.

    Many expressed their belief in the Party’s determination to combat corruption and other negative phenomena, saying recent disciplinary measures against several senior officials proved that there is no “prohibited” area and discrimination on the grounds of positions and rankings.

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong hailed the constructive opinions of voters.

    After informing the main contents of the third sitting of the 14th National Assembly, the Party chief spared time exchanging issues of voters’ concerns.

    He said law building is one of the core and fundamental tasks of the National Assembly. The legislature is not only the highest State power organ but also the highest representative agency of the people.

    Therefore, it needs to include representatives from all social strata as well as ethnic groups and religion, to ensure the voice of the entire people in making law, he stressed.

    The number of full-time law makers should be increased, experience from foreign countries be learned and the public opinions be listened in the work, he noted.

    He thanked the constituents for advocating the Party Central Committee’s deeds to build a stronger and more transparent Party.

    The prevention of corruption, negative phenomena and wastefulness in recent time has seen major strides, especially in 2016 when many serious cases were brought to light, he added.

    He shared with the constituents’ opinions that the outcome of preventing and combating corruption and negative phenomena over the past time has yet lived up to the public expectations, and should be stepped up in the coming time.

    “There are a lot of things to do. This is an arduous struggle that requires patience and high determination”, he said, but adding that the Vietnamese law and policies are strict but also humanitarian.

    Regarding the State apparatus and personnel work, he said the Party Central Committee will hold a conference to discuss how to arrange and evaluate officials.

    Pertaining to the punishment of violating Party members, the Party chief said it is essential to increase vigilance over provocative information on whether the punishment is hard or soft.

    The Party Central Committee has considered the punishment calmly, objectively, comprehensively, and thoroughly and will push ahead with the disciplinary measures according to law, responsibility and morality.

    He also took note of the voters’ concerns about other issues such as measures to assist the consumption of farm produce, environmental protection, State-run businesses restructuring, public and bad debts.

    Khau Pha paragliding festival kicks off in Yen Bai

     khau pha paragliding festival kicks off in yen bai hinh 0 

    The Khau Pha Paragliding Festival kicked off in Mu Cang Chai district in the northwestern province of Yen Bai on May 13.

    More than 100 paragliders are participating in the event as part of the Yen Bai Tourism Year in response to the 2017 National Tourism Year held in Lao Cai and northwestern provinces.

    Khau Pha is one of the longest mountain passes in Vietnam, with a height of more than 1,200 meters above the sea level, providing a breathtaking view of stunning natural scenery.

    It is rated as one of the four most beautiful paragliding sites in Vietnam and among the top five most beautiful flying spots in the world.

    Jointly organized by the People’s Committee of Mu Cang Chai district and Hanoi Vietwings parachute club, the festival is taking place between May 13-14 and May 20-21.-

    Vietnam, RoK eye cooperation in water treatment, environment

    A forum took place in HCM City on May 12 to exchange views on policies and enhance cooperation between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea in applying advanced technology in water treatment and environment.

    The Vietnam-RoK cooperation in environmental industry forum was co-held by the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute.

    According to Duong Trung An, Director of the VEA’s Department of Policy and Legislation, 283 industrial parks in Vietnam discharge more than half a million cubic metres of wastewater per day and only few of them have a wastewater treatment system.

    About 3 million cubic metres of wastewater has also been dumped daily by 800 urban areas across the country, a majority of which has not been treated, signaling the country’s urgent need for investment in water treatment and the environment, he said.

    He added that many incentives have been adopted to encourage the RoK’s investment in the field.

    At the forum, Korean firms introduced to attendees advanced technologies in water treatment and environment protection.

    Econity company suggested the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Filtration technology which is used for industrial wastewater treatment by Samsung and quite popular in the US, Italy, and West Asia. Meanwhile, DongMyung company presented about the application of technology for detecting gas leak and recover gas release at gas stations.

    They expressed their hope to partner with Vietnam to popularise these technologies in the country.

    Tran Phong, Head of the Southern Environment Protection Department, noted that environmental industry is a new concept in Vietnam while the RoK has years of experience in the field. He believed that the RoK will transfer its technologies to help Vietnam resolve problems in water treatment and the environment.

    Regional legislatures called to do more in climate change response

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) symposium for Asia-Pacific wrapped up in Ho Chi Minh City on May 13, calling on legislatures to take stronger actions to cope with climate change, via promoting their legislative and supervisory role and increasing regional and international cooperation.

    Addressing the closing ceremony, Vice Chairwoman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Tong Thi Phong summarized the main contents of the event which underlines climate change as one of the biggest threats to sustainable development, especially in the Asian-Pacific region.

    Participants discussed measures to promote the role of lawmakers in tackling environmental changes and implementing national commitments to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the spirit “no one is left behind”.

    They stressed the role of the IPU in boosting the integration of SGDs into law-building programmes as well as examining and deciding important issues relating to the field.

    Phong said a self-assessment toolkit built by the IPU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was launched at the event with comprehensive and specific criteria to help legislatures evaluate their progress and quality of implementing commitments to achieve SDGs.

    She called on countries to strengthen coordination with the UN agencies to increase the capacity of legislators in accelerating the implementation of SDGs.

    Participants also spared time elaborating the impacts of climate change on the public health and food security.
    They proposed legislatures provide more assistance for needy people and such vulnerable groups as women and children.

    Phong suggested intensifying inspection and ensuring the distribution of budget and necessary financial resources to implement national commitments to obtain SDGs, while encouraging international organizations and developed countries to support developing ones.

    Secretary General of the IPU Martin Chungong urged legislatures to strengthen solidarity and cooperation towards SDGs.

    Later, Nguyen Van Giau, Chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations hosted a press conference informing the outcomes of the symposium. He remarked that the event was a success, looking to foster the law-making body’s role in pushing actions to respond to climate change to realize sustainable development goals.

    The IPU symposium took place in HCM City from May 11-13 with three plenary sessions, focusing discussions on the role of legislatures in realizing SDGs and the mobilization of financial resources for these goals. It gathered 200 delegates from parliaments in 22 Asian-Pacific countries, and representatives from international organizations.

    Poland’s Constitution Day celebrated in HCM City

    Ambassador of Poland to Vietnam Barbara Szymanowska was present at a get-together marking the Constitution Day in Poland in Ho Chi Minh City on May 12.

    Constitution Day commemorates the enactment of the Polish Constitution that came into effect on May 3, 1791. The Constitution is the first in Europe and the second in the world after the US.

    Ambassador Barbara Szymanowska said the Constitution Day is a big event in Poland’s history, marking a milestone in the Polish nation’s development.

    She noted that geographical distance is not a deterrent to the special bonds between Poland and Vietnam over the past 67 years.

    Many Vietnamese are living in Poland and more and more Polish people have found they are attached with Vietnam, the diplomat said, referring to them as a bridge to foster mutual understanding and good sentiments between the two people.

    Nguyen Dang Cuong, President of the Vietnam-Poland Friendship Association’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter, noted that Poland is among the first foreign countries that recognized and set up diplomatic ties with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

    The two countries have been tied by a faithful friendship despite geographical distance, he said.

    Government urged to ask for Lao Pak Beng hydropower project suspension

    Many scientists have asked the Vietnamese Government to propose Laos to suspend its Pak Beng hydropower project to wait for thorough assessment of the project’s possible impacts on areas in the lower Mekong River.

    They made the request at a seminar held by the Vietnam National Mekong Committee in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on May 12. The event aimed to consult experts in Vietnam’s southern localities about Laos’s Pak Beng hydropower project on the mainstream Mekong River.

    The project is located in Pak Beng district of the Lao province of Oudomxay. It is the first of the 11 hydropower dams planned to be built on the mainstream Mekong River, including nine in Laos and two in Cambodia.

    Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee, said located at the end of the Mekong River, Vietnam is keeping a close watch on hydropower projects on the mainstream of the river. It is deeply concerned about their impacts on the environment, socio-economic situation and livelihoods of 20 million residents in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

    Accumulated impacts, resulted by the increase of water use in the upper river and climate change, reached their peak in the Mekong Delta with drought and saltwater intrusion in the dry season of 2016, along with serious land erosion and subsidence in numerous places, especially along the Vam Nao River in Cho Moi district, An Giang province, in late April, he added.

    Prof. and Dr Nguyen Ngoc Tran, former Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Affairs, said the provided report on the Pak Beng hydropower project’s impacts only took into account statistics of six years – a too short period of time to make a trustworthy assessment of the project’s impacts.

    He said this project will negatively influence the Mekong Delta a lot, asking Laos to suspend the construction of this dam to make another report giving more comprehensive evaluation of the project’s impacts.

    Notably, the Pak Beng project is situated in an earthquake prone area, Tran said, noting that many earthquakes with 6-7 magnitudes were recorded in areas near Pak Beng from 1935 to 2011. Earthquake will influence the dam’s safety, but this problem hasn’t been included in the provided report.

    Echoing the view, Dr Vu Ngoc Long from the Southern Institute of Ecology said the current report on the project lacks reliable data and an evaluation of cross-border impacts.

    MA Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent researcher on the Mekong Delta, attributed land erosion in the Mekong Delta mostly to a shortage of mud and sand. Meanwhile, the Pak Beng project’s biggest impact is on alluvium and sand sources, and it is just one of the 11 planned dams on the mainstream Mekong River.

    Frequent tests early detect hypertension: Minister

    Healthcare units, especially at local level, should frequently check blood pressure for people aged above 18 to early notice risks of hypertension, which is dubbed “the silent killer”, said the health minister.

    Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien made the statement during a ceremony to mark World Hypertension Day (May 17) in Phu Linh Commune, Soc Son district, Hanoi on May 13.

    Tien said approximately 12 million Vietnamese adults, or about one of every five people, are living with high blood pressure. Hypertension is the leading cause of stroke and heart attack which lead to death, paralysis and other disabilities and daily living problems, she noted.

    The number of people with high blood pressure in Vietnam has rapidly grown as a consequence of unhealthy diet, exercise negligence and consumption of tobacco and alcohol, the minister noted.

    She urged the healthcare sector to coordinate with relevant state agencies in developing policies and regulations to control the disease-related risks and promote a healthy lifestyle among the people.

    In addition, local authorities should design programmes for the prevention of high blood pressure and accelerate communications campaigns to raise public awareness on the issue.

    A representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that the Government of Vietnam and local authorities should support people to lead a healthy lifestyle, for example, by creating a smoke free environment and ensuring safe and clean foods.

    Making regular blood pressure check is the simplest way to early spot hypertension, especially for people aged above 40, the Ministry of Health advised.

    The Vietnam National Heart Institute took the occasion to provide medical checkups and consultation for the locals at Phu Linh commune.

    Nguyen Minh Viet tastes victory, lead place unchanged

    Nguyen Minh Viet of southern Binh Duong province finished first the third stage of the Return to Countryside An Giang cycling tournament on May 12.

    Viet completed the 120km stage from Thu Dau Mot City, Binh Duong to Kien Tuong town of Long An province with a time of 3hr 6.16min.

    He was followed by Yoeun Phi Yuth of Cambodia and Nguyen Minh Luan of Premium Cycling Vinh Long.

    After stage four, Quang Van Cuong from Gao Hat Ngoc Troi An Giang remained the tour leader, clocking 6:48.34.

    The green jersey belongs to Yuth with 49 points.

    Gao Hat Ngoc Troi An Giang are on top of the team ranking. Cambodia and Premium Cycling Vinh Long came second and third, respectively.

    The fourth stage on May 13 is from Kien Tuong to Hong Ngu Town of Dong Thap province on 108km.

    Workshop seeks measures to boost sustainability of APEC cities

    workshop seeks measures to boost sustainability of apec cities hinh 0 

    A workshop on developing the methodology for measuring and realising the sustainability of cities in the APEC region took place in Hanoi on May 13 as part of the APEC 2017 Second Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings.

    The event aims to help cities in APEC economies solve the environmental issues caused by rapid economic growth and urbanisation.

    Participants discussed the development of sustainable cities, especially resources circulation and waste management, as well as shared their economies’ experience in environmental protection.

    According to Phan Thi Hien, deputy head of the Environmental Protection Division under the Da Nang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, her locality has taken effective measures to protect the environment, mobilising the engagement of local residents, tourists and organisations in the action.

    To prepare for the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, Da Nang will try its best to create a clean environment so as to promote the image of a future environmental city to the international community, especially tourists, she said.

    Sharing Singapore’s experience in this field, Dr. Malone Lee Lai Choo, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities of the School of Design & Environment under the National University of Singapore, said that her country has tried to make improvements in the environment for almost 40-50 years.

    “We have cleaned up rivers and seriously implemented environmental laws and regulations to ensure polluters can be aware of their actions’ impacts,” she said, adding that Singapore has also developed waste management and stopped dumping wastes.

    She emphasised the importance of the engagement of the residents and the partnership between the government, businesses and people in improving the environment.

    APEC representatives talk start-ups for youth, women and athletes

    Representatives from APEC member economies met in Hanoi on May 13 to discuss education and start-ups for youth, women and athletes.

    Opening the APEC 2017 Workshop on Linking Education and Start-ups: Youth, Women and Athletes, Le Thi Hoang Yen, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Sports Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said APEC now focuses on linking education and promoting start-ups for youth, women and athletes, in order to serve its common target of building a dynamic, sustainable and harmonious Asia-Pacific community.

    She appreciated all ideas which help promote and support post-retirement life for female athletes, thus contributing to the overall economic development in the region.

    She expressed her hope that after the workshop, the APEC member economies could promulgate some suitable and effective policies in this field.

    The workshop discussed government policies that are important for advancing the comprehensive education of athletes and female athletes in particular. Thanks to these policies, athletes will have a well-rounded education that supports their future career development.

    Delegates shared the best practices of APEC economies in youth start-ups as well as the uses for the APEC Sports Policy Network (ASPN)’s 2018 sports newsletters which are designed to be published in April, July and October in 2018.

    The workshop formed part of the APEC 2017 Second Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings.

    Moroccan Ambassador asked to enhance business linkages

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh has asked Moroccan Ambassador to Vietnam Azzeddine Farhane to promote linkages among businesses in the fields of trade, tourism, finance and banking.

    During a meeting with the ambassador in Hanoi on May 12, Minh spoke highly of the diplomat’s efforts to successfully organise numerous cooperation activities between Vietnamese and Moroccan research institutes and universities during the first six months of his tenure.

    He took this occasion to thank Morocco for supporting Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.

    The Deputy PM suggested that the two countries should increase the exchange of delegations at all levels, saying Vietnam expects to welcome the Moroccan King on his official visit to the country.

    The ambassador affirmed that Morocco will continue supporting Vietnam at regional and international forums.

    He also expressed his wish to maintain regular contact with Vietnam through existing cooperation mechanisms such as the inter-governmental committee and political consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

    Project to strengthen protection for vulnerable children 

    This information was revealed by the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Save the Children on May 12.

    The project, running from 2017 – 2019, is expected to benefit 55,000 children and 48,000 teachers, school managers, childcare workers, volunteers and families in the districts of Binh Tan, Thu Duc, Go Vap and Cu Chi.

    Under the project, the beneficiaries will be provided with training courses to enhance their capacity in child protection and ensure that disadvantaged and migrant children will be able to access to quality formal education.

    It will also work to stop physical violence and abuse against children in schools and communities by operating a monitoring mechanism with the participation of children and parents.

    The project is hoped to promote engagement of relevant agencies, social organisations and residents in protecting vulnerable children from abuse and exploitation.

    Ho Chi Minh City has the second highest number of under-16 children across the country, said Nguyen Thi Lien, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    It is also home to 135,000 migrant children, 17,000 disadvantaged kids and 3,000 others living in child care centres, she said, adding that the project is expected to promote child protection in the city.

    Regional legislators learn about climate change impacts in HCM City

    Leaders of parliaments in the Asia-Pacific region and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) made fact-finding trips to some areas in Ho Chi Minh City on May 12 to learn about climate change impacts.

    Joining the trips, which formed part of an IPU symposium on response to climate change, were Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, IPU President Saber Chowdhury, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong, and about 200 representatives from the parliaments of 24 regional countries and international organisations.

    The delegates visited Dan Xay residential area, which is often inundated by tidal surges and has been suffered from land erosion. Although the area is part of the Can Gio protective forest – a world biosphere reserve, unplanned land reclamation for house building there has influenced the recovery and development of the submerged forest ecosystem.

    The parliamentarians were briefed on to HCM City’s response to the problem, which is resettling households to safer places. The resettlement is meant to protect the Can Gio forest while improving local residents’ material and spiritual life.

    After visiting the Dan Xay residential area, participants planted trees at an area zoned off for building the Rung Sac Cultural Park in Can Thanh town of Can Gio district.

    Speaking at the tree planting ceremony, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said climate change is a major challenge for the world in the 21st century. HCM City has been well aware of climate change impacts and has taken many solutions such as afforestation and forest protection to mitigate climate change’s negative impacts on the local people’s life and socio-economic development.

    The 50 bang vuong (Barringtonia asiatica) trees planted during the event are adaptive to drought and other severe climate conditions, he noted.

    Applauding HCM City’s organisation of the tree planting event, IPU President Saber Chowdhury said the IPU symposium on climate change response for the parliaments in the Asia-Pacific region is not simply a dialogue but also demonstrates legislators’ actions in the face of climate change.

    Planting trees is an investment in the future and will enrich the ecosystem and reduce the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, he said, expressing his hope that each delegate would promote tree planting in their countries.

    Hanoi airport plans expansion to avoid overload crisis

    Noi Bai is seeking to double its capacity to prevent the problem faced by its overstrained sibling in Ho Chi Minh City.

    The city of Hanoi is seeking approval to add two terminals at Noi Bai International Airport, anticipating possible overloads in the next few years.

    Hanoi's Party chief Hoang Trung Hai said at a meeting on May 12 that Noi Bai cannot risk becoming a another Tan Son Nhat, the country’s largest airport in Ho Chi Minh City which is constantly strained.

    He said the city has applied for permits to build two extra terminals to ease the pressure on the current two, and upgrade infrastructure to serve 50-75 million passengers a year. The city plans to seek private investment for the expansion.

    “Noi Bai currently does not look as packed as Tan Son Nhat. But if we don’t expand it now, it will become Tan Son Nhat,” Hai said.

    He said the passengers are growing “very fast.”

    Noi Bai, designed for 25 million passengers a year, received 20 million in 2016. That was up 20.5% from the previous year. Passengers in 2015 also grew 21%, according to figures from the airport.

    Arrivals are expected to reach its designed capacity within the next three years and then double in less than 20 years, officials said.

    Down south, Ho Chi Minh City has been grappling with how to scale up Tan Son Nhat effectively.

    In February the airport was granted 21 hectares (52 acres) of military land for a US$864 million expansion, which will add two more terminals by 2018 besides runways and aircraft parking space to raise its annual capacity to 45 million passengers.

    The airport with two terminals has been serving 42 million passengers annually, well over its design capacity of 25 million.

    It has only two runways, which several times were reduced to one because of flooding or lightning strikes. The airport has enough space for 57 aircraft at a time, but sometimes it has to handle more than 70.

    Vietnam’s airline market has the third fastest growing pace in Asia-Pacific and the country is trying to solve an acute dearth of airport capacity, with passengers growing 29% to 52.2 million in 2016, according to official data.

    National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, low cost carriers Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air plus the newly founded Vietstar Airlines are planning fleet expansion to have a total of 263 aircraft in the next four years. Vietstar has not been licensed for air transport.

    The country is working on a design for a massive airport in Dong Nai province to offload some of the stress from Tan Son Nhat airport, but construction is not expected to be completed by 2025.

    Late last month a team of consultants assembled by the Ministry Transport of has picked a lotus-themed design for the airport. This choice is being reviewed by the government.

    American celebrity chef makes special appearance in Vietnam

    Martin Yan, a Chinese-Hong Kong-American chef and food writer, who has hosted an award-winning Public Broadcasting Television cooking show in the US –Yan Can Cook – since 1982 will appear in An Giang on May 20.

    According to Vnexpress, Chef Yan will make a special appearance demonstrating the art of cooking healthy Vietnamese dishes at the Vinh Dong Mall in the city of Chau Doc as part of the festivities celebrating An Giang Tourism Month.

    Plan to transform Son Tra into tourist zone to remain intact

    The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said on May 11 that it will not amend a controversial plan to turn nearly one-fourth of the city’s Son Tra Peninsula into a tourist zone.

    The statement was made at a closed meeting between VNAT and the Da Nang Tourism Association to address the latter’s suggestion to amend the controversial planning of a Son Tra National Tourist Zone.
    According to the VNAT drafted plan approved by the Vietnamese Prime Minister in February, 1,056 hectares of Son Tra’s total 4,439 hectares will eventually be developed into a national tourist zone capable of accommodating 1,600 hotel rooms by 2030.

    Over 30 reporters from local news agencies who gathered at the venue for May 11 meeting were barred from entering the room despite the continuous demands of Huynh Tan Vinh, president of Da Nang Tourism Association, for the press to be let in.

    In a brief meeting with press after the meeting, Vinh acknowledged that Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of VNAT who chaired the meeting, has no intentions amending plans for the Son Tra National Tourist Zone and that the current framework was drafted and approved “in accordance with established procedures.”

    Sieu, on the other hand, opted to leave the venue without taking questions from the press.

    The minutes of the meeting was left unsigned by the representatives from the Da Nang Tourism Association, Vinh said, reiterating that the two parties were unable to reach a mutual agreement.

    He added that the association’s request for scientists, experts, and representatives from relevant associations to attend the meeting was also rejected by VNAT.

    Representatives from VNAT also refused to attend a seminar hosted by the association on the conservation and sustainable development of the Son Tra Peninsula, Vinh said.

    The seminar’s organizers on May 10 sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the administration of Da Nang proposing a comprehensive review of all projects slated to affect the Son Tra Peninsula in order to determine the amount of special-purpose forest that might be harmed.

    Son Tra Peninsula, dubbed ‘God’s Eye of Indochina’ by locals, is known for its untouched beauty and natural forest.

    It shields the city from typhoons, sustains eco-tourism growth, and serves as a key element of the nation’s defense.

    Nghe An, cradle of outstanding people

     nghe an, cradle of outstanding people hinh 0

    Nghe An province, the homeland of President Ho Chi Minh, is also home to several other cultural figures and national heroes. The province is also a tourist attraction thanks to its beautiful landscapes.

    Nghe An province, 300 km south of Hanoi, has a favorable location for road, railway, waterway and airway. The province is like a miniature of Vietnam because it covers plain, mountain and sea.
    Nghe An attracts tourists thanks to its ancient forests, beautiful beaches and many historical and cultural relics. Vinh city in Nghe An province is also a popular tourist destination.
    Tran Ha, a tour guide of Vietland Travel Company said “Five kilometers from Vinh city is the grave of great poet Nguyen Du, a World Cultural Figure. The Kim Lien relic site, the home village of President Ho Chi Minh, is 15 km from Vinh city. 17 km southwest of Vinh City is Cua Lo beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in central Vietnam.”

    Nghe An has more than 1,000 cultural and historical relic sites.200 of them have been ranked. The most popular tourist site in Nghe An is Kim Lien relic site which showcases the childhood of President Ho Chi Minh. Hoang Tru village is the home village of President Ho Chi Minh’s mother. There, in a thatched cottage, items associated with President Ho Chi Minh’s early years are displayed.

    Nguyen Thi Yen, a visitor said “I have read and been told about President Ho Chi Minh, but visiting his home village, I think our President is so great. His home village is as modest as other Vietnamese villages but such simplicity makes our Uncle Ho great. This is my first visit to President Ho Chi Minh’s mother’s village. I’m very happy.”

    The 10-km Cua Lo beach in Vinh city lures a lot of tourists. The islands of Hon Ngu, Hon Mat and Lan Châu nearby enchant the most demanding tourists. To Lan Phuong, a visitor from Hanoi said “I have visited many places but Cua Lo beach is so beautiful. Local people are friendly, sincere, and hospitable. I will come back.”

    Pu Mat National Park, 120 km southwest of Vinh City, is also a tourist destination in Nghe An. Located on the eastern side of the Truong Son range, Pu Mat National Park and Khe Kem waterfall are famous nature reserves of Vietnam which are home to a number of precious and rare fauna and flora species. The western mountain region of  Nghe An province is home to Kho Mu, O Duo, Tho, San Diu, and H’mong ethnic minority groups. Each group has its own culture, festivals, folk songs, and chants.

    Nghe An province has a lot of festivals throughout the year, including Whale worshiping, clam procession, boat racing, Cuong temple, Bua cave, house warming, rice wine, and village festivals. Beautiful landscapes, historical sites, culture, and ethnic cultural diversity make Nghê An an attractive tourist destination.

    Vietnam Cable Television sues local channels, websites for Champions League piracy

    Vietnam Cable Television, or VTVcab, is pressing charges against more than ten TV channels and websites it claims have violated its exclusive broadcasting rights for Champions League games in Vietnam.

    The copyright infringement has resulted in VTVcab being forced to terminate live broadcasts of UEFA Champions League matches starting May 10.

    Hoang Ngoc Huan, CEO of VTVcab, said on May 11that the cable service provider has completed a court filing to bring the violators to the People’s Court of Hanoi for further legal proceedings.

    According to Huan, VTVcab has suffered insurmountable losses since South Korea-based KJ Investment Group Inc., which provides VTVcab with its license to the tournament’s live broadcasts, disconnected signals over worries of piracy.

    This is the second time VTVcab’s airing of UEFA Champions League games has been interrupted for piracy, Huan said, and it had not only hurt the cable service economically but also given it a bad name in the eyes of international partners.

    “Among the more than ten defendants name in our suit, many are online newspapers that intentionally stream footage of tournaments that VTVcab has exclusive rights for,” Huan said.

    “It saddens us that even major TV networks and communications groups continued to pirate our broadcast despite constant warnings from VTVcab demanding they cease their illegal actions.

    “We will publicize the defendants once the lawsuit has been received by the court,” Huan added.

    According to the contract between VTVcab and KJ, the former was to attain exclusive live broadcasting rights to UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches in Vietnam for three seasons between 2015 and 2018.

    Huan said VTVcab had paid the full value of the three-year contract to KJ, and that its termination would mean huge losses on the cable service’s part.

    In addition, VTV is facing the possibility of being sued by KJ in the U.S. for its failure to protect the copyrighted live broadcast signals from pirates.

    “The representative office of KJ Investment Group Inc in California has threatened to sue VTVcab for violating the contract due to widespread piracy in Vietnam,” Huan said.

    The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs.

    Drug traffickers sentenced to life imprisonment

    The Hà Nội People’s Court on Thursday sentenced three drug traffickers to life imprisonment.
    The three defendants are Lê Minh Trí, 34, from Hà Nội; Nguyễn Văn Tiệp, 34, from the northern province of Ninh Bình; and Phạm Hữu Thuận, 23, from the central province of Thanh Hóa.
    According to the indictment, Tiệp hired Trí to transport the drugs by train to HCM City to deliver to a man named Zô.
    Also, through Tiệp, Trí got acquainted with Bắc and Hoa in Lạng Sơn Province, who supplied the drugs to Trí. Trí and Tiệp later bought drugs from Bắc and Hoa and hired Thuấn to transport them to Zô in HCM City.
    According to the investigation, from May 8 to 18, 2016, Trí and Tiệp illegally traded nearly 1.7 kilos of methamphetamine. During the time, Trí and Tiệp hired Thuấn to transport drugs weighing 700g for a payment of VNĐ9 million (US$400).
    On May 18, 2016, Thuấn visited Trí’s house in Hoàng Mai District in Hà Nội to collect the remaining drugs to transport to HCM City. However, when Tiệp and Trí reached the area near
    ​​Phù Đổng Bridge in Long Biên District of Hà Nội, they were detained by the police.
    The police are still determining the whereabouts of Zô in HCM City and the other suspects.

    IPU delegation plants trees in HCM City

    Leaders of parliaments in the Asia-Pacific region and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) took fact-finding trips around HCM City yesterday to learn about the impact of climate change.

    Joining the trips, which formed part of an IPU symposium on climate change response, were Việt Nam’s National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân, IPU President Saber Chowdhury, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong and about 200 representatives from the parliaments of 24 regional countries and international organisations.

    The delegates visited the Dần Xây residential area, which is often inundated by tidal surges and has suffered from land erosion. Although the area is part of the Cần Giờ protective forest--a world biosphere reserve--unplanned land reclamation for home building has damaged the recovery and development of the submerged forest ecosystem.

    The parliamentarians were briefed on to HCM City’s response to the problem, which is resettling households to safer places. The resettlement is meant to protect the Cần Giờ forest while improving local residents’ material and spiritual lives.

    After visiting the Dần Xây residential area, participants planted trees at an area zoned off for building the Rừng Sác Cultural Park in Cần Thạnh Town of Cần Giờ District.

    Speaking at the tree planting ceremony, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Lê Thanh Liêm called climate change a major global challenge for the 21st century. HCM City has been well aware of climate change impacts and has implemented solutions such as afforestation and forest protection to mitigate climate change’s negative impacts on the local people’s life and socio-economic development.

    The 50 bàng vuông (Barringtonia asiatica) trees planted during the event are adaptive to drought and other severe climate conditions, he noted.

    Applauding HCM City’s organisation of the tree planting event, IPU President Saber Chowdhury said the IPU symposium on climate change response for the parliaments in the Asia-Pacific region is not simply a dialogue but also a demonstration of legislators’ actions in the face of climate change.

    Planting trees is an investment in the future and will enrich the ecosystem and reduce the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, he said, expressing his hope that all delegates will promote tree planting in their countries.

    Da Nang launches online feedback service
    Authorities in Da Nang have launched a website at to get feedback on city services from the local community.

    Deputy director of the city’s Information and Communications Department, Tran Van Thach, said at a press conference on Thursday that the new online portal, available in English and Vietnamese, would allow residents and tourists to conveniently post opinions and suggestions, as well as complaints on urban, environmental, administrative and tourism-related services.

    The department also launched an app for public bus routes (Dana Bus) that can be downloaded from the Apple and Google Play stores.

    Using the app, tourists and commuters can easily search for the correct bus service and route in the city.

    Thach said users could send all problems related to security, tourism, public disorders, environmental pollution, and administrative procedures to the concerned authorities via the website. Issues will be dealt with within three working days.

    Thach said the page had already received 600 opinions and complaints from local residents and tourists, of which 98 per cent were resolved within seven days.

    Da Nang was the first city in Viet Nam to offer free wireless internet, with a maximum of 20,000 connections at a time for locals and tourists on major streets in the city, including living quarters, schools and beaches.


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  • 05/14/17--06:35: Article 0
  • Vietnam’s Cat Ba archipelago faces threats from mammoth tourism project

    The construction of a megaresort has been initiated in a popular archipelago off the northern Vietnamese city of Hai Phong, mounting pressure on the local environment recognized as the world’s biosphere reserve.


    A model of the megaresort upon completion in Cat Ba Archipelago off the northern city of Hai Phong

    The Cat Ba ecotourism resort and entertainment complex in the namesake archipelago, developed by Vietnamese conglomerate Sun Group, was kick-started on Saturday, with total investment estimated at US$3 billion.

    The project began with the construction of a seaport and station of an over-the-sea cable car system, 21km long, connecting Cat Hai and Cat Ba Towns. 

    The third terminal of the cable car is expected to be located near the administrative center of the Cat Ba National Park on the main island.

    Aside from the transportation system, the project will also include three golf courses, an amusement park, and several components to leverage the tourism potential of local areas such as Qua Vang Cave, Lan Ha Bay, Viet Hai Village, and Cat Ong Island.

    A clam farm, previously owned by residents in Cat Ba Archipelago, has been backfilled for the construction of the massive resort. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Le Khac Nam, vice-chairman of the Hai Phong People’s Committee, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that local authorities and Sun Group had carried out multiple surveys and pooled feedback before laying out a plan for the project.

    The building of the cable car as well as other constructions will only take place in the outer areas and along the coast, Nam said, claiming that it would not affect the Cat Ba biosphere reserve, which has always been strictly protected.

    The resort complex plays a very essential role in developing tourism on Cat Ba, the official elaborated.

    “Upon completion, the project will surely transform Cat Ba into a world-class tourist destination,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Hoang Van Thap, director of the Cat Ba National Park, affirmed that he had not been asked to give any advice on the construction.

    Thap added he had not been aware that some structures would be built within the park, where many rare animal and plant species are being protected.


    A map showing the ecotourism project in Cat Ba Archipelago. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Developing tourism in the area requires careful consideration by competent agencies to ensure that the wildlife habitat will not be subject to any damage, Thap asserted.

    Local conservationists are concerned that the Cat Ba langur species, the most endangered species in Vietnam being protected at the national park, would face multiple threats.

    As of April, only 56 langurs had been recorded on Cat Ba.

    According to Tran Thanh Liem, vice-chairman of the People’s Committee in Dong Bai Commune, Cat Hai District, among the 720 hectares of land needed to implement the project, 500 hectares is located in Dong Bai.

    Two out of three villages in the commune have been relocated in order for the construction to take place, Liem said.


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  • 05/15/17--02:09: Article 2
  • Vietnamese-American man acts as second ‘father’ to 12 orphans in home country

    A Vietnamese-American has financially assisted the adoptive father of 12 orphans in his home country for years as a way to give back to his native country.    


    Nguyen Tan Bong and his adoptive children pose in a photo taken in 2007.Courtesy of Vo Dac Danh

    Le Minh Trien, 53, the owner of a thriving lawn mowing business in the U.S., was deeply moved when he first learnt of a fairy tale taking place on Cam (Forbidden) Mountain in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

    The protagonists of the tale, Nguyen Tan Bong and his ailing septuagenarian mother, have provided for and taken care of 11 orphaned and disadvantaged children, including a preschooler with hearing and speech impairments, for over a decade now.

    Bong, 51 years old, has rejected marriage proposals from women out of admiration for his good deeds and devotion to single-handedly caring for his children.

    Trien came across an article published in 2008 about Bong and his adoptive mother, Vo Thi Ba, who live atop the desolate Mo Coi Mount in the Cam Mountain complex with nine boys and two girls ranging from one to five years old.

    Their home-sweet-home recently welcomed its latest addition, with the total number of children now at12.

    Vietnamese-American philanthropist Le Minh Trien. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    War victim

    Back in the early 1970s, Trien and his family moved from Hue City in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue to Tra Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta, where his father was stationed for military service with the erstwhile South Vietnam Army.

    One day in 1974, a soldier broke the news that his father was killed in battle.

    His mother, pregnant with her sixth child, took Trien, then 10, to the battlefield to retrieve his father’s body.

    The Viet Minh revolutionary soldiers were very kind and helpful, calling themselves friends rather than foes.

    The death of Trien’s father plunged his family into financial distress, forcing the boy to drop out of a school and pursue menial jobs to help his family eke out a living.

    When Trien turned 15, his mother sent him on a sea border-crossing that landed him on a treacherous journey to a refugee camp in Malaysia.

    The desperate, forlorn teenager focused on survival in the unforgiving conditions of the refugee camp, working without pay for a couple who ran a bread bakery in the camp.

    His hard work and dexterity paid off, and the couple rewarded Trien with the bakery, worth four taels of gold back then (a tael is now worth approximately US$1,585, for free when they settled down in a third country.

    The bakery properly fed the youngster and fellow refugees, allowing the young ‘entrepreneur’ the opportunity to add two more shops to his current patisserie.

    Trien then handed over his shops to another refugee when he was sent to the Philippines, where he learned English before settling down in the U.S in 1982.

    He stayed with a fellow Vietnamese in a house in San Diego, California, working as a scrap collector.

    One day, while collecting empty cans outside a house, an American man yelled a stream of invective at him, ordering him to stay away from his gateway.

    “Trien, you cannot be like this,” he told himself.

    The young man worked his way through high school with various jobs, including dishwashing, working as a janitor, and washing cars.

    He got married at 25 before opening his own shop selling souvenirs, ornamental creatures, and cars.  

    Trien then met Ted Mountain, an American businessman who later adopted him as his son out of his admiration for the young man’s sincerity and diligence.

    Heeding his foster father’s advice, Trien launched a lawn mowing company which has since become a household name amongst San Diego residents.

    The stable job has earned him a good living and the financial stability to return to Vietnam to see his mother and siblings in 1990 and do charity work in several localities across his home country.

    Vo Thi Ba, Bong's adoptive mother, who is now in her late 70s, is seen taking care of one of the adoptive children. Courtesy of Vo Dac Danh.

    Second ‘father’

    On a return visit to Vietnam in 2008, Trien made his way to Cam Mountain, where Bong and his 75-year-old mother were raising the 12 children.

    He gave the family money to buy food and other necessities for the kids, a daily struggle for Bong, who earns a modest living growing bamboo on small plots and sells the shoots for a meager living.

    Deeply concerned about the kids’ future, particularly schooling, Trien asked his adoptive father for help.

    His father told him to write newspaper articles, launch an association and raise funds from native Vietnamese and the Vietnamese-American community.

    Trien’s efforts were met with initial suspicion of his motive, but his financial transparency and philanthropy have finally won the trust of the community.

    In 2009, his association for helping physically challenged and orphaned Vietnamese children raised $35,000, and his adoptive dad matched that sum with an additional $35,000.

    The funding has helped send Bong’s 11 children to school (the youngest is still too young for school), and relieved much of his financial difficulty in providing for such a large family.

    Though his adoptive father and biological mother have passed away, Trien still travels between the U.S. and his home country to help create real-life fairy tales for needy people in several locales, including Hanoi, the central provinces of Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, My Tho City in southern Tien Giang Province, and his hometown, Tra Vinh.    

    In April 2017, before coming back to the U.S., Trien took his wife and children to Cam Mountain to visit Bong’s 12 adoptive children.

    The family can now afford a small house at the foot of the mountain so the children can get to school more easily.

    On their way back from school one day, the kids screamed excitedly at the unexpected sight of Trien, who they lovingly call “Dad.”


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