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Automobiles discovered not operating GPS equipment
What has Vietnam gained after 10 years of WTO membership?
While foreign experts say that Vietnam gained more than it lost after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), some Vietnamese experts say the opposite.
Pascal Lamy, former Director General of WTO
Speaking to Tri Thuc Tre on May 15, Pascal Lamy, former Director General of WTO, stuck to his opinion that Vietnam has gained more than it lost as a WTO member.
Vietnam has been a member of WTO for the last 10 years, during which it has gained great achievements. Lamy said that Vietnam is a success story as it can fully exploit its comparative advantages.
The advantages, as Lamy pointed out, are the high quality of the labor force and productivity. The industries where Vietnam has advantages include electronics, textile & garments, and farm produce.
Vietnam has been developing strongly thanks to expansion of relationships and reform policies, while the market opening has brought big benefits.
Looking back on Lamy’s comments in the past to the local press in 2007, when Vietnam officially because a WTO member, and in 2010, he has had a consistent opinion.
Huynh The Du from the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), however, commented that in the last 10 years, Vietnam has lost in the home market.
The expert thinks that Vietnam has suffered from the so-called Dutch disease. Vietnam does not lack capital as a huge amount of money has been pumped into the economy, but the money has been flowing into property speculation, thus distorting the national economy.
The view has been advocated by other experts, including Vo Dai Luoc, former head of the Vietnam Economics Institute.
Imports/exports have been increasing but the achievements belong to foreign invested enterprises, not Vietnamese.
“Though exports from Vietnam have higher technology content and the products are more diverse, the products’ added value remains modest,” said Vo Tri Thanh from the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM).
Regarding the trade deficit, Thanh said the situation has improved after 10 years of WTO membership, but the ratio of trade deficit to GDP and on total import/export turnover remains low.
While other WTO member countries can take full advantage of WTO membership to export their goods to Vietnam, Vietnam still cannot fully exploit opportunities to export products to other WTO member countries.
“The WTO member status has exposed Vietnam’s weak points,” Thanh commented.
Meanwhile, Le Huy Khoi from the Trade Research Institute, said Vietnam’s average GDP growth rate in the last 10 years was lower than that in the pre-WTO period.
Kim Chi, VNN
Encouraged by high profits, more investors jump into property market
The number of newly set up businesses in the real estate sector in the first four months of the year increased sharply compared with the same period last year.
In addition, giants in other business fields have also jumped on the bandwagon.
More than 1,390 new businesses were registered in the real estate sector in the first four months of the year, according to MPI, an increase of 66 percent over the first four months of 2016, while registered investment capital soared by 50 percent.
Analysts said more investors pour money into the property market as they are encouraged by the high profits reported by property firms.
Dat Xanh (DXG), for example, reported net turnover of VND586 billion in Q1 2017, a sharp increase of 86 percent over the same period last year, and post-tax profit of VND151.6 billion, or 5.2 times higher.
Meanwhile, Thu Duc House (TDH), reported net revenue from sales and services at VND191.3 billion, up by 152.9 percent. Its post-tax turnover reached VND41.5 billion in Q1, three times higher than the same period last year.
Prior to that, TDH gained a high growth rate in 2016, when it for the first time had turnover of over VND1 trillion.
Following prosperity in 2016 and the first months of 2017, real estate firms have set high business targets for 2017. The Hoa Binh Construction & Real Estate JSC plans to obtain turnover of VND16 trillion and post-tax profit of VND828 billion this year, higher than the VND568 billion in 2016, a 586 percent increase compared to 2015.
The promising real estate market has attracted big players in other business fields.
CII, a big construction firm with many BT (build, transfer) projects, has joined the real estate market with the decision to set up CII Land to realize investments in two high-end real estate projects in the Thu Thiem new urban area.
Coteccons (CTD), another construction firm, has also set up a subsidiary specializing in real estate business. Convestcons, the subsidiary, with charter capital of VND26 billion, will act as broker and trader.
CTD’s director Vu Duy Lam said the real estate market does not always prosper, so CTD needs to grab the opportunities now when the market is warm.
The real estate market is so attractive that it has lured seafood producers as well.
Saigon Seafood Import/Export JSC has announced it would pour VND250 billion into a 20-storey complex in Tan Binh district.
At a shareholders’ meeting held days ago, the Hung Vuong Seafood Company said the company now owns a land fund large enough to prepare for the property sector this year.
M. Ha, VNN
Social News 23/5
Binh Duong increases prevention of dengue fever
The Health Department in the southern province of Binh Duong has stepped up measures to prevent the spread of dengue fever in the locality.
Accordingly, the department required all health facilities to provide appropriate treatment for patients to minimise fatalities caused by the disease.
Besides, the provincial health sector has provided training courses on patient and insect monitoring, chemical spraying techniques to kill mosquito larvae and communication skills for preventive health workers.
It has also worked to meet the demand for medicine, commodities, chemicals and equipment to ensure efficient prevention of the disease, while spraying chemicals in all outbreaks.
According to the provincial Preventive Medicine Centre, Binh Duong has recorded 1,051 cases of dengue fever since the start of 2017. The disease occurred in all districts and towns the province, especially Thuan An, Di An, Thu Dau Mot and Ben Cat towns.
As many as 342 cases were reported in Thuan An town, an increase of 83 cases year-on-year.
Dengue fever cases have been on the rise in the paediatric department of the local general hospital, increasing from 33 cases in March to 45 in April.
Vietnam, African countries partner in youth investment
The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and embassies of African countries in Vietnam held a seminar in Hanoi on May 22 on boosting investments in youth in Africa.
Speaking at the event, VUFO Vice President Bui Khac Son shared several successful youth business models in Vietnam, including start-ups and new-style rural development, saying that they not only improve young people’s income but also generate jobs for other workers.
The VUFO and Vietnam-Africa Friendship and Cooperation Association are ready to help countries worldwide learn about start-up models and outstanding young businesspeople in Vietnam.
He expressed hope that more exchanges will be held among young people and entrepreneurs to share experience, contributing to socio-economic development.
Mozambican Ambassador to Vietnam Gamiliel S.J Munguambe said Africa is home to the youngest population with nearly 200 million aged 15-24, which is expected to double in the next three decades.
In the future, African economies will face a high unemployment rate with nearly 60 percent being young people, not to mention concern over unfair access to health care, education and social services.
Participants shared opinions about promoting cooperation initiatives between African embassies and research institutes in Vietnam.
Party official lauds Vietnam’s cooperation with Japan
Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh highlighted the progress in Vietnam-Japan cooperation while meeting with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko in Hanoi on May 22.
Binh said the strides made in bilateral partnerships in trade, investment and many other spheres have brought about practical benefits to people of both Vietnam and Japan, helping to step up the two countries’ relations in a comprehensive manner.
Vietnam is integrating more deeply into regional and global economies, he said, expressing his belief in the nations’ close connectivity within bilateral and multilateral trade frameworks.
For his part, Minister Hiroshige Seko spoke highly of the potential and development prospect of Vietnam’s economy.
Japan attaches importance to enhancing multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam and considers the Southeast Asian nation an important partner in ASEAN and Asia-Pacific, he noted.
He voiced his belief that the Japan-Vietnam ties will develop even more strongly for the sake of each country’s interests and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
Commando Arm holds anti-terrorism exercise
The Commando Arm coordinated with chemical and sapper arms, the electronic warfare force, Military Central Hospital No108 and Military Hospital No 103 to hold an exercise for anti-terrorism, hostage rescue and riot control in Hanoi on May 22.
The event was attended by Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Minister of Defence Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang.
In the exercise’s scenario, hostile forces incited large numbers of people to join a demonstration and then used the crowds as the cover to seize hostages. The forces had to dissolve the demonstration, rescue the hostages and apprehend the terrorists.
The exercise aimed to help the Ministry of Defence and relevant bodies to assess performance and training quality of anti-terrorism forces of the Commando Arm and the effectiveness of coordination between authorities and local army forces in terrorism-counter operations.
Speaking at the event, Lt. Gen Giang praised the outcomes of the exercise as participating officers have demonstrated excellent proficiency in handling emergency situations and operating weapons.
He stressed that the complicated development of regional and global situations requires Vietnam’s armed forces to work to improve their performance and training quality.
Festival honours Vietnamese, Czech cultures
A festival on Vietnamese and Czech cultures and cuisines was held in Jesenice town in the Czech Republic’s central region on May 21, attracting hundreds of locals and Vietnamese expatriates.
The festival, initiated by authorities of Jesenice town and Vestec village, introduced Vietnamese culture to local people, said Alexdandra Kochova, Head of the Culture Desk of Jesenice Town Council, adding that it also helped the Vietnamese community gain insights into local culture.
The Vietnamese in the localities brought to the event art performances featuring Vietnamese cultures, such as Quan ho (love duet singing), among others.
Vietnamese cuisines, exhibitions on modern Vietnam, culture and charity activities of the Vietnamese in the Czech Republic were on display at the event.
Meanwhile, local culture was introduced through various folk performances by local people.
Similar activities will be held in the future to enhance the ties between locals and the Vietnamese community, said Dieu Linh, a representative of the Vietnamese Association in the Czech Republic and Head of the Vietnamese organising board.
Some 100 Vietnamese families are currently residing in Jesenice town and Vestec village, 30 kilometres away from the capital city of Prague.
Vietnam protects biodiversity for sustainable development
Biodiversity resources are the foundation for and the measurement of development of every nation around the world. Thy Hat has a story about biodiversity in Vietnam on the occasion of International Biodiversity Day, May 22.
Vietnam is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most bio-diverse countries, with many types of forests, wetlands, rivers, and coral reefs which create habitats for many birds, animals, and fish. Vietnam is ranked 16th in the world in biodiversity and one of the 10 richest biodiversity centers with many endemic flora and fauna species and rich genetic resources.
Ms Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, Deputy Head of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said biodiversity is the foundation of Vietnam’s tourism development. With the theme “Biodiversity- sustainable tourism”, International Biodiversity Day 2017 is designed to inspire the public to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable tourism growth.
“In some localities, ecological tours have greatly benefited locals while helping to conserve biodiversity. The Van Long Nature Reserves in Ninh Binh province, the Marine Conservation Center in Cu Lao Cham in Quang Nam province, and Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap province are role models in promoting ecological tours and conserving local biodiversity”, said Ms Nhan.
Vietnam has issued a Law on Biodiversity in 2008, worked out a National Strategy on Biodiversity until 2020 and a Vision until 2030, and created a Master Plan on Biodiversity Conservation until 2020 and Orientation until 2030. Ms Nhan said “To mark International Biodiversity Day, we will strengthen communications on biodiversity conservation and promote Vietnam’s biodiversity values. Protecting biodiversity is the task of all sectors at all levels and of the community.”
Vietnam is revising the Law on Biodiversity to better protect its natural resources and biodiversity.
US, Japan naval vessels visit Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Port for PP17
One vessel of the U.S. navy and two ships of the Japanese self-defense forces arrived at Cam Ranh Port in south-central Vietnam on May 21 for activities to accelerate cooperation in the region.
The visit is part of the Pacific Partnership 2017 (PP17), a US Navy-initiated mission to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.
The US Navy’s expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s helicopter destroyer JS Izumo 183 and Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami 113 arrived at Cam Ranh for a training agenda revolving around humanitarian and medical aid.
According to Captain Stanfield Chien, PP17 mission commander, this year’s mission in Khanh Hoa Province would include seminars on civil construction projects, professional discussions and disaster response drills.
There would also be coordination in coastal health and marine search and rescue missions.
Naval forces of the three countries will preside over the completion of Hoa Mi and Son Ca kindergartens in Khanh Hoa, and the US Seventh Fleet Band will be performing at local parks and a secondary school as part of the agenda.
The USNS Fall River belongs to the US Military Sealift Command, measuring 103 meters in length with a beam of 28.5 meters and a draft of 3.83 meters.
The ship can reach a maximum speed of 43 nautical miles per hour and is capable of accommodating 312 crew members.
Fair introduces clean, safe food to customers
A fair featuring clean and safe food opened on May 22 at the Vietnam Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture in Cau Giay district, Hanoi.
Various food and agricultural products from clean food firms and cooperatives across the country are being showcased at some 200 booths at the event, which runs through May 28.
The fair, organised by the Vietnam Brands and Artisans Association, aims to provide customers with information on safe food.
It also details modern quality management systems and food safety regulations issued by Vietnam and international organisations to enterprises.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Le Ngoc Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Brands and Artisans Association, said food safety is receiving much attention from the Party, State and people.
Good food safety control helps prevent diseases, ease burdens on hospitals and increase the country’s gross domestic product, he said.
Pioneers prospering in Hà Tĩnh border land
Witnessing it now, one cannot imagine how sterile and deserted the Tây Sơn economic zone in central Hà Tĩnh Province was 14 years ago.
Lying among the greenery of rubber, tea and acacia on the Việt Nam-Lào border – some 30km from the Cầu Treo border pass – the zone is home to some 200 young households who moved here over a decade ago.
On the 82nd anniversary of the founding day of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union – March 26, 2003 – the Hà Tĩnh Youth Union gathered and encouraged a team of provincial newly-wed couples to leave their homes to manage 3,600ha of mountainous land in Sơn Kim 2 Commune in the province’s Hương Sơn District.
Upon their arrival, each household was assigned 1-3ha of agricultural land, 6-10ha of forestland, seeds of tea, rubber, acacia and fruit trees, as well as livestock and allowances to start a new life.
It was such a demanding task for the young couples, as the zone was vast and sparsely populated. It had no electricity, no roads and a scarcity of edible plants.
They held on to the land while several locals, born and bred here, left it for new promised lands.
They learned to fight off mosquitoes, leeches and malaria, assembling huts and shacks to live temporarily in the woods, and renovating forestland for agricultural practice, said team leader Hoàng Thế Lộc.
“Dried fish, jungle vegetables and bitter bamboo shoots were our main food back in those days,” Lộc said.
“We stayed up all night whenever there was heavy rain, because we were afraid of being swept away by flood,” he added.
Several couples gave up on the living conditions, Lộc said. The remaining ones gutted it out to grow tea, rubber and green trees.
The entire zone now enjoys 900ha of acacia, 120ha of rubber and 157ha of tea, 120ha of which produces 12 tonnes of fresh bud tea per ha.
Forty-two-year-old Nguyễn Viết Lĩnh and his wife, born and bred in the plains of Tùng Lộc Commune in the province’s Can Lộc District, were among the first batch of youth to relocate to the zone.
The first few years were particularly difficult for the couple. Apart from their assigned task of growing 3ha of tea, Lĩnh says they spent all of their free time clearing paths in the woods and flattening areas of forestland.
Each time they wanted to purchase necessities, they had to go through 10km of forest to reach the downtown area, he added.
The only path that led from the National Route 8A to the zone was covered in red soil that got sticky every time it rained, he said.
But such hassle is over. Now Lĩnh and his wife have 3ha of tea farm to harvest and five mature cows that can be sold for money.
“In the last three years our team has built a tea factory that can process some 13 tonnes of tea bud per day, which can be sold at a stable price of VNĐ7,000 (US$0.3) per kilogram,” Lĩnh said.
“Last year we were able to build a nice house from VNĐ100 million ($4,400) of profit from selling fresh tea buds,” he added.
Several households are enjoying the fruits of their agricultural practice and livestock farming as they used new techniques to create high productivity, which also helped to provide jobs for other team members.
After 14 years, the team has founded 14 cooperatives and three pig raising groups. One of the groups invested VNĐ30 billion ($1.3 million) in raising 600 sows, earning VNĐ10 billion ($440,000) per year.
The cooperatives and the remaining two groups earn some VNĐ400 million ($17,600) per year by maintaining nine pigsties, each of them housing 600 pigs.
Their livelihoods have been steadied thanks to the pioneering spirit and endurance of youth, said Nguyễn Thế Hoàn, Secretary of the provincial Youth Union.
Allowing young families to build lives in new lands not only gives them the opportunity to grow and prosper, but it also helps to assert sovereignty and ensure border security in distant areas of the country, he added.
The spirit of youth will help them to overcome the challenges and obstacles that lie ahead, he said.
HCM City to build kid’s centre
The HCM City People’s Committee has approved a project to build a new children’s cultural centre in District 5.
The centre will be located at 651 Trần Hưng Đạo Street, replacing the current Lao Động A-B Theatre. The theatre, built in the 1940s, is in disrepair .
City authorities hope the new building will be a new entertainment area for local children and residents, and will improve their social and cultural life.
The centre will include a 250-seat theatre, a 130-seat hall and two cinemas with a total of 480 seats, covering an area of 516 square metres.
It will cost VNĐ164 billion (US$7.2 million) and be built according to the Build – Operate – Transfer (BOT) model.
The construction is expected to begin later this year.
Hanoi 1 top national champs after four rounds
Hà Nội 1 beat HCM City 2 by a score of 2-0 in the fourth-round match of the National Women’s Football Championship, yesterday in HCM City.
Nguyễn Kim Anh scored for Hà Nội just two minutes before the break, while HCM City 2’s Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai netted an own goal in the last seconds of the game.
The win propelled Hà Nội 1 to top position in the ranking table with 10 points, replacing Phong Phú Hà Nam who enjoyed top spot for only 24 hours.
Meanwhile, this was the fourth consecutive defeat for HCM City 2, who are rooted to the bottom of the table with no points.
In a later match, Sơn La pocketed their second win of the season by beating Hà Nội 2 by a score of 1-0.
Cầm Thị Hằng scored the matches’ only goal in the 87th minute.
In the next set of fixtures, Hà Nội 1 will play Sơn La, while Hà Nội 2 will meet HCM City 2 on Thursday. Defending champions HCM City 1 will face Phong Phú Hà Nam and Việt Nam Coal and Minerals will clash with TNG Thái Nguyên a day earlier.
Cars vandalised in Danang
Police in the central city of Danang are investigating complaints that several cars were damaged while being parked on a local street.
Deputy director of the city's Police Department, Tran Muu, told local media on May 22 that they were searching for a group of men who allegedly caused damage to eight cars on Sunday.
According to the police, several people living in the city's two central districts of Hai Chau and Thanh Ke reported that they found their cars damaged on early Sunday morning while being parked on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street.
"At least eight cars have been reported as heavily damaged with broken front, back and windshield glasses or lights," Muu said. "Bricks and stones were also found inside the cars."
Owner of a damaged Toyota, Dao Thi Huyen Nga, said that she came to take her car at 415-417 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street at around 3 am to find that all the glasses had been broken.
"We hope that the police will soon find and punish those who did this," Nga said. "Now we're very worried about parking."
Security cameras at a nearby shop showed that the attack was done by a group nine men riding on five motorbikes at midnight.
Double joy arrives
A 22-year-old woman Hoàng Thị Hà of the central province of Nghệ An went into labour mere hours before her wedding.
Hà and her groom Bùi Đức Dương, 24 years old, planned to marry at 10am Sunday, May 14 surrounded by their family and friends.
By 8am of the big day, the groom received an urgent call from the bride’s family, letting him know she was in labour and going to hospital.
The groom and his family rushed to the hospital instead of going to Hà’s house, meeting the bride and taking her home as, is tradition.
Their baby said hello to the world on the wedding day of his parents. People congratulated Dương’s fortune of becoming a husband and a father on the same day.
Back at the wedding reception, some of the groom’s and the bride’s family stayed at home and received guests. They all enjoyed the party without the groom and the bride, or their new little bundle of joy.
Fowl thieves foul up
Police in Châu Phú District in the southern province of An Giang on Monday arrested two men alleged to have stolen 980 ducks in the district’s Đào Hữu Cảnh Commune.
The foul suspects, Lê Hữu Phước and Nguyễn Văn Phương, are accused of stealing the fowl from Bùi Văn Cuôl’s a duck farm. It seems to have been something of an inside job, with the accused thieves formerly working as duck breeders in the same field.
Their farm hadn’t been performing well and instead of waiting for help from the State, they planned to steal and sell the beasts to give their business a boost.
However, Phước and Phương unwittingly fouled up when they sold the fowl to Cuôl’s brother, who promptly turned them in.
Seems all’s fair in love and war, but not in the cut-throat business of duck breeding.
More bureaucratic meaninglessness
Phạm Văn Thiều, head of the Bạc Liêu Province’s Party Committee’s Organisation Commission, signed an official dispatch March 22 asking for reports of any change or promotion for positions in party committees in the province.
According to the official dispatch, the reports should be submitted to him before reaching Standing Party Committees in the province for final decision.
Thiều told Vnexpress.net that the dispatch was issued so that he and lower agencies could discuss more about human resource management. In addition, any proposal on positions in party committees should be prepared well before being submitted to Standing Party Committees.
However, the public has voiced concern that Thiều signed an official dispatch that “empowered” himself to do the job of lower agencies.
Last Friday, vice secretary of Bạc Liêu Province Party Committee Lê Thị Ái Nam signed a document deactivating Thiều’s official dispatch.
Binh Phuoc handles post-war bomb, ordnance leftovers
The Military High Command of the southern province of Binh Phuoc on May 22 worked with National Shooting Range Region 3 to dismantle various bombs, mines and artillery left over from wars in Loc Ninh and Bu Dang districts.
They included four bombs, six artillery cannons, 46 sub-munitions and four grenades.
Major Vo Trung Son, head of the Engineer Corp department under the provincial Military High Command, warned that as bombs can explode any time, locals must not cut unexploded landmines for scrap metal.
Thousands of bombs, landmines and explosives were dropped in the province during wars. Many are still buried in the locality.
In previous years, the province has made concerted efforts to defuse bombs and mines.
An estimated 800,000 tonnes of unexploded bombs and mines left over from wars are in more than 20 percent of Vietnam’s territory. The US army used more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines in Vietnam during 1945-1975, four times the amount used in World War II.
Leftover bombs and mines have killed about 42,130 people and injured 62,160 others in the country. The bombs and mines have affected socio-economic development and had severe consequences on people’s lives.
Kien Giang approves urban development programme until 2025
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has approved a programme on urban development through 2025, aiming to meet local socio-economic development needs in the context of international integration and to improve local living standards.
Under the programme, the urbanization ratio is targeted to reach 41 percent by 2025. Some 23 urban areas are expected to be developed, including 2 urban areas Type I, one Type II, one Type III, five Type IV and 14 Type V.
Measures will be taken to mobilise resources to realise the province’s goals, including using the state and local budgets and calling for domestic and foreign investment.
The province will help investors carry out urban development projects and hasten the completion of underway construction works.
Three large-scale urban projects are being developed in the province, comprising the 262-hectare Phu Cuong urban area, a sea-encroaching urban area project worth more than 3 trillion VND (132.2 million USD) in Rach Gia city and the 287-hectare Bai Dai resort worth more than 17.1 trillion VND (753.6 million USD) on Phu Quoc island.
According to Nguyen Quoc Su, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Rach Gia city, together with Phu Cuong urban area, the sea-encroaching urban area will meet housing demand from local people while beautifying the city.
The move also helps Rach Gia city become an urban area Type I and a model coastal urban area in the Mekong Delta region, he added.
More than 1,300 river-sea ships join coastal transport routes
Up to 1,302 river-sea compatible ships (VR-SB) have operated on coastal transport routes by May 15, according to the Vietnam Register.
They include 32 container ships, mostly operating on Quang Ninh – Quang Binh, Quang Binh – Binh Thuan, and Binh Thuan – Kien Giang routes.
The number, which is 100 ships more than two previous months, is expected to rise as dozens of river ships are to be upgraded to VR-SBs.
Relevant bodies are building regulations on managing the boats and their routes for submission to the Ministry of Transport.
The first VR-SB transport route was launched in 2014, connecting Quang Ninh and Kien Giang provinces.
An official from the Ministry’s Department of Transportation said goods are transported on the route from Quang Ninh and Hai Phong to Thanh Hoa and Ha Tinh are varied, including construction materials, machines and coal for the Nghi Son Petrochemical Refinery project.
Goods transported on the route from Nghe An, Ha Tinh to Hai Duong are mainly rock materials while cement, oil and gas, coal, and others are transported from the Nghi Son Petrochemical Refinery Factory to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.
Rice, fertiliser, construction materials, timber and consumable goods are the main goods transported between Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Kien Giang.
Vietnam marks 30-year participation in UPU letter writing contest
Hanoi’s Departments of Information and Communications, and Education and Training, and the Hanoi Post held an event in the city on May 22 to mark Vietnam’s 30-years of participation in the Universal Postal Union (UPU) letter writing contest.
The annual international letter writing competition for young people has been run at the national and international levels since 1971, with millions of under-15 children from all over the world taking part in.
The contest aims to develop children’s writing skills and creativity and tighten bonds among nations.
Through the themes of the contest, participants discuss important social issues.
Vietnam first launched the nation-level contest in 1987. It has been held annually from October in the previous year to February of the following year.
Over the past 30 years, the country has won two first, two second, three third and five consolation prizes at the international level.
PP Hà Nam win, top national ranking
Phong Phú Hà Nam won 1-0 and ended Việt Nam Coal and Minerals’ winning streak at the National Women’s Football Championship on May 22 in HCM City.
The two title favourites played an aggressive match from the start with consecutive attacks.
The first chance went to Phong Phú Hà Nam when Phạm Thị Tươi received the ball in the box in the 21st minute, but her finish went wide.
Four minutes later, Việt Nam Coal and Minerals answered with a straight shot by national team member Nguyễn Thị Vạn, who faced goalkeeper Lại Thị Tuyết in a one-two situation but could not score a goal.
Her teammates Đỗ Thị Nguyên and Trần Thị Thu also failed to score the opening goal.
Heavy rain in the second half did not stop the players from seeking a goal, but it was only in the 81st minute that Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung gave a perfect ball from a corner kick to Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt, who hit a strong header into the net.
Striker Tươi nearly made it 2-0 minutes later, but her finish was saved by keeper Thanh Hảo.
It was the first loss for Việt Nam Coal and Minerals following three wins in a row.
The win helped Phong Phú Hà Nam jump to top place in the ranking with 10 points while Việt Nam Coal and Minerals moved down to second position.
In the later match, defending champions HCM City 1 beat TNG Thái Nguyên 3-1.
Cao Thị Biên of Thái Nguyên scored an own goal just four minutes into the game.
Thùy Trang doubled the result for the hosts in the second half before Lương Thị Xuyến of the visiting side narrowed it with a straight shot into the far corner.
Ten minutes later Hoài Lương made it 3-1 in the 61st minute. HCM City stood third with nine points and Thái Nguyên was sixth with three.
In today’s action, Hà Nội 1 play HCM City 2 and Sơn La meet Hà Nội 2 at the Thống Nhất Stadium.
Party, procuracy officials of Lang Son, Guangxi share experience
Officials from Lang Son provincial Party Committee’s board for internal affairs and the political and legal affairs committee of Chongzuo city, China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, held talks in the Vietnamese province on May 22.
The two sides shared experience in advising their respective provincial and municipal Party committees on fighting corruption and settling complaints, as well as in directing agencies like public security, border guards and the procuracy, and in security.
Head of Lang Son’s internal affairs board Dao Duc Hoan expressed hope for stronger ties between the two sides, helping to solidify relations between the two Parties, States and peoples.
Lei Duorong, Secretary of the political and legal affairs committee under the Chongzuo municipal committee of the Communist Party of China, thanked the Vietnamese side for their warm welcome and said the two countries’ friendship needs to be maintained.
The officials also briefed each other about their respective localities’ situation and introduced the functions of Lang Son’s internal affairs board and Chongzuo’s political and legal affairs committee.
Also on May 22, representatives of the Lang Son People’s Procuracy met with a procuracy delegation from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
They discussed the work of each procuracy agency and bilateral cooperation. They hoped that visits will be increased to share experience, thus stepping up collaboration in fighting crimes.
Ninh Thuan: Muslim Cham people busy preparing for Ramuwan
Thousands of Cham Bani or Muslim Cham people in the south central province of Ninh Thuan are busy preparing for Ramuwan (Ramadan), their traditional New Year festival, from May 24-26.
During their biggest festival of the year, Cham Bani families gather to pay tribute to their ancestors and parents and pray for happiness, bumper crops and peace.
Local authorities have visited the council of Cham Bani chief monks and Muslim Cham families and individuals to present gifts and congratulate them on their New Year.
They asked Cham people to promote national unity, comply with Party policies and State laws and work hard to boost economic development.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Luu Xuan Vinh urged local departments and authorities to provide the best conditions for Muslim Cham people to have a joyful festival.
Ninh Thuan is home to about 46,000 Cham Balamon (Hindu Cham) and 27,000 Cham Bani.
101 year old man undergoes hip replacement operation
Surgeons of Gia Dinh Hospital announced to perform a successful hip replacement operation on a senior man.
101 year old Nguyen Van Thinh was discharged from the hospital yesterday after hip replacement operation.
Before on May 10, the man suffered pain in the hip and could not move because he had fell. His relatives were quick to take him to the hospital for examination where doctors concluded that his thighbone was broken; accordingly, he needs to have a hip replacement operation.
Because the senior man has pneumonia and diabetes and he is old, doctors were reluctant yet his relatives showed agreement on the operation, surgeons carried out the hip replacement operation on May 11.
After the operation, doctors provided traditional medicine and exercises to help him to recover soon.
HCMC calls for social contribution to take care of people’s health
Ho Chi Minh City authority is calling for social contribution to set up more ward-level health centers in a bid to better take care of people’s health.
A general health clinic has just been opened at a health center at District 3’s ward 11 from social contribution as per the Ministry of Health’s policies and the municipal authority’s calling for investment in the health sector.
Viet Anh Medical Joint Stock Company invested VND20 billion ($881,596) to upgrade the health center to be a general health clinic with wards equipped with machines for testing, ultrasound and X-ray diagnosis of obstetrics, traditional medicine, cancer screening, hepatitis B and C and others.
Director of the Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh said that private sector has contributed to the health sector for year with various form and the general health clinic in District 3’s ward 11 is one of clinic with the contribution from private capital molibization.
Social contribution to convert health center into general health clinic gradually helps mprove medical treatment in ward-level health center.
Developing ward-level health centers is one of leading priorities of the City's Department of Health in order to help local residents get better primary healthcare services.
These general clinics will be in charge of family medicine as well as disease prevention and management of national health programs.
In addition, the city also encouraged to open more satellite in district-level general hospitals. Accordingly, Tan Phu District General Hospital has opened a satellite general health clinic at the health center in Tay Thanh Ward at 200/14 Nguyen Huu Tien Street lately.
The satellite clinic is expected to help Tan Phu District General Hospital reduce the patients overload, said Deputy Director of the city Department of Health Dr. Tang Chi Thuong. Currently, over 3,000 patients go to the hospital for health examinations and treatment every day at Tan Phu Hospital.
Documentary film about musician Tran Lap screened in HCM City
A documentary film commemorating musician Tran Lap was presented in Ho Chi Minh City on May 22.
The film titled “Yesterday story” aims to celebrate the 1st death anniversary of rocker Tran Lap and the 22nd anniversary of the establishment of the rock band, Buc Tuong (The Wall). It tells about 20-year long-term voyage of the rock band, and outstanding moments and the living of the group’s members.
The 75-minute long movie is directed by Dang Linh and Hong Thang, and produced by the Viet Nam National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio.
The film made its premiere in Hanoi in March.
Famous rocker and songwriter Tran Lap died in Hanoi in March last year after a courageous 5-month battle with cancer. The iconic singer whose real name is Tran Quyet Lap was born in 1974 in the northern province of Nam Dinh.
He was founder of the Buc Tuong (The Wall) rock band that was formed in 1995. The rock band includes three members, musician Tran Lap, guitarist Tran Tuan Hung and Nguyen Hoang. The band grew up from musical movement of students. The band is regarded as a leading rock band in Vietnam.
Lap was author of many ballad rock songs, favored by generations of students over the past 20 years, such as Bong hong thuy tinh (The glass rose), Dung nhu hon da (Don't be like a stone), Nguoi dan ba hoa da (The woman turned into stone) and more.
The most popular song, Duong toi vinh quang (Road to glory) is used as a theme song for several editions of the popular "Road to Mt. Olympia's Peak" quiz show organized by national broadcaster Vietnam Television.
He was one of the four judges of The Voice of Vietnam 2012 program that was aired on VTV3.
Vietnam Festival 2017 to kick off in Tokyo in June
The Vietnam Festival 2017 will take place at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan from June 10 and 11, the Vietnam News Agency reports.
The festival would help strengthen mutual understanding between the two nations and bring Vietnamese people living in Japan closer together, said Deputy Ambassador of Vietnam to Japan Nguyen Truong Son at a press conference last week.
According to the organizers, this year’s festival will also include an exhibition of over 100 booths, including 60 food booths and 40 booths offering souvenir items. The event will also feature art performances in an effort to introduce the images of Vietnam’s history, culture and people to Japanese people.
Coming to the upcoming event, tourists will have the opportunity to enjoy the taste of Vietnamese delicious food, cultural programs and art performances. The event is expected to attract the participation of 150,000 visitors while last year saw the number climbing to 200,000 visitors, the highest-ever.
Apart from culinary and cultural exchange activities, the festival is expected to bring guests beautiful performances of talented artists from Japan and Vietnam. Vietnamese invited artists include singers Ho Quynh Huong, Tieu Chau Nhu Quynh and Ngo Kien Huy. In addition, shows highlighting ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) will be available at the event.
The Vietnam Festival was first held in Japan in 2008 to mark the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan.
Color Me Run makes comeback in town this week
Color Me Run, an international running competition combined with music performances, will make a comeback for the fourth edition in HCMC’s District 2 from 1.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. on May 27, following the success of the event in the capital city of Hanoi on April 22.
Unlike normal sporting activities, Color Me Run comprises a series of events and a 5-km paint race during which runners will be showered with colored powder at checkpoints. In addition, participants also will have a chance to enjoy exciting music performances by both local and international artists at the final checkpoint.
Launched for the first time in 2014, Color Me Run is regarded as a pioneering event which gives a rich source of inspiration for local youths and helps them to build a dynamic lifestyle. This year’s event themed “Summer Vibes”is expected to attract the participation of thousands of young people in the city and bring wonderful moments of a meaningful summer for participants.
Invited guests to the upcoming event include American singer Dawin from New York and local artists including Vicky Nhung, Sunny Ha Linh and Trung Quan Idol.
The event which is sponsored by mineral water producer Lavie will take place at Sala urban area in HCMC’s District 2. Further information can be found at www.colormerun.vn.
First underground festival to kick off this weekend
Saigon Underground Festival 2017 (SUF 2017) will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on two weekend days, May 20-21, at Vietopia, a venue of education, entertainment and indoor sports for children aged 3-14 in HCMC’s District 7.
The two-day event will feature four activities including film screenings, art exhibitions, musical performance and handicraft flea market.
Coming to the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to watch short films around the globe to arouse the passion for arts and admire unique collection of artworks created by professionals and aspiring artists. Besides, participants are able to enjoy beautiful musical performances by artistic talents from all genres of music and visit the handicraft flea market to gain a deep insight into Vietnamese arts and crafts.
The first underground festival in Vietnam is expected to bring a wide range of entertainment activities for aspiring artists, and those seeking inspiration and creativity.
Tickets are available at ticketbox.vn at VND150,000 per person. Due to the limited seats, interested people are advised to book tickets in advance.
The Vietopia center is located at 2-4 Road No.9 in Him Lam new urban zone in District 7, HCMC.
Hanoi to build VND150-million homes for workers
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) has plans to cooperate with Hanoi City and enterprises to build budget homes costing some VND150 million (about US$6,600) each, which have floor space of 30 square meters each near industrial parks, and sell them to workers.
At a meeting with representatives of workers at Hanoi’s industrial parks and export processing zones last Friday, Mai Duc Chinh, vice chairman of VGCL, said each condo unit will have mezzanine, living room, bedroom and toilet, so it would be fine for a couple and their children. There will be homes for rent as well.
The first few floors of these condo buildings will be used to build supermarkets, kindergartens and there will be parks and football pitches also.
VGCL said apartments and kindergartens are indispensable for workers. Currently, boarding houses in many industrial parks only meet 5-10% of worker demand.
More than 90% of workers are living in boarding houses which do not meet basic living conditions. Many industrial parks do not have kindergartens so the workers have to send their children to private facilities that do not guarantee safety.
According to this plan, VGCL will pilot construction of 10 condo buildings for sale to workers in industrial zones nationwide in 2017 and will build four more in the 2018-2020 period.
VGCL has also worked with Hanoi City to initially pilot condo buildings for workers in one or two industrial parks. VGCL will then map out preferential policies to attract investors and enterprises to build homes for workers.
UDI Maps flood warning app launched
Users of Android devices can now download UDI Maps app on Google Play if they want to get updates about flooded areas, rain and flood tides in HCMC.
The app, developed by Urban Drainage Co Ltd (UDC), is seen as a two-way communication channel between the company and residents.
UDI Maps uses the map and driving direction features of Google to provide detailed and accurate information about flooded locations in the city and alternative routes for road users.
Users will receive latest information and emergency alerts on flooding. App users can also send information and images of flooded areas to help UDC timely deal with the actual situation and mitigate losses.
Previously, UDC coordinated with some agencies to use the Geographic Information System (GIS), the foundation of UDI Maps, to issue flood alerts. The GIS database helps agencies to check the drainage system and propose solutions to flooding.
But this GIS-based system was not well managed, making it difficult to manage and repair sewers, said the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.
Da Nang’s NA Guest House officially opens
The National Assembly Guest House in Da Nang (Nalod) was officially inaugurated and put into operation on May 19.
This will be the occasional workplace for deputies of the National Assembly, People's Councils of Central and Central Highlands provinces. At the same time, it is also used to hold seminars and conferences of the National Assembly (NA) agencies and the National Assembly’s Office in Da Nang, as well as to receive international guests of the NA to the central region.
Nalod’s construction was started on February 23, 2014, at 192 Vo Nguyen Giap street, Phuoc My ward, Son Tra district. The whole project covers 3,348.9 m2, but the construction area is on 1,468 m2. It is a 21-storey building with 250 4-star rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, spa and restaurants.
The project costs VND 458 billion funded by the State Budget, was managed by the National Assembly Office, and erected by 789 Company (the Ministry of Defense).
Da Nang: French students call for environmental protection
“Do not take plastic bags to Son Tra” is the message sent by 1,000 French students and interns in collaboration with Da Nang local students to preserve the cityscape.
On May 19th at Tien Sa port, Da Nang, more than 1,000 students of the East Asia University participated in an environmental protection activity called “Do not take plastic bags to Son Tra.” This meaningful program was actively joined by a group of French trainees and graduate students currently studying in Da Nang City.
The French interns and students of the East Asia University managed to clean and sort garbage into biodegradable bags. They also took part in a competition about environmental protection.
The flashmob performance of over 500 students with the impressive display of “Love a lot Son Tra” words at the end of the event was a promise to accompany the Green Sunday program at Son Tra Peninsula.
It also illustrated the hope of the French students and local students in Da Nang to contribute to spreading the action to help Son Tra reduce waste to become a friendlier place in the heart of people and tourists.
Recently, a lot of people including businesses, especially students of Da Nang City have actively promoted and participated in meaningful activities to protect the green environment of Son Tra, where exists the extreme rare primate Pygathrix nemaeus (Endangered langur) – the symbol of Da Nang City – mascot of the APEC Year 2017.
Every Saturday and Sunday, thousands of students from Da Nang universities and high schools attend the Green Sunday and join the green volunteer network in Son Tra.
First language assessment symposium opens in HCM City
Vietnam’s first Language Assessment Symposium opened on May 23 in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing together the best UK and Vietnamese testing and assessment experts.
Organised by the British Council and the National Foreign Languages 2020 Project, the Vietnam Language Assessment Symposium (VLAS) is the direct result of the New Directions conference on English Language and Assessment, which attracted more than four hundred international and regional language experts to Hanoi last year. If New Directions presented international perspectives and insights, the symposium gives a stronger focus on Vietnam with presentations by speakers from ten national testing centres.
Dr Vu Thi Phuong Anh, Vice Director of the Educational Quality Training and Support Centre, Association for Vietnamese University and Colleges, presented findings of her most recent study on classroom based assessment in Vietnam. Classroom based assessment includes informal day-to-day teacher-student interactions and formal tests of students’ progress.
Classroom assessment is universally viewed as a crucial part in improving students’ learning; however, the research reveals that formative assessment is overlooked by many teachers due to class size and their heavy workload. Further outcomes of her study include recommendations on how to address those challenges and to better use assessment to effectively improve the quality of English teaching and learning in Vietnam.
Dr Jamie Dunlea, Senior Researcher inLanguage Assessment from the British Council talked about using test specifications to help design better classroom tasks. A test specification is a design template which makes clear the purpose of the task, and criteria for input texts and expected responses.
Specifications designed based on the socio-cognitive model, link to different levels of proficiency. Test tasks which use these specifications are useful as they facilitate the teaching and learning of abilities relevant to a level rather than teaching to the test itself.
Jamie highlights Aptis, the modern, flexible English language proficiency test designed by the British Council, as a good example of how a test can guide teachers in designing classroom activities towards two prime purposes: preparing students for an exam and, more importantly, preparing them for their real-life purposes.
Nguyen Thi Mai Huu, Director of the National Foreign Languages 2020 Project, Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, talked about the lack of standard procedures that can guide institutions and academics through the process of conducting assessment. She introduced a manual which was written to address the issue.
The manual includes five major assessment development stages: 1. Planning and designing, 2. Development, 3. Delivery, 4. Marking and reporting results, 5. Review and monitoring. The manual suggests procedures for quality control and assurance, and ways to solve technical issues at each stage.
Other presentations touch on various topics such as assessing primary learners, ways to assess writing performance, or utilizing teamwork to enhance ongoing assessment of productive skills.
Cherry Gough, Director, British Council Vietnam said, ‘Through the Vietnam’s Language Assessment Symposium, the UK reiterates its support for the Ministry of Education and Training’s aims to improve learning and teaching of English in Vietnam, as well as its direct support to teachers and learners of English through the British Council.
Knowledge of English language creates opportunities for international education, better jobs, and connections with people and organisations across the world.
Tests such as Aptis and IELTS encourage teachers to teach students to use language for real-life purposes, rather than just prepare them for the test itself, and this symposium will help classroom teachers to develop their own tests and classroom activities to do the same..’
Former vice chairman of Hanoi faces mismanagement charges over ruptured water pipeline
The Ministry of Public Security's Police Investigation Agency on May 22 ratified charges against Phi Thai Binh, former vice chairman of Hanoi, for mismanagement during his time as chairman of Vinaconex Corporation's board of directors.
Vinaconex is the state-owned construction company responsible for the Song Da water pipeline, which has infamously ruptured more than a dozen times in the last few years.
Former CEO of Vinaconex Nguyen Van Tuan and five other executives also face charges for violating construction and investment regulations.
All seven have been released from custody due to old age and poor health, and having fully cooperated with investigators.
An investigation in July 2016 found that Vinaconex had hired a Chinese contractor to build the pipeline. Construction started in 2004 and the pipeline was finished and put into use in 2009.
However, between 2012 and 2015, the pipeline ruptured 14 times, costing the operating company more than VND13 billion (US$573,000) in repairs.
The ruptures caused 177,000 houses to lose access to clean water for nearly 350 hours and wasted 1.5 million cubic meters (400 million gallons) of water.
The investigation revealed that members of the corporation's board of directors, including Chairman Binh and CEO Tuan, allegedly violated construction and investment regulations by changing the construction material to low-quality, untested fiberglass composite and selecting a contractor that lacked the necessary ability and experience for the project. Low-quality fiberglass that failed to meet the design requirements was cited as the main reason behind the ruptures.
Investigators initially decided not to prosecute the executives because they were first time offenders with good personal records and had contributed to the construction industry. However, following a public backlash, they reversed the decision.
In June 2016, nine other officials were also charged with violation of construction and investment regulations, including members of the project's management team, consultants and the company that provided the fiberglass.
Last week, Hanoi's construction department warned that it will be "hard" to deliver enough tap water to four downtown districts as demand increases over the hot summer. The situation could become much worse if the notorious Song Da pipeline ruptures again.
The Song Da water pipeline, which cost US$70 million to install, has broken at least 20 times since 2009, most recently in October last year.
Vinaconex signed a contract to use pipes from another Chinese company to fix the unreliable system but backed out of the deal in August last year after the government raised concerns over quality standards.
Vietnam attends culinary charity bazaar in Egypt
Staff of the Vietnamese embassy in Egypt have participated in the international culinary charity bazaar hosted by Lady Ambassadors, Ambassadors’ Spouses, Athens (LAASA).
The annual event in Athens which aims to raise funds for charity activities, has attracted many Egyptians and international visitors.
Apart from the food festival, diverse activities have been held including art performances by art troupes from different nations. This year’s event attracted the participation of 34 embassies and several organizations in Egypt.
This was the fifth time the Vietnamese embassy has taken part in the event. The embassy staff introduced to visitors Vietnam’s traditional dishes such as Pho ga (chicken noodle), Nem (spring rolls), and Mien Xao Thap Cam (Mixture Fried Cassava Vermicelli). A photo exhibition featuring Vietnam, its land and people was also held during the event, attracting hundreds of visitors.
Offices of Vietnam, Laos Party Central Committees reinforce cooperation
Officials from the offices of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee highlighted the increasingly practical cooperation during their talks in Vientiane on May 23.
The Lao side was led by deputy chief of the LPRP Central Committee Office Chanthaboun Rattanavong while his counterpart Bui Van Thach led the Vietnamese delegation, who is on a visit to Laos on the occasion of the Vietnam-Laos and Laos-Vietnam Solidarity and Friendship Year 2017.
The two sides briefed each other about their respective country’s socio-economic development, review their cooperation plan in 2011-2016 and discussed another plan for 2017-2020. They also looked into coordination to prepare for an exhibition on the countries’ traditional friendship and special solidarity which will be held in Hanoi and Vientiane.
The officials said both sides have paid attention to delegation exchanges to learn from each other’s experience in advising and serving the two Party Central Committees. They have also regularly shared experience in making agenda; assessing, implementing and evaluating plans and resolutions of the Party Central Committees; and building the offices’ apparatus, working regulations and personnel issues.
They also spoke highly of the completion and operation of a project on IT application at agencies of the LPRP Central Committee and another project on building Kaysone Phomvihane Culture Centre in Laos’s Savannakhet province. Those projects are considered symbols of the close amity between the two Parties and countries.
The above-mentioned cooperation outcomes have helped improve the offices’ specialised works and enhance the countries’ time-honoured friendship and special solidarity, they noted.
The offices agreed to promote cooperation and support each other to fulfill important tasks, thus continuing to foster bilateral relations.
The Vietnamese delegation is scheduled to meet with Politburo member, head of the LPRP Central Committee Office Khamphan Phommathat later the same day.
Dien Bien: 8,000 employment opportunities on offer
As many as 8,000 opportunities are available for job seekers at the second job fair in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien on May 23.
The event, held by the provincial People’s Committee, drew the participation of 22 domestic businesses and more than 1,000 students and labourers.
Business activities, number of vacancies and job requirements were introduced at the fair. The recruiters also received applications and conducted interviews with job seekers.
The Dien Bien Job Placement Centre held consultations and provided jobs for labourers under contracts previously inked with enterprises. It also informed demands of the labour market and job placement plans in the coming time.
Meanwhile, vocational training establishments presented their training scale, facilities, lecturers, training quality and enrollment demands while promoting cooperation with enterprises in the field.
The job fair aimed to help students and labourers find suitable jobs while assisting enterprises in recruiting young and quality human resources to meet their development goals. In addition, it also contributed to boosting the labour market as well as reducing unemployment rate in the locality.
Vitamin A for kids, mothers on Micronutrient Day
Children between six and 36 months of age and new mothers will get free vitamin A supplements in a campaign on the occasion of Micronutrient Day (June 1 and 2).
The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) said it has distributed around 7.6 million doses of vitamin A capsules to serve nearly five million children and 500,000 new mothers.
In addition, vitamin A capsules will also be given to 1.1 million children who are between 37 and 60 months old; while children from 24 to 60 months in 22 provinces and cities that have a high rate of stunted growth among children will be dewormed.
Speaking at a press conference in Hà Nội on Monday, NIN deputy director Trương Tuyết Mai said that preventing micronutrient deficiencies is one of the six important goals of the National Strategy on Nutrition for the period 2011-20.
“Providing micronutrient supplements to high-risk groups such as children and new mothers is a fast and timely measure to handle the situation of micronutrient deficiency,” Mai said.
In addition, medium-term measures such as adding micronutrient supplements to essential foods, and long-term, sustainable measures such as adding diverse food products to daily meals are being taken to solve the problem of micronutrient deficiency in Việt Nam, Mai said. “Adding micronutrient supplements to essential foods is a simple, effective way of improving daily meals, health, and quality of life.”
Communication and education will strengthen awareness about nutrition and nutritional requirements, and encourage good eating practices among people, Mai said.
People should incorporate a variety of food sources in their daily meals, especially food rich in micronutrients. New mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their newborns within the first one hour of birth, and give their babies no food or drink other than breast milk for the first six months.
Micronutrient deficiency is a persistent health problem in Việt Nam, and requires proper attention and more investment from the Government.
On Micronutrient Day, dissemination and educational activities will be held nationwide to raise public awareness about good nutrition and promote food hygiene and safety.
A 2015 NIN survey revealed that 13 per cent of the children in the country have vitamin A deficiency, and 32.8 per cent of pregnant women are anaemic. Its statistics show that the country’s malnutrition rate is 14.1 per cent of children under the age of five, and 24.6 per cent of children have stunted growth.
Green One UN House awarded Platinum LOTUS Certification
Green One United Nations House (GOUNH) in Hanoi has been awarded Platinum LOTUS Certification by the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC), the highest level in the market-based green building ratings system.
The certification is in recognition of GOUNH as a high performance green building enhancing the efficient use of resources through smart ecological design and management.
The Platinum LOTUS certification follows the building’s previous accreditation as one of the first buildings in Vietnam to be awarded a provisional Gold LOTUS Rating from the VGBC.
VCBG’s Platinum Certification is currently the highest level in the LOTUS ratings system for designing and constructing Vietnam’s greenest, most energy-efficient, and high performing buildings.
The LOTUS ratings system promotes the construction of environmentally-sustainable buildings with the aim of ultimately bringing about the efficient use of all forms of resources, protecting occupants’ health and productivity and reducing all forms of environmental degradation.
As a key milestone in the UN Reform process in Vietnam and the Delivering as One initiative, GOUNH is testament to the UN’s commitment to “Deliver Green”. Being a success, the building has become a role model for sustainable green buildings in Vietnam, signifying the importance and urgency of environmental sustainability and climate change.
Advocating climate change mitigation and adaptation, the GOUNH is constructed of ecologically-friendly materials such as lead-free paint and furniture low in harmful Volatile Organic Compounds. Efficiency in heating, cooling and energy systems is maximized through photovoltaic panels harnessing solar energy and generating at least 10 per cent of the building’s annual electricity consumption. Additionally, through the application of an innovative Green Office Guide, UN staff have adopted green behaviors such as the reduction of paper, plastic and energy use as well as carbon-free transportation.
Accepting the certificate on behalf of the UN, Mr. Kamal Malhotra, UN Vietnam Resident Coordinator and Chair of the GOUNH Management Board, congratulated and acknowledged the collective efforts of the Vietnamese Government, donors, UN agencies, and development partners. He reiterated the UN’s readiness to reinforce partnerships, emphasizing the “critical objective to provide a model building that demonstrates the viability of innovative sustainable buildings in Vietnam.”
The Green One UN House project is a joint endeavor between the Vietnamese Government, donors, and the UN Country Team. The government contributed a high value site, the existing United Nations Apartment Building at 304 Kim Ma Street in Hanoi, and support through other material sources. Alongside participating UN agencies and UNEP contributions, donors - including Australia, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK - have also provided generous contributions to the renovation of the building.
Eight prosecuted for illegal sand mining
Police in northern Quảng Ninh Province have prosecuted eight people for illegal sand mining in the province.
Nguyễn Thị Hương, director of Dương Dũng Co., Ltd, and her husband Lương Văn Bình, deputy director of the company, were prosecuted for violating regulations in connection with natural resources exploitation.
The six other people are Vũ Văn Lật, Vũ Đức Loan, Nguyễn Văn Tuấn and Lương Văn Ty, as well as Nguyễn Văn Đức, and Trần Thị Nhường.
On May 12, police of the provincial Economic Police worked with police in Hoành Bồ District to catch red-handed Vũ Văn Lật, Vũ Đức Loan, Nguyễn Văn Tuấn and Lương Văn Ty while using some machines to exploit sand in a forest area owned by Lương Văn Bình.
Upon further inspection, the police discovered Nguyễn Văn Đức and Trần Thị Nhường also took part in the illegal activities.
Đức and Nhường admitted they were hired to exploit sand and were paid VNĐ13,000-16,000 per cu.m. The sand was later sold to brick factories in the province.
On average, they exploited between 1,000 and 1,400cu.m.of sand per month.
All eight failed to show required papers licensing the exploitation activities.
The police have seized all machines at the scene.
Six years ago, Bình and Hương purchased 6ha of forest from a man in Hoành Bồ District’s Bằng Xăm Village for conducting illegal sand exploitation. In March, Bình was fined VNĐ4 million ($176) for illegal sand mining.
The case is under further investigation.
Hà Nội police detain 10 people carrying out illegal sand mining
On Sunday Hà Nội police also transferred 10 suspects and five vessels transporting 533cu.m of sand to Phúc Thọ District’s Police Department for further investigation.
The 10 people were caught red handed on May 19 by the police while they were carrying out illegal sand exploitation in the river in Phúc Thọ District’s Vân Hà Commune.
The police seized the vessels and detained the crewmembers.
Café with Google program launched in Vietnam
Google on Tuesday launched the first “Cafe with Google” program for Vietnamese parents at Tran Van On High-school in HCMC’s District 1 after the successful implementation of the program in many Asian countries.
Google in collaboration with primary schools and high schools in HCMC will organize talk shows to share with parents on knowledge and skills to use technology, which is aimed at helping parents to protect their children in the digital age.
At the workshops of the program, Google experts will instruct parents how to have easier access to useful applications of Google for their effective time management, and learn about the principles of online safety and protection of personal information.
In addition, parents need to learn to exchange with online content developers for kids to gain a deep understanding on learning and entertainment needs of children in the digital age.
Ha Lam Tu Quynh, communications and PR head of Google Vietnam, said the program will give assistance to parents in using technology in daily life so as to gain easy access to their children on the social networking site. If parents are well-informed about technology and principles on online safety, they will become more confident while exchanging with their children.
Binh Phuoc fulfills universal education for five-year-olds
The southern province of Binh Phuoc has met national standards for universal preschool education for five-year-old children in 2011-2016, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.
Statistics showed that 98.38 percent of preschoolers attended school in the period, 3.38 percent higher than the required standard. Meanwhile, 99 percent of five-year-olds completed preschool education, 14 percent above requirements.
All communes and wards across 11 districts and towns of Binh Phuoc, which previously lacked schools and teachers, now have educational institutions and pre-schools.
Representatives from the ministry suggested local authorities improve the quality of the work and invest in building infrastructure facilities for pre-school education, encourage private involvement and revamp management in the field.
In recent years, the provincial Steering Committee for illiteracy elimination and education universalisation has focused on children at the age of five, especially those from low-income households, disadvantaged, remote and border areas and those from ethnic minorities.
However, Vice Chairman of the peovincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Dung pointed out difficulties facing the locality in generalising education for five-year-olds including overloading at preschools and in encouraging children to attend school.
He said relevant sectors, especially the education and training sector, need to raise public awareness of the scheme, make it easy for enterprises to invest in private preschool development and improve the quality of teachers.
The project on universalising pre-school education for five-year-old children was approved in 2010.
The project set the goal of having the majority of five-year-old children throughout the country attend two classes a day for a full school-year in order to be fully prepared for the first grade.
Photo contest raises awareness of environment protection
A photo contest on the environment in Vietnam was launched in the northern province of Hung Yen on May 20.
The event, themed “Living in harmony with the environment” was held by the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Development and the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA).
According to VAPA President Vu Quoc Khanh, as the contest aims to raise public awareness of environmental protection, entries should focus on reflecting nature’s beauty, biodiversity, people living in harmony with the environment and efforts to protect the environment and respond to climate change.
The impacts of environmental pollution on people’s health and actions harming the environment should be also reflected through the entries, he said.
The contest held for both Vietnamese people and foreigners who live in Vietnam. Photos should be submitted to the VEA, No.556, Nguyen Van Cu Street, Long Bien district, Hanoi or the contest’s fanpage www.facebook.com/ongkinh.moitruong by October 20.
One gold, two silver and three bronze medals will be up for grabs at the contest. In addition, the organising board will present several consolation awards and other auxiliary prizes.
Ministry requires online payment of vehicle registration fee
The Ministry of Finance has required the State Treasury of Vietnam to prepare equipment for receiving online payment of registration fees for residents and businesses’ motorbikes and automobiles.
According to the requirement, all district treasuries will receive the payment with credit cards instead of by cash. They have been asked to coordinate with commercial banks to open their accounts in districts for residents to make the online payment.
The Ministry of Finance has also required the General Department of Taxation and the State Treasury to build a circular on information connectivity among registration, police and tax agencies and treasuries to implement the program.
Project to give books to primary schools launched
A program to give 10,000 good books to 100 primary schools in Ho Chi Minh City will be organized by Hansae Yes24 and Youth Publishing House.
10, 000 books have been buying to schools as a part of the project “ Mot van cuon sach hay- Trieu tinh yeu thuong” ( Ten thousands of good books- one million loves).
The project aims to not only inspire enthusiasm of reading books amongst kids but also cultivate students’ good spirits contributing to raise Vietnamese people’s knowledge.
The project will help to improve the quality of library in schools; accordingly students can read good and new books.
It planned to be carried out in five years.
Health Ministry inspects 15 importers, shops selling food for children
Inspectors from the Ministry of Health yesterday set up inspection teams to pay visits to importers, shops which sell food for kids in Hanoi.
Inspectors will check food safety in 15 companies and stores, which import and produce nutritional supplements for kids in Hanoi.
Companies which will be inspected include Pharmaceutical Company Vietnam, Minh Quan Importer-Exporter, Van An Commercial Company, Vita Dairy Company, Nhat Phuong Investment and Importer-Exporter, An Phu Khanh Commercial and Service Company, Bac Viet Company, Eneright Company, Dam Dang Vinh Company, Han Viet Commercial and Service, Phuc Loc Company, Nutricare Company, SNB Distributor, HP Vietnam Company and Tap Pham Importer-Exporter.
Inspectors will work on management loophole and have proposal to authorities for restructuring. Moreover, inspectors must arrive at detailed conclusion of inspection and violation if having along with verifying responsibility of organization and individuals.
Additionally, they will propose penalties as per the current law and measures in a bid to increase control over food for kids.
Heart-broken man saved in district infirmary
A hospital in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District yesterday saved a man with broken heart due to traffic accident.
l to save a 26 year old man in Binh Thanh district who had broken heart because of traffic accident.
Before, the man was rush in the hospital for emergency treatment when he had multi- injuries, shock, and his blood pressure could not be measured.
Doctors were quick to prove intensive treatment and scan in bed. Scan results showed that his heart membrane had much blood; additionally, through examination, doctors thought his heart was broke. Soon the hospital sounded the red alarm and performed a surgery after it has prepared blood supply.
After opening his heart, surgeons soon stopped bleeding in the heart and stuck up the wound in the heart. The 60 minute operation was successful; the man’s blood pressure was stable. Scan showed no wound in heart.
The man was transfused four units of blood during the operation.
The man is now off the danger list yet he was treated intensively in the hospital.
Draft law assisting SMEs not specific enough: deputies
Việt Nam, Australia seek energy cooperation opportunities
HÀ NỘI - A forum was held in Hà Nội on Tuesday with a view to providing Australia with an insight into the real situation of Việt Nam’s energy industry.
The forum also aimed at helping domestic firms explore the possibility of co-operation with Australian partners.
Energy security is a priority of both the Vietnamese and Australian governments. The two countries have been enhancing their partnership in industry, education-training and research on energy.
At the forum, co-organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Australian Embassy, representatives from Australian agencies, organisations and businesses shared their experience and latest technologies in energy.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hồ Thị Kim Thoa said Australia’s strengths in the fields of coal and gas with modern technologies can help Việt Nam ensure energy security and protect the environment. Hence, the two nations hold great potential for co-operation in the sphere, she noted.
Janelle Casey, commercial counsellor of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), expressed hope that through the event, the two sides would understand co-operation opportunities better and promote linkages in energy, trade and investment.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, commercial electricity growth has been on the rise over the past 15 years. Demand for electricity has also strongly increased, growing by 13 per cent in 2006-10 and 11 per cent in the last five years. It is estimated that the country’s electricity demand will grow some 10 per cent in the next 10 years.
To ensure energy security, Việt Nam has shifted from being an energy exporter to an importer. The country is projected to import 17 million tonnes of coal, accounting for 31 per cent of coal demand, to generate electricity in 2020.
Meanwhile, Việt Nam is also considering the possibility of increasing electricity imports from neighbouring countries such as Laos.
Viet Nam News
PetroVietnam set to lose $225mn on loss-making shipbuilder
An investment of nearly US$225 million by state-run PetroVietnam, made to revitalize a struggling shipbuilder, is likely to become money down the drain as the loss-making firm is on the verge of bankruptcy.
A corner of the Dung Quat Shipyard in Quang Ngai, central Vietnam.
In 2010, PetroVietnam, the country’s oil and gas giant, acquired the Dung Quat Shipyard (DQS), located in the central province of Quang Ngai, from Vinashin, another state-run company that collapsed due to heavy losses the following year.
In October 2013, Vinashin was ‘revitalized’ and renamed the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC), with some of its subsidiaries, sharing the fate of DQS, transferred to other state-run enterprises.
Upon the DQS acquisition, PetroVietnam’s leaders said they were committed to revitalizing the shipbuilder, and making it a profitable business.
However, seven years on, PetroVietnam has proposed either ‘returning’ DQS to SBIC or declaring bankruptcy.
PetroVietnam has invested nearly VND2 trillion ($88.11 million) in increasing DQS’s chartered capital, and another VND3.1 trillion ($136.56 million) to repay its debts.
However, seven years later, despite the money and effort spent, the shipbuilder’s debts have risen to VND6.9 trillion ($303.96 million), which are in addition to a negative equity of VND1,152 billion ($50.75 million).
PetroVietnam had hoped that DQS would maintain operations by building ships for subsidiaries of the oil and gas company; however the shipbuilder has received no orders and 70 percent of its facilities, equipment and machinery are left unused.
A large number of workers have also been temporarily laid-off as there is no work to do, with many asking to quit DQS in order to seek jobs at other companies.
DQS is among 12 loss-making projects that the Vietnamese government called on the country’s Politburo, the most powerful branch of its political system, to make a decision on last month.
In a report submitted to the lawmaking National Assembly earlier this month, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which manages PetroVietnam, said there are three solutions.
PetroVietnam should either find a new owner for the debt-ridden shipbuilder, continue pumping money in order to ‘restructure’ it, or complete the procedure to declare bankruptcy.
The trade ministry has said the insolvency solution should be prioritized, even though it means PtroVietnam’s VND5.1 trillion ($224.67 million) investment will become a waste.
Dr. Ngo Minh Hai, deputy chairman of the State-run Enterprise Club, showed his support for the bankruptcy solution.
Hai acknowledged concerns that bankruptcy would result in 1,200 workers losing their jobs, but “this is still better than losing more state capital – or taxpayers’ money – on the loss-making shipbuilder.”
Even so, DQS leaders have claimed that the company is operating normally.
“Things have only gotten difficult,” Tran Minh Ngoc, chairman of DQS’s board, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the phone on Tuesday.
While Ngoc admitted that the company had been forced to temporarily lay off workers, he claimed that “this is a common hardship for the whole shipbuilding sector.”
“DQS remains in normal operation,” he said.
“If the market becomes more arduous, we may declare bankruptcy – but not for the time being.”
TUOI TRE NEWS
Hometel property segment promises big profits, big challenges
Though hometel properties are new in Vietnam, the segment is well known as a profitable business model as investors can make high profits when reselling or leasing.
This is expected to be an attractive investment channel in Vietnam in the time to come.
The Vietnamese real estate market has recently witnessed the boom of many ‘hybrid’ products – officetel, condotel and hometel.
At first glance, hometel is just like condotel, because hometel is also a hybrid product between ‘home’ and ‘hotel’, while it is similar to condotel, a hybrid between ‘condo’ and ‘hotel’. However, in fact, hometel is different from these.
Hometel has all basic features of a high-end apartment that serves as long-term accommodation for the owners. In addition, hometel has all 5-star services and amenities, so it can ensure comfortable lives for the owners, while it can be re-leased if the owners want.
Hometel buyers have long-term ownership for hometels and they have land use right certificates, or a ‘red book’ as called by Vietnamese.
Meanwhile, condotel owners only have ownership for up to 50 years. The other important difference between condotel and hometel is that the owners of hometels can determine the lease plans and they don’t have to share profits with investors.
In other words, hometel owners have permanent ownership over their properties, while they can make decisions themselves to make profits with the assets.
However, hometel also has disadvantages. Investors will have to operate and manage the leasing themselves.
Therefore, they need to have good knowledge and skills to manage the assets. While condotel and officetel owners can foresee profitability of their investments, hometel owners cannot.
The other disadvantages include limited access to bank loans, interest rate unpredictability, the lower-than-expected income and cash flow interruption when making payment for bank loans.
Nguyen Van Duc, deputy general director of Dat Lanh Real Estate, said the capital flow to the real estate market, especially to the high-end segment, has been tightened with Circular 06 officially taking effect in 2017.
This will have direct impact on the scale, conditions and interest rates of bank loans reserved for the high-end segment, including hometels.
He said the interest rate has been stable, but no one can say for sure how the interest rate will perform in upcoming years. Therefore, an interest rate risk always follows investors.
The Vietnam Real Estate Association’s secretary general Tran Ngoc Quang commented that investors understand they have to accept risks when they are the pioneers.
However, research and experience show that hometel is a promising business model.
M. Ha, VNN
Enterprise car rentals to hit Vietnam's streets
Enterprise Holdings Inc., the world’s largest car rental company, has announced plans to enter Vietnam with its flagship brand, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as well as its National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
Enterprise Holdings appointed an affiliate, MP Logistics, as its first franchisee in Asia at the 2017 Asian American Chamber of Commerce Connections conference on May 24, subject to Enterprise’s registration in Vietnam as a franchisor.
The appointment not only marks a historic milestone in Enterprise Holdings’ ongoing global expansion but also reflects its broader strategy of building an extensive network of transportation services that deliver value, choice, and outstanding customer service to business and leisure travelers around the world.
“Our robust growth is a tribute to the strong international reputation of our brands,” said Mr. Peter A. Smith, Vice President of Global Franchising at Enterprise Holdings.
“We look forward to working with MP Logistics to further enhance our brands’ reputations,” he added. “We believe this partnership is just the latest example of ensuring that our loyal leisure and corporate customers are able to enjoy the high-quality service they’ve come to expect from our Enterprise, National, and Alamo brands, no matter where in the world their travels take them.”
MP Logistics will begin providing long-term rentals next year under the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand, primarily to employees of multinational companies with operations in Vietnam.
Over time, the offering will expand to include short-term car rental services for business and leisure travelers.
It estimates that the average international customer will rent a vehicle for anywhere from one to five years, similar to vehicle lease programs in the US but with the added benefit of a local driver.
“Enterprise and MP Logistics are both committed to the highest standards of customer service,” said Ms. Minh Phuong Dang, CEO and Founder of MP Logistics.
“As family-owned companies, we share common values that include a strong entrepreneurial spirit, a culture of excellence, and a deep commitment to our people.”
MP Logistics was founded in 1995 by Ms. Dang. With a vision of trusted, quality, and solution-focused forwarding and logistics, growth was spurred in the beginning through determination, quality services, and a dedicated staff of just 18 employees.
Many of the company’s first customers in 1995 are still customers today.
VN Economic Times
Social News 25/5
Vietnam appreciates WHO’s role in building health care policies
Vietnam highly appreciates the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s role in developing health care policies and strategies and technical assistance at regional and global levels, affirmed Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.
In her speech to the 70th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on May 23, Tien said Vietnam wishes to continue receiving financial and technical assistance from the WHO and partners to build a quality, effective, fair, responsible and sustainable health care system.
With continuous support from international community, Vietnam could ensure health care and welfare programmes are successful, she said.
On health care reform, Tien underscored the goal of building an appropriate and sustainable health care system, adding that Vietnam is strengthening medical establishments, particularly community medical stations, as well as family doctor models and services in public hospitals.
Vietnam also looks to develop health insurance for the whole population, which currently covers 82 percent of the total, including government subsidies for the poor, the disabled and ethnic minorities.
The Health Ministry pays attention to medical staff training and pooling social resources to cope with infectious diseases, she said, adding that Vietnam leads the region in implementing the global health security programme in this regard.
According to her, the Vietnamese government issued a national action programme to carry out the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, aiming to ensure the involvement of the government and the public for common goals.
The 70th session of the World Health Assembly gathered nearly 3,500 delegates from 194 WHO member states who considered financial policies and the 2018-2019 budget. They discussed WHO response to emergency medical cases, polio, non-communicable diseases, antibiotic resistance, access to medicines and vaccines, health of refugees and migrants, among other topics.
Participants also looked into preparations for the UN General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases scheduled for September 2018.
On the occasion, former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director General for the 2017-2022 tenure. He will take office on July 1 in place of Margaret Chan who has led the WHO for 10 years.
Indonesia releases Vietnamese boats, fishermen
Indonesian authorities have released four Vietnamese boats and most of fishermen who were detained on May 21, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The ministry said five Vietnamese fishing boats were stopped by Indonesian sea patrol while operating in waters about 18 nautical miles to the north from the delimitation line of continental shelf between Vietnam and Indonesia.
One Vietnamese boat sank during the process and Vietnamese authorised force rescued one Indonesian officer.
Vietnam is requesting Indonesia to release the remaining fishermen they seized in the incident.
The two sides are coordinating to settle the incident in line with the friendship and the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Huynh, Yến remain leaders of chess championships
There was no change to the top spots of the National Chinese Chess Championships as both leading masters won yesterday in Đà Nẵng.
No 2 seed Lại Lý Huỳnh of Bình Dương bagged his fourth win, beating Nguyễn Công Chương of Khánh Hòa in the fourth round match of the men’s pool.
Nguyễn Nhật Minh Quang of HCM City jumped to second position with a win against No 3 seed Vũ Hữu Cường of Hà Nội.
Huynh will play HCM City’s Diệp Khai Nguyên, who has 3.5 points and currently sits in fourth place.
Quang will face Võ Minh Nhất from Bình Phước in the next round.
On the women’s side, Nguyễn Hoàng Yến of HCM City is on top with four points.
She is followed by teammates Đàm Thùy Dung and Trần Huỳnh Thiên Kim.
In the mixed doubles category, HCM City replace Bình Định as the No 1 team after four rounds. Bình Định are second and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu are third.
The quest to preserve 'bóng rỗi'
Bóng rỗi, a dance and singing art form performed at mother goddess worship rituals in southern Việt Nam, should be preserved, experts said at a conference on the arts held in Đồng Nai Province on May 22-23.
“Bóng rỗi plays an important role in traditional Vietnamese culture and should be honoured,” said Associate Professor Huỳnh Văn Tới, head of the Đồng Nai Traditional Literature and Arts Association, at the event.
The event was organised by the association and the province’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department. Nearly 100 cultural experts and researchers from universities and cultural organisations across the country took part in the conference
Associate Professor Phan Thị Yến Tuyết of the HCM City Social Sciences and Humanities said that bóng rỗi singing and dance appeared in the southern region in the 19th century.
The art is always performed at rituals worshipping mother goddesses in southern provinces, such as Linh Sơn Thánh Mẫu (Mother Goddess of the Mountain) Festival on Bà Đen Mountain in Tây Ninh Province, and Vía Bà Ngũ Hành Festival worshipping Ngũ Hành Nương Nương (Mother Goddess of Five Elements) in Long An Province.
Bóng rỗi singing is performed at the start of the rituals. The songs invite the goddesses and ancestors to attend the festival.
A dance follows in which performers in costumes and makeup hold trays with offerings on their heads.
Nguyễn Công Hoan, a lecturer at the HCM City-based University of Finance and Marketing, said that bóng rỗi could be performed as part of a tourism activity.
“Performing bóng rỗi in front of tourists would be the best way to promote the art,” he said.
Provincial tourism authorities, he said, should open tours of bóng rỗi at mother goddess temples, such as Bà Thiên Hậu Temple in Bình Dương Province and Bà Chúa Xứ Temple in Châu Đốc in An Giang Province.
Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt of the association said that it was necessary to offer teaching and training of bóng rỗi to young generations.
She suggested organising more bóng rỗi festivals and contests to offer artisans and performers more opportunities to perform on big stages.
As part of the arts promotion, the Đồng Nai Province’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department hosted a bóng rỗi festival on May 22.
The festival attracted 50 performers from eight arts troupes from HCM City and the provinces of Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Bến Tre, Long An and Tiền Giang.
Youth union honours 10-year-old who drowned after saving four children
The Central Committee of Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union on Tuesday (May 23) posthumously awarded the national Brave Youth Badge to Trần Đức Đông, 10, who drowned after saving four children in the southern province of Bình Phước.
On behalf of the Central Committee, the secretary of the province’s Youth Union, Trần Quốc Duy, handed over the badge to the boy’s family from Phú Riềng District’s Long Tân Commune.
Trần Đức Đông was a second grader in the province’s Long Tân Elementary School.
On May 1, Đông, his young brother and four neighbourhood friends were playing in the lake at Farm 9, near Thanh Tân Pagoda, about 200m from his home.
After the four friends and his brother slipped into a deep water area, Đông, the only one of the group who knew how to swim, tried to save them.
After rescuing his brother and three friends, he saw Nguyễn Thị Huyền Nhi, 9, calling for help offshore.
Although tired, he tried to swim to save her, but both of them began to sink into the lake due to exhaustion, according to authorities.
People who were nearby took the two children, who had stopped breathing, to the commune’s health clinic. Doctors tried to revive them but were unsuccessful.
Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs visited and awarded a certificate of merit to Đông’s family.
Northern provinces work for children in response to national campaign
The northern provinces of Hung Yen and Vinh Phuc are working to improve childcare in response to a nationwide month-long campaign to protect children.
The Hung Yen People’s Committee and the provincial Fund for Vietnamese Children presented 60 scholarships to impoverished children during a ceremony held on May 23 to launch the campaign. The province also raised more than VND700 million for the children’s fund from organisations and enterprises.
The Action for Children Month this year aims to promote the Child Law and to prevent violence and sexual abuse against children. It will raise public awareness of the issues and urge authorities, families and societies to create a safer environment for children.
Hung Yen is home to about 200,000 children. Last year, it recorded twelve child abuse cases, eleven of which were sexual. Four sexual abuse cases were reported in the first five months of 2017.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs teamed up with the People’s Committee of Song Lo district, Vinh Phuc province, to launch the campaign on the same day.
The province’s Fund for Vietnamese Children presented 50 scholarships, worth VND700,000 each, 30 bicycles and 35 sets of stationery to poor children in the district. In addition, sponsors committed to donating more than VND1.7 billion to children from difficult backgrounds.
Song Lo is a remote district of Vinh Phuc, with hundreds of orphans and children with disabilities as well as more than 1,800 children from poor families.
The province has asked local authorities to design child welfare policies to solve problems in the district’s childcare and education.
It has also urged families, schools and communities to be responsible for children and promote child rights.
Last year, the provincial Fund for Vietnamese Children raised nearly VND6 billion and provided about 30,000 local children with free heart checks and medicine. Some 32 children with cardiac diseases received free surgeries at Hanoi Heart Hospital.
VNA, Xinhua sign new cooperation agreement
The Vietnam News Agency and China’s Xinhua news agency have signed a new agreement to enhance their cooperation in the digital age.
The deal was inked in Hanoi on May 24 between Nguyen Duc Loi, member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and VNA General Director, and Cai Mingzhao, member of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and President of Xinhua, during the latter’s visit to Vietnam.
This is the fourth agreement between VNA and Xinhua which aims to create a legal foundation for the two news agencies to expand collaboration in new communication areas besides maintaining traditional cooperation activities.
Earlier, Nguyen Duc Loi and Cai Mingzhao held talks to review the agencies’ cooperation over the past time and set forth orientations for future links.
Welcoming the Xinhua President’s visit to Vietnam from May 23-27, the VNA General Director expressed his sincere thanks to Xinhua for its support and assistance for VNA over more than half a century.
He noted that Xinhua’s news is one of the important sources of international information for VNA, especially information on China and its stance regarding several regional and global issues of public concern.
He also informed his guest of the APEC Vietnam Year 2017, affirming that VNA, as the national news agency of the host country, is willing to provide information for Xinhua and assist its reporters in covering APEC events during the year.
Congratulating VNA on its achievements, President Cai thanked the Vietnamese agency for helping Xinhua’s correspondents in Hanoi and asserted that the fine cooperation between the two news agencies should be fostered and developed further.
Both host and guest held that VNA and Xinhua are restructuring to take advantage of information technology advances to continue maintaining the key role of the national news agencies in the Vietnamese and Chinese press systems.
They affirmed the need to increase the sharing of experience in developing and renovating the operational model through delegation exchanges and personnel training support.
The two sides agreed that in the current context, the two news agencies should adapt to the communication environment in the digital age, expand cooperation in modern media areas and share new working methods in order to better meet requirements of press agencies and the public.
VNA and Xinhua set up ties in the early years of the 1950s. Since then, the two news agencies have seen effective cooperation in various fields such as information sharing, exchange of high-level delegations and reporters, support for each other’s resident bureaus and correspondents, and coordination at regional and international press forums, among others
Exhibition brings Vietnam closer to Myanmar
An exhibition, featuring nearly 100 photos and paintings in relation to Vietnam and Myanmar, was held in Yangon, Myanmar on May 23 by the Vietnamese Embassy in Myanmar.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar Luan Thuy Duong hailed the continuing efforts of the two nations’ leaders and people to strengthen their relations in economics, politics, cultural and social affairs.
Cultural diplomacy has become a crucial pillar in their external policy, helping connect the two countries people, she added.
Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture Aung Ko highly appreciated the organisation of the exhibition on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of a Vietnamese representative office in Yangon (1947) and the 42nd anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (May 28, 1975).
He said that Vietnam and Myanmar are closely cooperating within the ASEAN Charter framework and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Plan of Action.
The event, running until May 25, creates an opportunity for the two nations’ artists to share experience in the fields of culture, arts and religions.
Chili pepper farmers leave farms fallow due to dropped price
Chili pepper farmers in the central province of Quang Ngai have left their farm fallow because the price of agro-products dropped drastically.
Many chili pepper farms at Binh Khuong Commune in Binh Son District are left empty because price of chili pepper fells from VND40,000-50,000 in early crop to VND5,000-6,000 a kilogram.
Farmers have invested VND2-3 million on a 500 meter square land; as a result, they have suffered huge loss.
Farmer Nguyen Thi Hoa has two lands with 1,000 meter square for growing chili pepper but only harvest around 50 kilogram every three days.
Now, she has left the land fallow when the price went down. She spent VND5 million on the farm but got no profit. So far, traders even refuse to buy dried pepper.
Chairman of People’s Committee in Binh Khuong Commune Ly van Hoang said that the commune has seven hectares for growing chili pepper yet because price was down to VND5,000-6,000 per kilogram; thus, farmers suffered big loss so they no more took care of the farm.
Landslides threaten Phú Thọ residents
Landslides continue to take place along the Thao River in Tam Nông District of Phú Thọ Province, northern Việt Nam, damaging the property of residents and endangering their lives.
Serious landslides spread over kilometres were recorded along the river section from Hương Nộn Commune to Hưng Hóa Town and from Tam Cường Commune to Cổ Tiết Commune.
Trần Thị Dung, a resident of Hương Nộn Commune, said landslides since 2015 have caused a large area of land used to grow crops and other lands of locals to be submerged.
“My house foundation and walls cracked due to a landslide and there is high risk that the whole house will collapse into the river because of landslides if no action is taken,” she said.
In Hương Nha Commune, landslides are even more severe, “swallowing” many pigsties and cowsheds of residents and endangering 14 households in the commune.
Lê Văn Thành, a resident in the commune, said his house is tens of metres from the riverbank; however, his entire garden collapsed into the river due to the landslides and now his kitchen was just four metres from the riverbank.
Local authorities blame the landslides for the change in the flow of the river.
The chairman of the People’s Committee of Hương Nha Commune said serious landslides have been occurring since 2009. The commune has a 2.2km-long riverbank.
In 2011 and 2013, the provincial authorities invested in building an embankment along 800m of the riverbank to prevent landslides. However, part of the embankment collapsed into the river, he said.
“We are mobilising households in landslide-prone areas to relocate but are meeting difficulties because of the lack of capital,” he said.
Deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Trần Quốc Bình said due to limited resources, the province could only prioritise landslide-hit areas where the lives of locals and safety of dams was directly threatened.
The department urged authorities of the districts and communes and locals to actively take precautions against landslides and relocate residents when landslides occurred, he said.
The provincial authorities will check all areas threatened by landslides to implement measures to tackle the issue in a timely manner, he said.
Ca Mau mobilises capital for sea embankment construction
The southernmost province of Ca Mau is mobilising capital from various sources, including the Climate Change Programme and official development assistance (ODA) loans, for the urgent construction of sea embankments on its western coast.
Nguyen Long Hoai, chief of the office of the provincial steering committee for disaster prevention, search and rescue, said about 5.5 kilometres of the province’s western coastline have been eroded seriously.
Those include 3.3 kilometres from Bac Mai Huong in U Minh district to Tieu Dua in neighbouring Kien Giang province, 1.7 kilometres from Da Bac to Kinh Moi in Tran Van Thoi district and 800 metres in on the route of T29 Khanh Hoi, U Minh district.
With funding sourced from the State budget, the province urgently embarked on a project to construct 14 kilometres of underground embankments on the western coast. However, just almost 12 kilometres of the embankments were completed and the project was halted due to the shortage of capital.
Vice Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development To Quoc Nam said that construction of one kilometre of underground embankment costs more than 20 billion VND (881,800 USD).
The province has a 254 kilometre coastline, including 100 kilometres facing the eastern sea and 154 kilometres facing the western sea. A dyke along the western sea shore was constructed in the 1990s while the eastern sea dyke has yet to be built.
The province’s coastal areas are home to 260,000 households and 130,000 hectares of farming land.
Local authorities said that the province is suffering from serious erosion and saline intrusion with seawater affecting cultivation land. Meanwhile, the destruction of protective coastal forests and the polluting of the environment have created unsafe living conditions for the locals.
Vietnam, Denmark share experience in food safety
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food shared experience in food safety management for pork value chains at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on May 23.
The event aims to improve controls over food, veterinary medicine, chemicals and product origin tracing.
Deputy head of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department Phung Huu Hao said Denmark has the best food safety controlling system in the world.
In 2013, the Vietnamese and Denmark ministries signed a protocol on cooperation in food safety and quality management.
Last year, the two sides secured a strategic collaboration project on food safety in pork value chains, which will be carried out between 2017 and 2018. Denmark provided more than 1 billion VND and shared experience from management agencies and experts.
The project aims to improve capacity of agencies in devising strategies to control food safety and build guidelines for livestock practice and tracing product origin.
Finn Clemmensen, senior counselor of the food and veterinary management department under Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food, said the country inspects various stages from breeding, feeding, slaughtering to transporting on common principles in food safety in line with regulations of other European countries.
Through the fact-finding tour in Vietnam, Finn Clemmensen said Vietnam has many associations in cultivation and animal husbandry. However, the inspection of production and business activities is mainly conducted by State-run agencies.
Some pork slaughtering facilities don’t seriously obey regulations on food safety, he said, adding that it is necessary to raise breeders’ awareness of the importance of food safety in pork value chains.
Vietnam is home to nearly 4.5 million households raising pigs and about 29,000 small-scale slaughtering facilities.
Head of the Community Veterinary Division Huynh Thi Thanh Binh said relevant agencies will continue implementing programmes on annual inspection of food safety for products of animal origin, along with projects ensuring food safety in transporting and slaughtering of cattle and poultry in 2014-2020, and enhance international cooperation in the field.
German supports vocational training, energy & environment in Vietnam
Germany and Vietnam have agreed to further extend their cooperation in the priority areas including Vocational Training, Energy and Environment.
The German Federal Representatives in Vietnam yesterday said Germany and Vietnam agreed to further extend their cooperation in the priority areas including Vocational Training, Energy and Environment during the Government Negotiations on development cooperation, which were held on May 17 and 18 in Berlin, Germany.
As that, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided funding totaling up to 161.45 million Euro for the next two years for this purpose.
Both sides highlighted the long-standing, very good relations between the two countries and the common goals and international commitments regarding the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
During a meeting of the Vietnamese Delegation with the Parliamentary State Secretary of BMZ, Mr. Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, the conversation centered on the topic of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The Parliamentary State Secretary stressed: “Vocational Training is an investment in the most valuable resource of a country – its people.” In the joint Program Reform of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the cooperation with the business sector, the support for “Green TVET” and the development of a basic module on occupational health and safety are important priorities for future cooperation.
In the priority areas such as Energy and Environment, Germany supports projects such as Energy Efficiency in Urban Grids, Renewable Energy, the Mekong Delta Climate Resilience Program and Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management of Forest Areas in Central and Northern Vietnam.
In addition, Germany supports the Vietnamese Government in the implementation of the national Green Growth Strategy and in strengthening the legal development capacity of the Office of the Government. Vietnam is an important partner country for the German Development Cooperation. The key frame of reference for the cooperation is Vietnam’s National Green Growth Strategy.
The negotiations were opened by Mr. Luu Quang Khanh, Director General of the Foreign Economic Relations Department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Ms. Gisela Hammerschmidt, Director of the Directorate Asia of the German BMZ.
Transport sector honors good workers
A meeting was held in Hanoi on May 23 by the Ministry of Transport to honor 235 good workers in the sector.
In 2016, the sector has 1,800 initiatives to improve technique and working condition; accordingly, they helped to save VND121 billion ($5,332,598) and manufacture 410 products with high value.
The sector has launched movements calling workers to improve technique and working conditions; subsequently, 46 team and individuals were given certificates of merit and medals by the Prime Minister.
HCMC creates open mechanism for developing tourism
Deputy Chairwoman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council Truong Thi Anh and delegation yesterday liaised with the city’s Tourism Association on the sector’s development.
The meeting aimed to discuss measures for developing the city’s tourism.
Deputy Chairwoman of the Association Nguyen Thi Khanh petitioned city's authorities not to invest in tourism development in a staggered way but focus on promoting advertising, and attracting tourists from near countries such as South Korea, Japan and Malaysia; especially the authorities should issue the visa free travel policy to businesspersons and holiday-makers.
As per a statistic report, in the final half of last year, the city welcomed nearly 400,000 visitors from five European countries including England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, whose citizens have enjoyed visa exemption to Vietnam, an increase of 12 percent compared to same period in 2015.
However, the visa free policy for citizens from the five countries will end in next July. Meanwhile Vietnam’s neighboring nations have applied simple policies of granting visa for tourists from all corners of the world.
As a result the association petitioned the government to continue waiving visas for vacationers to June 30, 2022; and apply visa-free policy for tourists who travel to Vietnam before entering other nations and then return Vietnam.
A participant said the government should back travel agencies through package because governments in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore pay all expenses for promoting advertising.
Additionally, Vietnam should have a center to sell souvenirs and specialties to attract holiday-makers and encourage tourists to spend while visiting the country.
Southeastern largest wholesale market opens in Dong Nai
Dau Giay, the largest farm produce and food wholesale market in the southeastern region, came into operation in Dong Nai province on Tuesday.
The market has been built by Thong Nhat real estate company at the total cost at VND1 trillion (US$44 million). Proton one member limited company exploits and develops the market.
Dau Giay market locates in Dau Giay T-junction, Xuan Thanh commune, Thong Nhat district; linking up to Highway 20, National Highway 1A and HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway.
The position is advantageous for transporting farm produce from Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and other provinces in the Central Highlands, the Mekong Delta and the central region to Dong Nai.
In the first phase, the market concentrates on functioning and developing the 7 hectare area of vegetables and fruits.
HCMC to build multi-functional art, cultural complexes
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has approved a project of the multi-functional art and cultural complex at a total cost of VND152 billion (more than US$6 million).
The project located at 30 Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1’s Pham Ngu Lao Ward will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.
The 820-square-meter complex will include a 326-seat drama theater and three cinemas with a total of 378 seats. The project aims to preserve and promote the cultural values of the country.
Additionally, the municipal People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has also approved a project of another multi-functional art and cultural complex for children at a total cost of VND164 billion (US$6.6 million). The project placed at 651 Tran Hung Dao Street in District 5 will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.
The local government has asked the Department of Planning and Investment and the Department of Culture and Sport to boost the construction process of Phan Dinh Phung Sport Center and a 50,000-seat stadium at Rach Chiec National Sports Complex in District 2’s An Phu Ward.
Hung Kings temple historical site project announced
The Phu Tho provincial People’s Committee on May 23 announced the Prime Minister-approved planning project to preserve and promote the value of the Hung Kings temple relic site by 2025.
Under the plan, the national historical site will cover Hy Cuong, Chu Hoa and Van Phu communes of Viet Tri city, Tien Kien commune of Lam Thao district and Phu Ninh commune of Phu Ninh district with a total area of 845 hectares, consisting of a core zone and a buffer zone.
Accordingly, the 32.2-hectare core zone will include Thuong (Upper), Trung (Middle) and Ha (Lower) temples, Gieng Temple, the Hung Kings Tombs, Thien Quang Pagoda, a house for worshipping ancestors, and a bell tower. These constructions and the surrounding primary forest will be preserved and kept intact under the plan.
The buffer zone, spread over 812.8 hectares, comprises Van and Troc mountains, Hung King tower, an area for hosting festivals and events, Hung Temple National Park, a temple commemorating legendary national father Lac Long Quan, a martyr memorial, and residential areas.
The project aims to safeguard natural landscapes and the ecological environment of the historical site while creating a space to commemorate and honour the Hung Kings and national ancestors of the same era.
It also aims to turn the Hung Kings temple into an attractive tourist destination to educate visitors on national patriotism and solidarity.
Heavy rains, landslides hit northern region
Heavy rains are forecasted for the northern region in the coming days, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
The centre said that the northern region will see heavy rains and possible strong wind on May 23-25. This could cause landslides particularly in mountainous areas such as Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An.
In Hanoi, heavy rains broke from midnight on May 23 until the early morning of May 24.
Flood warnings have been issued for May 24 and 26 on the Thao, Lo, Cau, Luc Nam, Ma, Gianh and Kien Giang rivers in the northern region.
According to the centre, central provinces from Nghe An to Thua Thien-Hue will also experience heavy rains from the afternoon of May 24 until May 27. Meanwhile, Tra Cau River in the central province of Quang Ngai is also forecasted to reach high water levels.
PM requires examination of steel fishing ships quality
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to examine the building of steel fishing ships under the 2014 Government decree on policies for the development of the fisheries sector.
Under Decree 67, dated July 7, 2014, ship owners building steel or new-material ships, with total main engine capacity between 400CV and 800CV each, may borrow from commercial banks a sum not exceeding 90 per cent of the total investment in the shipbuilding at the interest rate of 7 per cent per year, of which ship owners are required to pay 2 per cent per year. The State budget subsidises 5 per cent.
PM Phúc’s order comes after the media reported alleged wrongdoings in the implementation of the decree, which led to poor quality of fishing ships built under the policy. Many ships did not qualify for fishing activities offshore.
Many fishermen who received loans from commercial banks to buy steel ships built under the decree are reported to have complained about the poor quality of these ships, saying they continued to face malfunctions and repairs.
Recent examinations by authorities of the central province of Bình Định have found some ships faced frequent breakdowns and deterioration.
The Prime Minister also required the ministry to review, adjust and supplement standards and criteria relating to steel and wood-hulled fishing ships or ships built with new material to ensure their quality and safety when operating offshore.
Local authorities have been urged to increase supervision and inspection of the construction and upgrade of fishing ships under the decree in their localities.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will report the results of these tasks to the PM before June 30.
Water park opens in Hoa Binh Reservoir
Hoa Binh Tourism Investment JSC last weekend opened a water park in Hoa Binh Reservoir as part of a community tourism project in the northern province of Hoa Binh.
The water park in Ngoi Hoa cultural and ecotourism site offers 34 games and water sports such as water-scooters, inflatable boats and fishing boats as well as local traditional sports.
In addition to the water park, the company has cooperated with local people to use seven stilt houses in Ngoi village to serve international tourists. Another eight stilt houses are expected to cater to tourists by the end of this year.
Visitors can experience the cultural traits of Muong ethnic people in Ngoi village and localities around the reservoir such as Hoa Binh, Cao Phong, Tan Lac, Da Bac and Mai Chau.
The company is building five ships capable to transport 16-18 passengers each, floating wharfs, floating swimming pools, floating inns and three-star restaurants with capacity of 200 people, planned to be put into operation next month.
HCMC urges action against cyberattacks
The HCMC government has asked city departments, agencies and enterprises to take precautionary measures against cyberattacks.
The ransomware WannaCry and other malicious worms used for encrypting files and blackmailing users of infected computers are spreading at a fast pace, according to a report from the HCMC Department of Information and Communications.
The report said the WannaCry cyberattack has yet to cause damage to the Internet network of the municipal government. However, the department stressed many businesses and agencies have still failed to take effective security measures against malicious worms.
The department added many dangerous types of malware are spreading rapidly, stealing data without computer users’ knowledge. Notably, there are three variants of WannaCry.
The department has teamed up with the Vietnam Information Security Association to detect and stop five cases of spreading WannaCry from the network of organizations citywide.
The city’s vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said the current cyberattack is very dangerous due to its rapid spread, adding some heads of departments and agencies have underestimated the threat, so the networks of some organizations have been infected with these viruses.
Therefore, he warned if they have been still lax in taking preventive action, resulting in their computer systems being encrypted in the coming time, they would be held accountable to the city government.
He also urged the department to finalize a plan to set up an information security center to ensure information safety citywide, and respond to security incidents in a timely manner.
LG Display Vietnam proposes the building of worker hostels
LG Display Vietnam Haiphong has proposed to increase its investment from US$1.5 billion to US$1.59 billion to construct 13 hostel buildings and social welfare projects for 10,000-12,000 workers, said the company representative.
Construction work has been in progress on an area of 12.6ha from the first quarter of this year. Two hostels and some social welfare projects will be completed in the third quarter and the whole dormitory buildings will be finished by 2020.
LG Display Vietnam, covering 40 hectares at Trang Due Industrial Zone in Haiphong, produces organic light emitting diode (OLED) display products. It is expected to be operational in the third quarter of this year.
Most of the OLED display products manufactured here will be for the world market, though about 20% of the products were aimed to serve domestic consumption.
Newly-built road already a safety risk for users
A key road connecting the two southern provinces of Bình Phước and Bình Dương with the Central Highlands has been downgraded after a short time in use.
Construction on the 20-kilometre-long ĐT 741 road had been finished and it opened for traffic early this year. However, its surface has been downgraded with holes and subsidence causing difficulties for vehicles travelling on the road.
Nguyễn Văn Tiến, a resident in Đồng Phú District’s Tân Lập Commune said that the road had been seriously damaged after five months in use.
He blamed Sông Bé Rubber One Member Ltd Co, the project investor, for carelessly pouring hot asphalt on the old road. Thus, the road had no adhesion and deteriorated quickly.
Phan Thị Chắc, another resident in Tân Phú Town said that she witnessed many accidents due to potholes on the road surface.
Chairman of Đồng Phú District’s People’s Committee Trần Văn Vinh said that the ĐT 741 was under the management of the provincial authority and invested by Sông Bé Rubber One Member Ltd Co.
He admitted that potholes with different sizes had developed recently. The reason, Vinh said, was a shortage of a water drainage system along the two sides of the road. Many parts of the road were submerged in the rain.
The committee has proposed to the provincial authority that they invest quickly in the water drainage system along the road.
The investor has been repairing the road, especially seriously-damaged parts from Tân Lập fee toll to the centre of Đồng Phú District.
The road connects Bàu Trư Hamlet of Bình Dương Province with Đồng Xoài Township in Bình Phước Province. The road was upgraded with a total investment of over VNĐ400 billion (US$17.6 million).
In the first phase, 5-centimetre-thick asphalt was poured on the old road surface at the cost of VNĐ170 billion. In the second phase, the two lanes of the road were enlarged another 3.5 metres each with 1.5 metre-pavements and water drainage systems.
The road was designed for a speed of 80 kilometres per hour under the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model.
Vietnamese youngsters in Thailand learn about President Ho Chi Minh
Vietnamese youngsters in Thailand have learnt about late President Ho Chi Minh through a contest launched between March 2 and May 19.
The contest was launched by the Vietnam Embassy in Thailand, the Vietnamese Consulate General in Khon Kaen, the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese and the Vietnamese Association in the country.
The contest, the first of its kind in Thailand occasioned President Ho Chi Minh’s 127th birthday, received a large number of entries, written in Vietnamese and Thai.
The organising board presented two first prizes with a certificate of merit from Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese Vu Hong Nam, and an invitation to attend a summer camp in Vietnam or join an Overseas Vietnamese children delegation in a Vietnam tour.
The contest was part of efforts to encourage youngsters to learn and follow the moral example of President Ho Chi Minh and the late leaders’ teachings.
It also contributed to preserving and promoting Vietnamese cultural identity, and encouraging the teaching and learning of Vietnamese language in Thailand.
Saigon’s electrical ‘spider webs’ to become thing of the past
Ho Chi Minh City puts as much as 400 kilometers of electrical wiring underground every year, with the goal of clearing the downtown area of its infamous wire ‘spider webs’ by 2020.
By 2020, the entire electrical and telecom wire network of District 1 and District 3 will be underground, while in other districts the aim is to complete between 50 and 80 percent.
Chaotically intertwined electrical wires and telecom cables, locally referred to as ‘spider webs’, have been a characteristic of Ho Chi Minh City for years, providing a sight that awes and terrifies visitors in equal measure.
Since 2015, an ambitious project has been implemented by the city’s administration to get rid of these ‘spider webs’, with the citywide subterranean installment of electrical and telecom wires.
The plan, carried out by state-owned power supply firm Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation (EVNHCMC) in cooperation with major telecom companies including Viettel, VNPT, SCTV and others, looks to install about 1,800 kilometers of the city’s wires and 2,000 kilometers of cable underground by 2020.
Less than three years out from the project’s deadline, many streets and alleys in Ho Chi Minh City have already been freed from the eyesore.
Hoang Oanh, a store owner on Vo Thi Sau Street in District 3, said that the bundle of telecom cables that used to exist in front of her store would sag under their own weight, obstructing the view and leaving locals living in fear of their collapse at any time.
Now that the cables had been cleared, Oanh said that the atmosphere in her neighborhood felt much less claustrophobic.
Hoang Thuong, a resident on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 3, said he had long been an admirer of the streets in District 7 and District 2, where there were no ‘spider webs’ compared to downtown areas.
“Many areas of the city center remain haunted by these spider webs, making the public space feel cramped and stuffy,” Thuong said. “I hope they will put the electrical wires underground in other streets too.”
According to Nguyen Van Hieu, an official at Saigon Power Company (SPC), a member of EVNHCMC, the electrical wire and telecom cable lines on Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Dien Bien Phu in District 3 are expected to be fully transferred underground by June.
SPC’s deputy director Tran Van Toan said the company had already put power grids underground in over 40 streets in District 1 and District 3 since the beginning of the project.
The company expects to complete the subterranean installment of wires on over 20 downtown streets this year, including Le Thi Hong Gam, Nguyen Thai Binh, Nguyen Cong Tru, Le Cong Kieu, Pho Duc Chinh, Ky Con and Yersin.
Pham Quoc Bao, deputy director of EVNHCMC, said the corporation was looking to transfer 650 kilometers of medium-voltage power grid underground along with 1,150 kilometers of low-voltage power grid between 2016 and 2020.
This translates to 100 to 150 kilometers of medium-voltage grid and 200-250 kilometers of low-voltage grid being brought below surface every year.
The total cost is estimated to be approximately VND4.300 trillion (US$191.3 million).
As of today, over 60 percent of the goal has been met, Bao stated.
The project has not been going without criticism however, with locals voicing their concerns about the safety and esthetic of electrical enclosures that have sprung up on streets where electrical wires have been put underground.
The enclosures carry warning labels that read “Do not approach; deadly electric current," prompting locals to question whether placing such ‘dangerous’ objects near their homes is a good idea, not to mention the fact that they also block the pavement.
According to Pham Quoc Bao, these electrical enclosures serve to connect the underground power grid to households on the surface and are therefore an essential part of the network.
As the electrical enclosures are designed to improve safety, in the future the warning labels may be replaced with posters encouraging households to use electricity sparingly, Bao said.
According to Tran Van Toan, aside from major streets, the subterranean installment of the power grid in Ho Chi Minh City will also be extended to the city’s back alleys.
Eight alleys will benefit from the change in 2017, he said, while another 29 alleys in downtown areas are expected be free from visible electrical wires in 2018.
HCM City 1 win to top national champs
Defending champions HCM City 1 proved their power with a 2-0 win over Phong Phú Hà Nam in the fifth round match of the National Women’s Football Championship.
The match was played on Wednesday in HCM City.
Lê Hoài Lương opened the score in the 29th minute and Huỳnh Như scored the final goal with a straight shot in the 79th.
The win pushed HCM City to the top position for the first time this season with the maximum 12 points. Phong Phú Hà Nam dropped one step to No 3 with 10 points.
They will be the leader at least for a day. If Hà Nội 1 beat bottom-placed Sơn La today at the Thống Nhất Stadium, they will return to the top spot.
In the second match of the day, Việt Nam Coal and Minerals were tied 1-1 with TNG Thái Nguyên.
Hương Giang of Thái Nguyên netted the opener just 12 minutes into the game and Trần Thị Thu of Việt Nam Coal and Minerals equalised 26 minutes after the interval.
The draw result did not change their position as Việt Nam Coal and Minerals are at fourth while Thái Nguyên are sixth.
In other action today, HCM City 2 will play Hà Nội 2.
Bulgarian Education, Culture Day marked in Hanoi, HCM City
The Vietnam–Bulgaria Friendship Association (VBFA) hosted a ceremony to mark Bulgarian Education, Culture and Slavonic Literature Day in Hanoi on May 24.
The event was attended by Bulgarian Ambassador to Vietnam Evgheni Stoychev, his wife and VBFA President Nguyen Van Tuan, among others.
Addressing the event, Tuan congratulated the Bulgarian people on the occasion that honours the Kyril and Mephodi brothers who invented the first Slavonic letters.
Bulgaria has trained more than 2,200 Vietnamese graduates and post-graduates, and 6,200 Vietnamese apprentices. The country has also helped improve occupational skills for more than 20,000 Vietnamese workers.
For his part, the Bulgarian Ambassador said the annual event contributes to friendship and cooperation between the people of the two nations.
The same day, the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organisations held a function, gathering Slavonic language users in the city.
It aims to promote cultural exchanges, mutual understanding and solidarity between people in Ho Chi Minh City and the Slavonic language–speaking community.
President of the VBFA’s HCM City Chapter Hoang Thai Lan underlined the contributions Vietnamese people who studied Slovanic culture have made to the nation’s cultural development.
The celebration of the Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day in Ho Chi Minh City contributes to developing friendship between Vietnam and Bulgaria, Lan said.
Festival honours hundreds of southern specialities
The 2017 Southern Culinary Festival officially opened on May 24 in Ho Chi Minh City, honouring over 250 foods and 100 sweet soups and cakes from the southern provinces and cities.
The festival brought together nearly 40 units and enterprises showcasing food and beverages at 70 booths.
The specialities were divided into three unique culinary styles: the central – Central Highland cuisine, Saigon’s cuisine and Southern eastern and western cuisine.
Visitors to this year’s event could also taste and learn how to cook various kinds of traditional Vietnamese food as well as join in numerous talks held by culinary experts.
The highlight of the festival will be the space introducing street food in Saigon from the past and present. In addition to popular food reminiscent of the childhood of local people, numerous dishes associated with the busy and integrated life, including specialities of foreign countries, are being promoted.
A market of clean agricultural products, performances of Cham traditional arts, and folk games such as sack races, blind-man's-bluff, and tug of war, will also be held during the five-day event.
During the festival there will be a cooking contest for participating units, a fruit sculpture competition and a contest on designing the mostbeautiful and impressive booths.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tien emphasised that the annual event aims to promote the flavour of Vietnamese food, particularly the flavours found in the southern region, to both domestic and foreign visitors.
All Vietnamese businesses can import cars now
HÀ NỘI - The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has released a draft decree that all businesses can import cars provided they fulfil the required conditions and get a car import licence.
The draft decree specifies the conditions for importing automobiles as well as the procedures for getting auto import licence, to make it easier for enterprises.
In order to ensure transparency of import clauses, the draft decree has promulgated a list of cars that can be imported along with the condition of Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) codes.
Accordingly, enterprises importing cars on this list must meet the conditions stipulated in the draft decree and must be granted a licence before the vehicle is imported.
For automobiles not on the list, enterprises must comply with regulations on automobile import management in other legal documents; in such cases, import procedures will be determined at the customs offices.
Importing enterprises have to choose one of three options: owning warranty and maintenance facilities; renting a warranty or maintenance facility for a minimum period of three years; or using warranty and maintenance facilities that belong to the enterprise’s distribution network.
To maintain a stable business environment and protect the long-term interests of consumers, the draft decree stipulates that importers are required to own at least a warranty and maintenance facility as prescribed in the decree until July 1, 2020.
There are conditions for warranty and maintenance facilities as well, including the requirement for workshops, warehouses, equipment, tools, human resources, quality management system, fire prevention mechanisms, environmental protection, labour safety and sanitation, in accordance with the law.
The specific standards for automobile maintenance and repair facilities are in the national standard TCVN 11794 on “Standard of automobile maintenance, repair and similar facilities”.
The ministry has committed that within seven working days of receiving the dossier, it will announce the inspection of the enterprise’s warranty and maintenance facilities. If the company fulfils all conditions, after another seven working days, the MoIT will issue an import car licence. - VNS
Co-processing, solution for industrial waste
With its rapid industrialisation and population growth, Việt Nam produces more than 15 million tonnes of waste a year, including 4.7 million tonnes of solid industrial waste, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The waste is mainly treated by landfilling or burning in industrial incinerators.
The environmental impact of waste from industry, especially the footwear industry, has been the focus of attention in recent years due to its use of many hazardous chemicals and discharge of large amounts of leather, rubber and PVC, which are hard to decompose under natural conditions.
Footwear development, waste generation
HCM City -- Việt Nam is the third largest footwear maker in Asia and fourth in the world (behind China, India and Brazil), accounting for about 10 per cent of global production.
Leather and footwear products are also a key export item for the country, accounting for 10 per cent of revenues.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently unveiled a plan for the development of the country’s leather and footwear industry.
It expects exports of leather and footwear to increase 10-15 per cent a year between 2016 and 2020 and 8-9 per cent the next five years.
There are around 1,700 companies in this sector employing 1.2 million workers.
However, too much of anything is not good, especially with the footwear industry having a huge environmental impact.
With the development plan, the lack of a controlling and monitoring system and funds shortage make the need for effective waste management and treatment solutions more important than ever.
Prof Dr Nguyễn Mai, chairman of the Association of FDI enterprises, once talking about the wave of FDI investment in the footwear industry in Việt Nam, has warned that the industry poses a high risk of pollution and therefore it is necessary to select suitable projects to avoid environmental disasters.
World Bank economist Phạm Minh Đức said: “Investments in the upstream sector must be accompanied by stricter environmental regulations because the [footwear] industry discharges a large volume of wastewater and pollutants. So Việt Nam is at risk of using toxic chemicals. To mitigate these impacts, Việt Nam needs to have policies that encourage the use of advanced and environmentally friendly technologies."
Under increasing pressure from consumers, society and the Government, the footwear industry is seeking ways to become more sustainable.
Though manufacturers would like dearly to be sustainable and environment-friendly, there are limitations with respect to the information they have about technologies and their adoption due to financial issues.
According to experts, 25 per cent of the leather used is discharged and causes bad odour.
Đức said: “Burning wastes from the footwear industry creates large amounts of dioxin. If not treated with the right method, it will have fatal impacts on human beings.
“Even storing this kind of waste in the wrong manner causes chemicals to leak into soil and water, destroy the environment and damage public health.”
At the end of last year a factory owned by Đào Quang Việt in Kiến An District, Hải Phòng city, which burnt footwear waste, was severely criticised by neighbors. Vietnam Law newspaper carried out an investigation and found that the 1,200sq.m facility stored a huge amount of rubber and leather shoe soles and PVC.
The facility has a two-metre high fence, but dumps waste outside. Residents of Lâm Hà Ward reported that the plant’s main work was recycling footwear waste into plastic, and its 20-metre chimney discharged swirling black fumes day and night.
In 2011 the footwear industry was involved in a serious case of violation of waste treatment laws in Bình Phước Province.
The Đồng Xoài town police inspected a facility belonging to Thái Bình Leather and Footwear Company in Tân Đồng Ward, and discovered it landfilled solid wastes in front and directly discharged effluents without treatment.
The inspection uncovered that the plant had landfilled more than 160 cubic metres of PVC, plastic packaging, PU and other wastes.
The management blamed the company’s partner, a waste treatment company, for it. It had stopped its work due to several problems. Every day the facility discharged one cubic metre of waste, and the electricity company insisted it should clear the waste so that it could do construction.
While waste management in certain industries has been a perennial problem in Việt Nam with State agencies being responsible for finding solutions for waste management and garbage disposal, some corporate players are forging ahead with modern technologies to resolve the problem and draw closer to nature.
Large footwear companies have also been looking for long for ways to reduce and eliminate the practice of landfilling waste.
Việt Nam’s most popular waste disposal methods are incineration and landfilling. However, handling the waste generated daily is becoming more and more of a problem as the technology at incineration plants is very basic and therefore insufficient.
Though these plants are assessed by the Government for technical standards and gas emissions, Việt Nam lacks the technology to identify dioxins and other pollutants.
Garbage collectors are not sufficiently monitored or tracked, and their backyard facilities have insufficient waste treatment capabilities. This poses a serious threat to people and the environment as ground and surface water are often contaminated by this untreated waste.
“Consequently, efficient waste management is one of the biggest social and environmental challenges,” a sustainability report by a footwear manufacturer said.
“One proven alternative and possible solution on the way to a ‘zero waste society’ in Việt Nam is the so-called ‘co-processing’ technology with the help of which waste is transformed into thermal heat to produce cement with strict quality control.”
Co-processing: transform disposal waste
Co-processing makes best use of the 2000 degree Celcius heat in cement kilns to completely destroy waste, leaving no residues for landfilling and thus reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.
Geocycle, a waste management brand of Holcim (now Insee), takes over wastes from a wide range of footwear manufacturers in Việt Nam and has so far converted 690,000 tons of industrial waste, which would have affected even groundwater if dumped into the environment.
Its work has a triple benefit – waste management, contributing to a cleaner environment; reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels with the generation of energy from the waste; and thus reduction in emission of greenhouse gases.
Nguyễn Thành Danh, an independent environmental evaluator told Việt Nam News that Geocycle is a pioneering company in waste management offering professional and environmental-friendly waste disposal.
He said its method is a globally established best practice to dispose of hazardous wastes. It is technically advanced and superior to landfilling and incineration since there are no residues.
“Though the price for this treatment is higher than for burning, it brings a lot of benefits to society by discharging nothing into the environment.”
Co-processing is recognised and encouraged by international institutions such as the World Health Organization, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Hazardous Chemical and Waste conventions, the Basel Convention, The European Cement Association, and GTZ (German Technical Corporation).
A report released at the 2015 national environment conference showed there were almost 458 solid waste landfills in Vieät Nam with an area of more than 1 hectare each and countless smaller landfills. An efficient solution is needed for this.
Large attention should be drawn to co-processing.
Viet Nam News, By Hoàng Hà
Co-processing proved to be more effective than incineration thanks to no residues being left out
Ho Chi Minh City 12th graders celebrate graduation with Holi-style color fest
Students throw bags of color powders to each other in Ho Chi Minh City in this photo posted on Facebook.
Pedestrians along Nguyen Khuyen High School on Thanh Thai Street in District 10 on Thursday were stunned when dozens of students appeared at the school gates which bags of colored powder ready to hurl at their peers, mimicking celebrations traditional of the Hindu festival of Holi.
The 12th graders filmed the celebration and uploaded the videos to YouTube the same day, causing a stir amongst internet critics and busybodies.
Though supports of the event weren’t shy to point out that finishing high school is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, detractors were quick to label the Nguyen Khuyen 12th-graders as inappropriate. “What kind of students dirty their own school?” said one commenter.
Despite some negativity, the students can rest easy knowing their biggest supporter is none other than their schoolmaster, Nguyen Xuan Thao, who believes the celebration isn’t worth the fuss of YouTube critics.
“Why [are some people] so serious?” he wondered to (Youth) newspaper during a phone conversation on Thursday after confirming that the school gate had in fact been ‘attacked’ with the color.
“The students were only having some fun,” the schoolmaster said.
“We only warned them to take care of their health. That’s all.”
Thao said the school had held a ceremony on Thursday morning for 12th graders to pay tribute to their teachers and parents, a traditional activity marking very end of their 12-year student life.
“As our ancestors teach, no one is as mischievous as students; I don’t think the act is offensive,” he said.
“The students have tried their hardest during their three years at this school and we don’t judge them for how they chose to celebrate this special occasion.
“There is no problem with them having fun.”
Thao asserted that 12th graders everywhere, not just Nguyen Khuyen, want to indulge in the same ‘mischievous’ behavior to end their student life.
The school head also confirmed that he had been informed of the celebration by the students.
“I told them to do what they want to do, but to pay attention to their health,” he said.
“I reminded them to avoid hurting the eyes before the upcoming national exam.”
TUOI TRE NEWS
Banks need VND33 trillion to increase charter capital
Bankers have been cautious when asked if their plans to increase charter capital can be fulfilled this year.
Bizlive has quoted its sources as reporting that 14 commercial banks have plans to increase charter capital this year. And if all implement the plans, a huge amount of VND33 trillion will be needed.
NCB is the bank which plans to increase capital most sharply, by twofold to VND6.01 trillion.
Nguyen Thi Mai, a member of the board of directors, said in 2016, the bank had working sessions with foreign and domestic investors which showed willingness to become the bank’s partners.
If fulfilling the plan to increase the charter capital from VND3.021 trillion to VND5 trillion, Nam A Bank would become the bank with the second sharpest capital increase. It plans to issue VND151 billion worth of shares to pay dividends and issue VND1.828 trillion in new shares.
Meanwhile, Techcombank plans to issue shares to existing shareholders to raise the charter capital from VND8.878 trillion to VND13.878 trillion, or 56 percent.
If successfully implementing its plan, Vietcombank would outstrip Vietinbank to become the bank with the largest charter capital, while BIDV would be in the second position.
Of the 14 banks planning to raise capital this, three kicked off the plans the last year, but they failed. Viet A Bank is one of them.
Viet A’s 2016 shareholders approved the plan to raise the charter capital from VND3.5 trillion to VND4.2 trillion. However, to date, the plan remains unfulfilled.
Viet A Bank’s managers blamed the failure on slow economic growth. As many banks planned to raise capital, the volume of bank shares offered in the stock market increased rapidly.
Meanwhile, the M&A wave and the bank restructuring process have made bank shares less attractive. As a result, it was difficult for Viet A to find partners to buy the bank’s shares.
Similarly, OCB’s board of directors has once again submitted to shareholders a plan to raise capital from VND4 trillion to VND5 trillion after it failed to do so last year.
Saigon Bank also cannot raise capital from VND14.295 trillion to VND16 trillion approved by shareholders in 2016.
A financial expert said that it would be more feasible to implement their plan if they paid dividends in shares. It would be more difficult if banks want to find partners, especially foreign ones.
Chi Mai, VNN
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/5
Opportunities for Vietnam’s fruits, vegetables export
The global demand for fruits and vegetables is forecast to soar in the near future, affording Vietnam a chance to expand to choosy markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US, as heard a seminar in Hanoi on May 24.
On the global market, fruits and vegetables account for over 59 percent of the total and are predicted to grow 2.88 percent for the 2016-2021 period, reported the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD).
Nguyen Duc Loc from the IPSARD said the demand for certified produce is growing. Over the past years, Vietnam has strived to improve the quality and hygiene of GAP certified products and issued regional codes for quality ones.
However, Vietnam still meets difficulties regarding fruits and vegetables preservation while connectivity between producers and businesses remains loose.
A representative from the Pan Group said the government targets restructuring agriculture towards a growth of 3.5- 4 percent from 2016-2020, with a focus on high-tech farming, but also admitted that the domestic farm produce quality management system and origin tracking capability remain weak.
Nigel Smith, General Director of the Fine Fruit Asia, said fruit is gaining the upper hand in regional exports and Vietnam is one of the important partners in ASEAN.
He suggested diversifying fruits and vegetables to ease reliance on China, and developing partnership between businesses, farmers and the government at the regional and sectoral level so that Vietnam’s fruits and vegetables could compete well in international market.-
Committees work to facilitate Vietnamese, Lao enterprises
Representatives from the Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Committee have worked with their counterparts from the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee on the implementation of the Hanoi Agreement 2017 and the “one-stop-shop” customs model at the pair of Lao Bao-Densavan border gates.
During their meeting in the central province of Quang Tri on May 24, the two sides informed each other of cooperation between Vietnamese and Lao border localities, and information related to socio-economic development, security-defence, potential and strength for promoting cooperation between the two nations.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quan Chinh briefed participants on links between Quang Tri and Savannakhet province of Laos, highlighting investment of enterprises from the Vietnamese locality in Savannakhet.
He pointed out difficulties facing Vietnamese businesses and people as Laos changed policies on trade, investment and export-import, proposing the Lao Government improve regulations on inspection and coordination between the two sides’ sectors in line with the one-stop-shop model.
Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee Khamphon Keo Kin Naly stressed that the Lao Government always creates favourable condition for business and trade activities of Vietnamese people in Laos.
He affirmed that the committee will continue building coordination regulations between the two countries at levels, thus promoting export-import turnover between the two countries and facilitating Vietnamese firms’ operation in Laos.
Officials of Quang Tri and Savannakhet agreed on measures to make it easy for the two nation’s enterprises to further development in the time ahead.
ABBank, TPBank join ADB trade finance programme
An Binh Joint-Stock Bank (ABBANK) on May 24 officially signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) on joining the Trade Finance Programme (TFP) – one of prominent programmes enabling Vietnamese enterprises to increase competitiveness and get more opportunities to promote economy.
Under the agreement, ABBANK will promote the implementation of regulations on safe management and operation, towards constantly improving the quality of services and helping enterprises easily access international market.
Becoming a member of the TFP, ABBANK will serve as an effective bridge, bringing opportunities to Vietnamese firms to expand links with other 200 member banks of the TFP worldwide.
“Our Trade Finance Programme aims to help Vietnam and Vietnamese businesses expand trade opportunities, increase competitiveness, and promote trade-led inclusive growth,” said Steven Beck, ADB’s Head of Trade Finance.
According to Cu Anh Tuan, Chief Executive Officer of ABBANK, the signing with the TFP marks the start of a positive development and close relationship between ADB and ABBANK in developing banking services of the Vietnamese bank.
Cooperating with the TFP will not only bring higher business efficiency, but also create an opportunity for our bank to affirm its brand in the banking and financial market, he stressed, hoping that ADB’s continued trust and support will further promote trade development between Vietnam and other countries.
The same day, Tien Phong Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (TPBank) signed a similar agreement with ADB.
According to Nguyen Hung, Chief Executive Officer of TPBank, ADB's extensive network of banks and other financial institutions will provide great opportunities for TPBank to expand its global partnerships.
He said that the guarantee limit from ADB shall be used to support Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises to optimize their businesses so they can contribute to Vietnam’s economic growth.
ABBANK is one of the leading commercial joint-stock banks and is among the top ten largest commercial banks in terms of charter capital in Vietnam. Its current charter capital exceeds 5,319 billion VND (about 234 million USD) and it has an extensive network of 164 transaction offices located in 34 provinces nationwide.
Meanwhile, TPBank is one of the most dynamic commercial banks in Vietnam with total assets of around 106,000 billion VND (4.6 billion USD), about 4,000 employees, and an extensive network of 55 branches and transaction offices across Vietnam. Currently, with more than 1.5 million individual customers and businesses, TPBank has been asserting its position as a strong, sustainable and healthy bank in the country.
To date, TFP has supported 8.2 billion USD in trade through 5,814 transactions covering both guarantees and direct funding in Vietnam. Out of TFP’s total transactions in Vietnam, 67 percent are related to small and medium-sized enterprises. TFP is currently working with 11 commercial banks in Vietnam and, with the signing of agreements with ABBANK and TPBank, this will increase to 13 commercial banks.
Bond demand hits seven-month high
Demand for Government bonds has hit a seven-month high, helping the State Treasury successfully issue all 5-15 year bonds worth 4 trillion VND (175.43 million USD) set for bidding last week.
The monetary report released by the Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) this week showed that the registration ratio for the auction rose 356 percent, the highest level since October 2016. The high demand also helped the Treasury successfully call for an additional bidding of more bonds worth 1.2 trillion VND.
Thanks to the high demand, it was easy for the Treasury to issue the bonds at yield falling six percentage points, stopping the constantly upward trend of the yield since February.
In the week, the Bank for Social Policies also issued successfully five,10 and 15 year bonds worth 720 billion VND out of 1 trillion VND set for bidding. The 10-year bond yield fell six percentage points, while the 15-year bond yield slid 20 percentage points.
In the secondary market, rising bond demand has also helped improve liquidity significantly. Total bond value traded last week reached 42.5 trillion VND, or 8.5 trillion VND per bid on average. Foreign investors also increased their buying value from 800 billion VND to 1.3 trillion VND last week, making them become net buyers of 477 billion VND.
The bond yield in the secondary market continuously fell by 2-11 percentage points, of which the three-year bond yield posted the highest decrease of 11.6 percentage points, followed by the one and two-year bond yields of 11 and 6.4 percentage points, respectively.
Treasury mobilises more capital from Government bonds
Over 5.86 trillion VND (262.77 million USD) worth of Government bonds issued by the State Treasury were sold at an auction at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on May 24.
The sale included 1.5 trillion VND (66.13 million USD) worth of five-year bonds with an interest rate of 5.03 percent per annum, 0.13 percent lower than bonds of the same term sold in the previous auction on May 17.
Similarly, 1.95 trillion VND (85.97 million USD) worth of seven-year bonds sold at the auction bear an interest rate of 5.35 percent, 0.09 percent per lower than those sold in the May 17 session.
Meanwhile, the sold 20-year bonds, worth a total 1.3 trillion VND (57.3 million USD) bear an interest rate of seven percent per annum, 0.09 percent lower than the successful bid at the previous session on May 10.
The successful bids for 30-year bonds worth 1.115 billion VND (49.16 million USD) put the interest rate at 7.55 percent per annum, 0.09 percent lower than those sold at the May 10 session.
Since early this year, the State Treasury has mobilised more than 97.5 billion VND (4.3 billion USD) from the auction of G-bonds on the HNX.
Annual exports to South America expand by 30-40 percent
Vietnam’s exports to South America enjoy an annual average growth of 30-40 percent with many popular and highly-competitive products, heard a workshop in Hanoi on May 24.
Deputy head of the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ta Hoang Linh said with a population of over 600 million people and total gross domestic product (GDP) of over 6 trillion USD, South America is a potential market for Vietnamese businesses.
At the same time, he highlighted difficulties and challenges facing businesses when entering the market such as geographical distance, transportation cost, cultural and institutional differences.
The bilateral trade between Vietnam and Latin America is quite balanced. In 2014, Vietnam exported 4.71 billion USD worth of goods to the market, a year-on-year rise of 36.8 percent. Vice versa, the country imported 4.8 billion USD from the market, up 44.9 percent.
Vietnam mainly exported footwear, seafood, rice, garment-textile, coffee, plastic products, electronic equipment and components, and computers, while importing textile-garment and footwear materials, paper, plastic material, cattle-feed, soybeans, and cotton.
Former trade counselor of Vietnam in Chile Tran Dinh Van said Chile is one of the leading open economies in the world, and Vietnam’s goods face fierce competition by counterparts from the South American region and Asia.
Currently, Vietnam has surpassed India and Thailand to become the biggest ASEAN exporter to Chile, ranking ninth among countries exporting to Chile.
The free trade agreement between Vietnam and Chile took effect in January 2014, covering 9,000 lines of products.
This has created good opportunities for businesses to boost exports to the market.
Vietnam’s shrimp export to Japan sees sharp increase
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Japan in the first quarter of this year increased by 29.6% year-on-year to reach US$135.4 million, making Japan the country’s largest shrimp importer.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP), shrimp exports to Japan recovered since August 2016 and kept growing until March 2017.
The association attributed the rise to changes in tastes of local consumers who now prefer cheaper aquatic products to salmon, tuna and cuttlefish.
Demand for different kinds of shrimp among high-end consumers also increased, the association said, noting that all these factors have drawn shrimp businesses to Japan.
Although Vietnamese shrimp is sold at a high price of US$12 per kg on average, they are still popular thanks to their improved quality, the association said.
Cooperation programmes in agriculture between the two countries have also facilitated Vietnam’s shrimp export to Japan, the association added, asking Vietnamese businesses to maintain product quality and prestige.
Vietnamese shrimp firms, however, said they still face various difficulties, especially a shortage of raw shrimp.
The Director of Thien Phu Export Seafood Processing Company Limited said the company is making every effort to ensure material supply by connecting with shrimp farms which follow GlobalGap standards, covering a total area of 500 ha in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu.
VASEP forecast that Vietnam’s shrimp export turnover in 2017 will amount to about US$3.4 billion, up 9% year-on-year, of which export value of white-leg shrimp is expected to edge up 8% to hit about US$2 billion.
Cattlemen look to imports to meet growing demand for beef
Vietnamese cattlemen have requested the Vientiane Cattle Breeding and Entrepreneurs Association to supply up to 400 head of cattle per day to meet the increasing consumer demand for beef.
This request comes on the heels of the Association signing a contract under which it agreed to supply beef cattle to the Vietnamese cattlemen, Mr Viengsavanh Southivong of the Association told reporters on May 22.
The problem is that Association has entered into an agreement that it is currently not prepared to fulfil, said Viengsavanh, noting the 27 Lao members need more time to come up with a plan to meet their commitment.
To start a cattle ranch the Association and its members are currently seeking equity capital to purchase the equipment, grass, seeds, and cattle it needs to get it up and running, said Viengsavanh.
The Association has plans to import 2,000 animals from Australia to use in Vientiane as breeding stock.
Nor does the Association have the technical skill and staff or the land and natural resources needed, he said. We hope to establish collaborative agreements with Thailand ranchers to supply some grass seeds, technology, and vaccines among other things.
With support from the government and the assistance of local residents, we are hoping to find 1,500 hectares of land along the That Luang marsh channel to establish a cattle ranch.
This year, the Association also plans to purchase 300 hectares of land for cultivation and will further expand when the ranch gets up and running with visible progress.
The farmland is in the district of Xaysettha in the villages of Phonthong, Na Pien, Doung, Kharm-ngoy, Na Xangphay and Haykham.
As we learned from the mistakes of a foreign business entrepreneur in the province of Xieng Khuang, we must prepare meticulously before importing the cattle, said Viengsavanh.
The number of head of cattle currently being reared by the members of the Association are still insufficient to meet the current commitments it has already made to supply the domestic market.
The Association needs more than 500 cattle to meet its obligation to supply local slaughterhouses daily and is currently bringing in cattle from other provinces like Saravan and Attapeu to do so.
The supply issue has caused beef prices in Vientiane to spike, while pork has remained relatively inexpensive in comparison.
Most startling is the fact that Viengsavanh acknowledged that the Association members are still lacking in the expertise to operate a cattle ranch and compete with their peers in the Lao marketplace.
This situation highlights the importance of Vietnamese businessmen being careful in entering contractual agreements with foreigners in Laos. In this situation clearly, the Association is not prepared to meet its end of the bargain.
In English, one would say the Association clearly put the ‘cart before the horse.’ But in any event, it looks like the Vietnamese cattlemen will need to look to other suppliers to meet the rising demand for beef by Vietnamese consumers.
VN, Denmark exchange lessons in food control
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) met with the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (MFVM) on Tuesday in HCM City at a conference on safe management of the pork product value chain.
The conference’s goal was to raise awareness for both farmers and consumers in Viet Nam. The guiding principle was “from farm to fork”, and the discussions spanned areas such as feed, veterinary medicine, chemicals and product origin.
Phung Huu Hao, deputy head of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) under the MARD, said at the conference that Denmark has one of the world’s top food quality control systems, and Viet Nam looks forward to collaborating with Danish agencies.
Commenting on agricultural and animal husbandry in Viet Nam, Finn Clemmensen, Senior Counselor of the Food and Veterinary Management Department under the MFVM, stated that despite the presence of numerous associations in these fields, actual inspection and monitoring of farms and businesses are usually done by government agencies.
According to Clemmensen, after a field tour, he noted that several slaughterhouses did not strictly obey safety and sanitary procedures, and the whole pork production business is in need of further regulation. He emphasised the need for a complete and safe value chain to ensure the benefits of domestic consumers and the potential for Vietnamese pork exports.
Representatives from the NAFIQAD agreed with Celemmensen, stating that while Danish pig farms are all numbered and registered before the authorities, in Viet Nam there are around 4.5 million unregistered household farms with about 29,000 slaughterhouses. This has greatly inconvenienced State run agencies responsible for pork safety and quality control.
Until 2020, relevant agencies will continue implementing annual origin inspections for animal products, along with projects ensuring food safety in transporting and slaughtering cattle and poultry. Agencies will also enhance international co-operation in the field, said Huynh Thi Thanh Binh, head of the Community Veterinary Division under the Department of Animal Health.
The two countries have been working together since 2013, after the signing of a protocol on food safety control between the MARD and the MFVM. In 2016, both sides agreed to implement strategic pork value chain co-operation to take place between 2017 and 2018.
To honour this co-operation agreement, Danish MFVM will grant about US$45,000 to Viet Nam, together with field experience and technical support from experts and administrative departments from Denmark. The objective is to enhance capability among Vietnamese authoritative agencies to help them chart their own sustainable strategies in food safety control.
Can Tho wants more firms, jobs
Solutions to develop nearly 7,000 new enterprises by 2020 were top of the agenda of a meeting organised by Can Tho City’s People’s Committee and relevant agencies on Tuesday.
Can Tho City, currently, has more than 6,900 enterprises with total registered capital of VND55.5 trillion (US$2.47 billion), creating jobs for over 101,500 workers. On average, each enterprise has registered capital of over VND8 billion.
To implement Government’s Resolution 35, Can Tho City targets to have 13,800 enterprises by 2020. Of the total, 6,900 enterprises will be newly-established and some 20-25 per cent of them will apply high technologies in production.
The enterprises are expected to help increase the contribution of enterprises to the city’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) to 50-60 per cent and create over 210,000 employees of whom 40 per cent will be female.
Last year, there were 1,100 enterprises set up in Can Tho City and more than 400 enterprises were established in the first four months of 2017. Thus, from now until the end of 2020, to achieve the set target, each year, Can Tho City needs some 1,700 newly-established enterprises.
Nguyen Phuong Lam, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Can Tho branch, said that for developed countries, for every 10-15 people, there is one enterprise, but in Viet Nam the ratio is 1:248.
In the Mekong Delta region, the ratio of enterprises to the population is only half that of the whole country, which is some 450 people per enterprise, but Can Tho City, with more favourable conditions, has some 250-300 people per business.
Lam said the city’s target of new businesses by 2020 is achievable, provided that the city continues to improve its investment climate, including its provincial competitiveness index.
According to Lam, among Mekong Delta localities, Can Tho City currently has the best conditions for business development, but the city still lacks leading enterprises to create a driving force for small and medium-sized businesses.
In the long term, Can Tho needs to focus on developing startups, meaning businesses with new innovations and creativity, rather than establishing new ones in the normal sense, Lam stressed.
Besides this, the city should also pay attention to seeking investment from businesses from other localities, such as from HCM City, Lam said, adding that the municipal authorities need to create good conditions for university graduates to start their own business.
Tran Quoc Ha, director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s Can Tho branch, said the city’s information e-portal should set up a forum for startups, providing information about the city’s startup policy so that all individuals know and participate.
The city also needs a resolution served as the basis for implementing its startup plan, Ha said, stressing the importance of having a very specific policy for commercial banks to join hands in the programme.
Can Tho also needs concrete policies and directions to develop enterprises in the fields of information technology and automation, Ha added.
Nguyen Van Hong, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said the city could reach the target of newly-established enterprises, but the number of new businesses set up according to the nature of startups – i.e. be creative and apply new technologies -- is not many.
This is the most challenging issue that Can Tho City and many other places in the Mekong Delta are facing, Hong said.
An Giang moves to develop sustainable tourism
The Mekong Delta province of An Giang is striving to take full advantage of its potential for tourism development and turn it into a spearhead economic sector.
According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh, the province issued a resolution on tourism development until 2020 with orientations through 2025, which identifies four key tourism types, namely spiritual tourism, eco- and resort tourism, eco and water tourism and cultural – heritage tourism.
Measures have been devised to tighten the management of tourism activities while boosting efforts to attract international tourists and improve tourism service quality.
By 2020, the province hopes to welcome 10.1 million visitors and earn about 4 trillion VND (176.36 million USD) from tourism services, making up 8.8 percent of its gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
By 2025, the figures are expected to reach 12.9 million visitors and 15.3 percent of GRDP.
To realise the targets, the sector needs to focus on publicity work to get the community more involved in tourism development, invest in infrastructure facilities, particularly the traffic network to explore border tourism, said Binh, adding that efforts are also needed to mobilse resources to build infrastructure and train human resources.
Dang Duc Phong, Director of the Centre for Tourism Promotion, underlined the need to offer a wide range of tourism products, particularly community-based tourism, sports tourism, resort tourism, among others.
Investment should be made in key products to develop brand names for the locality’s tourism while protecting natural resources, cultural values and the environment, Phong said.
An Giang has cultural diversity with four ethnic groups, namely Kinh, Khmer, Champa, and Chinese, and a wide range of traditional festivals, such as Ba Chua Xu Nui Sam in Chau Doc and Bay Nui (Seven Mountains) cow racing festival, according to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Len.
An Giang has 15 major tourism sites, including Nui Cam and Nui Sam tourism sites. Cu Lao Ong Ho tourism site in My Hoa Hung commune was named among national tourism sites in the Master Plan for tourism development in the Mekong Delta region by 2020 with a vision to 2030.
The number of visitors to An Giang has increased rapidly, from 4.5 million in 2010 to 6.5 million in 2016, including 70,000 foreigners, generating 3.2 trillion VND (140 million USD).
Sacombank postpones AGM to June 30
In an announcement published on its website on May 24, Sacombank said it cannot hold its 2015 and 2016 annual general meeting (AGM) in May as expected, with a new date set for the end of June.
“Due to the incomplete preparations of AGM documents and personnel for the new Board of Directors and Supervisory Board during the 2017-2021 tenure, Sacombank will postpone the AGM, which was set for May 26, and expects to hold it on June 30,” the statement read.
This is the second time Sacombank has postponed its AGM, which was initially set for April 28.
The announcement also noted that the bank’s restructuring plan post-merger was approved by the State Bank of Vietnam on May 22, and its audited financial statements are currently being completed.
Sacombank is yet to publish its 2015 and 2016 audited financial statements.
It will send an invitation letter to shareholders and publish documents for the AGM within the prescribed time limit.
In addition to the bank’s current senior officials, including Chairman Kieu Huu Dung, the list of candidates for the new Sacombank Board for the 2017-2021 tenure includes Mr. Nguyen Van Huong, the recently-resigned Deputy Chairman of LienVietPostBank.
Mr. Huong is currently the Deputy Chairman of the year-old Vietnam Macadamia Association, a social and professional organization co-founded by LienVietPostBank and real estate giant the Him Lam JSC, which holds more than 30 per cent of LienVietPostBank.
Sacombank became the fifth-largest lender in the local banking sector in 2015 after its voluntary merger with Southern Bank. Previously among three private lenders with the highest annual net profits, the joint entity was supposed to bring greater benefits to Sacombank’s shareholders and customers. But the bank was hit almost instantly post-merger, with a pre-tax loss of VND671 billion ($29.5 million) in 2015’s fourth quarter, making its pre-tax profit for 2015 as a whole only VND1.29 trillion ($56.6 million), a fall of 55 per cent against 2014.
In its October 2016 report, Moody’s confirmed Sacombank’s “B3” long-term ratings and “caa1” BCA, and changed the outlook to negative. The confirmation of the caa1 BCA reflects the high solvency and liquidity risks faced by Sacombank post-merger.
The B3 long-term ratings of Sacombank were confirmed because Moody’s continues to incorporate one notch of uplift, based on the rating agency’s expectation of moderate support from the Vietnamese Government. The negative outlook on Sacombank’s ratings reflects the uncertainty around the strategic direction of the bank, its unclear ownership structure, and the true scope of asset quality challenges.
The bank posted an after-tax profit of VND210.5 billion ($9.28 million) in the first quarter of this year, a 30 per cent increase year-on-year, according to the bank’s latest financial report. Its bad debt ratio fell from 5.35 per cent at the end of 2016 to 4.88 per cent as at March 31, but remains the highest among its peers.
RoK business pushes for partnership with Hung Yen
Hyundai Aluminum Vina shareholding company, which belongs to the Aluko group from the Republic of Korea, and authorities in the northern province of Hung Yen signed a memorandum of understanding on May 24.
The signing was part of a working session to discuss investment opportunities. The meeting was attended by representatives from both sides and Kim Kyoung Hun, head of the council in Daejeon, a Korean city.
Kim Kyoung Hun said he wants to see win-win cooperation between the sides, with investment focused on high-tech farming and agricultural processing, among other sectors.
Nguyen Van Phong, Chairman of the provincial People Committee, introduced local strengths and industrial projects, including the 3,000-ha Ly Thuong Kiet industrial urban area and the 1,000-ha Pho Hien university complex.
He invited Korean investors to invest in the local market, particularly in industry, agriculture, health, education and culture.
Dang Ngoc Quynh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said Hung Yen will create the best conditions possible for the company to study the feasibility of a 200-ha project at the Ly Thuong Kiet urban area.
Beijing promotes tourism in Hanoi
The Tourism Development Committee of China’s Beijing city organised a tourism promotion programme in Hanoi on May 24.
At the event, the committee introduced the Chinese capital city’s tourism potential, as well as new tourist sites and attractive products to draw more Vietnamese visitors.
A committee representative said that Vietnam and Hanoi in particular are important markets for Beijing’s tourism sector.
Deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ngo Hoai Chung said that Vietnam will continue facilitating cooperation between the two countries’ travel agencies, with the focus on the Beijing market.
China led in the number of tourists to Vietnam with 2.7 million in 2016, a year-on-year rise of 51 percent, while Vietnam led in ASEAN in the volume of visitors to China with 2.2 million.
Spanish press informed about Vietnam’s tra fish products
Accurate and detailed information about the production and trade of Vietnam’s tra fish was provided to the Spanish press at a press conference held in the Vietnamese Embassy in Spain on May 25.
Chairing the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung noted that recently, some media reports in Europe painted a distorted picture about Vietnam’s tra fish, thus affecting the product’s prestige and consumers’ trust.
The Deputy Minister stressed that in order to export tra fish to the EU, Vietnamese producers and exporters have to pass multiple inspections of the union. The list of eligible exporters is reviewed by the EU every year, and every batch of Vietnamese tra fish exported to the EU has to undergo inspections of EU-approved centres.
He told the conference that Vietnam’s tra fish are shipped to over 160 countries and territories worldwide with export turnover reaching about 1.66 billion USD a year.
He affirmed that Tra fish breeding has become one of the means for Vietnamese farmers to escape from poverty and ease adverse impacts of globalisation.
At the press conference, representatives from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP) and Vietnamese tra fish exporters also presented detailed information on the situation of Vietnam’s tra fish sector.
In January this year, Spanish commercial television channel Cuatro broadcast a report with incorrect and defamatory information on tra fish breeingd in the Mekong River.
As a result, Carrefour Group stopped selling Vietnamese tra fish at its supermarkets and stores in Spain, Belgium and France. A number of schools in Spain also refused to buy Vietnamese tra fish.
Spain is an important market in Europe for Vietnam. The two countries have recorded increasing trade, with two-way trade hitting 2.9 billion USD in 2016 and 835 million USD in the first four months of this year. They aim to bring bilateral trade turnover to 5 billion EUR by 2020.
Vietnam mainly exports aquatic products, coffee, textiles, rice and footwear to Spain, while importing chemicals, machines, pharmaceuticals, milk, electronics and spare parts.
Not all SMEs to enjoy lower tax
Not all small and medium enterprises (SME) in Vietnam could enjoy a preferential corporate income tax under the draft law on tax support for SMEs, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung at the ongoing sitting of the National Assembly on May 23.
Dung said SMEs, accounting for 98% of enterprises in the country, are identified as an important driving force for the national development by the Party Central Committee in a resolution adopted at its 5th plenum.
According to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, only profitable enterprises will directly benefit from the law on supports for SMEs.
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Phung Quoc Hien explained that the number of profitable entities accounts for 49.4% of operating enterprises, thus an estimated 301,300 units, including about 4,160 medium enterprises, 116,920 small enterprises and 173,271 micro enterprises, would benefit directly from these regulations.
According to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, the draft law does not specify the reduction level compared to the current rate of corporate income tax, but it is assumed that the reduction would be 1% for medium enterprises, 2% for small enterprises and 3% for micro enterprises compared to the current tax.
The tax cuts are predicted to send State budget revenues falling by about VND1,920 billion (about US$84.7 million), including VND103 billion for medium enterprises, VND1,314 billion for small enterprises and VND502 billion for micro enterprises.
The draft law stipulates that in each certain period, the Government would decide the policy to support credit institutions to increase lending to SMEs.
The draft law has abolished the regulations that interfere directly in the operation of the banking system which is not in line with market principles. In particular, the draft law eliminates a provision urging banks to provide loans with interest rates and loan terms consistent with the solvency of the SMEs and the financial situation of the bank.
According to Article 11 of the draft law, foreign-invested and state-owned SMEs are not eligible for support in terms of production space.
The draft law defines SMEs as micro, small and medium enterprises with an average number of employees covered by social insurance in the preceding year of no more than 200 each.
Such SMEs must also meet one of two conditions, namely total capital in the preceding year shall not exceed VND100 billion and turnover in the preceding year shall not exceed VND300 billion.
Large projects in HCMC uncompleted due to urban planning
When it comes to doing the planning, HCMC will need innovation and breakthroughs to deal with many large projects that have been stalled or uncompleted over inappropriate urban planning, the city government said.
According to a report of the HCMC People’s Committee sent to the Ministry of Construction, at present, investors wanting to implement large projects have to go through multiple planning stages and in several cases investors have got stuck owing to such planning. Therefore, the municipal government and relevant agencies will study and adjust the general planning of the city.
The city government said the current planning still depends on too many positioning factors (boundary and location) and quantitative factors (scale, area and quantity). Besides, functional areas are specified in the planning for each region, creating legal barriers for large projects and inflexibility for the development of the city.
In addition, due to the constraints of standards and regulations, the management and implementation of the planning (zoning planning and detailed planning) is not aligned with the reality of the city and the demand of investors, leading to failure to comply with the approved planning and complicated adjustments.
At the same time, due to weaknesses in implementing the planning, some projects have become infeasible shortly after they were approved, forcing investors and authorities to adjust the planning or the projects many times.
Therefore, the city government said the new master planning would be studied extensively in all fields and sectors in order to get a comprehensive picture and appropriately evaluate the urban development potential of the city.
In the long past, the city was unable to predict the fast pace of urbanization. Therefore, the general planning will focus on forecasts and evaluations of economic and social factors.
Previously, the master planning of HCMC towards 2025 was approved by the Prime Minister in Decision No. 24/QD-TTg dated January 6, 2010.
Expensive car imports decrease
The number of automobiles with nine seats or less imported into Vietnam has grown strongly this year, but the volume of expensive cars has decreased, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Over 20,800 such vehicles had been imported into Vietnam with a total value of more than US$329 million by May 15, a 46% surge against the same period last year.
However, the average price was US$15,776 a unit, around US$1,000 lower than that last year. This falling average price points to the fact that fewer luxury cars were imported in the period.
As import duty on cars from ASEAN countries has been cut from 40% to 30% early this year, and 0% by 2018, tax revenue is poised to fall sharply in the coming time despite a rise in imports. Last year, imports of cars, especially luxury ones, helped raise tax revenue.
Worries loom as international arrivals seen surging
The local tourism sector will likely see a strong upsurge in international tourist arrivals this year, but some are of the opinion that the sector should attend more to quality improvement instead.
Addressing the National Assembly session in Hanoi on May 22, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said the Government has set a goal of achieving a 30% rise in international arrivals in 2017. If the target is realized, the country would welcome some 13 million international visitors this year, up from 10 million last year.
However, even some industry players are worried about overheated development given the poor preparedness in terms of both human resources and infrastructure. They stressed the quality of services and tourism staff needs improving for sustainable development.
Nguyen Quoc Ky, general manager of tour operator Vietravel, said higher tourist numbers would cause many problems such as shortages of tour guides and hotel rooms, and a possible fall in service quality. The lack of hotel rooms in Nha Trang in the upcoming summer holiday, for example, needs thorough consideration to better respond to the high growth of tourist arrivals, and supporting services need improvement.
Ky cited the so-called “zero-dollar” tours in Vietnam as example, saying the unchecked development had caused huge injury for the tourism industry as many tour operators had failed to develop services and secured sufficient tour guides to serve a strong surge in tourists from China and South Korea. Consequently, foreign tour operators have jumped in, leading to lost revenue for Vietnamese firms.
Ky also underscored the importance of human resource and service development, which have been left unattended to.
At present, localities have expressed the desire to develop tourism and attract as many tourists as possible, but they have not developed tourism services and anticipated the pressure of a large number of visitors on local infrastructure.
Phu Quoc is an example to this effect. Numerous hotel and resort projects have been licensed on the island off Kien Giang Province, but operators of these hotels and resorts are struggling with many difficulties such as human resource shortages and waste treatment problems.
Nguyen Duc Quynh, deputy general manager of Furama Danang Resort, told the Daily that the tourism sector should improve the quality of products and services instead of target visitor numbers.
Startup Wheel 2017 Contest launched
The annual Startup Wheel 2017 contest supporting young entrepreneurs has been launched nationwide.
This year’s contest will take place in main cities, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho. It is expected to attract 700-1,000 contestants.
Launched in 2013 in HCM City, the competition aims to give an opportunity to young people to start and promote their own businesses with support from the business community.
The contest is co-organized by the City's Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the HCM City Youth Federation’s Business Startup Support Centre (BSSC), the HCM City Young Business People Association (YBA), Vietnam Youth Union, Vietnamese Students' Association – Ho Chi Minh City branch and the HCM City Department of Science and Technology.
VN firms eye South America
With GDP totaling more than US$6 trillion and a population of more than 600 million, South America has great investment opportunities for Vietnamese companies.
Deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency Ta Hoang Linh made the statement during a conference held on Wednesday in Ha Noi.
In recent years, Viet Nam’s exports to the region have experienced annual average growth of 30-40 per cent, Linh said.
However, Vietnamese enterprises still face several challenges in exporting to the region such as geographical distance, high transportation costs and cultural and institutional differences.
Former Vietnamese Trade Counselor to Chile Tran Dinh Van agreed. He mentioned inadequate market information and difficulties in language as two other obstacles facing Vietnamese exporters.
As for the Chilean market, Viet Nam’s goods also faced fierce competition from their peers from South American and Asia, he noted.
Le Thi Van Anh, director of Thanh Dat Joint Stock Co, which exports farm produce in the northern province of Hung Yen, said her enterprise stopped searching for export opportunities to the region as it had failed to receive payment for a cashew nut shipment in 2014 from a South American partner.
Her company couldn’t even get its products back, Van Anh told the Industry and Trade newspaper.
To facilitate Vietnamese exports to the region, Van called on closer co-operation between relevant State agencies and enterprises, especially in trade promotion.
He also suggested domestic firms improve their understanding about South American trade information, custom procedures and payment methods.
HCM City to host international coffee expo
The 2017 Coffee Expo Vietnam, the most prominent trade event in the coffee, tea, bakery and dessert sectors, which opens in HCM City on June 1, will provide a platform for domestic and foreign companies to network and explore business opportunities.
The second international expo will showcase tea and coffee products and machinery, equipment and materials to make coffee, other beverages and sweet foods.
There will also be several concurrent events like the 2017 Vietnam Super Barista Championship Competition, workshops, one-day training classes and a business matching programme.
Baristas from coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels will compete with the winner getting the grand prize of VND200 million (US$8,810) and being sponsored by Coex Vietnam to participate in the 2018 World Super Barista Championship in Seoul, Korea.
Tax authorities to take closer look at foreign retailers
The General Department of Taxation has asked local tax authorities to inspect foreign retailers operating in Vietnam to see if they are transfer pricing or shifting profits to avoid tax.
Tax authorities will audit corporate, value added and personal income tax paid by these retailers between 2012 and 2016.
The department will also monitor the use of brand names in the form of franchising or ownership transfer among foreign retailers.
Transfer pricing is not illegal per se, but it is a gray area that tax agencies keep a close eye on. Abuse of the practice is often very difficult to prove, especially when it involves multinational corporations with a complex network of internal buyers and suppliers.
Vietnam’s retail market grew 10.2% last year with total sales reaching VND2,670 trillion (US$117.6 billion), according to the General Statistics Office.
The country, recently ranked by A.T. Kearney among the world's top 30 retail markets with the best opportunities, has seen many foreign arrivals.
BigC supermarket chain, MM Mega Market (previously Metro Vietnam), electronics chain Nguyen Kim and Aeon Vietnam are several of the major foreign retailers operating in the country.
In 2015 retail giant Central, run by Thailand's third-richest family, the Chirathivats, made headlines with its US$200 million purchase of a 49% stake in electronics retailer Nguyen Kim, via its subsidiary Power Buy. Then in 2016, Central and Nguyen Kim acquired Vietnam's biggest foreign-owned supermarket chain Big C.
Vietnam's tax authorities last year gave Big C Vietnam a tax bill of VND2 trillion (US$88 million) for its capital gains tax obligations after its former French owner Casino Group sold its stake to Central for 1 billion euros (US$1.14 billion).
In 2015, authorities also collected VND1.9 trillion (US$85.6 million) in tax arrears from the US$700-million acquisition of Metro Vietnam.
German-retailer Metro Cash & Carry, before being sold to Thailand’s TCC International Land, was accused of falsely reporting losses for 12 years in Vietnam and failing to pay tax bills worth US$23 million, according to the General Department of Taxation.
Vietnam to develop 1,370km cross-nation expressway at $13bn
A section of the North-South Highway is completed in Ninh Binh Province.
The selected proposal, prepared by the Ministry of Transport and which has been open for feedback from state agencies, aims to develop 1,372 kilometers of expressway from now to 2025, with a hefty investment of VND314.1 trillion (US$13.84 billion).
The development plan selected by the Vietnamese premier on Friday will be improved and finalized before the government reports it to the lawmaking National Assembly.
According to the proposal, the north to south expressway will include a 1,622km stretch from the Huu Nghi Pass in the northern Lang Son Province to Dau Giay Town in the southern Dong Nai Province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City. This section will be connected with an existing expressway from Dau Giay to the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
Of the 1,622km highway, 123km has been completed while another section of 127km is being constructed. The remainder 1,372km will be constructed with four to six lanes, varying between localities where the highway crosses.
The whole project is divided into two main phases with the first one scheduled for the 2017-25 period, and the second one, from 2025 onwards.
The first phase is expected to include two sub-phases with the first one running from 2017 to 2020. During this period, 632km of new road will be constructed and 81km of the current expressway will be expanded.
The estimated cost for this first sub-phase is VND130 trillion (US$5.72 billion), of which VND55 trillion ($2.42 billion) is contributed by the government and the remaining capital is drawn from the private sector.
During the second sub-phase from 2021 to 2025, the country is expected to develop another 659km of expressway, estimated to cost VND113 trillion ($4.97 billion), of which the government will contribute VND57 trillion (US$2.63 billion).
The second main phase starting from 2025 with a vision to 2030 includes expansion of various parts of the highway with a budget of VND69 trillion (US$3 billion).
The complete expressway that runs across the nation will span 1,372 kilometers, with investment totaling VND314.1 trillion.
The PM-backed proposal will be reviewed before being submitted for legislature’s approval during the third session of the National Assembly, running from May 22 to June 20, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat told (Youth) newspaper.
If approved by the National Assembly, the construction of the new north to south expressway will help connect various socioeconomic centers between the capital and the southern metropolis and reduce traffic pressure on the current National Highway No. 1.
TUOI TRE NEWS
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/5
Tra fish export to EU increasingly difficult
Exports of Vietnamese tra fish to Spain and the European Union (EU) as a whole have dipped sharply this year.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is preparing to inspect the system for food safety control of Vietnamese seafood from this June, which could make the export of tra fish to this market more difficult.
In early 2017, Spanish TV channel Cuatro aired an inaccurate news program about Vietnamese tra fish.
Back then, Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), told the Daily that a group of people had made use of this news to tarnish the reputation of the tra fish industry of Vietnam. “There is a group over there trying to take advantage of the environment issue to exaggerate the story in order to gather support for their products instead of importing tra fish from Vietnam for sale.”
The reflections in the clip do not correctly mirror the tra fish industry of Vietnam, not a standard procedure of Vietnam’s tra fish export but just a particular case “exaggerated to slander the tra fish sector of Vietnam, like the smear campaign taking place in the German market earlier,” he said.
While confirming the quality and food safety of Vietnamese tra fish, Hoe said the above incident had made it hard for this product to make its way into the EU and Spain in particular.
In the first three months of 2017, tra fish exports to the EU totaled a mere US$49.9 million, down 21.5% over the same period last year. In particular, exports to Spain tumbled 42.8% year-on-year, while those bound for the Netherlands, the UK and Germany slid 2.8%, 15% and 27.2% respectively against the year-earlier period, according to VASEP.
Such a strong decline in tra fish exports to Spain goes against the previous forecast of businesses and VASEP that the smear campaign would have certain impact on the sale of Vietnamese tra fish.
To recover Vietnamese tra fish exports to Europe after the incident, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung on Wednesday this week presided over a press conference at the Embassy of Vietnam in Spain for disseminating information about the production, trading and export of Vietnamese tra fish, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Hung emphasized that there had been some reports and articles which did not fully reflect and gave inaccurate information about the farming, production, trading and export of Vietnamese tra fish. This has partly affected the confidence of Spanish consumers and the prestige of Vietnamese tra fish suppliers.
At the press conference, representatives of VASEP and some Vietnamese tra fish exporters to the EU provided further information on Vietnam’s tra fish industry and affirmed that Vietnamese tra fish products are safe.
In a related development, the European Commission this June will examine Vietnam’s food safety control system for export to the EU, according to VASEP. All stages related to food safety in aquaculture are subject to inspection, from licensing for the circulation of aquatic feed, veterinary drugs and products serving aquaculture, and the use of animal drugs to food safety assurances during processing.
To export seafood to some EU member states, besides complying with the general EU rules, domestic enterprises must meet the specific requirements of each market, which are often more stringent than general ones, according to VASEP.
Some seafood exporters to the EU said that with this inspection, seafood exports to this market would be more difficult in the coming time.
Regarding this issue, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) has proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issue a decision suspending the granting of certificates for all seafood products made by those enterprises with shipments that have been warned by the EU authorities.
Bibica targets 1.4 trillion VND in revenues
The Bibica Corporation, a leading confectionery firm in Vietnam, has set targets of 1.4 trillion VND (61.5 million USD) in revenues and 86.6 billion VND (3.8 million USD) in after-tax profits in 2017.
The targets were announced at the Bibica Corporation’s shareholders meeting held in HCM City on May 26.
Truong Phu Chien, vice chairman of the board of directors, said that in 2016, the corporation’s sales exceeded 1.26 trillion VND (52.8 million USD). Its after-tax profits stood at 81.2 billion VND (3.6 million USD).
Currently, Bibica has more than 200 products and 1,200 exclusive distributors, 115,500 retail shops and 500 supermarkets and convenient stores across the country. Its products have been shipped to 15 countries and territories worldwide.
Can Tho hosts e-commerce forum
Mekong Delta enterprises were updated on the latest trends of e-commerce at a forum held in Can Tho on May 26, and engaged in networking to seek sales opportunities and partnerships.
At the event, Nguyen Minh Ky, head of the Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, introduced trends of online trade related to new business models, online search, and clients from social network, among others.
He said digital marketing is challenging traditional methods, while posing legal issues to businesses in terms of patent dispute, tax and cybercrimes.
At the forum, experts said many enterprises have yet to realise the importance of e-trade applications to their sales.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s statistics, Vietnam has 52 million internet users and 35 million users of smart phones. Of both groups, 48 percent look for product information on line, while 27 percent use their phones to place purchase orders.
In 2015, e-commerce generated 4.08 billion USD in turnover with an average annual growth of between 25 and 30 percent.
Participating firms said they hope e-commerce will help them expand the market, cut time and cost, and improve their reputation perceived by customers.
International forum highlights FDI trend, impacts in Asia
Researchers, scientists and students from Vietnam, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China shared experience, new ideas and research outcomes about widespread impacts of foreign direct investment (FDI) in developed and developing countries at a forum in the central city of Da Nang on May 26.
The 7th Academic Alliance Exchange Forum was jointly held by Dong A University (Da Nang), Nagasaki University (Japan), Dong-A University (the RoK) and Huaquiao University (China).
The participants also touched upon the trend of FDI in the market, and proposed solutions to attract more FDI flows into Vietnam, thus fostering the country’s socio-economic development through job generation, technology transfer and experience exchange.
According to economists, Vietnam’s per capital income increased from 1,120 USD in 2009 to 1,990 USD in 2015. The figure is forecast to reach 12,745 USD in the future.
Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially Vietnam, are expected to become an attractive destination for foreign investors thanks to their good performance in international integration as well as improvements in the business environment, they said.
The experts revealed that an increase of 1 percent in the FDI flow will help Vietnam expand its GDP growth by 0.243 percent. Therefore, they suggested the country address such macroeconomic difficulties as inflation, bad debt and high inventory level.
Vietnam also needs to roll out solutions to synchronously develop socio-economic and educational infrastructure, in parallel with improving investment polices and creating a more competitive investment climate to attract investors.
RoK firm inaugurates semiconductor plant in Ha Nam
The Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd from the Republic of Korea (RoK) on May 27 inaugurated a plant in the northern province of Ha Nam.
Covering an area of 7.5 ha in the Dong Van I Industrial Park (IP) in Duy Tien district, the 300-million-USD plant specialises in manufacturing semiconductor products, hi-tech LED systems and spare parts serving sectors of lighting, electronics, telecommunication, and those requiring energy saving.
The factory applies modern technologies such as nPola, WICOP, DRT ad UV LED, enabling it produce LED lighting systems without power adapters. The plant generates jobs for over 3,000 workers.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Dong said at the inauguration ceremony that this is the largest ever foreign direct investment project in Ha Nam.
He stressed the project is in line with the hi-tech and supporting industry development strategy, as well as the socio-economic development plan of the province.
The project not only meets the market demand, but also open a opportunity for suppliers of auxiliary products, which serves the production of the plant, Dong said.
He asked the Management Board of IPs, and relevant department and sectors of Ha Nam to coordinate closely in addressing difficulties facing Seoul Semiconductor in particular, and other investors in general, thus making it easy for their operations in the locality.
2017 shrimp exports to Japan likely to reach $3.4b
Viet Nam is expected to export shrimps worth some US$3.4 billion to Japan this year, up 9 per cent year-on-year, the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said.
Of the total, exports of white-leg shrimp will contribute some $2 billion, surging 8 per cent against the same period last year, VASEP said.
Viet Nam’s shrimp exports to Japan reached $135.4 million over the past three months, a year-on-year increase of 29.6 per cent, making Japan the largest market for Vietnamese shrimps.
The association attributed the significant growth to the rise of the yen, which encouraged Japanese enterprises to move to imported shrimp.
In addition, Japanese consumers tend to switch to cheaper seafood, which increased the demand for shrimp as it is more affordable than other seafood such as tuna, salmon and squid.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau to get fisheries centre
The Party Committee of the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau has approved a plan to build a major fisheries centre in Vung Tau City’s Long Son Commune.
The centre, which will cover a 147-ha area on the east side of Go Gang Island, will include a fishing port, frozen storehouses and a seafood processing area.
It will also have a fishing boat maintenance centre and a sea rescue centre.
The VND2 trillion (US$88 million) centre will be funded by State and local budgets. Private resources will also be sought.
Construction will be divided into three stages from now through 2030.
Tracodi lists in HCM City
Transport and Industry Development Investment Joint Stock Company (Tracodi) on Friday listed 32.48 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange at a reference price of VND16,000 (US$0.70) a share.
The company will focus on three key sectors: infrastructure construction and real estate; stone, construction materials and mining; and farm produce trading and export.
Nguyen Ho Nam, its deputy chairman and general director, said the listing indicates the company’s new strategy of transparency and would help it enhance its prestige, access long-term resources and develop sustainably.
This year, the company plans to speed up work on BOT 830 and 824 projects, wrap up procedures to begin a social housing project in Long An and increase its stone mining capacity among others.
In trading, it would expand exports of cassava starch, coffee and micro-organic fertilisers, he said.
The company targets after-tax profit of VND63.7 billion, revenues of VND879.47 billion (US$38.7 million) this year, or 6 per cent and 5.5 per cent higher than last year, respectively.
In the first quarter of this year, it reported revenues of VND167 billion ($7.35 million), a more than 90 per cent rise over the same period last year.
Its profit after tax was VND15.1 billion.
TCD plans to pay a dividend of at least 10 per cent for this year.
CGV introduces first ScreenX cinema technology in Vietnam
CJ CGV Vietnam (CGV) officially launched the new ScreenX cinema technology, the first of its kind in Vietnam, in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on May 26, kicking-off its technology investment strategy for the 2017-2020 period.
The birth of ScreenX technology, which is developed exclusively by CJ CGV, is a milestone in the South Korean movie industry in particular and the world in general, giving movie-goers a strong sense of immersion while watching a movie.
The launch ceremony welcomed a host of celebrities and film directors. The first two ScreenX screens are at CGV Hung Vuong Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City and CGV Aeon Long Bien in Hanoi. One auditorium at both cinemas has been renovated to use the new technology, with seating expected at 200-250.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge”, the fifth film in the now iconic franchise from Walt Disney Pictures, which was also released locally on May 26, is to be the first film screened with the technology in Vietnam. CGV plans to invest around $200 million from 2017 to 2020 in bringing state-of-the-art cinema technologies to its cinema network nationwide. The investment strategy is among CGV’s mission of contributing to the integration of Vietnam’s cinema industry into the world.
The 270-degree technology projects footage onto the front main screen and the two walls, providing those in the audience with an immersive cinema experience.
In addition to launching ScreenX, CGV will also install more large screens in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from 2017 to 2020. It has already secured three or four locations.
By the end of this year, it will be operating 54 or 55 cinemas nationwide, including in remote areas. It will invest in building 12-15 new cinemas each year, four or five of which will in remote areas. With total investment of $4-7 million per cinema, total investment will reach $70 million.
“The continuous expansion of cinemas around the country as well as the strategic cinema technology investment plan has once again reaffirmed our long-term commitment to the development of quality cinema infrastructure in Vietnam,” said Mr. Dong Won Kwak, CEO of CGV Vietnam.
“During the last ten years in Vietnam, our investment in infrastructure and technology is more than four to five-times our operating profit,” he added. “More importantly, the investment goes towards the development of Vietnam’s film industry. We believe that with the potential market growth, together with the right direction and investment by all stakeholders in the industry, Vietnam will be positioned among the Top 5 developed film markets in the world within the next five to seven years.”
5M agri exports at $13.7bn
Export turnover of agriculture, forestry, and fishery products in May was estimated at $2.8 billion, bringing the total export value in the first five months of the year to $13.7 billion, an increase of 9.5 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The export value of major agricultural commodities was estimated at $7.3 billion, up 12.6 per cent year-on-year. Exports of aquatic products were valued at $2.8 billion, up 10.4 per cent, while key forestry products brought in $3.1 billion, up 9.4 per cent.
Exports of rice grew in volume and value after a long period of continuous decline, rising 1.6 per cent in volume and 1.2 per cent in value year-on-year.
Total export volume reached 538,000 tons in May, worth $245 million, for five-month figures of 2.3 million tons and $1 billion.
Exports of fruit and vegetables remained stable with high growth of 38 per cent year-on-year. Export value was $344 million, bringing the total in in the first five months to $1.38 billion.
China, the US, Japan, and South Korea were Vietnam’s largest markets, accounting for 83.8 per cent of the total.
Indonesia will become an important market for Vietnamese fruit, especially oranges, as it oranges have fallen out of favor in the domestic market, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Indonesia. Vietnamese orange exporters were recommended to research exporting to the country.
Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are exported to 60 countries and territories worldwide, with Indonesia among the major importers.
Total fruit and vegetables export value reached $2.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase to $3 billion this year.
VinaCapital fully divests Time Square Hanoi
VinaLand Limited, the real estate investment arm of Ho Chi Minh City-based private equity firm VinaCapital, has found a partner to transfer the right to develop the $50-million Times Square Hanoi, which has been on offer since 2015.
In a recently released statement, VinaLand announced that it has divested its entire stake in the Times Square project, for net cash proceeds of approximately $41 million, resulting in an IRR of 5.3 per cent.
The project consists of a total land area of approximately 4.0 hectares and was acquired by VinaLand in 2007, at which time the land was designated as a future development site.
The buyer of the project is Elite Capital Resources Limited.
In conjunction with the announcement of the divestment, VinaLand said it will conduct a distribution of $40 million to shareholders through a tender offer to purchase ordinary shares of the company.
“This tender offer follows today’s announcement of the Times Square disposal which, in conjunction with several other exits, will enable shareholder distribution to continue in various forms, including share buybacks and tenders, and is a good outcome for shareholders as we continue to maximise shareholder value,” said VinaLand managing director David Blackhall.
VinaLand also stated that its total valuation is 20.4 per cent above the March 31, 2016 un-audited net asset value, and 48.1 per cent above the unaudited net asset value at the time of VinaLand’s extraordinary meeting in November 2016. Both figures include adjustments for additional investments up to the date of exit.
At the time of this announcement, $17 million, or 41.5 per cent of the net proceeds, have been received by VinaLand with the remainder subject to precedent conditions expected to be satisfied by no later than July 2017.
Located in the emerging business district of the capital, Times Square Hanoi is a 65-35 joint venture between VinaCapital and Thang Long GTC, a unit under state-owned hospitality group Hanoi Tourist.
The planned mixed-use project has a committed investment capital of $50 million and broke ground in 2008. However, the development has been abandoned since then.
The project expected to provide a complex of 20,000 square metres of high-end office space for lease, a 300-room five-star hotel, and a trading centre.
Recently, VinaLand and Vietnam Opportunity Fund Limited (VOF), both under VinaCapital, have been exiting from a range of real estate projects.
Right last month, VinaLand divested its entire stakes at Dai Phuoc Lotus, a residential complex in Dong Nai province, to China Fortune Land Development and earned about $65.3 million. Dai Phuoc Lotus consists of 332 high-end semi-detached and detached villas. Around 200 villas of the first phase have been handed over to buyers.
Kido forges ahead in vegetable oil segment
Kido Group JSC, a major player in the domestic food scene, has just finalised increasing its holding in Vietnam Vegetable Oil Industry Corporation (Vocarimex), one of the largest local vegetable oil firms, moving closer to the target of controlling the cooking oil market segment.
In late May 2017, the company wrapped up the purchase of more than 32.8 million shares of Vocarimex (ticker code VOC), increasing its total stake to more than 62.1 million, equal to 51 per cent.
Currently, the vibrant vegetable oil market is home to nearly 40 businesses, several of whom have grown into big players, such as Cai Lan, Tuong An, and Nha Be Golden Hope.
Before acquiring a controlling stake in Vocarimex, in November 2016, Kido spent more than VND1 trillion ($45.4 million) on buying a 65 per cent stake in Tuong An JSC.
Besides, by late 2016, Vocarimex also held 49 per cent stake in Golden Hope, 24 per cent stake in Cai Lan, and 17.8 per cent in Tan Binh Vegetable Oil JSC.
According to Kido CEO Tran Le Nguyen, in the upcoming time the company will continue buying businesses in the food industry, and striking cooperative deals with units possessing strong product line-ups to maximise their advantage in the extensive distribution channel.
Kido’s accelerated investment into the vegetable oil segment has helped the company boost its revenue growth significantly.
Accordingly, in the first quarter of this year the company raked in VND1.25 trillion ($56.8 million) in net revenue, more than triple than last year, and accrued a profit of VND245 billion ($11.1 million), a 50 per cent jump on-year.
After acquiring a controlling stake in Vocarimex, Kido’s financial indices are forecast to undergo big changes, particularly from the third quarter this year. With its current size, Kido’s influence is expected to extend far beyond the reach it had when it was running in the confectionery business.
Particularly, before transferring its confectionery business to US-based Mondelez International in late 2014, the company’s revenue was VND4.95 trillion ($225 million) that year.
Kido has yet to convene its 2017 general shareholders’ meeting to deliver its official business targets for this year.
Market observers, however, assume that the company’s revenue might even hit VND7.6 trillion ($345 million) this year.
Vietnam Airlines adds summer service to thousands of destinations
Vietnam Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for travellers in both domestic and international markets, reports the Vietnam News Agency.
The National Flag Carrier will add an estimated 4,700 seasonal routes through August 20 on flights from Hanoi to the cities of Danang, Chu Lai, Pleiku, and Nha Trang as well as from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc, Danang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc to name just a few.
Starting this summer, we're offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory, said a Vietnam Airline representative. And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we'll be getting travellers to the moments that matter most - relaxed and ready to go.
These flights are available for purchase with domestic service beginning as early as today at highly discounted special air fare prices that travellers won’t want to miss out on, said the representative.
For more information, visit Vietnam Airlines https://www.vietnamairlines.com/en/plan-book/book-flight-now/ or contact your local travel agent today.
Cần Thơ looks to boost e-commerce
Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM), in collaboration with Can Tho City authorities, hosted an e-commerce forum on Friday, aimed at boosting online sales and business transactions in Cuu Long Mekong Delta.
The forum was attended by representatives of relevant ministries, sectors and businesses from Can Tho City and Cuu Long Delta.
At the forum, Nguyen Minh Ky, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-commerce and Information Technology Department, introduced participants to six key trends in e-commerce, including new internet-based business models, online checks while purchasing goods, ways to lead customers from social networks to websites and indirect selling methods.
Of the above-mentioned e-commerce trends, Ky said online marketing was challenging traditional marketing, resulting in businesses facing legal problems such as copyright and content disputes, taxes and internet crimes.
According to MoIT’s statistics, Viet Nam has some 52 million internet users and more than 35 million people using smartphones. Of these figures, some 48 per cent seek information to purchase goods through the websites and 27 per cent order goods on smartphones.
The ministry also reported the revenue of e-commerce transactions between businesses and consumers reached US$4.08 billion in 2015, marking a growth rate of 25-30 per cent.
To be successful in e-commerce, Ky said businesses needed to provide customers with good and necessary apps.
However, during the forum, many experts said most Vietnamese businesses, including those from Can Tho City, were not fully aware of the importance of e-commerce in boosting sales.
Deputy chairman of Can Tho People’s Committee Truong Quang Hoai Nam urged businesses to upgrade e-commerce apps in production and trade, develop their brand names with internet domains and build corporate websites linked with cloud technology.
At the forum, representatives of businesses said they would boost the application of e-commerce to expand the market, cut costs and reduce payment time.
Vietnamese natural rubber exports hit lowest level in 4 years
Vietnamese natural rubber exports fell 21.7% in volume and 29.5% in value month-on-month in April, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
The decrease is part of the continuing steady decline in overseas consignments the rubber segment has experienced in recent years, said Tran Ngoc Thuan, chair of the Association.
Mr Thuan noted that in the first four months of 2017 combined foreign sales declined 2.1% in total value compared to the same period in 2016, which represents a continuation of the steady decline in sales over the past four years.
The World Factbook reports that for the four-year period 2012-2016 Vietnamese exports of natural rubber plummeted 63.8%, tallying in at just US$904.1 million in 2016.
This compares to worldwide sales of US$4.4 billion for Thailand and US$3.4 billion for Indonesia in 2016, the two top global exporters of natural rubber and essentially places Vietnamese exporters as a group in a virtual tie with their counterparts from Malaysia and Côte d’Ivoire for third place.
Mr Thuan was quick to point out that the slowdown of the global automotive industry and declines in the cost of oil had contributed significantly to a drop in the selling price of rubber during the first four months of 2017.
He said the price on the global market had been hovering in the US$1,600-US$1,700 per metric ton range in March and April down from an averageUS$2,400 in January and February.
Mr Thuan added that a surplus of rubber in Thailand had also been a contributing factor putting downward pressure on the sales price.
The Association recently approached the Prime Minister with a list of proposals aimed at throwing a lifeline to the segment, said Mr. Thuan. Chief among them was a pitch for the government to declare the segment exempt from the value-added tax.
Since 2014, the government has exempted many agricultural products including farm raised fish and seafood from the value added tax but has not yet extended the preferential policy to natural rubber.
Mr Thuan said the list of recommendations to the Prime Minister also included a request to exempt the segment from the requirement to pay income taxes on their earnings.
Additionally, the Association somewhat inexplicably wants the government to develop national standards for rubber latex and regulate the quality of rubber latex raw materials.
This point is not entirely clear, as one would suppose that one of the chief purposes of the Association is to promulgate national standards for the natural rubber industry, which presumably they could implement themselves.
The Association recommended that the government issue legal documents directing rubber businesses to manage rubber wood sustainably in accordance with Vietnam environmental laws and regulations.
Lastly, the list included several recommendations relating to clarifying the issuance of certificates of origin for the segment.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Tran Tuan Anh of the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted the fundamental problem the segment is experiencing is that their products are considered inferior to those of competitors.
He suggested that the Association focus on reforming their technologies to improve product quality and less on issues related to value added and income taxes. The lack of competitiveness is the root of the problem, not taxes.
Drivers experiencing the dark side of ride-shares
Vietnamese drivers who once eagerly jumped behind the wheel to work with Grab or Uber might have won the battle against traditional taxis, but the fight amongst themselves is just heating up.
While ride-hailing services were initially meant to help drivers with private cars earn extra cash, citizens in Vietnam’s big cities are turning to these apps as new investment paradigm, using them as an excuse to invest in buying new cars for the sole purpose of joining the ride-share networks.
Some have even turned to bank loans to purchase vehicles in the hope of reaping profits from the seemingly lucrative market.
But with the number of ride-sharing drivers soaring over such a short time, some big investors are swallowing a bitter pill.
In 2015, Bui Tan Cao, a Ho Chi Minh City resident, quit his office job to become a ride-share driver using a four-seater Kia Morning he purchased for more than VND500 million (US$22,000).
Covering nearly 60% of the car’s cost with bank loans, Cao is currently paying more than VND20 million (US$880) in monthly interest.
An investment seemed lucrative at first, with Cao raking in up to VND15 million (US$660) a month, is now turning into a burden. The mushrooming of ride-share drivers has lowered Cao’s daily revenue to VND700,000 (U$30) – VND800,000 (US$35) per day, not counting fuel costs, compared to the VND1 million (US$44) he was making per day when he started.
“I suffer losses for short rides through traffic,” he said.
He now drives for both Uber and Grab to “make ends meet.”
Nguyen Phuong, who runs a transportation company in District 2, put two trailer trucks up for sale, borrowed more than VND2 billion (US$88,100) from banks, and called on friends to invest in a fleet of 12 cars he planned to use in order to tap into the Uber market.
Phuong’s initial monthly profit was up to VND40 million (US$1,760) but earnings began to drop by 40% only a few months later, he admitted.
Phuong now offers to lease his car for a mere VND400,000 – VND800,000 a day, but few drivers are interested. Eight of the heavily invested vehicles now lie dormant, while Phuong sadly acknowledges that “the Uber game is not as easy as I thought.”
Nguyen Minh Phong, a Grab driver in Tan Binh District, said tough competition between drivers of the same service is main cause of slumping earnings.
“You can find hundreds of Uber and Grab cars and taxis on just about any street,” he said.
“They also have to compete with traditional xe om [motorbike taxi], Grab Bike, and UberMoto.”
Phong said even when he sticks with his car 16 hours a day, it is still impossible to hit his previous VND1.5 million (US$66) mark.
“After subtracting my costs, I only earn VND200,000 [US$8] – VND300,000 [US$13],” he said.
“This income is barely enough to cover daily necessities, let alone pay for the bank loan for my car.”
Grab has cut its fare for four-seater cars to only VND9,000 a km, and VND11,000 for seven-seater cars since mid-March. Though it’s great news to passengers, Phong said, “it’s a nightmare for drivers.”
Jabil expands facility footprint in Saigon Hi-tech Park
Jabil Circuit, Inc. (NYSE: JBL), held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 26 for its new facility at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in Ho Chi Minh City.
The event marked the expansion of Jabil Vietnam’s operations to a total of 413,000 square feet of building space at the park.
Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017, the new facility will provide additional storage space and accommodate future high-volume production of computing, storage, networking, telecommunications, automotive, digital home, mobility, point of sale, printing, industrial and energy sectors.
This expansion comes as Jabil marks its decade milestone in Vietnam and prepares for future growth.
“Since we began operations in Vietnam ten years ago, we have been on a consistent growth trajectory. We are currently operating at maximum capacity and this expansion is central to our growth strategy. Besides positioning us well for future growth, this expansion also reflects our continued commitment to develop and invest in Vietnam,” said Vijay Chinnasami, senior vice president of electronic manufacturing services (EMS) operations at Jabil.
In 2015, Jabil Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the SHTP Management Board to expand its operations. It currently employs about 4,500 employees and aims to create more than 3,000 new jobs in the local area over the next five years.
Jabil also plans to develop the local talent pool for future leadership roles with training and development opportunities.
“With its location in the heart of Vietnam’s growing tech industry, proximity to major air and sea ports and availability of skilled workforce, the Saigon Hi-Tech Park offers competitive advantages for companies to establish operations in Vietnam. We are pleased that Jabil has decided to expand its facility at SHTP and are confident that this will bring about both direct and indirect benefits to the local community,” said Le Hoai Quoc, president of SHTP.
Jabil Vietnam specialises in high volume product solutions and serves the industrial and energy, networking and telecommunications, point of sale and printing sectors. The site has also received several “Best-In-Class” awards from respected companies in the telecommunications, point of sale, smart meter and set-top box industries.
Vietnam real property oversupply dampens growth outlook
Growth in sales in the second or holiday home segment of the property market in Vietnam has garnered a lot of attention of late but its outlook remains cloudy at best—with many experts throwing up the yellow caution flag to investors.
There are approximately 36 second home property developments currently operating in Vietnam with over 7,000 units on the market spanning the gambit of everything from the very affordable to high end luxury.
More importantly, however, according to experts at a recent forum in Hanoi,an estimated 17,000 units are expected to be constructed over the next three years inthe country’s key resort markets.
The prime markets in the country for the second home segment were identified as the provinces of Khanh Hoa and Quang Nam, the island of Phu Quoc, the beach town of Ho Tram, along with the cities of Ha Long and Danang.
The experts at the forum said the 17,000 units include villas, second home condominiums and condo hotels, which latter are legally a condominium but double as a hotel offering short term rentals and are operated in similar fashion to hotels.
This data shows clearly that a nation-wide oversupply problem exists, which will continue putting downward pressure on future growth in the Vietnam second home market, David Jackson,CEO of Colliers International told the audience.
Mr Jackson noted that any upward trend in investment and sales over the recent past is proving to be unsustainable in the face of projects in the pipeline that most surely will saturate the market in the foreseeable future.
With property investment growth losing momentum and private investment growth remaining stubbornly sluggish, the economic growth outlook for the segment over the next few years looks increasingly gloomy.
In Danang alone, Mr Jackson said that the Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Resort, Ba Na Hills Resort, Bai But Resort and the Song-Danang Beach Villas all have long term construction projects scheduled to get underway later this year that will flood the holiday home segment with units for years to come.
The standout mainly is the profusion of condo hotel developments. The pace at which developers are planning to build these units is sure to result in a future over supply unless the government steps in and brings some sensibility to the market.
If not, additional projects will be planned. We are seeing more and more projects announced, all seemingly trying to outdo one other in terms of scale, appeal and often outlandish promised rates of return.
Salesmen for these developments are touting rental returns in Vietnam that can be as high as 12% guaranteed for eight years— but investors should be forewarned not to fall for these extraordinary claims and representations.
To have any chance of meeting these exceptionally high internal rates of return the projects would need top rate management managing these projects more as hotels than as holiday homes.
Yet in most cases this hotel management component seems to be lacking, if it exists at all. Investors should take heed of the age-old adage, that if it something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In addition, Mr Jackson noted that investors should be cautious because investments in the segment become higher risk when less experienced developers enter large scale projects,such as is happening in Vietnam in cities such as Danang,with insufficient equity and are not fully supported by banks.
What really happens in many of these cases where guaranteed rates of return exceed the projected future cash flows of a real property development is that the investor ends up paying more for the property than it is worth in the first place.
This is common in real estate and in many markets around the globe the cost of financing can account for as much as 20% of the initial purchase price of a unit.
This structure might prove beneficial under some limited circumstances but it needs to be very well planned and carefully analysed before being implemented or it can result in financial disaster for the real property project and investor.
Rudolf Hever, director of Hotels, Savills Asia-Pacific in turn also warned of saturation in the second home and holiday home segment noting that in the city of Danang the growth in supply of units could hit 27% over the next three years, not a good thing for investors.
Novaland Group obtains $30mn syndicated loan
Novaland, one of Vietnam’s leading property developers, has received a syndicated loan from two foreign banks - Maybank in Malaysia and VietinBank Filiale Deutschland (VietinBank’s branch in Frankfurt, Germany) - in which Maybank is the main lender.
The $30 million loan has a 30-month term.
Disbursed in April, the loan immediately went to the group’s ongoing projects in order to ensure the progress and quality committed to with customers and to continue strengthening shareholder and investor trust in the group.
Similar to foreign loans previously raised from Credit Suisse and GW Super Nova, to receive approval for this loan the Novaland Group had to demonstrate strong financial strength, clear planning, and the development potential of its projects.
The first loan with Maybank has a competitive interest rate, helping Novaland diversify its capital resources, especially in international capital markets, and at the same time shows the interest among international financial institutions in the group.
In the past 25 years of cooperation with local and international financial and banking institutions, Novaland has always followed the principles of cooperation, repaying loans on time and sometimes before maturity.
In order to maintain the group’s credibility among financial and credit institutions, Novaland adheres strictly to financial and operational controls through a system of commitments, especially an index on repayment capacity or a leverage ratio in business operations.
This effort contributes to strengthening confidence among foreign investors and maintaining the image of a transparent company in international capital markets. This is also a key reason why Novaland received rapid loan approval from Maybank and VietinBank Filiale Deutschland and a previous convertible loan deal with Credit Suisse, one of Switzerland’s largest banks.
Maybank is the largest financial and banking group in Malaysia, with a history of nearly 60 years, and has expanded its business to many countries around the world, such as the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the UK and the US.
VietinBank Filiale Deutschland is the German branch of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank). It is also the only Vietnamese bank operating in Europe and a member of the Association of Banks in Germany and the Deposit Insurance Fund of Commercial Banks.
State Audit: NPLs at 8.85% at end-2015
In a report sent to the National Assembly, State Audit of Vietnam revealed that non-performing loans (NPLs) at banks in Vietnam accounted for 8.85 per cent of all outstanding loans at end-2015, three and a half times higher than the 2.55 per cent rate for end-2015 the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) announced in March.
The bad debt rate in the entire banking system as at December 31, 2015, including outstanding debts at the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), restructured loans, and loans not classified as non-performing, totaled VND476.86 trillion ($21 billion), equal to 8.85 per cent of total outstanding loans, according to State Audit.
Agribank’s bad debts, including loans sold to VAMC, totaled VND73.5 trillion ($3.24 billion) at end-2015, equal to 10.7 per cent of its outstanding loans. Post-audit, most Agribank branches were found to have a range of flaws in lending procedures, with some loans not carefully assessed and lacking collateral.
State Audit pointed out in its report that the debt bank VAMC has not actively handled bad debts, with NPLs mainly being handled by the credit institutions themselves, resulting in low efficiency.
The balance of capital at the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, meanwhile, was extremely tough. Many loans from the State Treasury and SBV have either been extended or declared irrecoverable.
Audits at some banks revealed inadequacies. For instance, Agribank’s risk provision for credit losses was short by VND2.85 trillion ($125.6 million), while Vietcombank hasn’t counted all compound interest on current deposits smaller than VND1,000 ($0.04) since 2001.
State Audit also named banks that remain under special supervision or with extremely poor financial capacity, including the three ailing banks the SBV took over in 2015, VNCB, GP Bank and Ocean Bank, together with Dong A Bank and other finance companies.
Many credit institutions have been recording unstable and uncertain profit. For instance, the accrued income of restructured loans and income earned but not yet received in the entire banking system was VND50.5 trillion ($2.2 billion) at end-2015, including VND21.5 trillion ($947.7 million) at Saigon Commercial Bank, VND6.7 trillion ($295.3 million) at Sacombank, and VND5 trillion ($220.4 million) at PVcomBank.
Many commercial banks accumulated public debts and loans that were hard to recover due to violations by bank officials, which resulted in a difficult handling process and a fairly low recovery rate, such as ACB, Eximbank, Sacombank, VNCB, GP Bank, and Ocean Bank.
Via open market operations, the central bank has ensured stable liquidity for credit institutions and stabilized the exchange rate, with credit growth in 2015 reaching 17.26 per cent year-on-year, higher than the 13-15 per cent target.
While the mid and long-term interest rate in 2015 fell 0.2-0.5 per cent from a year earlier, it did not meet the targeted 1-1.5 per cent.
Only pigs with clear origin can be sold in HCMC
Only pigs bearing an ID tag can be sold in HCMC from September 15 to protect consumer health and benefits, said HCMC People’s Committee vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen on May 24.
The program will not be implemented in June as planned, but will be delayed due to the recent sharp fall of pig prices causing heavy losses for farmers. Vice chairman Tuyen emphasized that the ID tag must include full information to help track the origin of pigs.
Tuyen also expressed his concern about food safety and hygiene violations in the city. He expected that violations by individuals and organizations will face strict sanctions including administrative and criminal ones.
Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet, director of Hung Vuong Hospital and a member of the HCMC People's Council, said food safety control has remained lax, and proposed more severe sanctions against violators.
Moreover, Tuyet proposed there should be more tools for food testing and more modern laboratories should be built to produce accurate and fast test results.
Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, deputy head of the HCMC Food Safety Management Board, said they have been handed over a new center for testing medicine and food. The board is also coordinating with relevant agencies to improve the food testing process and develop safe food chains.
In addition to sanctions against processing and trading units found with violations, officials and management agencies that fail to fulfill their duties will also be held accountable.
Pham Duc Hai, vice chairman of the HCMC People's Council, said the city needs to educate consumers about safe food chains and clarify responsibilities of heads of food management, production, trading and distribution agencies.
HCM City looks for financing privileges to fund infrastructure projects
The HCMC government is seeking approval from the Government for a special financing mechanism which will allow the city to make comprehensive infrastructure investments.
In a report sent to the Prime Minister and relevant ministries on Tuesday, city leaders proposed the Government continue allocating funds from the central budget for key projects, and giving HCMC more power and responsibility to use capital sources for urban infrastructure development.
Besides, HCMC is looking to apply land rent exemptions at locations used for public traffic projects approved by the Government such as parking lots, vehicle maintenance stations, ticketing booths, public restrooms, green parks and internal roads.
The city also wants to prioritize the budget and official development assistance (ODA) loans for important projects of key economic areas. It will also focus on planning, construction and development of the logistics system which will be connected to the national network and other regions, including completed technical infrastructure and management information systems.
The Government should reconsider a local budget retention ratio in tandem with contribution of each province and city, thus making resources for localities to develop technical and social infrastructure. The ratio should be fixed until the end of 2020, city leaders said in the petition.
The city wants to retain part of import-export tax revenues in 10 years, at 8%, 10% or 12% of total collections, to fund infrastructure development.
Local government also seeks permission to impose surcharges on a number of business sectors suitable to the city’s situation. Surcharge revenues will not go to the central budget.
In addition, the city wants to take half the land use fee revenue from organizations managed by central agencies.
In recent times, HCMC has concentrated resources on many road projects to reduce traffic congestion and waterway projects to improve shipping. Notably, it will develop eight metro lines and three tramways or monorails in the coming years.
The city is waiting for approval to use around 21 hectares to expand Tan Son Nhat International Airport, raising its handling capacity to 40 or 50 million passengers a year from now to 2025. It is also spending on other sectors such as public transport, electricity supply, flood control, housing, clean water supply, and commerce and service infrastructure.
Between 2011 and 2015, HCMC’s total investments amounted to nearly VND1,200 trillion, representing an average annual growth rate of 9% and accounting for 30% the city’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Total funding demand for infrastructure development in the city is estimated at over VND203 trillion from 2016 to 2020.
Danang gets nod to build Lien Chieu Port
The Ministry of Transport and Danang City have reached an agreement on construction of the new Lien Chieu Port to reduce overload at Tien Sa and Son Tra wharfs.
The local government said Danang Port, comprising two major wharfs – Tien Sa and Son Tra – is regarded as a shipping hub of central provinces. Therefore, a majority of cargo is shipped through the port.
Statistics of Danang show cargo throughput at the port was 5.7 million tons last year. The figure is expected to rise to about 10 million tons by 2020, and some 30 million tons by 2030.
Throughput is projected to surpass the combined capacity of Tien Sa and Son Tra from 2020 onwards. This will increase traffic congestion, cause environmental pollution, and have damaging effects on the local tourism sector.
Therefore, the construction of Lien Chieu Port is badly needed to expand Danang Port and boost the economy of Danang, and the key central economic region in general, said municipal authorities.
Meanwhile, the ministry has approved in principle the Lien Chieu Port project.
The ministry asked the project’s consulting firm, Japan Port Consultant, to finalize the investment statement on the project, giving a thorough analysis of cargo volume and traffic through the port, and suggest the location of the new logistics center aligned with the city’s long-term and stable development.
The first phase of the project is estimated to cost around VND5.58 trillion, with VND2.63 trillion sourced from the State budget. It is scheduled to be operational in 2022. The investment format is public-private partnership (PPP).
The Government agreed to develop Lien Chieu Port into a logistics hub of Danang Port under the PPP format, or the use of official development assistance loans, or other viable investment forms.
The development of Lien Chieu Port will enjoy multiple advantages, as some major infrastructure facilities have been already underway like the Hai Van Tunnel and the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway.
Vegetables and seafood hold high potential for development
Vegetables and seafood are forecast to bring a lot of added value to agriculture this year if the processing of these products gets due investment, although prices of farm produce tend to fall in the coming time, heard a seminar on market prospects for Vietnamese agriculture.
At the seminar organized by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and Economics Department under the National Assembly Office on May 24, Sergio Araujo from the Trade and Market Division of FAO Rome said the demand for agricultural products on the world market is showing signs of saturation.
Controversial tourist zone on Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang delayed
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has requested a three-month delay on the implementation of a plan to develop a tourist area on the Son Tra Peninsula in the central city of Da Nang, temporarily ending months of debate around the controversial zoning.
A corner of Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang City, located in central Vietnam. e
The plan needs to be put on hold for three months, Dam said at a meeting with the tourism ministry and Da Nang authorities on Sunday, following his first-hand examination of the peninsula.
The zoning in question was approved by the Vietnamese prime minister in November 2016, with the aim of developing a national tourism zone on Son Tra with a total accommodation capacity of 1,600 rooms by 2030.
Shortly after the plan was announced, the Da Nang Tourism Association petitioned the planning to be adjusted in a way that no more hotel rooms would be allowed on the peninsula, in a bid to protect its forests and ecosystem.
Google Maps' satellite photos reveal the extent of destruction caused by a now-suspended tourism project on Son Tra
The existing accommodations on Son Tra have a combined total of 300 rooms and the Da Nang Tourism Association insisted that this number be maintained during the development of the planned tourism zone.
Complicating the matter is the fact that prior to the premier-approved planning, Da Nang authorities had already green-lighted 25 different tourism projects which would add a further 5,000 hotel rooms on Son Tra.
Already proving a difficult issue to reduce the pre-approved 5,000 rooms to 1,600 in order to stay in line with government planning, to keep the number at 300, as petitioned by the tourism association, is an even more arduous challenge.
1,600 or 300 rooms?
Stakeholders in the project from the tourism ministry and Da Nang authorities to the Da Nang Tourism Association, as well as experts and environmentalists, have been embroiled in heated debate over the plan for the last few months.
During the three-month pause requested by Deputy PM Dam, the tourism ministry is expected to look for “a scientific answer” to the petition of the Da Nang tourism association through conferences and seminars.
Da Nang authorities are expected to eview all tourism projects on the peninsula during this time, according to the deputy premier.
Deputy PM Dam underlined that Da Nang must make it clear that whether they accept or reject the proposal to restrict the number of hotel rooms on Son Tra to 300.
“In other words, the Da Nang administration has to confirm if they agree to reduce the number of approved hotel rooms on Son Tra, and how many rooms will be cut,” Dam said at Sunday’s meeting.
Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam speaks at the meeting.
The deputy premier said he acknowledged that Da Nang needs time to do this, but urged the central city’s administration to meet with developers of those tourism projects and settle everything.
However, it appears that Da Nang is unlikely to support the petition of the municipal tourism association.
Addressing the deputy premier’s request, Da Nang's deputy chairman Nguyen Ngoc Tuan said the central city is currently targeting 15 million tourists a year by 2030, meaning accommodation facilities must reach a combined total of 58,000 hotel rooms.
“This means that in the next few years Da Nang requires more accommodation establishments,” he said.
Tuan added, however, that the 1,600 rooms as stipulated by the government are “suitable.”
Son Tra Peninsula is home to a rare native species of primates calledred-shanked doucs, which are known locally as ‘the queen of all primates’, given their extravagant appearance.
Several approved tourism projects have resulted in severe deforestation on the peninsula that continues to threaten the population of these endangered animals.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Vietnamese businessman helps Russian lost in Nha Trang repatriate
Speaking to Public Security Newspaper’s reporter on May 27th, Director of the Khanh Hoa Foreign Affairs Department Nguyen Quoc Tram confirmed that an anonymous Vietnamese businessman has donated $1000 to buy a repatriation plane ticket for a Russian with a metal problem to go home. The Russian man had been wandering for months in Khanh Hoa.
According to a local relevant agency, Kuznetsova Oleg, aged 44, of the Russian nationality, came to Vietnam with his family years ago. They lived and ran a business in Nha Trang city.
After his mother passed away because of heart disease in 2013, Oleg and his sister continued to run their family’s business but they experienced loses continuously. His sister left Nha Trang in mid-2016 due to their financial difficulties.
Since then, Oleg was mentally ill, and he often wandered about. He begged for food around the city and slept on the beach of Vinh Truong, Nha Trang city.
Reported on the case, the Khanh Hoa Foreign Affairs Department in collaboration with relevant agencies and Nha Trang Municipal People’s Committee hospitalized the Russian man at Khanh Hoa psychiatric hospital for treatment, then transferred him to the Khanh Hoa social support center.
The Khanh Hoa Foreign Affairs Department is currently coordinating with the Consulate General of Russia in Vietnam to complete procedures to return Oleg back to Russia as soon as possible after a Vietnamese businessman has offered the Russian man an airfare to Russia.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/5
HAGL Agrico plans to reduce debts with share swap
Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agriculture International JSC (HNG) will issue 55 million shares worth VND660 billion (US$29 million), the firm announced on Thursday.
The sale aims to swap the debt owed to its parent company Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC (HAG).
The shares will be sold at a price of VND12,000 per share, higher than the current market price of VND11,300 per share on Thursday.
The convertible debt accounted for only a small part of the total debt of VND9.6 trillion that HNG owed to HAG as of December 31, 2016.
Following the issuance, the chartered capital of HAGL Agrico will increase to VND8.2 trillion. HAG’s rate of ownership in HNG will increase from 67.8 per cent to approximately 70 per cent, equivalent to 575.5 million shares.
In the first quarter of 2017, HNG recorded net sales of VND470 billion, equaling to just 37 per cent of the same period last year. This fall was due to the decrease in the sale of cattles, which dropped from VND892.4 billion to VND196.2 billion, plus HNG no longer recorded the revenue from the sales of sugar and corn products.
Post-tax profit of HNG in Q1 of 2017 reached VND2.7 billion, down 92 per cent year-on-year. However, this profit helped HNG end the previous three consecutive quarterly losses.
Booming tourism creates property market opportunities
Vietnam’s flourishing tourism has stimulated the property market. From 2010-2016, the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam doubled to 10 million people. Domestic tourists also increased, from 28 million to 62 million people.
Some localities, like Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc, recorded high tourism growth last year. Nha Trang city welcomed 1.2 million foreign tourists (up of 23%) and Da Nang 1.7 million foreign tourists (up 33%).
Infrastructure is an important factor in tourism development. Vietnam now has 9 international airports. It had only 5 in 2010. The airports have continued to upgrade and open new terminals. Tourist visa regulations have been simplified and visa fees reduced. Phu Quoc, the only destination in Vietnam where the policy of visa exemptions for foreign tourists is applied, has seen the number of tourists increase 25%.
Positive market signals have encouraged investors to invest in tourism property projects. According to Savills Hotel Consultation, midscale and luxury hotels and resorts in Nha Trang and Cam Ranh are projected to increase 29% a year for the next 3 years. Da Nang tourism properties are predicted to rise 30%; Phu Quoc properties 27%. Domestic travel companies say Da Nang and the central region have advantages for golf tourism.
Ngo Hoai Chung, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said: “Vietnam’s tourism development strategy to 2020 and vision to 2030 identifies golf tourism as a high-priority specialized tourism product. We aim to make golf tourism a principal product of Da Nang and the central region, help localities attract investment, and connect travel agencies and golf course owners.”
Natural conditions, government policies, and market demand give the tourism property market in Vietnam a great potential to prosper.
Short-term deposit rates forecast to reduce in 2017
The market research company Market Intello forecast that the average interest rate this year would reduce by 0.5 percentage points compared with 2016.
In the “Vietnam Macroeconomic Report - May 2017” released recently, Market Intello expected the short-term deposit rates to drop to 4.5 percent for the three-month term and 6.3 percent for the 12-month term due to inflation management measures of the State Bank of Vietnam and the Government.
The research company also anticipated that exchange rates would increase by between 1 percent and 1.5 percent as the US Federal Reserve’s plans to raise rates twice in June and September may put pressure on the exchange rate.
In addition, the trade deficit may make the demand for US dollars rise much more than in 2016, it said, adding however, that the Vietnamese dong will not be depressed because of the ability to control inflation below 4 percent and abundant foreign reserves of the State Bank of Vietnam.
Under the report, Market Intello also maintains its forecast for Vietnam’s economic growth at 6.1 percent in 2017.
“Agriculture is expected to recover slightly but the decline in the mining industry will impact the economic growth considerably,” it said.
Market Intello cut the CPI forecast to around 3.8 percent, explaining that raising electricity prices could push up inflation in the third quarter, but weak domestic demand will hold inflation under the inflation target.
According to Market Intello, boosting investment from the domestic economic sector should be the biggest challenge in improving Vietnam’s economy for the rest of the year.
“The Government has taken actions to accelerate capital disbursement from the State budget and improve the business environment for the private sector. However, until April 2017, the rate of capital disbursement from the budget was slower than the target rate,” it said.-
HCM City draws more 1.37 billion USD in foreign investment
Ho Chi Minh City attracted 1.37 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first five months of 2017, a year-on-year increase of 45.8 percent.
According to the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, the southern metropolis granted investment licences to 283 new projects worth 341.98 million USD and allowed 81 existing ones to increase capital of 287.05 million USD.
The city also permitted 775 foreign investors to register to contribute capital to and buy shares in businesses, with a total capital of 742.2 million USD.
The processing and manufacturing industry was the most attractive with nearly 123 million USD (making up 35.9 percent), followed by wholesale and retail, and automobile and motorcycle repair with over 92 million USD (27.1 percent), information and communications with 55 million USD (16.2 percent), and real estate activities with 40.25 million USD (11.8 percent).
In January-May, the total newly registered and supplemented capital from domestic enterprises was over 453.5 trillion VND (19.67 billion USD), 2.4 times higher than the same period last year.
HCM City plans to develop 60,000 businesses in 2017. The municipal authorities have so far encouraged 413 business households to turn themselves into enterprises.
Emirates boosts exports from Vietnam to UAE
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, has played a key role in strengthening trade links in perishables between Vietnam and the UAE.
Over the last year, the carrier has facilitated a near fivefold increase in the exports of fruits, including rambutan and lychee, from Vietnam to Dubai.
As a result of the collaboration efforts between Emirates SkyCargo and Vietnam’s Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), the volume of perishable exports from Vietnam to Dubai has increased considerably, touching a record of close to 110 tonnes in January 2017.
“Vietnam has huge comparative advantages in agriculture. That is why we requested Emirates SkyCargo to facilitate exports of perishable products by air freight to capitalise on the country’s vast potential,” Pham Binh Dam, Ambassador of Vietnam to the UAE, said.
“Emirates SkyCargo started operations in Vietnam in 2008 and has since then played an important role in the growing trade between Vietnam and the UAE. By working closely with Vietrade and by building upon our expertise in shipping perishables, we developed air freight solutions that have helped increase the export of premium fruits and vegetables from Vietnam to Dubai,” Ravishankar Mirle, Emirates vice president, Cargo Commercial, Far East and Australasia, said.
Bac Giang to export half of lychee output
The northern province of Bac Giang, a lychee farming hub of Vietnam, plans to export about 50,000 tonnes of “thieu” lychee, or 50 percent of its total output, in 2017, local officials said at a meeting on May 27.
The event, aimed to promote lychee sales, was attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh, representatives of the northern border provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai, officials of Chinese localities importing lychees, and domestic and foreign lychee traders.
Vice Chairman of the Bac Giang People’s Committee Duong Van Thai said this year, the province continues to focus its lychee export to traditional markets, especially China. It will increase the export volume to the US, the EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Australia while expanding shipments to the Middle East, Thailand and Canada.
In the domestic market, the fruit will be sold mainly in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces.
However, he noted, abnormal weather conditions like prolonged heat waves and late cold spells affected the growth of lychee trees, making the rate of fruits fall by about 40 percent from 2016 to some 100,000 tonnes.
The output of lychees under VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards in the province is about 40,000 tonnes and 1,600 tonnes, respectively. Notably, there have been 218ha of lychee trees granted codes by the US, Thai added.
At the meeting, officials of Lang Son and Lao Cai provinces, which border China, pledged the best possible conditions for Bac Giang’s lychee export to China. They promised the customs clearance time will be within 20 minutes.
Fang Dong, deputy head of Hekou county in China’s Yunnan province, spoke highly of the quality and appearance of Bac Giang’s lychees, which have become popular among Chinese consumers.
Bac Giang officials also vowed to give favourable conditions and ensure security for traders to purchase and process the local lychees.-
Binh Duong: FDI in five months exceeds yearly target
Southern Binh Duong province has lured nearly 1.5 billion USD in FDI in the first five months of 2017, 6.5 percent higher than the province’s target of 1.4 billion USD for the entire year, according to the provincial People’s Committee.
The province hereby came second, after Ho Chi Minh City, in FDI attraction. It is now home to more than 2,890 FDI enterprises with a total investment of 27.1 billion USD.
Binh Duong has been working to draw more FDI between 2016 and 2020 in an attempt to make breakthroughs in the fields of industry, services, and hi-tech agriculture, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem.
Liem noted that the province is inviting foreign investment in high-quality services, industrial support services, and high-value and environmentally-friendly industries.
In addition, the locality also plans to attract over 7 billion USD in FDI and about 110,000 billion VND from domestic investors, he added.
To fulfill the goals, the provincial People’s Committee will continue improving policies for investment attraction and better undertake measures to support enterprises and help them resolve difficulties.
It will put more effort into raising quality of human resources, enhancing public administrative reforms and improving effectiveness of state management.
The province’s industrial production index in May rose by 7 percent from the previous month and by 15.21 percent from the same period last year.
The index for the first five months of the year grew 8.21 percent year on year with manufacturing and processing up 8.18 percent and electricity production and distribution up 13.48 percent.
Local CPI during the period gained 3.62 percent year on year.
Power sector seeks way to go green over power shortage
Vietnam’s electricity supply might meet only half of total demand in the future, predicted Tran Trong Quyet, vice chairman of the Southern Power Association.
Hydropower, renewable and gas-fueled thermal power are expected to provide 48.3 percent of power demand by 2020 and 39.9 percent by 2030, while power demand is expected to increase 9 – 10 percent each year during 2016 -2030.
Furthermore, the Government halted two nuclear power projects in the central province of Ninh Thuan, therefore, coal power is needed for power security but has drawbacks in economic efficiency and environmental pollution.
Quyet said renewable power would be better for the environment but requires huge initial investment.
Coal power needs a lot of land, causes environmental issues and is expensive, but still plays an important role in ensuring national power security, he added.
To limit the impact of coal power, Quyet warned that technology to deal with coal slag must be used carefully, besides measures to ensure coal supply.
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has used significant sums on treating exhaust fumes from old coal thermal power plants, including Pha Lai, which received more than 1.34 trillion VND (58.96 million USD), Hai Phong 1.57 trillion VND (69.08 million USD) and Quang Ninh 1.74 trillion VND (76.56 million VND).
Nguyen Van Thu, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry, stressed the necessity of coal-based energy.
He recommended the Government issue policies and regulations to ensure sustainable development of this power, instead of enterprises selecting their own technologies and contractors.
Mentioning 14 coal thermal power projects earmarked for the Mekong Delta region, he said the construction must be done following strict technology requirements.
The sun is also a prominent source of energy, with the south paying more attention to solar power. The EVN Southern Power Corporation is investing in a solar battery project on Con Dao island.
Ministry predicts wood exports at 7.5 billion USD this year
The export of wood and wood products is forecast to bring home 7.5 billion USD in 2017 and keep increasing in the following years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The ministry said the overseas shipments of wood and wood products have continually grown since the beginning of this year, reaching 2.4 billion USD between January and April – a year-on-year rise of 12.7 percent.
Last May, the European Union (EU) and Vietnam finished the six-year negotiation on a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade.
While the EU has a demand for 85-90 billion USD worth of imported wood products each year, Vietnam’s annual export of these items to this market is just about 700-800 million USD.
The VPA is expected to help expand Vietnam’s wood export markets to 28 EU countries.
The MARD said if Vietnam taps into these markets well, its wood shipments to the EU can hit billions of USD each year. Meanwhile, there are signs that other countries also have stronger demand for Vietnam’s wood products, which will give another boost to the export of this industry.
Vietnam Airlines increases over 4,700 flights during summer
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will increase the number of domestic flights to serve passengers’ travel demand during the peak time of summer 2017.
Accordingly, from now to August 20, the airline will launch an additional 4,700 one-route flights from Hanoi to Da Nang, Chu Lai, Pleiku, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc and from HCM City to Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.
During the peak time from June 28 to August 6, Vietnam Airlines will increase 47 flights per day compared to normal days, with over 400 flights per day in total.
The carrier also offers promotional tickets for domestic flights until August 31.
In summer 2017, Vietnam Airlines is estimated to provide over 4.6 million seats on domestic routes, up 14 percent year-on-year and 13.5 percent against normal days.
Milk competition gets fierce in Vietnam
Milk brands in Vietnam are pouring millions of dollars into promotional campaigns and the development of new products to secure their foothold in the increasingly competitive market.
The domestic milk market is seeing an explosion in the range of products offered by manufacturers in their attempt to appeal to customers who are paying more and more attention to the content of their milk.
Since 2015 when Vietnam scrapped a piece of legislation setting a limit to how much a business can spend on promotions and advertising, milk brands have been unsparing in their expenditures for the activities.
According to market research companies, the advertising and promotion budget of an undisclosed top dairy producer in Vietnam in 2016 was close to VND9 trillion (US$396.48 million), of which over VND2 trillion ($88.11 million) was spent on advertising and market research, and the rest on sales promotions, exhibits and product launch.
Milk brands have also elevated investment in their distribution system and sales channels.
Vinamilk, Vietnam’s leading dairy producer, currently operates a network of over 220,000 retail outlets nationwide, while their products are sold at 100 percent of supermarkets and convenient stores in the country.
Meanwhile, rising competitor TH True Milk is taking risks by spending huge sums of money on renting locations across Vietnam to open their outlets.
“It would take a large number of sales [for TH True Milk] to make up for the costs of running these stores,” an expert from the Ministry of Industry and Trade asserted. “Perhaps TH’s goal is not as much to increase their sales as it is to promote their brand’s image.”
While Vietnam’s milk market in the past was dominantly a two-horse race between Vinamilk and Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina, in recent years the picture has remarkably changed to include emerging big players such as TH True Milk or Nutifood, among several other imported foreign brands.
Heightened competition has prompted dairy producers to come up with new initiatives that target consumers’ demand for safe, environment-friendly products.
According to Phan Minh Tien, Vinamilk’s marketing executive, the company introduced to the market nearly 30 new products in 2016.
It was the first to launch organic dairy products that meet European standards in Vietnam.
TH True Milk is also catching up in the organic race by unveiling its first organic cow farm in north-central Nghe An Province earlier this year.
Smaller dairy brands trying to enter the infantile organic market are importing ready-made products from foreign producers.
U.S.-headquartered Abbott Laboratories last year reported VND10 trillion ($440.53 million) in revenue from the Vietnamese market alone, an increase of over VND2 trillion ($88.11 million) from the previous year.
FrieslandCampina, which owns Dutch Lady and Frisco, featured a photo of a Vietnamese woman checking its products on her smartphone in its 2016 annual report, signifying the growing importance of the Vietnamese market in the company’s global business.
The competition has proven too fierce for some producers.
Last year, French food-product corporation Danone announced the termination of its formula milk business in Vietnam under the brand of Dumex, which previously only made up around 3.2 percent of the local market.
Despite recent drops in wholesale prices for milk in Vietnam by 5-20 percent, retail prices are still lagging at a relatively high level due to the added costs of transportation, advertising and promotion.
Take FrieslandCampina’s Dutch Baby line for example. Local consumers are still paying VND250,000-350,000 ($11-15) for a can of the powdered milk despite wholesale prices having dropped to VND180,000 ($8) a can.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced its plan to tighten control over prices of milk and other supplementary products for children under six years of age, while requiring dairy companies to publicly list prices that are applied throughout their entire distribution network.
A ministry official advised local consumers to remain cautious toward foreign milk products ‘imported’ into Vietnam in the luggage of air passengers, as they could be fake or expired milk that had been repackaged to look authentic.
N.M.H., a seasoned buyer of such ‘luggage’ goods, said there was no guarantee of these products’ quality, given the fact that last year Japanese dairy company Meiji warned customers of fake Meiji products being sold on the black market in Vietnam.
An expert in the business has warned that foreign milk may not be suitable for consumption by Vietnamese people, as the formula offered in each country may differ depending on nutrition demands of the local population.
According to Vinamilk’s marketing executive Phan Minh Tien, the firm’s milk market has been in steady growth over the past two years, with ample potentialities yet to be leverage.
An average Vietnamese consumes around 14.5 kilograms of milk a year, compared to Thailand’s 32.4 kilograms and South Korea’s 39.7 kilograms, Tien pointed out.
With such tremendous space for development, local milk producers have been making remarkable investments on increasing their production and improving milk quality through foreign cow breed imports.
In the past three years, Vinamilk has invested close to VND1.9 trillion ($83.7 million) in upgrading and expanding its farms.
The dairy producer has so far imported nearly 8,600 milk cows from the U.S. and Australia via deals worth a total of over VND595 billion ($26.21 million).
It is looking to import a further 1,500 cows from the U.S. this July.
WB provides finance for Da Nang's infrastructure
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $72.52 million in additional financing on May 27 from the IDA Scale-Up Facility to support investments in infrastructure in the central city of Da Nang.
The additional financing will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s financial resource for low-income countries.
“The pace of infrastructure investment in cities, including those for transport and sanitation services, must match the pace of economic growth,” said Mr. Ousmane Dione, WB Country Director for Vietnam. “Strengthening integrated investments in infrastructure in growing metropolitan centers like Da Nang is crucial for sustaining the engine of inclusive growth for Vietnam.”
The fourth largest city in Vietnam, Da Nang is widely viewed as well-planned and well-governed, with a strong commitment to becoming a “green city” by 2025.
The additional financing aims to support the scaling up of the Da Nang Sustainable City Development Project, by helping develop a separate sewer/house connection system - and hence minimize pollution risks - for the coastal tourism area of My An-My Khe.
Transport services are also targeted for improvement, through the establishment of an integrated fare system and intelligent transport system (ITS) for the city’s public transport network, including its Bus Rapid Transit system.
Another component of the additional financing will focus on upgrading the road from Hoa Nhon to the Hoa Son area of Da Nang, so that local traffic will be diverted from the Da Nang - Quang Ngai Expressway and the Da Nang Bypass.
Japanese FDI rebounds
Japan is gradually moving towards regaining its leading position in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam after a period of lagging behind other countries.
According to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), Japan invested $1.94 billion into Vietnam during the first five months of this year, accounting for 16 per cent of all FDI in the country and ranking it second.
South Korea continued to lead the way, with total investment of $4.41 billion, accounting 36.4 per cent.
Singapore was third, with investment of $1.23 billion, accounting for 10.21 per cent.
By 2014, Japan had lost its leading place after several years at the top, with $2.05 billion in investment, down sharply from $5.87 billion in 2013. In 2015, its total investment declined yet again, to $1.84 billion.
Japan was squeezed out of the Top 3 largest investors in Vietnam during the first quarter, by China.
However, with a rise in investment capital to over $1 billion, Japan then surpassed China in April, pushing it into fourth place.
As at May 20, total FDI in both newly-registered projects, additional capital to existing projects, and contributed capital to purchase shares had reached $12.13 billion this year, up 10.4 per cent year-on-year. Disbursement was $6.15 billion, up 6 per cent year-on-year.
Investors poured capital into 18 sectors, including $8.09 billion into manufacturing and processing, accounting for 66.7 per cent of newly-registered capital in the first five months, followed by mining, with $1.28 billion. Wholesale and retail was third, with $798 million.
FDI inflows have gone to 58 cities and provinces, in which northern Bac Ninh province attracted the most, with $2.76 billion. Southern Binh Duong province ranked second, with $1.64 billion, followed by Ho Chi Minh City with $1.39 billion.
According to a recent survey by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Hanoi, more than 60 per cent of Japanese enterprises in Vietnam plan to expand their business and continue to view the country as an important investment destination.
The main reason for the business expansion plans is that enterprises want to increase revenue. For non-manufacturing businesses, the main driving force is high growth potential.
Some 62.8 per cent of the more than 600 businesses participating in the survey said they are profitable, up 58.8 per cent from 2015 and higher than in Thailand and Indonesia but lower than in the Philippines and China.
Preferential policies on industrial clusters
The Government has issued a series of preferential policies on industrial cluster development in Decree 68/2017/ND-CP (Decree 68).
Under Decree 68, investment and business projects in industrial clusters will be exempted from land lease fees in seven years and enjoy other incentives in accordance with the legal regulations.
Technical infrastructure business projects will be entitled to land lease exemption in 11 years; borrow State credits under 70% of total investment; and benefit from other incentives.
Incentives for trade village industrial clusters
Decree 68 regulates that business and investment projects in trade village industrial clusters will enjoy 11-year-land lease exemption and get State credits under 70% of total investment capital.
Technical infrastructure business projects will be exempted from 15-year-land lease fees and 70% of credit loans.
These projects will get local budget to relocate enterprises, cooperatives, and household production sites to trade village industrial clusters and get investment in technical construction.
However, the decree also stresses that preferential trade village industrial clusters must be listed in the planning and operate in line with the regulations on industrial cluster management.
BCI awards given to Vietnamese
Asia’s leading construction solution provider BCI at a ceremony held on Friday in HCM City gave awards to the top 10 Vietnamese architectural firms and property developers.
The portfolios of the architecture firms contain US$4.9 billion worth of property construction projects which are expected to start this year.
The BCI Asia Top 10 Architects for 2017 were given to Alinco Ltd, Baumschlager Eberle Asean Co Ltd, DAC - Vietnam Architectural Design and Consultancy Company, Dark Horse Architecture Co Ltd, GK Archi Co Ltd, HTT Group – Hồ Thiệu Trị Architect & Associates, NQH Architects Co Ltd, Plan Add Vietnam Co Ltd, PTW Vietnam Co Ltd and TTA-Partners Construction Architecture JSC (TTAP).
The BCI Asia Top 10 Developers Awards for 2017 were presented to Đất Xanh Real Estate Service and Construction JSC, FLC Group, Hưng Thịnh Real Estate Business Investment Corporation, Novaland Investment Group Corporation, Phát Đạt Real Estate Development Corporation, Phú Mỹ Hưng Development Corporation, Sun Group, Tân Hoàng Minh Group, Việt Hưng Urban Development & Investment Company (VIHAJICO), and Vingroup.
The awards aim to encourage socially responsible architecture and serve as a platform for domestic and international networking by elite architecture firms, property developers, manufacturers and service providers.
Around 150 architects, designers, senior executives and leading professionals in the building and property development industry were presented with the FuturArc Green Leadership Award and FuturArc Prize 2017.Currently in its tenth year, FuturArc Prize, Asia’s foremost Green building design competition, has been established as a renowned platform where innovative ideas pour in from professionals and students globally. Six winning designs have been selected this year for residential or commercial developments in an Asian city.
There are two winners and two merits from Việt Nam.
Bùi Quang Vũ and his team has won the first place for their Professional entry titled Urban Plug-In Module, which details the stitching together of landscape, building and hydrology at the scale of building elements, architecture, neighbourhood and city.
The second place in the Student category goes to Trần Duy Tân’s team for The Forgotten Network, with the concept of industrial-scale urban farming that utilises unused water towers.
Bùi Dương Khang Kiều and his team received a merit award in the Student category for their entry You Feed Me To Feed Your Future, which offers a restored lake environment with a symbiotic relationship between humans, commercial buildings and space.
Nguyễn Quốc Tuấn’s team also received merit in the Student category. Their project, Cost to Make More, recognises the need for clean water supply, especially around industrial areas in Bangladesh. Their design seeks to create a model that is able to alleviate the contaminated water situation, as well as improve the lives of workers and the sustainable development of the city.
An independent panel of international jurors sat through a thorough review process and selected a total of six winning teams (three from the Professional category; three from the Student category) and 10 merit recipients (in teams).
Ceremonies for the 13th BCI Asia Top Award were also held in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
BCI awards given to Vietnamese
Asia’s leading construction solution provider BCI at a ceremony held on Friday in HCM City gave awards to the top 10 Vietnamese architectural firms and property developers.
The portfolios of the architecture firms contain US$4.9 billion worth of property construction projects which are expected to start this year.
The BCI Asia Top 10 Architects for 2017 were given to Alinco Ltd, Baumschlager Eberle Asean Co Ltd, DAC - Vietnam Architectural Design and Consultancy Company, Dark Horse Architecture Co Ltd, GK Archi Co Ltd, HTT Group – Hồ Thiệu Trị Architect & Associates, NQH Architects Co Ltd, Plan Add Vietnam Co Ltd, PTW Vietnam Co Ltd and TTA-Partners Construction Architecture JSC (TTAP).
The BCI Asia Top 10 Developers Awards for 2017 were presented to Dat Xanh Real Estate Service and Construction JSC, FLC Group, Hung Thinh Real Estate Business Investment Corporation, Novaland Investment Group Corporation, Phat Dat Real Estate Development Corporation, Phu My Hung Development Corporation, Sun Group, Tan Hoang Minh Group, Viet Hung Urban Development & Investment Company (VIHAJICO), Vingroup.
The awards aim to encourage socially responsible architecture and serve as a platform for domestic and international networking by elite architecture firms, property developers, manufacturers and service providers.
Around 150 architects, designers, senior executives and leading professionals in the building and property development industry were presented with the FuturArc Green Leadership Award and FuturArc Prize 2017.Currently in its tenth year, FuturArc Prize, Asia’s foremost Green building design competition, has been established as a renowned platform where innovative ideas pour in from professionals and students globally. Six winning designs have been selected this year for residential or commercial developments in an Asian city.
There are two winners and two merits from Viet Nam.
Bui Quang Vu and his team has won the first place for their Professional entry titled Urban Plug-In Module, which details the stitching together of landscape, building and hydrology at the scale of building elements, architecture, neighbourhood and city.
The second place in the Student category goes to Tran Duy Tan’s team for The Forgotten Network, with the concept of industrial-scale urban farming that utilises unused water towers.
Bui Duong Khang Kieu and his team received a merit award in the Student category for their entry You Feed Me To Feed Your Future, which offers a restored lake environment with a symbiotic relationship between humans, commercial buildings and space.
Nguyen Quoc Tuan’s team also received merit in the Student category. Their project, Cost to Make More, recognises the need for clean water supply, especially around industrial areas in Bangladesh. Their design seeks to create a model that is able to alleviate the contaminated water situation, as well as improve the lives of workers and the sustainable development of the city.
An independent panel of international jurors sat through a thorough review process and selected a total of six winning teams (three from the Professional category; three from the Student category) and 10 merit recipients (in teams).
Ceremonies for the 13th BCI Asia Top Award were also held in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Lai Chau to invest US$4.8m in growing macadamia
The northern mountainous province of Lai Chau will spend VND110 billion (US$4.8 million) from its budget on growing macadamia, which is expected to help boost the local economy.
The information was released at a seminar on the potential of growing macadamia in the province on Sunday.
Beneficiaries of the fund, to be invested from now till 2030, will include businesses, co-operatives, households and individuals who have 50 hectares or more of concentrated macadamia plantations.
Authorities said they are working to create favourable conditions, including exemptions and land rent reductions, to encourage businesses to invest in growing macadamia.
The province expects to be growing 10,000ha of macadamia by 2030.
Currently, Lai Chau has around 244ha of macadamia farms, concentrated in Tam Duong, Phong Tho and Sin Ho Va, and Nam Nhun districts. Of this, 100ha have an average capacity of 800kg of fresh macadamia nuts per hectare per year.
Nguyen Lan Hung, vice-chairman of Viet Nam Macadamia Association (VMA), said the province’s land and climate are suitable for growing macadamia, which has the potential to become an important cash crop for a poor province like Lai Chau. Farmers and businesses must pay close attention to the quality of the seedlings and the growing technology.
At the conference, VMA and Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank committed to providing macadamia growers with funds, technology and output during the macadamia development period.
Rubber export prices rise sharply
The average export price of rubber in the first four months of 2017 was US$2,016 per tonne, a year-on-year increase of 68.8 per cent.
The rise in rates has raised the product’s export value, despite its decreasing output in the same period.
The General Department of Viet Nam Customs reported that since the beginning of this year to the end of April, rubber exports touched 301,500 tonnes in volume, a drop of 2.1 per cent against the same period last year. However, its turnover hit $607.9 million, a year-on-year increase of 65.4 per cent.
On May 22, the price of SVR CV and SVR L rubber stood at VND50,752 (US$2.23) and VND49,620 per kilo, up 1.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively, compared to early May.
The rise in rubber export rates is linked to its rising price in the world market, the falling rubber stockpile at Tokyo Commodity Exchange’s (TOCOM) bonded warehouse, as well as the decline in Viet Nam’s rubber output for export.
Viet Nam is among the three largest rubber exporters in the world, after Thailand and Indonesia.
In April 2017, Viet Nam exported the most mixtures of natural and synthetic rubber at 26,213 tonnes, worth $47.5 million, accounting for 50.5 per cent of the rubber sector’s volume. Its SVR 3L rubber output was 8,643 tonnes, down 5.7 per cent in volume over the previous month, while its SVR 10 rubber export was 5,191 tonnes, down 11.4 per cent in volume over the previous month.
China is the leading importer of Vietnamese rubber, accounting for 63.2 per cent with 190,000 tonnes, worth $383.7 million, a 12.08 per cent rise in volume and nearly 90 per cent in value over the same period last year.
Bac Giang to export half of lychee output
Northern Bac Giang Province, a lychee farming hub of Viet Nam, plans to export some 50,000 tonnes of “thieu” lychee, or 50 percent of its total output, in 2017.
This was stated by local officials at a meeting on Saturday.
The event, aimed to promote lychee sales, was attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh, representatives of the northern border provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai, officials of Chinese localities importing lychees, and domestic and foreign lychee traders.
Vice chairman of Bac Giang People’s Committee Duong Van Thai said this year, the province continues to focus on lychee export to traditional markets, especially China. It will increase export volume to the United States, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Australia while expanding shipments to the Middle East, Thailand and Canada.
In the domestic market, the fruit will be sold mainly in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces.
However, he noted, abnormal weather conditions such as prolonged heat waves and late cold spells had affected the growth of lychee trees, making the rate of fruits fall by about 40 percent from 2016 to some 100,000 tonnes.
The output of lychees under VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards in the province is currently some 40,000 tonnes and 1,600 tonnes, respectively. Notably, 218ha of lychee trees have been granted codes by the United States, Thai added.
At the meeting, officials of Lang Son and Lao Cai provinces, which border China, pledged the best possible conditions for Bac Giang’s lychee export to China. They promised customs clearance time would be within 20 minutes.
Fang Dong, deputy head of Hekou County in China’s Yunnan Province, spoke highly of the quality and appearance of Bac Giang’s lychees, which have become popular among Chinese consumers.
Bac Giang officials also vowed to provide favourable conditions and ensure security for traders to purchase and process local lychees.
Regulations drafted for non-banking financial companies
Non-banking financial companies (NBFC) may be allowed to set up a maximum of three branches in a fiscal year.
It was drafted in a circular released last week by the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) asking for comment.
The draft circular states that NBFCs with operation duration of less than 12 months (from the date of inauguration to the time of proposal) are allowed to set up two branches at maximum while the number for NBFCs with operation duration of more than 12 months is three in a fiscal year. One branch cannot be managed by more than three transaction offices.
NBFC includes general financial companies, factoring companies, consumer lending companies and financial leasing companies.
To qualify for the opening of domestic branches and transaction offices, NBFC must comply strictly with regulations on debt classification and risk provisioning according to the SBV’s regulations.
Besides this, they are required to meet regulations on the ratio of bad debt to total outstanding loans of under 3 per cent or as decided by the SBV governor in each period.
To set up a branch abroad, in addition to meeting conditions as the opening of a domestic branch, NBFC must have a minimum operation duration of three years and total assets of over VNĐ20 trillion (US$877.19 million) according to audited consolidated financial statements. They must also make profits for three consecutive years before the year of making the proposal.
Under the draft, the SBV governor has the authority to approve or disapprove the establishment of NBFC; termination of operation or dissolution of domestic branches, transaction offices and representative offices; as well as the establishment of branches and representative offices abroad.
The governor of the SBV may authorise directors or chief inspectors of the bank’s branches in provinces and cities to approve or disapprove of the establishment of NBFC; termination of operation or dissolution of branches and transaction offices at their locations; and the change of the name and location of the branches’ headquarters or transaction offices.
Lower food prices pull CPI down in May
Consumer price index (CPI) in May dropped by 0.53 percent from the previous month mostly due to a sharp fall in food prices, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said on May 29.
This month’s CPI rose 0.37 percent from last December and 3.19 percent from the same period of 2016. The five-month figure hiked 4.47 percent from a year earlier.
Seven of the 11 groups of main commodities and services saw slight price increases, namely culture, entertainment and tourism (up 0.13 percent); household appliances and goods (0.1 percent); beverage and cigarette (0.08 percent); garment, footwear and hat (0.05 percent); and medicine and health care services (0.04 percent); education (0.02 percent); and other goods and services (0.15 percent).
Price declines were recorded in the four remaining groups. Food and catering services prices sank 1.43 percent, followed by transport services (down 0.34 percent), postal and telecommunication services (0.05 percent), and housing and construction materials (0.02 percent).
Do Thi Ngoc, Deputy Director of the GSO’s Price Statistics Department, said in the group of food and catering services, grain food prices decreased 0.06 percent in May because northern provinces have been harvesting the winter-spring rice while rice export became stagnant.
Prices of foodstuff, which makes up the biggest proportion in the food and catering services group, declined 2.27 percent, mainly in fresh meat. Notably, pork prices plummeted 9.94 percent from April due to a surge in supply, unchanged demand, and Chinese traders’ weak purchase.
She added petrol prices were cut on May 5 and 20, leading to a 0.71-percent fall in fuel prices compared to the previous month.
Meanwhile, there are factors hampering a further drop in CPI, including the hot weather, which fanned electricity consumption that in turn boosted power prices up by 0.98 percent. The hot weather also spurred the demand for cooling equipment and summer apparel and footwear.
Housing maintenance materials grew 0.93 percent as construction sand prices soared after sand mining was restricted nationwide, she noted.
In May, domestic gold prices fluctuated in line with global gold prices, dropping 0.1 percent from April to around 36 million VND (1,853 USD) per tael. The price of US dollar also declined slightly to 22,600 – 22,700 VND per USD.
The GSO said the core inflation, which is the CPI excluding grain food, fresh foodstuff, energy and the State-managed goods of health care and educational services, in May increased 0.08 percent month on month and 1.33 percent year on year. The five-month core inflation rose by 1.56 percent from a year earlier, lower than the planned inflation of 1.6 – 1.8 percent, indicating a stable monetary policy.
CPI in June is likely to be the same or fall slightly from May since pork and poultry prices will still follow the downward trend.
Meanwhile, stronger tourism demand in summer will augment eating and hospitality services prices. Price increases are also predicted for electricity, water and petrol, according to the GSO.
VINPA asks for petroleum protection
The Vietnam Petroleum Association (VINPA) has proposed to establish commercial barriers to protect local firms once import duties on fuel products are gradually reduced to zero percent.
VINPA Chairman Phan The Rue said gradual tax reduction to zero percent had put pressure on domestic petroleum producers and distributors.
Rue told the media that the country should have a long-term development strategy for the petrol market, at least to the year 2020. In particular, important policies of whether the local market should be opened to foreign companies or not should be formulated.
Currently, several petroleum firms have been selling shares to FDI businesses, he said, adding that the Government should have economic solutions or technical barriers in place to stipulate what FDI firms are permitted to do for the sector to ensure energy security.
The technical barriers could include non-tariff measures, requirements on standards or a distribution system.
The chairman also shared experience from the retail sector, citied by the tuoitre.vn newspaper. He stated that the lack of strict barriers had led to FDI businesses dominating the market.
The Government, therefore, should have solutions to resolve difficulties faced by Binh Son Refinery and Nghi Son Refinery to improve the competitiveness of the local petroleum sector. Nghi Son Refinery, which is meant to become operational in 2018, in particular, could sufficiently meet Vietnam’s petrol demand.
However, the issue was whether the production cost of local refineries could compete with foreign firms, the chairman told the newspaper.
According to trade accords Vietnam has joined, import duty on fuel will be zero by 2024. Rue proposed the adjustment of special consumption tax to avoid a serious State budget deficit. Specifically, environmental protection tax should be adjusted this year, followed by special consumption tax next year and VAT in the 2020-22 period.
Currently, income from fuel import tax accounts for seven percent of the State budget, he said, adding that agencies should carefully prepare a roadmap for raising other taxes to ensure the harmony of State budget income.
The association said fees and taxes make up more than 50 percent of the fuel price. Therefore, cutting fuel import tax to zero percent necessitates increasing other taxes to make up for the lost income.
“Once the import duty is cut to zero, we should increase other taxes to make up for the loss. It is necessary to ensure that the total tax sum accounts for half the retail fuel price. As the import tariff moves down to zero, other taxes must be raised to offset the shortfall. Paying higher taxes is how every citizen shows his/her responsibility to the country,” he said.
In fact, the Ministry of Finance has several times indicated its intention to raise environment tax for fuels from the current 4,000 VND per litre to 8,000 VND. A92 gasoline, the country’s most widely used fuel, currently sells for 17,063 per litre VND, including the 3,000 VND per litre environment tax. If the new tax rate is approved, the price would rise to more than 22,000 VND per litre, analysts calculated.
The association is strongly supporting the proposal on so-called environment tax hike policy. However, the public is not.
Bui Danh Lien, chairman of the Hanoi Transport Association, said a shortfall in the State budget required solutions other than hiking environment tax, which is not used for the benefit of the environment. He believed there were many solutions to the budget shortfall with the most important one being to cut public spending.
Sharing his ideas, Truong Dinh Tuyen, former minister of industry and trade, said increasing taxes was not the right solution.
Tuyen said increasing taxes might help reduce losses to the State revenue in the short-term but was not a sustainable solution.
“We should try instead to cut taxes and assist local businesses in reducing input cost, which will help boost their performance,” he said, adding that what’s more important is to create a competitive fuel market that provides the best retail prices for consumers.
Vietnam consistent in enhancing trade ties with US
The official US visit of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc from May 29-31 demonstrates Vietnam’s consistent policy on enhancing trade relations with the US, which has been Vietnam’s top trade partners for the past 10 consecutive years.
According to the America Market Department under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Vietnam-US trade has maintained a high annual growth of about 20 percent since their Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) took effect in 2001. Last year, the two-way trade hit 47 billion USD, 33.5 times higher than the 2001 figure of 1.4 billion USD.
In the first four months of 2017, Vietnam exported 12.4 billion USD worth of commodities to the US, mostly textile-garment, footwear, computers, seafood, farm products, timber and timber products, electronics and components.
The figure represented 20 percent of the country’s total exports and an increase of 8.7 percent from the same period last year.
Vietnam is now the US’ 16th largest trade partner with Vietnam enjoying high trade surplus.
Vietnam has put its name on the US’s international trade partner map, said Tran Duy Dong, director general of the America Market Department, adding that in spite of difficulties posed by the US’s anti-dumping or anti-subsidy duties, Vietnamese exporters have learned from experience to grow stronger, continuing entering the market.
Despite the US’s withdrawal from the TPP, the bilateral Vietnam-US trade and investment relationship will continue to grow, US Consul General in HCM City Mary Tarnowka confirmed.
She expected the ties to grow stronger as Vietnam’s recent efforts on international economic integration reaffirmed its intention to continue its economic reforms and further open its economy.
Tarnowka noted that those reforms will promote the establishment of a fair and transparent management system, allowing of the prediction of a new wave of trade and investment in the future.
Experts believed that Vietnam is yet to become a major market for the US but increasing incomes of its citizens will stimulate consumption of luxurious brands, including those from the US.
When US President Donald Trump launches a series of plans in Asia, the Vietnam-US ties will be a lever for the two countries’ mutual trade and economic benefits. The upcoming meeting between the two nations’ leaders will be a good opportunity to promote their shared strategic interests and create more jobs for their people.
Authorities from both sides are closely working to improve their trade cooperation mechanisms for better facilitation of the bilateral trade.
Tami Overby, Senior Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce said the chamber is making effort to find ways for further boosting the Vietnam-US trade, including the possibility of a free trade agreement. She added that US companies need to be more creative in dealing with obstacles when entering the Vietnamese market.
To support local companies in gaining access to the US market, Minister of Trade and Industry Tran Tuan Anh said besides programmes to build national competitiveness through branding and removals of duties and other technical barriers, the ministry has devised master plans to improve competitive edges for export products with the emphasis placed on those in manufacturing and processing industry.
At the same time, enterprises must also take an active role in enhancing production capacity, developing market overseas, and becoming part of the global supply chain.