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10 commercial banks sprint to enter bourse by year-end
Banks are rushing to list shares on the stock market by the year-end.
VPBank, for example, is completing procedures to enter the bourse in the third quarter of the year. The bank now has charter capital of VND14.059 trillion.
On July 28, VPBank wrapped up a list of shareholders to prepare for the deposit 1.33 billion shares at VSD and listing shares at the HCMC Stock Exchange (HOSE).
On the OTC market, VPBank share prices soared to VND49,000 per share from VND20,000 earlier this year.
Sources said the managers of the bank and their family members are collecting the shares of the bank. On July 25 - August 28, the total amounts that Ngo Chi Dung, the bank’s chair, his mother and wife want to collect are 10.5 million shares, 66.6 million and 65 million, respectively.
If the transactions succeed, the ownership ratio of Dung and his family members would increase to 14.56 percent of charter capital.
The wife of VPBank’s deputy chair Bui Hai Quan has also registered to buy 5 million VPBank shares under negotiation to increase her ownership ratio to 4.72 percent.
A relative of vice chair Lo Bang Giang registered to collect 112 million VPBank shares, or 8.4 percent of charter capital, on July 7 – August 7.
Under MOF’s Circular 180, public companies whose shares are still not listed at stock exchanges, must register to put their shares into transaction on them UpCom market prior to December 31, 2016.
The 10 joint stock banks which must enter the bourses by the end of 2017 include OCB, AnBinh Bank, Techcombank, NamA Bank, Maritime Bank, VietA Bank, TienPhong Bank, SeAbank, HDBank and LienViet Post Bank.
The banks have announced plans to list shares on the bourse, but have delayed them because of unfavorable market conditions.
Only two banks, namely VIB and KienLong Bank, have entered UpCom market this year and only 11 out of 35 banks have listed shares to date.
VIB listed 564 million shares with the starting price of VND17,000 per share on January 9 and plans to list shares on HOSE by 2018. VIB share price soared to VND22,400 per share on July 27.
KienLong Bank listed 300 million shares on UpCom on June 29. The shares are now traded at around VND10,200 per share.
While state management agencies repeatedly urge banks to list shares, the banks still have not issued new announcements.
The shareholders of Techcombank, ABBank, OCB and LienVietPostBank have agreed on the listing plan. Meanwhile, only 3 percent of Maritime Bank’s shareholders accept the listing.
M. Ha, VNN
Vietnamese reporter arrested for extorting businesses in Mekong Delta
Pham Le Hoang Uyen is held at the police station in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Police in Can Tho City, located in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, have arrested a reporter for receiving bribes in return for the removal of published articles which she claimed to be written by her.
The money Uyen received is kept at the police station. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Meanwhile, Le Huyen Ai My, editor-in-chief of the Women’s Newspaper, asserted that Uyen does not work for the publisher and is not involved in the series of articles mentioned.
By Tuoi Tre News
Vietnamese retail sector to flourish in AEC era
Since the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Vietnam has become a potential market for regional retailers, which promotes the development of the domestic retail sector, but also alerts domestic enterprises to watch out and continuously improve to not fall behind in this fierce competition.
Vietnam after AEC
Before 2015, the Vietnamese retail sector largely slipped under the notice of the mass media and there were only a handful of investors, such as Big C, a brand of Groupe Casino from France, a mass retailer with operations around the world. Additionally Metro Cash & Carry, an international self-service wholesaler from Germany, and some big retailers from Asia, such as Aeon Group from Japan and Lotte Group from South Korea were present.
The situation had changed after the establishment of the AEC in 2015, after most trade barriers among different member states were eliminated and a market of more than 600 million consumers was created. Vietnam has become a target for regional countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Among all these countries, Thailand can be considered the biggest and most noticeable partner in the retail sector.
Within a year, the three biggest M&A deals in the retail sector were implemented by billionaires from Thailand. The first one was major Thai multi-sector corporation Central Group. In 2015, it had spent more than $100 million on acquiring the number one electronics retailer at the time, Nguyen Kim, and one year later spent $1.05 billion acquiring the Big C chain which comprised of 33 supermarkets and shopping malls in Vietnam.
Recently, this group has spent more than $10 million acquiring Zalora’s business in Vietnam and Thailand. Zalora is a brand of Global Fashion Group, the umbrella group that holds Rocket Internet-backed online fashion businesses worldwide.
Up till now, Central Group has been operating four famous brands in Vietnam with more than 100 outlets, including four Robins shopping centres, 27 SuperSports stores, 30 Crocs and New Balance fashion stores, one hotel, 21 Nguyen Kim electronics stores, one e-commerce channel, and 13 Lan Chi supermarkets.
Meanwhile, the second biggest M&A deal took place in January 2016 by TCC Group, a Thai enterprise operated by the second richest billionaire in Thailand, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.
The entire wholesale system of Metro Cash & Carry was acquired, consisting of 19 shopping centres and other real estate items, which were priced at about $848 million. It is estimated that Metro Cash & Carry accounted for 22 per cent of the market share in the Vietnamese distribution sector.
Before the acquisition of Metro Cash & Carry, in the middle of 2013, Berli Jucker PCL (BJC), a subsidiary of TCC Group, bought the Family Mart convenience store chain, which had belonged to Phu Thai Group and Japanese company Family Mart, and changed its name to B’s Mart. BJC now has around 95 B’s Marts in Vietnam. BJC plans to spend an additional $31.2 million to add 205 stores in 2018.
Some experts explained that domestic room to develop in the Thailand retail sector has become narrow and saturated, so Thai retailers are forced to look for other potential markets. Thus, the establishment of AEC is a chance for Thai retailers to gain success outside their home turf.
High expectations for Vietnam
In the last three years, Pham Hong Hai, general director of HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd. (HSBC Vietnam), along with other partners, has been visiting ASEAN countries to call for investment.
According to Hai, in the next five years, there will be a strong wave of investment from ASEAN countries into Vietnam.
“The Vietnamese market has huge advantages in terms of stabile politics and macro-economy, low labour costs, and many preferential policies to attract investment,” Hai said.
Nearly two years ago, Pico electronics market chain revealed its plans to expand in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, with especially high expectations for Myanmar, as Pico expected it to grow into a potential market with good chances for future development. However, due to some barriers in terms of politics and unclear open-door policies in Myanmar, this plan has not been implemented yet. Now Pico is continuing this plan with another partner, but it will be scheduled more carefully.
“The domestic market is still the dominant market of Pico. In our development plan, we will give top priority to domestic expansion, which may create a foundation for future sustainable development if Pico decides to invest in other markets,” Trinh Duc Tuan, deputy general director of Pico, said.
Another electronics retailer Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG) also plans to expand its business in the ASEAN. However, MWG has only one mobile device store in Cambodia. This year, MWG has scheduled to launch some more outlets overseas, but this step is considered a trial only.
“The markets in Laos and Myanmar have not really opened up for foreign businesses, so the mobile device store in Cambodia is our first step to expand overseas. However, the market environment here is not completely transparent and favourable, so all our business plans are trials only until the business environment improves,” Tran Kinh Doanh, general director of MWG, said.
The increasing competition from foreign enterprises cannot discourage this retailer. Doanh said that in the retail sector, electronics is still a playground mostly for Vietnamese enterprises. For example, the Nguyen Kim electronics chain has the giant Central Group behind to support, but it cannot win significant market share from its rivals.
At the end of June 2017, there have been 1,527 MWG outlets. Of the total, the Dien may XANH chain had 404 stores and the Bach hoa XANH chain had 110 stores. With the large number of outlets all over Vietnam, MWG is still on the hunt for attractive M&A deals.
Currently, it is rumoured that MWG is planning to acquire Tran Anh Digital World JSC (Tran Anh), one of the biggest competitors of MWG in Northern Vietnam. Detailed information has not been released yet, Tran Anh did not confirm rumours, but Doanh did not answer to the negative when asked. Besides, he revealed that negotiations on MWG’s M&A deal has almost been finished.
“We do not mind competing with foreign rivals. We want to hold a strong position in the market, and the best way is to focus on qualified services and products for more than 93 million Vietnamese nationals,” Doanh said.
The Vietnamese market is not only a playground for domestic enterprises, so if these firms fail to win significant market share and strengthen their position, they may lose right in their home tur
By Anh Hoa, VIR
Trial held on violations of land management law in Đồng Tâm Commune
HÀ NỘI - The People’s Court of Mỹ Đức District, Hà Nội, today opened the first instance trial on law violations regarding land management in the district’s Đồng Tâm Commune.
The People’s Court of Mỹ Đức District, Hà Nội, today opened the first instance trial on law violations regarding land management in the district’s Đồng Tâm Commune. - VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Văn Cảnh
Among the defendants at the trial, 10 faced the charge of abusing position and power while on duty in pursuant to Article 281 of the Penal Code. They included three former chairmen of the Đồng Tâm Commune People’s Committee who are Nguyễn Văn Sơn, Lê Đình Thuấn and Nguyễn Văn Bột. A former secretary of the commune’s Party Committee - Nguyễn Tiến Triển, and a former commune official in charge of land registration - Nguyễn Xuân Trường - are also among the group.
Airlines asked to open more air routes to provinces
With an aim to promote tourism, local provincial authorities are calling on airlines to open air routes to their areas. Some provinces are even willing to compensate airlines’ losses during the first phase of operation.
Two months ago, the leaders of Can Tho city met travel firms and airlines to discuss the plan to open new air routes. The city authorities promised to prop up enterprises’ office rent (for 12 months, VND15 million a month at maximum) and to offer ground service fee reduction. These would not be applied to the air routes that link Can Tho and Hanoi, Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Con Dao Island.
The municipal authorities also plan to offset airlines’ losses for the first year through different ways, ranging from VND4.5-8.5 billion per airline, depending on the air routes.
The suggested supports are still awaiting the nod from the Can Tho City People’s Council. However, Can Tho has given initial support to airlines for air routes that link Lam Dong province in Vietnam or Bangkok in Thailand.
Other localities are taking the same move. A new air route has been opened that links the central province with Thanh Hoa, while a new route to Chiang Mai in Thailand will open in early August.
Meanwhile, Thua Thien – Hue province plans to give support to help enterprises maintain and increase the frequency of the flights on the Hue – Can Tho – Phu Quoc; Hue – Luangprabang – Bangkok, Ayutthaya (Thailand) - Bagan (Myanmar).
According to Nguyen Van Ky, deputy director of the Quang Binh provincial Tourism Department, opening air routes will help the province diversify means of transport, which will also advertise Quang Binh as a destination.
“The seat occupancy rate at the routes that links Quang Binh and Hai Phong City is 60-65 percent, but the route still can be maintained. Once there are more international air routes, there will be more travelers from Thailand and third countries,” he said.
For the last three years, Vietravel has spent big money to open air routes linking tourism sites in Vietnam and other countries, including Can Tho – Lam Dong, connecting Can Tho, Da Nang, Vinh and Bangkok in Thailand. The travel firm is considering opening Hai Phong – Bangkok route.
The Can Tho – Lam Dong and Da nang – Bangkok routes have stopped operation. However, a senior executive of Vietravel still affirmed that the investments on the route were reasonable. The routes required huge investment rate and losses in the first phase of operation, but they helped develop the market, advertise the brand and promote tourism in the localities where the firm set up offices.
Mai Thanh, VNN
Building trust, from farmer to the consumer plate
Local smallholders in the food production industry in Vietnam looking to increase their earnings can now benefit from a new low-cost certification scheme that focuses on helping farmers sell their products under an organic label.
It’s all part of an initiative to build trust between participants in the food supply chain – from smallholder farmer to the consumer plate – said experts at a recent workshop in Hanoi.
Farmers will gain access to markets because their products are certified as PGS and they can charge higher prices for their fruit, vegetables and other produce while building a reputation for superior quality.
No exception for foreign ‘beg-packers’ on Vietnam streets: tourism director
The tourism director of the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang believes that Western beg-packers are intrinsically the same as local panhandlers.
A foreign woman mediates for money on a pavement on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
By Tuoi Tre News
Annual rice exports to be $2.5bn by 2030
Rice exports are expected to earn Vietnam from $2.3 to $2.5 billion annually during the 2021-2030 period, according to the Development Strategy for Rice Export Markets in 2017-2020 and Vision to 2030 approved recently by the Prime Minister.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoT) has sent documents to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the State Bank of Vietnam, the Vietnam Food Association, and other relevant ministries and agencies on the implementation of the strategy.
The strategy aims to enhance the competitiveness and brand of Vietnam’s rice exports and also defines market diversification, to reduce dependence on certain markets, match international integration trends, and seize the opportunities presented by free trade agreements.
The strategy includes two phases. The first, from 2017-2020, targets annual rice export volumes of 4.5-5 million tons with a value of $2.2-2.3 billion. The second phase, from 2021-2030, targets 4 million tons worth $2.3-$2.5 billion annually.
The export rice structure is to change by 2020, in which the volume of low-grade white rice is to not exceed 20 per cent, while Japonica will account for 30 per cent, sticky rice 20 per cent, and other rice 5 per cent.
By 2030, white rice is to account for only 25 per cent, average rice less than 10 per cent, Japonica rice 40 per cent, sticky rice 25 per cent, and other nutrient rice more than 10 per cent.
The strategy clearly identifies the export rate in each market by 2020. Exports to Asia are to account for 60 per cent, Africa 22 per cent, the Americas 8 per cent, Europe 5 per cent, Australia 3 per cent, and the Middle East 2 per cent.
Approved by the Prime Minister, the strategy also puts special emphasis on exports to markets such as Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia), China, Japan, and South Korea.
The government also touches on the branding of Vietnamese rice and improving post-harvest technology and the processing of rice products. It will also invest in international-standard rice quality testing labs in the Mekong Delta, to facilitate quality control, contributing to the improvement of Vietnamese rice grains to national standards.
VN Economic Times
VN must launch 2nd export wave: experts
Hanoi taxis fear bankruptcy in light of proposed regulation
Taxis operate outside My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The Hanoi Taxi Association has voiced strong opposition to a proposed regulation that it says could result in bankruptcy for local taxi companies.
The Department of Transport of Hanoi is asking for public feedback on a proposal calling for stricter regulations on taxi operations throughout the capital.
Among other stipulations, the new regulation would require a uniform look be adopted by all cabs in the Vietnamese capital by 2025.
The regulation would also force local taxicab companies to register themselves to specific operating zones – either within the city’s urban districts or in rural areas – and ban taxis registered in one zone from picking up passengers in another.
However, a new look and defined operation zones are not what have cab companies fuming. The most controversial of all items listed in the draft is the establishment of a common control center for all taxi companies in Hanoi.
“After the establishment [of the central control center], companies that refuse to join and use the center will have their radio frequency disabled by the municipal Authority of Radio Frequency Management,” the draft reads.
According to the Hanoi Taxi Association, such a center would require as many as 500 employees and a board of managers, “we’re unclear whether or not the city will cover the costs for the center.”
Additionally, the association pointed out that forcing companies to share a common control center would be extremely wasteful to those who have already invested heavily in their own modern control centers.
As for the division of operating zones, the Hanoi Taxi Association said the plan is not feasible and would serve no actual purpose, considering most taxi companies operate in both urban and rural areas.
Not allowing taxis to pick up passengers outside of their registered zone would only increase operating costs for taxi companies, the association pointed out.
According to Do Quoc Binh, chairman of the Hanoi Taxi Association, increased government involvement in private companies would set the business environment in Hanoi back to the days of a subsidized economy and deal a direct blow to the current market economy.
“Therefore, we worry that if the regulation is adopted it will generate enough liability to drive Hanoi’s taxi companies to the verge of bankruptcy,” Binh said.
According to the chairman, there are around 20,000 drivers in Hanoi operating as contractors with Uber and Grab.
Backed by parent companies based outside of Vietnam, Uber and Grab are able to offer fares low enough to control half Hanoi’s taxi market share, Binh wrote in a letter to the municipal Department of Transport.
“This has pushed taxi companies to the brink of bankruptcy. Revenues have dropped by 50-60 percent, with tens of thousands of drivers quitting or being put out of their jobs,” Binh added.
By Tuoi Tre News
Numerous issues discussed at 13th session of NA Standing Committee
Numerous issues will be discussed at the 13th session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee that opened in Hanoi on August 10.
National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan speaks at the opening of the 13th session of the NA Standing Committee on August 10
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said during the seven-day session, the NA Standing Committee will give opinions on some debatable issues of the four draft laws that deputies commented at the NA’s third session, namely the revised laws on forest protection and development, fisheries, public debt management, and denunciations.
The committee will also scrutinise five bills scheduled to be submitted to the NA for consideration at the upcoming fourth session, including the amended law on national defence, the law on the protection of State secrets, the law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the law on Vietnam’s overseas representative agencies, the law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the law on judicial records, and the law on public administration.
It is set to look into the outcomes of piloting the costume of judges at People’s Courts and the outcomes of the NA’s supervision of the implementation of policies and laws on state administrative apparatus reforms between 2011 and 2016.
The establishment of the People’s Court and People’s Procuracy of Sam Son city, Thanh Hoa province, along with the use of the central budget in 2016 and 2017 will also come under discussion.
The NA Standing Committee is scheduled to supervise the implementation of policies and laws on investing and using BOT transport projects at this session.
Meanwhile, Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha and officials of some relevant ministries and sectors will directly answer the committee’s questions about the State management of construction planning, urban architecture and infrastructure, and the management and use of urban construction land.
Cà Mau wants to build $3.5 billion seaport
HÀ NỘI - The southernmost province of Cà Mau is seeking investment to develop a US$3.5 billion seaport complex, which can receive vessels of up to 250,000 tonnes capacity, on Hòn Khoai Island.
Hòn Khoai Island. Cà Mau Province wants to build a deap-water seaport here. - Photo baodautu.vn
Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 underway
Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 has opened this afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, promising lively discussions on the next breakthrough opportunities.
Le Trong Minh, editor-in-chief of VIR and head of the Organising Board, expressed his hope that the forum would contribute to the development of the Vietnamese M&A market, helping restructuring and increase the competitiveness of businesses in Vietnam.
The forum this year is now taking place at GEM Centre, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Co-organised annually by VIR and AVM Vietnam under the auspices of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam M&A Forum has been a major event in the M&A market in the past nine years.
The theme of this year’s edition is Seeking a big push, as new challenges in 2017 may prevent the Vietnamese M&A market from reaching the $5-billion mark in deal value. A strong initiative is necessary to boost the quantity and quality of M&A deals.
The forum this year has attracted 20 speakers and 500 senior leaders of government agencies, investment funds, and leading corporates from Vietnam and overseas.
In his opening speech, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung noted that the Ministry leaders highly appreciate the contribution that Vietnam M&A 2017 has made in the last nine years. This is particularly timely, as more state-owned enterprises become equitised and state divestments are getting stronger.
Minister Dung said that the forum has promoted foreign investment in Vietnam through M&A, connected investment partners in and outside of the country, as well as discussing and producing recommendations for state management agencies to improve the legal framework for M&A, promoting Vietnam’s economic growth and international integration.
“I highly appreciate the theme of Vietnam M&A Forum 2017, which is “Seeking a big push.” It calls attention to a breakthrough in policies and foreign capital flows, as well as identifying fields with potential and room for M&A activities,” said Minister Dung.
“We believe that with the participation of top-level state management officials, industry experts, and corporate leaders, the 9th Vietnam M&A Forum will collect and discuss the necessary information to push forward the Vietnamese M&A market,” said Minh.
At the event this afternoon, speakers and representatives from various sectors will discuss the most pressing issues of M&A via three sessions.
In the first session, themed “Identifying breakthrough sectors,” state management officials from the National Assembly’s Finance and Budget Committee, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance, State Securities Commission, and industry experts will analyse and evaluate the current M&A trends in Vietnam, discuss solutions to achieve a breakthrough, and identify emerging sectors for M&A transactions.
The next session, titled “M&A Opportunities from the Perspective of International Investors,” consists of in-depth analysis of specific M&A opportunities and forecasts coming foreign capital inflows.
The speakers will also identify fields of special interest to foreign investors, as well as providing recommendations to facilitate a better inflow of foreign capital.
For the final session themed “Lessons from Big Deals,” top CEOs of Vietnamese and foreign businesses will share their experience through outstanding deals in 2016-2017 from the perspective of insiders and individual experts.
The panelists will also share lessons in finding and choosing the right partner, contract negotiations, the role of advisory firms in M&A deals, issues in valuation and financing, as well as post-M&A issues, such as staff and business management.
By Nam Phuong
Universities face shortage of students
Students apply to Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/8
Fish exports insignificantly affected by U.S.’s new rule
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States has announced to inspect all shipments of tra fish from Vietnam under a mandatory inspection program starting from August 2, one month earlier than planned. However, the new rule has not left significant impact on Vietnam’s tra exports to America.
According to FSIS’s new regulation, all Vietnamese tra shipments entering U.S. soil must be presented at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s official import inspection establishments (i-houses) for its personnel to check quality, safety, packaging and others.
When FSIS made this announcement, Vietnamese fish exporters expressed concern that there would not be enough i-houses in the U.S. for inspecting a great volume of fish entering America at the same time.
A leader of Vinh Hoan Corporation, a leading fish exporter in Vietnam, said USDA’s i-houses might be overwhelmed, leading to long queues. This is a big problem as the U.S. will not complete its cold storage system until 2018.
However, speaking to the Daily, chairman of Hung Vuong Corporation Duong Ngoc Minh said Vietnamese fish exports to the U.S. have not been significantly affected since FSIS’s new regulation came into force a week ago.
According to Minh, FSIS’s decision to enforce the new inspection regulation one month earlier than planned is aimed at better preparing for the change.
Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said up to now, the association has not received any complaints from exporters.
Hoe said Vietnam’s tra fish exports to the U.S. were previously managed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that 10-30% of the shipments were inspected by FDA depending on exporters.
Data of VASEP shows that the country’s tra fish exports in the first half of 2017 totaled US$836 million, down 0.3% compared to the same period last year. Of this figure, exports to the U.S. accounted for US$176.4 million, a 5.7% year-on-year decline.
According to VASEP, the fall in first half fish exports to the U.S. resulted from high anti-dumping tariffs rather than FSIS’s new regulation.
There are currently 14 eligible firms exporting tra fish to the U.S. but only three of them – Hung Vuong, Vinh Hoan and Bien Dong – frequently export the fish to this market.
Business to shift to e-receipts next year - draft decree
From next year on, enterprises would not be allowed to print receipts or buy receipt forms, but to switch to using e-receipts, according to a draft decree prepared by the Ministry of Finance.
The draft decree, which will replace Government Decree 51/2010/ND-CP if passed, requires businesses to use electronic receipts, except for some particular cases where they can buy receipt forms from tax authorities before they shift to using e-receipts.
Since 2010, enterprises have been allowed to print their own receipts. Only some businesses have still been required to buy receipt forms issued by the taxman.
The ministry has proposed enterprises immediately switch to using e-receipts if they currently do tax declarations online or use electronic banking services and signatures.
New enterprises could also use e-receipts as long as they meet requirements. They would have to register and regularly send data to the tax authority through a web portal.
Tax authorities will continue printing receipt forms for those in need until next June.
Data shows 60% of receipts in the economy are printed by businesses using e-receipt software.
For some particular products and services that use stamps, tags or tickets as receipts, the tax authority will provide special print receipts.
Receipts printed before 2018 can still be used but enterprises would have to gradually convert to using e-receipts, according to the draft decree.
Supermarkets and shopping malls can use receipts printed by cash registers but they have to send data to the tax authority on a regular basis.
The Ministry of Finance’s draft decree might be approved by the year-end, said Bui Van Nam, general director of the General Department of Taxation. It is expected to make a huge change in receipt management, create a national database that can help stop the use of fake receipts or the sale of receipts, the biggest tax problem.
Sawaco borrows VND3.65 trillion to fund major water supply plan
The Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the HCMC Finance and Investment Company (HFIC) yesterday agreed to lend VND3.65 trillion to Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) to fund a major water supply plan, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reports.
Sawaco will use the money for 11 projects to make sure all city residents will have access to clean water supply.
Tran Van Khuyen, chairman of Sawaco, said the city’s daily water output is 24 million cubic meters.
At the signing ceremony, HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said that the loan with an annual interest rate at 8.5% would help the city implement its infrastructure development program.
Sawaco should improve water quality control, reduce water losses and make tap water drinkable, Tuyen added.
EWEC Trade, Investment, Tourism Fair opens in Da Nang
The East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) International Trade Investment and Tourism Fair kicked off in the central city of Da Nang on August 11.
Nearly 200 businesses and organisations from localities nationwide and such foreign countries as South Africa, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Hungary and Indonesia are showcasing their products and services in the fields of electricity, electronics, information technology, furniture, interior décor, handicrafts, hotels and restaurants at nearly 350 booths.
A workshop on cooperation and the development of services on the EWEC and art performances will take place during the six-day event.
Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation between businesses are also expected to be signed within the framework of the fair.
Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Tran Van Mien said that the fair offers a chance to promote trade, investment and tourism of the EWEC.
It is of significance for participating enterprises to seek partners, develop business and production and promote their products to consumers, he added.
The EWEC is an economic development programme initiated to promote the development and integration of four Southeast Asian countries: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The concept was agreed upon in 1998 at the Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), organised in Manila, the Philippines. The corridor became operational on December 12, 2006.
It was created based on a road stretching 1,450 km across Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, from Mawlamyine in Myanmar to Da Nang in Vietnam, and is one of the key economic corridors in the GMS, which aims at deepening integration and trade and investment links, and reducing poverty in the region.
Condotel workshop conflicted on supply and demand
The supply of condotels to the market in 2016 actually failed to meet demand or bolster existing tourism infrastructure, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam National Real Estate Association (VNREA), told at a workshop entitled “Condotel Market and Fears of Oversupply” held by VET on August 10 in Hanoi. Many others held views contrary to the name of the workshop.
As at the end of 2016, condotels had become a strong investment trend, led by Nha Trang, Da Nang, Phu Quoc Island, Thanh Hoa, and Quang Ninh.
Experts and representatives of developers agreed at the workshop that condotels have been found around the world for some time but only been developed in Vietnam for about two years but have become a trend among investors.
Mr. Thanh added that the model has many new features as regards trade and business. “Condotel investments will not use bank loans, they will attract social capital,” he added. “Investment will therefore see the risk shared, create sustainable development, and be linked with tourism activities.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Huong Tran Kieu Dung, Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of Management at the FLC Group, said that condotels reflect the development of Vietnam’s tourism sector and show no signs of saturation at the moment.
In 2010, foreign visitors to Vietnam stood at more than 5 million and had doubled by 2016, with the constantly increasing figure being a major driving force. “FLC aims to develop resort properties associated with tourism infrastructure,” said Ms. Dung. “There are many condotel projects in Vietnam but FLC chooses its own path in potential markets where supply is limited.”
Regarding legal issues, Ms. Vu Thi Lan Anh, Deputy General Director of the CEO Group, told the workshop that authorities should provide detailed guidance on purchasing condotels and securing ownership certificates for investors.
She added that foreigners not being allowed to buy condotels is a limitation. “They are attractive to foreigners, including those working in Vietnam and those overseas,” she said. “If the government adopted more open policies for foreigners, it would help to capitalize on foreign development capital.”
Similarly, Mr. Nguyen Manh Ha, Chairman of the Board of Management at Phu Quy Land, said the company has worked with customers from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and they are very much interested in Vietnam and its real estate resort products but the legal framework is problematic. “An open legal corridor should be proposed for foreigners to develop condotels and exploit economic potential,” he added.
Applications for Australia's Direct Aid Program open on Aug 15
The Australian Embassy in Hanoi will open applications for the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) grant round 2017-2018, for projects in northern Vietnam and also in central Thua Thien Hue province.
Grants of up to AU$60,000 ($47,000) are available to NGOs, community groups, and other not-for-profit entities to undertake small-scale development projects focusing on the economic empowerment of disadvantaged communities and groups.
In 2017-2018, the Hanoi DAP will prioritize higher value projects and those that take an innovative approach to a longstanding development challenge.
DAP is a small grants program funded from Australia’s foreign aid budget. It has the flexibility to work with local communities in developing countries on projects that reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development consistent with Australia’s national interest. It sits alongside Australia’s longer-term country and multilateral development strategies and with its wide geographical reach plays an important role in supporting local community efforts towards poverty reduction across the globe. DAP projects cover a range of sectors, such as education, health, water and sanitation, environmental protection, women’s empowerment and gender equality, supporting people with disabilities, economic livelihoods, food security, and human rights.
The DAP in northern Vietnam is an extremely competitive program. Applications must meet the requirements detailed in the DAP Guidelines and comply with the requirements in the application form. The deadline for submitting applications (online) is Friday September 29.
Applicants are required to read the Guidelines and complete the application forms for the Hanoi 2017-2018 DAP grants. Applicants can choose to fill in an application form either in Vietnamese or English, at https://dap.smartygrants.com.au/DAPHanoiEnglish2017-18 for English and https://dap.smartygrants.com.au/DAPHanoiVietnamese2017-18 for Vietnamese. For queries about DAP or the application process, please contact Dap.Hanoi@dfat.gov.au or (024) 3774 0116.
The Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City administers DAP in Vietnam’s south. Please visit http://hcmc.vietnam.embassy.gov.au for further details. For further information about Australia’s development assistance to Vietnam, please visit http://dfat.gov.au/geo/vietnam/development-assistance/Pages/development-assistance-in-vietnam.aspx.
Serious congestion frustrates commuters on southern Vietnam expressway
A congested expressway in southern Vietnam is frustrating travelers who depend on the thoroughfare to ease their commute.
The construction of Long Thanh International Airport in the namesake district in Dong Nai Province, about 40 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, is causing bumper to bumper traffic in the area.
The most serious of these congestion problems takes place on an expressway connecting Ho Chi Minh and Long Thanh, with commuters finding themselves trapped in hours-long gridlock each weekend.
According to an observation by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, endless lines of vehicles stretched endlessly down the expressway beginning at the Long Phuoc toll station in District 9.
“We pay a toll for the expressway just to be caught in traffic jams even more severe than on regular roads,” a car driver complained.
Truck drivers who depend on the route also complain that the bottleneck is causing them to fall behind schedule.
During the weekend, it usually takes an hour to travel the three-kilometer section, Nguyen Van Phu, a regular commuter, added.
While the designated speed of the expressway is 120km per hour, traffic jams often slow vehicles to no more than 10km per hour.
Congestion also occurs at the road's entrance near the An Phu traffic knots, the meeting points of Luong Dinh Cua, Mai Chi Tho, and Nguyen Thi Dinh Streets in District 2.
According to the Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering JSC (VEC E), the number of vehicles traveling on the expressway in the first half of 2017 increased by 17 percent year-on-year.
That number means that 43,000 vehicles per day are using the roadway on weekends and up to 73,000 on major holidays, such as the Lunar New Year, placing immense pressure on the traffic infrastructure.
Bottlenecks often occur at five hotspots along the road, including the Long Phuoc toll station, the An Phu traffic knots, Long Thanh Bridge, and two more, VEC E said.
Speaking with Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Bon, an official from the Dong Nai Traffic Safety Committee, attributed that main reason for the congestion to the unsuitable placement of toll stations along the expressway.
Several measures have been proposed to combat the problem but a suitable solution has yet to be agreed upon by authorities and local citizens.
In late 2016, the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), which owns VEC E, suggested that toll rates be decreased during off-peak hours and increased during peak-hours.
According to Mai Tuan Anh, chairman of VEC’s board of directors, the Ministry of Transport did not approve the solution.
Another petition by VEC E to detour vehicles to another route received negative feedback from commuters who noted the new route would have been much longer and still congested.
Several temporary solutions have also been mobilized to alleviate the issue, said Nguyen Viet Tan, director of VEC E.
Le Minh Triet, director of the Management Center of Saigon River Tunnel, said traffic lights in the area will be reorganized at streets near the An Phu traffic knot in District 2.
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee also requested that the transport ministry spend VND1 trillion (US$43.7 million) on flyovers and underpasses in the area.
Lilama to trade on UPCoM from Aug 16
Vietnam Machinery Erection Corporation (Lilama) will start trading 79.7 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) from August 16, two years after its initial public offering in 2015.
The shares, to be traded under the code LLM, will have a reference price of VNĐ15,000 (66 US cents) per share on the first trading day, the Hà Nội Stock Exchange announced.
Of the 79.7 million shares registered for trading, 20,800 ESOP shares (stocks offered to employees in an employee stock ownership plan) are subject to transfer restrictions.
Founded in 1960, Lilama used to be wholly owned by the construction ministry. The corporation was equitised in 2015, with 35.55 million shares being put up for sale, but only around one million shares were sold at VNĐ10,362 per share.
Since April 2016, Lilama has been operating as a joint stock company. The construction ministry remains its biggest stakeholder, holding 97.88 per cent of its charter capital of VNĐ887.2 billion as of April 26, 2017.
The heavy engineering company and its subsidiaries design, engineer, construct and install industrial plants in Việt Nam. They are also engaged in equipment, technology, tank, steel structure manufacturing, and undertake projects in the areas of thermal power, cement, ship-building and engineering.
Lilama’s main business is Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract activities, which account for 80 per cent of its total turnover. It has 14 subsidiaries and six affiliate companies.
The company posted an after-tax profit of VNĐ90 billion between April 6, 2016, and December 31, 2016.
Dong Thap draws 19 foreign direct investment projects
The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap is running 19 foreign direct investment projects worth nearly 4.74 trillion VND (208.56 million USD), mainly in cattle feed, acquaculture, garment-textile and rice exports.
Wenzhou Hendy Mechanism & Plastics Co., Ltd. is the biggest project in the province with 953 billion VND injected in building a plastic factory in the province. It is followed by Mavin Austfeed joint venture company, which poured more than 675 billion VND into a cattle and aquatic feed plant.
Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Truong Hoai Chau said the province is willing to create the most favourable conditions for businesses to invest.
The locality has lured several big investors from Australia, China’s Taiwan, Russia and the Republic of Korea in recent years.
It focuses on improving infrastructure at industrial clusters and devising policies to create a healthy business environment and better the quality of public services.
The province has also supported investors to process special farm produce such as rice, fruit and tra fish.
Local authorities have used clean land to attract foreign investors and upgraded and expanded roads to industrial parks to facilitate goods transporting.
A trade promotion conference is scheduled to take place in the province in November 2017.
Chinese market promising for Vietnam’s shrimps as exports surge 30%
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China rose 30% in the first half of 2017, reaching almost US$283 million, making it a potential destination to replace the established markets where the export of Vietnam’s seafood is struggling.
According to Vasep, an association of seafood producers and exporters, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China made a strong recovery in the second quarter, surging 57.6% following a fall of 3.9% in the three months previous.
In 2017 China imported over US$777 million worth of shrimp, mainly from Argentina and Vietnam, with respective rises of 224.3% and 176.7%, while its imports from Ecuador and India dropped by 48% and 27.6% respectively.
China’s imports are mainly in the form of frozen warm water shrimp, followed by frozen cold water shrimp.
The proportion of warm water shrimp is stable, while that of cold water shrimp is on the rise, forcing Vietnam to compete with not only exporters in Asia but also with cold water shrimp providers from Argentina and Canada.
However, thanks the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, Vietnam can enjoy tariff preferences when exporting shrimp to the world’s second largest economy.
With a population of more than 1.3 billion people and a growing demand for high-quality food, China has become a promising market for seafood exporters in recent years.
It is projected that Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China, in the second half of the year, will continue to grow given China’s shrinking output as a result of its policy to boost imports for re-export.
In addition, the transport cost for the Chinese market is lower, while there are no technical barriers and unfair duty impositions as in the US market.
New circular to enhance banking supervision
The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has issued a new circular on banking supervision to timely prevent and settle risks to banking operations.
Circular 08/2017/TT-NHNN, which will take effect from December 1, 2017, is also designed to prevent a banking crisis where sudden withdrawal of depositors spreads across the system of credit institutions and can lead to institutions’ bankruptcy.
The circular states that banking inspection and supervision agencies will collect, synthesise and analyse information on supervised credit institutions to promptly prevent, detect and handle risks to banking operations.
The agencies will also consider and monitor the observance of regulations on safety of banking operations and other monetary and banking regulations of credit institutions.
The implementation of inspection conclusions, issuing warnings and making recommendations will be also included in the content of supervision.
The agencies will also analyse and assess the financial status, operation, governance and risk degree of credit institutions, besides annually ranking the institutions.
Further, the circular noted that the banking supervision must comply with current laws and ensure accuracy, objectivity, honesty, publicity and timeliness. It also required not obstructing the normal operation of supervised credit institutions.
The new regulation was issued after many cases of violation in the banking industry were uncovered.
According to SBV Governor Lê Minh Hưng, reports from the Ministry of Public Security showed that 95 economic cases in the banking sector were detected and prosecuted, with nearly 200 banking employees and officials being accused in the 2011-16 period.
Foreign exhibitors to attend VN’s leading water expo
The 2017 Vietwater Expo and Forum, Việt Nam’s leading international water supply, sanitation, water resources and purification event, will welcome the participation of 14 international pavilions.
The expo will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), District 7, HCM City, from November 8 to 10, with more than 450 leading water players from 38 countries and territories and 14,000 trade visitors from all over the world expected to attend.
The ninth edition of Vietwater will be a platform for local and international enterprises to showcase their recent solutions and innovations, and learn from practical experiences in water supply, wastewater treatment and sewage management and operation as well as connect and source new products and equipment in all sectors of the water industry.
They will present a vast array of technologies and equipment in all segments of the water industry, including pumps, valves, bio-enzymes and water and wastewater treatment, as well as blowers, boilers, control system and cooling water treatment, along with desalination, filters, meters and pipes.
With support from the Việt Nam Water Supply and Sewerage Association and the Ministry of Construction, the event will be organised by UBM Asia. It is a part of the Water & Wastewater Industry Show series, which includes ASIAWATER, Myanmar Water, Thai Water and Water Philippines.
Private sector’s business confidence keeps improving
A recent survey by the Vietnam Private Sector Forum has shown that the confidence of private business executives keeps improving, with the private sector increasingly asserting its important role in Vietnam’s economic growth.
Don Lam, VinaCapital General Director, said Vietnam has exerted efforts to improve the business climate, evidenced by higher rankings in surveys conducted by the World Bank.
However, half of the surveyed enterprises confirmed that regulatory barriers, including overlapping, unclear and inefficient regulations, are hurting them, diminishing the sector’s competitiveness.
Ho Sy Hung, head of the Enterprise Development Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said over the past few years, the size of private enterprises has not improved, in terms of capital or the average number of employees, making it hard for them to invest in technology, machinery and fixed assets to reduce costs.
The failure to expand has also made cumbersome administrative procedures a bigger problem, such as inconsistency between the Law on Investment, the Law on Environmental Protection, the Land Law and the Construction Law.
Hung admitted that enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, struggle to access loans and credit guarantees. He suggested offering loan packages with reasonable interest rates and transparent and simple lending procedures and diversifying banking products and services to increase access to capital.
Economist Vu Dinh Anh said policies and mechanisms for the private sector must be based on the principle of “equality, no preference, respect and initiative”.
The results of the survey indicated that 63 percent of respondents plan to expand operations while 44 percent reported they have missed out on business opportunities due to legal barriers and market restrictions.
Up to 37 percent of firms said their operations performed better in 2017 than in previous years while 43 percent of others expressed expectations that the economy will improve.
Vietwater 2017 kicked off in Hanoi
Vietwater Conference, one of the pre-show activities promoting the Vietwater 2017 exhibition and forum, has been kicked off with a line-up of leading water sector experts sharing experiences in water management in Hanoi.
Vietwater Conference took place on August 10, 2017, as part of the Vietwater 2017 exhibition and forum with the theme of improving the quality of water supply and sanitation services through innovation, upgraded technologies and effective utility management, which will be organised by UBM Asia on November 8-10, 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City.
At the conference, Nguyen Hong Tien, project director of Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA), told VIR that the potential of the Vietnamese water sector is huge, riding on the demand of 9.6 million cubic metres per day by 2020.
“Currently, Vietnam only meets about 8.5 million cubic metres ofthis, therefore, investments will be important for the water sector, especially in technology as well as infrastructure for processing and the operation of water supply and drainage,” Tien said.
He added that Vietnam should invest in and upgrade to modern water treatment technology as well as environmentally friendly, energy-saving, and adapt to climate change to study and apply new technologies to prevent water quality degradation and salt intrusion.
Additionally, Vietnam should also apply technology and smart devices in the management as well as operation of water supply systems, along with building control and monitoring central systems in order to manage the quality and water sources, water treatment, pipelines, and equipment.
According to Vo Duy Quy, deputy general director of Vucico Vietnam, the country should further control the discharge of wastewater, and then build more water treatment facilities in order to minimise chemicals in wastewater.
Hanoi’s taxation agency shares policies with Japanese businesses
The Hanoi Taxation Department shared information about tax policies of Vietnam and Hanoi in particular with the Japanese firms operating in the capital city during a seminar on August 10.
Speaking at the event, Deputy General Director of Taxation and Director of the Hanoi Taxation Department Nguyen The Manh said the event aims to promptly deal with arising obstacles in the process of adopting tax policies targeting the Japanese enterprises.
Several Japanese investors spoke of tax policy flaws involving transfer pricing, franchising, added value tax software, corporate and individual income tax, and special consumption tax.
A representative from the Japan Business Association in Vietnam said the association will continue acquiring Japanese firms’ feedback on tax policies and working behaviours of tax officials and cadres to report to the Hanoi Taxation Department.
In recent years, the Japanese businesses’ revenue to the Hanoi’s State budget has accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total paid by foreign-invested ones. In 2016, Japanese firms contributed 4,819 billion VND (209.5 million USD) to the city’s budget. The figure rose to 2,854 billion VND (124 million USD) in the first half this year, up 23 percent annually.
Under a scheme on developing Hanoi’s economy in the context of carrying out Vietnam-Japan free trade agreements until 2020, the city asked departments, agencies, and the taxation sector to reform administrative procedures by improving the quality of tax filing and payment, making it easier for Japanese enterprises to do business in Hanoi.
Vietnam Aquaculture Expo & Forum to open in Can Tho
Nearly 120 domestic and foreign fisheries firms will join the Vietnam Aquaculture Expo & Forum at the Can Tho International Exhibition Fair Centre in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho from October 25-27.
The event will be co-hosted by the Directorate of Fisheries, the Vietnam Fisheries Society, the municipal branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the UMB Corporation, with nearly 4,000 guests taking part.
At a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, Vice Director of the Directorate of Fisheries’ Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation Vu Duyen Hai said the event affords participants a chance to choose advanced technologies to improve fisheries output, quality and processing.
On display will be farming equipment, fisheries feed and manufacturing equipment, processing and packaging lines, among others.
Issues regarding varieties quality, epidemic diseases, aquaculture technology, processing and export, markets, services and sustainable development will also be discussed.
As part of the event, the Mekong Chef 2017, themed “Festival of Vietnamese tra fish and trade promotion”, will be held with a view to introducing processed tra fish from professional chefs at home and abroad to visitors.
The organising board will partner with the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the centres for agricultural encouragement of 13 Mekong Delta cities and provinces to bring farmers to the event.-
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China surge 30 percent in first half
Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China reached 282.9 million USD in January-June, representing a year-on-year rise of 30 percent, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
The association forecast further growth in shrimp export to China, a key market for many Vietnamese shrimp exporters, this year.
According to VASEP, the market holds numerous opportunities for Vietnamese seafood businesses, as it has a large population and big demand.
In addition, China imports shrimps for not only domestic consumption but also export to other countries.
However, VASEP noted some difficulties facing Vietnamese exporters as China requires processing plants to have Chinese–granted codes and be included in a list of exporters approved by China in order to export their products to the market.
At the same time, the Chinese market has continuously raised requirements for product quality over recent years.
The VASEP suggested Vietnamese enterprises focus on improving the quality of products to make inroads in the market.
China is now the fourth biggest importer of Vietnam’s aquatic products, after the US, EU and Japan.
Banyan Tree Group explores investment in Ha Giang province
The Banyan Tree Group conducted a fact-finding tour to the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang from August 8-10 to study the building of super luxury hotels in the locality.
After visiting popular destinations in Ha Giang, the group showed special interests in areas of Nam Dam Lake in Quan Ba district, and Ma Pi Leng Pass in Meo Vac district.
At a working session with local authorities on August 10, Director of the group’s project Phan Chi proposed the province build roads to these selected areas and hand over clean land to investors as well as ensure the provision of electricity and water and support the group to build resorts according to local architectures.
Secretary of the provincial Party’s Committee Trieu Tai Vinh and Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Son revealed a plan to build a global geological park at Dong Van Karst Plateau approved by the Prime Minister in April 2017.
The scheme is significant to the development of the plateau – which was recognised as a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks in 2010, becoming Vietnam’s first geological park and the second in Southeast Asia, they said.
The officials added that Ha Giang is coordinating with the McKinsey & Company Vietnam Limited to speed up the building of a tourism development plan for the park and Ha Giang city through 2025, with a vision to 2035.
Ha Giang has also been improving the business environment to attract both domestic and foreign investors, they said and pledged to create the best conditions for enterprises to do business.
Banyan Tree is an international group established in 1994 in Singapore, specialising in management and development of resorts, hotels and spas in Asia, America, Africa and the Middle East region.
It successfully carried out an 875-million-USD project to build the Laguna Lang Co resort complex in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue in 2009 with the first phase completed in April 2013.
Petrolimex, BSR join hands to sell Dung Quat Refinery’s products
The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) signed an agreement with the Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical Co Ltd (BSR) on August 10 on cooperation in boosting sales of petrol products produced by Dung Quat Refinery.
In the deal, Petrolimex and BSR noted their wish to become each other’s strategic shareholders through Petrolimex’s purchase of BSR shares after BSR conducts equitisation and completes the Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Petrolimex will give top priority to the sales of petrol, LPG and other petrochemical products made by Dung Quat refinery, which is operated by BSR.
The two sides will collaborate to export Dung Quat’s products to Laos and Cambodia.
They will also consider possibilities of cooperation in the fields of insurance and transport.
Addressing the signing ceremony, BSR Director General Tran Ngoc Nguyen said the company aims to make the IPO at the end of this year.
During more than 7 years in operation, BSR has produced and sold more than 47.2 million tonnes of products, meeting 40 percent of the domestic petrol demand. The company grossed total revenues of over 36 billion USD and paid over 7 billion USD to the State coffer, more than double the investment in the refinery.
Meanwhile, Petrolimex is holding the largest share of the domestic petrol market.
Seminar discusses opening automobile industrial complexes in Vietnam
The Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) organised a seminar in Hanoi on August 10 to discuss the world’s automobile industrial complexes and lessons for Vietnam, part of activities to realise the government’s plan to turn the automobile industry into a key economic sector.
Speaking at the event, CIEM Deputy Director Nguyen Thi Tue Anh said the domestic automobile industry remains underdeveloped due to small market, weak purchasing power and the lack of appropriate incentives.
Experience from developed countries showed that Vietnam needs to rally resources, especially brainpower, capital and technology, to open concentrated automobile industrial complexes, with the supporting industry sector playing a crucial role in creating a value chain.
Nguyen Thi Xuan Thuy from the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Institute for Industrial Policy and Strategy expressed her concern that the domestic automobile industry would face fierce competition from early 2018 when automobiles imported from the ASEAN member states are subject to zero percent tariff.
Meanwhile, domestically-made cars still have their imported components subject to import taxes, resulting in their higher prices than those bought from Thailand or Indonesia.
Economists said increasing the rate of locally-made spare parts in automobile manufacturing is an important, long-term goal of the Vietnamese automobile industry.
Firms expressed wish that the government and concerned authorities would study and apply consistent and flexible policies so that they could outline specific orientations for growth.
PM urges focus on logistics sector
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to co-operate with relevant agencies in the resolution of issues related to the logistics sector.
According to Decision No 200/QĐ-TTg, which was promulgated in February, the competitiveness of Việt Nam’s logistics services is to be boosted by 2025, ensuring that logistics will become an important service sector in the economy.
The PM asked the ministry to lower logistics costs to 18 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, thus improving the sector’s competitiveness. This could help increase the competitiveness of the commercial sector in particular and the economy in general.
However, many big firms operating in the logistics sector have struggled to cut costs.
For example, the northern city of Hải Phòng should revise fees for the use of infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities at ports in the city. Last December, the city’s People’s Committee promulgated a resolution regulating fees for construction, infrastructure, service buildings and public utilities at ports. Under the resolution, individuals and organisations that have shipments stored at bonded warehouses must pay between VNĐ2.2million (US$97) and VNĐ4.8million ($220) per container, an increase of nearly 70 per cent on the previous level.
The new fees, which took effect from the beginning of this year, has increased the cost of implementing logistics services.
Nguyễn Tương, Deputy General Secretary of the Việt Nam Logistics Business Association said conditions related to logistics services still caused difficulties for businesses’ development.
Based on the Law on Investment 2014, logistics has been a conditional business line, with the aim of creating a legal framework for State management agencies to effectively manage the services, according to Tương.
He said that if the transportation service providers had to pay high unofficial fees, this could considerably increase costs as transport accounts for up to 60 per cent of logistics costs.
He suggested that the Government should thoroughly implement Decision 200, focusing on four factors of the country’s logistics service system. These include policies and regulations regulating the logistics sector, infrastructure, logistics providers and customers.
In addition, the Government should take measures to help the logistic service sector contribute 8-10 per cent to GDP, achieve a growth rate of 15-20 per cent and reduce costs to 16-20 per cent of GDP by 2025.
It also targeted to bring Việt Nam into the top 50 countries with developed logistics services.
According to the World Bank’s ranking, Việt Nam is 64th out of 160 countries in the world and 4th in ASEAN after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in logistics development.
With the average growth rate of 16 to 20 per cent a year, logistics has been one of the service sectors with stable development in Việt Nam over the past few years.
Aquaculture show set for October
The country’s premier international aquaculture industry show, Aquaculture Việt Nam 2017, will take place in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta Province of Cần Thơ in late October with an expected 4,000 visitors.
Seventy per cent of around 120 companies at the exhibition will be from Việt Nam, with the rest from other countries.
Project aims to improve competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports
Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc has approved a project on improving the competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports to 2020 with orientation to 2030, with the aim of increasingthe added value of key products by 20 percent.
The project is expected to increase the quality and added value of advantageous products with the added value of agro-fishery products to be expanded by 20 percent by 2020. The proportion of the products will be raised in developed economies such as the EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea, while average export growth of goods will surge by 8 percent in the 2016-2020 period.
Prioritised products include rice, coffee, rubber, seafood and peppercorn, along with the group of the manufacturing industry such as apparel, footwear, furniture, telephones and components, computers, electronic products and spare parts. Other advantageous commodities are raw materials of garment and textiles, footwear, plastic and plastic products, fertilizers, and chemicals.
The project aims to re-organise production by transforming methods of production towards higher added values, and changing export models from intermediate export to direct ones and from FOB to CIF.
Besides, the project will develop the support industry for sectors having advantage in export, enhance the role of foreign invested businesses in improving competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports, expand export markets and buildnational brand names. It will also target improving national competitiveness, cutting business costs while increasingbusiness competence, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, and supporting firms in updating technology.
Support and encouragements will also be given to businesses in building export strategies, joining foreign production and distribution networks and global value changes, and fostering connectivity among raw material suppliers, producers, transporters and manufacturers.
Under the project, businesses will also be provided with market information, trade promotion, human resources training and legal consultations.
About 433 billion VND mobilised through G-bond auction
The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) raised 433 billion VND (19 million USD) by auctioning off Government bonds (G-bonds) issued by the State Treasury on August 9.
The amount included 300 billion VND (13.2 million USD) worth of five-year-bonds with interest rate of 4.6 percent per annum, 0.12 percent higher than the previous auction on July 19.
Bidders also bought 133 billion VND (5.8 million USD) worth of 30-year-bonds with annual interest rate of 6.1 percent, down 0.12 percent from the previous auction on July 26.
Meanwhile, there were no successful bids for 20-year bonds.
As of the beginning of this year, the State Treasury has raised more than 143.8 trillion through auctions at the HNX.
Nghe An IP to break ground in October
The VND23 trillion (US$1 billion) WHA Hemaraj Industrial Park in the Nghe An central province’s Southeast Economic Zone will break ground this October.
A representative from the Thailand-based Hemaraj Land & Development Public Co Ltd released the news on Wednesday at a meeting of Nghe An Province’s leaders, Thailand’s Board of Investment led by deputy secretary general Chokedee Kaewsang and 60 Thai firms.
The first phase of the project, which will cover a combined area of 3,200ha in the two districts of Nghi Loc and Dien Chau with rental contracts for 70 years, is expected to be put into operation in early 2018.
This project will be developed through a joint venture between Viet Nam-based Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No 4 (CIENCO 4) and Thailand-based Hemaraj Land & Development Public Co Ltd.
At the meeting, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Ngoc Hoa said the province has enhanced administrative reforms to provide the most favourable conditions for investors.
“Investors can find all information related to investment opportunities or licensing procedures from a single body under the province’s Nghe An Centre for Investment Promotion and Development Consultancy,” Hoa said.
Over 500 businesses attend food, beverage exhibition
More than 500 businesses from 20 countries and territories are taking part in the 21st International Exhibition on Food & Processing & Packaging Technology in Ho Chi Minh City from August 9-12.
The presence of new participating countries such as the Republic of Czech, Brazil, France and the United Arab Emirates is expected to draw more visitors.
Various kinds of products and new technologies in agro-forestry-fisheries, beverages, nutritious and medical food, food additives, and food preserving, packaging and manufacturing equipment are offered at the event.
Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thanh Kien said the annual exhibition aims to promote trade among domestic and foreign businesses and enable them to expand market and transfer technology to develop the food and beverage industry.
The food and beverage processing industry has great potential in Vietnam. Being a tropical agricultural country, Vietnam has abundant resources – a significant input for the processing industry.
The exhibition was first held in 1996. After 20 exhibitions witnessing significant and rapid changes in the market, from the initial purpose of serving consumers' basic needs, the food and beverage industry has become a sector with considerable market share accounting for 15 percent of the gross domestic product, and it will continue to grow.
Hanoi to ban taxis on multiple streets during rush hours
The Hanoi transport department has published a list of streets and thoroughfares which taxis will be prohibited from entering during rush hours starting this month.
By Tuoi Tre News
Concerns raised over ‘condotel’ development on Vietnam’s central coast
Given the current rate of development, supply may soon exceed demand for condo-hotels in Vietnam
A condotel is seen in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, located in south-central Vietnam.
With developers rushing to build new condo hotels, or ‘condotels’, along Vietnam’s central coast, experts are concerned about this new style of property development.
By Tuoi Tre News
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/8
HCMC Industry and Trade opens more outlets to sell Vietnamese goods
To implement the city’s action plan in response to the campaign “ Vietnamese people use Vietnamese commodities”, many measures were taken by the industry and trade sector to boost production and improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods in the local market.
By the sector’s statistic, by now, the city has 42 trade centers, 201 supermarkets, and 240 traditional markets. The sector spends more on these distributing channels of Vietnamese commodities including repairing facilities and improving quality especially in outlying districts.
Through the campaign, Vietnamese commodities account for 90 - 100 percent in these centers, supermarkets and markets; for instance, the rate of Vietnamese goods in supermarket chain Big C is 95 percent, in SatraMart at 95 percent and in Giant at 100 percent.
For the subsidized commodity program, in addition to uniting between companies, enterprises have opened more stores. So far, the city has 10,602 outlets to sell subsidized goods in suburban districts and in the premises of industrial parks and export processing zones.
In a bid to help residents in suburbs and laborers in industrial parks to buy subsidized goods, the Department of Industry and Trade has set up three mobile groups to sell Vietnamese commodities with cheap prices.
In the first six months of this year, Saigon Co.op, Satra and Ba Huan Company launched 602 mobile goods-carrying trips to suburban districts such as Can Gio, Cu Chi and Hoc Mon. Apart from this, Saigon Co.op organized 600 trips to sell subsidized good to 36 provinces collecting VND35 billion ($1,540,012).
Land prices up after proposal to open more entrances to airport
After Ho Chi Minh City proposed the Ministry of Transport to open more entrances to Tan Son Son Nhat International Airport to ease traffic jam in Truong Son street, the airport’s sole entrance route now, land and house prices in proposed areas have rocketed up.
The proposal, made by the city at a working session with Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia, is still considered by the ministry and authorized agencies but real estate investors have taken advantage of that to blow prices up.
Land and house prices in areas near the proposed entrance in Truong Chinh street, Tan Binh district has hiked by 10-20 percent within two months. At a 38 hectare housing land project in the street, the price has surged from VND35 million to VND40 million (US$1,760) a square meter. Apartment block projects in the area have also seen price up.
Similar condition has occurred areas near Quang Trung and Thong Nhat streets in Go Vap district. The price of a house in Pham Van Chieu street has rocketed to VND5 billion ($220,000) from VND3.2 billion a year ago.
Projects of Cityland Group in Phan Van Tri street have strongly increased prices within a short time.
Mr. Nguyen Duy Minh, director general of L&L Real Estate Company, said that real estate investors and speculators usually grasp new positive planning information to improve their product value without caring about the feasibility of the information.
Experts advice customers to keep calm and be cautious in order not to pay a price much higher than the real value of houses or land plots they buy in case the proposal is not approved.
Condotels’ legality to be clarified amid rising demand
The legality of condotels needs to be clarified to better manage this new type of property gaining popularity in Việt Nam, a representative from the Ministry of Construction said.
Phạm Văn Thường, from the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Department, said at a conference held late last week by the Vneconomy online newspaper that relevant ministries were developing regulations about condotel standards, ownership ands financial management.
Experts said clarifying the legality of condotels was urgently needed as this type of property is developing rapidly, but the absence of regulations carries risks for ownership and profit sharing.
Condotels are operated as hotels with units being individually owned. Unit owners can rented out their apartments like any other hotel room.
According to Lê Hoàng Châu, President of HCM City Real Estate Association, regulations are needed to ensure transparency in profit sharing in the long term and the rights of buyers, adding that profit sharing now relies mainly on developers’ guarantees, with yet a solid framework for buyers’ benefits protection.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thành, Deputy President of the Việt Nam Real Estate Association, said that condotels have great development potential in Việt Nam as tourism is one of the country’s spearhead industries.
Thành said that it’s too early to worry about an excess of condotel supply over demand because the demand was still very high. “What should be worried is the legality of condotel,” Thành said.
Hương Trần Kiều Dung, deputy chairwoman of developer FLC Group, said that condotel supply remained below the market demand, given the increasing number of tourists. “Investing in condotels is a trend for smart investors,” Dung said.
Dung proposed the legal framework for condotels be clarified soon, adding that this would stimulate developers to invest more in this type of property.
Hoa Phat group posts robust growth in steel production
Hoa Phat Group, a leading Vietnamese industrial production firm, manufactured some 209,000 tonnes of steel in July, up 24.7 percent from last month and nearly 50 percent from the same period last year, retaining top spot in terms of domestic steel market share.
The group sold 33,000 tonnes of wire rod in the month, surging 54 percent from June, while some 21,800 tonnes of steel were shipped abroad, increasing total steel exports to 111,800 tonnes in the first seven months of the year.
From the outset of this year, the group produced more than 1.24 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 32.3 percent. The company attributed the growth to thriving civil construction.
According to the Vietnam Steel Association, domestic steel production plants can meet domestic demand for steel products for construction.
Steel production in Vietnam expanded 12.8 percent year-on-year to nearly 11.3 million tonnes in the seven-month period ending in July, the association said.
VN firms ink deals with Bangladesh partners
Vietnamese firms have signed export contracts for electric fans, gas stoves, coconut and construction material with Bangladeshi partners estimated at US$60,000 at an investment and trade promotion workshop in Bangladesh last week.
Bangladeshi Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Rashed Khan Menon, pledged at the event to co-ordinate with Viet Nam on opening a direct air route between the two nations to enhance trade and tourism. He promised to provide the best possible conditions for Vietnamese firms to invest in technology and tourism.
In his speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to Bangladesh Tran Van Khoa suggested businesses from the two countries diversify their exports, instead of depending on just few strong products as they have done so far.
Viet Nam views Bangladesh as a potential market, with a population of over 160 million, rapid economic growth and a young and abundant workforce. It is also considered a gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter other South Asian markets.
Cultivation growth predicted to reach 2.05 percent in 2017
The cultivation sector is expected to grow up to 2.05 percent in 2017 thanks to bright prospects in major export markets, according to the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Since early this year, the prices of most fruits have increased, while the rice price has remained stable.
The sector has replaced unproductive rice with other plants to match demand, mainly with fruit trees. Production plans will also be adjusted to minimise damage from extreme weather, especially in vulnerable areas such as the Central Highlands and the south central coastal and Mekong Delta regions.
The sector will also maintain the productivity of coffee and cashew farms, while expanding tea fields.
The Cultivation Department will also guide farmers in cultivating rice in the northern and Mekong Delta regions for high yield.
Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Cultivation Department, said that the autumn-winter crop in the Mekong Delta region is important, as it is expected to make up for the fall in productivity of the winter-spring crop 2017 when rice yield dropped 296,600 tonnes from 2016.
Son advised regional localities to strengthen forecast efficiency to prevent insect spreading, thus ensuring productivity.
Son added that the provinces should prioritise rice varieties with high export value such as Jasmine 85, Nang Hoa 9 and VD20.
According to the MARD, in the first half of 2017, the cultivation sector’s growth reached 1.66 percent.
Vietnam's VPBank to list on Aug 17, seeks $2.3 bln market value
VPBank will list 1.33 billion shares with a reference price of VND39,000 (US$1.72) each
Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) will list its shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on August 17 with an expected market value of US$2.3 billion, the bank said on August 11.
VPBank will list 1.33 billion shares with a reference price of VND39,000 ($1.72) each, likely giving it a VND51.97 trillion ($2.29 billion) market value, which would be the ninth biggest on the exchange.
In Vietnam, an IPO and listing are separate processes. Foreign institutional investors currently hold 22.34 percent of VPBank, according to the lender. Foreigners are allowed to own a maximum of 30% in a Vietnamese bank.
VPBank chairman Ngo Chi Dung owns about five percent of the bank, while his mother and wife own another 9.6 percent combined.
VPBank's net profit surged 64.2 percent in 2016 to VND3.9 trillion ($171.58 million), while the lender's first-half bottom line jumped 108 percent from the same period last year to VND2.6 trillion ($114.39 million), the bank's financial statements showed.
"This is a fair price as VPBank is one of Vietnam's top lenders in the retail banking sector, which has room to increase given Vietnam's average income growth of 6-10 percent annually," said Nguyen The Minh, a deputy research director at Saigon Securities Incorp.
"The downside is that VPBank focuses too much on retail banking; so if the risk management system of VPBank is not good enough, it will face high risks of dealing with non-performing loans," Minh said.
VPBank said its bad debts were 2.81 percent of its total loans as on June 30, falling slightly from the 2.91 percent at the end of last year. Viet Capital Securities expects VPBank's bad debt ratio in 2017 and 2018 at 3.1 percent.
Toyota retains lead in auto market
Sales of Toyota motor vehicles totaled 4,291 units in July, equal to 83 per cent of the figure recorded in July last year, but Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) retained its leading position among automakers in the country (excluding trucks and buses), according to the company’s latest report.
Total sales in July (excluding trucks and buses) were down, equaling 79 per cent of the July 2016 figure.
TMV’s sales of passenger cars reached 2,333 units and commercial vehicles 1,958 units.
The Vios saw sales of 1,548 units and kept its leading position, while the Camry and Corolla recorded sales of 167 and 414 units, respectively. The Corolla Altis made an impressive step forward and found a place in the Top 10 during the month.
Leading the way in Toyota’s commercial vehicle segment was the Innova, with 683 units sold, equal to 97 per cent of the figure in July 2016. It saw its share in the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment increase, however, and was the seventh best-selling model during the month. In the year since the new Innova was introduced in July 2016, sales have stood at 12,878 units.
Among completely-built-up (CBU) units imported by TMV, the Fortuner saw sales of 1,089 units in July, up 21 per cent against July 2016 and taking third position in the Top 10 best-selling models during the month.
Sales of the Yaris were 204 units, the Hilux 77 units, the Hiace 47 units, the Land Prado 56 units, and the Land Cruiser six units.
Continuing to bring premium models and services, with the famous Japanese Omotenashi spirit, sales of the Lexus reached 84 in July.
Risis products available in Vietnam
Visitors to Singapore have long taken the chance to buy luxurious, exquisite gifts at Risis to reinforce business and other relationships. Lovers of the brand in Vietnam need no longer head to Singapore as they can find a host of its products at the VietinBank Gold & Jewellery showroom, located at Saigon Trading Centre, 15 Le Loi, Ho Chi Minh City.
As a market leader in the field of high-end gifts in Asia, for over 40 years Risis has constantly and effortlessly added many unique and exquisite gold-plated products to their collection, with designs inspired by blessings and prosperity in Asian culture.
Corporate gifts, jewelry, and accessories from Risis represent the pure beauty of Mother Nature. One hundred per cent of the process is completed in-house, allowing the Risis team to maximize the amount of creativity and quality control. Each meticulous step, from the initial sketching process to fine polishing, is executed with attention to the smallest of details.
Risis is also trusted by major enterprises such as Standard Chartered Bank, Procter & Gamble, and British American Tobacco, among others. Thanks to ingenious, skilled hands combined with advanced technology, every piece from Risis bears an impressive and refined design, comprehensively capturing the vision and philosophy of business associates.
Risis has also been selected to create trophies for the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2013 to 2016 as well as five unique pendants prepared in celebration of Singapore’s 50th anniversary.
VNDIRECT to list on HoSE
The VNDIRECT Securities Corporation (VNDIRECT) has been given approval to list 154.998 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), with the stock code VND.
Its first trading day is expected to be on August 18. On August 9, the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) approved it cancelling its listing on HNX from August 14.
The target of VNDIRECT in changing stock exchanges is to improve governance standards and access local and international investors, mobilizing capital to develop services in the future, a representative from VNDIRECT told VET.
It will issue its shares to investors in the fourth quarter of 2017, at a ratio of 3:1 to existing shareholders, and expects to issue 51 million more shares.
The company will also pay a cash dividend of 10 per cent.
In the first half of 2017, VNDIRECT saw sharp growth in its business results. As at the end of the second quarter, net revenue stood at VND695 billion ($30.5 million) and after-tax profit VND325.5 billion ($14.32 million), or 65 per cent and 83 per cent of the annual plan, respectively.
In brokerage, VNDIRECT remains in the Top 4 on HoSE and Top 3 on HNX.
Brokerage revenue increased 76 per cent to VND82 billion ($3.6 million) and revenue from margin lending was up 80 per cent from VND46 billion ($2.02 million) in the second quarter of 2016 to over VND83 billion ($3.65 million) in the second quarter of 2017.
With positive signs in Vietnam’s stock market this year and good business results, VND shares increased from VND13,000 ($0.57) to VND23,900 ($1.05) in the first half.
VNDIRECT was established in 2006 and is now one of the most trusted securities companies in Vietnam. Main business lines include stockbroking, securities custody, corporate finance advisory, proprietary trading, and portfolio management.
JHC arrives in Vietnam
The first Japan Home Centre (JHC) outlet in Vietnam opened on August 12 in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district, marking the arrival of the retailer in the country.
A representative from JHC said that Vietnam’s home appliances market is huge and growing rapidly, and that its population is quite young and getting married, which present sound opportunities to develop the home appliances market.
Changes in consumer trends also encourage foreign retailers to come to Vietnam.
The V.I.C Retail and Trade Joint Stock Company (JSC) therefore decided to bring JHC to Vietnam after a long time researching the needs of Vietnamese consumers and determining the direction of the household appliances market throughout Asia.
JHC is a chain of retail outlets owned by International Housewares Retail (IHR), Hong Kong’s leading home appliance company.
Launched in 1991, JHC retails high quality products at reasonable prices and is known for its “best selling prices for high quality goods by bringing Japanese gadgets directly to consumers through no intermediary”.
It provides high quality products for personal and family life, with a network of more than 360 stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, Macao, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Australia.
JHC has a diverse portfolio of products imported directly from 650 suppliers in more than 13 countries and territories, including Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Americas, and Europe.
Japanese household products are a popular choice among women in Vietnam because of their beauty, usability, and top quality. At the grand opening of its first Vietnam store, JHC offered discounts of up to 49 percent.
Phu Yen applies high technology in shrimp farming
The central coastal province of Phu Yen will branch out high-tech shrimp cultivation models in a bid to realise its target of 100 million USD in production value by 2025.
The province will set aside 55 billion VND (2.4 million USD) to zone off cultivating area, upgrade infrastructure, produce breeding varieties, examine the environment and diseases as well as transfer technology and promote trade and investment.
Production will be reorganised to create a large-scale material production area. The province will link local shrimp suppliers with consumption markets.
By 2020, Phu Yen will work to reduce total water surface area for shrimp breeding to 1,943 hectares from 2,028 hectares in 2016 but shoot up the volume of shrimp production to 9,950 tonnes from 6,760 tonnes.
The province is planning to produce 6 billion juvenile shrimps and 18,000 lobster-nurturing cages in an area of over 55 hectares.
Phu Yen’s shrimp farming area is mostly situated in Dong Hoa and Tuy An district and Song Cau town. Last year, the province produced nearly 6,800 tonnes of shrimp and 650 tonnes of lobster.
US-FSIS sets meeting on new mandatory catfish program
On August 10, 2017, the Food Safety and Inspection Service published in the Federal Register a notice announcing an educational meeting to discuss the new mandatory catfish program.
The Final Rule, titled ‘Mandatory Inspection of Fish of the Order Siluriformes and Products Derived from Such Fish,’ went into effect as of August 2, 2017, to abide with direction from the US Congress.
In line with those instructions, all shipments of imported Siluriformes fish and fish products entering the US must be presented at an Official Import Inspection Establishment for reinspection by FSIS personnel.
Fish of the order Siluriformes include fish of several families including catfish (fish of the family Ictaluridae), basa, tra, and swai (fish of the family Pangasiidae), and clarias (fish of the Clariidae family).
FSIS will present information on the upcoming full implementation of the regulatory requirements at official domestic establishments that process Siluriformes fish and fish products, as well as information on entry procedures and reinspection at official import inspection establishments.
FSIS is particularly interested in soliciting participation from representatives from US domestic wild-caught operations that process Siluriformes fish and fish products.
The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport and Convention Centre in Memphis, TN, on Thursday, August 24, 2017; 9 am– 3pm CT.
Quang Nam taps potential of coastal economic zones
Located in an important position in the central region’s economic hub, Quang Nam has many potentials and advantages in natural and human resources for economic development, especially tourism services.
Quang Nam has been developing economic zones with a focus on its eastern part, the driving force for provincial economic growth.
The eastern part of Quang Nam province includes 8 coastal districts and cities located along the Da Nang-Dung Quat Highway and covering more than 100,000 ha, with 125 km of coastline.
The area plays an essential role in the the socio-economic development strategy of Quang Nam where there are 110 investment projects with registered capital of US$2 billion. 70 of them are operational, according to Dinh Van Thu, the provincial People’s Committee Chairman.
Thu noted that “Quang Nam has focused on industry and services. The advantages of each region are fully tapped for development in which the eastern part will mainly develop services to create an investment environment for industrial parks and Chu Lai Open Economic Zone and neighboring areas.”
The plan focuses on several groups of projects including the South Hoi An urban residential and service area; a clean industry and service development linking with Chu Lai airport; a gas-electric project; a fishing port system, and a storm sheltering area. The Chu Lai Open Economic Zone has created a powerful push for the whole central coastal economic region.
Tran Ba Duong, President of the Truong Hai Automobile Company, the most successful investor in Quang Nam, said “Since 2014 we have increased sales and production to meet the requirements set for 2018 when we plan to integrate into ASEAN".
"We have increased the production of components and the locally made ratio by at least 40% to make the most of opportunities to export to the ASEAN market with a tax rate of 0% and compete with other automobile brands from ASEAN in Vietnam.
Since we invested in the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, the Truong Hai Automobile Company has grown robustly, thanks to support from the Quang Nam administration”, said Mr Duong.
Early last year, the Quang Nam People's Committee allocated 1,500 hectares of the overall development area of 42,000 hectares for investment project attraction.
Tran Xuan Dien, head of the Management Board of Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, said “The operation of Cua Dai Bridge and the coastal road linking Hoi An and Tam Ky City has made tremendous changes for Quang Nam. This year, we will complete connecting Tam Ky and Chu Lai Airport and create additional 2,000 hectares of land for investment projects."
Quang Nam's coastal districts have huge potential because they are near the seaport, airport, and industrial zones of Da Nang City and the Dung Quat Economic Zone of Quang Ngai Province.
Vietnam back in trade surplus in second half of July
Vietnam posted a trade surplus of US$429 million in the second half of July after falling into deficit for several months before, said the General Department of Vietnam Customs. This improvement helped push down the trade deficit in all of July.
According to the department’s data on import and export operations from July 16 to 31, the export sector brought in over US$9.41 billion, increasing by 14.1% compared to the first half of July. Import spending in the last two weeks of last month was over US$8.98 billion, up 6.5% against the first two weeks.
This led to a trade surplus of nearly US$430 million in the second half of July.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the country had a trade deficit of US$2.53 billion in the first seven months of this year, representing 2.2% of total export revenue.
January-July exports totaled over US$115.3 billion, up 18.8% over the same period last year. Meanwhile, imports in the period amounted to US$117.83 billion, up 23.6%.
At the Export Forum 2017 in HCMC on August 8, Nguyen Phu Hoa, deputy head of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, forecast Vietnam’s trade deficit could reach about US$5 billion in all of 2017, 2.5% of total export turnover.
Hoa said the country could obtain US$200 billion from exports this year, up 13% year-on-year, while its imports would reach an estimated US$205 billion, a 17% increase.
In 2016, the nation’s trade deficit was US$2.7 billion.
Data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs shows the trade surplus in the second half of July was helped by higher export sales of some items. In particular, exports of machines, equipment, tools and other accessories surged 34.7%, or US$158 million, against July’s first half. Exports of phones and phone parts, footwear, iron and steel grew 7.5% (or US$110 million), 18.4% (or US$110 million) and 139.3% (or US$108 million) respectively.
The sectors that reported strong declines in export value included shipping with a drop of 77.3% (US$42 million), and oil with a 36.1% fall (US$13 million).
In the final two weeks of July, imports of phones and phone parts shot up 30.7%, or US$159 million, against the month’s first two weeks. Other commodities whose import rose included fuels with a 29.6% rise (or US$75 million), iron and steel with a 21% increase (or US$60 million), fertilizer with 113.6% (or US$54 million) and computers and electronic products with 3.8% (or US$54 million).
But imports of ordinary metals fell 20%, or US$50 million, and feedstuffs dipped 31.2%, or US$40 million. Imports of coal and minerals decreased 29.3% (or US$25 million) and 32.8% (or US$17 million) respectively.
Novaland steps up M&A game
In the first seven months of this year, along with developing new projects, Nova Real Estate Corporation (Novaland), one of the leading property developers in Vietnam also expanded its operations via mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Novaland has decided to spend VND1.045 trillion ($45.8 million) acquiring 98.12 per cent of Thanh Nhon Real Estate Investment One Member Co., Ltd. After the purchase, Thanh Nhon Real Estate Investment One Member Co., Ltd will be converted to Thanh Nhon Real Estate Investment Co., Ltd.
A few days ago, Novaland sold a 99.88 per cent stake in its subsidiary Nova Galaxy Real Estate JSC to Vietnamese real estate developer Anpha Holdings. The deal’s value was not disclosed. After the purchase, Anpha Holdings will take over Nova Galaxy’s projects, especially its newest project, the apartment and shopping centre complex located in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.
Earlier in April, Novaland completed the purchase of a 99.99 per cent stake in Gia Duc Real Estate Co., Ltd. for VND1.939 trillion ($85.01 million).
Novaland said the acquisition is meant to advance its plans to enlarge its land holding, which would help it achieve its targets for the next year.
By acquiring Gia Duc, Novaland will also get a stake in the Sunrise Bay project, a 181-hectare complex of urban area, amusement, and commercial centres in Hai Chau district of Danang. The developer is Sunrise Bay Company Ltd. Gia Duc owns a 19 per cent stake in the complex.
In the same month, Nguyen Nhu Pho, a shareholder of Novaland, sold 19.5 million shares to Credit Suisse AG’s Singapore branch for VND1.4 trillion ($61.37 million).
Officially listed at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange in December 2016, after more than three months, Novaland’s market capitalisation was nearly $2 billion and is now among the top ten biggest capitalised stocks of the whole market, not to mention being a particularly coveted eye-candy to foreign investors.
The group has been actively diversifying its financial structure for prudent capital management, such as this private placement to increase its chartered capital by 5.6 per cent from nearly VND6 trillion ($26.3 million) to VND6.3 trillion ($27.6 million).
Novaland now has a portfolio of more than 40 projects with different types of products, such as townhouses, office-tels and condotels, trading centres, land houses, and villas.
Aside from six projects completed and delivered as committed, in the first quarter of 2017, Lakeview City in District 2, Lucky Dragon in District 9, and Orchard Garden in Phu Nhuan district have been handed over to residents.
Free trade deal boosts Vietnam's petrol imports from Korea
Between January and July this year, Vietnamese firms imported around 1.72 million tons of petroleum from the Republic of Korea, marking a jump of 200% against the same period last year, latest data from Vietnam's customs showed.
free trade deal boosts vietnam's petrol imports from korea hinh 0 The surge of petroleum imports from the East Asian country comes after a free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea came into effect in early 2016, lowering the import tariff on gasoline from 20% to 10%.
Meanwhile, petrol imports from traditional market China, which face a 20 percent tariff, witnessed an on-year decrease of 18% to 600,000 tons.
In total, Vietnam imported 7.55 million tons of petroleum worth $3.9 billion so far this year, marking a 34.2 percent jump in value from the same period last year.
Singapore remains Vietnam's the biggest petroleum supplier with 3.06 million tons. Petrol imports from ASEAN countries made up nearly 70 percent of Vietnam's total imports.
Vietnam exported around 1.2 million tons of petroleum in the first seven months, down 2 percent compared to the same period last year, mostly to Cambodia, Laos and China
Chinese trade, investment key for Vietnam economic growth
Chinese investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to the Vietnam economy, most especially to the slowing manufacturing and declining crop production industries, say experts.
Crop production companies in Vietnam grow foodstuffs such as rice, sugarcane, coffee, tea, vegetables, melons, fruits and cashew nuts and employ about half of the country’s population while manufacturing accounts for roughly 8% of employment.
Once the most important economic segment in the country, the output value of agriculture, was surpassed by both manufacturing and services in the early 1990s and has continued to wane ever since without too many bright spots.
The Chinese market has in large part laid out the welcoming mat for Vietnamese agriculture faced by troublesome food safety regulations and scrutiny elsewhere in more lucrative markets like the US, EU and Japan where language barriers compound their lack of ability to compete effectively at a profit.
Hardly a day goes by without another Vietnamese-China initiative being announced, say the experts, whether it's new investments, joint ventures, trade conferences or delegations.
In August this year, another Chinese delegation of some 100 businesses staged the 6th Zhejiang Export Fair in Hanoi exploring yet further opportunities for commercial trade and investment.
To Ngoc Son of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the Zhejiang Export Fair is one of the biggest annual trade fairs in the entire Southeast Asian region and represents a useful source for investment, especially in higher tech agriculture.
Mr Son, who is the assistant head of the Ministry Asia Pacific Department, noted that plans are underway for Vietnam to put on its first trade expo in the Chinese city of Hangzhou later this year as part of a concerted effort to raise the level of investment in Vietnam from China.
China has not been a big foreign direct investor in Vietnam in the past, said Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Institute for Economic & Policy Research. However, he noted that large chunks of the country’s infrastructure projects – including ports, railway lines and tunnels – are being carried out by Chinese companies these days.
He added that Chinese machines and equipment are imported into Vietnam in massive quantities as well. Estimates are that as much as 80% of all engineering, procurement and construction contracts are filled by Chinese contractors.
The rise of China and its adoption of an outward looking policy of investments and cooperation could have as much of an impact on the Vietnamese domestic economy as did the massive capital influx into Vietnam from chiefly the ROK.
But in the high-tech sector, say the experts, the Chinese presence has not yet translated to the same enormous presence such as that of Samsung and LG Electronics as of now— but Vietnamese companies are fielding more and constant inquiries from Chinese local government and private investors.
When you start seeing Chinese names on the sides of buildings in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, you'll know they have really arrived en masse. That’s still a long way off but getting closer every day.
Improving productivity of smallholder coffee farms
A workshop on improving the operation of smallholder Vietnamese coffee farms sponsored by the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative in collaboration with the Global Coffee Platform was held recently in the city of Da Lat.
The workshop affirmed the vital role of smallholders to the Vietnamese coffee segment and offered the 70 participants the opportunity to address the challenges and opportunities today’s farmers and traders face.
Issues discussed at the event included the legal complexities involved in forming a coffee venture in Vietnam, new governmental policies and regulations on the horizon, alternative sources of short and long-term financing, broadening the coffee supply chain, and best sustainable practices.
IDH is supported by multiple European governments including institutional donors: BUZA, SECO and DANIDA and works together with over 500 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organizations and governments in 11 economic segments in over 50 countries globally.
The organization focuses on driving sustainability from niche to norm in mainstream markets, delivering impact on Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on creating positive impact on deforestation, living incomes and living wages, working conditions, toxic loading and gender.
US catfish feeding program in Vietnam successful
US sorghum and corn imports to Vietnam may soon be on the uptick thanks to the successful results of a recently concluded catfish feeding trial funded by the US Grains Council.
For 2014, the last year accurate figures are available, Vietnam aquaculture produced an estimated 1.2 million tons of catfish, requiring an estimated 2.4 million tons of compound feed, traditionally produced from locally-available cassava.
However, the production of cassava in Vietnam has not kept pace with the growing demand for its use in aquaculture, swine and even the production of ethanol for use in fuels, resulting in both higher prices for cassava and shortages.
To test the viability of substituting sorghum or corn for cassava, the Council recently concluded in-country feeding trials, with support from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, for Pangasius, a catfish species native to Southeast Asia that is sometimes called basa.
The trials were conducted at a private research farm in Vietnam and compared diets based on sorghum (20% inclusion rate), corn (10% inclusion rate) or cassava (15% inclusion rate).
The results of the trials reached the conclusion that both grains could efficiently and profitably be substituted for cassava as a source of starch for feeding Pangasius on Vietnamese catfish farms.
Results showed no difference between the sources of starch on growth performance, fillet colour or physical properties of feed pellets (density and floatability). Beyond starch, sorghum is also low in tannins and contains higher protein (more than 10% versus 2.5 percent) and amino acids (like corn) than cassava, particularly tryptophan and threonine.
The new data will bolster local efforts the Council is undertaking to promote corn and sorghum for new uses, like in aquaculture.
Both grains - sorghum and corn - can be used for feeding catfish, but limited research on doing so was previously unavailable, said Manuel Sanchez, USGC assistant director for South and Southeast Asia.
This report helps fill the gaps for more information about feeding sorghum and corn to Vietnamese catfish as a substitute for cassava.
Top 12 Vietnamese startups to share US$360,000 investment package
The Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator (VIISA) has selected 12 outstanding startup projects from 160 local candidates for a combined investment of US$360,000.
The chosen startups cover a wide range of fields, including artificial intelligence, hightech agriculture, communications and education, and will be given exclusive training by VIISA.
VIISA is an open ended fund working in partnership with major corporations BIDV, Dragon Capital, FPT and Hanwha Investment.
Following their training, each startup will receive $15,000 in cash and $15,000 worth of training courses, technical resources and office fees, as well as access to more than 100 investors all over the world to pursue their dreams.c
The most promising startup will also receive an additional $200,000 investment, according to VIISA.
“Vietnam is such a rapidly emerging country. Startups here have great opportunity to innovate their products and services,” said Sangyeop Kang, investment manager at Hanwha Investment Group. "I look forward to boosting the startup climate in Vietnam."
Tran Huu Duc, general director of VIISA and director of FPT Ventures Fund said: "We want to help the startup community to get access to local and foreign investors and advisors and look forward to upgrading the startup ecosystem in Vietnam by creating big global companies."
12 startups to receive the investment:
2. Cricket One
5. Dental Tap
6. Authentic Guards
8. Ella Study
9. CID Auto
Electricity output rises 7.3%
Viet Nam’s power output in the first seven months of the year reached 112.6 billion kWh, a 7.3 per cent year-on-year rise, said the Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN).
EVN on Friday released a report on its operations in the seven month period, saying that commercial electricity production increased 8.55 per cent year-on-year to 98.1 billion kWh, with domestic supply increasing by 8.84 per cent over last year.
In July alone, commercial electricity production hit 15.1 billion kWh.
The group last month ensured power supply for the country’s demand and also worked with the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in operating big reservoirs in the northern region and in flood discharge work at hydropower plants in Son La, Hoa Binh and Tuyen Quang provinces.
EVN has been active in tackling the aftermath of recent storms to provide power for affected localities including Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.
Power transmission from the north to the south was estimated at 15kWh, while the EVN brought two turbines into operation and connected them to the national power grid in July with total capacity of 675MW including expanded Thac Mo Hydropower (75MW) and Vinh Tan 4 Thermopower (600MW). The group has brought seven turbines into operation with total capacity of 1,235MW so far this year.
EVN forecast that power consumption this month could reach 573kWh a day.
The group plans to pilot turbine 1 of the Thai Binh Thermopower Plant and to bring Trung Son and Thac Mo hydropower plants into operation this month.
Dong Nai province prioritises hi-tech FDI projects
The southern province of Dong Nai has given priority to foreign direct investment (FDI) projects using advanced technologies and fewer workers in recent years, said Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Huu Nguyen.
Nguyen said Dong Nai has attracted 1,711 FDI projects worth 31 billion USD, 1,294 of them are valid with a total registered capital of 26.19 billion USD. As much as 18 billion USD has been disbursed so far.
Nearly 900,000 labourers are working at businesses in and outside industrial parks. Recently, many of the migrant labourers have moved to northern and central cities and provinces for work, making it hard for FDI firms in Dong Nai, especially those operating in the labour-intensive sectors such as apparel and footwear, to recruit enough workforce.
Since 2014, the German government has assisted Vietnam in vocational training via Bosch Technical Industrial Apprenticeship (TGA) training centre and LILAMA 2 vocational training college.
Mai Van Nhon, deputy head of the provincial management board for industrial parks, said technology transfer is one of the first and most crucial commitments of foreign investors when they seek to get licenses.
Dong Nai is now home to 6,400 workers who are foreign experts working in industrial parks, more than 1,000 of them are senior personnel, he said, adding that technology transfer is gradually underway with important positions being transferred to Vietnamese instead of foreign workers.
Economists commented that the selection of projects using technological advances to create high added value and use less workforce is an important transformation amid the booming industrial revolution 4.0.
Association proposes establishing sugar development fund
The Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA) has submitted a plan to relevant agencies for the establishment of a fund for sugar industry development.
The association said the fund is aimed at restructuring the sugar sector to increase its effectiveness and sustainable development.
According to the agriculture restructuring plan approved by the Government, sugarcane-growing area would be some 300,000ha, producing two million tonnes of sugar by 2020 and 2.6 million tonnes of sugar by 2030.
The sector is required to implement synchronous solutions from material production to sugar products to reach the set targets. It must renew technologies to increase average sugarcane productivity to more than 70 tonnes per hectare and sugar productivity to seven tonnes per hectare, and reduce production costs to less than 500,000 VND (22 USD) per tonne of sugarcane.
These would help sugarcane farmers earn some 40 million VND per hectare and bring the sugar price to less than 10,500 VND per kilo.
Plants will have to restructure their sugar products by reducing raw sugar and increasing refined products as well as promoting investment in alcohol, ethanol and micro-life fertilisers.
Ha Huu Phai, head of the VSSA’s representative office in Hanoi, said the restructuring would need significant capital of hundreds of billions of dong, which would be supported by voluntary contributions of sugar farmers, plants and initial help from the Government. Therefore, the fund, which has also been implemented in Thailand and the Philippines, could resolve the capital issue, he said.
This is not the only sector proposing to establish a fund to support development. Earlier, associations proposed the establishment of funds for tra catfish and coffee development.
Huge potential for Vietnam’s rice exports to Singapore
There remains considerable potential for Vietnam to export rice to Singapore, according to a Vietnamese delegation which visited Singapore in early August to seek ways to boost the shipment of agricultural products to this country.
The delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Vietnam Food Association, along with eight leading rice exporting companies.
They had working sessions with relevant agencies of Singapore such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the International Enterprise Singapore (IES) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to learn about the management policy, the export-import situation and the transit mechanism for rice in Singapore.
The Vietnamese delegation also met representatives of local biggest retail chains like NTUC Fair Price, Giant and Sheng Siong to set up relations and learn about ways to directly export Vietnamese goods to these supermarkets, instead of via foreign traders.
Le Xuan Minh, a representative of the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation, said they found that Singapore has great potential and demand for Vietnam’s high-quality rice products, especially fragrant rice.
Meanwhile, the Singaporean side also highly evaluated the quality of Vietnamese agricultural products, noting that a large number of Vietnamese goods such as rice, aquatic products, fruits and vegetables are being sold at their supermarkets.
Vietnam is currently the third biggest rice exporter to Singapore, after India and Thailand, with 80,000-90,000 tonnes of rice worth nearly 80 million SGD each year, making up 20 percent of the local rice market.
Lim Hock Leng, Managing Director of Sheng Siong Group Ltd, said his firm has imported rice from Vietnam since 2010. Its supermarkets are also selling other Vietnamese products such as groceries, fruits and vegetables.
The Singaporean market relatively prefers Vietnamese rice, he stressed, adding that the sales of Vietnamese rice at the Sheng Siong markets have been on the rise. Vietnamese rice has competitive prices and high quality, he added.
According to Singaporean officials and business leaders, to export more rice to the country, Vietnam needs to build its own rice brands while ensuring quality and competitive prices.
They also affirmed their willingness to cooperate with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnam’s trade office in Singapore to organise Vietnamese goods fairs or weeks at their supermarket chains.
EVN reports 7.3 percent rise in 7-month electricity output
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said its total electricity output in January-July increased by 7.3 percent year on year to reach 112.6 billion kWh.
The amount of commercial electricity output in the period was estimated at 98.1 billion kWh, up 8.55 percent year on year, including 15.1 billion kWh in July.
In July, EVN ensured sufficient power supply for socio-economic development nationwide and private consumption.
The corporation has worked closely with the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in regulating water release from major reservoirs in the north to ensure safety for downstream areas.
The group’s units have quickly resumed electricity supply for clients following natural disasters in Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces.
In July, EVN put two turbines with a combined capacity of 675 MW into operation at the expanded Thac Mo hydropower plant and the Vinh Tan 4 thermo power plant, bringing the number of operational turbine in the 7-month period to seven with a combined capacity of 1,235 MW.
The group started construction on 103 transmission works and completed 117 others to improve the capacity of the national grid.
According to EVN, the daily power consumption in August is estimated at 573 million kWh.
The group plans to put on trial run the first turbine of the Thai Binh thermo power plant, and complete the Trung Son hydropower plant and the expansion of the Thac Mo hydropower plant in the month.
Peco named sole Vietnamese maker of Tatsuno-branded fuel dispensers
The Petrolimex Equipment Joint Stock Company (Peco) has inked a comprehensive technical cooperation contract on petrol dispenser production with two Japanese partners, Tatsuno Corporation and Nomura Trading Co. Ltd.
Peco Director Hoang Van Canh said under the contract, his company is the only manufacturer of Tatsuno-branded petrol dispensing pumps, along with some other products, in Vietnam.
At the signing ceremony, the Japanese partners expressed their trust in Peco’s technological level, its staff quality and the quality of Peco and Tatsuno-branded products which will be controlled completely under Japanese standards.
Tran Van Thinh, General Director of Petrolimex – the Vietnam National Petroleum Group, said he hopes the Japanese side will continue assisting its Vietnamese partner with new technologies to protect the environment and gradually modernise the group’s petrol retail network.
Peco formed partnerships with the Japanese partners in the late 90s through a technical cooperation and technology transfer contract and the building of a fuel dispenser factory.
Peco has posted strong growth in its petrol dispenser sales, up to 1,200 units in 2016. It has also supplied dispensers to Petro Lao Co. Ltd and Petrolimex Laos and is set to expand the market to Cambodia and Myanmar in the near future.
Vietnamese firms visit Bangladesh to spur trade relations
A delegation of nearly 20 Vietnamese businesses in various sectors has visited Bangladesh to boost trade partnership with the South Asian nation in the first trip of its kind held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in five years.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Bangladesh coordinated with the ministry and the two countries’ chambers of commerce and industry to organise an investment and trade promotion workshop.
At the event, Bangladeshi Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Rashed Khan Menon pledged to coordinate with Vietnam to soon open a direct air route linking the two nations so as to enhance trade and tourism. He promised to provide the best possible conditions for Vietnamese firms to invest in potential industries of his country such as technology and tourism.
Minister of Commerce Tofail Ahmed called on Vietnamese enterprises to invest in Bangladesh and asked the Vietnamese Government to create favourable conditions for his country’s pharmaceutical products to enter Vietnam.
Noting the progress in economic and trade ties, Vietnamese Ambassador to Bangladesh Tran Van Khoa said bilateral trade reached about 400 million USD in the first half of 2017, up 40 percent year on year.
He stressed to develop sustainable and win-win trade relations, businesses of both sides should diversify their export items, instead of depending on just few strong products like they have done so far.
Bangladesh is assessed as a potential market with a population of over 160 million, rapid economic growth and young and abundant workforce. It is considered a gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter other South Asian markets.
Meanwhile, it also has a number of potential commodities for export to Vietnam such as jute and jute products, ceramics and pharmaceuticals.
At the workshop, some Vietnamese firms also signed export contracts with Bangladeshi partners at a total value of 60,000 USD.
Aside from the event, the Vietnamese Embassy worked with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries to hold a meeting to listen to businesses’ proposals and help address problems facing their activities.
During their stay, the Vietnamese delegation surveyed the Bangladesh market and visited automobile and motor maker Runner and electric and electronic device producer Rahimafrooz.
Finance Ministry wants to tax second homes to restrict speculation
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) believes that it is necessary to tax second and subsequently owned homes to restrict property speculation and oversupply.
The revenue from property tax makes up 2 percent of GDP in OECD countries and 0.6 percent in developing economies, according to the ministry.
In Vietnam, housing purchases have increased as the average income per capita rose from $1,400 in 2013 to $2,200 in 2016. It is expected to rise to $3,400 by 2020.
Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper quoted a source from MOF as saying that it is still unclear when the policy on taxing second homes would be applied.
“The property tax law is included in the medium-term law compilation program 2016-2020. MOF is still researching the issue,” the source said.
In Vietnam, there is no specific property tax law, but there are taxes related to property such as the tax on agricultural and non-agricultural land use. However, the policies have not resulted in a stable revenue source for the state budget.
The taxation on house owners was first proposed in 2010 but the draft was amended and approved as a non-agricultural land use tax law.
The government then suggested three taxation solutions. First, imposing a single tax rate of 0.03 percent on houses with taxable value of VND500 million and higher. Second, taxing houses based on their area, and third, zero percent tax on houses valued at up to VND500 million, and 0.03 percent tax on the rest.
The government preferred the third solution.
Tran Khanh Quang, CEO of Viet An Hoa Real Estate, said that the tax rate should be moderate. if the tax rate is high, this will push real estate prices up, making it difficult for people to buy or lease houses.
National Assembly committees once discussed the taxation on second and subsequent houses purchased to restrict speculation in 2016, but it is still unclear when the tax would be applied. It would depend on market conditions and other factors.
A tax policy, even if reasonable, will fail if it is implemented when conditions are not favorable. Meanwhile, the taxation on second and subsequent houses is expected to have a big impact on the real estate market.
The finance ministry in late 2016 said people who own a house will not have to pay tax for the second house they buy in 2017.
Luong Bang, VNN
Agriculture sector does well as China buys more fruits and veggies