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  • 09/12/17--21:37: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/9


    HCMC calls for private investment in boat stops along Saigon River


     

    The HCMC government is calling for private waterway transport and tourism services enterprises to invest in stops along the Saigon River to spur waterway tourism in the city.

    The municipal Departments of Transport and Planning-Architecture, and districts across the city are jointly drawing a plan to develop a waterway system and examine positions for such stops. Bach Dang Wharf on the Saigon River is considered the central station to serve passenger transport activities and waterway tourism.

    In addition, Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi Port, which is near Bach Dang Wharf, has good facilities and convenient traffic systems for passenger transport and tourism development.

    Relevant agencies proposed developing the port to cater to domestic and foreign passenger ships.

    However, the city has difficulty promoting waterway tourism due to a lack of connectivity between waterways and roads, and underdeveloped ports and wharfs.

    According to a waterway tourism development plan in the 2017-2020 period approved in June, the city will focus on waterway tourism promotion.

    Accordingly, at least seven waterway tourism routes will be launched in the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be, Soai Rap and Long Tau rivers as well as canals in HCMC, including the Bach Dang-District 7 route, the route from Bach Dang Wharf to Tau Hu in districts 8 and 5, the Bach Dang-District 9 route, and the route from Bach Dang Wharf to Binh Quoi.

    The city targets to attract 450,000 tourists using waterway services next year and the number will increase 15% annually. Waterborne tourism is expected to fetch VND540 billion (US$24 million) in revenue this year.

    Nepal seeks tourism cooperation with HCM City

    Twenty-one Nepalese businesses operating in the aviation and tourism sectors recently visited Ho Chi Minh City to study potential tourism cooperation and sign agreements in this field with the locality.

    Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, dubbed the “roof of the world,” along with many historical and religious relic sites. 

    Therefore, the focus of the tourism cooperation will be climbing and spiritual tourism. 

    Anil Lama, President of the Nepal Society of Travel and Tour Operators, said at an exchange programme in HCM City on September 10 that apart from exploring Mount Everest, visitors can take part in other activities like pilgrimages, boat rides and parachuting.

    Samsung, Panasonic face US$21mn in back taxes in Vietnam

    Samsung Vina Electronics and Panasonic AVC Vietnam may have to pay a combined total of over US$21 million in back taxes for incorrectly declaring imported liquid crystal (LC) films.

    The possibility is being considered by the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, which recently requested consultation with the General Department of Vietnam Customs in a dispatch discussing the issue.

    According to the dispatch, the two companies imported LC films worth a total taxable amount of VND16,056 billion (US$707.31 million).

    LC film is used in the production of liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens as well as LED displays, yet both firms declared it as zero-rated goods, attracting a favorable tax rate of zero percent.

    However, according to the municipal customs department, citing an earlier guideline by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, LC screens are listed in a three-percent tax category.

    Using this rate of tariff, both Samsung and Panasonic would have been taxed VND481.68 billion (US$21.18 million) on their imported LC films.

    The companies are refuting the suggestion, claiming that the guideline had only been circulated internally within customs agencies and not been made known to the public.

    Luu Manh Tuong, head of export-import tariff at the General Department of Vietnam Customs, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper Sunday, September 9, that it had reported the case to the Ministry of Finance and requested further instructions with regard to the potential collection of back taxes from both companies.

    Tuong said Samsung Vina Electronics and Panasonic AVC Vietnam would not be liable for the amount if they are not found to be at fault for the incorrect declaration.

    If that is the case, the companies would only need to ensure that future imports of LC films are declared under the new tariff rate, he added.

    Experts warn of high credit growth risks

    As the Government is striving to obtain credit growth of 20% to 22% this year, many economic experts voiced their concerns over possible adverse impacts of high credit growth on businesses and the economy.

    Speaking at a recent seminar organized by HSBC Vietnam Bank, Tran Dinh Thien, head of the Vietnam Economics Institute and a member of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory group, said the Government has raised this year’s credit growth goal from 18% to 20-22%, a record high in five or seven years.

    It is not difficult to obtain the target, but the Government should clarify the ultimate goal of the high credit growth, Thien said.

    Loan growth is supposed to speed up economic development. However, spurring credit up in the final months will not support gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year but in 2018. Meanwhile, next year could require different economic solutions.

    In addition, many enterprises are incapable of turning credit into business growth. Currently, the number of Vietnamese firms able to pay corporate income tax accounts for 33%, down sharply against several years ago, and meaning a vast number does not earn a profit.

    It is necessary to improve business efficiency first before credit growth could bring about positive results, the expert explained. Besides, high credit growth will place inflationary pressure on the economy.

    Credit growth may result in high inflation as seen five years ago, when large volumes of loans were injected into the economy. Therefore, the Government is recommended to maintain credit growth at 18% or below to avoid inflation risks.

    Besides, there is a high risk that credit would flow into the property sector. Speculation remains a big issue in Vietnam, so banks may provide huge capital for the stock market and the real estate sector to achieve high credit growth goals, the expert said.

    Ngo Dang Khoa, head of trading at HSBC Vietnam, said some VND600 trillion must be injected to the economy in the last four months of 2017 to obtain the credit growth rate of 20-22%.

    The nation has seen huge dong liquidity but mostly due to VND160 trillion the State Treasury is keeping at banks. Liquidity will decline as the State Treasury will speed up disbursement from now to the end of this year.

    To secure capital sources for reaching high credit growth, banks will have to hike interest rates to mobilize more from the public. Sustainable development in the future cannot be superseded by short-term growth, Khoa said.

    VN, South Africa discuss trade ties     

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the South African Embassy in Viet Nam held a conference yesterday in Ha Noi to discuss the promotion of bilateral trade, investment and tourism, and future potential between the two countries.

    Doan Duy Khuong, VCCI’s Vice Chairman, said during the conference’s opening speech that at the moment, Viet Nam is considered South Africa’s top strategic partner in the South East Asian region.

    Speaking at the conference, Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape Province in South Africa, said that she was delighted to see the two nations reaching new heights in their trade relations.

    Bilateral trade turnover between the two countries takes the lead among Viet Nam’s exports and imports with African partners; and South Africa is also considered Viet Nam’s hub to reach other African countries, as well as countries from the five major emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), the G-20 and many other important international trade organisations, said Khuong.

    Over the past 10 years, total bilateral trade turnover between Viet Nam and South Africa has increased five times, from just over US$192 million in 2007 to over $1.03 billion as of the end of 2016; in which exports from Viet Nam to South Africa was worth more than $868 million last year, with imports at approximately $148 million, according to VCCI’s findings.

    Chief exports from Viet Nam to South Africa include mobile phone parts and accessories, computers, electronics devices, footwear, rice, pepper, cashews, coffee, and furniture.

    On the other hand, Viet Nam’s imports from South Africa chiefly range from industrial supply, textile materials, leather, chemical products, common metals and iron.

    Furthermore, in the past five months, South African firms have invested up to more than $100 billion into building infrastructure in Viet Nam, with hope of investing another $400 billion in the next 15 years.

    Zille expressed her delight at such progress, stating that it would be a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to enhance collaboration, and push for imports in more prospective goods such as coffee or industrial cement.

    She also stated that both Governments encourage firms to actively participate in maritime transportation and logistics to better facilitate bilateral trade. Simultaneously, she hoped that there would be better collaboration on human resource training and investment.

    The VCCI also said that between the two countries, some industries would have more room for growth than others, such as mining, iron and steel processing, mineral extraction, wood and pulp manufacturing.

    Viet Nam has been considering a more in depth cooperation with South Africa in the fields of thermoelectric power, automobile assembly, food processing, wine making and shale oil production.

    Yesterday’s conference also featured discussions on the potential for tourism between the two countries. It is seen as a great chance for businesses to meet, exchange information, build networks and establish partnerships on all trade, tourism, culture and education relations between the two nations.

    The conference was held on the occasion of Zille’s official visit to Viet Nam with 19 South African business delegates, working in various manufacturing industries ranging from household applications, electronic devices, coal, ore, canned goods to mining, wine making and water processing.

    Hanoi mulls 6 cross-river projects worth US$2.5bn

    The administration of Hanoi is seeking government approval for its development of six projects crossing the Red River and Duong River, costing a combined VND57 trillion (US$2.51 billion).

    The first one is the Tu Lien Bridge, which runs three kilometers across the Red River and connects Hanoi’s Tay Ho and Dong Anh Districts.

    The bridge is part of a nine-kilometer extension of the Hanoi – Thai Nguyen Expressway.

    The second project includes the construction of the Thuong Cat Bridge and its access roads, which stretch 5.2 kilometers from an intersection with Belt Road 3 in Bac Tu Liem District to the Bac Thang Long industrial zone in Dong Anh.

    Tran Hung Dao River Tunnel is the third project, running 3.1 kilometers from the border of Hoan Kiem and Hai Ba Trung Districts to Long Bien District on the other side of the Red River.

    In the fourth project, the second phase of the existing Vinh Tuy Bridge will be constructed, fully linking Vinh Tuy Ward in Hai Ba Trung District to Co Linh Street in Long Bien District.

    The Duong Bridge, measuring 1.4 kilometers in length, will be built across the Duong River, connecting Long Bien’s Duc Giang Ward with Yen Vien Town in Gia Lam District.

    The final project will see the construction of the 5.4-kilometer Giang Bien Bridge and its access roads, running through Long Bien and Gia Lam Districts.

    According to Hanoi’s administration, the proposed bridges and river tunnels would establish an inter-connection among its belt roads, and speed up the urbanization of its districts situated to the north of the Red River.

    Hanoi has also requested government permission to employ special mechanisms in calling for private investments in these projects.

    Winter crops to span 410,000 ha in northern region

    Northern provinces aim to cultivate the upcoming winter crop on 410,000 hectares, up 10,000 hectares from the same period last year.

    The cultivation is hoped to yield an average of 65-70 million VND (2,860 – 3,080 USD) per hectare, with total production value hitting up to 28 trillion VND (1.23 billion USD).

    Weather forecasts for the crop are favourable, with abundant water from reservoirs making up for limited rainfall.

    At a working session on the 2017 winter crop held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on September 11, Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Cultivation Department, urged northern localities to use all necessary measures to attain the production area targeted.

    Son said apart from maize as the major plant for kernels and byproducts, attention should also be paid to fruit and vegetables with high commercial value.

    The northern winter crop plays an important role in the agriculture sector in Vietnam. 

    According to a report by the Cultivation Department, cultivation area of the crop last year shrunk compared from 2015, but returned higher revenue of 25 trillion VND (1.1 billion USD), an annual increase of 2.7 trillion VND (118.8 million USD).

    Innovation exchange launched to serve Industry 4.0

    The Novelind innovation exchange was launched yesterday with that aim of connecting individuals, organisations and companies with scientists to serve community development.

    It has attracted the participation of more than 200 scientists from about 50 universities, research institutions and companies nationwide.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dương Trọng Hải, Head of the Industry 4.0 Institution at Nguyễn Tất Thành University, and founder of the project, said that there was not yet a quality standard for research in Việt Nam. The Vietnamese economy requires initiatives serving Industry 4.0, however, the needs have not yet been satisfied.

    “Therefore, the exchange is a platform in which enterprises, authorities or individuals can seek initiatives by scientists. This is a stepping-stone in the formation of a technological ecosystem based on the three elements of Industry 4.0: research, education and manufacturing. Novelind is expected to create a technological market and favourable conditions to promote creativity and growth of enterprises, contributing to economic development,” said Hải.

    The exchange is also a destination for technological organisations to find the best technological solutions. Conversely, through Novelind, innovations developed by other individuals or agencies can be connected with those searching.

    Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Principal of Nguyễn Tất Thành University, highly appreciated the idea of Novelind.

    “It will be a huge success when the exchange attracts scientists in solving social issues. Therefore, Novelind needs the support from universities, research institutions and enterprises,” said Hùng.

    According to Nguyễn Xuân Hòai, Head of the Institute of IT Research and Development under Hà Nội University, the exchange needs to solve financial, legal, technological and communication challenges. It should be a fair ground which brings equal opportunities for all stake-holders.

    Vũ Anh Tuấn, Head of the Hoa Sen Group start-up community project, said that though it is an open space, the exchange should be transparent with an independent audit. It does not need rapid development but an excellent and socially-oriented management board. 

    G-bond capital disbursed slowly

    Capital mobilised from the issue of G-bonds in the first eight months of this year was very positive, however, it was quite a contrast to the disbursement of the capital source.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, total capital mobilised from G-bonds in the first eight months of this year reached nearly 144.1 trillion VND (6.34 billion USD).

    The amount was equal to 78.6 percent of the annual plan.

    However, unlike the success of the G-bond mobilisation, the disbursement of the capital source in the period was very slow. Just 2.46 trillion VND (108.37 million USD) was disbursed, equal to only 4.9 percent of the plan.

    Due to the slow disbursement of public investment, including G-bond capital, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had to ask authorities to take more drastic measures to rectify the late disbursement of investment capital for public projects.

    Thirty ministries and provinces reported the slow disbursement of public investment, mainly due to the lack of proper direction by heads of ministries and localities, in addition to inadequacies of related procedures, slow land clearance and limited capacity of project contractors.

    The PM noted that slow disbursement of public investment leads to a bottleneck in national economic growth and rising public debt.

    Vietnamese tea exporters enjoy robust achievements

    Vietnam’s tea exports in the first eight months of the year reached 90,000 tonnes, earning 142 million USD, up 12 percent in volume and 11.8 percent in value compared to the same time last year, according to the Vietnam Tea Association.

    Tea was sold at nearly 1,570 USD per ton on average, down 1.5 percent from last year.

    Pakistan imported the most tea from Vietnam.

    Other top tea consumption markets included India, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan (China).

    Tea exporters said that there is an abundance of raw materials thanks to safe cultivation applied in all tea zones nationwide.

    Vietnam, South Africa seek to foster trade, investment ties

    A workshop was held in Hanoi on September 11 to further promote Vietnam-South Africa trade, investment and tourism cooperative relations. 

    In his opening speech, Doan Duy Khuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Vietnam is now a leading partner of South Africa in Southeast Asia, with bilateral trade increasing fivefold in the past decade from 192 million USD in 2007 to 1.03 billion USD in 2016.

    Vietnam has mainly shipped phones and components, computers, electronic products, footwear, rice, cashew nuts, coffee and wooden products to South Africa, while imported plastics, garment-textile and footwear materials, chemical products, metals and steel from the African country, he said.

    Vietnam and South Africa still have potentials for stronger cooperation in such industrial sectors as mining, steel manufacturing, logging, and pulp producing. Vietnam is considering the possibility of partnership with South Africa in thermal power, auto production and assembly, foodstuff processing and beverages, among other sectors.

    Helen Zille, Premier of Western Cape province, who is leading a business delegation to Vietnam, expressed her delight at the fruits of Vietnam-South Africa trade ties, but saying that economic ties have yet to be on par with potentials and expectations of both nations.

    Zille suggested Vietnamese and South African enterprises work together to tackle difficulties in transport costs and regional economic downturn, and urged them to take the initiative in seeking partners.

    She said the two governments have encouraged cooperation between marine shipping and logistics firms to facilitate import and export activities.  

    The official said in the past five years, South Africa has invested more than 100 billion USD in infrastructure development and planned to pour an additional 400 billion USD into this field in the next 15 years. This will open up an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to boost export of products such as cement, she added.

    Ca Mau works to promote fishery sector

    The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has applied a number of measures to boost the development of the local fishery sector as part of efforts to optimise local advantages.

    In implementing a project on restructuring the agriculture sector, with a breakthrough in shrimp farming, the province has encouraged locals to apply ecological shrimp farming models as well as models meeting international standards. 

    Ca Mau has also offered financial assistance to fishermen in building and upgrading vessels.

    The province currently has 91 vessels eligible for receiving the support. Commercial banks in the locality have to date signed lending contracts with 32 ship owners with total loans of 325 billion VND.

    Su Van Minh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tran Van Thoi district, said the district has launched 18 ships newly built with the support, joining the fleet of 2,300 ships of the locality.

    Minh said that the locality will continue upgrading the capacity of the fleet, while setting up fishing cooperatives and multiply outstanding models in the field.

    According to the provincial People’s Committee, total seafood output of the province in the eight months of 2017 fetched 339,500 tonnes, equal to 64 percent of the yearly target, up 3.5 percent year on year, including 109,330 tonnes shrimps, a rise of 5.6 percent.

    Alongside, the province’s catch reached 137,200 tonnes, including 9,530 tonnes of shrimp. Total seafood exports of Ca Mau hit over 616 million USD.

    Japanese firms seek investment opportunities in Ha Nam

    A business delegation from Hyogo prefecture and Kobe city of Japan held a working session with leaders of northern Ha Nam province on September 11 to inquire about the local investment environment.

    Speaking at the event, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Dinh Khang said Ha Nam is now home to 60 Japanese firms, accounting for one-third of the total number of foreign-invested enterprises in the province, with a total registered capital of over 560 million USD, mostly in mechanical engineering, automobiles, motorbikes and supporting industry. 

    Ha Nam highly evaluated the competence and cooperation of Japanese businesses and expected more Japanese investors to carry out projects in the province, Khang said.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu Dai Thang briefed the guests about the province’s economic potentials and investment attraction policies, with priority given to high-tech and supporting industries. 

    He said the Dong Van III industrial park with a favourable location and modern infrastructure is reserved for Japanese investors. 

    In agriculture, Ha Nam has advocated attracting investment in high-tech agricultural zones, apart from health care, education and training, and tourism, he said, adding that upon investing in the locality, businesses will receive assistance in electricity, water, workforce recruitment and security and order in line with the province’s 10 commitments to investors. 

    Shiro Muramoto, a special advisor of Kobe city’s commercial centre, said the visit aims to seek business opportunities in Ha Nam. 

    He said a number of firms in Kobe and Hyogo are interested in doing business in the province.

    APEC members discuss fostering small firms     

    Fostering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is considered one of the keys to generating growth and innovation in the APEC region, heard a forum on start-ups and MSMEs held on Monday on the sidelines of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting being held in HCM City.

    The forum was a platform for entrepreneurs, business experts, investors and regulators from APEC economies to discuss support for MSMEs and start-up businesses such as enabling them to innovate, integrate and access the global value chain right among other issues.

    It also enabled the APEC members to share experiences, ideas and tools to support businesses and start-ups to form a vibrant and networked bloc-wide community.

    There are 110 million MSMEs in APEC, accounting for 98 per cent of all business and 70 per cent of exports and employing 54 per cent of the population.

    Canadian ambassador to Viet Nam, Ping Kitnikone, said though MSMEs play an imporAPECtant role in the growth of all member economies, they are still facing many challenges as they tend to stay local and small.

    "Therefore, they need support to realise their growth potential such as on how to take risks, attract businesses, access regional and global markets."

    According to Hoang Van Dung, chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), 75 per cent of Viet Nam’s companies are small or medium-sized, and they are facing difficulties in expanding and accessing finance and the global value chain.

    He made three recommendations to help grow MSMEs in the region, which will be submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017 in Da Nang.

    He said the first is to enhance MSMEs global presence through the digital economy since "e-commerce and ICT services offer MSMEs opportunities to enhance competitiveness and innovation to further access international markets and overcome obstacles in trade."

    Second is to help MSMEs access finance as it is one of the biggest challenges preventing them from joining the global market, he said.

    He said one of the ways to resolve this problem is by APEC member economies engaging more in setting up financial services and enabling regional dialogues on fintech and finance education.

    Third is to foster women entrepreneurship by starting training courses to equip them with skills, enhance their capacity and networking to achieve leadership positions, especially economic roles, and connecting women entrepreneurs in the region to empower more women to build businesses, he said.

    Reports from the World Bank and ILO show that 47.4 per cent of women in the East Asia and Pacific region partly own firms as compared to the global average of 34.4 per cent.

    Though in Viet Nam there is 73 per cent participation in the labour force by women, the pay gap between men and women is large and widening.

    The forum resumes today with more round-table discussions on building a start-up eco-system, entrepreneurship education and training, and finance and business consultancy services for start-ups in the region.

    After the forum, a joint statement on promoting start-ups and MSMEs will be presented to the SME ministerial Meeting.

    APEC delegates discuss hurdles to supply chain finance     

    Providing micro, small and medium enterprises with access to financial services as a means of promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment is very important since they still find it difficult to get the financing they need to grow and create jobs, the APEC SME Finance Forum heard in HCM City on Monday.

    Nguyen Hoa Cuong, chair of the APEC SME Working Group and a senior official in the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said in his opening speech: “MSMEs stimulate domestic demand through job creation, innovation and competition, and are thus a driving force behind a resilient national economy. In addition, SMEs in global supply chains promote international trade.

    “Prioritising SMEs’ development is therefore critical for promoting inclusive economic growth. This priority for APEC 2017 will help maintain important momentum to advance APEC’s work with regard to MSMEs.”

    But lack of access to finance is a major barrier to their growth, he said.

    “Given the diversified nature of SMEs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for SME finance. However lending sophistication and the diversification of financing modalities can help SMEs access the right type of finance for their evolving needs along their growth path.”

    Julius Caesar Parrenas, APFF coordinator, APEC Business Advisory Council, and senior advisor at the Japanese-based Nomura Research Institute, told Viet Nam News: “The traditional sources of finance have been banks, but it has been very difficult for SMEs to access finance through banks, mainly because most developing countries in the region do not have the financial infrastructure, a system to implement or credit information.

    “And so from the point of view of banks, it is very difficult for them to lend to SMEs because of the risks involved due to the underdevelopment of the financial market infrastructure.

    “Now that is being addressed and APEC is doing a lot about it, but in the meantime the question is: what are the sources we can tap to finance SMEs?

    “And so we are looking at the innovation space. There has been a lot of innovation in the financial sector, which opens up a lot of opportunities for SMEs to access finance.”

    At the first session of the forum, titled “Challenges of SME finance and the recent innovations around the Asia Pacific region”, speakers reflected on the difficulties faced by SMEs in obtaining funding and took stock of significant recent innovations in the region, especially in digital finance, and discussed the associated challenges.

    How to organise and optimise receivables and inventory finance by leveraging the chain relationships and the role of supply chain finance in the SME finance market were also highlighted.

    A session on “Scaling up supply chain finance to strengthen SME competitiveness and innovation” reviewed the developments in supply chain finance in the Asia-Pacific region.

    It discussed the main lessons from developing a sustainable and inclusive supply chain finance market, the value-addition that supply chain finance provides in building competitive eco-systems, whether supply chain finance benefits SMEs to the desired extent, how supply chain finance can be best used to strengthen SME competitiveness and innovation, and how APEC economies can leverage more cross-border supply chain finance to deepen regional economic integration.

    At another session on “Developing electronic supply chain finance platforms in the digital age”, delegates discussed the increasing movement of supply chains online together with their financial institutions, as a result of which electronic supply chain finance platforms have emerged strongly in some markets.

    They also discussed if these platforms have fulfilled their promises in general, made supply chain finance easier and cheaper for SMEs with the digital channels and helped more SMEs participate effectively in global and regional supply chains.

    The last part of the forum, a panel discussion, considered the way forward and what more could be done to promote the development of supply chain finance and electronic supply chain finance platforms.

    Delegates heard that these could involve further policy and regulatory reforms and sector capacity building or at the level of specific supply chain finance providers. 

    Japanese firm gets customs priority status     

    The General Department of Customs (GDC) has recognised Japanese printer manufacturer Fuji Xerox Hai Phong Co Ltd in the northern port city of Hai Phong, as a priority enterprise.

    This status gives the company access to special customs incentives, which will enable the firm to conduct fewer procedures, get tax refunds first while checking is performed later, have goods cleared quickly and establish a single goods declaration system for multiple exports and imports.

    Under Circular 72/2015/TT-BTC, regulating the application of a priority policy for customs procedures, customs inspection and the supervision of exported and imported goods by enterprises, businesses need to have more than US$100 million worth of export and import turnover per year to be considered a priority enterprise.

    The conditional annual export revenue of an agricultural and fisheries company is $30 million.

    Meanwhile, companies that manufacture goods for export in Viet Nam can be considered for this status if they earn $40 million in revenue per year.

    According to the GDC, priority enterprise status applied for Fuji Xerox would last for three years. If this term expires but the company still meets the required conditions, the term can be extended.

    Fuji Xerox Hai Phong was established in VSIP Hai Phong Industrial Zone in Thuy Nguyen District in 2012 with a capital of $36 million, making it one of the largest foreign direct investment companies in the city.

    The company specialises in the manufacture and export of laser printers, digital electronic copiers, laser scanners, and related components. The number of employees at the company as of August 2016 was 2,200.

    Eight enterprises currently enjoy priority status for customs in Hai Phong.

    According to the post-clearance audit unit under the GDC, some 63 companies in Viet Nam are presently making use of this policy. 

    State budget collection up 13 per cent

    Total State budget collection in the first eight months of this year was estimated at VNĐ762.8 trillion (US$33.4 billion), an increase of 12.8 per cent over the same period last year.

    The amount is equivalent to 63 per cent of the whole year’s estimates, according to the Ministry of Finance. In the reviewed period, domestic collection reached VNĐ603.6 trillion, up 10.7 per cent year-on-year, accounting for 61 per cent of the year’s estimates.

    The ministry said budget revenues from crude oil exports, estimated at roughly VNĐ29.97 trillion, met 78.3 per cent of estimates, up 11.3 per cent over the same period in 2016.

    Import-export activities contributed VNĐ190.8 trillion to the State budget, an increase of 9.5 year-on-year and equaling 66.9 per cent of projected revenues.

    According to the ministry, total budget spending was VNĐ793.5 trillion, up 7.8 per cent year-on-year, completing 57.1 per cent of the yearly target. Of the estimate, budget investment for development was VNĐ137 trillion.

    Regular expenditures in eight months were estimated at VNĐ585 trillion, equaling 65 per cent of the year’s estimate, up 7.4 per cent over the same period last year.

    Debt payment and interest expenses during the period totaled VNĐ68 trillion, meeting 68.9 per cent of annual target and increasing by 14.6 per cent year-on-year.

    SeABank and BRG Group receive ASEAN awards     

    The Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) was recently honoured by the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) for its social responsibility.

    SeABank received the honour in the award category “SME Corporate Social Responsibility” at the ABA in Solaire Pasay City, Philippines.

    The awards were first organised by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) in 2007 with the goal of recognising businesses that contribute to socio-economic development, work with governments to stabilise the macro-economy and enhance the competitive capacity of the ASEAN business community in the world market.

    Additionally, Le Thu Thuy, BRG Group vice chairwoman and standing vice chairwoman of SeABank’s management board, was the only Vietnamese honoured with the Legacy Award, which is given to an iconic entrepreneur from each country in ASEAN.

    Tra fish fair to take place in October     

    The tra fish and Vietnamese seafood product fair will be held from October 6 to 8 at the Agricultural Exhibition Centre in Ha Noi’s Cau Giay District.

    The fair is an opportunity for businesses, distributors and consumers to popularise their images and brand names, promote consumption of tra fish and fish products in the domestic market in general and the northern market in particular, and boost the expansion of international and regional markets, partcicularly the Chinese market. In addition, it is also a chance for businesses to expand, connecting distributors, supermarkets and consumers inside and outside the country.

    The fair is expected to attract over 100 booths of domestic and foreign enterprises, showcasing seafood products such as tra fish, value added products and auxiliary products for tra fish production and other key Vietnamese seafood items.

    Tran Dinh Luan, deputy general director of Directorate of Fisheries, said the tra fish products exhibited at this fair must be fully labeled and the origin should be easy to trace.

    The fisheries directorate will support to expand distribution channels to consumers via wholesale and retail centres in the north, thereby boosting sales in the potential domestic market of 92 million people, Luan added.

    Under the framework of the tra fish and Vietnamese seafood product fair this year, three main events will take place -- a workshop on tra fish production and consumption, an exhibition with over 100 booths and a cuisine programme introducing dishes made from tra fish by famous chefs.

    Quang Ninh’s efforts pay off in improving competitiveness

    Unceasing efforts have helped Quang Ninh continue to rise in the ranking of provincial competitiveness index (PCI), from the fifth place in 2014 to the third position in 2015 and the second place in 2016.

    The northern coastal province particularly recorded remarkable improvements in the sub-indices of entry costs for business startup, informal charge, transparent business environment, proactive and creative provincial leadership, and business support services.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long affirmed that the province has made uninterrupted efforts over the past four years to improve its PCI ranking. Quang Ninh’s position among the top five localities reflected the active involvement of the entire political system in the province.

    According to the chairman, Quang Ninh has developed its own Department and District Competition Index (DDCI), which contributed to enhancing the competition capacity of local agencies and authorities and was applauded by the business community.

    Chairman of Texhong group Hong Tianzhu said the group chose Quang Ninh for its investment as it received attention and timely support of the local authority, as seen through the rapid land clearance and technical infrastructure building. The group was also satisfied with the short duration of dealing with administrative procedures.

    In 2017, Quang Ninh attracted a series of tourism projects from major economic groups such as Sun Group, Vingroup and FLC, with total investment capital amounting to 100 trillion VND.

    The province is accelerating the pace of several transport plans to create stronger momentum for economic activities, such as a highway connecting to the Hanoi-Hai Phong highway, the Van Don international airport and the Van Don special administrative-economic zone.

    Quang Ninh has emerged as a cradle of daring ideas and reform models, said Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). He cited as examples the building of a public administrative centre to improve public services and the establishment of an independent investment promotion agency. The province has also been able to get the community and businesses involved in reform efforts by giving them the power to assess the performance of management agencies and authorities through the DDCI.

    As early as 2015, Quang Ninh deployed the model “Business cafe” which sought to connect State management agencies and enterprises and provide a venue for interaction and open talks between authorities and business community. The model proved to be a success in bringing authorities and businesses closer and promote dialogue between the sides.

    The provincial authorities have also been holding quarterly discussions with the business community, while assigning People’s Committees at lower levels to hold regular meetings with local enterprises in order to timely address their problems.

    Chairman of the Quang Ninh Business Association Pham Van The said the meetings at local level give more firms the opportunities to come face-to-face with relevant agencies and have their difficulties heard.

    In order to maintain its high ranking in the national PCI, Quang Ninh is aware that there is more it has to do. The province can be considered a model of success thanks to its strong shift in the way of thinking, from managing to serving the business community and considering businesses as long-term cooperative partners in local economic development.

    Quang Ninh drew in more than 47 million USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first six months of 2017.

    The sum came from two new and six existing projects, raising the number of valid FDI projects in the province to 58, with total registered capital worth over 2.3 billion USD. 

    The gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the province expanded by 9.6 percent in the first half of this year as compared with 9.2 percent in the same period last year. 

    In the first quarter, the province’s GRDP grew 8.3 percent while the figure recorded in the second quarter was 10.7 percent, the fastest pace since 2012. 

    With the performance, Quang Ninh has been listed as one of the leading cities and provinces in the northern key economic region and nationwide as well. 

    In order to reach the target of a 10 percent growth rate, the province will focus on drastically instructing the implementation of socio-economic development tasks and solutions set for 2017.

    VinaCapital follows up strategy by divesting Vina Square

    VinaLand, the real estate arm of VinaCapital, has announced divesting its stake in the Vina Square project located in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Vina Square has a total land area of approximately three hectares and was acquired by VinaLand in 2007, when the land was designated as a future development site. 

    VinaLand is divesting its entire stake in the project to Tri Duc Real Estate Company Limited, a Vietnamese development company for net cash proceeds of approximately $41.2 million, including the repayment of shareholder loans, resulting in an IRR of 3.3 per cent to VinaLand.

    The total valuation is recorded at 0.3 per cent above the June 30, 2017 unaudited net asset value and 13.5 per cent above the unaudited net asset value at the time of VinaLand’s extraordinary meeting in November 2016. Both figures include adjustments for additional investments up to the date of exit.

    At the time of this announcement, $41.0 million or 99.5 per cent of the net proceeds have been received by VinaLand. It is expected that the full proceeds will be received by the end of this month.  

    Speaking of the transaction, managing director David Blackhall stated that, “This divestment is in accordance with the current policy to divest projects in a controlled and orderly manner, and steady progress has been made with further pipeline disposals.” 

    “The proceeds received from this disposal will, in conjunction with collections from earlier disposals including prepayment advances for future pipeline disposals, will be used to cover VinaLand’s commitments on operating costs, capital contributions, and further distributions to shareholders," he said.

    AgriTech accelerator for Mekong Sub-region launched

    A new agritech accelerator will harness entrepreneurship and technology to transform the Mekong region’s agricultural industry into a leading global supplier of “safe and nutritious food for all”.

    The MATCh: The Mekong Agriculture Technology Challenge Startup Accelerator will support startups in agriculture to develop their products, network and learn from industry players, showcase their solutions, and access markets and funding.

    It is aimed at innovative early stage agritech startups and traditional agriculture businesses with new, scalable business models in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    “MATCh is an important initiative, as entrepreneurship and technology are key to enhancing the competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability of the Mekong region’s agricultural industry,” said Mr. San Vanty, Under Secretary of State at Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

    An additional MATCh Market Access Accelerator will help mature international agritech companies to expand into the Mekong region. Participants will receive mentorship and assistance with their expansion plans, including product adaptation, and forge relationships with potential partners and investors in the region.

    MATCh will provide awards and prizes to winners of the two accelerators, with awards given for Best Startup, Most Innovative, Biggest Social Impact, and Women’s Leadership. Award winners will be showcased at the 2018 Greater Mekong Sub-region Leaders’ Summit in Hanoi and participate in the Future Food Asia Award Competition in Singapore.

    MATCh was launched at the Second Greater Mekong Sub-region Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is the latest in a series of innovation accelerators by the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), which also pioneered the MIST (Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism) accelerator earlier this year. MBI launched MATCh with funding and support from the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank.

    “By supporting the innovative business models that this program will create, we can promote efficacy enhancing and environmentally-friendly agricultural technologies that also improve farmer livelihoods,” said Mr. Dominic Mellor, Senior Economist at the Asian Development Bank and Head of MBI.

    “Future Food Asia, the open innovation platform developed by ID Capital, is partnering with MBI in MATCh because we share a common vision of fostering startup-driven innovations to bring more sustainability in the food system in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Ms. Isabelle Decider, CEO of ID Capital.

    The Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government jointly launched the MBI in 2015. It catalyzes private sector development in emerging ASEAN markets, focusing on Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The program aims to improve the business-enabling environment in these four emerging ASEAN markets, with particular focus on business advocacy, alternative finance, and innovation.

    Philippines' AC Energy keen on renewables in Vietnam

    AC Energy Holdings Inc., the power generation unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., has unveiled a plan to build renewable energy plants with a combined capacity of several hundred megawatts in Vietnam over the next two to three years.

    AC Energy’s President Mr. John Eric Francia said the company was in talks with several potential partners in Vietnam to implement the strategy. The move to look for potential renewable projects in Vietnam is part of its thrust to reach 2,000 MW of attributable capacity by 2020, with half coming from renewable energy projects.

    Mr. Francia said that while the company was open to all types of technologies, it was keenly interested in renewable energy. “The market in Vietnam is growing in the double digits and my view is that there is a need for greater supply,” he said. “They have no reserve margin with double digit growth, so are in need of additional investment.”

    Affirming that Vietnam was offering positive investment opportunities, he said he was hoping that a deal would be finalized soon. “We are trying our best,” he said.

    Currently with 1,300 MW of capacity, including 300 MW of renewable energy, AC Energy recently acquired Bronzeoak Clean Energy, one of the leading renewable energy developers, having built over 250 MW of solar and biomass projects, as well as San Carlos Clean Energy.

    Ayala Corp., the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate, entered Vietnam in 2008 through its subsidiary Manila Water’s $44-million water loss reduction project in Ho Chi Minh City.

    It became a strategic investor in the Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII), the leading infrastructure developer in the southern city, in 2012, and now holds an 8.8 per cent stake in CII via its unit VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte. Ltd. Through Manila Water, Ayala now owns a 38 per cent stake in Saigon Water Infrastructure JSC (SII).

    Vietnam is trying to generate enough energy to sustain the country’s growth and to connect the millions of people who still do not have access to power, while gradually shifting towards clean and low-carbon energy. Last year, the government revised down its output target for coal-fired power plants to 53.2 per cent of the country’s total power generation by 2030 from the previous 56.4 per cent.

    The country is aiming to produce 10.7 per cent of its total electricity through renewable energy by 2030, mainly through solar and wind energy, up from 6 per cent previously. In May this year, the government issued long-anticipated regulations on solar energy projects.

    A raft of incentives to support renewable energy will be in place to June 2019 and have been dubbed a “landmark” in the country’s solar energy outlook. Other than exemptions on import duties and incentives including breaks in taxes and land use fees for solar power projects, raising the bid price to purchase solar energy to 9.35 US cents per kWh is a key measure.

    Most recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked the government to raise the buying price for wind power in an effort to help investors cover high input costs, suggesting that the price should be lifted to 8.7 US cents per kWh for wind energy projects on land and 9.95 US cents per kWh for offshore plants.

    Since 2011, the buying price for wind energy has stood at 7.8 US cents for all land-based projects in Vietnam, with 6.8 US cents paid by State-run power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), and the remainder coming from the country’s Environment Protection Fund. For the country’s only offshore plant, in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, the current price is 9.8 US cents per kWh.

    Appropriate growth plan considered for 2018

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has outlined three scenarios for economic growth in 2018, in preparation for the next year's socio-economic development plan with GDP growth expected to be at 6.4-6.8%.

    According to the Head of MPI’s Department for National Economic Issues Tran Quoc Phuong, the three scenarios for the 2018 development plan were developed by the MPI on the basis of the estimates made in 2017, forecasts for the global and domestic economy in 2018, and taking into account the objectives of the five-year, socio-economic, development plan during 2016-2020, as well as the direction given by the Prime Minister on the development of the socio-economic development plan for 2018, with expected GDP growth at 6.4-6.8%.

    The MPI also set a forecast economic growth target of 6.7% for 2017, which is considered to be "achievable", and formally reported to the Government on three economic growth scenarios for 2018. In particular, in a low growth scenario, GDP is expected to grow by 6.4%; in an average scenario, the growth rate will stand at 6.5%; and in the high scenario, the growth rate is expected to be 6.81%.

    The three scenarios have been developed but amidst the projection for 2018 and the following years, in which the mining sector may continue to decline which will affect the country's growth and while the current economic model cannot move right away, the MPI believes that in the above scenarios, the medium scenario is the most suitable option.

    This proposal has also received the support of many cabinet members. It is likely that the 2018 socio-economic development plan will be developed with a GDP growth target of 6.5%, a reasonable growth rate.

    In addition to setting growth targets for the coming year, the focus of socio-economic development in 2018 is consistently identified as "ensuring macroeconomic stability, controlling inflation and creating a stable foundation for economic development," Tran Quoc Phuong added.

    Meanwhile, the 2018 plan also targets moving gradually towards the implementation of economic restructuring and deploying three strategic breakthroughs in order to create new growth engines, thereby re-impacting and creating macroeconomic stability on a higher scale and level.

    In addition, it aims to continue to promote the growth of relevant sectors and branches, creating favourable conditions for economic development in the following years, and striving to achieve the five-year, socio-economic, development plan's objectives set for 2016-2020.

    Although there are positive and optimistic signals for the economy in 2018, it cannot be denied that a number of difficulties and challenges are waiting ahead. One of the most visible challenges is the possibility of achieving a 6.7% growth target this year. If this target is not met, it will affect the set achievement for implementing the economic growth target for the coming year.

    Therefore, during the regular government monthly meeting for August 2017, the Prime Minister repeatedly emphasised that: "All ministries, sectors, localities and corporations must continue to scrutinise again the set target and drastically strive to fulfill it. Industry, agriculture and services, including tourism, should remain focused; if lagging behind for even one month, the 6.7% target may not be met.”

    According to the MPI, the difficulties and challenges for 2018, besides the objective factors, are also issues related to the internal weaknesses of the economy, including the economic model being based mainly on cheap labour and at a low-tech level; land and natural resources are gradually depleting, while the efficiency of land use has not increased significantly; whilst domestic enterprises are still limited in terms of scale and operating capacity, leading to restrictions in competitiveness.

    In addition, new difficulties may also arise, as the synergy for economic growth provided by oil, gas and coal, and Samsung's contribution and remittances are leveraged and unlikely to increase. This issue, in combination with a limited fiscal and monetary policy and difficulty in raising capital for development, will have a significant impact on the 2018 economic growth.

    In this regard, Director of Central Institute for Economic Management Nguyen Dinh Cung said that the growth of the economy relies heavily on the development of the business sector, but the private sector still faces many difficulties. According to statistics, only one third of private enterprises are profitable. If in next year the salary rate and a series of costs increase, they would affect the business efficiency of this sector; therefore, the number of profitable enterprises would reduce and thus affect economic growth.

    It is necessary to reconsider the economic efficiency of the "steel fists" of the economy – State-owned corporations, at least to review the business performance of 30 SOEs. In the assigning of next year’s tasks for these units, it should not be in the direction of exploiting how many tonnes of oil or coal, but how much profit and how much the profit rate is, which means focusing more on quality.

    In addition, the proposal to increase the value added tax (VAT) at this time is also stirring social concerns. This issue should be thoroughly considered and calculated to choose the most appropriate option.

    Regarding the VAT increase, Tran Quoc Phuong said that the MPI, when reporting the issue to the Government, mentioned that the VAT increase in the time ahead should be thoroughly researched and include an impact assessment for State budget collection, as well as impact on the consumption of the entire population, especially those with low income, on production costs of enterprises, and on labour and employment.

    Vietnam Railways proposes over VND4.6 trillion investment in modernisation

    Vietnam Railways (VNR) has proposed an investment of over VND4.6 trillion (US$202.4 million) in order to buy new locomotives and carriages by 2020, with 70% of the total amount to be borrowed from the State-owned Vietnam Development Bank.

    According to the document sent to the Ministry of Transport, VNR intends to gradually replace technologically backward locomotives, coaches, and waggons with modern ones by 2020 in a bid to reduce costs, improve efficiency and increase the competitiveness of rail transportation.

    Specifically, VNR will buy 100 new locomotives worth over VND2.1 trillion, 150 passenger coaches worth over VND1.6 trillion, 300 container waggons worth VND270 billion, and 500 waggons, with speeds below 60km per hour, worth VND550 billion.

    Approximately 70% of the total investment (VND3.2 trillion) is proposed to be borrowed from Vietnam Development Bank, while 30% of the investment will be counterpart funded from the VNR, Hanoi Railway and Saigon Railway.

    VNR said that it wants to receive the loan from the State-owned Vietnam Development Bank, as the interest rate for investment projects is stable and the borrowing period is lengthy, while enterprises can use assets formed from loans as collateral assets. Meanwhile, loans from commercial banks will bear higher rates in addition to a shorter borrowing period, resulting in low business efficiency, VNR noted.

    However, it is difficult for VNR to gain access to loans from the Vietnam Development Bank as VNR's projects are not subject to loans from the bank.

    Based on the provisions of Articles 5 and 6 of the amended Railways Law 2017, the VNR will be provided with preferential credit from the State's investment credit or provided with loans guaranteed by the Government. But, the Railways Law 2017 will not begin to come into force until July 1, 2018.

    Therefore, VNR has asked the Ministry of Transport to report to the Government for approval of the loans from the Vietnam Development Bank in order to timely meet the investment requirements in infrastructure development.

    VNR pledged to fully comply with the loan procedures and to perform the obligation to pay principal and interest in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.

    Railway industry needs $205 million to renew locomotives, coaches

    Vietnam Railways has proposed the Ministry of Transport to permit it to get loans from Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) to buy new locomotives and coaches with the total investment capital of VND4,658 billion (US$205 million).

    The corporation is expected to buy 100 new locomotives, 150 passenger coaches, 300 container coaches and 500 coaches having the speed of less than 60 kilometers an hour to gradually replace old and downgraded coaches from now until 2020.

    Of the total funds, nearly VND1,398 billion accounting for 30 percent will be reciprocal capital from Vietnam Railways, Saigon and Hanoi Railway Transport Companies. The remaining amount accounting for 70 percent will be bank loans.

    The investment aims at raising the competitive ability of railway compared to other types of transport.

    Vietnam Railways says that the project is not subject to borrowers of VDB.

    According to Articles 5 and 6 of the revised Railway Law 2017, the corporation can get preferential credit source of the state or receive Government’s loan guarantee for the project. However, the law will take effect on July 1, 2018.

    Therefore, Vietnam Railways has proposed the Ministry of Transport to report to the Government, permitting the railway industry’s investment projects to get loans from VDB so that they will be invested in a timely manner.

    Massimo Dutti opens first store in Vietnam

    Massimo Dutti last Friday opened its first store on the first floor of Vincom Center on Dong Khoi Street in District 1, HCMC.

    Massimo Dutti was present for the first time in the fashion industry in 1985. In 1991, it was acquired by the Inditex Group. In 2003, Massimo Dutti launched a children’s fashion line under the name Boys and Girls.

    Currently, the brand boasts more than 775 stores in 73 countries around the world.

    HCMC wants to lure more Chinese tourists

    Travel companies in HCMC want to woo more Chinese tourists in the coming time to help boost international arrivals to the city and revenue from tourism.

    At a seminar on solutions to attract Chinese tourists to HCMC held by the municipal Department of Tourism last week, Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, said the city holds high potential to attract Chinese tourists, but it should focus on high-spending visitors.

    HCMC is not as popular as Nha Trang, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Danang among Chinese tourists. Last year, Vietnam welcomed more than 2.69 million Chinese visitors, surging 51.4% versus 2015, but only 400,000 of them came to HCMC, increasing 37.4% year-on-year. 

    Tourists from the neighboring country are keen on sea travel. Services in Can Gio or Vung Tau can satisfy these requirements.

    At the seminar, some Chinese experts also provide information about tourist sources, and their hobbies and ways to get tourism information.

    The city should seek guests from Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian and Guangdong, and other eastern coastal provinces of China who have high demand for overseas travel.

    According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Chinese tourists to Vietnam can increase by 1.3 million to four million this year. At present, a huge number of Chinese travel to Nha Trang, Danang and Phu Quoc on chartered flights.

    Air service between Cam Ranh and Seoul to be launched

    Representatives of Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Tourism Association and South Korea’s Jeju Air struck a deal last week to launch a tourism air service connecting Cam Ranh Peninsula in the south-central coast province of Khanh Hoa and the Korean capital Seoul.

    The service will be launched late this year, with a flight frequency of one trip a day. Each trip will take around five hours.

    The association will work with local tour operators and hotels to develop services and manpower to serve Korean tourists, as well as to create favorable conditions for Vietnamese to visit the Northeast Asian nation.

    Earlier, the association has carried out a survey of the South Korean market, and found out that it has great potential for growth. This is why it teams up with the Korean partner to prop up tourism. The move is to diversify source markets for Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector, in addition to China and Russia.

    On Thursday, the province launched a direct air service to Malaysia. Therefore, some companies are preparing travel programs, including tours to Dalat City of Lam Dong Province, to serve Malaysian tourists.

    “We are in preparation for the first group of Malaysia tourists to Khanh Hoa, thanks to the direct air service. The tourists will enjoy four days in Dalat and Nha Trang,” said Giang Loi Khon from Hong Thai Travel Co Ltd on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

    Cement makers warn city of costs if production is halted

    HCMC can suffer extra costs of VND1.4 trillion (US$62.15 million) if it invests in cement distribution facilities to replace cement grinding plants which will be shut down to prevent pollution, said a representative of Ha Tien 1 Cement JSC.

    At a discussion on the development of building materials in HCMC to 2020 with a vision towards 2030, the municipal Department of Construction said the city would not invest in new cement plants, including clinker factories and grinding stations.

    The city plans to relocate those cement grinding stations meeting environmental standards to industrial parks in the city or other localities. Ba Ta Co JSC, for example, will shut down from next year, while Saigon Development Corporation and Ha Tien 1 Cement JSC will be relocated later.

    The scheme is not only meant to limit environmental pollution but also to ensure enterprises’ operations.

    HCMC is now home to ten cement grinding and distribution stations with a total annual capacity of more than 10 million tons, which still falls short of the city’s demand. By 2020, the city may lack 3.3 million tons a year to satisfy its demand.

    HCMC plans to initially build three distribution stations with a capacity of 1.2 million tons each to replace its grinding stations and cement factories. Thus, total cement supplies in the city will amount to 13.7 million tons in 2020.

    However, cement makers said such a plan will cost the city dearly in terms of economic value.

    A representative of Ha Tien 1 Cement JSC said transshipment and loading fees will be huge as the city will require ships to transport cement from northern ports. Total estimated investment may reach US$600 million, equivalent to the investment in 11 cement grinding stations with an annual capacity of 1.2 million.

    In addition, the city will have to build special-use ports to receive bulk cement shipments from the north as all ports have no facilities for bulk cement handling, except for Cat Lai Port in District 2.

    Higher prices spur retail revenue

    Retail revenue from consumer goods in the first seven months of the year increased substantially over the same period last year, but this rise was attributed to higher prices, according to a report of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

    The report on sales of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) was issued last Thursday after Kantar Worldpanel had conducted a 12-week market research in four large cities -- HCMC, Hanoi, Danang and Can Tho -- and in rural areas.

    Retail sales of consumer products grew 10% in January-July, 9.7% higher than in the year-earlier period. Revenues from FMCG sales in both rural and urban areas picked up 5.3% year-on-year.

    However, the revenue growth did not come from the higher consumer spending. Instead, in some rural areas in the central and northern regions, consumption tended to decrease, especially of dairy products.

    Higher prices of products were also reflected in the average consumer price index (CPI) in the first seven months which edged up 3.91% over the year-ago period. The rate was only 1.82% in January-July last year compared to the same period in 2015.

    According to Kantar Worldpanel, the CPI of below 4% may not be kept in the remaining months of the year as food prices inched up in July after going down for six consecutive months and fuel prices have also been revised up.

    Mavin pledges to inject US$80 million into Nghe An

    Mavin Group has pledged to pour around US$80 million into the north-central province of Nghe An, mainly in the husbandry sector, said the group’s chairman David John Whitehead at an investment conference in HCMC last Friday.

    Whitehead told the conference “Nghe An: opportunities for your business growth” that Mavin has been doing business in Vietnam for more than 12 years, and has set up shop in 19 provinces nationwide.

    The group inaugurated a feed mill in February at a total cost of US$15 million. The facility covers 3.6 hectares and has a designed capacity of 300,000 tons a year.

    Mavin has recently been awarded a business certificate to develop a swine nucleus farm worth US$18 million, which is part of the firm’s US$80 million investment commitment to Nghe An.

    Mavin also intends to establish an animal health research center, and carry out a feasibility study for a five-hectare food processing plant which may get off the ground next year.  The facility which has an annual capacity of 200,000 tons costs around US$25 million. It will turn out products from meat, such as sausages and ham, for customers at home and abroad.

    Whitehead said Mavin has taken into consideration many factors like manpower, market, geography, investment incentives, and transparency before making its investment decisions. The company is committed to Nghe An as the local government has extended a lot of support to it, said Whitehead.

    Many domestic and international investors have come to sound out business opportunities in Nghe An, according to Nguyen Chi Toan, marketing director of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) for central and southern Vietnam.

    Since VSIP Nghe An, an industrial park infrastructure development company, started construction in September 2015, more than 90 companies from various countries and territories have come to the province, of which 10 enterprises have pledged over VND400 billion, Toan said.

    Advance payment for metro project in HCMC yet to be disbursed

    Although the Government has allowed HCMC authorities to use capital from the medium-term public investment plan for the 2016-2020 period to make advance payments for the Metro Line No.1 project to speed up construction work but the money has not been disbursed, threatening the progress of the project.

    Le Nguyen Minh Quang, head of the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), told a meeting on Saturday that the construction of Metro Line No.1, which connects Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Park in District 9, is at risk of falling behind schedule due to slower-than-expected disbursement of official development assistance (ODA) loans from the central Government.

    Some contractors said they would have to suspend construction work if the city delays payments, so the city has to use its own budget to advance money for the contractors.

    On August 25, HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong signed a decision advancing VND500 billion (about US$22 million) from the city’s budget to pay for the contractors of the project.

    As of early September, the contractors had received nearly VND300 billion. However, this is just a temporary solution.

    “The city has to pay the metro project’s contractors VND500-600 billion a month. If slow disbursement of ODA loans continues, the construction pace of the project would be badly affected,” Quang said.

    The city’s government earlier made an advance payment of nearly VND1 trillion for the contractors.

    According to MAUR’s report, Package 1a for the underground section from Ben Thanh station to Opera House station is 13.5% complete while Package 1b for the underground section from Ba Son station to Opera House station is 51% done.

    Package 2 for the elevated section from Ba Son to Long Binh is 69.5% finished while locomotives, cars and rails for Package 3 are now being manufactured in Japan. The contractor has plans to import the first train to Vietnam next August.

    Duong Huu Hoa, director of Metro Line No.1 project, said the contractors will begin to install the rails for the metro line’s elevated section in October 15. Up to 8,000 rails for the track are now manufactured in Long An Province and will be transported to HCMC soon.

    However, import of machines and equipment that facilitate rail installation is now facing difficulties. Quang said the Ministry of Finance earlier announced that such machines and equipment will enjoy 0% import tax. However, the ministry has issued a new circular saying that those goods might be taxed.

    According to Quang, another reason for the slower-than-expected construction of the city’s first metro line project is complicated procedures and paperwork on the part of ministries.

    Metro Line No.1 is nearly 20 kilometers long, passing through districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh, Thu Duc in HCMC and part of Di An District in neighboring Binh Duong Province. It has 2.6 kilometers of underground track and over 17 kilometers of elevated track along Hanoi Highway.

    The US$2.49 billion project is scheduled for operation in late 2020.

    Tuna exports to emerging markets on the rise

    Tuna exports rose by 22% to US$328 million in the first seven months against the same period last year, according to latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    Exports of most tuna products enjoy growth, particularly canned tuna saw the highest growth rate of 32.3%, trailed by fresh, frozen and dried tuna products (up 14%).

    Tuna products have been exported to more than 70 countries in the world. The US, EU, Israel, ASEAN, Japan, Mexico, Canada and China were major importers of Vietnam tuna products in seven months, accounting for 88% of its total export value.

    Most export markets obtained growth in July. For instance, tuna exports to the US inched up 8% to US$20 million while exports to the EU increased by 23% to US$69 million against the same period last year. It’s noteworthy that exports to Italy rose sharply in July after seeing constant decline since early this year. Exports to the market in the period skyrocketed 166% to US$1.2 million.

    Israel surpassed ASEAN and Japan to become the third largest consumer of Vietnam tuna in the first 7 months with US$28 million, up 155%.

    In recent times, as tuna consumption demands in traditional markets like the US, EU and Japan seem to come to a grinding halt, Vietnam tuna exporters shift to emerging markets in the Middle East, especially Israel.

    The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers forecast that tuna exports to the US and EU will increase slowly late this year while exports to new markets will witness strong rise.

    French firms learn about investment chances in Da Nang’s hi-tech park

    Representatives from about 30 French enterprises participated in a seminar introducing investment opportunities in the hi-tech park in the central city of Da Nang held by the French Business Federation (MEDEF) in Paris on September 11.

    The event was part of the Da Nang Hi-Tech Park (DHTP) Management Board’s investment promotion activities in Europe.

    At the seminar, Director General of the board Phung Tan Viet informed the participants of the park’s construction process and development plans.

    Participating businesses were also briefed on Da Nang’s preferential policies and projects which need investment in the DHTP.

    With a total area of more than 1,100ha, the DHTP is one of Vietnam’s three hi-tech parks, connecting industrial and economic zones in the key economic region in central Vietnam.

    The park welcomes enterprises to visit and invest in its projects, Viet added.

    Michel Jonqueres, President of the MEDEF’s International Commission, said that Da Nang and the DHTP’s clear administrative procedures are an advantage that encourages investment.

    He also expressed optimism about the two sides’ cooperation opportunities, especially with Da Nang hosting the APEC Leaders’ Week 2017 in November and drawing leaders of 21 APEC economies and thousands of official delegates and heads of the world’s leading enterprises.

    At present, the DHTP has more than 300ha of land available for investment projects. In the first half of 2017, it attracted seven projects worth 158 million USD.

    Vietnam accelerates fruit, veggie imports from Thailand

    Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable imports from Thailand in the first seven months of 2017 picked up 3.2 times compared to the same period last year, shows Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development data.

    In explaining the sudden upsurge, Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under the ministry, said Vietnamese firms bought fruits and vegetables from Thailand to ship them on to China.

    Thailand remains Vietnam’s largest exporter of fruits and vegetables and accounts for 61.8% of the country’s total fruit and vegetable purchases from abroad, followed by China with 16%.

    Besides Thailand, India and New Zealand were also major fruit and vegetable exporters to Vietnam, with respective growth of 2.2 times and 53.5% in January-July.

    According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam spent US$169 million buying fruits and vegetables in August, taking the total in the first eight months to US$1.02 billion, a year-on-year surge of 94%.

    Vegetable imports doubled to US$190 million and fruit imports grew 34.6% to US$809 million year-on-year.

    In the other way around, Vietnam has secured Thailand’s approval to annually export 9,000-10,000 tons of fruits and vegetables to the neighboring country, especially dragon fruit, Trung noted.

    The ministry report also said Vietnam exported US$296 million worth of fruits and vegetables last month, taking the total in January-August to US$2.32 billion, up 46.5% versus the year-ago period.

    China, Japan, the U.S., and South Korea were the four leading importers of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables in January-July, representing 85.1% of the country’s total exports.

    In the first seven months of the year, the country’s major export markets include Japan with 61.7% growth, the United Arab Emirates with 61.4%, China with 61.3%, Russia with 49.4%, the U.S. with 26.7%, Taiwan with 19.2% and the Netherlands with 12.9%.

    Industry ministry still struggling with 12 loss-making projects

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade is still grappling difficulties in dealing with the 12 loss-making investment projects though there are bright prospects for some of them.

    The ministry told Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the steering committee for handling the 12 projects, at a meeting in Hanoi on September 6 that Viet Trung steel mill and DAP 1 fertilizer plant in Haiphong City had begun to be profitable, reports the Government news website. For the ethanol projects in Quang Ngai and Phu Tho provinces, some investors have shown interest in them.

    A report delivered at the meeting by the ministry said four fertilizer projects of the Vietnam Chemicals Group have resumed production but one of them, DAP 2 in Lao Cai Province, has stopped operation for maintenance since August 12.

    However, all of them but DAP 1 in Haiphong City have yet to be financially efficient as input costs have remained higher than expected.

    For five projects under the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), the Dung Quat ethanol plant in Quang Ngai Province has not been able to return to production due to the lack of funding for solving problems with its wastewater treatment facility.

    Moreover, shareholders have been discouraged by the lower-than-expected fuel prices which might lead to losses for them. Ethanol is mixed with A92 gasoline to make E5 bio-gasoline, a fuel which is cheaper than A92 and A95 petrol but has yet to win consumer confidence due to concerns over quality.

    The ministry said at the meeting that several investors have expressed interest in getting involved in this ethanol project and that shareholders have been told to work with investors over the possibility of clinching a business cooperation contract to bring the facility back to life.

    Meanwhile, PVN has told its subsidiary PVOil to draw up plans to divest from an ethanol plant in Phu Tho Province and another in Binh Phuoc Province. The ministry’s report said there has appeared an investor interested in the Phu Tho facility.

    PVTex, a polyester fiber factory in the northern city of Haiphong, has remained in distress as it has been financially unable to carry out a court decision to pay out more than VND73 billion in water and power bills for the authority of the Dinh Vu Industrial Park where PVTex is located. Meanwhile, the Government is determined to not inject new capital into PVTex.

    For Dung Quat Shipyard, PVN has asked its affiliates to use services at the shipyard to help keep it afloat and secure jobs for workers there. But there is a high possibility that the shipyard could be disbanded.

    In two steel projects under the Vietnam Steel Corporation, the ministry said, after the Government took back a VND1 trillion budget for the second phase of Thai Nguyen steel plant, Chinese contractor MCC has returned to the negotiating table to solve the lingering problems with this project.

    The other steel project, Viet Trung steel mill, has reported profit since March this year, with first-half profit estimated at VND67 billion and full-year tax payments projected at VND290 billion.

    Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue told the State Bank of Vietnam to work with commercial banks over plans to restructure debts owed by the 12 projects. These plans would be used as a basis for the Ministry of Finance to weigh rescheduling the depreciation and amortization process of the 12 projects.

    Meanwhile, the owners of these projects must find ways to cut costs and implement restructuring plans so that they could get out of the woods, Hue noted.

    Property market seen undergoing drastic change

    The HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA) has forecast there will be a drastic shift in the property market in the 2016-2020 period with demand for small and medium houses for low-income people to surge and supply of high-end apartments to outstrip demand. 

    The real estate market in HCMC and Vietnam as a whole was opened up in 1987 and officially took shape in 1993 when the National Assembly passed the first law on land use and an ordinance on homeownership.

    The market development depends on five factors, namely the law of value, competition, supply and demand, government policies and mechanisms, and investment and business activities of enterprises.

    The property market expanded significantly in 1993, 2001, 2002 and the second half of 2010. But it became frozen from 1995 to 1999, from early 2008 to mid-2009 and in the 2011-2013 period but then recovered robustly in the 2003-2006 period, and from 2009 to mid-2010. Since 2013, the market has remained buoyant.

    The real estate market in HCMC registered positive growth in the 2006-2015 period despite woes.

    Since 2016 the market has shown signs of slowing down, especially in the high-end housing and tourism property segments. However, the market fundamentals have stayed solid given strong demand.

    Vietnam holds strong e-commerce growth potential - report

    E-commerce in Vietnam has much room for growth but local companies have yet to tap its potential, according to a market research report.

    The next source of growth is Connected Spenders, who have the ability to access the Internet and are willing to spend their discretionary income, according to the report by Nielsen Vietnam and the Demand Institute.

    The report predicts these consumers will account for nearly 40% of the global population, thereby contributing more than 50% to annual spending.

    Thanks to growing access to the digital economy and all that comes with it, the East Asia and Pacific region will witness the greatest increase in the number of Connected Spenders, especially in emerging markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

    The report says there were 23 million Connected Spenders in Vietnam in 2015 and the figure is expected to nearly double to 40 million by 2025. Their spending will rise from US$50 billion annually to US$99 billion over the same time period and by 2025, they are expected to account for half of the total consumer spending.

    Around one-third of Vietnamese Connected Spenders are between 21 and 34 years old (34%). By definition, the report says, over three-quarters of the consumers within the higher income bracket are Connected Spenders (76%) and nearly two-thirds of those have middle income, and 43% falls into the lower income group.

    “Vietnamese Connected Spenders will spend US$0.8 trillion over the next decade. Therefore, for consumer-facing businesses seeking to grow in Vietnam, these are the consumers whose needs will need to be addressed,” said Rakesh Dayal, executive director of Consumer Insights at Nielsen Vietnam.

    The report stresses Connected Spenders are much more adept at omnichannel shopping. Around 80% of them think shopping online is more fun and convenient. Before buying, regardless of searching online or offline, they gather information from both sources.

    Around four in five read online reviews (83%) and refer to social media comments (74%) prior to purchasing a product whereas two out of three (66%) check out products in the physical store before purchasing them online.

    Especially, Connected Spenders are price-conscious, constantly on the lookout for special deals and promotions: more than half of them use price saving apps to search for the best deals even when they plan a shopping trip online or in store.

    Therefore, Nielsen Vietnam urges local firms to pay attention to Connected Spenders as a new emerging type of consumer.

    Vietnam has great potential for e-commerce as more than half of the population has access to the Internet, and 44.3% of households own smartphones or mobile devices. Notably, online consumers rocketed 129% in 2011-2015, according to a survey of Vietnamese consumers conducted by Singapore-based market technology company Criteo.

    However, data of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam shows e-commerce, despite exponential growth, accounted for a mere 0.4% of the domestic retail market last year. Of this tiny market share, 43% of goods were sold by traders on Facebook while the remainder were consumed through e-commerce websites.

    Kantar Worldpanel forecasts e-commerce will amount to 2.2% and online buyers will make up 25% of the total by 2025.

    Domestic gold prices fall sharply

    Gold prices slumped in the Vietnamese market on Tuesday morning. On the Hà Nội market, selling price of one tael, or 1.205 ounces, of State-owned SJC’s gold declined by VNĐ190,000 (US$8.3) to VNĐ36.75 million. 

    On the buying side, the price of each tael also fell VNĐ160,000, trading at VNĐ36.53 million.

    In the southern cities of HCM and Cần Thơ and central Đà Nẵng City, one tael of SJC’s gold declined VNĐ250,000 during selling, trading at VNĐ36.73 million. Meanwhile, one tael was being bought at VNĐ36.53 million.

    Bảo Tín Minh Châu Gold Jewellery Company and Doji Gold and Jewellery Corporation (DOJI) listed their selling prices at VNĐ36.68 million and VNĐ36.70 million, respectively. Buying rates of their gold were listed at VNĐ36.62 million and VNĐ36.60 million, respectively.

    On the Asian market, gold is trading at some $1,325 per ounce, equivalent to VNĐ36.36 million per tael.

    On global gold trading website Kitco.com, the price of gold slipped 1.2 per cent per ounce to end at $1,330.24 per ounce, the largest drop since July 3. Last Friday, global gold price hit a yearly peak of $1,357.54 per ounce.

    Thus, the price of one tael of gold in Việt Nam is some VNĐ410,000 higher than that on the world market.

    Global gold prices declined due to an upward trend in the dollar rate following an uptick in risk appetite fuelled by relief that North Korea did not test-fire missiles or conduct nuclear tests over the weekend as some had feared, Reuters reported.

    Assets traded primarily in dollars, such as gold, are very sensitive to currency fluctuations. An increase in the dollar rate will lead to gold becoming more expensive compared with other currencies and the demand for gold also decreases, the website said.

    Meanwhile, the worst-case scenario due to Hurricane Irma’s impact, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, looked to have been avoided, easing concerns of investors about the negative impact of the storm on the US economy. 

    Stocks correct down after 10-year peak

    The local stock market underwent a downward correction yesterday as investors increased selling pressure to seek short-term cash profits following a 10-year peak.

    The benchmark VN-Index lost value in the last trading minute, falling off the 10-year peak recorded Friday, closed down 0.47 per cent at 797.47 points.

    The market breadth on the HCM Stock Exchange was negative with 189 stocks declining, 29 rising and 75 closing flat.

    Large-cap shares were also on the defensive with 21 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity (VN30) losing value and only seven advancing. Top shares, such as Vietnam Prosperity Bank (VPB), Military Bank (MBB), real estate giant VinGroup (VIC), PV Gas (GAS), confectionery Kido Group (KDC), steelmakers Hòa Phát Group (HPG) and Hoa Sen Group (HSG) dropped between 1.9 per cent and 3.1 per cent, each.

    Brewer Sabeco (SAB), insurer Bảo Việt Holdings (BCH), private equity Masan Group (MSN), FLC Faros Construction (ROS) and budget airline Vietjet (VJC) slowed last week’s growth and failed to lift the market.

    “Profit-taking pressure will remain high in the next sessions after a streak of gains of the VN-Index over the past three weeks,” said Trần Đức Anh, a stock analyst at Bảo Việt Securities Co.

    The key market index has expanded about 4.2 per cent in the last three weeks.

    Anh predicted some large-cap stocks would continue to rise but the rally will not be strong enough to support the overall market.

    According to Nguyễn Hồng Điệp, director of the Sài Gòn-Hà Nội Securities Co’s HCM City branch, the market could see a short-term correction but it would not be long and serious.

    Điệp said the market rally was driven by growth of some major large-cap stocks while a majority of the market has not been on the same rising wave. This phenomenon was part of investors’ anxiety about the market outlook, which is often volatile in the exchange-traded funds’ portflio restructuring period.

    However, the 800 point landmark did not indicate a market downturn and the achievement would motivate the market to go further, Điệp was quoted as saying on vietstock.vn.

    On the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also dropped 0.99 per cent to end yesterday at 102.89 points.

    Liquidity rose slightly, totaling 195 million shares worth VNĐ4.2 trillion (US$185 million) on the two exchanges.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET


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  • 09/13/17--02:25: Article 2
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 13/9


    Australia extends VN’s wind towers investigation     


     
    The Anti-Dumping Commission of Australia (ADC) has issued an announcement to extend the deadline of publishing the Statement of Essential Facts (SEF) and the final report in the dumping investigation of wind towers imported from Viet Nam.

    To further examine the role of various parties involved in the production and export of the goods to Australia as well as to verify the information that has been provided by interested parties, ADC has decided to extend the deadline to publish the SEF to November 5, 2017.

    Interested parties are invited to make submissions in response to the SEF within 20 days of the SEF being placed on public record.

    A final report on the ADC’s recommendations will be submitted to the parliamentary secretary no later than December 20, 2017. The secretary will make a decision within 30 days of receiving the report.

    Prior to this, ADC initiated an investigation into the alleged dumping of certain wind towers exported to Australia from Viet Nam on June 8, 2017.

    The investigation follows an application lodged by Australian wind tower manufacturers Keppel Prince Engineering Pty Ltd and Ottoway Fabrication Pty Ltd.

    The investigation examines transactions that took place from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, with ADC estimating a dumping margin of 15.7 per cent on Viet Nam’s wind towers.

    ADC plans to publish the SEF by September 26, 2017 and the final report by November 10, 2017.

    On August 7, 2017, ADC temporarily decided not to apply anti-dumping duties on wind towers imported from Viet Nam. 

    Tra Vinh will support private economic development     

    This southern province will support the development of 15,000 private enterprises by 2030, officials have said.

    The province strives to have 4,000 private firms by 2020 and 7,500 private firms by 2025, according to the provincial development plan for the private economic sector for the 2011-20 period.

    Under the plan, the private economic sector will contribute VND12 trillion (US$533 million) to the provincial State budget during the 2016-20 period, 3.3 times higher than its contribution in the 2011-15 period.

    Tra Vinh has built many solutions to achieve targets, including the creation of favourable investment and business environments for enterprises, the improvement of enterprises’ ability to enter the market and the promotion of the private economic sector’s fair competition.

    The province will have solutions in place to help the private economic sector renew production technology and develop human resources, improve labour capacity and increase the efficiency of State management.

    The province has invested in the infrastructure of Dinh An Economic Zone and the Co Chien and Cau Quan industrial parks.

    Departments have implemented the electronic one-stop-shop model and provided online public services, especially online tax declaration and payment. This action will encourage individual households to convert to private enterprises.

    Son Thi Anh Hong, deputy secretary of the Party Committee of Tra Vinh, said that in the 2011-15 period, the provincial private economic sector contributed over VND3.625 trillion to its State budget. Tra Vinh currently has more than 1,900 enterprises and more than 60,000 individual business households. However, some 98 per cent of them are small and medium enterprises.

    In the 2012-16 period, the province established 1,192 new businesses but also dissolved 499 enterprises due to ineffective operation. 

    Ben Tre to up industrial investment     

    The southern province of Ben Tre will promote investment to provide value addition to key industrial products and increase the capacity of industrial production.

    This is being done according to the provincial development plan of the industrial sector in the period between 2016 and 2020, and upto 2030.

    Phan Thi Han, deputy director of Ben Tre Province’s Department of Industry and Trade, said that after one year of implementing the plan, the province had attracted VND580 billion to 33 investment projects in the key and priority industrial products.

    Thanks to those projects, the production value of the key industrial products increased significantly and accounted for higher percentage in the total provincial production value.

    In addition to this, the projects have developed new industrial products and clean energy, while many projects on producing wind power and solar power were scheduled to be developed in the future.

    To gain high efficiency in the plan, Ben Tre has focussed on investment in the infrastructure development of industrial parks and complex, the creation of favourable conditions for inviting investment and the increase of industrial production capacity. The province will also invite investment in key and prioritised industrial products, and products that have high added value and use modern technology to reduce environmental pollution.

    Ben Tre has identified two key industries, including the seafood processing industry and the coconut processing industry. Other seven prioritised industrial products include the support industry for the garment industry; production of livestock feed; chemical industry; mechanical industry; electronics, telecommunications, information technology and software industry; livestock processing industry; and the industry producing new energy.

    Truong Duy Hai, Vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Ben Tre, said that to promote industrial development and contribute to economic growth and restructure, the province will adjust preferential policies for investment to infrastructure in industrial zones and complexes. It will also amend support policies for start-up businesses to mobilise economic sectors to participate in industrial development.

    The province will lure investment in agricultural and fishery processing projects, especially shrimp processing, livestock processing, support industry and clean energy, he said.

    The province will continue to improve the investment environment, enhance dialogue and meet business to remove difficulties in production and business, he said. It will reform further administrative procedures and update regulations relating to production and business.

    At the same time, Ben Tre will improve quality and efficiency in the activities of trade promotion, market forecast, support for enterprises in using e-commerce and market expansion.

    Ben Tre has currently had two industrial parks, Giao Long and An Hiep, with 47 projects in total. It has completed the plans to develop three other industrial parks and called for investment in their infrastructure. They are Giao Hoa, Thanh Tan and Phuoc Long industrial parks. 

    Automobile sales dips 6 percent in eight months

    Members of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) sold more than 177,000 cars in the first eight months of the year, down 6 percent from the same time last year.

    Sales of tourist, commercial and specialised cars experienced respective year-on-year declines of 4 percent, 7 percent and 12 percent.

    Vietnamese car buyers preferred imported cars to locally assembled vehicles as the domestically built units in the reviewed time faced a drop of 11 percent to 126,984 whilst those purchased from foreign countries surged 10 percent to 50,053 cars.

    In August alone, automobile sales reached 22,099 cars. Local carmarker Truong Hai Automobile JSC (Thaco) led the market with 6,228 units, occupying 30 percent of the market share. Toyota Motor Vietnam was in the second with 5,794 cars, owning 27.9 percent of the market share, followed by Ford Vietnam, which sold 2,292 units.

    Automakers continued their big promotion to trigger car sales in August. Honda Vietnam cut the prices of its Civic, Accord and CR-V models by nearly 200 million VND (8,800 USD). Thaco reduced tens of millions of VND for its Mazda, even for best sellers Kia Morning and Cerato. Meanwhile, Huyndai Thanh Cong offered discounts of 40-70 million VND (1,760- 3,080 USD), depending on versions.

    Domestic gold prices fall sharply

    Gold prices slumped in the Vietnamese market on September 12 morning. On the Hanoi market, selling price of one tael, or 1.205 ounces, of State-owned SJC’s gold declined by 190,000 VND (8.3 USD) to 36.75 million USD. 

    On the buying side, the price of each tael also fell 160,000 VND, trading at 36.53 million VND.

    In HCM City and Can Tho city in the south and the central city of Da Nang, one tael of SJC’s gold declined 250,000 VND during selling, trading at 36.73 million VND. Meanwhile, one tael was being bought at 36.53 million VND.

    Bao Tin Minh Chau Gold Jewellery Company and Doji Gold and Jewellery Corporation (DOJI) listed their selling prices at 36.68 million VND and 36.70 million VND, respectively. Buying rates of their gold were listed at 36.62 million VND and 36.60 million VND, respectively.

    On the Asian market, gold is trading at some 1,325 USD per ounce, equivalent to 36.36 million VND per tael.

    On global gold trading website Kitco.com, the price of gold slipped 1.2 per cent per ounce to end at 1,330.24 USD per ounce, the largest drop since July 3. On September 8, global gold price hit a yearly peak of 1,357.54 USD per ounce.

    Thus, the price of one tael of gold in Vietnam is some 410,000 VND higher than that on the world market.

    Global gold prices declined due to an upward trend in the dollar rate following an uptick in risk appetite fuelled by relief that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not test-fire missiles or conduct nuclear tests over the weekend as some had feared, Reuters reported.

    Assets traded primarily in dollars, such as gold, are very sensitive to currency fluctuations. An increase in the dollar rate will lead to gold becoming more expensive compared with other currencies and the demand for gold also decreases, the website said.

    Meanwhile, the worst-case scenario due to Hurricane Irma’s impact, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, looked to have been avoided, easing concerns of investors about the negative impact of the storm on the US economy.

    Vietnamese products introduced at World Food Moscow 2017

    Eight Vietnamese businesses are showcasing their products such as spices, tea, coffee, fruits and dairy products at the World Food Moscow 2017, which kicked off at the Expocentre in Moscow, Russia, on September 11.

    According to Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam, the participating Vietnamese businesses aim to seek partners and study the taste of local consumers.

    The exhibition takes place one year after the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to which Russia is also a signatory took effect. 

    Nguyen Mai Oanh, Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnam Pepper Association, described the event as an important playground for the Vietnamese enterprises to make the best use of the agreement to export spices, including pepper. 

    Besides, Vietnamese firms have favourable conditions to seek Eastern European customers in the context that Western European countries are facing barriers when shipping products to Russia and Eastern Europe, she said. 

    The exhibition will last until September 14.

    FDI inflow into HCM City soars in eight months

    More than 3.23 billion USD of foreign direct investment (FDI) was poured into Ho Chi Minh City in the first eight months of 2017, up 1.57 times from the same period last year.

    According to the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, major FDI projects registered in the period included Saigon Silicon project worth some 40 million USD. 

    This project is being invested by the Saigon Silicon City Park Joint Stock Company, which inked a cooperation memorandum on the project implementation with the US’s World Trade Centre Utah.

    Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea’s CJ Cau Tre Foods Joint Stock Company was licensed to invest in a 53.3 million USD project in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park.

    To attract more FDI in the remaining months of 2017, HCM City is deploying measures to develop four key industries, namely manufacturing engineering, electronics, chemical-rubber-plastics industry, and food processing.

    Foreigners hail business opportunities in Vietnam

    Many international delegates at the freshly-ended APEC Start-ups Forum held in Ho Chi Minh City have said that there are a lot of business, trade and investment opportunities in Vietnam.

    Professor, Dr. Lou E. Pelton, North Texas University, the US, told Vietnam News Agency’s reporters on the sidelines of the forum that Vietnam offers an exceptional source of people with strong mind and strong will.

    The economic opportunities in Vietnam are so great that many foreign companies want to explore the market, he added.

    He said some of the most attractive industries in Vietnam have yet to be fully utilised, naming several fields that have fantastic opportunities to leverage such as medical tourism, technology-based innovation in data analytics, and craftsmanship.

    Director of Trade & Investment Facilitation of the Mekong Institution Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, who has almost eight years working in Vietnam, said what attracts foreign investors in the Southeast Asian country is infrastructure.

    “Vietnam has already developed the basic infrastructure for small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). And that is one of the questions for investors to come and put up bussinesses here”, he said.

    He noted that the agro-based industry has a promising future in Vietnam since the country is well blessed with climate conditions, agriculture and support system.

    The Vietnamese government also supports the agro-based industry apart from other industries, he added.

    Director of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada Vilupti Lok Barrineau suggested Vietnamese startups develop agri-tech projects since “Vietnam is a leader in agriculture in the region and food security is extremely important not only in this country but around the world.”

    “Vietnam could play a leading role in driving agri-tech,” she said, adding that she recognised a lot of opportunities for Canada to collaborate with Vietnam in this field.

    “Vietnam is very strong on the tech side and you have many brilliant students that are coming out of your fantastic universities and I think that on the engineering side anything to do with technology, Vietnam can really play a leading role,” she said.

    Exports to Algeria up 26 percent

    Exports to Algeria earned Vietnam 227,86 million USD this year to early September, up 26 percent on a yearly basis, according to the Vietnamese trade mission in the African country. 

    Main export items include coffee beans with 38,667 tonnes and 84,32 million USD, down 17 percent in volume but up 8 percent in value; phones and phone parts with 58.77 million USD, down 3 percent; and rice with 29,311 tonnes and 11.53 million USD, both up four fold. 

    Other items posting increases in revenues are pepper, steel products, seafood, computer, electronic goods and parts, machinery, equipment and tools. 

    Algeria is the fourth largest market in Africa of Vietnamese goods, behind South Africa, Ghana and Egypt. 

    As Vietnam and Algeria mark the 55th year of their diplomatic relationship this year, the Vietnamese trade mission has organized a range of trade promotion activities including business seminars and fair attendance. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade has also sent delegations to Algeria to discuss measures to increase bilateral ties.

    French firms learn about investment chances in Da Nang’s hi-tech park

    Representatives from about 30 French enterprises participated in a seminar introducing investment opportunities in the hi-tech park in the central city of Da Nang held by the French Business Federation (MEDEF) in Paris on September 11.

    The event was part of the Da Nang Hi-Tech Park (DHTP) Management Board’s investment promotion activities in Europe.

    At the seminar, Director General of the board Phung Tan Viet informed the participants of the park’s construction process and development plans.

    Participating businesses were also briefed on Da Nang’s preferential policies and projects which need investment in the DHTP.

    With a total area of more than 1,100ha, the DHTP is one of Vietnam’s three hi-tech parks, connecting industrial and economic zones in the key economic region in central Vietnam.

    The park welcomes enterprises to visit and invest in its projects, Viet added.

    Michel Jonqueres, President of the MEDEF’s International Commission, said that Da Nang and the DHTP’s clear administrative procedures are an advantage that encourages investment.

    He also expressed optimism about the two sides’ cooperation opportunities, especially with Da Nang hosting the APEC Leaders’ Week 2017 in November and drawing leaders of 21 APEC economies and thousands of official delegates and heads of the world’s leading enterprises.

    At present, the DHTP has more than 300ha of land available for investment projects. In the first half of 2017, it attracted seven projects worth 158 million USD.-

    Conference connects Japanese, Mekong Delta firms in environment business

    A conference was held in Can Tho City on September 12 to boost ties among enterprises operating in environment treatment in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region and Hiroshima prefecture of Japan.

    The event drew 60 local government officials and representatives of more than 80 firms from 13 Mekong Delta localities and eight Japanese firms specialised in waste and wastewater treatment, irrigation, aquatic farming, agriculture, husbandry and chemicals.

    Kawaguchi Kazunari, head of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of Hiroshima, said the locality has enjoyed sound cooperation in environmental protection with Ho Chi Minh and Soc Trang in the past four years.

    He expressed his belief that the conference will help state agencies and enterprises of both sides become partners. 

    Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung said that the event is a chance for local firms to learn new Japanese technology in environmental treatment, and seek the best solutions for the region’s environmental issues.

    On the occasion, Hiroshima prefecture, Can Tho city and Soc Trang province signed memoranda of understanding on cooperation in environment-related business.

    APEC SMEs Working Group’s meeting opens in HCM City

    The 45th meeting of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Working Group kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13.

    The two-day meeting is part of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) scheduled for September 15 in the southern hub. 

    Speaking at the event, Dang Huy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, highlighted the role of SMEs, saying the enterprises account for 98 percent of total firms and have been playing an important part of economic development and employment generation. 

    SMEs are a significant source of innovation, and the engine for economic growth in the Asia Pacific region, he added.

    “Through APEC forums, SMEs have gained much knowledge, legislation in line with international economic practices. However, many SMEs are still struggling weak competitiveness. Therefore, APEC economies and SMEs jointly promote with their own internal strengths through enhancing effective governance, facilitate technological innovation in priority access to finance, opening up new market opportunities meanwhile ensuring an enabling environment for doing business,” he said.

    Participants will focus their discussions on finding good examples of entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance, business ecosystems and market access for SMEs development. 

    They will also discuss potential for practical cooperation, and most importantly, identify prioritised areas to strengthen SMEs competitiveness throughout the APEC region.

    Established in 1989, APEC is now the largest economic trade cooperation group in the Asia-Pacific region. It includes 21 member economies and accounts for 40 percent of the global population, 55 percent of GDP and 44 percent of world trade.

    Vietnam joined APEC in 1998. SMEs employ more than 50 percent of the workforce and contribute over 40 percent of the GDP in Vietnam.

    Conference connects Japanese, Mekong Delta firms in environment business

    A conference was held in Can Tho City on September 12 to boost ties among enterprises operating in environment treatment in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region and Hiroshima prefecture of Japan.

    The event drew 60 local government officials and representatives of more than 80 firms from 13 Mekong Delta localities and eight Japanese firms specialised in waste and wastewater treatment, irrigation, aquatic farming, agriculture, husbandry and chemicals.

    Kawaguchi Kazunari, head of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of Hiroshima, said the locality has enjoyed sound cooperation in environmental protection with Ho Chi Minh and Soc Trang in the past four years.

    He expressed his belief that the conference will help state agencies and enterprises of both sides become partners. 

    Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung said that the event is a chance for local firms to learn new Japanese technology in environmental treatment, and seek the best solutions for the region’s environmental issues.

    On the occasion, Hiroshima prefecture, Can Tho city and Soc Trang province signed memoranda of understanding on cooperation in environment-related business.

    BOT investors must build ETC system before October 3

    The implementation of the new electronic toll collection (ETC) system, designed to reduce delays on the nation’s roads, has become controversial as private investors operating the roads say they feel pressured to sign a contract with a single ETC builder-- the only one the Government has approved.

    The frustration of investors, who manage roads under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme, came to the fore at a meeting on Monday to discuss progress on the ETC system.

    The investors say they are effectively forced to sign contracts with VETC Ltd.Com to implement the new electronic fee collection at 29 toll booths.

    Nguyễn Văn Huyên, General Director of Việt Nam Road Administration, said the investors have the right to choose a builder for the ETC system, but that all builders must meet Ministry of Transport requirements.

    "However, the supplier must pass the ministry’s examination and be approved by the ministry," he said.

    The only currently approved supplier is VETC. If the investors don’t build their ETC systems by the deadline of October 30, they will be forced to stop collecting tolls, the official said, leaving BOT investors little choice but to continue negotiating with the company.

    ETC aims to eliminate delays on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically. The technology determines whether passing cars are enrolled in the program, alerts enforcers for those that are not, and electronically debits the accounts of registered car owners without requiring them to stop.

    Từ Minh Nguyệt, a representative of Cần Thơ-Phụng Hiệp BOT Ltd.Com, the investor in the Cần Thơ-Phụng Hiệp section of Highway No1, said the new technology would certainly make driving more convenient for road users. But how to best implement it remained an open question, she said.

    She said her company had negotiated seven times with VETC on the terms to build an ETC system, but had still failed to reach an agreement.

    Nguyệt said she thought the Government should assign VETC to supply and install software devices and then immediately sell the technology to BOT investors, rather than allowing VETC to operate the new electronic systems for extended periods of time.    

    She said BOT investors could manage toll collection through the ETC system on their own. Nguyệt said the prospect of VETC managing tolls on roads operated by BOT investors could obscure the public’s understanding of who exactly is in charge of fee collection.  

    She questioned the fairness of a system in which 29 toll booths nation-wide are building ETC systems, but only VETC has been allowed to supply service.

    Nguyễn Văn Ngợi, deputy director of Construction and Investment No.194 Joint-stock Company, which is the investor in the section of Highway No.1 across Khánh Hòa central province, said that after several rounds of negotiations, it still hadn’t received the service-price list from VETC.

    According to Ngợi, VETC has demanded contracts that stipulate it will supply the ETC service for five years. But the BOT investors would prefer two-year contracts because the quality of services must be re-evaluated after every year.

    According to the Government’s policy, service suppliers will be responsible for monitoring the toll collection, and then all data will be transmitted to the Việt Nam Road Administration.

    In a previous meeting on the ETC system, the Transport Minister had asked BOT investors to sign service-supply contracts with VETC before July 15. VETC was to finish the installation of the ETC system at toll booths before August 15. The disputes between VETC and BOT investors led those deadlines to be missed at many toll booths.

    Outlook on Techcombank revised to stable     

    Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has revised its rating outlook on Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) to stable from negative.

    It also affirmed the bank’s ’BB-’ long-term and ’B’ short-term issuer credit ratings.

    “We revised the rating outlook on Techcombank to stable because we believe the bank can sustain its above-average profitability over the next 12 months despite competition,” S&P said.

    According to S&P, Techcombank has adopted a balanced approach toward profit enhancement and risk-taking. The bank is pursuing a retail-focused strategy, particularly among the mass affluent, while downsizing its chunky corporate exposures to enhance yields. It is also considering downsizing its real estate and construction exposure to de-risk its loan book.

    Techcombank’s asset quality has been improving since 2013, reflecting the bank’s efforts to clean up its legacy weak loans through increased provisions and rehabilitation and recovery of bad loans. Techcombank’s gross non-performing loan ratio declined to 1.6 per cent in 2016, from a peak of 3.7 per cent in 2013. Its restructured loans also fell to 0.5 per cent from 9.7 per cent over the same period.

    “We expect Techcombank to maintain its capitalisation and liquidity over the next 12 months,” S&P said, adding that the bank has a history of retaining profits with zero dividend payout to preserve capital to support growth. Techcombank’s stable deposit base is backed by a sizable contribution from the retail segment, which underpins its funding profile.

    The stable outlook on Techcombank reflects S&P’s view that the bank will maintain its status as a leading privately owned bank in Viet Nam over the next 12 months with an entrenched retail franchise and above-average profitability.

    However, S&P noted, it may lower the rating if Techcombank’s business position suffers due to strategic missteps or if its pre-diversification risk-adjusted capital ratio falls below 3 per cent.

    Vietinbank becomes Diners Club card issuer     

    Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) on Monday signed a partnership agreement to become the only issuer of Diners Club (DC) cards in Viet Nam.

    The agreement helps to expand Vietinbank’s existing acquisition relationship with Diners Club International Ltd, a business unit and wholly-owned subsidiary of Discover Financial Services and a part of the Discover Global Network.

    “Our partnership with Diners Club International will help us accelerate our product mix in the market and provide more choice to our customers in Viet Nam. Diners Club will allow us to boost our credit card line-up and enhance our services to our clients by providing global access and solutions that make business and international travel more efficient,” said Phung Duy Khuong, director of retail banking at Vietinbank.

    The DC cards have the same issuance process and method of use as international credit and debit cards. In addition to the functions of international credit cards, such as internet payments, point of sale payments, withdrawals and accessing transaction history, cardholders also enjoy many discounts across more than 30 countries at restaurants, hotels and shopping centres.

    Diners Club also offers VietinBank and its cardholders, particularly international and business travelers from Viet Nam, a comprehensive new suite of products and features such as access to more than 800 airport lounges and worldwide acceptance.

    “Viet Nam is a fast-growing market that is critically important for Diners Club International to further expand our presence in Asia," said Joe Hurley, senior vice president and head of global business development for Discover.

    "We are excited to open up the vast Discover Global Network to Vietnamese travelers when they are using their VietinBank Diners Club card while abroad,” Joe added.

    Currently, Diners Club International has over 26 million merchant acceptance locations and 1.9 million ATM and cash access locations across 185 countries and territories.

    Established in 1988, Vietinbank now provides a nationwide network of 155 branches scattered across 63 provinces and cities in Viet Nam, as well as two branches in the Federal Republic of Germany and one subsidiary bank in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 

    G-bond capital reaches $6.34b but only $108m disbursed     

    Capital mobilised from the issue of G-bonds in the first eight months of this year was very positive, however, it was quite a contrast to the disbursement of the capital source.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, total capital mobilised from G-bonds in the first eight months of this year reached nearly VND144.1 trillion (US$6.34 billion).

    The amount was equal to 78.6 per cent of the annual plan.

    However, unlike the success of the G-bond mobilisation, the disbursement of the capital source in the period was very slow. Just VND2.46 trillion ($108.37 million) was disbursed, equal to only 4.9 per cent of the plan.

    Due to the slow disbursement of public investment, including G-bond capital, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had to ask authorities to take more drastic measures to rectify the late disbursement of investment capital for public projects.

    Thirty ministries and provinces reported the slow disbursement of public investment, mainly due to the lack of proper direction by heads of ministries and localities, in addition to inadequacies of related procedures, slow land clearance and limited capacity of project contractors.

    The PM noted that slow disbursement of public investment leads to a bottleneck in national economic growth and rising public debt.

    Seminar to bring together sellers, buyers of ICT services

         

    The Viet Nam Information and Communication Technology Outlook seminar to be held in HCM City on September 20 will discuss IT use by businesses in the context of Industry 4.0, opportunities and challenges in investment in IT, agriculture 4.0 and other topics.

    Vu Anh Tuan, general secretary of the HCM City Computer Association (HCA), said Industry 4.0 would offer opportunities but also challenges for businesses.

    Businesses and workers need to be ready to adopt new technologies and transform their mindset and business infrastructure, and enterprises also need to learn about factors related to artificial intelligence and innovation and develop human resources for the future, he said.

    Under the theme Businesses and Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenge, the seminar will also feature an exhibition on IT solutions for businesses, he said.

    The seminar would be a good opportunity to connect IT services providers with businesses and boost the IT services application market.

    Another highlight of the Viet Nam ICT Outlook this year would be a conference titled Smart City 360 Degrees to be held on September 19 by the HCA and the Institute for Computational Science and Technology.

    Dr Doan Xuan Huy Minh of the institute said the conference would discuss the difficulties in developing a smart city and solutions and share experiences in creating smart cities.

    The 2017 Top ICT Viet Nam awards will be given away at a ceremony on September 19 to honour and encourage ICT companies to enhance their operations and improve their competitiveness to help turn their industry into a key one in Viet Nam and HCM City.

    The seminar, to be held at Gem Centre, is expected to attract 1,500 participants, including information and communications officials from HCM City and other cities and provinces, local and foreign ICT experts and business executives. 

    Made-in-Việt Nam giant cranes exported to India

    The second batch of made-in-Việt Nam ship-to-shore cargo container cranes is headed to India.

    Doosan Heavy Industries Việt Nam (Doosan Vina) has shipped three Rail Mounted Quayside Cranes (RMQC) to India as part of its contract to supply 12 RMQC cranes to Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals Private Limited (BMCTPL).

    Yeon In Jung, CEO and general director of Doosan Vina, said this is a historic achievement for Việt Nam and Doosan Vina because these are the largest among the 68 cranes that have been produced in Việt Nam and are also some of the largest cranes made anywhere in the world.

    The newly shipped cranes will move to the Jawaharlal Port area of the Port of Nehru, Mumbai, India within two weeks. In June, the first three such cranes were exported to India by Doosan Vina.

    The Quảng Ngãi-based company has manufactured and shipped 71 giant cargo container cranes to customers around the world since 2009.

    Doosan Vina has been a reliable supplier of power plant boilers for projects such as Mông Dương 2, Vĩnh Tân 4, Sông Hậu 1, Vĩnh Tân 4 Extension and has played an important role in localising the mechanical industry in Việt Nam.

    The company employs 2,500 workers at its plants in Dung Quất Economic Zone in Bình Sơn District, and another 2,500 workers at different projects in nationwide.

    The company exported goods worth US$300 million in 2015.

    Nha Trang welcomes almost 1.2 million foreign visitors in 7 months

    More than 1.13 million foreign visitors arrived in the south-central city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province in the first seven months of this year, according to the provincial Department of Tourism.

    China and Russia have the highest number of visitors to NhaTrang (more than 671,000 visitors from China, up 244% and 263,000 others from Russia, up 220% against the same period last year).

    According to the Khanh Hoa Relics Preservation Centre, two destinations in Nha Trang City Centre, Ponagar Tower Complex and Hon Chong welcome thousands of visitors every day.

    The Department of Tourism reported that tourist arrivals from traditional markets like France, the UK, Germany, Australia, the US and Canada dropped by 8-30% compared to the same period last year.

    The number of foreign arrivals, particularly Chinese, to Nha Trang in August slightly reduced compared to June and July.

    To cope with the decrease, Tran Son Hai, vice chairman of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee, has directed the Department of Tourism and Tourism Association to take proper measures to recover these markets and attract more visitors from new markets.

    The two agencies are completing necessary procedures to open direct flights from Cam Ranh Airport to cities in the Republic of Korea and Japan.

    VNR and VNPost shake hands on logistics cooperation

    Vietnam Railways (VNR) and Vietnam Post Corporation (VNPost) signed a cooperation agreement on logistics services yesterday. 

    Accordingly, the two sides agreed to cooperate in transportation services, postal services, as well as delivery, finance, insurance, goods distribution, and marketing and advertisement services.

    In particular, VNPost will prioritise using VNR's railway transport services for its postal packages, while VNR will prioritise VNPost services, such as delivery of packages, documents, and goods at home and abroad in its network.  

    The two groups will also consider cooperating in transportation of all-in packages for customers and transportation of goods by rail from Vietnam to China.

    VNR chairman Vu Anh Minh emphasised that the cooperation will help the two companies increase their competitiveness. "VNR is making a comprehensive revamp, including investments in railway stations, warehouses, and inland container depots (ICDs), while at the same time developing post-transport services," he added.

    VNR is striving to increase operational efficiency by strengthening cooperation with other state-owned corporations.

    In July this year, VNR also signed a cooperation agreement with Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) to strengthen cooperation in investment and business activities in the future.

    In April, VNR inked a deal with Saigon Newport Corporation to build two inland container depots (ICDs) in Binh Duong province and Hanoi.

    AmCham Vietnam organizes supply chain development event

    AmCham Vietnam and its Manufacturing Committee is organizing the 4th Annual Supplier Day today, September 13, to support its manufacturing members and expand the list of qualified local suppliers in Vietnam.

    Two hundred participants are expected to attend, including registered manufacturers and suppliers, with support coming from other chambers of commerce, business associations, industrial parks, and local organizations.

    It is a great opportunity for both suppliers and manufacturers to build and foster relationships, matching enterprises and manufacturers with potential suppliers in one-on-one meetings to review products and discuss possible cooperation. Mr. Milton Hagler, Chairman of AmCham’s Manufacturing Committee, will also discuss “How to position your supply chain for sustainable success into the future”.

    AmCham Vietnam Supply Chain Development is an integral part of support for a robust manufacturing industry for all enterprises. AmCham Supplier Day is expected to bring benefits to both domestic and foreign companies.

    This year, it will be open for local suppliers who specialize in consumer goods and US companies who supply products and services to Vietnam.

    AmCham previously organized a “Supplier Workshop” on August 4 at the Windsor Plaza hotel, with speakers from Walmart, Social Responsibility Operations Consulting, and Wahl Vietnam sharing their knowledge and experience, which was followed by a robust roundtable discussion between suppliers and customers.

    Synnex buys 47% stake in FPT Trading

    The FPT Corporation has signed an investment agreement with strategic partner the Synnex Technology International Corporation (Synnex), the largest value-added distribution group for IT, telecom and IC components in Asia and the third-largest in the world, under which Synnex will purchase a 47 per cent holding in FPT Trading.

    The transaction puts FPT Trading’s value at over $80 million, with FPT receiving VND932 billion ($41 million) from the deal, including an amount paid by Synnex and FPT Trading’s retained earnings.

    “This is the best way for Synnex to enter the lucrative consumer technology, telecom and IC component market in Vietnam,” said Mr. Evan Tu, CEO of Synnex. “FPT Trading is the best distribution company in the country and has a strong track record in building, managing, and operating an effective distribution network over the last 20 years. We are excited to become its strategic shareholder. With Synnex’s expertise and experience in enriching our partners’ product management, channel development, logistics and business operations, we can further advance FPT Trading’s business quality and performance.”

    “Synnex is a leading global distribution company that has been a leader in many markets and that has an advanced distribution network,” said Mr. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of FPT Corporation. “We believe that with this investment from Synnex, FPT Trading will have a more effective development strategy going forward.”

    FPT Corporation’s Board of Directors has also approved a resolution that allows the sale of a maximum of 5 per cent in FPT Trading’s charter capital to employees.

    FPT Trading has more than 20 years of experience in distribution. Since the 1990s, when Vietnam’s ICT market was in its earliest stages, FPT Trading has been a leader in providing ICT products and solutions. It is currently the largest ICT - telecoms distributor in the country, with a network of 2,771 agents in all cities and provinces nationwide. It distributes products from nearly 40 globally-renowned brands to Vietnamese consumers.

    Established in 1975, Synnex is a global distribution group with a footprint in 38 countries and territories and has more than 200 offices worldwide, with distribution channels reaching 60 per cent of the global population.

    Italy offers grant to help study Vietnam’s railway infrastructure upgrade

    The Italian Government will offer gratis aid of 295,000 euros for Vietnam to study the possibility of carrying out two railway infrastructure upgrade projects.

    Italian ambassador to Vietnam Cecilia Piccioni announced the grant at a meeting on railway cooperation promotion with Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong in Hanoi on September 11. The diplomat said the amount is aimed to realize a memorandum of understanding on infrastructure and transport cooperation between the two countries signed in November last year.

    In specifics, Italy will grant 198,000 euros to conduct a study for upgrading the railway, and another 97,000 euros for a study on the railway system development and modernization project.

    The two projects will be implemented by the Italian Railway Corporation and Net Engineering Co Ltd.

    A representative of the Italian Railway Corporation said the study would pave the way for promoting full cooperation with Vietnam’s railway sector in capital construction, operation and maintenance. Meanwhile, Net Engineering affirmed that it will propose technical and financial solutions suitable to the current conditions of Vietnam’s railways.

    Deputy Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong at the meeting briefed the Italian guests on Vietnam’s 2017 Railway Law which will take effect from July next year, under which the State will be responsible for railway infrastructure development while enterprises are encouraged to provide railway transport services.

    Italian contractors should learn about the new railway law to implement the projects successfully, Dong added.

    Dong also said his ministry is responsible for finalizing a pre-feasibility study for the North-South express railway project to send to the Government and the National Assembly in 2018.

    Vietnam’s railway sector is also supported by financial institutions such as the World Bank (WB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to enhance its capacity and build new railroads.

    In related news, Vietnam and Brazil on September 11 inked a maritime transport agreement on the occasion of the Vietnam visit by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Aloysio Nunes Ferreira from September 9 to 12.

    The agreement is aimed at supporting cargo transport, thus promoting trade cooperation between the two countries.

    Mekong Enterprise II lowers stake in MWG

    Mekong Enterprise II Ltd has reduced its ownership at Mobile World Investment Group (MWG) after transferring three million shares at the electronics retail chain operator to other investors, cutting its stake to less than 3%.

    According to a notice of the Vietnam Securities Depository, Mekong Enterprise II Ltd has sold MWG shares to a group of investors, including 903,300 shares to Aquila SPC Ltd, one million shares to Wareham Group Ltd, 356,700 shares to IDRIS Ltd, 640,000 shares to Vietnam Holding Limited and 100,000 shares to KB Vietnam Focus Balanced Fund. It has reduced its holding from 11 million shares to eight million shares, or a 2.6% stake.

    Norges Bank and Amersham Industries Limited have also transferred around 74,000 and 275,000 shares of FPT Corporation (FPT) to Lloyd George Indian Ocean Master Fund, said the notice.

    On the local market, MWG closed the September 11 session at VND111,500 a share, rising 0.9% versus last Friday, when the shares had been sold to Mekong Enterprise II Ltd at VND109,500 each. Mekong Capital, the operator of the fund, is expected to have raised VND328.5 billion from the transaction.

    Early this month, Aquila SPC Ltd, Wareham Group Ltd, IDRIS Ltd, Vietnam Holding Limited and KB Vietnam Focus Balanced Fund acquired a total of 936,000 shares of MWG sold by The Genesis Emerging Markets Investment Company and Frontaura Global Frontier Fund LLC.

    Launched in 2002 with total capital of US$18.5 million shares, Mekong Enterprise II Ltd is active in the Vietnamese market, focusing on unlisted private companies.

    Coal-fired power projects should accompany renewable energy production

    Coal-fired thermal power projects with a capacity of 1,000 MW should also be equipped with advanced technologies to generate at least 30MW of renewable energy, said Le Anh Kien, deputy director of the Institute for Tropical Environment.

    At a seminar on Vietnam-Taiwan green technology held by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Support Center 2 (SMEDEC 2) in HCMC on September 11, Kien said Vietnam holds high potential to develop wind, solar and biomass power.

    However, renewable energy generation has remained insignificant. Only 4 MW of solar power and 2.4 MW of waste-to-energy have been generated. In addition, the country can produce only 2,400 MW of hydropower, 187 MW of biomass energy and 159 MW of wind power compared to the respective potential capacities of 7,000 MW, 2,000 MW and 8,000 MW.

    Kien told the Daily that coal-fired thermal power plants can still burn biomass material alongside coal to generate electricity, which has been applied in many other countries.

    Vietnam should issue preferential policies to encourage investors to join in renewable energy development projects such as tax exemption for enterprises implementing such projects and for imported equipment. Besides, the Government should have policies to encourage the Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) to purchase all power from renewable projects.

    He also proposed increasing power prices as the current prices are too low to attract investors. Wind power is being sold at 7.8 U.S. cents per kWh, biomass energy at 5.8 cents, biogas energy 7.18 cents, waste-to-energy 10.05 cents and solar power 9.35 cents.

    Samsung continues to look for Vietnam suppliers

    The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade is calling on domestic enterprises to participate in an exhibition by Samsung Electronics, which is to take place in HCMC next month to seek suppliers.

    Particularly, Samsung is looking for domestic suppliers for 59 kinds of components and accessories that fall into three groups, including motor, tuner and automaton equipment. Enterprises can visit the official website of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade at www.congthuonghcm.vn to download the list of those components.

    This is Samsung’s annual activity to seek Vietnamese firms with the potential to become its suppliers. The company will send experts to factories of potential firms for direct inspections to select the most appropriate partners.

    Interested enterprises should submit a registration form to the HCMC Center of Supporting Industries Development (CSID) before 4:00 p.m. on September 15, 2017. For further information, contact My Thinh on 0938.006.608 or email: thinhdtm@gmail.com, or Quang Trung on 0888.109.339 or email: csid.showroom@gmail.com.

    Bac Ninh to invest VND570 billion in smart city project

    The northern province of Bac Ninh is planning to invest VND570 billion (US$25.3 million) in a smart city data center, the provincial government said on its website.

    The provincial Department of Information and Communications will serve as the owner of the project, which will be implemented by the National Institute of Information and Communications Strategy under the Ministry of Information and Communications.

    The investor will develop a data center, cloud computing, cyber security solutions, network and software systems.

    The project is aimed at building information technology infrastructure as a platform to develop a smart city so that integrated data can be shared. The center is expected to provide necessary information to support the authorities in management and offer smart services for local people and enterprises.

    Bac Ninh authorities have asked the Department of Information and Communications to carefully consider the project for its effective operation. The department will have to choose an appropriate investment form to avoid wastefulness and facilitate center users.

    Work begins on second quay of Long An Port

    Work on the second quay of Long An International Port commenced last week and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2018.

    The quay will be 210 meters long and capable of handling 50,000 DWT vessels, raising the total length of quays 1 and 2 to 420 meters.

    In addition to the quay and a complete container yard, the port’s investor is improving infrastructure facilities and services to serve import and export of rice, fertilizer, animal feed, iron and steel and other commodities.

    Long An International Port is located on the bank of the Soai Rap River in Long An Province’s Can Giuoc District. The project has seven phases with total investment capital of over VND9 trillion (some US$400 million) and will be fully in place in 2023.

    The port is developed on an area of 147 hectares with seven quays having a combined length of 2.6 kilometers to handle vessels of 30,000 -70,000 DWT, and five domestic wharfs capable of receiving 2,000 DWT ships.

    Phase one of the project is capable of handling 4.8 million tons of loose goods and 700,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU) a year. The entire port after completion will have a total capacity of 15 million tons of goods and 3.5 million TEUs a year.

    Long An International Port is part of the Long An Southeast Asia Port and Trading Center and Urban Area of Can Giuoc District with a total area of 1,935 hectares as approved under Decision No. 362/QD-UBND dated February 02, 2007 of Long An Province People’s Committee.

    The whole project requires a total of US$1 billion and is a 50:50 joint venture between Dong Tam Group and VinaCapital Group.

    HCMC suspends much-touted bus rapid transit project

    The HCMC Department of Transport has announced to suspend the city’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line which runs along Vo Van Kiet and Mai Chi Tho avenues and develop a high-quality bus route instead.

    According to the department’s study on BRT line’s feasibility and efficiency that was submitted to the HCMC government in late August 2017, the BRT line will only be profitable if it goes through crowded residential areas.

    The study shows that the number of passengers using BRT in the first year after completion should be some 17,700 a day, much lower than the previous forecast of 24,700. The number of BRT’s potential customers is not higher than that of ordinary bus routes, but a BRT line requires a huge VND3 trillion (nearly US$144 million).

    Therefore, the HCMC Department of Transport proposed developing a high-quality bus route instead, which is more suitable to the city’s current infrastructure.

    According to the department, a high-quality bus route requires less capital than a BRT line because it does not need an intelligent transport system (ITS), bus ticketing equipment, modern bus stops, hi-tech buses and other complex facilities.

    Besides, a high-quality bus route project might be funded by official development assistance (ODA). With the same amount of capital, it would be more cost-effective to develop a high-quality bus route together with a large-scale operation management center than a costly BRT line.

    At a meeting held to present the feasibility study of the BRT line, the Urban-Civil Works Construction Investment Management Authority (UCCI) said it had conducted four studies and analyzed the efficiency of the BRT in Hanoi City as well as other cities in South America, Europe and Asia, and found that this transport mode is not suitable to the city’s current conditions.

    Wrapping up the meeting, HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen approved the HCMC Department of Transport’s proposal to suspend the BRT project, and said a high-quality bus route would be more efficient and could be upgraded to a BRT line after 5-10 years.

    According to the initial plan, the city’s first BRT line stretches 23 kilometers from An Lac Roundabout in Binh Chanh District through districts Binh Tan, 6, 5 and 1 before ending at Cat Lai Intersection in District 2.

    The project is forecast to cost nearly US$144 million, with the World Bank lending US$123 million, and is scheduled to be up and running in late 2019.

    Tokyo introduces tourism products in HCMC

    Representatives of Tokyo, Japan on September 11 introduced new tourism products and services in entertainment, shopping and hotels, and supporting services to travel companies in HCMC.

    In the past, tourists found it difficult to look for hotel rooms in Tokyo, so the city has built new hotels with an additional 5,000 guest rooms this year. The number will surge by 2020 as many hotels are under construction.

    Tokyo authorities have also established multilingual call centers and tourism information centers so that visitors to the city can easily look for necessary information or book hotel rooms. Information signs are also set up outside to serve visitors.

    Japan is among the most-visited destinations for Vietnamese tourists, especially Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

    According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of Vietnamese tourists to Japan hit 233,000 in 2016, four times higher than in 2012. In the first seven months of this year, Japan welcomed 181,900 Vietnamese arrivals, up 28.6% year-on-year.

    At the end of March, the Japan Tourism Agency, JNTO and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism promotion. Vietnam expects to welcome one million Japanese visitors by 2018 compared to more than 740,000 arrivals last year, and the number of Vietnamese visitors to Japan is expected to reach 500,000, doubling the number in 2016.

    Vietnam-AV Show 2017 to be launched on Friday

    Vietnam-AV Show 2017, an exhibition on audiovisual equipment, is set to take place from Friday to Sunday this week at the 272 Conference Center in HCMC.

    The exhibition is expected to attract more than 25 distributors of high-end audio equipment, home theater systems, and audiovisual and electronics household appliances.

    The three-day event features 23 audiovisual rooms which are designed to deliver audio and visual experience to participants. Besides, there are 10 booths displaying audio and visual products and accessories, according to the organizer, Nam Binh Advertising Co Ltd.

    The retailer chain Mai Nguyen Luxury Mobile will team up with Japan’s Sony Corporation to set up soundbar home theaters at the event.

    Anh Duy Audio, a distributor of audio equipment, will introduce the latest Callas Diva speakers of Opera, an Italian firm specializing in walnut loudspeakers, together with Denon PMA-2500NE amplifiers.

    Paramax, another domestic audio brand, will establish standard karaoke rooms using Japan’s F-2000 series speakers which give participants an opportunity to sing songs with fresh effects.

    A speaker distributor, Saigon Audiovisual Private Enterprise, will offer AIA Cinema’s 3D Ascendo Immersive Audio systems.

    Culture week celebrates ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary in Mexico

    A culture week celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) kicked off in Mexico on September 12.

    The event was held by the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico and Embassies of ASEAN members in the country, including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Victor Giorgana, Head of the Chamber of Deputies' Committee for External Affairs, hailed the significance of the event in boosting the two sides’ relations.

    Developing cooperation with ASEAN, especially in trade and investment, is part of Mexico’s market diversification strategy, he added.

    At a workshop held as part of the event, ambassadors of ASEAN member states briefed participants on the history of ASEAN, the ASEAN Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the bloc’s development plans.

    Vietnamese Ambassador Le Linh Lan highlighted the central role of ASEAN in the regional architecture in maintaining peace, stability, prosperity in Asia-Pacific.

    The culture week also included art performances, a cuisine festival and a photo exhibition.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET


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  • 09/13/17--02:59: Article 1
  • Social News 13/9


    Khmer pagoda helps disadvantaged children attend school


      Khmer pagoda helps disadvantaged children attend school - ảnh 1

    Located in Lai Hoa commune, Soc Trang province, the Khmer’s Lakhanawong Xung Thum Pagoda has nurtured many disadvantaged students. VOV’s Thach Hong reports on how the pagoda has helped children in difficult circumstances attend school.

    Lakhanawong Xung Thum Pagoda is caring for 21 children from different areas of Soc Trang. They are orphaned or abandoned or born into families with economic difficulties.
    Monk Tran Huyen, deputy head of the pagoda, said “We looked at the difficult situation of certain children and decided to help them continue their education.”

    The children are provided accommodation and exempted from school fees. On weekends they can go home to visit their relatives, if they wish. Danh Sang, a 5th grader at Lai Hoa primary school, has been raised by the pagoda.

    "I had to earn money by catching fish to pay my school fees. My family is very poor. I have 4 brothers. My grandparent brought me to the pagoda. The monks buy clothes, textbooks, and notebooks, for me to go to school,” he said.

    After school hours, the children play sports and games with each other. 9th grader Tang Chai of Lai Hoa Secondary School, who has lived at the pagoda for nearly a year, said “It’s very fun to stay at the pagoda because I have many friends there. I often confide in the pagoda’s chief monk because I don’t have parents. The monk said he will help me learn the trade I want to follow.”

    Local officials have also done much to help these disadvantaged children continue their studies.

    "What the monks at Xung Thum pagoda have done is meaningful to the community, especially local ethnic people and disadvantaged children. We’ll seek ways to expand the model,” said Le Van Vui, head of Vinh Chau town’s education sector.

    At times the pagoda has as many as 40 children, some from other provinces in the Mekong Delta region.

    Monk Tran Huyen said “Talented people and intellectuals are an important resource for society’s development. We want to help these children as much as possible and hope they will become useful members of society.”

    Each year the pagoda also organizes classes for students from Soc Trang province and beyond to help them have a better future.

    Tam Hải Island designated as eco-tour site

    The central province of Quang Nam has designated the Tam Hải Island commune in Núi Thành District as an eco-tour site, ecological buffer zone and global geo-park site.

    Chairman of Núi Thành District’s people’s committee, Huỳnh Văn Mau, told Việt Nam News the eco-park on the 15sq.km island off the coast of Núi Thành District would be similar to Chàm Island-Hội An, a world biosphere reserve, and Lý Sơn Island off Quảng Ngãi Province. Early this year, Quảng Nam province in co-operation with Quảng Ngãi launched a new cruise tour that takes in the three islands.

    He said the island would focus on development of community-based tourism rather than resorts and hotels, while boosting mangrove forest and climate change resilience.
    Nguyễn Văn Phong from the provincial Urban and Rural Area Planning Institute said the tourism plan would help protect the environment and primary mangrove forest on the island, as well as its historical relic and cultural value. Phong said the plan also includes re-planting coconut trees, as well as changing aquaculture farms into coastal protected mangrove forests.

    He said the province would draw up a plan to submit the island for recognition as a global geo-park in the future.

    The fishing Island was populated 600 years ago and its historical vestiges can still be seen in Thuận An Hamlet at the foot of Bàn Than Mountain.

    Islanders have preserved 5km of coral reef and a 7.5ha primary mangrove forest for centuries.Tam Hải also protects the largest grave in the central region – where 500 whales that died on the coast or offshore are buried.

    The 8,400-population commune, a five-minute boat trip from Núi Thành District, is an ideal destination for adventure trips and a green, peaceful vacation. Around 700 visitors come there on weekends.

    In 2015, the French-influenced Le Domaine De Tam Hải Resort on the island was given a Certificate of Excellence by the travel website TripAdvisor. The 10ha resort includes 11 villas scattered among coconut palms, each with a private terrace and a view of the sea.

    Bridge across Tiền River proposed to relieve traffic

    The Ministry of Transport has been asked to approve the construction of a major bridge across Tiền River, connecting the Mekong Delta provinces of Tiền Giang and Bến Tre.

    The bridge, officially called Rạch Miễu No2 Bridge project, is intended to solve the current traffic overload on Rạch Miễu No1 Bridge and nearby highways, as well as promote economic development in the Mekong Delta. Rạch Miễu No1 Bridge also connects Tiền Giang and Bến Tre and is near the site of the planned second bridge.

    The bridge is expected to cost VNĐ4,434 billion ( US$194.5 million). It will have four lanes with a width of 17 metres and will be designed for vehicles traveling at 80km per hour.

    Though the Ministry of Transport has recently upgraded roads and bridges in the area, a leader of Project Management Unit 7 said that traffic had increased faster than the pace of investment. Traffic congestion frequently occurs on the two-lane Rạch Miễu No1 Bridge, especially when the number of vehicles increases during peak hours and on holidays.

    If the bridge is approved, project preparation is expected to end in the fourth quarter of 2018, and construction on the bridge is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2019. Construction would take five years.

    The overseeing Project Management Unit 7 has called for investment from Korea’s Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF) to support the project. Of the project’s estimated cost of US$194.5 million,  about $153.1 million will come from EDCF’s official development assistance (ODA). The rest ($41.4 million) will come from reciprocal capital from the Government.

    Hưng Yên proposes road toll exemption, relocation

    Authorities in northern province of Hưng Yên have proposed the two ministries of transport and finance offer an exemption or reduction of BOT road tolls for all vehicles passing through toll station No. 1 on the section of National Highway 5 through the province.

    Under the proposal signed by Vice Chairman of Hưng Yên Province’s People’s Committee Bùi Thế Cứ on Tuesday, which was sent to the two ministries, the provincial authority reconfirmed that toll collection at toll station No. 1 was to reimburse funds under the financial plan of the Hà Nội- Hải Phòng Expressway Project.

    However, it proposed the Ministry of Finance to consider amending and supplementing Circular No. 153/2015/TT-BTC, dated October 2, 2015, by reducing road tolls for all vehicles passing through toll station No 1.

    The provincial People’s Committee also expected that the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC (Vidifi) – the major investor and company that operates the toll station – would exempt fees for personal vehicles belonging to locals in communes and wards within a radius of 5km from the toll station, including Trưng Trắc, Lạc Hồng, Đình Dù and Như Quỳnh in Văn Lâm District, Bần Yên Nhân in Mỹ Hào District, and Giai Phạm and Nghĩa Hiệp in Yên Mỹ District.

    In particular, the committee requested to move toll station No. 1, which is currently located at km 18+100 on National Highway 5 in Văn Lâm District, to the contiguous position between Hưng Yên Province and Hà Nội City or between Hưng Yên and Hải Dương provinces.

    Explaining the move, the authority said it was aimed at preventing and limiting the number of vehicles circulating on inter-provincial roads to avoid the toll stations.

    At the same time, the authority said it would help ensure the stability of local life and control traffic safety in the areas.

    Toll station No. 1 on the section of Highway 5 through Hưng Yên Province has become a hot spot over the past several days, when many drivers using small currency of VNĐ200-500 (less than US$0.02) to buy tickets at the station.

    The action, which was reportedly a protest against the unreasonable toll collection, led to traffic jams for many hours and severely affected traffic safety and social security in the area.

    Hưng Yên Province had to mobilise all its forces, including mobile police and traffic police, in co-ordination with investors, to maintain social security by streamlining and regulating vehicles passing through the toll booths.

    The province’s authority also warned that in the future, public disturbances would likely occur at the stations when the drivers paid the toll with stacks of small change  to protest the high fees and the unsafe road.

    Vidifi on Wednesday asked for a police investigation into alleged public disturbances at toll station No 1.

    A video clip showing drivers paying with stacks of small change at one of Vidifi’s toll stations first appeared on social media on August 27, according to the company.

    Not content with the disruption they had caused, the drivers then turned around to go through the station again armed with more change, before parking horizontally across the road in protest.

    The incident was repeated again on Tuesday afternoon with drivers driving slowly and paying with small change, resulting in a traffic jam.

    At present, some 15,000-16,000 vehicles pass through the toll station daily, most of them being trucks. The lowest toll is VNĐ40,000 ($1.8) and the highest is VNĐ180,000 ($7.9) depending on the vehicle size and capacity.

    Earlier this month, drivers also protested against a toll station on National Highway 1 in the southern province of Tiền Giang by paying with stacks of small change.

    Tiền Giang authorities said they would propose a cut in the toll fee, while the transport ministry would decide if the station should be moved.

    Phú Yên pilots solar-powered watering system for sugarcane farm

    The central province of Phu Yen is piloting a solar-powered watering system for sugarcane farms in Sơn Hòa District.

    The province said the solar power system, built with total investment of VNĐ140 million (US$6,200), will supply 10 kilowatts per hour (Kwh) for a 10ha sugar cane farm each day.

    It’s the first off-grid solar power system that has been developed on a farm in central Việt Nam, where the national power grid connection is limited.

    The province said the system would help farmers in remote areas water their crops in case of a power grid blackout.

    According to the project developer, the HCM City-based SolarBK company, the system uses a control application on a smart phone for remote operation.

    Sơn Hòa is one of three key districts farming sugarcane on 12,000ha out of a provincial total 26,000ha of sugarcane farms.

    Sixteen investors have been seeking investment in solar power, wind power and gas-driven power projects in the province.

    Last month, the province officially launched the first stage of the 30MW (Megawatts) biomass power plant.

    Phú Yên province also operates a solar-powered public lighting system and automatic watering at a 6ha public park in Tuy Hòa City.

    Vietnamese, Cambodian women’s unions sign agreement
     

     vietnamese, cambodian women’s unions sign agreement hinh 0 

    The Vietnamese Women’s Union (VWU) and Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) on September 12 signed a cooperation agreement for 2017-2022, focused on sharing information and experience in enhancing gender equality.

    The document was signed by VWU President Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and CWPD President Men Sam An after their talks in Phnom Penh.

    At the talks, Men Sam An lauded the Vietnamese union’s initiatives and programmes in developing the two countries’ friendship.

    She expressed her hope that the unions will continue strengthening cooperation in numerous fields, especially in sharing experience.

    For her part, Ha proposed the two sides focus cooperation on educating women and young generations about bilateral relations, sharing information, and signing cooperation agreements between localities.

    The VWU will help train female officials for the Cambodian side, she affirmed.

    While in Cambodia, the VWU delegation also presented gifts to poor households in Steung Treng, Kampong Thom and Prey Veng provinces.

    The VWU delegation’s activities in Cambodia formed part of the “Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia goodwill coach trip” that began on September 4 going through the three countries. The trip will end in Vietnam on September 16 with a forum featuring the three countries’ women working to foster friendship and cooperation to realise sustainable development goals by 2030.

    Cai luong show to raise money for poor farmers

    Dozens of veteran and young cai luong (reformed theatre) artists and singers will perform at HCM City Theatre for a charity programme to raise funds for poor farmers living in the Mekong Delta provinces.

    The 90-minute concert, Vang Trang Me (Mother is the Moon), will feature cai luong stars like Ngoc Giau and Phuong Hong Thuy, together with young singers Quang Thanh and Kim Anh. Vietnamese-American singer Khanh Ly will be a guest artist.

    They will stage songs in praise of love and women composed by veteran artists Trinh Cong Son and Pham Duy. Famous extracts from historical cai luong plays will also be highlighted.

    "Our annual concert which began in 2012 aims to raise money to upgrade and build bridges in remote areas of the region," said 54-year-old actress and director Thanh Thuy, the event’s organiser.

    “We hope our art will encourage more associations and individuals, including artists in theatre and movie, to work for charity,” she said.

    All of the artists taking part in the event will perform for free. They will also donate clothes, food and money.

    Last year, Vang Trang Me raised over 500 million VND (22,000 USD) to build five bridges in Long An, Tien Giang and Dong Thap provinces.  

    Thuy began her professional career after graduating from the HCM City Theatre & Cinematography in 1992.

    She later worked with her colleagues, Quoc Thao and Thanh Hoang, opening and developing the 5B Small Drama Theatre, one of the region’s leading drama troupes.

    She has performed in more than 200 plays, videos and movies.

    In 2003, she began working as a theatre director for dozens of State-owned and private drama troupes. She won several top prizes for the best dramatic actress and director at national professional drama festivals and contests.

    In 2011, she won the Favourite Dramatic Actress award presented by HCM City Television.  

    The show Vang Trang Me will open at 8pm on September 15 at 26/6A Nguyen Binh Khiem St in District 1. Tickets are available at the theatre’s box office.-

    Comprehensive childcare and development enhanced

    A project on comprehensive childcare and development and healthcare system reform in Việt Nam was recently approved by the Government.

    The four-year project, funded by the UN Children Fund (UNICEF), will start this year in Hà Nội, the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum, and the northern province of Điện Biên.

    The project was financed by a non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) source worth over US$5.1 million (equal to VNĐ112 billion), with Vietnamese Government’s counterpart fund of over VNĐ16 billion in cash, and VNĐ8 billion provided in the form of transfering facilities, staff and expertise.

    The project aims to improve child and maternity healthcare services to enhance the comprehensive development of children.

    The project will focus on improving healthcare, nutrition and environmental hygiene for children, especially vulnerable groups, to ensure social integration and equality for the cause of human resource quality in the future.

    The project will be caried out in community and local healthcare clinics, and focus on improving the qualifications of health workers from central to local levels.

    Media plans on behavioural changes, mother and child healthcare, vaccination and nutrition, as well as clean water and environmental hygiene will be extensively promoted.
    The Prime Minister has asked the Health Ministry to review the project’s contents to avoid overlap with other foreign and State budget-funded projects.

    The ministry was also made in charge of setting up a mechanism for project management and implementation to ensure the project’s effectiveness and progress.

    Vietnam-China Friendship Association of Vinh Long holds first congress

    The Vietnam-China Friendship Association of southern Vinh Long province held its first congress for the 2017-2022 term on September 12, where 17 members of the executive board were elected.

    Pham Tu Phuong, Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, was elected as chairman of the association.

    The association plans to continue working as a bridge for exchanges in innovations in industry, agriculture, healthcare, and education between Vietnam and China. It will also pave the way for cooperation in trade and economy, science and technology, education, culture, sports and tourism between Vinh Long and partners from China.

    Speaking at the event, Chinese Consul General in HCM City Chen Dehai praised the Vietnam-China friendship, saying it is a valuable asset for both countries. He also lauded the role the Vietnam-China Friendship Association has played in fostering cooperation between the province and Chinese localities.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lu Quang Ngoi, for his part, asked the association to establish close ties with the Chinese Embassy and Consulate General to work together in implementing its action programmes. He urged the association to help local businesses, workers, and students access more opportunities for cultural exchange, education, employment and investment in China.

    According to Ngoi, Vinh Long is home to about 5,000 Chinese people, accounting for 0.5 percent of its population.

    Workshop navigates towards free, open seas of Asia

    “Navigating Towards the Free and Open Seas of Asia: The Role of Maritime Law in Maintaining Good Order at Sea” was the theme of a workshop in Hanoi on September 12.

    The event, which was held by the Embassies of the UK and Japan in Vietnam in conjunction with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), brought together experts from the UK, Japan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Indonesia.

    The workshop stressed the importance of the rule of law in maintaining peace and security at sea in the region and discussed practical measures to narrow gaps of awareness between countries of ensuring maritime security and enhancing economic development.

    The participants also talked about how ASEAN and its partners can coordinate with each other to maintain order at sea.

    In his opening remarks, DAV Director Nguyen Vu Tung said the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 should be considered the initial step that helps clarify regulations stipulated in maritime law and develop policies regarding disputes in the East Sea.

    UK Ambassador to Vietnam Giles Lever stressed remarkable developments since the court issued the ruling, saying the UK understands that the decision is binding and should be respected.

    The adoption of the framework of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) is an important step as it creates conditions for the COC to become a meaningful document that can promote cooperation and peaceful development in the East Sea.

    Japanese Ambassador Kunio Umeda said since the ruling was announced, the international order in Asia-Pacific has not been fully implemented.

    Water plant for poor residents inaugurated
     

      

    A clean water plant for poor residents was inaugurated on Monday in Cái Đôi Vàm Town, Phú Tân District, in the southern-most province of Cà Mau.

    The plant has a total investment of more than VNĐ550 million (US$24,400). Some VNĐ500 million ($22,200) comes from the HCM City Fund for the Nation’s Island and the remainder comes from sponsors solicited by the Cà Mau Fatherland Front Committee.

    The plant will supply clean water to more than 100 households.

    Local residents must hand in a small fee to maintain the plant, which is about half the market price for clean water.

    Vietnam, Cambodia news agencies urged to promote cooperation

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has pledged that the Party, State and Government of Vietnam always back the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Cambodia’s news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) to further bolster their cooperation in the future.

    At a meeting with AKP Deputy General Director Keo Chandara in Hanoi on September 12, the Deputy PM said that the two agencies should actively work together to provide people of both sides with accurate news of the two countries and their sound relations.

    VNA and AKP should continue their traditional affiliation activities and seek new measures to improve cooperation efficiency, he said, adding that both sides should make full use of opportunities from the digital era.

    Along with contributing to the bilateral ties, the two agencies should strengthen cooperation in the framework of ASEAN and other regional and international collaboration mechanisms to which they are members, said the Deputy PM.

    He highlighted that Vietnam always gives top priority to the reinforcement and development of friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation with Cambodia. He lauded the VNA’s launching of a news column on the Vietnam-Cambodia relations on the occasion of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Year 2017.

    He told his guest that 2017 is a special year for external activities in Vietnam as it plays hosts the APEC Year 2017, asking the AKP to actively cooperate with the VNA to popularize the images of Vietnam, its people, culture and foreign relations achievements to Cambodian people and international friends.

    For his part, Kep Chandara briefed his host on the outcomes of his talks with VNA leaders.

    He said the two agencies reached an agreement on the promotion of cooperation and mutual support in professional activities, as well as the upgrade of infrastructure system, thus contributing to deepening mutual understanding and friendship between people of both countries.

    12th PHAMEDI Vietnam to draw 400 firms

    The 12th Vietnam International Exhibition on Products, Equipment, Supplies for Medical, Pharmaceutical, Hospital and Rehabilitation (PHARMEDI Vietnam) will take place from September 20-23 in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the organising board.

    It will have the largest scale so far with over 600 booths to be installed by more than 400 companies from 25 countries and territories.

    The exhibition will showcase medical products, equipment for production and packing of the medical sector, as well as medical equipment, healthcare services and medical environmental technology.

    The event will include a free diabetes and heart diseases screening and consultations for both children and adults.

    Nguyen Dinh Anh, head of the Department of Communications, Emulation and Awards of the Ministry of Health said that the exhibition will gather over 150 foreign firms with top world brands which are expected to bring the latest technology in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.

    This is a chance for enterprises to seek new partners, expand market and update technology, he said.

    First held in 2016, the PHARMEDI Vietnam has become the most waited event in medical and pharmaceutical areas.

    Last year, the event drew 10,587 visitors who visited 550 booths by domestic and foreign firms.

    Experts discuss clinical management of new infectious diseases

    A conference was held in Hanoi on September 12 to discuss the clinical management of acute respiratory infection and newly emerging communicable diseases.

    Addressing the event, Associate Professor, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said that Vietnam is a hot spot of newly emerging communicable diseases with high risks of becoming an epidemic.

    In recent years, Vietnam has countered SARS, influenza A virus subtypes H1N1 and H5N1, foot-and-mount disease, and measles, and it is battling dengue fever. The fatality ratio from the diseases was estimated at 30 percent in 2010.

    Currently, patients have enjoyed easy and quick access to health care services. However, health care facilities have been in frequent overload conditions, especially central hospitals.

    Khue said that the improvement of capacity in clinical management of infectious diseases is a priority of the Ministry of Health. He also pointed to various policies and projects in the field.

    Since 2012, with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment has evaluated the capacity and demand for training in the clinical management of acute respiratory infection, as well as in building training programmes and translating the guidelines of the WHO.

    At the event, participants also assessed the real situation and defined orientations for the management of the clinical management of acute respiratory infection and newly-emerging communicable diseases in Vietnam. They also shared their real experience in the field.

    Fine arts exhibition marks VN-Laos, VN-Cambodia diplomatic ties


      

    The Vietnam-Laos- Cambodia fine arts exhibition opened in the central city of Da Nang on September 12.

    The event is part of activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties, 40 years of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic relations.

    It displays 55 works by 22 artists, including give from Cambodia, five from Laos and 12 from Da Nang city.

    Within the framework of the exhibition, there are tours of Da Nang's tourist attractions like Son Tra Peninsula and Hai Van Pass and Hoi An ancient town in the neighbouring province of Quang Nam, a camp and an exchange for the artists.

    The exhibition, which will last until September 26, aims to offer an opportunity for the artists to share experience as well as enhance the friendship between the three countries.

    Tay Ninh builds more bridges in border areas

    The southwestern province of Tay Ninh on September 12 started the building of five bridges in remote and border districts of Tan Chau, Chau Thanh and Hoa Thanh to support local people.

    These are among 21 bridges to be built in the province with a total cost of over 56 billion VND (2.46 million USD) sourced from the Local Bridge Construction and Road Asset Management (LRAMP) project, approved by the Government and the Ministry of Transport.

    According to the provincial Department of Transport, each bridge will cost over two billion VND (88,000 USD).

    The rest 16 bridges are expected to be built within this year to facilitate locals’ travel and agricultural products transport.

    The LRAMP project has total funds of nearly 409 million USD in loans from the World Bank.

    Under the project, 2,000 bridges are being built in 50 provinces and cities across the nation from 2016-2020.

    Rise in deaths from drinking methanol-tainted wine

    As per Bach Mai hospital’s Poison Center, its doctors have saved many cases of poisoning from wine. They all drank wine that contained poisonous quantities of methyl alcohol.

    Since the beginning of the year, there has been a rise of hospitalized people relating to methanol-tainted wine. 48 people had been taken to the center; the figure is equal to the whole year of 2016.
    Patients are from Hanoi and northern provinces either. The mortality rate fluctuates from 20 percent to 30 percent.

    Those who escaped deaths spent hundreds of millions Vietnam dong and most of them suffer nerve and brain damage and visual disturbances such as blurred vision, tunnel vision, changes in colour perception, and temporary or permanent blindness.

    HCMC strives to become a regional animal and plant breeding centre

    Ho Chi Minh City must meet at least 30% of the market demand for plant varieties and animal breeds if it wishes to become a centre for plant and animal breeding in the Southern region, stated Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City's Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan.

    He also emphasised the importance of the links and involvement between farmers, scientists, investors and the government in turning Ho Chi Minh City into an animal and plant breeding centre in the region.

    He made the remarks while attending a workshop on applying science and technology to developing agriculture in Ho Chi Minh City, in order to turn the city into an animal and plant breeding centre meeting the demand of the provinces in the South-western and South-eastern regions.

    The event was held by the Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on September 12.

    Secretary Nhan noted that if Ho Chi Minh City wants to maintain agricultural production, it must find solutions in order to increase the income of local farmers. Otherwise, farmers would quit their farm work and the city would be unable to retain the farmland.

    "The land area used for agricultural production occupies 55% of the total city's area, but agricultural production contributes only 0.8% to the city's GDP. Meanwhile, other industries make up 99% of the city's GDP but use only 8% of the total land area", Nhan said.

    He added that this situation places great pressure on managers as the industry and service sectors also need land to expand and develop.

    To enhance the value of agricultural production, the city has identified hi-tech agriculture as its key target and is striving to become a centre of plant and animal breeding in the region, Nhan said.

    To achieve this target, Secretary Nhan stressed the significance of the connection between farmers, scientists, the government and investors and the ability of providing at least 30% of the plant varieties and animal breeds for the whole South-western and South-eastern regions.

    In addition, he noted that farmers cannot study market demand, requiring the city to undertake this task for them in order to forecast market demand and instruct the farmers.

    North-South toll fees too high

    If drivers of trucks of 18 tons or 40-foot semi-trailers travel from the northern province of Lang Son to the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, they will go through 29 tollgates on National Highway 1A and pay a total of VND4.8 million (US$211) each, new data revealed on September 11.

    The data of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam under the Transport Ministry shows 29 tollgates are located on the cross-country highway, plus five tollgates on National Highway 14 in the Central Highlands.

    A slew of build-operate-transfer (BOT) road tollgates have emerged in recent years, making life more difficult for trucking companies, as they are obliged to pay prohibitively high toll fees. Worse still, they have to pay road maintenance fees, which are collected annually or quarterly. As such, these transport costs have spiked goods prices.

    According to the directorate, if drivers travel from Lang Son to Bac Lieu on National Highway 1A, they will have to pay a total toll fee ranging from VND865,000 to VND4.5 million, depending on types of vehicle.

    In addition, drivers on National Highway 14 will have to pay a maximum of VND940,000 if they pass through five tollgates in total along this stretch.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 09/13/17--03:34: Article 0
  • ‘Water taxi’ among award-winning solutions to solve Hanoi’s traffic nightmare

    A ‘water taxi’ service is proposed to connect the northern and southern sides of West Lake

     

    An artist's impression of a 'water taxi'

    While local media and the public were unhappy that the prize-winning entry of a contest seeking solutions to Hanoi’s traffic congestion was undisclosed, they may be surprised to find out what that solution is.

    The contest, launched by the Hanoi administration and transport department in January, found no winner for its whopping grand prize of US$200,000 and awarded only the second prize which went to a joint entry submitted by a Vietnamese entity and two Japanese partners.

    Five other shortlisted submissions received $25,000 in support each.

    The contest organizers held an awards ceremony in secret at Hanoi’s administration headquarters last Friday, with the public kept in the dark on details of the winning entry.

    Amongst disagreement from local media and the public, details about the second-prize winner, jointly proposed by the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning (VIUP), Nikken Sekkei Civi Engineering LTD (NSC), and Nikken Sekkei Reseach Institute (NSRI), were finally publicized on Tuesday.

    The three-member team proposed a set of solutions, including developing a ‘water taxi’ service, building a new belt road and improving the city’s existing bus system.

    According to the proposal, the ‘water taxi’ service will run only on the Ho Tay (West Lake), reducing traffic pressure when traveling between the lake’s northern and southern sides and adding to the capital’s tourism offering.

    Several ‘water taxi’ stops are proposed at squares, parks and public places around the 550-hectare lake. The stations will be situated at least one kilometer apart from each another. If people want to walk between two stops, the real distance around the lake will be five kilometers, according to the proposal.
    ​‘Water taxi’ among award-winning solutions to solve Hanoi’s traffic nightmare 
    The 'water taxi' stops on West Lake

    Tuoitrenews


    0 0
  • 09/14/17--01:47: Article 2
  • Tran Dinh Long, Ngo Chi Dung shine among billionaires’ community


    Tran Dinh Long continues to conquer new heights while Trinh Van Quyet remains in the first position on the list of the richest stock billionaires. 


    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, Tran Dinh Long, Trinh Van Quyet, stock billionaire

    Meanwhile, Ngo Chi Dung ‘swims against the current’ but Duong Cong Minh is encountering difficulties.

    After a seven month boom, most of the shares which had impressive growth are now facing resistance thresholds. The pressure of profit taking caused the market to fall back and trading floors once again lit red.

    However, the VN Index still rose for the fifth consecutive trading session thanks to the price increases of a series of blue chips, including Sabeco shares (SAB), Faros (ROS) of Trinh Van Quyet, Habeco (BHN), VP Bank (VPB) of Ngo Chi Dung and Hoa Phat Group (HPG) of Tran Dinh Long.

    Quyet continues topping the list of the richest stock billionaires thanks to the continued price increase of ROS which has hit VND117,000 per share.

    The billionaire now holds 318 million ROS which means his stock assets have reached VND38 trillion, or $1.7 billion.


    After a seven month boom, most of the shares which had impressive growth are now facing resistance thresholds. The pressure of profit taking caused the market to fall back and trading floors once again lit red.

    ROS always has very high liquidity. On September 6, ROS trading value accounted for 20 percent of the market liquidity. The figure is 13 percent so far this year, higher than that of nearly 1,000 other shares.

    Analysts commented that the stock market has become busy recently partially thanks to the boom of ROS and FLC, both of which are Quyet’s businesses.

    ROS made its debut on the stock market last year, but it has made a lot of records. With the high liquidity, the shares have been put into the baskets of investment funds and index calculation groups such as FTSE Vietnam ETF, V.N.M ETF, VN30 and MSCI Frontier Markets Index.

    ROS, a construction firm, has been thriving in a bustling real estate market, implementing construction works for all of FLC Group projects.

    The stock market continues witnessing the strong rise of real estate, construction and building material shares, including HPG of Tran Dinh Long.

    HPG price has climbed to an all-time record high of VND36,000 per share, thanks to which Long’s pocket has about $600 million.

    He is now in the fourth position on the list of the richest stock billionaires and is likely to regain the third position which now belongs to Vietjet’s CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

    VPB of VP Bank has bounced back recently to VND39,000 per share. This has helped Ngo Chi Dung’s stock asset value increase to VND2.7 trillion. It is estimated that Dung and his family members now have $300 million worth of shares.

    Meanwhile, Sacombank shares (STB) are still meeting difficulties and its price remains at VND12,000 per share, though it has a new company chair – Duong Cong Minh.

    Luong Bang, VNN


    0 0
  • 09/14/17--01:59: Article 1
  • World Bank announces new cooperation framework with Vietnam


    The World Bank Group will help Vietnam develop a strong private sector, which will be able to get fairer treatment in a level domestic playing field.


    World Bank announces new cooperation framework with Vietnam, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news

    The World Bank Group (WBG) last week announced its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Vietnam for the 2017-2022 period.

    Under the CPF, the proposed WBG framework for engagement in Vietnam for the financial years 2018-2022 is organised around three focus areas, including enabling inclusive growth and private sector participation, investment in people and knowledge, and ensuring environmental sustainability and resilience.

    These areas cover 11 objectives, of which “promoting private sector and agri-business development” is a priority.

    “We will support Vietnam with comprehensive engagement to strengthen private sector development and participation across sectors,” said the World Bank’s country director to Vietnam Ousmane Dione.

    “A stronger private sector is needed to effectively play its role in the national economy as a provider of quality jobs, a contributor to economic growth and national revenue, and an investor in infrastructure development, as well as to enhance Vietnam’s competitiveness,” he stressed.

    Currently, while foreign direct investment is surging in Vietnam, accounting for 70 per cent of the country’s total export revenue, only one out of five Vietnamese private firms are engaged in exports, and even they have limited links to the global value chain.

    Under the CPF, WBG will support Vietnam to strengthen its private sector’s competitiveness, enhance the domestic sector’s integration into the global value chain, and improve the investment climate.

    This will include supporting the government to strengthen and implement a regulatory framework in favour of private sector development and a levelling of the playing field between private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as well as domestic and foreign investors.

    Commenting on WBG’s new CPF, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said, “The CPF marks a new era of co-operation between Vietnam and WBG promoting national and sustainable development.”

    “It is expected that the CPF will help Vietnam reach the status of a high middle-income nation, boosting the country’s administrative and economic reforms. The CPF will also act as an important guideline for Vietnam to effectively use WBG’s support to the country,” Dung stressed.

    On June 3, 2017, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong inked and issued Resolution No.10/NQ-TW of the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the 12th Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee. The resolution aims to develop the private economy into an important driving force of the socialist-oriented market economy.

    Under the resolution, the best conditions are to be extended to the private economy to develop rapidly and sustainably. All impediments and prejudice against private enterprises are to be removed. The private economy is allowed to develop in all sectors that are not banned by law. These firms are encouraged to contribute capital to and purchase stake in equitised and divested SOEs.

    Efforts are being made to achieve Vietnam’s target of having at least one million enterprises by 2020, over 1.5 million by 2025, and at least two million by 2030.

    The resolution set the objective to enhance the private sector to grow faster than the whole economy. The sector’s contribution to the national GDP will be 50 per cent by 2020 (from the current 40 per cent), 55 per cent by 2025, and 60-65 per cent by 2030.

    Indicative World Bank lending programme, FY18-20 ($ million)a


    CPF focus area

    IDAb

    IBRD

    Others

    FY18





    Dynamic cities urban development project

    1

    330



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1

    100



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1



    4.2

    Health service delivery reform project

    2


    80

    15

    GPOBA quality deaf education in Vietnam project

    2



    3

    Ho Chi Minh City flood risk management project

    3


    400


    GEF Mekong delta integrated climate resilience and sustainable livehoods project

    3



    6

    Vietnam HCFC phase-out project stage II

    3



    14.6

    Power sector PDO4

    3

    170



    GCF risk-sharing facility for industrial enterprises

    3



    80

    Climate change and green growth DPO2

    3

    90



    FCPF north central coast region emission reduction programme

    3



    90

    GEF strengthening partnerships to protect endangered wildlife

    3



    3

    Subtotal


    690

    480

    215.8






    FY19/20





    Fiscal governance PDO2

    1

    300



    Ho Chi Minh City subnational PDO2

    1

    100



    Revenue administration for integration and development

    1

    100



    Agriculture restructuring project

    1

    100



    Southern region waterways and transport logistics corridor project

    1


    250


    Vietnam National University project

    2

    100



    EVN solar power project

    3


    200


    Distribution efficiency II

    3


    350


    Power sector reform DPO5

    3

    170



    Mekong Delta water security project

    3


    400


    CAT-DDO

    3


    200


    Subtotal


    870

    1,400


    a. The indicative list is based on government-expressed demand for support and is not exhaustive. All IDA 18 transitional support will be programmed.

    b. IDA transitional support on non-concessional (IBRD-like) terms.






    VIR

    Indicative World Bank lending programme, FY18-20 ($ million)a


    CPF focus area

    IDAb

    IBRD

    Others

    FY18





    Dynamic cities urban development project

    1

    330



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1

    100



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1



    4.2

    Health service delivery reform project

    2


    80

    15

    GPOBA quality deaf education in Vietnam project

    2



    3

    Ho Chi Minh City flood risk management project

    3


    400


    GEF Mekong delta integrated climate resilience and sustainable livehoods project

    3



    6

    Vietnam HCFC phase-out project stage II

    3



    14.6

    Power sector PDO4

    3

    170



    GCF risk-sharing facility for industrial enterprises

    3



    80

    Climate change and green growth DPO2

    3

    90



    FCPF north central coast region emission reduction programme

    3



    90

    GEF strengthening partnerships to protect endangered wildlife

    3



    3

    Subtotal


    690

    480

    215.8






    FY19/20





    Fiscal governance PDO2

    1

    300



    Ho Chi Minh City subnational PDO2

    1

    100



    Revenue administration for integration and development

    1

    100



    Agriculture restructuring project

    1

    100



    Southern region waterways and transport logistics corridor project

    1


    250


    Vietnam National University project

    2

    100



    EVN solar power project

    3


    200


    Distribution efficiency II

    3


    350


    Power sector reform DPO5

    3

    170



    Mekong Delta water security project

    3


    400


    CAT-DDO

    3


    200


    Subtotal


    870

    1,400


    a. The indicative list is based on government-expressed demand for support and is not exhaustive. All IDA 18 transitional support will be programmed.

    b. IDA transitional support on non-concessional (IBRD-like) terms.





    Indicative World Bank lending programme, FY18-20 ($ million)a


    CPF focus area

    IDAb

    IBRD

    Others

    FY18





    Dynamic cities urban development project

    1

    330



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1

    100



    Ho Chi Minh City Subnational DPO1

    1



    4.2

    Health service delivery reform project

    2


    80

    15

    GPOBA quality deaf education in Vietnam project

    2



    3

    Ho Chi Minh City flood risk management project

    3


    400


    GEF Mekong delta integrated climate resilience and sustainable livehoods project

    3



    6

    Vietnam HCFC phase-out project stage II

    3



    14.6

    Power sector PDO4

    3

    170



    GCF risk-sharing facility for industrial enterprises

    3



    80

    Climate change and green growth DPO2

    3

    90



    FCPF north central coast region emission reduction programme

    3



    90

    GEF strengthening partnerships to protect endangered wildlife

    3



    3

    Subtotal


    690

    480

    215.8






    FY19/20





    Fiscal governance PDO2

    1

    300



    Ho Chi Minh City subnational PDO2

    1

    100



    Revenue administration for integration and development

    1

    100



    Agriculture restructuring project

    1

    100



    Southern region waterways and transport logistics corridor project

    1


    250


    Vietnam National University project

    2

    100



    EVN solar power project

    3


    200


    Distribution efficiency II

    3


    350


    Power sector reform DPO5

    3

    170



    Mekong Delta water security project

    3


    400


    CAT-DDO

    3


    200


    Subtotal


    870

    1,400


    a. The indicative list is based on government-expressed demand for support and is not exhaustive. All IDA 18 transitional support will be programmed.

    b. IDA transitional support on non-concessional (IBRD-like) terms.





    VIR


    0 0
  • 09/14/17--02:23: Article 0
  • NA Standing Committee focuses on gender equality


    The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee discussed the Government’s report on the implementation of the National Targets of Gender Equality at a meeting on September 13.


     NA Standing Committee focuses on gender equality, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news
    According to the report, since 2016, gender equality activities have been carried out based on measures set in the National Strategy on Gender Equality in 2011-2020, and National Targets of Gender Equality in 2016-2020.

    The Government had asked localities, related ministries and agencies to realise recommendations by the NA Social Affairs Committee about gender equality enhancement including reviewing the five-year implementation, integrating gender equality issues in legal documents, promoting information dissemination, and fostering knowledge among staff working in gender equality and policy planning in ministries, sectors and localities.

    According to the report, thanks to efforts of ministries, sectors and localities, gender equality implementation had achieved encouraging results. Policies and legal regulations on the issue had been gradually completed, creating favourable conditions for women in various fields.

    The percentage of women in the NA and local People’s councils for 2016-2021 been dramatically increased, however, there were shortcomings in gender equality. So far, only six out of 22 targets in the National Strategy on Gender Equality have fulfilled requirements.

    Many targets were unreachable as they were too ambitious, per the report.

    To enhance gender equality, the Government plans to adjust some targets to ensure their feasibility and effectiveness.

    After assessing the Government report, the NA Social Affairs Committee asked the Government to instruct ministries, sectors and localities to include gender issues in policies and development plans.

    The Government should consider some targets as priorities to realise in the coming year so as to successfully fulfill the strategy.

    In the meeting, the NA Legal Committee’s Chairwoman Le Thi Nga said the report should clarify some issues such as violence against women and girls, women and children trafficking, gender imbalance at birth, and policies on prison female wardens.

    Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Hai, head of the National Assembly’s Ombudsman Committee, said that the report needs to tackle the spate of firings of female workers aged over 35.

    She said the three main reasons of the situation are unclear legal corridors, ineffective inspection, and under-qualified female employees.

    The same day, deputies also discussed revised Law on Environment Protection Tax.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 09/15/17--02:08: Article 1
  • Franchise battle stirring up Vietnamese milk tea market


    The milk tea market is heating up day by day as a number of foreign giants have been opening franchise stores in Vietnam, reviving the trend that once hyped up the beverage market.

    A push from Gong Cha


    Franchise battle stirring up Vietnamese milk tea market, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 

    More than three years ago, the family of Nguyen Hoai Phuong, a young businessman in Ho Chi Minh City, decided to join a new area of business—opening a Taiwanese milk tea franchise in Vietnam.

    His decision came after he and his family members had made numerous leisure and business trips to Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. They actually had a chance to enjoy some tasty cups of milk tea at Gong Cha before Phuong came up with the idea of bringing the drink back to Vietnam.

    “Seeing young people in Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore line up to buy these cups of tea, I could imagine a similar picture in Vietnam. It made me want to bring the Taiwanese tea brand Gong Cha to Vietnam,” Phuong said.

    Afterward, he tried to make direct contact with Royal Tea Taiwan Co., Ltd. (Gong Cha) and the founder of Gong Cha.

    “It took me about six months of talks and negotiations with Royal Tea Taiwan, as well as arranging several face-to-face discussions with the CEO of the company on our capabilities and business plans in Vietnam,” Phuong said.

    In order to become the master franchise of the famous milk tea brand Gong Cha across the entire territory of Vietnam, besides meeting all the strict requirements on financial capacity and business planning for developing the Gong Cha brand name and products in the long term, the Vietnamese candidate had to satisfy a special request Gong Cha put in before signing the franchise contract.

    Accordingly, the main shareholders and the executives of Gong Cha Vietnam were requested to travel to Taiwan and live at Gong Cha's headquarters for two months.

    They first learned how to make milk tea and then visit the milk tea shops on the streets of Taiwan to understand how tea would be sold and stored and the staff would be managed.

    At the end of the course, after learning how to make milk tea in Taiwan, everyone had to pass a writing exam and a practice test of making milk tea to be certified as satisfactory and eligible for operating the franchise. After that, the new franchise contract was officially signed.

    This clearly proves that financial capacity and experience might not be enough without passion and determination.

    Originally born in Taiwan, Gong Cha has been developing under the franchise model in foreign markets, especially in Asian key markets, such as South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, and North America, such as the US and Canada. Particularly, there are more than 1,000 Gong Cha outlets in South Korea.

    Phuong was deeply impressed with Gong Cha’s business model. The brand imposes strict regulations on quality and food hygiene. They also have their own recipes for each drink, making sure they are suitable for all tastes, especially that of young people.

    For example, customers can choose from a variety of teas to suit their tastes. They can then choose to add white or black pearls, aloe vera cubes, grass jelly, and red beans, among others, to the tea. Finally, they can choose the amount of sugar and ice in their cup of milk tea.

    With the family’s experience in operating restaurants and eateries in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, plus their passion of running eatery businesses, by keeping up with the trend amongst young people, Phuong quickly implemented the franchise model of Gong Cha and created his own business model in Vietnam.

    After three years, Gong Cha has 20 outlets in big cities and is expected to have 25 outlets by the end of this year—exceeding the requirement of opening at least 15 outlets in three years stipulated by the headquarters in Taiwan.

    Fierce competition

    Milk tea can be considered a “fun-filled” product because the drink contains numerous chewy ingredients and savoury flavours that people, especially white-collar workers and youngsters, enjoy a lot. Previously, milk tea was just a popular drink for teenagers and students.

    By now, its customer base has expanded and became more diverse. Office workers and middle-aged people are now also considered the target customers of milk tea brands.

    Investors said that the wave of opening milk tea shops in Vietnam today is similar to the coffee shop or eateries trends of the past.

    Over the past few years, milk tea shops have been sprouting on almost every street. However, only foreign giants could build up a good reputation or maintain a high degree of market penetration.

    These brands are competing directly with each other through their store chains, such as Ding Tea, TocoToco, Chatime, ChaGo, ChaChaGo, Bobapop, Citea Fun, Blackball, Tea, Gong Cha, Koi The, T4, Tealive, Queeny or Goky, and a recent addition, Mr. Good Tea.

    Among them, Ding Tea is leading the race with more than 100 points of sale, followed by TocoToco with more than 60 outlets. Meanwhile, Goky has nearly 20 outlets in Hanoi and Mr. Good Tea has over 20 points of sale.

    Given the scale of the Vietnamese market and its growing young population, a lot of foreign milk tea and juice brands will try their luck in the coming time, heating up the battle for market share.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to milk tea, Taiwan is universally accepted as the “home of milk tea,” at least in Asia. This is why Taiwanese milk tea brands are confident in becoming market leaders.

    According to a Q&Me survey published on May 19, 2017, Ding Tea is the most popular chain of milk tea shops among respondents in Hanoi (49 per cent), followed by Toco Toco (16 per cent), and Gong Cha (9 per cent).

    In Ho Chi Minh City, Hot & Cold is the largest chain (22 per cent), followed by Hoa Huong Duong (14 per cent), and Phuc Long (13 per cent).

    However, there are also different viewpoints apart from market share. Accordingly, success arguably depends on a company’s ability to create a product that fits all tastes and still remains unique.

    Some people are in favour of Royal Tea Goky because of its distinctive and luxurious products. The difference is highlighted by Goky’s cream cheese milk tea—a wholly novel innovation breaking with people’s general preconception that milk tea is tea mixed with milk and pearls.

    Meanwhile, Japanese brand Goky is opening tea shops everywhere and are attracting a lot of customers because of their belief in the quality of Japanese tea.

    In addition, the astounding number of milk tea shops run by individual business households in Vietnam gives cause to worry for the main franchisees. A number of them have questioned these shops’ origins of the ingredients, since if a tea shop is found unsafe or unhygienic, it will damage the whole industry, including franchisees from abroad.

    The head offices of franchisors conduct unexpected inspections every year to check product quality and the operation process. In case of violations, there will be warnings and fines. If violations occur three times, the franchise license will be withdrawn. Thus, master franchise units are very cautious in implementing franchising plans in Vietnam.

    “Gong Cha is growing fast, but its franchising in Vietnam is limited because we want to control the quality. It is not like any investor with VND 5-7 billion ($220,260-308,370) can become a franchisee. Nevertheless, the most important criteria for choosing a franchise partner is that the owner must know how to sell the product at all cost,” Phuong said.

    Also, Gong Cha tends to carefully choose its franchisees based on their understanding of local conditions. For each region, Gong Cha will choose a qualified partner with adequate economic capabilities and business perspective to take charge of business expansion.

    Similarly, another Taiwanese milk tea brand, Tra Tien Huong, keeps the number of tea shops low and instead focuses on strengthening its brand name and controlling product quality. According to the franchisee, Tra Tien Huong will not expand in Ho Chi Minh City. Instead, the brand will focus on upgrading its reputation and target the higher-end segments to reinforce its brand name.

    With the dynamic growth of the economy and its young population, Vietnam appears to be a fiercely competitive market for franchised foreign milk tea brands. Apart from attempts to penetrate the market and carefully expand chains, only brands with a well-developed business plan and a captivating product will have the opportunity to survive and thrive.

    VIR


    0 0
  • 09/15/17--02:13: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/9


    Banks cool but VN-Index hits new peak


     

    Bank stocks cooled down on Wednesday but the benchmark VN-Index still hit a new 10-year peak at 802.78 points, equivalent to an increase of 0.36 percent over the previous session.

    This was also the highest level since February 15, 2008.

    The market breadth was positive on the HCM Stock Exchange with 175 stocks rising, 99 falling and 69 closing unchanged.

    Large-cap stocks were the main support with 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the exchange gaining value while nine slumped.

    Gainers on September 13 expanded to a wide range of sectors, from steel industry, retail, food-beverage and energy.

    Hoa Phat Group (HPG), the biggest listed steelmaker, topped advancers, up 4.1 percent at 36,900 VND (1.63 USD) a share. With nearly six million shares changing hands, the shares were among the top 5 most active stocks by market volume.

    Another steel company Hoa Sen Group (HSG) also increased 1.3 percent. Big energy firms such as PV Gas (GAS), PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service (PVD) and Petrolimex (PLX) were up 0.9 percent, 2.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

    Realty stocks saw divergence. Big companies such as VinGroup (VIC), Novaland Investment Group (NVL) and Kinh Bac City Development (KBC) dropped between 1-2.4 percent, smaller firms including Sacomreal (SCR), Khang Dien Investment & Trading House (KDH), Phat Dat Real Estate Development (PDR) and Dat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) climbed 1-4 percent.

    Banks cooled down when three of seven listed lenders advanced, three ended flat and one declined. Three banks maintaining growth yesterday included Vietnam Prosperity Bank (VPB), Sacombank (STB) and Eximbank (EIB).

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index was up 0.68 percent at 104.43 points.

    Despite September 13’s rally, many analysts have warned that liquidity barely improved so the market needs more signals to confirm a steady uptrend.

    A total of 189.5 million shares worth nearly 4.5 trillion VND (198.2 million USD) were traded in the two markets on September 13, down 3 percent in volume and almost unchanged in value compared to  September 12’s figures.

    These levels were also lower than the daily trading volume of 250-300 million shares and value of 5-6 trillion VND per session in the past rallies.

    Aluminium extrusion, galvanised steel escape Australia's anti-subsidy duties

    Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) will not impose anti-subsidy duties on aluminium extrusion and zinc coated (galvanised) steel imported from Vietnam, according to the trade defence department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The ADC initiated the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into the products in August and October 2016.

    The department said Vietnam was accused of subsidising aluminium businesses in three programmes relating to tax incentives.

    Following the investigations, the ADC said that one of the three investigated Vietnamese companies did not receive any incentives from the programmes.

    The other two companies and other producers/exporters received subsidies but the margin was negligible, prompting the ADC to end the subsidy investigation.

    For galvanised steel, the ADC determined that the Vietnamese companies under investigation received subsidies from only three out of 19 programmes relating to tax and investment incentives, with the amount of subsidies also negligible.

    The decision in favour of the Vietnamese side bodes well for future litigation related to trade defence.

    Supplier Day 2017 organised in HCM City

    The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) organised the Supplier Day 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13, drawing the participation of nearly 100 foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises and a large number of local suppliers.

    According to Frank Weiand, co-chair of the AmCham manufacturing committee, the annual event aims to connect FDI manufacturers and local suppliers, thus helping them update each other on the markets and demands.

    In order to join the global supply chain, enterprises are required to produce products with good quality, reasonable prices and production time.

    Local suppliers must improve themselves to meet requirements of quality management systems and production factors to provide products for FDI firms and multi-national groups.

    Pham Quan, Director of the WAHL Vietnam Company, highlighted the significance to the event, saying that it helps FDI enterprises find potential suppliers, thus reducing products’ prices and raise the localisation rate.

    Meanwhile, local businesses can understand expectations of FDI firms for their products, prices and services while taking the occasion to introduce their products and enter the global supply chain.

    Exhibitions help promote support industry

    The Vietnam-Japan Support Industry Exhibition and the Vietnam Support Industry Exhibition 2017 opened in Hanoi on September 13.

    According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, raising the localisation rate in the automobile, garment-textile, footwear, and electronic industries,  and entering the global production and supply chain are important for Vietnam.

    The ministry has been implementing the programme on support industry development from 2016 – 2025 to help local firms apply management systems in line with the global production chain’s requirements, so they can become suppliers for domestic and foreign clients, Khanh said.

    He also expressed his belief that the events will create opportunities for local support industry firms to approach new trends and engineering and technology achievements and meet with potential partners from Japan and other nations.

    The three-day events drew more than 200 brands from 20 nations and territories worldwide, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Singapore, and Thailand.

    Through the exhibitions, participants showcased their advanced technologies for electronic component manufacturers, seeking clients and tightening links with local manufacturers.

    Hironobu Kitagawa, Head Representative of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Hanoi said enterprises need to understand the significant role of the support industry in the entire value chain.

    JETRO is willing to support Vietnamese firms, he pledged.

    French group opens supermarket in Hà Nội

    Auchan Retail Việt Nam opened a new supermarket in Hà Nội on Tuesday, its 15th in Việt Nam.

    The new one is at the Goldsilk Complex, Hà Đông District.

    It stocks food, cosmetics, furniture, clothing and electrical goods and household applicances including traditional ready-to-eat food and Auchan brands.

    Jorge Fernandez Asensio, general director of Auchan Retail Việt Nam, said the company’s commitment is “low cost everyday", and it fights for fresh, clean food products, for the people’s health.

    Auchan group was founded in 1961 and is France’s second largest retail distribution network. The group’s stores are present in 16 countries.

    HCM City farm, consumer goods fair promotes local produce
       
    A farm produce, food and consumer goods fair which opened at the Tan Binh District Culture and Sport Centre in HCM City on September 12 seeks to promote production and consumption of Vietnamese products.

    The six-day fair has 200 booths displaying a wide range of agricultural products, foods, fashion items, jewellery, handicrafts, wooden products, household utensils and other consumer goods.

    Visitors can enjoy music shows every night and try a range of cuisines.

    It is organised by the district People’s Committee together with the Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion Joint Stock Company.

    At the opening ceremony, the organisers gave gifts to 50 disadvantaged children from the district.

    Series of exhibitions on supporting industries open in Ha Noi
       
    Three exhibitions on supporting industry opened at the International Centre for Exhibition in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

    These events included the seventh Viet Nam-Japan Supporting Industries Exhibition, Industrial Components and Subtrancting Vietnam 2017 and NEPCON Vietnam 2017, and were held by the Reed Tradex Limited Company and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said the increase in local part supply rates in key manufacturing industries such as automobiles, textile and garment, footwear and electronics as well as participation in global supply and production chains are top concerns of Viet Nam.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), with its management role in the supporting industry, has been implementing a programme to support industry development from 2016 to 2025, aiming to help Vietnamese businesses apply advanced management systems that meet the requirements of the global production chain.

    Khanh said the exhibitions would provide opportunities for Vietnamese supporting suppliers to learn new market trends in technology. They could also contact with potential partners from Japan and elsewhere to boost the development of the supporting industry in Viet Nam.

    The two events, which will last until tomorrow, are being attended by more than 200 leading brands from 20 countries and territories, including Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand.

    As one of the most high-potential markets in ASEAN, the electronics industry in Ha Noi is developing thanks to strong investment and support from the Government. To become a strong manufacturing base, manufacturers and assemblers will need new technologies and business networks to increase their productivity in this key sector.

    According to Chief Representative of JETRO Hironobu Kitagawa, businesses need a deep understanding of the importance of the supporting industry for the whole value chain.

    With Japan’s extensive experience, JETRO will be able to assist Vietnamese businesses and co-operate without any hesitation with Viet Nam’s specific requirements, said Kitagawa.

    At the exhibition, Japanese exhibitors will look for potential suppliers, while Vietnamese exhibitors hope to have successful exchanges with Japanese suppliers.

    Cotton Day event opens in HCM City
       
    The first event of its kind in Viet Nam, Cotton Day 2017, is promoting connections between garment and textile companies and partners, suppliers and experts in the cotton sector.

    The event, held in HCM City’s District 1 on Tuesday, attracting more than 200 domestic and foreign-invested garment firms as well as foreign cotton producers, was organised by the US Cotton Council International (CCI) in Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).

    Speaking at the workshop, VITAS Chairman Vu Duc Giang said that US cotton had played an important role in the quality of Viet Nam’s garment and textile products over the years.

    CCI Director William Bettendorf, who noted that Viet Nam is the number-one importer of US cotton, praised the powerful growth of the country’s textile and garment sector.

    The sector in Viet Nam earned US$19.8 billion from exports in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 9.9 per cent year-on-year, according to VITAS.

    During the workshop, participants heard about the latest US trade policies, information on global supply and demand for cotton, and fashion trends of famous brands.

    In the first seven months of the year, Viet Nam imported 808,000 tonnes of cotton worth $1.47 billion, with 60 per cent of the cotton from the US.

    This year, CCI supported Viet Nam’s fashion brands using the COTTON USA ™ label to create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese exports and better transparency for consumers about origin of materials.

    At the event, a fashion show introduced new collections of the Canifa and John Henry brands, including five winning collections of the COTTON USA ™-Fashion Design Contest, which was organised in July.

    CCI works with the US Department of Agriculture as well as spinning mills, fabric and garment manufacturers, brands, retailers, textile associations and governments around the world.

    Cotton Day, one of CCI’s biggest events in Asia, began in Japan in the 1990s and has been held in Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand and Bangladesh.

    High-quality and eco-friendly COTTON USA ™ materials are sold in more than 50 countries.

    PetroVietnam exceeds business targets
       
    The National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) notched up total revenue of VND319.6 trillion (US$14 billion) in the first eight months of this year, exceeding its target by 19 per cent.

    Of the figure, PetroVietnam contributed VND60.2 trillion to the State budget. In the reviewed period, the group exploited some 17.12 million tonnes of oil, accounting for 66.3 per cent of the year’s plan. The production of oil reached 10.49 million tonnes and gas production reached 6.63 billion cubic metres.

    From January to August, PetroVietnam produced 14.29 billion kWh of electricity.

    Besides this, the group produced 3.82 million tonnes of petrol and some 1.18 million tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser, exceeding 19.8 per cent and 10.3 per cent of the eight month plan, respectively.

    In the remaining months of 2017, Petrovietnam will focus on handling five weak projects – Dinh Vu polyester fibre plant, bio-ethanol plants in Dung Quat and Binh Phuoc, Phu Tho ethanol plant and Dung Quat shipbuilding project.

    Support agencies key to SME growth
       
    Agencies that support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to keep up with business trends and formulate measures to promote SME development, Dang Huy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said at the 45th Meeting of the APEC Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) now taking place in HCM City.

    Dong said the role of support agencies was important because “advances made in digital technology today and drastic changes brought by the 4.0 industrial revolution will create new opportunities for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

    He added that, through APEC fora, SMEs had gained knowledge and created legislation in line with international economic practices.

    However, since many SMEs are still struggling with weak competitiveness, APEC economies and SMEs have promoted improved governance; facilitated technological innovation by giving priority access to finance; and opened up new market opportunities, while ensuring an enabling environment for doing business.

    The 45th two-day SMEWG includes representatives from 21 economies who are discussing the outcomes of previous meeting and the group’s strategic plan for the 2017-20 period.

    A number of ideas on how the group can contribute to priority areas towards 2018 was also exchanged. The priority areas include: entrepreneurship and innovation and the internet and digital economy; financing for business expansion and capability development; and inclusive business ecosystems that support SME growth and market access for SMEs.

    Also discussed were examples of how to develop entrepreneurship, foster innovation, access finance, and create business ecosystems.

    Vietnamese representatives presented an initiative on promoting innovative start-ups, while Thailand and Peru shared the development of a strategy on green, sustainable and innovative micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

    Japan shared a report on APEC best practices for promoting the supporting industry in the region, while Malaysian representatives spoke about financing for business expansion and capability development and Singapore presented information on its startup ecosystem.

    “Exchanges and discussions at the meeting will contribute to fostering our shared future in the APEC region. SMEs are the driving forces in the context of rapid development in digital economies,” Dong said. “We are discussing the potential for practical co-operation, and most importantly identifying priority areas to strengthen SMEs competitiveness throughout the APEC region. In doing so, we will set the track for SMEs in our APEC economies to start up and grow robustly in the right direction.”

    SMEs, the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC region, account for over 97 per cent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies.

    SMEWG works toward the achievement of APEC’s Bogor Goals by fostering an enabling business environment for SMEs to grow and develop into export-ready firms.

    Province to invest $31.5m in food processing industries
       
    The People’s Committee of the southern province of Tra Vinh has decided to call for investment worth VND710 billion (US$31.5 million) to develop the local food processing sector.

    The sector’s development is aimed at helping raise the province’s industrial production value to VND40 trillion ($1.78 billion) by 2020.

    Specifically, the seafood processing industry is expected to create jobs for 1,700 locals and post production value of VND554 billion. The province plans to have 28 cattle and poultry slaughter houses, employing 1,800 people and contributing VND106 billion to the province’s industrial production value.

    It also hopes to reap VND4 billion in revenue from vegetable and fruit processing.

    Key projects that the province would focus on include a peanut processing factory in Cau Ngang District with production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year and plants processing beverages from fruits and vegetables in Cau Ke and Tieu Can districts with annual capacity of two million tonnes.

    Other projects that need to be developed are a factory processing fruits and vegetables for export in Tra Vinh City’s Long Duc Commune and a plant processing cattle and poultry meat in Tra Cu District, with annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes each.

    In the near future, the province will expand a seafood processing factory in Duyen Hai Town with designed capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year.

    As planned, the province will mobilise VND700 billion from private enterprises to finance the activities, while the rest will be sourced from the local State budget and other project funds such as the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development Project and the project for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta (AMD Tra Vinh).

    European developer announces 1st housing project in VN
       
    EZ Land, backed by the KEY SICAV SIF fund from Luxembourg, has announced plans to build 1,000-1,500 apartments a year for the next five to eight years.

    Speaking at the company’s launching ceremony in HCM City on Tuesday, Oliver Brazier, managing partner of EZ Land Vietnam, said the company would focus on mid-priced apartments for which demand is high now and expected to remain so in future.

    Its first project is HausNeo in District 9, where 568 apartments will be built at a cost of VND500 billion (US$22.02 million).

    EZ Land’s apartments would be inspired by the Bauhaus style – which shuns ostentation -- he said.

    The company has “a goal of putting the first bricks for the sustainable development of the real estate market in Viet Nam,” he added.

    The prices would be announced in October, but a typical two-bedroom apartment would cost VND1.4-1.5 billion, the company said.

    With the Government’s policy of supporting the property market, growing GDP and incomes and high demand for a first home among millennials, Viet Nam, especially HCM City, is an attractive destination for developers, the company said.

    Market climbs on large caps support
       
    Shares rose steadily on the HCM Stock Exchange, with the VN-Index hitting 806.43 points on Thursday morning, up 0.44 per cent over Wednesday.

    The overall market condition was neutral, with 131 shares rising, 115 falling and 97 remaining unchanged.

    Large-cap stocks again supported the market, as 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity advanced and only six declined.

    The gainers that had the greatest influence on the market were PV Gas (GAS), Petrolimex (PXL), Vietcombank (VCB) and VinGroup (VIC), as well as Vietinbank (CTG), Masan Group (MSN) and steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG).

    On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index was also up 0.18 per cent at 104.62 points.

    Investors showed their confidence in the market outlook, boosting the market liquidity.

    A total of 139 million shares worth a combined VND2.6 trillion (US$114.6 million) were traded in the two markets, up 40.4 per cent in volume and 13 per cent in value compared to Wednesday morning's trade.

    The afternoon trade session starts at 1pm.

    CAEXPO helps boost Vietnam-China trade ties

    The China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS), which enters its 14th year this year, have helped boosted trade cooperation between ASEAN and China as well as Vietnam and China, said Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh.

    Talking to the press on the occasion of his trip to China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to attend the 14th CAEXPO and CABIS, Deputy PM Binh said since its launch in 2004, CAEXPO has become an important event for businesses of both sides.

    At this year event in Nanning, capital of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, from September 11-13, Vietnam was represented by 250 booths, the most among ASEAN countries, introducing various products, including farm produce, processed food, footwear, consumer goods, wooden products and handicrafts.

    As an active member of ASEAN, Vietnam’s participation in CAEXPO demonstrates the importance that the country’s Government, localities and enterprises give to strengthening ties with China and Chinese localities, he said.

    The event is also a chance for Vietnam to promote its national image, products and trademarks, increasing exports from Vietnam to ASEAN countries and China.

    The Deputy PM highlighted that Vietnam prioritises boosting its friendship with China, its largest trade partner and leading source tourism market. Vietnam is also the largest ASEAN trade partner of China and leads ASEAN countries in the number of tourists to China.

    Besides, Guangxi has been a pioneering Chinese locality in cooperating with Vietnam. Trade between the province and Vietnamese localities has contributed largely to Vietnam-China trade revenue.

    Collaboration between Guangxi and Vietnam in tourism, agriculture, culture, education, people-to-people connection, and border management has also been fruitful, said Binh.

    Vietnam also values the position of Guangxi in the cooperation between the two countries, especially with the two countries promoting connectivity within the framework of the “Two Corridors, One Belt” and the “Belt and Road” initiatives.

    Binh stressed the need for Guangxi and Vietnamese localities to continue rolling out measures to implement the common perspectives reached by leaders of both countries, while boosting win-win cooperation in all fields, including the management of the border, contributing to building a border of peace, stability, cooperation and development.

    Korean bioproducts penetrate into Vietnamese market

    More than 120 bioproducts in cosmetics, functional food, medical equipment and environment made in the Republic of Korea (RoK) are being introduced to Vietnamese consumers at an exhibition that opened in Ho Chi Minh City on September 13.

    The event was co-organised by the Chuncheon Bioindustry Foundation (CBF) and Lien Hoa Group, a partner of the CBF in Vietnam.

    CBF President Ju-Su Jeon said that the exhibits were produced with the RoK’s latest technology and based on research conducted by CBF experts. The products have been available in more than 100 countries worldwide so far and are trusted by consumers due to their quality, he said.

    Meanwhile, Mayor of Chuncheon Choi Dong-yong stressed that the city is home to 60 bio-technology companies which have a wide range of functional food granted certificates from the Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA).

    With a fast-growing economy along with a large population, Vietnam is a fertile land for Korean bioproducts in the next few years, he added.

    Meanwhile, Truong Thi Nhi, General Director of the Lien Hoa Group, said that Korean bioproducts will allow domestic consumers to access quality and safe products.

    The exhibition also creates a chance for Vietnamese and Korean businesses to seek partners to join supply-distribution chains while promoting cooperation and technology transfer between the two countries.

    The exhibition will run until September 15.

    Helping ethnic people start business

    The Government’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs has launched an action plan to support startups by ethnic minority people by attracting investment and promote efficient production.

    Ethnic groups have business advantages in their unique cultures and their agricultural and handicraft specialties. What they lack is capital and information about government policies and consumer markets.

    The Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and relevant agencies have teamed up to support ethnic minority startups.

    Minister and Chairman of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien said, “We’ll focus on growing high value indigenous trees and raising animals with strong market demand. We’ll help them develop their forest economy, particularly agro-forestry processing and distribution."

    "We’ll promote and conserve their ethnic cultures so they can develop community tourism, generate jobs, sell local products, and boost incomes,” he added.

    The Committee has organized business training courses for ethnic people, offered them incentive loans, and connected them with buyers for their agricultural products.

    Mr. Chien said, “We don’t set too ambitious a plan, just steady progress. We target 100 successful startups next year. Then we’ll review the program and replicate successful models."

    "We encourage young people to nurture and realize their dreams by promoting their advantages, sharing information, cooperating, and taking risks,” he noted.

    In May the Committee and the World Bank organized a forum on Cooperation and Connectivity to support ethnic minority startups.

    Concerted effort in environmental protectionism

    APEC economies are now standing in the doorway of deeper cooperation. With climate change becoming an increasing security threat, will member economies press for a deeper cooperation at the APEC Summit 2017 this November?

    The APEC has made remarkable progress in the past quarter century. A significant share of goods and services accrue little or no tariffs at all and good work has been done to deal away with barriers to trade and services.

    Additionally, most sectors are now open to international investment, signalling the remarkable headways made towards economic unity and the creation of a free trade area.

    Riding on this remarkable momentum, the APEC economies find themselves at a place where they might start looking beyond trade policy and intensify efforts to achieve the far larger objectives set at their first meeting in 1993.

    These objectives spelled out in the APEC Leaders’ Economic Vision Statement include coordinating policies to tackle emerging global challenges.

    In fact, a multitude of the current ails of humanity seem to strike the Asia-Pacific particularly hard.

    Climate change and environmental concerns, connectivity, and joint human resources development are all on the list awaiting closer cooperation.

    APEC economies are now in the right place to work out a specific roadmap to tackle the most urgent issues where concerted effort of the Asia-Pacific could affect unprecedented gains.

    The weight of accord among the APEC economies has already been felt on the global scale when the APEC’s model of voluntary concerted unilateral decision-making led to the Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement.

    As developing economies are subject to the most adverse effects of climate change, a particularly strong accord among the APEC economies was born, creating some much-needed pressure to facilitate a stronger stance on climate change.

    The concert was somewhat understandable: about 70% of natural disasters occur in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the APEC website.

    As the APEC also account for 60% of the global energy consumption, it is imperative to reduce the portion of fossil fuels in the regional energy mix to mitigate the growing damage caused by climate change.

    The accelerating industrialization and urbanization across the member economies are a particular cause to step up environmental protection and sustainability efforts as energy demand and consumption levels are set to skyrocket by 2020.

    Concerted action has obvious benefits in as much as it creates unified international response to problems transcending the toolkits of national decision making, boosting the efficiency of mitigation efforts.

    The cooperation of APEC economies, a sizeable bloc of many of the globe’s developing countries and prime victims of climate change and other transnational security threats, makes for heavy pressure in the international scene, pushing for mitigation efforts along the lines of the common but differentiated responsibilities principle endorsed by the UNFCCC of 1992, as can be seen in the Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement.

    Showing a united front is not only a potent tool to better exert pressure in the international arena, but a precursor to regional cooperation on technology and know-how transfer.

    As a regional grouping, the APEC has significant internal depth facilitating the traffic of goods, services, people, and information among member economies.

    Environmental protection, as such, has been on the table since the 1993 APEC Leaders’ Economic Vision Statement, but little has been done during the 1990s or the 2000s, even.

    Much of this can be ascribed to the fact that although APEC leaders envisioned a wider cooperation from the early stages, it has taken until 2011 to make the first significant step by agreeing to reduce energy intensity by at least 45% by 2035.

    The next step was made in 2013, when the APEC Foreign and Trade Ministers agreed to increase forest cover by 20 million hectares by 2020.

    Ministries also committed to promote sustainable forest management and enhance governance through institutional and legal frameworks, indigenous community participation, and strengthened efforts to combat illegal logging and associated trade, among others.

    2014 proved a big year for environmental commitments, as the year saw both the Beijing and the Xiamen Declarations.

    In the Beijing Declaration APEC Energy Ministers vowed to double the share of renewables in the regional energy mix by 2030, while in the Xiamen Declaration ocean-related ministers identified four areas for collaboration.

    The early 2010s saw sprouting environmental initiatives taking shape, such as the Green Towns initiative, a series of low-carbon model town projects helping urban planners formulate feasibility and development plans for reducing their city’s carbon footprint by setting carbon dioxide emission targets and initiatives from solar power to electric motorbikes.

    According to the APEC website, the initiative has so far been implemented in Tianjin (China) in 2011, Samui Island (Thailand) in 2012, and Danang (Vietnam) in 2013 and its next stop will be San Borja in Peru.

    Another environmental cooperation method under the aegis of the APEC is the Clean Transportation initiative promoting clean energy for shipping.

    These projects running under the APEC Transportation Working Group focus on lowering the carbon footprint of marine transportation and promoting sustainable port development and construction.

    The APEC has also agreed to promote “the usage of electric vehicles and energy-efficient automotive components and standards across the region.”

    The Adapting to Climate Change initiative is the venue for the APEC to collaborate with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to assess the impacts of climate change on agriculture in developing APEC economies and to help local farmers adapt to changing weather conditions.

    The project models rainfall and temperature changes, analyzing how they affect crop yield and identifying vulnerable regions.

    The APEC Climate Center provides climate information, research, and technical support to help economies mitigate climate-related hazards. The center also runs regular symposia and seminars as well as the Outreach Program for Developing Countries.

    APEC economies are also promoting trade in a wide range of environmental goods in the region—“from solar panels to wind turbines,” as put by the organisation website.

    The original aim was to reduce tariffs to 5% or less by the end of 2015. Throughout the years, the APEC economies grew from environmental goods importers (2002-2007) into slight exporters, a tendency that will hopefully continue, increasing the gap between exports and imports.

    As the APEC is gathering this November in Danang, Vietnam for another summit, member economies as well as the world at large are awaiting progress transcending trade policy and cooperation.
    With luck, such progress will be visited upon the field of environmental cooperation, further cementing unity and decisive action to a growing international concern.

    Foreign airlines offer zero-fare tickets for September

    AirAsia, Qatar Airways and Emirates have announced they will offer a huge quantity of super-promotional air tickets priced from US$0.

    Under the promotional program, AirAsia has launched 5 million tickets priced from US$0. These tickets will be sold via the airline’s online system and mobile applications from now to September 17.

    The promotion is applied for all flights from Vetnam to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang with departure time from March 1, 2018 to November 21, 2018.

    Qatar Airways has offered a discount up to 40% on airfares sold from now till September 19 for a group of 3 passengers purchasing economy-class tickets to Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Warsaw, Munich and Berlin. Flying time is applied from now till May 31, 2018.

    Emirates Airlines has also offered tickets priced from US$541 from Hanoi to Dubai and other European and American cities including tax and fees. Booking time is applied from now till the end of September 21, 2017.

    Cathay Pacific has also provided a discount of 30% on air tickets for flights departing from HCM City to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and other cities in the US and Canada with prices from US$520 (excluding tax and fees) from now till the end of October 30. The prices are applied for flights departing before December 15.

    Talk on Dong Nai real estate kicks off in Ho Chi Minh City

    Industry experts are holding in-depth discussions on the pros and cons of property investment in Dong Nai province.

    The on-going talk, named “Dong Nai Real Estate Market: Opportunities and Challenges,” includes presentations and panel discussions from leading experts in the property sector. Representatives are hailing from the Dong Nai Department of Construction, Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, government agencies, leading law firms, and property companies.VIR and Eximrs are co-organisers of the event. The talk is live-streamed on VIR’s sister publicationswww.baodautu,vn and www.tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn

    Participants at the talk highlighted the fact that Dong Nai province, covering an area of 5,900 square metres, is situated right next to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City. The province also enjoys a well-connected traffic system to Southern Vietnam, making it one of the most popular destinations for real estate investment.

    Dong Nai recently emerged back in the spotlight thanks to the Long Thanh International Airport project, which is slated to complement Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Various opportunities for real estate investment have arisen as a result, with special interest for land plots.

    However, scams and fraud have also been proliferating and experts will discuss how investors can spot shady projects. Tips on preventing reckless speculation and another property bubble will also be given at today's event.

    Potential for capacity cooperation between Vietnam & China

    Vietnam and China have major potential for investment cooperation, Mr. To Ngoc Son, Deputy Director General of the Department of Asia and Africa Markets at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), told the Vietnam-China Capacity Cooperation Conference in Nanning, China, on September 13.
    He identified the conditions that boost cooperation between the two countries, including positive developments in economics, cultural similarities, and Vietnam being the largest trading partner of China in ASEAN and its ninth-largest partner in the world.
    “The Vietnamese Government has changed the law, abolishing a series of administrative procedures to promote investment by foreign enterprises,” he emphasized.
    He also touched on the potential for cooperation between Vietnam and China thanks to the latter’s population of 1.4 billion people and the official visit to be made by Xi Jinping to Vietnam in November, which will promote greater cooperation and drive bilateral relations forward.
    China’s market has an important role to play in economic cooperation. Mr. Son also emphasized that there are opportunities available for enhancing economic, trade, and investment cooperation between the two sides in the process of development and the strong reform of the two economies.
    Vietnamese and Chinese leaders have said that under the guidance of the two governments, cooperation in productive capacity has potential and important mechanisms will better support Chinese enterprises who have been investing and will invest in Vietnam.
    They suggested that the initial identification of specific projects in production capacity should focus on promoting cooperation in the future through memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed in September 2016.
    The “Vietnam-China Cooperation Conference” was held by the Department of Investment and Foreign Investment of the State Development and Reform Commission and the Development and Reform Commission of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with support from the Center for International Cooperation under the State Development and Reform Commission and Vietnam’s Department of Asian and African Markets.
    The aim of conference was to create opportunities for links within the Vietnam-China Productivity Cooperation project.
    It was also attended representative of the Departments of Industry and Trade of Bac Giang province and Dong Thap province as well as Vietnamese and Chinese enterprises.
    The conference was a key activity within the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and part of cooperative efforts between China and Vietnam to expand fields of cooperation and secure practical results in the future.

    14th China-ASEAN Expo underway

    With the theme “Together to Build the 21st Century Silk Road, Tourism Promotes the Regional Economy”, the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO 2017) officially opened at the Nanning International Exhibition Convention Center in Nanning, China, on September 12.
    Delegates from China and the ten ASEAN member countries were in attendance, as were representatives from enterprises. In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said that China is ASEAN’s largest partner.
    China and ASEAN will support each other to reach trade targets set for this year, he went on, and he believes that CAEXPO and the China-ASEAN Business Investment Summit (CABIS) have promoted China-ASEAN relations.
    “China is one the largest tourism and trade partners of Vietnam and Vietnam is the largest tourism and trade partner of China in ASEAN,” he emphasized. “I expect to see sustainable and high-quality investment projects in Vietnam in the time to come.”

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong firmly believes that CAEXPO 2017 plays an important role in promoting trade between China and ASEAN countries and especially between China and Vietnam. “We will export more Vietnamese goods to China and improve the balance of trade through CAEXPO,” he told VET.
    CAEXPO is a multilateral cooperation activity between ASEAN and China, held annually in China and bringing many practical benefits for Vietnamese enterprises, enhancing and affirming Vietnam’s profile within ASEAN-China cooperation.
    Ms. Doan Thi Ha, Chairman of the Vietnam Mong Cai Van Tho Import and Export Co., said that CAEXPO 14 presents many cooperation opportunities for her enterprise. “We brought a variety of durian products as well as special products to exhibit to Chinese and ASEAN customers,” she said. “We expect to connect with more Chinese enterprises in the future.”
    Vietnam’s participation in CAEXPO 14 promotes its national image and the image of its brands and products. The Vietnam Pavilion includes enterprises in competitive industries and developing export sectors such as agricultural products, seafood, foodstuffs, and wooden furniture.
    The fair also featured more than 4,600 booths from over 2,500 enterprises in China and ASEAN countries in different fields at three locations: the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, the Guangxi Exhibition Center, and South China Town, Guangxi.

    Vietnam’s major power projects to be completed in September

    The State-owned power utility corporation EVN has announced that it is stepping up construction work in order to complete its major power generation and transmission projects in September.

    They include the Trung Son Hydropower Plant, an extension to the Thac Mo Hydropower Plant, as well as the Nghi Son 1, Mong Duong 1, Vinh Tan 2 and Duyen Hai 1 Thermal Power Plant.

    EVN will also continue the trial run of the Thai Binh Thermal Power Plant’s first turbine.

    In September the National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT), a member of EVN, is scheduled to complete a number of transmission projects in Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai and Thai Binh, among others.

    Last month, EVN connected the Thai Binh Thermal Power Plant’s second turbine to the national power grid, began construction of nine transmission projects and completed 18 other transmission projects.

    Newly connected power plants in August have added another 1,535 megawatts to the national capacity.

    August also saw the operations of the power system in Quang Tri province’s island district of Con Co transferred to EVN.

    Building brand for Vietnamese agricultural products

    Vietnam's agricultural sector has exported many agro-forestry and aquatic products, many of which have export revenue exceeding more than US$ 1billion per year. But still over 80% of agricultural products have yet to be integrated with a brand and are sold without logos or labels. This is a big disadvantage, weakening Vietnamese agricultural products’ competitiveness in the world market. For that reason, building brands for agricultural products is highly necessary.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the export revenue of agro-forestry and aquatic products in the past eight months reached US$23.66 billion, up 13.5% over the same period in 2016. Of which, Vietnam’s rice exports in August have been estimated at 504,000 tonnes worth US$220 million, bringing the volume of exported rice over the past eight months to four million tonnes and US$1.75 billion, 19.8% and 17.5% increases in volume and value respectively, over the same period in 2016. Vietnam has been one of the leading countries in exporting rice for decades, but the logo and brand of Vietnamese rice have not been available.

    On May 21, 2015, the Prime Minister approved the Scheme on development of Vietnam’s rice brand by 2020 with vision to 2030, aiming to improve the position the value and image of Vietnam’s rice, increase the awareness of producers, importers, distributors and domestic and foreign customers, which is the foundation to reinforce and develop the market, in addition to increasing the added value, market share and competitiveness in the world market,.

    In nearly two years since the approval of the scheme, a logo design contest on Vietnam’s national rice brand was launched by the MARD in April, 2017. However, up to now, after nearly five months since launching the competition, the organising board has not yet selected a logo which fully reflects the traditional image, reputation and quality of Vietnamese rice, to be announced in September, 2017.

    Not only rice, Vietnam’s agricultural products are widely known in the domestic and foreign markets. Many products have been protected by the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) on trade names, geographical indications and appellations of origin of goods, but the products have not been integrated with a brand and are sold without logos or labels. Many products have been sold internationally using foreign branding. This is a big disadvantage, weakening Vietnamese agricultural products’ competitiveness, especially in the international economic integration process, which is more and more widespread today. It is necessary to enhance the competitiveness of the product and create products with clear origin, with the quality meeting the standards, demands and tastes of the market.

    Besides accelerating the implementation of the Scheme on the development of Vietnam’s rice brand by 2020 with vision to 2030, the agricultural sector is urgently completing a programme on developing Vietnam's main agricultural product brand by 2020 for a number of products, such as tea, coffee, mango, dragon fruit, and shark catfish, with their geographical indications. However, in order to build and develop the major agro-products brand, branches and localities should implement several basic solutions, such as prioritizing investment in localities’ characteristic agro-products and exported products; creating conditions for enterprises and cooperatives to approach resources that aim to promote the potential of land, finance, science and technology, and develop markets; training human resources; promote the connection of "four houses" (managers, scientists, enterprises and farmers) to closely and effectively participate in the roadmap for branding agricultural products.

    Authorities should complete the required legal regulations on brand and it is necessary to unite trademarks in legal documents, in addition to building a comprehensive program on the development of Vietnam's agro-product brand, including full implementation guidelines on the roadmap, financial tools, techniques, coordination mechanism.

    Meanwhile, it is necessary to strengthen the inspection and supervision of the quality for products, which have been building a brand to ensure good quality and a stable, gradually affirmed "reputation" in the market. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen trade promotion activities in order to promote branded products; mobilize farmers to participate in associations and craft villages to unify their views on the application of good agricultural production processes; limit spontaneous production and to not negatively affect the brand of the local products in the eyes of domestic and international consumers.

    At present, the agricultural sector has ten major agro-forestry and aquatic products which are exported to large markets throughout the world, such as the US, EU and Japan, of which eight products have export revenue of more than US$ 1 billion, including coffee, rubber, rice, seafood, cashew, pepper, vegetables, wood and wooden products. In order to take advantage of Vietnam's participation in free trade agreements, the MARD has prioritised the building of brand for Vietnamese agricultural products, the first being the brand name for the rice product.

    Hau Giang's authority urges to check Hong Kong paper mill

    Following the complaints of locals near Hong Kong-invested paper mill Lee & Man in the Mekong delta province of Hau Giang, Province’s Party Chief Tran Cong Chanh ordered the plant to check its wastewater treatment system.

    The order was made at a meeting between the Party Chief, leaders of related agencies and the Hau River Industry Park management board and Lee&Man plant managers on September 13.
    Local people residing near the Lee & Man paper making complex along the Mai Dam River in Hau Giang Province have complained last week that their lives had been impacted by the noise and smell from the plant.
    Mr. Chanh met residents living near the paper mill to listen to their opinion.
    General Director of the paper mill Chung Wai Fu said at the meeting that low quality recycled paper residues were giving off damp stench. After receiving resident's complaints, the plant has treated the residues to eliminate the foul smell.
    Before, in March, the paper mill has given off the stench and noise when it operated.

    DHC, SPA approve to distribute dividend payment

    Dong Hai Ben Tre Corp (DHC) announced to close its shareholders ‘list on September 25; issue 2.6 million shares for 10 percent dividend payment in 2016 and 5.1 million shares for current shareholders, priced at VND 18,000 per share.
    DHC has currently chartered capital of up to VND 256billion. If successful, this issuance will help increase its chartered capital up to VND 345 billion.
    The Saigon Plastic Association (SPA) approved of issuing 8.5 million shares to current shareholders, priced at VND 10,000 per share. SPA announced its revenue for the first half of this year reached VND 101.8billion, pre-tax profit of 7.6billion.

    SPA plans to reach its revenue of up to VND 107.2billion from now till year-end.

    TNI issues 31.5million shares

    Thanh Nam Group JSC (TNI) will organize an unscheduled shareholders’ meeting on September 19, aiming to announce the selling of 31.5 million shares for its current shareholders with a cost of VND 10,000 per share and to mobilize VND 315 billion.
    The amount will be used to invest in real estate projects; short term loan payment and additional capital source.
    Earlier, TNI’s shareholders approved the project to set up Danang-New Sun Company which has chartered capital up to VND 200billion.

    This year, TNI targets to reach revenue of up to VND 1,008billion, after-tax profit of VND 20billion.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 09/17/17--00:14: Article 3
  • Vietnam named among 20 most beautiful countries

    Hanoi - Vietnam has been voted one of the 20 most beautiful countries in the world by readers of Rough Guides, the renowned British travel site.
    Terraced rice fields in the mystical mountain town of Sa Pa. (Source: VNA)

    An article on the site at www.roughguides.com advises foreign tourists and those with a passion for traveling and adventure tours to drop by the Southeast Asian country, which has been ranked the world’s seventh-fastest growing travel destination by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

    The site sings the praises of the astonishing rock formations in the UNESCO world heritage site Ha Long Bay and the endless beauty of terraced rice fields in the mystical mountain town of Sa Pa.


    Travellers should not miss these priceless nature treasures, the site advises.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 09/17/17--00:49: Article 2
  •  Around 600 business conditions to be cut


    It is expected that about 464-612 business conditions, equivalent to an estimated 38.15% to 50.3% of the total business conditions, will be cut in the near future, according to the Minister of Industry and Trade (MOIT) Tran Tuan Anh at a meeting on September 15.


     Around 600 business conditions to be cut, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 

    According to the report of Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT)’s units on administrative reform, as of September 12, the whole industry and trade sector has an estimated 1,216 business conditions that will prevent the mobilization of resources and production.

    The MOIT’s units proposed two options. According to the first option, 464 conditions, equivalent to 38.15% of total business conditions, will be cut. Among them, the food business sector will cut 180 out of 350 conditions.

    The MOIT’s second option is the proposal to cut 612 business conditions, equivalent to a reduction of 50.3% in total business conditions for 17 sectors, in particular, the food business sector. 

    The number of proposed reductions is 331 out of 350 business conditions.

    The 17 proposed business sectors include: petrol; gas; explosive pre-substance; chemistry; alcohol; cigarette; food; electricity; temporary import for re-export of frozen food; franchising; logistics; industrial precursors; commodity exchange; commercial inspection; multilevel; ecommerce; Industrial explosive materials (including disposal operations).

    Based on the feasibility of the options and the actual conditions in Vietnam, the MOIT’s units will implement both options simultaneously.

    Minister Tran Tuan Anh asked the units to immediately review the effectiveness of abolishing procedures and business conditions in past times. 

    From the specific evaluation of the achieved results, the units should quickly review areas under their management to continue removing the business conditions and administrative procedures on the basis of retaining the necessary conditions and moving toward the objective of transforming from pre-check to post- check. 

    All that can be cut should be cut immediately and it should introduce appropriate solutions to what cannot be cut directly.

    The units will have a report on the results which will be submitted to Minister Tran Tuan Anh to consider the decision on September 21.

    The administrative reform, the abolition of procedures and business conditions is the contribution of the MOIT effort in removing difficulties for enterprises.

    Nhan Dan


    0 0
  • 09/17/17--00:52: Article 1
  • Bitcoin is new ‘dot com bubble’: experts


    Vietnamese experts have warned about the bursting of the ‘bitcoin bubble’, saying that  enterprises which import low-quality bitcoin mining machines from China will incur big losses.


     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, bitcoin, ETH, mining machine 

    The imported machines are automatic data processing machines manufactured by Bitmain, a Chinese technology firm. The machine has Antminer L3+ installed from a graphics card for decoding SHA256 cryptographic hash algorithms.

    A computer to mine bitcoins is priced at VND60-70 million or higher.  Buyers also have to purchase software and hire workers to mine money.

    However, according to Hoang The Thoa from the State Bank, the data processing capacity of the machine is low, and it consumes a lot of energy. The average ‘life expectancy’ of the machine is just 2-3 months.

    After that time, miners will have to replace all components or the machine will not be able to continue mining.

    Vietnamese experts have warned about the bursting of the ‘bitcoin bubble’, saying that  enterprises which import low-quality bitcoin mining machines from China will incur big losses.

    A miner who bought a bitcoin mining machine at VND90 million said it was getting more and more difficult to mine bitcoin, so has decided to shift to mining ETH, which has the second biggest market capitalization value next to bitcoin.

    The man said after 12 months, he can exploit 8.2 ETH. If noting that the ETH price is $290 as reported on September 10, he would earn VND54.1 million. He has to pay VND2 million for electricity bills a month, or VND24 million a year. This means that he can pocket VND30 million.

    However, the amount of money would be lower if he counts on expenses for amortization and machine upgrading. He would also have to pay additional money in case the computer breaks down.

    A source told VietNamNet that he believes bitcoin mining machine prices will drop dramatically as China has vowed to tighten control over bitcoins and other virtual currencies.

    “Some Vietnamese enterprises spent big money to import machines in large quantities. But the machines will be just scrap iron,” he said.
    Vietnamese are rushing to mine bitcoins as they hope they can earn big money from bitcoin revaluation. The price of the virtual currency soared from $13 in 2013 to $4,000 and it was hoped to increase to $10,000.

    However, after a Chinese ban on ICO, the bitcoin price dropped dramatically from $4,600 to $4,100.

    Cao Sy Kiem, SBV (State Bank of Vietnam) former governor, said that bitcoins are overvalued.

    The bitcoin price may soar by tens of percent but it also may plunge at any time as many countries don’t recognize the currency. Therefore, high risks for investors are anticipated.

    Some businessmen have called on state management agencies to declare a ban on bitcoin machine imports as bitcoins are illegal in Vietnam.


    Mai Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 09/17/17--01:17: Article 0
  • Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue meets WTO leaders

    Geneva -Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue had working sessions with World Trade Organisation (WTO) leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 15 to enhance WTO’s support for the country’s global economic integration.


     

    Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue shakes hands with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo in a meeting in Geneva on September 15. (Photo: VNA)

    Hue, who is also head of the Inter-Sectorial Steering Committee for Economic Integration, met with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, WTO Deputy Director-General Karl Brauner and Chairman of WTO General Council Xavier Carim at WTO the headquarters in Geneva.

    The deputy PM spoke highly of the WTO, saying the organisation plays a vital role in promoting global trade and in Vietnam’s global economic integration. He asked the WTO to provide Vietnam with technical assistance in implementing WTO agreements, getting updates on international trade and increasing public awareness of WTO-related issues.

    The WTO leaders welcomed the country’s contribution to stimulate the global economic trade and lauded its active role in developing agenda for the organisation’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Argentina in December.

    Azevedo agreed to Hue’s proposal on technical support for Vietnam and gave him updates on preparatory works for the MC11. The WTO director general also affirmed his determination to build a transparent, predictable and inclusive multilateral trading system.

    Vietnam’s Inter-Sectorial Steering Committee for Economic Integration and Ministry of Industry and Trade and the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation signed an agreement on holding a regional training course on trade negotiation skills in Hanoi slated for early November.

    The same day, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue met with President of the Geneva Financial Centre (GFC) Yves Mirabaud and GFC Director Edouard Cuendet later the same day. Hue informed his hosts on Vietnam’s policies on security, insurance, banking and state-owned companies. 

    The two sides discussed the future possibility of the GFC supporting Vietnam in accessing sources off funding, enhancing its capacity in managing financial institutions in compliance with international standards, and building a financial centre.

    The deputy PM urged the GFC to expand relations with financial associations in Vietnam and share experience in the field with them.

    He wrapped up the trip to Switzerland and departed for Brussels in the visit to Belgium and the European Union.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 09/18/17--01:42: Article 3
  • Vietnam loses $15mn from crude oil sales to China


    Vietnam lost as much as $15 million from crude oil exports to China in the first eight months of this year, after giving its northern neighbor a 2 per cent discount.


    Vietnam loses $15mn from crude oil sales to China, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 

    The country exported 4.9 million tons of crude oil at $408 per ton to other markets but charged only $400 per ton for the 1.7 million tons it exported to China, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    During the same period, Vietnam’s crude oil exports rose 2 per cent year-on-year to an estimated 4.748 million tons, or 143,000 barrels per day (bpd). Revenue in the eight-month period rose 24.5 per cent to $1.88 billion. 

    Oil product imports increased 9.1 per cent to an estimated 8.649 million tons, while the value of imports jumped 38.2 per cent to $4.46 billion. 

    Vietnam’s liquefied petroleum gas imports during the period increased 19 per cent from a year earlier, to 968,000 tons.

    Reuters reported previously that August would mark the first month on record in which Vietnam was a net importer of crude oil, citing shipping data from Thomson Reuters Eikon. 

    The surge in overseas orders comes as Vietnam’s 200,000 bpd Nghi Son refinery, its second such facility, prepares to produce liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel, mainly for the domestic market, likely starting later this year or in early 2018.

    With local oil production stalling, traders said the country, with over 90 million people and 6 per cent annual economic growth, would gradually increase its crude imports. 

    “We expect to send bigger and more frequent volumes of crude to Vietnam in the future,” a senior oil trading manager said. 

    “Vietnam is one of the key new centers of oil demand growth, and we wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity.”

    Vietnam’s orders are still small compared with Asian’s top buyers, China and India, which import around 8 million and 4 million bpd, respectively. 

    “But in an environment of oversupply, this incremental new demand is very welcome for crude suppliers,” the trading manager said.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a plan in July for the country’s total crude oil and oil product stocks to be at least 90 days’ worth of net imports by 2020, joining developing nations such as China and India in establishing an oil buffer that will enhance its energy security as imports have jumped while domestic production is on the decline.

    The government said it planned to keep commercial oil stockpiles stable at 35 days of net imports while crude and oil products reserves at import terminals and those held by trading companies are expected to reach 20 days of the country’s net imports by 2025. 

    The country’s two refineries are estimated to meet about two-thirds of its demand when the Nghi Son refinery begins operations later this year or in 2018. 

    VN Economic Times


    0 0
  • 09/18/17--01:45: Article 2
  • Steel manufacturers complain despite anti-dumping duty on Chinese imports


    The imposition of an anti-dumping duty on Chinese imports is not expected to help domestic steel manufacturers, unless comprehensive solutions are taken, experts say.


     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, H-beam, anti-dumping duty, MOIT

    After a period of temporarily imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese H-beam steel since October 2016, Minister of Industry and Trade has decided to officially impose a duty on products which have 7216.33.00; 7228.70.10 and 7228.70.90 HS codes.

    The validity of the anti-dumping duty is five years, or until September 7, 2022.

    MOIT (the Ministry of Industry and Trade) said it had found fdumping by some Chinese enterprises, which hinders the development of the Vietnamese steel industry.

    Many steel manufacturers have had difficulties in recent years and are on the verge of bankruptcy as their products are uncompetitive with low-priced Chinese products.

    According to Tang Hong from the Vietnam Foundry and Metallurgy Science and Technology Association, there are big differences in prices between the steel products sourced from China and domestically made products.

    Many steel manufacturers have had difficulties in recent years and are on the verge of bankruptcy as their products are uncompetitive with low-priced Chinese products.

    China can create one steel tube at the production cost of VND710,000, while Vietnamese enterprises cannot make products at such a price.

    “It is very difficult to compete with Chinese products. Consumers have the right to choose cheaper products,” Hong said.

    However, Hong doesn’t think the anti-dumping duty MOIT imposes on Chinese products will help Vietnamese steel manufacturers and the steel industry if comprehensive measures cannot be taken.

    He said many enterprises still import low-cost ingot steel from China to laminate steel products domestically.

    Meanwhile, many Chinese steel manufacturers have set up their mills in Vietnam which make steel in large quantities to compete directly with Vietnamese manufacturers.

    After much study, Hong has realized that Chinese steel products were cheap because the manufacturers can receive preferences from the Chinese government.

    Though Chinese manufacturers organize production in Vietnam, they still can receive a subsidy of 17-30 percent. Chinese invested enterprises in Vietnam receive incentives in land access and taxes from the government of Vietnam as well.

    Meanwhile, Vietnamese enterprises bear a tax rate of 10 percent and operate in unfavorable conditions.

    Hong said Vietnam’s steel industry is facing serious challenges. The State does not have a special policy with incentives for steel manufacturers. And the Ministry of Finance ( MOF) has proposed to increase taxes.

    Hong, who runs one of the largest steel mills in Can Tho City, said the state needs to have fair treatment towards Vietnamese enterprises instead of offering too many incentives to foreign-invested enterprises.

    In related news, while the world price has fallen after climbing following the news about the fire at a Chinese mill, the price in Vietnam has increased by 2 percent.

    Thanh Lich, VNN


    0 0
  • 09/18/17--01:59: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/9


    Online Friday starts Sept. 29 and has 24 hours of deals


     online friday starts sept. 29 and has 24 hours of deals hinh 0

    It's confirmed: Online Friday will again host a 24 hour sales event on Sept. 29—and the 2017 edition of this autumn major sales event promises to be bigger than ever, says the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The Ministry says more than 100,000 new deals will be posted as frequently as every five minutes throughout the event, and sales will take place throughout the Southeast Asian country.

    The Ministry is keeping a tight lip as to the details regarding specific kinds of deals that will be available during this year's event— but consumers can keep up to date as it unfolds at http://info.onlinefriday.vn/.

    To drum up even more interest, the Ministry says name brand companies the likes of Nguyen Kim, Sunhouse, MediaMart, Adayroi, Fahasa, Giovanni, FPT Shop and Sendo will be offering special deals that consumers won’t want to miss.

    In Vietnam, Facebook is a marketplace for cheap fakes and endangered wildlife parts

    Copycats, ivory and tiger paws are just some of the things you can buy on the country’s most popular social network.

    Xuan is pretty honest with her customers, but as a salesperson, she has to sugarcoat it a bit.

    “These are super fakes,” she said in a Facebook post advertising bags carrying various luxury brands from Hermes to Louis Vuitton and Prada.

    “They are class 1 copycats and thus the material and the sewing are of very high quality,” the post said.

    Xuan has been trading these bags for six years and is a supplier for many shops across Vietnam.

    She said Facebook has become an important tool for her to connect with partners and customers, thereby increasing her earnings.

    A recent survey by Vietnam E-Commerce Association found social networks are the most used advertisement channel and one of the most effective. In Vietnam, Facebook is the most popular social network with around 64 million users, accounting for 3 percent of global Facebookers.

    But these places are also where trade authorities have little control.

    Tax evasion aside, there are also big problems with legitimacy.

    Facebook in Vietnam is where a Vertu-branded phone is available for just a couple hundred dollars, and also where you can find rampant wildlife trade activities.

    Ivory, pangolin scales and tiger skin are advertised as if the country has no protection for the endandgered animals.

    A Facebook user named Tuan advertises tiger parts on different pages, saying that “I only provide fine and unique products, and I can accommodate large demands as well.”

    Although the act of offering to sell fake and banned products is subject to criminal punishment, there have been few reports of these retailers being arrested.

    In April, Facebook pledged to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to block “bad” and “toxic” content on the site, to help build a safe and healthy internet environment in Vietnam.

    It's not clear what specific intervention the partnership would bring to protect users in Vietnam, against illegal trade for example.

    SME development in Vietnam

    Small and medium-sized enterprises play a crucial role in Vietnam’s economic growth.

    The ongoing 2017 APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministering Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City creates an opportunity for Vietnamese SMEs to share experience with their partners in the region and for the Vietnamese government to fine-tune SME support policies.

    Small and medium-sized enterprises comprise 98% of Vietnam’s total enterprises, contribute 40% of the GDP and 30% of the state budget, and generate half of all jobs. But SMEs have difficulties modernizing their equipment and facilities, finding new markets, and distributing their products.

    At the 2017 APEC Small and Medium Enterprises’ Meeting, managers, economies and speakers from APEC member economies urged SMEs to work out a strategic direction for their development path. 

    Tran Van Phat, the CEO of the Robot Company said“Vietnamese enterprises need to participate more in economic forums. We need to prepare for the intrusion of foreign economies and expand economic relations to seize opportunities to enhance our growth.”

    Many countries including Vietnam are urging their SMEs to participate in global logistics supply chains because this sector is of great importance to international trade. 

    Tran Chi Dung, Director of the Logistics Knowledge Company, says the logistics industry creates learning opportunities for Vietnamese SMEs who are participating in global value chains. Vietnam has launched a National Action Program on Logistics Development to help improve the competitiveness and growth of enterprises and the economy. 

    Mr. Dung said “We need to help enterprises understand and approach the program. The State needs to adopt new policies and allocate budgets to carry out promotion activities to attract enterprises.”

    The Law on Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises which will take effect next year realizes Vietnam’s policies on promoting the private sector and creating momentum for small and medium enterprises. 

    At a recent conference on SME development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc pointed out the barriers to enterprise development.

     “There remain many obstacles to Vietnamese penetrating the market. Regulations for enterprises in high-tech, science, technology, and support industries have not been fully enforced. The government welcomes your contributions to developing mechanisms and policies to ensure fairness for both public and private sectors in line with international norms,” PM Phuc noted. 

    The Prime Minister also mentioned the difficulties SMEs have in accessing credit, information, and market support and promised to create a fair, friendly environment to promote investment and ensure regulation enforcement. 

    He said “The government will review regulations and take steps to reduce costs in tax procedures, customs, BOT, logistics, and public services. These costs are burdens on enterprises.”

    In the near future, the Vietnamese government intends to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese SMEs by optimizing advances of the 4th industrial revolution, strengthening the digital infrastructure, and developing high-end human resources.

    Vietnam, EU work to ratify free trade deal

    The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is under final legal review to be ratified early next year. Both sides are gearing up to settle differences to effectuate the deal whose negotiations concluded in December, 2015.

    Officials and business leaders from Vietnam and the EU at a workshop on bilateral free trade agreement in Brussels, Belgium, on September 7, 2017.

    Vietnam and the European Union (EU) signed a statement on the official conclusion of their free trade talks in late 2015. 

    Their Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation has already taken effect.

    Since the conclusion of EU-Vietnam FTA, the business climate in Vietnam has improved significantly with the reform of investment law and simplified administrative procedures. 

    Vietnam has amended its Labor Code to match its FTA commitments. The amendments consulted by international organizations, businesses, and independent experts will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval next year.  

    Vietnam is set to ratify 3 conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on eliminating coerced labor and on collective bargaining agreements. 

    Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said, “Vietnam gives top priority to completing legal ground towards ratifying the free trade agreement with the EU. Vietnam will work closely with EU and flexibly settle arising problems. As a member of the ILO, Vietnam pledges to strictly and effectively implement its commitments. Vietnam has ratified 5 out of the 8 core ILO conventions and plans to ratify the remaining 3 conventions.”

    EU chief negotiator Mauro Petriccione said both sides have achieved major progress and that it’s now important to reach the finish line smoothly.

    He said, “We are trying to make the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement come into effect next year at the earliest. This is a high-quality deal and one of the pillars of Europe’s trade policy for Asia. We are in the process of preparing legal dossiers with Vietnam and translating them into European languages for the consideration of the European Council and Parliament. We are doing our utmost to have our arguments heard and the process approved as soon as possible.”

    Jean Jacques Bouflet, a member of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham)’s Executive Committee in Vietnam said Eurocham supports Vietnam’s goodwill in modernizing administrative procedures to create favorable conditions for investors. 

    He added that once coming into force, the EU-Vietnam FTA will become an effective tool to protect businesses’ operation in each other’s country. 

    Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, said, “Thanks a lot for this timeline as the first time we get to send. Now the new timeline is brought back to my colleagues. I'm convinced that we will have a continuous dialogue. And thanks a lot also for the explanation of outer content of the provision of Labor Code. Let's stay in contact and hopefully we'll get a successful solution so that our process is not harmed.”

    Nguyen Hoang Long, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We have worked with the European Parliament and Commissioners in charge of cooperation with Vietnam and they have reiterated their support for the deal. They are convinced by the support from European firms and citizens who are living, working, and doing successful business in Vietnam. I hope that with stronger government activities and exchanges, the EU-Vietnam FTA will soon be ratified and implemented, living up to both sides’ expectations.”

    Private enterprises a major employer

    Private enterprises in Vietnam employ nearly 14 million people, accounting for 64 per cent of salaried workers and more than 35 per cent of employed workers, according to figures from the business community released at a seminar entitled “The Development Trends of Labor in Types of Enterprises in Vietnam” held on September 14 in Hanoi.

    Scientists, managers, and trade union experts shared research results in four areas: the development of types of enterprises, labor and wages in types of enterprises, the development of industrial zones and housing for workers, and forecasts in labor supply and demand in types of enterprises to 2030.

    Mr. Tran Van Thuat, Deputy President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL), told the seminar that the importance of private enterprise development in the country is increasingly noted by the government, to constantly improve economic competitiveness, create more jobs, and increase incomes.

    According to research from the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions, based on 2,550 questionnaires completed by workers at 64 enterprises in 14 cities and provinces during March and April, actual wages in the first quarter increased 8.1 per cent, higher than the increase in the minimum wage, which averaged 7.3 per cent.

    The research also showed that 22.7 per cent are satisfied with their wage, 52.4 per cent are neutral, and 24.9 per cent are not satisfied. “For employees, increases to the minimum wage did not meet their expectations,” said Mr. Vu Quang Tho, Head of the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions.

    Dr. Tran Thi Minh Phuong from the University of Labor and Social Affairs (ULSA), said appropriate wage and incentive policies at private enterprises would promote labor productivity. “Low pay that is not based on productivity can lead to conflict between employees and employers, affecting the interests of parties within the economy,” she said.

    The Institute proposed that the government direct the implementation of economic development policies, create more jobs, and overcome inadequacies between training and employment. Ms. Phuong said that adjustments to wage policy by the government and enterprises must consider the interests of employees. “This would motivate employees, contributing to productivity growth,” she said.

    Traveloka signs MoUs with Da Nang and Hue

    Traveloka, one of the leading online tourism platforms in Southeast Asia, announced it will cooperate with the Da Nang Tourism Promotion Center and the Thua Thien Hue Department of Tourism under memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed on September 13 and 14.

    The two local authorities will act as a supporting media sponsor for all programs from Traveloka on every promotion channel and advise it on how to promote travel destinations as well as introduce the local travel community to join in promotional videos about the city and province.

    Traveloka, meanwhile, will act to enhance the reputation and promote the local image of the city and province through online marketing activities.

    The two MoUs will help push the local travel industry to new heights, sharing sources of travel information and suggestions on top locations from Traveloka Vietnam, and enhance the two local travel industries. The moves also express the interest and needs of Traveloka Vietnam in cooperating with local cities and provinces that have great potential in tourism, working together in order to bring the best services to customers.

    “Through the agreements with Da Nang and Thua Thien Hue, Traveloka Vietnam agrees to increase links between promotional programs for accommodation in Da Nang and Hue,” Ms. Le Thi Thanh Van, Traveloka Vietnam Country Manager, told the signing ceremonies.

    She added that the good relationships with the two tourism authorities will help local businesses to thrive, increasing the number of tourists visiting Da Nang and Thua Thien Hue and booking rates on the Traveloka platform.

    Praised as one of the most desirable cities in Vietnam to live, Da Nang is also a major tourist destination. According to a report from the Da Nang Department of Tourism, in the first half of this year the total number of visitors was estimated at 3.3 million, an increase of 33.2 per cent year-on-year and representing 51.3 per cent of the annual target.

    Travel services in Thua Thien Hue have improved in terms of quality. It welcomed 1.7 million visitors in the first half of the year, up 1.9 per cent year-on-year, with revenue estimated at $76.3 million.

    Traveloka Vietnam is a leading flight and hotel booking platform in Southeast Asia. It is currently working with more than 100 airlines, providing information on more than 200,000 routes across Asia-Pacific and Europe, and 300,000 hotels in 28 countries, to deliver customers the best deals.

    It provides more than 40 payment options for customers in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, with 24/7 assistance from local customer service centers. Its mobile app has been downloaded more than 20 million times, making it the most popular travel booking app in the region.

    Green buildings key in addressing climate change

    Ho Chi Minh City is considered Vietnam’s key economic area and its most important real estate market, which is also the field predicted to be most affected by climate change in the country. As a result, green buildings have been mooted as an essential and safe solution for the city’s infrastructure development orientation in particular and for Vietnam in general, the “Green Buildings Development in the Context of Climate Change in Vietnam” workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City a few days ago heard.

    The workshop was part of the implementation of the five-year operation plan (2017-2022) for the “Sustainable Green Buildings Development Program”, with the aim of attracting businesses in the real estate sector to develop green buildings nationwide and contribute to establishing a foundation for a green real estate market in the country.

    In his opening remarks, Mr. Nguyen Tran Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), said “according to the latest United Nation’s report, 90 per cent of climate change is caused by humans and the remainder from natural causes, so our actions will play a decisive role in the fight against climate change.”

    As a result, “this seminar is an effort to support sound policies from the government on climate change response, green growth, and green building development, together with the desire to promote green building development and raise public awareness about the benefits of green buildings,” he added.

    VNREA has set up a Program Coordination Committee with 23 members, including managers, scientists, experts on green buildings, and leaders from major real estate firms. It has also set up an action plan for the next five years with the aim of contributing to the foundation of a green property market in Vietnam.

    At its launch in late May, the program received enthusiastic support from and the participation of the real estate community, which featured commitments from dozens of leading developers in Vietnam. At the same time, it received a pledge of more than $1 million and other technical support commitments.

    The Green Building Development in the Context of Climate Change in Vietnam workshop was an opportunity to introduce the program and broad communications on “green” criteria to promote the responsibility of people and investors regarding the environment and sustainable development towards a “green” life. At the same time, the program calls for investors to send proposals to the government and relevant agencies to set out criteria and incentives for developers to build green buildings.

    Fruit and vegetable imports push Vietnam in deeper trade deficit with Thailand

    While Vietnam’s trade deficit with major economies is the result of large imports of inputs for production, the country’s trade gap with Thailand comes mainly from importing fruit and vegetables, many of which Vietnam can produce.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam posted a trade deficit of US$2.13 billion in the first eight months of 2017, as a result of rising imports of materials and machinery for production from China, the Republic of Korea and the United States. However, part of the trade deficit was contributed to by the import of fruit and vegetables that Vietnam could produce at home.

    Take Thailand for example. For years, Vietnam has always run a trade deficit with its largest trading partner in ASEAN. In the eight months through August, Vietnam exported US$3.06 billion worth of goods to Thailand while importing US$6.5 billion. Thailand has now surpassed Japan to become the fourth largest exporter to Vietnam. Vietnam’s main imports from Thailand are consumer electronics, cars and car parts, petroleum products, chemicals, fruit and vegetables.

    What is worrying is the fact that Vietnam is importing a massive amount of fruit and vegetables from Thailand, accounting for about 60% of Vietnam’s total fruit and vegetable imports, of which many could be produced domestically, said Le Quoc Phuong, deputy head of the MOIT’s Industry and Trade Information Centre.

    He explained that compared with their Vietnamese counterparts, Thailand’s fruit and vegetables are better in quality and lower in prices. In addition, Thailand’s fruit and vegetables and Thai goods in general are bolstered by a strong retail network in Vietnam such as BigC and Metro, all of which are owned by Thai firms. In addition, Thai enterprises have held numerous trade fairs to promote Thai goods even to traditional markets, making Thai fruit and vegetables present in almost all markets near residential areas in Vietnam, Phuong added.

    As Thai fruit and vegetables have quickly won Vietnamese consumers’ favour, Vietnamese enterprises have increased imports from this country with advantages in terms of geographical proximity, quality and prices.

    Besides fruit for personal consumption, Vietnam has also increased the importing of Thai fruit to process and then export to other countries, especially the longan and durian, helping to raise overall fruit and vegetable imports from this market.

    According to the roadmap of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, car import tariffs from ASEAN countries will drop to 30% in 2017 and 0% in 2018. Therefore it is projected that Vietnam’s car imports from Thailand will increase and the Southeast Asian country will continue to be the largest provider of completely constructed cars for Vietnam, creating even more pressure on Vietnam’s trade deficit with Thailand.

    At the same time, tariff cut pledges within the ASEAN Economic Community will give an advantage to Thailand’s fruit and vegetables. However it is impossible to restrict Thai imports in a short time due to the fact that Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables are not competitive enough. Therefore, Vietnam’s trade deficit with Thailand is forecasted to reach US$6-7 billion, higher than last year’s US$5.2 billion.

    Phuong said that in regards to modern trade, the import of fruit and vegetables is nothing unusual, but it would be abnormal if Vietnam imports too much of the goods that could be entirely produced at home and this requires the attention of regulators.

    However, restricting imports with a ban is out of the question. The only solution is to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods in terms of both quality and price. Fruit and vegetables must be produced in a safe and clean process. At the same time, trade promotion strategies need to be changed so that Vietnamese goods become better known in the Thai market, thereby increasing exports and reducing the pressure on the trade deficit.

    Vietnam’s car dream re-ignited as Vingroup builds manufacturing plant

    The giant Vietnamese property developer Vingroup has announced plans to produce its first cars in the next two years, rekindling the long-cherished dream of a local car industry which has failed to come true following numerous attempts over the past two decades.

    As one of the largest private companies in Vietnam, Vingroup began its existence as a property developer and has gradually branched out into other areas, from education and healthcare to entertainment, retail and agriculture. And now the firm wants to make its own cars under the brand name VinFast.

    VinFast has set its sights on becoming a major manufacturer in Southeast Asia, with an annual capacity of 500,000 vehicles by 2025 and products ranging from diesel cars to electric cars and bikes. In the initial stage, the company expects to produce approximately 100-200,000 units a year. Its first products will be electric bikes, to be rolled out in the next 12 months and then cars one year later.

    Vingroup said that it has signed an agreement with Credit Suisse under which the latter will arrange a loan of up to US$800 million for VinFast to carry out its ambitious project.

    The firm also announced that the designs for its cars’ engines and main structures will be purchased from leading European and American companies, while the exterior designs will be undertaken by Italian design houses, which have worked on designs for famous car brands such as Audi, Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche.

    Notably, Vingroup stated that it has assembled a team comprising experts in the global automotive industry in order to take part in research and production management. VinFast will also forge links with domestic suppliers to develop and manufacture car parts with an aim of reaching a domestic content of 60% and will export its cars to regional countries.

    Since the early 1990s the government has determined car manufacturing as a key sector by introducing various tax incentives with the aim of establishing a strong local automotive industry. But after 25 years, car prices in Vietnam remain prohibitively expensive, while the rate of domestic content remains extremely low.

    Last year the Ministry of Industry and Trade admitted that Vietnam has totally failed to meet the target of 60% local content in nine-seaters or smaller cars by 2010, as the average rate is only about 7-10%. The highest rate belongs to the Toyota Innova but is only at 37%, far below the requirements.

    Meanwhile in Thailand, the domestic content has reached as high as 90% for pick-up trucks and 70% for passenger cars, according to the Southeast Asian country’s Board of Investment.

    Prior to Vingroup, another local firm, Vinaxuki, also nurtured a great ambition and invested heavily in manufacturing workshops, with the aim of producing cars with high local content. But the dream was soon shattered in 2015 when Vinaxuki had to sell a factory to pay off its debt and its unfinished cars are now left covered in dust. The company’s failure is attributed to a lack of funds and tax policies, which made it unable to finish its cars and compete with imported products.

    The primary reason for the stagnation of the Vietnamese automotive sector and the wide gap between domestic and foreign prices is an unclear and inconsistent strategy. On the one hand, the government wants to prop up the supporting industry to bring down car prices but, on the other hand, high excise tax is levied to discourage car use due to poor infrastructure and environmental concerns.

    From 2018 when tariffs on cars that meet 40% ASEAN regional content will be cut to zero, a torrent of cheap cars from countries in Southeast Asia will certainly flood the Vietnamese market, creating even more pressure on the already languishing local automotive industry. This is good news for Vietnamese consumers but could spell the ultimate demise of the local automotive industry as car-makers will simply import completely built cars instead of investing in manufacturing lines.

    In a gloomy picture, Vingroup’s recent commencement of a car manufacturing facility in the northern port city of Hai Phong is a silver lining, helping to keep the dream of made-in-Vietnam cars alive.

    But enormous challenges are lying ahead as manufacturing cars is an entirely different area from its traditional businesses in the services sector. It is no easy task to make cars as it requires thousands of different parts and a high level of technology.

    Furthermore Vingroup will face the challenge of changing the Vietnamese consumers’ strong preference for foreign goods. Recently, BKAV, a Vietnamese technology firm, launched the second generation of its locally produced Bphone smartphone, to little fanfare from Vietnamese consumers. Very few express any interest in buying a Vietnamese-made smartphone and still prefer iPhones or other devices made by foreign companies, which they believe are better value for money.

    Nevertheless there is still room for hope as Vingroup has proved to be a leading contender in every area of business in which it has been involved and has become a major brand in the mind of Vietnamese consumers. With an impressive track record, there are grounds to believe that Vingroup’s endeavour in this new business will bring fruitful results, especially as its effort has received the support of the Vietnamese government leader.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the ground-breaking ceremony on September 2 that Vietnam having its own car brand is highly significant for building an independent economy. He added that it would be a miracle if VinFast could roll out its first cars in the next two years.

    Vingroup Vice Chairman Nguyen Viet Quang said that engaging in heavy industries is part of its long-term strategy to gradually reduce the proportion of property development. He is confident that consumers will support its locally made cars given its strengths in capital resources, world-leading experts and particularly consumers’ confidence in the premium quality of its products and services in the past few years.

    Furthermore, Vietnam’s car market has great potential for growth as the country’s car ownership remains significantly lower than that of regional countries. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has projected that Vietnam’s annual car demand will reach 450 -500,000 units by 2020, 800-900,000 units by 2025 and 1.5-1.8 million by 2030.

    If Vingroup could tap into this market and succeed, it could help Vietnam to save an enormous amount of US dollars spent on car imports and truly revive the domestic automotive industry.

    ‘Viet’, ‘Vietnam’ used for trademark registration abroad

    The Government has assigned the Ministry of Science and Technology to license the use of words ‘Viet’ or ‘Vietnam’ for certification and collective trademark registration of Vietnamese products and services abroad, according to recently issued Decree 91.

    At first, the ministry should license the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to conduct collective trademark registration of Vietnamese rice abroad.

    In addition, the Government has tasked the Ministry of Science and Technology to adjust and supplement regulations on the use of national name and other marks for registering geographical indication and trademarks of products and services at relevant legal documents to submit to competent authority.

    HCM City delegation to open trade promotion in Australia and New Zealand

    The Investment & Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department will jointly organize a delegation "the HCMC trade and tourism investment promotion" to Australia and New Zealand, led by the city leaders. 

    As scheduled, the working delegation in the two countries will start on October 23- 31, 2017 with attractive activities as conference on trade, tourism and investment promotion, investigation programs to connect trading between Vietnamese enterprises and potential enterprises of Australia and New Zealand.

    Under its target of investment attraction into the city’s key projects, strengthening export and activities on trade, investment and tourism promotion into Australia and New Zealand, the program will give priorities for enterprises having projects in accordance with the policies of Ho Chi Minh City.

    Businesses must spend over $629 million on specialized inspections

    Businesses must take about 28.6 million working days and VND14,300 billion (US$629.21 million) to implement specialized inspection procedures, according to a Government working group.

    The working group has been established to inspect how ministries have conducted specialized inspections on export import goods.

    According to the group, 13 ministries have completed only 64 out of 98 assigned tasks so far. It has spotted a slew of limitations and problems in inspection operations of the ministries such as the high ratio of overlapped and conflict regulations.

    One commodity is managed by many documents and must undergo specialized inspection procedures by many ministries. The ratio of one commodity undergoing 2-3 specialized inspection procedures approximates 58 percent now.

    Inspection and management methods have not accorded with international standards, lengthening cargo customs clearance time. Nearly 100,000 items must experience specialized inspections right at border gates during customs clearance with the ratio of spotted violation being less than 0.1 percent.

    That has raised difficulties, inconveniences and costs for businesses. Annually they must pay VND14,300 (US$629.21 million) to implement regulations and procedures on specialized inspections.

    Beverage producers object to special consumption tax on carbonated drinks

    Domestic beverage enterprises said their production would be badly affected if carbonated drinks are added to the list of items subject to special consumption tax, heard a conference on impacts of tax law amendments held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi yesterday.

    According to a draft amending the tax laws by the Ministry of Finance, carbonated drinks will be subject to a special consumption tax rate of 10%. Besides, value-added tax (VAT) will increase from 10% to 12% for all kinds of beverage and from 5% to 6% for sugar.

    In a document sent to the conference, the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council said such amendments will lead to a rise of 12% or more in soft drink prices. As a result, there would be a significant decline in beverage consumption and revenue.

    According to the council, beverage companies might narrow production, resulting in lower corporate income tax revenues. Small and medium enterprises will be affected the most by tax law amendments.

    The council suggested the Ministry of Finance not impose special consumption tax on soft drinks. Or to lessen the impacts, the ministry should impose a tax of only 1-3% on all kinds of sugary food and beverage, or impose special consumption tax on highly carbonated drinks only.

    Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of the Vietnam Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Association (VBA), said the ministry should conduct a thorough assessment report on the impacts of the draft law on the beverage industry, the economy and the society.

    According to the Ministry of Finance, it is conducting an assessment report with the help of the World Bank.

    “Many populous countries like China have not imposed special consumption tax on carbonated drinks to avoid negative impacts on the beverage industry and the State budget. So there is no reason for Vietnam to do so,” Viet said.

    There are currently hundreds of businesses involved in the beer-alcohol-beverage industry in Vietnam. They contribute nearly VND50 trillion (US$2.2 billion) to the State budget annually and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    U.S. firms look for Vietnamese suppliers

    Many U.S. manufacturers and retailers on September 14 joined the Supplier Day 2017 in HCMC to look for Vietnamese suppliers to increase local content of their products and services, and add more Vietnamese products to their distribution systems.

    The Supplier Day 2017 held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) was attended by 17 foreign manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, mainly U.S. enterprises operating in Vietnam, and 60 local suppliers. The foreign firms want to directly discuss with local suppliers to learn about the supply capacity of Vietnamese companies and put forth their requirements.

    Most of the participating companies are multinationals from the U.S. or members of AmCham Vietnam such as Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam, Procter and Gamble, Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam Beverage, UPS Vietnam, WAHL Vietnam, BriskHeat Vietnam and Walmart Global Sourcing.

    The event, which has been annually held since 2014, is aimed at connecting manufacturers and local suppliers to develop supply chains in Vietnam, thus helping suppliers meet requirements of manufacturers, while U.S. firms can find potential suppliers.

    Frank Weiand, co-chairman of the AmCham Vietnam manufacturing committee and general director of Supply Chain Services International (SCSI), said the event would improve local supply chains to satisfy the demand of international manufacturers.

    Phan Trong Quan, general director of WAHL Vietnam, a clippers manufacturer in Long Hau Industrial Park in Long An Province which has exported its products to the U.S., the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, said the Supplier Day was a great opportunity for the company to choose potential suppliers to reduce products’ prices and increase its localization rate. This is the fourth time in a row WAHL Vietnam has participated in the event.

    After working with five suppliers at the event, the company found four of them suitable for cooperation, Quan added.

    Quan said local suppliers are getting better in helping foreign manufacturers lessen reliance on parts imports. The localization rate of WAHL Vietnam has surged to 45% compared to 5% four years ago, and the rate is expected to grow to 95% in 2018.

    Le Tu Cam Ly, legal and public affairs executive of Coca-Cola in Indochina, said with its 30-year operation, Coca-Cola pledged to offer business opportunities for Vietnamese small and medium enterprises. The company also shared its experience in promoting business activities and supply chains of both U.S. and Vietnamese companies.

    In order to join the global supply chain, local enterprises are required to produce high-quality products with reasonable prices and ensure prompt delivery, thereby having more markets, overcoming challenges and contributing to the development of Vietnamese supply chains, said Weiand.

    TMV Vietnam picks rapper Suboi as brand ambassador

    Popular rapper Suboi has been chosen as brand ambassador for the “No Quality, No Life” project of Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV), the leading automaker in Vietnam.

    The project puts quality goals first in all activities to cope with changes in consumer trends and lifestyles in Vietnam’s modern society.

    Born and brought up in Vietnam, the young artist has emerged as a famous rapper thanks to her talents and stringent efforts. With great passion and strong dedication to music, Suboi has made outstanding achievements in the international music industry and performed at music festivals worldwide.

    Dong Nai property market poses high risk

    Dong Nai Province's real estate market holds potentially high risks despite the rapid growth being helped by improved traffic connectivity with HCMC, heard a seminar on the provincial property market on September 14.

    Among HCMC’s neighboring provinces, Dong Nai has the better advantage as it is home to many important traffic intersections, with many axis routes cutting through it such as National Highway 1A, North-South Railway, HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay, Ben Luc – Long Thanh and Dau Giay – Phan Thiet expressways, Phuoc Khanh Bridge connecting Can Gio to Nhon Trach, and Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien Metro Line which will link to Bien Hoa City.

    Especially, Long Thanh International Airport project has made Dong Nai’s real estate market more attractive to HCMC investors as people tend to move to neighboring areas of HCMC.

    At the seminar “Dong Nai real estate market: opportunities and risks” held by Dau Tu newspaper, it was announced that the province is home to nearly 300 property projects of domestic and foreign enterprises including those with investments of billions of U.S. dollars.

    According to statistics of the market researcher Savills, Dong Nai as of 2016 had 55 housing projects supplying 30,200 apartments and land lots. However, the secondary market accounted for up to 90% with 27,600 products while the primary market provided only 2,600 products.

    In general, investors focus on the land segment with long-term investment targets of five to seven years. Land prices remain low with VND4-4.5 million per square meter in Long Thanh and Nhon Trach districts and VND3.5 milion in Trang Bom and Giang Dien districts.

    The market has shown signs of uncontrolled development as many local people have divided their farm land into lots to sell. Many areas of farmland of 3,000-4,000 square meters each had already been divided into smaller ones many years ago, said Nguyen Minh Khang, acting general director of LDG Group.

    Due to this rampant development, numerous projects in the province without technical and social infrastructure facilities remain unsold. 

    Nguyen Thanh Lam, deputy director of Dong Nai Department of Construction cum chairman of the Dong Nai Real Estate Association, said the provincial housing market becomes active thanks to infrastructure development projects, especially Long Thanh International Airport project.

    Industrial park and urban area development projects measuring up to 21,000 hectares around the airport have been suspended pending adjustment of zoning plans. The province has also halted the certification of farmland being split into small lots.

    Lam categorized real estate projects in Dong Nai into three groups. The first group comprises of land resources in urban areas in Bien Hoa City, Long Thanh, Trang Bom and Long Khanh districts, which have been almost exhausted.

    In the second group, projects with an area of 200-300 hectares each are located in localities with poor infrastructure, mainly land plots. These projects are only suitable for investors with medium-term investment targets from five to seven years.

    The third group includes projects in areas without essential infrastructure facilities, and are only suitable for investors with over-10-year investment targets, he said.

    Four locations proposed for Rach Mieu 2 Bridge

    Project Management Unit 7 (PMU7) has written to the Ministry of Transport proposing four locations to build Rach Mieu 2 Bridge, with one of them around three kilometers upstream the current Rach Mieu Bridge seen the most feasible.

    PMU7's proposal is based on the pre-feasibility study of Dasan Consultants from South Korea as the consultant of the project. Accordingly, the new four-lane bridge will be shorter than the current Rach Mieu Bridge if it is built at the most-preferred site.

    The location is ideal as it is convenient to connect to HCMC – Trung Luong Expressway and Ham Luong Bridge while a bypass is not required in the construction process. The river flow will not also affect the implementation of the project due to the long distance from the Rach Mieu Bridge.

    For the second option, a longer two-lane bridge than the bridge suggested in the first option will be built next to the current Rach Mieu Bridge. This site is good for connecting to HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway but severe traffic congestion may be seen in the construction process and the river flow may be an obstacle. In addition, traffic jams may occur in Tien Giang Province’s My Tho City due to the heavy traffic from HCMC to Ben Tre Province through My Tho.

    The third site is 1.3 kilometers upstream from Rach Mieu Bridge. A four-lane bridge with the same length with Rach Mieu Bridge can connect to HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway. A bypass is unnecessary but the river flow may also affect construction work.

    With the last option, the bridge planned to be built eight kilometers from the Rach Mieu Bridge is shorter than in the other proposals. During the construction of the four-lane bridge, a bypass would not be needed but this location would make the new bridge impossible to link to HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway.

    In the first option, the new bridge inclusive of approach roads is envisaged having five sections.

    As for investment, the consultant proposed using official development assistance (ODA) loans from South Korea and local counter capital for the first and second sections while the fourth section with 8.9 kilometers in length will be invested under the public-private partnership form.

    The management unit is waiting for approval of the Ministry of Transport on investment solutions.

    Medical plastic company merged into equipment corporation

    Mediplast Medical Plastic Joint Stock Company has been officially merged into Vietnam Medical Equipment Corporation (Vinamed), said the latter on September 14.

    All of Mediplast’s assets, rights, duties, and benefits, as well as liabilities have now been transferred to Vinamed. The assets include property, plants, and machinery.

    Vinamed earlier issued additional shares via a private placement for Mediplast’s shareholders at a 3:1 ratio, meaning each share of Mediplast entitles the holder to three shares of Vinamed.

    Vinamed said leaders of Mediplast are to hold key management positions at Vinamed. The corporation also guarantees all of the rights and duties for Mediplast’s employees.

    Mediplast earlier had plans to expand production in a bid to diversify its products. However, it ran short of investment capital, lacked management capacity, and relationships with international partners.

    Meanwhile, Vinamed has stronger finances, international relations, governance, and customer relations. Therefore, the merger will give Mediplast and its shareholders an opportunity to achieve their purpose, according to Pham Quang Huy, chairman of Vinamed.

    He added the merger helps Vinamed bolster its capacity as a corporation specializing in major medical fields, including equipment manufacture and distribution, consultancy and construction, technology solutions, and investment. These fields will create a close supply chain of medical products and services.

    Vinamed has recently unveiled its plans to invest in two hospital projects, including the high-tech service facility of the Thanh Hoa General Hospital in the northern city of Thanh Hoa.

    Pegas Vietnam opens five-star resort catering to Russian tourists

    Pegas Vietnam Co Ltd has opened the five-star Swandor Hotels & Resorts targeting Russian tourists in the coastal city of Cam Ranh in Khanh Hoa Province.

    Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairwoman of Pegas Vietnam, said Swandor Hotels & Resorts has 546 rooms and is rented for a long term by a domestic investor.

    “Russian tourists usually stay at the hotels in 10-12 days and require a variety of food and beverage, sports and entertainment services. Pegas Vietnam has hired foreign chefs and spa specialists to work at Swandor and train the local staff,” Thu said.

    In addition to Swandor, Pegas Vietnam is managing two other resorts under Dessole Sea Lion brand in Cam Ranh and Phan Thiet, both mainly catering to Russian tourists.

    According to Thu, the number of Russian tourists to Vietnam is growing fast. Last year, Pegas served 140,000 Russian tourists and the number would rise to 180,000 this year. Most of them choose Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet, Ninh Thuan and HCMC for multi-day vacations.

    CLIA to hold river cruise conference in HCMC next year

    The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will hold a river cruise conference in HCMC next year given the high demand for river cruise tourism in Asian countries.

    Taking place from April 10 to 11, 2018, the conference will include a cruise in the Mekong River for participating travel agents.

    Participants will be able to take advantage of a trade fair and conference sessions which will focus on identifying potential river cruise customers and learning more about river tourism services in Asia.

    Some travel agents in HCMC said the ocean and river cruise sector has seen strong growth in recent years. Particularly, there are currently about 20 ships plying the waterway on the sightseeing cruise from My Tho City in the Mekong Delta to Cambodia’s Siem Reap Province.

    An eight-day tour costs around US$2,000 per person for three-star cruise ship and US$4,000 per person for four or five-star ship. Specifically, some luxury cruise ships offer tours costing US$1,500 per person per day.

    Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails Co., Ltd., said river cruise in the Mekong Delta is flourishing. CLIA’s conference will be a chance for domestic travel firms to introduce river tourism products internationally.

    “Tourists from Japan, Europe and the U.S. are very much interested in river cruise. With extensive marketing and promotion, this sector will grow further in the Mekong Delta and Vietnam as a whole,” she added.

    Prices of steel products to rise     

    Prices of steel products are forecast to continue rising in the latter months of the year due to a hike in the prices of steel ingot and steel scrap.

    This was stated by the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).

    Nguyen Van Sua, deputy chairman of the association, said because prices of input materials have been increasing strongly, steel producers have to raise the selling price of the products to offset production costs.

    In August alone, steelmakers in the northern region had to increase prices five times, with a combined increase of VND1.1 million (US$48.8) per tonne from VND10.77 million per tonne.

    In the same month, steel producers in the southern region hiked prices three times. Prices of steel products in the region currently range from VND12.4 million per tonne to VND12.7 million per tonne.

    According to VSA, steel scrap is being imported at $350-354 per tonne, $40 higher than the price one month ago. Domestic steel scrap is being sold at VND6.8-7.2 million per tonne, compared with VND6.35-6.55 million in August.

    The price of imported steel ingot in early September was quoted at $540-545 per tonne, 13 per cent higher than early August. Price of domestic steel ingot went up from VND10.5 million per tonne to VND12.1 million.

    VSA deputy chairman Sua predicted, “Steel ingot price will likely surge to VND12.7 million per tonne, thus the price of steel products would continue moving up this month.”

    Last month, the local steel industry produced 13 million tonnes, an increase of 17.4 per cent compared with the same period last year. Of the total, 11 tonnes were sold in the local market, 14.9 per cent higher than August 2016.

    Viet Nam also exported 2.98 million tonnes of steel products from January to July, earning revenue of $2 billion, a rise of 27 per cent in volume and 50 per cent in value against the corresponding period. 

    HCM City farm, consumer goods fair promotes local produce     

    A farm produce, food and consumer goods fair which opened at the Tan Binh District Culture and Sport Centre in HCM City on September 12 seeks to promote production and consumption of Vietnamese products.

    The six-day fair has 200 booths displaying a wide range of agricultural products, foods, fashion items, jewellery, handicrafts, wooden products, household utensils and other consumer goods.

    Visitors can enjoy music shows every night and try a range of cuisines.

    It is organised by the district People’s Committee together with the Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion Joint Stock Company.

    At the opening ceremony, the organisers gave gifts to 50 disadvantaged children from the district. 

    HCM City farm, consumer goods fair promotes local produce     

    Farm produce, food and consumer goods fair which opened at the Tan Binh District Culture and Sport Centre in HCM City on September 12 seeks to promote production and consumption of Vietnamese products.

    The six-day fair has 200 booths displaying a wide range of agricultural products, foods, fashion items, jewellery, handicrafts, wooden products, household utensils and other consumer goods.

    Visitors can enjoy music shows every night and try a range of cuisines.

    It is organised by the district People’s Committee together with the Dong Nam Advertising and Commercial Promotion Joint Stock Company.

    At the opening ceremony, the organisers gave gifts to 50 disadvantaged children from the district. 

    SBV issues new regulations     

    The latest instructions from Le Minh Hung, Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), require credit institutions and commercial banks in Viet Nam to strictly comply with the SBV’s regulations on mobilising capital in foreign currencies and not offer interest rates exceeding the ceiling levels.

    The SBV’s intention is to ensure a balance between mobilised capital and lending capital, which is a way to minimise systematic risks in providing foreign currency credit.

    Issued on Wednesday, an official document numbered 7295/NHNN-TTGSNH from the SBV demands credit institutions keep a close watch on foreign currency credit growth rates, while monitoring the ratio between credit and capital mobilisation in foreign currencies so that an equilibrium is maintained.

    In particular, the SBV requested their local offices and other inspection authorities to monitor commercial banks’ other practices to ensure that official regulations on foreign currency interest rates are respected and implemented.

    Document 7295 stated that any infringement of the SBV’s regulations would lead to a number of penalties, depending on the level of violation. These range from denial of granting permits for opening new banking branches, representative offices or ATMs, to prohibition of issuing new services.

    Competition among credit institutions by offering foreign currency interest rates exceeding the regulated ceiling levels would also result in penalisation from the SBV.

    The SBV also asked credit institutions to take the initiative in monitoring and exposing interest rate violations in foreign currency lending, mobilising and liquidating activities within their branch offices, and to implement the appropriate disciplinary actions.

    On the other hand, the Governor requested that banks and other credit institutions conduct promotional programmes to encourage borrowing, while tending to customer services, especially businesses, to ensure productivity.

    Previously, the SBV had issued Circular 06/2014/TT-NHNN and Decision 2589/QD-NHNN, requiring credit institutions to apply regulated interest rates, avoid using technical methods to bypass the SBV’s control, or participating in illicit competition by raising interest rates above the SBV’s designated maximum rates.

    At the moment, the SBV’s regulated maximum deposit interest rate for US dollar is zero per cent for both individuals and organisations.

    According to reports from the National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC), by the end of August 2017, total credit growth rate in the banking sector has reached 11.5 from the start of the year, as compared to 10.2 per cent in the same period of 2016. 

    Credit growth rate for lending in foreign currencies in the first eight months of 2017 is now 11.5 per cent, a staggering increase of 6.7 times from the same period last year at 1.7 per cent, while credit growth rate for loans in Vietnamese dong is 11 per cent.

    Nonetheless, foreign currency credit only accounts for 8.5 of total national outstanding debt. 

    Khanh Hoa Sanest Beverage earns $10m from IPO     

    Khanh Hoa Sanest Beverage Company earned VND222.7 billion (US$9.8 million) from the sale of nearly eight million shares at its initial public offering (IPO), the HCM City Stock Exchange said.

    The starting price for the IPO was VND23,000 per share.

    The auction on Monday attracted eight organisations and 285 individuals, who registered to purchase 20,677,820 shares.

    The highest bid price was VND80,000 per share, the lowest price was VND25,300 per share and the average was VND27,937 per share, 21.5 per cent higher than the starting price.

    Two organisations and 132 individuals won the bids.

    Khanh Hoa Sanest Beverage specialises in the production of processed milk and dairy products, non-alcoholic beverages and mineral water, along with selling retail and wholesale beverages and food products.

    The company is among five subsidiaries of the Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company, with initial charter capital of VND220 billion on the launch day of January 28, 2016.

    Last year, the company posted revenue of VND535 billion, accounting for 62 per cent of Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company’s total revenue.

    Besides exporting products to the United States, mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company has also set up branches in other ASEAN countries. 

    Better management of BOT, BT projects needed: inspectorate

    The Government Inspectorate has found irregularities in the management of BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) and BT (Build-Transfer) projects in HCM City, including the use of inappropriate contractors.

    The Inspectorate’s report, which examined the implementation of BT and BOT projects in HCM City, found that the city was mobilising resources properly to invest in infrastructure, but had several shortcomings in investment preparation, including the publication of lists of projects, selection of investors, and preparation and approval of reports on project feasibility.

    In addition, shortcomings were found during the investment execution process, which included contract signing, project progress, bidding and selection of contractors, acceptance of payments, and maintenance.  

    Based on the findings, the Inspectorate recommended that Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc instruct the ministries of transport, construction, finance, and planning and investment as well as the city People’s Committee to take action to remedy the situation.

    The Inspectorate asked the ministries of planning and investment, finance and transport to work with the Government on issuing appropriate documents or regulations on paying back the capital of BOT and BT projects.

    The ministries were also requested to develop a policy for maintenance and repair expenses to ensure economic efficiency and to improve management, inspection and supervision of projects.

    The HCM City People’s Council was told to approve investment policies for BOT projects before issuing investment registration certificates so that returns on investment could be ensured.

    The city People’s Committee was urged to direct the Department of Construction to compile statistics on projects funded with State capital in the city.

    Speaking at a recent meeting in HCM City, Võ Văn Hoan, head of the People’s Committee Office, said the city had faced numerous challenges in developing infrastructure projects since the early 2000s, especially a shortage of funds.

    He said that many road infrastructure projects in the city required huge amounts of capital but the city’s budget was overstretched, while budget allocations by the central Government were insignificant.

    To deal with the capital shortage, the city has sought stronger private sector engagement by developing infrastructure projects under the BOT or BT investment models.

    From 2010 to 2015, HCM City signed contracts with eight investors to develop 13 road and environmental protection projects under the BOT or BT model with total investment of nearly VNĐ33 trillion (US$1.45 billion).

    Five of them have been completed, while the remaining eight projects are still under construction.

    The Government Inspectorate said that many of the projects now underway are moving at an extremely slow pace, leading to losses and cost overruns.

    PM welcomes theme of 24th SMEs ministerial meeting

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the theme of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM), saying it demonstrates the aspiration of Vietnam to cooperate with other APEC member economies to foster SMEs’ innovation and global access in the digital era.

    Over the past 30 years of reform, Vietnam, from a poor country, became a developing and middle-income country in 2010, he said the opening session of the SMEMM held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 15. 

    The country’s development path is a vivid demonstration for the role and the significance of SMEs, he added.

    He described the SME community as a main momentum for employment generation and contribution to the maintenance of socio-economic growth and stability.

    In the context of the fourth industrial revolution, the National Assembly of Vietnam has promulgated the Law on Support for Small-and Medium-sized Enterprises while the Government has issued a number of important policies to build a healthy and inclusive business environment, he said.

    Vietnam hopes to receive cooperation from other APEC member economies to enhance the capacity of the tax system to encourage business production, fair competition, and prevent transfer pricing and tax evasion of some foreign investors, he added.

    The PM recommended building a support fund for SMEs and encouraging them to strengthen connectivity with multinational groups and engage in the global value chains.

    He suggested implementing more synchronous measures to increase SMEs' competitiveness and creativity such as facilitating business access to markets and deeper engagement in global value chains; enabling MSMEs to get access to new technologies, improve management capacity and increase competitive edge; promoting entrepreneurship and business ethics; and developing a sustainable and environmentally friendly startup ecosystem to promote innovation among SMEs in the region and value the role of female leadership.

    The PM called on countries in the Asian-Pacific region to foster trust and determination to maintain a peaceful environment and ensure safety and security for the free transfer of goods, services and investment inflows.

    The 24th Small and Medium Enterprises Meeting (SMEMM 24) is one of the most important ministerial events within the APEC cooperation framework, which is expected to adopt a joint statement on promoting start-up bussinesses and a strategy to develop green, sustainable and innovative SMEs, he said.

    Established in 1989, APEC comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

    Quảng Ngãi calls for new investors in revoked projects

    The central province of Quảng Ngãi has called for new investors in six projects that had their investment licences revoked due to delays from 2010 to 2015.

    Head of Dung Quất Economic Zone’s management board, Nguyễn Minh Tài, said the six projects had registered to invest in the zone, but all only either not started work or only done a little.

    Tài said the province has offered favourable conditions to draw new investors to revive the projects.

    He said two new investors – the Hòa Phát-Dung Quất Steel company and Messeeser industrial gas company – had agreed to cover an industrial ship-building complex.

    The other five projects include a seaman’s club, workers’ apartment, a villa in Vạn Tường Urban Area and an apartment east of the Trà Bồng River, and a hotel-restaurant and service complex.

    These projects have been deserted for years, wasting natural resources and investment opportunities.

    The 45,000ha Dung Quất Economic Zone is one of five key coastal economic zones in Việt Nam that has been prioritised for infrastructure development.

    Nineteen industrial parks are available to investors with infrastructure ready, according to the management board.

    According to latest reports, the province has attracted 36 foreign direct investment projects, worth $4 billion.

    MEDIPLAST officially merges with VINAMED

    Aiming to take advantage of each enterprise’s existing strengths to expand their scale of operations, medical equipment manufacturers MEDIPLAST and Vietnam Medical Equipment Corporation (VINAMED) have officially merged.

    Accordingly, MEDIPLAST has handed over its entire assets, including cash, real estate projects, factories, and machinery, among others, to VINAMED.

    In return, VINAMED issued individual shares to swap for MEDIPLAST’s existing shareholders at a ratio of 3:1. The shareholders of MEDIPLAST have become VINAMED’s shareholders, enjoying the same rights and benefit as VINAMED’s original shareholders.

    The merger will help MEDIPLAST increase its capital to expand its operations. In recent years, MEDIPLAST has been having difficulties in diversifying its products due to a lack of capital, management capacity, and relationships with foreign partners, while VINAMED seems a perfect complementary partner.

    The merger is an important step in building VINAMED as a corporation specialising in the healthcare sector with five key businesses, namely medical equipment production and distribution, as well as medical technology and consultancy, communications system (PACS) solutions, and healthcare facilities. These five businesses will create a closed supply-service chain for VINAMED. After the merger, MEDIPLAST will be in charge of marketing for the entire VINAMED product portfolio.

    Formerly the Department of Basic Materials and Construction under the Ministry of Health (MoH), the company was officially renamed VINAMED on May 2, 1996 by MoH Decision No.720/BYT-QD. On July 12, 2016, VINAMED completed its equitisation and was officially transformed into a joint stock company.

    For nearly 30 years, VINAMED has been training highly responsible and enthusiastic management staff, pharmacists, and engineers. The company’s trainees are knowledgeable about medical equipment and have experience in business, logistics services, as well as equipment repair and installation.

    In May, VINAMED officially received the investment certificate to develop a high-quality medical services centre at Thanh Hoa General Hospital in the framework of Thanh Hoa Investment Promotion Conference 2017, which took place on May 18.

    The project has a total investment value of VND739 billion ($32.55 million) contributed by Thanh Hoa General Hospital and VINAMED. The project is a paramount item in the plan of restructuring and developing healthcare services in the province by 2020 with vision to 2030 and is in line with Vietnam's comprehensive planning for the healthcare sector for the same time period.

    Considered one of Vietnam's leading medical equipment manufacturers, MEDIPLAST operates mainly in the fields of manufacturing, trading, import and export of medical equipment, materials, and medical instruments, and related products with the most modern production lines of the UK and Japan.

    In late July, it inaugurated MEDIPLAST medical plastic factory (phase 1) at the northern province of Bac Ninh's Dai Dong Industrial Zone.

    Construction formally starting in November 2016, the factory was completed and came into operation in June 2017. At present, it focuses on the production of sterile plastic syringes and feeding syringes, K1 auto disable syringes, INSULIN syringes, scalp vein set needles, and infusion sets.

    With an area of 13,000 square metres and staff of more than 200, the new factory in Bac Ninh will help MEDIPLAST increase production capacity and develop new products to meet the demand for high-quality plastic medical equipment in the country and become the supplier of global organisations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), and the Global Vaccine Alliance Translation (GAVI), among others.

    Mobile World in Top 50 leading Asia-Pacific listed companies

    The Mobile World Investment JSC has appeared in Asia’s Fab 50 listed companies as voted by Forbes Asia magazine.

    Mobile World is the second Vietnamese company to appear on the list during the Fab 50’s 13-year history. The company is capitalized at $1.5 billion and earned revenue of $2 billion in 2016. Established in 2004, its annual revenue growth rate has steadily remained above 60 per cent since its HSX share issuance in 2014.

    It currently has 1,609 stores in Vietnam and one in Cambodia, with four brands: Mobile World, Dien may Xanh, Bac hoa Xanh, and the e-commerce site vuivui.com. Forbes also emphasized that Mobile World has ambitious plans to expand in Cambodia and to Laos and Myanmar.

    To identify the Top 50 listed companies in the Asia-Pacific region, Forbes Asia’s team of professionals screened 1,964 listed companies earning annual revenue of at least $1.8 billion.

    It also set other important criteria, such as corporate value or revenue not lower than five years ago, no high debt ratio, and no more than 50 per cent State ownership, and businesses must also meet dozens of different financial indicators, the aim being to provide a list of Asia’s “bluechip” elite companies.

    Mobile World also appeared among the Top 50 best listed companies in Vietnam 2017 from Forbes Vietnam. The announcement ceremony was held on September 14.

    In the first seven months of this year, its turnover was VND36.7 trillion ($1.6 billion), up 58 per cent year-on-year and equal to 58 per cent of the annual target. After-tax profit was VND1.26 trillion ($54.7 million), up 29 per cent year-on-year and equal to 57 per cent of the annual target. Turnover at thegioididong.com was VND20.5 trillion ($891 million), a 23 per cent increase year-on-year, and VND15.7 trillion ($682 million) at dienmayxanh.com, 138 per cent higher year-on-year. Online turnover reached VND3 trillion ($130 million), up 95 per cent year-on-year and equal to 45 per cent of the annual target.

    The company opened 354 new stores nationwide in the first seven months, including 83 new thegioididong.com stores and 181 new dienmayxanh.com stores. As at July 31 it had 1,609 stores, including 1,034 thegioididong.com stores, 437 dienmayxanh.com stores, and 138 Bach hoa Xanh stores.

    Ministry stipulates solar power purchase price

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a circular, stipulating solar power purchase price at VND2,086 per kWh (9.35 US cents).

    The price will be adjusted according to fluctuations in VND/USD exchange rate.

    According to the ministry, the circular’s issue is to make transparent solar power development procedures in Vietnam, boost investment in this field, increase power system capacity and gradually raise the ratio of renewable energy in the national electricity system.

    It also aims at less dependence on depleting fossil fuel, energy security, greenhouse gas emission reduction, environment protection and sustainable development.

    HCMC launches social condo design competition

    The Department of Construction and the Architects Association in HCMC today announced the launch of social condo design competition. 

    The competition comprises of ten awards totally worth VND880 million ($38,719).

    Director of the Department Tran Trong Tuan said that the competition aims to boost investment in social apartments in the city and improve design quality of these special condos.

    It expected to draw attention of professional architects and organizations to select the best designs which meet all requirements of planning, architecture, economic efficiency and offer a fresh environment for residents.

    Accordingly, the best works will be introduced to investors and consulting agencies in the city and nationwide.

    Participants are organizations and individuals in Vietnam and those who are professional at designing apartment.

    One special prize is worth VND200 million, one first prize is VND150 million, two second prizes each worth VND100 million, three third prizes each worth VND80 million and three consolation prizes each worth VND30 million.

    Entries can be sent to the Department of Construction at 60 Truong Dinh Street in District 3 from now to November 3.

    The prize-giving ceremony will be held in January 10, 2018.

    HCM City delegation to open trade promotion in Australia and New Zealand

    The Investment & Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department will jointly organize a delegation "the HCMC trade and tourism investment promotion" to Australia and New Zealand, led by the city leaders. 

    As scheduled, the working delegation in the two countries will start on October 23- 31, 2017 with attractive activities as conference on trade, tourism and investment promotion, investigation programs to connect trading between Vietnamese enterprises and potential enterprises of Australia and New Zealand.

    Under its target of investment attraction into the city’s key projects, strengthening export and activities on trade, investment and tourism promotion into Australia and New Zealand, the program will give priorities for enterprises having projects in accordance with the policies of Ho Chi Minh City.

    SBV Governor requires close control over credit in foreign currencies

    The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has sent Document 7295 requiring credit institutions and foreign banks’ branches to keep a close eye on credit growth rate in foreign currencies to ensure their operation safety.

    They have been asked to control credit by mobilized capital in foreign currency to ensure suitable ratio and the balance between deposit and loan funds, intensify risk control in credit granting in foreign currencies.

    Credit institutions should abide by reward interest rates stipulated at Circular 06 issued in 2014 and Decision 2589 in 2015 of the Governor, not apply technical measures to increase ceiling rates. They are banned from unhealthy competition in capital mobilization.

    The Governor requires them to examine and spot violations in reward ceiling rates and strictly handle leaders of branches for letting violations occur and not abiding by regulations by SBV.

    Businesses must spend over $629 million on specialized inspections

    Businesses must take about 28.6 million working days and VND14,300 billion (US$629.21 million) to implement specialized inspection procedures, according to a Government working group.

    The working group has been established to inspect how ministries have conducted specialized inspections on export import goods.

    According to the group, 13 ministries have completed only 64 out of 98 assigned tasks so far. It has spotted a slew of limitations and problems in inspection operations of the ministries such as the high ratio of overlapped and conflict regulations.

    One commodity is managed by many documents and must undergo specialized inspection procedures by many ministries. The ratio of one commodity undergoing 2-3 specialized inspection procedures approximates 58 percent now.

    Inspection and management methods have not accorded with international standards, lengthening cargo customs clearance time. Nearly 100,000 items must experience specialized inspections right at border gates during customs clearance with the ratio of spotted violation being less than 0.1 percent.

    That has raised difficulties, inconveniences and costs for businesses. Annually they must pay VND14,300 (US$629.21 million) to implement regulations and procedures on specialized inspections.

    HCMC should allow small apartments

    The HCMC government should allow for construction of commercial apartments smaller than 45 square meters as long as the number of such homes does not exceed 25-30% of the total, said real estate experts.

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA), said the minimum floor area of commercial and social apartments of 45 square meters as stipulated in the 2005 Housing Law is unreasonable.

    The regulation is also specified in the National Standards TCVN 4451:2012 on basic principles in house designs issued by the Ministry of Construction.

    Chau said the restriction on the size of apartments makes it difficult for low-income people to own homes.

    The standard should not be applied in all localities due to the differences in housing demand. Especially, in Hanoi, HCMC and seven other big cities, available land for commercial and social housing projects should be used economically and effectively.

    The 2014 Housing Law which replaces the 2005 law allows investors to decide the area of the  commercial house as long as it is suitable to the housing standards set by competent agencies.

    However, the Ministry of Construction has not issued new national standards for apartments in line with the new law to replace the old ones.

    Nguyen Van Duc, deputy director of Dat Lanh Real Estate Co Ltd, said the ministry had earlier given the nod to the company to build commercial apartments measuring 30-40 square meters. These apartments were sold out rapidly after completion, showing the demand was huge.

    At present, there is high demand for small apartments that are affordable for low-income people. The city cannot ban these apartments just because they may give rise to slums in the sky, Duc added.

    Chau from the HoREA also agreed that the need for small social and commercial houses of State employees, students, workers and unmarried people is huge.

    According to the 2014 Housing Law, the Government, the Ministry of Construction, and central cities and provinces can decide housing standards suitable to specific demand and conditions of localities.

    Therefore, HCMC should accept commercial apartments with a minimum floor area of 25 square meters, he said.

    Petrolimex asks distributors to be ready for selling E5 bio-fuel

    Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) will completely replace A92 petrol by E5 A92 bio-fuel from January 1 next year, and has just ordered all its distributors to prepare facilities for the change, Vietnamplus reports.

    Petrolimex asked its distributors to implement the project seriously by readying all mixing, transport and storage facilities to ensure the quality and safety of E5 A92.

    The group also encouraged fuel traders to make the move to sell the bio-fuel earlier if preparations are already completed. A92 will be wiped out, so gas stations can sell only A95 and E5 A92, or each of them.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the ministry has worked with localities, fuel traders and bio-fuel producers to inform consumers of the imminent change, and prepare technical infrastructure and issue preferential policies to encourage the consumption of the bio-fuel.

    Vietnam is now home to four bio-fuel plants including two of Tung Lam Production and Trading Co Ltd in Dong Nai and Quang Nam provinces with a total annual capacity of 200,000 cubic meters of ethanol. The other two in Quang Ngai Province’s Dung Quat and Binh Phuoc Province are expected to annually supply 200,000 cubic meters of ethanol for the market.

    To implement the project, the country will need 5.4 million cubic meters of E5 fuel and 250,000-270,000 tons of E100 as raw material for bio-fuel blending.

    Though local plants can meet the demand for ethanol, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also allowed traders to import E100 to ensure the competitiveness in the market and protect consumer rights, Deputy Minister Vuong said.

    Metro Line No. 2 project in HCMC stays put until 2020

    The HCMC government has asked the Prime Minister for permission to delay the Metro Line No. 2 project until 2020, which is an administrative step for the city to discuss an extension of loan agreements with international donors.

    In a document sent to the Prime Minister on September 7, the city pledged to shoulder all extra expenses for loan extension agreements for the metro line, which will run from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Tham Luong Depot in District 12.

    According to the document, the city has also secured capital for the project’s site clearance compensation.

    The delay is apparently due to time-consuming preparatory paperwork whose progress has fallen far behind schedule due to multiple adjustments to the project.

    A source from the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) said the parties concerned are adjusting the project’s technical design and investment cost.

    The HCMC government in February sent a scheme on project adjustments to related ministries and received feedback in June. The city has plans to submit the latest adjustment scheme to the Government for approval this month.

    The city has also adjusted the project’s total cost to US$2.173 billion from the initial US$1.3 billion, while the groundbreaking date has not been finalized.

    The districts which the metro line will pass through have been asked to finish site clearance before June 2018.

    On September 8, Le Van Khoa, director of Metro Line No. 2 project, said the construction process has to be adjusted due to slow site clearance and complicated procedures.

    Metro Line No. 2 has a total length of 11 kilometers and an original investment cost of US$1.3 billion, including loans worth US$540 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), US$313 million from the German Development Bank (KfW), US$195 million from European Investment Bank (EIB) and US$326.5 million from the city’s budget.

    According to the initial plan, the project would get off the ground in 2016 and be up and running in 2020.

    EZ Land enters Vietnam’s real estate market

     EZ Land Company of Luxembourg’s international investment fund KEY SICAV SIF on Monday announced its participation in Vietnam’s real estate market with a plan to invest US$200 million in housing projects in the country.

    EZ Land plans to build 1,000-1,500 apartments a year in the next five to eight years and focus on homes for low-income people, a segment forecast to keep growing in the coming time.

    Oliver Brazier, CEO of EZ Land Vietnam, said his company will ensure the construction pace of projects and supply customers with high-quality apartments at reasonable prices.

    Its first project named HausNeo in District 9 including 568 units requires VND500 billion (US$21.94 million). EZ Land’s apartments will be designed in the Bauhaus style of Germany, focusing on both the beauty and utility of apartments.

    EZ Land Vietnam will acquire other enterprises’ projects whose construction has not been commenced and will not use the available designs of previous investors, said Oliver Brazier.

    In fact, EZ Land has been present in the domestic housing market for two years but its presence in Vietnam and its first project were only revealed several days ago. The company wants to prepare well for the implementation of its projects, such as completing administrative procedures and choosing ideal locations, to meet the demand of local people.

    Triumph Motorcycles eyes investment in Vinh Phuc

    A delegation from Triumph Motorcycles has visited the northern province of Vinh Phuc to explore investment opportunities.

    The company plans to build a factory manufacturing high-end motorbikes in the locality, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

    During a working session with local authorities, Jamie Looker, Triumph Motorcycles Chief Operating Officer, said the company, established in 1884, currently has factories around the world with the growing market share.

    The company plans to launch a showroom in Ho Chi Minh City by the end of this year, he added.

    Le Duy Thanh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee pledged that the province will create favourable conditions for the UK firm to build the factory.

    He briefed the guests on local potential and advantages in economic development, investment attraction and industrial development, particularly in the automobile and motorbike industry, which has made a significant contribution to the province’s budget.

    The province is home to several major automobile and motorbike firms’ factories, including Honda, Toyota, and Piaggio, and other spare part factories.

    Dong Nai records 1.4 billion USD trade surplus in eight months

    The southern province of Dong Nai enjoyed a trade surplus of nearly 1.4 billion USD in the first eight months of the year, according to the provincial Statistics Office.

    In the eight-month period, the province shipped nearly 11 billion USD worth of products to foreign countries, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

    The trade surplus was contributed by key staples like footwear (1.9 billion USD, up 9.4 percent), garments (over 1 billion USD, up 8.2 percent) and wooden furniture (722 million USD, up 12.3 percent).

    The provincial People’s Committee said that the footwear sector has witnessed the highest export turnover in the past years. Foreign direct investment (FDI) companies like Changsin, Taekwang Vina and Pouchen have enjoyed sound and stable growth. They are committing to raising production capacity to meet orders from the world’s big footwear brands in the coming time.

    Despite facing fierce competition with Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi enterprises, Vietnamese garment businesses still ensure stable orders thanks to their prestige and product quality.

    Regarding wooden products, numerous firms have sought new markets while taking advantage of the free trade agreements signed with the Republic of Korea and Japan to boost their exports.

    Meanwhile, several products saw high export growth like fibre (795 million USD, up 25.6 percent), machines and equipment (670 million USD, up 22.9 percent), computers and electronic products (318 million USD, up 22.8 percent).

    High export prices of agricultural products also contributed to the province’s export revenue.

    The largest importers of Dong Nai goods in the period were the US with revenue of 2.54 billion USD, China with 944 million USD and Japan with 934 million USD.- 

    Hai Phong told to revise fee collection

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked the Ministry of Finance and Hai Phong city to strictly follow the PM’s instruction on reviewing fees for using infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities at ports in the city.

    The Government Office has sent Document 9014/VPCP–KTTH to the city’s People’s Committee to convey the Prime Minister’s instruction on the issue. The previous document from the Government in May said adjustments in fees were needed to ensure they are reasonable, comply with the law and create favourable conditions for import and export firms, as per Government resolutions on improving the business climate.

    The document was sent right after the municipal Hai An district People’s Committee required businesses that have imported and exported goods through the city’s ports to pay fee from the beginning of the year to quickly complete the payment. The deadline is September 15.

    The announcement by Hai An district also said if firms did not pay the fee by the deadline, they would be subject to administrative penalties stipulated under Decree 109/2013/NÐ-CP, dated September 24, 2013, on price management, fees and invoices.

    The district also said they would apply coercive measures on companies that did not follow the announcement.

    “Customs units, bonded port and warehouse trading firms in Hai Phong will not allow import-export goods through their seaports if companies do not pay the fee,” the announcement said.

    The district said most businesses have executed the resolution that came into effect from the beginning of this year, regulating fees for construction, infrastructure, service buildings and public utilities at ports. However, there were some companies that had not paid the fee.

    Under the resolution, individuals and organisations that have shipments stored at bonded warehouses must pay 2.2 million VND (97 USD) to 4.8 million VND (220 USD) per container, an increase of nearly 70 percent from the previous fee.

    The municipal People’s Committee said fee collection was legal and suitable with the current laws. In addition, the fee is half of that collected at the Lao Cai border gate, it said.

    Businesses, meanwhile, expressed their disagreement with the city’s resolution, saying the fees were unreasonably high and undermined their competitiveness.

    The Vietnam Private Sector Forum (VPSF) has proposed the municipal people’s committees conduct direct dialogues with businesses and associations to collect their ideas on the issue. In addition, associations also sent several documents to the Government to resolve the problem.

    Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, VPSF’s deputy general secretary, said the short duration between the resolution’s promulgation and it coming into effect has made businesses passive, as all issues, including contract and price for the whole year, were negotiated and signed beforehand. The fee could make their export products’ prices higher, causing losses for businesses.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said the resolution could be a dangerous precedent for other localities which have seaports and airports to collect fees in the future, creating disadvantages for the country’s export activities.

    Hai Phong Port is the second-largest port in Vietnam with one third of total cargo passing through it. 

    Vinatex seeks investment opportunities in Armenia

    A delegation of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) made a fact-finding trip to Armenia in late August to seek partners to develop production projects as Vietnam is the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) that includes Armenia.

    Vinatex General Director Le Tien Truong said during their stay, the group’s representatives held working sessions with a deputy foreign minister, the minister of economic development and investment, and some major businesses in Yerevan capital city of Armenia.

    He said Vinatex will consider production and business cooperation with big companies of Armenia that have already had distribution networks in Russia and the EU. In the initial stage, the group will mainly contribute machinery and production administration.

    At the meetings, the Armenian Government expressed its desire to cooperate with major firms with much experience in production management like Vinatex so as to revive the local garment industry and boost export.

    It also promised to encourage investment attraction, create favourable conditions for foreign investors, and provide special mechanisms for Vietnamese investors through cooperation policies, multilateral and bilateral cooperation agreements, and granting of work visas, Truong added.

    According to Vinatex, 94 businesses are operating in the textiles and garment industry of Armenia. The country exported 50 million USD and imported 170 million USD worth of textile and garment products in 2014.

    Despite their small and outdated scale, Armenian firms have experience in working with big fashion brands of Italy and Germany such as La Perla, Moncler, Armani and Porsche.

    The country has also benefited from a number of tax incentives thanks to free trade agreements when its products enter the Russian or EU markets.

    2.7 million foreigners visit Quang Ninh in eight months


       

    The northern province of Quang Ninh welcomed 2.7 million foreign visitors in the first eight months of 2017, up 20 percent from the same period last year.

    The figure contributed to a 16-percent annual increase of the total tourist arrivals in the province during the period, reaching 7.34 million.

    As a result, the local tourism sector reeled in nearly 11 trillion VND (484 million USD) in revenue, increasing 26 percent from last year.

    The outcomes were attributable to new tourism products, better policies for strategic investors in tourism infrastructure, and heavy fines on travel agents offering low-quality services. 

    According to a report from the provincial Tourism Department, in the upcoming National Day holiday (September 2 – 4), the province will receive more than 70,000 visitors, including 15,000 foreigners.

    Currently, all star-rated hotels in Ha Long city have been fully booked for the three-day vacation.

    Quang Ninh has a special geopolitical and economic position with the world natural heritage site of Ha Long Bay as well as more than 600 natural landscapes and historical relic sites.

    Ho Chi Minh City, Utah State vow to promote trade, high-tech links

    Ho Chi Minh City appreciates foreign resources which have helped with the city’s development into an economic, financial, trade and science-technology centre in the region, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong told visiting Governor of the US State of Utah Gary Herbert during a reception on September 1. 

    Phong expressed his hope that Utah and Ho Chi Minh City will increase diplomatic activities and bilateral cooperation programmes for the common benefit of the two peoples. 

    He wished that Utah businesses would explore long-term business opportunities in the city in priority fields such as tourism and high technology. 

    Herbert, for his part, said Ho Chi Minh City and Utah share similarities in development history, cultural values, young population as well as challenges arising from growing urban population and environmental protection.

    The guest expressed his wish that Ho Chi Minh City would facilitate visits to share experience in developing clean energies, environment and education to improve local well-being. 

    On the occasion of the Utah governor’s visit, memoranda of understanding were signed on cooperation between the Saigon Hi-tech Park and the Utah State Centre for Research and Science-Technology, and between the Saigon Silicon Park company and the Utah World Trade Centre.

    Japanese firms seek investment opportunities in Vietnam

    The Vietnam-Japan Investment Cooperation Forum was held on September 15 in Yokohama by Kanagawa Prefecture in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Embassy of Vietnam in Japan. 

    The event saw the participation of delegates from nearly 200 Japanese enterprises and more than 40 enterprises in Vietnam’s provinces of Dak Lak, Ha Nam, Hung Yen and Hau Giang.

    Speaking at the forum, Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture Kuroiwa Yuji spoke highly of Vietnam's investment environment with its abundant labour force, maintaining a high economic growth rate of over 6 percent, and its favourable policies, as well as improved administrative procedures. 

    Governor Kuroiwa Yuji expressed his hope through the forum that Japanese businesses will continue to invest more in Vietnam.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong said that the friendship Vietnam and Japan is the cornerstone of economic cooperation between the two countries, he added that Vietnam is becoming one of the most attractive investment destinations for Japanese businesses. 

    He thanked the Kanagawa Prefecture for organising the forum while praising the efforts of Governor Kuroiwa Yuji in contributing to better bilateral relations.

    Representatives from the provinces of Dak Lak, Ha Nam, Hung Yen and Hau Giang introduced their strengths, potential and incentives to Japanese enterprises. The presentation attracted the attention of many Japanese businesses.

    Kanagawa has a population of about 9 million, second only in Japan after Tokyo, with GDP of more than 300 billion USD. It is also one of Japan's most invested provinces by Vietnam. The province has its own industrial park in Hung Yen.-

    Shares mixed on EFT trading

    Shares declined on the HCM Stock Exchange on the last four days this week, but strong demand from local traders cushioned the market.

    The benchmark VN-Index inched down 0.06 percent to 805.82 points on September 15. It expanded 1.1 percent in the last three sessions.

    The market breadth was neutral with 130 stocks rising, 129 falling and 84 closing flat.

    Two exchange-traded funds (ETF) – FTSE ETF and V.N.M ETF – concluded trading for their third-quarter portfolio restructuring and this had a negative effect on the market as many large-cap stocks were in the list for sale of these two funds.

    Shares of Vietnam National Petroleum Group (PLX), Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage (SAB) and budget airline Vietjet (VJC) were included in the FTSE Vietnam All-Share Index, but VJC closed unchanged while PLX and SAB decreased 0.15 percent and 0.18 percent, respectively.

    Meanwhile, Hoa Binh Construction Group (HBC) was included in the V.N.M ETF’s portfolio, but edged up just 0.33 percent. FLC was removed from the fund’s basket this time and dropped 0.4 percent.

    Other major stocks, although being increased or reduced weights in ETF’s portfolios, saw little changes. In recent years, ETF portfolio restructuring has not generated as great influence on the market as before.

    Vinamilk (VNM), VinGroup (VIC) and Masan Group (MSN) dropped 0.2-0.5 percent while steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and FLC Faros Construction (ROS) rose by less than 1 percent.

    According to Vietnam Investment Securities Co, investors begin to pay attention to the stocks with promising business results in the third quarters.

    “The company keeps a cautious view on the market outlook, but opportunities are open to individual stocks,” it said in a note.

    Shares of real estate and securities companies attracted big money September 15 and most of them saw gains in value, including Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), HCM Securities (HCM), MB Securities (MBS), Novaland Investment Group (NVL), HCM City Infrastructure Investment, Dat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) and Dream House Investment (DRH).

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index maintained the uptrend, up 0.1 percent to end at 104.49 points. It inched down 0.05 percent on the previous day.

    Liquidity changed little with a total of 218.3 million shares worth 4.8 trillion VND (211.4 million USD) in the two markets, down 6.3 percent in volume but up 6.7 percent in value compared to the previous session.

    Foreign investors were net sellers on the two exchanges September 15, offloading shares worth a combined 293.6 billion VND. 

    Auto prices slashed further

    Many car manufacturers in Việt Nam continue to apply discounts and promotions to stimulate purchasing.

    Insiders say slashing auto prices is reasonable in light of next year’s zeroeing-out of import tariffs from ASEAN member states. Along with inventory pressure, this has led manufacturers to cut back on profit to encourage consumption.

    After announcing a reduction of hundreds of millions of đồng for Honda CR-Vs, a run on the dealerships emptied out their stocks. In one month, the prices of luxurious SUV Honda CR-V 2.4 ATTG model, CR-V 2.4 A.T and CR-V 2.0 A.T have been dropped by VNĐ280 million, VNĐ330 million and VNĐ220 million, respectively. This has made way for the new model of the imported seven-seat CR-V series at nearly the same price as CR-Vs assembled in the country, without a discount (about VNĐ1.1 billion).

    Mitsubishi Motors Việt Nam (MMV) will continue to offer car price incentives this month of as much as VNĐ180 million (depending on the model).

    Trường Hải Auto Corporation (Thaco) also announced a price reduction of the Mazda CX-5 to less than VNĐ800 million, down about VNĐ200 million compared with previous months.

    Jumping on the bandwagon, other auto firms such as Nissan, Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) and Chevrolet also decreased prices of locally-assembled cars.

    TMV has recently announced its two-month promotion programme for locally-assembled models of Vios and Innova. Accordingly, the corporation will pay the vehicle registration fees of between VNĐ15 million and VNĐ30 million.

    Nissan, another brand name from Japan, will give buyers rebates of VNĐ5 million to VNĐ35 million and will also pay registration fees worth from VNĐ13.3 million to VNĐ29.8 million, in addition to providing an accessories package. The total value of the cuts applied on each Nissan Vietnam car is approximately VNĐ50 million.

    Prices of imported types of Toyota Fortuner and Yaris and of several types of Hyundai cars imported from Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea have remained stable.

    According to a report by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association released on Tuesday, auto sales dropped sharply in recent months. In the first eight months of this year, 177,038 units were sold, 10,825 fewer than last year in the same period.

    Sales of locally-assembled autos also dropped sharply as customers await next year’s anticipated tariff cancellation. This, combined with a preference for imported vehicles has resulted in a drop of 11 per cent of locally assembled cars, to 126,984 units in the first eight month of this year, whereas the number of imported vehicles rose 10 per cent to 50,052 units.

    Insiders say once locally assembled vehicles are sold out, car prices may rise again; if they drop due to the zero import tax, the price reductions will not be as sharp.

    Ngọc Thọ, a resident of Hà Nội, told the news website dantri.com.vn that despite the discounts, Vietnamese customers pay far more for their cars than the cars’ value. Thọ calculated that, the CX5 2.5, the most expensive version of Mazda CX5 in Việt Nam, is being sold at VNĐ899 million. To own the vehicle, customers will have to pay nearly VNĐ1.02 billion, including registration fees and insurance. Meanwhile, the most expensive CX5 version in other countries sells at VNĐ600 million.

    Phạm Anh Tuấn, head of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA)’s Policy Sub-Committee, told the website that in fact, taxes in Việt Nam are highest compared to other countries in the region and also in the 21-nation Pacific Rim forum states. Taxes account for 40-50 per cent of the total value of a vehicle. The company only gets about 10 per cent of the profit, the dealer gets about 5 per cent of the total value of the car depending on the marketing and sales capabilities.

    Rice exports up significantly
       
    Viet Nam has exported 3.87 million tonnes of rice worth US$1.66 billion in the first eight months of the year.

    According to the Viet Nam Food Association this represents increases of 17.7 per cent in volume and 16.6 per cent in value year-on-year.

    Asia remained the main market, accounting for 67 per cent of the shipments, as exports to mainland China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore increased.

    But exports to Hong Kong fell significantly.

    Africa was the second biggest market, accounting for 15.7 per cent of the exports, with the Americas and Australia being third and fourth.

    The association said high-grade white rice, fragrant rice and glutinous rice were the main export items.

    Viet Nam’s 5 per cent broken white rice is currently priced higher than Thailand’s but lower than India’s due to limited supply, he said.

    But the association said the price of common white rice would be reduced to compete with Thai rice to meet new demand.

    Huynh The Nang, the association’s chairman, said the summer-autumn rice crop has been harvested, with output being lower than expected, and large areas of newly planted autumn-rice crop are inundated and likely to be affected.

    Prices would remain high in the domestic market until the year-end due to limited supply, he added.

    The VFA said demand for common white rice and parboiled rice would continue to increase this year mainly driven by imports by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

    Fragrant rice exports would be steady thanks to continuing demand from Africa and China and new demand from Iran and Iraq, it said.

    The market for long-grained white rice, speciality rice, sticky rice, and broken rice would continue to be dominated by China, while exports of Japonica rice would continue to rise and the variety promises to become one of the country’s key exports, with its main markets being countries in Oceania and China, it said.

    Exports are no longer based on demand for common white rice from traditional markets under government-to-government contracts, with enterprises actively promoting exports of speciality, high-quality, fragrant, sticky, and broken varieties, it added.

    Nang said despite difficulties, rice exports would rise this year.

    At a meeting it held on Wednesday the association fixed a export target of 1.8 million tonnes in the four remaining months to take the whole-year volume to 5.6 million tonnes.

    International livestock expo set to take place next year
       
    The seventh international livestock, dairy, meat processing and aquaculture exposition will bring thousands of people to HCM City in March next year.

    More than 8,000 trade visitors are expected to participate and interact with 250 international brands from 30 countries. The exposition, Ildex Viet Nam 2018, is organised by Minh Vi Exhibition and Advertisement Services Co., Ltd. (VEAS) in collaboration with VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. It will take place on March 14-16.

    The event is expected to see an increase in both visitors and exhibitors compared to those of 2016, when there were 7,000 visitors and 202 exhibitors.

    The area for the exhibition also grows from 6,000 sq.m. at the previous event to 7,500 sq.m. this time.

    The show be divided into areas of focus that include animal breeding and genetics, meat processing, animal equipment, farming, feed milling, animal health, animal feed, feed additives and animal nutrition.

    The exhibition will also present five country pavilions representing the Netherlands, France, the US, South Korea and China.

    The livestock and aquaculture industry is one of the primary economic sectors of our country. In the first half of 2017, it is expected to contribute 0.43 percentage points to the growth rate of the entire economy, according to the Department of Statistics. Officials at the kick-off conference in Hà Nội yesterday said technology will play an important role in the industry’s future.

    “Applying new technologies in breeding and aquaculture not only helps to develop the quality of products but also helps to reduce pollution and saving costs,” said Nguyễn Xuân Dương, deputy director of the Department of Livestock production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. However, application of these technologies still has many limitations and the industry is currently inefficiently developing its potentials.”

    “I also believe that through this exhibition, businesses and companies will have opportunities to compare our proficiency with our competitors as well as find new partners for collaboration,” he added. “Business could also get chances to become an import agent or distributor for many international partners,” he added.

    Speaking at the conference, Nino Gruettke, managing director of VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd said that Viet Nam’s rising population, income levels, changing cultural preferences and new trade agreements had opened the door to significant growth in the meat industry.

    “The livestock market in Asia is growing rapidly and this trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future,” the director said. “The important countries in Asia which have the rapid economic growth rate that global investors keep an eye on are the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Viet Nam.”

    He also noted that the global business trend now was how to integrate livestock and agribusiness together and drive business with IT, automation and Internet systems. Growing populations meanwhile demand agribusiness innovate quickly to keep up with demand.

    “This is the important point that all product business have to realise and find the solutions to increase the productivity and feed the world in the limited space,” he said.

    First int’l agro-forestry-fishery exhibition to be held in VN
       
    The first International Agriculture–Forestry–Fishery Exhibition (Growtech 2017) will take place in Ha Noi from November 30 to December 2, the organisers have announced.

    Jointly organised under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, this is the first Growtech event to be held in the country.

    The exhibition is the largest and only specialised display of machinery, equipment and technology for farming, harvesting and preserving, bringing together major domestic and international enterprises operating and doing business in related fields.

    The exhibition offers opportunities for farmers, fishermen and workers in the forestry sector to experience the latest technology and activities in all three fields of agriculture, forestry and fishery.

    Besides displaying and demonstrating important innovation activities, Growtech also contributes to trade promotion in the three fields in Viet Nam.

    In the context of globalization, Viet Nam's increasingly active participation in free trade agreements is opening up more great opportunities for domestic businesses.

    Growtech was organised with the desire to develop a prestigious connection among industry players and to promote trade activities in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.

    Furthermore, the exhibition aims to lead to more national development, with Viet Nam becoming a leading exporter of commodities, agricultural products and food and staying among the top-five exporters with a gradually increasing growth rate in the three sectors.

    Up to date, the exhibition has attracted the registration of 150 enterprises with more than 300 booths from businesses from all provinces and cities in Viet Nam, and 10 countries and territories with notable businesses from the UK, Italy, Czech Republic, Israel, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan, among others.

    Hosted at the international ICE exhibition centre, it is expected to have around 450 booths and attract more than 10,000 visitors, delegates and specialists from more than 20 countries and territories, including Viet Nam.

    During 30 years of renewal (1986 - 2016), Viet Nam’s agriculture has achieved rapid and stable growth, with a positive shift in agricultural structuring.

    From 2016 to 2020, the agriculture-forestry-fishery industry in Viet Nam increased its added value with sustainable development; applied scientific and technical achievements to improve capacity, productivity and quality; promoted commodity production moving towards a modern market economy; and increased its competitiveness and maintained rapid development efficiently and safely to become one of the key leaders of national exports.

    Animal husbandry, fish processing, aquaculture, environmental protection and biodiversity conservation are some of the areas that are closely linked to the new national rural development strategy.

    Ford Vietnam Delivers Record August Sales
       
    US auto maker, Ford Vietnam has announced a record August performance with retail sales rising 8 per cent year-over-year to 2,292 vehicles.

    The EcoSport, Ranger, Transit and Explorer led the record sales month with each leading their respective segments for the month and year-to-date.

    Ford Vietnam remains on track for another record full-year performance with year-to-date sales increasing 3 per cent to 19,081 vehicles.

    “Our showrooms across the country remained busy despite the retail impact typically associated with ghost month [Lunar July], and our best-selling nameplates continued to drive our overall performance,” said Phạm Văn Dũng, managing director, Ford Vietnam.

    Ranger delivered August retail sales that increased 16 per cent to 1,183 vehicles, as it continues to lead the country’s pickup truck segment. Ranger’s year-to-date sales have risen 4 percent to 9,475 vehicles.

    Demand continued in August for the premium Explorer mid-size SUV, which again led its segment for the month with retail sales of 82 vehicles. Year-to-date sales of the US-imported Explorer have now reached 891 vehicles.

    The Transit maintained its leadership of commercial van and bus segment in Việt Nam with August retail sales of 558 vehicles, driving year-to-date sales up to 4,092 vehicles.

    The Everest mid-size SUV achieved August sales of 98 vehicles, driving its year-to-date sales to 836 vehicles. The EcoSport compact SUV delivered August retail sales of 260 vehicles, pushing its year-to-date sales up to 2,658 vehicles and maintaining its segment leadership.

    The sporty Focus passenger car saw its August sales rise 17 per cent to 84 vehicles, with year-to-date sales now up 26 per cent to 790 vehicles.

    Annual Sony Show opens in HCM City
       
    The three-day Sony Show which opened in HCM City on Friday is showcasing the Japanese giant’s latest products and most advanced technologies.

    The annual event, dubbed “Experience to the Max” this year, offers consumers a chance to experience Sony’s new technologies.

    The Xperia XZ1 smartphone, recently launched in Germany, is among the latest products on show. The phone has 3D technology which permits users to take 3D photos.

    The Bravia OLED 77-inch TV is on display for the first time in Viet Nam.

    The show is a good destination for game lovers, who can go to Playstation booths to play games like Farpoint, Destiny 2, Knack 2, Tekken 7, PES 2018, and GT sport.

    Many cameras and headphones are on display.

    Dance and music competitions will be organised to attract young customers.

    A game competition will also be held.

    The event is on at the Youth Cultural Centre in District 1.

    VN-Index corrects downwards
       
    Large-cap stocks slumped on Friday morning, pulling the VN-Index down 0.25 per cent at 804.34 points.

    This is the first decline of the southern market in the last four days.

    The market breadth was negative on the HCM Stock Exchange as the decliners outnumbered the advancers by 123-107, while 113 remained flat.

    Blue chips led the downturn, with 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity decreasing and only 10 increasing.

    Losers expanded from banks (Vietcombank, BIDV, Vietinbank and Military Bank) and energy (PV Gas, PetroVietnam Drilling and Wells Service) to retailers (FPT Corp and Mobile World Group) and food-beverages (Vinamilk and Sabeco).

    Some shares bucked the trend and supported the market, including steelmakers Hoa Phat Group and Hoa Sen Group, VinGroup, FLC Faros Construction, DHG Pharmaceutical and insurer Bao Viet Holdings.

    On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index was still up 0.14 per cent at 104.53 points.

    Liquidity dropped substantially when only 106.2 million shares, worth a total of VND1.9 trillion (US$81.7 million), were traded in the two markets, down 23.6 per cent in volume and 29 per cent in value from Thursday’s morning session.

    The afternoon trade session starts at 1 pm.

    VNPost to divest from its member company
       
    Viet Nam Post Corporation (VNPost) will auction its stake of 8.79 million shares in Post and Telecommunications Tourism Joint Stock Company, equivalent to 90.22 per cent of the charter capital.

    The auction will take place at the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on September 28.

    The total value of shares offered for sale is VND87.9 billion (US$3.87 million), with the starting price of VND18,500 per share.

    Established in 2001, Post and Telecommunications Tourism Joint Stock Company has initial registered capital of VND120 billion.

    Currently, the company owns charter capital of VND97.51 billion, of which VNPost holds 90.22 per cent.

    The company focuses on providing hotel and restaurant services, organising travel tours, and managing transportation and consultation services.

    According to the enterprise’s valuation results, the total value of the company’s assets is VND194.66 billion, while liabilities is VND14.67 billion and the remaining value of the enterprise is VND179.99 billion, of which cash and short-term investments account for VND66 billion.

    In 2017, the company has targeted net revenue of VND56 billion and after-tax profit of VND3.2 billion.

    Seminar discusses Dong Nai property
       
    With its favourable location, good infrastructure and moderate land prices, the southern province of Dong Nai has become the focus of attention of property developers in recent years, a seminar heard in HCM City on Thursday.

    Le Trong Minh, editor–in-chief of Dau Tu newspaper, said Dong Nai is a good choice for home buyers who cannot afford to buy in HCM City and are looking at neighbouring provinces.

    Dong Nai lies on many important traffic routes such as National Highways 1A and 20; National Road 51; the HCM City –Long Thanh-Dau Giay, Ben Luc-Long Thanh, Dau Giay-Phan Thiet, Dau Giay-Da Lat, and Bien Hoa-Vung Tau highways; and the north-south railway, he said.

    HCM City’s first metro route would be extended to the province’s Bien Hoa city, he said.

    The province now is home to nearly 300 property projects by both local and foreign investors, many of them worth billions of dollars, he said.

    Su Ngoc Khuong, property consultant Savills’ investment director, said the province itself has nearly 100km of railway and six stations.

    Besides, its property market got a boost from the Government’s approval for Long Thanh International Airport, he said.

    Convenient transportation is the top factor in property investment, he said.

    Land for construction purposes has attracted more investment than other segments, with investors eyeing the future, he said.

    Nguyen Thanh Lam, deputy director of Dong Nai Province Department of Construction and chairman of the Dong Nai Property Association, said the property market in the province is divided into three groups.

    The first group includes projects connected with the existing urban areas like Bien Hoa city, Long Thanh, Trang Bom, and Long Khanh.Those property projects require only short-term investment.

    The second group are properties located in the suburbs of towns and cities, with technical infrastructure connected to the main technical infrastructure under development. The projects required investment between 5-7 years, he said.

    The third group comprises projects around the Long Thanh Airport, with a total of 21,000ha. Secondary investors that want to invest in those areas should have strong financial capacity to minimise risks, he said.

    "I think, investing in the first and second property groups will be the most effective, and can get profits immediately while investing in the third group will take longer time because of lack of planning," he said.

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association, said the Government has approved construction of the Cat Lai Bridge 2 between District 2 and Nhon Trach in Dong Nai.

    “In five more years, thanks to this bridge, the property market in Nhon Trach will take off and this is an opportunity for investors.”

    He hoped the project would be carried out on schedule.

    But the market also has risks and requires investors to find reliable source of information before buying, he said.

    “Recently we have received complaints from 300 people about two real estate brokerage firms who used tricks such as renaming projects and developers, forging 1/500 zoning plans and adding details to them to inflate land prices by VND100-200 million per plot.”

    The projects are located in Nhon Trach, Long Thanh and Trang Bom, he said.

    Lam said the two are registered in HCM City, and the Ministry of Public Security is investigating.

    Tran Thi Cam Tu, general director of Eximrs Real Estate Services JSC, said: “This is a promising market to invest in.”

    But she said investors should not rush but instead should check the title deeds of properties carefully to avoid risks.

    Improved status of women vital for economic growth: Deputy PM

    Economic growth can only be sustained if the status of women is improved, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh said at a Việt Nam-Laos-Cambodia women’s forum held yesterday in HCM City.

    The forum was held to promote friendship and cooperation among the countries to realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

    The deputy PM, who is also Việt Nam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that peace, cooperation and development would continue to be “the dominant trend in the coming time, of which women play a vitally important role”.

    “The UN agenda to 2030, the first historic agreement reached globally on sustainable development, in which the central task is gender equality, is bringing unprecedented opportunities to promote cooperation and to enhance the role of women,” Minh said.

    The Asia-Pacific region continues to be an engine of global growth while the ASEAN community is implementing a vision to 2025 with a focus on people, of which women are an indispensable part of the community.

    “Therefore, the contributions of women, especially in our three countries, will help build a stronger ASEAN Community and realise the ASEAN Vision,” he said.

    However, challenges remain, including the risk of war and conflict around the world. Global economic growth has become unstable and is slowing down, requiring economies to seek new growth drivers.

    Meanwhile, 90 per cent of global economies continue to maintain at least one discriminatory policy or regulation on women. Around 2.3 million women worldwide do not have access to the internet.

    In the ASEAN region, gender inequality is causing a loss of 18 per cent of ASEAN’s GDP each year, which is equal to half a billion US dollars, according to Minh.

    The forum was organised on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Cambodia, the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and Việt Nam, and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Việt Nam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Treaty.

    Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà, chairwoman of the Việt Nam Women’s Union Central Committee, said that women’s unions from Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia were planning to increase the number of exchanges and educational programmes among the countries.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Men Sam An, Cambodian deputy prime minister, who is also head of the Cambodian Women for Peace and Development Association, said: “Cambodia and Việt Nam have cooperated in poverty reduction, vocational training for women, as well as health, education and anti-trafficking activities, contributing to the building of a border of peace, friendship and development.”

    Inlavanh Keobouphanh, president of the Laos Women’s Union, told Việt Nam News that the Lao government had long enacted a policy of promoting gender equality “as enshrined in the constitution and laws as well as legal documents, including related international treaties and the introduction of policy documents.”

    Both Cambodian and Lao delegates said they hoped that Việt Nam would continue assisting the three countries’ women to carry out exchanges, share experiences and promote women’s roles in each nation’s development.

    Ha Long attractive to real estate, tourism firms

    With high per capita income and an increasingly synchronised infrastructure system, the tourism hub of Ha Long city in the northern province of Quang Ninh has become an attractive investment destination for many real estate and resort investors.

    Ha Long is a must-go place for those who spend holidays in Vietnam, in particular Quang Ninh province, as it is home to Ha Long Bay, a World Natural Heritage Site, which was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Ha Long Bay has been named one of the seven natural masterpieces of the world.

    With its strength, Ha Long has a lot of opportunities to grow into a leading tourism hub of the Southeast Asian region.

    In the 2011-2016 period, the GDP growth of Quang Ninh province was 1.5 times higher than the country’s average, reaching 10.1 percent in 2016. The locality has recorded a per capita income of over 4,050 USD, which enabled it to stand in the list of the country’s top localities having highest per capita income.

    Under the province’s planning to 2030, Quang Ninh has set to become one of the three economic locomotives of the northern region along with Hanoi and the port city of Hai Phong. It also targets a per capita income of 8,000 USD-8,500 USD in 2020 and 20,000 USD in 2030.

    In the recent five years, Quang Ninh in general and Ha Long in particular have attracted many domestic real estate giants, including Vingroup, Sungroup, Bim, and FLC, with some outstanding projects, including the 6.5 trillion VND Ha Long Ocean Park of Sungroup, the 7.5 trillion VND Van Don airport, which is designed to serve 2 million passengers per year, and Vinpeal of Vingroup.

    Foreign firms have also shown their interest in Ha Long city, including Wyndham and Starwood of the United States. The Wyndham Legend five-star hotel has 217 rooms and Sehraton Halong Bay provides 330 rooms and apartments.

    These real estate facilities have mostly focused on resort and hotel segments, looking to prepare for welcoming the increasing number of tourists to the province and Ha Long.

    Last year, Ha Long welcomed 6.3 million tourists and earned 7.7 trillion VND (over 338 million USD) in revenue, respective increases of 14 percent and 65 percent from the previous year. About 2.7 million of the visitors were foreigners, a year-on-year growth of 16 percent.

    The number of tourists to this city also increased sharply from the outset of 2017, surpassing 660,000 during the Lunar New Year holiday alone – up 15 percent from the same period last year.

    The municipal administration said it has worked to diversify and improve tourism products, upgrade infrastructure, and better tourism workers’ capacity. The sense of responsibility of local residents and service providers has also been improved.

    Ha Long also helped to organise some activities of the Ha Long-Quang Ninh Tourism Week, the Yen Tu cherry-yellow apricot flower festival, Ha Long Carnival, the festival of Tran Quoc Nghien Temple, and a spring flower festival, thereby creating interesting tourism products.

    One fifth of enterprises to expand workforce in Q3

    Around one fifth (20.1 percent) of enterprises plan to expand their workforce in the third quarter, according to the latest newsletter on the labour market update released by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on September 15.

    The newsletter said the forecasted 6.9 percent GDP increase in Q3 will have positive impacts on the labour market. In addition, the higher number of newly-established enterprises in the first 8 months of the year helped stimulate the demand on the market.

    The manufacturing-processing industry is projected to employ 320,000 more workers in the third quarter, the construction industry – 136,000 more workers, and transport-warehouse – 169,000 more workers. Other industries likely to offer more jobs include garment making, leather and leather products, computer and electronic appliance, and furniture making.

    In the second quarter, the labour market saw a slight increase in the number of employed persons and paid workers. The number of employed persons was 53.4 million, up 164,300 compared to one year ago and up 39,700 from the previous quarter. The rate of paid worker continued to be on the rising trend, reaching 42.7 percent. Around 6.21 million people worked in the non-State business sector, up 38,000 from the previous quarter.

    Among industries reporting increases in employed workers, the construction industry posted the greatest rise with 166,000 more labourers, followed by education-training with 49,000, electricity production and distribution with 19,000, and finance-banking-insurance with 18,000.

    Some industries showed decreases in their workforce, led by manufacturing-processing with 74,000 cut workers, transport and warehouse with 34,000, and mining also with 34,000.

    The number of people of working age without jobs stood at around 1.08 million, down 20,100 from Q1 and down 7,100 compared to one year ago. The rate of unemployment among people of working age dropped to 2.26 percent, the lowest for the past five quarters.

    However, the unemployment rate among those holding under-graduate and higher degrees rose to 3.63 percent (the figure for Q1 was 2.79 percent).

    Party official: Vietnam attaches importance to free trade agreements

    Vietnam attaches special importance to free trade agreements with foreign partners in general and the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in particular, said Politburo member Nguyen Van Binh, who is head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission.

    During a reception in Hanoi on September 15 for Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) Bernd Lange, Binh appreciated the guest’s contribution to developing Vietnam – EU trade and investment ties over the past years, particularly speeding up EVFTA negotiations.

    Discussing the signing and ratification of the EVFTA and related political, trade and economic matters, Binh said Vietnam wants the EU to build a roadmap for technical support to Vietnam and make it easier for the two countries’ businesses to access information and survey each other’s market.

    He asked the INTA and Bernd Lange himself to continue supporting ties with Vietnam, especially facilitating the signing and ratification of the EVFTA.

    Lange expressed his optimism about the development of the Vietnam – EU multifaceted ties, particularly in trade and investment.

    He lauded Vietnam’s efforts to reform and restructure the economy, as well as to develop a market economy in tandem with ensuring social progress and fairness, while widely and effectively integrating into the global economy, including the EU.

    The EU always attaches importance to reinforcing ties with Vietnam, he said, adding that the INTA backs the EVFTA signing. He also pledged to actively facilitate the approval of the deal.

    Rice export goal raised to 5.6 million tonnes this year

    The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) revised up the goal of rice export to 5.6 million tonnes this year from the 5.2 million tonnes set in July thanks to a strong rise in contracts signed during August and positive signs of the market.

    In the first eight months this year, the country exported more than 3.8 million tonnes of rice with free on board (FOB) value of 1.66 billion USD, up 17.7 percent in volume and 16.6 percent in value, respectively, on a yearly basis.

    August saw a surge of 70 percent in volume and 56.8 percent in FOB value of rice shipments.

    During the eight months, businesses signed export contracts amounting to 5.1 million tonnes, more than 1.2 million tonnes of which are yet to be delivered.

    Positive signals were also seen in the shipment of glutinous rice to China.

    Dang Thi Lien, Director of the Long An food company, said China has demand for 300,000 tonnes of glutinous rice between now and the year’s end while Vietnam can meet only 20-25 percent of them so export prices could continue to rise later this year.

    Export of jasmine rice has also performed well.

    VFA Chairman Huynh The Nang said China, Bangladesh and the Philippines remain potential rice importers of Vietnam.

    Apart from African countries, new markets such as Iran, Iraq are likely to buy Vietnamese jasmine rice while japonica rice is gaining more popularity in Australian continent and China.

    Dong Nai records 1.4 billion USD trade surplus in eight months

    The southern province of Dong Nai enjoyed a trade surplus of nearly 1.4 billion USD in the first eight months of the year, according to the provincial Statistics Office.

    In the eight-month period, the province shipped nearly 11 billion USD worth of products to foreign countries, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

    The trade surplus was contributed by key staples like footwear (1.9 billion USD, up 9.4 percent), garments (over 1 billion USD, up 8.2 percent) and wooden furniture (722 million USD, up 12.3 percent).

    The provincial People’s Committee said that the footwear sector has witnessed the highest export turnover in the past years. Foreign direct investment (FDI) companies like Changsin, Taekwang Vina and Pouchen have enjoyed sound and stable growth. They are committing to raising production capacity to meet orders from the world’s big footwear brands in the coming time.

    Despite facing fierce competition with Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi enterprises, Vietnamese garment businesses still ensure stable orders thanks to their prestige and product quality.

    Regarding wooden products, numerous firms have sought new markets while taking advantage of the free trade agreements signed with the Republic of Korea and Japan to boost their exports.

    Meanwhile, several products saw high export growth like fibre (795 million USD, up 25.6 percent), machines and equipment (670 million USD, up 22.9 percent), computers and electronic products (318 million USD, up 22.8 percent).

    High export prices of agricultural products also contributed to the province’s export revenue.

    The largest importers of Dong Nai goods in the period were the US with revenue of 2.54 billion USD, China with 944 million USD and Japan with 934 million USD.-

    Hai Phong told to revise fee collection

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked the Ministry of Finance and Hai Phong city to strictly follow the PM’s instruction on reviewing fees for using infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities at ports in the city.

    The Government Office has sent Document 9014/VPCP–KTTH to the city’s People’s Committee to convey the Prime Minister’s instruction on the issue. The previous document from the Government in May said adjustments in fees were needed to ensure they are reasonable, comply with the law and create favourable conditions for import and export firms, as per Government resolutions on improving the business climate.

    The document was sent right after the municipal Hai An district People’s Committee required businesses that have imported and exported goods through the city’s ports to pay fee from the beginning of the year to quickly complete the payment. The deadline is September 15.

    The announcement by Hai An district also said if firms did not pay the fee by the deadline, they would be subject to administrative penalties stipulated under Decree 109/2013/NÐ-CP, dated September 24, 2013, on price management, fees and invoices.

    The district also said they would apply coercive measures on companies that did not follow the announcement.

    “Customs units, bonded port and warehouse trading firms in Hai Phong will not allow import-export goods through their seaports if companies do not pay the fee,” the announcement said.

    The district said most businesses have executed the resolution that came into effect from the beginning of this year, regulating fees for construction, infrastructure, service buildings and public utilities at ports. However, there were some companies that had not paid the fee.

    Under the resolution, individuals and organisations that have shipments stored at bonded warehouses must pay 2.2 million VND (97 USD) to 4.8 million VND (220 USD) per container, an increase of nearly 70 percent from the previous fee.

    The municipal People’s Committee said fee collection was legal and suitable with the current laws. In addition, the fee is half of that collected at the Lao Cai border gate, it said.

    Businesses, meanwhile, expressed their disagreement with the city’s resolution, saying the fees were unreasonably high and undermined their competitiveness.

    The Vietnam Private Sector Forum (VPSF) has proposed the municipal people’s committees conduct direct dialogues with businesses and associations to collect their ideas on the issue. In addition, associations also sent several documents to the Government to resolve the problem.

    Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, VPSF’s deputy general secretary, said the short duration between the resolution’s promulgation and it coming into effect has made businesses passive, as all issues, including contract and price for the whole year, were negotiated and signed beforehand. The fee could make their export products’ prices higher, causing losses for businesses.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said the resolution could be a dangerous precedent for other localities which have seaports and airports to collect fees in the future, creating disadvantages for the country’s export activities.

    Hai Phong Port is the second-largest port in Vietnam with one third of total cargo passing through it.

    Vinatex seeks investment opportunities in Armenia

    A delegation of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) made a fact-finding trip to Armenia in late August to seek partners to develop production projects as Vietnam is the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) that includes Armenia.

    Vinatex General Director Le Tien Truong said during their stay, the group’s representatives held working sessions with a deputy foreign minister, the minister of economic development and investment, and some major businesses in Yerevan capital city of Armenia.

    He said Vinatex will consider production and business cooperation with big companies of Armenia that have already had distribution networks in Russia and the EU. In the initial stage, the group will mainly contribute machinery and production administration.

    At the meetings, the Armenian Government expressed its desire to cooperate with major firms with much experience in production management like Vinatex so as to revive the local garment industry and boost export.

    It also promised to encourage investment attraction, create favourable conditions for foreign investors, and provide special mechanisms for Vietnamese investors through cooperation policies, multilateral and bilateral cooperation agreements, and granting of work visas, Truong added.

    According to Vinatex, 94 businesses are operating in the textiles and garment industry of Armenia. The country exported 50 million USD and imported 170 million USD worth of textile and garment products in 2014.

    Despite their small and outdated scale, Armenian firms have experience in working with big fashion brands of Italy and Germany such as La Perla, Moncler, Armani and Porsche.

    The country has also benefited from a number of tax incentives thanks to free trade agreements when its products enter the Russian or EU markets.
     
    Work starts on first Vietnamese automobile manufacturing complex

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended a ceremony in the northern port city of Hai Phong on September 2 to start the construction of the first Vietnamese automobile manufacturing complex in Dinh Vu – Cat Hai economic zone.

    Invested by Vinfast manufacturing and trade Ltd company - an affiliate of real estate developer Vingroup, the complex is expected to roll out a five-seater sedan model, a seven-seater sport utility vehicle model, and electric motorbike meeting European standards during the first stage. The designed capacity is estimated at 100,000 – 200,000 vehicles per year.

    Its first product in the next 12 month will be electric motorbike model while automobiles will be made in the next 24 months.

    The complex will cover a site of 335ha with five major workshops. Design of engines and major components will be bought from top European and US designers while exterior shape will be designed by famous Italian studios that were behind luxury cars such as Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Jaguar, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, among others.

    Vinfast will use advanced and eco-friendly technologies, particularly green energy, to meet Euro 5.0 and Euro 6.0 emission standards.

    In order to make itself a leading automobile manufacturer in Southeast Asia with a designed capacity of 500,000 units by 2025, Vinfast signed a memorandum of understanding with Credit Suisse AG regarding a loan worth 800 million USD.

    Vinfast will also work with Vietnamese partners to manufacture spare parts, towards raising the rate of locally-made products to 60 percent.

    Speaking at the event, PM Phuc said the project could generate 20,000 jobs and contribute to the province’s State budget.

    The birth of Vinfast complex marks Vietnam’s position in the map of the world automobile manufacturers, and Vingroup’s foray into heavy industry apart from its six core areas of real estate, tourism-entertainment, retail, health, education and agriculture.

    Lam Dong announces 300-billion-VND plan to build post-harvest centres

    Lam Dong has issued a plan to build more post-harvest centres during the 2017 – 2020 period, with investment surpassing 300 billion VND (13.2 million USD).

    Of the sum, 12.7 billion VND (558,800 USD) are sourced from the State budget, while 293.1 billion VND (12.89 million USD) is from investments of participating businesses, organisations and individuals.

    Under the programme, from now to 2020, the Central Highlands province will assist the establishment of between four and six centres for post-harvest processing and preservation of farm produce. Annual processing capacity of each facility is set to range from 50,000 to 12,000 tonnes.

    The operation of these centres will increase the rate of properly processed farm produce by 25-30 percent and reduce post-harvest loss rate to below 10 percent.

    Potential participants of the programme include enterprises, cooperatives, and households in Da Lat city and the districts of Lac Duong, Don Duong, Duc Trong, and Lam Ha.

    Once selected, they will be supported in technology transfer, trade promotion, and quality management.

    Air routes linking Hanoi, Da Nang and Japan’s Osaka launched

    The budget carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines officially launched direct air routes linking Hanoi, Da Nang city and Japan’s Osaka city on September 1.

    With the launch, Jetstar became the first low-cost airline to offer direct service between Vietnam and Japan.

    The airline operates four round trips per week using the 180-seater Airbus A320 on the two routes. One-way tickets have been sold from mid-June priced from 68.18 USD, exclusive of taxes and fees.

    Nguyen Quoc Phuong, Jetstar Pacific Director General, said that more than 20,000 tickets for both routes have been booked so far. The two first flights reported an occupancy of over 90 percent.

    At present, there are about 16,000 Japanese people living and working in Vietnam, while around 180,000 Vietnamese are living and working in Japan.

    Last year, Vietnam welcomed more than 740,000 Japanese tourists, and the number is expected to grow, especially with the launch of the low-cost air services.

    Jetstar Pacific, a member of Jetstar Group, one of the Asia Pacific’s largest low-budget carriers, is flying on 37 domestic and international routes. It has two major stakeholders – Vietnam Airlines and Qantas Airways.

    Efforts made to control disease safety in shrimp exported to Australia

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) recently issued a decision on tightening the control of disease safety and food safety for shrimp and shrimp products exported to Australia.

    Specifically, businesses have to take measures to control risks of white spot and yellow head diseases in material shrimp before processing.

    For processed shrimp, businesses should send samples of each batch to laboratories appointed by the MARD for disease tests.

    Certificates of qualified batches should be submitted to the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) for food safety checks in line with Australia’s regulations.

    The Nafiqad is also responsible for issuing certificates to each batch of export goods.

    The MARD assigns the department to guide businesses in how to implement the procedures.

    In addition, exporters and processors have to ensure the origin tracking dossier of each batch.

    On January 7, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources announced the suspension of prawn and uncooked shelled shrimp imports from Asian nations, including Vietnam, in fear of white spot disease outbreaks in Australia. The ban took effect on January 9 and lasts for six months.

    In June, the department lifted the ban.

    Last year, Vietnam exported 114.6 million USD worth of shrimp products to Australia, of which processed shrimp made up 78 percent of the total.

    Gas prices, transport costs for Block B - O Mon project signed

    Agreements on wellhead gas prices and transport costs for Block B – O Mon gas project were signed in Hanoi on September 1.

    The deals were inked between the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP), and PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV Gas), Japan’s Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. Ltd. (MOECO) and Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP).

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, PetroVietnam General Director Nguyen Vu Truong Son said the project has a quite complicated geological structure, which requires exploitation methods similar to other gas projects in the Gulf of Thailand.

    In July, PetroVietnam submitted a gas field development plan to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, under which the exploitation needs up to 1,000 drilling wells and 50-60 oil rigs, he said.

    The signing of the agreements creates an important premise for the involved parties to soon reach necessary trade deals for the project, he added.

    Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said Block B – O Mon is one of the two biggest gas projects in Vietnam, with a total investment of 10 billion USD.

    With an annual output of 5 billion cubic meters, the project will supply crude gas for O Mon power centre and Ca Mau gas-power-fertilizer complex.

    Particularly, with estimated total revenue of 47 billion USD, the project is expected to contribute around 18 billion USD to the State budget.

    The provision of gas from this project will help the south-western region boost development of industries and ensure energy security for the nation.

     Over 3.1 trillion VND raised from Government bonds

    The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) raised more than 3.1 trillion VND (136 million USD) through 17 auctions of Government bonds issued by the State Treasury in August, down 79 percent against the previous month.

    While five-year bonds were sold with an annual interest rate of between 4.6 percent, those for seven-, 10- and 15-year bonds are 4.8 percent, 5.38 percent and 5.75 percent respectively.

    Meanwhile the 30-year bonds bear the respective interest rate of 6.1 percent.

    Compared to the previous month, the August interest rates dropped 0.12 percent for five-year and 30-year bonds and 0.15 percent for seven-year bonds while those for 10-year and 15-year bonds remained unchanged.

    In the secondary market, the total trading volume of Government bonds sold outright reached over 902.5 million bonds worth more than 99.5 trillion VND, a monthly decline of 10.3 percent.

    The volume of G-bonds sold through repurchase (repo) agreements was estimated at over 1,186 million bonds valued at over 119 trillion VND, a month-on-month increase of 20.4 percent.

    Foreign investors made outright transactions worth over 4.9 trillion VND in purchase value and over 5.5 trillion VND in sale value.

    They also had repo selling of over 98.9 trillion VND and no purchasing repo transaction this month.

    First batch of Vietnamese chicken to depart for Japan in Sept

    The first shipment of Vietnamese chicken will be dispatched to Japan by sea on September 9.

    Koyu & Unitek Co., Ltd, a joint venture between Australia and Japan in southern Dong Nai province, will ship 30 tonnes of chicken wings, thighs and breasts to Japan, which are expected to arrive in Tokyo in 10 days.

    The company has signed a long-term contract with the Japanese side in which Japan will import about 300 tonnes of chicken products per month, said Director General of the firm James Hieu.

    According to Hieu, Japan imports over 900,000 tonnes of poultry products annually. In fact, Koyu & Unitek falls short of its Japanese partner’s real demand which exceeds 2,000 tonnes per month.

    The firm plans to increase capacity in the future by enhancing cooperation with farmers to raise chickens and expanding processing facilities.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET


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  • 09/18/17--02:31: Article 0
  • Should music, smart boards be banned in English teaching?

    ‘The ban is an overcautious intervention that leads nowhere’


     
    A native English teacher plays with students at a primary school in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Editor’s note:Many readers, including local and native English teachers and parents, have expressed objections to a recent regulation by the Ho Chi Minh City education department, which includes a ban on giving Western names to students and using music and smart boards as teaching tools.

    In this opinion sent to Tuoi Tre News, local reader Sy Phu says the education department has made a ‘trivial yet pointless’ request.

    Read his view below and share yours with us in the comment box or mail it to ttn@tuoitre.com.vn.

    So the Ho Chi Minh City education department has insisted that native English teachers refrain from using such audio-visual tools as cassette players, CD players, and smart boards to play music or videos for students during their lessons. But is it feasible to enforce such a ban?

    If we put ourselves in the shoes of those who compose the regulations, we might somehow understand why they do so. If a school has to spend a great amount of money on hiring English-speaking teachers, it definitely should try to make the best use of them. Why should a school allow the highly paid teachers to do nothing but turn on a cassette or video player for students to watch through the class?

    However, even if this is the case – when a native English teacher is too lazy to communicate with his/her students – it remains a question of whether banning them from using the audio-visual tools will effectively resolve the problem.

    The fear of teachers who do nothing but play CDs is justified, given that not all native English teachers have an adequate work ethic. However, this is a problem between teachers and students, not something that needs controlling by the state.

    For young adult students, we can train them to know how to evaluate whether a native teacher satisfies their needs after a class. We should make it a habit for students to report or complain if their teachers make them watch movie after movie in their class. The school managers will know what to do after receiving such reports.

    For younger students, sa