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  • 09/26/17--02:01: Article 4
  • Villagers risk lives crossing stream after bridges swept away

    The villagers in Yen Bai Province are risking their lives to cross the stream every day as the local bridges have been abandoned unfinished for years.

    In order to go to Phong Du Thuong Commune's centre, the local people have to use a raft to cross a large stream even when it rains or there are storms.

    Temporary bridges built by the locals themselves in the commune were destroyed in a flash flood in August so the pupils had to stay home because of high tides. Various places in the commune become islands when there are heavy rains.

    Lo Van Manh, chairman of Phong Du Thuong Commune People's Committee, said, "I'm used to this bumpy road and know every pothole. But I really feel for the children, they walk in the mud to go to school and they are dirty all over."

    The old bridges in Village 3 and 6 were temporarily built by the locals so their quality left much to be desired and often swept away by the floods. The bridges were often swept away six times a year.

    Hoang Thi Truong, head of Phong Du Thuong Nursery School said there were eight Phong Du Thuong Nursery School sites in the commune. After the bridges were swept away, over 100 children had to stay home. The parents can't use the raft to cross the stream because of the strong current.

    In Vuc But Village, the residents stay on the raft with their motorbikes and are pulled to the other banks by two ropes. A bridge construction was started in this section three years ago but only two abutments were built.

    The main section of a small bridge in Khe Ma Village was completed but the path to the bridge hasn't been built due to lack of funding three years ago.

    The villagers in Vuc But Village cross the stream without life jackets on flimsy raft

    The bridge built by the locals in Village 6 swept away by the flood

    Villagers can't cross the stream because of strong current

    The small bridge in Khe Ma Village doesn't have a path or stairs

    Putting the coffin on the raft

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  • 09/26/17--02:36: Article 3
  • Vietnamese seafood may be excluded from European market as EU considers ‘yellow card’

    The clock is ticking for Vietnam

    Vietnamese seafood may be excluded from European market as EU considers ‘yellow card’ 
    Fishermen aboard a Vietnamese fishing boat. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Vietnam is on the verge of joining several other Southeast Asian countries on the list of seafood-exporting markets booked with a ‘yellow card’ by the EU, a warning against illegal and unregulated fishing activity.

    Vietnamese seafood exporters have to come together and cooperate with the EU in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, industry insiders said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

    The EU-initiated IUU regulation became effective in 2010, a key instrument in ensuring that only fisheries certified as legal can access the EU market.

    Under the IUU, a ‘yellow card’ is effectively the strongest warning a country can receive without formal penalty.

    Upon receiving it, that country is given six months to take the necessary corrective measures.

    If significant progress is made, the ‘yellow card’ will be lifted, replaced with a ‘green card,’ representing legal export status.

    If not, a ‘red card’ will be given, meaning that particular country is banned from exporting its seafood to the European Union.

    Monday's conference, held by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), took place after the EU concluded an evaluation of Vietnam's seafood exports in mid-May.

    The EU has recommended that the Southeast Asian country properly follow the IUU regulation and correct any violation by September 30; otherwise, it is highlyly likely that it will be given a 'yellow card.'

    Not many Vietnamese fishing boats are installed with a tracking device, so it is a challenge to ensure they will not violate the waters of other countries while hunting for fish in the oceans, according to VASEP.

    Vietnam is likely to receive a ‘yellow card’ if it fails to take corrective measures in time, experts warned at the meeting.

    “If businesses fail to follow the IUU regulation as set by the EU, it’s inevitable that Vietnam will come under strict supervision, or even be barred from exporting to the EU market,” Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, head of the seafood department with VASEP, said.

    “A ‘yellow card’ from the EU will create myriad problems for Vietnamese seafood exporters.”

    Huge disadvantages

    Vietnam’s annual seafood exports are worth between US$1.9 billion and $2.2 billion, with the EU and U.S. markets each accounting for 16-17 percent.

    During the six-month ‘yellow card’ period, the country in question will have 100 percent of its shipments to the EU held for inspection before clearing customs.

    The process will take up to four weeks and some 500 GBP ($675) per container, not to mention storage expenses charged by seaports, according to VASEP deputy general secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam.

    “However the biggest risk is that any yellow-carded country will continue to experience a higher rate of rejection by customs,” Nam warned.

    “For instance, the Philippines now has 70 percent of its containers shipped to the EU returned, resulting in financial damage of up to 10,000 euro [$11,860] per container.”

    The ‘yellow card’ will affect not only exports to the EU but also to the U.S., another of the country’s biggest seafood buyers, according to VASEP.

    If Vietnam was to receive a ‘yellow card’, the country would have to accept reduced exports to the EU immediately, as European customers will not want to buy from a ‘yellow-carded’ exporter.

    The name of the yellow-carded country will also be publicized on the industry’s websites and in magazines, damaging its reputation.

    Other countries will tighten their inspections on seafood imports from any EU-warned country.

    According to VASEP, the U.S. will apply a new supervision scheme for imports from yellow-carded countries beginning in January 2018.

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture Vu Van Tam has warned that the risk of being given a ‘yellow card’ by the EU is real for Vietnamese seafood exporters.

    “In Southeast Asia we already see Thailand and the Philippines receiving the ‘yellow card’ while Cambodia is carrying a ‘red card’,” Tam said.

    “The government and industry must understand that we have to make real change to avoid such consequences for the country’s seafood sector and export revenue.”


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  • 09/26/17--02:58: Article 2
  • Registered capital of new enterprises surges in first nine months

    More than 29,900 enterprises were established with total registered capital of nearly VNĐ396.5 trillion (US$17.44 billion) in HCM City in the first nine months of the year, according to the city’s People’s Committee.

    Among newly established businesses in HCM City, real estate service and trading companies accounted for the largest registered capital in the January-September period. - VNS Photo

    This was an increase of 13 per cent in the number of newly established businesses and 84.5 per cent in registered capital, with most of the new businesses located mainly in districts 1, Tân Bình, Gò Vấp, Bình Thạnh and Bình Tân.

    In addition, more than 44,000 operating companies have pledged an additional registered capital of VNĐ218.3 billion, up 11.2 per cent and 49.6 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

    Overall, the total registered capital of new and operating companies in HCM City in the first nine months was VNĐ614.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 70.4 per cent.

    More than 17,500 new firms are one-member limited liability companies, accounting for 58.6 per cent of the total, followed by limited liability companies with two or more members, joint-stock companies (11.9 per cent) and 404 private companies (1.4 per cent).

    Real-estate service and trading companies had the largest registered capital with more than VNĐ156.6 trillion, accounting for 39.5 per cent of the city’s total, representing an increase of nearly 75 per cent year-on-year.

    Auto and motorbike repair and sales companies made up 16.2 per cent with over VNĐ64.3 trillion, up 66.6 per cent, and construction had over VNĐ52.8 trillion, a twofold increase over the same period last year.

    Notably, the science and technology, design consultancy and marketing sectors saw over VNĐ29.5 trillion registered capital in the period, a twofold year-on year increase.

    The city, which targets having 500,000 operating enterprises by 2020, is assisting and encouraging business households to become official enterprises.

    Nearly 1,400 business households are now official enterprises.


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  • 09/26/17--03:32: Article 1

    Registered capital of new enterprises surges in first nine months

    More than 29,900 enterprises were established with total registered capital of nearly VNĐ396.5 trillion (US$17.44 billion) in HCM City in the first nine months of the year, according to the city’s People’s Committee.

    This was an increase of 13 per cent in the number of newly established businesses and 84.5 per cent in registered capital, with most of the new businesses located mainly in districts 1, Tân Bình, Gò Vấp, Bình Thạnh and Bình Tân.

    In addition, more than 44,000 operating companies have pledged an additional registered capital of VNĐ218.3 billion, up 11.2 per cent and 49.6 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

    Overall, the total registered capital of new and operating companies in HCM City in the first nine months was VNĐ614.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 70.4 per cent.

    More than 17,500 new firms are one-member limited liability companies, accounting for 58.6 per cent of the total, followed by limited liability companies with two or more members, joint-stock companies (11.9 per cent) and 404 private companies (1.4 per cent).

    Real-estate service and trading companies had the largest registered capital with more than VNĐ156.6 trillion, accounting for 39.5 per cent of the city’s total, representing an increase of nearly 75 per cent year-on-year.

    Auto and motorbike repair and sales companies made up 16.2 per cent with over VNĐ64.3 trillion, up 66.6 per cent, and construction had over VNĐ52.8 trillion, a twofold increase over the same period last year.

    Notably, the science and technology, design consultancy and marketing sectors saw over VNĐ29.5 trillion registered capital in the period, a twofold year-on year increase.

    The city, which targets having 500,000 operating enterprises by 2020, is assisting and encouraging business households to become official enterprises.

    Nearly 1,400 business households are now official enterprises.

    IDICO to launch IPO next month

    The Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation (IDICO) under the Ministry of Construction will launch its initial public offering (IPO) on the HCMC Stock Exchange (HOSE) on October 5.

    At the seminar “Opportunities to invest in IDICO shares” in HCMC last week, Dau Minh Thanh, head of the Business Management Department of the Ministry of Construction, said the starting price of IDICO shares would be VND18,000 instead of VND11,000 as originally planned.

    The firm was evaluated for equitization on December 31, 2014 but the plan for the firm to go public had not been approved until June 2017, or three years and a half later. During this period, some projects invested previously have brought about economic gains such as Dak Min 3 hydropower plant, prompting a re-evaluation.

    Therefore, IDICO was valued again and its shares were set at VND15,000-16,000 each. However, some experts said the share price should be VND23,000-27,000, so IDICO decided to set the price of VND18,000 to attract investors.

    The company will offer 55.3 million shares, or 18.44% of chartered capital.

    IDICO general director Nguyen Van Dat said the company has received deposits of three large investors among 12 firms keen on its shares. Investors chosen to buy its shares must support IDICO in market development, technology and management within 10 years from the date of the IPO.

    After the IPO, these strategic investors will hold 135 million shares of IDICO, equivalent to 45% of chartered capital, and the State stake will be reduced to 36% or 108 million shares.

    IDICO had equity of VND2.9 trillion while its total assets were valued at VND12.8 trillion by June 30. The firm expects to fetch VND5.02 trillion in revenue this year.

    IDICO, developer of industrial zone infrastructure, currently has 10 industrial parks with a total area of over 6,000 hectares, four hydropower plants, and other traffic and urban development projects. In the 2017-2019 period, IDICO has invested nearly VND7 trillion in energy, industrial park, urban residential area and traffic projects.

    Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Pham Khanh told the seminar that three other State-owned enterprises under the management of the ministry would also launch IPOs soon.

    WB offers Vietnam US$4 billion loans

    The World Bank (WB) will provide loans totaling US$4 billion for Vietnam in the 2018-2020 period, with US$2.2 billion from the International Development Association (IDA), and the remainder from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

    Do Viet Dung, a senior WB expert in Vietnam, talked about the loans at the announcement ceremony of the Vietnam-WB partnership framework last Friday in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

    Dung said the formulation of loan and financial support plans depends on both the supply side (WB) and the demand side (Vietnam).

    In particular, as Vietnam’s economy has been progressing beyond the poverty threshold, it will borrow IBRD loans at an interest rate higher than those of IDA. The IDA loans of around US$2.2 billion will be subject to those requirements similar to the IBRD loans, with fewer incentives in the next three years compared to previously.

    “This (higher interest rate) can affect Vietnam’s demand for loans in the coming time. (That demand) can reduce given rising public debts now,” he said.

    Meanwhile, according to him, the amount of IBRD loans to Vietnam depends on its economic and financial growth.

    He added the loan program which was released in a document to delegates at the ceremony was still sketchy and will therefore be adjusted later.

    Set up in 1945, IBRD aims to erase hunger and maintain the sustainable growth of developing countries whose per capita income is relatively high through loans, guarantees, and grants for studies and consulting services. Interest rates for loans are based on the London Interbank Offered Rate, and adjusted every six months.

    Established in 1960, IDA offers financial support to the world’s poorest countries to help reduce poverty by providing interest-free loans and grants for programs and projects that fuel economic growth, reduce inequality, and improve people’s living conditions.

    Eligibility for IDA support depends on a country’s relative poverty, defined as gross national income per capita below an established threshold and updated annually, currently at around US$1,135.

    As of 2016, the average income in Vietnam has exceeded US$2,200. Therefore, the country no longer enjoys IDA incentives but to switch to IBRD loans.

    Techcombank, Manulife cut bancassurance deal

    Techcombank and Manulife Vietnam have sealed an exclusive 15-year bancassurance agreement, the first partnership converting from non-exclusive to exclusive in Vietnam after four years of cooperation.

    According to a statement released last week, the cooperation enables Manulife Vietnam to distribute life insurance solutions to all Techcombank customers, targeting insurance premiums collected over the next five years to be over VND10 trillion.

    This new partnership combines Techcombank’s extensive banking network and Manulife Vietnam’s insurance expertise to give customers one-stop financial centers for both banking and insurance solutions in Vietnam.

    Techcombank’s current base of over 1.4 million retail customers and future customers may access Manulife Vietnam’s comprehensive life insurance solutions through the bank’s nationwide network of over 300 branches.

    Customers will experience a combination of Techcombank’s premium service and benefit from Manulife’s strong financial foundation and global experience. In addition to Manulife Vietnam’s existing product suite, Techcombank and Manulife Vietnam will focus on developing new tailor-made products to best suit the needs of Techcombank’s customers.

    Nguyen Le Quoc Anh, CEO of Techcombank, said this partnership is a part of its comprehensive strategy of providing the most comprehensive financial solutions to meet the Vietnamese consumer’s increasing needs for financial services.

    Manulife, the largest life insurer in Canada, has one of the most diverse and rapidly growing footprints of any financial services company in Asia, with a 120-year track record and more than eight million customers across 12 markets in the region. Manulife first established a presence in Vietnam in 1999.

    HCMC sees upsurge in registered capital of new enterprises

    HCMC has seen over 29,900 enterprises established with total registered capital of nearly VND396.5 trillion (about US$17.44 billion) in the year to date, up 13% and 84.5% respectively compared to the same period last year, according a just-released report of the HCMC People’s Committee on the city’s socio-economic performance.

    In addition, more than 44,000 operational companies have pledged an additional VND218 trillion in registered capital, up 11.2% and 49.6% respectively compared to the same period last year.

    Overall, the total registered capital of startups and operational companies in HCMC in January-September was nearly VND614.8 trillion, up 70.4% year-on-year.

    Over 17,500 startups are single-member limited liability companies, accounting for 58.6% of the total. There have also been nearly 8,400 limited liability companies with two or more members, accounting for 28%, nearly 3,600 joint stock companies, 11.9%, and 404 private companies, 1.4%.

    Real estate service and trading companies have had the largest registered capital, with over VND156.6 trillion, accounting for 39.5% of the city’s total and increasing by nearly 75% year-on-year, while auto and motorbike repair and sales companies made up 16.2% with over VND64.3 trillion, up 66.6%, and construction has had over VND52.8 trillion, a two-fold increase year-on-year.

    Notably, the science and technology, design consultancy and marketing sectors saw over VND29.5 trillion of registered capital in January-September, increasing by two times versus the same period last year.

    To achieve the goal of having 500,000 operational enterprises in 2020, the city has assisted and encouraged business households to transform themselves into firms. Up to now, nearly 1,400 business households have successfully turned into enterprises.

    Regarding foreign direct investment, in the nine-month period, 593 projects have been granted investment certificates with total capital of US$925 million. Besides, 164 operational foreign-invested projects have committed more capital, with over US$690 million.

    The processing and manufacturing industry has attracted the most investment with more than US$471 million, accounting for 51% of the city’s total and increasing six times compared to the same period last year, followed by retail, auto and motorcycle repair and sales, and real estate service and trading.

    The U.S. emerged as the biggest investor in HCMC in the first nine months with nearly US$250 million, accounting for 27% of the city’s total, followed by Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

    Reference exchange rate goes up on September 26

    The State Bank of Vietnam set the daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD at 22,456 VND per USD on September 26, up 8 VND from the previous day.

    With the current trading band of /-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,129 VND and the floor rate 21,783 VND per USD.

    The opening hour rates at commercial banks on September 26 saw slight fluctuation.

    Vietcombank raised both rates by 5 VND, listing the buying rate at 22,700 VND and the selling rate at 22,770 VND per USD.

    Meanwhile BIDV kept its rates unchanged from September 25 at 22,700 VND (buying) and 22,770 VND (selling) per USD.

    The rates listed by Techcombank also remained the same as the previous day at 22,680 VND (buying) and 22,780 VND (selling) per USD.

    Stocks end mixed on investor caution

    Vietnamese shares were mixed on September 25 with low trading liquidity as investors remained unsure of the stock market’s prospects.

    The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange inched down 0.19 percent to close at 805.58 points, retreating from Friday’s gain of 0.4 percent.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index gained 0.77 percent to end at 107.34 points, extending its positive direction for a fourth session with total growth of 2.5 percent.

    More than 213.4 million shares were traded on both stock markets, worth 4.05 trillion VND (180 million USD).

    September 25’s trading numbers were down 21 percent in trading volume and 18.6 percent in trading value compared to the previous session.

    The market breadth was negative as declining stocks outnumbered gaining ones by 269 to 191 while 108 others closed unchanged.

    Large-cap stocks performed badly with 19 of the 30 largest stocks on the VN30 Index declining. The VN30 Index tracks the performance of the 30 largest listed companies by market capitalisation and liquidity.

    Decliners on the VN30 Index included FLC Faros Construction (ROS), Thanh Thanh Cong Tay Ninh Sugar JSC (SBT), brewer Sabeco (SAB) and Bình Minh Plastic JSC (BMP).

    Among those stocks, ROS, SBT and BMP were hit by investor selling after they had made strong gains in previous sessions.

    ROS slumped 6.5 percent after it had enjoyed a seven-day rally of total 12 percent, SBT dropped 4.2 percent following its two-day increase of 2 percent and BMP fell 1.6 percent.

    Among speculative stocks, KLF Joint Venture Global Investment JSC (KLF) plunged 9.7 percent after it posted strong growth last week.

    KLF had soared more than 52 percent in the previous seven sessions.

    On the positive side, gaining stocks included Sacombank (STB), consumer goods producer Masan Group (MSN) and DHG Pharmaceutical JSC (DHG).

    MSN jumped 4.8 percent to extend its gains for a second session after the company announced on September 21 that it would buy back maximum 10 percent of the shares that are available on the stock market.

    Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) said in its daily report that the benchmark VN Index is forecast to move narrowly around the level of 806 points in the next few sessions.

    Investor sentiment was weak, proven by the trading liquidity that remained lower than the average of the previous 21 sessions while losing stocks continued to outnumber gaining ones, BVSC said, adding that investors were clearly cautious and were running out of patience with the market’s prospects.

    Quang Ninh fosters tourism cooperation with Chinese locality

    A conference was held in Ha Long city on September 25 to boost tourism connection between Vietnam’s northern province of Quang Ninh and China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

    During the event, Quang Ninh’s Ha Long and Mong Cai cities and Guangxi’s Dongxing and Guilin signed a memoranda of understanding (MoU) on tourism development.

    Accordingly, the localities agreed on general cooperation principles and mechanism to expand tours, and commitments to service quality, among others.

    Representatives from the localities briefed on their potential and advantages.

    Ha Long underlined its potential for sea and island tourism development, with the highlight being the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay while Mong Cai city introduced its cultural, sea-island, and border tourism development.

    The two Chinese localities also introduced their potential for cultural, resort, border tourism development.

    Over the past years, the four localities have gained significant achievements in tourism cooperation. The effectiveness is yet to match the potential.

    The two sides need to boost their exchange and connection to develop their own special products. More communications and advertisement campaigns should be launched, while state management on tourism should be strengthened, and experience exchanged.

    Foreign direct investment in HCM City surges 64 percent

    A conference to boost connection among  tourism destinations of Vietnam’s northern province of Quang Ninh and China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in Ha Long city on September 25.

    During the event, Quang Ninh’s Ha Long and Mong Cai cities and Guangxi’s Dongxing and Guilin signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) on tourism development.

    Accordingly, the localities agreed on general cooperation principles, mechanism to expand tourism journeys, and commitment on service quality, among others.

    Representatives from the localities briefed their potential and advantages. Ha Long boasted its potential for sea and island tourism development, with the highlight of the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. Mong Cai city introduced its cultural, sea-island, and border tourism development.

    The two Chinese provinces also introduced their potential for cultural, resort, border tourism development.

    Over the past years, the four localities have gained significant achievements in tourism cooperation. The effectiveness is yet to match the potential.

    The two sides need to boost their exchange and connection to develop their own special products. Communication work should be conducted while strengthening state management on tourism, and exchanging experience.

    Can Tho aims for 8 percent GRDP growth by 2020

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is striving for an average Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of 7.5-8 percent per year by 2020, said Director of the city Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hong.

    The figure was released at a meeting between Can Tho leaders and a working group from the Steering Committee for Southeastern Region on the outcomes of five-year implementation of the Politburo’s Conclusion 28-KL/TW on solutions to socio-economic development and security and defence of the Mekong Delta region for the 2011-2020 period.

    Along with the target of 11 billion USD in total exports in the 2015-2020 period, Can Tho also expects a budget collection rise of 11 percent per year, he said. The city’s annual poverty reduction is hoped to reach 1.5 percent per year, he said, adding that Can Tho aims to have all 36 communes to be recognised as new-style rural areas.

    At the meeting, the municipal Party Committee proposed that the Government soon issue a legal document defining regulations on special mechanisms regarding investment, finance, budget and decentralization for Can Tho, while allocating capital for the building of important transportation projects connecting Can Tho and other localities in the region, including My Thuan-Can Tho bridge, the upgrade of the National Highway 91.

    Son Minh Thang, Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee for Southeastern Region lauded Can Tho’s efforts and achievements in implementing Conclusion 28, making it the political, economic and cultural driving force of the region.

    Thang asked the city to roll out measures to attract more investment to further promote its socio-economic development.

    Earlier, the committee also inspected underway and planned projects and works in the city.

    Vietnam, India cooperate in shipbuilding

    Cooperation in shipbuilding between Vietnam and India was the focus of discussion at a workshop jointly hosted by the Ministry of National Defence, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Embassy of India in Vietnam in the northern port city of Hai Phong on September 25.

    The event provided a chance for Vietnamese and Indian shipbuilding companies to meet and seek long-term partners.

    Director of the VCCI’s Hai Phong branch Phi Van Duc said to continue expanding economic-trade-investment relations between the two countries, Vietnam has sent many senior delegations to India to study cooperation opportunities as well as welcomed a number of Indian delegations.

    India, with over 1.2 billion people, is a promising market for Vietnamese firms, he noted.

    The workshop was expected to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises in the regional and international integration, so that they can expand their markets to India.

    The same day, delegates visited an Indian naval ship anchoring at the Chua Ve port in Hai Phong.

    Vietnam, Hungarian businesses seek cooperation opportunities

    Vietnamese and Hungarian businesses had a chance to step up their cooperation in such areas as information-technology and high-tech agriculture at a forum in Hanoi on September 25.

    The Vietnam-Hungary Business Forum took place on the occasion of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s official visit to Vietnam from September 24-25.

    Addressing the event, Pham Thi Thu Hang, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), highlighted the thriving trade ties between the two countries, with total two-way trade in 2016 reaching 266 million USD, up 35.7 percent.

    Of the figure, Vietnam’s export to Hungary hit 93 million USD, representing an increase of 41 percent.

     In the first four months of this year, the bilateral trade was 104.4 million USD, a rise of 8.3 percent against the same period last year. Vietnam’s export to Hungary stood at nearly 50.6 million USD, up 102 percent, and its import was 53.8 million USD, up 69 percent.

    However, Vietnam just ships computers, electronics, means of transportation, spare parts, garments-textiles and footwear to the European country.

    The participating Hungarian enterprises operate in agricultural services, mechanics in service of agriculture, food processing, industrial waste treatment, heavy and light industries, health care, IT, banking, architecture and construction materials and household utensil production.

    Jamniczky Zsolt, a representative of E.ON Company, Hungary’s leading energy provider, said his company wants to study the Vietnamese market to invest in energy and energy equipment, especially solar power.

    Some Hungarian firms said they are seeking skillful and blue-collar labourers to work in Hungary.
    Dong Nai records 1.7 billion USD in trade surplus

    The southern province of Dong Nai enjoyed a trade surplus of 1.7 million USD in the first nine months of 2017, according to Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Duong Minh Dung.

    The export turnover was estimated at 12.5 billion USD in January-September, a year-on-year rise of 11 percent, while the import was 10.8 billion USD in the period.

    With the current growth momentum, Dong Nai is likely to earn 17 billion USD from exports and enjoy a trade surplus of over 2.2 billion USD this year.

    The province’s export products mainly came from foreign direct investment (FDI) sector with key ones such as garment-textile, footwear, timber products, fibre, electronics and computers.

    Currently, Dong Nai is shipping products to over 100 countries and territories, focusing on the US, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong (China), Belgium, and Germany.
    Aquatic products expected to rake in 9 billion USD by 2020

    Vietnam expects to achieve 6 percent growth in aquaculture and 9 billion USD from aquatic product exports by 2020.

    The goals were set in the targeted programme on sustainable fishery development for the 2016-2020 period recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    The programme prioritises aquaculture development through enhancing research capacity and modernising breeding production system with a focus placed on key staples like tra fish, shrimps, molluscs, tilapia fish and clam.

    The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) will be applied in key seafood farming areas which have comprehensive infrastructure in the Mekong Delta, Red River Delta and central coastal localities. The move aims to ensure that all farming zones will meet advanced standards on quality and food safety and hygiene.

    Infrastructures for the zones must suit socio-economic and environmental conditions in coastal areas and three monitoring centres will be built to oversee the environment’s quality and warn aquatic diseases.

    Regarding aquatic product processing and trade development, the fishery sector will prioritise products with high added value, branches out trade marks for shrimps, tra fish, molluscs, tilapia fish and tuna.

    It will recover and develop traditional aquatic processing villages, control quality of processed products to meet demands of both domestic and foreign markets as well as address trade barriers.

    The targeted programme also sets the protection of aquatic resources as a key mission for the fishery sector.

    Cambodia learns Vietnam’s planning experience

    Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang on September 25 held a working session with a delegation of the Cambodian Ministry of Planning led by Minister of State Hou Taing Eng.

    The Cambodian delegation has been on a two-day working visit to Vietnam until September 26 to exchange experience with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) in making local planning schemes.

    Speaking at the event, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lu Van Hung said the sharing of experience in making local-level planning schemes between the two ministries via working sessions in Hau Giang will contribute to further strengthening bilateral ties.

    Hou Taing Eng, for his part, said the two ministries have been cooperating with each other since 2009, adding that Cambodia want to acquire Vietnam’s experience in devising local plans and internal inspection.

    Representatives from the MoPI’s Department of Local and Territorial Economy talked about how to make socio-economic development planning schemes from the central to local levels while the ministry’s inspectors shared experience in internal inspection.

    Ca Mau boosts tourism cooperation with Thai province

    The southernmost province of Ca Mau wants to bolster cooperation, especially in tourism and investment with Thailand’s Trat province, said Vice Chairman of provincial People’s Committee Tran Hong Quan.

    The official made the statement during a meeting on September 25 with a delegation from Thailand led by Vice Governor of Trat province Prathan Surakitbovon.

    At the meeting, the two sides introduced to each other their respective provinces’ potential and advantages, including famous travel destinations, notable cultural traits and cuisine.

    They also shared some experiences in tourism development and examined possibilities for cooperation in trade, tourism and investment.

    Popular tourist destinations in Ca Mau include the Ca Mau Cape National Park and the Ca Mau Cape which is Vietnam’s southernmost tip, among others.

    WIPO supports Vietnam in developing intellectual property

    A project on enabling intellectual property (IP) environment funded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) will be implemented in Vietnam from 2018 to 2022 with the aim to develop intellectual assets and technological advances in the country.

    Within the framework of the project, an advanced training course on technology transfer and a conference on interviews with universities and research institutes were kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on September 25.

    The training courses will last until September 29, providing participants with knowledge and skills on negotiating and drafting technology transfer contracts, assessing prices of intellectual assets, and making policies related to technology transfer.

    Meanwhile, the conference is scheduled to take place in the city on September 25-26, and a similar conference will be organised in Hanoi on September 28-29. During these events, WIPO officials will introduce the “Hub and Spoke” Structure and officially select units to participate in the project.

    At present, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam is connecting a network of 30 Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISC) at universities and research institutes, of which 20 units have registered to join the project aided by WIPO.

    The Ministry of Science and Technology is coordinating with relevant ministries and agencies in building a national intellectual property strategy in order to improve the country’s IP system that facilitates creativity, attract investment and boost technology transfer and popularisation.
    Vietnam, Cuba’s trade unions strengthen traditional friendship

    The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Central Union of Cuban Workers (CTC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on specific activities to promote the bilateral relations.

    The signing took place at talks between President of the VGCL Bui Van Cuong and Secretary General of the CTC Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento as part of Cuong’s visit to Cuba from September 22-24.

    The visit aims to exchange experience and information in trade union activities with Cuba, thus contributing to deepening the special solidarity between Vietnam and Cuba, Cuong said.

    Guilarte de Nacimiento expressed his pleasure to welcome the VGCL delegation and took the occasion to thank the Vietnamese Party, State and workers for supporting Cuban people in the past and at present.

    The VGCL President presented 25,000 USD in cash and computer sets to Cuban workers affected by the recent storm Irma.

    In an interview granted to the Worker weekly newspaper, the mouthpiece of CTC, Cuong highlighted the special bond between the two countries’ people and workers, which was nurtured by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro Ruz.

    He expressed his readiness to share experience with Cuba to develop trade unions in non-State economic sectors where the VGCL attaches great importance to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of workers, ensuring social welfare, fair wages, labour safety, working environment conditions, and entertainment rights.

    During his visit to Cuba, Cuong also met with head of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee’s Department of External Relations Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera.

    SHB offers new preferential package to SMEs

    The Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) recently announced that it will launch a 2.5 trillion VND (109.9 million USD) credit package with preferential interest rate from 6.5 percent per year for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    The package will be divided into two programmes, “Giving strength to business” and “Quick financing by area”.

    The “Giving strength to business” programme targets businesses in 17 industries, including medicine, pharmaceutical chemistry, rubber, plastic, fertiliser, electronics, communication equipment, garment and textile, footwear and farm produce. Loans are mostly short terms, at less than six months, designed to help firms promote production and business activities in the last months of the year.

    Meanwhile, the “Quick financing by area” programme is built based on specific socio-economic situations of the Southeast, South central, Mekong Delta, Central Highland, North central and Red River Delta regions and Ho Chi Minh City. SMEs in those regions are able to access to loans at the minimum interest rate of 6.5 percent for terms of up to 12 months.

    According to SHB General Director Nguyen Van Le, SMEs are among targeted customers of SHB in the bank’s development strategy. The bank has designed a line-up of preferential programmes and initiatives to back this group of firms, including financial consultancies, helping businesses seek customers and market, loan restructuring and enterprise shake up.

    The solutions have increased SHB’s credit quality while boosting SME development in Vietnam.

    Cotton Day connects Vietnam, US firms

    The Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS) and the US Cotton Council International (CCI) recently held the Cotton Day in Ho Chi Minh City to help Vietnamese apparel businesses to approach the US market.

    The event created an opportunity for US firms to evaluate the potential of the spinning and textile industry in Vietnam, according to VITAS President Vu Duc Giang.

    He expected US businesses to propose policies for the US government to support the spinning and textile industry in Vietnam, especially in establishing cotton bonded warehouses in Ho Chi Minh City and the northern port city of Hai Phong, which will help Vietnam access US high-quality cotton products.

    According to VITAS, Vietnam earned 19.8 billion USD from exporting garment-textiles in the first eight months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 9.9 percent. The sector hopes to rake in about 30.5 billion USD in export turnover in 2017.

    Vietnam’s cotton imports surged over the past 10 years from 150,000 tonnes in 2005 to about 1.2 million tonnes in 2016, with US cotton making up a large proportion.

    In the first seven months of 2017, Vietnam imported 808,000 tonnes of cotton worth 1.47 billion USD, year-on-year rises of 32.6 percent and 58 percent respectively. The US accounted for 60 percent of the market share.

    The CCI granted licenses to 12 Vietnamese businesses using the COTTON USA ™ label to pave the way for apparel exports to the US and help customers recognise high-quality products.

    Poor planning hinders central region growth: Deputy PM

    The Government is concerned about the poor coordination and infrastructure undermining the major development potential of Vietnam’s 11 central localities, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told 500 business people and officials at the 2nd Central Coastal Economic Forum in Da Nang on September 25.

    “Many efforts have been recorded by the regional coordination management board since the first forum was held in 2014. However, poor connection of strategic traffic roads, including the National Highway, Coastal Highway, Ho Chi Minh Trail and north-south railway, have prevented the region from fast growth,” Hue said.

    Favourable connection of roads, airports, sea ports and economic and industrial zones will create more power for the region in the coming decades, he added.

    He suggested the forum discuss how to build an effective mechanism for cooperation among the provinces to boost their advantages in marine economy and tourism, saying the region could contribute as much as 70 percent to the country’s economic growth.

    The head of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, Tran Dinh Thien, said the development of the coastal central region has not reached its target since the regional coordination management board was established six years ago.

    “More than 40 industrial zones (IZs) and six economic zones (EZs) were built in the region, but income per capita in the region is not much higher than the country’s average income,” Thien said. “A lack of international-standard centres for sports, shopping, trade, night recreation and finance has hindered the region from becoming an attractive destination for international tourists.”

    Thien also pointed to the lack of coordination among provinces as a major hindrance to economic growth. Thua Thien-Hue province had developed the Chan May-Lang Co deep-sea port in the region but neighbouring Da Nang plans to build its own Lien Chieu port as a key logistics centre just 20km away.

    “Each province plans to build its own deep sea port, international airport or industrial zones, while no connections are planned to share the advantages of infrastructure investment,” he explained.

    The coastal central region has six airports, 13 seaports, six coastal economic zones, a high-tech park and 14 national roads.

    Thien suggested the region should be restructured, based on the advantage of each province. “We can arrange several provinces with the same advantages (sea ports, airports and economic zones) in a sub-zone,” he suggested.

    Tran Du Lich, head of the central region’s Development Consultancy Council, said the region has tremendous potential for marine economy development – ship-building, fisheries, logistics, coastal economic zones, and island and sea tourism.

    Dr. Huynh The Du from Fulbright University Vietnam said many provinces offer free land rent to attract investors, but investors are never punished for failing to move forward with promised projects or for long delays. He also suggested the region needs only one deep-sea port.

    A quick survey presented by economist Vo Tri Thanh at the forum showed that nearly 80 percent of participants agreed that poor connections and underdeveloped links among provinces in the region are major barriers to growth.

    The central coastal region had an average growth of 8.4 percent, earning revenues of 5.8 billion USD last year.

    Solar power producer has high hopes for US
    IREX Energy Joint Stock Company (JSC), a member of the Bach Khoa Solar Energy Group (SolarBK), has won orders to provide comprehensive solutions on solar power for customers during the Solar Power International Exhibition at the Mandalay Bay Conference Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was held from September 10 to 14.

    Executive Director of IREX, Dong Van Sen told Viet Nam News that the orders were taken during the exhibition. He said IREX was the only Vietnamese company taking part in the biggest solar power exhibition in the world.

    The company will offer a One-Stop-Shop package, including solar power cells, panels, installation, a smart monitoring system (Solar System Operation Centre) and guarantees for customers in North America.

    Sen said orders would reach a capacity of 300MWp (photo-voltaic cells), 40 per cent of total capacity of the company’s high-tech renewable energy device factory in the southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

    “It’s the first time we have joined in the world solar-power exhibition attended by 18,000 members and 650 businesses from 80 countries. We believe our made-in-Vietnam renewable energy industry will enter deeper into the market in the coming years,” Sen said.

    He said the company has opened a representative office in the US to provide service and guarantees for customers in the tough market.

    He added IREX solar panels had been exported to many countries, including the Netherlands, Singapore, Turkey and the US market.

    IREX Energy JSC, founded in 2012, began construction of a high-tech renewable-energy device factory complex in Ba Ria-Vung Tau costing US$17 million last year.

    The complex, which includes a renewable energy factory and a research and development centre aims to boost development of the solar industry in Viet Nam and exports to the US and European markets.

    The company has been developing solar-powered water heaters, wind power turbines, solar power-driven sea water filter systems and renewable use solutions.

    Hungarians want to invest in VN
    Energy, high-tech agriculture and information technology are the new investment fields discussed yesterday at the Viet Nam-Hungary Business Forum held within the framework of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Viet Nam.

    Hungarian business representatives expressed interest in varied investments in Viet Nam, ranging from bio-fungicides for agriculture to transmission lines protection.

    Jamniczky Zsolt, representative of Hungary’s E.ON company, said his company looks forward to exploring the Vietnamese market for investment and cooperation opportunities in energy production and equipment, especially of solar power.

    Total bilateral trade turnover between the two countries reached US$266 million in 2016, up 35.7 per cent from 2015. Viet Nam’s exports to Hungary reached $93 million, a 41 per cent increase, including textiles and garments, footwear, computers, electronic components, transportation vehicles and spare parts. Viet Nam’s main imports from Hungary include pharmaceutical products, machinery, spare parts, chemicals, and animal feed.

    Computers, electronic products and components make up a major part of the total traded value at nearly $20.6 million, accounting for 40.7 per cent of total exports. Automobiles and accessories account for 3.9 per cent of bilateral trade, reaching nearly $2 million, albeit down by 13.3 per cent from 2015. Textile and garment products are new additions to the list of exports to Hungary, reaching over $1 million, followed by the footwear segment at $0.3 million, a sharp increase of 106 per cent year on year.

    According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trade turnover in the first six months of 2017 between the two countries reached $145 million, up by more than 60 per cent from the same period last year.

    In terms of investment, Hungary has installed 15 valid foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Viet Nam with a total registered capital of $50.66 million, ranking 55th among 105 countries and territories with direct investment in the country.

    Nonetheless, Nguyen Dang Bela, a Hungarian-Vietnamese businessman with many years experince in high-tech agriculture, said at yesterday’s forum that the biggest difficulty of joint ventures between Viet Nam and Hungary is the lack of established brand names in foreign markets.

    At the moment, the majority of Vietnamese products, such as coffee, sold in supermarkets in Hungary are not traded under the brand name of any Vietnamese company, which does not satisfy Hungarian consumers’ demand for Vietnamese trademarked goods and needs improving at the earliest, said Bela.

    The forum’s discussion was attended by representatives of 50 leading Hungarian enterprises in the fields of agriculture and agricultural mechanical engineering, agri-food processing, agricultural waste treatment, medical healthcare, information technology, banking, architecture, and construction.

    It was organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Hungary Trade House, and the Hungarian Embassy in Ha Noi.

    State Bank licenses MS Finance
    The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) last Friday licensed the establishment of MB Shinsei Finance Limited Liability Company (MS Finance).

    MS Finance’s charter capital is VND500 billion (US$22 million), of which Military Bank owns 50 per cent, Japan’s Shinsei Bank Ltd has 49 per cent and Xuan Thanh Construction and Development Company owns 1 per cent.

    Under this licence, the finance company, whose operation can continue for 50 years, is allowed to engage in activities performed by consumer credit finance companies in accordance with Viet Nam’s law, such as mobilising funds through deposits of the organisation; issuing certificates of deposits, promissory notes, bills and bonds to raise funds of organisations; borrowing loans from credit institutions, financial institutions at home and abroad in accordance with the law; and borrowing from SBV in the form of refinancing according to SBV’s law.

    The company is also permitted to grant credit in the following forms – loans, including installment loans and consumer loans; discount, rediscount of negotiable instruments and other valuable papers; along with issuing credit cards.

    It can act as an insurance agent and provide consulting services in the fields of banking, finance and investment, as well as provide services of managing and preserving assets of customers.

    VietBank to change savings funds into transaction offices
    The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has allowed Vietnam Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VietBank) to change 11 savings funds into transaction offices in HCM City.

    This was established under Document No 7541/NHNN-TTGSNH issued by the SBV last week.

    VietBank was also permitted to establish two branches in HCM City.

    The SBV requires VietBank to be responsible for implementing the procedures of inaugurating, registering and publicising the branches and transaction offices, in line with Circular No 21/2013/TT-NHNN dated September 9, 2013, on the operational network of commercial banks and other applicable legal texts.

    The approval will cease to be effective if VietBank does not inaugurate the offices within 12 months from the date of signing, SBV noted.

    VietBank currently has 100 transaction offices located at the main economic regions of the country.

    It last year also successfully converted 19 savings funds into transaction offices in HCM City, Ha Noi, Khanh Hoa and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

    SeABank gets new general director
    Nguyen Canh Vinh will take charge as the new general director of the Southeast Asia Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SeABank) from September 25.

    Prior to this, Vinh was Techcombank’s deputy general director. He replaces Dang Bao Khanh, who resigned as the bank’s general director from July 5, reported the online newspaper

    After Khanh’s resignation, the Board of Directors appointed Le Van Tan, SeABank’s Deputy General Director, to take over the reins till a new general director was appointed.

    Born in 1974, Vinh graduated from the National Economics University and the National University of Civil Engineering. He also has a master’s degree from Latrobe University.

    Vinh has 21 years of experience in banking and finance, and has held many senior management positions, particularly in the retail sector.

    KIDO Foods to trade on UPCoM
    KIDO Foods (KDF), the frozen foods subsidiary of KIDO Group, has obtained approval from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) to trade 56 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) under stock code KDF.

    KIDO Foods will start trading on September 28 at the starting price of VND60,000 (US$2.64) per share.

    According to the group’s latest report, KIDO Group sold 2,688 million shares of KDF under the put-through method from August 24 to August 28, 2017. After trading, the group still holds 36.4 million shares, equivalent to 65 per cent of capital at KDF.

    Currently, KDF’s products are divided into three main brands -- ice-cream Merino, high brand ice-cream Celano and yogurt Welyo.

    Until August 25, 2017, the number of shares held by foreign investors was 3,927,000 shares, accounting for 7.01 per cent of the charter capital, while domestic shareholders held 52.073 million shares, equivalent to 92.99 per cent.

    The company has three founding shareholders -- Kido Group holds 36.4 million shares, accounting for 65 per cent, Tran Kim Thanh and Tran Le Nguyen hold 156,000 shares, representing 0.28 per cent.

    According to Euromonitor’s report, KDF held 25.5 per cent share of the ice cream market in 2010, 36.4 per cent in 2014 and 34.7 per cent at the end of 2016.

    In the first six months of 2017, the company’s net revenue reached over VND778 billion, after-tax profit reached nearly VND82 billion, fulfilling 40.47 per cent and 40.95 per cent of the business plan, respectively.

    This year, the company estimated revenue of nearly VND1.83 trillion and after-tax profit of VND200 billion. The firm also targets holding 50 per cent share of Viet Nam’s ice cream market by 2020.

    In 2016, KIDO Foods expanded to 10,000 retail outlets, bringing the total to 70,000 points nationwide, while expanding distributors to the district level instead of only the provincial level.

    Happy All Technology JSC launches social networking app Azibai
    Happy All Technology JSC launched Azibai, a social networking business, with applications for Android and IOS on September 22.

    The outstanding features of Azibai are a full-fledged business social network that optimises a range of business activities like marketing, sales, administration, customer care, is simple and easy to use and very practical and has a modern, user-friendly interface.

    With this interface and features, Azibai is geared towards a wide variety of users to help their businesses easily develop systems.

    In addition, businesses can access as well as create jobs for those who lack the opportunities or conditions to optimally use their capabilities.

    Suppliers, wholesalers and retailers of goods and services have an optimal tool for development, management and operation to achieve goals such as developing a nation-wide distribution chain and creating their own e-commerce trading platform.

    Customers will get perfect service when ordering, making payment, shipping orders, and making collections on the Azibai app.

    The creation of the app marks a tie-up between Azibai and G-market of South Korea.

    Azibai also becomes the exclusive distributor and retailer for G-market in Viet Nam.

    Azibai is confident of becoming a research unit and supplier of business development applications in Viet Nam.
    G-bond transactions on sharp rise

    Total government bond (G bond) transaction value hit more than 1.5 quadrillion VND (65.9 billion USD) in the first nine months of the year, up 42.4 percent year-on-year, according to the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX).

    The value of G bonds in outright transactions was calculated at 778.5 trillion VND (34.2 billion USD) while sales in repurchase transactions reached 734.6 trillion VND (32.3 billion USD).

    Average transaction value in the period stood at 8.56 trillion VND per auction, 1.35 times higher than the same time last year. Notably, there were many transaction sessions worth over 10 trillion VND (439.9 million USD) per auction, even 15 trillion VND (659.8 million USD) recorded on June 22.

    The HNX said that Vietnamese G-bond market has experienced robust growth in recent years, represented through the increase of repurchase transaction value which occupied 48.2 percent of the total while the last year’s figure was only 40 percent.

    Foreigners have also become more interested in Vietnam’s G-bond market, spending 95.4 trillion VND (4.2 billion VND) on G bonds during January-September.

    They posted a net buy value of 20.66 trillion VND (908.8 million USD), up 162 percent from 2016. That was an improvement compared to total foreign investors’ net sell value of 4.4 trillion VND (193.6 million USD) made in 2015.
    Rice exporters advised to diversify markets

    Vietnam exported more than 4.5 million tonnes of rice in the first nine months of this year for 2 billion USD, up 19.6 percent in volume and 18 percent in value year on year, but its dependance on the Chinese market brings latent risks.

    According to the Vietnam Food Association, China consumed 38 percent of total rice exported from Vietnam with more than 1.5 million tonnes worth over 700 million USD, followed by the Philippines with over 400,000 tonnes and Malaysia with more than 360,000 tonnes.

    A surge in demand in Asia from June this year pushed rice prices to above 400 USD per tonne, which also helped boost the domestic rice price.

    Lam Anh Tuan, Director of Ben Tre-based Thinh Phat food company, said that along with the Chinese market, the Philippines and Bangladesh also have high demand for Vietnamese rice. However, he noted that Vietnamese firms should be careful in bidding for contracts in these markets.

    Noting the stability of African markets, Dang Thi Lien, Director of Long An food company said that along with major markets in Asia, her firm has contracts with African partners.

    While choosy markets such as the US, Europe and Japan are difficult to conquer, China is a promising market for Vietnamese farm produce, including rice. But experts said that focusing only on this market brings many risks, as China is encouraging farmers to increase rice production to reduce dependence on imported rice.

    They advised domestic firms to develop new markets such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines, while building rice trademarks.

    Tuan said that as all countries are striving to become self-reliant in rice supply, Vietnamese firms should diversify their markets.
    GoBear Vietnam and MIC Ben Thanh join hands to deliver special offer

    GoBear Vietnam and MIC Ben Thanh have signed a business collaboration agreement to deliver special offer for international travel insurance products.

    From now until August 16, 2018, users who register to buy international travel insurance products provided by MIC Ben Thanh via website will be eligible for an instant fee discount of 45 per cent.

    The international travel insurance products provided by MIC Ben Thanh are highly ranked on GoBear Vietnam’s website in terms of benefits and fee. As of this moment, users can search, compare and register to buy among four international travel insurance products provided by MIC Ben Thanh via website to ensure protection throughout the trip and enjoy the special offer of fee discount.

    Doan Tu Anh, GoBear Vietnam acting country director, said: “The business collaboration agreement between GoBear Vietnam and MIC Ben Thanh is part of our strategy to add more benefits to users over time. By offering a discount for users who register to buy international insurance products via GoBear Vietnam’s website, we want to encourage Vietnamese users to form the good habit of buying travel insurance to protect themselves when travelling. In the future, GoBear Vietnam will continue to join hands with more partners to bring better benefits to users."

    Since it officially went live in Vietnam in early December 2016, with three products – comparison of credit cards, personal loans and travel insurances, GoBear Vietnam has landed over 650,000 comparison hits on the website and became a trusted provider of search and compare services for financial products in Vietnam.

    GoBear is Asia’s first and only metasearch engine in insurance and banking products. It was founded based on the simple premise that a consumer should find freedom and ease when making financial decisions related to insurance, credit cards and loans.

    Headquartered in Singapore since early 2015, GoBear is also in Thailand and Malaysia the Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Just over two years into its operation, more than 15 million users have put their trust in GoBear to make comparison of financial products in a fast and personalised way. As one of the fastest growing fintech startups in Asia, GoBear is leading the way in democratising financial shopping experience with its unbiased and personalised comparison process.

    GoBear’s user-oriented platform neither aggregate nor sell products. GoBear simply offers consumers a free and transparent comparison process based on their financial needs. The result is a user-friendly and informed experience that saves consumers both time and money.

    KIDO Foods' 9M net revenue up nearly 5% y-o-y

    KIDO Foods, the frozen food arm of the KIDO Group Corporation (KIDO), has released its business results for the first nine months of the year, with net revenue standing at VND1.2 trillion ($52.8 million), an increase of 4.9 per cent year-on-year.

    Gross profit is expected to be VND650 billion ($28.6 million), 2.4 per cent lower year-on-year, as its plant in northern Bac Ninh province began operating in early 2017, increasing depreciation costs and other fixed costs.

    Pre-tax profit in the first nine months was the same year-on-year, reaching VND160 billion ($7.04 million). After-tax profit is expected to increase sharply, by 9.8 per cent to VND140 billion ($6.16 million), thanks to tax incentives for the Bac Ninh plant.

    In the final quarter of the year, the company is expected to expand its portfolio of products to new dumplings and products from Dabaco Food, in which it recently acquired a 50 per cent holding, including fresh sausages and canned and processed foods.

    KIDO Foods will officially trade on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) on September 28, with 56 million shares trading under the code KDF.  

    A recent report from Euromonitor shows that the KIDO Group has maintained its leading position in ice cream and frozen desserts, with a 40 per cent share this year.

    Ice cream and frozen desserts have seen retail volume growth of 7 per cent and retail value growth of 15 per cent this year, reaching 26,600 tons and nearly VND3.1 trillion ($136.4 million).

    In June, northern livestock giant the Dabaco Group JSC decided to sell 50 per cent of its subsidiary Dabaco Food to the KIDO Group for VND100 billion ($4.4 million).

    Under the sale, Dabaco Food will be an outsourcing company while KIDO will fully control products and brands.

    After investing in Dabaco Food, KIDO now has a presence in three key segments in the food industry: fresh food, frozen food, and canned food.

    In the frozen food segment, it targets holding a 50 per cent share of the ice cream market by 2020. It currently has more than 70,000 points of sale around the country and plans to increase this by 10,000 to 20,000 each year.
    Vietnamese garment enterprises have opportunity to access US market

    Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover to the US has grown sharply in recent years and Vietnam is using more raw cotton materials from this market, offering domestic enterprises a range of opportunities to access the US market.

    Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover, in 2017, is estimated at US$30.5 billion, of which the US market accounts for approximately 51% of total turnover.

    In the first eight months of 2017, textiles and garments exports grew steadily, with export value increasing by 9.9%, over the same period last year, to US$19.8 billion. Currently, textile and garment exports to the US account for the largest share of the industry, making up around 51% of the export market share.

    However, Vietnam is also importing cotton from the US for its spinning industry, accounting for up to 60% of its total demand. In recent years, the cotton cultivation areas in Vietnam have narrowed down to just 0.04% of the total demand. Meanwhile, American cotton is considered the best for Vietnamese spinning, due to it containing less impurities and being put through a tightly controlled production process.

    In order to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese textile and garment enterprises to approach the US cotton market, VITAS and the US Cotton Council International (CCI) recently held Cotton Day in Ho Chi Minh City, in mid-September. According to Giang, this event created an opportunity for US firms to evaluate the potential and importance of the spinning and textile industry in Vietnam, before making proposals to the US Government for policies to support the spinning, textile and garment industry in the Southeast Asian country.

    Among them, the most important is the recommendation on the establishment of cotton bonded warehouses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong that would help to create better opportunities for Vietnamese spinners to access US cotton products, while shortening buying times and reducing financial pressure.

    Giang said that Cotton Day 2017 acted as a bridge between the Vietnamese textile industry and the US cotton industry for the benefit of both parties, presenting an opportunity for Vietnamese fashion brands and Vietnamese businesses, who have not yet exported to the US, to seek opportunities for cooperation with US enterprises and buyers.

    According to VITAS, Vietnam’s cotton imports surged over the past ten years from 150,000 tonnes in 2005 to approximately 1.2 million tonnes in 2016, with US cotton making up a large proportion.

    In the first seven months of 2017, Vietnam imported 808,000 tonnes of cotton, worth US$1.47 billion, annual rises of 32.6% and 58%, respectively. The US accounted for 60% of the market share, marking a milestone in the development of US cotton in Vietnam.

    To pave the way for Vietnamese apparel exports to the US and to help customers recognise high-quality products, the CCI granted licences to 12 Vietnamese businesses using the COTTON USA™ label, including Hoa Tho Textile, Dong Xuan Knitting, Phu Cuong Spinning, Phu Gia Spinning, Viet Hong Dyeing, Sunrise Spring Vietnam, Thanh Cong Textile and Vi Son Textile.

    The use of COTTON USA ™ labels will help consumers to recognise quality products, as well as helping exporters enjoy more favourable conditions when exporting textiles to the United States.

    Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Deputy General Director of Hoa Tho Textile, said that his company currently has three fiber factories in Da Nang and Quang Nam, with an annual capacity of around 1,600 tonnes of yarns. Raw materials used in the plants are cotton and man-made fibers, of which cotton imports from the US account for more than 60%.

    Binh added that, compared with cotton imported from West Africa or India, cotton from the US contains less impurities, so the finished product quality is higher. Recently, US cotton has had a more competitive price, making it a good choice for manufacturers in meeting the high requirements of high quality orders.

    CCI Director William Bettendorf said that in recent years, the Vietnam textile and garment industry has made breakthrough growth, becoming a bright spot in the textile industry around the world. Currently, Vietnam is the largest customer of the American cotton industry.

    This year is also the first year that CCI has supported Vietnam’s fashion brands using the COTTON USA ™ label to create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese exports and better transparency for consumers concerning the origin of materials.

    Developing “agriculture 4.0”

    Agriculture is a foundation, a development axis, and a strong pillar of the economy. Over the years, the sector has recorded continuous growth with important achievements, contributing to nationwide economic stability, reducing poverty and improving the standard of living for rural residents.

    With enormous progress, Vietnam has emerged as one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural commodities and is among the top five for aquatic products, rice, coffee, tea, cashews, black pepper, rubber and cassava. But it is facing major demographic, economic and environmental challenges that require changes in order to generate more economic value whilst using fewer natural, human and other resources, as well as the need to restructure the patterns of production and the organisation of the supply chain.

    Agricultural growth has mostly relied on increasing cultivation areas and a more intensive use of inputs, such as fertilisers and natural resources, such as water. The sector is experiencing a low quality of growth, as shown by low profits for farmers, underemployment among agricultural workers, unreliable product quality, alongside poor food safety and limited technological innovation.

    Developing high-tech agriculture is an important task and also the inevitable trend of Vietnam’s socioeconomic development strategies in the context of deeper international integration.

    Together with the foundation of rapid development and the high-level integration of scientific achievements and modern technologies in the sectors of digitalisation, bio-technology and physics, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to remarkably change the appearance of manufacturing in the world and Vietnam in the near future. This model will help enterprises increase their productivity, flexibility and efficiency, in addition to shortening production time in making products available in the market, resulting in the improvement of an enterprise’s competitiveness.

    The revolution could create both opportunities and challenges for Vietnam. If Vietnam doesn’t catch up with the world and the region in terms of development, it would face challenges and the effects of backward technologies, decreasing production, abundant skilled labour and copyright violation.

    Hi-tech farming is considered as one of the driving factors for sustainable agricultural development in line with the government’s policy. Since the beginning of 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a resolution on providing a credit package worth VND100 trillion (US$4.4 billion) to invest in the development of high-tech agriculture at lower than market rates. The resolution aims to encourage, support and promote the development of hi-tech farming applications.

    Following the Prime Minister’s instruction on supporting high-tech agriculture development late last year, the SBV has instructed banks to apply preferential loans to high-tech and clean agricultural projects. Interest rates of the loans will be 0.5-1.5% per year lower than other average lending rates. Meanwhile, the lending interest rate for short-term loans averages at 6-9% per year and 9-11% for medium and long-term loans.

    Science and technology have been flagged as an effective solution for agricultural development, but the most urgent task that should be carried out in the near future is establishing an effective roadmap for the sector’s development in order to help the sector promote its important role as a strong pillar in the economy.

    In order to promote the economic strength of agriculture, it is necessary to have specific directions, mechanisms and policies to attract the relevant economic sectors and scientific enterprises to invest in technological innovation and high-tech applications for agricultural production.

    Therefore, it is necessary to restructure the country’s agriculture industry towards sustainable and effective development, while increasing the income and improving the standard of living for rural residents and farmers should be associated with the building of new-style rural areas.

    Local authorities should create favourable conditions to encourage the application of advanced technologies and machinery in agricultural production in order to reduce costs and improve the productivity, quality, and competitiveness of agricultural products.

    Last bid packages of Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway carried out

    Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) and contractors yesterday signed contracts to implement three last bid packages of Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway, connecting the Mekong Delta and the southeastern region through HCMC.

    The three packages have the total length of 25 kilometers, designed to meet A standard with the speed of 100 kilometers an hour.

    Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway runs from the Mekong Delta province of Long An, travels through Ho Chi Minh City and links up to the southeastern province of Dong Nai.

    The work started on the 51.7 kilometer project in July 2014 with the total capital of VND31.3 trillion (US$1.38 billion).

    Vietnam Rubber Group prepares for equitization

    The equitization project of Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) was approved yesterday by the company’s unusual conference of worker delegates in HCMC yesterday.

    The real value of VRG including the parent company, 20 agricultural subsidiaries and four public service units is over VND49 trillion (US$2.16 billion).

    VRG director general Tran Ngoc Thuan said that the group has agreed to submit the equitization project to the Prime Minister with the selling price of VND13,000 per share and the auction will be organized at the HCMC Stock Exchange.

    VRG shares will be sold to rubber farming workers and households and labor unions with the selling price accounting for 60 percent of the lowest successful auction price. 

    They will also be sold to eligible workers with the price equal to the lowest successful auction price.

    Over 475 million shares, accounting for 11.8 percent chartered capital, will be publicly offered for sale. In addition, another number of shares with the same chartered capital value will be sold to strategic investors.

    VRG proposed to complete the share auction within three months after the equitization project is approved.


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  • 09/26/17--03:55: Article 0
  • Social News 26/7

    Red Cross Society in district 8 installs medicine cabinets

     Red Cross Society in district 8 installs medicine cabinets, HCM City seeks urgent solutions to congestion at major port, Child from Central Highlands dies of Japanese B encephalitis, Patient with V-line surgery complications in poor condition

    Over 40 visible medicine cabinets for first-aid are installed along Pham The Hien Street in Ho Chi Minh City's Dsitrict 8. They are used for treating those who have traffic accidents.

    This is an idea of the district Red Cross Society. More than 40 free medicine cabinets for first -aid are installed to help traffic accident victims. Each cabinet contains wads of cotton wool, surgical alcohol and other tools for stopping bleeding.

    On each of them, telephone of the Red Cross Society headquarter are visible so that residents can contact when they need aid.

    Guard of the residential block No.3 in district 8 ward 6 Ho Ngoc Vui said that the medicine cabinets are very useful because once there was an accident here and locals could provide first-aid to the victim.

    Chairman of the Red Corss Society Nguyen Quoc Minh said that the first-aid cabinet is initiated from the movement named "The city has high standard of living and loving" with many practical deeds, the society installed these cabinets to contribute to the movement.

    Crowded street Pham The Hien has seen traffic accidents frequently; therefore, the society placed medicine cabinets first there and then it will install in other streets in the district. These cabinets are provided by patrons and pharmacies.

    In addition to installing these cabinets, the society also delivered basic knowledge of first-aid to locals and shop assistants to help victims. Guards of residential blocks are assigned to protect the cabinets and supply essential items into the cabinets.

    HCM City seeks urgent solutions to congestion at major port

    The transport department of Ho Chi Minh City has approved a VND429 billion (US$18.9 million) road to ease chronic congestion on streets leading to Cat Lai Port.

    Located in District 2, the bustling Cat Lai Port receives more than half of Vietnam’s waterway freight, placing the surrounding infrastructure under enormous pressure and creating frequent traffic congestion in the area.

    The new road, which will run 1.5 kilometers from the port to Belt Road 2 in the same district, will include four vehicle lanes, with a completion date set for 2019.

    However, the new road to the port is only one of many solutions being sought by authorities.

    Thousands of trailer trucks lining up to access weigh stations has been the leading cause of the daily traffic snarls seen at the My Thuy intersection, where the Dong Van Cong and Vo Chi Cong roads meet.

    Drivers have placed the blame on a truck ban between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street, which connects to the Cat Lai Port entrance, forcing a large number of vehicles to re-route to My Thuy.

    Multiple parking lots in the area are also responsible for chaotic traffic during rush hour.

    Since last November, construction of an interchange at My Thuy to eliminate the bottleneck has been slowed by sluggish land clearance, which has been estimated to take until April 2018 to complete, according to the administration of District 2.

    Meanwhile, an additional flyover and tunnel are being built at local congestion hot spots, and are expected to be open to traffic as early as the end of this year.

    Since April of this year, the Cat Lai Port authority has introduced online freight-forwarding procedures and payment systems, which have been successful in reducing waiting times for trucks by half.

    Child from Central Highlands dies of Japanese B encephalitis

    A child from the Central Highlands city of Buon Ma Thuot died after being affected with Japanese B encephalitis, said a local health official.

    Dr Pham Van Lao, director of Dak Lak province Preventive Health Centre, said on September 25 that the six-year old child was hospitalized on August 26 with dizziness, enlarged pupils, and fast heart rate symptoms. His blood test showed positive for Japanese B encephalitis virus.

    According to the child’s relatives, he was not vaccinated against Japanese B encephalitis.

    After determining Japanese encephalitis was the cause of his death, the Preventive Health Centre in coordination with the City Health Centre sprayed mosquito killer around houses of the victim and 60 neighbours and reviewed and conducted the vaccination of Japanese B encephalitis for children aged 1-15 in the area.

    Symptoms of Japanese encephalitis, commonly known as "brain inflammation", include high fever, nausea and in severe cases, seizures, paralysis and coma.

    Techcombank HCM City Int’l Marathon to kick off

    The Techcombank HCM City International Marathon is scheduled to kick off on November 26 in HCM City.

    The event is expected to draw thousands of runners who will compete in the 42km and 21km events.

    Runners will start from Thảo Cầm Viên (zoological and botanical garden) and run to Thủ Thiêm new urban area.

    Before the main event, children will be able to participate in the Kid’s Run, which is being organised in two age groups: under six and 7-14.

    The event is being co-ordinated by the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Athletics Federation.

    Kiên Giang singer wins TV cải lương contest

    Nguyễn Văn Khởi of Kiên Giang Province has won the 2017 Chuông Vàng (Golden Bell) contest, an annual cải lương (reformed opera) competition launched by the HCM City Television (HTV).

    At the finale on Sunday at the HTV Theatre, Khởi, 29, received long applause from the judges and audiences for his performance Sóng Dậy Bạch Đằng Giang (Waves at Bạch Đằng River), a famous historical play on Vietnamese hero Ngô Quyền by Tô Thiên Kiều.

    With the support of Meritorious Artist Quế Trân, Chí Bảo and Thanh Nhường, his performance gained 98.1 points from the judges People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, and Meritorious Artists Minh Vương and Thanh Tuấn.

    Lê Kim Cương, also 29, of Bạc Liêu Province was the runner-up with 97 points, while her closest competitor, 28-year-old Phan Thị Hoàng Oanh of Long An Province, finished third with 94.33 points.

    “I’ve learned many lessons in singing and performance skills from my coach, Meritorious Quế Trân, and judges,” Khởi said after wining the contest. “Thanks to them, I made great progress through the competition.”

    With his voice and skills, Khởi attracted attention from the judges in the preliminary round.

    Veteran artist Minh Vương said: “Khởi has a strong and beautiful voice, skills and good-looking appearance, which will help him to become a prominent cải lương performer.”

    Before becoming involved in cải lương, Khởi worked at the People’s Court of Kiên Giang Province. He quit job three years ago to join the Kiên Giang Cải Lương Troupe.

    “I wanted to live with my passion for cải lương, but I had not yet performed in front of an audience,” Khởi said.

    This year, he decided to take part in the Golden Bell Competition to learn more about his art and improve his skills.

    During the event, he worked with veteran artists such as Quế Trân, Kim Tử Long, Lê Tứ and Minh Trường.

    “The competition was a chance for me and other contestants to develop our career professionally, and learn how to preserve and promote cải lương,” Khời added.

    The Golden Bell Competition began in July, attracting 1,000 amateur and professional artists from HCM City and the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta provinces.

    Ministry OKs toll reduction on Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ expressway

    The Ministry of Transport has agreed to a proposal to reduce toll fare at Build-Transfer-Operate (BOT) tolls stations on the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ Expressway by 25 per cent.

    The proposal was made by the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam and expressway investor Phương Thành Transport Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company. 

    They explained that the proposal was made following an increase in the number of vehicles on the route, which led to high turnover.

    Fee reduction will be applied for all types of fares on the expressway, a key route south of Hà Nội, from October 15.

    At present, the rate for cars is between VNĐ45,000-180,000 (US$2-8), depending on the kind of vehicle.

    Phạm Văn Khôi, CEO of Phương Thành Transport Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company, told Dân trí online newspaper that the reduction was aimed at ensuring the harmonisation of interests between business and transport participants, as well as to fall in line with Government policy.

    According to the plan submitted to the transport ministry, toll fee on the route will increase from 2021 at a rate of 18 per cent. It will then increase 18 per cent every three years.

    The BOT project began collecting toll fee from October 2015. It is expected to collect enough money to gets its investment capital back in 17 years.

    Patient with V-line surgery complications in poor condition

    A woman who suffered from complications during a V-line surgery at HCM City-based Emcas Medical-Plastic Surgery Clinic will be taken to Singapore for treatment as her family’s last resort.

    On September 17, 38-year-old T.T.Đ of HCM City’s Thủ Đức District reportedly went to the clinic for V-line facial contouring, a technique used in Asian cosmetic surgery to narrow and taper the bottom part of the face. 

    Unlike more conventional methods, this procedure addresses all three important aspects of the lower portion of the face -- the angles of the jaw, the body of the mandible and the chin.

    The surgery began at 9am and finished at about mid-day, as planned. Twenty minutes after the surgery, the woman was found to be bleeding in her mouth, which was stopped soon after. 

    However, 10 minutes later, the women sudden suffered from respiratory failure, for which the windpipe was opened.

    Once the patient had a relatively stable heartbeat and blood pressure, she was transferred to Nhân Dân 115 Hospital at 2.30pm in unconscious condition.

    At present, the patient is no longer using breathing machines, but doctors are not optimistic about her full recovery.

    HCM City’s Department of Health has reported the case to the Health Ministry, which has asked the clinic to report the entire surgery for the purpose of investigation.

    According to Dân trí online newspaper, the surgeon involved in the case has a part-time job contract with the clinic. The clinic obtained the health ministry’s permission to operate four years ago.

    Over 30 million underprivileged families get preferential loans

    Over 30 million underprivileged households in Việt Nam received loans from the Việt Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) last month, the bank’s latest report showed.

    The bank was established 15 years ago in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Decision No 131/2002/QĐ-TTg. 

    It was aimed at expanding client groups from just the poor and disadvantaged students, to people needing money for job training, to work overseas or business households in remote areas. 

    The VBSP, with a network of almost 11,000 offices in communes across the country, was assigned to offer loans to people in underprivileged areas.

    By the end of last month, VBSP gave loans worth VNĐ167.047 trillion (US$7.35 billion), 23 times higher than that given when the bank first began operations in 2002.

    The loans helped create jobs for some 3.5 million people, including 111,000 people from underprivileged households and policy beneficiary families, so they could afford payments before working overseas.

    More than 3.5 million poor students received loans to cover tuition fees. The VBSP’s loans also helped build some 10 million clean water works and environmental hygiene works in rural areas.

    Nearly 520,000 houses for the underprivileged and policy beneficiary families, some 105,000 flood-proof houses in Mekong Delta Region and over 11,000 storm shelters were built with funding from the VBSP.

    State Bank of Việt Nam Deputy Governor Đào Minh Tú said that the VBSP helped translate the State’s and Government’s policies for disadvantaged people into action.
    However, Tú said that in 2016-20, Việt Nam will measure poverty not only on the basis of income but also other factors, relating to access to basic services such healthcare, education and entertainment.
    Thus, it was necessary to receive more funding to ensure efforts in reducing poverty in Việt Nam, he said, adding that it was a challenge for the VBSP.

    Cần Thơ to upgrade Cái Răng floating market

    Cần Thơ City plans to upgrade the Cái Răng Floating Market with total investment of VNĐ8 billion (US$351,840), according to Phạm Văn Luận, deputy director of the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    The project, which involves upgrading the power grid infrastructure on the river, building piers and public restrooms, and collecting garbage, aims to boost tourism and attract more visitors to the floating market.

    In the long term, the city will call for investment in new hotels near the market.

    Since 70 to 80 per cent of domestic and international tourists to Cần Thơ visit the floating market, it is important to upgrade it, Luận said.

    In addition to tourism activities, the city hosts many extracurricular activities at the market for students from other provinces.

    Pests hit thousands of cashew trees in Bình Phước

    Thousands of hectares of cashew in the southern province of Bình Phước have been hit by pests, causing local farmers to worry about crop failure in next year’s harvest.

    According to the locals, the genus Helopeltis, also known as mosquito bugs, have caused serious damage to the cashew plantations since the beginning of the year, drying out nad damaging the trees.

    Hoàng Văn Đức, a cashew farmer in Đồng Phú District, said the epidemic has been widespread for months due to unfavourable weather.

    In order to prevent the disease spreading, he sprayed chemicals and added more fertilizer for trees, but he could not be sure that they will recover by next season, Đức said.

    Many households are desperate and have not taken any measures to prevent the disease.

    Đồng Xoài Township, Phú Riềng, Đồng Phú and Bù Gia Mập districts are the most severely affected, local farmers said.

    In Phú Riềng alone, the insects have damaged over 10,000ha of trees, according to local reports.

    The provincial People’s Committee has directed local authorities to mobilise farmers to implement preventive measures. The province is reviewing the area of damage to support affected households, especially with ethnic minority households.

    High content of coumarin in smuggled cigarettes raises risk of birth defects

    Exposure to high amounts of toxic coumarin, found in smuggled cigarettes coming into the country in recent years, raises the risk of several birth defects or even miscarriage, health experts warn.

    Dr Nguyễn Thị Từ Vân, former lecturer of HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, told Việt Nam News: “Many international studies have shown that if pregnant women, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, are exposed to toxic substances including coumarin via inhalation and ingestion when living in an environment with these substance, then their child in the womb is at risk of birth defects such as minor neurological dysfunction, cerebral retardation and hand, foot, and eye abnormalities."

    Many countries in the world have banned using coumarin in food and cigarettes, she said, adding that the Việt Nam Ministry of Health also does not allow its use in food.

    However, it is found in smuggled cigarettes in the country, Nguyễn Đình Trường, head of the Việt Nam Tobacco Economic Technical Institute, said at a workshop on the harm that smuggled cigarette pose for the health of pregnant women and foetus on September 22 held by the Centre for Assistances for Women and Reproductive Health Cares under Việt Nam Women’s Union.

    Trường expressed concern about the rapid increase of smuggled cigarettes.

    During 2013 and 2016, between 17 to 18 billion cigarettes were smuggled into the country, Trường said.

    According to the Việt Nam Tobacco Association, the smuggled cigarettes account for more than 20 per cent of the country’s total market, leading to a loss of around VNĐ10 trillion (US$440 million) to the State budget every year.

    Ninety per cent of smuggled cigarettes were JET and HERO, Trường said, adding that he and his colleagues took samples of these brands for analysing.

    The results showed that the coumarin content in these brands were high. The coumarin content in JET cigarettes was 76.3 ppm and 98.7ppm in HERO cigarettes, Trường said, and adding that coumarin existing in illegally imported cigarettes is used to make the cigarettes stronger and more flavorful. By doing so, the manufacturers aim to increase consumption of their products despite  harms to local smokers, particularly pregnant women.

    According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, tolerable daily intake is 0.1 miligramme per kilogramme of body weight.

    According to him, the increase of smuggled cigarettes is due to their higher profit margins.

    He suggested that the Government should take further drastic measures to prevent cigarettes smuggling to ensure health for people, especially pregnant women.

    Vân said that banning the consumption of smuggled cigarettes would be the best preventive method.

    Pregnant women should go to health facilities for ultrasounds to detect birth defects, she advised.

    Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai, head of the Centre for Assistances for Women and Reproductive Health Cares, said that the Việt Nam Women’s Union carried out many programmes to improve awareness of the risks of cigarettes as well as coumarin to the health of pregnant women and foetuses.

    Deputy PM: Health care, role of the elderly should be improved

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged greater efforts to  develop healthcare establishments  for the elderly at grassroots level while issuing policies to uphold their role in society.

    Deputy PM Dam made the call during a conference hosted by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on September 25 to discuss community-based healthcare policy for the elderly on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons (October 1).

    He told participants that Vietnam recorded 10.1 million old people in 2016, accounting for 11 percent of the country’s total population, of whom over 2 million were over 80 years old.

    The Deputy PM also suggested expanding the model of family clinics, developing geriatric hospitals and increasing nursing staff for the elderly.

    The conference featured three plenary sessions on the elderly healthcare policy, management of chronic diseases frequently faced by older persons, and medical staff training.

    Scientific reports delivered at the event focused on improving readiness of healthcare services, improving the role of family doctors, encouraging the involvement of the private sector and the public in this field.

    According to the Health Ministry’s General Office for Population – Family Planning, up to 65.7 percent of Vietnamese old people live in rural areas and rely on farming. As one of the countries with the fastest-growing aging rate, Vietnam records an average life expectancy of 73 years but the good health span is only 64 years.

    The office proposed that the health sector should increase investment in the effort and build a friendly environment for old citizens, among others.

    Vietnam’s Party officials learn Singapore’s management experience

    Nguyen Quang Duong, Secretary of the Party Organisation of the Central Agencies Bloc (CAB), and other Party officials studied Singapore’s experience in Party building, socio-economic development, public administration and corruption fight during their visit from September 19-23.

    The Vietnamese officials had talks with Chairman of the Singaporean People’s Action Party (PAP) Khaw Boon Wan, also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport.

    Duong stressed that the visit is to materialise common perceptions on enhancing and deepening the strategic partnership reached by leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the CAB and the two countries during Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Singapore in September 2012.

    He noted with pleasure new developments in relations between the two Parties and countries, as well as achievements Singaporean people have recorded over the past time.

    Khaw Boon Wan said the PAP is ready to share its experience in building the e-Government and administrative reform. He also talked about investment ties between Vietnam and Singapore.

    While in Singapore, Duong also met with the General Director of the Singaporean People’s Association, and had working sessions with representatives of the Civil Service College, the Public Service Commission and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore.

    Duong and his entourage also visited the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore.

    HCM City, Lao province share experience in people’s council work

    HCM City and Champassak province of Laos shared experience in operating people’s councils during a meeting between Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam and her Champassak counterpart Meksa Vanh Phomphithat in the city on September 25.

    Speaking at the meeting, Tam reiterated the long-standing relations and solidarity between people of Vietnam and Laos. The bilateral cooperation has been growing for years, becoming more effective at both national and local levels.

    This includes close ties between HCM City and Champassak, she affirmed. The experience sharing in people’s council work will contribute to the development of the two localities, she stated.

    Chairman of the People's Council of Champassak province, Laos Meksa Vanh Phomphithat (centre). (Photo: VNA)

    HCM City and Champasak have together taken part in many events to celebrate the two nations’ 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 40th year of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, said Phomphithat. The two localities have also worked to strengthen relations between their governments and people, he noted.

    The Lao official hoped that HCM City will share experience with Champassak in people’s council work and help the province improve the capacity of its government.

    The two sides discussed their practices in managing people’s councils, communicating with people and informing them about results of the council conferences, implementing regulations and supervision, and training human resources.

    Conference on sustainable development in Mekong Delta opens

    The conference on sustainable development in the Mekong Delta opened this morning in the southern city of Can Tho.

    During the two-day event, participants, including Government leaders, academia, representatives of international organizations and development partners will focus on discussing challenges and ways to mobilize resources and ideas to ensure sustainable development in the region.

    Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue, Head of the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region is expected to deliver opening remarks.

    Deputy PM Hue and Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung will chair the first working day.

    The Mekong Delta includes one centrally-run city and 12 provinces, accounting for 19% of the country’s population and 18% GDP.

    Vietnamese, Lao security officers strengthen friendship

    Young officers of the General Security Departments of Vietnam and Laos enjoyed cultural and sport activities in Vientiane, Laos, on September 25.

    The activities are part of an exchange programme organised by the two countries’ Ministries of Public Security to mark the 2017 Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year, the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years since the signing of Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

    The officers competed in badminton, football and petanque.

    Other cultural and sport activities will take place in Laos’ Xieng Khouang and Houaphane provinces where Vietnamese and Lao soldiers fought together in the past.

    Lieut. Gen. Vi Van Long, deputy head of the Vietnamese General Security Department, said young Vietnamese and Lao officers will also visit historical sites in the two provinces.

    Earlier the same day, Long met Lao Deputy Minister of Public Security Major General Somvang Thammasith, who said the exchange programme helps educate the officers about revolutionary traditions and the special solidarity between Vietnam and Laos.

    This is also an opportunity for the two departments to increase their mutual understanding, contributing to maintaining political security and national construction and defence in each nation, he said.

    The programme will last until September 28.

    Mitigation alone won’t work

    Many people in HCMC may have had a huge sigh of relief when a pumping station installed by a private firm named Quang Trung Industry Joint Stock Company worked well during trial operation last week, sucking up all floodwater on Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District within just 15 minutes. For years, flooding at this venue has prompted public outcries, as the road section is often submerged knee- or waist-deep upon downpour or by flood tide, and flooding there normally lasts long hours.

    The HCMC government, after witnessing the efficient trial operation, intends to sign a contract with the private company, tentatively agreeing to pay VND12 billion a year to the contractor if the pumping station proves efficient upon downpours with rainfalls of 70 to 100mm. Despite the high cost, the imminent contract is seen necessary as flooding is one of the biggest headaches for HCMC that has persisted for many years.

    Still, there are concerns if pumping stations are the right solution, as there are dozens of sites in the city prone to severe flooding. The huge pumping station at Nguyen Huu Canh Street proves feasible as it is able to quickly pump floodwater into the Saigon River nearby. However, it is unknown how a pumping station will work in areas far away from canals or rivers, and whether the city government can afford to install scores of such large-scale pumping stations citywide.

    Apart from the aforesaid pumping station, the municipal government is deploying many other costly projects to mitigate flooding in the city, including a huge project costing some VND10 trillion by Trung Nam Group to build sluice gates, embankments and other flood control structures along rivers and canals across the city.

    International experts have repeatedly raised stern warnings about severe flooding due to climate change and global warming, with HCMC named among the ten hardest-hit cities worldwide. Some scientific studies have also estimated that when it gets one degree Celsius warmer, the air moisture and thus the rainfall will increase by some 7%. Experts have therefore called for a stronger swing towards adaptation instead of mitigation alone.

    To adapt to climate change, it is high time for the city to rethink its urban development. There should be drastic measures to check the population growth, as the current tempo of urbanization will exert increasingly greater pressure on the limited infrastructure. There should be drastic measures to check the construction density, as the water needs to have spacious passages to flow rather than to be contained. And there should be effective programs to protect all the rivers and canals and ditches, as encroachment on such waterways will only aggravate urban flooding.

    Pumping stations are needed, sluice gates are needed, levees and embankments or even protective walls are needed, but such mitigation measures should only serve as supportive solutions to adaptation measures only. Mitigation measures alone will not work since more extreme weather phenomena are to get more frequent as induced by climate change.

    Women’s participation in inclusive business crucial: official

    It is crucial to mainstream women’s participation in Inclusive Business whether they are consumers, producers, workers and distributors,  a Vietnamese official has said, noting that APEC can benefit much from the initiative because women’s full potentials will be tapped.

    The remark was made by Dao Quang Vinh, Director General of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs under Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), at the 2017 APEC Seminar on Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Business in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, on September 26.

    Vinh noted that to deal with the chronic issues of poverty and to further promote the regional economic development, APEC leaders have continuously recognised women’s immerse contributions to economic and social development and have sustained their support to further mainstreaming gender equality and women’s economic empowerment across APEC work streams.

    Various approaches and models to combat poverty have continuously been introduced and implemented across the economies through joint public and private efforts. Among the solutions presented is the Inclusive Business model, which is perceived to bring benefits to low-income or poor communities, including women, thus contributing to poverty alleviation in the region, Vinh said.

    The MOLISA official stressed that the seminar on women as prime movers of Inclusive Business is an important content during the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum.

    Presentations and discussions on the topic will be valuable input for further actions among APEC economies in “creating new dynamism and fostering a shared future”, especially in leveraging the role of women in promoting inclusive business, contributing to poverty reduction across the region, he added.

    Sharing the same view on the crucial role of women in an economy, Rhodora T. Masilang-Bucoy, Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women and head of the Philippine delegation to the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum, said it is important to look into Inclusive Business models that address barriers to women’s economic empowerment.

    The key findings and analyses from a survey of the “APEC Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Business” Project showed that there is still a need for institutions to enhance the enabling environment for women to participate in inclusive businesses; to re-create, re-design and innovate; to be more gender responsive in effecting the enabling conditions for women to be prime-movers of Inclusive Business.

    According to Dao Quang Vinh, the 21 APEC member economies employ around 600 million women as part of the labour force, with more than 60 percent of them working in the formal sector. The remaining 40 percent are working in the informal sector, and they are facing a number of barriers such as poverty, limited access to financial report, poor technical and professional skills, low educational attainment and poor soft skills required for integration and globalisation.

    The United Nations said that barriers to women’s economic participation should be eliminated or up to 89 billion USD could be lost within the regional economy every year.

    The seminar, hosted by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and in cooperation with MOLISA, was part of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum that lasts from September 26 to 29 in Hue city.

    Established in 1989, APEC comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

    Vietnam, joining APEC in 1998, is hosting APEC in 2017 under the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”.

    PM instructs continued review of hydropower planning in Central Highlands

    The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to continue with the review of hydropower planning in Central Highlands provinces in line with the PM’s dispatch 391/CD-TTg dated March 16 this year.

    The PM also required further review of hydropower planning in other localities as required by the National Assembly in its Resolution 62/2013/QH13 dated November 27, 2013.

    At the same time, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are to examine and build complete procedures for operating reservoirs, with a view to ensuring the efficient use of water resources for power generation, maintain water flow to meet the need of downstream areas, particularly in dry season, while reducing flooding in flood season.

    The PM instructed Central Highlands provinces to keep in place the suspension of granting licence to hydropower plants that use natural forest land or cause negative impacts on local biological environment. In case of any arising matters that are beyond their jurisdiction, the provinces are required to report them to the PM.

    Huế national park gets rare tortoise

    Bạch Mã National Park in the central province of Thừa Thiên- Huế received a rare tortoise, listed as a vulnerable species at the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
    The park’s rescue centre received the tortoise last weekend, from a volunteer of the Hà Nội-based Asian Turtle Programme, a regional programme that focuses on research and conservation of tortoises and freshwater turtles.
    The tortoise was found wandering into the home of a family in the neighbouring Đà Nẵng City, before the family caught it and gave it to the volunteer of the Asian Turtle Programme.
    According to staff at the rescue centre, the tortoise is a healthy male impressed tortoise, which has scientific name of Manouria impressa, weighing 2kg.
    The centre’s staff released the reptile into nature at the Bạch Mã National Park.
    Earlier this year, the centre rescued and released a large number of wild animals back to nature, including three tortoises.

    Côn Đảo Island's airport should be expanded: official

    Deputy chairman of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu People’s Committee Nguyễn Thành Long last Friday proposed expanding Côn Đảo Island’s Cỏ Ống Airport and its terminals in an effort to boost tourism.

    He said that other proposals include expansion of the electrical power system on Côn Đảo Island and an increase in the number of boat trips from Vũng Tàu City to the sland.

    The provincial Department of Planning and Investment has encouraged investors to promote tourism on Côn Đảo with an emphasis on clean, renewable energy, energy recovery in waste treatment, and high-tech agriculture, among others.

    Côn Đảo has dozens of tourism projects, worth about US$33 million.

    Opportunities to promote co-operation between HCM City and Korean partners

    There is great potential for co-operation between HCM City and Korean localities and businesses considering the demand for development in the city and Koreans’ strengths, a city leader has said.

    Tất Thành Cang, deputy secretary of the HCM City’s Party Committee, told Kim Hack Yong, chairman of the Republic of Korea (RoK)–Việt Nam Parliamentary Friendship Group at a meeting on Sunday that the potential for co-operation is large, especially in electronics, auto parts, hi-tech agriculture, and supporting industries.

    To promote its hi-tech industries, HCM City has been welcoming Korean investors, especially large manufacturing companies, he said.

    It has been focusing on supporting industries in sectors such as electronics, IT and food processing, he said.

    “HCM City has taken efforts to become a cultural, health and educational hub, not only in Việt Nam but also [the region].”

    It has paid close attention to the rapid economic development achieved by the RoK, and hopes the experiences would be shared by its Korean partners, he said.

    Kim said ties between Việt Nam and RoK have grown well in the last 25 years.

    Việt Nam is one of the countries to which Korean companies give priority when seeking to invest abroad, he said.

    Many Korean companies have received support from the Vietnamese Government and relayed this message to other enterprises back in Korea, he said.

    Members of the RoK–Việt Nam Parliamentary Friendship Group hoped HCM City authorities would create favourable conditions for Korean companies when they come on fact-finding tours and to invest in the city.

    They also hoped the city authorities would support Koreans living and studying in Việt Nam.

    The group was set up in Korea in 1993 and in Việt Nam two years later.

    APEC policy partnership promotes women’s economic participation

    The second APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE 2) Meeting kicked off in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, on September 26 with the aim to continue promoting gender equality and women’s economic participation.

    The two-day PPWE 2 is the first activity of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum that lasts from September 26 to 29 in Hue.

    Opening the event, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan said the building and implementation of gender responsive policies and programmes in APEC are necessary to enhance APEC forums’ coordination in gender equality issues and the inclusion of these issues in each forum for the sake of women’s socio-economic progress and gender equality in the region.

    "We do this to affirm that women have an important role and contributions to the economic development in APEC while helping to put forth equal approaches in terms of economy, labour and job for both women and men,” she added.

    She expressed her hope that the PPWE 2 will attain expected outcomes, including updating the progress of implementing and suggesting next steps for the realisation of PPWE’s strategic plan for 2015-2018, strengthening cooperation among APEC economies and working groups in the implementation of common initiatives, finalising and approving the APEC gender inclusion guidelines, and completing a draft ministers’ statement to be submitted to the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy later this week.

    The 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum is a chance for Vietnam and other APEC economies to contribute to common achievements and efforts, she noted, applauding APEC leaders’ recognition of the importance of women in the region.

    The forum focuses on enhancing women’s economic inclusion and empowerment in a changing world. Its priorities are promoting gender equality for inclusive economic growth, improving the competitiveness and creativeness of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises owned by women, and narrowing the gender gap in human resources development.

    Founded in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) with 21 economies is the Asia Pacific’s premier economic forum. The primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The APEC economies account for 39 percent of the world population, 57 percent of the world GDP and 47 percent of the global trade, according to statistics in 2014.

    The APEC Year 2017 is taking place in Vietnam under the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”. The country used to host APEC events for the first time in 2006.

    Typhoon Doksuri causes millions of dollars losses to Ha Tinh province

    Typhoon Doksuri that has hit central Ha Tinh province blew off the roof of 70,000 local houses, stores and school buildings, submerged more than 3,100ha of aquaculture areas and seriously damaged electric and communications systems.

    Losses are estimated at nearly US$296 million, said provincial authorities.

    However, more than 70% of damaged houses have now been repaired. Local people have regained access to electricity and communications.

    The provincial authorities have called on businesses to help grapefruit growers from Huong Khe district sell more than 200 tons of Phuc Trach special grapefruits to recover their production.

    The province also asked the central Government to support local people with 3,000 tons of rice, 1,000 tons of rice seeds for the winter crop and VND2,000 billion to help repair houses, schools, health stations and roads.

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  • 09/27/17--02:06: Article 5
  • Republic of Korea remains Vietnam’s top investor

    Hanoi -The Republic of Korea (RoK) remained Vietnam’s No.1 investor during the January 1-September 20 period, with total investment of 6.31 billion USD, accounting for 24.7 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) Vietnam has attracted in the time, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    Samsung Display Vietnam factory in Bac Ninh (Source: Internet)

    The ministry reported that Japan ranked second with 5.91 billion USD, or 24.7 percent of total FDI, followed by Singapore with 4.14 billion USD, constituting 16.2 percent.

    The RoK had a major project worth 2.5 billion USD of Samsung Display Vietnam in Bac Ninh province.

    Japan invested 2.793 billion USD into building the 1,200 MW Nghi Son 2 thermal power plant in north central Thanh Hoa province.

    Meanwhile, Singapore investors were involved in the 1,109 MW Nam Dinh 1 thermal power plant with 2.07 billion USD in northern Nam Dinh province.

    As of September 20, Vietnam attracted 25.4 billion USD in FDI, up 34.3 percent year on year, reported the ministry.

    Of the total, 14.5 billion USD was poured into 1,844 new projects, while 6.75 billion USD was injected into 878 underway ones, and 4.16 billion USD was worth in company shares bought by foreign investors.

    The MPI revealed that in the reviewed time, 12.5 billion USD of FDI was disbursed, a rise of 13.4 percent over the same period last year.-VNA

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  • 09/27/17--02:28: Article 4
  • Business leaders speak out against irrational charges

    Leaders of the business community claim that reductions in taxes and fees and the removal of irrational business conditions should be among the key measures for the government to keep enterprises afloat.

    Vietnam-based businesses are subject to exorbitant charges levied against government directives

    Virginia Foote, governor of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said that enterprises in Vietnam still suffer from various types of taxes and fees as well as irrational business conditions.

    “While the government looks to boost the limited state budget by increasing the collection of taxes and fees, enterprises are reluctant to pay, as many taxes and fees are irrational,” said Foote, who is also president and CEO of business advisory firm Bay Global Strategies, LLC, at this week’s conference on facilitating Vietnam’s continued growth. The conference was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

    Late last month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced that it had proposed increasing the value-added tax (VAT) from the existing 10 to 12 per cent on January 1, 2019, to ensure national financial security. If the proposal is enacted, the VAT hike will affect all consumers and more than 600,000 enterprises.

    “The government should not increase taxes, but create a level business field for all enterprises. When enterprises perform well, they will pay more taxes and the budget will increase,” Foote said.

    Early this week, Dau Anh Tuan, head of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Legislation Department, received a complaint from a local firm in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. The firm lamented that for each shipment of goods, it has to pay an average $18,200 for seaport infrastructure fees in the northern port of Haiphong, in addition to needing several sub-licences when importing goods into Vietnam.

    “The firm’s director told me that he is mulling over reducing the size of or even shutting down the firm,” Tuan told the conference. “Each year, this firm contributes VND30 billion ($1.36 million) to the state budget, and, like so many others in Vietnam, this firm has to pay too many types of taxes, fees, and sub-licences—though the prime minister has ordered the removal of unnecessary taxes, fees, and sub-licences in favour of enterprises.”

    Recently, MPI asked the government to launch campaigns to review and reduce assorted types of business costs and conditions for firms, including loans, administrative procedures, logistics, and transport, as well as removing loopholes in state management that create informal costs for enterprises.

    Long lines and unnecessarily complex administrative procedures characterise Vietnamese bureaucracy

    “Vietnam-based firms are subject to very high levels of fees and charges, and business conditions which are undermining the economy’s competitiveness,” Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said, citing many examples of financial burdens hurting enterprises.

    For example, enterprises currently have to pay environmental protection fees for up to 30 years. Ironically, the fee is applied to all types of waste and enterprises.

    In another case, the average transportation cost of a container from the Haiphong port to Hanoi is three times higher than from Korea and China to Hanoi.

    Moreover, the minister also said the average tax-based cost in Vietnam accounts for 39 per cent of enterprises’ total profit, which is the highest rate within the ASEAN+4 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand), and double that of Singapore.

    In addition, the average cost for testing a package of goods in Vietnam has increased by 1.5-2 times over the past few years, though it requires a relatively long wait of up to 10 days.

    “I would say that enterprises are not in need of much more support from the government. They only need simpler administrative procedures and a clear legal system,” Dung stressed.

    More than one week ago, the prime minister ordered a moratorium on raising taxes and fees until the year’s end in a bid to support enterprises.

    Last month, he also ordered all ministries and agencies to review and erase all unnecessary fees and business conditions currently encumbering enterprises and investors in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s “principles of a competitive market.”

    Results must be reported to MPI, which will then report on the progress to the government by December.

    “Many ministries are enacting sub-licences, making it hard for enterprises. For example, one ministry has issued as many as 1,220 unnecessary sub-licences, while the Ministry of Construction has the fewest sub-licences at 106,” said Mai Tien Dung, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office. 

    According to VCCI, Vietnam currently designates 243 sectors and professions as conditional, subject to a total of 5,719 business conditions.

    By Nguyen Thanh, VIR

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  • 09/27/17--02:39: Article 3
  • Vietnam moves up global competitiveness list

    The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) presents a mixed picture for East Asia and the Pacific, with big gains by Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam and demotions for some others.

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    Among the 17 East Asia and Pacific economies covered by the GCI, 13 have increased their score - albeit marginally - with Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam making the largest strides. Only Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Laos saw their scores decrease. 

    “Even with China’s gradual slowdown, economic growth has continued to be robust in the region as a result of sustained domestic demand and increased exports from emerging economies,” the report stated.

    With a relatively modest increase in its overall score, Vietnam (55th) moves up five places to narrowly surpass the Philippines (56th). Vietnam’s competitiveness is significantly driven by its market size (31st). 

    Although the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) earlier in 2017 eliminated significant trade opportunities, the country’s growth is nonetheless projected to remain robust from strong exports. 

    Significant improvements are necessary across all pillars, notably among the basic requirement factors (75th) and higher education (84th), as firms perceive that the lack of an educated workforce constitutes a significant hurdle for doing business.

    Vietnam could also boost its competitiveness by closing gaps in innovation and sophistication factors with countries at a similar stage of development, such as the Philippines.


    Singapore fell behind the US to rank 3rd globally but remains the most competitive economy in the region. Hong Kong SAR is closing the gap, rising from 9th to 6th, while Japan slipped back one place for the second year in a row, to 9th. 

    The lowest-ranked performer among the region’s advanced economies continued to be South Korea, which remained at 26th for a fourth consecutive year, placing it behind Malaysia (23rd), the region’s top emerging economy, and just ahead of China (27th).

    Indonesia (36th) is inching its way up the competitiveness ladder, moving ahead five places since last year. Similar to South Korea, it improved its performance across all of pillars. 

    Its position in the rankings is driven mainly by its large market size (9th) and a relatively robust macroeconomic environment (26th). 

    Ranking 31st and 32nd in innovation and business sophistication respectively, Indonesia is one of the top innovators among the emerging economies.

    VN Economic Times

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  • 09/27/17--02:51: Article 2
  • Vietnam spends billions of USD a year to import drugs

     With limited manufacturing capability, Vietnam has to import 55 percent of drugs it needs every year.

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    VIRAC, a consultancy firm, said that Vietnam’s drug imports have been increasing sharply in recent years. In 2016, the import turnover reached $2.5 billion, an increase of 10 percent compared with the year before.

    With higher income per capita, Vietnamese are spending more money on healthcare services and medicine. The spending level by Vietnamese is $30-40 per head per annum, lower than the average level of $96 in developing countries and $186 globally.

    IMS Health has given optimistic forecasts about revenue growth of pharmacy firms in Vietnam. The organization ranks Vietnam second among emerging countries, after Argentina, and above China and other ASEAN countries in terms of revenue growth rate.

    A recently released report by BMI showed that the average growth rate of Vietnam’s pharmaceutical  industry in 2015-2018 is expected to be16 percent and sales will hit the $10 billion threshold.

    The average growth rate of Vietnam’s pharmaceutical  industry in 2015-2018 is expected to be16 percent and sales will hit the $10 billion threshold.

    However, with current conditions, Vietnam is listed in the third group on the world’s drug map, among 17 “emerging pharma” countries.  Vietnam is not seen as an inventor of new drugs, and only a few enterprises use technologies satisfying high standards such as EU - GMP or PIC/S.

    About 55 percent of domestic drugs needs must be imported, especially patented drugs. In 2016, Vietnam imported $2.5 billion worth of drugs, of which imports from France, Germany and the US were worth $200 million.

    While Europe and the US are the sources of specialty drugs, India and China are the sources of low-cost products.

    According to FPT Securities, drugs reach patients through three ways – ETC, attending the bids to become the drug suppliers of hospitals; through clinics and drugstores; and wholesale markets. Of these, ETC is the key channel that manufacturers, importers and distributors target.

    There are 13,000 hospitals, clinics and healthcare centers in Vietnam. A report from Maybank Kim Eng Securities also shows that 70 percent of total expenses on drugs, or $3 billion, comes from the channel.

    However, the competition in ETC market has become very stiff. Under a MOH Circular 01, privileges will be given to manufacturers and suppliers which can offer low prices.

    The circular has been criticized by many manufacturers, which point out that under the circular, drugs chosen by hospitals are very cheap, but have low quality.

    In making generic drugs, many manufacturers import cheap low-quality materials from India and China so as to cut production costs, though the treatment efficiency is not high.

    The General Department of Customs says by August 15, Vietnam had imported $1.7 billion worth of drugs.

    Mai Thanh, VNN

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  • 09/27/17--03:22: Article 1
  • Vietnam’s abortion rate among world’s highest as contraception fails

    The country is reporting Asia’s highest rate of abortion

    ​Vietnam’s abortion rate among world’s highest as contraception fails 
    The abortion ward at a maternity hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Nearly 40 percent of unintended pregnancies in Vietnam are due to failed contraception, as people’s lack of knowledge about birth control continues to diminish the country’s efforts to reduce abortion.

    The figure was announced at a seminar on the benefits of contraception, held by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on Tuesday.

    Between 250,000 and 300,000 abortions are completed across Vietnam every year on average, according to official reports, with the actual number of abortions, including those conducted illegally at private facilities, estimated to be much higher.

    Vietnam ranks first in Asia for abortion, and remains among the countries with the highest abortion rates in the world, the ministry said, citing data from the World Health Organization.

    According to Mai Xuan Phuong, a family planning official from the Ministry of Health, the average age of people’s first sexual intercourse experience in some countries, including Vietnam, has dropped in recent years.

    “Youths having sex without understanding birth control can lead to unintended pregnancies,” Phuong said.

    There have been stories of young girls in Vietnam taking morning-after pills frequently and over a long period of time, despite the pill being designed as an emergency or ‘plan-B’ option that should only be taken once or twice a month, Phuong said.

    The abuse of contraceptives like this can lead to endocrine disorders and negatively impact their ability to get pregnant in the future, he explained.

    6 abortions in 7 years

    Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City – the city’s leading maternity hospital – handles some 150 abortions on a daily basis, and a similar number is reported at Hung Vuong Hospital in District 5.

    Dr. Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet, director of Hung Vuong Hospital, said the hospital had handled a total of over 15,000 abortions last year, and a further 7,000+ cases in the first six months of 2017.

    Most women seeking an abortion are girls between 18 and 25 years of age, Tuyet said, with some having undergone the procedure two or three times, or even six in one example.

    Experts put the blame on Vietnam’s misguided approach to sex and contraception education, which primarily focuses on deterring youths from having sexual intercourse rather than teaching them how to have safe sex.


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  • 09/27/17--03:39: Article 0
  • Three more OceanBank officers arrested for alleged fraud

    The Ministry of Public Security has announced the arrest of three officers of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OceanBank)’s Hai Phong branch for their involvement in an alleged fraud that caused total losses of VND400 billion (USD17.63 million) from its clients.

    Three officers of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank were arrested for their involvement in an alleged fraud that caused total losses of VND400 billion (USD17.63 million) from its clients.

    The three including the branch’s director Tran Thi Kim Chi, controller Le Vuong Hoang and Nguyen Thi Minh Hue were arrested on September 23 in Ho Chi Minh City, police said.

    The 43-year-old director and two of her staff, aged 34 and 35, fled their office on September 13 and had been hunted by the police since.

    According to a report from police, in late August and early September, more than 20 customers went to OceanBank Hai Phong to withdraw money from their savings accounts, totalling USD17.63 million, but were told that their accounts were not on the bank’s database.

    OceanBank officials later spoke with the affected customers and urged them to remain calm and co-operate with the investigation concerning the alleged fraud.

    In a public statement, OceanBank said that it discovered numerous signs of violations in mobilising funds at the Hai Phong branch, as there were discrepancies between information on a number of savings cards and data on the lender’s core system.

    The bank later tried to contact Chi, Hoang and Hue, who had been absent for days, but to no avail.

    Investigations found that the fraud started in 2012.

    The incident was then reported to the Ministry of Public Security and the State Bank of Vietnam.

    In the meantime, OceanBank has been requested by the investigative agency to keep the relevant data unchanged and suspend all transactions on savings cards that may have been faked until further notice.

    In a recent trial involving this troubled bank, OceanBank's former CEO Nguyen Xuan Son faced the death penalty while the bank's former chairman, Ha Van Tham faced a life sentence for appropriating state assets.

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  • 09/28/17--02:28: Article 5
  • FDI grows 34% from last year

    Foreign direct investment (FDI) registered in Viet Nam reached a record US$25.48 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 34.3 per cent year-on-year.

    A factory of CJ Vina Agri Co, an affiliate of South Korean CheilJedang Group, in southern Dong Nai Province. South Korea continued to be Viet Nam’s leading investor in the first nine months of 2017. - Photo

    Of the sum, $14.56 billion came from 1,844 new projects, up 30.4 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency.

    Another $6.75 billion was added to 878 existing projects, 28.3 per cent higher than the same period last year.

    The remainder of the FDI, worth $4.16 billion, came from 3,742 deals made by foreign investors to contribute capital to businesses and to buy shares of Vietnamese businesses, jumping 64 per cent compared with last year’s corresponding period.

    During the reviewed period, FDI disbursement also saw a positive yearly increase of 13.4 per cent to $12.5 billion, according to the data.

    Exports of foreign-invested enterprises (including crude oil) are estimated at $110.8 billion, up 21 per cent over last year, accounting for 72 per cent of the country’s total export turnover. Excluding crude oil, this figure is $108.5 billion, up 21 per cent.

    Manufacturing and processing industries remained the top sector, receiving $12.64 billion, comprising 49.6 per cent of the total registered FDI.

    The electricity production and distribution sector ranked second with $5.34 billion, accounting for 21 per cent of the total FDI. The mining sector was in third place with $1.58 billion, totalling 6.2 per cent.

    From January to September, South Korea retained its position as the leading investor in Viet Nam with $6.31 billion, and 24.7 per cent of the FDI pledged to the country. It was followed by Japan with $5.91 billion, or 23.2 per cent of the FDI, and Singapore with $4.14 billion, or 16.2 per cent.

    Among 59 localities receiving FDI during the nine-month period, the southern economic hub of HCM City was at the top with $3.74 billion, accounting for 14.6 per cent of the country’s total FDI.

    The central province of Thanh Hoa was the runner-up with $3.15 billion, or 12.4 per cent of the total FDI. Northern Bac Ninh Province came third with $3.14 billion, or 12.3 per cent.

    In a separate report, the southern province of Dong Nai said it had nearly achieved its FDI target set for the whole year.

    The province, which is listed among the country’s top 10 leading localities in terms of attracting FDI, granted licences to 55 new foreign-invested projects and permitted 84 existing projects to add capital in the first nine months of this year with a total amount of $955.5 million, equivalent to 95.5 per cent of the annual target.

    According to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, $339.4 million was poured into new projects and the remaining was added to operational projects. The province is currently home to 1,300 valid foreign-invested projects worth $26.27 billion by investors from 45 countries and territories. The leading investors are South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.


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  • 09/28/17--02:47: Article 4

    StoxPlus organises event on VN consumer finance market
    An international conference on consumer finance will be held on October 19 to address important themes and legal framework changes for the healthy and sustainable development of Viet Nam’s consumer finance market.

    This is the second event on the country’s consumer finance market that is being held with the co-operation of StoxPlus, the State Bank of Viet Nam and the Japanese Nikkei Incorporate.

    Some 200 participants -- market regulators, local and foreign banks, finance companies and investment funds, as well as e-payment and e-commerce players, investors and international organisations, are expected to take part in the event.

    Market participants, investors, researchers and regulators will come together to discuss existing issues and provide insights and reflections on market practices and international experiences, contributing to the development of the Vietnamese consumer finance sector.

    The event will take place at the Hilton Hanoi Opera in Ha Noi and is organised by business information provider StoxPlus.

    Consumer finance is seen as one of the fastest growing sectors in Viet Nam in the past few years, with the country’s total loan book recorded at VND605 trillion for both banks and non-banks as of December 31, 2016.

    Total loan book by pure consumer finance players accounted for VND56.3 trillion. It is expected to increase sharply in 2017 and subsequent years, with an annual growth rate of 48 per cent in the 2014-16 period.

    Low penetration and significant unbanked population in Viet Nam are reasons for the high potential of the local market, however, various challenges and policy developments have yet to be shared and discussed by all stakeholders for the sustainable and healthy development of the sector in the future.

    At the upcoming event, participants will have opportunities to discuss four topics, including management of the sector's growth for Viet Nam from the risk management perspective, social impact of consumer/borrower’s protection and how consumer finance companies can improve the underwriting process.

    The two other topics are how the Government can develop a legal and policy framework to govern the consumer finance sector and support its healthy development, and how emerging models such as application of big data, fintech and peer-to-peer lending can be used in the context of Viet Nam.

    SSI opens new transaction office
    Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) inaugurated a new transaction office on Wednesday at Nguyen Van Cu Street in HCM City’s District 1.

    This is SSI’s 12th transaction office in Viet Nam.

    At the opening ceremony, Nguyen Duy Linh, deputy director of the SSI’s Customer Services Department, said that after over 17 years of establishment and operation, the SSI’s transaction office network has spread across the country, with a leading market share on both the HCM City Securities Exchange (HOSE) and the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX).

    The expansion of the network of transaction offices aims to increase SSI’s market share in the segment of individual customers, he added.

    Nguyen Van Toan, director of the transaction office Nguyen Van Cu, said that the establishment of the transaction office would continue to consolidate SSI’s leading position in the stock brokerage network for clients, and at the same time expand opportunities for investors to access the capital market.

    Previously on September 21, SSI had opened a transaction office on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in HCM City’s District 1.

    The two new transaction offices would continue to provide services to clients relating to securities brokerage, securities investment consultancy and securities depository.

    Vietnamese PM makes US$1 billion pledge to tackle climate change in Mekong Delta

    Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has pledged $1 billion to the country's Mekong Delta to fund projects aimed at tackling climate change amid warnings that the country’s rice basket is disappearing.

    The funding will come from the state budget, the World Bank and other sources, Phuc said at a national conference held in Can Tho City to discuss sustainable development in the delta.

    A detailed timeframe for the disbursement was not discussed, but Phuc promised that the best and most suitable measures will be taken so that “the Mekong Delta will remain a rich part of Vietnam.”

    He advised against panic and called for new thinking to bring a better life to the nearly 20 million people who call the delta home.

    Phuc took a two-hour helicopter ride over the delta on Tuesday ( September 26) around two months after taking a similar trip in the Netherlands to view how the Dutch are adapting to climate change.

    He said he is optimistic about the future of the delta.

    His statement came on the second day of the two-day conference after officials warned of a bleak future for the delta and urged for more government support.

    They said the delta is losing more and more each day to erosion and subsidence, and that it may be gone in 100 years without drastic intervention.

    Figures from the environment ministry showed that around 300 hectares (741 acres) of land in the delta has been lost to erosion every year since 2005, and most of it sank by between five and 10 centimeters from 2010 to 2015. The issue is even more severe in coastal areas.

    Tran Thuc, vice chairman of the government’s advisory panel on climate change, said that 144 hydropower dams planned for the Mekong would cause significant changes to the water levels and reduce the amount of mud and sand flowing downstream, leading to “permanent” damage to the delta's biodiversity and the extinction of some important species.

    He said the drop in sediment would change river currents and allow seawater to encroach further upstream, aggravating the risks of extreme weather.

    Officials said that people in the delta, which produces half of Vietnam’s rice output, will need to be prepared for different scenarios, such as what is going to happen in the next five or 10 years, what plants and animals will be able to survive on their farms, and what they should do in case of typhoons, a phenomenon they have not seen for two decades.

    Year’s 2nd Vietbuild opens in HCM City
    The latest products and services on the real estate, architecture and interior and exterior decoration industries are on display at the Vietbuild International Exhibition that opened in HCM City on Wednesday.

    With the theme Real Estate-Architecture and Interior-Exterior Decoration, the second Vietbuild held in the city this year features more than 2,500 booths showcasing property projects, electrical equipment, doors and accessories, internal and external decorative items, building materials, solar energy systems and others.

    Conferences and business meetings are scheduled to be held on the sidelines.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Pham Khanh said the real estate market was steady in the first nine months of the year and attracted a lot domestic and foreign investment into many new projects.

    Developers are focusing on products suitable for the market and people’s pockets, with the low-cost housing segment attracting increasing interest, he said.

    The exhibition, besides introducing participating companies’ latest products and technologies to local and foreign visitors, also offers a forum for the companies to meet, exchange information and explore future co-operation, he said.

    It also offers State agencies and businesses the opportunity to understand the latest trends in the property market so that they can map out appropriate strategies, he added.

    The expo, on at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7, will run until October 1.

    Vietnam Rubber Group plans to raise US$563 mln in share sale

    State-run Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) has approved a plan to sell 25% of the company in an initial public offering, worth an estimated 12.8 billion dong (US$563 million), it said on September 26.

    The sale is part of Vietnam's plans to trim stakes in state-owned enterprises, which picked up pace after a new government took office last year.

    The government aims to sell holdings in 135 state-owned companies in 2017, it said in late August.

    VRG plans to sell 11.88% of the company to the public and another 11.88% to a strategic investor, according to its share sale plan published on the company's website. The group has not chosen a strategic investor yet.

    The company also plans to sell 1.21 and 0.03% to its employees and trade union, respectively. Vietnam's government would own the remaining 75% of the shares.

    VRG has not finalized a listing plan. In Vietnam, listing and an IPO are separate processes.

    The group aims to complete the IPO process in 3 months once the share sale plan is approved by the government.

    VRG is a state-own producer and manufacturer of rubber and rubber products. It expects a net profit of VND3,060 billion (US$134.62 million) in 2017, up 9.4% from VND2,797 billion in 2016.

    Analysts suggest halting new G-bonds     

     SSI opens new transaction office, Year’s 2nd Vietbuild opens in HCM City, Vietnam Airlines reports sparkling nine-month business result, HCMC credit growth reaches 13.5% in 9 months

    The Government should limit or temporarily stop issuing new Government bonds during the remaining months of the year while waiting for the improvement of public investment disbursement.

    According to analysts at Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC), the halt will help the State budget partly reduce the cost of paying interest for loans that are temporarily not needed.

    The recommendation was made after reports showed the State Treasury deposits some VND160 trillion (US$7 billion) at commercial banks in the first eight months, up 68 per cent against early this year, due to sluggish public investment disbursement.

    Statistics showed that 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, equal to 78.6 per cent of the annual plan.

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

    In a bid to speed up disbursement, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung recently sent a dispatch to ministries and central and localities to urgently report on the implementation of Resolution No 70 / NQ-CP, dated August 3, on solutions to accelerate the implementation and disbursement of public investment plans.

    Dung also proposed specific solutions to effectively implement the public investment plan, including a resolute cut in capital for projects that are unlikely to disburse any funds in 2017 and allocate the capital for other important and urgent projects.

    The Government will not include projects that use State domestic capital budget in next year’s capital allocation plan if the projects’ disbursement meets less than 30 per cent of 2017’s plan.

    Previously, due to the slow disbursement of public investment, including G-bond capital, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also had to ask authorities to take more drastic measures to rectify the late disbursement of investment capital for public projects, noting that the slow disbursement of public investment leads to a bottleneck in national economic growth and rising public debt.

    Thirty ministries and provinces reported 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.

    Vietnam Airlines reports sparkling nine-month business result

    Despite fierce competition between domestic and international air carriers, Vietnam Airlines Corporation maintained increasing revenue and profit in the first three quarters as well as retained the Four-Star Airline Certification for the second consecutive year.

    After posting double-digit growth in revenue as well as profit for numerous years, the domestic aviation market has seen slowing growth with signs of saturation. According to statistics from Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, in September 2017, the aviation sector’s flight control output was 31,050 flights, increasing only 6.8 per cent on-year.

    However, the corporation still reported sparkling business results. Notably, within the nine months of this year, Vietnam Airlines maintained its market share of 56 per cent by handling 16 million passengers and 235,525 tonnes of cargo, equalling 75 and 79.1% of its annual targets.

    In spite of lacking the business results for the last days of September, in general, in the first three quarters of this year, Vietnam Airlines earned VND65.1 trillion ($2.85 billion) in consolidated revenue, up 20% on-year, and VND2.26 trillion ($98.8 million) in consolidated pre-tax profit, equalling 138 per cent of its plan for the whole year.

    The parent company Vietnam Airlines alone earned VND1.26 trillion ($55.08 million) in pre-tax profit. In the third quarter, it acquired VND1.09 trillion ($47.6 million) in pre-tax profit, establishing a new record for the Vietnamese aviation industry.

    The corporation has changed investment methods in aircraft. Accordingly, instead of using loans for purchasing new aircraft models, Vietnam Airlines will use the sale and leaseback method.

    Notably, Vietnam Airlines found buyers for three new-generation A350s aircrafts it expected to receive in 2016-2017 under an aircraft purchase contract signed with Airbus and then leased them back to use for the long term.

    In late August, the corporation released plans to sale and leaseback one GEnx-1B74/75 spare propulsion engine (SPE) for its B787 fleet with the ToT schedule in December 2017.

    This method is to control the money Vietnam Airlines has to borrow to afford the purchases for the Airbus 305-seat aircraft, while still ensures an adequate number of planes for its operation.

    One outstanding point relating to service quality is that it was certified for the second consecutive year as a four-star airline by UK-based airline and airport rating organisation Skytrax, following Air France, Lufthansa from Germany, and Emirates Airlines from UEA.

    The service quality of Vietnam Airlines has been continuously improving, reaching 90 per cent of Skytrax’s criteria for four-five star airlines. The customer satisfaction index was 3.83 out of 5 points, higher than past year’s results as well as expectations. During the nine months of 2017 so far, Vietnam Airlines operated more than 108,271 safe flights.

    On July 3, the corporation launched a new 24/7 customer service centre, which is considered a large step forward for service quality.

    In the fourth quarter of this year, Vietnam Airlines will launch special economy class for domestic flights with numerous advantages compared to the exiting economy class.

    Previously, Vietnam Airlines opened three business lounges in the international and domestic terminals of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports.

    HCMC credit growth reaches 13.5% in 9 months
    Outstanding loans of commercial banks in HCM City in the first nine months of 2017 rose 13.5 per cent against December last year to more than VND1.67 quadrillion (US$73.57 billion), the city People’s Committee report stated.

    Of the total, loans in Vietnamese dong accounted for 90.4 per cent, equal to more than VND1.5 quadrillion, up 13.2 per cent against December last year. Loans in foreign currencies made up VND160 billion, up 15.4 per cent.

    Non-performing loans accounted for 4 per cent of the city’s total outstanding loans, down 0.04 percentage points against December last year.

    HCM City-based commercial banks during the period lent VND152.77 trillion to 37,920 customers in the Government’s five prioritised industries of agricultural production, export business, production of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supporting industry and high-tech production, of which loans to SMEs made up the highest proportion of 64.4 per cent, or VND98.44 trillion.

    The committee also reported that the banks mobilised VND1.94 quadrillion in the first nine months, up 9.2 per cent against December last year.

    Of the total capital, deposits in dong reached over VND1.7 quadrillion, accounting for 87.9 per cent and rising 9.6 per cent against December last year.

    Vegetable, fruit exports hoped to hit record high

    Vegetable and fruit export revenue is hoped to hit a new record of US$3.6 billion in 2017, with bumper crops forecast for the rest of the year.

    As of September 15, exports of the products hit US$2.49 billion, up 46.7% from the same period last year, faster growth than the country’s overall export growth.

    Last year, vegetable and fruits ranked 14th out of 24 products with export revenue of over US$1 billion, above crude oil, rice, plastics and steel.

    Currently, Vietnam has about 820,000 hectares of fruit farms, including 92,000 hectares of rambutan, 86,000 hectares of citrus fruit trees, 84,000 hectares of mango, 73,000 hectares of longan and 1,000 hectares of grape farms.

    Output of longan this year is forecast to reach 512,000 tonnes, while that of citrus fruits is 741,000 tonnes, rabuttan 721,000 tonnes and mango 702,000 tonnes.

    Thanks to agricultural reform and the development of agricultural technology, the production of fruits is rising.

    In the first eight months of this year, Vietnamese fruits were sold in 14 foreign markets with leading ones including China, Japan, the US, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Thailand.

    Gia Lai gives nod to solar power plant
    The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai’s People’s Committee has given the go-ahead to the Gia Lai Electricity JSC, to invest in a solar power plant.

    The 49MW plant, which will be located in Chu Gu Village, Krong Pa District, will be built on an area of 76ha at a cost of US$63 million to generate and distribute solar power.

    It will operate for 50 years. Construction of the plant will start in the first quarter of next year and will be completed by the second quarter of 2019.

    The People’s Committee asked Gia Lai Electricity JSC to develop an environment protection plan, and to submit it to the relevant authorities for approval.

    The committee will withdraw the decision according to investment regulations, if the investor fails to implement the project or is unable to implement it, as scheduled after 12 months as of the date of receiving the investment decision.

    VN stocks fall on energy, bank shares
    Vietnamese shares fell on both local exchanges on Wednesday as energy, brokerage and bank industries dropped on profit-taking.

    Viet Nam’s benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange lost 0.20 per cent to close at 803.77 points. The benchmark index has declined by total 0.4 per cent in the last three sessions.

    The HNX Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange slipped 0.36 per cent to end at 107.52 points. The northern market index posted its first loss following a five-sesion rally of total 3 per cent.

    Market trading liquidity declined from Tuesday. More than 221.8 million shares were traded on both local exchanges, worth VND4.32 trillion (roughly US$192 million).

    Wednesday’s trading figures were down 11.7 per cent in volume and 6.2 per cent in value compared to the previous session.

    Energy, brokerage and banking sectors were to blame for the decline of the two local exchanges on Wednesday.

    The energy sector was driven down by PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services (PVD), PetroVietnam Coating (PVB) and PetroVietnam Mud Drilling (PVC), which dropped between 1.2 per cent and 2 per cent.

    The main reason for the fall of energy stocks came after Brent crude lost steam on Tuesday, finishing the trading day at $58.44 a barrel and ending a four-session gain of 7 per cent since September 19.

    Bank stocks were led down by Sacombank (STB) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), which fell 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

    STB had soared 8.2 per cent in the previous two sessions and ACB had rallied total 8.5 per cent in the previous seven trading sessions.

    Among declining brokerage stocks were HCM City Securities (HCM), Thien Viet Securities (TVS), Agribank Securities (AGR) and MB Securities (MBS).

    On the positive side, the real estate sector was lifted by Vingroup (VIC), which jumped 3.4 per cent to extend gains for a second day with total growth of 4.3 per cent.

    Vincom Retail, the retail arm of Vingroup, has submitted a listing registration document to the HCM Stock Exchange to trade total 1.9 billion shares on the southern market.

    Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) said in its daily report that investors seemed unwilling to reduce the selling pressure on local stocks while the market demand remained weak, leading to underperformance of large-cap shares.

    Trading liquidity weakened, proving that investors were losing confidence in the market, BVSC said, adding that the stock market will likely continue declining in coming sessions.

    SE VN needs better links: forum
    The south-eastern region has grown rapidly and enjoys a number of advantages, but also faces many hurdles, especially to inter-provincial connectivity, a forum heard in HCM City on Tuesday.

    To overcome this handicap, breakthrough development mechanisms with more efficacious and concerted regional development policies are required, Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) told the forum titled “Economic restructuring and growth model transformation based on inter-provincial linkage”.

    The region has more economic advantages than others, he said.

    “The south-eastern region has HCM City, the nation’s biggest economic hub with many multinational corporations doing business.”

    It contributes 40 per cent of the country’s GDP and nearly 60 per cent of the Government’s revenues, its average income and economic growth are 2.5 times and 1.4-1.6 times the national average, he said.

    Cao Duc Phat, deputy head of the Central Economic Commission, said: “In the last few years, the south-eastern region has achieved sustainable development and rapid growth in many sectors like electronics, software, logistics, finance, telecom and tourism.

    “The region has also developed some key industries such as oil extraction and processing, steel, power, IT, chemicals, fertilisers and construction materials, which are very important for national and regional industrialization.”

    Tran Dinh Thien, head of the Viet Nam Economics Institute, said: “Generally, economic growth in the region is higher than in other parts of the country, and it is the biggest industrial hub with a lot of industrial parks in HCM City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau.”

    It has good port and logistics systems and infrastructure, many scientific research and training centres, and skilled and plentiful human resources, he said.

    “These factors have created an attractive investment environment.”

    Loc said however that connectivity is still very weak in the region.

    “Each locality develops its own strengths and lacks effective connectivity for development strategies and master plans for infrastructure and human resources.

    “Importantly, enterprise communities lack connectivity.”

    Thien said while admittedly the region has achieved a higher level of development than other parts of the country, it has not fulfilled its potential.

    “There is no regional development strategy or policy. The lack of connectivity is one of the biggest challenges for regional development.

    “There is not yet concern about regional development because now regional economic growth is mostly based on key localities like HCM City, but there are no policies to promote the role of key localities in the general development of the whole region.”

    Phat said: “The south-eastern region has not successfully switched to the new economic growth model with high value-addition and modern governance using technology and knowledge playing the key role in decision making.

    “Furthermore, infrastructure has not caught up with socio-economic development. Roads, waterways and ports are not well linked and there is no high-speed road or rail.”

    There are isolated and poorly connected urban areas, many industrial parks have the same functions, and HCM City and provinces compete with each other for investment, and these mean the region’s development is far below its potential, he said.

    “Policies to improve regional connectivity should be issued to create a united regional economy based on collaborative master planning, infrastructure development and investment policies and connectivity between industrial parks and services,” Phat said.

    “A region-wide administrative service should be set up gradually.”

    He suggested that HCM City should be appointed chairman of the region and the prime minister should be the head of the regional steering committee.

    “The region should have [joint] policies for investment, infrastructure, economic zones and industrial parks, and set up regional investment funds and promotion campaigns.”

    The role of the private sector in developing infrastructure should be strengthened.

    HCM City and provinces should have a breakthrough mechanism to usher in modern corporate management and attract foreign and private investment in infrastructure, especially roads, industrial parks and services.

    Thien said: “The government should have new master development plans for the region with a different vision with the roles of HCM City, the Southern Economic Key Zone and the south-eastern region clarified.”

    He also said the concept of region-wide development should be highlighted and every provincial strategy and master plan subordinated to regional strategy and plan.

    With its high urban density and population, the region should focus on developing a chain of urban areas, achieving breakthroughs in urban administration and increasing the role of the private sector in providing public services, he added.

    Singapore investor to build Ha Tinh port
    Phoenix Vung Ang Viet Nam Company Limited, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Freight Links Capital Pte Ltd, held a groundbreaking ceremony to construct the Phoenix port at the central province of Ha Tinh’s Vung Ang Economic Zone on Wednesday.

    The port is located in Vung Ang port area, Ky Loi Ward, Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh Province.

    The project has total capital investment of VND2.1 trillion (US$92.5 million) and includes a harbour, warehouses, two wharves, a container port and a bulk port with designed capacity of five million tonnes per year, which can accommodate vessels of up to 70,000DWT.

    Construction is planned to be completed within 18 months from the date of commencement.

    Once operational, the port is expected to promote sea transport under the multimodal transport system; increase export and import of goods in the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh; attract domestic and foreign investors to invest in Vung Ang Economic Zone; and create conditions for Ha Tinh to carry out the industrialisation and modernisation programme.

    Viet Nam’s trade value up 21.4% in nine months
    Viet Nam witnessed a year-on-year increase of 21.4 per cent in total trade value from January 1 to September 15 to US$289.14 billion, according to the General Department of Customs.

    However, total trade value in the first half of September dropped by 11.7 per cent to $2.44 billion against the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, the nation gained trade surplus of $100 million in the first half of September, while it recorded a deficit of $701 million in the period from January 1 to September 15.

    In the first half of September, national export revenue reduced by 17.4 per cent to $9.21 billion compared with the last 15 days of August. However, export value in the period from January 1 to September 15 increased by 20.1 per cent to $144.22 billion against the same period in 2016.

    The national import value in the first half of September was $ 9.11 billion, 5.1 per cent lower than the figure in the second half of August, while the import value gained year-on-year growth of 22.7 per cent to $144.92 billion.

    Also in the first half of September 2017, foreign-invested (FDI) enterprises reached some $12.6 billion in trade value, down 9.5 per cent compared with the second half of August 2017.

    From the first day of this year to September 15, the trade value of FDI enterprises reached some $189.54 billion, accounting for 65.6 per cent of the total national trade value and 23.5 per cent higher than the same period last year.

    FDI enterprises saw trade surplus of $854 million in the first half of September 2017 and $14.07 billion in the period from the beginning of this year to September 15.

    Customs signs co-operation agreement with logistics association
    The Customs Supervision and Management Department under the General Department of Viet Nam Customs (GDC) signed a co-operation agreement with the Viet Nam Logistics Association (VLA) on Tuesday.

    Under the agreement, action plans will be launched to improve the national logistics sector’s competitiveness.

    Customs authorities will work closely with VLA to boost the development of logistics services throughout the country, supporting logistics enterprises to improve their operation effectiveness and enhancing supervision and management of logistics business.

    The two sides also aim at strengthening the link between logistics enterprises in the country and between enterprises and customs authorities.

    GDC Deputy General Director Vu Ngoc Anh said customs authorities have actively co-operated with the business community and VLA in the development of logistics-related legal documents as well as in the detection and handling of problems related to the law enforcement process.

    He added that the customs sector had received contributive comments and feedback from enterprises, based on which it could promptly make adjustments in line with practical conditions. The two sides would discuss solutions to support each other in logistics activities, making Viet Nam a regional logistics centre.

    VLA said it would actively co-operate with customs authorities in the modernisation and management of logistics services to support and strengthen the country’s export and import activities.

    Ministry drafts legal amendments to aid local garment exporters

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade is drafting legal amendments to help domestic garment producers cut costs and reduce administration burdens amid many difficulties facing the industry this year.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the global demand for textiles and garments fell in the first eight months of 2017. Wages for workers and logistics costs have been rising, putting local garment exporters under pressure, particularly in the face of fierce competition from regional rivals like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.

    Garment makers from these countries have greatly benefited from their governments’ preferential policies that included tax cuts and currency devaluation to boost exports. They have also enjoyed favourable treatment from the US and the European Union (EU).

    According to Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association Vu Duc Giang, the sector aims to export about 30 billion USD worth of textiles and garments in 2017. The US is expected to be the biggest buyer, accounting for 50 percent of exports, followed by the EU (20.5 percent), Japan (19.5 percent), and the Republic of Korea (7.5 percent).

    Though the country’s exports rose by 9.9 percent in the first eight months of this year to 19.8 billion USD, the ministry worries the export target may not be met as there will not be many big orders for the remaining months.

    The ministry asked domestic producers to join foreign supermarket chains in Vietnam and attend overseas product promotion and business-matching events.

    It also asked state agencies to support domestic textiles and garment exporters in administrative procedures to help them overcome obstacles.

    VN stocks fall on energy, bank shares

    Vietnamese shares fell on both local exchanges on September 27 as energy, brokerage and bank industries dropped on profit-taking.

    Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange lost 0.20 percent to close at 803.77 points. The benchmark index has declined by total 0.4 percent in the last three sessions.

    The HNX Index on the Hanoi Stock Exchange slipped 0.36 percent to end at 107.52 points. The northern market index posted its first loss following a five-session rally of total 3 percent.

    Market trading liquidity declined from September 26. More than 221.8 million shares were traded on both local exchanges, worth 4.32 trillion VND (roughly 192 million USD).

    September 27’s trading figures were down 11.7 percent in volume and 6.2 percent in value compared to the previous session.

    Energy, brokerage and banking sectors were to blame for the decline of the two local exchanges on September 27.

    The energy sector was driven down by PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services (PVD), PetroVietnam Coating (PVB) and PetroVietnam Mud Drilling (PVC), which dropped between 1.2 percent and 2 percent.

    The main reason for the fall of energy stocks came after Brent crude lost steam on September 26, finishing the trading day at 58.44 USD a barrel and ending a four-session gain of 7 percent since September 19.

    Bank stocks were led down by Sacombank (STB) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), which fell 2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

    STB had soared 8.2 percent in the previous two sessions and ACB had rallied total 8.5 percent in the previous seven trading sessions.

    Among declining brokerage stocks were HCM City Securities (HCM), Thien Viet Securities (TVS), Agribank Securities (AGR) and MB Securities (MBS).

    On the positive side, the real estate sector was lifted by Vingroup (VIC), which jumped 3.4 percent to extend gains for a second day with total growth of 4.3 percent.

    Vincom Retail, the retail arm of Vingroup, has submitted a listing registration document to the HCM Stock Exchange to trade total 1.9 billion shares on the southern market.

    Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) said in its daily report that investors seemed unwilling to reduce the selling pressure on local stocks while the market demand remained weak, leading to underperformance of large-cap shares.

    Trading liquidity weakened, proving that investors were losing confidence in the market, BVSC said, adding that the stock market will likely continue declining in coming sessions.

    Vietnam promotes tourism at Paris international fair

    A Vietnamese stall is offering a warm welcome to visitors at the Top Resa international tourism fair, which runs in Paris from September 26 to 29.

    The Vietnamese area features the nostalgic décor of ancient walls and tiled roofs inspired by Hanoi’s old quarter. The space is filled with the sound of folk music performed live by two Vietnamese artists.

    On the sidelines of the fair, Vietnam organised a conference to promote Hanoi tourism, where Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son called on travel agencies in Paris to extend their reach to Vietnam and its capital city.

    The diplomat also lauded operations of French tour operators in Vietnam, hoping their success will encourage more French businesses to come to the country.

    Nguyen Anh Dung, deputy head of the Hanoi Tourism Department, noted Hanoi is attractive to visitors thanks to affordable prices, scenic sites, and delicious food.

    According to him, the capital welcomed 4.2 million foreigners last year, up 23 percent against 2015. In the first eight month of 2017, foreign arrivals to the city reached 3.7 million, an annual increase of 21 percent.

    VinGroup puts into operation biggest private hospital in Da Nang

    Vinmec Da Nang, a member of Vingroup’s high-end hospital chain, was inaugurated in the central coastal city of Da Nang on September 27.

    Built at a cost of more than 1.2 trillion VND (52.8 million USD), the facility covers some 37,000 square metres.

    It includes 222 beds and caters to demand for general treatment.

    The hospital, the biggest private hospital in Da Nang, was among four establishments chosen for medical services for the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders' Week hosted by the city this November.

    Vingroup operates similar hospitals in Hanoi, Phu Quoc, HCM City, Nha Trang and Ha Long.

    Ba Ria-Vung Tau province pushes equitisation of SOEs

    Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Nguyen Thanh Long has urged relevant agencies to supervise the restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOEs).

    At a working session on September 26, Long asked the provincial Department of Finance (DoF) to continue advising the committee on the divestment schedule for local SOEs and to supervise State capital at these firms.
    The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment will ensure the effective use of SOEs’ land while the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will be responsible for restructuring the provincial Forestry One-Member Co. LTd. into a two-member company.

    According to the DoF’s report, from 2014 – 2016, there were 22 SOEs and State-invested firms in the province. Of which, the State owned 100 percent of the charter capital of three, 50 percent of nine, and below 50 percent of 10.

    Those in public services, such as lottery, water supply and sewage, tree caring, transport operated stably while those in estate, tourism, trade, forestry were less effective.

    From 2016 – 2020, the province is planning to equitise and divest state capital from 17 SOEs. One of which has 50 percent of its charter capital held by the State, 15 others are below 50 percent, and one will be restructured to a two-member company.

    During the 2002 – 2016 period, 38 SOEs in the province were equitised, garnering 862 billion VND (37.92 million USD) for the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC).

    APEC backs businesswomen

    Việt Nam plans to lift the number of female managers to 350,000 when it has one million businesses, hopefully by 2020, Chairwoman of the Việt Nam’s Women’s Union, Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà, told the opening of the APEC Efficiency and Success Target Awards on Wednesday.

    Women are presently in charge of 28 per cent of businesses in Việt Nam.

    The awards, one of highlights of the APEC 2017 Women and Economy Forum, featured female owners from 21 APEC member economies.

    "We are co-hosting the award with Russia this year," Hà said. "The awards focus on digitalisation and information technology for traditional small and medium sized enterprises – the most vulnarable business group.”

    “It’s the second time that the awards have been held on the sidelines of APEC meetings," Ha said. "The activity is one of the most important supports for women entrepreuners in calling more investment and international partners.”

    Hà said the awards would help create networks for businesswomen as well as improve the capability of enterprises managed by women.

    “Twelve candidates entered this year’s award, of which three were from Việt Nam," she added.

    According to a report from the Việt Nam’s Women’s Union, small and medium sized enterprises control 97 per cent of the country’s businesses, contributing 41 per cent of GDP and 33 per cent of the State budget. They also created 77 per cent of jobs each year.

    Nadiya Cherkasova, head of the committee on Women’s Entrepreunership Development, said businesswomen needed much support from governments and organisations in doing businesses.

    “Women have plenty of potential, but we need assistances and support in finance, information and education. Women also have to take care of family responsibilities while working in the office. It’s hard to balance the two tasks,” Cherkasova said.

    “Most women think they are stuck on the floor and can never reach the ceiling, so governments of APEC members should think about how to help,” she said.

    The Russian banker said she had to overcome difficult times five years ago when she had three children – a seven year-old daughter and five year-old twins. 

    She said governments and organisations should help businesswomen or state servants with more support in finance, education and children care.

    On the sidelides yesterday, the ministry of transport, in co-operation with the US department of transport, also hosted APEC’s Women in Transport: Gauging progress in moving forward.

    The APEC 2017 Women and Economy Forum will continue on Thursday with Public and Private Dialogue on Women’s Entrepreunership.

    Reference exchange rate up by 6 VND

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) set its reference VND/USD exchange rate at 22,470 VND/USD on September 28, up by 6 VND from the previous day.

    With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 23,143 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,797 VND per USD.

    The prices of USD at major commercial banks almost remained unchanged.

    Vietcombank kept its buying rate at 22,695 VND and selling rate at 22,765 VND, per USD, unchanged from the rates set on September 27.

    BIDV also offered 22,695 VND (buying) and 22,765 VND (selling), per USD, both down 5 VND from a day ago.

    Meanwhile, Techcombank set its buying rate at 22,680 VND per USD and selling rate at 22,775 VND per USD, unchanged from the previous day.

    Binh Duong vows open, transparent climate for investors

    The southern province of Binh Duong pledges to ensure an open and transparent business environment and provide optimal conditions for investors, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem.

    At a meeting with foreign investors on September 26, Liem said the province will continue improve the investment climate to raise its competitiveness and increase support for businesses’ development.

    It will focus resources on completing socio-economic infrastructure, expanding industrial zones, training human resources, building social houses for workers.

    The locality will develop high quality services to meet demands of enterprises while ensuring political security, social order and safety, he added.

    The local authorities also answered all questions raised by investors related to social and medical insurance, taxes, natural disaster prevention and control of funds and overtime shift.

    Liem said that ideas related to legal issues at the meeting would be collected and submitted to the Government in order to help enterprises solve problems.

    The province reported that it had attained 140 percent of its annual target in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the first nine months of the year.

    The provincial Department of Investment and Planning said total FDI in the first nine months of the year stood at nearly 1.97 billion USD, a jump of 27 percent compared with the same period last year.

    During the period, the province attracted 148 new projects valued at a total of 1.165 billion USD.

    Another 87 projects added capital of 765 million USD, according to the department. About 90 percent of the projects are in industrial zones.

    Binh Duong has a total of nearly 3,000 FDI projects, worth over 27.7 billion USD from 60 countries and territories.

    “The provincial investment environment has improved towards sustainable development. The advantageous fields in the province such as the electrical power industry, electronics, mechanics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and service and trading (and others) have attracted investors,” said Nguyen Thanh Truc, Director of the Department of Investment and Planning.

    “The number of foreign investors visiting Binh Duong to study the investment environment has increased significantly year on year,” he said.

    In order to create a better investment climate, the province’s leaders and authorities work regularly with investors to learn about their difficulties and help them solve problems. This is the second time that the province has met with investors this year.

    Truc said that during the past years, Binh Duong had invested in infrastructure, especially the transport network, which facilitates connections with HCM City, the Mekong Delta, the Southeast region and southern Central Highlands.

    Many important transport routes have been invested and put into operation such as Binh Duong Boulevard and My Phuoc – Tan Van, which connects industrial parks with seaports and airports.

    The industrial parks, new urban areas and services are highly developed to better serve investors.

    Currently, the province has 28 industrial parks with a total area of over 10,560 ha and 71 percent of rental rate. It also has 11 industrial clusters with total 802 ha with a 55 percent rental rate.

    The province has also approved a master plan for industrial park development. By 2020, there will be 34 industrial parks with total area of nearly 15,000ha.

    An industrial - service - urban complex has been established on an area of 4,000ha with a total of 400,000 residents. The complex has spurred development of new urban areas in neighbouring localities for the Bau Bang service and urban area.

    Binh Duong is located in the centre of the southern key economic zone, the most dynamic region of the country. It is a strategic traffic gateway between the Central Highlands region, central provinces and HCM City.

    FDI is an essential source for the province’s socio-economic development and economic structure.

    Last year, FDI contributed over 49 percent of total social investment, over 67 percent industrial production value, and over 82 percent of export turnover to the province.

    PM asks Mekong Delta to develop smart, sustainable agriculture

    The Mekong Delta, the largest granary of Vietnam, must work for smart and sustainable agriculture with high added values, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the end of the Conference on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta held in Can Tho on September 27.

    He envisioned the Mekong Delta as an innovation valley of a multifunctional agriculture with strong application of modern science and technology which is highly adaptable to an environment of salinity and lack of fresh water and alluvium.

    The PM outlined three main viewpoints on the development of the Mekong Delta, one of which is to facilitate the region’s sustainable development and prosperity via the proactively adapting to and turning challenges into opportunities, thus ensuring stable lives for local people and preserving traditional cultural values.

    Secondly, it is necessary to shift the way of thinking in agricultural development from mainly rice cultivation to an agricultural economy, from quantity to quality and from chemical-based  agricultural production to organic and hi-tech practice, he said, adding that attention should also be paid to processing and support industries.

    Thirdly, the PM said it is important to respect natural rules, thus selecting development models adaptive to natural conditions with minimum interference into nature.

    He said the Mekong Delta must strive to raise the ratio of ecological and hi-tech agriculture in the regional economy to over 80 percent and per capita GDP to 10,000 USD by 2050.

    PM Phuc suggested the region develop tourism based on its specific natural and biological conditions and local culture, such as garden, waterway tourism, and eco-tourism.

    He said the construction of coal-fired thermal power plants in the region should be limited to the best and encouraged the development of renewable energy which has large potential to tap in the Mekong Delta.

    The Government leader suggested building a development fund for the delta from various sources, adding that from now to 2020, the region must disburse at least one billion USD and build cooperation mechanisms with countries and international organisations, especially the world’s big deltas, to obtain their experience and technical support for climate change adaptation.

    He said the conference on the Mekong Delta will be held at least once every two years to discuss specific measures to develop the region.

    The PM concluded that ensuring livelihood for people is the core task of the Mekong Delta in the context of climate change.

    At the conference, German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger affirmed that his Government will closely work with Vietnam to address challenges in the Mekong Delta.

    Japanese firms seek partners in Dong Nai province

    A trade conference took place in the southern province of Dong Nai on September 27 with the participation of more than 80 Japanese-invested and local enterprises.

    Representatives from Japanese businesses said most of them have had to import 60-90 percent of production materials while operating in Dong Nai. Therefore, they expressed their wish to find suitable Vietnamese partners to reduce imports and increase the localisation rate.

    Keiichi Kadowaki, President of the Japanese Business Association in Ho Chi Minh City (JBAH), hoped the conference will open up more joint projects, particularly in raising the use of made-in-Vietnam materials among Japanese firms operating in the country. The cooperation would reduce costs and contribute to increasing trade between Vietnam and Japan, he added.

    Le Van Loc, Deputy Director of the Dong Nai Department of Industry and Trade, said the event is an opportunity for local companies to connect with their Japanese partners.

    Loc said Dong Nai is working to improve its business climate, facilitate partnerships between local and foreign-funded firms, and increase the number of supporting industry, services and high-tech projects to gradually reduce the need for cheap materials imported from overseas.

    According to the official, Japan is now the third biggest foreign investor in Dong Nai with 220 projects worth 3.95 billion USD.

    Participating enterprises also brought their products for display on the sidelines of the conference.

    Dong Thap, Champasak agree on multi-sector cooperation

    Senior officials of Dong Thap and the Lao province of Champasak held talks in the Mekong Delta province on September 27.

    The talks ended with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on directions for bilateral cooperation for 2017 – 2021.

    Under the pact, Dong Thap and Champasak will facilitate the exchange of experience on agro-fishery production methods between their relevant agencies and firms.

    The two provinces will encourage and create favourable conditions for their respective enterprises to carry out market studies and form partnerships.

    Collaboration in research activities and human resources training is also included in the MoU.

    Speaking at the talks, Chau Hong Phuc, Vice Chairman of the Dong Thap People’s Committee, said he expects the pact will help stimulate bilateral social-economic engagements between the sides in contribution to the growth of Vietnam – Laos relations.

    Champasak Vice Governor Voualin Vongphachanh reported that the province enjoys an annual economic growth of 8.4 percent, with strengths in agriculture and eco-tourism. Champasak has attracted 390 investment projects, both foreign and domestic, with total capital of 17.5 billion Lao kip (around 2.1 million USD), of which around 22 percent was Vietnamese investment.

    Draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units discussed

    The National Assembly’s Law Committee convened its eighth plenary session on September 27 in Nha Trang city, the central province of Khanh Hoa, with debates focusing on the draft Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units.

    The event draw the participation of more than 60 delegates from the NA’s Committees, relevant ministries, sectors and the provinces of Kien Giang, Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa.

    Hoang Thanh Tung, Vice Chairman of the NA’s Law Committee, said the bill is complicated and unprecedented in Vietnam, hence, there remains much work to be done so that the draft law could be submitted to the NA for approval in the 5th or 6th sessions.

    According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s report, the draft law will be a legal framework for building and developing special administrative-economic units, namely Van Don (Quang Ninh province), Bac Van Phong (Khanh Hoa province) and Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province).

    The three areas are expected to grow strongly in the fields of tourism, services, trade and finance with new management methods and a favourable investment climate.

    The report underlines that the draft law needs to build breakthrough institutions and policies, particularly in socio-economic aspects, administration and judiciary, in line with the Constitution, and international treaties to which Vietnam is a member, and with international competitiveness.

    Participants discussed major contents of the draft law, including the apparatus of the local administration of the special administrative-economic units; building favourable business environment; incentives on taxes and land; and mobilising resources for building infrastructure in these areas.

    According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung, by the end of 2016, there were about 4,500 special administrative-economic units in 140 nations and territories in the world.

    In Asia, a number of special administrative-economic units have witnessed outstanding achievements, such as those in China, the Republic of Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

    VNA, PRD agree to boost news exchange cooperation

    The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Thailand’s Public Relations Department (PRD) have agreed to intensify reporting on the two countries and increasing cooperation in various fields to develop the relations between the two government-level information agencies.

    The agreement was reached at the 14th Joint Technical Committee (JTC) meeting held in Bangkok on September 27 under the co-chair of VNA Deputy General Director Dinh Dang Quang and his PRD counterpart Charoon Chaisorn.

    The two sides recognised their effective cooperation in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the previous JTC meeting in Hanoi in 2016.

    They also pinpointed shortcomings in some cooperative contents and discussed measures to increase the efficiency of joint activities.

    Deputy General Director Dinh Dang Quang said the professional partnership between VNA and PRD has been developing in recent years in line with the sound cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and Thailand.

    For his part, PRD Deputy Director General Charoon Chaisorn hailed the diverse cooperation between VNA and PRD which has incessantly expanded over the past decade. 

    On the occasion, the VNA Deputy General Director presented award certificates to TV reporters from the PRD’s National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) for their work on the celebration of traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) and socio-economic and cultural life in Vietnam, which won the consolation prize in Vietnam’s National External Information Service Award 2016.

    VNA and PRD signed a memorandum on professional exchange in 2003, and since then the bilateral cooperative ties have been expanded to various fields such as the exchange of delegations and information, especially in television, training, and website linkage.

    The State-owned VNA has established cooperative ties with many media agencies in the region and around the world, including PRD.

    900 firms attend Vietbuild exhibition in HCM City

    The second 2017 Vietbuild International Exhibition, one of the most prestigious real estate and furnishing fairs in Vietnam, began in Ho Chi Minh City on September 27.

    The event featured more than 2,500 stalls from nearly 900 Vietnamese and foreign enterprises. Highlight products included realty services, construction materials, interior and exterior decorations, and home vegetable farming model.

    Bui Pham Khanh, Deputy Minister of Construction, said the domestic property market has recorded stable growth in the first nine months of 2017, with increasing demand for social housing noticed.

    In that context, the expo offers information and potentials products for investors and consumers to gain better insight and access to the market. Through seminars and programmes, the event is also a place for new partnerships to be formed.-

    Dien Bien cooperates with northern Lao provinces to develop agriculture

    A delegation from the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry visited the north-western province of Dien Bien from September 24-27 to share experience in encouraging agricultural expansion and increase values of farm produce.

    Dien Bien has cooperated in agriculture with northern Lao provinces since 2012, and has allocated nearly 7 billion VND (308,000 USD) to those joint programmes.

    Under the programme, the Vietnamese locality has assisted Luang Prabang, Phongsaly and Oudomxay provinces in farming rice, growing mushrooms, raising chickens and ducks, and preventing plant diseases.

    Particularly, Dien Bien helped Laos build an agro-forestry technical transfer centre and sent experts to help with the centre’s activities.

    The province will continue to coordinate with the three northern provinces of Laos in developing animal raising and aquaculture in the time ahead.

    The two sides agreed to share more experience in preventing animal and plant diseases and increase education campaigns on forest protection and anti-poaching of wild animals in border areas.

    During the working trip to Dien Bien, the Lao delegation visited several models of clean farming and processing in the province.

    HCM City seeks multifaceted experience from Netherlands

    A delegation from Ho Chi Minh City, led by Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem, has been on a working visit to the Netherlands.

    The delegation held on September 26 a working session with the Vietnamese Embassy in the Netherlands, during which Ambassador Ngo Thi Hoa said the two nations have cooperated closely in five strategic partnership fields and several new cooperation priorities that HCM City wants to partner with the Netherlands such as sustainable agriculture, water management, climate change adaptation, and smart city building.

    The Netherlands is a leading European investor and trade partner of Vietnam, she said, noting that Dutch firms have been investing in many projects in HCM City and want to get better access to the local market.

    Liem said during its working sessions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and economic and cultural establishments of the Netherlands, the delegation exchanged experience in smart city building, urban management, climate change adaptation, flood prevention, urban agriculture and marine economy.

    Currently, the Netherlands is the 8th biggest foreign investor in HCM City, while the city’s exports account for one-eighth of the country’s total export value, he said.

    Liem expressed his belief that following the official visits to the Netherlands by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and the signing of new cooperation agreements, bilateral cooperative relations will continue developing, thereby bringing benefits to both sides, including HCM City.

    Conference highlights indicators for green economy in Vietnam

    Green growth is a path to achieving sustainable development in the context of climate change, Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Danh Son from the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences said at a conference on green growth in Vietnam on September 27.

    The conference “Indicators for green economy in natural management, environmental protection, and climate change response: Appropriateness and feasibility in Vietnam” was organised by the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE) and the Germany-based Hanns Seidel Foundation to share experience and find methods to encourage green growth in the country.

    Speaking at the event, Vietnam Country Representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation Axel Neubert underscored that indicators for green economy in natural management, environmental protection, and climate change response should be top of the government’s agenda for national development.

    Meanwhile, Son said the impacts of climate change have challenged Vietnam’s sustainable development and the country has struggled in terms of green thinking, natural resource accumulation, human resources, funding, consumption and production behaviours and more.

    The indicators for green economy in Vietnam should be selected based on simplicity, representativeness, appropriateness and feasibility, stated Nguyen Thi Yen from the ISPONRE.-

    PM suggests Hau Giang develop smart agriculture

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has suggested the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang develop smart agriculture and processing industry, and spread a new-style cooperative model.

    He made the suggestion during a working session with provincial authorities on September 27, ahead of a conference on local investment promotion the next day.

    The PM hailed the province’s efforts to uphold its role as a rice hub in the Mekong Delta via building high-quality rice, sugar cane and fruit cultivation areas and forming trademarks.

    The province took drastic actions to improve rice quality, reduce poverty and build new-style rural areas. Meanwhile, services and tourism also performed well, he commented.

    On challenges facing the locality, Phuc said it is still affected by drought and saline intrusion. The number of local businesses accounts for only one third of the total nationwide while infrastructure is poor.

    He urged Hau Giang to focus on land use planning, particularly land used for rice farming and aquaculture. The province should expand high-tech agriculture, he said, adding that further attention should be paid to agriculture restructuring and finding resources to upgrade infrastructure.

    Reminding the locality to protect the environment and respond to climate change, the leader expressed hope that Hau Giang will improve workforce quality, particularly in rural areas while linking up with regional provinces and Ho Chi Minh City in economic development.

    In the first nine months this year, the province collected 4.9 trillion VND (214.4 million USD) for the State budget, or 76 percent of the estimate for the period.

    FDI firms fret over social, health insurance for foreigners

    Foreign invested enterprises in the southern province of Binh Duong are anxious about social and health insurance regulations for non-resident employees, heard a dialogue between the provincial government and foreign investors on September 26.

    In particular, foreign nationals who have work permits in Vietnam, trade certificates or practicing licenses will be subject to compulsory social insurance contributions from early next year.

    This is the first time they will join the social insurance program in the country. However, local enterprises employing foreign nationals are fretting over the possibly complicated procedures.

    Enterprises are wondering who will be obliged to join the program, how much they will contribute, and how they will benefit from it. Another question is how they can recover their fees in case they quit their jobs.

    Duong Thi Anh Tuyet, administration and human resources director of Rheem Vietnam Co Ltd in Binh Duong, said the regulation will come into force within the next three months, but there has been no decree or circular guiding its implementation to date. Therefore, her company is deeply concerned.

    Foreign workers often work on a fixed term. Thus, after they retire or quit their jobs, they will have to come back to Vietnam to claim insurance allowances. Enterprises asked whether that amount of money might be enough to pay air tickets for foreign employees to return to Vietnam to complete the procedures for their social insurance claims.

    A representative of Liwayway Vietnam JSC said the company applies two ways of salary payment. If employees are dispatched to Vietnam, the parent company will pay salaries for them, while those who sign labor agreements with the Vietnam-based company, the local subsidiary will pay them.

    As such, the representative pondered how Liwayway Vietnam will have to pay social insurance for its foreign employees starting January 1. Other foreign invested enterprises also shared the same concern.

    In addition to social insurance, many enterprises complained purchasing health insurance for their foreign employees is tough. They have already bought health insurance for their foreign staff but most of them do not use such insurance coverage.

    They said a majority of health workers in Binh Duong Province could not communicate with their foreign workers in English, so they had no way but to employ interpreters.

    Therefore, they suggested social insurance agencies allow the insured to take medical examinations and treatments at international hospitals so that their foreign employees can talk directly with doctors.

    However, the problem is that the province does not have many international hospitals and clinics, so purchasing health insurance will put foreign employees in a tricky situation.

    In a related development, fresh foreign direct investment (FDI) pledges in the province have amounted to roughly US$2 billion in the year to September, a year-on-year rise of 27% and 40% higher than the full-year target. The figure includes more than US$1.1 billion registered for 148 new projects and US$765 million as additional funds for 87 operational ventures.

    Dam projects threaten sustainable development in Mekong Delta

    Hydropower projects in the upper reaches of the Mekong River and Thailand’s water transfer projects are posing a big threat to sustainable development in the Mekong Delta, experts said in Can Tho City on September 26.

    At a conference on the Mekong Delta’s sustainable development and responses to climate change, Hoang Van Bay, head of the Water Resource Management Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said there are currently 24 hydropower projects in the upstream of the Mekong River.

    These dams, either under construction or in preparation, include 13 of China with a total holding capacity of 42 billion cubic meters of water.

    “In the midstream of the Mekong River, 11 hydropower projects are being developed, including nine in Laos and two in Cambodia,” said Bay.

    In addition, Thailand is developing several projects that carry water from the Mekong River to its inland areas with a total capacity of 15.2 billion cubic meters a year.

    According to Bay, the Mekong River stretch that flows through the Mekong Delta brings 475 billion cubic meters of water, of which 450 billion cubic meters are from the upstream and 25 billion cubic meters are endogenous.

    Water overexploitation upstream, especially hydropower projects along the river, will adversely affect the delta.

    “The volume of water that flows downstream to the Mekong Delta has significantly declined in recent years, by about 1.8 billion cubic meters per year, or 120 cubic meters per second,” said Bay.
    The dwindling water volume from the Mekong River upstream together with endogenous problems has posed numerous challenges to the Mekong Delta.

    The first problem is saltwater intrusion that is becoming more serious year by year. In the dry season of 2016, saltwater made its way 100 kilometers from the river mouth.

    In addition, overexploitation of groundwater has made some areas of the delta, like Kien Giang, Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh and Ben Tre provinces, sink by 5-10 millimeters a year, according to a study conducted by Norwegian scientists. More seriously, some coastal regions have subsided by 2-4 centimeters a year.

    According to Tran Thuc, vice chairman of the Advisory Council for the National Committee on Climate Change, the amount of silt brought by the Mekong River to the Mekong Delta might decline by 65-90% if all of the hydropower projects are complete and fully operational.

    Besides, overexploitation of sand has caused landslides along the delta’s river banks and coastal areas.
    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said at the conference that the Mekong Delta is one of four deltas most affected by climate change and hydropower development.

    According to Hue, there need to be comprehensive policies to solve the above problems and ensure sustainable development for the delta, focusing on water resource and land management, improvement of climate change predictions, science and technology development, investment promotion and human resource development.

    Budget revenue from fuels down despite import surge

    State budget revenue from fuels has gone down despite a surge in import volume in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    As of mid-September, Vietnam had imported some 9.05 million tons of fuels including 2.14 million tons of gasoline, more than 5.22 million tons of diesel oil 0.05S and 1.25 million tons of jet fuel. The respective numbers in the same period last year were 8.32 million tons, 1.77 million tons and 4.73 million tons.

    The average prices of imported fuels also increased sharply such as petrol by 35% and diesel oil by 27%.A senior executive of a southern fuel trader told the Daily that the rise in fuel import volume resulted from the two-month maintenance of Dung Quat Oil Refinery in Quang Ngai Province.

    During the Dung Quat maintenance, local traders imported fuels, mainly from markets with preferential import duties such as South Korea, so the contribution of fuel import tax revenue to the State budget was limited.

    A source from the import-export tax division at the HCMC Department of Customs, which implements customs procedures of most fuel import shipments, explained that goods were imported via HCMC but customs procedures were done in other provinces. Therefore, revenue for the city’s budget also tumbled.

    In addition, auto imports plunged in both volume and value. Therefore, tax revenue from popular cars imported from Indonesia, Thailand and India is only VND100 billion (US$4.37 million) this month compared to VND1,600 billion in August.

    The source from the import-export tax division said the city’s customs agency had collected VND76.5 trillion by September 24. The amount is expected to increase to VND79 trillion by September 30, equivalent to 72% of the target this year (VND109 trillion).

    In the rest of the year, the HCMC Customs Department will have to collect VND10 trillion a month to meet its budget revenue target. The target is achievable as a large amount of products, especially consumer goods, will be imported in November and December to serve customers in the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.

    Proposed environmental tax hike on fuels rejected

    A Ministry of Finance proposal to impose a maximum environmental tax of VND8,000 on a liter of fuel sold has been turned down for now, as the National Assembly (NA) has made it clear that the issue will not be on the agenda of the NA sitting next month.

    The proposal to slap the high environmental protection tax on fuels is included in the draft of the amended environmental protection tax law. However, in a document just sent to NA deputies, the NA Office stated that three draft laws including the environmental protection tax law would not be presented at the next NA sitting which is due to kick off on October 23.

    The draft law submitted to the NA Standing Committee on September 14 was considered not convincing, lacking solid grounds for hiking the tax.

    Previously, the Ministry of Finance has proposed raising the environmental protection tax rates on plastic bags and goods in transit for re-export. The environmental tax bracket for fuels, except for kerosene, was also proposed to increase to VND3,000-8,000 per liter from the current VND1,000-4,000.

    NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said the proposed tax hike without a sound explanation about the burden on taxpayers is unacceptable, especially at a time when the Government is seeking to remove difficulties and cut costs for enterprises.

    As a result, fuels whose taxes and fees now account for 55% of the retail price will not be subject to new tax.

    Vinalines escapes bankruptcy

    Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has been able to get out of the woods after nearly five years of restructuring.

    According to a report of the Ministry of Transport, Vinalines’ equity had risen from minus VND8.7 trillion in 2013 to over VND6.4 trillion (US$281.4 million) as of December 30, 2016.

    After three years of implementing the scheme for comprehensively restructuring Vinalines (2013-2016), the company has settled nearly VND9.9 trillion in debt out of the total of over VND11.4 trillion, of which VND7.8 trillion is loan principal.

    The company has paid nearly VND4.9 trillion in loan interest for the Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) and has plans to settle an additional VND969 billion in debt from now till the end of this year.

    With debt having been reduced by over 70%, Vinalines has been discharged from bankruptcy after years mired in debt.

    Maritime transport and seaport operations, which the company used to struggle with, have recovered. The company incurred a loss of over VND8 trillion in this sector in 2012 but posted a profit of VND33 billion in 2016.
    As of early 2015, Vinalines posted a profit of VND253 billion from its business activities.

    The company has plans to launch its initial public offering (IPO) late this year. According to the IPO plan approved by the Government, the State stake in Vinalines will be retained at 65% at the holding company and its major ports, including Haiphong, Danang and Saigon ports.

    Stocks on HCMC bourse continue falling but at slower pace

    Stock losses on the HCMC bourse extended on September 26 given the selling pressure but they were not as strong as the day before. Meanwhile, stocks on the Hanoi exchange were still in positive territory.

    Though sell orders remained robust, an improvement in cash flow on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) helped prevent the VN-Index from falling as sharply as on Monday. In early trade, transactions were lackluster as investors remained hesitant after the market’s poor performance a day earlier.

    This was why the rise of sell orders at lower prices drove the key stock index away from the 805-point mark. But a pickup in transactions at the end of the day, especially those of key bank and oil/gas stocks, eased the index’s loss.

    The HCMC exchange saw 122 stocks advancing and 147 others losing, and the VN-Index declined 0.03% at 805.35 points on September 26. The volume of HOSE matched transactions amounted to 155.5 million shares, up 23.38% against the day before, and their value reached VND3.2 trillion, up 16%.

    Oil/gas stocks propped up the VN-Index, with GAS edging up 1.5% at VND69,500 per share. Other key advancers on the HCMC exchange were VNM, VCB, STB, VIC and MSN. Surprisingly, MSN of Masan Group Corporation made a turnaround after a long losing streak, inching up 2.6% at VND55,900 per share.

    The stocks which pushed down the index included ROS, SAB, BHN, VJC, PLX, VPB, BVH and HPG. In particular, SAB of Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation slid 1.3% at VND258,000 per share and ROS of FLC FAROS Construction Joint Stock Company dipped a staggering 6.2% to VND112,800 per share.

    Other stocks in the same sector as ROS closed down as well, such as FLC, FIT and AMD. FIT hit its floor price at VND11,000 per share, with 9.27 million FIT shares matched and more than two million shares still unsold. FLC took the lead in terms of liquidity with 12.93 million shares changing hands at VND7,410 per share, down 0.8% from the day earlier.

    Actively traded stocks like HAG, HNG, HAR and HAI rallied. HAI of HAI Agrochem Joint Stock Company gained 1.5% at VND10,150 per share, with 7.8 million shares traded. HAR of An Duong Thao Dien Real Estate Trading Investment Joint Stock Company  advanced 2.8% at VND14,600 per share with 2.47 million shares transacted.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, oil/gas stocks were also the main support of the HNX-Index which has rallied for a fifth session in a row. The index added 0.53% at 107.91 points.

    Trading volume totaled 66.48 million shares worth VND694.93 billion, up 6.62% and 8.99% against a day earlier respectively. Put-through deals amounted to 13.5 million shares valued at VND254 billion.

    The market for unlisted public firms, UPCoM, ended down 0.3% at 54.26 points with 3.9 million shares worth VND73.4 billion changing hands.

    Budget revenue from fuels down despite import surge

    State budget revenue from fuels has gone down despite a surge in import volume in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    As of mid-September, Vietnam had imported some 9.05 million tons of fuels including 2.14 million tons of gasoline, more than 5.22 million tons of diesel oil 0.05S and 1.25 million tons of jet fuel. The respective numbers in the same period last year were 8.32 million tons, 1.77 million tons and 4.73 million tons.

    The average prices of imported fuels also increased sharply such as petrol by 35% and diesel oil by 27%.A senior executive of a southern fuel trader told the Daily that the rise in fuel import volume resulted from the two-month maintenance of Dung Quat Oil Refinery in Quang Ngai Province.

    During the Dung Quat maintenance, local traders imported fuels, mainly from markets with preferential import duties such as South Korea, so the contribution of fuel import tax revenue to the State budget was limited.

    A source from the import-export tax division at the HCMC Department of Customs, which implements customs procedures of most fuel import shipments, explained that goods were imported via HCMC but customs procedures were done in other provinces. Therefore, revenue for the city’s budget also tumbled.

    In addition, auto imports plunged in both volume and value. Therefore, tax revenue from popular cars imported from Indonesia, Thailand and India is only VND100 billion (US$4.37 million) this month compared to VND1,600 billion in August.

    The source from the import-export tax division said the city’s customs agency had collected VND76.5 trillion by September 24. The amount is expected to increase to VND79 trillion by September 30, equivalent to 72% of the target this year (VND109 trillion).

    In the rest of the year, the HCMC Customs Department will have to collect VND10 trillion a month to meet its budget revenue target. The target is achievable as a large amount of products, especially consumer goods, will be imported in November and December to serve customers in the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.

    Road maintenance fund alone fails to meet demand

    The road maintenance fund has collected nearly VND30 trillion (about US$1.32 billion) from automobile owners nationwide over the past five years but it cannot meet the country’s actual financial needs for road maintenance, said the Ministry of Transport.

    According to Lao Dong newspaper, since it was established in 2013, the fund has contributed 65% to the country’s total investment in road maintenance.

    In 2017 alone, the fund is expected to collect over VND7 trillion. Thanks to the number of vehicles having risen in recent years, road maintenance fee collection revenues have increased 106-255% annually.

    However, the fund can only meet 45% of the country’s actual demand for road maintenance, with the balance coming from the State budget.

    According to the Ministry of Transport, as of 2012, Vietnam had about 280,000 kilometers of road. Most of the roads have deteriorated and are narrow, causing traffic accidents and jams.

    Since the road maintenance fund was established, road maintenance nationwide has improved. Some 65% of the road maintenance fund is distributed to localities to do road repairs and upgrades.

    However, many localities have cut their own budget for road maintenance after their projects are financed by the fund. Besides, complicated procedures for capital disbursement have resulted in slow and poor maintenance.

    Taxi firms in Hanoi launch apps to compete with Uber and Grab

    Many traditional taxi firms in Hanoi have launched their mobile taxi booking apps and cut fares to compete with Uber and Grab ride-hailing companies.

    To provide customers with a wide range of options, taxi firms like Sao Hanoi, Ba Sao Taxi and VIC Taxi have put into use their own apps allowing customers to book taxicabs via websites, Facebook Messenger, texting services and hotlines, among others.

    In particular, Linh Trang Traserco Co Ltd has cooperated with VTC Pay to operate LB Car app which customers can use to pay taxi fares by QR code.

    Other taxi firms also have their own apps and websites like Thanh Cong Taxi with and ThanhCong app, Taxi Group with TaxiGroup app, and Noi Bai Taxi with

    In addition to technology reform, traditional taxi firms have also cut their fares to attract more customers.

    A number of taxi firms have reduced taxi fares for the route from inner-city districts to Noi Bai International Airport to VND150,000-180,000 (US$7-8) per ride since June 2017. Meanwhile, Uber’s current fares for this route range from VND205,000 to VND250,000.

    Uber earlier planned to cut fares for this route to VND150,000 per ride. However, Uber drivers strongly opposed the plan, saying that such fare cut will significantly reduce their incomes.

    A representative of Noi Bai Taxi said thanks to the application of technology, especially mobile apps, traditional taxi firms can now optimize their operation, reduce costs and offer competitive fares.

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  • 09/28/17--02:48: Article 3
  • Suspicion mounts over Vietnam official who reported $17k missing from hotel room

    The official is on a 45-day inspection trip to businesses in southern Long An Province

    Suspicion mounts over Vietnam official who reported $17k missing from hotel room 
    The T.V. hotel in Long An Province, where Nguyen Xuan Quang lost his money. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    A senior environment official in Vietnam has reported that nearly US$17,000 in cash had been stolen from his hotel room while on an inspection trip in southern Long An Province.

    Nguyen Xuan Quang, the deputy director of an environmental protection watchdog organization under the Vietnam Environment Administration, first reported the situation on Tuesday.

    The hotel room burglary was confirmed by the police department in Long An’s Tan An City on Wednesday.

    According to police, Quang and two other officials had been staying at the T.V. hotel in Tan An City since September 20 while conducting inspections on local businesses.

    On Tuesday morning, one of the officials reported that his laptop had gone missing. 

    Shortly after, Quang said that almost VND400 million ($17,000) in cash he was keeping in his room had also been stolen.

    “This is an ongoing investigation. No further details are available at the moment,” a Tan An Police Department spokesperson said.

    Personal money’

    Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) on the phone on Wednesday, Quang said he has been cooperative with police throughout the investigation. 

    He also denied rumors that the money was given to him by local businesses under his inspection, instead claiming that the cash was his “personal money."

    “I had brought the sum along to run personal errands,” Quang said. “Online rumors that I took cash from local businesses are not true. I have to make it clear that it was my personal money and completely unrelated to work.”

    Police reportedly also found empty envelops, U.S. dollar bills, and a bank transaction receipt in Quang’s hotel room.

    According to Quang, the dollar bills were found in his wallet, which he had voluntarily submitted to police.

    “About the bank transaction receipt, it belonged to another official who made the transaction to a technology group the day earlier,” Quang explained.

    30 inspections in 45 days

    A source disclosed to Tuoi Tre that Quang was leading a delegation of environment officials to inspect 30 businesses in Long An.

    The inspection trip was scheduled to run for 45 days and was accompanied by representatives from Long An’s provincial authorities.

    As of Tuesday, Quang’s team had concluded inspections on four businesses located at the Xuyen A Industrial Zone, the source said.

    By Tuoi Tre News

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  • 09/28/17--02:51: Article 2
  • Heavy incentives prerequisite to North-South Expressway

    To complete the construction of an approximately 700-kilometre section of North-South four-lane expressway in the east, worth VND130.2 trillion ($5.7 billion) by 2020, specific policies to attract foreign and domestic investments are necessary.

    A section of Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, part of North-South Expressway


    The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has recently proposed that the government office consider drafting a resolution of providing investment incentives for the construction of the eastern route of North-South Expressway.

    In late August, under the directions of the prime minister on finalising the pre-feasibility study report of this particular section of the North-South Expressway project, MoT reported to the PM on the project status and filed a proposal to the Party Central Committee concerning project investment guidelines.

    Nguyen Nhat, Deputy Minister of Transport, stated that throughout the inspection conducted by the Economic Committee of the National Assembly, several delegates presented proposals assuring that the investment guidelines are imposed.

    Earlier in May 2017, to speed along the drafting process of the National Assembly resolution, the Government Office collected government members’ views on a number of key policies that it saw as prerequisites to calling for domestic and foreign private investment in order to specify the target of finishing the construction of the eastern 700-kilometre route by 2020. 

    Forecasted transportation demand for certain sections of North-South Expressway


    Length (km)

    Traffic volume count (PCU/day)

    By 2020

    By 2030

    By 2040

    Ninh Binh Highway 45





    Nghi Son-Dien Chau





    Vung Ang-Bung





    Cam Lo-La Son





    Quy Nhon-Tuy Hoa





    Nha Trang-Phan Rang





    Phan Thiet-Dau Giay





    *PCU: passenger car unit, a metric used in transportation engineering to assess traffic-flow rate on a highway

    Particularly, MoT achieved a consensus of seven policy groups, requesting that the National Assembly or the PM issue guidelines. The request laid particular emphasis on increasing the service charge set by the feasibility study report, as well as the fixed charge specified in the contract the project contract.

    Besides, they proposed the National Assembly to assign the government to implement independent component projects after the investment guideline is issued, while simultaneously approving the processes of capital mobilisation and construction implementation.

    Nhat also noted, “In addition to policy constraints, like extra charges and price control, capital mobilisation from foreign credit organisations and investors needs government support to share risks due to low national credibility. Thereby, the issuance of specific policies for this large-scale infrastructure construction project is crucial.”

    Draw attention to the project

    The government drafted a proposal to direct the State Bank of Vietnam to build solutions to resolve investors’ existing difficulties so that they can access loans from banks and can implement the construction, while  simultaneously assisting investors with access to foreign loans, including loans from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). MoT suggested several further tasks for SBV.

    MoT filed a proposal asking the government to set a return on equity (ROE) of 14 per cent per year in order to estimate the official ROE of investors (whose identity will be decided by tender later on).

    To clarify profitability of the component projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, MoT has temporarily calculated an ROE of 14 per cent per year, a return on investment (ROI) of 10.37 per cent per year, and service charge of VND1,500/PCU/km ($0.07/PCU/km).

    These rates will be in effect from the date the project starts operation. These numbers are expected to be adjusted upwards 12 per cent every three years. Investors are offered a return on investment within 24 years.

    Earlier in June, the government suggested that the National Assembly should permit MoT to decide on the rate of road service charge increase specified in the feasibility study report and project contract.

    Nhat also noted, in accordance with the Pricing Law, service charges are determined to cover appropriate actual production and business costs, with reasonable profit, and are adjusted when project components change.

    Based on this principle, the charges for North-South Expressway specified for reimbursement amount up to VND2,500/PCU/km ($0.11/PCU/km). In order to reduce pressure on transportation firms, MoT suggests a reasonable charge of VND1,500/PCU/km ($0.07/PCU/km), along with a more restrained growth roadmap.

    “If charges are not determined, calculating the financial plan for the entire project life cycle will be impossible, leaving no basis for tendering to select investors,” Nhat added.

    By Anh Minh, VIR

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  • 09/28/17--03:41: Article 1
  • Mekong Delta climate change mitigation discussed

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the Mekong Delta region was facing the worst consequences of climate change and measures would be needed to mitigate the effects.

    Cuong made the proposal at the Conference on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta in Can Tho City on September 27.

    The severe drought in the Mekong Delta region

    Climate change had seriously affected the Mekong Delta, with local farmers being the hardest hit, the minister said.

    Early 2016, up to one million local households lacked fresh water and this figure was forecasted to sharply rise when the region has seen more saltwater intrusion.

    Up to 40% of the Mekong Delta’s area could be flooded by the end of the 21st century if the sea level rises by a metre and if Vietnam fails to provide solutions.

    Cuong added that urgent measures should be taken to protect the Mekong Delta region, the country’s biggest rice hub.

    He proposed to the government to speed up research and production varieties for seafood, fruits, and rice to ensure that they can better adapt to climate change.

    He noted that it was important for the Mekong Delta region to build new-style co-operatives and farms which co-operate with enterprises to form production chains.

    According to the minister, the current 227,000 hectares of the region’s forest need to be maintained and protected. It was also necessary to develop more mangrove forests in the region to protect the coastline.

    Cuong recommended dealing with 41 areas which are in serious erosion in the region as soon as possible.


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  • 09/28/17--04:48: Article 0
  • Social News 28/9

    Mekong Delta needs VND153 trillion for climate change responses

    The Mekong Delta will need VND153 trillion (around US$6.7 billion) between now and 2020 to cope with climate change, improve resilience and promote green development, said Pham Hoang Mai, head of the Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    Mai, speaking at a conference in Can Tho City on September 26, said the capital demand is based on the delta’s master spatial planning, climate change and sea level rise scenario, the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP), studies on public expenditures of the Mekong Delta’s provinces and the green and sustainable development plan.

    According to Mai, the delta has a huge demand for capital to cushion impacts of climate change on transport, irrigation and social development. However, there has not been a specific study to calculate the delta’s actual capital demand and give a general solution to the delta.

    According to studies by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, climate change can cause damages equivalent to 2-6% of gross domestic product (GDP). “Particularly, a study of the United States Agency for International Development shows that the Mekong Delta could face damages equaling 3-4% of its GDP due to climate change,” said Mai.

    According to such studies, the delta will need about VND105 trillion to solve the consequences of climate change in the 2016-2020 period.

    According to MDP’s no-regret scenario for improvement of resistance, the delta has 58 projects in water supply and drainage, wastewater treatment and irrigation sectors, with total capital needs of VND43 trillion.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment is working with German international cooperation agency GIZ to build a plan for the delta’s green and sustainable development. “It is estimated that the delta will need VND5 trillion for green development in the 2016-2020 period,” Mai said.

    Overall, the Mekong Delta will require a total of VND153 billion for the above three tasks between 2016 and 2020. However, Mai said the State budget can only manage VND90.8 trillion.

    Quang Nam to spend 5 million USD upgrading fishing port

    Central Quang Nam province will spend 120 billion VND (5.28 million USD) renovating Tam Quang Fishing Port in Nui Thanh district to improve logistics services for fishermen.

    The district has the largest number of offshore fishing vessels in the province, while Tam Quang Fishing Port welcomes thousands of fishing boats from neighbouring provinces to dock for fish sales, fuel refill or to avoid storms each year.

    The new 2.5-ha fishing port will meet first-class national standards, featuring a wharf where water more than five metres deep and a logistics facility. The port, which has an annual capacity of 16,000 tonnes of fishes, is expected to be put into use by early 2019.

    The old port is in poor condition and has become overloaded, especially during peak season due to increasing number of fishing boats in Quang Nam.

    According to Vice Chairman of the district’s People Committee Nguyen Van Thinh, Nui Thanh has been clearing land for the project and will help the contractor complete it on schedule. The district has also facilitated local fishermen’s access to loans to build logistics vessels.

    Two Vietnam sommeliers to join competition in Taiwan

    Nguyen Khac Huy and Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, the first and second prize winners of the Vietnam Best Sommelier Competition in French Wines 2017, will represent Vietnam in the Grand Final competition in Taipei, Taiwan in December.

    Both Nguyen Khac Huy, 25, and Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, 28, are from HCMC.

    In the final competition in Taiwan, they will compete with other candidates from other Asian countries as Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, and China.

    Seeds of Hope begins in HCM City

    The Seeds of Hope programme that promotes sustainable professional integration for young Vietnamese in the fields of residential and industrial electricity and automotive maintenance was officially launched at a ceremony held in HCM City yesterday.

    The programme operates in partnership with vocational training schools as well as a number of companies and agencies.

    Seeds of Hope is being run on a trial basis under the European Institute for Development Cooperation (IECD) in Việt Nam at two sites: HCM City Technical and Economic College (HOTEC) and Thủ Đức College of Technology (TDC).

    The programme not only helps create more opportunities for students in career development but also enhances domestic and international integration.

    Việt Nam continues to have a high rate of unemployed young people, while vocational training remains unattractive to many students, creating a mismatch with the labour market despite strong demand, especially in the electricity sector.

    Seeds of Hope targets people aged 15 to 25. The support includes either a three-year-long vocational training programme or short training modules on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

    It aims to improve career prospects for about 1,400 young people by 2019.

    IECD experts will help develop standards and content for teaching and training programmes.

    Students at the two schools will be exposed to a quality learning environment that will allow them to develop occupational skills and life skills for integration into the labor market.

    Speaking at the launch ceremony, Phạm Ngọc Thanh, the deputy chairman of the city’s Department of Education and Training, said the city, which has 77.5 per cent of trained workers, has set a target to have at least 85 per cent of trained workers by 2020.

    “Seeds of Hope will help meet the demand of the city’s plan on raising the quality of labourers,” he said.

    He said the programme would significantly improve the quality of vocational training for Vietnamese students and help promote cooperation between schools and enterprises as well as contribute to reducing the unemployment rate of young people in the city.

    Nguyễn Thị Lý from the TDC thanked the IECD, experts and companies for their contribution to the programme and said she hoped to receive more support from the  IECD, companies and authorities in the near future.

    At the ceremony, partnership agreements in cooperation and development between IECD and two of the colleges were signed.

    Red Cross begins charity campaign for storm victims

    The Việt Nam Red Cross Society yesterday launched its campaign to solicit relief assistance for people affected by Typhoon Doksuri this month, the year’s 10th storm over the East Sea, in central provinces, especially Quảng Bình and Hà Tĩnh.

    The campaign will last until the end of October, and all the money collected from local and international organisations, companies, individuals and the community during it will be used to buy essential goods and support victims’ livelihoods.

    In the event, VNĐ430 million (roughly US$19,000) was raised.

    Besides receiving donations in cash and kind, the Red Cross also has a charity text message campaign. People can donate VNĐ20,000 per SMS by texting UH to 1409.

    On September 29 and 30 the Red Cross together with the Việt Nam Red Cross Sponsor Council will donate money and relief materials in Quảng Bình and Hà Tĩnh.

    The typhoon killed nine people and injured 112 others and damaged nearly 200,000 houses and other structures. Four remain missing. The total damage has been estimated at VNĐ11.3 trillion ($496 million).

     Initiative to improve professional skills of Vietnamese doctors

    The Health Ministry’s Medical Services Administration (MSA) and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on September 27 launched the clinical decision support training initiative to medical services in Vietnam with the aim to improve the detection, diagnosis and control of infectious diseases.

    The launch was conducted within the framework of a workshop to transfer BMJ’s professional guidance to Vietnam’s medical check-up and treatment system.

    Attending the workshop were Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien, UK Ambassador to Vietnam Giles Lever, representatives from the BMJ and the US’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency, and leaders and doctors of hospitals in Hanoi.

    Speaking at the event, Deputy Health Minister Tien said improvement of medical services and overcrowding at hospitals was one of the major priorities of the health sector in the coming years.

    The cooperation between MSA and BMJ will help the health sector meet the increasing demand of health care and treatment in Vietnam, he added.

    “Today’s clinicians deal with a wealth of constantly changing information and it is increasingly difficult to keep the knowledge and practice current. We feel privileged to be using our international expertise to deliver trusted, evidence-based knowledge to Vietnam health care professionals,” Mitali Wroczynski, head of Strategic Partnerships at BMJ, said.

    “We will not only help accelerate progress for a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats but also establish a comprehensive and sustainable training and clinical decision support programme that will address broader health care priorities in Vietnam, and support continuing medical education and professional development,” Wroczynski added.

    The initiative provides health care professionals with evidence-based online tools and resources, including BMJ Best Practice and BMJ Learning, which together cover over 90 percent of the most commonly presented conditions across primary and secondary care. Clinicians will receive online, offline and mobile access to over 1,000 clinical decision support topics and over 800 online learning modules. A significant proportion of this content will be translated into Vietnamese.

    The initiative will help address national notifiable diseases, including Anthrax and Avian Influenza; diseases of significant concern such as Brucellosis; and infectious diseases such as HIV, multi-drug resistant TB and Malaria.

    However, the comprehensive coverage provided by the programme will play a dual role in supporting the top health care priorities of Vietnam, including stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, diabetes, hypertension and many other non-communicable diseases.

    Vietnam currently has more than 1,300 hospitals and medical facilities with 250,000 beds that serve 150 million visits of outpatients and 15 million inpatients yearly, according to the health ministry.

    China’s 68th National Day marked in Hanoi

    Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hong Xiaoyong hosted a banquet in Hanoi on September 27 to celebrate the 68th National Day of the People’s Republic of China (October 1).

    The ambassador highlighted the achievements that the Chinese Party, Government and people have gained over the past 68 years as well as the recent positive progress in the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

    He affirmed that China is willing to boost win-win cooperation with Vietnam and elevate bilateral relations to a new height, thus contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world as well.

    Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Information and Education Commission, congratulated China on its accomplishments over the past 68 years.

    Thuong expressed his belief that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people will reap more successes in building a well-off society and building China into a modern, rich, strong, civilised and harmonious socialist country.

    The official affirmed that the Vietnamese Party and State treasure and want to join hands with their Chinese counterparts to strengthen the traditional friendship and develop bilateral relations in a stable and healthy manner for the sake of their people, the region and the world.-

    Vice President presents gifts, scholarships to needy children

    Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh on September 27 presented scholarships and gifts to 100 disadvantaged children in central Thua Thien-Hue province to help them enjoy the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.

    Thirty children living in SOS Children’s Village Hue and 70 others from poor families in Phu Vang district received the scholarships and gifts each worth 1.5 million VND in recognition of their excellent academic results.

    Thinh, who is also President of the Council of the National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC), spoke highly of the achievements of the SOS Children’s Village Hue over the past 17 years. 

    She praised the village’s 13 teachers and staff members for their efforts to overcome many difficulties to take care of the disadvantaged children and hoped that they will keep up their jobs in the future.

    The NFVC took the occasion to hand over 30 million VND to the village as an encouragement to the teachers and staff.

    The SOS Children’s Village Hue is home to 71 children, including infants. Up to 71 percent of students in the village achieved good academic results in the 2016-2017 school year.

    Project promotes job opportunities for youths in HCM City

    The Seeds of Hope project, which promotes sustainable professional integration for young Vietnamese in the fields of residential and industrial electricity and automotive maintenance, was officially launched in HCM City on September 27.

    The project operates in partnership with vocational training schools as well as a number of companies and agencies.

    Seeds of Hope is being run on a trial basis under the European Institute for Development Cooperation (IECD) in Vietnam at two sites: HCM City Technical and Economic College (HOTEC) and Thu Duc College of Technology (TDC).

    It not only helps create more opportunities for students in career development but also enhances domestic and international integration.

    Vietnam continues to have a high rate of unemployed young people, while vocational training remains unattractive to many students, creating a mismatch with the labour market despite strong demand, especially in the electricity sector.

    Seeds of Hope targets people aged 15 to 25. The support includes either a three-year-long vocational training programme or short training modules on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

    It aims to improve career prospects for about 1,400 young people by 2019.

    IECD experts will help develop standards and content for teaching and training programmes.

    Students at the two schools will be exposed to a quality learning environment that will allow them to develop occupational skills and life skills for integration into the labor market.

    Speaking at the launch ceremony, Pham Ngoc Thanh, Deputy Chairman of the city’s Department of Education and Training, said the city, which has 77.5 percent of trained workers, has set a target to have at least 85 percent of trained workers by 2020.

    “Seeds of Hope will help meet the demand of the city’s plan on raising the quality of labourers,” he said.

    He said the project would significantly improve the quality of vocational training for Vietnamese students and help promote cooperation between schools and enterprises as well as contribute to reducing the unemployment rate of young people in the city.

    Nguyen Thi Ly from the TDC thanked the IECD, experts and companies for their contribution to the project and said she hopes to receive more support from the  IECD, companies and authorities in the near future.

    At the ceremony, partnership agreements in cooperation and development between IECD and two of the colleges were signed.

    Vietnam’s traditional culture introduced to APEC guests

    Some of the best culinary, musical and costume identities of Vietnam, including the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, were introduced to Asian-Pacific guests at a cultural night in Hue city on September 27.

    The event, themed “Stillness of Sense and Soul: Women Empowerment and Cultural Identity”, was held on the fringe of the ongoing APEC Women and the Economy Forum. 

    Narrated by storyteller Trac Thuy Mieu, the night at the Hue Culture Museum, located on the bank of the Huong River, told participants five stories about the life of royal families in the past, which was re-enacted by actors and actresses.

    The performances were closely associated with the serving order of Hue-styled vegetarian dishes invented by culinary artisan Ho Thi Hoang Anh.

    Through exhibitions at the event, guests also had a chance to gain an insight into modern designs of “ao dai” (traditional long dress of Vietnam) by local young designers, along with rare ingredients for the special vegetarian dishes served during the night.

    In her speech, President of Ho Chi Minh City’s Peace and Development Foundation Ton Nu Thi Ninh, an organiser of the event, said the cultural night was held on the sidelines of the women and the economy forum because economy and culture cannot be disassociated and respecting culture will help ensure sustainable economic development. Culture also directly contributes to economic growth such as through tourism, film industry and entertainment activities.

    Meanwhile, women play a key role in preserving and promoting cultural identities in economic activities, which can also be seen through female artisans, she noted, adding that Thua Thien-Hue province and its Hue city is an outstanding example of preserving and bringing into play culture in order to serve economic and social development.

    The 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum is taking place in Hue from September 26 to 29 under the theme “Enhancing women’s economic inclusion and empowerment in the changing world”.

    It is part of a series of activities throughout the APEC Year 2017 in Vietnam, which joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 1998.

    Up to 24,000 meth pills seized in Dien Bien

    Law enforcement authorities of northern Dien Bien province on September 27 arrested one drug trafficker and seized 24,000 methamphetamine pills.

    According to Le Ba Long, Head of the Drug Crime Investigation Department of the provincial Border Guard Command, a transnational drug ring was detected transporting drugs from Oudomxay province to Muong May district in Phongsaly province of Laos, and then selling them in Vietnam’s Dien Bien province.

    Two suspects, were discovered travelling from Muong May district to Vietnam’s Tay Trang border gate in Dien Bien province. One of them, named Cu Chan Ly, was arrested in possession of 24,000 amphetamine pills, while the other escaped.

    The detained suspect, a Lao national, born in 1996, said he and the other suspect bought the drugs and intended to sell them in Vietnam, according to police.

    The case is under further investigation.

    Filipino singers to perform at city centre

    Filipino tenor Jenmai de Asis and soprano Sitti Gomez will stage a classical music performance “Pinoy Sounds” at Kova Center on September 30.

    Both singers are graduates of the University of St La Salle in the Philippines. They have performed around the Philippines, and Asia including China, Thailand, Cambodia and Việt Nam.

    The show will take place from 6:30pm - 9 pm at 92 Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Street in Bình Thạnh District. Tickets are VNĐ300,000 and can be purchased at

    Vietnamese artists to perform in contemporary dance

    The “Lộ” (Road) contemporary dance work will be staged at the HCM City Dance School tonight by young Vietnamese dancers and choreographers.

    The 50-minute performance will feature routines choreographed by Lê Mai Anh, a graduate of Rencontres Internationales de Danse Contemporaine in Paris, and Phạm Diệu Hương, a dancer with the Paris-based dance crews 4ème Sous Sol and Diminutomax.

    The show will also highlight violist Phạm Vũ Thiên Bảo, a graduate of the National Conservatory of Music in Lyon, who is now a lecturer at the HCM City Conservatory of Music. 

    Dancers from dance groups CUCA Dance Atelier of Hà Nội and HCM City will perform in the show as well. A discussion about contemporary dance will follow the dance performance.

    The performance will begin at 7:30 pm at 155 Bis Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa Street in District 3. Entrance is VNĐ120,000.

    Vietnam responds to World Rabies Day

    Representatives from ministries, departments and international organizations, together with a large number of local people, attended a meeting to mark the World Rabies Day on Wednesday, September 27th in northern Bac Giang Province.

    Delivering a keynote speech at the ceremony, Dam Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said there are more than 7.7 million dogs across the country, however, only 2.9 million dogs have been vaccinated against rabies. The number of fatalities caused by rabies seems to be increasing in Vietnam.

    Last year, rabies spread by dogs claimed the lives of 91 people, up 17% compared to 2015 and 38% compared to 2014. During the first nine months of this year, 57 people died of rabies.

    In the coming time, the MARD in coordination with the Ministry of Health will better implement measures proposed at the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program in the 2017-2021 period and disseminate information to raise public awareness on rabies prevention, said Mr Thanh.

    Jong-Ha Bae who represents a number of international organization in Vietnam, said Vietnam can eliminate rabies with the cooperation of authorities and local people. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) pledged to support Vietnam’s rabies prevention program.

    After the meeting, hundreds of people joined a march to support the World Rabies Day in Bac Giang City.

    Car crashes 2 motorbikes, seriously injuring 3

    A serious traffic accident occurred at 6:30am on September 27 on 257 Tran Dai Nghia Street in Hanoi.

    A 4-seat car lost control of its brakes, crashing into 2 motorbikes coming from the opposite direction, seriously injuring 3 people, one of which was a 60-year-old man.

    All of them were rushed to hospital immediately after that.

    The car has been identified as being a Kia Morning brand with licence plates 30E- 44251. The driver was also a man and the vehicle was severely damaged in the accident.

    At the scene, a Yamaha Exciter motorbike was trapped under the car. Meanwhile, the head of the Viva motorbike was completely destroyed.   

    The police are making further investigations into the case.    

    Vietnam applies gene therapy to cancer treatment

    Vietnam has begun implementing gene and immune cell therapies, with the goal of tailoring cancer treatments to individual patients.

    According to Ta Thanh Van, Vice Principal of the Hanoi Medical University (HMU), the university has successfully applied gene therapy in Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment. At present, they are adopting immune cell therapy technology to treat cancer.

    With the success in receiving and applying the Japanese-transferred cell technology, the university has proposed a plan to implement it in public hospitals to the Ministry of Health. This will lay a foundation to develop higher technologies including recombinant DNA technology and immune cell therapy.

    Immune cell therapy, developed over the past decade, aims to rebalance and increase the strength of immune responses to effectively kill cancer cells.

    When patients suffer from cancer, abnormal cells form, causing an immune system imbalance. Normally, the human body can detect the imbalance and find a way to block and kill those cells. However, the weakened immune system cannot prevent abnormal cells from developing and forming tumors.

    The immune cell therapy requires drawing blood from patients and separating out the major immune cells of a patient (T cells). Next, using a disarmed virus, the T-cells are genetically engineered to produce receptors on their surface. 

    These special receptors allow the T-cells to recognize and attach to a specific protein, or antigen, on tumor cells. After that, the cells are grown in the laboratory into the hundreds of millions. 

    The final step is the infusion of the T-cells into the patient. If all goes as planned, the engineered cells further multiply in the patient’s body and, with guidance from their engineered receptor, recognise and kill cancer cells that harbor the antigen on their surfaces.

    In Vietnam, one method of high-tech targeted treatment uses “small-molecule drugs” which can block the process that helps cancer cells multiply and spread. They work by targeting specific genes or proteins found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth.

    Targeted therapy depends on the responsiveness of individual patients’ cancer patients. Some patients can adapt to it well while others cannot. Targeted therapy fails to succeed in over 30% of patients.

    Therefore, patients need to take a genetic test to evaluate the state of their cancer cells before any treatment. HMU is the pioneer in implementing this technique in Vietnam.

    So far, targeted therapy has brought about positive results. The first and second-generation drugs are covered by the social insurance programme.     

    Fire breaks out at central gas station

    A fire broke out at a 4,200sq.m gas extraction station in the central Nghệ An Province at 8.30pm on Wednesday, the Lao Động (Labour) online newspaper reported.

    Lê Duy Thảo, a witness, told the newspaper he saw workers running out of the station, located in Hoàng Mai Town’s Quỳnh Lộc Commune, after the fire broke out, which was followed by a series of loud noises. Dozens of firefighters and fire trucks rushed to the station.

    The fire was extinguished two hours later, at some 11.30pm. Two small trucks and a number of fire extinguishers were destroyed, reported.

    No casualties have been reported, so far. A deeper investigation of the accident is underway.

    Alexandre Yersin Prize 2017 to encourage medical researchers in Vietnam

    Launched and organized by HELVIETMED, a Swiss-Vietnamese Association, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Ho Chi Minh City, the Alexandre Yersin Prize 2017 is set to encourage medical researchers in Vietnam to make significant contributions to medical literature and will recognize outstanding research achievements.

    Named in honor of Dr. Alexandre Yersin, a Swiss-born physician and bacteriologist who was a pioneer in medical research in Vietnam, the Prize will go to the best published research in the 24 months prior to the closing date on December 31. For the inaugural prize, the duration is five years.

    To qualify, research must be conducted in Vietnam, with only original articles and/or case studies with new data. Candidates must be the first author and correspondence author of the published paper, or the “main author” whose contribution is explicitly specified in the paper. The evaluation is based on five criteria: scientific quality, significance, innovation, scientific impact, and journal prestige.

    There are three prizes each year, with each worth VND30 million ($1,320). To honor the Prize winner as well as Dr. Yersin, the award ceremony will be organized in association with the Swiss Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City at a convenient venue.

    To honor authors for their work, organizers may organize a scientific conference in which the authors may present their results to a wider public of physicians, researchers, and other interested parties. The presentation, in power-point format, will also be put on the organizers’ website.

    The announcement of the Prize will be broadcast in communication channels such as Facebook, blogs, advertisements in non-medical journals, and professional networks of HELVIETMED members and their colleagues from Vietnamese universities. Help from the Swiss Consulate may be needed to reach other health-related authorities. Results will be announced via email by February 28, 2018.

    Candidates are advised to prepare a short dossier that includes a PDF-version of the paper(s) for consideration and a short non-technical essay (at a maximum of 200 words) explaining the rationale, aim, findings, and significance of the paper. The dossier should be sent by email to the office of HELVIETMED:

    Founded in 2011 by medical doctors of Vietnamese origin, HELVIETMED is a Swiss non-profit and humanitarian association with the aim of promoting cooperation between Swiss and Vietnamese institutions and individuals in the fields of health, medical education, and research. It also supports poor medical students in Vietnam through scholarships and mentoring.    

    Nearly 300 children with cleft lips and palates to receive free operations in October

    Nonprofit, medical service, organisation Operation Smile (OS) has announced its new free facial surgery campaign for congenital malformations in Vietnamese children in the month of October, with the aim of bringing “new smiles” to nearly 300 children with cleft lips and palates nationwide.

    A cleft lip and palate is one of the most common malformations for infants in Vietnam, not only negatively affecting their appearance, but also their development and psychology. Next month, 300 children are expected to be operated on by OS Vietnam and its partners in Hanoi, Nghe An province and Ho Chi Minh City for free.

    Following the cooperation between Dr. Fu-chan Wei and Dr. Jeng-Feng Seng - the world's leading experts in surgical microsurgery – and the OS in 2002, Chinese Taipei’s E-Da Hospital has helped the organisation to provide training and to transfer medical technologies on microsurgery to Vietnam. Many doctors and practitioners have advanced their expertise in the area and are currently holding important positions at leading hospitals in the country.

    To mark a new turning point in the cooperation, next month OS Vietnam, in collaboration with E-Da Hospital and Hanoi-based National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, will organise the surgical programme for children with cleft lips and palates. This is the first E-Da supported programme in Vietnam as a sponsor and the hospital will send medical experts to the host country in order to directly perform humanitarian surgery on child patients.

    Children with cleft lips must be at least six months old and weigh at least 8kg to be eligible for an operation. For children with cleft palates, they must be at least 18 months old and weigh 10-12kg or more to join the programme. All of the patients must not have any congenital diseases such as heart disease, epilepsy or neurological disease.

    All surgeries will be performed free of charge and the patients will also be supported for part of the travel and accommodation costs during their stay.

    From October 13-20, around 80-100 children will be examined and operated on at the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, No. 40A Trang Thi street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.

    Another 80-100 child patients are expected to be offered free surgery at Vinh International Hospital, No. 99 Pham Dinh Toai street, Nghi Phu commune, Vinh city (Nghe An province) from October 16 to 20.

    In Ho Chi Minh City, as many as 60-80 children will receive treatment at the University Medical Centre HCMC, No. 215 Hong Bang street, Ward 11, District 5, from October 9-12.

    Surgical registrations can be made through OS Vietnam’s hotline in Hanoi at 024.3936 5426 and HCMC at 028.2222 1008 during office hours or the hotline at 090 488 5555.

    Operating in Vietnam since 1989, OS has offered examinations and operations for more than 40,000 children with congenital facial malformations.

    VRCS calls for over VND 430 mln for typhoon- hit areas

    The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) yesterday launched a campaign to support typhoon Doksuri-hit residents in the central provinces.

    The Central Executive Committee of Vietnam Red Cross Society in collaboration with the Sponsor Council of Vietnam Red Cross Society and the Southern Representative Office of Vietnam Red Cross Society yesterday jointly launched a program to call on supporting for storm- hit residents in the central provinces of Quang Binh and Ha Tinh.

    At the launching ceremony, nationwide enterprises and sponsors contributed more than VND 430 million to help the localities to overcome consequences after the typhoon. 

    The campaign lasts by October, 2017. 

    As plan, the Southern Representative Office of Vietnam Red Cross Society and the Standing Sponsor Council of Vietnam Red Cross Society will visit and offer gifts for 1,000 families with their difficult life in  the two provinces on September 29, 30. 

    A text-message campaign supporting affected localities in the central provinces was launched on the same day. People can send message via SMS by texting UH then send to 1409 from September 7 to November 7 with VND 20,000 for a message. 

    Earlier, the Central Executive Committee of Vietnam Red Cross Society supported more than VND 1.5 billion to effected provinces. 

    Vietnam’s National Day celebrated in France, Italy

    Ceremonies marking Vietnam’s 72nd National Day (September 2) were held in France and Italy on September 27.

    Addressing the event in France, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Ngoc Son said that Vietnam has been developing rapidly and become a responsible member of the international community.

    The diplomat also expressed his hope that Vietnam–France relations will see strong development steps in 2018 as the two countries celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the fifth anniversary of their strategic partnership.

    At the ceremony, participants enjoyed a fashion show featuring Vietnamese ao dai (traditional long dress) with traditional music at the Petit Palais Art Museum in France’s capital of Paris.

    A project titled “Vietnam house” of Vietnam’s Tourism Ambassador to France Anoa Suzanne Dussol Perran was also introduced at the event. It is being built in Hauts-de-Seine province of France, to be used as a place to showcase Vietnamese culture, such as ao dai and paintings, and gastronomy.

    Meanwhile, the ceremony in Rome, Italy, was attended by representatives from Italian ministries and overseas Vietnamese in the country.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien lauded Vietnam–Italy relations, which have become more practical with many important projects and regional cooperation models.

    The ambassador stressed that the State visit to Italy in 2016 by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and achievements made this year will be an important foundation for the two nations celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2018.

    For his part, Senator Pier Ferdinando Casini, Chairman of the Italian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, highlighted the bilateral relationship as a model of traditional friendship, in line with the needs and benefits of the people of both countries.


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  • 09/29/17--01:32: Article 6
  • Tisco reaches agreement with Chinese contractor to resume multimillion-dollar project

    The long-delayed Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2 will be revised after the investor Tisco and the Chinese contractor reached a compromise in resuming the unfinished construction.

    Tisco reaches agreement with Chinese contractor to resume multimillion-dollar project, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, V 
    MCC has agreed to finish the construction of Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2

    After numerous failures to lure the Chinese contractor China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) back to the negotiation table, the parties have managed to resolve their differences.

    Accordingly, MCC agreed to complete the construction of the unfinished stages of the project, according to the signed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, with the best quality and price.

    Previously, MCC evaluated that a total investment capital of $105 million will be necessary for the construction of the remaining stages, including expenditures for equipment suppliers, and sent the evaluation report to Tisco.

    Besides, the management board of the project and MCC reached a compromise on specific plans to solve existing problems relating to 14 Vietnamese sub-contractors.

    Along with co-operating with MCC to resume the construction, Tisco also signed a contract with a consultancy firm to evaluate Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant-phase 2 as well as assess project efficiency. Accordingly, the consultancy firm will complete the verification before October 30, 2017.

    Furthermore, Tisco is building a detailed plan to increase its chartered capital, complying with the regulation of not using investment capital from state-run VNSteel. Previously, at its 2017 extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting held in mid-May, shareholders approved to issue shares worth up to VND2 trillion ($87.2 million) to increase its chartered capital.

    The plant’s construction was kicked off in 2007 under an EPC contract with the initial investment capital of VND3.8 trillion ($170.4 million) but was delayed due to the global financial crisis. In 2009 it was resumed, however, expected costs increased to VND8 trillion ($361.4 million).

    In 2012, MCC decided to abandon the project and returned to China because the investor had difficulty arranging capital after disbursing more than VND4.5 trillion ($216.35 million). Thus, the project’s construction has been delayed for four years.

    In March 2016, Tisco announced that it can arrange the necessary finances to continue the construction. The second phase of the expansion of Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant is one of the twelve loss-marking projects of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.


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  • 09/29/17--01:52: Article 5
  • Vietnam ex-banker sentenced to death in fraud saga

    His co-accused got life in a blockbuster trial involving 51 bankers and businessmen

    Ocean Bank founder Ha Van Tham (right) and co-accused Nguyen Xuan Son (left) face court in Hanoi. AFP

    A Vietnamese former banking executive was sentenced to death Friday in a massive fraud case, while his co-accused got life in a blockbuster trial involving 51 bankers and businessmen.

    The sentences were delivered at the end of a month-long trial as Vietnam's leadership wages an anti-corruption sweep, targeting ex-officials, bankers and executives accused of graft and mismanagement.

    Former Ocean Bank general director Nguyen Xuan Son was sentenced to death for embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement.

    Fellow kingpin and ex-Ocean Bank chairman Ha Van Tham, once one of Vietnam's richest men, was jailed for life on the same charges, as well as violating lending rules.

    Both men left the courthouse stone-faced after the verdict was handed down.

    The trial targeting high-flying executives accused of losses worth millions of dollars has captivated Vietnam.

    The charges cascaded down the ranks, targeting accountants, branch managers and scores of others in one of the country's largest-ever banking trials.

    The other sentences announced Friday ranged from 22 years in prison to 18-month suspended sentences and re-education outside of prison.

    "Tham and Son's behaviour is very serious, infringing on the management of state property and causing public grievances, which requires strict punishment," said judge Truong Viet Toan.

    Tham, Ocean Bank's founder, was convicted of illegally approving a $23 million loan in 2012 and economic mismanagement causing major losses.

    Also included in the indictment was PetroVietnam's acquisition of a $35-million stake in the bank in 2009. It was later written off.

    Son, director of the bank at the time and who later became chairman of the powerful state oil firm PetroVietnam, was sentenced to death for embezzlement, abuse of power and wrongdoing.

    The scandal sparked the demise of Ocean Bank.

    It had been part of Ocean Group, which takes in real estate and hotel subsidiaries and enjoyed a meteoric rise after its founding in 2007. It was valued at $500 million in 2013 under Tham's stewardship.

    Ocean Group is still active in real estate, hotels and services and was valued at $3.5 million in 2016, according to its website.

    Vietnam's banking scandal-hit banking sector has long been plagued by dodgy loans and favouritism, which observers say risks hampering the country's solid economic growth.

    By Afp / Tuoi Tre News

    0 0
  • 09/29/17--01:57: Article 4
  • Vietnam feels impact of 4.0 industrial revolution

    A large company in Hanoi has sacked 80 percent of workers, replacing them with robots. 

     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, 4.0 revolution, FPT, Truong Gia Binh,

    Duc Giang Chemical & Detergent Powder JSC is a leading chemical manufacturer. A detergent factory of Duc Giang, it once employed 100 workers, but now runs with 10-15 workers.

    Three months ago, Oxford University released a report on robots taking over human jobs. One month ago, a factory in Binh Duong province laid off 90 percent of its workers because the majority of work can be undertaken by robots.

    The workers in the 340 IZs in Vietnam are increasingly worried about their jobs.

    Huyen said at a workshop about the 4.0 industrial revolution held in mid-August that the risk of replacing humans with robots is real in Vietnam.

    In theory, the workers can apply at enterprises with weaker financial capability which cannot buy robots and need workers in their production chains. However, the enterprises are mostly small and do not have high worker demand.

    He went on to say that the ‘4.0 industrial revolution’ is understood as automation at the highest possible level in production. Vietnamese enterprises have been aware that this is a growing trend in the world and have begun making preparations.

    In Duc Giang, robots are now present in many links of the production chain. The concept of running a factory with just several workers is now more widely known.

    Huyen said that Vietnam is capable of catching up with the 4.0 industrial revolution’s pace, because Vietnamese engineers “now are very sensitive to new things, eager to learn and can quickly adapt to new circumstances”.

    With the presence of robots, a new generation of workers will appear. “I think in the future, our company will have a few hundred workers with an automated office,” he said.

    “Around 300 out of every 1,600 workers have lost jobs,” Huyen said. “Where will the workers go after they quit?”

    In theory, the workers can apply at enterprises with weaker financial capability which cannot buy robots and need workers in their production chains. However, the enterprises are mostly small and do not have high worker demand.

    “It is necessary to retrain workers. If we can do it the right way, difficulties will still exist, but we will not be confused about what to do,” said Tran Dinh Thien, head of the Vietnam Economics Institute.

    A recent survey found that Vietnamese businesses believe the country should focus on  business fields in which it has strong advantages in the 4.0 industrial revolution – IT (89.9 percent), tourism (45.7 percent), agriculture (44.9 percent), finance & banking (47 percent) and logistics (28.3 percent).

     Kim Chi, VNN

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