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  • 10/09/17--01:49: Article 3
  •  Timber product exports to hit $8 billion


     HÀ NỘI - The export of wood and timber products is forecast to bring in US$8 billion in 2017, posting a 17 per cent year-on-year increase and surpassing the target of $7-7.5 billion set earlier this year.


    A wood processing line at the Nam Định Forest Product Joint Stock Company at Bảo Minh Industrial Park. The wood sector is expected to surpass its export target this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

    Nguyễn Tôn Quyền, vice chairman and General Secretary of Việt Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES), said the impressive growth rate in the first nine months boosts prospects of the wood sector achieving its target.

    The sector earned $5.9 billion in export revenue from January to September, increasing 11 per cent from the same period last year. The wood export turnover reached some $700 million a month.

    Việt Nam’s wood products achieved the highest export growth from particle boards, artificial wood boards, melamine-faced chipboards (MDF) and wood pellets.

    The last three months of the year are generally the peak season for wood and wood product exports, so the industry’s target of $8 billion is deemed attainable.

    Wood exports grew in most traditional and key markets, such as the US, Japan, the EU, China and South Korea. The value of exports to the five markets makes up nearly 90 per cent of the total, said Quyền. 

    In May 2017, after a six-year negotiation process, Việt Nam initiated the Việt Nam-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). 

    Fundamental changes

    Quyền said implementation of this agreement in Việt Nam will ensure all wood products on the agreed list are legal. The document could create fundamental changes for Việt Nam’s wood processing sector, as well as domestic and export markets, including nations supplying wood material to Việt Nam and those buying wood and timber products from Việt Nam, he added.

    However, the country is facing several challenges, including the short supply of raw wood. Apart from domestic wood, Việt Nam imports a large amount of wood material worth $1.7-1.8 billion annually, equivalent to about 20-30 per cent of the export turnover. 

    Tô Xuân Phúc, an expert from Forest Trends, said Việt Nam’s export turnover of wooden products has been stable since 2015. However, Phúc said, the biggest challenge for the expansion of the wood sector was competition in raw wood purchase. China’s ban on natural forest logging, and restrictions imposed by Việt Nam and other countries on the trade, exploitation and export of raw wood have limited supply globally.

    He added that some of Việt Nam’s major wood and wood product importers such as the US, Australia and the EU demand to know the legal origin of wood. This means wood must come from forests grown under sustainable forest management standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and must be imported from non-risk sources.

    South Korea and Japan are also planning to tighten the management of imported wood products, he said, adding that this would directly impact Việt Nam’s exports to those markets. 

    The South Korean government will require importers to declare the legality and origin of wood and wood products imported into the country starting in late 2017. Japan will do the same in March 2018.

    Vietnamese wood processors and exporters must therefore devise solutions and long-term strategies to reduce risks and boost export growth. Local processors should choose clean raw wood to meet importers’ requirements, he said. - VNS


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  • 10/09/17--02:11: Article 2
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/10


    Vietnamese farm produce seeks path to Middle East


    Vietnamese farm produce seeks path to Middle East, Vietnam yields over 2.6 million tonnes of aquatic products in nine months, Deep C IZs chain up to line Haiphong, Rice exporters should diversify markets 

    With a total population of more than 400 million, the 16-country Middle East is a promising market for Vietnam’s farm exports, economic experts said.

    Statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that export-import revenue between Vietnam and the Middle East reached newly 10.89 billion USD in 2016, up more than 100 percent from 2011.

    However, Vietnam mainly ships electronics and spare parts, and garments-textiles to the Middle East, which make up 68.4 percent of the country’s export value to the region of 8.06 billion USD.

    Meanwhile, the region needs about 5-7 million tonnes of rice each year, along with vegetables, fruits, juice and seafood, which are among Vietnam’s strengths.

    Vo Quang Huy, Director of Huy Long An Co., Ltd., said the Middle East in general and Iran in particular are promising markets for banana exports, adding that his company used to deliver bananas to the region but had difficulties in the payment process.

    To export bananas to the Middle East, a company needs high-quality post-harvest preservation while bananas grow all across Vietnam, he said, noting transportation as another obstacle.

    Le Thanh, Director of the Institute of Vietnam Organic Agricultural Economics, described the Middle East as an “attractive paradise” for Vietnamese goods and a huge market for the country’s farm exports.

    However, he said, Vietnamese exporters still face barriers regarding logistics and payment.

    Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, said the Middle East is a gateway to Europe, highlighting the potential for export-import activities between Vietnam and the Middle East.

    Tran Van Tri, Director of An Viet International Investment JSC and Chairman of the Vietnam-Iran Business Council, said Iran is a promising market for Vietnamese electronics, garments-textiles and agricultural products like banana, pineapple, lemon, rice and seafood.

    Iran imports about 1.2 million tonnes of rice each year, he said, adding that An Viet International Investment JSC, the first Vietnamese firm licensed in Iran, recently shipped 207 tonnes to the country and aims to deliver another 200,000 tonnes in 2018. 

    He also said that payment issues remain the major barrier to bilateral trade.

    Le Quang Nhuan, General Director of Louis Rice Import Export Co., Ltd., suggested Vietnamese exporters cooperate with each other to hire a transportation company, explaining that transportation costs greatly impact on goods prices.

    According to the Commercial Counsellor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Iran, the country imports about 600,000 tonnes of bananas and 300,000 tonnes of rubber each year, noting that Iran can buy up to 500,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rubber annually.

    Regarding the payment barrier, the State Bank of Vietnam said Vietnamese commercial banks put themselves at risk when conducting payment activities in Iran.

    The central bank is expected to support one or two commercial banks to establish cooperative ties and payment channels with their Iranian counterparts.

    Experts suggested Vietnam set up a production chain to ensure product quality, while paying attention to Halal certificates for the Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.

    Idemitsu Q8 officially joins Vietnamese petroleum retail sector

    Foreign investors’ joining the retail distribution of petroleum is expected to break domestic distributors’ dominance, heating up the competition in this sector.

    On October 5, Idemitsu Q8 Petroleum Limited Liability Company (IQ8), a joint venture between Japanese company Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and Kuwait Petroleum International Ltd. (KPI), held the opening ceremony of the first Idemitsu Q8 service station at Thang Long Industrial Park, Hanoi, marking the first station of a petroleum retail network named IQ8 that will spread across Vietnam.

    The move is expected to create competition for the domestic petroleum retail market and benefit customers because both Idemitsu Kosan and KPI are well-known enterprises with numerous achievements in the petroleum retail business in Japan and Europe.

    Speaking at the ceremony, IQ8 general director Hiroaki Honjo stated that the company set to establish the professional retail petroleum trading network in Vietnam.

    IQ 8 will operate in petroleum import, wholesale, and retail, mainly through the construction and management of service stations, across Vietnam. The products will come from the upcoming Nghi Son oil refinery and petrochemical complex in the central province of Thanh Hoa, in which Idemitsu and KPI both have stakes.

    “The first station is considered the beginning for IQ8’s operation in Vietnam as well as a foundation for its expansion to emerging markets in the Pacific Belt region,” said Ghanim Al Otaibi, chairman of IQ8 cum vice president of KPI in Asia.

    IQ8’s petroleum stations will apply an automatic management software, permitting card payments and numerous convenient functions for customers.

    Besides, stations will be equipped with the most modern safety technologies and facilities to maximally prevent leakages, thereby minimising environmental risks. Furthermore, the staff will be trained to meet Japanese standards.

    IQ8’s service stations will offer plenty of advantages to attract customers, while simultaneously creating competition on the retail petroleum market that is currently dominated by domestic distributors.

    “Foreign newcomers will create pressure on domestic petroleum distributors to upgrade their existing facilities and improve service quality. Petrolimex anticipated the competition created by foreign distributors and has started preparations ten years ago, thus we are ready to take on IQ8 and other competitors,” said Nguyen Quang Dung, deputy general director of Petrolimex.

    However, Dung stated that in general, foreign investors financial potential is a strong advantage when they start operations in Vietnam, however, in the petroleum trading sector alone, this advantage is not as pronounced, as success also depends on market share, business site, as well as the operation network. Dung expressed confidence thanks to Petrolimex’s existing advantages.

    Accordingly, with 50 years of experience in the petroleum trading sector, Petrolimex is the biggest petroleum distributor in Vietnam with an extensive distribution network. The petroleum giant currently holds almost 50 per cent of the petroleum retail market, with over 50 per cent of its products directly sold to consumers and around 20 per cent to industrial customers.

    The Vietnamese petroleum retail market is considered highly attractive by potential foreign investors. Petroleum sales volume at present is between 17-19 million tonnes per year, 65 per cent of which is imported.

    Reference exchange rate goes down at week’s beginning

    The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD on October 9, the first day of the week, was set at 22,469 VND, down 1 VND from the last working day of the previous week (October 6).

    With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,143 VND/USD and the floor rate 21,795 VND/USD.

    The opening hour rates at major commercial banks saw some fluctuations, with Vietcombank cutting its buying rate by 25 VND from October 6 to 22,690 VND/USD and selling rate by 35 VND to 22,760 VND/USD.

    Meanwhile, Vietinbank and BIDV kept their rates unchanged from October 6.

    The greenback is being traded at 22,695 VND (buying) and 22,765 VND (selling) at Vietinbank, and at 22,690 VND (buying) and 22,760 VND (selling) at BIDV.

    Vietnam yields over 2.6 million tonnes of aquatic products in nine months

    Vietnam recorded over 2.6 million tonnes of aquatic products in the first nine months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 5.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    In January-September, the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Khanh Hoa caught 15,320 tonnes of ocean tuna, up 9.1 percent against the same period last year.

    The Mekong Delta harvested 998,000 tonnes of tra fish, a year-on-year increase of 9.8 percent. Dong Thap and Can Tho still led in output with 390,000 tonnes (up 18.7 percent) and 134,000 tonnes (up 13.5 percent), respectively.

    In the nine-month period, the total shrimp output reached more than 468,000 tonnes, up 27.1 percent year-on-year.

    Ambassador visits Japanese prefectures to seek investment cooperation

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong has paid visits to the Japanese prefectures of Okayama, Tottori, and Shimane in Shikoku region to seek investment cooperation with Japanese businesses.

    While meeting local enterprises, Ambassador Cuong underlined the message of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered during his visit to Japan in June that it is time for businesses and localities of the two counties to boost cooperation and foster win-win ties in the next five or 10 years.

    Governor of Okayama Ibaragi Ryuta said Vietnam is receiving the most attention from the prefecture’s businesses to study investment opportunities with 122 firms, compared to 72 in China, 57 in Thailand and 56 in Indonesia.

    With a population of nearly two million people and gross domestic product (GDP) of about 70 billion USD, Okayama is developing hi-tech industry, agriculture and tourism.

    Meanwhile Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji said many local businesses are eying Vietnam. He wants to introduce local businesses with advanced technologies to Vietnamese hi-tech special economic zones.

    Whereas, Shimane prefecture is home to many small-and medium-sized enterprises in machinery manufacturing, electronic spare parts production, food processing, and agro-fisheries.

    Japanese enterprises said they were interested in the tax and custom system and the opening of representative offices and bonded warehouses in Vietnam, and hoped to expand investment in the Southeast Asian country in the coming time.

    Garment and textile enterprises’ qualms over new wage and social insurance policies

    The minimum wage increase, coupled with the increase for social insurance and union fees, is putting financial burdens on enterprises operating in labour-intensive sectors, such as the garment and textile sector.

    At the October 4 conference on estimating the impacts of labour, wage, and social insurance policies on garment and textile enterprises organised by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) in Hanoi, representatives of organisations and enterprises in the garment and textile sector expressed concerns over the minimum wage increase as well as social insurance policies due to their negative impact on their manufacturing operations.

    According to a representative of Nguyen Hoang Garment Co., Ltd., the new wage and social insurance policies, which will come into effect from early 2018, are considered a burden preventing the development of garment and textile enterprises in general and Nguyen Hoang in particular.

    Nguyen Hoang’s representative stated that almost all enterprises present at the processing stage with low profit, while salary expenses make up approximately 70 per cent of the total manufacturing expenditure, thus further wage increases will increase manufacturing expenditure, and product costs, in turn. Thereby, enterprises will find it difficult to find orders.

    Besides, we have seen consecutive increases in the minimum wage without the appropriate evaluation of its impact on labour productivity.

    According to statistics released at the conference by Truong Van Cam, vice president of Vitas, in 2008-2017, the government adjusted the minimum wage ten times with the average annual growth of 21.9 per cent for domestic enterprises and 15.2 per cent for foreign invested enterprises.

    Meanwhile, in 2008-2016, we saw the annual average growth of 5.96 per cent in gross domestic product (GDP), 8.7 per cent in consumer price index (CPI), and 4 per cent in labour productivity. These statistics reinforce enterprises’ panic on the minimum wage increase schedule.

    Along with the minimum wage increase, the new regulations on social insurance, especially the extension of subjects participating in compulsory social insurance, also causes enterprises worry for to its impact on manufacturing expenditures.

    Accordingly, the new regulation add people working under labour contracts with a term between one month and less than three months to be covered by compulsory social insurance.

    Hoang Minh Khang, deputy general director of Hanoi Textile and Garment JSC (Hanosimex), stated that the new regulation on social insurance will add to enterprises’ financial burdens. Thus, adding this group to those covered by compulsory social insurance will not only increase manufacturing expenditures but also cost enterprises time to completing administrative procedures.

    Responding to the minimum wage regulation, Khang said that Vietnam should remove this regulation because in competitive markets, enterprises offering attractive wages and allowance policies will recruit high-quality employees, while those failing to meet workers’ demands will struggle to retain or recruit employees.

    Previously, at the workshop themed “Labour Productivity and Wage Growth in Vietnam” organised in September, Truong Dinh Tuyen, former Minister of Trade, now Minister of Industry and Trade, said that local authorities need to remove the minimum wage policy and permit enterprises and employees to negotiate employees’ income among themselves, while skilled employees need to be encouraged to increase their labour productivity via wage increase.

    If this policy comes into effect, it will increase competition between enterprises, forcing them to voluntarily increase wages.

    Vietnam represented at int’l travel market in Ukraine

    A delegation led by Vietnamese Ambassador to Ukraine Nguyen Anh Tuan attended the 24th Ukraine International Travel Market in Kiev on October 4-6.

    On display at the Vietnamese booth were images of the country’s landscapes and people as well as its famous destinations, attracting visitors and tourism businesses.

    Vietnam also attended seminars held during the event to provide more information for travel agencies of Ukraine and other countries.

    The Ukraine International Travel Market was attended by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation along with 200 travel agencies of Ukraine and nearly 30 other countries, serving an estimated 15,000 visitors.

    It is held twice a year as one of the biggest events for Ukraine’s travel industry. In 2016, the travel fair drew about 14,000 visitors.

    Tourism is among major fields of cooperation between Vietnam and Ukraine. Two-way trade has grown, with a 12 percent rise in 2016 to 264.2 million USD and a 19.1 percent increase year-on-year in the first seven months of 2017.

    Kien Giang boosts exports in remaining months

    The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is striving to gross more than 42 million USD from exports in the fourth quarter of 2017, fulfilling its yearly target of 400 million USD.

    Head of the import-export office under the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Ngo Quang Binh said one of the most important solutions in foreign trade activities in Q4 is providing key export businesses with global market information so that they can have flexible business plans and improve their competitiveness.

    Global import demand in the remaining months of this year is forecast to surge, ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, he said, adding that it is necessary to reinforce traditional markets while seeking new ones as well as long-term partners.
    Businesses should prepare seafood material, high-quality rice, and ensure food safety to supply for export processing plants, focusing on aquatic products with high economic values, he said.

    The province helps businesses access loans and has increased trade activities at the Ha Tien international border gate and Gia Thanh national border gate on the local border with Cambodia, he added.

    It also plans to implement a project improving the competitiveness of Vietnamese export products, a rice export development strategy, and to establish a steering committee on international integration.

    In the first nine months of 2017, the export turnover in Kien Giang exceeded 357 million USD, a year-on-year rise of 38 percent, of which farm produce earned 136 million USD and aquatic products 144 million USD.

    EuroCham opens Hai Phong chapter
       
    The European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam, EuroCham, opened a new chapter in the northern port city of Hai Phong last week. This is its second regional branch after a central Viet Nam chapter was launched in November.

    Representatives of EuroCham also participated in the ground-breaking ceremony of the Deep C Industrial Zones, and toured the new industrial facilities around Hai Phong, most notably Lach Huyen Port and Tan Vu Bridge.

    They also met with business leaders, local authorities and European diplomatic representatives to discuss the potential of the north-eastern region of Viet Nam as a prime investment destination.

    Experts and officials discussed local investment practices, tax incentives, talent management, real estate development and new infrastructure projects, providing a unique opportunity to hear from experts and government representatives about the current business potential of Hai Phong and northeastern Viet Nam.

    The region is well-positioned to become the next leading destination for business, trade and investment in Viet Nam, and EuroCham has taken a decisive step to ensure support for its present and prospective members involved in business in the country’s north-eastern region.

    Deep C IZs chain up to line Haiphong

    Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC, backed by leading Belgian port, industrial zone, and green energy group Rent-A-Port, recently started developing its Deep C III Industrial Zone, creating a chain of state-of-the-art industrial zones to capitalise on Haiphong’s emerging investment advantages.

    With a total investment capital sum of US$260 million, the new DEEP C Industrial Zone (IZ) covers a total land area of 520 hectares, including an inland waterway port on Haiphong’s Cat Hai Island. Deep C III is well connected to Lach Huyen International Gateway Port, Tan Vu-Lach Huyen Bridge, Hanoi-Haiphong Expressway, and Haiphong-Halong-China Expressway. In addition, Cat Bi International Airport is 40 minutes away by car, with direct flights to several Asian countries providing for many shipment possibilities.

    “We trust that Deep C III is a perfect location as an international logistics base. With a first deepwater seaport for the north of Vietnam, this will allow cost-efficient imports and exports due to direct connections, avoiding transshipment in Hong Kong or Singapore,” said Frank Wouters, general director of Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC at the groundbreaking ceremony.

    He added that the new zone will prioritise attracting automotive suppliers, logistics businesses, and general industries thanks to its proximity to Vietnam’s largest potential automobile manufacturing hub and international gateways.

    “Deep C wants to attract automobile parts suppliers who are eyeing Vietnam to supply ASEAN and find an alternative for the increasing costs in China, Thailand, or Indonesia. This is in line with the vision of the Vietnamese government to develop the country’s automotive industry. We also trust that our automobile supporting industrial park can be a good combination for our neighbour, the Vinfast automobile manufacturing complex,” Wouters said.

    The construction of the electric motorbike and automobile manufacturing complex Vinfast, invested by Vietnam’s leading property developer Vingroup, began last month. The complex, with a total investment

    capital sum of VND35 trillion ($1.5 billion), is expected to debut  its motorbikes in September 2018 and automobiles in 2019. The complex, located in Haiphong’s Dinh Vu-Cat Hai Economic Zone, has an annual designed capacity of 500,000 units.

    According to the statistics, the Vietnamese car market is expanding rapidly. It is forecasted  that 220,000 cars will be sold in Vietnam annually by 2020, and by 2030 the estimated sales will soar to 1.5 million annually.

    “We believe Vietnam is the next automotive hub for both original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers – not only in Southeast Asia, but also for Europe and North America. With the Deep C IZs in Haiphong, we are looking to turn the vision into a reality,” said Hans Kerstens, head of Business Development of Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC.

    Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC, with stakeholder Rent-A-Port’s leadership and contribution from the Haiphong People’s Committee and Infra Asia Investment Hong Kong, started developing the first Deep C IZ 20 years ago. Today, it is a symbol of the firm co-operation and relationship between Belgium and Vietnam, as the Deep C cluster is the largest Belgian investment in Vietnam.

    The consortium’s two Deep C IZs, occupying a total land area of 2,000ha, have become premier IZs in the north of Vietnam, attracting 70-plus projects backed by multinational companies from Japan, Germany, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea, with a total investment amount of over $3 billion. Prominent investors in the two Deep C IZs include Bridgestone, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Idemitsu, Shin-etsu, Chevron, PV Oil, IHI, Nippon Express, Yusen, Knauf, C. Steinweg, Flat Group, and more.

    The most significant difference to its sister IZs is that the new zone will be developed to become a true eco-IZ, where green energy production and supply facilities will be built, clean water will be produced from available sources of raw water by green power, and all projects in the zone will be high-tech and environmentally friendly.

    “We are the first pioneer in Haiphong to take part in the city’s initiative to invest in environmental improvements. Implementation of eco-park initiatives for sustainable IZs in Vietnam is a major goal for us,” said Wouters.

    On the same day, Dinh Vu Industrial Zone JSC and Vietnam Electrical Equipment JSC (GELEX) signed a principal agreement for a land lease contract for 50 hectares in Deep C III, making it the first tenant in the IZ.

    Following this agreement, GELEX will invest in a $300,000 power equipment complex, the product of which will be sold domestically and exported throughout the Asian market.

    As scheduled, the first phase of GELEX’s complex will become operational by the end of 2018, creating jobs for 200 local workers.

    “We are happy to welcome GELEX as the first Vietnamese company in our new zone, and are sure we will do some ‘electric’ business with GELEX to assure the best services to all new tenants. It’s a pure win-win operation for all newcomers in the zone,” said Hans Kerstens, head of Business Development at Dinh Vu.

    Incorporated in 1995, GELEX operates under a nine-member company model and focuses on electrical equipment production as its main business line. GELEX has also successfully expanded its activities in various fields including energy investment, logistics and port services, real estate investment, and financial investment. GELEX’s annual revenue has consistently hit double digits, and is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2020.

    Times Garden Halong ties the know with Swiss-Belhotel International

    Times Garden Halong, a five-star condotel located in the heart of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh’s Halong city, has partnered up with Swiss-Belhotel International.

    In June, Times Garden Halong was awarded the “Halong Best Real Estate” title at Vietnam Property Awards 2017.

    Swiss-Belhotel International currently manages some 150 luxury hotels, resorts and real estate projects around the world.

    Through this co-operation, the complex will be operated under the brand "Swiss-Belhotel Halong Bay."

    The complex consists of 50 luxury terraced shophouses, with a view on an 11-metre walking street, in addition to 236 luxury condotels managed as modern hotel apartments owned by investors.

    The complex’s entire interior and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) system, which comprises of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and sanitation and fire alarm, are of a five-star standard, managed and ultilised by Swiss-Bel Hotel International for a minimum of 10 years.

    Residents and visitors can enjoy amenities, such as swimming pools, a spa, luxurious international restaurants, convention centres, and entertainment venues fitting for expatriates.

    On October 5, Times Garden Halong Festival was held at the project site and along its walking street. The event was a simulation of European street festivals, with special activities taking place from October 5 to 8.

    The launch of the Swiss-Belhotel Halong Bay brand and the five-star international-standard condotel complex was held on the evening of October 7, featuring special art programmes to visitors.

    The festival is a spiritual event for Times Garden Halong, Swiss-Belhotel International, as well as residents and visitors to the coastal city of Halong.

    Rice exporters should diversify markets

    Diversifying into high-value rice markets could be a boon for Vietnamese rice exporters, experts have suggested.

    Vietnam earned 2 billion USD from shipping about 4.5 million tonnes of rice abroad in the first nine months of 2017, representing year-on-year rises of 18 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively.

    The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has set a rice export target of 5.7 million tonnes in 2017, up 800,000 tonnes compared to the previous year.

    China accounts for 38 percent of Vietnam’s total rice exports with some 1.5 million tonnes worth more than 700 million USD.

    Apart from China, the Philippines and Malaysia are strong consumers of Vietnamese rice.

    From now to late 2017 and 2018, the VFA said the rice market will be led by demand from Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, China and Africa.

    Vietnam’s rice exporters will face fierce competition from Thai rivals. Cambodia also wants to enter Vietnam’s traditional rice export markets.

    In the context of climate change, the Mekong Delta – the largest granary of Vietnam, should focus on growing high-quality and high-value rice.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said “We can accept reducing the area but have to increase rice value. This requirement is urgent to improve the livelihood of farmers.”

    Experts said the rice sector needs to take measures to shift to cultivation of rice with higher value and food safety.

    More importantly, rice businesses should aim to produce high-quality rice using advanced technologies.

    Vietnam & Netherlands establish Fresh Academy

    Fresh Academy - a training center focused on knowledge and practical application to support the development of Vietnam’s agriculture towards becoming a sustainable and advanced sector - has been officially established.

    With the support of the Dutch Government, since 2015 a group of training organizations from Vietnam and the Netherlands have come together to prepare for the establishment of the Fresh Academy. The long-term goal is to provide training in all key areas of agricultural production throughout the country.

    The Fresh Academy offers practical training sessions for private sector organizations (farmers / producers, distributors / traders, retailers and service providers) as well as the public sector and NGOs active within the agricultural sector.

    Dutch partners include HAS University, Wageningen University, Lentiz Group, Demonursery Westland, and Kenlog BV. On the Vietnamese side are Fresh Studio and four agriculture and forestry universities: Da Lat University, Dong Thap University, the Ho Chi Minh City Agriculture and Forestry University, and the Vietnam National University of Agriculture.

    At the launch ceremony, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Vietnam, H.E. Nienke Trooster, congratulated those involved in the establishment of Fresh Academy and said that this is a great opportunity for farmers and agricultural enterprises in Vietnam and the Netherlands to exchange experience to develop sustainable agriculture.

    “This is the start and there are some obstacles ahead,” she said. “But we are convinced that successful models such as Fresh Academy will provide the basis for the success of Vietnam’s agricultural sector in the years to come.”

    Vietnam and the Netherlands have close cooperative relations in agriculture. Water, agriculture, and climate change were the most important matters discussed during the official visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the country in July.

    The two signed a strategic partnership agreement in sustainable agriculture and food security in 2014, involving Dutch help in responding to climate change, among other things.

    The Netherlands is also among the largest European investors in Vietnam, ranking eleventh out of the 119 countries and territories investing in the country, with 287 projects worth $7.7 billion.

    After establishing diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1973, the Netherlands began providing non-refundable ODA to the country, mainly in humanitarian activities, education and training, and healthcare.

    Shrimp exports to US set to increase

    The latest figures from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) show that shrimp export turnover to the US is rising while tra fish products continue to decline.

    Total shrimp export turnover in the first seven months of the year reached $344.7 million, down 5.5 per cent year-on-year, with the eight-month figure reaching $416 million, down 4.4 per cent year-on-year. 

    The EU surpassed Japan to become Vietnam’s largest shrimp export market. China followed, with the US again fourth.

    VASEP forecasts that demand for shrimp imports in the US will continue to improve in the closing months of this year, contributing to higher export turnover, albeit not significantly.

    While shrimp exports to the US have improved, the export of tra fish to the country continues to decline. According to VASEP’s figures, tra fish export turnover to the US in the first seven months reached $223 million, down 1 per cent over year-on-year. The eight-month figure fell 6 per cent year-on-year, to $241 million.

    “From now until the end of the year, the export of tra fish to the US market will continue to decline,” VASEP forecast, adding that a catfish inspection program and antidumping tariff barriers are behind the decline.

    China therefore became Vietnam’s largest tra fish export market in the first eight months, with turnover of $247.4 million, up 43.9 per cent over the same period last year.

    Vietnamese seafood businesses will continue facing obstacles over the remainder of the year, including in quantity and quality of input materials and barriers in import markets, General Secretary of VASEP, Mr. Truong Dinh Hoe, told a recent conference in Ho Chi Minh City. 

    VASEP forecasts that total seafood shipments are likely to hit $8 billion for the whole year, up 14 per cent against last year’s figure, thanks to key exports like shrimp, tra fish, tuna, and squid.

    Experts, however, said that major challenges, such as high anti-dumping duties and the US inspection program, require domestic exporters devise appropriate export plans, in particular adapting to market fluctuations.

    UPS bolsters export & import services in central and southern region

    Global logistics service provider UPS has recently announced in will enhance its services in ten provinces in central and southern Vietnam: Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Tay Ninh, Thua Thien Hue, and Tien Giang.

    The company has cut transit times for export and import shipments within Asia from two days to one and improved shipment times from Europe from three days to two. In addition, the cut-off times for pick-up have been extended by up to three hours. This service enhancement is part of UPS’s long-term strategy to provide local small and medium-sized enterprises with greater access to global trade.

    “As a trade enabler, UPS is focused on reducing barriers for businesses looking to engage in cross-border commerce,” said Mr. Daryl Tay, Managing Director of UPS Vietnam. 

    “The Vietnamese Government has expressed a commitment to pursue 6.7 per cent GDP growth. Positive discussions are taking place around easing inter- and intra-regional trade with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). We remain confident that trade will continue to flourish with Vietnam’s growing middle class and shifts in manufacturing.”  

    UPS also recently enhanced services in nine northern provinces, bringing the company’s presence to 19 provinces in the country.

    “Suppliers are under increasing pressure to provide more products and services of higher quality, at greater speed and at lower cost,” Mr. Tay added. 

    “By offering later export cut-off times and improved transit times, UPS’s customers in Vietnam can extend their production lead times to process more orders and still deliver goods to satisfy their end-consumers’ needs. When combined with UPS’s broad range of logistics solutions, retail, high tech, industrial and automotive manufacturers can maintain an agile and robust supply chain while enjoying competitive advantages in the international marketplace.”  

    Vietnam is the EU’s second most important trading partner within the ten-member ASEAN bloc, and is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. UPS’s latest expansion of the UPS Worldwide Express Plus™ service saw its earlier morning deliveries expanded to 28 new countries, including Vietnam, and enhanced in 25 existing countries including China, Japan and the UK.

    UPS is a global logistics service provider, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight, facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, US, UPS now serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

    LienVietPostBank plans to sell 25% stake to foreign strategic investor

    LienVietPostBank is currently in talks to sell a 25 per cent stake to an overseas strategic investor as it seeks expertise to expand its foothold, CEO Mr. Pham Doan Son told an October 2 meeting with investors.

    He did not, however, name the foreign partner or the price the shares may be sold for. His statement comes after the bank announced it has decided to on a foreign ownership limit of 5 per cent. As at July 17, the bank’s largest shareholder was the Vietnam Post Corporation, with 12.54 per cent.

    Its co-founder, the Him Lam Corp., has not been a shareholder since June, shortly before Him Lam’s Chairman Mr. Duong Cong Minh stepped down as Chairman of the bank and was elected Chairman the Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered Sacombank.

    LienVietPostBank expects its foreign partner to support it in building a governance and organizational strategy as well as provide financing, Mr. Son said.

    Foreign ownership in Vietnamese banks is capped at 30 per cent, while a single foreign strategic investor can own a 20 per cent stake at most. The government has several times said it would loosen the cap to make investment in a local bank more attractive.

    “A number of foreign investors have shown interest in acquiring shares and we are holding talks with several renowned institutions,” Mr. Son said. “We cannot reveal the price now and it will take years, not days, to complete the sale.”

    The executive also denied rumors that LienVietPostBank would merge with Sacombank and noted that it would also not acquire a consumer finance company, as other banks have done, as it will make use of the 200 branches and transactions offices and the right to use 10,000 post offices of the Vietnam National Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) nationwide.

    On October 5, LienVietPostBank floated 646 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) at VND14,800 ($0.65) a share. The bank had nearly VND150 trillion ($6.6 billion) worth of assets as at the end of August, and earned a pre-tax profit of VND1.29 trillion ($56.78 million) in the first eight months of the year.

    Vietnamese exporters face compliance challenges from US market

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent 32 warning letters to Vietnamese exporters in the first seven months of 2017. During the 2009-2017 period, the number of warnings totalled nearly 500, mostly concerning seafood products.

    In order to export goods subject to FDA regulations for the US market, exporters must comply with this agency’s strict requirements and obtain its certificates.

    The FDA will send a letter of warning to exporters whose shipments are found to have issues on quality, safety, pesticide residues and even labelling. The agency also warns the enterprises which fail to comply with new import regulations or update their information when it is changed.

    According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the FDA’s information is publicly available on its website and it is not difficult to find information about the US import policy updates as well as the list of Vietnamese enterprises given warnings on its website.

    Since Vietnamese enterprises do not keep abreast of the latest information, those under warnings will risk being inspected by the FDA, having their goods audited and customs clearance time prolonged. This will lead to higher costs and unexpected consequences such as being banned from exporting to the US.

    Therefore, enterprises should arrange personnel to proactively collect information on new regulations of their export markets and make adjustments to ensure compliance, thereby maintaining their export opportunities.

    In addition, it is necessary to enhance the role of relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnamese trade representatives abroad and domestic trade associations in helping enterprises increase their awareness and capacity in food safety and diversify channels to provide enterprises with information on any new regulations.

    In that spirit, an initiative to compile a set of quality standards for Vietnamese goods is a move being welcomed and should include universal international standards.

    As taxes are being lowered under new trade agreements, it has become a trend in importing countries to put up non-tariff barriers with which exporters must comply. But this is also an opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to enhance their competitiveness by increasing the quality of their products.

    At the same time, it will help Vietnamese regulators to change their perception and create more effective and diversified technical barriers to protect domestic enterprises and consumers in the age of deepening international integration.

    HSBC: More Thai firms to tap Vietnam market

    Many Thai enterprises are interested in the Vietnam market and they will strengthen investment in the country to catch new opportunities in various fields, said Kelvin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand Bank.

    Speaking to local reporters at a conference in HCMC yesterday, Tan said Thai firms would raise investment via direct investment and merger and acquisition deals.

    In recent time, the nation has seen many mergers between Thai and Vietnamese firms, among which HSBC Vietnam has participated in large transactions between BJC and Metro’s Cash & Carry, Central Group’s PowerBuy and Nguyen Kim shopping center.

    Thai investors pay much intention to the retail market, focusing on the food and beverage and consumer goods sectors. In addition, they have plans to invest in other fields such as building materials, power plants and feed production.

    Thai firms favor investment in Vietnam as the two countries are in close proximity and have many similarities in culture, Tan added.

    In addition, Vietnam has turned attractive to international investors due to its active participation numerous in free trade agreements (FTAs) and the ASEAN Economic Community. When tariffs are removed, Thai firms will eye Vietnam as a transit point to enhance exports to other countries.

    When 16 FTAs Vietnam has participated become effective in 2020, Vietnam will join a network with 59 partners, including 15 G20 member countries. Meanwhile, Thailand does not have as many FTAs as Vietnam.

    Besides, Vietnam has advantages of macro-economic and political stability, low labor cost and the Government’s incentives.

    According to Pham Hong Hai, general director of HSBC Vietnam, the lender has visited some ASEAN countries to call for investment into Vietnam over the past three years. In Thailand, many investors said Vietnam was their top priority.

    As HSBC concentrates on Asia, especially ASEAN markets, HSBC Vietnam has developed business in nations with large investment in Vietnam.

    According to the General Statistics Office, Thailand had invested US$8.13 billion in 458 active projects in Vietnam, ranking 10th among 115 nations and territories with largest investment in the country by March. It had ranked third in the ASEAN region after Singapore and Malaysia.

    Between January and June, Thai enterprises poured US$146.4 million in 20 projects in the country.

    SMEs need to improve transparency for easier access to capital

    Information transparency is one of the key factors that help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) get funding from credit institutions, said experts at a conference on financial solutions for SMEs held by the State Bank of Vietnam in Hanoi on October 5.

    Can Van Luc, an expert in finance and banking, said SMEs are classified as those with an average number of employees covered by social insurance in the preceding year of no more than 200 each. Besides, their total capital in the preceding year should not exceed VND100 billion (US$4.4 million) and turnover in the preceding year not higher than VND300 billion.

    There were about 590,000 operational SMEs in Vietnam as of late 2016, with 68% of them micro enterprises.

    SMEs mainly get funding from the State budget, foreign investment, stocks and bonds, business partners, credit, and their own capital.

    Luc said many SMEs lack access to finance, which hinders their growth. The reason is that SMEs are not attractive to credit institutions because they have poor credit and high operating costs.

    Credit institutions have not had specific products and services for SMEs, and complicated procedures have caused slow capital disbursement.

    According to Luc, most SMEs have poor business governance and lack transparency, use obsolete technologies and unskilled laborers, and are unable to meet the banks’ lending criteria. Besides, they lack business strategies, strong brand, competitive products, assets as mortgage, risk insurance, and deep understanding of financial policies.

    Hoang Thi Hong, chairwoman of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (SMEDF) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said SMEs need to make their information transparent if they want to get access to financial support. The most important information that credit institutions need before they make lending decisions include the SMEs’ total assets, owner’s equity, annual revenue and profit, and business performance.

    Hong suggested SMEs actively work with credit institutions, create effective business plans, enhance their understanding of the Government’s financial and supporting policies, cooperate with each other, and improve management skills.

    For credit institutions, they should launch products and services aligned to SMEs’ specific characteristic, with simple lending procedures and favorable interest rates.

    According to Doan Duy Khuong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), SMEs account for 97% of Vietnam’s total number of enterprises and 45% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). They contribute 31% to the State budget, and employ over five million workers.

    HSBC: Public debt to stay within safety zone

    HSBC Bank expected that Vietnam’s public debt this year would not exceed the limit imposed by the National Assembly as the strong economic growth in the third quarter helped reduce the burden on the Government.

    In a report released on Wednesday, HSBC said Vietnam’s economy has soared above its expectations. The economy grew at a staggering 7.5% year-on-year in the third quarter from 6.4% in the previous three-month period.

    The annualized growth this year has reached 6.4% from just 5.7% in the first half of the year, putting the Government closer to reaching its 6.7% target for 2017.

    A continued rise in exports and industrial manufacturing were some of the primary drivers of growth, as the strong tech cycle in the second quarter persisted throughout the third quarter. Exports grew 22% year-on-year in the third quarter (the same as the previous quarter), led by higher shipments of phones and electronic components, while industrial manufacturing grew by an average of 10% year-on-year from 8% in the second quarter.

    Moreover, agricultural production and foreign direct investment (FDI) have picked up handsomely since the first half of the year, further lifting growth. Higher tourist arrivals and agricultural production also provided an additional lift to growth.

    Importantly, the strong print in the third quarter eases the load on the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to enact further stimulus measures that might exacerbate risks in the economy.

    In July, the SBV cut its policy rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%, alongside simultaneous cuts to various other rates, in a bid to boost growth. Moreover, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in August called for an increase in the credit growth target from 18% to 21% to further incentivize private consumption and investment.

    While credit-driven growth is not necessarily a problem given the rising role of private consumption and non-state investments, it may also create new risks for the banking sector if new credit is placed in less productive industries. In addition, reaching (or at least getting close to) the government’s 6.7% growth target this year makes it less likely that the country would exceed the National Assembly’s mandated debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) limit of 65%, HSBC commented.

    According to the Finance Ministry, public debt will reach a record high of 64.8% of GDP in 2017-2018 before gradually falling in subsequent years, assuming growth remains around 6.7%. Of course, there remain risks that growth in 2018 would be subpar, especially if global trade drastically cools off, but at least the risks for this year have been tempered.

    With the most recent reading, HSBC also revised up its GDP forecast to 6.6% in 2017 and continue to expect growth of 6.4% in 2018.

    National Assembly's 2017 targets are within reach: PM

    All 13 norms set by the National Assembly for 2017 would be fulfilled, of which five would exceed targets and eight others would meet goals, said PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    The Government chief noticed that 2017 will be the first year the Government accomplishes all the 13 norms set by the National Assembly.

    Government members commended that in the first nine months, the socio-economic performance witnessed three outstanding achievements, including good GDP growth pace; stable macro-economy; improved business and investment environment, and national competitiveness.

    Specifically, the economic growth  improved remarkably. In Q3, GDP growth pace reached a record high of 7.46%, exceeding expectations. Generally, in the first nine months, GDP expanded 6.41%, higher than the rate of 5.99% in the same period last year, making it possible to accomplish the preset norm of 6.7%.

    In the January-September period, the economic growth reflected the transformation of the growth modal which reduces heavy reliance on natural resources and focuses on production, service, trade, and deep development.

    In addition, the higher GDP growth rate also showed the effective and timely solutions of the Government, drastic management of all levels, sectors, and localities.

    The macro-economy was kept stable. Meanwhile, large balances were ensured.

    According to PM Phuc, with the growth pace, without large-scale natural disasters, 2017 will be the first years Viet Nam succeeds in fulfilling all 13 norms of the National Assembly.

    In early October, a series of international organizations showed their optimistic outlooks on Viet Nam’s economic performance.

    The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) just raised Viet Nam’s growth forecast from 6.0% to 6.6% in 2017 in its latest report. HSBC believed the Vietnamese economy will continue to perform well and may expand 6.4% next year.

     The World Bank (WB) on October 4 announced the East Asia and Pacific Economic Update. According to the report, Viet Nam’s economy maintains stable growth. Manufacturing and processing industry heading to exports and domestic demands sharply increased. Viet Nam’s economic growth is forecasted to stand around 6.4% in the 2018-2019 period, the report says, adding that the poverty proportion will continue reducing if there is no disadvantages of natural calamity.

    Earlier, the World Economic Forum’s latest global competitiveness list, released on September 28 ranked Việt Nam 55th overall, up five places from last year and 20 from five years ago.

    However, PM Phuc stressed that despite the positive socio-economic performance in September and the first nine months, it is necessary to avoid subjectivism, negligence, and satisfaction.

    There remain heavy duties during the rest minths of the year, requiring every ministry, agency, and locality to be active and creative to accomplish the assigned missions.

    Ministries, agencies, and localities were urged to take drastic steps, especially to achieve the set 6.7% GDP growth pace.

    Vietjet hailed as tourism pioneer
       
    The Guide magazine of Viet Nam Economic Times has awarded Vietjet “The Pioneering Airline Award” for its outstanding contribution to the development of Vietnamese tourism.

    The award ceremony was held in Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc Island last week.

    The award results were based on votes, opinions of readers, in addition to the performance and practical survey of The Guide’s organisers, and other trustworthy information sources.

    The awards committee described the carrier as a pioneering airline in using the latest generation airplanes, opening new routes, painting a Vietnamese tourism logo on airplanes, and introducing the Hello Viet Nam tune on more than 100 international and domestic routes.

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


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  • 10/09/17--02:33: Article 1
  • Social News 9/10


    Accurate asbestos-related information required for health protection

    Several scientists and epidemiologists participated in the “Information exchange on the usage of chrysotile” conference, hosted by the Hà Nội Union of Science and Technology Associations (HUSTA) on Friday.

    Speaking at the conference, Bùi Thị An, deputy head of HUSTA, stressed upon the significance of accurate asbestos-related information in public health protection and national sustainable development.

    Chrysotile, like other forms of asbestos, is a hazardous substance widely used in the fibro cement sheet industry in Việt Nam.

    Several research projects have indicated that chrysotile causes asbestosis, mesothelioma and cancer of the lungs, larynx and ovaries.

    According to Nguyễn Văn Sơn, deputy head of the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, asbestos exposure is the leading cause of death from occupational cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, which means any exposure to asbestos can result in asbestos-related disease.

    “With annual consumption of 60 to 70 tonnes of asbestos, since the establishment of the first fibro cement sheet factory in 1963, it is estimated to have two million tonnes of asbestos used in Việt Nam,” Sơn said.

    Despite its impact on human health, there is no official research or report on asbestos-related diseases in Việt Nam. All information cited in the conference was from research issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and other international agencies.

    According to WHO, until July, 2017, 124 countries had banned the use of asbestos.
    In 1998, Việt Nam officially adopted a legal ban on brown and blue asbestos and placed chrysotile under strict control. In 2001, the Prime Minister issued a regulation to ban the use of chrysotile in 2004. However, this ban has not yet been enforced.

    On this occasion, Đỗ Quốc Quang, a specialist of the Institute of Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, presented an asbestos-free corrugated roofing sheet. He emphasised the superiority of this product over fibro cement sheet since it was environment and health-friendly.

    The conference, besides providing information of chrysotile and other types of asbestos, aims to advocate for a ban on chrysotile usage for health reasons.

    Former Vietnam News Agency Director passed away

    Đỗ Kim Phượng, former member of the Central Committee, Vietnam News Agency general director and the first editor-in-chief of Việt Nam News, passed away on October 8.

    He was 87. Born in 1930, Phượng joined the Communist Party when he was 17 and served in many positions from the central agencies to the local governments, a first-hand witness to the tumultuous history of Việt Nam in the 20th century.

    In 1966, at the age 36, he was entrusted with the position of deputy editor-in-chief at the Vietnam News Agency.

    During his six years (1990-1996) there, Đỗ Phượng together with the board of directors implemented renovation efforts to help the national news agency keep up with new demands for journalism in the time of international integration.

    In the introduction to his book “Journalism – Unforgettable Memories” (published in 1998), Phượng wrote, “No matter what era, a journalist must be dedicated, righteous, and brave.” His life and works have stayed true to these words.

    The wake and the funeral will be held on October 12 from 7:30 to 9:30am at the National Funeral Home at No 5, Trần Thánh Tông Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội.

    The burial ceremony will be held in his hometown, Vĩnh Bảo District, of the northern port city of Hải Phòng.

    First festival promoting Ha Nam’s tourism held


     Accurate asbestos-related information required for health protection, Former Vietnam News Agency Director passed away, Vietnamese youths follow labor export trend, seek opportunity in Japan 
      
    A first-of-its-kind festival to promote local tourism, traditional crafts and cuisine took place in the northern province of Hà Nam and ended on Sunday (October 8).

    The festival was held in keeping with the theme of the 2017 National Tourism Year, which aims to develop tourism into a key economy.

    Speaking at the opening of the event, Vice Chairman of the Hà Nam Province’s People’s Committees Bùi Quang Cẩm stressed that the tourism, traditional crafts and cuisine festival, this year, aimed at introducing to visitors local tourism products of not only Hà Nam Province but also provinces within the Red River Delta.

    The three-day event was also expected to open up venues for a tourism cooperation among regions within the Hà Nam Province and other provinces, nearby.

    The festival showcased 70 booths of 50 units from six districts and the city of Hà Nam Province, the local Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the local Tourism Promotion Information Centre and the Tourism Promotion Centres of nine provinces in the Red River Delta and its vicinity. 

    All the booths were designed with themes to introduce the cuisines, cultures and traditional crafts of each participating province. The exhibition was interspersed with performances from artisans and on-the-spot introductions of guides, which attracted a huge number of visitors to the festival.

    Bears raised for bile in Vietnam get second chance at life

    After years of being held captive at illegal facilities in Vietnam for their bile, hundreds of bears have been rescued and given a second chance to live thanks to the tireless work of local sanctuaries.

    Around ten years ago, bear bile became a hunted-for item on the black market in Vietnam due to its rumored medicinal properties.

    The craze for the digestive fluid – produced by the liver and stored in the bear’s gallbladder – led to the mushrooming of bile bear farms across Vietnam, many of which were household facilities with poor hygiene and upkeep.

    The plunge in bile prizes a few years later meant thousands of such bears have since faced deteriorating living conditions and been left to starve in their cages, or even killed for their meat, teeth, claws and skin.

    Since then, the arduous fight to rescue bile bears in Vietnam has been going on with the support of international non-governmental wildlife protection organizations.

    Bear sanctuaries, such as one in Tam Dao District in Vinh Phuc Province, have sprung up to accommodate the increasing number of bears being rescued from their captivity.

    “The hotline of Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary is available 24/7, and animal protectors are ready to respond at any time to reports of bears that need rescuing no matter how far away they are, for we know that any second of delay could spell death for these animals,” said Dr. Tuan Bendixsen, country director of Animals Asia in Vietnam.

    Animals Asia Foundation is a Hong Kong-based charity that seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia.

    As of early 2015, there were only a few hundred wild bears left in Vietnam, while 1,245 were held in captivity at 430 facilities across the country, according to reports by Vietnam’s Forest Protection Department.

    Their bile is harvested using several invasive techniques that may leave a permanent fistula. Many have died due to stress or infection from the unskilled surgeries.

    Some bears are permanently disabled at the time of rescue, and can never be released into the wild again.

    Sao Mai Contest winners announced

    Đỗ Tố Hoa, a former student at the Military University of Culture and Arts who is currently studying in China, won the chamber music award of the prestigious Sao Mai (Morning Star) singing contest on Saturday. Hoa’s soft emotional voice and attractive manner in performing Vũ Khúc Mùa Xuân (Spring Dance) won over the judges and audience.

    The highest prize for the contest’s folk music genre went to Sèn Hoàng Mỹ Lam, a Nùng ethic contestant with her performance of Tiếng Hát Trên Đỉnh Hoàng Liên Sơn (Singing Voice on Hoàng Liên Sơn Mountain Peak); the pop genre prize was awarded to Nguyễn Thị Thu Thủy, who impressed the judges with her unique voice in the mashup Rũ Cánh – Thăng Hoa (Fallen Wings - Sublimation).

    The striking feature of this year’s Sao Mai contest, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, was its all-female finalists selection.

    The singing contest, first conceived as the National Television Singing Festival, is held every two years since 1997. Well-known Vietnamese singers of chamber music, folk music and pop have emerged from the contest.

    Award-winning director announces new serial

    Director Lưu Trọng Ninh announced that his latest TV serial Hoa Cỏ May will be broadcast on October 11 on VTV1 channel.

    Hoa Cỏ May was the most beloved TV serial when it was broadcast 16 years ago. Now it’s back with a third part entitled Stormy Days.

    The film gathers new faces such as singer Hạnh Sino and model Nguyễn Hà. It also brings back familiar actors from previous episodes such as Hải Anh and Quyết Thắng, though they haven’t acted for years.

    The film, produced by the Việt Nam Television Film Centre (VFC) praises the friendship of a group of young people though they have different origins and grow up in different conditions. 

    Ninh won the Golden Kite award in 2011 for best director with his film Khát Vọng Thăng Long (Thăng Long Aspiration).

    Festival helps promote northwestern community-based tourism

    A northwestern region community-based tourism village festival concluded in Mai Chau district of Hoa Binh province on October 9 after three days.

    According to the organising board, visitors to the festival were impressed by the cultures of ethnic minority groups. Along with preserving and promoting cultural identities of the groups, the festival also helped strengthen national unity.

    Twenty collectives with outstanding contributions to the organisation of the festival were honoured as part of the event.

    Within the framework of the festival, a conference was held in Mai Chau district to seek enhance the sustainable development of northwestern region community-based tourism.

    With its natural landscapes and diverse ethnic cultures, northwestern localities can tourists with unique and fascinating tourism products.

    However, the number of visitors to the region has yet to meet its potential due to poor infrastructure and ineffective tourism promotion, along with poor human resources quality and a worsening environment.

    At the conference, participants focused on boosting community-based tourism growth to ASEAN standards, building a code of conduct for community-based tourism, and preserving ethnic minorities’ culture in developing community-based tourism.

    They also discussed other issues in the region’s community-based tourism, including costumes, cultural spaces and accommodations.

    Reviving Vietnam’s folk art of Dong Ho woodcut painting

    A Vietnamese youth has given up stability to venture into the unknown with her ambitious project to revive the young generation’s interest in her country’s folk art of Dong Ho woodcut painting.

    The idea of founding INGO, the stylization of the Vietnamese words ‘in go’ (woodcut), came to Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai by chance during her time studying mechanical engineering in Singapore.
    Bringing along some Dong Ho paintings as a gift from Vietnam, Mai recalled how she had felt so embarrassed when she could not explain to her foreign friends their origin or meaning while attending an international student fair.

    “It was a bugging feeling of incompetence not to be able to give foreign friends information on Dong Ho paintings,” Mai recalled. “I kept asking myself why I hadn’t bothered to learn about the art of my own country.”

    The thought prompted Mai to make a trip to the northern province of Bac Ninh, home to Dong Ho Village, where the art originates, upon her return to Vietnam.

    The art of printing paintings using woodblocks dates back to 15th century, when these affordable paintings were fondly bought and hung in the house of many Vietnamese, rich and poor alike, and were believed to bring good luck to their family.

    The prints are made from natural materials, with the paper coming from the bark of the Rhamnoneuron balansae tree, red ink from red gravels, yellow from sophora flowers, green from the leaves of the indigo plant, and black from the ashes of bamboo leaves.

    The colorful paint is applied onto woodblocks and printed on the tree-bark paper, creating lively paintings that depict human lifestyle and illustrate children’s folk stories.

    “Those are the basics of Dong Ho painting that I share with everyone who wants to get to know the art and even create one for themselves,” Mai said.

    The Da Nang-born girl has set out to target children between six and ten years of age as the audience of her INGO project.

    Instead of the traditional Dong Ho woodblocks, which are too big and complicated for children to operate on, Mai has designed simpler, more modern-looking blocks with the aim of introducing young kids to the folk art.

    The INGO project currently has four woodblock kits featuring animals and children, which Mai said had received positive feedback from primary schools in Ho Chi Minh City that use the kits in art lessons to teach students about Dong Ho painting.

    Mai estimates that around 1,800 children have been introduced to the art since the launch of her project, but she is far from satisfied.

    “I may be biting more than I can chew, but I want my project to reach even Vietnamese adults so that the unique art is understood and remembered by as many as possible,” Mai said.

    HCM City proud of contributions to Vietnam-Cambodia ties: official

    Ho Chi Minh City is proud to have contributed to the growth of Vietnam-Cambodia relations in all fields, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan told a Cambodian delegation on October 8.

    The visiting delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairwoman of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association Men Sam An, was in HCM City to attend the fourth Vietnamese-Cambodian people’s cooperation and friendship meeting, held in HCM City and Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces from October 7 – 12.

    Nhan said the meeting marked the 50th founding anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties this year.

    The Party, State and people of Vietnam, including HCM City, are committed to nurturing the traditional friendship with Cambodia, benefiting the two peoples and contributing to peace and development in the region and the world, he noted.

    He said his city has enhanced cooperation with sectors and localities of Cambodia through delegation exchanges, tourism, trade and investment promotion programmes, and charitable activities supporting low-income people in Cambodia.

    Deputy PM Men Sam An said under the two countries’ agreements, the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association has carried out several cooperation activities with Vietnam.

    She pledged to join her association in stepping up people-to-people diplomatic activities and educating younger generations on the time-honoured solidarity between the two nations.

    Meanwhile, Chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association Vu Mao asked HCM City to continue cooperation activities with Cambodia, including assisting Cambodian students in the city and increasing friendship exchanges between youths of the two nations.

    Festival highlights north-western community tourism villages

    A festival highlighting the unique traditional culture of community-based tourism villages in the north-western region was held in Hoa Binh province on October 7-8.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Chuong said the event aims to introduce community-based tourism models of ethnic groups and honour outstanding community tourism villages in the region.

    The festival offers a good chance for Hoa Binh to promote its community attractions, especially in Mai Chau district, for both domestic and foreign visitors.

    Implementing the national tourism development plan and strategy through 2020 and with a vision towards 2030, north-western provinces have enacted a number of measures to promote tourism with the establishment of 12 tourist sites and four national ones.

    The two-day festival featured numerous activities, including art performances, an exhibition on tourism products, an ethnic costumes stage, a cooking contest, and a scientific workshop on sustainable development of community-based tourism in the northwest.

    The north-western region consists of eight provinces, namely Lao Cai, Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Yen Bai, Phu Tho and Ha Giang. It boasts great cultural values, especially cultural tangible and intangible heritage of ethnic minority groups such as Thai, Muong, Mong, Dao, Tay Nung among others.

    HCM City alley suffers around-the-clock flooding

    An alley in a Ho Chi Minh City neighborhood is always inundated, no matter whether it rains or not, causing hardship and frustration for local residents.

    The situation has been present for the past week along the alley at 183 Cay Tram Street in Go Vap District.

    The 300-meter-long alley is always submerged under water as high as 30 centimeters, even during sunny days.

    Houses of local citizens are flooded around the clock, while motorbikes often break down traveling in the area.

    Le Thi Tuyet Lan, 53, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper while scooping floodwater out of her house that she had to move her furniture to higher spots in the house.

    Local people stated that this alley has always been flooded whenever it rains in the past three years, causing many challenges to their daily lives, adding that the weak sewage systems are to blame.

    Vietnamese, Malaysian firms share experience in regional integration

    Vietnamese and Malaysian businesses shared experience in regional integration at a conference and a forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 8.

    The conference on ASEAN business connectivity and the forum themed “ASEAN Economic Community: Opportunities and Challenges to Vietnamese businesses” were attended by more than 300 Vietnamese enterprises and a number of Malaysian counterparts.

    Speaking at the event, Dr. Doan Duy Khuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), talked about changes in the business environment in ASEAN and the world at large.

    Such changes have generated both challenges and opportunities for the business circle, including those from Vietnam, he said, expressing his hope that Vietnamese firms would learn experience to overcome the obstacles and make the best use of the opportunities at the event.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh described the ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, as promising markets for Vietnamese enterprises.

    The diplomat promised to do his utmost in order to support and connect Vietnamese and Malaysian enterprises together, contributing to enhancing the bilateral economic and trade ties.

    On this occasion, representatives from state management agencies, scholars and scientists cleared up questions raised by the participating firms, helping them gain an insight into economic integration.

    The event, held by the Asian Management and Development Institute under the Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology, is expected to come to Indonesia and Singapore in the next few days.

    Vietnam, Cambodia hold people’s cooperation, friendship meeting

    The fourth Vietnamese – Cambodian people’s cooperation and friendship meeting kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on October 7, part of activities to mark 50 years of bilateral diplomatic ties this year.

    Addressing the audience that included the two countries’ officials, veterans and people, Chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association Vu Mao highlighted the significance of the diplomatic ties establishment five decades ago, which marked a new chapter in their relations.

    The two countries’ relations have entered a new stage of development, flourishing in all spheres, especially in friendship and cooperation programmes with effective activities of the Vietnam-Cambodia and Cambodia-Vietnam friendship associations, he noted.

    Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, who also chairs the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association, thanked Vietnamese people for sending volunteer soldiers to help Cambodia defeat the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime and rebuild the country. The Cambodian people never forget the wholehearted assistance and enormous sacrifice of Vietnam’s experts and volunteer soldiers, who contributed to Cambodia’s happiness and development nowadays.

    She asked the two countries’ friendship associations to better fulfil their role as a bridge linking Vietnamese and Cambodian sectors, localities and people. They should enhance educating younger generations on the bilateral solidarity, friendship and neighbourliness.

    The fourth Vietnamese – Cambodian people’s cooperation and friendship meeting will last through October 12. It features arts programmes, a meeting between Vietnamese and Cambodian businesses, and friendship exchanges in HCM City and nearby Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.

    On October 8, the two friendship associations held a conference to share their experience and review the two-year implementation of their cooperation agreement inked in 2015.

    Vietnamese youths follow labor export trend, seek opportunity in Japan

    An increasing number of youths in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta are seeking job opportunities in Japan for a better future.

    Local authorities have supported the trend by providing free Japanese lessons, loans with special interest rates, and visa fees for poor residents.

    Instead of enrolling in college like others, Nguyen Thi Thuy Mai, 18, who lives in Ben Tre Province, decided to attend Japanese classes at an education center.

    Mai is waiting for her chance to join a program to bring workers to Japan, despite her good grades in high school.

    The young girl lives in a family of five, in which her parents have to work various seasonal jobs to provide for everyone.

    “I have planned to seek an overseas job ever since I entered high school. I want to help my parents and siblings, and save some money for the future,” Mai stated.

    She is among 210 youths who are taking free Japanese lessons at education and job centers throughout Ben Tre.

    According to Le Thi Bong, a teacher at one of these facilities in Giong Tom District, 20 out of 60 learners of the Japanese language here are high school students.

    More young people in Dong Thap Province are also following a similar trend.

    Tran Thi Hong Dao, 18, is one of them, despite her high scores on a recent university entrance exam.

    “I have nurtured an intention to work abroad after graduating from high school since I was in eleventh grade. It is more stable as I can earn some experience and secure a job at Japanese companies,” Dao said.

    Over 100 high school graduates enrolled in Japanese classes at the Dong Thap Province Job Service Center in 2016, Nguyen Thi Minh Tuyet, director of the venue, said, adding that this year’s number has risen to 400.

    After working in Japan for three years, Le Nhat Truong, 26, hailing from Tam Nong District, Dong Thap, has managed to save nearly VND1 billion (US$43,905).

    Truong currently works as a Japanese teacher in Vietnam and plans to run a business.

    “Laborers who have worked in Japan are always welcome at Japanese-owned companies in Vietnam. After completing your labor export program, someone will contact you to discuss a long-term job,” he elaborated.

    Meanwhile, Son Hoang Xuan, 33, residing in Vinh Long Province, said he had been able to renovate his home, buy a good motorbike and other valuable items with the money he earned from his three-year employment in Japan.

    After returning to Vietnam, Xuan was introduced to work at Japan’s Logitem Company in Binh Minh Industrial Park, Vinh Long.

    In late 2014, authorities in Dong Thap re-started its labor export program by offering local labor forces a series of policies and advantages, including loans, free language lessons and job consultancy, financial support for health check-ups, and others.

    Thanks to the efforts, Dong Thap has been the top labor supplier for businesses in Japan and the Republic of Korea in the past three years.

    According to Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, labor export has been one of the top priorities as it provides a stable income for locals, helps improve the province’s competitiveness and attracts more foreign investment.

    More local laborers have been aware of the benefits and are willing to sign up for the program, said Tuyet, the director of the Dong Thap Province Job Service Center.

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


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  • 10/09/17--02:55: Article 0
  • More milk tea shops open in Vietnam


    More and more milk tea shops have opened recently, even though the selling price is relatively high for the majority of Vietnamese.


     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, milk tea, coffee chain, retail premmises

    Trung, 50, who has been working as a taxi motorbike driver for three years, earning VND200,000-300,000 a day, recently began earning extra money – delivering milk tea.

    “After lunchtime, a group of office workers often asks me to buy milk tea for them. The shop is on Ngo Duc Ke street, about one kilometer away,” he said, adding that he receives VND20,000 for the delivery service. He receive 4-5 orders every day.

    “Young women, especially office workers, like milk tea very much,” he said.

    Milk tea first appeared in Vietnam in the early 2000s. However, there were only small privately run shops which prepared milk tea at low prices.

    The milk tea movement returned in the last four years with the presence of many international brands such as Dingtea, Chago, Gongcha, Igongcha, Royal Tea and Tea Story.

    Besides the franchise shops, a Vietnamese owned company – Golden Gate – which is running 20 restaurants, has also announced its Yu Tang brand. KFC has also launched its own milk tea brand.

    More and more milk tea shops have opened recently, even though the selling price is relatively high for the majority of Vietnamese.

    Lozi, the developer of a food app, found from a survey that there are 1,500 milk tea shops across the country, and more will join the market in the time to come.

    Fifty three percent of surveyed people said they drank milk tea at least one time a week. From early 2017 to the end of June, eight milk tea shops opened in Hanoi every month.

    Some ‘milk tea streets’ appeared in Hanoi and HCMC. The business of the shops is so good that the retail premises rent in the areas has been escalating. A report showed that the real estate prices in some milk tea areas increased by 25-71 percent compared with the same period last year.

    The land on Ngo Duc Ke street in the central area of HCMC, one of ‘milk tea streets’, is now priced at VND762.4 million per square meter. The other milk tea streets are Phan Xich Long in Phu Nhuan district and Su Van Hanh in district 10.

    A representative of Gong Cha in Vietnam said in the past, milk tea was the drink for youth and students, but now, office workers and middle-aged people also order it.

    A survey conducted by Q&Me, a market survey firm, showed that people aged 30-39 have the highest level of recognition of milk tea brands.


    Thanh Lich, VNN


    0 0
  • 10/10/17--02:02: Article 4
  • Central region: advantages could become disadvantages


    Economists have warned that if natural resource advantages cannot be exploited well, they will end up becoming critical disadvantages in the central region, hindering economic development. 

     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, central region, Tran dinh Thien, SEZs 

    The long coastline of 1,200 kilometers and 13 seaports, including 7 first-class ports, are the great advantages of the central coastal provinces to develop economy.

    However, head of the Vietnam Economics Institute Tran Dinh Thien said that the advantages must be exploited reasonably.

    The central region has good seaports, including Chan May and Da Nang, Ky Ha and Dung Quat, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang. These could serve as the springboard to boost trade and develop local economy.

    However, they could also become hurdles to economic development if provinces cannot cooperate for mutual benefits, but follow the ‘every man for himself’ policy.

    “Local authorities, in order to develop local economy, all want to build seaports in their localities, even though there are seaports nearby,” Thien said.

    The central region has good seaports, including Chan May and Da Nang, Ky Ha and Dung Quat, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang. These could serve as the springboard to boost trade and develop local economy. 

    There are six coastal economic zones in the central region with the total area of 152,000 hectares which have building factories, oil refineries and tourism development projects. However, the economic zones still cannot fully exploited.

    This is explained by poor infrastructure conditions, including transport, information & communication, and industrial and urban infrastructure. The low quality of local labor force is also a reason.

    “With no industrial ‘rear’ and urban underdevelopment, the advantage of having seaports doesn’t work, while the efforts to develop seaports by provincial authorities is a big waste and hurdle for development,” Thien said. “To some extent, this causes the so called ‘competing to the bottom’ effect”.

    The ‘competition to the bottom’ phrase used by Thien is understood as competition in which no one can get benefits and all of them are hurt.

    As such, a vicious circle exists in the region with great economic potential: the more local authorities try to develop natural advantages, the more the investment attractiveness lessens, while the ‘competition to the bottom’ increases.

    Sharing the same view, Huynh The Du from Fulbright Vietnam said that central provinces, when vying to attract investments, have offered the highest possible investment incentives.

    Du suggested that instead of giving preferences to economic zones, it would be better to apply the Single Factory EPZ, i.e. giving incentives to every enterprise with no concern about the location. Enterprises do not have to be located in a ready-made zone to be able to receive incentives.


    Kim Chi, VNN


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  • 10/10/17--02:34: Article 3
  •  Landslide buries train in Yen Bai


    A landslide in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai buried up to seven carriages of a train on the evening of October 9. 

    Landslide buries train in Yen Bai, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news 
    Seven carriages buried by the landslide 

    The incident occurred at 7:30 pm at Lam Giang Station in Van Yen District where the train had stopped.  

    Vu Quang Hai, chairman of Van Yen District People’s Committee, said the landslide was the result of heavy rains some days before. 

    Thousands of cubic metres of soil and stone buried the seven carriages, blocking traffic.

    Rescue forces were immediately sent to the site and no human losses were reported.

    Hai added Lam Giang Station has been temporarily halted. Trains have to stop at Mau A and Bao Ha stations instead. After that, passengers will have to take road transport to continue their trips.

    Local authorities say it would take 4-5 days to clear the landslide.

    dtinews


    0 0
  • 10/10/17--02:36: Article 2
  • Vietnam ministry requests probe into cabs carrying anti-Uber, Grab messages          

    There may be evidence of anti-competitive practices or breaches of competition law                          
    Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has tasked relevant agencies with verifying and investigating what appears to be an act of anti-competitive behavior by traditional taxi firms toward their app-based rivals.

    A number of Vinasun taxis were seen in Ho Chi Minh City bearing red-and-yellow rear bumper stickers carrying messages attacking ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab on Monday.

    Similar activity was first observed in Hanoi, where messages condemning the operations of the two ride-hailing brands were adorned on local cabs.

    While Vinasun has defended that the message content “did not sound wrong,” the Ho Chi Minh City transport department requested that the taxicab giant ask its drivers to remove all of the offending bumper stickers by the end of Monday.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai also confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper the same day that his ministry would verify if the move by Vinasun was in fact a type of anti-competition and a breach of the law.

    Hai said as per the law on competition, authorities could investigate the case even when the parties involved, Grab and Uber, do not file any complaint.

    “Regulatory agencies will start to collect information for verification and investigation as soon as there are signs of anti-competitive practices or a breach of law,” Hai explained.

    According to competition law, a business is prohibited from defaming other businesses by directly or indirectly spreading false information that may affect their operations.

    “However, a careful investigation is required to determine if the [conventional] taxi firms are breaching the rule,” he noted.

    Trinh Anh Tuan, head of the competition and consumer protection department, confirmed to Tuoi Tre that his agency had been tasked by the trade ministry with looking into the case.

    “We are collecting information and will ask the relevant parties to report back before reaching our conclusion,” Tuan said.
    ​Vietnam ministry requests probe into cabs carrying anti-Uber, Grab messages            
    Passengers leave a Vinasun taxi adorned with the sticker

    Blame on drivers

    The Ho Chi Minh City transport department held an urgent press meeting on Monday following the bumper-sticker ‘protest’ by Vinasun.

    At the meeting, department deputy director Tran Quang Lam underlined that taxis traveling with the ‘anti-Uber’ messages were creating a negative impact on the city’s image, and requested that all of the stickers be removed by the end of Monday.

    Vinasun managing director Ta Long Hy confirmed to Tuoi Tre that his company would follow the request.

    Hy previously claimed that drivers had placed the bumper stickers on their cars of their own volition.

    He reiterated this point on Monday, adding that Vinasun had called on police to investigate if some drivers had incited others to join the protest.

    The executive said there were “drivers of our competitors” among the Vinasun fleet, but did not elaborate on who those rivals were.

    While the Vinasun leader has consistently put the blame on individual drivers, some drivers have told Tuoi Tre that they would never be able to do so without permission from their boss.

    “The sticker is the idea of the company,” one Vinasun driver told Tuoi Tre.

    “We are not allowed to place anything on the company-owned cars without their consent.”.
     By Tuoi Tre News

    0 0
  • 10/10/17--02:57: Article 1
  •  Foreign firms to keep lead in exports


    The foreign-invested sector, with electronics taking the lead, is expected to continue occupying the lion’s share of Vietnam’s exports over the next few years.


     Foreign firms to keep lead in exports, 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
      
    Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that Vietnam may reach a record export turnover of US$202-205 billion this year, up from last year’s US$176 billion.

    “Electronics items, especially those made by Samsung, will continue taking the lead in the country’s export structure,” Hai said.

    It is likely that Samsung will hit an export turnover of over US$50 billion this year, accounting for more than 20% of Vietnam’s total export turnover. In this year’s first nine months, Samsung’s export turnover grew 45% year-on-year, according to Mai Tien Dung, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office.

    Also in this year’s first nine months, Vietnam’s total export turnover hit US$154 billion, up 19.8% year-on-year, with the local economic sector fetching US$43.2 billion-up 16.8% year-on-year – and the foreign-invested sector ranking in US$110.8 billion (including crude oil exports) – up 21% year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.

    Vietnam earned US$49.5 billion from exporting electronics items, accounting for 32.14% of the country’s total export turnover.

    “I think the foreign-invested sector, especially foreign electronics makers, will continue dominating Vietnam’s exports over the next few years,” Hai said. “It is because even though local firms’ exports are improving, they remain less competitive than foreign firms’ exports. Vietnam is now becoming a big electronics production base for foreign firms like Samsung and LG.”

    Two weeks ago, economists from Spain-based FocusEconomics, which provides in-depth economic analysis around the world, forecast in a report on Vietnam’s nine-month economic situation that the country’s export turnover would rise to US$202 billion this year, US$230 billion next year, US$257 billion in 2019, US$288 billion in 2020, and US$322 billion in 2021. The majority of these figures will continue to come from foreign firms, especially electronics ones.

    HSBC has also forecast that the export picture of Vietnam will continue to shine, relying heavily on electronics exports.

    “Vietnam has fared better than most of its peers, partly due to the strength of its electronics export industry,” said an HSBC update on Vietnam’s economic situation released in mid-August. “Electronics shipments continue to be the key driver of Vietnam’s exports.”

    According to Canada-based world-class market research firm Electronics.ca Publications, Vietnam is becoming a global exporter of electronics, and it is on the radar of many foreign electronics firms with plans to implement big projects in the time to come.

    “Production of Vietnam’s electronics industry was estimated at US$40.4 billion in 2016, significantly higher than the US$2.6 billion reported nine years earlier,” Electronics.ca Publications said in a document released last month.

    “This has been achieved on the back of explosive growth in the production of mobile phones, computing, LCD TVs, and semiconductors, as foreign companies invest in the country to take advantage of lower costs.”

    BMI Research last week wrote in an optimistic report on Vietnam’s economy: “Vietnam has gradually been transforming itself into a more open, more market-oriented economy and is beginning to enjoy the dividends of its steady integration into the global economy.

    “According to official figures, the overall manufacturing sector grew by 12.8% year-on-year for the first nine months of 2017, while exports surged by 19.8% year-on-year, underpinned by the production of electronics products and components, smartphones, and computers which surged by 25.1% year-on-year, and metal production which increased by 21.4%,” the report said.

    According to the Asian Development Bank, Vietnam’s export performance is expected to remain strong with continued support from new foreign-invested factories and an upturn in commodity prices.

    The free trade agreement with the European Union that is expected to come into effect in January 2018 should boost export prospects.

    VIR


    0 0
  • 10/10/17--03:14: Article 0
  • Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes

    While motorbikes are already proven to be a high risk means of transport, it remains the top choice of most local people


    Police are seen at a scene of a traffic accident in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    The latest statistics from the municipal traffic safety committee reveal that motorbikes are either responsible for or the victim in 82.9 percent of road accidents in Ho Chi Minh City.


    Only 7.8 percent of accidents involve pedestrians, and crashes between cars make up a mere three percent, according to data obtained by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    Around 70 percent of traffic accidents stem from a lack of concentration by drivers; more than 20 percent are attributed to traffic infrastructure; while in less than 10 percent of the accidents, the means of transportation is at fault, according to the Ho Chi Minh City traffic safety committee.

    On several streets, motorbike drivers have little space to travel as bigger vehicles including tank trucks or trailer trucks occupy most of the street.

    On Hoang Huu Nam Street in District 9, for instance, motorbike drivers are forced to travel amongst a crowd of trucks while the road surface remains full of potholes.

    On a section of National Highway 1 that passes the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, a number of motorbikes run red lights during rush hour, while Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 is constantly packed with vehicles of all kinds.

    “Driving a motorbike [in Ho Chi Minh City] is a tense task and whoever is on the back seat shouldn’t dare to talk to the driver for fear of distracting him,” one local resident said.

    While motorbikes are proven to be a high risk means of transportation, the vehicle remains the most popular means of transport for most local people.

    Cars are not affordable for everyone, and the city’s public transportation is still underdeveloped.

    Tuoi Tre is encouraging its readers to share their suggestions on how to reduce the risks of road accidents. Give yours by commenting below or emailing to ttn@tuoitre.com.vn.

    Below are some of the main causes of motorbike-related accidents:

     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    You may think driving together is fun, but…



    ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes 
    This form of distraction is not uncommon for motorbike drivers.


     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    Even the slightest lapse in concentration can cost you your life.



    ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes 
    Any object on the street can lead to danger for motorbike drivers.


     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    Ignoring traffic laws can have serious consequences.


     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    Don’t swap your life for one minute less on the street.


     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    Even when it’s not their fault, motorbike drivers still suffer the most serious consequences in accidents.


     ​Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes
    Without protective gear like a helmet, motorbike drivers are always vulnerable to the worst-case scenario.

    Tuoi Tre News


    0 0
  • 10/11/17--00:58: Article 4
  • Concerns raised about north-south highway project


    The project to build an expressway with total length of 1,372 kilometers linking the northern and southern parts of the country through 16 cities and provinces has sparked controversy among experts.


    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, BOT, PPP, highway

    It is estimated that the project would cost VND312.435 trillion. With the Ministry of Transport’s (MOT) plan, the project will be implemented in two phases. The first, in 2017-2020, the new road sections of Mai Son (Ninh Binh) – Bai Vot (Ha Tinh), Cam Lo (Quang Tri) – La Son (Thua Thien Hue) and Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa) – Dau Giay (Dong Nai), with total length of 632 kilometers, would be built.

    The expansion from 2-lane to 4-lane would be implemented for the Cao Bo (Nam Dinh) – Mai Son (Ninh Binh), La Son (Thua Thien Hue) – Tuy Loan (Da Nang) road sections with total length of 81 kilometers.

    The total investment needed for the first phase is estimated at VND130.216 trillion.

    In the second phase, in 2021-2025, the other road sections will be built and upgraded to for. the expressway. The total investment capital for the second phase is VND113.096 trillion.


    The giant project has 20 component projects, of which 11 would be implemented in 2017-2020 and the other nine in 2021-2025.

    MOT's report showed that the giant project has 20 component projects, of which 11 would be implemented in 2017-2020 and the other nine in 2021-2025. Of the 11 projects in the first phase, eight would be implemented under the PPP mode, while three would be public investment plants.

    The Ministry of Finance has found many problems in MOT’s plan. One of the problems is that MOT wants to assign VEC and CIPM, 100 percent state-owned corporations, to mobilize resources to implement component projects.

    The problem lies in the limited financial capability of VEC and CIPM. The state budget now has to pay for due debts incurred by VEC because VEC is unable to pay.

    Meanwhile, CIPM mostly has been assigned to manage the project funded by the state budget.

    Le Dang Doanh, a respected economist, said he does not advocate the plan to assign VEC and CIPM to implement component projects, saying that contractors must be chosen through bidding.

    Bui Danh Lien, deputy chair of the Hanoi Transportation Association, warned that the  high toll and the high number of toll collection stations on the highway will burden transport enterprises and people. He said that state management agencies only try to protect the interests and privileges of investors but don’t care much about people’s interest.

    Local newspapers reported that many drivers have been complaining about the high fee on BOT roads.

    In protest, drivers paid toll fees in small currency notes at the Cai Lay toll collection station several days ago, causing traffic to come to a standstill.

    Nam Mai, VNN


    0 0
  • 10/11/17--01:01: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 10/10


    Bac Giang to plan development of industrial parks


    Bac Giang to plan development of industrial parks, Naticorp to launch condotel project in Nha Trang, South Korean fuel imports spike after tax cut, Mekong Capital to lower stake in Mobile World

    The northern province of Bac Giang plan to build new industrial parks (IPs) in the locality from 2020 to 2030.

    This was revealed by Tran Vu Thong, deputy head of the province’s industrial parks management board.

    The new IPs in the vision include Nham Son, Yen Lu and Xuan Phu – Huong Gian in Yen Dung District, Hop Thinh in Hiep Hoa District, Bac Lung and Kham Lang – Yen Son in Luc Nam District and the Tan Thinh – Quang Thinh – Huong Son in Lang Giang District.

    The management board has proposed that the province adds the IPs to the provincial IP development master plan and submits it to the Prime Minister for approval.

    Thong also noted the need for specific measures to attract experienced and financially capable investors to develop the infrastructure of the IPs.

    At the same time, the province should invest in infrastructure facilities outside the IPs to facilitate investment mobilisation. The People’s Committees in districts where the future IPs are located are urged to work harder in land clearance for the IPs.

    Located 50km to the northeast of the capital city of Ha Noi, Bac Giang has huge potential for developing electronics, electric appliances, agricultural product processing, mechanical engineering, chemicals and construction materials.

    The province is currently home to six IPs, including Dinh Tram, Quang Chau, Song Khe – Noi Hoang and Van Trung, as well as Viet – Han (Vietnam – Republic of Korea) and Hoa Phu. The Dinh Tram IP has 119 investment projects, including 61 domestic ones, worth VND1.73 trillion (US$76.12 million), and 58 foreign ones worth over $325 million, while the Quang Chau IP has 18 investment projects, 16 of which are foreign-invested.

    The Van Trung IP houses 54 projects and the Song Khe – Noi Hoang has 33.

    Land clearance and infrastructure construction are underway in the Hoa Phu and Viet – Han IPs.

    The province’s industrial production value in the first nine months of this year was VND78.36 trillion, up 32.8 per cent year on year. 

    Naticorp to launch condotel project in Nha Trang     

    Nam Tien Lao Cai Corporation (Naticorp) will officially launch the Scenia Bay condotel project in Nha Trang on Sunday at the Lotte Centre in Ha Noi.

    The VND2.06 trillion (US$90.5 million) project will comprise apartments, hotels and services and will be located at 25-26 Pham Van Dong Street. This is one of the few remaining projects in the prime coastal location of Nha Trang City.

    Being built on an area of 7,666sq.m, the five-star condotel will include 40 floors and two basements, of which the first four floors will be used for common facilities, including a lobby, a spa, restaurants, a shopping centre and meeting rooms.

    From the 5th floor, there will be 704 apartments for sale and 274 hotel rooms with separate zones such as an infinity pool and a sky restaurant.

    The project is situated on the main road of the city, with the main side, adjacent to Nha Trang beach, offering a sea view to all of the apartments. In addition, it has easy access to the city’s beautiful landscapes, such as Hon Mun and Hon Tam islands, Ninh Van bay, Po Nagar Cham Tower and Dam Market.

    In mid-August, Thailand’s InVision Hospitality signed an agreement to become the project’s operator when it becomes operational in 2020.

    On the occasion of the project launch, the project’s investors will give attractive gifts worth VND800 billion to the customers. Visitors who come to the event will stand the chance to win an iPhone 8 Plus, an iPhone 8 or a Smart TV Sony 43". Customers who sign to purchase Scenia Bay’s apartments will have the chance to win a motorcyle SH125i 2017 version, an Apple MacBook or an iPhone 8 Plus.

    Headquartered in northern Lao Cai City and with over 20 years of operation, Naticorp has expanded its business from infrastructure construction and hydro-power plants to chemicals and real estate sectors with an annual turnover of VND1.2 trillion ($53 million). 

    South Korean fuel imports spike after tax cut

    About 97% of imported fuel in the first nine months of 2017 came from South Korea after taxes for the country were dropped to 10% while taxes for other ASEAN countries remained at 20%.

    Most of the imported fuel in Vietnam is from Singapore and Thailand in addition to other ASEAN countries.

    From January 1, 2016 the petrol import tax on South Korea was lowered to 10% in accordance with the trade agreement between the two countries. As a result, the amount of imported fuel from South Korea increased sharply.

    Statistics from the General Department of Customs show that in 2016, Vietnam imported USD1.25bn of fuel of which 75% were from South Korea. In the first nine months of 2017, this number rose to 97%.

    The General Department of Customs proposed to lower the taxes for other ASEAN countries to 12% to create more healthy competition and better revenues for the state budget. The 20% tax is largely regarded as meaningless as few companies import from these markets. The revenues from petrol recorded by the General Department of Customs dropped by VND10trn (USD440m) last year.

    However, the Department of Tax Policy under the Ministry of Finance disagreed, saying that the state budget revenues would actually decrease. Moreover, they want to maintain a 20% tax rate to encourage firms to buy fuel from Dung Quat and Nghi Son refinery plants.

    Several experts worried that Vietnamese firms may be forced to buy fuel at higher than average prices.

    Phan The Rue, president of Vietnam Petroleum Association, said thanks to low taxes, import firms would still earn good profits even if they have to buy petrol at higher prices than normal. However, it was not easy to get the certificate of origin from South Korea to enjoy the 10% tax. 

    The certificate is issued by South Korean authorities. "Small and new firms who don't know their way around the markets or their partners may have to offer bribes to be given the certificates and enjoy the tax cut," he said.

    There is also concern about firms faking the certificate to profit from lower tax payments. Paying high prices for the certificate is still profitable than paying 20% tax over the long term.

    "The state budget will suffer greatly," Rue claimed.

    Improving efficiency of Vietnam – Indonesia investment promotion

    The Vietnam-Indonesia Friendship Association and the Indonesian Embassy in Vietnam co-hosted a seminar on October 10 at the Voice of Vietnam headquarters to examine ways to increase the efficiency of investment promotion between the two nations.

    Addressing the seminar,  Chairman of Vietnam-Indonesia Friendship Association Nguyen Dang Tien said Vietnam and Indonesia have witnessed positive developments in trade exchanges over the years. Bilateral trade increased from US$4 billion in 2012 to US$5.6 billion in 2016 with an annual average growth of 5%.

    Both countries agreed to boost all-round cooperation, striving to elevate two-way trade to US$8 billion in 2018 aiming for the target of US$10 billion.

    Vietnam has run only 7 investment projects totally capitalized at US$107 million in Indonesia while Indonesia poured US$437 million in 59 projects in Vietnam.

    In his speech, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi affirmed that his nation attached great importance to Vietnam’s strategic position in strengthening economic cooperation, adding that Vietnam is likely to become a gateway for Indonesian investors to penetrate the markets of neighbouring countries like Laos and Cambodia, and Vietnam’s major trading partners such as the US, the EU and China.

    Ambassador Hadi said Indonesia’s key exports to Vietnam are coal, automobiles, metal, chemicals, paper, and machinery, noting that Indonesia’s investment in Vietnam is still far from matching full potential of both nations.

    At the seminar, the Indonesian diplomat also shared information on aviation cooperation between the two nations, revealing that low-cost carrier VietJet Air is set to open new direct air routes between HCM City and Jakarta in December.

    Representatives from the Hanoi People’s Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism  also delivered reports on investment opportunities between Vietnam and Indonesia and put forth several suggestions to speed up the cooperation process. 

    Mekong Capital to lower stake in Mobile World     

    Viet Nam-focused private equity firm Mekong Capital has offered three million shares of digital retailer Mobile World Investment Corp (HOSE: MWG) for sale.

    The shares will be sold between October 12 and November 10 via put-through transactions on the stock market or the Vietnam Securities Depository.

    The deal will help Mekong Capital reduce its ownership in MWG to 1.63 per cent from the current 2.6 per cent.

    Mekong Capital on October 5 registered to sell one million shares of Mobile World between October 5 and November 3, however, it failed to complete the deal.

    In September, Mekong Capital via its investment fund Mekong Enterprise Fund II successfully offloaded three million shares of Mobile World to complete a partial sale worth US$18 million, reducing its stake in Mobile World from 3.58 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

    Shares of Mobile World on the HCM Stock Exchange closed on Monday at VND119,000 ($5.3) per share. The company’s shares have gained 9 per cent in the last one month and nearly 54 per cent since the beginning of the year.

    In the first eight months of 2017, Mobile World reported VND42.28 trillion ($1.88 billion) in revenue, a yearly increase of 56 per cent, and VND1.45 trillion in post-tax profit, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent.

    The company after eight months completed 67 per cent and 66 per cent of its targeted revenue and post-tax profit for 2017, respectively. 

    Brokerage firms benefit from positive economic growth     

    The recovery of the Vietnamese economy has made good impact on the local securities market and the business performance of brokerages firms, an official has said.

    The State Securities Commission Chairman Tran Van Dung said at the meeting on October 6 that the number of profitable securities firms increased to 60 of the 85 active firms, from 52 in 2016, making a total profit of VND3.06 trillion in the past nine months.

    The number of brokerage firms that made accumulated profit in the past nine months was also up, compared with last year, by 41 to 37, he said, adding that the financial status of those brokerage firms also improved with most of them achieving the capital adequacy ratio of more than 180 per cent.

    In addition tot his, activating brokerage firms in Viet Nam had improved their quality of corporate governance, risk management and done well in restructuring their business operation, Dung said.

    Dung attributed the achievements to supportive factors of the Vietnamese economy in the past nine months such as controlled inflation, stable financial and monetary market and a 6.41 per cent yearly rise in the gross domestic product (GDP).

    However, Dung warned brokerage firms that they should improve their business performances further to avoid accumulated losses, as well as the quality of corporate governance, risk management and information disclosure to meet international standards.

    In the future, the State Securities Commission will continue to implement its policy reform to support those companies to restructure their businesses, improve their access to capital and develop other products and services for the market.

    The benchmark VN Index had reached the nine-year high of 810 points, while the HNX Index had hit 107.66 points — the highest level since February 2011.

    PetroVietnam, PVEP sign contract for oil blocks     

    Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) on Monday signed a contract employing PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) to operate oil blocks 01 & 02.

    PetroVietnam took over blocks 01 & 02 at the Cuu Long basin, offshore Viet Nam, from PC Vietnam Limited, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Petronas, on September 9 after the 26-year Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for the blocks expired.

    After the takeover, PVEP quickly set up a management board with the most qualified and experienced personnel to temporarily manage the two oil projects to ensure they run smoothly. In the last one month, the two projects operated safely, with an estimated production of 360,000 barrels of oil and revenues of over US$20.5 million.

    This positive result prompted PetroVietnam to choose PVEP to officially operate blocks 01 & 02. After the signing, PetroVietnam will build a suitable mechanism for PVEP to engage deeper in the group’s petroleum project management in the future, hoping to take advantage of high-quality human resources and the management experience of PVEP.

    Loans to real estate at 16.8% of total     

    By September-end, loans to the real estate sector accounted for 16.8 per cent of the total outstanding loans of credit institutions.

    This was down from 17.1 per cent at the end of last year, reports from the National Financial Supervisory Commission showed.

    According to the report, 10.3 per cent of the loans were given to the construction industry and 6.5 per cent were for real estate trading.

    The commission also reported that credit growth of the entire banking system by the end of September was 11.5 per cent. The rise would be 12.9 per cent if loans for bonds were included.

    Medium- and long-term loans during the period were on an upward trend, rising 10.7 per cent and accounting for 54 per cent of the total outstanding loans of all credit institutions.

    Loans in the Vietnamese dong surged 13 per cent and made up roughly 91.6 per cent of the total loans, unchanged as compared to the same period last year.

    However, the proportion of loans in foreign currencies rose up to 12.9 per cent, much higher than the 5.4 per cent in the same period last year.

    To better control the lending, the SBV governor Le Minh Hung last month issued a document warning credit institutions and foreign bank branches to strictly implement regulations on foreign currency deposits and loans. 

    Hi-end working space created for Vietnamese start-ups

    Up Co-working Space and the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) jointly opened a hi-end working space in Hanoi on October 10 to provide maximum support for the Vietnamese start-up community 

    Founder of the UP Co-working Space Do Hoai Nam said businesses will have opportunities to experience the A-standard working space at the UP@VPBANK with reasonable expenses.

    Furthermore, UP@VPBANK will offer the best assistance for innovative start-ups and potential financial technology (fintech) businesses to promote creativity and competitiveness, he said.

    They will get financial, accounting and legal support from investors, and have opportunities to work together, connect and cooperate to realise the goals of “start-up city” and “start-up nation”, he added.

    A representative from VPBank said the bank hopes to create a strong momentum in the development of the start-up community in Vietnam.

    In 2017-2018, VPBank Start Up will spend at least one million USD to directly support Vietnamese start-ups.

    The strategic cooperation between UP and VPBank is expected to be an important step for the start-up community.

    The two sides plan to host a number of activities, including major contests, to support and promote innovative start-ups in Vietnam.

    The UP@VPBANK hi-end working space is located at the 21st floor of VP Tower 89 Lang Ha. 

    UP Co-working Space was developed by entrepreneurs pioneering in the start-up movement in Vietnam. It now has six branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.-

    KB Securities closes acquisition of Maritime Securities Incorporation

    Three representatives of KB Securities Co., Ltd. (KB Securities) have been elected to the board of directors of Maritime Securities Corporation (MSI) after completing the purchase of a 99.4 per cent stake in MSI for $33.2 million.

    According to information published on MSI’s website, three people namely Cho Nam Hoon, Jun Sang Hoon, and Rho Seung Joon will replace Nguyen Duc Hoan, Doan My Binh, and Thai Anh Tuan, respectively. Regarding the board of supervisors, Oh Cheol Wu will replace Bui Thi Bich Thao.

    Besides, after being taken over by the South Korean partner, MSI’s shareholders approved important proposals to implement the company’s new development strategy, change the company’s name and its brand identity, and supplement legal representatives. MSI is expected to be renamed KB Securities Vietnam Company.

    Previously, on October 4, the State Securities Commission (SSC) approved MSI to altogether remove the foreign ownership limit.

    Accordingly, KB Securities holds 29.82 million shares, equivalent to 99.4 per cent of MSI's outstanding shares, since October 6.

    The deal to acquire MSI is part of the group’s plan to expand its operation network in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Indonesia.

    "Following the vision of "Global Investment Bank," after careful consideration, we decided to acquire MSI, thereby officially entering the financial market of Vietnam. With our abundant experience as well as strong financial support, we aim to build and develop a strong securities company in Vietnam, providing the best products for our clients and connecting Korean investors with the Vietnamese financial market," said Cho Nam Hoon, MSI’s member of the board of directors cum managing director and head of Global Business Department of KB Securities.

    KBC Securities is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KB Financial Group (KBFG), Korea’s leading financial institution with the largest customer base and the most extensive branch network. The group wields a solid capital prowess and enjoys a strong brand loyalty.

    At present, KBFG, along with its key members including KB Kookmin Bank, KB Securities, KB Insurance, KB Card, and KB Capital, operates 33 overseas networks in 13 countries across Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America.

    KB Securities was born through the merger of KB Investment & Securities and Hyundai Securities in mid-2016. The company has equity of $3.7 billion and enjoys strong support and synergies from KB Group to enable stable and sustainable growth.

    Polish businesses seek trade opportunities in Vietnam

    Vietnamese and Polish agricultural businesses have reached a mutually beneficial agreement for the trade of fruit and dairy products. The deal was struck during a recent Vietnamese research trip to Poland to conduct a market survey.

    Spokesmen for Vietnamese business said that throughout the trip, a keen interest was expressed by their Polish counterparts to do more business in Vietnam.

    A representative from VIP Vietnam (Da Nang) Co, Ltd said the company have signed an agreement with Atibac International Trade of Poland on importing apple juice products into Vietnam. 

    Both sides settled on the terms relating to the quantity, price, quality and delivery of produce. After checking the quality of products sent from Poland, Atibac’s apple juice will hit the shelves of Vietnamese supermarkets in the near future.

    With the exception of apple juice, VIP Co, Ltd has also reached a consensus with Mlekovita and Bumex on importing fresh and condensed milk products. The final cooperative agreement reached between the two sides is contingent on the successful passing of quality inspection from Vietnamese assessors.

    Mr Pham DinhThanh, the Marketing and Business Development Director of VIP Co, Ltd said there are further huge opportunities for cooperation between Vietnamese and Polish businesses, citing the success of Polish goods in having secured a firm foothold in many European nations as proof of the possibilities.

    According to statistics from National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR), Poland accounted for 30% of the market share of apples in the whole of the EU. 

    They have seen further success in their exports, with Polish raspberry making up 61% of the EU’s supply, strawberry 16% and cherry 33%. Poland is the world leader in blueberry production in terms of output, making up 73% of the EU market.

    A report by the General Department of Customs revealed that Poland earned US$143.2 million from exporting their products to Vietnam in the first eight months of the year alone. 

    Poland exported to Vietnam US$26.5 million of milk and dairy products and US$33.1 million of pharmaceutical products. Poland’s key farm produce exports such as apple, strawberry, poultry, and cattle remain modest.

    However, Tomasz Parxybut, general director of the Association of Polish Butchers and Meat Processors (SRW RP) said this trend would continue to develop as the demands of high quality meat products and other processed food have rapidly increased in Vietnam.

    This rapid increase looks set to continue as the EU has endevoured to speed up ratification of the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), making it take effect in 2018. The move will be a boost to bilateral trade between the two countries, Mr Parxybut noted.

    According to the EVFTA, frozen pork from EU to Vietnam will be duty free after 7 years, beef after 3 years and chicken after 10 years, further simplifying trade.

    However, Mr Parxybut said despite the substantial reduction in tariffs, the export of these products to Vietnam cannot increase sharply due to high prices out pricing Vietnamese customers. But, with a population of 92 million in Vietnam, there remain huge opportunities for frozen pork from Poland.

    A representative from Royal Apple brand name said Royal Apple have partnered  with Vietnamese businesses to build a sales distribution network. Although its products are sold in small quantity, the company has received positive feedback.

    The representative emphasized that the company will continue to promote these products in Vietnam to seize opportunities from the EVFTA.

    Along with Royal Apple, several Polish businesses are seeking to open sales channels in Vietnam. Mr Kazimierz Pietrek from the Export Department of the Celiko Company said after five months, the company has not received any response from customers on the design. However, he affirmed that Vietnam is still an attractive market for Polish businesses and many will continue to seek Vietnamese partners.

    Shinhan Bank launches Global Trading Center in Vietnam

    Shinhan Bank Vietnam announced on October 9 that it has officially launched its Global Trading Center in Vietnam.

    This is the second global trading center put into operation by the bank, joining the first in India.

    Playing an essential role in its global financial market chain, the focus of Shinhan Bank’s Global Trading Centers is on products and services associated with foreign exchange. The Vietnam center will be operated by two leading foreign exchange experts from South Korea and supported by a highly experienced Vietnamese foreign exchange team.

    “With our advances in term of network and personnel and our thorough understanding of local markets and clients, our Global Trading Center in Vietnam will be a reliable option for both South Korean and Vietnamese clients for their transactions and investment in global financial markets,” said Mr. Shin Dong Min, CEO of Shinhan Bank Vietnam.

    The center will provide such services as foreign exchange consultancy and transactions, foreign exchange market reports and forecasts, conduct derivative transaction in order to provide currency hedging solutions against foreign rate risks, investment support solutions, and foreign currency trading, among others.

    With a network of over 1,000 representative offices located in over 20 countries worldwide, The Global Trading Center is expanding the most in South Korea’s banking sector.

    In Vietnam, Shinhan Bank also owns the leading network among foreign-invested banks, with a total of 18 branches and transaction offices nationwide. The strong network makes the Global Trading Center a reliable and significant partner of clients and offers them investment opportunities.

    CBRE Vietnam to manage Gelex Tower

    CBRE Vietnam has been officially selected by the Gelex Group to be the property manager of its Gelex Tower project.

    Located at 52 Le Dai Hanh in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung district, Gelex Tower has 22 floors of office space and three basement levels for parking. It was completed in late 2013 and has enjoyed high occupancy since opening.

    With easy access to nearby shopping and leisure facilities as well as the city, Gelex Tower provides tenants with a pleasant environment for their office.

    CBRE commits to delivering quality management services to all tenants, helping to create a comfortable and efficient office environment.

    Ms. Nguyen Bich Trang, Director of CBRE Vietnam, Hanoi Branch, said it is honored to be selected to help take Gelex Tower forward. “We believe that by applying careful asset management that combines our management and leasing teams, we can make a more positive impact that will help Gelex Tower become a more desirable address for companies seeking a convenient workspace with modern facilities in the growing center of Hanoi,” she said.

    CBRE Vietnam recently signed an agreement with the Urban Infrastructure Development Investment Corporation (UDIC Thang Long) to manage its commercial and condominium project, Sun Square, on the corner of Le Duc Tho and Nguyen Hoang in the My Dinh area in the capital.

    Sun Square features two 17-story office blocks, two 34-story residential towers, and a two-story podium that will boast well-known brands such as Highlands Coffee, ApaxEnglish, O’leary Restaurant, BIDV, Vinmart, and Dingtea.

    APEC Financial Minsters to meet in Hoi An

    The 2017 APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings are set to take place October 19-21 in the UNESCO-recognized town of Hoi An in central Vietnam.

    Vu Nhu Thang, Head of the Finance Ministry’s International Cooperation Department, told a press briefing on October 9 in Hanoi that the ministers and the APEC Business Advisory Council will examine ways to enhance the link between policy makers and the private sector.

    This will give a good opportunity to share information on globalization and investment in infrastructure development, he said. 

    The outcome of the meeting will be included in preparations for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week set to take place in Da Nang city next month.     

    The event will include the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting (FCBDM) and the 24th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), the most significant meeting of APEC Finance Ministers during the year.

    As planned, there will be three related meetings in Hoi An as part of the APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting 2017, including the Senior Officials’ Meeting Vice-Ministerial Meeting, and Ministerial Meeting.

    Businesses' activities in APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017

    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on Monday (October 9) held a conference to introduce Vietnamese businesses’ activities during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017.

    VCCI ChairmanVu Tien Loc said the Meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the APEC Vietnam Business Summit, the APEC Business Summit, and a dialogue between ABAC and APEC leaders will be held during the week.

    Under the theme “Creating new dynamism, fostering shared future”, the APEC Business Summit, slated for November 8-10, will focus on the future of APEC economies.

    The APEC Business Summit and Dialogue between ABAC and APEC leaders are two annual activities of APEC. The APEC Vietnam Summit and the APEC Startup Forum, initiated by Vietnam, will also be organized on this occasion, Loc said.

    The Vietnam Business Summit is set to open in the central city of Da Nang on November 7 within the framework of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

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

    Ca Mau's shrimp exports hit more than US$750 million

    The southernmost province of Ca Mau earned more than US$750 million from shrimp exports in nine months up to October, up 12% over the same period last year and reaching 70% of this year’s plan, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT).

    Major importers include the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Canada.

    Phan Thanh Sang from the DoIT said shrimp exports show positive signs this year.  Shrimp exports in the fourth quarter of this year is likely to hit US$300-350 million as key markets like the US, EU and the ROK increase their imports to prepare for upcoming Christmas and New Year Festivals.

    The target for US$1.1 billion shrimp export revenue may be within reach, said Mr Sang.

    Ben Tre targets 5,000 firms by 2020     

    Southern Ben Tre Province has targeted to open 500 new firms each year, bringing the total number of enterprises to 5,000 by 2020.

    The number of newly-established companies in the province has increased this year, thanks to the launch of a startup programme.

    In the first nine months of the year, the province had 400 newly-established businesses, posting an increase of 55 per cent year-on-year. Registered capital in the January-September period rose 2.3 times in comparison with the same period last year. Average registered capital for each business was VND6.42 billion (US$283,000), which was higher than the VND5.3 billion in the corresponding period last year.

    The number of small and micro firms has gradually reduced in the province.

    Le Xuan Vinh, director of Ben Tre’s centre for promotion and startups, said the province has 2,952 operating businesses. This number was modest in comparison with other localities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.

    Ben Tre has promulgated legal documents, policies and mechanism to facilitate businesses’ development, attracting investors. It has implemented a startup programme – a key solution to improve its business environment.

    The provincial People’s Committee has asked the centre to support firms in completing administrative procedures for startups. The province has established a team to provide support for free to firms in administrative procedures relating to investment and relevant sectors.

    Startups and household businesses will be granted a business registration licence in one day. The province will also give VND3.5 million to each startup and household business to be used for fees of establishment and developing the brand name.

    In addition, it has promulgated a regulation to shorten time to resolve administrative procedures in investment for projects that are not funded by the State budget.

    Nguyen Huu Lap, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the province adjusted the target to develop 500 new firms per year instead of 300 in the next five years.

    “Ben Tre has focused on developing its economy, building infrastructure and appealing for investment for its higher growth,” Lap said. 

    Vietnam Airlines to move operations to T4 at Changi Airport

    National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has announced that it will switch operations to Terminal T4 at Changi International Airport in Singapore from November 7.

    At the terminal, Vietnam Airlines will deploy 10 check-in counters from 1 to 10. It will open more counters from number 11 to 14 in case of increasing demand for passenger services.

    The firm also applies the advanced technology of entry and exit and boarding at the terminal (parallel to the traditional form of these services) to speed up the time of making procedures and increasing convenience for passengers.

    Terminal T4 is a newly-built terminal, scheduled to open on October 31, 2017. It covers an area of more than 225,000sq.m and has capacity of 16 million visitors per year.

    Located on the second floor of the station, the firm’s Business Class room with an area of more than 1,000sq.m will serve its Golden Lotus, Gold Platinum members and Business Class passengers.

    Other airlines will also operate at the T4 Terminal, including Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air, Cebu Pacific Air, Spring Airlines and AirAsia Group.

    Vietjet’s hot air balloon and bikini girls land in America

    Vietnam’s low cost airline Vietjet has brought its hot air balloon and beautiful and young flight attendants in bikini to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2017 in the United States, the largest balloon festival in the world. 

    The 46th fiesta, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from October 7 to October 15, 2017 attracts more than 550 balloons and nearly 1,000 pilots worldwide. This year’s event also features more than 94 unique balloon designs from 22 countries, including the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic and Japan.

    Vietjet’s balloon sports the colors of the Vietnamese national flag — namely, red and yellow —and is 25 metres high and 18 metres wide. The balloon can cover a large distance and reach a maximum height of nearly 1,000 metres. It was showcased to visitors from October 7-9.

    Festival visitors will have the opportunity to watch the Vietjet balloon lift into the panoramic sky view of Albuquerque while meeting the airline’s friendly bikini clad models.

    Launched in 2016, Vietjet balloon has participated in a series of major festivals in Vietnam and around the world. At the 2016 Hue Festival, the Vietjet balloon was the only representative of Vietnam to participate in the 2016 International Hot Air Balloon Festival with balloons from eight other countries, including UK, Netherlands, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

    In August of the same year, the balloon made its first overseas appearance at Taiwan’s largest hot air balloon festival, Luye Gaotai, in Taitung City. The company continued to be the only representative from Vietnam to participate in the ninth My Balloon Fiesta in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 18 participants from 11 different countries in March this year. After the United States, the Vietjet balloon will travel to its next destination in Japan in November.

    First held in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival of hot air balloons that takes place every October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. This year’s theme is Inflate your imagination through countless colors and shapes and endless possibilities of fun and exploration.

    Vietjet is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline with low-cost and diversified services to meet customers’ demands. It is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate.

    Currently, the airline boasts a fleet of 45 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 350 flights each day. It has already opened 73 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, the RoK, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.

    RoK liquor maker opens Korean-style soju bar in Vietnam

    Hite Jinro Co., the leading liquor maker in the Republic of Korea (RoK), said on October 9 it has opened its first overseas soju pub in Vietnam, setting a goal to open over 20 such bars in the emerging market by 2020, RoK news agency Yonhap reported. 

    According to Yonhap, the Korean-style street bar, called pojangmacha, opened in the capital city of Hanoi with a localized concept and design, after running a pop-up store in late 2016. 

    The liquor maker said it will open the second street bar next year and increase the number of stores to over 20 by 2020. 

    "We will localize the street bar to raise brand awareness among locals and introduce Korean drinking culture to take the lead in Vietnam's soju market," Ahn Ju-hyun, the chief of Hite Jinro Vietnam was cited as saying. 

    Its Vietnamese branch logged 2.93 million USD of sales in the first half of this year, already surpassing last year's 2.42 million USD sales.

    EVN reports fewer power cuts in 2017

    State-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group has reported fewer blackouts in the first nine months of the year as part of improvements across power supplying indexes.

    According to the group, there was a 43 percent reduction in its System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2016. 

    SAIDI is the average outage duration for each customer served, measured in units of time, often minutes or hour. Specifically, the group’s total SAIDI in the period was 624 minutes.

    The Momentary Average Interruption Frequency Index (MAIFI) was 0.64 times per client, down 36.2 percent, and the System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) was 4.56 times per client, decreasing 36.2 percent year on year.

    Electricity supply is ensured as water levels in northern reservoirs are higher than expectation.

    The group generated and purchased a total of 147.92 billion kWh of electricity in the past nine months, a year-on-year surge of 8.17 percent. It sold 129.6 billion kWh of electricity during January-September, rising 9.07 percent from the same time last year.

    The rate of power loss over transmission was 7.26 percent, lower than the yearly target of 7.47 percent.

    In October, EVN plans to produce and import 49.8 billion kWh in total with commercial power output standing at 45 billion kWh.

    Along with ensuring sufficient supply for significant socio-economic events like the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017 and the 14th National Assembly’s 4th session, the group will continue safe and stable operation of power system and keep close watch on weather conditions in order to make timely response to any unexpected situation.

    Efforts to stabilise market in year’s end

    The Departments of Industry and Trade have been urged to actively launch trade promotion and market stabilisation programmes and connect supply-demand in peak times. 

    Due to rising political tension in the Korean peninsula and financial fluctuations in September, metal prices tumbled while farm produce and energy prices kept rising due to high demand in year-end. 

    Statistics showed that the total retail value rose 1.75 percent monthly to 336.585 trillion VND (14.63 billion USD) in September. Tourism, lodging and dining sectors grew 4.5 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively due to high demand on September 2 holiday. 

    On the nine-month calculation, the figure hit 2,917,545 trillion VND, up 10.5 percent year-on-year. 

    Trade experts forecast that goods market will be busy due to high demand. 

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai underscored the need to stabilise the market and generate abundant supply to meet public demand during year’s end. He asked for considering adjustment of value-added tax on goods and services to prevent price hike and falling purchasing power. 

    Ministries, agencies and localities were required to provide support for pig farmers and work closely together to control market and prices.

    Eased restrictions on labour migration can boost welfare, integration: WB

    The World Bank (WB) released the “Migrating to Opportunity” report via a teleconference with Vietnam on October 9, saying that easing restrictions on labour migration can boost workers’ welfare and deepen regional economic integration.

    Introducing the report, Sudhir Shetty, WB Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific region, said: “With the right policy choices, sending countries can reap the economic benefits of out-migration while protecting their citizens who choose to migrate for work. In receiving countries, foreign workers can fill labour shortages and promote sustained economic growth, if migration policies are aligned with their economic needs.”

    According to the report, Vietnam will need to evaluate its current policies for incentivizing out-migration to determine whether they are meeting the country’s needs. While the intention of these policies is laudable, other reforms are also necessary, including review of recruitment agencies’ frequent and at least tacitly sanctioned practice of requiring migrant workers to pay a security deposit to guarantee their return, which is frequently not repaid. 

    A national migration strategy could help to guide reforms, the WB says in the report.

    It notes that lowering the barriers to mobility in ASEAN would increase the welfare gains workers receive from economic integration.

    Intraregional migration in ASEAN increased between 1995 and 2015, turning Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs. These three countries are now home to 6.5 million ASEAN migrants, 96 percent of the total.

    Low-skilled, and often undocumented, ASEAN migrants move in search of economic opportunity, mainly in the construction, plantation, and domestic services sectors. Higher-salary jobs are available, yet workers are not always able to take advantage of these opportunities, the report says. 

    It added the ASEAN Economic Community has taken steps to facilitate mobility, but these regulations only cover certain skilled professions – doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants, and tourism professionals – or just 5 percent of jobs in the region.

    Overall, migration procedures across ASEAN remain restrictive, the report says, adding that barriers such as costly and lengthy recruitment processes, restrictive quotas on the number of foreign workers allowed in a country, and rigid employment policies constrain workers’ employment options and impact their welfare. These restrictive policies are partly influenced by the perception that an influx of migrants would have negative impacts on receiving economies. 

    However, there is evidence to the contrary. In Malaysia, simulations find that a 10 percent net increase in low-skilled immigrant workers increases real GDP by 1.1 percent. In Thailand, recent analysis finds that, without migrants in the labour force, GDP would fall by 0.75 percent, according to the report.

    Canon Expo to open in Ho Chi Minh City

    Canon Marketing Vietnam has announced that imaging products, solutions and technologies will be showcased at its biggest show, Canon Expo 2017, in Ho Chi Minh City from October 26-28.

    Many of them, including EOS sensors of up to 120 MP and 250 MP resolution, 3D product printers and 4K colour monitors will be showcased for the first time in Vietnam.

    Visitors will be free to explore the Canon world, with discounts of up to 49 percent on offer for products on display. In addition, they will have the opportunity to have Canon cameras and lenses checked free of charge and attend workshops with professional photographers.

    In addition to Canon Expo, the 12th Canon PhotoMarathon will be back.

    With a record total prize pool of 1.4 billion VND (61,700 USD) the contest annually attracts close to 10,000 participants.

    Besides prizes such as cameras and printers, this year the winner will receive sponsorship to compete at the Canon PhotoMarathon Asia Championship 2018 with 16 competitors from around the region, vying to win more prizes worth up to 5,000 USD.

    The expo and the photo contest will be held at Hoa Lu Stadium in District 1 in HCM City.

    Reference exchange rate revised down further

    The State Bank of Vietnam revised the daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD down by another 2 VND to 22,467 VND on October 10. 

    With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,141 VND and the floor rate 21,793 VND per USD. 

    The opening hour rates at major commercial banks showed little changes from October 9. 

    Vietcombank kept both rates unchanged from the previous day, at 22,690 VND (buying) and 22,760 VND (selling) per USD. 

    Vietinbank cut both rates by 5 VND to 22,690 VND (buying) and 22,760 (selling) per USD. 

    Meanwhile, BIDV is buying the greenback at 22,690 VND, the same as on October 9, and selling at 22,775 VND, up 15 VND.

    Vietnamese, Malaysian firms share experience in regional integration     

    Vietnamese and Malaysian businesses shared experience in regional integration at a conference and a forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday.

    The conference on ASEAN business connectivity and the forum themed “ASEAN Economic Community: Opportunities and Challenges to Vietnamese businesses” were attended by more than 300 Vietnamese enterprises and a number of Malaysian counterparts.

    Speaking at the event, Doan Duy Khuong, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), talked about changes in the business environment in ASEAN and the world at large.

    Such changes have generated both challenges and opportunities for the business circle, including those from Viet Nam, he said, expressing his hope that Vietnamese firms would learn experience to overcome the obstacles and make the best use of the opportunities at the event.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh described the ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, as promising markets for Vietnamese enterprises.

    The diplomat promised to do his utmost in order to support and connect Vietnamese and Malaysian enterprises together, contributing to enhancing the bilateral economic and trade ties.

    On this occasion, representatives from state management agencies, scholars and scientists cleared up questions raised by the participating firms, helping them gain an insight into economic integration.

    The event, held by the Asian Management and Development Institute under the Viet Nam Ministry of Science and Technology, is expected to come to Indonesia and Singapore in the next few days. 

    Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has petitioned the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to not increase import tariffs on polyester fibre from zero to 2 per cent.

    VITAS’s move aims to remove difficulties for textile and garment enterprises, following feedback and recommendations of enterprises.

    According to VITAS, enterprises still have to import materials and produce goods domestically. However, many are being forced to close operation as they cannot bear the high cost and expense, such as the Dinh Vu Polyester Fibre Plant in the northern province of Hai Phong.

    VITAS has also proposed that the Government consider not raising regional minimum wage in 2018 and consider adjusting the insurance premium rates paid by firms to a more reasonable level, so that enterprises can mobilise resources aand improve their competitiveness to expand production and create jobs in rural and mountainous areas.

    VITAS also recommended that the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) advise the Government on the amendment of Decree 60/2014/ND-CP on the conditions for licensing the import of printers for textile products.

    According to this decree, the owner of a business will be allowed to import printers if they have a college diploma or higher in the printing industry or they must be granted a certificate of professional training by the MIC. 

    More organisations to import equipment for printing banknotes     

    The State Bank of Viet Nam has issued a circular to replace Circular 18/21014/TT-NHNN, regarding the import of equipment and materials for printing money.

    This was stated by the central bank in a press release on its website.

    Accordingly, organisations which are allowed to import equipment and materials for printing banknotes will be expanded, in order to meet the central bank’s demand for printing money.

    Currently, only the National Banknote Printing Plant is allowed to import equipment and materials.

    The new circular will allow the State Bank of Viet Nam to appoint an organisation in the banking sector with an eligible legal status and capacity to participate in importing materials and equipment for printing banknotes.

    In addition, the central bank will have documents to confirm equipment and materials imported with the aim of printing banknotes.

    This aims to create favourable conditions for customs clearance because equipment and materials for printing banknotes are no longer exempted for customs clearance under the Law on Customs No 54/2014/QH13.

    The new circular will take effect on November 20. 

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


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  • 10/11/17--01:33: Article 2
  • Social News 10/10


    Vice President greets former Vietnamese teachers in Thailand


     Vice President greets former Vietnamese teachers in Thailand, French education fair lures Vietnam students, History competition launched for senior high schoolers, HCMC holds monthly meeting on food safety

    The Vietnamese Party and Government always give attentions to overseas Vietnamese, including those living in Thailand, said Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh.

    The Vice President made the statement on October 10 at a meeting with 84 former Vietnamese teachers in Thailand, who have been on an eight-day trip to Vietnam.

    Thinh said the teachers have contributed significantly to preserving and promoting Vietnamese language and culture in Thailand, and expressed her hope that they would continue doing so in the time to come.

    She asked the Foreign Ministry and the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs to continue organising trips for overseas Vietnamese with substantial contributions to visit the home country.

    For their part, representatives of the delegation thanked the Vietnamese Government’s support, including the provision of teaching materials and training courses, and construction of schools.

    They vowed to continue educating younger generations to make contributions to their home country.

    French education fair lures Vietnam students

    Huge numbers of Vietnamese high-school, college and university students on Saturday visited a French education fair at the Rex Hotel in District 1, HCMC to learn about the French higher education system and look for scholarships.

    The annual event, titled “Bienvenue en France,” is an opportunity for local students, parents and others interested in study in France to seek information about undergraduate, postgraduate, pathway programs, domestic programs leading to France-accredited degrees, admission requirements, and scholarship and career opportunities.

    Consul General of France in HCMC Vincent Floreani told the Daily at the event that around 6,500 Vietnamese are studying in France and every year some 1,400 new students come to France for education.

    France is endowed with picturesque landscapes, world-renowned architectural works, long-standing cultural values and high quality of life, thus contributing to a strong increase in the number of Vietnamese students to the country, the consul general said.

    He is pinning high hopes that more young Vietnamese would learn the French language and study French history, culture and lifestyle to open up more career prospects and boost cultural exchanges between the two countries.

    Le Khanh Hung, an 11th grader at Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in District 5, HCMC, said that he began taking French courses at the Institute of Cultural Exchanges with France (Idecaf) in District 1 when he was in grade nine as a preparatory step to fulfill his dream of attending France’s Strasbourg University.

    “The French language is much harder to learn than English but my love for French culture, music, cuisine and ancient architecture has led me to learn the French language over the years,” the 17-year-old added.

    The fair featured scores of seminars and booths allowing visitors to explore France’s features regarding cuisine, culture, art and lifestyle and understand why France has been one of the popular choices for overseas study among Vietnamese students.

    Visitors also had the opportunity to meet with official representatives of 45 schools, including prestigious universities, engineering schools, business schools and other specialized institutions from France and receive guidance on visa procedures and scholarship opportunities.

    Vietnamese alumni and those currently studying in France were present to share their learning and job-seeking experiences, administrative procedures, accommodation and student life in France.

    The fair was organized by the French Embassy in Vietnam in conjunction with Campus France Vietnam, a national agency for the promotion of higher education, international student services and international mobility under the management of the Embassy of France in Vietnam.

    A similar event took place at Pullman Hanoi Hotel in the capital on Sunday.

    History competition launched for senior high schoolers

    A competition on history and national culture yesterdaybwas launched amongst senior high schoolers in public schools and continuous studying centers nationwide.

    Tbe competition has been held by the Communist Youth Union and the Ministry of Education and Training.
    The two part competition includes online tests and video clip making. Online tests focus on the Vietnamese history and culture in the curriculum and dates of historic events, heroes, cultural celebrities, and outstanding Vietnamese in various fields of periods.
    Total awards are worth at VND378 million ($16,632). In addition to official prizes, the organizer also give prizes to schools with a large number of participants and most video clips.

    HCMC holds monthly meeting on food safety

    People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh city will organize the monthly meeting with 24 districts on food safety in order to ensure the food safety for the community.

    The meeting aims to review tasks which are carried out and to resolve difficulties in handling food safety, increasing supervisions and impose strict penalties on violations.

    Moreover, a drill of how to treat and carry out poisoning cases involved in many people will be held, promote information of safe products in the chains as well as help customers to distinguish unsafe food.

    Additionally, authorities guide businesses and farms use good agricultural practice  and Good manufacturing practices (GMP) to satisfy contractual requirements with retail and food service buyers.

    Besides, authorities encourage farms not to use banned fertilizers, preservatives and partake in the safe food supply chain. Furthermore, the authorities crack down smuggling and sales of banned chemicals, pesticides, and animal drugs.

    The city will expand the farms which adopt ( Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices) or other standards like GlobalGAP, set up safe food chain from production to consumption and continue control of traceable vegetables and meat.

    Fingerprint painting registers for Vietnam Record title

    The Northern Power Corporation under the Electricity of Vietnam (EVNNPC) is completing a fingerprint painting themed “Think about safety before taking action” to submit to the Vietnam Record Association for recognition as the painting made with the most fingerprints in the country.

    The picture was produced using the thumbprints of 5,000 people representing 27,778 executives and employees of the EVNNPC.

    The thumbprint collection drive was launched on September 18 at the corporation’s headquarters in Hanoi, and will end on October 20 in Vinh city of central Nghe An province.

    Mai Quang Hung, head of the Safety Board of the EVNNPC, said that safety is key in labour.

    Therefore, the painting shows the determination of the EVNNPC’s staff to prevent workplace accidents through the message “Think about safety before taking action,” he added.

    UNFPA helps Vietnam fight domestic violence

    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will help Vietnam fight gender-based and domestic violence under a project recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    The project will be carried out over the next four years with non-refundable official development assistance worth 3.7 million USD.

    Accordingly, Vietnam will be assisted to develop laws, policies, programmes and services relating to the prevention of and response to gender-based and domestic violence and prostitution issues, using evidence and a human rights-based approach.

    A study on behaviour changes in male chauvinism will be conducted as a basis for the revision of the Law on Gender Equality, the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control, and other relevant policies.

    The project will also develop standards for gender-based violence prevention and control, along with a system to collect online information and data on domestic violence.

    At the same time, there will be communications campaigns on policy advocacy and behavior changes, in addition to models involving male farmers in the fight against gender-based violence.

    Scientific evidence will also be gathered to build a bill on prostitution. Capacity in building and implementing policies on gender equality, domestic violence prevention and control, and prostitution issues will also be enhanced through the project.

    The number of reported domestic violence cases in Vietnam exceeded 127,200 from 2012-2016. Some 83.69 percent of assaulters were men and nearly 80 percent of divorces were due to domestic violence.

    Up to 58 percent of married women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, while 87 percent of those who were abused did not seek any assistance from authorities

    Children living with violence at home are more likely to have poor academic performance and to bully others and commit offences.

    Vietnam now has approximately 7,000 support centres for victims of domestic violence.

    Dengue cases in Hanoi decrease

    The number of new dengue fever cases in Hanoi continued to drop in the last few weeks, announced the city’s Department of Health on October 9.

    Hanoi recorded 1,068 dengue fever cases from October 2 to 8, a decrease of 160 compared to the previous week and 2,501 compared to this year’s peak in August.

    The number of dengue cases has dropped in 24 of the city’s localities. Meanwhile, Soc Son, Cau Giay, Ba Dinh, Phu Xuyen, Gia Lam and Thanh Xuan districts recorded up to eight new cases per week.

    Currently, there are 271 remaining outbreaks, down 89 compared to last week. However, the city recorded about 150 new dengue cases a day.

    There were also 97 cases of hand-foot-mouth reported during the week and two cases of Japanese encephalitis in My Duc and Ba Vi districts.

    According to Hoang Duc Hanh, Deputy Director of the city’s Health Department, this year the country has recorded more than 143,000 dengue fever cases, with 30 fatalities.

    Though the number of new cases in the city has declined recently, October and November normally see an increase in dengue cases.

    Vietnam celebrates 30th year participating in UPU contest

    Nguyen Do Huyen Vi, an eighth grader from central Da Nang city, won the first prize at the national level UPU competition and the consolation prize at the international level this yea. (Photo: VNa)

    A ceremony took place in northern Quang Ninh province on October 9 to celebrate the 30th year Vietnam has attended the International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People UPU and the World Post Day.

    The event was also held to call for entry for the 47th edition of the competition, launched by the Universal Post Union (UPU) in 1971.

    Vietnam became an UPU official member in 1976 and submitted its first entries to the competition in 1987.

    Each year, the UPU International Bureau selects a theme for the competition, aiming to encourage literacy in children and young people and develop their ability to express their thoughts clearly.

    Millions of Vietnamese students have sent their letters to the UPU competition at the national and international levels over the past three decades. Vietnam has won 13 international prizes, including three first, one second and three third prizes.

    This year, Nguyen Do Huyen Vi, an eighth grader from Tay Son Secondary School in Hai Chau district, central Da Nang city, won the first prize at the national level and the consolation prize at the international level for her letter to the UN Secretary-General, advising him on how to solve the Syrian refugee issues.

    BOT road toll reduced after drivers protest

    The Ministry of Transport has agreed to reduce the toll for vehicles using the BOT (Build-Operation-Transfer) bypass in Biên Hòa City of the southern province of Đồng Nai.

    This decision was taken on Sunday following a proposal by the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam. The toll would be reduced by 20 per cent, as compared to the current rate.

    Also, vehicles whose owners have residential registration books in the neighbouring areas of the BOT road would be offered the toll reduction.

    The local government was responsible to make lists of the vehicle owners.

    Four communes of Trung Hòa, Tây Hòa, Đông Hòa and Hưng Thịnh of Trảng Bom District with a total of 398 vehicles owned by 317 people will benefit from the toll reduction.

    The toll tax reduction and exemption will begin from November this year.

    Centre for purchasing medicines, medical equipment dissolved

    The public assets procurement centre for the city’s healthcare sector was dissolved under a decision by HCM City’s People’s Committee.

    The dissolution aims at increasing self-reliance of public hospitals and medical centres while purchasing medicines and medical equipment.

    Under the decision, public hospitals and medical centres will undertake the purchase of medicines and medical equipment as per the Law on Bidding.

    The centre will transfer its assets, finance, facilties, stamp, debts and related issues to relevant agencies.

    Nguyễn Tấn Bình, director of HCM City’s Healthcare Department, admitted that the centre had faced many difficulties when organising tenders to purchase medicines and medical equipment for all public hospitals and clinics.

    This was because there are a lot of items for purchase and demand of each hospital was different, he said.

    Besides this, depending on the centre’s bidding had reduced the self-reliance of hospitals and pushed hospitals into difficult circumstances if the winners of bids were unable to provide the medicines or equippment on time.

    In fact, for three years since the centre was set up, the procurement of medicines and medical equipment through the bidding had not been effective, according to municipal People’s Committee deputy chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Thu.

    Therefore, making hospitals self-reliant while purchasing necessary items was neccessary, she said.

    Hospitals would take responsibility for the purchase, which would be supervised by the People’s Committe, the decision noted.

    The centre for public assets procurement of the city’s healthcare sector was established in 2013.

    Norway helps Thua Thien-Hue develop ethnic written languages

    Norway’s FARO AS organisation has sponsored a pilot project to develop Co Tu, Pa Ko and Ta Oi written languages for students at primary schools in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

    The 179,609 USD project will be carried out in A Luoi and Nam Dong mountainous districts.

    In 2017-2022, it will compile documents to teach students from Co Tu, Pa Ko and Ta Oi ethnic groups to write scripts and organise consultation meetings on teaching methods and evaluating pupils’ writing skills.

    The project aims to contribute to the maintenance and development of written languages for Co Tu, Pa Ko and Ta Oi ethnic groups, thus preserving and developing their cultural values.
    Earlier, the provincial Department of Education and Training, in collaboration with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences organised a course teaching Co Tu scripts for Co Tu teachers in Nam Dong and A Luoi districts.

    Co Tu is one of the ethnic minority groups in Thua Thien-Hue, which plays an important role in the local socio-economic development.

    Co Tu language is used as their mother tongue. However, like many other ethnic minority groups, Co Tu people do not have a written language, which hinders the preservation and development of their cultural values.

    Hau Giang needs over 150 mln USD to become climate change resilient

    Vi Thanh city in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang is in need of over 3.3 trillion VND (150 million USD) to build infrastructure to enhance its resistance against climate change, said Nguyen Van Hoa, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

    Hoa made the statement at a working session with a World Bank (WB) delegation on October 9.

    As the administrative and economic centre of the province, Vi Thanh city has been seriously hit by flooding and saline intrusion as a result of climate change.

    According to Vu Thi Phuong Linh, an WB urban development expert, apart from Vi Thanh, the WB is working with authorities of six other Mekong Delta cities – Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Tan An, Long Xuyen, and Vinh Long – to build and carry out a project on improving the region’s climate-change resilience.

    The project will support these localities in accessing their resilience capacity, providing short-term recommendations and long-term planning for urban development, land use, traffic infrastructure, and water management.

    Nguyen Huynh Duc, Director of the Hau Giang Construction Department, said the province now has 18 urban planning projects, mostly focusing on traffic infrastructure.

    Hau Giang aims to have a total of 20 urban areas by 2030. However, increasing climate change impacts and limited investment are hindering its urban development and livelihood improvement, he said.

    Thanh Hóa volleyball tourney this month

    A volleyball tournament, the PV-Đạm Cà Mau Cup, will get underway on October 25-29 in the central province of Thanh Hóa.

    The top four female and four male teams from the National Volleyball Championship will take part in the event including Thể Công, Sanest Khánh Hòa, Vietinbank, VTV Bình Điền Long An and Long An.

    Teams will compete in a round robin format.

    The winner will receive prize money of VNĐ100 million (US$4,350).

    Cambodian military delegation visits Hau Giang

    Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang held a reception for a delegation of the Development Department under the Cambodian Ministry of Defence led by Deputy Director Lieutenant General Dong Mao on October 9.

    The two sides discussed cooperation between the Cambodian agency and Vietnam’s Military Zone 9 and Mekong Delta provinces in the economy and defence.

    The guests updated the hosts on border security and favourable conditions for overseas Vietnamese in Cambodia.

    Nguyen Van Tuan, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, highlighted bilateral cooperation between the two nations during the past struggle for national liberation and national building and development at present.

    He expressed his delight at cooperation in economic development between the Cambodian agency and Vietnamese localities, hoping that it will continue cooperating with Military Zone 9, border provinces as well as Mekong Delta provinces.

    He proposed the Cambodian army ensure safety and stability in the areas bordering Vietnam to facilitate the two people’s trade activities. He also asked Cambodia to create favourable conditions for overseas Vietnamese in the country.

    For his part, Dong Mao extended his thanks to local authorities in particular and Vietnamese people in general for their help in personnel training and equipment repairing and facility construction for Cambodia.

    He spoke highly of sound cooperation between the two armies and peoples, saying that it has facilitated border trade activities of the two countries’ people. He said he believed that the two nations will successfully implement the tasks set for 2017 and 2018.

    Quang Nam ensures food safety, hygiene for APEC

    The health authority in the central province of Quang Nam has played an active role in ensuring food safety and environmental sanitation, and preventing disease outbreaks ahead of a series of APEC events held in the province from October 18 to November 11.

    Quang Nam will host the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings, the APEC Voices of the Future 2017, the Days of the Republic of Korea in Quang Nam and the launch of the “super project” Blue Whale Gas Field.

    Since the beginning of October, the provincial Health Department has held operations to clean up the environment.

    It also directed inspection of state management on food safety in local districts, townships and cities where the major events will take place. Samples of water used in foods and drinks served in the events have been tested while hotels and restaurants have been guided to follow strict safety standards.

    The department will continue intensifying inspections from communal to provincial levels to minimise any risks associated with food hygiene during the APEC activities, said Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Van Van.

    The local 115 Emergency Centre has set up two teams watching out for any emergency in the province.

    About 300 international and domestic delegates, including financial ministers, leaders of financial agencies and central banks from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies, will gather for the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings from October 19-21 in Quang Nam.

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

    Can Tho University seek training cooperation with Taiwanese partner

    Can Tho University hosted representatives of Taiwanese National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) on October 9 to discuss potential cooperation in medical and technological education.

    Professor Jyh Ching Juang, who led the NCKU delegation, said his university has strengths in the study of health and technology, while Can Tho city is making all-out efforts to improve quality of the local medical sector and to become an industrialised city by 2020.

    This is the favourable condition for engagements between the two universities in scientific research and exchange of students and teachers, he noted.

    Ha Thanh Toan, rector of Can Tho University, said cooperation with the NCKU would open up opportunities for boosting the quality of regional workforce in health and technology, which remain small.

    Joint research projects in pharmaceutical manufacturing and treatment of difficult diseases, as well as in the making of high-tech machines serving agricultural development in the Mekong Delta.

    As part of the meeting, NCKU representatives introduced the university’s scholarships to students at the Can Tho University.

    Khanh Hoa: Over 40,000 poor households benefited from credit programme

    More than 40,000 poor households in the south central province of Khanh Hoa escaped from poverty in the past 15 years thanks to the Government’s credit programme.

    The programme was carried out under the Government’s Decree 78/2002/ND-CP issued in October 2002 on credit for poor households and policy beneficiaries.

    In 2017, the transaction office of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies in mountainous Khanh Vinh district has expanded its coverage to all 14 communes and towns of the locality, creating favourable conditions for poor people and policy beneficiaries to access the credit.

    So far, more than 6,200 households, or 70 percent of the total households in Khanh Vinh, mostly poor families and those from ethnic minority groups, have benefited from the programme with 168 billion VND (7.39 million USD).

    Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ly from the office said that the office has coordinated with socio-political organisations to bring the capital to the needy to help them develop their production, thus increasing their income.

    Among 13 credit programmes that the bank is running in Khanh Hoa, the programme targeting the poor is a focus in an effort to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner.

    Each household can borrow maximum 50 million VND (2,200 USD).

    So far, the programme has lent 1.6 trillion VND (70.4 million USD) to more than 11,000 households, raising the total outstanding balance to 267 billion VND.

    Meanwhile, the programme offering credit to households living close to poverty line have benefited 18,000 households with 425 billion VND.

    The capital has helped the beneficiaries improve their production, apply new technologies and increase value of their products.

    The bank’s credit has risen 20 times over that in 2003, reaching over 2.22 trillion VND. It also aims to access all poor households and policy beneficiaries in Khanh Hoa.

    Overseas Vietnamese assist storm victims in Laos

    Chargé d’ affaires of the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos Nguyen Thanh Tung presented about 9,550 USD to the Lao side on October 9 to assist local people affected by storm Sonca in early August.

    The diplomat said both Laos and Vietnam were heavily influenced by recent natural disasters, especially storms Doksuri in Vietnam and Sonca in Laos.

    In response to the Lao and Vietnamese governments’ call for donation, the embassy’s staff and Vietnamese people and businesses in Laos have donated to support storm victims in the two countries. The same financial aid was also sent to support affected people in Vietnam, he noted.

    Lao Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Baykham Khatthiya appreciated the support of Vietnamese people, describing it as an illustration of the two countries’ traditional solidarity and mutual support throughout history.

    On behalf of the Lao Government and people, she highly valued the role of the Vietnamese Embassy in linking the two countries. She added that the aid will be swiftly delivered to storm victims.

    Storm Sonca hit Laos in late July and early August, triggering downpours, floods and landslides in 14 provinces, killing 10 people and causing heavy property damage.

    Phuong into national tennis semis

    Youngster Nguyễn Văn Phương won his quarter-final match in the the men’s singles of the National Tennis Championships held at Phú Thọ Tennis Club in HCM City yesterday after his opponene tretired due to injury.

    Phương, 16, of Becamex Bình Dương was leading 6-0, 3-0 against 22-year-old Nguyễn Hoàng Thiên when the HCM City player had to withdraw.

    Thiên was formely ranked first in the Asia junior rankings and won many International Tennis Federation junior events.

    Phương will meet his teammate Trịnh Linh Giang, who beat Nguyễn Đắc Tiến of Hà Nội 6-4, 6-1 in another quarter-final, in the semi-final today.

    In the other semi-final match, Phạm Minh Tuấn of Đà Nẵng will face veteran Đỗ Minh Quân of HCM City.

    Quân crushed Hoàng Thành Trung of the People’s Police 7-5, 6-2 in the quarter-final, while Tuấn bested Triệu Hoành Hiếu of the Military 6-0, 6-3.

    On the women’s side, hosts HCM City have three players in the semi-finals, namely Trần Thị Tâm Hảo, Sĩ Bội Ngọc and Trần Thị Thanh Trúc. The other woman left in the draw is Savanna Lý Nguyễn of the Military team.

    Nearly 83% of road accidents in Saigon involve motorbikes

    The latest statistics from the municipal traffic safety committee reveal that motorbikes are either responsible for or the victim in 82.9 percent of road accidents in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Only 7.8% of accidents involve pedestrians, and crashes between cars make up a mere three percent, according to data obtained by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

    Around 70 percent of traffic accidents stem from a lack of concentration by drivers; more than 20 percent are attributed to traffic infrastructure; while in less than 10 percent of the accidents, the means of transportation is at fault, according to the Ho Chi Minh City traffic safety committee.

    On several streets, motorbike drivers have little space to travel as bigger vehicles including tank trucks or trailer trucks occupy most of the street.

    On Hoang Huu Nam Street in District 9, for instance, motorbike drivers are forced to travel amongst a crowd of trucks while the road surface remains full of potholes.

    On a section of National Highway 1 that passes the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone, a number of motorbikes run red lights during rush hour, while Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 is constantly packed with vehicles of all kinds.

    “Driving a motorbike [in Ho Chi Minh City] is a tense task and whoever is on the back seat shouldn’t dare to talk to the driver for fear of distracting him,” one local resident said.

    While motorbikes are proven to be a high risk means of transportation, the vehicle remains the most popular means of transport for most local people.

    Cars are not affordable for everyone, and the city’s public transportation is still underdeveloped.

    Photo exhibition features Hanoi’s pace of life

    A photo exhibition called ‘Hanoi in me’ opened in the capital city on October 9, featuring 80 best photos of the city’s pace of life as part of activities to mark 63rd anniversary of Hanoi’s Liberation Day (October 10).

    The event was hosted by Kinh Te Do Thi (Economic & Urban) Newspaper, Hanoi Elderly Photographer Club and Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam Cultural and Scientific Centre.

    The exhibition aims to introduce the public to landscapes, culture, daily life and craft villages of Hanoi and stunning photos of its streets.

    The photos are taken by members of the Hanoi Elderly Photographer Club, reporters and collaborators of Kinh Te Do Thi newspaper.

    Nguyen Minh Duoc, editor-in-chief of Kinh Te Do Thi Newspaper, who is also the head of the organising board said this is the 12th year the event has been organised, noting that this year’s exhibition focused on daily lives of Hanoians as well as dynamism, creativity and strong development of the capital city.

    The event will run through October 13.

    Sapa to plant 3,000 cherry trees in tourism push

    Sapa district in northern Lao Cai Province will plant 3,000 cherry trees late this year and early next year in a bid to attract more tourists to the region, said local officials.

    The district People’s Committee authorized the youth union to root 1,000 trees this year and 2,000 others next year in Sapa town and several villages.

    In recent years, the cherry blossoms of Sapa’s town centre have become an attraction in their own right, luring many visitors to the beautiful land. Thus, local authorities hope that the planting will enhance the natural beauty of the region, helping to develop tourism in the area.

    Increase in foreign arrivals to Danang

    Foreign arrivals to the central city of Danang rose 49% to more than 1.766 million during the first nine months of this year, the municipal Department of Tourism announced today (October 9).

    The city welcomed more than 5.15 million visitors during this time, up 22.7% against the same period last year. Total revenue from tourism services is estimated at VND15,141 billion, up 24.4% compared to the corresponding period last year and equal to 81.8% of this year’s plan.

    Over 1.171 million visitors arrived at the central city by air while 11,670 tourists travelled by land. Tien Sa port also received 45 international cruise ships with 52,403 passengers on board.

    In the same period, the municipal Department of Tourism, in cooperation with Danang International Airport and airlines, opened flights to the city. There have been 29 direct air routes to Danang so far.

    Project helps Ben Tre women adapt to climate change

    The project “Building response capacity, recovery and adaptation to disaster risks and climate for men and women”( RADCC)  in Ben Tre province has involved over 17,000 coastal households in changing their environmentally-unfriendly behaviours over four years of implementation in the locality.

    Tran Thi Kim Chi, from Dinh Trung commune, Binh Dai district, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre said the project has helped her family understand about disaster mitigation and climate change adaption.

    After three years, her family has adopted 10 out of 12 recommended behaviors, including saving electricity, classifying waste, treating waste discharge from animal farming, and storing water and food ahead of flood and storm season, Chi said, adding that her family has encouraged neighbours to do the same.

    Nguyen Thi Dung from Bao Thanh commune, Ba Tri district said after adopting all 12 behaviors, she volunteered to be an activist to persuade others in the commune to do the same. They initially faced a lot of challenges because many households refused to change their habit. Dung and other members of the communal Women’s Association repeatedly visited and talked to each family about the benefits and join. Now most of women in the commune have pledged to the change.

    Pham Thi Thanh Thao, President of the provincial Women’s Association said the project has helped local women change their habits to better adapt to natural disasters and climate change. The project has ended in the province but the association will continue to promote the practice among locals.

    The RADCC project has been carried out since 2013 in 15 communes in the three coastal districts of Ba Tri, Binh Dai, and Thanh Phu.

    Besides encouraging the adoption of environmentally friendly behaviors, the project has also build four livelihood models to support poor women,  one in making eco-bags in Bao Thanh commune and three in raising cows in Ba Tri and Thanh Phu communes with a total combined cost of 917 million VND (40,348 USD).

    Logo competition for Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties

    A competition was launched on October 10 to design a logo celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam (1973-2018).

    The logo competition, co-organised by the Australian Embassy and University of Industrial Fine Arts, is seeking creative designs that reflect the long-standing and close relationship built over 45 years between Australia and Vietnam.

    The winner will receive an iPad and a VND10 million voucher to learn English in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, while the most ‘liked’ logo on Facebook will receive a VND5 million English language voucher.

    Ten runner-up entries will receive a set of IELTS books, a kangaroo helmet and a certificate of appreciation.

    Australian Ambassador Craig Chittick said “I hope this competition will be an opportunity for all participants to show their talent and creativity as well as to learn more about our two countries.”

    The relationship between Australia and Vietnam has come a long way since the two countries announced the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973, and now spans a wide range of cooperation, including economic, security and innovation partnerships.

    The submission period will run from 10 October to 30 November 2017 and contestants can submit multiple entries online.

    Logo competition rules and guidance on how to submit logos can be found on the Australian Embassy’s website.

    The Australian Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will organise a number of activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary.

    Construction of Hanoi’s new viaduct to commence next month

    Construction of a viaduct along the length of Pham Van Dong street in Hanoi will be underway in November, announced the Thang Long Project Management Board under the Ministry of Transport on October 9.

    Starting from Mai Dich flyover to Thang Long Bridge, the new viaduct will measure 4.8km long and is part of the Hanoi’s Ring Road No. 3.

    According to the plan, construction will be completed within 26 months. By 2020, the project will be officially put into use, helping to ease the load from frequent jams on Pham Van Dong street, as well as supporting the socio-economic development in the west of Hanoi and completing the city’s traffic network.

    The Mai Dich - Thang Long viaduct has a total investment budget of over VND5.3 trillion (US$233.2 million), sourced mainly from Japanese ODA and domestic counterparts. It will have four high-speed lanes allowing vehicles to travel at a designated speed of 100kph.

    The project has stirred different public opinions as the consultancy unit Transport Engineering Design Inc. (TEDI) and the investor proposed to cut and remove 1,300 trees on Pham Van Dong street, including 1,000 giant, thousand year-old African mahogany trees.

    According to the Hanoi Department of Construction, cutting down and moving trees only stops at the kind of a proposal. The issue will be consulted carefully by collecting comments from experts and locals and then submitting the plan to Hanoi’s authorities. Subsequently, the department will make a public notice to the local people.

    If the above plan is approved by the People's Committee of Hanoi, the construction unit will replace the African mahogany tree line with more than 1,500 Burma padauk, Madagascar almond, and oil palm trees.

    Since 2012 onward, the Mai Dich - Thang Long project has been reported by the Thang Long Project Management Board to the Ministry of Transport with a projected total investment of nearly VND6.2 trillion.

    Prior to the project, construction for another viaduct under Ring Road No. 3 connecting Mai Dich - Linh Dam Lake in Hoang Mai district started in June 2010 with a total length of 8.9 km, including a 385m pathway and over 8.5 km of viaduct. The four lane route opened to traffic on October 2012.

    Drug manager dectects medical salt water without origin

    The Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health yesterday said that it has detected pharmaceutical shops sell medical salt water NaCl 0.9%, hydrogen peroxide and iodine products without license of registration as per the medical regulations.

    Accordingly, the Administration asked the departments of health across the country to enhance supervision of the three products in retail and wholesale.

    Inspectors should issue harsh penalties on violators as well as publicize the names of violators, the ministry said.

    The Administration also ordered health authorities nationwide and Khai Ha Pharmaceutical Company to suspend the circulation of the company’s brain supplement with registered number VD-24472-16 in the batch of 01.03.17, date of manufactured March 2, 2017 because the drug failed to meet the requirements of Ginkgo biloba Extract and Ginkgo flavonoid.

    The producer was asked to recall the substandard drug from stores.

    Why Fredegonde?

    On October 20 and 21 the HCMC Ballet Symphony and Opera Orchestra will stage a production of Fredegonde at the Opera House. What is it, and why are they doing it?

    Fredegonde is a rarely seen opera by French composer Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). It’s so rare that there›s only evidence of a single previous production anywhere - eight performances in Paris in December of the year it was completed, 1895.

    Saigon is not a major opera center. It has seen six opera productions in recent years – Cavalleria Rusticana, Dido and Aeneas, Die Zauberflote, Carmen, La Vie Parisienne and Die Fledermaus, all of them relatively well-known. Why, then, should it embark on a fully-staged rendition of an almost unknown work for only the second time in that opera’s entire history?

    The reason is that Saint-Saens completed work on Fredegonde here in Vietnam. He took a break from life in Paris to travel to what was then known as Indo-China, where a friend of his was governor of the island prison of Con Son. Once here, after some time in Saigon, he went to Con Son and used the peace and quiet to work on Fredegonde.

    “The subject is fascinating,” said French conductor Patrick Souillot at a recent rehearsal. “It’s essentially Shakespearean – about power, families, war, impossible love and death. There are interesting differences, too, between the two composers who were involved. Saint-Saens, for example, added some oriental touches such as the use of a large gong, or tam-tam. You can hear oriental touches, too, in the woodwind at the opening of Act Five.”

    There are more than a few little-known French operas from the same period, Souillot added. He has just finished work on another, Le Timbre d’Argent (The Silver Bell), also by Saint-Saens, and given it its first ever recording. Fredegonde has so far never been recorded at all.

    Of course, with all the soloists having learnt their roles, many things are possible, but, said Souillot at the moment there was no project to stage Fredegonde anywhere else.

    The rehearsal had begun with the male members of the chorus singing under conductor Tran Nhat Minh. The female members then joined them, making for a chorus of some 46 in all. When this work was finished, Patrick Souillot took over the podium and began rehearsing with six soloists, all of them French. Fredegonde is being produced in cooperation with La Fabrique Opera, Grenoble. One important Vietnamese soloist is involved, Dao Mac, as a character called Landeric.

    The story of Fredegonde concerns dynastic rivalries in France in the sixth century AD, with Fredegonde herself a scheming and malign influence. Further details will be revealed in this column shortly.

    HCMC edu dept continues staggered school hours to curb traffic congestion

    Staggered school hours in HCMC will be continued as in 2007 to tackle severe traffic congestion in the city, said the Department of Education and Training.

    A seminar on revision of the staggered school hour plan in HCMC from 2006-2007 was held last week by the HCMC Institute for Development Studies and the municipal Departments of Transport and Education-Training.

    An official of the education department said occasional traffic jams occur at intersections and on roads around schools with no or small yards.

    The HCMC Institute for Development Studies said traffic often gets congested in front of many schools as parents wait to pick up their children, and public transit is poor.

    Dr. Du Phuoc Tan, head of  urban management at the HCMC Institute for Development Studies, said many parents take their children to schoolnby car which makes traffic congestion worsen in the city. They do not park their cars 50 meters from schools as stipulated in parking regulations.

    At the seminar, the education department asked schools in the city to arrange staggered schedules depending grades and improve student shuttle services, and proposed the Department of Transport improve the quality of buses.

    The Department of Transport agreed that it is feasible to apply staggered school hours to ease traffic congestion while commuter buses and traffic infrastructure are still in bad shape.

    The city has more than eight million private vehicles, excluding those from other provinces, according to the Department of Transport.

    Le Hoai Trung, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Home Affairs, said other sectors should apply staggered work hours accordingly as parents need to pick up and drop off their kids. Therefore, relevant agencies should ask parents about the plan.

    School hours have been adjusted in HCMC since the school year 2006-2007. At all schools, excluding kindergartens, classes end in a 15-minute interval. The education and training offices of the districts have asked police for help to regulate traffic after  school.

    HCMC to ban pork without clear origin at wholesale markets

    Pork without traceability tags will be banned at Hoc Mon and Binh Dien wholesale markets in HCMC from October 16, said HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen.

    Tuyen has directed relevant departments and agencies, and the two markets’ management to cooperate closely to continue the pork origin tracking scheme.

    He has assigned the market monitoring force and police to cooperate with Long An Province law enforcement to compel vendors to comply with the relevant regulations. Heavy sanctions should be imposed on those who transport pigs and pork to the city without licenses and tax payments, and especially those who have had fraudulent practices like pumping water into pigs to increase their weight.

    The city government has passed a plan to support farmers to cover 50% of the traceability tag cost and cooperatives 100% of the cost until December 31.

    The municipal Department of Industry and Trade earlier proposed the city government ban the sale of pork without clear origin at wholesale markets in the city.

    The department on October 3 suggested market stabilization solutions in a document submitted to the city government during the shutdown of Xuyen A Slaughterhouse in Cu Chi District. Competent agencies had caught red-handed two merchants injecting 4,000 pigs with a sedative solution right before slaughtering them.

    The city required relevant agencies to immediately cull the contaminated pigs and publish 13 vendors involved in the case.

    The department has worked with large farms in the city and neighboring areas. These farms have pledged to adequately and quickly supply pigs to slaughterhouses in the city.

    Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, deputy director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said the department has also worked with supermarkets to ensure the supplies and price stabilization. The agency will inspect closely pork supplied to the city in the coming time.

    Int’l seminar marks 100th anniversary of Great October revolution

    An international seminar featuring the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution – the past and present experience in socialism building took place in the Indian city of Kolkata from October 8-10.

    A Vietnamese delegation led by permanent deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s External Relations Commission Tran Dac Loi attended the event together with nearly 100 delegates from communist and workers’ parties from 13 countries worldwide.

    Participants discussed the significance and great impact of the Great October Socialist Revolution of Russia, saying that it changed the fate of not only Russian workers but also the humankind.

    They affirmed undeniable value of unprecedented achievements in human history in economic development, social progress and fairness under the Soviet regime, the Soviet Union’s decisive contributions to victory over fascism, socialist countries’ dedication to national liberation movement and world peace after the Second World War.

    They looked into the causes and lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist countries in Eastern Europe.

    Debating socialism building experience in the 21st century, especially in Vietnam, China, Cuba, delegates shared view that socialism remains the only proper and necessary solution to humankind today, adding that the spirit of the October Revolution continues to be a flag guiding the fight of workers worldwide in the new period.

    Bac Ninh in dire demands for affordable housing

    The northern province of Bac Ninh plans to roll out a total 3.2 million square metres of commercial houses to the market by 2022 and develop additional social housing projects to meet diversified demand.

    The province will work to complete house construction for 3,250 people who rendered services to the country, build houses for over 3,800 poor households and branch out social housing projects with a total area of nearly 700,000 square metres for workers.

    According to Cao Van Ha, Director of the provincial Department of Construction, the province will review housing development projects and inspect planning and progress of existing projects during 2017-2022.

    Upgrade will be made to tenement blocks and land will be zoned off for social housing projects, especially houses for workers at industrial parks, Ha said.

    In 2017, the province has carried out housing construction and review land planning with focus on land for social housing in localities with high demand like Bac Ninh city, Tu Son town and Yen Phong, Tien Du and Que Vo districts.

    In addition, it has prioritised Build-Transfer (BT) projects while mobilising capital from credit organisations and giving preferential loans to buyers.

    Construction investors are encouraged to involve in social housing with free-of-charge land use and the use of 20 percent of the land fund to build commercial houses. They will be provided with 30 percent of technical infrastructure construction costs in housing projects for workers at industrial parks.

    The Department of Constructions said that the provincial People’s Committee has given a nod to build social houses in an area of 44.17 hectares. Once completed, over 19,000 flats with a total area of 1.62 million square metres will be put up for sale.

    Currently, the province is carrying out five housing projects for students with total land of 96,000 square metres which can accommodate 11,600 students. Three projects have become operational.

    Fourteen housing projects for workers are being developed in the locality. They are built to serve 85,000 workers at industrial parks, meeting 40 percent of the demand. Six projects have been put into used so far, providing accommodation for 20,600 workers.

    People of Hà Nội district complain about stench

    An unbearable stench from a nearby dumping ground has been bothering people in the communes of Phụng Châu and Tiền Phương of Chương Mỹ District’s Sơn Tây Township.

    The temporary dumping ground has not been cleared for a month, and rubbish has been piling up there each day, reported the online newspaper dantri.com.vn.

    “The dumping ground has been here for a month. During the rains, the stench makes us sick,” said Đỗ Văn Lũy, a local.

    The situation is the result of local trucks which stopped carrying garbage to Xuân Sơn dumping ground in Sơn Tây Township to protest against pollution. Since then, the garbage has been left near the township’s park along the National Highway 32.

    The temporary dumping ground is 2m tall and 3m wide.

    The municipal authority has asked districts to use Nam Sơn dumping ground in Sóc Sơn Township as a replacement to the Xuân Sơn dumping ground.

    Musical drama features young performers

    Choreographer and theatre director Tấn Lộc and his young staff will stage a musical drama for children at HCM City’s Bến Thành Theatre this week.

    The production, Bé Chịu Chơi (We Are the World), which features songs, dances and colourful images, is about a group of girls and boys and their adventures they encounter in life.

    It is directed by Lộc and his colleague, dramatic actress Thanh Thủy, who believes musical productions will soon dominate the industry.

    “I wanted to create a musical play for children and acted by children. My play is built on both traditional and modern styles,” said Lộc, who has more than 15 years of experience in dance and theatre.

    “We worked hard to make music, costumes, and light and sound effects. Our costume designers and specialists in visual effects have added realistic elements to the play through beautiful clothes, accessories and interior designs suited to the play’s theme,” he said.   

    Young audiences will be entertained by our new talents Thư Kỳ, Phương Trinh, Ngọc Phụng, who are between 7 and 14 years old and have skills in music, dance and singing. 

    They will perform with professional dancers and theatre actors such as Khắc Duy and Cát Tường.

    “We want to promote and develop musical drama among young people, particularly children, who can learn new things about history, culture, music and theatre through our art,” said Lộc, who hopes musical dramas will make waves this year. 

    There will be a total of four shows on two days, October 14 and 15, at Bến Thành Theatre, 6 Mạc Đĩnh Chi Street in District 1. The show will then move to Hà Nội for four days, on October 21, 22, 28 and 29, at Âu Cơ Theatre in 8 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Street, Ba Đình District. Tickets are available at box offices.

    VNN


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  • 10/11/17--02:37: Article 1
  • Party Central Committee wraps up sixth session


    Hanoi -The 12th Party Central Committee wrapped up its sixth session in Hanoi on October 11 after seven working days in a serious, democratic and responsible manner.

    Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
     
    On behalf of the Politburo, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong summed up key outcomes of the meeting, including socio-economic performance for 2017-2018, protection and improvement of people’s health, population work in the new situation, renewal in the organization of the political system’s apparatus, renovation of public administrative units, and personnel work.

    The committee agreed that in the first nine months this year, the country has made positive progress in almost areas thanks to efforts of the entire Party, people and the armed forces. The economy grew by 7.46 percent in the third quarter, raising the growth of the three quarters to 6.41 percent. The macro-economy has been stable while inflation was put under control.

    However, the committee’s members pointed to an array of difficulties and challenges, including high overspending and public debt, big non-performing loans, slow ODA and Government bond capital disbursement, loss-making State-owned enterprises, violations in environmental protection and food hygiene, complicated traffic accidents and crimes, and more. 

    They underscored the need to make drastic changes in the implementation of three strategic breakthroughs, renovation of growth model in combination with restructuring the economy, raising labour productivity and economic competitiveness in 2018.

    They called for attention to be paid to cultural development, democracy exercise, social justice, effective response to climate change, environment protection, food hygiene and safety, the fight against corruption and wastefulness towards maintaining an environment of peace, stability and active global integration.

    In his closing speech, Party chief Trong said priority should be given to fine-tuning mechanisms to further improve the business climate, improve the efficiency of State-owned enterprises, public administrative units, and especially the private sector.

    The committee affirmed that mechanisms and policies will be tailored to improve health care and services regarding protection and improvement of people’s health, ensuring that every citizen will be equal in their rights and obligations in health insurance coverage and related services.

    They consented to improve the operation efficiency of State medical establishments by facilitating public-private partnership and build a widespread medical system with streamlined and efficient operations.

    Party units, authorities, Vietnam Fatherland Front chapters, and socio-political organisations should direct mass movements on physical exercise, improve living conditions, protect the environment, and ensure food hygiene and safety, they said.

    Speaking highly of important results of population work – family planning over the past years, the committee suggested that population policy should shift from family planning to population and development.

    The campaign encouraging each married couple to have two children should be further spread to ensure that there are nearly 104 million people nationwide by 2030.

    The committee emphasised the importance of renewing and rearranging the apparatus of the political system towards a streamlined one with efficient and effective operation, highlighting this as a fundamental and urgent task to build and re-organise the Party, and reform the political system to meet the requirements of developing the socialist-oriented market economy and integrating globally.

    It is necessary to build a competitive, overt and transparent mechanism in the recruitment, appointment and promotion of officials to attract moral and competent ones to work for organisations of the political system. 

    Building a mechanism to strictly oversee power by legal regulations, promoting accountability, and severely punishing violators – especially heads of institutions are equally important. 

    The committee also stressed the need to improve the quality and operational efficiency of public service institutions.  

    The State must ensure the provision of basic and essential public services and increase the access to public services for people from walks of life. 

    Apart from re-arranging and reforming structure and operation of public service institutions, it is crucial to promote social investment in public services without comercialisation. 

    At the sixth plenary session, the committee elected two additional members to the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and considered the execution of disciplinary measures against Nguyen Xuan Anh, who is a member of the Party Central Committee and Secretary of the Party Committee of the central city of Da Nang. 

    The Party leader assured that any violations will be strictly dealt with from now on to ensure the Party’s discipline and reinforce people’s trust. 

    He called on the whole Party, people and army to continue implementing more seriously and effectively the Resolution adopted at the 12th National Party Congress as well as resolutions of the 12th Party Central Committee, including conclusions made at this meeting, to fulfill the set targets for 2017-2018 and the following years.


    VNA  


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  • 10/11/17--02:52: Article 0
  • Vietnam’s defense ministry requests tighter management of drones

    The use of camera drones has become ‘quite complicated’ recently, the ministry has stated


    ​Vietnam’s defense ministry requests tighter management of drones 

    A camera drone is used at a festival in the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan. Photo: Tuoi Tre


    Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense has suggested tightening management over the use of camera drones throughout the country.

    Colonel General Phan Van Giang, deputy minister of national defense, has released a document on the enhanced supervision of unmanned aerial devices and specifically, camera drones.

    The use of drones has become quite complicated recently, Col. Gen. Giang said, adding that several users of such devices had failed to seek permission and flown over prohibited areas.

    “Opposing forces can take advantage of such activities to capture images and videos, which may be aimed at distorting the truth or spreading propaganda,” he said, “and to deploy explosives and harmful substances.”

    The defense ministry requested in the dispatch that local authorities tighten their management of the production, sale, ownership, and operation of camera drones.

    The importation of these devices and related equipment should also be closely monitored, it added.

    Using camera drones has become commonplace amongst Vietnamese photographers and filmmakers.

    “A flying camera can cost from between a few hundred U.S. dollars to more than $1,000,” said a member of the Ho Chi Minh City photography association.

    The devices are able to capture stunning photos from the air. Many great videos of famous attractions across Vietnam have been filmed using the so-called flying cameras.

    In August 2015, the defense ministry required individuals and organizations to apply for a flying permit for any unmanned aerial device.

    The Department of Operations under the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army is in charge of granting permission for the use of drones, according to Decree No. 36.

    Tuoitrenews


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  • 10/12/17--01:13: Article 3
  • Finance ministry turns down Vinaxuki loan plea


    The Ministry of Finance has turned down Xuan Kien Automobile JSC (Vinaxuki) Chairman Bui Ngoc Huyen’s proposal to be given more bank loans to resume his firm’s Made-in-Vietnam car dream.

    Huyen sent the proposal to the government, asking for more loans from the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) so that he could re-purchase Vinaxuki’s bad debts sold to the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC).

     

    Bui Ngoc Huyen and his car


    The Government Office required the Ministry of Finance to consider Huyen’s appeal.

    Huyen set up Vinaxuki with the dream to raise the localisation rate to produce cars of below nine seats to 50%. However, due to the impact of the global economic crisis during the 2010-2012 period, the company had to pay high-interest rates for loans in the context of a sluggish local car market. In 2011, banks urged Vinaxuki to sell their factories to repay their loans.

    Meanwhile, some banks suddenly stopped providing the company loans despite their pledge before for the fear of the Made-in-Vietnam car project’s potential risks.

    The banks sold Vinaxuki’s bad debts to VAMC, leaving the firm on the verge of bankruptcy. There are currently only a handful of employees at Me Linh-based factory, most of whom work as security guards.

    Huyen has called for help from many banks and credit organisations; however, the situation has not improved.

    He continues to nurture his dream of resuming the car project which he believed to be successful after six months.

    However, in a recently-issued document, the Ministry of Finance said that the government’s regulations do not allow a company to get loans from BIDV to buy back its bad debts from an organisation.

    dtinews.vn


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  • 10/12/17--01:36: Article 2
  • Debt trading firm in line for a makeover: Finance Ministry


    The functions and operations of the Vietnam Debt and Asset Trading Corporation (DATC) should be restructured to handle the “next phase” of handling non-performing loans (NPLs), the Finance Ministry (MoF) says. 

    Debt trading firm in line for a makeover: Finance Ministry, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 
    The Ministry of Finance’s headquarters in Ha Noi. - Photo mof.gov.vn 

    Explaining a new decree that it has drafted, the ministry said in the 13 years since it was established, the DATC has fulfilled its mandate and created a solid foundation for tackling NPLs across the country.

    Since its establishment in 2004, the DATC has actively worked to resolve NPLs, purchasing debts of about VND80 trillion (US$3.56 billion), of which $2.8 billion worth of bad debts was disposed of via “a designated mechanism,” while loans worth $762.7 million were settled directly in the market.

    The DATC handled the debt and assets of 2,628 State-owned enterprises (SOEs), with the total book value of liabilities and assets estimated at $195.8 million, thereby contributing to improving the enterprises’ financial situation and accelerating the SOE equitisation process.

    It has significantly helped improve the economy’s overall bad debt situation, affirming its efficacy as a tool for the Government in handling bad debts and promoting business restructuring across various economic sectors, the MoF said.

    However, the DATC has also encountered many difficulties and obstacles including the lack of any breakthrough mechanism for debt trading called for by the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 109/2003 / QD-TTg as well as other guiding circulars issued by the ministry.

    Beyond the acquisition of bad debts, DATC’s creditors have not recorded significant improvement during the agency’s debt recovery process, while its financial resources, with a charted capital of about $267 million, was limited compared to the current demand for debt processing, the ministry noted.

    To address these shortcomings, the MoF is preparing a new Decree to enhance the DATC’s performance, create a legal framework for the formation and development of a proper market for trading NPLs, and improve State management of the problem.

    The new Decree will increase the DATC’s core business rights, enabling it to requisition information and documents relating to debts and assets from creditors and other related parties, and giving it the right to handle collateral assets.

    It will also be able to request the assistance of State agencies in obtaining and finalising legal documents needed to secure assets during debt recovery and ask courts to apply simplified dispute settlement procedures.

    Furthermore, it will be entitled to sell any receivable debts or other suitable forms of security assets.

    The MoF said it was hopeful that these additional functions will facilitate DATC in better fulfilling its mandate in the future.

    The DATC has acknowledged the difficulties and challenges it is facing as the NPLs market becomes more competitive while specific mechanisms and policies on debt processing are yet to be completed.

    With the Government focusing on restructuring the financial and banking system, the demand for bad debt processing in credit institutions and SOEs has increased in value and number.

    By the end of this year, the DATC hopes to complete several debt purchase negotiations even as it co-ordinates with other ministries to speed up the restructuring of SOEs.

    Doan Van Thang, General Director the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC), said that the country does have a recognised debt trading market, but its operations were first limited to the DATC, and later the VAMC. 

    VNS


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  • 10/12/17--01:58: Article 1
  • Social News 11/10


    Project promotes water-electricity saving in Da Nang


     Project promotes water-electricity saving in Da Nang, Satellite emergency-aid stations in HCM City save lives, Pregnant women warned to guard against dengue, Winners of Vietnam Women Award 2017 announced  

    A project to reduce greenhouse emissions by encouraging the saving of water and electricity was launched at a workshop in the central city of Da Nang on October 10.

    The project is part of the UN’s 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education. 

    Atsushi Watabe, a research manager at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies said environmental protection has helped develop tourism, trade and services.

    The project aims to spread the value of choosing a sustainable lifestyle.

    According to calculations used for the building of water supply and drainage infrastructure in Vietnam, an urban citizen consumes an average of 120 litres of water per day. This is set to increase to 170-190 litres by 2030, while in advanced countries, average water consumption is falling.

    Bui Tho Ninh, head of the Da Nang Water Supply JSC, said 91.28 percent of households in the city use water daily, with consumption averaging 136 litres per person per day.

    Efficient use of resources at treatment units and households is important, he added.

    Ninh also mentioned measures to save water and highlighted that a sustainable lifestyle must be taught to children from a young age.

    Truong Sa exhibition tells moving stories

    An exhibition, featuring memories and facts collected from a journey to Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago last May, began in Hanoi on October 10.

    On display are more than 70 photos and photo books, which tell stories of 200 people, of whom 70 are Vietnamese expatriates across 22 countries and territories.

    Entitled “Truong Sa, please come once in your life!”, the exhibition is part of activities marking the 63rd anniversary of the capital’s Liberation Day.

    It will last until October 20.

    Family medicine to be piloted in Phú Thọ

    The Ministry of Health (MoH) collaborated with Phú Thọ Province Department of Health to hold Yên Lập District Medical Centre’s Family Medicine Scheme Accession Ceremony and the signing ceremony of the centre with four central hospitals on Monday.

    Family medicine is emerging as the major solution to health administration at the local level, according to Phạm Lê Tuấn, Deputy Health Minister. This practice will help improve medical quality and provide people with better services. With the implementation of family medicine at Yên Lập District Medical Centre, experienced doctors from central hospitals will collaborate with local medical staff to enhance chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

    Nguyễn Trọng Khoa, deputy head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the MoH, stressed the significance of family doctors in providing personal, comprehensive and continuing care for the individual in the context of the family and the community. Family medicine’s primary care ethics highlight disease prevention and health promotion based on the knowledge of the patient and his living condition. “Yên Lập District Medical Centre plans to pilot and implement the family medicine model at its medical examination department following the holistic nature of this speciality,” said Khoa.

    At the ceremony, the four hospitals including Hà Nội Heart Hospital, the National Hospital of Acupuncture, the National Hospital of Endocrine and the National Geriatric Hospital committed to conducting training sessions for local medical staff, send doctors and nurses to 17 ward medical centres in Yên Lập District and admit seriously-ill patients when local facilities are unable to treat them.

    Hồ Đức Hải, director of Phú Thọ Province Department of Health, said that Yên Lập District was implementing the individual health administration model. The collaboration with central hospitals will create conditions for local medical staff to increase their management capability in controlling non-communicable diseases.

    The Family Medicine Scheme, after being piloted in Yên Lập District, will be widely launched in other districts of Phú Thọ Province in 2017 and 2018, according to Hải.

    At present, the first phase of the Family Medicine Scheme between 2013 and 2020 has been operated in eight provinces and cities of Việt Nam. It contributes to providing primary and continuing healthcare for individuals and helps to reduce hospitals’ overcrowding.

    On the occasion, MoH also opened a training course of common diseases based on family medicine values for local medical staff.

    Satellite emergency-aid stations in HCM City save lives

    When an emergency aid station received a call last year about a woman in a life-threatening situation in HCM City, an ambulance was sent to her home where she was assessed by doctors and later taken to a hospital.

    The 34-year-old woman who was suffering severe pain caused by a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, was immediately taken to an operating room, where doctors performed emergency surgery, Dr Hồ Hải Trường Giang, head of Củ Chi District Hospital, said via email to Việt Nam News.

    The emergency aid station, which is located at the hospital, is one of 25 that exist in the city.

    The so-called 115 satellite stations are part of the HCM City Emergency Aid Centre’s network, whose emergency number is 115. 

    More recently, a 22-year-old victim of a traffic accident was saved by doctors at Củ Chi District Hospital when an emergency aid station’s phone operator received a call from residents who had passed by and noticed the accident.

    An ambulance, doctor and nurse immediately went to the scene and gave first aid to the victim, who was then taken to the hospital.

    The emergency aid station at the hospital, which opened in October last year, has received 125 people so far, according to Giang.

    “The district is large. Putting an emergency aid station in the hospital is vital so we can rapidly assess patients who need emergency aid,” he said.

    Before the satellite stations opened at local hospitals, ambulances from the Emergency Aid Centre could not reach Củ Chi District and other outlying areas quickly, especially during peak traffic hours.

    All five outlying districts now have access to emergency aid stations, so they can take advantage of the “golden hour”, the time that may be crucial in saving someone’s life, according to the city’s Department of Health.

    The latest emergency aid station was set up at Hóc Môn Area General Hospital on October 6 in Hóc Môn District.

    Dr Tăng Chí Thượng, deputy head of the city’s Health Department, said red alerts and the emergency aid stations in the inner city and outlying hospitals had improved treatment for severely injured accident victims or patients with serious health problems.

    In the red alert procedure, doctors at city- or central-level hospitals are called to provide technical assistance to doctors at other hospitals. If patients need more treatment, they will be transferred to the city or central-level hospitals.

    Thượng said the department had asked the Ministry of Education and Training to issue a code for the professional training of paramedics similar to what is used in Australia.

    Paramedics would provide out-of-hospital treatment by motorbike, bicycle or speedboat.

    The city is studying the use of such vehicles for out-of-hospital emergency services, according to Thượng.

    The city also aims to have an intelligent emergency aid system that uses advanced IT.

    Pregnant women warned to guard against dengue

    The public, especially pregnant women, should take the initiative to ward off mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika since current weather conditions in many provinces and cities are ideal for mosquitoes to breed, health experts said.

    Last week HCM City’s Hùng Vương Hospital admitted a 25-year-old woman from the Mekong Delta province of Vĩnh Long who was 38 weeks pregnant and had had fever for nearly two days.

    She had signs of sepsis caused by dengue fever and tests showed that her platelet count had fallen and lungs were inflamed, doctors said.

    They gave her antibiotics but after five-day treatment her health worsened. The foetal heartbeat was too weak and they decided to perform a C-section to save mother and child, they said.

    Dr Nguyễn Đăng Quang, head of the hospital’s emergency aid department, said she was given platelets and plasma to prevent haemorrhages and enable blood to clot.

    Now, four days after the surgery last Friday, the woman and her newborn son have recovered.  

    But unlike her, a 26-year-old woman in Hà Nội suffered a miscarriage due to complications caused by dengue fever.

    Four weeks pregnant, she had contracted dengue. After she showed symptoms of the disease for two days she was brought to Bạch Mai Hospital for treatment, but doctors could not save the foetus.

    The hospital’s infectious diseases department reported that as of mid-August pregnant women accounted for 15-20 per cent of its dengue patients.

    Dr Đỗ Duy Cường, its head, told the Việt Nam Government portal (chinhphu.vn) that if pregnant women show any symptoms of dengue such as fever and severe headache they should be admitted to hospital because what happens subsequently could not be forecast.

    At hospitals, they and their unborn child would be regularly monitored and doctors could find out if they were going to miscarry or deliver prematurely, he said.

    He said people including pregnant women should take preventive measures such as wearing clothes covering their arms and legs and sleep inside mosquito nets.

    According to the Centre for Disease Control, they should use mosquito repellents with up to 50% DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus during pregnancy.

    According to Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy head of the HCM City Department of Health, there is no vaccine yet against dengue and the best method is to prevent mosquitoes and larvae from breeding by clearing water containers and keeping the environment clean.

    In HCM City alone 16,030 cases of dengue have been reported this year, an increase of 18 per cent compared to last year, according to the city Preventive Health Centre.

    There have also been 21 Zika patients compared to just one last year.

    Winners of Vietnam Women Award 2017 announced

    Eight collectives and ten individuals will be honoured at the Vietnam Women Awards 2017, recognising the talent, creativity and contributions of women in all fields of life.

    According to Vice President of the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee Nguyen Thi Tuyet, the awards ceremony will be held in Hanoi on October 17.

    The collectives to be honoured include women teams of the Emergency Department of Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, the Hanoi-Amsterdam High School, Thai Hung JSC, and the Women’s Union of Ba Che district of Quang Ninh province.

    The 10 outstanding individuals include Lieutenant Colonel Bui Thi Ha from the Naval Technical Institute, Do Thuy Ha from Hanoi Blind Association, Nguyen Thi Hue from a lemon growing cooperative in Can Tho city, Nguyen Thi Lieu from Duc Tri junior high school, and Nguyen Ngoc Mai, a worker of Vincem Hoang Thach cement company.

    This year, the awards are themed “Women engage in natural disasters mitigation and seedless climate change response”, aiming to highlight women’s ideas in the field and to boost awareness of women’s contributions to the work.

    As part of the awards, a Women’s Innovation Day will be held with various activities, including an exhibition of creative products made by women, a forum on the role of women in reducing disaster risks and responding climate change, and an awards ceremony for outstanding products.

    On the occasion, the Vietnam Women’s Union will also present insignia “For the Progress of Vietnamese Women” to Han Mi Young, President of the World Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association.

    Since being established 2002, the Vietnam Women Awards have honoured 69 outstanding teams and 124 individuals.

    Two border guards missing in flood that hit Thanh Hoa province

    Two border guards were swept away by flood and went missing on October 10 when they drove across a spillway of Bon stream in Lang Chang district, ThanhHoa province, said local officials.

    According to Lang Chang district People’s Committee, the two officials of Yen Khuong Border Post were on the way to help people in Yen Khuong commune combat the flash floods.

    Upon hearing the news, local authorities mobilized 150 soldiers and staff members and more than 200 local people to search for the two missing border guards.

    Ammonia gas leak leaves four injured, thousands panicked in Saigon

    Four people were hospitalized on October 10 in the wake of an ammonia gas leak that also killed scores of livestock and poultry in the outskirts of Saigon.

    When the accident happened, local spotted white smoke and an unpleasant smell coming from a gas extraction station on An Phu Tay Street in Binh Chanh District before seeing many workers running out, struggling to breathe and even vomiting blood.

    The gas killed many plants, pets, livestock and poultry nearby and prompted a mass evacuation of more than 1,000 students and locals.

    According to eyewitnesses, the pipe broke as workers were extracting the gas from a truck at the station, causing the leak.

    The four victims included a passer-by, the truck driver and two workers. They are now in stable condition.

    Halloween party to brighten resort

    A Halloween-theme pool party will held in the former French village’s La Piscine pool area at the mountain resort of Bà Nà Hills in Đà Nẵng on October 27, offering DJ performances, a street food fair, talent show and games and outdoor bar.

    Organisers said visitors would  enjoy a creepy but fantastic night of electronic dance music 1,471m above sea level from 7pm.

    Tourists will also be able to tour a valley of flowers in the D’Amour garden on the funicular route – the first and the only one of its kind in Việt Nam – the French colonial style Debay wine cellar, the temple complex Goddess of the Forest, Linh Ứng Pagoda and the nine-storey Linh Phong tower with its four-tonne bronze bell tower.

    The resort’s third cable car route was listed as 10 of the world’s most amazing by CNN in 2013.

    Cai Lay tollgate resumes fee collection later this month

    Toll collection will resume at the controversial tollgate in Cai Lay town in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang later this month after the Ministry of Transport and National Highway 1 Tien Giang Investment Co Ltd last Friday agreed to lower fees there, according to Tien Phong newspaper.

    The new toll range is down from VND35,000-180,000 to VND25,000-140,000. In specifics, the charge on autos with less than 12 seats and trucks of less than two tons will be charged VND25,000 per trip, down by VND10,000, and trucks of more than 18 tons or carrying a 40-foot container will pay VND140,000 per trip, down from the current VND180,000.

    Auto owners who reside in My Thanh Nam, Binh Phu, Phu An and Phu Nhuan communes in Cai Lay District will be exempt from the road toll. And those running cargo transport and bus services will get a 50% reduction.

    National Highway 1 Tien Giang Investment Co Ltd built a 12-kilometer National Highway 1 bypass in Cai Lay town and re-asphalted a 26.5-kilometer section of National Highway 1 in the province. But the firm set up a tollgate on National Highway 1 to collect toll fees from those using the bypass, so many drivers who did not use the bypass were still forced to pay the fee, leading to protests which paralyzed traffic on the national highway.

    Drivers reasoned the investor just had the right to collect fees from vehicles using the new bypass.

    Protesting drivers used stacks of banknotes of small denomination to pay toll fees at the Cai Lay toll station, leading to traffic congestion in the area. Therefore, the tollgate has halted its operation since August 15.

    PM directs to cope with floods, ensure safety for dykes

    The PM has issued a telegraph asking ministries and localities to launch urgent measures to cope with floods and ensure safety for dams. 

    To limit damage to human lives and assets, the PM has asked the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Viet Nam National Committee of Search and Rescue, relevant ministries and agencies and localities to actively realize urgent measures to cope with floods. 

    Accordingly, the provincial and city People’s Committees continue to inspect, review and evacuate local people from dangerous areas, get access to residential areas isolated due to floods and take measures to protect dykes and dams. 

    Localities along the Red River, especially provinces and cities near the Hoa Binh hydropower plant need to closely follow the developments in heavy rains and floods as well as the operation of floodgates of the plant's reservoir and promptly keep local people updated.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development directs functional agencies and localities to launch measures to protect dykes, safely operate dykes and irrigation projects, reduce damage to agricultural and aquaculture production, especially activities on the riverside area of the Red River. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade guides the Electricity of Viet Nam and management boards of power plants to take measures to ensure safety for hydroelectric plants. 

    Yamanashi Prefecture seeks partnerships in HCM City

    Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture, which hosts popular tourism sites and diverse agribusiness, wants to connect with potential partners in Ho Chi Minh City for mutual benefit and development, said Governor Goto Hitoshi.

    The official made the remark at a meeting with Standing Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem on October 11.

    Agreeing with his guest, Liem suggested both sides join hands in building specific cooperation programmes in tourism and agriculture to increase exchanges of tourists and signature commodities between the two markets.

    He briefed the guest on the city’s social-economic growth and its various deals with different Japanese localities.

    Both host and guest shared a hope for stronger cooperation and exchanges between HCM City and Yamanashi in contribution to Vietnam – Japan relations. 

    Yamanashi Prefecture lies in central Japan and is home to the famous Mount Fuji.

    Work starts on modern cancer hospital in Can Tho

    Work started on the construction of a 500-bed cancer hospital in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on October 11.

    The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Szilveszter Bus, Deputy State Secretary of Hungary's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    The Can Tho oncology hospital will include four buildings with a total floor area of 44,575 square metres on Nguyen Van Cu street, An Binh ward, Ninh Kieu district. The project has a total investment of 1,727 billion VND (70.5 EUR), of which 56.9 million EUR comes from the Hungarian government’s official development assistance.

    Addressing the event, the Hungarian Deputy State Secretary said Hungary is willing to provide training and transfer technology in the field for staff of the hospital, he pledged.

    Vo Thanh Thong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, highlighted the Government’s effort in improving the people’s health care and protection.

    VNN


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  • 10/12/17--02:12: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/10


    Central bank issues plan to develop card payment


     Central bank issues plan to develop card payment, Financial stocks lift market, VAMC increases rates on bad debts it purchased, Sacombank launches Visa Platinum Cashback credit card  

    The State Bank of Viet Nam has issued a plan to develop card payment using card readers at points of sale (POS) and mobile points of sale (mPOS) from 2017 to 2020.

    The plan is aimed at boosting the non-cash payment in Viet Nam, as approved in Decision 2545/QD-TTg dated December 30, 2016, by the Prime Minister.

    Accordingly, the ratio of cash to total payment instruments will be below 10 per cent by the end of 2020.

    The plan sets a target of gradually increasing the number and value of card payment transactions using card readers. By 2020, the whole market will have over 300,000 card readers installed at POS to process around 200 million transactions per year.

    E-payment in e-commerce will be also promoted to achieve the targets of having 100 per cent modern supermarkets, shopping malls and distribution centres installed with card readers by 2020, which would enable consumers to make non-cash payments when purchasing goods.

    By 2020, 70 per cent of electricity, water, telecommunications and communications service providers will accept non-cash payment of charges, while 50 per cent of individuals and households in major cities will use non-cash payment instruments in their shopping and consuming activities.

    The percentage of people aged over 15 years having bank accounts will be also targeted to increase to at least 70 per cent by the end of 2020. 

    Financial stocks lift market

    Shares closed on Monday’s trade on a positive note on the two national stock exchanges as the banking, securities and steel sectors continued to support the market.

    The VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange edged up 0.14 per cent to close at 808.96 points. Viet Nam’s key stock index increased just 0.4 per cent last week.

    On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also picked up 0.71 per cent to end at 108.75 points, expanding last week’s gain of 0.3 per cent.

    The market has continued its uptrend on the two exchanges but moved sideways with alternate ups and downs in recent weeks.

    Financial and steel stocks remained buoyant and the main supporter for the market, while construction and building materials, oil and gas and healthcare were the main factors on the downside.

    “The market fluctuation with the differentiation of stocks and sectors showed that the general investment sentiment is mixed ahead of third quarter business results,” analysts at BIDV Securities Co wrote in a note.

    The banking sector showed positive results.

    All 10 listed banks gained value on the two exchanges, of which the Big Four (including four largest banks by market value and total assets) – Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), BIDV (BID) and Military Bank (MBB) – perked up by less than 1 per cent.

    In addition, good prospects for the steel sector also helped leading companies such as Hoa Phat Group (HPG), Hoa Sen Group (HSG) and POM Steel Corp (POM) rally. HPG and POM increased by over 1 per cent while HSG inched up 0.2 per cent.

    Big securities companies, including Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), HCM Securities (HCM), VNDirect Securities (VND), MB Securities (MBS) and Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities Co rose between 0.6-5 per cent.

    On the defensive side, the biggest stocks that weighed on the market included VinGroup (VIC), down 1.1 per cent; Petrolimex (PLX), down 0.8 per cent; PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services (PVD), down 1.1 per cent; and PV Gas (GAS), down 0.4 per cent.

    According to Bao Viet Securities Co, sideways movement may still be seen in coming sessions but with the upcoming third-quarter earnings results of some listed companies, the market is unlikely to tumble in the short term.

    Liquidity was positive with a total of over 226 million shares worth a combined VND4.4 trillion (US$194 million) being traded in the two markets, up 32.2 per cent in volume and 42 per cent in value compared to last week’s daily trading. 

    Kido Frozen Foods to pay 14% dividend

    Kido Frozen Foods (KDF) has declared a dividend of 14 per cent to shareholders for 2017.

    It will be paid next month.

    KDF has 56 million outstanding shares following its listing 56 on UpCom late last month.

    It reported pre-tax profit of VNĐ168 billion ($7.3 million) for the first nine months of this year.

    The company remains the leader of the in-cream market with a share of 40 per cent.

    KDF is a subsidiary of giant food producer KIDO Group and owns the popular Merino and Celano ice-cream brands.

    The company plans to produce a new line of frozen products like sausages, canned foods and processed foods. 

    VAMC increases rates on bad debts it purchased

    The Việt Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) has announced increases in reference interest rates on the bad debts in Vietnamese đồng and US dollar it purchased.

    Accordingly, the reference rate for debts for the Vietnamese đồng is 9.9 per cent and 4.9 per cent for debts in United States (US) dollar per year. These rates are 0.3 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points higher than the rates applied in 2016.

    The reference interest rate for debts in euro, however, is lower by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 per cent.

    The VAMC’s interest rates on bad debts are calculated based on the average 12-month deposit rates of four commercials, namely Agribank, BIDV, Vietinbank and Vietcombank.

    Latest statistics showed that VAMC bought a total sum of more than VNĐ266.3 trillion (US$11.7 billion) of bad debts as of the end of August.

    The company expected to buy additional VNĐ35 trillion to VNĐ40 trillion worth of bad debts from credit institutions in the remaining months of this year.

    The VAMC now has a charter capital of VNĐ2 trillion which is planned to increase to VNĐ5 trillion in 2018 and VNĐ10 trillion in 2020.

    According to a recent report by the National Financial Supervisory Committee, the bad debt ratio of Việt Nam was at 2.9 per cent as of September.

    Credit institutions handled VNĐ47 trillion of bad debts in January-July, 31.7 per cent of which was sold to the VAMC.

    Ninh Thuận revokes licences of delayed projects

    Southern Ninh Thuận Province People’s Committee has revoked licences of six projects and cancelled investment plans of five other projects in the province.

    Phạm Văn Hậu, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said it has established a working team including staff at the departments of Planning and Investment, Natural Resources and Environment, and Agriculture and Rural Development, and leaders of districts to follow progress and address shortcomings of delayed projects.

    In addition, the province also undertook inspections to deal with snail-paced works and review reasons for delay of projects.

    By the end of September, Ninh Thuận had 324 projects with total registered capital of more than VNĐ63 trillion (US$2.77 million).

    However, a report of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment showed that there were 62 snail-paced projects while another 12 were facing difficulties.

    The revoking of licences of delayed projects has shown the province’s determination to avoid wastage of land resources.

    Quang Tri prioritises highly-efficient projects in IP, EZ

    Central Quang Tri province is prioritising investors who want to invest in highly efficient projects in local industrial parks and economic zones, particularly in Quang Tri Southeast Economic Zone.

    The province is having its eyes on wind and solar power projects, as well as ports and airports.

    According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Quan Chinh, Quang Tri has shifted towards large-scale and high-tech projects, restricting small-scale projects that take up too much land, or may face delays or harm the environment.

    It is calling for investment in Quang Tri Southeast Economic Zone and Lao Bao special economic zone to take advantage of the East-West Economic Corridor, Chinh said.

    The province has also worked to improve local investment policies and enhance its competitiveness and business climate. It has authorised 27 projects worth a total 4.5 trillion VND (198 million USD) in the first nine months of 2017. Chief among these include the water supply facility in the Southeast Economic Zone, Huong Phung 1 wind power plant and Huong Phung and La To hydropower plants.

    Quang Tri is currently home to 14 foreign direct investment projects with the total investment of 46.65 million USD.

    Sacombank launches Visa Platinum Cashback credit card

    Sài Gòn Thương Tín Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) on Tuesday (October 10) began issuing the Visa Platinum Cashback credit card with unlimited cashback of up to 5 per cent on all transactions.

    Customers applying for the card between October 10 and December 31 can get 100 per cent cashback for their first transaction worth VNĐ500,000 or above.

    Card holders can get a maximum of VNĐ3 million cashback for transactions in foreign countries within 60 days from the activation of the card, and up to VNĐ500,000 for online transactions within 30 days.

    They can get another VNĐ500,000 if their total online spending within 30 days is worth VNĐ10 million or more.

    Card holders will enjoy regular cashback of 3 per cent for spending abroad and world-wide travel insurance with a coverage of VNĐ10.5 billion.

    RoK wants to invest in waste treatment in Can Tho

    The Korean Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) wants to study cooperation opportunities in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to build waste treatment plants.

    Director of KITECH Gun Young Jung expressed the wish at a working session with Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Pham Gia Tuc in Can Tho on October 10.

    He said the RoK has new cutting edge and environmentally friendly waste treatment technology which is suitable with the economic development orientation and climate change adaptation in the Mekong Delta.

    Waste will be recycled and reused or changed into energy to serve local daily activities, he added.

    Tuc hoped to soon cooperate with the KITEC in this field and noted that the city discharges 700 tonnes of waste on a day while the waste treatment system could deal with only 400 tonnes per day.

    He asked the RoK to expand investment in medical and solid waste treatment.

    Can Tho has available 15 hectares of land for the construction of waste treatment plants, Tuc said, adding that the city welcomes investors using modern and environmentally friendly technologies.

    Local authorities will provide the maximum support in terms of administrative procedures, tax incentives and land usage for investors, he affirmed.

    One-billion-VND houses lead HCM City’s real estate market

    The high-end property segment in Ho Chi Minh City is experiencing a lull, with supply exceeding demand whilst cheap apartments and land lots priced around 1 billion VND (44,000 USD) are in high demand, mostly from graduates and newlyweds.

    About 95 percent of real estate put up for sale in recent months were sold. Heaven Cityview project in District 8, offering apartments from 900 million VND (39,600 USD), nearly sold out its products. Meanwhile, thousands of customers intend to purchase homes valued below 1 billion VND at Tecco Town Complex in Binh Tan district. Citi Esto project in District 2 providing apartments from 1.2 billion VND (52,800 USD) has also received a positive response from customers.

    Regarding the land lot segment, Kim Oanh Group has sold 90 percent of lots in its SingaCity urban area project in District 9. The group plans to offer some 2,000 land lots and houses to meet demand.

    According to Le Hoang Chau, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, the city’s property market will undergo a drastic shake-up to handle disparity between demand and supply in the next few years. The market has seen major changes with a switch from high-end projects to mid and low-end segments.

    A survey from the CB Richard Ellis Vietnam Co., Ltd (CBRE) showed that 7,600 real estate units were put up for sale in the third quarter, 60 percent in the mid-end segment.

    DKRA company, a property service supplier, reported that more than 4,800 mid-and low-end apartments were purchased in the third quarter. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the 1,500 land lots for sale were snapped up by customers in the period.-VNA

    Japanese electronics manufacturer to build third plant

    The TNI Holdings Việt Nam Group and Japanese Meiko Electronics Việt Nam Company agreed to construct the third electronics plant in Việt Nam.

    They signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect on Monday.

    Under the MoU, Meiko Electronics Việt Nam Company, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of printed circuit boards and electronic assembly, would lease land area and infrastructure in Quang Minh Industrial Park (IP) belonging to TNI Holdings Việt Nam, in Hà Nội’s Mê Linh District, for the establishment of its plant with a total investment of some US$50 million.

    The Japanese investor chose TNI Holdings Việt Nam due to its integrated and modern infrastructure, competitive policy environment and high quality services.

    In 2006, Meiko Electronics Group cooperated with TNI Holdings Việt Nam (former Việt Nam Investment Development Group – VID) to build its first electronics plant in Thạch Thất Industrial Park. The plant used to be one of 10 largest FDI projects and the largest foreign electronics production project in Việt Nam at that time.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nguyễn Phi Hùng, TNI Holdings Việt Nam’s chairman, said over the past 10 years, the group has seen the growth of Meiko Electronics Việt Nam Company at its IP.

    “The choice of the company to build the third plant has shown strong confidence in TNI Holdings Việt Nam,” Hùng said.

    The group has been one of the leading IP developers in the country by attracting more than 400 investors into its IPs, including 300 foreign ones from Japan, mainland China, the US and Germany, as well as South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Currently, it has 10 large scale IPs and residential areas, with a total area of 2,300ha. Its IPs have attracted more than $3 billion FDI capital with big brand names in the world, including Honda, Sumitomo Wirings, Marumitsu and Meiko, as well as Brother, Hitachi, Terumo and Ajinomoto, in addition to Pegasus (Japan), Cargill (the US) and CP (Thailand).

    The group has created jobs for thousands of people, contributing to the State budget in provinces where it has IPs.

    TNI Holdings Việt Nam plans to expand its current IPs such as Quế Võ 3 (Bắc Ninh), Đồng Văn 3 (Hà Nam), Bỉm Sơn (Thanh Hóa) and Minh Quang (Hưng Yên) and to build new ones in Hưng Yên, Hải Dương and Vĩnh Phúc provinces in the future to meet the demand from the increasing number of tenants.

    Vietnam seeks ways to boost fruit, veggie exports to EU

    Experts and businesses discussed ways to maintain and expand EU markets for Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 9.

    The EU is a potential market for fresh fruit and vegetables of Vietnam, but the country could face a decline in export revenue and stricter supervision from the EU if it fails to meet food safety requirements.

    Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification Authority and Enquiry Point under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in 2013, the EU suspended imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from Vietnam after detecting plant quarantine problems. 

    Although improvements by Vietnamese ministries, sectors and businesses have helped fresh fruit and vegetables be re-exported to the EU, shipments to this market have yet to live up to expectations, he noted.

    In the first nine months of 2017, the country recorded more than 2.6 billion USD in total exports and 1.1 billion USD in imports of fruit and vegetables, respective rises of 44.2 percent and 78.2 percent year on year.

    Asian markets remained the top destination for the Vietnamese products, followed by the EU, which has imported 680,000 tonnes of vegetables, fruit, flowers and other agricultural products since the beginning of 2017.

    Despite good export growth, Vietnamese businesses may face the barriers of safeguard measures, plant protection and quarantine laws, and food safety standards.

    Ruggero Malossi, a specialist of the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP), said the EU has high requirements for food safety, and that’s why the production of fresh agricultural products must comply with legal regulations.

    Among the main requirements, exporters must apply a concrete quality control process during processing and packaging. They must also ensure their products’ traceability.

    Vietnam uses the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) approach to ensure quality and safety in the fishery sector. It should also apply HACCP on the production, harvesting and processing of fresh fruit and vegetables, Malossi said.

    Meanwhile, Dam Quoc Tru, a Vietnamese specialist of EU-MUTRAP, asked ministries and sectors to build an appropriate strategy for each market and provide convenient transportation services for Vietnam’s strong products like dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, grapefruit and mango. They should also involve the private sector in inspection and quarantine.

    Meanwhile, businesses have to develop concentrated areas for producing key export products, a prerequisite for sustainable agricultural production. It is also necessary for them to stay updated on quarantine, preservation and processing technologies to meet the growing requirements of importers, Tru added.

    Four estate agents to distribute FLC Hạ Long project

    FLC Group and four property agents -- Diamond Invest Holdings, Mland, CEN Land and Lộc Sơn Hà -- on Monday signed a co-operation agreement for the sale of the FLC Hạ Long project.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Đàm Ngọc Bích, FLC Group’s deputy general director, said among all the products in the first phase of the project, FLC Halong Bay Golf Club and Luxury Resort has been most welcomed in the real estate market of north-eastern Quảng Ninh Province.

    “It was the reason we continue to introduce the condotels and villas in the second phase through the four agents. They have experience in the sale of many property projects in the northern region, especially in Quảng Ninh,” she added.

    Tô Chí Công, vice chairman of Diamond Invest Holdings Company (DIH), said FLC Hạ Long is one of the pilot projects for the condotel and golf course villas in the north. The project is expected to bring high profits to investors.

    Nguyễn Thị Dung, marketing director of CEN Land, said FLC Grand Hotel Hạ Long has been one of few projects offering committed profit of 12 per cent per year, which was much higher than the average of 8-10 per cent of almost condotel projects nationwide.

    She added that the profit from a condotel in the project could be VNĐ20-50 million per month with room capacity of 30-60 per cent.

    Beginning construction in March 2016, the FLC Hạ Long complex is scheduled to officially launch in 2018.

    It was designed and constructed by famous constructors, including Schmidt Curley (the US), R Design Worldwide (Singapore), S Design (Spain), Flagstick (the United States) and Việt Nam’s FLC Faros Company.

    The complex has a 1,000sq.m five star swimming pool, restaurants, hotel, an international convention centre able to receive 1,500 guests, a 100ha golf course and an entertainment area.

    Its golf course came into operation in June with several big competitions such as Hà Nội Notary Golf Challenge 2017 and KLF Golf Tournament 2017 being held.

    Bac Giang expands industrial parks

    The northern province of Bac Giang will plan the development of new industrial parks (IPs) in the locality from 2020 – 2030, according to Tran Vu Thong, Vice Head of the province’s industrial parks management board.

    The new IPs in the vision include the Nham Son, Yen Lu and Xuan Phu – Huong Gian in Yen Dung district; Hop Thinh in Hiep Hoa district; Bac Lung and Kham Lang – Yen Son in Luc Nam district; and the Tan Thinh – Quang Thinh – Huong Son in Lang Giang district.

    The management board has proposed that the province adds the IPs to the provincial IP development master plan and submit it to the Prime Minister for approval.

    Thong also noted the need for specific measures to attract experienced and financially capable investors to develop infrastructure of the IPs. At the same time, the province should invest in infrastructure facilities outside IPs to facilitate investment mobilisation.

    The People’s Committees in districts where the future IPs are located are urged to work harder in land clearance for the IPs.

    Located 50 km to the northeast of the capital city of Hanoi, Bac Giang has huge potential for developing electronics, electricity appliances, agricultural product processing, mechanical engineering, chemicals, and construction materials.

    The province is currently home to six IPs, namely Dinh Tram, Quang Chau, Song Khe – Noi Hoang, Van Trung, Viet – Han (Vietnam – Republic of Korea) and Hoa Phu.

    The Dinh Tram IP has 119 investment projects, including 61 domestic ones, worth 1.73 trillion VND (76.12 million USD), and 58 foreign ones worth over 325 million USD, while the Quang Chau IP has 18 investment projects, 16 of which are foreign-invested. The Trung Van IP houses 54 projects, and the Song Khe – Noi Hoang has 33.

    Land clearance and infrastructure construction are underway in the Hoa Phu and Viet – Han IPs.

    The province’s industrial production value in the first nine months of this year reached 78.36 trillion VND (3.44 billion USD), up 32.8 percent year on year.

    Achievements accomplished after one-year since implementation of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (VN-EAEU FTA) are opening up new opportunities for promoting cooperation between Vietnam and the region, with great potential for development.

    The EAEU, including five member countries, namely Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, began operations on January 1, 2015. The EAEU is a large market of 183 million people which is connected based on the free movement of goods, capital, services and people.

    Since its establishment, more than 50 countries and international organisations have officially announced their readiness to sign cooperation agreements with the EAEU and more than 30 countries have intended to sign a FTA with this union. Vietnam is the first partner to sign a FTA with the EAEU.

    At a press conference held in Hanoi on October 5 to mark one year since the FTA took effect, Dang Hoang Hai, director of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the EAEU selected Vietnam to sign the FTA as the two sides have a long-lasting relationship in addition to the large number of Vietnamese people who study in the EAEU member countries.

    EAEU member countries also acknowledge Vietnam as an open country. Vietnam has signed many FTAs with other partners across the world, demonstrating the activeness and economic integration of Vietnam.

    Minister in charge of Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Mukai Kadyrkulov said “The EAEU and Vietnam are always connected by close, friendly relations and EAEU member countries consider Vietnam as a reliable strategic partner in the Asia-Pacific region”.

    According to the EEC, EAEU’s exports to Vietnam from October 2016 to July 2017 was estimated to increase by over 32% compared to the same period in 2015-2016 while Vietnam’s exports to the EAEU countries went up by 28%.

    EAEU and Vietnamese enterprises have also found new markets for several types of goods, including radio engineering devices produced in Vietnam and paper and cardboard produced in the EAEU.

    Vietnam’s radio engineering devices are preferred by consumers in the five member countries of the EAEU, with exports of the devices from Vietnam to the EAEU increasing over 900 fold. Meanwhile, the import of paper and cardboard from the EAEU to Vietnam has increased by more than 2,700 fold.

    According to Mukai Kadyrkulov, the balanced growth in import and export activities shows that the FTA between Vietnam and the EAEU was built based on the principles of equality and transparency.

    However, statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that enterprises from both sides have yet to take full advantage of the agreement.

    Vietnam has only taken advantage of 20-30% of incentives from the FTA and the same to member countries of the EAEU. Therefore, authorised agencies are making efforts to encourage enterprises from the two sides to actively learn about the markets of each other.

    Mukai Kadyrkulov said that more joint ventures between Russia and Vietnam and between Belarus and Vietnam will be established in Vietnam in the areas of machinery manufacturing and goods production in order to meet the demands of ASEAN countries and create more jobs for Vietnamese people.

    In addition, customs agencies of the EAEU and Vietnam are working to implement information exchange mechanisms on goods and transport vehicles between countries signing the FTA.

    Achievements gained in the past year are only the beginning of greater incentives for enterprises in the future, which are expected to create new cooperation opportunities and the motivation for expanding partnership between enterprises of the two sides.

    Focusing on growth model innovation

    Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7.46% in the third quarter of 2017, compared to 6.28% growth rate in the second quarter, helping Vietnam’s overall economic output in the first nine months of the year to grow by 6.41%, meaning the growth rate in the fourth quarter must be at least 7.31% if Vietnam is to meet its full-year target of 6.7%.

    Contributing to the country’s overall economic growth of 6.41% in January-September was the processing and manufacturing industry – which posted a growth rate of 12.8%, the services sector 7.25%, and the agricultural sector 2.78%. International tourist arrivals in Vietnam in the nine months remained high with more than 9.4 million arrivals, a year-on-year rise of 28.4%. The tourism sector hopes to welcome a total of 13 million foreign visitors in 2017. January-September growth was also buoyed by exports, which climbed 19.8% compared to the same period last year (6.7%) to an estimated US$154 billion, exceeding the year’s target of 7%.

    In order to ensure high and sustainable economic growth, in the last quarter of 2017 as well as in the coming years, it is necessary to focus on growth model innovation with a gradual shift from breadth to further depth in economic development by restructuring all sectors and adopting technological advances in both industry and farming. As the total social investment in the last nine months increased by 12.1% over the same period in 2016, equal to 33.9% of GDP, the goal of reducing the dependence of economic growth on increasing investment capital is still difficult to realise, especially when the efficiency of investment remains slow with the incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) after nine months still about 5.3.

    The promotion of economic restructuring should be consistent with the new economic growth model. Although the structure of the economic sector in the past nine months has continued to shift, the pace has been slow. There are no real breakthroughs in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.

    The GDP growth in 2017 is positive. However, it is necessary to maintain macroeconomic stability as it is a prerequisite condition for fast and sustainable economic growth. Although inflation remains well controlled with average CPI growth of only 3.79% in the first nine months of 2017, some large balances of the economy remain unstable.

    Though State budget collection in January-September reached VND786.3 trillion, equal to 64.9% of the yearly estimate, total expenditure was VND851.5 trillion (61.2% of the yearly estimate), the State budget deficit was estimated at VND65.2 trillion - putting high pressure on the public debt limit. In addition, as of September 20, the credit growth rate reached 11.02% (the rate of the same period last year increased 10.46%) - higher than the growth rate of 9.59% of the total means of payment and the growth rate of 10.08% (the same period in 2016 increased by 12.02%). The capital mobilisation of credit institutions may have potential risks, especially in the context of high bad debt at commercial banks and the credit growth target for the whole year of 21-22%. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s export value till September of this year increased by nearly 10% to nearly US$120.7 billion while imports surged 16% to US$124.6 billion. This has pushed the trade deficit to US$3.9 billion.

    In order to ensure fast and sustainable economic growth, it is necessary to develop facilitative policies and mechanisms, and create a favourable business environment for enterprises to achieve the set target of 6.7% economic growth this year. In addition to the overall measures, focus should be placed on short and long-term sustainable solutions in order to take advantage of all opportunities and conditions to accelerate growth in 2017, while supporting sustainable development, enhanced competitiveness and innovative growth models. Long-term economic development solutions need to focus on reforming procedures, reducing expenditure and shortening the time for businesses. Breakthroughs are determined to drastically improve the business environment, create confidence and encourage enterprises to invest and expand their production and business operations. The focus is on the private sector, which still has untapped potential for development.

    HCMC to complete removal of Saigon sea port this year

    Saigon Port Company is removing wharfs and other properties in the port’s area and the removal is expected to complete by the end of this year, according to a representative from the HCMC Department of Transport.

    After site clearance is complete, the area will be handed over to Ngoc Vien Dong Company, investor of the technical infrastructure construction project at Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi port.

    The department has proposed the city People’s Committee to consider approving the policy of keeping part of wharfs to receive international passenger vessels to the city.

    According to the Prime Minister’s decision, five wharfs in the Saigon river must be removed before 2010 comprising Tan Cang Saigon (Saigon Newport), Ba Son shipbuilding plant, Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi, Tan Thuan and Rau Qua (vegetable fruit).

    However, the wharf removal has been very low for the last ten years. So far, only Tan Cang Saigon has been removed since 2014.

    DWG contributes 42 percent capital to establish B2X Vietnam

    Digital Worldplace Group (DWG) has just approved cooperative plan with B2X Care Solutions (Singapore) and Care Solutions GmbH (Germany) to establish B2X Vietnam Corp.

    As if plan, B2X Vietnam has its chartered capital of up VND 6billion. Of these, DWG contributed VND 2.95billion, equal to 49.1 percent capital. B2X Vietnam will operate in consulting, supplying software services, IT… aiming to implement the VND 40 billion project.

    For the first half of this year, DGW announced its revenue reached VND 1,6trillion with after-tax profit of VND 29billion and being completed 52.7 percent of its yearly target.

    Foreign printing and packaging equipment providers eye Vietnamese market

    Foreign providers of machinery and equipment in the packaging and printing industry are increasingly promoting their products to penetrate the Vietnamese market, as seen at the international exhibition Vietnam Print Pack 2017 that kicked off in HCMC on October 5.

    The exhibition is taking place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in District 7, featuring 480 booths of 300 enterprises from 11 countries and territories.

    Hank Kan, business and marketing director of SBL Machinery Co Ltd., a Taiwanese manufacturer and provider of packaging machinery, said the company’s products are shipped to European countries for many years. However, SBL has recently seen great opportunities for selling its products to Vietnam, as the country is attracting heavy foreign investments while its production is posting strong growth.

    Hank Kan said the company wants to promote its products to local producers, and finds a major distributor who will represent SBL in the Southeast Asian nation.

    He believed at least Vietnam-based Taiwanese companies will order SBL’s products, adding that producers from other countries may do so, as the company’s products are of high quality and competitively priced.

    This is the first time Konia Minolta Business Solutions Vietnam has exhibited its products – digital label printers and inkjet printers - at the annual event. Le Minh The, its head of business and marketing division, said the printing products manufactured on the latest technology is very easy to use, helping enterprises save time.

    Nguyen Van Dong, chairman of the Vietnam Printing Association, said printing and packaging exhibitions in the Asia have recently attracted many exhibitors and visitors, as Southeast Asian nations have achieved strong growth in the printing industry, especially the packaging segment.

    Many enterprises told the Daily that Vietnam holds strong appeal to worldwide producers to build factories here, as the country has competitive advantages in terms of market and manpower. Meanwhile, domestic producers seeking to enhance competitiveness have no way but to improve their production efficiency.

    Besides, the demand for consumer goods, packaged foods, bottled beverages and pharmaceuticals is rising, leading to an increase in packaged products.

    Industry insiders said packaging is the decisive factor behind customers’ decision to purchase a product. Customers are more demanding, requiring packaging to be not only convenient but also safe and environmentally friendly. Therefore, enterprises in the packaging sector that want to survive should apply advanced technology.

    According to foreign experts and companies, the local packaging sector has yet to develop. Thus, many providers of machinery and equipment for producers have realized considerable potential and major advantages in Vietnam. This is why they have joined exhibitions, and some have set up their offices in order to provide their products in a timely manner.

    The organizers of Vietnam Print Pack 2017 – the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad) and Yorkers Trade and Marketing Service Co Ltd. - said the local packaging and printing industry has developed quite high, with average expansion at around 15-20% of production value. Hence, the domestic market is quite appealing to international machinery and equipment providers.

    The 17th expo will wrap up on Sunday.

    Ben Tre targets sustainable agricultural development

    The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has replaced rice by coconut, fruit trees, vegetables and aquaculture in an area of 7,548 hectares under a project to restructure the local agriculture. 

    Nguyen Van Buoi, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that 3,206 ha of sugarcane have also been transferred to coconut planting. 

    Thanks to the restructuring, the average income of a local farmer increased from 21 million VND (924 USD) in 2013 to 32 million VND (1,408 USD) in 2016, he said. 

    The province has rolled out several models which combine production with consumption, Buoi said, citing the clean rice value chain model of the Thach Phu Rice-Shrimp Cooperative which covers nearly 100 ha and produces about 5 tonnes of rice per ha. 

    According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, agricultural development in Ben Tre has remained unstable and unsustainable in the context of climate change. 

    Along with complex developments of natural disasters and diseases, mechanisms and policies connecting businesses and farmers have failed to prove effective, the department said. 

    Vo Thanh Hao, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, said Ben Tre will improve the efficiency of communications work to raise public awareness of agricultural restructuring, develop and complete the value chain and build new-style rural areas. 

    At the same time, the province will upgrade and complete technical infrastructure in service of production, and review and adjust agricultural production planning adaptable to climate change, he said. 

    More attention will be paid to scientific and technological applications in production, with priority given to high-tech, and building geographical indications and labels for a number of major local agricultural products, Hao said. 

    Ben Tre will also develop plants, livestock breeds and fisheries adaptable to climate change, intensify trade promotion, synchronously implement mechanisms and policies to promote production and business in a stable and environmentally friendly manner, create favourable conditions for farmers and businesses to access preferential, scientific, technological and credit loans, and improve the quality of human resources in rural areas, he added.

    Forum looks to scale up business solutions to sustainability challenges

    The Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2017 took place in Hanoi on October 10, seeking to scale up business solutions to sustainability challenges.

    Opening the event, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said as one of the 193 UN member countries adopting the 2030 Agenda with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), Vietnam has asserted its vision and resolve to, together with the world, follow the path to green growth. Its Government has issued a national programme on sustainable development and set up the National Council for Sustainable Development.

    VCCI also established the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, which gathers hundreds of enterprises volunteering to act as the core of sustainable business models in the country.

    Loc cited the “Better Business, Better World” report issued by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission as saying that sustainable business opportunities to realise the Global Goals in the four surveyed economic systems could create a market worth an estimated 12 trillion USD by 2030. Achieving the Global Goals in these four systems could create 380 million new jobs by 2030, almost 90 percent of them in developing countries.

    The report also said Asia will have the most business opportunities created by sustainable development, he noted, describing this as a wonderful momentum for Vietnamese firms to follow a more sustainable and humane development path.

    Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, said the business community should be considered an important part of the economy, not just a channel to mobilise capital. 

    It is necessary to boost financial sources, improve manpower quality and devise cooperation solutions to promote the development of private businesses. Meanwhile, the private economic sector needs to have joint plans and actions on corporate rights and obligations, he added.

    Nguyen Quang Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, said the achievement of the 17 SDGs depends much on businesses’ actions. He noted that the number of companies making sustainability reports has doubled over the last five years.

    However, Vinh admitted that most enterprises have trouble in their approach to the SDGs while the global awareness of sustainable development remains low. Businesses’ influence in the sustainable development process is still modest.

    To do better business for a better world, it is crucial to support enterprises to combine the SDGs with their development strategies and gear the financial system towards sustainable investment orientations, Vinh said.

    SMEs need to improve transparency for easier access to capital

    Information transparency is one of the key factors that help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) get funding from credit institutions, said experts at a conference on financial solutions for SMEs held by the State Bank of Vietnam in Hanoi on October 5.

    Can Van Luc, an expert in finance and banking, said SMEs are classified as those with an average number of employees covered by social insurance in the preceding year of no more than 200 each. Besides, their total capital in the preceding year should not exceed VND100 billion (US$4.4 million) and turnover in the preceding year not higher than VND300 billion.

    There were about 590,000 operational SMEs in Vietnam as of late 2016, with 68% of them micro enterprises.

    SMEs mainly get funding from the State budget, foreign investment, stocks and bonds, business partners, credit, and their own capital. 

    Luc said many SMEs lack access to finance, which hinders their growth. The reason is that SMEs are not attractive to credit institutions because they have poor credit and high operating costs.

    Credit institutions have not had specific products and services for SMEs, and complicated procedures have caused slow capital disbursement.

    According to Luc, most SMEs have poor business governance and lack transparency, use obsolete technologies and unskilled laborers, and are unable to meet the banks’ lending criteria. Besides, they lack business strategies, strong brand, competitive products, assets as mortgage, risk insurance, and deep understanding of financial policies.

    Hoang Thi Hong, chairwoman of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (SMEDF) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said SMEs need to make their information transparent if they want to get access to financial support. The most important information that credit institutions need before they make lending decisions include the SMEs’ total assets, owner’s equity, annual revenue and profit, and business performance.

    Hong suggested SMEs actively work with credit institutions, create effective business plans, enhance their understanding of the Government’s financial and supporting policies, cooperate with each other, and improve management skills.

    For credit institutions, they should launch products and services aligned to SMEs’ specific characteristic, with simple lending procedures and favorable interest rates.

    According to Doan Duy Khuong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), SMEs account for 97% of Vietnam’s total number of enterprises and 45% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). They contribute 31% to the State budget, and employ over five million workers.

    Tien Giang’s fishermen enjoy bumper catch

    Fishermen of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang have caught nearly 80,000 tonnes of seafood since the start of the year, a rise of 2.2 percent year-on-year.

    The figure represented 80 percent of the province’s plan of catching 98,000 tonnes of seafood this year.

    Local authorities have encouraged local fishermen to build new, high-capacity vessels, to prepare modern equipment and to raise their efficiency.

    Tien Giang boasts a coastline of 32 kilometres and holds great potential for the fishery sector.

    Bad debt stands at 2.51 percent in late July

    The banking sector’s total bad debts stood at 2.51 percent as of the end of July 2017, falling from 2.55 percent at the end of 2015, according to a report by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to the National Assembly.

    Saigon Giai Phong daily cited the report as saying that total settled bad debts in 2016 was 118.5 trillion VND (5.2 billion USD), according to the bank, adding that the figure in the first half of this year was 46 trillion VND.

    As part of efforts to realise a National Assembly resolution and a Prime Ministerial decision on tackling bad debts, the SBV has issued a number of guiding documents and directed the implementation of the policies.

    Credit institutions are also building plans for the work with measures matching their reform plans.

    The SBV has also worked with six banks and the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) to implement bad debt settlement measures mentioned in NA Resolution 42/2017 QH14.

    The VAMC has also finalised the project to restructure and enhance its capacity in 2017-2020.

    Precision engineering show draws businesses from 19 nations, territories

    Visitors to the fifth International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition and Conference

    Around 175 enterprises from 19 nations and territories are attending the fifth International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition and Conference (MTA), which kicked off in Hanoi on October 11.

    According to BT Tee, General Manager of UBM VES – the organiser of the exhibition, the exhibition takes place in the context that Vietnam’s mechanical sector is developing rapidly and has gained outstanding achievements.

    Therefore, the event, the largest and most comprehensive edition ever since its inception in 2010, is expected to serve as a venue for businesses to meet, exchange technologies, seek cooperation opportunities and expand their markets.

    It sees the participation of foreign top-notch enterprises in the manufacturing industry such as include Big Daishowa, Beijing Jingdiao, Carl Zeiss, Doosan Infracore, Mitsubishi Electric, and Nikon, together with those from Vietnam such as Cybertech, Tinh Ha, Bibus, and Van Su Loi.

    The three-day MTA HANOI 2017 is expected to draw almost 5,000 trade visitors from about 15 countries and regions. The previous edition, held on April 26-28, 2016, attracted more than 4,600 foreign trade visitors.

    The similar exhibition was organised in Ho Chi Minh City on July 4-7.

    Quang Ninh’s economic growth sets record

    The northern province of Quang Ninh’s economic growth set a record of 9.6% in the first seven months of the year, which is the highest figure over the recent five years. 

    The northern province contributed VND21,000 billion to the State budget. The total retail sales and services revenues, tourism and social investment witnessed respective growths of 16.5%, 25% and 10.6%. 

    Quang Ninh Province has been listed among top five localities in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) over the recent years.

    The PCI on Viet Nam’s business environment conducts an annual business survey, assessment and ranking of the economic governance quality of provincial authorities in creating a favorable business environment for development of the private sector.

    In the upcoming time, the province heads to strengthen State management on tourism, land and environment, tackle environmental pollution issues, complete key infrastructure projects as well as take measures to fight smuggling and trade fraud. 

    13 ministries join hands to tackle obstacles for businesses

    The Ministry of Science and Technology and 12 related ministries and agencies will join hands to eliminate at least 50% of goods in Group 2 subject to specialized inspection measures before customs clearance.

    A conference is being organized from October 11-13 in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, which attracts the participation of 13 ministries and agencies and other associations and professionals. 

    Earlier on August 9, 2017, the Government issued Resolution No. 75/NQ-CP, assigning the Ministry of Science and Technology to cooperate with other relevant ministries and agencies to check and reduce at least 50% of goods in Group 2 subject to specialized inspection measures before customs clearance.

    The Government assigned the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Transport, Agriculture and Rural Development and Health to lessen the proportion of imported goods under inspection at customs clearance from 30-35% to 15%. 

    The goods in Group 2 are products and commodities that threaten safety and affects human health. 

    After the presentation of the Ministries of Transport, Culture, Sports and Tourism, Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and Natural Resources and Environment on reviewing the list of goods in Group 2 and other legal documents, open discussions will be organized. 

    Ministry of Industry, Trade simplifies administrative procedures in seven sectors

    The Government has issued Resolution No. 100/NQ-CP on simplification of administrative procedures and citizenship papers related to the population management under the charge and management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. 

    The administrative procedures in seven sectors will be simplified, including electricity, chemical safety, industry explosion materials, import-export, transaction office, emulation and reward and international trade. 

    Earlier, Minister of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Tran Tuan Anh signed Decision No. 3610a/QĐ-BCT promulgating plans to reduce and simplify investment and business conditions in State management in the 2017-2018 period.

    Accordingly, 675 business and investment conditions were cut down, 63 conditions higher than the expected plan and equivalent to 55.5% of the total conditions. After the reduction, the remaining conditions are 541.

    Can Tho leader orders review of logistics capacity

    A plan for improvement of logistics services in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho should be based on the state of the sector to devise workable development solutions, said Truong Quang Hoai Nam, vice chairman of the city.

    Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, has presented a draft plan on developing logistics services in Can Tho until 2025.

    Toai said the municipal government is working on the plan following the Prime Minister’s Decision 200/QD-TTg on the action plan for improvement of competitiveness and development of Vietnam’s logistics by 2025.

    Toan said the plan is to lure investors into logistics infrastructure projects in Can Tho in a bid to enhance connectivity between the city and other parts of the country; set up some large-scale logistics businesses; and support enterprises to develop logistics in a modern and professional manner to guarantee competitiveness.

    He also mentioned the use of new technology and the organizing of training courses for employees to prop up trade and restructure enterprises in the sector.

    Having taken the draft plan into consideration, the city’s vice chairman Truong Quang Hoai Nam expressed his dissatisfaction with the plan, saying relevant districts should review the sector.

    “It is vital to assess the current situation of grass-roots logistics so that (we) can improve capacity,” Nam said.

    He said the plan’s cornerstone is to transport goods, especially from the outlying districts of Co Do, Thoi Lai, Phong Dien and Vinh Thanh to key consumption places in the quickest and most economical way.

    He asked relevant agencies to check the whole system comprising logistics, warehouse areas, and roads among others between now and December.

    New regulations on banking guarantees for home purchases

    The State Bank of Việt Nam has issued a circular to amend Circular No 07/2015 on bank guarantees.

    Under the Circular No 13/2017, which will take effect on November 15, commercial banks must issue guarantees for buyers of future property within 10 days from the date the real estate purchase contract is signed.

    The guarantee means that banks would implement financial obligations to the buyers on behalf of the housing developers in case they fail to hand over the property before the committed deadline without adequately refunding the advances.

    The maximum guaranteed amount would be equal to the amount the developers are allowed to receive in advance from the buyers.

    Banks eligible to provide a guarantee for home purchases must meet two requirements. Firstly, their establishment and operation licences should have regulations on guarantees and secondly, banks are not banned from providing guarantees in the period of being under special control.

    The central bank will announce eligible banks for providing guarantees for future home purchases on its website. Banks that are removed from the list must still continue to implement its guarantees until the validity of the agreements.

    The central bank on Tuesday announced that two more banks, Woori Việt Nam and CIMB Việt Nam, are eligible to provide a guarantee for home purchases.

    More than 30 banks in Việt Nam are now eligible to provide guarantees for future home purchases.

    Sacombank seeks shareholders’ nod to transfer listing to HNX

    Sài Gòn Thương Tín Comercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), currently listed on the HCM City Stock Exchange as STB, is seeking shareholders’ approval to transfer its listing to the Hà Nội Stock Exchange under new code SCM.

    Accordingly, Sacombank will cancel its registration of STB at the Việt Nam Securities Depository Centre (VSD), delist from the southern bourse, re-register SCM at VSD and finally list SCM on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange.

    This may come as a surprise to investors because the code STB has been associated with Sacombank for the past 11 years.

    Sacombank was the first bank to launch its IPO at the initial price of VNĐ200,000 (US$8.8) per share in 1996 and also the first to list on the national bourse in July 2006.

    In 2012, STB was included on the VN30, which consists of the largest stocks by market capitalisation.

    However, in 2015-16, Sacombank struggled with a huge stockpile of bad debts.

    It was only in May this year that approval was granted for the 10-year restructuring plan of Sacombank.

    Dương Công Minh, who became chairman of Sacombank on June 30, 2017, has been speeding up efforts to resolve bad debts.

    In the first nine months of this year, Sacombank announced it handled bad debts worth VNĐ2 trillion and posted pre-tax profit of VNĐ900 billion, even higher than its targets for the full year.

    Vietnam’s soft drink exports to the ROK rise

    Vietnam’s soft drink export to the Republic of Korea (RoK) has increased 7 folds over the last four years as tropical fruit drink meets the taste of many Koreans.

    According to the Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp (aT), this fourth largest economy in Asia imported US$250 million worth of soft drinks last year, where US$103.7 of the value were paid to Vietnam.

    A representative from aT stated that Vietnamese soft drinks have become more popular in the RoK.

    Besides Vietnam, the RoK has also imported soft drinks from Thailand, the US, Germany and China.

    The RoK has been the third-largest trade partner of Vietnam only after China and the US since the Vietnam-RoK Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) came into force in December 2015. In the first half of this year, the two countries’ total import-export value reached US$29.1 billion, rising by 45.5% against the same period last year. Products, which enjoy tax incentives obtained high growth, such as seafood (up to 28%) and fruit and vegetables (up to 12%).

    Hung Yen lures 182 investment projects in nine months

    The northern province of Hung Yen attracted 182 investment projects in the first nine months of 2017, up 44 percent year-on-year, according to local authorities.

    In the period, registered capital of domestic and foreign projects reached more than 12 trillion VND (528.12 million USD) and more than 145 million USD, respectively.

    The province is currently home to 1,619 projects, with total registered capital exceeding 110 trillion VND (4.84 billion USD) and 3.6 billion USD.

    Lam Dong has more high-tech flower, vegetable growing project

    The People’s Committee of the Central Highland province of Lam Dong has approved a new high-tech flower and vegetable growing project.

    The Dalat Hasfarm Company, Da Lat City will invest 337.5 billion VND (15 million USD) in the agricultural project on 29.4 hectares in Phuc Tho commune, Lam Ha district.

    The project, including 21.2 hectares of greenhouses and other auxiliary facilities, is expected to be operated by January 2020.

    It project to supply 400 tonnes of vegetables, 50 million flowers and about 250 million flower seedlings per year for domestic and international markets.

    HCM City set for biennial int’l woodwork fair     

    Riding on its successful performance two years ago as Asia’s leading exhibition of wood processing solutions for the furniture sector, the biennial Viet Nam International Woodworking Industry Fair (VietnamWood) will return to HCM City with greater momentum from October 18 to 21.

    VietnamWood has managed to gather world-class suppliers to provide the optimal manufacturing solutions needed to bolster the growth of the woodworking industry and market in Viet Nan.

    Seven international pavilions at the exhibition set up by the US, France, China, Germany, Sweden, Taiwan, and Canada will bring in a large diversity of woodworking machines and components.

    Many suppliers of high-performance woodworking machinery and equipment from Europe, America, Oceania and Asia will gather under one roof to constitute a one-stop business trading platform for woodworking players looking to upgrade their operations.

    Organised by the Viet Nam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad) and Yorkers Trade & Marketing Service Co, it will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre.

    Veg, fruit exporters must up safety standards     

    Vietnamese exporters of fruits and vegetables must improve hygienic standards of their products to avoid technical barriers imposed by the EU market, experts said at a meeting held on Monday in HCM City.

    The meeting, organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the European trade policy and investment support project (EU-Mutrap), discussed ways to expand the export market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables.

    Nguyen Huu Dat, secretary general of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said the country could face technical barriers if it failed to meet the EU’s food safety and hygiene standards.

    Asian markets remain the top destination for Vietnamese products, followed by the EU, which has imported 680,000 tonnes of vegetables, fruits, flowers and other farm produce this year.

    The EU requires growing standards for shade net houses as well as international certifications in plant quarantine and product traceability, Dat said, adding that exporters should leverage their strengths in the processing of vegetables, fruits and nuts.

    Dam Quoc Tru, consultant for the EU-Mutrap project, said sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards within the framework of WTO regulations were designed to protect the health of humans, animals and plants from risks associated with hazardous species, additives, contaminants, toxins or disease-causing organisms contained in food, drinks, plants and products.

    To minimise negative impact on trade, the agreement sets out principles to guide the development and enforcement of SPS measures, based on international standards, guidelines and recommendations.

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade, Tru said, should propose potential markets for export as well as negotiate with other countries on plant quarantine measures.

    It should also develop market access strategies and focus on major markets where Vietnamese products have advantages, such as dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, pomelo and mango.

    Concentrated production areas for key export products are needed, and policies on investment in technology for plant quarantine should be created to meet the requirements of importing countries, according to Tru.

    Ruggero Malossi, international consultant for the EU-Mutrap project, said that Europe required high standards on food safety, including the limited use of pesticides, traceability, marketing standards, labeling and packaging and contaminants.

    “Strict compliance with the maximum pesticide residue level and the prevention of microbial contamination are pre-conditions for entering the European market,” he said. “Products containing illegal pesticides or higher amounts than allowed will be withdrawn from the EU market.”

    Malossi told Viet Nam News that buyers in several EU member states use higher maximum residue levels than what is officially regulated. Most supermarkets have their own standards (codes of practices) regarding pesticides, which are often stricter than legal regulations.

    Fresh products have to comply with general marketing standards as well, according to Malossi.

    To avoid negative impact on the quality of food and risk to human health, the EU has set limits for several contaminants, especially nitrate and metals.

    Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food, but may be present as a result of various stages of production, packaging, transport or holding.

    The EU-Mutrap project, which began in 2012 and ends in 2018, with a total investment of 16.5 million euros (US$19.45 million), aims to promote Viet Nam’s integration into global, ASEAN and sub-regional trading systems and enhance EU-Viet Nam trade and investment relations.

    For the first nine months of the year, the export value of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables is estimated to be around US$2.64 billion, 44.2 per cent higher than the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

    The export value is expected to increase to $3 billion by the end of this year, the ministry said. Viet Nam exports vegetables and fruits to 60 countries and territories.

    Sustainable development’s good for business     

    A focus on sustainable development is good for business, and enterprises should see it as critical for long-term growth, Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said on Tuesday.

    Therefore, they should intensify their search for solutions to address sustainability challenges, he said at the Viet Nam Corporate Sustainability Forum held in Ha Noi.

    "The task becomes especially important in the context of rapid international integration," he added.

    Sustainable development would not just bring social and environmental benefits, it would also generate business opportunities, Loc said.

    Citing the “Better Business – Better World” report prepared by the Business And Sustainable Development Commission, he said sustainable development would create a market worth US$5 billion and generate 230 million new jobs in Asia by 2030.

    Viet Nam is one of 193 United Nations members that have adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

    Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, said Viet Nam faced challenges that stem from growth that tended to be less inclusive. Businesses play a vital role in addressing the issue, and they have to find innovative solutions towards achieving the SDGs, he added.

    Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, also stressed the importance of businesses, saying they would be the core force in implementing the SDGs.

    “The public and private sectors should continue enhancing co-operation to successfully adapt to climate change impacts and contribute to policies, resources and solutions needed to achieve the SDGs,” Nhan said.

    Besides climate change challenges, the boom in population was also posing a threat to global food security, the forum heard.

    Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ha Cong Tuan, said that it was critical for Viet Nam to develop a sustainable agriculture sector, because it would bring significant opportunities for the country that has abundant farming advantages.

    Sustainable agriculture must reach three goals, Tuan said.

    The first goal is to establish a value chain, improve competitiveness and create favourable conditions for investment and building national brands. The second goal is to improve living standards alongside poverty alleviation and the third is to attach agricultural production to environmental protection.

    “Sustainable agriculture is an imperative that requires the participation of both Government agencies and businesses,” Tuan said.

    Nguyen Quang Vinh, VCCI’s Deputy Secretary General, said business support for the SDGs was stronger than assumed during the past two years, with hundreds of firms and multinational corporations pioneering sustainable business models in Viet Nam.

    "However, the pace of implementation needs to be accelerated," Vinh said.

    “Businesses should incorporate the SDGs into their strategies. They should be proactive in enhancing competitiveness, grasping opportunities, renovating and applying advanced business models, especially solutions to sustainability challenges for long-term rather than short-term benefits,” he said.

    Vinh also said that the VCCI’s Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development would soon establish a centre for circular economy (restorative and regenerative as opposed to the linear take-make-dispose economy), which would help businesses scale up zero-waste models at a time natural resources are being exhausted.

    Representatives from multinational corporations, including Heineken and Unilever, shared information about innovative solutions that they have come up with to facilitate the implementation of SDGs.

    Tran Vu Hoai, vice president of Unilever Vietnam’s Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Development, agreed that SDGs should be embedded in business strategies and operations, and that it would bring new opportunities for business development.

    Four discussion panels were organised at the conference yesterday afternoon: developing human capital to achieve the SDGs; circular economy; Corporate Sustainability Index; and transparency and integrity in doing business. 

    Investors spurn Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s IZs     

    Industrial zones (IZs) in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have encountered difficulties in attracting investment due to complicated administrative procedures, insufficient infrastructure facilities and high land rental fees.

    The province is currently home to 15 IZs, covering a total area of 8,510ha. Only nine of them are, however, already operational while the remainder are under construction, according to local authorities.

    These zones have to date attracted 294 projects, including 143 foreign-invested projects, with combined registered investment capital of US$14.69 billion.

    However, only a few of the zones which have favourable geographic locations and complete infrastructure, such as Dong Xuyen, Phu My 1, My Xuan A2 and My Xuan A, reported positive occupancy rate of 90 per cent while the others have seen a much lower rate.

    Vo Tuan Cuong, deputy director of My Xuan B1 Tien Hung IZ, outlined prolonged administrative procedures as the biggest concern of enterprises when investing in the province’s zones.

    Recently, a South Korean investor canceled its project in the zone as the firm did not have the patience to complete all procedures even after it had transferred the deposit to his company, Cuong said.

    Over the past 13 years, his zone has lost many other investors, including those from Japan and Taiwan, due to the same reason, he said, adding that shortening the time needed for investment licensing must be recognized by local authorities as necessary for survival.

    “We expect the province to have solutions to shorten the time for investment licensing to 7-10 days to facilitate investors, " Cuong told Vietnam News Agency.

    Higher land rental fees in Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s IZs compared with neighbouring provinces also made investors hesitate, authorities acknowledged.

    Land rental fees for 50 years in the provincial zones have become quite high, ranging from $40 to $70 per square metre, much higher than the average rate of $18-45 per square metre in other locations such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong.

    Head of the provincial IZs Management Board Nguyen Anh Triet said the current land rental fees are decided by the zones’ infrastructure developers instead of his board, which is eligible to make recommendations.

    "The current high rental fees affect the zones’ ability to attract investment," he said.

    Meanwhile, Nguyen Anh Tuan, general director of Sonadezi Chau Duc JSC, investor of Sonadezi Chau Duc IZ said, his firm faced challenges seeking investors due to the province’s restricted areas for investment in sectors such as paper, dyeing and footwear, while some others such as plating, fertilizer production and industrial detergents were not recognized as the province’s prioritized sectors.

    Over the past years, many foreign companies have visited the zone to survey and explore investment opportunities in these reviewed sectors, Tuan explained.

    To address these difficulties, secretary of the provincial Party Committee and chairman of the People’s Council Nguyen Hong Linh at a recent meeting, said that the province would focus on assisting investors to speed up compensation, site clearance and perfecting the zones’ infrastructure to improve occupancy rate of the zones.

    The province would change its mindset on attracting investment. If enterprises were committed to focus on environment protection, the province would reconsider granting investment licences.

    In a positive move, provincial People’s Committee vice chairman Nguyen Thanh Long has approved the province’s Department of Planning and Investment’s proposal to slash the time for investment licensing by 15 days, instead of the earlier 35 days.

    He also asked relevant sectors to foster administrative reform to better facilitate investors.

    Workshop updates tech trends for start-ups

    Start-up enterprises could seek a number of opportunities to apply latest technologies to reform their business models at a workshop held in Hanoi on October 10 as part of the TECHFEST 2017.

    The workshop aims to connect experts, small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to create sustainable value chains.

    Chief executive officers (CEOs) of start-up firms as well as investors and young tech enthusiasts had a chance to talk with leading experts and update information in new tech trends.

    The workshop is also intended to raise local investors’ awareness about high technology and help CEOs from various fields realise the likelihood of the application of technology in their spheres.

    It was also an ideal opportunity for CEOs, investors, start-ups, and experts to network, share and learn from others’ experiences.

    The Techfest Vietnam 2017 is scheduled to take place in Hanoi in mid-November to promote the start-up ecosystem in Vietnam and link domestic and international start-ups via luring investment for start-up firms, providing policy consultancy on innovation, honouring start-ups and organisations for active contributions to the start-up community. 

    The 2016 Techfest attracted nearly 170 investors and more than 3,000 visitors.

    With young population, Vietnam is working towards becoming a start-up nation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Government targets to have one million effective enterprises by 2020.

    Reference exchange rate revised down

    The State Bank of Vietnam revised the daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD down by 8 VND to 22,459 VND on October 11.

    With the current trading band of  +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,133 VND and the floor rate 21,785 VND per USD.

    The prices of USD at major commercial banks almost remained unchanged, with Vietcombank and Vietinbank keeping their 10 rates from the previous day.

    The greenback is being traded at 22,690 VND (buying) and 22,760 VND (selling) at Vietcombank and Vietinbank.

    Meanwhile, BIDV kept its buying rate at 22,690 VND and cut its selling rate by 15 VND to 22,760 VND per USD.-

    Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung meets ExxonMobil Vice President

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the National Oil and Gas Group, and the US’s ExxonMobil to speed up negotiations on the development and exploitation of the Ca Voi Xanh (Blue Whale) gas field.

    At a meeting with Paul Greenwood, ExxonMobil Vice President for Gas and Power Marketing in Hanoi on October 10, the Deputy PM lauded the firm for its engagement in the project, which is significant to ensuring national energy security and operating thermal power plants in the central region.

    He reaffirmed the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to creating optimal conditions so the project could start pumping gas out from the Ca Voi Xanh field in 2023.

    For his part, Greenwood said that the project is important for ExxonMobil in fostering cooperation with Vietnam in exploiting and producing oil and gas products.

    He gave some proposals on removing obstacles for the firm and the Vietnamese side to soon reach the final agreement.

    The Ca Voi Xanh field is about 100 km east of the central coast. The Prime Minister has recently approved the construction of four gas-fired power plants in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai with total capacity of 3,000MW using gas from the field. The PM has also agreed to use part of the gas exploited from the field to develop the oil refinery industry.

    Vinh Phuc province invites investors in India

    The Embassy of Vietnam in India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) held a seminar in New Delhi on October 10 to introduce business opportunities in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. 

    Speaking at the event, Chairman of the HiTech Group of Companies Deep Kapuria said India is now the 25th largest investor in Vietnam and hoped that Vinh Phuc will offer all possible support to Indian investors in the locality. 

    In his speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said 2017 marks the first year that Vietnam and India have embarked on comprehensive strategic partnership and the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. 

    India’s foreign direct investment in Vietnam doubled in 2015 and surged 64 percent in 2016. In the first eight months this year, the amount increased 5 percent from the same period last year to 98.7 million USD. 

    The figure has so far reached 2.91 billion USD in 152 projects across sectors, placing India the 15th out of 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. India is currently the 10th largest trade partner of Vietnam while Vietnam ranks 25th out of 230 trade partners of India. Among the 10 ASEAN member states, Vietnam is the second largest importer of India. 

    In January-August, two-way trade soared 42 percent year-on-year and is likely to top 10 billion USD in 2017. 

    Thanh said Vinh Phuc is one of the top 10 provinces in terms of competitiveness index and ranks second in the north thanks to favourable geographical location and transport. 

    Chairman of the Vinh Phuc provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tri said as of the late September, Vinh Phuc was home to 253 projects from 16 countries and territories worth in excess of 3.8 billion USD, three of them valued at 8 million USD were from India. 

    Vinh Phuc calls for Indian investment in automobiles, motorbikes and electronic spare parts, software, pharmaceuticals, urban development, hotels, ecological tourist and entertainment areas, education-training, health care, clean agriculture, infrastructure in industrial parks, clean water supply, wastewater and industrial and household sewage treatment, he said. 

    Indian enterprises and investors expressed their interest in business environment in Vietnam and Vinh Phuc in particular and found out more about local potentials, strengths and incentives.-

    Automobile sales drop 7 percent in September

    The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAVA) on October 10 reported that automobile sales in September drop 20 percent compared to the same period last year and 4 percent over the previous month.

    Among total 21,216 units of vehicles sold in September, 11,637 were passenger vehicles, down 7 percent; 8,700 commercial cars, unchanged sales; and 879 special-purpose vehicles, up 4 percent.

    Particularly, sales of domestically-assembled automobiles were estimated at 14,739, a fall of 5 percent, while 6,477 imported vehicles were sold in the month, down 2 percent month on month.

    In the first nine months of 2017, total sales were 198,253 units, a drop of 8 percent year on year. Both passenger and commercial vehicles saw a fall of 7 percent, while sales of special-purpose cars declined 18 percent.

    Sales of domestic-assembled vehicles also slumped 28 percent, while that of imported vehicles rose 8 percent.

    September was the fourth consecutive month that the automobile market suffers sale decrease, following a drop of 6 percent in August, 27 percent in July and 0.2 percent in June.

    Experts held that major reason behind the situation is a cut of 10 percent in car import tax to 30 percent in early 2017, along with customers’ trend of postponing their purchase to wait for lower automobile prices as car import tax from ASEAN country is expected to reduce to zero percent in 2018.

    The Ministry of Finance has proposed an exemption of special-consume tax to domestically-produced auto parts to create equal environment for domestically-assembled and imported cars.

    France’s Olmix inaugurates feed additives plant in Binh Duong

    The Olmix Asialand Vietnam, an affiliate of France-based Olmix Group inaugurated an animal feed additives plant with an annual capacity of 5,000 tonnes in Song Than 2 industrial park in the southern province of Binh Duong on October 10. 

    It is the first plant of Olmix Group in Asia with a total capital of 2 million EUR. It is built up to Europe’s Quality and Safety System for Specialty Feed Ingredients standards.

    In the first stage, it plans to churn out 5,000 tonnes of feed additives, equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of animal feed to serve Vietnamese and Asian markets. 

    During the second stage, it will raise the total capacity to around 5 million tonnes of feed additives. 

    Trinh Quang Thanh, Director of the Olmix Asialand Vietnam company, said the move aims to turn the firm into one of the top three vet medicine and feed additives suppliers in Vietnam. 

    Olmix specialises in manufacturing feed additives and vet vaccines using natural algae-based technology. Over the past 22 years, it has spread operations globally and offered solutions for nutrition, hygiene and health of plants, animals and humans to more than 100 countries worldwide. 

    Third Mekong Connect to take place in Ben Tre

    The third Mekong Connect 2017 will be held on October 25-26 in Ben Tre city, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, focusing on seeking measures to make full use of advanced technology to optimize the value of local products, the organizing board announced on October 10.

    Themed “Developing local resources in association with technology strength,” the economic forum will be a platform for domestic and international scholars, policy makers and businesses to share stories about promoting local resources to help the region seek new development orientations.

    Held by the Vietnam Association of High Quality Products and the People’s Committees of four Mekong Delta localities of An Giang, Ben Tre, Can Tho and Dong Thap, the forum will focus on how to promote local products such as coconut of Ben Tre, rice of Can Tho, fish of An Giang, and lotus and tourism of Dong Thap.

    Vu Kim Hanh, President of the Vietnam Association of High Quality Products said that this year, the forum will draw representatives from 500 Vietnamese firms, 100 foreign-invested businesses, and 20 international business organisations.

    They will discuss the formation of a value chain for each product, the commercialization of the products, changes due to technology development and arising problems.

    The event will also help connect local businesses and foreign partners.

    Nguyen Huu Lap, Vice Chairman of the Ben Tre People’s Committee said that the province has more than 70,000 hectares of coconut farm and the coconut processing industry earns 200 million USD from exports each year.

    However, Lap said that the local government is seeking links with other localities to make full use of advanced technology to increase the value of coconut products, including coconut milk.

    Tra Vinh: Most SMEs unaware of environment responsibility

    Most of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh are not yet aware of the social corporate responsibility and responsibility to protect the environment, according to a recent survey.

    The manager of the Tra Vinh SME Development Project and the Tropical Environmental Institute announced findings of their survey on awareness of environmental protection and adaption to climate change among the local SMEs on October 10.

    Statistics show that more than 1,900 enterprises and over 60,000 household businesses are operating in Tra Vinh, with the SMEs accounting for 98 percent.

    According to the institute’s deputy director Le Anh Kien, a majority of the SMEs do not acknowledge the linkages between business and the environment and climate change, so that there is an urgent need to change the way they think and act towards the environment.

    The two organisations suggested several solutions to raise their awareness of the issues, including the launch of training courses run by state agencies to educate the businesses on laws on environmental protection, land, water resources, and workplace safety and hygiene. They also advised the increase in inspection and stricter penalties in environment-related violations.

    The Tra Vinh SME Development Project, underway from 2014 to 2020, is provided a financial support of 12.1 million CAD from Canada, benefiting about 200 businesses and 194,000 people in the province.

    Vinamilk expects its Q3 revenue at 591 million USD

    Vietnam’s largest dairy producer Vinamilk (HOSE: VNM) has estimated its third-quarter revenue at 13.3 trillion VND (591 million USD).

    The figure represents an increase of 8.4 percent over the same period last year.

    The company also forecast pre-tax profit to rise 5.66 percent to 3.2 trillion VND and post-tax profit to rise 5.46 percent to 2.69 trillion VND.

    In the past three quarters, Vinamilk estimates 38.75 trillion VND in revenue and 8.54 trillion VND in post-tax profit, a year-on-year increase of 10.34 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively.

    The largest dairy producer targets to hit 51 trillion VND in revenue and 9.73 trillion VND in post-tax profit for 2017.

    The nine-month performance would help Vinamilk complete 76 percent and 88 percent of its targeted figures for 2017.

    According to Viet Dragon Securities Company (VDSC), Vinamilk could earn 11 trillion VND in post-tax profit.

    Shares of Vinamilk (VNM) closed October 10 down 0.3 percent at 148,500 VND per share.

    VN-Index edges up at the last minute

    Shares rose slightly for a second day on the HCM Stock Exchange this week but the rally was recorded in the last trading minutes thanks to recovery of some large-cap stocks.

    The benchmark VN-Index closed October 10 up 0.21 percent at 810.65 points. It inched up just 0.14 percent on October 9.

    Major bank stocks continued to advance, backing up the market’s sentiment.

    Vietcombank (VCB), the biggest listed lender by market value, increased 0.63 percent. VPBank (VPB) rose 1.5 percent, while Military Bank (MBB) picked up 0.7 percent.

    However, Vietinbank (CTG) and Eximbank (EIB) fell 0.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively and Sacombank (STB) and BIDV (BID) closed flat.

    According to analysts at Vietnam Investment Securities Co (IVS), the market seemed to wait for the leadership of the banking group. 

    When this group weakened, the market declined but when big banks like Vietcombank and Military Bank advanced, the market rebounded.

    This momentum helped the VN-Index surpass the 810 point benchmark.

    “However, the over-reliance on bank stocks which have already risen sharply to over the valuation area will restrain the VN-Index to advance further,” IVS analysts wrote in a daily report.

    Moreover, money flows on October 10 focusing mainly on high-value large caps also affected the overall market movement.

    In the VN30 basket (which tracks the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity), 14 gained and 10 lost. Besides banks, big gainers included VinGroup (VIC), Mobile World Group (MWG), steelmakers Hoa Phat Group (HPG) and Hoa Sen Group (HSG) and IT firm FPT Corp (FPT).

    On the defensive side, dairy giant Vinamilk (VNM), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), PV Gas (GAS), Kido Group (KDC), DHG Pharmaceutical (DHG) and Kinh Bac City Development Holdings (KBC) were among the losers.

    “The market may again have to rely on bank stocks for another advance. The VN-Index will likely move around 810 points but the stocks rising on October 10 may be under profit-taking pressure,” IVS analysts forecast.

    Liquidity decreased sharply with 183.2 million shares worth total 3.7 trillion VND (162.7 million USD) traded on the two exchanges, down 19 percent in volume and 16 percent in value compared to October 9's figures.

    Foreign investors remained net sellers in the two markets on October 10 with net sell value of 83.4 billion VND, lifting the two-day net sell value to 528.4 billion VND.

    VIP Infrastructure offloads 11.3 million CII shares

    Singapore-based VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte Ltd has completed the sale of 11.3 million shares of HCM Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII), reducing its ownership from 8.76 per cent to 4.17 per cent.

    The Singaporean firm is no longer a major shareholder of CII, the Vietnamese company announced on Tuesday.

    The transaction was conducted between September 25 and October 6.

    At a price of some VNĐ32,000 per share at the time, the divestment was valued at more than VNĐ360 billion (US$16 million).

    Compared with the peak of over VNĐ40,000 per share in March, CII’s price has lost some 20 per cent of its value. However, the share has still gained 14.3 per cent since the beginning of this year.

    VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte Ltd is 100 per cent owned by Philippines’ Ayala Corporation, which invested in CII from 2012.

    According to CII, due to changes in the accounting policy in the Philippines, Ayala wanted to divest partly from CII before October 31 to book this profit in its financial statement.

    In a related development, Ireland’s DC Developing Market Strategies Public Co Ltd has registered to buy two million CII shares between October 3 and November 1.

    CII reported revenue of some VNĐ1 trillion in the first half of this year, about a two-fold increase over the same period of last year. Its net profit reached VNĐ1.6 trillion, seven times more than the same period last year and exceeding the net profit target for the whole of 2017.

    CapitaLand Vietnam wins GoHome Awards 2017

    CapitaLand Vietnam won “Best Overseas Property Developer (Vietnam)” at GoHome Awards 2017 in Hong Kong, standing out from a crowd of accomplished competitors.

    Following changes in the law allowing foreign ownership of real estate in Vietnam announced in July 2015, CapitaLand Vietnam was amongst the first to tap into the international appetite for Vietnamese residential property by marketing its residential developments in Hong Kong.

    Chen Lian Pang, CEO of CapitaLand Vietnam, said, “While local Vietnamese make up about 80 per cent of our buyers in high-end projects, the remaining 20 per cent comprise of foreigners with the majority hailing from Singapore and Hong Kong. Our past overseas launches have been well received and the company will continue to bring relevant projects to overseas markets.”

    GoHome.com.hk is Hong Kong’s leading online property platform which focuses on providing value-adding property search for residential, commercial, serviced apartments, interior design projects and related information in Hong Kong and the ASEAN countries since 1999.

    The true essence of the GoHome Awards is to encourage the industry elite to set new benchmarks that improve and nurture the industry as a whole. 

    The annual awards ceremony, which has been run for the past seven years by property portal GoHome.com.hk, a member of REA Group, recognizes leaders in the property industry for their contribution and performance.

    The annual GoHome Awards has become a highly-anticipated event amongst key industry players and has been credited as one of the most prestigious awards within the industry.

    Over the years, nearly 100 companies and corporations have received this award for their outstanding achievements and professionalism across various industries.

    The awards were presented by Dr. Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung, JP, chairman, Board of Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, and senior lecturer at the Faculty of Building Science and Technology of City University of Hong Kong, and Francis Fong, founding and honorary chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing.

    Vung Ang 1 power plant caught red handed

    PetroVietnam was found in violation when it ignored the prime minister’s directive by permitting the management board of Vung Ang 1 thermal power plant to buy nearly one million tonnes of illegal coal to produce electricity, according to newswire Labour.

    Located in Ky Anh town of Ha Tinh province, Vung Ang 1 thermal power plant was invested by PetroVietnam with an initial investment capital of VND22.25 trillion ($976.8 million). As of April 2016, the investment capital was at VND33.57 trillion ($1.47 billion).

    The plant has a designed capacity of 1,200MW with two 600MW turbines and was expected to use an annual volume of 2.9 million tonnes of coal to produce electricity. In September 2015, the first turbine came into operation.

    Previously, in late 2012, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) approved the scheme on supplying coal for thermal power plants. Vung Ang 1 was listed in the group of plants using domestic coal.

    However, in April 2015, PetroVietnam permitted the management board of the plant to sign a coal import contract with Hoanh Son Group. However, during the negotiation and signing of the contract, PetroVietnam failed to report to MoIT.

    In August 2015, the PM issued Directive No. 21/CT-TTg assigning MoIT to approve the plan of supplying coal for electricity production. Accordingly, the PM asked EVN and PetroVietnam to buy domestic coal from Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) and Dong Bac Coal Corporation.

    However, PetroVietnam ignored the PM’s directive and arbitrarily continued to permit the Vung Ang management board to sign the two appendixes with Hoanh Son to supply an additional 600,000 tonnes of imported coal to Vung Ang 1.

    Furthermore, in the document that PetroVietnam submitted to MoIT on September 11, 2015 to report on coal supplies for Vung Ang 1, the coal purchase contract with Hoanh Son was not mentioned.

    Thereby, according to the contents of the contract, between May 2015 and January 31, 2017, Hoanh Son supplied 790,931 tonnes of coal worth more than VND1.5 trillion to Vung Ang 1.

    Along with the violation in ignoring the PM’s directives to use domestic coal for electricity production, PetroVietnam also failed to supervise the origin and quality of the coal supplied by Hoanh Son.

    FTA boosts Russia and Belarus deals

    One full year after the entry into force of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement, the union has boosted the local establishment of automobile and industrial joint ventures and the exports of both sides.

    Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam Vladimir Goshin said the agreement (VEAEUFTA) has benefited local businesses in Belarus, one of the union’s five members along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan. The pact has strengthened Belarus’ strategic plan to co-operate with Vietnamese partners via joint ventures to produce goods, which will be consumed in Vietnam and exported to other ASEAN markets.

    “We consider Vietnam our big springboard to consolidate our strong foothold in Southeast Asia,” Goshin  said at last week’s press conference on the trade deal’s one-year anniversary.

    The VEAEUFTA, inked on May 29, 2015, took effect on October 5, 2016.

    He revealed that later this year, a Vietnam-Belarus joint venture will put a factory into operation to manufacture and assemble Minsk MAZ-branded trucks in the northern province of Hung Yen, with an annual capacity of 1,500 units.

    “Following the FTA, other Belarusian projects concerned with making urban buses and processing milk products will also be implemented in Vietnam in the near future,” Goshin said. “The truck- and bus-making projects will be deployed on a pilot basis. Many other Belarusian firms are also planning to invest in Vietnam’s industrial sector via joint ventures, from which they can transfer know-how and high technology to Vietnamese partners.”

    Russia is also pushing its plans to invest in Vietnam to cash in on the FTA’s benefits.

    Russian automaker GAZ Group said its commercial vehicle lines have enjoyed tax reductions since October last year. GAZ used to be famous in Vietnam with brand names such as Volga or GAZ 53 and 69. With the tax exemption, GAZ is hoping to renew its local trade.        

    Under the FTA, lorry import tariffs will be reduced from a current average of 17 to 0 per cent by 2025.

    Since last October, the firm has been exporting completely-built units and spare parts to Vietnam thanks to the FTA, according to Andrey Kuznetsov, commercial development director of GAZ.

    Other auto firms such as Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod and KAMAZ are also preparing to export their vehicles to Vietnam in the near future.

    It is expected that from now until 2019, the tax reduction will enable each Russian auto exporter to save more than $50 million per year.

    “In the near future, there will be many joint ventures between Vietnam and Russia and between Vietnam and Belarus operating in the sectors of machinery and goods production in order to meet the demand of ASEAN markets. This will create many new jobs for Vietnam,” said Mukai Kadirkulov, Minister of Customs Co-operation under the Eurasian Economic Commission. “Not only firms from Russia and Belarus, but also those from Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan are planning to seek investment opportunities in Vietnam thanks to the FTA.”

    The FTA has also significantly increased trade co-operation between Vietnam and the union.

    Kazakhstani Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumakhanov stated that from October 2016 to July 2017, Kazakhstan-Vietnam trade turnover more than doubled. In this year’s first eight months, the figure hit $365 million – with Kazakhstan earning $193 million from exports to Vietnam, and spending $172 million purchasing Vietnam’s goods – almost equalling the two countries’ trade turnover of $366 million in all of 2016.

    According to the commission, from October 2016-July 2017, the turnover gained from the union’s exports to Vietnam grew more than 32 per cent year-on-year, while the turnover from Vietnam’s exports to the union increased 28 per cent year-on-year.

    Russia’s trade representative in Vietnam V.N. Kharinov reported that in this year’s first seven months, Russia-Vietnam trade turnover expanded by 20 per cent to $2.5 billion, thanks to the FTA.

    “In this year’s first seven months, the two countries’ foodstuff trade turnover doubled year-on-year to $420 million. Russia’s foodstuff and pharmaceutical exports to Vietnam increased by 10 and four times, respectively,” he said.

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


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  • 10/13/17--01:26: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 12/10


    ‘Most liveable city’ in Vietnam has bright future in real estate 

     ‘Most liveable city’ in Vietnam has bright future in real estate, IKEA keen on Vietnam, Deputy PM advocates sustainable business models, Hanoi launches start-up ecosystem portal

    Over the past decade, the pace of Danang’s development has been truly remarkable. The forward-looking city is rightfully proud of its new infrastructure and modern transportation systems as well as of its progress in lifestyles, social security, and food safety. And of course, the renowned charm and positive attitude of its citizens cannot be overlooked. Now, looking forward to APEC with an almost breathless enthusiasm, the ‘goodwill city’ may anticipate an even brighter future.
    The APEC Economic Leaders’ Week will take place in Danang this November. The event is a summit with leaders of 21 member economies attending. Thousands of official delegates, foreign and local reporters, international business people, and global leading entrepreneurs are set to descend on Danang.

    A business summit with high-ranking leaders in the APEC business advisory council will take place, as will the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Foreign Affairs.

    Being the venue for this international event has put the world’s focus on Danang and Vietnam’s real estate market.

    According to the Savills research team, local market indices have been very positive. Danang’s GDP increased 8.1 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2017. Registered FDI increased by a stunning 269.5 per cent year-on-year, with approximately $14.3 million disbursed. City credit growth reached a six-year high of 7.5 per cent in the first half of 2017.

    Tourism is the key industry and the driving force of the city. In the first half of the year, visitor numbers increased by 72.2 per cent on-year to over 1.2 million, with Vietnam’s total visitor numbers up by approximately 33.2 per cent on-year, at 3.2 million. The city has been steadily emphasising its credentials as a regional economic and tourism centre, and this is confirmed by the increasing number of international direct flights.

    The real estate market is tightly linked to macro-economic health and local economic development. A great deal of foreign direct investment (FDI) has been directed into property, particularly into the residential, leasing, tourism, and industrial segments.

    The Danang hospitality market has 86 three- to five-star hotels providing about 9,400 rooms. Average room rates are up 11 per cent with 22 per cent revenue growth per year. Average occupancy is up to 72 per cent. Five-star hotels are performing best, which shows Danang is an ideal destination for international visitors.

    Demand from domestic travellers also keeps growing. Condotel absorption is high at about 70 per cent, with the developer-led rental profit share programme continuing to receive a lot of attention.

    Having officially entered the Danang market in 2007 when the first resort property projects came to the market and opening its representative office in 2016, Savills is receiving an increasing amount of enquiries, both nationally and from major Asian cities. They are by people seeking to purchase homes in Danang because of the clean air and the issues they are having with air quality and congestion in the cities where they are currently based.

    The new Han Market project is a step in the right direction for the city, creating a central area for pedestrian traffic which will reduce emissions and make the city more tourism-friendly at the same time. There are also major public transit projects currently being planned for the city, which are necessary in order to ease pollution and, in effect, make the city both greener and smarter.

    Since Danang was chosen to host the APEC Economic Leaders Week, the city has become an even more vibrant market. This has been supported by its many infrastructure development projects, a wide array of real estate products, and social and cultural development strategies coming along nicely. The APEC event and overall market development will maintain Danang’s significant growth potential. 

    Many experts affirm that the city becoming an international events destination represents a great opportunity. As ever, all opportunities must be grasped and acted upon strategically.

    Developing infrastructure and event works and gaining more international attention as a quality venue will further promote city development. To make the most of this potential, Danang needs to take these chances to mature and turn domestic and foreign investment appeals into greater tourism, economic, cultural, and social development success.

    IKEA keen on Vietnam

    Swedish furniture giant IKEA is planning to penetrate into Southeast Asian and South America countries, including Vietnam, with an ambition of dominating the world’s furniture market.

    In Southeast Asia, the group plans to come to Vietnam and the Philippines, expanding on its existing store networks in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Vietnam will be the destination that IKEA is aiming for in its development plans in the near future, according to CEO Mr. Torbjorn Loof.

    Under the plan, IKEA will open its first store in these markets within the next five years. This year it wants to open 22 new stores, with 25 to open every year in the future.

    The group’s retail sales, including franchise and customer services, were estimated at $45 billion in its most recent fiscal year. Mr. Loof added that this year’s sales growth is lower than last year but is expected to increase to 8-9 per cent per year in the years to come.

    The company is seeking growth momentum after recently focusing solely on expansion in China and Russia. It currently has more than 400 stores in 49 markets across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

    Although it has no outlets in Vietnam, IKEA products are still of interest to Vietnamese families through portable channels. Many Vietnamese enterprises are also outsourcing partners of the company.

    Vietnam is an ideal destination for foreign furniture makers, especially those from China. More Chinese businesses have set up wooden furniture processing factories in the country in order to take advantage of preferential tariffs importers are offering to Vietnamese exports.

    According to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (Vifores), one-third of the 500 foreign-invested wooden furniture enterprises in Vietnam are from China and Taiwan. 

    Vietnam is also one of the largest wood exporters in the region. Wood export turnover can reach the targeted $8 billion this year, Mr. Nguyen Ton Quyen, Secretary General of Vifores, has insisted.

    Wood and wooden product export turnover stood at $3.57 billion in the first six months of this year, up 13.6 per cent compared to the $3.14 billion recorded in the first half of 2016. Export turnover came in at $700 million each month on average during the first nine months.                       

    Heineken Vietnam among leaders in sustainable practices

    Heineken Vietnam was recognized as an excellent example of applying sustainable practices in its operations and having a positive impact on people, the planet, and prosperity, at the 4th Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum (VCSF) on October 10 in Hanoi.

    The company shared its success story at the forum, on how driving a sustainability agenda has helped its business and the community grow together, with the key being to create an inclusive value chain that includes circular economic ideas, transparency, and integrity in business and sustainability reporting.

    Circular economics is best demonstrated via its application of biomass and biogas. Four of the six Heineken’s breweries in Vietnam brewed using 100 per cent carbon-neutral biomass energy this year. It therefore cut its CO2 emissions by 50 per cent against the 2014-2016 period, providing a steady source of income to the local rice farmers it buys the “waste” rice husks from and significantly lowering its costs while avoiding oil price volatilities.

    Biogas, meanwhile, is used by capturing gases released by its waste water treatment plants and reusing it as a fuel source. By 2019, the company aims to brew 100 per cent of its beverages using renewable energy.

    Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, said the use of biomass and biogas in the daily operations of Heineken’s breweries is a practical and breakthrough initiative that brings benefits to many stakeholders, including the community.

    Heineken Vietnam has committed to using local suppliers wherever possible and has created around 190,000 jobs throughout its supply chain and purchases only local packaging materials. It contributed VND33.5 trillion ($1.54 billion) to Vietnam’s economy in 2016, or 0.75 per cent of GDP.

    The company is also one of the very few pioneers in Vietnam to adopt sustainability reporting using the global reporting initiative (GRI) standard, with it continuously publishing a GRI-accredited comprehensive annual sustainability report in Vietnam for three years in a row, announcing its achievements and future directions for sustainable development as well as its challenges.

    Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, said the GRI standard sets a distinctive and desirable standard for sustainability reporting and facilitates transparency and integrity thanks to its structured principles ensuring reporting validity and quality.

    “Heineken has taken the lead in standardized sustainability reporting practices in Vietnam by proactively applying and adhering to GRI standards, an unprecedented practice made by a non-listed company that we consider desirable and truly appreciate,” Mr. Vinh added.

    For its continuous sustainability efforts, Heineken Vietnam was recognized as the third most sustainable company in Vietnam in VCCI’s Corporate Sustainability Index in 2016.

    VCCI Chairman Mr. Vu Tien Loc said that Heineken has made significant and long-standing contributions to Vietnam’s socioeconomic development. With its vision and commitment to sustainability and its innovative application of advanced business models and solutions, the company effectively supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vietnam’s national sustainability agenda.

    “With what the company has accomplished and its solid promise to advance the achievements, Heineken Vietnam will continue to play a progressive role in Vietnam’s long-term growth and remain a trusted companion of the country on its journey to a better and sustainable future,” he added.  

    Established in 1991, Heineken Vietnam Brewery (formerly Vietnam Brewery) is a joint venture between the Saigon Trading Group (Satra) and Heineken. It currently has six breweries in Vietnam: in Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Tien Giang, Vung Tau, and Hanoi. 

    Deputy PM advocates sustainable business models

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam held a working session in Hanoi on October 10 with the Executive Board of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) within the framework of the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2017.

    The event which opened in the capital city yesterday is exploring methods to scale up business solutions to sustainability challenges.

    According to Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc, as one of the 193 UN member countries adopting the 2030 Agenda with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), Vietnam has asserted its vision and resolve to, together with the world, follow the path to green growth.

    Its Government has issued a national programme on sustainable development and set up the National Council for Sustainable Development, he said.

    VCCI also established the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, which gathers hundreds of enterprises volunteering to act as the core of sustainable business models in the country, he added.

    Speaking at the working session, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam emphasised the need to continue promoting creativity and establish more favourable conditions for the business community to further participate in the implementation of the sustainable development goals of the UN.

    The Deputy PM also acknowledged the positive contribution made by the business community to stabilising the macro economy.

    Deputy PM Dam asked the VCCI and intermediary institutions such as VBCSD to organise more forums and dialogues to help enterprises, state agencies and organisations in solving issues arising in the process of developing, planning, and implementing related policies and mechanisms.

    Hanoi launches start-up ecosystem portal

    The Hanoi municipal People's Committee in coordination with VPBank held a launching ceremony for the city's start-up ecosystem portal and a large-scale co-working space in support of the start-up community at the VPBank building on Lang Ha Street, Hanoi on October 10.

    The StartupCity.vn portal is built with the aim of creating an online platform to connect start-up business opportunities in a simple and systematic manner. The portal will also serve as a useful tool for investors to seek investment opportunities in Vietnam.

    In addition, through StartupCity, start-up enterprises can present their projects and call for investment while exploring new business opportunities and following technology tendencies and issues of concern.

    The start-up ecosystem portal, which is automatic and free of charge, is developed under the guidance of experts from Israel, a nation famous for its successful start-up nation model.

    "StartupCity.vn is a vivid example of how local government could contribute to the speed development of the technology industry of the country. StartupCity.vn will help attract international businesses, connect capital with start-up demands, create new jobs, encourage creative ideas and improve economic value for the ecosystem," Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of Hanoi municipal People's Committee said at the launching ceremony.

    At the ceremony, a large-scale co-working space for use by the start-up community, named UP@VPBank, was launched at the 21st floor, VPBank building on 89 Lang Ha Street, marking the establishment of a leading large-scale co-working space in Vietnam.

    The co-working space is expected to provide enterprises with the most high-class office space in Vietnam at reasonable costs. In addition, at UP@VPBank, start-ups and innovation enterprises will have opportunities to meet, work and connect directly with investors and supporting services.

    So far, 130 enterprises have registered to work at the co-working space and 63 have received funds from VPBank.

    VPBank has pledged to spend at least US$1 million to implement solutions in support of the start-up community in 2017-2018.

    Forum looks to scale up business solutions to sustainability challenges

    The Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2017 took place in Hanoi on October 10, seeking to scale up business solutions to sustainability challenges.

    Opening the event, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said that as one of the 193 UN member countries adopting the 2030 Agenda with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), Vietnam has asserted its vision and resolve, together with the world, to follow the path to green growth.

    The Government has issued a national programme on sustainable development and set up the National Council for Sustainable Development.

    VCCI also established the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, which gathers hundreds of enterprises volunteering to act as the core of sustainable business models in the country.

    Loc cited the “Better Business, Better World” report issued by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission as saying that sustainable business opportunities to realise the Global Goals in the four surveyed economic systems could create a market worth an estimated US$12 trillion by 2030. Achieving the Global Goals in these four systems could create 380 million new jobs by 2030, almost 90 percent of them in developing countries.

    The report also states that Asia will have the most business opportunities created by sustainable development, he noted, describing this as a wonderful momentum for Vietnamese firms to follow a more sustainable and humane development path.

    Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, said the business community should be considered an important part of the economy, not just a channel to mobilise capital.

    It is necessary to boost financial sources, improve manpower quality and devise cooperation solutions to promote the development of private businesses. Meanwhile, the private economic sector needs to have joint plans and actions on corporate rights and obligations, he added.

    Nguyen Quang Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, said the achievement of the 17 SDGs depends much on the actions of business. He noted that the number of companies making sustainability reports has doubled over the last five years.

    However, Vinh admitted that most enterprises have trouble in their approach to the SDGs while the global awareness of sustainable development remains low. Business influence in the sustainable development process is still modest.

    To do better business for a better world, it is crucial to support enterprises in combining the SDGs with their development strategies and to gear the financial system towards sustainable investment orientations, Vinh said.

    Sunwah expands real estate investment in HCMC

    Hong Kong’s Sunwah Group has announced its investment in a high-end housing project in HCMC.

    Johnson Choi, general director of Sunwah Vietnam, said the Sunwah Pearl project at 90 Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District would be the third largest property development of Sunwah in Vietnam after Sunwah Tower on Nguyen Hue Boulevard in District 1 and Saigon Pearl on Nguyen Huu Canh Street, also in Binh Thanh District.

    Sunwah Pearl will be developed by Bay Water Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the group. Covering more than 19,000 square meters, the project will have one 45-floor block and two 50-floor blocks with a total of 1,342 apartment units of one to three bedrooms measuring from 52 to 128 square meters each. The lowest price will be VND55 million per square meter.

    Sunwah Pearl will also have other amenities such as riverside park, swimming pool, shopping center, supermarket, gym and spa center, conference center, restaurant, coffee shop, picnic area, amusement park, children’s playground and kindergarten.

    A source from the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment earlier said domestic enterprises had got involved in the project, which Sunwah Vietnam Real Estate Limited later bought into.

    Sunwah Group has been operational in Vietnam for 47 years in sectors such as aquaculture, property, financial services and coffee trading with a total investment of over US$1 billion.

    At a ceremony to announce the Sunwah Pearl project, Johnson Choi said the group would continue expanding its businesses in Vietnam.

    Stimulus program lures 300,000 domestic tourists in Jan-Sept

    Nearly 300,000 Vietnamese bought domestic tours in the first nine months of 2017, about 27% higher than in all of 2016, helped by a stimulus program jointly organized by the HCMC Tourism Association (HTA), airlines and a railway firm.

    In the program, Saigon Railways, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific have offered promotional tickets to tour operators, helping partly lower tour prices by at least 25%.

    “The tourism stimulus program has produced positive results. The number of tourists traveling by train has increased significantly,” said Nguyen Thi Khanh, vice chairwoman of HTA.

    Over 38,000 train tickets were sold within the program in January-September, a three-fold increase compared to all of 2016, she said.

    Saigon Railways has launched 30 more passenger cars on the HCMC-Nha Trang route. In the coming time, the company will put new cars into service on other routes, especially those to Danang City, and improve service quality to attract more customers.

    HTA member enterprises are carrying out promotional programs in the last three months of 2017 and preparing plans for 2018. From 2018 onwards, the program will focus on certain localities to boost tourism development. HTA is also inviting other travel firms to join the program.

    “Some domestic air carriers have hiked airfares recently. However, HTA is working with them to launch new promotions for domestic tourists,” Khanh said.

    HTA and airlines have plans to hold a meeting next week to discuss promotional programs for 2018.

    Dialogue begins over investment difficulties in Nam Định

    A meeting between provincial leaders and representatives of 500 enterprises in Nam Định Province was held on October 10.

    The meeting was held in the spirit of openness and frankness to remove difficulties and obstacles for enterprises investing in Nam Định.

    The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of the northern province proposed specialised agencies to reduce the rates of social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance premium, as the rates are still high as compared to workers’ wages.

    Speaking at the meeting, the association’s chairman, Trần Xuân Ngữ, said banks needed to reduce administrative procedures for SMEs when they borrowed investment capital to develop production and business.

    According to Ngữ, investment procedure streamlining in the province was still slow, the process of compensation and site clearance of a number of projects was extended, and the environmental treatment in some industrial parks and clusters was limited, making it difficult for investors.

    Jin Kook Kim, general director of Nam Định YoungOne Company Ltd, which specialies in producing and trading clothes, knitwear, textiles and garments in Hòa Xá Industrial Zone, said the price of water had accelerated, so the company expected local authorities to allow them to exploit underground water for production, which would help reduce costs.

    In addition, Kim said that there were too many inspections conducted in one year, affecting the corporate operation.

    Director of Toản Xuân Company Ltd, Trần Quốc Toản, said the province should research and establish high quality agricultural production areas, build chains of safe veggies, meat, eggs and of special local products.

    “The province also needs to organise agricultural trade promotion programmes and give preferential mechanisms for enterprises investing in agriculture and rural areas,” said Toản.

    Chairman of Nam Định People’s Committee, Phạm Đình Nghị, affirmed that the province’s viewpoint would always favour enterprises. The province has issued a resolution on reforming administrative procedures, enhancing competitiveness and attracting investment, he said.

    The People’s Committee has also established the Nam Định Investment and Enterprise Promotion Centre in order to create an open mechanism for enterprises to invest in the province.

    In addition to nine industrial zones, Nghị said the province had zoned 44 industrial clusters to meet the demand for investment and development of production and business of investors. The province would not use the local budget but will call for private enterprises to invest in infrastructure construction.

    The provincial agencies shall strictly implement the direction of the Prime Minister over the inspection and examination of enterprises and avoid the duplication in the inspection and audit activities. It is not allowed to inspect a business many times a year, unless there are signs of violations to regulations.

    There are 4,800 enterprises in Nam Định. Its set target is to attract US$3 billion of foreign direct investment and more than VNĐ30 trillion ($1.3 billion) from domestic investment in the 2016-20 period.

    175 businesses participate in MTA Hà Nội 2017

    Some 175 businesses are participating in the 5th International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition & Conference (MTA HANOI 2017) which began in Hà Nội on Wednesday (October 10).

    Covering an area of 4,300sq.m, the three-day exhibition will showcase offerings and products covering a broad technology scope relevant to the manufacturing sector.

    More than 71 per cent of exhibitors at the event are from 19 countries and territories such as Beijing Jingdiao, Carl Zeiss, Makino and Mitsubishi Electric, as well as Mitutoyo, Sodisk and QES.

    BT Tee, general manager of UBM VES and the organiser, said the event had returned at a timely moment in support of the local manufacturing scene, which has consistently grown over the past few years.

    Moon Min Wan, general director of Marposs Việt Nam, said they have been participating in both the MTA Việt Nam and MTA HANOI 2017 show, and found that MTA has been a dedicated platform allowing participants to get access to the very latest technologies and services available in the entire manufacturing process.

    Not only has it provided support to international players wanting to gain a foothold in Việt Nam, but the MTA HANOI 2017 has also positioned itself as a launch pad for local suppliers to enhance their industry presence.

    Local industry pioneers such as Tinh Hà, Vạn Sự Lợi, Bibus, T.A.T and Bảo Sơn have large booths at the expo. It also welcomed a number of local newcomers showcasing a wide assortment of manufacturing and metal-working solutions, including Trương Nguyễn, Fil Việt Nam, Vision Equipment and Lasertech, as well as CNC Việt Nam and Nhật Hà.

    MTA HANOI 2017 will also have seminars, interactive workshops and lively panel debates on some of the current issues affecting the manufacturing and precision engineering sectors. 

    BDDIF to sell 10.47 million shares of Bidiphar

    Bình Định Development Investment Fund (BDDIF) has registered to sell 10.47 million shares, equal to 20 per cent of Bình Định Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment JSC’s charter capital.

    The transaction is expected to be conducted between October 16 and November 11, the pharmaceutical company (Bidiphar) announced.

    BDDIF holds 17.46 million Bidiphar’s shares, or 33.34 per cent of its capital. The fund’s ownership is expected to decrease to 13.34 per cent after the transaction.

    Bidiphar began trading on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) under the sticker DBD on January 16 this year. Its share prices have climbed some 40 per cent from VNĐ35,000 a share, to around VNĐ49,000 (US$2.16) this week.

    At this price, BDDIF’s divestment value is estimated at VNĐ500 billion ($22 million).

    Bidiphar posted total revenues of VNĐ1.44 trillion last year, up 14 per cent year-on-year, of which the pharmaceutical turnover accounted for 91 per cent, hitting VNĐ1.31 trillion. However, its net profit reached VNĐ141.5 billion, down 34 per cent year-on-year. 

    Hòa Bình Reservoir opens 7 floodgates

    The Hòa Bình Reservoir under the Hòa Bình Hydro-power Company has opened seven floodgates, after heavy rains caused a rapid rise in the water level.

    Five floodgates were opened on Tuesday night and two others were opened on Wednesday morning. This was believed to be the largest flood discharge in 10 years within the reservoir.

    Nguyễn Văn Quang, deputy chief of the National Steering Committee on Natural Disasters Prevention and Control, said at an urgent meeting on Wednesday morning that if the water flowing into the reservoir continues to rise, the reservoir might open other floodgates.

    By 9am on Wednesday, the water level of the reservoir reached 117.4 metres, with the water flowing into the reservoir at 12,960cu.m per second.

    Previously, the committee on Tuesday ordered the reservoir to open one floodgate on Wednesday to lower the water level. However, due to the rapidly rising water level, the reservoir actively opened six floodgates on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Quang said.

    Quang said the constantly discharging water from the reservoir would cause impacts on lowland. Therefore, he asked the company to inform all the relevant agencies and people who could be affected by the water discharge, so that they can better prepare for it.

    Relevant agencies were tasked with taking measures to ensure safety for the dykes, he added.

    In another movement, the committee required on Wednesday the Sơn La Hydro-power Plant to suspend all its turbines from operation and to not release water to the downstream of Đà River. 

    Enterprises advised to focus on organic fruit, vegetable exports to EU

    Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable businesses should eye on organic products for export to the European market, experts said at a workshop in Hanoi on October 11.

    According to Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruits and Vegetables Association Nguyen Huu Dat, Vietnam’s export of fruits and vegetables is forecast to increase in the coming time. 

    Besides major markets such as the US, Australia, and Japan, businesses are seeking to make inroads into the EU given its potential.

    Statistics showed that Vietnam earned more than 2.6 billion USD from shipping fruits and vegetables abroad, representing a year-on-year increase of 44.2 percent. 

    The EU is evaluated a promising market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetable, however, it has strict requirements on food safety. Therefore, the export turnover of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to the EU only stood at 100 million USD.

    The regulations on pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables are one of the factors to hinder Vietnamese businesses to penetrate into the market, Dat said.

    He suggested businesses improving cultivation in the net houses to achieve higher technical economic efficiency.

    Apart from food security, products must meet the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and GlobalGAP standards on manufacturing, processing and packaging, he added.

    Ruggero Malossi, a specialist of the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-MUTRAP), said the EU limits the use of some chemicals to ensure food safety and avoid environmental losses, so imported products must be controlled.

    Experts proposed ministries and departments soon build proper strategies for each market and facilitate the transport of such competitive fruits as dragon fruits, longans, rambutans, grapefruits and mangoes.

    Businesses should concentrate on areas to develop key export products while investing in phytosanitary treatment, preservation and deep processing technologies to meet requirements of foreign markets.

    PVI and Vietnam Airlines launch travel insurance

    PVI Insurance Corporation and Vietnam Airlines Corporation on Wednesday launched a comprehensive travel insurance package, TripCARE, to give customers complete peace of mind during each trip.

    The insurance is provided by two firms in co-operation with Chubb Vietnam Insurance Company Limited as a reinsurer.

    TripCARE has been available from September 29, 2017, on www.vietnamairlines.com. This is a product reserved for passengers of Vietnam Airlines when buying air tickets for domestic travel or departing from Việt Nam, in which, personal accident benefits amount to VNĐ1.6 billion (US$70,267) and medical expenses total up to VNĐ1 billion. Newborns (aged 7 days to under 2 years) travelling with TripCARE insurance will enjoy free insurance.

    Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, Trịnh Ngọc Thành, said the co-operation with PVI was one of the steps taken by Vietnam Airlines to understand the needs of customers for products and services when buying air tickets, affirming the company’s ongoing efforts to bring safe and comprehensive passenger services to Việt Nam.

    TripCARE Travel Insurance marks the first time an insurance company in Việt Nam has successfully sold travel insurance via the website of an airline.

    Reference exchange rate down for fourth day

    The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD was revised down for a fourth day in a row since the beginning of this week, standing at 22,453 VND /USD on October 12, a decrease of 6 VND from the rate set on October 11.

    With the current trading band of +/- 3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,127 VND and the floor rate 21,779 VND/USD.  

    The opening hour rates at major commercial banks also followed the declining trend. 

    Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,685 VND and the selling rate at 22,755 VND per USD, down 5 VND from the previous day. 

    The rates listed by Vietinbank were also slashed by 5 VND to 22,685 VND (buying) and 22,755 VND (selling) per USD. 

    The greenback is being bought at 22,685 VND and sold at 22,755 VND per USD at BIDV, both 5 VND lower than the respective rates listed on October 11.

    VN-Index rallies for a third day

    Shares extended gains on October 11 on the HCM Stock Exchange with the benchmark VN-Index rising 0.41 percent to close at 813.95 points, expanding its three-day rally to 0.76 percent.

    Seventeen of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the southern bourse gained while 11 declined.

    Real estate giant VinGroup (VIC) was the biggest gainer with growth of 5.2 percent. Lender BIDV (BID), PV Gas (GAS), PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Corp (PVD), IT group FPT (FPT), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and brewer Sabeco (SAB) rose between 0.5-1.6 percent.

    “The rally today was mostly attributable to the positive movement of large-cap stocks amid high selling pressure in the market with a wide divergence amongst groups of stocks,” Bao Viet Securities Co’s analyst Tran Duc Anh wrote in a October 11 report.

    Bank stocks diverged widely, with BIDV (BID), Eximbank (EIB) and VPBank (VPB) advancing while Sacombank (STB), Vietinbank (CTG), Vietcombank (VCB) and Military Bank (MBB) declined.

    Notably, Sacombank dropped by 6.4 percent following the surprise news that the bank is seeking shareholders’ approval to transfer its listing to the Hanoi Stock Exchange under the new code SCM.

    Overall market conditions were negative with decliners outnumbering advancers by 155-116 and 72 stocks flat.

    According to Saigon-Hanoi Securities Co (SHS), third-quarter earnings results of listed companies are gradually being released, supporting the market. 

    However, negative factors including prolonged net selling by foreign traders and modest liquidity have shown that investors remain wary.

    Analysts predicted the VN-Index will likely head to the next target of 815 points on wide divergence.

    On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index inched up 0.08 percent to end October 11 at 108.65 points. The northern market index fell 0.16 percent on October 10.

    Liquidity rose on October 11 with 228.5 million shares worth a combined 4.4 trillion VND (194.2 million USD) traded in the two markets, up 24.7 percent in volume and 19 percent in value compared to the previous day.

    Foreign investors were net sellers for a third straight day with total net sell value of 557.4 billion VND.

    VPBank launches one million USD startup support project

    The Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) on October 10 officially rolled out its one million USD startup support project ‘VPBank StartUp’ to aid the development of Vietnam’s start-up community.

    During 2017-2018, VPBank Startup will spend at least one million USD to directly endorse start-ups. It will also set aside 6.5 billion VND (286,130 USD) to support startups at the hi-end working space, UP@VPBank, operated by the bank and the Up Co-working space.

    Founder of the UP Co-working space Do Hoai Nam said that businesses will have access to a top notch working space at the UP@VPBank at a reasonable cost. Also, UP@VPBank will offer assistance to innovative startups and financial technology firms to promote creativity and competitiveness.

    They will get financial, accounting and legal support from investors, and have opportunities to work together, connect and cooperate to realise the goals of “start-up city” and “start-up nation”, he added.

    VPBank Startup marks a major stride for the bank’s corporate social responsibility activities.

    Experts said that Vietnam poses huge potential to become a start-up nation, including golden population, young labourers and talent in high technology. The country has seen more than 100,000 start-ups established.

    Ford Vietnam recalls 119 cars over airbag failure

    Ford Vietnam said it is recalling 119 Ford Ranger and Ford Everest cars manufactured in Vietnam for checking and replacing failed airbags.

    Of those, 113 vehicles are Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2 pickup trucks which were the bestsellers in the Vietnamese market. The cars were produced between October 29, 2016 and January 27, 2017.

    The remaining cars are Ford Everest 2.2L AT 2WD models, manufactured between December 10, 2016 and January 12, 2017.

    The recall is attributed to failure in their airbag activation devices, which might cause the safety equipment to not inflate when a collision occurs.

    These cars will be recalled until September 30, 2020, with repair time taking just two hours per vehicle.

    The Vietnam Register has recommended clients of Ford Vietnam to bring their cars for quality check to ensure safety.

    HCM City welcomes more than 29,900 newly established firms

    An additional 29,921 new enterprises were established in Ho Chi Minh City this year by September, with total capital exceeding 396 trillion VND (17.4 billion USD).

    Although the number of new firms rose only 13 percent, registered capital surged 84.5 percent year on year.

    Some 44,087 enterprises registered to change their fields of business in the period with total additional capital of more than 218 trillion VND (9.6 billion USD), up 11.2 percent in number of businesses and 49.6 percent in capital from last year.

    Of the new firms, one-member limited companies made up the highest proportion (58.6 percent) with 17,546 enterprises, followed by two-member limited companies (28 percent) with 8,387 enterprises, joint-stock companies (11.9 percent) with 3,581 enterprises, and private firms (1.4 percent) with 404 enterprises.

    In terms of sectors, real estate had the largest pool of newly established companies (39.5 percent) with total registered capital of nearly 156.7 trillion VND (6.9 billion USD). The retail, automobile repair and motorbike industries also occupied a high proportion (16.2 percent) with total capital of more than 64.3 trillion VND (2.8 billion USD).

    In order to have 500,000 enterprises by 2020, the city is working to transform household businesses into enterprises. To date, nearly 1,400 home businesses have switched into companies.

    Hưng Yên creates more favourable conditions for enterprises

    Authorities of Hưng Yên will continue to create favourable conditions for enterprises’ production and business activities to ensure high efficiency and sustainable development in business.

    Chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern province of Hưng Yên Nguyễn Văn Phóng said this at a meeting held on October 10 between provincial authorities and more than 300 entrepreneurs in Hưng Yên Province on Việt Nam Business Day.

    At the meeting, Nguyễn Xuân Dương, chairman of the Hưng Yên Business Association, said enterprises in the province have made important contributions towards improving economic structure and development of the province.

    Trần Quốc Văn, director of the Hưng Yên Department of Planning and Investment, said to support and develop the business and improve the business environment, the provincial authorities have directed departments and agencies to regularly review and simplify administrative procedures, reducing time to process these procedures for people and enterprises.

    As a result, time was reduced by 50-60 per cent for handling administrative procedures and by 30 per cent for solving administrative procedures in the land and environmental protection areas. Departments and local authorities are continuing to implement programmes on supporting enterprises.

    Meanwhile, Phóng highly appreciated efforts of local enterprises in renovating management method and technology, raising the efficiency of operation, obeying regulations, fulfilling financial obligations and actively participating in social security activities.

    He said that with regard to the proposals of the business community, Hưng Yên People’s Committee has asked the departments and localities to receive proposals from businesses and come up with solutions to support them. They should hold dialogues to get information and remove difficulties of enterprises, along with proposing policy changes to central State offices.

    For enterprises, Phóng said they should speed up the construction of approved projects, use land economically and effectively, and realising commitments on environmental protection.

    Enterprises should also enhance further renovation of technology to increase productivity and reduce production costs, he said. 

    In another development, the northern province of Hưng Yên attracted 182 investment projects in the first nine months of 2017, up 44 per cent year-on-year, according to local authorities.

    During the period, registered capital of domestic and foreign projects reached more than VNĐ12 trillion (US$528.12 million) and more than $145 million, respectively.

    The province is currently home to 1,619 projects, with total registered capital exceeding $8.44 billion.

    Hà Tĩnh green lights 76 investment projects

    Central Hà Tĩnh Province approved in principle 76 projects over the past nine months, including three foreign-invested projects, with combined investment capital of over US$330 million, local authorities said.

    Among these projects is a $55.3 million-maritime tourism complex, developed by An Giang Dragon Hà Tĩnh Co; a $54 million hotel and trade centre complex, financed by Việt Trung Investment Co; and another eco-tourism project, valued at $13.4 million.

    So far, the province is home to 740 projects, capitalised at $4.38 billion. Of them, 69 were financed by foreign investors from 15 countries and territories with capital totaling more than $11.63 billion.

    Japan, South Korea, Brunei and Australia, as well as the US, Thailand, Philippines and Laos, along with Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, are the province’s leading sources of foreign investment.

    Under this year’s investment promotion programme, the province plans to lure potential investors from Japan, South Korea and Germany with the help of those currently investing in the province.

    The province is calling for investment in hi-tech farming, support industries, tourism and services, as well as high-quality personnel training projects and waste and wastewater treatment projects.

    The Thiên Cầm and Xuân Thanh tourism sites and Kẻ Gỗ Lake eco-tourism spot are also seeking foreign investment.

    To attract more investors, the province will continue to speed up administrative reform, perfect infrastructure facilities, accelerate land clearance and foster investment promotion activities.

    Provincial authorities will also hold dialogues with entrepreneurs and investors in the locality to get recommendations and help resolve problems.

    175 businesses participate in MTA Ha Noi 2017     

    Some 175 businesses are participating in the 5th International Precision Engineering, Machine Tools and Metalworking Exhibition & Conference (MTA HANOI 2017) which began in Ha Noi on Wednesday (October 10).

    Covering an area of 4,300sq.m, the three-day exhibition will showcase offerings and products covering a broad technology scope relevant to the manufacturing sector.

    More than 71 per cent of exhibitors at the event are from 19 countries and territories such as Beijing Jingdiao, Carl Zeiss, Makino and Mitsubishi Electric, as well as Mitutoyo, Sodisk and QES.

    BT Tee, general manager of UBM VES and the organiser, said the event had returned at a timely moment in support of the local manufacturing scene, which has consistently grown over the past few years.

    Moon Min Wan, general director of Marposs Viet Nam, said they have been participating in both the MTA Viet Nam and MTA HANOI 2017 show, and found that MTA has been a dedicated platform allowing participants to get access to the very latest technologies and services available in the entire manufacturing process.

    Not only has it provided support to international players wanting to gain a foothold in Viet Nam, but the MTA HANOI 2017 has also positioned itself as a launch pad for local suppliers to enhance their industry presence.

    Local industry pioneers such as Tinh Ha, Van Su Loi, Bibus, T.A.T and Bao Son have large booths at the expo. It also welcomed a number of local newcomers showcasing a wide assortment of manufacturing and metal-working solutions, including Truong Nguyen, Fil Viet Nam, Vision Equipment and Lasertech, as well as CNC Viet Nam and Nhat Ha.

    MTA HANOI 2017 will also have seminars, interactive workshops and lively panel debates on some of the current issues affecting the manufacturing and precision engineering sectors. 

    VIP Infrastructure offloads 11.3 million CII shares     

    Singapore-based VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte Ltd has completed the sale of 11.3 million shares of HCM Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII), reducing its ownership from 8.76 per cent to 4.17 per cent.

    The Singaporean firm is no longer a major shareholder of CII, the Vietnamese company announced on Tuesday.

    The transaction was conducted between September 25 and October 6.

    At a price of some VND32,000 per share at the time, the divestment was valued at more than VND360 billion (US$16 million).

    Compared with the peak of over VND40,000 per share in March, CII’s price has lost some 20 per cent of its value. However, the share has still gained 14.3 per cent since the beginning of this year.

    VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte Ltd is 100 per cent owned by Philippines’ Ayala Corporation, which invested in CII from 2012.

    According to CII, due to changes in the accounting policy in the Philippines, Ayala wanted to divest partly from CII before October 31 to book this profit in its financial statement.

    In a related development, Ireland’s DC Developing Market Strategies Public Co Ltd has registered to buy two million CII shares between October 3 and November 1.

    CII reported revenue of some VND1 trillion in the first half of this year, about a two-fold increase over the same period of last year. Its net profit reached VND1.6 trillion, seven times more than the same period last year and exceeding the net profit target for the whole of 2017. 

    Shares mixed on two exchanges     

    Shares moved in the opposite direction on the two stock exchanges on Thursday morning as large-cap stocks continued to widen divergence.

    On the HCM Stock Exchange, the VN-Index increased 0.33 per cent to close at 816.67 points. Meanwhile, the HNX-Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange edged down 0.35 per cent to 108.27 points.

    Large-cap stocks continued to be a major supporter on HCM City’s bourse with 18 of the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity advancing and 10 declining.

    Banks also extended gains.

    Except for Vietcombank (VCB) which was down 0.3 per cent, the other six listed lenders gained value, of which VPBank (VPB) was the largest gainer with a growth of 1.9 per cent. Vietinbank (CTG), Military Bank (MBB) and BIDV (BID) rose by less than one per cent each.

    Besides banks, large companies in the food-beverage and retail sectors also advanced, including Vinamilk (VNM), brewer Sabeco (SAB), FPT Corp (FPT) and Mobile World Group (MWG).

    Meanwhile, all three listed banks on Ha Noi’s exchange slumped between 0.3 and 1.4 per cent each.

    The HNX30 Index tracking the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the northern bourse also decreased 0.31 per cent.

    Liquidity declined sharply with just 96.3 million shares worth VND2.1 trillion (US$91.8 million) being traded on the two markets.

    The afternoon session starts at 1pm.

    Interest rate cut targeted for end months     

    The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) will instruct commercial banks to try and cut interest rate in the remaining months of the year.

    It is among SBV’s monetary policies that will be applied in the remaining months of the year, SBV announced on Tuesday.

    According to SBV, it is ready to support liquidity for credit institutions, aimed at ensuring the safety of the banking system and stabilising deposit interest rates.

    Besides this, the central bank also required credit institutions to take measures to reduce operating costs and improve business efficiency to create favourable conditions to reduce lending interest rates for priority sectors and business areas.

    Lending in the remaining months of this year will continuously focus on prioritised areas of agricultural production, export business, production of small and medium-sized enterprises, auxiliary industry and high-tech production.

    The central bank reported that credit growth in the first nine months this year was 11.02 per cent, higher than the rates of 10.46 per cent and 10.78 per cent in the same period of 2016 and 2015, respectively.

    During the period, lending to prioritised industries rose against last year, of which loans to agriculture and rural development, and high-tech production were up 17 per cent and 25.12 per cent, respectively.

    Liquidity of the banking system in the first nine months was relatively good. The average ratio of lending to deposits (LDR) of the system reached some 87.2 per cent, higher than the 87 per cent recorded at the end of the second quarter and much higher than late 2016 (85.47 per cent) and 2015 (85.6 per cent). The LDR in dong was 88 per cent and in foreign currency was 73 per cent.

    Average ratio of short-term funds used for medium and long-term loans of credit institutions during the period was estimated at some 33.4 per cent, slightly down compared with 34.5 per cent in late 2016. 

    Budget revenue hits 70% of target     

    State budget revenue in the first nine months of the year totaled VND843 trillion (US$37 billion), up 13.9 per cent year-on-year and equivalent to 69.5 per cent of the annual target.

    The information was released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) during a conference held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

    The finance ministry said direct revenues from production and business activities were low due to reductions in contributions from some major manufacturing sectors such as crude oil and gas, automobiles, mobile phones, and cigarettes.

    Of the total, VND663.7 trillion came from domestic tax collections, up 11.4 per cent year-on-year and representing 67 per cent of the yearly target, the MoF said.

    The MoF attributed the rise in total domestic revenue to higher indirect revenues, such as tax payments from housing and land (up 24.2 per cent), personal income tax (up 21.1 per cent), charges and fees (up 51.3 per cent), and income from lottery activities (up 12.4 per cent).

    Forty-three out of the 63 localities nationwide collected over 72 per cent of the estimates and 58 reported higher budget collection than the same period last year.

    Budget revenues from crude oil climbed 15 per cent year-on-year to reach VND34 trillion, hitting 88.9 per cent of the annual target.

    Meanwhile, revenues from import and export activities reached VND214 trillion, equivalent to 75.1 per cent of the annual target, and up 10.5 per cent year-on-year.

    Total State budget expenditure in the nine months stood at VND904.6 trillion, or 65.1 per cent of the year’s estimates, the ministry said.

    Of the estimate, budget investment for development was VND166.6 trillion, an increase of 4.1 per cent year-on-year and accounting for 46.6 per cent of the yearly plan.

    Regular expenditures over eight months were estimated at nearly VND660 trillion, equaling 73.6 per cent of the year’s estimate, up 7 per cent over the same period last year.

    Payments for debts and aid totalled VND75.35 trillion in the period, meeting 76.2 per cent of the annual estimate. 

    Workshop updates start-ups on new tech trends     

    Start-ups in Viet Nam can now seek opportunities to apply the latest technologies to reform their business models.

    This was discussed at a workshop held in Ha Noi on Tuesday as part of the Techfest 2017. The workshop aimed to connect experts, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to create sustainable value chains.

    Chief executive officers (CEOs) of start-ups as well as investors and young tech enthusiasts had a chance to talk to leading experts and gain information on new tech trends.

    The workshop was also intended to raise local investors’ awareness about technology and help CEOs from various fields realise the likelihood of the application of technology in their spheres.

    It was also an ideal opportunity for CEOs, investors, start-ups, and experts to network, share and learn from each others’ experiences.

    The Techfest Vietnam 2017 is scheduled to take place in Ha Noi mid-November to promote the start-up ecosystem in Viet Nam, and to link domestic and international start-ups by luring investment for start-up firms, providing policy consultancy on innovation, honouring start-ups and organisations for active contributions to the start-up community.

    The 2016 Techfest attracted nearly 170 investors and more than 3,000 visitors.

    With its young population, Viet Nam is working towards becoming a startup nation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Government is targeting one million effective enterprises by 2020.

    Treasury mobilises VNĐ2.1 trillion via Government bonds

    The State Treasury of Việt Nam successfully mobilised VNĐ2.1 trillion (US$92.5 million) through Government bond auctions at the Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX) on Wednesday.

    The bonds were offered for four tenures: five years valued at VNĐ1 trillion, and seven years, 10 years and 30 years with VNĐ500 billion for each term.

    The five-year bonds sold at a total value of VNĐ1 trillion, with a winning yield of 4.52 per cent, 0.13 percentage points lower than bonds of the same term sold at the previous auction on October 4.

    Similarly, VNĐ500 billion worth of seven-year bonds sold at the auction had an interest rate of 4.83 per cent per annum, equal to the previous sale on September 13.

    The 10-year bonds brought in only VNĐ300 billion with a winning yield of 5.42 per cent, equal to the sale during the October 4 session.

    The 30-year bonds did not see a winning volume.

    A total of VNĐ300 billion was raised in the sub-session sales for the five-year and seven-year terms.

    From early this year to date, the State Treasury has mobilised nearly VNĐ151.180 trillion through Government bonds issued on the HNX.

    Vietjet, Qatar Airways sign interline agreement

    Vietjet on Thursday announces its two-phase interline partnership with Doha-based Qatar Airways.

    Accordingly, the first phase, which came into effect in September, enables Qatar Airways passengers to travel to and from destinations in Việt Nam and Taiwan served directly by Vietjet.

    The next phase will soon allow Vietjet passengers to fly to more than 150 points around the world on Qatar Airways using a single reservation across both airlines’ networks.

    “We are delighted to welcome Vietjet to our growing roster of interline partners as it allows us to provide a more seamless experience for our passengers,” Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said.

    He said the agreement with Vietjet will offer passengers even more choice, providing them an easy connection in HCM City or Hà Nội before transferring to their Qatar Airways flights.

    “This partnership is a pillar of Vietjet’s strategy to diversify our services, aimed at offering our passengers travel opportunities to points over the world. We will continue to partner with other airlines based on advanced technology platforms to better benefit our passengers,” Vietjet vice president Nguyễn Thị Thúy Bình said.

    Qatar Airways is commencing two non-stop operations connecting Hà Nội and HCM City with Doha, with two daily flights and 10 weekly flights, respectively.

    Previously, Vietjet and Japan Airlines agreed on an interline agreement for their flights between Japan and Việt Nam, their domestic services and their flights between Việt Nam and other Asian countries.

    The two carriers also committed to co-operate in various areas, including a frequent flier partnership, aircraft operations and maintenance, and ground handling services and training.

    Metalex Vietnam 2017 draws over 500 int’l brands

    The international exhibition on machine tools and metalworking solutions for production upgrade (Metalex Vietnam 2017) officially kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on October 12.

    The event drew the participation of more than 500 brands of 25 countries, including Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Japan and host Vietnam.

    Suttisak Wilanan, Deputy Managing Director of Reed Tradex, the organiser, said the event introduces the latest machine tools and metalworking solutions to businesses, thus helping them speed up production.

    A number of conferences will be organised in the framework of the exhibition to deliver professional metal processing solutions and offer chances for firms to expand their business in one of the most dynamic markets in ASEAN.

    Speaking at the event, Ureerat Ratanaprukse, Consul General of Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City, said that Metalex Vietnam 2017 will contribute to raising the efficiency of manufacturing and support industries, as well as create a platform for science and technology development, innovation and sustainable economy.

    The exhibition, which runs until October 14, is taking place together with the Vietnam Electronics Assembly 2017 on international machinery and technologies for electronic parts and components manufacturing industry and another on support industry products.

    Exports of electric cable grow 37.5% in 9 months

    Exports of electric wire and cables increased by nearly 37.5% to US$944.97 million in the nine months up to October, reports the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    China was the largest consumer of Vietnamese products at US$317.73 million (up 186% against the same period last year), followed by Japan with US$203.09 million (up 42%) and the Republic of Korea with US$88.48 million (up 55.9%).

    There has been a healthy increase in exports of electric wire and cables across most markets, primarily to the UK (up 475% to US$4.78 million), Malaysia (up 116% to US$9.47 million), Taiwan (up 99% to US$3.61 million) and Thailand (up 83.5% to US$30.17 million). Exports to Indonesia and Australia saw a decline, however, of 33% and 10% respectively.

    Footwear businesses manage to conquer domestic market

    Footwear and handbag businesses have prioritized exporting their products over selling them domestically as profits are higher overseas and government incentives make it a more attractive proposition.

    According to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso), the people of Vietnam purchase more than 180 million pairs of shoes annually while domestic production only meets roughly 40% of that demand. 

    Lefaso has more than 500 member companies involved in producing leather shoes, bags and providing tanned leather materials and production machinery and equipment. But only few are capable of supplying products on the domestic market.

    Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, Lefaso General Secretary, explained that this is because the footwear and handbag sector has faced a significant number of difficulties in recent times, due in no small part to the fact that most materials for production were imported. Thus, large-scale producers can reduce costs if they make export products. 

    Meanwhile for the domestic market suffers as businesses can only produce at a small scale because they just need to produce a limited number of products. The wide availability of counterfeit and fake, low-quality products is also detrimental to the industry.

    That’s why major businesses often focus on manufacturing goods for export while the domestic market is for smaller scale enterprises, said Ms Xuan.

    Nguyen Tri Kien, director of Minh Tien Garment Company, said it is much more difficult to develop the domestic market than export markets as it requires better customer services and efforts to promote their images and brands and manage well delivery and production chains.

    Nguyen Van Khiem, General Director of Thuong Dinh Footwear Company, echoed Mr Kien’s view, saying that despite having great potential for the domestic market, businesses still find it hard to conquer customers if their brands are little known. Furthermore, they have to face tough competitions with imported products as well as fake and counterfeit goods.

    In spite of numerous difficulties, footwear businesses believe it is high time to dominate the domestic market in a way that has thus far not been possible.

    To gain a firm foothold on the domestic market, Mr Kien underscored the need to tackle the problem of fake and counterfeit products and ensure material sources for production and brand names, improve the quality of products and devise long-term strategies for customer services to build up loyal customers and ensure they get repeat business.

    They should also branch out and increase their potential customer base by creating a chain of shops and set up e-commerce options as online sales become commonplace, he added.

    Solustri Jordanp, an Italian expert, said that the key to success in the footwear industry is to cultivate a brand identity through recognizable products and reputable quality of products.

    Ms Xuan also proposed that it is incumbent on the state to devise proper policies to enhance the market transparency and control. Businesses should be assisted in building quality standards and stepping up communications on identifying fake and counterfeit products.

    VNPT EPAY, Woori Bank co-operate in online payment

    VNPT EPAY and Woori Bank Việt Nam signed a co-operation agreement on online payment services on Wednesday. The two sides committed to priotising each other’s services to create convinient products for their customers.

    In particular, the two sides will co-operate in providing electronic wallets, collection and payment assitance and an online payment portal.

    Châu Nguyên Anh, director of VNPT EPAY, said the agreement marks a new direction for cooperation between international banks and local payment companies, with the goal of expanding the scale and geographic boundaries of payment, targeting users in different territories.

    VNPT EPAY is one of the market leaders in payment portal platforms for online services and e-commerce partners. With 10 years experience in the field of electronic payment, VNPT EPAY has served more than 1 million customers, 400 connected partners and more than 2,000 payment acceptance points.

    Woori Bank Việt Nam is a South Korea bank aiming to become the leading foreign banking system in Việt Nam.

    Insurance premium surges 21.6% in nine months

    The total premiums collected by insurance companies in the first nine months of 2017 surged by 21.6 per cent year-on-year, to more than VNĐ75.23 trillion (US$3.31 billion).

    Of the total sum, the revenue from life insurance premiums was more than VNĐ45 trillion and from non-life insurance premiums was nearly VNĐ30.17 trillion, up 31 per cent and 12.2 per cent, respectively, the Ministry of Finance reported on Wednesday.

    During this period, insurance companies invested VNĐ231.3 trillion into the economy, a rise of 22.3 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2016. Of the total, VNĐ194.97 trillion was from life insurance companies.

    They also paid VNĐ21.12 trillion as compensation to customers.

    The Insurance Association of Việt Nam predicts that this year, the growth of the life insurance sector will be 25 per cent and that of the non-life insurance sector will be 14 per cent.

    The growth is a result of the increasing awareness among people and companies about the role of insurance, the association said, adding that the country’s economic growth, targeted at 6.7 per cent in 2017, will be an added advantage to the growth of the insurance market.

    Anphabe kicks off Vietnam Happiness at Work Summit 2017

    Anphabe has launched Vietnam Happiness at Work Summit 2017 today in the presence of more than 600 CEOs and HR managers from top organisations in the country.

    With the topic of “Driving sustainable growth through happier workforce,” the event was held within the framework of Anphabe’s annual “Thought Leadership” series, bringing a new platform for the leadership and management teams to join to learn, share experiences, and obtain a thorough grasp of the latest trends in shaping an engaged, efficient, and loyal workforce.

    More than 25 local and international speakers will attend the event, discussing five important angles: “Happiness Trends,” “Happiness Essentials,” “Happiness & Business,” “Happiness Leadership,” and “Happiness Innovation.” Each angle comprises of multiple topics with interesting and surprising formats.

    At the event, Anphabe officially introduced ANPHA Community, which includes leading CEOs and HR directors who are all committed to sharing and updating advanced methods for human resources management with an aim to elevate the standards of the HR community and the Vietnamese workforce.

    Moreover, in 2017, Unilever Vietnam (The Best Place to Work between 2013 and 2016) will become Anphabe’s strategic knowledge partner, who also holds the position as the chair of the Steering Committee of ANPHA Community, committing to contributing resources to the project.

    “Anphabe’s long-standing mission is ‘To Shape Vietnam’s Happy Workforce.’ We also understand that it is impossible to accomplish this mission alone and that we need the help of the people and enterprises. Therefore, ANPHA Community will be a bridge to connect us with appropriate resources and bring out more useful and practical activities to the community,” said Thanh Nguyen, CEO of Anphabe.

    At the event Anphabe also officially kicked-off Vietnam Best Places to Work Survey 2017.

    Over the past four years, this annual survey has established a solid trust and attracted the enthusiastic participation of the business community thanks to its high accuracy, reliability, and up-to-date information of the important HR and workforce trends.

    In the ever-changing world of Industry 4.0, what will happens to jobs, workforce, and the working environment in Vietnam 4.0? This is the main issue of human resources trends that Vietnam Best Places to Work Survey 2017 aims to discover this year.

    Besides, the survey continues conducting in-depth assessments of Employer Brand Health (based on industry talents) and Employee Happiness at Work  (based on company employees) for the top 500 Vietnamese businesses to help the management teams capture and improve key personnel indicators.

    Based on objective assessments from employees in 26 industries, enterprises with good results will be honoured in the top 100 Vietnam Best Places to Work. In order to encourage and acknowledge efforts to improve the human resources policy of Vietnamese businesses, the organisers also decided to add another category: Top 50 Vietnam Best Places to Work–Vietnamese Enterprises.

    By tentative schedule, in March 2018, Anphabe will announce the final results of Vietnam Best Places to Work 2017.

    SonKim Land shakes hands with famous food brand Pourcel Château

    Son Kim Land Corporation has announced its partnership with international food and beverage brand Pourcel Château to launch a chain of food and café restaurants in the prime locations in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Jacques Pourcel, president of Pourcel Château Company said: "We believe in the development of the food industry in Vietnam in the future. With talented chefs, who have been successful all over the world for many years, this time, we introduce our talents with the desire to bring to Vietnamese consumers the fine and high-class culinary experiences of France."

    The partnership of SonKim Land and Pourcel Château reaches long-term and sustainable cooperation in order to bring about higher benefits to both parties and contribute to the development of the Vietnamese food industry.

    "The Pourcel Brothers, Jacques and Laurent, have won three Michelin honorable stars in their chef's career, starting in the South of France in 1998. We are very delighted to cooperate with Pourcel Château, a prestigious partner with extensive experience and expertise in the field of restaurants in this project," Nguyen Hoang Tuan, president of  SonKim Land said. "It can be seen that many Michelin stars, after opening restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, have turned these places into the destinations of famous culinary experiences."

    SonKim Land is a successful and reputable real estate developer in the Vietnamese market, focusing on high-class and luxury projects such as Gateway Thao Dien, Serenity Sky Villas and The Nassim.

    Participating in F&B is a strategic advance of SonKim Land, supplementing its core business of hospitality and real estate with the aim at providing perfect and ultimate living experience to the customers in SonKim Land's projects. Currently, SonKim Land has 25 premises available for restaurants in the prime locations of Ho Chi Minh City, including districts 1 and 3.

    Son Ha looking to increase overseas activity

    The plan to add capital to Son Ha International Joint Stock Company (Son Ha)’s existing project in Myanmar is considered a part of its strategy to expand operations aboard as the domestic stainless steel products market is seeing fierce competition.

    Son Ha was considered one of the Vietnamese leading manufacturers of stainless steel household and industrial products with soar growths in revenue, however, within recent five years, the domestic market has become more competitive with the join of both domestic and foreign competitors. Thus, Son Ha is forced to find solutions to create basic for the new development step, expansion its presence in aboard, is one of these solutions.

    In 2016, Son Ha exported its products to 30 countries around the world, including difficult markets like the Middle East, North America, and Northern Europe. Foreign markets make up 11 per cent of the company’s total revenue.

    Along with increasing exports to foreign markets, Son Ha plans to seek investment opportunities abroad to infiltrate overseas markets. The initial target is Myanmar where Son Ha built a factory, followed by potential markets such as Laos, India, and Turkey.

    According to the initial plan, Son Ha will co-operate with NNC Golden Brand JSC to expand its existing factory with a total added capital of $960,000, $720,000 of which will be contributed by Son Ha and $240,000 by NNC. However, according to the current adjusted plan, Son Ha will contribute $840,000 and NNC $120,000.

    Besides, the company will try to find a way to return to some old markets that it previously exported large quantities to, such as the US and Brazil.

    Regarding the domestic market, the company will decrease its holdings in member company Son Ha Saigon JSC, while simultaneously delineate business markets with Son Ha Saigon. Notably, Son Ha will focus on operating in the northern market, while Son Ha Saigon will hold the southern market.

    Besides, in mid 2017, Son Ha completed the purchase of Truong Tuyen Trading Co., Ltd., which is famous for manufacturing stainless steel tanks. After the purchase, Truong Tuyen Trading Company was renamed Truong Tuyen Industry and Services Company Limited.

    The Truong Tuyen brand is still intact, offering products and services such as plastic basins, stainless steel tanks, RO water purifiers, nd solar water heaters. Truong Tuyen will build its strategy around its stainless steel tank products.

    Hanoi looking to strengthen UK link

    Hanoi and British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) met today to discuss measures to strengthen economic partnership in the future.

    The event attracted the participation of Vietnamese and Bristish firms operating in banking and finance, insurance, transport, logistics, consultancy services, marketing, education and training, healthcare, and tourism and hospitality.

    The firms included Harvey Nash, Coninco, Santa Fe, Crown, Concordia International School Hanoi, Crunchy Fog, Ecorem Aiei, Mazars, and Rolls Royce International Limited Vietnam.   

    The discussions focused on the concerns of Bristish businesses in Vietnam, including administrative procedures, business licensing, land use, construction and investment issues, labour, tax, and customs.

    Addressing the event, Nguyen Doan Toan, Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, said, "The UK is one of Hanoi's biggest foreign investors. The event provided a good opportunity for Vietnamese and British businesses to seek business and investment partnership opportunities."

    "Hanoi will continue taking strong action to improve the business environment and make it more favourable and transparent. In particular, the city will make administrative reforms at all levels to create a driving force to attract investment for future development," he noted.

    Regarding trade, Toan said that in 2016, Hanoi’s export turnover towards the UK hit $524 million, making up 4.9 per cent of the city's total. The city’s import value from the UK hit $142 million, accounting for 0.6 per cent of the total. Import items included materials for animal feed production, farm produce, and pharmaceuticals.

    The number of British tourists arriving to Hanoi has also increased in recent years. In the first nine months of this year, the city welcomed 45,347 tourist arrivals from the UK, up 170 per cent on-year.

    To date, Hanoi is home to 66 valid British-invested projects with a total investment capital of $416.7 million, ranking 13th among foreign investors in Hanoi.

    The projects include 17 in education and training worth $51.56 million in total, 15 others in science and technology worth $4.5 million in total and 10 others in manufacturing and processing worth $26.87 million in total.

    Some big British projects include the $302-million green technology city project, British University Vietnam's $35.48-million education project and CHEE WAH Vietnam's $15-million manufacturing project.

    Banpu seeking new ideas after coal fails to fire

    Banpu Public Co., Ltd., a Thailand-based firm engaged in power production and coal mining, intends to look for more opportunities in developing renewable power in  the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, after its proposed coal-fired thermal power project was deemed incompatible with the national development plan.

    Voravudhi Linananda, CEO of Banpu, last week told local authorities that, “With our capacity and strengths as well as with our research, Banpu Group looks forward to co-operating with Thua Thien-Hue to invest in the development of energy resources in the province. We also want to invest in a project for biomass energy production.”

    The capital for said biomass project has not been revealed, but Banpu’s proposed 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired thermal power project had estimated costs of $1 billion. The moves are a part of the company’s expansion strategy in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia

    A memorandum of understanding on the development of the power project was signed between Banpu and the province last year, but Thua Thien-Hue officials had expressed the caveat that the Thai investor was only on the first step of conducting research on the project and the final decision would be made after that. The coal-fired project was planned to be built in Phong Dien district, far removed from the province’s beach resort and tourism areas, according to the Thua Thien-Hue’s Planning and Investment Department.

    The project, however, complied with neither the country’s power development plan nor the province’s power strategy for the 2011-2020 period, with a view towards 2030. But the province could be willing to adjust its plans if the coal-fired project was committed to using innovative technology, providing a high environmental safety level, and choosing a location far removed from its beach resort and tourism areas.

    The company’s business operations are divided into two segments: coal and power. Between it and its subsidiaries, Banpu operates coal and coal-related

    businesses ranging from investment, exploration, and development to production of both thermal and coking coals in Thailand, Indonesia, China, Australia, and Mongolia.

    Linananda said, “While ensuring high-efficiency and environmentally-friendly technology is applied in all power plants in the pipeline, all projects in the construction phase will move forward to meet their commercial operation date targets.  This is to underline the company’s commitment to creating sustainable value for shareholders and stakeholders, as a leading Asian power generating company.”

    “The coal price has hit rock bottom. Some mines may encounter high production costs and shut down. We have seen an opportunity, however. We are interested in mines in the same areas as our mines in Indonesia, China, and Vietnam, where the demand for power will rise. Such mines are newly opened or still in the development process,” he said.

    The company saw investment opportunities through mergers and acquisitions after the coal price bottomed out. In 2000, Banpu acquired 30 per cent of the registered capital in Amata Power (Bien Hoa) Ltd., a power production company in southern Vietnam. It also invested in a wholly owned subsidiary, Banpu Power Vietnam I.

    Automobile demand may reach 600,000 by 2025

    Annual demand for automobiles in Vietnam may stand at 600,000 units by 2025, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) told a conference on the automobile industry and opportunities for manufacturing development in Vietnam on October 12.

    A representative from MoIT forecast that the period from 2020 to 2025 will be boom time for automobiles in Vietnam, with demand at some 600,000. It is therefore necessary to develop the domestic automobile industry to reduce imports. If domestic automobile manufacturing can meet demand, especially in vehicles of less than nine seats, import turnover will be cut by $3-7 billion in 2025 and $5-12 billion in 2030.

    This would contribute to improving Vietnam’s trade balance and macroeconomic stability.

    The domestic automobile sector, however, faces a host of difficulties, including tough competition, especially after 2018, when taxes on automobiles imported from ASEAN come down to 0 per cent.

    In order to reach government targets, manufacturers and enterprises must link together and cooperate to develop the sector.

    To promote the development of the automobile industry and promptly issue practical policies, MoIT expects to cooperate with enterprises to bolster links between manufacturing and assembling enterprises and those manufacturing components, with support from the government through the program to develop support industries, which has been approved by the Prime Minister.

    As at the end of 2016, there were about 176 automobile manufacturing and assembling enterprises in Vietnam, with a total capacity of about 500,000 units per year.

    Large brands include Truong Hai (Thaco), Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, which meet about 70 per cent of demand for vehicles of less than nine seats.

    Many have developed their capacity, such as Thaco and Hyundai Thanh Cong.

    “We have to cooperate through using products from Vietnamese enterprises to boost the domestic automobile sector in the time to come,” Mr. Pham Van Tai, Deputy Director of Thaco, said on the sidelines of the conference.

    Many opinions were expressed by enterprises and authorities on the status of the industry and solutions to resolve problems. Calls were made to boost the automobile industry and the related support industry.

    Vietnam Airlines & PVI Insurance Corporation launch TripCARE

    Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and the PVI Insurance Corporation held a launch ceremony on October 11 in Hanoi for TripCARE Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

    TripCARE is being provided by the two corporations in cooperation with Chubb Vietnam Insurance and is for passengers of Vietnam Airlines buying tickets on its website for domestic flights or flights departing from Vietnam.

    It has a high level of coverage and comprehensive benefits. Personal accident benefits are VND1.6 billion ($70,400) and medical expenses up to VND1 billion ($44,000). In particular, newborns (aged from seven days to two years) traveling with TripCARE customers are insured for free.

    Mr. Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Deputy General Director of VNA, told the launch that its cooperation with PVI is one of the steps VNA is taking to understand the needs of customers, aiming to provide products, services, and packages when they purchase tickets. “It also affirms our continuous efforts to conduct safe flights with comprehensive services,” he added.

    Mr. Truong Quoc Lam, General Director of the PVI Insurance Corporation, said the launch of TripCARE marks the first time a Vietnamese insurer has successfully sold a travel insurance product through an airline’s e-commerce site. “The cooperation between two leading brands in Vietnam provides optimal support and safety on every journey for all passengers of Vietnam Airlines,” he said.

    VNA operates 90 routes with an average of 400 flights a day. It has a fleet of modern aircraft of various types, such as Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350-900 XWBs, Airbus A330s, and Airbus A321s.

    The PVI Insurance Corporation has developed a retail network nationwide, with 33 member units and 3,000 agents, and leads in the field of major industrial insurance such as aviation, energy, marine, and technical assets.

    Chubb is the world’s largest asset insurance corporation and is listed on the New York stock market. Chubb Vietnam Insurance provides premium and specialized insurance services in assets, marine, finance, energy, and health.

    Bao Viet shares experience in sustainable development goals

    Bao Viet shared its experience in deploying sustainable development goals at the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2017 (VCSF) on October 10.

    Deputy Director of Operations Management and Member of the Steering Committee for Sustainable Development at the Bao Viet Group, Mr. Tran Huy Trung, took part in a session on implementing initiatives for meeting sustainability development goals (SDGs).

    He spoke of how to approach and integrate SDGs into the strategic direction of business development and the implementation plan for SDGs in the value chain.

    He also made proposals and recommendations to the government and relevant agencies on contributing to the creation of an enabling environment for the achievement of the SDGs in Vietnam.

    “Sustainable development is one of the strategic objectives of Bao Viet, in both its business strategy and its practical activities,” he said. “Bao Viet wishes to contribute, with the government and related agencies, to bringing sustainable development into reality and at the same time spreading sustainable values among Vietnam’s business community.”

    Mr. Trung also presented the insurer’s experience in developing a Sustainable Development Report under the global reporting initiative (GRI) standard.

    Compliance with the GRI standard allowed Bao Viet to provide a holistic picture of its key issues and their implications and how they can be managed. Through the discussion of trends, reporting standards and experience sharing during the reporting period, Bao Viet and its partners came to agreement on important issues.

    As an active member of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) and as Vice Chairman of VBCSD from 2017 to 2020, Bao Viet is keen to deepen its involvement in VBCSD’s Executive Board, jointly develop action plans and new initiatives to support and promote sustainable business in Vietnam’s business community, and spread sustainable values to the community.

    Bao Viet recently received the Silver Award for its 2016 Integration Report and the Best Sustainability Report 2016 at the Annual Report Competition (ARC).

    It has also consistently done well in international Annual Report and Sustainable Development Report awards, receiving Top 18 Sustainability Reports Worldwide and four Platinum Awards for the Best Sustainability Report in the Insurance and Financial Services Industry.

    Bao Viet is also the first company in Asia to reach the highest position in both Asia’s Best Integrated Report and 2016 Best Sustainability Report of the Year from CSR Works International.

    South Korea likes Vietnamese squid and octopus

    South Korea continues to be the Number 1 importer of squid and octopus from Vietnam, accounting for 34 per cent of total exports, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

    As at August, the country had imported squid and octopus worth $136 million this year, for growth of around 40 per cent year-on-year.  

    The total value of squid and octopus exports in the first eight months of this year reached $402 million, up 55 per cent year-on-year. Fresh and frozen squid products accounted for the highest proportion, at over 39 per cent.

    Squid and octopus have maintained stable export growth, largely due to the flexibility of exporters in adjusting product structures and markets.

    Japan and China are also major importers of Vietnamese squid and octopus, with global production and a favorable exchange rate being factors behind Japan increasing its imports from Vietnam.

    It imported over $94 million worth of squid and octopus from Vietnam in the first eight months, an increase of 43 per cent year-on-year.  

    China recorded the highest growth in the first eight months, up 182 per cent year-on-year to $30 million.

    Vietnam has also become the largest provider of shrimp to South Korea, with a 49 per cent market share. The result comes one year after the free trade agreement between the two countries became effective.

    South Korea continues to be Vietnam’s largest source of imports, with a nine-month trade deficit of $23.3 billion, up nearly 58 per cent year-on-year, Mr. Nguyen Bich Lam, General Director of the General Statistics Office (GSO), told a press conference on September 29 announcing socioeconomic figures for the first nine months of the year.

    Samsung Pay available for Visa cardholders

    Samsung Vina and Visa, the world’s leading organization in digital payments, have announced that Samsung Pay is now available in Vietnam for Visa cardholders of Vietinbank, Citibank, and Shinhan Bank Vietnam.

    According to Visa, Samsung Pay could not be coming at a better time as Vietnamese consumers are well positioned to embrace the arrival of mobile payment technology.

    Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes Survey 2017 shows that 85 per cent of Vietnamese consumers have already made purchases using their mobile phones, driven by smartphone availability (40 per cent) and ease of use (37 per cent) compared to cash.

    “We’re excited to be providing Visa cardholders with access to Samsung Pay mobile payments in Vietnam,” said Mr. Sean Preston, Visa Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. “Given their strong appetite for new technology we’re confident Vietnamese consumers will embrace Samsung Pay as a faster and more convenient payment method.”

    A secure and easy-to-use mobile payment service, Samsung Pay can be used to make purchases almost anywhere that credit and debit cards are accepted. By incorporating Samsung’s proprietary Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology, together with Near Field Communication (NFC), Samsung Pay will be compatible with the majority of existing and new payment terminals.

    “We believe that Samsung Pay will add more value to our Galaxy ecosystem and bring consumers’ mobile experience to the next level,” said Mr. Nguyen Quang Hien Huy, Vice President and Head of IM Business at Samsung Vina. “We are also excited to be partnering with Visa, one of the world’s leaders in digital payments, on this project. The partnership reinforces our commitment to maximizing Vietnamese consumers’ satisfaction with a payment service that is simple, secure, and available almost everywhere.”

    Samsung Pay transactions are protected by multiple layers of security, including the Visa Token Service, a technology that replaces sensitive payment account information found on payment cards, such as the 16-digit account number and card expiration date, with a unique code that can be used to safely process payments. By using a token, it ensures actual card account details are not exposed during a mobile payment transaction.

    “While speed and ease of use are the major advantages of mobile payments over cash, payment security plays an equally crucial role in ensuing consumers feel confident when they reach for their mobile phones to pay,” Mr. Preston added. “This is where our Visa Token Service adds tremendous value to the mobile payments experience, by protecting consumers’ payment data during transactions.”

    KB Securities acquires 99.4% of MSI

    Maritime Securities Incorporated (MSI) has been renamed KB Securities Vietnam Co. after an extra-ordinary shareholders meeting on October 9 that saw important proposals approved to meet the needs of its new development strategy, including the election of new Board members and new Board supervisors, and additional legal representatives.

    On October 4, the State Securities Commission (SSC) approved MSI removing its foreign ownership limit altogether. South Korea’s KB Securities then acquired 29.82 million shares, or 99.4 per cent of MSI, on October 6 for $33.2 million.

    Three new Board members were unanimously elected: Mr. Cho Nam Hoon, Mr. Jun Sang Hoon, and Mr. Rho Seung Joon, replacing Mr. Nguyen Duc Hoan, Ms. Doan My Binh and Mr. Thai Anh Tuan.

    The new Supervisory Board now consists of Ms. Dinh Thi Lien Huong, Ms. Pham Thi Bich Thuy, and Mr. Oh Cheol Wu, who take over from Ms. Ha Thi Bich Hanh, Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Lan, and Ms. Bui Thi Bich Thao.

    KB Securities is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the KB Financial Group (KBFG), South Korea’s leading financial institution with the largest customer base and the most extensive branch network. The group wields solid capital prowess and enjoys strong brand loyalty. KBFG and key member companies such as KB Kookmin Bank, KB Securities, KB Insurance, KB Card, and KB Capital have 33 overseas networks in 13 countries across Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America.

    Born from a merger of KB Investment & Securities and Hyundai Securities in mid-2016, KB Securities has owner’s equity of $3.7 billion and enjoys strong support and synergy from KBFG to enable stable and sustainable growth.

    The deal to acquire MSI is part of the group’s plan to expand its operating network in Southeast Asia, including in Vietnam and Indonesia, and was advised by KOTRA, AWR Lloyd Consulting Limited, and Bae, Kim & Lee LLC.

    Cultural exchange attracts over 200 entrepreneurs

    More than 200 entrepreneurs from across the country participated in a cultural exchange in Hanoi, on October 11, which was held by the National Assembly’s Economic Committee and the Institute of Training and Economic Development (ITED) on the occasion of the Vietnam Entrepreneurs Day (October 13).

    During the event, themed “For a stable and prosperous finance-economy”, delegates and economic experts focused their discussions on a number of issues and put forward challenges and solutions to Vietnamese businessmen and industrialists in the current period of integration, industrialisation and modernisation, and in anticipation of the strong waves of the fourth Industrial Revolution throughout the world.

    In his speech, NA Vice Chairman Phung Quoc Hien praised the participating entrepreneurs and spoke highly of the NA’s Economic Committee and the ITED’s initiative to organise such a meaningful programme, which helps to encourage businesspersons and industrialists around the country to exert increased efforts and seize any opportunities for economic development, with the motto “Convergence – Enrichment - National Construction”.

    He called on the entrepreneurs to increase their investment in training highly skilled human resources in order to meet the requirements of the current situation; to accelerate the application of science and technology in production and business; to strengthen the competitiveness of products and brand building; to ensure the rights and health of consumers; to protect the environment; and to make meaningful contributions to social security activities.

    Interwoven into the exchange programme were several pieces of musical performances praising and honouring Vietnamese businesspeople, who are the pioneering soldiers in implementing the Party’s Doi Moi (Renewal) policy and are an important force in the country’s economic development cause.

    Under the framework of the programme, the organising committee presented a number of outstanding entrepreneurs with symbolic models of Vietnam’s national emblem. Delegates also offered incense to President Ho Chi Minh at the K9-Da Chong Historical Relic Site in Hanoi’s Son Tay town.

    Focusing on growth model innovation

    Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7.46% in the third quarter of 2017, compared to 6.28% growth rate in the second quarter, helping Vietnam’s overall economic output in the first nine months of the year to grow by 6.41%, meaning the growth rate in the fourth quarter must be at least 7.31% if Vietnam is to meet its full-year target of 6.7%.

    Contributing to the country’s overall economic growth of 6.41% in January-September was the processing and manufacturing industry – which posted a growth rate of 12.8%, the services sector 7.25%, and the agricultural sector 2.78%. International tourist arrivals in Vietnam in the nine months remained high with more than 9.4 million arrivals, a year-on-year rise of 28.4%. The tourism sector hopes to welcome a total of 13 million foreign visitors in 2017. January-September growth was also buoyed by exports, which climbed 19.8% compared to the same period last year (6.7%) to an estimated US$154 billion, exceeding the year’s target of 7%.

    In order to ensure high and sustainable economic growth, in the last quarter of 2017 as well as in the coming years, it is necessary to focus on growth model innovation with a gradual shift from breadth to further depth in economic development by restructuring all sectors and adopting technological advances in both industry and farming. As the total social investment in the last nine months increased by 12.1% over the same period in 2016, equal to 33.9% of GDP, the goal of reducing the dependence of economic growth on increasing investment capital is still difficult to realise, especially when the efficiency of investment remains slow with the incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) after nine months still about 5.3.

    The promotion of economic restructuring should be consistent with the new economic growth model. Although the structure of the economic sector in the past nine months has continued to shift, the pace has been slow. There are no real breakthroughs in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.

    The GDP growth in 2017 is positive. However, it is necessary to maintain macroeconomic stability as it is a prerequisite condition for fast and sustainable economic growth. Although inflation remains well controlled with average CPI growth of only 3.79% in the first nine months of 2017, some large balances of the economy remain unstable.

    Though State budget collection in January-September reached VND786.3 trillion, equal to 64.9% of the yearly estimate, total expenditure was VND851.5 trillion (61.2% of the yearly estimate), the State budget deficit was estimated at VND65.2 trillion - putting high pressure on the public debt limit. In addition, as of September 20, the credit growth rate reached 11.02% (the rate of the same period last year increased 10.46%) - higher than the growth rate of 9.59% of the total means of payment and the growth rate of 10.08% (the same period in 2016 increased by 12.02%). The capital mobilisation of credit institutions may have potential risks, especially in the context of high bad debt at commercial banks and the credit growth target for the whole year of 21-22%. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s export value till September of this year increased by nearly 10% to nearly US$120.7 billion while imports surged 16% to US$124.6 billion. This has pushed the trade deficit to US$3.9 billion.

    In order to ensure fast and sustainable economic growth, it is necessary to develop facilitative policies and mechanisms, and create a favourable business environment for enterprises to achieve the set target of 6.7% economic growth this year. In addition to the overall measures, focus should be placed on short and long-term sustainable solutions in order to take advantage of all opportunities and conditions to accelerate growth in 2017, while supporting sustainable development, enhanced competitiveness and innovative growth models. Long-term economic development solutions need to focus on reforming procedures, reducing expenditure and shortening the time for businesses. Breakthroughs are determined to drastically improve the business environment, create confidence and encourage enterprises to invest and expand their production and business operations. The focus is on the private sector, which still has untapped potential for development.

    Tollgate operator reports VND253.1 billion revenue in quarter three

    HCMC Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) has put its third quarter revenue from its build-operate-transfer (BOT) road toll stations at VND253.1 billion (US$11.1 million), a year-on-year rise of 23.5%.

    If revenue from other tollgates is included, the total in the first quarter would rise to around VND702 billion (US$30.8 million), up 17.5% against the same period last year.

    Accumulated revenue from Ca Na tollgate grew 79.1%, the highest growth rate compared to others under CII, helped by a toll fee increase in Ninh Thuan 2 road project since April this year.

    In the year to September, the company had seen its accumulated revenue rising 6.9% year-on-year.

    More investors have shown interest in infrastructure projects since the Government adopted new investment policy which favors public-private partnership, according to the company. However, CII noted, the number of financially viable projects is small, resulting in fierce competition among companies.

    CII has been investing heavily in large-scale projects, and even purchasing some of the projects which have been already up and running since 2016.

    The HCMC-based infrastructure developer is expected to need an estimated VND3.4 trillion (US$149.6 million) in the next three or four years to finance its road and real estate projects.

    CII is known for major infrastructure projects such as Saigon 2 Bridge and the expanded Hanoi Highway in HCMC. It is drawing up a plan to build an elevated road from the city center in District 1 to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Tan Binh District. 

    Interest rates may dip further in Q4

    Interest rates could fall in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC) report on Vietnam’s economic and financial performance in the first nine months.

    The Dollar Index, low inflation, good G-bonds sales, high credit growth and bad debt settlements are the key factors which can send interest rates down, according to Tuoi Tre Online newspaper.

    Inflation might be curbed at below 4%. Government bond sales have also met over 80% of the full-year plan and the current bond yield is 1-1.5% lower than in the beginning of 2017.

    Bad debts are being settled in line with the National Assembly’s Resolution 42. Data of NFSC shows that as of late September, loans had increased 11.5% compared to late 2016.

    Medium and long-term loans continued to drop and accounted for 54% of the total.

    Real estate investment and construction loans fell slightly from 17.1% in December 2016 to 16.8% in late September 2017. Particularly, construction loans accounted for 10.3% while real estate credit made up 6.5% of the total.

    The proportion of loans for household production rose sharply from 11.2% in late 2016 to 15.7% in late September 2017.

    Loans for agro-forestry-fisheries and retail declined.

    According to NFSC, capital mobilization in January-September grew 1.2% compared to late 2016. As of September, the average Vietnam dong deposit rate edged down 0.03-0.05% per year compared to late June 2017 and remained unchanged from early 2017.

    Loan interest rates fell slightly, especially for priority sectors. Interest rates inched down 0.5-1% per year for priority sectors and 4-5% per year for prestigious clients.

    Enterprises need flexibility to handle PR crises

     Vietnamese businesses should be flexible when they have to cope with public relations (PR) crises, said Duong Thu Huong, PR director of IDG Ventures Vietnam and CEO of Interactive Co Ltd, Forbes Vietnam.

    Speaking at a seminar on experiences in solving PR crises jointly held by the Saigon Times Group and the 2030 Businessmen Club on October 10, Huong and other participating business executives agreed that social media crises could occur anytime due to a variety of reasons.

    TTT Corporation general director Le Tri Thong said one crisis is different from another, so solutions to each crisis are only workable in that particular event.

    There are 14 principles for dealing with PR crises, of which 13 are often resorted to by businesses worldwide. In a developing country like Vietnam whose legal system is insufficient, so the 14th principle of flexibility is equally important.

    Enterprises should immediately admit mistakes, sincerely apologize to customers, and let the full story known publicly before the press or rivals break the news.

    Another principle is that companies caught in PR crises must listen to all sides, including rivals, partners, agencies and media, especially social networks, to develop sound coping strategies.

    It is crucial to prepare contingency plans for staff to contribute to mitigating damage. Large corporations may have special teams dedicated to managing communication crises. Communication crises may cost companies material and human assets, so they should practice prudence. Enterprises must avoid reckless words and actions.

    Huong said many big firms in the world would not choose to hold press conferences to discuss their mistakes as they might not give goods responses to all the tough questions asked, which would make matters worse.

    Companies should employ consultants, experts or lawyers to help them sort out problems and solve them.

    Corporate culture and leadership’s prestige will help keep the public confidence intact. Therefore, it is essential to develop corporate culture as soon as the company is established.

    Businesses should stand ready to deal with any crises.

    Ha Xuan Anh, chairman of Son Viet Garment JSC, said his company will handle PR crises with a strong sense of responsibility and sincerity.

    Many businesses have become more mature since they went through PR crises, Huong added.

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


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  • 10/13/17--01:48: Article 2
  • Convenience store chains expanding at fast rate


    Convenience stores and mini supermarkets have been witnessing a growth rate of 200 percent in the last three years.


     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, zara, store chain, Vinmart 

    The stores have been expanding with two models. The first is the chain which mainly sells articles of daily necessity. Circle K, FamilyMart and Ministop belong to this group. The second is the hybrid between single-price shops which were once very popular, and convenience stores, such as Miniso, Ilahui and Mumuso.

    After one year, Ilahui is leading the chains in terms of network scale with 31 shops, followed by Miniso with 24 shops and Musumo with 13.

    The brands all stated that they will increase the number of sale points by 10 times in 1-2 years. Bui Ngoc Quynh Giao, CEO of Ilahui, said that to be able to bring a brand to Vietnam, master franchisees have to commit to open 20-30 shops a year with the minimum cost of $100,000-200,000 for each shop.

    Convenience store chains try to expand as soon as possible because this can cement their positions in the market. 

    Convenience stores and mini supermarkets have been witnessing a growth rate of 200 percent in the last three years.

    Vietnam is ranked sixth globally in retail market development by A.T Kearney, up by 5 notches compared with last year’s ranking. Convenience store and mini supermarkets are the two fastest developing segments.

    The number of product items available at convenience stores is high, about 4,000-10,000 which have prices in certain ranges. Household goods, teddy bears, travel accessories and cosmetics are the best sellers.

    At Miniso, products need to have new design to attract youth. Most products available have the selling prices at low and medium levels.

    Miniso Vietnam’s director Duong Thanh Tam said 600 partners make products for Miniso, and the chain does not make transactions through intermediaries. It does so to to get the best price and pursue the principle that it won’t raise the selling price.

    A report shows that the growth rate of convenience stores and mini supermarkets in Vietnam was 200 percent in the last three years, while the number of groceries decreased from 62 percent to 52 percent.

    There are 1,600 convenience stores, according to Nielsen, while convenience store chains will continue expanding rapidly because the population is young and Vietnamese are changing their shopping habits.

    An analyst noted that while in other countries, retail brands are mostly at shopping centers, in Vietnam they scramble for locations near residential quarters, office buildings and schools because most consumers ride motorbikes and want to buy things at the shops on streets.

    Giao said it took Ilahui eight months to prepare for the opening of the first shop as it was difficult to find retail premises to rent.
     

    Thanh Mai, VNN


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