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  • 12/14/17--23:36: Article 1
  • Thai Binh proposes $172m coastal road


    ThaiBinhProvince People's Committee has proposed a VND3.9trn (USD172m) public-private partnership coastal road project to the Ministry of Transport.


    Thai Binh proposes $172m coastal road, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news 
    The provincial chairman Nguyen Hong Dien proposed the project to the Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The at a meeting about developing Thai Binh's infrastructure on December 13. Dien said they had completed the feasibility study for the project.

    VND1.1trn (USD48.84m) will come from the state budget, VND1.18trn from the province's budget and the investor will contribute VND1.7trn.

    Dien emphasised the importance of the road as it will help connect Thai Binh with Cat Bi Airport in HaiPhongCity and Mong Cai Border Gate in Quang Ninh. He said that only this project would deliver the definite boost to Thai Binh's socio-economic development.

    "We hope the ministry will agree and submit the project for prime ministerial approval," he said.

    The agreed that the road would become an important route running through various provinces and cities such as Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa. However, there are many shortcomings in the financial plan.

    "In the planning, there are only two lanes. The road will only have a capacity of 14,000 PCUs vehicles a day, not 25,000 vehicles as the consultant estimated," he said.

    Moreover, mistakes in calculation make the financial report looks impossible and the project will not be able to recoup the capital. He asked the Department of Public-Private Partnerships to work with Thai Binh authorities to revise the financial plan.

    Dtinews


    0 0
  • 12/14/17--23:48: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 15/12


    Measures sought to increase added value of coffee


     Measures sought to increase added value of coffee, Forum connects Vietnamese startups in US and VN, Vietnamese goods enjoy promotion gains, 33 percent of farming cooperatives efficiently operate: Ministry

    Measures were sought to promote coffee processing to enhance coffee export value to 6 billion USD by 2030 at a workshop in Da Lat city, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on December 9.

    The event was organised by the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (VICOFA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    Addressing the event, MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong underlined the development of the coffee sector.

    Vietnam made up less than one percent of the world’s coffee output 30 years ago. In 2016, Vietnam became the world’s second biggest coffee producer, with 645,000 hectares producing 1.6 million tonnes of beans. 

    The sector earned 3.4 billion USD in export value and provided jobs for some 600,000 people in the year.

    Coffee plants have made significant contribution to the nation’s development and the wellbeing of Vietnamese farmers, Cuong said.

    By 2030, Vietnam aims to reduce coffee growing area in places with unfavourable conditions while focusing on processing and stakeholder connections to raise added value, said Cuong.

    He also noted the potential for Vietnam’s coffee sector, elaborating that the world’s coffee market is valued at 500 billion USD while Vietnam’s exports are worth only 3.4 billion USD.

    With a population of nearly 100 million people, 65 percent of them young and with a fast urbanisation rate, the domestic market also offers huge potential for the sector, he added.

    At the event, participants suggested old coffee trees be replaced with high-yield ones to raise productivity while investing more in coffee processing.

    The event forms part of activities during the Vietnam Coffee Day, the first of its kind, taking place in Da Lat city from December 9-11.

    Dong Thap to host investment meet     

    The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap will next week organise an investment promotion conference in CaoLanhCity to call for investment into 33 projects in the province.

    These projects involve hi-tech agriculture, processing industry, urban development, industrial park infrastructure and manufacturing, in addition to tourism, trade and services.

    Speaking at a press conference held on Saturday in HCMCity to announce the event, Nguyen Thanh Hung, vice chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said Dong Thap had recently become an attractive investment destination for many investors due to investment incentives and long-term commitments from authorities in facilitating investors.

    “Dong Thap will continue to create the most favourable conditions for investors with a focus on bettering its investment and business climate, perfecting infrastructure construction, reducing administrative procedures and improving personnel resources,” he said.

    Dong Thap is among the most dynamic economic provinces in the Mekong Delta with great advantages in natural resources and geographical position, he added.

    It contributes to the nation’s rice production and produces many other agro-forestry-fishery products for export every year, he said. “The business environment in the province has also improved recently.”

    According to Hung, the province’s economy will continue to achieve a high growth rate in the future, fuelled by the rapid improvement of transport, electronics, low labour costs and abundant food sources.

    In order to attract more foreign investment, experts suggested that the province should continue to invest in infrastructure development and reduce logistics fees.

    Truong Hoa Chau, director of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment, said 21 projects would be granted investment certificates and 16 Memorandum of Understandings worth VND23.9 trillion (US$1.05 billion) will be signed during the conference. 

    “The conference aims to promote the potential and opportunities for local and foreign investment in hi-tech agriculture, processing industry, trading, services and tourism,” he said.

    The conference will also promote exchanges between investors and international organisations and promote co-operation among local and foreign enterprises, he said.

    Many businesses said the traffic between HCMCity and Mekong Delta, especially to Dong Thap, has been improved significantly.

    Nguyen Van Tien, the director of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said most enterprises were interested in the potential and advantages of DongThapProvince in agriculture, ecotourism and traditional craft villages.

    “We are optimistic that investors in Dong Thap’s agriculture sector will take the lead in restructuring the sector, making it a prosperous province,” he said.

    In addition to the investment promotion conference, a forum on developing international markets for Viet Nam’s fruit and vegetables sector will also be held in Cao Lanh city.

    The forum aims to promote the potential of the fruit and vegetable sector in Viet Nam, thus calling for investment in the value chain for the sector.

    Dong Thap in Mekong Delta is about 160km southwest of HCMCity. It takes more than three hours by car from the city to the province.

    With its mild climate, widespread irrigation systems and abundant fresh water and fertile sediment, the province owns an abundant agriculture resource. It conserves diverse ecosystems of many precious species of fauna and flora.

    Having a number of historical sites, ancient architecture monuments and traditional craft villages, the province has great potential to become a popular tourist destination in the region. 

    Forum connects Vietnamese startups in US and VN     

    A forum connecting Vietnamese startups in the United States and Viet Nam, themed “Lessons from Silicon Valley: Viet Nam’s path to startup success,” was organised in San FranciscoCity on Saturday.

    Speaking at the event, vice chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese (SCOV) Luong Thanh Nghi stressed that innovative startup is a growing trend, and many Vietnamese-invested enterprises in the United States have gained success.

    However, to reap more benefits, these enterprises need closer connectivity and coordination, Nghi suggested.

    The SCOV wants to build a network of Vietnamese startups in the United States and Viet Nam, he said, adding that a similar forum will be held in HCMCity in January 2018 to foster links among startups both in and outside Viet Nam.

    Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said the forum is a valuable opportunity for enterprises from the city and the US to exchange business co-operation and investment opportunities.

    HCMCity wants to learn from experiences of startup enterprises in the US to implement appropriate measures to speed up the startup movement in the city, he said.

    Nhan told participants that the municipal authorities recently announced a project to turn HCMCity into a smart city.

    Therefore, there are more investment opportunities in the city for foreign businesses, including those invested by Vietnamese in the US.

    At the forum, representatives from successful Vietnamese startups in the US shared their experiences and lessons on investment, business strategies and how to select development orientations. 

    Vietnamese goods enjoy promotion gains

    A programme launched by Ho Chi Minh City has proved to be effective in promoting local-made products and supporting domestic businesses to develop brands and improve their production.

    The “Supply-demand connection programme” has been implemented by the HCMCity authorities for six years in response to the campaign “Vietnamese use Vietnamese products” that was launched eight years ago.

    According to the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, the programme has proved a practical policy with a total of 1,761 contracts signed so far.

    In 2016 alone, the programme helped the consumption of 80,000 tonnes of lychee in the southern region and 10,000 pigs in HCMCity, as well as assessing the quality of fishery products and assisting the Central region’s fishermen to consume seafood products.

    Speaking at a conference on December 9, Deputy Minister of industry and trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said that the ministry encourages local authorities to organise activities that promote domestic trade and enhance the consumption of domestic-made products so that local businesses, households and localities are able to access the market.

    “One hundred percent of products that have been exchanged through the programme are Vietnamese,” Vuong said.

    “This is truly an effective promotional channel that can help Vietnamese products access both domestic and foreign markets and complies with the campaign ‘Vietnamese use Vietnamese products’,” he said.

    “We have paid more attention to the quality and safety standards of the products so that they are least harmful for consumers’ health amid the mass use of toxic and chemical substances in agricultural and fishery production.”

    The programme has created a supply chain that provides safe agricultural and fishery products for Vietnamese people and protects producers that meet the global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Vietnam’s food safety requirements, he said, adding that this is a way that could lead to sustainable agriculture production.

    “The ministry is fully supportive and willing to work with local authorities and businesses to promote products in the country and prepare for the coming Tet holidays in HCMCity and other provinces and cities,” Vuong said.

    The deputy minister also asked the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade and local businesses to prepare sufficient supply of products at reasonable price levels for the Tet holidays. In addition, the city needs to combine the programme with other trade promotion campaigns to expand the market and further develop local brands.

    He also stressed that the local authorities must further inspect, monitor and supervise the market regarding the quality of goods and services, food safety and prices for the year-end and Tet periods.

    In response, Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thanh Kien said the city will further develop safe food supply chains, track down product origins (from production to distribution) and help localities develop their own brands and reputations so that their products are widely recognised in both domestic and overseas markets.     

    USG Boral increases investment in Vietnam

    USG Boral, a Malaysia-based plasterboards manufacturer, has announced its 20-million USD investment in a plant at Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City, to expand its production in Vietnam

    The plant will support USG Boral’s commitment to meeting the Vietnamese market’s growing demand for high-quality plasterboards.

    The company’s production capacity for plasterboard is currently at 30 million sq.m. The new facility is set to increase production capacity by 17 million sq.m and is targeted to reach a total capacity of 47 million sq.m when it commences operations in September 2019. 

    “We have witnessed a strong growth from this region, so our decision to invest in the plant is a strategic one. This expansion will see USG Boral utilising our latest Sheetrock technology to provide superior-building solutions for Vietnam’s market,” said CEO of USG, Boral Frederic de Rougemont.

    USG Boral began operations in Vietnam in 2005 and it is the first foreign company with plasterboard manufacturing facilities in the country.

    Located in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone, USG Boral’s factory supplies an extensive selection of gypsum board ceiling and wall solutions for modern interior applications in Vietnam.

    33 percent of farming cooperatives efficiently operate: Ministry

    About 33 percent of agricultural cooperatives in Vietnam operate efficiently, mostly in horticulture, animal husbandry and aquaculture, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The effective cooperatives have developed on a scale suitable to their specialities and engaged in safe and high-tech farming production. They have also created links with other agribusinesses and organisations to expand production and distribution channels.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has developed high-tech farming cooperatives and linked them with agribusiness in tea, coffee, pepper, rice and shrimp in each of Vietnam’s regions.

    The ministry has also selected 156 cooperatives and 19 cooperative groups to take part in a Government programme to pilot and multiply new-style cooperative models in the Mekong Delta from 2016-2020.

    It is also formulating a new scheme to develop 15,000 effective cooperatives and cooperative unions by 2020.

    By the end of 2016, the country had 21 agricultural cooperative unions and more than 10,700 farming cooperatives with nearly 4 million members. Each cooperative has 367 members in average.

    E-tax payment service to be expanded

    The General Department of Taxation has announced it has finished refining the pilot online-based tax payment service (E-Tax) for enterprises. 

    The service will be made available in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Phu Tho from December 11, 2017 – March 10, 2018, enabling firms to access all taxation services in a single system. 

    Large-scale businesses will be able to open accounts for other positions such as directors and chief accountants apart from main accounts to flexibly monitor their responsibilities. 

    Users will be able to search their tax payment history, tax obligations and notifications about taxation status.

    Once the E-tax portal is put into use, firms are being advised to stop using the old tax filing and payment system. 

    The department also sent guidelines about the new system to tax payers.

    South Korea seeks to kick off ‘Miracle on Red River

    The  Global HR Forum 2017, initiated by South Korea, will be kicked off in Vietnam for the first time this week, promising to bring the ‘Miracle on the Han River’ to Vietnam in order to help the country boost the quality of its workforce. 

    The two-day event is expected to attract Vietnamese government officials, South Korean government officials, businesses, startups, and university representatives. It will focus on human resource exchanges and training between Vietnam and South Korea in the age of Industry 4.0.

    Around 30 opinion leaders, including experts and scholars, will participate in the “Miracle on the Han River to Miracle on the Red River” talks. The forum aims to convey the various strategies that South Korea has successfully implemented in human resource development.

    The forum has the goal of spreading global prosperity through collective human intelligence and human resource development. It is a good opportunity for Vietnam to approach the ‘Miracle on the Han River’, allowing the country to learn from South Korea’s experience in tapping into local potentials to develop the economy.

    With the Global HR Forum in Vietnam 2017, both nations will have a new educational platform that enables in-depth discussion of policy development for cultivating human resources and exchanges.

    Jointly organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea, and the Korea Economic Daily, the event marks the 25th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between South Korea and Vietnam.

    According to The Economist, if Vietnam keeps its current growth momentum, it is likely to become an ‘Asian tiger’ over the course of the next 10 years, following the examples set by South Korea and Taiwan

    With a young population, political stability, vast untapped potential, a rising middle class, and a favourable location, Vietnam has become attractive to international investors. In recent years, especially since late 2016, Vietnam has welcomed new investment waves from South Korea, Sweden and Hong Kong.

    However, amid deep global integration, as a number of free trade agreements are signed and take effect, the country needs to improve its human resources’ quality or it will remain an outsourcing nation for international groups.

    South Korea is a typical example for strong growth based on human resources. The country, also deeply affected by past wars, has become a strong economy in Asia beginning in the 1990s, thanks to the rapid economic advancements of the ‘Miracle on the Han River’.

    French Week at Big C kicks off

    An event call French Week at Big C began at the supermarket chain’s outlets around the country on December 10 as part of the French Month in Vietnam.

    During the week, consumers will have the chance to experience French products such as wine, traditional breads, hams, butter, cheese, beef and cosmetics.

    Big C is offering a discount of 20 percent on overage on all French products besides attractive gifts like a shopping bag and hat.

    Organised by Central Group Vietnam and the supermarket chain, the event will run until December 17.

    Fertilizer exports see strong growth

    From a fertilizer importer, Vietnam has become an exporter of the product, with 892,000 tonnes shipped abroad in 11 months of this year for 277 million USD, a year on year increase of 34.5 percent in volume and 43 percent in value. 

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, major markets of Vietnam’s fertiliser in the first 10 months of this year were Cambodia, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea. Cambodia was the leading market that bought 69.5 percent of Vietnam’s total fertilizer for export, or 328,600 tonnes worth 104.9 million USD, up 53.87 percent in volume and 54.7 percent in value compared to 2016.

    Meanwhile, Malaysia imported 122,500 tonnes, and the Republic of Korea bought 55,900 tonnes, up 105.42 percent and 57.72 percent respectively.

    Other markets of Vietnamese fertilizer included Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Angola.

    Despite the strong growth in export, Vietnam still spends hundreds of millions of USD to import fertilizer.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that Vietnam imported 4.27 million tonnes of the product in 11 months at the cost of 1.14 billion USD, up 15.5 percent in volume and 13.3 percent in value year on year.

    China is the biggest source of 39.9 percent of total fertilizer shipped to Vietnam with 1.5 million tonnes worth 392.1 million USD. The second largest fertilizer provider of Vietnam was Russia with 454,700 tonnes, followed by Belarus with 230,800 tonnes.

    Other fertilizer exporters to Vietnam are Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines

    Explaining the rise in fertilizer import, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vice President of the Fertilizer Association of Vietnam and CEO of the Petro Vietnam Ca Mau Fertilizer JSC said that not all fertilizers Vietnam bought were use for domestic use, but for NPK fertilizer production or exporting to Cambodia.

    ANZ upbeat about Vietnam's prospects

    Robust credit growth will help the Vietnamese economy achieve its growth target this year, while export is likely to remain strong and more foreign capital will flow into utilities, says Australia & New Zealand Bank Group.

    ANZ has just released its latest report on Vietnam, which paints a rosy outlook for the economy. The bank raised its forecast for Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2017 from 6.5 to 6.7 per cent, and believed that the figure can be higher in the coming years. This climb will secure Vietnam’s position as the second fastest-growing economy in the world only behind China.

    ANZ economist Eugenia Victorino attributed this growth to strong exports boosted by trade deals, good credit growth, and steady inflows of foreign capital. Inflation is likely to remain manageable at 3.5 per cent and interest rates are expected to stay at 6.25 per cent in 2018.

    The economist then highlighted that foreign investment into Vietnam has shifted in recent years, as 42.3 per cent of the capital is now flowing into utilities. Manufacturing, which used to attract 70 per cent of inbound capital, now accounted for only 31.7 per cent. According to ANZ, foreign investors have realised that they need to have a strong infrastructure backbone to support manufacturing activities in Vietnam, resulting in the recent surge in utilities investments.

    “Foreign manufacturers have experienced a lack of power and other infrastructure issues in Vietnam, so it is a sustainable option to invest in utilities now. This is good for Vietnam in the long term,” said Victorino.

    Since January, Vietnam has attracted $16.3 billion of new FDI capital.

    The ANZ economist added that Vietnam’s young workforce, most of whom have completed basic education, has traditionally been the main driver for foreign capital into manufacturing. However, if Vietnam wants to move up the global value chain, it needs a stronger workforce with a higher level of education and more sophisticated skills.

    Regarding exports, ANZ data showed that Vietnam’s export composition is transforming, with a boom in electronics and phones and declining crude oil and aquaculture products. Victorino noted that Vietnamese exports may encounter short-term deficit if the country wishes to diversify its export offers.

    “The US, Vietnam’s largest export market, has expressed its dislike for countries that manipulate their currencies to gain a competitive edge in export. This is a balancing act for Vietnam if it wants to weaken the VND next year,” said the economist.

    When it comes to Vietnam’s chronic problem of bad debt, ANZ believes that this is a structural issue that will persist in the next few years. Contrary to popular opinions that non-performing loans should be solved as quickly as possible, the bank argued that too fast a cleanup can be disruptive to the economy.

    CEO of ANZ Vietnam Dennis Hussey added that he has seen significant progress in solving bad debts in Vietnam, especially with the recent revised Law on Credit Institutions.

    “The upcoming Basel II will also force discipline in the banking sector, pushing banks to raise capital, strengthen their risk management progress, and manage bad debts,” said Hussey.

    Car sales fall in January-November period     

    Car sales from January to November this year fell 10 per cent year on year to 244,670 units, despite a pick-up in November.

    For November alone, sales of cars of all kinds went up 13 per cent on a monthly basis, after months of declining, to 24,752 units.

    Industry experts said the domestic auto industry is unlikely to achieve the 10 per cent growth forecast by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

    The likely failure comes despite car businesses running year-end sales, cutting prices of cars from few dozens to hundreds of millions of dong.

    Many consumers are still waiting for steeper price cuts from January 2018, as tariffs on completely built-up cars imported from ASEAN nations will fall to zero under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

    Automobile sales in 2016 hit a record high in 20 years, with 304,427 units sold. 

    Workshop promotes VN-S Korea robotics co-operation     

    The nascent robot industry in Viet Nam is poised for rapid growth in the coming two decades, Vietnamese and Korean experts in the field say.

    This growth, taking place during the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), will depend heavily on artificial intelligence and automation, Nguyen Quan, Chairman of the Viẹt Nam Automation Association (VAA) and former Minister of Science and Technology, said at a December 8 workshop held in the capital city.

    The workshop, jointly organised by VAA and the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), focused on the potentials, advantages and opportunities for co-operation in Viet Nam’s growing robot industry.

    Lee Hyuk, South Korean Ambassador to Viet Nam, hoped Vietnamese enterprises would co-operate with Korean businesses in the robot industry, and that the Vietnamese Government would facilitate mutual investment and business co-operation in the fireld.

    Quan noted that VAA has selected South Korean companies as strategic partners in developing the national robot industry because not only was South Korea one of the largest foreign investors in Viet Nam, but also a leading industrial country in the world.

    Moreover, South Korean corporations investing in Viet Nam are interested in transferring technology to local research and development centres, he said.

    Ta Cao Minh, VAA Vice President and General Secretary, said that industrial robots and hi-tech automation have been prioritised in 2011-2020 national strategy for science and technology development.

    The VAA looked forward to more co-operation opportunities with their South Korean partners, he added.

    Minh said the use of robots was growing in Viet Nam, especially in automobile assembly lines, such as the South Korea- invested KIA assembly line or the Mazda line set up by local automaker Truong Hai, which gets up to 50 per cent of work done by robots.

    On the Thanh Cong Honda assembly line, 80 per cent of the work is done by robots, he said.

    Minh also pointed to the success of TOSY Robotics Jsc, established in 2004, which is currently providing a large number of toy robots developing more complex robots catering to industrial needs.

    Kim Young-sun, Secretary General of AKC, noted at the workshop that the Vietnamese government’s active role in developing science and technology to foster active participation in the global supply chains was evident, particularly in attracting foreign investment for industries geared towards industrialization and modernisation.

    The workshop was part of the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (KIRIA)’s Investment and Market Research Mission to Viet Nam.

    It gave local businesses the opportunity to interact and exchange information with more than 12 major manufacturers in the South Korean robotics industry. 

    Vietnam Airlines’ member ranks second in global network     

    Vietnam Airport Ground Services Company Limited (VIAGS) at TanSonNhatInternationalAirport, subsidiary of national carrier Vietnam Airlines, was ranked by Taiwanese five-star airline Eva Air as the second best passenger service in the global airline network.

    Bui Duc Thanh, director of VIAGS Tan Son Nhat, said the company was placed third on Eva Air’s ranking for its service quality last year. Its jump to second position out of 55 airports worldwide this year has proven the company’s efforts and determination in providing services which exceed customers’ expectations.

    Speaking at the award ceremony on Thursday, Allen Chou, chief representative of Eva Air at TanSonNhatInternationalAirport, said his firm would like to thank VIAGS Tan Son Nhat for its continuous improvement of service quality provided for Eva Air to meet more stringent demands of passengers.

    Prior to this, AirMacau honoured VIAGS Da Nang in central Da Nang City and VIAGS Noi Bai in Ha Noi City as the second and the third best ground service providers in the global airline network in 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, VIAGS has received 16 awards for its service quality by prestigious airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, and Cathay Pacific.

    Currently, VIAGS serves nearly 600 commercial flights, more than 90,000 passengers and some 3,300 tonnes of goods per day to Noi Bai, Da Nang and Tan Son Nhat international airports. Its on-time performance stands at 99.96 per cent, far above its commitment.

    During the summer peak season, VIAGS deploys some 5,000 employers to its service chain across the north, central and south of Viet Nam to serve nearly 70 airlines, accounting for 58 per cent of Viet Nam’s ground service market share. In particular, at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in November, VIAGS provided service for 47 special aircraft to and from 17 countries and territories, including Russia, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

    In 2017, VIAGS workers found and handed back to passengers 12,800 pieces of lost property, a year-on-year increase of 17.2 per cent, together with VND12 billion in cash, up 55 per cent compared to 2016.

    The numerous titles from prestigious world airlines marks an end to a successful year of operation for VIAGS and confirms the four-star service ranking that Vietnam Airlines has secured for the second consecutive year.

    Established at early 2016, VIAGS is the first business model in Viet Nam specialising in synchronous ground services for airports, meeting international standards at the country’s three major airports -- Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat and Da Nang.

    The company has completed the first phase of evaluation for ISAGO ED5, a standard on safety auditing for ground operations of the International Air Transport Association. 

    Food management a top concern     

    Despite natural disasters and market regression, in the past 11 months, Viet Nam’s total agriculture, forestry and aquaculture export turnover hit US$33.14 billion, though food management still has room for improvement.

    Vietnamese agricultural products have been exported to 180 countries and territories, with 2016’s export value $32 billion and the figure set to hit $36 billion this year, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong at the International Support Group (ISG) Plenary Meeting 2017 yesterday.

    The event focused on discussing Viet Nam’s participation in the global agri-food value chain, food safety and agricultural consumption.

    Nonetheless, Cuong said that despite being an agricultural exporting “powerhouse”, 90 per cent of Viet Nam’s products are exported in raw form or of lower quality and value than other countries’ products.

    The figures are a record high, with many seafood and green products achieving unprecedented export value of more than $1 billion, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) at the meeting.

    Moreover, an alarming portion of Vietnamese agricultural goods are sold abroad without proper branding, or under foreign brands. This disadvantage affects the nation’s status in the global agricultural value chain, he claimed.

    At the meeting, World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam, Ousmane Dione, stated that the country still lacks food safety standards and proper testing.

    For Viet Nam’s agricultural products with higher value on the global chain such as coffee, pepper, seafood or fruit, food safety is a big challenge that can be overcome with technological advance and heavier public investment, said Dione.

    He suggested the agricultural industry shift its focus from production processes to harvesting, slaughtering, storage and distribution, in hope of generating higher value added products, more jobs and higher income.

    According to Cuong, the agricultural sector’s restructuring for 2017-2020 will emphasise boosting productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness, linking raw material production with consumption along the value chain.

    As well as small production scale, the country’s agriculture sector faces issues such as inadequate use of resources and a lack of science and technology application with only about 25 to 30 per cent of firms employing modern processing lines, reports from the MARD show.

    Viet Nam’s food safety management laws often overlap, making solutions difficult to implement, along with limitations on infrastructure, resources and investment, said the MARD reports.

    Cuong said the MARD’s intention is to expand distribution channels for both domestic and international markets to create strong national brands.

    He stated that the goal of large-scale agricultural and rural production requires efforts from the private sector, research institutions, policymakers and public services. 

    Vietnam Business Forum convenes year-end session

    The 2017 year-end session of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) opened in Hanoi on December 12.

    The event, an annual dialogue between the Government and business community, was co-organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and VBF Consortium.

    Opening the forum, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said 2017 marks significant moves by the Government in building a favourable business climate, citing the issuance of Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP on enhancing business environment and national competitiveness, and Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting growth of enterprises toward 2020.

    The year was earmarked for the implementation of business-cost-cutting measures, he said. According to the official, dialogues between authorities at different levels and enterprises were frequently held throughout the year, with public agencies and sector working to simplify administrative procedures and facilitate business operations.

    In the first 11 months of 2017, 116,000 new firms were established, registering over 1 million billion VND (44 billion USD) in capital, up 14.1 percent and 42 percent from last year, respectively. Meanwhile, 24,000 companies resumed their business during the period.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc pointed to existing difficulties and to the numbers of 11,000 dissolved firms and of 55,000 others suspending operation during the 11-month period. The figures represented respective annual increases of 3.3 and 3 percent, he said.

    Administrative procedures were still a big obstacle to business performance. A VCCI report on the 2016 provincial competitiveness index showed that 35 percent of the surveyed companies spent at least 10 percent of their time to handle these procedures, which one every four of them considered the biggest difficulty to their operations.

    Loc suggested the Government, public agencies and sectors focus on completing the list of conditional business sectors, simplifying the procedure of specialized inspection, and cutting costs for businesses.

    Hirohide Sagara, Co-Chairman of VBF Consortium's Management Board, acknowledged economic progress Vietnam achieved after joining the WTO in foreign investment attraction, living standards improvement, and market economy building.

    At the same time, he said concerns remain related to the apparatus’ transparency, efficiency, and labour productivity, he said, adding that the VBF year-end session aims at tackling these concerns for better growth of the private sector in Vietnam.

    Draft third protocol amending ACIA gets approval

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has just signed a Government’s resolution approving the draft of the third Protocol amending the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA).

    The Vietnamese Government on July 31 approved the draft of the second Protocol amending the ACIA.

    The ACIA was reached on February 2009 and took effect on March 29, 2012, aiming to promote investment liberalisation within ASEAN and lay the foundation for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

    EVN reports 8-percent rise in 11-month electricity output

    The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said its total electricity output in January-November increased by 8.16 percent year on year to reach 181.35 billion kWh.

    The amount of commercial electricity output in the period was estimated at 159.9 billion kWh, up 9.18 percent year on year, including 14.79 billion kWh in November. 

    The group imported 16.46 billion kWh in the 11-month period.

    According to the group, an estimated 13.5 billion kWh was transmitted from the centre to the north and the south in November, accounting for 23.4 percent of the region’s power demand.

    EVN forecasts that the daily power consumption in December is estimated at 547 million kWh, affirming that the group will ensure full and stable supply for customers.

    The group plans to increase water storage in hydropower reservoirs to prepare for the dry season in 2018, while coordinating the operation of gas- and coal-fuelled power plants to efficiently exploit both thermal and hydropower sources.

    Vietjet honoured as most popular airline

    Low-cost carrier Vietjet was honoured as the most popular airline at a ceremony held last week in the capital city of Hanoi.

    This is the second consecutive year that the airline has received the award, handed out by the Vietnam Economic Times.

    Over the past years, Vietjet has not only offered travel opportunities to tens of millions of passengers with reasonable prices, but also had the bigger target of crating new value for the community.

    With 73 international and domestic routes, Vietjet has brought its passengers to many new destinations all over the world, advancing the “Consumer Airline” model to serve all customers’ needs.

    The “Trust and Use Awards 2017” aims to recognize enterprises with the top quality products and services which are trusted and used by consumers.

    It nominates products and services in seven fields: finance-banking-insurance, food and retail, fashion-cosmetics-beauty services, household appliances-interior décor, pharmaceuticals and health care equipment, tourism-resorts-real estate and telecommunications-technology.

    The results were based on consumer votes in several criteria, including product quality, safety, clean and energy-saving manufacturing, brand prestige and others.

    Vietnam Business Forum looks to boost private sector growth

    The year-end session of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) in 2017 is set to focus on measures to improve productivity and boost the development of the private sector.

    At a recent press conference in Hanoi before the annual event, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said the VBF, which is held twice a year, is a dialogue mechanism between the Vietnamese Government and enterprises from both domestic and foreign-invested sectors.

    In a report submitted to the Government, the VCCI acknowledged significant improvement made to the local business climate, particularly after the National Assembly passed the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The implementation of Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP on enhancing business environment and national competitiveness, and of Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting growth of enterprises toward 2020 was also said to contribute to the outcome.

    Hirohide Sagara, Co-Chairman of VBF Consortium's Management Board, said that along equitisation to promote private sector, other potential measures include maintaining a stable business climate, cutting cost, and investing in infrastructure.

    Expo-RussiaVietnam to enhance bilateral economic links

    Expo-Russia Vietnam 2017, the second edition, is scheduled to take place at Melia Hanoi from December 13 to 15 with a view to promoting the two countries’ trade and economic ties and Russia’s export to Southeast Asia.

    Nguyen Tuan Hai, deputy head of the international relations department of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said at a press conference on December 11 that the expo will showcase products and services for export, investment projects, and research findings of businesses, universities and research agencies.

    It will also introduce achievements in energy, machine manufacturing, transport, telecommunication, mining, chemical industry, health care, agriculture, and hi-tech industries.

    He noted at the expo, which will attract hundreds of businesses from the two countries, Vietnamese firms will have a chance to learn about Russia’s investment environment and seek business partnership.

    D.R.Vartanov, Director of Russian company Zarubezh Expo – head of the expo’s organising board, said at the first event in December 2015, the Russian side inked 172 agreements with Vietnamese partners.

    Russian businesses are paying special attention to the Asian-Pacific region, he noted, expressing his belief that the two countries will reap more successes in cooperation in energy, transport, health care, telecommunications and tourism.

    A series of trade promotion activities will take place as part of the expo, including a Vietnam-Russia business forum, a workshop on economic cooperation between member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and Vietnam, and roundtables on agriculture, energy, transport, and health care.

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, bilateral trade was at 1.7 billion USD in the first six months of 2017, including over 1 billion USD of Vietnam’s exports to Russia.

    Automated system for seaport customs management launched

    The Ministry of Finance and the Vietnam Customs officially put the Vietnam Automated System for Seaport Customs Management (VASSCM) into operation in the northern port city of Hai Phong on December 11.

    Deputy Finance Minister Vu Thi Mai said that the system is connected with the National Single Window System and the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS).

    Therefore, customs agencies can monitor imports and exports at seaports and warehouses and the history of consignments after they arrive in Vietnam

    According to head of Hai Phong’s Customs Department Nguyen Tien Loc, since the pilot implementation from August 15, the system has proved effective.

    With around 1.3 million declarations a year in Hai Phong, the total clearance time can cut down by 40,000 hours thanks to the VASSCM.

    It has also helped enterprises increase the efficiency of production and business and raise their competitiveness, Loc said.

    The Vietnam Customs said that the VASSCM will be soon applied across the nation.

    VNN


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  • 12/15/17--05:16: Article 2
  • Social News 15/12


    Vietnam zeroes in on hunger elimination

    Poverty alleviation and hunger eradication has been a consistent priority for Vietnam and the country is committed to achieving these goals in cooperation with the international community, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said in Hanoi on December 13.

    Dung was speaking at the first meeting of the National Steering Committee for the ten year (2016-2025) Zero Hunger Action Programme.

    The programme was established by the Prime Minister in 2014 in response to the “Zero Hunger Challenge” of the United Nations, a major initiative to eradicate hunger worldwide.

    Vietnam’s action programme targets ensuring enough food and nutrition for all citizens towards improved physical and intellectual health; and towards fulfilling sustainable development goals (SDGs) of food security and sustainable agricultural development.

    There are five specifics targets under the action programme, including ensuring food and nutrition for people all year around; no malnutrition among children under two; development of a sustainable food system; most small-scale farmers enjoying increase in productivity and income; and no wastefulness and loss of food.  

    The programme will create an institutional platform to design and implement food security and nutrition policies measures in a coordinated manner so as to have a sustained impact on national food security, poverty reduction and development of new rural areas (under criteria set by the Government).

    Funds for the programme will be mobilised from international donors as well as allocations made to target programmes earmarked by the Government.

    Dung said Vietnam has participated resolutely and effectively in the “Zero Hunger  Challenge” and has gained many achievements in human development, particularly poverty reduction.

    He urged relevant ministries and agencies to proactively and resolutely implement tasks to help improve the efficiency and efficacy of the action programme.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the nation’s poverty rate reduced from 46.9 percent in 1990-1992 to 9 percent in 2010-2012 period. The national plan aims at “basically tackling poverty” by 2020.     

    Army chief commits support to Vietnam-Cambodian naval ties

    Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army Sen. Lieut. Gen Phan Van Giang has committed support for the Vietnam People’s Navy and the Royal Cambodian Navy to enhance their extensive collaboration. 

    During a reception in Hanoi on December 14 for Commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy Gen. Tea Vinh, Giang urged the two navies to continue push forward their effective links. 

    He believed that ties between the two countries in general and the two navies in particular will continue to be reinforced. 

    Tea Vinh, who is also Secretary General of the National Committee for Maritime Security, informed the host about the outcomes of recent talks between the Vietnam People’s Navy and the Royal Cambodian Navy. 

    He expressed wish to further strengthen exchange and cooperation between the two navies, contributing to traditional friendship between the two countries.     

    RoK film festival held in Quang Nam


     Vietnam zeroes in on hunger elimination, RoK film festival held in Quang Nam, Bus stations announce Tet holiday ticket plans, Photo exhibition features sea, islands in Hanoi, Can Tho greets 7.5 million tourist arrivals in 2017 


    A festival featuring films from the Republic of Korea (RoK) is running in the central province of Quang Nam from December 11 – 17.

    Films on the Korean land and people are screened free of charge at the Quang Nam culture centre in Tam Ky city between 4pm and 9pm.

    Pham Hong Quang, Director of the provincial Department of Information and Communications, said the event marks 25 years of Vietnam – RoK diplomatic ties (December 12, 1992 - 2017) as well as the ASEAN – RoK cultural exchange year 2017.

    It will help increase mutual understanding and cooperation between Quang Nam and RoK localities across diplomacy, culture, economy, tourism, and education, he added.

    Alongside the festival, there will be meetings to honour RoK organisations and individuals who have made contributions to Quang Nam, an exchange between Vietnamese and RoK students, and art performances by Vietnamese and Korean artists.     

    Agencies join hands to step up ethnic minority activities

    The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs will coordinate in a five-year programme to step up activities in culture, sports, tourism and family planning for mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

    Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy and Vice Chairman of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs Nong Quoc Tuan signed an agreement for the implementation of the joint programme which will take place between 2017 and 2022.

    The joint programme aims to strengthen state management of mountainous regions and areas with ethnic minority communities in terms of culture, sports, tourism and family planning. 

    Accordingly, the two sides will cooperate to bolster dissemination and education of laws among ethnic minority people. At the same time, they will work together to preserve and promote the ethnic minority groups’ good traditional values and cultural identities to boost tourism.

    The programme will be carried out in 52 cities and provinces across the countries with large population of ethnic minority people and mountain areas.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Trinh Thi Thuy said the ministry has paid greater attention to preserving cultural values of ethnic minority communities, improving their cultural life and enhance their physical development and health.

    The ministry is also working to help such communities turn their cultural heritage into assets and tourism products towards sustainable development, she added.     

    Salary policy reform spotlighted at conference

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue emphasized that salary reform is an urgent demand at a conference in Hanoi on December 13 to discuss experience of the world and Vietnam in renovating salary policies.

    The Deputy PM said that salary reform is closely linked with administrative reform and reshuffling the political apparatus and public service agencies.

    However, he pointed to the need to seek proper payment policies that suit the specific conditions of Vietnam, which requires careful calculation.

    Dr. Jinho Jeong from the Korea Labour Institute held that it is necessary to consider the complication of tasks and level of responsibility along with price and living costs in deciding salary levels in public sector, to ensure salary can cover minimum standards of living.

    It is crucial to consider the equality of wage between State-owned and private sectors, he said.

    Meanwhile, Director of the International Labour Organisation’s Office in Vietnam Changhee Lee said that the salary system in Vietnam’s public sector is confusing, such as a person in a higher position may have lower salary than some subordinates.

    He asserted that the application of wage coefficient makes it difficult for the adjustments of salary in a regular and orderly manner in public sector. At the same time, there are too many types of supplementary allowance, he added.

    Changhee Lee recommended that along with change in the salary payment policy, it is necessary to keep supplementary allowance at under 50 percent of the total salary package.

    Economist Pham Chi Lan noted that regular spending accounts for nearly 70 percent of State budget spending, of which 47 percent is spent on salary payment.

    Lan pointed out a number of challenges facing salary reform, including the mindset about the role of the State and the relations between the State, the market and society.

    Irrational and overlapping allocation of functions among State agencies, a lack of transparency, poor accountability along with red tape and corruption are also among barriers to salary policy reform, stressed Lan.

    She added that the current system of recruitment, salary payment, promotion and dismissing of public servants does not create necessary pressure and motivation for salary reform.

    Concluding the discussions, Deputy PM Hue shared the specialists’ opinion that public servants’ salary must ensure minimum standards of living, and is balanced with the business sector and the market.

    He also agreed on the need to switch from the use of wage coefficient to calculate salary to specific figures, and to reduce the proportion of supplementary allowance in salary package.

    In the private sector, he stressed the need for maintaining minimum wage to make sure no worker is paid under the minimum amount, thus protecting vulnerable groups.     

    Vietnam, Argentina works to boost trade

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh met Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie in Buenos Aires on December 13 to discuss trade and economic cooperation between Vietnam and Argentina.

    At the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, both sides praised their economic, trade and investment cooperation in recent years.

    They agreed to seek trade stimulation measures together, while Khanh suggested Argentina create favourable conditions for Vietnamese products to enter the South American market to balance trade between the two countries.

    They highlighted their coordination in preparation for next year’s Vietnamese trip of Argentine President Mauricio Macri on the occasion of 45th anniversary of the founding of bilateral diplomatic relations.

    Both said that the official visit would reinforce the two countries’ comprehensive partnership.

    Vietnam and Argentina established a comprehensive partnership in 2010, with bilateral trade increasing tenfold in the past 10 years from about 300 million in 2006 to exceed 3 billion USD in 2016.

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in the first 10 months of 2017, Vietnam – Argentina trade hit 2.62 billion USD, up 8.87 percent from the same period last year, and was estimated to reach 3.5 billion USD by year’s end.

    Vietnam is now the sixth biggest trade partner of Argentina. Vietnam mainly exports to Argentina footwear, electronic products, garment-textiles goods and agricultural machines, while Argentina is the second biggest foreign supplier of food and farm produce in Vietnam.     

    Vocational training for rural labourers to centre on businesses’ needs

    In future the revised project on vocational training for rural labourers will be based on demands from enterprises.

    In place of the usual ‘top-down’ mentality where orders and targets are set by higher-ups, in 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said its training programmes and curricula will be crafted with input from enterprises.

    With the needs and criteria of potential employers being taken in, the training is hoped to achieve practical results, ensuring those who received training can be hired by the firms in need.

    The change is in line with the Government’s new rural building programme and restructuring in the agriculture sector, said Ma Quang Trung, head of the department of co-operatives and rural development, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    The agriculture ministry said surveys will be sent to businesses and co-operatives, especially those that have already established production and consumption ties with farmers. Training programmes and most of the budget for 2018 will be tailored for these businesses, as well as businesses in important production areas or high-tech production areas.

    104 agriculture vocational training classes – covering topics from production, storage and manufacturing, but focusing on nationally important products and local spearhead products – will be held for workers in co-operatives. Another 16 classes on management skills will also be held for 560 officials in charge of co-operatives affairs in localities.

    The steering committee under the agriculture ministry recommended these tasks be undertaken by “all central-level agencies, in direct co-ordination with businesses’ associations, general companies or businesses who have placed orders for labourers at ministry-level and local-level training centres.”

    In 2009, then Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng approved the project “Vocational training for rural labourers until 2020”, and six years later, the amended decision No 971 came out with adjustments deemed more practical.

    The changes include raising the target number of trained labourers in 2016-20 to six million and making sure that 80 per cent of the trained workers are employed or have better wages and productivity, a new requirement to combine “theoretical lessons with field practice”, as well as no longer distinguishing between public or non-public vocational training centres in the programme.

    In 2017, the number of people receiving vocational training in the first nine months reached 162,180, or 77 per cent of the target (210,430 workers), according to an agricutlure ministry’s report summarising vocational training activities in the first nine months.

    The majority of the trained workers are in agriculture, reaching 120,000. Most of the trained workers in the agriculture sector this year – about 43,000 – are members of co-operatives or individual workers in collaboration with agro-businesses.

    Some successful co-operation models between the Government-sponsored vocational training programme and businesses include classes held to teach growing and harvesting techniques for rubber trees for new employees of the State-owned Việt Nam Rubber Group, training on VietGAP shrimp breeding for employees of Quảng Ninh Seaproducts Import-Export Company and training on high-quality rice production for VinaFood 2.

    According to the report however, the implementation of the training programme still has a lot of room for improvement.

    The effectiveness gap of the programme is one notable weakness. Midland mountainous provinces in the northern region and the Central Highlands, despite receiving equal or more financial support from the Government than other localities, recorded lower numbers of trained workers and a lower employment rate amongst those with training.

    Follow-up support for the trained rural workers is also a problem, as without capital, these people would not be able to establish a business to utilise the knowledge they have obtained. This is a serious setback for the training programme, as the goal is to ensure people’s livelihood and help them escape poverty.

    A lack of “serious efforts and determination” on the parts of workers during training and a shortage of qualified trainers are other issues that need to be addressed, the agriculture ministry’s report said.

    Bus stations announce Tết holiday ticket plans

    HCM City’s Miền Đông (Eastern) and Miền Tây (Western) bus stations will begin selling tickets for the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday in January.

    Bình Thạnh District’s Miền Đông bus station is selling Tết tickets from January 6 to February 11. The bus station said it expected to see a 2 per cent increase in passengers travelling for Tết compared to the same period last year.

    Bình Tân District’s Miền Tây bus station will sell Tết tickets from January 26 to February 10, and expects to see a 5 to 7 per cent increase in customers over last year.

    Both stations will charge around 20-60 per cent more for Tết trips, depending on the time and destination.

    Ticket booths at the stations will operate from 5am-7pm daily during the special period. Passengers can also purchase tickets online.

    Japanese ambassador appraises Thanh Hoa-Japan cooperation

    The Nghi Son 2 thermal power project is a typical work of cooperation between the north central province of Thanh Hoa and Japan, stated Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Kunio Umeda at a working session with Secretary of the Thanh Hoa Party Committee Trinh Van Chien on December 14.

    The diplomat highly valued support that Chien and leaders of Thanh Hoa have given to Japanese firms to conduct their projects, including Nghi Son petrochemical refinery project, Nghi Son cement project, and Sakurai Vietnam company in Thanh Hoa.

    He expressed his hope that Japanese firms will continue receiving assistance from the locality. He said he hopes Thanh Hoa and Japan will continue increasing investment in agriculture, contributing to promoting Thanh Hoa’s strength in the field.

    At the session, Chien thanked the Government and businesses of Japan for investing in Thanh Hoa, while pledging to create optimal conditions for Japanese firms in the locality.

    Currently, Japan is the largest partner of Thanh Hoa with total investment of 5.6 billion USD, accounting for 40 percent of total FDI attracted by the province.

    Thanh Hoa will work to remove obstacles and difficulties facing the investors to facilitate the 2.54 billion USD Nghi Son 2 thermal power plant that will be launched in the first quarter of 2018, he stated.

    Chien asked Ambassador Kunio Umeda to continue encouraging Japanese firms to invest to Thanh Hoa, the leading locality in FDI attraction of Vietnam.

    Chien also proposed that the Japanese side strengthen the provision of ODA to Thanh Hoa, while coordinating with the province to hold the Japanese Culture Day in the province.

    Forum raises women’s awareness of start-ups

    While the profile of Vietnamese businesswomen has been raised significantly in recent years with the emergence of leaders in certain sectors, budding women entrepreneurs still have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.

    Experts and officials said at a forum in Hanoi on December 14 that women still experienced very limited access to credit and technology despite contributing significantly to national growth.

    At the national platform on “Women Business Start-ups: Innovation and Connection,” speakers discussed challenges and opportunities as well as policy solutions to boost female entrepreneurship and promote gender equality in the business field.

    The platform was organised by the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) and the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.

    Nguyen Van Binh, Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs, stressed the importance role women have to play in boosting business start-ups in the country.

    Women-led enterprises and households have greatly contributed to economic development, been a significant income source and created millions of jobs, he said.

    “More and more Vietnamese women entrepreneurs have been ranked among the most powerful women in Asia by prestigious international organisations,” Binh said.

    But other speakers said women faced major challenges including gender norms, limited access to resources and markets because of insufficient collateral as well as lack of skills and knowledge of corporate governance, finance and marketing.

    Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, VWU Chairwoman, said “The proportion of women-led large enterprises has gradually decreased, accounting for 19.8 percent, and the number of women-led science and technology businesses is still limited.

    “In addition, the percentage of female start-ups with more than three people is just 5.5 percent, compared to 15.7 percent for men,” she said.

    While the Government has promulgated numerous incentive policies to support women in business, implementation has been weak and lacked necessary guidance, Ha said.

    Delegates agreed that the platform was a good place for line ministries and aspiring female entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge and experiences, especially in terms of difficulties and obstacles in production and business and related policies, mechanisms and transactions with State management agencies from national to local levels.

    The platform also marked the official kick-off of the National Women-led Business Start-up Programme, which will be implemented by the VWU between 2017 and 2025.

    The programme aims to boost women entrepreneurship and innovation in all 63 provinces and cities in the country.

    It will enable the VWU to strengthen its bridging role in supporting start-ups by women and encouraging their development, especially in agriculture and other areas linked to climate change adaptation, the meeting heard.

    One of the businesswomen attending the meeting was Nguyen Thi Ha, who expressed pride and happiness in helping many women earn stable incomes, either from their farms or through regular jobs with consolidated farms.

    Ha, who is Director of the Thanh Hung Agricultural Service and Integrated Business Cooperative in Thanh Hung commune, Thach Thanh district in the central province of Thanh Hoa, said they have received active support from local authorities and high commitment from its members to function as an effective economic model.

    This has helped Thanh Hung become just one of five communes in the district be recognised as new-style rural commune, she said.

    The Thanh Hung cooperative was founded in September 2014. With seed funding from the Vietnam Women’s Union that was invested in high capacity tractors, and contributions from 33 members of whom six are ethnic minority women, the cooperative has taken big strides forward, Ha said.

    “The cooperative prioritises the timely provision of land preparation services and other inputs including pesticides and rice seedlings to members at favourable prices,” she said.

    It also offers extension services and annually leases 200ha of land to farmers.

    Constant attention by the board of directors to the needs of members was the key factor in the cooperative’s success, Ha said.

    The cooperative has also created jobs for 15 women by connecting them with other large-scale agricultural farms in the commune.

    “Thus cooperative members are highly motivated to contribute,” she said.

    Building on its initial success, the co-operative is now developing the Hy Thiem herbal production area, complying with good agricultural practices (GAP).

    “Development of the herbal production area is an innovative initiative and expected to bring sustainable economic development for members,” Ha said.

    Due to all of the aforementioned efforts, cooperative members have stable annual incomes of 50-70 million VND (2,200-3,100 USD).

    Catholic solidarity committee reviews 2017 work

    The Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics held the fifth conference of the 2013 – 2018 tenure and hosted Christmas celebration in Ho Chi Minh City on December 14.

    The event was attended by senior officials of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs and several governmental agencies at central and local levels.

    During the event, delegates reviewed reports on the committee’s performance in 2017 and outlined tasks and directions for 2018. They also discussed the outcomes of this year’s patriotic emulation movement carried out by the committee and evaluated the organisation of the congress, namely “Vietnamese Catholics to build and defend the motherland", in cities and provinces for the 2017-2022 term.

    Priest Phan Dinh Son, Vice President of the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics, said the Catholics in Vietnam have applied advanced technology in production in recent years. They also raised funds and donated lands and building materials for construction of rural roads, changing the face of their homeland for the better, he added.

    He noted that the committee will focus on educating Catholic people on the Party’s policies and State’s laws and disseminating movements of the Vietnam Fatherland Front among them in 2018.

    VFF Central Committee Vice Chairman Ngo Sach Thuc expressed his delight at what the committee has achieved so far, saying it has promoted the good Catholic values in its activities, particularly upholding the traditional “Love your neighbours as yourself” and building safe neighborhoods and happy families

    Thuc expected that the committee will continue popularising the Law on Belief and Religion, which will take effect from January 2018, among the Catholics and promote the role of Catholic organisations in healthcare and education.

    PM asks mathematics institute to apply technologies to boost production

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan “placed an order” for the Institute of Mathematics under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) to boost the application of technologies in production to increase labour productivity at a working session in Hanoi on December 14.

    The PM affirmed that the Party and State will create the optimal conditions for the institute to become a leading mathematical research and postgraduate training centre in Vietnam.

    He highlighted shortcomings in the applied research and difficulties in employing excellent mathematicians who can meet the country’s socio-economic development demands.

    The VAST must pay more attention to developing the maths institute more strongly as well as recognise the institute’s crucial and position in the national development to put forth the most favourable policies and mechanisms, he said.

    The PM agreed with the institute’s proposal of providing scholarships – which are close to the international level - for domestic and foreign students at the international centre for training and research in mathematics.

    He supported the increase of staff for the centre, especially young and talented mathematicians, in addition to providing financial assistance for highly qualified scientists.

    The same day, the PM attended an international workshop held by the institute to celebrate the 90th birthday anniversary of Professor Hoang Tuy, a prominent Vietnamese mathematician and one of the two founders of the mathematics sector in Vietnam, the other is Professor Le Van Thiem.

    PM Phuc expressed his impressions of the Professor’s scientific contributions, particularly in the applied mathematics field.

    He said the Government will create favourable conditions for young generations, scientists and the Institute of Mathematics to promote their capacity and brainpower to make remarkable contributions to the cause of national building.

    The Institute of Mathematics has 70 officials, including many young researchers. In August 2017, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) signed an agreement to establish an international centre for training and research in mathematics in Vietnam.

    Salary reform talks in Hà Nội

    Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ emphasised that salary reform is an urgent need at a conference in Hà Nội yesterday to discuss global and local experience in renovating salary policies.

    The Deputy PM said salary reform is closely linked with administrative reform and reshuffling the political apparatus and public service agencies.

    However, he pointed to the need to seek proper payment policies that suit the conditions of Việt Nam, which requires careful calculation.

    Dr Jinho Jeong from the Korea Labour Institute said that it is necessary to consider the complexity of tasks and level of responsibility along with price and living costs in deciding salary levels in the public sector, to ensure salary can cover minimum standards of living.

    It is crucial to consider the equality of wage between the State-owned and private sectors, he said.

    Meanwhile, Director of the International Labour Organisation’s Office in Việt Nam Changhee Lee said the salary system in Việt Nam’s public sector is confusing, as a person in a higher position may have a lower salary than their subordinates.

    He asserted that using a wage coefficient makes it difficult adjust salary in an orderly manner in the public sector. At the same time, there are too many types of supplementary allowances, he added.

    Lee recommended that along with changes in salary payment policy, it is necessary to keep supplementary allowance below 50 per cent of the total salary package.

    Economist Pham Chi Lan noted that regular spending accounts for nearly 70 per cent of State budget spending, of which 47 per cent is spent on salaries.

    Lan pointed out a number of challenges facing salary reform, including thinking about the role of the State and the relationship between the State, the market and society.

    Irrational and overlapping functions among State agencies, a lack of transparency, poor accountability along with red tape and corruption are also barriers to salary reform, stressed Lan.

    She added that the current system of recruitment, salary payment, promotion and dismissal of public servants does not create necessary pressure or motivation for salary reform.

    Concluding the discussions, Deputy PM Huệ shared the specialists’ opinion that public servants’ salary must ensure minimum standards of living, and is balanced with the business sector and the market.

    He also agreed on the need to switch from the use of wage coefficients to calculate salary to specific figures, and to reduce supplementary allowances in salary packages.

    In the private sector, he stressed the need for maintaining the minimum wage to make sure no worker is paid under the minimum, thus protecting vulnerable groups.

    As of Janurary 1, 2018, the regional minimum wages will increase by VNĐ180,000-230,000 (US$7.2-9.2), according to a Government Decree issued on December7.

    Under the decree, the minimum wage will be raised from the current VNĐ3.75 million (US$165) to VNĐ3.98 million ($175) for contracted workers of enterprises located in region I, from VNĐ3.32 million ($146) to VNĐ3.53 million ($155) in region II, from VNĐ2.9 million ($127) to VNĐ3.09 million ($136) in region III and VNĐ2.58 million ($113) to VNĐ2.76 million ($121) in region IV.

    Diplomat vows continued efforts to enhance Vietnam-Indonesia ties

    Deputy Speaker of the People’s Representative Council (DPR) of Indonesia Fahri Hamzah on December 14 received outgoing Vietnamese Ambassador Hoang Anh Tuan, who pledged to keep contributing to the two countries’ relations in his new post.

    At the meeting in Jakarta, the two sides shared the view that the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Indonesia was founded by late Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Sukarno and nurtured by generations of the countries’ leaders and people. Bilateral ties are strongly developing in multiple spheres and became a strategic partnership that benefits both nations.

    Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah affirmed that his country always treasures cooperation with Vietnam. He is looking forward to leading a parliamentary delegation of Indonesia to the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF 26), slated for January, 2018 in Vietnam.

    He noted that Indonesia has taken part in the APPF since its establishment in 1993 and hosted the 14th meeting of the forum in Jakarta in 2006. Many of its initiatives have been recognised, including the one on organising female parliamentarians’ meetings.

    For his part, Tuan said the Indonesian delegation’s participation in the APPF 26 will help step up multifaceted cooperation between the two parliaments and the two countries, thus contributing to the APPF’s role in resolving regional and global issues and to peace and development in the world.

    The outgoing ambassador appreciated the support that the Indonesian parliament and the DPR Deputy Speaker have given to him during his tenure.

    He stressed that in the new position of Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, he will continue working to strengthen multifaceted cooperation between the two ASEAN members and promote a united, inter-connected, resilient and prosperous ASEAN for the sake of each country’s people, as well as peace, stability, cooperation and development.

    Photo exhibition features sea, islands in Hanoi

    Nearly 150 photos featuring the nation’s seas and islands are being on display at the Headquarters of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) at No 5 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hanoi.

    Addressing the opening ceremony on December 14, VNA Deputy Director General Le Quoc Minh highlighted VNA journalists’ efforts to capture lively moments of daily activities of residents and soldiers in coastal areas and on islands.

    The exhibition introduces photos on late President Ho Chi Minh’s fact-finding visit to a coastal area, as well as Party State leaders and fishermen, and workers at offshore oil drilling platforms. All the photos show determination of the Party, State and people in protecting the nation’s sovereignty over seas and islands.

    The event runs until December 20.

    Vietnam, China hold negotiation on less sensitive marine areas

    The 10th round of negotiations of the working group on less sensitive sea-related fields between Vietnam and China was held in Beijing, China, from December 11 to 14.

    In a straightforward and friendly manner, the two sides reviewed the situation and expressed their delight at the cooperation outcomes in 2017. 

    They also devised a working agenda for cooperation projects in 2018, namely studying and comparing Holocene sediments of the Red River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta; exchanging information about and studying the management of the sea and island environment in the Gulf of Tonkin; and releasing fry and protecting aquatic resources in the Gulf of Tonkin.

    The delegates also discussed the possibility of cooperation in some new projects within the framework of the working group on less sensitive fields at sea. They emphasised that cooperation need to be made on the basis of high-level agreements in an equal, mutually beneficiary, practical and effective manner, and in line with each side’s resources, thereby helping to promote the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

    They agreed to organise the working group’s 11th round of talks in Vietnam in 2018.

    Can Tho greets 7.5 million tourist arrivals in 2017

    The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho welcomed 7.5 million tourist arrivals in 2017, 34 percent beyond the yearly plan and up 40 percent from 2016.

    Total revenue from tourism activities is estimated at 2.9 trillion VND in the year, 45 percent higher than the set target and up 61 percent year-on-year.

    The result is attributed to efforts made by the municipal authorities to promote the city’s images and tourism potential, and stronger cooperation between local tourism firms with their counterparts in and outside the country.

    The city aims to serve 2.45 million holiday-makers staying overnight in 2018, up 28.9 percent against 2017.

    Attention will be paid to building typical tourism products, especially water-way tours in connection with historical and cultural tourism sites, trade villages, and eco-tourism sites; and promoting the tourism form of Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) and homestay.

    According to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Minh Son, the locality encourages investors to tap advantages for forming interprovincial and international waterway tourism routes. 

    Can Tho, for the first time, will welcome international cruise visitors operated by France’s TitanFleet tourism group in the last days of this year. This is hoped to open prospects for further promoting water-way tourism products in the city.

    Global HR Forum 2017 opens in Hanoi

    The Global HR Forum 2017, initiated by the Republic of Korea (RoK), convened in Hanoi on December 14, aiming to help Vietnam improve the local workforce quality.

    The conference was participated by RoK Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Kim Sang-kon, Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha, RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Lee Hyuk, and Jaime Saavedra, head of Education Global Practice at the World Bank Group, and others.

    During its two-day course, the event introduces RoK experience that helped the country create its Miracle on the Han River of rapid growth in the 1990s. The Vietnamese and Korean sides are set to discuss measures to enhance their strategic partnership across sectors, particularly in the management and development of high-quality human resources.

    Delivering an opening speech, Minister Phung Xuan Nha said Vietnam is learning from developed countries like the RoK, as it considers human resources development a breakthrough solution to economic growth.

    He noted the country is working to improve its workforce capacity via education, training, and international cooperation, with priority given to the establishment of international-standard educational centres and training of leading experts.  

    Nha said he expects the forum will help both sides define opportunities and challenges in the development of a high-quality workforce, thus suggesting suitable measures for Vietnam to meet new demand on the field.

    Party chief lauded veterans’ contributions

    General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong has lauded the contributions Vietnamese veterans have made to national defence and construction, urging them to uphold their role in protecting the fruits of the revolution.

    He made the compliment at the sixth National Congress of the Vietnam War Veterans’ Association (VWVA) for tenure 2017-2022 that officially opened in Hanoi on December 14. The event was also attended by President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

    The Party chief stressed that as an association of those who have stood the test of revolutionary and resistance wars, the VWVA must continue implementing its most important task of resolutely protecting the fruits of the revolution, helping defeat hostile forces’ schemes, and actively participating in building and protecting the Party, the State, people, and the socialist regime.

    General Secretary Trong asked the association to actively join the fight against corruption, wastefulness, and negative phenomena, as well as in efforts to build a clean and strong Party and administration.

    The veterans, with their political zeal and experience, should work to educate young generations in tradition and revolutionary heroism, while setting good examples for their families and descendants to follow, he said. 

    VWVA President Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Duoc said in his opening speech that in the 2012-2017 period, the association has gained significant achievements in implementing the Resolution of the fifth congress.

    The association has seen steady growth in terms of members and performance, Duoc said, affirming that it has become a prestigious socio-political organisation and an active member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front.

    Besides political tasks, the association also encouraged its members to engage in economic activities. Veteran-run enterprises and cooperatives have created jobs for 703,000 veterans, their children, and beneficiary families.

    Heads of the Cambodian and Lao delegations of war veterans spoke highly of the achievements the VWVA has made over the past tenure, expressed their hope that the association will continue thriving, contributing to fostering the friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the VWVA and its Lao and Cambodian counterparts.

    Vietnam calls for more support to disaster-hit residents

    The Vietnamese Government again appeals to individuals and organisations at home and abroad to continue supporting residents in the central region recently hit hard by storm Damrey and floods. 

    Speaking on behalf of the Government at a ceremony hosted by the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control in Hanoi on December 14, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the central region is the hardest-hit by natural disasters in recent years. 

    United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra promised to offer further support to flood victims in Vietnam, adding that governments of the Republic of Korea, Russia, New Zealand and the US have also committed an aid worth 7.3 million USD to ensure food security, water supply and environment hygiene in the affected region. 

    The UN, in coordination with humanitarian organisations, is making survey on the needs of central region residents in order to design suitable help.

    Vietnam needs financial assistance from the UN humanitarian relief programme and international community to restore local livelihoods, he said, adding that the country needs to partner with other entities to launch disaster response plans apart from receiving support from the UN Children’s Fund, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. 

    A representative of the survey mission stressed the need to provide urgent food relief and makeshift houses for affected families in the next six months, as well as strengthen joint work with private sector to diversify support activities and facilitate locals’ access to insurance. 

    Tran Quang Hoai, General Director of the Directorate for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said Vietnam has been hit by 14 storms and numerous landslides and floods since early 2017, which left 386 dead and missing and caused losses amounting to 60 trillion VND (2.6 billion USD). 

    In particular, storm Damrey and subsequent floods left serious impacts on the south central region, with 123 dead and missing. The region reported 3,550 collapsed houses and vast inundated areas of rice and vegetables along with destroyed transport and dyke works, with damage estimated at more than 22.6 trillion VND. 

    Around 700 tonnes of rice seeds, 4,400 tonnes of rice, 1 trillion VND and large amount of medicine have been promptly transferred to local people. Domestic and foreign organisations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the UNDP, the Chinese, Russian and Kuwaiti governments and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management offered relied in cash and kind to affected people.

    Cambodia, Vietnam share experience in religious management

    Officials in charge of religious affairs of Vietnam and Cambodia are gathering at a week-long conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to share their working experience. 

    Co-organised by the Vietnamese Government Committee for Religious Affairs and Cambodian Ministry of Cults & Religion, the event lasts through December 20, with the participation of 30 officials in charge of religious affairs at central, municipal and provincial levels from Cambodia.

    Head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Vu Chien Thang said through the exchange of experience and lessons, the event hopes to enhance the capacity of both countries’ officials, contributing to maintaining social stability and national development in each country.

    He pledged his agency will try its best to implement the agreement on cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Cults & Religion toward effectiveness in contribution to the growth of Vietnam – Cambodia traditional ties and comprehensive partnership.

    Participating Vietnamese delegates presented reports on religious tasks which have been successfully carried out by the Vietnamese committee, focusing on how to unite all religions to serve socio-economic development and political security domestically and regionally.

    On the sidelines of the event, participants will tour religious establishments in Can Tho.

    HCM City wants US universities’ support in startup promotion

    Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party’s Committee, hopes for further cooperation with the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management in promoting innovation and start-up spirit in the Vietnamese economic hub.

    He had working session with leaders of the MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston on December 13 as part of the US visit by a HCM City delegation.

    HCM City, as the largest economic hub in Vietnam, wants to collaborate with the US’s prestigious academic research and training institutes to carry out its important development plan in startup, smart urban area and economic competitiveness capacity improvement, Nhan noted.

    On the occasion, the delegation visited MIT Sloan’s Media Lab where pioneer technologies are created.

    Attending a forum on challenges in urban development in 21st century for HCM City at Harvard Kennedy School, Nhan shared the city’s smart urban area development plan with professors and experts from Harvard University, Trinity College and Fulbright Vietnam University.

    He said that the plan aims at high and sustainable economic growth, good services in healthcare, education, and environment.

    Professor David Dapice from the Harvard Kennedy School recommended that Ho Chi Minh City branch out high-added value services, believing that a smart city’s economic growth is expected to rely on those services.

    Experts at the event agreed that Ho Chi Minh City has huge potential to turn into a smart city; however, workforce and public response and engagement are big challenges.

    Meanwhile, Professor Stephen Goldsmith from Harvard Kennedy said a foundation for digital services is the key to smart city construction.

    Earlier, Nhan had meeting with David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo- one of the two largest crowdfunding platforms in the US.

    Building material industry must go green: Deputy PM

    Vietnam’s building material industry should invest in the production of environmentally friendly building materials, according to Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung.

    Dung said at a conference on December 12 that building materials accounted for 70 percent of the value of a construction project. In the past years, investment in building materials had developed strongly, basically meeting the domestic demand. 

    However, he said investment in producing these materials had achieved many results, but the sector still lacked new materials, friendly-environmental building materials at a cheap price, and high-grade building materials.

    Investment in the sector was done spontaneously, not according to plan, leading to overproduction, illegal exploitation of materials or exploitation with licences but damaging the environment.

    The Deputy Prime Minister requested state management and businesses should co-ordinate more to improve efficiency, invest in the production of environmental-friendly building materials and select new materials instead of traditional.

    Construction materials must be developed to meet demand for use at home and abroad, Dung said. At the same time, the sector should gradually renovate production technologies, save energy and promote the use of unbaked building materials to replace baked materials.

    Dung asked the Ministry of Construction to coordinate with other ministries and localities to update plans on building-material production.

    The ministry will review factories causing environmental pollution and control the exploitation of stones, gravel and sand.

    At the conference, Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha said production of construction material had improved significant to reach regional and world standards. 

    Before 2010, Vietnam had to import some key building materials, such as cement, construction glass and ceramic tiles. Since then, the building-material industry had developed strongly by adopting many regional and world advanced technologies, Ha said.

    Many experts claim the production of traditional building materials had used large amounts of raw materials and energy, contributing to environmental pollution.

    The Ministry of Construction will urge its agencies to continue researching and renovating technologies to create green, clean and effective products and sustainable development.

    Thua Thien-Hue: Project strives for better future for needy children, youth

    A project to create a brighter future for disadvantaged children and youths in central Thua Thien-Hue province was launched during a workshop in Hue City on December 14.

    The project, worth 7.5 billion VND (over 329,000 USD) funded by International Plan Vietnam, aims to provide 226 street children with the chance to pursue education and expand support for 350 underprivileged youths, especially young women.

    It will also provide support in capital funding and livelihood for 70 poor households with street children and children with disabilities to boost their income. 

    In addition, it will work to improve capacity for three local non-governmental organisations – the Centre for Community for Development and Social Work (CODES), Centre for Community Capacity Development (CYCAD) and REACH, a non-profit provider of vocational training, career advice and job placement services for Vietnamese disadvantaged youths.

    International Plan Vietnam aims to integrate child protection, with the focus on child sexual abuse and child labour, in the project’s intervention activities and strengthen links between local authorities and schools.

    Representatives from International Plan Vietnam, CODES, CYCAD and REACH signed a memorandum of understanding on the project, which started from November 2017, and will run through to July, 2020.

    The workshop reviewed achievements of International Plan Vietnam and CODES in the project, namely “A brighter future for street children in Thua Thien-Hue”, from September 2014 to July 2017, benefiting about 300 street children, 40 disadvantaged youths and 90 poor families in Thua Thien-Hue. The project helped reduced the number of street and working children in the province by one third.

    Australia fosters logistics industry-led vocational training in Vietnam

    The Australian Government, through Aus4Skills programme, one of its Aus4Vietnam investment, on December 14 launched the pilot Logistics Industry Reference Council to promote industry linkages with vocational education and training (VET) in partnership with the Government of Vietnam.

    The pilot council aims to draw on the example of Australia’s vocational education and training system and adapt it to Vietnam’s context with stronger engagement with the business community. 

    “Australia is happy to share our experience in an industry-led vocational education and training system to assist Vietnam to develop a system that will increase its productivity and support its economic growth. Our system, developed over a number of decades, is underpinned by a national framework of skills standards developed through a process of consultation with industry. This ensures that standards for training are of a high quality and meet the workforce development needs of industry, enterprises and individuals,” said Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick.

    “The pilot Logistics Industry Reference Council is an innovative approach to actively engage the logistics enterprises in VET. The council will validate the occupational skills standards developed under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transport and Logistics project which was led by Australia and Vietnam is a participating economy,” said Vo Tan Thanh, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

    The logistics sector has been selected as a focal industry that can serve as a demonstration model that can potentially be applied in other sectors in Vietnam. 

    This launch will be followed by the first workshop, from December 18-21, on competency-based curriculum writing for academic leaders and senior trainers of selected VET colleges as well as enterprise-based trainers from logistics enterprises.

    Six arrested for illegal invoice business

    The Hà Nội police on December 14 announced they have arrested six people for allegedly selling fraudulent VAT invoices worth nearly VNĐ600 billion (US$26.6 million). 

    Nguyễn Thị Đào, 35, residing in Thanh Trì District, was the gang leader, while her underlings were aged between 20 and 26 years. 

    According to the police, Đào made deals with a 32-year-old woman with the same name to buy 17 companies operating at a loss in 2017. Sold for VNĐ50 million each, these companies became an illegal source of VAT invoices for the older woman. 

    Companies wanting to purchase VAT invoices could contact the older Đào directly or through brokers. 

    During searches of houses at four different locations, the police found 76 filled invoice books, another 92 blank books and several documents and stamps of the ghost companies. 

    The gang sold 3,500 invoices through those companies before it was busted, the police said. They were investigating if there were more ghost companies involved in the case.

    Seven fishermen saved at sea

    A ship from the Đà Nẵng-based Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre No 2 (MRCC2) has rescued all seven crew members of a sunken fishing boat in waters off Hoàng Sa (Paracels) Island.

    Director of MRCC2, Bùi Tấn Nguyên told Việt Nam News that a fishing boat from Quảng Bình Province had engine failure on Wednesday, and the boat went adrift in rough sea.

    The rescue ship found the fishing boat in the sea 100 nautical miles off the coast of Đà Nẵng at about 12.30pm, just an hour after the boat started sinking due to large waves and strong winds.

    Nguyên said rescuers found seven fishermen safe and healthy after a few hours, and the rescue ship was heading to Đà Nẵng Port.

    On Sunday, seven fishermen from Bình Định Province were rescued in rough conditions at sea by the MRCC2.  

    On Monday, a navy ship also rescued and towed a fishing vessel with 16 crew members from Bình Định after a seven-day drift in the Trường Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

    Textile industry in the throes of change brought by automation

    Some 300-400 engineers are needed every year by the yarn, fabric and dyeing sectors while universities supply only around 30, experts said.

    Besides, according to Hoàng Xuân Hiệp, principal of the Hà Nội Industrial Garment and Textile University, trained workers only account for around 25 per cent of the workers in the sector.

    Again there is a training shortfall. For instance, 11 schools in HCM City offer training in textile and garment-related skills and produce 1,900 graduates a year, but demand in the city runs into several thousands.

    Hiệp said the remaining 75 per cent of workers in the sector are not trained or are trained for less than three months.

    “That is a great challenge to the textile and garment industry in meeting the requirements of productivity, quality and fashion trends.”

    Fashion designers are not capable of designing and overseeing production on a large scale they are trained mostly in small-scale production.

    The Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission has said that the fourth industrial revolution, which is ushering in automation, is reducing the need for manual labour in the textile industry.

    In Việt Nam 86 per cent of garment and footwear workers are expected to be affected by the labour-replacement process.

    The annual demand for workers is expected to rise to 60,000 by 2025.

    But the demand for unskilled labour will be only around 50 per cent of that, with workers with intermediate- and college-level training and technical training accounting for the rest.

    On the other hand, the demand for skilled engineers is increasing, according to the World Bank.

    In countries adapting more slowly to the technological changes, the labour-replacement process would also be slower, it said.

    Việt Nam should focus on developing modern skills for its young people, the bank added.

    Experts have said it would be essential to train workers to modernise production in the country. 

    Typhoon victims to get more aid

    The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyễn Xuân Cường, has called on domestic and international organisations and individuals to continue their support for people hit by the recent Typhoon Damrey.

    Speaking at a ceremony on Thursday to call for support, Cường said the typhoon, which swept through south central and central provinces early last month, caused damage of nearly US$1 billion.

    Cường expressed gratitude for the support of organisations and individuals who had helped those affected  by the strongest storm in at least a decade.

    Trần Quang Hoài, director of the General Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said the typhoon affected over 4.3 million people, leaving 123 dead or missing and 342 injured.

    “Over 300,000 houses were damaged, of which about 3,500 were totally demolished. In Khánh Hoà Province alone, 114,000 houses were partly or wholly destroyed,” Hoài said.

    “Heavy rainfall and floods in the following weeks caused great losses, particularly in Quảng Nam Province.”

    The typhoon came as the central region reeled from the aftermath of a series of natural disasters, including historical droughts from late 2014 to mid-2016, five serious floods from October-December 2016 and Typhoon Doksuri in September 2017.

    The natural disasters, one after the other, forced much reconstruction to start again.

    Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator to Việt Nam, said the UN would support Việt Nam in meeting needs such as food, safety, temporary shelters, clean water and sanitation.

    The UN would also focus on helping women, farmers and fishermen stabilise their lives and restore their means of living.

    The European Commission said in a press release on Wednesday that it was providing 200,000 euros (US$236,700) for communities most affected by Typhoon Damrey.

    The EC said the humanitarian aid was responding to the urgent needs of more than 10,000 people in the provinces of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, and Khánh Hòa.

    This EU-funding supports the Vietnamese Red Cross Society (VNRC) in delivering much-needed assistance through the distribution of tarpaulins, shelter tool kits, household kits, and water purification tablets.

    In addition, cash grants are being provided to ensure the most vulnerable families can meet their basic needs.

    As outbreaks of water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and typhoid are common following flooding, disease prevention activities are also being conducted.

    National TV festival kicks off in Thanh Hóa

    Nearly 1,000 representatives from television and radio stations nationwide gathered yesterday at the 37th national TV festival being celebrated in the central province of Thanh Hóa.

    The annual event, organised by Việt Nam National Television, aims to honour producers, directors and camera crew, as well as to acknowledge the outstanding work that has provided insights into the daily lives of people. The work, divided into nine categories, including documentaries, reportage, talk shows, science education and ethnic minority television shows, will compete for the best television work awards at the festival.

    The festival also provides an opportunity for those working in television to share their experiences and get updated on the latest trends to serve viewers better.

    This is the first year that the festival is being held in Thanh Hóa Province.

    According to Trần Bình Minh, the general director of Vietnam Television and also the chairman of the festival, this year’s event has received 492 entries from 140 television channels, particularly the reportage category, which has attracted 150 entries, the most for any section.

    Other highlights of the 37th national TV festival are talks delivered by presenters from the United States and Indonesia about television and internet development trends throughout the world, as well as two seminars discussing the most concerning issues in television nowadays – producing children’s shows, which are both educational and entertaining, and promoting tourism through television.

    Marginal activities include an exhibition featuring photos taken by television producers throughout the country, seminars to exchange experiences in television broadcasting and the ceremony of presenting over 3,000 uniform coats and 1,000 sets of gifts to disadvantaged students in Thanh Hóa Province.

    The festival will end this Saturday. 

    Concert to raise funds for poor people

    Well-known singers and music players will perform at a charity concert tonight (December 15) in HCM City to raise funds for poor children and people affected by floods in the south central coastal province of  Khánh Hòa last month.

    The event, called Miền Trung Quê Tôi (My Homeland), is organised by pop star Đan Trường and his company, H.T Productions.   

    Organisers said the concert’s theme, "Sharing is Giving”, was chosen to encourage more people to contribute to raising funds during the Christmas season.  

    The artists, including Cao Thái Sơn, Phan Ngọc Luân, Trung Quang, and Hari Won, will sing and dance to Vietnamese music, with the highlight of the show being performances by Trường and his dance group of 30.

    At the event, Trường will also launch his new album, Đan Trường Vol.36, after three years of living in the US with his family.

    All proceeds from ticket sales and more than 200 gifts of food and clothes will be given to the poor.

    The concert will began at 8.30pm at Đồng Dao Club in District 1.

    VNN


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  • 12/15/17--05:48: Article 1
  • Travel firms want more open visa waiver policy


     While the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and travel firms have repeatedly called for extending the visa waiver to attract more foreign travelers, other agencies say it still needs thorough consideration. 

     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, visa waiver, VNAT, VAT refund
    Travel firms want more open visa waiver 

    The number of foreign travelers to Vietnam reached 11.6 million this year, an increase of 28 percent compared with the same period last year. In November alone, Vietnam received 1.2 million foreign travelers. This was the eighth time this year the number of foreign travelers exceeded 1 million.

    According to the Research Committee for Private Economic Development, the visa waiver policy, and the application of e-visa and e-marketing solutions helped attract more travelers to Vietnam.

    However, Ngo Minh Duc, a member of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council, said that the current visa policy is still a barrier to implementation of Vietnam’s plan to turn tourism into a key industry.

    “The visa waiver policy is not competitive and attractive enough compared with other regional countries. It is now applied to citizens from 23 countries only,” he said.

    He went on to say that Vietnam only waives visa for a period of 15 days, shorter than the average time foreign travelers stay in Vietnam and shorter than the periods offered by regional countries.

    Vietnam only waives visa for a period of 15 days, shorter than the average time foreign travelers stay in Vietnam and shorter than the periods offered by regional countries.

    Tran Trong Kien, also a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, said that while waiting for infrastructure conditions and tourism environment to be improved, extending the visa waiver policy is the quickest way to develop tourism.

    A senior executive of a travel firm complained that it is difficult to draw up long-term marketing and advertisement plans for inbound tours because the government only makes public the list of countries which can enjoy the visa waiver policy every year.

    Meanwhile, the announcement is just 1-3 months before the moment of application.

    The regulation that foreign travelers can only enter Vietnam at least 30 days after the previous exit is also believed to restrict the number of tourists to Vietnam.

    Replying to complaints, Doan Phuong Lan from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the development of tourism must not rely only on the visa waiver policy.

    She pointed out that other countries which apply visa waiver policies with ‘openness’ similar to Vietnam’s still can attract high numbers of foreign travelers.

    According to Lan, of the 23 countries Vietnam offers the visa waiver policy, 13 do not apply the same policy for Vietnamese citizens.

    “We waive visas for citizens of some European countries, but Vietnamese citizens find it very difficult to get visas to enter their countries,” she said, adding that Vietnam hopes for ‘reciprocity’ in diplomatic relations.


    Mai Thanh, VNN


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  • 12/15/17--06:10: Article 0
  • Vietnam’s solar power market: attractive but risky


      Vietnam is considered the second biggest potential market in Southeast Asia for solar power. 

    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, solar power, HCMC, EVN 

    Vietnam has great potentials for solar power 

    The electricity demand in Vietnam is predicted to increase by 11 percent per annum, or 20 billion kwh in the next years.

    Under the 2011-2020 national electricity development plan, Vietnam would have 850 MW of solar electricity by 2020, 4,000 MW by 2025 and 12,000 MW by 2030.

    In April 2017, the PM signed a decision on encouraging the development of solar projects in Vietnam. Under the decision, the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has the responsibility of buying all the electricity output to be generated by solar power projects for 20 years at least. The electricity purchase price is VND2,086 per kwh, or 9.35 US cents.

    The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has the responsibility of buying all the electricity output to be generated by solar power projects for 20 years at least. The electricity purchase price is VND2,086 per kwh, or 9.35 US cents.

    However, despite the encouragement and tax incentives, investors still find it risky to develop solar power projects.

    Under a circular issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), EVN will have to buy electricity from the projects which connect the national grid and become commercially operational prior to June 30, 2019.

    This means that in order to enjoy the preferential sell price set by MOIT, investors will have only two years to implement their projects. Meanwhile, they have too many things to do, from completing documents and applying for licensing to clearing sites.

    In addition, investors have to fulfill procedures and submit documents to MOIT for the approval of the solar power development programming. Small-scale projects (less than 50 MW) must be approved by MOIT, while big-scale projects (more than 50 MW) must get the PM’s approval.

    Investors also note that the PM’s Decision No 11 is only valid in the period from June 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. This means that the electricity sales and selling price after June 30, 2019 remain unclear.

    Monika Bieri from SERIS said at the workshop titled The Solar Future Vietnam on November 30 that Vietnam is the second largest potential market in South East Asia, just after Indonesia.

    Le Viet Nga, who worked in the oil and gas sector for many years, now director of an enterprise in Vung Tau City, is considering developing a solar power project, because the oil & gas sector is facing difficulties, while solar power has great potential.

    However, Nga said he will try with a small project and there is no need to ask for a license from MOIT.

    Nguyen Duc Cuong from the Energy Institute of MOIT also noted that the biggest challenges are administrative procedures to ask for permission to develop projects and add solar energy projects to the national electricity development program.
     

    Chi Mai, VNN


    0 0
  • 12/18/17--00:18: Article 2
  • Social News In Brief


    Free bus information via Zalo in Da Nang City

    Da Nang Center of Public Service (1022) has just launched the feature to browse bus routes through Zalo app or SMS in order to help Da Nang citizens in managing their travel more quickly and conveniently.

    Accordingly, when receiving information on users’ departure and destination points, the system will automatically provide necessary bus stops, route numbers and possible time consistent with the optimal calculated route so that users can actively catch their buses.

    To access this free service, users have to check “Interested in Official Account” of “Da Nang 1022 Centre” in Zalo app, then choose “Look up” and the feature “Bus routes” or “Buses coming to terminals” to find information they need.

    Users can also look up bus routes via SMS sent to 8188 Center with the text BUS departure-terminal

    To find information on busses which are about to reach their stops, users can text either of these: BUSMT  - station code or BUS  name.

    The People’s Committee of Dong Nai Province and the Ministry of Health have already approved Zalo as their official channel to deliver information as well as process administrative procedures.

    In Dong Nai, citizens can receive electronic receipt through Zalo right after submitting their documents. VietnamNationalUniversityHo Chi Minh City - University of Information Technology (UIT) has considered Zalo as an important channel to interact with its students.

    Quang Nam receives largest amount of aid from RoK

    The central coastal province of Quang Nam had received the most non-refundable ODA from the Republic of Korea (RoK) Government with over US$41 million over the past 25 years, said Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam’s People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh at the opening ceremony of the Korean Day program kicked off in the province on December 15.

    About 31 Korean enterprises are operating in Quang Nam with a total capital of nearly US$ 250 million, creating jobs for 10,000 laborers.

    The province has also annually received development and humanitarian assistance worth hundreds of millions of US dollars from the Rok’s non-governmental orgnizations, added the Vice Chairman.

    In recent year, the RoK has been among top 5 countries with the biggest number of tourists to Quang Nam. The province is expected to welcome more than 300,000 Korean travellers in 2017.

    The Korean Day program marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) includes a series of activities in various fields, such as culture, arts, diplomacy, economy, educationa and among from December 15-17.

    One of the highlight events in the Korean Film Week featuring the best award-winning films in the RoK is taking place from December 11-17.

    Quang Binh suggests Government support for further development

    Authorities of Quang Binh province proposed the Government assisting the province in promoting its strengths for further development in the future, heard at the working session between Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee on December 15.

    The province asked the Government to assist it in the upgrading of the DongHoiAirport in 2018 and add the airport to the list of international airports in the future in order to boost the local tourism and transport.

    The local authorities also suggested that the Government will recognise the relic site dedicated to General Vo Nguyen Giap located in LocThuy commune, Le Thuy district as the national-level historical site to serve the preservation of the relic site and tourism.

    In addition, the province expressed hope that the Government will soon approve a target programme on education in mountainous, ethnic and disadvantaged regions aligned with a specific capital allocation plan for these regions in the 2018-2020 period.

    In particular, local authorities asked the Government to provide financial support for the province to build kindergartens and primary schools for children in remote, ethnic and disadvantage regions with a total aid of VND276 billion for 52 communes.

    Deputy PM Dam acknowledged and lauded the province for its efforts to overcome difficulties caused by the marine environmental incident in 2016 and the strong development of its tourism sector in 2017.

    He noted that the Government along with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will implement actions to help Quang Binh to become a famous tourism destination across the world.

    In response to the suggestion on building new kindergartens and primary schools, the Deputy PM stated that the Government will consider the budget to assist the province to build new facilities in disadvantaged regions.

    He added that the Government will also ask the Ministry of Education and Training to issue specific documents on guiding the province’s education and training sector to remove obstacles related to the allocation of regular spending for boarding schools and allowances for teachers, and others.

    Da Lat to host next National TV Festival


     7th CLV youth forum opens in Binh Phuoc, Con Dao airport set for upgrade, Korean Day programme opens in Quang Nam province, Dozens of students hospitalized due to food poisoning 

    A total of 27 top prizes were presented to outstanding TV programmes sent to the 37th National Television Festival, which wrapped up in Sam Son city, the central province of Thanh Hoa on December 16 night.

    Nearly 500 TV shows by 140 TV and radio units in nine different categories, including documentaries, reportage, talk shows, science education and ethnic minority TV shows, competed for the best work awards.

    Jointly held by the Vietnam National Television (VTV) and Thanh Hoa Television in Thanh Hoa for the first time, the annual event aims to honour producers, directors and camera crews as well as outstanding works that have provided insight into the daily lives of the Vietnamese people. It also provides an opportunity for television workers to share experiences.

    The Organising Board highly praised the efforts by nationwide TV makers to keep up to date information when reflecting the life across the nation and accompanying the national development. As a result, 27 gold and 50 silver prizes were awarded for outstanding works.

    Notably, the reportage genre had nine golden awards for works from the VTV, People's Police Television, and Ho Chi Minh City, Thanh Hoa and Quang Nam Television Stations.

    In addition to the main awards, the organisers also honoured those working in the TV sector with the "TV Makers" awards. A total of 133 certificates of merit were also presented to works submitted in nine different categories.

    Tran Binh Minh, VTV General Director cum President of the 37th National TV Festival, emphasised that quality of works at this year’s event have been improved greatly with journalistic content, demonstrating the investment of TV makers from the topic selection to the structure of the work; from visual quality to flexible manipulation of graphic elements, music, sound and interaction.

    New approaches to programme production have also been highlighted. Many of the contests are inspired by modern thinking. Combining the strengths of traditional TV along with the power of the Internet, telecommunications and social networking, Minh added.

    Under the framework of the event, a photo exhibition on Thanh Hoa province and seminars regarding to producing children's TV programmes, tourism promotion on TV and TV in the Internet era, were also held.

    The 38th National Television Festival 2018 is scheduled for Da Lat city, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

    Deputy PM Dam extends Christmas greetings in Nghe An, Ha Tinh provinces

    Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam visited and extended his greetings to the Committees for Catholic Unity in the two central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh on December 16 ahead of Christmas.

    Over the past years, Catholics in Nghe An and Ha Tinh have actively participated in movements to build a cultured life in local neighbourhoods aligned with building new rural areas, helping to strengthen solidarity within the community.

    Many agricultural farms have also been established in Catholic quarters while the number of small and medium businesses owned by Catholic has been on the increase, creating hundreds of jobs and improving the income of local households.

    At the same time, charitable movements to help poor people, agent orange/dioxin victims and for those affected by natural disaster have received the support of many Catholic priests and adherents.

    During his visit, Deputy PM Dam reiterated the Party and State’s consistent policy of ensuring religious freedom and praised people of religion in general and Catholics in particular for making contributions to national construction and defence.

    On the occasion of the upcoming Christmas, he extended his best greetings to Catholic priests and followers, wishing them a merry and peaceful Christmas.

    For their part, Priest Dau Quang Hai and Nguyen Dang Dien thanked the concern of the Party and State, noting that Christmas, from a religious festival, has become a public festival celebrated by many people.

    The same day, Deputy PM Dam visited two Catholic families in Nghe An province and a kindergarten run by Catholic sisters in Ha Tinh province as well as visiting the Nghe An border guards and offering incense to the great poet Nguyen Du.

    PM approves making construction planning for Binh Duong

    The Prime Minister has recently approved the making of a construction planning  for southern Binh Duong province.

    Accordingly, the Government leader assigned the Binh Duong provincial People’s Committee to work with the Ministry of Construction and relevant agencies in devising and submitting for approval the tasks and blueprints of the Binh Duong province region construction planning in line with the current law.

    The Ministry of Construction was asked to implement the verification of the tasks and blueprints of the planning in accordance with the laws on construction.

    The Binh Duong province region planning until 2020 was approved in Decision no. 68/2006/QD-UBND issued by the Binh Duong provincial People’s Committee on March 20, 2006.

    After over 11 years since then, Binh Duong’s development process has seen many fluctuations, with the goals and tasks set in the 2006 planning being no longer appropriate, alongside the emergence of many new development factors and requirements in the province and the Ho Chi Minh City region. These require the planning directions for the building of the Binh Duong province region to be continuously studied and considered, and to put forward new recommendations which match with the province’s current and future development demands.

    Given that fact, the Prime Minister approved the construction planning scheme for the BinhDuong province region.

    “Enabling Boat” students tell tales to inspire peers

    More than 50 students and teenagers from difficult families in Halong city who participated in the "Enabling Boat" project shared their experiences and lessons with more than 700 other students at two secondary schools.

    The cold winter weather turned warmer at the two secondary schools as the participants of the “Enabling Boat” project recounted their stories.

    The visits were held at Tuan Chau Primary and Secondary School and Nguyen Viet Xuan Primary and Secondary School, where many of the disadvantaged students of Halong city are studying.

    The sharing sessions were held as extracurricular classes for all students. At each school, 25 students and teenagers participating in the project shared their knowledge and skills in information technology (IT), computer science, and marine environmental protection that they picked up at “Enabling Boat” training with hundreds of other students.

    The events attracted the participation of a large number of students, raising awareness about marine environmental protection, encouraging their learning spirit, and especially pushing them to learn to use computers and IT applications.

    At the visit, students of the project took part in a short drama simulating the "Enabling boat" classes that they joined.

    Through a naturally-flowing and entertaining conversation, they talked of what they have learned from the project as well as talked of the effective learning methods they picked up to help others study better.

    At the end of the session, all students had a chance to understand the project by answering short questions about general knowledge of soft skills, marine environment, and applying IT and computer science in their studies and life. This session not only helps them to better understand the project, but also encourages them to actively learn and expand their knowledge.

    In addition, another interesting and rewarding activity for students was a training session on essential soft skills.

    The exchange has created a new learning space which allows students to access knowledge in a fun and effective way, thus stimulating them to explore the ocean of knowledge at their fingertips and the bigger world.

    The “Enabling Boat” project is sponsored by tech giants Microsoft and Acer, implemented by the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD) in collaboration with the Vietnet Information Technology and Communication Centre (Vietnet-ICT) and local partners.

    The project provides training sessions on practical soft skills, basic knowledge and skills in information technology and computer science, environmental protection, and climate change for more than 200 local students and youths in the difficult coastal areas of Halong city.

    New flag tower inaugurated in Lao Cai northern border province

    A new national flag tower was inaugurated in A Mu Sung commune, Bat Xat district in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai on December 16.

    The tower, situated at the place where the Hong (Red) River) enters Vietnam from China, was the work of the province’s youth to welcome the 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union for the 2017-2022 tenure.

    The project, worth over VND17 billion (US$748,000) sourced from donations, was started in March 2016. 

    The tower is 31.43 metres high and holds a 25-sq.m flag. The figures represent the 3,143-metre high Fansipan peak and 25 ethnic groups in the province.

    The work demonstrates the will and determination of local youths to build on the tradition in building and protecting the nation, while contributing to affirming the national border sovereignty and developing local tourism.

    The tower was handed over to the People’s Committee of Bat Xat district for management. 

    The Lung Po flag tower is expected to be one of the new tourism destinations in the locality’s tour through Lao Cai – Bat Xat – Sapa.

    Association helps promote Vietnam-Belarus friendship

    Belarus considers cooperation with Vietnam as one of its foreign policy’s leading priorities in Asia Pacific, affirmed Charge d’affaires ad interim of Belarus in Vietnam Dmitry Gil at a friendship get-together in Hanoi on December 16.

    In his speech at the exchange to celebrate the 20th founding anniversary of the Vietnam-Belarus Friendship Association (VBFA), the diplomat highlighted the dynamic and strong development of the bilateral relations. 

    Vietnam is Belarus’s traditional trade partner in Southeast Asia, with two-way trade having tripled over the last decade, he said.

    He also hailed cultural cooperation between Vietnam and Belarus, saying that the work has been actively supported by the VBFA.

    The diplomat expressed his hope that the association will continue serving as a bridge to promote closer friendship between the two nations in the coming time. 

    Established on April 20, 1997, the VBFA is working to enhance solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding between Vietnamese and Belarusian people, including the first Belarus Culture Days held in Vietnam in May this year. 

    Many friendship activities have been organised over the last two decades, contributing to promoting the diplomatic and economic relations between Vietnam and Belarus.

    Curtain comes down on Korean Day in Quang Nam

    The Korean Day programme concluded in TamKy city, the central province of Quang Nam, on December 16 after entertaining visitors with a range of activities.

    The two-day event was jointly held by the provincial People’s Committee and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vietnam in celebration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries (December 22). 

    The festival featured Korean Movie Days, a photo exhibition on the land, culture and people of the RoK and Quang Nam, a workshop on building new-style rural areas in Quang Nam and the new village movement in the RoK, a meeting with Korean investors and an exchange for students. 

    The RoK has the largest number of investors in Quang Nam province, with 31 companies and total capital of nearly US$250 million, generating jobs for nearly 10,000 labourers. 

    Quang Nam has set up close ties with localities of the RoK over the past time. Annually, the province receives hundreds of thousands of US dollars in humanitarian and community development aid from RoK non-governmental organisations. 

    The RoK has been among the main source countries of tourists to Quang Nam over the past years. 

    The Korean Day event is expected to promote tourism in Quang Nam, which is home to two world cultural heritage sites by UNESCO - Hoi An ancient town and My Son sanctuary, together with many rich and unique tangible and intangible heritage values.

    The province also boasts several potential beautiful landscapes such as excellent beaches, Cham and Tam Hai islands and the majestic Truong Son mountain range. 

    It attracted nearly 4.4 million of tourists in 2016 and aims to welcome over 5 million visitors in this year.

    Exhibition reviews Dien Bien Phu in the Air campaign

    Photos and objects on the Dien Bien Phu in the Air victory are on displayed at an exhibition called “Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the Air and the Trench of the Command Post of Operations,” which opened in Hanoi on December 15 to mark the 45th anniversary of the victory.

    Hanoi, Hai Phong and their vicinities were heavily bombarded in an aerial raids in December 1972, known in Vietnam as "Dien Bien Phu in the Air” and in the West as the 1972 Christmas bombing.

    It was the last US military campaign during the war and lasted for 12 days from December 18 to 29.

    Over 12 days and nights, the Hanoi air defence grids and all across the north of Vietnam shot down 4,181 airplanes, including 34 expensive B52s, referred to as flying fortresses, which had their own radar bomb navigation systems with well-trained crews.

    Linebacker II was to be a "maximum effort" bombing campaign to "destroy major target complexes in the Hanoi and Hai Phong areas, which could only be accomplished by B-52s”, according to military experts.

    It saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the US Air Force since the end of World War II.

    But the people of Hanoi triumphed over the heavy bombardment, although more than 1,600 civilians were killed and three Mic 21 were shot down. The Hanoians had named the 12 day and night campaign their Dien Bien Phu in the Air, recalling their decisive victory over the French in 1954.

    The victory under Hanoi skies prompted the US to return to the negotiating table in Paris and finally sign the peace accords that they had previously refused to.

    The exhibition is divided into two parts, the ‘Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the Air’ and the ‘Trench of the Command Post of Operations aka T1 bunker’.

    The trench of the Command Post of Operations, built in 1964, was the place where the country’s leaders received reports and gave directions for the resistance war throughout the country. During the 12 days and nights in 1972, operations from bunker T1 helped shoot down several B52 planes.

    Today T1 is an important part of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relic, making it an outstanding heritage site in Hanoi.

    The exhibition will run until the end of the year at the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre in Hanoi.

    During the exhibition, the organiser will also screen documentaries and hold talks with witnesses and experts.

    National Assembly leader visits naval units in Khanh Hoa

    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan visited naval units stationed in the Cam Ranh military base in the south central province of Khanh Hoa on December 17.  

    The NA leader held a working session with the High Command of Naval Region No 4 and had meetings with officers and soldiers of the Submarine Brigade 189, CamRanhInternationalPort, Brigade 162 and Naval Air Brigade 954. 

    During working sessions and meetings, the top legislator commended the naval force on its performance in training and search & rescue work during recent storms. 

    She expressed trust in the force’s political firmness and readiness for fight to protect national sea and island sovereignty. 

    Ngan also talked to soldiers and residents in Truong Sa town and the island communes of Song Tu Tay and Sinh Ton of Khanh Hoa’s Truong Sa district via a video chat online link. 

    Latin American diplomats pay tribute to President Ho Chi Minh

    Delegations from Latin American and Middle Eastern embassies in Hanoi led by Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Rondon Uzcategui, laid wreaths and paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum on December 17. 

    The activity was held to commemorate the 187th death anniversary of Venezuela’s national liberation hero Simon Bolivar, and pay honour to the great Vietnamese leader, contributing to tightening the friendship between Vietnam and Latin American nations.

    Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was the greatest leader of Latin America's independence movement in the beginning of the 19th century. The struggle led by him helped six countries - Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia– gain independence from Spain.

    Top legislator examines Khanh Hoa’s socio-economic performance

    NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan had a working session with officials of the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on December 16 to review the province’s 2017 socio-economic development plan. 

    Ngan lauded the joint efforts made by local authorities to address the consequences caused by storm Damrey in November, urging the locality to take comprehensive measures to help its residents stabilise their lives and businesses resume their operation.

    Reporting to the NA top leader, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Duc Vinh said the province’s GRDP expanded by 7.9 percent year on year and GRDP per capita reached 57 million VND (2,500 USD) in 2017.

    Its export value was estimated at 1.22 billion USD, a slight rise from 2016, while the import value was around 680 million USD, falling 3.5 percent year on year.

    The locality welcomed 5.43 million visitors, including over 2 million foreigners, earning 17 trillion VND (748 million USD) from tourism, up 30.8 percent year on year.

    However, damages caused by storm Damrey were serious and extensive, thus affecting the realisation of its 2017 socio-economic targets, including industrial and fishery-agricultural production, and poverty reduction.

    Total fatalities due to the storm reached 44, while one remains missing and 229 others were injured. The total damage was estimated at over 14.7 trillion VND (616 million USD) with 2,810 houses totally destroyed, 115,580 others damaged and over 36,000 hectares of crops inundated. Over 370,000 heads of livestock and poultry were killed or washed away. Thousands of ships were sunk, and thousands of hectares of fish farms along with numerous infrastructure facilities were ruined.  

    Vinh reported that the province has earmarked 18.5 billion VND (814,000 USD) for providing aid in cash and rice to storm-affected residents, adding that over 176 billion VND (7,744 USD) was also mobilised from the local budget and donors to help local people repair their houses.

    The province’s authorities made several proposals to the NA on local socio-economic development, including the adjustment of the area of its Bac Van Phong Special Administrative-Economic Zone. The province also asked the NA to allow it keep all the import-export taxes collected within the Zone from now to 2030 to finance the implementation of policies designed specifically for the zone. 

    The NA Chairwoman agreed with the proposal on the scope and area of the Bac Van Phong Special Administrative-Economic Zone, saying that the locality needs to prepare a detail proposal to submit to the NA Standing Committee.

    During the occasion, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, Chairman of the NA Office presented 500 million VND (22,000 USD) donated by the staff of the NA Office and Party organisation to help storm victims in the province.

    Activities held in Mozambique to mark Vietnam People’s Army Day

    The Vietnamese Embassy in Mozambique organised several activities on December 14-15 to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22). 

    The embassy’s staff made visits to officers, soldiers and workers of Movitel, a joint venture between Vietnam’s military-run group Viettel and a local company, and organised exchanges between Movitel workers and the local Vietnamese community. 

    The activities aim to give encouragement to the servicepersons who are working far from home, tighten solidarity among the overseas Vietnamese in Mozambique and consolidate the friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese and Mozambican people. 

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Mozambique Nguyen Van Trung sent a greeting letter to officials and workers of Movitel and gifts to those working in remote areas of Mozambique

    Movitel, the first joint venture of Viettel in Africa, started operation in May 2012. Since then, it has developed a network of over 2,800 transmission stations and 27,650 km of cable and become Mozambique’s biggest mobile operator.

    7th CLV youth forum opens in Binh Phuoc

    Delegates from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (CLV) have come together at the 7th CLV youth forum, which opened in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on December 17.


    7th CLV youth forum opens in Binh Phuoc, Con Dao airport set for upgrade, Korean Day programme opens in Quang Nam province, Dozens of students hospitalized due to food poisoning 

    Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee Nguyen Anh Tuan speaks at the forum 

    In his opening speech, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee Nguyen Anh Tuan highlighted the significance of the event, saying that it contributes to implementing the joint statement of the three nations’ Prime Ministers at the 9th CLV Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia, last year. 

    With their role as the vanguard force of each country, young people need to be aware of their responsibility and actively participate in the socio-economic development in the CLV area, he said. 

    As part of the 11th Meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee of the CLV Development Triangle Area, the forum aims to discuss issues of common concern of the three countries’ youths, thus devising practical measures to realise their Governments’ commitments of regional cooperation, he added. 

    Seminars within the forum will focus on measures to promote the role played by regional youths in economic development; and how to enhance connection among young entrepreneurs, the involvement of young people in new rural development and voluntary activities. 

    Representatives from Laos and Cambodia said the even helps tighten relations among youth forces of the three nations, and provides a venue for young businesspeople to share their experience in start-up activities, contributing to fostering trade and tourism ties among the three nations.

    Con Dao airport set for upgrade

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has approved a VND5.2 trillion (US$230 million) plan to upgrade ConDaoIsland’s airport in the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

    By 2020 the airport’s runway would be large enough to receive airplanes such as the Airbus A320. Today, it can only serve smaller ART72 aircraft.

    The parking area by that time would have enough space for at least eight Airbus A320s.

    A new terminal with a capacity of 2 million passengers will also be built.

    The upgrade and expansion plan is divided into two phases, with the first phase occurring from now to 2020, costing VND4.17 trillion. The second phase from 2020-2030 would cost more than VND1 trillion.

    The ConDaoIsland airport, located in the district of the same name in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, was built during the French colonial period.

    It was upgraded in 2003 and put into operation a year later, serving both civil and military flights.

    In the first 10 months of the year, the airport welcomed more than 325,000 passengers.

    The number of passengers is expected to reach 400,000 by the end of the year, up 36% from last year.

    The island, which is 230 km from HCMCity, is also home to important tangible and intangible national Cultural Heritage sites and traditional arts, with great potential for ecological and spiritual tourism.

    Korean Day programme opens in Quang Nam province

    The Korean Day programme kicked off the in central coastal province of Quang Nam on December 15.

    The event was jointly held by the provincial People’s Committee and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vietnam in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic ties.

    Local artists joined those from the RoK’s Gwangyang city to perform traditional music of the two countries. Kpop singers from DongdeokUniversity also cheered up audiences.

    Other sidelines activities include the Korean Movie Days, a photo exhibition on the land, culture and people of the RoK and Quang Nam, a workshop sharing experience in building new areas in Quang Nam and new village movement in the RoK, and an exchange meeting among students.

    Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam’s People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh said the RoK is one of the biggest investors in Quang Nam province. About 31 Korean firms are operating in the locality with a total capital of nearly US$250 million, generating jobs for nearly 10,000 workers.

    Non-governmental organisations from the RoK provides humanitarian and community development aid packages worth hundreds of millions of US dollars for Quang Nam annually, he noted.

    In recent year, the RoK has been among countries having the biggest number of tourists to Vietnam’s central coastal province.

    Quang Nam has signed friendly cooperative relations with three Korean localities - Osan, Yongin and Gwangyang, he said.

    Dozens of students hospitalized due to food poisoning

    Sixteen students from HungLocPrimary School in Thong Nhat district in the southern province of Dong Nai were rushed to hospital on December 15 after having adverse reactions to their breakfast at the school.

    At 10 am while studying in the classroom, students began to experience symptoms of food poisoning such as nausea, bellyache, and diarrhoea.

    At 2pm the same day, these students were still being monitored as they received treatment.

    Some students said that before going to class, they ate rice vermicelli at the school’s canteen, while others had breakfast at shops outside the school. 

    They were taken to the emergency unit of Dau Giay Polyclinic in Thong Nhat district. After providing medical examinations, doctors said they showed symptoms of food poisoning.

    Medical workers have co-ordinated with relevant agencies to take samples of the food for testing to pinpoint the cause of the food poisoning.

    Two workers killed in plywood factory blaze

    A massive fire broke out in the early morning of December 15 at a plywood production factory in Tan Phuoc Khanh ward, Tan Uyen commune, southern Binh Duong province, leaving two workers dead.

    The blaze raged out of control almost instantly with billows of flames and smoke engulfing the workshop within minutes. 

    Although there were warning shouts about the fire, two night shift workers were unable to escape the spreading inferno.

    The two victims were identified as Vo Van Duong (43) and Ha Thi Le (45) from the central province of Ha Tinh.

    Immediately after receiving reports of the blaze, ten fire engines arrived at the scene to battle the raging fire.

    Machinery and many wooden materials inside the workshop have been completely destroyed. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

    Enthusiasm of young volunteers

    Young volunteers’ campaigns have inspired young people’s dynamism and responsibility. The campaigns will continue to be one of the Youth Union’s main activities in the future.

    Young volunteers’ campaigns have expanded and drawn public attention over the past five years. 

    More than 16 million Youth Union members and other young people have engaged in volunteer programs in numerous sectors: new rural development, building civilized urban areas, ensuring traffic safety, environmental protection, climate change response, blood donation, community health, paying gratitude to social contributors, food safety, and stopping epidemics.

    Le Quoc Phong, the first Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, said volunteer activities are organized regularly in many areas. 

    “We design long-term activities for young volunteer intellectuals. We promote their learning efforts and their involvement in social activities. We diversify volunteer activities to fulfill social needs,” said Mr Phong. 

    Youth Union’s volunteer activities have encouraged young people to contribute to social and economic development. 

    Tran Thi Ngoc Trinh, Secretary of Ben Cau district’s Youth Union in Tay Ninh province, said “To promote volunteer activities, we have organized “volunteer hours” so young volunteers can get involved whenever they’re available. The Youth Union’s Central Committee has instructed local units to carry out “volunteer hours” to gain practical results in the next five years.”

    The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union has taken the lead in young volunteer campaigns and guides young people to organize volunteer activities that benefit society.

    CLV tourism and trade fair opens in Binh Phuoc

    The Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle Area tourism and trade fair opened in southern Binh Phuoc province on December 16, under the framework of the 11th meeting of the CLV Development Triangle Area joint coordination committee.

    Businesses from provinces in the CLV Development Triangle Area and Vietnam’s south-eastern provinces assembled at the four-day event to showcase their socio-economic achievements and typical products across 100 pavilions.

    The event offered participants a chance to exchange experiences, promote their brands, develop markets, and expand economic ties. It also allowed Binh Phuoc province to show off its potential and advantages for the development of­­­­ cooperation ties in the future.

    Huynh Thi Hang, vice chair of Binh Phuoc provincial People’s Committee, said the event is of economic, political, social, and cultural significance and aims to develop economic, trade, and investment ties throughout the CLV Development Triangle Area, enhance connectivity among businesses and streamline production, trade of goods, and trade and tourism growth in the region.

    The CLV Development Triangle Area was established in 1999, consisting of 13 provinces; four in the east of Cambodia, four in the south of Laos, and five in Vietnam.

    Kon Tum police bust illegal transport of firecrackers

    Traffic police in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum on December 15 discovered and captured some 300 kilogrammes of illegally transported firecrackers.

    At 6:30 am, the police stopped a suspicious taxi on National Highway 14 in Hoa Binh commune, Kon Tum city, for inspection and found six large bags containing packages of firecrackers weighing about 300 kilogrammes.

    The driver, 30 year-old Vu Manh Trinh residing in Pleiku, Gia Lai province, told police that he had been hired to transport the goods from Ngoc Hoi district in Kon Tum province to Pleiku.

    The driver, his taxi and all exhibits were handed over to local police.

    During December 11-14, authorities at Bo Y International Border Gate seized nearly 498 kilogrammes of firecrackers illegally transported from Laos to Vietnam.

    The production, trade and use of firecrackers has been banned in Vietnam since 1994.

    Previously, firecrackers were usually set off in the country before and during Tet holiday as a tradition.

    UNICEF-funded project support comprehensive child development

    About 35,000 children aged 0-8 and 25,000 parents and caregivers will benefit from a UNICEF-funded project “Mobile integrated early childhood development (MIECD)”, heard a workshop in Hanoi on December 14.

    The use of mobile technology in the project is part of the Comprehensive Child Development Programme (CCDP), which requires a multi-sector and inter-ministerial approach to ensure early caring for and nurturing children. 

    Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said the workshop served as a venue for relevant parties to discuss their roles to ensure coordination in planning and implementing the initiative.

    The project will comprise eight modules in the fields of maternity care, infant care, nutrition, early interaction, care for disabled children, clean water and environmental sanitation, comprehensive child development and surveying. 

    It will be piloted in 27 disadvantaged communes in the Central Highlands provinces of Kon Tum and Gia Lai and the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien

    Mobile technology will help collect data and analyse information related to mothers and children, supporting medical workers in providing reasonable and timely interventions. 

    Vietnam’s large mobile network coverage allows easier access to vulnerable groups of women and children in remote areas, contributing to minimising inequality in accessing health care among different communities in Vietnam.

    On the occasion, the ministry established a national Steering Committee to provide technical assistance, build plans and implement the CCDP.

    Christmas greetings extended to Catholics

    Standing Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh wished Catholic dignitaries and followers a merry Christmas while visiting the Archdiocese of Hanoi on December 15. 

    He informed Archbishop of the Hanoi Archdiocese Cardinal Nguyen Van Nhon about achievements Vietnam has recorded in socio-economic development and national defence over the past time, especially the fight against corruption. 

    Binh applauded contributions made by religious people in general and Catholic followers in particular to such achievements. 

    The Deputy PM also highlighted contributions of the Hanoi Archdiocese to implementing guidelines and policies of the Party, as well as policies and laws of the State. 

    He expressed his hope that under the leadership of Cardinal Nhon, the Hanoi Archdiocese will do more to build and protect the great national unity bloc. 

    On this occasion, Binh visited the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) (ECVN) where he called on Christians to carry forward the tradition of patriotism and contribute more to national construction and defence. 

    Pastor Nguyen Huu Mac, head of the ECVN, briefed the Deputy PM on operation outcomes of the Church in 2017, particularly its 35th General Assembly in October. 

    He pledged to continue coordinating with local authorities to better care for cultural and spiritual life of Protestants. 

    Visiting the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics the same day, Binh urged the committee to encourage Catholic people to join hands in production, poverty reduction and national development. 

    Acting President and General Secretary of the committee priest Tran Xuan Manh promised that Catholic followers will lead a good life, both secularly and religiously, and strictly follow guidelines and polices of the Party and State, especially the Law on Belief and Religion.

    Friendship between Phan Boi Chau, Asaba Sakitaro highlighted

    The special partnership between patriot Phan Boi Chau of Vietnam and doctor Asaba Sakitaro from Japan is a vivid manifestation of the friendship and cooperative ties between the two countries, heard an international seminar held in the central province of Nghe An on December 15.

    The event was held by the provincial People’s Committee, Vietnam National University-Hanoi and the Japan Foundation. 

    Professor Nguyen Xuan Thang, Director of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, highlighted that the event was significant as it was part of the activities to celebrate 150th birthday of patriot Phan Boi Chau and doctor Asaba Sakitaro.

    Discussions at the seminar affirmed historical and cultural values in Chau’s thoughts and the relations between Chau and Sakitaro, Thang said, adding that the relations helped develop Vietnam-Japan friendship.

    He stressed that Vietnam and Japan relations are in the finest phase since the two established diplomatic ties in 1973.

    Scientists, researchers and scholars at the seminar presented important reports on Phan Boi Chau, the initiator of Dong Du (Travelling to the East for study) movement, his contributions to cultural exchanges between Vietnam and Japan and his friendship with doctor Asaba Sakitaro which formed a basis for Vietnam-Japan relations.

    In response to the Dong Du movement, hundreds of Vietnamese students went to study in Japan in hope that they could help reform the country in return. When the movement faced difficulties in 1908, Chau received whole-hearted support from doctor Asaba Sakitaro and people in Fukuroi. 

    After leaving Japan, Chau continued his activities in several countries in the world. In 1918, he returned to Japan and learnt that his friend passed away nine years ago. Chau and people in Fukuroi raised funds for a memorial stele of the late doctor near his tomb.

    Although the Dong Du movement failed and those students had to go home, what Asaba and Fukuroi residents had done for Chau and his followers remains forever in the Vietnamese people’s hearts.

    War veteran association’s sixth congress concludes

    The sixth National Congress of the Vietnam War Veterans’ Association (VWVA) wrapped up on December 15 with the introduction of a 98-member Central Committee for the 2017-2022 period led by Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Duoc.

    During three working days, veterans passed a report summarizing the association’s operation over the past five years and detailing its targets and tasks for the 2017-2020 period, a report on revision of its charter, and a resolution of the congress.

    In the next five years, the association is set to fulfil eight major targets, including the reduction of 1-1.5 percent of poor households of war veterans, repairing all degraded houses of its members, and giving health care consultations and vocational training to all veterans still at working age.

    Addressing the closing ceremony, Sen. Lieut. Gen. Duoc said that the congress was a success, with the set agenda completed.

    He asked the association’s chapters at all levels to promptly popularize important documents agreed during the congress to their members, while drastically building action plans to implement the congress’s resolution.

    Participants at the congress also heard a greeting letter from the Ukraine War Veterans’ Association.

    On the occasion, 42 members of the VWVA Central Committee in the 2012-2017 tenure were awarded with the certificates of merit from the association’s Chairman in recognition of their outstanding performance in building and developing the association.

    Party chief directs Central Military Commission’s work for 2018

    CPV Central Committee General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has asked the Central Military Commission to regularly pay attention to strengthening the Party while preventing “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” behaviours and “peaceful evolution” plots by hostile forces. 

    The Party chief, who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission, made the request while chairing a conference in Hanoi on December 15 reviewing national defence and military work 2017 and outline tasks for 2018. 

    He lauded the Military Party Committee for completing all tasks set for the year, including offering strategic advices to the Party and State on national defence and military affairs, contributing to maintaining political stability and peaceful environment for national development. 

    The army has completed the building of strategies, adopted several important military and defence resolutions and projects, and successfully held a number of major drills to shore up its capacity. The army also played an important role in the successful hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Year 2017, particularly the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang in November. It reaped achievements in mass mobilisation, post-disaster and post-war recovery, as well as the United Nations peacekeeping mission. 

    Progresses have also made in technical logistics and national defence industry. 

    The Party General Secretary underscored the focal tasks for 2018 – a key year to implement Resolutions by the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Military Party Congress, including closely monitoring of domestic and international situations to offer accurate and timely advices to the Party and State, improving military training quality, and developing defence industry and defence external relations. 

    The army must lead the way in rejecting wrongful opinions and distorted allegations by hostile forces, he said, adding that he wished the Military Party Committee would continue standing united to accomplish national defence – military and Party building tasks, thereby creating a driving force to realise the Resolutions of the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Military Party Congress. 

    At the event, members of the Central Military Commission conducted criticism and self-criticism in line with the Resolution of the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee.

    Friendship associations contribute to VietnamJapan relations

    Friendship associations and people-to-people diplomacy have contributed significantly to the productive ties between Vietnam and Japan, said President of the International Friendship Exchange Council (FEC) Ken Matsuzawa.

    He made the remark at a meeting with To Huy Rua, Chairman of the Vietnam– Japan Friendship Association, in Tokyo on December 15.

    Matsuzawa noted that Japan has been considering Vietnam a trusted partner since the beginning of their diplomatic relations.

    For his part, Rua reviewed major events in the two countries’ ties which he said are at the best ever. 

    Vietnamese people have warm feelings towards Japan and its people, he said, expressing his hope that his organisation and FEC can work together to promote exchanges and investment activities between the sides.

    He also invited Japanese investors and citizens to visit Vietnam for mutual understanding and cooperation.

    As part of the meeting, representatives from Japanese and Vietnamese enterprises discussed a number of projects with potential for collaboration and exchanged experience on sustainable growth. 

    Established in 1983, FEC is a non-profit organisation working for friendship and cooperation between Japan and other countries on the private-sector level.

    Plan drafted to facilitate trade in CLV Development Triangle Area

    A conference took place in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on December 15 to collect opinions on a plan designed to implement the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Facilitation in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle Area.

    According to Le An Hai, deputy head of the Department of Asian and African Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the agreement was signed on November 23, 2016, after two years of negotiation. To date, Laos and Vietnam have ratified the pact, while Cambodia is still working on the ratification.

    The agreement presents special mechanisms to support poor localities in the triangle area and stimulate border trade. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade is in charge of drafting the plan for the agreement’s implementation, which is expected to include trade promotion and facilitation activities, a mechanism to examine the realization of the parties’ trade commitments, as well as issues related to technical cooperation and working coordination among ministries, sectors and localities. 

    Participants, who are representatives from different government units and sectors, suggested widespread communications activities on the agreement to create unanimity among public agencies, businesses and residents during implementation.

    They stressed the delegation of power and allocation of financial sources in order to enable localities to tackle difficulties and work well with their Lao and Cambodian partners.

    They proposed the organisation of information exchanges and annual reviews of cooperation outcomes.

    The conference was held on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th meeting of the CLV Development Triangle Area joint coordination committee, which runs from December 15 – 19.

    The CLV Development Triangle Area consists of 13 provinces, including four in the east of Cambodia, four in the south of Laos, and five in Vietnam.

    UNFPA helps Vietnam respond to gender-based, domestic violence

    A project to support the development and implementation of evidence and human rights-based policies and programmes on prevention and response to gender violence, domestic violence and on addressing sex work-related issues was launched in Hanoi on December 15.

    The project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Farmers’ Union with technical assistance of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam.

    With a total budget of 4.1 million USD, of which 3.7 million USD is funded by the UNFPA, the scheme will be implemented during 2017-2021 to help increase the efficiency of the enforcement of the Law on Gender Equality, the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control and other policies and programmes on prevention and response to domestic violence. 

    It will also work to raise the capacity and responsibility of relevant state agencies and organisations; and change the awareness and behaviour of policy-makers and the community, especially men, of prevention and response to gender-related violence and domestic violence.

    In addition, the project looks to support the development and implementation of evidence and human rights-based policies and programmes on addressing issues related to prostitution.

    Speaking at the launch ceremony, MoLISA Deputy Minister Dao Hong Lan said that thanks to joint efforts of the Government and people, Vietnam has seen positive achievements in ensuring gender equality. 

    However, there remain a lot of difficulties and challenges, requiring more effective solutions, Lan stated.

    With the technical assistance from the UNFPA, she believed that the project will help narrowing gender inequality and contribute to the implementation of programmes and strategies on gender equality, gender-based and domestic violence prevention and settlement of prostitution issues, as well as sustainable development goals in Vietnam.

    Association works to strengthen Vietnam-RoK solidarity, friendship

    The Vietnam-Republic of Korea (RoK) Friendship Association of the central coastal province of Quang Nam convened its second congress for the 2017-2022 tenure in Tam Ky district on December 16.

    Phan Thai Binh, deputy head of the provincial National Assembly delegation, was elected Chairman of the association in the new tenure.

    Between 2017 and 2022, the association will continue promoting communications, especially among youngsters, about the friendship between the two countries as well as the achievements of Vietnam in the “doi moi” (reform) period.

    It will continue introducing Quang Nam land, people and culture to Korean friends and coordinating with local relevant agencies to support non-governmental organisaitons from the RoK to operate in the province.

    At the same time, the association will actively calls for investment and economic cooperation between Quang Nam and Korean localities.

    The association strives to establish at least two new chapters in enterprises, schools, localities and sectors having direct relations with the RoK. 

    Since 2003, the association has collaborated with non-governmental organisations and universities of the RoK to build schools, grant scholarships, and provide free medical check-ups and treatment for poor people along with building roads and clean water supply facilities with a total cost of around 21 billion VND (921,900 USD).

    Korean Day programme opens in Quang Nam province

    The Korean Day programme kicked off the in central coastal province of Quang Nam on December 15.

    The event was jointly held by the provincial People’s Committee and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vietnam in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic ties.

    Local artists joined those from the RoK’s Gwangyang city to perform traditional music of the two countries. Kpop singers from DongdeokUniversity also cheered up audiences.

    Other sidelines activities include the Korean Movie Days, a photo exhibition on the land, culture and people of the RoK and Quang Nam, a workshop sharing experience in building new areas in Quang Nam and new village movement in the RoK, and an exchange meeting among students.

    Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam’s People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh said the RoK is one of the biggest investors in Quang Nam province. About 31 Korean firms are operating in the locality with a total capital of nearly 250 million USD, generating jobs for nearly 10,000 workers.

    Non-governmental orgnaisations from the RoK provides humanitarian and community development aid packages worth hundreds of millions of US dollars for Quang Nam annually, he noted.

    In recent year, the RoK has been among countries having the biggest number of tourists to Vietnam’s central coastal province.

    Quang Nam has signed friendly cooperative relations with three Korean localities - Osan, Yongin and Gwangyang, he said.

    Hospital calls for contribution to help poor patient

    The General Hospital Hoan My Cuu Long in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho yesterday said that it had called for social contribution of VND100 million ($4,404) to help a poor patient with heart disease.

    A 54 year old woman in Cai Rang District, Can Tho city has heart disease. In 2013, she underwent a cardiac valve replacement surgery; however, she got continuous faint in two recent years though she took many drugs and undergo treatment in some medical clinics.

    Her health condition has been getting worse. At last, she came to the General Hospital Hoan My Cuu Long .

    After performing electrocardiogram (ECG), surgeons decided to carry out a heart valve repair or replacement surgery because her valves are damaged or diseased and do not work the way they should.

    However, she could not afford the surgery cost of over VND100 million ($4,404).

    Realizing her poverty, General secretary of Vietnam National Heart Association Pham Nhu Hung called for social contribution to support the surgery. He also took part in the surgery. At present, she recovered and received intensive care after the operation.

    According to medical experts, heart valve replacement surgery is a complicated technique. Vietnamese surgeons have made concerted efforts in health-care task for the Mekong delta.

    Additionally, poor patients in the hospital receive financial assistance from benefactors and fund supported by local and international people.

    VN calls on worldwide supports to overcome consequence after typhoon Damrey

    The National Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control called on worldwide supports to overcome serious consequences after typhoon Damrey as well as flashflood in the central region of Vietnam

    The launching ceremony aims to help typhoon and flooding- hit- localities to early stabilize their life. 

    According to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, Vietnam experienced torrential rains, landslides, flashfloods and 14 typhoons, causing 386 dead and missing victims with total damage of VND 60 trillion (around US$ 2.6 billion). 

    Of which, typhoon Damrey made landfall and caused serious damages in the central and south part of the central region, leaving 123 missing, 342 injured persons, 3,550 collapsed houses … Total losses after typhoon Damrey were estimated at nearly VND 22.7 trillion (around US$ 1billion). 

    At the ceremony, Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Development, Head of the National Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong thanked the assistants from the international and domestic individuals and organizations for typhoon and flooding hit people by the recent typhoon Damrey.

    Besides that, he wished to continue receiving more and more worldwide supports to help the central provinces to overcome consequences as well as early stabilize life.

    On behalf of Vietnamese Government, Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong pledged to effectively use and send aids to the typhoon- hit- localities. 

    Mr. Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, also pledged to collaborate with the country to solve difficulties after the recent natural disaster. 

    Earlier, many domestic and international organizations as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Government of Russia, China and Kuwait, the United Nations Development Program, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management, the U.S. Agency for International Development, ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN + 3) Emergency Rice Reserve… shared difficulties with Vietnam via their humanitarian assistants. 

    Party chief directs Central Military Commission’s work for 2018

    CPV Central Committee General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has asked the Central Military Commission to regularly pay attention to strengthening the Party while preventing “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” behaviours and “peaceful evolution” plots by hostile forces.

    The Party chief, who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission, made the request while chairing a conference in Hanoi on December 15 reviewing national defence and military work 2017 and outline tasks for 2018.

    He lauded the Military Party Committee for completing all tasks set for the year, including offering strategic advices to the Party and State on national defence and military affairs, contributing to maintaining political stability and peaceful environment for national development.

    The army has completed the building of strategies, adopted several important military and defence resolutions and projects, and successfully held a number of major drills to shore up its capacity. The army also played an important role in the successful hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Year 2017, particularly the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang in November. It reaped achievements in mass mobilisation, post-disaster and post-war recovery, as well as the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

    Progresses have also made in technical logistics and national defence industry.

    The Party General Secretary underscored the focal tasks for 2018 – a key year to implement Resolutions by the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Military Party Congress, including closely monitoring of domestic and international situations to offer accurate and timely advices to the Party and State, improving military training quality, and developing defence industry and defence external relations.

    The army must lead the way in rejecting wrongful opinions and distorted allegations by hostile forces, he said, adding that he wished the Military Party Committee would continue standing united to accomplish national defence – military and Party building tasks, thereby creating a driving force to realise the Resolutions of the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Military Party Congress.

    At the event, members of the Central Military Commission conducted criticism and self-criticism in line with the Resolution of the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee.

    VNN


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  • 12/18/17--00:55: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 18/12


    Practitioners to discuss personnel changes at roundtable

    Prominent practitioners will take the stage at a roundtable at the Saigon Times Group’s meeting hall in HCMC today to discuss adverse impacts of personnel changes and measures to cope with the problem.

    The roundtable, focusing on personnel changes at companies in a fast-changing world, is among a series of seminars and talks themed “Go with Business” that is organized every two months by the Saigon Times Group in collaboration with partners to support businesses. The meeting today themed “How to stay calm at personnel changes” is jointly held by the Saigon Times Group and ManpowerGroup Vietnam.

    Experts will discuss reasons for and solutions to personnel changes, with an aim to help businesses effectively survive such changes, and ensure smooth operations and sustainable development.

    Speakers at the roundtable include seasoned executives such as Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, Chairwoman and General Director of Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (PNJ), Tran Bang Viet, CEO of Dong A Solutions, and Le Thi Kim Thuy, HR Director at Bosch Vietnam.

    Other speakers include Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue as HR Manager at AEON Vietnam, and Nguyen Xuan Son, Operations Manager, Enterprise Account Outsourcing and Staffing Services, HCMC at ManpowerGroup Vietnam.

    The event will take place at the head office of Saigon Times Group,
    35 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street
    , District 1, HCMC at 9 a.m.


    Singapore’s entrepreneur training debuts in Vietnam

    An entrepreneur training program of Singapore based on digital technology and already implemented in many Southeast Asian countries has been introduced in Vietnam.

    iBosses Vietnam and Singapore’s iBosses Pte Ltd on December 13 launched the entrepreneur training, consulting and development program, promoting innovative and startup eco-systems in Vietnam in the digital era. This program of iBosses Pte Ltd has been run at 40 universities in Southeast Asia.

    In Vietnam, the program consists of 52 courses for entrepreneurs in the digital era, with certificates recognized by 95% of universities in the UK and hundreds of universities worldwide.

    To meet demands of parents, young participants from ten years old, students of high schools and universities can also apply for the program.

    iBosses Vietnam will provide development programs, guidance, IPO consultancy and management services for learners, helping them get on bourses successfully.

    As for the program of taking care of startups until they get listed on international bourses, iBosses imposes a fee equivalent to 10% of companies’ value.

    Large steel structure factory inaugurated in Dong Nai


     Singapore’s entrepreneur training debuts in Vietnam, Large steel structure factory inaugurated in Dong Nai, Experts: HCMC apartment supplies seen rising next year, Growth continuing in FMCG

    ATAD Steel Structure Corporation on December 13 held the inauguration ceremony of a large factory in Long Khanh Industrial Zone in DongNaiProvince.

    The ATAD Dong Nai steel structure factory covers 15 hectares and has a capacity of 8,500 tons per month. It is the largest steel structure factory in Vietnam, the company said.

    The corporation’s second steel structure factory in Vietnam is part of phase one of a multiple-phase project it is developing in the southern province. The project costs around US$40 million for phase one and US$5 million for phase two which is now under construction.

    Nguyen Le Anh Tuan, general director of the corporation, said ATAD offers complete solutions to customers, including consulting, design, fabrication and erection of high-quality pre-engineered steel buildings and steel structure products.

    The corporation provides full steel structures for factories, warehouses, high-rise buildings, shopping malls, exhibition centers and infrastructure facilities such as railway stations and airports. It has built many steel buildings in 35 countries since its establishment in 2004.

    Dinh Quoc Thai, chairman of DongNaiProvince, said the new steel structure factory would help meet demand for construction projects in the province and Vietnam as a whole as well as in foreign markets.

    Thai underscored the importance of having sufficient supply of products like those made at the ATAD Dong Nai factory for major projects to be up and running in the province in years to come. 

    The corporation said the ATAD Dong Nai factory was the first steel structure facility in Vietnam and Asia that had gained LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold from the U.S. Green Building Council - the gold standard of green building certification. Last September, the council awarded the LEED Platinum certification on ATAD’s Dong Nai factory office and the LEED Gold certification on ATAD’s Dong Nai factory.

    “This investment is not just to enhance our working environment but also reaffirms our commitment to international customers and business partners,” Tuan of ATAD said. “In recent years, ATAD’s customers have been mainly foreign investors in Vietnam... Most of them, especially U.S. customers, are very interested in partner’s working environment.”

    Experts: HCMC apartment supplies seen rising next year

    The HCMC real estate market will continue growing with some 40,000 apartments put up for sale next year, mainly mid-end ones, said experts at a conference on the Vietnamese property market in HCMC on December 13.

    At the conference, Duong Thuy Dung, senior director of property services provider CB Richard Ellis Vietnam (CBRE), said apartment supplies on the local market as a whole would increase as many housing projects are in the pipeline now.

    However, apartment supplies in Hanoi next year will slightly go down compared to 2017. Besides, property transactions are predicted to fall due to possible customer caution.

    Apartment prices would increase 3% over this year, said Dung.

    Can Van Luc, an economic expert, said the property market would maintain its growth momentum next year due to its positive performance this year. As of September, listed real estate firms had average revenue and profit growth of 40% and 6% respectively.

    In addition, prices of offices for lease and apartments have increased by 5-10%. Despite the cash flow into the sector is checked, private investment into the property market has surged 60%.

    Cen Group vice chairman Pham Thanh Hung said the globalization of real estate markets would continue next year as more Vietnamese would buy houses abroad and foreigners would buy more properties in Vietnam as well. Vietnam is expected to integrate into the global real estate market in the next two or three years.

    The property market has witnessed a huge number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals this year. However, values of such transactions were not revealed.

    Pham Xuan Can, chairman of Sohovietnam Real Estate Consulting Company, told the conference that property transactions which have been announced accounts for 20-30% of total M&A deals in the sector.

    The M&A section next year may offer many opportunities for Vietnamese property firms.

    Truong Thanh Furniture to work with SAM Holdings

    One of Vietnam’s largest wooden furniture manufacturers, Truong Thanh Furniture (TTF), has signed a cooperation agreement with materials supplier SAM Holdings (Stock code SAM) on supplying materials and services.

    TTF and SAM are related businesses, as Mr. Hoang The Quang is a Board Member of the former and Deputy CEO of the latter.

    SAM is engaged in the manufacture and trading of cables, telecommunications materials, and wooden materials, construction, real estate, golf courses, accommodation, and tourism.

    In the first nine months of this year its revenue reached VND1.52 trillion ($66.8 million), an increase of VND210 billion ($9.24 million) over the same period last year. After-tax profit was nearly VND49 billion ($2.15 million). Total assets as at September 30 stood at nearly VND4 trillion ($176 million).

    TFF is engaged in the manufacture and sale of wooden furniture and floorings in Vietnam and also exports products to the UK, France, Belgium, the US, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, and Japan.

    Revenue in the first nine months of this year was VND756 billion ($33.2 million) and after-tax profit more than VND4 billion ($176,000). As at the end of the third quarter, remarkably, TFF also recorded nearly VND1.4 trillion ($61.6 million) in accumulated losses.

    The company’s consolidated financial statement for 2016’s fourth quarter shows a total loss of VND145 billion ($6.4 million), bringing its full year losses to VND1.63 trillion ($72 million), of which its cumulative losses amounted to VND1.768 trillion ($7.8 million). Moreover, the company had negative owner’s equity of more than VND195 billion ($8.6 million) as at December 31, 2016.

    Human resources key to development

    South Korea and Vietnam continue to share views and strengthen the development of their strategic partnership in all aspects, especially in the fields of development, management, and the use of high-quality human resources to address the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) in Vietnam and internationally, the Global HR Forum 2017, with the theme “Miracle on the Han River to Miracle on the Red River”, held by South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, and The Korea Economic Daily on December 14 and 15, heard.

    Mr. Kim Sang-kon, South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Mr. Jaime Saaverdra, Senior Director of Education Global Practice at the World Bank, Mr. Phung Xuan Nha, Minister of Education and Training, and more than 300 local and international guests were in attendance.

    South Korean experts and scientists shared the lessons that led their country from a poor country in the late 1950s to become an Asian dragon in the early 1990s: the “Miracle on the Han River”.

    Minister Nha told the gathering that in a bilateral meeting with State President Tran Dai Quang at the APEC Summit in Da Nang last month, South Korean President Moo Jae-in said he believed that with determination, strong will, and hard work, Vietnam could have a “Miracle on the MekongRiver”.

    Vietnam has always appreciated the importance of human resources development and is making efforts to adopt high requirements in the quality of human resources at the moment and in the years to come,” said Mr. Nha. “Learning from developed countries, especially South Korea, which has many similarities with Vietnam, Vietnam has identified human resources development as a breakthrough solution for the development of the economy and improving the quality of growth.”

    Addressing the forum, Mr. Kim Sang-kon said he hopes that the Global HR Forum will allow the two countries to identify ways to cooperate in education and training and strengthen the close cooperation in economics, culture, and society.

    Through discussions, parties will jointly identify the opportunities and challenges for the development of high quality human resources and propose appropriate solutions to meet human resources requirements in the new era and improve the quality of human resources in Vietnam.

    In the context of the fourth industrial revolution, the demand for human resources development is facing new challenges. The rapid development of technology changes the nature of some types of work, minimizing the number of steps through automation. Some human labor is replaced by mechanical and artificial intelligence. Countries need to develop a high quality human resources strategy for technical skills, social skills, and cognitive skills.

    Growth continuing in FMCG

    Vietnam’s positive economic outlook and growing domestic demand are expected to boost growth in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market to the end of the year, according to the latest key market highlights from Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam.

    Mr. David Anjoubault, General Manager of Kantar Worldpanel Vietnam, said the Urban FMCG market continues to show good movement. In Rural, meanwhile, the market is improving slowly despite the impact of natural disasters over the last two months.

    In Urban, Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSD) and Energy Drinks have recruited buyers since the beginning of the year, mostly driven by the market leaders. The Urban 4 cities include Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Can Tho.

    In Rural, Tonic Food Drink liquid is developing very well. The category has not only seen its buyer base expand but also increased consumption. Its success is attributed to the widening distribution network reaching every corner of Rural areas.

    Non-food sectors are retaining their momentum, especially Personal Care categories. Beverage is now leading in growth in Urban once again while Dairy has shown a slight increase in Rural partly thanks to milk-based products such as cup yogurt and cream desserts. However, Dairy in Urban and Packaged Foods in Rural are still suffering from falls in volume consumption.

    Modern Trade maintains healthy growth, from bricks & mortar stores (both big and small formats) to online channels. On top of that, Minimarkets, Convenience Stores and online shopping are getting more and more familiar among shoppers and are gaining more ground in Urban. A fifth of Rural shoppers now shop at medium-sized street shops for a larger range of products and choices, which is a good sign for further expansion of this channel in Rural.

    While Private Label accounts for 20-30 per cent of total retail sales in the US and the EU, it still has limited development in Vietnam, mainly due to underdeveloped Modern Trade and a lack of diversified product offerings and effective communications. The rise of smaller modern shopping formats and more investment from “giant” retailers may leverage Private Label further.

    Kantar Worldpanel is the world leading market research company in consumer knowledge and insights based on continuous consumer panels. Combining market monitoring, advanced analytics and tailored market research solutions, Kantar Worldpanel delivers both the big picture and the fine detail that inspire successful actions by clients.

    With over 60 years of experience, a team of 3,000, and services covering more than 50 countries directly or through partners, it delivers High Definition Inspiration™ in fields as diverse as FMCG, impulse products, fashion, baby, telecommunications, and entertainment, among many others.

    Consumption Promotion Fair 2017 on horizon

    The Consumption Promotion Fair 2017 will wrap up the “Promotion Month 2017” and aims to stimulate consumption power and meet consumption demand in Ho Chi Minh City. The fair will take place from December 28 to January 2 in District 11.

    This year’s fair will see the participation of 280 enterprises from the city with more than 460 booths presenting consumer goods such as food and beverages, fashion, textiles, footwear, automobiles, electronics, telecommunications, home appliances, handicrafts, cosmetics, furniture, tourism, and real estate, with various promotions also being held.

    Over 10,000 products will be introduced to consumers and opportunities will be available to exchange information between enterprises and customers.

    The event is being organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT) and Department of Tourism to help consumers choose the best Vietnamese products and for enterprises to introduce their best products to consumers.

    It therefore supports enterprises in improving their competitiveness, raising production and business, promoting products and brands, and improving consumer awareness about Vietnamese goods.

    The organizing board will also display counterfeit goods and explain how to identify genuine goods. Awareness will be raised about the elimination of counterfeits and violations of intellectual property.

    Sponsors include the Saigon Alcohol Beer and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), the Binh Dien Fertilizer Joint Stock Company, the Vietnam Brewery Company Limited, the Vissan Joint Stock Company, and the Minh Long I Company Limited.

    Last year’s Consumption Promotion Fair welcomed 320 enterprises with more than 600 booths in various fields.

    FPT Software & Airbus cooperate in aviation technology

    FPT Software and Airbus signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on December 14 in Hanoi on looking into opportunities to develop aviation technology relating to Airbus’s Skywise, a recently launched aviation data platform.

    FPT Software, in the short term, will look to create a pool of up to 500 developers and train them in how to utilize Skywise in developing solutions to improve business efficiency in the aviation industry.

    The training courses on the Skywise platform will then be expanded to Airbus customers and Skywise users.

    “Skywise, ‘the beating heart of aviation’, is a strategic initiative at the core of Airbus’s digital transformation and a game changer for the entire industry,” said Mr. Marc Fontaine, Digital Transformation Officer at Airbus. “As part of this open and innovative ecosystem, we are happy to engage with FPT as one of the partners that will help us take this challenging endeavor further.”

    “The cooperation agreement with Airbus on the Skywise Data Platform marks a significant milestone of FPT in its journey to become a trusted partner of leading global technology corporations in developing and implementing their digital platforms,” said Mr. Truong Gia Binh, FPT Chairman. “With strong expertise in the aviation industry, we commit to investing resources in order to develop Airbus’s Skywise as well as other aviation technology services and solutions.”

    The cooperation between FPT Software and Airbus will also cover matters such as the provision of API for third parties to develop applications on Skywise, the migration of applications onto Skywise, and the maintenance of Skywise applications.

    The two companies also agreed to investigate how FPT Software may help developing technology services and solutions for Airbus in innovative application development, predictive maintenance applications, cloud, data analysis, micro services/API design, and development from existing components.

    Airbus launched Skywise in June. The platform gathers aviation data from various sources such as work orders, components consumption, components data, aircraft / fleet configuration, on-board sensor data, and flight schedules into one cloud-based platform, enabling users to access a single point and gain deeper data insights.

    With an ability to interpret large sets of fleet and flight operations data, Skywise can also help airlines improve business efficiency by reducing flight disruptions, cutting maintenance costs through predictive maintenance, optimizing flight operations, transforming cabin and ground operations, making faster decisions to cope with unexpected events, and optimizing fleet management.

    FPT Software has years of experience in the aviation industry, cooperating with the largest airlines in the US as well as Vietnam’s national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines. The company’s expertise has been proven by a vast array of projects, such as an Airlines E-commerce Portal, Frequent Flyer Applications to facilitate the implementation of Customer Loyalty Programs, and Navigational Information & Flight Planning Applications.

    Since 2013, FPT Software has been Vietnam Airlines’ strategic partner in providing services and solutions on mobile devices, website development, e-commerce, cloud computing, security, big data, hosting/data centers, international and domestic transmission, internet services, and ERP, among others.

    More recently, in July, it became a partner of Siemens in the MindSphere IoT Operating System.

    Southern region leads in green growth action plans

    The southern region is leading the country in promulgating action plans to promote green growth, an expert said at a review conference on the implementation of the Vietnam Green Growth Strategy held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 14.

    Le Duc Chung, a senior expert of the project, noted that 12 out of the 17 cities and provinces in the southern region have built action plans to realise the strategy – which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via “greening” production and adopting “green” lifestyles.

    Other experts at the event recognised positive changes brought by the green growth strategy in localities in the south, including cities and provinces in the southeastern and southwestern regions.

    After five years of implementation, the strategy is on the right track with positive outcomes recorded, Chung said, adding that Dong Nai is a leading locality in the field.

    Deputy director of Dong Nai’s Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Huu Nguyen said at the beginning of 2013, his province built an action plan to implement the strategy and raised public awareness of green growth and environmental protection.

    Dong Nai has a lot of potential to develop industry with 32 industrial parks, including 31 operational ones. Therefore, the province has concentrated on “greening production” through strict assessment of environmental protection in investment projects to make sure all industrial parks have effective waste treatment systems, he said.

    The high-tech and green industrial products make up about 40 percent of gross regional domestic product (GRDP) while more than 85 percent of business manufacturing facilities have met environment standards and over 70 percent of firms applied clean technologies, he cited.

    To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the locality plans to close brick-kilns in residential quarters and those using fossil fuel materials at the end of this year. Local authorities will encourage people to use non-baked bricks.

    Simultaneously, the province has invested in developing public transport services, improving treatment of waste discharged from hospitals and industrial parks and maintaining forest coverage of over 50 percent.

    Meanwhile, Ben Tre province is focusing on greening agricultural production and promoting renewable energy and biodiversity preservation.

    Deputy director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Chau Van Binh said the province has carried out an action plan for green growth since late 2015.

    Increasing competitiveness and applying the latest technologies in production are among measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the natural environment, he said.

    Added to this is making effective use of natural resources and promoting environmentally friendly lifestyles, he added.

    Specifically, the province warned people to limit the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and encouraged them to increase areas used to grow clean vegetables to nearly 200 hectares and fruit to 280 hectares and build a disease-free shrimp breeding area of 100 hectares.

    Despite positive changes, experts said it’s necessary to devise mechanisms to mobilise social capital to promote green growth in southern localities.

    Deputy Head of the Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment under the Ministry of Planning and Investment Nguyen Thi Minh Hien said promoting green growth is key to achieving sustainable development.

    Therefore, the ministry pledged to provide maximum support for southern localities to build and implement action plans for green growth targets, she added.

    US companies explore smart city opportunities in Central Vietnam

    Fourteen smart city-related companies will highlight US expertise to city officials and local businesses this week.

    Consul General Mary Tarnowka from the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City joined 14 smart city-related companies in Nha Trang on December 12 for the first leg of a three-city business development mission to Central Vietnam.

    The delegation of 27 US government and industry representatives met with city officials and local businesses to present innovative smart city solutions from the United States to address Vietnam’s growing urban challenges. The delegation will continue to Danang and Hue on December 13 and December 14, led by Commercial Counsellor Stuart Schaag from the US Embassy in Hanoi.

    The delegation is comprised of representatives from US firms like Honeywell, KPMG, Microsoft, Uber Technologies, Baker & McKenzie, Dell,  Qualcomm, 3M, Alta Planning + Design, Arcadis, HACH, Koolspan, Palo Alto Networks, and Xylem.

    "Vietnam is facing rapid urbanisation, posing challenges for city officials and planners to provide basic infrastructure in transportation, energy, healthcare, water, and e-government services to make their communities more attractive and liveable,” said Consul General Mary Tarnowka. “US firms have innovative products and services in the smart cities area that can support Vietnamese cities.”

    On the same note, US Embassy Commercial Counsellor Stuart Schaag commented, “I am confident that this week’s events will help US delegates learn more about each city’s smart city objectives and unique needs, and showcase to city officials and local businesses not only some of the best US technology and services in the smart city area, but US firms’ desire to develop relationships in Vietnam that can create win-win-win solutions for the city, industry, and most importantly, its citizens.”

    During the trip, the delegation will meet with government officials from Danang, Khanh Hoa and Thua Thien-Hue provinces for a series of meetings.

    Presentations from city leaders and heads of relevant departments, such as information and communications, transportation, health and planning, will expose US firms to the unique challenges that each city faces in dealing with rapid urbanisation and efficiently managing services offered to citizens and visitors.

    US delegates will then present their smart city solutions, as well as share best practices from the US and around the world.

    GDP growth increasingly dependent on labour productivity

    Against the context that all the Vietnam's development factors are limiting, GDP growth seems to increasingly dependent on labour productivity.

    According to Dr Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), while Vietnam has achieved its annual growth targets, the growth rate has clearly declined. If the GDP growth remains the same, it will be difficult to narrow the development gap with other countries in the region. GDP growth is becoming increasingly dependent on labour productivity.

    Data of the General Statistics Office shows that Vietnam's labour productivity is still low compared to other countries in the region, reaching $9,894 in 2016, equaling 7 per cent of Singapore, 17.6 per cent of Malaysia, 36.5 per cent of Thailand, 42.3 per cent of Indonesia, 56.7 per cent of the Philippines and 87.4 per cent of Laos.

    "It should increase by at least 6 per cent per year to reach the growth target. Labour productivity has increased mainly due to economic structural adjustments, while the increase in sectoral productivity is lower than in previous periods," Cung said.

    The increasing rate of added value in the private sector is relatively high and has been continuously improving in recent years. However, it has not attracted more labour or created more jobs. The state economic sector's efficiency is lower, but its size has not been significantly reduced, according to Cung.

    Investment efficiency in agriculture is high, but the volume of investment capital has not been growing accordingly. Vietnamese enterprises have high capital intensity, but capital productivity is the lowest in the region, as capital is not channelled into technological innovation. The concentration of capital is not linked with labour productivity, mainly due to the low-performing SOE sector.

    In order to help Vietnam overcome the challenges in terms of the productivity and increase the competitiveness of the economy, the Australian government pledged to provide $5 million to support the Vietnamese government to achieve its targets for improving the business environment and move Vietnam towards becoming a more market-oriented economy.

    This programme that will last for four years (Aus4Reform) will assist the development and implementation of economic policies, laws, and institutions critical to helping the Vietnamese economy to meet its potential. The initiative will also build linkages between Australian and Vietnamese institutions to share expertise and experiences.

    Vietnam has a long history of pursuing economic reform and Australia is proud to have offered our support throughout this process,” Australian ambassador Craig Chittick said at the Launching Workshop of the $5-million Aus4Reform held on December 13. “Economic reform is tough, but Australia will continue to support Vietnam on this journey.”

    Australia’s support will help Vietnam register one million new formal private enterprises by 2020, increase the percentage of women-led enterprises and accelerating growth in private sector employment.

    Aus4Reform brings together Vietnam’s leading think-tanks and government agencies responsible for economic policies, including CIEM, the Vietnam Competition Agency (VCA), the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Economic Committee of the National Assembly (ECNA).

    Aus4Reform builds on the reform momentum achieved through previous Australian support programmes, including “Beyond WTO” and “Restructuring for a more competitive Vietnam.”

    Dong Nai exports more than 800 tons of pepper to Germany, Netherlands

    The Lam San Cooperative in Cam My district, southern DongNaiProvince has shipped 800 tons of pepper to Germany and the Netherlands this year, tripling the volume of last year’s exports.

    Nguyen Ngoc Luan, director of Lam San Cooperative, said they began delivering exports of pepper to the European market in 2015. The Cooperative coordinated with 1,500 households to ensure a stable supply of large shipments of peppercorns at the required quality standards, which has allowed them to sign long-term export contracts.

    One shortcoming of Vietnamese pepper products is pesticide residue, which the Cooperative is seeking to resolve by providing farmers with essential agricultural knowledge, modern farming techniques, and proper practices for pesticide and fertilizer use.

    The Cooperative is negotiating with partners from the EU to sign export contracts worth around 1,500 tons of pepper to the Netherlands and Germany next year, Mr Luan said.

    The Lam San Cooperative is the first Vietnamese company to export pepper to the EU.

    There are approximately 15,000ha of pepper trees in Dong Nai at present, mainly in Cam My, Xuan Loc, and Thong Nhat districts.  However,  sporadic and small scale farming, lack of linkage, pesticide abuse, and fertilizer misuse hinder the growth of pepper exports to demanding markets despite the vast cultivation areas in the province, said Mr Luan.

    Transport development serves Vietnam-China economic corridor cooperation

    Vietnam and China have agreed to upgrade transport and tourism infrastructure to build their economic corridor. The agreement was made at the recent conference in Hai Phong city.

    The Hanoi-Hai Phong expressway, Tan Vu-Lach Huyen route, and Dinh Vu-Cat Hai sea-crossing bridge have been connected to the Hanoi-Lao Cai expressway shortening travel time from Lao Cai to Hai Phong international gateway port to 6 hours.

    In addition to 42 ports stretching along an 11 km pier, the HaiPhongInternationalGatewayPort in Lach Huyen will come into operation next year.

    It was designed to accommodate ships of 100,000 DWT and will enable direct exports to Europe and America. Cat Bi and Hai Phong airports are capable of serving international flights.

    Nguyen Xuan Binh, Vice Chairman of the Hai Phong Municipal People’s Committee said “Hai Phong is an important traffic hub connecting Vietnam’s northern provinces with China’s southern provinces, particularly Yunnan. Hai Phong will tap its potential to boost cooperation between localities.”
    Mr. To Quoc Tuan, Vietnamese General Consul in Kunming said that it’s necessary to renovate the railways and tourism infrastructure.

    “If upgraded, the transport infrastructure will boost cooperation between Vietnamese localities and those in China with a population of hundreds of millions of people. We need to promote tourism cooperation in order to boost China’s trade and investment in Vietnam,” he said.

    The Beilun Bridge 2 at the Mong Cai border gate, Quang Ninh province was inaugurated in September. Once the Hai Phong-Ha Long expressway is completed, traffic will be connected between Kunming, and Yunnan province in China and cities and provinces within Vietnam’s economic corridor.

    GDP growth increasingly dependent on labour productivity

    Against the context that all the Vietnam's development factors are limiting, GDP growth seems to increasingly dependent on labour productivity.

    According to Dr Nguyen Dinh Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), while Vietnam has achieved its annual growth targets, the growth rate has clearly declined. If the GDP growth remains the same, it will be difficult to narrow the development gap with other countries in the region. GDP growth is becoming increasingly dependent on labour productivity.

    Data of the General Statistics Office shows that Vietnam's labour productivity is still low compared to other countries in the region, reaching $9,894 in 2016, equaling 7 per cent of Singapore, 17.6 per cent of Malaysia, 36.5 per cent of Thailand, 42.3 per cent of Indonesia, 56.7 per cent of the Philippines and 87.4 per cent of Laos.

    "It should increase by at least 6 per cent per year to reach the growth target. Labour productivity has increased mainly due to economic structural adjustments, while the increase in sectoral productivity is lower than in previous periods," Cung said.

    The increasing rate of added value in the private sector is relatively high and has been continuously improving in recent years. However, it has not attracted more labour or created more jobs. The state economic sector's efficiency is lower, but its size has not been significantly reduced, according to Cung.

    Investment efficiency in agriculture is high, but the volume of investment capital has not been growing accordingly. Vietnamese enterprises have high capital intensity, but capital productivity is the lowest in the region, as capital is not channelled into technological innovation. The concentration of capital is not linked with labour productivity, mainly due to the low-performing SOE sector.

    In order to help Vietnam overcome the challenges in terms of the productivity and increase the competitiveness of the economy, the Australian government pledged to provide $5 million to support the Vietnamese government to achieve its targets for improving the business environment and move Vietnam towards becoming a more market-oriented economy.

    This programme that will last for four years (Aus4Reform) will assist the development and implementation of economic policies, laws, and institutions critical to helping the Vietnamese economy to meet its potential. The initiative will also build linkages between Australian and Vietnamese institutions to share expertise and experiences.

    Vietnam has a long history of pursuing economic reform and Australia is proud to have offered our support throughout this process,” Australian ambassador Craig Chittick said at the Launching Workshop of the $5-million Aus4Reform held on December 13. “Economic reform is tough, but Australia will continue to support Vietnam on this journey.”

    Australia’s support will help Vietnam register one million new formal private enterprises by 2020, increase the percentage of women-led enterprises and accelerating growth in private sector employment.

    Aus4Reform brings together Vietnam’s leading think-tanks and government agencies responsible for economic policies, including CIEM, the Vietnam Competition Agency (VCA), the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Economic Committee of the National Assembly (ECNA).

    Aus4Reform builds on the reform momentum achieved through previous Australian support programmes, including “Beyond WTO” and “Restructuring for a more competitive Vietnam.”

    KIDO signs strategic sugar partnership with Thanh Thanh Cong

    KIDO Corporation (KDC) has teamed up with TTC Group to produce and distribute sugar.

    kido signs strategic sugar partnership with thanh thanh cong hinh 0 The two have recently signed a strategic partnership in Ho Chi Minh City to increase presence in the market. Accordingly, KDC will distribute 60,000 tonnes of Bien Hoa Sugar in 2018. The sum is projected to reach 200,000 tonnes by 2020.

    Under the plan, KDC will exclusively distribute some of TTC’s refined sugar products via its network of 200 distributors and 450,000 retail points. In addition to distribution, KDC will be responsible for achieving annual sales targets and expanding product coverage. Meanwhile, TTC will produce sugar and grant distribution rights over some of its products to KDC.

    Dang Van Thanh, chairman of TTC, said that KDC has achieved impressive an performance with charter capital of over VND2.5 trillion ($110 million) and equity of VND8 trillion ($352 million). In addition to its strong financial capability, KDC has been active in the equitisation process. The company now has 10 subsidiaries and six affiliated companies.

    Bien Hoa Daily White Sugar will be the first TTC product distributed by KDC. In the first phase starting from January 2018, KDC will display Bien Hoa Daily White Sugar on its shelves across the country with a yearly sales target in mind.

    TTC will start the distribution of Bien Hoa Daily White Sugar in its chain from December 20, 2017. For the second phase, TTC will give KDC franchise rights to produce a number of exclusive sugar products.

    The tie-up will diversify KDC’s portfolio of consumer products from instant noodles, dipping sauces, and beverage to sugar. The company will also optimise its logistics operations by transporting more essential consumer products with each ride.

    Moving forward, KDC will utilise its cooking oil distribution network to sell instant noodles, dipping sauces, and beverages, following sugar distribution. KDC and TTC will explore new ways to do business in the second phase.

    KDC currently operates six factories specialised in frozen food, ice cream, and cooking oil. Meanwhile, TTC has six sugar mills in the central region, the Central Highlands, the south-eastern region, and Laos with a total processing capacity of 46,100 tonnes of sugarcane per day.

    TTTC Tay Ninh Sugar has recently merged with Bien Hoa Sugar to create the biggest sugar producer Vietnam. The post-merger company has increased capacity at its major sugar mills TTC Tay Ninh and Bien Hoa by 60 per cent.

    Specifically, the TTC Tay Ninh factory will raise its annual processing capacity from 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, the Bien Hoa-Ninh Hoa factory will increase its annual processing capacity from 100,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes. The expansion plan has a total investment capital of VND368 billion ($16.19 million).

    Tran Que Trang, deputy general director of TTC, is upbeat about the outlook of the domestic sugar market. Direct sugar consumption in Vietnam is estimated at 35,000 tonnes per month or 420,000 tonnes per year. Average sugar consumption per capita in Vietnam amounts to 12-14 kilogrammes per year.

    According to Trang, Bien Hoa Sugar has distributed 10,000 tonnes of sugar since 2010. The firm plans to increase the output to 100,000 tonnes of sugar in 2017 and expects to reach an annual output of 1 million tonnes in the coming time.

    TTC is currently holding 40 per cent of the local sugar market with VND22.64 trillion ($996.16 million) in revenue and VND1.5 trillion ($66 million) in profit.

    Vietnam’s fruit production grows yet imports still necessary

    Many types of fruit suitable for year round cultivation in Vietnam, such as durians, mangosteens, oranges, mandarins, and apples are imported from abroad to meet domestic demand.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country’s total fruit and vegetable exports hit a record high of more than US$3.1 billion this year, a year-on-year rise of 43% with the key markets being China, Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea, which are among 86 countries importing Vietnamese fruit.

    The value of fruit exports has seen a rise of more than 120% per year yet the amount imported remains unfavourably high. This year, Vietnam has spent more than US$1 billion importing foreign fruit and vegetables.

    According to Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Plantation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the fruit and vegetable sector should make greater efforts to reduce imports and stimulate exports in the future as Vietnam still has to import some kinds of fruit from Thailand, China, the US, Australia, and South Africa.

    While export growth is always higher than import growth, the rate of fruit imports is showing a steady increase, Mr Son says.

    VIETBUILD Home expo to showcase household stuff
       
    VIETBUILD Home, the annual exhibition on housing, home decoration and household appliances, will be held in HCMCity from December 14 to 18 when people shop for the New Year holidays.

    This year the event will feature about 2,000 booths, over 30 per cent higher than last year, set up by more than 450 exhibitors from 12 countries and territories, including the US, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, China, and Viet Nam.

    They will exhibit a wide range of new products related to construction, intelligent housing systems, and interior and exterior decoration besides household equipment like air conditioners, kitchen utensils and more.

    There will be property transaction floors selling low-income housing and listing incentives.

    A workshop on “Unbaked construction materials – green construction materials for green projects”, business forums and a customers’ conference will also be held to help businesses understand more about market demands.

    Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of the Viet Nam Real Estate Association and head of the organisation board, said the demand for interior and exterior furnishings usually increases at the year-end as people renovate their homes to welcome Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

    The event is therefore well-timed, he added.

    The expo will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

    Viettel Global posts surge in profit
       
    Viettel Global Investment JSC, a subsidiary of military-run telecom Viettel Group, posted a surging gross profit margin of VND2.9 trillion (US$128 million).

    The profit, recorded in the first nine months of the year, represented a 135 per cent year-on-year increase.

    Viettel Global on Thursday said in the nine-month period, its revenue was around VND13 trillion, increasing 19 per cent from the same period last year. In the third quarter alone, its total revenue was VND4.2 trillion, up 8 per cent from the corresponding period last year. Notably, its gross profit margin rose by 29 per cent from VND463 billion to VND1.23 trillion in the quarter.

    Its management board approved its plan to list on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM).

    The company, with VND50 trillion in total assets, will trade nearly 2.24 million shares on UPCoM.

    Starting its overseas investment activities since 2006, Viettel Global has nine international markets, including Cambodia, Laos, East Timor and Mozambique, as well as Cameroon, Tanzania, Burundi and Myanmar. Of these, Mytel – a subsidiary in Myanmar, was granted a licence for trading of information and technology services earlier this year. It is expected to begin operation in the beginning of next year.

    Currently, Viettel’s profit from overseas investment mainly comes from Viettel Global and Viettel Peru (Bitel) – its 10th foreign market. Peru’s regulations and laws stipulate that the parent group, Viettel, has to be the direct owner of Bitel. In the first half of the year, Bitel brought the highest profit from overseas investment to Viettel, accounting for 40 per cent of the group’s total profit.

    Viettel has held the leading position in 5 out of 10 foreign markets in terms of market share. All of its foreign markets reported a profit after three years of operation. The number of Viettel’s mobile phone subscribers was more than 35 million in overseas markets, among its total 100 million ones.

    Viettel was also listed in the top 30 IT groups with the largest number of customers in the world, thanks to the expansion of investment to foreign countries. 

    VNN


    0 0
  • 12/18/17--01:40: Article 0
  • More banks offer mobile payment services


    More than 40 commercial banks are providing mobile payment services, while more than 90 million mobile transactions were made in the first nine months of the year, worth VND423 trillion, equal to 153 percent of 2016 and 316 percent of 2015 figures, according to the State Bank of Vietnam.


     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, mobile payment, e-wallet, NAPAS
    More banks offer mobile payment services  

    SBV deputy governor Nguyen Kim Anh said at a mobile payment conference held recently that the number of cash payment transactions decreased from 14.02 percent in 2010 to 11.45 percent in August 2017.

    The number of cash payment transactions decreased from 14.02 percent in 2010 to 11.45 percent in August 2017.

    Tran Cong Quynh Lan, deputy CEO of VietinBank, said that the development of QR Pay would replace traditional payment methods because it brings benefits to all parties.

    With QR code, buyers don’t need to bring cash and ATM cards when shopping.

    In addition, the payment method ensures information security because buyers don’t have to give cards to sellers.

    Meanwhile, sellers don’t have to pay for cashiers and money counting. As for commercial banks, they don’t have to spend money on ATMs, and it is easy for them to expand networks.

    Analysts all commented that they can see great potential of smartphone-based payment services in Vietnam where more than 50 percent of the population use smartphones.

    A report from VnPay showed that from the beginning of the year to September, the payment via QR code grew by 120 percent and the number of transaction points accepting QR payments increased to 5,000.

    The figure is expected to increase to 50,000 by the end of 2018.

    At least 12 commercial banks provide QR payment services via smartphones. These include big banks such as BIDV, Vietcombank, VietinBank, Agribank, Indovina, SCB, NCB and TPBank.

    A report on the Vietnamese mobile phone market released in April 2017 by Appota, a provider of platforms on smartphones, showed that the number of smartphone users in 2016 was four times higher than in 2013.

    Can Van Luc from BIDV commented that a breakthrough in non-cash payments was made in 2017 thanks to QR code solutions.

    According to Samsung Vina, more than 100,000 people have used Samsung Pay and 50,000 transactions have been made since September 29, when it was launched.

    Samsung Pay is designed specifically for Samsung smartphones which allows customers to integrate their card information into smartphones and make payments at any shop with POS.

    Nguyen Dang Hung, deputy CEO of NAPAS, said that some payment technologies such as Tokenization and QR Code are catching attention from Vietnamese banks.

    SBV, in an effort to push up the development of payment via smartphones, is considering setting up standards for QR code payment in Vietnam.

    It has also established a steering committee on fintech which will give advice on a legal framework to facilitate the development of fintechs in Vietnam.


    Kim Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 12/18/17--19:18: Article 2
  • Social News 18/12


    Skeet shooting tournament held in Hà Nội

    Nearly 100 shooters took part in the two-day Friendly Skeet Shooting Tournament that ended Saturday at the National Sports Training Centre in Hà Nội.

    Nguyễn Thị Nhung, head of shooting division at the National Sports Administration, the good turnout was a positive sign, helping organisers select the best shooters for the national team.

    The event, organized by the Việt Nam Shooting Federation, aims to develop skeet shooting nationwide.

    At the Southeast Asian Games two years ago, Lê Nghĩa brought home a gold medal in this sport.

    Fire destroys mattress warehouse in HCM City


     Fire destroys mattress warehouse in HCM City, SCG grants scholarships to 114 students in 2017, Drug smugglers arrested, Bus hits car, injuring 22, 4 crew members prosecuted in Hai Thanh ship sinking

    A fire occurred late Sunday evening, destroying hundreds of square metres of a warehouse containing mattresses on
    Phan Anh Street
    , Tân Phú District, HCMCity.

    More than 20 firefighting engines and some 100 firefighters joined in extinguishing the fire for over three hours.

    Many neighbouring factories and households evacuated their belongings.

    The blaze was dozens of metres high, caused panic among residents.

    Police and relevant authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

    SCG grants scholarships to 114 students in 2017

    Thailand’s SCG Group has handed over scholarships, worth VNĐ7 million (US$307) each, to 114 alumni who have enrolled in universities in 2017, as part of its scholarship programme.

    These students will study engineering, accounting, marketing and business administration at universities.

    SCG’s "Sharing the Dream" scholarship programme started its journey in 2007, with annual awards to some 400 high school students nationwide.

    The programme targets students facing hardships, with an excellent academic performance and provides them with financial support and personal development training.

    Since then, almost 4,000 dreams have been empowered by SCG through this programme.

    “SCG believes in the value of individuals and the power of education on personal development. That is why we choose to invest in SCG Sharing the Dream programme for the past 11 years,” Somchai Wangwattanapanich, vice president-operations, SCG Chemicals, said at the awards ceremony in HCM City last week.

    ”Through the years, we have seen more students going further in their educational path, and many of them have overcome life’s difficulties to get to their dreams. This year, the number of university students growing from our programme is another manifesto to our strong belief, as well as a motivation for further development of the platform,” he said.

    Besides its substantial impact in Việt Nam, SCG Sharing the Dream programme is also making changes in other ASEAN countries, including Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia, with 5,000 scholarships awarded annually.

    Drug smugglers arrested

    Quảng Bình Province Border Guard and Laos’ Khammouan Province Public Security Department on Saturday arrested a Laos national for allegedly smuggling 32,000 tablets of synthetic drug into Việt Nam.

    The suspect, Vanphila Chan Thaviphon, 28 years old, from KhammouanProvince, admitted that he bought the drug and was heading to the Cha Lo Border gate in the central province of Quảng Bình to sell in Việt Nam when he was caught.

    Last September, the border guard and KhammounanProvince security force also detected five Laos nationals involved in trafficking 12,000 drug pills into Việt Nam.

    Meanwhile, in the northern province of Sơn La, last Saturday, police arrested two suspects for carrying 20 kilos of opium and 3,000 tablets of synthetic drug in Mai Sơn District.

    The suspects – Tráng A Dình, 37, and Sồng A Chính, 28, both from Yên Bái Province – admitted they bought the drug from an unknown man at the border area in Chiềng Khương Commune, Sông Mã District, in Sơn La Province.

    Police are investigating the cases further.

    A fresh look at Hindu statues in Viet Nam

    Việt Nam National Institute of Culture and Arts Study in Huế on Friday introduced a research book on Hindu statues found in temples in central regions of the country.

    The book, which has the title: ‘From Champa temples to Vietnamese religious facilities’, consists of 280 pages. It focuses on cultural conversion in the central region, conquering new land under the religious views, and the adoption of Hindu statues in Vietnamese temples.

    The contents have been built up by research in different locations and on existing cultural legends by researcher Nguyễn Hữu Thông and his associates in the institute.

    The book is illustrated with 222 photos taken from religious facilities in the provinces of Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên- Huế and Quảng Nam.

    According to the book’s chief author, researcher Thông, he and his associates spent almost 10 years conducting field trips to villages in the province to collect information for the book.

    Thông added that stories in the book lined up according to the historical process of Vietnamese migration from the north to south centuries ago.

    Belarus celebrates pioneer printer

    The Belarus Embassy will, on Tuesday, hand 21 volumes of books to the National Library of Việt Nam to mark the 500th year of Belarusian book printing.

    The anniversary is marked on the calendar of UNESCO’s memorable dates, indicating its international significance.

    The National Library of the Republic of Belarus implemented the facsimile reproduction of the books printed by Francysk Skaryna totally in 21 volumes and is handing them to the largest libraries in the world.

    The project is based on electronic copies of the most preserved books of the first printer, stored in libraries and museums of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, CzechRepublic and other countries.

    The hand-over ceremony will be held at 10am at the library at
    31 Tràng Thi Street
    . It will gather representatives from various embassies in Hà Nội, including the Armenian, Azerbaijani, Czech and Italian.

    Francysk Skaryna or Francisk Skorina (1490–1552) was an outstanding Belarusian humanist, physician, translator and one of the first book printers in Eastern Europe. He laid the groundwork for the development of the Belarusian language. He was born into a family of wealthy merchants in Polatsk.

    Skaryna received his primary education in Polatsk (Belarus) and partly in Vilnius (Lithuania).

    In 1522, Skaryna opened the first printing house in Vilnius (Lithuania). Initially he published The Little Travel Book. Then in 1525, he publisjhed Apostol.

    All Skaryna’s editions are rare, especially those published in Vilnius (Lithuania). Copies are stored in libraries in Minsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Vilnius, Lviv, London, Prague, Copenhagen and Krakow.

    The last information about Francysk Skaryna is mentioned in the archives of 1534. He moved from Vilnius to Prague. It is thought that he probably served in the royal garden in Prague until his death.

    Monuments to the pioneer printer are installed in Polotsk (Belarus), Minsk (Belarus), Lida (Belarus), Kaliningrad (Russia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Prague (Czech Republic).

    Ninh Binh’s Tam Diep city recognised as new-style rural area

    Tam Diep city in the northern province of Ninh Binh has received a Prime Minister’s decision recognising that the locality has completed all criteria of the new-style rural area building programme.

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the Steering Committee for National Target Programme on New-styleRuralAreaBuilding handed over the decision to the city on December 17.

    So far, all communes in the city have been certified as new-style rural areas, four years prior to the plan.

    After seven years of implementing the programme, Tam Diep has made significant achievements in all fields. All local roads have been upgraded, while all degraded houses have been repaired, and nearly 95 percent of people at working age have been employed.

    Average per capital income of locals in 2017 is estimated at 40.8 million VND (1,791 USD), while the ratio of poor households has been reduced to 1.68 percent.

    Local resident donated 162 billion VND (7.11 million USD) to the programme, or 16 percent of the total cost, while businesses contributed over 104.49 billion VND (4.58 million USD).

    In the coming time, Tam Diep expects to have all communes meet criteria to be upgraded to urban wards, turning Tam Diep to a provincial-run level-two city.

    Addressing the ceremony, Secretary of Ninh Binh’s Party Committee Nguyen Thi Thanh congratulated the Party Organisation, government and people of Tam Diep for the success. She noted that Tam Diep is the first and only city, which is not a capital city of a province, in the Red River delta to have fulfilled all criteria of the programme.

    She said she hopes the locality will promote the achievements and make Tam Diep a level-two city in 2020, while attracting more investment and developing high technology agriculture.

    Binh Thuan’s first waste treatment complex put into operation

    The first phase of the first waste treatment and organic fertilizer production complex of the central province of Binh Thuan was completed and put into operation on December 16.

    The complex in La Gi town covers an area of nearly 30 hectares and has the capacity of treating 200 tonnes of domestic waste and 255 tonnes of industrial waste per day.  Organic matters are reproduced into biological fertilisers used in agricultural production.

    After the second phase is finished, the complex can also recycle plastic, nylon and rubber products and produce environmentally-friendly bricks.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Hai said that the inaugural of the complex marks a step forward in La Gi town’s bid to become a Type III urban area and contributes to the locality’s sustainable socio-economic development.

    According to Binh Thuan’s solid waste management planning, the province will have four provincial waste treatment complexes, 12 district-level waste treatment areas and two special ones with a total capacity of over 5,400 tonnes per day.

    Project targets gender-based violence

    A new project on preventing and responding to gender-based violence and domestic violence, and addressing sex-work related issues was signed yesterday in Hà Nội.

    Signed by the Labour Ministry and the United Nations Population Fund, the project will provide capacity support for government officials at national and sub-national levels in the development and implementation of evidence and human rights-based policies and programmes.

    Addressing the signing ceremony, Đào Hồng Lan, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Socials Affairs said, "With joint efforts of all sectors at all levels, Việt Nam has achieved remarkable achievements in gender equality. However, there are still many difficulties and challenges requiring more effective solutions and interventions.”

    "There is still a gap between policy and practice, with women and girls still bearing the brunt of violence," she said.

    “With technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), we hope that this project will contribute to reducing gender disparities and to effective implementation of programmes, policies and strategies on gender equality, sex work related issues and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Việt Nam," she said.

    Of a total budget of US$4.1 million for five years from 2017 to 2021, $3.7 million will be funded by UNFPA.

    Among several objectives, the project aims to support the generation of evidence for making more effective the implementation of the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control.

    It also aims to raise awareness and support behavioural change in policymakers and the community, especially men, on preventing and responding to domestic violence.
    The project will also support the development and improvement of evidence and human rights based laws, policies and programmes addressing sex work related issues.
    Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam, said, "I hope this project, based on evidence and outcomes achieved from the previous phase, will continue addressing the challenges ahead in the prevention and response to gender-based violence and domestic violence, towards a prosperous, sustainable and safe Việt Nam for all."

    According to a national survey on violence against women in Việt Nam conducted by the General Statistics Office in 2010, 58 per cent of married women aged 18-60 have experienced violence at least once in their lives.

    However, this is only the figure on violence against women within family settings. Of huge concern is that up to 87 per cent of women suffering from violence do not seek any support from public service providers.

    4 crew members prosecuted in Hải Thành ship sinking

    The People’s Court in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has reported that it has received the indictment of the provincial People’s Procuracy for prosecuting four crew members in connection with the sinking of the Hải Thành 26-BLC cargo ship.

    The cargo ship sank in the waters off the country’s southern coast on March 28.

    It is expected that the court will open the first instance hearing of the case before the Lunar New Year holiday which falls in mid-February next year, the online vietnamplus newspaper reported.

    The crew members of the Hải Thành cargo ship include Hoàng Tiến Khôi and Nguyễn Viết Thắng, accused of violating Circular 07/2012/TT-BGTVT.

    Nguyễn Xuân Sang and Trần Kiên of the Petrolimex 14 oil tanker are, meanwhile, accused of violating maritime regulations on controlling maritime vehicles as stipulated under Article 223 of the Penal Code.

    Earlier on June 21, Vũng Tàu Port Authority concluded that the the accident was the fault of the crew members, who did not perform their job of patrol and control well.

    Kiên and Sang were reported to leave their position while being on duty on Petrolimex 14 oil tanker and they also did not observe well, resulting in their ship colliding with Hải Thành ship.

    Kiên and Sang also did not answer the report of Hải Thành ship’s crew members when Hải Thành ship discovered that the two ships could collide.

    While Hoàng Tiến Khôi, a crew member of Hải Thành ship was accused of having no timely action to avoid the collision although he discovered the Petrolimex 14 tanker could hit his ship.

    The Hải Thành 26, with 11 crew members on board, sank some 44 nautical miles to the east of VũngTàuCity in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province while carrying clinker from the northern city of Hải Phòng to the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ.

    Two sailors were rescued, according to the Việt Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

    Nine crewmembers were killed in the accident and all the bodies were recovered.

    Bus hits car, injuring 22

    Twenty-two people were injured yesterday morning when a bus crashed into a car at the Võ Nguyên Giáp intersection in Thanh Hóa City.

    The injured, including 20 people on the bus and two others in the sedan, were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

    According to initial reports, the accident occurred when the bus, which was carrying people to a relative’s funeral, overturned and hit the car traveling in the opposite direction.

    Local police are investigating the case.

    Livelihood options sought for CLV populations

    How to raise the living standards of people residing in the Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia (CLV) Development Triangle was the main theme of a conference in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on December 17.

    The conference was the 8th gathering of the Environment-Social Affairs Sub-Committee, held as part of the CLV Development Triangle Joint Coordination Committee’s 11th meeting, which runs from December 15 to 19.

    At the event, officials highlighted organic farming in connection with environmental protection as a potential path to local livelihood creation. Other solutions in the package included interregional tourism development, cultural preservation, and water resources protection, particularly proper use of water resources in the MekongDeltaRiver to cope with climate change impacts.

    These measures aimed at better environmental protection and sustainable livelihood, which would give an impetus to socio-economic growth in the CLV Development Area.

    As heard at the conference, thanks to close cooperation among Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, socio-environmental protection, particularly climate change adaptation, had made progress.

    However, socio-economic development had brought about negative influences on the environment, life and traditional customs and practices of people in the area. Continuous natural disasters required further coordination in protecting the environment and improving public awareness in this regard.

    The same day, the CLV Development Triangle Area’s Security – Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee also convened its 10th meeting in the province.

    Based on contents inked at the previous meeting, the three countries have closely worked with each other to control border security, manage borderlines and effectively fight against cross-border drug trafficking, human trafficking and other crimes.

    The parties also exchanged information to deal with existing shortcomings related to immigration and border division, and organised people-to-people exchanges.

    Also on December 17, the 10th meeting of the area’s Economic Subcommittee took place, focusing on measures to boost cooperation. These measures included information liaison and the implementation of signed agreement by parties involved, such as those on preferential policies and overall socio-economic planning in the CLV Development Triangle Area.

    They suggested the three countries promote trade-tourism-investment coordination and joint projects with international partners, and frequently update their joint online portal.

    The function scheduled the committee’s 11th meeting for 2018 in Cambodia.

    The CLV Development Triangle Area was established in 1999, covering 13 provinces, including four from Cambodia, four from Laos and five from Vietnam.

    Cambodia learns from Soc Trang’s experience in religious affairs

    Cambodian Secretary of State at the Ministry of Cults and Religions Touch Sarom led a delegation to visit the southern province of Soc Trang on December 17.

    During a meeting with the delegation, Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Lam Van Man briefed the guests on the locality’s recent remarkable achievements in ethnic and religious affairs.

    Over 30 percent of Soc Trang’s population is Khmer ethnics, who share many similarities in culture, belief and religion with Cambodians, he noted.

    Soc Trang has been implementing many policies to promote socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas, towards improving living conditions for locals and ensuring equality and solidarity among ethnic groups and religious communities, he added. 

    Man stressed that the visit of the Cambodian delegation contributed to enhancing mutual understanding and tightening solidarity between the two countries’ people, thus strengthening the traditional friendship relations and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia.

    For her part, Touch Sarom said the visit is useful for the delegation, helping them learn from Soc Trang’s experience, thus serving Cambodia’s ethnic work and socio-economic development.

    Previously, the Cambodian delegation visited Som Rong, Kh’ Leang and Doi pagodas in Soc Trang city.

    Vietnam News Agency enhances relations with European partners

    General Director of the State-owned Vietnam News Agency (VNA) Nguyen Duc Loi met with officials of several major press agencies in Spain and the UK during his Europe trip from December 12-18 to step up cooperative relations with European partners.

    During his working sessions with the executive of Spain’s EFE news agency, and the UK’s Thomson Reuters and BBC, General Director Nguyen Duc Loi, who is also a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, compared notes about the role and operation of the press in the world’s current situation.

    The sides shared positive assessment on their bilateral cooperation in information exchange over the past time, stressing that the sharing of information among press agencies, especially major ones, is an urgent need at present, in order to diversify sources of information and increase competitiveness of traditional press agencies given the rapid development of new communication forms, particularly social networks.

    They underlined the necessity to reform operational models and methods as well as promote new forms of information provision to suit the new situation and changes in the way the public access information.

    The sides informed each other about their operation and development in recent time while sharing experience in developing new forms of information, especially mass media products.

    The management of EFE, Thomson Reuters and BBC introduced their organisational structure and latest information products to the VNA delegation and said they are willing to share experience in the field.

    The European partners also affirmed to help the VNA with training of reporters, editors and technicians to develop new information forms.

    During his trip, General Director Nguyen Duc Loi also called at Vietnamese embassies in Spain and the UK.

    The State-owned VNA boasts a network of 63 bureaus in all the cities and provinces nationwide and 30 overseas bureaus across five continents.

    With more than 60 media products by more than 1,000 reporters and editors out of its 2,400-strong staff, the VNA is now the media agency with the largest number of products in the country: bulletins, photos, television programmes, dailies, weeklies, monthlies, magazines, pictorials, books, TV channel, e-newspapers and information programmes on mobile platforms.

    The agency also delivers news in the largest number of languages. It runs the e-newspaper Vietnamplus in five languages – Vietnamese, English, Chinese, French and Spanish at www.vietnamplus.vn along with several other print and e-newspapers in English, French, Korean, Lao, Japanese and Russian.

    ASEAN mayors talk urban development

    Leaders of more than 30 cities in ASEAN countries gathered at a conference in HuếCity, the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế in the last two days to discuss sponsoring and implementing sustainable development projects for cities in Southeast Asia.

    The conference was organised by the International Association of French-speaking Mayors (AIMF), the European Union and HuếCity.

    Addressing the event, Chairman of Huế City People’s Committee Nguyễn Văn Thành said the conference aimed to share experience in mobilising financial resources for urban development projects.

    He also highlighted Huế’s efforts to contribute to AIMF activities and the city’s determination to integrate into the French-speaking community as well as to protect and develop heritage values.

    Three seminars were held within the framework of the conference, dealing with calling for investment, experience in responding to climate change in the region, the role of cities in strengthening regional integration, co-operation among cities in Southeast Asia and the engagement of cities in sustainable development.

    AIMF Permanent Secretary Pierre Baillet said ASEAN is strongly integrating into the world economy and facing many challenges in education, population growth and climate change.

    Participants at the event also shared experience in defining the role played by cities in calling for investment to sustainable urban development and climate change response.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Lê Hoài Trung lauded activities of AIMF in sustainable urban development, noting that the association has created strong connectivity among member cities and Francophone organisations regionally and globally.

    He also expressed hope that the association will play a bigger role in stepping up regional and inter-regional co-operation for the sustainable growth of cities in Southeast Asia.

    Việt Nam marks tenth anniversary of national helmet law

    A “Fun with Traffic Safety” extracurricular day to mark the tenth anniversary of Việt Nam’s national helmet law on December 15 was held at Tiền Phong Primary School in Hà Nội.

    Over 1,000 students, teachers, and staff joined distinguished guests and participants with extracurricular activities such as a helmet handover, helmet sculpture painting, a helmet wearing contest, and a special performance by the National Vietnam Circus. The students participated in a flash mob dance to celebrate.

    Since implementing the national helmet law, Việt Nam has saved an estimated US$3.5 billion in medical costs and lost output, and an estimated 500,000 head injuries and 15,000 fatalities have been prevented, according to National Traffic Safety Committee.

    Attendees also marked ten years of the national helmet law by looking to the past and acknowledging those who had provided crucial support.

    The day was held by the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation and FIA Foundation, which is an independent UK registered charity which supports an international programme of activities promoting road safety, the environment and sustainable mobility.

    The Vietnam Helmet Wearing Coalition (VHWC) received special recognition for their contributions to building support for the law and pushing it to the forefront of public discourse.

    The VHWC, led by AIP Foundation, provided funding and in-kind support for a landmark public awareness campaign, Wear a helmet. There are no excuses, prior to the passage of the national helmet law.

    “After 10 years of implementing the national helmet law, we have achieved significant success,” Dr. Khuất Việt Hùng, Vice Chairman of National Traffic Safety Committee said, adding that there is still a long journey ahead; the helmet wearing rate for children aged 6 years old and above remains low.

    “When we have strong enforcement programmes, the rate of children wearing helmets increases to 50-60 per cent. Without enforcement, the rate stays at 30-40 per cent. This is our challenge as well as our mission for the near future,” he said

    VNN


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  • 12/18/17--19:30: Article 1
  • Remittances to HCMCity reach $4.55 billion


    Remittance inflows to HCMCity in the 11 months of this year reached US$4.55 billion, Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCMCity branch, said. 

     Remittances to HCM City reach $4.55 billion, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
      
    According to Minh, the US, Australia and Canada remain the largest sources of remittances to the city. Money sent by Vietnamese workers in China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries have increased, but by insignificant amounts.

    As much as 72 per cent of the money sent from abroad has been poured into production and business, 22 per cent into real estate and 6 per cent has been spent on personal items, Minh said.

    Minh estimated that remittances to HCMCity will likely reach $5.2 billion in 2017, up 4.5 per cent from last year. The amount is slightly down from Minh’s own prediction few months ago. In October, Minh projected that remittances to the city, which normally accounts for around a half of remittances to Viet Nam annually, could reach $5.7 billion this year.

    Experts attributed the projected decrease of the city’s overseas remittances by the end of the year mainly to pressure from the US Federal Reserve System’s (Fed) policy to hike interest rate the next time. This will affect the supply of remittances from the US, which accounts for the majority of total overseas remittances into Viet Nam.

    Overseas remittances into Viet Nam have been constantly increasing since 2010 and reached a record high of $13.2 billion in 2015, but then decreased by 33 per cent in 2016.

    However, not only Viet Nam, but several other developing countries have also witnessed a decline in overseas remittances. According to the latest report of the Word Bank, India had the highest overseas remittance inflows in 2015, but these inflows were reduced by 5 per cent in 2016. Similarly, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka also reported a decline in overseas remittances of 3.5, 5.1 and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

     VNS


    0 0
  • 12/18/17--19:53: Article 0
  • Food market undergoing restructuring as more foreign companies arrive


    The Vietnamese food market is thriving, with 10.9 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) predicted by BMI Research for the 2017-2019 period. 

     

    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, Cau Tre, CJ, food market
    The Vietnamese food market is thriving  

    Many visitors to the 2017 Vietnam Food Industry international exhibition noticed that ‘Cau Tre’, a familiar Vietnamese food brand, had changed to ‘CJ Cau Tre’.

    ‘CJ’ was added to ‘Cau Tre’ after the South Korean CJ Group took over Cau Tre in May 2017. Six months was long enough for CJ to turn the Vietnamese brand famous for tens of years into a Korean brand.

    Sources said Cau Tre is not the only food company CJ is eyeing. The investor from South Korea is still considering buying a Vissan stake from Masan and eyeing other producers.

    Before Cau Tre fell into CJ hands, the Vietnamese food market noticed a deal of Daesang Group, the owner of Miwon brand, taking over Duc Viet Food JSC, a well-known sausage brand, at $32 million.

    The Vietnamese food market is thriving, with 10.9 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) predicted by BMI Research for the 2017-2019 period.

    Another South Korean group, Lotte, is holding a 44 percent stake in Bibica, a sweets manufacturer.

    Meanwhile, Mondelēz International became the new owner of Kinh Do after it spent $370 million to acquire the sweets manufacturing division of the group.

    Sources said Singaporean, Thai and Malaysians are hunting Vietnamese food companies.

    Ly Kim Chi, chair of the Food & Foodstuff Association of HCM City, said a number of Vietnamese food companies had been swallowed by foreign conglomerates.

    Even large enterprises have fallen into foreigners’ hands because foreigners are willing to pay high prices to take them over.

    Analysts say M&A activities are particularly hot in the food & beverage sector. BMI Research predicted a 10.9 percent CAGR for the food & beverage sector in 2017-2019.

    Tran Anh Tuan, CEO of The Pathfinder, a consultancy firm, said companies can make a profit just after five years of investment if there is good cash flow.

    He said Vietnamese food companies are eyed by not only financial investors and investment funds, but also by food conglomerates which are taking full advantage of the Vietnamese companies’ large networks to distribute their products.

    Commenting about the sale of Vietnamese food companies to foreigners, Anh said there was no need for despair. “Instead of feeling regret, you should think about what would happen if Cau Tre had not sold its stake to CJ, and if Cau Tre had continued to shrink or lose market share?” Anh said.


    Thanh Mai, VNN


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  • 12/20/17--00:23: Article 3
  • Former PetroVietnam General Director prosecuted


    The Investigation Security Agency under the Ministry of Public Security on December 20 began legal proceedings against Phung Dinh Thuc, former General Director of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).


    Former PetroVietnam General Director prosecuted, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news 

    Phung Dinh Thuc, former General Director of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Source: tuoitre.vn)



    Thuc was charged with “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences” as stated in Article 165 of the Penal Code.

    On December 19, the agency issued a decision to prosecute Thuc and an order banning him from leaving his residential area at Dich Vong new urban area, Dich Vong ward, Cau Giay district.

    Thuc, born in 1954, allegedly committed violations while directing the implementation of the Thai Binh 2 thermal power project.

    The prosecution of Thuc is part of the Investigation Security Agency’s investigation of the “deliberately acting against State regulation on economic regulations, causing serious consequences, and asset embezzlement” case in PetroVietnam and the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation.

    VNA 

    0 0
  • 12/20/17--00:46: Article 2
  • Foreign banks step up personal banking, increase M&A activity



    Two foreign bank names are in the list of top 10 taxpayers – HSBC and Shinhan Bank Vietnam. And both have strong retail banking divisions. 

    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, personal banking, HSBC, foreign banks 

    HSBC Vietnam has strong retail banking division 

    The year 2017 has witnessed a series of M&A deals in the banking sector, including Shinhan Bank Vietnam’s purchase of ANZ Vietnam’s personal banking division and the transfer of HCMCity branch from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to VIB.

    The latter, in which VIB bought a division of a foreign bank, was unprecedented in Vietnam. CBA HCM City Branch began its operation in 2008, and now has 22,000 clients.

    Meanwhile, Techcombank bought a stake from HSBC, a big shareholder of Techcombank in the last 11 years.

    Standard Chartered Bank is considering the divestment from Asia Commercial Bank (ACB).

    The year 2017 has witnessed a series of M&A deals in the banking sector, including Shinhan Bank Vietnam’s purchase of ANZ Vietnam’s personal banking division and the transfer of HCMCity branch from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to VIB.

    There have been many M&A deals that some analysts thought were signs of foreign banks leaving Vietnam. However, the deals are just moves to adjust their business strategies.

    HSBC’s CEO Pham Hong Hai commented that the finance market in Vietnam is very competitive and some foreign banks have to reconsider their strategies and use investment capital in the most effective way.

    Retail banking 


    In July 2017, United Overseas Bank Ltd from Singapore officially established its 100 percent foreign owned bank in Vietnam after an unsuccessful attempt to take over GP Bank.

    There are 9 wholly-owned foreign banks operational in Vietnam under licenses granted by the State Bank. In addition, there are 41 foreign credit institutions, most of which are foreign bank branches, set up to serve businesses from their home countries, and some of them are paying attention to retail banking.

    Shinhan Bank Vietnam is from South Korea, one of the biggest foreign direct investors in Vietnam, with relations with South Korean invested enterprises. Shinhan Bank wants to join the retail banking market and the quickest way to do this is to take over an existing network.

    Shin Dong Min, CEO of Shinhan Bank, said the personal banking sector in Vietnam would develop strongly in the time to come amid the strong support of fintech and the strong recovery of the economy.

    Digital banking services with high security technologies will be the key products of banks.

    In personal banking, according to Hai, Vietnamese banks have the advantage in large networks and long-lasting relationships with local communities. Meanwhile, foreign banks’ advantage lies in diverse products and international relations.


     Kim Chi, VNN



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  • 12/20/17--01:10: Article 1
  •  Foreign firms buy into mergers


    HÀ NỘI - Foreign firms control 75 per cent of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Nguyễn Quốc Việt, deputy general director of AVM Việt Nam Company, said yesterday.


     

    Experts discuss industrial investment through M&A activities in Hà Nội yesterday. - VNA/VNS Photo Hằng Trần


    Việt told an Industrial Investment Promotion through M&A conference held in Hà Nội that the foreign companies acknowledged Việt Nam’s growth potential and were ready to implement deals with high prices thanks to their capital advantages.

    “They expect double or triple digit growth for consumption and retail sectors,” he said, adding that Việt Nam had huge potential due to its rapid integration into the world culture of young people.

    He said foreign investors would buy at high prices knowing they could get better yields in a few years by improving money flow and administration.

    “M&A activities in Việt Nam in recent years have rapidly increased in number and economic value,” he added.

    Last year, the total value of M&A deals in Việt Nam reached a record level of US$5.82 billion with an annual growth rate of 12 per cent. However, most M&A deals in 2016 had a modest value of less than $20 million each. There were two big deals valued at more than $1 billion.

    In the first quarter of this year, total M&A deals fell by 25 per cent from the same period last year to $1.1 billion.

    The sale of 343.6 million shares or a 53.6 per cent stake in the Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), brought an estimated VNĐ110 trillion ($4.89 billion), making it the biggest deal so far. The deal will bring the total value for M&A deals in the country this year to $8 billion.  

    Vũ Bá Phú, director of the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) said many foreign investors poured capital into Vietnamese listed firms to realise long-term targets of getting a toe-hold in the country.

    Of these, investors from Japan, South Korea and Thailand had been investing in consumer goods, financial services, retail, distribution and building materials.

    “However, there were not many deals from big investors in the EU and north America, which are considered to have big potential. This is why Việt Nam should further promote international investment,” Phú said.  

    Việt Nam’s industrial sector has seen strong development. The average index of industrial production (IIP) growth rate has been more than 7 per cent a year since 2012.

    Metal production posted an 18 per cent increase in 2016, following by electronics and computers at 13 per cent.

    Figures from the General Statistics Office showed that the IIP in the first 11 months of the year posted 9.3 per cent year-on-year rise.

    “The figures reveal that Việt Nam’s industrial sector has been in strong growth. If local industrial firms promote co-operation with  foreign companies that have high technologies and professional management, they have opportunities for further development,” he said.

    Trần Kim Oanh, director of the Vietrade’s Centre for Industry and Trade Investment Promotion, said many Vietnamese companies built long-term development strategies, but M&A was one of their most important tools.

    “Local investment funds have seen development both in quantity and scale, thus contributing to more M&A deals. With the advantage of deep understanding of the domestic market, investment promotion through M&A should pay more attention to potential local firms,” Oanh said.

     VNS


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  • 12/20/17--01:21: Article 0
  • Phong Nha-Ke Bang ranked second in Lonely Planet's “Top experiences in Vietnam


    PhongNha-KeBangNational Park has come in second in a list of the “Top experiences in Vietnam”, according to Lonely Planet, a renowned travel publication.


    PhongNha-KeBangNational Park is home to the largest cave system in the world


    Lonely Planet describes PhongNha-KeBangNational Park as the remarkable world natural heritage. The site was first honored by the UNESCO in 2003. The second UNESCO recognition of PhongNha-KeBangNational Park was announced in 2015.

    “The National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago. Riddled with hundreds of cave systems – many of extraordinary scale and length – and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha is a speleologists’ heaven on earth. The Phong Nha region is changing fast. Son Trach village (population 3000) is the main centre, with an ATM, a growing range of accommodation and eating options, and improving transport links with other parts of central Vietnam.

    The caves are the region's absolute highlights, but the above-ground attractions of forest trekking, the area's war history, and rural mountain biking means it deserves a stay of around three days”, the travel site said.

    “Top experiences in Vietnam” voted by Lonely Planet's include Hoi An, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Ha Long Bay, Hue, HCM City, Ha Giang province, Cat Tien National Park, Bac Ha markets, Phu Quoc island, Hanoi, Con Dao island, Ba Be National Park, Sapa trekking, Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Mui Ne.

    SGGP


    0 0
  • 12/20/17--17:46: Article 0
  • HCMCity taxi firms cut 3,000 cars


    Taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City have had to cut 3,000 cars from their fleets since the arrival of Uber and Grab, according to the city's Taxi Association.


    HCM City taxi firms cut 3,000 cars, 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 number of cars registered for Uber and Grab risen to 28,000 in Ho Chi Minh City 

    In their latest report, the association said that four companies have been dissolved and merged over the past three years since Uber and Grab began operations.

    According to the association, the city had around 12,000 taxis which were transporting about 200 million passengers or 35-40 per cent of public transport annually in 2010.

    But since their arrival in 2014, Grab and Uber with their "huge promotions and unfair competition" had seriously affected the operation of local taxi companies. The number of vehicles managed by local taxi firms have been slashed to only 8,900, while the number registered for Uber and Grab risen to 28,000, the report said.

    The association warned that the number of app-based taxis has exceeded the city's plan for taxi number of 16,500 by 2025, which they claimed was causing serious traffic congestion. It also complained that the two companies had given false reports on the number of vehicles they used and were avoiding taxes in Vietnam.

    “We are very sorry that the Ministry of Transport are not listening to our opinions and proposals to suspend the operation of Uber and Grab in Vietnam," the association said in its report. "Local taxi firms may die due to the government's improper policies."

    The association insisted that the pilot projects which permit transport companies to use applications to connect and manage customer transport activities should not be renewed.

    In June, Hanoi, Danang and HCMCity’s taxi associations also sent a joint petition to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, asking for him to intervene to guarantee ‘a fair business environment’.

    In the petition, the associations claimed that Uber and Grab operations violate Vietnam’s laws.

    They specified that under the Law on Road Transport and Government Decree 86, taxi services were a conditional business model so vehicles need a badge, logo and meter; however, Uber and Grab cars do not have these. 

    Meanwhile, Uber and Grab cars are allowed to use many streets which taxis are banned from. Taxis are tied to strict business regulations such as parking, registration licensing, roof-signage, listed fares and driver uniforms.

    Uber is paying 3% value added tax, while local taxi firms are paying a 10% VAT and 20% corporate income tax. Uber now keeps 20% of a fare and sends 80% back to the driver.

    Grab and Uber continue to offer huge discounts to passengers to grab market share from taxi companies. They are 25-50% cheaper than traditional taxis, and passengers are informed before the ride how much it will cost them.

    The associations called authorities to set the same rules for Uber and Grab.

    dtinews


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  • 12/21/17--01:10: Article 3
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/12


    Vietnam boasts opportunities to export products to Africa, Middle East


     IFC’s lending package helps Vietnamese SMEs, Mobile World officially acquires Phuc An Khang Pharmacy, Kuwait Fund loan for coastal infrastructure development, Imported energy will increase in the future


    Vietnam has many opportunities to export commodities, particularly in agricultural products and food, to Africa and the Middle East, heard a conference held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Ho Chi Minh City on December 19.

    The conference aimed to give local exporters an overview of markets, trade policies, business etiquette and export opportunities in African and Middle East nations.

    According to Vice Director of the Ministry’s Department of Asian-African Markets Ngo Khai Hoan, 70 countries in Africa and the Middle East have a total population of more than 1.6 billion, a huge market for Vietnamese exporters. Last year, trade between Vietnam and these nations stood at 23.3 billion USD, including 14.9 billion USD worth of exports from Vietnam.

    Africa, a market of 1.3 billion people, has a strong demand for agricultural products, said Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong from the department, adding that African countries imported 35 billion USD of farm produce in 2016 and the figure is likely to hit 110 billion USD in 2025.

    The high demand for such products has been attributed to the continent’s severe weather conditions weakening local agriculture. Therefore, most local needs for food, particularly rice, aquatic products, coffee, and pepper, are satisfied by imports, she noted.

    Trade between Vietnam and the Middle East has also seen considerable rises in recent years. Two-way trade reached 10.9 billion USD in 2016, doubling that of 2011, stated Ly Quoc Thinh from the department. However, Vietnam’s 8.06 billion USD worth of exports to the Middle East last year only accounted for 1 percent of the region’s total foreign trade.

    The Middle East nations have a growing demand for imported farm products, especially tropical fruits and aquatic products, alongside consumption goods, footwear and garments-textiles. The region’s imports of foods average 40 billion USD annually and are expected to total 70 billion USD to meet its needs, Thinh said.

    Despite high demand for agricultural imports, the African and Middle East markets may pose many challenges to Vietnamese exporters due to cultural differences. They set strict requirements on Halal standards for food as well as in labels and quality control.

    In addition, some West African nations have reported more and more trade frauds while the Middle East has suffered political unrest for years.

    Central Highlands urged to foster socio-economic development

    Central Highlands provinces should continue to effectively carry out the Party and Government’s resolutions and directions on socio-economic development, said Minister of Public Security Senior Lieutenant General To Lam, who doubles as Head of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands.

    He made the statement at a conference held in Gia Nghia town, the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong on December 19 to review the steering committee’s work in 2017.

    Lam stressed the key missions of the Central Highlands in the coming time, which include addressing land issues, preventing deforestation, protecting natural resources and ecosystem and promoting sustainable poverty reduction, socio-cultural development and social security.

    He asked the regional provinces to pay attention to consolidating the political system at grassroots levels and to carry out the resolution adopted at the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee, which aims to enhance Party building, and prevent and curb ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among party members.

    Under the leadership of the Party and Government as well as coordination from local authorities, the steering committee has worked to boost production and improve the livelihoods of ethnic minority groups and to develop the economy, making significant contributions to the development of the Central Highlands region, Lam noted.

    In 2017, the region’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) picked up 8.09 percent year-on-year to more than 165.4 trillion VND (7.28 billion USD). Meanwhile, per capita income in the year exceeded 41.6 million VND (1,800 USD), up 5.02 percent from 2016.

    Agricultural production recovered after droughts, storms and floods thanks to investment in high-tech agriculture. Currently, the region is the country’s key coffee and pepper production zone, with 582,149 hectares and 71,000 hectares respectively, yielding nearly 1.4 million tonnes of coffee bean and more than 120,800 tonnes of pepper.

    The region’s export revenue topped 2.66 billion USD in 2017, up 22.71 percent from 2016.

    Thanks to renovation in administrative procedures and market support, the Central Highland provinces have seen an increase in the number of businesses. It is home to 23,330 enterprises, 14.9 percent more than in 2016.

    The provinces, including Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Giai Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong, have attracted 235 domestic projects worth 103.3 trillion VND (4.55 billion USD) and nine foreign direct investment projects valued at 109.9 million USD.

    Saigon Autotech 2018 set for HCMCity
       
    The 14th Saigon Autotech & Accessories Show 2018 will take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCMCity from May 24 to 27.

    The event will have 500 booths from 300 domestic and foreign enterprises and is set to attract more than 15,000 visitors.

    The exhibitors will display automobiles, motorcycles, electric and sport bikes, accessories and spare parts, car maintenance services, new-tech engines and smart parking solutions.

    According to the organising committee, the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement coming into effect in 2018 will be a big challenge for the automobile and motorbike industry of Viet Nam when import tax for cars and motorcycle spare parts among ASEAN countries is cut to zero.

    This will put supporting industries in Viet Nam under pressure from countries with developed supporting industries such as Thailand and Indonesia.

    With the message ‘Accessories for the future’, Saigon Autotech 2018 aims to promote technology and trade exchange to develop a market of spare parts and accessories in the region.

    To share the difficulties that small and medium-sized enterprises are facing in investing in production and market development, Saigon Autotech will apply support policies in prices, positions and other incentives to encourage Vietnamese enterprises to participate in the event.

    In addition, Saigon Autotech will expand its dealer network in Germany, India, Thailand, Taiwan and China to bring the best products to the show.

    The event also includes trade connectivity events to increase efficiency among domestic and foreign partners.

    The organising committee has also associated with forums and clubs to hold events related to the supporting industry.

    Held since 2006, Saigon Autotech has increased its scale from 5-10 per cent per year in terms of both exhibition area and the number of participating businesses.

    The exhibition is organised by Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion JSC under the sponsorship of Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other ministries and departments.

    Navigos launches 1st career platform for top executives
       
    Leading recruitment company Navigos Group on Monday launched PRIMUS, the first career platform meant for candidates looking for managerial jobs with a minimum salary of US$3,000.

    “Top 1” candidates can register with PRIMUS (www.primus.vn), and those who provide full profiles, which are verified, will be able to access all placements posted on the site.

    When they want to apply for a job, PRIMUS will use a “matching score” tool to assess their suitability in terms of experience, skills and position.

    Applicants will also get help from professional recruitment consultants at PRIMUS to connect with employers.

    Currently, job searches and applications are free.

    “Currently, we are having more than 4,000 high-level candidates, five verified recruitment agencies and 35 recruitment consultants,” Gaku Echizenya, CEO of Navigos Group, said.

    “We have about 200 vacancies with a minimum salary of $3,000, of which 60 per cent are at a director level, 18 per cent are at C-level and 90 per cent of the positions are provided with full information.”

    Navigos also has online recruitment portal VietnamWorks and executive search firm Navigos Search.

    Bkav inks agreement with technology university   

    The Bkav Technology Group on Tuesday signed a co-operation agreement on developing scientific technology with Ha Noi University of Technology (HUT)’s School of Electronics and Telecommunication (SET).

    According to representatives of Bkav, for many years, besides the field of network security, the company has expanded its field research and production of high-tech products, such as SmartHome and Smartphone.

    Bkav’s CEO Nguyen Tu Quang said HUT, with a full range of research and training such as mathematics, physics, mechanics and electronics, as well as telecommunications, information technology and automation, is a significant partner for any technology enterprise. Especially, to produce a phone, such as a Bphone, Bkav will need to use the knowledge of most of these science and technology fields.

    In the world, the cooperation model among research institutes, universities and enterprises is inspired very early and always effective. Therefore, Bkav’s representative confirmed that in addition to signing with the SET, the company will continue to promote co-operation with other potential units of the HUT to be ready for technology breakthroughs that can be applied to smartphones in the future, competing with global brands.

    Nguyen Huu Thanh, director of SET, said the collaboration with external companies is part of HUT’s strategy to improve the capacity of science and technology. This co-operation is the beginning of a partnership that will bring Bkav’s products together with better technologies to Vietnamese consumers, he added.

    In August 2017, Bkav officially introduced the second version of Bphone, the first made-in-Viet Nam smartphone. The phone works with Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, a chip popular around the world for its efficient power management.

    IFC’s lending package helps Vietnamese SMEs

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced on December 19 a successful syndicated senior loan package transfer of 110 million USD to An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBANK) as a joint effort to boost the latter’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lending.

    The loan is the first phase of a 150 million USD financing package from IFC and Goldman Sachs for ABBANK, with more than one third of the said funding intended for women-owned SMEs.

    The December 19 statement from ABBANK indicated its aim to triple outstanding SME portfolio and quadruple lending to women-owned SMEs, which are expected to go beyond 1 billion USD by 2021.

    IFC disclosed that out of the total 150 million USD financing package, it would contribute 40 million USD from its own account, 70 million USD from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited and Maybank International Ltd and 40 million USD from two other international lenders to be decided by 2018.

    At least 45 million USD will be exclusively allocated to women-owned SMEs, Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said.

    “This project will promote women-owned SMEs as a viable business opportunity when provided with tailored products, appropriate offerings and right marketing. Subsequently, it will support the growth of women-owned SMEs, which will in turn create jobs and drive wage growth”, he added.

    ABBANK confirmed it would make use of the said much-needed syndicated funding from IFC and partner banks.

    Long-term funding for SMEs is going to become critical in Vietnam, as SMEs account for more than 98 percent of the country’s businesses and 50 percent of employment, according to IFC’s research.

    However, IFC also found that only 30 percent of registered SMEs have access to formal financial services, which is even more difficult for women-owned SMEs, with an estimated credit gap of 1.2 billion USD per annum.

    The loan scheme was launched in cooperation with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, a global finance facility since 2014 to enable access to capital to more women entrepreneurs.

    IFC became ABBANK’s foreign investor with 10 percent equity stake in 2013.

    India firms seek investment opportunity in Binh Duong

    A delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led by First Secretary of the Indian Embassy in Vietnam Rafiv Bodwade has paid a field trip to the southern province of Binh Duong to seek investment opportunities in the locality.

    During a working session with representatives from the provincial People’s Committee on December 19, Rafiv Bodwade said Indian firms have noticed many investment opportunities in Vietnam, especially in Binh Duong – an industrial hub located in the southern key economic area.

    Indian enterprises give priorities to investing in the fields of agriculture, pharmaceutics and renewable energy, he stressed.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem briefed the guests on the locality’s socio-economic development, noting that Binh Duong has 29 industrial parks and eight industrial clusters with a total area of over 10,000 ha.

    The locality has so far attracted 28.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) from 3,360 enterprises, but Indian-run projects number only five with a total investment of 170 million USD, he said.

    Binh Duong is calling for investment in projects on large scale which use advanced technologies with less labour and create high added-value products, he added.

    India has 134 investment projects worth 1.1 billion USD in Vietnam. Two-way trade in 2017 hit over 10 billion USD, year-on-year increase of 29 percent. The two nations aim to lift their trade to 15 billion USD by 2020.

    Laos becomes magnet for Vietnamese investment

    Vietnamese enterprises have reaped successes in Laos thanks to sound business opportunities, market scale and operation quality in the neighbouring country.

    Laos has licensed 423 projects invested by Vietnamese firms worth more than 5 billion USD, mostly in hydropower, mining, transport, industrial tree plantation and services, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

    Viettel Global Investment JSC, a subsidiary of the military-run telecom Viettel Group, earned revenue of 13 trillion VND (571.9 million USD) in the first nine months of 2017, up 19 percent from the same period last year.

    The Unitel network of Star Telecom, a joint venture between Viettel Global and Lao Asia Telecom, significantly contributed to the results by holding 50 percent of the Lao telecommunication market share. Unitel has 2.8 million subscribers and is aiming for 10 percent growth in revenue to 175 million USD in 2017.

    Also, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group has invested in rubber tree and oil palm plantation in Laos. It also put Attapeu airport into operation in 2015 and has splashed out 80 million USD on the construction of NongKhangAirport in Houaphanh province.

    Other large-scale projects developed by Vietnamese businesses are Xekaman 1 and 3 hydropower plant projects, power transmission lines from Xekaman to Vietnam’s Pleiku province and a 522 million USD potassium chloride salt project.

    The projects have played an important role in the development of both countries. The investments are expected to bring 350-400 million USD to the Lao budget and create 40,000 jobs.

    Agriculture, hydropower plant and telecommunications are typical Vietnamese investments in Laos. However, this is changing.

    Laos has welcomed an increasing capital amount from Vietnamese companies in hospitality. BIM Group is one example. It opened the first five-star hotel in Laos, the Crowne Plaza Vientiane, in April 2017. The 20,000 square metre hotel has 200 rooms and is located inside the
    Royal Square
    building.

    The visit to Vietnam made by General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith from December 19-21 will give a momentum for Vietnam-Laos ties in both diplomatic and economic affairs, opening new opportunities for Vietnamese investment in this market.

    Kuwait Fund loan for coastal infrastructure development

    The Ministry of Finance and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFED) signed a loan agreement on December 19 to develop infrastructure in coastal areas in Thai Thuy district of the northern province of Thai Binh.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha said the over 9-million-USD loan is significant to Thai Binh – one of the localities in Vietnam bearing the most brunt of climate change.

    The project is expected to help the province increase business production, he added.

    Vietnam pledged to direct relevant ministries and management agencies to make the most efficient use of the loan, he affirmed.

    Deputy Director General at KFED Hisham Al-Waqayan said the Kuwait Fund is willing to sponsor development projects in Vietnam.

    The two sides are discussing to sign other projects in the coming time, including one in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, which aims to improve local living standards.

    To date, Kuwait Fund has supported loans for Vietnam to carry out 14 projects worth nearly 169 million USD, focusing on improving rural infrastructure for poor provinces such as roads and irrigation networks.

    Vietjet launches Bangkok– Da Lat route

    The low-cost carrier Vietjet Air on December 18 launched its newest route from Bangkok in Thailand to Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

    The event was witnessed by representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ministry of Transport, Aviation Administration of Vietnam and related departments in Vietnam and Thailand.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Vietjet Vice President Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh said the new route is part of the airline’s efforts to enhance bilateral ties between Vietnam and Thailand in trade, investment, aviation transport and tourism.

    With the convenient flight schedule, high-quality services, attractive low-fare tickets, the route will meet the transportation and travel demands of two cities’ people, contribute to promoting trade and integration in the region, she said.

    The Da Lat - Bangkok route operates a return flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday with around one hours and fourty five minutes per leg. Flights depart from Da Lat at 12:55 and arrive in Bangkok at 14:30 (local time). Return flights take off at 10:30 in Bangkok (local time) and land in Da Lat at 12:15.

    Vietjet is the first carrier to operate the Bangkok-Da Lat route following its launch of two routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai and Phuket last week. That increases the airline’s total routes from Vietnam to Thailand to six.

    Vientiane forum seeks to boost Vietnam-Laos trade

    The ministries of industry and trade of Vietnam and Laos co-organised a forum in Vientiane on December 19 to seek ways to improve bilateral trade, which is estimated at 900 million USD in 2017, up 10 percent year on year.

    Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said after a period of decline in 2015-2016, Vietnam-Laos trade regained momentum this year and met the target of 10-percent increase as set by leaders of the two countries.

    Lao Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Bounmy Manivong said the forum aims to provide a chance for the two sides to review relevant documents reached during the past time and look for measures to remove outstanding problems and obstacles in bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

    Speakers presented their assessments about the current trade relations, pinpointed problems in trade and trade-related investment activities between the two countries, particularly those related to mechanisms and administrative procedures.

    Current bilateral cooperative mechanisms also came under spotlight, with the aim of improving them to support the business communities of both countries to enhance production and export capacity.

    Participants compared notes on the good and bad points of the One stop shop model at border gates with a view to facilitating border trade.

    Another issue of interest on the agenda was the direction and solutions for the trade of electricity between Vietnam and Laos.

    The forum attracted the participation of industry and trade officials of the two countries, and representatives from Vietnamese and Lao economic groups and firms.

    HCMCity official welcomes Indian business delegation

    Standing Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem on December 19 hosted an Indian business delegation led by Executive Director of Tata Sons in Vietnam Indronil Sengupta.

    Liem appreciated the initiative on organising a Vietnam-India trade forum on the occasion of the Indian business delegation’s working visit to Vietnam.

    He noted that there are currently over 60 investment projects of India worth 60-70 million USD in Ho Chi Minh City, and pledged to facilitate India’s investment in the city.

    The official said the areas of interest for Indian firms such as IT, hi-tech production, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and processing are in line with HCMCity’s development orientation. He suggested the firms study the city’s lists of projects inviting investment for suitable opportunities.

    Indronil Sengupta said business members of the India Industrial Federation are looking for opportunities in biological technology, pharmaceuticals and energy, and possibly also in HCMCity’s smart city plan.

    According to him, Tata Sons is considering joining the automobile and coffee industry in Vietnam and the development of solar energy in some southern provinces in the country.

    Indian Consul General in HCM City Srikar Reddy said India has 164 investment projects in Vietnam, with 61 in HCMCity, with total investment capital of 755 million USD.

    Kuwait Fund loan for coastal infrastructure development

    The Ministry of Finance and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFED) signed a loan agreement on December 19 to develop infrastructure in coastal areas in Thai Thuy district of the northern province of Thai Binh.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha said the over 9-million-USD loan is significant to Thai Binh – one of the localities in Vietnam bearing the most brunt of climate change.

    The project is expected to help the province increase business production, he added.

    Vietnam pledged to direct relevant ministries and management agencies to make the most efficient use of the loan, he affirmed.

    Deputy Director General at KFED Hisham Al-Waqayan said the Kuwait Fund is willing to sponsor development projects in Vietnam.

    The two sides are discussing to sign other projects in the coming time, including one in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, which aims to improve local living standards.

    To date, Kuwait Fund has supported loans for Vietnam to carry out 14 projects worth nearly 169 million USD, focusing on improving rural infrastructure for poor provinces such as roads and irrigation networks.

    Imported energy will increase in the future

    The trend on increasing imported energy in the next few years is causing concerns for the domestic energy market as well as socioeconomic development.

    Speaking at the seminar on December 14, titled “Energy Economics and Prospects,” the Vietnam Energy Association (VEA)'s vice chairman Nguyen Van Vy said that the trend of increasing energy imports causes many concerns, including rising costs and the country becoming dependent on foreign energy markets.

    According to VEA, the rate of imported energy will increase in the next few years. Specifically, the rate of imported energy will increase by about 10 per cent in 2018. This figure in 2020 will be over 20 per cent.

    Vy also added, “Domestic gas resources are being depleted, while the demand for gas keeps increasing, leading to a rising demand for imported gas energy.”

    According to Vietnam’s renewable energy development strategy to 2030, with vision to 2050 approved by the prime minister, energy imports in 2015 were 2.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE), accounting for 3.5 per cent of total primary energy demand.This figure will increase to about 47 million TOE and 24.3 per cent by 2030.

    In the absence of renewable energy development, energy imports will be very high. Imported energy in 2030 will be 78.7 million TOE, accounting for 41.1 per cent of the total primary energy demand. This figure will be 129 million TOE in 2050, accounting for 41.2 per cent of the total primary energy demand.

    Besides, the seminar also discussed the energy management of Vietnam’s industrial enterprises. Speaking at the seminar, Duong Trung Kien, Electric Power University’s dean of Energy Management, revealed that domestic industrial enterprises’ energy management remains at an average level, despite the law on energy saving and efficiency having been in effect for over six years.

    Zuellig Pharma Vietnam signs co-operation on national vaccine project

    Zuellig Pharma Vietnam Ltd. has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Centre for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals (NICVB) and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) for cold chain storage management and safeguarding the quality of vaccines.

    Titled “Project Support: Enhancement of Cold Chain Storage During Vaccine Transportation under the Expanded Immunisation Programme in Vietnam,” this is a two-year project from 2018 to 2020 to enhance cold chain storage during the transportation of vaccines.

    The Expanded Immunisation Programme, administered by the Ministry of Health since 1981, has been widely regarded as one of the most important national public health programmes in Vietnam, benefiting millions of women and children. One of the key elements ensuring the success of the programme, as well as vaccine efficacy and safety for users, is that it must meet requirements in cold chain storage.

    To maintain the efficacy and safety of vaccines, it is necessary to keep them at a constant temperature between 2-8°C. Any break in this cold chain, from production to storage, transportation or usage could damage the integrity of the vaccine, resulting in reduced efficacy and safety in treatment.

    The objective of the project is to ensure the efficacy and safety of vaccines and biologicals which must be stored in a cold chain during transportation to the immunisation locations in Vietnam.  In furtherance of this objective, Zuellig Pharma Vietnam will closely collaborate with NICVB and NIHE to assess existing cold chain transportation to provincial preventative medical centres.

    The firm will donate packaging technology to extend the cold chain in the form of eZCooler units, which will improve Vietnam’s cold chain capabilities as well as ensure safe delivery to remote areas. Zuellig Pharma Vietnam will also provide training for NICVB and NIHE on good international practices regarding cold chain management and the use of eZCooler units.

    Robert Kruit, chief executive of Zuellig Pharma Vietnam, said, “The way vaccines are handled and managed is critical to the efficacy and safety of vaccines for Vietnamese people. We have been entrusted with handling drugs and vaccines from international and local pharmaceutical companies around the world for almost 100 years in Asia and 18 years in Vietnam. We are very proud to be a part of this project with NICVB and NIHE and look forward to closely collaborate with the two institutes for years to come.”

    The MoU that served as the initiation for the project with a total sponsorship value of $600,000 was signed by NICVB director Doan Huu Thien and NIHE director Dang Duc Anh and Kruit.

    Mobile World officially acquires Phuc An Khang Pharmacy

    Tran Kinh Doanh, a member of the Mobile World Group (MWG) Board of Directors, confirmed that the company has acquired Phuc An Khang Pharmacy to officially set foot in the pharmaceutical sector.

    The business deal has been completed and the partnership has launched a new brand name—An Khang Pharmacy.

    This is the first time a representative of MWG confirmed the acquisition of the Phuc An Khang pharmacy chain. Earlier, there were wide-scale speculations and some stock companies have produced analysis of this possibility.

    Phuc An Khang was established in May 2006 with a total of 14 stores in Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile MWG planned to jump into pharmaceutical retail at the beginning of this year and expected to expand to 50 or 60 stores next year.

    Also, at this moment, MWG has been acquiring shares of Tran Anh Group (TAG). Doanh said that MWG has started to take over the business, IT system, and accounting departments, and sent key personage to manage TAG. The total M&A funds of MWG reached VND2,500 billion ($110 million).

    Vietnam, RoK trade grows sharply on FTA

    The Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK), which came into effect two years ago, has served as a catalyst for the two countries’ trade growth.

    Bilateral trade surged 43 percent year on year to 58.8 billion USD during January-November.

    The RoK’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on December 19 that two-way trade has increased in three consecutive years and Vietnam has become fourth largest trade partner of the RoK.

    In the first 11 months of the year, the RoK’s exports to the Southeast Asian country soared 48.4 percent from the same time last year to 43.7 billion USD on semiconductors, displays, wireless communication equipment and electronics parts. With such result, Korean products made up 22.3 percent in the Vietnamese market, just following China.

    Meanwhile, imports from Vietnam rose 29.2 percent to 14.8 billion USD in the reviewed time, mostly in wireless communication equipment, clothing, and other daily necessities.

    The ministry said that RoK enterprises poured 54.5 billion USD into Vietnam in the first half of the year, making it become the largest source of foreign direct investment of Vietnam.

    More than 5,000 RoK companies are running business in Vietnam, including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and Doosan Engineering & Construction Co. They chose Vietnam to take advantage of cheap labour and a growing number of middle-class consumers in the fast-growing economy.

    Ca Mau: Work starts on construction of five-star hotel complex

    Construction of the five-star Sao Mai international hotel complex began at Nhut Hong new urban area, city of Ca Mau, the same name province, on December 19.

    The 23-storey hotel is invested by the Sao Mai Group at total cost of more than 700 billion VND (30.87 million USD). It has a total area of 46,000 square metres with 200 rooms and five-star services.

    Once operational in 2019, the complex is expected to cast a new look for the region, create jobs for local labourers and meet the demand for high-end accommodation of tourists and local residents.

    At the ground-breaking ceremony, Chairman of the group Le Thanh Thuan pledged to carry out the project in line with set plan and ensure labour safety as committed to local authorities.

    Investors’ recommendations welcomed to improve business climate: PM

    The government of Vietnam welcomes all feedback and recommendations of domestic and foreign investors to improve local policies for better business climate, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 18.

    He made the remarks at a meeting with representatives of local and foreign enterprises and investors in Cao Lanh City, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap where he attended the Expanding Market for Fruits – Vegetables and Improving Logistics for Agriculture and Rural Development Forum shortly before.

    Meanwhile, the firms and investors gathered in Dong Thap for the forum and the province’s 2017 investment promotion conference on December 19.

    Vietnam’s business environment has been improved but legal shortcomings have remained, requiring continued amendments, he said.

    The PM noted that he, the government and relevant agencies always look forward to receiving feedback and recommendations from investors both at home and abroad to improve the legal framework in this area.

    Phuc welcomed all ideas and business plans firms and investors proposed during the meeting and at the same time, urged them to ensure product safety and quality, protect the environment and have plans to encourage made-in-Vietnam goods.

    According to PM Phuc, more than 24,000 foreign projects, worth over US$320 billion, are operating in Vietnam. This year, the country’s FDI inflows hit a record of US$35 billion.

    Several leaders of foreign firms, such as Chairman and President of the China-based Greenland Holdings Group Zhang Yuliang, Central Group Vietnam CEO Philippe Broianigo and Richard Courey, President and CEO of the Vision Transportation Group from Canada, voiced their hope to expand business in Vietnam in multiple areas and informed the PM that they will soon carry out projects in Vietnam, including the Mekong Delta.

    GENCO 1’s 11-month hydropower output surpasses year’s target

    The Generation Corporation 1 (GENCO 1) of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) produced more than 9 billion kWh of hydropower in the first 11 months of 2017, 40% higher than this year’s target.

    Meanwhile, thermal power output approximated 17 billion kWh, equivalent to 70% of the target, the firm said, noting that over 26 billion kWh was produced in total during the period, reaching 86% of the 2017 plan.

    It added thanks to the big volume of water flowing into hydropower reservoirs, hydropower output by the end of November was 3 billion kWh higher than the plan for 2017.

    In November alone, GENCO 1 turned out over 2.28 billion kWh of electricity, representing 90% of the month’s target and rising by 12% from a year earlier.

    The company earned more than VND2.7 billion from electricity sales during the month, including nearly VND2.2 billion thermal power.

    It will work to manufacture more than 2.1 billion kWh, including 429 million kWh of hydropower and 1.68 billion kWh of thermal power, in December to fulfil this year’s task, the corporation added.

    Vietnamese orchid farmer thrives on arid land

    A young local farmer has created a thriving orchid business in one of the driest provinces in Vietnam.

    The brave 33-year-old, Phan Thanh Sang, has created new career paths for people in NinhThuanProvince, on the south-central coast of Vietnam.

    The mountainous area of land he calls his own is half-covered by forest, which makes cultivation challenging.

    In addition, the province is considered one of the most arid areas in Vietnam, experiencing several droughts per year, making it far from the best place to start an orchid farm.

    However, despite the conditions, Sang has not been discouraged from investing in the area and making a change.

    Sang’s business – YSA Orchid Farm – currently consists of three high-tech farms with a total land area of more than 10 hectares, and is valued at VND70 billion (US$3 million).

    Two of the farms are located in LamDongProvince, however, the most notable one is in Ninh Thuan.

    “I developed the orchid plantation in Ninh Thuan to create new jobs for people in the area. Each area has its own advantages. I just wanted to provide people there [Ninh Thuan] with a new approach, new opportunities,” the pioneer explained.

    In Ninh Thuan, Sang chose to plant moth orchids.

    Every nine to 12 months, his orchids are taken to Da Lat City in Lam Dong, in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, where it is cold enough for orchids to flourish.

    In 2006, when Sang was still a university student, he bought a small orchid garden and began gaining experience.

    Upon his graduation from the agriculture faculty of Da Lat University, Sang borrowed VND200 million (US$8,780) from banks to fund his ambitious startup.

    He began by investing in a laboratory to breed new orchids.

    “I took it [the business] step by step, all by myself so as to develop sustainably. The places where I grew the flowers, I allowed people to come and learn,” the YSA Orchid Farm owner said.

    “If one takes the right path, has the right approach, and is determined and hardworking, they will succeed. It is not about sitting around and waiting for projects to come to you.”

    Annually, YSA Orchid Farm provides the market with thousands of orchids and has annual revenue of over VND20 billion (US$878,000), with more than 60 employees.

    As a delegate of the Da Lat Flower Association, Sang was honored to participate in the Eleventh National Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Congress that began on December 10 in Hanoi.

    But Sang was not there just as a delegate.

    Sang had arrived in Hanoi a few days in advance along with 600 moth orchid flower pots, 1,000 branches of monkara orchids and other decorations representative of Ninh Thuan to decorate the event.

    The 33-year-old has become well-known for his innovative and pioneering approach.

    Heeding Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s suggestion that “every young person is a startup warrior,” Sang is one of those living up to the idea, and even though his success is already undeniable, the young founder has more goals.

    “I have a successful startup, but I still have to reach out to foreign countries, or at least spread the startup spirit to the local community so that other people can accomplish what I have,” he said.

    Lilama to withdraw 15% capital at its affiliate
       
    The Viet Nam Construction and Machinery Installation Corp (Lilama) will withdraw 15 per cent of its capital at its affiliate, Lilama 45-1 Joint Stock Company.

    The process will begin from now until the end of the first quarter of 2018. Lilama, under the Ministry of Construction, will auction 720,000 shares of Lilama 45-1 at an initial offering price of VND10,987 (44 US cents) per share. The offering of shares will be held at Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities Joint Stock Company (SHS).

    Lilama currently holds a total of 2.4 million shares at Lilama 45-1, equivalent to 51 per cent of the company’s charter capital. Therefore, after the divestment, Lilama will reduce its ownership to 36 per cent.

    The divestment is scheduled to be implemented in accordance with Lilama’s project on restructuring and enhancing management capacity during the period of 2016-25.

    Ha Noi prepares land for developing resettlement apartments
       
    Ha Noi said it has prepared 28.5ha of land for developers to build 27 resettlement housing projects with an estimated 19,800 apartment units.

    The capital city recently submitted a document to the Government Office to clarify its proposed mechanisms for firms to develop resettlement apartments in the capital city.

    Under the proposals, Ha Noi will prepare land and select developers with adequate capacity to develop these resettlement housing projects. An important criterion for developers is that they must promise not to calculate loan costs in the apartment price.

    The developers will be allowed to make a profit of 10 per cent or sell 20 per cent of the apartments to the market.

    After nine to 12 months, if the city failed to introduce home buyers, the developers will be allowed to sell the apartments to recover their investment.

    It was estimated that the city needed more than 22,130 apartments by 2020 to meet the resettlement demand for site clearance to implement infrastructure development projects,

    Currently, some 4,500 resettlement apartments were being developed and the city needed another 17,600 units.

    The capital city said the new mechanisms would encourage developers to invest in resettlement housing projects.

    Under the current mechanisms, the Government will have to spend money to develop or buy housing projects for resettlement. After that, the resettlement housing projects will be sold to citizens. The capital city said this mechanism was not efficient due to the tight budget.

    Vi Viet records 2 million users
       
    Vi Viet e-wallet, a LienVietPostBank’s online banking services recorded more than two million customers and a network of some 16,000 transaction points as of Friday after over a year of launching.

    Nguyen Dinh Thang, vice chairman of the bank’s management board told a press meeting in Ha Noi on Friday that it is expected that Vi Viet would reach 3.5 million users and 30,000 transaction points next year.

    Thang said Vi Viet is a non-cash payment online tool via a mobile application or website viviet.vn that helps customers pay their bills and shop online. From the beginning of next year, customers could use Vi Viet for implementation of online banking services such as deposit, account query, account statement, settlement of saving accounts and consumer lending.

    “LienVietPostBank has been building Vi Viet to gradually become a digital banking outlet. In addition to modernising core-banking, applying advanced management software and developing e-banking, Vi Viet would contribute to realising the bank’s target of becoming one of the leading retail banks in Viet Nam– a bank for everybody,” he added.

    The bank has also implemented new strategy by expanding its network and providing retail banking products for people, especially in rural areas nationwide.

    Earlier, Vi Viet had been the first bank in Viet Nam receiving the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA Awards) which is an international awards programme to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the digital divide. APICTA has been considered as the OSCAR award in the ICT sector in the Asia Pacific region. Vi Viet was awarded with second prize for Financial Industry Application.

    On Thursday, Japanese Mitsui Knowledge Industry Company and Doreming Company signed an agreement with LienVietPostBank to use Vi Viet for their salary payment and management solution for both Vietnamese and Japanese firms in 2018.

    In the first 11 months of the year, LienVietPostBank’s pre-tax profit surpass its whole year’s target to reach VND1.7 trillion (US$74.8 million). Its total capital mobilisation was VND141 trillion while total assets were VND154 trillion. The bank’s total outstanding loans were VNĐ98 trillion and charter capital VND6.46 trillion.

    LienVietPostBank set a target to increase its charter capital to VND7.5 trillion by the beginning of 2018 and increasing the divided rate from 12 per cent in 2017 to 15 per cent in 2018.

    VN, Japanese firms cooperate in Waguy cow farming
       
    Huy Long An Limited Company and Japan’s Sawai Ranch on Sunday signed an agreement for cooperation in Japanese-style Waguy cow farming in the southern province of Long An’s Duc Hue District.

    This is the first time Viet Nam and Japan have cooperated in raising Waguy cow.

    Waguy cows would be raised on farms of Huy Long An company following strict process with supervision from Japanese experts to ensure quality.

    Waguy beef would be partly sold in the domestic market and partly exported to Japan.

    Vo Quang Huy, director of the Huy Long An Limited Company, said the company currently owns one of the largest cow raising farms in Viet Nam with the capacity to raise 30,000 cows.

    It was estimated that each Waguy cow could be worth around US$40,000.

    Sawai Ranch is experienced in raising Waguy cow under the brand OHMI – one of the three famous Japanese beef brands.

    Le Van Hoang, director of Long An Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province was promoting the application of high technologies in agricultural development.

    Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam boost trade, investment

    The 11th Investment-Trade and Tourism Promotion Forum of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle took place in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on December 18.

    Speaking at the event, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Foreign Investment Agency Do Nhat Hoang said Vietnam has so far invested 3.6 billion USD in 113 projects in the area, including 1.6 billion USD in 48 projects in Cambodia and nearly 2 billion USD in 65 projects in Laos, mostly in agriculture and rubber production.

    Hoang asked ministries and agencies concerned of the three countries to promptly refine legal regulations on business and investment, and procedures regarding taxation, customs and labour, and prioritise transport infrastructure investment.

    A Lao representative said the forum offers a chance to boost economic growth and infrastructure development of each country and the region as a whole.

    He added two-way trade between Laos and Vietnam topped 800 million USD last year and surpassed 500 million USD in the first half this year, up 14 percent annually. Meanwhile, trade between Laos and Cambodia has also prospered.

    Vice Chairman of the Binh Phuoc provincial People’s Committee Huynh Anh Minh said local investors poured 148 million USD into the development triangle, predominantly in rubber processing and cashew cultivation.

    Representatives from 13 regional provinces introduced potential and business opportunities to investors. They suggested paying attention to training of tour guides with good foreign language command and building the border area into a friendly destination.

    A representative from the Council for the Development of Cambodia revealed that agricultural investors in Cambodia are exempt from tax for nine years since the first yield.

    ADB helps boost economic growth in north central region

    The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved loans totaling 149 million USD to help improve basic infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth that will benefit over 1 million people in four provinces in the north central coastal region of Vietnam.

    ADB’s assistance for the Basic Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth in the North Central Provinces Sector Project includes a regular loan of 52 million USD and a concessional loan worth 97 million USD. Both loans will be financed from the ordinary capital resources where most of ADB’s lending come from.

    The total cost of the project is 203.52 million USD, with the Government of Vietnam contributing 54.52 million USD.

    According to Eric Sidgwick, ADB’s Country Director for Vietnam, Vietnam has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world since 2010, with an annual growth average of about 6 percent as of 2015.

    But growth has not been significantly reflected in rural areas, particularly in the north central provinces, he noted.

    “ADB’s assistance will help promote inclusive growth and bridge the development gap by integrating cities and the rural areas in the region,” he said.

    Economic development in the project provinces, namely Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri, has been constrained by the fragmented coverage of basic infrastructure, with the 2015 poverty rate reaching 13 percent compared to the 7 percent national average.

    Moreover, the provinces are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and are predicted to have the country’s highest increase in annual mean temperature at 1.7 percent and annual rainfall shooting up by 20 percent

    To address these issues, the project will improve connectivity among the provinces by upgrading and constructing about 214 kilometers of climate-resilient provincial and district roads, which will benefit more than 900,000 people.

    It will boost business development through the construction and upgrading of rural water supply, flood protection, irrigation, and port services, while improving the capacity of the provincial governments, particularly in public asset management.

    The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023.

    GENCO 1’s 11-month hydropower output surpasses year’s target

    The Generation Corporation 1 (GENCO 1) of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) produced more than 9 billion kWh of hydropower in the first 11 months of 2017, 40 percent higher than this year’s target.

    Meanwhile, thermal power output approximated 17 billion kWh, equivalent to 70 percent of the target, the firm said, noting that over 26 billion kWh was produced in total during the period, reaching 86 percent of the 2017 plan.

    It added thanks to the big volume of water flowing into hydropower reservoirs, hydropower output by the end of November was 3 billion kWh higher than the plan for 2017.

    In November alone, GENCO 1 turned out over 2.28 billion kWh of electricity, representing 90 percent of the month’s target and rising by 12 percent from a year earlier.

    The company earned more than 2.7 billion VND from electricity sales during the month, including nearly 2.2 billion VND thermal power.

    It will work to manufacture more than 2.1 billion kWh, including 429 million kWh of hydropower and 1.68 billion kWh of thermal power, in December to fulfil this year’s task, the corporation added.

    Central Highlands provinces post record export turnover in 2017

    Exports of Vietnam’s Central Highlands provinces hit more than 2.66 trillion USD in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 22.71 percent and the highest so far, said the Steering Committee for Central Highlands Region.

    The main export products of the provinces were coffee, pepper, rubber, aluminium, honey, cassava starch, cashew nuts, vegetables and flowers.

    Dak Lak was the leading export locality in the region, raking in 575 million USD in the reviewed period, up 4.55 percent against the previous year.

    Its coffee beans have been shipped to 75 countries and territories, with revenue from 10 main markets including Germany, Japan, the US, Italy, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, India, Spain, Mexico and Sweden reaching 10 million USD each.

    Central Highlands provinces have encouraged domestic and foreign businesses to build coffee processing facilities, raising the added value of coffee products.

    The provinces also have stepped up trade promotion activities, sought new importers while expanding new selling methods to major partners worldwide.

    Central Highlands provinces are Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong.

    Ben Tre approves Nexif Energy’s wind power project

    The People’s Committee of Ben Tre province has approved the proposal of Nexif Energy, an independent power producer in Asia and Australia, to develop a 80 MW wind power project in the southern locality.

    The project, located in Thanh Hai commune, Thanh Phu district, has total investment of 3.68 trillion VND (160 million USD).

    The wind power project will be divided in three phases and is expected to generate 250GWh of clean electricity output per year when completed, enough to power more than 50,000 households.

    The first phase of the project, with capacity of 30MW, is scheduled to start generating electricity by 2020. The second phase is planned to operate in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the third phase will be started in the third quarter of 2022, Le Tuan Kiet, an officer of the provincial People’s Committee, told Vietnam News.

    Currently, Nexif Energy is the major shareholder of the Coc San Hydropower Project with capacity of 30MW in the northern province of Lao Cai and is developing a renewable energy project with total capacity of 500MW in Vietnam within the next three years.

    Nexif Energy was established in August 2015 through a partnership between Nexif, a Singapore-headquartered independent developer and manager of power and infrastructure projects in South and South East Asia, and Denham Capital, a leading energy and resources-focused global private equity firm with over 8.4 billion USD of invested or committed capital across eight funds.

    Investors’ recommendations welcomed to improve business climate: PM

    The government of Vietnam welcomes all feedback and recommendations of domestic and foreign investors to improve local policies for better business climate, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 18.

    He made the remarks at a meeting with representatives of local and foreign enterprises and investors in Cao Lanh City, the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap where he attended the Expanding Market for Fruits – Vegetables and Improving Logistics for Agriculture and Rural Development Forum shortly before.

    Meanwhile, the firms and investors gathered in Dong Thap for the forum and the province’s 2017 investment promotion conference on December 19.

    Vietnam’s business environment has been improved but legal shortcomings have remained, requiring continued amendments, he said.

    The PM noted that he, the government and relevant agencies always look forward to receiving feedback and recommendations from investors both at home and abroad to improve the legal framework in this area.

    Phuc welcomed all ideas and business plans firms and investors proposed during the meeting and at the same time, urged them to ensure product safety and quality, protect the environment and have plans to encourage made-in-Vietnam goods.

    According to PM Phuc, more than 24,000 foreign projects, worth over 320 billion USD, are operating in Vietnam. This year, the country’s FDI inflows hit a record of 35 billion USD.

    Several leaders of foreign firms, such as Chairman and President of the China-based Greenland Holdings Group Zhang Yuliang, Central Group Vietnam CEO Philippe Broianigo and Richard Courey, President and CEO of the Vision Transportation Group from Canada, voiced their hope to expand business in Vietnam in multiple areas and informed the PM that they will soon carry out projects in Vietnam, including the Mekong Delta.

    Vinalines partners up with Hoa Phat-Dung Quat Steel

    Vietnam shipping giant Vinalines on December 15 signed a co-operation agreement with Hoa Phat Dung Quat Steel JSC in the fields of training, seaport exploitation, transportation, material and equipment import, and products distribution. 

    The signing ceremony was part of the Vietnam Logistics Forum 2017 co-organised by the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the World Bank, and Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA).

    "Joining such an event is a good opportunity for Vinalines to expand its market share, seek business partnership with domestic and foreign partners as well as introduce logistics services to potential customers," said Le Quang Trung, deputy general director of Vinalines.

    Currently, the shipping giant owns a fleet with a total loading capacity of over two million tonnes, accounting for around 26 per cent of Vietnam's national shipping fleet. This enables Vinalines to meet requirements of shippers and contribute to the country's expanded trading network.

    Vinalines, which has stakes in 14 port companies and operates over 13,000 metres of piers with a total capacity of 70 million tonnes of cargo a year, is attracting the attention of many influential international groups.

    Meanwhile, Hoa Phat is a multi-sector group. The production of steel and coke coal-related products, as well as iron ore is the group's key business line, making up around 80 per cent of the group's total revenue.

    Also at the forum, businesses, VLA members, and universities signed co-operation agreements to promote logistics development in Vietnam in the future.

    As part of the forum, the Vietnam Logistics Report 2017 was published. This publication includes action plans to promote the development of the Vietnamese logistics sector. The website www.logistics.gov.vn also made its debut on this occasion.

    Raising people’s awareness for sustainable development of herbal industry

    Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Binh said that it is essential to raise awareness of the people of the economic and medical values of herbal plants for effective and sustainable development of the herbal industry in Vietnam.

    Binh made the remarks while chairing the conference on developing the herbal medicine in the Northwest region held in Lao Cai province on December 15 by the Party’s Commission for Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the People’s Committee of Lao Cai province.

    Speaking at the conference with participation of representatives from 14 provinces in the Northwest region, Binh affirmed that the Northwest region boasts a huge potentials and advantages for the development of herbal medicines which is home to 500 types of herbal plants and precious local knowledge of herbalism.

    Thus, Binh asked ministries, sectors and localities to focus on developing herbal products with comparative advantages to serve exports including tam that (panaxpseudoginseng) in Ha Giang and Cao Bang; y di (coixlacryma-jobi) in Son La, Lao Cai, Yen Bai; and dang sam (Campanumoea javaniea Blume) in Son La; among others.

    Binh noted that it is necessary to clearly define the role of the State and the market, under which, the State should create favourable policies to attract and support enterprises to invest in and apply technology in the herbal sector to create their consumption markets.

    In addition, the State needs to help enterprises to connect with cooperatives and local farmers and improve the awareness of the people of the values of herbal plants to effectively develop the herbal industry in Vietnam.

    Bao Viet Insurance expands distribution channels

    The Bao Viet Insurance Corporation (Bao Viet Insurance) has signed many comprehensive cooperation agreements with domestic and foreign financial advisory and training organizations over the closing months of 2017 in order to diversify its distribution channels, improve the quality of its consultancy, and provide customers with a better experience when accessing and using its products and services.

    At the Vietnam Logistics Forum 2017 on December 15, Bao Viet Insurance signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Digital Novaon Group (Novaon), witnessed by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

    As a partner in the “1000 Pioneering Online Exporters” program, Bao Viet Insurance will use the cooperation agreement to provide the best insurance products to export enterprises at reasonable cost and with high security.

    Exporters participating in the program will receive top-notch consultancy and training from Bao Viet Insurance and Novaon regarding online export and cargo insurance services through intensive training programs and industry seminars.

    “Bao Viet Insurance is committed to working closely with this program, promoting the goal of developing Vietnam’s online export with the best training and consulting so that customers can be assured when exporting,” said Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy General Director of Bao Viet Insurance.

    Bao Viet has also signed cooperation agreements with large consulting and training organizations with modern technology and a team of professional consultants with long-term experience in the profession, such as consulting and training company LABO on November 2017 and GNC Trade Services Corporation just recently.

    Bao Viet Insurance’s remarkable business results in the first nine months of 2017, with revenue growth of 22.9 per cent, stemmed from efforts in strengthening internal cooperation, promoting the cross-selling of products, improving customer service quality, expanding network operations, and product development.

    Apax Holdings lists on HoSE

    The Apax Holdings Investment Joint Stock Company (stock code IBC), a member of the Egroup, officially joined the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) on December 15 by listing 68.8 million shares, equivalent to charter capital of more than VND688.8 billion ($30 million).

    The reference price on the first trading day was $0.88 (VND20,000) per share, and after just 25 minutes over 100,000 shares were traded.

    Apax Holdings has found success in the development of its education chain and recorded high growth over the last year. It now owns the largest English language training center chain in Vietnam, Apax English, the STEAMe GARTEN bilingual kindergarten system, and the Apax Franklin Academy.

    “The listing on HoSE is a breakthrough for the company,” said Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, Chairman of Apax Holdings. “Listing on HoSE will make the brand name Apax Holdings more well-known and at the same time confirm the company’s desire for sustainable and transparent development.”

    Mr. Thuy revealed that Apax Holdings will pursue the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), which is based on digital technology and integrating all smart technologies to optimize production processes and methods, highlighting technologies that are having and will have greatest impacts.

    Therefore, “our high-end English training centers, Apax English, and our STEAMe GARTEN bilingual kindergartens, and later on, the Apax Franklin Academy, will all apply science and technology in teaching,” he said.

    The company will also strengthen quality and change the appearance of its centers to better meet the needs of customers.

    Apax English now has 55 centers, double the number at the end of 2016. It is expected to reach 100 locations by 2018, while STEAMe GARTEN will have 15 campuses and Apax Franklin Academy five centers.

    HCMC signs cooperation with US financier on infrastructure development

    HCMC Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan worked with leaders of Internatinal Finance Corporation ((IFC) and witnessed the signing ceremony of a cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the city People’s Committee and IFC on improving and expanding city infrastructure in the US on December 15.

    HCMC People’s Committee and IFC leaders sign the cooperation MoU on city infrastructure development in Wasington D.C on December 15 (Photo: SGGP)

    He has been leading a high level delegation from the city during a working visit to the US.

    According to the MoU, the two sides will set up feasible steps to advance towards cooperation in improving and broadening the city’s infrastructure and diversifying capital sources through IFC’s non refundable supply of financial tools and technical consultancy for HCMC.

    IFC will assist HCMC in local bond issues in line with Vietnam’s relevant regulations, consult the city on a suitable process to get international credit rating, provide technical advices on Smart City project, implementation of public private partnership (PPP) model and PPP project structure.

    On the same day, Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan visited the Vietnam Embassy in the US, thanked Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh and embassy staff for their contributions to HCMC for the last past including co-organization of the working visit.

     He hoped the embassy to keep supporting HCMC in strategies exploiting high technology potentials of the community of Vietnamese people in the US for the city development and startup promotion.

    Afterwards, Mr. Nhan and Mr. Vinh attended a forum with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC).

    The event’s organization was proposed by HCMC to contribute in intensifying relations between HCMC and US investors. It was attended by USABC chairman Alex Feldman and representatives of 17 large groups and companies in the US namely Facebook, Visa, Intel, Coca-Cola, GE, 3M, Abbott Laboratories, Herbalife and Uber.

    At the forum, Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan presented potentials and challenges in HCMC development with the target in the phase of 2020-2030 of quick and sustainable economic development. The city will obtain the growth rate of 8 percent, labor productivity triple national average; contribute 30 percent national budget and become a smart city and the national center in Industry 4.0.

    He also listened to and replied to some opinions and suggestions by investors at the forum and affirmed that HCMC always create the most advantageous conditions for businesses to invest and expand investment in Vietnam.

    At the headquarters of the World Bank (WB) in Washington D.C, Mr. Nhan and the delegation worked with WB vice chairwoman Victoria Kwakwa and her coworkers.

    Mr. Nhan appreciated contributions and attempts by Ms. Kwakwa as former director of WB Vietnam and in the current position together with contributions by WB staff in Vietnam for the last past.

    Subsequently the two sides discussed cooperation plans in HCMC’s projects and programs.

    Mr. Nhan said that the city would establish working groups to strongly attract residents to attend and estimate the projects and programs, efficiently implement PPP model in infrastructure investment and develop Smart City.

    One of the main goals of the HCMC high level delegation's working visit to the US is to learn the US, one of the most successful nations in startup, he added.

    Ms. Kwakwa agreed to organize groups to work with HCMC about the above contents.

    WB committed to utmost assisting HCMC within its capacity, she said.

    Bosch to invest EUR58 million in Vietnam

    The world's largest supplier of automotive components, Bosch Vietnam Co., Ltd. plans to invest EUR58 million (US467 million) in its gasoline plant in the Dong Nai province.
    The additional investment aims to meet the rising demand for continuously variable transmission pushbelts from automakers across Asia Pacific and North America, said Peter Tyroller, member of the Bosch board of management responsible for the Asia Pacific region.
    With this investment, the company will have total investment capital of 321 million euros (USD 372 million) in the plant by the end of 2018.
    The leading global supplier of technology and services, Bosch has become one of the largest European investors in Vietnam, operating in all four areas: research and development (R&D), manufacturing, sales, and services.

    BenQ presented devices for educational purposes

    BenQ Corporation, which is a group on projectors for educational purposes, has just introduced its products to customers in Vietnam.

    BenQ has equipped a product line with Dust Guard technology to increase the durability and avoid the decay which normally affects the quality of displayed images.

    These dustproof projectors possess a sealed box to protect inner accessories, an anti-dust accumulation sensor, a hall sensor, and a dust filter to help them operate better and longer while saving the time of cleaning machine, replacing worn out parts, repairing accessories due to harmful dusts.

    In addition, BenQ has presented the interactive flat panel line with a resolution of 4K, having vision-friendly and anti-bacteria properties which were certified by SGS.

    The RP interactive flat panel series of BenQ can precisely support multiple touch points at one time and uses a coating of ionic silver to prevent bacteria and microbes from sticking to the screen or getting in touch with users.

    In this way, BenQ hopes to provide a healthier learning and working environment.

    This RPS is also equipped with the solution of smart eye-care, consisting of cutting-edge technologies like a layer of glare resistant glass, low blue light (TÜV-certified) and zero flicker, all of which reduce eyestrain and fatigue over time.

    The series is available in sizes ranging from 65” to 86”. All models of RP654K, RP704K, RP750K, and RP860K are enhanced with powerful integrated tools for working and teaching.

    Strategies needed to cope with personnel change

    It is necessary to come up with human resource strategies in order to take proactive steps upon personnel change, thereby leaving little or no impact on production and business activities, heard a roundabout at the Saigon Times Group in HCMC on December 14.

    The roundtable, focusing on personnel change at companies in a fast-changing business environment, is among a series of seminars and talks themed “Go with Business” that is organized every two months by the Saigon Times Group in collaboration with partners to support business.

    The meeting entitled “How to stay calm at personnel change” was jointly held by the Saigon Times Group and ManpowerGroup Vietnam.

    Le Thi Kim Thuy, Human Resources Director at Bosch Vietnam, said personnel change includes manpower transfer, promotion, resignation, and dismissal. Positive personnel change is an opportunity for businesses to rearrange and streamline their structure, she said.

    However, negative personal change has adverse effects on production and business operations such as increasing recruitment fees, losing customers, having technology secrets lost to rivals, or even creating a bad image on the market.

    Therefore, she stressed enterprises should have manpower strategies aligned to their business plans in order to calculate the number of employees needed.

    Besides, they should set up manpower training programs for their own employees, and should be adequately prepared to take on contingent workers so that these staff can be appointed to other positions if necessary.

    Tran Bang Viet, CEO of Dong A Solutions, said when personnel change means an undesired decline in the number of employees, it has negative effects on production and business activities such as reducing service quality and customer satisfaction.

    He said enterprises may face revenue losses, and even a business model destruction like the competition between traditional taxi operators and ride-hailing firms Uber and Grab.

    Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue, human resources manager at AEON Vietnam, said enterprises in the retail sector should work out long-term strategies to minimize impacts of staff change. Specifically, they should standardize operational procedures so that the quality of services will not change in the event of personnel change.

    Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, chairwoman and CEO of Phu Nhuan Jewelry (PNJ), also underscored the availability of staff members who are ready to fill any vacancies. In the past, while PNJ was expanding its retail store chain, it had no choice but to take on people who did not quite meet the firm’s job requirements, she added.

    But, she noted, things have now changed as PNJ always has available people who can fill vacancies, thus improving the firm’s business efficiency.

    Nguyen Xuan Son, Operations Manager of Enterprise Account Outsourcing and Staffing services, HCMC at ManpowerGroup Vietnam, said enterprises in every labor group should have solutions to reduce impacts of workforce change.

    Take unskilled labor for example. In addition to maintaining key manpower, enterprises should make use of short-term workforce to meet the demand during high season. As for office staff, enterprises should adopt welfare policy, and frequently organize training sessions for their employees to develop their skills, Son said.

    Experts: HCMC apartment supplies seen rising next year

    The HCMC real estate market will continue growing with some 40,000 apartments put up for sale next year, mainly mid-end ones, said experts at a conference on the Vietnamese property market in HCMC on December 13.

    At the conference, Duong Thuy Dung, senior director of property services provider CB Richard Ellis Vietnam (CBRE), said apartment supplies on the local market as a whole would increase as many housing projects are in the pipeline now.

    However, apartment supplies in Hanoi next year will slightly go down compared to 2017. Besides, property transactions are predicted to fall due to possible customer caution.

    Apartment prices would increase 3% over this year, said Dung.

    Can Van Luc, an economic expert, said the property market would maintain its growth momentum next year due to its positive performance this year. As of September, listed real estate firms had average revenue and profit growth of 40% and 6% respectively.

    In addition, prices of offices for lease and apartments have increased by 5-10%. Despite the cash flow into the sector is checked, private investment into the property market has surged 60%.

    Cen Group vice chairman Pham Thanh Hung said the globalization of real estate markets would continue next year as more Vietnamese would buy houses abroad and foreigners would buy more properties in Vietnam as well. Vietnam is expected to integrate into the global real estate market in the next two or three years.

    The property market has witnessed a huge number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals this year. However, values of such transactions were not revealed.

    Pham Xuan Can, chairman of Sohovietnam Real Estate Consulting Company, told the conference that property transactions which have been announced accounts for 20-30% of total M&A deals in the sector.

    The M&A section next year may offer many opportunities for Vietnamese property firms.

    Vinasoy opens third soymilk plant worth VND900 billion

    Vietnam Soya Products Company, commonly known as Vinasoy, launched its third plant worth VND900 billion (US$39.6 million) in the southern province of Binh Duong on December 14.

    Located at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 2A in Binh Duong Province, the facility covers 8.5 hectares and has a designed capacity of 180 million liters per year. Its first phase will yield 90 million liters annually, bringing Vinasoy’s total output to 390 million liters per year.

    The plant is expected to shorten the time and distance spent on delivering its products to consumers in the southern part of the country, as its operational plants in the northern and central provinces of Bac Ninh and Quang Ngai will mainly meet the demands there, according to the company.

    The company currently holds a soymilk market share of a staggering 84.3% in Vietnam, according to data of the market research firm Nielsen Vietnam. It has obtained revenue of VND4 trillion as of last month, up a whopping 200 times against 2002.

    “Vietnam has great potential for soymilk whose consumption will rise to 780 to 900 million liters in the next four years. Vinasoy has yet to tap more than 65% of households in urban areas, and over 50% in rural ones,” said Ngo Van Tu, chief executive officer of Vinasoy, adding that the company aims for revenue of US$1 billion in 2027.

    Vietnam imports large volume of Aussie cherries

    Although the cherry season has just started in Australia, Vietnam has imported 160 tons of this fruit from this country, according to the Australian Cherry Growers Association.

    The cherry season in Australia often starts in mid-October and lasts until the end of February. The 2017-2018 season is the first time the fruit has been shipped to Vietnam again after a period of suspension.

    Tom Eastlake, chairman of the Australian Cherry Growers Association, on December 14 told the Daily on the sidelines of an event introducing the cherry 2017-2018 season that Australia hopes to export 350 tons of cherries to Vietnam this season.

    Australia did not succeed in exporting cherries to Vietnam in the past time. However, the situation is expected to change thanks to tie-ups with Vietnamese distributors and retailers and promotion programs.

    Besides, the medium distance between the two countries could help supply fresh cherries for Vietnamese consumers within 48 hours after harvest, Eastlake said.

    The event introducing the new cherry season held by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) includes other activities such as meetings with importers, traders and retailers in Vietnam and the introduction of dishes made of cherries. A similar event was organized in Hanoi City on Tuesday.

    Australia has also offered discounts on cherries sold at supermarkets and stores such as Aeon Mall, Annam Gourmet Market, Big C, Giant, Klever Fruits, MM Mega Market and US Mart until January 21 next year.

    According to the Australian Consulate General in Vietnam, Australia’s cherry export has grown well over the past time with 5,600 tons of cherries worth US$76 million in the 2015-2016 season compared to US$16 million in 2011-2012.

    Ministry to scrap numerous property trading conditions

    The Construction Ministry is seeking feedback for amending some articles of the Laws on Construction, Housing, Property Business, and Urban Planning to abolish numerous unreasonable conditions on property trading and development.

    The ministry said in a document that a host of regulations on real estate brokering and business should be removed from the 2014 Law on Property Business.

    The current regulation stipulates any organizations or individuals wishing to conduct real estate transactions shall set up enterprises or cooperatives and have legal capital of at least VND20 billion.

    Meanwhile, the 2014 Investment Law and the 2014 Enterprise Law exclude the legal capital regulation. Therefore, the Law on Property Business should be amended accordingly.

    The 2014 Enterprise Law prescribes companies in the conditional business sectors are subject to particular business conditions while the Law on Property Business asks real estate brokers to obtain practicing certificates.

    That any real estate brokering service providers must set up their own enterprises, and there are at least two employees obtaining real estate brokering licenses is deemed unnecessary, making life more difficult for enterprises.

    The rule that a real estate service provider cannot perform as both a broker and a contracting party in a real estate transaction should be eliminated as well. The reason is that brokers have the right to participate or are authorized to make real estate deals.

    That real estate trading floors must have regulations, names, addresses, facilities and technical conditions satisfying operational requirements should also be abolished, according to the ministry.

    SCIC stakes unsalable after Vinamilk shares auction

    Having successfully sold a 3.33% stake at Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has had great difficulty offloading its stakes in other companies due to a lack of investor interest.

    SCIC on Wednesday announced to cancel the auction of 2.5 million shares it is holding at Lam Dong Pharmaceutical JSC (Ladophar) as no investors had registered to acquire the shares. SCIC has offered the share volume, equivalent to 31.88% of Ladophar’s shares, since December 4.

    Such a move came as a surprise as Nguyen Kim Investment and Development JSC had earlier expressed its interest in the deal, saying it would buy more than 2.1 million shares to raise its ownership at Ladophar from the current 24% to 51%, making Ladophar a subsidiary of Nguyen Kim.

    However, Nguyen Kim offered to pay no more than VND32,000 a share while SCIC wanted a starting price of VND42,600.

    On December 8, SCIC put up for auction 96.2 million shares of Vietnam Construction and Import-Export Corporation (Vinaconex). With a starting price of VND25,600 per share, SCIC expected to raise nearly VND2.5 trillion.

    However, only three investors participated in the auction and acquired 5.35 million State shares, equivalent to nearly 5.6% of total shares SCIC had offered, for nearly VND137 billion.

    In the rest of the year, SCIC has plans to sell shares of Domesco Medical Import Export JSC, FPT Corporation, Binh Minh Plastics JSC and Tien Phong Plastics JSC.

    HCMC to halve project approval process

    HCMC has plans to set up an interdisciplinary team in charge of supporting enterprises in completing investment procedures in an attempt to halve the processing time.

    In the early stage, the team will support large-scale and important projects that will greatly contribute to the socio-economic development of the city.

    Investors just need to submit their investment documents to the team and receive the results without having to contact any other departments. The team will also provide the investors with planning information for their pre-investment preparation and help them contact relevant agencies.

    The city government on December 11 sent a document to related departments asking them to prepare a work plan for the team.

    The HCMC Department of Construction earlier launched an electronic construction licensing system on July 1 that shortens the construction licensing duration from 133 days to 42.

    Vietnam to ship star apples stateside this month

    The Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on December 26 will coordinate with Cat Tuong Agricultural Products Producing and Processing Co Ltd to ship the first batch of 1,000 kilograms of star apples to the U.S.

    Le Van Thiet, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department, told the Daily on December 14 that Vietnamese star apples have to satisfy three requirements to be shipped to the U.S. The fruit must be planted in coded areas and such areas together with irradiation systems and star apple packaging companies must meet standards of the U.S.

    Up to date, 33 hectares under star apple farming in Tien Giang Province has been certificated to be qualified by the U.S., Thien said.

    The U.S. permission for Vietnamese star apples will help affirm the quality of Vietnamese goods as the fruit has been accepted by a choosy market. In addition, Vietnam may have more opportunities to expand export markets and raise income for farmers.

    Thien did not reveal the value of the first batch of star apples to the U.S., saying it is private between Cat Tuong Company and its U.S. partner.

    Other Vietnamese fruits such as dragon fruit, rambutan, longan and litchi have been earlier exported to the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Chile.

    As for export performance, Vietnam shipped US$3.16 billion worth of vegetables and fruits with over 80% being fruit export revenue in the year to end-November, up 43.2% year-on-year. China, Japan, the U.S. and South Korea were largest buyers of Vietnamese fruits in January-October with market shares of 75.6%, 3.6%, 2.9% and 2.6% respectively, according to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    At a conference on fruit production and export promotion held in Tien Giang Province on December 6, Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, forecast Vietnam might generate US$3.5 billion from fruit exports, increasing US$1 billion over last year.

    Quang Ninh: Van Don gears towards special administrative-economic zone

    The northern province of Quang Ninh has decided to choose Arcadis & Callison RTKL from Hong Kong (China) to become its consultant for the development of Van Don special administrative-economic zone.

    The decision was made at a meeting on Van Don planning held in the locality on December 16.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thanh said Van Don will be developed in line with the local general social-economic planning and the province will have meticulous discussions with the consultant to ensure that Van Don planning is in accordance with provincial development and meets requirements of a special economic zone.

    A working group will be set up to support the consultant in evaluating local situation, he added.

    Dianne Legge Kemp, Vice President of the Callison RTKL, a subsidiary of Arcadis, committed to sending experienced experts for the work.

    In a bid to develop Van Don Special Economic Zone, the province needs around 12 billion USD.

    An international airport in Van Don district, about 50 kilometres from Ha Long city-home to the world heritage site of Ha Long Bay, is scheduled to become operational in 2018.

    Van Don has a politically and economically important position as it lies on strategic transit route from East Asia to Southeast Asia and from ASEAN to China, in Vietnam-China “two corridors, one belt” cooperation area, in Nanning-Singapore economic corridor and in extended Tonkin Gulf inter-regional cooperation area.

    The zone is part of a Government-approved plan to build three such zones in the country. The other two are Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province.

    The zones are expected to spearhead to country’s growth and exploit local advantages to drive growth in the area. They will pilot key new economic and administrative policies before they are applied nationwide to develop the maritime economy.

    Vietnamese, Japanese firms partner up to produce Wagyu beef

    A deal to produce Wagyu beef under Japan’s technology was signed between the Huy Long An company of the Mekong Delta province of Long An and the Sawai Ranch of Japan on December 17.

    This is the first time that Vietnamese and Japanese firms have worked together to raise the Japanese cow species. Accordingly, the cattle will be raised in Huy Long An’s farms in accordance with a strict process under the supervision of Japanese experts, ensuring that the beef quality will meet criteria of Japan’s market.

    Vo Quang Huy, Director of the Huy Long An said the company owns one of the largest closed breeding facilities across the country with a capacity to raise about 30,000 cows simultaneously. The company has the policy to seek reliable business partners and advanced breeding technologies to produce high quality and safe beef.

    The beef is intended for both the domestic market and export to Japan. Each qualified Wagyu cow could be valued at about 40,000 USD.

    At the signing ceremony, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Van Hoang stated that the province has launched a project to develop agriculture with high technology, including hi-tech cow-breeding.

    Official nationwide sale of E5 RON92 biofuel begins
       
    The Viet Nam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrolimex) and PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PVOil) on Friday officially began the supply of E5 RON92 bio-fuel for sale nationwide.

    The biofuel will replace RON 92 petrol, 15 days before the Government’s stipulated deadline. Petrolimex said the firm has operated E5 fuel mixers at repositories in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, HCM City and Can Tho to prepare for the move.

    In 2018, the company will invest in two more mixers in Binh Dinh and Nghe An, lifting its total capacity to 1.8million cu.m per year.

    PVOil General Director, Cao Hoai Duong, said the company had upgraded and expanded its storage system and operated 11 mixing stations nationwide. According to a statement released by the Government, the ban on RON 92 grade was in line with its effort to boost the consumption of the environmentally friendly E5.

    The shift will also help ensure energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and implement commitments made by the Vietnamese Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The decision is expected to facilitate petrol dealers in the trading of E5 bio-fuel, as consumers will no longer have access to RON 92 petrol.

    Previously, many plans on the wide use of E5 bio-fuel were set but missed their deadline. The Government, last year, confirmed that plans to start compulsory sales of E5 in eight provinces and cities had been delayed because domestic consumers had shown little interest in switching from RON 92 petroleum.

    In the latest move, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on its online portal that it “may completely replace all RON 92 with E5 by mid-2017.” However, this timeline was moved to the beginning of 2018.

    Agribank successfully sells shares at AJC
       
    All shares of the Agribank Gold Joint Stock Corporation (AJC) offered by the Vietnam Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (Agribank) at the December 15 auction were sold to three domestic investors, the Ha Noi Stock Exchange announced.

    The stock exchange said the three investors bought more than 12.62 million AJC shares, equivalent to 61.24 per cent of charter capital, at the average bidding price of VND15,044 (66 US cents) per share.

    The price is 8.2 per cent higher than the initial price of VND13,900 per share offered by Agribank, helping the bank earn VND189.79 billion ($8.4 million) from the auction.

    Earlier, 13 investors registered to buy AJC shares.

    The bank, which was set up in 1994, earned revenue of VND1.2 trillion in 2016, a decline of 22 per cent compared with 2015. In the first six months of the year, AJC posted revenue of VND503 billion and after-tax profit of VND1.3 billion.

    SSI seek shareholders’ permission to issue bonds, ESOP shares
       
    Saigon Securities Inc is seeking shareholders’ approval for its plan to issue 1.2 million convertible bonds and 10 million ESOP (employee stock ownership programme) shares.

    According to the plan, next year, the securities company will issue 1.2 million convertible bonds with three-year term at a price of VND1 million each. Bond interest rate is expected to be 4 per cent per year.

    The convertible bonds will be issued to less than 100 investors, with priority given to those who operate in the financial and securities sectors.

    Capital mobilised from the bond issuance, valued at VND1.2 trillion (US$53 million), will be used to increase the company’s working capital.

    SSI also plans to sell 10 million shares to employees at VND10,000 per share.

    Honda Vietnam recalls Accord and Odyssey cars
       
    Honda Vietnam is recalling 652 Accord and Odyssey cars to check faults and replace the mirror switch.

    The recalling campaign will be conducted from December 25, 2017 to December 24, 2018.

    Of the vehicles, there are 320 Honda Accord cars produced from 2012 to 2015 and the remaining Honda Odyssey were produced from 2015 to 2017. These cars were manufactured at Honda Automobile (Thailand) Company Ltd, and imported by Honda Vietnam.

    The firm said that the vehicles’ contact surface treatment in the mirror control switch was not suitable. Long-term use could cause oxidisation, resulting in a rear-view mirror on the vehicle door that could automatically fold when the vehicle was running, parked or inactive when the switch was on. If that happens, the user’s vision would be affected, and might even cause danger to the user.

    For other vehicles distributed by Honda Japan, Honda Vietnam was ready to check and repair the vehicles, if customers brought them to authorised dealers.

    Honda vehicles would be checked and repaired free of charge. It would take approximately 12 minutes per vehicle.

    In July, Honda Vietnam also launched a campaign to recall nearly 10,000 Civic, CR-V and Accord cars to replace the front airbags, as a precautionary measure, to ensure the safety of passengers

    In August, the firm recalled 319 Accord cars produced from 2013 to 2015 to replace the battery sensor.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 12/21/17--01:42: Article 2
  • Vietnam's export and import turnover punched through $400-billion milestone


    Vietnam's total export-import turnover since the beginning of the year has reached $400 billion, recording the highest trade surplus ever, with $3.17 billion.

    Vietnam Customs has just announced the export and import situation of the first 11 months on December 19, 2017. Total export and import turnover hit $385.77 billion in the first 11 months, up 21.4 per cent, which is the highest on-year increase ever, adding $200 billion compared to 2011.

    Specifically, total export turnover hit $194.47 billion, up 21.5 per cent or $34.44 billion against the same period last year while total import turnover hit $191.3 billion, up 21.2 per cent.

     
    Milestones of Vietnam’s export and import turnover

    Breaking the record

    According to Vietnam Customs, in 2001, total export and import turnover was only at a modest $30 million. It was $100 billion in 2007, after Vietnam became an official member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    Four years later (2011), the export-import turnover doubled to $200 billion, and to $300 billion four years later (2015).

    Only two years later, by mid-December 2017, the total export-import turnover hit the $400-billion mark.

    As a result, ten years after joining the WTO, the country's total export and import turnover increased four-fold and the ranking of Vietnam (according to the assessment of WTO) rose significantly.

    Vietnam’s export ranking raised to the 26th in 2016 from the 50th in 2007, while its import ranking raised to the 25th from the 41st. Vietnam Customs predicted that these ranking will once again rise this year.

    Historical record in trade surplus

    Vietnam has recorded its highest trade surplus ever, with $3.17 billion.

    In the 2006-2010 period, trade balance was in a deficit of around $12.5 billion per year. In 2011-2015, it reduced sharply to about $2 billion per year. In 2016, the trade balance turned sharply into a $1.78 billion surplus and reached $3.17 billion in the first 11 months of this year.

    The trade surplus mainly comes from foreign invested enterprises. In the first 11 months, the trade surplus of this sector was $23.85 billion, while the trade deficit of the domestic sector was $20.67 billion.

    China and Korea are the two biggest markets where Vietnam has a trade deficit. In the other hand, Vietnam has a trade surplus with the US, the EU, and Hong Kong.

    However, there have been significant changes in the first 11 months of this year, as trade deficit from China declined by 15.3 per cent on-year and increased by 55.8 per cent towards Korea. Thus, Korea has become the market where Vietnam has the highest trade deficit, with approximately $29 billion, while it was $21.6 billion for China.

     
    Vietnam's detailed trade balance towards its main trade partners in the first 11 months of the year


    Continental breakdown

    Vietnam has over 200 trade partners over the world, including 29 export markets and 23 import markets reaching a turnover upwards of $1 billion in the first 11 months. Of these, there are four export markets and five import markets that reached a turnover higher than $10 billion.

    Total export and import value between Vietnam and Asia in the period hit $257.4 billion, up 25.7 per cent on-year. Asia is followed by the Americas with a total $62.16 billion, up 10.8 per cent.

    The total turnover between Vietnam and Europe hit $52.89 billion, up 13.8 per cent, while Oceania reached $7.07 billion, up 24.5 per cent. Turnover towards Africa gained $6.25 billion, up 27.6 per cent.

    By Nguyen Huong, VIR


    0 0
  • 12/21/17--01:53: Article 1
  • Social News In Brief 21/12


    ADB approves loans totaling $299 million to promote inclusive growth in VN

    The Asian Development Bank’s(ADB) Board of Directors has approved loans totaling US$299 million to help improve basic infrastructure services and promote inclusive growth in northeastern and north-central provinces of Việt Nam.

    Loans of $149 million will finance the basic infrastructure development in the north-central provinces, which aims to upgrade roads, improve rural water supply as well as flood protection, irrigation and port services in the four provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Nghệ An, Quảng Bình and Quảng Trị.

    The project is also expected to improve the capacity of provincial governments, particularly in public assets management.

    The Government will contribute $54.52 million to the project.

    A $150 million loan will fund to the construction and upgradation of basic infrastructure in the northeastern provinces, which aims to improve economic connectivity and raise living standards in the four provinces of Bắc Kạn, Cao Bằng, Hà Giang and Lạng Sơn by enhancing basic infrastructure and services.  The Government of Việt Nam will contribute $40.3 million to the project.

    Specifically, the project will improve road connectivity among the provinces by upgrading about 121km  of provincial and 144km of district roads, supply water to 42,300 people, and improve agriculture value chain infrastructure in LạngSơnProvince through farm-to-market connectivity and support for local businesses. It will also strengthen the capacity of the provincial governments in public asset management.

    “Việt Nam has been experiencing remarkable growth over the last few years. However, the majority of economic gains have accrued in the urban areas, with rural areas, including provinces in the northeast, lagging behind,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB’s Country Director for Việt Nam.

    He said the ADB was confident the project will help realise the great growth and development potential of the northeastern part of Việt Nam, particularly in trade, agriculture, and tourism.

    The four northeastern provinces —the project area—have significant potential to become trade hubs, given their strategic location and proximity to China, the capital Hà Nội, the Hải Phòng Port, and the ADB-supported Greater Mekong Subregion North-South Economic Corridor.

    However, these potentials are yet to be fully realised, with gross domestic product per capita of the four provinces in 2015 remaining at $1,160, almost half the $2,036 national average.

    New collaboration signed between UNFPA and the Government

    A new collaboration on providing the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) support to the General Statistics Office (GSO) and other partners was signed on Tuesday in Hà Nội.

    With a total budget of US$5.6 million for four years from 2017 to 2021, of which $4.3 million is funded by the UNFPA, the project aims to provide technical support to the Government of Việt Nam in collecting and utilising quality population-related data and evidence for development, amendment, implementation and monitoring of socio-economic policies, strategies and planning to achieve sustainable and harmonious development of the population, economy, society and the environment of Việt Nam.

    The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), GSO, the Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs (PCSA) and Việt Nam’s Fatherland Front Central Committee (VFF), as well as representatives of the Central Committee on Popularisation and Education (CCPE), the UN agencies and development partners in Việt Nam.

    Addressing the ceremony, Nguyễn Bích Lâm, GSO general director, said "In the past 40 years of cooporation between Việt Nam and the UNFPA, the GSO has shown its professional capacity in effectively receiving technical assistance from the UNFPA.”

    “We commit to implementing the activities during the period 2017-21 at the highest capacity, especially towards the implementation of Việt Nam’s Statistical Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals," he said.

    Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam, said "We hope this project, through multi-sectoral coordination, will play a key role in strengthening the capacity of GSO and relevant partners in collecting, analysing, disseminating and utilising information on population, reproductive health and gender, contributing to the implementation and monitoring of socio-economic development policies and the Plan of Action of Sustainable Development Goals."

    Labour minister sends condolences on workers killed in Taiwan fire

    Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung has offered condolences to families of Vietnamese workers who were killed in a fire at the dormitory of a company in Taoyuan city of China’s Taiwan on December 14.

    Shortly after receiving information about the incident, the ministry ordered its Department of Overseas Labour and the companies sending the workers to Taiwan to coordinate with relevant agencies to assist the bereaved families, ensure the victims’ benefits, and investigate the cause of the blaze.

    Minister Dung also asked authorised agencies to do their best to help ease the pain suffered by the bereaved families.

    On December 18, leaders of the Thuan Thao Joint Stock Company, which sent the workers aboard, and representatives of the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Ha Tinh province visited the family of Tran Hong Thuy, a victim of the fire, in Cam Hoa commune of Cam Xuyen district.

    Can Tho authorities work with Cambodian religious official

    Authorities of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho had a working session on December 18 with Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religions Touch Sarom to talk about religious work.

    The event was within the framework of a conference to share experience in religious work between the Vietnamese Government Committee for Religious Affairs and the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religions.

    Permanent Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Van Tam said Can Tho is the centre of the Mekong Delta with a population of nearly 1.3 million people. It is home to 12 valid religions and beliefs with 380 worship places and over 485,000 followers.

    They have abided by State laws and policies, actively joined in charity activities and built rural infrastructure, contributing tens of billions of Vietnamese dong to the city’s social welfare services each year.

    Touch Sarom, for her part, said the Cambodian government attaches importance to religious work.

    Cambodia is now home to around 5,000 pagodas and 7,000 monks and nuns.

    The two sides have agreed to hold conferences to share State management experience in religious work since 2007.

    Party General Secretary meets with ethnic minority exemplars

    Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had a meeting in Hanoi on December 18 with 80 ethnic minority exemplars who are prestigious persons, intellectuals and entrepreneurs.

    They are among 512 role models from the 53 ethnic minority groups in 52 provinces and cities nationwide who are honoured for their efforts and achievements.

    The oldest is Mua A Pao of the Mong ethnic group, born in 1930, while the youngest is Khmer woman Thach Thi Kim Danh, born in 1992.

    The delegates appreciated the Party, the State and all-level authorities’ attention to ethnic communities, affirming their absolute trust in the Party’s leadership.

    They informed the Party leader about the works they have done such as encouraging local residents to keep solidarity and security, prevent social crimes, promote production, and protect the environment, helping children to go to school, building civilised lifestyle, and maintaining their ethnic groups’ cultural identities.

    They asked the Party and State to continue supporting ethnic minority communities so as to improve their material and spiritual lives.

    General Secretary Trong emphasised that the Party and State always pay attention to people of ethnic minorities and in mountainous and remote regions. Many programmes and policies targeting them have been issued and carried out effectively, especially those on poverty reduction, infrastructure building, and manpower training.

    As a result, 98 percent of the communes in mountainous ethnic minority areas have been accessible by car while 98.5 percent have had medical stations and 94 percent have accessed electricity from the national power grid. All communes have had kindergartens as well as primary and junior high schools. The household poverty rate in ethnic minority areas has dropped to around 20 percent.

    He partly attributed those attainments to efforts and wisdom of the prestigious persons, intellectuals and entrepreneurs.

    He called on the honoured persons to continue encouraging their communities to uphold the patriotism tradition and solidarity to overcome difficulties, contribute to socio-economic development, and build a well-off and happy life.

    NA Chairwoman holds working session with Hanoi Capital High Command

    National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan asked the Hanoi Capital High Command to build revolutionary, regular, seasoned and gradually modern armed forces during a working session in the capital city on December 18.

    The session took place on the occasion of the 73rd founding anniversary of Vietnam People’s Army and the 28th anniversary of All People’s Defence Festival Day (December 22).

    The NA leader lauded the Hanoi Capital High Command for contributing to common achievements of the Vietnam People’s Army, including ensuring absolute safety of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week this year.

    She asked for continuing to fully grasp the Party policies and State laws on national defence-security, especially the Resolution on national defence-security tasks adopted by the 12th National Party Congress, the Politburo (10th tenure)’s Resolution on continuing to build centrally-run cities and provinces into strong defensive areas in the new situation, and the Resolution on national protection strategy in the new situation by the eighth plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee.

    The Hanoi Capital High Command must improve the capacity of offering advices on building all people’s national defence, strengthen national defence-security and join in socio-economic development, she said.

    She suggested further training officials and cadres in political thoughts and Party guidelines, staying alert to every event, and working closely with security forces to maintain political stability and social safety and order.

    The top legislator requested that the Hanoi Capital High Command regularly pays attention to Party building, effectively implements the Resolution on Party building and rectification by the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee, drives back degradation in political thoughts, moral virtue and lifestyle and “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” behaviours in combination with spreading the campaign “Studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, morals and lifestyle”.

    She expressed her belief that under the leadership of the Party, the Central Military Commission and the municipal Party Committee, the city’s armed forces will build themselves into a trustworthy political unit and fighting forces loyal to the Party, deserving the trust of the Party, authorities and people of the capital city and nationwide.

    Commander of the Hanoi Capital High Command Nguyen Doan Anh reported that the unit deployed 17,613 people and 1,176 vehicles to deal with 433 forest fires and disaster cases, fight dengue fever outbreaks and defuse bombs, mines and explosives left from the war this year, reported Commander of the Hanoi Capital High Command.

    Symposium celebrates 45 years of Dien Bien Phu in the Air victory

    A scientific workshop was held in Hanoi on December 18 to celebrate 45 years of the victory of the Dien Bien Phu in the Air (December 1972).

    Permanent Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang affirmed that the victory marked a glorious milestone in the revolutionary cause of Vietnamese army and people who defeated the largest strategic strike by air of the US.

    The victory forced the US to sign the Paris Agreement in January 1973, putting an end to the war in Vietnam, making significant contributions to the Great 1975 Spring Victory as well as the liberation of the south and the national reunification.

    It demonstrates the judicious leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee and the Government and the close coordination between armed forces, military units, localities, Party Committee, authorities and people of Hanoi capital, she said.

    Hanoi, Hai Phong and their vicinities were heavily bombarded in an aerial raids in December 1972, known in Vietnam as "Dien Bien Phu in the Air” and in the West as the 1972 Christmas bombing.

    It was the last US military campaign during the war and lasted for 12 days from December 18 to 29.

    Over 12 days and nights, the Hanoi air defence grids and all across the north of Vietnam shot down 4,181 airplanes, including 34 expensive B52s.

    Photo books protect Son Tra Reserve

    The Vietnam Association of River Basin and Coast Protection plans to publish 300 photo books of the Son Tra Nature Reserve in the central city of Da Nang to raise funds for protecting its biodiversity.

    Vice Chairman of the association Ho Duy Diem said the book would include 120 photos from 100 Vietnamese and foreign photographers.

    He said the association had called for voluntary contributions. All money from the book sale will go to the fund.

    Last month, freelance photographer Le Phuoc Chin and writer Bui Cong Dung, both from Da Nang, displayed photos at an exhibition of red-shanked langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus), an endangered primates living in the Son Tra reserve, near HCM city.

    Last week, a photo of the langur portrait was bought by a local resident at an auction to raise money for the fund.

    The 4,400ha Son Tra reserve, 10km from Da Nang, is unique. Its biodiversity ranges from primary forests to oceans with more than 1,000 plants and 370 animal species.

    The langurs in Son Tra Nature Reserve were declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013, but the species has recently been classed Critically Endangered (CR) – nearly extinct.

    More than 25,000 school students and more than 3,000 local residents have been educated on the importance of biodiversity in the Son Tra reserve on field trips between 2013-17.

    Play on Mau Than Offensive to be staged in HCM City



     New collaboration signed between UNFPA and the Government, Photo books protect Son Tra Reserve, Play on Mau Than Offensive to be staged in HCM City, Drug smugglers arrested

    A play on the Mau Than Offensive (or Tet Offensive) in Spring 1968 will be staged by Hong Van Drama Troupe, one of HCM City’s leading private drama troupes, this month. 

    The play is part of a cultural programme celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mau Than Offensive 1968. (Photo: the organiser)

    The 60-minute play, Chau Ve Hop Pho (Reunion), features Vietnamese soldiers and their stories during and after the Mau Than Offensive, which occurred during the American war in Vietnam.

    It portrays Chau and his wife, Pho, both Saigon residents. Chau moves to the north to join North Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), and Pho works as a secret agent in Saigon.
     
    Both meet in the battle of Saigon in January, when VPA soldiers and members of the People’s Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam attacked the US Embassy in Saigon.

    The play is also based on true stories that took place during the war.

    “I asked my actors to research books and documents on the Mau Than Offensive,” said the play’s director, Meritorious Artist Tran Minh Ngoc.

    Ngoc, who has more than 50 years in the industry, spent more than five months on the script.

    “To prepare for my work, I watched documentaries on the offensive by both Vietnamese and foreign filmmakers. I wanted my production to be lively and to help young audiences learn valuable things about war and peace,” said the 80-year-old.

    Ngoc invited talented actors Thanh Thuy, Duc Thinh, Trinh Kim Chi and Hong Van, graduates of the HCM City University of Cinematography and Theatre, to play leading roles.

    "My colleagues and I have learned as much about the country’s history and how Vietnamese generations have fought for independence,” said actress Trinh Kim Chi, who plays Pho.

    “For me, playing in a historical drama is about research also. During my performance, I discovered stories and facts about the war. Through my role, I hope my fans learn something about the value of the peaceful life we have today,” she added.

    Chau Ve Hop Pho is part of a cultural programme celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mau Than Offensive 1968, funded by the HCMCity government.

    The play will be staged on December 27 at the Army Theatre in Tan Binh district.

    It will also be staged for free for students in 20 universities and colleges next year.

    National TV festival ends successfully

    Golden and silver awards were presented to the best television programmes at the 37th national TV festival, which closed on Saturday in the central province of Thanh Hóa.

    Attending the event, held in the province for the first time, were Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, representatives of relevant organisations, together with nearly 1,000 representatives from television and radio stations nationwide.

    This year’s festival received 491 entries competing in nine categories, including documentaries, reportage, talk shows, science education and ethnic minority television shows. The 37th national TV festival was an opportunity for those working in television to share their experiences and get updated on the latest trends to serve viewers better within one week of its organisation.

    At the closing ceremony, the organisation board awarded 27 gold and 50 silver prizes, however, no stage programmes received a gold this year.

    According to Trần Bình Minh, general director of Vietnam Television and also chairman of the festival, the close to 500 entries were the fruit of dedication and efforts of many television teams in recent years.

    The jury highly appreciated the entries in nine categories, which reflected the thorough investment in topics, structures, image quality and harmonious combination among elements such as graphics, music, sounds and interaction. All the entries portrayed a vivid picture of information across the country in all the fields in the past year.

    Also, according to the jury, there was not much difference in the quality of the entries by different television stations nationwide like the previous years.

    Best photo entries of the photo contest Những Người Làm Truyền Hình (People Working in Television) were also awarded at the closing ceremony.

    “The 37th national TV festival has ended successfully both in terms of content and organisation,” Nguyễn Hà Nam, permanent deputy head of the organisation board on evaluating this year’s event, said. “This TV festival has the best conditions and professionalism.”

    The 38th national TV festival will be held next year in Đà Lạt City in the central province of LâmĐồng and hosted by Lâm Đồng Radion Television.

    Drug smugglers arrested

    Quảng Bình Province Border Guard and Laos’ Khammouan Province Public Security Department on Saturday arrested a Laos national for allegedly smuggling 32,000 tablets of synthetic drug into Việt Nam.

    The suspect, Vanphila Chan Thaviphon, 28 years old, from KhammouanProvince, admitted that he bought the drug and was heading to the Cha Lo Border gate in the central province of Quảng Bình to sell in Việt Nam when he was caught.

    Last September, the border guard and KhammounanProvince security force also detected five Laos nationals involved in trafficking 12,000 drug pills into Việt Nam.

    Meanwhile, in the northern province of Sơn La, last Saturday, police arrested two suspects for carrying 20 kilos of opium and 3,000 tablets of synthetic drug in Mai Sơn District.

    The suspects – Tráng A Dình, 37, and Sồng A Chính, 28, both from Yên Bái Province – admitted they bought the drug from an unknown man at the border area in Chiềng Khương Commune, Sông Mã District, in Sơn La Province.

    Police are investigating the cases further.

    Natural disaster causes bridge collapse in Yên Bái

    The Ministry of Transport has blamed an abnormal natural disaster for the collapse of ThiaBridge in northern YênBáiProvince on October 11, which swept away eight people.

    Four are confirmed to have died while the others are still missing. One of the victims is a Việt Nam News Agency reporter – Đinh Hữu Dư – who was reporting about the floods at the scene.

    Giao thông (Transport) newspaper reported on Monday that investigation by the Road Technology Centre under the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam and Transport Science and Technology Institute showed that torrential rains and flash floods in Yên Bái from October 5 to October 11, together with topographic and geomorphologic changes.

    The changes made one of the bridge pillars tilt and part of the bridge collapsed.

    According to the ministry, the topographic and geomorphologic changes in the upper part of the river were uncontrollable.

    To mitigate the impact of the changes, the ministry asked YênBáiProvince’s People’s Committee to co-operate with relevant agencies to review the hydrology around ThiaBridge and take measures to adjust the water flow to curb erosion speed, especially around the bridge pillars.

    The province was also asked to propose a plan to restore the bridge to meet transport demand of residents.

    Traffic police to ensure safety during holidays

    The Traffic Police General Department launched a campaign from Saturday to ensure traffic safety and social order during the holidays and festivals.

    The campaign, lasting through February 28, is aimed at preventing traffic congestion and accidents, particularly prolonged traffic jams and serious accidents, during Christmas, the calendar New Year holiday, Tết (Lunar New Year festival) and spring festivals in early 2018.

    The traffic police will mobilise available forces, vehicles and equipment to patrol, inspect, supervise and handle violations, particularly violations that are considered the major causes of traffic accidents and congestions, such as speeding, drunk driving, driving in the wrong direction and driving in the wrong lane, as well as talking on the phone while driving, overloading, driving without a licence and using expired vehicles. 

    Along railway routes, traffic police will co-ordinate with local authorities, police and the railway sector to check the adoption of railway traffic regulations to ensure safety, particularly along routes with a high number of illegal crossings. 

    Along inland water routes, traffic police will work with relevant agencies and local authorities to take measures to ensure traffic safety and social order. They will suspend the operation of vehicles that fail to meet safety requirements. Vehicles found to be overloaded, not meeting technical standards, unregistered and sailors without licences and driving certificates will be strictly handled.

    During the three-day calendar New Year 2017 holiday, the country saw 93 traffic accidents, which killed 79 people and injured 54 others.

    Efforts made to help the disabled access integration education

    The Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Vietnam held a conference to gather feedback on a draft circular on integration education for people with disabilities.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia said that on May 22, 2006, the ministry issued Decision 23/2006/QD-BGDDT on integration education for handicapped people.

    So far, the National Assembly and Government have approved many relevant legal documents and projects, including the Law on Persons with Disabilities and a project to support people with disabilities in the 2012-2020 period. The NA also ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2014, she added.

    The circular aims to replace the Decision in order to suit the Law on Persons with Disabilities and other guiding documents.

    Commenting on outcomes of integration education for people with disabilities in Vietnam, Julie Keane, chief representative of the CRS Vietnam, recognised the country’s considerable achievements in promoting the rights of the disabled as well as the growth of networks for handicapped people and their parents.

    She held that the draft circular has many new contents, including regulations on capacity of lecturers and teachers at education facilities and tools on integration education.

    Keane suggested that the ministry consider some requirements related to support the system on integration education for the disabled such as assistants for teachers and information technology for studying and teaching activities.

    The document aims to promote the rights to high quality education suitable to their conditions and capacity, ensuring their opportunities to develop their skills and ability to integrate into society.

    It details regulations on education for the disabled, including the organisation of education for people with disability, tasks and capacity of teachers, the obligation and rights of the disabled, and the coordination between education facilities, families and the society in the work.

    After being completed and issued, the circular will be applicable to all education levels from pre-school to tertiary education, as well as at teacher training facilities, support centre for integration education, and organisations and individuals supplying integration education services for the disabled.

    Electricity lights up rural areas in Lang Son

    One more rural village in Bac Son district, the northern mountainous province of Lang Son has access to the national power grid, helping local residents enjoy the upcoming traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

    The work was inaugurated in Lan Hat village, Bac Son commune on December 18.

    The facility includes over 4.75 kilometres of medium voltage line, 3.9 kilometres of low voltage line, and one 50kVA transformer station.

    The work forms part of the components under a project to connect rural areas in Lang Son province to the national grid for 2015-2020.

    Nguyen Cong Truong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the work provides electricity for over 50 households in the village, thus improving their living conditions and the local economic development.

    The project was approved under Decision 11815/QD-BCT dated October 30, 2015 to supply power for around 4,348 rural households in 210 villages of 55 communes in 10 districts.

    Exhibition highlights Vietnam-Cambodia ties

    An exhibition themed “Vietnam - Destination of Cambodia in 2017” opened in Cambodiana hotel of Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh on December 18 as part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties.

    The two-day event drew Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Art Khim Sarith, Vietnamese appointed Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh, representatives from embassies of countries in Cambodia and the Vietnamese community in the country.

    Addressing the opening of the exhibition, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao said that the event aims to give visitors an overall view on the political, cultural, economic and diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Nearly 300 photos and over 100 documents also introduced the culture, landscape and people of Vietnam in the integration and reform period, he said, adding that the organisation board hopes to bring Vietnam closer to Cambodian people, thus fostering the traditional friendship and all-round cooperation between the two nations.

    Vietnam-Cambodia cooperation achievements and experience are also highlighted at the exhibition.

    For his part, Khim Sarith said that this year, the exhibition is among major activities jointly held by both countries to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, which helps forge connectivity and exchange between the two peoples.

    ADB helps improve lives in Vietnam’s northeastern provinces

    The Board of Directors of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 150 million USD loan to improve economic connectivity and living standards in four northeastern provinces of Vietnam via upgrading basic infrastructure and services.

    The project will benefit over 212,000 people in BacKan, Cao Bang, Ha Giang and Lang Son provinces.

    ADB Country Director in Vietnam Eric Sidgwick expressed his belief that the project will help develop the four provinces, especially in trade, agriculture and tourism.

    The targeted province are expected to become trade hubs thanks to proximity to China, Hanoi, Hai Phong port and the ADB-supported Greater Mekong Subregion North-South Economic Corridor.

    However, the gross domestic product per capita hits only 1,160 USD, nearly half of the country’s average 2,036 USD.

    The project will clear barriers via developing basic infrastructure in the key fields of trade, transport, health care and agriculture while improving road connectivity by upgrading around 121km of provincial roads and 144km of district roads, supplying water to 42,300 rural people and improving infrastructure in agricultural value chain in Lang Son.

    At the same time, it will also enhance capacity of provincial authorities, especially in public asset management.

    The total cost of the project is estimated at 195.9 million USD, 45.9 million USD of which was from the Vietnamese government. It is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2023.

    Vietnam completes 95 pct of martyr remains recovery plan

    The national steering committee for search and gathering of martyr remains held a meeting on December 18 to review the implementation of a plan on searching and gathering martyr remains (also called Plan 1237) this year.

    Vice Chairman of the Genera Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army Lt Gen. Do Can, who is also a member of the steering committee, said strong efforts have been made in 2017 to complete the list of and dossiers on martyrs, draw maps for the work, and build a database.

    The Defence Ministry handed over more than 500,000 dossiers to the Ministry of Information and Communications to build a national database, serve the seeking and recovery of martyr remains, and identify unknown martyrs.

    As many as 2,368 sets of remains were founded and repatriated, including 1,156 sets retrieved in Vietnam, 338 others from Laos, and 874 from Cambodia, equivalent to almost 95 percent of the set target, he noted.

    Cooperation with foreign partners in the work has been expanded, Can said, adding that the steering committee’s office coordinated with the Agency for Missing in Action Recovery and Identification under the Defence Ministry of the Republic of Korea to organise a programme on Vietnam veterans of America. This programme aims to receive information, exchange experience in seeking missing servicemen, and assist the identification of martyr remains.

    In 2018, the committee targets about 2,000 sets of remains to be recovered, including 1,200 in Vietnam and 800 in other countries. It will also strive to draw maps for the search and gathering in 50 percent of the communes in Vietnam.

    At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the steering committee, asked relevant agencies to capitalise on every channel and measure to collect information while synchronising the collected data to locate martyr remains.

    Meanwhile, provincial-level administrations need to order local relevant agencies to pay due attention to the work, he added.

    At the meeting, the national steering committee also opened a website on martyr-related information at http://thongtinlietsi.gov.vn .

    President Tran Dai Quang visits Military Region 1

    President Tran Dai Quang has requested the Military Region 1 armed forces to raise vigilance and constantly improve their combat readiness and strength as hostile forces are taking advantage of ethnic and religious issues to undermine the great national unity and sabotage the Party and State.

    The Military Region 1, established on October 16, 1945, encompasses six northeastern provinces of Cao Bang, BacKan, Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Lang Son, with a combined population of nearly 6 million belonging to 25 ethnic groups. Among these localities, Cao Bang and Lang Son share the borderline of 564km with China, with 1,108 border markers, 27 border guard stations, and seven border gates.

    Visiting the Military Region 1 on December 18 on the occasion of the 73rd founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army, the President applauded efforts as well as victories and achievements of the Military Region 1 over the past 73 years.

    He stressed the strategic position of the region, and required the Military Region 1 to keep close watch of the situation in order to timely give advice to the Central Military Commission and Defence Ministry on military and defence tasks in the region. The military region should also coordinate with ministries and agencies in crime prevention, and contribute to protecting the national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

    He also required the Military Region 1 to pay attention to building strong Party organisation and armed forces, while working together with local Party committees and authorities to strengthen the grassroots political system.

    On this occasion, the President offered incense at the President Ho Chi Minh Monument House at the Thai Nguyen province Party Committee’s headquarters, and the Monument dedicated to Company 915 Voluntary Youths in Thai Nguyen city.

    Cyber security more difficult to be controlled

    Cyber security will be difficult to maintain next year as hackers use smarter and more sophisticated technology to make attacks, Nguyen Thanh Hung, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, has said.

    This was revealed at the second regional forum on cyber security held by the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT), the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Korea Internet and Security Agency.

    At the forum, participants discussed regional and global issues on strategies, policies and laws to achieve security by sharing mechanisms for reliable information and effective ways of managing operations.

    In his opening speech, Hung said no nation could defend against cyber attacks by itself. For example, this year, nearly 200 countries have been hit hard by malware attacks, such as WannaCry and Petya.

    The ictnews.vn quoted Lee Miyeon from the Republic of Korean Embassy in Vietnam as saying that the development of IT was bringing unlimited potential to many areas, but also bringing many challenges and threats.

    These threats would be greater as the industrial revolution progressed. Cyber security, including data protection, networking and information systems, will become essential factors to ensure prosperity, she said.

    According to Lee Miyeon, due to the characteristics of cyberspace, when attacks occur, it is easy to misidentify sources of the attack or misunderstand the intention and behaviour of the attackers. This could result in increased damage and create distrust among nations, she added.-

    Quang Ninh prepares for National Tourism Year 2018

    The National Tourism Year 2018 is an opportunity for the northern province of Quang Ninh to promote its image to international friends, said Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long.

    The province, which is home to the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, will host the National Tourism Year 2018 themed “Ha Long-Heritage, Wonder, Friendly Destination”. About 100 events will be held during the year by Quang Ninh province, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other localities.

    Deputy Director of the Quang Ninh Tourism Department Trinh Dang Thanh said that as the host, the province will arrange a series of cultural, sports and tourism programmes.

    Highlights of the event will include the opening ceremony and Carnaval Ha Long 2018 in Ha Long city, which is scheduled for April 28 next year.

    Meanwhile, the closing programme will be held in January 2019 in combination with the opening of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 and the Ha Long - FLC 2019 open golf tournament.

    Quang Ninh will accelerate procedures for the early launch of a hydro plane service to Co To Island in summer 2018. The province will also review accommodation facilities across the province to meet tourists’ demand in summer.

    As the main venue of many activities during the National Tourism Year, Ha Long City has stepped up various projects such as improving urban infrastructure and lighting system. The city is working hard to complete the construction of several drainage systems and road upgrade by early of 2018 to serve the national tourism event.

    The province attracted more than 8.6 million tourists in the first ten months of 2017, including nearly 3.4 million foreigners, year-on-year jumps of 18 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

    By 2020, Quang Ninh aims to welcome 15-16 million tourists, including seven million foreigners, and rake in 30-40 trillion VND (1.3-1.7 billion USD) in revenue. The tourism sector is expected to contribute 14-15 percent to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP).

    More rural households in Tra Vinh access clean water

    A clean water supply plant has been inaugurated in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, benefiting 1,550 households in An Truong commune, Cang Long district.

    The plant, which has a designed capacity of 40 cubic meters of clean water per hour, was built at a cost of 7.5 billion VND (329,250 USD). The East Meets West organisation, provided 3.3 billion VND in non-refundable aid for the project and the remaining 4.2 billion VND was sourced by the provincial budget.

    Director of the provincial centre for clean water and rural environmental hygiene Bui Van Mung said Tra Vinh has 163 water supply stations in rural areas supplying clean water meeting the standards of the Ministry of Health.

    The proportion of residents having access to clean water in rural areas is 58 percent at present.

    In 2018, the province aims to have 61 percent of the rural population use clean water.

    The provincial People’s Committee has decided to spend 200 billion VND (8.7 million USD) from now to 2020 to upgrade 10 clean water supply stations and dredge the canal network to address the shortage of clean water for daily use and irrigational water in rural areas due to droughts and saltwater intrusion.

    Vietnamese students’ association set up in Thailand

    The Vietnamese Students’ Association in Thailand was set up at its first congress held in Bangkok in mid-December. 

    Nguyen Dang Hoa Nghiem, a postgraduate student at ChulalongkornUniversity was elected as President of the association for the 2017-2019 tenure. The association is a member of the Vietnam Students’ Association.

    Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Hai Bang lauded the dynamism and creativity of nearly 700 Vietnamese students in the Southeast Asian country.

    The ambassador said he hopes the association will be a reliable destination for Vietnamese students to meet, share experience and support each other. He also expressed belief that the students will preserve good image of Vietnamese people in the eyes of Thai people, while helping fostering friendship between the two nations.-

    Set 2018 plans for finding martyrs remains: official

    Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam called on agencies involved in the search for martyrs’ remains to set forth plans to fulfill targets set for 2018.

    Đam, also head of the National Steering Committee for Search and Collection of Martyrs’ Remains, said on Monday at a conference to review tasks for 2017 and define tasks for 2018 that all channels and sources of information should be used to bring fallen soldiers to their final resting places.

    A database should be completed in order to find the martyr’s remains accurately, he said.

    He urged provinces and cities to pay attention to search and collection work.

    At the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam praised the efforts of the defence ministry, the steering committee and other concerned agencies, especially officials and soldiers directly involved in the search and collection of remains.

    The pilot implementation of a search map, the collection of martyr’s remains as well as the database of martyrs and martyr’s graves were deployed actively this year, he said.

    Lieutenant General Đỗ Căn, Deputy Chairman of the General Political Department of the Việt Nam People’s Army, also a member of the Steering Committee, said in 2017, as many as 2,368 martyrs’ sets of remains were found, 95 per cent of this year’s target.

    Of the figure, 1,156 sets of remains were recovered in Việt Nam, 338 were found in Laos and the rest in Cambodia.

    The Ministry of Defence has handed over more than 500,000 records of martyrs to the Ministry of Information and Communications to integrate into a national database.

    International co-operation in the search for and repatriation of martyrs’ remains continues to expand, he said.

    Next year, the Steering Committee aims to complete the list of martyrs, integrate the national database of martyrs and martyrs’ graves and collect about 2,000 sets of remains, including about 1,200 sets in Việt Nam.

    At the event, the Steering Committee also launched a website at http://thongtinlietsi.gov.vn to enhance the management of martyrs’ information.

    The website is expected to facilitate the searching for martyrs’ information and the exchange of information between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. It also allows martyrs’ relatives to send requests and provide information to agencies.

    Spring in the Far Island programme collects over $660,000 in donations

    Organisations and individuals at the third Xuân nơi đảo xa (Spring in the Far Island) programme held in HCM City on Sunday donated more than VNĐ15 billion (US$660) to support residents and soldiers who are protecting the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

    South African Honourary Consul Đỗ Thị Kim Liên donated VNĐ700 million to build 10 gratitude houses for soldiers from families who receive preferential treatment from the government and members of the Việt Nam People’s Navy.

    The programme was organised by Vừ A Dính Scholarship Fund, the Club for Beloved Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa, the HCM City Television and the HCM Communist Youth Union. Former Vice President Trương Mỹ Hoa is the chairwoman of the fund and the club.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President Đặng Thị Ngọc Thịnh praised the programme, saying that over the past three years the Club for Beloved Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa had attracted more than 80 organisations and more than 3,000 individuals, collecting tens of billions of đồng.

    Together with the Vừ A Dính Scholarship Fund, the club has carried out many meaningful activities to support fishermen and soldiers on Hoàng Sa - Trường Sa, including donation of charity houses and scholarships and healthcare support for children of soldiers.

    Working women may up productivity

    An increase in the number of jobs for seniors and women as well as higher labour productivity among youth could speed up Việt Nam’s economic growth, an official of the United Nation’s Population Fund has said.

    Speaking at a conference on population policies held in HCMCity yesterday, Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Quỳnh of the UN Population Fund in Việt Nam said the country’s total gross national income and total expenditures had been experiencing a downward trend, with the former expected to be equal to the latter in 2018.

    In 2019, however, gross income is expected to fall under gross expenditures, Quỳnh added.

    Currently, the number of people who are part of the so-called golden population (people of working age between 15 and 64 years old) accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s total population.

    However, the number of people in this group will start to decline in 2042.

    To prolong economic benefits, labour productivity should be raised at a time when a huge proportion of the population is of working age, Quỳnh said.

    Improved education and health care services for seniors could also help spur productivity, she added.

    Dr Nguyễn Văn Tiên, former deputy head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, said the Government should develop a new plan to increase the retirement age, especially for women, and offer more vocational training for seniors.

    Tiên said the health of seniors, who make significant contributions to socio-economic development, should be ensured and that social insurance should be reformed to ensure quality of life for older citizens.

    Quỳnh said that everyone, including the disadvantaged and disabled, should have a right to quality services.

    Nguyễn Thị Hoài Thu, former head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, urged the Government to develop new policies to address these issues.

    Boy goes missing after bridge cable breaks

    A boy went missing on Monday morning after a suspension bridge broke and he fell into the Trường River in the central province of Quảng Nam, according to local police.

    The 9-year-old boy was crossing the bridge in Phước Sơn District’s Phước Hiệp Commune at around 6.30am, when a cable of the bridge broke and he fell into the river.

    Local authorities are conducting search operations to look for the boy.

    The bridge was put into operation in 2005 and had maintenance work done in mid-2017.

    U21 beat U19 4-1 in international tournament

    Việt Nam defeated their junior U19s 4-1 in their match of the Thanh Niên newspaper’s International U21 Football Tournament yesterday in Cần Thơ Province.

    Substitute striker Thanh Bình scored a double in the second half after his teammates Ngọc Sơn and Triệu Việt Hưng netted one each in the first 45 minutes.

    The only goal for the U-19s went to Việt Cường who was on the field after the interval.

    The win pushed Việt Nam to second place in the ranking with seven points and ensured them a berth in the final ignoring their last round robin format match against Yokohama FC tomorrow.

    Yokohama continued their winning streak beating Myanmar 5-0 in an earlier match yesterday.

    In previous games, they beat Việt Nam’s U19s 3-1 and Thailand 2-0.

    The Japanese side forced Myanmar squad to follow their pace and easily beat them with goals by Hashimoto Kento, Kamiyama Kyousuke, a double from Matsuoka Rimu in the second half and Maejima Yota 10 minutes before the end.

    Yokohama, topping the table with nine points, earned a berth in the final with one game in hand.

    VTV Bình Điền Long An win volleyball event

    VTV Bình Điền Long An triumphed at the National Women’s Volleyball Championship on Sunday.

    The team beat LienVietPostBank 25-22, 25-18, 25-16 in the final held in the southern province of Tây Ninh.

    With key players Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Hoa and Trần Thị Thanh Thúy on song, Bình Điền Long An dominated the opponent.

    Earlier, the team beat defending champions Vietinbank in the semi-finals.

    Meanwhile, Sanest Khánh Hòa defeated Thể Công 3-2 to take the National Men’s Volleyball Championship.

    Sanest Khánh Hòa were runners-up for the last two years, losing to HCMCity in 2015 and Thể Công in 2016.

    Vietnam, Laos successful in education and training cooperation

    Over the last 55 years, Vietnam and Laos have constantly developed their special solidarity as a foundation for effective cooperation in all fields.

    Education and training are a typical example of successful cooperation between the two countries. Every year hundreds of Lao students pursue their study in Vietnam while many Vietnamese students receive scholarships from the Lao government. Meanwhile, the two countries have implemented many projects to improve the quality of education and training establishments across Laos.

    The Vietnamese Language Department in the LanguageSchool under the National University of Laos is a successful cooperative project between the two governments. It has been put into operation after two-year construction at a cost of nearly VND41 billion from the Vietnamese non-refundable aid. It can teach Vietnamese to 200 students and make research on the Vietnamese language and culture.

    Since 1995 Vietnam and Laos governments have built education and training schools at all levels in Lao provinces and cities based on bilateral cooperation agreements signed annually.

    Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Ba Hung said more than 10 schools have been built in Laos so far, offering education and training for 300-500 students, contributing to improving the cultural life of Lao people, especially those in remote areas.

    Joining hands with the two governments, Vietnamese businesses which are operating in Laos have offered much support to developing schools in remote areas. A kindergarten in Do village, PhongsalyProvince, put into operation in November last year was built by the Vietnamese Embassy and PetroVietnam Oil Corporation at a cost of US$100,000.

    In order to foster bilateral cooperation, the two governments signed a protocol on training cooperation in the 2017-2020 period in April this year to help Laos improve the quality of human resources, making important contributions to national development, construction and defence.

    It is estimated that more than 14,000 Lao students are studying at 147 Vietnamese schools.

    Exhibition marks 50th anniversary of Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic ties

    An exhibition on Vietnam, its land and people was held in Phnom Penh on December 18 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Cambodia.

    Nearly 300 photos and over 100 featured documents have been selected to help visitors gain more insights into Vietnam, its potential, time-honoured culture and history on the track of development and integration.

    This is one of the largest promotional events ever held in Cambodia to give an overview of Vietnam-Cambodia political, economic, cultural and diplomatic relations since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1967.

    Addressing the opening the ceremony, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao said the event has contributed to introducing the image of Vietnam to the Cambodian people, fostering traditional friendship, multifaceted cooperation and mutual understanding between the two countries.

    For his part, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Art Khim Sarith said so far this year the two nations have co-ordinated in organising diverse activities to mark the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, contributing to strengthening connectivity and people-to-people exchange activities between the two countries.

    The event will close on December 19.

    Dong Thap – bright star in investment environment: PM

    Dong Thap has for many years been a bright star in investment and business environment, and a role model for other localities in supplying good administrative services for locals and businesses, stated Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

    Addressing the Dong Thap Investment Promotion Conference in Cao Lanh city on December 19, the Government leader noted that the accompanying spirit is a strength of the local government at all levels, which helps the province initiate many effective measures to attract investment and deal with businesses’ obstacles.

    Dong Thap is a Mekong Delta region’s hub in rice production with over 3.3 million tonnes per year, along with nearly 400,000 tonnes of tra fish.

    The province is well-known for its hundred-year-old Sa Dec flower village, ChamChimNational Park, and Go Thap historical relic site.

    For many years, it is among top localities with high Provincial Competitiveness Index and Public Administrative Performance Index, and effective administrative reform.

    In the past three years, Dong Thap has risen as a model of the country in restructuring the agriculture sector.

    PM Phuc held that good connectivity is key for the province’s success.

    The province has well performed in connectivity between production and the market, as well as between material area, technology application and farmers, he noted, adding that Dong Thap has showed its creativity in supporting startup.

    He asked the locality to work harder to fill gaps in investment attraction and further boost economic growth.

    Dong Thap should concentrate on developing agriculture towards green and transparency by drawing more large investors in the field, while designing effective strategy to cope with climate change to ensure sustainable development.

    At the conference, the PM lauded investors’ interest in Dong Thap by investing nearly 24 trillion VND (1.05 billion USD) to the locality, and their support to vulnerable groups in the province by providing over 90 billion VND to local social welfare activities.

    Investors should consider Dong Thap as their second homeland, thus making stronger, continuous and more effective investment in the province, he stated.

    The PM requested investors not to damage the living environment of local people, while increasing the production of highly valued products amidst the 4.0 revolution.

    He pledged that the Government will maintain macro-economic stability and national competitiveness to support businesses.

    At the conference, Dong Thap handed over investment licences to 21 projects, and signed memoranda of understanding with investors on cooperation in 16 projects, with combined investment of 23.88 trillion VND.

    On the occasion, the PM also press the button to launch Dong Thap’s one-door electronic service, and online public service at levels three and four.

    Earlier, PM Phuc visited the Military Headquarters of Dong Thap to extend greetings to officers and soldiers on the 73th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army.

    He also offered incense and flowers to Nguyen Sinh Sac, the farther of late President Ho Chi Minh, at the Nguyen Sinh Sac historical relic site in Cao Lanh city.

    Over 660,000 USD collected for islanders, soldiers

    Organisations and individuals at the third Xuan noi đao xa (Spring in the Far Island) programme held in HCM City on December 17 donated more than 15 billion VND (660,000 USD) to support island residents and soldiers who are protecting the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

    South African Honourary Consul Do Thi Kim Lien donated 700 million VND to build 10 gratitude houses for soldiers from families who receive preferential treatment from the government and members of the Vietnam People’s Navy.

    The programme was organised by Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund, the Club for Beloved Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, the HCM City Television and the HCM Communist Youth Union. Former Vice President Truong My Hoa is the chairwoman of the fund and the club.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh praised the programme, saying that over the past three years the Club for Beloved Hoang Sa and Truong Sa had attracted more than 80 organisations and more than 3,000 individuals, collecting tens of billions of dong.

    Together with the Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund, the club has carried out many meaningful activities to support fishermen and soldiers on Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes, including donation of charity houses and scholarships and health care support for children of soldiers.

    Tuyen Quang destroys 337kg bomb left from war

    The Military Command of the northern province of Tuyen Quang on December 19 successfully destroyed a 337kg bomb left from the war in the Lo River at An Loc A commune, An Khang commune, Tuyen Quang city.

    According to the Tuyen Quang Military Command, the bomb was dropped down in Tuyen Quang during the US’s second bombing campaign against the northern region of Vietnam (1972-1973).

    It was extremely dangerous due to its large size.

    The locals in An Khang commune discovered the bomb on December 11.

    Fire at Cầu Giấy District house kills one

    A man died after a fire broke out at a house in Cầu Giấy District on Wednesday morning.

    The fire was believed to have started at around 8am at the house situated in a small alley on
    Trung Kính Street
    .

    It took the local firefighters only a few minutes to extinguish the fire, but the 45-year-old man was trapped inside the house and died.

    The case is under investigation.

    Workshop spotlights environmental risk assessment

    An international workshop on environmental risk assessment and human health opened in the central province of Binh Dinh on December 19, aiming to seek solutions to environmental management in Vietnam

    Scientists from the US, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam have been focusing discussions on 20 topics during the thee-day event, which was arranged by the International Center of Interdisciplinary Science Education (ICISE) and the Meet Vietnam Association.

    Prof. Ross Smith, Chairman of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, said the workshop looked into solutions to environmental issues and human resources development to serve future environmental management.

    The workshop heard that Vietnam is facing environmental issues, especially in industrial parks and urban areas. The slow development of sciences for environmental impact assessment has restrained understanding about the effects of pollutants on the environment, making it difficult to develop standards and manage the environment.

    Dr. Kuan Chun Lee, from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Asia Pacific, underlined the need to promote scientific researches on and application of research results in environmental management.

    The event has provided a good chance for Vietnam to learn environmental management experiences shared by representatives from leading universities in the world, Japan, the US Department of Environment, and the Australian Ministry of Energy and Environment.

    The Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Education (IFIRSE) under the International Center of Interdisciplinary Science Education (ICISE) has planned to build a cooperation programme on research and training with Vietnam in a bid to help the country better manage the environment.

    Conference praises NGOs contributions to Vietnam’s development

    Programmes and projects funded by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have actively contributed to poverty reduction and socio-economic development in Vietnam, heard a conference in Hanoi on December 19.

    Speaking at the conference which aimed to review the national programme on calling for foreign non-governmental assistance in 2013-2017, deputy head of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO)’s People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM) Nguyen Ngoc Hung said the programme has been a success.

    He said the value of assistance has been maintained with improved quality and the number of NGOs operating in Vietnam remains high.

    According to reports from ministries, sectors, localities and mass organisations, the programme was implemented effectively, basically achieving the set targets.

    Many legal documents related to foreign non-governmental work were issued, while others have been revised, towards facilitating NGOs’ activities in the country.

    Cooperation between State management agencies and NGOs has been also strengthened.

    Based on the evaluation of the programme, the VUFO will chair the building of a plan for the work in the next phase, for the targets of poverty reduction and sustainable development in Vietnam, Hung noted.

    Representatives from provinces and cities benefiting from NGOs-assisted projects shared experience and gave proposals on how to effectively promote cooperation and attract more foreign non-governmental assistance resources.

    Vietnamese, Chinese localities work on border management

    The Border Guard Command of Vietnam’s northern Lao Cai province and Honghe county border police of China’s Yunnan province have agreed to set up a liaison officer mechanism and hotline between their equivalent units.

    The two sides reached consensus during their talks in Lao Cai city on December 19. The move aims to help them swiftly exchange information regarding the management and protection of the common border and border gates, controlling export-import activities and combating cross-border law violations.

    This is the first time an information exchange mechanism has been launched at the provincial level along the Vietnam-China land borderline.

    During the talks, the two sides also agreed to multiply the model of twinning relations between Vietnamese and Chinese posts in order to join hands in building a peaceful border.

    Thanks to concerted efforts of Vietnam and China to effectively deploy their signed mechanisms, the number of violations of border-related laws has decreased in 2017.

    Apart from increasing communication campaigns, the two sides have conducted joint patrols to prevent cross-border crimes.

    This year, Vietnam handed over 24 suspects who involved in nine cases to the Chinese side while China returned 272 suspects of 64 cases to Vietnamese authorities.

    At the end of the talks, the two sides inked several minutes which will serve as a foundation for the implementation of their tasks in 2018.-

    Vietnam–Myanmar friendship associations seal cooperative pact

    The Vietnam-Myanmar and Myanmar-Vietnam Friendship Associations signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation as part of their talks in Hanoi on December 19.

    According to the pact, the two associations agreed to coordinate celebrations of the countries’ major anniversaries, and the organisation of trade – investment fairs and conferences, and business exchanges. They planned to introduce businessmen to public agencies and organisations, and provide the business community with market information.

    The two sides pledged to work together to help connect Vietnamese and Myanmar tourism sectors. Their cooperation also covered delegation exchanges and regular liaison.

    At the talks, Chairman of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association Chu Cong Phung lauded the role of its Myanmar counterpart in boosting the two nations’ people-to-people diplomacy across all sectors.

    Phung said the Myanmar association delegation’s current visit to Vietnam is a chance for the sides to discuss cooperative plans and for Vietnamese and Myanmar enterprises to seek partnerships.

    Chairman of the Myanmar-Vietnam Friendship Association U Tint Swai said his association is willing to collaborate with Vietnam in all socio-economic spheres.

    Upcoming joint activities should focus more on education to boost awareness of the younger generation on the importance of VietnamMyanmar ties, he noted.

    As part of the function, U Tint Swai and representatives from Myanmar firms fielded questions on Myanmar’s preferential policies for foreign investors, including those from Vietnam.

    Environmental photography contest honours 19 winners

    The Vietnam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on December 19 honoured winners of the environmental photography contest, which was held under the patronage of the Vietnam Photographers Association.

    The competition, themed “Desire of nature”, received more than 2,600 entries from contestants across the country.

    A photo by Nguyen Thanh Hai from central Ha Tinh province, namely “Tea hills”, won the first prize. The jury also presented two second, three third and eight consolation prizes while five others were voted as favourite works.

    The winning photos are truly meaningful works which do not only reflect the current pollution in Vietnam but also depicting some beautiful moments of life, outstanding people who have strived to protect the environment and solutions for waste recycling, said Pham Tien Dung, a representative of the jury.

    They have helped raise public awareness of the significance of environmental protection, he added.

    HCMCity’s leaders visit Catholics ahead of Christmas

    Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan and municipal leaders on December 19 visited the Headquarter of the HCM City Archdiocese and the Office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam ahead of the Christmas 2017 and New Year 2018.

    On behalf of the city’s leaders, Nhan extended greetings to and wished Catholic dignitaries and followers nationwide a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

    He briefed HCMCity’s socio-economic development in 2017 and orientations for 2018, saying that the city is actively implementing the National Assembly’s Resolution No. 54/2017/QH14 on pilot implementation of special mechanisms and policies for its faster and more sustainable development and a project to building HCMCity into a smart city.

    Nhan highlighted the contributions made by the municipal archdiocese and followers to the city’s education, health and social charity, thus helping the city to realize its socio-economic development targets.

    The official expressed his hope that the archdiocese’s dignitaries will continue joining hands with local authorities to encourage local Catholics to actively participate in national construction and protection movements.

    Archbishop of the HCM City Archdiocese Bui Van Doc thanked the local authorities for continuously facilitating religious practice of local Catholics and hoped that relations between the church and administration will develop more fruitfully so that Catholic followers can contribute further to the city’s socio-economic development.

    Meanwhile, Bishop Nguyen Anh Tuan, chief of the Office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam, pledged to encourage followers to continue uniting and joining hands with the administrations at levels to fulfill their citizen obligations and lead a good religious life.

    Exhibitions on Spring 1968 uprising, country’s achievements open

    Exhibitions on the 50 years of the Spring 1968 uprising and Vietnam’s economic, cultural, social and national defence achievements opened in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 19.

    More than 250 documents, photos and objects are on display at the Can Tho Museum, featuring the Mau Than Offensive in Spring 1968 and the uprising of soldiers and people of the Mekong Delta and Can Tho city in particular. These contributed to the victory of the Ho Chi Minh campaign in 1975, liberating the South and reunifying the nation.

    The exhibits included soldiers’ watches, sandals and working instruments such as binoculars and headphones, as well as an old sewing machine to make thousands of national flags that were sent to the battlefields.

    The event aims to raise public awareness, especially youths, of the sacrifice and endurance of Vietnamese people for the sake of national independence.

    Besides, a photo exhibition was held to introduce economic, cultural, social and national defence achievements of the country and Can Tho city in particular since 1975.

    On showcase were 120 file photos, with many of them provided by the Vietnam News Agency.

    The two events are open for public until April 15, 2018.

    CLV senior officials’ meeting opens in Binh Phuoc

    The Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area (DTA) opened in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on December 19.

    The event was jointly chaired by Nguyen The Phuong, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment; Mao Thora, head of the Cambodian senior officials’ delegation; and Songkan Luangunithon, head of the Lao senior officials’ delegation.

    Delegates spoke highly of the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the three countries in general and the 13 localities in the DTA in particular, considering the relationship an important factor for stability and development in each country and the region.

    They agreed to build and maintain the sustainable and comprehensive development triangle area as committed by the three Prime Ministers at the ninth CLV Summit in Siem Riep, Cambodia, in November 2016.

    At the meeting, participants appreciated the outcomes of the 11th Investment-Trade and Tourism Promotion Forum for the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam DTA on December 18 and the 7th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam DTA Youth Forum.

    The heads of the SOM delegations emphasised the importance of strengthening cooperation in conducting research on the possibility of sustainable development, sharing experience in making climate change-related policies, and transferring technology and experts in natural resources management and biodiversity preservation.

    They reached a consensus on building an action plan to implement the Socio-economic Development Master Plan of the CLV Development Triangle Area during 2010-2020.

    Vietnam proposed Cambodia and Laos support Vietnamese enterprises’ projects in the countries and encourage their investors to come to Vietnam to seek investment opportunities in Binh Phuoc province and the four Central Highlands provinces of Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Kon Tum.

    Hanoi expands international cooperation to develop tourism

    Hanoi has signed several cooperation programmes with international partners to promote the capital city’s images abroad.

    The cooperation programme with the American Cable News Network (CNN) in 2017-2018 with a total cost of 2 million USD is an example, which aims to build Hanoi’s tourism brand across the globe and invite foreign investors to develop tourism products in the city.

    Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Tran Duc Hai said the city has also stepped up collaboration with international organisations to expand markets, focusing on key and new ones such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian countries, India, Australia and New Zealand.

    Hanoi’s tourism sector is an active member of the Council for Promotion of Tourism in Asia (CPAT) and the Tourism Promotion Organisation for Asian-Pacific Cities (TPO), he added.

    In recent years, Hanoi has worked with diplomatic representative agencies along with global organisations in the city and Vietnamese embassies while cooperating with airlines and foreign travel companies to develop the tourism market, he noted.

    With its advantages, Hanoi has become one of the most attractive destinations in the region.

    Hanoi made the top 10 on the world’s fastest growing travel destinations list with a 16.4 percent annual growth rate in 2009-2016, according to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017.

    In 2017, Hanoi welcomed a record number of 4.95 million international tourists for the first time, up 23 percent against the previous year and surpassing the yearly target by 15 percent.

    Strong growth was reported in the Northeast Asian market, including China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, along with European, Southeast Asian, North American and Australian markets.

    The capital expected to serve 5.5 million foreign holidaymakers in 2018.

    Free cleft palate surgery for disadvantaged children

    Around 150 children affected with cleft lips and cleft palates are to be provided with free check-ups and surgery in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from December 18-29 under a joint program between Operation Smile and MobiFone.

    The program has selected about 150 children from northern and southern provinces. After having check-ups, approximately 100 children will undergo surgery and receive a second chance to smile.

    Surgeries are being carried out by leading Vietnamese experts from the Vietnam-Cuba hospital and the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology in Ho Chi Minh City according to Operation Smile's Global Standards of Care.

    Mobifone will cover all expenses for surgery, travel, and accommodation during check-up and treatment.

    Since 2009, MobiFone has provided funds of more than VND6 billion to Operation Smile Vietnam through the Journey of Miracles program.

    More than 5,600 babies born via in-vitro fertilisation at Từ Dũ Obstetrics Hospital

    Women have given birth to a total of 5,643 babies via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) at Từ Dũ Obstetrics Hospital in HCMCity since 1998, according to the hospital, one of the leaders in offering IVF services in the country.

    Its IVF success rate, which is among the highest in the country, nearly doubled from 25 per cent in 2011 to more than 45 per cent last year.

    According to Dr Lê Quang Thanh, the head of the hospital, it not only provides maternal and child care but also offers technical support for hospitals in 32 cities and provinces in the south.

    The hospital, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last week, receives around 3,500 medical treatment and health-check cases and more than 200 delivery cases per day.

    HCMCity health department accepts licence applications online

    The HCM City Department of Health has launched a system for public services in the health industry that enables online applications and notification by text messages.

    Medical practitioners and businesses seeking licences or eligibility certificates for pharmaceutical services can apply online and wait for a notification via text message. They can then go to the department for the documents or even have them sent by post.

    The department is working on programmes to teach medical practitioners how to use the system.

    It was trialled since December last year, and more than half the applications have been submitted this way since.

    Seminar spotlights Vietnam-Indonesia partnership

    The Indonesian Embassy together with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) held a seminar on Vietnam-Indonesia cooperation in Hanoi on December 19.

    In his opening speech, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi said the seminar aimed to review bilateral ties, challenges facing the two countries and the role of regional organisations in developing their cooperation.

    DAV Deputy Director Le Hai Binh highlighted a visit to Indonesia by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in August this year, saying it helped reinforce the strategic partnership between the two countries and promote new development steps in bilateral relations.

    Vietnam-Indonesia trade increased to 5.6 billion USD in 2016 from 4.6 billion USD in 2012, with growth averaging five percent yearly. The two nations aim to reach 10 billion USD in bilateral trade in 2018.

    Ethnic minority people honoured

    More than 500 outstanding individuals from ethnic minority groups nationwide were honoured for their achievements and contributions to the country in a ceremony yesterday.

    The 512 honourees include intellectuals, businessmen and leaders and former leaders from the 53 ethnic minority groups in 52 provinces and cities nationwide.

    Each attained considerable achievements in socio-economic development and the building of new-style rural areas.

    The oldest is Mùa A Pao of the Mông ethnic group, born in 1930, while the youngest is Khmer woman Thạch Thị Kim Danh, born in 1992.

    Addressing the ceremony, Đỗ Văn Chiến, minister-chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, the organiser, called the honourees “the most beautiful flowers in the flamboyant and colourful garden of ViệtNam’s ethnic community.”

    He emphasised that ethnic minority groups are the “flesh and blood” of the Vietnamese nation, and an indispensable part of the nation.

    “We have always stood shoulder to shoulder, and therefore no force can sow division among our nation’s great unity,” he said.

    Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình said the Party and State have always attached importance to ethnic minority affairs.

    He praised the tremendous contributions of ethnic minority groups, including the sacrifice of blood, throughout national struggles and revolutionary courses to gain independence and the current modernisation process.

    However, he also admitted that there remain problems that minority ethnic groups face. They include low living standards, low-quality education and health care services, slow settlement of their problems and other security and political issues which risk social disorder.

    He hoped that the honourees would act as a bridge between their communities with State and local authorities to spread national unity, and as an information channel to disseminate the Party and State’s policies and guidelines.

    He asked them to work with local authorities and State agencies to boost the development of ethnic minority and mountainous areas, eradicate poverty and narrow development gaps between ethnic groups.

    Also on this occasion, 72 outstanding persons were awarded the Certificate of Merit from Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and from Minister Chiến.

    Students in Bắc Cạn infected with dissociation

    Nine female primary school students who acted abnormally last week in the northern mountainous province of Bắc Cạn have symptoms of dissociative disorder, said Associate Professor Trần Minh Điển, deputy director of the National Pediatric Hospital.

    The students of Nà Bản school in Xuân Lạc Commune, Chợ Đồn District were reportedly physically exhausted, fainted and aggressive.

    Doctor Điển said that initial check-ups conducted by the hospital’s experts showed the students had symptoms of dissociative disorder (formerly known as hysteria).

    “The doctors will continue to conduct testing to have a final conclusion,” he said.

    The students are now in a stable condition and without the symptoms, but need further treatment to ensure the symptoms don’t return.

    Doctor Trần Thị Hồng Thu, deputy director of MaiHươngDaycarePsychiatric Hospital, said that dissociative disorders usually affect adults or adolescents and not children aged seven to 10.

    “Those students infected with the disease might be under pressure due to their studies. Dissociative disorders are caused by trauma, strong emotional pain such as fear, anger or disappointment,” she said.

    Patients may develop symptoms of physical and psychological disorders, disorder of the senses and even temporary loss of consciousness, according to experts.

    Associate Professor Cao Tiến Đức, head of Psychiatric Department of Hospital 103, told news.zing.vn that this is not a strange disease in Việt Nam, being common during war time and in high schools.

    The number of the afflicted accounts for 0.3 to 0.5 per cent of the total population, he said.

    Đức said “The disorder is not an infectious disease. However, in unfavourable physical and psychological conditions, the disorder may spread within a group.”

    According to Lao Động (Labor) newspaper, in 2015, two students of Nà Bản school showed similar symptoms.

    An outbreak of mass dissociative disorder reportedly occurred at a high school of ChâuĐức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. Ten female students aged 16 had symptoms of dizziness, headache, breathing difficulty, convulsion, screaming and fainting after being injected with a tetanus vaccine.

    Several other cases were recorded in Quảng Ngãi, Khánh Hòa, Bình Định, An Giang, Vĩnh Long, Trà Vinh provinces between 2000 and 2003.

    Work on CửaĐạiBridge begins

    Work on Cửa Đại Bridge over the TràKhúcRiver in the central province of Quảng Ngãi began on Monday.

    The 1.3km bridge, once completed, will shorten the distance between two communes – Tịnh Khê and Nghĩa Phú – in QuảngNgãiCity from 20km to 2.5km.

    The bridge is part of a road project worth VNĐ2.25 trillion (around US$99 million) that stretches about 3.7km.

    In order to make room for the project, some 300 local families had their houses relocated, while 800 graves were also moved.

    Chairman of the province People’s Committee Trần Ngọc Căng said that the project was one of the key projects in the province, which aims to make a breakthrough in infrastructure development, particularly in transport infrastructure.

    He said that the CửaĐạiBridge was part of the planned coastal road Dung Quất – Sa Huỳnh Project approved by the then Prime Minister in 2010.

    The bridge was expected to help boost the expansion of the urban area of the province, towards the sea.

    Kiosks at Hanoi hospitals for patients’ comments

    Hà Nội plans to put up kiosks at hospitals for people to lodge complains or their dissatisfaction about health check-ups and treatment quality via a software.

    These complaints and opinions will then be sent to the municipal Department of Health, according to deputy director of the department, Trần Thị Nhị Hà.

    People will use the software installed at these kiosks and tick on what they feel satisfied or dissatisfied with, relating to health check-ups and treatment services at hospitals in the city, and the department can know immediately how many complaints each hospital receives from patients each day, she said.

    For example, patients can assess the time they have to wait for a health examination, the payment method, fees charged and the attitude of medical workers towards patients.

    The move is aimed at improving the quality of health services, thus helping to increase patients’ satisfaction, she said. Increased satisfaction from patients means the hospitals would have more patients and more income, she added.

    According to a survey by the health department, up to 96 per cent of surveyed patients were satisfied with the services of local health establishments and attitudes of medical workers in 2017.

    However, Hà said the figure did not reflect the reality of the whole picture of the city’s health sector.

    Therefore, the department will install kiosks equipped with software to provide more opportunities for patients to review or comment on health services at hospitals more objectively and proactively. The move will be seriously implemented to force hospitals to renew and improve the quality of their health services, Hà said.

    The Ministry of Health in 2016 issued a set of criteria to assess hospitals on improving services and increasing patient satisfaction. The 83 criteria were tested over a three-year basis.

    Nineteen of the criteria were related to patient care, 14 to work force development, 38 to professional quality, eight to quality improvement and four to professional knowledge.

    Programme in support of ethnic minority development launched

    A programme of cooperation in support of ethnic minority development for the period 2017-20 was launched on Wednesday.

    Under the cooperation agreement signed by the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the Embassy of Ireland in Việt Nam, a grant of 12 million euros (US$14.2 million) will be provided to the Programme for the Development of Extremely Difficult Communes in Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas (often called Programme 135).

    This grant aims to improve infrastructure and help poor ethnic minority communities in five provinces, including Hà Giang, Hòa Bình, Quảng Trị, Kon Tum and Trà Vinh, increase their access to basic services.

    The two parties also signed an agreement approving a grant of EUR600,000 ($710,100) for technical assistance for CEMA to enhance the effectiveness of development programmes and policies for poverty reduction in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in 2017-20.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Cáit Moran, Ambassador of Ireland to Việt Nam, said that the Embassy of Ireland’s Mission Strategy for Việt Nam and the Mekong Sub-region 2017-20 was set out at a meeting between Ireland’s Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, and Deputy Prime Minister of Việt Nam, Phạm Bình Minh, in November this year.

    It embeds ethnic minority development as a key priority for Ireland’s engagement in Việt Nam, which has provided 60 million for work in this area since the start of Ireland’s development programme in Việt Nam in 2007.

    To complement and strengthen support to Programme 135 and to CEMA, Ireland provides support to Vietnamese and international non-governmental organisations and to UN agencies to pilot and scale up new models in ethnic minority empowerment, and to share lessons and experience, with a strong emphasis on food and nutrition security, gender equality and climate-smart development.

    Đỗ Văn Chiến, member of the Party Central Committee, Minister and Chairman of the CEMA, said that the signing ceremony was an important event in improving cooperation between the embassy and the CEMA.

    He expressed his gratitude for the embassy’s support during the past years and hoped to continue to receive more help in the work, especially in poverty reduction.

    Hundreds of Đồng Nai workers undergo health checks

    Over 190 workers from a wooden furniture company in the southern province of Đồng Nai underwent health checks after eating lunch on Tuesday.

    Most experienced tiredness, itching in the throat, vomiting and some reportedly had a stomachache.

    After examining the food the workers ate for lunch, the province’s Food Safety Department found that improperly-processed Colocasia gigantea that was used to make soup was responsible for the symptoms. The Colocasia gigantea had not been peeled fully, which led to the itching.

    Head of the department Nguyễn Văn Hữu said the workers were from Miền Quê Commercial Sevices and Production Company in Nhơn Trạch 2 Industrial Zone, employing 1,800 workers. The company provides meals to its workers.

    The company will be penalised in connection with the issue, Hữu said.

    Leaders congratulates Christians nationwide on Christmas

    Representatives of HCM City’s administration, led by the city’s Party Secretary Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, yesterday visited the city’s Archbishop and the office of the Episcopacy of Việt Nam ahead of Christmas and the New Year.

    On behalf of the city’s administrators, Nhân congratulated bishops, priests, monks and all Christians nationwide, wishing them a merry Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year.

    He also detailed some of the city’s recent socio-economical developments and plans for the upcoming years, with the Party, authorities and citizens set to implement the resolutions set at the 10th city’s Party Committee Congress.

    Nhân expressed his delight on learning that the city’s archdiocese and Christians have significantly contributed to various fields, including education, health care and charity in recent years.

    He hoped that the archbishop, bishops and priests of the city’s archdiocese would continue to assist the city’s leaders to encourage Christians to join in building and protecting the nation and building a city with better living quality.

    Archbishop Bùi Văn Đọc thanked the city’s leaders for providing best conditions for Christians to fulfill their duties and contribute to development in recent years.

    He expressed hope that ties between the archdiocese and the city’s administration will develop further so that the city’s Christians can continue to contribute to fulfilling the development targets of HCMCity.

    On the same day, the northern province of Quảng Ninh’s People’s Council Chairman Nguyễn Văn Đọc met with priests ahead of Christmas.

    He sent his best wishes to all Christians in the province and expressed his expectation that they would continue to promote their Christian traditions while contributing to the development of the province.

    A meeting between the representatives of GiaLaiProvince’s People’s Committee and the representatives of the province’s Protestants, ThánhTâmChurch and Kon Tum Archbishop was also held yesterday.

    According to Protestant pastor Huỳnh Duy Linh, religious believers and Christians in particular strongly believe in the guidance of the State and Party, therefore they will further participate in patriotic campaigns and promote national unity.

    The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in VĩnhLongProvince also held a meeting to congratulate the Christian dignitaries and to wish them a merry Christmas.

    Speaking at the event, the province’s Party Secretary Trương Văn Sáu acknowledged the contributions of the local Christian community to the development of the province. He also expressed his wish that they would continue to promote patriotism in the years to come.

    Giang enters semi-finals of national tennis event

    Trịnh Linh Giang won a ticket to compete in the men’s singles semi-finals at the National Best Tennis Players Tournament, Vietravel Cup 2017.

    The tournament was held in the central province of Nghệ An on December 19.

    Giang of Bình Dương defeated Hoàng Thành Trung of the People’s Police 6-3, 6-4 in the last qualifying round match, which lasted for one hour and 30 minutes, to reach the semi-finals.

    In other games, national champion, Phạm Minh Tuấn of Đà Nẵng beat Trương Giang Thanh Alexander of HưngThịnh-HCMCity 6-3, 6-0.

    Tuấn will meet Trung, while Đỗ Minh Quân of HưngThịnh-HCMCity will face Trịnh Linh Giang of Bình Giang in the semi-finals.

    On the women’s side, No 1 seed, Sĩ Bội Ngọc of Hưng Thịnh-HCM City, easily crushed Nguyễn Minh Huyền of Kiên Giang 6-1, 6-0.

    Tiffany Linh Nguyễn of Bình Dương won against Nguyễn Thị Bé Xuyên of the Military team 6-2, 6-1. Trần Thị Tâm Hảo of HưngThịnh-HCMCity also bested Hoàng Thị Hà of Hải Dương 6-1, 6-2.

    In the semi-finals, Ngọc will take on Xuyên and Hảo will meet Nguyễn.

    The event will end on December 22. The winning players will be selected for the national teams, which will participate in the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup, as well as at the Asian Games next year.

    This year’s tournament sees a record in bonuses for the winners. The men’s gold medalist will take home VNĐ50 million (US$2,300), while the women’s gold medalist will receive VNĐ40 million ($1,800), apart from points for their rankings.

    President commends heroic Vietnam People’s Army

    President Tran Dai Quang has written an article titled “The heroic People’s Army of the heroic Vietnam nation,” on the occasion of the 73rd founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22).

    The President wrote that the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) was born from the people to fight for the people. It was founded and has been led, educated and trained by the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, and lovingly called “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers”.

    Over the past 73 years, the VPA has been developing strongly, joining hands with the entire Party and people to overcome a range of difficulties and challenges, recording many glorious feats of arms, repelling all enemies and contributing to the cause of national liberation and unification as well as national construction and protection.

    The VPA also worked with the armed forces and people of Laos and Cambodia to fight against the common enemies for independence and freedom of each country.

    After the success of the resistance war against the American imperialists, the VPA entered the fierce struggle to safeguard the country’s border and performed a noble international mission to help the Cambodia people escape the genocidal regime, leaving a beautiful image of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” among Cambodian people.

    The glorious triumph of the August Revolution and the victory of the resistance wars against the French colonists and the American imperialists opened a new era for Vietnam– an era of peace, unification, national independence and socialism.

    In the new period of revolution, the fine tradition of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers,” which was steeled through the resistance wars, has continued to flourish.

    Guided by the Party, the VPA has focused on building the revolutionary, regular, battle-hardened and modern people’s armed forces, while firmly protecting national independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity and safeguarding the Party, State, people and socialism.

    Together with maintaining preparedness for combat, the VPA has also performed well in mass mobilisation, while helping people in production, poverty reduction, natural disaster prevention and recovery, search and rescue activities and giving people access to educational and healthcare services.

    The VPA has been developing political bases at grassroots levels, reinforcing the steadfast “people-based battlefield,” especially in remote, border and island areas.

    Looking to the future, the nation is eyeing promising prospects, which go along with difficulties and challenges, requiring the VPA in particular and the people’s armed forces in general to uphold their revolutionary spirit, stay vigilant and work harder to build a strong army with high combat capacity.

    Foreign journalists laud Vietnam’s development

    Journalists from the Foreign Press Association in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (APES) praised Vietnam’s development after their recent week-long trip to the country.

    Attending a press conference in the Swiss Press Club in Geneva on December 18, APES President Jean Musy said the delegation comprised seven journalists from Swiss, French, German, Belgian, Haitian and Portuguese news agencies. During the stay from November 27 – December 3, they held 25 working sessions and met more than 50 representatives from departments and agencies in the fields of politics, socio-economy, culture, press and tourism in Hanoi and the northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen and Quang Ninh.

    The delegation also met Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Swiss and Haitian representatives in Vietnam, leaders of Thai Nguyen and Quang Ninh provinces, the Vietnam Journalists’ Association, Vietnam News Agency, Radio the Voice of Vietnam and People’s Army paper. They also visited Vingroup, Vinamilk, Credit Suisse bank and garment companies.

    They also met with representatives from the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin, AO victims, family of the late General Vo Nguyen Giap, and veteran photographer Le Vuong.

    The group also enjoyed a surprise meeting with two US war veterans who were jailed in Hoa Lo prison during the war at a photo exhibition on the 45th anniversary of the “Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory.

    Haitian journalist Jean Edouardd Rigaud lauded Vietnam’s business climate, saying that with more than 24,000 foreign-invested projects, total foreign direct investment in Vietnam has surpassed 310 billion USD.

    Rui Martins, a journalist working for Brazilian and Portuguese news agencies, said he was impressed by the transport and economic changes in Vietnam since his first visit in 1994. With the presence of investors from 120 countries, Vietnam’s economy has grown 6-7 percent annually on average over the past two decades.

    He expressed his hope to visit Vietnam in the future to see more positive changes.

    German photojournalist Pierre Virot introduced an album with hundreds of photos he took during the trip, depicting Ha Long Bay, meetings with Vietnamese, Swiss and Haitian politicians in Hanoi and cultural establishments in Vietnam.

    The APES was founded in 1928 in Geneva with more than 120 members representing news and press agencies worldwide, most of them work in Geneva where the United Nations and international organisations are headquartered.-

    SDG Challenge 2017 competition names four winners

    The United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam (UNDP) in collaboration with HATCH! VENTURES held a ceremony in Hanoi on December 19 to present awards to the top four teams of the SDG Challenge 2017, a competition to devise business solutions to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    The four winning teams are Imagtor, which provides videos and image editor services for disabled people, Triip.me/Save the Ocean, which sets up smart water providers to reduce the use of plastic bottles, Sign Language Interpreting Service Company, which offers translation for deaf people through video calls and similar technologies; and 1516 Green Architecture, which supplies power for impoverished households in remote areas through wind turbines and solar panels.

    SDG Challenge 2017 aims to find innovative business ideas with global scalability and social impact to realise the SDGs. The competition was held in Vietnam for the first time to seek social projects targeting the SDGs.

    The winners of the competition will have chance to attend the Social Impact Incubator Programme from December 2017 to June 2018.  Accordingly, they will be provided with initial working capital of 85,000 USD and a business development consultancy package.

    Congratulating the winners, Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam, noted that they know how to utilise advanced technology to help society.

    Their projects respect the environment, empower and support disadvantaged people and optimise resources to ensure no one is left behind, she added.

    Meanwhile, Pham Quoc Dat, Founder and CEO of HATCH! VENTURE, highlighted that Vietnam’s start-up ecosystem is developing well, creating ideal conditions for start-ups to seek resources.

    Cooperation between the UNDP and HATCH! VENTURE is a manifestation of how the start-up ecosystem work for development, Dat said, underlining that cooperation opportunities will open for private firms and domestic and foreign social organisations to support start-ups.

    Early diagnosis can save patients with immune disorders

    Early diagnosis can help save the lives of children with primary immunodeficiency, doctors said in HCMCity last week at a meeting with parents of patients with the disorder.

    PTD, a seven-year-old resident of Duc Hoa district in the Mekong Delta province of Long An, was normal until he reached three. His mother told the online newspaper vietnamplus.vn that they noticed a tumor growing on his right leg. A year after it was surgically removed, PTD kept falling sick and losing weight.

    A bone marrow examination done at Children’s Hospital No 1 showed that he had primary immunodeficiency.

    PTD’s limbs have been shrinking as the disorder worsens. Within this year, the disease has spread to his middle ears, causing hearing loss and making him partially deaf.

    “We spend 12 to 15 million VND (528 – 660 USD) every month on his medicines and treatment. When my son could no longer enjoy free health care for children under six, the local authorities supported us in getting insurance for people with disabilities. Otherwise, we could not be able to afford the treatment,” said PTD’s mother.

    Le Thi Minh Huong, Deputy Director of the National Children’s Hospital, said that from 2010 to 2016, their immune-allergy-joint department received 10 to 15 cases of primary immunodeficiency every year.

    She said that the disease was caused by hereditary or genetic defects wherein not enough immune cells are being generated.

    It is estimated that one in 2000 people suffer from different types of immune system disorders. Although some disorders are present at childhood, the disease can affect anyone at any age. Patients with immunodeficiency are more susceptible to infections that can lead to serious complications and even death.

    Speaking at the meeting, Huong called for more favourable public health policies for patients with primary immunodeficiency.

    “Patients suffering immune system disorders need lifelong treatment to maintain their health. Therefore, it is urgent that policymakers adopt policies and insurance packages for those patients who are above 16, in order to ease their financial burden,” she said.

    Doctors say parents should bring their children to medical facilities for diagnosis when any of the following symptoms are seen: severe and persistent infections, full body response to live virus vaccines, especially tuberculosis vaccines, serious eczema, persistent diarrhea, delayed cord clamping (over 30 days), congenital heart disease, need for strong antibiotics for infection treatment, and other autoimmune inflammation.

    VNN


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  • 12/21/17--02:18: Article 0
  • Uber B.V. eyes legal action against Ho Chi Minh City’s tax arrears demand


    The company has been asked to pay US$2.95 million in overdue back taxes

     

    ​Uber B.V. eyes legal action against Ho Chi Minh City’s tax arrears demand
    An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of a taxi sign. Photo: Reuters

    Ride-hailing service Uber B.V. has promised to pay its overdue tax arrears in Vietnam within this week, but stressed that it would continue to file formal complaints against the tax collection and even take the matter to court if necessary.

    The promise was made in a letter Uber sent to the tax department of Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, the taxman confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper the same day.

    In the letter, Uber pledged to arrange its budget for the payment of VND66.68 billion (US$2.95 million) in back taxes to be made within this week.

    “It is still not clear whether Uber B.V. will pay the amount in full or in part,” a tax official said.

    “On our part, we underline that our collection of Uber’s tax arrears is in accordance with current regulations.”

    Last week, the southern city’s taxman gave Uber an ultimatum to pay the amount within ten days after the company had failed to comply with earlier requests.

    The Netherlands-based Uber B.V., which oversees the ride-hailing app’s operations in Vietnam, was first required to pay the sum in September after the municipal taxman completed an inspection of the company’s operations in the southern hub.

    However, Uber completely ignored the request and refused to pay any part of the back taxes.

    The firm later filed a petition against the tax claim to Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance, reasoning it had fulfilled its tax duties in the Netherlands in accordance with a treaty against double taxation signed between the European country and Vietnam.

    The petition was dismissed, with the finance ministry asking the company to pay the full amount as demanded by the Ho Chi Minh City taxman.

    In related news, the European court of justice (ECJ) on Wednesday ruled that Uber is a transport services company, requiring it to accept stricter regulation and licensing within the European Union (EU) as a taxi operator, The Guardian reported.

    The decision in Luxembourg, after a challenge brought by taxi drivers in Barcelona, will apply across the whole of the EU, including the UK, and cannot be appealed against.

    Uber had long denied that it was a transport company, arguing instead it was a computer services business with operations that should be subject to e-commerce governance.

    This argument has baffled Vietnamese authorities as they struggle to seek the best way to administrate the company, while conventional taxi firms argue that Uber and similar services like Grab enjoy too lax regulation compared to a regular transport services company.

    Tuoi Tre News 


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