Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | .... | 462 | 463 | (Page 464) | 465 | 466 | .... | 495 | newer

    0 0
  • 01/08/18--01:29: Article 1
  • Business community’ voices help improve climate


    The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) reported that it had passed 1,152 petitions from the business community to relevant State agencies as of the end of November 2017, and 954 of which had received replies.


    Business community’ voices help improve climate, 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 information was released in VCCI’s latest document on last year’s outcome of the implementation of the Government’s Resolution 35/NQ-CP on business assistance and development by 2020.

    The report said the businesses’ concerns mostly revolved around administrative reform, including tax and customs procedures, and environmental inspection. Firms also complained that a number of inspections were not needed or unnecessarily prolonged, causing waste of time and money for enterprises. Many regulations were complicated and overlapped among different ministries and sectors.

    They asked the State to improve the performance of funds for the development of science-technology, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The also called for frequent review of conditional business sectors in line with the Investment Law. 

    The business community voiced their hope for equal access to resources and business opportunities, and asked for the serious consultation of experts and target subjects during the process of drafting and implementing laws and policies.

    The community proposed measures to reduce business costs, including suitable interest rate, and reduction of land leasing prices, fees at some BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects, and logistic costs. 

    A number of comments asked for the protection of businesses’ rights during bankruptcy procedure, and at civil courts, while calling for higher fines to crack down on unhealthy competition, patent violations and illegal inspections. 

    VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said authorities at different level handled concerns from the business community faster than they did in 2016, particularly after the issuance of the Prime Minister’s Direction 26/CT-TTg on June 6, 2017 on pushing the implementation of Resolution 35.

    According to the report, the State Bank, the Ministries of Finance, Construction, Transport, Planning and Investment, and Industry and Trade, and People’s Committees of Hanoi and Thua Thien – Hue were among agencies that provided the most prompt and effective feedback to firms’ requests.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 01/08/18--01:55: Article 0
  • Việt Nam shrimp exports remain buoyant


    HCM CITY - Shrimp exports increased sharply last year and the trend will continue this year, according to the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).



    Workers at a shrimp processing plant. Việt Nam’s shrimp exports surged last year and good growth is also expected this year. - VNA/VNS Photo


    The exports were worth an estimated US$3.8 billion last year, $700 million up from 2016 and $400 million higher than the association’s target.

    There was big demand for shrimp in key markets such as the EU, China, Japan, and South Korea especially during the year-end festive season, VASEP said.

    In the first 11 months of last year, the EU was the largest importer of Vietnamese shrimp, with shipments to the market going up by 42.4 per cent to $780 million and accounting for 22.2 per cent of Việt Nam’s exports.

    Shrimp exports to China surged by 60.2 per cent to $637.9 million in the period, but shipments to the US fell by 7.8 per cent mainly due to high anti-dumping duties.

    Trương Đình Hòe, VASEP’s general secretary, said the strong growth in shrimp exports last year was mainly thanks to better control of antibiotic usage in breeding the crustacean, an increase in exports of processed products, and buyers’ increased confidence in Vietnamese shrimp products.

    In the EU, Vietnamese shrimp exporters enjoyed preferential treatment under the bloc’s Generalised System of Preferences while Thailand and China, the two main competitors, did not.

    India’s shrimp exports to the EU were down because antibiotics were being frequently found in its products, and Indian companies faced the risk of bans, he said.

    This meant European importers were looking for safer shrimp products, including from Việt Nam, he said.

    The depreciation of the US dollar against the euro and yen had also supported Vietnamese exports, the association said.

    Trần Văn Lĩnh, chairman of Thuận Phước Seafood and Trading Corporation, told Việt Nam News that an increase in the shrimp farming area, an improvement in farming technology and the quality of shrimp used for breeding, reduction in the use of antibiotics, and an expansion of eco-friendly farming had helped create reliable supply sources for processors besides helping them meet export standards.

    “A number of Vietnamese shrimp processors have invested in producing value-added shrimp products, heralding a new export age.”

    Last year his company earned $91 million from shrimp exports compared to $75 million in 2016, he said.

    “Export volume went up by only 5 per cent last year, but thanks to an increase in export of value-added products, which accounted for 90 per cent of the exports, export revenues were up.

    “Việt Nam has a good reputation for value-added shrimp products.”

    Shrimp exports in 2018

    This year his company would strive to maintain a strong foothold in its key markets, including the EU and Japan, Lĩnh said.

    This year the market would be more favourable than 2017, he said.

    “The Việt Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement, which is expected to come into effect this year, will help make Vietnamese shrimp more competitive than Thai and Indonesian, and Việt Nam’s shrimp exports to EU will be better this year.”

    VASEP has also forecast that shrimp exports would rise strongly this year, especially to the EU, China, Japan, and South Korea.

    China has high demand for seafood and its domestic output has reduced due to diseases and unfavourable weather.

    Since December that country has cut import tariff on frozen shrimp from 5 per cent to 2 per cent.

    These factors would boost Việt Nam’s shrimp exports to China, and the country could surpass Japan to become the second largest market.

    But Lĩnh said currently shrimp exports to China were mainly in the form of border trade, with the key items being unprocessed products with low added value.

    Vietnamese authorities should work with their Chinese counterparts to increase official shrimp exports and Vietnamese exporters should increase shipments of processed products to increase revenues, he said.

    Despite many advantages, the shrimp industry could also encounter some challenges this year, including risks like unfavourable weather and diseases.

    Hồ Quốc Lực, general director of Sao Ta Foods JSC, said “The biggest challenge to the industry is its small scale of farming, often making it difficult to trace product origin whereas import markets lay much emphasis on food safety and traceability of products.”

    In this context, the industry needs to enhance quality control and build breeding areas of international standards to mitigate its weaknesses and boost exports this year, Lực added.

    VNS


    0 0
  • 01/09/18--01:31: Article 2
  • Special preferential import tax policies taking effect from 2018


    The Vietnamese government has just issued ten decrees to implement Vietnam’s special preferential import tax commitments made in its free trade agreements with various partners.


    Special preferential import tax policies taking effect from 2018, 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
    Vietnam's new raft of decrees will provide the legal framework for the implementation of its FTA commitments


    There are some outstanding features in the 2018 special preferential import tax. The decrees outline the special preferential import tax rates Vietnam will provide its different partners and include detailed tables naming the eligible goods categories.

    Accordingly, listed goods imported and directly transported from partner countries and meeting the origin of goods requirements (holding a certificate of origin issued by the partner country and Vietnam will be applied reduced import tax (or even exemption) as specified in the relevant trade agreement and decrees.

    The ten decrees are effective from January 1, 2018 and are applicable in the 2018-2022 period, with decrees 155 and 160 being applicable during 2018-2023.

    Decrees detailing Vietnam's new preferential import tax policies

    Decree

    Related FTA

    Period

    Decree No.149/2017/ ND-CP

    Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No.150/2017/ ND-CP

    Vietnam-Eurasia Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (VN-EAEU FTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No.153/2017/ ND-CP

    Agreement on Trade in Goods signed with the ASEAN and China

    2018-2022

    Decree No.154/2017/ ND-CP

    Vietnam-Chile Free Trade Agreement (VCFTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No.155/2017/ ND-CP

    Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA)

    2018-2023

    Decree No. 156/2017/ ND-CP

    ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No. 157/2017/ ND-CP

    Agreement on Trade in Goods under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co-operation among the Governments of Member Countries of ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (AKFTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No. 158/2017/ ND-CP

    Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No. 159/2017/ ND-CP

    ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AIFTA)

    2018-2022

    Decree No. 160/2017/ ND-CP

    ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

    2018-2023

    Specifically, up to 2018, as many as 5,535 tax lines have been removed under the VN-EAEUFTA, focusing on goods which are input materials for export and production, such as textile and garment materials, leather footwear, electronic components, and plastic materials.

    3,720 tax lines under are going to be removed, including milk, chemicals, paper, iron and steel, machines and devices, among others.

    Pursuant to AIFTA, 59 per cent of tax lines will be cut in 2018 (equivalent to 5,668 lines) focusing on processed meat, fishery products, vegetables, and fruits.

    According to Pham Tuan Anh, deputy director general of International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Finance, these changes promote the development and innovation of science-technology and reaching international standards.

    Evaluating the effects of the tax cuts, Pham Tuan Anh confirmed: “It will have a remarkable impact on the price of goods this year, decreasing state budget revenue. However, almost all FTAs are in the final stages of implementation and the value reduction is not as much as before, so the impacts will not be as sharp.”

    VIR


    0 0
  • 01/09/18--01:33: Article 1
  • Vietnam makes astonishing progress in organ transplant


    Amongst ten outstanding events of the health sectora in 2017, Vietnam continued to make much progress in organ transplantation to save people with fatal illness.


     Vietnam makes astonishing progress in organ transplant, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news

    For the first time, the Military Hospital 103 and their Japanese counterparts February 21 performed a successful lung transplant on a six year old boy.

    Next, Vietnamese surgeons carried out ten-hour heart transplant operation on ten year old boy Nguyen Thanh Dat who suffered the last stage of heart disease on March 15 in Viet-Duc ( Vietnam - German) hospital.

    Leading hospital Cho Ray in Ho Chi Minh City sets eight records cofirmed by the national record association. 

    These records are "The hospital performed first kidney transplant from brain-dead donors in Vietnam”; “The hospital conducted first kidney transplant with donor whose heart stopped beating in Vietnam”; “The hospital performed most kidney transplants in the country”; “The hospital transported donted organs in long distance from South to North to save people”; “The hospital firstly carried out cross-kidney transplantation”.

    The Ministry of Health considered the incident in kidney dialysis in the general hospital in the northern province of Hoa Binh the most serious event of the year. 

    Eighteen patients May 29 undergoing renal dialysis at a hospital in northern Vietnam suffered a mass anaphylactic shock on Monday, resulting in the death of eight of them.

    Ten others escaped the death; later, they were transferred to Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi for further treatment.

    Worse, the Ministry said that in the year, medical workers on duty in some localities were attacked by patients and their relatives; for instance, the attacks happened in Thach That Hospital in the North, hospital 115 in the central province of Nghe An, medical center Huong Long in the central province of Ha Tinh, Vietnam-Cuba Hospital in Dong Hoi in the Central and the hospital 115 in the northern province of Thai Binh.

    When it comes to policies relating to healthcare mission, the decree 21-NQ/TW on healthcare and population is selected as an outstanding event in 2017.

    Along with this, the increase of medical fee to improve medical quality and the rise of insurance coverage rate to nearly 86 percent are selected into ten outstanding events of the sector in 2017.

    In the field of preventive health, whiel outbreaks of dengue re-occurred in the country, Vietnam became one of four Asian countries to produce meales- rubella vaccineafter China, Japan and India. This entered ten outstanding events also.

    SGGP


    0 0
  • 01/09/18--01:55: Article 0
  • State company shares remain unappealing to some investors


    Except Sabeco and Vinamilk shares, the other divestments by the state have not succeeded as expected.


    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, equitization, SOEs, SCIC 

    SCIC plans to disinvest from many enterprises


    The divestments of Vinamilk and Sabeco shares in the last two months of 2017 brought satisfactory results. 

    SCIC (State Capital Investment Corporation) sold 3.33 percent of Vinamilk shares, collecting VND9 trillion, or VND2 trillion higher than initially expected.

    Meanwhile, MOIT (Ministry of Industry and Trade) auctioned 53.59 percent of Sabeco shares, collecting $5 billion.

    The auction of Idico shares organized was also ‘hot’ with 40 foreign institutional investors registering to attend. 55 million shares were sold, bringing VND1.324 trillion, of which 74.8 percent was acquired by foreign investors.

    64 more enterprises will be put into equitization in 2018, including large ones such as Vietnam Paper Corporation, MobiFone and companies in real estate and electricity generation sectors.

    However, other share auctions were not as successful because of the indifference of investors.

    A number of SOEs queued up for their IPOs in the last days of 2017 and early 2018, though investors did not show interest in the events.

    On December 25, Song Da auctioned 216 million shares, but only 790,900 shares, or 0.35 percent of the amount of shares offered, were sold, worth VND8.8 billion.

    A report shows that more than 200 individual investors attended the auction, but there was no institutional investor.

    According to Nikkei news, this was one of several disappointing share auctions that took place in the second half of 2017.

    Prior to that, Becamex IDC, put 311.2 million shares into auction on December 1. Only 158 investors registered to buy 18.95 million shares at the average price of VND31.008 per share, or 6.1 percent of the volume of shares offered.

    In other cases, only 6 percent of Becamex shares and 5.5 percent of Vinaconex shares were sold.

    In 2017, SCIC divested from 40 enterprises and collected VND21.639 trillion. A big proportion of money was from the divestment of Vinamilk shares (VND20.276 trillion in 2016 and 2017). 

    Meanwhile, the other 39 SOEs only brought VND1.363 trillion.

    The Vietnam Post Corporation (VN Post) has recently announced divestment from P&T Tour, one of its subsidiaries. Nearly 8.8 million stake will be put on sale at the starting price of VND24,600 per share. If successful, VN Post would collect VND216 billion.

    This is the second time that VN Post organized an auction of P&T Tour stake after failure in the first trial. The first took place in September 2017, where 10 investors registered to attend. 

    One institutional investor won the bid to buy a 90.22 percent stake at VND41,500 per share. However, the investor refused to pay the amount of money, about VND365 billion. 

    Phap Luat quoted Tran Anh Dung, chair of SSC (State Securities Commission), as reporting that 64 more enterprises will be put into equitization in the time to come, including large ones such as Vietnam Paper Corporation, MobiFone and companies in real estate and electricity generation sectors.


    Kim Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/10/18--00:41: Article 2
  • Vietnamese rushed to gamble in bitcoin in 2017



    The fruit from the 11-month rise in bitcoin price could be cleared away just after a few trading sessions. 

    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, SBV 

    The bitcoin price fluctuated heavily in 2017 

    On January 1, 2017, one bitcoin was priced at $970. Twelve months later, the price of the cryptocurrency climbed to its peak of $20,000. However, just in the last week of the year, the price plunged to $10,400, or 44 percent lower than the peak.

    Nam, an investor, said many investors lost all the money they earned throughout 2017 within one week when the bitcoin price tumbled.

    “Cashing in bitcoin is not for people with a weak heart,” he said.

    Nam once worked in the financial sector, but he gave up the job to spend time on investment in bitcoins. The bitcoin boom has prompted thousands of Vietnamese to gamble in the cryptocurrency.

    On December 22 the gap between the highest and lowest price reached up to $5,000, or 35 percent of value. Bitcoin prices skyrocketed within hours, but then tumbled dramatically. The bitcoin price last month soared from $8,700 per bitcoin to $20,000 and then dropped to below $11,000.

    Encouraged by the galloping increase of the cryptocurrency price in 2017, people rushed to buy computers with strong configurations to mine bitcoins. A report shows that 1,500 bitcoin mining machines were imported to HCMC by October 2017.

    Phuong, who has been investing in bitcoin for one year, said he decided to hold bitcoin instead of surfing for investments. The 24-year-old investor made a fat profit when selling bitcoin at $18,350, triple the cost price.

    However, Vien, an investor in HCMC, complained that the loss he incurred is at a ‘two-digit level’. The investor bought bitcoin at the price of $17,000 per bitcoin, but the cryptocurrency still cannot exceed the $13,000 per coin threshold.

    “I hope the bitcoin price regains the VND17,000 level and if this happens, I will sell all bitcoins. I dare not expect profit,” he said.

    Phuong is among the few investors who use their own money to invest in bitcoin. The majority of bitcoin investors make investments with borrowed money.

    “The investors have incurred bigger losses because they have to pay interest for the loans,” Nam explained.

    Encouraged by the galloping increase of the cryptocurrency price in 2017, people rushed to buy computers with strong configurations to mine bitcoins. A report shows that 1,500 bitcoin mining machines were imported to HCMC by October 2017.

    Many people lost big money as they fell into swindlers’ traps. Promising a sky high interest rate of up to 144 percent, swindlers raised funds from rural people and disappeared.

    The national television channel VTV discovered one of the rings – AOC - which successfully mobilized tens of billions of dong.


    M. Ha, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/10/18--00:43: Article 1
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/1


    Vingroup, T&T to develop urban railway projects in Hanoi

    The government of Hanoi City has proposed the Prime Minister allow Vingroup and T&T Group to develop three urban railway projects which the city plans to complete by 2025, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.

    The two domestic investors will use their capital to make pre-feasibility studies for these projects.

    When the projects were announced, many investors expressed interest in Hanoi. However, only Vingroup and T&T Group have registered to take part.

    Both of them proposed implementing the projects in the build-transfer (BT) format. Particularly, Vingroup registered to build the 38.4-kilometer metro line No. 5 which connects Van Cao and Hoa Lac and metro line No. 2 from Tran Hung Dao to Thuong Dinh with a length of 5.9 kilometers. Meanwhile, T&T Group is keen on metro line No. 4 connecting Me Linh, Sai Dong and Lien Ha, and measuring 54 kilometers in length.

    The two investors said they would use their own finances to study the feasibility of the projects and hand over pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to the city government in case they do not become official investors of the projects.

    After the PM’s approval is forthcoming, the city will ask investors to quickly hire foreign consulting firms. These projects are expected to be submitted to the PM for consideration and the National Assembly for approval this year.

    Bio-fuel consumption makes up 30% of gasoline sales in HCMC


     Vingroup, T&T to develop urban railway projects in Hanoi, Bio-fuel consumption makes up 30% of gasoline sales in HCMC, Stock market cap equivalent to 70.2% of GDP, Vietnam pays US$10.5-billion debt as of mid-December 

    The consumption of bio-fuel E5 accounts for a mere 30% of total gasoline sales in HCMC as consumers have yet to trust the quality of this type of gasoline, a mixture of 95% RON 95 gasoline and 5% ethanol.

    Fossil fuel RON 92 has been completely replaced by E5 three days ago.

    Fuel retailers ascribed the small consumption of E5 to the consumer’s reluctance to switch to using it for fears that it might negatively affect the engines of their vehicles. They said the demand for RON 95, a higher-grade type of gasoline, had surged.

    The price of E5 is VND1,000-1,200 per liter lower than RON 95.

    According to fuel retailers, a bigger difference in price might help boost bio-fuel sales. But consumers are not yet confident in the quality of E5.

    A leader of a local fuel retail firm said a majority of consumers prefer RON 95 to E5. In the past, the oil price was more than US$100 per barrel, so it was reasonable to make bio-fuel. But it is now lower than US$60 per barrel, making bio-fuel production commercially unviable.

    He added drivers of taxis and commercial vehicles are regular customers of the bio-fuel.

    According to the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the bio-fuel is not suitable for all vehicles but old models such as Audi A3 1.8L produced in 2000, Ford Laser prior to 1986, and GM Daewoo which are widely used in Vietnam.

    Bui Xuan Vu, deputy general director of Saigon Fuel JSC, was quoted by news website Zing as saying that the lower-than-expected consumption of the bio-fuel is due to low consumer confidence.

    Stock market cap equivalent to 70.2% of GDP

    The stock market capitalization in 2017 was equivalent to 70.2% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP), meeting the Government’s target.

    According to Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung, many big corporations launched their shares on the stock market, sending the stock market capitalization surging.

    The VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Market (HOSE) closed the year 2017 at 984 points, up 48% from the previous year. Liquidity on the stock and bond markets picked up 65% and 39% respectively.

    Listed businesses reported respective rises of 18% and 23% in revenue and profit in January-September last year.

    The stock market grew as a channel to mobilize mid- and long-term capital for the Government and contributed greatly to the equitization of State-owned enterprises, the divestment of State holdings in enterprises, and attraction of foreign direct investment capital.

    The market for unlisted public companies (UPCoM) grew strongly. The total capitalization of companies on UPCoM hit more than VND603 trillion (US$26.56 billion), double the figure in end-2016. The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) saw its market capitalization leaping 45% year-on-year.

    On average, transaction volume soared 35% and transaction value jumped 71% year-on-year.

    The Ministry of Finance said it will speed up the merger of HNX and HOSE, and restructure the stock, bond and derivatives markets.

    HCMC to invest VND29 trillion in public projects

    The government of HCMC will spend VND29 trillion on public investment projects in the first few months of this year.

    Of the amount, VND4.88 trillion will come from official development assistance loans, VND2.52 trillion from the city budget as reciprocal capital for ODA-funded projects, and VND540 billion from the city budget for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

    In the first tranche of funding this year, city departments and districts in their capacity as supervisors of project developers will be responsible for disbursing capital and giving assignments to project developers.

    To make sure capital disbursements will be on time, the city government told directors of departments and leaders of districts to sign an agreement in which half of the capital needed must have been disbursed by late July. If the disbursement target is missed, they would be held accountable.

    At a conference on socio-economic development plans and budget estimates this year held by the city government on January 2, the secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, Nguyen Thien Nhan, said the city’s daily budget collections last year totaled VND1.11 trillion, excluding Sundays. The city accounted for nearly 28% of the country’s State budget revenue.

    The city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) last year grew 8.25%. Agriculture grew 6.3% at some VND19.4 trillion.

    In 2017, the city beat its budget collection target.

    This year, the city will focus on piloting a special mechanism already approved by the National Assembly, enhancing the quality of growth and the competitiveness of the city, creating a favorable and fair business environment, and encouraging innovations and startups.

    In addition, the city will drastically streamline administrative procedures and boost e-government development. Another mission is to develop HCMC into a smart city in the 2017-2020 period with a vision towards 2025 to better serve residents and enterprises. 

    The city will also downsize the State apparatus while ensuring its efficiency and improving the quality of officials and civil servants.

    Vietnam pays US$10.5-billion debt as of mid-December

    Vietnam had spent VND238 trillion (nearly US$10.5 billion) to pay debt, including VND147.6 trillion in principals and VND91 trillion in interest, as of mid-December, according to data of the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    This is part of the State budget expenditure that totaled more than VND1,210 trillion as of mid-December. The State also spent VND862 trillion on regular expenditures and VND259 trillion on development investments.

    On the other hand, State budget revenues in the year to mid-December reached more than VND1,100 trillion, meeting 91.1% of the full-year target. Domestic revenues contributed the most to the State budget with more than VND871 trillion, followed by import and export taxes with VND183.8 trillion, and crude oil exports worth VND43.5 trillion.

    According to GSO, tax collections from industry, trade and service contributed VND167.5 trillion to the State budget, while foreign-invested and State-owned enterprises contributed nearly VND154 trillion (excluding crude oil) and VND196.5 trillion respectively.

    The budget deficit is estimated at VND115.5 trillion as of mid-December.

    According to a debt payment plan released in May, the Government had plans to borrow more than VND342 trillion (US$15 billion) to pay debts this year, US$5 billion less than that of last year.

    The money mainly comes from domestic sources with VND243.3 trillion, and official development assistance (ODA) and foreign preferential loans with nearly VND98.8 trillion. Some VND172.3 trillion is used to cover the budget deficit while VND144 trillion used for loan principal payment, VND316.3 trillion for budget allocation and nearly VND25.8 trillion for on-lending.

    Khanh Hoa, Danang still popular among Chinese tourists

    KhanhHoaProvince and DanangCity, which are both attractive to Chinese tourists, are forecast to receive a large number of tourists from the neighboring country next year, administrators and tour operators said.

    According to the Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism, more than 1.11 million Chinese tourists visited this south-central province in January-November last year, posting a record growth rate of 130% against the same period last year.

    Many travel firms said they are waiting for the new international terminal at CamRanhAirport in the province to be put into service so that they can operate more chartered flights. This airport is being overloaded, so many flights from China must be operated at night.

    Nguyen Van Thanh, vice chairman of the Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Tourism Association, said the Chinese market has grown steadily in recent years. He referred to the forecast of some enterprises, saying the number of Chinese tourists may increase to almost two million next year if the new terminal is operational on time.

    As for the central city of Danang, China is the second biggest market after South Korea. There are currently 15 air routes between China and Danang with up to 100 flights a week, mostly chartered flights.

    Danang welcomed around 700,000 visitors from China last year and may see more this year.

    Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of the Danang Department of Tourism, said Chinese tourists may flock to his city this year as a result of APEC Vietnam 2017 taking place there last month. After such a successful event, many firms have come to explore tourism services.

    “Chinese tourists in Danang will surge this year. The increase may be approximately 200,000,” Cuong said.

    Last year, Danang catered to over 2.3 million international arrivals, a 36.8% rise against 2016. Two-thirds of these, equivalent to nearly 1.7 million arrivals, come from South Korea and China.

    Data of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that China remained the biggest visitor-generating market for Vietnam’s tourism in January-November with more than 3.59 million arrivals, up 44.9% year-on-year.

    Saigon Newport handles around 6.8 million TEUs last year

    Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP) handled an estimated 6.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), or 90 million tons of cargo last year, a year-on-year rise of 13.6%.

    SNP deputy general director Phung Ngoc Minh said at a conference in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap last week that cargo throughput at the corporation’s ports accounts for 50% of the nation’s total, and 92.5% of HCMC’s.

    “At the Cai Mep-Thi Vai deep-sea port complex alone, for example, our operations make up roughly 72%,” Minh said at the conference on logistics development in the Mekong Delta’s transport sector.

    He added TanCang-CaiCuiPort in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has handled 33 container vessels of 44,700 TEUs through the newly-opened Quan Chanh Bo Canal into the Hau River of Tra Vinh Province since 2016.

    “The transport volume through our waterway and road systems has reached 71,000 TEUs in the Mekong Delta,” he said.

    He added SNP has managed and developed five ports in the Mekong Delta, namely Tan Cang-Sa Dec, Tan Cang-Cao Lanh (DongThapProvince), Tan Cang-Thot Not, Tan Cang-Cai Cui (Can Tho City), and Tan Cang-Giao Long (BenTreProvince).

    “We will start work on a deep-sea port called Hon Chong in KienGiangProvince early next year,” he said, adding the port would bolster growth in the local tourism sector, and facilitate goods transport, and logistics services for the oil and gas sector.

    The corporation is pursuing its strategy based on three business cornerstones – port operation, logistics services, and sea services, according to its deputy general director. Therefore, SNP has developed a port system from the north to the south.

    HCMC exports heavily reliant on FDI firms

    Although HCMC achieved rapid industrial and export growth last year, the city still heavily relies on foreign direct investment (FDI) in these business areas.

    According to a report by the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, the city’s total exports in 2017 were estimated at US$35.2 billion, up 15.1% compared to the same period last year. Excluding crude oil, the export figure may still hit US$30 billion, up 12% year-on-year. 

    The city’s industrial production index, an economic indicator that measures the real production output of manufacturing, mining, and utilities, increased from 7.25% last year to 8.48% last year.

    Industrial production and exports have contributed greatly to the city’s economic development. However, they have been heavily dependent on the FDI sector.

    FDI firms make up more than 50% of the city’s industrial production and nearly 63% of the city’s total exports. Particularly, they account for more than 99% of total exports of hi-tech products.

    Besides, the weak cooperation between FDI and local firms has resulted in unsustainable industrial development. 

    Logistics, a driving force for industry and trade growth, is still underdeveloped. Most local logistics firms are smaller and weaker than foreign rivals.

    Textile-garment exports exceed EAEU limit

    Vietnam’s textile and garment exports to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have exceeded trigger levels, or the total amount subject to preferential tariffs allowed into EAEU markets for this year, the General Department of Vietnam Customs said on its website.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Department of Domestic Market Protection of the Eurasian Economic Commission has announced that 173.3 tons of underwear and 112.7 tons of children’s clothes from Vietnam had been shipped to EAEU in the year to end-October, exceeding the trigger levels for this year in accordance with a free trade agreement between Vietnam and EAEU.

    The agreement also stipulates that the union can slap safeguard duties on products beyond trigger levels within six months upon the shipment. In case the trigger levels are breached, Vietnamese underwear and children’s clothes will not be entitled to preferential tax and will be imposed Most Favored Nation (MFN) import duties.

    Ministry seeks investors for North-South Expy project

    The Ministry of Transport has issued a decision calling for public-private partnership (PPP) investment totaling nearly VND104.1 trillion (US$4.58 billion) in eight sections of the North-South Expressway in 2017-2020.

    The investment will include some VND40.4 trillion from the State budget, according to Decision 3535 signed by Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The.

    Eight sections of the expressway comprise four in the north namely Mai Son - Highway 45, Highway 45 - Nghi Son, Nghi Son - Dien Chau, and Dien Chau - Bai Vot, and four in the south namely Nha Trang - Cam Lam, Cam Lam - Vinh Hao, Vinh Hao - Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet - Dong Nai. All these sections will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.

    The 98-kilometer Phan Thiet – Dong Nai section will need the most investment, nearly VND19.6 trillion, and the Nha Trang – Cam Lam section with a length of 29 kilometers may require the least amount, over VND5.1 trillion.

    The Ministry of Transport is conducting feasibility studies for the eight sections whose construction is expected for completion in 2021.

    According to the ministry, the eight sections are aimed at meeting transport demand. The expressway, when in place, will help connect three key economic regions, thus bolstering the country’s socio-economic development.

    Last month, the National Assembly passed a plan to develop the North-South Expressway to the east of the country.

    Accordingly, 654 kilometers of the road will be built between 2017 and 2020. The total cost of the project is estimated at over VND118.7 trillion including VND55 trillion in State capital from the mid-term investment fund for major projects and the remaining VND63.7 trillion from the private sector.

    The National Assembly asked relevant agencies to prepare plans for recovering investment capital for those components financed by public capital, and have mechanisms to supervise and use investment capital efficiently. As for project components under the PPP format, such agencies were required to overcome drawbacks of the investment mode.

    Site clearance will be done to make room for a six-lane road, except for the Vung Ang (Ha Tinh)-Tuy Loan (Danang) section which will have four lanes and some sections leading to economic centers which will have eight lanes.

    Ben Tre sees investments up ten-fold

    The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has attracted a staggering VND22.5 trillion (US$990.8 million) in domestic investment and around US$400 million in foreign direct investment (FDI), which is a ten-fold increase over 2016, the provincial Department of Planning and Investment said.

    Local investors have embarked on 51 new projects, and have injected more money into 10 existing projects this year.

    Meanwhile, foreign investors have been involved in five new projects, and have poured extra capital into four other operational projects.

    The large-scale FDI projects include the Binh Dai-Ben Tre wind farm worth over US$180 million, the Nexif Energy Ben Tre wind farm valued at US$160 million, and the Family Vietnam textile factory (US$11.9 million).

    As many as 72 investors or groups of investors at home and abroad have sounded out business opportunities in the province in 2017.

    Currently, the province is home to 188 valid domestic projects worth more than VND37.7 trillion (US$1.65 billion), and 52 FDI projects capitalized at over US$843 million.

    International tourists contribute half of tourism revenue

    International tourists to Vietnam accounted for only one-sixth of domestic tourists last year but contribute up to 58% of total tourism revenue, which amounts to VND510.9 trillion, or roughly US$22.5 billion.

    Of such an amount, which is VND110 trillion higher than 2017 figure, 90% comes from pure tourists.

    According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, after the record number of over ten million international tourists in 2016, 2017 set a new record as the country has catered to 13 million international and 73.2 million domestic tourists.

    Tourist hotspots of the country such as Danang, Quang Ninh, Kien Giang and HCMC have welcomed more international tourists this year, with 6.6 million tourists (up 19%), 9.87 million tourists (18%), 6.07 million tourists (up 7.8%) and 6.38 million tourists (up 22.88%) respectively.

    The year also witnessed strong growth in tourist lodging facilities when 1,000 more places offering accommodation to tourists are put into service, raising the total number of such places to 25,600 with more than 508,000 guest rooms. Of these, there are 116 five-star hotels, 259 four-star hotels, and 488 three-star hotels.

    Vietnam’s national tourism authority is planning to carry out many promotion and personnel training activities next year, including attending 13 travel fairs around the world, and the organizing of roadshows in Europe, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. International travel agents and media will also be invited to Vietnam to explore local tourism products and destinations.

    The country expects to attract 15.5-16 million international tourists and 78 million domestic tourists thí year. It also targets VND620 trillion in tourism revenue.

    HCMC firms step up investment in supporting industries

    Many industrial enterprises in HCMC have invested dozens of millions of U.S. dollars in supporting industries to participate in the supply chains of foreign direct investment (FDI) firms, especially those in electronics and auto sectors.

    According to experts, the HCMC engineering industry holds high potential, offering numerous opportunities for those local firms wanting to engage in supporting industries.

    Take the auto sector for example. Mercedes has plans to boost auto manufacturing in Vietnam to supply the Southeast Asian market, while other firms such as Daehan Motors, Vinh Phat Motors and Samco have penetrated into the Vietnamese market. Such a trend will result in higher demand for parts, thus boosting supporting industries.

    According to the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, many engineering enterprises have invested heavily in modern production lines including Saigon Industry Corporation, Lap Phuc Precision Mold Making Company and Mechanical and Industrial Construction JSC.

    In addition, some companies have spent huge amounts of capital on production lines for hi-tech supporting industries at industrial parks and export processing zones in the city. Particularly, EChigo Vietnam JSC has poured nearly US$11 million into a high precision mold manufacturing project to manufacture 240 precision molds and 100 million parts a year.

    Meanwhile, THT Precision Engineering Co Ltd has spent US$12 million on a project to develop precision engineering products for hi-tech machines and engines with an annual capacity of 600,000 drive shafts.

    Besides, APC Industry Corporation has invested US$7.5 million in a plant to manufacture hi-tech support equipment such as motors, electric generators, transformers and electricity distribution and control equipment.

    Up to date, the city has had two enterprises chosen to supply parts for Samsung, namely Hiep Phuoc Thanh Production Co Ltd and Minh Nguyen Supporting Industry JSC.

    Electronics manufacturers in HCMC have high demand for electronic components, circuits, and measurement and optical devices. However, they have to import parts to serve local production, mainly from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore.

    According to the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, the city’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) this year may accelerate by 8.48% over last year, higher than 7.25% last year versus 2015.

    The city has set a target of maintaining the growth rate of 8-8.5% next year, in which processing and manufacturing industries will post 8.2% year-on-year growth.

    ToyotaVietnam recalls over 8,000 Corolla cars

    Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) on December 27 began to recall 8,036 Corolla cars manufactured in Vietnam to inspect and replace defective inflator modules of the front passenger airbags which may cause injury for passengers.

    According to Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), these cars were manufactured between July 14, 2008 and December 31, 2009.

    TMC said the reason for its recall is that the inflators of front airbags supplied by Takata might be made improperly, allowing moisture to intrude over time.

    Improperly manufactured propellant wafers could cause the inflator to rupture and the front passenger airbag to deploy abnormally in a crash and may seriously injure passengers.

    TMV will check and replace affected airbag inflators free of charge at Toyota garages nationwide. Airbags of other suppliers are not affected.

    Checking and replacing the inflator module will take about half an hour to three hours depending on each model.

    For Corolla cars which were not officially imported by TMV, the company will contact TMC to confirm information if it receives requests to check airbag inflators from customers. Once TMV gets official approval from TMC, it will replace defective airbag inflator modules at no charge.

    TMW had earlier recalled thousands of imported Corolla and Yaris cars and domestically manufactured Vios cars for the same reason, taking the total number of Toyota cars involved in the program to more than 30,000 units.

    Auto firms still at odds over import conditions

    Major players in the auto industry are still at odds over new conditions on auto imports though such rules will take effect in the next couple of days.

    Some auto firms and the auto association have written to the Government, with two major firms upholding the new rules as fair and workable while most others are skeptical to Decree 116/2017/ND-CP on manufacture, assembly and import of autos. The new rules also set conditions on auto warranty and maintenance services that shall come into force from January 1, 2018.

    The decree stipulates that auto importers must have a written certificate or document proving that they are authorized to represent foreign auto manufacturers or assemblers to recall imported autos with defects. When granted an import license, importers must maintain business conditions and assure their fulfillment of liabilities involving warranty, maintenance and recall of imported autos in line with the decree.

    The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) said the decree will kill small and unauthorized importers, and has written to the Prime Minister and ministries asking for amendment.

    VAMA said it will be time-consuming and costly for importers to obtain such certificates from foreign automakers, as well as warranty and maintenance certificates issued by Vietnam Register.

    In a document sent to Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung in mid-December, VAMA proposed delaying Decree 116 by at least six months.

    VAMA also proposed scrapping the regulation that requires auto importers to provide the scanned copies of the quality certificates for their imported autos issued by competent authorities in exporting countries. Besides, a regulation requiring that auto importers must have an auto test road with a minimum length of 400 meters before April 17, 2019 is also hard to meet.

    However, some other domestic auto manufacturers and assemblers support the decree, saying that it will protect consumers and domestic automakers, thus developing the domestic auto industry.

    Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) as the biggest player on the domestic market said regulations in Decree 116 are practical and workable. According to Thaco, quality certificates will protect consumers by preventing the import of substandard autos while gas emission inspections for each auto shipment will help protect the environment.

    In a document sent to the Prime Minister, Thanh Cong Group JSC also echoed the point, reaffirming its support for the decree whose strict regulations on auto manufacture, assembly, import and maintenance services would ensure fair competition between importers and domestic automakers.

    Vietnam seen as significant growth market for MHI

    Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has underscored the significant role of Vietnam in the Japanese conglomerate’s growth plan for Asia and will seek to further capitalize on opportunities in this growing ASEAN market.

    An MHI spokesperson shared how MHI evaluates the potential of the Vietnamese market in an emailed interview with the Daily after a recent trip organized for international journalists to get an insight into the conglomerate’s facilities in different parts of Japan.  

    “We see Vietnam as a significant growth market for us going forward, and it will be a major focus,” said the spokesperson of MHI, which is active in a variety of business fields, including shipbuilding, power generation and aerospace.

    He said this year marks the 10-year anniversary of MHI Aerospace Vietnam Co Ltd which supplies parts for Boeing 737 and 777 aircraft. MHI’s operations in Vietnam also include MHI Engine System Vietnam Co Ltd which provides sales and after-sales service for diesel power generation sets.

    At a roundtable with the participating journalists in the media trip, MHI President and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga mentioned the conglomerate’s business and investment activities in Vietnam, saying the investment has been successful. He described Southeast Asia as a familiar and key market for MHI.

    In addition to power generation sets, MHI has delivered a total of 1,750MW of large scale thermal power systems in Vietnam. These comprised of four gas and steam turbines at Phu My 1 Combined Cycle Power Plant, boilers and steam turbines at O Mon Thermal Power Plant Unit No. 1 and O Mon Thermal Power Plant Unit No. 2.

    MHI said it has a wide range of thermal power systems suitable for the Vietnamese market, including J-series gas turbines which achieve the world’s highest efficiency level of over 63% and air quality control systems that can help meet stringent emissions standards for coal-fired and other thermal power plants.

    Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), a joint venture between MHI and Hitachi, opened an office in Hanoi in November 2016 in response to the growing demand for thermal power systems in this country.

    MHI is also exploring opportunities in transportation. According to the group, in December 2008, the Vietnamese Government announced a master plan for the nation’s expressways, which involve the construction of around 6,000 kilometers of expressway.

    As part of this plan, intelligent traffic system technology is to be introduced to major expressways in order to enhance safety and driving experience. The plan calls for progressive introduction of traffic control, electronic toll collection (ETC), and other advanced traffic management systems going forward.

    MHI has worked with the Directorate for Roads and the Ministry of Transport in Vietnam and collaborated with VietinBank and Sojitz Corporation to conduct a demonstration project to develop a new ETC system integrating the three existing formats. The demonstration was successfully completed in 2016.

    MHI has also supplied 50,000 on-board ETC units and antennas for use at toll gates, to be introduced on the 55-kilometer HCMC-Dau Giay expressway in southern Vietnam. In addition to highway toll collection, the scalable system is also capable of providing various traffic related information.

    MHI is committed to long-term partnerships in Asia, and has longstanding relationships with governments and industry in the region. “For instance, we have relationships with State-owned enterprises like EVN in Vietnam…,” the spokesperson said.

    Local airlines transport 94 million passengers this year

    Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) on December 27 held a ceremony at NoiBaiInternationalAirport to celebrate the 800,000th flight managed by Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) carrying the 94 millionth passenger of this year.

    Flight VN220 from HCMC to Hanoi landed at NoiBaiInternationalAirport yesterday, carrying the 94 millionth passenger, Nguyen Van Huynh, and the 1.5 millionth member of the Golden Lotus Program of Vietnam Airlines, Nguyen Thanh Son.

    The number of passengers passing through ACV’s airports this year has increased by 16% versus last year while the volume of cargo has reached nearly 1.34 million tons, up 19% year-on-year.

    ACV has implemented numerous solutions to improve its management capability and upgrade and expand airports with modern facilities.

    Meanwhile, VATM has invested heavily in infrastructure, modern equipment and advanced technologies, and has operated safely over 800,000 flights, increasing 10% against last year, as it has taken measures to enhance its capacity. It has also coordinated with agencies of the Ministry of National Defense to optimize flights, minimize costs for airlines, and trained high-skilled workers.

    Launched in December 1999, Vietnam Airlines’ Golden Lotus Program has attracted a large number of passengers thanks to its incentives such as bonus miles, business class lounges, and priority check-in.

    The national flag carrier has improved service quality and adopted advanced technologies by launching the online membership registration service in 2009, a Golden Lotus app for smartphones in 2013 and a round-the-clock customer care center this year.

    More than 80 establishments in aviation, telecom, finance, banking, tourism and hotel sectors are the Golden Lotus Program’s partners, bringing diverse incentives for members. Especially, members of the Golden Lotus Program can earn miles with 20 international airlines after Vietnam Airlines joined the SkyTeam alliance in 2010.

    At the ceremony, Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said the sector has tried to make Vietnam one of the four leading aviation service providers in ASEAN.

    ACV, VATM and Vietnam Airlines pledged to boost cooperation, investment, technological innovation and service quality, and ensure flight safety to meet the air transport development demand.

    Vietnam pays US$10.5-billion debt as of mid-December

    Vietnam had spent VND238 trillion (nearly US$10.5 billion) to pay debt, including VND147.6 trillion in principals and VND91 trillion in interest, as of mid-December, according to data of the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    This is part of the State budget expenditure that totaled more than VND1,210 trillion as of mid-December. The State also spent VND862 trillion on regular expenditures and VND259 trillion on development investments.

    On the other hand, State budget revenues in the year to mid-December reached more than VND1,100 trillion, meeting 91.1% of the full-year target. Domestic revenues contributed the most to the State budget with more than VND871 trillion, followed by import and export taxes with VND183.8 trillion, and crude oil exports worth VND43.5 trillion.

    According to GSO, tax collections from industry, trade and service contributed VND167.5 trillion to the State budget, while foreign-invested and State-owned enterprises contributed nearly VND154 trillion (excluding crude oil) and VND196.5 trillion respectively.

    The budget deficit is estimated at VND115.5 trillion as of mid-December.

    According to a debt payment plan released in May, the Government had plans to borrow more than VND342 trillion (US$15 billion) to pay debts this year, US$5 billion less than that of last year.

    The money mainly comes from domestic sources with VND243.3 trillion, and official development assistance (ODA) and foreign preferential loans with nearly VND98.8 trillion. Some VND172.3 trillion is used to cover the budget deficit while VND144 trillion used for loan principal payment, VND316.3 trillion for budget allocation and nearly VND25.8 trillion for on-lending.

    Committee to be established for State capital management

    The Government will set up a committee tasked with management of State capital at businesses next year, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told an online meeting between the Government and localities on December 28.

    Hue at the meeting also presented the Government’s draft resolution on tasks and solutions to socio-economic development and budgeting for next year. 

    In particular, the Government will continue to maintain macro-economic stability, control inflation, ensure key economic balances, improve the business and investment environment, and promote rapid and sustainable economic development with 11 tasks and solutions.

    News website Doi Song va Phap Luat quoted Hue as saying at a meeting late last year on the matter that the committee will eliminate the duty of ministries and provincial people’s committees in representing State ownership at enterprises.

    The Government’s targets towards 2020 include equitizing 137 State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and finishing capital divestment in accordance with plans approved by the Prime Minister. The Government will focus on handling inefficient, loss-making economic groups, corporations and projects; striving to meet international standards concerning corporate governance; enhancing business and production efficiency, product quality, competitiveness of SOEs; and improving management and supervision of SOEs and State capital.

    More former DongA Bank leaders arrested

    The Ministry of Public Security has detained some former leaders of HCMC-based DongA Commercial Joint Stock Bank, as they have been found to have colluded with Tran Phuong Binh, the bank’s former general director, who had been detained by police on alleged charges of financial irregularities in 2016, Thanh Nien newspaper reports.

    The detainees include Nguyen Thi Kim Loan, former director of the bank’s capital business division; and Nguyen Thi Ai Lan, former director of its debt and assets management division. The two were alleged to have deliberately violated State regulations on economic management causing serious consequences.

    In 2016, Ministry of Public Security police arrested the former boss of the bank, Tran Phuong Binh, over alleged mismanagement of the semi-private bank.

    In addition to Binh, police detained the bank’s former deputy general director Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van on alleged charges of intentionally violating State regulations on economic management causing serious consequences, and lending rules.

    This April, police also charged and arrested Nguyen Thi Kim Xuyen, former deputy director general of DongABank, for allegedly abusing trust to appropriate State assets, and intentionally violating State regulations on economic management. She is alleged to have caused losses of over VND350 billion (US$15.4 million).

    Earlier in August 2015, the bank checked its funds and found that the funds of its head office and transaction center were in deficit of over VND2 trillion (US$88 million), and more than 62,000 gold taels were lost without any legitimate reasons.

    The then boss of the bank Binh was found to have instructed Van, Xuyen and other senior leaders at its transaction center to falsify credit applications and approve them so that he could cover up his financial mismanagement.

    Notably, he directed his staff to carry out loan procedures for some individuals and companies, and legalize their loan applications by artificial loans.

    Besides, Binh asked his family members to borrow money at the bank for investment, according to the newspaper.

    Consequently, he caused a loss of more than VND2 trillion for the bank.

    China emerges as largest source market for HCMC tourism

    China has surpassed Japan and the U.S. to become the largest source market for the HCMC tourism sector in 2017, heard a meeting on December 28.

    La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, said the strong increase of Chinese tourist arrivals has led the city to draw up new plans to make the most of the spike.

    According to data of the department, Chinese tourist arrivals to the city have amounted to 600,000 this year, up 200,000 compared to 2016. However, coastal cities like Nha Trang and Danang are still the most favorite destinations in Vietnam for Chinese tourists.

    Khanh said the strong growth was not helped by the city’s tourism promotional activities but followed the common trend, meaning the city’s tourism sector remains underprepared for the surge. There are currently 20 travel firms that mainly serve Chinese tourists in the city but only 13 of them have good performance.

    “We have worked with firms that have fared poorly, asking for improvement but there have not been significant changes,” Khanh said.

    HCMC should pay more attention to the Chinese market by promoting its tourism and sound out cooperation opportunities at large exhibitions like China International Travel Mart and ITB China Travel Exhibition.

    The city needs to create websites and publish travel magazines in Chinese, have more tour guides capable of speaking Chinese, and cooperate with neighboring provinces to offer a wide range of tour programs and prevent zero dong tours.

    The increasing number of tourists from China and other countries has raised the total foreign tourist arrivals to the city this year to more than 6.38 million, up 22.8% year-on-year. The city has also catered to 26 million domestic arrivals.

    Total revenues from tourism have amounted to nearly VND116 trillion (US$5.1 billion), up 12.6% compared to 2016.

    The city expects 7.5 million foreign arrivals and 26 million domestic arrivals next year, with total tourism revenue of VND138 trillion.

    Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, said the city will continue to organize tourism promotional programs like art performances in Nguyen Hue pedestrian square on weekends, Ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) Festival and international marathons.

    The city will offer more river tours, develop traditional drug area and jewelry streets in tourist sites, and organize tourism promotional programs in foreign countries to bring in more tourists.

    “We will focus on markets that are close to or have direct flights to the city, and based on the report on tourist spending and length of stay in HCMC, which will be released early this year, to draw up plans for tourism promotion in the coming time,” he said.

    Nearly half of processing-manufacturing firms upbeat about 2018 

    Up to 48.2% of enterprises surveyed in the processing-manufacturing sector have expressed optimism about business in the first quarter of this year, news website Vietnamplus cited a report of the General Statistics Office as saying.

    The survey on production trends of the sector in quarter four 2017 and forecasts for 2018 showed 35.7% of respondents hope their operations would be stable while only 16.1% are concerned about more difficulties in January-March 2018.

    In addition, 44.8% of corporate respondents said their performance in the last quarter of 2017 is better than in three previous months while 36.5% have had stable performance and 18.7% have had more difficulty doing business.

    A competitive business environment and opportunities have helped boost the startup movement. Nearly 126,900 enterprises have been set up with total registered capital of VND1,290 trillion (US$56.81 billion) this year, up 15.2% in number and 45.4% in capital over 2016.

    Besides, 26,450 firms have resumed operation, taking the total of active enterprises this year to 153,350 with 1.16 million employees.

    In the context of fierce competition, small enterprises are more vulnerable. This year sees temporary business suspensions at some 60,600 enterprises and 12,113 dissolving enterprises including 11,087 small firms with capital of less than VND10 billion each.

    PM cuts toll fees at BOT traffic projects

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a plan to slash toll fees for trucks weighing 10 tons or higher, and 20- and 40-foot semi-trailers at build-operate-transfer (BOT) road toll stations nationwide, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reports.

    At a Government teleconference on December 28, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung delivered a report on implementation of Resolution 35 on business support and development until 2020.

    Dung noted the Ministries of Transport and Finance have worked together to come up with proposals on slashing toll fees at BOT projects. He said the Government leader has approved a plan to reduce toll fees for trucks of 10-18 tons and 20-foot semi-trailers to VND120,000; and trucks weighing over 18 tons, or carrying a 40-foot container to VND180,000 from the respective VND140,000 and VND200,000.

    The Transport Ministry has set up an interdisciplinary working group to supervise prices, and reduce unreasonable surcharges on seaborne import and export goods in a bid to slash input costs for enterprises.

    Minister Dung also said the PM issued a directive banning authorities from inspecting enterprises more than once a year.

    Ministry urges improvement of aviation services

    Besides ensuring flight safety as the top priority, aviation companies, airports and airlines have to improve the quality of services for passengers, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho told a seminar on December 28.

    Compared to previous years, the quality of aviation services has improved considerably this year with regard to ticket sale, pickup and transport.

    According to Tho, even with objective reasons for flight delays and cancellations like bad weather, passengers must be informed early. But in case of subjective reasons, it is crucial that units involved mobilize resources to overcome problems.

    “If flights are delayed and cancelled without any prior notification to passengers, it is the fault of competent units and they use objective reasons as excuses,” Tho was quoted by news website Dan Tri as saying at the seminar on reducing flight delays and cancellations during the Lunar New Year holiday. 

    Though the aviation sector has strived to cut flight delays and cancellations, such efforts must continue in every stage, he noted.

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has recently put forward several solutions, one of which is operating an additional 5,000 flights to meet transport needs. In addition, flight quality and management must be enhanced.

    According to the deputy minister, if each stage is well organized, flight operations will improve and the number of delayed and cancelled flights will be brought down. There must be comprehensive solutions, from flight management, transport, parking, security, customs to immigration, in order to improve the quality of services for passengers.

    Meanwhile, according to Trinh Ngoc Thanh, deputy general director of Vietnam Airlines, to provide good services for passengers, airlines must harmonize flight safety, punctuality and reasonable fares. This is determined by management capacities of each airline.

    On the side of the aviation authority, Bui Minh Dang, deputy head of the authority’s air transport, said the rate of flights departing on time of Vietnamese airlines is high compared to the world’s average of 75-79%. The highest rate to be recorded at the world’s top airlines is 92%.

    Under the existing regulation, passengers will be provided with water if flights are two hours late, with meals in case of three-hour delays, and get compensation for delays of four hours or more. As for lengthy delays lasting more than six hours, airlines have to offer compensation and arrange accommodation for their passengers, whereas passengers can return tickets.

    Passengers are encouraged to make use of online check-in and check-in kiosks at airports to cut waiting time, and pay special attention to airport announcements in peak times of travel.

    Regarding traffic safety in the coming holiday, Tho said that the ministry’s viewpoint is to meet the travel demand of people in any mode of transport with the best services. Units under the ministry will have to closely coordinate with localities to ensure traffic safety and facilitate travel of passengers, he added.

    Tollgate to be dismantled to ease traffic congestion at Saigon River Tunnel

    HCMC will soon remove the long-inactive Saigon River Tunnel toll station to reduce traffic congestion at the tunnel, said Vo Van Hoan, head of the HCMC People’s Committee Office on December 29.

    Hoan said congestion in the tunnel area has occurred since the city recently finished coping with heavy traffic on
    Vo Van Kiet Avenue
    which leads to the tunnel.

    A representative of the Management Center of Saigon River Tunnel (MCST) said congestion in the tunnel area has been caused by a recent increase in motorbike traffic through the tunnel.

    At present, there are about 220,000 motorbikes using the tunnel a day, up 10% year-on-year. Many high-rises have been built along Mai Chi Tho Street on the District 2 side of the tunnel and a 4-kilometer section from District 2 to District 9 of HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway has been opened to traffic, both of them connected to the tunnel.

    Some traffic experts said that when in place, Thu Thiem 2 Bridge would help ease traffic through the tunnel and on SaigonBridge.

    The tunnel under the SaigonRiver was opened to traffic on November 20, 2011 and the HCMC Department of Transport briefly collected tolls at the tunnel in September 2012.

    No formal toll collection has since been conducted. But the presence of the tollgate near the non-operational tunnel is seen as one of the reasons for congestion at the tunnel.

    HCMC tightens controls on crypto-currencies

    The central bank’s HCMC branch and the city police will join hands to prevent the use of crypto-currencies for payment in the city.

    Any form of payment using digital currencies like Bitcoin, which are banned in Vietnam, will face severe sanctions.

    The city’s departments of industry-trade, tourism and education-training are responsible for supervising service providers in their respective fields with regard to payments by virtual money.

    According to the HCMC government, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are not legal tender in Vietnam. Therefore, using crypto-currencies for payments is neither permitted nor protected by law. Credit institutions and service suppliers are banned from using digital currencies for payment.

    The Prime Minister has assigned the central bank and the Ministry of Justice to study and propose regulations on managing the use of virtual assets, and virtual currencies. They must report to the Prime Minister next August.

    Though there are no official statistics about the Bitcoin market, experts estimate daily Bitcoin transactions may amount to dozens of millions of U.S. dollars.

    Interest rate in home credit program kept at 5%

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a decision ordering commercial banks to keep the interest rate in the VND30 trillion preferential credit program for low-income homebuyers at 5% in 2018.

    According to Decision No.2735, the 5% rate is the same as the preferential rate applicable to this program last year and loans disbursed by December 31, 2016.

    Regarding loans disbursed after December 31, 2016, clients are subject to commercial interest rates in line with their contracts with banks.

    The central bank is mandated to set the interest rate for this home credit program on an annual basis in the final month of year.

    The interest rate for this program was 6% in 2013. SBV deputy governor Nguyen Dong Tien on January 2, 2014 singed Decision No.21 cutting the rate to 5% and this rate has been kept unchanged until this year, according to Tuoi Tre newspaper.

    HCMC trade dept offers online service

    The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade last week launched an online public service for 55 administrative procedures in 11 areas, enabling enterprises to submit requests to the department through its website. 

    With this service available, businesses can now save time and money and track the progress.

    Among the 11 areas are production and trading of alcohol, tobacco and tobacco ingredients, petroleum, sample contracts, chemicals, and trading of liquefied petroleum gas.

    On this occasion, the department joined hands with local postal and telecom enterprises as well as banks to return results to enterprises, send notifications via text messages, and pay online. 

    The 55 administrative procedures now available online are those widely used by individuals and enterprises among a total of 107 procedures and services. The department will work towards making the remaining procedures available online in the coming time.

    In addition, the department will upgrade its portal at congthuong.hochiminhcity.gov.vn to provide socio-economic information, prices of commodities and business activities in the city for enterprises.

    The department has estimated more than 60,000 visitors come a year to carry out administrative procedures.

    According to the director of the department, Pham Thanh Kien, representatives of the department have visited 325 enterprises to learn about their concerns.

    Food safety board wants to take over pork supervision job

    The HCMC Food Safety Board has proposed the HCMC government permit it to take over the pork management, identification and traceability program from the Department of Industry and Trade.

    Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, head of the Trade Management Division under the Department of Industry and Trade, told a press conference last week that the proposal by the food safety board is reasonable as the department lacks manpower to carry out the program.

    He explained the department has been implementing the program since October 2016, and has faced difficulties in the execution process due mainly to a shortage of staff.

    As planned, the department started the second phase of the program on January 1 to manage the origin of pigs from birth, farming and slaughter to pork distribution at wholesale and retail markets, and supermarkets.

    The first phase of the program only tracks the origin of pork from farms and slaughterhouses to pork consumption at supermarkets and wholesale markets only.

    Therefore, he noted, if the program is transferred to the board, the board would have to carry out the second phase.

    He said the department intends to report its detailed plan to the municipal government after the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet. If the department is given the go-ahead, it would operate an online platform for pork trading early next year.

    The platform will facilitate pig farmers to have direct access to buyers and have the right to price their pork products in a proactive manner, he noted. As such, these farmers will try to improve the quality of their products so that they can be sold at high prices.

    Customers can rest assured that they eat high-quality and safe pork while authorities can easily track the origin of products to stabilize the market, according to him.

    More than 2,600 pig farmers and 38 slaughterhouses are joining the pork management, identification and traceability program. Between 7,500 and 8,000 pigs, before being slaughtered, are attached with identity tags on a daily basis.

    Navigational channel upgrade high on priority list

    The Transport Ministry has set out priorities for the second phase of a navigational channel upgrade project to allow larger vessels to call at ports along the HauRiver via the newly-opened Quan Chanh Bo Canal in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh.

    The second phase of the project will be developed through a private-public partnership (PPP), according a report on opportunities and potentials for logistics development in the transport sector in the Mekong Delta, which was released last month by the Transport Development and Strategy Institute under the Transport Ministry.

    The report shows the project costs an estimated VND3.2 trillion (around US$141 million), and is the only maritime transport development project which is high on the ministry’s priority list in the delta.

    Earlier, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said the ministry proposed carrying forward VND1.6 trillion in surplus capital in phase one of the project to the second phase.

    The embankments of the Quan Chanh Bo Canal are not yet complete, so some stretches of the banks have slid since big ships are allowed to travel in the HauRiver to visit the TanCang-CaiCuiPort in the Mekong Delta of Can Tho.

    The major project is intended to allow vessels of 10,000-20,000 DWT to come to ports along the HauRiver, according to the ministry.

    The project will make it possible for the ports to handle 21-22 million tons of general cargo, and 450,000-500,000 TEUs of containerized cargo a year by 2020. Therefore, it is highly expected to fuel economic growth in the Mekong Delta.

    Auto imports surge in late 2017

    Vietnam imported some 10,000 completely-built-up autos (CBUs) last month, the highest monthly import volume in 2017.

    According to the General Statistics Office, the country last month spent US$273 million on the 10,000 CBUs, bringing last year’s CBU imports to around 94,000 units worth over US$2.15 billion.

    In each of September, October and November, the auto import volume was around 6,000 units with a respective value of US$165 million, US$155 million and US$186 million.

    Data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs earlier showed that nearly 7,050 CBUs valued at more than US$192 million were imported in the first half of December 2017, up over 100% against the same period of the previous month.

    Such an increase in auto imports was surprising as the tariff on autos imported from ASEAN is slated to decline from 30% to 0% this year.

    Traditionally, importers refrain from importing autos right before a tariff cut. According to market watchers, the auto import spike last month was triggered by fears of the tougher auto import rule provided in the Government’s Decree 116.

    Auto importers may find it hard to meet a requirement that they must produce auto quality certificates issued by foreign authorities when the new tariff on auto imports from ASEAN goes into force this year. Such certificates do not exist in many countries, even in the U.S., Japan and ASEAN countries.

    Compared to 2016, auto imports dropped 16.8% in volume and 9.6% in value. The import decline is said to result from consumers’ tendency to wait until this year to benefit from the import tariff reduction.

    Phone exports put at US$45 billion

    Revenue from export of phones and phone parts in 2017 rose by a staggering 31.4% year-on-year to an all-time high of US$45.1 billion, according to the General Statistics Office.

    Outbound sales of phones and phone parts accounted for more than 21% of Vietnam’s total exports last year.

    These products contributed greatly to the country’s trade surplus last year. Phone and phone parts imports totaled US$16.2 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$28.9 billion.

    According to the customs, the EU, China, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and the U.S. were the main buyers of phones and phone parts from Vietnam.

    It is noteworthy that export revenue from phones and phone parts was nearly US$20 billion higher than that from the second and third biggest export earners and higher than those of other export items that brought tens of billions of U.S. dollars. Two groups of goods – textiles/garments, and electronics/computers/accessories – reported export turnover of US$25.9 billion.

    Outbound sales of electronics, computers and accessories grew 36.5% versus last year. However, this group of items caused a trade deficit of US$11.6 billion.

    According to the General Statistic Office, Vietnam’s foreign trade value amounted to nearly US$425 billion last year, up 21% against 2016. US$213.8 billion of the amount came from exports and US$211.1 billion from imports, up 21% and 20.8% respectively. The country enjoyed a trade surplus of US$2.7 billion thanks to the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector bringing a total trade surplus of a massive US$28.8 billion.

    HCMC to invest VND29 trillion in public projects

    The government of HCMC will spend VND29 trillion on public investment projects in the first few months of this year.

    Of the amount, VND4.88 trillion will come from official development assistance loans, VND2.52 trillion from the city budget as reciprocal capital for ODA-funded projects, and VND540 billion from the city budget for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

    In the first tranche of funding this year, city departments and districts in their capacity as supervisors of project developers will be responsible for disbursing capital and giving assignments to project developers.

    To make sure capital disbursements will be on time, the city government told directors of departments and leaders of districts to sign an agreement in which half of the capital needed must have been disbursed by late July. If the disbursement target is missed, they would be held accountable.

    At a conference on socio-economic development plans and budget estimates this year held by the city government on January 2, the secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, Nguyen Thien Nhan, said the city’s daily budget collections last year totaled VND1.11 trillion, excluding Sundays. The city accounted for nearly 28% of the country’s State budget revenue.

    The city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) last year grew 8.25%. Agriculture grew 6.3% at some VND19.4 trillion.

    In 2017, the city beat its budget collection target.

    This year, the city will focus on piloting a special mechanism already approved by the National Assembly, enhancing the quality of growth and the competitiveness of the city, creating a favorable and fair business environment, and encouraging innovations and startups.

    In addition, the city will drastically streamline administrative procedures and boost e-government development. Another mission is to develop HCMC into a smart city in the 2017-2020 period with a vision towards 2025 to better serve residents and enterprises. 

    The city will also downsize the State apparatus while ensuring its efficiency and improving the quality of officials and civil servants.

    Vietnam PMI rises to three-month high

    The Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) soared to a three-month high of 52.5 in December from 51.4 in the previous month, signaling a solid monthly improvement in the health of the sector at the end of 2017.

    According to a report released on January 2, December saw a return to growth of output amid a solid expansion of new orders. Both employment and purchasing activity picked up at sharper rates while business sentiment improved.

    One factor leading to the improvement in operating conditions was a return to growth of production. The modest increase in output in December followed broadly unchanged production volumes in November.

    Those respondents that raised output linked this to stronger market demand and higher new orders.

    Improved customer demand resulted in a solid rise in new orders, the fastest in three months. New business from abroad also increased at a solid and accelerated pace during December.

    Besides, improving client demand helped to support optimism that output will increase over the coming 12 months. Business sentiment improved to a nine-month high in December, the report said.

    Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said the Vietnamese manufacturing sector recorded a welcome return to growth of output in December, supported by a solid and accelerated increase in new orders. This is welcome news following a slowdown in recent months.

    Overall, 2017 was a positive year for the sector, with the average PMI reading the highest since the survey began in 2011. Industry in Vietnam therefore looks to be in good shape heading into 2018, he said.

    There remained evidence of spare capacity in the sector at the end of the year, linked to a recent period in which new order growth had eased. Backlogs of work decreased for the second month running, albeit modestly and at a slower pace than in November.

    Rising output requirements contributed to a 21st consecutive monthly rise in employment at Vietnamese manufacturers. The rate of job creation was solid and the sharpest since September.

    Efforts to expand output also fed through to higher input buying during the month. Moreover, the marked expansion in purchasing activity was the fastest since April. Stocks of purchases were broadly unchanged, following a fall in November.

    Higher costs for raw materials such as oil and steel, as well as increases in prices from Chinese suppliers, resulted in a further sharp rise in input costs during December. The rate of inflation was little changed from November. This was also the case with output prices, which increased modestly.

    Finally, stocks of finished goods fell. Panelists often reported that goods had been produced directly for sale rather than to increase inventory levels.

    Stock market cap equivalent to 70.2% of GDP

    The stock market capitalization in 2017 was equivalent to 70.2% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP), meeting the Government’s target.

    According to Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung, many big corporations launched their shares on the stock market, sending the stock market capitalization surging.

    The VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Market (HOSE) closed the year 2017 at 984 points, up 48% from the previous year. Liquidity on the stock and bond markets picked up 65% and 39% respectively.

    Listed businesses reported respective rises of 18% and 23% in revenue and profit in January-September last year.

    The stock market grew as a channel to mobilize mid- and long-term capital for the Government and contributed greatly to the equitization of State-owned enterprises, the divestment of State holdings in enterprises, and attraction of foreign direct investment capital.

    The market for unlisted public companies (UPCoM) grew strongly. The total capitalization of companies on UPCoM hit more than VND603 trillion (US$26.56 billion), double the figure in end-2016. The Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) saw its market capitalization leaping 45% year-on-year.

    On average, transaction volume soared 35% and transaction value jumped 71% year-on-year.

    The Ministry of Finance said it will speed up the merger of HNX and HOSE, and restructure the stock, bond and derivatives markets.

    2017 retail sales near US$130 billion

    Retail sales last year amounted to an estimated VND2,937,300 billion, or US$129.56 billion, up 10.9% against 2016, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

    This was a high result compared to previous years such as 2016 with US$118 billion (up 10.2%) and 2015 with nearly US$110 billion. This is an indication that the domestic retail market is growing well and becoming a target for foreign retailers.

    Retail revenue from autos grew by 14%, gemstone and precious metals by 13.2%, wood and building materials by 12.8%, food and foodstuffs by 11.1%, cultural and educational products by 10.2%, apparel by 9.6%, transportation by 8.6%, and home products by 8.5%.

    Cities and provinces with high retail revenue growth include Thanh Hoa with 13.7%, Tien Giang with 13.3%, Ha Giang with 12.8%, Haiphong with 12.5%, Hanoi with 11.4%, and HCMC with 10.1%.

    As in previous years, last year saw foreign retailers expanding their presence in the local market.

    For instance, 7-Eleven, the world’s leading convenience store chain, entered the market while Circle K, B’s mart, FamilyMart and Ministop have had hundreds of stores each.

    Thailand’s Central Group last July opened the first stationery and office supplies store in Vietnam. Other foreign retailers like Big C, AEON, Auchan and Lotte have also planned to increase their market share.

    According to a 2017 report of consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Vietnam’s ranking in the Global Retail Development Index inched up five places to sixth, behind India, China, Malaysia, Turkey and UAE. The ranking of Vietnam is higher than those countries with strong retail markets such as Indonesia (8th), Saudi Arabia (11th), Kazakhstan (16th), the Philippines (18th), and Thailand (30th).

    The improving ranking of Vietnam shows the attractiveness of the retail market to foreign investors after failing to make it to the top 30 markets for retail investment in 2012. Vietnam used to top the list in 2008, and came sixth in 2009, 14th in 2010 and 23rd in 2011.

    According to a report released by Vietnam Report last October, Vietnam’s retail industry is forecast to be stable and appealing to foreign investors thanks to a big population, high economic growth and strong consumer demand.

    However, competition will be fiercer. Domestic firms will have to work hard to retain their market share, and compete with foreign rivals who have advantages in terms of finances, technology, experience and human resources.

    The retail market of Vietnam still has room for more growth as modern retail channels like supermarkets and shopping centers account for only 25% of total retail sales, and a majority of supermarkets and shopping centers are in big cities.

    By 2020, the proportion of modern retail channels is forecast to rise to 45%. The country will have 1,200-1,300 supermarkets, more than 300 shopping centers, and dozens of thousands of convenience stores by then.

    Agriculture dogged by high cost and low quality

    High production cost and low product quality are two major hindrances to agriculture development, heard a teleconference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on January 4.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong cited data of the General Statistics Office as indicating that the production value of the agriculture sector last year increased by an estimated 3.16% against 2016, of which cultivation, breeding, forestry and aquaculture rose by 2.23%, 2.16%, 5.17% and 5.89% respectively.

    The sector’s export revenue reached nearly US$37 billion last year, a year-on-year rise of 13%, he added. The trade surplus was estimated at US$8.5 billion, US$1.1 billion higher than in 2016.

    Le Minh Hoan, Party secretary of DongThapProvince, said high production cost and low product quality should be dealt with as soon as possible.

    Farmers in the Mekong Delta, including DongThapProvince, always want their products to get higher prices, he said, and authorities in Dong Thap often tell farmers that prices are heavily dependent on supply and demand.

    Therefore, according to him, they should find ways to cut production costs to raise their profit margins.

    In terms of product quality, many consumers do not trust the quality of local agricultural products, he said, citing a report.

    He proposed the Government issue a decree on agricultural co-operatives whose missions are to enable farmers to cooperate with one another in a bid to reduce prices of products and improve product quality.

    Co-operatives also support farmers to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, according to him.

    He also suggested the Government set up regional commodity associations which are operated as multifunctional organizations with the participation of central and local agencies, enterprises, and farmers.

    These organizations are responsible for devising a long-term strategy for each type of commodity, and a short-term action plan, as well as proposing policies for removing group interests and unfair competition, he said.

    The agriculture ministry, according to him, should adopt a program or resolution to step up controls on the quality of fertilizer and other agricultural materials, thereby turning out high-quality farm produce.

    Duong Cong Minh relinquishes leadership roles at all firms but Sacombank

    Duong Cong Minh has given up his leadership roles at all the businesses where he has stakes but Sacombank.

    He is no longer chairman of Him Lam JSC, Bao Long Sport Equipment JSC, Xin Man Development JSC and Lien Viet Securities JSC. Now he is only chairman of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank), the bank announced on Wednesday. 

    According to news website Nhip Cau Dau Tu, Minh relinquished his chairmanship role in the four companies in compliance with the amended Law on Credit Institutions which prohibits bank leaders from holding senior positions at other businesses.

    Do Minh Phu, chairman of Tien Phong Bank and DOJI Gold & Gems Group, had earlier announced that he would resign from his leadership position at DOJI Gold & Gems Group.

    Thai Huong, general director of Bac A Bank, said she would resign from the post of TH Group chairwoman to focus on her job at the bank.

    There are currently about 10 bank leaders concurrently holding senior positions at other businesses.

    HCMC wants lower E5 fuel price

    The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has proposed widening the price differential between RON 95 and E5 RON 92 gasoline to VND1,500-2,000 per liter to make the bio-fuel more attractive to users.

    In an online talk on E5 gasoline held by Phap Luat newspaper on January 4, a representative of the department said there should be multiple solutions to promoting the use of E5 gasoline, a mixture of 95% RON 92 gasoline and 5% ethanol.

    Under the roadmap for E5 gasoline use, all gas stations have to stop selling the lower-grade RON 92 gasoline, also known as A92, as from early this year, and sell E5 and the higher-grade RON 95 (or A95) instead.

    With E5 replacing RON 92, consumers are concerned about the selling price and some gas stations do not have E5 pumps.

    Vo Le Bich Dong, deputy head of the department’s trade management unit, said the department is looking to have a higher price differential between A95 and E5 gasoline, up to VND1,500-2,000 per liter instead of the current VND1,040. He added the department has also enhanced the supervision of E5 distribution. 

    According to Dong, departments are still doubtful about the quality of E5 gasoline.

    Meanwhile, Phan Thi Viet Thu, vice chairwoman of the HCMC Consumer Rights Protection Association, stressed the need to guarantee the quality of E5 gasoline and regularly inspect fuel distributors to ensure the ethanol ratio is no higher than 5%.

    According to Associate Professor Dr. Huynh Quyen from the Vietnam National University HCMC, if vehicles use A92 gasoline, they could use E5, but if manufacturers recommend A95 for their engines, users should not use E5.

    According to the department, all 534 gas stations in HCMC no longer sell A92 but have shifted to E5.

    Drivers voice fierce objections at southern tollgate

    Drivers have recently used banknotes of small denomination to pay fees at the Can Tho-Phung Hiep BOT (build-operate-transfer) tollgate between the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and its neighboring HauGiangProvince, resulting in serious traffic congestion there in protest against unreasonable fees.

    Tran Phuoc Thanh, a manager at a driving center that is only 200 meters away from the tollgate, said the center has a total 73 cars, but relevant agencies have approved exemptions for 20 cars only.

    He noted the center may have to pay billions of Vietnam dong in toll fees on an annual basis, causing huge costs for the enterprise.

    The tollgate investor has slashed its toll fees by between 7% and 15% since December 20. Then, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam has agreed fee cuts between 30% and 35% for local residents adjacent to the tollgate since early this year.

    However, some drivers said the investor have just applied the fee reduction plan for some drivers in Can Tho City only. This is why many other drivers have voiced their objections.

    Can Tho City chairman Vo Thanh Thong and representatives of HauGiangProvince had a working session with the tollgate investor and some local transport companies last Saturday.

    According to the chairman, local residents and enterprises said the fees have been still too high, and suggested further reducing the level. Therefore, local authorities plan to work with the Ministries of Transport and Finance, and the tollgate investor to consider their proposal this week.

    The expansion of a 22-kilometer section of National Highway 1A between Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province’s Phung Hiep District which has cost the investor more than VND1.83 trillion (US$80.8 million) was opened to traffic in late 2015.

    Bac Lieu attractive to renewable energy investors

    Many enterprises have shown interest in renewable energy development in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu after the province was allowed to suspend Cai Cung thermal power project, heard a conference on hi-tech agriculture on January 6.

    Speaking at the event, Duong Thanh Trung, chairman of the province, said several renewable energy enterprises have asked for permission to invest VND100 trillion (US$4.4 billion) in the province.

    Trung said in addition to some enterprises that have been permitted to invest in this sector in the locality, about 20 others have sent documents to the provincial government asking for permission. 

    According to Trung, the province is boosting renewable energy, which is environmentally friendly, with great support from the Government.

    Cong Ly Co Ltd is a pioneer in developing renewable energy in the province. It has put into operation 62 wind turbines capable of generating 320 million KWh a year, with a total investment of more than VND5.2 trillion.

    Experts warn against complacency over economic growth

    Too much optimism about economic growth may lead to out-of-control situations like what happened ten years ago, according to economic experts at a recent conference on investment-business opportunities.

    At the conference held in ThanhHoaProvince last week, director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics Tran Dinh Thien mentioned how local newspapers praised economic growth. He said that stock, foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction, foreign reserves, trade and tourism growth were described as outstanding.

    “We need to have a more cautious look,” Thien said.

    Sharing the same view, Vo Tri Thanh, former vice president of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that the economy has only seen a more marked recovery, reflected by gross domestic product (GDP) growth of over 6% in the past three years. Economic growth is not sustainable yet, he added.

    According to Thanh, a growth rate of 6.8% is high but not considerable when compared to regional performances. To be on a par with Malaysia in 2035, Vietnam needs to achieve growth of 7-7.5% annually.

    Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, said Vietnam’s GDP per capita of nearly US$2,400 is not high. In ASEAN alone, GDP of Indonesia has already exceeded US$1,000 billion, whereas that of Vietnam is only US$220 billion.

    Nguyen Xuan Thanh from Fulbright UniversityVietnam said the economic recovery in the past year is attributed to the recovery of the global economy and the stability of the local currency.

    In addition, increasing spending has helped promote growth since 2015. Higher incomes and purchasing power are important motives for this year’s growth, according to Thanh.

    RON 95 gasoline base price unrevealed

    The Ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance did not announce the base price of RON 95 gasoline as usual in the first adjustment of fuel prices this year, which is unreasonable and questionable as the move allows fuel traders to set its price on their own.

    The announcement of fuel retail prices last Thursday was noteworthy as this has been the first adjustment of fuel prices since RON 92 petrol was banned from the market nationwide early this year. Thus, only E5 bio-gasoline and RON 95 gasoline are available on the market.

    The retail price of E5 bio-fuel remains unchanged at VND18,243 per liter, but traders can tap VND857 for each liter sold from the national fuel price stabilization fund, above VND546 in the previous adjustment, as competent agencies want to encourage the use of E5 bio-fuel. According to statistics of fuel traders, E5 volume consumed in the first three days of 2018 accounted for 60% of the total and the remaining 40% was RON 95.

    However, the RON 95 gasoline base price was not announced by the ministries. A representative of the two ministries explained that the RON 95 gasoline price has never been publicized before and there is no law forcing them to publish such information.

    Following the announcement, the retail price of RON 95 gasoline surged by VND810 per liter. According to Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), the product costs VND20,290 a liter compared to the previous price of VND19,480, heavily affecting consumers.

    According to Article 39 of Decree 83/CP on fuel price transparency, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is responsible for publicizing on its website global prices, base prices and current retail prices of petrol and oil products. The prices of such products being made public will help consumers and enterprises make price comparisons, especially when RON 92 was banned from the market and the Government wants to encourage consumers to use E5 bio-fuel which is environmentally-friendly and cheaper than RON 95 gasoline.

    Thus, it is a must for competent agencies to announce the base price of RON 95 so that consumers and enterprises can assess effects of fuel price hikes. Besides, no legal documents state that the RON 95 gasoline base price can be kept unannounced.

    Nguyen Tien Thoa, former director of the Price Management Department under the Ministry of Finance, who is now chairman of the Vietnam Valuation Association, said the two ministries had earlier publicized the base price of RON 92 only as a reference to other fuel products’ prices. Normally, the base price of RON 95 petrol is only 2-3% higher than that of RON 92, which usually hovered around VND500 higher per litter.

    As such, the sharp increase of RON 95 petrol as well as the wide gap between this fuel and E5 bio-fuel is seen unsuitable.

    Mekong Enterprise Fund II divests entire stake from MWG

    Mekong Enterprise Fund II has plans to sell five million shares equivalent to a 1.58% stake at Mobile World Investment Group (MWG), better known as The Gioi Di Dong, to completely divest from the country’s leading electronics retailer.

    Transactions will be made between January 9 and February 7, 2018 through the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD).

    As of late January 4, MWG shares were sold at VND134,900 (US$5.94) each.

    At the same time, MWG has been allowed by the State Securities Commission to issue shares. It has plans to issue 6.7 million shares at VND90,000-110,000 each.

    The proceeds from MWG’s share sale are estimated at VND603-737 billion, which would be used for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals in the coming time.

    TST Tourist, HTV jointly promote Vietnamese cuisine

    TST Tourist Company has joined forces with HCMC Television (HTV) to launch a program named Mon Ngon Que Viet (Vietnamese dishes) to introduce local specialties and new destinations.

    The program will be on air from 18:30 to 18:45 on Thursdays and Sundays, starting from January 11. In addition to tourist sites, specialties nationwide and their recipes will be introduced by chef Minh Hien.

    The organizers have produced enough episodes for the whole year, initially focusing on dishes and landscapes in Thot Not District in Can Tho City and Ba Tri District in BenTreProvince.

    Besides, TST Tourist is mapping out suitable programs for foreigners. These programs will be provided with English subtitles and posted to Youtube.

    Lai Minh Duy, general director of TST Tourist, said the company is calling for sponsors to reduce program production costs and expects the program would help promote the TST Tourist brand.

    Property stocks predicted to turn active in Q1

    Having run strongly into banking stocks lately, cash is expected to shift into the property sector in the first quarter of 2018 as many real estate businesses are poised to report huge profits, said securities experts.

    Nguyen The Minh, deputy director of analysis and investment consulting at Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), said property stocks may soar in the first quarter of 2018 after announcing profits in the last quarter of 2017. Notably, many enterprises may post positive figures thanks to project transfers.

    According to Hoang Thach Lan, head of individual client analysis at Viet Dragon Securities Company, the banking sector has been the key market driver in recent times. Most bank stocks have advanced more than 10% over the past month.

    Meanwhile, the real estate sector is expected to make a significant rise. In the last quarter of 2017, leading stocks such as ASM, CEO, D2D, DXG and HDC reported good earnings results, prompting investors to pay attention to their financial reports in the next few weeks.

    The key factor at property firms is the construction progress of their projects, which is a catalyst for investors eyeing property stocks.

    While large-scale enterprises and foreign firms usually provide transparent information for analysts of securities firms, customers and the public, many small businesses still skip the duty, Lan said in an interview on tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

    Nguyen Hong Khanh from Sacombank Securities Company, meanwhile, noted that some enterprises may report heavy losses in the last quarter.

    In 2018, the real estate sector would not see strong volatility like in previous years but projects at convenient locations will still draw market demand. Therefore, enterprises with good projects will remain attractive to investors, he said.

    The VN-Index fell for the first time in two weeks, closing down 0.7% last Friday. For the holiday-shortened week, the index still advanced 2.9% for a third week of gains.

    Several large caps that have surged in recent months were the top contributors to the pullback, including lender VCB, gas firm GAS and leading realty company VIC. Lender HDB jumped to the ceiling on its first day of trading on the HCMC market amid heavy trade volume of VND1.23 trillion, helping push overall trading on the index to VND7.7 trillion.

    Minh from SSI said that the main index is hovering around 1,010 points after beating the 1,000 points earlier this year. As this is a resistance level, the index may seesaw in a narrow range or correct in the near term.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/10/18--01:15: Article 0
  • PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrives in Cambodia for Mekong-Lancang summit


    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrived in Cambodia’s Phnom PenhInternationalAirport at noon on January 10, beginning activities within the framework of the second Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Leaders’ Meeting.


    PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrives in Cambodia for Mekong-Lancang summit, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news 

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was welcomed at Phnom PenhInternationalAirport  

    He was welcomed by Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon, Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam Prak Nguon Hong and Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh, among others.

    The PM then came to the PeacePalace in Phnom Penh where he is scheduled to meet his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

    In the afternoon, he will take part in the plenary of the second MLC summit, and have meetings with other delegation heads.

    The MLC is a sub-regional cooperation mechanism that was jointly established in 2016 by six countries along the MekongRiver, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    The biennial event is organised in rotation among the member countries. This year’s summit is co-organised by Cambodia and China

    The first summit was convened on March 23, 2016, mapping out orientations for the cooperation mechanism, which is promoting comprehensive connection to build a responsible community and common benefit in the Mekong sub-region. 

    It also aims to consolidate mutual trust and understanding, maintain peace and stability, boost sustainable development, reduce poverty, narrow the development gap, integrate comprehensively into regional and global economies, and strengthen the friendship and neighbourliness among the countries. 

    With the theme “Our River of Peace and Sustainable Development”, the second summit will review cooperation among the countries over the last two years, discuss future cooperation orientations, and hear reports from working groups.

    The member countries are expected to approve the Phnom Penh Declaration and the five-year Action Plan for Mekong-Lancang cooperation in 2018-2022.

    VNA


    0 0
  • 01/11/18--00:18: Article 1
  • Social News 11/1


    Eight fishermen missing off Thanh Hóa Province


     

    Eight fishermen missing off Thanh Hóa Province, Toll reduction at BOT Bạc Liêu from Wednesday, 2 men held for smuggling heroin, Kien Giang moves to fight illegal fishing, Viet kieu singer to help poor kids
    Local residents gather by the sea, awaiting news of the missing fishermen. – Photo dantri.com.vn 

    Rescue forces are searching for eight fishermen missing from three fishing boats that sank off the coast of the central province of Thanh Hóa, following the strong monsoon recently.

    According to initial information from the provincial sub-Department of Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources, three fishing boats with 18 fishermen in Tĩnh Gia District’s Hải Thanh Commune reportedly sank yesterday and other boats lost contact while on their way to shore, the online Dân trí newspaper reported.

    Ten crew members were rescued safely, according to local officials of Hải Thanh Commune, but rescue works are proving difficult due to strong winds and fog.

    The sub-Department of Exploitation and Protection of Aquatic Resources has sent an official letter requesting the fisheries sub-deparment of the coastal provinces from Quảng Ninh to Quảng Bình and coastal districts of ThanhHóaProvince to inform ship owners and residents living along the coastline of the incident.

    Toll reduction at BOT Bạc Liêu from Wednesday

    A new regime of exemption and fee reduction for commercial vehicles registered in nearby townships has been applied at the BOT Bạc Liêu toll booth from Wednesday.

    This was announced on Tuesday by Nguyễn Văn Phương, chairman of the Board of Members of BOT Bạc Liêu Limited Company, which is also the investor at BOT Sóc Trăng on National Highway 1, in a document sent to the local authorities, including Bạc Liêu Province’s People’s Committee, the provincial transport department, the people’s committees of Châu Hưng Township and Vĩnh Lợi District’s Châu Hưng A Commune.

    Starting from Wednesday, buses from ChâuHưngTownship and Châu Hưng A Commune will enjoy toll exemption, while non-commercial vehicles that are not registered in BạcLiêuProvince, and other kinds of vehicles will enjoy 40 and 20 per cent fee reduction.

    The toll at BOT Bạc Liêu toll booth will range from VNĐ15,000 (US$0.6) to VNĐ84,000 ($3.7), depending on the type of vehicles. The toll applied to commercial vehicles will be between VNĐ20,000 and VNĐ112,000 ($0.9-4.9).

    According to Phương, for the implementation of the BOT Bạc Liêu Project, the investor did not build an overpass route through Bạc Liêu City but upgraded National Highway 1A with a total investment capital of over VNĐ6 billion ($264,000).

    He also said the toll reduction for certain types of vehicles at the Bạc Liêu toll booth is being carried out in accordance with the Ministry of Transport’s instruction.

    The Bạc Liêu BOT toll booth has been in operation since December 30, 2016, and has a payback period of some 15 years.

    2 men held for smuggling heroin

    Police in northern Điện BiênProvince have busted a drug trafficking ring, arresting two traffickers and seizing 21 cakes of heroin weighing 7.5kg.

    Following a tip-off, drug crime investigation police from Điện BiênProvince, in co-ordination with relevant forces of the Ministry of Public Security and provincial border guards, raided Mường Thanh Hotel on Monday afternoon and caught two men red-handed while trading heroin.

    The suspects put up a fierce fight with police forces, leaving two policemen injured. But they were quickly overpowered. The police seized 21 cakes of heroin, in addition to a motorbike and some other trafficking-related goods.

    The suspects were later identified as Lò Văn Sinh, 40, from Điện BiênProvince and Khamput Thammavong, 30, a resident of VientianeProvince in Laos.

    Further investigations into the case are conducted.

    Kien Giang moves to fight illegal fishing

    The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is taking urgent measures to prevent local fishermen from illegal fishing in foreign waters as part of the effort to address the European Commission (EC)’s “yellow card” on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

    An inter-sectorial working group was established to receive information related to local fishing ships and fishermen that were arrested and punished by foreign countries. The group has worked with localities with the high number of fishing vessels violating foreign waters while proposing solutions to the provincial People’s Committee.

    Besides, specialised inspection forces have been directed to coordinate with law enforcement forces at sea in enhancing patrols and inspections and handling violations of the fisheries law. 

    A list of fishing ships and ship-owners that violate regulations related to the EC’s warning on IUU fishing is publicised monthly. Recidivists are not allowed to conduct fishing activities or build new fishing ships, and do not receive the State’s support policies. 

    The provincial Border Force’s Command has directed its posts to strictly control fishing boats and fishermen that come in and out fishing ports and keep them from going out to sea if they lack necessary procedures, papers and equipment as regulated by law.

    Vietnam was served with a yellow card warning by the EU in September for failing to progress in fighting IUU fishing and it has been offered the opportunity to take measures to rectify the situation within six months. 

    The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if issues are resolved or a "red card" if they aren’t. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked 28 coastal localities to strictly follow the Prime Minister’s dispatch and directive related to IUU fishing, intensify inspections and investigations on IUU fishing to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in foreign waters.

    VOV’s functions, structure issued

    The Government has renewed the decree regulating functions, tasks, powers and structure of Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) instead of Decree No.55/2014/ND-CP issued four years ago.

    Under new Decree No.03/2018/ND-CP, VOV is a governmental agency and national radio station which works to disseminate the Party’s guidelines and the State’s laws, contributing to the people’s improved intellectual standards via radio broadcasting and other press and multimedia services.

    VOV is managed by the Ministry of Information and Communications in terms of press, broadcasting and television.

    The radio station is tasked with developing annual, medium-term and long-term plans, programmes and strategies and submit them to the Government and the Prime Minister for approval. It must decide and take responsibility for daily broadcast contents and programmes alongside broadcast range and impacts of its works on internal and external affairs in accordance with legal regulations.

    It is assigned to produce, transmit, broadcast, issue and archive radio and television programmes, and online and print newspapers. 

    In respect of structure, VOV runs a system of news channels, including VOV1 for news and current affairs, VOV2 for cultural and social news, VOV3 for music, VOV4 for ethnic affairs, VOV5 for external news service, VOV6 for literature and arts, and VOV Transport.

    Additionally, it operates the online news website vov.vn, the print newspaper VOV and VTC Digital Television.

    VOV has representative offices in the Northeast, Northwest, Central, CentralHighlands and Mekong Delta regions and in Ho Chi Minh City and overseas offices.

    New decree regulates Vietnam Television’s status, functions

    The Government recently issued a decree regulating the functions, tasks, powers and structure of the Vietnam Television (VTV).

    Under Decree No 02/2018/ND-CP, VTV is a governmental agency and national television which disseminates the Party’s guidelines and policies and the State’s laws, contributing to the people’s enhanced intellectual standards and spiritual lives through TV programmes and various forms of press and multimedia.

    VTV is responsible for building and submitting to the Government and the Prime Minister its long-, medium- and short-term and annual strategies and plans and other important projects, and implementing them after approved.

    It is also responsible for producing, transmitting, broadcasting, issuing and archiving TV programmes and print and online newspapers in line with legal regulations, while deciding on its daily broadcasting contents, programmes and time volume. 

    In addition, VTV coordinates with local televisions and radio-television stations on programme production schedules broadcast on VTV channels.

    Under the decree, VTV has a system of units including the Current Affairs Department, the Science and Education Department, the Department for Broadcast in Ethnic Minority Languages, the Foreign Service Department, the Literature and Arts Department, the Department of Entertainment Programme Production, the Department of Sport Programme Production, the Cable Television Editorial Department, and the Adolescents and Children Department.

    It has the Centre for Documentaries and Television Reports, the Centre for Television Film Production, and the Archive Centre, along with VTV centres in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Can Tho, and representative offices abroad.

    It also has news support units including the Technical Centre for Programme Production, the Technical Centre for Transmission and Broadcasting, the Television Training Centre, the Centre for Information Technology and the Television Magazine, and five consultancy and functional units to assist the VTV General Director.

    The VTV has a General Director and a maximum of four Deputy General Directors. The General Director and Deputy General Directors are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister in accordance with relevant laws.

    Project enhances community’s involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention

    The Prime Minister has approved investment policies for a project to enhance participation of social and community organisations in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS.

    The project, using official development assistance (ODA) of nearly 6.5 million USD funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, aims to contribute to realising the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

    It will be carried out from 2018 – 2025 in 15 cities and provinces, namely Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Thai Binh, Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Khanh Hoa, HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ba Ria – Vung Tau.

    Under the project, communication work on HIV preventive measures will be promoted among vulnerable groups, such as using new injection needles, condoms, and taking HIV tests in community settings.

    People with HIV will be sent to health care facilities for treatment with anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, and drug addicts will be helped to join methadone treatment programmes in the 15 targeted localities.

    The project also helps ensure access for targeted groups to health care and other support services, reduce discrimination and facilitate their participation in social activities.

    The 90-90-90 goals mean that 90 percent of HIV-infected people will know their infection status, 90 percent of HIV positive people will receive anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, and 90 percent of people taking ARV drugs will have a low HIV load.

    By 2020, 80 percent ARV drug costs will be covered by health insurance.

    Viet kieu singer to help poor kids

    Vietnamese-American singer Phi Nhung, who has more than 20 years in the industry, will release an album to raise funds for poor children next week.    

    The album, Hieu va Thuong (Understanding and Love), sends messages on love, sharing and compassion. It includes nine songs in bolero, pop and folk contemporary music.

    Featured songs are performed by Nhung and child singers Ho Van Cuong, Quynh Trang, Pham Tuyet Nhung and Pham Thien Ngan. 

    Nhung was born in 1972 in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Pleiku (now Gia Lai province). Her father was an American serviceman. She moved to live in the US as part of its immigration policy towards Amerasians.

    She began her career in 1989 in California and has worked with American and French entertainment centres and music producers.  

    In 2005, she returned to HCMCity and has released more than 200 solo and group albums. Nhung runs her own charity fund for poor children.

    Her concert, Phi Nhung Fan Meeting 2018, will take place at HCM City Youth Cultural House on January 13.

    The open-air event will feature dozens of guest singers, including pop star Phuong Thanh and pop bands MTV and 5 Dong Ke.

    Nhung will also pay for several hundred fans living in poor districts of southern provinces to attend the event.

    "I love singing for my young fans in my homeland," said Nhung. 

    "My daughter from the US will attend the concert and learn how much Vietnamese fans love me," she added. 

    The show begins at 8pm at
    4 Pham Ngoc Thach street
    , District 1. Entrance is free.

    More than 7,000 guests are expected to attend.

    31.4 trillion VND used in new-style rural area building

    About 31.4 trillion VND (1.38 billion USD) was used in building new-style rural areas in 2017, heard a conference held by the Central Coordination Office on New Rural Development on January 8. 

    As a result, 2,884 communes or 32.3 percent of communes nationwide were recognised as new-style rural areas, surpassing the target of at least 31 percent.

    Of the total, 326 communes have met the new national criteria on new rural communes during 2016-2020.

    Besides, 43 district-level units in 24 centrally-run cities and provinces have been certified as new rural areas, up 13 districts compared with the end of 2016 and exceeding the target of 38.

    The General Statistics Office revealed that as of the end of 2016, 99.4 percent of communes nationwide have auto-accessible roads to commune centres. All communes and 97.8 percent of villages are connected with the national power grid. Meanwhile, 99.7 percent of communes have pre and elementary schools and 99.5 percent of communes have medical centres. 

    Some 3,854 production models have been connected with each other by value chains. There are 11,183 agricultural cooperatives, with each earning an average of 1.1 billion VND (48,400 USD) annually. 

    Notably, localities have set forth roadmaps to deal with debts in infrastructure construction. 

    However, the outcomes of the new-style rural area building remain unequal between regions across the country, with 1,101 certified communes in the Red River Delta and only 119 in the Central Highlands. 

    The national target programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to develop rural regions.    

    The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection and the promotion of cultural values.

     In 2015, the set of criteria was increased to 20.

    Tra Vinh bolsters supporting industry, food processing

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will promote food processing and supporting industry development this year, said Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Trung Hoang.

    Accordingly, the province will work to attract investment in supporting industry. It will allocate nearly 19 billion VND (837,000 USD) in carrying out business support activities to create regional links, boost production cooperation, trade promotion activities and human resources training. 

    Tra Vinh has mobilised more than 710 billion VND (31.28 million USD) to draw investment and enhance food processing with key products, including aquatic products, peanuts, meat, fruit juice and dried vegetables, among others.

    In 2018, the province’s industry and trade sector eyes 31.6 trillion VND (1.39 billion USD) in industrial production value, and retail and services reaching 25.4 trillion VND (1.12 billion USD).

    The industry sector saw strong growth in 2017 thanks to the operation of several electricity plants of the Duyen Hai Power Centre.

    Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Tuan said that Tra Vinh’s industrial production value hit over 24.67 trillion VND (1.09 billion USD) in 2017, a rise of 32 percent against the previous year. 

    The industry and trade sector lured 11 investment projects with total registered capital of over 578 billion VND (25.45 million USD) and 129 million USD last year, and recorded 22 newly established businesses, with registered capital of nearly 278 billion VND (12.24 million USD), generating jobs for about 5,200 workers.

    Kien Giang works to address salinity intrusion

    The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is working on measures to cope with saltwater intrusion, according to the provincial Irrigation Sub-Department.

    Nguyen Huynh Trung, Deputy Director of the Kien Giang provincial Irrigation Sub-Department said, most of the sluice gates along western coast from Rach Gia city to the border district of Giang Thanh were closed to prevent saltwater intrusion and to keep fresh water for the 2017 – 2018 Winter – Spring crop.

    Meanwhile, 37 others sewers in Tu Giac Long Xuyen area (Long Xuyen quadrangle) remain open to reduce pollution in cannels in Rach Gia city and discharge flood in Hon Dat district.

    Besides, the construction of dams in key cannels without irrigation works is urged to prevent saltwater intrusion into fields and keep fresh water.

    Irrigation works and cannel dredging projects in Tu Giac Long Xuyen area, the western part of HauRiver and U Minh Thuong National Park have been accelerated.

    The monitoring of water level and saltwater intrusion developments has been strengthened so that localities and residents can well prepare for their rice crops and aquaculture.-

    Dak Lak develops community-based tourism this year

    The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak targets welcoming 810,000 tourists this year, earning 750 billion VND (33.3 million USD), according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 

    Of the figure, 75,000 will be foreigners while 735,000 are domestic visitors. 

    The province will develop community-based and ecological tourism on the back of the local advantage of natural landscapes and rich ethnic culture. 

    To preserve and uphold the value of Central Highlands gong cultural space – an intangible cultural heritage of the humanity, the province will continue to hold gong performances twice per month. Last year, 12 gong night shows held during July-December attracted more than 3,500 visitors, who came to exchange with gong artists, learn about ethnic musical instruments and enjoy “ruou can” (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes). 

    Community-based tourism projects will be developed in Yang Lanh village in Buon Don district, Ya village in Krong Bong district, Tring village in Buon Ho township, with a focus on traditional culture, ethnic rituals and cuisine, giving visitors a chance to eat, live and join activities together with locals. 

    Priority will be given to Yok Don national tourism area, agricultural and community-based tourism project in Cu Sue commune (Cu M’gar district), along with resorts, entertainment and sport areas in Buon Ma Thuot city and districts of Buon Don, Lak and Cu M’gar. 

    Last year, the provincial tourism sector welcomed 703,000 holidaymakers, up 13.2 percent annually, including 67,000 foreign and 636,000 domestic ones, earning over 610 billion VND, marking a 1.67 percent rise from target.

    Dak Lak businesses invest in CLV development triangle area

    Many businesses from the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have been allowed by the Governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (CLV) to invest in production and infrastructure in localities in the CLV development triangle area.

    The investment projects, mostly in agricultural production, forestry, electricity networks, transport infrastructure, irrigation and health care, have contributed to socio-economic development in Lao and Cambodian localities.

    According to Dak Lak provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the Dak Lak Rubber Investment JSC has carried out a project growing perennial industrial crops such as rubber and coffee in Laos with total investment of nearly 71 million USD.

    So far, the company has put over 9,500 hectares under rubber and coffee trees, most of them in the provinces of Champasak and Salavan. The project has generated jobs for over 2,000 Lao workers with monthly incomes of 2.5-4 million Kip (6.7-10 million VND).

    Meanwhile, in Cambodia, the Dak Lak Rubber Co., Ltd, Krong Buk Rubber JSC, and Ea H’leo Rubber Co., Ltd have been growing rubber trees on tens of thousands of hectares worth hundreds of millions of USD.

    Krong Buk Rubber company plans to plant rubber on 9,000 hectares in Rattanakiri province with an investment of nearly 54 million USD. To date, the company has planted 5,600 hectares of rubber and created stable jobs for 312 workers. Whereas, Dak Lak Rubber is carrying out a project to develop 2,000 hectares of rubber plantations in Mondunkiri province.

    Apart from agro-forestry projects, Dak Lak enterprises have invested in building schools, medical facilities, transformer stations, power transmission lines and roads in the neighbouring countries.

    The province has proposed the Government soon promulgate specialised mechanisms and policies for socio-economic development along the borderline. It also called for assistance to extend the National Highway 29 to Dak Rue border gate to facilitate investment, trade, economics and tourism activities in the CLV Development Triangle Area.

    HCM City leader applauds Hilton Group’s investment

    Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong hailed investment of Hilton Worldwide Group in Vietnam, particularly its cooperation with BRG Group while hosting a reception for Paul Hutton, Vice President of Operations for Southeast Asia at the group, on January 9.

    Phong affirmed that the city has given top priority to tourism development which is billed as a spearheaded economy of the southern hub.

    Collaboration commitments between the hotel chain and BRG Group is a vivid illustration for the city’s tourism and hotel development potential, he said, adding that the cooperation will make significant contributions to the tourism and economic development of the city.

    Sharing Hilton’s investment activities in Vietnam, Paul Hutton said that the group is running 11 hotel projects in the country, many of which are being effectively operated in Ho Chi Minh City.

    He suggested the city study to change some planning and construction indexes to improve land use efficiency, meeting the country’s requirements for economic integration in the coming time.

    He expressed his hope that the group will receive further support from the city’s leaders to carry out its projects for the development of the city’s economy, especially tourism.

    North central provinces strengthen links to boost tourism

    The north central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh are set to increase coordination to foster tourism development in 2018.

    The provinces’ coordination board for tourism development held a meeting in Vinh city, Nghe An province, on January 9 to review tourism cooperation in 2017 and launch tasks for this year. The event was attended by officials of the provinces’ tourism departments and associations, travel companies, and centres of tourism information and promotion.

    Participants said in 2018, the localities should take part in more domestic and international fairs, workshops, exhibitions, festivals and other events. They need to improve joint pavilions at tourism fairs while working more closely to promote their tourism image in foreign markets and open new international and domestic air routes to each province.

    Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh should continue with joint efforts to develop the “central heritage road”, a tourism route through heritage sites from the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty in Thanh Hoa to Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh. Tours retracing the journeys of celebrities and heroes in the provinces should also be developed.

    The meeting also urged the four provinces to team up to create tourism products serving visitors who travel from Laos and Thailand to Vietnam through the border gates of Cha Lo (Quang Binh), Cau Treo (Ha Tinh), Nam Can (Nghe An), and Na Meo (Thanh Hoa).

    Participants suggested the provinces develop cultural, historical and spiritual tourism products targeting domestic tourists such as tours of destinations along
    Ho Chi Minh Road
    and local temples.

    In 2017, the four provinces swiftly recovered from the marine pollution incident in early 2016. Tourism services revived, particularly in coastal areas from Nghe An to Quang Binh.

    They welcomed 19.76 million tourist arrivals, including over 450,000 foreigners, last year, respectively rising by 35.75 percent and 71.45 percent from 2016.

    At the meeting, the tourism associations of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh signed a cooperation agreement on tourism development.

    Exhibition features traditional Lunar New Year paintings of VN, China

    Paintings capturing Vietnamese and Chinese folk culture and traditional New Year (Tet) festival are on display in Beijing, China, starting from January 8.

    The exhibition is jointly organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) and China’s Ministry of Culture.

    The opening ceremony was attended by MoCST Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien, who is on an official visit to the country, Vietnamese Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi, Chinese cultural officials, among others.

    Addressing the event ceremony, Director of the MoCST’s International Cooperation Department Nguyen Trung Khanh said the event is expected to raise the awareness among Vietnamese and Chinese people of the significance of the biggest traditional festival of the two nations.

    Through the event, visitors will see the similarities in cultural and historical values of Vietnam and China, which have helped consolidate the growing friendship between the two nations, Khanh said.

    The exhibition runs until January 15.

    Sedang people celebrate New Rice Festival

    The first day of the new year is also time for the Sedang, an ethnic group among the 54 ethnicities of Vietnam, to celebrate their New Rice Festival.

    One of the most important festivals for the Sedang, the festival is held at the beginning of the year to appease the spirit of the rice, to celebrate a bountiful harvest and to pray for good fortune in the new year.

    The festival begins with Sedang families going to their rice field to pick the most beautiful rice plants and bring them home. Families must prepare food offerings to the spirit using the new rice.

    On the day of the ceremony, a village elder summons everyone to the village’s nha rong – the Sedang’s communal house where the majority of their spiritual and social activities take place. Young men erect a cay neu – a tall tree with a totem on top of it – in front of the house.

    The Sedang dance and sing around the tree. Their musical instruments include gongs in various sizes and the Klongput – a wind clap xylophone. Made of bodies of bamboo trees cut and designed in different length, the xylophone sound is made when people clap their hands near one of their ends.

    Most of the Sedang villages, which house a total population of nearly 100,000, are located in Vietnam’s central highlands region. Isolated and often without contact with other villages, the Sedangs were said to be fierce warriors years ago. The Sedangs now make farming their primary occupation.

    Taiwanese organisation supports poor children in central region

    The Zhi Shan Foundation of Taiwan (China) has pledged an aid package worth over 16.4 billion VND (721,600 USD) to support poor and disadvantaged children in the central region in 2018.

    The foundation will also provide scholarships, free orthopaedic surgeries, and nutrition for needy children in Quang Tri province in the year, worth a total of over 5.1 billion VND (224,400 USD).

    The documents to this effect were signed between the organisation and the provinces of Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, and Quang Ngai in Quang Tri’s Dong Ha city on January 8.

    The signing ceremony was held in coincidence with the foundation’s celebration of its 20 years of implementing charity projects in Vietnam

    Addressing the signing ceremony, Vice Chairman of the Quang Tri provincial People’s Committee Mai Thuc, hailed the contribution the organisation has made to the province’s community activities, particularly its assistance for local poor students.

    He expressed his hope that it will continue its support for building nursery schools for difficulty-ridden communes, improving nutrition for needy children in Dakrong district, and offering scholarships to poor students in Huong Hoa district.

    Present in Vietnam since 1995, Zhi Shan Foundation has funded numerous long-term health and education projects to help disadvantaged children.

    In 2017, the foundation gave scholarships to 3,234 poor students, and funded the building of semi-boarding nursery schools, benefiting 6,500 children.

    As many as 2,716 children with disabilities have received free orthopaedic surgeries funded by the organisation since 2001.

    The foundation has thus far allocated around 70 billion VND (over 3 million USD) to help 2,600 needy students in Quang Tri alone over the past 20 years.

    Dong Nai aims to fulfil new-style rural area building in 2018

    The southern province of Dong Nai strives to have additional nine communes and three district levels recognised as new-style rural areas in 2018.

    To realise the target, Dong Nai will fulfil the national programme on building new-style rural areas with all 133 communes and 11 districts and townships of the province gaining the title. Currently, 124 communes and eight districts are recognised as new style rural areas.

    To accelerate the building of new rural areas in the remote localities of Tan Phu and Dinh Quan districts, local authorities will continue to mobilise the involvement of people in the effort in order to build the transport system, schools and medical stations.

    The province will maintain and upgrade criteria that Dong Nai met, ensuring sustainability in socio-economic and cultural development, and form concentrated growing and breeding areas and work towards commercial, modern and sustainable agricultural production.

    In 2017, average income per capita in Dong Nai’s rural areas reached over 47.6 million VND (2,096 USD), up four million VND against the previous year. 

    The rate of poor households in the province is 0.31 percent, a decline of 0.89 percent compared to early 2017.

    Hoa Hao Buddhism founder’s birthday marked

    Leaders of southern An Giang province on January 8 visited and congratulated the Central Executive Committee of Hoa Hao Buddhism on the occasion of the 98th birth anniversary of the sect’s founder, Prophet Huynh Phu So (the 25th day of the 11th lunar month).

    Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Vo Anh Kiet briefed the executive committee on socio-economic development achievements of the locality in 2017.

    He spoke highly of Hoa Hao Buddhism’s contributions to these achievements, especially in social welfare and charitable activities.

    He expressed his hope that Hoa Hao dignitaries and followers will continue promoting the tradition, supporting each other to build the great national unity, and abiding by laws to contribute to fulfilling the province’s socio-economic development tasks as well as to the nation building and safeguarding cause.

    Prophet Huynh Phu So was born on January 15, 1920 in Hoa Hao village, Chau Doc province (now An Giang province).   

    Hoa Hao Buddhism now has 391 executive committees in 17 cities and provinces and over 2 million followers nationwide, mostly in An Giang.

    Cyber Command asked to safeguard national sovereignty in cyberspace

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the freshly-established Cyber Command to become a loyal, disciplinary, intelligent, and clear-headed force which is strong enough to protect the national sovereignty in cyberspace.

    With the strong development of science technology and the Internet and the grow-up of the fourth Industrial Revolution, cyberspace is becoming a new “territory” holding important role in each country’s socio-economic development, defence, security and external relations, Phuc said at a ceremony in Hanoi on January to announce the Prime Minister’s decision on the establishment of the command.

    In modern warfare, cyberspace is considered as the fifth combat environment which is connected closely with air, ground, sea and space combat. Therefore, cyber combat plays an important role in wars that use hi-tech weapons, he added.

    The Government leader requested the Cyber Command to coordinate closely with relevant units such as the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Information and Communications to safeguard the military and defence information system as well as the nation’s important information data.

    He urged the force to study and apply advanced science technology and military tactics in cyber combat, and learn from the world’s latest and modern achievements on information technology and hi-tech weapons.

    It is also essential to train competent personnel so as to promote human intelligence in controlling modern cyber weapons and step up international cooperation, he stressed.

    He asked relevant units to quickly build projects to enhance cyberspace combat to submit to him for approval and implementation.

    The Cyber Command is a unit of the Defence Ministry and helps the ministry implement the State management function of safeguarding the national sovereignty in cyberspace and information technology.

    Transport infrastructure boosts Central Highlands’ development

    Upgrades will be made to all key roads in the Central Highlands region from now to 2020 with a view to boosting local socio-economic development, according to the Ministry of Transport.

    Focus will be put on developing the road system, with
    Ho Chi Minh Highway
    being the backbone to develop routes connecting with vicinal areas and neighbouring countries.  All communes in the region will have concrete roads leading to downtown areas. 

    Investment will also be made to enhance the quality of regional airports to serve A320 and A321 airplanes around the clock, such as Lien Khuong airport in Lam Dong, Buon Ma Thuot airport in Dak Lak, and Pleidu airport in Gia Lai province.

    Railway will be built, connecting Gia Nghia in Dak Nong province to Mui Ne in Binh Thuan province to serve bauxite projects, while repairing the Thap Cham – Da Lat railway to serve tourism development in Da Lat city of Lam Dong province.

    Since 2011, dozens of trillion dongs have been poured into developing the transport infrastructure system in the Central Highlands, particularly the key works of Ho Chi Minh Highway section running through the Central Highlands (or National Highway 14), national highways, 19, 20 and 28, thus facilitating the travel of local residents and improving the competitiveness of firms in the region.

    Currently, the Central Highlands has a combined length of roads of nearly 40,000 km, accounting for over 7.33 percent of the nation’s transport system. Nearly half of the network is concrete roads.

    The Central Highlands comprises of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Dak Nong and Gia Lai provinces. 

    Deputy PM requests breakthrough in natural resources management

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to make breakthrough in management and use of land resources in 2018 at the ministry’s conference in Hanoi on January 8. 

    In his speech, he lauded the sector for its assistance for the government in amending several policies and laws on natural resources and environment, especially on land and environment protection. Planning and reserve assessment of natural resources and hydro-meteorological forecast have also improved. 

    The ministry proposed the government issue Resolution No.120/NQ-CP detailing strategic and long-term solutions for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta amid climate change, he said. 

    He asked the sector to strengthen protection and development of coastal protective, riverhead and special-purpose forests while preserving biodiversity and reviving fishery stock, as well as encouraging the use of renewable energies and eco-friendly materials. 

    The Deputy PM emphasized that the sector should research and devise mechanisms for large-scale farming and high-tech agriculture. 

    He also mentioned the urgent issue of water resource security, with the country facing shortage of water for daily use and production due to pollution and climate change. Therefore, the sector needs to raise public awareness of the exploitation and use of water resources, he said, adding that the ministry should propose to the government negotiating a trans-national water sharing mechanism. 

    Other tasks for the sector include reviewing, classifying and monitoring pollution sources, especially wastes discharged into rivers and seas; restoring polluted areas; completing set of standards on environment; and effectively using State funding for environment protection. 

    The sector was urged to pool domestic and international resources to effectively implement the National Strategy on Climate Change, the Target Programme on Climate Change Response and Green Growth 2016-2020, build a roadmap to carry out the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the government’s Resolution No.120, devise ways to respond to climate change in the south central region, the Central Highlands and other regions vulnerable to climate change. 

    At the event, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha agreed that the key task of the sector this year is to continue refining and creating breakthrough mechanisms, treating pollution in craft villages, rural areas, industrial and urban areas, as well as ensuring water security. 

    The sector will focus on completing surveying and planning on water resources, dealing with inter-regional, inter-sectoral and inter-local issues regarding the management, exploitation, use and protection of water resources in river basins, and finalizing the planning and plan of use of sea, among others.

    Red Cross Society urged to renew to further support for disadvantaged people

    President Tran Dai Quang asked the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) to improve communication work and renew way of working in order to mobilise more support for disadvantaged groups while attending a charity art performance held in Hanoi on January 7.

    Social security policy and humanitarian activities have been among top priorities of the Party and State for years, President Quang said in his speech, highlighting efforts made by the VRCS to promote charity campaigns to take care of the poor, natural calamity victims and other vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society.

    He singled out the “Cow Bank” project and the campaign “Tet for the poor and AO victims” as examples of standout initiatives of the organisation to help the needy.

    The President thanked individuals, organisations, enterprises and benefactors both inside and outside the countries for accompanying the VRCS’s activities.

    The “Tet for the poor and AO victims”, which started in 1999, has brought millions of gifts to impoverished households to welcome warm Tet holidays. In the past five years, the VRCS has presented 10 million of Tet gifts worth more than 3.46 trillion VND (152.6 million USD) to the needy.

    At the art charity show, the VRCS launched “Tet for the poor and AO victims 2018” campaign, aiming to mobilise support from local and international communities to provide at least 2 million Tet gifts to poor and AO families nationwide.

    The society also joined hands with the National Humanitarian Portal 1400 to kick off an SMS campaign to mobilise funds for the disadvantaged. People can support the campaign by texting TET to 1409 from December 27, 2017 to February 24, 2018. Each mobile text message will contribute 20,000 VND (0.85 USD) to the fund.

    Measures sought to help OVs preserve mother tongue

    Teaching and learning Vietnamese has long been a big demand of the overseas Vietnamese community in order to preserve the homeland’s traditional cultural values, heard a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 6.

    Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Truong Thi Ngoc Anh said the Party and State have promulgated a number of policies in the field, especially for younger generations.

    The committee is willing to work with relevant agencies to seek diverse methods to improve the efficiency of teaching and learning Vietnamese for Vietnamese expatriates as well as increase their cultural and spiritual life.

    Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Phuc said his ministry has compiled two books tilted “Tieng Viet vui” (Vietnamese is fun) for youths and children and “Que Viet” (Vietnamese homeland) for adults, and posted them on the website http://tiengvietonline.vn.

    The ministry has coordinated with the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese (SCOV) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open training courses for teachers and send lecturers to schools in neighbouring countries.

    The ministry will build a six-level Vietnamese programme and upgrade the two aforesaid books in addition to compiling teaching documents for Vietnamese abroad, providing more training courses and launching a teaching portal.

    Vice Chairman of the SCOV Luong Thanh Nghi said the committee will actively support the building of infrastructure, textbooks and reference documents and organise summer camps for Vietnamese expats to learn their language.

    In 2018, the committee will open training courses for Vietnamese teachers in disadvantaged areas of Cambodia and Laos, he added.

    During the workshop, the panels suggested developing online courses and diversifying community activities using Vietnamese in the host countries.

    Mass mobilization activities in national development lauded

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has hailed mass mobilisation activities conducted in 2017, saying they helped gather national strength for the growth of the nation.

    The PM attended a conference of the Party Central Committee’s Mass Mobilisation Commission to summarise its operation in 2017 and set tasks for 2018 before flying to Cambodia for the second Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Leaders’ Meeting on January 10.

    He stated that tasks for the mass mobilisation sector in 2018 is tough, requiring the sector to renovate its operation. Along with mobilizing the entire people in implementing the Party and State’s policies, each of the mass mobilization staff should set an example in fighting formalism.

    The PM asked for more effective coordination between the Party Central Committee’s Mass Mobilisation Commission and the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee in improving social supervision and criticism.

    He urged the mass mobilization boards at all levels to take the lead in scrutinizing their organization and administrative reform, creating optimal conditions for people and enterprises.

    Affirming that improving living conditions of the people to not leave anyone behind in the development of the country, better communications are needed to timely inform people and businesses about policies and directions of the Party and Government, he said.

    Deputy head of the Mass Mobilisation Commission Tran Thi Bich Thuy said that in 2017, the sector focused on mobilizing the public to realise the socio-economic development tasks, especially in ethnic minority and religious communities.

    The commission has chosen the theme of 2018 as the Year of Government Mass Mobilisation, she said.

    Meanwhile, head of the commission Truong Thi Mai called for stronger engagement of the society in supervising the operation of public works and officials, thus promoting people’s role in building the incorruptible and strong administration.

    Cambodian newspaper praises Vietnam’s multilateral diplomacy

    Rasmei Kampuchea, a newspaper with the largest readership in Cambodia, ran an article on January 10 highlighting Vietnam’s successes in multilateral diplomacy as Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is leading a high-ranking delegation to attend the second Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Leaders’ Meeting in Phnom Penh.

    The front page article described 2017 as one of the most successful years of Vietnam’s foreign affairs which were implemented actively and drastically in both bilateral and multilateral aspects, serving strategic targets set by the Vietnamese Party and State. 

    Vietnam excellently hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Year 2017, especially the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang, thus affirming the country’s role in a global-level event, the article wrote.

    With the attendance of all leaders from APEC member economies and the largest number of delegates, entrepreneurs and reporters, the APEC events turned Vietnam into the centre of attention in the world, helping to promoting the country’s image and improving its position and prestige in the international arena, the article stressed. 

    The APEC Year 2017 vividly showed that Vietnam’s multilateral diplomacy has been lifted to a new height, thus effectively protecting and promoting the country’s strategic interests related to security and development, as well as its reputation as a responsible member of the international community. 

    The success of the APEC Year 2017 created a new perception, faith, strength and momentum for Vietnam’s stronger international integration in the coming time, it said. 

    The article also praised Vietnam’s great efforts to bolster and deepen its relations with countries in the region and powers in the world.

    In 2017, Vietnam’s senior officials paid 18 visits to foreign countries and attended eight multilateral international meetings, during which they held hundreds of bilateral meetings with leaders of countries around the world. At the same time, Vietnam welcomed 36 heads of state and heads of governments on their visits to the country.

    Through anniversary celebrations in relations with Laos and Cambodia as well as visits to Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore, Vietnam strongly improved political trust and effectively boosted practical cooperation with regional countries, it said, adding that Vietnam’s relations with its key partners such as China, Russia, the US, Japan, and India also recorded fruitful development in both politics and economy. 

    According to the article, Vietnam worked hard to foster international economic integration. The country joined member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in pursuing discussions towards a deal pact, which is from now on called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and promote negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. It also joined hands with the European Union (EU)’s member nations to accelerate the official signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

    Vietnam’s efforts and determination during the year contributed to enhancing its economic relations with foreign partners. The country reached or exceeded all economic targets set for the year, with total export-import turnover hitting 425 billion USD – the highest amount ever, the article noted.

    Vietnam, US law organisations step up cooperation

    The Vietnam Bar Federation (VBF) and the American Bar Association (ABA) signed an agreement in Hanoi on January 10, aiming to boost mutual understanding and engagements.

    Accordingly, the sides will, via their official channels, exchange information on their apparatuses and law practices, among other activities. Their leaders will have meetings to discuss common concerns and technical support projects to help the VBF implement its strategy of lawyers’ capacity development for global integration.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, VBF Chairman Do Ngoc Thinh stressed the pact marks a new development stage of bilateral cooperation.

    He said he expects both sides will soon agree on specific cooperative activities to put into actions principles set in the pact.

    ABA President Hilarie Bass said the implementation of the freshly signed agreement will improve mutual understanding and assistance to ensure mutual benefits in line with the laws from both nations.

    The same day, the VBF and ABA exchanged views on lawyers’ quality, code of honour and professional work.

    Founded in 1878, the American Bar Association is a voluntary professional organisation, grouping over 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities.  It is committed to supporting the legal profession with practical resources for legal professionals while improving the administration of justice, accrediting law schools, establishing model ethical codes, and more.

    Quang Tri to finish sea environmental incident compensation in January

    Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the central province of Quang Tri Ha Sy Dong has asked localities across the province to finish compensation for victims of the 2016 sea environmental incident in January 2018.

    So far, Quang Tri has allocated 1.019 trillion VND to localities as compensation, 913 billion VND of which has been delivered to the affected.

    Dong stressed that the payment must be made in a transparent way. 

    Quang Tri has sent inter-sectoral working groups to localities to make survey on seafood inventories after the incident, and gathered proposals of local households in dealing with the stockpile.

    The sea environmental incident happened in April 2016 and caused serious damage to the environment and living conditions of coastal residents in four provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue. 

    The Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation claimed responsibility for the disaster, admitting that it had released toxic wastewater into the sea along these provinces.

    It pledged to compensate more than 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD) to support local fishermen and recover the polluted marine environment

    So far, Quang Tri has focused on recovering locals’ livelihood by developing cultivation and breeding models in 16 coastal localities.

    Fishing and fish farming in Quang Tri have also revived strongly. In 2017, the province’s offshore catch reached nearly 24,000 tonnes, up 8,240 tonnes from 2016. Meanwhile, its aquaculture production hit over 7,800 tonnes, a rise of 10 percent year on year.

    Tien Giang to step up sustainable poverty reduction

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang will work to reduce its poverty rate from 4.02 percent to 3.69 percent in 2018.

    According to Deputy Director of the provincial Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Van Lam, Tien Giang will implement a series of measures, such as adding vocational training part in preferential lending schemes to help poor residents secure livelihoods.

    The province will continue mobilising communal support and raising funds for the poor, while the implementation of social-economic development plans that include sustainable poverty reduction will be under tighter monitoring.

    Relevant agencies have been assigned to examine the number and conditions of poor households and design poverty eradication schemes suitable to each locality to help the targeted group improve incomes and access basic social services. 

    More investments will be put in developing infrastructure for extremely poor communes in coastal areas and Tan Phu Dong district.

    Lam said communications campaign to raise public awareness on poverty reduction policy and models is set to be intensified this year.

    By the end of 2017, Tien Giang had close to 19,000 poor households.

    Dak Lak businesses invest in CLV development triangle area

    Many businesses from the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have been allowed by the Governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (CLV) to invest in production and infrastructure in localities in the CLV development triangle area.

    The investment projects, mostly in agricultural production, forestry, electricity networks, transport infrastructure, irrigation and health care, have contributed to socio-economic development in Lao and Cambodian localities.

    According to Dak Lak provincial Department of Planning and Investment, the Dak Lak Rubber Investment JSC has carried out a project growing perennial industrial crops such as rubber and coffee in Laos with total investment of nearly 71 million USD.

    So far, the company has put over 9,500 hectares under rubber and coffee trees, most of them in the provinces of Champasak and Salavan. The project has generated jobs for over 2,000 Lao workers with monthly incomes of 2.5-4 million Kip (6.7-10 million VND).

    Meanwhile, in Cambodia, the Dak Lak Rubber Co., Ltd, Krong Buk Rubber JSC, and Ea H’leo Rubber Co., Ltd have been growing rubber trees on tens of thousands of hectares worth hundreds of millions of USD.

    Krong Buk Rubber company plans to plant rubber on 9,000 hectares in Rattanakiri province with an investment of nearly 54 million USD. To date, the company has planted 5,600 hectares of rubber and created stable jobs for 312 workers. Whereas, Dak Lak Rubber is carrying out a project to develop 2,000 hectares of rubber plantations in Mondunkiri province.

    Apart from agro-forestry projects, Dak Lak enterprises have invested in building schools, medical facilities, transformer stations, power transmission lines and roads in the neighbouring countries.

    The province has proposed the Government soon promulgate specialised mechanisms and policies for socio-economic development along the borderline. It also called for assistance to extend the National Highway 29 to Dak Rue border gate to facilitate investment, trade, economics and tourism activities in the CLV Development Triangle Area.

    National centralised bidding for drugs saves 10 million USD

    The national centralised bidding for 20 types of drugs covered by health insurance has helped save 251.13 billion VND (10.9 million USD) on drugs, said Duong Tuan Duc, director of the Centre for Health Insurance Appraisal and Multi-level Payments in the North under Vietnam Social Security.

    The total price of 20 bid-winning drugs was 935.99 billion VND (40.7 million USD), down 21.12 percent compared to the average drug bidding price of last year.

    In the fourth quarter of last year, Vietnam Social Security invited bids to select 2018’s drug suppliers of five active substances with total value of more than 1 trillion VND (43.5 million USD).

    Five patent medicines and 15 types of generic drugs won the bidding.

    The bidding helped reduce drug prices by 13.82 percent on average for patented medicines and 33.81 percent for generic drugs compared to the prices of provincial bidding in 2017.

    Among the five winning patent medicines, the prices of Meropenem 500mg and Meropenem 1g experienced the biggest plunge (15 percent).

    Notably, price of domestically-manufactured Levofloxacin 500mg (generic) of group 3 (manufactured following the World Health Organisation’s Good manufacturing practice) plunged by 54.7 percent.

    The centralised bidding shattered the concept that patented drugs are exclusive and their prices never fall, Duc said.

    In the first ever national trial centralised drug bidding, the Vietnam Social Security worked with the ministries of planning and investment, health, finance, local health departments and healthcare facilities covered by health insurance, Duc said.

    Bidding winners committed to ensuring drug quality and supply to serve patients, he said.

    Through the bidding, Vietnam Social Security contributed to removing inappropriate drug bidding plans and identifying abnormally high drug prices, as well as differences in content and prices of drug groups.

    Vietnam Social Security asked bidders to show documents to prove their drug supply commitment. The agency will supervise drug supply and use them at healthcare facilities via the health insurance supervision information system.

    Pham Luong Son, deputy director general of the Vietnam Social Security, said that the bidding was conducted successfully, following regulations, ensuring transparency.

     “National drug bidding brings advantages to not only Vietnam Social Security but also public and healthcare facilities,” he said.

    He said that the bidding has fulfilled two goals. The first is to ensure enough drugs of high quality. The second one is to reduce drug prices, especially the price of patent medicines.

    If there is anything found not transparent and open in the bidding process, those responsible will be fined without exception, he said. 

    Tây Ninh works towards organic farming

    TâyNinhProvince has decided to pursue organic farming in a move to restructure its agricultural sector towards sustainable development, the daily newspaper Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) reported.

    Located in the southern key economic zone, the proivnce has devoted more than 65 per cent of its total 270,000ha of land to agricultural production.

    Other advantages for agricultural development in the province include soil suited to many types of crops and the largest irrigation system in the country, Dầu Tiếng, which can supply water to 47,000ha of farmland.

    As for its potential for agricultural production, the province has sent its request to the Prime Minister and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to be the first in the country to pilot the national organic agricultural development project for the 2018-2025 term.

    The PM has urged the ministry to complete the project’s plan which includes guidelines for organic farming adaptation, and incentives and support measures for agricultural producers.

    In the meantime, Tây Ninh has launched its own agricultural development plan which involves the use of technology in agricultural restructuring. It plans to set up clean agricultural production zones and offer incentives to attract big investors to clean and organic farming projects.

    Some of the projects include a vegetable and fruit processing plant with a capacity of 500 tonnes per day, which will be put into operation by the end of 2018.

    The province has also approved a list of agricultural projects that that need investment from 2017-2020.

    Some of the projects include fruit and vegetable processing applying the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point management system. With this system, food safety is addressed via analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards, from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

    Chili pepper salt - a Tây Ninh specialty – will be included in brand building.

    Investors in these projects must ensure sufficient planting area of fruit and vegetables of at least 10ha and the use of Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP).

    The province has also prioritised calling for investment in construction of livestock and poultry slaughterhouses and production of frozen meat products in Châu Thành, Gò Dầu and Trảng Bàng districts.

    Võ Đức Trong, director of the province’s department of agriculture and rural development, said the restructuring of the province’s agricultural sector must start from the market, meaning that the province would now produce products based on market demand.

    At the same time, it has to switch from low-yield crops to more competitive higher-yield and higher-value crops to export to foreign markets, he said.

    The province has expanded large-scale production of high value-added crops, including pomelo, passion fruit, pineapple, and custard apple which can be used as inputs for processed products for exports.

    It has learned lessons from Taiwan, Thailand and Brazil and taught local farmers how to increase production capacity and competitiveness.

    According to chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Phạm Văn Tân, this will not only result in high-quality products with more economic value but will also help farmers increase their income.

    To expand organic agriculture, Tân said that the Government, ministries and agencies must adopt regulations and policies on prioritising clean agricultural production, special policies for clean farm product processing, and support measures for farmers and agricultural firms in studying new production models, marketing and branding.

    He said the ministry should also help local governments invite international experts and provide assistance to large organic producers in clean farming techniques training, expertise and experience sharing, and calls for investment.

    The ministry should also create a complete set of standards for producing, processing, assessing and monitoring organic products and disseminating information about organic agriculture to farmers so they can adopt good farming techniques, he added.

    Thirty-three of the 63 provinces and cities in Việt Nam have developed organic farming models, but their scale is still small, about 76,000 ha in total.

    Several agricultural firms have said that organic farming had brought them more challenges than successes. They cited several reasons, including strict standards for organic production; amount of time and money spent on land renovation; and lengthy and costly procedures in obtaining organic farming certificates.

    Concert to raise funds for sick children

    Pop singer Mỹ Tâm and three overseas Vietnamese, Thanh Hà, Elvis Phương and Đình Nguyên, will join a live concert to raise funds for underprivileged children with cancer at Đà Nẵng’s Trưng Vương Theatre on January 19.

    Event organiser, the Đà Nẵng Sun Flower Foundation, said the performance was part of an annual charity programme that raises money to help poor children with cancer living in Đà Nẵng and QuảngNamProvince.

    It said this year it was hoped to raise VNĐ500 million (US$22,000) to support five children aged between three and 13 years.

    The five children are being treated at the city’s OncologyHospital.

    According to the Đà Nẵng Association to Support Poor and Disadvantaged Women and Children, more than $28.6 million has been donated from foreign and domestic people to help cancer patients.

    Thua Thien-Hue opens public administrative centre

    The Public Administrative Centre in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue was officially put into use on January 5.

    According to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Cao, the centre is established to realise the Government’s targets of building a transparent, strong and united government that will take drastic and effective actions and do its best to serve the people.

    The centre, which is located at
    No.1 Le Lai Street
    , Vinh Ninh ward, Hue city, will receive documents and give back results related to 1,401 administrative procedures as well as provide procedure guidance for organisations and individuals.

    The centre handled some 200 documents right on its first day of operation.

    In the past years, the province has made efforts to renovate administrative procedures, which help create a favourable business environment to lure more investment. It now takes only three days for new businesses to complete registration of business, tax, bank account and seal.

    Towards the target of a GDP growth rate of 7.5-8 percent in 2018, the province will focus attention on the development of tourism, economic-technical infrastructure and industry while pushing forward with administrative procedure reform.

    Poor students gifted bus tickets to return home for Tet

    The Ho Chi Minh City Student Assistance Centre (SAC) will present 3,000 bus tickets to disadvantaged students to help them return home for Tet (Lunar New Year). 

    The buses will depart from HCMCity to central provinces, especially those hit hard by the recent floods and storms, said SAC Deputy Director Le Xuan Dung on January 5. 

    On this occasion, the centre will provide 5,000 jobs for needy university students during the holiday, mostly cashier, packaging worker, supermarket staff, security guard, shipper and switchboard operator. 

    Besides, it will present gifts to underprivileged children in orphanages and the city’s outlying areas.  

    Last year, the centre presented up to 5,000 coach tickets to less privileged students and workers to help them reunite with their families in central, CentralHighlands and southwestern regions.

    Meeting highlights Vietnam’s support in ending Khmer Rouge

    A get-together for Vietnamese experts, officers and soldiers who voluntarily performed international duties in Cambodia from 1979-1989 was held in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on January 5. 

    During the event, participants looked back on support given by the armed forces of Can Tho city, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces to Cambodia in fighting the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, restoring production and building armed forces. 

    They also reviewed the traditional friendship between the two countries in general, and the relations between the Vietnamese localities and Kep and Kongpong Ch’nang provinces of Cambodia in particular.

    In his speech, Ken Soth Tha, Governor of Kep province expressed his deep gratitude to the Vietnamese Party, Government and people for their enormous assistance in the struggle against the Khmer Rouge and other fields. 

    He hoped the two countries will continue promoting cooperation, towards deepening their friendship and solidarity. 

    Established in 1979, Mission 9902 included armed forces of Hau Giang province (now is Can Tho city, and Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces). Responding to the call of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation, Vietnamese voluntary experts, officers and soldiers came to Cambodia to help the country defeat the Khmer Rouge. 

    They also helped Cambodia build armed forces, train officers, expand agricultural production, and develop education and health care infrastructure. 

    The Mission was awarded the first-class Military Order of Feat of Arms by the VietnameseState and the Angkor Order, first class, by the CambodianState.

    Joint efforts to enhance women’s legal understanding

    The Ministry of Justice and the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) will join hands to offer legal assistance and education for women during 2018-2022.

    To this effect, a coordination programme was inked in Hanoi on January 5, aiming to ensure women’s access to legal information, while improving the quality and effectiveness of including gender equality in law making, particularly women-related laws.

    VWU President Nguyen Thi Thu Ha expressed her hope that her organisation will continue receiving close collaboration of the ministry in ensuring legal assistance for women, thus enhancing their position and capability in conciliation at grassroots level and inclusion of gender equality in law making.

    Minister of Justice Le Thanh Long believed that the two bodies will better implement their assigned tasks, while helping their female staff in particular and women in general well perform their roles in the society and their families.

    The programme is also expected to address the prejudice against women, prevent social misbehaviors, and strictly handle violence against women and women trafficking and abusing.

    Under the programme, the two sides will propose practical measures to popularise and enforce the Constitution as well as newly issued laws and ordinances.

    They will develop a network of legal consultants to help disadvantaged women and organise training sessions for their female staff, while monitoring enforcement of relevant laws and policies.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/11/18--01:14: Article 0
  • GrabBike drivers stage strike over new commission ratio in Ho Chi Minh City

    Drivers left the strike disappointed after no agreement was made

     

    ​GrabBike drivers stage strike over new commission ratio in Ho Chi Minh City
    GrabBike drivers on strike are seen in Ho Chi Minh City on January 10, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Scores of GrabBike drivers in Ho Chi Minh City launched a strike on Wednesday to show their dissatisfaction with the higher commission ratio applied by the ride-hailing service from this year.

    The on-strike drivers turned off their app and flocked to Grab Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City head office in District 10, but no agreement was reached between the company and its drivers.

    One driver, Thanh, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Grab Vietnam hiked the commission ratio, which it calls an ‘app usage fee,’ from 20 percent to 23.6 percent on January 1.

    GrabBike is the motorbike taxi service, locally known as ‘xe om,’ owned and operated by Grab, which also offers taxi-like GrabCar and shipping service GrabExpress.

    Like other ride-sharing apps, Grab splits the revenue earned from each ride with its drivers, who it refers to as ‘partners.’

    The new ‘app usage fee’ means GrabBike drivers will have to pay Grab Vietnam 23.6 percent of the fare for each ride he or she completes.

    “This is unreasonably high and we have decided to go on strike to show our protest against the new policy,” Thanh told Tuoi Tre.

    Hundreds of drivers gathered at the Sala urban area on
    Tran Nao Street
    in District 2 before heading to the District 10 office at 10:00 am.

    Grab Vietnam representatives invited the angered drivers to a private meeting room, but those who returned from the talks said “nothing was resolved.”

    The ride-sharing service told drivers that it will solve the problem on a case-by-case basis, and any further complaints will be addressed next week.

    Of course, the drivers left the strike disappointed.

    Grab Vietnam said it has had to elevate its commission ratio to fulfill personal income tax obligations for its partners.

    Drivers are supposed to pay taxes on the 80 percent of revenue they receive from each ride. With a tax rate of 4.5 percent, this translates into 3.6 percent of the total fare.

    This means that for every ride, a driver will now have 20 percent of the revenue deducted as payment for the ‘app using fee’, and an additional 3.6 percent for personal income tax coverage.

    As part of its support policy, Grab Vietnam sometimes gives cash bonus or monetary support to drivers who have excellent performance or who work during rush or late-night hours.

    The company said this support, based on driver revenue, is now subject to a one percent tax deduction, and other bonuses have a ten percent deductible.

    This is a double whammy for drivers, as “Grab has significantly reduced such support for us,” a GrabBike driver named Nguyen Tuan told Tuoi Tre.

    “While the bonuses decreased, the share we have to pay Grab for each ride just rose, putting us in a hard place,” he said.

    “If [Grab] refuses to reduce the commission ratio, we will switch to [working for] other apps.”

     ​GrabBike drivers stage strike over new commission ratio in Ho Chi Minh City
    Striking GrabBike drivers are seen in Ho Chi Minh City on January 10, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre


    Grab Vietnam said the new policy does not mean all drivers will have to pay taxes.

    The company said a driver will have to pay the tax if he makes more than VND100 million (US$4,405) a year, or VND8.3 million ($366) a month.

    Grab Vietnam will now temporarily deduct the tax payment from drivers’ revenue beforehand.

    By the end of every month, if drivers’ total earning, including revenue and bonuses, is below the VND8.3 million threshold, they will be refunded the temporarily deducted tax payment by the tenth day of the following month, according to the company.

    If the drivers make more than that benchmark, the temporary deduction will become official tax payment.

    The explanation does not please the drivers, who say it is unreasonable to mandate the upfront deduction.

    “The current ride fare is already dirt cheap and the higher commission ratio only puts more pressure on us drivers,” Tuan said.

    “This is not to mention that Grab Vietnam continues to recruit new drivers, increasingly making the market more crowded.”

    For instance, it costs only VND33,000, or less than $1.5, to travel the 7km route from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to TanSonNhatInternationalAirport in Tan Binh District.

    Tuan also revealed that drivers now have to pay VND400,000 ($17) to buy a GrabBike uniform, as well as a VND20,000 ‘app maintenance’ fee, both of which used to be free.

    “We could not understand why Grab set the commission ratio too high, while we have to cover all expenses, from fuel and mobile data to bike maintenance and repairs,” Tuan said.

     ​GrabBike drivers stage strike over new commission ratio in Ho Chi Minh City
    There have been instances where conventional motorbike taxi drivers resorted to violence against GrabBike drivers.


    Grab made its Vietnam debut in 2014, launching in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    Since then, the Malaysia-based company has adjusted its registered capital five times, totaling VND20 billion as of March 2017, according to Vietnam’s finance ministry.

    In 2014, Grab Vietnam logged losses of VND51.6 billion ($2.27 million).

    The company managed to take that number to VND441.8 billion ($19.46 million) and VND444.7 billion ($19.59 million) in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

    The finance ministry attributed the steep losses to massive marketing expenses and service prices set deliberately low to undercut conventional taxi operators.

     Tuoi Tre News


    0 0
  • 01/12/18--01:27: Article 2
  • Vietnam Airlines make USD3.9bn in profits


    The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiaries earned a total VND88.40trn (USD3.9bn) and a pre-tax profit of VND2.8trn (USD124.5m) in 2017.

      

    Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiaries earned a pre-tax profit of VND2.8trn (USD124.5m) in 2017


    The mother company earned VND66.20trn (USD2.98bn) and VND1.85trn in pre-tax profit, an increase of 8% compared to 2016. They contributed over VND1.90trn to the state budget, doubling the figure of the previous year.

    Vietnam Airlines along with Jetstar Pacific and Vasco conducted nearly 180,000 flights and served 26.5 million passengers last year, 6.7% up on 2016. They also carried 343,000 tonnes of cargo, increased by 19% compared to 2016. The domestic and international market share reached 60% and 32.3% respectively.

    More routes have been offered to passengers after Vietnam Airlines co-operated with major international airlines including Air France and Bangkok Airways. It earned over VND777trn (USD34.54bn) in the past 22 years with an average annual growth rate of 15.62%.

    In January 2017, more than 1.2 billion shares were traded on the UpCom. At the end of the year, each share reached VND42,000 (USD1.87), up 60% on their initial price. In the second quarter of 2018, Vietnam Airlines will list its shares on the HCM Stock Exchange, continue to issue more shares to its shareholders in order to increase its charter capital and reduce the state's ownership.

    The average rate of the On-Time Performance index of Vietnam Airlines' flights was over 90% even during busy holiday seasons, among the highest airlines across the world. It acquired four more Airbus A350-900 XWB, one Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. When the US President Donald Trump visited Vietnam in last November, Vietnam Airlines and US aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney signed a USD1.50bn contract on the purchase of 44 PurePower Geared Turbofan engines and support services for Vietnam Airlines’ 20 Airbus A321NEO aircraft in accompany with comprehensive terms of warranty, maintenance and repair of the engines.

    It is predicted that the international aviation industry will have a high growth rate in 2018. Vietnam Airlines said it would prioritise resources to ensure aviation safety. It will complete the plan to improve its fleet for the 2021-2025 period, with a view to 2030, and study the feasibility of a US-Vietnam direct flight route.

    Nguoilaodong


    0 0
  • 01/12/18--01:59: Article 1
  • Ministry insists on excise tax on sugary drinks


    The Finance Ministry has insisted on levying a special consumption tax on sweetened beverages, except for dairy products, news website Vietnam Finance cites the ministry’s latest draft of the amended law on taxes.


    Ministry insists on excise tax on sugary drinks, 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 bottling chain at Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam 

    Last August, the ministry suggested sugary drinks be subject to a special consumption tax of 10%, and a value-added tax (VAT) of 12%, stoking strong objections from beverage makers and associations. Still, in this latest draft, the ministry has proposed sugar-sweetened beverages be subject to the excise tax.

    If approved, the proposal may see the tax imposed on carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and bottled instant coffee and tea next year.

    The ministry explains that about 25% of Vietnamese adults are overweight or obese. The obesity rate for children under five years old is also increasing fast, from 0.6% in 2000 to 5.3% in 2015. Notably, the percentage of obese kids in HCMC has risen to 10.8%, higher than the world average of 6.9%.

    The ministry also cites a recommendation of the World Health Organization as saying that sugar-sweetened beverages have adverse effects on human health.

    Around 40 countries have imposed special consumption tax on these kinds of drinks in a bid to reduce their consumption, according to the ministry.

    For example, many Southeast Asian countries have already imposed excise tax on sugary drinks. The current rate is 20-25% in Thailand, 5-10% in Laos, 10% in Cambodia, and 5% in Myanmar. The Philippines and Indonesia are also considering imposing the tax.

    Therefore, according to the ministry, the tax will help regulate the consumption of sweetened beverages in line with international practices.

    SGT


    0 0
  • 01/12/18--02:04: Article 0
  • 2017 a stormy year for bankers


    Former Deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and many other bankers were prosecuted for violations in bank related fields in 2017. 

     

    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, Dang Thanh Binh, SBV, Nguyen Xuan Son, Oceanbank
    Former Deputy Governor of SBV Dang Thanh Binh 

    1.The most significant event in the banking sector last year was the prosecution of a high-ranking official of the management agency – the deputy governor of SBV.

    In September 2017, the investigation department under the Ministry of Public Security released the decision to prosecute Binh, 63, for ‘lacking responsibility, thus causing serious consequences’. This was related to the case of Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of the board of directors of the VNCB and his accomplices who caused the loss of VND9 trillion.

    Binh spent 30 years working in the banking sector and held many important positions before he was appointed by the PM to the post of deputy governor of SBV in May 2005.

    2. Another serious case concerned four commercial banks: TP Bank, Sacombank, BIDV and VNCB.

    The most significant event in the banking sector last year was the prosecution of a high-ranking official of the management agency – the deputy governor of SBV.

    In July 2017, the investigation department under the Ministry of Public Security issued a decision on the prosecution of 25 subjects on the charge of " deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences" stipulated in Article 165 of the Penal Code, and ordered the detention of 16 defendants.

    These included well known names such as Tram Be, former deputy chair of Sacombank, and Phan Huy Khang, former CEO of Sacombank.

    3. In 2014, Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, a former official at VietinBank, was sentenced to life in prison for a US$178.5 million fraudulent scheme. However, the case is still ‘hot’ at this moment.

    On December 11, the Supreme People's Procuracy announced that it had completed the indictment to prosecute 10 defendants who were former leaders of Navibank for allegedly violating state regulations on economic management and causing serious consequences. The defendants were found violating regulations, allowing Nhu to appropriate hundreds of billions of dong.

    4. In October, the Supreme People’s Procuracy finalised charges against Huynh Nam Dung, former management board chairman of MHB, and sixteen accomplices, accusing them of abusing power and irresponsibility that caused serious consequences.

    Among those prosecuted with Dung were former MHB General Director Nguyen Phuoc Hoa, former Deputy General Director Bui Thanh Hung and former Chief Accountant Nguyen Van Thanh.

    5. Pursuing further investigation over the wrongdoings at Trustbank related to the Pham Cong Danh case, the prosecution agency decided to prosecute another six defendants who were managers of Trustbank.

    6. The number of defendants at the Ocean Bank case reached a record high number of 51. Former chair of the bank Ha Van Tham received a life sentence while former CEO Nguyen Xuan Son received the death penalty.


    Mai Thanh, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/13/18--00:21: Article 2
  • Stocks, bitcoin the most profitable investment channels in 2017



    With the VN Index increasing sharply by 48 percent in 2017, stocks were the assets with the highest profitability. No other assets, except bitcoin, brought such impressive profits.


    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, Vn Index, SSC, gold, dollar 

    Stocks were the assets with the highest profitability

      
    In the context of good macroeconomic performance, the VN Index closed 2017 at a 10-year high, an increase of 48 percent compared with 2016, with which Vietnam has been listed among the top three fastest growing markets in the world.

    The capitalization value of the stock market reached 75 percent of GDP by the end of 2017.

    The steady increase of the VN Index allowed foreign investors who poured money into Vietnam stocks to reap fruit. 

    The steady increase of the VN Index allowed foreign investors who poured money into Vietnam stocks to reap fruit. 

    According to Bizlive, their net purchase value reached VND26 trillion, or $1.15 billion, in 2017 on both the Hanoi and HCMC bourses.

    Analysts commented that the profits brought by securities investments in 2017 were higher than other investment channels, including real estate, foreign currencies and bank deposits.

    As for foreign currency trading, the euro, the currency with the heaviest fluctuations, only appreciated by 12 percent after 12 months.

    Depositors made a profit of 6.5-7.5 percent per annum. Unlike previous years, when the deposit interest rates increased significantly in last months of year, this did not happen in 2017.

    A report from SSI shows that the overnight interest rate was stable at one percent on December 18-20, which was equal to the lowest rate of the year and much lower than the same period in previous years.

    The investors in gold made little profit as the gold price did not fluctuate. The gold price hovered around $1,300 per oz throughout the year.

    Some resort developers committed to a profit of 10 percent or 12-15 percent per annum for investors. However, the profitability level has not been confirmed.

    Meanwhile, the stock price increased by several times, or hundreds of percent in 2017.

    Can Van Luc, an economist, has predicted a 6.5-6.7 percent GDP growth rate for 2018 thanks to the prosperity of the private sector, which is good news for investors as the high growth rate will facilitate investment channels.

    He said the stock market will continue to be supported by good macroeconomic performance and increased capital flow after the successful organization of APEC 2017 and CPTPP.

    The good business results of listed companies with revenue up by 17 percent and profit up by 20 percent in 2017 are expected to continue in 2018.

    An analyst commented that besides familiar investment channels, investors would pour money into bitcoin which once appreciated by 15 times in 2017. However, Luc commented that bitcoin should not be the choice for investors with a weak heart.



    Kim Chi, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/13/18--00:27: Article 1
  • Social News 12/1


    2 police injured in Dien Bien drugs ring bust


     2 police injured in Dien Bien drugs ring bust, PM hosts American Bar Association President, Australia funds project to raise economic rights of ethnic minority women, 27 wild animals returned to the wild in Kon Tum 

    Two policemen have been injured in the northern province of Dien Bien while apprehending two drug traffickers who were in possession of 21 cakes of heroin.

    Major-general Sung A Hong, director of Dien Bien Police Department, identified the suspects as Lo Van Sinh, 40, residing in Dien Bien Province and Kham Phut Thamavong, 30, residing in Laos. They were caught red-handed while trafficking 21 cakes of heroin on January 8. The two suspects were in possession of deadly weapons which they used against the officers resulting in injuries to two policemen.

    After a brief standoff the police prevailed and arrested the two assailants in possession of 21 cakes of heroin, one motorbike, two mobile phones, and some other exhibits.

    The case is still under investigation.

    PM hosts American Bar Association President

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on the American Bar Association (ABA) to help the Vietnam Bar Federation (VBF) improve its capacity in the face of increasingly complicated disputes when Vietnam is pushing international integration in economy, trade and investment.

    At a reception for ABA President Hilarie Bass in Hanoi on January 11, the PM said the Vietnamese Government always creates the best possible conditions for the legal profession to develop in a democratic and transparent society, to ensure the law is enforced in the best way.

    He highly valued outcomes of the working session between the ABA and the VBF, particularly the cooperation agreement just signed by the two sides.

    Applauding the workshop on professional ethics of lawyers jointly held by the two associations the same day, PM Phuc expressed his hope that the ABA’s experience in building a code of ethics of lawyers will be useful to the VBF.

    For her part, Hilarie Bass pledged that the ABA will support the VBF in its development process, and continue to tighten relations between the two associations in the coming time.

    Australia funds project to raise economic rights of ethnic minority women

    Ethnic minority women in Mai Son district, the northern mountainous province of Son La, will be assisted to increase their economic rights under a project funded by the Australian Government.

    The 3-million AUD project was launched on January 11 by CARE International in Vietnam and the Son La province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It will help the target women improve agricultural production and farm produce consumption, thus removing gender preconceptions, which have hindered ethnic minority women from proving their capacity for economic development and raising voice in their family as well as the community.

    The scheme will also be carried out in Muong Ang district of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, from 2018-2020.

    Le Kim Dung, Director of CARE International in Vietnam, said under the project, her organisation will join hands with local partners to support the establishment of self-governed financial groups in order to promote the exchange of experience in coffee production.

    At the same time, the project will bring insiders of the coffee production chain together in an effort to improve the connectivity between farmers and businesses, thus increasing productivity and attracting more investors in the local coffee sector.

    Lo Minh Hung, Vice Chairman of the Son La province People’s Committee, highlighted the significance of the project as the province has identified Arabica coffee as a key product contributing to reducing poverty and improving living conditions of local farmers.

    However, coffee production in the locality faces a range of challenges caused by natural conditions and the outdated techniques in coffee harvest and processing.

    27 wild animals returned to the wild in Kon Tum

    As many as 27 wild animals were released into their natural habitat on January 11 by the Wildlife Rescue and Protection Centre at the Chu Mom Ray National Park in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.

    The animals include nine monkeys, 12 turtles, pythons, civets and iguanas, among others.

    Most of the animals were rescued from illegal traders in the locality and were sent to the park in weak conditions.  Some of the animals have been in the park’s care since 2016.

    In the last two years, the centre returned 153 wild animals to the forest.-

    HCM City leader welcomes Lao official

    The People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City will work with the people’s councils of Lao localities to share their operation experience, thus contributing to deepening the two countries’ ties, said Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam.

    She made the statement while receiving on January 11 head of the Economic, Technology and Environment Committee of the Lao National Assembly Bounpone Sisoulath who leads a Lao delegation to visit Vietnam.

    Expressing her delights at the traditional friendship and special solidarity between the two countries, Tam hailed Laos’s organisation of people’s councils in localities, thereby increasing the role of people in the country’s development.

    Vietnam and Laos are interested in land management to ensure national development as well as the people’s interests, she said, expressing her hope that experience exchange between the Lao delegation and the General Department of Land Administration under the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will help the National Assembly of each side to complete its land management law.

    Boupone Sisoulath, for his part, thanked the Vietnamese National Assembly and Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council for sharing experience in activities of the National Assembly and local people’s councils with Laos.

    Laos is drafting a law on land management, he said, adding that land management is a complex issue, especially when the country’s population is growing rapidly while land fund is limited.

    He wished that the HCM City People’s Council will pay visit and share experience with Laos in the coming time.

    Incomplete energy market hinders energy development in Vietnam

    An incomplete and asynchronous energy market is a bottleneck in energy development in Vietnam at present, according to many participants at a workshop in Hanoi on January 11.

    The workshop on green energy for sustainable economic development was co-organised by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Japanese and Australian embassies in Vietnam. It was part of the second Vietnam Economic Forum.

    In his speech, Chairman of the Commission for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Binh underscored that so far most energy demand of Vietnam is met by fossil fuel sources like coal, oil, and gas. However, those sources are limited and their use pollutes the environment and raises greenhouse gas emissions.

    Therefore, the research and use of alternative green energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and biological energy are inevitable demand, he noted.

    John Kerry, honorary president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said climate change is happening all around the world, and a solution to it is using energy in a smart way. Vietnam should invest in the use of electricity generated by solar, wind, gas and thermal energy. It also needs open policies and a roadmap for solar energy in its general approach.

    He said he believes that coal is not cheaper, but instead more expensive than solar and other renewable energy sources if all of its impacts on climate and the environment are taken into consideration.

    Vietnam is having a chance to make more effective changes, save billions of USD, give people better life quality, and create many jobs in this sector, Kerry said.

    At the workshop, foreign experts shared experience in attracting foreign investment in the energy industry, financial and credit mechanisms to help the country develop energy infrastructure and access latest achievements of the global energy sector. They also identified challenges posed by climate change to the power sector in Vietnam and proposed solutions.

    Vietnamese Ambassador meets Chinese press

    Vietnamese Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi has applauded China’s press and press management agencies for their wide coverage of Vietnam as well as relations between the two countries.

    He met with reporters from China’s major media agencies and newspapers like Xinhua, People’s Daily, China Central Television, China National Radio and China Youth Daily, and representatives of Chinese press management agencies in Beijing on January 11.

    The ambassador used the occasion to brief the Chinese media on Vietnam’s major socio-economic achievements and big strides in the Vietnam-China relationship in 2017, as reflected through high-level meetings and visits of the two countries’ leaders.

    Khoi highlighted the visits to China by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong in January 2017 and President Tran Dai Quang in May 2017. Most recently, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President Xi Jinping visited Vietnam and attended at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017 attach to ties with Vietnam.

    General Secretary and President Xi Jinping’s selection of Vietnam as the first country to visit following the 19th National Congress of the CPC reflects the importance the Chinese Party and State, as well as Xi Jinping himself attach to the Vietnam-China relationship in particular and relations between China and its neighbouring countries in general, Ambassador Khoi said.

    The diplomat noted that bilateral trade value has surpassed 100 billion USD and the number of tourists travelling between the two countries also saw strong growth, with 4 million Chinese tourists visiting Vietnam and 3 million Vietnamese holiday makers choosing China for their trip in 2017.

    Mentioning the outstanding maritime dispute between the two countries, Ambassador Khoi stressed that both sides have showed their determination to maintain peace and stability at sea, adding that they had worked together with ASEAN member countries to approve the draft framework of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in 2017 and speed up negotiations to build an effective COC.

    The ambassador also pointed to existing problems in bilateral trade and investment ties, but said that he believes that they will gradually be solved in the coming time.

    He informed that that PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has invited his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang to pay an official visit to Vietnam and attend the Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit scheduled for March 2018 in Hanoi during their recent meeting in Cambodia.

    The ambassador said he hopes that there will be more opportunities for Vietnamese and Chinese reporters to visit each other’s countries in order to help them obtain first hand and accurate information, contributing to enhancing mutual understanding as well as the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, for the sake of their people, and for peace, stability and cooperation in the region.

    Dak Nong’s VFF chapter offers care to the poor, ethnic groups

    The Central Highlands Dak Nong provincial chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) will provide further care for the poor and ethnic minority groups in disadvantaged and border areas this year, said its Chairman Dieu Xuan Hung.

    Hung said the chapter will urge businesses, agencies and philanthropists in and outside the locality to raise fund for the poor as well as promptly disburse funding for the construction of houses for the poor.

    It will also partner with its member units and Vietnam Bank for Social Policies to offer preferential loans and farming techniques to the poor and ethnic minority groups for agricultural and rural development.

    As part of efforts with the Vietnam Red Cross Society and medical staff, free health check-ups and medicines will be given to ethnic minorities living in remote and mountainous areas.

    In 2017, over 16,000 gifts worth upwards 7 billion VND (280,000 USD) were handed over to policy beneficiaries, the poor and ethnic groups. Up to 128 houses valued at nearly 6 billion VND funded by philanthropists were built.

    More than 1,900 people joined the voluntary blood donation campaign. Free health check-ups and medicines were given to the poor and Agent Orange victims in the locality.

    Toll reduction to start at Soc Trang BOT toll booth from January 12

    The Ministry of Transport has approved the policy of road toll reduction at Soc Trang BOT toll station in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang from January 12.

    Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat yesterday signed a document sent to Soc Trang province People’s Committee, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam, the joint venture of investors Phuong Nam Company and Pacific Company about the toll cut.

    Buses in An Hiep, Thuan Hoa communes and Chau Thanh town, Chau Thanh district will be exempt from paying the fee, those not used for business activities will see 50 percent cut and other vehicles will enjoy 20 percent reduction. In addition, the toll exemption will be considered in other special cases.

    At present, investors are doing necessary procedures to apply the toll reduction from January 12.

    Soc Trang BOT toll gate has shut down many times to solve traffic jam for the last days as drivers refused to buy tickets to travel through the station saying they had already paid road maintenance fee so the toll collection was unreasonable.

    The toll station has been built to reclaim investment capital for the project of expanding National Highway 1A and building a bypass in Soc Trang city.

    HCMC to establish eastern innovative urban area: City Party Chief

    Ho Chi Minh City will establish an innovative urban area in the east of the city on the basic of connecting Saigon Hi-Tech Park in District 9, HCMC National University in Thu Duc and the urban area and financial center in District 2.

    HCMC Party Leader Nguyen Thien Nhan gives certificates of merit to teams for well implementing propaganda and education work in 2017 at a conference on January 11 (Photo: SGGP)

    He was speaking at a conference reviewing propaganda and education work in 2017 and implementing missions in 2018, yesterday.

    According to Mr. Nhan, if there is a suitable design, the three areas will interact with each other to create an innovative nucleus for the city to enter Industry 4.0.

    He required to better propaganda to ignite residents’ creativeness contributing to the city’s development.

    Propaganda and education work should head towards three pivotal contents of the city in 2018. Of these is the breakthrough in institution for the city to develop for the country on the basic of implementing central resolutions especially the National Assembly’s Resolution 54. Aside from that, the work should enhance leaders’ responsibility and promote residents’ creativeness.

    Reporting at the conference, head of HCMC Party Committee’s Propaganda and Education Board Than Thi Thu said that last year propaganda and education proved efficiency in fortifying and stabilizing political thought, creating belief and consensus in the society to the Party’s leadership and internal unity.

    Still she admitted that the work was sometimes still formalistic and not drastic.

    Among operations in 2018, Ms. Thu said that they would focus on popularizing implementation results of resolutions especially NA Resolution 54 on piloting specific mechanisms for the city’s development.

    Trade members contribute VND2.4 billion for charity activities

    In its meeting to review last year’s movement and mission in 2017, trade union in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday announced that state-run employees had contributed one-day's salary worth a total of VND2.4 billion ($105,695) to its funds.

    With last year’s movement themed “Enhance sense of responsibility for serving people and standards of morality” and “Year for the union members’ benefits”, the trade union carried out well its tasks to take care of and protect employees’ legitimate rights.

    Especially, the union mobilized VND2.4 billion ($105,695) from workers for the funds to help poor members and provide scholarships to low-income members’ children who study well.

    The trade union also took care of Heroic Vietnamese Mothers, seriously wounded soldiers and built charity houses for social welfare beneficiaries.

    In coming Tet holidays (the Lunar New Year) 2017, the trade union is also running programs to take care of workers by gifting 1,138 workers worth VND892 million.

    Additionally, in 2017, trade unions in companies contributed VND2.3 billion to support residents in flood-hit districts.

    In the year, the trade union introduced 1,545 members to become Party members and 324 of them were received into the Communist Party of Vietnam.

    On the occasion, the trade union was awarded third-rank Labor Medal by the President. The Labor Union in HCMC also presented certificates of merits and honoring flags to 71 teams and 39 good members, meanwhile the trade union gave certificates of merits to 60 teams and 109 individuals who actively contributed to movements.

    Gov’t supports preschoolers’ meal

    According to the government’ decree No. 06/2018 taking effect on February 20, 2018, preschoolers from low-income families in disadvantaged districts, in mountainous regions, islands and border crossings nationwide will receive support.

    As per the decree, the government will give support of meal charge equivalent to 10 percent of basic salary per month not exceeding nine months a year.

    There are two options for support kids’ meal; schools will keep the amount to cook for kids or parents/ caregivers will receive cash. Schools and parents will make a deal.

    Before, the government had issued a decree on preschool teacher policy. Accordingly, teachers and deputy head in public preschools work on contracts signed by authorized agencies.

    HCMC honors students with good performance

    The Youth Communist Union in Ho Chi Minh City organized a ceremony to mark 68th anniversary of Traditional Day of Vietnamese students and Vietnam Students' Association at the Youth Cultural House.

    At the ceremony, the union applauded good students who both study well and actively participate in school movements.

    Reviewing the tradition of students in the country’s revolutionary movement in 1968, Standing Deputy Secretary of the Youth Communist Nguyen Viet Que Son said that generation of students tried to study hard and participate in activities for the community’s benefits to continue good tradition of previous generations.

    On behalf of the Party Committee, deputy Party chief of Ho Chi Minh City Vo Thi Dung praised students’ efforts for years expecting that they will continue to try more to deserve with their families’ love.

    “Students with Five Good Performances” title were presented to outstanding 102 students and two teams in recognition of their brilliant academic results and contributions to the students’ movements.
    Additionally, more 113 good students titled “Students are active in movements” were commended at the ceremony.

    Deputy Party chief Vo Thi Dung, Deputy Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu and thousands of university students attended the event.

    Annual student award presented to 275 outstanding students, groups

    The Central Committee of the Vietnam Students Association (VSA) held a ceremony in Hanoi to present the Sao Thang Gieng (January Star) Awards and the Sinh Vien 5 Tot (Student with five good points) certificates to outstanding students and groups from colleges and universities throughout the country on January 7.

    This year’s Sao Thang Gieng (January Star) Awards honored 138 students of 54 cities and provinces nationwide for their significant academic achievements during the last academic year and their active participation in the VSA and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCMCYU)’s activities.

    The Sinh Vien 5 Tot (Student with five good points) certificate praised 124 students and 13 groups who fulfilled five criteria in studying and self-improvement. The criteria include good ethics, good learning, good skills, good integration, and good health.

    The meeting marking the 68th anniversary of Traditional Day of Vietnamese students (January 9) was attended by Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh.

    Ministry agrees to reduce Sóc Trăng BOT toll

    The Ministry of Transport on Thursday issued an urgent document agreeing to reduce the toll for vehicles passing a station in Sóc Trăng Province as the drivers’ protest entered its fifth day.

    The document, signed by deputy minister Nguyễn Nhật, allows free passage for buses and a 50 per cent discount for vehicles not used for business purposes. The discount can reach up to 100 per cent in special cases. A 20 per cent discount is universally applied to all other vehicles.

    Sóc Trăng authorities and the investors of the road project to expand the National Highway 1 section running across Thuận Hòa Commune and to build a bypass for Sóc Trăng City under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model – the collector of the Sóc Trăng BOT station, have been under tremendous pressure since Sunday as drivers deliberately blocked the booth every day, causing severe congestion in the area.

    The booth was forced to open free from time to time to reduce the jams, but the protesting drivers kept coming back. They argued that the booth’s location was “unreasonable” and that they had to pay tolls for the bypass that they did not use, between VNĐ25,000 (US$1.1) and 140,000 each depending on the type of vehicle.

    Govt urges quick plan for Tan Son Nhat Airport expansion

    The Government has urged relevant agencies to quickly complete a plan to expand Tan Son Nhat Airport, which should take into consideration all possible scenarios to raise the airport’s annual capacity to 70 million passengers. The plan must be sent to the Government prior to next Monday.

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Ministry of Transport to direct ADP-I Engineering, a French consulting firm, to include all feasible options for the airport expansion to both north and south of the airport, meaning the controversial golf course in the airport could be closed down. The consultant needs to clarify the need to enlarge and improve the airport to ease the rising overload at the airport and meet the demand for air transport, and the project to expand and upgrade the airport could be fast-tracked for completion within one to two years.

    The airport expansion must take into account the development of other airports in the southern region, especially Long Thanh International Airport scheduled to be put into operation in 2025.

    Deputy PM Dung told the Ministry of Transport to analyze the cost-effectiveness of a scheme to expand the airport southward compared to the northward expansion, with factors like total investment, construction time and connectivity between new and old facilities.

    However, the consultant should also clarify how to use land north of the airport, meaning the existing golf course, for the airport expansion.

    The Government requires relevant agencies to assess the use of military land such as the golf course and land used by military units, and land for the aviation sector, hereby proposing the most feasible investment solution.

    Besides, the ministry and the consulting firm should assess impacts of noise and environmental problems owing to the airport expansion in accordance with the Vietnamese and international laws, and compare to environment protection regulations of other countries to conclude if the upgrade of Tan Son Nhat International Airport is suitable to the city in the future or not.

    Deputy PM Dung assigned the Ministry of Transport to consult relevant ministries and agencies and the HCMC government to finalize the plan for Tan Son Nhat International Airport expansion and upgrading and submit it to the Prime Minister prior to January 15.

    Currently, apart from the consulting firm ADP-I that is drafting the airport expansion and upgrade scheme, an independent group of aviation scientists and experts has been established by the HCMC government to map out the airport expansion plan.

    The Ministry of Transport had earlier submitted to the Prime Minister the adjusted airport expansion plan to enable the airport to serve 43-45 million passengers a year and quickly tackle bottlenecks at the airport.

    Accordingly, more taxiways and passenger terminal T4 would be added in two to three years’ time on the airport’s existing land. However, scientists and experts later proposed using land from the golf course to expand the airport.

    To ensure transparency, the Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Transport to hire an independent international consultant to study and suggest a scheme for the long-awaited expansion of the airport towards the north where the operational golf course is located and the south to increase the capacity of the airport to 45-50 million passengers a year.

    Dien Bien holds services for soldier remains found in Laos

    The northwestern province of Dien Bien on January 12 held a ceremony to rebury the remains of nine Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime.

    The remains were found by the 2nd Military Region of the Vietnam People’s Army, with support of the Lao authorities.

    Major General Pham Duc Duyen, Deputy Political Commissar of the 2nd Military Region, said that in 2017, it found and handed over a total of 44 Vietnamese soldier remains to Dien Bien province.

    In 2018, the 2nd Military Region will continue the project to clear unexploded ordnances and search for soldier remains in Ha Giang province.

    Binh Duong cares for workers on Lunar New Year

    The Binh Duong People’s Committee earmarked nearly 190 billion VND (8.36 million USD) to assist local workers and policy beneficiaries on the occasion of Lunar New Year holiday (Tet).

    The money will be used to grant assistance in cash, at 500,000 VND (22 USD) per person, for migrant workers who cannot go home on Tet.

    President of the Binh Duong Labour Federation Truong Thi Bich Hanh said her agency has called for involvement of businesses and sponsors in practical Tet programmes for workers such as giving free bus tickets and gifts, and making New Year visits to workers who cannot return home on Tet.

    Hanh said the union is mobilising donations to offer 4,000 coach tickets for migrant workers.

    Binh Duong is now home to over 20 industrial parks, covering a total area of more than 8,800 hectares. A large number of workers in these industrial parks come from other provinces and cities, with some as far as the northern region.

    Workers urged to gear up for 4th industrial revolution

    The most important challenge facing the Vietnamese working class is to get ready to ride the fourth industrial revolution, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

    Speaking at a conference of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) in Hanoi on January 12, the Deputy PM pointed out that Vietnam and other countries are embarking on the revolution, which requires integration in both depth and width, as well as renovation.

    He praised significant contributions made by the VGCL and trade unions at all levels to national socio-economic achievements in 2017, and expressed his hope that the general confederation will continue its coordination with the Government to care for labourers’ life.

    As Tet (Lunar New Year) is nearing, the official asked the VGCL to join hands with all-level competent agencies to ensure a safe and happy holiday for all labourers.

    At the conference, the VGCL set forth tasks for all-level trade unions in 2018, focusing on preparing the 12th national trade union congress for the 2018-2023 tenure, and contributing to developing policies and laws directly relating to trade union members and labourers.

    Trade unions at all levels will increase their supervision of the implementation of policies and laws towards labourers, especially the adjustment of regional minimum wages in 2018, while working on the adjustment plan in 2019.

    In 2017, the VGCL has surpassed the target of 10 million members set for 2013-2018 tenure, the conference heard.

    The confederation’s chapters have involved in the negotiation and signing of 27,866 collective labour contracts in 2017, up 817 contracts compared to 2016.  The trade unions also organised 30,641 regular dialogues with businesses, up nearly 39 percent against 2016, and 3,101 unexpected dialogues, a rise of close to 21 percent year-on-year, helping timely address concerns of labourers at the grassroots level.

    They also participated in 24,446 inspections of the enforcement of policies and laws towards labourers as compared with some 20,446 inspections conducted in 2016.

    Ca Mau needs 57 billion VND in recovery from natural disasters

    The southernmost province of Ca Mau is asking for the central government’s financial support of 57 billion VND (2.5 million USD) to recover consequences of natural calamities.

    Under a document recently sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province said the money will be used to upgrade and repair irrigational works, dredge up rivers, reinforce river embankments, and build facilities to prevent drought and saline intrusion to safeguard farming land in U Minh, Thoi Binh and Tran Van Thoi districts.

    Those are part of efforts to mitigate damages caused by prolonged drought and saline intrusion and protect winter-autumn rice crop 2017-2018 in the locality.

    Ca Mau province has 254 kilometres of coastline. Due to critical impacts of climate change and natural disasters like drought, landslide and saline intrusion, the province experiences economic losses worth tens of billions of VND each year.

    Tollgates in Mekong Delta face fierce opposition from drivers

    Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has decided on a series of solutions for two tollgates in the Mekong Delta following continuous objections from commuters.

    Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat convened meetings with authorities of Can Tho City and Soc Trang Province, where the two toll stations are located, to find a suitable solution to end the current situation on January 8.

    The first tollgate belongs to a BOT (build-operate-transfer) project on the upgrade of a 22 kilometer section of National Highway 1 from Can Tho to Phung Hiep District, Hau Giang Province.

    At a cost of VND1.83 trillion (US$80.6 million), the project was completed in 2015 and the toll collection began in April 2016.

    Drivers have been complaining that they are required to pay an unreasonable toll as the rates are charged for the entire 22 kilometer route, while many drivers only need to travel a short distance within the highway section.

    Meanwhile, the second toll station is part of the BOT project on upgrading a section of highway as well as building a detour in Soc Trang City, located in the namesake province.

    The work cost about VND1.2 trillion (US$52.8 million), and the tollgate was put into operation in June 2017.

    The facility is placed on the existing highway, charging commuters regardless of which of the two routes that they pick.

    Drivers asserted that the placement is unreasonable, and that developers should only collect tolls from those who want to travel on the new detour, not on the old highway.

    Fierce opposition has been sparked among commuters since last week, as drivers stopped their vehicles along all lanes at the two tollgates, refusing to pay.

    As the situation escalated and caused long delays of traffic in the areas, the toll stations were forced to repeatedly cease their operations to resolve the congestion.

    During a meeting on January 8, the Ministry of Transport stated that it will review a toll exemption policy to residents who live near the toll station in Soc Trang Province, which is expected to be implemented on February 1.

    As a temporary measure, buses and other public means of transportation will not have to pay the toll from January 9.

    Following the gathering, the collection of road tolls at the facility was resumed at 4:30 pm on the same day.

    The project developers are willing to discuss and negotiate with the people to prevent any tension in the future.

    Regarding the tollgate in Can Tho City, the transport ministry has agreed upon the toll reduction for certain groups of drivers.

    Authorities in Can Tho and Hau Giang Province were tasked with finalizing the list of vehicles that will be eligible for such policy prior to January 15.

    Accordingly, the overall rates will be lowered by seven to 10%, while vehicles belonging to local residents and businesses will be given a 35% reduction.

    Developers of the project have taken responsibility for the issue and promised to follow the direction of authorities.

    Problems relating to tollgates of BOT projects in Vietnam have become a hot topic since late last year.

    In early December, attention of local media was directed to the toll station of a road project in Cai Lay Town in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang due to persistent objections from drivers.

    The issue at this tollgate is similar to that in Soc Trang Province.

    The opposition was so intense that the prime minister had to order the one-month closure of the toll station to figure out the optimal solution.

    Several measures have been proposed by competent authorities but the final decision has yet to be made.

    BOT is a project-financing framework in which the developer receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct and operate a facility for a certain period, during which it has to raise the finances for the project and is entitled to retain all revenues generated by it.

    The facility is then transferred to the public administration at the end of the concession agreement.

    Jetstar flight makes emergency landing in Hanoi

    A Jetstar Pacific flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City hasn been forced to turn around and make an emergency landing at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

    According to passengers on board flight BL785, the plane turned around only 15 minutes after taking off from Noi Bai at around 8:30 am on January 8.

    A Jetstar representative confirmed the incident to Tuoi Tre(Youth) newspaper, saying that the pilots received an alert about a possible fault with the plane’s landing gear via the cockpit warning system.

    Jetstar Pacific flight BL785 is pictured at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on January 8, 2018. The plane urgently landed after receiving an error message from its cockpit warning system. 

    However, maintenance engineers later found that it had been a false alarm, confirming that the plane’s landing gear was functioning normally.

    “Our policy is to approach every cockpit alert seriously and to check on every reported error before putting the plane back in operation,” the representative explained.

    All passengers aboard flight BL785 were transferred to another flight which departed from Noi Bai for Ho Chi Minh City at 2:55 pm the same day.

    The budget carrier paid VND400,000 (US$17.62) in compensation to each passenger, while providing them with a complimentary lunch during their wait.

    In related news, a Vietjet flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh City in north-central Nghe An Province had to circle the destination airport multiple times before landing due to poor visibility, said to be caused by fog.

    Flight VJ212 had been scheduled to land at 8:00 am on January 8, but low-hanging cloud and heavy fog forced the pilots to delay their landing by one hour while they waited in the sky for better weather, according to a Vietjet representative.

    On January 7 two other Vietjet flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh – VJ224 and VJ200 – were also forced to make alternate landings at Noi Bai due to unfavorable conditions at the Vinh Airport.

    The budget airline arranged a free long-haul bus for the diverted passengers to travel by road from Hanoi to Vinh.

    Those who refused to take the bus received compensation of VND200,000 (US$8.81) to travel to Vinh privately.

    Party committees’ responsibility for grassroots-level democracy urged

    Politburo member Truong Thi Mai, head of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation Truong Thi Mai has requested raising responsibility of Party committees and authorities for exercising the regulations on democracy at grassroots level. 

    During a meeting in Hanoi on January 11 reviewing the exercise of grassroots-level democracy in 2017, Mai lauded improvements in administrative reform and settlement of complaints and denunciations in many localities. 

    She said lives in remote, mountainous and ethnic minority regions need to be improved via socio-economic development while relations between the Party committees, authorities, the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), socio-political organisations and the people need to be stronger via dialogues. 

    Mai suggested strengthening the monitoring of responsibility of heads of units, adding that three inspection groups led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, President of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man, and deputy head of the Commission for Mass Mobilisation Tran Thi Bich Thuy will oversee the exercise of democracy regulations in the southeast, northern border provinces, the Government Inspectorate, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour in the first half of this year. 

    In 2017, Party committees, authorities, VFF and socio-political organisations directed the enforcement of the Party’s guidelines and State laws on democracy regulations at grassroots level, the Resolution adopted by the fourth plenum of the 12th National Party Congress and Decree No.05-CT/TW on strengthening corruption and wastefulness prevention and control, campaigns on developing new style rural areas and building cultural life. 

    Awareness of Party committees and authorities of democracy and democracy exercise has also been improved, bringing into full play the role, potential and creativity of people and encouraging them to join patriotic movements, and contributing to maintaining political stability and social order and building a pure and strong grassroots political system, heard the meeting.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/13/18--00:44: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 13/1


    Tax payment from state own enterprises sharply reduces in HCMC

    The tax amount collected from state own enterprises (SOEs) reduced 77.37 percent over 2016 to VND15,768 billion (US$694 million) last year and from local SOEs went down nearly 83 percent to VND6,445 billion, reported HCMC Taxation Department.

    Conversely, tax payment from foreign invested companies and non-state sector buinesses and service firms moved up 18.88 percent to VND58,019 billion and 13.7 percent to VND48,849 billion respectively.

    Two revenues strongly increasing from these two economic sectors comprise special consumption tax, up 36.49 percent, and resource tax.

    Total tax revenue in HCMC was VND238,889 billion, up 16.84 percent over 2016. Of these, crude oil brought VND16,865 billion, raising 18.61 percent. Domestic income excluding oil, lottery and land use fee was VND197,266 billion, increasing 12.1 percent.

    Da Nang reserves Tet goods worth VND 800bln

    The Trade and Industry Department of Da Nang city yesterday said that shopkeepers at large scale markets of Han and Hoa Cuong in Da Nang city have prepared for a huge volume of Tet goods with an estimate of VND 150 billion.

    Additionally, the functional agency also worked with ten enterprises who have reserved 200 tons of rice, 750 tons of meats and 450 tons of dried and frozen foods.

    The local wholesale markets, shopping malls and supermarkets ensured to reservation of 145 tons of fresh vegetable.

    Dealers also reserved a huge number of goods for Tet holiday with an estimate of around VND 500 billion. They pledged to keep price stability on the Lunar New Year.

    Vietnam negotiates trade pacts with 60 economies

    Vietnam has been negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with around 60 economies worldwide, which currently occupy approximately 90% of Vietnam's total trade revenue, heard a meeting in Hanoi, on January 11.

    The meeting, held by the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration, was chaired by Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

    Reports show that Vietnam has so far ratified 10 bilateral and multilateral trade pacts with partners from across the globe, while negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and bilateral FTAs with Israel and Cuba.

    2017 marked Vietnam's 22-year membership in ASEAN and the success of the APEC Year hosted by Vietnam, making significant contributions to promoting Vietnam's economic integration.

    Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM Hue, who is also head of the steering committee, emphasised that 2018 will be an important year for Vietnam as the country strives to fulfil its commitments regarding international economic integration.

    Vietnam should enhance its competitiveness and complete its institutions in order to actively respond to integration, particularly in the areas facing fierce competition, including breeding and cultivation.

    Meanwhile, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh noted that besides boosting international integration, Vietnam should continue promoting domestic integration through the fulfilment of international commitments, institutional reforms, economic restructuring and the renewal of the growth model.

    Vietnam’s buoyant exports lay firm foundation for 2018


     Tax payment from state own enterprises sharply reduces in HCMC, Vietnam’s buoyant exports lay firm foundation for 2018, Vietnam negotiates trade pacts with 60 economies, JLL: Supply of southern IPs relatively constant
      
    Vietnam’s export revenues rose by over 21% last year to hit approximately US$214 billion, providing a solid foundation for even better results in 2018.

    Such a strong performance helped Vietnam record a trade surplus of US$2.7 billion, the highest figure in more than a decade.

    It came partly as a result of the government’s flexible policies, bold efforts to deal with the difficulties facing enterprises and a slew of trade promotion activities.

    Experts say that local exporters will encounter a great deal of hurdles from continued global uncertainties and growing protectionism, as manifested in more and more anti-dumping cases against Vietnamese goods.

    Amid a plethora of challenges, Vietnam needs to further step up its international economic integration in 2018 through concrete measures such as accelerating the negotiation, signing and approval of free trade agreements.

    Such trade pacts will give more room to Vietnamese goods and enhance their competitive edge in the global market.

    In the meantime, measures are needed to consolidate the presence of Vietnamese goods in established markets, especially those with which Vietnam has continually posted a trade surplus, while also exploring opportunities in new markets by focusing on the goods that are Vietnam’s strength.

    As for Vietnam’s trade missions abroad, it is advised that they organise more trade promotion events, hold direct talks with Vietnamese exporters and major foreign retailers to advertise Vietnamese goods and seek export opportunities.

    As a key factor dictating the success of exports, quality needs further improvement by pushing the formulation and application of national quality control standards in harmony with international and regional criteria.

    The authorities concerned should educate local exporters on the specific rules enforced in major export markets that could potentially become obstacles to Vietnamese goods.

    For their part, exporters need to customise their products to meet the market demands and proactively adjust their supply chains so that the final products will meet the rule of origin and take advantage of preferential tax rates laid down in Vietnam’s trade pacts with other economies.

    In addition, they need to familiarise themselves with the unique requirements of each market, fully comply with food safety regulations, and other rules, in order to avoid unanticipated investigations and other trade defence measures.

    JLL: Supply of southern IPs relatively constant

    Southern Vietnam’s real estate market witnessed a relatively constant supply of industrial parks in the second half of 2017 compared to the first half, with a total leasable land area of about 24,000 ha, according to the latest report from JLL Vietnam.

    Of the total, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces remained the leading markets, accounting for nearly 60 per cent, given their better accessibility to transportation infrastructure.

    The vacancy rate at operating IPs stood at approximately 25 per cent as at the end of 2017, down 180 basis points from the same period of 2016 and driven by healthy demand.

    Healthy performance was observed in existing ready-built factories, which recorded more than 85 per cent occupancy rates due to strong demand and limited leasable stock.

    As at the fourth quarter of 2017, land rentals in the Southern Key Economic Zone averaged $72 per sq m per lease term, representing an increase of 3.3 per cent year-on-year.

    By location, rentals in Ho Chi Minh City have long held the lead in the south, at nearly double the regional average. Net land rentals in other southern cities saw an upward trend, within the range of $3 to $5 per sq m for the lease period.

    Factory rentals were relatively unchanged compared to previous quarters, at between $2 and $5 per sq m per month.

    The report also noted that more than 1,300 ha of supply now in the pipeline is expected to enter the southern market over the next year, mostly from expansions at existing projects.

    Occupancy and rental growth rates are both expected to go higher due to active occupier demand and positive economic prospects.

    Demand for good quality, ready-built space and related services at industrial parks will likely increase strongly.

    Red Wok invests in Quan Ut Ut chains

    The Red Wok Cuisine Joint Stock Company has announced an investment in the Quan Ut Ut Barbecue and Bia Craft restaurant chains. This is part of Red Wok’s market expansion strategy, which includes conducting investments in small-scale businesses that have four to ten restaurants and providing support to restaurant chains in terms of management experience to boost its competitive advantages.

    In addition to its financial investment, Red Wok will also support the restaurant chains in financial management consulting, human resources, IT, marketing, and market development. This will help provide greater competitive advantages for the Quan Ut Ut and Bia Craft chains in the future. The investment is also part of Red Wok’s market expansion strategy from now to 2021, to become the Vietnamese cuisine group with the most popular restaurant chains in the country.

    “We have always been focusing on building brands based on understanding customer insights,” said Ms. Tran Thi Lan Anh, CEO of Red Wok Cuisine. “We decided to invest in Quan Ut Ut and Bia Craft in the belief that they are popular barbecue and craft beer restaurant chains in Ho Chi Minh City and hold strong potential for developing nationwide.”

    The Quan Ut Ut Co., Ltd. is the current owner of the Quan Ut Ut Barbecue and  Bia Craft chains, which are popular among the city’s young. The concept of restaurants selling craft beer is an innovation in Vietnam, with beer brewed in microbreweries using traditional brewing procedures combined with diverse ingredients to create a distinctive taste. At Quan Ut Ut and Bia Craft restaurants, all dishes and craft beer are modified to suit the Vietnamese palate. Moreover, its designs are imbued with the liberal style seen on Ho Chi Minh City streets, bringing a comfortable feeling for customers.

    “Red Wok is a great partner to have on board,” said Mr. Tim Scott, General Director of the Quan Ut Ut Co. “Through this collaboration and by leveraging each company’s strengths, we look forward to innovative growth, new perspectives, and challenging the status quo. We are excited about the opportunity to bring our American BBQ and craft beer concepts to an even wider audience.”

    According to Mr. Chad Ovel, Partner at Mekong Capital, in 2017, Red Wok completed its transformation from a company with a single restaurant concept, Wrap and Roll, to a multi-concept restaurant group. “Red Wok has demonstrated that it can both successfully launch its own concepts and grow together with other restaurant entrepreneurs by providing them with growth capital and valuable coaching from proven and tested restaurant leadership veterans,” he said. “Red Wok is highly committed to the future growth of Quan Ut Ut and Bia Craft given the strong fit of these concepts with Vietnamese consumer preferences and the big vision of the company’s founders.” In 2016, Mekong Enterprise Fund III - managed by Mekong Capital, a private equity fund manager - invested $6.9 million in the Wrap and Roll Restaurant Joint Stock Company.

    Vietnam again fifth in consumer confidence in Q3 2017

    Consumer confidence in Vietnam stood at 116 in the third quarter of 2017, down 1 point from the second quarter, seeing it remain the fifth most-optimistic country globally, after India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the US, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index from market researchers Nielsen.

    “Overall, consumer confidence in the Southeast Asian region strengthened modestly,” said Ms. Nguyen Huong Quynh, Managing Director of Nielsen Vietnam. “In Vietnam, our consumers are optimistic, maintaining confidence throughout 2017. This consistent trend is enhanced by consumers’ optimistic perception of their personal finances and immediate spending intentions, and may be also buoyed by the good momentum in GDP growth in the first nine months of the year, with surging inflows of foreign investment, growth in household income, and a falling unemployment rate.”

    “Many respondents in Vietnam said they expected their personal finances to be good or excellent in the coming year and expressed optimism about job prospects,” Ms. Quynh went on. “These perceptions are reflected in the overall trend towards high confidence observed over past years. Reasons may be related to the fact that Vietnam is a country where young consumers share a view of hope for better living conditions, higher incomes, better education for their children, and expectations of improvements in the next year.”

    Saving continues to be an integral part of Southeast Asian consumers habits, with more than three in five respondents (67 per cent) putting their spare cash into savings. “Consumers in Vietnam are certainly consistent in their desire to build a nest egg for the future, and quarter after quarter we observe this trend,” Ms. Quynh said. “So, saving is a way of life for a majority of Vietnamese consumers because of this ingrained desire. However, they are also more willing to open their wallets for discretionary spending on holidays, recreational activities, upgrading technological gadgets, making home improvements, and so forth, in order to reflect their eagerness to have a better life.”

    “It is understandable that consumers want to secure their position at the workplace, as working is the only way to make all their desire becomes a reality,” said Ms. Quynh. “Also, in the current context, when being bombarded with a great deal of information on the internet and media about food safety and quality, leading a healthier life becomes a top-of-mind mandate for all consumers so that they can have greater longevity.”

    Tax authorities puzzled over Airbnb tax obligations

    Despite Airbnb being present in Vietnam since 2015 and operating with profit, it is difficulty for tax authorities to tax the company as it does not yet have a business registration licence or a representative office and legal representation in Vietnam.

    Airbnb has been available in Vietnam since 2015, connecting people seeking accommodation with those looking to rent via a technology platform, taking a fee after transactions.

    The number of rooms for rent increased from the initial 1,000 to 10,000 by the end of last year, primarily in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, according to the latest research from Grant Thornton Vietnam.

    Meanwhile, thousands of apartments and villas in Halong, Sapa, and Danang are for rent on the platform, with prices 30 per cent cheaper than comparable hotels.

    Hanoi has been ranked sixth among the 10 destinations with the highest increase in bookings in 2017, according to Airbnb.

    Airbnb joined Uber and Grab as the most recognisable new “sharing” business models that have changed the way people around the world access and use services.

    It not only has a large-scale business network with reasonable fees, it also creates a connection between hosts and customers. Notably, hosts are willing to help and take care of customers in case they have a health problem.

    Beside, comment threads between hosts and customers are published on the Airbnb website and only the company has the right to delete these comments. It makes it easy for customers to select the best accommodation and help the host avoid bad customers.

    Regarding the fees, customers will have to pay between 10-15 per cent of the booking price to Airbnb and the host 3 per cent. For example, the listed price at accomodations for rent is $50 per night, however, customers who book accomodation via Airbnb will have to pay between $60-75. Payments can only be made via credit card.

    Despite Airbnb’s operating in Vietnam since 2015, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation and the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism have yet to extend supervision over Airbnb’s operations. Even a number of tourism companies were unaware of Airbnb's services in Vietnam, despite its fast growth.

    Le Thi Thu Huong, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Taxation, told VIR that since May 2017, the department had been trying to bring the company’s operations under management and requesting the company to pay tax, with no effect.

    Huong stated that in Ho Chi Minh City alone, there are 2,074 hosts looking to rent out space via Airbnb, which is a large number, thus tax collected from Airbnb would contribute a part to the city’s budget.

    According to lawyer Nguyen Huu Phuoc, founder of Phuoc & Partners Law Company, Airbnb has yet to register its business in Vietnam, however, Circular No.103/2014/TT-BTC dated August 6, 2014, shows that foreign business organisations, regardless of having permanent establishments in Vietnam or not, as well as foreign business individuals, regardless of their place of residence, (foreign contractors and foreign sub-contractors) who do business in Vietnam or earn income in Vietnam from contracts, agreements or commitments with a Vietnamese entity, are subject to tax.

    Thus, regarding the law, there is ample legal basis to identify tax obligations for Airbnb. However, Phuoc added that in reality, it is still difficult to manage and ask Airbnb to pay tax because the payments are only made via credit card without any bills.

    Vung Ro Petroleum shakes hands with DenimoTech

    Vung Ro Petroleum Co., Ltd. (VRP), the operator of Vietnam's third oil refinery located in the central province of Phu Yen and backed by the UK-based Technostar Management Limited, today signed a co-operative agreement with DenimoTech, a Denmark-headquartered firm, aiming to provide turnkey solutions for the petroleum by-product sector and aid the implementation of VRP’s new manufacturing plant in Vietnam.

    Specifically, the Danish industrial product manufacturer committed to team up with $3.2 billion Vung Ro oil refinery in the construction of a high-tech state-of-the-art bituminous binders processing plant, utilising green technology from Denmark.

    The plant will have a storage capacity of 12,000 tonnes with a second phase upgrade to 30,000 tonnes. It is expected to be a top-notch environmental friendly bitumen emulsion and polymer modified bitumen plant, which is also a state-of-the-art packing facility to facilitate exports of hi-tech bituminous products to regional markets.

    Kirill Korolev, general director of Vung Ro Petroleum told VIR that it is expected to start the first phase development this year.

    He said that this plant is part of Vung Ro Petroleum’s attempt to produce its own high-quality bituminous binders compliant to Vietnamese standards, American Superpave Performance Grade standards and other standards required by customers in the region.

    He added that “this project will contribute significantly to Vietnam’s infrastructure development. The road, airport and port infrastructure of a country are barometers for its advancement, wealth and prosperity.”

    “We, at Vung Ro Petroleum, are proud to contribute to this development with our full commitment and selecting the world’s best technology providers to bring possibly the best materials and science to the Vietnamese market,” Korolev added.

    While, Bernd Schmidt, CEO of Bitumina Group and chairman of DenimoTech, asserted that “Together with our partners, international vendors and some of our best scientists from Denmark, we will deliver a cutting-edge facility and technology for Vung Ro Petroleum and help bring in pavement design which has longer-life and can solve the local engineering problems of the Vietnamese construction and industrial sectors.”

    Trà Vinh Province seeks investment in 10 agricultural projects

    Trà Vinh Province is calling for investment in 10 agricultural projects that are part of a plan to develop the area’s agriculture and improve the lives of farmers.

    The projects, worth a total of VNĐ969 billion (US$42 million), include a freshwater pond in Duyên Hải District’s Đôn Châu Commune; a quality assurance programme for agriculture and aquatic products; animal husbandry projects; new factories for processing meat and fodder; and other programmes to boost agriculture and fishery.

    The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development targets increasing agriculture earnings by 4 per cent by the end of the year.

    Agricultural businesses currently account for only 6 per cent of businesses operating in Trà Vinh.

    M&A deals increase Chinese investment in Vietnam

    Chinese businesses tend to make their stronger presence in Vietnam through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals, especially in real estate.

    Chen Dehai, Chinese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, said at a recent meeting to promote investment opportunities in the city that Chinese investment into Vietnam has surged high since 2016. Businesses have poured much capital in different projects in thermal and wind power, solar energy pin, garment, and tyre production, even up to US$2 billion in one project.

    According to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, China ranked fourth among foreign investors with the highest amount of investment capital pledged for Vietnam last year.

    2017 also witnessed many M&A deals between Chinese businesses and Vietnamese partners in real estate.

    Chinese businesses have not only focused on M&A deals and real estate but also increased their investment in industrial production. They tend to invest in garment, fibre and footwear to take advantage of tax incentives when exporting to the EU and US as Vietnam have signed free trade agreements with these countries.

    A clear proof for the move is that the Bank of China, Ho Chi Minh City branch and China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange signed a cooperation deal in December 2017 to further attract Chinese investment into Vietnam.

    High-tech bitumen plant to be built in Phu Yen

    Danish global machinery equipment maker DenimoTech and Vung Ro Petroleum Company Limited on January 11 signed an agreement to build a high-tech bitumen plant in the central coastal province of Phu Yen.

    The construction of the plant will be divided into two phases. The first will be implemented in a year, and the second will begin in the middle of the year and last for 26-28 months.

    During the first phase, the plant will import high quality bituminous binders from the world’s leading manufacturers and process them into advanced construction materials for both the Vietnamese market and exports to neighbouring countries.

    The plant has been designed to have a storage capacity of 12,000 metric tonnes (MT) with a second phase upgrade to 30,000 MT. It is expected to be a top-notch environmentally-friendly bitumen-emulsion and polymer-modified bitumen plant. It will also be a state-of-the-art packing facility for exports of hi-tech bituminous products to regional markets. It will have its own port facility.

    The plant is part of Vung Ro Petroleum’s attempt to produce its own high-quality bituminous binders compliant with Vietnamese Standards, American Superpave Performance Grade Standards and other standards required by customers in the region.

    Kirill Korolev, CEO of Vung Ro Petroleum, believes that the project will contribute significantly to Vietnam’s infrastructure development.

    “The road, airport and port infrastructure of a country are barometres for its advancement, wealth and prosperity. We are proud to contribute to this development. We are selecting the world’s best technology providers to bring the best materials and science to the Vietnamese market,” Kirill said.

    Vung Ro Petroleum’s CEO said he was not authorised to disclose the full amount of the investment, but said it was above 500 million USD.

    “Together with our partners, international vendors and some of the best scientists from Denmark, we will deliver a cutting-edge facility for Vung Ro Petroleum and help solve the engineering problems of Vietnamese construction and industrial sectors,” said Bernd Schmidt, chairman of DeminoTech.

    Vung Ro Petroleum shakes hands with DenimoTech

    Vung Ro Petroleum Co., Ltd. (VRP), the operator of Vietnam's third oil refinery located in the central province of Phu Yen and backed by the UK-based Technostar Management Limited, signed a co-operative agreement with DenimoTech, a Denmark-headquartered firm on January 11.

    The agreement aims to provide turnkey solutions for the petroleum by-product sector and aid the implementation of VRP’s new manufacturing plant in Vietnam.

    Specifically, the Danish industrial product manufacturer committed to team up with $3.2 billion Vung Ro oil refinery in the construction of a high-tech state-of-the-art bituminous binders processing plant, utilising green technology from Denmark.

    The plant will have a storage capacity of 12,000 tonnes with a second phase upgrade to 30,000 tonnes. It is expected to be a top-notch environmental friendly bitumen emulsion and polymer modified bitumen plant, which is also a state-of-the-art packing facility to facilitate exports of hi-tech bituminous products to regional markets.

    Kirill Korolev, general director of Vung Ro Petroleum told VIR that it is expected to start the first phase development this year.

    He said that this plant is part of Vung Ro Petroleum’s attempt to produce its own high-quality bituminous binders compliant to Vietnamese standards, American Superpave Performance Grade standards and other standards required by customers in the region.

    He added that “this project will contribute significantly to Vietnam’s infrastructure development. The road, airport and port infrastructure of a country are barometers for its advancement, wealth and prosperity.”

    “We, at Vung Ro Petroleum, are proud to contribute to this development with our full commitment and selecting the world’s best technology providers to bring possibly the best materials and science to the Vietnamese market,” Korolev added.

    While, Bernd Schmidt, CEO of Bitumina Group and chairman of DenimoTech, asserted that “Together with our partners, international vendors and some of our best scientists from Denmark, we will deliver a cutting-edge facility and technology for Vung Ro Petroleum and help bring in pavement design which has longer-life and can solve the local engineering problems of the Vietnamese construction and industrial sectors.”

    HCM City retail grows by more than 11% in 2017

    HCM City’s retail sector has been growing steadily, achieving an 11.3 per cent increase by the end of 2017 compared to 2016, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.

    According to the department, the total revenue of the retail sector last year was over VNĐ923.84 trillion (US$40 billion).

    Revenue from retail sales was VNĐ594.65 trillion, accounting for 64.4 per cent of total retail revenue (retail sales and retail services).

    The city had 207 supermarkets in 2017, an increase of 18 compared to 2016. At least 116 of them are domestic supermarkets, while 91 are foreign-owned.

    In addition, there were around 43 shopping malls in 2017, three more than in 2016. Fourteen of them are foreign owned. There were around 1,100 convenience stores in 2017, 218 more compared to 2016.

    HCMC to host Blockchain Week
       
    The 2018 Vietnam Blockchain Week will be held in HCM City in March to promote the potential of blockchain and 4.0 technologies.

    Organised by Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL), the event also aims to highlight Viet Nam’s position as a global hub of 4.0 technologies and advocate support from Vietnamese regulators to create a facilitating and nurturing environment for blockchain and 4.0 technologies.

    The event expects to attract 1,500 participants to demonstrate how blockchain is transforming the global economy and how Viet Nam is poised to become the next global blockchain and 4.0 technologies hub.

    By inviting only top tier speakers, thought leaders, business leaders and regulators from Viet Nam and the world in various realms of blockchain and other 4.0 technologies such as AI, VR/AR, and the Internet of Things, the organisers hope to use the event to help the Vietnamese tech community position itself in the global market.

    It will be held on March 7 and 8 at Riverside Palace in District 4.

    The blockchain concept is one of the most transformative and game-changing ideas since the Internet.

    It is a public transaction ledger built in a network structure based on cryptographic principles which removes the need for intermediaries while generating massive transactional applications to establish trust, accountability and transparency at lower costs, with fewer legal constraints and with less system friction.

    Blockchain technology goes well beyond cryptocurrencies, fintech, public voting, data sharing networks, and decentralised marketplaces and interacts with other cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and Big Data.

    Blockchain is in fact heralded as the backbone of 4.0 technologies. Currently tech juggernauts such as IBM, Microsoft and Google and international banks are engaged in a blockchain research and development race on a global scale.

    Thanks to its geopolitical stability and one of the world’s highest growth rates, Viet Nam has gained a global reputation in the ICT industry though still only as an outsourcing hub, according to IBL.

    The inherent novelty, tremendous potential and range of possibilities of blockchain and other 4.0 technologies will undoubtedly enable Viet Nam to thrive, especially its ICT industry, it said.

    HDBank, a good stock for investment
       
    With HDBank listing 981 million shares on the HCM Stock Exchange on Jan 5, the Vietnamese market now has another quality stock for investors.

    On the first day of trading, HDB gained 20 per cent to reach the ceiling price of VND39,600 (US$1.75).

    Volumes topped 32.3 million, with foreign investors snapping up more than five million shares.

    The bank's strong growth outlook is what makes the stock highly attractive to investors.

    Prior to its market debut, HDBank, formally known as the HCM City Development bank, had increased its chartered capital to VND9.8 trillion.

    Last month it raised more than $300 million by selling a 21.5 per cent stake to 76 foreign investors, including from the UK, Hong Kong, the US, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Australia.

    The remaining 8.5 per cent of the bank’s shares open for foreigners to buy is making HDB a buy when other listed banks have no further room for foreign investors.

    Another factor is that HDBank has become well-known thanks to the high profile of its board, which includes deputy chairwoman Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, who is also the founder of no-frills airline Vietjet Air, and chairwoman Le Thi Bang Tam, who also chairs Vinamilk — the largest firm by market cap on the Vietnamese stock market.

    On the first day of trading of HDB, Thao said: "We have built a foundation for the 2017-2021 plan which includes annual targets of 25 per cent growth and 37 per cent growth in profits and serving 15 millions customers by 2021.

    "In the last 10 years HDBank's total assets have grown 18-fold and we believe in our ability to grow the assets another 2.5-fold by 2021 in addition to keeping the lowest bad debt ratio in the whole [banking] sector."

    Speaking on the listing day, deputy governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, Nguyen Dong Tien, said HDBank is a successful case of the country's banking sector reforms in 2012-2015.

    HDBank has done a remarkable job to become one of the top banks in the country, he added.

    "Being the first credit institution to list on HoSE in 2018 not only marks a new chapter for HDBank, but also reaffirms its leaders' commitment to work towards transparency and ensuring the best interests of its customers, which is also in the best interests of the market, its investors, and shareholders."

    HDBank's successful listing on the stock market and status as one of the largest firms by market cap has created a positive outlook for the country's financial system and reaffirmed its attraction to international investors, he said.

    Established in 1990, merged with Dai A Bank in 2013 and buyer of France’s Société Générale Viet Finance, HDBank has become among the largest lenders in Viet Nam.

    As of December 2017 the bank had total assets worth more than VND191 trillion and capital in excess of VND15 trillion.

    Its pre-tax profit last year was VND2.42 trillion following a 110 per cent jump from 2016.

    It has a low bad debt ratio of 1.1 per cent, which rises to 1.5 per cent if non-performing loans (NPLs) at its retail financial company HD Saison are taken into account.

    Even during the dark days for the financial system a few years ago the bank always ensured it paid a 10 per cent dividend to its shareholders.

    Recently it announced a cash dividend and bonus payout of 25-30 per cent at this year shareholders meeting.

    HDBank targets 26 per cent growth in assets annually for the next five years with total assets rising to $20 billion and return-on-equity of 26 per cent.

    It also does not rule out the possibility of more M&A deals in the near future.

    HDbank has garnered many domestic and international awards, including the award for “Best Cash Managing Bank in Viet Nam” from AsiaMoney Magazine for five straight years (2012-16) and "Best Managed Company in Asia" award in 2015 and 2016 from British magazine Euromoney.

    Moody’s Investors Service assigned HDBank a first-time credit rating of B2 with a stable outlook for 2016.

    HDBank has been named among the 500 strongest banks in the Asia Pacific region and among the best commercial banks in Viet Nam by the Asian Banker.

    Company reports must meet world standards
       
    Credit-risk management should be enhanced to make sure business information was transparent and reliable to improve Viet Nam’s trade, economic and investment conditions, according to Nguyen Quang Thuan, CEO from data analysis firm StoxPlus.

    Thuan said credit-risk management was normally referred to as a core business activity done only by the banking-financial sector. However, he said potential risks may also pose threats to the country’s trade and investment environment if they were not fully addressed.

    Transparent business and economic information and data would help strengthen international trade between Viet Nam and other economies, draw more attention from foreign investors, improve the performance of local businesses and help them accessl foreign capital markets, Thuan said at a workshop yesterday.

    At the moment, “the reliability of data inputs in Viet Nam is still weak given the fragmented data-source infrastructure and poor financial reporting environment,” Thuan said.

    In addition, better credit risk and business data management would provide local banks better insight of the finance and operation of local businesses, he said.

    “As banks conduct insightful reviews of company profiles, they are able to determine whether the businesses are strong enough and whether lending rates should be high or low based on the financial risks that the business may encounter,” Thuan said.

    Credit risk and data management would help local authorities prevent foreign companies from transfer pricing, which is used to avoid taxation, and improve the quality of foreign investment in the economy, he added.

    In fact, there was a big difference between a company’s financial statement sent to the tax authority and the one sent to credit institutions for making loans, Thuan said.

    “We find out in some cases that if companies do not issue tax invoices for the products sold in the market, they do not have to record the transactions in the financial reports for tax purposes to avoid business income tax. But they can record the transactions in the financial statements submitted to the banks for credit purposes.”

    Therefore, Thuan urged authorities to empower independent third-party vendors that have technological advances, such as StoxPlus, to collect and analyse financial and economic data so that the information was transparent and reliable for investors.

    Agreeing with StoxPlus CEO, World Bank Vietnam lead financial sector specialist Alwaleed Alatabani said that the local authorities must compel companies to improve their financial statements and reports to meet international standards.

    He said that local authorities also needed to work with financial institutions on corporate earnings reports so that the country would provide better business environment and give foreign investors better insight into the Vietnamese economy.

    Complast plastics exhibition opens in HCM City
       
    Hundreds of new plastic products and the latest equipment and machines are on display at the 3rd international complete plastics exhibition (Complast Vietnam 2018), which was opened on Wednesday in HCM City.

    Smart Expos and Fair (India) Pvt. Ltd (SEFIPL) organised the fair in co-operation with Viet Nam Plastics Association (VPA) at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC) in District 7.

    Processing machines and technologies as well as chemicals, additives, test equipment and recycling services will be on display, among many other items.

    The three-day expo includes hundreds of exhibitors from 21 countries and regions, including India, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Greece, UAE, Australia, Italy and Sri Lanka.

    Visitors can interact with global corporations and hundreds of plastic industry solution providers.

    A seminar will be held on the sidelines of the expo on 3D printing technology for making tools, advanced recycling of plastic waste, and knowledge sessions on recycling plastics in Viet Nam.

    Investment opportunities in the industry are promising as the country has high-growth prospects, significant dependence on imported raw materials and processing machineries, and a high level of plastics exports.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers said that Viet Nam could become one the fastest-growing of the world’s emerging economies by 2025, with a potential growth rate of almost 10 per cent per annum.

    Customs revenue surpasses target     

    Revenue from the General Department of Customs (GDC) in 2017 hit VND297 trillion (US$13 billion) last year, a year-on-year increase of 9.5 per cent and equivalent to a 4.3 per cent increase on the annual target.

    This was revealed at a press conference by the GDC in Ha Noi on Thursday.

    Regarding post-customs clearance inspections, the GDC has instructed local customs departments to focus on common, illegally trafficked products with high turnover, high tax rates and high risk of wrong codes and prices, such as automobiles, liquors, beer, paper and cosmetics.

    In 2017, the GDC carried out nearly 9,000 post-customs clearance inspections, including 1,300 inspections at companies and more than 7,200 at local customs offices.

    The department also boosted inter-sectoral co-operation to prevent and detect smuggling and trade fraud.

    There were fewer smuggling cases unearthed in 2017, but they were high in value. Customs officers last year discovered 15,184 violation cases, down 1.97 per cent annually.

    However, the value of smuggled goods was more than VND789 billion, up 89.58 per cent year-on-year. A total of VND334.8 billion of this was added to the State budget, marking a 95 per cent surge from 2016.

    At border gates, smuggled goods were mostly foreign currencies, counterfeit money, alcoholic beverages and beer, cigarettes, sugar, poultry, food, apparel, footwear, mobile phones, and toys. Meanwhile, at sea ports, petroleum, timber, minerals, wildlife and second-hand electronic and refrigeration appliances continued to be smuggled.

    Banned goods of high value, such as addictive substances, weapons, gold, and wildlife products were found among goods transported by air and post.

    The customs sector launched criminal probes against 51 cases and transferred 68 others to other units for prosecution.

    Luu Manh Tuong, director of the Import-Export Tax Department, said import tariffs would be cut following Viet Nam’s commitment to the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) as well as with many other free trade agreements, including the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area and the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement.

    This, Tuong said, would significantly reduce import tax revenues and affect State budget collection.

    Addressing the conference, Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung asked the customs sector to raise State budget collection by 3-5 per cent higher than the amount assigned by the National Assembly.

    To realise the target, Dung asked the GDC to tighten post-clearance inspections and intensify the fight against trafficking and trade fraud, along with accelerating the collection of overdue tax.

    The minister stressed the role of a legal framework for the national single window and information exchange with trade partners.

    He also instructed the efficient implementation of the project on monitoring seaports and infrastructure improvement for customs management.

    Quang Nam strengthens ties with foreign localities

    The central coastal province of Quang Nam will enhance relations with foreign localities and develop sound ties with foreign diplomatic agencies and international and non-governmental organisations in the province in service of its socio-economic growth.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dinh Van Thu made the statement at a meeting on January 11 with 350 representatives from foreign organisations and businesses having investments in the locality.

    Despite complex developments in the world and regional politics and security, climate change and natural disasters in 2017, Quang Nam province made concerted efforts, overcame challenges and gained remarkable achievements, he noted.

    The locality successfully organised a wide range of important diplomatic events which left overwhelming impression on international visitors and friends like the 6th Quang Nam Heritage Festival, Korean culture day in Quang Nam, Hoi An-Japan Cultural Exchange, Quang Nam-Sekong high-level meeting and events held within the framework of the APEC Year 2017.

    Thu stressed that twining relations between the locality and Laos’s Sekong province are developing with many activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years of signing the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation between the two countries.

    Also, the province inked and is carrying out cooperation deals with the Republic of Korea’s Osan, Yongin and Gwangyang cities, Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture, Thailand’s Ubon Rathchathani and France’s Cotes d’Armor.

    During 2016-2017, it welcomed 70 foreign delegations with more than 700 visitors. It granted investment licences for 30 new FDI projects with total registered capital of more than 200 million USD, helping create jobs for 20,000 local labourers.

    The province has accompanied non-governmental organisations in 240 programmes and projects with total sponsored value of 20 million USD.

    National one-stop-shop portal facilities chemical declaration

    Imported chemicals will be declared via the national one-stop-shop portal from January 11, 2018.

    The Departments of Chemicals, and E-commerce and Digital Economy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade officially launched the service in Hanoi on January 11.

    Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said with the freshly-launched procedure, the ministry has, to date, carried out 24 public services allowing individuals and organisations to pay fees online, including six administrative procedures implemented via the national one-stop-shop mechanism. 

    Nguyen Van Thanh, head of the Chemical Department, said it takes businesses only about 15 seconds get the results of declaration via the portal as compared with at least five days in the past.

    According to statistics released by the department, about 70,000 chemical declaration dossiers of nearly 4,000 enterprises are submitted to the ministry annually.

    The declaration process had been conducted online or at the ministry’s headquarters traditionally, and the results had been given back to enterprises were in papers.

    Efforts called for stronger int’l economic integration

    Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has stressed a strong change in international economic integration in 2018, focusing negotiations on and signing of new free trade agreements (FTAs), and improving legal frameworks towards realising signed trade pacts with foreign partners.

    Speaking at the first meeting of the Inter-sectoral Steering Committee for International Economic Integration for 2018 in Hanoi on January 11, the Deputy PM asked the committee to coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, other ministries and sectors in effectively tapping signed FTAs, and proposing measures to promote the signing of new pacts.

    According to Deputy PM Hue, who is also head of the committee, they need to keep close watch on policy-related changes of partners and response from foreign markets in order to give timely warnings to local businesses.

    More efforts should be done to improve Vietnam’s integration capacity, while attention should be paid to outlining trade protection policies, he noted.

    He highlighted the carefulness in the negotiation process to ensure the best benefit for the country.

    The Deputy PM called for measures to ensure tax collection in the context of the country’s deeper international integration which will cause tariff reduction.

    Participants underlined the significance of coordination in negotiating new FTAs and performing ones signed in 2018 - the year they described as an important time for implementing Vietnam’s international economic integration commitments.

    Vietnam has so far approved 10 bilateral and multilateral FTAs with regional and international partners. The country basically finished FTA negotiation with the European Union. It is promoting negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and discussions towards bilateral pacts with Israel and Cuba.

    The implementation of FTAs remarkably contributed to pushing the national economic development and expanding export markets, thus helping Vietnam deeply join the global value chain and production network.

    It also helped accelerate economic restructuring, improve business climate and competitiveness, and effectively take advantages of investment flows, technology and knowledge, and create more jobs, thus raising management capacity.

    Vietnam witnessed fruitful economic development in 2017, with export-import turnover hitting 425 billion USD.

    Vietinbank lowers interest rates for loans to five priority fields

    The Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) has decided to reduce interest rates for short, medium and long term loans to five sectors deemed as priority by the Government.

    The decision is taken in line with the Government’s Resolution No. 01/NQ-CP dated January 1, 2018, and the direction of the State Bank’s Governor.

    Accordingly, as from January 11, interest rates will be cut by 0.5 percent per year for short, medium and long term loans in Vietnamese dong to firms operating in agriculture-rural development, for-export production and business, small- and medium-sized enterprises, support industry and hi-tech production.

    Start-up firms with feasible business and production plans and household businesses that were upgraded into official firms, are also eligible for the preferential loans.

    Besides, credit programmes with special interest rates will continue to be applied to businesses with good financial status and effective production and business activities.

    Lending to five priority sectors of the Government account for nearly 60 percent of Vietinbank’s total outstanding loans, which demonstrated the bank’s vanguard role in implementing policies of the Party, the Government and the State Bank, as well as in providing capital to the national economy’s key fields.

    Customs sector aims to raise state budget collection in 2018

    Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung has asked the customs sector to raise state budget collection by 3-5 percent higher than the amount assigned by the National Assembly.

    The official made the requirement during an online conference held on January 11 to review the sector’s work and launch new tasks in 2018.

    To realise the target, Dung asked the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDC) to tighten post-clearance inspections and intensify the fight against trafficking and trade fraud, along with accelerating the collection of overdue tax.

    The minister stressed the role of a legal framework for the national single window and information exchange with trade partners. He also instructed the efficient implementation of the project on monitoring seaports and infrastructure improvement for customs management.

    In 2018, the NA tasked the customs sector with the collection of 283 trillion VND (12.46 billion USD) for the State budget in the context of import tax reduction for many commodities under free trade agreements Vietnam has signed with partners.

    GDC Director General Nguyen Van Can said the GDC will take measures to prevent tax losses and evaluate impacts of Vietnam’s commitments on international integration on budget collection.

    Besides, it will devise appropriate solutions to recover tax overdue, while intensifying the fight against smuggling and trade fraud.

    GDC statistics showed that customs sector collected over 297.08 trillion VND (13.08 billion USD) for the State budget at the end of 2017, a rise of 9.47 percent year-on-year and 4.24 percent higher than the estimated figure adopted by the NA.

    Complast plastics exhibition opens in HCM City
       
    Hundreds of new plastic products and the latest equipment and machines are on display at the 3rd international complete plastics exhibition (Complast Vietnam 2018), which was opened on Wednesday in HCM City.

    Smart Expos and Fair (India) Pvt. Ltd (SEFIPL) organised the fair in co-operation with Viet Nam Plastics Association (VPA) at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC) in District 7.

    Processing machines and technologies as well as chemicals, additives, test equipment and recycling services will be on display, among many other items.

    The three-day expo includes hundreds of exhibitors from 21 countries and regions, including India, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Greece, UAE, Australia, Italy and Sri Lanka.

    Visitors can interact with global corporations and hundreds of plastic industry solution providers.

    A seminar will be held on the sidelines of the expo on 3D printing technology for making tools, advanced recycling of plastic waste, and knowledge sessions on recycling plastics in Viet Nam.

    Investment opportunities in the industry are promising as the country has high-growth prospects, significant dependence on imported raw materials and processing machineries, and a high level of plastics exports.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers said that Viet Nam could become one the fastest-growing of the world’s emerging economies by 2025, with a potential growth rate of almost 10 per cent per annum.

    Friends for life: Vietnam insurance demand rises

    Life insurers are gearing up for a busy year ahead as the market for insurance products in Vietnam is expected to boom in the near future.

    2018 is slated to be a promising year for foreign life insurers in Vietnam. The life insurance market already grew by 30 per cent in 2017, backed by Vietnam’s stable macro-economics, emergent middle class, and strong consumer demand. Industry insiders expect the same growth rate for this year, which is prompting insurers to up their game right as the business year begins.

    AIA Vietnam is one such example. The insurer signed a new bancassurance deal with Viet Capital Bank last week, following a series of partnerships with other lenders such as HSBC, DongA Bank, and VPBank in 2017.

    Wayne Besant, CEO of AIA Vietnam, told VIR that bancassurance will be an important distribution channel for the firm, as more Vietnamese open bank accounts and expect more sophisticated services from financial firms.

    “We expect to ‘walk on two strong legs’, which means we’ll continue the traditional agency distribution method as well as boost bancassurance partnerships,” said Besant.

    The CEO revealed that in 2017, bancassurance was the fastest-growing channel for AIA in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    It is easy to see that bancassurance will continue to be a buzzword for the industry in 2018. Traditionally, foreign insurers opt for agents, which still account for 90 per cent of new business premiums in Vietnam. However, the sector’s over-reliance on agents, especially general agents without any exclusive ties to any insurer, has caused problems in the agent selection process, staff turnover rates, and quality assurance. This has required life insurers to seek out bancassurance partnerships, in addition to this channel helping the core mission of educating Vietnamese consumers on personal finance.

    Insurers hope that as more Vietnamese become acquainted with the concept of life insurance, the insurance market will grow. Room for market expansion is huge, as only 6 per cent of the Vietnamese population currently has an insurance contract, which is among the lowest rates in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Larry Madge, CEO of Sun Life Vietnam, believes that Vietnam’s stable interest rates, strong GDP growth, and better financial literacy will bode well for life insurers. “We believe that in 2018, Vietnamese consumers will have stronger demand for tailored products on personal finance,” Madge said.

    Similarly, managing director of Manulife Vietnam Paul Nguyen pointed out that Vietnam’s middle class is growing rapidly, which means more people will be willing to use part of their income to invest in retirement or financial protection solutions, including life insurance. The ageing population here will also drive up demand for wellness and retirement products.   

    Nguyen said that in the next three years, Manulife Vietnam will strive to be “the trusted partner that helps people live positively”. Unlike other insurers who use general agencies, Manulife Vietnam prefers to have a tied agency system in order to control the quality of its agents. Bancassurance will be another focus, with the insurer aiming to build an omnichannel approach with digital services.

    “Vietnam is a key part of our Asian goal. Our plan to expand the office network to more cities across the country will help bring us closer to customers and serve them better. We are also investing in key initiatives such as new technology to improve the client experience,” said Nguyen.

    PwC Vietnam and VNCERT form strategic partnership for cyber security incident response

    In order to promote the development of national cyber security emergency response networks, PwC Vietnam is collaborating with the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Teams to strengthen training activities and raise the capabilities for timely response to information security incidents in Vietnamese organisations.

    PwC Vietnam and the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Teams (VNCERT) have entered into a strategic partnership in cyber security incident response during 2018-2020. Today, the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to officialise this partnership.

    As cyber-attacks grow more complex and sophisticated, it has become a strategic requirement for all organisations to equip themselves with the necessary talent, processes, and technology to resolve and respond to cyber security incidents.

    Cyber security incident response can be considered the last line of defence in the IT system, aimed at minimising the damage to the organisation should attacks happen.

    Incident response is crucial to ensuring information security and requires collaboration and information sharing between many organisations and enterprises.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, VNCERT’s director Nguyen Trong Duong said: “Vietnam now has a nationwide network for cyber security emergency response, and as the national co-ordinator, VNCERT expects all organisations to join hands in promoting incident response activities and ensuring network security. Our co-operation with such a prestigious and professional firm as PwC Vietnam will be one of the first steps towards forging a network of incident response that involves all organisations, with an aim to safeguard information security in Vietnam.”

    Robert Trong Tran, Cyber Security and Privacy leader at PwC Vietnam, emphasised: “Based on the international experience and local knowhow of our expert team, we are committed to helping Vietnamese organisations build up professional, timely, and effective incident response capabilities that follow international practices.”

    According to the MoU, PwC Vietnam and VNCERT will co-operate in organising training courses and drills on a regional, national, and international scale; standardising incident response practices; as well as developing the market of information security products and services.

    In addition, both parties will co-ordinate in sharing cyber threat intelligence; developing professional working guidelines for problem rescue teams (CSIRT/CERT); establishing criteria for assessing and verifying the professional competence and ethical qualities of personnel involved in CSIRT/CERT.

    Dinh Thi Quynh Van, general director of PwC Vietnam, said: “The global PwC network is proud to be one of the pioneering professional services firms to offer information security solutions. We have assisted thousands of corporate and governmental clients across the world to respond to cyber incidents and implement information security strategies over many years.”

    “With this in mind, we firmly believe that the partnership between PwC Vietnam and VNCERT will produce many practical results and contribute to improving the information security systems of individual organisations and the nation as a whole,” she stated.

    Nearly US$500 million spent on importing meat

    Vietnam imported 262,321 live buffaloes and cows and nearly 42,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat at a value of more than US$410 million last year, according to the Department of Animal Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    The country also bought in more than 6,500 tons of pork worth US$11.07 million and 81,000 tons of poultry meat worth over US$75.7 million from overseas.

    The Department says imported meats are sold at market for cheap prices. As an example, the prices of US and Australian beef vary from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per kg, while Indian buffalo meat is priced at VND90,000-150,000 per kg, and a kg of chicken costs VND35,000-60,000.

    According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the average price for US chicken imported to Vietnam is at roughly VND19,000 per kg and pork at VND27,000/kg.

    HCM City to host int’l exhibitions on agriculture

    Agriculture Hub comprising three international exhibitions on livestock breeding, cultivation, and agricultural machinery and equipment, is set to take place at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) on March 14-16.

    Organized by Minh Vi Exhibition & Advertisement Services Co (VEAS) and its partners from the Netherlands, Thailand and China, Agriculture Hub converges the 1st exhibition and conference on Horticultural and Floricultural Production and Processing Technology, the 7th International Livestock, Dairy, Meat Processing and Aquaculture Exposition and the 1st international exhibition on agricultural machinery, equipment and techniques.

    Agriculture Hub is expected to lure around 420 foreign exhibitors from 35 countries around the world to showcase their products. It will offer a chance for domestic businesses to seek partners for market expansion and update state-of-art technologies from world leading countries.

    Da Nang & Vietnam Airlines come together

    The Da Nang People’s Committee and Vietnam Airlines held a signing ceremony for a cooperation agreement to promote tourism in the central city and routes flown by Vietnam Airlines to the destination, contributing to the development of the local tourism and aviation sectors in particular and the country in general.

    Da Nang will have a policy for stimulating demand for Vietnam Airlines’ flights to and from the city and at the same time will lead in connecting Vietnam Airlines with travel companies.

    Vietnam Airlines committed to accompanying Da Nang in organizing cultural, sports, and tourism events at the national and international level. The city’s travel and trade promotion delegations will also be given special privileges by the national flag carrier when using its services.

    The agreement also aims to promote the destination of Da Nang and the image of Vietnam Airlines, including on outdoor billboards, on TV, in the city’s newspapers and publications, and at Vietnam Airlines’ global fairs.

    The two sides also agreed to coordinate the creation of tourism packages to Da Nang and other cooperation in the field.

    Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Deputy Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee, told the signing ceremony that the partnership will be important for both the central city and the national flag carrier. “This will be an opportunity to strongly promote tourism and activities overseas, call for investment, and encourage cultural exchanges between regions and countries,” he said. “I hope that the content of the cooperation agreement will be effectively implemented, bringing practical benefits to both sides towards the development of culture, society, and tourism in Da Nang in particular and the central region in general.”

    Mr. Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, said the cooperation agreement is a great step forward, creating favorable conditions to promote Da Nang’s tourism and trade and enhancing the role, position and image of Vietnam Airlines in cities and provinces in the country, the region, and the world. “In the time to come, with a strategy of expanding its network, Vietnam Airlines will conduct more international flights to and from Da Nang,” he said. “Vietnam Airlines is committed to accompanying Da Nang with the greatest sense of responsibility, contributing to making the city a safe, friendly, and attractive destination.”

    Binh Thuan pledges to roll out red carpet for investors

    The south central coastal province of Binh Thuan always creates the optimal conditions for enterprises and investors to do business and develop sustainably in the locality, said a local official.

    At a dialogue with entrepreneurs on January 11, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Hai said Binh Thuan will take numerous measures to improve its business environment and competitiveness.

    Administrative reform will be accelerated to shorten the time for procedure processing while authorities will increase dialogues with local firms to address their petitions, Hai added.

    According to Nguyen Van Khoa, President of the provincial Tourism Association, Binh Thuan welcomed over 5 million tourists in 2017, up 13.6 percent from 2016.

    The surge shows a positive signal of the tourism sector as well as the province’s sound orientations for tourism development, he said.

    Khoa also highlighted difficulties facing local tourism firms due to overlapped planning schemes for tourism, seafood and mining projects, as well as limited tourism infrastructure system, particularly in the key tour of Ham Tien – Mui Ne.

    He suggested the province review its planning schemes to facilitate the implementation of coastal tourism projects, while investing in a national tourism area in terms of environment, infrastructure, and transport.

    Meanwhile, Do Khac Dong Quan, Vice President of the Binh Thuan Young Entrepreneurs Association, called on the province to continue accelerating administrative reform as well as exempting, reducing and putting off taxes for newly resumed firms.

    The province should also facilitate access to preferential loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises, particularly micro-sized businesses, he noted.

    During the event, participants also called on local authorities to deal with trade frauds and overlapped inspections by management agencies, which, they said have troubled enterprises.

    In 2017, Binh Thuan recorded 716 newly-established firms, up 26 percent from 2016, with a total registered capital of nearly 17 trillion VND (748.0 million USD), raising the total number of businesses in the province to 5,624, with a combined registered capital of nearly 76 trillion VND (3.34 billion USD).

    Last year, 158 projects were licensed, raising the total number of investment projects to 1,386. Many firms also expanded their operations, contributing to the province’s economic development.

    Vietnam Airlines uses Airbus A350 on route to Germany

    The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has put into service  Airbus A350 on route between Vietnam and Germany.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Doan Xuan Hung, Consul General in Frankfurt Nguyen Hong Linh, Trade Counselor Nguyen Huu Trang, and chief representative of Vietnam Airlines Ngo Tri Hung attended a ceremony at the Frankfurt international airport on January 9 to launch the service.

    Since January this year, Vietnam Airlines has increased frequency from nine to ten flights per week and used Airbus A350 to replace Boeing 787 – which was put into operation from late 2015.
    This aims to serve better the travelling of passengers and promote trade, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

    Vietnam Airlines is the only airline to operate the direct air route between Vietnam and Germany at present.

    Airbus A350-900 is considered one of the most modern and convenient planes at this moment, which is expected to help Vietnam Airlines serve passengers better.

    According to a representative from Vietnam Airlines, about 200,000 German tourists visited Vietnam using Vietnam Airlines services in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 14 percent.

    In recent years, the number of German visitors to Vietnam has recorded a two-digit growth.

    Currently, Vietnam Airlines is operating 10 Airbus A350s and 11 Boeing 787s. It expects to have 14 Airbus A350s and 18 Boeing 787s by 2020.

    Vietnam Airlines has been certified as a 4-star airline for two consecutive years by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.

    Wood industry urged to embrace automation

    Vietnamese enterprises, regardless of size, should use enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to optimise their resources and improve their efficiency, heard a seminar organised by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City on January 9.

    Phi Anh Tuan, deputy chairman of the HCM City Computer Association and CEO of PAT Consulting, said ERP could be used to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities.

    The challenge facing wood processing firms is to meet the increasing requirements of buyers in terms of quality, delivery time, and traceability, and cutting costs to improve competitiveness, according to Tuan.

    The more orders a company gets, the busier its managers are and they do not have time for planning strategy, considering measures to improve productivity and optimise production.

    With ERP, data is easily available and routinely updated and the management can make the best decisions for the company.

    They can also get a better overall picture of how the business is operating, which is vital when it comes to responding to changes and improving overall financial planning of the business.

    Le Duc Nghia, general director of An Cuong Wood Working JSC, said at a time it had 700-800 workers the company had difficulties in managing things. Then its payroll grew to over 1,000 staff and revenue to 1 trillion VND (44 million USD), and the company did not know how to manage, and restructuring became the only option, he said.

    But then it adopted SAP’s ERP, and management had become smooth, he said.

    Now it had more than 5,000 workers and revenues of over 3 trillion VND, but management was no longer difficult, he said.

    “Since applying SAP’s ERP in January last year, our revenues went up by 40 percent, and I just need to work five days a week instead of seven as I used to.”

    The solution allows him to manage his company’s resources at any time and from anywhere recognise potential risks, and make decisions at every level quickly and precisely.

    The solution is no longer just for large organisations and in fact ERP for small businesses is quickly becoming popular among organisations to look for greater productivity and more streamlined data that is available to all departments at all times.

    With proper use, an ERP system can boost productivity, reduce costs, streamline data flow, encourage collaboration, deliver business insights and improve decision-making, according to Tuan.

    If they streamline their management, Vietnamese businesses can save up to 76 percent of administrative costs.

    Hoang Dinh Trong, chairman of PDCA Training Consultants Limited Company, said automation would help liberate top management from mundane tasks to focus on their key mission of planning.

    However, the number of businesses embracing automation remains modest in the wood industry because at most companies the managers used to be skilled workers like carpenters who established a company and so sometimes lack management skills, he said.

    But many delegates agreed that businesses should definitely adopt appropriate ERP solutions.

    Da Nang, Vietnam Airlines shake hands in tourism, trade promotion

    The central city of Da Nang and the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines signed an agreement on cooperation in tourism, trade and investment promotion on January 9.

    Under the deal, Da Nang will give support policies to Vietnam Airlines’ flights to the locality, while coordinating with the carrier and travel agencies to promote ticket sales.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines will assist Da Nang in hosting national and international cultural, sport and tourism events by giving special preferential policies to passengers flying to Da Nang for tourism and trade promotion activities.

    Both sides will strengthen advertisement of each other, while working together to build tourism products for Da Nang.

    Addressing the signing ceremony in the city, Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Vice Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee said that the deal opens new chances for the city to bolster its tourism as well as external relations, helping the city call for investment and strengthen cultural exchanges with localities in other regions and countries.

    For his part, Vietnam Airlines Deputy General Director Trinh Ngoc Thanh said that the agreement is a giant step in promoting Da Nang’s tourism and trade development. The image and role of Vietnam Airlines in localities nationwide and other countries will also be strengthened, he said.

    In the coming time, Vietnam Airlines plans to operate new international routes to Da Nang, he revealed.

    Da Nang, the tourism hub of the central and Central Highlands regions, welcomed 6.6 million visitors in 2017, up nearly 20 percent compared to 2016. Tourists flew to Da Nang in the year was nearly 1.6 million, a surge of 74.4 percent year on year. Da Nang has launched its T2 terminal with a capacity of serving 6 million passengers per year.

    EIB executive visits Vietnam to seek increased partnership

    A high-level delegation from the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the world’s largest international public bank – led by its Vice President Jonathan Taylor is on a working visit to Hanoi from January 8-10, the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam said on January 9.

    This is the first high-level visit of the EIB to Vietnam in the past five years.

    Jonathan Taylor, Vice President responsible for operations in Asia, is accompanied by the EIB’s Director for operations outside Europe and senior colleagues responsible for lending in the region.

    The EIB visit’s agenda includes visits to the site of the lender’s most recent climate related investment in Vietnam, the Hanoi metro project, and meetings with senior government ministers, city leaders and representatives of financial institutions and diplomats.

    “The EU Bank is committed to strengthening climate related investment worldwide and Vietnam is a key partner for the European Union in Asia. In recent years the European Investment Bank has supported transport, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across Vietnam. I look forward to seeing at first hand the transformational impact of past EIB investment and discussing with Vietnamese government, city and financial counterparts how the EIB’s future engagement can be strengthened,” said Jonathan Taylor, ahead of the visit.

    “The European Union and Vietnam cooperate closely to address global challenges and share a commitment to tackle climate change. As the EU Bank, the European Investment Bank has unique technical experience and finance expertise that are already contributing to sustainable development here in Vietnam and across Asia. I am confident that as the world’s largest financier for climate related investment the strengthened EIB engagement in Vietnam will unlock new investment across crucial sectors in the years to come,” said Ambassador Bruno Angelet, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam.

    Past transport financing by the European Investment Bank in Vietnam is supporting construction of new urban rail infrastructure in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. In recent years the EIB has also financed small scale climate related investment, including renewable energy projects and cutting energy use in industry, in partnership with Vietnamese banks.

    The European Investment Bank is owned by 28 EU members. Since 1998, the bank has approved investments worth over 710 million EUR in Vietnam, mostly in projects on transport, climate and renewable energy.

    Agriculture sector acts to lure more investments

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will continue reforming administrative procedures and improving the business environment to lure more investments into the sector this year, particularly hi-tech and organic agriculture.

    According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, the MARD will review 508 administrative procedures and propose simplifying or cutting out 287 out of these administrative procedures, or 56.5 percent.

    It will also review a total 345 business and investment conditions and propose that 118 of which be amended and cut out, equivalent to 34.2 percent.

    Eighteen out of 40 specialised inspection procedures will be reviewed, while quarantine and clearance time will be shortened from 24 hours to no more than four hours for goods transported by land or air and no more than 10 hours for those transported by sea.

    The ministry will continue the second phase of the National Single Window and ASEAN Single Window mechanisms at its five units, aimed at streamlining administrative procedures.

    In 2017, the MARD actively implemented Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting and developing enterprises by 2020, and Resolution 19-2017/NQ-CP on the further implementation of key tasks and measures to improve the business environment and enhance the national competitiveness in 2017, with a vision to 2020, according to Tuan.

    It focused on connecting enterprises on the basis of sectors, value chains, and scales, and between local and international firms, while providing assistance for social businesses and startups.

    Level 4 online public services were offered at the ministry’s Department of Plant Protection and Department of Livestock Production, one-stop-shop online administrative procedure services were launched to support enterprises, and interactive services were enabled on the online portal of the ministry and its units’ websites to timely receive and address petitions.

    The sector saw an increasing number of newly established firms with 1,955 companies in 2017, raising the total number of businesses investing in agriculture to 5,700.

    Many major groups poured billions of USD into hi-tech and organic agriculture as one of their key orientations and gained significant achievements in the sector.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/14/18--19:39: Article 2
  • Vietnam’s banking sector regains strength



    International institutions have given positive comments about the operation of the Vietnamese banking sector. 

     

    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, SBV, Basel II, NPL
    International institutions have given positive comments about Vietnamese banks

      
    The Asian Banker said that Vietnamese banks have improved thanks to the government’s efforts to carry out reform and a strong economy. The assessment was made based on the analysis of the operation and ranking of nearly 20 Vietnamese banks.

    Local newspapers reported that 15 Vietnamese banks were named in The Asian Bankers’ AB500 ranking and survey of Asia Pacific’s strongest banks.

    They include Vietcombank, BIDV, VietinBank and Techcombank, Military Bank (MB), LienVietPostBank, ACB and VPBank, HDBank, TP Bank, SHB, VIB, SeABank, Sacombank and PVcomBank.

    The journal emphasised the impressive net profit of 37.4 percent gained by domestic banks.

    Other indexes also show good business performance and promising prospects in the future. The mobilized capital has increased by 1.5 times, while credit growth rate is stable at 18 percent. The revenue from services has increased to around 20 percent at some banks.

    The mobilized capital has increased by 1.5 times, while credit growth rate is stable at 18 percent. The revenue from services has increased to around 20 percent at some banks.

    The Asian Banker praised the efforts to settle bad debts with subprime debts having fallen to 2.5 percent by the end of 2016, the lowest level in recent years.

    Vietnamese banks have shown strong determination in improving risk management by strictly observing the new regulations set by the State Bank and Basel II standards.

    Of the banks ranked by The Asian Banker, Vietcombank ranks 48th in the region’s 500 banks in terms of Strength Rank, while Techcombank is at the 101st position and VietinBank 124th.

    In September, S&P gave ‘national credit rating ceiling’ to Vietcombank and Techcombank, the highest ranking that a bank in Vietnam can obtain.

    According to S&P, Techcombank has been doing well in balancing profit increase and risk management. The bank has wrapped up the purchase of all bad debts from VAMC and has begun applying risk management in accordance with Basel II standards.

    Commenting about the purchasing of bad debts, Pham The Anh from HanoiNationalUniversity said there are two noteworthy actions. First, the financial capability of banks is good which has allowed them to buy bad debts back. Second, the asset quality of the debts has improved.

    A number of banks have predicted high profits for 2017. Nguyen Dinh Tung, CEO of OCB, said the bank had VND960 billion in pretax profit in the first 11 months, and the figure will exceed the VND1 trillion threshold by the end of the year.

    Meanwhile, LienViet Post Bank reported pretax profit of 1.7 trillion in the first 11 months.


    US$1=VND22,000


    Mai Thanh, VNN


    0 0
  • 01/14/18--19:52: Article 1
  • Social News In Brief


    Hanoi bus ridership recovers following service improvements


     Hanoi bus ridership recovers following service improvements, Denmark-backed dual vocational training proves effective in Vietnam, Police seize 84 kg of firecrackers being smuggled from Laos to Vietnam

    The number of passengers using Hanoi’s public bus in 2017 rebounded after years of decline following steps to improve the service by Transerco, the main bus operator in the capital city.
    Transerco’s director general Nguyen Hoang Trung reported that on January 13 that total ridership last year rose 3% from a year earlier.

    He said that as part of the company’s bus development for the 2016-2020 period, Transerco opened 17 new regular bus routes and one BRT route in 2017, helping to expand subsidised bus services to Hanoi’s outlying suburbs.

    The company also purchased 258 new buses, accounting for nearly one third of its fleet to serve new routes and replace dilapidated vehicles.

    In addition, free Wi-Fi services were offered on many buses while a mobile app, available in both Vietnamese and English, was redesigned to make it easier for passengers to navigate the capital city’s public bus system.

    With only a few touches, passengers can now set their departure and arrival locations and the app will display the most convenient bus routes.

    More than 4,000 bus drivers and conductors were also trained to be more hospitable and helpful to passengers.

    In the next few years, Hanoi will strive to further improve its bus service in order to increase the usage of public transport, which is expected to help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

    Last year, the city government approved a plan to ban motorbikes in central districts by 2030 and raise the capacity of the public transport system to 30-35% of travel demand by 2020 and 50-55% by 2030.

    Search continues for 11 lost fishermen

    Search forces have recovered two bodies believed to be among the 15 fishermen lost after four ships sank on Monday. Rogue waves were appearing in the region at the time as a cold spell struck from the North.

    Searchers first found a male body floating off the coast of Hậu Lộc District in ThanhHóaProvince at about 5.50pm on Thursday. It was identified as 31-year-old local fisherman Nguyễn Văn Thành, who was among the four missing after fishing boat TH-90605 lost contact in the area near Bạch Long Vỹ Island in TonkinGulf on Monday.

    Early on Friday early morning, another body was found off HảiPhòngCity. It is believed to be of fisherman Nguyễn Văn Nguyên. Nguyên was one of the five missing on the ship coded TH-91552 TS while it was fishing off the coast.

    Search efforts are still underway for the other 11 fishermen, including  six fishermen on the two ships TH-1288TS and TH-3202. Their last contact with shore showed that they disappeared in the sea off Hải Phòng and Thanh Hóa.  

    The authorities have deployed five specialised search-and-rescue ships to different areas to look for the missing men. Hundreds of  fishing ships have also joined the search.

    Deputy PM asks Ca Mau to expand marine-based economy

    Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has asked the southernmost province of Ca Mau to fully tap its potential in aquaculture and expand marine-based economy for sustainable economic development. 

    During a working session with the provincial leaders on January 13, Binh suggested Ca Mau soon deploy Hon Khoai deepwater port project in Hon Khoai island, which is capable of handling vessels weighing up to 250,000 tonnes, thereby helping to reduce transportation costs and improve competitiveness of local exports. 

    Ca Mau needs to pay attention to reviewing its master plan on socio-economic development in combination with ensuring national defence-security, as well as restructuring the economy and renewing growth model, he said.

    In order to lift up its rank in the provincial competitiveness index (PCI), the province should improve the efficiency of administrative reform and business climate, the Deputy PM noted.

    Binh suggested Ca Mau multiply production models that are adaptive to climate change, step up agricultural restructuring in tandem with new rural development, develop industries to serve high-tech agriculture and services of high added value, enhance regional connectivity for socio-economic development and national defence-security in the province and the whole region. 

    The province needs to actively cope with disasters and landslide by building dykes and works in response to climate change, deal with pollution “hotspots” and ensure social welfares for local people, he stressed. 

    Last year, the province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) was estimated at 37,847 billion VND (1.67 billion USD), up 7 percent year on year. The State budget collection hit 4,183 billion VND, or 101 percent of the estimate. 

    Exports rose 13 percent to 1.1 billion USD while the rate of poor households was reduced to 5.9 percent and 29 communes were recognised as new-style rural areas. 

    In the afternoon of the same day, Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh visited and presented gifts to policy beneficiary families in the province.

    Bac Giang, VNA step up communications cooperation

    The People’s Committee of northern Bac Giang province and the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) held a conference on January 12 to review the implementation of their communications cooperation agreement in 2017 and map out plans for 2018.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the VNA has popularised the images of Bac Giang province and introduced its achievements, socio-economic development potential and policies to readers and viewers both at home and abroad through online and print publications and television channel. 

    More than 900 news stories, articles and photos about Bac Giang were published in the VNA’s source information websites and about 80 reportages were aired on its television channel.

    The cooperation in communications has contributed to the province’s social and economic successes last year. Highlights among Bac Giang’s achievements are record GRDP growth of 13.3 percent and the 8th position out of 63 provinces and cities in terms of foreign investment attraction.

    Speaking at the conference, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi congratulated Bac Giang on its achievements and affirmed the agency’s continued support for the province’s popularization of laws and policies and promotion of local advantages and potential both at home and overseas.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lai Thanh Son outlined key contents of their cooperation plan this year, including the promotion of Tay Yen Tu Festival 2018, fast-tracking progress of local key infrastructure projects and improvements in the business climate.

    HCMCity, Aomori foster hi-tech agricultural cooperation

    Ho Chi Minh City hopes to have more cooperation activities with Japanese localities, including Aomori prefecture, to develop hi-tech agriculture, said a local official. 

    Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong expressed his wish while receiving the Mayors of Hachinohe, Aomori, and Mutsu cities of Aomori prefecture, who have been in HCMCity to attend the “Japan Aomori Food Fair 2018”.

    Japanese products, including Aomori apples, have become popular among Vietnamese consumers and those in HCMCity as well, Phong said.

    The ongoing visit by the mayors to HCMCity will contribute to increasing the trade exchanges and cooperation between firms of the two localities, particularly after the launch of a direct air route between the city and Hokkaido in the coming time, he said.

    Phong lauded the cities’ authorities for accompanying with their businesses to organise the “Japan Aomori Food Fair”, saying that the event is a model for HCMCity to learn and introduce its products to international markets.

    On behalf of the Japanese delegation, Kobayashi Makota, Mayor of Hachinohe city, affirmed that the administration and enterprises of Aomori prefecture are interested in the Vietnamese market and expect to introduce to local consumers its high-quality products, such as apples, sea shells, tuna, among others.

    He expressed his hope that HCMCity and localities of Aomori prefecture will beef up cooperation in their key fields, such as high-quality agricultural products, seafood, while fostering relations between their firms, thus contributing to the friendship between the two nations.

    The northern prefecture of Aomori is famous for fishing, seafood processing, and high-quality agricultural production.

    It is also home to a large number of Vietnamese students and postgraduates.

    Vietnam keen on fostering traditional solidarity with Cuba: VUFO

    Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Don Tuan Phong has affirmed that his organization has always showed solidarity with Cuba in all people’s forums in the world.

    Receiving a delegation from the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee’s Department for External Relations led by its deputy head Carlos Marsan, Phong said that Vietnam supports Cuba’s fight against the US embargo.

    Phong said that in 2018, VUFO and the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association will cooperate closely with the Cuban side in celebrating 45 years of Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s visit to Vietnam (1973-2018). 

    Vietnam welcomes delegations from the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples and the Cuba-Vietnam Friendship Association in March this year, he said, adding that he hopes the activities will help foster the friendship and solidarity between the two countries’ people.

    For his part, Carlos Marsan thanked the VUFO and the Vietnamese people in general for warm sentiments towards Cuba. He also appreciated Vietnam’s support in overcoming consequences of storm Irma in September last year.

    He said that the sound sentiments between the Vietnamese and Cuban people should be passed on to younger generations, considering it one of the focal tasks of the Cuban Communist Party in 2018.

    Cuba is on the process of updating its economy to develop the country and improve people’s living conditions, which is always supported by the VUFO, he noted.

    He held that Vietnamese firms’ interest in the Cuban market is a favourable condition to boost economic connection between the two countries and make it match the sound bilateral political relations.

    Cuban Communist Party delegation welcomed in Hanoi

    Politburo member and Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) Vo Van Thuong has affirmed the consistent support and solidarity of the Vietnamese Party, State and people to their Cuban counterparts.

    He made the affirmation at a reception in Hanoi on January 12 for a visiting delegation from the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee’s Department for External Relations led by its deputy head Carlos Marsan.

    Thuong, who is also head of the CPVCC’s Commission for Information and Education, suggested the two parties actively prepare for delegation exchanges in 2018, as well as activities to celebrate 45 years since the visit by Cuban leader Fidel Castro to the southern liberation zone of Vietnam (September 1973-2018).

    He said he believes that such activities will contribute to further deepening the exemplary brotherhood, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and loyal solidarity between the Parties, States and people of Vietnam and Cuba.

    For his part, Carlos Marsan thanked the Vietnamese Party, State and people for their consistent support and solidarity given to Cuba, underscoring his country’s determination to reinforce the bilateral special ties.

    Briefing his host on Cuba’s situation and its economic update achievements, he said the Party, Sate and people of Cuba will continue pursuing the goal of building Cuba into a prosperous socialist country.

    Earlier, Carlos Marsan met with Hoang Binh Quan, head of the CPVCC’s Commission for External Relations, and his deputy Nguyen Tuan Phong. The two sides discussed a wide range of regional and international issues of mutual concern and agreed on specific measures to foster ties between the two Parties and States.

    During their stay, the Cuban delegation paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum, and laid flowers at the Statue of Jose Marti in Hanoi. They worked with representatives of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, the Communist Review, the Foreign Ministry, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee.

    They also visited Ho Chi Minh City and Ninh Binh province.

    Denmark-backed dual vocational training proves effective in Vietnam

    Dual vocation training model has proved an effective means of enhancing links between schools and businesses, heard a conference to review the first phase of the Danish-Vietnamese Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) project in Ho Chi Minh City on January 12.

    With support of Denmark, the project has been piloted in four Vietnamese TVET colleges – Industrial Vocational College Hanoi; Ho Chi Minh City Vocational College; North-Eastern Vocational College of Technology, Agriculture and Forestry; and Southern Technology and Agro-forestry Vocational College – with two majors of Graphic Design and Interior Design.

    Under the project, local occupational skills’ councils have been set up at the selected colleges while the schools have been supported to develop curricula corresponding to the needs of companies and pilot in-company apprenticeship programmes so as to increase experiences for students and improve lecturers’ capacity.

    Nguyen Gia Phuc from the Industrial Vocational College Hanoi said the college’s link with businesses was merely introducing students with in-company apprenticeship opportunities and by joining the project, it has become more connected to companies.

    The college has gained a better understanding of businesses’ needs while enterprises have been more aware of their responsibility in vocational training and education as they will be the ones to employ the graduates, Phuc noted.

    Vietnam is Denmark’s only partner in Southeast Asia in the project, said Lise Lotte Toft, head of the Division for International Affairs in Denmark’s Ministry of Education.

    Ending the first phase, the project has helped reduce gaps between students’ skills and what required by enterprises, she noted, adding that the project will continue by 2019.

    Truong Anh Dung, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Vocational Training at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, highly spoke of the model and voiced his hope that Denmark will continue backing Vietnam in developing the dual training model.

    Sustainable environment project for coastal cities launched

    A conference was held in Phan Rang – Thap Cham city in the south central province of Ninh Thuan on January 12 to launch the Vietnam Coastal Cities Sustainable Environment Project (CCSEP) funded by the World Bank (WB).

    The project will be carried out in the coastal cities of Dong Hoi (Quang Binh), Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), and Phan Rang – Thap Cham. It aims at boosting access to environmental sanitation services and efficiency of these services in the targeted coastal cities, expected to benefit over 1 million local people.

    With a funding of 273.6 million USD, the five-year project will expand sanitation infrastructure, improve urban connectivity, compensate site clearance and help with institutional reform.

    Portfolio & Operations Manager of the WB Vietnam Achim Fock said the project will also help link the four cities by upgrading a number major roads and bridges, contributing to increasing their resilience capacity amid climate change.

    A large amount of work needs to be done in a short period of time, he said, suggesting the Vietnamese Government include the CCSEP in its middle-term investment plan as soon as possible.

    Luu Xuan Vinh, Chairman of the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee, said the local authorities will create the best condition to facilitate the implementation of the project in Phan Rang – Thap Cham city.

    Life insurance industry institutes press awards

    The first press awards in the life insurance sector will be given away to honour journalists for their contributions to raising awareness about the importance of insurance  both to the economy and society.

    “Life Protection” was launched by the Việt Nam Insurance Association (IAV).

    Thân Hiền Anh, vice president of the IAV and head of the organising committee, said at the launch ceremony: “Life insurance has been developed in Việt Nam for more than 20 years.

    “Since its foundation, life insurance has developed rapidly, contributed much to the socio-economy and brought idle capital into the economy.

    “So far the industry has created around 600,000 jobs.”

    Despite 30 per cent average growth in the value of life insurance premiums in recent years, the ratio of people with insurance in Việt Nam remains a modest 8 per cent, much lower than the global average.

    The awards will include the print, electronic, radio, and television categories. Each prize winner will receive a certificate of merit, a travel voucher worth VNĐ5 million (US$220), and a voucher worth VNĐ3 million ($132).

    Stories can be in  Vietnamese or English and must have been published between July last year and next June.

    The list of award winners will be announced next August.

    The jury comprises five members: journalist and standing vice chairman of the Việt Nam Journalists Association Hồ Quang Lợi; IAV vice president Thân Hiền Anh, IAV executive director Lê Hương Ly; IAV secretary general Bùi Gia Anh; and IAV deputy secretary Ngô Trung Dũng.

    Most Vietnamese get news from social media, survey finds

    When social or digital foreign media break stories first, they've already won Vietnamese public's recognition, a propaganda official said.

    Vietnamese people love social media, their regular source of daily news, a new survey has found.

    Vietnam comes fourth in a survey conducted by Pew Research Center to find out how often people in 38 countries, including both advanced and developing ones, turn to social media to get the news.

    While getting news online daily is more common in advanced economies (median of 54 percent) than in emerging and developing ones (median of 23 percent), the difference subsides when only news from social media is taken into account, according to the survey.

    "People in advanced economies (median of 36 percent) use social media daily for news at similar rates to those in emerging or developing economies (33 percent)," the PewResearchCenter said in a report.

    The Republic of Korea takes the throne with 57 percent of respondents saying they used social media to get the news several times a day or once a day, followed by Lebanon with 52 percent, Argentina with 51 percent and Vietnam with 48 percent, according to the survey released on January 11 by the nonpartisan American think tank.

    In 37 of the 38 countries studied, adults aged 18 to 29 were more likely than those 50 and older to use social media at least once a day for news.

    In 10 countries, the gap is at least 50 percentage points, with the biggest difference recorded in Vietnam, at 78 points.

    Specifically, as many as 81 percent of Vietnamese respondents aged 18-29 use social media daily to access news, while only 3 percent of those aged 50 and older do so, said the survey which interviewed an average of 1,000 persons in each studied country last year.

    Higher income people are also more likely to use social media for daily news than lower income people in 32 surveyed countries, with the biggest gap recorded in Vietnam at 32 percentage points. More than half, or 62 percent, of high income earners in Vietnam get their daily news updates from social networking sites while only 34 percent of low income earners do so. 

    “Nowadays, it is the early-bird newspaper, not the major one, that will triumph,” Vo Van Thuong, the head of the Communist Party's propaganda organ, said at a meeting in August last year. When social or digital foreign media break stories first, they've already won public recognition, leaving Vietnam’s mainstream media well behind, he added.

    Vietnam has around 64 million Facebook users, accounting for 3 percent of global Facebookers, according to a report released in July last year by We Are Social, a social media marketing and advertising agency.

    The country surpassed Thailand and Turkey from the previous report released in January last year to secure the seventh spot. In just six months, the number of Vietnamese active users had increased by 40 percent.

    More than half of the Vietnamese population of nearly 92 million are online, and people spend more than two hours each day on average on the social media network, said the report.

    Police seize 84 kg of firecrackers being smuggled from Laos to Vietnam

     Border police and customs officials in central Quang Tri province arrested two firecracker smugglers on January 12 for the illegal transport of 84 kg of various firecrackers from Laos to Vietnam.

    Customs officials said they stopped a suspicious car at Lao Bao international border gate and conducted a search, discovering nearly 84 kg of firecrackers concealed within two doors and in the floor of the car.

    The two suspects named Nguyen Huu Nghi, 29, from Quang Binh, and Tran Canh Phuc, 20,  from Quang Tri confessed to having purchased the firecrackers in Savannakhet province, Laos before transporting them to Vietnam for sale. Further investigation into the incident is underway.

    Since the beginning of the year, police at Lao Bao International border gate in Quang Tri province have uncovered four cases of smugglers attempting to illegally transport nearly 200 kg of firecrackers over border. 

    Devastating fire engulfs Tan Lien IP in Hai Phong

    A large fire broke out on January 12 in the paint storehouse of a footwear factory in TanLienIndustrial Park, Tan Lien commune, Vinh Bao district in Hai Phong city.

    Six fire engines and 60 fire fighters were rapidly mobilized to combat the blaze upon being notified of the emergency by local authorities. Firefighters made every effort to suppress the blaze to prevent it from spreading to neighboring workshops. 

    The curiosity of passers-by who stopped to watch the fire caused heavy traffic congestion as Tan Lien IP is located on National Highway No 10. Local residents and properties in endangered areas were evacuated. 

    By 11am the fire had been brought under control. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. There are no official statistics of property damages in the fire.

    Remains of fallen soldiers recovered from Laos

    The remains of 9 Vietnamese soldiers killed in Laos were received in Dien Bien province on January 12 before being buried with full military of honours.

    The soldiers’ remains were interred at the Tong Khao Cemetary located in Thanh Nua commune in Dien Bien district. 

    At the repatriation ceremony, major-general Pham Duc Duyen, Vice Political Commissar of Military Zone 2 said that in the past years, military zone 2 have worked together with relevant agencies to implement a program for the recovery of the remains of fallen Vietnamese volunteer soldiers in Laos.

    In 2017, the Military Zone unearthed the remains of 44 Vietnamese war martyrs and returned them to Dien Bien province.

    This year, it will continue to undertake the project of bomb and mine clearance and search for the remains of war martyrs in Ha Giang province.

    Khanh Hoa aims for over VND21 trillion tourism revenue in 2018

    The south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa is aiming to welcome about 6.5 million visitors, including 2.8 million foreign arrivals in 2018, to earn a revenue of VND21.6 trillion.

    The province’s tourism revenue for last year reached an estimated VND17.3 trillion, up 33%. Total visitor numbers in the locality rose to more than 5.4 million (up over 20%) including 2.03 million foreign visitors (up nearly 70%).

    Chinese and Russian visitors led the way in numbers of foreign tourists in Khanh Hoa last year. However, the numbers of tourists from the US, Australia, Canada, and Europe fell by 15-30% in 2017.

    The provincial department of tourism attributed the drop to the poor transport infrastructure and frequent occurrence of traffic congestion on the coastal road of Tran Phu, which brings visitors to many luxury hotels and tourist attractions in southern and northern NhaTrangCity.

    The provincial People’s Committee has asked relevant agencies to strengthen management over the services provided by travel operators, boost tourism promotion activities in potential markets such as the Republic of Korea and Japan, and devise solutions to entice traditional visitors from European nations.

    Greater attention should be given to improving the quality of tourism products, developing satellite tourism areas to reduce the visitor overload situation in Nha Trang, and training highly qualified human resources, the committee said.

    Foreign “sports missionaries” make their mark in Vietnam

    Hailing from around the globe, these athletes have made it their passion to contribute to the country’s athletic appetite.

    The growing popularity of foreign sports, such as hockey and rugby, in Vietnam began with foreigners who have made it their passion to feed the country’s athletic appetite.

    James Chew, a Singaporean businessman credited with introducing hockey to Vietnam is just one of these athletes. 

    Chew began working in the country ten years ago but refused to leave his love for hockey behind in Singapore.

    In 2007, he hosted the first Hockey Festival in Vietnam, growing the event over the past ten years to include 400 participants and an audience of several hundred.

     “Apart from family and work, hockey is also my life,” said Chew.  “I used to be a professional hockey player in Singapore,” he added. 

    Not only does he focus on recruiting players to the sport, Chew also covers equipment and pitch rental fees.

    “Vietnamese people don’t know much about hockey. I have to build everything from the ground up.”

    Chew’s dedication to promoting the sport has paid off – the country now boasts a hockey federation and national team.

    The businessman also visits schools with Huynh Dai Phuc, the national team’s coach to invite students to try their hand at hockey. 

    “It isn’t easy,” said Phuc.

    “Hockey uses sticks, which makes people think it is dangerous. But those who try it realize that it is totally safe.  We try to make our sport stand out, to make it look exciting and energetic so that people, especially youngsters, join us.”

    Vietnam’s hockey community is centered in the southern province of Long An, where chew ensure that everything is paid for. 

    Starting with just a small group of players, the community now has four established teams – a local team called the Hockey Tornados, a team at TonDucThangUniversity in Ho Chi Minh City, two female teams at local companies.

    As with Chew, businessman Angelo Pillay from Sri Lanka has been successful in turning his passion into a popular sport in Vietnam.

    It all started when Pillay arrived in Vietnam and joined a cricket community comprised of foreigners to satisfy his craving for his country’s national sport.

    After a while, Pillay made it his mission to grow the cricket community.

    Now, he is the president of the Vietnam Cricket Association.

    “After twenty-six years in Vietnam, I consider this my second home,” Pillay said.

    “My wife and my friends love cricket and I want my kids to love it too.

    “It helps connect my family and our community.”

    Bouldering has also become popular in Vietnam thanks to Cedric Deguilhem, a French national who left a stable job in his home country to pursue his interest in Vietnamese culture.

    Since arriving in the country, Deguilhem has started a family, a new job, and established a bouldering center and a club in Ho Chi Minh City.

    The club’s participation at several international competitions has led Deguilhem to promise that Vietnam will be represented at future international events, following in the footsteps of hockey and cricket which both competed at the Southeast Asian Games in 2017.

    Winners of contest on Vietnam-Lao relationship history honoured

    The General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People's Army held a ceremony in Hanoi on January 12 to honour the winners of the contest on exploring the history of the special VietnamLaos ties.

    One first, ten second, 19 third and 26 consolation prizes were presented to the outstanding contestants at the ceremony.

    The contest was launched by the army in April 2017 as an event to mark the 55th founding anniversary of the VietnamLaos diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

    The contest received more than 360,000 entries by soldiers and military officers in both the Vietnamese and Lao languages.

    Congratulating the contest winners, Lieutenant General Le Hien Van, Deputy Director of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People's Army, stressed that the historical lessons learnt from the exemplary Vietnam– Lao relations have laid firm foundations for the development of the two Parties, States, armies and peoples.

    He asked the military leaders and commanders to educate soldiers on the special solidarity between the two countries, thus raising their awareness of combating wrongful and distorted allegations by hostile forces that would harm the Vietnam- Laos ties.

    HCMC police launch traffic safety program to maintain order

    Ho Chi Minh City Traffic Safety Committee decided to launch a traffic safety program to keep street order from December, 2017, two weeks earlier than previous year.

    Police officers have handled illegal bus stations and more officers have been present at premises in airport, ports, bus stations, gate entrance into the city, parks.

    Additionally, traffic police have kept drunk drivers and suspend the operation of vehicles that fail to meet safety requirements as well as overloaded buses to protect people’s safety in Tet holidays ( the Lunar New Year ).

    As Tet holidays are nearly approaching, more people and vehicles have been traveling in streets with forecast of increase of one third compared to normal days. Accordingly, , traffic police officers and security guards of the station works relentlessly to clear growing traffic.

    The program aims to reduce traffic accidents and curb congestion under 30 minutes for people’s sake, said Deputy Head of the Committee Nguyen Ngoc Tuong.

    As per the program, police officers have reviewed traffic “black spots” and clear off roads which gridlocks usually take place, keep order in premises in the airport, bus stations, ports, amusement parks.

    Policemen have suspended illegal bus stations and overloaded unsafe vehicles as well as patrol the intersections between roads and railways.

    Head of the Ho Chi Minh City's Road and Railway Traffic Police Department (PC67) Lieutenant colonel Huynh Trung Phong said that more policemen have been sent to crowded areas to control traffic flow. Subsequently, paths leading to TanSonNhatAirport, CatLaiPort, the Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station in Binh Thanh District like Dinh Bo Linh, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh and the national highway No.13 are clear despite more vehicles.

    Police officers have also paid attention to control traffic in rivers such as Sai Gon, Dong Nai, Can Giuoc, Tau Hu-Ben Nghe canal.

    In a bid to reduce traffic accidents, inspectors from the Department of Transport have worked with local administrations, police officers to handle illicit bus stations. In addition to regular patrolling, inspectors in coordination with relevant agencies to install more camera to issue punishment to violators.

    Mr. Phong said cops from PC67 and criminal police, mobile police and police 113 would carry out patrol from 10 PM to next morning to deal with young men gathering to race or make mess.

    PC67 men and local counterparts will also keep driver with high level of alcohol and overloaded vehicles, he added.

    Ambassadors & representatives of EU countries evaluate HCMC’s development

    Politburo member, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan and Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong respectively had receptions with ambassadors and representatives of European Union (EU) members for foreign affairs in Vietnam yesterday.

    At the meeting, the city Party chief affirmed Vietnam- EU relationship is a valuable treasure. On behalf of the city leaders, Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan highly appreciated great contributions of ambassadors and representatives of European Union member countries in strengthening relations between EU with Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City

    Additionally, he introduced the foreign affairs leaders about the city’s socio- economic achievements. Ho Chi Minh City reached a growth of 8.2 percent, contributed 27 percent into state budget last year. 

    Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan announced the National Assembly of Vietnam approved a resolution on piloting special mechanisms and policies for the development of Ho Chi Minh City in five sectors and 18 contents on November 24. 

    Speaking at the reception, Ambassador Bruno Angelet, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam appreciated the first meeting between the city leaders and representatives of EU countries, Vietnam’s outstanding achievements in 2017 including success of APEC and the country’s impressive growth.

    Ambassador Bruno Angelet affirmed that EU always supports macroscopic economic policies of Vietnam, and continues expanding cooperation ties in the fields of economy, security and defense, education, environment and energy. 

    Currently, the city focuses on economic modernization following a tendency of the fourth industrial revolution. Thus, the locality wished to attract more and more projects of traffic infrastructure, public vehicles, energy, anti- climate change, anti- flooding and trash treatment, labor export and star-up programs, construction of financial centers. 

    Vietnam & WHO agree health cooperation program

    The Vietnamese Prime Minister has just approved a health cooperation program with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fiscal year of 2018 – 2019 under a sponsor of WHO. 

    It aims to support the Government of Vietnam in effectively solving priority issues of the healthcare system as well as successfully adopting strategies of health protection and healthcare in 2016 – 2020, with vision for 2030, and project of “Development and Building Healthcare Network in 2016 – 2025”.

    In addition, the cooperation program also contributes to improve capabilities to carry out the International Health Regulations (IHR); to deal with urgent health issues; to use efficiently WHO’s financial support for Vietnam in improving citizens’ health.

    The program will reduce the risk of communicable and noncommunicable diseases in the community as HIV/AIDS, virus hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, malaria …

    It will be provided by WHO at around US$ 21 million under the non-refundable Official Development Assistance (ODA), including available fund of US$ 11.9 million, mobilized fund of US$ 9.1 million and cash counterpart fund of VND 6.5 billion. 

    Hospitals asked to prepare enough medicine in Tet holidays

    The Drug Administration of Vietnam has sent its document to departments of health, hospitals, importers asking to prepare enough medicine to meet examination and treatment demand in approaching Tet holidays ( the Lunar New Year)

    As per the document, the administration wanted local departments of health to urge infirmaries and preventive medicine centers to keep medicines for emergency mission and preventing illness especially flu A, hand-foot-mouth, dengue, measles, Rubella, diarrhea caused by virus Rota, and respiratory diseases.

    Hospitals, drug companies have to stock medicine and enhance control to avoid skyrocketing prices of medications in the holidays.

    Health inspectors in localities must liaise with relevant agencies to discover fake medicines or low-quality medicines or drugs sold in internet. Responsible agencies should direct pharmacies to sell drugs around the clock to satisfy people’s demand.

    Relevant agencies have to implement measures to curb speculation in the special festival.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/14/18--19:57: Article 0
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 14/1


    Pepper growers concern about falling prices

    Pepper growers are entering the harvest season of 2018 in the southeastern region of Vietnam, concerning about price fall and output reduction because of pests and diseases.

    Traders now pay VND65,000-66,000 a kilogram of pepper, accounting for half of the price in the same period last year.

    Long lasting rains last year created conditions for pests and diseases to attack pepper crop, resulting in output drop this year.

    According to statistics, high pepper prices in previous years sent farmers to expand farming area to 40,100 hectares in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc provinces in 2017. The area far exceeds the plan of 12,800 hectares by 2020 of the Government.

    That has broken supply and demand balance causing continuos price reductions for the last two years.

    Enterprises develop fast in number, efficiency low: economic survey 2017 

    Pepper growers concern about falling prices, Enterprises develop fast in number, efficiency low: economic survey 2017, Agriculture must apply technology to advance, Vietnam's first smart fertilizer plant inaugurated in Tra Vinh province 

    Data from economic survey of HCMC 2017 showed that although the number of enterprises quickly develops, their scale is mainly small and very small and efficiency through profit norms is limited.
    That was announced a conference, presided over by standing deputy chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem, to reckon up the economic survey results.

    Mr. Liem is head of the steering board of the survey which is one among three under the national statistical survey program stipulated by the Prime Minister, conducted every five years.

    Of 171,655 active businesses, 64,607 are profitable accounting for 37.81 percent, 96,936 loss making making up 56.49 percent and the remaining ones break even.

    The ratio of loss making firms has been in up trend after five years, increasing 2.87 percent to non-state companies. The number of profitable ones dropped from 43.30 percent in 2011 to 37.41 percent in 2016.

    Similarly, the ratios of profitable and under performance state own firms went down 0.71 percent to 81.79 percent and up from 16.6 percent in 2011 to 17.65 percent in 2016 respectively.

    The city has 633,637 economic, administrative, public service units and religious and faith facilities, up 26.99 percent over 2011 with the average growth rate of 4.9 percent a year. Workers neared 4.1 million, increasing 19.04 percent.

    Economic sector developed faster than administrative and public service fields, growing 26.99 percent in number and 10.04 percent in workers.

    On December 31, 2016, the city had 172,979 businesses and cooperatives, raising nearly 62 percent over 2011. Of these, non-state firms post an outstanding development step compared to other types of businesses, accounting for 97.36 percent of the city’s companies.

    Total capital of this economic sector was up 2.11 times equivalent to VND3.26 trillion. This sector also created lot of jobs for workers.

    Stating at the conference, Mr. Liem appreciated efforts by the statistics industry and 3,600 staff who had worked to draw the survey’s results at the soonest time.

    The survey results were a valuable source of data for city leaders to build and plan economic, social policies and others to encourage modern science and technology application in all economic fields as well as administrative and public service units, he said.

    He assigned specific tasks to relevant agencies to improve the survey’s results.

    Specifically, the Department of Planning and Investment, HCMC Taxation Department and Statistics Department have been asked to work together and review the number of registered and active companies in fact to draw the most exact number.

    The number of registered firms now near 300,000 in fact while the survey shows it is only 172,979.

    Agriculture must apply technology to advance

    Vietnamese farmers account for 70% of population, yet they only contribute 20 percent to GDP, while these figures in other developed countries are 2 percent -4 and 40 percent, respectively.

    According to the annual summary report of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), in 2017, science as well as technology themselves had an active role in restructuring the agriculture sector, helping the countryside not only to gain a new appearance but also to increase performance and quality while boosting exporting ability.

    Looking into more detail, science and technology now comprise 30% of the increase in agricultural production and 38% of the growth of seeds and breeding stock. More than 90% of rice fields, 80 percent of corn fields, 60 percent  of sugarcane fields, and 100 percent of new cashew fields are using Vietnamese seeds.

    The performances of animal raising and plant growing are higher than those of neighboring nations. For example, Vietnamese’s rice is leading ASEAN while our shark catfish and pepper are unparalleled worldwide. Vietnamese’s coffee and rubber also stand at the second position globally.

    The rate of mechanized agriculture is boosted as well, with a 1.5-2 percent increase of machines in production compared to 2016. There exist new models of aquaculture farms, having a chain of value production for  shrimps, shark catfish, and lobsters.

    As stated by Deputy Minister Tran Van Tung of MOST, after a long time focusing on increasing yields and performance, Vietnam now pays more attention to raising quality and value-added chains.

    To also improve its competitiveness in international markets, agriculture has already restructured its production methods to create close links to be a foundation for the application of science and technology to boost efficiency as well as quality, effectiveness of advantageous produce.

    The participation of large corporations and businesses into agriculture recently or the growth of certain special animals and plants for exporting to particular markets are some typical examples of that change.

    Nevertheless, MOST also admitted that all of those results are not the full potential of Vietnamese agriculture. Vietnamese farmers account for 70 percent of population, yet they only contribute 20 percent to GDP, while these figures in other developed countries are 2-4 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

    According to the report of World Bank Group (WBG), GDP in agriculture of Vietnam is on the wane, and its performance growth has a signal of weakening while the income gap between workers in this sector and those in others is widening.

    To tackle this issue, WBG suggested that Vietnamese agriculture should change its visions and methods so as to apply more technology to build value links or gather farmers into companies.

    In this way, Vietnam will change from traditional production to high-tech one, creating prominent values with its newly-built agricultural links having higher competitiveness.

    At the moment, although agriculture in Vietnam has high yields, its labor performance and preservation are too low in the local area. Speaking in the general summary meeting of 2017 of MOST, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked that MOST must play an active role in renovating models of economy increase, especially in agriculture.

    In particular, MOST should pay much attention to modernizing production models and enhancing the quality of produce. He also mentioned that more investment should be stimulated and more technology should be applied in advantageous areas of each produce such as the Mekong Delta with fruit trees and shrimps and fish or the South East area with industrial trees in order to form major agriculture centres and areas.

    It is obvious that to obtain sustainable development and create high-tech agricultural links or organic agriculture, there is no way but to refresh our mind, our production as well as preservation methods by applying more advances of science and technology.

    Vietnam's first smart fertilizer plant inaugurated in Tra Vinh province

    The Rynan Smart Fertilizers Limited Company held a ceremony on January 13 at LongDucIndustrial Park in the southern province of Tra Vinh to inaugurate a smart fertilizer plant, the first of its kind in Vietnam.

    The five-hectare plant, with an annual processing capacity of 50,000 tonnes, carries a total investment of over US$35 million.

    According to Doctor Nguyen Thanh My, Chairman of the Board of Rynan Smart Fertilizers, the smart fertilizers will be coated with an environmentally-friendly high-tech polymer material, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60%.

    In addition, smart fertilizers only need to be applied once, with the amount less than conventional fertilizers by between 40 and 60%, but the crop yield could increase by more than 10%.

    Earlier, Rynan Smart Fertilizers also organised a smart fertilizer experiment on an area of 200 hectares in Tam Nong district, Dong Thap province.

    The results show that the production of rice under the technical process and the use of smart fertilizers has reduced environmental pollution to the lowest level and helped farmers cut seed and fertilizer costs.

    Agriculture makes up exports imprints in 2017

    Export achievements in 2017 were encouraging amidst declining minerals and crude oil exports thanks to the strong growth in telephone, electronic components, and especially the agricultural sector, made up for the gap left by the mining industry’s exports.

    For the first time in history, exports marked a remarkable achievement in 2017 as they exceeded the US$200 billion benchmark with a total value of US$213.77 billion, up 21%. 2018 is also expected to be a good year for export targets.

    Typically, the seafood industry has returned impressively earning the country US$8.4 billion in 2017 (up 18.5% from the previous year), while wood and furniture brought in US$7.6 billion (up 9.2%), rice exports reaped US$2.6 billion (22.7%), and cashew nuts earned US$3.5 billion (23.9%). Most notably, fruit and vegetables surpassed the long standing crude oil in terms of export value at US$3.5 billion, up 43.1%.

    It is time to further improve the agricultural sector’s role. The good results in 2017 show that Vietnam has potential to develop a modern agricultural sector with higher added value and higher contributions to the GDP compared to the quite modest contribution level at present.

    For fruit alone, the recent encouraging results have opened up opportunities for the industry’s accelerated growth, especially its exports to the US and European markets. Positive news arrived as after ten years of negotiations, the first batch of star apple fruit from Tien Giang province has been allowed to export to the US, opening up great business opportunities for enterprises and farmers in the Mekong Delta.

    Star apple fruit shipments to the US have to meet high agricultural practice standards and have been strictly inspected by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. After meeting all of the requirements, the price of this high quality fruit is up to VND25,000-30,000 per kg and will be doubled when sold in the US market.

    Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are currently exported to more than 40 countries and territories around the world, including selective markets such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The sector’s target is to earn approximately US$4.5 billion in exports by 2020 and nearly double that by 2030.

    The strong return of shrimp and fish exports is also a remarkable phenomenon. In 2016, this industry encountered challenges in the face of serious droughts and the Formosa maritime environmental incident. However, in 2017, thanks to more favourable weather and tighter production processes, the fisheries sector generated great success.

    The largest contributor to seafood exports in 2017 was shrimp with a growth of over 21%, as shrimp exports were valued at US$3.8 billion. Tra fish exports contributed US$1.8 billion, up nearly 4% compared to 2016, while exports of tuna and squid also reached nearly US$600 million, up 16% and 42% respectively.

    Remarkably, in seafood exports in 2017, China surpassed the US as Vietnam's largest import market for tra fish and shrimp. It is expected that Vietnam's neighbouring market will continue to grow satisfactorily in the coming years due to the increased demand for high quality seafood in China thanks to improved incomes and its changing trend to a consuming economy.

    The spectacular improvement of Vietnam’s agricultural sector in 2017 is generally a very important event, thereby encouraging further investment from leading corporations in hi-tech agriculture. Of course, the export target this year will surely face challenges amidst the increased trade protectionism and anti-dumping measures from a number of developed markets, such as the US and Europe, against Vietnamese commodities such as shrimp and tra fish.

    According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ha Cong Tuan, 2018 is identified as a pivotal year, which is important in the implementation of the sector's five-year plan during 2016-2020, targeting a growth rate at about 2.8-3.0% and an export turnover of US$36-37 billion.

    It is time for the relevant departments, sectors and local authorities to take measures in removing barriers and create a favourable environment for businesses, while actively reporting on new market policies to help businesses reduce their risks. Another important orientation is that the State needs to maintain or reduce credit interest rates to strengthen the financial capacity of enterprises.

    For their part, agricultural businesses should pay more attention to brand building, quality improvement, the application of modern technology and completing the production and distribution chain to improve business efficiency and increase competitiveness in the international markets.

    Vietnam striving to become new "economic tiger”

    “Growth and development is a marathon, not a sprint,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasised and set the goal of raising Vietnam to become a new "economic tiger" in Asia.

    At the high-level policy dialogue with the theme of “Fast and sustainable economic growth: existing challenges and new motivation” under Vietnam Economic Forum, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc confirmed his hopes that Vietnamese people would change their mindset and habits to create a prosperous Vietnam.

    The prime minister said that 2017 was a successful year for the Vietnamese economy, with a growth of 6.81 per cent. Vietnam is one of the highest-growing countries in Asia and over the world. The economic reform has been strengthened and the business climate has been improved. These have consolidated the faith of investors and enterprises, creating new momentum for the economy.

    “We should affirm that the Vietnamese economy is facing many challenges in the medium and long term. It is necessary to find a way to promote fast and sustainable development and overcome the middle-income trap in the coming time,” PM Phuc emphasised.

    In 2018, the government asks ministries, branches, and localities to strive to reach father than the growth targets set forth by the National Assembly. Thereby, GDP growth should be over 6.7 per cent, with the quality of growth and productivity improved significantly, accompanied by rising environmental indicators.

    Vietnam has produced many socioeconomic development achievements during 30 years of reform. The prime minister noted: “We should not be subjective and satisfied with these achievements. In the coming time, Vietnam should follow a new growth model based on productivity and innovation, and reduce dependency on old advantages like natural resources and low-cost labour.”

    He added, “Growth and development is a marathon, not a sprint. We could be delighted with the 2017 achievements, but we should consider them as a basis for economic restructuring and shifting the growth model. This way we will create a solid foundation for the economy to grow in the long term.”

    The prime minister said that besides economic achievements, the poverty rate has reduced, environmental protection and afforestation received more attention, and forest coverage has increased.

    The prime minister was especially proud of Vietnam’s global competitiveness index (GCI) that jumped to the 55th place, five places up against the previous year, according to the latest list announced by World Economic Forum (WEF). Vietnam climbed 14 places to 68th in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business 2018 ranking. The reliability index of the banking system has shifted from “stable” to “active.”

    Additionally, the leader of the government expressed concerns over the issues of climate change and Industry 4.0 and emphasised the need to find better ways to implement the nation’s sustainable development strategy.

    In order to improve the resilience of the economy, the prime minister focused on mechanisms which boost innovation in the country.

    “We need to improve productivity, apply science-technology, and promote e-commerce. The economy needs to be restructured on every level, branch, and business, in order to improve the competitiveness of the country. This should go along with reducing costs, as well as promoting anti-corruption and preventing group interests from taking over. Thus, we need an innovative national education in line with the development,” PM Phuc stated.

    Ocean Group not out of trouble yet

    Over the past three years, especially after the lending fraud scandal of Ocean Bank’s former chairman in late 2014, the business performance of multi-sector Ocean Group (HSX:OGC) was lacklustre despite signs of recovery shown over the first nine months of 2017.

    Specifically, over the first three quarters of 2017, the multi-sector firm reported a total after-tax loss of VND226.7 billion ($9.92 million) which was nearly half of the VND468 billion ($20.49 million) in the same period in 2016.

    During the first nine months of 2017, the firm’s collective sales and service-based revenue mounted to VND900 billion ($39.42 million), which was roughly 9 per cent up against the same category in 2016. To add, the firm saw a meagre rally in gross profit, with a respective VND371billion ($16.2 million) and VND420 billion ($18.3 million) in the first three quarters of 2016 and 2017.

    By the end of September 2017, OGC's accumulated loss reached VND2.742 trillion ($120 million), followed by the threat of delisting from the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. At the end of the third quarter of 2017, the company’s total liabilities mounted up to VND4.938 trillion ($217.45 million) which was equivalent to 84 per cent of its total assets.

    Additionally, as presented in the firm’s consolidated financial statement for the third quarter in 2017, OGC scored a net revenue of VND479.74 billion, up 14 per cent against the same period in 2016. Besides, the firms’ cost of goods sold (COGS) touched VND223.74 billion ($98.2 million), 21 per cent up, resulting in a modest gross profit totalling VND252 billion ($11.06 million), merely 8 per cent up against the third quarter in 2016.

    Ocean Group, is a Hanoi-headquartered multi-sector firm which concentrates on various fields, such as financial investment, build-operate-transfer (BOT) investment, as well as hotel and real estate services. The firm’s total charter capital is VND3 trillion ($133.5 million), with its ticker fetching VND2,410 ($0.11) on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.

    Ocean Commercial One Member Limited Liability Bank, or Ocean Bank, is a Vietnam-based commercial bank that was previously bought out by the State Bank for zero VND. Prior to the lending fraud scandal in 2014, Ocean Group held 20 per cent stake at the commercial bank.

    Vingroup & Tan Hoang Minh lead the way in apartment sales

    Vingroup and Tan Hoang Minh are the two leading investors in Vietnam’s real estate market in terms of apartment sales, according to a fourth quarter report from Savills Vietnam.

    Vietnam’s real estate market recorded strong growth in the number of apartments sold by real estate projects in the Grade A segment during 2017, tripling the figure in 2016 and the highest growth rate since 2010.

    According to Savills, buyers of Grade A apartments are both owner-occupiers and investors with an eye on leasing the property, which lie behind the impressive increase.

    Meanwhile, sales of Grade C apartments increased only slightly while those in the Grade B segment declined.

    As two prestigious investors with high-end real estate projects, Vingroup and Tan Hoang Minh lead the way in sales. They have provided thousands of high-end apartments over the last year, through Vingroup’s Vinhomes-branded projects and Tan Hoang Minh’s projects such as D’. Le Roi Soleil, D’. El Dorado, D’. Le Pont D’or, and D’. Capitale.

    These projects are located in prime locations and provide a high-end living space, convenience, and substantial profitability, while seeing good absorption.

    Ms. Do Thu Hang, Deputy Director of Savills Research in Hanoi, said that 98 per cent of developers of real estate projects are now domestic enterprises.

    Tan Hoang Minh is expected to continue to provide high-end apartments for market this year, with the launch of D’. El Dorado Phase 2, which has received significant attention from buyers.

    In the years to come, Savills forecasts that the high-end segment in Hanoi will remain stable, with supply of Grade A apartments coming from reputable developers.

    In Ho Chi Minh City, meanwhile, given the low price of apartments compared to the Asian region and their quality and prestigious investors, Grade B is expected to attract the largest number of foreign buyers this year, especially in areas with good infrastructure, such as Districts 2 and 7.

    Credit risks pose threat if not fully addressed: experts

    Credit risk management should be enhanced to make sure business information is transparent and reliable in order to improve Vietnam’s trade, economic, and investment conditions, experts told the “Credit Risk Management for Trade and Investment in Vietnam” workshop held in Hanoi on January 11.

    While credit risk management is normally considered a core business activity done only in the banking and finance sector, potential risks may also pose threats to the country’s trade and investment environment if they are not fully addressed, CEO of data analysis firm StoxPlus, Mr. Nguyen Quang Thuan, said.

    Transparent business and economic information and data would help strengthen Vietnam’s international trade, draw more attention from foreign investors, improve the performance of local businesses, and help them access foreign capital markets.

    At the moment, “the reliability of data inputs in Vietnam is still weak given the fragmented data-source infrastructure and poor financial reporting environment,” Mr. Thuan said, adding that better credit risk and business data management would provide local banks with better insight of the finances and operations of local businesses.

    “As banks conduct insightful reviews of company profiles, they are able to determine whether the businesses are strong enough and whether lending rates should be high or low based on the financial risks that the business may encounter,” he said.

    Credit risk and data management would help local authorities prevent foreign companies from transfer pricing, which is used to avoid taxation, and improve the quality of foreign investment in the economy, he added.

    In fact, there was a big difference between a company’s financial statement sent to tax authorities and the one sent to credit institutions for making loans.

    “We find out in some cases that if companies do not issue tax invoices for products sold in the market, they do not have to record the transaction in financial reports for tax purposes and avoid business income tax,” he explained. “But they can record the transaction in the financial statements submitted to banks for credit purposes.”

    He therefore urged authorities to empower independent third-party vendors that have technological advances, such as StoxPlus, to collect and analyze financial and economic data so that information is transparent and reliable for investors.

    Agreeing, Lead Financial Sector Specialist at the World Bank in Vietnam, Mr. Alwaleed Alatabani, told the workshop that local authorities must compel companies to improve their financial statements and reports to international standards.

    Local authorities also need to work with financial institutions on corporate earnings reports, so that the country can provide a better business environment and give foreign investors better insights into Vietnam’s economy.

    Japanese science and technology enterprises keen on Vietnam

    Vietnam is an attractive investment market for Japanese enterprises, especially in the field of science and technology, the “Connecting Vietnamese and Japanese Companies in the Field of Science and Technology” seminar, held in Hanoi on January 12 by the Japan External Trade Organization in Hanoi (JETRO Hanoi) and the Science and Technology Enterprises and Market Development Department.

    The seminar aimed to promote cooperative exchanges between ASEAN and Japanese enterprises in the field of information technology, digital technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT) within the framework of the “ASEAN - Japan New Industry Development” project.

    Mr. Hironobu Kitagawa, Chief Representative of JETRO Hanoi, told the seminar that investment by Japanese enterprises in Vietnam in the field of IT primarily focuses on the development of software systems. “In the wave of the fourth industrial revolution, new investment opportunities between Vietnam and Japan will arise in the future and this will bring benefits to both countries,” he added.

    Japanese businessman Mr. Hiroyuki Ono, from ACA Investments Pte Ltd, said that Vietnam is an attractive investment destination in the region, surpassing Indonesia and Thailand. “Japanese companies are opening branches and building factories in Vietnam and we are even more active in finding partners and linking them with Vietnamese businesses,” he said.

    Regarding Vietnamese startups, Dr. Le Thai Phong from the ForeignTradeUniversity said that, in general, the development of a startup eco-system in Vietnam is satisfying the necessary conditions but still faces a host of obstacles. “In tax policy, although the government’s policy is very supportive, local governments sometimes make it difficult, requiring enterprises pay VAT on unnecessary items,” he noted.

    Within the framework of the “ASEAN - Japan New Industry Development” project, Vietnam is the fifth country to have held a networking event. Similar programs were previously held in Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur, and received positive feedback from participants.

    Mr. Nguyen Van Truc, Director of the Center for Training and Supporting Technology Market Development, told the seminar that the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) held a meeting in 2017 to prepare plans for 2018, where the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister commented on the management and implementation of the plan, focusing on development, technology transfer, and innovation for national development.

    M&A deals increase Chinese investment in Vietnam

    Chinese businesses tend to make their stronger presence in Vietnam through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals, especially in real estate.

    Chen Dehai, Chinese Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, said at a recent meeting to promote investment opportunities in the city that Chinese investment into Vietnam has surged high since 2016. Businesses have poured much capital in different projects in thermal and wind power, solar energy pin, garment, and tyre production, even up to US$2 billion in one project.

    According to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, China ranked fourth among foreign investors with the highest amount of investment capital pledged for Vietnam last year.

    2017 also witnessed many M&A deals between Chinese businesses and Vietnamese partners in real estate.

    Chinese businesses have not only focused on M&A deals and real estate but also increased their investment in industrial production. They tend to invest in garment, fibre and footwear to take advantage of tax incentives when exporting to the EU and US as Vietnam have signed free trade agreements with these countries.

    A clear proof for the move is that the Bank of China, Ho Chi Minh City branch and China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange signed a cooperation deal in December 2017 to further attract Chinese investment into Vietnam.

    Central Da Nang city boosts investment attraction

    The central coastal city of Da Nang is deploying a number of measures to increase investment attraction in 2018.

    According to Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho, the city will build on achievements gained in 2017, particularly the successful organisation of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week and Da Nang Investment Forum.

    Local authorities pledged to create the optimal conditions for investors to carry out and put into operation tourism and resort projects.

    The city targets the creation of high added value products, especially in the field of science and high technology.

    The inspection and treatment of environmentally polluted areas, including industrial parks, will be stepped up in the coming time.

    Preferential policies will be devised to lure large-scale industrial production investors and businesses in high-added value and environmentally friendly fields.

    The city will work to ensure labour safety, improve infrastructure, and ease traffic jams.

    It will focus on finalising a master plan for socio-economic development by 2035 with a vision toward 2050 and building projects, mechanisms and policies to develop tourism and services.

    As a driving force of the central region’s key economic zone, Da Nang is leading in the development of infrastructure as well as land, railway and airway connectivity for the central and Central Highland regions.

    In 2017, the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) recorded a year-on-year growth of 9%. 

    To date, industrial parks in the city have attracted more than 400 investment projects, of which 100 are foreign invested ones, creating jobs for over 74,000 labourers in the locality and vicinities.

    High-tech bitumen plant to be built in Phu Yen

    Danish global machinery equipment maker DenimoTech and Vung Ro Petroleum Company Limited on January 11 signed an agreement to build a high-tech bitumen plant in the central coastal province of Phu Yen.

    The construction of the plant will be divided into two phases. The first will be implemented in a year, and the second will begin in the middle of the year and last for 26-28 months.

    During the first phase, the plant will import high quality bituminous binders from the world’s leading manufacturers and process them into advanced construction materials for both the Vietnamese market and exports to neighbouring countries.

    The plant has been designed to have a storage capacity of 12,000 metric tonnes (MT) with a second phase upgrade to 30,000 MT. It is expected to be a top-notch environmentally-friendly bitumen-emulsion and polymer-modified bitumen plant. It will also be a state-of-the-art packing facility for exports of hi-tech bituminous products to regional markets. It will have its own port facility.

    The plant is part of Vung Ro Petroleum’s attempt to produce its own high-quality bituminous binders compliant with Vietnamese Standards, American Superpave Performance Grade Standards and other standards required by customers in the region.

    Kirill Korolev, CEO of Vung Ro Petroleum, believes that the project will contribute significantly to Vietnam’s infrastructure development.

    “The road, airport and port infrastructure of a country are barometres for its advancement, wealth and prosperity. We are proud to contribute to this development. We are selecting the world’s best technology providers to bring the best materials and science to the Vietnamese market,” Kirill said.

    Vung Ro Petroleum’s CEO said he was not authorised to disclose the full amount of the investment, but said it was above US$500 million.

    “Together with our partners, international vendors and some of the best scientists from Denmark, we will deliver a cutting-edge facility for Vung Ro Petroleum and help solve the engineering problems of Vietnamese construction and industrial sectors,” said Bernd Schmidt, chairman of DeminoTech.

    HCMCity retail grows by more than 11% in 2017

    HCMCity’s retail sector has been growing steadily, achieving an 11.3% increase by the end of 2017 compared to 2016, according to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.

    According to the department, the total revenue of the retail sector last year was over VND923.84 trillion (US$40 billion).

    Revenue from retail sales was VND594.65 trillion, accounting for 64.4% of total retail revenue (retail sales and retail services).

    The city had 207 supermarkets in 2017, an increase of 18 compared to 2016. At least 116 of them are domestic supermarkets, while 91 are foreign-owned.

    In addition, there were around 43 shopping malls in 2017, three more than in 2016. Fourteen of them are foreign owned. There were around 1,100 convenience stores in 2017, 218 more compared to 2016.

    Leather, footwear sector sets US$20 bln export target

    Vietnam aims to earn between US$19.5 - 20 billion from leather and footwear exports in 2018, up 10% from 2017, according to a conference in January 12.

    According to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO), the leather and footwear industry is destined to increase by 5% from one year earlier, with the localisation rate of 55%. 

    Footwear and handbags will remain Vietnam’s top four and 10 export items, respectively.

    In her remark at the conference, LEFASO Vice President Phan Thi Thanh Xuan highlighted positive signs in the world economy and growing consumption demand, which have provided favourable conditions and posed challenges to Vietnam's exports and investment.

    To actualize the target, the association has been urged to engage in relevant policy making, attract more foreign and domestic investment in support industry, thus increasing the localisation rate and ensuring sustainable development.

    Trade promotion events, workshops, and training classes are planned to improve the management capability of enterprises, and attend international trade fairs, Thanh said.

    In 2017, the sector fetched US$18 billion from exports, a year-on-year rise of 10.7%.

    Animal breeding industry eyes 4% growth of production value

    The Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has set several targets for 2018, including a growth rate of 4% in production value.

    The other targets are to have more than 5.4 million tonnes of meat of all kinds, 11.58 billion poultry eggs and one million tonne of milk, a year-on-year surge of 3.8%, 8.8% and 14.1%.

    The sector will review and evaluate restructuring results in 63 cities and provinces, direct localities to set up specialised husbandry products as well as work to build trademarks and facilitate output consumption. Efforts will be channeled to preserve native varieties like Mong Cai pig, Tien Yen chicken, Mia chicken, Dong Tao chicken, Ho chicken and H’Mong cow.

    Organic farming process and safe breeding in accordance with VietGAP standards will be developed. Also, the department will promote market forecast and recommend measures for the MARD to remove bottlenecks for products with great potential for exports like meat, chicken and dairy products.

    Domestic production will be enhanced in parallel with the development of free-of-disease breeding zones.

    Value of husbandry production in 2017 totalled more than VND230 trillion (US$10.1 billion), rising 3.05% compared to that of 2016.

    Vietnam complains to WTO about US fish tariffs

    Vietnam has challenged U.S. anti-dumping measures against Vietnam’s exports of fish fillets, a filing published by the World Trade Organization showed on January 12.

    Vietnam has challenged U.S. anti-dumping measures against Vietnam’s exports of fish fillets, a filing published by the World Trade Organization showed on January 12.

    Vietnam says Washington has broken WTO rules in the way it has imposed punitive tariffs on Vietnamese fish it claims are being ”dumped, or sold at an unfairly cheap price, on the U.S. market.

    U.S. imports of fish fillets from Vietnam have grown from $100 million in 2007 to more than $520 million in 2016. That made Vietnam the third-biggest U.S. supplier after Chile and China and the U.S. the top export market for Vietnamese fish.

    The United States has 60 days to settle the complaint, or Vietnam could ask the WTO to adjudicate.

    Washington has faced a slew of trade disputes over its use of anti-dumping duties in the past two decades, and has lost many of them after its calculation methods were found to be out of line with WTO rules.

    Earlier this week, the WTO published a wide-ranging Canadian trade complaint, lodged in December, against the U.S. use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs.

    The United States called that complaint a “broad and ill-advised attack” that could cause a “flood of imports from China and other countries”.

    The Vietnamese complaint was the fourth dispute initiated by Vietnam since it joined the WTO in 2007.

    Two of its previous complaints took aim at U.S. anti-dumping actions against Vietnam’s shrimp exports. The long-running shrimp battle finally ended in 2016 when the United States agreed to remove duties on a Vietnamese shrimp exporter and to refund duty deposits that it had paid.

    At the time, the two countries were partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. But under President Donald Trump the United States has withdrawn from those negotiations.

    Vietnam-China border gate sees record high import-export revenue

    The total import-export revenue through the Thanh Thuy International Border Gate in the northern province of Ha Giang reached a record high of US$3.66 billion in 2017, soaring 200% from the previous year.

    The Thanh Thuy International Border Gate, an important import-export gateway connecting China’s Yunnan province with Vietnam’s Ha Giang province, reported total export revenue of US$1.92 billion and total import revenue of US$1.63 billion, in addition to over US$111 million worth of goods being temporarily transferred through the gate.

    The border gate bustled with a large number of container trucks from the beginning of 2017 which carried Vietnamese agricultural and forestry products to export to China, particularly fresh dragon fruits.

    Deputy Head of the Management Board of Ha Giang Economic Zone Nguyen Huu Tri said that the province has invested in an automated numbering system for container trucks in a bid to simplify its procedures and boost transparency.

    In addition, the Customs Department of Thanh Thuy Border Gate has stepped up the reform of its administrative procedures and has deployed an automated customs clearance management system to shorten customs clearance time, Tri noted.

    The Thanh Thuy National Border Gate was upgraded to an International Border Gate in 2014, contributing to promoting trade exchanges between China and Vietnam and other countries in the ASEAN region.

    Capital to develop 11m sq.m housing     

    The capital city of Ha Noi is planning to develop housing area covering 11 million sq.m in 2018, according to the municipal Department of Construction.

    This will include 430,000sq.m of social housing projects and 348,000sq.m of resettlement projects, while the rest will be commercial housing projects.

    The municipal department said it would initiate measures to remove obstacles and promote the development of the real estate market. It would also strive to create conditions for developers to diversify products as well as adjust the planning of scales of housing projects to meet the market demand.

    Nguyen Chi Dung, Deputy Director of Ha Noi Department of Construction, said the capital city developed more than 11 million sq.m housing area last year, including 60,688sq.m of social housing projects, 164,640sq.m of resettlement projects and 2.5 million sq.m of commercial housing projects, in addition to 8.3 million sq.m built by residents.

    The average housing area per head is 25.6sq.m and the city plans to increase it to 26.3sq.m by 2020.

    The city has placed orders with developers to develop commercial housing projects for resettlement purposes, including a project in Linh Dam and six others. This is aimed at encouraging developers to invest in resettlement housing projects.

    Social housing projects of Ha Noi are concentrated in five areas, namely Tien Duong in Dong Anh District, Co Bi in Gia Lam, Ngoc Hoi in Thanh Tri, and Co Nhue 2 and EcoHome 3 in Bac Tu Liem. 

    Deputy PM urges PetroVietnam to up efficiency     

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung urged the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to focus on restructuring and improving business efficiency in 2018.

    Dung at PetroVietnam’s conference to implement 2018 tasks held on Friday appreciated the efforts of PetroVietnam to achieve higher-than-target results in 2017 despite significant impact from low oil prices in the global market.

    “The most difficult time of PetroVietnam is gradually over. Now, resources should be focused on restructuring the management system from the parent company to the affiliates to streamline and enhance operation and restructuring investments to prevent losses and enhance efficiency,” Dung said. “At the same time, PetroVietnam must hasten the application of industry 4.0 technologies to move towards sustainable development.”

    Dung asked PetroVietnam to effectively implement the oil and gas industry development strategy by 2025 with a vision to 2035.

    He said the government would support the company in implementing major oil and gas projects.

    Dung urged PetroVietnam to speed up major projects that were making slow progress, such as the expansion of Dung Quat Oil Refinery, Nghi Son Oil Refinery, Petrochemical Complex in the southern region, Block B- O Mon gas pipeline, and Vung Ang A, Thai Binh 2, Long Phu 1 and Song Hau 1 thermoelectricity plants.

    Five inefficient projects must be handled thoroughly, including Dinh Vu polyester plant, Dung Quat shipyard and three bio-fuel plants, Dung said.

    PetroVietnam general director Nguyen Vu Truong Son said the company targeted to produce 22.83 million tonnes of oil in 2018, adding the group would hasten exploration this year to increase oil reserves.

    In addition to this, PetroVietnam will closely monitor the fluctuations in global oil prices for timely measures to cope with the volatility.

    PetroVietnam’s production output reached 25.41 million tonnes in 2017, 1.6 million tonnes higher than the target.

    Its 2017 revenue reached VND498 trillion (US$21.85 billion), exceeding the target by 13.8 per cent and rising by 10 per cent over 2016, while its pre-tax profit was VND31.9 trillion, 92 per cent higher than the target.

    The group contributed VND97.5 trillion to the State budget last year, 30.8 per cent higher than the target. 

    Can Tho retail revenue hits 100 trillion

         

    Can Tho’s revenue from retail sales and services reached VND106 trillion (US$4.7 billion), 10 per cent higher than 2016, according to Can Tho City’s Department of Industry and Trade.

    The city surpassed its 2017 goal of VND100 trillion, achieving the highest revenue in the Mekong Delta region, and the third highest within Viet Nam’s municipalities, after HCMCity and Ha Noi.

    Last year, more supermarkets and malls opened while outlying districts also saw more shops, boosting total retail revenue in the city.

    Truong Quang Hoai Nam, the deputy chairman of Can Tho People’s Committee, said the city achieved a high level of industry and trade last year, but noted that the modern retail facilities were concentrated in Ninh Kieu District, whereas other districts were not as developed.

    Nam urged the department and other units to develop the retail sector in other districts such as O Mon, Thot Not and Cai Rang.

    For 2018, the city targets reaching retail revenue of VND117.6 trillion, 10.9 per cent higher than 2017.

    It also aims to increase export turnover by 1.2 per cent and decrease import turnover by 6.5 per cent this year.

    The city’s Department of Industry and Trade aims to improve the processing industry and focus on products with higher added value, such as agriculture, aquatic products and other Can Tho’s specialties, and attract more investors. 

    Animal breeding industry eyes 4 percent growth of production value

    The Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has set several targets for 2018, including a growth rate of 4 percent in production value.

    The other targets are to have more than 5.4 million tonnes of meat of all kinds, 11.58 billion poultry eggs and one million tonne of milk, a year-on-year surge of 3.8 percent, 8.8 percent and 14.1 percent.

    The sector will review and evaluate restructuring results in 63 cities and provinces, direct localities to set up specialised husbandry products as well as work to build trademarks and facilitate output consumption. Efforts will be channeled to preserve native varieties like Mong Cai pig, Tien Yen chicken, Mia chicken, Dong Tao chicken, Ho chicken and H’Mong cow.

    Organic farming process and safe breeding in accordance with VietGAP standards will be developed. Also, the department will promote market forecast and recommend measures for the MARD to remove bottlenecks for products with great potential for exports like meat, chicken and dairy products.

    Domestic production will be enhanced in parallel with the development of free-of-disease breeding zones.

    Value of husbandry production in 2017 totalled more than 230 trillion VND (10.1 billion USD), rising 3.05 percent compared to that of 2016.

    HCMCity’s industrial growth predicted to rise 8-8.5 percent

    Industrial production of Ho Chi Minh City is forecast to see stable growth in 2018, with the index of industrial production index (IIP) to expand by 8-8.5 percent year-on-year.

    According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, the city’s IIP in 2017 increased by 7.9 percent compared to 2016.

    The city’s four key industrial sectors saw an average growth of 15.5 percent, much higher than the overall rate. In particular, the IIP of the electronics-information technology industry expanded by 39.11 percent, and that of processing and manufacturing industry by over 8 percent). 

    Meanwhile, the chemicals – plastic- rubber industry posted a growth of 3.4 percent after slow development in 2015 and 2016.

    Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Phuong Dong attributed the good performance to efforts made by local enterprises and the municipal authority’s policy to promote industrial development. 

    Decision No.15/2017/QD-UNBD issued by the municipal People’s Committee in early 2017 on supporting businesses to develop industrial manufacturing and supporting industry has also contributed to boosting the city’s industrial development.

    According to the department, there is a great potential to develop the mechanical sector in the city, especially automobile industry. 

    However, industrial enterprises are also facing difficulties and challenges, especially in terms of competitiveness and markets.

    The department said many measures will be implemented to support industrial enterprises in their production and business activities in 2018, towards accelerating restructuring of the industrial sector in connection with renovating the growth model. 

    According to Le Nguyen Duy Oanh, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade's Centre of Supporting Industry Development, her agency will focus on assisting support industry enterprises in raising their supply capacity, expanding production and connecting with more domestic and foreign partners, thus gradually joining the global supply chain.

    EVNNPT strives to ensure progress of power transmission projects

    The National Power Transmission Corporation under the Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVNNPT) plans to disburse over 18.1 trillion VND (797.6 million USD) to finish and put into operation 62 projects and start construction of 43 projects in 2018.

    With this huge investment, the corporation aims to ensure the progress and quality of power transmission projects, said EVNNPT Deputy General Director Nguyen Tuan Tung at a conference to set forth plans for 2018 in Hanoi on January 12.

    Tung said EVNNPT invested nearly 18 trillion VND (792.2 million USD) in projects in 2017, equivalent to 94 percent of the adjusted target assigned by the EVN, and disbursement was more than 18.1 trillion VND, equal to 95.1 percent of the adjusted target.

    With the capital, the corporation began construction on 38 projects, including six 500kV transmission projects and 32 220kV transmission ones.

    In the year, 50 500kV and 220kV transmission projects were put into operation, many of which play an important role in ensuring power supply for regions across the country, notably projects ensuring electricity provision for Hanoi.

    A factor helping the corporation to finish and start construction on its projects on schedule was the arrangement of investment capital. Specifically, EVNNPT signed domestic credit contracts totalling 660 billion VND. It also worked to complete procedures to disburse loans from German’s Development Bank (KfW) and the Asia Development Bank (ADB).

    BIDV to cut annual lending interest rate by 0.5 percent

    The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) will cut down its lending interest rate for short-term loans in VND for prioritised sectors by 0.5 percent to 6 percent per year from January 15.

    The preferential rate will be applied to customers operating in export, support industry, hi-tech industry and hi-tech agriculture.

    At the same time, the bank will continue running large-scale loan packages with preferential interest rates that are lower than the normal rate by 1-1.5 percent per year for customers in the Government’s priority list. They include 10 trillion VND package for small and medium-sized enterprises, 20 trillion VND for large firms, and 3 trillion VND for micro enterprises and startups.

    Earlier, Agribank, Vietcombank and Vietinbank also announced their plans to cut interest rates for loans in five prioritised sectors to assist people and businesses in accessing capital, thus boosting economic growth.

    VNN


    0 0
  • 01/16/18--00:41: Article 3
  • Foreign-owned agriculture leverages FTA tax removals


    Vietnam’s husbandry sector has felt the heat from foreign agricultural firms who are taking advantage of import tariff removal from the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement this year.


     Foreign-owned agriculture leverages FTA tax removals, 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 

    Dang Dinh Quyet, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Livestock Production Department, told VIR that last year, the rate of foreign enterprises asking permission from the ministry for importing animal feed materials into Vietnam climbed 20-25% year-on-year.
    “Foreign animal feed producers are strongly expanding their business in Vietnam. Many are working with the ministry on their upcoming projects in Vietnam,” he said. “Import tariff slashes under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) are the main reasons, in addition to Vietnam’s great potential.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, under its commitments this year, Vietnam will have to remove 669 tariff lines under ATIGA, and 588 tariff lines under ACFTA. Average import tariffs for livestock-related products will be reduced to nearly 0%.

    These products include beef, pork, sheep, goat, poultry, and many types of frozen aquatic products, as well as dairy products, animal feed, and poultry eggs.

    Under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ACFTA, investors may concentrate production lines in a chosen partner country, and then export finished products tariff-free to other ASEAN countries as well as to ASEAN’s free-trade partners in the region (China, India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand).

    China’s New Hope Group is reported to have a plan to invest US$407 million into constructing several pig-raising complexes in Vietnam this year, with a combined annual capacity of 2.3 million pigs. Construction will likely begin in September. Currently, the firm has six animal feed mills and an egg-hatching facility in Vietnam.

    Thailand’s GreenFeed JSC is building its sixth animal feed mill in the southern province of Vinh Long, in addition to its five operating mills in other localities. The total annual capacity of these six mills will be 1.8 million tonnes per year.

    The Republic of Korea’s CJ Vina Agri Company will also officially open its sixth animal feed factory in the south-central province of Binh Dinh in this year’s first quarter, after one year of construction. The factory has a capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year, and total investment capital of VND448 billion (US$20.36 million).

    Presently, foreign firms hold the lion’s share of the local animal feed market in Vietnam, led by Thailand’s CP (18%), France’s Proconco (12%), China’s New Hope (10%), US firm Cargill (8%), and Thailand’s Green Feed (8%).

    According to a recent survey by the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research on the impacts of AEC on Vietnam’s livestock sector, local livestock production will most likely decline due to fiercer competition from AEC partners.

    “Consumers and importers will gain, while exporters and producers will lose out due to an increase in competition with imported goods,” said the institute’s head Nguyen Duc Thanh.

    The survey revealed that within AEC, tariff cuts by Vietnam in the livestock sector negatively affect the total production value of the sector mainly due to higher competition from imported goods.

    Animal, meat, and dairy products are the livestock sub-sectors mist affected by tariff cuts. Once the tariffs are removed by AEC, substitution for cheaper imports of meat products reduces the demand for domestically-produced meat products, and this effect is projected to result in a US$107 million loss for the livestock sector.

    Under the impacts of AEC tax cuts, livestock exports-mainly in pigs and poultry-from Vietnam to other ASEAN nations are projected to drop. Decreases of 7% to the Philippines, 82% to Thailand, and 3% to Indonesia are expected.

    VIR


older | 1 | .... | 462 | 463 | (Page 464) | 465 | 466 | .... | 495 | newer